Sunday, September 24, 2017

The Care & Feeding Of OSR Super Science Wizards In Old School Campaigns

So I've been doing a lot of thinking about Clark Ashton Smith's Xiccarph cycle which centers around his planetary and system ruler  Maal Dweb is exactly the sort of wizard whose on the same scale as the wizards of Jack Vance's Dying Earth series of novels. Wizards of immense power ruling over star systems using super science & magick. The native humanoids have no idea of the power & breath of these beings mostly owe themselves to the knowledge & wisdom of these characters. This set up fits in entirely with the early creators of D&D's vision for the original game.

" The Dying Earth was featured in the Advanced Dungeons & Dragons Advanced Player's Guide under Appendix N: Literature as one of the works that was read during the development of the game system.[2] The designer, Gary Gygax, also credited the novel with being the inspiration for the magic system, which he called "Vancian.""

Maal Dweb is more then capable of rubbing shoulders with any of the wizards of Jack Vance's Dying Earth series especially Mazirian the Magician &
Turjan the wizard

All of this relates back to the recent Kickstarter of  Dark Wizard Games: Double Mayhem Adventures  How? Because The Secret Machines of the Star Spawn adventure takes full advantage to many of the conceits of this style. The Star Spawn is nothing more then a powerful bully himself taking full advantage of the locals & using a vast array of super science & sorcery at his disposal. 
Maal Dweb is another of these anti heroes ruling "four diminutive moons" [because of their size or because each is "decrescent"?] — "the juice of a jungle plant [is] repugnant to all the fauna of Xiccarph" — chimera-skin used as leather — has reptiles, dragons, pterodactyls, chimeras, poisonous "winged vipers", ape-like creatures — three suns, all dawn in the east, set in west: the earliest sun is "gamboge-yellow", second is emerald, third is carmine" ("The Maze of Maal Dweb", Clark Ashton Smith)

We see the full scope of this anti hero in the two CAS stories and the sort of power he's fully used to wielding especially in Maze of Maal Dweb, The (1938) & his personality in the The Flower-Women,  (1935). 
These power mad bastards see nothing wrong with become invasive interstellar tyrants on a grand cosmic scale and causing all kinds of problems. There even seems to be a level to the heights of their power from local king then onto world conqueror followed by cosmic horror level.

Looking into the plot of Star Spawn the parallels become even more obvious;"

Locals have been hearing whispers of strange happenings around the Ancient Volcano. Rumors over the last few months of an unspeakable evil that has risen up inside. An evil that “fell from the stars.” They say there is something wicked and devilish going on inside. Highwaymen report of strange creatures, mechanical monsters, and "Little Green Men" that are roaming the land causing chaos and mayhem!

The locals are at their wits end. They put out a call for the bravest, the strongest, the smartest group of adventurers they could find... and unfortunately for them, your group has "answered the call." You and your stalwart band of adventurers know exactly what to do...  plunder the mountain for the treasure within! And maybe figure out what those pesky locals are bitching about!

Half of the adventure takes place in the Volcano Dungeon Lair and the other half on a huge, Futuristic Spaceship which the Star Spawn has had "parked" above the planet unknown to anyone for the last 1000 years! "
The events of Secret Machines of the Star Spawn have continued because of the adventure's cosmicism. That's right this little comedic science fantasy adventure has a good strain of cosmicism throughout.

"cosmicism (uncountable) The literary philosophy developed by the American writer H P Lovecraft, stating that there is no recognizable divine presence, such as God, in the universe, and that humans are particularly insignificant in the larger scheme of intergalactic existence." The vile villain anti heroes of these science fantasy romps share many of the qualities of the modern Cosmicism of the recent Rick & Morty television episodes. Rick Sanchez  might be in the same mad scientist/wizard's union as many of these folks mentioned in this blog post.

So what's going to make a difference to the events of a mad uncaring universe & its insane alien tyrant wizard scum? Well that's where your PC's come in, their the 'heroes', 'explorers' and exploiters who have chance to turn back the tide of weird tyrannical wizards. Dark Wizard games newest kickstarter is redefining the artwork within its adventures but its your PC's who are going to be kicking ass and taking names within these adventures.  What does all this mean? It comes down to a long tradition of wizards using a mix of mad science, magick, and any means necessary to keep down locals to give heroes excuses to kick ass and take names in Dungeons & Dragons games. 

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This blog entry is for educational and entertainment purposes only. This blog post is not an attempt to violate the copyright or trade marks of the 'Rick & Morty' television show nor are we responsible for the actions of Morty 6424 whose vile acts this blog can not condone nor the Rick belonging to that Morty. Further Dark Wizard Wizard Games is no way responsible for the insane content of this blog. All ideas & opinions are copyrighted to the writer.

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