Monday, October 2, 2017

Rumble In the Dungeon Of The Unknown By Geoffrey McKinney Actual Play Event

Alright so I've been gone for a good portion of the day & part of the night on an industrial sewing machine call up to Massachusetts. I'm tired and a bit deranged from the long trip but I've got to talk about the old school retroclone action that happened over the weekend. Now I've been doing a ton of writing of my 'Old Solar System' setting & tying it into Astonishing Swordsmen & Sorcerers Of Hyperborea second edition. Alright so Steve my friend from way back since we were both kids back in '81 or so in middle school blows into town on Friday. He's in town for the weekend to check on his mother in one of the local nursing homes and he's got a gift for me. The 'gift' was a thumb drive with the entire Lamentations +2 bundle of holding pdfs on it. 
The key here is that I run something for him & his brothers as well as two friends. Now I've got nothing ready to go until I checked out the bundle. One of the pdfs in the bundle is Dungeon of the Unknown which is a DYI dungeon kit attached to Isle of The Unknown both are by Geoffrey McKinney.
So I rolled up some of the encounters, modified the legends, attached goops, & addressed the Minoan issue straight out the gate on the dungeon's two levels. I washed them up on the shore of the isle and off we went. They found a Greek wreck with weapons, equipment, and some sundries in it ala 'Robinson Crusoe'. Then they found the entrance to the dungeon itself. We were off and running! Confession time I completely went full Jack Kirby on this dungeon. Everything was magnified & intensely epic!

I had frescoes of Minoan artwork on the walls, the traps were a bit over the top, there was a migration from 'Old Earth' bit thrown in. There were skeletons of previous adventurers, chests that had split open, weird alien skeletons with strange wounds on them made by unknown weapons, a migration from Old Earth & a whole host of Clark Ashton Smith references in the background to give the whole dungeon gravitas. They ate it up with a spoon even though two PC's bought it on the first level of the dungeon. But then I threw in a Carcosa/Hyperborea connection that was supposed to be a throw away thing. The players made it the central theme of the whole affair.  I threw in the lines of poetry from HP Lovecraft's 1920 short story Polaris which is one of my all time favorites.  There in the middle of level one was a giant brass door with the following written on it.
"Slumber, watcher, till the spheres,
Six and twenty thousand years[5]
Have revolv'd, and I return
To the spot where now I burn.
Other stars anon shall rise
To the axis of the skies;
Stars that soothe and stars that bless
With a sweet forgetfulness:
Only when my round is o'er
Shall the past disturb thy door."
The players immediately connected it not with Polaris but with the King in Yellow Hastur because the same author of Isle of the Unknown wrote Carcosa. The door and poetry must be a prophesy about Hyperborea being invaded by Carcosa! The brass door was originally locked and suddenly became central to the evening's dungeon!  They had their Hyperborean thief sitting there for an hour (game time picking the lock, checking for traps, & dealing with any demonic curses which of course there were)!

Photo of the
Fresco from Knossos palace By cavorite
We open the brass the door where does it lead!? It leads to a strange swamp where the moons of Carcosa race by! A strange demonic beast rears its head! We take our treasure and run like hell not even looking back! We run down the stairs into the next level!

"The Minoans must have seen their fate and so escaped with their island into time itself and then fled into the far future!" "What must that bargain have cost them?!" 'Didn't they have a rather nasty serpent goddess?!'
" Yeah that's it we begin looking around the second level for an altar dedicated to Astarte'
"You find an altar with serpent like creatures around it. Serpents  were considered the protectors of the temples "
'That snake goddess could be a demonic aspect of the Lovecraft god Yig'
'Lets look for some loot and then book out of here!'

At this point one of the PC's had his face eaten off by one of the Goop monsters in a basin.
'Jesus this is totally going to be a Tale of Satampra Zeiros, The (1931) situation! 'We're leaving this place as fast as possible. What's that thing in the basin doing?'  'Its sloshing around a bit & every once in a while the basin wobbles a bit! 'Crap we're out of here' Grab whatever treasure you can carry and let's go! '
'What about the brass door on level one!?'
'Don't you have other players?!'
'Then its their '@#%ing problem!'

So they left as quick as they could almost triggering a trap or two on the way out of the dungeon which they never even finished! The adventure was one in which the players were the ones that actually filled in much of the background, ideas, and setting for both the dungeon & the Isle of the Unknown itself. Steve was a backer for the latest bundle of holding Lamentations +2. All in all it was a great game for a very unsung Lamentations of the Flame Princess supplement and dungeon kit. Another reviewer who thought that Isle of the Unknown wasn't getting its OSR due was Glen Hailstrom.

But now comes the hard part do I have Carcosa forces threaten my campaign? That doorway is open and who knows what Lovecraftian horrors will be coming out!

On a related note my dad stepped on the thumb drive and destroyed it but fret not Geoffrey McKinney provided me with pdf's of both Dungeon of the Unknown & Isle of the Unknown. I'm very tempted to use them in my regular Saturday night AS&SH second edition game.
Speaking of which both my Sunday and Saturday night crews were impressed with the new Astonishing Swordsmen & Sorcerers of Hyperborea game. The editing, artwork, and brand new classes really set the stage along with the boat load of new artwork. Special thanks to Geoffrey McKinney & my buddy Steve for a great game! For now keep em rolling!

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