Wednesday, January 3, 2018

Astonishing Swordsmen & Sorcerers of Hyperborea Second Edition 'Old Earth' Campaign Inspirations & C1 The Hidden Shrine of Tamoachan by Harold Johnson & Jeff R. Leason

I'm being squeezed by a giant East Coast snow storm & a head cold but I've got to get my 'Old Earth' hybrid game off the ground. I need to fill out the Western Wastelands of Old Earth quickly & somewhat quietly. So once again I turn to 'an old friend' of Appendix N aficionados namely the 1920's master of dark fantasy A. Merritt.
Namely I'm looking at his 1932 book Dwellers in the Mirage specifically for adapting to use as a hidden ruined landscape for one of the Hyperborean style races in a lost valley in the former location of Alaska.

The book's details are straight on the nose for Astonishing Swordsmen & Sorcerers of Hyperborea second edition. The time lost hero with past incarnation syndrome, the two love interests, the ancient lost technologies of another age, the traditional Lovecraftian foes of the various peoples of the valley. The plot as explained by Wiki is pretty spot on for almost all of the themes of AS&SH;

"The novel concerns American Leif Langdon who discovers a warm valley in Alaska. Two races inhabit the valley, the Little People and a branch of an ancient Mongolian race; they worship the evil Kraken named Khalk'ru which they summon from another dimension to offer human sacrifice. The inhabitants recognize Langdon as the reincarnation of their long dead hero, Dwayanu. Dwayanu's spirit possesses Langdon and starts a war with the Little People. Langdon eventually fights off the presence of Dwayanu and destroys the Kraken."

The little people sounds like one of the degenerate little men races of Athuer Machen's novels & Robert E. Howard's Cthulhu mythos entries: The Great God Pan, Arthur Machen.
The Shining Pyramid, Arthur Machen.
The Three Impostors, Arthur Machen.
Worms of the Earth, Robert E. Howard.
The Little People, Robert E. Howard.
People of the Dark, Robert E. Howard.
The Children of the Night, Robert E. Howard
The Shadow Kingdom, Robert E. Howard.
We see even more about the origin of the 'little people' of Robert Howard & HP Lovecraft from their letter in Jul of 1930. The hidden valley's people smack of the same sort of culture as A.Merritt's Moon Pool but there are echoes of H.P. Lovecraft's subterranean civilization  the realm of K'n-yan from "The Mound" by H. P. Lovecraft (ghostwriter) and Zealia Bishop (original idea). The necromancer tyrants of these lands are long passed on but their legacies & subjects remain especially on 'Old Earth'.

This hidden valley routine reminds me of one of my favorite Advanced Dungeons & Dragons modules C1 The Hidden Shrine of Tamoachan by Harold Johnson &  Jeff R. Leason. 
The hidden valley of Tamoachan could be another hold over the necromancer tyrants on 'Old Earth'. A locked away gem in the depths of some new volcanoic crater of  Earth created when Hyperborea was ripped into space.

The place is a seething location of sacrifice & corruption by a people who have been brain washed by the technologies of the valley long ago. These peoples believe themselves to be the Olman culture of the World of Greyhawk, but are not simply another lost group of refugees who have been manipulated by a far older and more dangerous elder being (more on this puppet master villain later on). The cults & tales of the Hidden Shrine fuel many of the outside world cults who see the lost valley as a type of religious 'Heaven' while the reality is very different.
I'd be adding even more mythos elements and keep the various A.Merritt story & novel locations as adventure locations for the Western Wastelands. There are several adventure elements already in play that I've got to flesh out. I've used the brainwashed

Olman culture bit before and its worked like a charm. Fantastic Novels v03n03 (1949 09) has a version of the  Dwellers in the Mirage  for download but its the one with the tragic ending. "There are variant endings of the work. In the original, Leif's love dies, but the publisher inartistically has her survive. The original tragic ending has been reinstated in some/many recent reprint"

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