Sunday, January 21, 2018

Gold, Corruption, & OSR Appendix N Inspiration With A. Merritt's The Face In The Abyss

So its  A. Merritt birthday yesterday  & I supposed to do a blog entry earlier today on him. Well, work came on me as it always does on a Sunday & now its ten P.M. at night. I'm finally getting around to this. A.Merritt isn't for everyone & his prose isn't for the faint of heart. But his imagination, execution of his novels, & his lost world tales are top drawer. Way back about '89 I started feeling the crunch of second edition AD&D against my current campaign, ahh the more things changed. So I did what anyone in '89 did I completely ignored second edition until literally friends of mine bought me the AD&D second edition player handbook,DM's Guide,etc. It was around this same time period that I discovered in Appendix N A.Merritt's novels and grabbed a used 1974 copy of  The Snake Mother with the cover artwork by Rodney Matthews.So I was hooked hardcore but already there was a huge push back then to get on board the usual fantasy train of Lord of The Rings style fantasy imitation or at least what some folks think it is. See I love Tolkien but not the knock off stuff we find today so frequently on some rpg table tops but that's a blog entry for another time. So back to A.Merritt.
1974, Great Britain, Futura Publications Ltd., ISBN 0-86007-025-5, Pub date 1974, Paperback. Artwork copyrighted & trademarked to Rodney Matthews
used without permission for entertainment & educational purposes.

I've only recently rediscovered my love of Seventies  cover art's surreal qualities  & my love of obscure American & British Heavy Metal music with bands such as Nazareth Magnum, Praying Mantis, & The Tigers of Pan Tang, etc. So if my current campaign has a sound track its probably those bands that inspired it subconsciously. The Face in The Abyss first appeared in the weekly pulp magazine 
Argosy All-Story Weekly in 1931. The story hit all of the high notes I was looking for during that time from lost world setting civilizations  in South America, weird religious & sorcerous connotations, corrupted wizard god things, even dungeon crawling through the ruins of a lost city.
"The novel concerns American mining engineer Nicholas Graydon. While searching for lost Inca treasure in South America, he encounters Suarra, handmaiden to the Snake Mother of Yu-Atlanchi."
A player of mine in high school during that time gave me a copy of A.Merritt's Fantasy Magazine July issue which featured the story. Today its available for free for download!

Everything about 'The Face in the Abyss' is perfectly keyed around the factions, ancient dungeon location & at the time I was reading a lot of Lovecraft. I noticed the similarities between the civilization that trapped 
Nimir, the Lord of Evil & the empire created by
 H.P. Lovecraft  as a ghostwriter called "The Mound." So much so that during my second edition daze I used the South American adventure location as a colony of the empire of  subterranean civilization of  the realm of K'n-yan.
My justification for this came in 2007 when "Peter Levi has noted parallels between "The Face in the Abyss" and a story H.P. Lovecraft created as a ghostwriter, "The Mound." in
Lovecraft Annual No. 1, Hippocampus Press.

This is also something that I'm doing in my current Astonishing Swordsmen & Sorcerers of Hyperborea second edition  'Old Earth' campaign with necromancer tyrants of K'n-yan being a huge faction in the take over of Earth in the setting's past. A.Merritt casts a long shadow over my rpg campaign worlds, settings,adventures, so much so that I've been rereading his works over the last four years or so. Dismiss Merritt at your own risk as a dungeon master because of his critics ala Damon Knight.
Sure his novels, stories,etc. seem dated but they were written in a vastly different world & culture then 2018. Look again for there is idea, after idea, after world setting, after dungeon inspiration, factions, and much more  that can be lifted whole cloth into an on going campaign.

There's a lot more gaming related OSR stuff I could get into about A.Merrit's novels & stories but those will wait for another time. For now I'm content to bring this fantastic writer of fiction & so much more to your attention.

This blog entry is not an attempt to violate the trademarks & copyrights of the various artists & publishers named in this blog entry. This blog entry is for entertainment &  educational purposes only. North Wind Adventures is in  no way responsible for the content of this blog nor the opinions of the author. Astonishing Swordsmen & Sorcerers of Hyperborea is the trade mark & copyright of North Wind Adventures @2018 and is used without permission. All opinions & commentary are the writings of the deranged mind of the author & copyrighted & trademarked to Dark Corner Productions @2007 to 2018.

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