Monday, January 22, 2018

Not The Ususual Appendix N & OSR Literary Recommendation Commentary

Straight out of Cross Plains  Texas came one of America's pulp era lights & after whose birth the world of fantasy & Swords & Sorcery literature was never to be the same. Robert Howard changed the world with his literary creations & today is his birthday!

Right so its Robert Howard's birthday today. I've already seen the usual recommendations of his Conan novels & stories. The big one that many DM's sight is of course Robert Howard's Red Nails. This is one of the original hex & dungeon crawling stories in real time that has provided countless DM's with hours of inspiration. But there's more to Robert Howard's writing then Conan.

But for me as a DM there are other novels & stories of his that I've found useful are his single foray into his singular style of brutal science fantasy Almuric. This is sort of the anti Edgar Rice Burroughs novel that Robert Howard did. A brutal & violent answer to the usual 'Sword & Planet' blundering stories that I'd seen up till that time. I do love Edgar Rice Burrough's writing  but for totally different reasons then REH's.
For me earlier in the latter 00's Robert Howard's Cthulhu Mythos stories have been instrumental in my OSR campaign settings, inspiration, & adventure creation. He wrote in the same era & time frame as Lovecraft because they were pen pals. As a pulp guy I love REH's El Borak stories. They've provided lots of inspiration especially for classic Dungeons & Dragon's Lost City adventure module.

The James Allison Stories are actually my preferred source material for creating Sword & Sorcery adventures on Astonishing Swordsmen & Sorcerers of Hyperborea second edition's hidden valleys & forbidden lands. They capture the raw brutal violence & other worldliness of Howard's vision but are not as well known among the usual Howard fans of gamers. These stories also have many of the elements of the Moorcock Elric novels without the angst bits & other half baked weirdness.

King Kull of Atlantis I've always preferred to Conan for a number of reasons including that in my mind he's a far better recommendations for a Dungeons & Dragons style Sword & Sorcery monarch. He's far more stable then Conan & deals with the Lovecraftian  horrors of his era on equal terms with a far more stable eye towards level progression. He goes from slave, to pirate, to outlaw, gladiator, finally to soldier & to king by his own hand.
I have often lamented Robert Howard's suicide and while I totally understand the circumstances I often wonder what other stories & novels might have come from that brilliant but troubled writer from Cross Plains Texas. Anyhow keep em rolling & happy birthday to one of my all time favorite writers & poets Robert Howard.

I am older than the world:
Older than life.
The race of man is a babe in the cradle of Time.
I am Alpha and Omega.

The first and the last;
The circle without end.
I am a serpent with its tail in its mouth;
I am a triangle whose tips overlap a circle.

I am the older sister of Destiny.
Before man was, I was:
And after man has vanished from the Universe, I will be.
Time is a phantom, built by the mind of man;
There is no Time.
The thing that men call Time flies before my wind;
Time has beginning, duration, ending.
I am that which was, is and shall be;
Unceasing, Neverending, Eternal.
Number all the sands of all the shores of all the worlds
Of all the Universes.
And let each sand represent a million centuries;
And they all shall not be a single instant
Of Eternity.

For I am numberless and unnumbered,
Eternity had no beginning nor shall there be ending.
I am Alpha and Omega.
That which was, is and shall be;
Numberless and unnumbered.
by Robert Ervin Howard

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