Monday, April 23, 2018

Arthurian Wickness, & DA2 Temple of the Frog By Dave L. Arneson and David J. Ritchie For Your Old School Campaigns.

Its been a long while since I turned my attention back to the arid red planet of my Clark Ashton Smith fueled dreams but a chance encounter & conversation with an old friend over a beer convinced me to take a look at Smith's short story "The Tale of Satampra Zeiros", written in 1929 and published in the November 1931 issue of Weird Tales.  Long into the night we talked about Dave Arneson's Frog God & its deep connections into the roots of old school gaming.

We also talked about the Lion & Dragon rpg & the Arthurian literature's connections with the Arthur's forays against the forces of Chaos in Europe. I've spoken about using the DA2 Temple of The Frog in the Swamps of Europe in a balls to the walls adaptation of the module. Personally I set the temple up someplace within the swamps of outside of Paris & use the whole adventure as an excuse to add in the frog cult  Chaos elements of the Dark Albion Cults of Chaos book.

I'd personally adapt the
Lancelot or Lancelin family as part of the rebel forces of the Parisian resistance to the frogs tyranny of France. These families of royals can be set up as PC allies or NPC patrons. They're perfect families to connect with the party's paladins or knights. St. Stephen, has been circulating among the families of the elite of Paris by command of the Toad god & causing havoc among the general population. There are several magical swords that Lancelot uses throughout his career as a knight of Camelot. This means that there's a good chance that these swords might be used as heirloom artifacts passed down from father to son.

This heritage of the perfect knight may haunt characters trying to escape the shadow of their grand father or great uncle's knight hood.
"It is not until Chr├ętien's Lancelot, the Knight of the Cart (Le Chevalier de la Charrette), however, that Lancelot becomes the protagonist. In this text, he is presented as the most formidable knight at King Arthur's court. His adulterous relationship with the Queen is also introduced in this text. Lancelot is portrayed in Chr├ętien's work as the bravest of knights and one whom everyone is forced to describe as uniquely perfect. His deeds are recounted for their uniqueness, not only among living knights but of all men who have ever lived."

N. C. Wyeth's illustration for The Boy's King Arthur: "Sir Mador's spear brake all to pieces, but the other's spear held."

The idea of a knightly family patron isn't a new one but the fact that families of knights could have a stake behind the resistance is a bit epic & legendary. The fact is that this whole idea is going to make the PC's squirm from going across the society's social strata is merely an added bonus.

When opposing the toad god's machinations it should be remembered that subtly is the watch word for the forces of the toad god. This is a thinking man's monster & god able to manipulate not only his own forces but those of the opposition in spades. 
There are several reasons why using
the DA2 Temple of The Frog:
  1. Because D2 Temple of The Frog isn't that well known among modern fifth edition D&D  players & running it with Lion & Dragon makes it a rather unique module. 
  2. The science fantasy elements can be up played allowing some of the unique devices found within D2 to be a bit of a shock 
  3. Giant Toads & Frogs! 
  4. Various aspects of  DA2 Temple of The Frog  is campaign can be modified by the DM as needed. 
  5. Clark Ashton Smith's ripe for using with a Arthurian setting. 
  6. DA2 Temple of the Frog has a rather weird reputation among gamers of a certain age and its time for younger generations to come to fear this classic 
  7. DA2 can be easily connected with some of the down & dirty violence & corruption of the War of the Roses. 
  8. Blackmoor is another resource the DM can pull from for their own old school campaigns. 
  9. DA2 has lots of hooks & guides  to include the PC's into a wild hot mess of a game. 
  10. King Arthur literature has lots of potential for all kinds of dangers & weirdness to offer the old school DM's

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