Monday, May 7, 2018

Alien Gods, Dungeons & Dragons Elves, & Hellish Demons For Your Old School Campaigns

Tonight I'm thinking about the  Original Dungeons & Dragons and Advanced Dungeons & Dragons PC race of Elves. Elves from pop culture have always to a certain extent been well problematic. Though I know where they come from Tolkein's Hobbit & Lord of the Rings books. In my mind there's always been a distinct disconnect from the Elves of mythology & Dungeons & Dragons.  But the ideas that these beings are simply a different evolutionary route then humanity doesn't take into account why there are so many negative connotations associated with the Elves of  mythology. Pop culture but I think has a very different species of creature lumped into the European mythological view;
This isn't an accident Elves in German mythology are dangerous creatures of Chaos;
"In the period before about 1000, the Old High German word alp is attested only in a small number of glosses. It is defined by the Althochdeutsches Wörterbuch as a "nature-god or nature-demon, equated with the Fauns of Classical mythology ... regarded as eerie, ferocious beings ... As the mare he messes around with women".[1] Accordingly, the German word Alpdruck (literally 'elf-oppression') means 'nightmare'. There is also evidence associating elves with illness, specifically epilepsy.[2]
In a similar vein, elves are in Middle German most often associated with deceiving or bewildering people "in a phrase that occurs so often it would appear to be proverbial: 'die elben/der alp trieget mich' (the elves/elf is/are deceiving me)".[3] The same pattern holds in Early Modern German.[4][5] This deception sometimes shows the seductive side apparent in English and Scandinavian material:[6] most famously, the early thirteenth-century Heinrich von Morungen's fifth Minnesang begins "Von den elben virt entsehen vil manic man / Sô bin ich von grôzer lieber entsên" ("full many a man is bewitched by elves / thus I too am bewitched by great love").[7] Elbe was also used in this period to translate words for nymphs.[8]
In later medieval prayers, Elves appear as a threatening, even demonic, force. Evidence includes Latin prayers found inscribed in lead amulets from southern Scandinavia and Schleswig"

In the Dragon & Lion retroclone Elves have gone to war with the gods & for a time replaced humanity's gods. These monsters bred hybrid races of peusdo humanoids. These things were servants, slaves, and possibly closely genetically related to humanity but weren't even close to being human; "Evidence for elf-beliefs in medieval Scandinavia outside Iceland is very sparse, but the Icelandic evidence is uniquely rich. For a long time, views about elves in Old Norse mythology were defined by Snorri Sturluson's Prose Edda, which talks about svartálfar, dökkálfar and ljósálfar ("black elves", "dark elves", and "light elves"). However, these words are only attested in the Prose Edda and texts based on it, and it is now agreed that they reflect traditions of dwarves, demons, and angels, partly showing Snorri's "paganisation" of a Christian cosmology learned from the Elucidarius, a popular digest of Christian thought.[8]
Scholars of Old Norse mythology now focus on references to elves in Old Norse poetry, particularly the Elder Edda. The only character explicitly identified as an elf in classical Eddaic poetry, if any, is Völundr, the protagonist of Völundarkviða.[60] However, elves are frequently mentioned in the alliterating phrase Æsir ok Álfar ('Æsir and elves') and its variants. This was clearly a well established poetic formula, indicating a strong tradition of associating elves with the group of gods known as the Æsir, or even suggesting that the elves and Æsir were one and the same.[61][62] The pairing is paralleled in the Old English poem Wið færstice[63] and in the Germanic personal name system;[51] moreover, in Skaldic verse the word elf is used in the same way as words for gods.[64] Sigvatr Þórðarson’s skaldic travelogue Austrfaravísur, composed around 1020, mentions an álfablót (‘elves' sacrifice’) in Edskogen in what is now southern Sweden.[65] There does not seem to have been any clear-cut distinction between humans and gods; like the Æsir, then, elves were presumably thought of as being human(-like) and existing in opposition to the giants.[66] Many commentators have also (or instead) argued for conceptual overlap between elves and dwarves in Old Norse mythology, which may fit with trends in the medieval German evidence.[67]
There are hints that the god Freyr was associated with elves. In particular, Álfheimr (literally "elf-world") is mentioned as being given to Freyr in Grímnismál. Snorri Sturluson identified Freyr as one of the Vanir. However, the term Vanir is rare in Eddaic verse, very rare in Skaldic verse, and is not generally thought to appear in other Germanic languages. Given the link between Freyr and the elves, it has therefore long been suspected that álfar and Vanir are, more or less, different words for the same group of beings.[68] However, this is not uniformly accepted"

The associations between the gods & their slaves also can be clearly seen in the Huldra ("hidden being") in Scandinavian languages which in my home campaigns is the word for the traditional AD&D style 'Elves'. These are humans bred with the supernatural & occult power flowing through their veins. Both Morgause & Morgana Le Fey's family lines are examples of half Huldra sorceresses & witches. These beings have echos & shadow versions of themselves scattered across the multiverse. These Huldra are alien beings existing half in our world & half within the cycling Chaos realm we know as Fairyland.
"Folklorists and mythologists have variously depicted fairies as: the unworthy dead, the children of Eve, a kind of demon, a species independent of humans, an older race of humans, and fallen angels.[14] The folkloristic or mythological elements combine Celtic, Germanic and Greco-Roman elements. Folklorists have suggested that 'fairies' arose from various earlier beliefs, which lost currency with the advent of Christianity.[15] These disparate explanations are not necessarily incompatible, as 'fairies' may be traced to multiple sources."

I've talked at length about the connections between the Arthurian fairies & the Elves of Dungeons & Dragons who were the  slaves & servants of these powerful Medieval Elves. The bastard grand sons of King Arthur include among their own ranks Melehan, Melou and the Black Knight, Arthur's grandson as well as the Faerie Knight.

But could there be a deeper connection to the world of men & the context of Fairyland? For that we must understand that Fairyland itself is a rolling blob of supernatural & occult lost lands having been taken over the centuries. It exists as a higher dimension right along with our own world whist touching countless others.
"The concept of dimension is not restricted to physical objects. High-dimensional spaces frequently occur in mathematics and the sciences. They may be parameter spaces or configuration spaces such as in Lagrangian or Hamiltonian mechanics; these are abstract spaces, independent of the physical space we live in." These rolling foamy Hells & green tinged Heavens sometimes touch & consume our world in an effort to anchor themselves into our reality & time space. The problem is that the realm of Fairyland is tainted by Chaos & madness. Humanity was never meant to dally with the occult forces of Fairyland & this madness rolls through the bloodlines of these so called 'half elves'.A good example is the genetic crap shoot caused by Arthur's bastard sister Morgause;

"Her character is fully developed in Thomas Malory's 1485 compilation of Arthurian legends Le Morte d'Arthur, in which Morgause (Margawse) is one of three daughters born to Gorlois of Tintagel, Duke of Cornwall, and the Lady Igraine. According to Malory, her mother is widowed and then remarried to Uther Pendragon, after which she and her sisters, Elaine and Morgan ("le Fay", later the mother of Ywain), are married off to allies or vassals of their stepfather. Morgause is wed to the Orcadian King Lot and bears him four sons, all of whom go on to serve Arthur as Knights of the Round Table: Gawain, one of his greatest knights; Agravain, a wretched and twisted traitor; Gaheris; and Gareth, a gentle and loving knight.
Years later, her spouse joins the failed rebellions against Arthur that follow in the wake of King Uther's death and the subsequent coronation of his heir. Shortly after her husband's defeat, Morgause visits the young King Arthur in his bedchamber, ignorant of their familial relationship, and they conceive Mordred. Her husband, who has unsuspectingly raised Mordred as his own son, is slain in battle by King Pellinore. Her sons depart their father's court to take service at Camelot, where Gawain and Gaheris avenge Lot's death by killing Pellinore, thereby launching a blood feud between the two families.
Nevertheless, Morgause has an affair with Sir Lamorak, a son of Pellinore and one of Arthur's best knights. Her son Gaheris discovers them in flagrante and swiftly beheads Morgause in bed, but spares her unarmed lover. Gaheris is consequently banished from court (though he reappears later in the narrative)"

For player characters this means that the Elves of Dungeons & Dragons are not simply human like in temperament but of a truly alien mind set. Lamentations of the Flame Princess has several modules where the 'true' nature of Elves & fairies are explored. In the Lion & Dragon game several of the cults take prime advantage of the chaos tainted & rolling horror of the various Elven cults of Chaos.

So why would AD&D Elves or Huldra ("hidden being") continue to exist in the world & whom are these creatures actually hiding from? I think that the Chthonic of the higher dimensional layers might be the reason. Hidden in the folds of reality is a being first mentioned in In "The Whisperer in Darkness" (1930)", a recording of a ceremony involving human and nonhuman worshipers includes the following exchange:
"Ever Their praises, and abundance to the Black Goat of the Woods. Iä! Shub-Niggurath!
Iä! Shub-Niggurath! The Black Goat of the Woods with a Thousand Young!"

"Shub-Niggurath - "The Black Goat of the Woods with a Thousand Young" is classified as both an Outer God & as Great Old One. This is no accident for she exists completely outside of normal space time in a higher dimensional realm.
"The revision story "The Mound", which describes the discovery of an underground realm called K'n-yan by a Spanish conquistador, reports that a temple of Tsathoggua there "had been turned into a shrine of Shub-Niggurath, the All-Mother and wife of the Not-to-Be-Named-One. This deity was a kind of sophisticated Astarte, and her worship struck the pious Catholic as supremely obnoxious."[7]
The reference to "Astarte", the consort of Baal in Semitic mythology, ties Shub-Niggurath to the related fertility goddess Cybele, the Magna Mater mentioned in Lovecraft's "The Rats in the Walls", and implies that the "great mother worshipped by the hereditary cult of Exham Priory" in that story "had to be none other than Shub-Niggurath.""

Shub-Niggurath by Dominique Signoret

Shub-Niggurath & her young are literally hunting for the souls of beings who are older then recorded time. She & other alien entities of her ilk are following the natural process that the Hundra were designed for. The Hundra are living supernatural batteries for the occult power that flows through them. They make excellent prey for many types of Chaos deity, demons,  Outer God or Great Old Ones.
Though out mythology the Hundra have been the perfect meal on the go for hyperdimensional beings of pure chaos & occult power. Their souls have so much acquired mystic potential that these beings make perfect prey for a wide variety of supernatural predator.

The Remorse of Orestes, where he is surrounded by the Erinyes, who were identified as chthonic beings, by William-Adolphe Bouguereau, 1862
These proto Elves are the perfect portable sacrifice for a wide variety of supernatural predators & alien hunter species. These so called Elves are the perfect happy meal on the go for these alien gods & Hellish demons.

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