Tuesday, May 8, 2018

Monsters, Manuals,& Clark Ashton Smith Mythological Ecology Within Old School Campaigns

Some days as a dungeon master you've got to double down on dungeons & monsters. I spoken at length about how dungeons are created by the very forces of Chaos & corruption that occur around them. This isn't a new idea but I've been going through Monsters of Mayhem #1 by Dark Wizard Games.
And I've been brain storming the same issue that I've had with the NeoPlastic Press's Teratic Tome  & Lusus Naturae.

How do you fit in monsters into the existing campaign without destroying or wrecking the frame work of the on going game?! The answer is simple & comes from within both these products & mythology itself.

The monsters shouldn't bend the campaign to them but the campaign setting itself should bend the monsters to fit in. Each of the monsters in the Teratic Tome & even Lusus Naturae are from outside of the world or adventure setting. I've seen various reviews & commentaries about all three of these books & each one always says some statement about these various monsters being campaign enders or some such.
But in fact these monsters are intruders & outsiders from outside the material universe either the higher dimensions or an alternative dimension entirely. These beings are the strangers on the property or the home invaders of a campaign. The monsters are invasive species of the most dangerous sort.

Mythologically  speaking we're talking about the winter at the end of the world Fimbulvetr occurs.These monsters can come before it & this is reflected in the latest Dark Wizard's Kickstarter Maximum Mayhem #5: Palace of the Dragon's Princess - Box Set

 "Once upon a time the kingdom of Thorin Vale was prosperous and benevolent but fell on dark times with the death of the King. A new hope was rising as his only daughter, the Princess was set to marry the King's bravest royal knight restoring the kingdom to ultimate power. However on the wedding day, the evil Dragon Maelfesto attacked the castle by surprise and swiftly took control! The serpent drove everyone out and took the princess captive in the caverns below, wickedly enchanting the palace! The groom went in with a party of rescuers to save her but never returned. Riches beyond your wildest imagination will be gained for the ones who save the fair maiden, defeat the wicked beast and return alive from the Palace of the Dragon's Princess"
The evil Dragon Maelfesto is another type of high level traveler & adventurer in its own right. These various menaces weren't created in isolation, & even the monsters within the classic Der Ring des Nibelungen were created as a result of the corruption & deeds of outside sources.
The strangers & outsiders become the demons & horrors of Earth itself. Why? Because there's one resource that Earth has in abundance & that's us.


Amalie Materna, the first Bayreuth Brünnhilde, with Cocotte, the horse donated by King Ludwig to play her horse Grane

Sure I've mentioned the Dungeons & Dragons Elves being a ready available 'Happy Meal' but when it comes to fully exploitable & easy renewable resources mankind wins hands down. Dungeons & ruins are cancers on the face of the world but Mega dungeons are full blown tumors & reflect the world marching towards full blown Apocalypse. This was something that was evident within the first Gods, Heroes, & Demi Gods by
Robert J. Kuntz, & Jim Ward
The gods are using the PC's to try & head off the end of all things. The blood of heroes waters & greases the cosmic wheels. These cycles begin & end at their appointed times. Clark Ashton Smith used & exploited these mythological cycles to propel his stories & novels forward.

Hell itself is only too happy to do its job in the face of these of travelers & trespassers. Don't forget that across time & space your PC's are all that stands in the face of the intruders, outsiders, & worse that are waiting to march in & wreck the world.

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