Wednesday, November 14, 2018

OSR Commenary -S3 Expediation To the Barrier Peak By Gary Gygax & Echoes of Blackmoor For Your Old School Campaign

'The Grand Duchy of Geoff has recently been plagued by a rash of unusually weird and terrible monsters of an unknown sort. This western area, particularly the mountain fastness which separates the Grand Duchy from the Dry Steppes, has long been renowned for the generation of the most fearsome beasts, and it has been shunned accordingly -- save a handful of hardy souls with exceptional abilities. Within the last few months, however, a walled town not far distant from the area, and four small fortresses as well, have been destroyed by mysterious attacks! '

What happens if the Warden completely destabilized the planes as it passed through on its way to the Grand Duchy of Geoff? I was reading S3 Expedition To the Barrier Peaks & the article Using Blackmoor In Your Mystara campaign by Havard. A really evil thought occurred to me, what if the Egg of Cott was responsible for bringing down the Warden on Greyhawk? Is the Warden interdimensionally stable?! I think it isn't & all that wondrous technology is actually Blackmoor technology that the Egg has been importing onto various planar settings because its trapped & no matter how powerful it gets or what the Egg does. The monster can't leave its various portions of its prisons & so its power is scattered across the multiverse. Its been searching for technologies close to some of Blackmoor's across time & space. There already is a connection between Blackmoor & Greyhawk's S3 Expedition to The Barrier Peaks.  From the Wizards of the Coast Expedition entry on Drivethrurpg;
'A Level of Machines. When Gary Gygax sat down to write "Barrier Peaks" he sought help and inspiration from another source: Greyhawk co-GM Rob Kuntz and his "Machine Level". Kuntz originally created the Machine Level for his own Castle El Raja Key, to challenge Gary Gygax's characters. He later moved it to Castle Greyhawk when he became a co-GM of Gygax's campaign. This allowed players like James Ward to explore the legendary level; Ward wrote about the experience in Dragon #17 (August 1978) when he spoke of the conveyer belts, cellophane machines, die press, slot machines and levers found in the original level.

Besides contributing machinery to "Barrier Peaks", Kuntz also provided content for the garden level of the spaceship.
Origins (III): A City of the Gods. There may have been one other inspiration for "Barrier Peaks". In 1976, Rob Kuntz and Gary Gygax explored Blackmoor's "City of the Gods" when Dave Arneson ran a session for them at TSR's Dungeon Hobby Shop. Gygax's Mordenkainen and Kuntz's Robilar rather famously wreaked havoc on the City, got in way over the heads, and barely escaped with their lives.
As it happens, that City of the Gods was actually a crashed spaceship!'
So there's a Ward, Gygax, Kuntz, & Arneson cross connection but it marks both Expedition & Blackmoor technologies as highly dubious at best.

Blackmoor technologies are very dangerous & deadly. An artifact of Blackmoor caused the events of the Wraith of the Immortals box set but some of the other relics are just as deadly.
'The same goes for the lands of the Shadow Elves which is tied to the very same legacy that Glantri is. Many different items and remnants from Blackmoor keep showing up in modern day Mystara. Historically, the discovery of some unstable artifacts lead to the minor cataclysms of BC 1700 when elves tried to activate the devices.'

In yesterday's blog entry I mentioned Caladar's Vortex & its effects but what if the space craft wreckage of the Warden passed through it on its way to Greyhawk? What if that was only one part of the debris trail that was passing across the planes?! Could there be more debris heading towards Oerth & what are the refications for Blackmoor, Mystara, & Greyhawk? There could be far more happening behind the scenes here? I think that there is the thread 
How many spaceships visited Oerth? from the Canonfire forums goes into some pretty solid details on exactly this. This stuff is about as far from canon as one can get but its great campaign fodder. But why would the Egg of Coot be doing this?! Why not?! Well I think that the Egg is frustrated in its higher dimensional prison & very, very, pissed off.  The Egg of Coot is trapped in  higher five dimensional prison & has been for eons. Its highly influential  as  its power rages across time & space as both artifact & minor god. But its limited in that it can corrupt, create, & even take over but its still trapped in its prison. So it continues to search the various prime material planes hoping to stumble across the one that will free it. Rasgon from the 'How Many Space Ships visited Oerth thread provides the fodder for the Egg & the technologies;
"Aeolius chronicles references to time travel on Oerth in this thread; relevant here is the metal ship with neither mast nor oars found in the Jungle of Lost Ships described in the Glossography. This might be another crashed spaceship.

There are also the "sheens" introduced in Dragon #258 and Dragon #270, which were explicitly tied to Greyhawk:

"At least two points of origin for machine life cysts are currently known, the Barrier Peaks and the Rael cysts. Many more are suspected to exist, but they are as yet undiscovered." - Dragon #258, page 30. I assume the Rael cyst is a reference to Tale of the Comet.

The S3 ship, which was a modular section of a larger ship afflicted by a plague, ended up in Oerth's universe after falling through a black hole. What this hole in the fabric of time and space looks like on Oerth's side is unknown, but it can't be another black hole, or the ship would have been drawn immediately back into the gravity well. A very strong candidate is the Sisters, a mysterious "constellation" of nine starlike objects in Greyspace (described in the sourcebook of that name) that functions as a gateway to other times and places. Perhaps the Sisters, and the offending black hole, are also the source of the other technological incursions. Possibly the other crashes are other sections of the S3 exploration-colonization vessel.

Fred Weining's article on the Archbarony of Blackmoor in the Oerth Journal #5 suggested that the Egg of Coot was actually the same Egg of Coot from the Mystara/Blackmoor setting, who had fled Mystara to Oerth after the Rain of Fire that destroyed the Blackmoor civilization. Similarities between Mystara's Blackmoor and Oerth's Blackmoor (for example, a City of the Gods in both) are blamed on the Egg of Coot, who has been secretly influencing events for thousands of years in order to make his new home more like his old one."

They are the same Egg because each of the Eggs of Coot upon each world is only a portion of the original seen as a bit of planar cross section. Each & every time an artifact, relic, robot, ray gun or treasure finds its way into some poor adventurer or pawn shop owner's hands the evil spreads just a little. A cult might start in some hidden alley or backroom location perhaps just enough to summon  a sheen cyst down into the world. And why would the Egg bring the Warden to Greyhawk? Because if it can't have technologies then it can have sheer chaos & mayhem instead that way everyone is unhappy. But the Egg of Coot's influence isn't the only one causing mayhem. Next time we dive deep into the under currents of even more evil!

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