Thursday, February 28, 2019

The Cursed Fairylands of X2 Castle Amber by Tom Moldvay - More OSR Clark Ashton Smith & Arthurian Commentary

"Trapped in the mysterious Castle Amber, you find yourselves cut off form the world you know. The castle is fraught with peril. Members of the strange Amber family, some insane, some merely deadly, lurk around every corner. Somewhere in the castle is the key to your escape, but can you survive long enough to find it?"

My review & overview of Greg Gorgonmilk's latest Clark Ashton Smith book has me thinking about X2 Castle Amber by Tom Moldvay.X2 is Tom Moldvay's love letter to Clark Ashton Smith's work as an adventure & its a deadly adventure at that.

X2: Castle Amber (Chateau d' Amberville) is a fan favorite  Wiki has a bit of background history;
"Castle Amber is a Dungeons & Dragons adventure module designed by Tom Moldvay. This was the second module designed for use with the Expert D&D set. The module is in part an adaptation of Clark Ashton Smith's Averoigne stories, and set in the fictional medieval French province of that name.Castle Amber is a Dungeons & Dragons adventure module designed by Tom Moldvay. "

Chateau d' Amberville is surrounded by a dangerous & deadly mist making it on par with Ravenloft. These mists are an adventure device I've used many times to get PC's from various dimensions & planes on to the grounds of the Chateau. Because of the deep connection of X2 to Averoigene such PC's may find themselves in way over their heads. Clark Ashton Smith's Averoigne cycle is connected with the Arthurian literature;
"Averoigne is a fictional counterpart of a historical province in France, detailed in a series of short stories by the American writer Clark Ashton Smith. Smith may have based Averoigne on the actual province of Auvergne, but its name was probably influenced by the French department of Aveyron, immediately south of Auvergne, due to the similarity in pronunciation."

One of the common threads here is the presence of not one fairy queen of the fallen kingdoms but many. Morgause the half sister of Arthur & mother of one of the Modreds has ties to the fictional region of
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 of Arthur (though he reappears later in the narrative)."
Some Arthurian literature sources point out the fact that Margawse didn't die when she was beheaded but lived on as an undead Elven queen. There are some who believe that the same debased royal blood flows in the veins of the
the Etienne d'Amberville.Giving the wizards of the Etienne d'Amberville a standing along with other Clark Ashton Smith black  wizards in a tradition similar to the wizards  of the Dying Earth series by Jack Vance.

Woodcut by the Dalziel brothers. An llustration for Edward Moxon's
illustrated edition of Alfred, Lord Tennyson's Poems (1857).

These queens that we see from the Arthurian literature are in fact Elven witch cult representatives  directly linked to Dark Albion & the Lion & Dragon Retro clone's version of Elves. The Le Fay family is a royal bloodline that can trace its origins all the way back to the dawn of Europe. A strong familial  narrative has deep ties in Arthurian literature  with the former seat of Elven power in the Welsh Lands;
"The earliest spelling of the name (found in Geoffrey of Monmouth's Vita Merlini, written c. 1150) is Morgen, which is likely derived from Old Welsh or Old Breton Morgen, meaning "Sea-born" (from Common Brittonic *Mori-genā, the masculine form of which, *Mori-genos, survived in Middle Welsh as Moryen or Morien; a cognate form in Old Irish is Muirgen, the name of a Christian, shapeshifting female saint who was associated with the sea). The name is not to be confused with the Modern Welsh masculine name Morgan (spelled Morcant in the Old Welsh period).[2][3] As her epithet "le Fay" (invented by Thomas Malory[4] from the earlier French la fée, "the fairy") and some traits indicates, the figure of Morgan appears to have been a remnant of supernatural females from Celtic mythology, and her main name could be connected to the myths of Morgens (or Morgans),[5] which are Welsh and Breton water-spirits. While many later works make her specifically human, she retains her magical powers,[6] and sometimes also her otherworldly if not just divine attributes,[5] in fact still being referred to as either a fairy queen or outright a goddess (dea, déesse, gotinne) by various authors.[7]"

A detail of The Last Sleep of Arthur in Avalon by Edward Burne-Jones (1898), a painting showing Morgan (with her sisters) in her initial portrayal and role from Vita Merlini.

"Inspiration for her character likely came from earlier Welsh mythology and literature. Speculation sometimes (beginning with Lucy Allen Paton in 1904[8]) connects Morgan with the Irish shapeshifting and multifaced goddess of strife known as the Morrígan ("great queen").[9] Proponents of this have included Roger Sherman Loomis, who doubted the Muirgen connection.[10][11] She has been more substantially linked with the supernatural mother Modron,[5][12][13] derived from the continental mother goddess figure of Dea Matrona and featured with some frequency in medieval Welsh literature. Modron appears in Welsh Triad 70, in which her children by Urien, Owain and Morfydd, are called the "Three Blessed Womb-Burdens of the Island of Britain,"[14] and a later folktale preserved in the manuscript known as Peniarth 147 records the story behind these conceptions more fully.[15] Arthurian legend's version of Urien is Morgan le Fay's husband in the continental romances, while Owain mab Urien is the historical figure behind their son Ywain."

All of this ties into the undead
curse the wizard-noble Stephen Amber (Etienne d'Amberville) & his equally insane relatives. This same fey madness that infects the family Le Fey & was checked by Sir Lancelot du Lac's royal family in France for centuries. The Chateau d' Amberville is in fact another adventure location that's been taken to the chaotic & rolling unreality of Fairyland. The Chateau d' Amberville is a dimensional way station lost to time & space where events are locked beyond conventional reality. The place has become a prison for the inhabitants of the  Chateau.  Its also an adventure location where PC's from other OSR games such as Lion & Dragon can clash swords with adventurers from  Astonishing Swordsmen & Sorcerers of Hyperborea second edition.

The real issue is the various fallen kingdoms that have been lost to Fairyland over the centuries in Europe. Going back all way to the end of the Second Ice Age there have been kingdoms that have been claimed by Fairyland as trophies, chess pieces, or merely lost to the unreality weirdness of the roiling seas of chaos. Many of the kingdoms described in the Arthurian legends are such places.

Gustave Doré's Plate I. "Yniol Shows Prince Geraint His Ruined Castle"  from
Enid, by Lord Alfred Tennyson. London: Edward Moxon & Co., 1868.

The Chateau d' Amberville may be a gateway to literally hundreds of Fairyland dungeon & adventure locations in some of the most dangerous chaos laden lands the PC's have ventured into. There may be ruins dating back to beyond the Ice Age & hidden dangers going back to the Age of Monsters.
There is also the fact that the family of witches of Le Fay & their relatives have the secrets of time, precognition, & dire magicks of Merlin himself. Secrets that they wrestled from him by his seduction by
the Lady of the Lake. Merlin's prison is of course hidden in the groves where the queens meet & war with each other in the magical forest of Brocéliande.
Rumors hold that there doorways there into the  Chateau d' Amberville.
These secrets were used as part of the far future of Zothique which is another manifestation of the wasteland of Athurian legend.
The wasteland of Zothique is a wasteland scorched by chaos & fury of millions of years of conflict of the Great Old Ones, the gods, & chaos itself. The rulers & kings of Zothique continue its corruption. 

This ties back into Clark Ashton Smith's motifs of entropy & ruination the same themes we see in Arthurian legend;
"The Wasteland is a Celtic motif that ties the barrenness of a land with a curse that must be lifted by a hero. It occurs in Irish mythology and French Grail romances, and hints of it may be found in the Welsh Mabinogion.
An example from Irish literature occurs in the Echtrae Airt meic Cuinn (Echtra, or adventure in the Otherworld, of Art mac Cuinn). Recorded in the 14th century but likely taken from an older oral tradition, Echtrae Airt meic Cuinn is nominally about Art, though the adventures of his father Conn of the Hundred Battles take up the first part of the narrative. Conn is High King of Ireland, but his land turns to waste when he marries the wicked Bé Chuma, an unacceptable action for the king. He searches for a way to restore his country by sailing towards the mystical western lands, and eventually washes up on an island inhabited by the niece of the sea god Manannan and her husband. He attends an otherworldly banquet, and when he returns his wife is banished, presumably lifting the curse.
In the Arthurian Grail material, the Wasteland's condition is usually tied to the impotence of its leader. Often the infirmity is preceded by some form of the Dolorous Stroke, in which the king is injured tragically for his sins but kept alive by the Grail. In Chrétien de Troyes' Perceval, the Story of the Grail, the Fisher King has been wounded in a misfortune that is not revealed in the incomplete text, and his land suffers with him. He can be healed only if the hero Perceval asks the appropriate question about whom the Grail serves, but warned against talking too much, Perceval remains silent. In the First Continuation of Chrétien's work, the anonymous author recounts how Gawain partially heals the land, but is not destined to complete the restoration. Over the course of time romances place less emphasis on the Wasteland and more on the king's wound. In the Lancelot-Grail Cycle the link between the devastated land and the wounded king is not absolute, and in the Post-Vulgate Cycle much more emphasis is placed on King Pellehan's injury by Sir Balin than on the devastation this causes to his kingdom.
Scholars of the earlier 20th century devoted much study to the Wasteland motif. In one of the more popular works on the subject, From Ritual to Romance, author Jessie Weston suggested that the origin of the motif lies with an otherwise unattested pagan fertility cult. The book is mostly disregarded today, though T. S. Eliot credited it as the source of the title and the largest single influence on his famous poem The Waste Land."

This same theme we see though out the Troll Lord Games book for Castles & Crusades The Codex Celtarum. The otherworld of fairyland is always present to wash away the edges of reality. Castle Amber is that nexus point that provides the most easy & yet dangerous nexus point into these other lands & dimensions of chaos & misfortune.
Adventurers & heroes who decide to interfere in the affairs of Amber are very likely to suffer the wraith of beings from beyond their ken.

While I mostly agree with Tim Brannan on his recent shout out to this blog. There are several quick points I love to address.
Astonishing Swordsmen & Sorcerers of Hyperborea is the far future of Earth after the events of twilight of the gods of mythology. The witch queens & families of fairyland are very dangerous & see the witches of Hyperborea & Zothique as rivals of the highest order. This is a matter of occult warfare & rivalry. The Winters family is the latest addition to the war.

Chaos & Clark Ashton Smith's Zothique In X2 Castle Amber (Château d'Amberville) By Tom Moldvay

"Trapped in the mysterious Castle Amber. you find yourselves cut off from the world you know. The castle is fraught with peril. Members of the strange Amber family, some insane, some merely deadly, lurk around every corner. Somewhere in the castle is the key to your escape, but can you survive long enough to find it?"

The Lion & Dragon Rpg system has been one that's been on my mind for a couple of months now along with its setting Dark Albion & Cults of Chaos.
So talking with one of my players has been interesting as we've been discussing the ins & outs of his character's social status. Social status during times of war can & did fluctuate with the fortunes of royal patrons & families. 

This is especially true around the Amber family of X2 Castle Amber by Tom Moldvay, the Clark Ashton Smith's Averoigne adventure can be a bit problematic in Dark Albion's setting. Castle Amber (or Château d'Amberville) is exactly the sort of place that the Frogmen wizards of Paris would wipe off the face of the map. Or is it?
So the players solve the inner plots, mysteries, & adventure points of Castle Amber (or Château d'Amberville) & then the entirety of the Averoigne region is destroyed? Not a chance & there's one very good reason Stephen Amber whom is the family's patron. But he's not the only wizard in the family.

Thumbing through X2 I noticed a number of little details that link not only the adventure but the family d'Amberville to a number of France's historical points of reference.  The d'Amberville family could become powerful patrons in France's resistance to the Frogmen forces. There are deep reasons why this would be the case; " 
In ancient times, Averoigne was settled by the fictional Gallic tribe called the Averones. They established a number of settlements in the region, many of which were fortified when the Roman Empire absorbed the region. When Christianity spread through the Empire, many churches and monasteries were established among the ruins of Druidic temples. Greatest among these was a great cathedral constructed in Vyones, completed in 1138." 

Averoigne is located in the southern half of France and its involvement during the Hundreds Years War foreshadows the events of the coming of the Frog cults.
"Ever since the Norman conquest of 1066, the King of England held lands in France, which made him a vassal of the King of France. Tensions over the status of the English monarch's French fiefs led to conflicts between the crowns of France and England, and the extent of these lands varied throughout the medieval period. The French kings had endeavored, over the centuries, to reduce these possessions, to the effect that only Gascony was left to the English. The confiscation or threat of confiscating this duchy had been part of French policy to check the growth of English power, particularly whenever the English were at war with the Kingdom of Scotland, an ally of France."

So throughout Averoigne England's role in the Hundred Years War is not only remembered but the sting still echoes throughout the region. Tom Moldvay knew the CAS Averoigne cycle stories well and so bits of this politic leak into the module of X2.
The frog wizards fear the region of Averoigne because of its ties to Chaos. They know some of the cults & history of it but fear curses and its hidden powers. This also has to do with the sting of the Hundred Years War's expense & hidden costs as well as the occult powers behind some of the motives behind it. "For about nine years (1328–1337), the English had accepted the Valois succession to the French throne, but several disagreements between both monarchs prompted Philip VI to confiscate Edward III's lands in France, which in turn convinced Edward III to reassert his claim to the French throne. Several overwhelming English victories in the war—especially at CrécyPoitiers, and Agincourt—raised the prospects of an ultimate English triumph, and convinced the English to continue pouring money and manpower into the war over many decades."

Bandits & worse swirl at the outer edges of France during the War of the Roses this state is also found in ruins of the stronghold of Ylourgne. This ruin is an  abandoned abode of evil robber barons, where the horrid affairs of the "The Colossus of Ylourgne", by Clark Ashton Smith (Weird Tales, Popular Fiction Publishing Co., June 1934). 

So why are the frog wizard kings staying away from Averoigne? Because of the influence of Stephen Amber himself. His family's dominance & patronage of the cathedral along with the town that surrounds it hints at the level of prowess associated with the family.
"The northern half of the territory is dominated by the walled city of Vyones, site of an impressive cathedral."
Even though he's supposedly at rest Stephen Amber conforms to many of the occult abilities of a lich even in death.
Where is the information coming from about all of the movements & inner workings on the court of the English? The very queen of England Margaret of Anjou was a born spy mistress and hybrid of the frog wizard's bloodline but she's even more then they reckon.
"Margaret of Anjou (French: Marguerite; 23 March 1430 – 25 August 1482) was the Queen of England by marriage to King Henry VI from 1445 to 1461 and again from 1470 to 1471." Margaret of Anjou is a highly placed operative whose been two steps past her own masters through her patron in the form of St.Stephen the Rock. She's been the toad god Tsathoggua's operative whom the frog kings think is their hidden queen.In fact she's been getting intelligence not only from her own spy network but through her own court wizards through the machinations of Blackmoor's St. Stephen the Rock.  

So why would St.Stephen the Rock be interested in Albion? The expansion of his own Chaos based cult of the Toad god right in the heart of another plane. He can't proved weapons, monsters, etc. but he can provide intelligence on the Queen's hated enemies. Shakespeare portrays Margaret as an intelligent, ruthless woman who easily dominates her husband and fiercely vies for power with her enemies. Among those enemies are the Amber family whose resistance to her own dark masters give her pause. 

"Mother of Toads" (originally published version), by Clark Ashton Smith (Weird Tales, Popular Fiction Publishing Co., July 1938) gives an intimate portrait of the inner workings of the sort of chaos witch whose on the payroll of Tsathoggua. The Gallic tribe called the Averones are the last heritages of a far older order going back to the time of the Roman Empire which absorbed the region. "The Enchantress of Sylaire", by Clark Ashton Smith (Weird Tales, Weird Tales, July 1941) goes into some details of this.

Why is Tsathoggua playing with his agents in this manner? Because it suits the iconic sense of humor of the Great Old One. X2 Castle Amber presents several adventure elements that can deeply connect Albion & Blackmoor without breaking a sweat as the factions of chaos play war with one another with the PC's stuck in the middle.

By the time we reach the era of the 1800's the corridors of Castle Amber has a perminant gateway to the far future world of Clark Ashton Smith's Zothique; 
"Clark Ashton Smith himself described the Zothique cycle in a letter to L. Sprague de Camp, dated November 3, 1953:
Zothique, vaguely suggested by Theosophic theories about past and future continents, is the last inhabited continent of earth. The continents of our present cycle have sunken, perhaps several times. Some have remained submerged; others have re-risen, partially, and re-arranged themselves. Zothique, as I conceive it, comprises Asia Minor, Arabia, Persia, India, parts of northern and eastern Africa, and much of the Indonesian archipelago. A new Australia exists somewhere to the south. To the west, there are only a few known islands, such as Naat, in which the black cannibals survive. To the north, are immense unexplored deserts; to the east, an immense unvoyaged sea. The peoples are mainly of Aryan or Semitic descent; but there is a negro kingdom (Ilcar) in the north-west; and scattered blacks are found throughout the other countries, mainly in palace-harems. In the southern islands survive vestiges of Indonesian or Malayan races. The science and machinery of our present civilization have long been forgotten, together with our present religions. But many gods are worshipped; and sorcery and demonism prevail again as in ancient days. Oars and sails alone are used by mariners. There are no fire-arms—only the bows, arrows, swords, javelins, etc. of antiquity. The chief language spoken (of which I have provided examples in an unpublished drama) is based on Indo-European roots and is highly inflected, like Sanskrit, Greek and Latin." 

The world of Zothique is a refugee for the family Amber & its interests. Many groups from the Victorian era  the period of Queen Victoria's reign, from 20 June 1837 until her death on 22 January 1901 also take advantage of the planar waves.

Mike Stewart's Victorious rpg is perfectly aligned with the various dark cults of the Elves & the Old Ones who are taking full advantage of this era's occult planetary alignments. These alignments take full sacrifices to gain gateways into other times & places such as Blackmoor, Mystara, & even Greyhawk.. 

Wednesday, February 27, 2019

Pan Tangian Dreams Within OD&D's Gods, Demi Gods, & Heroes By Robert Kuntz and James M. Ward For Your Old School Campaigns

I was quietly taking a trip down memory lane thumbing through OD&D's Gods, Demi-Gods & Heroes by Robert Kuntz and James M. Ward  again. Its been a long while since I'd perused the the Melnibonéan Mythos from Michael Moorcock's Elric novels in the book. Then I noticed something I hadn't seen in many years. The section on the warriors of Pan Tang inMelnibonéan Mythos section;

Move etc. as men
An army of fighters all able to fight with the ability of a 10th level fighter. These humans never
check moral and ride a 6 legged reptile which stands 15 feet tall and moves 20" per turn.
Armor Class — 4 Fighter Ability: As Tigers
Move: 19" Psionic Ability: Class 6
Hit Points
These are 10 feet tall tigers able to bite for 4 (8-sided) dice of damage and claw for 3 (8-sided).
They always appear beside the Pan Tang warriors, one to a mount.

That's some pretty high level stuff right there but then that's the whole point of OD&D's Gods, Demi-Gods & Heroes.
"The supplement intends to set guidelines to enable DMs to incorporate mythologies into their own campaigns. The supplement presents the deities of various cultures of Earth and elsewhere in a form which can be easily assimilated into the existing D&D game structure"

To understand what these warriors are we need to quickly look at the fact that Jagreen Lern The cruel ruler of Pan Tang & head of the church of Chaos was sending raiders into alternative world & other dimensions to raid temples,  kill gods  & demi gods to cement his own power of rule over other worlds. This was something that I came across in the Games Workshop version of the Stormbringer rpg especially when looking at the Citadel Pan Tang figure line. These warriors & chaos laced mutated fighting tigers were the center pieces of my own chaos army back in the 90's when you pick up the figures for a song.

So while everyone at the table top was fielding a chaos army from the Lost & The Damned I was fielding a kick ass Pan Tang army with customized chaos mutated tigers! Alright what does this have to do with Dark Albion, Clark Ashton Smith, The Thirty Year War, & Arthurian Literature? Well, here's where things get interesting. The Pan Tang are a nation of chaos worshipers led by the driven mad man leader Theocrat Jagreen Lern. Their own racial origin is closely tied to The Mabden of which they are very twisted branch.

A week or so ago my other half pointed out that the Pan Tang figures bore a striking resemblance to the Telmarines of C.S. Lewis's book Prince Caspian, the second book published in   The Chronicles of Narnia series.
Theocrat Jagreen Lern ambitions know no bounds especially spreading the cults & religions of chaos. These army raiding parties across dimensions might be a way of getting rid of the excess warriors & forces to leave only the best for the conquest of the Young Kingdoms. This means that these forces could appear anywhere & when. There are number of mercenary & weird armies in Arthurian literature as well as the fact that Arthur would have been king prior to the Norman invasion of 1066 AD.  So time would be dangerously weird & strange for this to happen. A small scale invasion is possible given the fact that this isn't our world. Especially with some of the fictional  history of the ties of the Von Beks to the Holy Grail. 
The Von Bek family  involvement in the Thirty Year war is well known to Micheal Moorcock fans.

This brings me to Rpg Pundit's break down of Lion & Dragon & something that he revealed during his recent blog entry. Many of the Magistar spells have an underlying Medieval occult chaotic element to their magick;
Magisters are a lot more complicated.  All magisters have the potential to learn a number of magical techniques (in the L&D rulebook, there's seven techniques in all, but in theory there could be more techniques and some of these are elaborated upon in some of the RPGPundit Presents supplements).
There's one technique that every magister starts with potential knowledge of: Summoning.  This works largely the same as the Summoning rules in the Dark Albion book. However, to summon and control a demon you need its true name and its sigil, and Magic-user PCs don't actually possess any of these at 1st level. They'd need to obtain them. Note that also, technically, anyone (not just magic-users) could perform summoning, only non-magisters would be much worse at it (and therefore under much more risk of catastrophic failure and demonic possession).

The other six techniques are Astrology, Cures, Banishing, Battle Magic, Astrological Talismans, and True Alchemy.  Each of these have a variety of different rituals under their aegis, and/or different tiers of ability, so techniques can be selected multiple times to get access to more or better rituals in the technique.

Clerics, with their powers, are largely similar in practice to D&D regarding how they use magic (even if the power themselves are a little different from Vancian Clerics). But magisters in Lion & Dragon work radically differently from D&D wizards.

For starters, apart from a couple of spells (the most basic form of banishing, a spell to become partially invisible, etc), almost all of what magisters do require complex rituals.  Most of these require materials (special objects, incense, precious metals, or a full alchemical lab) that are quite costly, meaning that a magister will either need to come from wealth, amass wealth by some means, or have a powerful patron to fund them. These rituals take time and sometimes have associated risks.

But in many cases, the rituals being completed, the result is something the magister can then use very easily in actual situations.
So for example, a magician who knows Astrological Talismans needs to go through a whole process to create a talisman, but after that, as long as he has it on him, he need only touch it for its power to work. A magister can't cast the "light" spell like in D&D, but one that gets a lab, the complicated material components, and succeeds at the ritual to create it can make an ever-burning lamp. High-Level magisters can be ridiculously powerful; but not because they could throw fireballs or lightning bolts. Instead, because they can produce Byzantine Dragonfire (or 'Greek fire' as we knew it historically) that they can fire (or more likely give to someone else to fire) out of a flamethrower-like pump or from little grenades! Master alchemists can even try their hand at creating the Philosopher's Stone (if they can get a Royal Charter permitting them to do so; or if they want to risk execution if they can't get a Charter) to make lead into gold and do many other wondrous things. Or they can try their hand at creating the most difficult and valuable magic of all: the Elixir of Life that could grant immortality"
This idea is very much in keeping with many of the occult elements that are present within the Moorcock presented ideals behind chaos because the Melnibonéan Mythos & especially the cycle of Corum Jhaelen Irsei (the Prince in the Scarlet Robe) draws deeply from Western European occult traditions for many of its foundations.

For Lion & Dragon the ideas of both Clark Ashton Smith's Hyperborea cycle coincides with Michael Moorcock's mythos of the falling away of the old world while the newer world pulls from the ever changing struggle between the Great Old Ones & the newer gods,  Chaos vs Law or God vs The Fallen Angels. The cycles continue to echo throughout the multiverses. 

"In Hesiod's Theogony (c. 700 BC), Chaos was the first of the primordial deities, followed by Gaia (Earth), Tartarus (the nether abyss) and Eros (Love).[4] From Chaos came Erebus(Darkness) and Nyx (Night)." This basically means that chaos can never be 'beaten' merely driven back from the edge of the darkness of the world. This was something that the Elves of old mythology realized. Fairyland is a greedy macro entity of chaos & primal magick washing and flowing with various heavens & hells of old. The underworld sometimes comes into contact with it but most often various black wizards use it perhaps including at times the black wizards of Pan Tang. The black occultists of Dark Albion, the alchemists of Lion & Dragon's Europe, & even Blackmoor's various wizards all are looking at the elephant in the macro cosmos called chaos.

The concept & magick  of Chaos is very ancient something the frog men of France know all to well.
"Pherecydes of Syros (fl. 6th century BC) interprets chaos as water, like something formless which can be differentiated." This is perhaps the final form of chaos after it scrubs all life from a world unlike the sameness of the expanse of law. Cults of chaos are subtle & very dangerous in the world of the supernatural because the entities of it & those about it are subject to its effects. There has always been an associate of chaos with the Underworld & the dead of mythology particularly in Europe.

"Passages in Hesiod's Theogony suggest that Chaos was located below Earth but above Tartarus.[17] Primal Chaos was sometimes said to be the true foundation of reality, particularly by philosophers such as Heraclitus.
The notion of the temporal infinity was familiar to the Greek mind from remote antiquity in the religious conception of immortality.[clarification needed][18] This idea of the divine as an origin[clarification needed] influenced the first Greek philosophers.[19] The main object of the first efforts to explain the world remained the description of its growth, from a beginning. They believed that the world arose out from a primal unity, and that this substance was the permanent base of all its being. Anaximander claims that the origin is apeiron (the unlimited), a divine and perpetual substance less definite than the common elements. Everything is generated from apeiron, and must return there according to necessity.[20] A conception of the nature of the world was that the earth below its surface stretches down indefinitely and has its roots on or above Tartarus, the lower part of the underworld.[21] In a phrase of Xenophanes, "The upper limit of the earth borders on air, near our feet. The lower limit reaches down to the "apeiron" (i.e. the unlimited)."[21] The sources and limits of the earth, the sea, the sky, Tartarus, and all things are located in a great windy-gap, which seems to be infinite, and is a later specification of "chaos".[21][22] Primal Chaos was sometimes said to be the true foundation of reality, particularly by philosophers such as Heraclitus" 
Any exposure to Primal Chaos means that a PC must save vs death or gain 1d4 random mutations. Passages into the underworld especially near Tartarus have always been very dangerous in European & Roman mythology. This was especially true of knights of Arthurian & Grail lore who quested for the Grail in French & Welsh literature

The Grail has strong symbolism within the Thirty Year War especially because the conflict in the Hapsburg-ruled Kingdom of Bohemia. The Bohemian Period (1618-1625). In 1617, the Bohemian Diet elected Ferdinand of Styria as king of Bohemia. Ferdinand, a member of the Hapsburg family, became Holy Roman emperor two years later. Chaos cults benefited from all of this conflict within Europe at the time tying in dangerous events into the whole affair. Could there be a chaos Pan Tang raiding party waiting for the party on some Fairyland location? I personally think so given on the whole because of the affairs of the Thirty Years War. 

This basically means that PC's could run into all kinds of monsters of mythology and horror at the edges of Fairyland where the energies of chaos run wild.