Wednesday, March 6, 2019

HP Lovecraft's Dreamlands Cycle , Dark Albion, Astonishing Swordmen & Sorcerers of Hyperborea, Original Dungeons & Dragons, & Campaign Session Catch Up

"THREE times Randolph Carter dreamed of the marvelous city, and three times was he snatched away while still he paused on the high terrace above it. All golden and lovely it blazed in the sunset, with walls, temples, colonnades and arched bridges of veined marble, silver-basined fountains of prismatic spray in broad squares and perfumed gardens, and wide streets marching between delicate trees and blossom-laden urns and ivory statues in gleaming rows; while on steep northward slopes climbed tiers of red roofs and old peaked gables harbouring little lanes of grassy cobbles. It was a fever of the gods, a fanfare of supernal trumpets and a clash of immortal cymbals. Mystery hung about it as clouds about a fabulous unvisited mountain; and as Carter stood breathless and expectant on that balustraded parapet there swept up to him the poignancy and suspense of almost-vanished memory, the pain of lost things and the maddening need to place again what once had been an awesome and momentous place."The Dream-Quest of Unknown Kadath  (1943) 
by H.P. Lovecraft

HP Lovecraft's Dream cycle is probably as important to me as Clark Ashton Smith's Zothique tales especially in setting the campaigns that I've run for over the last thirty years or so. All of this comes down to the fact that I've once again been talking with friends over the use of Elves, Dark Albion, the Lion & Dragon Rpg, European history, & mythology within the context of old school Dungeons & Dragons. Sure Appendix N is a set of guidelines from the Advanced Dungeons & Dragons Dungeon Master's Guide. But 'The Dream Quest of Unknown Kadath" is one of his foundation novellas & it ties in directly into the dream cycles of Edgar Allan Poe & Lord Dunsany. 

The Dream-Quest of Unknown Kadath, HP Lovecraft - Ballantine 1970

Let me see if I can catch you up on some of what's been happening in my campaigns which have been disrupted due to lots of snow. But I've been debating & working the Elven Empire's  influence on Europe & the planes through debates with players & friends via phone calls, emails, etc. I use HP Lovecraft's Dreamlands cycle as a sort of Chaotic future catch all where the D&D races retreated after the fall of Camelot.
 I've used the Lion & Dragon rpg with a number of other OSR products & its been interesting to say the least.

Because both Dark Albion & Lion & Dragon are medieval authentic its easy to slot the ritual magic, some of the races, classes, etc. into the back ground of other traditional old school campaign settings such as Greyhawk, Blackmoor, & Mystara.  And of course I put my own spin on all of these which has both its good and bad merits. D&D Elves in my games are known as huldra("hidden being") from the  Scandinavian language. They along with other beings were bred from mankind in a wide variety of capacities that were needed for various jobs.  The Dreamlands & Zothique touch the far future of Earth millions of years in the future when the world grows strange & twisted by the forces of entropy. Leng & Kaddath themselves blur the edges of time allowing their alien appearance in Hyperborea. 

"Several of Lovecraft's short stories might be understood as laying the mythological groundwork for "The Dream Quest of Unknown Kadath" to include: "
Polaris (short story)," "Memory," "The White Ship," "The Doom that Came to Sarnath," "The Cats of Ulthar," "Celephaïs," "Nyarlathotep" (an Outer God and/or Other God), "Ex Oblivione," "The Nameless City," "The Quest of Iranon," "The Other Gods," "Hypnos" (an Elder God), "Azathoth" (an Outer God and/or Other God), and "The History of the Necronomicon." Reading these short stories before "The Dream Quest of Unknown Kadath" and consulting a map of H. P. Lovecraft's Dreamlands can improve the readers understanding of Lovecraftian mythos."

This also helps to explain the appearance of some of the Dreamlands places within AS&SH's Hyperborea.

The appearance & mention of 'The Sign of Koth in the underworld of the Dreamlands &  is a clear indicator of its power especially since in 'The Case of Charles Dexter Ward'  it was inscribed on a tower in the dreamworld  to keep the gugs from returning to upper dreamland. and as having strange attributes. It is also inscribed in the catacombs under Curwen's long abandoned house. I would also hazard to guess that  'The Sign of Koth' also keeps the Dreamlands Underworld & Underborea separated & the planar gateways closed between the two worlds. 

"The Plateau of Leng is referenced in several of Lovecraft's other works including Celephaïs, The Hound, The Whisperer in Darkness and At the Mountains of Madness, although its location differs in each instance." It also appears in Hyperborea as one of the most forboding & insane areas within the AS&SH game settings. It wouldn't surprise me at all if the authorities of Albion not only know of Hyperborea & its connection to Leng but think of the place as one of the supreme places of blasphemy & Chaos. Going over my notes from dungeon master  Peter's old Astonishing Swordsmen & Sorcerers of Hyperborea rpg mash up campaign with I5 Lost Tomb of Martek I suddenly remembered the foul workings of  Nyarlathotep in the Dreamlands& Hyperborea. 

"Nyarlathotep, the Crawling Chaos, is frequently mentioned in Lovecraft's Cthulhu Mythos tales, but his appearance here is the only time during which Nyarlathotep interacts meaningfully with any of Lovecraft's human characters. Nyarlathotep also appears in the sonnet cycle Fungi from Yuggoth." 
And could be one of the key agitators in the history of Earth, & across the planes acting as a fulcrum for Chaos that seems to engulf various periods in Earth's history. His could be the occult powerhouse behind of the most successful witch families & cults we've seen.

Adventurers who run across giants in the back washes of Europe better be prepared for the fact that other dangerous monsters often accompany them. The more time that goes on the monsters from the Chaos laced unreality of Fairy become real in our world. The troglodytesbugbears, &  carrion crawlers are all native to the Welsh 'Otherworld'  & can easily be an indication that giant henchmen working for witch cults are about. Nodens (an Elder God)  described in "The Strange High House in the Mist." appears in Astonishing Swordsmen & Sorcerers of Hyperborea as well as a god of chaos in Dark Albion's Cults of Chaos. 

Demons are often mentioned here & there within HP Lovecraft's Dreamlands cycle but always as a background element in some of the terrible lands surrounding the main body of countries & kingdoms. Both 'The RPGPundit Presents: The Goetia'  &  The Lion & Dragon Rpg have perfect resources for creating unique demons for AS&SH as well as the Dreamlands. Demons are not to be used lightly however as they often have powers that transcend time & space. Their wrath could bring PC 's to their knees & they could wind up locked in nightmare realms of Hell for eternity.

Several of the Conan mythos deities have connections within the Dreamlands especially those of Kuntz & Ward's Gods, Demigods, & Heroes. Jason Vey's Age of Conan 
"hack"for using OD&D in the Hyborian Age of Robert E. Howard
along with his free 
Age of Conan II: Secrets of Acheron, are especially useful here. 

This brings me to the fact that we've got wide swaths of history that is open to the dungeon master to connect to the Dreamlands. Realms of Crawling Chaos from Goblinoid Games is very useful for flesh out those interesting Dreamlands artifacts, races, and even the psionics of the Old Ones. A
 second resource is David Baymiller's OSR Library Blog which has extensive OSR resources for the mythos, horror, The Dreamlands, & much more. May I also highly recommend Ancient Vaults & Eldritch Secrets for spells & highly valuable Dreamlands like spells, magic items, & much more.

Next time more on the horror & fury of the Formorians, their connection to the Moonbeasts, & the deep end of the PC's in this week's game!

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