Tuesday, April 30, 2019

Mysterious Islands, Astonishing Swordsmen & Sorcerers of Hyperborea, & the Original Adventures Reincarnated #2: The Isle of Dread By Goodman Games .

I keep a careful eye on the Astonishing Swordsmen & Sorcerers of Hyperborea rpg system  & one of the pieces that caught my eye was this artwork for an upcoming Viking & AS&SH style adventure. The Kickstarter is coming up soon.  The artwork got me thinking about the seas around Hyperborea & my own Castles & Crusades on going campaign. But it also got me thinking about the Original Adventures Reincarnated #2: The Isle of Dread By Goodman Games 

I've postulated that 'the sea of worlds' that surrounds the Isle of Dread makes the island drift into other worlds & its possible that the island itself is only one of a handful of other such locations. Its an alien 'lost world' unto itself. But there's been implications that this lost world is one of many with Goodman Games's  titles offering some tantalizing hints. 
A ship wreck, an expedition to the isle, any excuse really to maroon the adventurers on the isle & some dark hints within the Goodman Games adventure all hint at the possibility of there being far more to the sinister island then even the adventurers can guess?! 

We know that the island of Dread  itself has often slipped between worlds & that its planar seas border many different locations. This got me thinking about another fictional island location with a its own alien ecology. I'm speaking of course about Caprona (also known as Caspak) a fictional island in the literary universe of Edgar Rice Burroughs's Caspak trilogy. Edgar Rice Burroughs Caspak books might have well been part of the inspiration for X1: The Isle of Dread. And of course if you haven't read them I highly recommend them  going with The Land That Time ForgotThe People That Time Forgot, and Out of Time's Abyss.[1]
This is an island with mysterious secrets & deadly  alien species looking over the artificial ecology of the island; "In the first novel, Caprona is described as a land mass near Antarctica and was first reported by the (fictitious) Italian explorer Caproni in 1721, the location of which was subsequently lost. The island is ringed by high cliffs, making it inaccessible to all but the most intrepid explorers (the people who first explore the island accessed it by taking a submarine through an underground tunnel).[2] It has a tropical river teeming with primitive creatures extinct elsewhere and a thermal inland sea, essentially a huge crater lake, whose heat sustains Caprona’s tropical climate.
Burroughs postulates a unique biological system for his lost world in which the slow progress of evolution in the world outside is recapitulated as a matter of individual metamorphosis. This system is only hinted at in The Land That Time Forgot; presented as a mystery whose explication is gradually worked out over the course of the next two novels, it forms a thematic element serving to unite three otherwise rather loosely linked stories. Dinosaurs, prehistoric mammals, and primitive humans coexist on the island.[3]
The island is also called Caspak by its native humanoid inhabitants – thus the name of the trilogy"

In Astonishing Swordsmen & Sorcerers of Hyperborea there are any number of lost islands at the edge of the bowel of the world. These are places that different in & out of the planes, time, etc. It is not a stretch to conclude that these islands might have dire impacts on the lives of adventurers. The fact is that I've run X1 isle of Dread with AS&SH any number of times as a introductory adventure & it worked stellar. In fact there is a long line of mysterious & deadly phantom islands within both Pulp literature & mythology.
I've used Brasil or  
Hy-Brasil myself several times in AS&SH game campaigns with some very dangerous connotations; "Brasil, also known as Hy-Brasil or several other variants,[2] is a phantom island said to lie in the Atlantic Ocean[3] west of Ireland. Irish myths described it as cloaked in mist except for one day every seven years, when it becomes visible but still cannot be reached." 
Clark Ashton Smith used a wide variety of lost lands,islands, & other occult laden lands for many of his stories the implication is that X1 is one such land unhinged on the planes whose a ;weirdness magnet'. It continues to draw in travelers from across the planes Prime. 

Abraham Ortelius' map of Europe from 1595
For my own alternative World War I campaign I can see using these phantom islands in such a way to draw in the adventurers perhaps to their doom. Astonishing Swordsmen & Sorcerer's of Hyperborea & X1 Isle of Dread are definitely going to have a place at the table. 

Monday, April 29, 2019

Ships of the California Lost Wastes - An OSR Encounter Or An Encounter Setting For Any OSR Old School Campaign

A wind comes in from the sea,
And rolls through the hollow dark
Like loud, tempestuous waters.
As the swift recurrent tide,
It pours adown the sky,
And rears at the cliffs of night
Uppiled against the vast.

Like the soul of the sea—
Hungry, unsatisfied
With ravin of shores and of ships—
Come forth on the land to seek
New prey of tideless coasts,
It raves, made hoarse with desire,
And the sounds of the night are dumb
With the sound of its passing.

The Soul of the Sea  (1912) 
by Clark Ashton Smith

For most treasure ships seem like something that would be found in a garden variety Dungeons & Dragons game instead these ships are found deep in the deserts & post apocalyptic wastelands of California luring adventurers, cowboys, capes, pulp adventurers, & many others to their deaths.

The small communities around  Lake Cahuilla (also known as Lake LeConte and Blake Sea) in the Great California Wastes experience time mirages that cross space & time itself after the use of the Entropy weapons used during the End War. These communities have been receiving help from Project Over Reach to help reestablish satellite communications & they've reported strange wreckage of ships & other alien craft out in the Great California Waste basins.

The Salton Trough and Colorado River Delta from space

The fishing village of Last Blake has seen an uptick in Morlock raider activity but there have been a number of time lost adventurers who have come looking for the lost vessel of Spanish explorer Juan de Iturbe. Many of these adventurers have strange radiation burns & injuries reportedly having been attacked by giant scorpions, mutant rattle snakes, & worse.

The legends of the Spanish explorer always seem to go like this; 

"This legend may refer to the same ship as the Lost Galleon, but its own story has always placed it in a distinct location, closer to the sand hills west of El Centro, California. Descriptions suggest it is closer to the size of one of Christopher Columbus' small caravels. The pearl ship is rumored to have been seen as recently as the 1970s[citation needed].
The story goes that in 1615, Spanish explorer Juan de Iturbe embarked on a pearl-harvesting expedition, during which his crew sailed a shallow-drafted caravel up the Gulf of California. A high tidal bore carried him across a strait into Lake Cahuilla, a postulated contemporaneous saltwater basin periodically connected to the gulf which was already in the process of drying up permanently. After exploring the lake for several days, Iturbe found himself unable to sail out again, whereupon he beached his craft and made his way back to the nearest Spanish settlement on foot, leaving behind a fortune in black pearls. Sixteenth-century records from New Spain indicate that the De La Cadena family had a pearl-diving monopoly in Baja California.
Iturbe's alleged ship has been seen and lost several times, and there are several stories about it having been looted. A mule driver traveling with the de Anza expeditions through Alta California was said to have removed the pearls in 1774. Around 1917, an El Centro farmer named Jacobsen was said to have found a very small chest of jewels, which he quietly sold in Los Angeles, and to have used timber from the pearl ship to build his pig pens." 
Travelers from an alternative 1900 expedition  timeline deep into the in the wasteland badlands west of Mexicali, Mexico. have reportedly been searching for the Serpent Necked Canoe. They came to the small community of Julian, California, after nearly dying from an encounter with a giant mutant tarantula species. They were following the following legends; "The Viking stories originated around 1900 from the Mexicans and Indians who live in the Colorado River delta region near the Laguna Salada basin. The ship is consistently described as an open boat with round metal shields on its sides in the badlands west of Mexicali, Mexico.
Around 1933, Myrtle Botts, a librarian from Julian, California, had an encounter with an old prospector who showed her photos of what she called a Viking ship. He gave her and her husband directions to the location but an earthquake prevented the Botts from following the prospector's trail to the ship. Julian's Pioneer Museum, which inherited Myrtle Botts' papers, also inherited those directions.
The Julian Pioneer Museum is not in possession of any records regarding the Viking ship mentioned in this story."

The Restorers post apocalyptic faction has been able to telepathically reconstruct most of the data from the scrambled remains of some of the expeditions members after being telepathically attacked by a giant floating mutant head. They reportedly came in contact with a cache of green radioactive diamonds they found scattered on the ground.

Finally there is the tale of two separate expeditions that were found wandering in the desert after brief encounter with the wastes around the Salton Sink has been dried out around the Salton Sea. They have reported a dangerous encounter with monsters, the wreckage of a paddle wheel ship beached in stinking fen & a fevered encounter with a wizard. They had several small caches of gold & jewels but some of the members were insane.

1d20 Random Encounters Out In The Wastelands of California 
  1. 1d6 gunfighters & adventurers on horse back lost & looking for a way back from their nightmare. They are haggard in bad need of water & are completely lost. 
  2. Mutant adventurers armed with bows & arrows on the backs of giant spider like mutants. They are bounty hunters after an alien outlaw. 
  3. 1d10 American first nationer warriors out on a hunting party. They are friendly & armed with guns that do 1d8 points of damage at a range of 50 yards. These are 4th level fighters and not to be trifled with. 
  4. 1d6 desert Gnoll warriors on horse back looking for a raid to cause problems.  They are armed with short bows & long swords. 
  5. 1d6 goblin raiders on giant coyotes they are a hunting party looking to slay humans & eat man flesh for the evening. 
  6. A very pissed off war golem armed with shoulder mounted  heavy crossbows, he's hell bent on revenge for being lost in the wastelands for weeks 
  7. 1d6 human prospectors leading mule train completely unaware that their out of their own time lost element 
  8. Cowboy nearly dead on a mutant horse mount with his pockets stuffed with bones & map to the lost mines Hollywood 
  9. Group of traveling Hollywood silent era  cowboys & production company  on route to a movie location but getting very worried by the moment! 
  10. 1d20 1300 Spanish missionaries from South America on their way to the missions of California but now armed with 1d6 energy weapons they took from a band of mutant marauders that attacked them. Their trigger happy & highly dangerous! 
  11. 1d8 Green Martian warriors on Throats on a raid! 
  12. Green skinned mutant tribesmen on their way to a meeting with another tribe who have food & water to trade. 
  13. 1d8 D&D adventurers of 2nd level who on their way to the ruins of a former wizard but a bit shocked at their surroundings. 
  14. A posse of 1d20 cowboys, lawmen, etc. on the hunt for an escaped fugitive on horse back 
  15. Demon in human disguise looking for an escaped  soul of a damned man 
  16. A female first nationer princess whose escaped a group of orcs from the San Bernadino tribes. She's armed with two crossbows & some ammo but is running out of food & supplies. 
  17. Undead prospector looking for gold & souls! 
  18. Restorers expedition on their own in the middle of the wastes but armed with energy & gun powder weapons. 
  19. 1d20 bandits & marauders on the hunt for victims to murder, rob, & eat. 
  20. 1d10 giant blood sucking mutant hornets in a swarm looking murder their latest meal! 

This is an experiment to see about combining Labyrinth Lord, Mutant Future, Amazing Adventures!, & Astonishing Swordsmen & Sorcerers of Hyperborea into a OSR setting. I'm also throwing in a bit of the free adventure The Wreck of the Anubis byGus LaRu.
I was also thinking of throwing in a wreck or two from Bruce Heard's Calidar 

Friday, April 26, 2019

'The Three Impostors of Greyhawk' An Amazing World of Greyhawk Campaign Connection & Commentary

...A world where bandit kings raid from their remote stronghold;
...A world where noble elves fight savage invaders and where bold knights wage war on the terror of Iuz;
...A world scarred by a vast Sea of Dust, across which drift lost memories from the awful forgotten past.
Enter a World of Wonder & Intrigue...
Fantasy Game Setting for a panoramic view of this fantastic place.

More than a collection of maps and names, it is an active world filled with decaying empires and dark forests. Game elements include the gods of Greyhawk, the clash of political factions, and encounters in this wild land."

If you've been following events on the Danube parts I & II  then you know that the Astro Hungarian Empire  had  a joint operation between  the German  Intelligence Bureau & the German Foreign Office, have uncovered ancient documents relating to the two wealthy adventurers, Roghan the Fearless and Zelligar the Unknown while working with officers & soldiers of The Astro Hungarian Empire. But  operations down in the lower levels of the dungeon went very wrong.  Yesterday I mentioned that there was a gateway that opened to an AD&D style fantasy world. But what I didn't mention is that fact that I think that Gary Gygax's Greyhawk  setting could seamlessly slide into this Pulp & Supers  alternative WW1. How?!
Lets talk about two facts about Arthur Machen & the Greyhawk setting. Greyhawk is both a fantasy world & a post apocalyptic world with its twin events  'rain of colourless fire'  & 'the invoked devastation'. Both events dramatically changed the face of the Greyhawk  setting & brought the 
Suloise peoples across the world of  the Flanaess;

In the World of Greyhawk campaign setting for the Dungeons & Dragons roleplaying game, the Suloise, also known as the "Suel," are one of the major races of humans inhabiting the Flanaess.
The Suel began migrating to the Flanaess in large numbers c. -447 CY, from the Suel Imperium. The numbers of the Suloise Migration increased dramatically after the Invoked Devastation and the Rain of Colorless Fire in -422 CY. The Suel settled in many regions of the Flanaess, often competing with the native Flan and migrant Oeridians, as well as non-human inhabitants such as the elves and dwarves.
Though people of Suel descent can be found nearly anywhere in the Flanaess, notable lands that contain a significant number of Suel include the Thillonrian Peninsula, the Scarlet Brotherhood, the Lordship of the Isles, the Sea Barons, the Sheldomar Valley, and the Urnst States. The Lendore Isles was once home to a large contingent of Suel, but most humans have been expelled from that land since the cult of Sehanine Moonbow gained control after the Greyhawk Wars." 

What if these humans & near human peoples had migrated to Greyhawk in the ancient mythological days & this was only one more migration for a world's peoples that was a part of a greater cycle?! What if these movements & migration were a part & parcel of the mythology of the Earth as well?!  I'm I speaking of the Elemental Evil religion here?! No & this isn't normal Greyhawk at all. This Greyhawk is tightly woven to a secret occult society which at its highest levels has infiltrated pre WWI society across Europe & the world as a whole! What does this have to do with Arthur Machen? Well back in 1895 Machen wrote 'The Three Impostors'
The book's plot goes something like this; "
The novel comprises several weird tales and culminates in a final denouement of deadly horror, connected with a secret society devoted to debauched pagan rites. The three impostors of the title are members of this society who weave a web of deception in the streets of London—relating the aforementioned weird tales in the process—as they search for a missing Roman coin commemorating an infamous orgy by the Emperor Tiberius and close in on their prey: "the young man with spectacles" " This occult conspiracy & society rears its head across Europe as deadly as any terrorist bombing or other military action. Heroes are needed! Arthur Machen's Three Impostors is available here for free. 

What happens if part of the inner circle of occult secret societies 'the true Biblical & mythological'  history of the Earth is revealed & part of these reveals is the fact that 'lost fairy worlds or lands' like Greyhawk exist? Would this spark off occult & supernatural wars? Possibly sparking off events that happened within Machen's own life time & because of publication of the 'The Three Impostors' 
; "Partly in response to criticism of the Stevensonian style of the book, Machen altered his approach in writing his next book, The Hill of Dreams. Following the death of his first wife in 1899, Machen developed a greater interest in the occult, joining the Hermetic Order of the Golden Dawn. He noted that a number of events in his life seemed to mirror events in The Three Impostors, most notably a conflict in the order between William Butler Yeats (a "young man with spectacles") and Aleister Crowley, which reached its height around this time. (These experiences are reflected on in Alan Moore's Snakes and Ladders.)
In Things Near and Far (1923) Machen wrote:
It was in the early spring of 1894 that I set about the writing of the said "Three Impostors," a book which testifies to the vast respect I entertained for the fantastic, "New Arabian Nights" manner of R. L. Stevenson, to those curious researches in the byways of London which I have described already, and also, I hope, to a certain originality of experiment in the tale of terror."
If I was to run Greyhawk in this style I'd use an unholy mix of Castles & Crusades with Rpg Pundit's Lion & Dragon rpg  Make no mistake that the occult forces we're talking about here are evil & chaotically deadly. The stratification of Greyhawk social norms & the human dominated areas of the setting make this perfect. Yeah,yeah, Lion & Dragon is a historic  medieval  rpg & shouldn't have anything to do with Pulp or Supers. No it should all the more because it reflects history in a better way. 

But what the Hell does this have to do with World War I & Pulp heroes? Well just about everything really. 'Post Gilded Age' society is an upheaval at all levels & change is in the air. The death of the 
monarchy is at hand & crown heads of  society as they knew it were going to change completely. The Gilded Age to  World War I marked an incredibly progressive death kneel for Europe. This is a time when heroes are needed! 
But who is this occult conspiracy & society?! Well if I was too guess? I'd say it would be one of the new witch queens of the Le Fey
Morgause's  great grand daughters lines respectively. Machen gives us a really clear view of the occult forces behind the curtain & their very alien & very dangerous. The Arthurian legends connect up very nicely with Greyhawk because Arthur has his swords deep within Greyhawk's history. 

The Castle & Crusades's Castle Keeper's Guide is going come in real handy here to help keep track of several key points of monsters, magical events, & managing some of the campaign elements not to mention possibly the pre or post WWI technologies. All together though this is going to be an uneasy mix & the dungeon master is going to have to make their own decisions. Tomorrow we get into the deeper campaign aspects of Amazing Adventures! rpg & how Victorious affects all of this. 

Thursday, April 25, 2019

An Amazing Affair on The Danube Part II - In Search of the Unknown - Dungeons & Dragons Module B1 by Mike Carr

"B1: "In Search of the Unknown," by Mike Carr, was originally released in November 1978 with a monochrome yellow cover. At the time, it was probably TSR's eighth adventure. It was also the first TSR adventure by someone other than Gary Gygax." Well this is the official history but let's delve deeper into the  Caverns of Quasqueton.

When you start to delve in deep into the history of WWI then you begin to understand the causes & effects of not only history but the patterns leading up to WWII. The Astro Hungarian Empire  was very ordered &  a joint operation between  the German  Intelligence Bureau & the German Foreign Office, have uncovered ancient documents relating to the two wealthy adventurers, Roghan the Fearless and Zelligar the Unknown would be right on the menu . Those ancient adventurers who built a hidden complex known as the Caverns of Quasqueton along the Danube were up to something very questionable indeed. The caverns were still in use by a conspiratorial occult conspiracy which had ties throughout pre WWI & post WWII ( this is a blog entry for another time). The two 'heroic adventurers' beat back a horde of invading barbarians with their mercenary army but stumbled upon the ruins of a temple of Nodens that contained occult ruins & horrors that they made note of.
While of questionable ethical standing, the two drove back a barbarian invasion and gained the support of locals."

The proto Caverns of Quasqueton were born & Roghan the Fearless and Zelligar the Unknown were trying to contain the evil that festered below in the caverns. By the time that the adventurers are sent in things have gone very wrong for the German  Intelligence Bureau & the German Foreign Office as well as the Astro Hungarian soldiers. "A variety of monsters wander through the finished upper level of the dungeon including orcstroglodytes, and giant rats. " Those are actually Chaos infected mutations & other worldly monsters.
Roghan the Fearless and Zelligar the Unknown were killed. Well local apprentices & acolytes of Zelligar the Unknown were already a part of a local branch of a secret mystery cult dedicated to an Outer God who had been using the guise of Pan for eons.  The cult opened a door to an Earth like world of traditional fantasy races with some of  English author Algernon Blackwood 's The Willows &  "Pan" influence. But's its Arthur Machen's Great God Pan that shows what the cult was really trying to accomplish. 

Arthur Machen's Great God Pan plot goes something like this according to Wiki; "Clarke agrees, somewhat unwillingly, to bear witness to a strange experiment performed by his friend, Dr. Raymond. The ultimate goal of the doctor is to open the mind of someone so that he may experience the spiritual world, an experience he notes the ancients called "seeing the great god Pan". He performs the experiment, which involves minor brain surgery, on a young woman named Mary. She awakens from the operation awed and terrified but quickly becomes "a hopeless idiot".
Years later, Clarke learns of a beautiful but sinister girl named Helen Vaughan, who is reported to have caused a series of mysterious happenings in her town. She spends much of her time in the woods near her house, and takes other children on prolonged twilight rambles in the countryside that disturb the parents of the town. One day, a young boy stumbles across her "playing on the grass with a 'strange naked man,'"; the boy becomes hysterical and later, after seeing a Roman statue of a satyr's head, becomes permanently feeble-minded. Helen also forms an unusually close friendship with a neighbour girl, Rachel, whom she leads several times into the woods. On one occasion Rachel returns home distraught, half-naked and rambling. Shortly after explaining to her mother what happened to her (never revealed in the story), Rachel returns to the woods and disappears forever. Clarke relates these events in a book he is writing entitled Memoirs to Prove the Existence of the Devil.
Years later, Villiers happens across his old friend Herbert, who has become a vagrant since they last met. When asked how he has fallen so low, Herbert replies that he has been "corrupted body and soul" by his wife. After some investigation with Clarke and another character, Austin, it is revealed that Helen was Herbert's wife, and that a well-to-do man killed himself after seeing something that terrified him in Herbert and Helen's home. Herbert is later found dead.
Helen disappears for some time; according to rumor, she spent the time taking part in disturbing orgies somewhere in the Americas. She eventually returns to London under the pseudonym Mrs. Beaumont. Soon after, a group of stable, happy men in London commit suicide; the last person known to have been in the presence of each of them was Mrs. Beaumont, whom they are implied to have slept with. Villiers and Clarke, each learning of Mrs. Beaumont's true identity, band together and confront Helen in her house with a noose. They tell her that she must kill herself, or they will expose her. Helen has a very abnormal death, transforming between human and beast, male and female, and dividing and reuniting, before turning into a jelly-like substance and finally dying."
What happened between   the German  Intelligence Bureau & the German Foreign Office officials as well as the Astro Hungarian soldiers in the lower depths?! Something from a scene from a horror movie or worse! 
A door to the real of chaos & madness exists  within the 
Caverns of Quasqueton & its influence has been spreading across Europe. Because its not the only otherworldly gateway.  
 Farnese Ceiling, Pan and Syrinx By Anibale Carracci

Once events within  
the Caverns of Quasqueton come to the attention of the Astro Hungarian officials they'll send in a demon hunter to deal with the situation. The attention of the cult across Europe & its cabals of  occultists, witches, & the like will go on high alert. This is only the beginning though.  Helen Vaughan appears as a Succubus Siren from the Amazing Adventures Manual of Monsters. She checks almost every last box but that's not all. 
Coat of arms Astro Hungarian Empire

The fact is that many of the themes & ideas here could use the Lion & Dragon rpg for the chaos cults, the occult background, & much more but that's another blog entry for another day. 

Wednesday, April 24, 2019

An Amazing Affair on The Danube - In Search of the Unknown - Dungeons & Dragons Module B1 by Mike Carr

Sitting lazily on a mostly unknown stretch of the Danube lays a very unsettling set of castle ruins. A joint operation between the the German  Intelligence Bureau & the German Foreign Office, have uncovered ancient documents relating to the two wealthy adventurers, Roghan the Fearless and Zelligar the Unknown, who built a hidden complex known as the Caverns of Quasqueton. Now the Astro Hungarian empire is sending in top men & capes of their own to the hidden valley along the Danube.

The locals have been terrorized by unknown pig like warriors & there have been several deaths. The military maybe in way over their head. The head office is sending in your team to investigate Caverns of Quasqueton. So this not your standard take on 'In Search of the Unknown (Dungeons & Dragons Module B1)' (Dungeon module) by Mike Carr (1981-11-08). 

For  'In Search of the Unknown (Dungeons & Dragons Module B1)' (Dungeon module) by Mike Carr in my alternative WWI Amazing Adventures! rpg/Victorious hybrid I'd be using many of the additions from the Zenopus Archives. But what the Hell has been happening on the lower levels of the Caverns of Quasqueton? For that I'd turn back to English author Algernon Blackwood 's The Willows once again. A cult of centuries old witches &  Chaos worshipers have been using the crumbling site for rituals for ages. There is a door to another occult  world within the caverns! The cult has been opening doors that should have remained closed.

Many of the monsters from Brian Young's Castles & Crusades Codex Celtarum fit the D&D paradigm with a Celtic twist & turn or two. But additionally I'd actually turn to the Castles & Crusades Codex Slavorum to really punch up the menace & feel of the module into the realm of dangerous occult madness. Such a gateway might belong to the Arthur Machen's chaotic & dangerous  White People the gate leading  to the dangerous world of these evil fairies. 

Are  the Caverns of Quasqueton far more dangerous then they might at first appear?! That's going to be up to the dungeon master. But such a set of ruins can't fall into the hands of the Germans or their allies. This might be a prime opportunity to use the occult & alien Fairy survivors from ancient Pre second Ice Age days. The deadliness of their relics & artifacts is detailed in 
"The Red Hand" (1895).

But there's a lot more going on within the Caverns of Quasqueton then at first meets the eye. Tomorrow we get into the lower levels, monster placement, & the deadilness of the whole affair on the Danube. 

Tuesday, April 23, 2019

Reshuffling & Reassignment of Amazing World War One Campaign Elements & Notes Or What Do With A Setback

Well originally this was going to be a post about Gary Gygax's Necropolis D20 book & how to expand it into an alternative WWI supers & Pulp campaign using the Amazing Adventures! Rpg & the Victorious Rpg. But that went out the window because some of my players read Troll Lord's Amazing Adventures! rpg official Facebook group. 

So on phone call later from one of my newer players who isn't crazy about the Gary Gygax  D20  book blah,blah, etc. & I've had to rethink a major portion of this campaign. Well, when your a dungeon master & you need to think outside of the box then you go back to the well spring. In this case I went back to the original concept for part of this WWI campaign the HP Lovecraft story ghost written with Harry Houdini called "Imprisoned with the Pharaohs".

Harry Houdini was pleased with the result of Lovecraft's work 
and collaborated on several other projects with him prior to Houdini's death in 1926.

""Imprisoned with the Pharaohs" (called "Under the Pyramids" in draft form, also published as "Entombed with the Pharaohs"[1]) is a short story written by American fantasy author H. P. Lovecraft in collaboration with Harry Houdini in February 1924. Commissioned by Weird Tales founder and owner J. C. Henneberger, the narrative tells a fictionalized account in the first-person perspective of an allegedly true experience of escape artist Harry Houdini. Set in 1910, in Egypt, Houdini finds himself kidnapped by a tour guide, who resembles an ancient pharaoh, and thrown down a deep hole near the Great Sphinx of Giza. While attempting to find his way out, he stumbles upon a gigantic ceremonial cavern and encounters the real-life deity that inspired the building of the Sphinx."

We're never really told who or what the Lovecraftian monstrosities were within the Sphinx but I've gotta more then a theory from my Uncle's old notes from ""Imprisoned with the Pharaohs" ;

"At length I succeeded in reaching the steps and began to climb; keeping close to the wall, on which I observed decorations of the most hideous sort, and relying for safety on the absorbed, ecstatic interest with which the monstrosities watched the foul-breezed aperture and the impious objects of nourishment they had flung on the pavement before it. Though the staircase was huge and steep, fashioned of vast porphyry blocks as if for the feet of a giant, the ascent seemed virtually interminable. Dread of discovery and the pain which renewed exercise had brought to my wounds combined to make that upward crawl a thing of agonizing memory. I had intended, on reaching the landing, to climb immediately onward along whatever upper staircase might mount from there; stopping for no last look at the carrion abominations that pawed and genuflected some seventy or eighty feet below—yet a sudden repetition of that thunderous corpse-gurgle and death-rattle chorus, coming as I had nearly gained the top of the flight and showing by its ceremonial rhythm that it was not an alarm of my discovery, caused me to pause and peer cautiously over the parapet.
The monstrosities were hailing something which had poked itself out of the nauseous aperture to seize the hellish fare proffered it. It was something quite ponderous, even as seen from my height; something yellowish and hairy, and endowed with a sort of nervous motion. It was as large, perhaps, as a good-sized hippopotamus, but very curiously shaped. It seemed to have no neck, but five separate shaggy heads springing in a row from a roughly cylindrical trunk; the first very small, the second good-sized, the third and fourth equal and largest of all, and the fifth rather small, though not so small as the first.
Out of these heads darted curious rigid tentacles which seized ravenously on the excessively great quantities of unmentionable food placed before the aperture. Once in a while the thing would leap up, and occasionally it would retreat into its den in a very odd manner. Its locomotion was so inexplicable that I stared in fascination, wishing it would emerge farther from the cavernous lair beneath me.
Then it did emerge. . .  it did emerge, and at the sight I turned and fled into the darkness up the higher staircase that rose behind me; fled unknowingly up incredible steps and ladders and inclined planes to which no human sight or logic guided me, and which I must ever relegate to the world of dreams for want of any confirmation. It must have been a dream, or the dawn would never have found me breathing on the sands of Gizeh before the sardonic dawn-flushed face of the Great Sphinx."

What if the operations in & around Egypt in 1908 were actually a cover for the extermination of something very dangerous? Say the last surviving cults of Stygia of the Robert Howard Conan stories. 

Franz StuckThe Kiss of the Sphinx 

Human foes he did not fear, nor any death by steel or fire. But this was a black land of sorcery and nameless horror. Set the Old Serpent, men said, banished long ago from the Hyborian races, yet lurked in the shadows of the cryptic temples, and awful and mysterious were the deeds done in the nighted shrines." -- Robert E. Howard: "The Hour of the Dragon"
What if the ancient priests of  Atlantis &  Stygia awakened in Egypt around 1900 to 1914  & began to reestablish their hold on the country in secret & earnest. Did the German  Intelligence Bureau for the East know some of the horrifying secrets that various rebels were conspiring with?
What if there were much more ancient tombs under the sands of Memphis & Gaza? The Spring rains may have uncovered exactly the sort of occult help that some of the forces were looking for?  

The German mission in Istanbul

How you may ask? Well after the events of  
I3-5 Desert of Desolation  the local time space continuum has cracked because of the occult forces of the tower of Martek. Now these events have drawn several members of the immoral  Æsir to the areas around Egypt because of the cults activities & summoning especially within the Persian and Egyptian satellite states. So whose behind all of this? 
The hooded priest is in  fact another survivor of Atlantis  similar to Robert Howard's Skull Face. 

An Atlantian survivor of the worst kind that interweaves with Robert  Howard's Steve Costigan character.
"The story stars a character called Steve Costigan but this is not Howard's recurring character, Sailor Steve Costigan. The story is clearly influenced by Sax Rohmer's opus Fu Manchu but substitutes the main Asian villain with a resuscitated Atlantean necromancer (very similar to Kull's arch-foe Thulsa Doom) sitting at the center of a web of crime and intrigue meant to end White/Western world domination."
There is evidence to suggest that Kathulos might have actually been a part of a secret order of necromancers from Atlantis similar to Clark Ashton Smith's The Empire of the Necromancers. Possibly echoing lost survivors of ancient Atlantis showing up in later future epochs of Earth such as Zothique.
What the implications of the appearance of such a cult within World War I is pretty horrid. The main Amazing Adventures ! Rpg rule book  & the Manual of Monsters actually has several Egpytian themed horrors build right in. The mummy lesser & greater are a must, the lich is a perfect stand in for a Kathulos stand in, plus there are several boss level Egyptian horrors build right into the book.

Even bringing capes & beings of extraordinary powers to such a fight isn't going to make one ioata of difference. The War goes on next time other fronts!