Sunday, April 14, 2019

Goodman Games Original Adventures Reincarnated series 2 The Isle of Dread, Clark Ashton Smith's Zothique, & More Amazing Campaign Design

"An adventure for levels 3-7. Goodman Games expands its partnership with Wizards of the Coast with the second release in the Original Adventures Reincarnated line! The first installment, Into the Borderlands, is already a best-seller, and this second release will transform a hit title into a hit product line. OAR 2: The Isle of Dread brings back the very first wilderness adventure ever published by Wizards of the Coast. This tutorial adventure by legendary designers Zeb Cook and Tom Moldvay was included in the D&D Expert Set and has been seen by millions of gamers. Now the 1E edition is released in hardcover form, accompanied by a 5E conversion and expansion."

Once again I'm late to the adventuring party but thanks to the generous support of one of my patrons I was gifted a copy of Goodman Games 
 Original Adventures Reincarnated series 2 The Isle of Dread.  This is the second installment, republishes the original Isle of Dread, along side a complete 5e update with added material to expand the island into a complete mini-campaign setting. And this is where things get very interesting for me as a dungeon master.  I started reading through this module & I kept thinking about Clark Ashton Smith's Zothique &  classic OSR Astonishing Swordsmen & Sorcerers of Hyperborea

But why there's a mini campaign set right within Goodman Games  Original Adventures Reincarnated series 2 The Isle of Dread? Well that's really the key here. The idea is that the island itself is dimenionally unstable. Its a part of the plane of Water & it exists in Zothique at the same time. How can I justify this? Well in a letter to  L. Sprague de Camp, Clark Ashton Smith explains his origins of 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.
Darrell Schweitzer suggests the idea of writing about a far future land may have come from William Hope Hodgson's novel The Night Land, noting that Smith was an admirer of Hodgson's work.[2] However this theory was conclusively disproves by Scott Conner’s "Dust and Atoms: The Influence of William Hope Hodgson on Clark Ashton Smith" in Sargasso#2 (2016), the scholarly journal devoted to Hodgson."

Now even though Hodgson far future theory was disproven by Scott Conner’s "Dust and Atoms: The Influence of William Hope Hodgson on Clark Ashton Smith" in Sargasso#2 (2016) we're going to go with it for campaign OSR  completeness sake. This means that my Amazing Adventures! rpg heroes could in effect end up stuck within the Goodman Games  Original Adventures Reincarnated series 2 The Isle of Dread. Even though legendary designers Zeb Cook and Tom Moldvay X1 Isle of Dread  was included in the D&D Expert Set there's still room for more expansion by including the material from the Vaults of Pandius  the Free Threshold Issue 3: The Sea of Dread & Issue 4: The Sea of Dread material but a lot of adaption is required here for the far future world of Zothique. 

It doesn't take a genius to see that using the free  D20 Zothique book would fit right into an OSR campaign plan to adapt X3 Isle of Dread into the world Zothique. CAS Zothique becomes in effect one of the titular 'lost worlds' of my campaigns. A place of castaways & prehistoric horror. The monsters of the 
Amazing Adventures! Manual of Monsters fit right into the background of such a campaign to expand upon the existing Isle of Dread material.

But how does all of this fit in together especially with Astonishing Swordmen & Sorcerers of Hyperborea?! What roll does the serpent people play?! Tune in tomorrow true Pulp believers! 

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