Friday, May 17, 2019

An Arthurian Take On G1-3 Against the Giants (1e) By Gary Gygax As Old School Campaign

"Giants have been raiding the lands of men in large bands, with giants of different sorts in these marauding groups. Death and destruction have been laid heavily upon every place these monsters have visited. A party of the bravest and most powerful adventurers has been assembled and given the charge to punish the miscreant giants. "

Its been a busy last two days & its been very interesting to say the least. But I've been doing a lot of thinking about the Against the Giants series of modules &  the Descent Into The Depths of the Earth.  The campaign  adventure overarching  plot  is outlined in the wiki entry;
"The D-series itself is part of a larger overall campaign of adventures set in the World of Greyhawk campaign setting. The overall campaign begins with the three modules in the Against the Giants series, continues through the D-series, and concludes with module Q1 Queen of the Demonweb Pits. The latter segments of the campaign, including the D-series and module Q1, are set in a vast network of caverns and tunnels called the Underdark."

I've been doing a lot of thinking about how to incorporate this whole series into an Arthurian style OSR campaign. The entry point for such a campaign would be Welsh mythology specifically;"
Culhwch and Olwen (WelshCulhwch ac Olwen) is a Welsh tale that survives in only two manuscripts about a hero connected with Arthur and his warriors: a complete version in the Red Book of Hergest, ca. 1400, and a fragmented version in the White Book of Rhydderch, ca. 1325. " When you start looking at the overall manipulation by the Drow it reminds me of the Fey court's meddling in many of the Arthurian tales;

"Culhwch's father, King Cilydd son of Celyddon, loses his wife Goleuddydd after a difficult childbirth. When he remarries, the young Culhwch rejects his stepmother's attempt to pair him with his new stepsister. Offended, the new queen puts a curse on him so that he can marry no one besides the beautiful Olwen, daughter of the giant Ysbaddaden Pencawr. Though he has never seen her, Culhwch becomes infatuated with her, but his father warns him that he will never find her without the aid of his famous cousin Arthur. The young man immediately sets off to seek his kinsman. He finds him at his court in Celliwig in Cornwall; this is one of the earliest instances in literature or oral tradition of Arthur's court being assigned a specific location and a valuable source of comparison with the court of Camelot or Caerleon as depicted in later Welsh, English and continental Arthurian legends."

"Culhwch at Ysbaddaden's court. An illustration by E. Wallcousins in Celtic Myth & Legend, Charles Squire, 1920 "Horses shall I have, and chivalry; and my Lord and kinsman Arthur will obtain for me all these things. And I shall gain thy daughter, and thou shalt lose thy life." "Go forward...and when thou hast compassed all these marvels, thou shalt have my daughter for thy wife.""
"Arthur agrees to help, and sends six of his finest warriors (CaiBedwyrGwalchmeiGwrhyr Gwalstawd IeithoeddMenw son of Tairgwaedd and Cynddylig Gyfarwydd) to join Culhwch in his search for Olwen. The group meets some relatives of Culhwch's that know Olwen and agree to arrange a meeting. Olwen is receptive to Culhwch's attraction, but she cannot marry him unless her father agrees, and he, unable to survive past his daughter's wedding, will not consent until Culhwch completes a series of about forty impossible-sounding tasks. The completion of only a few of these tasks is recorded and the giant is killed, leaving Olwen free to marry her lover." Seems pretty straight forward right?! Arthurian court gets involved with the Welsh giant courts & all is put right.. Or is it? What happens if the events of say G1-2 are actually the result of 
Culhwch's father, King Cilydd son of Celyddon, being played by the Dark Elves of the Underworld? Think about it?! A king loses his wife & is now emotionally vulnerable to manipulations of evil Fey?? 
Make no mistake that Arthur sending in his finest warriors is a tactically sound move especially 
CaiBedwyrGwalchmeiGwrhyr Gwalstawd IeithoeddMenw son of Tairgwaedd and Cynddylig Gyfarwydd. Freeing of  Mabon ap Modron from his watery prison has more then a few consequences for Ysbaddaden Bencawr; "Ysbaddaden, Chief of Giants,".

Why? Because the Drow are after all out war between the humans & the Fey races. A war of ultimate extinction & Arthur's warriors are the ultimate stabilizing force except for family & marriage as peace time contract.  Ysbaddaden Bencawr
; "Ysbaddaden, Chief of Giants is a magic using giant of no small standing. He's a high level enchanter & warrior of renowned among the giants. In fact I've seen his preserved head used as a relic in certain campaigns. the preserved head is able to summon a planar door to his castle in Fairyland.
This is only the start of this Arthurian commentary & I've got some thoughts about expanding & what the far reaching consequences of such a campaign might be. 

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