Monday, June 17, 2019

Some OSR Monster Tactics With Kuntz & Ward's Gods, Demi - Gods, & Heroes for original Dungeons & Dragons

"Know, oh prince, that between the years when the oceans drank Atlantis and the gleaming cities, and the years of the rise of the Sons of Aryas, there was an Age undreamed of, when shining kingdoms lay spread across the world like blue mantles beneath the stars - Nemedia, Ophir, Brythunia, Hyberborea, Zamora with its dark-haired women and towers of spider-haunted mystery, Zingara with its chivalry, Koth that bordered on the pastoral lands of Shem, Stygia with its shadow-guarded tombs, Hyrkania whose riders wore steel and silk and gold. But the proudest kingdom of the world was Aquilonia, reigning supreme in the dreaming west.
Hither came Conan the Cimmerian, black-haired, sullen-eyed, sword in hand, a thief, a reaver, a slayer, with gigantic melancholies and gigantic mirth, to tread the jeweled thrones of the Earth under his sandalled feet."

"The Phoenix on the Sword" (1932) By Robert E.Howard 

Over the years I've thumbed through Kuntz & Ward's Gods, Demi - Gods, & Heroes for original Dungeons & Dragons. Its ironic that a supplement that was referred to as an excuse to slay gods, heroes, & other mythological creatures had the opposite effect for me. Back in the Seventies we started with this book because of "Robert E. Howard's Hyborea". No we didn't go around slaying Conan but in fact were barely able to handle some of the Hyborean age's horrors & dungeons. Fact is that nine times outta ten we'd run away. Tonight I'm not so much nostalgia tear   as I'm thinking back to how my uncle put his adventures together. I was musing today about Jason Vey's Grey Elf Age of Conan material. This can help fit together a complete package for the Hyboria Age for original Dungeons & Dragons. Did I mention that its free. 

So where does one actually take into account the fact that the "Robert E. Howard's Hyborea" has tons of opportunities to screw around with the player's PC's. This is a post apocalytic fantasy in the sense that the older world's ruins are existing side by side with the newer age's structures like a giant layer cake. But there's another almost but not quite forgotten aspect in Gods, Demigods, & Heroes that almost everyone forgets . "Numerous cultural monsters appear in this book, including the phoenix, fire snakes, Norse giants, the queen of the earth elementals, and more" there are lots of unique monsters that never appeared anywhere else & these are perfect to take slightly outta context & use with other OSR games or in a Hyborea setting. In fact these monsters are ideally suited to include in other D&D based products.  Several of these monsters besides the obvious Michael Moorcock Elric & Robert E. Howard Conan material there are numerous unique creations waiting to be sprung on some foolish unsuspecting D&D or OSR players. What are the cultures that are in this book? Surprisingly: 
Robert E, Howard's Hyborea
Elric and Melnibone
Eastern Mythos

Any of these can easily be reskinned for a Sword & Sorcery campaign & since we are playing in a post apocalyptic fantasy age these can appear anywhere from the 'old age'. None of the players will be the wiser. But generally speaking they will be reaching for those Monster Manuals. Now by the same token I've flipped several of the monsters in 
Kuntz & Ward's Gods, Demi - Gods, & Heroes for original Dungeons & Dragons for use with Astonishing Swordsmen & Sorcerers of Hyperborea as mid range boss monsters from 'Old Earth'. The tactic worked & the players were in a full panic as we did a full on old school Jack Kirby press into the den of a Finnish monster dwelling in Underborea. The far future world of Hyperborea might be rife with Apocalyptic high level mythological monsters left over from the Apocalypse. They might be really pissed off. 

Not only can  Kuntz & Ward's Gods, Demi - Gods, & Heroes for original Dungeons & Dragons be used for OSR adventure tom foolery but its monsters can also serve the gap for Gamma World first & second edition where a powerful & unexpected horror or two is waiting around the corner for the PC's. 

These are just some of my thoughts tonight on using some of the mythological weirdness of 
Gods, Demi - Gods, & Heroes for original Dungeons & Dragons. The book remains a bit of unsung classic in my estimation. There have been numerous comments about the book's overpowered & stodgy for 2019. I think that these folks are full of it & not getting enough sunlight. Over all I think that Gods, Demi - Gods, & Heroes for original Dungeons & Dragons  is a must for any serious DM in my opinion. For now keep em rolling! 

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