Monday, July 15, 2019

Going Down Deep - Astonishing Swordsmen & Sorcerers of Hyperborea Campaign Workshop & White Dwarf Issue Seventy Commentary

"Until about three years ago, the peculiar town of Port Greely was renowned as a prolific exporter of crustaceans. Then the Greely lobstermen severed all ties with outside partners. Subsequent attempts at renegotiation were shunned.

More recently, a small group of Fishmongers’ Guild representatives from the City-State of Khromarium has gone missing in Port Greely, and answers have been less than forthcoming. At present, the Guild seeks answers. It wants to know what became of its representatives, and it wishes to re-establish its lucrative partnership with the Port Greely lobstermen. Your party have been contracted to help resolve The Mystery at Port Greely."

So last night I got a call from DM Cole whose a gentlemen I met a book swap some years ago & he runs an Astonishing Swordsmen & Sorcerers of Hyperborea/AD&D mash up game. He has for some years now. He's been putting his group through their paces with The Mystery At Port Greely & the recent 5th edition Saltmarsh hardback. Once all of the Deep One menace has been solved then what? 
Baring in mind that all of this took place over a year's time & that he's dealing with 8 or so players in a small  New York state town. I began to wrack my brains as to how to continue the campaign until Cole told me something very interesting he'd recently picked up a crate of the old run of White Dwarf magazines. 'Do you have issue 70 in there by any chance?' I waited with baited breath. 'Yes.. why?'   'We've just solved your campaign issue.'  Here's how we continue'.  

White Dwarf issue Seventy has three things going for it besides coming out in '77 it features a particularly nasty adventure titled 'In Too Deep'. Now this is a perfect side quest for making the Salt Marsh & Port Geely campaign cycle continue! Besides the Williams cover artwork that could be used as the 'big bad villain' of the campaign. This issue features the following ;"
The Role-Playing Games Monthly. In this issue: Reunion - A Golden Heroes Caper. Plus: In Too Deep - Aquatic AD&D Adventure. Cover by Williams. Cover price $3.00."
All of this blends very nicely with the recent  fifth edition Sinister Secret of Saltmarsh book that came out some months ago. 

But let's talk about The Mystery of Port Greely here for a moment & what it actually means to the campaign. The Deep Ones are making a very orchestrated move on Hyperborea & its no secret that using this adventure is going put the horrors of Deep Ones center stage. The church of Dagon is going to be bring a power play to all of the shores of Hyperborea. I hope that DM Cole's group of players is going to be up to what he's got planned?!

The Sword & Sorcery action is going to be flying high & hard in this campaign path. Most of the PC's are middle levels now so they should be able to weather some of the coming Deep One storm. I believe that we're gonna see much more dangerous versions of these Lovecraft favorites trotted out. There have already been a few deaths here & there; 
Lovecraft provides a description of the Deep Ones in The Shadow Over Innsmouth:
I think their predominant color was a greyish-green, though they had white bellies. They were mostly shiny and slippery, but the ridges of their backs were scaly. Their forms vaguely suggested the anthropoid, while their heads were the heads of fish, with prodigious bulging eyes that never closed. At the sides of their necks were palpitating gills, and their long paws were webbed. They hopped irregularly, sometimes on two legs and sometimes on four. I was somehow glad that they had no more than four limbs. Their croaking, baying voices, clearly used for articulate speech, held all the dark shades of expression which their staring faces lacked ... They were the blasphemous fish-frogs of the nameless design—living and horrible.

 Knowing DM Cole like I do, there are several things that I can see happening here; 
  1. He's gonna lean even more heavily on the The Mystery of Port Greely which means that his players are likely to see a heavy Lovecraft influence throughout the campaign. 
  2. The Clark Ashton Smith Poseidonis  cycle is going to get a lot of table top air time. So given that his players better bone up on spells & their 'A' game. 
  3. Cole's got the option of fusing this campaign with D1-2 Descent Into The Depths of the Earth By Gary Gygax. That launches the campaign into a very different direction 
  4. There might be a few Deep One Hybrid turn coats among the party of adventurers already this was something we spoke about last night. 
  5. There's complications with the royals of the capital city of Hyperborea already and some of the guilds this could play out with assassinations especially of the adventurers. 
  6. Family members of some of the adventurers might be infected with Deep One taint already. 
  7. Some of the treasures that the adventurers have taken might be cursed and dark magick might already be at work among the party. 
  8. There might be Altantis's royal  influence among the background ranks of the campaign 
  9. Some of the PC's home towns along the sea coasts of Hyperborea might already have gone up in flames. 
  10. I believe that given DM Cole's plans many of the Deep One activity might be a prelude to more dire Great Old One action in his campaign. 

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