Wednesday, October 23, 2019

Appendix N - Strange Aeons of Frank Belknap Long & OSR Campaign Construction

Sleep sometimes eludes me for days at a clip & when that happens I reach back to my days reading 'The Dragon' Magazine, my uncle's collection of Pulp magazines, & my thoughts of 'those things'. My own particular brush with the writings of  Frank Belknap Long came in the Fall of '86. I was sick with pneumonia & my uncle brought my folks a stack of Pulp magazines. In the stack was the July '37 issue sealed in it's acid free mylar bag. The cover art was by Virgil Finlay & by today's standards it doesn't seem like much. But the contents of this issue?


The contents of this issue of Weird Tales read like a whose who of the Lovecraft circle of writers;

You can read the July '37 issue of Weird Tales for free right over here. But let's get back to the fact that I was running a hundred plus temperature & had the most vivid dreams about the Hounds of Tindalos. On Youtube I came across a fantastic video on the Hounds of Tindalos from the folks at Pulp Crazy.

So what do the Hounds of Tindalos have to do with old school Dungeons & Dragons or its titular retroclones? Since I've been messing around with time travel as of late because of writing up & zipping around the Godbound Rpg & Venger's Cha'alt megadungeon/rpg. There's been a lot of thought about H.P. Lovecraft's Shadow Out of Time on my mind lately. This always brings me back to Star Trek especially the classic episode  City on the Edge of Forever.  Those damn time/space gates from City on the Edge of Forever leak & ooze Great Race of Yith technologies to me. Harlan Ellison once called this sort of thing,'f@#king nonsense'. But to a kid watching evening Star Trek episodes out of New York's channel eleven on Monday afternoon. The fannon connections were made. In my mind these Guardians were created to keep the Hounds of Tindalos at bay.

The Guardian straight from the Memory Alpha site. 

Not only were the 'Guardians of Forever' created to keep the local time space continuum's safe but for the Great Race of Yith to experiment on their own time & alternative world projects. We saw this sort of time alteration &  time manipulation happen in the  episode of Star Trek 's 
City on the Edge of Forever.  This sort of alteration seemed almost routine for the Guardian.
Which means could there be alternative alien time lines & worlds or mini planes created by the Great Race as means of experimentation?! Place & time so dangerous or weirdly immical to humanty or places where even the gods fear to tread?! These may be the hunting ground for the Hounds of Tindalos. This brings up Advanced Dungeons & Dragons  Kuntz & Ward's Deities & Demigods. 

If these sorts of trans cosmic time ghettos & dungeons do exist then perhaps part of the reason that the Godbound might be recruited to shut these places down before the Hounds of Tindalos invade the normal flow of space time. I can see the Egyptian patheon god Ptah doing exactly this sort of adventure hook.
Gotta love that classic Jeff Dee artwork here.

What makes the Hounds of Tindalos so utterly alien & dangerous? The wiki entry on the Hounds of Tindalos makes it utterly clear but doesn't do justice to the sheer terror of these horrors from beyond time; "In Frank Belknap Long's original story, which deals with the main character experimenting in time travel with the help of psychedelic drugs and esoteric artifacts, the Hounds are said to inhabit the angles of time, while other beings (such as humankind and all common life) descend from curves.

Though the Hounds are sometimes pictured as canine, probably because of the evocative name, their appearance is unknown, since neither Long nor Lovecraft describe them, arguing they are too foul to ever be described.[2] Long's story states that their name "veils their foulness". It is said that they have long, hollow tongues or proboscises to drain victims' body-fluids, and that they excrete a strange blue pus or ichor. They can materialize through any corner if it is fairly sharp—120° or less. When a Hound is about to manifest, it materializes first as smoke pouring from the corner, and finally the head emerges followed by the body. It is said that once a human becomes known to one of these creatures, a Hound of Tindalos will pursue the victim through anything to reach its quarry. A person risks attracting their attention by travelling through time." 
Seriously go read the original story by F.B. Long for the real impact of the sheer cosmic weirdness that the Hounds play. Even with the word of Time from Godbound I somehow doubt that the PC's might be able to handle the sheer alieness of the Hounds. They are & remain one of my favorite though feared creations of Mr.Long. 

An asside here for a moment to say that I'm eternally grateful to the fans & admirers of Mr.Long who made sure that he recieved a proper burial with his beloved wife after his passing in '94; "Long's literary output slowed down after 1977, with his gothic The Lemoyne Heritage. He published several scattered stories in the 1980s including the story chapbook "Rehearsal Night" (Pub: Thomas L. Owen,1981) and one episode in the round-robin sequence Ghor Kin-Slayer (Necronomicon Press, 1997). He and his wife lived in extreme poverty during the 1980s and 1990s in an apartment in Chelsea, Manhattan - a period documented in Peter Cannon's memoir Long Memories (1997).
In 1987, Long was awarded the Bram Stoker Award for Lifetime Achievement (from the Horror Writers Association).
Long, though confined to a wheelchair, was a Guest of Honour at the H.P. Lovecraft Centennial Conference in Providence, Rhode Island, in 1990, where he spoke on panels regarding his memories of his great friend and literary mentor.
Long died of pneumonia on January 3, 1994 at the age of 92 at Saint Vincent's Catholic Medical Center in Manhattan, after a seven-decade career as a writer and editor.[1] He was briefly survived by his wife, Lyda.
Due to his poverty, he was interred in a potter's field for indigents. Friends and colleagues, on learning of this indignity, had his remains moved and reinterred at New York City's Woodlawn Cemetery, in a family plot near that of Lovecraft's grandparents. A graveside ceremony on Nov 3 1995 was attended by such figures as Scott D. Briggs, Peter Cannon, Stefan Dziemianowicz, Ben P. Indick, S. T. Joshi, T.E.D. Klein and others and with a poignant homily delivered by the Rev. Robert M. Price. On Nov 17, 1995 the actual interment of Long's body took place, an event witnessed by Peter Cannon, Ben P. Indick and S. T. Joshi. Long's fans contributed over $3,000 to have his name engraved upon the central shaft of his burial plot.[9] Lyda died shortly after Frank;[9] her ashes were scattered on his grave." 

 But back to using the Hounds of Tindalos,many wizards who use divinitation to gaze into the far past at the creation of the planes & multiverse could attract the attention of the Hounds of Tindalos. The victim must save vs wands to avert the attention of the hounds when using his or her tool of divinitation.
The hounds themselves if they appear within the angles of a wizard's laboratory will level drain a victim every two or three rounds. Only a dispel creature of time & space or a Wish spell will banish the alien foulness of the hounds.

Hound of Tindalos miniature  by Reaper 

October seems like the proper month to be thinking of the dread Hounds of Tindalos & their creator. I'm thinking of releasing them onto an unsuspecting group of players very soon! Mr. Frank Belknap Long is gone but far from forgotten! 

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