Saturday, October 5, 2019

Free Appendix N Download - Oriental Stories v01n01 [1930-10/11] For Your Old School Inspiration

When it comes to the obscure Pulp magazines few outside of certain collectors of the Pulp esoterica have heard of 'Oriental Stories'. For me this was a semial series of the pulps because it contains one of my all time favorites by Robert E. Howard. No not Conan but a modernish Pulp ballad known as 'The  Voice of El-Lil' . This little tale of Babylonian survivals in an African lost world setting has a fiendish sacrifical device worthy of Grimtooth himself.

This isn't a 'white man conquers the natives' tale, oh no this is a men have stumbled upon pocket of horror that has survived into the 20th century. But the history of Oriental Stories is a typical Farnsworth Wright tale; "Oriental Stories, later retitled The Magic Carpet Magazine, was an American pulp magazine of 1930-34, an offshoot of the famous Weird Tales.

Like its parent, it was published by J.C. Henneberger's Popular Fiction Publishing and edited by Farnsworth Wright. As its titles indicate, the magazine specialized in adventure and fantasy stories with Oriental settings and elements. Its stories were largely written by the same distinctive group of authors that filled the pages of Weird Tales, including Robert E. Howard,[1] Otis Adelbert KlineE. Hoffmann PriceClark Ashton Smith, and Frank Owen, among others.[2]
The magazine struggled financially for the entirety of its existence (as indeed did Weird Tales); it was published first bi-monthly, then quarterly, during the grimmest years of the Great Depression. Volume 1 of Oriental Stories consisted of 6 issues that appeared on newsstands from October 1930 through Autumn 1931; Volume 2 comprised only 3 issues in the first half of 1932 (Winter, Spring, Summer). After a six-month hiatus, the first of four quarterly issues of Volume 3 appeared in January 1933, but with the new title The Magic Carpet. ("Oriental Stories combined with The Magic Carpet Magazine," read the masthead of Vol. 3 No. 1, January 1933.) One notable contributor to The Magic Carpet was popular pulp author H. Bedford-Jones.[2] Still unable to muster sufficient circulation, Volume 4 started and ended with the single issue No. 1 in January 1934. The Magic Carpet was then defunct."

The whole affair would find new life as 'The Magic Carpet Magazine' & any Weird Tales fan knows the ins & outs of that magazine as well as its fate. But I'm not really doing this issue justice & the contents are very inspirational to the 'Weird Tales' or Call of Cthlhu style dungeon master that we've come to expect in the OSR:
Oriental Stories [v1 #1, October-November 1930] ed. Farnsworth Wright (Popular Fiction Publishing Company, 25¢, 144pp+, pulp)
fc. · Singapore Nights · von Gelb · cv
4 · The Yellow River · Hung Long Tom · pm
6 · Singapore Nights · Frank Owen · nv
20 · The Man Who Limped [Hamed The Attar] · Otis Adelbert Kline · ss
32 · The White Queen · Francis Hard · nv
49 · Flower Profiles · Hung Long Tom · pm
50 · Strange Bedfellows [Bugs Sinnat] · S. B. H. Hurst · nv
68 · The Tiger’s Eye · Pearl Norton Swet · ss
76 · Eyes Of The Dead · Lieutenant Edgar Gardiner · ss
83 · The Desert Woman · Richard Kent · ss
89 · The Cobra Den · Paul Ernst · ss
98 · The Black Camel · G. G. Pendarves · ss
111 · The Curse · Captain Ed Smith · ss
116 · The Voice Of El-Lil · Robert E. Howard · nv
132 · The Circle Of Illusion · Lottie Lesh · ss
139 · The Souk · [The Editor] · cl
_140 · [extracts from correspondence about transliteration of Arabic names] · T. E. Lawrrence · ms (r)
_140 · [extract from letter] · E. Hoffmann Price · lt

The interior of this issue reads like a who's who of Weird Tales era Pulp magazine tale spinners. The action here is fast, the explanations loose, with plenty of room for the DM to make up his or her own for their campaigns. The same style of Pulp magazine would later on be adapted by 
The Magic Carpet Magazine in October 1933.

But back to 
 'The Voice Of El-Lil' by Robert E. Howard, this is an advanced Babylonian style lost civilivaztion that could be straight out of Hyperborea or an other old school style campaign. Their vicious, deadly, & have the right sort of menace to be another cult faction of the Great Old Ones or some other desparate cult in a lost world. The antagonists featured in the 'The Voice Of El-Lil' by Robert E. Howard are just the sort of edge of the supernatural enemies that might represent a back water cult of a god straight out of Kuntz & Ward's Deities & Demigods. A backwater survival just on the edge of a verdant lost world still feeding their god much needed divine power. Something we see time & again in Robert E. Howard's work. 

There are splashes of racism in these Pulps but if we continue to bury the existence of such pieces of our collective history then we are doomed to repeat them. These splashes of history should & must be dragged out into the light to show how 
ridiculous  they are.

Oriental Stories & 
'The Voice Of El-Lil' by Robert E. Howard remain some of my favorite influences on my old school & OSR games. 
You Can Download 

Oriental Stories v01n01

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