Thursday, December 19, 2019

A Touch of Amber - Tom Moldvay's X2 Castle Amber & OSR Round About Session Report Six

Its been a relentless kind of couple of days. We've been buried under with work but there hasn't been a moment when my campaign hasn't been on my mind. I've been thinking about Tom Moldvay's X2 Castle Amber. X2: ""Castle Amber (Chateau d' Amberville)" (1981), by Tom Moldvay, is the second Expert level Basic D&D adventure. It was published in 1981 " this is the official history of the module. My own experiences with it over the years have been very dramatic.

The reason for this is the royal wizard mover & shaker the wizard-noble Stephen Amber (Etienne d'Amberville). He's apparent in numerous campaigns & adventures as the 'hand that moves' villain whose influence can be seen & felt in the campaign  background. A couple of campaigns ago my player's PC party was involved on a series of misadventures on  my version of CAS's Zothique.
But Stephen Amber is the noble wizard  ruler of 
Averoigne & one of the wizard guardians of France in the Dark Europe of my games. He's the equivalant of CAS god wizard Maal Dweb & the two frequently play chess with the lives of adventurers.
Both of these wizards would be the match for a group of Godbound & are they themselves Godbound with the sorcery word. But even the children of gods are limited by the filter of other plane's Prime Earth's laws & rules of magic as well as the supernatural.
This brings me to the fact that over the years I've used 
 Averoigne  as a providence of the Dark Albion setting. And the supplement Cults of Chaos as the basis for various cults of Great Old Ones & Outer Gods in a wide variety of old school & OSR venues. Both books remain favorites of mine & are easily used in a wide variety of old school & OSR venues. 

So what does any of this have to do with Venger Satanis's Cha'alt & my California campaign? Well there's still the nagging problem of a group of bounty hunters & adventurer trackers who are after my current party of adventurers. T
he wizard-noble Stephen Amber (Etienne d'Amberville) doesn't forgive or forget & his vengence reaches across space & time. 
But with the influence of the religions of  Cha'alt the threat of chaos is always present. There can be no quarter given. Make no mistake that this is war.  The 
alien control known as Elysium continues to make sure of this. The slavers of the Scourge of the Slave Lords series   are taking full advantage of this & snatching some of the population. But the demon worms of Cha'alt have this Earth within their sights. They aim for conquest & war! The alters will run purple if they have their way!

You may have noticed that I mix gonzo & serious titles with abandoned. This is a trend that I notice that Dungeon Crawl Classics rpg adventures & many other OSR titles do with no problem. So why shouldn't I? So I've been taking full advantage of this & going back to the source material. Not only Zothique but my notes for my Castles & Crusades romp in Zothique some months ago. If Zothique is the Earth after the Old Ones have long left where does that leave Cha'alt?! Hmm I began to dig through the ruins of notes & ideas from long ago. The thing about Venger is that he makes no mistake about his influences. That led me back to one of my treasures from the stacks namely 'The Dune Encyclopedia'.  The book sells these days for stupid prices but its one of my favorite sources of all things 'Dune'. The fact is that Frank Herbet's Dune books draw on a considerable amount of real world history for their fictional background. The Dark Albion books taught me that history is a very dark & rich tapestry of blood shed indeed for dungeon masters to draw on. It certainly keeps the players entertained. But 'The Dune Encyclopedia' takes the material from Dune in very weird directions. 
The Dune Encyclopedia By 
Willis E. McNelly is one of those books that Dune Fanatics love; "
The Dune Encyclopedia is a 1984 collection of essays written by Willis E. McNelly and multiple other contributors as a companion to Frank Herbert's Dune series of science fiction novels. Though approved by Herbert, his own introduction rendered the Encyclopedia non-canon."

If I want to fill in Cha'alt & its desert environs quickly & make them your own then this is the book that I'd use. Its a treasure I've had for decades now & like Hypeborea my own version of Cha'alt will have decades of play. Now the question is with the wizard-noble Stephen Amber (Etienne d'Amberville) aware of California what will he do now?! 

No comments:

Post a Comment

Note: Only a member of this blog may post a comment.