Friday, January 17, 2020

"To Save X2: "Castle Amber (Chateau d' Amberville)" by Tom Moldvay - Epic Campaign Plot


"Trapped in the mysterious Castle Amber, you find yourselves cut off form the world you know. The castle is fraught with peril. Members of the strange Amber family, some insane, some merely deadly, lurk around every corner. Somewhere in the castle is the key to your escape, but can you survive long enough to find it?"



X2 Castle Amber remains one of my all time favorite modules of all times & its history is a woven tapestry of old school awesomeness; "X2: "Castle Amber (Chateau d' Amberville)" (1981), by Tom Moldvay, is the second Expert level Basic D&D adventure. It was published in 1981." But over the years I've heard various bits & bobs of crap about using  in my current Cha'alt/Godbound campaign. Now I've gotten a mensure of crap the other day about using the  Adventurer,Conqueror,King rpg & not using Troll Lords Castles & Crusades instead. 
Well actually because I'm using Godbound as my OSR base or backbone system that means I can convert the OSR systems as needed. 
And this is something that is inherit within the Castle Keeper's Guide by Troll Lords. Both of these are very different OSR systems. 



So what does any of this have to do with X2 Castle Amber by Tom Moldvay? Well just about everything. Province of Averoigne by Clark Ashton Smith is one of the premeire realms he created in the small fictional French providence. The whole cycle comes down to this series of short stories:
Beast of Averoigne, The (1933)
Colossus of Ylourgne, The (1933)
Disinterment of Venus, The (1934)
Enchantress of Sylaire, The (1941)
End of the Story, The (1930)
Holiness of Az├ędarc, The (1933)
Maker of Gargoyles, The (1932)
Mandrakes, The (1933)
Mother of Toads (1934)
Rendezvous in Averoigne, A (1931)
Satyr, The (1931) [Variant Conclusion to "The Satyr"]


X2 Castle Amber by Tom Moldvay is literally the most Lovecraftian or Smithian module that's ever been created. Here we have a ton of H.P. Lovecraft references thrown into the mix of the module as Easter eggs. But these are more then that! These are adventure & campaign opportunities! The fact is that the wizard-noble Stephen Amber (Etienne d'Amberville) is in fact a Ravenloft like lord & the castle along with its attendant grounds could show up just about anywhere. Yes in Godbound you play cosmically powered gods capable of wrecking an entire campaign! Well again not really.. You play PC's who have been granted some measure of cosmic & god like mythological power. But against the likes of  "Castle Amber (Chateau d' Amberville)" your PC's are gonna die. 



The castle plays by its own rules just as its owner Stephen Amber (Etienne d'Amberville) does. And he's an arch magician of the highest caliber & in fact capable of being one of the driving forces within his realm. But his realm always seemed to me straight outta of the demi plane of Ravenloft's play book. 


If the PC's are in California whist the Cha'alt wave has been lapping along the local reality. Could this draw 
Stephen Amber (Etienne d'Amberville) to plane shift his realm over & then the strain of the action causes him to die?!  There are six great castles already within California & the infliction of another might not be noticed whist the chaos of Cha'alt is already happening. With the death of the arch magician the PC's might end up having to save Castle Amber!

From the Adventurer,Conqeuror, King perspective the entire realm is up for grabs! But they might not know that the realm has the Ravenloft curse attached to it!


But there's whole other aspect to this campaign plot & this is where 
 Troll Lords Castles & Crusades excels with Cha'alt. There are literally dozens of wizards who are gonna be gunning to raid & loot the personal stash of the wizard-noble Stephen Amber (Etienne d'Amberville) from Cha'alt. Heroes & PC's are going to be needed to not only save the castle but also to return the castle back to its home realm of Province of Averoigne! But there's also the fact that wizards from the realm of Glantri are also going to be on the attack. The wizard-noble Stephen Amber (Etienne d'Amberville) is like a saint to these mad wizards especially from the Dark Glantri version of Mystara conjured from the Vaults of Pandius website by Andrew Theisen

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