Sunday, May 31, 2020

Among The Fairy Haunted Halls of B3 Palace of the Silver Princess By Moldvay & Wells For Your Old School Campaigns

Are there hidden agents of chaos scattered across Dark Europe? Have there been cults of chaos within European confines for thousands of years since before the time of the Roman occupation of Europe? What are  the connections to a TSR classic adventure & Arthurian legend?
Let dive right into the deep end of the royal gene pool!

Now I've talked about the '81 John Boorman cultclassic film Excilbur on yesterday's blog post & some of the familial connections its had in my games over years. And let's talk a bit about the connections between adventure locations, NPC bloodlines, & classic era TSR adventures. Everything revolves around the Le Fey family  because they're  the last bastion of the Elven bloodlines on Earth in Dark Europe.
Because there isn't just one Morgan Le Fey there are many daughters in the Le Fey line especially when we get into the 13th-century Old French romances of the Lancelot-Grail (the Vulgate Cycle) & some of the early Arthurian works:
"Morgan first appears by name in Vita Merlini, written by Norman-Welsh cleric Geoffrey of Monmouth. Purportedly an account of the wizard Merlin's later adventures, it elaborates some episodes from Geoffrey's more famous earlier work, Historia Regum Britanniae (1136). In Historia, Geoffrey relates how King Arthur, seriously wounded by Mordred at the Battle of Camlann, is taken off to the blessed Isle of Apple Trees (Latin Insula Pomorum), Avalon, to be healed. In Vita Merlini, he describes this island in more detail and names Morgen as the chief of nine magical queen sisters who dwell there, capable of shapeshifting and flying,[13] and using their powers only for good.[14] Her sisters' names are Moronoe, Mazoe, Gliten, Glitonea, Gliton, Tyronoe, Thiten and Thiton.[15][16][17] Morgan retains this role as Arthur's other-worldly healer in much later literature, and Geoffrey might have been inspired by the 1st-century Roman cartographer Pomponius Mela, who described an oracle at the Île de Sein off the coast of Brittany and its nine virgin priestesses believed by the Gauls to have the powers of curing disease and performing various other marvelous magic, such as controlling the sea through incantations, foretelling future, and changing themselves into any animal.[18] In Lanzelet, written by the end of the 12th century by Ulrich von Zatzikhoven, the infant Lancelot is spirited away by a water fairy (merfeine in Old High German) and raised in her paradise island country of Meidelant ("Land of Maidens"); his water fairy queen might be related to Geoffrey's Morgen of Avalon."
That's right kids the relationship between the Morgan line & Arthur's is  as complex & convoluted as anything you'll find in Tolkein or Game of Thrones. Because the Morgan line are Elven bloodlines that have been watching & tending mankind this entire time all across Europe. Each one has a witch cult,grove, or mystery cult as well as  other connection to Fairyland and even perhaps gasp HP Lovecraft's Deep Ones?! There are a number of lost under water kingdoms in Celtic folklore that might have connections to various locations taken back by the Deep Ones. Again another blog entry for another time.

Why would the royals of  Morgan line be allowed to continue across Europe then?! Because as I said their relationship to the crown heads of Europe is complex and familial. The families have produced some of the premiere doctors, healers, lawyers, merchants etc. in all of Europe some of whom are beyond reproach;

"Prior to the cyclical Old French prose, the appearances of Morgan are few. The 12th-century French poet Chrétien de Troyes mentions her in his first romance Erec and Enide, completed around 1170. In it, a love of Morgan is Guinguemar, the Lord of the Isle of Avalon and a nephew of King Arthur, a derivative of the legendary Breton hero Guingamor.[19] Guingamor's own tale by Marie de France has him in relation to the beautiful magical entity known only as the "fairy mistress",[20] who was later identified by Thomas Chestre's Sir Launfal as Dame Tryamour, the daughter of the King of the Celtic Otherworld, and who shares many characteristics with Chrétien's Morgan.[21][22] It was noted that even Chrétien' earliest mention of Morgan already shows an enmity between her and Queen Guinevere, and although Morgan is represented only in benign role by Chrétien, she resides in a mysterious place known as the Vale Perilous (which some later authors say she has created as a place of punishment for unfaithful knights).[18][23] She is later mentioned in the same poem when Arthur provides the wounded hero Erec with a healing balm made by his sister Morgan. This episode both affirms her early role as a healer and provides the first mention of Morgan as Arthur's sister; healing is Morgan's chief ability, but Chrétien also hints at her potential to harm.[24] Chrétien again refers to Morgan as a great healer in his later romance Yvain, the Knight of the Lion, in an episode in which the Lady of Norison restores the maddened hero to his senses with a magical potion provided by Morgan the Wise. While Modron is the mother of Owain mab Urien in Welsh literature, and Morgan would be assigned this role in later French literature, this first continental association between Sir Ywain and Morgan does not imply they are son and mother; she is first mentioned as Ywain's mother in the early 13th-century Breton lai Tyolet."
The Morgan line are not simply healers but tacticians, events did not go as planned with the Camelot affair & after Arthur's death Avalon's return to the world of men didn't happen.

How bad did events get?! Well when dealing with Chaos & the occult events are unpredictable & highly dangerous. B3 Palace of the Silver Princess might be the perfect old school example of another adventure location taken off to Fairyland whose chaos energies have warped the entire classic adventure location. Let me get this bit out of the way; "Palace of the Silver Princess is an adventure module for the Dungeons & Dragons Basic Set. It was recalled on the same day it was released, then rewritten and re-released some months later. The original version, with an orange cover, was written in 1980 by Jean Wells.[2][3] When the orange version was recalled (and most copies destroyed), the module was rewritten by Tom Moldvay and released with a green cover. Writing credit on the second version was given to both Moldvay and Wells, although there was very little of Wells' original content in Moldvay's version."

So The Thirty Years War is raging across Europe and the PC's are on the border of France's wastelands and battlefields. The PC encounter evil creatures that have taken over the palace after one of the more bloody battles which puts events of B3 right around the Catholic Intervention.
So why the Catholic Intervention? Because the violence & bloodshed has warped the country depicted in B3 right back into the world. The Morgan line's curse was responsible for its disappearance in the first place. All of this time its been in Fairyland its been warped by the energies of chaos. What sort of possible Lovecraftian powers might have had a claw in this? Clark Ashton Smith's Mother of Toads (1934) goes into the dark connections to a possible source?!

This isn't a simple dungeon crawl as its a fight for survival against some terrible odds against the backdrop of the Thirty Years War. Because B3's adventure location has been warping in and out of reality for a long time and time does not pass in our world as it does in the palace. So there are bound to be an NPC cast  of adventurers and fortune seekers from across history within the palace.  The palace's inhabitants and monsters are native to Fairyland but is there evidence of the Morgan line's connection to the palace and events of The Thirty Years War?! Will the Morgans let the PC's live if they manage to escape the palace?
Contemporary painting showing the Battle of White Mountain (1620), where Imperial-Spanish forces under Johann Tserclaes, Count of Tilly won a decisive victory.

Let's face it, B3 Palace of the Silver Princess is a mess of an adventure but it adaptable to a wide variety of campaign settings and circumstances. By weaving a bit of Arthurian literature into the mix and some real world history we get a great backdrop for an alternative  Lion & Dragon retroclone setting. More to come! 

Saturday, May 30, 2020

Dretches On Hold Enter Sir John & Philip - Tegel Manor Session Report #4

So in last night's Castles & Crusades/Victorious rpg game one of my player's completely had his PC walk right by the important NPC & the build location within Tegel Manor Village. Then the PC had a confrontation with a group of dire bats & was able to nail one of them. That's when the PC stumbled across the corpse of an adventurer named Philip Le Diamona. Philip had been beheaded & his corpse cooling in the night air. Our adventurer had literally just arrived in Tegel Manor Village.. He somehow had gotten all of Philip's equipment. 

The adventurer in question was a bounty hunter who working for Amazon Mutual . Amazon mutual basically recover adventurer's bodies for resurrection contracts. The village watch walking along the village road meeting Philip Le Diamona mistook the PC for him. They led him back to the village lock up where he was confronted by Sir John the slayer. Sir John had destroyed a local bar down to the foundation killing everyone within! His bounty was being picked up by Baron Ronald Rump & the bounty was to be turned over to Sir John's enemy the Duke De Lamont in 1870! That didn't happen.
After a series of rolls & lots of role playing the PC was able to get Sir John into his custody & even blag a cargo wagon. But they went back to grab Philip Le Diamona corpse for resurrection at the local temple of Freya where arrangements had been made ahead of time.
For now the PC agreed to take the place of Philip Le Diamona's role with Sir John on the recovery of adventurer's contract.

Switch to my other player's whose been keeping an eye on Bark & Byte bar. Where the bard was keeping an eye on the interests of the Romps. That's when a very attractive girl walked in & bought the bard a drink everything went down hill. Our other player's new PC walked into the village & found one of the 'local's feeding on a group of sailors. He went into melee with her & it was on! The melee took the better part of a half an hour. The dice were flying & he got off a very lucky shot. The player staked her! 

Deodanth concept art by Greg Espinosa for the Arduin Monster Cards,1977 The attractive lady in bar went white & her skin changed shape into a deodanth momentarily as they left the bar with the two sailor victims that they had charmed. The bard followed the 'girls' & the PC's got into straight one on one combat & things turned nasty! There was a ton of melee action as one of the PC's let loose. The player's weren't taking changes with these deodanth vampire sisters. The ladies were stalked after a longed out & dragged out melee. Then the player's PC's were confronted by the vampire's spawn who had shape changed into wolves.
Wolf, Fuchs und Schaf by Christopher Paudi 
The bard dropped two chem ex grenades he had grabbed on his time on Cha'alt. And then the whole scene turned into an inferno! The vampire sisters, the spawn, & the sailor victims were all destroyed. All except one spawn who got away who fled to the Manor & went back to his master's side!

This leaves the question of where & when they will be dealing with the manor, the slavers, the pirates, & the undeath influence of the Romp's legacy. So what do I do to deal with really bring the needle up to eleven with my take on the Undead. And that's where James & Jodi Mishler's Ghosts the Incorporal Undead comes in. The perfect little gem to add into the alien weirdness of Tegel Manor & the rest of this nasty little business of a campaign.

I'm already working on a few James Ward Tainted Lands NPC's to sprinkle into the back ground of Tegel Manor village. There's also a number of ghost cults that have been rattling in the back of my demented mind.
The liches of Orcus are also on the boil a council of lich royals that control several of the cults of the undead demon lord but what's the connection to the Romps!?

Friday, May 29, 2020

Make The Damned Great Again - Tegel Manor Session Report #3

If you've been following my Castles & Crusades/Victorious rpg mash up campaign in which I'm running my haunted house plane traveling version of Tegel Manor things are about to get demonic! 
There's been a weird 'Mandela effect' happening in our game 'new adventure ' locations popping up!  
Odd alterations of events?! New NPC's!? Is the DM adding stuff ?! Is he drunk or is something far more sinister happening?! 
Something far more sinister is happening of course! These alterations are happening to frequently not to be noticed! There's gonna be an infernal encounter in tonight's game as a swarm of Dretches are gonna grab one of the party members! 

Those adventure location alterations & changes to the Tegel manor landscape don't come cheap & an NPC has been dogging the trail of the PC's for awhile now. Someone is using the 'Dretches' to say 'hi' to the PC's. 

Is it one of the Rumps or someone far more sinister & weird?! And how could they be altering reality on a whole sale basis?! A powerful artifact must be involved!? One of the party is going to find a small stone demonic statue based on The Other Worldly Miniatures figure of the fat demon lord Orcus 

And what about those Cha'alt bounty hunters?! Did they take a vacation?! Where's the family Rump in all of these goings on?! 
Events in the Village Tegel are about to get 'interesting' to say the least. And what about rumors of a group of Lich Lords at the manor?! 

Then there's the village guard sputtering something about a demon slayer whose in the local lock up!? One thing's for sure we can expect chaos & mayhem in tonight's game session! 
Note that James Ward's Tainted Lands is playing a big part in tonight's game but I can't say too much. 

Liches are some of the royals of the damned! They can help be that change in the dungeon! Kill more adventurers! Put your faith in the liches of Orcus! Paid for by the friends of Orcus & the Add Council!

Thursday, May 28, 2020

Everything In World War Two & Your Mother - A Review of The Free Marvel Super Heroes rpg Netbook Adventure 'In The Shadows of Evil' Compiled, Written and Designed by Christopher P. Tyne

"It is the winter of 1943. The world is in the grip of war. Three quarters of the European continent is in ruins, crushed beneath the heel of a German jack-boot. Neither the sands of Africa nor the steppes of Russia are safe from the Nazi scourge. On the other side of the world, the waters of the Pacific run red with blood. While the valiant allies struggle against seemingly overwhelming odds, the dictators in Berlin, Rome, and Tokyo gleefully divide the world amongst themselves for conquest. As the sun sets over europe, freedom is soon to become little more than a fond memory. Welcome, true-believers, to Dreamslayer’s first Classic Marvel Superheroes RolePlaying Game Crossover Extravaganza! In the Shadow of Evil is designed for a Judge and up to eight players. The adventure can be played either on its own or as a prelude to a World War II ongoing adventure."

I have a huge soft spot in my heart for TSR Marvel Super Super Heroes rpg & it seems to remain a classic with a fanatically devoted  fan base. I went looking for some inspiration the Classic Marvel Forever website that's one of the most developed fan sites on the internet net & its got a bit of a reputation as a pirate site as well. But what I stumbled upon in the netbook section gave me chills Marvel Super Heroes rpg Netbook Adventure  'In The Shadows of Evil' Compiled, Written and Designed by Christopher P. Tyne. 

'In The Shadows of Evil'  is a love letter for the Marvel Super Heroes rpg game for everything 80's & 90s fantasy, adventure, & horror film related spun through the lens of a Marvel Super Heroes rpg mini campaign . 'In The Shadows of Evil'  features elements of classic 70's Invaders Marvel Comicbook mixed in with an healthy dose of Aliens, Indiana Jones, & much more. All of this goes back to the fact that during the '76 I was reading about Captain America, The Submariner, Union Jack, all going head to head with Baron Blood the vampire Nazi blood sucker! All this while OD&D was being played around my little six year old brain. 

Flash forward to 'Eighty four & the first editions of Marvel Super Heroes Rpg which had a huge incarnation of classic Forties Marv erm Timely heroes in the pages of Dragon magazine in the Eighties. Then in the Nineties we got Marvel's Ultimates Avengers &  Captain America  from which sprang the classic Disney MCU we've all known & loved. 

'In The Shadows of Evil'  it does it s job of creating a mini World War two cinematic/comic book Marvel Super Heroes game universe for the player's PC's to go to town in! Seriously if your classic Marvel 70's Invader's fan there's plenty of weirdness to sink you teeth into. And it takes the game into the realm of an alternative 90's style Marvel Captain Marvel War World II campaign. 

There is a ton of fan service here for the players & its solidly done with some hard love. Everything but the kitchen sink has been thrown in for the Marvel Super Hero rpg player & fan. Personally I'd love to completely & utterly run this! There's even a bit for the classic Clive Barker Hellraiser fan thrown in to boot! That includes me folks btw! 

Is  'In The Shadows of Evil' worth the down load?! As a free Marvel Super Heroes min campaign certainly! Is it worth it just for the laughs?! Well actually in my mind this is a tightly written & designed adventure sure there are some flaws but 'In The Shadows of Evil' will provide a year or more's worth of World War II Marvel Super Heroes rpg action! 

The Weird & Lovecraftian Ecology of The Vargouille For Your Old School Campaigns

"In a land where weirdness and mystery had strongly leagued themselves with eternal desolation, the lake was out-poured at an undiscoverable date of elder aeons, to fill some fathomless gulf far down amid the shadows of snowless, volcanic mountains. No eye, not even the sun's, when he stared vertically upon it for a few hours at midday, seemed able to divine its depths of sullen blackness and unrippled silence. It was for this reason that I found a so singular pleasure in frequently contemplating the strange lake. Sitting for I knew not how long on its bleak basaltic shores, where grew but a few fleshly red orchids, bent above the waters like open and thirsty mouths, I would peer with countless fantastic conjectures and shadowy imaginings, into the alluring mystery of its unknown and inexplorable gulf."
The Black Lake  (1922) 
by Clark Ashton Smith

Tonight I'm looking into using the Monster Manual II & one of my favorite monsters is the alien the vargouille (pronounced var-GWEEL[1]). A vampirc alien life form from an  infernal plane perhaps some dangerous cold Hell on the Abyss. 

According to the Wiki entry on the  vargouille there's a bit more to these alien horrors then might be expected; 

"The vargouille is an evil beast which attacks and kills in a number of horrible and sadistic ways. For a start, there is its bite. In addition to being highly painful and often involving the sucking of blood, a vargouille bite is extremely poisonous. Secondly, there is the vargouille screech. After weakening opponents with biting, the vargouille likes to unleash a paralyzing, high-pitched wail. This squeal renders those who hear it paralyzed with fear. Last, and worst of all, there is the vargouille kiss. After paralyzing victims with the screech, the vargouille will often come and give victims a foul, smelly kiss. This kiss gradually causes its victims to become vargouilles themselves. First the hair falls out, then the skin turns red and tentacles sprout, and finally the head separates from the body and grows wings. Daylight disrupts this process, and some disease-curing spells are known to completely reverse the effect.
Vargouilles speak Infernal, and are neutral evil in alignment."

I believe in my research that these horrors were brought into various worlds by a god or a very high level dark wizard of incredible renown as a bio & terror weapon system. The evil was defeated but the monsters were left behind. Trapped in a worlds never of their own making. There are large populations of 
 vargouille souls trapped in the Outer Void & Darkness between planes. 

An illusory vargouille as depicted
 in the Advanced Dungeons & Dragons comics.

 Vargouilles have gained a foot hold on quite a few world due to the machinations of various black wizards & cults. They have no emotional attachment to these worlds but have an incredible hatred of the living. There are rumors of them having alliances with various Lovecraftian races & horrors. They bastards have more then a toe hold on Zothique & are often found guarding deserts & temples blessed by Mordiggian.

During the events leading up to the empires of Humanity that would eventually become Zothique. The gods have long since died out after the wars of the various gods across the world. The Vargouille are alien horrors that had appeared eons before the first human crawled from the caves. These horrors have been used in the armies of various demon lords & devils. The Vargouille have become simply another occult asset for various cults & black wizards.
Vargouille by dmfarble on DeviantArt


Shrieking Rites of The V
6th Level Black Magic Necromancer Spell A caster creates a special 500 foot circle of gold & dried powdered blood with various sigils of the black zodiac of the Abyss. This rite gathers eight necromancer disciplines who must sacrifice their lives as the alien life essences are called from the black abyss between the Outer Blackness of the planes. These poor fools become vessels for the black alien souls of the Vargouilles. There will be 1d8 essences that will appear to gain existence upon the planes Prime. There is a 20% of the area within a half of mile of the summoning area being affected by the terrible plague that seems to accompany the appearance the summoning of the Vargouilles.
"First, over a period of 1d6 hours, all the victim’s hair falls out. Within another 1d6 hours thereafter, the ears grow into leathery wings, tentacles sprout on the chin and scalp, and the teeth become long, pointed fangs. During the next 1d6 hours, the victim takes Intelligence drain and Charisma drain equal to 1 point per hour (to a minimum of 3). The transformation is complete 1d6 hours later, when the head breaks free of the body (which promptly dies) and becomes a vargouille. This transformation is interrupted by sunlight, and even a daylight spell can delay death, but to reverse the transformation requires remove disease. "

Tuesday, May 26, 2020

Some Castles & Crusades Thoughts on Judge Guild's House on Hang Man's Hill By Jon Mattson

The nice part about Castles & Crusades is the modular nature of the system. One can go forward or backward on compatibility when it comes to dealing with various editions of Advanced Dungeons & Dragons first & second edition.  Now tonight I'm going to talk about two very different products from first & second edition AD&D respectively.
House on Hangman's Hill was  published by Judges Guild in 1981 &  is a scenario for character levels 3-4. One of my fellow dungeon masters calls it Judge's Guild's other haunted house adventure withe classic Tegel Manor of course taking the lead.  But after a classic Hammer horror film marathon. I was inclined to start tearing into House on Hangman's Hill . Note that this is for my Victorious rpg /Castles & Crusades rpg campaign.  steampunk horror campaign.

Sir Christopher Lee as one of my favorite Draculas from the classic Hammer Horror films.
No copyright or trade mark infirgment is implied. He was just on bad ass Dracula.

Imagine if you will that Castles & Crusade's James Ward's Tainted Lands is a sort of predatory demi plane that feeds off the chaos, carnage, fear, & horror of  its millions of victim's souls. Now imagine that there are agents across the planes who are aware of this. They will & do feed on many, many, victims. Well this is where 2nd edition AD&D's Domain's of Dread comes in. Its a sort of a perfect book end for Tainted Lands in a way.

Andreas P.'s review on Drivethrurpg summarizes everything I love about 'Domains of Dread';"Greatest book for Ravenlolft AD&D 2nd edition. Detailing everything about the history, places, faces and rules of the Ravenloft setting. Very happy I purchased the softcover reprint of the original, it is of excellent quality."
Right so Domains of Dread is the perfect book to transform JG's House on Hangman's Hill into a sort of rogue tainted land adventure location roaming about the plains murdering victims within its halls. And trapping their souls within. For the Castles & Crusades's twist grab a copy of 
The Codex Slavorum.

Forget the whole Transylvania is the land of vampire's B.S. its actually Russia that's the Slavic Hellscape for the undead. Use '
The Codex Slavorum'  add in the Tainted Lands with a twist of Ravenloft! Then whamo you've got a great on going Gothic Slavic campaign! The setting here is pure Castles & Crusades Slavic adventure setting with a solid overview of both the Slavic/Russian 'real world' & the spiritual world. This includes a good array of monsters, spells, Gods, interactions, low & behold a good damn solidly usable Slavic Shaman class!

House on Hangman's Hill shows up in your campaign, people go missing, the local undead population reaches & all time high, & murderous rival demonic & vampire slayers start killing everyone in sight. Suddenly there's a campaign!

Having run 
House on Hangman's Hill your probably talking about three or four months of a mini campaign at best & a two or three session one shot at worst. This is a deadly little twenty something page module. And I literally present this adventure as the rival to my planar traveling version of Tegel Manor. While it doesn't have Tegel manor's history or is as well known. This makes House on Hangman's Hill just that touch more deadly in my humble opinion. 

RR1 Dark Lords by William W. Connors, Andria Hayday, James Lowder, & Bruce Nesmith, The Seventh Sister, & The Agents of The Darkest Night

For my own alternative Earth  Franco Prussian war campaign of 1870 I dusted off an old & important NPC. William Hooker Gillette is a man out of his own time & his castle plays a central roll in my Castles & Crusades /Victorious rpg campaign.  In this campaign William Hooker Gillette was a ressience man a performer, actor,gadgeteer , & occultist. 

In the year 1870 a distinguished looking adventurer saved the life of a twenty something young actor in New Orleans. The face of the older adventurer looked eerily familiar to the young actor William Hooker Gillette.  The young actor had in fact been saved by an older version himself from a falling piece of stage work dropped by an agent of darkness. Gillette Castle or The Seventh Sister has played a part in many of my rpg campaigns going back over thirty years.Every aspect of its construction was over seen by William Hooker Gillette  ;

 "Gillette Castle  straddles the towns of East Haddam and Lyme, Connecticut in the United States, sitting high above the Connecticut River. The castle was originally a private residence commissioned and designed by William Gillette, an American actor who is most famous for his portrayal of Sherlock Holmes on stage. Gillette lived at this estate from 1919–1937."

Gillette Castle  on September 25, 2006 by Kevin Pepin

The Seventh Sister has been my go too adventure location & gathering place for adventurers & heroes across four campaigns; 

"William Gillette's "castle", called Seventh Sister and renamed "Gillette Castle" by Connecticut State in 1943,[6][7] was built between 1914 and 1919 with an addition completed in 1924[8] on a 184-acre (74 ha) tract at the top of the southernmost of a chain of hills known as the Seven Sisters. Gillette died having no children, and his will precluded the possession of his home by any "blithering sap-head who has no conception of where he is or with what surrounded". The State of Connecticut took over the property in 1943, renaming it Gillette Castle State Park. It was added to the National Register of Historic Places in 1986.[9][10]
Gillette originally planned to build his retirement home on Long Island until he discovered the cliffs of the Seven Sisters while traversing the Connecticut River in his houseboat, "Aunt Polly".[3][4][6][11]
Gillette designed the home and personally overlooked every phase of the construction.[7] Construction was performed by the Porteus-Walker Company, a leading contracting and wood-working firm based in Hartford, Connecticut founded by Gillette's childhood friend, Robert Porteus.[10] It has been described as being designed in a medieval gothic, or an "American fairy tale mixed with European flair"[2] style, or as "a weird blending of Victorian and Arts and Crafts".[3] In the past, it had even been described as "Gillette's Folly".[4]
The 3-story-plus-tower,[10] 24-room, 14,000 sq ft home was built of wood, cement, and local Connecticut field stone, supported by a steel framework.[2][7][12][13] The exterior of the home is covered in field stone.[10] Woodwork within the home is hand-hewn southern white oak.[7][6] In some places, beams were set directly into the stones, anchored only by cement.[13] The walls, in particular, were constructed similarly to a stage set, lacking two-by-four studs and mortar in critical places.[13] It has been noted it was "a wonder the building didn't collapse" before the castle's multimillion-dollar restoration.[13] Insulation included seaweed and paper.[3] It took 20 workers from 1914–1919 (5 years) to complete the construction[4][7] totaling a cost of over $1 million at the time."

There are incredible trick & puzzle doors in the castle that captured my imagination when I
 was a kid visiting the castle on field trips in second grade & middle school.
The trick doorways & doors of the castle open across the planes to different times & places.
Gillette used the castle to take care of key points in his own life & send adventurers on to 
places where & when their needed. William Hooker Gillette portrayal of Sherlock Holmes was so real because
the real Holmes was a real life friend of his or at least in this alternative campaign world he was.

Gillette as Sherlock Holmes

But William Hooker Gillette is a mortal main whose matched wits with inhuman creatures on occasion. And he knows this but his construction of the castle has given him an edge in both time & space. He still has the span of a normal man but he can mark time & space easily occasionally this slips out;""It just seems, somehow, that every five years finds me back again, so you can expect me back at it again once more in 1941. Probably in 1976, when they are celebrating the two-hundredth anniversary of the beginning of the Declaration of Independence, or what ever it is, 40 years from now, I'll still be farewelling. I should apologize for being here, but I am a man among Yankees, and they take promises with a grain of salt – in fact they usually take them home and pickle them in brine, so they probably knew I'd be back. Besides I have several good excuses – but they really don't count. And besides – and you men who follow horse racing will know what I mean – I'm not running against anyone, they're merely letting me trot around the track."

In his younger years Gillette tangled with several of the Rumps of Tegel Manor fame  with Sherlock Holmes but this is blog entry for another time.

Portrait of Gillette in The London magazine advertising
his appearances as Sherlock Holmes

This brings me to using TSR's Ravenloft second edition's RR1 Dark Lords by William W. ConnorsAndria HaydayJames Lowder, & Bruce Nesmith. I specifically sought this book out because of its portrayal of 'The Headless Horseman'. I know another New England connection, right?!

The Rumps of Tegel Manor are each dark lords similar to Ravenloft's & in fact very similar to James Ward's Tainted Land At a certain key point in his life this alternative Earth version of William Hooker Gillette crossed paths with several dark lords including the Headless Horseman & it convinced him to take the next step into the life of adventure. 
The Seven Sister has been the head quarters for various adventurers & parties in my campaigns for years. These have included super heroes, adventurers, & even a post apocalyptic group of mutants guided by the ghost of Gillette.
I'm thinking that perhaps its time 'The Seventh Sister' makes its rightful place again among my campaign. William Gillette's 'Agents of the Darkest Night' have their work cut out for them!