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! 

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