Wednesday, July 1, 2020

Deeper Down the Dreamhole - Plunkett,Poe, & More

Edward Plunkett, 18th Baron Dunsany.jpg

Be a dungeon master for as long as I have or longer eventually you become the very thing you fear. In Nineteen Seventy Seven I DMed my first original Dungeons & Dragons game sitting on my uncle's lap. Well that's how I remember it & I'm sticking too it. At eleven years old I read  my first Lovecraft Dream cycle story but it wasn't until age twenty that Lord Dunsany entered my life. 'The Book of Wonder' by Lord Dunsany  hit me like a ton of bricks; "The Book of Wonder is the seventh book and fifth original short story collection of Irish fantasy writer Lord Dunsany aka 
Edward John Moreton Drax Plunkett, considered a major influence on the work of J. R. R. TolkienH. P. LovecraftUrsula K. Le Guin, and others. It was first published in hardcover by William Heinemann in November, 1912, and has been reprinted a number of times since. A 1918 edition from the Modern Library was actually a combined edition with Time and the Gods."  When it comes to iconic Dusany influences "How Nuth Would Have Practised His Art upon the Gnoles"  is an old favorite of mine. Yes its where we get the Gnoll race's name but there's more to it then that. 

Not only does it have the Dusany Appendix N influence but the Dungeons & Dragons Gnoll race takes their name from it.  But my question is this. What happened to the treasure vaults of Nuth afterward? We know he was quite taken with tapestries,gems, various artworks,etc.  
Instead of going whole cloth into  Dusany's gods, & entities I going back to 2012 I let the players fill in the gaps. I learned my lessons after reading through 'Lords of Ultra Realms debacle blog entry  from DC comics going the way back to 2012; "It’s clear from both the overblown Who’s Who entry for Lords of the Ultra-Realm and the work itself that Moench put a good deal of work into creating the lore for his fictional universe. But like a dungeon master who devotes the bulk of his time to meticulous world-building and not enough to narrative, he assumed that the end user would necessarily be as intimately familiar with and personally invested in the litany of fantasy babble as its creator was."

Just because something is a part of a quarter long box at a comic shop doesn't mean its good. There's tons of useless fantasy concepts that litter the pop
culture landscape & even more now. Fifth edition Dungeons & Dragons has seen to that with an e market glut that makes the late Eighties comic book run look like Sunnybrook farm. 

Always go back to the purer source as my uncle would say. Sometimes that means looking past the bargain bins of imagination! Instead grab X2 Castle Amber & drop in the Dunsany influences along with the Clark Ashton Smith. Why?! Because the Clark Ashton Smith literature is becoming a bit too in vogue these days. 

Now its time to trot out that good old Edgar Allen Poe action going right in there. Castle Amber is perfect vehicle to launch our campaign into 'The Twilight World's'. Or your own version of Ravenloft or your own home campaign world of OSR horror. 
Poevember: THE FALL OF THE HOUSE OF USHER – Nut Free Nerd

Its a moment in time when D&D players don't bother to read the Appendix N stuff. Poe really does need a bit of a resurgence among Dungeons & Dragons players. But the Ushers will be having some lime light coming up! 

No comments:

Post a Comment

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