Saturday, November 21, 2020

Fangs, Falsehood, & The Rise of the Serpents Doug Niles N1 Against the Cult of the Reptile God & The Hundred Year War Campaign

 "Who fares to find the sunset ere it fly,

Turning to light and fire the further west,
Shall have the veils of twilight for his guest,
And all the falling of an ashen sky.

On lands he shall not know, the splendor lies—
A pharos on some alienated shore,
In foam and purple lost forevermore,
Where dreams are kindled in remoter eyes."

Ashes of Sunset  (1922) 
by Clark Ashton Smith

"Terror by night! The village of Orlane is dying. Once a small and thriving community, Orlane has become a maze of locked doors and frightened faces. Strangers are shunned, trade has withered. Rumors flourish, growing wilder with each retelling. Terrified peasants flee their homes, abandoning their farms with no explanation. Others simply disappear. . .

No one seems to know the cause of the decay -- why are there no clues? Who skulks through the twisted shadows of the night? Who or what is behind the doom that has overtaken the village? It will take a brave and skillful band of adventurers to solve the dark riddle of Orlane!"

So I'm dusting of 
N1: "Against The Cult of the Reptile God" (1982), by Douglas Niles, for a moment as a thought excecise. My players last night were saying that their familiar with the 
 Dark Albion rpg setting, 
Dark Albion: Cults of Chaos, & the Lion & Dragon Rpg. The background of this rpg is the historical Rose War. But since they know of the historical events. We're going to twist things up a bit using a classic TSR module;"N1: "Against The Cult of the Reptile God" (1982), by Douglas Niles, is the first adventure in a novice-level series for AD&D. It was written in February 1982, so it was probably published in the first half of the year." 

This campaign was a thought excercise using OSR resources to run a Hundred Years War campaign in a Dark Europe. I ran this campaign from 2017 through 2019 using Dark Ablion, Cults of Chaos, & finally Lion & Dragon.
This campaign started with 

Blood, Thunder, Beer, & The Hundred Years War - Campaign Commentary Set up 

Europe was changing fast & the occult forces of Law & Chaos along with the supernatural raged in the background;"The Hundred Years' War was a series of conflicts in Western Europe from 1337 to 1453, waged between the House of Plantagenet and its cadet House of Lancaster, rulers of the Kingdom of England, and the House of Valois over the right to rule the Kingdom of France. "

Edward as a Knight of the Garter, 1453, illustration from the Bruges Garter BookBritish Library

Imagine if you will that in 1343 'The Prince of Wales' faced down a threat to his throne during  the Hundred Years' War through the machinations of an inhuman threat taken on by his agents ( the adventurers) in the Welsh town of Orlane. The Black Prince acts through his agents the PC;

Edward of Woodstock, known to history as the Black Prince (15 June 1330 – 8 June 1376),[1][a] was the eldest son of King Edward III of England, and the heir to the English throne. He died before his father and so his son, Richard II, succeeded to the throne instead. Edward nevertheless earned distinction as one of the most successful English commanders during the Hundred Years' War, being regarded by his English contemporaries as a model of chivalry and one of the greatest knights of his age.[2] He is on the other hand remembered in France for his well documented brutality and the massacres he ordered.[3]

Edward was made Duke of Cornwall, the first English dukedom, in 1337. He was guardian of the kingdom in his father's absence in 1338, 1340, and 1342. He was created Prince of Wales in 1343 and knighted by his father at La Hogne in 1346."

At this point the Black Prince isn't sure if his court has been infiltrated by serpent men/liszard men shape shifting turn coats. His advisors know of some of the influence that the witch covens & former reptile cults have in the area but those are merely the prattlings of old men & the local Welsh. Right?! 

Edward of Woodstock already got his hands full in many of the fields of battle, politics, and the state of England. The black prince has heard of some of the reports of a hersey. His agents know some of this from events from Cults, Chaos, & Dungeons Design Amid War - More D1 Descent Into The Earth By Gary Gygax Commentary

This version of N1 Against the Cult of the Reptile God By Douglas Niles takes a good deal of its Lovecraftian thunder from Children of the Night by Robert E. Howard.

"Humans they were, of a sort, though I did not consider them so. They were short and stocky, with broad heads too large for their scrawny bodies. Their hair was snaky and stringy, their faces broad and square, with flat noses, hideously slanted eyes, a thin gash for a mouth, and pointed ears. They wore the skins of beasts, as did I, but these hides were but crudely dressed. They bore small bows and flint-tipped arrows, flint knives and cudgels. And they conversed in a speech as hideous as themselves, a hissing, reptilian speech that filled me with dread and loathing.

They are frequently described as snakes or having snake-like qualities. So are the old serpent kings rising again in the area?! The hills, standing stones, lonely moorlands that lead to the underground fairyland like world may have far more sinister connotations then the PC's realize. 

The adventure will balance out with the inclusion of a showdown in a "traditional" dungeon at the end of the module.And given the Welsh headlands around the area this is going to be quite the challenge. 

The troglodyte are an excellent minion link up between the serpent men & the lizard men of N1 Against the Cult of the Reptile God By Douglas Niles. The dimensional byways & doors used by the ancient serpent men & Elves 
 make an excellent bridge gap between a traditional Greyhawk campaign & a more modern adventure.

A better question is once N1 Against the Cult of the Reptile God By Douglas Niles ends do others in the vicinity bear the Lovecraftian taint of Children of the Night? Will the Black Prince then station the player's PC's in the area to act in his stead as a reward & will the hills remain silent? As the drone of bloodshed & war rage across England will the shadow of the serpents rise again?

But the big question comes at what happened to the 
the Cymric people in the Dark Albion setting if we N1: "Against The Cult of the Reptile God"? Was there far more to their wandering & displacement?! I think so. Given the idea that maybe they were attacked thousands of years ago from all sides. Imagine if you will that after the defeat of their former Elven masters in a weakened state the hated enemies the serpent folk used this opportunity to strike at them. Here's where SERPENTINE - Oldskull Serpent Folk by Kent David Kelly comes in really handy. As a displaced people even from their own homeland the Cymric are not going to stand idly by while ancient enemies dispoil their homeland. 

The french providence of  Averoigne by Clark Ashton Smith has quite a bit of experience with these serpents/reptiles. 
And this is where RPGPundit Presents: The Old School Companion 1 comes in handy to fill the gaps. This isn't the only royal though watching  the goings on of the PC's. We'll get to him soon coming up next. 

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