Sunday, December 20, 2020

Matters of Death & Amber - Using X2 Castle Amber By Tom Moldvay & The Veterans of the Supernatural Wars Rpg As OSR & Old School Touch Stone

" Lo ! Death hath rear'd himself a throne

In a strange city, all alone,
Far down within the dim west —
And the good, and the bad, and the worst, and the best,
Have gone to their eternal rest.

There shrines, and palaces, and towers
Are — not like any thing of ours —
O ! no — O! no — ours never loom
To heaven with that ungodly gloom!
Time-eaten towers that tremble not!
Around, by lifting winds forgot,
Resignedly beneath the sky
The melancholy waters lie."
The Doomed City
by Edgar Allan Poe

Never let it be said that we ever rest on our laurels in my house. For the past couple of days memories of past campaigns have been haunting me. And one particular set of NPC villains has been on rising like ghosts from an old campaign note book.  So let's talk about 'Veterans of the Supernatural Wars Rpg' for a moment which has been on my mind for quite sometime now. Now we've been thinking about running a quick pick up game. 

But a campaign needs to be written,a beginning adventure outline, blah,blah, blah, the usual excuses but the fact is that there's a fully fleshed out OSR campaign that I can use. Let me flash back to 2012 or so. Back then Strange Stories From Another World was one of the vintage 50's comic books that was on our plates. Strange Stories From Another World was published  by Fawcett published from  August 1952 - February 1953. Strange Stories From Another World only lasted five glorious issues but the covers were amazing. 

"Painted cover of Strange Stories From Another World, number 5, February 1953, artwork by Norman SaundersAnother World was published by Fawcett from August 1952 to February 1953. Saunders' richly painted cover recalls the pulp magazines of the 1930s and 40s." And Saunders did incredible work but Strange Stories From Another World, number 5, February 1953 is really the issue that jumps out at me for several reasons. Reason one is the inclusion of the Shopkeeper is an NPC  book seller/ propertier of Salem book or antique shop.

 The antique shop pops up in the player's home town & the fun begins. Not so fast there's a Basic Dungeons & Dragons connection. What if 'The Shop Keeper' was playing a game of human chest against a powerful wizard for the fate of the player's home town?! The  wizard-noble Stephen Amber (Etienne d'Amberville) has decided to play another round of his on going game against one of his favorite players 'The Shop Keeper'. The wizard-noble Stephen Amber (Etienne d'Amberville) is of course from X2 Castle Amber by Tom Moldvay. And with shades of Clark Ashton Smith the game is on. 

The  instrument is a book of magick or other artifact that has been circulating in the area.  But this situation is not sitting well with everyone from the Beyond, that supernatural realm of horror between life & Hell. And who watches out for the living maintaining the balance between the living & the dead? Who carries out the laws of the dead? The Judges of the Dead have it as their court to watch over the world of the dead. They have no wish to have their laws violated by this game of chess using the living & the dead. So they recruit the player characters from the living and the dead across worlds. 

One of The Judges of the Dead, as depicted by Sheldon Moldoff (Worlds of Fear #4)

This game will have to play out as the 'Shop Keeper' moves in minor demons, undead, & opposition into the PC's home town or city. Things are going to escalate very quickly. The Ambervilles may take a much more proactive hand as time goes on.  The judges are powerful Spectres ala the Advanced Dungeons & Dragons Monster Manual first edition. 
Just about any type of PC in this style of 
'Veterans of the Supernatural Wars Rpg'  campaign because of the use of public domain resources. This isn't our first time using the Beyond & we'll jump more into it as it develops. 


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