Tuesday, February 9, 2021

Ben Laurence's Through Ultan's Door & HP Lovecraft's Polaris - An OSR Sword & Sorcery Campaign Commentary

 Alright I haven't abandoned the possibilities of running an Astonishing Swordsmen & Sorcerers of Hypernborea one shot or Con run series of adventures for my players. We got hit with a snow storm & my players all cancelled this week because of work commitments. Wonderful.. So it was back to hitting the books or in this case the campaign notebooks. The campaign notebooks on redesigning  my version of Lomar from HP Lovecraft's story Polaris.

 Now this all goes back to the AS&SH game back from 2019 here on the blog; " That's right its time to unleash the Tcho-Tchoids upon the party!  Right now a Lomarian war party is on its way to ambush the adventurers. But it looks like I'm gonna have to redesign my version of Lomar from HP Lovecraft's story Polaris.

Artwork used without permission ... I can't find the artist but love the artwork. Later it would find its way into a published book (I think). But then I happened upon The Dark Heritage blog break down on Lomar;
"Anyway, without further ado: here are some details about Lomar.  All of the known details, as it happens.

capital city is Olathoë
which is located on the plateau of Sarkis
betwixt the peaks of Noton and Kadiphonek
there is a vaporous distant valley called Banof that can be seen from the towers of Olathoë
Olathoë is "ghastly" and built of towers, domes, pavements and pillars of marble
Olathoë is "many-templed" but only the worship of Tsathoggua is specifically mentioned
the upper part of the city has carved images of grave, bearded men
the Lomarians are tall and gray-eyed
Daikos is another city of Lomar
Lomar was at war with the Inutos and they were eventually over-run
the Inutos could come upon Olathoë via a narrow pass behind Noton
the watchtower of Thapnen guarded the pass
Alos is a politician-general of Olathoë
the Lomarians moved to Lomar from Zobna in the north due to advancing ice
Lomar is located near the north pole
the air of Olathoë was warm, despite it's northern latitude
Olathoë contains a square with many statues from which its leaders speak
besides the Inutos, they Lomarians also contended with "hairy, long-armed cannibal Gnophkehs"
the Inutos are "squat, hellish yellow fiends" come from the west, who are mighty in the arts of war and fight without scruples of honor
the men of Lomar wear strange robes and are noble and wise
the men of Olathoë were the bravest of Lomar
the men of Lomar brought with them from Zobna the Pnakotic manuscripts as well as the "wisdom of [their] Zobnarian Fathers"
the Pole Star shines balefully above Olathoë and seems to be possessed of a malignant antipathy towards Lomar

Now, granted, we can presume, I think, that some of the above is nativist propaganda since it comes from a patriotic denizen of Olathoë itself.  But that's a sufficient capsule view of Lomar to make it usable, I think, to potential gamers." Men & woman of Lomar gain a +1 intelligence & wisdom, -1 on Charisma because of the 'thousand yard' stare of theirs, +1 on strength & constitution living in the harsh climates & conditions of the volcanic lands surrounding Lomar. "

Lomar isn't necessarily a part of Hyperborea but perhaps a neighboring country?! This would help to explain the differences in the cultures of the two countries which are strongly connected with the Dreamlands. And this is where Ben Laurence's Through Ultan's Door comes in especially the second issue. The implications in that issue are that there are many such dungeon locations scattered about. 

The lands described in Ben Laurence's Through Ultan's Door  could be other  campaign settings around Lomar or within the same dreamlands campaign continuum. All of this could help to bridge a connection between Lomar, Ben Laurence's Through Ultan's Door , & even the rest of a Dunsanian or Lovecraft  campaign multiverse.. 

Are these back dreamlands connected with old ancient ancestral memories of dreamscapes or planes of the prime material that have outlasted their usefulness to mankind? I think that these planes or dreamscapes are becoming demi planes within their own right. Places that are multiverse echoes that scatter themselves among the planes to be fed on by the Outer Gods. 

 A Poem by Blank Frailty

Ah, Passion, like a voice—that buds!
With many thorns . . . that sharply stick:
Recalls to me the longing of our bloods . . .
And—makes my wearied heart requick! . .

Dead Passion's Flame
by H.P. Lovecraft
Ben Laurence's Through Ultan's Door Kickstarter here. 

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