Saturday, April 10, 2021

Legacy of Giants & Amazons OSR Commentary - Weird Tales Judges Guild Wilderlands of High Fantasy- Shield Maidens of Sea Rune by Bryan Hinnen & CM4 Earthshaker By David 'Zeb' Cook

 "The third book in the "Wilderness Series" with 22 wilderness hexes for Campaign Map 1 are detailed in this book along with description and maps of the major points of interest.  Warrior Women plot to regain their home lost to the barbarous Skandiks, fearsome sea reavers all.  Torn between their Gods of the North and the Druidic worship of nature, the Skandiks grow weak.  Beware the cruel and evil Anti-Paladin who stalks this area looking for blood; he may be the death of you yet!  Can you thread the perilous path to fame and riches in this saga of unforgettable Adventure?"

Shield Maidens of Sea Rune by 
Bryan Hinnen 
has some very interesting connections with the rest of the history of the Wilderlands of High Fantasy. This one of the best of the Wilderness series & it presents an implied sci fi background history for the Amazon tribes  of the area. And since we're going to be running the old school Wilderlands of High Fantasy campaign setting  with the OSR's Astonishing Swordsmen & Sorcerers of Hyperborea rpg let's dive back in. 

Like we talked about in yesterday's blog entry  some rather nasty business happened in the ancient past of the Wilderlands. Some planar event shattered the Wilderlands reality & this lead to the Nexus Gates being created. An educated guess by DM Steve is that it might have been an all out war with the powers of Law & Chaos or something much worse. Kevin Kiersky in his Amazon review of Shield Maidens of Sea Rune; "
This super-module is cleverly set to work well with Calandia [City-State of the Invincible Overlord and Wilderlands] as closely or loosely as needed or wanted. It's also easy to work with various versions of gaming -- even if fairly directly set for AD&D-like gaming. There is even a distinct sci-fi aspect implied by both the general history and local history. Semi-Celtic and semi-Nordic cultural aspects are presented -- but, as usual, neither over-done nor under-done -- like the good gaming gender balance -- even via the lurid-and-lush cover art -- afterall she's got a reclining male lion behind her +++" 
Semi Celtic & Semi Nordic cultures  sounds very familiar to the Astonishing Swordsmen & Sorcerer of Hyperborea DMs among my players. Even though these people's names  have slightly different spellings in AS&SH. Perhaps these folks made the nexus gate crossing hundreds or thousands of years ago. Why?! 

We get clues as to the why back here in B1 In Search of the Unknown by Mike Carr. Many of the classic rooms of the upper levels of 
Quasqueton speak about a pretty solid knowledge of occult & supernatural workings far in advance of many other rank & file  Sword & Sorcery wizards. Why?! Because the campaign worlds of both Hyperborea & 'The Wilderlands of High Fantasy' imply a war with the gods. And not just any war. I'm talking about  Ragnarök  here of the many gods of Earth. Just look at the fragmented pantheons of both AS&SH & the Wilderlands. They don't make sense or do they?! Those gods who are left over after the dust settles are the survivors. AS&SH rpg  can take place thousand or millions of years in the future. The science fantasy artifacts made far more sense scattered across Hyperborea if it was one of the battle fields of mankind in the ancient past. If the Wilderlands have their own Blackmoor then that means that they also  means that CM4 Earthshaker by David Zeb Cook is also on the menu. 

That's right the Blackmoor technologies of early original Dungeons & Dragons is on tap & the Wizards of the Coast ad for CM4 puts it rather squarely in the realms of science fantasy; 

"Mixing science-fiction with fantasy was very popular in D&D during the 70s, starting with TSR's premiere adventure, "The Temple of the Frog," found originally in Supplement II: Blackmoor (1975). The most famous instance of science fantasy in D&D is probably S3: "Expedition to the Barrier Peaks" (1980), which centers on a crashed space craft. "Earthshaker!" - with its steam-powered giant robot - is thus a return to form.

The in-game origin of the Earthshaker is described thus: "[It] was built at least 3,000 years ago, probably by a race of evil gods similar in skill to dwarves or gnomes." Since Blackmoor is set 3000 years before the modern day of the Known World, and since its science-fantasy technology is sometimes said to come from "gods," many presume that Blackmoor is the source of the Earthshaker technology." 

So we know that Blackmoor is a part of the Wilderlands & possibly a resting place for all kinds of artifacts of war. This means that CM4 could be taking place in the Wilderlands of High Fantasy with only the City of the Gods as a possible source for stopping the giant. But does this mean that Hyperborea wastelands hold similar weapons of war?! Could parts of the Diamond Desert & other abandoned wastelands be housing incredible artifacts of alien construction?! And could the Amazon tribes of various worlds scattered to the four winds be the only other source for any techno occult information?! Is there a connection between  Shield Maidens of Sea Rune by Bryan Hinnen & a Nexus Gate that we see in World of the Lost?! It's very possible indeed. 


Could the Earth Shaker technologies actually have been created to fight the incredible beings from Qelong by Kennith Hite?! And as we've said in the past do these beings actually represent members of the courts of Law & Chaos?! DM Steve made the point that the Earthshakers couldn't touch the weaponry of the divine beings of Qelong. 

Let's not forget the mystic & deadly green diamonds of 
Ghost Ship of the Desert  Dunes. The perfect power source & weapon for an Earthshaker! There may have been far more to the works of  Quasqueton then even those who live there know about. 
Are these campaign lands nothing more then chess boards to the gods & the entities of Law & Chaos?! The answer may be, yes! 

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