Monday, May 17, 2021

Appendix N Sword & Sorcery - HP Lovecraft & Henry Kuttner OSR Witch Dreams

 "WHETHER the dreams brought on the fever or the fever brought on the dreams Walter Gilman did not know. Behind everything crouched the brooding, festering horror of the ancient town, and of the mouldy, unhallowed garret gable where he wrote and studied and wrestled with figures and formulae when he was not tossing on the meagre iron bed. His ears were growing sensitive to a preternatural and intolerable degree, and he had long ago stopped the cheap mantel clock whose ticking had come to seem like a thunder of artillery. At night the subtle stirring of the black city outside, the sinister scurrying of rats in the wormy partitions, and the creaking of hidden timbers in the centuried house, were enough to give him a sense of strident pandemonium. The darkness always teemed with unexplained sound—and yet he sometimes shook with fear lest the noises he heard should subside and allow him to hear certain other fainter noises which he suspected were lurking behind them."
"The Dreams in the Witch House"  H. P. Lovecraft, Weird Tales 1933 

The Dreams in the Witch House is one of the cornerstone tales of H.P. Lovecraft that no one really talks about. There's so much too this tale from the mathematics, to the higher dimensional realms travel, to the sheer weirdness of the appearance of the Elder Things in a brief cameo. There's a lot to take on board here but what was happening in New England at this time that kicked off the witch pacts between witches & the Lovecraftian gods?! 

The rat thing Brown Jenkins
who served 
Keziah and Nyarlathotep,is only one of the alien horrors that lurks in Massachusetts. These weren't just simply witches making pacts with the 'Devil'. No this was the influence of Nyarlathotep itself. Now its too bad that there wasn't a follow up to Dreams in th Witchhouse. What if I told you that in point of fact there was a story with a witch house, a curse, strange noises, bad dreams. Throw in the old gods and  even the Necronomicon?! What if I told you that it was written in 1937 by one of the leading lights of the Lovecraft Circle?!  We're talking about C.L. Moore's husband here Henry Kuttner & the tale in question?! Well it takes place right down the road from Arkham in witch house haunted Salem. Kuttner's Salem is a place of crumbling haunted houses, streets with dark histories, haunted places, & of course the Lovecraft gods. The Salem Horror  (1937)  by Henry Kuttner  from Weird Tales Volume 29, Issue 5

'The Salem Horror' isn't a sequel to 'Dreams in the Witch House' rather its more of a side quest of a story that takes place within the same Lovecraft New England as the rest of the Cthulhu mythos. Surely though there isn't an OSR connection here right?! What if I said that there were more then two?!

The Black Man", an aspect of Nyarlathotep as described by H. P. Lovecraft in "The Dreams in the Witch House" (1932). Acrylics on cardboard 34×23 cm by 
Jens Heimdahl - Facebook : Art of Jens Heimdahl

 How many more keys & gates were left behind by the witches thar created pacts with Nyarlathotep?! How many of those gates are still active today?! If such witch gates are active they could theoritically lead anywhere or anywhen! But what happens if one of these gates leads deep into the far future world of Astonishing Swordsmen & Sorcereres of Hyperborea rpg?! 

How?! Well one gate is hidden within a historic museum of the Salem witch trials which is a converted former witch house that leads to the dungeons within AS&SH's Rats in the Walls & Other Perils. This gate is simply a hidden litle hidey hole within the adventure that I added several years ago. Still hasn't been found. 

The second gate is down in the sewers of Arkham & leads into the dreamlands of Swords & Wizardry's Encephalon Gorgers on the Moon  This one of those adventure modules that works within a campaign if its padded out with some solid background especially if its paired with some solid appendix N authors. 

And the third witch gate leads into the dungeon locations of England, 1620. within the dungeons of No Salvation for Witches for the Lamentations of the Flame Princess rpg. Another possible choice is that the gate leads into Germany or the battle fields of 'Better Then Any Man'. 

Needless to say that anyone using one or any of these witch gates is going reek of Chaos & dark magicks. The authorities are going to take note of this & there might be other consquences folks. 

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