Tuesday, August 17, 2021

Adventuring in the OSR Lovecraftian Nighmare - Geoffrey McKinney's Carcosa & Beyond


Its been a while since we kicked the tires on an OSR Saucer & Sandel campaign. The first thing that came to mind was Geffeory McKinney's Carcosa. Why?! Because tonight I came  Killer DM's  "Fighting Styles and Incantations for Carcosa"  Carcosa still remains one of the most polarizing rpg books of the OSR. To tell the truth, the players don't really care about the controversy. But there's been a lot of water under this bridge since this was one of the first real OSR books that came into my hands. But at this point what the Hell would we run Carcosa with?! Honestly it would probably Night Owl Workshop's Warriors of the Red Planet rpg system. 

Sometimes its all about getting back to basics & not worrying about the OSR or the New Wave of Rpg players. The alien shores of Carcosa beckon & at this point it's sorta like returning to a battered alien friend. But this time I'd add in Jason Vey's Age of Conan OD&D rpg hack & supplements. These are absolutely essential in my mind. These go right along next to Realms of Crawling Chaos by Goblinoid Games.  When you need weird & alien technologies, actual relics then this is the book to use. 

There's so much muddy Lovecraftian water under the bridge of the romps across the Carcosaian landcape that many of our players remember Carcosa as a Lovecraftian dumping ground. A sort of hex crawl from the lower depths of some fever crazed nightmare. Many have said that today Carcosa is almost but not quite quant in point of fact. My own experiences with DMing Carcosa & playing in the setting are quite different. 

  1. Carcosa is more then the sum of its parts. And depending upon whose DMing the setting can be quite jarring for inexpeienced players. 
  2. Sorcerers are going to be your bad guys. And their infamous magicks should be infamous but not something the players need to expeience per say. Hint & inuendo go a long way let the player's mind infer details but never make a player uncomfortable at the table top. 
  3. Carcosa is savage & brutal, use this to your advantage as a DM. Encounters should be memorable not but not nesssarily fatal each & everytime. 
  4. This is the land of nightmares and there are lots of advantages to uses the lore of Carcosa to your advantage especially for creating dangerous NPC villains. 
  5. Not every sorcerer has to be a card carrying evil jerk there are Law aligned sorcerers. 

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