Tuesday, August 31, 2021

The Night Shift & B3 'Palace of the Silver Princess' By Jean Wells & Tom Moldvay OSR Campaign Commentary

Not long ago, the valley was green and animals ran free through golden fields of grain. The Princess Argenta ruled over this peaceful land and the people were secure and happy. Then one day, a warrior riding a white dragon appeared in the skies over the castle, and almost overnight the tiny kingdom fell into ruin. Now only ruins and rumors remain, and what legends there are tell of a fabulous treasure still buried somewhere within the Palace of the Silver Princess."

There was a long & rather drawn out discussion that I had the other day about using & dealing with dream realms with modern OSR audiences & players. Especially when it came to running classic modules that have been customized for modern B/X style games especially Nightshift Veterans of the Supernatural Wars by Jason Vey & Tim Brannan. The classic module that would be the most use is Jean Wells & Tom Moldvay's B3 Palace of the Silver Princess. Now if you want to know the complete history of this module go here.  Now let's pick it up with someone possibly one of the player characters being the 'chosen one' ala Nightshift's PC classes. They've been plagued by terrible dreams & nightmares. They are drawn back to Argenta a small pocket dimension plane or demi plane. The waking world & the dream realms were never meant to meet. Chaos storms begin to rage across the Earth and they bring with them all kinds of problems including the rise of the supernaturals. 

B3 Palace of the Silver Princess reminds me of Bronze age 70's & 80's  Marvel comic books Sword & Sorcery. The parts & pieces of both the green Moldvay rework module & Genie Wells original module both have this weird dream & nightmare quality. For a modern B/X based game such as Nightshift Veterans of the Supernatural game. I'd either rework the two original modules into one strange shifting like Gothic Ravenloft like mini campaign setting. Or something akin to Lamentations of the Flame Princess with a modernish twist. 
And one thing comes to mind 'The Chaos  Gods Come To Meatlandia' By 
Wind Lothamer and Ahimsa Kerp.

Wait before you leave this blog entry in disgust hear me out. The mess that is B3 both versions can be made whole by the fact that a cabal of  black wizards from Meatlandia is behind the events of the modules. They've been sapping the abilities of the 'chosen one' for years all in the name of occult power.  The chaos storms are only the start of it as things go from bad worse. The Misty Swamp is actually a chaos manifestation of the forces that the cabal is using; "Misty Swamp No one knows exactly what lies behind the veil of ever present mist that hovers over the swamp. Some old timers say that the dwarves who make Anterian Brandy live in the swamp near their secret ingredient, the swamp water. This is speculation, as no one really knows what the secret ingredient of Anterian Brandy is. Others whisper tales of an evil wizard living there in a massive tower of shiny black stone. Sometimes, in the dead of winter, fierce thunderstorms can be heard near the swamp, but no one ever sees any lightning. The only thing people who live near the swamp will agree on is that most magic users and elves had best stay clear of it or they will find that their spells will not function properly. One young magic user tried to catch a rabbit with a web spell near the swamp one day and ended up with dozens of rabbits, all neatly webbed, scattered about her feet. She didn’t really mind having the extra rabbits, but the fact that she couldn’t control her magic scared her (as it does many other spell casters). She was one of the fortunate ones; others have not been so lucky." 
The rise of the supernatural has been because of the two world's unrealities  clashing so fast. Energies are leaking into the Earth's reality. Pusher Gnomes on the corners of major cities, Kaldines terrorizing small towns, and worse.
All of this has to do  Tim Brannan's review of Meatlania; "I thought this was an adventure, but it is actually a mini-setting of Meatlandia and the opposing factions. There are meat mages (you really have to buy this to see them) and various types of bards (three in total). So new classes, new magic (15 pages of meat mage spells), a city, new monsters, new magic items, and just some gonzo-level weirdness. I have to say that it is not for everyone, BUT there is an audience that will absolutely love this. Has a solid Dungeon Crawl Classic meets Lamentations of the Flame Princes meets 80s weird horror. If it were a movie Roger Corman would have been the director or producer and Tom Savini would have starred and consulted on the monster effects. The whole thing is 90 pages long so you are getting a lot. Not sure where I am going to use it, but it really begs to be used somewhere. Retooled just a tiny bit could turn it from gonzo to some serious horror. That is the direction I am likely to go." And playing this mini campaign for serious horror brings it to another level. Add in the fantasy realm of B3 & you've got a mini campaign to bring PC's from level one to four easily. 
The additional PC classes & information in 'The Night Companion' are gonna be just the thing to add into such a campaign setting. 

The real question becomes not only can they save their own reality but the sanity of the 'silver princess' there's a price to be had for fairy tales even if they are nightmares. 

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