Thursday, October 14, 2021

OSR Commentary On Judge's Guild 'City State of the Invincible Overlord', Law & Chaos, & the Michael Moorcock's Hawkmoon

 Over the last twenty four to forty eight hours I've been putting some thought into the Judges Guilds Wilderlands of High Fantasy & The City State of the Invincible Overlord. Or at least my version of it. And its been squinting through the lens of Michael Moorcock's Hawkmoon that has my mind roiling with the possibilities. What I'm speaking of is the idea that part of the Wilderlands background & history has a science fantasy element within it's history. 

Michael Moorcock's Hawkmoon royals & court reminded me of the royals of the citystate in a way. Magic propping up many of the establishments of the citystate itself. But are there hold overs from the ancient past out in the far edges of the wilderness?! The idea that perhaps that out in the wilderness of the Wilderlands are undead & their minions who may still be keeping alive the prehistoric science fantasy technologies on their estates or holdings. We know that there's a huge amount of magic that sustains the invincible overlord within his court. 

Are the Wilderlands actually the last bastions of ancient technologies?! They just might be for me in my upcoming campaign. The inthecities blog has this fantastic little entry on Science Fantasy here and this bit gets me; "Hargrave’s Arduin had aliens and advanced technological artifacts along with the monsters and the magic. OD&D had tables listing encounters taken from the Burroughs’ Mars books – and you can’t get more “science fantasy” than that! I had not been tempted to include these elements in my game – as such a “crazy” mixture would have been considered heretical among my friends and I when we started playing D&D – but the idea of having demonic Orcs in German-style Panzers… I have to admit that it really appealed to me"
Yeah me too folks! Personally it reminds me of the anime Vampire Hunter D Bloodlust and yes this should echo back to Ralph Bakshi's Wizard's instead. But indulge me here. And I'll explain why in a moment.. 

Liches, vampire lords or ladies, etc. are the only immortals who are going to be long lived enough to have such technological or occult technological trinkets around. Perhaps their state are a reward by their demonic overlords. So if these technological toys of another age are seen as the 'toys of royalty'. Then perhaps there's a deeper & darker connection between the lords of the undead & the royals of this Wilderlands. The idea here being that the knowledge of these technologies is now the lore of the dead and those of the past. Royals must pay in kind to the undead who can tell them how such baubles work. 
And this reminds me a bit of the technos PC class from the Dave Hargrave's  Arduin book seven 'Shadowlands'. 

And where else could you possibly find information on these devices & artifact?! Devils or demons respectively. or possibly from the powers of Chaos & Law. These devices could turn the tide of war, offer a miracle cure, circumvent highly expensive magic. Or a thousand & one other things that technology can do that magick can't. 
And what about the occasional starship that falls from the sky? Well there in is another area where adventurers come into play. Royals never put themselves at risk. 

So could there also be expeditions to other worlds and dungeonscapes to recover such technological toys!?! One of the missions that our PC's  went on during the late Eighties were as escorts to the court of the Emperor of the Tragic Millennium during my uncle's campaign. It did not end well at all for us. That didn't end well for us as my PC ended up as a brain in jar within the laboratory of a Mantis scientist. 

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