Sunday, October 3, 2021

Things of the Moon - James Ward's Tainted Lands & Cultclassic Eighties Movie Mixed With A1 Assault on Blacktooth Ridge By Davis Chenault - More Thoughts On Horror Campaigns In The Tainted Lands

  “This madness is no longer contained in the Tainted Lands. It spreads, filling the empty places around it with the dread of horror, polluting the world one small step at a time.”

"Upon the far slopes of the Turmberg Mountains, where the northern shores of Lake Vanhir lap the Plains of Cos lie the fog-enshrouded Tainted Lands. In the Days before Days hosts of dark hearted Val-Ehrakun settled here even before the sun and moon rose in the heavens. They shaped the earth, molding it with hysterical delusions. In their delirium they befouling the land, polluted the waters and staining the very air with madness. The land itself, filled with this poison became twisted, a living embodiment of the horror of nightmare. But as with all things, this too passed and the Tainted Lands became a wasteland of forgotten dreams and misspent sorcery. For eons it lay dormant, suffering under the yoke of time. But now, the shroud of its winter has given way and the Tainted Lands have come alive again. The earth groans and spits its necromantic horror in the air. Monsters, dread and foul rise from the muck of corruption and stalk the wastes. And the dreams of gods rise as nightmares from the blasted heath.

Nothing good is born in the mists of the Tainted Lands. Those who enter can survive there, some even thrive there, using the nightmare landscape to hide in. But as often as not the very magics that corrupt the lands consume them, they are twisted and driven mad, turning on all those and anything that stand before them. Still others fall into he oblivion and never rise again, their bones soaked into the earth and forgotten by history."

If we're talking horror & Castles & Crusades rpg within Jim Ward's Tainted Lands then let's talk about a module that seldom get's mentioned. And we're speaking here about 
Davis Chenault's A1 Assault on Blacktooth Ridge. And while this might not seem like a good fit for the Tainted Lands bear with me here for a moment of your time. But wait, A1 Assault on Blacktooth Ridge?! 

Yes, A1 Assault on Blacktooth Ridge because this module has a dark & sort of twisted fairy tale feel to it. A perfect module to twist & exploit for the Tainted Lands setting. The  wilderness encounters  of the A1 Assault on Blacktooth Ridge  adventure reads like a Grim's Fairy tales bit. A1 Assault on Blacktooth Ridge 's set up & setting feels like the isolated backwater village & surrouindings that adventurers of low level can cut their teeth in. 
A1 is homegrown horror taking adventurers into a world of small time 1st level adventure. And this is perfect because the region is filled with abandoned temples, ruins, & dungeons that are scattered through out the region. 

A1 could be the perfect start up for the greater horrors that don't seem as real to the backwoods & backwards appearing of the regions. And this makes it perfect for the foulness of the module. The tone of A1 feels like two folds of a campaign on the one hand there's the familar fairy tale feel. And on the other hand bits & pieces of 
A1 Assault on Blacktooth Ridge remind me of B2 Keep on the Borderland by Gary Gygax. But for moment let's look at A1 being a dark fairy tale reflection of another world. For Eighties classic horror this comes in the seldom mentioned Eighy Four classic 'In The Company of Wolves'. 

An Earth NPC  young woman transported into the tainted lands with the horrors of fairy tale weirdness edging on lycanthropy's curse is a way of extending the themses of A1 Assault on Blacktooth Ridge into full on campaign mode. The tainted lands mold themselves around the dreams & thoughts of a young woman while werewolves are called in by the shattered dreams of innocence. A1 backwater wilderness could be all that's needed to set the adventurers onto the path of werewolf stricken madness. This all ties back into the E.C. comics blog entry last week of 'From Out Of The Mists'.  The tainted lands turns the nightmare factor up to 'eleven' and then some. The cultclassic factor creeps in as the mists of the tainted lands weave to make the NPC's dreams into the nightmares of reality. Wrap this all with a Ray Bradbury bow and you're off to run with a ready made campaign jump point. 

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