Sunday, November 14, 2021

Adventurer, Conqueror, King Along The Moonbeam Roads - Greyhawk to Greyhawk - The Queen of Air & Darkness

 Sometimes campaigns take on a life of their own & this Adventurer, Conqueror, King Heroic Fantasy  Handbook . And in this case its been the fact that we've been discussing using some pretty esoteric  resources  including  Original Dungeons & Dragons  Supplement I Greyhawk. Because this blog entry picks up right from here. 

There are several reasons for this including the use of the Gate spell & its uses with the powers of Law & Chaos; "Gate: Employment of this spell opens a cosmic portal and allows an ultra-powerful being (such as Odin, Crom, Set, Cthulhu, the Shining One, a demi-god, or whatever) to come to this plane. It is recommended that the user of this spell have a highly valid reason for summoning such aid. The name of the being desired must be called when the spell is cast. There is a 95% chance that the called being will come, 5% chance for some other being coming instead. There is also a 5% chance that whatever shows up will simply return immediately after observing the situation."  
And this brings up the OSR Grimoire's blog entry on Gary Gygax's 'Keep on the Borderlands' and the module's place within the struggle with the force Law & Chaos; "The Realm:

Much has been written suggesting the American frontier as the ideological framework behind D&D in general, and "The Keep on the Borderlands" in particular, (see comments for this post from Grognardia as far back as 2008, as well as this post from Blog of Holding in 2016).

While an important perspective, the later module B5 "Horror on the Hill" (1983) makes a better case for this argument.  By comparison, the near apocalyptic setting described in the background for module B2 presents an endangered civilization under siege:

The Realm of mankind is narrow and constricted. Always the forces of Chaos press upon its borders, seeking to enslave its populace, rape its riches, and steal its treasures. If it were not for a stout few, many in the Realm would indeed fall prey to the evil which surrounds them. Yet, there are always certain exceptional and brave members of humanity, as well as similar individuals among its allies - dwarves, elves, and halflings - who rise above the common level and join battle to stave off the darkness which would otherwise overwhelm the land. Bold adventurers from the Realm set off for the Borderlands to seek their fortune. It is these adventurers who, provided they survive the challenge, carry the battle to the enemy. Such adventurers meet the forces of Chaos in a testing ground where only the fittest will return to relate the tale. Here, these individuals will become skilled in their profession, be it fighter or magic-user, cleric or thief. They will be tried in the fire of combat, those who return, hardened and more fit. True, some few who do survive the process will turn from Law and good and serve the masters of Chaos, but most will remain faithful and ready to fight chaos wherever it threatens to infect the Realm.

from B2 "The Keep on the Borderlands"

The conflict between Law and Chaos described above is an example of the influence of Poul Anderson's "Three Hearts and Three Lions" and Michael Moorcock's Elric of Melniboné series on the implicit cosmology of the original D&D game." 

But what does this have to do with the Holy Grail & the Fisher Kings?! Well a bit of everything really. The connection between 'The Realm' & Greyawk's campaign setting is deep. This is especially true of one of Greyhawk's Fey queens 'the so called Queen of Air & Darkness whose played the villain in numerous campaigns of ours especially our Stormbringer campaigns. Where her Fey were a major source of contention for our player's PC's. And all of this comes back to the fact that 'The Queen of Air & Darkness' came from ;" The name comes from the title of T. H. White's Arthurian novel The Queen of Air and Darkness, the second volume in his work The Once and Future King."  And this ties into the mythos of Poul Anderson's Law & Chaos as well as other fantasy authors; "

In White's novel, the queen of the title is King Arthur's half-sister Morgause. She is an amateur witch who enchants the young king into sleeping with her, producing the traitorous child Mordred.

"The Queen of Air and Darkness" is also a short story by Poul Anderson which plays on fairy mythology in a science fiction setting.

The Queen of Air and Darkness also appears as the Queen of the Unseelie Court in fiction such as Laurell K. Hamilton's Merry Gentry series and Emma Bull's War For the Oaks"  
Her Fey forces of darkness will be in evidence coming up; "
The Queen of Air and Darkness is blamed with the creation of all evil fey races, including quicklings and spriggans

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