Friday, November 18, 2022

Legacy of the Lizardmen In Our Sword & Sorcery OSR Campaigns - OSR Commentary Using The Advanced Dungeons & Dragons first edition Monster Manual

So last night at about four A.M. in the morning I was looking over the incredible trio of the Grand Game ( Advanced Dungeons & Dragons first edition), again for like the zillionth time. But immediately the Sword & Sorcery inspiration was right there. Looking over the Hyperborea rpg maps the Lizard Man Swamp jumped out at me. 

So let's talk about why for a moment. This adventure location reminds me of the Floridia Everglades in America or the prehistoric desert fens of the Australian Outback. A place of inhuman mystery & a perhaps a non human empire. 
Lizardmen in Advanced Dungeons & Dragon have always been in our games one of the inhuman others. 
These are not stand ins for some other race but literal alien prehistoric remains of the Serpent People who created them as slaves & servants  before them. 

 So let's pick it up with the fact that last night my hands were clasped in one of our all time favorite monster books from Advanced Dungeons & Dragons first edition. The vaulted Monster Manual. And one of the illustrations that keeps seemingly that was moving people in our respective circles was David Trampier's Lizardman illustration. 

DAT's lizard man is three things. One it's completely humanoid in shape. It looks incredibly dangerous & cool. And three it's using weapons of it's people's possible manufacture. Back in the Eighties my uncle who was our DM created his lizardmen to be a race of inhuman pyramid & zigurrat builders. They had almost beaver dam like villages that were both above & below the swamp water. There were different sets of lizardmen who were adapted to different environs in his version of Greyhawk. 
This was or is similar to how our lizardmen are going to be on our version of Hyperborea. Beings that have been artificially adapted and now are found in just about every environ within our campaign. 
They fight along side humans, join adventurers, move among human circles but they are not human at all. They value gold which is seen as a nest adornment, meat which they use to survive & as food, & generally get along with humanity. They go where humans can't or won't they thrive where humanity doesn't. And their a race unto themselves. 

The fact is that within our various campaign that we play often there was one or two lizardmen higherlings or even a lizardman cache of bounty hunters. These bounty hunters were often of the desert variety. And they never stopped when it came to tracking us with a vengence. This is a tradition that I will be upholding coming up. 
The empire of the Lizardmen arose from the ashes of the Hyperboreans & they built upon the waning of those ancient peoples after the Green Death.
And those lands are guarded by another favorite of our that our players absolutely hate & that's the Hydras of ancient mythology. The Serpent Men were the first to breed these terrors but it's the Lizardmen who continue to use & guide the Hydra to guard their lands & sacred egg clutches. 


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