Wednesday, June 7, 2023

The Study in Scarlet - Meeting Kane - Further Mediations on The Stormbringer rpg & OSR Campaign Memories


After last session we needed a plan & to somehow regroup from our latest assignment. 'The Great Beast' had literally left & we were on our way to our PC's rooms. But a knock on our door got us involved with a bigger issue & NPC. A stranger came to call, a  man with hooded eyes,reddish hair, & the stare of a killer from beyond recorded time. He introduced himself as simply as 'General Kane' an 'interested party' of our exploits. Some of us already had read Karl Edward Wagner Kane stories we knew who & what we were dealing with. 

Frank Frazetta artwork used without permission. Fine artprints available
through them here. 

We had to tread carefully with this NPC & we all knew it, he told us he knew where 
'The Grail of the Other' was if we were willing to turn over the 'The Ring of Winter's Regret'. Well we actually did & to wit he had provisions, gear, etc. for our party. Our party of adventurers got sleep & then in the morning we found Kane nowhere to be found. Much to our relief. But we got the surprise of our life when we opened the door of the inn all around us was ruined city  after city blocks. And a letter from Kane warning us of the chaos lord, 'The Thing in the Red Robe' the ruler of this plane. 
 By now it was late Autumn '91 & we had switched to the fourth edition of  'The Stormbringer rpg ' there were three reasons for this. The game was relatively inexpensive, readly available as many players had ditched their copies, & two game shops that sold used games. The system was at once familiar & easily grasped. 

As our party wandered the empty streets of the urban landscape there were abandoned shops, lots of animals, etc. We then almost got our heads torn off by a bunch of Young Kingdom cultists & humans transforming into beastmen. These  belonged  to our our old friend   'Queen Xiombarg'. But had a break as strange red & ragged demonic dogs tore into them! We had a map to follow leading us to the city's largest museum. We also found the rapidly decaying body of a boar warrior the face red & bloated as if wearing a red mask. 
We knew that our dungeon master was a fan of Edgar Allen Poe but there was another writer he was fond of the American writer Jack London. Jack London wrote 'The Scarlet Plague'.

And 'The Thing in the Red Robe' was a direct reference to the lord of chaos of this domain. The embodiment of 'the Scarlet Plague' walked this Earth. It aparently did not like trespassers or visitors to its domain. 

Illustration of Prince Prospero confronting the "Red Death" by Arthur Rackham, 1935

So how the Hell were we going to escape this plane?! Sure our party had demons of transportation but we were on a mission & we knew that the 
'The Thing in the Red Robe' was waiting for us. We needed answers, help, & some insight into our circumstances or the party was dead! 

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