REH, Leiber, Merritt, Moore, CAS, Vance setting

Appendix N is the literary wellspring of the DCC RPG. Discuss it here, along with related subjects: D&D history, pulp sci-fi/fantasy magazines, pre-genre literature, etc.

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REH, Leiber, Merritt, Moore, CAS, Vance setting

Post by finarvyn »

Geoffrey, a regular poster over on OD&D Discussion and on Dragonsfoot, posted a neat idea which he is planning on running for Castles & Crusades but would be a lot of fun with DCC RPG as well. You may also know him as the guy who wrote the OD&D Carcosa supplement, since retooled into the LotFP game system.

I took a couple of his posts there and stapled them together into a single post which I thought I'd share for folks here.

If anyone has cool ideas or suggestions for him, I can always relay them or folks could go to his DF thread (linked at the bottom of this post) and tell him directly. 8)

REH, Leiber, Merritt, Moore, CAS, Vance setting (by Geoffrey)

I have typically refereed campaigns with a lot of fantastic monsters. Lately I have been struck by how relatively rare such monsters are in my favorite fantastic literature. Most antagonists are men (sometimes armed with magical might), wild animals, prehistoric beasts, and giant versions of wild animals. I have thought to myself that I should conduct a campaign along those lines.

Castles & Crusades is a great game to use for such a campaign since it provides 13 character classes, all immediately useable and useful. This will provide a wide range of human antagonists.

My literary inspirations here are the following:

Howard, Robert E.
Kull tales
Conan tales

Leiber, Fritz
Fafhrd and the Gray Mouser tales published in the 1930s and 1940s

Merritt, Abraham
The Moon Pool
The Metal Monster
The Face in the Abyss
Dwellers in the Mirage

Moore, C. L.
Jirel of Joiry short stories

Smith, Clark Ashton
Averoigne stories
Hyperborea stories
Poseidonis stories
Xiccarph stories
Zothique stories
"The Abominations of Yondo"
"The Demon of the Flower"

Vance, Jack
The Dying Earth

CAS's Hyperborea and Vance's The Dying Earth are the two strongest inspirations. I find it interesting that all of the above were written by Americans and published between 1919 and 1950. Something must have been in the air in those three decades!

While I want the setting to be exotic, I do not want it to be too exotic. I am aiming at something along the general lines of the Mediterranean between the time of Alexander and that of Cleopatra, or the Greco-Bactrian Kingdom (click: ... paign.html ).

I will use this thread as a repository for ideas as they occur to me. Undoubtedly I will post contradictory things, and I will change my mind and backtrack from time to time. On some days I will post multiple times, and on the other hand I might go a week or more without posting. Such is the nature of imaginative creation. This is like a puzzle newly taken out of the box: I know the pieces I need, but I do not have them put together yet.

I of course welcome all constructive comments and (especially) criticisms. This is a big reason why I am posting this stuff here rather than only jotting it down in a notebook. I am sure that this campaign world will be the better for input from my fellow dragonsfoot regulars.

I have made a more specific list of the novels and stories that inspire this setting. The dates by each one are the dates of publication, not of writing.

Merritt, Abraham. The Moon Pool. 1919
Merritt, Abraham. The Metal Monster. Aug 7 – Sept. 25, 1920
Smith, Clark Ashton. “The Abominations of Yondo”. April 1926
Howard, Robert E. “The Shadow Kingdom”. Aug. 1929
Howard, Robert E. “The Mirrors of Tuzun Thune”. Sept. 1929
Smith, Clark Ashton. “The End of the Story”. May 1930
Smith, Clark Ashton. “The Last Incantation”. June 1930
Smith, Clark Ashton. “Sadastor”. July 1930
Merritt, Abraham. The Face in the Abyss. Oct. 25 – Dec. 6, 1930
Smith, Clark Ashton. “A Rendezvous in Averoigne”. April 1931
Smith, Clark Ashton. “The Satyr”. July 1931
Smith, Clark Ashton. “The Tale of Satampra Zeiros”. Nov. 1931
Smith, Clark Ashton. “The Door to Saturn”. Jan. 1932
Merritt, Abraham. Dwellers in the Mirage. Jan. 1932
Smith, Clark Ashton. “The Weird of Avoosl Wuthoqquan”. June 1932
Smith, Clark Ashton. “The Maker of Gargoyles”. Aug. 1932
Smith, Clark Ashton. “The Empire of the Necromancers”. Sept. 1932
Smith, Clark Ashton. “The Testament of Athammaus”. Oct. 1932
Howard, Robert E. “The Phoenix on the Sword”. Dec. 1932
Smith, Clark Ashton. “The Voyage of King Euvoran”. 1933
Smith, Clark Ashton. “The Maze of the Enchanter”. 1933
Smith, Clark Ashton. “The Double Shadow”. 1933
Howard, Robert E. “The Scarlet Citadel”. Jan. 1933
Smith, Clark Ashton. “The Mandrakes”. Feb. 1933
Smith, Clark Ashton. “The Isle of the Torturers”. March 1933
Howard, Robert E. “The Tower of the Elephant”. March 1933
Smith, Clark Ashton. “The Ice Demon”. April 1933
Smith, Clark Ashton. “The Beast of Averoigne”. May 1933
Howard, Robert E. “Black Colossus”. June 1933
Smith, Clark Ashton. “Ubbo-Sathla”. July 1933
Howard, Robert E. “The Slithering Shadow”. Sept. 1933
Howard, Robert E. “The Pool of the Black One”. Oct. 1933
Smith, Clark Ashton. “The Holiness of Azédarac”. Nov. 1933
Smith, Clark Ashton. “The Demon of the Flower”. Dec. 1933
Smith, Clark Ashton. “The White Sybil”. 1934
Howard, Robert E. “Rogues in the House”. Jan. 1934
Smith, Clark Ashton. “The Weaver in the Vaults”. Jan. 1934
Smith, Clark Ashton. “The Witchcraft of Ulua”. Feb. 1934
Smith, Clark Ashton. “The Charnel God”. March 1934
Howard, Robert E. “Shadows in the Moonlight”. April 1934
Smith, Clark Ashton. “The Death of Malygris”. April 1934
Smith, Clark Ashton. “The Tomb-Spawn”. May 1934
Howard, Robert E. “Queen of the Black Coast”. May 1934
Smith, Clark Ashton. “The Colossus of Ylourgne”. June 1934
Smith, Clark Ashton. “The Disinterment of Venus”. July 1934
Howard, Robert E. “The Devil in Iron”. Aug. 1934
Howard, Robert E. “The People of the Black Circle”. Sept.-Nov. 1934
Smith, Clark Ashton. “The Seven Geases”. Oct. 1934
Moore, C. L. “Black God’s Kiss”. Oct. 1934
Moore, C. L. “Black God’s Shadow”. Dec. 1934
Smith, Clark Ashton. “Xeethra”. Dec. 1934
Howard, Robert E. “A Witch Shall Be Born”. Dec. 1934
Smith, Clark Ashton. “The Dark Eidolon”. Jan. 1935
Howard, Robert E. “Jewels of Gwahlur”. March 1935
Smith, Clark Ashton. “The Last Hieroglyph”. April 1935
Smith, Clark Ashton. “The Flower-Women”. May 1935
Howard, Robert E. “Beyond the Black River”. May-June 1935
Moore, C. L. “Jirel Meets Magic”. July 1935
Howard, Robert E. “Shadows in Zamboula”. Nov. 1935
Howard, Robert E. The Hour of the Dragon. Dec. 1935 – April 1936
Moore, C. L. “The Dark Land”. Jan. 1936
Smith, Clark Ashton. “The Black Abbot of Puthuum”. March 1936
Smith, Clark Ashton. “Necromancy in Naat”. July 1936
Howard, Robert E. “Red Nails”. July-Oct. 1936
Smith, Clark Ashton. “The Death of Ilalotha”. Sept. 1937
Tolkien, J. R. R. The Hobbit. Sept. 21, 1937
Smith, Clark Ashton. “The Garden of Adompha”. April 1938
Smith, Clark Ashton. “Mother of Toads”. July 1938
Moore, C. L. “Hellsgarde”. April 1939
Leiber, Fritz. “Two Sought Adventure”. Aug. 1939
Leiber, Fritz. “The Bleak Shore”. Nov. 1940
Smith, Clark Ashton. “The Coming of the White Worm”. April 1941
Leiber, Fritz. “The Howling Tower”. June 1941
Smith, Clark Ashton. “The Enchantress of Sylaire”. July 1941
Leiber, Fritz. “The Sunken Land”. Feb. 1942
Leiber, Fritz. “Thieves’ House”. Feb. 1943
Smith, Clark Ashton. “The Master of the Crabs”. March 1948
Vance, Jack. The Dying Earth. 1950

I have listed them in publication order to help illustrate that this frpg setting will be inspired by the above sources as a mixed-up whole. It is Nehwon, the Hyborian Age, Hyperborea, Poseidonis, the Dying Earth, Valusia, Joiry, Averoigne, etc. thoroughly blended. It is all of them and none of them. It is a world in which Conan could team-up with Jirel and Turjan to defeat necromancers from Naat.

For fun, I included The Hobbit in the list above to show the context in which it was undoubtedly read by a great many swords & sorcery buffs back in the 1930s. It was not "the enchanting prelude to The Lord of the Rings". It was instead a tale of fantasy adventure sandwiched between sword & sorcery tales. Bilbo, Gandalf, and Thorin were placed alongside Kull, Fafhrd, Ulan Dhor, etc. rather than alongside the nonexistent Aragorn, Finrod, and Beren. ... 42&t=62732
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Re: REH, Leiber, Merritt, Moore, CAS, Vance setting

Post by cthulhudarren »

Vance's Cugel stories have lots of monsters that I have never heard of, even in D&D.

Partial list: ... ying_Earth
Last edited by cthulhudarren on Mon Sep 16, 2013 6:54 am, edited 1 time in total.
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Re: REH, Leiber, Merritt, Moore, CAS, Vance setting

Post by Exedor »

Something that always resonates with me in fantasy fiction, which I think needs to be part of a compelling campaign world, is a believable history, something that is woven into the world as presented to the reader. The Hyperborians in REH's Conan setting were ancient conquerors; early 20th century Nordicist pseudo-history is woven into that world quite artfully, and it makes it so believable. The world of Greyhawk, at least the print I had in around 1983, had its history of migrations into the Flaness. Tolkien was a master of this particular art, such that derivatives of Tolkien frequently and unfortunately drown out other sources. Vance referred to other ages frequently and included time travel to those very backstories.

To create a great fantasy world one also needs to create a backstory. By way of example, I have been mining the "Old North" of post-Roman, pre-Anglo Saxon Britain lately for my campaign world, for instance, and it has helped me with creating consistent, evocative place names. Having some sort of historical touchstone, of course altered as needed, can really make a campaign world feel real.

Just my $0.02. I really like the ideas presented and I'd love to see them combined with well-executed backstory. This idea has the potential to fill the place that TWoG held in the 1980s for me.
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