An unfinished letter found among the personal effects of Sakeurn Tarcer, late of the city of Isyr…
The island-continent, called Troqelac on the ancient sea charts I found amongst my grandfather’s papers, but known to those who dwell there as Nogoloth, rests deep within the Black Ocean, far to the east of Nysperé. Ships from Ulrath and Morryn used visit its shores, but rare is the captain who will risk that damned route any longer.
Whether it is a trick of the atmosphere or the curse of some hateful god none will say, but whatever the reason the truth is that it is perpetually twilight across the full breadth of Nogoloth. The sun never shines fully on that island – I know, for I have longed for its full radiant light to relieve the dread I felt every day of the seven years I lived in that accursed land. I fear that even now I may not have shaken the touch of madness that lingers over those who endure that interminable gloaming.
For surely you will think it madness when I speak at last of the terrible things which live and hunt in the umbral spaces between the cities that have grown up, fungus-like, in that dark place. Yes, we of Nysperé have our fair share of dangers in the wilderness – and even our own shadows to face among our fellow civilized inhabitants – but nothing here on our home soil can compare to the horrors I beheld in the murk and gloom of Nogoloth.
But before I drive you to disregard all I have to report with careless talk of Dagon & Hydra and things worse still, I should truthfully and in a steady voice tell you of the rational facts of Nogoloth. I should remain calm, and speak sensibly of the Great City of Khaarm, where the fountains run with crystal waters to nourish the souls of the great scholars and priests who inhabit the bone-white towers that ring the University. I should tell you of old Cwnuihd on the western shore and the raven-haired beauties who stand on the docks and sing songs no human ever wrote to the ebon-skinned crews of the emerald-sailed ships that brave the reef to take on cargoes of rubies the size of human hearts.
I should, no I must speak to you of the eastern port of Oustminnish and the strange, degenerate look that looms like a shadow over some of those who live in the precincts nearest the shore. Few of that city would speak to me of such things, but those who would whispered of the sea devils who sometimes leave their home beneath the waves to consort with the Istholams, the Phaths, the Chac-Langthuses, and several other families of lesser standing within the community.
I ought, though it behooves me not, to tell you of Pnikigystros where the ancient wizard Orazath resides. I am bound by blood oath and implacable geas to ensure that the knowledge I unearthed within the great library of Canton-on-Imisk does not recede into the darkness it seeks as surely as the waters of the river upon which the town sits seek the oblivion that comes with returning to the sea. Will you listen to me? I have search so long for someone who would bear the burden of this terrible wisdom I possess.
The letter was found, along with a hastily scrawled map to the “island-continent” (completely unknown to any within the scholar’s guild) referenced in the letter, on the man’s body which was discovered in an alleyway in one of the seedier portions of Isyr. The unfortunate victim of the sort of violence that happens amongst those who give in to the darker temptations within that city.
Lovecraftian fantasy, indeed!
You really captured the ‘voice’ on this one, V.P. Also, the place-names are fantastic.
This something for the Crawling Chaos supplement? Or would you run it with BRP?
Hey hey! Thanks, G-Man. This one just kinda came to me this afternoon so I thought I’d run with it. It was that strange sense of almost writing what someone else was telling you to write that happens sometimes. I’ve been reading HPL again in the past few days, so I’m sure that contributed to the overall outcome.
I’m glad you like the names. A couple of them are drawn from an older setting I was mucking with before I started blogging really, but the names of the cities take inspiration from fairly close to the source.
I’m not quite sure whether I’d use LL/RoCC or BRP/CoC for this. I mean, it should work just fine for both. So in the end it would probably have more to do with the players than anything else. There’s a certain sense in using BRP/CoC, for tradition’s sake if nothing else. But Dan & Michael did such amazing work on Realms of Crawling Chaos that it begs to be used as well.
I tagged this post for both systems as a place to start. If anything more comes out of this I’ll just have to see where its non-Euclidian geometry takes it 🙂
A potentially interesting side note: the earlier setting I was drawing from was also a coin-flip BRP vs LL. BRP won in the two or three sessions I ran in it. I don’t think that colors my perception of this, but it might.
As an old BRP man myself, I’m curious what sort of PC power level you’d be looking at in the scenario described above. Sort of low (as per CoC), or with some of the higher-powered options (like higher stats , step 6, total hit points, etc). I ask because I always pictured “fantasy” Lovecraft characters tougher than their more modern-day counterparts.
In general I’d be inclined to lean towards at least slightly more powerful than traditional CoC investigators for sure. I’m generally keen on doing the whole 2d6+6 for all the stats (mostly so my players don’t whine :)) and I love the heck out of Step 6. I’m conflicted over Total Hit Points in this genre/setting, but I think I’d be inclined to go with them. I’d definitely use the Major Wound option rather than the detailed hit location rules, too.
I think, rules-wise, I’d cleave pretty closely to the approaches in Elric!/Stormbringer for this, since in my mind those are pretty much the ultimate Dark Fantasy rules. I’m not sure about handling magic in BRP just yet, but the Sorcery rules (i.e., the Elric! rules) would probably work, as long as one enforced the Allegiance rules on top of working in a SAN loss mechanism.
But yes, the short answer is that Lovecraftian Fantasy characters ought to be more durable as a whole. At least physically 🙂