LBB Albums

I know a lot of people associate older versions of D&D with metal music but arguably that’s a latter assumption. A comment on the standard short name for Seven Voyages of Zylarthen post over at Save Versus All Wands claimed it made the commenter think of Seven Seas of Rhye by Queen reminded me I’d been thinking about a 1974 soundtrack for gaming.

Some idea, please add your own:

  • Queen II by Queen
  • Tales from Topographic Oceans by Yes
  • Fragile by Yes
  • Demons and Wizards by Uriah Heep
  • The Magician’s Birthday by Uriah Heep
  • 666 (The Apocalypse of John, 13/18) by Aphrodite’s Child

I know I skipped that you might expect but that would be my inspirational music circa 1974 (yes, yes, I know, no Led Zeppelin, sue me). Also, the BOC that would inspire me is later (only barely as On Your Feet or on Your Knees came out in 1975.

I’ve often wondered what my D&D would have been like if I’d been a mere five years old when I got Holmes in 1977 (16 instead of 11). I look back at what I can only call hippie fantasy art of the period from weird wizards (immortalized here in Atlanta by the Mellow Mushroom Pizza mushroom) to Yes album covers and think about the worlds I want to build from them now.

On a totally different tack The “What is the OSR” d20 chart, specifically number 15, gave me some nostalgia for my old high school job at a mall pub in El Paso. I’d close it on Friday nights and come home. To unwind I’d read (often the latest Dragon which was in the Silver age leading up to 100 at the time) and listen to Weather Report (usually Night Passage or I Sing the Body Electric).

Alternate Elves

One of the biggest complaints about a lot of fantasy (novels and RPGs) is elves and dwarves.  The big complaint is they’re straight out of Tolkien.  Actually, they are more straight out of what people think is Tolkien (a huge complaint about AD&D in the Golden Age was the elves weren’t Tolkien enough).

In working on The World After I tried to do a different take on elves.  My primary inspiration was Marvel’s Weirdworld with Elfquest as a secondary influence.  ElfQuest, especially, is an excellent source for a variety of hot elf chicks.

The World After was also influenced by my take on elves from a stillborn AD&D2 campaign. I was cleaning up some computer files and found the notes on those elves.

The Bidden: The Elves. Little is know in the north about how they organize themselves or their history. What is known is 1000 years before the coming of The Tribes and about 500 years before the coming of the Kindreds they departed the world. The reappeared a little over 1000 years ago and almost immediately made war upon the Adeuian Empire, a human dominated state the occupied most of the known world.

The idea behind The Bidden is the Elves had moved and were sent back to the world to punish and rein in humanity. The Adeuian Empire, as well as other human cultures, was killing off dwarves and gnomes as well has halflings to a lesser degree (because unlike The Kindreds of Stone halfings were among the Tribes of Earth with men). This idea was taken not from fantasy novels but a science fiction story by Ben Bova, “Stars Won’t You Hide Me?”   It is anthologized in Escape Plus which Tor offers as a free download).

*Spoilers (go read the story, it’s free and it’s interesting)*

So, the idea that the last man is running from aliens who had been forcefully returned from somewhere (heaven?) to punish mankind a second time for a crime they committed really struck me. Elves are ancient, mysterious, and powerful. Their peak, however, was in past. Instead of a decaying races leaving this world, a la Tolkien and D&D canon in the Forgotten Realms I decided to run with Bova’s aliens. Elves, in this world, are not the long time enemies of dwarves, but their allies and protector against the crimes committed by humans. In the end, the campaign world was to have two kinds of elves: Royal elves who decided to reform humanity by ruling them and Vengeful elves who are still human hunters. The Royal elves fill the traditional elf role somewhat. Their royalty would intermarry with the last Emperors and the new empire spreading across the world is ruled by half-elf linages. The rest act aloof and tend to lecture and instruct humans using their superior wisdom. The Vengeful elves fill the “evil” elf role taken by the Drow but are more Lawful Neutral and driven to punish humanity so they may move forward on the cosmic wheel.

I have recently read a short story and a novel that have each inspired other “new takes” on elves. I’ll write them up as I get the time. My broader point is that what is in the D&D books is just a starting point. You can make elves (and dwarves, gnomes, and halfings) much more alien while still having some broad outlines that fit the rules and player expectations. Elrond, especially Hugo Weaving’s “Mr. Baggins” interpretation, would be right at home as a Royal elf and is only a tweak away from being Vengeful yet both concepts are far from Tolkien.

Random Thoughts

I have several almost finished May Project items in the hopper. Expect to see them in a torrent today and tomorrow.

I’m taking a mulligan on this Monday’s Pointers and re-running the full one next week along with the regular ones.

Working on the May Project has me considering importing something for D&D4 into OSR format: D&D4 rituals. My creation from the fourth story in Sword & Sorceress along with the Cages of Joneky along with the various wizard dueling rules in the OSR has me thinking about just what a spell represents.

Work is keeping me really busy as is my Lady (still in that NRE period) which has affected posting some.

The Mad Genius of the OSR pulled a quote from my Vornheim post. The only caveat I’ll ad is I wrote the original post based on the PDF and I was wrong. Vornheim in book form is MUCH cooler than I thought.

I have Lady Gaga’s Fame Monster on repeat and just ordered a copy of Revised Vampire: the Masquerade on eBay.