Tuesday, July 3, 2012

Cockaigne Running Around My Brain


The positive response Cuccagna has received both on this blog and on G+ has kept it in my mind at least a day longer than I expected it to be there.  While I'm still trying to resist the urge to run it, I did give some thought to how I would do so.

For the rules I'd use the Swords & Wizardry White Box as it is my favorite iteration of D&D, OS or otherwise.  Running Uz has reminded me just how much I like it.  I'd probably limit characters to only the three human classes.  While it's possible dwarves and elves and wee people live on the island, most have been driven out of the Europe that is the assumed origin of the characters.  I might add in a Mountebank class similar to Chris Kutalik's, but I think it would need significant overhauling to bring it in line with the simplicity of S&W.

I took a look at the list of monsters in the White Box and selected the ones that I thought would be the most broadly appropriate.  I stole the below format from Huge Ruined Scott, so an * means that the monster has a significant difference from its traditional D&D interpretation.

Banshee
Basilisk*
Centaur
Chimera
Cockatrice
Demons [Each Unique]
Dragons
Dryad
Elementals
Gargoyle
Genie
Ghoul*
Giant*
Gnoll (Gnole)*
Goblin
Golem
Griffon
Harpy
Hell Hound
Hippogriff
Hydra
Liche* [Each Unique]
Lycanthrope
Medusa*
Minotaur
Ogre
Pegasus
Roc
Salamander
Sea Serpent
Shadow
Skeleton
Treant
Troll*
Unicorn*
Vampire* [Each Unique]
Wraith
Wyvern

I want to shove in Cynocephali, Blemmyes, Perytons, Satyrs and a bunch of weird freaks made in vats.   The last of these will be wholly individual.  Possibly also Calibans, a race of horrid humanoids and anthropophagi bred by wizards to do stupid shit.

The Island of Cuccagna is likely to be too small to contain all of these, and I might end up going the route Scott did by having most of the monsters actually be unique individuals, though unlike the LotFP model many will still be clearly based on folkloric monsters.  Many will also just be freaks.

Ok, now here is a longer list of source material than the one I initially provided:

Jack Vance The Dying Earth*
William Shakespeare The Tempest and A Midsummer Night's Dream*
Lord Dunsany The Gods of Pagana, "How Nuth Would Have Practised His Art Upon the Gnoles," and "The Hoard of the Gibbelins"
Geoffrey of Monmouth The Chronicle of the Kings of Britain
Bernard of Anger Book of the Miracles of Sainte Foi
Caesarius of Heisterbach Dialogue on Miracles
Barbra Ninde Byfield The Glass Harmonica
The Travels of Sir John Mandeville
Jacques Auguste Simon Collin de Plancy, Dictionnaire Infernal
Homer The Odyssey
Clark Ashton Smith Averoigne and Poseidonis cycles*
Brian Foud and Alan Lee Fairies
Various colored fairy books

Some Films:
The Adventures of Robin Hood
Baron Munchausen
Tim Bandits
Jabberwocky
Jason and the Argonauts
The Seventh Voyage of Sinbad
Sinbad and the Eye of the Tiger
Forbidden Planet

One Television Series:
Jim Henson's The Story Teller

This should not be taken as an exhaustive list as I'm sure I forgot something that's worth mentioning.  The reader will note there there is also a lot of "Devil" stuff here.  I plan to interpret this stuff in a slightly more whimsical, if still frightening, way rather than the 70s metal meets horror movies way that is presented in Nightwick Abbey.

Lastly, here's a list of things of things I haven't read but am pretty sure I need to for this project:
Jack Vance Lyonesse and pretty much everything else
More Dunsany

If I've missed something you think I should be reading if I want to do this, let me know.

4 comments:

  1. Have you read Lyonesse yet?

    On the Mountebank you probably wanted the second version of that class (or perhaps not): http://hillcantons.blogspot.com/2010/10/mountebank-class-take-two.html

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    1. I have updated it with the correct link.

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  2. re: Shakespeare-- Pericles, Prince of Tyre and A Winter's Tale might also prove inspirational. The Vienna of Measure for Measure , with the absurdity, pointless intrigue cranked up even higher, might inform the atmosphere and institutions of Great Wen.

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  3. Love the setting idea. One thing I like is that it has a reasonably small size that can yet be self-contained. Also, a bunch of power-mad wizards named Prospero.

    Yes, you probably should read Vance's Lyonesse. What this most reminds me of, however, is short story by Lin Carter called "The Twelve Wizards of Ong", published only (so far as I know) in a collection called Lost Worlds. Well-worth reading if you can find it.

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