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Tag Archives: Thule Society

Houska Castle – Adventure Seeds Pt. 1

In my previous post I talked about the history and legends of Houska Castle.  Today I’d like to offer some adventure seeds for using the castle in your games.  With Halloween fast approaching I thought that 13 would be a good number.

Let’s get things started with part one:

1. Vault of the Vampires – The ancient castle is home to an order of vampire hunters.  The corpses of vampires slain by the order are returned to the castle and their remains are cast down into the chasm hidden beneath the chapel floor.  A hidden switch causes the alter to slide back, revealing the hellish pit whose black stone walls are embedded with countless crucifixes stretching far down into the depths.  A constant whispering can be heard from far below.

Over the centuries the order has dwindled to a handful of aged monks spending their days attending to their senile grandmaster.  Some of the monks have begun to listen to the whispers from below, whispers that mock their forgotten purpose and promise rejuvenation and escape from the terrible wastes of age and madness.

2. Gateway to the Lost World – Damage to the castle causes the pits beneath the chapel to be rediscovered.  Not long afterwards local peasants report seeing the demonic winged beasts of legends.  The rumors take on a grim reality when a worker is found dead, torn apart by a wild beast and his corpse left dangling from the castle roof.

The caverns below the castle are a direct route to Pellucidar, the jungle world found within the hollow Earth and populated by prehistoric beasts.  The winged demons of Houska Castle are pterodactyls and its legendary beast men are the reptilian Mahars and their ape-like Sagoths.

3. Nazi Invasion through Time – Version A) The 30 Years War burns across Europe bringing death and plague wherever it touches.  A renegade Swedish commander ransacks the land before retreating to deserted Houska Castle to establish a base of operations.  They are never seen again.

Not long after the peasants begin telling stories of black garbed men moving through the forest.  They carry fearsome weapons, wear unknown heraldry, and the murdered anyone who falls into their grasp.  One night a nearby castle is annihilated by a massive iron monster armed with a terrible cannon.  A single survivor reports that the black clad men have lead prisoners back to Houska Castle where they are being used as slaves, helping the strange men assemble towers of steel.

Version B) The year is 1945 and the German war machine is crumbling.  Allied intelligence reports a massive troop movement heading into the mountains north of Prague, with Castle Houska as their destination.  The movement makes no sense as the location is poorly suited for a counter-attack on advancing Soviet forces.

The answer comes from a Nazi defector, a member of the mystical Thule Society who reveals that the castle is situated over a temporal anomaly.  With enough power a gateway can be opened through time allowing German forces to escape into the past where they will conquer the world centuries before the modern era.  A small advance force has already been sent back with orders to open the gate from the other side, using an array of lighting towers to fuel the portal.  When both gates are open an entire panzer battalion will be sent through.

Bonus points for running the players through both sides of the adventure.

4. All Nazis go to Hell – The year is 1941.  France has been conquered and Britain is reeling under the Blitz.  Panzer divisions range across North Africa and Soviet forces are crumbling in the face of over three million German soldiers.  The United States continues to remain neutral despite renewed U-boat attacks on merchant shipping.  The Nazi juggernaut seems unstoppable and drunk on success Hitler decides to open another front.  He orders Operation Lucifer to commence.

Allied Intelligence receives a communique from deep in occupied Czechoslovakia.  A division of SS panzergrenadiers under the direct command of Thule Society wizards is advancing on an obscure castle north of Prague, Houska Castle.  Thaumaturgical symbols are carved into the tanks and weapons and the commanding general bears the Spear of Destiny.  Their objective is to conquer Hell itself.

Whether the Nazis succeed or fail, it spells disaster for the world.  The Allies must stop the Nazis from opening the hell gate.

5. Nazis Defend the World – The year is 1945.  Mile by mile the Thousand Year Reich is crumbling into ash.  The liberation of France is underway and Soviet forces have annihilated the invading German armies.  Nazi forces continue to fight on, forcing the Allies to pay in blood for every step they take towards Berlin.  One day the OSS receives a coded message, a call for help from an unexpected source.

German forces have occupied Houska Castle since the early days of the war.  Their goal had been to investigate the supernatural forces contained beneath its foundations.  Against the protests of the aged priest they began excavations in the chapel, discovering the sealed pit and descended into it.  What followed was a nightmare of death as demons issued from the hell gate, painting the walls red with German blood.

In the end the army drove the monsters back.  The priest resealed the gate at the cost of his own life, but with his death the ritual of binding was lost.  A garrison of soldiers has stood guard over the castle ever since to ensure no one else disturbs the hell gate.

Now the garrison commander is faced with the oncoming tide of a vengeful Soviet army.  He knows they will not listen to him.  They will ransack the castle, risk opening the hell gate, and this time there will be no one to reseal it.  There are no German forces left to call for aid.  In desperation he sends a call to the Americans, praying that they will believe him.

Why yes, I do keep the B.P.R.D. on speed dial.

 
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Posted by on October 8, 2013 in Fantasy, Gaming, Horror, Science Fiction

 

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Lich Convention!

Holy chrome!

It’s a lich convention!

I knew of this book from a posting earlier this year, but some of these photos are new to me.  These warm my Clark Ashton Smith-loving heart.

“Are you interested in seeing a dilapidated old church in the forest with a skeleton standing there covered in jewels and holding a cup of blood in his left hand like he’s offering you a toast?”

None for me thanks, I’m driving.

Against all reason and common sense, I would definitely go see a church filled with these amazing relics.  I guess I am an adventurer at heart.  Hope I have enough hit points.

“In other cases, leads—which he gathered through traveler’s accounts, parish archives and even Protestant writings about the Catholic “necromancers”—did pan out. He found one skeleton in the back of a parking-garage storage unit in Switzerland. Another had been wrapped in cloth and stuck in a box in a German church, likely untouched for 200 years.”

I am definitely in the wrong line of work.

“Accomplishing that was no small task. Nearly all the skeletons he visited and uncovered were still in their original 400-year-old glass tombs.”

Which explains why all Europe isn’t a necropolis.

“When he returned to that original German village several years later, for example, he found that a salvage company had torn down the forest church. Beyond that, none of the villagers could tell him what had happened to its contents, or to the body.”

The hand of the Bavarian Illuminati is clearly seen here.

There are so many ways to use this for role playing games.

1) Several of the most powerful liches in the world gathered together for a great ritual.  Unbeknownst to them it was a trap set by the unlikely alliance of Loki and Balder.  They were all imprisoned in crystal coffins and hidden away, but now shadowy forces are trying to release them.

2) The Thule Society backed by the SS are collecting these relics from forgotten corners of Germany.  The OSS isn’t sure what their plan is, but three psychics have gone mad since the first reports came in.  The allies are sending in a commando squad to find out what is going on and stop it.

3) To celebrate 50 years of peace the royalty of the 12 Kingdoms came together for a great banquet.  An evil witch cast a terrible spell, trapping their souls and corrupting their lands.  The kingdoms will remain haunted lands until the Divine Right of Rulership is released from the corpses imprisoned in their glass chambers.

4) The first expedition to Regulus VI has found something unusual, a crypt filled with jeweled skeletons.  The ruins above bear no resemblance to Earth architecture, but these venerated relics are disturbingly human in form.

5) The year is 1968.  In an attempt to improve relations with the west, the East German government has allowed a fantastic exhibition of these Catholic relics to visit Paris, London, and Washington DC.  Western agents uncover a plot to sabotage the exhibit, but are surprised to find KGB agents behind the plot.

6) The end times are drawing near and demons are slipping into our world, sowing chaos and pain in their wake.  After rescuing the skeleton of an ancient martyr an archeologist finds herself granted with divine grace, power enough to fight back.  Now she is in a race to rescue more of the martyr’s skeletons as well as others worthy to bear their holy gifts.

How would you use these macabre marvels?

for-smithsonian0004

 
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Posted by on October 1, 2013 in Cool Stuff, Fantasy, Horror, Science Fiction

 

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