04 October 2011

Zothique

The beginning of Clark Ashton Smith’s short story, The Dark Eidolon:

On Zothique, the last continent on Earth, the sun no longer shone with the whiteness of its prime, but was dim and tarnished as if with a vapor of blood. New stars without number had declared themselves in the heavens, and the shadows of the infinite had fallen closer. And out of the shadows, the older gods had returned to man: the gods forgotten since Hyperborea, since Mu and Poseidonis, bearing other names but the same attributes. And the elder demons had also returned, battening on the fumes of evil sacrifice, and fostering again the primordial sorceries.

Many were the necromancers and magicians of Zothique, and the infamy and marvel of their doings were legended everywhere in the latter days. But among them all there was none greater than Namirrha, who imposed his black yoke on the cities of Xylac, and later, in a proud delirium, deemed himself the veritable peer of Thasaidon, lord of Evil.

Those two paragraphs alone make me want to run a campaign set in ‘Zothique’!

(The entire story is available on line here.)

11 comments:

  1. Glad to know I'm not the only one who has a favorite C.A.S. paragraph (or two, in your case)... personally, mine is the first paragraph of 'The Abominations of Yondo':

    'The sand of the desert of Yondo is not as the sand of other deserts; for Yondo lies nearest of all to the world's rim; and strange winds, blowing from a pit no astronomer may hope to fathom, have sown its ruinous fields with the gray dust of corroding planets, the black ashes of extinguished suns. The dark, orblike mountains which rise from its wrinkled and pitted plain are not all its own, for some are fallen asteroids half-buried in that abysmal sand. Things have crept in from nether space, whose incursion is forbid by the gods of all proper and well-ordered lands; but there are no such gods in Yondo, where live the hoary genii of stars abolished and decrepit demons left homeless by the destruction of antiquated hells.'

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  2. You can never have enough CAS in your campaigns!

    Allan.

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  3. Um, wow. For all three quotes.

    Where did the map come from?

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  4. I've long been a fan of CAS. I incorporated a number of quotes from 'The Hashish Eater' in the stillbirthed Monster Island I originally wrote for Mongoose, the best bits of which shall be reincarnated for RQ6.

    Ironically just today I sneaked in a small Zothique homage in the Gloranthan Bestiary, which is finally nearing completion...

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  5. @kesher: I found the map here:
    http://www.eldritchdark.com/galleries/inspired-by-cas/13/zothique-map

    (Sorry for not replying earlier.)

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  6. Hi,

    Apologies for the off-topic comment, but I couldn't find a contact email for you.

    I've recently put out an ebook of my writing, called 'The New Death and others'. It's mostly short stories, with some obvious gamer-interest material. For example I have a story inspired by OD&D elves, as well as poems which retell Robert E Howard's King Kull story 'The Mirrors of Tuzun Thune' and HP Lovecraft's 'Under the Pyramids'.

    I was wondering if you'd be interested in doing a review on your blog.

    If so, please let me know your email, and what file format is easiest for you, and I'll send you a free copy. You can email me (news@apolitical.info) or reply to this thread.

    You can download samples from the ebook's pages on Amazon and Smashwords:

    http://www.amazon.com/dp/B005Q8Q8DY (kindle only)

    http://www.smashwords.com/books/view/92126 (variety of formats including plain text and pdf)

    I'll also link to your review from my blog.

    Yours,
    James.

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  7. If you aren't allergic to D20, this guide might be of some value

    http://www.eldritchdark.com/articles/criticism/30/zothique-d20-system-game-guide

    As a side note, the much respected Necromancers Handbook for 2e also cited Zothique as a major inspiration and as such might be worth a look if you have a copy around.

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  8. @ Greg Masseau: Thanks for posting that great quote!

    @ 5stonegames: Thanks very much for the recommendations. Although I'm not a fan of playing d20, I'm happy to use d20 resources.

    @ Pete Nash: Glad to hear some bits of Monster Island will be appearing in RQ6!

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  9. Zothique (esp the really nasty bits) was a big inspiration for the Continent of Terror, the example setting in Crypts and Things :)

    The land of Yondo, from "The Abominations of Yondo", was the inspiration for the appendix about 'Weird-lands' in the book.

    CAS RULES!

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  10. I look forward to reading the section on the "Continent of Terror" in the C&T rules in the very near future, Newt!

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  11. had a number of posts on Averoigne as a S&W setting on my blog that died. i was planning on focusing on Zothique after i get teh Averoigne files rebuilt. love both settings.

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I'm a Canadian political philosopher who divides his time between Milwaukee and Toronto.