Wednesday, November 7, 2012

Fearful Symmetry

J. Eric Holmes, D&D Basic (p. 41) -- "... the story tellers are always careful to point out that the reputed dungeons lie in close proximity to the foundations of the older, pre-human city, to the graveyard, and to the sea."

H.P. Lovecraft, Pickman's Model -- "Look here, do you know the whole North End once had a set of tunnels that kept certain people in touch with each other's houses, and the burying-ground, and the sea?"


8 comments:

  1. Great find!! Holmes was a lifelong Lovecraft fan &
    it shows in the Sample Dungeon - in my last post I just wrote about the similarities with The Festival.

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    1. Thanks! I was particularly hoping you'd see this. I actually went to your "Easter Eggs" page first, to check if you already had it there.

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    2. I read the story for the first time last night & noted some other thematic similarities: cellars, pirates and ghouls.

      Holmes was well aware of Pickman's Model. In 1997 he wrote an article about Lovecraft in the Comics for the zine Crypt of Cthulhu, and among others discussed two different adaptations of PM from the early 70s, one by Marvel and one in an underground comic book called Skull.

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    3. Yes, I almost mentioned the same thing (pirates, etc.) but stuck to highlighting that one perfect mirror-image passage that hit me as I read it. Also there's talk about "witches" (HPL), compared to the MU who wants to use "wizard lock" as his first spell (JEH). And of course there's "rats in the walls" (albeit a different story). Maybe the whole dungeon is a roman-a-clef for Pickman's Model et. al., eh?

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    4. Rat in the walls - that's another one that hadn't occurred to me but seems obvious now! In that same Lovecraft article, Holmes mentions that Rats is his favorite HPL story to read aloud to people. In his 1980 Confessions of DM article, he mentions his technique of using bits from various authors, including HPL, for his campaign. In a way the Sample Dungeon is pastiche of HPL & Howard, like his Mahars of Pellucidar.

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    5. Interesting! (I just read Mahars of P. this summer, entirely based on your "easter eggs" article pointing out its importance, btw.)

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  2. I have to add here that my first reaction to the post was "I wonder if Delta has been reading Zenopus Archives lately?"

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