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Tales from the Sanctum

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Welcome

The Sanctum Secorum podcast plumbs the depths of Appendix N as it applies to DCC RPG. Each show reviews one piece of Appendix N media — be it literature or film — and then discusses how to bring aspects of it to the table for your DCC game. We explore how the selected piece might already easily fit into particular modules and DCC settings, and we highlight one specific DCC module that really ties into the Appendix N material.

Enter the Sanctum Secorum… and be inspired.

Sanctum Secorum #43 – The Carnelian Cube

 

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The carnelian cube of the title is a small red “dream stone” confiscated by archaeologist Arthur Cleveland Finch from Tiridat Ariminian, one of the workers on the dig he is supervising in Cappadocia. It bears an inscription in Etruscan that appears to identify its original possessor as Apollonius of Tyana, a wandering ascetic/philosopher/wonderworker who lived from 15-100AD. Supposedly, the stone allows the bearer to attain the world of his dreams. Arthur Finch is a man who *thinks* that he knows what he wants… until he has it. Once he has it, the task becomes how to get rid of it.

To sleep, perchance to …. create a new reality!

Welcome to the Sanctum Secorum podcast. Tonight, the Keepers of Mysteries boldly explore the dream world of The Carnelian Cube by L. Sprague de Camp and Fletcher Pratt.

 

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Sanctum Secorum #42 – Arena

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Amid escalating conflict between Earth and mysterious alien Outsiders, massive armadas from both sides are set to meet in what looks to be an evenly matched battle. Bob Carson, the pilot of a small one-man scout ship blacks out while engaging with an Outsider counterpart. When he awakens, he finds himself naked in a small enclosed, circular area about 250 yards (230 m) across. In the distance is an Outsider, which Carson labels a “Roller” because its form is that of a red sphere about 1 yard in diameter with several dozen tentacles.

Carson hears a voice in his mind that identifies itself as an evolved intelligence that has decided to intervene because the upcoming war would utterly destroy one side and hurt the other so badly that it would not be able to one day advance into an evolved intelligence like itself. This Entity therefore chose one individual from each species to fight in single combat. The loser will doom its kind to instant extinction. Carson and his opponent discover through trial and error that there is an invisible barrier between them, and that only inanimate objects can cross it. Carson tries to communicate with the Roller, to see if a compromise is possible, but receives a mental message of unremitting hatred. The battle is joined.

Welcome to the Sanctum Secorum podcast. Tonight we look to the past while we discuss Fredric Brown’s classic story, Arena.

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Sanctum Secorum #40 – A Martian Odyssey

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Early in the 21st century, nearly twenty years after the invention of atomic power and ten years after the first lunar landing, the four-man crew of the Ares has landed on Mars in the Mare Cimmerium. A week after the landing, Dick Jarvis, the ship’s American chemist, sets out south in an auxiliary rocket to photograph the landscape. Eight hundred miles out, the engine on Jarvis’ rocket gives out, and he crash-lands into one of the Thyle regions. Rather than sit and wait for rescue, Jarvis decides to walk back north to the Ares.

Welcome to the Sanctum Secorum podcast. Tonight we turn our gaze to the red planet, Mars, while we discuss Stanley A. Weinbaum’s, A Martian Odyssey.

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Sanctum Secorum #39 – Greyfax Grimwald

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Drawn together by an enchanted summons, three loyal friends — Bear, Dwarf, and Otter — bid farewell to their fair home in the kingdom of Lorini and embark on a magical journey to the fabled World Beyond Time. A place where glows the ageless Circle of Light.

Along the way they meet many marvelous friends, including the mighty wizard Greyfax Grimwald. But little does the trio realize the dangers that await them: the gloomy border of the Northerland … the green fires of the Palace of Darkness…evil spells and dark enchantments … the dread city of Humans and — most fearsome of all — the evil Dark Queen.

Welcome to the Sanctum Secorum podcast. Tonight we take a walk on the wild side with a special-length episode where we discuss Greyfax Grimwald, the first of the Circle of Light series and pair it with Primal Tales.

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Sanctum Secorum #38 – Nine Princes in Amber

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Carl Corey wakes in a medical clinic, with little to no knowledge of who he is or how he got there. He suspects he is being over-medicated, so he overpowers the nurse and doctor and escapes his room. He finds the manager of the clinic, and learns that he was recovering from a car accident in a private clinic, paid for by his sister, Evelyn Flaumel.

He flees and heads to her house. She addresses him as Corwin and calls herself Flora. Hiding his lack of memory, he convinces her to let him stay. In Flora’s library he locates a set of customized Tarot cards— the Trumps—whose Major Arcana are replaced with images which he recognizes as his family. As he looks over the cards he remembers all his brothers: sneaky Random, Julian the hunter, well-built Gérard, arrogant Eric, himself, Benedict the master tactician and swordsman, sinister Caine, scheming Bleys, and the mysterious Brand. He also views his four sisters: Flora who offered him sanctuary, Deirdre who was dear to him, reserved Llewella, and Fiona, whom Corwin hated. Carl Corey investigates, discovering the truth, piece by piece: he is really Prince Corwin, of Amber, the one true world of which our Earth is just a shadow. He is one of nine men who might rule Amber, if he can fight his way past the armies of his older brother Eric.

Welcome to the Sanctum Secorum podcast. Returning from our Gen Con Hiatus, tonight we discuss Nine Princes in Amber, the first book of Roger Zelazny’s Amber Chronicles and we match it up with the noir goodness that it Nowhere City Nights.

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Sanctum Secorum #37 – The Maker of Universes

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The story follows Robert Wolff, a man disenchanted with his life and his marriage. One day, while looking at a new house, Wolff discovers a strange horn in the basement. Blowing the horn, Wolff is transported to a strange new world, the World of Tiers. Wolff finds himself initially in an edenic paradise known as Okeanos. This region is the first level of the planet, which contains a number of tiers like a wedding cake, separated by vast mountain ranges. The entire planet is ruled over by a cruel and mysterious lord named Jadawin, who created it. Okeanos consists of a beach, an ocean, and a small forest and is populated by nymph-like humans who originated in and near ancient Greece. In this new world, Wolff regains his youth and vigor and falls in love with a local woman named Chryseis who lived in Troy at the time of the Trojan War.

Welcome to the Sanctum Secorum podcast. Tonight we discuss the Maker of Universes, the first book in Philip José Farmer’s World of Tiers series and pair it up with The Dread God Al-Khazadar.

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Sanctum Secorum #36 – The Book of Three

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The youth Taran lives at Caer Dallben with his guardians, the ancient enchanter Dallben and the farmer and retired soldier Coll . He is dissatisfied with his life, and longs to become a great hero like the High Prince Gwydion . Due to the threat posed by a warlord known as the Horned King, Taran is forbidden from leaving the farm and charged with the care of Hen Wen, the oracular white pig. When the pig escapes, Taran follows her into the forbidden forest. After a long, fruitless chase he is attacked by a host of horsemen galloping toward his home, led by the Horned King himself. He manages to escape, but drops, wounded, to the ground. He awakes to find his wound treated by none other than Gwydion, the crown prince in Prydain’s ruling House of Dôn (, who has been traveling to Caer Dallben to consult Hen Wen. Gwydion, determined to find the pig, takes Taran along with him. Guided by Gurgi , a hairy humanoid living in the forest, they reach the Horned King’s camp, and learn that his target will be Caer Dathyl , the home castle of the House of Dôn. Gwydion determines to warn the royal court, but the group is attacked before that can happen…

Welcome to the Sanctum Secorum podcast. Tonight we discuss the Book of Three, the first book in Lloyd Alexander’s  Prydain series and pair it up with Beyond the Black Gate!

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Sanctum Secorum #35 – Hundra

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Born in a tribe of fierce warrior women, Hundra has been raised to despise the influence of men. An archer, fighter and sword fighter, Hundra is superior to any male. Hundra finds her family slain and takes a vow of revenge until one day she meets her match.

Welcome to the Sanctum Secorum podcast. Tonight we discuss the 1983 film Hundra and pair it up with The Trolls of Mistwood!

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Sanctum Secorum #34 – The Face in the Frost

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  Prospero, a tall, skinny misfit of a wizard, lives in the South Kingdom—a patchwork of feuding duchies and small manors, all loosely loyal to one figurehead king. Along with his necromancer friend Roger Bacon, who has been on a quest to find a mysterious book, Prospero must flee his home to escape ominous pursuers. Thus begins an adventure that will lead him to a grove where his old rival, Melichus, is falsely rumored to be buried and to a less-than-hospitable inn in the town of Five Dials—and ultimately into a dangerous battle with origins in a magical glass paperweight.

Welcome to the Sanctum Secorum podcast. Tonight we look at a work by John Bellairs, The Face in the Frost and match it up with Michael Curtis’ Emirikol was Framed!

 

 

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Sanctum Secorum #33 – The Powder of Hyperborea

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Retired master-thief Satampra, Zerios of Uzuldaroum recounts an adventure from days gone by when he and his two companions (Vixeela and the dubious magician/alchemist Veezi Phenquor) endeavored to rob the temple of the moon god Leniqua, and steal away with the Thirty-Nine girdles of virginity by means of stealth, cunning, and a little bit of hyperborean chemistry. Originally published in the Saturn Science Fiction & Fantasy, it is the last of Clark’s Hyperborea cycle.

Welcome to the Sanctum Secorum podcast. Tonight we look at a work by Clark Ashton Smith, The Powder of Hyperborea and match it up with Edgar Johnson’s delightful Street Kids of Ur-Hadad.

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