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Tales from the Sanctum

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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 #30 – Sign of the Labrys

Get the free Sanctum Secorum #30 Companion HERE!

Like others who withstood the pandemic, Sam Sewell lives in a subterranean shelter. The vast catacombs were built before the military’s biological weapon leaked out, killing nine out of ten people and leaving the survivors so traumatized that they can barely tolerate each other’s company. So it’s quite peculiar that some government agents seem to think that Sam lives with a woman, Despoina, who’s suspected of conducting germ warfare. Pressured by the agents to locate Despoina, Sam must literally go underground to discover the truth about a hidden world of witchcraft and secret rituals.

This Wiccan-themed science fiction novel was cited by Gary Gygax as an inspiration for Dungeons & Dragons. Sharp-eyed gamers will certainly see similarities between St. Clair’s world and Gygax’s Castle Greyhawk with its labyrinthine setting of multiple levels connected by secret passages.

Welcome to the Sanctum Secorum podcast. Tonight we return to the works of Margaret St. Clair with her novel Sign of the Labrys and talk about the forthcoming DCC compatible work from the Hydra Collective, Operation Unfathomable.

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Sanctum Secorum #29 – Creep, Shadow!

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Had the last King and Princess of wicked Ys, returned after three thousand years? Why were they creating an exact replica of Stonehenge on their New Jersey estate? What was the Mael Bennique, the Breaker of Chests? And what was the dread Gatherer in the Cairn? And can men and women really be turned into shadows and made the helpless slaves of the one who transformed them? Ethnologist Dr. Alan Caranac (who may just be the reincarnation of the Alain de Carnac who brought about the destruction of sinful Ys and its evil rulers) has to find out the answer, for one of his best friends has been killed, and perhaps transformed into a shadow, while his fiancee Helen, her brother, Bill, and the famed Dr. Lowell have already been marked for death or worse! But first Alan will have to enter the tower of the Demoiselle Dahut de Ys in New York and journey through it thousands of years into the past to her tower in the legendary city from which she draws her name. And then return, if he can!

Welcome to the Sanctum Secorum podcast. Tonight we return to the printed page as we discuss A Merritt’s Creep, Shadow! while pairing it up with a Harley Stroh classic, The Bride of the Black Manse.

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Sanctum Secorum #28 – The Raven (1963)

Get the free Sanctum Secorum #28 Companion HERE!

The magician Dr. Erasmus Craven, who does not belong to the brotherhood of magicians, grieves the loss of his beloved wife Lenore and lives in a castle with his daughter Estelle. One day, a raven knocks on his window and Dr. Craven learns that the bird is actually the magician Dr. Adolphus Bedlo that was turned into a raven after challenging the powerful magician Dr. Scarabus that was an enemy of his father. Dr. Craven makes a potion to turn Dr. Bedlo back to his human form and Dr. Bedlo tells that he has seen Lenore in the castle of Dr. Scarabus. Dr. Craven decides to go in his coach with Dr. Bedlo to visit Dr. Scarabus and Estella and Dr. Bedlo’s son Rexford decide to go with them. They find an amicable Dr. Scarabus that invite them to stay for the night. Was Dr. Craven’s father wrong about Dr. Scarabus?

Welcome to the Sanctum Secorum podcast. Tonight is movie night and we discuss Roger Corman’s adaptation of Edgar Allen Poe’s poem, The Raven as well as Harley Stroh’s newest adventure Enter the Dagon.

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Road Crew (NY): Sailors on the Starless Sea

Since time immemorial you and your people have toiled in the shadow of the cyclopean ruins. Of mysterious origins and the source of many a superstition, they have always been considered a secret best left unknown by the folk of your hamlet.

But now something stirs beneath the crumbling blocks. Beastmen howl in the night and your fellow villagers are snatched from their beds. With no heroes to defend you, who will rise to stand against the encircling darkness? The secrets of Chaos are yours to unearth, but at what cost to sanity or soul?

An introductory adventure for the Dungeon Crawl Classics Roleplaying Game, Sailors on the Starless Sea pits a mob of 0-level adventurers against the legacy of the Chaos Lords and their corrupted hordes. Delving beneath the crumbling ruins, the characters discover ancient crypts, a starless sea, and an ancient ziggurat, where death and treasure await in equal measure!

A level 0 DCC RPG Adventure. No experience, materials, or commitment to future games necessary! Everything needed to play is provided. 

Sanctum Secorum #27 – The King of Elfland’s Daughter

Get the free Sanctum Secorum #27 Companion HERE!

The lord of Erl is told by the parliament of his people that they want to be ruled by a magic lord. Obeying the immemorial custom, the lord sends his son Alveric to fetch the King of Elfland’s daughter, Lirazel, to be his bride. He makes his way to Elfland, where time passes at a rate far slower than the real world, and wins her. They return to Erl and have a son, but in the manner of fairy brides of folklore, she fits uneasily with his people. She returns to the waiting arms of her father in Elfland, and her lovesick husband goes searching for her, abandoning the kingdom of Erl and wandering in a now-hopeless quest. However, Lirazel becomes lonesome for her mortal husband and son. Seeing that she is unhappy, the King of Elfland uses a powerful magic to engulf the land of Erl. Erl is transformed into a part of Elfland, and Lirazel and her loved ones are reunited forever in an eternal, enchanted world.

Welcome to the Sanctum Secorum podcast. Tonight we discuss Lord Dunsany’s novel The King of Elfland’s Daughter as well as Daniel J. Bishop’s adventure Through the Dragonwall.

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Sanctum Secorum #25 – The Fallible Fiend

Get the free Sanctum Secorum #25 Companion HERE!

He looked like a cross between a dragon and a catfish, and he could bend iron bars into pretzels with a flick of his hand. But what Zdim the mild-mannered demon really was, was a scholar of logic and philosophy. That’s why when Zdim was drafted for a year’s servitude on the mortal plane, he felt that a monumental administrative error had been made. And even though Zdim resolved to be absolutely obedient and to do exactly what he was told, the wizard who employed him (Dr. Maldivius) soon agreed…

Welcome to the Sanctum Secorum podcast. Tonight we discuss L Sprague de Camp’s satirical fantasy novel The Fallible Fiend as well as Terry Olson’s adventure Elzemon and the Blood-Drinking Box.

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Sanctum Secorum #20 – Tarzan of the Apes

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“Tarzan of the Apes, the story tells of an infant — the son of an aristocratic English couple — abandoned when his parents die in the jungles of Africa. Rescued and reared by apes, he learns to speak their language and imitate their ability to travel swiftly through the treetops. Eventually, his courage, immense strength and exceptional intelligence earn him the respect and admiration not only of the apes, but of all the creatures of the jungle. The ape-man’s story is classic and fast-paced, packed with riveting adventures as Tarzan avenges the killing of Kala, his ape-mother, subdues man-eating beasts of the jungle, meets and falls in love with the beautiful Jane Porter, vanquishes greedy pirate-adventurers, and deals with assorted other threats.”

Welcome to the Sanctum Secorum podcast. Tonight’s episode takes you into the wilds of the Africa of Edgar Rice Burroughs with Tarzan of the Apes!

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Sanctum Secorum #19 – Steel Magic

Get the free Sanctum Secorum #19 Companion HERE!

episode-19-covers     “A girl and her two brothers are transported across time to the Avalon of King Arthur, where they must return three magic talismans to their rightful owners or remain trapped forever in the distant past. The adventure begins when Sara Lowry wins a picnic basket at the Firemen’s Strawberry Festival. She and her brothers, Greg and Eric, are staying with their uncle at his Hudson Valley estate while their parents are in Japan. Fascinated by the haunting history of the old manor, they pack a picnic lunch and begin their search for the legendary lost lake. They discover a medieval castle – and suddenly they’re enveloped by a gray mist that transports them back to the time of King Arthur! There, they are given an urgent mission to recover three lost talismans: Arthur’s sword, Excalibur; Merlin’s ring; and the horn of Huon, Warden of the West. Can Sara, Greg, and Eric fulfill their quest and save Avalon – the only place that stands between the Powers of Darkness and the mortal realm – and return to their own time?”

 

Welcome to the Sanctum Secorum podcast…

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Sanctum Secorum #17 – A Night in the Lonesome October

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episode-17-covers“A Night in the Lonesome October is narrated from the point-of-view of Snuff, a dog who is Jack the Ripper‘s companion. The story reveals that once every few decades when the moon is full on the night of Halloween, the fabric of reality thins and doors may be opened between this world and the realm of the Great Old Ones. When these conditions are right, men and women with occult knowledge may gather at a specific ritual site to hold the doors closed, or to help fling them open. Should the Closers win, then the world will remain as it is until the next turning… but should the Openers succeed, then the Great Old Ones will come to Earth, to remake the world in their own image (enslaving or slaughtering the human race in the process). The Openers have never yet won. These meetings are often referred to as “The Game” or “The Great Game” by the participants, who try to keep the goings-on secret from the mundane population.
    Each Player has a familiar – an animal companion with near-human intelligence that helps complete the numerous preparations for the ritual. The majority of the story describes the interactions and discussions of these animals, all from Snuff’s point of view. Throughout the book, the Players slowly take sides, form alliances, make deals, oppose one another, and even kill off their enemies. The plot accelerates until the night of October 31st, when the ritual takes place and the fate of the world is decided.”

Welcome to the Sanctum Secorum podcast. No storm can breach the Sanctum Secorum’s walls and once again the doors open to give shelter and to provide enlightenment. In this, special length anniversary episode, we prepare for Halloween with a work by Roger Zelazny. In addition, we have bonus content to bring to your DCC RPG table!

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Sanctum Secorum #16 – Purple Priestess of the Mad Moon

Get the free Sanctum Secorum #16 Companion here!

Episode #16 Covers“Harvey Selden goes down to Mars from an observation ship, and accepts an invitation to visit Firsa Mak’s house by his friend Bentham. He meets a martian woman, Lella, of a type he has not seen before. From there he is shanghaied into observing the Purple Priestess Mad Moon ritual and isn’t able to cope, but survives. The others want him to tell the Bureau, but he runs for Earth instead, into therapy. However, at the end a communique arrives from Lella, saying she is waiting for him at the next ritual.”

Welcome to the Sanctum Secorum podcast. In this episode we look at a work by the Queen of the Space Opera, Leigh Brackett. In addition, we have bonus content to bring to your DCC RPG table including a mini-adventure!

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