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Cynidicea, Lost City, Masque of Dreams

haakon1

Adventurer
Dungeon 142 has an adventure called "Masque of Dreams".

Now normally I'm the first to flip the page when somebody breaks out the "ye olde" spelling in the title, but I read this one and said, "Huh"?

You see, years ago, somebody on the Greyhawk AOL boards in the late 1990s wrote an article about survivors of the Twin Cataclysms, who had a Suloise city called Cynidicea in the Sea of Dust, that had survived, only barely. I thought it was all new content, and I liked it, so I snipped it for my campaign.

And I made it backstory for an NPC that she was a scout from there. The NPC ended up being played by a player who joined late, and is now deeply integrated and important in my campaign.

So when I saw Cynidicea in this advneture, I flipped and thought -- oh, this must an expansion of that old Greyhawk AOL posting, awesome!

But no, the adventure explains it is based on a module called B4: The Lost City, by Tom Moldvay. Doh, I had no idea!

Can anybody tell me about this adventure, Cynidicea, etc.? Any idea where I could pick up the B4 module? :confused:
 

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Mycanid

First Post
Ah ... B4. Well, you could try rpgnow.com

Lessee ... here is the link to the page with B4:

http://www.rpgnow.com/product_info.php?products_id=1116&

At least this was so as of this evening. ;)

I think also that if you find any post done by the enworlder "Quasqueton" and look at his sig you can go to an "All my threads on what people thought about old school adventures". There is one of them on B4: The Lost City.

Hope this will serve as a starting point at least. :) This adventure was one of my personal favorites from "way back when"....
 


Cthulhudrew

First Post
B4 is one of the classic modules. It's a basic dungeon crawl through a buried pyramid. The first 5 levels are completely mapped out and stocked, with a second 5 levels mapped out (though not stocked), and a city mapped out underneath. The Cynidiceans are strange exotic and half-crazy people that are split between 4 factions- the Magi of Usamigaras (magic-users, primarily), the Sisterhood of Madarua (warrior maidens), the Brotherhood of Gorm (warriors), and the Cult of Zargon (a demonic entity that lives in the undercity).

Like most of the B, X, CM, and M modules, B4 was later located on Mystara, but the original module is a standalone that can be set anywhere (and actually works out pretty perfectly for the Sea of Dust on Oerth).

As far as "official" material on B4 goes, there is mainly just that module. There was a "Return to the Lost City" bit in Dragon #315 (the first Campaign Classics issue), and the adventure in the recent Dungeon (which also can fit anywhere, but cleverly used some Mystara place names as a nod to that setting).

There is also the Gazetteer of Cynidicea which was the product of several fans on the Mystara mailing list (I was involved as one, but the primary author was Geoff Gander, the list mod and a long time contributor). Though it's set in Mystara, and is based around OD&D rules, it might still be useful to you.
 

Wormwood

Adventurer
B4 *was* D&D for this budding young gamer. Like every other member of Generation Moldvay, I cut my teeth on Keep on the Borderlands---but The Lost City was my first experience with an open-ended campaign.

I used Gorm, Usamigaras and Madarua as my 'default' D&D pantheon years to come, and I spent an entire summer filling notebooks with my development of the Undercity.
 
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Cthulhudrew

First Post
I just thought of something else. There is a reference to B4 in the module "Return to the Keep on the Borderlands," which is set in Greyhawk. One of the NPCs is a sister of Madarua, and there might (not positive) be a reference to a couple of the drug-addled Cynidiceans/Zargonites as well.
 

Mycanid

First Post
Cthulhudrew said:
There is also the Gazetteer of Cynidicea which was the product of several fans on the Mystara mailing list (I was involved as one, but the primary author was Geoff Gander, the list mod and a long time contributor). Though it's set in Mystara, and is based around OD&D rules, it might still be useful to you.

This is a very interesting link, btw - thanks Drew! :)
 


haakon1

Adventurer
Cthulhudrew said:
I just thought of something else. There is a reference to B4 in the module "Return to the Keep on the Borderlands," which is set in Greyhawk. One of the NPCs is a sister of Madarua, and there might (not positive) be a reference to a couple of the drug-addled Cynidiceans/Zargonites as well.

Yup, that's the original source of the NPC, but I'm not sure if it actually said Cynidiceans in the module, or if I put that together myself.

IMC, Third, the masked warrior maiden of Maruda (perhaps that module said Madarua, but we always said Maruda) is of the the third caste (below clerics and sorcerers) in the service of Maruda -- which is a local name for Wee Jas, patron and guardian of the Cynidiceans in my campaign. Wee Jas, Suel goddess of magic and death, allowed the death of most of the Suloise Empire, but protected those who escaped through caverns to the west (to the main part of the World of Greyhawk) and a small isolated city of particularly devote adherents.

IMC, Cynidiceans are post-apocalyptic survivors of the Twin Cataclysms, with a totally isolated and backward (bronze age) city-state civilization that retains the ancient Suloise Empire's antipathy towards the Baklunish. I didn't have them living underground, but I did have them very pale (pure Suel) and wearing masks (to filter out the dust of the Sea of Dust). I viewed them as mainly surviving as goatherds in their deep desert mountains, on the north side of the Sea of Dust. They're always at risk of extinction, should the rains fail too many years in a row and the wells go dry . . .

Cynidicea is at risk of being infiltrated by the Scarlet Brotherhood, as the one surviving remnant of pure Suel, if the SB finds out they still exist. The Queen of Cynidicea had dreams of a growing red snake in the light of dawn (i.e., to the East), which is why Third was sent out, as a scout to see if any "civilized" peoples survived the destruction.

Anyhow, the Gazeteer is fairly interesting, but doesn't precisely fit my version as developed from the old posting on AOL Greyhawk. Oh well, parallel evolution in separation from each other leads to odd mutants, as the story of Cynidicea well-tells.

Zargon reminds me of "Dagon" in the 2nd Conan movie . . . I'm also wishing I still had some Gamma World stuff. :]
 

haakon1

Adventurer
Oh, and Zargon also sounds a WHOLE lot like Cthulu, at least in the Gazateer.

I assume that's intentional. Cthulu being behind the Scarlet Brotherhood, and Wee Jas allowed the destruction of the Suloise Empire to hit at Cthulu's power before he could manifest in the PMP. Yes, that's cool.

But in days of yore, I decided the force behind the fall of the Suloise Empire into the Sea of Dust was Sauron -- that the Suloise emperor was one of the nine kings of men suckered into becoming a Nazgul for Sauron.

The reason I went with that backstory is geography -- the mountain-bounded borders of the the Sea of Dust are shaped like this: ]

The boundaries of Nurn, the land at the back end of Mordor are shaped like this: [

North of both is an endless prairie of vaguely Mongol like peoples.

So, I decided Nurn + the Suloise Empire was the same big place, shaped like this:
[]

And the Wainriders and Baklunish are the same people . . . the difference is that the western ones (in Middle Earth) were also corrupted by Sauron, whereas the eastern ones (in Greyhawk) listened to Al-Akbar and mostly stayed true to goodness, except for the demon worshippers in Ull and the Tiger Nomads who are under the sway of their neighbor, The Old One, who is son of ancient Witch Queen (not at all under Sauron's influence, ahem) and an supernatural entity (yes, it's just some random demon named Graz'zt, nothing to look at, don't be alarmed).

Back story is fun. :]
 

Cthulhudrew

First Post
haakon1 said:
Oh, and Zargon also sounds a WHOLE lot like Cthulu, at least in the Gazateer.

Yeah- Geoff (like myself) has a pretty keen interest in Cthulhianic entities, and while he hasn't made any direct 1-1 inserts of those beings into Mystara, he has many analagous creatures- the Outer Beings, as he describes them. Something like the gods, but more alien. Geoff and James "Mystaros" Mishler have developed the OBs quite a bit on Mystara (I forget who created them, but they aren't canon, and originated with those two at some point).

I think the warrior's god in RttKoB is named Maruda in the module, oddly, but it's always been Madarua since B4. I assume the author of the module either misspelled it, or it otherwise got changed mistakenly in editing (or perhaps it was intentional, I'm not sure).
 



Ripzerai

First Post
Nyaricus said:
No, actually the word 'masque' predates 'mask', even according to the dictionary entry you gave;

It's the original spelling, but it's not an affected archaic spelling (which is what "ye olde" suggests to me), and it hasn't been replaced. See here, for example, or here. It may be technically correct, but I've never seen a masquerade ball or play referred to as a "mask." "Masque" is more common, in my experience.
 

haakon1

Adventurer
Cthulhudrew said:
I think the warrior's god in RttKoB is named Maruda in the module, oddly, but it's always been Madarua since B4. I assume the author of the module either misspelled it, or it otherwise got changed mistakenly in editing (or perhaps it was intentional, I'm not sure).

Looked it up. Yeah, Return to the Keep on the Borderlands says Maruda and says she's from Cynidicea. I didn't get it that this was a reference to B4 The Lost City, since I never saw that module.
 

haakon1

Adventurer
My Background for Third.

If anyone cares, here's my background on Third from Return to the Keep on the Borderlands, written before I'd heard of the Lost City:

Third is a member of a group of Suloise survivors of the Rain of Colorless Fire. She comes from a valley in the Sulhaut Mountains, at the edge of the kingdom of Lo Nakar, the last city of the Suel. Her people are shepherds and hillfarmers in the service of Lo Nakar and speak a degenerate form of Suloise called Cynidicean. Third grew up as a shepherdess and javelin huntress, and became a professional warrior at the age of 18.
She is from the third caste of Lo Nakar, the professional soldiers and warriors of the kaudun caste. In explaining her status to Jess, “Third” used sign language to show that she was of third caste, below the houji chosen of Wee Jas and the aisun wizardry and priesthood, who form Lo Nakar’s nobility. As Lo Nakar has sufficient copper and tin supplies from the Sulhaut, but little iron, Third’s armor and spears are of bronze, though her spearheads were “bearded” with iron to increase their strength. Her armor is of a style that the Suel copied from the Baklunish a millenium ago. Her bronze facemask’s purpose was once to guard against the debris of the Sea of Dust, but such masks have been merely symbolic among her people for hundreds of years now. It would be a great dishonor for her to remove this mask at any point when she is outside the lands of her people.
Sent by Prince Olnevar on a mission to explore the outside world, the Lo Nakarian warrior travelled east on a torturous pass through the Sulhaut Mountains and then across the high Crystalmists (see Sulhaut Mountains description, Greyhawk Folio (1981), p. 24), until she came to the fresh green land of the Yeomanry. She continued west until she saw her first river, the impressive Javan River, longest in the Flanaess. Following it north towards its source, Third went through the Keoish university town of Cryllor. Up through Sterich and Geoff and past Hochoch she travelled, picking the Realstream River and following it on into the Dim Forest. By the time she reached Bissel, armies were heading north for the war with the Kettites, and she joined their march, to see what this strange behavior meant. Eventually, she found her way to Kendall Keep.
When “Third” arrived at Kendall Keep, she did not speak Common, and did not care to teach Cynidicean to outsiders, so most assumed she was mute, if not a bit simple-minded. The Inn of the Green Man provided Third with room and board since she broke up a fight on the night of her arrival. She then acted as an unofficial bouncer ever since, preventing caravan guards or belligerent drunks from harassing either the locals or outsiders who can’t defend themselves.
Third is brave and capable, knowing when to withdraw from a losing situation but staunchly standing by her allies in a fight. In battle, she yells her battle cry of “Maruda!”, which is Cynidicean for “Dark-Eyed Lady”, or Wee Jas.
She is very reluctant to reveal her origins, for the secrecy of the lost city of Lo Nakar has served it well for thousands of years. Third’s mission is to find out more about the outside world and especially the “red snake cult of the east” which Prince Olnevar has deduced through magic to be the only other remaining stronghold of pure Suel power.
 

Great Green God

First Post
haakon1 said:
Dungeon 142 has an adventure called "Masque of Dreams".

Now normally I'm the first to flip the page when somebody breaks out the "ye olde" spelling in the title, but I read this one and said, "Huh"?

Well I'm certainly glad you didn't flip the page because thine curious style of written speech, and flourish of title had gobsmacked thee. ;)

So aside from written anachronisms, what else would you not like to see in my future endevors? What would you like to see more of? My hide is like a ten-fold shields. You can prick it, but I won't bleed.

For the record "masque" was the only thing that I could find that sounded suitable without giving away too much, but at the sametime tipping my hat to the Cynidiceans and their dellusions as well as setting up the ball scene. The fact that the word is archaic and a bit hoity-toity plays on the antiquity of the Cynidicean civilization, and on Lady Vestang and her noble guests' haughtiness. Well, at least I thought so. ;)

Matt

As a side note some friends of mine and I had thought about setting the "Lost City" in Paizohawk. Our plan was to secretly subvert the world into the D&D Known World over the course of a decade or two of writing. "So whatever happened to Bigby?" "Oh, didn't you hear? Bargle killed him during that war with Blackeagle." ;)
 
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Great Green God

First Post
Well, I can't say if there is more Lost City in the future, but I can say there are three more Mystara/Known World proposals sitting in the Paizo in-box, along with about a dozen more things.

So aside from awesomeness (which granted, is pretty awesome) what else?

GGG
 

Great Green God said:
Well, I can't say if there is more Lost City in the future, but I can say there are three more Mystara/Known World proposals sitting in the Paizo in-box, along with about a dozen more things.

So aside from awesomeness (which granted, is pretty awesome) what else?

GGG

I got one: What the hell really did happen to Rogahn and Zelligar?
 

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