Friday, May 11, 2012

The Forgotten Commands

The Forgotten Commands by Adeptus Uaaru forms the most complete accounting of grim Carcosa known to the Sorrowfell Plains.  A travelogue of sorts, The Forgotten Commands describes Uaaru's knowledge of Carcosa, presented for a non-native audience.  As with most works, it is woefully incomplete, compiled as it is by one person who was trying to survive in Carcosa.

Nevertheless, she records her experiences with scholarly attention.  She opens with history, which is unfortunately spotty — old legends have led her to understand that Shub-Niggurath is likely the source of all life on the planet.  She further understands that the Snake-Men destroyed themselves, although she does not know that they created the races of Men as slaves and ritual components (she suspects that Men are constructs, but considers the Great Race or Primordial Ones to be more likely candidates).  She then moves into geography, which indicates someone who is well-traveled but still has gaps in her knowledge.  She can recreate a relatively accurate map of Carcosa's regions, although it is not to scale and lacks details.  The book finally closes with a bestiary (truly, a naturalist's journal) detailing the creatures of Carcosa.  This forms the largest portion of the book.  It details all forms of lotus and all races of Men, going into some detail regarding the other races.  Professor Uaaru notes information regarding the Space Aliens (she refers to them as "Sky-Men" in her papers, considering them Men who come from the stars), as well as vague information on B'yakhee, Deep Ones, the Great Race, Mi-Go, Primordial Ones, and Shoggoths.  She has information on some of the more common creatures, such as gelatinous creatures (like oozes and puddings) and beasts of burden (such as dinosaurs and lizard-wolves).  She also has another glaring error — she lists any Spawn of Shub-Niggurath as individual races of which she has only seen one specimen, not realizing that they are likely unique.

Professor Uaaru also notes information regarding sorcery in The Forgotten Commands, although she does not detail any spells.  Instead, any creature that can be affected by sorcery is noted in its description.  Those in the know suggest that her descriptions of sorcery suggest familiarity with the subject, and many suspect she was a sorcerer in Carcosa.  Indeed, her facility with ritual magic further implies this connection.

As one might suspect, this tends to make those who are knowledgeable of such things rather nervous about Professor Uaaru.

There always seems to be some scuttlebutt regarding a potential Carcosa expedition by Wizard's Tower personnel, but nothing has yet materialized.

Author's Note: So, I had the idea of writing a Carcosan professor into my D&D game.  Oddly enough, the other night, I was messing around with Wampus Country's d100 Arcane Books table, and rolled "forgotten," "commands," and "travel to a distant planet."  Rather than interpreting this as some form of gate-book, I decided this meant a travelogue of some other world.  Carcosa immediately sprang to mind.

And then I remembered the professor I was brainstorming.  Serendipity.

2 comments:

  1. The depth, breadth, and sheer volume of the supporting material for your campaigns never ceases to amaze me.

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