Saturday, January 4, 2014

Free Sword and Sorcery Tale -The Testament of Athammaus Clark Ashton Smith

Clark Ashton Smith 1912.jpg

"It has become needful for me, who am no wielder of the stylus of bronze or the pen of calamus, and whose only proper tool is the long, double-handed sword, to indite this account of the curious and lamentable happenings which foreran the universal desertion of Commoriom by its king and its people. This I am well-fitted to do, for I played a signal part in these happenings; and I left the city only when all the others had gone."
 Get It right over

Connections to  the Hyperborean Cycle  

This monstrous tale by Clark Aston Smith gives all the details of the Voormis race. There is a metric ton of weirdness writhing in the background of this little story. From the weird connections to Tsathoggua himself to the descriptions of Hyperborea the tales spins out a very different image of Smith's world. This one has it all right there dripping down the page. This is Smith's Hyperborea and its a very different world indeed, now situated where present day Greenland is. 
 More can be found in the glossary of terms HERE
 And at the wiki entry on the Hyperborean cycle right over HERE On Wiki


Another wonderful map can be found right over

The Coming and Ending of the Voormis

According to Wiki: 

Lovecraft wrote to Smith in a letter dated 3 December 1929: "I must not delay in expressing my well-nigh delirious delight at The Tale of Satampra Zeiros [Smith's short story]... [W]hat an atmosphere! I can see & feel & smell the jungle around immemorial Commoriom, which I am sure must lie buried today in glacial ice near Olathoe, in the Land of Lomar!".[1] Soon afterward, Lovecraft included Smith's Tsathoggua (which originally appeared in "The Tale of Satampra Zeiros") in the story "The Mound", ghostwritten for Zelia Reed (Zelia Bishop) in December 1929. Lovecraft also mentioned Tsathoggua in "The Whisperer in Darkness", which he began on February 24, 1930.[2] Because Smith in turn borrowed numerous Lovecraftian elements, the cycle itself may be regarded as a branch of the Cthulhu Mythos.In a letter to August Derleth dated 26 July 1944, Smith wrote: "In common with other weird tales writers, I have ... made a few passing references (often under slightly altered names, such as Iog-Sotot for Yog-Sothoth and Kthulhut for Cthulhu) to some of the Lovecraftian deities. My Hyperborean tales, it seems to me, with their primordial, prehuman and sometimes premundane background and figures, are the closest to the Cthulhu Mythos, but most of them are written in a vein of grotesque humor that differentiates them vastly. However, such a tale as The Coming of the White Worm might be regarded as a direct contribution to the Mythos."

 The Voormis once again according to wiki : The Voormis are the three-toed, umber-colored, fur-covered humanoids[6] that once had a thriving civilization in Hyperborea. They dwelled underground and worshiped the god Tsathoggua.[7] After most were wiped out by other pre-human settlers, the most savage of the Voormis became restricted to caves in the upper slopes of the Eiglophian mountains.[8] Before Hyperborea's fall, the remaining Voormis were hunted for sport.By dwelling subterraneously, it should perhaps be noted here, the Voormis were but imitating the grotesque divinity they worshiped with rites we might deem excessively sanguinary and revolting. As it was an article of the Voormish faith that this deity, whom they knew as Tsathoggua, made his abode in lightless caverns situated far beneath the earth, their adoption of a troglodytic mode of existence was to some extent primarily symbolic. Their eponymous ancestor of their race, Voorm the arch-ancient, had quite early in their history promulgated a doctrine which asserted that their assumption of a wholly subterranean habit would place them in a special relationship of mystical propinquity with their god, who himself preferred to wallow in the gulf of N'kai beneath a mountain to the south considered sacred by the Voormis.
— Lin Carter and Clark Ashton Smith, "The Scroll of Morloc"

From what I've read perhaps the Yeti and certain sightings of big foot are all that remains of this once strange and noble race. In Goblinoid Games 'Realms of Crawling Chaos'  the Voormis are a playable race as are the unhinged human/hybrid strains for Labryth Lord. Of course with a game like AS&SH its not much of a strain to add them in as PC's either. 
From most of the recent campaigns I've run the Voormis are a declining race of peoples. Yet they seem to be one of the most benign races as well discounting their inhuman rites. For all intents and purposes the coming of Knygathin Zhaum marks a very weird change to this race indeed. 

According to wiki:

Knygathin Zhaum is the child of Sfatlicllp and a Voormi.

He repopulated Hyperborea after humans deserted the city of Commoriom, building Uzuldaroum in its stead. Athammaus, the last executioner of Commoriom, tried to execute him by beheading, for his inhuman crimes, but because of his preternatural heritage, such attempts proved unsuccessful and only served to aggravate him. As a descendant of Cxaxukluth, Knygathin Zhaum reproduced by fission and thus created an Azathothian strain among the Hyperborean Voormi.
 The last of the Voormis dwell or 
  retreated to the highest slopes of the Eiglophian mountains. Their fate is writ in the Book of Eibon. 

Their fate is sealed by a far worse enemy "The Gnophkehs"

 According to wiki: 
They are humanoid cannibals described as being covered in coarse, matted hair with large protruding ears and proboscidean noses. They originally lived in Hyperborea and worshiped the Great Old One Rhan-Tegoth.[1] But Rhan-Tegoth eventually forgot them when he entered a stone-like hibernation state. They were invaded and driven to the land of Lomar by the Tsathoggua-worshipping Voormis.
The papyrus reputedly preserved the darkest secrets of the occult wisdom of the detested Gnophkehs, which name denoted the repulsively hirsute cannibals whom Yhemog's ancestors had driven into exile in the arctic barrens. This scroll contained, in fact, the most arcane and potent ceremonials whereby the Gnophkehs had worshipped [sic] their atrocious divinity, who was no less than an avatar of the cosmic obscenity Rhan-Tegoth, and was attributed to Morloc himself, the Grand Shaman.

— Lin Carter and Clark Ashton Smith, "The Scroll of Morloc"
Later on they were again invaded by humans from Zobna and driven even further up north. It was there that Ithaqua, the wind-walker, appeared, to whom the Gnophkhehs transferred their allegiance. They started to harass the Voormis again as they grew in power contributing to the demise of the Voormis civilization.[2]
The Gnophkehs in Lomar were eventually destroyed when Ithaqua and Aphoom-Zhah brought about the Ice Age along with the remnants of the Voormis in Hyperborea and the human civilization in Zobna
My players have come to loath these horrors which they have encountered with the passage of Ithaqua among the fathomless black gulfs between the stars. These cannibals are often left behind to be encountered as elite shock troops or as priests of the deity in the darkness between the stars.
In the Hyperborean cycle there are other marked changes to familiar Cthlhu dieties as well. In Clark Aston Smith's cycle we meet another aspect of 
Tsathoggua. Who is very different then Lovecraft's version. Simply two different aspects of a diety but both equal dangerous in their own right for PC's.
In the end Clark Aston's Smith's Hyperborea is great setting and remains a favorite of mine to set games, read about and send PC's too.
Happy gaming!

Once again these tales are owned and copyrighted to their rightful owners. I'm merely a humble reader and DM whose a fan of Clark Aston Smith's tales. This blog post is for entertainment purposes only. 

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