"HOLY FUCKING CHRIST this is fantastic, my whole life has been wasted whenever I wasn't [doing/reading/listening to this], how did I forget about this?" I'm sure it's just life in the 21st century and mass distractions. It's weird, but that's how I feel today.
Because another key part of this rapidly less-Arthurian than I thought game (which I had forgotten about until the other day) will be BLACK METAL. I think this is why I picked up on Labyrinth Lord, the illustrations (especially of Orcus) look like some of the '80s and '90s B&W black metal album art. Here are some pictures to indicate what I mean. Some of these are huge, click on them for full-size:
|The grand-daddy of them all.|
|Go ahead, tell me about how you don't want to play in this game. I'll wait.|
|"I dunno guys. This seems pretty dangerous." Note the wizard conjuring this shit in the bottom left corner.|
|ELDRITCH AS FUCK.|
Inside the dungeon, we shall only listen to black/death like Teitanblood, Antediluvian, Mitochondrion, Portal, Blut Aus Nord, AEvangelist, Conqueror, Blasphemy, maybe some Demilich or Ulcerate and the occasional old Rotting Christ and Mortuary Drape to lighten things up. Everybody's gonna hate it but me!
Now I try to mash that stuff together with
|This is good. It's still brightly coloured and undangerous-looking, but we can see the guy's face - he's tired and pissed off, he looks human. This could be any couple of fighters in plate mail.|
|More medieval, a bit more legit. I like the dark and gnarled forest here - this is the English wilderness I want, still wild and trackless.|
|Nope, too far back in time! Tough to get turned on by this.|
|This is getting warmer! Murky and spooky, feels like classic D&D. Some kind of undead happening here, Galahad might be in the shit!|
|Gustave Dore is the man to beat when it comes to pure desolation. Regular guy dying in the middle of nowhere.|
|Yeah, H J Ford is harsh as fuck. This is great. Might as well be right out of a 1st Edition book.|
|It's all about the black & white. Mournful maidens, mystical cauldron, hazy structures in the background. No giant gilded cities or spotless ubermensch knights here.|
That wasn't too hard actually! It's not only about the shining castles. This gives me lots of brain-fodder to work with. Dropping King Arthur down a few notches, gritting it up, taking away some of the domestication that comes with the complete and total reign of a golden age in the kingdom.
The more I think about it, the more I think that the best time to set this game would be while Arthur still hasn't solidified his reign. Maybe he's just one powerful warlord among many; maybe he doesn't have as much manpower as he needs, and is out looking to fill his round table; maybe he is busy trying to repel the Angles and Saxons from Britain's shores wherever he can, and doesn't have time to run a country. Maybe he's fighting a constant battle against the snake-men, who were also pulling the strings of the Roman Empire, and want Britain back now that the legions have pulled out. Any way you slice it, this is more interesting than peacetime, and leaves the PCs more room to strut around poking their heads into caves and crypts.