Solomon Kane Retrospective – Final Post

You can read the rest of this series here:

1, 2, 3, 4, & 5

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Solomon will be quite upset if you don’t read the rest of this series!

THE FOOTFALLS WITHIN

Solomon is following some Arab slavers that have been terrorizing the local Africans. He does not just hate slavery because it is morally wrong, but because he himself was a slave of the Turks in the past. Unfortunately, he cannot just jump and attack, because he is outnumbered and they are armed with guns. He begins formulating a plan to take them down, when one of them is about to brutally torture and kill a slave girl.

Without thinking, he shoots one of the Moslems dead, thus giving away his position. The others attack and Solomon is captured. While being interrogated by the sheikh, an old Arab reveals that the staff that Solomon received from N’longa is the same staff wielded by Moses and King Solomon!

Now a slave again, Solomon is forced to travel with the Arab slavers in the dark heart of the jungle. They come upon an ancient mausoleum…

The trees ringed it in a disquieting symmetrical manner and no lichen or moss grew on the earth, which seemed to have been blaster or blighted in a strange fashion. And in the midst of the glade stood the mausoleum. A great brooding mass of stone it was, pregnant with ancient dead. Dead with the death of a hundred centuries it seemed, yet Kane was aware that the air pulsed about it, as with the slow, inhuman breath of some gigantic, invisible monster.

You can steal the above paragraph for your next game, word for word and I guarantee your players will at least be slightly unnerved by that description.

Foolishly, the Arabs open the mausoleum and something comes out. This shapeless horror kills the Arabs, but Solomon is able to get his staff back and he fights the Horror until it dies. He realizes that Man is not alone in the world, as well as the wider universe and is horrified by this realization. I guess Howard got a little Lovecraft in his pulpy Puritan prose!

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Nameless horrors from beyond the stars exist, but faith and fire are more powerful

THE CHILDREN OF ASSHUR (fragment)

Of all the fragments in this collection, this is the one I wish I knew the full story of the most. The story just gets going before it ends.

While enjoying the hospitality of a kind tribe, they are killed by unknown raiders, who end up taking some of Solomon’s possessions…including his staff! Solomon is both angry and curious, so he tries to find the people who attacked the village. He comes upon a strangely clad warrior outside a massive walled city, in a style that does not match the local architecture. They fight and Solomon barely kills him before losing consciousness.

Solomon is captured and taken into a cell, where his wounds are bandaged and he is fed. He realizes that this is some sort of colony of the Assyrians that has survived from Biblical times to the modern (well, modern to Solomon) day. Suddenly, there is an attack by a large force of Africans and in the chaos, Solomon is able to escape in the chaos. Then the story ends. GAHHHHHHHHHHHH! So much set up and then no payoff!

SOLOMON KANE’S HOMECOMING

This poem comes in two variants, but it is essentially the same story.

Solomon returns home after his travels in Africa and, after hearing that a woman named Bess (possible love interest?) has passed away, decides to retire from adventuring. However, once again, he hears the call and heads out. With that, the tales of Solomon Kane end. He walks off into the sunset alone, with naught but his faith, his weapons, and the clothes on his back.

FINAL THOUGHTS

Are these stories perfect? No.

Are these good pulpy fun? YES! YES! YES!

You cannot go wrong picking these stories and reading them. While from the same author, they are different than the Conan stories, so be prepared for something a little slower paced. I am a little uncertain why these stories are not mentioned by name in Appendix N. Maybe the timeframe is a little too far in the future for the kind of game most D&D games tend to be? In any case, CHECK THESE STORIES OUT. Now that I have finished these, I am not a comic book guy, but I might check out the Solomon Kane comics, if they are faithful to the source material. Are they worth looking into?

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