The Mewlips

1912 Sime, The Gibbelins, The Book of WonderSidney Sime was an artist back around 1900, and he’s most famous for his illustrations for Lord Dunsany’s Book of Wonder. If you like H.P. Lovecraft, then you should read Lord Dunsany. The Dreamquest of Unknown Kadath was Lovecraft’s first book and very much based on Dunsany’s style. Compare it to his last book At the Mountains of Madness for a sense of how much his writing changed. Dunsany influenced a lot of people. The “Distressing Tale of Thagobrind the Jeweler” feels very much like a Gray Mouser tale (from Fritz Leiber). “The Hoard of the Gibbelins” (to the right) is very similar to J.R.R. Tolkien’s poem, “The Mewlips.” And Sime’s illustrations are gorgeous and most can inspire an adventure all by themselves. Dunsany also wrote The King of Elfland’s Daughter and other novels. Give them a read — I’m sure you’ll be inspired, and your players won’t have any idea where the adventure came from.

The Mewlips
by J.R.R. Tolkien

The shadows where the Mewlips dwell
Are dark and wet as ink,
And slow and softly rings their bell,
As in the slime you sink.

You sink into the slime, who dare
To know upon their door,
While down the grinning gargoyles state
And noisome waters pour.

Beside the rotting river-strand
The drooping willows weep,
And gloomily the gorcrows stand
Croaking in their sleep.

Over the Merlock Mountains a long and weary way,
In a mouldy valley where the trees are grey,
By a dark pool’s borders without wind or tide,
Moonless and sunless, the Mewlips hide.

The cellars where the Mewlips sit
Are deep and dank and cold
With single sickly candle lit;
And there they count their gold.

Their walls are wet, their ceilings drip;
Their feet upon the floor
Go softly with a squish-flap-flip,
As they sidle to the door.

They peep out slyly; through a crack
Their feeling fingers creep,
And when they’ve finished, in a sack
Your bones they take to keep.

Beyond the Merlock Mountains, a long and lonely road,
Through the spider-shadows and the marsh of Tode,
and through the wood of hanging tees and the gallows-weed,
You go to find the Mewlips–and the Mewlips feed.


About lostdelights

An old gamer flying his freak flag, I've been playing table-top role-playing games since 1978. I've been building my own system (Journeyman) since 1981.
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