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HDK 44 † The spectre of the duke


It's a room with smooth walls built by gray granite blocks. A magic brazier is still lit in the middle of the room and emits a cold and dim light. On either side of the entrance corridor are two statues, a man in armour and a women in elegant dress: one depicts the Duke of Grumacchio in armor, looking proud and armed with a sword, the other is his wife Isabel d'Ester, dressed in sumptuous ceremonial clothes. A plaque of precious black marble on the opposite side of the entrance tells: "Here lie the noble Friedrick, Duke of Grumacchio, Isabel d'Ester his wife and all the courtiers". The room apparently has no other exits.
It is a wet cave, where an underground and muddy pond gushes out. Slowly, from the waters, rise three horribly rotten and swollen zombies that attack without hesitation anyone entering the room. They are what remains of a group of adventurers who arrived here many months ago: a male warrior, a male thief and a female cleric. Their bodies have broken bones and the remaining pieces of armor are rusted by water. They fight without weapons but with their fearsome claws. The cleric is wearing a medallion with a ruby set in the value of 200 gold coins.
The corridor is interrupted by a sturdy iron door with refined relief decorations. It has a lock, it can be opened with the key of 8.
The room is filled by a simple square sarcophagus with a Latin cross. It is written: "The court fool's tomb". Opening the grave, next to a dusty skeleton, you can find a thin sword with a golden handle. At first glance it will appear as a powerful magic sword + 3 but it will actually shatter at the first attack. When it happens, you will hear a mocking laugh.
Inside these rooms there are only short mattresses made of straw. These are the eternal beds destined to the dwarves courtiers, who are now two little ghouls who will attack anyone by surprise, emerging from the darkness near the rooms 5.
In this room there is the tomb of Iulius Specularum, the artist. A large, finely decorated sarcophagus with interwoven floral motifs is open in the center of the room. On the side the Iulius Specularum ghost is standing restless and thoughful: although it may seem scary in its appearance, it is not aggressive and does not intend to attack. He will speak to those who enter by ranting untold sentences about the unjust behavior of Duke Friedrick, who always reproached him for his delays and will say that only the "destiny" will be able to stop them. If attacked, it will dematerialize. In the sarcophagus there are several parchments with drawings of artistic decorations and extravagant architectures. If sold in the city at the antique shops, they can yield up to 1000 gold coins.
This is the tomb of court advisor Baldassor Kastorsin, where a large sarcophagus occupies the center of the cave. On the farthest side, a bust is depicted depicting a bearded man of wise appearance, with a large black headdress. As soon as someone enters the room, the bust will speak magically. "The great game of diplomacy requires balance. It is always fragile and short-lived. Peace exists only when the eyes of the four kings do not cross. If the rulers don't see, interests are not opposed and war does not reign. And of course all have to be done in time...". On the marble slab that closes the tomb there is an hourglass and a series of holes that form a 4 x 4 square. Next, there are 4 pegs on the top of which are carved king heads. The pegs must be inserted into the holes so that the projections do not meet either orthogonally or diagonally. Baldassor will leave 60 seconds to solve the riddle (the time of the hourglass). Whether the pegs are inserted incorrectly or time runs out, the grave will uncover and it comes out a hideous dead creature that will attack until death. If, on the other hand, the adventurers manage to solve the enigma correctly, they can peacefully open the sarcophagus and recover the treasures contained, that is a chest with 2,000 gold coins.
The room is well squared and houses the embalmed body of the first Einar knight, the faithful servant of the duke, standing in the center. He has a chain around his neck with the large bronze key (it opens the door of paragraph 3). As soon as someone tries to steal the key, the figure will come alive and attack him mercilessly: it is a dreadful wight that will attack with its deadly touch. Once defeated, in dematerializing it will drop the belt with a magic sword + 1.
The great underground hall is dense with humidity and a smell of mold. At the end of the room marked by low stone columns, there is an apsidal wall where a large and majestic sarcophagus is illuminated by two magical torches that emanate a cold and glacial light. The tomb contains precious jewels and gems worth 3000 gold coins but contains no human remains. As soon as somebody touch the gold, an army of sixteen skeletons armed with sticks appears from the secret niches on the sides of the crypt. Is that remains of the duke's servants. Once the servants' army is defeated and the duke's treasure is stolen, a violent earthquake will start shaking the crypt, cracking the walls of the dungeon and causing ever more plentiful water to penetrate. To avoid being buried alive, all that remains is to escape.
Ananke 02:08
Escaping while everything collapses, you come across the two statues of the entrance that are suddenly animated. These are the Duke (warrior) and his wife Isabel (sorceress). They are very strong opponents: the clash will be fierce and must be done quickly to avoid being buried alive by the imminent collapse of the dungeon. The important thing is to escape with the treasure, it is not necessary to eliminate the adversaries (the statues can not leave the sanctuary, on pain of disintegration). There is also another way to overcome this obstacle: to cry out the word "Ananke" (destiny in archaic language) that will return the statues motionless, allowing the output before everything collapses.


Some rumors tell of a monumental tomb near the Pok swamp, in Grumacchio region. A long time ago, the Duke Friedrick Gonzagor was buried there at the end of his controversial existence. His life was characterized by a rapid rise and quick decadence. At an nearby inn you bought for a few gold coins a map that indicates the location of the sanctuary that it is said to keep rich treasures. So far, although some adventurers have already tried to desecrate the tomb, it seems that no one has managed to come back alive to tell what he saw ...

The little pronaos has almost sunk into the swamp near the large Pok pond. It is miraculously still standing even it shows the destructive signs of time. It consists of steps, four columns and a tympanum. The architecture is encrusted with moss and a half in ruins but reveals the ancient severe elegance. On the trabeation the following words are engraved "Here rests Friedrick Gonzagor, Duke of Grumacchio, who lived a step behind the gods". The wooden door has already been forced by someone else and is open. If examined carefully, it is possible to notice a mysterious word engraved on the wood: "Ananke". It means "Destiny" in an ancient language...


If someone had described it to us, we would have said: "No way baby! A record like this is... impossible!". Not only was it possible, but it also turned out to be a small masterpiece of sepulchral music!

LUCIFER ANALOG is Luciano Lamanna: born in 1977 and resident in Rome, he's one of the most honorable name of the Italian electronic scene; since the 90s Luciano is a legend of techno-rave music (Tekno Mobil Squad), but also a composer and producer who has worked with important artists in hip-hop music (Truceklan), independent rock (Zu, Ephel Duath...) and dark/metal (Aborym, Karyn Crisis, Der Blutharsch...). Luciano, in his now long career, has experimented with every musical genre... and today even with the dungeon-synth!

When Luciano wrote to us asking "Can I make a record with HDK?" we, goofy nerds, have put him into a test: "Ok, but you will not be free... we will write a Dungeons & Dragons scenario and you will have to write its soundtrack!". So we have prepared a minimal-gonzo module in full old school dungeon crawling spirit! Luciano, without objections and in a few weeks, following the map of the dungeon we drew, he composed and recorded "The spectre of the duke".


In this unique album dungeon-synth thus meets techno music, passing through industrial suggestions and moments near to the 80s horror movie soundtracks. The necrophilous crescendo of "Gold sparkles and bones came alive" (13 unforgettable minutes of distressing dungeon-rave) shows that this encounter between dance-electronic and dungeon-synth is not only possible, but really desirable!


released October 31, 2019

Art & design by HDK Nippon creative team, Tokyo, Japan.




Heimat Der Katastrophe Milan, Italy

DIY label focused on ambient punk, minimal-synth, dungeon-drone, wartime music and post-nuclear wave. Managed by a creative punx collective from Milano city.

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