Tuesday, December 1, 2020

Review of 'The Shattered Isle: Rebels Against the Mutant Master' (Eternal Champion Series) By Steve Perrin, Sandy Petersen, & Charlie Krank For The classic Stormbringer R[g & The Hawkmoon Box Set

 


Sometimes we don't understand the sigificance of an adventure until much later on in life, such is the fate of 'The Shattered Isle: Rebels Against the Mutant Master'  By Kerie Campbell-Robson, Steve Perrin, and Sandy Petersen published in '87 by Chaosium. The first half of the book is new rules, fixes for the classic Hawkmoon box set, new  masked orders of the Granbretanian empire & a sprawling campaign. This is not a lower tier campaign adventure for either Hawkmoon or Stormbringer, the stakes are high, the adventure elements go from gritty to full on cosmic & the adventure campaign could be lethal. 
 



 'The Shattered Isle: Rebels Against the Mutant Master'  is a crossover adventure between the classic Chaosium Stormbringer rpg & Hawkmoon box set.  'The Shattered Isle: Rebels Against the Mutant Master' is the classic wizard messing around with a high level technological/occult relic to break the barriers of the planes. This isn't your run of the mill wizard instead this is the mutant master whose responsible for the entirety of the bio weapon system program of the Tragic Millennium Europe take over. Zhenader is a wizard scientist of the  Granbretanian empire who controls the entire country of Éire. Éire is Irish for "Ireland", the name of the island and  the sovereign state. Zhenader has gone completely rogue after finding a Fairy mound, other worldly artifact, & broken the planar barrier into the Million Spheres. 
He is not someone to trifle with at all because he's also found the armory of Eire & a host of pre Tragic Millennium weapons, artifacts, & more. 
The weapons are a weird mix of Eighties military technologies & Granbretanian empire weapon systems. This makes sense but its still gives a very strange impression. And its this impression of the weird where 
 'The Shattered Isle: Rebels Against the Mutant Master'   excels. 


We mentioned the word sprawling & 
 'The Shattered Isle: Rebels Against the Mutant Master'   has the PC's coming face to face with some of the more dangerous NPC's their going to be facing. We get warriors from across the 'Young Kingdoms' to the peoples of Corum these are all in the hands of Zhenader. Things go from bad to worse for the PC's. But their is light at the end of the tunnel & its not a train. The party is going to have to do some very fancy foot work but its a good adventure.  'The Shattered Isle: Rebels Against the Mutant Master' 
  is just weird enough to be engaging but actually playable. This is a campaign that is going to take months to work through. The possibilies of dimensional travel are high & even beyond. We have used this campaign as a pick up adventure with Rogue Mistress in the past so this is a strong possibility as well. This is a campaign that can go from 3 months to about a year or better to mop up every aspect of the machinations of the top teir villain. 

With a bit of work on the dungeon master's part I actually think that this could be a really good module for an extended game of both classic Stormbringer & Hawkmoon. 

Spitting Into the Wind - The Elric of Melnibone rpg second edition & The Mongoose Hawkmoon rpg Commentary

 Dealing with newer editions of classic role play games brings up all kinds of interesting wrinkles in this post covid age of ours!? Today we dive into two newer role playing incarnations  of both Elric & Hawkmoon. Here's a bit of background on the history behind the newer Elric incarnation of the Elric of Melnibone  from the Elric of Melnibone site;" Mongoose Publishing acquire the Eternal Champion Licence from Chaosium in 2006, and published new versions of both Elric of Melniboné and Hawkmoon. The initial editions of these games utilised the Runequest (itself licensed from Greg Stafford) rule set, while the 2nd edition Elric of Melniboné was built on both the Runequest II and latterly Mongoose’s own Legend game system." 


Where do I begin?! If you want something done right then do it yourself. Last night I grabbed my pdfs of the Mongoose Hawkmoon & second edition Elric Rpgs. Why the second edition?! Well according to the Elric of Melnibone rpg website; "Initially written by Lawrence Whitaker and Pete Nash, this short lived 2nd Edition revised the game mechanics to match the Runequest II ruleset, while looked to expand the Young Kingdoms setting to more remote locales." 
And this lines up with my original question  what I asked in the Elric/Stormbringer rpg Facebook group.  Don't look for the thread because I deleted it. The questions  were how are the Mongoose Elric & Hawkmoon rpgs?! And do they work well together?! Comments on Christmas puddings & bull shite made it so that I got very frustrated. So taking on the question myself I looked deeply into both role playing games. 




So after reading through the Hawkmoon rpg last night & with a bit of eye shattering strain through the Elric second edition. The conclusion is that these would work very well together for a campaign & there are several reasons for this: 
  1. Second editon Elric was created to smoothly intrgrate into Runequest rpg rules making my hit list of plusses. 
  2. The Elric game is impressivley detailed enough to take the Young Kingdoms as a very viable rpg campaign setting. 
  3. The Hawkmoon rpg  game gathers strength from the Elric rpg giving the players even more range with regards to the character creation.
  4. Alone I don't think that the Hawkmoon rpg is very good but with Elric as a system it works extremely well. 
  5. The range of trouble the PC's can get into is impressive to say the least. 
  6. The world of the Young Kingdoms is nasty in the Mongoose Elrice second edition version. Its down & dirty Sword & Sorcery rpg world just waiting to screw with the PC's. 
 But let's talk about the Hawkmoon rpg for a moment. The setting is far more detailed in its own right & the empire of  the Tragic Millennium, is rife with adventure possiblities. 


Are the two games worth the price of admission?! Possibly by themselves?! Maybe but not for the Fifty dollar plus collector's asking price at the moment. But coupled with Runequest & together?! Certainly and this is because they do the job of presenting their respective worlds very well. These games take on their material & bring it to the table top level in a way that actually suits the gaming that we've got today. 

Monday, November 30, 2020

Review & Commentary On CASTLE OLDSKULL - 333 Realms of Entropy By Kent David Kelly For Your Old School Campaigns

The realms in this book will give you enthralling and mysterious idea-shards filled with exotic locales, disturbing secrets, and haunting monster encounters which you can make your own. Each of the 333 realms is uniquely named, and includes terrain details and revelations about the most unusual and powerful monsters who dwell there"                                                                           

































CASTLE OLDSKULL - 333 Realms of Entropy
by Kent David Kelly is a massive one hundred fifty three page set of generators & tools for creating choatically themed realms, rooms, adventure hooks, places, & even rumors from the Castle Oldskull OSR system. 
This is a sprawling book that I grabbed on sale this past week with the Black Friday sale on Drivethrurpg. And this is a perfect book for creating dungeons, or even planes of chaos. It does this by sets of interlinking random tables that plug into 
 exotic locales, disturbing secrets, and haunting monster encounters. This is a really well done set of tools that out of the box takes the dungeon master deeper within their own world. Within this book nothing is ever quite the same & we're not subject to repeat after repeat subject matter.  
CASTLE OLDSKULL - 333 Realms of Entropy takes the guess work out of the random die roll by taking the material that extra mile. The wilderness has never been as wild or wooly with the dice literally determining the outcome across board. This makes creating magical realms, fairy lands, or even realms of chaos a snap. So is the 
CASTLE OLDSKULL - 333 Realms of Entropy  actually useful for original Dungeons & Dragons or B/X Dungeons & Dragons?! In a word absolutely it is! 



Why?! Because the 
 CASTLE OLDSKULL - 333 Realms of Entropy  system builds upon itself creating its own internal consistency of a campaign world. This is a design feature built right into it. And it does this very well. The  CASTLE OLDSKULL - 333 Realms of Entropy  is useful for everything from a high fantasy campaign straignt into an old school Sword & Sorcery romp. This is something we see time & again within the one hundred & fifty three pages. Who, what, where, & when are created in a toss of the dice & this is something that we as dungeon masters need from time to time. When time is short the  CASTLE OLDSKULL - 333 Realms of Entropy   is a welcome change up! 
What makes it nice is the dovetailing of  CASTLE OLDSKULL - 333 Realms of Entropy  with the other Castle OldSkull system books as well. This includes the CASTLE OLDSKULL - Game World Generator - Deluxe Edition & its sister book GWG2 OLDSKULL ADVENTURE GENERATOR. 



So is the  CASTLE OLDSKULL - 333 Realms of Entropy worth the price of admission?! Abssolutely & it does its job very well & we have all kinds of plans for this book in our upcoming campaigns! 

Sunday, November 29, 2020

The Continuing Outer Realm War Round Two - Godbound/Cha'alt Play Session Report Nine - Night of the Dark Creepers

 
Russ Nicholson Dark Creeper from The Fiend Folio First Edition.

The party in tonight's  Godbound/Cha'alt/Stars Without Number game almost bought it at three A.M. the hour of the soul. They faced down asssasin's blades from a group of Dark Creepers working for their Elven masters. This picks up right from the last game session, one of the player's cleric of Ishtar whose been created using the Demonic Tome's PC generating rules. The PC's made it too the hangers as another part of the party went for city hall. They were on the prowl to sneak in & spring a demi god from one of the local holding cells. This session Sunday picked right up from last week's available right over here. 

During tonight's game we used the Castles & Crusades version of the Dark Creepers from this blog. 



This version of the Dark Creepers were waiting for the party of the adventurers & used all of their abilities to great effect. They cut off to members of the party & pinned down their heavy fire power in the form of the party's godbound, their  wizard, cleric, & secondary demigod back up PC. 
As soon as the party was broken a apart the demonic entity incharge of Holdersfield appeared in the midst of the PC's. He or rather it started to pick off PC's wreathed in darkness. 


This demonic entity had several words from the Godbound rpg available to it just to even the odds. The demonic entity pounded on the party's demigod & with a quick roll of a twenty cut off the PC's head! This really sent the players into a tail spin & they ran! 
  The second half of the party managed to get into town hall & killed several Elven guards with little incident. They dispatched a couple of humans & then ran into a problem when they ran into the twin guardians of the cell a pair of  caterwauls. 


It took them most of the night to deal with these things, & finally they freed RJ the demigod of Hermes from his cell. The party was also able to get his enchanted sword Exceuls from city hall's vault & other  caterwaul guardian. They also found the planar doorway into Cha'alt inside the vault. 


Now that part of the party is knee deep in 
the city of A'agrybah & the rest of the party is on the rush to get to the gateway in order to not split the party! The undead wizard/revenant is still decaying & stinks to high Heaven. RJ the scion of Hermes & the prisoner that they freed is now the replacement PC. 

So did I miss anything?! Yeah there's a death knight mercenary with six polymorphed  demon  bodyguards/ bounty hunters. The death knight is  the lead singer of a death metal band whose the owner of a deadly demon guitar whose actually the brains behind the operation. The 'band' has been hired by the Elves to take out the party. 




Saturday, November 28, 2020

Spectres of Hawkmoon & New PC's! Further Mediations on The Stormbringer rpg & OSR Campaign Memories


 
  Rogue Mistress presents a high-powered, dangerous campaign for either the Stormbringer or Hawkmoon roleplaying games. Rogue Mistress features eight chapters, comprehensive listings of new weapons, additional races from which new adventurers can be created, plentiful illustrations, plans, and diagrams, and new rules and clarifications for the Stormbringer roleplaying game."

Yeah you don't know the half of it, we picked up quite a bit of damage to the Rogue Mistress during our engagements & trip to Hell. We were going to half to earn our stripes as crewmen. We had chaos weapons & now it was time to use em! 
 So before the 'Entropy Configuration' entirely cracked & shattered, we made our way to a nasty little plane of Chaos.

The plane of Klaadii is a plane after Chaos has had its way with it entirely. The ever changing roiling unmercy of change, mutation, endless variety kicks in hard core & your left with a zero pulse entropy plane. All of the life, energy, etc., are gone to the way of lifeless, barren, & the echoes of eternity. This is the final resting place of the O Sidata & her crew. A 
 Scaling Ship whpse wreck has beached itself on an out cropping of rock on the plane of Klaadi. Let me start by saying that this is one of the hardest parts of the Rogue Mistress campaign. The monsters that are on that plane are brutal, the plane itself is not a place to stay for any reason, & after my  fourth PC death our party had enough . We grabbed the configuration & killed the O Sidata to put it out of its misery. Trust me its not something we could leave. 
Afterward we had to get the 'Entropy Configuration' installed & that's when we broke through the second ether to arrive in some back water little plane. We brought the Rogue Mistress into dry dock. And we paid a visit to a wizard friend of Marie De Pistola & just outside of the wizard's dry dock we came face to face with boar & wolf warriors clad in full armor! 


We came face to face with our third 'old friend' 
Charles D'vere & his bodyguards on an extended leave from his emperor the ruler of The Tragic Milleanum Europe. Charles D'vere The First Duke of La Roy & the second grand inquistor of the Emperor of Europe. A member of the Praying Mantis division of the scared church of science  introduced himself along with his wolf & boar bodyguards. King King Huon, also called Huon the Immortal was very much interested or obessed with the scaling technologies. He wanted its secrets & there was no way we were going to let that mad m erm creature get a hold of it! The mad ruler of the Dark Empire of Granbretan was already eying other worlds & planes. His armies had made military expediations into several nearby planes


Our group fought like demons until  Charles D'vere himself joined the fray & unleashed an artifact of Law on us! We lost two of our number as he cut our men's throats for resisting & wasting his time. Did I happen to mention that this guy was sheer evil on a plate. We grabbed two prisoners (experimental subjects) that he was shipping back to  the Dark Empire of Granbretan for experimentation. Needless to say he didn't come within fifty miles of the entropy configuration! Our replacement characters included a cat like chaos mutant named Mila who was perfectly normal until she entered combat then she flew into a beserker rage. The second was Pan Tangian mercenary named Raz The Bloodless Handed. He was based upon this old Games Workshop figure here. 



Raz had no interest in serving the Pan Tangian empire as the emperor had a lot to do with murdering his entire famial line in ritual sacrifice to the Chaos gods! Charles D'vere himself threw two grenades at our group but we had some experience already with his tactics. So we ducked behind cover as they exploded harmlessly (there were a lot of dead city dwellers which we helped) but he made his escape. 
We encountered his other present on the way back to the drydock, a nasty virtue of Law named Edgar. This thing was shape shifting technological robotic or cybernetic life form. All the abilities of a demon with the unflinching attitude of a divine servant of Law.  
Our sorcerer 
Edward Burns Jones whose patron was Satan summoned a Hellmouth to take the thing out. Edward Burns Jones was named after the painter & the PC looked like his classic art piece 'The Wizard'. The girl in the painting is Edward's demon of desire familiar. 


The player handling that PC who was originally an NPC was pissed since it cost him big time. Edgar was taken care of but we had wounded urbanites all around us. We attended to them because our former Sholin Monk who was now Chaos worshiping martial arts specialist was our party's consciouss. 
 The 'down on his luck' martial artist, assassin, & former servant of Chaos named Fo Fuk Fenn was very good at navigating cultural waters.  Fo was a disgraced  Shaolin monk half Chinese & Irish who had turned to the worship of Chaos after losing everything during the Boxer Rebellion. Recently while the party was in Hell,  he had gained a metal & jet  staff with a demon of combat bound into it. The staff  was keyed with the explosive power in it. 


Our party needed to be proactive & fast! There were major threats after us! Hell we didn't even know the plane we were on!?! As I strove to make a new character that night the DM & began to discuss playing a sorcerer/warrior. That night in '91 Melmoth the Damned was born, basically he was a sorcerer who'd taken on the pact of Melmoth the Wanderer. A man destined to die when his alotted time was up dragged down to Hell  by the powers of Chaos. 
Melmoth the Damned carried a chaos blade named 'Nail Biter' with the power of ice forged on the broken back of a traitor  in the final circle of Hell under the gaze of Satan. He gained his sorcererous knowledge from his demonic pact. Melmoth was a very 90's character grim dark, utterly Gothic, complicated, who had taken on the pact after saving his half sister & her child. He had a complex relationship with his half sister having shades of Manfred. His family banished him to wander across the worlds because his father was a black magician himself. Did I happen to mention that this was a good guy?! 
Literally this is only the beginning of where things start getting really wooly & wild! Buckle up its gonna be a bumpy ride! Express elevator going down! 


Chaos Fey & Arthur Machen's Works Within 'The Wilderlands of High Fantasy' Campaign Setting

' We wake sometimes from dreams uttering strange phrases, murmuring incredible things. At the moment of waking, for some ineffable instant of time, the words we speak, or perhaps think we speak, seem to us full of illumination. To every one who speculates at all as to the heights and depths of the soul, there comes at very rare moments—there are not, perhaps, more than half-a-dozen such experiences given to any man's lifetime—the sense of the true world which lies beyond this dark place of images and shadows; a world that is full of light and glory, a world where all our dim desires are interpreted and fulfilled. It is as if we stood among shadows before a black curtain, as if for one moment a fold were caught back and we saw that which we can never utter: but never deny."

The Shining Pyramid (collection) by Arthur Machen

































The Foundry Elebor figure found here.

The adventurers stopped & looked at the strange series of henges where they knew there were none mere days ago. The first one heard the dog like things behind them first. Shu- ks they called em & it was the last thought they had before the hound like beasts tore into the party. 

Sidney Paget's illustration of The Hound of the Baskervilles. The story was inspired by a legend of ghostly black dogs in Dartmoor.

Up on the hill was a wild figure of a man like shape that snapped a whip that snapped with what seemed the fires of Hell itself. 

In the wilderness of the 
 Wilderlands of High Fantasy campaign man holds no sway at all. Even the demi races of Advanced Dungeons & Dragons tread lightly. The ancient sons & daughters of the Nephiliam still hold sway here. They are caught between the ancient threshold of dream & reality for this is their sway.  Now going through my own Machen literature & reference books there's quite a bit of a case to be made for the rude,primitive,  & highly dangerous servants of the Chaos Fey. These things are quite literally able to slip in between realities to take their alternative time & space contiuum onto the Wilderlands. This blog entry picks right up right after this one! 
 


Even regular Fey give these things a wide bearth, their altars are stained with the blood man. These left overs from another era & time are able to use rust spells, cloud kill fogs, & ancient curses to kill with little regard for hearth, home, & humanity. They feed on anyone they choose with impunity & rule the local residents through a combination of implied fear, outright might, & damnation. Fairy tales & legends are the masks that the locals put on the 'kindly ones' & speak of them in hushed tones given to gods, heroes, & myths. The truth is much darker. 



These pagan god hold overs breed with the local population producing twisted off spring that often carry out their parent's wishes among the residents that they rule. 
These can also be bred into several of the evil humanoid races found within Advanced Dungeons & Dragons first edition monster manual. 


After the events of 
Mines of Custalcon are over then its the perfect time to spring upon the players the other gods that have stakes within the area. The ancient 'gods' that are Hell bent on taking over but this isn't their only conquest within the Wilderlands. 


Machen leaves lots of hints, possiblities, & survivals on the table with his stories. My ancient Elven hold overs are the inheritors of a banished race of ancient proto god things that want what's thiers back! They will do anything to regain it as we shall see. 





Friday, November 27, 2020

Chaos Fey, The Wildness series of Judges Guild Adventures, & Arthur Machen's Works Within 'The Wilderlands of High Fantasy' Campaign Setting

' Nurse put me down on the soft moss under a tree, and she said: "She can't get to the pond now." So they left me there, and I sat quite still and watched, and out of the water and out of the wood came two wonderful white people, and they began to play and dance and sing. They were a kind of creamy white like the old ivory figure in the drawing-room; one was a beautiful lady with kind dark eyes, and a grave face, and long black hair, and she smiled such a strange sad smile at the other, who laughed and came to her. They played together, and danced round and round the pool, and they sang a song till I fell asleep. Nurse woke me up when she came back, and she was looking something like the lady had looked, so I told her all about it, and asked her why she looked like that. At first she cried, and then she looked very frightened, and turned quite pale. She put me down on the grass and stared at me, and I could see she was shaking all over. Then she said I had been dreaming, but I knew I hadn't. "
The White People (Machen) by Arthur Machen
The Green Book


The Foundry Lilith figure 

The Wildness series of Judges Guild  adventures is the perfect  Wilderlands of High Fantasy campaign series of adventures to modify into a fantastic jump point for a Celtic Sword & Sorcery campaign. The Wilderness series is as follows  :

The Wilderness Series
Mines of Custalcon
Spies of Lightelf
Pirates of Hagrost
Shield Maidens of Sea Rune
Witches Court Marshes










 










There are several races of god/Elves in my game campaigns that let's simply call them very nasty & evil. These things align themselves with far more Sword & Sorcery & mythology then they do with the regular garden variety of original  Dungeons & Dragons  or Advanced Dungeons & Dragons first edition's depictions of  Elves. In fact the Elves of AD&D first edition are known huldra ("hidden being") in Scandinavian languages these life force  are a food staple for these Pagan  gods. 

































These pagan gods are almost but not quite demonic harkening back to the time of the post Biblical flood. These entities are most likely a member  Nephilim family stretching back millions of years. They pass themselves off as 'gods' gaining food from the spiritual aspects of human scarafice & worse. I found a good version of these beings in The Foundry's Revenant Elves army. 























These things are perfect powers to be behind the affairs of Witches Court Marshes. Their favors are going to be fickle at the best of times & solidly nasty later on. The Witches are powers within their own right with all kinds of adventure or campaign possibilities. 

 






























This version of the 'Wilderlands of High Fantasy' draws very deeply from the Castles & Crusades material James & Jody Mishler Games had out a couple of years ago. 
But this time it seems that with Arthur Machen's influence upon me once again. There are far more Machenian survivals out among the misty stones & ruins of the wilderness of the Wilderlands. A world before the world so to speak  & the original Elves Dungeons & Dragons owe more to Appendix N writers & less to Machen's vision; "
A pioneering work of the fantasy genre was The King of Elfland's Daughter, a 1924 novel by Lord Dunsany. The Elves of Middle-earth played a central role in Tolkien's legendarium, notably The Hobbit and The Lord of the Rings; this legendarium was enormously influential on subsequent fantasy writing. Tolkien's writing had such influence that in the 1960s and afterwards, elves speaking an elvish language similar to those in Tolkien's novels became staple non-human characters in high fantasy works and in fantasy role-playing games. Tolkien also appears to be the first author to have introduced the notion that elves are immortal.[citation needed] Post-Tolkien fantasy elves (which feature not only in novels but also in role-playing games such as Dungeons & Dragons) are often portrayed as being wiser and more beautiful than humans, with sharper senses and perceptions as well. They are said to be gifted in magic, mentally sharp and lovers of nature, art, and song. They are often skilled archers. A hallmark of many fantasy elves is their pointed ears"

Dungeons & Dragons Elves have their own taboos that they do not speak of & like the American Indians simply leave the area when these ancient & nameless things are spoken abo


Älvalek, "Elf Play" by August Malmström (1866)

These ancient god Elven like things often use not traditional sources of military action but disease like curses & spreading maladies of occult origin. When h
ard pressed they will construct very alien & archaic constructions such as the Teratic Tome's Obsidian Giants. These monsterosities are capable of going toe to toe with mecha & even giant kin as well as kind. The Obsidan Giants are constructed  things or war machine that  are fueled by regular Elven slaves that have been captured. And married to these foul creations. 




The question is out in the middle of the unknown & savage Wilderland of High Fantasy are there artifacts & structures such as Arthur Machen's Shining Pyramide!?! Not only do I think so but many of the original Judge's Guilds Wilderlands of High Fantasy adventures bare this out. 





These are ancient Pagan gods that are far more arrogant, alien, & utterly inhuman in their take torward humanity & even their own supposed kin. Dwarves, Elves,etc. all of the demi human races of Dungeons & Dragons are their prey. They come from a time when the hills ran red with their sacrifices, & altar stones ran wild with their revelries! 




Thursday, November 26, 2020

Jail Break & Hell - Further Mediations on The Stormbringer rpg & OSR Campaign Memories

 Rogue Mistress presents a high-powered, dangerous campaign for either the Stormbringer or Hawkmoon roleplaying games. Rogue Mistress features eight chapters, comprehensive listings of new weapons, additional races from which new adventurers can be created, plentiful illustrations, plans, and diagrams, and new rules and clarifications for the Stormbringer roleplaying game."



































Michael Shea's Nifft The Lean was the motivator for the next leg of the journey sorta of. The Rogue Trader was/is a scaling ship & a playing piece in the grand game of time. We made an attack on the palace of Media in the Rogue Trader! And this was to grab the Tantir the navigator of the Rogue Trader who was captured by the sorceress Salrenna. We had some history with this witch right from the get go if you've been paying attention last session. 
































We busted into the palace of Media & it was a slog of a game session! It was a regular dice chucking session of combat. The game resembled more of a war game then it was a one to one session! We lost two of our six PC's in this melee/jail break! They succumbed to mortal wounds! Ranks were replenished from prisoners within the jail. These died in a total TPK freeing the Tantir from a diabloical sorcerous trap created by 
the sorceress Salrenna! I'm not gonna spoilt it. More prisoners filled out the party our wizard stayed aboard the Rogue Mistress and survived! 
We scrambled aboard the mistress after taking some pot shots against the queen Media. But quickly scrambled back aboard when her patron Morgan Le Fey appeared! 





















We freed a number of prisoners including a young & very dangerous warrior named Medrawt. Who scrambled to the armory of the fortress for his demon sword & enchanted spear. He was fleeing his mother & her destiny for him because he held her off with magics while we scambled to safety! Then came with us?! Medrawt is of course Modred a name rife with betrayal, sin, & murder. So this NPC was right up our alley. 












































"Sir Mordred — The Last Battle", from The Book of Romance, edited by Andrew Lang. New York: Longmans, Green and Co., 1902.

We escaped into the second ether aboard the Mistress. B
ut the Rogue Mistress was damaged!? We also had left behind some choice chaos & demon weapons on our dead. Yes there's that whole tradition thing aboard the Rogue Mistress but damn it we had worked our rears off in the forrests of Troos for those artifacts. 

Frank Brunner's 'In The Forest of Troos' was a major influence on our DM.

Now we were lementing those choice demon items when 
Medrawt pipped up that he knew a place where there were demon weapons rife for the taking near our destination. Hold on to your hats kids here's where Michael Shea's Nifft The Lean was the motivator for the next leg of the journey sorta of. The Mistress can put us on the shores of Hell's chaos wastes  near where the battle of the Fall occurred & we can take our pick of weapons?! 
Now I've got to note that the DM had recently aquired a copy of 
White Dwarf (Issue 103 - Jul 1988). This issue has an article called Realm of Chaos - Chaos Weapons and their abilities..



It seemed only fitting that we convert that article into the Stormbringer rpg because Games Workshop had 'borrowed' so much from Michael Moorcock's mythos. We agreed as long as 
Medrawt came with us. 
This whole outting was inspired by Michael Shea's  story 'Come Then, Mortal, We Will Seek Her Soul'. 






















The Mistress put into the moist living shore of the outter most level of this area of Hell. And that's when we had our encounter with two demonic doormen who wanted a boon to enter the vulva like Hell Mouth. The boon consisted of two of the most innocent memories of our PC's. Galling to say the least and the promise of a return to this spot for torture when our PC's died. 
Medrawt passed without comment or incident which told us about his part in this little part of the adventure. 



We entered the Hellmouth without ceramony & within it was mile after mile of broken urban landscape. We passed various decaying angel like creatures nailed to walls or strung in between buildings in spiderlike cables. That's when one of them still animated called to us!? Apparently this was an aspect of  'Queen Xiombarg' who was asking if we were come to join her?! 
We answered, 'No not yet'.  And her response was simply,'Pity'.  


















We were a bit freaked out to say the least & made our way to the field of former battle where row after row of angels & demons decaying bodies were spiked and still dying after millions of years. Our wizard picked up seven names of true angels while on that battle field. 
 We picked up weapons here & there but were seen by demon scavengers! We had to fight our way back to the Hellmouth & then use those seven names to get the Hellmouth to open! The doormen's last words to us were, 'See you again soon!'  


Wednesday, November 25, 2020

Review & Commentary On Matt Finch's 'The Spire of Iron & Crystal' from Frog God Games For Your Old School Campaigns

 

"For centuries, out in the wilderness beyond civilization's reach,

there has stood an enigmatic tower known as the Spire of Iron and

Crystal. It is a bizarre and ancient structure; four massive, eggshaped

crystals are mounted into a twisting, ornate structure of

rounded metal girders, one crystal at the top and the other three

mounted lower down. Moving lights seen inside the huge crystals

suggest that they are hollow and even inhabited, but no one has ever

discovered the secret of how to enter them. This is not surprising, for

the tower is located on a broad stone ledge halfway up a sheer cliff

face, the glassy walls of which have killed several adventurers who

attempted to climb down to the tower almost a hundred feet below.

Over the course of the last few months, with considerable effort and some

highly questionable methods, the adventurers have assembled quite a bit

of information about the Spire - things not widely known, even among

the wisest sages of the lands."



































So right now Frog God's having this huge sale because of Black Friday. But its been a bit of Castles & Crusades that has our attention at the moment & yes Troll Lords has a huge sale on at the moment. But its an older title that has our attention today. Matt Finch's 'The Spire of Iron & Crystal' from Frog God Games is one of those adventures that's  been  sitting on the  hard drive for many years now. Its a nasty little romp of a dungeon for PC's levels 5-8. 



































 This is one of those adventure that's gotten good reviews over the years from other corners of the OSR. But what the Hell were Frog God Games thinking with their own Drivethrurpg cover artwork. It does nothing for the module?! Yes we know its part of the 'one night stand' series but com'n on?! The director's cut artwork is so much better. Even Ten Foot Pole liked the 'The Spire of Iron & Crystal' & we almost never agree on anything. More over this is a really 'nice alien outpost on the edge of the wilderness dungeon'. 
I'm thinking of sticking 'The Spire of Iron & Crystal' into my version of a combined Carcosa/Cha'alt setting.
As Grognardia's review of 
'The Spire of Iron & Crystal'  gets into the heart of the module; "The Spire of Iron and Crystal is a "pure" adventuring locale. Although there is a brief backstory about the korog and the original purpose of the Spire, very little of that comes into play unless the referee wishes it to do so. There are no essential encounters, boxed text describing your character's feelings about this eldritch place, or dramatic speeches by the Big Bad Evil Guy. What you get instead is an extremely well presented dungeon filled with weird magic and technology, clever traps, deadly monsters, and commensurate rewards. Yes, there's some great potential here for expansion. I can easily see using this module as the kick-off of an extended campaign involving the korog and their underground civilization, but, as written, the module makes no demand that the referee or the players be interested in such things. The Spire of Iron and Crystal is thus a fine modern example of the location-based approach to adventure design that gave birth to some of the best modules in D&D history." 

For me this is going to be a perfect set up because of the dungeon's alien nature & over all weirdness. Its hard to really review it without giving too much away! This a module that seems straight outta of the weirdness of Seventies original Dungeons & Dragons! 













The nice part is that I think  that 'The Spire of Iron & Crystal'  may work very well with both Castles & Crusades as well as Adventurer, Conqueror, King rpg. Already we' ve got plans for this dungeon to appear in a central part of the campaign axis so its gonna be a question of simply slotting it into the mix! And that's one of the best parts of a good old school module is the ability to slot it into an on going campaign.