Monday, September 15, 2014

Two Hundred and Twenty Three Free OSR Adventures From Dragon's Foot For Your Old School Campaigns

I was quite surprised & somewhat taken aback today when this link to some damn fine OSR adventures was posted and a number of  people PMed me to thank me for posting this. I thought everyone was aware that this thread of links was around from the fine folks at the  Dragon's Foot website. I've been using the various resources over the last couple of days because I'm designing a new series of adventures. 
 So here you are and be sure to stop by to the fine folks over there and say thank you. 
 Here is a list of links to free modules/adventures posted online (Dragonsfoot and other sites).

Review & Commentary On Dragon Foot's Free OSR Adventure The Haunted Keep For Your Old School Campaigns

 Grab It Right 

The Haunted Keep was/is a collaborative effort by the crew over at Dragon's foot and clocks in at thirty five pages of low level adventuring fun filled with all kinds of monsters to challenge a beginning party or be devil your experienced party of adventurers.
 This is no non sense bare bones adventure with everything you need to start a grand OD&D first adventure including everything for a great evening's entertainment or a campaign start. This one also includes the sample PC's or NPC's to shove into the thick of some of tricks and traps. 
Its well written and has some solid rooms as well as treasure. This one makes a really cool little adventure as  part of a continuing series of ruins and former fortresses of some forgotten empire. I've used this one as continuation of In Search Of The Unknown and The Keep On the Borderlands.
With a bit of work I've also used this module as a low down and dirty sword and sorcery location for both Lamentations Of The Flame Princess and Astonishing Swordsmen and Sorcerers of Hyperborea. This module take a bit of modification with some of the retroclones out there but that's half of the fun of DMing. The lost empire flavor of this adventure is something that seems to shine out at me and that might be partly my nostalgia when running this one. I've used this as part of an ancient Earth campaign stretching back to 2008 when the adventure debuted on Dragon's foot.
This a really nice meat and patatoes adventure that can be used as part of a stepping stone campaign for a DM and as a framing device for introducing their own campaign elements into a game. I've talked with several other DM's who have used this adventure as part of a Labryth Lord/Mutant Future cross over adventure to intro PC's into their own PA fantasy elements a few times. This is a solidly done free adventure and combined with some of the other old school adventures from Dragon's foot can create a well adjusted customized campaign. 

Review and Commentary On Skirmisher Publishing's "Wisdom from the Wastelands Issue #17: Artifact Conditions" For Your Old School Post Apocalyptic Campaigns

Just over the weekend in my Mutant Epoch game several questions were raised about artifact conditions and some military hardware. Fortunately, I had Issue #17 of Wisdom of the Wasteland on hand to help. Here's why.

Grab It Right
Issue Seventeen of Wisdom From the Wastelands brings some really nice material to the gaming table. Skirmisher Publishing brings in new post apocalyptic hardware, new mutations, and a host of gadgets to deal with your mutants and adventurers. And this issue  does a nice job of hanging more great add on systems to the Mutant Future rpg retroclone. This is one of the retroclone strengths in my estimation. Not corner, spare space and shelf in the game is filled. This allows the DM to add their own unique thumb print to the post apocalyptic game. This is something that Mutant Epoch also allows because these games echo and pay homage to games from yesteryear like Gamma World first edition and Metamorphosis Alpha
 This issue of  Wisdom adds in a very nice little bench mark system for artifact conditions. This is a rather important and over looked part of the PA gaming experience. This article does away with those janky flow charts and action trees in one fast and concise shot. 

The Drivethrurpg Blurb : 
Artifacts play a key role in Mutant Future. Like magical items in fantasy games, artifacts are treasures sought by adventuring parties that brave the mutant-infested ruins of the Ancients’ world. But often these treasures are in less than pristine condition due to factors such as age, neglect, or misuse.

Using Wisdom From The Wastelands Issue #17
For Your Old School Post Apocalyptic Campaigns 

This is one of the best 'Wisdom From The Wasteland' issues to get if your running a quesi military style campaign which I happen to be with some of Chris  Van Deelen's Aliens conversions. This issue contains a wealth of Mutant Future madness to drop right into your back campaign without the players ever noticing that your using new material.

But the gear and gizmos that they'll be finding are going to be all kinds of weird conditions which makes NPC traders and mechanics very valuable. This also keeps the loot warehouse factor down with the Wisdom From The Wastelands condition factor system in this issue. Add in the newest mutant menaces from this issue and you've got a ready made mix for their next adventure. The primitive firearms section is another great add on which might be added to those Labyrinth Lord cross over games, suddenly those mutant goblins are a whole lot more dangerous with matchlocks.
The Advanced Melee weapons and military armor gives those pure strain humans from the Domes a really nasty little advantage or two. This issue is definitely one to grab and give your PC's something to really contemplate out in the deep wastelands. 

Sunday, September 14, 2014

Review and Commentary on the Free OSR Resource From Dragon's Foot - Holy Relic Generator

 Grab it Right Over

This generator does what it says on the tin and is a solid old school download slanted to generate random holy items and weapons for D&D and AD&D first edition and their retroclones. Now your asking yourselves big deal what could you possibly do with such a generator?
What couldn't you do? is a more likely question. From those random battle fields of the gods in games like Lamentations of the Flame Princess with its mangled bodies and twisted limbs of the corpses with cursed holy relics to the post apocalyptic wastes where the battles of Judgement day have been fought. This generator is perfect to create those minor items of holy power waiting to be unleashed upon the faces of your creations.
This generator features a couple of options for DM who wants to create  the tools of a herald of some long forgotten god and show the fury of the face of a divine presence. But the tools of this generator could also be used to show the random useless bits of some fool or warrior of a god whose fallen from favor as well. I've used this generator countless times to create and mantain an atmosphere of high weirdness among the battle fields and former cosmic front lines time and again. This has been among science fiction, weird science fantasy, and even in locations of Lovecraftian horror where even the servants of a god can & have died.
So all in all not bad for a free holy item generator from Dragon's foot.
Cheers and happy gaming. 

Saturday, September 13, 2014

Review and Commentary On Edge Of Tomorrow 2014 For Your Old School Post Apocalyptic Campaigns

A man and a woman, wearing battle armour, holding large guns, and looking battle-worn, stand against an urban background devastated by war. The sky is golden, meteors are falling, and Nelson's Column can be seen in the background.
Edge of Tomorrow is one of the first low key action packed sci fi military films that I've seen on the rebound this evening. I was able to catch this one down in Waterbury tonight at a small venue theater with some friends after work tonight.
Well I was pleasantly surprised at how much of a post apocalyptic alien invasion 'B' movie vibe echoes through this one from the PA Europe to the mecha armored suits to the time travel elements this is a pretty good flick despite the presence of the main lead Tom Cruise. Personally I think that his acting in this one does some something for the sense of desperation that this film has. 

Here's the wiki low down on Edge Of Tomorrow: 
Edge of Tomorrow is a 2014 American military science fiction film starringTom Cruise and Emily BluntDoug Liman directed the film based on a screenplay adapted from the Japanese light novel All You Need Is Kill by Hiroshi Sakurazaka. The film takes place in the near future, where an alien race has invaded the Earth and defeated the world's military units. It follows Major William Cage (Cruise), a military officer inexperienced in combat, who is deployed into a combat mission against the aliens. Though Cage is killed in minutes, he finds himself starting over in a time loop, repeating the same mission and being killed. Each time, Cage learns to better fight the aliens, and he teams up with Special Forces warrior Rita Vrataski (Blunt) to defeat them.

 This film is based on All You Need Is Kill a novel by Hiroshi Sakurazaka and on the whole loosely follows the plot of the novel that was translated by Viz comics with a very nice manga. I got a chance to read the graphic novel earlier this year over my friend Peter's place. The manga is a very different animal then the film and in some respects superior to but very different from the Edge Of Tomorrow film : 
The story is told from the perspective of Keiji Kiriya, a new recruit in the United Defense Force which fights against the mysterious 'Mimics' which have laid siege to Earth. Keiji is killed on his first sortie, but through some inexplicable phenomenon wakes up having returned to the day before the battle. This continues and he finds himself caught in a time loop as his death and resurrection repeats time and time again. Keiji's skill as a soldier grows as he passes through each time loop in a desperate attempt to change his fate.

The film stars Tom Cruise as William Cage (the film's counterpart to Keiji Kiriya) and Emily Blunt as Rita Vrataski. The setting is changed to Western Europe, with the battle being a strike into Normandy that begins at Heathrow Airport. More details right over HERE  from Wiki. 
Post apocalyptic Europe never looked so good, the wasteland is nasty,dangerous, and crawling with Mimics. I can see a group of desperate adventurers crawling through the weird landscape scavenging for mecha, parts, artifacts, and the forgotten mysteries of the alien invasions of this world. 

All You Need Is Kill.jpg

Edge of Tomorrow has a neck snap take on its time travel and a couple of clever bits for its post apocalyptic landscape. The real draw here for me were the armored suits which any old school post apocalyptic DM worth their salt should take a look at. These are the perfect loot power armor to stick into a campaign and their there because of the the very lethal but hardly seen aliens the Mimics. The Mimics are mysterious and almost always in shadow, darkness, and when exploding across the screen are very nasty. But then this is kinda what you want in your mysterious aliens rampaging across the screen in this film.

Ever since I've been into the post apocalyptic role playing science fantasy rpgs time and again I've seen the various incarnations of power armor lurking in the background of the artifact the artifact tables. I think that this has to do with the science fiction novel by Robert Heinlein Star Ship Troopers. From Metamorphosis Alpha 1st edition to Mutant Future, right down to the recent  Mutant Epoch rpg power armor sits waiting to be used in some bunker and in this film you can see why. The armor is the only thing that the frail humans have against the bloody swath of the alien Mimics. Seriously even with it some of the humans last tenths of a second and then are done away with by some metallic alien tendrils or whipped apart in a bloody milk shake slurry of wreckage. 

According to the wiki entry on the power armor : 
Production designer Oliver Scholl and his team worked with lead builder Pierre Bohanna to develop concept art for several battle suit options based on contemporary real-world powered exoskeleton initiatives like those supported by DARPA. When director Doug Liman chose a design, the team built an aluminum prototype frame that had pivot points and hinges. Costume designer Kate Hawley contributed a gritty aesthetic design for the color palettes and surface treatments. While the design was meant to be utilitarian, it was also created so the actors could be seen in the suits and also run in them. The team created a foam mock-up of Tom Cruise so the frame could be suited for him. The team handcrafted 70 hard material and 50 soft material battle suits in the course of almost five months. There were three versions of the battle suits: "grunts, dogs, and tanks". The battle suit for Emily Blunt's character had red slash marks sprayed on to reflect a Joan of Arc quality.[27]
The battle suit weighed 85 pounds (39 kg) on average. One of the heavier versions was around 130 pounds (59 kg) due to being equipped with a mock sniper rifle and rocket launcher.[5] Each actor needed four people to help put on the battle suit. Initially, Tom Cruise took 30 minutes to put on the suit and another 30 minutes to remove it. Ultimately, the time was reduced to 30 seconds.[27] The Los Angeles Times said, "Between takes, the actors would be suspended by chains from iron frames to take the weight of the suits off their shoulders.'
All of the various old school post apocalyptic rpgs out there that have power armor in them would fit the Edge of Tomorrow atheistic, in point of fact if your going to use this film as a reference point to create your own adventures featuring a similar theme. I'd use the power armor already present within the system. Save yourself some time and energy to create a world where an alien invasion has gone or is going amok. Add time travel as needed.

One of the only things that really ruined this film for me was the PG -13 rating, I'm going into a film with this much action and adventure give me a solid 'R' rating so I can please see more of the world of  Edge of Tomorrow.
Emily Blunt's character was kinda of interesting and really a bit messed up. While she is every inch the armored action hero as Tom Cruise's character and would make a fine NPC for PC's moving through the post invasion landscape. Her emotional skill set has some twists to it. And I think such a character as the one she plays ultimate could carry a picture of this type of science fictional adventure all on her own. Ms. Blunt's character is a good counterpoint to Cruise's inept character that seasons himself through the flow of the time travel element of the film.
This isn't by far from a flawed film but its one that has a lot to offer the DM that needs a shot of alien invasion and post apocalptytic weirdness to their movie going and rpg inspiration.
All in all I was quite surprised by this little Summer science fiction sleeper.

Revisiting Kos City From Skirmisher Publishing For Your Old School Campaigns

Available Right Over 

Swords of Kos Kos City is one of those campaign settings that you as a DM return to again and again. When I'm a bit stuck I often pull out my book and begin thumbing through this one. The campaign setting thoroughly old school but a system neutral setting built upon level of level of a fantasy Minoan civilization. There are solid reasons for the ruins, megadungeons, and other adventure locations that are used in Kos to be there. This is a massive book with layers of NPC's, a huge back story, well though out bits of the setting's history, and a large number of maps.
Don't let that fool you at all, the Skirmisher Publishing folks do an incredible job of laying this one out.
 According to the Drivethru rpg blurb : 
This book contains descriptions of 50 different specific places that can be used either individually or in conjunction with one another, and within the context of the city of Kos as presented here or as part of any other community a storyteller might have established within their own campaign setting. It also includes a fully-keyed map of the city of Kos, both in the book and as a separate 11 x 17 file that can be printed out on a single sheet of paper.
The Swords of Kos Fantasy Campaign Setting has deliberately been designed to be system free, not tied to any particular game setting, and to be compatible with any set of role-playing game rules suitable for ancient, medieval, or fantasy venues. In that the setting was used as the playtest backdrop for games using the OGL/d20, Pathfinder, “Basic” Dungeons & Dragons andLabyrinth Lord retroclone, and Advanced Dungeons & Dragons rules, of course, it is an especially ideal setting for them.
 Looking into Kos is like looking into a huge multi layered cake of opportunity for adventurers. The city is an adventure opportunity waiting to happen. I can totally see using Kos for a Three Hundred movie style wrap around location where the politic and NPC's at the top get the PC's snared into any number of situations. Many of the situations here are laced through with some hook, or line that seems to link back on to itself that will work the PC's into the life of Kos.
I haven't used Kos in a couple of months as an adventure location because of the fact that the PC's seem to spend a bit too much campaign time lost in its winding streets and alleyways. I've created the location's  world as a demi plane  within my rpg campaigns. Thus solving the possibility of the setting material over shadowing my own campaign. Yes its that well thought out and there is that much material where the PC's are going to have a ball with the book. This book is expansive and the all of the Kos material from Skirmisher publishig builds upon itself.
The thing about Kos City is that there is a key point with it, the entire setting is system neutral that makes it a plug and play setting. That's one of the setting's strengths & much of the Kos material leans toward a sword & sorcery setting. That makes it one of my favorite books to play around with.
The shops,businesses, etc are all oriented toward the adventurer in mind and allows a DM to weave the story and setting into their own campaign world. The Kos settting is one that can seem to overwhelm a DM but that's not true. The break down makes using the setting a very nice change of pace where its an easy snap in for use with your own favorite retroclone or AD&D first edition game. You might as a DM find yourself using this setting with fifth edition or Pathfinder. That's fine since this setting has bits for both of these systems.
The setting of Kos is a very urbane and yet strange blend of Greek style fantasy with its own distinct flavor this may or may not be to your liking. I think that my players have found it in slices very enjoyable but the setting isn't the usual run of the mill high fantasy setting. Kos has a bit of grit and blood to its city streets making the setting have weird echoes all of its own.
 I've used Kos City any number of times for one shots and just getting the PC's to the city and setting with get them into the deep end of Kos and in trouble.  

Friday, September 12, 2014

Free OSR Download The Three Swordsmen Character Classes From Kort'thalis Publishing For Your Old School Campaigns

Grab It Right 
As I'm getting ready to begin a brand new Halloween Lamentations of the Flame Princess campaign, I've been looking around for some fighter variant PC classes and I stumbled upon this free download from Venger Satanis again.
Baring in mind that I'm not working with or for   

This little bevy of fighters isn't bad at all, we've got a Knight Templer, Slayer, and Reaver variation with a few special bits for each fighter and their for use with your favorite retroclone system. Now given that I'm going to be using a near future variation on the Lamentation Of The Flame Princess with some flexibility in a Dark Ressiance horror setting. These are a pretty good fit but I will be adding in black powder weapons. 

Each class has a little something some thing that gives the fighter a bit of an edge but nothing that will unbalance the dark fantasy game of your choice. It does exactly what it says on the tin and that's fine with me. 
Three Swordsmen gives old school fighters a little extra something... but not the entire kitchen sink!  This is old school, after all.  A few interesting perks should be more than enough to keep both players and GMs happy.
Enjoy these OSR fighter/warrior alternatives, as well as, Liberation of the Demon Slayer, The Baleful Sorcerer of Tsathag'kha, and upcoming module The Islands of Purple-Haunted Putrescence all from Kort'thalis Publishing.

The Three Swordsmen Character Classes
From  Kort'thalis Publishing For Your Old School Campaigns 

Kort'thalis Publishing has kept these fighter PC packages as generic as possible and that's not a bad thing in my opinion. Each of these packages could be used for PC's and NPC's to provide a wider variety of options for the players and since they are so generic they can be used with little modification or tweaking with your favorite retroclone or D&D edition. Here's where I can see these coming in quite handy : 
  • Add these classes into your favorite post apocalyptic setting to throw a curve at the PC's especially if these are used for some mutant sect or secret society. 
  • These are perfect for a sword and sorcery setting where your vile wizard needs a nasty body guard. Add in cursed or nasty magic sword for added effect. 
  • For a game of AD&D first edition as a possible stand in class for the PC's as part of the local campaign setting. Regional PC classes are something that has fallen out of fashion with the variations of D&D but a concept that we used all of the time with various campaigns. 
  • The Templar class is a perfect variation on the clerics for LoFP or to act as body guards for various popes as body guards and possibly as pilgrim guards. Banking cartel sold separately. 
  • The Reaver class is perfect for use as an NPC advanced enemy for the characters as locust like raiders from some colder and artic like climate. I'm thinking here of Robert Howard's Conan and his relatives from the books. 
  • I can even see using these fighters as stand ins for native warriors of some far flung star system where the native population has gone back and slide into a back Dark Ages bit. 
  • For a game like Astonishing Swordsmen and Sorcerers Of Hyperborea, these fighters PC classes make nice counter points to the classes already found in the game's campaign setting. With a bit of work these might be variations found on Old Earth. These classes might not be available to the PC's and reflect a far different time in the time scale of Hyperborea or Atlantis. 
For a six page free pdf there's lots to work with here. There are a ton of fighter variations already on the market but this is a good selection of fighting men with more of a pulp flare to the classes. I can see using this add on of classes. And its nice to see a bit of thought into a free product. I was thinking of uses for these while I was reading through them. Not a bad take on the fighter, I'd love to see more classes like these from Kort'thalis Publishing but for now I'll take the Three Swordsmen pdf and run with it. 

Comic Book Review - GRENDEL VS. THE SHADOW #1 By Matt Wagner From Dark Horse

Grab it Right
Matt Wagner created the original incarnation of Grendal  Hunter Rose back in the 80's for Comico, the character whose tragic history is the first of a blood soaked stepping stone of the Grendal legend has remained a favorite of mine forever.
Now over the last couple of years of the late two thousands Matt has been dealing with the pulp corner stone hero 'The Shadow" over at Dynamite Entertainment whose comics have been using every public domain super hero in their comics rather well. These books have included 'The Shadow'.  So it only seems natural that they'd combined the two into a thinking man's 'vs' title. This story line does not break or screw around with the contingency of the Grendel Hunter Rose events, if anything it enhances it.
 According the Dark Horse byline : 
Sparks fly and bullets blaze when the original Grendel, Hunter Rose, is transported to 1930s New York and faces off with the original dark-night avenger, the Shadow! Two pulp-noir icons go head to head in this three-issue prestige-format series written and drawn by legendary Grendel creator Matt Wagner.
The ideas here are pulptastic and the background artwork is full of bits and pieces that are a love letter to the pulp that Mr. Wagner loves so dearly. Its the little touches such as the Universal Mummy film playing in the background of issue one when Grendal makes an appearance. The Shadow here is in top form and as dangerous as he comes. The byplay between the two would make a wonderful film ala Sin City. But that's just this humble writer's opinion. The art work is very well done if your into Wagner's take on the characters and I'm. 

Everything about this issue sets up the events to come and the story telling is tight, the take on the characters is spot on and this is really a pleasure to read and a nice break from the hum drum of some of the other market efforts that I've seen lately. Each of the characters here is right within their pulp elements and in top form. The pulp era of  'The Shadow' is perfectly made for Hunter Rose. 

Matt does a really nice bit of character evolution as Hunter Rose adapts, confronts, and deals with the 1930's head on. This is Rose's element and he's enjoying every blood soaked noir second of it. 
The bits of him that we really get to see make Wagner's return to his character a nice bit of added punch to his creation and artwork. 

For me the pulp slut that I'm, this has been one of September's more wonderful little noir treats. Its nice to see Matt Wagner in full blood soaked bloom here. The action is very well done and the ideas are fresh as a rose. I can't wait to see issue two. If you love you Noir dark and with an intelligent story grab this one and follow this mini series which looks like its going to be a bloody brilliant and homicidal pulpy fun ride. 

Into The Rabbit Hole - Mutant Epoch Rpg System Actual Play Encounter Session

After detailing with a few of the Scrap Lurkers in last week week's game HERE. The PC's decided to blow the mega dungeon's enterence and develve deeper into the mystery ruins that they've found themselves in and knowing that a water source is nearby they'll follow that.

I've got more then a few surprises waiting down below for them in these A.I. haunted ruins. They'll be exposed to a number of dangers in tonight's game as they're looking for a very advanced medical robot that holds the key to a plague that is ravaging the countryside in this local of the global highway. The PC's are dealing with the rythmn and blues of they're high tech bounty hunter enemy while they look for the exit to this hell hole in the ground.
 The Scrap Lurkers are not about to give up such a rich group of fools so easily as well however so its going to be a bit of a race to see who escapes whom from this twisted underground hell maze deep within the wastes.

 I've peppered the underground with a number of random supply caches left from those who tried to escape the Gene Wars that fried bits of this Earth. So its all going to be a bit of a marry chase and a gauntlet as PC's wind their way through this weird post apocalyptic underground landscape.

Tools Of The Trade

For tonight's session I'm leaning on the Mutant Epoch's Mall of Doom for the construction of my underground maze of madness. This book is chalk full of lots of advice, dangerous encounters, and bits of esoterica for the placement of PA mutant monsters and more.
I've never run this one but I've used it as a tool box more then once when dealing with my veteran PC's of the Mutant Epoch game. Not a bad book but the adventure is a bit of a grinder when it comes to running this one.
Its available HERE
 Some of the details of this one are : 
In this adventure, the characters are recruited to investigate the disappearance and whereabouts of missing townsfolk beneath the recently re-inhabited farm-fortress of Walsave. Through a series of underground expeditions, they soon discover that there is more to these kidnappings than meets the eye, and that these explorations under the Earth aren't just ruin-crawls into the crumbling, artifact rich confines of an ancient shopping complex. Besides the pitfalls and nightmares of the subterranean hell, they must contend with conflicting interests among the villagers as well, including raiders, a bizarre cult, and the ruling founders of this fortified settlement. 
Can your characters survive the challenges that await them, or will they meet their end someplace deep below the rubble and junk of a besieged post-apocalyptic village?
 The Mall of Doom uses the Outland SystemTM game mechanic and requires only The Mutant EpochTM hub rules RPG game book to play. Although set in the Crossroads Region over former Los Angeles, and a half day's ride from the sprawling, poverty ridden city of Overpass, the game master can easily drop this adventure into his or her own campaign region. Designed for 6 to 10 first rank characters, this adventure could take surviving characters to the third or fourth rank. Here's what's included in this terrifying, fast paced adventure: 
 • Multi-Path adventure design: never plays the same twice. Designed for group gaming or you can test your survival instincts, knowledge of The Mutant EpochTM, and wits by solo playing. 
• PG14 rating due to some of the suggestive themes, horrific circumstances and descriptions; this adventure is not for the squeamish. 
• 60 Illustrations   
• 5 Player Handouts   
• 6 Maps   
• 1 New Creature 
• 2 New Relics   
• 136 Pages

Thursday, September 11, 2014

Heads Up And Update On Martin Hirchak's Batman Seventy Five Years Fanzine On Sale Now!

So I've been watching my friend Martin's Hirchek latest Batman Seventy Fanzine  and there's been a bit of an update : 

 FYI , the price with shipping , ( in the USA ) , is $11.00 postpaid . Cardstock covers , 36 Color and B / W pages , ALL BATMAN and NO ADS ! This 75 year Batman anniversary issue has contributions from fans and pros alike ! Arken Schumer , Thomas Jones Jr., Jim Johnson , Arvell Jones , Marty Hirchak and many more ! Check or money order to : Martin Hirchak , po box 44678 , Detroit , Mi. 48244. Many people have requested 2 to 4 copies , so, I have taken that into account and increased the print run so that no one will be left out on this ! The print run had been raised to 750 copies...there will be absolutely NO 2nd PRINTING. Please order soon , as every order helps pay down my printing costs ! Thanks to everyone that has supported this endeavor from the start to the finish ....this fanzine has survived a major flood and a widespread electric power blackout ! The original deadline print date was put back a few days , but, that's not bad , considering that roads and freeways were shut down for a week , crippling business and domestic activities. Long live FANDOM ! CHEERS !

You can get more details and ordering information from Martin right HERE

So why I'm I remotely excited about this fanzine? Well, Martin is a dedicated comic fan as well as well established fanzine publisher. I've watched  and read his creations for years. This Batman fanzine features some really top drawer comic book artists and with the likes of 
Arken Schumer , Thomas Jones Jr., Jim Johnson , Arvell Jones , Marty Hirchak and many more I know that this is going to be a solid and well done run of a comic book fanzine. This is also going to be a limited run production. So grab it while you can.
There will also be some variant cover colors to choose from according to Martian : "Batman...75 years ! 3 covers to choose from ! Light blue , Ivory parchnent or white ! Take your pick.. The covers came out great...really nice cardstock !"
Given the breath and depth of Batman history that Martin has been previewing over at the Fanzine Fantasy group HERE this is going to be one hell of a book.
 Marty will be debuting the book over at the 
Monroe Comic Con

Here are some of the details : 
The Monroe Comic Con and Martin Hirchak debuting Batman... 75 years at our OCTOBER 4TH show !!! 

The Monroe Comic-Con and Card Show
at The Knights of Columbus Hall
202 West Front Street Monroe, MI 48161
October 4, 2014
9 AM to 7 PM

Mark your calendars for Monroe’s 2nd annual Monroe Comic-Con. Just $2 at the door gets you unlimited access to a full day of Pop Culture fun! Join us and meet celebrity guests including; Martin Klebba (Pirates of the Caribbean, OZ, Project X), Alloy Ash (TV personality and model), Tim Holmes (Discovery Channel's Fast N Loud, OZ the Great and Powerful), Daniel Phillips (SyFy's Face Off), and Michael Foster (Disney's Kickin' It). Comic Book Artists include; Joe Corroney (Star Wars, Star Trek, True Blood), Arvell Jones (Iron Man, Captain America, Avengers), Talent Caldwell (Red Sonja,Spider-Man, The Incredible Conduit) and many more.
Thousands of comic books, autographs, cards, toys, and collectibles will be available to purchase at the show.
Awesome panels include OZ the Great & Powerful, Nain Rouge with author Josef Bastian, The Waddling Dead creating and publishing comics with Joseph Michael and Dan Gorman plus live sketches from some amazing art talent.
Special guests include; DJ EGO, The Star Wars 501 Legion, R2D2 Builders Club, and the Dark Knight and Cat Woman characters.
Special Events include; Cosplay/Costume competition, panels, concert, art, hypnosis show, HollyWood Zombie make over, as well as a Special Charity benefit and raffle for The Down Syndrome Guild of Southeast Michigan.

So come be part of this wonderful all age friendly-community event in downtown Monroe, MI October 4th at the Knights of Columbus Hall, 202 West Front Street Monroe, MI 48161 from 9am-7pm.

DON"T MISS OUT call (734-241-6819) or go to our website for more information.
 More details right over HERE 

Free Comic Book Download And Commentary On Skywald Comics: Scream Issue 01 (1973) For Your Old School Campaigns

Grab It Right Over 

The other day I was looking through Venger Santanis's various OSR and Fifth edition creations, we're getting back into the mode of Autumn, very quickly here in Connecticut and I'm getting very antsy to run a Halloween themed OSR game coming up.
The changing weather has my mind drifting to Skywald publishing and their brand of mayhem from back in the 70's. I discovered Skywald's 70's creations at the bottom of a box of comics in a friend's garage once upon a time. They pretty much jumped into my hands.
The lurid covers, the horror themes, the stories which drew on HP Lovecraft, Edgar Allen Poe, and Kafka among others made an impact along with the the titles like  Psycho, Scream, & Nightmare. All of the comics were over the top and completely melodramatic, they came out right around the time that the soap opera Dark Shadows was winding down.The blood, guts, and more in some of the stories was completely out of place but these were Seventies horror comics.
Scream Issue 01 (1973) has most of the major Skywald horror themes right out of the gate - Their take on classic public domain horror characters, a sense of continuing dread, kickass 70's comic artwork,and some minor sexual material usually in the background.  Its a great issue to draw from and kinda what I was hoping that Ravenloft was going to pull from. That's a whole other blog entry and I do love Ravenloft though.
 That box of Skywald stuff came to me right around the time of my first exposure to D&D so horror comics and D&D are very closely linked for me.
 I remember reading  a few of the Heap issues. Their take on the 'Heap' was vastly different from the original 40's version which was proto swamp thing while Skywald's echoed more of a horror movie plot in its scope.
 A while back I ran Transylvania post apocalyptic mashup campaign using OD&D style rules with a touch of Jack Shear's material. It was a pretty solid success last year during the Autumn months and the Winter.
But because of the on and off medical issues of a player & friend I put it on hiatus. I didn't have the benefit of the Skywald magazines at the time to draw from. Now its back on and I'm starting to draw in my resources & ideas once again for this one. 
I might be running this campaign using Lamentations of the Flame Princess Grind House rules and some AS&SH for good measure.
The Skywald comic magazines would be perfect fodder to draw from for a Planet Mother $%^%$er adventure or one shot but personally I'd use the Mutant Future rules to run it.
So I thought I'd share the first issue of Scream with you, just in time for the coming of Halloween. 

Here's a brief history of Skywald publishing according to wiki and a few other sources : 
'Skywald Publications was a 1970s publisher of black-and-white comics magazines, primarily the horror anthologies Nightmare, Psycho, and Scream. It also published a small line of comic books and other magazines.
Skywald's first publication was Nightmare #1 (Dec. 1970). The company lasted through the end of 1974 or early 1975, with Psycho #24 (March 1975) its final publication. Nightmare published 23 issues and Scream put out 11 issues.
The company name is a combination of those of its founders, former Marvel Comics production manager Sol Brodsky ("Sky") and low-budget entrepreneur Israel Waldman ("wald"), whose I. W. Publications (also known as Super Comics) in the late 1950s and early 1960s published comic book reprints for sale through grocery and discount stores. Skywald was based in New York City.
Brodsky, who also served as editor, brought in Al Hewetson — briefly an assistant to Marvel chief Stan Lee and a freelancer for the Warren Publishing horror magazines and others — as a freelance writer. "Archaic Al", as he later jokingly called himself in print, quickly became the associate editor, and when Brodsky returned to Marvel after a few months, Hewetson succeeded him as editor. Under Hewetson, the horror magazines attempted a somewhat more literary bent than the twist-ending shockers of early Warren Publishing, the field's leader with such popular titles as Creepy and Eerie. Hewetson called this "the Horror-Mood", and sought to evoke the feel of such writers as Poe, H. P. Lovecraft and Kafka.
Comics professionals who produced work for the Skywald magazines include writers T. Casey Brennan, Gerry Conway, Steve Englehart, Gardner Fox, Doug Moench, Dave Sim, Len Wein, and Marv Wolfman, and artists Rich Buckler, Gene Day, Vince Colletta, Bill Everett, Bruce Jones, Pablo Marcos, Syd Shores, Chic Stone, and Tom Sutton. Many who also contributed to rival Warren employed pseudonyms. Future industry star John Byrne published his first professional story, a two-pager written by editor Hewetson, in Skywald's Nightmare #20 (August 1974).
Skywald also produced two issues of the magazine Hell-Rider (Aug. & Oct. 1971), featuring a vigilante motorcyclist with a flamethrower-equipped bike. The character was created by Gary Friedrich (who would go on to co-create the Marvel motorcyclist Ghost Rider) with artists Ross Andru (penciler) and Mike Esposito (inker). Backup features were "The Butterfly" and "The Wild Bunch", both written by Friedrich, with art credits disputed by different sources for issue #1; the second-issue "Butterfly" story is credited to penciler Syd Shores and inker Esposito, the second "Wild Bunch" to penciler-inker Rich Buckler.
Another two-issue title, The Crime Machine, consisted solely of comic-book crime fiction reprints from the 1950s.[6] A remaining title, Science Fiction Odyssey, was planned for September 1971 publication, but withdrawn; some of its stories eventually appeared in the horror magazines.
The company also published a small number of magazines unrelated to horror or comics. Among these was Judy Garland (1970), a "special tribute issue".[7]
The short-lived color comic-book line, edited by Brodsky, comprised the Western titles Blazing Six-Guns, The Bravados, Butch Cassidy, The Sundance Kid, and Wild Western Action; the romance title Tender Love Stories; the horror series The Heap; and Jungle Adventures. These each were combinations of new material and reprints. Contributors, in addition to some of those noted above, include Dick Ayers, Mike Friedrich, Jack Katz, John Severin, and John Tartaglione. Notably, The Sundance Kid #1-2 (June-July 1971) contained Jack Kirby Western reprints from Bullseye #2-3 (Oct. & Dec. 1954). None of the comics lasted more than three issues.
Skywald's End: Editor Al Hewetson, in an interview given shortly before his death of a heart attack on Jan. 6, 2004, asserted the demise of Skywald was caused by "...Marvel's distributor. Our issues were selling well, and some sold out. Such returns as we received were shipped overseas, mainly to England, where they sold out completely. ... When Marvel entered the game with countless [black-and-white horror] titles gutting [sic] the newsstand, their distributor was so powerful they denied Skywald access to all but the very largest newsstands, so our presence was minimal and fans and readers simply couldn't find us. ... The Waldmans [Israel and business manager Hershel Waldman] and I had a business lunch with our distributor in the fall of '74 and we were given very specific information about the state of affairs on the newsstands — which had nothing to do with Warren's or Skywald’s solid readership base."' 

Wednesday, September 10, 2014

Dragon Foot's Free OSR Map Pack - Land's End Town For Your Old School Campaigns

Grab It Right

Need a place to plunder, a lair to lie low in for your PC, a set of towns to set your old school or post apocalyptic old school campaigns in? Well this set of five free maps from Dragon's foot it perfect for any old school or retroclone game.
According to the Dragon's Foot Blurb :
Maps of the town of Land's End and the surrounding area. Ready to drop into your game.

Five maps. Two town maps and 3 terrain maps.
These are some great little free maps to drop in and expand your old school campaigns. Not everything can be 'grim dark' all the time in your Lamatations of the Flame Princess game or even swords and wizardry. Your PC's are going to need a town or two to spend their loot, get taxed, drunk, and generate more mayhem. These make some great way stops between adventures or at least before they get raided three adventures in allowing the PC's to see the foreshadowing of the campaign villain.
Then there's also the fact that many of these locations could be used as Mutant Refuges in your favorite post apocalyptic setting as well. I see a myriad of uses for this map pack here are some quick highlights : 

  • As a possible set of piratical places for the villains to play marry havoc with and possibly as a loot location as well. 
  • For a sword and sorcery game I can see these towns being a refuge for outlaws and a hidden gem away from the prying eyes of the local sorcerer warlord.
  • These towns also make a very nice lair for a group of mutant pirates looking to loot and plunder the PC's homes or as the lair of a gang of deranged cannibals as well.  
  • For a post apocalyptic campaign these make a perfect setting for a zombie outbreak or plague hot zone. 
  • These towns might also be the lair of a retired adventurer who might act as the PC's patron and uses the towns as cover for their adventuring activities. 
  • I've used several towns like this as the fodder for a mind flayer who controlled the population from below and used the citizens as fodder. 
  • For Stars Without Number I've used locations like this as star ports and as focal points for the start of alien invasions as well. 
  • These towns might also be used as a 'West World' style vacation spot filled with androids to terrorize and kill your PC's 
  • I've also used these locations as tourists attractions for jaded spacer royalty and interstellar trash as 'cheap' vacations spots where they often seemed to need the PC's help also in the same SWN campaigns. 
  • I've also recently used these maps as a Roman style holiday resort towns in Astonishing Swordsmen and Sorcerers of Hyperborea. The local ruler was a vile wizard of a very slimy disposition 
  • I've also used several of these port towns as points of landing for Spell Jammer games as well.
    With a bit of work these maps make great launch points for adventures, as adventure fodder, and as the rest points or focal points for your old school campaigns.