Friday, May 17, 2019

An Arthurian Take On G1-3 Against the Giants (1e) By Gary Gygax As Old School Campaign

"Giants have been raiding the lands of men in large bands, with giants of different sorts in these marauding groups. Death and destruction have been laid heavily upon every place these monsters have visited. A party of the bravest and most powerful adventurers has been assembled and given the charge to punish the miscreant giants. "


Its been a busy last two days & its been very interesting to say the least. But I've been doing a lot of thinking about the Against the Giants series of modules &  the Descent Into The Depths of the Earth.  The campaign  adventure overarching  plot  is outlined in the wiki entry;
"The D-series itself is part of a larger overall campaign of adventures set in the World of Greyhawk campaign setting. The overall campaign begins with the three modules in the Against the Giants series, continues through the D-series, and concludes with module Q1 Queen of the Demonweb Pits. The latter segments of the campaign, including the D-series and module Q1, are set in a vast network of caverns and tunnels called the Underdark."





I've been doing a lot of thinking about how to incorporate this whole series into an Arthurian style OSR campaign. The entry point for such a campaign would be Welsh mythology specifically;"
Culhwch and Olwen (WelshCulhwch ac Olwen) is a Welsh tale that survives in only two manuscripts about a hero connected with Arthur and his warriors: a complete version in the Red Book of Hergest, ca. 1400, and a fragmented version in the White Book of Rhydderch, ca. 1325. " When you start looking at the overall manipulation by the Drow it reminds me of the Fey court's meddling in many of the Arthurian tales;




"Culhwch's father, King Cilydd son of Celyddon, loses his wife Goleuddydd after a difficult childbirth. When he remarries, the young Culhwch rejects his stepmother's attempt to pair him with his new stepsister. Offended, the new queen puts a curse on him so that he can marry no one besides the beautiful Olwen, daughter of the giant Ysbaddaden Pencawr. Though he has never seen her, Culhwch becomes infatuated with her, but his father warns him that he will never find her without the aid of his famous cousin Arthur. The young man immediately sets off to seek his kinsman. He finds him at his court in Celliwig in Cornwall; this is one of the earliest instances in literature or oral tradition of Arthur's court being assigned a specific location and a valuable source of comparison with the court of Camelot or Caerleon as depicted in later Welsh, English and continental Arthurian legends."


"Culhwch at Ysbaddaden's court. An illustration by E. Wallcousins in Celtic Myth & Legend, Charles Squire, 1920 "Horses shall I have, and chivalry; and my Lord and kinsman Arthur will obtain for me all these things. And I shall gain thy daughter, and thou shalt lose thy life." "Go forward...and when thou hast compassed all these marvels, thou shalt have my daughter for thy wife.""
"Arthur agrees to help, and sends six of his finest warriors (CaiBedwyrGwalchmeiGwrhyr Gwalstawd IeithoeddMenw son of Tairgwaedd and Cynddylig Gyfarwydd) to join Culhwch in his search for Olwen. The group meets some relatives of Culhwch's that know Olwen and agree to arrange a meeting. Olwen is receptive to Culhwch's attraction, but she cannot marry him unless her father agrees, and he, unable to survive past his daughter's wedding, will not consent until Culhwch completes a series of about forty impossible-sounding tasks. The completion of only a few of these tasks is recorded and the giant is killed, leaving Olwen free to marry her lover." Seems pretty straight forward right?! Arthurian court gets involved with the Welsh giant courts & all is put right.. Or is it? What happens if the events of say G1-2 are actually the result of 
Culhwch's father, King Cilydd son of Celyddon, being played by the Dark Elves of the Underworld? Think about it?! A king loses his wife & is now emotionally vulnerable to manipulations of evil Fey?? 
Make no mistake that Arthur sending in his finest warriors is a tactically sound move especially 
CaiBedwyrGwalchmeiGwrhyr Gwalstawd IeithoeddMenw son of Tairgwaedd and Cynddylig Gyfarwydd. Freeing of  Mabon ap Modron from his watery prison has more then a few consequences for Ysbaddaden Bencawr; "Ysbaddaden, Chief of Giants,".



 
Why? Because the Drow are after all out war between the humans & the Fey races. A war of ultimate extinction & Arthur's warriors are the ultimate stabilizing force except for family & marriage as peace time contract.  Ysbaddaden Bencawr
; "Ysbaddaden, Chief of Giants is a magic using giant of no small standing. He's a high level enchanter & warrior of renowned among the giants. In fact I've seen his preserved head used as a relic in certain campaigns. the preserved head is able to summon a planar door to his castle in Fairyland.
This is only the start of this Arthurian commentary & I've got some thoughts about expanding & what the far reaching consequences of such a campaign might be. 

Wednesday, May 15, 2019

S1-4 Dungeons of Dread By Gary Gygax & Lawrence Schick

"Dungeons of Dread is a collection of four classic, stand-alone Advanced Dungeons & Dragons adventure modules -- S1: Tomb of Horrors, S2: White Plume Mountain, S3: Expedition to the Barrier Peaks, and S4: The Lost Caverns of Tsojcanth -- complete with original black-and-white interior art."

This is one of the reprints that I've been considering for a long time now. Its sort of a revamp of the 
S1-4 Realms of Horror collection but this time done right. The reprint seems expanded & altered a bit to actually have all of the full modules this time instead of cut down versions that were in Realms of Horror super module. But let's talk about what's really at stake here for me? Could we take the supermodule approach to an adventure chain?! Taking the PC's from 1st level all the way to the dizzying heights of let's say fifteenth or beyond if the party was incredibly lucky?! Yeah I think it not only could be done but we'd have to add in another adventure!


So let's say that the party of adventurers were coming into the Keep of Gary Gygax's  B2  Keep on the Borderlands module overlooking the surrounding adventure evirons & ruined kingdom. Now let's assume for the sake of this thought exercise that the keep was built to keep watch over the evil wizard Acererak's kingdoms. The keep has fallen into almost ruin after the disappearance of the  the wizard Keraptis & his lot over into the interior of a volcano some twenty miles away. S2: White Plume Mountain represents one wizard's obsession with the art of enchantment & the funhouse aspect ties right into the ironic sense of humor displayed by the Hyperboreans in AS&SH. Now let's assume that I'm using my favorite AD&D style retroclone Astonishing Swordsmen & Sorcerers of Hyperborea to run this campaign then let's go down the Clark Ashton Smith rabbit hole here. The evil wizard Acererak was royal advisor to the Hyperborean court in the dismal City-State of Khromarium. When the Green Death came he was already a hundred years gone. 



Near the Spiral Mountains a great light falls from the sky & the events of Gary Gygax's 
S3: Expedition to the Barrier Peaks proceeds like clock work. The real question is who or what on Hyperborea is pulling the wrecked spacecraft onto the surface of the world. The so called future tech of S3 isn't going to overwhelm Hyperborea one iota.. 


The question becomes why would something bring the module's Warden  down onto Hyperborea? The answer might be found in 
S4: The Lost Caverns of Tsojcanth when the PC's are brought face to face with  Drelnza, the vampiric daughter of long-deceased archmage Iggwilv. She's the face of the lost age & world of Hyperborea. These two modules connected back to back allow a mini campaign to form. 


The dread false  gods of S4: The Lost Caverns of Tsojcanth  are the latest in a chain of events which began when the demon Graz'zt, whom Drelnza, had "imprisoned and forced into servitude" rebelled. The real horror is  Iggwilv & her Demonomicon which might well represent the sort of magic seen on Hyperborea before the coming of the Green Death. She awakens on Hyperborea from Greyhawk then all Hell will break loose. Oh this is nothing new & I've talked about retooling  S4: The Lost Caverns of Tsojcanth. 



What I haven't talked about is the idea of  the evil wizard Acererak  & the other worldly wizard Keraptis keeping these forces at bay from the Hyperborean royals & the court of  the  City-State of Khromarium. Keraptis stole several legendary weapons from the Vault of Szazz Tam, the most powerful of the Red Wizards. This makes him very dangerous & highly unpredictable. All of these rivalries & dust ups began before the Green Death & now with the crashing of the Warden the stage is set once again. The Dungeons of Dread certainly makes this whole adventure cycle fun & easy to accomplish. But there's more too it then that. The events of The Beasts of Kraggoth Manor adventure by Tim Callahan  could also slide into the mix here providing an observation post for the celestial horrors that were inflicted on Hyperborea in the past. 


The cults in the area of the spiral mountains may have brought the Warden down to cause as much mayhem as possible. Could they be trying to revive the mysterious plague that killed off the crew of the Warden? Would the 
the evil wizard Acererak possibly have the answers?! The demi lich might be willing to share answers with the player's PC's if they survive his tomb..  The Dungeons of Dread  seem rife with possibilities & its a classic super module to adapt to your own home campaigns. I've got to think more on this module & ponder its uses in my current game campaign so expect more OSR commentary in the near future. 

Watchers & Night - An Adventure Encounter For Mutant Future or Any Old School Post Apocalyptic Campaigns

 The desert town of Joshua is post apocalyptic trading paradise on the edge of the former site of the ultra secret military base under Joshua Tree National Park. The town has  one of the last working space ports on Earth. Each early  morning at sunrise  a trio of dark humanoid shapes watches over the town. 

One would think that a working space port would be the target for every single local warlord & outlaw  band of mutant murderers around. Instead a trio of mutated post apocalyptic seemingly spirits maintain the peace here.  In the desert surrounding Joshua dwells a colony of smoke able to seemingly devour mutant armies that have come to conquer the place.


Then there are hundreds of ghosts that haunt the desert & the surrounding environs. They protect the space port at night devouring anyone caught trying to do harm to the locals. These beings only seem to feed on those who would do harm to the space port, the town, & any of the inhabitants. These beings share a bond with the local mutant desert trees who are a variation of the guardian trees.
The entire complex is lovingly maintained by a tribe of two hundred 
Desert Scavengers who are mentally dominated & ecologically linked to both the alien smoke & the desert guardian trees. They maintain every last facet of the location into pre Apocalyptic condition & are able to work on many pre Ancients technologies for a minimum of 100 gold pieces. 
This installation is linked to a former military complex that looks out on the rich California ocean near Big Sur. The rich California ocean loot zones are watched over by merfolk who maintain close ties with the Mutant Underground. 


The desert town of Joshua maintains the space port almost like their waiting for someone or something. There have always been UFO sightings in the hills & deserts around wastes of California going back to the time of the Ancients. But space ports have always traded with & been a valuable trade zone with the desert peoples. But a new tribe of Nocturn raiders threatens to undermine the space port with a powerful telepath who has a flock of night stalkers under her control. She has been testing the beasts on some of the surrounding tribes of mutants & humans in the area. Now after the murder of a powerful chief's son. The PC's are called in to stop the raiders before they anger the smoke thing & blasts across the desert in anger upsetting local trade. It is rumored that the Nocturn raiders were a part of a  top secret government program called operation Nightwatcher. The program was designed to strength the telepathic bond in telepaths & precogs in order to allow the abilities of 'remote viewing' to grow into an almost telepathic neural network. 'The Twelve Plagues'incident ended this but it is rumored twenty years ago the work continued. The Nocturn telepath is the result of decades of selective genetic engineering & telekinetic genetic manipulation. She is rumored to be twisted & completely immoral going by the name of 'Pale Taker' indicating that she may have the dreaded death field generation mutation. The Nocturn raiders are known as the Night Men & use their mutations to create the effects of super science of the Ancients without relics & artifacts. They are starting to murder local communities & raiders usually number 1d20 1st & 2nd level fighter armed with Dark Ages style weapons. 

1d10 Random Encounters At the Joshua Space Port 

  1. Family of desert traders on their way off world to do trading on Mars. They have 1d6 minor relics for local trade however. They are looking for bodyguards & are willing to pay 20 gold pieces plus passage. 
  2. 1d10 kobold traders with lots of smalls & minor items for trade. They are funny & actually have among their number 2 second level bards. 
  3. 4 Mutant Cactus men mercenaries looking for local employment & to accompany adventurers. 
  4. Traveling trade people led by a desert witch who is willing to tell the fortunes of adventurers & peoples for 1 gold pieces. 
  5. Space port cyborg whose on his way back Earthside for some R&R after doing deep space recovery on some of the 'gods' 
  6. An Amazon warrior & adventurer far from home whose last party was killed by a rad dragon deep in the desert wastes.She's looking for 1d6 adventurers to help her take down the beast & is willing to pay 200 gold pieces a head. 
  7. Professional pyromancers & summoners helping to terraform parts of the valley.They are looking for professional adventurers to help guard them out in the wastes. 
  8. A lone astromancer far from home looking for help on doing some work on mutant fauna & flora. He's willing to employ local mutants & adventurers for 400 gold to go into the deep & dangerous rad zones. 
  9. Telepath recruiting for the local Hex men chapter willing to give food & lodging to any who will join up. They are being targeted by an evil mutant assassin's guild. 
  10. A mutant religious nutcase looking to recruit adventurer for a quest into the dangerous California oceans for the 'Star of California'. Once she latches onto a party she'll be a real pain in the ass. 

Tuesday, May 14, 2019

False Shape - An Adventure Encounter For Mutant Future or Any Old School Post Apocalyptic Campaigns

Deep within the California wastelands is the desert town of Joshua built near the wastelands of the former site of the ultra secret military base under Joshua Tree National Park. The small village of Tree sits within the bounds of the wastes & is nothing more then trading post for adventurers searching in the ruins, former out buildings, & abandoned underground hangers scattered in the desert. Yet this is some of the richest pickings & relic areas in the California wastes.. But it holds several  very deadly secrets! 
Several mutants have been found murdered & laying on the side of the Ancient's pathways. The Mutant Underground will contact the adventurers with suspicions of a powerful post Apocalyptic spirit or ghost haunting the area. Native 
Navajo children from the basin know what they are & tell anyone who will listen that the Skinwalkers have returned



The former site of Joshua Tree  park on a 2003 Landsat image


Recently several very high end military artifacts & relics have turned up at the trading post & in the hands of local warlords. But then the warlord known a Steve McQueen turns up dead on the side of the road with his throat slashed! He had recently purchased a military grade laser cannon from one of the native salvager's families. The thing packed a punch with 2d6+2 points of damage & a range of over 50 yards or so. 



Luck seems to go from bad to worse as equipment is broken, weaponry is sabotaged, Things start to get hairy in the park. If the PC's start to mess in the ruins or the underground bunkers they'll attract the real threat. A pack of War Wolves has taken over the remains of the former base. They are  murdering anyone that comes in contact with several of the artifacts found in the underground



Source: Dog Soldiers (2002)

The War Wolves are using local legends as cover as they search for a powerful relic known as the 'Chalice of War'. This artifact can allow its own to journey back in time with the blood of an innocent spilled on it. So far the war wolves have come up empty & are sticking with the origin plan of allowing the PC's or other adventurers the prime opportunity to search for it. The War Wolves then murder anyone coming across the treasure!  There will be 1d8 war wolves for the PC's to encounter. The higher encounter number is because of reinforcements for the area.

War Wolves
No. Enc: 1d6
Alignment: Chaotic
Movement: 90’ (30’) or 240’ (80’)
AC: 4
HD: 10
Attacks: 3 (bite, claw, claw)
Damage: 4d6 / 1d12+3d6 / 1d12 + 3d6
Save:L10
Morale: 8
Hoard Class: I, II, IV, IX, XIV
The war wolves are not the only menace in the area. An insane local artificial intelligences in the area has been active. A series of local data towers in the area mark the extensive  underground three level complex where the A.I.'s are held. The A.I.'s control a number of scout robots & several hives of alien life forms. The local data towers have become the haunting ground for several hives of wireless ghosts. These monsters have become active due to the snapping on of one of the local A.I's atomic energy cells & recycled reactors. The A.I.'s are protecting several important cache's of weapons, relics, supplies, & even a chronically sealed Ancient prince on ice. The ghosts will murder anyone attempting to find the Ancient prince's where abouts. The PC's will have to navigate between the war wolves & the A.I.'s in their attempts to find the cache of ancient technology & the Ancient royal on ice. 

Dungeon Crawl Classics #79: Frozen In Time by Michael Curtis & Dave Arneson's Blackmoor Connection

"Eons-old secrets slumber beneath the forbidden Ghost Ice. Since the time of the Elders, the local tribes have shunned the crawling glacier, knowing it as taboo land that slays all who tread its frigid expanse. Now, the Ghost Ice has shattered, revealing hints at deeper mysteries entombed within its icy grasp. Strange machines and wonderful horrors stir beneath the ice…"

So I've been doing a lot of thinking about  
Dungeon Crawl Classics #79: Frozen In Time by Michael Curtis & how it might be used with Blackmoor. Think about it a time thief has been using this place as a base on some backwater planar world.  So let's change Dungeon Crawl Classics #79: Frozen In Time up a bit shall we? 


We've got a complex that's been moved across time over to Blackmoor from a post apocalyptic world. Yeah I know. I'm totally messing with the historical timeline of the module but we'll get to that. So the PC's surviving the machinations of the complex & its various trips, traps, & tricks make it to level one PC starting in DCC but what then?! In Blackmoor what was the original purpose of the time thief? Whom was he  working for? Are there clues left behind in the oral traditions of the PC's tribe on Blackmoor? Yeah actually I may already have some answers to this mystery. 
The Egg of Coot has all of the machismo to employ such a nefarious hireling. The Egg of Coot is bio mechanical villain &  relic from Blackmoor's ancient era. The thing has been around since Dave Arneson's Blackmoor campaign from the early days of OD&D. My own interactions with the evil of the Egg came about when my friend Larry came across Harvard Blackmoor's 2009 Egg of Croot blog entry. There was a lot of misery involved. But what if the complex featured in Dungeon Crawl Classics #79: Frozen In Time by  Michael Curtis  was a back up plan from events from the Great Rain of Fire. Yeah, I'm taking a lot here from Havard's Blackmoor material. Some have called Dungeon Crawl Classics #79: Frozen In Time by  Michael Curtis   the weakest adventure in the DCC line of products & that's fine with me. It means I've got much more  way to monkey with it. So the PC's complete the dungeon & the complex activates! 
This is a mock up cover of an adventure that doesn't exist. Havard did a great job
 & its a favorite Larry Elmore piece of artwork of mine.

The PC's survive & all is right with the space time continuum. Umm no everything is really in a bad state! The completion of Dungeon Crawl Classics #79: Frozen In Time by  Michael Curtis  means that the Egg of Coot is now aware of the PC's & that its gambit has paid off! 
All across the planes Prime scattered to the four winds are other complexes almost but not quite like the one featured in Dungeon Crawl Classics #79: Frozen In Time by 
 Michael Curtis. This will allow the Egg & its forces access to the local space time continuum making them ripe for the conquering! Remember that Barony of  Blackmoor location mentioned  within Greyhawk box set?  Well that's one of the Egg's backwater military staging areas!


But don't worry we're just getting started with this one folks! 

Monday, May 13, 2019

Monsters & Mayhem - Some Alternative OSR Monster Book Options for Dungeon Crawl Classics

What happens when your players know every last classic monster in the Monster Manual, Monster Manual II, & even the Fiend Folio? This applies especially when you want to run something different in a retro clone mod like Dungeon Crawl Classics. Never fear we've got some monstrous options.

One of the biggest problems lately that I've found with OSR players? They know all of the classic monsters & many of the classic TSR era variations. Lately I've been slipping into Dungeon Crawl Classics rpg mode & while I have the option of using 3.0 & 3.5 D&D monsters converting on the fly is a giant pain in the behind. While Sword & Wizardry's Swords & Wizardry OE Reloaded: Monster Book is bloody brilliant & I highly recommend it. The monsters don't have the same punch when every player has a copy. 



So what's a dungeon master gonna do?!! Well sometimes you've got to go back in time few years.  In this case I'm pulling out the 
Teratic Tome By Rafael Chandler which has been free on Drivethrurpg  the last couple of years. 
Rafael Chandler has been off social media since about 2018. He remains one of the more original OSR creators in my mind. Many of the monsters in this book are plane ending threats & fit the all or nothing view of monsters with certain OSR games.



Since I've been doing a lot of Castles & Crusades lately I've taken a very close look at how monsters are put together & there are a lot of classics in the Monsters & Treasure book. T
he Monsters & Treasure book for Castles & Crusades offers a lot of options but Teratic Tome By Rafael Chandler coupled with Monsters & Treasure is a perfect combination for an almost upper tier Swords & Sorcery or higher fantasy comic book style fantasy campaign.
While it seems that I'm getting away from Dungeon Crawl Classics, I'm not at all. The fact is that by combining these monster resources the dungeon master has an entire palette of mayhem to work with.


If I continue the thread of monster mayhem then I'd remiss to mention to the other other free monster resource by Mr.Chandler's   
Lusus Naturae  a bestiary for Lamentations of the Flame Princess (and other old-school games). This book is an 'R' or even 'X' certificate monster book perfectly suited to vileness of some corners of the planes & other dimensions. These monsters are very twisted & have far reaching implications far past the dungeon & may affect a campaign on a very deep level. 


CC1 Creature Compendium From  New Big Dragon Games Unlimited  is another option to throw on the table. The book has been widely praised & well received in certain corners of the OSR. So the DM may want to simply use the monsters & not tell the players until they are well into the campaign instead. There are many original & classics here that have lots of dangerous bits & sharp teeth to end adventurers lives.


Another option for the table top that while top notch will require a bit of adaption is
The Basic Fantasy Field Guide of Creatures Malevolent and Benign there are some solid variations on many of the old classic monsters & I guarantee that players will not see this one coming. 

These are just some of the options to throw into the mix for running a Dungeon Crawl Classic rpg campaign with a bit of a more OSR flare. 


Sunday, May 12, 2019

Beach Head - A Mutant Future Encounter or A Post Apocalyptic Old School Encounter For Any

The PC's learn of a haven for mutants,artificials, altered, humans, & peoples  of all stripes  in the deserts  of California. The Ancients state park of Brodie a former ghost town that has been transformed into a seeming heaven on Earth. But there are devils in this heaven & their evil is spreading.  The characters are called to investigate this seeming paradise on Earth.




Deep within the desert coastline   of California is the thriving town of Brodie California. A town of the Ancients now thriving after the disasters. The town itself is a self sufficient center of trade & commerce. What few know about this town is that it is a front for the powerful M.A.D.D.  super science group. The Mutants Aggressive Dual Destruction group are a powerful group of super scientists & mutants dedicated to preventing the Apocalypse from ever coming to pass. They came to the town drawn by song of an alien metal in the ground.  Brodie has a new commodity that  draws people into the desert. The town of 7,000 of now serves as a self sufficient point of trade for many of the local warlords. Its not uncommon to see several adventurers from other worlds among the population of Brodie.



 Califoricon is an alien mnemonic metal with the properties of a life form. It can be shaped & changed into any number of forms with the simple application of an electrical charge. The mines of Brodie have been reopened with this new commodity. But no one knows is that 
 Califoricon has plans of its own.  M.A.D.D. is run by the 12.5 a shadowy group of Hybrids who have shaped & forged Califoricon into a powerful alien reactor to power a time/plane gate system. They've been using their powerful Guardian shock troops to steal different relics & pieces of technology & magic to further their studies. Their powerful Californicon weapons have turned the tide time & again. Knives made from the metal add a +3 to their damage because of the bits left behind in wounds. There is a cache of Beastmen scientists known as 'the ring' who work for the inner band of the 12.5 through several cells around Brodie. One of the ring has begun to suspect that something isn't right with the alien metal that their mining from the ground. 
Guardians using weapons of the Ancients on one of their many fronts.


Brodie is home to several groups of Morlock refugees who are actually spies among the mutant population passing themselves off as tinkers, shop owners, etc. among the locals. Through their Eloi prostitute & brothel workers they've kept close tabs on the miners. Samples have been taken & analysed. Califoricon is alive & these gates are fitting its own alien agenda. M.A.D.D. has been lied to by its own artifacts & opening gates among the planes is allowing the alien elemental infection to spread. Donald Mackenize is a mutant beast man 6th level  mad scientist whose been suspecting that something is wrong. He may contact the PC's through the Mutant Rail Road's local scout named Randy whose a member of a local bone wielder tribe of warriors. He's acting as a go between for the Morlocks & Donald Mackenzie he can get the PC's information & possibly a sample of the Californicon.

1d10 Random Adventure Encounters In Brodie 




  1. 1d6 Lizardmen on their way from the mine to grab a bite to eat & look for some action. Their tribe is need for some expert adventurers to handle a local mutant roach problem. 
  2. A peddler with 1d6 minor artifacts of the ancients to sell. These are actually legit & not junk copies his doppelganger is selling across town. 
  3. Giant mutant grubs fall from the back of a wagon which it turns out are eating all of the grain from a local farmer's cargo! 
  4. 1d8 desert scavengers with some robots for sale are on their way into town & wish to talk with you rich adventurers. They have 1d10 droids for the market. 
  5. 1d8 flymen have invaded! Run you fool! 
  6. Have you heard the word of our lord & cactus? Take a flyer won't you? Actually the followers of a local information broker & mutant cactus ! 
  7. Android gunman & local mercenary looking for bounty whose escaped on him. 
  8. 1d6 mutant Gremlin children looking to start problems with any machinery they encounter. The sheriff wants to return them to their mother. 
  9. 1d6 goblin traders on their way to market with 1d6 minor relics & other desert treasures. 
  10. 1d8 mutant miners drunk & on their way to the local house of ill repute. 
There is a twenty percent chance of encountering a local night person mercenary named harry   working for the local sheriff whose noted that lately there has been seen a weird mutant menace that's been murdering folks. What it fact is in reality is a Californicon elemental that has come out of a local vein sticking out of the ground in Brodie. Use stats from the Labyrinth Lord Basic or Advanced book for an Earth Elemental.

Earth Elemental by LadyofHats

Mutant monsters are by Chris Van Deleen but all ideas are from my home Mutant Future campaign & copyrighted & trademarked to Dark Corner Productions. Monsters used with permission from the author & no trade mark nor copy right infringement is intended.. 

Saturday, May 11, 2019

The Dungeon Crawl Classics Rpg Connection Between DA2 Temple of the Frog By Dave Arneson, David J. Ritchie & The World of Mystara

"Green Death...
That's what old hands call the Great Dismal Swamp. For centuries, this tangled maze of sluggish watercourses, stagnant ponds, and festering marshes has defended Blackmoor's southwestern frontier. Large armies and smaller parties have disappeared altogether inside its vast, dripping, claustrophobic corridors.

Among those who have dropped from sigh in this arboral hell is young Rissa Aleford, one of Blackmoor's most important leaders. Carried off to the sinister City of the Fron, she is now being held by the eccentric Monks of the Swamp. By making the baroness captive, the deranged monks have serioulsy weakened Blackmoor at a time when enemies already threaten it from all sides.

Yet, even as the Froggies gloat, the king of Blackmoor dispatches a small band of bold adventures to the rescue. Deep into the Great Dismal Swamp they must go - far from sunlight and sanity - there to seek and save the swamp, there to find the Temple of the Frog."
Let's get this module's history right out of the way; 'DA2: "Temple of the Frog" (1987), by Dave Arneson and David J. Ritchie, is the second of the four Blackmoor adventure. It was published in January 1987.' 




So I've been doing a lot of thinking about the Dungeon Crawl Classics rpg. Blackmoor especially some of  Traianus Decius Aureus 's D20  creature  conversions over at the Blackmoor Archives. I started thinking about how these could be used with Dungeon Craw Classics to create a Blackmoor funnel. What would happen if the player's PC's were survivors from the events of raid to capture  the Baroness Rissa? Some may turn to the power of the occult, whist others grab a sword & become fighters, still others steal from others for their very existence & yet the violence of the froggies bonds them together. 



The PC's must get back the princess from Stephen of the Rock who is arguable one of the most diabolical D&D villains ever & Havard has a cracking write up & history.  Stephen has access to some very dangerous technology & the PC's go from farmer to adventurer as they must avenge their homestead from the violence of the 'swamp monks'. Those that survive are going to have their professions chosen by circumstances. Given how DCC's patrons are set up its not off the mark that perhaps Stephen The Rock might have access to Tsathoggua. The Great Old One  may have taken a notice of the devotion of Stephen The Rock to his favored children in the form of the mutated frogs. Now Tsathoggua is a fickle & dangerous god thing at best but Stephen is no fool & makes use of the higher dimensional existence of the demonic monster.  What makes DA2 such a dangerous module isn't simply the level of it but the infiltration of society of the locals. 


What makes DA2 Temple of the Frog also invidiously lethal is the inclusion of the Beagle's technologies.  One of the things that I've done over the years when having player's PC's recover various high technological relics from the downed crew is having these relics  'tainted' with the strange radiations of the cosmic accident that downed the craft. To me there's always been something insidious about the various relics & sci fi elements of DA2. Once someone has been using the various weapons & relics I've always made it a point that they always seem to want more. I always give a minor corruption score to most of the relics in Blackmoor. But what I would really do is run DA2 Temple of The Frog on Mystara using Dungeon Crawl Classics. 




The Great Dismal Swamp itself is very much a pitch perfect DCC setting with mutated frogs, cultists, & a wide variety of adventure elements waiting to swallow up the PC's.  Because there's already a D&D 3.5 set of conversions using DA2 Temple of the Frog with Dungeon Crawl Classics should be a snap. Froggies are the most dangerous & yet highly underrated cult of villains ever to come out of original Dungeons & Dragons. Even if the PC's put an end to the temple in true D&D fashion is it going to end the cult of the Froggies? I highly doubt it. When we start diving into 'The Great History of Skothar' by Francesco Defferrari from Threshold Magazine issue 20 we start getting a better outline of the world DA2. A sort of ancient society with the remains of greatness all around it. Here's why its so easy for Saint Stephen The Rock to capture so many people's attention. The remains & relics of the down craft literally are all around the temple & its environs.  The dangers of the world setting of DA2's version of Blackmoor puzzled into Mystara gives more then a few hints of the world around the module. Its a world in literal peril as the relics & technologies of another world dance around the party.
DA2 Temple of the Frog sends the PC's back into Mystara's ancient past so it only stands to reason that this module could actually be an alternative timeline of Mystara. There are so many unanswered questions with DA2 that it wouldn't be a small feat to alter many of the details of the module to suit the DM's campaign.

Frog and Mouse by Getsuju Japan,
 late 18th-early 19th century 90.3 x 167.8cm Ink
 on paper Kaikodo, New York Source

Friday, May 10, 2019

Goodman Games Original Adventures Reincarnated line: Expedition to the Barrier Peaks & The Use of Mega Dungeons In Old School Campaigns


So I've been doing a lot of research & thinking now that Goodman Games has announced Original Adventures Reincarnated line: Expedition to the Barrier Peaks next. And the announcement has me  thinking about my 2100 alternative World War I game. What would happen if a star ship crashed into a technologically sophisticated world someplace in Europe? What would this mean to a  VictoriousAmazing Adventures! Rpg  game?


There's a few things happening here such as the fact that we'd be looking a full on race to be the first to break into the ship & then there's the fact that you've got the monsters adding to the boil of events brewing in Europe in the world of 2100.
The Thulean Empire would make a mad dash for it but where would the crash happen? Let's say that right on the edge of the Thulean Empire would work on the outskirts of the Black Forrest. Why would the PC's be involved? Because  the Grand Duchy of Geoff is an independent kingdom right on the Thulean Empire & while it provides taxes & levies it gets very little in the way of help from the Thuleans. 


 Guardians of Lemuria. from Antediluvian miniatures
 have been my go too  Thulean  army for our game. 


Once the monsters start showing up you've got the Thuleans fighting on another front & things could get very hairy for the PC's indeed.
But what if this isn't the only ship falling from the sky? What happens if this only one of several of these craft that have come outta warp at the edge of the solar system?  What happens if another spacecraft falls into the European or Canadian wilderness? Well what if we slip Patrick Wetmore's  ASE1: Anomalous Subsurface Environment adventure into the mix? 



Well a few things are going to happen, these mega dungeon relic ships in Europe might be a tipping point for this campaign. These bastions of monsters, lost technologies, & nation building potential might cause all kinds of international havoc inside this pressure cooker of a campaign.


This pressure cooker could be a real mounting problem as nations see potential military assets & a world tipping asset. So given the number of factions these dungeon settings are much more then merely legendary adventure locations.
They could be a potential source for all kinds of havoc as various factions fight for control but what they don't realize is the potential of an enemy coming from within. Any monsters already on the ground within a campaign that make their way into such a dungeon have the power to wrestle control of a piece of the action. This could come as a real shock to a party of adventurers. They could be caught within a power play between the political powers of a campaign & the forces within that threat to tear them apart.


The mega dungeon becomes not only a source of monsters but a source of power. These locations serve as not only the center piece of a campaign but one of its main motivators. The power of the mega dungeon in the hands of a dungeon master should never be underestimated. Here are ten more ways to really bring the heat with these dungeons of doom:
  1. The dungeon has been converted to a temple of light but below the dungeon is a bubbling cornucopia of horror & depravity. 
  2. The PC's stumble upon a mega dungeon in motion & things go from bad to worse as a gold rush race to grab its power & resources happen. 
  3. Mega dungeons are sources of power & supernatural terror they could be one of the sources of mythological power within an area but they might also be a potential source for good as well. The PC's are going to have their hands full. 
  4. Treasure brings headaches & heartache as well so DM's might take full advantage of the economic implications of a mega dungeon's discovery. 
  5. The megadungeon might be location for any number of mundane NPC's who use its deadliness & horror as a cover for their own nefarious doings. 
  6. Balances of power could hinge on the real placement such megdungeon locations. 
  7. Cults worshiping the monsters of a megadungeon could potentially be the crew for maintaining its traps, lures, and lethality. They might be monsters unto themselves.
  8. Mega dungeons could serve as the lair for god or demi god leading to all kinds of issues with the locals who worship & actually love the god. 
  9. Dragons should never be underestimated in using such complexes as megadungeons their the perfect boss for such locations. 
  10. Technologies & relics brought from mega dungeons even not working are very valuable potentially.