Saturday, July 23, 2016

Review Of The OSR Module - Maximum Mayhem Dungeons #3: The Villains of the Undercity By Mark Taormino For your Old School Campaigns

So Mark Taormino  of Maximum Mayhem Dungeon's fame sends me a copy of his adventure Villains of the Undercity. Now I've been quietly off of social media for most of today but I've been waiting to check out the pdf of this adventure for months. Maximum Mayhem Dungeons #3: Villains of the Undercity is one of those adventures that revels in its gonzoness and doesn't want or ask for an apology for its old school veneer. This is a gonzo adventure with a difference straight out of the gate, this is an adventure keyed for PC levels one  through three with an eye toward Advanced Dungeons and Dragons 1st edition or OSRIC.

The plot is straight out of too many late night Mountain Dew runs, cheap beer, ten hour D&D sessions;Danger lurks at every corner of the small coastal city of Los Farport. The locals insist people are being abducted in the night and taken into into the bowels of the rumored “Undercity Dungeon” below. A lone survivor managed to escape and give some information before dying in your arms: “Secret door... Tavern of the Wiley Wench... Ugh!” You and your brave team of adventurers have decided to investigate these rumors, plunder the dungeon and destroy the dreaded “Villains of the Undercity!” ...right after you loot his still warm body, of course."
The adventure has recommended levels & after reading through this one last night DM's and players might want to heed the recommendations for ;"This module is designed for 6-8 characters of levels 1 to 3. The party should consist of at least 3 Fighters, 1 Cleric, 1 Magic User, and 1 Thief." While this might seem basic there's a surprising amount of complexity to this adventure. I should also mention that Maximum Mayhem Dungeons #3: The Villains of the Undercity is a complete adventure having everything you need to run this right out of the gate including pre generated PC's which I can truly appreciate. I have players who are sometimes late to the table and this pick up and go aspect is one of the things that appeals to me as a DM.

"From left to right, Snoot the Bugbear, Grimley the Warrior, Kreshnar the Mage, Lethos the Lizard Man (with his blade El Duche) and Sunghew the Evil Elvish Warrior, a.k.a The Maximum Mayhem Dungeons #3: Villains of the Undercity" This adventure uses many of the tried and true old school adventure elements to move the action along and the adventure moves at bit of a break neck pace with lots of room descriptions, solidly done cartography and lots of old school gonzo adventure encounters. The setting of Los Farport is a loving homage and send up of  a classic TSR era setting;"The adventure in this module is located in the small
fishing and coastal farming town of Los Farport which is heavily populated with humans, elves, demi-humans, and humanoids. The climate is generally comprised of warm summers and cool winters with the major trade items out of this port town are wine made from the finest grapes and high bounties of delicious fish and crabs for export. The town is a stop for travelers looking for work or passage across the Western Sea.

Los Farport has always had a notorious salty history but recently more and more folks have been mysteriously disappearing. Fear and suspicion rule the land as more bands of Bugbears and Lizard Men have been settling on the outlying borders of the nearby territories. Right now they are rumored to be working together in a nefarious slave trade operation run by a shadowy
figure known only as the Sinister One. Innocent men,women and children are being captured and taken into slavery into the dreaded “Undercity Dungeon”
hidden below the ground somewhere. The Bugbears and the Lizard Men are constantly at odds in a power struggle over the operation as their bosses Snoot and Lethos (pronounced “lee-thoes”) are the right hand men in the operation and hate each other."
There are shades of the Slaver series mixed in with homages to White Plume Mountain and lots of other old school modules and adventures. Somehow it all works as a complete OSR package adventure unto itself. The encounters are balanced but very nasty & not surprisingly lethal in the old school way. The difference here is that these encounters which run as a thread throughout the adventure form a dangerous low level crawl with lots of twists and turns.

The motivator for all of the action in Villains of the Undercity is Sir Wendell Hobblefoot III, an NPC  force of some considerable villainy and his machinations. There is a lot more going on here then what simply meets the eye. The module always walks the fine line between humor and wily OSR quite nicely with some really nasty and memorable encounters. The author knows his source material and while remaining some what faithful charts his own course.

Mostly everything works with the dungeon underworld locations being the central hub that everything is on in The Villains of the Undercity. The throw back aspect is one of the central themes of the adventure but makes the whole affair come to life. Encounters run the gauntlet from simple 'face the monster and grab the treasure type' to far more puzzle oriented trap style encounters to the dangerous NPC slavers encounters and more. If you go screwing around in this adventure your going to die or even have a party wipe.

There is a ton of combat but players expecting to simply hack and slash their way through this adventure are going to have PC's die left, right, and center. The author has more then a passing flare for the dramatic and knows how to keep the pacing of the adventure interesting. But don't mistake this adventure for the more jokey one shots out there. Maximum Mayhem Dungeons #3: The Villains of the Undercity  lacks some of the more adult humor of Taormino's other adventures. Instead this has the author's sense of the dramatic unleashed and on stage.

Take for example the Broken Casket Room Encounter -
This room contains several dozen ancient caskets.
Some are broken open and some are closed. To
your horror, you can hear someone or something
making a “tapping” noise from inside one of the
closed coffins! It is a most wicked looking casket too!
Wooden and painted black with evil faces! A very
old large black metal lock connected to thick black
chains that are wrapped around and sealing the
casket shut. Probably for good reason.
This room was used during the main cemetery years. It
has been abandoned for several years and is used for
holding temporary captures. If the Players understand
Common they will hear a muffled voice yelling for
“Help!” from the casket. If they open the lock which
is trapped Save vs Poison or take 1d4 damage, the
casket will burst open and they will find Ajax McKrax -
a rugged highlander and mercenary fighter in his mid
to late twenties. Ajax doesn’t mess about and could
be described as having poor impulse control. With firey
red hair and a bloody beard to match his personality,
Ajax has a big heart and a badder attitude. He will tell
the Players he was captured in the Tavern of the Wiley
Wench after calling Snoot “one ugly motherfucker”
during a staring contest the two were having over a
bet of 15 silver pieces. Snoot had him locked in this
casket until he would die. He’d traveled to Los Farport
trying to find adventure and has found it in spades.
Ajax is a 3rd Level Human male Fighter (AL: Chaotic
Good, Strength: 17, Dexterity: 16, Constitution: 15,
Intelligence: 12, Wisdom: 11, Charisma: 14) Battle Axe
is his favorite weapon.

For me what makes this module is the balance between humor and straight up old school adventure. That line that gets tossed back and forth, this was a blast to read & for me makes me as a dungeon master really want to run this adventure. I've been watching the development on Villains of the Undercity for months now. Is it perfect? No there are a couple of areas that need tightening up in the writing. A couple of encounters where the party of adventurers might derail bit parts of the overall plot, this is more of an observation then a major thing about The Villains of the Undercity. This is also an adventure in the West Coast tradition of old school role playing. Trying to define this is going to be like nailing jelly to a wall but here it goes. California and the West Coast has had a tradition of gonzo gaming for years going all of the way back to Dave Hargrave's 'Bloody Bloody Arduin.' Maximum Mayhem Dungeons #3: The Villains of the Undercity feeds into that style of gaming. That's one of the strengths of the adventure. This is one really interesting adventure as we shall see.
I can honestly see not only using this adventure but I've got several ideas about running it. The first is running Maximum Mayhem Dungeons #3: The Villains of the Undercity  straight out of the gate using OSRIC or Advanced Dungeons and Dragons first edition and getting an entire campaign going in Los Farport going warts and all. Another option on the table is using the Astonishing Swordsmen and Sorcerers of Hyperborea for my retroclone of choice for this adventure and that puts a far more sword & sorcery spin on Los Farport. This isn't a bad way to go but there's more.
The second bit is taking this adventure and using it for Dungeon Crawl Classics and that would take a bit more modification. Maximum Mayhem Dungeons #3: The Villains of the Undercity monsters, NPC's, and several adventure elements would have to be modified to fit the DCC system but it would  be well worth it. In fact a far out option might be to use Crawling Under A Broken Moon to cross over the fantasy and post apocalpytic elements of a DCC campaign. You could do a Mutant Future/Labyrinth Lord Advanced bit too just as easily.
The third option that occurred to me is something that hit me part way through reading this adventure, you could easily run this adventure with Alpha Blue or even better yet Crimson Dragon Slayer by Venger Satanis. Before you leave the room hear me out, the stripped down and meaner version CDS is a perfect vehicle to run this adventure in. The setting, encounters, etc. all fit into the world of CDS and this adventure plus the system would easily compliment each other. So needless to say  I want to see far more adventures in Los Farport from the pen of  Mark Taormino.
Maximum Mayhem Dungeons #3: The Villains of the Undercity By Mark Taormino hasn't hit the shelves yet and I was given the opportunity to take a look at the adventure. Boy I'm glad I did. This is going to be a blast to run! Four out of five dice for this one!

Friday, July 22, 2016

1d4 Random Minor Post Apocalyptic Artifacts Of The Ancients Table For The Dungeon Crawl Classics Rpg System

There are those who believe that the brothers of man who even now fight to survive beyond the heavens; the Ancients of Merica trod on this world & countless others. They're traces have been left behind centuries ago, others have been come before you as well outlaws, waste landers, adventurers and those who would exploit the sacred legacies. Here then are 1d7 minor relics of the Ancients clutched in the dead hands of others who have come before you.

1d7 Random Minor Post Apocalyptic
Artifacts Of The Ancients Table
  1. Helm of the Old Ones - This helm gives the wearer insights into a myriad of hidden worlds and things around them by sorting through thousands of impressions, sights, smells, and sensitive bits of data incoming from the world around them. The dual high point processors of the helm enable a wearer to gain a +2 on all attack rolls because the helm is able to analyses and detect weaknesses in enemies PC's are facing. The PC however will have to sort through all kinds of incoming data such as news, weather, sports, thousands of commercials and more when the helm is used. These helms have thousands of hours of pre holocaust footage of the ancients recorded in them. There is a 30% chance of a PC coming across some vital piece of footage or news story that is vital to their current or future adventurers. Many wizards or other wastelanders spend days or weeks lost in the world of what was. Some helms can and will show hidden spiritual or terrible other dimensional locations that the sensors of the helm picks up.
  2. Eyes of Sholo- These strange soft ball sized artificial eyeballs were once children's toys able to project 1d20 holograms and illusions for the entertainment of young ones. Now however they've been corrupted by the powerful extra dimensional energies. They will project powerful quasi realistic illusions of monsters which will have the same effect as a fear spell as per DCC rules. When found they will have a 10% chance of having  eight charges from their high performance batteries. Only a technomancer or technologist has a chance of being able to get them back to full working order. 
  3. Berbie's Bracelet of Fun - This small golden bracelet wrought through with valuable plastic baubles is actually a sophisticated device capable of projecting a wide variety illusionary  clothing of the ancients. There will be 1d30 outfits ranging from 'Summer' Berbie's beach wear to Berbie's dream Winter wear all of these will keep a PC safe & sound during the conditions their made for. There is also a protective electrical field capable of doing 2d6 +2 points of damage with 1d10 charges when the bracelet is found. The bracelet must be activated by saying the command phrase 'Berbie Rocks!' as loud as the PC can when the bracelet is found. There is only a 5% chance of the bracelet working unless the device is found new in the box. 
  4. Card of the Mart - This A.I. device once belonged to ancient organization known as 'Mart', the largest & most dangerous corporate retailer in the world of Merica. The demonic A.I. perished in a blaze of commercial hell fire against another  wasteland demon lord perhaps Microcore or even the lich lord  Wizney. But these valuable cards remain, they are devices that store 1d100 or the more coveted  1d1000X 3 dollars. These imaginary values enable an adventurer to safely leave on of the Mart strong holds or ruins with all kinds of artifacts without alerting security bots or worse murder bots who guard the treasures of the ancients.  These have a three or four digit codes to pass by the bots and only certain wasteland wizards or technomancers who specialize in 'unlocking' these devices may know the code. They may charge for such sacred knowledge.

Thursday, July 21, 2016

Using Carcosa, Dungeon Crawl Classics, & Mythology To Building A Sword & Planet Old School Sandbox Campaign

So I've been talking  with my buddy Steve who does a ton of long haul trucking and Dungeon Crawl Classics. He wanted me to help him out with getting his newest DCC campaign off the ground but there's already a complication! Its the Geoffrey McKinney AD&D Carcosa adventures and we're going to dive into how to get this material to work together with his DCC campaign.

I got a phone call yesterday from my buddy Steve whose perplexed with an awful case of gamer OCD over the Geoffrey McKinney's Advanced Dungeons & Dragons Carcosa modules which were announced a week ago. The problem is that he's running Dungeon Crawl Classics and there's so much good OSR material coming out. Sigh. Alright let's look into getting a whole bunch of desperate adventurer types to Carcosa. The Carcosa adventures are a sandbox campaign setting  and hex crawl  they don't have PC levels on them. The setting is also geared for gonzo Lovecraftian adventuring and so your not going to break the setting by introducing DCC style characters.

So let's actually go back to 2014 and dig out from the recesses of gaming Crawljammer by Moon Dice Games. Its one of those wonderful DCC fanzines that inspired me to get into the DCC game myself. It is gonzo space opera cum sword & planet setting that emulates all of the tropes from the ray gun age of science fiction & science fantasy. You can easily have your DCC characters picked up by a Carcosian flying saucer and captured or do a prison break out for the classic DCC PC's. Crawljammer brings some very interesting options to the table for the game and easily for  Carcosa for that matter.
  • New races of aliens, new PC classes, and lots of other DCC goodness comes into play. 
  • There is also new magical and technological devices that can be incorporated into Carcosa. A new relice or item in an alien treasure vault or other place might easily be found by adventurers. Finding power cells or ammo might not be so ease. This means even more adventure hooks.
  • A bunch of minor god powers like GARUN, GOD OF SCIENTIFIC SLAUGHTER,ARS-ELEETA, GODDESS OF TECHNOLOGY,etc. all of which could easily have minor shrines and places of worship on Carcosa but it should be remembered that the Old Ones always have the power over Carcosa. 
  • The deadly nature of the setting is a perfect addition onto the DCC gaming ethos.

Now I know that I'm going be taking some real heat about the fact that the conversion of DCC and Advanced Dungeons & Dragons is a bear for some folks. So last night I ran across the  DCC Monster Helper (PDF) by Jeremy Deram .Basically a  one-page document  that can be used to help quickly convert old-fashioned D&D/AD&D monsters to be used with DCC. Jeremy Deram has made my DCC gaming much easier over the last year or so. 
But let's say that you need to get your waste landers from Crawling Under A Broken Moon's setting over to Carcosa? Well that's pretty simple, once again those space aliens from Carcosa might be picking up mutants for study experimentation or worse. The aliens  most likely are given the nature of those bastards on Carcosa and have been raiding 'Merica for years. The alien prison break idea could even be turned into a character funnel for DCC on Carcosa.

Look I'm not done yet folks, last night I'm sitting up at four A.M. and I'm reading this great little article about the differences between Marvel Mythology vs. Norse Mythology. 
How will you deal with the vast polar opposites of these two cultural icons? Well don't, one is a mythology of incredible cultural complexity and the other is an alien god set of  pop culture creations. The fact is that both pantheons have been feeding of the beliefs of mortals for years and clashing in the heavens leading too epic warfare or at least they have in my campaigns. The debris of these conflicts might be found in the wastelands of Crawling or on Carcosa. This give the DM even more fodder for hex crawl encounters. But what about the levels of PC's? Well these are hex crawls and the disparaging of encounter levels is to be expected.

No that's not the only option or two on the table, a recent O5R review by Rpg Pundit put something very interesting on the table. 
Yes I'm going to mention  "Alpha Blue", writen by "Venger As'nas Satanis" again and in reference with Carcosa.

One of the parts that really struck me was this bit of review material,"Now, the good: even if you take out all the tables related to eye-rolling benny-hill type naughtiness, this book comes with TONS of spectacular random-tables that could be of use for any number of sci-fi games.  The setting itself, divorced of the excessive sleaze, is very interesting, and a GM who wanted to could ignore the nudge-nudge wink-wink schoolboy salaciousness and you'd be left with a great premise for a sci-fi campaign.
Ultimately, whether or not Alpha Blue will be worth buying for you will depend on how much you want to either engage with the smarm or surgically reduce it; and whether you will be interested in playing with the house system or doing your own work to adapt it to another system (OSR, for example).  If you're already running a sci-fi game (or planning to), and your game has a 1970s-style softer sci-fi feel to it along the lines of old Doctor Who, Battlestar Galactica or Buck Rogers, you could use the setting material and random tables to enhance your game."
I've ignored some of the sleaze & naughtiness more then a couple of times I've run Alpha Blue with Carcosa and the various tables make some superior PC backgrounds for castaways on the planet  and for various NPC adventurers that players have encountered in the past. Alpha Blue's tables and bits can easily be used with DCC.

Now all of the above can easily be converted back into the OD&D Lamentations of the Flame Princess version of Carcosa with a bit of fifth grade math. The free Lamentations of the Flame Princess Referee book even includes conversion notes for OSRIC which give a good solid base line for the AD&D Carcosa adventures.

So remember to keep those dice rolling!

Wednesday, July 20, 2016

A Demonic Interlude At The Keep On The Borderlands From Last Night's Fantastic Heroes & Witchery Actual Play Event

The PC's in last night's game encountered something unexpected in the Russian wasteland underworld. The PC's dived into the deep end of something rather weird, did they get in over their heads?

So last night's game had something weird happen; two of my players Herbie & his son Ian had a family emergency and had to bow out. This put me down two PC's but it was a part of the adventure from last week's game. My big concern wasn't for the Tuesday night Fantastic Heroes & Witchery game but my players family. We've been tight friends for years now & the absence of players threw the encounter balance off but I had a few tricks up my sleeve. The other players arrived & so began the finally clean up between the PC's and the rest of the Kobolds.

The PC's found some coinage which wasn't local to the Russian wastelands, trade goods, and a hidden passage into a hidden underground tunnel that was used by the wizard & his minotaur bodyguard last game. They also came across a rather nasty surprise waiting for them below, a red skinned Norker like demonic shaman. This being was mumbling something & taping up a club handle when they came across 'it'. Actually it was her as one of the PC's found out when she took a shine to him. She was extremely slow moving and very well armored with a reddish  colored complexion over an exoskeleton of hard fibrous like plates beneath her skin.

The PC's took a few shots at her but only managed to knock her magic club from her clawed hand. The she took a few steps towards them & one of the PC's made an arcane roll to see if his character could identify what she was? Turns out she's a
Hauaelan a demonic worker bred from the hobgoblin template & infused with a demonic essence to work in Hellish dimensions & high gravity colony worlds by Elves thousands of years ago. Her kind have many of the innate characteristics of Type II Demons and 1800 strength but slow moving. They are incredibly hardy but the real danger is if these things get their hands on your character. She also has several chaotic mutations as well. One of the PC's who had experience on the Outer World colonies had encountered these things before.
Hauaelan a demonic workers who are used in construction & assembly of siege equipment. It took the party & the players the better part of the night to even move her and finally after almost two hours of combat and clever thinking on the part of the players she was forced back to her home plane. The PC's found an embossed scroll case near her and two magical scrolls near her position. There were a few bits and bobs that looked like they were dropped by the twisted  wizard the party encountered last session. The end result was the Hauaelan shaman was sent back to her own dimension and party moved on into the darkness.

So where did the Hauaelan come from? Well I started with the Norker from the Fiend Folio and used the Astonishing Swordsmen & Sorcerers of Hyperborea Referee Guide. Next I took several chaotic mutations including regeneration from Dark Albion Cults of Chaos.
Because of the modular nature of the Cults of Chaos book its easy adapted into the dark gaming ethos of Astonishing Swordsmen & Sorcerers of Hyperborea which suits this campaign rather well.

Dark Albion Cults of Chaos is out now and Amazon has copies for sale; this is one of my top picks for 2016.

Tuesday, July 19, 2016

The Dungeon Crawl Classics Rpg System As NPC Generator & Old School Adventure Plot Point Creator For Your Old School Campaigns

I love getting the most out of my rpg books and this includes the massive DCC rule book, now DCC claims to be a part of the OSR movement. But could it be used to generate some really nasty opponents for other OSR games and perhaps some guidelines for exciting adventures? Here's how.

There are more then a few uses for the Dungeon Crawl Classics rpg system at the table besides the usual ones that have been talked about. Let's talk about the funnel system which is at the heart of the PC system of DCC for a moment. Try and imagine that your actually the person whose going through some horrendous PC funnel for a moment, you've just watched friends or even countless strangers die for a moment. This is going to leave some terrible scares on your mind and whip you around in all kinds of ways. Because of the way the game is set up every single adventurer is going to go through this process. This is going to create some really twisted folks who are in the same profession as your PC's.

In other words the same process that creates incredible adventurers and outlaws is going to create tyrants, twisted wizards, murderous and psychopathic cut throats, whacked out space adventurers, and post apocalyptic ass hats just waiting to slit your PC's throats. And that's really the way the gods like it. The gods are involved in chess games of fate and chance and adventurers are the pieces, so this creates all kinds of opportunities to cause misdeeds  for characters. Each and every NPC is motivated to get ahead in the world of Dungeon Crawl Classics, the clerical and magic systems are rife with this meta plot point.
The DCC game is a perfect add on for something like OD&D or AD&D when you need a reaver, outlaw, or other personality that will cause your adventurers all kinds of headaches. Yes those same awesome PC creation tools can be adapted very easily to suit your motivations as a DM. Because of the class level scale differences in OSR games NPC's are going to be tough,dangerous, and deadly opponents. They'll be moved across the infinite planes by the gods who want to see their favorites used in contests of adventure, myth, and legend. The funnel system ensures that only the strongest, most ruthless, and nasty survive. In regular 1st edition Advanced Dungeons & Dragons, and original Dungeons & Dragons terms we call these folks villains. Now if only there was a set of guidelines that made things almost like a Hollywood block buster action film that you could apply for your old school adventures?
Well Open Culture bless their hearts this morning released 10 Tips From Billy Wilder on How to Write a Good Screenplay. 

These are also very good guidelines for writing & creating old school adventures in the Hollywood tradition. Let me show them to you to save time.
1: The audience is fickle.

2: Grab ’em by the throat and never let ’em go.

3: Develop a clean line of action for your leading character.

4: Know where you’re going.

5: The more subtle and elegant you are in hiding your plot points, the better you are as a writer.

6: If you have a problem with the third act, the real problem is in the first act.

7: A tip from Lubitsch: Let the audience add up two plus two. They’ll love you forever.

8: In doing voice-overs, be careful not to describe what the audience already sees. Add to what they’re seeing.

9: The event that occurs at the second act curtain triggers the end of the movie.

10: The third act must build, build, build in tempo and action until the last event, and then — that’s it. Don’t hang around.

All of these of course are perfect for creating, running, and DMing your own  old school adventure.  By adding in those twisted & weird NPC's from another cosmos your well on your way to having fellow  adventurers your players are sure to loath and be talking about for years to come. But what about those weird dice conventions? Ignore them and use your favorite edition or retroclone as base then deal with the level issue as needed.
But surely DCC is a fantasy based sword & sorcery game, there isn't a chance in Hell of one of those characters popping into a science fantasy world. Well the stories of Elric had and have that character popping up in everything from post apocalyptic wastelands to dream lands and lots of other places mentioned in Appendix N. So if its good enough for Michael Moorcock then it might also work in your old school adventures.
Keep those dice rolling.

Sunday, July 17, 2016

Some Commentary On The Dungeon Crawl Classics Rpg System & A New 'Heavy Metal' Inspired Funnel Idea For Your Old School Campaigns

So today I got a chance to look over Dungeon Crawl Classics hardback with a friend of mine & gave him a hand with a new character creation funnel idea. Dungeon Crawl Classics can be a bit of an intimidating beast of a book weighting in at four hundred and sixty pages. The game is a favorite of mine because of its leveling and PC balance issues.

The funnel I helped Steven with was a simple affair based around the Heavy Metal film from 1981, the sequence that we settled on is one that we've used before. We settled on O’Bannon’s “B-17” from the film a pretty horrific little nod to EC and precode horror comics from the Forties & Fifties. The PC's are all survivors in a lost world where the dead are ghouls and the characters must survive against the background. The idea of the funnel sequence wasn't too bad but the dice conventions make the game a bit of a pain in the ass but all in all it went down fine.

There are several great resources on the web for DCC including the the 0-level character generator at Purple Sorcerer Games.  The resources at People Them With Monsters are absolutely essential to working with the DCC game in my humble opinion. 

The PC's are going to have a hell of a time with this one, Steve's got a number of encounters already planned out based on several of the back half of some of the DCC games we've run in the past. There's also the fact that this is going to be both a story & adventure driven campaign. So what's the reason for all of this prep work on our part? Well the Mutant Crawl Classics kickstarter is starting to wind down and if you want to get involved you've got two days.

Now here's the thing this game isn't going to be out for months yet and there are so many folks who are putting together DCC games to get the jump on it. There are several options on the table at the moment one of which happens to be the Crawling Under A Broken Moon DCC fanzine whose setting is going to be cross compatible with Gamma Crawl Classics. The amount of material in CUBM makes this a great low cost resource for both DCC And MCC's.

So what's the premise of this DCC funnel, well its quite simple the PC's are castaways on an island. They can either be the crew of a wrecked B-17 plane or castaways straight from the DCC rule book. The ghouls are waiting among the undead crews who have already crashed on the island and its various adventure locations.

I'll let you know how it works out for my fellow DM and his players in the next couple of weeks but for now keep those dice rolling.

Saturday, July 16, 2016

Review & Commentary On Pamphlet 1: Fields of Forsaken From D-oom Products For Your Old School Campaigns

From time to time DM's sometimes need a place that isn't quite Heaven or Hell, Pamphlet 1: Fields of Forsaken From D-oom Products  might just be what the doctor ordered!

Those faithless who die end up in the
endless Fields. In the middle of the void,
where ever you venture, The Church
stands inviting. But no one can enter, until the Time of Judgement..

Do you want or need a plane of the afterlife that can easily be dropped into your favorite sword and sorcery campaign or horror rpg? Do you need it as a pay what you want title? Well that's exactly what Fields of the Forsaken is, an afterlife limbo style dimension that you can drop into your old school campaign. This piece takes the form of one part modern poetry and two parts dream but mostly what it is actually is a possible player hand out.
Doom Products belongs to  Thaumiel Nerub  whose someone whom I consider a friend. I like his writing and his products a lot and over the last year I've looked over and read a few things that have come across my desk. This one is a bit harder to classify in the usual sense of it fits comfortably into box a or b. In sixteen pages we get a complete other dimensional location in the after life. Given the propensity of PC's in games interacting with the horrific, undead, their own death, and more issues with death in games. This book is a welcome addition to a DM's arsenal.
This adventure location reminds me of some of the handouts and adventure hooks in the rpg game Kult .This is because of the alternative take on purgatories, where humans are held captive and tortured after death. Fields of Forsaken takes this concept & uses it to take the PC's into a  dreamlike realm of the dead. There's a lot more going on but I don't want to spoil some of the concepts of Fields of the Forsaken. Go take look and you'll see what I mean. But surely this has nothing to do with D&D? Well the second edition AD&D  setting of Ravenloft and in a more contemporary setting Jack Shears Tales of the Grotesque  & Dungeonsque books could easily incorporate & benefit from Fields of the Forsaken. A place of the dead where adventurers might find themselves in over their heads in this realm.

How can this pamphlet be used? Well it could be a great found item for the PC's to stumble upon. The true horror of the situation that they find themselves in will be evident to them soon enough. There are a few hooks, twists and situations in Fields of the Forsaken that could be used as a bridge gap especially in games of weird horror such as Lamentations of the Flame Princess or others. Even Dungeon Crawl Classics could benefit from the weirdness of Fields of the Forsaken. There's enough material in the pamphlet to expand upon and DYI Fields of the Forsaken into a customized realm of the dead for your own games.As a pay what want title its got lots of potential. This is only the first in the line of pamphlets from D-oom products. I'll be covering the second title coming up very soon. Four out of five for some very nicely presented ideas. Grab this one.