Friday, December 19, 2014

1d10 Twisted Christmas Encounter Table 'The Ourskirts' & 'Byways' For Your Old School Science Fantasy Campaigns

Between November 12th and December 30th, the gates of Zebulara burst open as monsters, lunatic Fey creatures, and the souls of a million dead explode upon to the 'Byways' and 'Outskirts'. These realms of the dead border the astral and the Plane Prime of a billion alternate worlds. They hunger for the living and no force can deny them. Or so they think.
The holiday of Christmas originally marked a feast day of the dead for myriad of alien and alternative civilizations, but the dead far out numbered the living and were never given their 'Final Rewards'. 'The Christmas' was simply another seal against the coming darkness and forces of beyond backed up by a plethora of divinities but even gods die. And with loosing of the seals. The 'dark forces' let loose across time and space. 
Those who tread the dimensional barriers often use the shortcuts of the Byways and Outskirts across the planes but not when the Twisted Christmas holidays draw near. For dead souls, gods, Fey, and worse are let loose to feed for a while but as with all things. The forces of light and bright blessings burst forth to enact the ages old cycle of Law and Chaos. Once again the forces of darkness are brought to heel but often not before they cause untold harm upon a myriad of worlds.
Often space travelers, dimensional trackers, and plethora of innocents get caught in the crossfire between these parties of forces.
Here's a quick list of encounters that can point to far greater dangers out on the 'Byways' and 'Outskirts' that can be used to spice up an encounter with these 'dark forces'. 

Twisted Christmas Encounter Table 'The Ourskirts' & 'Byways'

  1. 1d8 Lemures hell bent on claiming a victim for their dark masters being driven on by a Barbed Devil handler with a whip and chains 
  2. 1d8 skeleton warriors and dark fairy hunter with enchanted bow and arrows looking for fresh victims. Armed with swords and shields 
  3. A wall of rot grubs bursts from a nearby tunnel or wall. 
  4. A gaggle of night hags looking for fresh victims to drag back with them to the under world. They ride in a sled driven by unholy things that might be demonic or undead. 
  5. A 3rd level necomancer followed by two clouds of unholy fey looking for souls to drag back for his dark masters. 
  6. A spawn of 1d8 gargoyles looking for fresh prey and souls to feast upon and perhaps a tasty morsel to toss to their nest mates. 
  7. A gaggle of Ghasts chasing down a group of 1d10 clerics of a god running like mad men who will promise help in return for add. They are carrying some minor temple treasures. 
  8. 1d10  Soul lights (count as Will o'whisps) that are the souls of the dark looking for prey and they are followed by a Dark Fey handler who will direct them for hunting of the souls of the unjust or anyone else they come across.
  9. A soul spawn of 1d100 ghosts escaping from bounds of the damned. There is a 30% chance of one of these damned souls attaching itself to a PC's shadow and following them until a vulnerable moment them attacking.  
  10. 1d100 pounds of soul slime that oozes out looking for victims to add to itself. The stuff is nauseating and there is a 40% chance of retching from the smell of the rotted guts, bile,and gore. Unless a save is made fighting the undead horror from beyond. 

  • Monsters take double damage from energy weapons and if 'destroyed' simply dis corporate for a year and a day only to return next year. 
  • Clerics may call upon their powers to rebuke or banish these horrors at any time if they remember to in the terror. 
  • Anyone killed by these horrific horrors can not be raised as their souls join with the damned. 
  • Weapons of 'Law' do double damage to these horrors & count as one extra +1 against these forces. 
  • Symbols of the gods of law and justice will hold these things at bay. 
  • Turning works as normal but double the rolls on the chart after a successful turning. Representing the anger and frustration of the Damned of Misrule. 

Thursday, December 18, 2014

Wisdom from the Wastelands Issue #48: Unique Superscience Artifacts IV From Skirmisher Publishing For Your Old School Post Apocalyptic and Old School Campaigns

Grab It Right
There are times when a DM really needs a high level and sophiscated relic or artifact. This issue of the Wisdom From The Wastelands provides the DM with exactly those types of high level tools and gives even more options for a unique wasteland relic encounter during an adventure but there's more to it then that.
Many of the items in here were partially derived and created with material the appears in Goblinoid Games Advanced Companion as per earlier issues of Wisdom From the Wasteland in this series. It also means that much of this material is cross compatible with other retroclone and original systems of the world's most popular fantasy role playing game. Even though its meant to be used in a Science Fantasy setting. The Skirmisher crew does a nice job of providing items that can be dropped into a science fictional, fantasy, science fantasy, or post apocalyptic backdrop without upsetting the apple cart of a campaign.
The Drivethrurpg Blurb:
The unique items in this issue of Wisdom from the Wastelands are so advanced they appear magical to post-apocalyptic peoples. Although intended for use with Mutant Future, these items could easily be used in other science-fiction or fantasy games. Each has a history that will hopefully enrich, inspire, and possibly drive your own gaming story and, if desired, could become a central plot point or continuing idea for a whole gaming session or even an entire campaign. 

This issue of Wisdom From The Wasteland continues the previous series of 'Super Science' building guidelines and example for relics and artifacts that are very highly advanced. This issue places a selection of artifacts right in the DM's hands for your old school post apocalyptic campaigns. And the guys a Skirmisher do a very nice job of balancing these items out. But this relics should be very carefully used. Seriously these are high level relics and might easily find their way into a post colony science fictional space based game as well. 

This is one of my favorite of this particular series of WoW issues and its done with wit as well as style. There are seven high level artifacts and relics that can make your wasteland encounters particularly deadly. These range from the Area to the Splatter Gun and are easily slipped into the background setting of an adventure as mini encounters unto themselves. I can see these items appearing in a multiplicity of post apocalyptic games from a Metamorphosis Alpha style game of post colony generation ship hi jinks to a full blown Stars Without Number style campaign. 
The items are high level, interesting, and very well done. That being said I can also see these items being campaign wreckers or starters depending upon how they are used and where they are placed within an adventure.
The last bit in this issue is a mutation that goes right along with the vibe of the super science artifacts of this issue, Environmental Adaptation is perfect for those inter system or interstellar colony mutants. A great way to get a 'Logan's Run' Style Dome city colony upon the Exo planet of your choosing. A nice addition to a great issue of WoW, are the other issues necessary to have? No but this article will make far more sense if you do have it. This issue presents a nice set up of 'super science' relic options on the table for memorable adventure construction in the post apocalyptic world of your choice. 

Using Wisdom From The Wastelands
Issue #48
For Your Old School Campaigns

As I said above these items should be used with some caution but that goes without saying this is a great set of relics. Many of these should have limited usage to PC's as at least two I'm going to be using for set dressing and background flavor for two up coming adventures.
Placement of these items might even set the stage for the type of post apocalyptic encounter that the DM is trying to do. From a downed space craft to a post apocalyptic government facility ruin that doesn't have to be as wrecked as it might first appear. These relics have the potential to certainly challenge a party to think rather then act especially if some of these are pointed in their direction.
The skin shifter and arena have the potential to change PC's in fundamental ways and should be carefully placed in the wastes. All in all this issue puts some very high level tools right into the DM's lap and all of this for the price of a dollar menu hamburger. The fact is that this isn't dollar menu quality material from Skirmisher. 

Wednesday, December 17, 2014

Zebulara - The Twisted Christmas Demi plane For Your Old School Science Fantasy Games

Zebulara is an Outskirt demi plane realm that has been created from the debris and remains of mankind's dreams and memories of Christmas's past lost to the collective unconsciousness of humanity's memory from the Nineteen Hundreds through the present seen through the eyes of a Holiday Christmas special from classic television. At least in the beginning of a visit. This demi plane actively hunts and sucks in adventurers as well as heroes from across time and space. A strange candy can colored vortex is often the first and only warning of  Zebulara's dimensional trap springing upon PC's. The dimensional vortex opens near the PC's and Dex checks are needed just to avoid the debris and what not that will try to knock characters out. They will awaken upon Zebulara.

The realm takes the form of a small town achingly familiar to hearts and minds who view it for the first time. A realm that seems like home from every holiday special, Christmas morning, and dream of Christmas past. And this is part of its insidious Fey glamour. Zebulara is a lost realm originally a small pocket universe left over as a battle ground between the good and evil fairy races long, long, ago. The realm was picked up and dusted off by the Almadora or the 'Murder elves' as their called. A twisted tribe of psychopathic fey who collect, steal, and create every plastic memory and dream of Christmas they can get their grubby little hands on. The Almordora are no longer the only powers that control the plane, dark forces from across the fey realms. This suits the Almordora just fine.
Zebulara has a very long Christmas night that last's almost eighteen hours. The wintry realm is always blanked by snow and ice as the sun sets and people hurriedly flee into their homes. Its always a commercially laden Christmas here driven by large toy manufacturing corporations. These corporations are responsible for creating incredibly expensive and dangerous toys. These corporate entities are always controlled by an undead or lich overlord selected by the dark fey Immortals of the realm. Often evil 'Gnome' barons are in charge of some of the manufacturing base. As folks toil away all year to afford the 'gifts', the psychic energies released by the rush and bustle help to grease the maintenance of this plane. The small town USA nature of the plane is indicative of the Nineteen Thirties through Fifties of television specials, movies, etc. but which ones can't be identified.
Christmas night is divided into phases and many dangerous horrors are released upon the plane to hunt, kill, and murder during the darkest hours. Many of these horrors come especially for the violence and mayhem that the plane provides and are summoned by deep & dangerous small town cults across the plane. They are released into the land to do their worst. Most bolt and lock their doors at this time but many residents are magically unaware of the mayhem taking place right under their collective noses.
Many travelers from post apocalyptic wastelands,D&D style worlds, and many others are snared by this demi plane. The illusions and glamours of its Fey forces can be very disconcerting and dangerous. Memories, dreams, and wishes are the dross of these 'dark forces' which help to fuel the plane.
PC's caught within Zebulara often learn very quickly to blend in as best they can. Spells, etc. all function as normal but leaving is very tricky as the plane's 'dark forces' often trick, use illusions, and create glamours to force PC's to stay on in the plane. Their terror,frustrations, fear, etc. all adds more fuel for the place like a furnace taking in coal. Illusionists will find their spells have a much longer duration here and saves against such things are -1 on all saves. Many illusionists are seduced by the 'fey immortals' into staying and becoming part of the machinery of this demi plane. They are often inducted into lodges called 'workshops' where they are taught the inner dark secrets of the demi plane.

Zebulara is not without its light though for each Christmas morning those who survive the night go their temples of light to revel and open their 'gifts'. The magic and satisfaction of these min treasures is fleeing at best and after ten to thirty days many of these gifts are returned to the shops or discarded. Clever adventurers have often waited for this period to pass and claim some of these Fey created treasures for themselves. Often these pieces of Fey magic are found no where else among the multiverse and the incredible illusion and lust magic reacts far better on others then the some what jaded and drained inhabitants of Zebulara.
There are literally thousands of temples of light strewn across the demi plane where patrons may worship but trying to leave this place is a divine effort.
The cycle of the demi plane follows a seventy two day cycle until the night of Twisted Christmas comes. The cycle of work of the inhabitants is exhausting until the blood soaked event happens. The let down afterwards helps to fuel the next cycle of frantic activity. On Zebulara there is no reason for the season and for eons Christmas gods and saints have been trying to destroy the place. But like a troll it regenerates itself, even if all were freed from Zebulara, as long it lived on in one mind's dream it would eventually recreate itself.
Random Encounter Table For
Zebulara - The Twisted Christmas Demi plane
  1. A group of towns folk running for their lives as a troll decked out in Father Christmas finery stalks them. They don't want to drop one little bauble or gift wrapped package! There is a 10% chance of one of these fools dropping a small treasured gift. 
  2. A heavily wrapped up little man is actually a necromancer 5th level looking for victims for an upcoming event. He's armed and very dangerous. Followed by 1d4 telepathically controlled zombies dressed in Winter cloths. Armed with knives. 
  3. A man hole bursts open nearby and a group of 1d6 goblins in mini Santa Suits are looking for supper. Armed with bows and arrows. 
  4. 1d4 small cannibalistic gnome like humanoids dressed as Christmas elves armed with clevers begin hunting the PC's through the crowds on the street or in the wilderness. No one else seems to see them. 
  5. A heavily armed 2nd level warrior runs for his life as some dangerous invisible force pursues him, suddenly he is flash frozen and explodes in a shower of ice and gore. 
  6. A small fey princess buzzes by the PC's begging for help against a wizard who had held her in captivity in a nearby Christmas village. 
  7. A small cache of 1d6 evil illusionists fleecing the crowd with tricks and such. They spot your group and proceed to try and use their Christmas magic to cause issues. 
  8. A very lost adventurer from some fantasy world has just arrived or at least that's what it seems, he's actually a doppelganger plant send out by a local cult to gather sacrifices. 
  9. A gutter is filled with a candy cane colored run off from a nearby candy factory. Actually this is a 50 hit point toxic waste slime looking for prey. Run like hell. 
  10. A local pastor from the Church of Starry Wisdom is looking for converts for his choir of the damned. A 7th level necromancer dressed as a pastor from the 1900's. All smiles and kind words to those around him but he's very creepy in a Mr.Rogers sort of way. 
1d10 Random  Gifts & Treasures of Zebulara 
  1.  A small jeweled music box that when opened produces a delicate random rainbow illusion that acts as 'trance' spell for 1d6 rounds. The victim is held in a charmed state for the duration. Worth 400 gold pieces. 
  2. A small doll that has an aura of a real baby. There is a sense of helplessness about the toy and those who pick it up will not let it go easily. There is a 30% chance of the thing having a malevolent soul and being able to exercise incredible influence over those who hold it for 1d4 rounds. 200 gold pieces 
  3. A small set of wooden soldiers, hand carved that will spring to life and act out telepathically the wishes of their owners. 300 gold pieces because of the precious stone eyes of the pieces. 
  4. A toy top that creates massive illusions and telepathic dreams woven from the fabric of the locals. There is a 20% chance of the top creating a prismatic spray spell every fourth use. 500 gold pieces 
  5. A complex configuration made from brass, gold, and wood. The thing is able to cause 'fascination' when someone begins the task of trying to solve it. When no is looking it will create even more complex shapes to solve. 
  6. A set of finely created tools able to make a project go 20% faster and adds +3 to all repair rolls. Made by Snears and Reboc master Gnome tinkers. 400 gold pieces. 
  7. A jeweled ring able to create telepathic illusions and project them to life. The ring is a delicate set of complex jewels set as lens. 600 gold pieces 
  8. A jeweled snuff box able to create projected illusions from the sneezes of those who use the fairy dust snuff. 500 gold pieces for the ever full box, a bound fey is a part of the thing. 
  9. A small statue of a 'Christmas god' made from a single diamond which looks like cheap glass unless shined. 780 gold pieces or priceless to the right cult 
  10. A single list of naughty and nice children. The list belongs to the Krumptus and he wants it back. Now! 

Monday, December 15, 2014

New Lovecraftian Monster - Red Variuri or False Santa Guardians For Your Old School Science Fantasy Campaigns

Number appearing : 1

 Movement: 120'(40)
Alignment: Choatically evil 
Hit Dice : 6 
Attack: 2 By weapon often armed with a +1 weapon ( see below) 
Damage 1d8 battle ax or long sword 
Save: Fighter 10
% in lair: 60%
Treasure type : H 
Morale: 9
Special : Undead immunity, Level Drain 

A creation of the twisted forces of 'The Outer Darkness' and the misfortune of  wizards trying to attane the 'Mantle of Immortality' without the use of the proper spells and wards. False Santas are twisted undead lich like beings created by the higher worldly forces of the Mantle as  it twists down the existence of the wizard and burns out the soul of the poor bastard. The Mantle creates a twisted version of the memories and thoughts of Santas of the past going back thousands of years.
The victim of the Mantle's power is granted immortality of a sort but a twisted version of it. The 'False Santa' is actually a soul sucking undead abomination that casts necormatic spells at the sixth level and has level draining abilities as a Specter. According to legend the 'False Santa' reveals the Mantle's connection to the 'negative plane' others simply point the fact that Mantle has safeguards against granting immortality without the intercession of the Fairy Kings and Queen's discretion.
The crimson clothed guardians are often armed with a +1 weapon of sharpness that also infects those it hits with a soul numbing cold  effect as well unless a save vs death is made.
False Santas are greedy, psychotic, murderous treasure hoarders who often keep a wide selection of treasures and trophies taken from adventurers and would be heroes.
False Santas are sometimes summoned by evil elemental cults who venerate the Great Old Ones to act as guardians of treasure or to over see dark rites as well as rituals. These horrors have connections to the Wendigo but these deep connections are not easily understood by right thinking folk. 

 The False Santa is immune to sleep charm and other mind effecting spells. And are often found scattered throughout the planes on ice or snow laden plains in lairs of solid frozen elemental ice. They are served by twisted elven like creatures known as murder elves, psychopathic horrors that delight in murder and mayhem of the most depraved type. False Santas often guard ancient relics or treasures of godlike importance or of  a horrible aspect. They are sometimes served by twisted golem beings known as toy soldiers, full sized soldiers of clock work mechanism and undead flesh. Often times False Santas will employ 1d6 helpers or toy makers who are actually 3rd or 4th level dark wizards in their own right to help in the maintenance of their undead forces and artifacts.
False Santas are sometimes found on the prime material plane lairing in abandon Christmas themed amusement parks, Christmas tree shops, and other holiday themed places. They have been known to take up residence within the post apocalyptic wasteland as well. 

New Spell and Monster - Summon Ashturu Qaos Spiderling For Your Old School Science Fantasy Campaigns

Doré, Arachne
They are the Qaos corrupted children of a demonic goddess who is long forgotten by humanity. Her web brood spun their strands across the universe and lay waste to a billion worlds. Now they come to dance on the graves of the damned and profane. I will teach you my children how summon these horrors from beyond the pale. 
To summon them place the onyx blade over the small of the forth energy vortex above your stomach and begin to cut. You will need a piece of your small intestine for the summoning. The Demoniconan Fictum page 456 
Written in the year of Quo 

The abandoned colony world of Quo had been abandoned for over three hundred years only the book bound in human flesh remained on the altar of the main church. The light of  the twin suns cascading through the broken stained glass upon a pile of humanoid skulls stacked neatly near by the altar. 

The Qoas Spiderlings
Number appearing : 1d6 
Armor Class: 7 
Move: 12/.24" 
Hit Points : 200 
% in lair: 25% 
Treasure Type: U 
Damage/ Attacks: 2-20 
Special Attacks: Null Webbing
and often times super science weapons or relics. 
Special Defenses: Never Surprised 
Magic Resistance: 35% 
Intelligence: Genius 
Alignment: Chaotic Evil 
Size: L (17') 
Psionic Ability : Nil 
Attack and Defense Modes: Nil 
Level/XP Value: X/22,600 

The Qoas Spiderlings are the demonic legacy of an ancient Babylon spider goddess who was sacrficed upon an alter of the damned around a black star as it hollowed in the final golden red glow at the End Of Time. From her blood were born the Qoas Spiderlings, demonic creatures that crawled across the wastes of time and took their place between the spaces of the Abyss. These horrors spin webs that hold bits and pieces of the veil between the planes. They are the hunters of nations and the despoilers of alien cities across the planes. These demonic goddess horrors spin webs between the corners of time and space hunting mankind's souls. Only the choicest of morsels will do and they will stop at nothing to feast upon the sweetest of meats. They have all of the minor powers of demons but are blank spots for psychic and psionic abilities. The Qoas Spiderling's minds are filled with the power of oblivion and desolation. These horrors compete with their sisters for the choicest souls and are near genius in their ability to bring about destruction on a world shattering scale. Few other demons will tolerate their presence and have consigned them to the Outer Darkness and the Threshold outside reality itself.
They spin webs which can cut, slice, and ruin diamond hard materials yet trap men's souls as easily as a regular spiders trap a fly. They're claws can rend steel and yet peel the skin from a corpse as delicately as a surgeon. The spiderlings are always bound into the form of a beautiful and perfect maiden with the most hideous demonic  mutations of  flesh seen upon the planes.
These horrors serve no one demonic lord and are often found wandering the future alternative time lines at at the End of Time spinning their webs as time winds itself into final heat death oblivion. The spiderlings it is often said sing among themselves as they feast upon the bones and husks of great heroes who come to slay them. They gather the weapons, armor, and relics of such heroes and display them within their webs mocking the powers of good.
There have been many worlds that have reached the apex of their development and summon the Qaos Spiderling tribes to devour them in ritual suicide. The tribes often take the art, treasures, and trinkets to display in their webs at the End of Time and tempt mortals into foolishly trying to recover them.
The chaotic nature of the spider demons makes them sometimes destroy such treasures in fits of demonic rage and anger. Sometimes treasures are randomly forgotten as the spider demons grow chaotically bored with them and forget about them. Sometimes they leave the ghosts of those they feast on to guard such pretties and feed upon the souls who come to recover them. 
Killing the Qoas isn't easy for the demon things can gate in more of their kind with a 20% chance of succeeding but they are loath to do so. The spiderlings have no wish to share in the spoils of their hunting and corruption.
Spiders demons often persue missions for Demon lords acting as agents and mercenaries among the stars and relishing the opportunity to pass among mortal kind. These demon lords must knit and create the mortal guises for the Ashturu from the stuff of the damned. For though the spider demons may shape shift into mortal form for four hours at a time, only the guise created by a demon lord allows them to stay upon the mortal plane for hundred years or more carrying out the wishes of their masters.
Ashturu Qaos Spiderlings have a love of super science weapons and artifacts. They are demonically versed in the uses of these weapons of destruction and chaos. These horrors have an uncanny ability to use such impliments of technology without causing their demonic essence to ruin them. They will often use the most dangerous or destructive weapons they can recover from post apocalyptic planes or battlefields. Often these weapons will be from some far flung future battle field. The spiderlings will obsess about the nature, science, and totality of these devices. They will torture wizards, super scientists, and other learned men to know every nuance of the operations of such devices. Even going so far as to kidnap and spirit away such individuals to their lairs at the End of Time.

New Spell Summon Ashturu Qaos Spiderling
Six Level Spell (Black Magic)
The Ashturu are often the creators of the scrolls and spell books for their summoning for they are a vain race of demons and wish others to know their legends. These accounts are often embellished with the most hidieous and somewhat pornographic tales of their exploits upon the mortal plane. The spell to summon them requires a sacrifice of a piece of mortal's small intestine which is ritually burned and a web like diagram traced in red chalk to be inscribed. At least 100 gold pieces worth of treasure must be sacrificed under the new moon and the Ashturu will burst forth in a gout of cold icy wind. They will demand to know why they have been summoned and the supplicant must make Charisma check or be devoured. The Spiderlings will be quite dangerous during this time and it is advised that the caster have a sacrifice or two ready to feed them. They are often summoned for their knowledge of ancient super science and sorcery. More Charisma checks must be made to appease them and a relic of lost technology must be at hand to trade these being's uncanny knowledge of these subjects. Ashturu often will trade such knowledge for certain unsavory favors of a most unpleasant carnal nature. Clutches of eggs sometimes require the organs of procreation of the parent for proper birth. 

Space Stops: Spungo's Bar From Fishwife Games For Your Old School Space Opera Campaign

Grab It Right
Spungo's Bar is just the place to pick up a contract or let your adventurers unwind in their favorite space opera. Fish Wife games has done an excellent job of creating the sort of vile space bar, grill , and establishment that can deal out all kinds of adventure links, NPC contacts, and encounters to get your PC's into the seedy and dangerous underside of the galactic culture and society. This is a place that passes among the loathsome and jetsam of the universe. Dave Woodrum does an excellent job of creating the sort of establishment that you'll need a shower after visiting and that's a good thing. 
Spungo's is just the type of place that might appear in a cheesy late night sci fi cult movie from the 70's thru 90's on VHS or cable. That being said this is a place with plenty of room for DYI game mastering and tinkering in the background. At three dollars this is really an establishment that's a steal. Nicely written and easily thrown into any number of old school science fiction games. Going into Spungo's is going to have many PC's wanting to rethink their lives after one or two patron's use some old school mind tricks on them. That being said the product is well rounded and balanced for encounters. There's room here for expansion or for clear cutting DM customization. But there's enough meat on the bones of the product to flesh out NPC's, background of the location and more adventure location ideas as you see fit. Spungo's Bar is going to making appearances in my games coming up. With Guardians of the Galaxy making its Blu ray appearance last week I thought it was time once again to take a look at a place where Flash or Buck might be passed out in a corner. Just the type of place where the PC's might get themselves in deep trouble.
So I began to think again about one of my all time favorite VHS movies. Space Truckers an old 90's cult film that really isn't that well known outside of certain late night video rental places  and sci fi cult movie sites.
Spungo's is in the same vein as Space Truckers. Don't let that fool you, Spungo's is a smart and quite well done product. 

Clocking in at about fifteen pages,Spungo's has a very well developed sense of itself. The NPC's, patrons,etc. all have a bit of background and motives already in their descriptions. But everything is system agnostic so its going to easily fit into any of your old school gaming systems.
 On the whole the map that comes with it lines up quite nicely with the product's various areas and facilities. The map could be printed out and even used as a player hand out during play. Its not going to give away a thing about bar and its environs.

The bar should be place right off of the main star ship lines in a  campaign close enough to be accessible to PC's but far enough away to escape Imperial or Space Empire observation. A space lane where the patrons and  bar owners can carry out their nefarious schemes. A sector where wretch hives of scum and vile villainy can flourish.
All in all I think that Spungo's is a nice addition to the Fish Wife product line of supplements and its going to a real space dive location for the PC's in my various space based games can appear. 

Sunday, December 14, 2014

Free Old School Comic Book Download And Commentary - Nightmare Issue 10 Dec 1972 For Your Old School Campaigns

Grab It For Free Right 
As the cold holiday air comes through on a Sunday we've got another free download from the long forgotten desk of Skywald publishing. Nightmare was one of their most interesting horror themed comic magazines that got away with a ton of lurid artwork and old school comic Seventies goodness. 
Nightmare issue #10 was no except with a mix of horror, science fantasy, & even a mix of dripping movie magic. So what does this have to do with old school gaming goodness? Well after Marvel buried Skywald rather unfairly, they've entered the public domain and are perfect for mining for some solid old school ideas for your gaming table.
The Princess of Earth is the tale of a torch singer with a weird twist to her background and with a strange bout of the end of the story she could be used as a really interesting background NPC for your post apocalyptic wasteland or interstellar science fantasy waiting for some fool to stumble upon her and her legacy. 
The cult classic horror movie Frogs - This one is mostly forgotten and is perfect to add to an OSR horror game and pull your PC's into the deep end of the pond. Take a look. 
The Funeral Barge is a really nasty tale that adds a twist to any post apocalyptic wasteland city or as a horror adventure setting element that will cause your PC's to remember this one for years to come. 
Satan's Celler is perfect for a modern horror adventure and adds a really nasty dungeon element to a rather drab and ordinary old school track house or television style rerun modern adventure. 
The Proverbial Killer adds in an interesting twist on a modern horror encounter with a werewolf right into the mid point in a modern or add it into a Victorian style game. Fast, quick, and with a quick point which was always the Skywald way. 
Demonic Possession adds in that old horror magazine urban legend and occult fact blurb which can be used to add in a red herring or bit of occult lore to your game. 
Game of Skill can be used as an adventure idea or quick hook. 
The Night Mare World Of Trish Hamlin  is a perfect bridge gap into a horror/science fiction style adventure encounter for the fate of a mid level party as they investigate the death of the victim and could give in  to the menace of the story as themselves. 
Black Communion is a perfect adventure idea that could be added to a Lamentations of Flame Princess or horror game. The story is perfect for a pseudo European style city centered around a Roman Catholic cathedral.
I & I Equal Three is a monster/demon adventure idea with a whole different twist. A very nicely done story that can punch a group of PC's into the deep end of things.
The magazine ends with another Funeral Barge story iconic horror image and one that haunts the whole story through with a nasty Seventies horror vibe. Classic Skywald at its best. 

1d10 Random Space Brothels Encounter Table For Your Old School Space Opera

Space brothels offer opportunity, and danger to adventurers as well as explorers in the back waters of the universe where the more sleazy element can be encountered in your old school space based games. Here's a quick selection of encounters to throw at your PC's visiting the local space station or planetary houses of ill repute.
1d10 Random Space Brothels Random Encounter Table

  1. A team of 1d8 adventurers coming to spend credits & blow off steam, there is a 40% chance of them having artifacts and relics to sell as well. 3% chance of them wanting to deal and talk before seeing the house's talent. 
  2. An information broker looking for potential clients because the house is actually a local galactic spy net work as well as a house of ill business. There is a 10% chance that it is actually a xeno shape shifter guild of assassins in addition to sex workers. 
  3. A gaggle of alien ladies and men of the evening returning from the local bars for 'evening hours', these near humanoids are out for profit and fun but may also deal in low level illicit drugs as well. 
  4. A rival madam and body guard scoping out the local talent and looking for more business. She's looking for clever adventurers for a job aboard a local space station upon a minor crime and thieve's guild. 
  5. A single lady of the evening is looking for a group of bodyguards against a local cult of fanatics who want to murder her. She is actually a rival religion's figure head and she's been hiding out in this local house. They've only just caught up with her now. 
  6. This house of ill repute is actually a very sophisticated medical hospital and doc shop specializing in spacer injuries and space medicine. The sex worker bit is a sideline and they also sell oxygen and some minor spacer supplies. Each worker is actually a 3rd level cleric and healer. 
  7. The group encounters a gang of dangerous cut throats looking for some easy markers. A mix of 3rd level fighters armed with energy weapons. These fools have been doused with a light combat drug to start trouble so that the local law can round up the trouble markers and ship them out as crew aboard a deep space salvage operation. They will gain surprise against any party they meet. Very dangerous and hair trigger tempers. 
  8. A sex worker who also moon lights as an energy weapon sales person for a local corporation . She/he will offer a discount on all purchases of minor and hand weapons. She shifts sex and coloration telepathically depending upon clientele. Light telepathic abilities and near human. A very attractive sales person and work who is also a 2nd level fighter in her own right. 
  9. A highly intelligent Lovecraftian monster of singular aspect that works for a local cult recruiting and devouring certain clients. The thing works eight hours a day and is wildly popular because of the exotic nature of its 'practices', the thing feeds off mental energies of its clients while giving them the 'ultimate' fantasy. The thing sometimes burns out client's minds and devours the body. 
  10. This seemingly innocent alien worker is actually planning to assassinate  the house madam, she's looking to hire adventurers as additional muscle. The assassin's guild has gotten wind of this move and are going to make an example of her and any business associates and clients in the flashy's manner possible. She has 4000 credits hidden within her room, should anything happen to her, a very dangerous underworld figure will seek revenge against the PC's for their reprieved role in her murder. 

Saturday, December 13, 2014

Free Old School Comic Book Download And Commentary - 1984 #1 (1978) From Warren Publishing For Your Old School Space Based Campaigns

Grab Issue #1 Right

1984 came out a year before the film Alien and offered a sort of window into what seemed to be in the air back in the 1970's in comics and films. The pulp and 1950's science fiction pop culture landscape had given way to the used and lived in universe of the collective unconsciousness. A vibe violently seen in the Alien and less so in the fantasies of  Star Wars. Images bathed in the science fiction and fantasy of Seventies Hollywood and smack in the middle of this whole iconic morass of  science fictional dreams was 1984 from Warren publishing.
Issue one contains a boat of mixed Seventies science fantasy goodness. This mag was written to compete with Metal Hurlant and the American Heavy Metal magazine, which although it couldn't hold a candle to made a pretty damn good stab at. Issue one contains a number of pieces that will interest the science fiction and fantasy retro clone gamer. They're a definite pessimistic science fantasy vibe from the Seventies here, each story has the bombs and super weapons going off and vaporizing Earth. So for you Mutant Future players who want to get your campaigns into space. Here's a solid way of doing it.
The stories go like this :
Last of the Great Joy Juice is a mixed bag tale with some really sleazy elements lurking in the background. The type of a story that can be added into the background of a retroclone like Star Ships and Space Men with little issue. There's some nice art and mix of mutant and near humans in this one. 
Saga Of Honey Dew Melons is a sexist commentary tale that can happen in any sleazy backwater space bar in spades. This tale can have some back drop history with your favorite post apocalyptic wasteland quite easily. 
Once Upon Clarissa is pretty interesting and there are several plot lines that could be added into your favorite space based retroclone quite nicely. 
Quick Cut - This is a mix of fantasy and post apocalpytic hi jinks all the way, there's a Ralph Bakshi Wizard's vibe echoing throughout this tale. 
The Saga Of Xatz And Xotz is nicely done with some elements that can be borrowed for your old school favorite sagas in space rather nicely. 
Bugs is a pure throwback tale that could be added into the backdrop of a space opera retroclone adventure 
Mutant World begins here are and this is pure post apocalyptic inspiration all the way through for Mutant Future or Gamma clone dreams. Take a look at this one for wasteland ideas. 
Faster Then Light has excellent artwork and a good space based backdrop for a space opera tale or adventure. 
Angel has a slightly errie quality to it and the artwork makes the tale.
Momma can you hear me is one of those little tales that can be added to bother a party in a space opera and let it echo through a campaign during play.

I remember walking into Maxwell's drug store back in 1978 in downtown Torrirngton and seeing the above vividly lurid artwork. I didn't have the dollar fifty at the time to get it. But years later I did and its been a pretty damn controversial magazine through the years.
According to wiki right out of the gate the mag had some issues: 
1984 was a black and white science-fiction comic magazine published byWarren Publishing from 1978 to 19831984 was edited by Bill Dubay. The title of the magazine was changed to 1994 starting with issue 11 in February, 1980 based on a request by the estate of George Orwell.[1] The magazine ceased publication with issue 29 in February, 1983 due to the bankruptcy of Warren Publishing.
 Yet artists who contributed to it reads like a whose who of Seventies and Eighties 
comic book iconic artists. Again from Wiki : 
Artists who contributed stories to 1984/1994 included Alex NiñoRichard CorbenJose GonzalezJose OrtizFrank ThorneEsteban MarotoRudy Nebres, Abel Laxamana, Wally WoodLuis Bermejo, Alfredo Alcala and Vic Catan. Cover artists included Nino, Corben, Patrick Woodroffe, Jim Laurier,Sanjulián, Jordi Penalva, H.R. Giger, Steve Fastner, Rich Larsen, Lloyd Garrison, Terry Oates and John Berkey. Writers included Dubay, Thorne, Jim Stenstrum, Jan Strnad, Rich Margopoulos, Kevin Duane, Nicola Cuti and Gerry Boudreau.

So what really did in the magazine and Warren publishing? Well the 1984/1994 magazine might have been the start of the unraveling of Warren. According to wiki they went ahead and published something that they shouldn't have : 
One of the most notable incidents that occurred regarding the magazine was an unauthorized adaption of Harlan Ellison's story, "A Boy and His Dog", which has been rumored as one of the major factors in the bankruptcy of Warren Publishing. As discussed in the book The Warren Companion, editor Bill Dubay approached writers Gerry Boudreau and Jim Stenstrum about adapting science fiction stories for the magazine. Boudreau asked permission to adapt Ellison's story, and Dubay approved this, without first asking Ellison. When Ellison refused to grant permission, Dubay had artist Alex Niño draw the story anyway, then provided the art to Stenstrum to use as the basis for a new story. The story was published in issue 4, under the title 'Mondo Megillah'. Despite Stenstrum's revisions to the script, the story was still obvious plagiarism and Ellison filed a lawsuit, which he eventually won. 

Warren has had its far share of sex and controversial subjects but when you alter an iconic comic book icon's art well you might be walking on thin ice. Especially when that comic book legend happens to be loved Wally Wood. Once again from Wiki : 

As discussed by comics historian Richard Arndt, editor DuBay edited stories within the magazine to focus more on this subject matter, such as this incident that occurred with artist Wally Woodregarding stories that appeared in the first two issues of the magazine:
Wood's original story was entitled 'The End' and was 12 pages long. It was a part of his Wizard King series. Bill DuBay, without Wood's ok or knowledge, split the story in two, rearranged pages & panels, rewrote Wood's original script and presented the greatly altered work as two separate stories, changing Wood's original rather charming adult oriented tale into shorter pieces that leaned heavily on the scenes (which were also in Wood's original but not nearly so highlighted as their appearance here) of naked women in bondage being whipped and brutalized. Understandably, Wood was outraged and never worked for Warren again.
Want to know more about 1984/1994? Check out the wiki page HERE 
As well as the Richard J.Arndt interviews HERE

Friday, December 12, 2014

Six Old School Post Apocalyptic Cult Movies As Influence Upon Your Old School Post Apocalyptic Campaigns

Here's a quick list of  post & apocalyptic films to get the juices flowing on a new campaign for your table top. A quick list of some movies that echo the old school influence.
As with all things your mileage may vary quite a bit.

The original Terminator from 1984 

Still one of the most influential movies of all time. This one screams  to be used once again. Never really equaled. This film has been echoed but never really equaled. Cyborgs don't really go out of style they just upgrade.

 Terminator II 1991 

Yes this one continues the epic and proves that sequels can equal the first film. This film inspired countless PA campaigns to come in the years ahead. There's still plenty to borrow and mine from this gem of a film for your wasteland action. 

The Stand From 1994 
While never quite up to the book, this mini series has some interesting twists and turns that can be used as a backdrop for PA adventuring. There have been plenty of times when I've taken the Dark Tower route with this one and used the world of the Stand as an alternative Earth where Captain Tripps has had its run and the looting opportunities abound. Not widely known anymore this one proves a whole lot of potential to a DM if exploited right.
They don't come anymore iconic or deadly as call me Snake.
'Snake Pliskin', still an old favorite after all these years. Another film that can provide hours of inspiration for your wastelands and the soundtrack is still awesome as well.  This is one of those films that even while I own it on DVD, its still one that I watch when its on television. 
Escape From New York
Not as heavy handed as the Night Of The Living Dead films but ever so 80's is this classic, its got every little thing you need to keep your party of mutants steeped in the 84 vibe of awesomeness. After all Daddy always did like you best. 
Night Of The Comet 1984 

Space Vampires, zombies, apocalyptic horror bits, and more, Life Force is one of those films that can provide a bit of inspiration to have your wastelands suddenly teaming with soul sucking zombies as the comet with the ship returns after the events of this film. A classic Tobe Hooper effort that seldom gets remembered these days! Did I mention Patrick Stewart and the nuclear powered space shuttle known as the Church Hill?
Life Force 1985