Friday, April 29, 2016

Campaign Construction Using OSR Resources With The Astonishing Swordsmen & Sorcerers of Hyperborea Rpg System

Some of the material that Greg Gorgonmilk has been posting on G+ has me thinking & debating with my players & co dungeon masters about science fantasy especially the concepts of mixing sword and sorcery with planetary science fantasy. This was something that's fairly commonplace within games such as Astonishing Swordsmen and Sorcerers of Hyperborea.But this conceit also lurks in other OSR systems especially in the backgrounds of certain Lamentations of the Flame Princess resources. So one of my players wanted to know why we weren't using my Warlord of the Outer Worlds campaign. Well it was made for XYZ OSR retroclone system. So port it over Eric. Well there's lots of work that needs to be done to it. And that's when we got down to business. Here's what we brought to the table and why.
 Set Up & OSR Construction

So right off the bat is the fact that we needed a base system and resource that could easily be downloaded and used by the players ie something that's free and everyone likes. Hulks and Horrors has some great resources for generating hulks, wrecks, ruins and monsters. The game is also free and easily obtainable.
  1. There are some solid star ship generation rules in H&H and the game's portability over to D&D based games is a huge strength in the players opinions. 
  2. Decent PC generation options including the Surveyor's Guild 
  3. Its free for download

Carcosa also reared its head during the conversation today because of several different resources within its pages. Carcosa was brought up by the players and they wanted it included ASAP.
  1. The Sorcerer class is one thing that we decided on including for the NPC's 
  2. A huge swath of random robots, energy weapons generation and alien technology tables also a must. 
  3. The random Lovecraftian spawn tables to keep things unexpected and decidedly deadly. 
  4. The icky non PC rituals and rites because they bug the hell out of the some gamers(apparently not these)
    This is also a really excellent hex based resource based on Lovecraft with a dark evocative core that captures the struggles of a wicked based planetary setting. This is an adult based product so consider yourself warned.
 Narcosa has to be included in there because of the sheer weirdness factor and the fact that its an unofficial add on for Carcosa and works well with the rest of the material that we were planning. Inter solar system drug smugglers and wizards are a must. The sheer volume of creativity of Narcosa is in because of its connections to the other products on the table.  This is especially true of Lusus Naturae
from Neoplastic Press. Narcosa could simply dismissed as another sexual organ monster fest which misses a few points. This book has one of the best random monster generators going and these monsters would all port very easily to any OSR game. These are both adult based products and professionally done so very much worth your time.

 They all easily work with three other books in the mix here Bandits and Battle Cruisers is one of my all time favorite OSR sci fi books and has tons of resources for a science fantasy based game. And to augment the OSR vibe is Warriors of the Red Planet which has some great monsters, tech, huge swaths of random tables for ruins and much more.
 
Finally to round out this whole buffet of OSR goodness is the Star Ship From Hell. You plug this product into the rpg system you want to use. The Starship from Hell is a one to one system for generating a star ship wreck or star ship adventure location from the ground up. You provide the rpg system so this makes it easy to use with your favorite OSR engine.

Plugging These OSR Resources Into The Astonishing Swordsmen & Sorcerers of Hyperborea Rpg System


  Not all of Earth's extra solar terra-formed moonlets  are still within the reach of those who live in the shadow of Jupiter. Some have been borne away by the Borea Winds and reside within the ancient skies of Hyperborea. Dead sky ships hang in ever decaying orbits and many wizards hunger for the arcane secrets and techno sorcery artifacts that are aboard these vessels.  Adventurers and fools from Hyperborea seek to trod in these places. But the damned do not give up their secrets willingly. For there are  things waiting  in the darkness hungry, dangerous and eternal.

“The skies are haunted by that which it were madness to know; and strange abominations pass evermore between earth and moon and athwart the galaxies. Unnamable things have come to us in alien horror and will come again.”
― Clark Ashton Smith
But on the surfaces of these moonlets of the infernal far worse alien things wait and watch Once every seventy years they become visible in the skies of Hyperborea. Wizards bide their time and send only their strongest warriors, most able bodied apprentices, and stout fools to explore these products of almost god like Ancients  There are ruins and palaces that have been frozen in time for centuries as the forbidden magicks that preserve them were used  as war came to the shores of these worldlets. Sometimes these fools and outlaws come back baring prizes beyond the ken of man, sometimes these brave men and women come back 'changed' and 'altered' and sometimes they don't comeback at all.

More To Come Soon.

Thursday, April 28, 2016

Some Thoughts On Using The World Of The Lost Adventure Source Book By Rafael Chandler With The Astonishing Swordsmen & Sorcerers of Hyperborea rpg System


So last night it was time to get together with friends and start talking campaign development and DM round robin duties. World of the Lost somehow became the center of the conversation last night and beer was involved but it was a productive evening. Here's how things went down.


 Set Up & Use For World Of The Lost

Sometimes you've got to use whatever resources you've got at hand and sometimes it takes a friend to point out the obvious to a dungeon master. So last night I got together with a few of my friends for a DM meeting and get together IE we were watching movie and having a B.S. session. The World Of the Lost book by Mr. Rafael Chandler  was out on the table and we had 'The Sword & The Sorcerer' in the background along with Astonishing Swordsmen and Sorcerers of Hyperborea with us. One of the newest DM's is a twenty four year old young lady whose only recently become a DM after taking over for her husband whose been down with an illness. She brought some incredible energy to the table and the infusion has been like fresh blood on the alter of our old school campaigns.


"So why does this whole thing have to take place in 1551? And why can't we simply have this lost African world with all of this cool stuff as a part of another location?" "Well, because of it significant to the Age of European exploration and European history which Lamentations likes to take advantage of. The idea of using and grounding real world history in addition to create a more cohesive whole for an old school campaign  and all of that rot."  "Yeah but why are we tied to it?" "I mean it seems kinda limiting for our purposes and you've got this great resource to throw into the mix"  If Hyperborea is a shadow world or some other such setting of Earth then why couldn't World of the Lost's PC options from character generation expansion, new spells, equipment, regional weaponry, dark magic, techno science fantasy secrets, and all of that be a part of this upcoming game. There are some options for  warrior  PC classes and that I want for my character"
Suddenly the Sword and the Sorcerer movie went off and out came the note books. We were off and running. The ideas were flowing faster then the beer and in fact the beer went away and out came the tea. We were at it until late.



So the set up in World of the Lost goes something like this; "Central Africa, 1551. The metalworkers of Awka rise in prominence, even as the Kingdom of Nri declines. Every year, the Awka who dwell in the shadow of the Great Plateau deliver their tribute to the gods that dwell there. To acquire this treasure for themselves, the adventurers must face great beasts like the gbahali, mokele-mbembe, and the kholomodumo. Then they must brave a dungeon where memory is an illusion and time is a weapon. No sane person would ever attempt this. But a thousand years of tribute paid in silver."
So this is a 17th century fictional Nigeria and its way too tempting to not use as a much more advanced city state and plateau in Hyperborea especially with some extreme and weird pulpy resources in the mix. Would the mix of AS&SH and World of the Lost change up anything. Not really at all. We started looking into 15 mm figures as an option at our table to start saving costs and more. The idea has been something that we've been toying with for quite sometime now. Khurasan Miniatures makes some excellent ranges of fifteen MM figures that will suit our purposes.


 Now to back connect the whole premise of this style of campaign what was discussed last night was to take the whole premise of the Forgotten Fane of the Coiled Goddess by +Joe Salvador.  and then sprinkle trade artifacts from World of the Lost throughout the adventure leading the PC's into the next leg of a mega campaign run. The quasi Orientalist slant of the Forgotten Fane has some damn fine weird dinosaur resources that would fit quite nicely into the World of the Lost. But, but, how could we do that? What possible way is there to fit these two OSR resources together?  There are problems and situations that both products bring to the table as we shall see.


   The Khirima Connection & Beyond  

  World of the Lost allows the DM to create their own version of Khirima from the ground up for campaign construction that means  cities, towns, and tons of wilderness options. All of this can be expanded up on the fantastic maps that come with this adventure sourcebook. If we are looking at World of the Lost as adventure and campaign construction set for a game such as Astonishing Swordsmen & Sorcerers of Hyperborea suddenly Khirima becomes a very credible threat against ANY of the other nation states within the Hyperborea setting. Khirima has a 17th century African history and background. These were extremely dangerous players on the African stage of history dominating those tribes and areas around them. This means that either Khirima needs to be a lost world setting on its own or a major player controlling vast territories in the game setting of Hyperborea


Khirima (kurr-EE-mah) is the capital of a large kingdom surrounded by villages and towns for many miles. So there are going to be tons of options on the table for adventure opportunities for a party from men and women across a vast swath of a sword and sorcery campaign. You could add into the mix either a traditional Lamentations of the Flame Princess party of adventurers or something on the level of a traditional AS&SH party which is right at the moment the route my players seem to be leaning towards. Here are ten possible reasons for mixing the two OSR products:
  1. An incredibly rich lost world setting that might keep a campaign going for years with a dire and richly familiar but completely out there system. 
  2. The World of the Lost setting gives a cohesive city state to adventure in and background to sew the campaign together. 
  3. Not the usual D&D monsters even with dinosaurs and African legends there's lots of room for the gonzo adventure antics to seep in. 
  4. The old school asthetic is alive and well in this campaign and it easily lends itself to incorporating tradition D&D monsters and elements. 
  5. Potential to bring over the extremely dark LoFP magick aspects and still keep traditional campaigns intact. 
  6. This setting could be used as an extreme fringe setting for the Dark Albion campaign empire to be explored and as a potential war point for future campaigns 
  7. This mix of settings could be used as a shadow world past the 'Borea Winds' for LoFP adventurers to stumble upon and adventure in. This place might also be used for traditional D&D adventurers to explore as a lost world setting. 
  8. Entire campaigns could be played here for years and years to come with lots of lethal ulitlity. 
  9. This is an excellent setting for a new prehistoric monster or race to be explored in without upsetting your normal campaign. 
  10. This  is too damn cool of an idea to not use.



Wednesday, April 27, 2016

Dragon's Foot OSR Free Adventure - LG1: Terror in the Forest of Gizzick By Claude M. LeBrun For Your Old School Campaigns

Good evening kids, your uncle Eric is back with another bit of commentary this time we go back to Dragon's foot for a free adventure download with lots of potential. I'm speaking of LG1: Terror in the Forest of Gizzick By Claude M. LeBrun. This is a free fifteen page AD&D 1st edition style adventure that takes full advantage of its PC levels right out of the gate. There is an element of danger and the adventure involves some humanoid races that don't get much air play these days and this is an adventure that takes the old school investigative style and pumps it up by an order of magnitude;"Many years ago Ronan Haverstack was an apprentice to the count’s personal wizard Jax Narhl. Ronan was an excellent student, working as hard as he could to learn all the tricks of spell casting. Ronan with a large thirst for knowledge would spend hours reading and studying all the tomes and spell books in Jax’s library. Jax kept one tome magically locked in a strongbox and would not allow Ronan to look at it. “I keep that tome locked away to prevent its evil from ever seeing the light of day”, Jax would say. Ronan coveted that book, and eventually figured out how to break the magical seal. Jax caught Ronan removing the book from the strongbox and tried to take it away. A fight ensued which ended in Ronan killing Jax. It wasn’t long before Jax’s murder was discovered and Ronan had to flee the kingdom. To avoid discovery Ronan Haverstack changed his name to Gandilor. Gandilor wandered for several months and eventually found refuge in a fishing village on the southern coast."  Things only get worse from this point and that's where your PC's get involved.The adventure picks up right from here and pulls your party of adventurers into the deep wasters of the plot of LG1: Terror in the Forest .The module places the PC's right into the middle of the action right out of the gate and keeps them there with a series of demanding and solid encounters. Its also an adventure that can be customized as you need to and its perfect for a DYI side quest or campaign opener;"Locate the hobgoblin’s lair in any forest in a non-populated area near a rural community, farmland, or village. Place in this area a few farms and settlements that have been raided by the hobgoblins." Believe it or not for a fifteen page adventure there actually is a subplot to this adventure and it has a ton to do with the background and history of the  Forest of Gizzick. Because of the nature of this adventure I was wishing there was more to it.


There are enough twists and turns to take this adventure in many different directions depending upon the retroclone system that your using at your table. The idea here is that LG1: Terror in the Forest of Gizzick could be used in a Dark Albion setting especially on the outer fringes of the empire of Albion and the like. Or it could be used in the mythic and twisted lonely places of the Lamentations of the Flame Princess retro clone system. There is enough meat on the bones of this adventure to adapt it into the back end of an old school campaign so that it can be used as a jump off point or as a side quest for the PC's. There is enough here to take the adventure down a dark and dangerous path. But is it worth the download?
The short answer is yes but the longer one is where do you as the dungeon master want to place this adventure. There are several dangerous and strong NPC's in this adventure and that could work to a DM's advantage if they wish to write a bit more to suit their own campaign. There are several opportunities for a dungeon master with a bit of a DYI D&D streak to take full advantage of these horrors, opportunities, and NPC's and make them their own.
While it is a fun adventure many of the more understated sword and sorcery elements in LG1: Terror in the Forest of Gizzick  might need to be brought forward for front and center to really move the plot along and get the DM's own campaign elements to take center stage.
All in all this is a great free module with lots of potential for a fully created and staged side quest or this adventure could be used to launch a great side campaign of the DM's own design. For a free module its pretty damn sweet and well constructed.

Tuesday, April 26, 2016

Commentary On Adventure Construction For The Astonishing Swordsmen and Sorcerers of Hyperborea Rpg System


While everyone the other night had a fantastic time with the DCC/Crawling Under A Broken Moon game adventure they wanted to get back into a Astonishing Swordsmen and Sorcerers of Hyperborea Rpg game adventure night. So began a two hour conversation with my co dungeon master for an upcoming AH&SH game. So I took a look a bit of Mutant Future and Tim Snider's Thundarr The Barbarian source book for use with this upcoming event.


Given my group's predisposition toward post apocalyptic worlds the Thundarr connection was a natural progression especially given the implied post fantasy world of AS&SH Hyperborea. Realms of Crawling Chaos also from Goblinoid Games  helps lend a Lovecraftian flair to the proceedings.



My co dungeon master is looking to use this world as a fragment of the Old World and the PC's being travelers from Hyperborea. There are several options on the table and the AS&SH referee's book gives lots of options for world and adventure building.


From the organization to the preparation that goes into this sort of campaign I know what I'm in for, this book is set up for and dwells within a fine place within the Labyrinth Lord andLabyrinth Lord Advanced canon of retroclone books but the forbidden magick aspect of it puts this book squarely within the Realms of Crawling Chaos Goblinoid Games campaign style of world. I'm not displeased at all with that vibe for it fits other books like Carcosa as well making these books a sound economic investment for the DM trying to stretch every last dime like me. This makes this line up a perfect set up to create a mini campaign world and adventure setting. I was also looking into the
Pay What You Want OSR PC Resource - Advanced Ape Class From Great Khan Games For Your Old School Campaign



With the release of Ape Victorious soon this game has lots of possibilities when combined with AS&AH but this is an option that will have to wait until the release of that game. For now I've got lots of OSR options to consider.




Here are ten quick off the cuff guidelines that work when I'm doing a bit of AS&SH adventure construction and creation. These are by no means that extensive or exhaustive:
  1. Choose cross compatible OSR systems to save yourself time and headaches and while about 90% of retroclone systems are cross gamable  AS&SH is a good setting  solid base to hang your adventures within
  2. Keep things moving and choose the time, place, and adventure elements that you want for your games. Try and avoid the rail roadie pit falls of traditional D&D style adventures. 
  3. Pick and choose the sword and sorcery elements that you want and don't be afraid to take risks. 
  4. Make sure that your players are on the same page as you are system wise, if your all on the same page it makes games go that much more smoothly. 
  5. Don't be afraid to take traditional D&D elements and swap them out with AS&SH's Lovecraftian backgrounds. 
  6. Take risks within reason and don't make the adventure about you, remember the PC's are the heroes and characters of legend. 
  7. AS&SH is a post apocalyptic fantasy campaign with lots and lots of pulpy elements. Take full advantage of those during adventure construction.  Make Hyperborea your own setting the way you want.
  8. Expect players to do the unexpected and roll with it. Adventures are constructed with guidelines and weirdness built into them. Let the players take you on the journey as much as the play. 
  9. Pick and choose your areas of the game you want and don't be afraid to make it your own. Keep things moving and don't worry about things too damn much.
  10. Maps are fantastic but don't be bound to any one vision keep your AS&SH games loose and they'll create themselves.