Friday, September 20, 2019

Shoring up Tegel Manor With The Wilderlands of High Fantasy Session Report

"Home to the City State of the Invincible Overlord and other classic Judges Guild products, the Wilderlands of Fantasy is the ultimate epic high fantasy setting. The Wilderlands of High Fantasy was the first campaign setting ever fleshed out in print for fantasy roleplaying and now Necromancer Games brings this classic Judges Guild setting to you!"

The party tonight was able to make it through through tonight's game of Judge's Guild's Tegel Manor game session. They were able to secure several minor treasures & relics from the NPC's. What I did was draw in several other Judge's Guild products from the original  Wilderlands of High Fantasy & Necromancer Games of  Wilderlands of High Fantasy 3.5  products.

I've been using this material with Castles & Crusades mixed with the 3.5 & the players seemed to be on board with this. Tegel Manor's material  matches up with both of these resources & now its getting to appear more as a whole cloth campaign from the ground up. I've been coming several OSR systems added into the mix. With the OSR  Humble Bundle which I picked from the website.
What I can say is that the bundle is well worth it. 

Now during tonight's game session one of our Psions were able to grab bunch of pesudo illiad minor artifacts our other adventurers had by passed. The rest of the adventurers were defending the monstary from an alien incursion that has been in coming. The alien influences & monsters have a definite chaos bent to them. I used Dark Albion Chaos Cult to give the usual D&D  monsters a very different chaotic feel. 

During tonight's game the player's learned about the The Mighty Servant of Leuk-o From The Book of Artifacts. The cults have found that the mechanism has been moved into the dungeons below the manor. Things are going to get very interesting in the week after next's game session. 

OSR Thoughts & Ideas On The Mighty Servant of Leuk-o From The Book of Artifacts

If there's one metaphor in life its that one mess takes care of another, & I hate getting blindsided by players or dungeon masters at my table. Happens all of the time as my lovely wife is so fond of reminding me of. Such as today when while working on my Tegel Manor campaign. I've been today that there's been the sighting of  The Mighty Servant of Leuk-o. on the plane where the manor has appeared.  
"The Mighty Servant of Leuk-o is a towering automaton of jet black metal, shadowy crystal, and several mysterious fibrous materials. The device stands over nine feet tall, is nearly five feet wide, and some six feet deep. It is rounded and might remind one of a cross between an overly stout (if gigantic) dwarf and a lumbering beetle. The servant has two stocky legs, on which it walks with a curious swaying motion, and a pair of dangling arms.
An internal compartment is configured to seat two man-sized creatures comfortably. Externally, as many as five others might perch safely upon the servant when it is in motion. As might be expected, this dreadful thing is quite heavy, weighing nearly two tons, and is hideously noisy when in operation."

"The Mighty Servant of Leuk-o made its 
appearance in the the 1st edition Advanced Dungeons & Dragons Dungeon Master's Guide as well as  he Second Edition Advanced Dungeons & Dragons Book of Artifacts. Further research on the FATAL & Friends site shows the dangerous nature of this artifact; "The Mighty Servant of Leuk-o’s powers are written with what I think are rules for large-scale battles, so it makes sense that the book suggests that giving this artifact to an antagonist so the players have to raise an army to stop him or her. While the book says the artifact isn’t something that should be left with players for long because of its curse, it also says that adventures can be made for finding out how to use the Mighty Servant’s powers"

The Mighty Servant of Leuk-o has 60 hit points and -6 AC. It can only be struck by +2 weapons or better. Bludgeoning weapons do only 1 point of damage against it, while edged weapons only cause half their normal damage, rounded down. It has 90% Magic Resistance, and is utterly immune to acid, cold, heat, normal fire, vacuum and water. Lightning, electricity and magical fire inflict 20% normal damage, assuming the attack gets through the MR. If damaged, the Mighty Servant regenerates 2 hp/round. Anyone inside the Mighty Servant is fully protected from outside attacks. Given all these defenses, it is possible to destroy the Mighty Servant by reducing its hp to zero.

The interior of the Mighty Servant is akin to a modern cockpit, and anyone trying to use its active powers needs either to consult sages or tomes or experiment through trial and error. At least the DM is told to just abstract this learning process. The Mighty Servant of Leuk-o has a movement of 3, and can only be active for 12 hours at a time. After-which the machine must be inactive for an hour to recharge its energies. The Mighty Servant “strikes as a 10-HD creature” (does that mean it uses the default THAC0? Why not just give the THAC0? Damnit, TSR!). It can attack once a round (or at least that’s my reading) and each blow does 1d6 x 10 points of damage. The Mighty Servant is strong enough to destroy castles. If used as a siege engine, it does the same damage as a screw or ram. If used in a BattleSystem game, its stats are AD d12+d8, AR 4, HD 10, Hits 5, MV 3. For random powers, the Mighty Servant gets 6 Offensive Powers, 6 Major SLP, and 2 Healing Powers that apply to any one creature inside the interior compartment. Using any of these abilities drains one hour of continuous usage.

Major SLP: 24, 7, 50, 46, 65, 99
  • 4-7: Cast animate dead 1/day
  • 24-26: Cast destruction 1/week
  • 44-46: Cast magic jar 1/day
  • 47-50: Cast mindshatter 1/week
  • 96-100: cast wither 1/week

Offensive Powers: 1, 2, 18, 1, 18, 8
  • 1: Cast age creature 1/day
  • 2: Cast Bibgy’s crushing hand 1/day
  • 8: Cast disintigrate 1/week
  • 18: Cast suffocate 1/week

Healing: 20, 19
  • 19: Cause all healing spells applied to the user to be doubly effective
  • 20: Erase scars and other disfigurements caused by battle (at will)

The Mighty Servant’s curse has both a short- and long-term component. First, every time the operator uses a power, he must make a save vs spell or goes into a battle frenzy for 24 hours. “During that time, the artifact is used in a rampage of destruction to any and all within reach.” Considering that the Mighty Servant has to take an hour break every 12 hours, it seems that might be difficult. Second, the character using the Mighty Servant risks Artifact Transformation. “Those affected by this power gradually have their alignment shifted to chaotic neutral”. That-that’s not what Artifact Transformation is used for. 

Besides hitting it a lot, there are two other means of destruction suggested
  • A self-destruct command phrase. This causes an explosion-no specifics beyond “very big”
One of the powers of the Machine of Lum the Mad is to destroy the machine. If Lum knew that such a power existed, he never used it."

The fact is that its an artifact with lots of secrets & intercate histories tied into it. I'd venture to guess that its another example of Darkmoor technology from the fleet that came with the Warden. This time it had fallen on Greyhawk.  Why do I say Greyhawk? Because the 'Mechanism of Lum the Mad' appeared first appeared in Eldritch Wizardry for original Dungeons & Dragons. 

But this gets into a theory I've got about much of the S3 Expediation to the Barrier Peaks By Gary Gygax  technologies, artifacts, etc. are essentially all cursed in one way or another. These battles between kingdoms, warlord activity, battles of the gods, etc. This might help to explain the constant cycle of these artifacts being uncovered & then contiuing the cycle. 

This gets into the heart of the cycle of constant warfare but could there be something in the background feeding upon the violence, degredation, & warfare. Time & again I keep finding myself going back to the Egg of Coot here. The Egg has not only the capacity but the motive to keep this cycle of death & destruction going. All of that power is centered on it as well & given all of these I keep thinking that the Egg is motivated to keep the wheel going gaining power as things continue their cycle. I was reading   'The Return of the Egg' article on The Vaults of Pandius site
by Giuliano Michelon from Threshold Magazine issue 12. Its got me thinking about the Egg's continuing influence on both Greyhawk & my own campaigns. 

In terms of the Godbound rpg 'The Mighty Servant of Leuk-o' would be a prize found someplace on some back end of the Road of Night. This artifact would have fought in many wars perhaps even in the Wars of Hell & the minor Heavens. The mecha could teach priest technologists the hidden means of some of the secrets of making its style of mecha. But would a party of adventurers survive its wrath?! This might be an adventure unto itself down the line. Possibly a raid on a wizard's tower or other ruin where the last party of adventurers tried to find it & met their demise at its claws.

Thursday, September 19, 2019

Commentaries On Judge's Guild's "City State of the Invincible Overlord" By Bill Owen and Bob Bledsaw With A Castles & Crusades Twist

"The City-State of the Invincible Overlord was the first fantasy RPG setting ever published (1976). It features a huge walled city that is ruled by the eponymous (lawful evil) Overlord and the surrounding environs that are full of adventure possibilities. What was so striking at the time that it was first released was the incredible level of detail that the product contains. Hundreds of streets are mapped, named, and populated with shops, temples, inns, taverns, brothels, houses, barracks, and the like. Hundreds of NPCs are listed along with their stats and rumors they know (for starting adventures). The history and political system of the City State is described along with relevant laws the PC's must abide by while inside the city. It includes dungeon levels beneath the City State and detailed information for nearby adventure / dungeon sites: the dwarven fortress "Thunderhold" and the "Sunstone Caverns".
The City State was designed for Dungeons & Dragons (Original Edition) but was not officially licensed for D&D until 1978. The license ended in 1983. It was printed many times over the life of Judges Guild and changed in size and configuration in subsequent editions." 
From the RpgGeek Entry here

There are times when I really need to start thinking about fading into the background of the OSR for a nano second. Tonight's been one of those nights & when this happens I go & do a bit of research. In this case it was Judge's Guild's City State of the Invincible Overlord  .  City State of the Invincible Overlord was first released at Gen Con IX in August 1976.[3] City State of the Invincible Overlord launched Judges Guild as a company, and was the centerpiece of its Wilderlands of High Fantasy campaign setting, the first licensed and published Dungeons & Dragons campaign setting"

I was sorting through a thread on Dragon's foot when I came across this little gem from poster The Invincible Overlord was mostly lawful Evil. However he would do good or benevolent deeds once in a great while, especially if it would strengthen his rule. Slavery as well as Torture, Whippings or Public Floggings, Gauntlets, and being Impressed, or Drafted into Service, is all legal in the City State of the Imperial Overlord by his decree. Torture aswell asmost of the other punishments herein doesn't make the Lawful Neutral playbook.

My CSIO Booklet I in the Background Guidelines on page I-16 describes him thusly;

The Overlord himself is Lawful/Evil leaning towards Good and employs all alignment types in his efforts to maintain a firm power base. The strict enforcement of laws and lack of religious bigotry has widened the Overlord's Power. There is a 16% chance per week of an emergency tax of 2 Gp per LVL on Nobles, 1 Gp per LVL on Gentlemen and Merchants, and 1SP per LVL on all others. In addition, the Overlord's Secret Police (called the Black Lotus) pervades all social levels to the extent that any organized rebellion will come to his attention (1 in 6 chance per day) no matter how secret.

I won't describe all the awesome magic and weapons the Overlord carries, but will mention that his personal bodyguard includes a Mind Flayer, a Beholder, and a Balrog, as well as two Dwarven Myrmidon Champions, three Hell Hounds and in the Throne Room, an Iron Golem. None of this sounds very Lawful Neutral to me.

The Summer Palace,is of course guarded by all LG creatures."

Any military commander that travels into the City-State with an army of 200 or more without a direct invitation of the Invincible Overlord is automatically guilty of high treason and will be arrested and/or assassinated depending on the circumstances."
Another poster on the thread had said that the Invincible Overlord sounded like a stone cold bad ass. And I have to agree with that sentiment.  While Water Deep from the Forgotten Realms claims to be a hive of scum & villainy, the city state was/is the real deal. A campaign setting with everything a dungeon master needs to set his original Dungeons  & Dragons or Advanced Dungeons & Dragons games.
And another thing that I didn't realize is that James Mishler did a whole host of conversion & new material for Castles & Crusades for 
the Wilderlands of High Adventure. These were authorized & approved by Judge's Guild for the Castles & Crusades game. 

Basically this is making me think about a 
 Judge's Guild's City State of the Invincible Overlord powered by a Castles & Crusades engine. For the moment this is only a fleeting thought on my brain & one which I'm filing away in the back of my lizard brain for handy reference later on. The advantages of a Castles & Crusades fueled campaign are many including pulling out older Judge's Guild material into the mix. James Mishler is a solid writer & game designer so the advantages weight on my mind a bit.

There are a myriad of reasons why
 Judge's Guild's City State of the Invincible Overlord powered by a Castles & Crusades engine would work:
  1. A huge number of JG's beloved & solid products to pull from 
  2. Quickly & easily convertable number of supplements & adventures that are beloved by OSR & old school players. 
  3. Many of the Judge's Guild products are easily converted over to a Sword & Sorcery theme with a back bone of AD&D style high fantasy on the fringes. 
  4. Many of the Judge's Guild products are out in the rpg wilds & easy to get as pdfs and relatively unknown by the majority of 5th edition players. 
  5. A stable & easy to reach group of players & audience 
  6. AD&D goes easily with Castles & Crusades 
  7.   Judge's Guild's City State of the Invincible Overlord is bad ass & easily clampable with Greyhawk, Blackmoor, & even.. Mystara. But Mystara could even be pushing it unless I use the AD&D Mystara material. 
  8. Even Astonshing Swordsmen & Sorcerers of Hyperborea is convertable to this sort of a campaign so win/win in my book. 
  9. There is so much to explore in Wilderlands of High Fantasy & it will take years. 
  10. Prep time is cut in half with this sort of a campaign. 

Playing With The Ruler of The Devil World For Your Old School Campaigns

Scheduling is one of the biggest hazards in setting up a new game campaign. Today I've been meeting with DM Mike & his brother Steve to discuss doing a sort crossover game using Stars Without Number Godbound.  We started tossing back & forth different ideas villains that we've used in the past. Who would fit into the campaign world? 

We dived into Ward & Kuntz's Deities & Demi Gods going back to when we were kids the Babylonian pantheon & our experiences with Dante's Inferno, Tiamat, Judge's Guild's Inferno adventure, & more. The one bastard that we all remember is the "king of Devils Druaga"  He gets a  bit  of space in Deities & Demigods but seems to almost be a background player in the games of devil kind. 

 "Ruler of the Devil World, is a lesser god.  He and his worshipers are lawful evil, and he has been known to send devils to aid worshipers who have recently sacrificed a virgin to him."  Reading through a recent Tim Brannan Otherside of the blog  entry on Druaga there was an interesting bit, "Is it me or does his mace remind you of Asmodeus' Ruby Rod?". No its not simply you Tim. DM Mike reminded me that we used Druaga as one of the mentors of Asmodeus. He was kicked out once Asmodeus descended to the throne of Hell & the Inferno.


But what would Druaga be like in the context of a game of Godbound? Well he'd be ruler of 'the Devil World' by the modern standards of our game, a Hell plane fragment(yomi world) that is separate from the inferno. His cults thrive among the rulers, statesmen, & kings of the gulfs of space. He's a patron to tyrants & is always looking to expand his reach across the interstellar golf. The ruby rod of his marks him as a former ruler of the Inferno who retired from his position after the descend of Asmodeus. Asmodeus continues to tolerate to Druaga because the interests of master & former student rarely overlap. There are rumors of back handed support to his old teacher but these are very unlikely to be substantiated. Druaga is methodical in his methods but quite blood thirty in his appetites on the mortal realm. 

Druaga is an active god on the plane Prime appearing as an assassin at the beckoned call of kings & rulers of the space ways. He gains access to the inner workings of empires while actively corrupting governments around him.  At other times Druaga appears as a wise wizard of the space ways serving the whims of ancient devils of fallen civilizations. Or at least that is how events appear. In fact Druaga has been taking full advantage of the empty throne of Heaven to spread his own special brand of mayhem across the planes. His cabals & cells of cultists operate on the fringes of space while keeping his wizards busy within the infrastructure of the machinery of interstellar civilization.
Druaga's champions & warrior cults have made a series of daring raids across the interstellar gulf as space pirates. Several A.I.'s serve the devil ruler & there are a few 'up raised' rebotic entities  among the ranks of his cults. Several worlds have fallen to his machinations over the millennium.
He's most likely operating along several points in the abandoned area of the Night Road on worlds that have been forgotten to most of humanity. I feel sorry for the demi gods & adventurers who find his cults on some back water world. 

OSR Commentary - Kuntz & Wards's Gods, Demi Gods, & Heroes - Dieties & Humanity With a Lovecraftian Twist or Two

So incase you haven't been following I've been going back over my collection of original Dungeons & Dragons books. Over the course of several days these books were inspiring me to write a Godbound campaign which supposed to be for my friend DM Steve's players. Yeah there's been a few finiancal reversals that happen to many folks. DM Steve & his family are on the mend so its all good. Today has been a day of distractions & that came in the form of the OSR Humble Bundle.  But once again I'm looking into this Godbound campaign & also I'm unpacking Dieties, Demigods, & Heroes, again. Glen Taylor's review of Gods, Demi-Gods and Heroes in The Space Gamer No. 9 gets into some very interesting points;
"Glen Taylor reviewed Gods, Demi-Gods and Heroes in The Space Gamer No. 9.[3] He states that as "the fourth and purportedly last supplement to Dungeons and Dragons" it "might be expected from such a 'last bow,' as it were, this newest supplement is different from all three of the previous ones, in a major way. [...] This is by no means 'standard' D&D material."[3] He commented that "I'm no scholar of ancient (and modern!) legends, but it seems to me the authors have given a view of the various mythological concepts which is both panoramic and scrutinously details, and as complete as possible within the space limitations imposed [...] Kuntz and Ward have taken material which has come down to us in a sometimes distorted and almost always nebulous form, and clarified it into a solid material which would fit in well with any fantasy game."[3] Taylor concludes his review by saying that Gods, Demi-Gods and Heroes is worth the price "for the mere pleasure of reading it. For students of ancient legends it's a Type I treasure. It should much lived up any D&D campaign in which it is used"

Why?! If your playing a transhumanistic game where humanity has stormed Heaven & things have gone rather badly. Then it might be time to look at the  strange mythological  cosmologies of Ward & Kuntz 
Gods, Demi-Gods and Heroes. 

This gets into one of my favorite Egyptian gods from Gods, Demigods, & Heroes;


Armor Class — 5 Magic Ability: (See Below) Move: ? Fighter Ability: 18th Level Hit Points: 200 Psionic Ability: Class 6
Ptah is said to have existed before the Gods. He stands 10 feet tall, with a humanoid shape, jet black skin, and eyes that seemingly appear invisible but upon closer inspection are really pools of outer space. He can force beings into a nameless void with the look of his eyes (magic saving throw applicable). Sending one being per melee round into this void, only he can bring them out again. He is not affected by magical weaponry, and there is no known limit to the speed he can travel on land or in the air. In combat he never uses armor and fights with the Scepter of the Gods. This weapon tells its user of the strong points of any enemy faced, is able to nullify one of any type spell used against it per melee round, can also do this with the powers of other magic items used against it, and hits for 1-100 points of damage.
Ptah enjoys new ideas and devices. When a being creates a device that is highly useful (judge's option) there is a 10% chance that the God will reward that being with a Thet. This device is an amulet geared to do one of two things: it can project an antimagic shell around the user which does not affect the user's ability to cast spells, the second allows the wearer to go ethereal once a week."  Taken one part of Marvel's Doctor Strange's Eternity & HP Lovecraft's Outer God Yog-Sothoth. Why because he is both the key & the gate to all known time & space as well as the planes. It exists outside of & beyond these things.

Yog-Sothoth knows the gate. Yog-Sothoth is the gate. Yog-Sothoth is the key and guardian of the gate. Past, present, future, all are one in Yog-Sothoth. He knows where the Old Ones broke through of old, and where They shall break through again. He knows where They have trod earth's fields, and where They still tread them, and why no one can behold Them as They tread.
HPL , The Dunwich Horror

Yog-Sothoth is a cosmic entity and Outer God. Born of the Nameless Mist, he is the progenitor of CthulhuHastur the Unspeakable and the ancestor of the Voormi. He is also the father of Wilbur Whateley."

Vision d'artiste de Yog-Sothoth by Dominique Signoret
I think that PTAH GOD OF OUTER SPACE "OPENER OF THE WAYS" is fact another aspect similar to 'Umr at-Tawil (Arabic عمر الطويل) The [Most Ancient and] Prolonged of Life' avitar of  Yog-Sothoth. These two are some of the more benificial aspects of the Outer God;"'Umr at-Tawil (Arabic عمر الطويل) The [Most Ancient and] Prolonged of Life), also spelled Tawil At-U'mr or Tawil-at'Umr,[5] is described as an avatar of Yog-Sothoth in the story "Through the Gates of the Silver Key", by Lovecraft and E. Hoffman Price. In the story, he presides over the timeless halls beyond the Gate of the Silver Key and the strange, near-omnipotent Ancient Ones that dwell there. He is described as the silhouette of a man behind a strange, shimmering veil. He is one of very few apparently benign Lovecraftian Great Old Ones who does not cause insanity in those who view him."
At some point in the far future millions if not billions of years from now some strain of humanity bargains with 
PTAH GOD OF OUTER SPACE "OPENER OF THE WAYS". They do this in order to gain mastery over time & space itself. No this doesn't go well for them either. PTAH isn't a regular part of the Egyptian pantheon he's much older. 

Now basically in Godbound humanity has stormed Heaven & killed all of God's angels, attendants,etc.,etc. only to find that the throne of Heaven is emply. They conclude that they've become the Biblical God themselves ( no worries their not). The Shattering happens & anyone that studies mythology has seen this style of event` a million times. The fall of humanity because they've gotten too close to the realm of the gods resulting in huge affair that shatters their grip on the stars & cosmos. The question that I keep asking is, 'Is there room in a campaign for the infernal, theDivine with a capital 'D', Transhumanistic elements, & even a Lovecraftian mythos'.  I believe the answer is yes.  And it all comes down to the writings of A. Merritt especially his book the Moonpool.  This book isn't his best & the prose is very archaic to modern readers but the ideas, settings, etc are killer the basic plot goes something like this; "The plot concerns an advanced race which has developed within the Earth's core. Eventually their most intelligent members create an offspring. This created entity encompasses both great good and great evil, but it slowly turns away from its creators and towards evil. The entity is called either the Dweller or the Shining One.
Eventually of the race which created it only three are left; these are called the Silent Ones, and they have been 'purged of dross' and can be described as higher, nobler, more angelic beings than are humankind. They have also been sentenced by the good among their race to remain in the world, and not to die, as punishment for their pride which was the source of the calamity called the Dweller, until such time as they destroy their creation—if they still can. And the reason they do not do so is simply that they continue to love it.
The Dweller is in the habit of rising to the surface of the earth and capturing men and women which it holds in an unholy stasis and which in some ways feed it. It increases its knowledge and power constantly, but has a weakness, since it knows nothing of love. The scientist Dr. Goodwin and the half-Irish, half-American pilot Larry O'Keefe, and others, follow it down. Eventually they meet a woman, beautiful and evil, named Yolara, who in essence serves the Shining One, and the 'handmaiden' of the Silent Ones, beautiful and good, named Lakla. Both want O'Keefe and eventually battle over him.
There is also a race of very powerful and handsome Polynesian-like 'dwarves' and a race of humanoids whom the Silent Ones developed from a semi-sentient froglike species.
There develops a battle between the forces of good and evil with not only the entire world, but perhaps even the existence of good itself is at stake. But can the forces of good prevail using fear as a weapon? Or will they have to rely upon love expressed by willing sacrifice?"
Basically it goes like this 'the advanced race at the Earth's core' is what's left of some of humanity after bargaining with the PTAH GOD OF OUTER SPACE "OPENER OF THE WAYS" aspect of Yog-Sothoth. They gain their power but pay for it in other aspects. The plot of the Moonpool goes ahead & all is right with the pulpy world. But humanity has become aware of the events of the Moonpool, the 'Shining Ones', and the threat of these alternative groups of humanity from these 'lost worlds'. The thread that ties all of this together is 
 Dr. Goodwin who later on appears in the Metal Monsters. His work is what ties all of these cults & whatnot together. 

Now this all ties back in with the fact that way back in January of this past year I was doing a bunch of stuff connected with 
Dungeons & Demons - Mayfair Games Demons Box Set One - OSR Campaign CommentaryThere's also the fact that I've got Luz still in play from Greyhawk in this from OSR Commentary - The Luz Dossier - A Paler Shade & Echo of Greyhawk - Campaign Notes . So where do I go with this campaign mess?! Well I start running with it as a dungeon master & amazingly the players will sort it out for me. This is often the case amazingly folks. 

Wednesday, September 18, 2019

Review & Commentary On The Free Warriors of the Lost Planet pdf By Brett Slocum For Your Old School Campaigns

Basically I was looking around for new Warriors of the Red Planet resources. I stumbled into Brett Slocum's Warriors of the Red Planet Tekumel  campaign resource book  Warriors of the Lost Planet. What is Warriors of the Lost Planet? Well its an  OSR Sword and Planet rules Warriors of the Red Planet to play on Tekumel during The Later Times, the period within a few thousand years of The Time of Darkness.. 

Warriors of the Lost Planet clocks in at thirty two pages of Tekumel planet sword & sorcery style adventure. Those players of the Empire of the Petal Throne rpg will see all of the familiar races & aliens in attendence. The engine here is definitively Warriors of the Red Planet. So we've got a solid engine here that brings in the "Sword and Planet" genre which is  wonderfully brought to life though simple but effective rules for character races, classes and equipment! All of this is done with a Tekumel flurish!  But is this done effectively?

Well yes but your gonna need Warriors of the Red Planet becaus these are Brett Slocum's Warriors of the Red Planet  Rpg  Tekumel  campaign resource book from the ground up. He's got all of the familiar races, notes on playing them, the technologies of the  Tekumel  & their Warriors equvilant. The whole cloth series of events surrounding the 'The Later Times'. And more which is not too bad considering that this whole book is free. Can you run a campaign in the latter times using this book? In a really short answer, yes. The material here is well done & we'll get into the ins & outs of using Warriors of the Lost Planet.
Warriors of the Lost Planet is a resource & campaign book, this book takes you by the hand adding the races, events, etc. all within the confines of thirty two pages. It does it very well highlighting the material without talking down to its audience. This book takes the complexities of Tekumel  campaign & makes it accessible to the average gamer & dungeon master.
Could a Tekumel  campaign be run using Warriors of the Lost Planet & say original Dungeons & Dragons?

Yes but the dungeon master might need acess to The Tekumel Sourcebook which not only provides the dungeon master the back bone of the setting but lots more history, resources, & Tekumel goodness to run a complete campaign.

Warriors of the Lost Planet does a nice job at the The Later Times, the period within a few thousand years of The Time of Darkness while leaving the dungeon master plenty of room to customize & play with their own Tekumel  setting. Five outt a five in my book for a free book. 

Beast Jewels Under A Cracked Hypreborean Moon Commentary On The Free Novella Leigh Brackett's The Beast Jewel of Mars For The 'Old Mars' Campaign Setting

Jack Kirby Thundarr artwork

The temperatures plunged into the teens last night here in Connecticut & after shutting down social media once again I dived back into a bit of Leigh Brackett & C.L. Moore especially the Martian stories. Leigh Brackett's The Beast Jewel of Mars is a classic & it appeared in Planet Stories, Winter 1948. I happen to have a treasured copy of this issue. The entire story centers around 
the secret of Shanga which basically is a crystal that devolves whomever baths in its rays for 1d20 hours & does make their saving throw vs wands or devices. Victims will travel down an alternative evolutionary path of d30 thousand years for every twelve hours exposed.
The experience seems to be very addictive some who are exposed must make another save vs wands or device again or want to repeat the experience.

One thing I noticed right away is the parallels between these crystals & certain pulp setting elements from classic post apocalyptic Seventies & Eighties science fantasy classics both Thundarr The Barbarian & The Logan's Run television show not to mention some of Clark Aston Smith's cycles. This Shanga is the sort of stuff that we'd see run between colonies by Northwest Smith you know those same colonies that
 were implied by other writers including Leigh Brackett, her husband Henry Kuttner, & Clark Aston Smith.

Planet Stories, Winter 1948 is now in the public domain and you can download the whole thing with some great pulpy artwork

"The wise men of Caer Dhu were not so wise. They found the secret of Shanga, and they escaped their wars and their troubles by fleeing backward along the path of evolution."  Another thing is the level of Martian on Martian tribal violence & harm that the Martians do to one another there is tribal codes and such but they'll sell out one another in a heart beat.

Now I mentioned Thundarr The Barbarian & The Logan's Run television show because

the secret of Shanga is just the sort of thing to keep the populations of degenerate tribesmen in line and productive along with a healthy dose of the 'death flowers'. It well could be that the Caroc lizard men are the product of an Earthly variation of Shanga.

This is just the sort of retro technology that would be available to some deep wasteland colony in the Logan's Run tv show, in fact a variation of the whole sale manipulation of the human mind is something we see in the episode 'Half Life' in which Jessica is split into two beings one of a good temperament & one evil.

This is also the sort of 'perfect' population control that would be used by wizards & even wasteland Forbidden Zone underdweller colonies in Apes Victorious & Mutant Future. We could also see the same methods of population control in Adventurer, Conqueror, King as an additional add on device for population selection for guards, guard beasts, and other desirable monsters. In Mutant Future this well could be the origin point for some of the prehistoric tribes & beasts. But where did this technology originate on 'Old Mars'? We know that there many examples of lost technologies in the Martian underworld but in Clark Ashton Smith’s tale “Ubbo-Sathla.” we see a different sort of transfer of mind. This is linked into the Elder Things from HP Lovecraft's at the Mountains of Madness & the Yithians from Lovecraft’s The Shadow Out of Time.

This basically means that one's consciousness might with the help of a wizard or other super scientist travel through parallel  worlds & gates ala both the Eighties film Altered States or HP Lovecraft's Through The Gates of the Silver Key. 

Where did these techniques originate? Who knows but one thing is that Lovecraft circle writers picked up on one another literary devices & often had Mythos races cherry picking forbidden technologies, magics, & relics from one another. So these mind altering crystals would be found on Hyperborea of AS&SH fame quite easily. There might be magics & super science there to reverse the effects of Shanga. This stuff clearly fits right into a sword & sorcery background
But the threat of the crystals is far more insidious then simply forbidden super science.In Old Mars Shanga addiction, trafficking, smuggling, etc. is one of the lowest crimes being fought. Why? Because it might lead to the extinction of the human & near human races including & especially the Martians. This is something that
I've used in Star Ships & Spacemen second edition games.


When it comes to the Adventurer, Conqueror, King Rpg system 
then the real damage can be seen as the addiction spreads through the underworld of thieves guilds, wizard's colleges, and the like. This stuff might be used in this game system as hidden tool of conquest with the right applications. 

A friend postulated that there are other crystalline gate systems deep in the wastelands of 'Old Mars' that can lead to other alternative Martian settings. Could these crystaline gateways be a variation the jewels strange radiation? This looks like the case for a Warriors of the Red Planet scientist.

Deep within the wastelands of 'Old Mars' time & physics can get very weird & dangerous. Here there are ancient things that bleed into our time as the Boreas winds blow strangely across the wrought red sands. Adventurers must tread carefully or they might become lost in time & as well as the spaces around the ruins that blanket the dead sea bottoms.

1d20 Random Deep Martian
Wasteland Encounters Table

  1.  A group of 1d8 Hyperborean monks & sorcerers on their way to some long forgotten dead bottom sea city to worship at a temple of one of the forgotten Martian gods who has recently awakened. They are carrying several golden and blue gold Martian weapons filled with 1d200 jeweled microdrones capable of ripping a man apart within 1d6 rounds doing 1d3 points of damage each. They wear the insect masks of their patron. They are friendly but guarded about their business. 
  2. A black gate sorcerer in the guise of a low lander pilgrim who is smuggling some delicate ancient texts he's found in the underworld. He's willing to talk but there are 1d4 white Martian android body guards with him. 
  3. 1d10 Green Martian warriors 2nd level on the backs of their throats looking for an easy mark or two. 
  4. A giant Martian sand lion on the hunt for its young. A dangerous and wily predator who hunts with telepathic powers. 
  5. 1d6 ancient Martian ghosts looking for souls to devour 
  6. 1d8 evil human bounty hunters looking for marks to bring to market for slaving. They have heavy stunners, hover bike's & sleep poison guns. 
  7. 1d6 Martian wights on the hunt for flesh and spirits!! 
  8. A single sand rat scouting for its 1d20 pack of giant sand rat brothers and sisters. 
  9. An ancient robotoid from a nearby dead city out exploring. 
  10. A flyer with 1d10 warriors on the hunt for slaves for the nearby auction! 
  11. 1d20 Mutant waste landers on move for anyone they can capture for their cooking pot! These used to be Red men whose tribes were subject to the secret of Shanga
  12. Giant drone craft on an attack pattern 1d8 of these insane things. 
  13. 1d8 ancient Amazon warrior women out for raiding on throats. 
  14. A delicate Ancient's sail barge from another age passes by. 
  15. 1d20 Green Martian warriors on a raid will you be caught?
  16. 2d6 Black Martian pilgrims on an alien holy pilgrimage deep into the desert. 
  17. 1d6 deep raiders on jet bikes out for prey armed with short bows, poisoned arrows & cavalry  blades they fight as second level fighters
  18. A black magician on a quest for an ancient artifact willing to pay five hundred gold pieces for your help
  19. An ancient temple has been uncovered by a recent sand storm 
  20. A fleet of flyers from a rogue Martian nation speeds over head and will kill anyone they can who witnesses their passing!
This post is not an attempt to violate the copyrights or trademarks of any of the films nor properties named in this post. All ideas are for a private table top rpg campaign. None of the ideas or opinions expressed in this post are meant to violate the trademarks nor copy rights of any of the table top rpgs discussed nor are they in away responsible for the thoughts or opinions of the author. The writing, ideas, and opinions are copyrighted and trade marked to the author and Dark Corner productions. This post is for entertainment & educational purposes only.

Carcosa/Gamma World Actual Cross Game Event - Lost In The Yuthlugathap Swamps With Five House of Hammer Prehistoric Film Influences

So today I got a chance to throw back a few beers & get together with friends for a bit of Gamma World second edition/Carcosa mash up event & five favorite prehistoric & cult classic monster movies playing in the background. We're going to go in for some serious cult films today. We'll start with the house of Hammer prehistoric trilogy One Million Years B.C. (1966), Slave Girls (1967), The Lost Continent 1968, & When Dinosaurs Ruled The Earth (1970).
One Million Years B.C. is a 1966 British adventure/fantasy film starring Raquel Welch and John Richardson, set in a fictional age of cavemen and dinosaurs. And its a perfect example of the type of primitive conditions that folks are dealing with on Carcosa.

Or As I like to refer to em Appendix 'C' films for Carcosa. Sure I can't be at GaryCon but that doesn't stop us from doing a bit of retroclone old schooling. One of the players in last night's Astonishing Swordsmen & Sorcerers of Hyperborea/Islands of Purple Putrescence game was messing around with a time/space pylon. This caused the pylon to appear in today's game & suck in the party of adventurers from Gamma Terra! And where were these poor mutant bastards and adventurers deposited? Well right over on LoFP's Carcosa & what they didn't know is that the party had picked up a shape shifting serpent man half caste priest named Nadri'al (this priest was on the Purple Islands doing a bit of recon work for his own sinister goals). The PC's ended up in The Yuthlugathap Swamps.

They ended up running into a band of Amazon women who worshiped a scared white dinosaur species which I liberally stole from the '67 film Prehistoric Women.

There are several key plot points I borrowed for today's game including the assassination of one of the Amazon women's key leaders by our serpent man/assassin NPC. 

"David Marchant (Michael Latimer), a British explorer, along with Colonel Hammond (Robert Raglan) and a guide are pursuing a leopard on an African safari. The Colonel takes aim but misses and only wounds the animal. With the guide warning that it will soon be dark, David decides to find the beast and put it out of its misery before following the party back to camp.
Walking some way, he passes various trees with a picture of a white rhino but ignores them. Finally, the weakened leopard attacks him and he shoots it dead, whereupon David is ambushed and captured by a primitive tribe. They accuse him of disturbing the spirit of the white rhinoceros, and take him to their leader's temple. As the high priest/leader makes his decision, David notices a large, ancient stone statue of a white rhino and realizes this is what the tribe worship"

The players were forced to flee into the wastelands & besides a whole host of lizard men, and some mutated crabs they dealt with several encounters with Grey Aliens & their flying saucers. They dodged most of these encounters and learned very quickly to run away. But they quickly dealt with a tribe of  Blue Men who wanted to sacrifice them to Shub-Niggurath spawn they worshiped because of the color of their hair. Obviously a nod to Hammer's When Dinosaur's Rule The Earth.
But what really freaked the players out was running into their boat from a 2011 Carcosa game that had been taken its nods from The Lost Continent from 1968. One of the mutant fools erm adventurers was killed by the vampire sea weed that was still aboard. The rest of the PC's blew the boat to kingdom come with an energy weapon they had recovered and continued on after the serpent man. This was  after he had almost succeeded in killing them in some ruins. He left them to die with a group of killer robots! If it wasn't for the party's mutant warriors they would have been toast.

They finally found the gate way back home but it was guarded by a group of tribes whom I lifted directly from Creatures The World Forgot from '71. There was a bone man sorcerer living in disguise among these people as a priest of a particularly nasty spawn of Shub-Niggurath. The players figured out who he was after he met with the serpent man assassin in the triple moonlight that night. The party followed him back to his cave and that's where they discovered his dimensional gate way. He cooked one of the mutants with a death ray but the party managed to take him out with a laser pistol they had. The serpent man NPC managed to slither away in the confusion.

All in all for a spur of the moment one shot I think things went rather well, the THE YUTHLUGATHAP SWAMPS module worked rather nicely because of its Advanced Dungeons & Dragons first edition gaming background. This made it rather easy to blend with Gamma World. I ended up using a good bit of second edition Gamma World to round out some of the system and artifact kinks. Everything went off without too much of a hitch thanks to the notes in the AD&D 1st edition Dungeon Master's Guide. Several of the charts from Islands of Purple Putrescence also came in handy to round out some of the random elements of today's game. So all in all it was a great one shot game.