Wednesday, October 31, 2012

Mucoid Confederacy - Halloween Monster For Stars Without Numbers


 
Mucoid Confederacy
 Introduction 

There are red tinged worlds deep within the Talon Sector. Worlds where no man ventures for the horrors which came from the stars eons ago still remember & hate him. Places where the songs of alien gods not remembered by man are sung in hallowed halls of degeneration & loathsome abandon.
The Mucoids are the degenerate remains of a once proud warrior race created to conquer, terrorize, & murder the heart of the universe. They were made to make war on the gods of the universe themselves & they are long out of time.
Mucoids war machines still patrol their worlds but long since have their slimy tendrils & tentacles spread through galactic society! They operate through micro corporations & mega companies spreading their unique corruption & weird devices to every corner of the stars. 


Mucoid Confederacy 
Faction
Attributes 
Forces 3, Cunning 6, Wealth 5 

Hit points 29
Assets : Demagogue/Cunning 6, Organization Moles/Cunning 5, Zealots/Forces 4, Marketers/Wealth 5
Tags Secretive 


The mucoids mostly stay to themselves operating through a series of dummy corporations. They know the human animal is handicap upon masks of vanity & medicine. They use these to their advantage breeding dependency & complacent stock to use. The Mucoids head several medical concerns & false religious fronts while waging a brutal & savage war upon their enemies.

Longevity Treatments
 

Adds 1d30 years to the basic biology of the subject & the so called "Perfect Sheen". The subject becomes the picture of beauty & health. But the person also develops 1d4 mutations (use your favorite old school rpg for these). They are also subject to the siren call of the telepathic mucoid call that rings out throughout the cosmos. They also have no save vs any command from the Mucloid overlords.
Harvester Medical Bot 



Armor Class: 4
Hit Dice 2 (10 Hp) 

Attack Bonus :+4 
Damage : 1d8 medical laser rifle, 1d3 vibro scalpels 
No. Appearing :1d4 
Saving Throw :14 + 
Movement 40' 
Morale 12  
Skill bonus +1 
A fifteen limbed robotic alien menace that is often sent as probe & harvester of organs. These monsters are capable of carving up a man within moments. They leave nothing behind. Bone, organs, hair, skin all is harvested as raw material for bio much & other products. The robotic unit is filled with bio containment cold pods capable of storing hundreds of victims. 

Mucoid Warrioroid 



Armor Class: 3 

Hit Dice 4 
Attack Bonus +6 
Damage 1d8 Clawed sucker hands 
Number appearing 1d4 
Saving Throw 13+ 
Movement 30'
Morale 10

These crude artificially born monsters are the rank & file of the test tube grown horrors of the Mucoid peoples. These monsters are large alien with no pity,remorse, or an emotion at all. Save for the over whelming desire to follow the telepathic desires of their overlords. They were created eons ago on some lost horror filled hell hole to war with such creatures as the Atlans & their Variform organic warriors.
These are terror troops & the remains of these creatures can be found on many worlds still guarding Mucoid bases & in the vast megadungeons of space itself. They attack with clawed hands that rip & tear into anything that comes into their  three fingered tendrils

Part II coming up tomorrow including
Tripod War machine mecha, carriers, Fighters, Mucoid overlords, & more. Including the secret masters behind the Mucoid
All information based on the Mucoid Fighter found right over Here at Heretic Works. Swords & Stitchery would like to thank Heretic Works for use of the artwork!
 Happy Halloween Folks! 

Tuesday, October 30, 2012

1d10 Random Alien City Finds Table For Your Old School Space Opera



1d10 Random Alien City Finds Table




  1. A Fix Point Reality Generator 12 tons ~ Fixed to a point in the local time space continuum. 
  2. 2 relic space craft over 12 million years old 
  3. 12 stable Tesla Fuel cells 
  4. A stable Tesla Zone generator 10 tons 
  5. A singularity point hold system with diffusion lens. 
  6. Phasic laser lens system within 30 mega watt range 
  7. Meteor disruption system 14 tons & fully charged 1d30 damage Range 2 light years 
  8. A fully operational terraforming station ready to go 
  9.  Quasi Chaotic dimensional door generator 23 tons. 
  10. Zero point Generator system. Plates & all ready for transport 30 tons 


    Conditions of Finds table 1d4 
  1. Wherever did you find this piece of space drek! Get it out of my sight but on second thought here's a 100 credits for the scrap 
  2. This is museum quality! Perfect artifact my friends! 
  3. That's worth less then half of book value! Lets go over the flaws as I see them! 
  4. Perfect! Here's ten 10% over book value! 

Monday, October 29, 2012

The Autumn People For Monster Monday

MONSTROUS MONDAY!

What's Halloween Without Ray B!
You can see the Autumn People write up right over
Here
 For Mutant Future this time! 

Sunday, October 28, 2012

Stars Without Numbers Actual Play - The Highway Men - Long Night Around A Cold Star



 The PCs made the jump into the hyperspace last game & learned that the ship they were on was retro fitted to the point that they couldn't use it. It only had four hyper space jumps left. They had acquired an NPC  navigator from Apex who explained to them what the hell was going on.

 Apex Medical was kidnapping psychics & experimenting upon them using them as fodder for an experiment black sun style weapon system that was aboard this ship. The relic ship's main safety overrides had been by passed. The psychic was the ammo & once used was fried completely. Nothing but a husk remained!
 This was a system another party had stumbled upon way back in my Post Apocalyptic Mars game! Gasp! 
 

In the mean time the players explored the rest of this ship coming across human sized cages, labs, sleeper pods, & all sorts of weird nanite style goo!
The navigator explained that the stuff was a DNA/RNA mutator substance which threads a sub atomic array of  extra sensory cells allowing one to see the energy signatures in the folds of space. Of course one of the PCs injects himself with this stuff fails his save & is down for 1d4 hours as the stuff painfully rewrites his structure & gives him a metallic tattoo to boot. He has awful dreams of  Grays & trips  for almost half a day!


After almost 3 weeks Einstein travel time the ship arrives in a 12 planet system full of worlds most of them dead. There is 4 stellar objects orbiting the local star.

The whole craft switches to automatic mode. The weapons fire  & damage one of the stations in deep interior orbit around the sun. The PCs go ape & wrestle control from the A.I of the ship and find themselves on the wrong end of a reactor leak at the same time!
They manage to send the correct landing codes to the stations & then found themselves within a huge alien space craft  hanger/dry dock
 
The whole place was gutted & in disrepair as if abandoned quickly & with very little rhyme or reason.
Random Table of Hanger Findings 1d10 
  1. Hyperdine systems 340 spike core with crystal matrix replaced 
  2. 1d4 fuel canisters empty 
  3. Random chucks of 130 pds of metal debris 
  4.  1d4 Type 3 RD hyper space crystals tumbling through the zero gee
  5. Wades of paper work from all over the place there are 2 local star maps showing hidden space routes in the system
  6. Eye of Truth Church literature 
  7. 1d4 pass code bracelets 
  8. Wrecked hull plating 
  9. Cages for experimental species & sleeper pods child sized or smaller 1d6 
  10. Giant Psychic Crystal matrix  off line 


The whole station they determined is some sort of alien "sky tomb" way station! A four level megadungeon hollowed out of an asteroid & made into a weid medical facility.  All this was made after powering up a computer station.
Then the alerts on their ship went off.
A probe of some unknown type was approaching the station!


The Probe belongs to a faction that's getting introduced into the game.
The War Collectors 

The war collectors are a group of  military veterans who procure many types of war relics & surplus spacecraft for wealthy patrons. They re purpose knowledge of the various tech level 3 or better systems they come across started by a wealthy mercantile combine they maintain & service all of the antiques they find & re purpose.
The War Collectors
 Attributes:
 Forces 3 Cunning 5 Wealth 6 

Hit points: 29 
Venture Capital/Wealth 6 Shipping Combine/Wealth 4 , Hardened Personel/Forces 3 
Black Mail/Cunning 3 
Tags : Salvage/Military 




The War Collectors was inspired by an episode of Lost In Space & this story  The Spitfires-of-Burma

Have I mentioned that they haven't gotten inside the station yet! There's more to come! 

Saturday, October 27, 2012

Echoes Of Doom ~ An Alternative Campaign Idea For High Tech Mysticism High & High Caliber Adventure

File:X-Men v1 141.jpg
I've been toying around with a campaign idea for this Marvel Super Heroes/Mutant Future mash up. Its 3 :00 AM & weird memories flood back into your head at this time. Back in the heady days of 1981 Days of Future Past were hitting the shelves & blowing the hell out of the minds of Xmen fans. My best friend at the time was a kid named Paul whose little brother was a comic book junky like the rest of us. His brother wouldn't let him near his comics but he wanted to know what the book was about. Paul said & I qoute, "The Sentinels win & wipe out the Justice League, the X-men, the Avengers, & only the Legion of Doom remains."
The poor kid was about 6 at the time & last heard after years of therapy is doing fine.
 The idea stuck though & through the years its remained there.
I could totally see this happening.
The Sentinels  go about wiping out every single hero until only the villains remained in Suicide Swamp. Running their schemes right under the robotic noses of the Sentinels.
A post apocalyptic craptastic world where only the mutants & super heroes are left to scrape by in a post apocalyptic nightmare land. 

 Mutation has continued & the world has kept pace as the New Mother Nature keeps pace with inhumanity. Murderers, monsters, & madmen are the new norm but the robotic monsters keep evolving as well. The various mutant monsters give the cybernetic organisms a run for their money.


Superman, & crew are all gone! The legend of the Batman continues as well as the Punisher but these are mysterious legends larger then life itself. The heroes explore, scrape through, & try to gain the technology of the lost ancient heroes who have come before them & the villains who were killed in the slaughter that followed.

 Say You Want An Evolution
 File:X-Men Annual 14.jpg
Earth 825 was an echo of the various Echo of Future Past storylines & Marvel Super Heroes even felt the pitch! The Days of Future Past storyline was one of the most successful of the 80s & 90s. You can read up about it right Here
There was even a spin of  the storyline in the Marvel Super Heroes game.
The Heroes in these modules are part of the underground movement/resistance blah blah Sentinels etc. Been there done that a million times. The Terminator vibe is up
Pimping Up The Game 


Imagine that Lex & company stumble upon this Earth with no heroes. What would they do? Settle into their old haunt of  Suicide Swamp & open the trunk of the Hall of Doom. Boom their in business selling energy weapons to the resistance. The PCs come in as gun runners or operatives there's a campaign. Who needs the Avengers or the JLA when you have so many money making schemes running right there?
The Nightmares of Future's Past had the Sentinels killing bus loads of mutants but also the Avengers,The Fantastic Four, Alpha Flight etc. As well as any other tight wearing bunch or loner they could get a hold of.
The world would welcome a bunch of opportunistic bastards out to make a buck. Hell knowing Luther he'd open a used Sentinel parts store chain on another world.
The PCs could well simply be mercenaries out to make buck on the pain & misery of others or are they?
Games like Mutant Future & Mutant Epoch certainly present any number of muties with powers & abilities of their own. Its not going to long before their going to want to help their oppressed brethren.
There's also the possibility of traveling to this hellish world in a quest for a piece of lost technology that the Sentinels possess that might be proved for the right price. There's also the idea of suicide style missions on worlds like Carcosa where there are pieces of high end tech sitting in the muck that could prove more bang for the adventuring.
 Take your average Labyrinth Lord/Osric party & there's endless possibilities for them to kick ass & take names. The restoration of the planet & the taking charge of the ministering to the masses ala the paladin orders comes right under this heading.
Lex & co are always going to be looking for more power houses to help fill the ranks that are killed in the name of profit & treasure. Labyrinth Lord/Osric parties offer three very nice things to the Legion. One they've got power, two their easily disposable  & they can be used like McDonald's franchises. Fast set up, manageable  & easy goal setting.
The fact is that these worlds & their alternatives are in bad shape & they've lots to offer. High adventure, cool technology, exploitable people, natural resources, & lots of opportunities to blast robotic torso. The pressure is off to be the good guys for a change. Or is it?
 Join The Legion today! See your local agent opportunities for a new life off world await you!
 The whole X series of Nightmares of Future's Past can be found right
Here

The Coming Of The Dark Races Volume 1 For Dark Conspiracy ~ Review & Commentary


A review & commentary of this book for the Dark Conspiracy rpg & how to use it with your OSR books!
Right over Here

Thursday, October 25, 2012

Fantastic Friday! The Many Faces of Namor's Atlantis For High Tech Mysticism & High Caliber Adventure

File:FF509.jpg
There's one foe of the Fantastic Four Besides Doom & Galactus that really strikes a cord with me! The crowned prince of Atlantis!
Imperious Rex himself
Namor
File:Sub-Mariner1968n1.jpg
 He's been around since 1939 & has been the sea borne backbone of Marvel. His origins & powers have evolved changed & changed again. If you want the low down on him jump into the deep end of this wiki entry Here
Namor's Atlantis As Adventure Location 

File:Sub-Mariner 33.jpg
Today I'm more concerned with the ruins of Atlantis & their history in the Marvel universe which date all the way back to the era of Namor's beginning. The Atlantians themselves didn't create Atlantis or the ruins they found & adapted them as well as the technology their in!
The blue skinned ocean dwellers have been a part of Marvel since the very beginning.
Who & What They Are 
According to Wiki : 

The Homo mermanus are often referred to as Atlanteans, as it is in the city of Atlantis that their first complex society emerged. Like humans they learned to domesticate animals, such as dolphins, while humans domesticated horses, dogs and camels.
Atlantis itself had been a small above ground continent with many human settlements, when an event 10,000 years ago called the "Great Cataclysm" caused it to be submerged into the sea. 2,000 years later, a group of Homo mermanus made the ruins of the human settlements in Atlantis their home and went on to develop a society there using as much of the material as they could scavenge from the wreckage. Many of the warring tribes united under a single emperor (although by the 20th century there were still some barbarian tribes).
500 years after the settlement of Atlantis, another group of Homo mermanus left Atlantis to found their own city -this time in a part of the ruins of another continent submerged during the Great Cataclysm - Lemuria in the Pacific Ocean.
These "Lemurians" would discover the Serpent Crown in the ruins of their city, and through their Leader Naga's exposure and extensive use of the ancient mystical device, they would become more serpent-like in appearance than their Atlantean cousins.
Many Atlanteans worship Neptune, Roman god of the sea.
During the 20th century the Homo mermanus race began to come into sustained contact with their human cousins. These contacts have often been hostile, and have included many aborted invasions (Atlantis Attacks etc.) and even separate occasions when large numbers of Homo mermanus were rendered comatose or sterilized for periods. During the Second World War the kingdom of Atlantis also fought against the Axis Powers in alliance with the Allied Powers.[volume & issue needed]
However, not all interactions between Homo sapiens and Homo mermanus have been hostile - during the 1920s a Homo mermanusfemale, Princess Fen of Atlantis mated with the human sea captain Leonard McKenzie - a union which produced the first human/Atlantean hybrid - Namor {avenging son in atlantean}, the Sub-Mariner.[volume & issue needed]
In the aftermath of the Civil War and the World War Hulk events the homo mermanus, being blamed for the terrorism due to the actions of Kamar, militaristic son of Namor, are forced to leave the seas, using the established sleeper cells to live within humanity.[volume & issue needed] The Atlantean Army resided in Latveria, guests of Doctor Doom, and the civilians lived alongside the rest of humanity.[volume & issue needed]
After their leader Namor allied with the X-Men, the Atlanteans began to build a support pillar that would keep the newly established mutant nation of Utopia (near the coast of San Francisco) from sinking.[1] Around this pillar, called the Atlantean column, they established a city called New Atlantis 




The History of A Lost Race 

To know the Atlantians & their history is to know the ins & outs of power & strife. According to wiki : 
The inhabitants of ancient Atlantis built an enormous glass-like dome over the capital city, also known as Atlantis. When barbarians sent by the Deviant Lemuria empire attacked Atlantis, King Kamuu opened the magma-pits which were the city's means of heating. This caused the continent to sink.[1] Kamuu was warned of the Great Cataclysm by the seer, Zhered-Na. When she refused to recant, he had her exiled to the mainland, where she was later stabbed to death by survivors of the submersion.[2][3]
The priests and intellectuals of the city Netheria foresaw the Lemurian attack and fortified their city, and thus it sank intact. Netheria still exists today, ruled by Queen Kala.[4] Other ancient Atlanteans survived the sinking of the continent by various methods, includingDakimh the EnchanterVarnae, and Stygyro.
About 8,000 years ago, a group of Homo mermanus nomads discovered the ruins of the city of Atlantis. They made the ruins of the human settlements in Atlantis their home and went on to develop a society there using as much of the material as they could salvage from the wreckage. These people are thus often referred to as "Atlanteans", as it is in the city of Atlantis that their first complex society emerged.[volume & issue needed]
Five hundred years after the settlement of Atlantis, another group of Homo mermanus leave Atlantis to find their own city; this time in a part of the ruins of Lemuria, another continent submerged during the Great Cataclysm. These "Lemurians", as they now call themselves, discover the Serpent Crown in the ruins of their city. The Serpent Crown had been crafted by ancient Atlantean alchemists as a vessel empowered by the demonic Elder God Set. Through their leader Naga's exposure and extensive use of the ancient mystical device, they become more serpent-like in appearance than their Atlantean cousins.[volume & issue needed]
Atlanteans have little or no contact with their human cousins for millennia. However, the two races come into sustained contact, often hostile, beginning in the 20th Century. On occasions, Atlanteans invade the surface world.[volume & issue needed] The current Prince,Namor the Sub-Mariner, is initially hostile to the surface world, but fights in alliance with the Allied Powers against the Axis Powersduring World War II.[volume & issue needed] Namor defends Atlantis against villains like Attuma and Warlord Krang, who plot to overthrow him and take over Atlantis.[volume & issue needed]
The city of Atlantis is destroyed when the super-villain Nitro explodes, taking with him Namor's traitorous son, Kamar
 The Legacy Of Lemuria


The Wizard: Between the time when the oceans drank Atlantis and the rise of the sons of Aryas, there was an age undreamed of. And unto this, Conan, destined to wear the jeweled crown of Aquilonia upon a troubled brow. It is I, his chronicler, who alone can tell thee of his saga. Let me tell you of the days of high adventure! 
Conan 1982
 Lumeria is the black sheep of the Underwater races of the Marvel universe but it is also the preserver of the arcane secrets of the serpent men, the high technology of the deviants, & the resting place for some of the most powerful magics upon the Marvel universe!
From Wiki on Marvel's  Lemuria 
 Lemuria is the name of two fictional locations in the Marvel Universe.
Lemuria had been a small continent and group of islands in the Pacific Ocean 21,000 years ago, which was ruled by the Deviants. Lemuria became the center of the Deviant empire, and the only remaining free land was Atlantis, the continent that held its greatest enemy, the Atlantean Empire. When the Deviants attacked Atlantis, the Atlantean King Kamuu opened the magma-pits which were the city's means of heating. This caused a chain reaction which collapsed and sank the continent.
At that same time, when the Second Host of the Celestials came to Earth, the Deviants attacked them. In retaliation, the Celestials sank Lemuria in what is now known as the "Great Cataclysm." The Eternal Ikaris guided a ship of humans to safety.

[edit]Homo mermanus Lemuria

About 8,000 years ago, a group of Homo mermanus nomads discovered the ruins of the city of Atlantis and settled there. 500 years after the settlement of Atlantis, another group of Homo mermanus left Atlantis to find their own city - this time in a part of the ruins of Lemuria, on the northern half of the continent. These "Lemurians", as they now called themselves discovered the Serpent Crownin the ruins of their city. The Serpent Crown has been crafted by ancient Atlantean alchemists, as a vessel empowered by the demonic Elder God Set. Through their leader Naga's exposure and extensive use of the ancient mystical device, they would become more serpent-like in appearance than their Atlantean cousins.
Naga was eventually assassinated by a Lemurian named Karthon the Quester, who became the new ruler of the undersea Lemurian nation. Karthon's rule is wise and just, and the Lemurians became allies of the Atlanteans.
The present day Lemuria ("Lemuria-West") first appeared in Sub-Mariner #9 (Jan 1969), and was created by Roy Thomas and Marie Severin.

[edit]Deviant Lemuria

As the continent of Lemuria sank, some of the Deviants managed to survive by escaping to underground cities that had been previously constructed on the southern half of the continent. They built a new underground capital city-state called “The City of Toads”, (or Lemuria-East) from which the sea was shut out. The city was flooded much later by one of the Celestials, but most of its population survived and rebuilt the city. It is recognized as a sovereign nation by the United Nations of the Marvel Universe.

Using Atlantis & Lemuria In Your OSR Game 



Underwater ruins, high technology, lost races, black magic lost beyond the pale, & the radioactive remains of a vanished race lost to the blackest ocean depths & numerous other hooks right there for the taking in the pages of the Might Marvel universe. 
 When haven't I used the peoples of these lost worlds is a better question! Numerous games over the years have had super heroes in the Atlantis Marvel mode.
 All gain +1 or +2 to strength, +1 To Constitution  & -1 on Dexterity on land. They must have some mystic or technological way of visiting the surface world. Each race has access to weapons from beyond the pale of man or magic lost to the surface world.
Lemuria has access to both magic & high technology that puts the surface world to shame & while gaining the various bonuses have -1 to -2 on Charisma with the surface world.
The Lumuria also has a high connection to organizations such as A.I.M & Roxxon Oil but the relationship with Roxxon is strained at the moment.
There are numerous megadungeon complexes in the oceans of the Marvel universe. They're to numerous to list but many of them put the undermountain of D&D fame to shame. Celestial temples, lost caches of Deviant weapons & treasure. Items from Conan's time & alien devices are all there for exploring to uncover.
There's also the hazards of mutant sea life & monsters of a most heinous nature under waves. There are things in the Marvel oceans that make Godzilla look tame by comparison. In fact in a 70s & 80s Marvel universe campaign there is every chance of encountering big green!!
 

Then there's a subject that most folks forget. All of these locations under the waves are some of the most important sources of lost magic that the world has ever known. I can see numerous adds in magazines & on the internet proclaiming to be selling the secrets of  lost Atlantian magic.
By the same token Lumuria's schools of Set clerical & Great Old One cults could well be thriving along with their various surface world off shoots.
There are so many possibilities that the locations offer that it would be hard to decide where to draw the line.

Bottom line here is that both of these fantasy races offer the DM a way to include many of the elements of OD&D & AD&D into a modern setting without breaking the barrier of time or space at all. They offer numerous options to be able to game with  wide variety of weird science, magic, & religions
The Eternals & The Deviants both are responsible for the sinking of this once great world. There could be any number of space gates that lead to & from the stars as well. As well as the creations of Lovecraft that have been used many times by the mighty Marvel masters. All of these allow the many races of these worlds to appear even in space based games! Carcosa could have both a Lumurian & Atlantian colony with weird horrific spins.
Both the cities & environs could be used as well in a post apocalyptic water world where only these civilizations exist & the mutant monsters that stalk there might be the only hope of the surface world.
Really the uses for this material are only limited by your imagination!
Source Material 
The Marvel universe is incredibly rich but I have a tendency as a DM to stick with the 70s,80s, & 90s for my gaming material in mighty Marvel way!
 Once again the Gamers Handbooks To The Marvel universe are the way to go in my humble opinion
Gamers Handbook - Abomination thru Dreadnaught

 You can find each & every one of those right over Here

This blog entry is not intended as a trade mark infringement or copyright violation to Marvel or any of its copyright holders. The material contained here in is copyrighted & trade marked to its various holders. This blog is for entertainment purposes only & as a parody of the Marvel universe.
Thank you for reading 

The Highway Men - Stars Without Numbers - Lost Ships & Space Men Now Even More Arthur C Clarke - Actual Thursday Play

Recap & Redoubt 
 The last SWN game was like an episode of Firefly,action packed with Apex Medical troops baring down on them. The relic ship that they have can only make three more spike jumps before she tears herself apart! They have the cordinates to a distant star system deep in the Talon Empire & the promise of a former Apex facility & little else.
 Who knows what mysteries they'll find there?

The Other Megadungeons of Arthur C Clarke 
Forget Major Spoilers Because I'm about To Rip These Books Apart

Stop reading now if you don't want the surprises of  stories spoiled better yet go out & read the books 


My personal copy of the City & The Stars which was a book that my father passed on to me.
The City and the Stars hardcover.jpg
The city of  Diaspar is a great model for a mega dungeon for a DM looking for something a bit different in the wasteland of a post apocalytic future or for something encountered in the stars!
Wiki says this about the book's setting &  :

Setting

The City and the Stars takes place a billion years in the future, in the city of Diaspar. By this time, the Earth is so old that the oceans have gone and humanity has all but left. As far as the people of Diaspar know, they are the only city left on the planet. The city of Diaspar is completely enclosed. Nobody has come in or left the city for as long as anybody can remember, and everybody in Diaspar has an instinctive insular conservatism. The story behind this fear of venturing outside the city tells of a race of ruthless invaders which beat humanity back from the stars to Earth, and then made a deal that humanity could live - if they never left the planet.
In Diaspar, the entire city is run by the Central Computer. Not only is the city repaired by machines, but the people themselves are created by the machines as well. The computer creates bodies for the people of Diaspar to live in and stores their minds in its memory at the end of their lives. At any time, only a small number of these people are actually living in Diaspar, the rest are retained in the computer's memory banks.
All the currently existent people of Diaspar have had past "lives" within Diaspar except one person — Alvin, the main character of this story. He is a 'Unique', different from everybody else in Diaspar, not only because he does not have any past lives to remember, but because instead of fearing the outside, he feels compelled to leave. Alvin has just come to the age where he is considered grown up, and is putting all his energies into trying to find a way out. Eventually, a character called Khedron the Jester helps Alvin use the central computer to find a way out of the city of Diaspar. This involves the discovery that in the remote past, Diaspar was linked to other cities by an underground transport system. This system still exists although its terminal was covered over and sealed with only a secret entrance left.

Alvin's quest

Once out of Diaspar, Alvin finds that one other human habitation remains on Earth. In contrast to technological Diaspar, Lys is a vast green oasis shielded by mountains from the worldwide desert. Its people are not stored and recreated technologically, but naturally conceive, born, age, and die. They have rejected the hyper-advanced technology of Diaspar in favor of an almost agrarian existence, with machines used only for labor-saving purposes. The people of Lys have instead worked to perfect the arts of the mind; they are telepaths, capable of communicating with each other over great distances and without words.
Alvin continues his quest until he finds out the truth of why the people of Diaspar are so frightened of the external universe and why Lys is so scared of space travel and mechanical things. In Lys he goes on a trip with a young man named Hilvar who becomes his friend, and they see a signal light, which they decide to investigate. It leads them to Shalmirane, the remains of the fortress where the Invaders were fought off with unimaginable weapons, and there they encounter an extraterrestrial creature with a strange robot. The creature is the last survivor of a religious cult dating back to the days of the Galactic Empire. The robot was the companion of the founder, the "Master", who came with his followers to Earth at the end of his life. Alvin and Hilvar are unable to understand the content of the religion except that it refers to "Great Ones" who have left, but will someday return. Alvin persuades the creature to lend him the robot, arguing that the Master would want it to see how things were developing in the world. The Master had, however, forbidden the robot to give out any information at all, so Alvin does not learn anything.
The robot enables Alvin to escape the attempts of the people of Lys to purge his mind and send him back—the previous 14 Uniques had stayed. Alvin had originally been told he would be free to choose whether to stay or return, but because the people of Lys had failed to prevent news of his departure spreading in Diaspar in time, this option was no longer available. Back in Diaspar he seeks the help of the Central Computer, which overcomes the Master's block on the robot by producing an illusion of an apocalyptic return of the Great Ones.

[edit]Discoveries

Alvin now learns that the Master's ship is still functional, buried outside Diaspar. He manages to retrieve it, fetches Hilvar from Lys, and travels into deep space. They encounter Vanamonde, a being of pure intellect, with whom Hilvar, being telepathic like other Lys people, can communicate and bring him back to Earth. From him the truth of history finally emerges.
The fearsome Invaders, it turns out, were a myth: Shalmirane was actually used to destroy the Moon when this became necessary to prevent it from colliding with the Earth. Instead, the people of Diaspar and Lys are the descendants of those humans who deliberately turned away from the universe in rejection of history's greatest scientific project: the creation of a disembodied intellect. The first attempt had created a powerful but insane being, the Mad Mind. The Mad Mind had devastated the galaxy and its civilizations before being imprisoned in a "strange artificial star" called the Black Sun.
Vanamonde is the second, successful experiment of the ancient empire: a being of pure intellect, immensely old, immensely powerful, able to move instantly to any point in space — but entirely childlike and unsophisticated. Vanamonde's ultimate destiny, Hilvar realizes, is to battle the Mad Mind, when it escapes its prison at the end of Time.
After this, most of the Galactic Empire had left our galaxy, leaving only a scattered few. This departure from the galaxy, leaving it to Vanamonde, was because contact had been made with something "very strange and very great" which called them urgently.
Alvin's discoveries reunite Diaspar with Lys. He then sends the ship, under the command of the robot, to search for the long-lost people of the Empire. He does not wish to search himself - even if there are human remnants in the Galaxy, they are probably decadent - and he has work to do on Earth. Even the environment, he hopes, can be revived
The City & The Stars As Fodder For SWN 
The book basically has everything a DM needs to create an entire campaign from scratch! Telepathic races, cosmic psionic entities, Diaspar is like something out of Logan's Run, vast sprialing technology, weird religions, vast technological creations  & elements that seem right out of a movie or comic book!
Elements against a background that's as boring as hell! 


 File:Against the fall of night.jpg

The fact is that while classic science fiction is great its pretty much in stark contrast to the average OD&D & that's simply because their two different genres aimed the same style of audience 
All that simply needs to be done is to take the elements of  OD&D or a game such as Stars With Numbers & combined them.
There are two books the earlier Against the Fall of Night as well as  The City & The Stars. Basically Clarke took a book he wasn't happy with revamped it & then thought it would replace the earlier version. Like remakes of movies today you sometimes can't replace the classics. 
Wiki has this to say about the contrasts between the books :
" Against the Fall of Night opens with a fragment, apparently originally written in isolation in 1935, in which all Diaspar has fallen silent and Alvin is called out by his father to see something in the sky. Alvin's father says he has only ever seen one other. It is a cloud. This scene dramatises the "desert at the end of time" setting, but is not quite consistent with the detail that we are later told that Rorden had never seen the stars until Alvin shows him the outside.
In Against the Fall of Night Alvin is the only child to be born in Diaspar for seven thousand years, and the people of Diaspar are described as immortal, but their lives appear to be simply extremely extended—the point is not very clear. In The City and the Stars the people of Diaspar live an endless sequence of limited lives, being reissued bodies from the Hall of Creation and between lives spending long ages frozen in the Memory Banks. In both, Lys's rejection of "the false dream" of immortality is key to its break with Diaspar. In The City and the Stars Alvin is a "Unique", a person who, anomalously, has apparently never lived before. Only a handful of previous cases are known.
In Against the Fall of Night Alvin is assisted in his search to leave Diaspar by Rorden, the Keeper of the Records. In The City and the Stars Rorden is replaced by Khedron the Jester, whose duty it is in Diaspar to introduce calculated amounts of disorder from time to time and consequently has access to unusual places. But Alvin's success is really made possible by the tacit consent of the Central Computer. This had no real equivalent in Against the Fall of Night, showing the new possibilities created by computers in the post-war years. In the earlier novel, there are master robots, but they are multiple and do not seem to have the active supervisory role of the Central Computer. The Central Computer is not a single machine but the primary sentient Artificial Intelligence that oversees all the computing power in Diaspar. The Central Computer in Against the Fall of Night is merely a functioning computer demonstrating no self-awareness whatsoever. In The City and the Stars it talks and has a definite personality.
There are a few differences in the plot concerning the robot. In the earlier novel, the Master's follower was human, and he had three robots, of which one was lent to Alvin, whereas in the later novel the follower is extraterrestrial and has only the one robot. As was noted above, in The City and the Stars the block in the robot is overcome by an illusion of the apocalypse. In Against the Fall of Night a duplicate of the robot is created which is identical except for the block.
In The City and the Stars, there is somewhat more circumstantial detail about the life of Diaspar. For example, there are "sagas", total-immersion virtual reality entertainments where you apparently lose your outside knowledge. Alvin has a female lover, Alystra, whom he abandons (sex and even a degree of romantic love continue in Diaspar although unconnected with reproduction or family life). When citizens re-emerge from the Hall of Creation they are assigned "parents" who look after their social education, and a tutor. Though new citizens emerge as physically formed adults they do not remember their past lives until about the age of twenty, and apparently it is not mentioned to them until they have a sort of "facts of life" talk. At any rate it was not mentioned to Alvin. Little of this appears in Against the Fall of Night.
In Against the Fall of Night, Alvin is apparently a literal child, the first for 7,000 years. There is no explanation of whether this interval is normal or whether children are expected at all.
In The City and the Stars, the city of Diaspar was apparently planned as a closed community, and its true past deliberately obliterated. The Uniques, it seems, were a device added by the original planners, who thought that a safety device should be left, to test periodically for what lay outside the city. This makes the role of Alvin somewhat less independent: whereas in Against the Fall of Night he was an adventurer, albeit "the first to be lucky", in The City and the Stars it seems at the end that he may have been a pawn. The escape route from Diaspar involves the "Tomb of Yarlan Zey" in both books; in The City and the Stars Yarlan Zey was apparently a leading figure in the planners of Diaspar, but may also have been one of those secretly planting the Uniques.
At the end, when leaders from Diaspar travel to Lys, in Against the Fall of Night they are apparently able simply to master their fears, whereas in The City and the Stars powerful psychology is necessary, and Alvin's tutor Jeserac experiences a "saga" in which Yarlan Zey explains how Diaspar was founded and releases him from his fears.
There is a slight difference in the way the two books treat the "Master" and the "Great Ones". In Against the Fall of Night it is eventually revealed that the Great Ones were the people of the Empire who had left the galaxy. The Master is presented as a wise man, a philosopher, whose teaching was misunderstood and made a religion by superstitious followers. In The City and the Stars, however, he is a religious leader who uses trickery to advance his goals; the block on the robot was imposed in order to keep his secrets safe (although he did teach much that was wise and noble). In the later novel the "Great Ones" are not identified at the end of the novel as they are in the earlier version.
In general, in Against the Fall of Night the false history and the dystopic society seem to have grown up more organically; whereas in The City and the Stars they seem to have been more deliberate creations. While it is unproblematic for Diaspar, it is less clear why Lys should then have the same doctored history." 
The creations of Diaspar & co seem tailor made to take a group of PCs to the edge of the universe & beyond! Telepathic races, vat grown humanity, weird religions, cosmic psionic entities. Yeah its all there & its going to be used tonight! I've read both of these books over the last two days & what's struck me is how much Star Trek the original series borrowed from classic science fiction. Along with the Matrix saga there is so much that comes through this that Clarke must find it ironic in his grave at this point.
 Weirdly enough I believe that both novels can be used as perfect blue prints for presenting mega dungeons. Bits & pieces left behind in time & space scattered over the multiverse all the way to the end of time. The technology is on par with what was presented in SWN & the two novels are easily translated over.  

The Nightlands Connection 

"Here was the end of an evolution almost as long as Man's. Its beginnings were lost in the mists of the Dawn Ages, when humanity had first learned the use of power and sent its noisy engines clanking about the world. Steam, water, wind-all had been harnessed for a little while and then abandoned. For centuries the energy of matter had run the world until it too had been superseded, and with each change the old machines were forgotten and new ones took their place. Very slowly, over thousands of years, the ideal of the perfect machine was approached-that ideal which had once been a dream, then a distant prospect, and at last reality: No machine may contain any moving parts. Here was the ultimate expression of that ideal. Its achievement had taken Man perhaps a hundred million years, and in the moment of his triumph he had turned his back upon the machine forever. It had reached finality, and thenceforth could sustain itself eternally while serving him."

Ironically I've found two connections with these novels to two earlier novels that may allow me to connect  together two. The Night lands by William Hope Hodgeson & HG Wells Time Machine both seem to underpin parts of these novels. The ideals of the stories all point to possible variations on the destiny of mankind & how we define it. They could well be other timelines where things have gone terribly,terribly wrong. The weird technology  the pyramids, the strange religions, the psionics its all there. Perhaps the Great Old Ones crashed the party & things went to seed from there.
So basically using a basically a bibliography that would fit this sort of campaign would look something like this to me  : 

  1. The Nightland William Hope Hodgeson
  2. The City & The Stars & Against The Fall of Night  Arthur C. Clarke 
  3. The Shadow Out Of Time HP Lovecraft 
  4. Last & First Men Olaf Stapledon 
  5. The Alien franchise, Prometheus, Blade Runner Firefly, etc
  6. Classic Science Fiction & 50s films 
  7. Edgar Rice Burroughs Material 
  8. 60s & 70s style exploitation science fiction or fantasy  
Yeah, yeah Greg Bear covered all this but frankly I don't have access to Mr. Bear's work at the moment There are also Morelock, Slumped men, & various other examples of the worst of humanity's future evolution awaiting them! 

The Cylinder In The Night 
File:Spacecolony1.jpg

The cylinders are are the creations of mankind from beyond the pales of time itself. They have been abandon for a very, very, long time. Apex Medical found them & along with Geofront Inc. have been exploiting the technology found within them. They travel on an unknown course between the stars "Flying Dutchmen" style. Now the characters are on their way to them!

Random " Alien" City Finds 1d10 From Within the Cylinder 

File:Spacecolony3edit.jpeg
  1. A pile of metallic rubbish that reassembles itself into an alien tool kit 1d4 items of unknown use 
  2. 1d4 random credits covered in melted gold 
  3. An alien knife covered in copper based blood & a piece of red cloth from a shirt 
  4. A breathing apperatus with an alien throat fossilized to it 
  5.  A brand new med kit & tricorder fully charged & still on 
  6. A M1A1 pulse rifle magazine spent & empty 
  7. A shock prod with a fully charged capacitor
  8. Broken mono blade sword with a spent energy clip 
  9. Power binders with key looped through on wire 
  10. Alien head with explosive collar still attached 
For even more information about The City & The Stars go right Here

Tuesday, October 23, 2012

An overview of the Dark Tek Sourcebook for Dark Conspiracy



An overview & commentary of the Dark Tek Source book for Dark Conspiracy for OSR games  right over Here

Secrets of the Dirdir By Jack Vance For Your Old School Space Opera

Personal copy of the Dirdir by Jack Vance 


The Dirdir by Jack Vance is considered to be one of the corner stones of our hobby. The book is listed in appendix N of the original Dungeon Masters Guide by G. Gygax.
The book according to wiki concerns : Written by Jack Vance, it tells of the efforts of the sole survivor of the destruction of a human starship to return to Earth from the distant planet Tschai.
The actual plot with Major Spoilers Ahead From Wiki 

Adam Reith is stranded on Tschai, a distant planet shared by four alien, mutually hostile, advanced species (the Chasch, Wankh, Dirdir and native Pnume). On his quest to get home, he acquires two human companions, Traz Onmale, a teenage barbarian chieftain, and Ankhe at afram Anacho, an outcast Dirdirman.
Reith has failed twice to acquire a spaceship (as recounted in City of the Chasch andServants of the Wankh). His exploits bring him to the unwanted attention of the Dirdir. As Anacho explains, his former masters are rarely subtle: they want to question and then kill him. Reith manages to wipe out the first "Initiative" sent after him, but sooner or later, there will be a second.
He decides to build a ship from scratch, a task requiring vast amounts of sequins, the universal currency of Tschai. The only way to raise that much quickly is to brave the Carabas, the Dirdir hunting preserve, where sequins grow as crystalline nodes. Men prospect for the nodes, while the Dirdir hunt the men. Those they catch, they eat.
Reith turns the tables on the Dirdir. He ambushes their hunting parties and takes the sequins they acquired from their victims. When the Dirdir finally take notice, Reith and his friends barely manage to escape, but they have amassed a fortune; in fact, they have so many sequins, they are forced to leave behind a substantial hidden cache.
They journey to the cosmopolitan city of Sivishe, where there are shipyards. They find that they must deal with Aila Woudiver, an enormously obese man with monstrous appetites. The construction of the spaceship progresses satisfactorily, but Woudiver demands ever more money, threatening to turn them over to the Dirdir if he is not paid. Finally, Reith has no choice but to go back to the Carabas to retrieve the hidden sequins, leaving Traz and Anacho to keep watch.
When he returns however, he finds that Woudiver, who desires above all else to be a Dirdirman, has betrayed Anacho to the Dirdir. Reith risks his life rescuing Anacho. Then he goes to confront Woudiver, but the arch-criminal is too clever for him and all three are handed over to the Dirdir.
However, Reith demands arbitration, invoking a tradition too strong for the Dirdir to ignore, even from a "subman". When the judgment goes against him, he challenges the Dirdirman arbitrator. By Dirdir custom, the victor of hand-to-hand combat wins the case. Reith dispatches his foe, only to face a second set of charges. This time, he has to fight a Dirdir. When he forces the creature to concede, Reith and his friends are absolved of all crimes and freed. Needing Woudiver to complete the ship, they do not kill him, but take him captive.

The book is actually part of a triliogy of books called Planet Of Adventure & concern the planet Tschai. The way they are written is for a low powered sword & science fantasy campaign actually a blue print for a DM to follow. They are then woven into a greater plot of the series. Vance handles it like the true professional he is. The adventures are a well written & paced exactly like a table top game. Seriously this is a great pulp style blue print to follow.
There's further information to mine as well. The series goes through the whole "campaign" Tschai is an interesting & very exciting world set in a little known empire crumbling apart at the seams 
UK Grafton cover
The series basically shows the adaptability of humanity under the yoke of various alien cultures & how it shapes us as a species. DMs should take note here how the traditional OD&D races could be shaped into a science fantasy campaign Wiki goes into some details about Vance's work 
Tschai is a planet orbiting the star Carina 4269, 212 light-years from Earth. It is populated by three alien, mutually hostile species; the displaced, native Pnume; and various human races, some of whom live as slaves or clients of the aliens. Each of the four novels relates Reith's adventures with one of the species, and is named after that species. In order, the books are:
The insect-like Pnume are the original inhabitants of Tschai. Their history goes back ten million years and they view the invaders as welcome additions to the pageantry on their world stage. They were forced underground by the coming of the more powerful species. Related to them are the Phung, solitary sentient predators with bizarre habits. The somewhat reptilian Chasch arrived a hundred thousand years prior to the tale's start, and are divided into three warring factions, the decadent Old Chasch, the Blue Chasch, and the barbarian Green Chasch. The birdlike predatory Dirdir and the amphibious Wankh (or Wannek) are comparatively recent arrivals and had warred with each other in the past, but subsided into an uneasy peace due to their relative military parity.
The human client races, the Pnumekin, Chaschmen, Dirdirmen and Wankhmen resemble their alien patrons to some degree, due to selective breeding, surgery and the desire of the humans to emulate their respective masters. The Pnumekin are kept docile by drugs; the Gzhindra are ostracised and exiled Pnumekin who act as agents for the Pnume. The religious fiction that their dead are reborn as Chasch keeps the Chaschmen obedient. The Dirdirmen view themselves as degenerate Dirdir and strive to minimize their differences. The Wankhmen, on the other hand, act as the sole interpreters of the Wankh and as a result, are able to manipulate the alien race to their own advantage. Vance's depiction of the human race after tens of thousands of years on Tschai aims to show how foreign humanity can become in alien surroundings.

More Spoilers Ahead 

Adam Reith is sent with another scout in a small ship to investigate a distress signal sent centuries before from the previously unknown planet. The mother ship is destroyed and the rest of the crew killed in a surprise missile attack. The two survivors are forced to set down on Tschai and soon enough, Reith is alone. The four books describe the attempts of a man of singularly strong will and resource to return to Earth. He overcomes the obstacles of dealing with four different alien races and various human groups in his efforts. In the process, he profoundly disrupts several of the societies, human and alien, with which he is forced to deal.
Reith acquires two faithful human companions in the course of his travels: Traz Onmale, the dour, proud boy-chieftain of a nomad race obsessed with emblems, and the renegade Dirdirman, Ankhe at Afram Anacho, loquacious, fastidious and flamboyant. (Vance has said that the novels were commissioned as a juvenile series, which was why he included Traz; but the action is no less ‘adult’ than in his other works.) The third novel also introduces a villain in the enormously fat, petulant, pedophilic, shamelessly avaricious contractor Aila Woudiver.
The vast teeming planet with its clashing civilizations and multifarious cultures affects Reith to the point that he realizes that if he succeeds in returning to Earth, his life will seem dull and colourless in comparison.


I've had an obession with the Dirdir for a long, long time & I've collected the whole series ever since I saw them in Barlow's Guide To Extraterrestrials.




The Dirdir in OSR games 

Didir Warrior
Number Appearing :1 or 1d4 for hunting party
Armor Class:5(14)
Type: Other 
Hit Dice: 2
Attacks:By Weapon or Claw 1d6
Saving Throw 17 
Special: +1 on Iniative
Move :12
Challenge level /XP :1/15

Make no mistake the Dirdir are apex predators & they are as deadly as it comes. When using them in any OSR games. They gain a +1 on all initiative rolls. They have natural weaponry in the form of claws on their feet & hands that do 1d6 points  damage with each strike. They fight as second level fighters.

Mr. Wayne Barlow's Dirdir from 1977 
Whip cord lean & a well muscled species they are insectoid with mammalian overtones. These folks aren't ones to forget a slight or a debt either. They rule their territoriality with an iron hand & are know to kill for pleasure & kill for the sport of the hunt. They have migrated all over the known universe & are known throughout several systems with the known space  time continuum & beyond. The race favors power weapons of a precise nature & melee weapons of incredible deadliness.

Morbius from late 80s
Dirdir loath Deodanths & will attack them on sight considering them both an inferior species & a top level threat.
 Using The Dirdir 




Since I've been role playing the Dirdir have been appearing in my games from OD&D to Travller. They & there men have always been haunting some God forsaken corner of the campaign world. These guys & their men could appear anywhere & any when  Though tied to their specific corner of the multiverse their too good not to pop up as warriors in Terminal Space.
Background menaces in Carcosa & its environs or stalking the wastelands of Mutant Future testing their mettle against the mutant beasts of the plane. They could well appear within Labyrinth Lord as a hazard of some haunt or be employed as exotic mercenaries.
With the release of Star Ships & Space Men second edition ships blundering into their worlds is a likelihood with lots of dead red shirts happening during game time.
These guys are practically made for SWN
This is simply a blog entry & in no way a slight at the various copyright holders or artists here in.