Sunday, August 2, 2015

Meditations On The Maximum Mayhem Dungeon #2: Secret Machines of the Star Spawn Adventure By Mark Taormino

Tonight I got together with friends and went to a nice quiet establishment for a drink and to play catch up with other friends gaming habits tonight.  The talk turned to the OSR as its prone to do when old school gamers get together for dinner. Mark Taormino was the topic of conversation especially The Maximum Mayhem Dungeon #2: Secret Machines of the Star Spawn adventure.

Tonight I got together to talk, design, and chew the fat about gaming as I do some Saturday nights. This evening Mark Taormino's name came up and his module Secret Machines Of The Star Spawn. Mark had a pretty successful Kickstarter earlier this year with Machines and the backer copies of the module are going out. The plot was fun and it hits all of my old school gonzo buttons with its plot, I've run Secret Machines twice and its a blast. The adventure's plot goes something like this :
Locals have been hearing whispers of strange happenings around the Ancient Volcano. Rumors over the last few months of an unspeakable evil that has risen up inside. An evil that “fell from the stars.” They say there is something wicked and devilish going on inside. Highwaymen report of strange creatures, mechanical monsters, and "Little Green Men" that are roaming the land causing chaos and mayhem!

The locals are at their wits end. They put out a call for the bravest, the strongest, the smartest group of adventurers they could find... and unfortunately for them, your group has "answered the call." You and your stalwart band of adventurers know exactly what to do...  plunder the mountain for the treasure within! And maybe figure out what those pesky locals are bitching about!

Half of the adventure takes place in the Volcano Dungeon Lair and the other half on a huge, Futuristic Spaceship which the Star Spawn has had "parked" above the planet unknown to anyone for the last 1000 years!
I did a review of adventure right over Here  Because of the nature of the module the gonzo action is fast and furious with plenty of pulpy science fantasy and ray gun blasting action taking place throughout the module.
There are plenty of weird and dangerous monsters, alien life forms, and a ton of stuff happening. You got ray gun blasting action, a mix of elements of fantasy, science fiction, dashes of Lovecraft, rude bits of fun and high weirdness.

So Mark has shipped out the backer copies and friends of mine will be receiving theirs. Now a couple of thoughts occur to me regarding Secret Machines. The White Star rpg science fantasy system might make a perfect cross over point with Secret Machines with Swords and Wizardry. Granted that this module is designed for OSRIC and AD&D 1st edition style games or retroclone systems but porting it over might be a snap. It was pointed out that many of the elements of this adventure even though gonzo adult in nature cross over with lots of retroclone systems and that this module makes a nice spring board for taking your D&D parties into SPPPPPPAAACE. The fact is that this isn't a new tactic at all and when we're looking at everything from Retroclone systems to original may of the themes in Secret Machines crosses right over into the realm of science fantasy in spades. I can see using Secret Machines again for this coming winter with everything from OSRIC to Astonishing Swordsmen and Sorcerers of Hyperborea to Lamentations of the Flame Princess. Especially given some of the tongue and cheek elements of Carcosa and other LoFP titles. Before you ask I'm not entirely sure when Secret Machines of the Star Spawn's pdf will be hitting Drivethrurpg.  A safe guess might be after all of the backers get their physical copies. I can't wait to see what else Mark has up his sleeves in the coming months.


  1. Thanks for that Eric, I appreciate it! Your print copy shipped out yesterday so you should be getting it soon!

  2. Thanks very much Mark and I'll cover it as soon as I get it pal! Cheers! And can't wait for the next The Maximum Mayhem Dungeon project!


Note: Only a member of this blog may post a comment.