First part of this blog series right over HERE
When we last left our sword & sorcery heroine she had been captured and dealt with her father's court intrigues and was sold off into bondage with her protector last issue. This issue picks up right from the get go bring us into the action with the modern descendants of Garth and Malu; Sandra Worth and Geoffrey Garth peering in on the happenings of ancient times before the oceans drank Atlantis. Garth on the cover of this issue is looking very Tony Curtis & Malu flaming red tresses are almost but not quite blend into the cover itself. I love the melodramatic dialogue; the art is quite good and there's a fast pace and lots of action. I'm guessing the plan was to add in a canine companion but alas this was Garth and Malu's last issue.
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The pirates of Ambur are mostly a state sponsored combination thieves guild/pirate outfit working on undermining the enemies of the kingdom of Ormuz. Don't let the kindly king of Ormuz act fool you, he's one very cagey character whose probably been keeping his kingdom balanced with members of the thieves and pirate guilds filling his coffers for years. The King of Ormuz is a 12th level fighter with an in with the guilds.
The Pirates of Ambur
Ships - 300
Crews include 3rd level fighters, thieves, and pirates
Organization - State Sponsored Pirate Guilds
Typical example of a Pirate of Ambur
2nd level thief;AC 9;HP10;MV150'(50');#AT1;DMG1d6 (spear) or short sword
The second feature of the comic book which is a break in the action of the adventures of Garth and Malu is the Lost Princess. A Nineteen Forty Nine archaeological venture which were quite common after the war when Americans too to exploring the Middle East on their veterans packages they received after World War Two if they were lucky.
Ted and Dick Kane are both treasure seekers and ametuer archaeologists who run across Princess Tais of the minor kingdom of Neptuna daughter of King Jerrod. Its an interesting little gem of a story and we get a sense of the Saturday morning matinee. Of Princess Tais is a zombie, the city of Neptuna is a ruin and this is a perfect bridge gap to throw your adventurers into the fray of a Dungeon Crawl Classics style modern day pulp location.
After this we jump right back into the action as Malu and Garth are swept out to see and on to the course of the kingdom of Zankhara. A desert kingdom probably watered by the same artificial water resources as the Atlantians provided for their colonies. Zankhara has about a Arabian Empire during the Dark Ages via Hollywood.
The Princess Shala is a nasty piece of work and has her own cold war with the kingdom of Tirza. The Zankhara also has an ancient Atlantian structure in the form of the Tower of Indecision. A ritual sacrifice and rite chamber from an elder time.
So where's Malu all this time? Well she's being held prisoner in the dungeons of Shala and dealing with the politics of the kingdom. Garth has been romanced by the princess but all is not as it seems for the tower awaits both of our heroes! The tower itself has secrets and spins like Nero's legendary palace presenting the sacrifices three types of death. The tower is spun and our heroes are dizzily facing down their deaths.
What sort of a death are we going to see for Garth and Malu? Well death by Nemien giant boar! But door number two provides even more fun with a forest dragon!
We get a battle royal between these two beasts of legend and our two heroes escape onto their next adventure. Well kingdom Zankhara does fall eventually but who knows how long the tower of indecision was used for? Your PC's might stumble into its hey day and face down their own battles against who knows what sort of beasts your PC's might face.
Of course there is far more going on here then simply two feuding city states we see this actually a state brought on by the machinations of two royal families after the break up and death of the king of Zarkhara and Tiera. According to the Comic Vine website:
"The two climb down and meet Gaddo, the brother of the evil queen. He is also the brother of the rival good queen, Tirza. He helps the prisoners escape through an underground door.
In Tirza, the queen Tirza welcomes Garth and Malu. Garth offers to sneak back in to Zankhara to open the gates from the inside. Gaddo agrees to help and the queen prepares her people to attack. Inside the city, Gaddo creates a diversion and lures away the gate guards. Garth opens the gate and the Tizanian soldier flood Zarkhana. The battle is fierce.
Gaddo finds his evil sister Shala and takes her captive. The city falls and Tirza awards the rule to Garth. Shala, however, knows the secret passage ways and escape. She finds a fabled boulder atop a wall and pushes it down to crush Garth and Malu. She falls with it."
Surely this is not the end of our heroes? Well for some it might be but not all as we shall see in a moment.
Commentary on Slave Girl Princess Issue #2 For Your Old School Campaigns
There's a ton here to mine for old school gaming you've got a boat load of sword and sorcery kingdoms, feuding family rivalries, backstabbing, thieves guilds, pirate action and a series of dying empires not to mention great escapes, pagan gods, and lots more in the back setting of this series. Even clocking in at two issues the melodrama is thick and plot hooks are there to use.
I personally have used the kingdoms of Ormuz, Zarkhara, & Tirza for my own Accursed Atlantis campaign and Astonishing Swordsmen and Sorcerers of Hyperborea any number of times when I've wanted to set things up for outside intrigue and plenty of backstabbing action. Malu is the perfect balance of an adventurer waiting to happen. Now that Garth has his kingdom? Perhaps she might strike out on her own as an adventurer which is where a few of my PC's have run into her. A sixth level Houri and 4th level thief with a sense of honor whose very self reliant. She's come a very long way from her days with Garth and is now leading her own band of adventurers and cut throats. I always wanted to know more about Malu? Garth is settled into his own kingdom and he's got his own city state kingdom and internal clean up to deal with. Malu might strike out on her own and gather together a band of her own adventurers to go gain the throne of Ormuz! At least that's one of the adventures that has happened when Malu was acting as a patron for some of the PC's in my games.