Thursday, April 30, 2015

The Pay What You Want OSR PC Class - PC1 - The OSR Warlock From Jeremy Reaban For Your Old School Campaigns

I'm always looking into some variety of the traditional spell casters in OD&D or AD&D, the warlock is a new addition that needs some air play and needs to get some time at your table especially if your looking for an alternative to the tradition wizard or sorcerer of the campaigns.


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I've been looking over various OSR resources over the past forty eight hours and one of the resources that's been in my favorites que has been this little PC class by Jeremy Reaban. The Old School Warlock is statted out for all of your old school favorite edition rpg systems from OD&D style games to AD&D 1st edition. Basically the Warlock is a person born infused with so much magickal energies that it is literally a part of them. The whole class made me think of 1980's magickal using characters such as Zartanna and the Squadron Supreme Arcanna. This class includes a bit of everything from spell casting abilities to a hint of telekinesis as well. 

File:The Love Potion.jpg

Everything is pretty nicely balanced for a spell slinger with with some power behind their abilities. The balance is grounded towards the occult power of the character and in theory this class looks like a nice magical asset and alternative to the conventional wizard or sorcerer of the adventuring party. The writing is clear, the PC generation crisp and the play looks like from reading over the class pretty nicely done. This is a pay what you'd like but I actually like the cover so throw the man a few shekels to get more art for his next project. Do I see being able to incorporate these PC's into a game? Yes I actually can see using these natural born spell casters into a game as a nice secondary or alternative class where the magical energies are leaking into the world. I can even see these giving the warlock a try in Lovecraftian sword and sorcery campaign where the dimension gates have caused leaks into reality causing all kinds of weird mutations. This could lead to the origin of such a class as the warlock. Alternatively there could be a ton of uses for this class in the post apocalyptic wasteland such as a Mutants And Mazes campaign for Mutant Future where Labyrinth Lord's fantasy elements are used in tandem with the wasteland aspects. This class could in point of fact be used to compensate the lack of sorcerers in a game of Thundarr The Barbarian. This class could easily be added to Tim Snider's massively wonderful  free Thundarr The Barbarian download over HERE
The warlock fills a great need for such a class right into the back end of this campaign quite seamlessly. 
But that's not all here with the warlock because of the very nature of the class it can easily be added into a pulp game such as Trey's Weird Adventures gambit as another option for PC's. Or it could be used as yet another alternative for a pulp game of  low powered super heroes. This class could be added right into OD&D or Swords and Wizardry with little problem. The warlock is just that flexible to add itself to just about anyplace where the infusion of magick is in the mix. The balance is such that this class could be added into the background of your favorite old school campaigns and no one might be the wiser. The author has done a good job tailoring the bits and pieces to work on a variety of levels and backgrounds. Is it worth the download? Well its sitting on my hard drive and waiting for use with a good number of one shots and adventures that I've got waiting in the wings. 

Wednesday, April 29, 2015

Review and Commentary On The Free OSR Adventure Resource - The Flayed King From GM Games for Your Old School Campaigns




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Tim Shorts produces and writes some damn awesome stuff, a combination of OD&D weirdness and solid adventure writing. Here we've got The Flayed King adventure done for Swords and Wizardry Appreciation day and in twelve pages he gives birth to a dark and twisted adventure of weird as well as horrid proportions. The man knows how to write a sold adventure to challenge and bring your PC's into the bowels of a heck of a ride. The set up time for 'The Flayed King' is less time then the intro to a classic 90's horror film and this sucker is tightly done with one adventure location as well as solid background steeped deep in the old school tradition as well as the blood of other adventurers who have come before your PC's.
The adventure plays with several classic motifs of old school gaming from the adventure location to the treasure within the location all the while playing with the king in the barrow legends of old. The adventure dances around the pulp weird fantasy of yesteryear hearkening back to HP Lovecraft, Robert Howard, and several other classic writers whist putting your characters center stage for the slaughter.
So do I think that this one is worth the download? Yes in point of fact if you haven't already then by all means stop reading this one and go grab it. Now.
Tim knows how to play with his audience and this short but classy module uses the echoes of classic horror while upping the notches of old school adventure in a tight but balance package of lethal weirdness.
So while the Swords and Wizardry retroclone rpg system is the intended audience this adventure could be used with a number of game systems as we shall see. Give the form and function of the Astonishing Swordsmen and Sorcerers of Hyperborea game this is a classic adventure that can easily lend a completely nasty edge of horror to the Viking Northsmen that this system has in spades. Given the tremendous almost Edgar Allen Poe style horror that is happening within the featured adventure location; this module could be added to a Lamentations of The Flame Princess campaign as an aside quest around Iceland or some other historic Viking location in a pseudo historical campaign. The sky is the limit really with the set up but for me the bits and pieces of this adventure almost certainly put it squarely within the sword and sorcery school of adventure. In fact this adventure might be adapted to either Dungeon Crawl Classics or Adventurer, Conqueror, King with some conversion. I would actually say that this adventure would easily fit into ACK's quite nicely given the style and substance of the adventure location, monsters, and plot.
The artwork is another aspect of this adventure that I happen to love. The maps are clear,crisp, and concisely done as well as being easy on the eyes. The encounters within the adventure are lethal and should be treated as an almost 'horror' film event venue for an old school game. I've used that analogy before and this game adventure really brings that ideal home in several places. There is some room here for DYI D&D for continuing the adventure in several places but Tim has keep this one tight and well done. This adventure could be used even with the Basic Fantasy Rpg as well as Labyrinth Lord but with LL you might want to up the hit points on the monsters and do a bit of adjusting in some places. All in all this is a solid and well done module. 

Tuesday, April 28, 2015

Review and Commentary On The Free OSR Adventure Resource The Black Ruins By Corey Walden For Your Old School Campaigns

There are adventures that come across your email and news feed that just make you go whoa. This is the case with Corey Ryan Walden who knows his stuff. This is min campaign hex crawl and dungeon delve in twelve pages. The sucker clocks itself with dripping quasi 80's sword and sorcery adventure vibrations.
The sucker has a plot line that could have dropped out of one of back page adds right out of the Strategic Review or Dragon. It might also been lifted by Hollywood for a nice sword and sorcery flick that you'd rent from the video rental place.
Check it out :
Blackened esoteric obelisks, henceforth known among most folk as ‘The Yore Standing Stones’, dot a strangely unnatural hill. The runes are inscribed with runic scripting, but it is what looms below the forlorn hill that should chill any good serf to the bone.
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The Black Ruins
This is a pretty well balanced piece by Corey and gives the DM a little bit of everything & as a DM whose used to running Astonishing Swordsmen and Sorcerers of Hyperborea this is a great addition for that game or any OSR game in my humble opinion. This adventure has good solid overview with the hex laying everything at the DM's feet. Really its all right at the DM's finger tips ready to run straight from download to print out. You get a scattering of locations with some nice sword and sorcery styled encounters. These look pretty nicely balanced. This isn't a high powered crawl but one perfect for outlaws and warriors to cut their teeth on. Several elements from AS&SH could easily be added to this adventure to tie it right in to Hyperborea. The bits and pieces of the setting material allow this one to easily be added right into an OD&D game with little issue. The details here are solidly done but generic enough to allow back customizing & DYI D&D to any campaign setting but this adventure screams Sword and Sorcery to me.
There's something very cinematic or weirdly pulptastic about the whole affair of 'The Black Ruins'. The adventure has both a lost world vibe and a dungeon from hell thing going on. This makes it a very appealing dungeons and dragons adventure but with some really nice overtones of the classic era happening throughout the adventure. There are elements of the lethal in several places and the DM should take care to see the whole affair comes across with a sense of how deadly and lethal this romp can be.
The maps give a real element of old school charm, everything is serviceable and easily adapted to your favorite old school rules sets and its a nice set up for a heroes journey given in D&D terms. With a bit of work this adventure could be used as a Lamentations of The Flame Princess dimensional journey for beginning PC's with a real twist into a weird lost world style gambit as well. The whole adventure screams weekend or mini campaign to me. Its very well done for a free module and the author knows his material enough to adapt it across the board to a number of old school systems. I have to say that in twelve pages Corey manages to compact and condense a very interesting and contrasting series of elements into one very well done old school adventure.
So is this adventure worth your time for a download? Yes if your into sword and sorcery adventure with an old school flare. This is a nice weekend or mini campaign that can be stretched around a few sessions of your favorite old school D&D or retroclone rpg system. Four out of five in my opinion because of the nature of the adventure and how it works with the 

A Bit Of Terror Tuesday: The Free Mutant Monster Tyrannosapien: Creatures of the Apocalypse 11 From Outland Arts For Your Old School Campaigns

                                                                 




                                                Its Free Right Over HERE




  I really don't give enough love to Mutant Epoch, they've come up with another nasty to throw out into the wastelands. This time we've got a product of genetic tempering give form and function as a carnivore of incredibly dangerous aspect. These are monsters for an experienced party of adventurers easily taking on a party of four or five quite easily. The lethal aspects of these horrors is easy to explain, this is an apex predator plain and simple. The mix of weirdness here is a horror that moves across the landscape as one would expect, deadly and with one purpose to kill adventurers or anyone else who get's in the monster's way. And they seem to be very,very, good at doing exactly that taking down prey and ripping the face off of anyone who gets in their way.
      The mutant menace from the bowels of the imagination of Outland Arts is grotesque, dangerous, and completely something original as any PC's running into this horror from the vats are going to have a hell of a hard time dealing with its wicked claws, horrid bite, and much more.  This pdf clocks in at eleven pages and there are even more options on the table for the Mutant Epoch rpg. This product isn't any different with a wide variety of options are laid out before the DM. This is one thing that you get with this beast a wide variety of killer options.  This  including a d20 random mutation list and a d100 treasure table for discoveries at one of the beast’s feeding sites. Believe me, they have the beast's entire ecology, feeding habits,etc. all laid out in gloriously nasty details and it really adds to the product. This isn't a beast that your PC's are going to want to run into at all. This one should be used with extreme caution and don't think that the Tyrannosapien is any way, shape, or form a push over. This sucker is mean, dangerous, and nasty able to give many of the usual monsters of the waste a run for their money. 
       Is this horror well done? Yes and I do think that its worth your time and energy for a download now that being said I also think that Mutant Epoch or any old school wasteland  DM should think very,very, carefully about using this horror and how it should be dealt with. The Tyrannosapien or Heaven forbid a pack of these mad bastards is capable of easily TPKing your group of wasteland warriors quite easily. This horror should be used with extreme caution or not. The monster evokes certain feelings of a combination of Pre code comics with the horror movie feel of the 80's put into a blender and set at Tyrannosapien then unleashed into the post apocalyptic wastelands. Grab this one and unleash it on your experienced PC's. This horror can do some damage add in the random mutations and you've got a complete night's adventure in one horrid package. 

1d10 Random Gonzo Adventurers From Across The Dimensions Encounter Table For Your Old School Campaigns




There are always those chance encounters with with wanderers, travelers, and outlaws that parties might run across. Souls of incredible daring and resourcefulness but also great evil as well. Here then is a list of NPC's who might cause a bit of havoc in the lives of your adventurers. Many of these might be dimensional travelers or dangerous outlaws of the dimensional tracks. 

1d10 Random Adventurers From Across The Dimensions Encounter Table

  1. A gang of cut throats from a post apocalyptic time line looking for victims to rob and steal from. These 2nd level fighters are mix of human and mutants armed with black powder weapons and using a flying steam powdered gnome contraption. The thing stinks and wheezes as it lurches through the sky. They demand any treasure or relics the party might have. 
  2. A party of 1d6 tieflings who are lead by a 8th level wizard with blue skin and horns. The elaborately black armored attired warriors are looking for an innocent soul to take with them back to their patron demon lord. They have a bag of weird and cursed silver with them. 
  3. A lone 4th level cleric with a strange blue green worm like parasite god growing from his back. The worm is actually a 6th level alien wizard who is looking for a dozen souls to bargain with his Outer God patron.  The cleric is armed with a mace of stunning. 
  4. A gang of 4th level  cultists from a dying world  looking to grab some slaves for a wizard into organ legging. They are armed with sleep spells and web spells as well as heavy stunners. They have a gate system control to open a dimensional portal. 
  5. A gang of wizards looking for sacrifices for their inhuman demon god, the are from the same cabal and are assisted by a group of 1d4 pig faced orcs armed with short swords, maces, and round shields. 
  6. Ancient aliens looking for victims to add to a bizarre medical experiment there are 1d8 of these mad bastards armed with lasers, personal force shields, and hover boards. 
  7. 1d8 androids from a dying world looking for converts for their horrid A.I. master programs. The victims will be converted into brain harvested cybernetic horrors serving their god thing's bizarre needs. 
  8. 1d10 mini flying saucers with miniature pilots within them, capable of doing 3d6 points of damage. These horrors are looking to round up some humans and near humans for some quick credits on the slave auction blocks. 
  9. A recruitment team of 1d8 cultists for the Church of Starry Wisdom looking for converts for the local Saturday night fish fry for Dagon. Moving on bizarre flying hybrid demonic fish things that move through the air. They will teleport back across the dimensional borderland when they have their quota
  10. A team of strangely attired men in black armed with blaster rifles and stun grenades are looking to capture specimens for their alien zoo. Your PC's look right up their alley. They have a small remote control to change reality. 

Monday, April 27, 2015

1d10 Random Finds and Treasures of the Dreamlands Table For Your Old School Campaigns


File:Tsarevna-Lebed by Mikhail Vrubel (brightened).jpg
Adventurers are often running into odd or strange things that trickle in from the Dreamlands, there are odd treasures and relics that wash up on the shores of reality. Some of these can be good or some can be very, very, dangerous with prices all of their own. Here is a listing of 1d10 random Lovecraftian treasures to bedevil your adventurers with.
“Down through this verdant land Carter walked at evening, and saw twilight float up from the river to the marvelous golden spires of Thran. And just at the hour of dusk he came to the southern gate, and was stopped by a red-robed sentry till he had told three dreams beyond belief, and proved himself a dreamer worthy to walk up Thran's steep mysterious streets and linger in the bazaars where the wares of the ornate galleons were sold. Then into that incredible city he walked; through a wall so thick that the gate was a tunnel, and thereafter amidst curved and undulant ways winding deep and narrow between the heavenward towers. Lights shone through grated and balconied windows, and, the sound of lutes and pipes stole timid from inner courts where marble fountains bubbled. Carter knew his way, and edged down through darker streets to the river, where at an old sea tavern he found the captains and seamen he had known in myriad other dreams. There he bought his passage to Celephais on a great green galleon, and there he stopped for the night after speaking gravely to the venerable cat of that inn, who blinked dozing before an enormous hearth and dreamed of old wars and forgotten gods.” 
― H.P. LovecraftThe Dream-Quest of Unknown Kadath

  1. Golden straight razor capable of cutting through the material dreams of men and worth 500 gold pieces to the right collector but it is cursed with a blood curse of entropy and haunted dreams. 
  2. A crystal from the dreams of a child that sings of old gods and the haunts of men's dreams within the thing is the soul of a wizard who sold his mind to an ancient horror. With 200 gold pieces for it is a meager and cursed thing. 
  3. A scroll case that contains the writings of a Yithian wizard and super scientist written on the interior of the metal cylinder that unfolds itself. The thing tells its owner their greatest weakness and has been known to drive strong men mad. The scroll also tells the history of the dreams of mankind when it wishes. A very valuable find from the beginning of life on Earth. 800 gold pieces and a telepath needs to read it.  
  4. The jeweled heart of a goddess that allows its owner to reshape their dreams and nightmares but the heart has plans of its own. The jade like jewel is made from the stuff of dreams and can be fickle turning different colors and smelling of the dreams of childhood.  Worth about 40000 gold pieces but there are three different factions after it. 
  5. The crystallized embryo of a demonic thing, it still bares traces of its weirdly fused post  human origins.  The thing advises and chortles about matters of wizardly and mystical matters.  It claims it is looking for a worthy master to share its secrets with. In point of fact this thing manipulates and sets up its hosts while sharing esoteric knowledge.  The thing is an exiled demon of some importance.  Worth 10000 gold pieces to the right wizard who might murder for it. 
  6. A piece of dead wood from the World Tree, this thing drips with the sap of ages allowing its owner to find the dreams and illusions of the gods. The sap is made into a tea that gives its owner visions of old and ancient places along the most dangerous routes of the mind and soul in other dimensions.  Sanity rolls are a must and there is a 30% chance of encountering the dreams of an ancient god or horror. 
  7. A casket of an ancient dead fossilized tree that contains the dream wine of Gugs. The stuff eats through most other containers except the glass ware of ghouls one of which is attached to the thing by the preserved gut of a poet.  The stuff reeks but grants 1d30 visions to the drinker who will witness the stuff crawling into his orifices as it happens. There is a 40% chance of the fool not waking at all as a Great Old One or Outer God has eaten his soul. 
  8. A stringed instrument made from the skeleton and still living bits of a Lovecraftian Ghast. The thing is programmed with five different songs that can be played by a bard. There is a 20% chance that the insane god thing which created this horror is looking for it.  Worth 400 gold pieces or 3000 to a necromancer who has been searching for the thing. 
  9. Spun gold of the dreams of the Fey, this strange golden material has been created from the fevered death  dreams of thieves and prospectors who have lost their lives seeking such treasures.  The material is favored by wizards and black magicians who spin it into cloaks and demonic carpets of dark aspect. Worth about 6000 gold pieces a yard. This material can be used by the Fey to create snares for the souls of men and beasts to feed to their Outer God masters. 
  10. Crystal of the Underworld that contains the locked essence of an Outer Thing, this crystal pulses with minor power and malice. The thing will allow a door to the Outer Darkness to open and dreams of the darkness to flow into the mind of the owner. This grants 1d4 spells from the howling madness that churns through the soul of the owner but he will lost 1d3 points of wisdom each time this happens. 

Sunday, April 26, 2015

1d10 Random Lovecraftian Dream Princesses Encounter Table For Your Old School Campaigns


There are royal personages out in the Dreamlands that seldom get mentioned, fragments of ancient goddesses whose power and rage were far to dangerous for rational minds to contemplate but none the less move across the collective unconsciousness of the dreaming realms waiting and watching for the moments to strike at our world. Adventurers might encounter these beings out on the edges of our fragile existences. Here is a random sample of these dangerous and deceptive ladies of royal aspects.
John Everett Millais - Cinderella.jpg

“No death, no doom, no anguish can arouse the surpassing despair which flows from a loss of identity.

Through the Gates of the Silver Key” 

1d10 Random Lovecraftian Dream Princesses Encounter Table 

  1. A young lady of weird and strange aspect appearing to be about eighteen years of age appears at the edge of your vision. She is dressed in peasant garb but holds a small scepter like  rod but its her eyes that bother you. They are violet pools of ancient wisdom and despair. She is a sixth level witch and she bares a terrible burden but she asks your party's help with a quest to edge of the stars and Kadath. 
  2. This strangely familiar child of  ancient aspect greets each of your party by name. She knows not who she is but that she has a mission from beyond the Gates of the  Silver Key and you must join her mission. She is willing pay you in forbidden knowledge and violence as well as riches beyond measure. 
  3. This princess is actually the claw of one of the Great Old Ones inhabiting the body of a 4th level wizardress of incredible magical talent. She is hunting for adventurers to devour their souls. 
  4. This ancient princess looks about twenty and her skin is rich and tattooed with the signs and symbols of deep dreaming. She is searching for her successor and your party is destined to guard her in her en devour.
  5. This pricessess carries a magical sword called Deep Key and its a slayer of demons. She seeks your party out to help her recover a child of dream itself and only your party is mad enough to face down this ancient evil from beyond the ken of mankind. 
  6. This princess is broken and has become a vampire, she is being hunted by ghoul bounty hunters who wish to drag her back to the underworld. She wishes to employ the PC's to recover magic items. She is very desperate and dangerous.  6th level necromancer 
  7. This princess is seeking her twin soul from a wizard down in the Underworld and is willing to employ the PC's for the promise of 800 gold pieces each to go into the Underworld. She has keys to get you in and out. 
  8. This princess is actually the remains of an ancient goddess and she is willing to pay the PC's to go into the ancient prison where the mantle of immortality is kept. She wishes to gain her rightful place among the gods and knows it is just before an invasion of demons and other horrors. 
  9. This princess is looking to release the bonds that hold one of the ancient titans in place because he controls other ancient Lovecraftian forces. She wishes to use his power to bring about a golden age. 
  10. This princess is more then slightly mad after glimpsing the true face of Cthulhu in a dream. She is quite mad and controls a +2 blade called the bane of humanity. The blade is capable of slaying gods but she wishes to cut the soul of one of the PC's to revive the ancient flame of life for her god. She promises gold and riches. Evil and murder are her calling cards. 
The sleeping beauty by John Collier 1.jpg

Commentary on Judge's Guild's Tarantis (1983) For Your Old School Campaigns



Every party needs a home place of safety and comfort, a rich city state to call their own home where they may have to watch their step. Tarantis has been my go to corner of the Wilderlands. This was a product where not every square inch of the map has been coloured in and there's still a chance for fortune in glory for adventurers if their willing to watch their step and take some risks in the blood soaked streets of Bledsawian adventure! 



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HERE



Tarantis from Judge's Guild stirs up so many memories from the depths of my mind. I came upon this gem way back in the mists of time around 1990 something in a small side corner book shop in Boston. It was laying in the bottom of a box of comic books from the 1980's and there were some newspapers inside.  Tarantis was not well received when it came out by Dragon or many of the folks who were used to the regular output of Judge's Guild products. That being said I loved it. And I've been searching for a copy of it ever since I cracked open the spine of the product. See Tarantis different from most of the JG Wilderlands campaigns. This place be came my piece of the Wilderlands in Boston where I ran it back to back for years. There are a few reasons why Tarantis is a perfect campaign city for adventurers. Its located on the Eastern subcontinent in the Wilderlands; Tarantis is a port city and home to a people reminiscent of the Turks,with bits of Pakistan, and India thrown into the background. Like many of the Wilderland governments Tarantis has a Lawful Evil or Neutral evil back beat for its political structure. The place has to with its location as a marine and trade status as a port city. The place has a strange Mongol feel about it and its a perfect sword and sorcery location because of its lack of the high fantasy feel of the other City State products. One of my all time favorite pieces of setting flavor is d100 rumor table that evokes the rest of the setting. The maps are very well done as always but there's also a sense that this was a product that was looking for a much more DYI flavor then some of the other Judge's Guild products. Sure there are plenty of details about the military forces, the army, the history, etc. and all of the details but this is a city state with blank spots that you as the DM could fill in and make this a customized setting right out of the gate and that's exactly what I did. If your looking for a good solid sword and sorcery or low fantasy setting then Tarantis might be a good fit for you. This was one of the latter pieces of Judge's Guild material and its after JG lost the AD&D licences. This means that its built along a far more generic feel then other products in the line but this also means that it has a far more system neutral appeal. Many have thought it inferior to other products that came out earlier. Maybe its partially nostalgia or perhaps its that I spent many a weekend mapping out encounter after encounter in this sword and sorcery city but I'm very fond of the Tarantis. To make up for the lack of fantasy elements I combined it with the Bloody,bloody, Arduin and given its feel it made a very nice adventurer friendly location for my home campaigns. The PC's had many a deadly time dealing with the locations that were detailed in this product. They also cover the shops and courts of Tarantis, The Tarantine Palace, Bard or Fighter Citadel, Ho Chi's Castle, The Azurerain Pirates and their stronghold. This scanned 1983 product includes the large Tarantis Area map, but does not contain the maps for Judges or Players.


There is a strong sense of location, history, and strength of adventure just waiting around the corner that Tarantis has always been one of my orderly and incredible home bases for my PC's while pirates and the scum of the Wilderland's seas were just around the corner waiting with blood soaked cutlasses for my PC's to screw up and they'd have their heads on a lance or worse as part of a slave auction just down the coast somewhere. Personally I've always felt that Tarantis doesn't get its due at all. And it just might be worth your attention. A place where adventure is just around the corner.

 

I ran Tarantis as if it was someplace that had jumped out of the imagination of HP Lovecraft and had tumbled out of the Arabian Knights via Ray Harryhausen's Sinbad pictures. This was a city that would have been visited by Sinbad and crew. A place where Conan and his crew of blood thirsty pirates would have fit right at home. And here Elves were an exotic sight sure to stir bewildered glances from the city guard and more then a bit of concern from the rest of the citizens. This was the city state where pillage and plunder from a thousand adventures was unloaded and traded for.
File:Evariste-Vital Luminais - Pirates normands au IXe si├Ęcle.jpg

Every stripe of race and humanity came through the ports of Tarantis in my campaigns and this was my Tarantis. Very few folks had heard of it but every DM seemed to know the Wilderlands. This was also my perfect excuse to expose PC's too all kinds of exotic and interesting peoples from across history and given analogues in the Wilderlands. History is full of various peoples and races from across the world that never get used. With the spicing of various peoples throughout history Tarantis was the perfect Lawful evil ruled melting pot.

File:Bakst-LePirate.jpg
All in all Tarantis remains one of my favorite go to places for exotic adventure in the Wilderlands and one of the most unsung places of intrigue and adventure to put into action. If you haven't got it then wait till it goes on sale and grab it. I'm still looking into getting a physical copy of one of my favorite under appreciated sets from Judge's Guild. 

Free OSR Gonzo Adventure - The Rise and Fall of Zamzer For Your OD&D or Retroclone Style Campaigns


You can find a ton more information about the adventure and the adventure itself over at the Fire In The Jungle Blog HERE


So a couple of days ago, I came across a really gonzo old school adventure for an OD&D set up game. Its quick and short but sweet in what it does. This is a great little adventure if you want to introduce a party of adventurers to one another in a weird pulp setting with a prison break out and a whole bunch of old school elements that are simply awesome to use and work with if you go in for the gonzo element. Its simply a fun, free adventure with lots of little interesting elements to throw at your players. I love the fact that the adventure references an old exploitation Kung Fu classic called Burning Paradise In Hell. I loved the fact that the author referenced this movie because it was a poster that used to be in the background of the video store I worked in back the 90's in Boston on the weekends. The adventure is pretty solidly gonzo and its free, so I hoped you enjoy running it as much as I had a blast reading through it. 


A word of warning about Burning Paradise, this is a cult film of the highest caliber and a truly terrible film with some very weird elements to it. Its an acquired cult taste and consider yourself warned. I believe its out on a few venues for viewing and its rather obscure to begin with.
 According to the reviews -  "Lam gives the story a new twist by envisaging the temple as a kind of Quake-type fortress complete with bottomless pits, traps, poison gases and other nasties that await the two fighters who are assigned to free the monks." You can find out more right over HERE


1d10 Random It Came From H.P. Lovecraft's Dream Lands Encounter Table For Your Old School Campaigns

There are times when the real world is invaded by the horrors and nightmares from the Dreamlands of HP Lovecraft. The power and dangerous nightmares creep into our world and only adventurers can keep these things at bay. Here is a random encounter chart of some of the possible things and monsters that might come to be encountered by your heroes and outlaws on the fringes of reality.
File:Tanglewood-tales-4.jpg
“Well did the traveler know those garden lands that lie betwixt the wood of the Cerenerian Sea, and blithely did he follow the singing river Oukranos that marked his course. The sun rose higher over gentle slopes of grove and lawn, and heightened the colors of the thousand flowers that starred each knoll and dangle. A blessed haze lies upon all this region, wherein is held a little more of the sunlight than other places hold, and a little more of the summer's humming music of birds and bees; so that men walk through it as through a faery place, and feel greater joy and wonder than they ever afterward remember.” 
― H.P. LovecraftThe Dream-Quest of Unknown Kadath



1d10 Random It Came From 
H.P. Lovecraft's Dream Lands Encounter Table 


  1. 1d6 Spice traders of weird aspect trading in strange powders, drugs, and spice from the edges of Oukranos and bearing certain magical wines in cut ruby bottles. They are wizards of 6th level and not gentlemen to be trifled with but are willing to trade certain dreams for their strange wares. 
  2. Two ancient ghoul priests from the Underworld looking for a missing princess from their light less realm of insanity and danger. They have two scrolls of magic that they are willing to trade for information and a +1 magical sword named Broken Spine which hums under moonlight. 
  3. A strangely swathed Elven prince in royal finery looking for adventurers to help in a quest for the temples at the edges of Kadath. He is willing to pay in rubies and dreams of bliss. A second level mage and fifth level warrior, he bares a great burden of horror and depravity. 
  4. A knife sharpener from edges of the of The Southern Sea who has eight enchanted knives for sale but is being hunted by an evil dream doppelganger of psychotic and enchanted aspect. 
  5. A dream projection of Great Cthulhu who is hunting for a particular wizard's soul in the waking world. This thing of psychic power and horror is hunting and will destroy anything that gets in its way. 
  6. A strange flabby mouthed horror from the shores of the Fantastic Realms, this ghostly phantom is partially dream and particularly dangerous because its a level draining horror that feeds on the souls of its victims as well. 
  7. A swarm of semi demonic damned souls that have escaped from the Forbidden Lands and intend to feed on the living to gain reality in the waking world. 
  8. A damned soul who has escaped from the clutches of  Nyarlathotep, this horror counts as a ghost but its actually the remains of a wizard's soul and mutters mind blasting secrets from the corners of its mouth. 
  9. A slippy flabby toad thing from a Black Ship, that has come to our world to seek slaves and a way back to its horror filled body. The thing is a 4th level magician that seeks to trade a valuable jeweled necklace for your soul. The thing is manipulative and very dangerous. 
  10. A giant purple bloated spider from the plane of Leng that seeks out prey to take back within it to its eternal home of horror. The thing knows 1d6 spells and is a dangerous card player. It is easily distracted with games of all stripes. A very weird and strange nightmare given horrific form. 

Saturday, April 25, 2015

Fantastic Heroes And Witchery Rpg Game System Set Up - That Old Time Religion For Warlords Of The Outer Worlds Campaign


First off Fantastic Heroes And Witchery is available right over HERE and here's the set up for tonight's game. 

  Right,so tonight I'm getting together with my players to have a PC work shop and set up with Fantastic Heroes and Witchery. The adventure is in the Warlords Of The Outer Worlds campaign universe in the wilds of Neo England between Massachusetts. The set up is simple and open ended a group of mercenaries is called together for the reading of a will and hired by the lawyer of the estate to retrieve a trio of magical swords from the ruins of the city of Springfield, Mass. The city was the stronghold of the Voltamen but has been abandoned for the last few years after rumors of undead and horrors from beyond the pale have moved in. The mix of fantasy, science fantasy and post apocalyptic horror is right on the menu for tonight's game. 
The PC options offered by the  pulp, science fantasy download, and some of the other optional material are in mix from over HERE. One of the players is already put his cards on the table for playing a Runner from FH&W. 



Because of FH&W's mix of fantasy, science fantasy, science fiction, and Lovecraftian pulpy goodness the choices here are easy to slide into place for this campaign of high action and adventure. The PC's are adventurers, mercenaries and reverers in a rather weird post apocalyptic wasteland of  terror. These guys are heroes and this is very well reflected in the presentation of the game but this isn't going to help them at all. There are secrets and monsters about ruins to explore and the forces of Chaos about. 
So where exactly does Rafael Chandler's writings and work fit into this? Well Springfield has been 'abandoned' for a reason or rather several unpleasant reasons.
This game is being done on a rather small scale campaign with a very definite 80's horror and  sci fi pulp vibe to it that FH&W captures in spades for me. 

This is isn't quite the world that you know folks. In point of fact the world of  2889 is a pulptastic hot bed of adventure intrigue and nasty cults of horror. And this is all pretty much Rafael Chandler's fault. 

The Serpent's Den of Springfield 

The ruins of Springfield Mass are literally crawling with a multitude of various type of giant mutant serpents and weird naga creatures from various dimensions. The city has become the headquarters for a minor serpent cult that worships some very nasty alien gods of Lovecraftian evil. How this came about or why is at least to the PC's completely unknown. 
A weird combination of factors has created a nasty situation in the city with a small one hundred plus cult operating in the area. These occultists have been trading and operating with several groups out of  Dunwich, Arkham, and the surrounding states.And the cult has been growing by leaps and bounds. 
The cult was rolled up using the machinations from Rafael Chandler's Obscene Serpent Religion crowned out with the perverse art of Gennifer Bone. And then filled in with the monstrous horrors of the Teratic Tome  making it that much more cinematic. And so this makes it very Lovecraftian but bits and pieces were filled in from the Fantastic Heroes and Witchery rule book, classic Monster Manual one and two.
I don't want to go into too much more details because my players are reading this blog.
I still need to aqquire a physical copy of OSR for myself but sufficient to say its been a very interesting read and exercise to roll up through this ADULT themed book. Extreme caution should be exercised when using this book. Its available right over HERE

More coming soon from the Ruins of Springfield! Thanks To DOM, Rafael Chandler and Gennifer Bone for all of the support material for tonight's old school fiasco! 

Review and Commentary On The Pay What Your Want OSR Resource 'Mead & Mayhem' For Your Old School Campaigns

Taverns are great places to begin adventures but they're also places that can get PC's into big trouble D-oom products has a new product called 'Mead and Mayhem' that adds in another layer of random rabble rousing to bring even more problems into your local watering hole of your adventurers and outlaws.

File:Jan van der Venne - A fight in an inn.jpg

Taverns and bars have always been a staple of old school gaming  one of the exciting things about the OSR is the number of optional products that fill a niche in the scene or more importantly at the table of old school gaming and here's where D-oom Products comes in with a great old school optional system for tavern brawls.

File:Cerquozzi-danza en la trattoria.jpg


Now this is a pay what you want product and it does what it does quite well, you can add this system into any old school OD&D style system. So this could go right into the background of say Lamentations of The Flame Princess, Labryth Lord, or even a Old  Western style game with little issue. This piece clocks in at nine pages of concisely condensed tables, complications, and bar room brawling fun just waiting to be unleashed on your players.

Grab It Right

HERE

John Wayne and Randolph Scott In 1942's 'The Spoilers'
has a great Western bar fight and is just the sort of place that that M&M was designed for. 

Bar room brawls and fights are never fun in real life and usually involve the cops and lots of drama. Take it from someone whose been in one or two. But damn they're great in the back drop of old school games and who hasn't used one in a science fiction or fantasy game as well. This product can easily be inserted right into the background of those styles of games as well. As long as they use an OD&D style base as the system your in like Flint. But let's face facts you may look at this product and say I want to use this for XYZ old school system. Well that shouldn't be that much of an issue here because with a bit of damage adjustment to your favorite systems this should simply be a question of drag and drop right into the background of your favorite old school system. But is this a worthy system for your attentions?  Well, let's face it, working with tavern or bar room brawls can be a pain in the arse for the DM and having another optional system to move the process of the cinematic fights along is in my opinion quite welcome. Does this do some interesting and original things as well? Yes and no, yes there are quite a few interesting twists on old tried and true tropes but does it do those things well? Yes it does. But no its not a pain to run through a game. In point of fact this system can even be easily adapted to even a post apocalyptic setting or a space opera as easily as a  1920's speak easy in the middle of mobster infested crime city U.S.A. So all in all this is a good low cost but high quality optional system to add into your OD&D or D&D retroclone systems. In the coming weeks I'll be using this system and let you know how it goes. 

Friday, April 24, 2015

Cutting Deeper Into Neoplastic's Teratic Tome For Your Old School Campaigns

 I  'm going to do a quick break down of one of my recent favorite monster books, The Teratic Tom from Neoplastic Press. You can get the pdf HERE  Or The Hardback from Lulu HERE
The 
the APR15 and FWD15 coupons on Lulu should apply at least for a little while and before you ask I'm not shilling for LuLu or Mr. Chandler.


  So two weeks ago, I ordered a physical copy of the Teratic Tome by Rafael Chandler and his crew of incredibly demented and talented artists who worked on the book. The fact is that I've read review after review of the book and aside from the 'oh's and ah's over the mature and slightly disturbing content with all of the tentacles. I'd like to address something about the monsters withing the book. Yes there are high level monsters of all kinds and demons, devils, and wall to wall Lovecraftian weirdness  in between the slime filled tendril laden entries. Each monster has a very simple challenge level built right into the entries. And aside from being a well put together book this level entry system is keyed for the levels of the PC's who should be fighting said monstrosities. And yes there are low level horrors just waiting to tackle your PC's in the book. The thing about these horrors is that these nasties
 are memorable and very dangerous but not out of the realm of unkillable at all. Far from it, these are horrors that can go a long way to really giving your PC's a hard time.
For example right out the gate we get a very well done horror that is keyed in for a level five party of fools erm adventurers. Another thing to notice is the simple and concise way that the treasure is laid out in the book, each entry has everything splayed out with the beastie's lair and its contents right in front of you. A simple and easy way of doing treasure in a game. 

 
   Other bits and pieces that that added to the monster's setting and feel is the inclusion of the way the damn thing smells and I do me damn thing here in every sense of the word. Its these simple and well thought out little fiddly details that brings the whole monster experience home for a DM. Which is one of the reasons why I decided to use this book for my upcoming a Fantastic Heroes and Witchery campaign.
   Another asthetic details that gets thrown in here is the way that each monster's entry is almost but not quite a bit like a movie plot hook. That is brought home in entry after entry with lots of little nuggets and details about the mad bastard horrors that your PC's are facing down. This was done I believe on purpose and has a very 80's vibe to it. Each and every monster is almost its own star in a way and it echoes something that a friend recently said to me. Each of these monsters should be its own 'star' of an adventure or to put it another way each monsters is unique enough to have the adventures built around it. A recent conceil that I found with old pre code horror comics and movies going back to the golden age of Hammer horror. One monster or creature powerful enough to carry the entire picture or film and powerful enough to give the PC's a hard time.



   There is also an Arduin style vibe that runs through this book as well, one of power attracting power and that those with power cause ripples across the multiverse over and over again. This is again another echo that I think was done quite well on purpose and one that goes straight back into the back bone of the recent Lamentations of The Flame Princess rpg monster book Lusus Naturae. Over and over again there's over lap between the monsters here as if there's far more bubbling below the slime covered surface of this book and I can see the various arrows point back and forth between the horrors with in the Teratic Tome. Now I've mentioned using this book with Fantastic Heroes and Witchery. But why? Because the average FH&W PC is slight more robust hit point wise and the dark dangerous tone of that game suits this book of horrors quite well but  it needs to be pointed as with the other book that less is far more in this case. 



1d10 Random Low Level Lovecraftian Monster Encounter Table For The Neo England Region For Your Old School Campaigns



Some of the most dangerous ruins and complexes in Merica are found in the Neo England are, these lands are haunted by all kinds of dangerous regional monsters that adventurers might stumble upon during their travels throughout the regions especially those areas that border the thin dimensional veil of the Beyond. 
Sometimes the only thing between certain death are a wits of a PC and his trusty ray pistol or pearl handled .45. Occasional a large magical blade can also turn the tide but in the hills of Neo England the advantage belongs to the dangerous monsters that haunt the highways and roads of the old twisting towns and cities.
Note that there is a 20% that a Voltamen patrol or other enforcement group will pass overhead or try to harass the PC's throughout the Neo New England area. 


1d10 Random Monster Encounter Table
 For The Neo England Region

  1. Northwestern mutated Troll warrior with barb wire implants throughout the skin of the beast. 
  2. Half ghoul traders moving their master's funeral wares throughout the area. There is a 10% chance that they might have relics or artifacts 
  3. A Church of Starry Wisdom 4th level priest/necromancer accompanied by 1d6 swathed intelligent zombie henchmen around his wagon. 
  4. Pig Faced orc warriors coming from New Ork state armed with black powder weapons and riding mutant horse like mounts. 
  5. 1d4 Voltamen patrol in hovercraft armed with energy weapons 3rd level fighters 
  6. 1d4 2nd level bandits on dirt bikes with short swords, hide shields, and cross bows. 20% chance of a mutant among their ranks with 1d6 mutations 
  7. 1d8 Apemen 3rd level ape men mafia enforces in full gear and top coats armed with relic modern guns looking for victims to shake down for their boss. They are driving a relic four door classic 1930's car. There is a 40% chance they may have machine guns and will use them if the encounter goes badly for them. 
  8. 1d4 pack of cavemen mutants armed with short bows, poisoned arrows, with hide round shield on giant flightless birds. 
  9. Mutant Tusker Ork warriors in an SUV armed with modern weapons looking for slaves to take back to New Ork city. 
  10. 1d8 Providence Dagon cultists armed with heavy stunners,gas grenades and gas masks looking to recruit  'converts' and slaves for an upcoming event. They are driving a commercially modified SUV style truck. There are 1d6 pathetic victims of their activities in the back. 






Review of Ivanhoe Unbound's Black Books - Tome Four : Doglocks and Draughts For Your Old School Campaigns

  So recently I received a copy of Black Box Book's latest offering Tome Four Doglocks and Draughts, I was thinking not another black powder rules set for OD&D. Well fortunately its far more then simply that. Doglocks and Draughts is a set of black powder rules of OD&D and Swords and Wizardry retroclone style systems but its more. What this is an expansion of several already readily available black powder rpg systems. This takes the material up to another level by expanding upon the black powder weaponry and then adding in the bonus of weird mundane medicine with some very interesting and potentially weird side effects. The whole bit of OSR weirdness clocks in at about nine pages and remains perfect adaptable to any number of old school style rpg systems. Much of the material reminds me again of stuff that would be available as optional systems to add to OD&D. 

Grab It Right 

  The material here is concise and easily dropped into any OD&D campaign or pulp style retro clone system. The author does a good job with a no nonsense  approach to the material here that gives the DM all kinds of room to adapt and fold the book into their existing campaigns. Because of the way this is done there is little chance of this material upsetting the balance of existing campaigns. The material here can be used for existing fire arms as the next phase of gun powder weaponry or dropped right into a perfectly timed existing campaign setting.
   In point of fact this material could easily be adapted into a game of Labryth Lord or as a potential expansion of gun powder systems for a game such as the Lamentations of The Flame Princess rpg system. The potential here is to move the time line of the LoFP world to get the most out of Doglocks and Draughts while giving the PC's even more options at the table. But with a game such as LoFP this might make little difference because of the very nature of the 'survival horror' nature of some of the game's adventures. Do I think that this is another worthy down load? Yes I do because it does what its supposed to and without breaking up to much of the DM's time to read or to fit this pdf into their own existing head space and campaigns. Grab this one now and get working within the frame work of your own games and campaigns as well. 

Thursday, April 23, 2015

Lamentations of the Napoleonic Princess Campaign Idea


 
So over the weekend I received a copy of Ivanhoe Unbound's Black Box Books Tome Four: Doglocks and Draughts HERE. This was the same weekend that the LoFP Reference book was released for free HERE And with the recent passing of my friend Charlie this passed week I've been thinking about all of the ideas that passed across the sand tables down in Torrington and Litchfield Ct. in various friend's homes. Napoleon for better or worse changed the world in ways that we can scarcely imagine. The scale of this man's achievements were incredible, monstrous, and on an epic as well as grand scale. Genocide was common and the cost of his endeavors was enormous in both human life and economic scale.  These battles changed the face of the world.  Is it any wonder that given such circumstances that my mind turns to using this real world history as the basis for a an alternative world approach using the horrific and weird Lamentations of The Flame Princess rpg as the basis for such a campaign. 

There's a ton of free resources out there and you might want to start with Wiki's list right over HERE
The first French empire stretched across the world and you can beat your bottom dollar that given the scope and the military machine of  Napoleon's army that thousands of minor tribes, peoples, villages, towns, etc. were wiped out without a second thought. Now given the weird lens of LoFP's history this becomes an even bigger and far more warped time of history to use.
Here's chart of the First French Empire at its height from Wiki.
Map of Europe. French Empire shown as bigger than present day France as it included parts of present-day Netherlands and Italy.
Now you can damn well bet that this is an era that would allow the forces of adventurers and mercenaries a perfect opportunity to go into areas where the weird is still the rule. Given the updated time scale this might pose a problem with fire arms and the like. Not really at all. Given that the empire worked from 1804 to 1814 with the world in turmoil. This is a perfect time to exploit the horrors and high weirdness raging across Europe, the Middle East, and all kinds of  foreign entanglements happening in Russia.
Note that this would definitely be a humancentric campaign. Elves, Dwarves, etc. might be only seen as occasional NPC's. 
But surely we can't play mercenaries in such a campaign setting? Well there were all kinds of Europeans and others employed by Napoleon's army more information about right over HERE


The kit and parcel of the army's weaponry might be perfectly aligned with Tome Four: Doglocks and Draughts which expands the scope and range of firearms for the OD&D class of games but also adds some bits as well for this campaign idea. 

Adventures In the Razor Trade - Passing Of An Old Friend


 Austerlitz-baron-Pascal.jpg




  Welcome to Thursday, I just got a call from California from an old friend who I was once pretty close with. This call was both heart wrenching & a bit interesting. So it seems there's been the passing of an old war gaming buddy of mine out in California. Bill's brother Charlie gave me a call and Charlie has passed away. He was a member of the North West Hills War Gaming society, which I was a part of back in the early 90's. Charlie was in his late 60's( so now early 70's) when he went to live with his brother out in California marking the passing of another member of what was really as far as I know one of the last vestiges of the war gaming scene here in the Torrington area. At its height there were perhaps twelve members of this old school war gaming club. When I refer to war gaming I'm referring to sand tables and Napoleonic war gaming. The whole carefully laid out nine yards and the rules were old school 70's typed up rules. What was interesting was that at the height of Wizards of the Coast style D20 madness there was a pocket of 60's & 70's style old school figure war gaming buzzing right along here. It was a private club and simply a bunch of friends getting together to play the games they loved. This was right around the corner from three hobby stores and they had no idea that these folks were there. And actually that was the way these guys wanted it.


   But over the years as always health concerns, jobs, and plan real life tore the group apart. I was always the junior member and learned by playing, cleaning brushes,etc. There are three members left in the area that I'm friends with, my buddy Max whom I've been doing vanity press fanzine articles for years, Larry whose an entire bag of stuff all on his own, etc. Now during the phone call I was told that Charlie had been following my blog Swords and Stitchery. Charlie thought my style of writing, designing, etc. were in his words,'pulpy', 'lurid', and worthy of being sold in magazines and comic books back in the Thirties, Forties, Fifties,etc.  Here's really one of the problems with each of these deaths besides the obvious loss of a friend. Each and everytime another hobbyist passes on a small piece of knowledge, tradition, etc. goes with them. A unique part of the collective bits and whatnot that each war gamer brings to the table. Not to mention their life experiences as well. 

   Now I'm not entirely sure how to take this and I haven't told Max about Charlie's passing but I'll take 'lurid', 'pulpy', etc. any day of the week.
Rest In Peace Charlie give em what for in the other world pal!
Hail and well met! 

1d10 Warlords Of The Outer Worlds Asteroid Belt Random Encounter Table For Your Old School Science Fantasy Campaign



Because this is an age of piracy the asteroid belt has become a sort refuge for those desperate adventurers  and outlaws that hide among the debris and refuge from a thousand star systems who cleave to the traditions of  the lost preholocaust colony worlds. Here is a handy chart that logs some of the more common encounter in the inner worlds. Here are a few examples of some the strange and weird encounters adventurers can cross paths with. 

1d10 Warlords Of The Outer Worlds
Asteroid Belt Random Encounter Table
  1. A third level alien sorcerer is stirring up trouble with the native population and has a group of witchling space pirates at his disposal. There are a number of trigger happy 3rd level fighters wait for trouble to start. 
  2. A minor cult of Great Old One worshipers is threatening to hi jack a cargo vessel passing through the neighborhood. There four assassins about these folks who will kill to keep the cult's agenda secret. 
  3. A group of hidden warrior nuns has a hidden abbey among one of the larger asteroids. They will trade for food and supplies. They may deal harshly with strangers or be open to trade. 
  4. A dangerous patrol of Voltamen 3rd level fighters who are looking for trouble, these will be very interested in the PC's. 
  5. A cult of deep space worshipers who bask in the radiance of the stars. They are willing to trade secrets about certain spacers. 
  6. A group of space dwarves is mining a rich vein and they are looking to hire a group of adventuring mercenaries as guards and soldiers. 
  7. A gang of Drow space pirates wants to hire an adventurers to scout out likely targets. They are 2nd level warriors and are willing to use violence if adventurers don't hand over some of their take of treasure. 
  8. A band of dark tinker gnomes is trying activate an alien machine and are looking to hire adventurers to go on a quest for the parts for the former mecha that they've uncovered. 
  9. A giant star spawn of Cthulhu  has awakened because the stars once again right. The thing is wrecking havoc in the wake of a hero who has fallen. 
  10. A super science device has been stolen and the authorities need a covert team to steal the item back. The cult of  hell spawn warriors wants the device back from the undead alien zombies that have come to feed on the flesh of the living. There are several news holo shows following the trail of the super science device.