Tuesday, May 23, 2017

Some Commentary On The Free OSR Fanzine Underworld Lore Issues 1-3 For Your Old School Campaigns

 Wormskin magazine  From  Necrotic Gnome Productions  is a an old school twisted fairy tale sandbox setting which if you haven't gotten into I would because its perfectly aligned with B/X Dungeons & Dragons. Its really an odd little setting but in a good way. I'll get into Wormskin another time and blog entry.
But this isn't an advertisement for Wormskin instead long before this quality old school magazine there was Underworld Lore. Underworld Lore was Greg Gorgonmilk assembling the parts & pieces of what would become Petty Gods.  My love of that project is well known among the OSR. Meanwhile we got a preview of dread things to come in Underworld Lore.

Underworld Lore is a free OSR fanzine with lots of great stuff to mine for your old school games. Most of the material is completely OSR system focused so its easily adapted but its got that zip tang of weirdness that seems to go down so easy with the old school crowd. All kinds of bits of sewer born things and wisdom snake their ways through the issues.

Issue one features gems, dungeon fruits, quick & dirty rules on insanity, a petty god, and some establishments in classified to throw at your players. All really good stuff to throw into a game adventure to add that memorable bit of color.
Issue #2 has 'the Slanterry Mermaid Tap House' an establishment that I've used a number of times especially in the Astonishing Swordsmen & Sorcerers of Hyperborea rpg adventure The Mystery at Port Greely as a start point. The Honey Veiled Reclusive Webcap is just the sort of seemingly innocent monster that will cause all kinds of havoc with a party. Then a party patron that can be just the sort of a god that a group of first level PC's might need. Let's not mention the petty goddess of children's teeth. Then we get into the petty goddess  of jerky,hard cheese mold, & entropy of food. This is one that you definitely want on your party's side. Then there's a guide for dungeoneering cocks which isn't as sick as it sounds. Magical diseases of the dungeons and infections is next and its perfect to infect your adventurers with. Delver's Dictionary is slang terms of the dungeons. There's a ton of ideas in the classified and its well worth the download just for those. But Conan has found your gaming wanting!

But if we're going to talk about one of the most useful of the Underworld issues for me it was issue three! There is a ton of OSR information on Robert Howard's Conan series along with a great overview of the world of Hyboria including a monster, another preview of Petty gods this time its James Mishler's Crom., Robert Howard's The Hyperborian Age including some great maps that have been modified for rpg system play.
Alright so where is this free material useful? Well, you can easily adapt this stuff to either Labyrinth Lord or B/X Dungeons & Dragons making this easy to fit into a number of niches within an old school campaign setting. This means that this OSR material can easily be adapted to any number of old school & retroclone systems. If there is an overall theme and idea here with dungeons being a spawning ground for all kinds of magical diseases, fungi, and infections that seem run through various issues of Underworld Lore. This means that you as a dungeon master can infect your PC's will all kinds of expensive & heinous conditions. With games such as Adventurer, Conqueror, King this infectious material doesn't seem like it would fit at all. But actually its a perfect focus making adventurers the target for spending their hard earned gold on cures for these nasty magical diseases, fungi, and infections. 


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