Thursday, April 19, 2018

Review Battle Star Trilogy: Trek Wars By Venger Satanis For The Alpha Blue Rpg System

So this might be Venger Satanis's last run down the old space brothel ways of the Alpha Blue rpg according to the intro into Battle Star Trilogy: Trek Wars.
I'm really sorry to see this development. The OSR needs more independent designers. But what is   Battle Star Trilogy: Trek Wars?
"Three sleazy scenarios for the Alpha Blue RPG. Plus, a huge, color map of the Ta'andor Galaxy with die-drop event/encounter tables."
This book  clocks in at seventy six pages of rules, four sleazy scenarios, a fantastic

color map of the Ta'andor Galaxy by Glynn Seal of Monkey Blood Design.




All of the sleazy adventures center around the space brothel Alpha Blue with lots & lots of random tables from cosmic orgasms to full blown encounters. This is not a game supplement to take seriously at all, the level of humor is that of perv R rated space sex comedies from  back in the Eighties. The sort of Up All Night space romp movies that used to be on late night cable & this book plugs right into that.
The text, layout, etc is all up to the usual 
Kort'thalis Publishing standards. The artwork is good for the product & portrays the sleazy vibe that Venger is going for. If your not into the type of space opera comedy that Venger does then this book isn't for you.



Could Battle Star Trilogy: Trek Wars be used for other OSR space opera style games? In a word yes if the players don't take their role playing seriously. The scenarios are clever & sophomoric in their content but the adventure ideas have some great potential for a space based campaign. There's some great rules & ideas if your an Alpha Blue dungeon master.






Battle Star Trilogy: Trek Wars plays out as it should a sleazy & well written groupings of rules & adventures for the Alpha Blue rpg system. The  Battle Star Trilogy: Trek Wars 

book is solidly done for the Alpha Blue rpg system & it would take quite a bit of shoe horning to get it to work with other OSR systems. Is Battle Star Trilogy: Trek Wars well done? Yes but is it for everyone? No unless their looking for the sort of space sleaze that  Battle Star Trilogy: Trek Wars is offering. 
Battle Star Trilogy: Trek Wars Is Available Right Here

Wednesday, April 18, 2018

Pulp Era OSR Make Over For Advanced Dungeons & Dragons's Modue N1 Against the Cult of the Reptile God By Douglas Niles

I was asked to do a Pulp era make over for N1 Against the Cult of the Reptile God By Douglas Niles so let's dive right in.


" Terror by night! The village of Orlane is dying. Once a small and thriving community, Orlane has become a maze of locked doors and frightened faces. Strangers are shunned, trade has withered. Rumors flourish, growing wilder with each retelling. Terrified peasants flee their homes, abandoning their farms with no explanation. Others simply disappear. . ."

"No one seems to know the cause of the decay -- why are there no clues? Who skulks through the twisted shadows of the night? Who or what is behind the doom that has overtaken the village? It will take a brave and skillful band of adventurers to solve the dark riddle of Orlane!"
Along  the remote coast of Scotland an evil has taken over the quiet inhabitants of a remote village  for its own nefarious purposes. Coming from the world of Greyhawk a tribe of lizardmen has taken over a remote modern village. The sinister arcane powers behind the take over have been plot this for centuries & have now crossed over to a near by Prime Material plane. The idea here is that they're going to restart on another world. The lizardmen forces of N1 have a much more humanoid quality about them borrowed from Robert Howard's half human serpentmen hybrids. This version of N1 Against the Cult of the Reptile God By Douglas Niles takes a good deal of its Lovecraftian thunder from Children of the Night by Robert E. Howard.

"Humans they were, of a sort, though I did not consider them so. They were short and stocky, with broad heads too large for their scrawny bodies. Their hair was snaky and stringy, their faces broad and square, with flat noses, hideously slanted eyes, a thin gash for a mouth, and pointed ears. They wore the skins of beasts, as did I, but these hides were but crudely dressed. They bore small bows and flint-tipped arrows, flint knives and cudgels. And they conversed in a speech as hideous as themselves, a hissing, reptilian speech that filled me with dread and loathing.
They are frequently described as snakes or having snake-like qualities. The Aryan legends say that the Children—none of the Aryans know what they call themselves—used to own the land in an ancient "outworn age" until they were hunted and driven underground by the Picts."
The PC's are under the influence of past lives or the arcane power of a wizard who has  faced these monsters down in the the western Flanaess. Modern or the science fantasy  technology isn't going to make too much difference here. The adventure will balance out with the inclusion of a showdown in a "traditional" dungeon at the end of the module.



The troglodyte are an excellent minion link up between the serpent men & the lizard men of N1 Against the Cult of the Reptile God By Douglas Niles. The dimensional byways & doors used by the ancient serpent men make an excellent bridge gap between a traditional Greyhawk campaign & a more modern adventure.

A better question is once N1 Against the Cult of the Reptile God By Douglas Niles ends do others in the vicinity bear the Lovecraftian taint of Children of the Night?
Are there descendant of the Children of the Night who have acted as agents for the cult and what of Robert E. Howard 's Bran Mak Morn and the cult of The Dark Man?

Have they been standing idly by as their world has been invaded by their ancient enemies? There are so many possibilities with the material found in N1 Against the Cult of the Reptile God By Douglas Niles that a DM could use this module to flesh out a turn of the century campaign setting with little effort.

Tuesday, April 17, 2018

OSR Review & Commentary On The Heroic Fantasy Handbook From Autarch For Adventurer, Conqueror, King & Other OSR Retroclone Systems

Sometimes its not the genre but the way that a book presents the material. In this case The
Heroic Fantasy Handbook From Autarch  tries its best to heal a nagging ulcer that has existed in the table top role playing game fantasy book fandom since the early days. That is the divide between the fans of High fantasy vs Low fantasy. There's also a similar divide between modern Dark Fantasy fans & pure pulp magazine fans. The sub divisions of hobbies & fandom also spills over in to Sword & Planet vs Heroic Fantasy books & so forth. All of this B.S. spilled over into the Appendix N of  Advanced Dungeons & Dragons in the first edition AD&D Dungeon Master's Guide back in '79.
Basically its a way for others to turn their nose up at other people who are using the themes, ideas,etc. of any of the above to play adventures, campaigns, & games where the themes & elements of High Fantasy, Low Fantasy, Sword & Planet, Dark Fantasy, Pulp are used & mixed with gusto! Others haven't been playing their own campaigns 'the right way'.
Personally I think all of these definitions & divisions are manure! The Heroic Fantasy Handbook From Autarch  takes the ideals of all of the above & boils them into a stew that focuses the lens of Heroic Fantasy in a set of actually playable & usable guidelines for the Adventurers, Conqueror, King retroclone system.

How does "The Heroic Fantasy Handbook" do this? Well, let's look at the actual definition of Heroic Fantasy from L. Sprague de Camp's introduction to the 1967 Ace edition of Conan (Robert E. Howard), p. 13.
""Heroic fantasy" is the name I have given to a subgenre of fiction, otherwise called the "sword-and-sorcery" story. It is a story of action and adventure laid in a more or less imaginary world, where magic works and where modern science and technology have not yet been discovered. The setting may (as in the Conan stories) be this Earth as it is conceived to have been long ago, or as it will be in the remote future, or it may be another planet or another dimension.
Such a story conbines [sic] the color and dash of the historical costume romance with the atavistic supernatural thrills of the weird, occult, or ghost story. When well done, it provides the purest fun of fiction of any kind. It is escape fiction wherein one escapes clear out of the real world into one where all men are strong, all women beautiful, all life adventurous, and all problems simple, and nobody even mentions the income tax or the dropout problem or socialized medicine."
 
"The Heroic Fantasy Handbook" does this by giving the players options that are patterned after the stories, novels, etc. of the subgenre itself while keeping the basics patterns & ideas that are found in the ACK's handbook in tact whist adding a set of 16 new character classes inspired by the archetypes of material. This isn't a quick coat of paint & bunch of OGL revamps but a loving & well thought out inspiration of material.


Nobiran Champion, Charles Myers


"The Heroic Fantasy Handbook"  is well laid out & easy on the eye with a professional care toward its magick systems & PC options. This is a two hundred & twenty four page monster of a book with magics that reflect & heighten the ideals of the material presented in the the Adventurers, Conqueror, King retroclone system.
 The eldritch magic system is a marriage of the magicks of Conan's Mythos with the temptations of hinted at in C.S. Lewis's Lion, The Witch, & the Wardrobe along side the weirdness of Tolkien. And all of this echos back to the world of ACK's.


Nobiran Wizard, Charles Myers


The ceremonial magicks of "The Heroic Fantasy Handbook" give the magician a far more reaching & subtle mechanism for game play enabling players to give a heavy hand during play on monsters, rulers, and other enemies. This magick turns the wizard in question into a power to be reckoned with not only in life but in economics & during adventures.


Zaharan Sorcerer, Alexander Macris

There's more weirdness here with the implementation of spellsinging which is directly related to ACK's elves & it works to give the Elven enchanters more arcane muscle which they sorely need. There are over a hundred & fifty five spells here & this doesn't mean that  "The Heroic Fantasy Handbook"
is another padded 'splat book'.  "The Heroic Fantasy Handbook" is designed as an add on book for characters looking to be flesh out for play in a more complete campaign setting. There's lots of options here and all of them are actually usable.


Battle against the Báleygr, Florian Hubner

This isn't a bull crap book trying to take your money. This is a book for adding more dimension to your ACK's characters & NPC's. This book is as much for the dungeon master as its for the players. Was the "The Heroic Fantasy Handbook" worth the wait? Yes it was!   This is a five out of five book and no I'm not kidding. This is the book that I wish I had when I started my ACK's & OSR  campaigns. Why because it works at what it does and that's kick ass & take names!

A Berserker in Bear Form, Charles Myers


Why do I say this? Because if you want to run a down & dirty campaign with all of the elements of ACK's Sword & Sorcery mixed with a healthy dose of Tolkein then this is the book for you! If you want to run a straight up balls to the walls Sword & Planet campaign then your going to want the ACK's rule book & Barbarian Conquerors of Kanahu. But you'll want "The Heroic Fantasy Handbook"to bring the thunder & lightning to the whole campaign affair.
While not necessary the 
ACKS Player's Companionhas several kick ass NPC options that can still kick the crap out the player's PC's such as the Anti paladin, dwarven fury, & a few others to put those Heroic types down!
Sorry but I'm going to give the
"The Heroic Fantasy Handbook"
a five out of five because its just that good!

You
Can Grab 
"The Heroic Fantasy Handbook" PDF RIGHT HERE! 

Monday, April 16, 2018

Hidden Blood & Damnation With B3 Palace of The Silver Princess By Tom Moldvay and Jean Wells

Are hidden agents of Chaos manipulating the crown heads of Pan America? Are far more going on in the hidden alleys of New York & can it be traced back to back water areas of Europe?! What does this have to do with the blood lines of King Arthur & a TSR classic? Quite a bit actually.



The upper strata of  European & American society has for centuries been the play ground of the Le Fay line of women. Why because there isn't just one Morgan Le Fey but many.There are many daughters in the Le Fey line especially when we get into the 13th-century Old French romances of the Lancelot-Grail (the Vulgate Cycle) & some of the early Arthurian works. Yes all of this ties back into my earlier history of this alternative Earth from back in February of 2018. And the still on going bits of that campaign.



How Mordred was Slain by Arthur, and How by Him Arthur was Hurt to the Death by Arthur Rackham (1917)

The the Lancelot-Grail (the Vulgate Cycle) picks up with two very important books;
"The Estoire del Saint Grail (The History of the Holy Grail), about Joseph of Arimathea and his son Josephus bringing the Grail to Britain (mostly derived from Robert de Boron)." And "The Mort Artu (Death of Arthur), about the king's death at the hands of Mordred and the collapse of the kingdom."
Arthur's son Modred is the key here allowing the bloodlines of Pendragon's  Chaos tainted blood to filter down through the royal houses of Europe into the present day of 1904-5. The rest of his half brothers heirs also have their own
"In earlier literature, he was considered the legitimate son of Morgause, also known as Anna, with her husband King Lot of Orkney. His brothers or half-brothers are Gawain, Agravain, Gaheris, and Gareth."

So this gives the dungeon master at least four possible familial bloodlines for PC's to choose from when creating royal characters! Buts its the NPC mother whose really one of the manipulators behind the scenes here.
"Morgause /mɔːrˈɡz/, also known as Morgawse and other spellings and names, is a character in later Arthurian traditions. In Thomas Malory's 15th-century text Le Morte d'Arthur, she is the mother of Gawain and Mordred, both key players in the story of King Arthur and his downfall. Mordred is the offspring of Arthur's inadvertent incest with Morgause, the king's estranged half-sister.[Notes 1] She is also a sister of Morgan le Fay and the wife of King Lot of Orkney, as well as the mother of Gareth, Agravain, and Gaheris."

Morgan le Fay has centuries ago put her lot in with the Elves during the Thirty Years War. Now with WWI looming the family puts its power behind a very different set of powers. Morgause has a far darker & much more ambitious nature & we find out much more about her from Thomas Malory's 1485 compilation of Arthurian legends Le Morte d'Arthur,

"Her character is fully developed in Thomas Malory's 1485 compilation of Arthurian legends Le Morte d'Arthur, in which Morgause (Margawse) is one of three daughters born to Gorlois of Tintagel, Duke of Cornwall, and the Lady Igraine. According to Malory, her mother is widowed and then remarried to Uther Pendragon, after which she and her sisters, Elaine and Morgan ("le Fay", later the mother of Ywain), are married off to allies or vassals of their stepfather. Morgause is wed to the Orcadian King Lot and bears him four sons, all of whom go on to serve Arthur as Knights of the Round Table: Gawain, one of his greatest knights; Agravain, a wretched and twisted traitor; Gaheris; and Gareth, a gentle and loving knight.
Years later, her spouse joins the failed rebellions against Arthur that follow in the wake of King Uther's death and the subsequent coronation of his heir. Shortly after her husband's defeat, Morgause visits the young King Arthur in his bedchamber, ignorant of their familial relationship, and they conceive Mordred. Her husband, who has unsuspectingly raised Mordred as his own son, is slain in battle by King Pellinore. Her sons depart their father's court to take service at Camelot, where Gawain and Gaheris avenge Lot's death by killing Pellinore, thereby launching a blood feud between the two families.
Nevertheless, Morgause has an affair with Sir Lamorak, a son of Pellinore and one of Arthur's best knights. Her son Gaheris discovers them in flagrante and swiftly beheads Morgause in bed, but spares her unarmed lover. Gaheris is consequently banished from court (though he reappears later in the narrative)."


After she was beheaded Morgause didn't die, she quickly & easily contacted the powers of Hell & cut a deal with a circle of Hags. Since then she's been building power bases behind the scenes through "spiritualism" circles & secret societies throughout Europe. Since then there's been an on going 'slow war' over the centuries between Morgause & Morgan Le Fey's family. This sisterly spat has moved & counter moved warriors, knights, & adventurers in a deadly game through the centuries.
B3 Palace of the Silver Princess still exists held locked in stasis in the chaos laden tides of the unreality of Fairyland. Its treasures, artifacts, etc. drawn back to it on the tides of magick & weirdness.



So once again the prize of B3 is being dangled in front of the noses of occultists, adventurers, etc. by 'the Elves' as a prize while two immortal families go at it in blood & thunder against the backdrop of alternative history. Much to the amusement of the Elven gods of Fairyland & the powers of Hell, their immortal play things are going through their dances.

So what the Hell is going on here?! We'll I'm using bits & pieces of Lion & Dragon's cosmology mixed with a healthy dosing of OD&D Gods, Demi Gods & Heroes to work through the cosmological issues of this campaign stretch.


"I have walked my way since the beginning of time. Sometimes I give, sometimes I take, it is mine to know which and when!"
Merlin Excalibur 1981

Sunday, April 15, 2018

Down & Out In The Rotten Apple - Actual Pulp Era Campaign Event

So last night I got the party gated into what appeared to be a darkened crypt someplace in a dungeon. In actuality it was a giant roach farm being used by a husband & wife team of NPCs in an abandoned family crypt in New York City 1904. The party was caught by the NPC's & immediately taken to meet the Gecko men family's royal masters.
 
High above the hi rise building a mysterious air ship appeared gated in by a cobbled together dimensional device. Crews made ready for the ship to land on the large air ship pad on one side of the building as if they were expecting it?! The party was trailing the other device that had been activated last game. After a hasty exchange & lower of weapons with a miss understanding as to who & where the party had  come from ?! The air ship pad crew figured out that these were not the regularly scheduled air ship traders from Africa but someplace a lot further away. The Count & Countess Jefferson Turck had made their family fortunes in deep planar exploration & elemental planar mining. The other dimensional travelers were unexpected but not that surprising to them.



The party's wizard began to noise around the high rise & he came upon a doctor giving a child a blood transfusion. Being both an entertainer & a wizard the family asked if he could preform the little girl to cheer her up. Th party's wizard made way for a quick song from the bard whose actually a great healer.The doctor caught the bard up on what was going on.Three days ago the daughter of the Count & Countess Jefferson Turek was exposed to a green glowing stone statue & immediately a strange wasting disease took the child.


 

 The player's bard had seen this sort of condition before especially after I ran the party through Astonishing Swordsmen & Sorcerers of Hyperborea second edition's Ghost Ship of the Desert Dunes


The child's condition required a major healing from the bard & the party's wizard but the dice were very favorable & the family's daughter pulled through. There was a recent Pan American expedition into the depths of Diamond Desert on Hyperborea. There were deaths involved & worse. The statue was in special lead lined case & seemed to call to the Samantha Turck. After the healing the party was given rooms for the night & that's where we ended for the moment.
I was able to design almost all of the adventure elements to order to get the party quickly involved in the world of Pan America from the ground up to order. People seem to think that Adventurer, Conqueror, King's retro clone system is a thing unto itself. But its not, these two books have shown me that this role playing system can add variations & shades to existing OSR systems. I wish I had these two books a year or so ago because I'm going to be revamping existing campaign projects on the fly.
With less then 12 hours remaining in The Beasts & Cannibals Kickstarter remaining I can all ready see these adventures being adapted to the alternative Earth Pulp era Earth. Go and support it because I definitely see these adventures being worth your time & money.


Artwork by Jason
Sholtis


Pulling from the Lion & Dragon & Dark Albion retroclone & campaign settings I've already put together a minor demon & its cult for the party to tangle with. I'll explain how all of this fits in with my musings on original Dungeons & Dragons tomorrow.

Saturday, April 14, 2018

Blood & Duels In The Darkness of New York - OSR Actual Campaign Setting Event

"The laser rapier sang in the air burning  the molecules as it slice through the air on its way to cut off the head of the Count. It was countered by an expert block of someone whom had countless times had taken the life of younger opponents & rivals. In the shadows of Blackwood park the duelists continued their dance of plasma enhanced violence.  The night was lit by the multi colored exchange of energies. Then there was a telling blow across the cheek of the young Calvary officer. The wound was cauterized before its young owner could recover.
"End this exchange Wells & let our honor be satisfied?!"



"Never!" the young officer in the clown costume's recovery & blow was swift as it was cut off by his opponent low aimed blow to the heart met home.
The blood of these young half Huldra runs so hot as does their passion. He fought well but this duel was both unnecessary & very costly. Jacobs see that the funeral is paid for & my condolences given to his parents. They are after all friends of the family. "
Inhuman eyes watched the proceedings with something bordering on alien amusement & hunger. Even as the seconds & friends  removed the officer's corpse from the snow the man's soul was captured in a glass jar by a nearby
Meazel necromancer to sell at one of New York City's numerous black occult underground markets. Nnori the royals Astral Drifter body guard sensed the capture & chuckled but did nothing.
'What is it? Nnori?'
'Tis nothing my lord'


A Russ Nicholson
Meazel
from the first edition AD&D Fiend Folio



Welcome to New York critica 1909 after the Martian Invasion with the world on the edge of war & Europe boiling in its own juices. This is Pan America a world experiencing a gold rush of technological heights & otherworldly explorations even as it plunges head first towards world war! Back alley gangs of thieves & mafia via with black wizards for the spoils of an invasion that has propelled the world into the brink of suicidal warfare even as cults prey to the powers of chaos in back alleys!

So I've been working with the Heroic Fantasy Handbook & Barbarian Conquerors of Kanahu

to create a few NPC's & work up this alternative world version of Earth on the very edge of WWI. So through a combination of OD&D, Dark Albion, & ACK's I've gotten this world fleshed out very quickly.


The fact is that with second the Boer War on the horizon behind them & the exploration of the worlds of the solar system ahead of them the world powers are on a razor's edge.
"Britain abandoned the policy of holding aloof from the continental powers, so called "Splendid Isolation", in the 1900s after being isolated during the Boer War. Britain concluded agreements, limited to colonial affairs, with her two major colonial rivals, the Entente Cordiale with France in 1904 and the Anglo-Russian Entente of 1907. Some historians see Britain's alignment as principally a reaction to an assertive German foreign policy and the buildup of its navy from 1898 which led to the Anglo-German naval arms race."
Many of the spells, proficiencies, & powers of  ACK's The Heroic Handbook compliment the Dark Albion setting making the supernatural of that world easily portable into any OSR setting hence why I'm sliding this over into my alternative Earth.




Dark Albion Cults of Chaos does a good side by side with the ceremonial magic of ACK's Heroic Handbook and many of the more traditional occult elements of OD&D's various settings & campaign worlds such as Blackmoor & Greyhawk. This gives weight & gravitas to the adventure elements of a game campaign world setting. The high society of Pan America are intrigued & enchanted with the eldritch casters, ceremonialists, and spellsingers of  The Heroic Handbook but little do they suspect the true power of these occult casters. Meanwhile I'm curious to see the various magicks of this book in action against a WWI tank or other modern siege engine.

Spells such as rain of vitriol, sunder structure, or even starfall could quite well transform a battle field into a killing ground of an evil undreamt of on the European theater. Meanwhile men & women of honor & courage battle Dark Forces  in the darkened alleys of Pan America & explore the tombs under Manhattan! 

Occultist and Dread Wraith, Jeff Binder

Friday, April 13, 2018

Lucky Friday Mail Call With Monsters of Mayhem #1 & Some Campaign Monster Ecology

Monster mail call on Friday the Thirteenth, so while I've had to change up my plans from a Golden era game Supers to a slightly more conventional early pre WWI ACK's pulp campaign. I got a lovely piece of OSR mail from Mark Taormino over at Dark Wizard Games.

Their latest title is Monsters of Mayhem #1 book which they sent me about two days ago. Here's the unboxing & there isn't a title of theirs that I don't own. Mark does a nice job of packing his material & the book overall is a welcome 'Monster Manual' OSR title full of some mean & nasty pieces of work. I've been looking for a welcome OSR monster race that could function as mercenary body guards in my pre WWI Pulp game, & the 'Astral Drifters' will do the trick. The Astral Drifters are a race of Githyanki stand ins & as a PC optional race. In my own campaign they're the mercenary body guards to the rich  powerful royals of Europe.



So not only are these bastards guarding the royals of Europe but they have access to the most secret & hallowed information of the various influential families of Europe. They are the unnoticed spies & invisible caste of those in power. They're own agendas are unknown at the present.
 If you want a run through of MAXIMUM MAYHEM DUNGEONS
MONSTERS OF MAYHEM #1  the author lovingly put together a full flip through of the book on You tube.



The Astral Drifrers are deadly & a very dangerous predatory race of monsters that seem to be in fashion at the moment in the halls of power. Though they fulfill their contracts to the various royal families of Europe their own loyalties are only to themselves and their mysterious leaders.  What their role in future events in Europe remains to be seen but they preform their dues almost flawlessly and have a well deserved reputation for brutal & bloody efficiency. Standard monster summoning & Astral gate spells will gain their attention with a sacrifice of Treasure type M or better.
Because the monster stat blocks  in
Monsters of Mayhem #1 are standard OSRIC or AD&D first edition their easily converted over to a wide variety of OSR retroclone or old school systems including Swords & Wizardry,  Adventurer, Conqueror, King, or Labyrinth Lord.

The artwork is top notch & the interior maps are nicely done along with that middle splash page that lends a bit of a classic TSR artwork styling. Monsters of Mayhem #1 will work quite nicely with original Dungeons & Dragons as well with little issue but the monsters are really dangerous so use with caution in your own dungeons & ruins.
All monsters & stats are open game content something that I will be taking full advantage of in the future. Even Tim Brannan liked Monsters of Mayhem #1 & he's rough on some OSR products.

Thursday, April 12, 2018

A Black & Bloody War - A World On The Razor's Edge OSR Campaign Pitch

How does marry the resources of great OSR material with one's old school campaigns?! For months now I've been marrying Arthurian literature, the Thirty Year War, & Dark Albion's product line by Rpg Pundit.
So then I got the bright idea of marrying super heroes into a TSR classic era adventure but then got shot down because of scheduling conflicts. But then I was also told that it wasn't quite B/X  or OD&D enough ergo the material needed to be a bit closer to the systems that we were already using?!



Well fortunately Edgar Rice Burroughs was there for me & I recently had read the Mad King. 

The book isn't all that important in the scheme of events except in that I'll be using the trappings of  the popular Ruritanian romance  mixed in with the trappings of Pulp era adventure.

"The story is Burrough's version of the then popular Ruritanian romance exemplified by Anthony Hope's The Prisoner of Zenda and its sequel Rupert of Hentzau. Set in Europe immediately before and during World War I, Burroughs' story differs from the Hope books in a number of details, though sharing much of their basic plot."
So what I'm going to be borrowing from Burroughs is the time period & royal trappings at the end of the Age of Empire. Arthur was real, the mythology behind Camelot happened, & the families of Arthur's royal court are still into the intrigues. Everything changed with the Martian Invasion of 1897 has accelerated the era's technology & as a result war has come to Europe! Holes have been punched in time & space as result & cults of chaos are on the rise in every dark corner of the world!
Now every two bit royal & dictator who can get their hands on Martian marauder  technology is having their scientists trying to adapt it for warfare & they're succeeding!


Meanwhile the Greys have seen the wormhole signatures of the Martian invasion & have begun their probing of the situation. In various parts of Europe the spiritualists & occultists of various cults have awoken in their own powers as the ancient horrors of old stir in the darkest corners.



Meanwhile ancient royal families across Europe are wondering why family relics from 2000 years ago are magically awakening & calling out to others for souls & blood. The work of Professor Challenger 

changes the very nature of reality & shakes the foundations of modern science. His ground breaking work on the serpent people of the 'Forbidden City' & their relation to the various ruined city locations of Maple White Land.



So what's happening is that the world is on the edge of WWI & its on a steady course of adventure as well as warfare. Masked men & women slip in & out of the shadows whist adventurers from a host of royal families across Europe try and hold onto their familial lands. Even as 'Dark Forces' & their cults try to take them away. The world is slipping into Hell & perhaps the PC's can tip the balance.
I'm going to be using a combination of Adventurer, Conqueror, King, rpg system mixed with Dark Albion's product line with helping of OD&D resources & classic AD&D first edition adventure modules. Such as David 'Zeb' Cook's I1 Dwellers of The Forbidden City & many others.


There are several reasons for the choices that I'm making with this campaign pitch:

  1. Lovecraftian horrors & adventure locations are still abundant & unexplored in the world. This gives the PC's all kinds of opportunities to blunder into the deep end of things. 
  2. Dark Albion's Cults of Chaos works very well for creating 'modern' cults & pulp secret societies. 
  3. I want to see how Adventurer, Conqueror, King handles a pre WWI Earth even though this isn't our world. 
  4. Adventure at the edge of the map gives PC's the chances to be the heroes! 
  5. Prime opportunities to utilize OSR resources in new & creative ways. 
  6. Planes! This is the dawning of aviation and there's all kinds of revolutions in aviation going on during this time period. 
  7. Vile villains from the darkest parts of Europe! 
  8. More conspiracies then you can shake a stick at. 
  9. A prime time to stick in classic AD&D modules to give the PC's more headaches. 
  10. A mix of gonzo weirdness & classic Dungeons & Dragons style adventure!

Wednesday, April 11, 2018

Review & Commentary On Barbarian Conquerors of Kanahu By Alexander Macris & Omer Joel

Over the course of a couple of days I've been doing a lot of hard thinking about old school systems & Pulp Era campaigns. I've also been doing revamps & rewrites on much of the current Pulp Era campaign. To that end I began to look into Barbarian Conquerors of Kanahu
. This book is right in my wheel house leaning close to the edge of both Sword & Planet with a huge foot hold in the Sword & Sorcery end of the prehistoric ocean.
Alexander Macris & Omer Joel,are no strangers to the science fantasy genre & this book proves it. So what is the book & setting like? Well imagine if the creators of Buck Rogers & Flash Gordon got together with H.P. Lovecraft & Robert Howard to create an episode of Seventies Battle Star Galactica set on a lost planet. This planet would be Kanahu. Forget Eternia, Kanahu  is a place where He Man or Thundarr  would feel right at home.


The world of
Kanahu used to be a Grey outpost work & there is a lot of their artifacts still hanging around because human slaves were toiling away & mining the planet for valuable materials. The Greys are on the wane but the alien slave races including humans are on their way back! You've seen this plot & what not a thousand times but this is Bak baby! Swords & barbarians are everywhere.  Whole setting is geared for gonzo Eighties action!
And the Greys are still taking slaves for the mines so your old school characters better watch out. The world of
Kanahu has lots of racial classes suited for the setting that deal the players into the vibe & science fantasy groove of Kanahu setting.
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A set of 15 new character classes from the world of Kanahu, including the scurrying roach-like bugman, the dreaded cultist, the inhuman deep one hybrid, the mighty dragon incarnate, the stealthy geckoman stalker, the savagely sorcerous lizardman witch-doctor, and the mysterious alien Nephil.  " There are these & more with lizard men & insect bugmen taking center stage as the former servants of the Serpent men & Greys respectively.
Kanahu is a world in deep trouble with the forces of Chaos having raged across it in ages past and now the science fantasy races are having to deal with centuries of fallout.
Robots, cybernetic horrors, and worse lay in wait for players whilst worse Lovecraftian horrors  from across the Outer Darkness crawls up from the depths of the planet once held in check by the Greys.
This is a world where dungeon dwellers  & ruin seekers are going to feel right at home & the consequences can be devastating to the players. The world of
Kanahu has plasma weaponry in its artifact tables and their rather nasty.  The writing is excellent as well as the layout & formatting which is easy on the eyes.
Robots of Kanahu, Charles Myers


There is a lot going on in Barbarian Conquerors of Kanahu meaning that much of the science fantasy setting material adapts itself to both Sword & Sorcery as well as Science Fantasy role playing. The theme running through Barbarian Conquerors of Kanahu is one of both tool kit & planetary sandbox. There are lots of options presented & placed on the table here. These themes are packed & paced into the book which complements & expands upon what's been presented in  the Heroic Fantasy Handbook. While its not necessary to have the ACK's the Heroic Fantasy Handbook on hand I can see why the dungeon master & players would want it on hand. The ideas present in the book are highlighted with skill packages,proficiencies  ,and other PC kits geared around through out the whole affair of  Barbarian Conquerors of Kanahu.

This adds into the sandbox nature of  Kanahu as a setting for PC's to explore & get lost in on their way to getting killed in one of the planet's innumerable dungeons. 


Bugman Dredger at Work, Jeff Binder

So let's talk about the expansions of ACK's with new takes on existing monsters such as the nasty versions of shambling mounds, terror birds, even the humble toadmen get a Lovecraft make over and its not a pretty one. These monsters all have ties to a variation of Lovecraftian Chaos & its something that PC's should avoid at all costs. This ties back into the revamp of the spells of Kanahu  whose magick had a hand in the downfall of the planet. Seriously, there are some nasty business in these spells that you don't want PC's using. All together I'm rather pleased on the whole with the magic section because it really captures the flavor of what the writers & designers were going for.


Races of Kanahu, Charles Myers
But how does one use Barbarian Conquerors of Kanahu? This is the exact sort of setting book/science fantasy tool kit that I wish I had some months ago. For OSR science fantasy OSR games this is a God sent, no really. Take out the science fantasy planetary sandbox setting with lots of detail and your left with a tool kit perfectly suited for creating all kinds of extra solar system goodness. There are numerous hooks, tags & adventure fodder for doing exactly that built right into the back bone of Barbarian Conquerors of Kanahu. There's already enough maps, ruins, etc. in the book to keep a group of players going for at least a year or more. But with a bit of clever slight of hand a DM could keep a group of players in his or her own setting going for years!
I give
Barbarian Conquerors of Kanahu a five out of five for a really well thought out system and ACK's base for creating & maintaining a Sword & Planet, Sword & Sorcery or Dark Fantasy campaign. In my opinion grab this one!

Grab
Barbarian Conquerors of Kanahu Right Here!