Tuesday, November 29, 2022

Hostile Rpg One Shot Session Report - Adapted 'And the sun shined brightly' By Joseph Mohr 'A Pay What You Want' Adventure For The Cepheus Engine Rpg

Lasened IV is an agriculture planet on the edge of the Sonora sector and unexplored space. Scientists have been carefully watching the central star in this system as radiation levels and solar activity have increased substantially over the last few decades. It is believed that a Supernova is imminent."

"Just about anyone who could afford passage off this world has left it already. Those who remain are diehards who wish to go down with their world and those who just could not afford to buy passage. Perhaps a few remaining people just waited to long. In any event those who remain have become desperate to escape their fate. Images on the nightly news have shown people mobbing arriving space craft and clinging to their hulls as the ships take off again. Chaos and anarchy seem to be taking hold there."

"The Sonoran Protection Society is a charitable foundation which is offering CR 10,000 per person rescued from Lasened IV. They have been advertising for anyone with a ship to take their offer and save people from certain death" 

 So tonight for the first time in almost close to a week this head cold backed off enough for me to slip into DM Steve's Hostile rpg Tuesday night game.  We had 
'And the sun shined brightly' By Joseph Mohr run tonight. Our adventurers were the crew of the Lazarus a Colonial Frieghter who our crew was working for the Hong Kong based  Kung corporation. The Lazarus was a part of a Colonial Frieighter fleet. And DM Steve is a bit of a sadist, I say this with all due respect. Several rolls on our part confirmed that something wasn't right with the primary star.  We landed in a field about 200 miles away from the starport just to be on the safeside. 

  The Kung corporation is a part of  'The Sonoran Protection Society' & it wants it's argiculture workers  back. As we landed on Lasened IV & immediate knew something was up. The population around the starport was almost rioting & marines were holding back as many citizens as they could! We immediately refueled & prepped. We spoke to the colony's governor & his staff things were degrading  rapidly around the colony! 

We got the marines on the horn & then scheduled control & crowd flow to get everyone on board the outgoing ships. Grabbing colonists to board the ship was going to be our biggest problem as well organizing the whole affair. This was a logicistical nightmare as DM Steve several complications our way. These included saving a few stray important VP's, dealing with landing gear repairs, volitile cargo, and ugly underworld issues. We could almost hear the ticking clock in our heads. 

In tonight's Hostile game several pieces of Hostile technology & how it works came from the Hostile Technical Manual. Which was used as a player handout during tonight's one shot. 

We didn't have long & everything was going well, except for the marines getting a bit frisky with the colonists in preventing several riots. We had to smooth things over with the colonists leaders. Tick,tick, and then the surface of the star had more activity upon it! 

Despite all of the complications & events we lifted off quite nicely along with the rest of the fleet with the marines on board! The whole affair came off with out a hitch even though the situation on Lasened IV reached a boiling point.

 'And the sun shined brightly' By Joseph Mohr  'A Pay What You Want' Adventure For The Cepheus Engine Rpg Is Available Here 

 Lasened IV was a mess in tonight's game as the situation around the star began to deiteriate rapidly. The ships were fueled but we only had half of the colonists aboard that we needed. And informed the marines that our naviagator had detected things worsening on the star's surface. Two of the six ships were full up. And we had them lift off. Tick, tick, tick Two more riots & a hospital near our ship had a fire. We never left the ship much to DM Steve's plans & events. 

OSR Commentary - Hostile rpg & The Tau Ceti Affair

This blog post is going pick right up from this blog entry here. 
 Over the last two days I've been going over rpg inventory due to this head cold that has been plaguing me. And with that Zozer just released a brand new video on the Tau Ceti world book. Tau Ceti is pretty much their Avitar like conflict in a small corner of the over all Hostile rpg Zozerverse. 

This video has me asking myself about three things the role of China within our current interstellar  campaign. And what would Tau Ceti mean in the greater scheme of things against the blackness of the current campaign. How would the Chinese megacorporations be reactive with the rest of the Soviet interstellar block within our current Hostile campaign?! Or would all of the above turn to the Khuri menace?! Personally after reading through the material, all of the above seem like very complicated issues in aganist the blackness of space. 

Would the Soviets & Chinese be fielding their own  Indepence Games's Historical Ships of Clement Sector 1: Trent-class Destroyers?! The short answer is a resounding yes because of the escalation within instellar space. The military situations are balanced on a knife's edge, the range of exploration is vast, and the unknown lurk's just outside of our colonies's purview. And the situation has gotten weird as the Soviets have asked for our help. 

Tau Ceti is going to add further murkiness to the very dangerous interstellar geo politics of the mega corporate situation. And within our own campaign this world is going to rife for exploitation & bloodshed. The powers that be within our Hostile rpg campaign are using Tau Ceti as a bloody & dangerous chess board with the world situation very cloudy. 

OSR Sword & Sorcery Commentary On MM#7 Dread Swamp of the Banshee By Alan Chamberlain, Mark Taormino, & Joe Pearce From Dark Wizard Games

 Alright let's pick this one up right from this blog entry here.  If we were to go back to the Hyperborea rpg for a moment then let's assume that the third edition adventure the Trapper's Lament has been completed. Now what?! Some of the player's PC's may have died but the rest will have gone up several levels. So it's time for me to unveil MM#7 Dread Swamp of the Banshee by Alan Chamberlain, Mark Taormino, & Joe Pearce

The basic adventure plot is fairly straight forward; "Downstream from the village of Silt is a great marsh created by a massive flood long ago. Many treasures were lost and now lay buried in the ruins of these cursed and water soaked lands. There are rumors that smugglers and criminals hide their felonious activities and great wealth here, but there is more to fear in the mist than the designs of men. Something sinister lurks in the darkness of the bogs. Find your courage, sharpen your blade, and trust no one and you may just survive the Dread Swamp of the Banshee."
This can easily be folded into either the Hyperborea rpg or the Castles & Crusades rpg system as is. There doesn't have to be a massive reason why 'The Banshee' is killing folks. It could simply be that she has awakened after the events of the 'Green Death' and is hungry. 

Between the undead infested swamps, the gators, and the rest of MM#7 this is a great module to set within the Lizard Men Swamps of Hyperborea. I love the maps & cartography of Alan Chamberlain within MM#7 Dread Swamp of the Banshee. Again this is a great module to circle back into Levi Combs 'An Occurance At Owl Creek'. Levi Combs An Occurrence at Howling Crater quite nicely. The mutant hill billies could easily be changed up into mutant peasants. 

This triad of adventures allows something a bit different for even the most jaded of OSR or old school players whist keeping the Sword & Sorcery vibe going quite nicely. This is happening while the DM is moving the campaign along at a rapid pace keeping the players entertained, and keeping them coming back to the table top. 


Monday, November 28, 2022

Review & Commentary Engineering Castles By Robert Doyel From Troll Lord Games For Castles & Crusades rpg

 "Bastions of Timber & Stone" 

"Adventure does not limit itself to dungeons of earth and stone, but calls the seeker to plunder the halls of war and worship; from the spires of looming towers, to castles set in forbidden glades deep in ancient heartwood and to the sunken and abandoned places lost in time. Not all are hidden – some are welcoming bastions for the wayward traveler, and others are the holdings of creatures most foul; still more bear foreboding edifices, casting a mocking shadow – be they castle, ruin or manor, each beckons a promise of loot, a glimpse of chance, and portends fate."


"An aspiring Game Master will often have many floor-plans of places through which unsuspecting player characters dare to venture, generally taking the forms of underground complexes or even wilderness or urban areas, but many likely do not have much stock for the "other" locales such as bastions, keeps, temples, and castles. This tome will remedy that situation and provide the Castle Keeper the tools and templates to design such from nothing or, if desired, to modify an existing structure with new and unknown which may be otherwise familiar traits."

 'Engineering Castles' By Robert Doyel is a solid book for Castles & Crusades rpg for designing, maintaining, & creating castles. This book is created around the random castle generators within it. The guidelines within 'Engineering Castles'are very useful for both human centric races & fantasy race castles. There's some great rules & commentary for designing your own castles for your own C&C rpg's. 

Engineering Castles By Robert Doyel clocks in at only thirty two pages but for a Castles & Crusades rpg DM such as myself. This is too me Engineering Castles rpg is a solid addition to the tool box of the C&C  DM. And  there's a real feeling of solid thought as well as common sense in the writing of the Engineering Castles By Robert Doyel. And for creating ruins, castles, & more within Engineering Castles By Robert Doyel. 

For the DM going into Castles & Crusades rpg the  Engineering Castles By Robert Doyel is solid for creating holdings within a C&C campaign. This is especially true if you want random holdings at the ragged edges of your C&C campaign. But where does Engineering Castles By Robert Doyel actually fit within the Castles & Crusades rpg line of products!?! Let's look at that next time on the blog. 

OSR & Monster Ecology Commentary - Werebears & Goddesses For Your Old School Campaigns


The ubicquitous David Trampier Advanced Dungeons & Dragons
Monster Manual artwork. 

I've been looking into one of my favorite Dungeons & Dragons monsters today - The werebear! Yeah that's right I've been a fan of these guys since I was a kid. These lycanthropes go all the wayback to the foundation of original Dungeons & Dragons. They run all of the way through into Pathfinder today; 

"The werebear first appeared in the original Dungeons & Dragons "white box" set (1974).[1]
The werebear appeared in the first edition of Advanced Dungeons & Dragons in the original Monster Manual (1977).[2] The werebear appeared as a player character race in Dragon #24 (April 1979). The werebear appeared as a character class in White Dwarf #17, by Lewis Pulsipher.[3]
The werebear appeared in the Dungeons & Dragons Basic Set (1977,[4] 1981, 1983). The werebear appeared in the Dungeons & Dragons Rules Cyclopedia (1991).[5] The werebear appeared as a player character class in Night Howlers (1992).
The werebear appeared in the second edition of Advanced Dungeons & Dragons in the Monstrous Compendium Volume One (1989),[6] and was reprinted in the Monstrous Manual (1993).[7]
The lycanthrope appeared as a creature template in the third edition Monster Manual (2000),[8] and in the 3.5 revised Monster Manual (2003), with the werebear as a sample creature. The werebear appeared as a player character race in Dragon #313 (November 2003)."

Now while most folks would talk about the werebear's origins being closely associated with Native American mythology & we'll get to those in another blog entry! Instead I want to talk about the European  &  the Greco Roman legends of Callisto or Kallisto (/kəˈlɪst/Ancient GreekΚαλλιστώ [kallistɔ̌ː]); "As a follower of Artemis, Callisto, who Hesiod said[1] was the daughter of Lycaon, king of Arcadia,[2] took a vow to remain a virgin, as did all the nymphs of Artemis. But to have sex with her, Zeus disguised himself as Artemis (Diana) herself, in order to lure her into his embrace. Callisto was then turned into a bear, as Hesiod described:
...but afterwards, when she was already with child, was seen bathing and so discovered. Upon this, the goddess was enraged and changed her into a beast. Thus she became a bear and gave birth to a son called Arcas.
Either Artemis "slew Kallisto with a shot of her silver bow,"[3] perhaps urged by the wrath of Juno (Hera)[4] or later Arcas, the eponym of Arcadia, nearly killed his bear-mother, when she had wandered into the forbidden precinct of Zeus. In every case, Zeus placed them both in the sky as the constellations Ursa Major, called Arktos (αρκτος), the "Bear", by Greeks, and Ursa Minor.
According to Ovid,[5] it was Jupiter (Zeus) who took the form of Diana (Artemis) so that he might evade his wife Juno’s detection, forcing himself upon Callisto while she was separated from Diana and the other nymphs.[6] Callisto's subsequent pregnancy was discovered several months later while she was bathing with Diana and her fellow nymphs. Diana became enraged when she saw that Callisto was pregnant and expelled her from the group. Callisto later gave birth to Arcas. Juno then took the opportunity to avenge her wounded pride and transformed the nymph into a bear. Sixteen years later Callisto, still a bear, encountered her son Arcas hunting in the forest. Just as Arcas was about to kill his own mother with his javelin, Jupiter averted the tragedy by placing mother and son amongst the stars as Ursa Major and Minor, respectively. Juno, enraged that her attempt at revenge had been frustrated, appealed to Tethys that the two might never meet her waters, thus providing a poetic explanation for their circumpolar positions in ancient times."

In Jupiter and Callisto by François BoucherZeus/Jupiter takes the form of Artemis/Diana (Nelson-Atkins Museum of ArtKansas City)

Besides the fact that Zeus could never keep it in his pants it the means that among the stars are the children of  Ursa Major and Minor who are basically the gods & patrons of lots human tribes, were bear shamans, druids,beserks,etc. This goes a long way to explaining the presence of the continuance of the were bear tradition among humanity. This legend possibly goes back to the creation of humanity during the days of  before the oceans drank Atlantis & before the pre Bibilcal floods.

Lions painted in the Chauvet Cave. This is a replica of the painting from the Brno museum Anthropos. The absence of the mane sometimes leads to these paintings being described as portraits of lionesses. I see bears as well but that's me. All of this goes a long way to explaining the presence of were bears among the various druids covens, shaman's of various tribes, etc. Yes this ties directly in with Astonishing Swordsmen & Sorcerers of Hyperborea but it also ties in with orginal Dungeons & Dragons. I think original Dungeons & Dragons owes a debt for the werebear to J.R.R. Tolkein's Hobbit in the form of Beorn.

Beorn by JMKilpatrick (jmkilpatrick.deviantart.com)

For the Lord of the Rings crowd there's a long history of were bears in the character of Beorn; The Man named Beorn lived in a wooden house on his pasture-lands between the Misty Mountains and Mirkwood, to the east of the Anduin. His household included an animal retinue (horses, dogs, sheep, and cows, among others); according to Gandalf, Beorn "does not eat them; neither does he hunt or eat wild animals".[3]. He grew large areas of clover for his bees, who made his famous honey.
Gandalf believed that Beorn was either a descendant of the bears who had lived in the Misty Mountains before the arrival of the giants, or he was a descendant of the men who had lived in the region before the arrival of the dragons or Orcs from the north.
Beorn was of immense size and strength for a man and retained his size and strength in bear-form. He had black hair (in either form) and a thick black beard and broad shoulders (in human form). While not a "giant" outright, Beorn's human form was of such great size that the three and a half foot tall Bilbo judged that he could have easily walked between Beorn's legs without touching his body. Beorn also named the Carrock and created the steps that led from its base to its flat top.
In The Hobbit, Beorn received Gandalf, Bilbo Baggins and 13 Dwarves and aided them in their quest to reclaim their kingdom beneath the Lonely Mountain. He was convinced of their trustworthiness after confirming their tale of encountering the Goblins of the Misty Mountains and Gandalf's slaying of their leader, the Great Goblin. In addition to giving the group much-needed supplies and lodging, Beorn gave them vital information about what path to take while crossing Mirkwood.
Later, hearing of a vast host of Goblins on the move, Beorn arrived at the Lonely Mountain in time to strike the decisive blow in the Battle of Five Armies. In his bear form he slew the Goblin leader, Bolg and his bodyguards. Without direction, the Goblin army scattered and were easy pickings for the other armies of MenElves, Dwarves, and Eagles. Beorn often left his home during the narrative of The Hobbit for hours or days at a time, for purposes not completely explained."

So what's all of this bear lycanthrope ecology information what's this have to do with my current OSR fetish? Well if we look at the Godbound rpg angle then we've got the "Proteans are Lunars, perfect shapeshifters with exceptional physical capabilities" who are basically Lunars from the Exalted Rpg that have OSR rules that work. But I've always wanted to get into the heart of why, "Werebears in their humanoid form prefer to wield larger and heavier weapons such as great swords, or great axes."  This gets into the other Greco Roman goddess, "Artio (Dea Artio in the Gallo-Roman religion) was a Celtic bear goddess! "
Own photograph by Sandstein
" A bronze sculpture from the Muri statuette group, found near Bern in Switzerland, shows a large bear facing a woman seated in a chair, with a small tree behind the bear. The woman seems to hold fruit in her lap, perhaps feeding the bear.[2]. The sculpture has a large rectangular bronze base, which bears the inscription "Deae Artioni / Licinia Sabinilla" ("To the Goddess Artio" or "Artionis", "from Licinia Sabinilla"). If the name is Gaulish but the syntax is Latin, a dative Artioni would give an i-stem nominative *Artionis or an n-stem nominative *Artio. That would perhaps correspond to a Gaulish n-stem nominative *Artiu.
Other inscription to the goddess have been discovered in Daun (CIL 13, 4203), Weilerbach (CIL 13, 4113), Heddernheim (CIL 13, 7375 [4, p 125]), and Stockstadt (CIL 13, 11789).
She's strongly connected with the legends of King Arthur -Her name is derived from the Gaulish word artos, bear (Delamarre 2003 p. 55-56), from Proto-Celtic *arto-, from Proto-Indo-European *h₂ŕ̥tḱos, bear. A Celtic word may also be the source for the name Arthur."

The Dark Albion OSR setting  & Lion & Dragon rpg the were bears are a part of an extinct chaos cult which was a part of the rebellion against the Elven overlords in the setting thousands of years ago. The great axe & sword were part of the symbols of the chaos cult. There are very few indivduals or covens of this mysterious & ancient cult connected with the old gods.

Six Low Level Cosmic Ritual Spells For Your Old School Campaigns From The Pages of The Ritual Mundix

 Ritual magick can be cast by anyone with the right tools and ritual space. These spells have been inscribed within the Ritual Mundix one of the corner stone books of cosmic magick. The Ritual Mundix was first transcribed from several wandering star vistors over 10,000 years ago to the shores of our reality. These are the first stepping stones for star clerics & instellar magi who are just starting out on their journey into the mists of magick itself. 

Here then are six low level cosmic rituals ripped from the pages of   the Ritual Mundix itself.  The Ritual Mundix itself has been added to by many generations of  star clerics & instellar magi. Care should be taken by those whose minds have not been strengthed by the mind excercises taught too lower tier   star clerics & instellar magi by their masters. 
Anyone gazing into the cosmic blackness & gulfs  blackness of the pages of The Ritual Mundix without the proper percautions such as a mental home anchor point in this reality. May lose 1d4 points of wisdom or intelligence. 

Skyn of Survival  - Spell Ritual Level:1 level star cleric/ 2nd level interstellar magi 

Casting time: 1 hour/30 minutes after practice for 1d6 months 

Range: self 

Duration: until dismissed 

Description: The caster cloaks himself in the reality of his local space time, atmosphere, and zone of dimensionality. This spell is one of the first that the caster learns from the pages of the Ritual Mundix. It allows one to survive on alien planets & within the vaccum of space by using self regenerating other dimensional elements outside of normal space time mimicing the caster's own. It can only be dismissed by the caster. 

Gaze Deeply Between The Stars & Elsewhere - Spell Ritual Level: 1st level star cleric & interstellar magi 

Casting time: 1d6 hours 

Range: Self 

Duration:1d30 minutes 

The caster reaches back into their primitive brains deeply along the ashaktic chain into other realms of past lives until they reach the cosmic foundation of all reality. The caster can now look into any point within the known or unknown universe allowing him or her know local conditions, star systems, primary star conditions, etc. This spell is the basis for all star gazing & travel within  The Ritual Mundix. This spell can be done three times a day when the cosmic winds are right. 

Consume Thy Own Reality - Spell Ritual Level: 1st level star clerics & interstellar magi 

Casting time: 2 hours 

Range: Self 

Duration: Until dismissed 

The caster casts this ritual allowing the need the need for food nor drink to hinder him or her until the spell is dismissed. The caster's body feeds itself on the winds cosmic allowing the caster to forgo food & drink until the ritual is dismissed. But the caster will feel 1d6 phantom pains if exposed to water & food stuffs. These can be overcome with a Wisdom or Intelligence roll or a save vs spells. 

Hyperspace Link - Spell Ritual Level: 1st Level Star Cleric or 1st Level Interstellar magi 

Casting Time: 3 hours 

Range: Self 

Duration:  Instantious 

The caster creates a doorway through subspace with the sheer might of the alien thoughts that invade his mind from Outside. These thoughts are the key & the gate allowing one to instantly traverse the distance between their home planet & one other location. The caster must know the points in reality that they are journeying too & from using two Intelligence or Wisdom rolls. When the last word is dripped from the caster's lips ultra reality enfolds the caster taking him or her to their destination. Preperations must be made before the ritual is cast or their will be consquences upon arrival. This ritual can be cast twice a day. 

As Above So Below  - Spell Ritual Level: 1st Level Star Cleric or 1st Level Interstellar magi 

Casting Time: 2 hours 

Range: Self 

Duration: Instantous/Until Dismissed 

This ritual spell allows the caster to seal himself against any mental or physical forces from Outside if he or she is in normal space or subspace. Entities  which would take avantage of an unprotected vessel journeying across interstellar space such as the caster's body are shielded against with this ritual spell. This ritual spell will last until dismissed or the journey ends. 

Perfectly Preserved  - Spell Ritual Level: 1st Level Star Cleric or 1st Level Interstellar magi 

Casting Time: 1 hours 

Range: Self 

Duration: Instantous/Until Dismissed 

The caster is able to take the cloths on his back & as many items as he can carry with him. These are preserved against the forces cosmic while on his or her interstellar journey. Can be cast seven times a day. 

Sunday, November 27, 2022

A Piece of the Action - Cha'alt, Wretched Space, Wretched Flesh, and even LoFP's Carcosa As Adventurer, Conqueror, King Rpg Campaign Focus

 The head cold has been kicking my ass on Sunday. So with several game sessions cancelled I've been stuck in bed most of Sunday. But I've been thinking about a question that has been bugging me with Cha'alt, Wretched Space, Wretched Flesh, and even LoFP's Carcosa. 'What would happen upon Earth if these Lovecraftian interstellar locations were real', not so much common knowledge as specialty knowledge among the occult & corporate circles. Yes I do realize that these are completely gonzo locations. But taking them completely seriously has led to some interesting situations at the table top. The player's PC's are heavily involved in a Fury Race in last week's Cha'alt/Wretched Space campaign. Here's what's been happening the players are plotting to take over New Albuquerque. And the question came up last week. 

Back on Earth the realities of these Lovecraftian interstellar locations are mere rumor & myth except among the alien smoke filled taverns, the silent meeting places of occultists, and black cyberspace of some hackers. Carcosa is the world where the damned  & the lost end up. Cha'alt is an alien opportunity for some spacers & is mostly known only to spacers, the megacorporations, and the mad. The Earth of Wretched Space rpg is where these locations get talked about. That Earth is an rpg setting within it's own right however. What I've actually done is to dig out the  Adventurer, Conqeuror, King,rpg & the Barbarian Conquerors of Kanahu  supplement specificially. The majority of the PC classes, rules, etc. allow me as a DM to get the machinery of a take over of certain Cha'alt locations into the works. 

The players want a piece of the action & their either going to get it or get killed taking that piece. There are however certain issues that have cropped up. Such as the fact that back on Earth several of the player's PC's interests will either increase or suffer as a result of such a take over. But what does this actually mean?! It means that certain locations are key to the business ventures & risks that they want to take such as having an alliance with the Santa Fe Starport. They done business there during several key events. And want to deal with the cult infecting New Albuquerque.
They are bound to get more then a few of the wastelander gangs under their banner to help ferment the first part of their plan. Their current Blackguard space pirate adventurers group has more then the numbers to help them pull this off. 
The two gladiators that we've got in the party have migrated from being straight up warriors to being psionic warriors who have gotten augmented with psychic drug treatments. The Blackguard have also cleared several minor dungeons giving them a taste for treasure, women, and pillaging. Make no mistake this is an 'adult' campaign even though our youngest player is twenty nine. She is far more vicious then the older more experience players I've found. The players may take over New Albuquerque but after doing research into chaos with a capital 'C' in ACK's. It's my determination that beastmen with a wide variety of mutations are going to be in the player's future. 

Wretched Flesh & Wretched Space both offer several PC options such as psionics & ritual magick & more that is perfect to slot into Cha'alt & BCK. The weird mutants & more within the Wretch rpg line has been a Lovecraftian god sent in a way. Thus  allowing me to keep the B/X D&D vibe while using the  OSR creations of the Red Room.