Saturday, September 19, 2020

A Great Race of Yith Artifact - The Gates Of Ma'chabogugg


Between the  Greater Outer Darkness & are universe are the Schwarzschild Vaults, places that are not quite places where hordes of Morris-Thorne wormholes are stored by the Great Race. These monstrous feats of sub quantum engineering are the stuff of legends. They could be used for a great variety of things: 

  • Moving planets & stars from one universe to another 
  • Creation of exotic conditions for the creation exotic matter 
  • Inter-planar multiversal travel 
  • The creation of a Roman ring, in theoretical physics, is a configuration of wormholes where for each individual wormhole the time difference across its mouths is such that it may not allow a closed timelike curve (CTC), or 'closed-time loop'. If these wormholes and their mouths are arranged in a suitable configuration, a closed time loop will be again possible.
  • Inter universal travel -  that a wormhole time machine with an exceedingly short time jump is a theoretical bridge between contemporaneous parallel universes & might be used as both a gate & communication device across the planar multiverse 

  • As a weapons system of tremendous cosmic destruction. There are safe guards built into the gates to prevent this however certain high ranking Yithians know the secrets & the codes for using this function. This is beyond the scope of most role playing games & should be used as a plot device instead. 
  • Access to the The Gates Of Ma'chabogugg can be had through the Necronomicon Data works or  Through the Gates psionic discipline which can only be learned through the teachings of a qualified Yithian instructor.  
  • It is known that several star systems along with their attendant stars were moved by the Yithians during their stellar engineering faze & that these gates were utilized to great effect in terraforming projects 

Keeping The Adventurers All In The Family - 1d7 Random Sword & Sorcery Blood Relative Patrons Table For Old School Campaigns

 The two barbarian warriors crossed the wilderness as well as the  wastelands just to get to these strange & sick looking bio mechanical towers that hovered over them. They hurt the eyes of the warriors just to look upon.

'I was expecting more Crum, the architectural aesthetic for those towers is so two thousand years ago.'
'Look we need his help if we're going to get to star port temple, you knew taking the job you were going to have to deal with the old pervert.'
'Yeah but everything always revolves around blood, demons, magick, & sex with him. He's like what fifty thousand years old? You'd think that Martar The Servant of Santus'  would have had his fill by now'
'Would you? For your information I'm only four seven and half thousand years old and my harem is quite extensive. Most likely you two might be my great grand sons twice removed. In fact this country is filled with my grand progeny'
'Are you going to help us or not Grandfather Martar or not?'
The old wizard considered them both for a moment with deep & abidingly  inhuman eyes under brows snow white like the snow around them.
'What's in it for me?'
Crum smiled that half lopsided smile of his.Mostly because of the half healed scar from his pit fighting days.
The three were enveloped in a gust of snow, elderith energies, & a hearty laugh of things best not discussed.

Wizardly patrons for parties are rare, dangerous, wily, and some can almost be of a god level. Many are hundreds if not thousands of years old. Many wizards willingly cultivate their own adventuring groups of 2nd to 3rd level often with their own blood flowing through the veins of such parties. Many such wizards have inhuman, demonic, or monstrous genetic material within their own veins. This often gives even the most good repudiation wizards a capricious and wily sense of humor leaving them someone never to cross during deals or dealings with such.

There is a 1d4 chance where such powerful wizards are operating that any NPC that the player characters are dealing with maybe related through familial or other relationships to such a wizards. Wizards of this caliber often have such later operations with blood ties to ensure far more supernatural or preternatural success in rites, rituals, and even Vancian based spells. When there are four or more blood relatives present or precipitating in magick rites  there is a 40% chance of the spells effects & duration being doubled. The supernatural forces, spirits, and gods may look favorable on such operations. 

There is a 60% chance that such a wizardly patron may call on adventurers for a favor or errant. The wizard is available for magical research & identification of magic items at a 30% discount & may elect to buy any treasure from PC's. But this might be at a substantial discount. There could be complications if such privileges are abused or if the PC's sell to a rival wizard instead of their own blood. A loss of honor in certain supernatural regions could result as well with more monstrous members of such families.
There is also a 20% chance that such a wizard may have a god or demon  of magick or the occult as a parent further complicating such relations & adventure opportunities.

1d7 Random Sword & Sorcery Blood Relative Wizard Patron Table 
  1. Segus The Magnificent is a 20th level wizard whose gone into semi retirement & has a large colony of great grand children across the dimension some of whom are not human. He is an active & dangerous patron when it comes to adventuring as he has a keen interest in the fate of certain Prime Material worlds. He also has a blood war with an underworld demon & his own progeny. He loves illusions & music of all kinds, there are several noted bards within his blood lines. 
  2. Titus of Rhoades - A highly dangerous necromancer whose mother was the goddess of witches. Titus loves to play the scholar & admirer of beauty as well as patron of the arts while he worms his way into academic or political circles whist placing family members in key positions of power. He is a depraved worm of the lowest order. 
  3. Ironus Mull witch of the heavens, this witch has an entire tribe of great grand children devoted to her & several power witches within. She also has several key heroes and necromancers placed within routes of power & adventure. Her overall goals are murky at best. 
  4. Tina Hargraver - The white hero of Hargrave is one of the most powerful wizards the PC's are ever to encounter. A great spy mistress and mover of nations this wizard has hand picked sons & daughters scattered throughout the worlds spreading her brand of adventuring & magic making. Ti'na as she is know all that more powerful as a seller of information & favors. Two great hero kings & queens of near by nations  are her sons & daughters.
  5. Yotri The Wise One - A seemingly harmless beggar & man of knowledge who wanders from place to place in the company of heroes & gods is actually one of the foremost divine wizards with progeny spread across the universe. He collects favors, treasures, and tithes from his blood. He is actually a highly dangerous wizard because of his connections and seemingly good nature. He is a master manipulator and rumored to be son of a trickster god. 
  6. Quses The Bold A wizard of some renowned who has retired to her tower in the deep wilderness. Quses The Bold is a queen of natural magic that has spawned two groves of druids who rule her kingdom & expand her realm planting trees & spell soaked seeds where ever they go. This gives her magick a foot hold & spies of ent blood across the dimensions. It is rumored she has switched sexes and fathered a hero or two but none bare broach the subject. 
  7.   Martar The Servant of Santus is a master of sex, death, and demonic magick whose reach has touched twenty two worlds. He is a master of seven star systems whose not slowed down. Rumored to be the son of a dragon & a sky goddess this wizard is a wily and dangerous foe who places his family at key points in history.

Friday, September 18, 2020

Black, Blue, & Tentacled- Godbound/Cha'alt Pick Up Game Session Report 4/5

 If your gonna have gods & in a Godbound/Cha'alt campaign well its gonna be over the top folks! And your going to have out & out mayhem for the players. Now most folks would think utterly evil & dangerous dragon springs to mind then its gonna Tiamat from the Advanced Dungeons & Dragons first edition Monster Manual. And they would be right up to a point. 

Now any real old schooler who knows his Judge's Guild's Inferno module  knows that Tiamat unofficially has her caves & her hoard within Hell as its proper. Her hoards are safe & her cult is flourishing out in California in my Godbound campaign.Growing by leaps & bounds. Why?! Because Dante's Infero is not a religious commentary but a political one. And one based in history not religion. 1980 Judges Guild module Inferno
. Written by Geoffrey O. Dale, is unto itself a whole blog entry. Which while it has been covered on this blog deserves another look see in the near future.  What my ears heard last night was that America does have any dragons. Any really good solid dragons of mythology like Europe has. 

What if the players were not only wrong but it could cost em their PC's. The Cha'alt wave in my campaign went around Earth. Not out a huge swath of the modern technology & the US has been forced to rely on any Cha'alt technologies they can get a hold of. But recently the West Coast military has been hearing rumbles from its East Coast breathern about the Snallygasters! This god like American dragon has been attacking, destroying, & absolutely descimating supply convoys across the East Coast of the United States in New England. Now unlike the Pathfinder version available here. This is a Snallygaster Lord or Lady. These abominations are a combination of dragon, bird, & aboleth birthed in the Abyssial underworld of Cha'alt. 

Snallygaster artwork provided by the expert hand of Thrilllander thanks to the "Lumberwoods, Unnatural History Museum." Link to 

They have all of the abilities of a standard  snallygaster but with the abilities of an Abeloth but in addition the Dragon word from Godbound. And they are absolutely nasty pieces of work understand Aklo & serveral other languages unnaturally. These things are engines of destruction & primal chaos. The profiles for snallygasters can vary depending upon the seven to eight chaos mutations that they are sporting. Actual dragons hate snallygasters considering them abominations & repellent. These things are vermin to be exterminated on sight. The gods will designate these horrors priority number one to exterminate. 
Why?! Because these things are summoned by Midnight Elves, & Serpentmen to act as engines of destruction! The dragon king in my campaign now knows about two 
 snallygaster Lords & Ladies who were summoned over from Cha'alt on the night roads. The dragon itself is tied up with matters of state and this goes right back to Adventurer,Conqueror,King's Heroic Fantasy Handbook guide lines

When it comes to down to dragons & gods there's always mythology in the mix. Dragons are essential ingrediants to the whip around part of a campaign. Dragons are the movers, shakers, & destroyers of a campaign. They exist to take on the gods & shake the heavens. They are the takers of gold, the hoarders of legacy, & the changers of reality. Dragons are never to be underestimated. Ever. But when it comes to the  Snallygaster Lords & Ladies the vagueness is on purpose. These things are gonna be a surprise to the players. 
They were generated partially using Castle Old Skull's Dragons book & a large heaping of Lovecraft! 

The second ingrediant that I'm throwing into the mix is  Adventurer,Conqueror,King's Lairs & Encounters book.  So I'm designing them with ACK's in mind and a fiendish twist on the guidelines for the Snallygaster Lords & Ladies. These things are utterly things of chaos that can give a godbound real anxiety.

1d20 Random Lovecraftain Ghoul Encounter Table For Your Old School Campaigns

 There are monsters in the night that haunt the grave ravaged edges of the world, these corpse feeders come at blackest points of midnight from the depths of Hell and the ravaged world of dreams. Adventurers who encounters the foul fiends in the dark of night seldom forget such meetings and often times carry the signs of such events as scars to their own graves.

“There have been times when only a hair's-breadth has intervened betwixt myself and the seething devil-ridden world of madness; for the hideous knowledge, the horror- blackened memories which I have carried so long, were never meant to be borne by the human intellect. ”
― Clark Ashton Smith

Those who dare to tread in between worlds have reported encounters with these feeders of the dead on many worlds and beyond. Here then is a 1d20 encounter table to bedevil your own adventurers with such monsters and their kin.

1d20 Random Ghoul Encounter Table

  1. Hmauthavatul The Immortal Queen was once the guardian of a race of Atlantis's finest royals and now has been turned into a feeder of the wretched dead but she remembers her former glory and retains a fourth level in black wizard casting abilities
  2. Ithurot is a ghoul who walks between worlds stalking the alien grave yards of gods long dead for paritularly power magic and sorcery as well decayed meat of the gods. He hates adventurers with a passion and is armed with a +2 short sword taken from a fallen prince.
  3. Ldurarg is a silent stalker among the stars who seeks to carve out his own niche in the realm of the living and dead by carving the meat from the graves of long dead kings.
  4. Nthamo of the Banished Ones is a royal ghoul and on a mission to recover the moldering books of the damned gods from a long forgotten tomb and he is willing to pay in favors and 500 gold pieces. Armed with a +2 short sword named Scaly King he seeks his prize upon a variety of sunless worlds.
  5. Orcargl is a silent stalker among the black stars for the livers of adventurers and is quite psychotic as well as dangerous..
  6. Hakekeghorsa is the last prince of a dying tribe of ancient ghouls who devour the honored dead of alien worlds. He is on a mission to locate an ancient artifact of his people.
  7. Ho-en is a dark priest of the elder ones and looking for adventurers to join him in a quest into the black underworld's hellish depths to recover his queen.
  8. Iaiabho is a dangerous monster who seeks a wizard of great power to free his tribe from a curse by an ancient god, he can be very dangerous because of his zeal and hunger. He carries a spear and round shield of ancient design which can slay ghosts and other undead.
  9. Igh-saIqugogo is the blind and dangerous priest of the black gods, he is a powerful wizard of 6th level of the blackest aspect who seeks others to help him recover the lidless eye of power from the ancient world of the Re'ruo. He is willing to pay in gold and minor favors.
  10. Durg'a is a ghoul princess who looks quite human and yet seeks adventurers to help free her brothers who have been kidnapped by a powerful wizard. She is a 6th level cleric and will turn on her rescuers once her monstrous brothers are free. 
  11.  Erdunau Ethalimm is a prince among ghoul kind who is seeking to restore the honor among his family by eating the dead of his royal betrayers but he needs adventurers to help him kill the guardians of grave yard of dead dreams. He promises treasure and relics.
  12. Arngo Illiairgobel The Thirty Third is a wizard of ninth level and the former adviser to a court of the the least gods. This being seeks adventurers to help him on a quest into the Dreamlands underworld to make contact with his master and recover a powerful artifact.
  13. Ustthla is a priest of Yog Nothroa a powerful ghoul who has ascended beyond undeath to become one with the blackness of eternity. He seeks his master's advice on a matter of royal birth and treasure, he needs adventurers to help him on his quest.
  14. Yggg a silent stalker and assassin of adventurers who is on the trail of the party, he eats the eyes and livers of his victims and is armed with a variety of silent and deadly weapons. He hates adventurers with a cold and dispassionate lack of emotion. He loves to take wizards first and cut the heads off as warning of his coming.
  15. Yibolog-dhug is a very dangerous wizard in his own right and often stalks lesser beings between the stars to kidnap and sacrifice his victims under the dark unlight of dead god's heads which act as black stars around alien worlds. He seldom bargains and loves to kill his victims in flashy and dramatic ways. He has 1d3 minor relics on him.
  16. Zsthust has gone on to become a monster after losing his ability to reason, he has a tower in the dreamland's underworld and upon his person a map to his tower. He has been an outlaw in the kingdoms of the ghouls for centuries and has many treasures and wonders in his vaults.
  17. Caurgl Ethan're is a duke among the kingdoms of the dead and seeks some of the living to help him recover the soul of a royal who has passed on prematurely. He is willing to share several maps to minor ruins.
  18. Giame Haurng is a masked ghoul wizard who is looking for adventurers to accompany him on an epic journey to other worlds and especially one that has a very wealthy treasure on it. This is all a lie and this ghoul wishes to sacrifice you and your party to a great old one for power and magick.
  19. Hururi Iarilathar is one of the last beings from a dying Earth of the far future who has been turned into a ghoul by his exposure to chaos and weird alien radiations. He knows the caches to several high end future treasure vaults but wants help with a quest to recover a 'cure' for his ghouldom. Actually he wants a party of adventurers to accompany him to his ritual death.
  20. Irotuthmmabali is a dangerous ghoul slaver and inter dimensional arms dealer who has several caches of artifacts that need to be returned to his black wizard master. Guess whose been elected for body guard work? He will eat any who fall in battle to honor their memory.

Thursday, September 17, 2020

A Review of Quann'Ra-Tioll Moorchlyne's Most Excellent Compilation of all the realms known Ioun stones. A Free Old School Download


This compilation contains more than 600 Ioun stones to brighten up your campaign. This is a great catalog  of Ioun stones for your campaign & so much more . Weighing in at 104 pages this is a nice overview of the stone as a whole, their origins, their use, & those entities that control them. Matthew Hargenrader does a very well thought out job with this OGL material. The layout of the pdf is crisp & to the point. There isn't a metric ton of BS throughout.
The pdf includes an index which is ideal for the DM during play & allows one to deal with necessary treasure on the fly.
I've seen Ioun stone books before during the D20 glut of yesteryear this is much nicer. A better written pdf you will not find. Go Here

Ioun Stones For Space Opera? 

Ioun Stones are the creation of Jack Vance & this pdf places credit where credit is due. There are some old school nods in just the right direction with this. I don't really  associate Ioun stones with Jack  Vance but instead with the Incal books.
The stones were a part of an AD&D game that a friend ran & the stones were being used by the various factions of this universe. I have no idea if it was to save time or simply something caught his eye but there you go.
I think as a weird fantasy or science fantasy  element ioun stones present a host of opportunities.

  1. These things make great alien artifact with unpredictable powers & they're not easily associated with science fiction or even science fantasy 
  2. They can pop up anywhere or any when. They're perfect for a post apocalyptic universe when you need something alien to convey an invasion or possible source of your Apocalypse
  3. The fact that these can be your gate way drug to powers from beyond doesn't need to be said. Elemental or pseudo elemental entities are right on the menu as soon as these appear
  4. Nothing says don't screw with the alien or alien princess quite like stones zipping around someone's head or heads. 
  5. Given Goblinoid Games various systems or any retroclones this supplement is a fine edition to anyone's library. These would readily work for Terminal space hell even X plorers 
  6. Its got the right price tag at free 

Review & OSR Review of 'These Stars Are Ours' Interstellar campaign by Omer Golan-Joel, Richard Hazlewood, & Josh Peters For The Cepheus Engine rpg system

 "These Stars Are Ours is a space-opera setting for the Cepheus Engine Core Rules and other 2D6 OGL SciFi games.  Set in 2260 AD - two years after the Terrans took Keid and forced the Reticulan Empire to capitulate the book it introduces the player characters to the immediate aftermath of the Terran victory in the Terran Liberation War against the mighty Reticulan Empire and its many thralls. For their part, the upstart Terrans, bolstered by their victory against their old masters, now move to become a power to be reckoned with in interstellar affairs. Against this background of espionage, maneuvering, and saber-rattling, and on the new interstellar frontiers, the player characters can forge a destiny of heroes or villains of the new United Terran Republic. The book provides all the astrography and background necessary to set a sci-fi campaign in the exciting times of the 23rd century.

It is two years after we won the War against our old Reticulan masters. We - the children of Mother Terra - are now free to forge our destiny and put our mark on the stars. These stars are ours! This is a time for bold men and women to step up and claim the universe. We need intrepid explorers to discover the riches of our far frontiers; enterprising merchants to open new trade routes with far-away alien stars; cunning spies and agents to protect us from any alien plot against our hard-won independence; and of course - daring soldiers and spacemen to protect our borders and push back those who would enslave us again.

We are not alone - brave Cicek warriors and even Reticulan and Ssesslessian defectors fought along our side against the Reticulan legions. Against this mighty alliance, stand our many enemies - both internal and external. Corrupt politicians and crime-lords plot to turn our glorious Republic into their own plaything at our expense. Ruthless pirates and raiders rob far-flung colonies, heedless of the opening they give to our greater enemy. In the shadows, House Thiragin - the Reticulan noble house which once ruled Terra with an iron fist - plots and plans for its ultimate revenge on us upstart “barbarians”. For all of this - children of the Earth – Mother Terra needs you!"

Between work & my gaming group its been a wild two days of writing, reviewing, & revamping 
These Stars Are Ours review for this blog. This is a great supplement & setting campaign material for the Cepheus Engine rpg system.  

This is a complete interstellar  campaign setting in every sense of the word, this thing is bloody huge with a history, background, setting material, empires, factions, planetary information etc.  These Stars Are Ours feels like a mix of Space Above & Beyond & 'The High Chaparral' with a wiley sense of the 'Brown Coats' from 'the Serenity' TV show. There are elements of the Expanse here but they are few & far between. This book has the classic Traveller three black rpg books feel to it & that's done on purpose by authors  Omer Golan-JoelRichard Hazlewood, & Josh Peters

The  Reticulan Empire
 is a nasty piece of with expansive holdings & all kinds of dangerous bits & pieces lurking at the edges of the works The military of the humans have an extensive array of alien allies that are available for PC options. The book presents a huge pethora of PC options, ships, & even forces all presented with the history,deep background, & even powers behind the scenes. 

Is These Stars Are Ours  worth the price of admission?! Yes, its campaign setting  as deep as Greyhawk & The Wilderlands of High Fantasy. This is part of the background of the interstellar high wheeling space opera feel of These Stars Are Ours 

The deeper part of the background dives into the reasons for the politics, placement, & even possible future warfare within the setting all at the fingertips of the DM. Its a nice little gem of a space opera setting from which we've just freed ourselves from the old Reticulan masters!

The Greys are actually available as a PC option with all kinds of options & they are completely viable as a table top possiblity. They are fully fleshed out, & there's a full range of government bodies, rebels, star ships,etc. all for these dangerous & utterly ruthless aliens of popculture. 

The star ship diagrams & plans  of 'These Stars Are Ours ' perfect for handouts for the players. I love 'These Stars Are Ours '& its gonna be one of the choices for a complete interstellar campaign settings that I'll be using at the table top level. If you get a chance definitely pick up 'These Stars Are Ours '! 

Grey alien By Yasir999 - Own work not in 'These Stars Are Ours' Interstellar campaign but this piece of artwork fits the dangerous authoriterian alien bastards!

Behold! The Sword of Power! Excalibur! - Destiny Against The Darkness In Old School Campaigns

 "Look upon this moment. Savor it! Rejoice with great gladness! Great gladness! Remember it always, for you are joined by it. You are One, under the stars. Remember it well, then... this night, this great victory. So that in the years ahead, you can say, "I was there that night, with Arthur, the King!" For it is the doom of men that they forget."

Merlin, following the decisive British Victory over the Saxons at the Great Siege and Battle of Mount Badon
Excalibur 1981

Work took me away from the blog today but my mind was on original Dungeons & Dragons again. More specifically the Greyhawk Folio. The folio back in the early Eighties was my introduction into the world of  both  Greyhawk along with the works of C.S. Lewis & Arthurian literature." 
In 1975, Gygax and Kuntz published a booklet called Supplement I: Greyhawk, an expansion of the rules for Dungeons & Dragons based on their play experiences in the Greyhawk campaign." The supplemental books for the original Dungeons & Dragons lines  were the only books along with the Arduin material my dungeon master needed back then.
Science Fantasy & pulp material regularly plane hopped into our world setting & this was something that we took as incidental. Today I head from a 5th edition Dungeon master that he didn't know if he was 'allowed' to do this. Back when I first started with the OSR Lamentations of the Flame Princess blew my mind because of the fact that the retroclone system broke the unwritten rules conventions of second edition Advanced Dungeons & Dragons. Namely working in real world history events where & when they wanted. This convention was something I hadn't seen since the heydays of 'The Dragon'. This was when gamers mixed & matched WWII miniatures  rules sets with original  Dungeons & Dragons adventures. Lately the OSR scene seems a bit too harmonized for my tastes. I play fast and loose with my games because I enjoy the hobby.

I've talked at length  about the fact that the powers Fairyland played havoc with Camelot & that it continues to echo through history in my campaign settings. This is especially true using the various families found in Camelot as both the source for PC's & as the movers & shakers of European history. Bloodlines & royal families  are the prime moves in the Boorman  film 1981's Excalibur we see this. But we also see one of the forces of chaos in old school games artifacts & treasures. In this case the sword of power Excalibur's hold on those who behold the sword's power in the hands of the rightful king.

Its one of many such treasures in the ranks of Arthurian literature. These items of magic  stand in sharp contrast to the ceaseless stark darkness of H.P. Lovecraft's materialist darkness of the Great Old Ones & the Outer Gods.  Robert Howard's Bran Mak Morn the last king of the Picts is one of the character's who helps bridge the historical gap between Arthurian legend & the Mythos. There is a clear line from Robert Howard's Bran all the way back to King Kull of Atlantis.

"Kings of the Night" (first publication: Weird Tales, November 1930). The first story to feature Bran as a king and describes him as a direct descendant of another Howard character, Brule the Spear-Slayer, companion of the Atlantean King Kull."

I would hazard to guess that there is a faction of Bran Mak Morn's cult residing along with Arthur's knights in Camelot even as the forces of Le Fey family weave their spells. The cult survives well into the Twentieth Century.
""The Children of the Night". In this tale Bran does not appear directly but rather the story elaborates on his cult, which first appears in "The Dark Man" and which seems to have survived into the 20th Century. Events in the narrative correspond with the timeline and events noted in "Worms of the Earth"."

"AtlantisLemuria, and Valusia all sank into the sea along with Camelot but the legacy of magick & heroics survive well past the kings & knights. Part of the reason for this is the fact that the Elves of myth & legend can't leave the affairs of man alone.  Artifacts & items of magick seem to have a life of their own often taken by the tides of destiny. They go where & when Fate dictates that they are needed. Gods, Demi Gods, & Heroes by Robert Kuntz & James Ward as well as Dark Albion, Cults of Chaos, & Lion & Dragon are full of these items of power.
Blood & power seem to call them & they play their parts within history for good or ill. Much to the detriment of  Fairyland & Hell's designs.

"Though the Witch knew the Deep Magic, there is a magic deeper still which she did not know. Her knowledge goes back only to the dawn of Time."

The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe (1950) Ch. 15: Deeper Magic from Before the Dawn of Time
The sheer weight of H.P. Lovecraft's cosmism stands in the rooted materialistic yet magick driven pulp rooted storytelling of Clark Ashton Smith's cycles. Someplace between the two there is room for Arthurian & heroic deeds as well as the gestures of heroes in the form of the PC's.
"Who knows the end? What has risen may sink, and what has sunk may rise. Loathsomeness waits and dreams in the deep, and decay spreads over the tottering cities of men."
HP Lovecraft The Call of Cthulhu

This is where Greyhawk & Blackmoor come in allowing the PC's to step into the realms of campaign adventure without side lining the main campaign of the game play taking place in Europe especially during the events of the Hundred Years War, The Rose War or The Thirty Year War.

The advantage here is the fact that there is such a range of gaming possibility within these historical events that entire generations of a royal family could take place & there would still be room to place dungeons, ruins, and fully fleshed out adventures.

Both Dark Albion & its attendant retroclone system of Lion & Dragon have room enough so that a DM could take the events of Camelot shunt them next to the machinations of the Frogmen. Then take a classic set of B/X Dungeons & Dragons Expert adventures such as the U Sinister Secret of Saltmarsh  series & still have room to place them within historical context. The thing to remember is that the PC's are real movers & shakers within a historical or legendary series of events.
The focus is always on the party and not on the elements of the adventure or the campaign. Roots of the future center around the PC's actions allowing a campaign to grow organically.

Wednesday, September 16, 2020

The Continuing Outer Realm War Round Three/Four - Godbound/Cha'alt Play Session Recap

So the trip to the Cosmic Kitten ended up with DM Steve's PC giving over a minor artifact to Barron (nothing ever good comes from getting involved with Barron. Ever). They learned about major goings on in the Hollywood Hills which Barron referred to as a "great party".  Guess where DM Steve's PC headed as soon as they got back to 'Earth'?! This got a great chuckle from Barron whose attention went back to his latest play thing. 

During last night's game DM Steve learned a very important truth in our Godbound/Cha'alt session. Don't mess with the Elves on Cha'alt! His Godbound PC was literally torn apart & sacrificed to a parasitic god! He was playing it fast & loose striking out on his own without the rest of the party to back him up! They warned him & lately we've been incorporating a number of B/X sources into our game including a free pdf called Adding Unspeakable Horrors From Beyond The Stars. There are Lovecraftian Space Elves that have been the source of many of the Elven tribes on Cha'alt/Carcosa. A huge mob of about 60 of these bastards got a hold of his PC last night. They been trying to open a gate on the Night Road  in California's Hollywood Hills for their parasite god! Well the rest of the Godbound party warned him not to go without backup. He encountered several Cha'alt space elves assassin strike teams.They caused him waste his energies & that was that. The rest of the mob overwhelmed him with shear numbers. Then the knife came down! 

A desert  Phkeh Giant came to take the sacrifice on behalf of his god  & things slid way down hill. Now DM Steve is off making a new PC to bring in next week. So to say it wasn't pretty is an understatement. These things are the raw chaotic  & Lovecraftian Elves that have been eluded to in the Dark Albion setting & the Lion & Dragon Rpg. 

This isn't the only mention of these Elves! Now throughout this game campaign the  Adventurer,Conqueror,King's rpg has been in use! ACK's dungeons & adventure modules have been a part of this campaign since the beginning.  AX4: Ruined City of Cyfandir's ruins have appeared near the deserts of Utah. The dragon king warned the party to stay clear of 'em. The Elves are still occupying them & they are extremely dangerous.  But if you take your motorcycle ride up to the Hollywood Hills & then challenge the space elves then roll a '1'. Well folks your gonna die even if your Godbound. 

The party of adventurers right now has summoned a 'lawyer demon' straight outta of The Metallic Tome. To see if they can bargain for DM Steve's old character's soul. But as the demon told them, 'Sometimes dead is dead even in the Abyss'. 

So this goes back over year ago when DM Steve's PC & his team  were  messing with AX1: The Sinister Stone of Sakkara. They barely made it out alive & my other player's adventures plus the American military's mecha had to mount a rescue! The pig faced orcs serving the horror behind the stone wanted their souls for lunch badly. 

The PC's hiked it back to the dragon king last night & they had picked up a hitch hiker NPC who looks suspiciously like Barron's latest play thing. Lisa Watts is the lead singer in the 'Crags' a hard core metal band & adventurer. Is she godbound or perhaps demon spawn?! Unknown at the moment but the team's hover van broke down right after stranding them in the middle of nowhere squared & that's when the Cha'alt manticore attacked! 

Everyone was getting to roll initiative & I purposely ended right there on that cliff hanger because I'm that much of a bastard. 

Tuesday, September 15, 2020

OSR Campaign Castles & Crusades Commentary On Using Pirates of Hagrost: Wilderness Book Four By Bryan Hinnen , & Dan Hauffe From Judge's Guild

 "Fury mounts within the Village of Ashenshaft as racial tension between Half-Elves and Humans rises to a fever pitch. Beware the ancient sewers beneath the conflict-torn village; the Undead and their master lurk there! What makes the fearsome River Pirates different from their sea brethren? Is it blind hatred for the Invincible Overlord or the all-consuming lust for treasure? All these and many more fascinating endeavors await you in The Pirates of Hagrost!"

When it comes to Judge's Guild products there has always been a few stand out & solid entries that have proven to be very useful at the table top level. Case in point Pirates of Hagrost (1982) or Judges Guild, Wilderness Book Four by Bryan Hinnen , & Dan Hauffe. 
Why?! Because when you need a follow up to & lead in from U1 Sinister Secret of Salt Marsh module.  series or even Ghosts of Salt Marsh. Because we've never run the 'U' series as a Scooby Doo mystery. 

Oh you know what I'm talking about, the fact that the haunted house has far more to do with adventure elements then the supernatural. Personally turn the volume up to 'eleven' on the supernatural & increase the Lovecraftian. The 'alchemist' becomes an actual lich & the pirates/smugglers become part of a network of the thieves guild. The sea wasp from the U1 The Sinister Secret of Salt Marsh does generally fall into the PC's hands. But its the fact that these smugglers are a part of the same organization that's been reaching its grimy hands into many worlds & expanding operations. Yes I'm talking about 'The Slave Lords' from Scourge of the Slave Lords (A1-4) By David Cook, Allen Hammack, Harold Johnson, Tom Moldvay, Lawrence Schick, & Edward Carmien. 
Time & again these bloody bastards have been reaching their mits in worlds across the planes, robbing, pillaging, & causing mayhem for decades! 

They make excellent NPC bosses & patrons for the scum that's featured in  Pirates of Hagrost (1982). They've been eying up 'The Wilderlands of High Fantasy' & so they've sent in some of their sea scum to do what they do best. Rob, pillage, & cause mayhem all of the while establishing a beach head for the Slavers. 

This makes a perfect piratical campaign lead in for a Castles & Crusades campaign & its a great lead in for the 'Wilderlands of High Fantasy'. Is there enough here in Pirates of Hagrost?! To make this treatment worth while?! Yes especially considering what's in the JG booklet;""This exciting, fun-packed module brings to life part of JG's Campaign Map One. Numerous wilderness, village, and dungeon maps, complete with fascinating descriptions are crammed into this 48-page fantasy adventure!"

That expansion is gonna be straight into having your players PC's brought into JG's 'City State of the Invincible Overlord' by the authorities or worse the Thieves Guild who know that some power is muscling into their turf,operations, & scores! 

God help them if they cross the Invicible one himself!? There's lots of idiots who have done that & their a part of the landscape. Remember the city state does have several of its own grave yards. This situation after the module is over is going to require some serious role playing, dice roles, & certainly some very cagey players. 

There are several reasons why this works for Castles & Crusades: 

  1. The Wilderlands of High Fantasy is designed to be modular making it a perfect C&C campaign. 
  2. Inclusion of the Slave Lords is going to be rather unexpected even for the most jaded of players.
  3. There's plenty of opportunity for the player's PC's to die. 
  4. Judge's Guild stuff isn't well known among C&C players. 
  5. Pirates of Hagrost (1982) is a perfect set up for a C&C pirate campaign.
  6. There are some deadly encounters in the adventure. 
  7. NPC death is a perfect set up to draw in the player's PC into the pirate underbelly of the City State. 
  8. Plunder means taxes & pirates mean opportunity for the PC's to screw up big time. 
  9. The players are not going to expect that the 'Invincible One' could be watching their every move. 
  10. This is the perfect opportunity to sell of the PC's as slaves. Don't waste it! Savor it & really have fun with Pirates of Hagrost

Macro Organism Sub Space Drives - The Drive Is Alive


Macro Organism Drives ready to ship out 

The Macro Organism Drives are all pieces of a macro organism the size of a universe. First discovered during the first stage of  the Human Expansion. These drives are housed within a stable planar matrix. These drives take up the back half of their ship& are capable of  ripping through the planar spaces between the Outer Darkness. The drive eats about 130 pounds of matter a day & converts it into a stable sub hyper space matrix field. This moves the universe around the ship while it stays stable. The illusion is the that the ship drops into the endless worlds of hyper reality.  There is a 30 % that each time the drive is used that the Hounds of Tindalos  may be attracted to the meat of the drive & chase the ship through hyper space. A scientist might have the proper psionic discipline to exorcise the hounds.

Random Strange Events When the Macro Drive Is Engaged 1d10  
  1. A double of the ship is created & will follow the ship for 1d4 days. It will mimic any behavior the real one performs. 
  2. The music of the spheres will usher through out the ship giving +1 charisma for as long as the music plays 
  3. The drive likes you & will perform to the ultimate limit of its design gets you there 1d3 hours ahead of schedule 
  4. The drive has foresight & will not go to your destination & picks a safer route 
  5. All weapon systems gain +1 on damage as the planar energy is added to total weapon out put 
  6. The drive wants to return to its parent & wishes to telepathically bargain with the party 
  7. The drive grows a nervous system through out the ship & certain functions cause it pain. The party must perform  surgery for the drive to operate safely 
  8. Instead of your destination the ship suggests an alternative universe where things are better then the one you picked 
  9. The drive has diarrhea & needs to shut down 
  10. The drive gains a + 1 for all destinations for today!
Macho subspace drive housings must be replaced every 10,000 jumps & cost 6,000 credits by comparison to other drives. They can become attached to certain crewmen & have been known to telepathically bond with parties. There have been cases where they have risked destruction of themselves for their adopted families!
There are several stories of these drives eating their crews as well & returning to the parent universe organism at the expense of their crews. Happy spacing

Review & Commentary On The 'UFOs' Source Book By Omer Golan-Joel From Stellagama Publishing For 'The Cepheus Engine' Rpg

The  Traveller rpg  has a very complicated history with the gaming groups I've been a part of going all of the way back to the days of White Dwarf magazine when it was actually a table top rpg. Early issues of White Dwarf always carried Traveller rpg adventures & it wasn't long before we were playing them on a regular basis. 

Skip ahead to the early OO's & I come across 'The Cepheus Engine'  & its basically the retrclone of early edition  Traveller. Which is fantastic because there's a very active & highly bombastic fan community built around it. Why wouldn't there be!? This is classic Traveller & its all down to my friend Omer Golan-Joel. Whose work on  Adventurer, Conqeuror, King's Barbarian Conquerors of Kanahu should be familiar to anyone who reads this blog on a regular basis. 
Back to  'The Cepheus Engine', Omer has been a one man OSR! Seriously he's been putting out Science Fiction & Science Fantasy content for years! I got into the whole hog of the Engine because of its convertability to Original Dungeons & Dragons. Yeah that's a sort of open secret no one talks about. But when the Expanse television show hit there was a bit of excitement. 

Anyhow Omer's been a one man engine of creativity when it comes to the completely open game content engine of  'The Cepheus Engine' which is completely modular & he's been adding systems books, settings  etc. onto the rpg system as it goes. The author's got his own great little smaller tier setting book for 'The Engine  called 'These Stars Are Ours'. Its a nice little gem of a space opera setting from which we've just freed ourselves from the 
old Reticulan masters!  This isn't the 'Expanse' but more of an old fashioned space opera mixed with a bit of that old fashion 70's U.F.O. paranoia.. 

"Weather balloons. Swamp gas. Low-flying planes. We have all heard the excuses given by government suits, news hacks, and close-lipped military officers. But the truth, as they say – is out there. For decades, maybe centuries – even millennia – they have visited us. Short, thin gray beings bent on exploring – or maybe conquering and exploiting – Terra. They pilot starships that are technologically advanced beyond anything Humanity had in the 20th and 21st centuries: archetypically saucer-shaped but there are other shapes as well. Terrans designate these ships as "Unidentified Flying Objects" – or UFOs. This supplement allows you to combine such advanced alien craft, as well as their Reticulan crews, into your science-fiction role-playing campaign"

This brings me right up to seeing Omar last night on MeWe putting up a link for Drivethrurpg for his latest UFO source book  for the Cepheus Engine. This is actually the Reticulans, or Gray's source book. Damn this is a nice little package for a source book. It clocks in at thirty pages but within those thirty pages it crams & jams in the material. Last night I printed the book out because I've got use for it. 

Everything in this book is useful material from the ground up, & it provides the DM with everything they actually need to run Grays as both a alien race & antagonist NPC's. The whole cloth here is down to the bare tacts & facts on the Grays' 

All of the information is indexed & codified for convience, we're given a brief over view of the 'These Stars Are Ours' setting & material then dive into the history,culture,etc., of  
the Reticulans.  We get government, military, & a brief history, but we also get current status. 

There's an air of the tragic & glorious about the Grays here but their interactions with humanity including domination have been dangerous to us & themselves. Its like the two culture's destiny is intertwined. 

One of the real areas where UFO source book  for the Cepheus Engine shines is the Gray's Ships. We get a ton of blue prints & plans that can be used for hand outs. If you grew up in the Sevenities then this clicks in with spending hours watching reruns of 'Insearch of' & pouring over UFO books as a kid. I did & this source book took me back to the spooky time with nightmares of Grays & their abductor ships. 

And for the four dollars you plunk down you get a complete work with all of the plans featured in the UFO source book  for the Cepheus Engine as separate downloads that can be printed out & used during game play! Which for me is worth price of admission alone. 

But as I said the Gray here have their own agenda & there's a sort of 'mysterious rebellion' feel to the UFO source book  for the Cepheus Engine. That ties in with some of the Grey agenda that I've seen other corners of the OSR these days. 
On the other hand is the UFO source book  for the Cepheus Engine worth getting on its own?! Well this is a well put together sourcebook that hits all of the bells & whistles for me. The 'These Stars Are Ours' is intriguing enough to make me want to investigate it further for future reviews & blog posts. Do I think that the UFO source book  for the Cepheus Engine is worth your time, energy, & money?! Absolutely!