Sunday, March 31, 2013

Free Tower Of The Elephant Adventure From Footprints #13

The Tower of the Elephant Old School Adventure appeared in the  Dragon Foot site Free E magazine Foot Prints. Footprints was/is an excellent resource for old school gaming.
This issue appealed to me because of the Howard inspired short adventure. The adventure is excellent and very concise having been written By Thulsa ( Who knows all things Conan related and this adventure is no exception.
If your unfamiliar with The Tower of the Elephant then please don't read any further and go to Wiki for a super condensed version of Robert E. Howard's short story of the same name The_Tower_of_the_Elephant
I was able to get in a bit of Easter Holiday gaming action with friends. 
I ran three players through the Footprints Adventure using Labyrinth Lord Advanced. Using two thieves and a barbarian. The results were not pretty to say the least. Its not that the adventure is a killer. Far from it. The adventure is tightly written and expands on the original story in several directions. 
The Dice were simply against the players and the tigers were apparently hungry.
Bell God of Thieves received  Flex the Thrice Blessed at 7:00 pm this evening and his brother Thom soon after. Ancor The Brave managed to penetrate the mysteries of the tower and escaped 
intact but will never reveal the damned places secrets.
You can download the adventure and magazine right over HERE

The FgHtre'Ru - The Bowl Of Ancient Chaos For Your Old School Space Opera

File:Favrile Bowl - Tiffany 1908 - 51.121.13.jpg

The FgHtre'Ru is a bowl dedicated to the ancient chaos Gods from the mutated carapace of several species of mutated humans and near humans.
The bowl is imbued with the power of Chaos itself from a top the highest peaks of a world and calls down the God's favor. Alternatively the bowl may be taken within the belt of a gas giant and subject to the life giving atmosphere of the primal soup for its charge. 
A rain of blood and fire then charges the bowl with the "Winds of Mutation" and the instrument then retains the energy of the divine intervention. The bowl must have a least a cup  wine or water for its effects to take place. Those who partake of the bowl's gifts are referred to as the "Impure" as the forces of chaos itself course through their bodies. 
The 1d10 Table of Random Effects for "
The Bowl Of Ancient Chaos"
  1. The "Impure" receives 1d4 random mutations from your favorite table and is favored by the powers of Chaos for 1d6 days. It should be noted that these powers are fickle at best and malevolent at worst. 
  2. The  mutant receives +1d4 to his physical attributes but his intelligence is lowered by 3 points. 
  3. The mutant grows an extra body part with its own intelligence that separates from him within 1d4 days. The thing will be murderous and try to kill the fool who took a sip. 
  4. The mutant is genetic structure is given an extra boost and he now receives 1d4 temporary constitution points. 
  5. The mutant is given the insight of the worlds and is granted a divine vision of Chaos itself. He is put within a coma for 1d4 days and receives 2 wisdom points. 
  6. The user's spit has an acidic quality that does 1d4 points of damage with a 10 foot range. 
  7. The mutant is given insane visions of the Outer Darkness and his soul is given over to those powers. He returns with a lower armor class but no soul at all. When he dies his body erupts in a rain of blood, bile, and tendrils that do 1d6 points of damage. 
  8. The mutant becomes a "sex machine" and receives 3 hit points. His charisma goes up by 2 points but he or she is subject to erotic pseudo genesis. DM and player's imagination. 
  9. The mutant gains a charge of Chaotic radiation that will damage the genetic structure of any it strikes for 1d6 random mutation that will manifest within any off spring.
  10.  The "divine ecstasy" is too much for the mutant and he explodes in a shower of organs and chaotic energy for 1d8 points of damage. 

The bowl is a living thing and regenerates as a troll. Anyone damaging the bowl will receive a visit from its "Divine Chaotic Guardian"
Divine Chaotic Guardian
Name: Retriecura
Title: The Custodian of the Bowl 

Symbol: The Bowl Of Change 
Movement: 50' 
Armor Class :2(17)
Hit Dice: 30
Saving Throw: F15 
Morale: 9 
Hoard Class: 3200 GP's worth of offerings 
Challenge Level/XP:10/1400

Saturday, March 30, 2013

The Phantasm Movie 1979 For Your Old School Horror Campaign On The Dark Corner blog

The Tall Man steps into the Dark Corner Blog for Your Easter Weekend!
Step right into the world of Phantasm
"If This One Doesn't Scare Ya Then Your Already Dead!"
Right over HERE

1d10 Random Technological Super Science Artifacts of Law Table - The Eggs For Your Old School Space Opera And Science Fantasy Campaigns

File:Oeuf et main IV.jpg

All eggs come in a wide variety of sizes ranging from those of chicken egg to the largest the size of a small bus. The outer skin of these devices is actually "Molecular  Law". The material is the cast off skin and remains of the Lords of Stability gathered by their followers and spun by super science and sorcery into a stable, ultra dense, and "perfect material".
 The Internal Mechanisms are created through the most cunning technological processes and require 5,000 credits to gather the rare Interstellar materials. Or 10,000 gold pieces of "magical" assistance from the planes of Law. 
The work takes 1d300 days at least to fashion the mechanism and can not done outside the bounds of a "Pattern of Law".
The pattern requires that the user commit one temporary wisdom and one temporary intelligence point in its construction. These can be recovered if the powers of Law see fit to grant them. The size of the pattern varies according to artifact being created. 
Each artifact is not delicate at all and will last for thousands of years. One a rare blue green laser has a 10% chance of cracking the shell of an egg. The resulting explosion does 1d10 points of damage to everything within a 30 yard range.
Each egg will have between  one and 1d30 charges when found. 
Each egg is named after the wizard or explorer who found it. 

1d10 Random Technological Super Science Artifacts of Law Table 
  1. Azure Green Egg of Falnaurus The Wizard - This egg is the size of a chicken egg and allows the wizard or user to see any planar instabilities, cracks in the local space time continuum, and to open such in a 20 by 20 foot radius.
    The device will make any planar creatures slightly out of phase visible and the green ray will act as a hold person spell on any planar creatures present. There is no guarantee that the effects of the egg will last more then 1d4 rounds. 
  2. The Black Egg Of Kruitili The Mad - This baseball sized egg acts as a symbol of insanity to all who sees it. The vast infinite planes of Law and all of its alternatives are shown and the madding possibilities of universes. This egg will effect everyone within a 40 yard radius. The egg also can act as a device of turning upon any creature of Chaos. It shows them their eternal fate under the yoke of Chaos.
  3. The Excellent Mechanism Egg of Yort - This Egg has many technical glyphs across its surface and a wide variety of technological devices will appear across its surface. These will dimension door in as needed. The egg will add in the repair of any technological device. +3 to repair  all super science devices as well as ancient artifacts. Should the egg be used to try to repair any device of Chaos it will explode for 1d6 points in a shower of tools and metal. 
  4. The Egg of Time - This egg will freeze time once per day. The user and party however is visible to all chronological monsters however. The device will also point out any time travelers within a 20 yard radius. 
  5. Egg of Falsutrthus The Dead - This egg is used in the identification, eradication  and purging of undead.
    The egg has over three hundred nano probes that will help in the preservation of any corpse. They will embalm the corpses with little or no fuss.
    The egg can cast a light spell once per day that is painful to any undead within a 20 foot radius. The egg shine a "Ray of Law" doing 1d6 point  per round to any undead present. This will last for ten rounds. The egg will finally shoot a powerful bio acid at any undead present for 1d10 points of damage. 
  6. The Egg Chamber Of Thom - This bus sized green blue egg of Law will revive one newly dead person placed within as a resurrection spell. The person will be come a strict follower of Law. Any follower of Chaos placed within is vaporized within 1d4 rounds completely. 
  7. The Egg of Sameness - This egg's ray will remove any creative impulse from target within a 10  yard radius. The person is subject to depression, apathy, and eventual suicide. These effects may be removed by prayers to the gods of Law. 
  8. The Egg of Thal - This egg of deepest purple allows the user to cast a charm spell on a 200 plus crowd of sentients and register all emotions present telepathically. The effects last for 1d10 days after which the crowd will become murderous to the user and try to kill him at every opportunity. 
  9. The egg of Frurths Fingers The Wise - This egg whips out a variety of lock picks and allows one to act as a thief by passing locks with little problem. +4 to all lock picking attempts.
    The egg also produces a sonic effect as per screw driver allowing one to unhinge locks, by pass mechanisms, and fix simple mechanisms. The effect has a five foot range. 
  10. the Egg of Infinity - This egg opens a direct dimensional doorway to the realms of the gods of Law. 

Thursday, March 28, 2013

Updated Space-Age Sorcery 1.5 Free For Your Old School Retroclone Or Post Apocalyptic Campaign

Space Age Scorcery has now been professionally edited for all of the flaws and leaves in 1000% of the weirdness! It is no big deal, no major changes, mostly some little things that slimed through the cracks! 

100 unique spells written by Garrison James,myself, Porky, and many others are waiting for you! In all their vile goodness dripping right down the page just for you!

  1. The FREE pdf contains:
  1. More than 100 strange new spells suitable for use with most Old School RPGs
  2. Magic User & Cleric Spell Lists
  3. A table for Optional Dire Consequences
  4. 1d6 Spell-Based Scenario Seeds
  5. 1d6 Magic Items
  6. 1d6 Encounters

 Best of all its free!
You can download it
 Version 1.5.

These are perfect for all major retroclones as well as Swords & Wizardry.
Download them before your Dungeon Master or your players do! 
The only caveat that I ask is please give some feed back or comments!
Thanks for your continued support!

Don't forget to check out more space madness over at Heretic Works Blog
 Also be sure to visit Porky's blog for even weirder stuff! The man is an OSR madman of the first order! 

Review of Iceblood Oulanders By James Axler aka Mark Ellis

According To Mark Ellis's Facebook post: 
"Mike Herring's cover to my seventh OUTLANDERS novel, ICEBLOOD...the last quarter of it set in Tibet, this is a pivotal book in the storyline. It was also (I learned much later) Gold Eagle's best-selling book of that year. In fact it was reprinted in an oversized volume entitled AFTERMATH...which just happened to be one of the early alternate titles for the OUTLANDERS series."
So I went back and reread this book. 
The plot according to Amazon: "Kane and his companions race to find a piece of the Chintamanti Stone, which they believe to have power over the collective mind of the evil Archons. Their journey sees them foiled by a Russian mystic named Zakat in Manhattan, and there is another dangerous encounter waiting for them in the Kun Lun mountains of China. One man's quest for power unleashes a cataclysm in America's wastelands." 

This book reared its head way back in the halcyon days of 1998 and its one of the most pivotal books in the Outlanders series. We finally start getting into the background of  the Archon Directorate who were so superior to us and had conquered humanity
The answers are not what I was expecting at all. Its only recently that I've gone back to Iceblood and its environs. A huge number of questions have been answered regarding their origin, what happened to them, and about the background of some of the major character in Outlanders.
The action here is very fast paced and the writing is a step up from the usual "Men's Adventure" stuff we often see hitting book shelves.
 This beast clocks in at 352 pages.
For gaming this is a great book because of its locations and there is a lot going on with the party of characters. We get some amazing ideas in this book for the mega dungeon ruins of New York city which are often featured in Deathlands and Outlanders sbooks. Some of the ideas here could be used in any post apocalyptic landscape and those are great ideas.
 The book delves deeper into the Deathlands/Outlanders universes and as such are a not so good starting point unless your into the series. Gaming wise there are metric ton of ideas between the covers if your willing to divorce yourself of the characters and make use of the concepts. 
Iceblood is about four out of five stars and is only .01 cent over at Amazon right HERE
You can find out a ton more information about the series right HERE
 And a great resource is Mark Ellis page right HERE

Wednesday, March 27, 2013

Free Post Apocalyptic Game Module -Ruins of Woebrook : Fane Of The Frost God

Its a very exciting time to be an OSR gamer and just this morning I got this great pdf from Justin over at a Field Guide To Doomsday!! Another one of his free modules and man this one is a hoot!
I can see running the hell out of this with some players over the weekend!
Using The Fane 

Woebrook is a perfect location for stocking up a spacecraft as well as your post apocalptyic gaming needs. This location has it all! Seriously this is going to challenge mutants and red shirts!
It features : 
16 mindblowing pages of pure mindblowingness!!!



And a brand new specie of beastie, never before seen!!!
 The maps are crisp and easy to read. The location is very deadly and well developed and there's further plot twists with a possible dungeon below the location for the DM to expand into.
Best of all its free!
Right over HERE
Nice job Justin  ***1/2 stars 

The Highwaymen - Into The Chasm Deeper And Deeper - Stars Without Number - Actual Play

 The crew are in for a rough ride as they dive into the deep end of the Chasm. There is nothing in this region of space (yeah right) and lots of wreckage. The Viking clans provided holo maps and lots of information about some of the monstrous life forms that inhabit the Black. 

The way that the Chasm works is like this: You have engage the spike drive get your bearings and then re engage again. To make a crossing the crew enters hyper sleep and then make the long jumps through hyper dimensional reality. Things can get really dicey there and the transition back to the local space time is very dangerous. 

Finally there is the possibility of deep Chasm raiders or pirates who use the expanse of Black as a sort of hideout to raid or short cut.
The next game or two is critical and you can bet that there is going to be a minor mega dungeon encounter.

A List of Resources For This Evening's Game 
Space Viking HERE
Spell Jammer and original monsters brought over to SWN 
The List of Lost Space Cargoes  pdf from Exonaughts blog  right over

Tuesday, March 26, 2013

Observer Guardian Matrices For Your Old School Space Opera


Observer Guardian Matrices
Armor Class: 5 (15) 
Hit Dice 4+1
Attacks: Tendrils and Claw 1d6+3 
Special: Immune To Mind Control Effects 
Move: 9 
HDE/X: 4/120


These small 2 foot tall statues are actually small bio stasis statues of alien monsters created through super science. They have advanced optics and sensors built right into their macro eye sockets and spring to life at a moment's notice.
Observer Guardian Matrices animate as 9 foot tall hulks of destruction and lash their prey with 
Tendrils and Claw 1d6+3 and cause untold havoc.
These monsters can follow simple orders, guard areas for two hundred or more years and are actually advanced bio mechanisms rather then organic life forms.
The secret to their creation has out lasted their alien creators however and for over 30,000 years these monsters have been used as vicious weapons of assassination and destruction.

A combination of super science, psionics, and sorcery is used to draw the life force that animates these creations. The summoner opens a micro dimensional portal into the Outer Darkness and draws the souless energy into the prepared form.
The form costs over 6,000 credits to make by a skilled robotics expert. The thing animates and a Wisdom roll must be made to successfully cause the mechanism to go into stasis. Should this roll fail. Roll below on 
1d6 Table 
Observer Guardian Matrix Disaster Table 

  1. The monster is out of control and must be put down. Start again oh vile villain! 
  2. The monster pretends to follow your orders but is actually plotting your murder in 1d6 days. 
  3. The thing lashes out at you with  Tendrils and Claw 1d6+3 per round. 
  4. You have summoned the spirit of an elder scorcerer of level 6 or greater. It will now attack with all the spells at its command! 
  5. It calmly regards you with cold inhuman eyes and wishes to make an "arrangement" of murder and mayhem. 
  6. The thing will follow most of your orders grudgingly but with an eye toward murdering you in your sleep. 

Monday, March 25, 2013

The Many Bloodlines of "The Bat" Movies Over At The Dark Corner Blog

 Need a vile villain for your Old School Horror game? Mysterious killer who strikes from the shadows, eludes police, sends the ladies racing, and has numerous crimes to his name?
From ages past comes the dire legacy of "The Bat" over at the Dark Corner Blog!
Check it out right over

Free Space Age Sorcery PDF For Your Retroclone or Old School Space Opera & Beyond!

 Do you need some punch to your pulpastic space opera?
A unique take on your vile villain's Lovecratian leanings?
Are your post apocalyptic wizards all the same?
 Do you need something for Eldritch Cyberpunk console cowboys and their wizardly masters?
Look no further!
 Space Age Sorcery is your answer! 100 unique spells written by Garrison James,myself, Porky, and many others are waiting for you! In all their vile goodness dripping right down the page just for you!

  1. The FREE pdf contains:
  1. More than 100 strange new spells suitable for use with most Old School RPGs
  2. Magic User & Cleric Spell Lists
  3. A table for Optional Dire Consequences
  4. 1d6 Spell-Based Scenario Seeds
  5. 1d6 Magic Items
  6. 1d6 Encounters

 Best of all its free!
You can download it
Right HERE
These are perfect for all major retroclones as well as Swords & Wizardry.
Download them before your Dungeon Master or your players do! 
The only caveat that I ask is please give some feed back or comments!
Thanks for your continued support!

Don't forget to check out more space madness over at Heretic Works Blog

Sunday, March 24, 2013

In The Year 2889 1967 movie For Your Old School Space Opera And Post Apocalpytic Games

 In The Year 2889 is another one of those public domain trashtastic movies that I love to pick on. This one is not your typical "After The Bomb" movie. I saw this film while I was living in Boston in a worn out VHS machine and believe me it shows.
 Here's The Full Movie 
The Wiki Over of The Plot :
In the Year 2889 is a 1967 apocalyptic science fiction television film about the aftermath of a futuristic nuclear war directed and produced by low-budget cult film auteur Larry Buchanan. The film was commissioned by American International as a colour remake of Roger Corman's Day the World Ended (1955) intended to be shown on television.[1]
In the film, a nuclear war has wiped out almost all of Earth's citizens. It is set in the year 1977; not 2889. The movie follows a group of survivors in a Dallas mansion threatened both by rising radiation levels, a ruthless tough guy and cannibalistic mutants.
The title is the same as that of an 1889 story by Jules Verne and Michel Verne.
Using  In the Year 2889 For Your OSR Gaming 

It wouldn't seem like there's much here to use. Actually there is if we take the movie and twist it around a bit. 

 Lets take a quick look at the plot of "The Day The World Ended" upon which this movie is based. 
The film starts later in the day, following an all-out atomic war, which has apparently destroyed most (if not all) human civilization, and has left the Earth contaminated with radioactive fallout. The apparent single exception being a box canyon, surrounding by lead-bearing cliffs, in which former Navy Commander Jim Maddison, lives with his daughter, Louise, in a home stocked with supplies and located in the canyon, against just such a holocaust. Into this natural bomb shelter come stumbling several survivors, who just by happenstance were inside the canyon when the war occurred. After initially refusing to admit the others, Jim relents when his daughter pleads with him and appeals to his humanity. 

Among the survivors are a geologist, Rick - who just by coincidence happens to specialize in uranium mining - (Richard Denning), and a small-time hood, Tony (Mike Connors - billed in the film as "Touch" Connors), and his "moll" Ruby, on their way to San Francisco.

Right off the bat we've got two ready made plot elements for any party. A well stocked base with plenty of equipment and a perfect venue for adding in a party of PC's into this mix. 

The Day The World Ended presents a monster from beyond the stars  that has already be extensively covered for Mutant Future at A Field Guide To Doomsday Spawn of Devastation Drive In Free PDF book. 

The real danger to any PC's if the characters in the movie are used is Tony whose got all the makings of a minor criminal warlord  or petty tyrant. Yeah, he's exactly the type of villain who'd be the head of thirty mutant first level fighters and have his own little spread in a post apocalyptic world. 

Options For Space Opera And More 

  1. The 2889 might need to have its technology level vastly improved to live up to the standard of the "Shadow Years" of  Metamorphisis Alpha's time line thus enabling a game about what's happening back home! 
  2. Turn the movie's technology level down and add antique firearms plus space craft for that instant "Fire Fly" style location and feel 
  3. Shatter the dimensional barrier for another pocket dimensional location ala Empire of the Petal Throne or Torg. 
  4. Alternative Time Track or Add craft from Star Ships And Space Men for a location to escape from. 
In The Year 2889 Random Encounter Table 
  1. Cannibalistic Mutants 1d20 1st level fighters and regenerate as trolls.
  2.  Panicked Survivors looking for refuge and comfort. 
  3. Atomic Zombies  Horde 1d8  3 hit points each AC8 Bite or Claw 1d4 
  4. Mutated Survivors friendly and in need of help. 
  5. Mutant animal encounter - Mutant Coyote pack 1d10 3 hit dice each AC 7 Dam 1d8 
  6. More Panicked Survivors 1d4 Dazed and confused. 
  7. Another Cannibalistic mutant pack 
  8. Pack of survivors and explorers looking for other survivors. 2nd level fighters armed with firearms. 40% of chaotic type among them whose a 3rd level fighter. 
  9. Wild Rats of unusual size pack  1d20 4 hit dice each AC8 Dam 1d4 from bite or claw 
  10. Another Cannibalistic mutant pack of 1d20 plus ten #

Saturday, March 23, 2013

The Santurni - The Menace From Before Time For Your Old School Space Opera

File:Macro detail of hand-blown bowl from The World of Glass.jpg

Born in the fires beyond time itself, the Santurni are "beings" beyond gods and the creation itself. They are some of the first perfected ordered consciousnesses to come into existence at the beginning of the sixth cycle of existence.
 Their "empire" stretched millions of light years across and the energy beings they ruled were nothing more then temporary tools to them.  Consciousness was only a play thing to them . A temporary thing to be used and discarded at will as their existence crosses twelve planes or more.
They constructed temporary molecular "E" artifacts to act as an anchor within our universe. The Santurni were not evil at all but incredibly alien to our time and space continuum. They wished stability and order, and with their super science arts they thought they knew best. They twisted all to their will, their ways, and their orders.
These beings dared to challenge the multi dimensional existence of the Lords of Stability.
The Lords saw and enacted a punishment after some of the greatest planar wars the multi -creation has seen.
The Santurni became locked within the molecular perfection of their own anchors for eternity. They have become nothing more then planar twelve dimensional ghosts forced to watch as the universe rolls by.
But not always. Sometimes adventurers find their artifacts and anchors. And some times they escape to wreck havoc and alien vengeance upon our universe. 

Appearance and Biology
File:Macro detail of hand-blown bowl from The World of Glass.jpg
These beings appear to glowing globes of mono dimensional energy encased within a multi planar globe of existence. These twelve foot diameter floating globes of energy move by telekinesis  within our universe and their very being hurts the eyes of both human and near human species. 
There is a wrongness about them. Long after they depart they leave a psychic impress of themselves within the local space time continuum.
They are beyond such petty concerns such as biology and life as we know it. Yet their super science understands our biology even as it is temporary all too well.


 The Santurni whose empire lasted 20 billion years. The wars with the Lords of Stability gutted great swaths of the planes. All that remains is 

the  very beings themselves layered in molecular ordered perfection.  There is a 1d20 chance that each time the user accesses the memories of the Santurni they will be possessed by these ancient malevolent beings 
Great swaths of empty planar spaces often mark the battle grounds of these beings where dimensional winds howl. Sometimes the violence of these battles still echoes around. Any being caught within these areas must make a save or be cut for 1d4 points of damage as the violent memories themselves do harm. 
 Often times these areas are marked with the giant alien pictogram art and language of the Santurni for which wizards, psychics, and madmen make the journey to gain the knowledge of multidimensional tyrants.

Can such a word be applied to beings whose very motives themselves are alien an unfathomable?  Beings who have left entire worlds turned inside out? They're imprisonment has made them mad and insane. There are few of these beings who maintain any semblance however alien to our consciousness.
Beings willing to teach others the most forbidden of the spells of order? The very keys of creation and beyond. Those who hold the artifacts of the Santurni often gain 1d4 levels of magic or super science arts.These are temporary things at best. They fade after 1d6 months. The arts of order are often malevolent and the students lose 3 points of wisdom after the twisted knowledge fades. 
Should the Santurni take over or possess a being. The creature is seething psychic battery of madness, insanity and terror.

 Santurni Specter 
Armor Class: 2(17)
Hit Dice: 7 
Attacks: Planar Disruption (1d6 + psychic drain) 
Special: Drains all psychic points or wisdom & intelligence 
Move: 15 
HDE/XP :9/1100
They are technolgy level four or five and have been know to construct artifacts from the most mundane or everyday items in their twisted quest for order.
Clerics can rebuke or turn these things as specters or liches.
Only the most advanced and costly magics or super science medical techniques will heal their wounds. It may take months to recover from their attacks if ever. They should never be taken lightly. 

The Santurni are the hidden danger waiting to be unleashed. They are master psychics and dangers to any crossing their paths. Those who deal in their artifacts or relics are often the most twisted examples of their species. But they have the most marvelously ordered minds. They often run very successful businesses and temples. The alien mind controlling each and every little facet of these poor soul's existence just waiting to batter the world around them.

Friday, March 22, 2013

The Best "Lost World" You've Never Heard of Cryptozoica By Mark Ellis

I love "Lost Worlds", Inner Earth Tales, Edgar Rice Burroughs,Conan Doyle, and every cheesy late night Sci Fi movie that comes on at 1:00 am. Enter into my life another Mark Ellis creation. 

There is a huge amount to take in with this book Ellis does an excellent job of weaving through the ideas of a "lost world " hidden from the view of man by a history weaving conspiracy only to be unraveled by modern adventurers. 

Cryptozoica Trailer 

Cryptozoica book trailer from Melissa Martin-Ellis on Vimeo.
 The Plot according to Amazon 

Lost World - Lost Souls Deep in the jungled hell of Big Tamtung, a forgotten island in the South China Seas, a miraculous ancient substance is found that will unlock the secrets of life on Earth-- Prima Materia, a fabled material that has been whispered about since Biblical times. Two centuries before, Charles Darwin discovered the last pool of Prima Materia on Big Tamtung but his discovery was suppressed by The School of Night, a secret society of scholars founded by Sir Walter Raleigh. Now, when a small group of scientists and fortune hunters explore the jungles of Big Tamtung, they must endure frightening tests of their ingenuity and courage, as they struggle against ancient terrors--a lost world of dinosaurs and a miracle older than time. With a non-human language spoken by Biblical patriarchs and coded secrets scribbled in the suppressed log of Darwin as their only clues, "Tombstone" Jack Kavanaugh and his partner, Augustus Crowe, discover secrets linking Prima Materia to the hidden history of humanity. Kavanaugh and Crowe lead a pair of cynical scientists and the notorious Madame Bai Suzhen through the seething cauldron of a bizarre ecosystem--the remnant of an Earth that was and might be again. Pursued by a crew of bloodthirsty Triad assassins and frighteningly intelligent monsters spawned by a twisted evolution, Kavanaugh and Crowe are no longer interested in seeking a fortune, but merely in staying alive. Deep in the broiling jungle, amid ruins half as old as time, they plunge into the heart of humanity's greatest mystery--and to a violent confrontation with a misshapen madman who lusts after a miracle but will settle for murder. Lavishly illustrated by Jeff Slemons.
Cryptozoica isn't a perfect book by any means but its great entertainment in the pulp tradition. The book moves at a great pace and switches through its scenes quickly and effeciently with some lag in between the middle of the book and the final chapters.
On the whole its a rollercoaster ride of 40 miles of bad ass adventure road with dinosaurs ready to eat the entire group of adventurers. I was amused, entertained, and it sustained my interest for 3.00 and a download.
The world is really the key here. Ellis knows how to detail a good solid background and pick the pace while giving you bang for your buck. 

Part II of the series. According to Mr.Ellis Facebook page, there's a part II coming out and I've got the images and post exclusively! 
Photo: Not all THAT long ago, the awesomely talented Jeff Slemons and I planned to collaborate on a sequel to Sir Arthur Conan Doyle's THE LOST a graphic novel.

But I think the premise will work best as an illustrated novel, like CRYPTOZOICA.

A second expedition to the Lost World was hinted at on the last page of the original novel. On the even of World War I, Lord John Roxton, Edward Malone and Professor Challenger returned to the plateau in the Amazon--Professor ENID Challenger, that is...who goes native.

My concept is that there was a whole lot more to the Lost World than just cyborg Mahars, up from Pellucidar.

Jeff gives an idea of what's up there on plateau in this great illustration. He and the Lost World go together like he and CRYPTOZOICA go together.

But I think the premise will work best as an illustrated novel, like CRYPTOZOICA.

A second expedition to the Lost World was hinted at on the last page of the original novel. On the even of World War I, Lord John Roxton, Edward Malone and Professor Challenger returned to the plateau in the Amazon--Professor ENID Challenger, that is...who goes native.

My concept is that there was a whole lot more to the Lost World than just cyborg Mahars, up from Pellucidar.

Jeff gives an idea of what's up there on plateau in this great illustration. He and the Lost World go together like he and CRYPTOZOICA go together.

Using CRYPTOZOICA as an OSR game setting

The book is quick, the background crisp and interesting. The action is very fast  and there's a lot here to mine. All a DM really has to do is grab his favorite old school system add in the dinosaurs he wants and let the party rip. The book has an Isle of Dread vibe going on in the background. 
I haven't gamed this location or the characters in the book. So this is all going to be a thought exercise really. 
The Island and its secrets are big almost a bit too big for the inexperienced group of PC's who will soon find themselves in over their heads. 
The characters in the book might make excellent NPC's for the party as a series of flashbacks and there are a number of hooks that allow a DM to cleverly weave the Big Plot of the book into several campaigns worth of material here.
The book's world is very pulptastic or men's adventure style over the top action. The book's world would be right at home in a modern pulp game.
The art is very inspiring for a game.
There is a metric ton of support on line for the setting of 
CRYPTOZOICAThe truth is that the setting might be a bit too big. A Dm could set a game from any age in human history. Imagine a group of Arabian sailors ala Jason and crew coming across the horrors of the island and its environs. 
Knights Templar or even a group of AD&D adventurers. The possibilities are endless
 The book 's setting is somewhat lethal though for an inexperienced party and this place might simply be a total party kill. 
 The setting demands different things from different retro clones,OD&D, or Advanced Dungeons and Dragons first edition. Some of the early issues of Dragon magazine had some amazing articles on using dinosaurs and jungle encounters.
Labyrinth Lord and the Advanced Companion both have stats for dinosaurs. Swords and Wizardry also has in the monster books stats for the styles of dinosaurs used. 
Osric is perhaps one of the best having the all the stats you need to run with this style of game. 
The novel can be gotten right over HERE
 The novel's web page is right over HERE and has a metric ton of support for the books and you can even read a chapter or two on line to get a feel for this book.
Mark Ellis is also available on Facebook right HERE

The Highway Men - Stars Without Number Game- Martian Rendezvous


Last night's Stars Without Number game was full of political intrigue as one of the players acted as counsel as representative to a race of alien space serpents. The Ice walker clan of space vikings weren't amused and secretly there were several manipulations behind the scenes. 

  Another PC stood in the background as bodyguard and the whole affair lasted no more then twenty minutes real time.
 The characters prepared their ship and left the station having made stores, upgraded equipment, and new fittings on their ship.
 They left the station after a hardy goodbye with their Space Viking allied clan brothers.
Then it was a race to the first beacon marking the point of no return from the Talon sector.
The first jump into hyper dimensional reality went smoothly. The beacon sounded as per normal with little problem.
They started coming up on the second beacon and it was like a scene from "Dis Boat". The lights seemed to dim in the room and the crew's computer jockey/console cowboy/scientist started rolling intently for scans of anything unusual.
Once nothing,twice nothing, and then three times another scan in every direction with the PC jacked in.
Absolutely nothing to report on any of his scans. 

The PC's made the next jump into the next level of hyper reality.
The next beacon came up with little issue.
 The process was repeated when they came upon the third and final beacon marking the point of no return.
That's when the alien drone proboid showed up. Armed with a cluster of sensors, weapons and a mini spike drive. The bastard started to follow them.
The crew launched one of its own drones and the battle began. The console cowboy used a quick secession of moves to engage the drone in an electronics counter measure dance.
The dance was successful and the crew ran a trace. They were expecting space vikings but alas it was not!
The design was Martian in origin! Apex Medicial had been cloning a combination of First Born and Green Martians into a miasma of abomination warriors that the characters had encountered before.
File:Mars 2.png
One of the clans of the Martian Alliance had bumped heads with the PC's months ago and sworn revenge. Grasp of the race on galactic affairs seemed to have cooled off in the last couple of months but there were rumors of them having holdings within the Chasm.
Hidden bases, deep mining operations on dead alien stars, and other weird doings out in the middle of the black.
You can read about the Martian Alliance right over HERE

The PC's exaimed the drone and its wreckage before consigning it to the depths of space Asap. Countermeasures are already being made as the ship's engineer and computer hack are working together on a number of fiendish devices. These are to deal with any Martian Alliance issues that might crop up!
The ship made the final hope into the higher realms of hyper dimensional reality!
There is still the Ice Walker Space Viking clan's claim on battle field and what destroyed those battle pyramids!
Well you can expect a mini space dungeon adventure even before the crew gets to the site! 

Thursday, March 21, 2013

The Highway Men - Stars Without Number Game - Enter The Space Vikings

Enter The Space Vikings
"These are homemade barbarians. Workers and peasants who revolted to seize and divide the wealth and then found they'd smashed the means of production and killed off all the technical brains. Survivors on planets hit during the Interstellar Wars . . . who lost the machinery of civilization. Followers of political leaders on local-dictatorship planets. Companies of mercenaries thrown out of employment and living by pillage. Religious fanatics following self-anointed prophets."
H.Beam Piper 

The PC's are about to walk into the middle of some of the toughest and strangest hombres to cross the planetary divide especially in the Chasm. The Space Viking Clans have come and the characters are right in the middle of a claim of salvage between two clans. 
One of the PC's is acting as lawyer for rights over an alien battle scene. 

I don't have a lot of time to model these guys out and so I'm turning to an article written by a friend and mentor when it comes to fleshing these guys out.
You can find a rough outline right HERE
I'm drawing these clans from the 1958 movie the Vikings and Robert E. Howard seen though the lens of Piper.

This is a very brief outline of a lean and very hungry faction of 
"Space Vikings" at there most dangerous. 

Space Vikings Faction 

Attributes Forces 3 Cunning 6 Wealth 1 
Hit points 15 
Assets - Space Marines/Forces 4, Seditionists/Cunning 4, 
Tags: Savage
Please note that this is the barest of outlines for a faction and I'll be filling in more as time goes on. 

Star Trek Into Darkness - International Trailer (HD)

 Well now this is interesting we've got the basic plot outline and lots of action. There's more devergence from the original timeline as events start to take shape. Does this look gamable as a setting? 
Perhaps but I'm reminded of the DM's movie goer's golden rule, " If they can do it then my players and I can do it!" which is proceeded by the fold, spindle, and mutilate rule. 
This could be played with any number of Star Trek retroclones out there. The fact is that WizBros are coming out with a tactical collectible game according to my sources. So there will be plenty of Star Trek bang on the market. 
In my campaigns a variation of the Star Trek universe is old news and ancient history. The ships are still plying the space ways and the designs are tried and true. But the Spike drive with its multi dimensional aspects has made things very dangerous with hyperspace taking a much greater center stage.
 Will I see this? Definitely but will it have an impact on my campaigns and the Talon systems?
Not likely at all. 

Wednesday, March 20, 2013

Auction being held by Kobold Press for the Ernie Gygax Fire Relief Fund

Auction being held by Kobold Press for the Ernie Gygax Fire Relief Fund
 From the pages of Gygax Magazine : 
In case you haven’t heard, Ernie Gygax recently had a disastrous house fire and lost pretty much all his possessions. All people and pets got out OK.
Although we’re friends on Facebook, I’ve never met Ernie in person. But that doesn’t matter. Ernie is a member of our community. Let’s use this project to help him out.
I’ll stick to the plan and document a build for the mace the kobolds selected. (The mace pictured here is what a flanged mace looks like in general; it is not the final Real Steel mace.) The mace will then be raffled with the proceeds given to the fund that’s been established to help Ernie get back on his feet.
Chances are $10 a piece. Please send a PayPal gift to todd(at)toddblades(dot)com for however many chances you’d like with a note that says “For Ernie” in it. It’s important that you specify it’s a gift because PayPal will waive their usual fees and all the money will go to Ernie.
We’ll stop taking donations on April 3, 2013. I’ll make up a ticket for each $10 you donate (more is better :-) ), and I’ll get my son to draw the winner. Shipping this internationally will be next to impossible, so although anyone can give to this fund, I can ship the mace only to an address in the United States. If a non-US resident wins the first draw, I’ll send you a forged Mjolnir pendant from my current Kickstarter. Then we’ll draw tickets until we pull a winner that can receive the mace (in other words, the first person with a USA address). If a mace-eligible winner is pulled first, that person wins the mace, and THEN we’ll pull tickets until we get the first non-US winner, who will receive a Mjolnir pendant.
Let the giving begin! And thanks in advance for supporting a member of our gaming community!
If you have any questions about this, please post them in the comments area. We’d also appreciate it if you spread the word of this endeavor!
 More details right over HERE

DIY Grind House Torg Setting Take Three - The Dungeon Master On The Dark Corner Blog

Part of my imagination is still working in a dingy theater in Boston sometime in the late 80's or early 90's. Some weekends I sub in back alley video store where a fantastic selection of "B" horror movies and science fiction films plays. Of course this is my past and I'm back with another installment of  the DIY Grind House Torg Setting series. This time we pick on a film of Mr.Band. 

Mestema: "In a future reality I shall destroy you!" 

Paul: "I reject your reality and I substitute my own."

Grab you ticket and there's room down front. Don't forget to visit the snack bar! 
This time we take a look at the inter dimensional hi jinks of Mestema and company.
Right over

Tuesday, March 19, 2013

"The Spur" The Best "Post Apocalyptic Space Opera Western" Book You've Never Heard Of

According to Mark Ellis : In THE SPUR: LOKI'S ROCK, the most important piece of the Offworld Ops team's equipment is AMBLER, a modified armored personnel carrier. Powered by a six-hundred horsepower drive train, AMBLER is designed to withstand nuclear, biological and environmental threats--and there are plenty of those on the planet LOKI.

The Spur is the new 
"Post Apocalyptic Space Opera Western" that comes from the pen of Mark Ellis. Yes the same gentleman whose done the Outlanders series.  I already know quite a bit about this universe. You see back in the 80's I was regularly reading Space Hawk during the black and white comic book fad.  Death Hawk was a  space western and so was Star Rangers.

The Spur : Loki's Rock is ever so familiar to me. The plot reads just like something from a B movie space western that has never been made and that's a good thing.

The Plot according to Amazon: 

The colony world in the Orion Spur known as Loki wasn't so much lost as forgotten. In the 188 years since a world-wide catastrophe destroyed what passed for civilization there, Loki had become a savage wilderness of strange cultures, as well as being the sanctuary for every bizarre cult, mad sect and outlawed scientific discipline in the Sol 9 Commonwealth. 

Quentin Crockett, a Colonel in the department of OffWorld Operations leads a team of specialists to Loki to monitor, catalog, and if necessary, eliminate the myriad societies that sprang up in the wake of the global cataclysm. In their armored ACP Ambler, the team travels Loki, searching for the lost Terran Enclave, while fighting off not only wild beasts, and the wilder natives but also the ruthless schemes of a mastermind about whom they know practically nothing. 

In The Spur: Loki’s Rock, Crockett and his team contend with the bizarre native fauna, but also with resurrected Nazi supermen, flocks of flying piranha, and the denizens of the kill-crazy town of Loki’s Rock, led by the psychotic Django Bonner and his bloodthirsty hench-wench, Pagan. 

The OFFWORLD OPS crew, from Left to Right: DR. QUANAH PARKER, Comanche medic, DR. ALEXIS ELGIN-JONES, Scientific Intel Officer, COLONEL QUENTIN CROCKETT, Commander, MR. SYNE, a Transhuman and ZEDA, a Gypsy girl with a mysterious past.

Photo: In THE SPUR: LOKI'S ROCK, the Offworld Ops team contend not only with monstrosities like shreekwings (basically piranha with wings), but with DJANGO BONNER, leader of the kill-crazy town of Loki's Rock and a telepathic gunman.
The Offworld Ops team contend not only with monstrosities like shreekwings (basically piranha with wings), but with DJANGO BONNER, leader of the kill-crazy town of Loki's Rock and a telepathic gunman.

Its stuff like this that had me excited about the Spur 

Gaming in The Spur 

The fact is the "Spur" is perfect for those times when the "Firefly" setting has lost its luster and your players need something slightly different. Any of the Space Fantasy retroclones can easily deal with the setting. If you don't have access to one. Then either TSR's Boot Hill and Gamma World 1st edition. Or Mutant Future and Gamma World will allow you to access the Post Apocalyptic Interstellar Western goodness with little problem.
The characters in the book are drawn from a million western movies stranded through the collective unconsciousness of humanity. But this is a good thing. Its very easy to put together anything character wise in the tradition of Fire Fly or Gamma World  in this. Monsters are easily pulled from a wide variety of sources and DM's shouldn't be afraid to add what they'd like. Anything can be encountered in the Spur.
 The Spur is a very dangerous setting and reading the book makes the action seem almost non stop. Not bad for a three dollar Kindle book.
 This is only book in what I hope will be an on going series.
You can buy the book right 

There's even a facebook group for the book right over HERE