Friday, January 31, 2014

Review and Commentary On The Free Download 'Usborne Book of the Future 1979' As Inspiration For Your Old School Science Fiction or Fantasy Campaign

Download It Right Over HERE

Many thanks to the Pointless Museum for this one! Way back when I was about nine years old I'd wander into book stores and marvel at some of the old school science fiction artwork. Much of that artwork was used in 'educational' material.
Basically it seemed like it was a great excuse to put a boat load of science fiction illustrations, diagrams, colour pictures together!  And predict kinda how the future was going to be from 2000 and way beyond!


'The Usborne Book of The Future' was one such book! This was one of those book's  that had a futuristic style that was not quite 'Space 1999', 'UFO', mysterious science fiction movie or television series of the  future  from 1970's look to it. The type of look that was kinda sort of going on in Star Wars but was all the rage around in science fiction illustration. It was also the look going on in so many Star Wars rip offs coming out of Italy, Japan, and many other countries. It wasn't a bad thing and helped to define and entire generation of science fiction. This book was great!

 This book was fantastic and I used the thing for illustrating what Gamma World looked like to players, OD&D science fiction mash ups, Traveler, etc. You name it and these were like 'crack' for players. These same illustrations appeared in countless science fact books in the 70's and 80's. Unknowingly the publishers actually kinda standardized what the future sort of was for countless grade school kids! 

Libaraies in New England states and schools always seemed to have one or two of these. They would be missing copies because kids would borrow them. Mostly it seemed on a permanent basis.

I used to borrow this book from time to time when I was starting a campaign from the library, school, or even friends. 

These same illustrations appeared in numerous publications and the look of Book of the Future found its way into old school gaming products (Iron Crown's Star Law series), the look of  certain television shows( The Highwayman from the 80's), cartoons( the vehicles in the MASK series come to mind), etc. 

From underwater cities to FTL travel this kid's book had it all! There were numerous illustrations, tech, idea, etc. While its all seemly dated now, its perfect for your retro seventies rpg campaigns!

It was so easy to pull this book out show the players exactly what design you were using that for a long time this was my Gamma World/Star Frontiers universe style!
What did the sub-trains look like from Gamma World?  Like this!

The illustrations are perfect for those wanting a retrofuture that doesn't exist for their retroclone science fiction game. Tech level three and beyond in Stars Without Number is right between these pages!

Thanks to U.K. based Usborne for making these books for kids and making my childhood awesome!

One of the numberous spin off series books that was spawned from the Book of the Future! 

Rumble In The Graveyard Of Robots Part II - A Post Apocalyptic Mars Adventure Actual Play For The Stars Without Numbers Rpg System Part III

Part I Right

The PC's have been investigating and raiding a whole city of ancient wonders and technology that lays in ruins at their feet in the Martian Underworld. There are long twisting and turning tunnels all around them. They've been intrigued and some what spooked by some of relics that they've come across. Half burnt up robot soldiers with high traces of radiation, half melted Martian ant grav cars, A.I. modules with the cores ripped out and multiple robotic skeleton war bots all with their power cores fried as if by a weird magnetic pulse.

In last night's game they've been investigating at least three separate tunnels with some of their light weight mecha. The Martian tribe of scavengers has been hanging around them. Partially to protect them, and partially to make sure that they don't miss any really rare or expensive rusty gold relic technology.
Everything was going well with the party picking up some pretty good stuff from the random list of items below.
1d10 Random Martian Relics Table 
  1. Half melted Barsoomian Eight Ray Grav Car. The rotor system is fried, the controls are mostly mechanical, the system is all their but she needs a ton of work. Considered to be a classic though. Slight traces of radiation. 
  2. A jeweled skull of a Green Martian, the thing pulses in time to your heartbeat with weird energies and seems to have an air of sorcery and menace. 
  3. A complete robotic skeleton bot with most of its facilities in tact except the A.I. brain. Much of the material is corroded with high concentrations of carbon scoring and a slight radioactive glow to the thing. 
  4. A strange power source sphere, the thing glows, hovers, and spins like a magnetic. Its super dense and heavy weighing two hundred pounds but floats if set in air simply spinning in place. There is a slight static charge to the thing. 
  5. A small back pack nuclear device, deactivated with an on board A.I., these things have a wicked and evil intelligence to them and often set themselves off simply out of spite. They were created by the 'Company' over two hundred years ago and appear from time to time. 
  6. A long solid gold rod covered in high Martian runes, the thing acts as a rod of command to certain Martian life forms and tribes of humanoids. The runes for which ones have been struck off of the thing. 
  7. A demonic statue of a winged horror, the base of the three foot statue is covered in computer plug in ports. There is a large brown copper coloured stain covering much of this thing. There is an air of evil about it as well. A strange glow surrounds the thing about 20% of the time. It will cancel psychic powers used in its presence as well. 
  8. The skeleton of a Martian prince is found with all of his gold, jewels, bracelets, and weapons. The skeleton is radioactive and may animate depending upon time of night. Fights as a third level fighter and the remains have an agenda and unfinished business. 
  9. A statue of the Martian god Tur complete with prayers writ all over the base. The thing is pure Martian gold and silver with eyes of onyx and silver. The thing will act as a psychic focus and may show glimpses of the memories of previous owners. 
  10. A Martian short sword +2 that glows in the presence of the forces of the Great Old Ones. The sword has hieroglyphs dedicated to the Lords of Light on one side and the Lords of Order on the other. 
Everything was going fine until the PC's stumbled on to an active nuclear device used for mining and tunnel clearing. The thing was active and very unstable. They are now trying to disarm the thing.
That's when 30 robotic entities around them awakened!  

Thursday, January 30, 2014

1d10 Random Weird & Ancient Tombs and Contents Table For The Astonishing Swordsmen and Sorcerers of Hyperborea Rpg System On The Dark Corner Blog

File:Ancient Tomb with Obelisks Surrounded by Sepucral Urns LACMA AC1995.54.1.4.jpg

There are somethings better left undisturbed but what adventurer can resist the siren call of adventure or what lurks within the tomb?
Find out what lurks within
Right over
  • In relating the circumstances which have led to my confinement within this refuge for the demented, I am aware that my present position will create a natural doubt of the authenticity of my narrative. It is an unfortunate fact that the bulk of humanity is too limited in its mental vision to weigh with patience and intelligence those isolated phenomena, seen and felt only by a psychologically sensitive few, which lie outside its common experience. Men of broader intellect know that there is no sharp distinction betwixt the real and the unreal; that all things appear as they do only by virtue of the delicate individual physical and mental media through which we are made conscious of them; but the prosaic materialism of the majority condemns as madness the flashes of super-sight which penetrate the common veil of obvious empiricism.
    • "The Tomb" - Written Jun 1917; first published in The Vagrant, No. 14 (March 1922)

Sword and Planet Classic Free Download Leigh Brackett's 'Shadow Over Mars' For Your Old School Space Opera

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This one is a hell of a tale! A classic of the Sword and Planet genre with a real sword thrust into adventure by one of the first ladies of planetary romance.  The material is far more cynical and hard boiled then other later Mars stories she did. It is still a classic and very well done.


The Blurb: 
How would Rick fulfill the prophecy that linked his name with the destiny of a dying world? He was a man without a planet, and he owed allegiance to nothing — except his lust for power!"

According to wik there were a couple of reprints and incarnations of this novel : 

The novel was first published in the Fall 1944 issue of Startling Stories. Its first book publication came in 1951 with a paperback edition distributed by Sydney Pemberton but it is more widely known for its appearance as Ace Double F-123 with Robert Silverberg'sCollision Course. This edition was retitled The Nemesis from Terra

 Plot With Spoilers  once again according to Wiki : 

Like much of Brackett's work, the novel is set on Mars, where tension is building between rebellious Martians and humans in the thrall of the Company. At the beginning of the novel, the protagonist Rick Urquhart is attempting to evade the Company when he encounters a Martian, who makes a prophecy that he will ultimately rule the planet. He is forced to kill her in self-defense but the company soon catch up with him and send him to back to labor in the mines.
However, he is able to escape and meets Martian-rights activist Mayo McCall. He is captured by the Martians and made to atone for his murder but after a failed rebellion, Rick becomes their greatest hope for success and the stakes are raised when Company operative Jaffa Storm kidnaps Mayo. To discover his fate and rescue Mayo, Rick sets out to the Martian North Pole, home of the mysterious "Thinkers".
Using 'Shadow Of Mars' For Your Old School

Shadow of Mars is an interesting departure from Brackett's later Martian tales. The Company is an almost 'East India Style' corporation exploiting Mars and its resources. The tale makes an interesting distorted mirror of what Barsoom was in its dying period and what it might become under the thrall of the Earth.
Though it doesn't fit well with Brackett's other Martian tales it none the less makes interesting fodder for a campaign set upon Mars during the heady days of the stories events. Adventurers could be playing right against the same backgrounds of the story and still manage to shine in their own way.
For my own post apocalyptic Mars 'The Company' and its remains have be deviled PC's a number of times. A constant thorn to be dealt with as the East India company was. 
I think that this tale takes place in an alternative version of Brackett's solar system. This tale doesn't quite fit in with her other tales but it none the less could be set within another version of those worlds. Details of Leigh Brackett's Solar System Right
All in all I think that Shadow Over Mars is a decent jump off point for a campaign and an interesting read. Her later tales would establish the writer's voice far more but this is a decent place to star into Ms. Brackett's science fictional pulptastic universe. 

Wednesday, January 29, 2014

Atlantian Royal Harpies A New Monster For The Astonishing Swordsmen And Sorcerers of Hyperborea Rpg System On The Dark Corner Blog

 Something ancient and repellant glides upon wings of horror!
Ancient myths come alive upon Hyperborea to wreck terrible vengeance upon your adventurers
Right Over 

Review & Commentary on Yanking The Clothes Off The Dead From Fishwife Games For Your Old School Post Apocalypse Campain

Available Right Over
Equipping PC's a in a Post Apocalypse Game is an issue especially in the middle of a ground zero situation. In that case you've got to pull whatever resources are around your PC's. Here's a great little list for just such occasions.
From The Drivethrurpg blurb: 
Yanking The Clothes Off The Dead
The post apocalyptic characters have just finished off a rival gang of nomads and its time to search the bodies for loot. In addition to gear, what about the very garments that these fallen foes are wearing? While many items may be ruined or too tattered to bother with, there’s a good chance that some of the things that the rivals are wearing might be worth keeping. This product features two 100 charts– one for mens’ garment selections and one for the ladies.

Much of the material is perfect for both Gamma World where recovering anything of the ancients might have value to the right mutant species (the clothes eating mutant lion hybrids any one) to dealing with new stock for your mutant waste land traders. 
 This is a pretty nice deal for a dollar and goes into a bit of detail but it's kinda of a blank slate in some areas. 
Part of a recent problem I got into was, 'what were the zombies wearing' issue and this list is perfect for just those sorts of occasions.
Remember though this list doesn't say who was wearing those clothes and also disease is also an issue. Beware of zombies, undead, and the hordes of undead mutants as well!


Tuesday, January 28, 2014

1d10 Random Eldritch Statues Table For The Astonishing Swordsmen and Sorcerers of Hyperborea System

File:Ancient statues dating back to 9th century and even earlier....JPG
Do not sleep in the shadow of the ancient statue!
Find out why right over

Review And Commentary On The Free Old School Science Fiction Download Marooned On Mars By Lester Rey For Your Old School Space Opera Campaign

Download Right Over
Part of The Winston Science Fiction series Marooned on Mars is a quick, easy, and solid read. Readily available in the public domain this one makes a great introduction to the Red Planet.
According to wiki: 
Marooned on Mars is a 1952 juvenile science fiction novel by Lester Del Rey. Illustrations in the first edition are by Alex Schomburg. It was originally commissioned as one of the first five volumes in the Winston Science Fiction series published by the John C. Winston company.
Much of the material here is solid old school science fiction Sol system action.
The plot could have been something right out of Captain Video from the 50's and the plot has a great retro future feel to it. 
Chuck Svenson, a seventeen-year-old living on the Moon, is chosen to be one of six crew members of the first spaceship to travel to Mars. His juvenile status keeps him from being allowed to take the position, once his age is discovered. He boards as a stowaway, and is accepted by the other crew upon discovery. The Mars landing is a disaster, damaging the ship. While attempting to repair the ship, the crew encounter aliens, who abduct Chuck without harming him. The crew learns that the aliens are friendly, and want the crew to be able to return to the Moon.

 Using Marooned On Mars For Your Old School
Space Opera Campaigns.

 I've been looking at Marooned On Mars for the last couple of days and this book makes a great zero level adventure for a game like X plorers or even Star Frontiers with its retrofuture look and feel. The science is very outmoded in some respects but it allows the DM to vary the contents with easy. 
When it comes to a game like Stars Without Number, Maroon offers an interesting opportunity. With a bit of work the DM could use this as a zero level adventure for the party and fill in a bit of back history for PC's. Further, the plot could be transported to a Mars like world where the plot elements could be used as a first contact point adventure. 
 The PC's could be used as fodder for a follow up expedition to find out details on the crew of 
Chuck Svenson's space craft. The first contact details and follow up could unlock further mission details as the DM desires.

Much of the mission details of Marooned, are bits and pieces that I've used in my own Post Apocalyptic Mars campaign several times now. Dropping hints and clues to the various missions that have gone on since nineteen fifty two. 

The Del Rey Legacy and the Winston Science Fiction Series 


To say that Del Rey was an interesting character in the annals of science fiction is an understatement.
According to wiki: 
Del Rey first started publishing stories in pulp magazines in the late 1930s, at the dawn of the so-called Golden Age of Science Fiction. He was associated with the most prestigious science fiction magazine of the era, Astounding Science Fiction, from the time its editor John W. Campbell published his first short story in the April 1938 issue: "The Faithful", already under the name Lester del Rey. By the end of 1939 he had also placed stories in Weird Tales (edited by Farnsworth Wright) and Unknown (Campbell),[2] which featured more horror and more fantasy respectively. In the 1950s, del Rey was one of the main authors writing science fiction for adolescents (along with Robert A. Heinlein and Andre Norton). During this time some of his fiction was published under the name "Erik van Lhin"
Much of the influence of Del Rey was felt though out the Seventies and you couldn't walk into a book store without stumbling into at least twenty to thirty titles with the imprint. Once again Wiki : 
Del Rey was most successful editing with his fourth wife, Judy-Lynn del Rey, at Ballantine Books (as a Random House property, post-Ballantine) where they established the fantasy and science fiction imprint Del Rey Books in 1977.[8] After science fiction gained respectability and began to be taught in classrooms, del Rey stated that academics interested in the genre should "get out of my Ghetto."[9][10] Del Rey stated that "to develop science fiction had to remove itself from the usual critics who viewed it from the perspective of [the] mainstream, and who judged its worth largely on its mainstream values. As part of that mainstream, it would never have had the freedom to make the choices it did – many of them quite possibly wrong, but necessary for its development."[11] For a number of years in the 1970s, Del Rey, himself, helmed the review column for Analog Science Fiction and Fact entitled The Reference Library.
Del Rey was a member of an all-male literary banqueting club, the Trap Door Spiders, which served as the basis of Isaac Asimov's fictional group of mystery solvers, the Black Widowers. Del Rey was the model for "Emmanuel Rubin"

Review And On Commentary On The FREE OSR PDF: Underworld Lore #3 (Hyborian Special) By Gorgon Milk and Co.For Your Old School Sword and Sorcery Campaign On The Dark Corner Blog

Grab your Atlantian Sword, don thy armor, and prepare for battle in an age undreamed of by sages of long ago!
The third issue of Underworld Lore #3 is here for free download and we're taking a look at it! 

Right Over

Monday, January 27, 2014

'Eldritch Empires' From Roebeast's Magical House of Sun Shine Blog - Lovecraftian '15 MM Mini Madness' Over On The Dark Corner

 I stumbled upon a great new blog today and its creator's Lovecraftian 15 MM
Right Over

Five Old School Space Movie Themes As Inspiration For Your Old School Space Operas

A bit of star faring music from the 1970's to make your Monday a bit better and get those creative vibes going! 

Review and Commentary On "I, Frankenstein" For Your Post Apocalyptic Campaign

I Frankenstein Poster.jpg
Last night, I got dragged out to the movies and dinner kicking as well as screaming to go see I Frankenstein.
This one is a rental folks. It was a good entertaining CGI train wreck of a movie.

 According to Wiki:

I, Frankenstein is a 2014 Australian-American fantasy action film written and directed byStuart Beattie, based on the graphic novel and original screenplay by Kevin Grevioux. It stars Aaron EckhartBill NighyYvonne StrahovskiMiranda Otto, Socratis Otto, Jai Courtney and Kevin Grevioux.

Let's start out by saying that this movie has absolutely nothing to do with the Mary Shelly  book, beloved Universal  films, or any other pop cultural icon that resembles Frankenstein.  This film is based on a comic book!
Thanks and now we can proceed. 
Here's the plot with giant spoilers ahead from Wiki ! 
In 1795, Dr. Victor Frankenstein (Aden Young) creates a monster (Aaron Eckhart), and then rejects it. In a fit of rage, the creature kills Frankenstein's wife, Elizabeth (Virginie Le Brun), and Victor chases it to the Arctic to get revenge, but succumbs to the weather. The being buries its creator and is then attacked by demons before being rescued by gargoyles Ophir and Keziah, who bring it before the gargoyle queen, Lenore (Miranda Otto), and their commander, Gideon (Jai Courtney). Lenore explains that they were created by the Archangel Michael to battle demons on Earth, and names the creature "Adam", inviting him to join them, but he declines and departs after being given gargoyle weapons that allow him to destroy demons.
Throughout the centuries, Adam fends off the demons that pursue him. During a modern-day confrontation at a nightclub, a policeman is killed. While Adam is summoned by the gargoyles once more, the demon Helek (Steve Mouzakis) reports that Adam is alive to his leader, demon-prince Naberius (Bill Nighy), who is disguised as billionaire businessman Charles Wessex, and his right-hand man, Dekar (Kevin Grevioux). Wessex has employed scientist Terra Wade (Yvonne Strahovski) to conduct experiments with reanimated corpses, and sends a group of demons led by his most formidable warrior, Zuriel, to attack the gargoyles' cathedral and capture Adam so he can unlock the secret to give life.
Before Lenore can punish Adam for the policeman's death, the cathedral is attacked, and Adam convinces Ophir to release him. In the ensuing battle, a number of gargoyles, including Ophir and Keziah, are slain, while Lenore is captured and brought to an abandoned theatre. Adam and Gideon head there, where Gideon exchanges Lenore for Frankenstein's diary with the secrets of the experiment. Adam follows Zuriel to the Wessex Institute, where he learns Wessex plans to have demons possess reanimated corpses that cannot be destroyed. He retrieves the diary and escapes, and later confronts Terra before they are attacked by Zuriel, whom Adam manages to kill.
Adam warns the remaining gargoyles of Wessex's plan, and Lenore sends Gideon to kill him and retrieve the diary. After a violent fight, Adam is forced to kill Gideon and then decides to burn Frankenstein's diary and destroy its secrets before the gargoyles come after him. Adam evades them, leading them to the Wessex Institute, where they join battle with Naberius's demons, killing Dekar early in the fight. While the battle progresses, Adam ventures into the Institute to rescue Terra, who had been kidnapped by Wessex, who takes the form of Naberius and activates the machine. As the gargoyles attempt to stop the reanimated demons, Adam battles Naberius and carves the symbol of the Gargoyle Order on him, banishing him to Hell alongside the other demons, and causing the entire building to collapse.
Recognizing Adam's bravery, Lenore rescues him and Terra and forgives Adam for Gideon's death. Adam retrieves his weapons and, after bidding farewell to Terra, departs to continue his immortal quest to rid the Earth of demons, embracing his role and his true name "Frankenstein"
Look not even the cast of Underworld could put this movie back together again. This film was an unholy amalgamation of  the themes of Underworld, Constantine, Abe Lincoln Vampire Hunter ( substitute Demons for Vampires) and a whole bunch of tropes from horror films. That's the lineage of this movie.
According to wiki :

Kevin Grevioux of Underworld sold the original screenplay to Lakeshore Entertainment in 2010.[3][4][5] It is based on his Darkstorm Studios graphic novel of the same name.
 So basically this is a rental, many of the themes are things we've seen in films, comic books, and other film productions before. 

Bottom Line this one is a rental! Enjoy it for a bit of mindless entertainment on a Saturday or Friday night. 

Using "I Frankenstein" For Your Old School Post Apocalypse 

The truth is that this film would make a great cheestastic Old School Post Apocalypse Campaign! I'm not going to lie here. All though out the film I kept thinking that the PC's could be other experiments from Victor Frankenstein who have awakened within the wasteland to a world that has gone to Hell.

The demons, gargoyles, etc are all available in AD&D and Labyrinth Lord From Goblinoid Games. Hell, I kept seeing Mutant Future in every dark twisting set piece in this film. Gargoyles, Flesh Golems, etc. its all there.
 I see the PC's waking up on the slab after hundreds of years and tracking down the Monster and heading into the wilderness of the wasteland. Heck if you didn't want to use 'I Frankenstein' ( personally I wouldn't). I'd use 'Jess James Meets Frankenstein's Daughter' and continue the work of Victor's latest descendant. Simply add in Orucs or some other demon lord's influence upon the plane!
Heck my fellow blogger Tim Snider did all of the hard work for the Mutant Future campaign right over 

HERE  with his Prometheoids. 
The campaign setting could serve as a bridge between a labyrinth Lord Gothic game and Mutant Future! 
With a party of the mad bastards you can really lay into the powers of the post apocalyptic world! 

Sunday, January 26, 2014

1d10 Random Items From Among The Ship Wreck Table For The Astonishing Swords Men And Sorcerers of Hyperborea Rpg System On The Dark Corner Blog

File:Wreck of the American Ship General Grant.jpg

Something dark and dangerous washes up on your shores!
Something evil comes in with the tide!
Find out what it is right over

Review And Commentary On The Free Old School Science Fiction Download Missing Men of Saturn (1953.Winston) by Phillip Latham For Your Old School Space Opera Campaign

Missing Men of Saturn 1st Edition Dust Jacket.jpg
 Download it Right Over
 According To Wiki:

The story concerns Dale Sutton's mission to the dreaded planet Saturn from which no one has ever returned.
 First during 1953, by astronomer and author Robert S. Richardson as (Philip Latham) with cover illustration by Alex Schomburg

This tale is one that I ran across back in grammar school back in the early Seventies in our school library. The cover featured a Wernher Von Braun style rocket ship on the planet Saturn by the great Alex Stromberg. It was a great tale to reference for a Star Frontiers campaign I had going back in the late 80's. I came  across the book at a tag sale for .25 cents.
This was another Winston series book that had a pretty strong tale coupled with known scientific facts about the planet Saturn of the time.
 Much of the material is perfect for a retro future campaign. Much of the material could be incorporated into a solar system heavy campaign. Both Star Frontiers and the T$R era Buck Rogers game would be perfect  from this sort of treatment that we find in  'Missing Men From Saturn'.
The plot according to Wiki : 

The story concerns Dale Sutton's mission to the dreaded planet Saturn from which no one has ever returned. Missing Men of Saturn is a part of the Winston Science Fiction set, a series of juvenile novels which have become famous for their influence on young science fiction readers and their exceptional cover illustrations by award winning artists.

This was a tight little novel, perfect for an outer world campaign actually. The author was an interesting writer in his own right. According To Wiki : Robert Shirley Richardson (April 22, 1902 – November 12, 1981)[1] was an American astronomer, born in Kokomo, Indiana. He also published science fiction using the pseudonym Philip Latham.IMDB had more about Mr. Richardson :
 He is known for his work on Captain Video and His Video Rangers (1949), The War of the Worlds (1953) and Conquest of Space (1955). He died in November 1981.

 Using The Missing Men of Saturn For Your OSR Campaign 

Missing Men of Saturn 1st Edition Dust Jacket.jpg

There are two possible ways of using the 'Missing Men of Saturn'. The first is to use the novel as a zero level adventure for a game such as X plorers where the crew are on an ill fated mission of exploration and in way, way, over their heads.
The second is as a follow up mission using a much larger crew to determine the fate of the first crew of Dale Sutton's mission. The other possible way of using this tale is take much of the planetary material ad hoc and use it as part of the basis for a campaign. Perhaps a mining or survey mission style adventure on one of Saturn's outer moons for a more modern approach such as we have in the Stars Without Numbers rpg. 
All in all this is a fun little novel to grab and play around with. This novel comes from a much more innocent time period and much of the material while dated can still make a great retro future campaign. 

Review And Commentary On Adapting The Free Download Footprints #05 From Dragon's Foot To The Astonishing Swordsmen and Sorcerers of Hyperborea Rpg System

Download It Right

Last night one of my players turned me on to this issue of Footprints from  the Dragon's Foot website.
This issue number #5 and its presents a wide range of articles, many of these articles seem to strike a cord with the sword and sorcery musings of Astonishing Swordsmen and Sorcerers of Hyperborea game.
The Lost Chalice Of Father Tomas (adventure) Change a few details and this adventure can easily be adapted into the AS&SH universe. The adventure works very well for a group of low level players. 
The Nystul and Lendore Isle Campaign (article)- This article is solid and makes a very cool little addition to a Hyperborean campaign with most of the details in tact. 
Suel Gods (article)- These gods make a perfect addition to the roast of lost or forgotten gods of the land! 
The Standard Bearer (fiction) - A nice little story with some work this might make a perfect jump off point for an AS&SH adventure. 
Vingotsky's Vile Vessel (spell)- This spell has lots of potential and in the right NPC hands might make a perfect TPK trap. Lots of potential with this one. 
The Sharp and Pointy Contest
Ghouloid (monster) - The fact is that this is really interesting take on the ghoul and a welcome addition. If we look into the Lovecraft story 'Pickman's Model' and 'The Dream Quest of Unknown Kadith' there are far more to the ghoul then meets the eye. 
Ghastoid (monster) - The Lovecraft story 'The Mound' introduces a whole other take on the Ghast. And this one is yet another take on it. These things could add to the AS&SH roaster of undead horrors another welcome addition. 
Ogham (article) - Ancient Keltic language that could easily be adapted into the background and flavor of the AS&SH universe. Not enough is being done with ancient languages to add just that extra push for OSR gaming.
File:Scharrachbergheim ├ęglise protestante 3.JPG

So your possibly asking yourselves why this is on the Sword and Stitchery blog. The answer is that much of the material in this issue can also be used for a variety of OSR adventure design.
The same material with very little effort could easily be used for an ancient astronaut adventure, the monsters as undead horrors from beyond space and time, and the Saul pantheon as powerful alien entities just waiting to be unleashed upon your campaigns. 

Saturday, January 25, 2014

Review And Commentary On The Free Old School Science Fiction Download - Rocket Jockey (1952.Winston) - Philip St. John For Your Old School Space Opera

Rocket Jockey 1st Edition Dust Jacket.jpg
 Grab it Right Over
Need a fast overview of a retro future nineteen fifties style tour of the solar system? Complete with a real settlers of the solar system vibe. This book was part of the Winston series of science fiction books for boys and girls back in the 50's. They make a great addition to a DM's arsenal of books that can be turned into instant adventures simply add water or monsters! The plot according to Wiki :

The story follows the heroic efforts of young man Jerry Blaine in his efforts to win the famous rocket race, the Armstrong Classic. Rocket Jockey is a part of the Winston Science Fiction set, a series of juvenile novels which have become famous for their influence on young science fiction readers and their exceptional cover illustrations by award winning artists.

Most often these novels are man vs man sorts of affairs of science fiction while sneaking in some science 'facts' about the planetary locations featured in the books.  Believe it or not these books are great for OSR games like X plorers or Stars Without Number when you don't have a lot of time for doing preparation for a campaign. 

Believe or not this one was by Lester Del Ray under the pen name of Philip St. John. It had a few reprints and its worth taking a look at. The story is pretty well done. The situations, ideas, and overview make a solid campaign.
 In depth Plot Overview(With Major Spoilers) according to Wiki : 
Jerry Blaine, a young man studying at the Space Institute, is kicked out just after his second year exams at the request of his brother, Dick, in order to help him get his ship, the Last Hope ready for the 18th Armstrong Classic. Jerry is initially bitter, but realizes that how he conducts himself in the classic will go a long way toward proving himself as a spaceman, and eventually being readmitted to the institute.
The Last Hope is a refitted asteroid mining ship using the Jerry and Dick's father's experimental fuel which is supposed to be a radical improvement upon existing technologies. Their parents were both killed in the first test of the fuel however, and it is only now, years later, that improvements in materials and engine design will allow the fuel to be tested again safely.
Just before liftoff, Dick is injured when fuel splashes in his face, temporarily blinding him. Jerry is forced to take control of the Last Hopewhile his brother is incapacitated below decks. The qualification run to the moon is begun, and Jerry is racing against 10 other ships from earth for the right to represent their home planet in the classic proper. Jerry manages to win, but only after he witnesses the first fatality of the classic; a fellow earth pilot pushes his engines too hard and his ship overheats and is destroyed.
After some political wrangling on the Moon that puts Jerry officially in charge of the Last Hope despite his brother's seeming recovery, they head out to touch on the 4 Galilean moons, Mars, and Venus. Heading for Mars first they make good time and land with high spirits.
The Martians are not happy to see them, however. There has always been a bitter rivalry between the two worlds, and Mars has a reputation for winning the classic at all costs and through any means, scrupulous or otherwise. When they try to refuel the Last Hopethey discover their shipment of fuel has somehow disappeared from the warehouse in which it was stored. A long drawn out search finally locates the missing fuel in a pile of garbage that was ready for destruction. Jerry, Dick, and Tod all believe that Mars was intentionally responsible for the delay of 18 hours searching for the fuel. They take off from Mars and head towards Jupiter.
Halfway however, Jerry discovers that Dick has not fully recovered from his injuries. He becomes sick and delirious, and they are forced to turn back to Mars to get Dick the medical care he needs. By the time the Last Hope leaves Mars for the second time, they are nearly 100 hours behind schedule, and their carefully planned course is now useless.
En route to Jupiter for the second time the Last Hope loses power due to a blockage of the rocket tube. Losing more time, they coast while making repairs. Unfortunately, they coast so far, they no longer have the distance necessary to decelerate to rendezvous with the Jovian moons. Jerry is forced into a nearly suicidal braking maneuver into the Jovian atmosphere known as the "Dead Man's Orbit". Despite Jerry's vague recollections, such a feat had never before been accomplished, and he receives admiration and applause upon arrival on Io.
After visiting the other 3 Jovian moons and experiencing an unfriendly reception on Ganymede, considered by many to be a puppet of Mars, the Last Hope set course back to the inner planets: Venus, Mercury, and Earth. While approaching the asteroid belt, they intercept a distress call, and come to the aid of what appears to be the Martian racers. After rendering assistance and parting ways, Jerry realizes his asteroid chart has been stolen. He must now navigate the belt by memory and luck.
After some close calls and an actual impact with a small pebble, the Last Hope makes it through the belt relatively unscathed. Because of the delay with the decoy Mars racer, they are no longer in a position to rendezvous with Venus. Mercury is now their best stop.

Once  Again Wiki: 
As a part of the Winston Science Fiction set, Rocket Jockey has helped lay the foundation for many young science fiction readers. The dust jacket was illustrated by Alex Schomburg, a prolific comic artist, and Hugo award nominee for Best Professional Artist in 1962.

 The plot concerns a desperate race against odds put against the backdrop of interstellar politics and spacecraft. The book is well written and a fast read. The ideas still ring well and the book isn't that well known at all today. So borrowing plot elements for old school campaigns is a breezy.  It  would also make a great campaign for the old Buck Rogers T$R era game or for Star Frontiers as well.

Rocket Jockey takes a realistic scientific look at rocketry and space navigation, utilizing technologies that were understood at the time of publication. It extrapolates the advancement in chemical rocketry to a point where constant 1-2g acceleration is possible, making travel through the solar system a matter of days rather than years.

All in all I was pretty happy to have stumbled upon this one while doing some research for an upcoming game!