Tuesday, March 10, 2015

Adventures In The Razor Trade Part II - The Magical Manslaughter Edition & More Judge's Guild Memories

I was back in Connecticut after my trip to the U.K., and it was 1990 something. My prospects were pretty good and things were looking up but game wise it was White Wolf's rise to the top of the heap. I joined in but there was still a part of Ct. where OD&D was king. Back then I learned very quickly that there were two types now frequenting Connecticut's hobby shops, those into collectible card games and Warhamster 40K ( the game was changing even back then as Old Hammer  will understand). players. Many parents were using the hobby shops here as baby sitting services. So times were changing, back then I used to drive between Ct. and Boston. I had a pretty good job but back then I did odd jobs to supplement my income. I got into the bibliophile trade and it was through that I found the second part of the OD&D scene in the Northwest Hills of Litchfield county here. 

Please forget anything you might have seen in the film The Nine Gates. The book trade is nothing like that & I've never met anyone like Johnny Depp in the trade. Instead I acquired some very cool and interesting friends and a mentor who taught me a thing or two about life,writing,movies, television and again the book trade. He and his husband lived in Torrington,Ct. He was a retired screen writer and one of the most interesting folks I've ever met. He wanted an assistant and so I filled in on some weekends. He taught me the book trade and I went to horror Cons to do some go between work for them. Got to meet the cast of the film Hellraiser once or twice, Clive Barker, met Forrest Ackerman, Elvira, Bruce Campbell and others. But some weekends I would go off to Manchester which had not one but three hobby shops. I had friends with whom I could crash and spend the whole weekend 'gaming'. Fridays were 'anime night' and I caught some of the classics back then. The place where this used to happened has long since closed. 


Back before the real strangle hold of the internet, Connecticut had a more thriving book trade, I had a pretty solid client list of folks who were looking for old books and the like. Of course like all things, Ebay came along and pretty solidly wiped out the book trade in Connecticut. But not before I found a very nice book collector who happened to be a veteran war gamer and had a very nice stable of  players. Did I mention the sand table? Yeah it looks something like this. No this is simply a picture of a very nice set up of a sand table found in a Google search. Harry's group of players happened to be right in my backyard in Litchfield county. 

But in addition to the sand table, Harry has been running a Grey Hawk campaign since the late 70's. He's a Vet and his sons are American veterans of the Gulf War, Iraq,etc. I got the man a couple of pieces and he asked me to run an old Judge's Guild adventure. Under The Storm Giant's Castle is a strange adventure and crawl and it went down very well. The plot goes something like this, A truly unique dungeon adventure set inside a magic cloud: a Storm Giant has built his stronghold on it, but his son was kidnapped by a worm-creature that vanished into the cloud, and the players are offered great rewards to rescue him. . Intelligent monsters are given names and certain characteristics, and devilish traps and innovations are scattered here and there: a tornado within the cloud that takes characters from level to level without injury, and eleven new "miscellaneous magic" artifacts.
Reading through it again was a pretty interesting experience.Its a very fun crawl and with the right group of players its  a real blast of an adventure.

I looked on Drivethru and Under The Storm Giant's Castle is still available right
And Now For The Hellish

Let me rewind this a bit and back up to the late 80's and the 'Satanic Panic' and Splatterpunk scene of the late Eighties.So frequently I've been asked why none of the Lamentations of Flame Princess material, Venger Satanis's adventures, or any of the other material of the other independent OSR publishers offends me? Well back in 1987, there was a comic book artist and writer team that came up with a comic book right in the middle of the psychotronic slasher horror film craze. Faust Love of the Damned is a blood splattered X rated hell ride that has something to offend everyone. I makes Spawn look like Sunday school and is sure to rile every do gooder around. And if your offended then you miss the point, Faust is a parody of everything that was wrong with late 80's and 90's comic books in spades. AND NO THIS ISN'T SAFE FOR WORK AND ADULTS ONLY. You can see more right over HERE 
So right in the middle of all of this blood letting and what not Mayfair produced the Demons Box sets I & II. Doesn't she look familiar? And yes frequently the comics inspired some very twisted and interesting games of  OD&D and AD&D  first edition. Needless to say that not only didn't anyone die in real life but a few lives were saved actually. More often then not some friends over the years have gotten the help that they needed. 
At its core D&D is a game about heroes and your party is playing them. That sometimes means that there is a great deal of darkness surrounding them. Your PC's have to rise to the occasion and sometimes they're changed by it for better or worse. But in the end its only a game. You put the pieces of paper down, the dice back, and go one with normal life. And if your very lucky you get to get together with friends for another game session next week or month. None of it is real as long as the situations and what not are kept within the bounds of a game. That's all it ever is, a comic book, piece of artwork, game,etc. None of it is real. Real life is about as real as it gets.
For me the material doesn't offend me at all. Real life offers more then enough horrors beyond the bounds of any game that makes anything I've seen in a game material  pale by comparison. Splatterpunk, horror movies, Hellraiser, etc. including this material have opened my eyes up to the real world horrors that inspired the material. But its also given me a much greater understanding of the motives and ideals of the creators of it as well. And more then mere tolerance or  latitude for the people that play the games but friend as well as family that are still a part of my life. For that we'll get to part three soon.
Note- I've mixed up a ton of details here between the Eighties,Nineties, and beyond to protect the privacy of friends and family. Its called authors prerogative and I'm taking full advantage of it. All material remains the trade mark and copyright of the holders. No violation is meant here. This blog entry is for entertainment and educational purposes only. If the material or my view point offends you then don't read it. Thank you. If you are having issue with depression and trauma within your life please call or  visit the suicide prevention hotline website
HERE  or
Call 24/7  1-800-273-8255

You are not alone and there people out there to help you. 

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