Sunday, June 7, 2015

Revising The Free Comic Book Download - Space Adventures #6 As Inspiration For Your Old School Space Campaign

The boys from Derby cranked out any number of  space and science fiction comics but one of my favorite Charlton Comics series was Space Adventures. Back in the 1980's I came across this title in a friend's attic, the one issue that sticks out in my mind issue six. The title is now in the public domain and it makes a perfect resource for your old school space campaigns.
Grab It Right Here 

To start off with the reason why I chose to revamp this issue is the fact we've got a number of stories that fit perfectly in to the notion of adventure background or one shots allowing the DM to draw on these for a quick background fix for his OSR games. These are especially good for doing convention style one shot adventure encounters for lower level parties without destroying the cohesion of his campaign.
In the first story, Two Worlds we get a complete race of refugees from one of Saturn's moons who have settled on Mars. They come complete with retrofuture technology, a complete background, and motives for an invasion of Earth, and a plight for the DM to exploit for adventures. This is a great story to use as the basis for a jump point into a retro future campaign. The ending is unresolved and needs to be addressed. Commander Gort and co are a really nice bunch to add into an old school campaign as NPC enemies, friends, or whatever the DM needs. Because the story is left unresolved there's plenty of action and milage that can be gotten out of this one.
Invasion From Venus has New York as the center piece of the museum of the future. Can you say mega dungeon raiding area? Yeah there's plenty here to work with for the creative DM. Viceroy Dox and co. are a bunch of colonial terrorists perfect to drop right into the mix as a bunch of NPC's with axes to grind and giant mutant sunflowers to cause havoc with. We've even got the space ranger angle in this one as well. 
The Uncharted Planet has plenty of atomic rocket future action and a bit of twisted space exploration to be had. And perfect trap for PC's to fall into. This one has Robinson Crusoe angle to it with a bit of a twist. Save vs death on this one space adventurers! Black Doom is a quick little tale of alien invasion with a twist of weirdness, here the retro future action of the black ray whose effects can easily be simulated with the Darkness spell from D&D just add in the power sapping effects and your good to go. Roj and company are a typical gang of minor mid level rank and file space criminals whose race have a weakness to sunlight. To make them a bit more of a challenge I'd in some connection to the negative plane and then run this as an evening one shot adventure. They've got a whole alien city floating in space for PC's to get into trouble with.
 There's another quick angle with this adventure in the form of the Earth's space  hero Rex Clive and his atomic rocket guys. They're very well organized and make a nice back drop for any retro future game.
A bit of background on the Space Adventure series from Charlton comics  According to Wiki:
Space Adventures, a science-fiction anthology comic book from the Derby, Connecticut-based Charlton Comics, was initially published for 21 issue (cover-dated July 1952 - Aug. 1956). Issues #9-12 (Winter 1954 - Aug. 1954) were cover-titled Science Fiction Space Adventures. The following two issues were cover-billed Space Adventures Presents The Blue Beetle, and featured reprints of the defunct publisher Fox Comics' superhero, from 1939. Issues 15-18 (March-Sept. 1955) carried the rubric Space Adventures Presents Rocky Jones, and featured that children's television character in licensed TV spin-off stories. These were primarily illustrated by penciler Ted Galindo and inked by, variously, Dick GiordanoRay Osrin, or Galindo himself. Giordano penciled at least one "Rocky Jones" story, "Gravity-Plus", inked by Jon D'Agostino, in issue 18. Issues 19 and 21 reverted to Space Adventures, interspersed with another licensed tie-in, Space Adventures Presents First Trip to the Moon — a retitled reprint of writer Otto Binder, penciler Dick Rockwell and inker Sam Burlockoff's adaptation of the movie Destination Moon, from Fawcett Comics' 1950 one-shot of that name.

One thing about Charlton comics is that you got a lot of bang for your buck from this series, from the opening story right on through. There was plenty of action to get the reader interested and even now reading through these its easy to see using the stories in this issue for any number of old school science fiction or science fantasy games. The fact that its free and in the public domain is an added plus in my book, not bad for a ten cent book from the Fifties. 

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