Monday, August 31, 2015

1d6 Random Gifts From The Space Gods Table For Your Old School Campaigns

The wastelands of Accursed Atlantis are thick with ships and strange phenomena, often times encounter with unknown alien powers and things beyond the normal ken of mankind alters the very fabric of a PC. Some appripute these gifts to be the work of the Space Gods who still are altering and monkeying with the DNA of the human and near human races of Accused Atlantis. Some see these gifts as blessings, while others see them as cosmic jokes at the expense of those who receive them. Many times those who undergo these changes become outsiders and are considered madmen or worse by their tribes.

1d6 Random Gifts From The Space Gods Table

  1. The brain chemistry of the victim is altered and several ancient pathways are opened up, the victim gains +4 strength and +2 to his combat rolls. The fool is subject to berserk rages  now during combat.
  2. The victim's psychic awareness is increase for an obscene amount, their wisdom score gains a +3 and the vale cosmic is lifted. The victim can see the invisible and is very sensitive to the infra red spectrum. 
  3. The victim gains +1 claws and their damage for hand to hand attacks increase. They also have the strength to tear apart light metal and some soft woods. 
  4. The victim's brain is super charged and they are able to receive 1d4 minor prophetic dreams per night but the information is broken and fragmentary at best. They're wisdom score gains +2 because of the intense senses and super charging of the mind. 
  5. The victim has his skin and body structure altered as incredible energies are bathed on his body. The victim gains a +2 to his constitution scores, the victim is has their bodies primed for battle. Their armor class goes down by two points. 
  6. The victim gains sight beyond and is able to track the movements of the Outer Ones and the things beyond the vale. They may also struggle with the fact that they can see into the souls of many normal folks and pierce the motives behind the lies of their neighbors. They can strike what can't be with the energies of the 'power' and demons can be taken down as a normal monster . 

Going Up Into The Wizard's Tower - A Fantastic Heroes and Witchery Rpg Play Event

Last game our heroes barely survived the moving rooms of the wizard's tower, the weird and wicked demons of  Chaos that are infecting the tower as well as its plethora of moving rooms, tricks and traps have been tormenting the heroes to no end. Details of the first encounter of play has had the party guessing and there have been some really nasty turns since the last game.

 The players have resacued one of the NPC's from one of my last games a Tiefling warrior and princess of the Beyond. 
She's related to another member of the party and was hired as a wasteland guide by Ritcher Dynamics last game to guide the  company mercenaries into the tower in search of valuable relics. That didn't go so well, they were killed and she was tortured by demons for her troubles.
As the party makes its way to the top of the extra dimensional tower who knows what sorts of horrors await them. Already the party has slain a number of low level encounters and dealt with all kinds of half demonic mutant freaks, deviants and high weirdness. One thing I love about FH&W is that it works with and dovetails in with other retroclones presenting a high quality system that works pretty damn well with other clones.

So tonight I'm borrowing a few monsters from the pages of Astonishing Swordsmen & Sorcerers of Hyperborea with a bit of my own D&D DYI madness thrown into the mix. So we'll see how it goes.
The party has faced down some of the Fleshless in the past and they're not to fond of these half demonic horrors from beyond that use energy weapons and have fought the party a few times in the past.

Sunday, August 30, 2015

1d6 Random Lovecraftian Demons & The Treasures Their Bound To Encounter Table For Your Old School Campaigns

   From time to time the sands of Accursed Atlantis reveal horrors from times lost or those that have never been. Adventurers and freebooters who recover these items are often in for far more dangerous times then if they had plumbed the depths of the lowest and most dangerous ruins of the wastelands. Demons are often plucked from the Outer Darkness to watch over lost treasures and relics of times past, for all eternity they watch over these treasures even though their masters have long since turned to dust. Bound as they are, some must watch over these thing until doomsday or the end of time itself. Punishment fit for only the most powerful, stupid, or dangerous of diabolic beings they often take their frustrations and madness out on the poor fools who find them. Often these beings will have 1d6 individual mutations in addition to the normal demonic base powers and abilities marking them out as even more dangerous examples of their species of horror.

Often these horrors were trapped for timeless eternities within the Underworld of the Dreamlands of H.P. Lovecraft's dream cycle of stories. The wizards who summoned were some of the most clever and diabolical beings who walked the streets of Atlantis herself and had for gotten more sorcery and magick then the world has seen since the seas drank her streets. Here then are six examples of some of the most dangerous of these minor horrors who were cast down into the bowels of Hell.
1d6 Random Lovecraftian Demons
& The Treasures Their Bound  To Encounter Table
  1. U'zosakehach The Toad Lord Of The Blood Ark - This ancient Atlantian ark contains the wisdom of the wizard Melloth The Ever Changing all of his studies of the Elder Thing's science and witchcraft. U'zosakehach is a demon type II of remarkable aspect & viciousness that rose through the ranks of demon kind due to his cruelty, treachery and violence. The blood ark is covered in blood red rubies and fossils of an alien type. The thing grants its owner an audience with U'zosakehach & the toad lord's counsel on magickal matters. The toad lord is known to feast on the souls of wizards who displease him and acquire their shapes as well. The ark is worth 50,000 gold pieces and is protected by a dense field of magick and horror that acts as a fear spell once per day.
  2. Sharnotan-mmi The Faceless Fish Fiend Of Lake Del Who Guards The Golden Plate Of Za. A type one demon lord who was locked within the Underworld feasting on Ghast flesh and plotting his take over of time. He is part lamprey and Vrock, a punishment for a tryst with a demon prince's succubus concubine, the spawn of which gave birth to a new type of demonic horror. Sharnotan-mmi is bound into a plate that marks when the stars shall be right, he is not permitted to see the plate but wizards can use it to determine alien alignments of the stars of the damned. The plate also contains 1d4 other dimensional alignments allowing wizards to blink up to three times per day by using cracks in the alignments of reality. Sharnotan-mmi is an expert on the location and recovery of treasure lost in the seas. He is often consulted on these matters and matters of astrology of the Outer Darkness as well as Hell.
  3. Matthaarsho The Triple Eyed Fiend of the Chest Of Ka're - This hulking triple eyed class IV demon has been bound into a chest of solid demon bone and ivory. The tripled eyed fiend is a witness to the rise and fall of empires of the damned. It knows the times and places of the upcoming battles for Armageddon and Doomsday. The chest of Ka're contains the codes to open the vaults of the underworld and the spells to prevent it. The demon guards these from the powers of Law. It's touch can dissolve the flesh of angels and all matters concerning its hated enemies its wisdom knows little bounds. It also knows 1d4 spells for summoning angels and guardians. Other demons loath this thing and often like to try and bully it. Matthaarsho can use the beam from its central eye to force other demons, angels, and alien gods off the current plane of existence.
  4. Rnteken - The Wild One of the Broken Promise - This broken vase is actually the material form of a goddess's soul who was destroyed. Rnteken The Succubus was one of the goddess's slayers and rather then simply destroyed. She must now watch over the soul of the goddess that you tried to destroy. The broken promise is a vase containing the goddess's still recovering soul, it is called the broken promise since all of her mortal followers are long since dead.
  5. B'ibolzoth - The Golden Laughing One - This demon is bound into a laughing statue of a long dead god. The demon is bound into the golden form of this statue and repairs it as if it was his own flesh. The statue will grant one wish every new moon and able to cast a shocking grasp spells once per day. The demon is a Type three and unique in its outlook towards others. This demon thinks its a fair trade because it watches over its worshipers and often leaves a golden gift or five in the pockets of its worshipers.
  6. N'cygudharngl The Forgotten Lord Of The Purple Fane- This book covered in gold has a type three demon lord N'cygudharngl  watching over it. He is there because he insulted a demon lord's child and attacked his former master as well as drawing the ire of  Nyarlathotep over a particularly succulent sacrifice. He was cursed with high intelligence and perfect wisdom in matters of magick and summoning rites.

Raid On The Baikonur Cosmodrome - Black Market Inc. & Islands In The Stream Campaign Prequel Adventure - A DCC Rpg Actual Play Event Part II

  So I got call in last minute again last night at nine PM for my Islands In The Stream campaign prequel last night. It was well interesting and thank God for Crawling Under A Broken Moon #4 
& Issue #7

  So last night my band of hearty 80's style mercenaries from Black Market Inc. 
were exploring the lower levels of the  The Baikonur Cosmodrome under vaults. They had escaped the invisible alien horrors of the Kazakhstan wastelands by running away and screaming like little girls then locking the doors behind them into the vaults below the complex.Where certain death awaited them, just kidding actually I'm not. The PC's made it down to level 2 after a series of running fire fights and issues with one of the Discarded 'large' cybernetic horrors  from Crawling Under A Broken Moon issue seven.
The party recovered a number of minor relics and artifacts from the two upper levels but the lack of monsters made them very nervous.They know my dungeons and how I like to place the horrors.

One one of the wizards cast a fire ball and missed his roll nearly frying the rest of the party and immolating himself and his relics that his patron Kizz was laughing his behind off as his injury. The rest of the party took an elevator down to the next level and encountered 'Fatties' Mutant horrors from the cult classic 'Space Hunter Adventures In The Forbidden Zone'
And this is where we left our adventurers for today stuck up to their necks in 'Fatties'! These guys are actually some of the original Baikonur Cosmodrome crew mutated into over stuffed rolling horrors of deadly aspect.

What the adventurers don't know is that below them awaits a nasty piece of Benefactor technology. Here's where the crawling under a Broken Moon Issue #4 comes in very handy. This issue contains the object as patron article and highlights the fact that certain artifacts and A.I.'s can become a patron to a wizard. In this case the half baked wizard whose been rejected by his own patron.

The Benefactor technology artifact  of incredible aspect of Order awaits to drain and suck the energy as well as life force of all who venture down into the depths of the ruins!  There are the mini Kronos units running around in on level four. More to come as it develops!

Saturday, August 29, 2015

1d6 Random Lovecraftian Trail & Deep Wasteland Shrines Encounter Table For Your Old School Campaigns

 In the remote and hidden corners of the wastelands are small seemingly incurious shrines to ancient and deadly half forgotten alien deities that adventurers and freebooters run into. These places are the centers for small cells and cults of worshipers of things best not described. But many foolish or simply stupid adventurers see these places as yet another opportunity to make a profit by plundering the treasures, offerings, and items of these places but they are seldom unguarded. There is a 60% chance or better that these places are cursed or guarded by some ancient and horrid Lovecraftian demon or monster. Here then are 1d6 Lovecraftian Trail & deep wasteland shrines to cause mayhem and misery among your adventuring parties.

1d5 Random Lovecraftian Trail & Deep Wasteland  Shrines Encounter Table
  1. A shrine of neatly stacked semi human, humanoid, alien skulls stands next to a very, very old stone carved alter with a pile of rotting human organs and a fist sized diamond upon the top of the pile of rotting waste. The jewel is worth at least 20,000 gold pieces but an ancient tendrilled demon of Oxo'rurthu The Wanderer stands guard over this place in the form of ancient statue it will spring to life in a heart beat. 
  2. There are eighteen standing stones in a circle off of the beaten trail, the stones watch over a statue of some ancient Lovecraftian horror. There is a pile of gold in the middle of the standing stones and over 100000 gold pieces. Anyone going to steal the gold will receive a fast acting flesh rotting diseases and as they desiccate apart the demon will come to life and rip off the face of a PC. 
  3. This ancient shrine is made from the decaying body of a crash landed alien sitting upon a throne and surrounded by the fingers of numerous peoples. The body will spring to life at a moment's notice and attempt to bite one PC and infect them with ghoul rot. He has in his hand a 80 carat precious stone and will attempt to gift it to one of the PC's. 
  4. A group of weird statues stands guard over a bucket of semi precious raw emeralds, the statues each have separate stone food and drink. Anyone messing with the emeralds will be attacked by a flock of  Shantaks  and the god king statues will animate in 1d4 rounds to feast on the souls of any remaining PC's. 
  5. This metal, steel, and glass shrine is dedicated to the Outer Gods and is watched over by a mute and seemingly immortal guardian. The shrine's structure sings with cosmic vibrations and weird energies. There is a 70% chance of one of the PC's developing a dangerous mutation unless a saving throw is made. 
  6. This ancient granite site and shrine is sacred  to Cthulhu for below the surface sleeps an ancient Star Spawn of Cthulhu waiting for the stars to be right. A cult watches over the place and will summon a type VI demon to deal with any interlopers. There are 1d100 jewels scattered about the place.   

1d6 Random Ancient Wastelands Blades of Royality and Damnation Table For Your Old School Campaigns

Kingdoms have been have gone to war, they are the instruments of kings, their magick is undeniable, these are the swords of Accursed Atlantis.  They are very tools of war and  mayhem that have brought men to their knees and their heads from their shoulders. These weapons are handcrafted works of art, while others are grown from the brows of demons or worse. On occasion these weapons surface out in the wastelands and other places of damnation. Here are six examples of the sword makers are that are beyond the riches of kings and emperors alike.
1d6 Random Ancient Wastelands Blades of Royality and Damnation Table
 1. Ugarugosthog The Sweat From The Brow Of The God Leader - This blade was forged from the between the thighs of the queen of the evil fire elementals as she conceived her son. The blade flares with elemental energies and shines with the firey heart of its elemental father. The +2 flaming sword that will burst into flaring glory when its removed from Atlantian dragon skin sheath. This blade hungers for the flesh of demons after it was used to kill the third guardian prince of the sub realm of Quith on the seventh plane of Fal. The blade can create a sheet of burning elemental fire every new moon, the fire can turn zombies and others of that tribe to dust when they are exposed it. The blade weaves itself into the lives of those who find it until it finds the hand of a true prince of Atlantis, it blade cuts a swath of murder and mayhem where it goes. The blade is knows the hands of master and was last seen in the wastelands when it was used against the Grey Walker Lords and their undead minions. It has been lost for centuries.
2. Mephazsthurh - Grown from the brow of the trapped demon prince Vex Trusthus, this blade is partially organic and bio horror metal and drips with the blood of its demon parent. The blade is a +1 weapon but its organic acid adds an additional 3 points for every strike. It seeks out the those with alliances to Chaos and horror. The blade was last seen buired in the chest of the alien lich king Olailarart after his palace was covered by the shifting sands of Kor. 
3. I'phothas The Blade of  The Princess - This blade has been lost to the deep dreaming for centuries, the blade is the soul of ancient prophetess/princess of a kingdom that has yet to be. The blade is forged from the dream stuff of ancient wizards, those who are hit by it get a +1 blade. But the curse of I'phothas comes to call in 1d4 rounds as they fade from existence and are absorbed by the deepest and blackest nightmares their souls devoured by dream demons. The blade changes to the dreams of the owner as it is called from the depths of the subconscious of inhumanity. 
4. Pharngogoth The Engorged Blade - This blade has been forged from the limbs of an alien demon god, the blade is a +2 weapon and allows its owner to cut the soul of its target to pieces while the physical body suffers. The victim of this roll must save vs death or be wracked and warped as rarefied pain of the most inhuman type effects each and every nerve in their bodies. Their nerves misfire and they feel as if they wish to die. They cannot for this blade cuts them from the gift of Death's kiss. The blade was left in the body of the half demon prince Ten-degglh high upon the dust planes of Drtu'isu. Demons will not attack the owner of this blade as they are cursed with the royalty of Hell. This curse insures their place in the Abyss.
5. Zhactsa of Zsthoth - This blade was forged upon the spine of the dead god Yog-cho whose bones made the material of its creation and whose blood cleansed it and cooled it. The blade burns with a dark color and cold that only elves and alien humans may wield. The blade changes with the dreaming chaos of Elven soul colors and is a +2 weapon but those hit by it sprout alien plants and life forms as their souls become the fodder for the weapon's spawn. Those hit must save vs death or sprout out in a plethora of alien plants and fey spawn. The weapon lays in the deepest parts of the Accursed Atlantis and has not been seen in centuries. It is the soul of some ancient wasteland paradise oasis known only to certain ancient tribes. 
6.  Pharngogoth The Blade of Damnation  - This blade has been created from the souls of damned hell bound and twisted into a blade of insanity bound to the edge of a boundary of hazy half life. The blade is a +1 weapon but can cut the silver cord of half mortals. When this is done the blade's victim must save vs death or remain in a state of half life. They must follow the commands of the blade's owner and can not die except by violence most go mad long before then. The blade's owner may kill them with a thought at any time. The blade resides within a long lost wasteland oasis mansion that has tempted many fools to ruin and Hell. The sword is still tempting fools even to this day.

Raising The Volume On The Stefan Poag Original Art Raffle for Jim Ward! And The Metamorphosis Alpha: Epsilon City Kickstarter

So there's this great piece of art being auctioned off from the Metamorphosis Alpha and DCC RPG artist +Stefan Poag. from the Dungeon Lord site for James Ward's medical bills. And if you don't think that these contributions are making a difference  according to Mr.Ward's Facebook page -
'The first GOFUNDME check arrived and Janean and I turned it right around and paid some really nasty bills. Bless you all for your donations on my behalf.
The Epsilon City Kickstarter ends in 3 days. We have a number of great authors helping me with the project. I got Joseph to put dice on the list so that I can have a new bag of dice and you all can get a great deal on purchasing a block of specific MA dice. I only have one project left to write and I'm sure I can get that done by the December 1 deadline. Thank you all for getting into that kickstarter.
I truly appreciate all the support I get from you all.'

Which brings me to the Epislon City Kickstarter , the fact is that the Kickstarter looks pretty damn cool and its got some damn nice stuff in it. I'm also enjoying the fact that its for Dungeon Crawl Classics and Mutant Crawl Classics as well. Personally I would get on board now before the time runs out. By the way I'm not getting anything out of this except for the fact that I enjoy James work and I wish to see him in the best possible health to continue the great stuff for Metamorphis Alpha's DCC version. 

Friday, August 28, 2015

1d6 Random Ancient Lovecraftian Treasures From The Wasteland's Table For Your Old School Campaigns

There are relics that crop up from time to time in the wastelands of Accursed Atlantis that can turn the tide of life itself, relics of earlier universe, lost times, and places that are simply the shattered remains of things long past that are simply pieces of things so alien as to defy the very nature and ideas about life and sanity. Here are six of those relics that drift into and out of the lives of Freebooters and foolish adventurers that come across them.
1d6 Random Ancient Lovecraftian Treasures From The Wasteland's Table
  1. A golden mask belonging to an ancient alien god thing a million years dead. This mask will change the perceptions and senses of the wearer reducing and changing intelligence by -3 points, upping wisdom by +2, and reducing Dex by 3 points as limbs and sanity are changed as the owner's body assumes a much more alien form. The mask itself is worth 7000 gold pieces to the right buyer and wizards will murder to possess the thing. 
  2. An ancient half melted lump of molten glass that contains the life force of ancient demon from a dead and dying star whose mind is trapped in the thing. Once per day the thing will transfer 1d4 black magick spells to the right wizard or the alien thoughts may drive the fool mad with grief and depression due to the visions. 
  3. This glass hand has within it, an alien computer with numerous volumes of dead and dying soul's knowledge. There is a 60% chance that it may try to impart some bit of forbidden or half forgotten alien lore. The thing is worth 8000 gold pieces to the right buyer. But many witch hunters will kill to destroy this treasure of the wastelands. 
  4. This green and gold volume of metal plates and alien diagrams is actually the half forgotten knowledge of  the Moonbeasts who will kill to get it back it contains their magickal forbidden knowledge of their empires. There is a 30% chance of their being a spells holy to these beasts. They will pay 20000 gold pieces or the character's weight in forbidden relics. 
  5. This volume is bound in the skin of demons from the blackest parts of the under world and has within the stored knowledge of a hundred occultists and wizards rendered down into their essence. The book contains the knowledge of forbidden vistas and the demons who dwell there under the alien skies. The book is worth 6000 gold pieces but there is an alien demon cloud after the thing. 
  6. This casket contains the remains of two broken pacts and contracts between the humans and the half breed demon folk whose name still echoes on the wind. The pact is for the original inhabitants of the land. They're gods are jealous beings full of spite and anger. They will teach a willing pupil the ways of their ancient arts, the pupil will be granted 1d4 spells per day given to the teacher telepathically. The casket is worth 40,000. gold pieces. 

Sex, Death, Chaos, and Hell Or How To Make Hell Work For You In Your Mega Dungeon

Its Jack Kirby's birthday today and there's one of his creations that I absolutely love, Etrigan the Demon.Today bears little to no resemblance to the Jack Kirby's original creation. All of this really relates back to the 90's and the even further back to the Satanic Panic of the 80's.But I digress, Etrigan is perhaps on of Jack Kirby's finest creations and perhaps on of his most underrated in my humble opinion. What does this have to do with megadungeons, Chaos, Hell, death, and the Demon? Well everything and nothing. Very briefly according to wiki :
The Demon is a superhero and antihero appearing in comic books published by DC Comics. Created by Jack Kirby, the titular character, named Etrigan, is a demon from Hell who, despite his violent tendencies, usually finds himself allied to the forces of good, mainly because of the alliance between the heroic characters of the DC Universe and Jason Blood, a human to whom Etrigan is bound

I remember cracking open my first issue of  Etrigan The Demon back in late '89 from the 1970's and being blown away. After the canceling of  Kirby's Fourth World saga, he pulled the Demon out of his bag of tricks.
And at the time I was blown away with such sights as this.

There have been a few other times when I was this excited reading a comic book, the first time I read through Spawn, and the introduction of Hellboy plus the various Vertigo lines from DC back when they didn't play it safe. Hell was something #$@ed up and completely alien & when I asked one of the guys who worked with Kirby what they were thinking when they did this stuff it was his response that gave me pause. 'It was fun!'  That's right kids Chaos and Hell can be fun. Because there is a vast difference between the 'Pulp Hell' of D&D and the Hell of Scripture and religion. Pulp Hell is the Hell of horror comics, D&D, and Rpgs. Its also one of the most over used cliches since the days of Dragon magazine. But it works in grand style. So much so that in both Fantastic Heroes and Witchery as well Dark Albion, Chaos does a damn good job of aping many of the conventions and issues of Jack Kirby's the Demon in style. If you don't believe me then check out this preview of the Dark Albion's Demonic Magick

Alternative Cover for Dark Albion the Rose War Available Through Lulu

The Hell of Dark Albion is the Hell of Faust and Shakespeare as well as the Gothic writers and later the comic book and  pulp writers of yesteryear. This also dovetails into the fact that since Astonishing Swordsmen and Sorcerers of Hyperborea works very well with Fantastic Heroes and Witchery, many of the artifacts,treasures,locations and whatnot can be used in a modern setting. Such as the mythical past or mythological connection to a game set in modern times or as a part of an alternative Earth. A fact that has been exploited by Dungeon Crawl Classics numerous times in their products  and as something of a convention that both Marvel did with Conan back in the 70's as part of their super hero and horror titles and one that DC took full advantage of in their own Dr. Fate appearances. A more recent appearance of this convention has been recently unlocked as a part of the
Ernest Gary Gygax Jr.'s Marmoreal Tomb Campaign. This megadungeon could be used to link all of the products that the Otherside mentioned. With only four days to go the Marmoreal Tomb is offering some very tasty ideas & link ups for a multidimensional megadungeon touching areas across all of time and space as well as beyond.
Artwork by Mark Allen 2014
Here's where the sex and death come in folks, given such a location of a megadungeon the powers of Chaos could well be exploiting the  heck out of this location staging numerous sorties into all kinds of campaign times and adventure landscapes. It might also mean that PC's eternal souls might well be denied their eternal rewards allowing the Revenant PC class that FH&W to come into play or the other version of these characters from the Gong Farmer's Almanac to come out to play for Dungeon Crawl Classics.
But there's more to the issue then simply allowing a megadungeon to go plunking down across space and time. Chaos could well be spreading its seed across the post apocalyptic landscape as well as the fantasy one. The spawn of Hell could easily turn up as part of the landscape allowing the implementation of  many of the options of races to be a sign of the taint of the landscape. The powers of  Hell itself can easily manipulate entire generations of adventurers into doing their bidding through the various locations a fact that DM's should take full advantage of. But Hell should be very dangerous, unpredictable, and never ever something PC's should really be familiar with. More on that tomorrow!

All of the various rpg and retroclone systems mentioned copyrights and respective trade marks belong to their owners. Jack Kirby,
Etrigan the Demon belong to their trademark & copy right holders no violation or infringement has been implied. This blog post is for educational and entertainment purposes only.
The term 'Pulp Hell' is trade marked and copyrighted to Dark Corner Productions & Eric Fabiaschi the author. This copyright and trademark extends to the Warlord of the Outer Worlds campaign setting and the Accursed Atlantis setting as well. All rights reserved.

Thursday, August 27, 2015

Where Tim Went Wrong and Right. Witches, Chaos, Cults, And Witchcraft In Old School Retroclone Campaigns

I've been following Tim Brannan's blog now for many months and he's been doing some very nice Fantastic Heroes and Witchery posts and talking about mixing in Astonishing Swordsmen and Sorcerers of Hyperborea. He's going to try and smooth out some of the rough edges of  Fantastic Heroes and Witchery with the pseudo historic wonderfulness of Dark Albion from the mighty pen of +Kasimir Urbanski's aka RPGPundit's in his latest book Dark Albion: The Rose War. For the better part of  over a month I've been looking into Dark Albion's demonic and chaotic foundations. And I think that's where Tim is missing some vital information. He's done some damn fine posts about FH&W  All of these very solid posts can be found right over HERE, HERE & right over HERE
  Which brings up the point here, FH&W's implied lack of a cleric goes to the heart of the nature of Chaos in the rule book. Chaos in Fantastic Heroes and Witchery is all things of Hell, the Abyss, and Chaos. Occultists walk indeed a very fine line and a razor's edge in the game one to which can indeed cut the throat of the very expert in Magick as its implied in the book. Fantastic Heroes and Witchery takes grave pains to wear its Gothic pedigree on its sleeve especially in regards to its conventions towards Hell and the powers of Chaos especially within its spells. The six hundred and sixty six spells have had great pains by the author to have them modified to fit his world view of the corrupting and dangerous nature of Chaos. A view that is both shared by me and Kasimir Urbanski. Dark Albion presents a very solid pseudo historical  structure for its view of Hell, Chaos and its Demons. This is not so much based on a refinement of actual history but a blending of occult fictional tradition, historical ideas, and mythological conceits wrapped in very rich game setting.

And that's really part of the problem with mixing and matching some of these sources, Lord knows I've been wrestling with this problem ever since I received Dark Albion. Tim Brannan's style is the mixing and matching of these styles of games according to him:
'Another point of commonality is Astonishing Swordsmen & Sorcerers of Hyperborea. I wanted to use it as a game system for both Dark Albion and my witch adventures.  I think it would work out well.  I need to find locales in "Dark" Europe for all of these adventures.'

What time's not getting is very dark and dangerous nature of Dark Albion, AS&SH, along with FH&W. These games are not so much D&D as they are Gothic pulp sword and sorcery wrapped in the seeming tropes of D&D. Rpgpundit went through a very carefully contrived blog entry regarding demons, cults, and chaos worship in Dark Albion :
'Regarding Chaos worship, some people have asked just what a Chaos-cult in Albion should look like.  Now the thing is, the particular manifestations of Chaos-worship in the setting ought to be extremely varied. Law is One, Chaos is Legion. So I don't think there's a lot of uniform things you can say about it. There are heretical subversive cults that appear to worship the Unconquered Sun (like the Cathari), there are secret 'satanic'-style sects, lone would-be witches venerating some dark thing in the woods, there was Bishop Peacock's sect that looked like a regular church congregation on the outside but they were preparing to open a gate to hell in the old Arcadian catacombs, there are of course the Frogmen and their Frog-Gods. So the answer is that the main thing a GM should try to do with Chaos-cults is not make any two look too similar to one another; this is of course a great detail if you choose to focus on a game of chaos-hunters (for example, of a party being sponsored by the Clerical order). Even so, there's a good list of references from the details in the gazetteer and chronology as to provide a GM with ideas of what Chaos cults can look like.

With demons, the whole system for demon-summoning, and the details thereof are explicit in the game.  The system is based on the actual medieval ideas on demon-summoning, from grimoires like the Goetia.  Demons come in different ranks (corresponding to their level of power), that human beings have labelled as though they were mortal titles: knights, counts, dukes, princes, etc.
The medieval magicians did not believe that summoning demons was necessarily an evil act; if you could control and bind them in the name of divine forces (in this case, the Unconquered Sun), then evil could be used for good purposes (naturally, non-magicians would have a hard time being able to tell if that was the case and would be highly paranoid about the whole business regardless).  Suitably bound, they could then be obliged to offer a service or deal with a problem in exchange for being released back from whence they came.  But it is also possible to end up making a pact with a demon, if one was inclined to the service of Chaos, where the demon would provide certain gifts in exchange for the magician's loyalty.  I did write a little about the kind of gifts Demons can offer: the permanent use of any of that demon's special powers, magic items, access to spell knowledge for magic-users, etc. But again, I didn't want to get too specific here so as not to be restrictive. In short, what is offered will be defined by what the magician wants, and what the demon has the power to give (and yes, there are clear guidelines as to what any given demon is capable of doing).' You can read the whole thing right over HERE And that's part of the very issue of using witches from Dark Albion, magick in the setting can and could be tied into demon summoning along with its attendant issues. Tim also talks about, 'I can take the occultist class and make it into a passable Occult Poet.' Why not simply use the bard class from AS&SH as a compliment as well?
This brings up the role of Chaos, & the Witch in AS&SH. The witch is a class in the game that can serve a very wide variety of purposes and roles in the game. Though tied to the world of Hyperborea by the class's very nature, the witch is perhaps in my mind tied to and linked with adventurers in a way that beckons adventurers into the very fabric of AS&SH. They can be and should be used as the glue that ties both cults and covens in the setting together. Chaos is in the mix for AS&SH but its the Chaos of classic mythology and otherworldly Lovecraftian horror and not so much of the Infernal or is it? Well its actually both. There are the classic demons of AD&D and OGL fare but also the rolling sanity wrenching weirdness of the Lovecraftian multidimensional murderverse laying in wait for the witch or wizard of AS&SH.

By using the three of these products together one gets the best strengths of all three as long as the DM remembers the conceil that these are Gothic/Pulp games at their heart and are  more then the sum of their parts. Tim's idea is killer with some real teeth to it:
'One thing I always wanted to do was run a dark age WitchCraft RPG game.  Set in the 1600s it would deal with rival factions of the Gifted fighting each other while Europe descends into the Burning Times.  It struck me how close that idea was some things I was also planning in my War of the Witch Queens adventures.'
In point of fact what I actually think could be run using Dark Albion and its Hellish powers as its base is in point of fact a Solomon Kane style campaign with bits and pieces borrowed from AS&SH and Fantastic Heroes and Witchery but the balance is very tricky.

At its heart and soul here in this style of campaign are the pulp sword and sorcery forces of the party and the forces of Hell and the demons all waiting to tear a ragged straight razor across the throat of the party. Does Tim have a fantastic idea? Absolutely but these rpg systems can be very tricky to use together. The key is balance and planning when working with these forces.

1d6 Random Minor Relics of Hell Encounter Table For Your Old School Campaigns

In the blackest deserts where the fires of Chaos & Hell rage under the uncaring gaze of the twin suns of Zol, the battles of the Gods deposit ancient relics and minor items that are forgotten upon the battlefields that range across the dimensions. Ancient half forgotten gods and warriors of virtue battles are joined under the gaze of uncaring alien god things. And on occasion outlaws & freebooters run across the remains of these battles long since over, these are minor relics and artifacts that carry with them the taint of Hell and corruption.

1d6 Random Minor Relics of Hell Encounter Table
  1. The giant splintered magic chain mail of some minor demon lord, the thing swarms with thousands of mutant spider things with human faces. They leer twitter and crawl across the chain. A pool of rot grubs crawls in the dust and much of the thing. Bits and pieces of demon flesh still cleave to the artifact. Make a Device saving throw or be affected by the Chaos energies rolling off of the thing. Worth about 20000 gold pieces to the right wizard. This relic will bring down the wrath of demon hunters on the heads of those who recover this item. 
  2. A black and filthy piece of a demon's heart flesh still seems to beat even as it bubbles and boils with the energies of Chaos, anything coming in contact with it must make a save vs death or be changed into a horrid form. Ordinary glass will hold it and brine will preserve this relic of evil, wizards may use this flesh to summon a minor demon of power or twelve imps. 10,000 gold pieces and the powers of law will be on the heels of those who seek these things
  3. A helm of darkest iron and glass that will fit a human head but the thing is covered in ancient and weird writing enabling the wearer to view  other times and places. These may drive a sane man mad but a wizard will pay handsomely for such vistas. A group of half demon cultists will seek this thing of power though as it calls to them in the night. 7000 gold pieces and wear is gained dark vision up to 30 feet. Wizards will murder for this helm. 
  4. Four perfectly mummified human & demon hybrid legs sticking from the sand, the body is 30 feet away burning nicely. These things are prized by necromancers but will begin to break down in 1d4 rounds and must be preserved in a salt and salt peter mixature. They can be used to summon 1d6 demonic horrors or smoked to send the user to Hell temporarily. Those smoking them have a 40% chance of risking a horrid mutation upon their souls and bodies. Worth 10000 gold pieces to the right alchemist but the local authorities may call in a witch finder on the person.
  5. A black shattered mirror with hundreds of pieces scattered around each piece holds a minor imp imprisoned within, there is a 40% chance of the little bastard escaping. These imps will be vicious and dangerous armed with a twisted piece of soul wire for their pitch forks. They hate order and will work about shorting out any electrical devices or relics that they can. They can bite for 1d6 points of damage and have 30% chance of carrying some sort plague or rotting disease. Those standing in the area where these shards are found have a 40% chance per round of encountering a swarm of these little infernal bastards. The mirror shards add a +3 for any summoning or infernal summoning right. Witch hunters will be after those who possess these items.
  6. A shattered remains of a shield that holds a damned  human soul in suspension for use as a force field but the thing has malfunctioned. Alien energies & colours drip from from it, those within a 20 yard radius will be subject to a color spray spell like effect. The thing is worth 2000 gold pieces to the right wizard. And those standing near it will be subject to a radiation check every 1d4 rounds.

Commentary On Vornheim The Complete City Kit From Zak Smith & The Lamentations Of The Flame Princess Rpg For Your Old School Campaigns Part II

Continuing my rambling about Vornheim the Complete City Kit today from the weird and wonderful Lamentations of the Flame Princess label. Vornheim is being release or has been released as a physical book. This second article is in reference to the sixty four page pdf, and my history with the book. Have I used it in the past? Yes but not as much as I should. So here are some of my thoughts about Vornheim.
Vast is Vornheim, The Grey Maze…
…but I'm not here to bore you with that. This book is not about Vornheim, it’s about running Vornheim – or any other city – in a fantastic Medieval setting. And about running it with a minimum of hassle – so you and your players can get to the good stuff…That’s why we called it a ‘Kit’ – you can use it to build your own city, even in the middle of a game. Give somebody a floorplan and they’ll GM for a day – show them how to make 30 floorplans in 30 seconds and they’ll GM forever.

So back in 2011 Carcosa spawned itself into my life by Geoffrey McKinney and made quite the impression, but Vornheim came out around the same time and is now back in print as a physical book. I've had the pdf in my Drivethrurpg account for years and when the physical book was announced I went back and dusted off the pdf which has been updated. Vornheim was written for the Lamentations of the Flame Princess rpg but it can be and should be used for any rpg system. This includes both new and old, it also brings up one of my pet peeves with many of the Lamentations Princess products. The veneer of hype that surrounds their products I personally think hurts their reputation, sure they've won awards, have a very solid fan base, Zak Smith is genus writer/designer, etc.,etc., ad nausea. The fact is that none of this should keep you as a dungeon master away from Vornheim or for that matter any of the Lamentations of The Flame Princess line of products. 

But let me go on record as say screw all of the above because the only thing that you and your players are going to be caring about a 2:00 am in the morning is what pray tell is going to be eating your PC's face in the Immortal Zoo of Ping Feng or one of the other adventures in Vornheim. That's one of the things that makes this product highly accessible. The fact that with a quick dice drop you can randomly generate any number of incredible and improbable events, people, nobles, and weird stuff that can crop up in the encounter tables of an urban or sprawl crawl on steroids. The monsters like the setting are unique and very dangerous in their own rights and there are personalities that will take the legs out from under your adventurers and comeback for more.  The Chain are a pair of homonculi contract killers who make the puppet men from my nightmares look like marry sunshine, you've got the The Witches who wish to summon demons to over throw humanity, and the list goes on and on. Vornheim makes some of the most efficient use of  dice drop tables, encounter tables, tables for the towers and more.

Vorheim has one of the only adventures in it that I love about libraries, the Library of Zorlac is like the antithesis of let's avoid the book adventures. This one will have PC's running around collecting book and trying to avoid the things trying to kill them. Sounds like a typical D&D adventure, nope the author is clever enough to inject his own brand of weirdness into and let me tell you its weird and unique. A note about Vornheim itself, the artwork that the author and artist lays down is another character in the feel of the city setting itself. This is pretty much the heart and soul of the setting or is it?

Vornheim is only sixty four pages but its as unique and dense of a setting as Sigil or some of the other urban campaign settings out on the market today. And I've skipped over the Wyvern and its well and many of the other sights and things of Vornheim on purpose. Because as we dive into the back of the book we get into the heart and soul of the author's creation. See Vornheim hasn't been written about running Vorheim, its been written about running your Vorheim as a campaign. The product is as much about the essence  as it is about the process of coming up with your own urban/sprawl hex crawl. There are page after page of tables that prove and provide this for your PCs.

Bottom line is Vorheim worth your time and coin? Yes I think that it is and do I want a physical copy of the book? Sure but that's not going to happen anytime soon for me because I can't afford it at the moment but its definitely on my list of books to grab.

Wednesday, August 26, 2015

1d6 Random Wasteland Saints Encounter Table For Your Old School Campaigns

There strangers from other times and place out in the wastelands, some people call them prophets or saints. These wanderers are part of the wasteland landscape and from time to time can be encountered deep within the deserts and wastelands of accursed Atlantis. Here are 1d6 of these weird individuals with powers and abilities far beyond the pale of mortal mankind.Some say that these individuals are hold overs from before the time of the ancients and others claim that they are beings from other universes and places. Adventurers whom have encountered these beings are sometimes changed forever.

1d6 Random Wasteland Saints Encounter Table
  1. Cauglili The Prophet Of Eyes - This noble baring being wanders the wastelands with the abilities of a 6th level cleric and scribe. She has the baring of a noble woman of some ancient and distant royal court of some ancient and bygone age. Tends the mutated & injured in the name of peace. There is a 40% chance that she may identify and give information about relics and ancient artifacts. Three times per day she can heal the blind at the cost of one of the eyes of those healed. She put these eyes into a tank of preserving fluid at her side which will be used to bargain with powers from beyond the world for visions and prophecies for villages under her guidance.
  2. Caurgurimmirc The Finder of Lost Ruins - This saint and wanderer moves from town to town collecting information about local legends and stories about legendary places. He often uses these to coordinate with adventurers and freebooters under his influence. He sells this information for the price of a year off of the life of the adventurer. These years are used to add time to those who have been the victims of vicious and evil mutants with level draining abilities and life leech mutations.  Caurgurimmirc always has the appearance of a favorite uncle or relative of those talking with him. There are those who insist that he has the appearance of an alien demonic lizard is not to be trusted.
  3. Dulin The Wise and Scandalous - This being has the reputation of that of a saint who collects sins of the wasteland by healing the corruption of chaos with the power of his mind but there is a terrible price as the adventurer will suffer 1d6 ruminations of their lives. Dulin can take these away if the party does him a mission and favor before the new moon.  
  4. Enamilauglal The Servant of the Cracked Moon, this being wanders the wastelands collecting legends and scraps of the cracked moon from the ancient times. He is a 7th level wizard and scholar who knows the secrets of space flight and the sacred artifacts associated with it. He will advise and council those who wish to know the secrets of the stars. He can also heal damage and mutation caused by alien demonic powers from beyond the pale of the wastelands for three boons and a mission. He has the baring of an adventurer and nobleman along with eyes the colour of the moon goddess his patron.
  5.  Itulae The Mad - This saint is given over to the blessings of mutation and changes appearance every five hours as their flesh runs like hot wax on a summer's day. He can unleash a blast of pure chaos every three hours and Itulae The Mad can identify any genetic disorder or mutation on sight alone. He can and will offer advice on curing the mutation and its root cause. For him to treat any mutation will require a mission on the PC's part. They will also have to endure his endless tirades on the blessings of mutation and chaos as well.
  6. Lkotullilra The Wisdom's End - This wandering prophet loves to give advice on relics and treasure, she has the ability to identify and operate any treasure or relic brought in to her possession. She can heal serious wounds with a touch every three hours and once a week raise the dead as per the spell. She will ask a major mission of the characters but will supply provisions and some relics from her rather large flock. She is often given to strange prophecies once per week but these will require a major relic on the PC's part to impart her wisdom and advice upon a party.

Commentary Maximum Mayhem Dungeon #2: Secret Machines of the Star Spawn By Mark Taormino For Your Old School Campaigns

I've been in love with 'The Secret Machines Of The Star Spawn for a while now;simply put this is a great gonzo sci fi fantasy module originally for OSRIC but easily adapted into any old school edition or retroclone system with some modification.
The set up for this adventure goes something like this : 
Locals have been hearing whispers of strange happenings around the Ancient Volcano. Rumors over the last few months of an unspeakable evil that has risen up inside. An evil that “fell from the stars.” They say there is something wicked and devilish going on inside. Highwaymen report of strange creatures, mechanical monsters, and "Little Green Men" that are roaming the land causing chaos and mayhem!  Now before I start waxing lyrical but Secret Machines, this is an adult oriented module with uses several of the adult conventions of science fantasy. Alien abduction, alien cross species breeding, adult situations,etc.

So Mayhem Dungeon #2: Secret Machines of the Star Spawn By Mark Taormino was part of a successful Kickstarter that got many of the best elements of the adventure unlocked, some really nice gonzo sci fi artwork, and some really nice maps put into the module.
If you missed this Kickstarter you can still find out more info on how to order this product and others from their website at
This brings me to center of my dilemma? So for the past two weeks, after the other half got me a copy of Dungeon Crawl Classics I've been going slowly over the game after a baptism by fire campaign with the Islands in The Stream run through of the DCC system. But this really has me thinking about Maximum Mayhem Dungeon #2 Secret Machines Of The Star Spawn. 
   It seems to me the more that I read of DCC, the more the gonzo and epic seem to collide in  within its pages add in some of the great material from Crawljammer and Crawling Under A Broken Moon  It seems to me that Mayhem Dungeon #2: Secret Machines of the Star Spawn By Mark Taormino is tailor made for taking your party of adventurers to the stars. Many of the themes and ideas explored in the module touch many of the aspects that I've seen in the various DCC zines. Though this module was meant for solid old school play  I can see it be easily adapted to a wide variety of OSR venues.

 What Maximum Mayhem Dungeon #2: Secret Machines of the Star Spawn does and does very well is to take the conventions of D&D and use those to turn the game right over into the alien  gonzo zone but that's not a bad thing. This is also dependent upon two things, one if the PC's survive and two if they can deal with some of the deadly natures of the encounters in Maximum Mayhem Dungeon #2: Secret Machines of the Star Spawn. There is balance to them but Mark imparts a real sense of fun about the module. But for DCC there's more then simply a tie in as well. The space craft of the Star Spawn & his cohorts in orbit above your campaign world for several thousand years could in point of fact be your PC's funnel as their village or settlement is attacked by the Star Spawns minions. This give both a reason for the party to be together and the sense of burning anger in your PC's hearts.
This is right from the Kickstarter, "Futuristic Spaceship which the Star Spawn has had "parked" above the planet unknown to anyone for the last 1000 years!"
This allows a DM to give your party a solid reason for being together on a local level while having the perfect excuse for introducing interstellar elements into a campaign world. Expanding upon those elements or making this a one shot adventure; are really going to be up to the Dungeon Master and their own approach to the material in Secret Machines.

Gonzo or not many of these elements defy and crossover into the region of science fantasy whist switching gears into the sword and sorcery mode and  genre of AD&D and its ilk. There are a few options available in Secret Machines of the Star Spawn and hooks available to expand or contract the action as you see fit to take the campaign in a different direction. I do think that Secret Machines is a viable option to allow a DM to take their DCC campaign to the stars, having your party of adventurers surviving to get there is another matter entirely.