Saturday, October 31, 2015

1d6 Random Encounters With The Dwellers Of The Underworld Table For Your Old School Campaigns

The wastelands are filled with random dangers and often times the door into the world of the dead is always partially open especially this time of year. There are in the deeper wastelands places where the adventurers and other freebooters have encountered things of the Underworld. Here then is a quick series of six encounters that might take place. Parties of adventurers are never the same after these encounters.
Those adventurers who dwell for too long near places, entrances, and portals to the underworld risk developing 1d8 minor mutations or marks of the dead. DM's should use the appropriate matrices for these individuals. Only certain clerical orders should be immune to these effects.

1d6 Random Encounters With The Dwellers Of  The Underworld Table

  1. The Cthusotekek - Souls that have been stripped of all individuality and are now husks of pure lust and violence that clean the halls of the dead. These things act as specters but will do 3d6 +1 points of damage to anyone's flesh they encounter unless a save vs death is rolled as they by pass armor and ravage the soul stuff of their victims. Clerics can turn them but its not easy as they react as ghouls and gather at mass graves. They're spectral claws and pads leak acidic ectoplasm that cleans the soul stuff of the dead.  
  2. Ol'leg are the animated body parts of those blown apart while moving across the world to their final rewards. The body parts long for the soul stuff of the living and can become attached to the auras of the living accidentally. Ghouls, ghasts and other undead are attracted to the spiritual scent of these things  and a pack of 1d4 of the horrors may become attracted to the unfortunate that has picked up these astral parasites. A simple ancient Greek cantrips can remove them but it is almost forgotten accept to certain ancient scribes. 1d6 of the ghostly horrors might be easily encountered. 
  3. Yiqulephaq are faceless wailers who appear as mourners in ancient graveyards and ruins, they turn and face their target which must save vs wands or be struck deaf and dumb from staring into the face of their own reflected end of existence in the face of these horrors. Their prey is unable to cry out a pack of 1d6 ghostly horrors will move in for the kill stripping flesh and bone from their prey. They act as ghasts with the power of ghosts from OD&D. 
  4. Ugotartugan or Bat Faced Ghouls hunt the underworld for morsels of flesh and bone, acting as proto demonic servants for black wizards pleaded to Hades. These things are blind and hunt by echo location and a radar sense. They have incredibly sharp teeth and will bleed out their prey greedily feeding on the blood of their victims. The marrow is next and finally the bones until nothing as left. They move and have the abilities of ghasts, hags hate these things. They feed on larva with impunity though. 
  5. Llh'naosha are rabid ghosts of perverted strength. They seek out the violent and psychopathic in the wastelands and packs of them rip apart flesh and bone for 2d6 +1 points of damage from their filthy ectoplasmic claws. 
  6. Zoru-oameg are spirits of predatory hate and greed, they seek out and kill trespassers in the ruins & graveyards. They create incredible ectoplasmic displays of death lights and colour that will destroy the souls and minds of their pray. They then feed on the souls of their victims, those caught by them age 1d20 years as they're lives ebb and are sucked draw from their bodies. Hags often have a pack of 1d20 spirits of these around their alien dwelling places.

Review & Commentary On The OSR Haunted House Toolkit/Adventure- The Price of Evil From Zzarchov Kowolski For Your Old School Campaigns

You come upon a haunted mansion of terror and pure evil dragged from the depths of Hell itself and even your jaded sensibilities are taken aback at the horrid pile that looms before your party! There is a price to pay though the Price of Evil! MUHAHAHA! Well, your old uncle Eric is back with another commentary and review of an old school OSR solid third wave product; in this case The Price of Evil From Zzarchov Kowolski.

Man, last night I was in the middle of my Hell Night mash up game and on my tablet, a message comes in from  Zzarchov Kowolski   about the Price Of Evil an old school haunted house generator extraordinaire. I was on line during a smoke break and had to beat my players off with a stick because of this book. They were not happy that Mr. Kowolski had sent me this book. Why? Because with  pack of cards from the dollar store, some time and a bit of energy you can literally generate hundreds of rooms of horror, depravity, and haunted menace to keep your players and PC's on the edge of their seats. According to the author,
"The Price of Evil is a haunted house toolkit that allows you to make a haunted house in about half an hour with a deck of cards, an hour if its your first time.Currently the layout is unfinished,  the art is not yet present, and there needs to be some copy editing, but Halloween is coming up and so this is being offered in rough format.  As it is cleaned up,  the file will be updated with cleaner layout and art."  I honestly don't care about the artwork because for four dollars you get a tool kit that can literally generate an entire level of a haunted mansion or dungeon in no time flat. No wonder that my players weren't happy at all. But that's only the beginning here with this product.
You can take this generator/sourcebook and create any type of haunted castle or adventure location you need. Where in The Hell House Beckons is an adventure location generator in its own right with a sort of fixed location. The Price of Evil is a completely different animal and its sort of like comparing apples and oranges here. But what can this ghostly  adventure generator system do for you as a DM? Well, really what can't it do? Here's a good example of the sort of OSR niches that the Price of Evil can fill.
For a Lamentations of the Flame Princess game this is the generator to grab when creating a ruined or Plague struck village or isolated location for a completely different flavor. Given the alternative pseudo history of LoFP, the Price of Evil stands out as a great choice for a generator. It gives with fuss and with a suit a whole round house way of creating haunted villages, houses, small shrines, large mansions, castles, and more.


 This is the generator to grab for that inheritance adventure for your landed characters. This is the generator to grab when you want to create a nasty haunted adventure location for Dark Albion in some isolated part of Dark Europe. It's just that God damned flexible!
Given the events of Dark Albion's Rose War events and background the number of haunts, hauntings, and ghostly horrors has got to be huge. This generator allows that focus to be grounded quickly and easily into the Dark European wasteland and wilderness locations that Dark Albion talks about. I'm not saying its a perfect fit but it does a good job at what it does.

Generation of adventure locations isn't the only hat trick that 'The Price of Evil' does at all. The fact is that this generator is generic enough to be used as a creator for investigation and haunted locations for any D&D retro clone system. This isn't something that was lost on me last night. This system could be used to generate a haunted Wild West location as well as an entire ghost town if the DM was inclined or an isolated late 1900's  or 1900's haunted house.

There are other uses for this product as well which includes Labyrinth Lord and Mutant Future, often times DM's of old school  post apocalyptic wasteland adventures seem to forget the victims of the Holocaust or Apocalyptic events that created their world. This is in fact a missed opportunity for the DM, with the Price of Evil they can create entire ghostly filled ruins of the wasteland and throw their players an unexpected and unwelcome twist! Especially with the Mutant Future D&D variant Mutants and Mazes.

This also brings up the fact that Price of Evil will also work as a really nice generator for those plague haunted locations for Astonishing Swordsmen and Sorcerers of Hyperborea. The tone and weirdness that this generator evokes is right in keeping with the high end of the sword and sorcery weirdness from Marvel's Conan and AS&SH's wheel house.

This also brings up the fact that because of the D&D style that the author uses Price of Evil could with a bit of slight of hand be quietly used to create locations of Dungeon Crawl Classics and other variants! This is really one of the more flexible products for adventure creation.
For an OSR science fantasy game like White Star, The Price of Evil could be used to generate plenty of planet side locations for your adventurers to deal with. There are plenty of opportunities for failed colonies, planet side castles, and all kinds of things that can be done with this type generator.

So do I think that The Price of Evil is worth the price on Drivethru? Well, in a word yes! This generator is very well done and its got tons going for it. I'm a fan of generators of this type in general and this is an especially well done style of product.

Friday, October 30, 2015

The Great Electric Hell Gate Halloween Event - An Alternative AD&D/Dungeon Crawl Classics Occult Pulp Mash Up Campaign

If you've been following the events and background of The Great Electric Hell Gate adventure that's winding down now. The PC's are playing descendants of pulp era superhero mercenaries trying to free the soul of their mentor Captain Freedom from the clutches of the Devil and his bounty hunter of souls Madam Satan! Its the future of 2009, and World War II has dragged on for decades now after a crimson comet has hurled between the Earth and the Moon. Hitler and his army of cybernetic horrors have reduced Europe to a wasteland and now the monsters and extra dimensional horrors from Thule have made matters worse. Things are downright dangerous as Hitler cybernetic and android forces have made pacts and cut deals with certain dark wizard cabals. Now is not the time for this! Our adventurers are the descendants of Shock Gibson, Captain Freedom, The Black Cat, Ted Parrish (movie actor and master of disguise), plus Pat Parker  and her Girl Commandos.

The PC's were able to hold the forces of Hell at bay for the moment by wrapping the elderly Don Wright (Captain Freedom) in a circle of protection and placing him in a state of suspension by way of their wizard Dr. Parrish master of the mystic arts. The rest of the team barely held off Madam Satan ( succubus & 8th level black wizard) along with her demonic host.
The PC's lost Thrid of the Ice Walker clan a warrior and barbarian from Thule to the forces of  Hell! The journey into the Terror an area on the Texas/Mexican border was  dangerous and frightening. Scorpion squids, alien Lovecraftian horrors, and worse call this area home not to mention the muaurders, bandits, black wizards, mutants and other monsters.
The adventurers were able to banish the vile villains for now and after burying their friend began the journey out to the wizard's tower that held the crown of power. The only artifact to save their mentor's soul! Out in the 'Merican wastelands the PC's ran afoul of a gang of drug smuggling Neo Nazi clad cultists belonging to the Claw. The Claw are a bunch of mutated villainous scum who get their cybernetic systems from Hitler's forces and act as fifth column agents out in the wastelands. The Claw loves mutants that sport 1d6 mutations or at least three major ones. Their leaders are often 4th or better wizards or clerics.  These in turn worship a rather dangerous demonic cat demon petty god, Zethros  The Cat of the Blackest Abyss.
 The fire fight wasn't pretty and resulted in one blown shipment of Neo Heroin on the part of the Claw and two wounded heroes.

The wizard's tower was on the outskirts of a border town and wasn't what the players were expecting at all. The tower had an almost organic look to it and it wasn't until they ventured inside that its real secrets were revealed!
The adventurers had to do a good deal of dungeon crawling up through the tower and that's when they started to find dead Brothers of the Crimson Cross throughout the tower as they made their way up the tower. The tower itself was one giant organic bio mechanical nightmare that had been summoned from the Outer Darkness. It was originally a construct that belonged to the Elder Things.

The crown of power is or was the only thing anchoring it to this world! The Brothers sought to thwart our heroes efforts but ended up becoming the victims themselves as the tower wasn't quite as unoccupied as they believed! The Elder Things and their proto shaggoth servants had comeback to retake their property back!
After a harrowing series of events with the Elder Things & two PC's loosing hands and arms to the the slime and the tower the PC's were able to claim the crown of power!
The party was able to claim some loot as well left behind by a previous team of adventurers.

They did have to fight some zombies to get back to the border town and some heavy duty magickal healing but this was very expensive. They're team mates acquired cybernetic hands and arms to compensate for the lack of limbs. Eventually they did manage to free their mentor's soul from the clutches of Hell but the price was terrible and high indeed! All in all this was a really good game for Hell night and not a bad mashup at all!

The real life saver here was the Crawling Under A Broken Moon issue #5 which has some He Man style rules, classes, artifacts, etc.  that cover some of the material that Crimson Dragon Slayer creates! This is really a match made in Heaven and saves a DM lots of  hair pulling. The mutant powers blend nicely with both AD&D 1st edition and Dungeon Crawl Classics!

Review & Commentary On The OSR Haunted House Toolkit/Adventure - The Hell House Beckons For Your Old School Campaigns

Imagine stumbling across an adventure location where the damned have come to Earth and a house has come to tear your party apart from the inside out. Welcome to The Hell House Beckons adventure source book from by Kiel Chenier


So I received a press kit copy of  the OSR adventure The Hell House Beckons on G+ today, and I'm in the midst of reading it now. One thing you should know before going into this review and commentary, I'm a huge fan of the movie and book The Legend of Hell House, the Frighteners,etc. It clocks in at about seventy four pages of haunting horror +18 OSR fun. The tag line is one which we've seen countless times before in games:

"In the middle of a barren dustbowl is a manor. Tall and grey, it juts out of the infertile earth like a tombstone, marking the grave of hundreds. This manor is a place of evil. A place where tortured ghosts stalk the halls, and beneath its floorboards are the remnants of atrocities committed in the name of the Devil.
It is a place from Hell, and it must be cleansed"And this is where every haunted house convention goes out the window. The house randomly generated each and every time PC's visit it. And there are some killer pieces of adventuring horror happening here and your PC's are dropped right into the middle of the action. The author provides lots and lots of tools along with a ton of NPC's plus options. While the adventure does use many of the conventions of a traditional haunted house there is a solid departure from the norm with his take on ghosts and how they should be used in OSR adventuring.

This is a mature content adventure all the way through some of the content is downright disturbing and weird, which is exactly how the adventure conducts itself in spades, it basically tries and succeeds to create an atmosphere of weird horror while maintaining its play-ability throughout. The Hell House Beckons takes the PC's and puts the adventure location center stage while using each and every little trick, monster, and horror to bring the PC's into the cross hairs of the powers of the house itself. Those ghostly powers are something that the DM generates himself except for a few of the NPC's. The adventure layout is clear and concise at what it does but this adventure is going to take an extended time to play.

The adventure is written, designed, and illustrated by Kiel Chenier from Dungeons & Donuts. And over the years I have read his blog, I love the material in this adventure/source book/toolkit. It plays fast and loose with the haunted house conventions in several places and that's fine. On the whole the artwork is good and the maps are very nice. But parties of adventurers should be very careful this has the potential to be a TPK in places.

The adventure seems to have a take no prisoners attitude toward  its premise, contents, and the PC's  themselves. The whole haunted house trope is taken to eleven and then wretched up to eleven in places. This makes the adventure a natural for many OSR systems especially Lamentations of the Flame Princess and other sword & sorcery retroclones. There are several systems in this title that fit the DYI attitude of the genre on several levels including what happens to the PC's who get too closely involved in the affairs of Hell House in question. There is actually a live play through as well.But beware this this live play through has spoils throughout!

As a tool kit this adventure succeeds on a number of levels and it does a damn fine job at what it tries to do. Redefine the haunted house and try to kill your PC's while making sure that you have a fun time with it.There's a ton of material here that can do some real damage to a party of adventurers on a number of levels, this is another one of those party changing locations that will haunt your players nightmares for years to come! Five out of five.

Thursday, October 29, 2015

1d6 Random Manifestations of the Prima Materia Encounter Table For Your Old School Campaigns

Those adventurers & freebooters who stumble upon a manifestation of  Prima Materia are in the presence of the most valuable and dangerous substance in existence. Its manifestations are as rare as the ether itself for it is  the primitive formless base of all matter similar to chaos, the quintessence, or aether.
PC's who run into this material which is rare must save vs death or wish to pick it up or sacrifice themselves to it as if they were under the manifestation of a powerful charm spell. This material has dark and abiding connections to the primal forces of the over universes and will do 1d6 points of damage per round to anyone within range of it. It will manifest itself in pools of bubbling abnormal pseudo substances. Mi Go often appear to collect this material in specially prepared vessels and take it back to their hive homes for unknown great works of their own.

"the thin, monotonous piping of an unseen flute", and decides that "he had picked up that last conception from what he had read in the Necronomicon about the mindless entity Azathoth, which rules all time and space from a curiously environed black throne at the centre of Chaos"
Lovecraft, "The Dreams in the Witch House"

'That there abides in nature a certain pure matter, which, being discovered and brought by art to perfection, converts to itself proportionally all imperfect bodies that it touches'
Arnaldus de Villa Nova
1d6 Random Manfestations of the Prima Materia Encounter Table
  1. The  Mmilzs-datha is a soul melting material that comes from the deepest bowels the Outer Darkness manifesting through ancient cracks in space & time. Each place where the material touches 1d4 cosmic manifestations will appear. Spells will last for 1dx10 times the normal duration and time will lose 1d4 hours at a clip. The substance appears a bright blue green golden sanity bending material. 
  2. Yaz-phuggogo or the Goddess's tears come from the back bone of night and leak into our world through a back door in the local time space continuum. The material erodes everything it touches including reality and will break any magick or spell that it touches. It will also cause 1d6 minor mutations to all within a 30 foot radius of the stuff. 
  3. Uglogntarart or the Flexing of  Joints of Time is a greenish glowing substance that is found between the moments and seconds of time. It will age anyone or anything it touches by 1d20 years almost instantly and does 3d6 +2 points of damage to anything it touches. The stuff is liquid time waste and is radioactive on top of everything. Very dangerous material. 
  4. Z'ephabol is the manifestations of black mind stuff of forgotten gods that returns to the source. The stuff consumes souls at at rate of 2d4 +1 points of damage per round as the pseudo god souls search for a way to return to their half existence. A black shrouded horrid shape will come to unlife after consuming four souls but it will only last 3 days before falling back to primal soul material. The stuff eats through metal and flesh as a hot knife through butter. 
  5. Rlellhugnigu also known as the afterbirth of demons, this material is the after birth from a manifestation of the primal forces and bares the taint of horror on existence of it. The material will birth 1d6 minor demonic entities that the stuff will consume again. They will seek out to harm the living in anyway possible and will murder on soul to remain on this plane but can be banished with a simple spell of turning. But they may return in 1d4 days again to seek out another soul. This material is used in lower level demonic summonings and dire curses upon the living. 
  6. Ysanyarlz lubricant between the dimensional planes, this stuff contains the worst of the alien horrors locked out beyond space and time. These horrors will birth themselves upon to the world and seek out a pure soul to consume in order the manifest on this plane. Use the Summoning spell from Lamentations of the Flame Princess to generate Ysanyarlz entities, they loath priests and clerics wishing to consume the eyes of any they encounter.

The Brothers of the Crimson Cross For Your Old School Campaigns

The Brothers of The Crimson Cross were a group of vigilante white supremacists out along the border territories back in the 1860's which still operates out in the wastelands of the Texas/Mexican territories or as their commonly known the Terror. The Brothers of the Crimson Cross are now a well funded secret society which has moved into not only white supremacy but also anti mutant activities. They are as vile a group as villains go and have activities in human trafficking, slavery, and a host of other activities including prostitution, drug & weapons smuggling as well as a tight relationship with Nazi.

After the events of Crimson Day the brotherhood became even more dangerous, taking their brand of fanatical hatred to new highest within 'Merica. No mutant or deviant as they put it was safe and wild bands of their operatives on horse back took many innocents to their graves. They often operate in teams of 1d8 brothers with a 3rd level or better fighter as their leader. Another thing that distinguishes the Brothers of the Crimson Cross is how well armed their operatives are. Bands of warriors will often be armed with flame lances for 3d6 +3 points of damage with a range of 40 yards. These frightening weapons are deployed with teams of machine gun toting thugs as well. They often employ blind or choke grenades to cover their activities, targets must save vs poison be affected by clouds of vomit inducing gas that make all skill checks at a -3 or - 4 depending upon concentration. This tactic is used to deter magick or spells as murder or hit teams are lead by a 3rd level cleric or better. The brothers wear combination gas masks and filtration suits to cover their activities so they can operate with impunity. Teams are often armed with M1 rifles or better weapons from brothers weapons depots scattered throughout the West.
These figures can be purchased right Here
For more difficult or dangerous pulp adventurer or mutant targets the Brothers of the Crimson Cross will employ heavy machine guns or even energy weapons should the need arise. The brothers operate in secret and have a long history of violence,depravity, and murder in their history. Local chapters are lead by a 7th level cleric whose inner circles are dedicated to gods or patrons of violence and murder of the most horrid types. Communities pray for mercenaries, freebooters, and adventurers to free them from the yoke of the Brothers of the Crimson Cross.

The Brothers of The Crimson Cross will often employ grand wizards (6th level or higher) as the heads of state chapters. These will meet twice monthly with the grand master of the order and decide the fate of the organization and its course of activity for the next sixth months at a time. Murder, black mail, and poisoning has been employed by the inner circles of the brothers for better pay, position, and a greater share of the criminal pie for centuries.

The Great Electric Hell Gate An Alternative AD&D/Dungeon Crawl Classics Occult Pulp Mash Up Campaign

Welcome to the future of 2009, WW II has dragged on for more years then you can possibly imagined. 'Merica is a ruined wasteland. Only our masked forces between 'us' and Nazi war machine! Ever since a crimson comet hurled between the Earth and the moon unleashing cosmic destruction back in the Seventies. Things have never been the same! You can read more about this world right over HERE

But now with October coming to an end and the world of Thule on the rise in the sky. The forces of Hell itself have come to claim the soul of a hero! Back in the invasion of Los Angeles the soul of Captain Freedom was given over to the forces of Hell itself. The descendants of

Shock Gibson, Captain Freedom, The Black Cat, Ted Parrish (movie actor and master of disguise), plus Pat Parker  and her Girl Commandos. Are going to stop the forces of Hell and Madam Satan from claiming their mentor's soul? Only by journeying into the wastelands of the 'Merican South West and the ruins of  an ancient wizard's tower to retrieve an ancient artifact ( the Crown Of Power)  will our heroes be able to vanquish the forces of Hell.

But the future of 2009 is not the pulp haven of yesteryear, instead this is a much more cynical and dangerous time. Mutants, monsters, and madmen are everywhere, Narcosaian drug kin pins rule the streets, dangerous cults flourish in the shadows, and adventurers seek their opportunities where they can.

The wastelands are dangerous places as well, there are alien things slipping in from Thule, cults from other where seeing a full opportunity and taking full advantage. Nazi agents have made in roads with these folks and drug trade doesn't just flourish, it explodes in full violent force! Rival gangs of blood crazed cultists and warriors clash while 'Merican government agents try to contain the violence as best they can. 
Canadian mercenary forces have been employed in these areas but the drug lords and their armies are gaining ground.

Border towns have sprung up along the way down to the Tex/Terror borderlands. Here the wastelands flourish and magick is a way of  life. Drifters, professional wizards, and Thulian casters come here to practice their arts along with cults from across the dimensions.

The wastelands are also where the vigilante forces flourish, supplied by big business, the Nazi, and the occult as well. Organizations such as the Brothers of the Crimson Cross and vile evil of the Claw organization. Both of these often recruit evil fighters of level 1,2,3, and the Claw loves mutants that sport 1d6 mutations or at least three major ones. Their leaders are often 4th or better wizards or clerics.

So what I did here was to adapt four sources into a second tier campaign/adventure setting here.  I used Crimson Dragon slayer for background details such as races,cults, etc. mixed with a good dose of Skywald Publishing then the magic system of Dungeon Crawl Classics and the 1st edition AD&D game for classes and more details including some of the monster material. But the real star of this has been the Crawling Under A Broken Moon DCC fanzines for its use of the modern firearms and tech, mutations etc.
Watch out for this 7th level madman 'super hero' government operative out in the wastelands kids! He'll fry you!

The final bit for this Halloween game is this video which actually convinced me to grab the DCC rule book and have a real appreciation for the game! There's a bit of bad language here but you really get the idea of what the hobby is really all about for me.

Wednesday, October 28, 2015

Review & Commentary On The 'Pay What You Want' OSR Adventure - The Secret of Cykranosh For Your Old School Campaigns

 So once again I'm a bit late to the party with the OSR compatible adventure  The Secret of Cykranosh via DriveThruRPG as a Pay What You Want module.This is a Lovecraftian module done in a very cool sword and sorcery six page stroke.  This module has a bit of everything, according to the author's page;
"This is a short module (6 pages) that wouldn't exist without Dyson Logos's work. I based it on the Dellorfano Protocols Dungeon that I linked in last night's Actual Play report. Dyson has been releasing certain maps with a CC-BY license thanks to his extremely successful Patreon campaign. This allows anyone to use and remix the original work, even for commercial use." Now I do love Dyson's map making skills and cartography prowess. This adventure clocks in a at around six pages of OSR sword & sorcery design and adventure fun. But what is the Lovecraftian back ground of the adventure? Well according to the author's blog'  As anyone who recognizes the statue of Tsathoggua on the cover can tell, and anyone who's read "The Door to Saturn" knows, this is deeply inspired by the work of Clark Ashton Smith. I've worked CAS's ideas throughout the module, and I think fans will really enjoy this little adventure. The cover is from a (Creative Commons licensed) photo of a statue of Tsathoggua made by Richard L. Tierney, who happens to sort of be an Appendix N author (Tierney wrote a story in Swords Against Darkness III)."
My suggestion is to read The Door To Saturn by Clark Aston Smith  before running this adventure. Things are going to make a whole lot more sense then simply diving into it. 

 But there's more to it then simply another pay what you want module, this one is creative commons. Yup that's right its one that you can use, reference, and replay. Something I wish other OSR publishers would do.
"Because I like Dyson's move so much, I've also released the complete text of this module in CC-BY. So not only is it free if you want it, you can also use it in your own projects however you like. I'm a big fan of the Creative Commons license as a way to share and distribute gaming material because it's less restrictive than the OGL." This earns its marks with me already and its a very cool way of making sure your going to be pay attention to future releases from the author. It also means that this work can be used for your publishing efforts and rpg design work as long as you respect the CC guidelines.
But is the adventure playable? Well the background brings the author's version of Mount Vormos into full focus. Here's the background via the pdf

"Background : Mount Vormos is an ancient crag that lies along a crucial trade route. Bandits have
been attacking caravans passing through, and rumors have come to the lands south of the
mountain. A cave in the mountain pass overlooks a crucial juncture and has provided a spot for the raiding parties to take in trade goods. Magic-users will know that there are rumors   connecting Mount Vormos to the ancient sorcerer Eibon, who long ago vanished to distant Cykranosh. Clerics  will know that it is linked to the bizarre god Tsathoggua and his evil ways"

The encounters are well thought out, bizarre in their content and they work very well for a six page adventure. I've noticed that with recent third wave OSR material adventures six pages is the magic number for an evening's entertainment and play. This marks this as another module to add to the pile for running down the line. But what systems can this one be run with? Original editions or Retroclones? Well the stat blocks seem to indicate an OD&D marked preference but that shouldn't stop a DM from using this one for Lamentations of the Flame Princess .All you have to do is plum the whole Soloman Kane vibe for your PC's and off you go. History is filled with hundreds of cities, locations, etc. that have been obliterated by war, famine, pestlence,etc. this adventure location  might not be any different.
Do I like it? Well personally I think it makes a nice mid gap adventure for an OSR or OD&D campaign. With a bit of work and some slight of hand this one would make an excellent adventure for Astonishing Swordsmen and Sorcerers of Hyperborea.

With a bit of work and slight of hand this adventure could be used as a mid point to bring your favorite adventurers into the dark depths of a sword and sorcery adventure then leave them between the devil and the machinations of Tsathoggua. All in all this rates on the high end of a four out of five.

Rumble At 'Asylum Q' Actual Play Event Overview & Encounter Tables

In last night's game the PC's were lead to the Asylum Q via the planar trails to the dimensional location by a party of NPC adventurers who refused to deal the five square mile hellish and haunted  location.
Five minutes into the session and the party is dealing with a Hell Dropper or two from the trees. Mobile ooze life forms that explode into acid filled sacs of fun.
The opted not to go into the facility on the trail of their black wizard from Koth  through the front door and instead find another way in. There were 'things' in the underbrush and the party had to deal with them. Wolves twisted by the energies of this other worldly location and events of the former facility gave them a hard time. Almost as if the place didn't want them there. What was really creepy was the 'wolves' flesh trying to flow back together after being dispatched by the PC's.

They finally penetrated the halls of the place via door that somehow opened into a patient's room. The place was spartan at best and in a completely decayed state. There was a wrongness to the place and one of the PC's happened upon a skeleton. After searching the body carefully they made their way into the halls.

They searched room by room coming across former adventurers corpses, confronting and battling unspeakable horrors. Dealing with weird phenomena and they have not penetrated the inner mysteries of the place nor faced the scorpion crab mercenaries.. yet. The PC's are still in the outer locations and are going down into the main areas next week. 

Asylum Q is a temporal wasteland accessible via the dimension time trails that lead to alternative Earths and weird locations caught between the planes. The 'Event' shattered many of these minor realms leading to all kinds of issues.Here are some of the monsters that adventurers might encounter in the halls of the place.

Random Asylum Q Adventure Encounters Table

  1. 1d4 dark creeper cultists on a mission, they will be very aggressive and dangerous. 
  2. Neothelid wizard and 1d4 slaves with it, on a mission to recover an alien bauble for its collection. 
  3. Clock work organ harvester on its rounds through the halls looking for any strays it can get. 
  4. A weird floating other dimensional eye acting as an agent for its dark master looking for a damned soul, will yours do. 
  5. A bit of an ooze and a primal horror zipping across the ceiling ready to drop on to a party of adventurers. 
  6. A group of 1d4  temporal apparitions of adventurers who don't realize that their dead and are going through the motions of adventuring through the halls. If you watch they may reenact their deaths or try to kill you.

Tuesday, October 27, 2015

Review & Commentary On Vacant Ritual Assembly Issue #4 From Red Moon Medicine Show For Lamentations Of The Flame Princess or Your Old School Campaigns

Red Moon Medicine Show continues to impress me, issue #4 of Vacant Ritual Assembly is one of those small press fanzines that I think is essential for the table. Vacant Ritual Assembly is for the Lamentations of The Flame Princess Retroclone rpg System. Fanzines are fast becoming one of my favorite ways of getting innovative and cool retro adventure and game material into the hands of fans quickly and with a real handcrafted feel. Clint Krause is a genius and a bit of a mad man with his crew of players, artists, and co. they bring a third wave OSR sense of adventure to their efforts. This book gives a feeling of wanting to incorporate the material right into a campaign right now! This is some of the best stuff to come down the pike for Lamentations besides the efforts of Mr. Raggi and his writers/designers.

Grab It Right Over HERE

First up you've got 'The Abstract: The strange denizens of an occult drug den.' , this place could be in San Francisco via 1890 or 1900 if the place was spun through the Twilight Zone and then put through the lens of a David Lynch film. Yet, its perfectly suited to drop into any old school campaign. Wonderful stuff right here and very nicely done with some great details.  The bonus is the next piece, an adventure encounter that can take players from your regular LoFP game and drop them straight into Narcosa! The Lotus Eater: A complete adventure that takes the PCs into the drugdream of Narcosa to explore the domain of a cruel lotus czar. Believe me this little encounter is worth the price of admission alone. This will take a group of adventurers and put them on Narcosa center stage with no muss or fuss. Seriously this will grab them by the throat and kidnap them to the setting. Not rail road, not a whip around adventure but a simple and direct adventure encounter with some imagination. Then we're launched into an article that is one part National Geographic on acid and one part oh my God what the hell are they doing? "The Oolai Cloth-Skins and Dragon Blackhide Bastards: A guest article by Anxious P, which covers the bizarre flesh-sewing practices of the Oolai people." is one of those weird pieces of greatness that you'll want to drop right into the back end of your campaign so you can have your adventurers going what in the hell did we get ourselves into. "Furious Gods:  A Primal Rage-inspired article describing the dinosaur godbeasts of the barbarian territories"  is the whole reason that I grabbed this issue. Giant dinosaur god beasts to throw into your Carcosa adventures or your lost world LoFP material with this piece of art!

Clint and co are very impressive at what they do with a low cost and high octane way of moving adventurers into situations that are bizarre, strange and complete mind #$@ s at the same time. This is the OSR material that you'll wonder how you could do with out.  Vacant Ritual  Assembly continues to set high marks over and over again! Seriously grab this material for your old school campaigns because man it doesn't get any better! Five out of five!

1d6 Random Encounters With Damned Souls Table For Your Old School Campaigns

When the gates of Hell can't hold the damned anymore then they shall burst forth onto the Earth. The damned can be encountered anywhere in their old haunts and ruins. They have been dragged down to the depths and often are let loose upon the Earth to terrorize the living, these horrors come back as evil spirits, ghosts, specters and worse. And their often waiting till the living venture into their areas of influence.

1d6 Random Encounters With Damned Souls Table

  1. The Katutharothali are the spirits of the damned of those who in life were corrupted by the forces of the occult, in death they come back to Earth as balls of hell fire and plasma waiting to attack the living. They often assemble around graveyards and ancient ruins. They attack as ghosts and with a flame attack for 2d6 +1 points of damage in a twenty foot radius. 
  2. Caunaka The Eyeless Horrors - These are souls of the damned who witnessed secrets and perversions of nature that they used to gain power and influence over the poor. These souls seek the eyes of the living so that they might experience the memories and life experiences of others. They attack as wights and use enchanted daggers on the living. 
  3. Gogonduavama The 3 A.M. spirits  - These are souls of those who pararished between the ticks of the  clock during the hours of the soul at Three A.M. when the demons of the Outer Darkness dragged them down to the icy depths of Hell. They're cold touch drains life from the living, they attack as ghosts and specters. They hate the living, they steal secrets, dreams, and stories from small children. 
  4. Glindrothat The Constant Mouths - These damned once used the power of gossip and lies to gain an edge over their mothers and fathers through black mail. They're heads are faceless things made up of nine mouths that have razor sharp tongues that lash out up to 20 feet for 3d6+3 points of damage. They move as ghouls and have had back and neck broken, then reset at unnatural angles. They crave the flesh and spirit of the living. 
  5. Uthmazgu are the spirits and undead hosts of the spirits of darkness, spite, and horror. They move at  odd angles through the spirit realms and can move as blink dogs rapidly appearing at odd intervals with the speed of demons with long nails that do 1d4 points of damage and they dip these into the tears of their victims. They taste like the sweetest wine to them. They are blank stark white beings whose flesh has been bleached by the fires of Hell itself. 
  6. Welatugona are the broken mothers who seek out the spirits of the children of others to comfort themselves. They use these small spirits as minions, they spy on, stalk and kill whole families as ghostly horrors. Welatugona are master manipulators and deceivers using black mail, and promises of treasure to murder their victims when opportunity presents itself. They count as ghosts, horrors, and monsters of the blackest stripe.

Monday, October 26, 2015

1d6 Random Mi Go Brain Cylinder Encounter Table For Your Old School Campaigns

Mi Go figures available from right over HERE

The Mi Go are partially behind what's going on in Asylum Q, at one point in tonight's adventure the PC's will be encountering a few of the famous Mi Go brain cylinders. They've come across these before and the results weren't pretty. Wizards, black magicians, and others who have had their own dealings with the Mi Go often have their brains harvested. These brains are put to a wide variety of uses from powering psionic FTL drive systems  to bio computer drives and in use as cybernetic intelligence for robotic systems. Here are few of the individual brains that PC's might encounter in this handy table. Note that these brains must be connected to the speaker, sight, and hearing units for them to be effective.

1d6 Random Mi Go Brain Cylinder Encounter Table

  1. The brain of Razu'rutha a 8th level serpent man black magician from Valusia whose terribly violent tendencies on his subjects and specimens were traded with the Mi Go. They took his brain for his troubles. He will summon a minor demon to carry out his bidding to find a new receptacle for his evil essence. Namely one of the PC's or a nearby NPC because after all this time he's not choosy. 
  2. Ve'rei The Elder Thing a hated enemy of the Mi Go and 6th level cleric of Shub-Niggurath. He will try to summon 1d4 of his brother things to take him back to the colony. They will attack anything present with bio energy weapons. 
  3. Bree Great Race Mind - Bree is a mad being because part of his brain has been used as a Mi Go instrument. He is aware of this and in constant phantom pain from the experience. This being is a black magician of the darkest strip by human standards and will summon 1d6 robotic Mi Go drones to attack anyone present. He will then take any injured to a near by medical lab for a brain transplant. He's tried this four times before but the Mi Go are aware of his diabolical plans. They find it amusing. 
  4. The Thing From Venus - This being loathes everything and everyone equally, it wishes to destroy itself. A sixth level wizard of Nyarlathotep who will not let it die, this thing will try to gate in a minor demon to destroy the entire facility. 
  5. Rick Silus is a member of the Brotherhood of the Yellow Sign and a sixth level thief, they have copied his mind and cloned a new agent of Rick to try to infiltrate the brotherhood but their plans came to naught. They are keeping Rick's brain alive to torture it some more for his knowledge and plans by running his mind through simulated realities of his life. Rick is almost at the point of madness and begs to be destoryed but he does have knowledge of the inner workings of his cell of the brotherhood. 
  6. Bruith'a interstellar bounty hunter and slaver uses magic to hunt down the scum of the universe. An eighth level wizard with ties to the Starry Wisdom cult on Earth. He crossed the Mi Go and became a brain in a jar but his alien mind has resisted their tortures so far. He will contact a dimensional wanderer, a dangerous half demonic insectoid Lovecraftian race that will appear in 1d4 rounds to take his brain to a specially prepared medical station 1d6 light years away and gain a new body. Then he will return to wreck vengeance on the Mi Go. He will destroy anyone who gets in his way.

Adventure Workshop With Asylum Q For Tonight's OSR Game Event

Sunday I spent the day away from the internet and social media, instead I spent the day with friends doing a bit of brain storming and world building. The location for tonight's adventure was basically a blank canvas and we began by choosing a not too often used AD&D 1st edition book, in this case the Fiend Folio. The next trick was to pick and develop the vile villain of the piece. That's where Venger Satanis's Revelry In Torth came in. As one of the reviews stated from Amazon," Lastly, I really like that Torth was designed with fan participation in mind. If you get inspired and wanna create your own module for this mindf*ck of a lovechild, contact Venger Satanis and tell him what you have in mind. He'll work with you from there.  If your intent is to simply make a module and throw it out there for "unoffically" then go ahead and make it your bitch with no restrictions. After you've made it public, send Venger a link so he can help other Torth fans find it." Given some of the nasty Lovecraftian magick hiding just under the surface of the module this was an easy fit.

The look and feel of the adventure is just as important as the direct that you want to take with it, in this case I'm playing with the tropes of a haunted house style adventure but mimicking the usual fun house style but inverting it almost Silent Hill style keeping adventurers on their toes every step of the way. Death lurks around almost every corner. The trick here is to avoid the usual pit falls of D&D adventure design and tug the players into an unexpected direction. Knowing your players personally instead of the usual convention pit falls also helps with this. In a con your going to be playing with strangers but in a home game the dungeon master is afforded the luxury of dealing with the one on one personal experience. So you can tailor your adventures as needed.
Next came the grounds and how they're going to be put together given the fact that this isn't our world per say and that its a massive sprawling complex with almost a hundred year history in its wanderings I decided to go with a something a bit different on some of the floors, I took out The Star Ship From Hell By Rafael Chandler From Neo Plastic Press  to develop some of the weird alien medical tech medical wings and really give the place an unearthly feel.  From there a few of the grounds and weird phenomena were quickly filled in with some really dangerous wild life from the Teratic Tome and Lasus Naturae which  is now available in PDF at DriveThruRPG and RPGNow. The random table were perfect for generating strange life forms and dangerous stuff as needed. One thing I've learned over the last couple of months reading, writing, and doing development work is that you need to keep things tight and keep the adventure to about six pages.

This is the perfect length for a night's entertainment with up to about six players and enables the DM to go through the material to get the PC's in and out of the adventure location, to the conclusion and goal of the adventure and to give the PC's either modest treasure or a minor reward keeping the victim errm heroes on the reel. It also keeps the adventurers hungry for the next adventure!

Sunday, October 25, 2015

Asylum Q an Adventure Location For Your Old School Campaigns & Actual Game Event

So tonight I'm wrapping up writing out and designing my new adventure Asylum Q, I've spent most of the day away from the computer and social media getting this bad boy together. So what is Asylum Q? Well, its no place at all simply an other dimensional location five miles square where nature has become a twisted version of itself and it's become 'unhinged' from its world by the 'Event'. The place flutters throughout the multiple planes of existence claiming new victims and unleashing its other dimensional madness on all manner of places. Now its come just in time for the PC's to explore its winding corridors, alien weirdness, strange ghosts, and more. There are twenty five Elves who were kidnapped and now the PC's are on their way to save  them! The question is whose coming to save the PC? They tracked the Elves to an other worldly slave market off planet and a mysterious masked stranger whose led them on dimensional hopping horror fest into a weird five mile stretch of psychic real estate. Welcome to Asylum Q.

So the source material for Asylum Q includes The Tetratic Tome from Raphael Chandler (which is on sale from Drivethru along with all of his other titles go check em out), the first edition AD&D Fiend Folio, Venger Satanis's Revelry In Torth, and Fantastic Heroes and Witchery. I'm also planning on using this adventure location with  Dungeon Crawl Classics as well.

The facility covers five miles of park like land now gone to wilderness, this includes various kitchens, laundries, chapels, entire pond for drinking water, other buildings for care facilities and more. In addition the facilities are interconnected by miles of underground tunnels. The entire place was powered by massive set of boiler rooms which if the rumors are to be believed are haunted by demonic Lovecraftian elemental life forms.

At Asylum Q its always night and there are three moons in the sky, the grounds surrounding the place are dangerous as well. There are weird and twisted animals and phenomena which can easily kill the unwary. As the location travels interdimensionally it picks up stray travelers, monsters, mutants, and worse. The kitchens and dining rooms are always stocked leading some to speculate that perhaps the place is run by some sort of minor god or power. The chapels serve a wide variety of weird gods and there always seem to be new statues and symbols being added with dimension visited. Haunted doesn't even begin to describe the place.
The grounds themselves team with a whole bunch of weird twisted number of beasts. There is a 30% chance of a random encounter per hour spend on the grounds. Here's a quick list of random encounters for your old school campaigns that a party of adventurers might run into.

Aslyum Q Random Adventure Encounters Table

  1. Pack of 1d6 devil dogs sporting 1d4 additional chaos mutations on the hunt 
  2. A lone dimensional shambler looking for a soul to take with it back to the planar wastes 
  3. An adventurer's apparition on the prowl for a victim feeding off of the vibe of insanity and horror of the place. 
  4. The air is filled with the buzzing of a thousand wings as a hungry swarm of mutant vampire bats takes flight 
  5. A lone twisted were wolf is on the hunt sporting 1d3 additional mutations 
  6. Pack of Lovecraftian ghoul warriors, 2nd level fighters have crossed over into this world
There are always weird phenomena that accompany the wanderings of Asylum Q, the place attracts strange almost alive things that wander the planes, not quite monsters, not quite elements, and always alien. Very dangerous to encounter for PC's. Here's a 1d6 weird phenomena encounter table to bedevil your adventurers further. 

1d6 Weird Phenomena Encounter Table
  1. Spinning Jennies - This crystal swarm of flowing energy cascades across the target's vision and surrounds the victim in a hail of fire fly like yellow green energy. The target must save vs wands or take a mutation check as weird energies play merry havoc with their bodies.Electrical devices take a point of damage each round exposed to the Jennies.
  2. Black diamonds - These weird black crystal shards grow from the ground and splinter into millions of tiny barbed crystal growths. Those exposed to the slightest cut from one of these crystals must save vs poison or death. The crystals multiply in the blood stream with two rounds erupting from the skin of the victim in an explosive spray of blood and gore. Black crystals grow from every orifice of the victim. 
  3. Chain webs - These growing and glowing lattices form from the alien energies of the dimensions and siphon off the carbon and chemicals from the skins of victims. The form strange spore like growths which if breathed in grow from within the victims unless a save vs poisons is made. Cure disease or light wounds will halt the horror in its track otherwise the victim takes 1d4 points of internal damage per round as the chain webs coat every surface within the victims. 
  4. Sad Marys - These strange weird stick figure like things grow on the surfaces of flesh and bone etching themselves on any flesh they come in contact with. Victims take three points of damage from the acid filled bacteria that these things living in symbiosis with. Sad Marys disfigure their victims lower charisma scores by two points from the horrific scars that they create. 
  5. Volt path clouds - These are created from the horrific discharges of violet energy that certain blue green mist clouds create. Five or more clouds gather then there is a twenty percent chance of a violet hard radiation discharge being created. Mutation and radiation checks must be made when this happens. 
  6. Blood snow - This stuff falls from small purple grey clouds that form in hallways and outside the weird vents to the steam tunnels below the asylum. Blood snow creates false memories with its targets and thoughts of suicide or murder can occur if exposed to this blood red snow like growths. Targets must save vs magick or spells to resist the effects. The target will be in a horrid mood with a pounding headache after being exposed  to Asylum Q's energies.
More coming up in part II