Wednesday, October 14, 2015

Review & Commentary On 'The Pay What You Want OSR Title' A Hundred Hellish Hordlings From Stephen A McCavour For Your Old School Campaigns

Ever since the Monster Manual II appeared I've always been a fan of the Hordling a minor demonic entity that can be used to cause misery and horror to parties.Hordlings have a deep history with AD&D according to wiki: The hordling (hordes of Hades) first appeared in the first edition Monster Manual II (1983).
So yesterday on G+ I happened  to stumble upon Stephen A McCavour  A Hundred Hellish Hordlings title and boy was I happy I did. This is a pay what you want affair and available over on Drivethrurpg:
This is an OSRIC compatible title but its easily converted to your favorite edition or retroclone system. The work here is on this species of Hordling and there are a lot of them. This is a labor of love for the author and there are many,many varieties of these monsters just waiting to spring on your adventurers!
The layout is simple and easy on the eye. Every entry has artwork as well and the flavor here is centered on the monster.
Here's a sample:
This Hordling is large, 5-6 feet tall at the shoulder with a 12 foot long body (not
including tail). It’s body is amoeba-like with a large crocodilian head. It has huge flat
eyes large human-like ears and 4 boney knobs on it’s head. It has large lobster-like
pincers for hands, felinelegs and feet a large prehensile tail and a double row of boney
spikes on it’s back. It’s mouth is huge and fanged. It has translucent orangish slimey
skin and a mouldy body odor.
Size; Large
Move: 40
AC: 6
Attacks: 3 or 1
Damage: Pincers & Bite: 1d6, 1d6, 1d8 or from weapon wielded by prehensile tail
Special Attacks: Spell Use: 3 spells/day - Levitate, Hold Person, Flame Arrow
Special Defenses: Immune to mental and poison based attacks.
Attributes: Str. 20 Int. 11, Wis. 13, Dex. 5, Con. 18, Chr. 2.
Level/xp: varies/ 18 per HD +1 per HP

The last part of this work is a set of tables for creating your own Hordlings and its pretty sweet it also includes a 'Weird #$@$' table to add just that extra bit of zing to your creation. As I said this is a pretty straight forward and well done monster book. The book has a really nice wish this was a hardback feel to it and the artwork really lends a Dr. Strange or dimensional hopping horror to the monsters as well. The Grey Wastes have always been a really clever and dangerous place to stick adventurers because of the Hags and other nasties that lurk there.
One thing I love about Hades is the sheer alien aspect of the landscape and its weirdness; this goes all the way back to the Seventies Dragon magazine articles according to Wiki : The Concepts of Spatial, Temporal and Physical Relationships in D&D", in The Dragon #8, released July 1977. In the article Gary Gygax describes the plane as Hades' three glooms, one of the "Typical lower planes".[1] The plane was mentioned again in an appendix of the known planes of existence in the original (1st edition) AD&D Players Handbook, published in June 1978, where it was described as "Hades' "Three Glooms" of absolute (neutral) evil".[2]
 Because of the nature of the plane and it was detailed in the second edition material such as Planescape there's an opportunity here for DM's to take the monsters from A Hundred Hellish Hordlings and make it their own.
 So this is one book to pick up if your going to do sword and sorcery style adventures. Hordlings seem to lend themselves to any number of styles of adventure but reading through the bits of second edition material I was reminded of the old pot boiler Hercules and the Haunted World starring Christopher Lee.  Lately I've seen any number of weird Sixties,Seventies, & Eighties style sword and sorcery and given my passion for gonzo gaming this pairing is pretty much an automatic for me.
Hades has always had a weird proto shadow world ecology to it and A Hundred Hellish Hordlings From Stephen A McCavour only adds to its reputation! So my strong recommendation is to grab this one today! 

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