Monday, February 29, 2016

Brush With The Beyond Down Into The Gibbering Maze - Free OSR Adventure Map Pack & Actual Play Event

So once again its been a hell of a busy week here and tonight I'm resuming my usual Monday night game with my players. I've needed a fast dungeon to stock and get things moving in the underworld below the Gibbering Tower.
A free map pack is available perfectly suited as a twisting network of tunnels and dangerous locations to bring your adventurers grief.

Fortunately I remembered a free map pack that Dragon's foot had that works out perfectly for an underworld encounter of twisting caverns populated by weird mutant horrors. But what sort of mutant horrors, undead and other weirdly twisted creatures have the the PC's encountered in the

Well, the Beyond has figured in their pasts quite nastily. And they've crossed paths with the twisted entities of the Serpent Queen in the past. Between Realms of Crawling Chaos and Obscene Serpent Religion I've got about ninety percent of all of the serpent cult's  bases covered. Wish the PC's luck they're going to need it!

Review and Commentary On Blood & Bronze: rules From Cyclopean Games

Over the last week or so, I've gotten a few complementary copies of various retroclone systems and rpg products. One of these happened to be Blood & Bronze rules by From Cyclopean Games. This is a stand alone game that uses its own unique fantasy system set in a fictional Mesopotamia of the ancient past. It clocks in at about sixty eight pages of compacted well thought out rules. This is about as stripped down a game as your going to get for a weekend of sword and sandal  play. This is a beer and pretzel's rpg game system with some very neat bells and whistles built into its system. Given that cover I was expecting more from this game. Here's why.
Available right over here

This is a class based system, similar to D&D in that it has ability/attribute scores that give modifiers, but differs in a way that  in that you use both the score itself for saves. Then gives the PC  and the modifier  for skill challenges.  Each PC  has its own starting equipment, special abilities/skills/spells. Classes are Mercenary (fighter), Rogue (thief), Desert Farer (desert ranger), Courtesan (bard), Mystic (magic user), and Seer (another wizard priest). If your interested in seeing what character generation is like then there is a free PC rules generation set up pdf  for free
The rule book does have some fantastic artwork though, it features beautiful interior illustrations by Rich Longmore, cartography by Sam Perkins-Harbin and cover by Adam Moore. Here's the problem if I was a consumer and spent nine dollars and ninety cents on this pdf  I'd be very angry. That's because of poor organization on the authors and designer's parts. Blood and Bronze rules is only the character generation and expansion for this system is on the website. The setting material is very, very, light as in non existent in the rule book. There's lots of pretty artwork though out and plenty of PC options but for extended campaign play I'm going to want more. Many people are not familiar with the time period & setting  that this game covers. I was expecting a starting adventure to get my players off on their journey of high adventure in the rule book. There's one you can download and print off from the game's website called the Slave pits of Sippar: an introductory adventure. But really folks are going to want a bit better packaging then this. There is also a basic adventure available called Thralls of the Sun which is sold separately from Lulu.
So what's that adventure about;"Thralls of the Sun is a fantasy role-playing adventure designed for the Blood & Bronze game system. The adventurers have been sent to labor until their deaths as slaves to the Sun God, digging underground canals to bring life to his arid city. The adventure pits the PCs against the slave-keepers that torment them, but also against even more deadly secrets hidden in the dark and in the hearts of their fellow slaves."   So the basic adventure that should have used as part of the product is being sold separately. and the setting material is separate on the website as well. Yeah, with gamers in today's economy the authors and designers need to reconsider their product model and combined these elements into one  product to give more utility for this system.

I'm sorry but after looking and reading Blood & Bronze: rules From Cyclopean Games there isn't anything new that's being brought to the table. Poor organization from the designers and authors keeps this from being a fantastic set of rules for one of the most interesting time periods in human history.
This is really too bad because there's plenty of support for this gaming system from a solidly designed website, plenty of G+ community support, and more. This system gets a three out of five and it could be a five out of five with a bit of work on its production and its organization. There are too many bits scattered throughout the support structure to merit a higher rating at this time.

Saturday, February 27, 2016

Review & Commentary On The World Of The Lost Adventure Source Book By Rafael Chandler As Old School Campaign

What happens when your Lamentations of the Flame Princess adventurers stumble upon an African lost world setting of massive proportions? You get World of the Lost from the pen of Rafael Chandler and the warped minds of some of the OSR's premiere artists. This is an entire expansion of the LoFP system in my humble opinion. There are some pieces of great PC options from character generation expansion, new spells, equipment, regional weaponry, dark magic, techno science fantasy secrets, and more for about ten bucks! This isn't a shelf warmer its a book like Vornhiem that your going to be reaching for again and again.


There are books you see as an old school gamer that you know are going to be worth waiting for and World of The Lost is one of those. This is  massive campaign resource of a book that details an a the fictional city of Khirima, in a 17th-century Nigeria. The territory depicted in the map is dominated by a large
plateau inhabited by bellowing dinosaurs and strange monsters. It is one of the must have books to get besides Carcosa in my humble opinion for Lamentations of the Flame Princess. This book enables a dungeon master from the ground up straight out of hand to create their own version of the setting. This book takes many of the 'Lost World' setting cliches and turns them on their ears. The heroes here can be anything from the native Africans to your own LoFP PC's and your going to need them. This book sports an adventure for characters levels 1-4, featuring a 200-encounter wilderness hexcrawl, a city sourcebook, a dungeon, quests, diseases, new spells, and new magic items. And that's really the start of it,  this book allows the DM to create their own version of Khirima from the ground up for cities, towns, and tons of wilderness options. All of this can be expanded up on the fantastic maps that come with this adventure sourcebook. If this is the direction that Lamentations of the Flame Princess is going to take then sign me up. Khirima (kurr-EE-mah) is the capital of a large kingdom surrounded by villages and towns for many miles. And World of the Lost has table after random table to create your own version of this setting. You're PC options are all across the table in this book with options for everyone from the fighter to the cleric and every wizard in between with an African lost world flare. Merchants, lodging, weapons, etc. is all there right off the bat as you open this book. And it all works. Don't screw with these people or you will have your PC's flesh flayed off. Seriously these are serious folks and this book covers every single aspect of their lives.

Did I happen to mention the prehistoric life forms that inhabit certain sections of everywhere in World of the Lost? Everything from Dinosaurs to Ice Age giant mammals stalks the wild and wants to eat your face off. This book is post apocalyptic primeval setting with African overtones of weirdness. This book is dense, rich, and can't be taken in on one sitting. I've been dipping into it again and again for two days running and haven't even begun to scratch the surface. This book is has a massive featuring a 200-encounter wilderness hexcrawl with detailed entries like;"The city of Akabo. By day, smoke from the fire is visible from adjacent
hexes; by night, one can see the glow from the flames. A necromancer named Henriette (now in hex 23-A) cursed the city, and the dead have risen. These undead, known as ogbanje, attacked the living, and the curse
spread to those who have been bitten. The entire city is overrun. Countless swarms of ogbanje (1d100 per swarm) wander the streets. Most survivors fled north, rather than brave the bandits and wild beasts
around the plateau. Should the adventurers enter the city, they’ll find its
layout similar to that of Khirima (Chapter 1: City can be used to flesh out details). Most of the city is ablaze, and other than a few survivors hiding from the ogbanje, Akabo belongs to the undead."
This is the level of detail that your going to get from this sourcebook and it's on par with some of the best Lamentations of the Flame Princess books. The fact that you get locals as adventuring PC's is awesome and they're detailed as human beings and with clear cut motives for helping or hindering other characters. World of  The Lost is like Robert Howard's Africa slept with Carcosa and then fused together elements of Nigerian & UFO mythology to produce this campaign setting. I feel that this is a new corner stone for the Lamentations system.

These are the sorts of adventurers your PC's might be running into in the World of the Lost

I haven't gotten to the dungeon known as 'The Temple of Ages That Are Not' this is a science fantasy dungeon on par with the Expedition to the Barrier Peaks dungeon adventure. There are elements that I won't go into here in this review but are very raw, dangerous and brutal. On par with Mr. Chandler's Slaughter Gird for style and substance and actually takes some of that style and expands upon it with a deadly dungeon grace all of its own with a sci fi fantasy twist all of its own . The pdf is fully cross listed and referenced for each and every encounter with rules, entries, and references throughout the book's digital format.
To expand upon the content of  'World Of The Lost' there are some of the most weird and deadly lifeforms besides the prehistoric dinosaurs, plants, mutated horrors that inhabit this campaign setting that I've seen in a long while. There's enough content for seven or eight campaign's worth of material.
I can't recommend this book enough! Seriously one of the best campaign and setting books for 2016 so far in my humble opinion and if your going to spend ten dollars then get this book!