Tuesday, January 31, 2017

1d6 Random Minor Treasures & Adventure Hooks Table For Your Old School Campaigns

There are objects & relics that hold special significance to some, objects though of seemingly little value actually hold the keys of fate for others. This objects can lead to greater wealth, hooks in the skeins of fate, or fates worse then death itself.

These objects often times appear in hoards & other recovered items of treasures but they often carry with them a mystical aura of magic that alerts those forces that seek such items. These factions are often dangerous or potentially magically powerful factions. These auras can sometimes 30% chance of being detected by a detect magic spell or by certain powerful mystical seers.

1d6 Random Minor Treasures
& Adventure Hooks Table

  1.  The Ring of Crown's Cross - This rather large ring of gold and inlaid silver has upon it a strange geas for the thing seeks the rightful heir of an ancient kingdom. Its worth only 100 gold pieces but with its strange sigils & writing in high Hyperborean it clearly outlines that it belongs to an ancient blood line. The relic will seek out the rightful heir by a series of odd twists of fate to find him or her. But be warned that who so ever finds this ring will be sought out to be murdered by a guild of assassins that have an ancient and terrible blood feud with the royal line. A team of 1d8 highly trained and motivated assassins will seek to murder the owner in their sleep and claim their soul. 
  2. The Box of Belour This small casket style box once housed an ancient demon's soul & now houses a fist sized ruby that grew around the black essence of this other worldly monster. The ruby is worth a small fortune about 7000 gold pieces but the ruby contains the soul of a horrid demon from the Outer Darkness. There will be 1d8 damned souls charged with seeking and recovering this box with the ruby in it. Treat these as free willed and intelligent zombies. The box in the hands of a trained necromancer of at least third level may temporarily banish the Damned back to their hellish black void. The minor demon make seek the owner out himself to recover this box and his soul.
  3. The Crown of Morta'Shei This ancient silver and iron crown is actually the property of a lost race and it is able to recall the lives of anyone who once wore it three times per day. This acts as a crystal ball and is able to confer the wisdom of hundreds of rulers of the Morta'Shei clan. But the undead ghosts of the clan's greatest enemies want to prevent the crown from entering the world of men once again. There are seven arch specters who seek the crown and end the return of the crown's influence upon the world of men. The owner can also see the spirits of the dead and once per day speak with the dead. 
  4. The Paints Of the Hunter This vessel of sealed paint is the only thing that prevents an ancient demon from entering the world of mankind once again. The paint can be used to create an ancient dimensional door into another dimension where the hunter demon awaits. The paint can also be used to create pieces of art that insure a successful hunt for a full season. The paint is worth a mere hundred gold pieces but to the right tribe they are priceless. They are usually found in vessels of three or four in isolated caves. The cult of the hunter seeks these paints whenever they are found for they are drawn to them. These cults cause murder, wanton destruction, and horror wherever they go. 
  5. The Sword of the Cat This +1 sword once belonged to the lord of the lions & was a gift from an ancient god. The sword allows its owner not only improved reflexes, dark vision, & improved tracking abilities but they can turn into a small lion once per day. The sword is sought by two cults of chaos who wish to murder any owners of the sword. 
  6. The Diamond of Mong - This ancient diamond is actually the fused ashes of a god thing from another age. The diamond allows the owner to create life like illusions up to five times a day. These are mere shadows of the former power of the diamond. A pack of demonic mercenaries has been seeking the time when the diamond is found. They will know when the diamond is uncovered and begin their eternal hunt once again. They will stop at nothing to recover this object and no deed is too debased for these fiends.

    Photo by Wolfgang Sauber

    All ideas and opinions copyrighted & trademarked to the owner of this blog
      & Dark Corner Productions Inc.

Commentary On Terror Tuesday - Thirteen OSR Folklore & Fairytale Books For Your Old School Games

There's only so far that regular OSR reference & resources can carry you as a dungeon master & sometimes you need that extra edge. Last night whist doing a bit of research I came across this great little page of thirteen free books on folklore.

These are perfect resources for a Dark Albion, Lamentations of the Flame Princess or A Red & Pleasant Land style of campaign. An old school campaign featuring E.Gygax's EX1 Dungeonland & The Land Beyond the Magic Mirror could benefit from some of these resources to help fill in the back bone & certain areas within this classic module.This is a module for characters 9-12 level & it goes above & beyond hard in certain areas. The module is imaginative but has that old school aesthetic of being weirdly violent and very dangerous to PC's health. But what it actually is a way of using classic fairy tale and folklore motifs and settings within an old school campaign.

If we start looking into Dungeonland for a moment we see that the PC's are transported there via any means;"The adventure begins with PCs falling down an earthen tunnel. It is suggested that the portal to Dungeonland be a barrel within the dungeon of Castle Greyhawk, but the Dungeon Master (DM) may work in any premise to get them to this stage." That's it that's the whole adventure background motivator for the PC's. Personally I'm more in line with what one of the reviewers of White Dwarf had suggested, "the player characters (PCs) are plummeted into what White Dwarf reviewer Jim Bambra referred to as "a strange partial plane"" Given the background & setting for these nightmare classics this makes a certain amount of sense.

I've written about using EX1 & EX2 with the Astonishing Swordsmen & Sorcerers of Hyperborea rpg system before.  But what about using EX1 & EX2 with other retroclone systems? Well that's where those free resources actually come in. In Dark Albion the idea of there being a partial plane waiting just on the other side of reality isn't that far off given the background of Chaos & the nature of the Elves. Its also not that far fetched to think of a high ranking social group of royals using such an area as a resource. The White Rabbit Charldos the arch mage is quite close in attitude to the elves of Dark Albion. Nasty, dangerous, & completely immoral. The white rabbit below isn't a rabbit at all but a man polymorphed into a rabbit. That's twilight zone level terror right there. But why add it into Dark Albion?

So what's idea have to do with Dark Albion? Well think about the Dark Albion setting rife with double dealing secret societal cults of chaos based on the black queen, white rabbit, red queen motif's & characters  of Lewis Carroll. Albion already has the War of the Roses going on & its a very simple idea to add in these factions. As things progress & move through your going to see royal players go down like chess pieces. Humans are such fragile things & these players are going to get very desperate as their side loses during the War of the Roses. The gloves are going to come off & forbidden secrets are going to be revealed for better or worse.

Matthew Lewis in his new book about the War of the Roses; "the roots of these dynastic civil wars went deeper and the branches reached further than this time frame suggests." This suggests forces that are in play that are far more dangerous than even the PC's realize.  I think that you could be looking at cults of the Elves of Albion bringing back pieces of fairyland & a possible end game. These folklore resources could be used to expand play in a totally different and possibly unexpected direction for Dark Albion.

The idea of partial planes also suggests an entirely different take for Lamentations of the Flame Princess & A Red & Pleasant Land. Dream planes that while based on human myth & legend are far more dangerous & totally alien then players were expecting. Once again here the idea can be to take the familiar motifs, tropes, legends,etc of mythology, folk lore, and fairytales then turn it into a ballon animal like creation for adventure fodder. Lamentations as a system is ideal suited for this style of one shot adventure where the PC's are at the center of the action. Will they live or die? Well that's where you and your players are going to have to take it too the table to find out!


  Dark Albion, Lamentations of the Flame Princess, & authors sited here are copyrighted & trade marked to their respective owners. E.Gygax's EX1 Dungeonland & The Land Beyond the Magic Mirror are trade marked & copyrighted to Wizards of the Coast. All other ideas & opinions are copyrighted & trade marked to the author as well as Dark Corner Productions. This blog post is for entertainment & educational purposes only. 

Monday, January 30, 2017

Free OSR Resource - & Magazine #11 For Your Advanced Dungeons & Dragons 1st Edition or OSRIC rpg systems

Today has been one of those days where I've had to put the hammer down on social media & pick up the keyboard this evening to get through the other half of my day. Work has been keeping me hopping & I've had to put in a bunch of bench time to make up the difference. I spoke with a very nice young lady today from my home who informed me that there were a number of cos-players & a healthy nerd community in Torrington. I sketched out my plan for the hobby shop event & when its happening on the Fifteenth of this coming month. So fingers crossed I'm going to be bringing back a convention style adventure set up using Keep of the Borderlands with Astonishing Swordsmen & Sorcerers of Hyperborea. Which brings me to the latest free past download of  "&" magazine issue number eleven. This issue concentrates on using the humanoid races of Advanced Dungeons & Dragons to better effect at the table. It basically builds on the traditional tropes associated with D&D humanoid monsters & then breaks them or uses them to warp the traditional hide bound view point in surprising ways.
Getting More Mileage from Goblinoids, by Bryan Fazekas is a great article on using humanoids in Advanced Dungeons & Dragons first edition games. The author goes through the facts within the game & then mines them for turning the humanoid races into actual challenging and dangerous foes for the PC's very good stuff. All of the humanoid monsters are covered from Gnolls to Orcs and all of the major monster races are covered.
Humanoid Society, by Lenard Lakofka  turns in and builds on the previous article for societal construction for campaigns and has a good twist on actually using the alignment system to the DM's advantage for monster design.
Points of View?, by Michael Corrinet - This is a rather useful article on the monster race's racial view of humans and provides both flavor & fodder to use and flesh out certain aspects of an adventure with far more detail.
Reviving the Lowly Orc: Two Variants, by Tom Pamperin details to orc variants of forces including the The Blaedigg-Tok, AKA Bloodcap Orcs, are a very nasty kind of orcish Special Forces. And the a few are chosen to become something much worse: Saalbund orcs, AKA Soul-Bound orcs. The Saalbunden (soul binding) ritual binds a group of three to six Bloodcap warriors into an unholy brotherhood fanatically dedicated to serving the tribe. Both of these make the traditional orc into something more military and wholly dangerous to any adventuring party.
The Ranger Requires a Double Take, by William Doc McDonald this article takes the ranger and turns the PC class into a force to be reconned with;"This article takes another look at the Ranger class, a version without spell ability. The ranger's ability to cast spells is so delayed that it is no real advantage to the class for most campaigns. Instead, new skills are added at more appropriate levels to reflect the ranger's continued
increase in awareness and ties to the natural world." This makes a certain amount of sense given this issue of '&'s contents.
The Extended Family of Sphinxes, by David A. Hill this takes the Spyhinx species and customizes them for the AD&D first edition table top. A very good article for DM's but not for the players! There is some serious stuff here.
& Musings, by Bryan Fazekas. An editorial with some bite for AD&D
Creature Feature I: Ecology of the Ogre Mage, by Bryan Fazekas - This article turns  the Ogre Mage into a far more dangerous creature then we were ever lead to believe.
Creature Feature II: Undead Ogre Magi, by Dan Rasaiah This article continues the first ecology article and then turns it on its ear with the undeath making  the Ogre Mage into a monster of myth and nightmare.
Friend or Foe: The Ogre Berserker Company, by Bryan Fazekas Ogres are a nightmare to begin with but now give them organization and the abilities of a berserk & add in dash of undeath.
The Toybox: Leomund's Long Coats, by Lenard Lakofka  Finally a bit of protection for the PC's with a twist.
Spell Caster's Paradise I: Codex Inhumanus – Kobold Shaman Spells, by Dan Rasaiah Turning the Kobold shaman into a player's party worst enemy.
Spell Caster's Paradise II: Leah Cim Disk of Altered Alteration, by Goblin's Henchman - This is a magic item that reenforces one of the main conceits of AD&D spell components. It gives advantages and more for the players.
Tactical Magic: Generating Magic Items and Spells for a Party, by Ian Slater, thinking tactical for the relics and magic items for a party with a different bent. There's some very well done stuff in.
BrewMaster: Games within Games, by Timothy Connolly Are you a fan of tavern games and bar games within your campaigns then this article is for you.
Mini-Adventure: Blues for the Red Sun, by Dan Rasaiah This adventure is for a party of 4 to 6 characters of 4th level. The adventure is set in the desert with a twist or two for the more experienced party of adventurers! This is a very dangerous little number to spring on the players at the table.
Mini-Adventure: Grym Grove, by Andrew Hamilton The Grym Grove is a stand of densely packed trees; the
grove has an eerie aura. An adventure with a twist of the Fairy and Fey about it and slightly more.
Hex Crawls: Two Shores and Torjetty Regions, by Andrew Hamilton - A fully detailed hex adventure encounter that your can drop into your home campaign. Well done and very detailed.
The Gaming Gourmet: Fusion Chicken, by Doug Rector What's for supper at the gaming table?! A recipe variant for your players.
For Further Reading, by Ron Redmond.. Internet resources for the OSR dungeon master whose as much into their research as their gaming! This is one of the most useful bits for me from '&' magazine to take on those players who are the so called 'experts'. You know the type.
So all in all this is a very well done issue of  '&' and there's lots of incredibly useful bits and pieces for the AD&D or OSRIC dungeon master to go to town and use. This material is actually useful for an OSR or traditional dungeon master. Some of this material could be very useful for a player who wants to add more meat for their half orc PC or their ranger character. They might want even more fodder to add that extra twist to their favorite character. But please check with your dungeon master before even attempting to introduce this material into an on going campaign. For the old school dungeon master this issue is a feast if you want to breath new life into those old orcs that jade players have gotten used to. This one has enough twists and turns to hang such a group out to to dry. Five out of five for usefulness, utility, & sheer old school inventiveness. Did I mention its free


Sunday, January 29, 2017

1d6 Random Minor Sword & Sorcery Artifacts Table For Your Old School Campaigns

Deep within the depths of the black spaces between the stars there are treasures from lost worlds that carry with them the aura of destiny & fortune. These objects are treasures beyond the ken of mankind, treasures  that carry with them the fate of men and women of adventure. These objects are unique but heavy with the weight of the ages.

1d6 Random Minor Sword
& Sorcery Artifacts Table
  1. The Arm Band of  Hrirun'ru - This armband once belonged to one of the royal houses of Atlantis herself & is worth 7000 gold pieces but its true worth is its ability to show the aura of those the owner sees with the artifact's 'sight beyond'. This ability is usable three times per day and acts as a 'know alignment' spell to those within twenty feet of the owner. The owner is also immune to the effects of normal flame when the arm bands abilities are used. One one is sure why this is but there are dangerous rumors.
  2. The Ring of Griid - This ring allows one to remain sightly out of phase with the normal space time continuum & see into a nearby dimension. The owner may blink four times per day and all of their melee attacks are +3 damage to other dimensional foes . The owner of this ring is feared & hated by Lovecraftian monsters. The ring is worth 5000 gold pieces and set with a fine grade aquamarine stone on a mounting of red gold. The owner can also hear whispers of the dead on the wind once per month these are the unquiet voices of the dead who cry out for vengeance beyond the grave. Rumors and sometimes valuable information has a 10% chance of reaching the owner's ears. 
  3. The Locket of Kel - This locket of red gold and Hell rubies made into the shape of a monster's heart once belonged to an monster slayer from Atlantis. It was said to have been fashioned from the tears of an ancient demon lord whose love was murdered by a hero from the ages before man. The locket has the ability to draw down the souls of those killed by the owner. The owner may draw out 1d6 hit points & vital information by asking the trapped soul the answers to questions they have three times per day. The owner of the locket cries tears of slightly acidic blood each time its used and they will have strange whirl like scars from using the locket. There are rumors of a demon hunting for this locket.Its worth 60000 gold pieces
  4. The Staff of Rtruinr - This staff enables the opening three times per day into a dimensional limbo between the black winds allowing a line of sight teleport without error. The staff is a +2 weapon that can cast an aura of protection around those within 16 feet of the owner. The staff was owned by an ancient king of Mu and it retains its aura of power to this day. Its worth 7000 gold pieces
  5. The Bracelet of Ko - This man's bracelet enables one to grab spirits and ghosts as if they were flesh and blood. It is often used to  communicate with the damned and dead three times per day. Made from wrought gold, silver, and shot through with semi precious diamonds this bracelet has the ability to cast protection from evil three times per day. The things is worth 4000 gold pieces buts history makes it far more valuable for it once graced the wrist of the ancient sea kings. 
  6. The Jeweled Prism of Stannus - This prism shows the where about of any demons or devils within a twenty foot radius of the owner. It can also detect any serpent men in disguise as humans when gazed through. The prism is worth 70000 gold pieces to the right collector.

All ideas and opinions copyrighted & trademarked to the owner of this blog
  & Dark Corner Productions Inc.

Only Twenty Eight Hours Adventurer,Conqueror, Kings Rpg System's Bundle of Holding!

Old school adventure, dungeon crawling, warfare, & even the conquest of entire countries is the province of The Adventurer, Conqueror, King rpg system. You can get in on the action of grabbing the entire OSR system in one bundle while helping out a great charity!

I haven't written much lately on Adventurer, Conqueror, King because I been rather busy with work & real life which has tendency to overshadow the hobby of OSR table top gaming easily. Anyone reading this blog knows I'm a fan of  Autarch Publishing & the Adventurer, Conqueror, King rpg system as well as the Blog of Holding folks. So with only twenty eight hours to get in on the deal you can get in on the ACK's action. I did a pretty extensive overview of this wonderful OSR tool kit of a game here.
So this is definitely going to be a case of what have you done for me lately Eric? Well let me speak about the main rule book & the ACK's set of tools that you get for campaign construction. The ACK's system is designed to take advantage of & enhance both itself as well as OSR classic & retroclone systems. It does this in a three fold way. One because its based on the Labyrinth Lord retroclone system its easy to understand & somewhat intuitive to use by an old school dungeon master. The basic rule book adds in a lot of options & bells and whistles for a unique system for domain play. The player characters have a lot more at stake that's tied in with not only domain level play but their own class levels as well.
Most of all getting in on this bundle helps out the charity that is close to Alexander Marcus's heart because he's a friend of mine.
My heart goes out to those who suffer with Mitochondrial Disease because that's who were helping out here. Alexander Marcus has a personal stake in this & he's a friend of mine.
"Ten percent of your payment (after payment gateway fees) goes to the charity chosen by Autarch Publishing owner Alexander Macris, the United Mitochondrial Disease Foundation. "It's a charity near and dear to me," says Alex. "My wife, Amy, was the first bladedancer in the Auran Empire, but she is now so sick with mito disease she can no longer even play tabletop RPGs. Her illness has no cure and limited treatments; the UMDF is trying to change that for her and other sufferers.""
When it comes to PC advancement & domain level end game, ACK's is really in a class by itself but because its based partially on B/X Dungeons & Dragons its really simple to pick up the system & then use it for campaign development. The end result is that you get a PC whose reached the end of their adventuring career while actually changing & leaving their mark on your campaign setting. Not the empty promises of past old school editions & retroclones but a real mark that will ripple throughout the eternities of your old school campaigns!

From start to finish, you get a complete system that can take your player characters from their humble beginnings to the halls of power as well as beyond. There are tons of options to choose from for PC development, reasons for the existence of dungeons & mega dungeons, deadly political intrigue, domain level conquest, gun rules that actually work within the context of war, the economics of adventuring, and rules that keep pace as well as grow with your players as they reach the dizzy heights of power but all of this depends upon if they survive!

So now is the time to get in on this great OSR system & get cracking on a brand new campaign of ACK's! You get a complete OSR system, help a great cause, and contribute to making your PC's mark on history!

Review of The 'Pay What You' OSR PC Class PC8 - The OSR Amazon Warrior From Jeremy Reaban For Your Old School Campaigns

There are times when a PC wants to play the pinnicle of Amazon warrior battle hardened steel in human for in a sword & sorcery old school game. This is exactly what PC8 - The OSR Amazon Warrior By  Jeremy Reaban brings to the table. This is an old fashioned kick ass lady warrior capable of taking down foes with some real teeth & old school steel. She is exactly what she sounds like an apex Amazon warrior.

This is a well balanced PC class that clocks in at six pages of ass kicking warrior fun for the table. The best part is that the class isn't simply for the Advanced Dungeons & Dragons or OSRIC style games;
"Although primarily intended for first advanced edition, it also contains tables for other popular versions: original edition, basic and expert edition, and the cyclopedia edition."
So is she Wonder Woman with the serial numbers filed off? Umm not exactly, a closer analogy might be a Xena style character in her earliest adventures or a feminine tribal 'warrior of history' style character. According to the add, these ladies of sword & mythology are," extremely athletic and a skilled warrior who fights without armor and is stronger and faster than others." And that's exactly what the design & the numbers of the class portray. The PC class is a capable warrior able to dispatch her foes & still have the skills to protect her fellow adventurers. This isn't race as class here but straight up  PC Amazon fighter with a few add ons that echo popular culture & classic mythology. Make no mistake these are deadly women & they can mess you in the wilderness or the dungeon.
The writing & design are tight, the PC tables are no nonsense & these ladies would be right at home in a mythic sword & sorcery old school setting or even in a sword & planet  setting with little issues. Clever DM's could built entire adventures around them with these ladies being used as NPC Amazon lost world temple guardians, generals at higher levels, diplomats, & even the leaders of entire Amazonian mercenary companies.
They're kick ass & this is another well done Jeremy Reaban affair five out of five for easy of use, no bull stats, & this class has plenty of fodder for the DM that needs something a wee bit different for their players.  Don't forget to toss the writer some coins for his efforts so we can get more great PC classes!

PC8 - The OSR Amazon Warrior
Is Available Right HERE

Saturday, January 28, 2017

1d20 Mysterious Sword & Sorcery Background Trait Table For Your Old School Games

Lo did the heavens shake & mysterious hellish forces were unleashed beyond the Boreas winds. The very gods themselves perished in battles beyond the ken of human knowledge. They're blood was left on the battle field & incredibly it seeped upon the earth imbuing men with dangerous & mysterious destinies. Here is a 1d20 table to add a bit of the mythological and mysterious to your PC's.

1d20 Mysterious Sword &
Sorcery Background Trait Table
  1.  You're father was cursed by an Ice Giant & now certain magical metals break in your possession after 1d10 months. You can not be killed by this metal but you can be very badly wounded & made to wish you were dead. It will take 1d6 months longer to heal from injuries caused by this mysterious and mystical metal. 
  2. You have the gift of magic after a demon looked in from the black winds of Hell upon your mother bathing in the mystic stream near her home village. Every new moon you can speak with the spirits of the dead. Relatives & close family friends may seek you out for favors & jobs they couldn't complete in life. 
  3. Your half brother is of the clan of mystics and seers; you are not blessed with his sight but only his reputation. Many seek you out for your gifts even though you don't have them. Mundane and legendary events are attributed to you even though you don't have them or do you? 
  4. You are the great grandson or daughter of a legendary hero and your not aware of the staggering reputation that you must live up to. 
  5. There is a piece of a mysterious manuscript tattooed onto your soul. 
  6. Ancient dark gods urinated near the water supply of your village; you have 1d6 strange mutations waiting to bloom as soon as you go into battle against demonic or Lovecraftian forces. 
  7. Ancient fairies have designs on your destiny and life. May you live in interesting times. 
  8. You are related to an evil and despotic ruler of a far off land who knows you as his little cousin. You are forever in his shadow. 
  9. Your reputation belongs to another who does great and heroic deed but you are constantly reaping his rewards without having ever met this person. 
  10. You have six fingers on your life hand & a mysterious ring of silver grafted onto the flesh. None knows what this means. 
  11. The mystic sight has changed your eyes to the colour violet and at other times these eyes appear in colours know man was meant to see. 
  12. Ancient gods dwell in your blood line and your destiny is to do great deeds or die like a dog in an ancient sacrifice. 
  13. There is no great destiny for you, your grand parent was deranged & insane he or she wanted so badly for you to have a great quest or legend behind your blood. There is not, you are ordinary but have grown up hearing great tales of relatives that don't exist or do they?? 
  14. You have a mysterious sigil on your back. Orcs automatically don't like the way you smell but won't tell you why? 
  15.  Your grand father or grand mother was very virile and there are blood kin and relatives all across the land. You can count on help with a 20% chance of some blooded NPC just over the horizon. There is a 60% chance of a warrior or minor wizard with a blood feud with your family or clan. 
  16. Magic flows in your veins but your a clod and steel loves to cut you when it gets the chance -1 on Charisma for the number of scars that cover you. That being said many of the opposite sex love scars so you might find a partner or lover with a weird fascination of them. 
  17. You have a tongue of Loki & your words are weird, twisted, & can get you in trouble 20% of the time. But you also have the lore of the mythological & local legends seem to come to you almost through the ether. 
  18. You have several weird scars and marks on your hands, the riddle of steel responses to you. Gain +1 on all sword strikes. Magic twists in your hands as well watch well which spells you use or the magic will twist away from you. 
  19. You have a evil mirror like twin out in the world that constantly causes trouble and as part of your destiny you must stop them. They are cunning, devious, and very dangerous. 
  20. Marked by the gods you are a true child of the gods & heroes; great things are expected of you. Clerics and seers know the aura that cloaks you as you go into the world. 

All ideas and opinions copyrighted & trademarked to the owner of this blog
  & Dark Corner Productions Inc.

Friday, January 27, 2017

Old Venus A Sword & Sorcery Adventure Setting For Using OSR Resources With The Astonishing Swordsmen & Sorcerers of Hyperborea Rpg System

Beyond the Borea winds there are worlds of Old Earth that harbor strange & sinister
secrets. Old Venus is one of these worlds but it is rich in both opportunity & ancient danger.

Old Venus is a world out held captive by  the bloated & sinking red sun of Hyperborea; a world rife with life as well as possibilities. This is a jungle world whose fetid lands teams  plant & fungal life of all kinds. Where ancient ruins of elder races abound but now the tendril baring lizard men have settled where once the ancient Hyperboreans trod. Great treasures in the form of valuable crystal orbs that can be used as a source of incredible power hold vast value to wizards, magi, & scribes who know their secrets. These orbs are worth between 60,000 to 70,000 gold pieces each on the black magic markets of Hyperborea.

Adventurers hoping to visit this world often cross the ancient space time bridges of the Great Race of Yith to reach this world. But often times they are sorry they did. For those that make the crossing often find themselves on the plateau of  Eryx, or the Erycinian Highland,  a vast plateau rising above the primeval rain filled jungles of the low lands. It was here that the Great Race made war with their former masters the Elder Things. Among the ravines & certain grottoes can still be found shoggoths, proto shoggoths, & a wide variety of Elder Thing life forms. There are some rumors of entire lizard men colonies disappearing overnight.

Elder Thing artwork by

Many of the Hyperborean colonies were wiped out when the Green Death plague  swept through Old Venus via the gateways taking many by surprise leaving these colonies as rich pickings for adventurers willing to risk the toxic atmosphere of the world. Only the protection of a 'suit of most excellent survival' can provide the armor class protection of 6 & the ancient super science  recycling systems needed to survive on Old Venus. These suits are very rare and found only in certain ancient Hyperborean or Atlantean vaults.They are worth 20,000 gold pieces each and rarely found with intact flame pistol units. These units are weapons of incredible power able to pour fourth torrents of flame up to a twenty yard radius. They are  capable of doing 1d8 points of damage to anything caught within their line of fire. Save vs device for half damage.
Crossing into the lowlands are a very dangerous affair for the alien lizard men, mushroom beings, giant lizards, and prehistoric life abound. There are even rumors of giant fire breathing Komodo dragons brought by the Hyperboreans to guard their estates now in ruins. To them it was known as Sfanomoe (Venus). 
They revered this world & its giant god thing  which feeds on all things on Sfanomoe.

"There was a night when winds from unknown spaces whirled us irresistibly into limitless vacum beyond all thought and entity. Perceptions of the most maddeningly untransmissible sort thronged upon us; perceptions of infinity which at the time convulsed us with joy, yet which are now partly lost to my memory and partly incapable of presentation to others."
Hypnos HP Lovecraft

Old Venus has other riches to be had such as the incredible wealth of arcane knowledge from the Great Race if one is willing to deal with the grey oozes, ropers, & other hazards of the jungles but by far the most dangerous monster is the god thing known as the immeasurable horror. This monster feeds on all other creatures on Sfanomoe has its being in every corner of the jungle world.

1d20 Random Encounters Table  On Old Venus

  1. 1d10 band of Tendrilled Lizard men warriors 2nd level fighters 
  2. 1d6 Mushroom men on a pilgrimage armed with spears & round shields 
  3. 1d6 3rd level Amazon warriors on a quest to recover treasures from nearby ruins. Armed with  radium pistols. 
  4. 1d8 alien dinosaur like monsters AC 7 Hit points 6 looking for fresh meat 
  5. Giant Roper like alien horror looking feed on adventurers or the unwary 
  6. Giant flying alien bat bug creature (use giant insect stats) 
  7. 1d8 tendriled lizard men pilgrims carrying an energy crystal worth 6000 gold pieces to its resting place in a nearby jungle temple. 5 lizard men guards armed with blow guns
  8. Hyperborean black magician and servants on a mission to recover an ancient artifact. He has 7 skeleton warriors with him. 
  9. An 8th level Ixian necromancer and his undead army of 1d100 skeletons and undead warriors. They are looking to reclaim a nearby temple 
  10. A group of 1d6 elder things lead by an elder thing priest on their way to an ancient temple complex. He can call down a shoggoth of incredibly violent temperament 
  11. Amazon adventurers 2nd level fighters out to collect an energy orb for their settlement's matercial wizard leader 
  12. Giant fungus monster with 1d6 mushroom warriors accompanying it very dangerous and looking for flesh for the fungal vats. 
  13.  1d6 Hyperborean ghouls on a mission from their necrotic god master willing to trade a minor artifact for help
  14. A giant gray ooze on the hunt after its just destroyed a nearby lizardmen village
  15. 1d6 fungal flying monsters on the wing hunting 
  16.    A pack of 1d10  3rd level  slugmen slavers looking for fresh meat to sell to the vat men 
  17.  1d8 lizard men priests 3rd level armed with an energy crystal looking to take out a nearby human settlement headed by a wizard of 6th level 
  18. Giant slug with violet fungus growing on its back on the hunt 
  19. Two lizard men priests on their way to a nearby shrine with an energy crystal worth 5000 gold pieces
  20. A complex mechanism of ancient design on the hunt for humanoids that it can kidnap. Very dangerous and armed with 1d6 energy weapons  
This setting is derivived by me from the works of HP Lovecraft's In the Walls of Eryx & other mythos classics
And Clark Aston Smith's The Immeasurable Horror
All of the above is public domain All ideas and opinions copyrighted & trademarked to the owner of this blog
and Dark Corner Productions Inc.

Thursday, January 26, 2017

Creating A Sword & Sorcery Clark Ashton Smith Solar System Using OSR Resources With The Astonishing Swordsmen & Sorcerers of Hyperborea Rpg System

Introduction & Set Up For A Clark Ashton Smith Old Solar System

So a couple of months ago I began to think about using OSR resources to put together an old school science fantasy campaign using the works of Clark Ashton Smith. But tonight I was speaking with a friend of mine about doing exactly that for a possible continuation of my version of Astonishing Swordsmen & Sorcerers of Hyperborea. Why do I say my version of Hyperborea? Because effectively that's what each dungeon master's campaign setting is. Their own house ruled  versioned creation setting  or hybrid campaign  of old school & OSR material. This is basically my own back version of the solar system of the AS&SH campaign that I'm going to be running down at C&S Gaming Empire, llc in Torrington, Ct. I've gotten approval for this event by the management & owners of the hobby shop. The dates may change on this event so please be aware of it & contact me if your in the area & interested in playing.

Many of the commentaries & ideas that I discuss on this blog are thought experiments in OSR adventure, campaign development & influences.  In this case I bringing forward certain setting ideas, fictional influences,etc from Clark Ashton Smith whose impact on AS&SH is very obvious along with HP Lovecraft, Robert Howard, & other Lovecraft circle writers. Now back to Clark Ashton Smith whose depth and breath of fictional vision is well known for those of you who read or used Appendix N from the first edition Advanced Dungeons & Dragons as a guide. But today I want to speak about C.A.S.'s influence on Old Solar System. There are number of tales that he wrote concerning Earth's Solar System that can be used as the basis for old worlds that are floating between the Boreas wind near Hyperborea.
Thanks to solarsystemheritage.com I've actually got an Appendix S (for system) for this project:

"An Adventure in Futurity" (Wonder Stories, April 1931), "The Door to Saturn" (Strange Tales, January 1932), "The Dweller in the Gulf" (Wonder Stories, March 1933 as "Dweller in the Martian Depths"; collected under its later title in The Abominations of Yondo (1960)), "The Immeasurable Horror" (Weird Tales, September 1931), "The Immortals of Mercury" (published as booklet, 1932), "Master of the Asteroid" (Wonder Stories, October 1932), "The Metamorphosis of Earth" (Weird Tales, September 1951), "Phoenix" (collected in Time to Come, edited by August Derleth (1954)), "Seedling of Mars" (Wonder Stories Quarterly, Fall 1931); "The Vaults of Yoh-vombis" (Weird Tales, May 1932); "Vulthoom" (Weird Tales, September 1935); the fragments "Ascharia" and "The Master of Destruction" may be read online at www.eldritchdark.com.

Aliens, Mythos, & Old School Campaign Might

So what's the deal why would anyone want to use the old solar system of Clark Ashton Smith for an AS&SH campaign? Well it can give breath and depth to the sword & sorcery antics of the PC's but there's more to it then that. Going over the Lovecraftian Science page on HP Lovecraft's take on Neptune I was struck by a particular piece of artwork A Neptunian by Michael Bukowski (yog-blogsoth.blogspot.com).

Wait a second is that a another form of a Grell or perhaps a BEAKTOPUS is closer in fact. This beast resembles a classic monsters from the AD&D Fiend Folio. But there are some sever differences in evolution because of Neptune's atmosphere & ecology. Russ Nicholson's classic artwork from the Fiend Folio bares this conclusion out. Perhaps Neptune was a way station base or stop gap for the classic Martian invasion 1898.  The creatures had been modified to live on many different worlds which indicates there might be Beaktopus Vivamancers!

We know that Clark Ashton Smith's Mars is one of the most dangerous out there but it also brings up another point which is that the Old Solar System of CAS is one of the most dangerous out there. The worlds are old, weird, & they cross over into other times as well as dimensions such as HP Lovecraft's Dreamlands.

CA Smith had lots of alien races, gods, & tons of weird stuff to mine from his stories for an AS&SH campaign. Even the classic Vaults of Yoh-Vombis by Clark Ashton Smith was the inspiration for Basil  Wolverton's comic book masterpiece The Brain Bats of Venus

But really this is just the start of such an endeavor because in the past I've used Clark Ashton Smith's fiction along side one of his contemporaries James Blish's Cities in Flight  for a Traveler rpg campaign with links into an OD&D game that I'd run with the same group. Blish's fictional universe is an old one and very dangerous in its own right reminding me of Alien in some respects with a bit of that pulpy goodness.

In my mind the space surrounding Hyperborea looks like something straight out of Alien or Space 1999's Dragon's Domain episode. A black void filled with alien wrecks & the spawn of the Outer Gods that can be as dangerous as the black winds blow through the void. The whole thing ruled over by Star Spiders & worse.


All of this can be easily tied back into CAS's Mercury with its proto engineers and their living suits of biomechanical technology which are probably worth a hefty 60,000 to 70,000 gold pieces if you can get them to market.

Tying In The Clark Ashton Smith Influence In With An Old School Adventure

I've spoken about my love of D&D's Adventure B1 In Search of The Unknown well, I've so stated that it can be easily modified to include other treasure, rooms, and all kinds of odds & ends to make it into a more Conan style Swords & Sorcery crawl. It can also house the forbidden 'truth' of how Roghan the Fearless and Zelligar the Unknown turned back that barbarian horde.  

Because of the flexibility & design of B1 its easy to access & replace the creatures of the module with AS&SH beasts. This was something that was talked about on the Astonishing Swordsmen & Sorcerers of Hyperborea 2nd edition kickstarter update.
"There are no dragons here either. This game is Dungeons & Elder Things. If you are anything like me, you will find that it has a strong appeal. This is no world of epic, heroic fantasy. Weird fiction was always on a smaller and more personal scale. In heroic fantasy, you’re trying to save the world. In weird fiction, you’re mostly just trying to prize the gem out of the statue of the spider-god’s eye socket. Success is survival with increased wealth.
Play in this strange dimension is going to be spectacularly good fun, but be careful. Don’t travel Hyperborea too recklessly. Speak softly and carry a Vorpal Sword, because here be Shoggoths.
Sometimes the distinction can be subtle. Do you want a dragon-like threat in your game? Then consider a fire-breathing hydra, or perhaps a giant lizard, such as the fire-breathing komodo dragon!"
There's more coming up as I start tackling the in personal and weird in the darker portions of Hyperborea.
For now I hope you make your saves and keep those dice rolling.

 The makers of Sword & Stitchery blog would like to thank the Lovecraftian Science blog, solarsystemheritage.com, The James Blish estate,  www.eldritchdark.com, and North Wind Adventures the makers of Astonishing Swordsmen & Sorcerers of Hyperborea. This blog post is for educational and entertainment purposes only and is not meant as trademark or copyright  violation of any of the properties mentioned in this blog post. Grell artwork by Russ Nicholson also used without permission owned by Wizards of the Coast. Neptunian by Michael Bukowski (yog-blogsoth.blogspot.com) has been used without permission. North Wind Adventures is no way responsible for any opinions or content of this blog. Space 1999 is copyrighted & trademarked to ITV Studios
All ideas and opinions copyrighted & trademarked to the owner of this blog
and Dark Corner Productions Inc.