Wednesday, July 5, 2017

OSR Commentary On The Free Old School Download Fantastic Adventures v10n07 1948 07 Novella Queen of the Panther World

I took a bit of heat for liking & reviewing Judge's Guild Shield Maidens of Sea Rune over the Fourth of July holiday. Speaking with a client of mine whose repair came in yesterday & whose a dungeon master in her own right down in Bristol Ct. We had a discussion about how the new Wonder Woman movie had brought back the lost world Amazon adventuress.

Umm yeah actually Wonder Woman is another in a very long line of women adventurers that have been around since long before the lasso of truth ever even made it to paper at D.C.

But I digress. Today I want to talk about those other lost world heroines living in isolation with their giant telepathic prehistoric cats, their queen, & their own lost world culture of warrior women. No I'm talking about Fantastic Adventures v10 07 - Queen of the Panther World by Berkeley Livingston.
I've always been a bit of a Ziff-Davis kinda guy as readers of this blog well know. Who the hell are Ziff Davis?  These folks were the publishers of some of the better pulp magazines back in the late Thirties & Forties & Fantastic Adventures was their house pulp;"Fantastic Adventures was an American pulp fantasy and science fiction magazine, published from 1939 to 1953 by Ziff-Davis. It was initially edited by Raymond A. Palmer, who was also the editor of Amazing Stories, Ziff-Davis's other science fiction title. The first nine issues were in bedsheet format, but in June 1940 the magazine switched to a standard pulp size. It was almost cancelled at the end of 1940, but the October 1940 issue enjoyed unexpectedly good sales, helped by a strong cover by J. Allen St. John for Robert Moore Williams' Jongor of Lost Land. By May 1941 the magazine was on a regular monthly schedule. Historians of science fiction consider that Palmer was unable to maintain a consistently high standard of fiction, but Fantastic Adventures soon developed a reputation for light-hearted and whimsical stories. Much of the material was written by a small group of writers under both their own names and house names. The cover art, like those of many other pulps of the era, focused on beautiful women in melodramatic action scenes. One regular cover artist was H.W. McCauley, whose glamorous "MacGirl" covers were popular with the readers, though the emphasis on depictions of attractive and often partly clothed women did draw some objections.
In 1949 Palmer left Ziff-Davis and was replaced by Howard Browne, who was knowledgeable and enthusiastic about fantasy fiction. Browne briefly managed to improve the quality of the fiction in Fantastic Adventures, and the period around 1951 has been described as the magazine's heyday. Browne lost interest when his plan to take Amazing Stories upmarket collapsed, and the magazine fell back into predictability. In 1952, Ziff-Davis launched another fantasy magazine, titled Fantastic, in a digest format; it was successful, and within a few months the decision was taken to end Fantastic Adventures in favor of Fantastic. The March 1953 issue of Fantastic Adventures was the last."
This brings me to the Fantastic Adventures issue with Queen of the Panther World novella in it. This is a great little tale about two guys from Chicago that whisked away to female dominated lost world. These Amazon like warrior women are facing extinct at the the hands of a wizard whose betrayed his king. The two guys from Chicago (not New York a pulp cliche' that's been done to death even by this time) are needed to save the lost world kingdoms.

So what does Queen of the Panther World by Berkely Livingston have to offer an old school dungeon master?  Quite a bit actually! There are number of great elements to mind from for an old school campaign?

  1. Giant intelligent cats for riding & as adventurer companions 
  2. A fully fleshed out amazon society with all kinds of pulpy weirdness to drop into your old school setting. 
  3. A complete set of dragons and other old school sword & sorcery pulpy monsters with Gygaxian ecological niche set up from the on set. 
  4. Full work up of Mentalist style powers in action including teleportation and more 
  5. Women warriors riding giant reign deer! So you can have PC's with cool wiz bang mounts.
  6. A fully worked up nasty and dangerous enemy faction to use in your old school campaigns 
  7. A complete lost world campaign in the making 
  8. A talking parrot that sounds like a Chicago gangster only the hero can understand?! 
  9. Lovecraftian overtones for plug and play with your on going Sword & Sorcery campaign yeah those are in there. 
  10. Cross prehistoric lost world action to get things moving along & possible encounters. 
Yeah Queen of the Panther World has all of this and a bit more. Because its a Fantastic Adventures novella it doesn't have a patch on masters of Howard, Burroughs, and Moore's quality but it does have some great bits to keep the reader interested. There's a lot of good stuff to mine here for your old school Sword & Sorcery adventures.
Because race & class are separate for games such as my beloved Astonishing Swordsmen & Sorcerers of Hyperborea  Queen of the Panther World's kingdoms could be considered another lost Amazon city state. Easy to fit in right into the interior of the Hyperborean city states near the jungle regions.
Need an Amazon Warrior class for other old school games such as OSRIC? Well way back in January I did a review of Jeremy Reaban's
PC8 - The OSR Amazon Warrior which can easily emulate many of the PC warrior  aspects of Queen of the Panther World.

Queen of the Panther World is a good old fashion kick ass pulp novella that is in the public domain making it ripe to mine for old school lost world & sword & sorcery campaigns. There's a ton of material here to play with if a DM is willing to put the time & energy to take one of the relics of the past for their own.

You Can Read or Download Queen of the Panther World Here

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