Thursday, August 31, 2017

More Operatic Campaign Design Memories & Commentary With X13 Crown Of Ancient Glory by Stephen Bourne

So last night I was watching some 'Jonny Quest' episodes with my father on a Wednesday night, hey that's just how we roll in my family folks. But it got me thinking about Crown of Ancient Glory which came out in '87. Crown of Ancient Glory is a weird little module, it gives a taste of ruler ship to PC's as a future taster for ruling your own kingdom in other words domain level play. Let me pull some of the background & quick history on this module from Wiki:"
Crown of Ancient Glory is an adventure module for the Dungeons & Dragons fantasy role-playing game. It was published by TSR in 1987, and designed by Stephen Bourne. Its cover art is by Keith Parkinson, with interior art by Chris Miller and cartography by Dave S. LaForce. The module's associated code is X13 and its TSR product code is TSR 9218. This module was developed and intended for use with the Dungeons & Dragons Expert Set and Companion Set rules."

The rule sets are the important part of this module, the adventure is for PC  levels seven through ten and that's where we need to start.


"You must find the long-lost heir to the kingdom and recover the Sonora Crown, the mystical device without which a king cannot be crowned. Standing in your way are traitors and spies from within and invaders from without the kingdom of Vestland. Time is running out! Can you save Vestland from disaster?"

In '87 my uncle had been running a full blown operatic style campaign centered around the gods, demi gods, and mythological elements of Der Ring des Nibelungen (The Ring of the Nibelung) by Wagner with equal parts Jack Kirby & a solid foundation of TSR's Saga mini game. Now we as players thought we were pretty hot stuff and had conquered everything Uncle John had cooked up for us kids but he was a sadistic bastard. He hadn't even begun to pull out the stops on us kids. For the Fall campaign there was another TSR mini game classic he'd kept under wraps all Summer.

For his Fall campaign we found ourselves fighting the forces of Ragnarok once again! No the bastard pulled out "The Viking Gods Minigame: The Gods vs. Chaos in Deadly Final Conflict" from 1982! I watched him purchase this game back in '82 down at War & Pieces in West Hartford & suddenly this was going to become our party's downfall!  I'd read the back panel and my heart sank like a stone.

"Odin, Chief of the norse gods, broods in his great hall Valhalla and prepares for battle. As time grows short, his warrior maidens, the Valkyrie, bring him noble Norse warriors who have died bravely in battle. Here the chosen warriors will feast and fight, training for Ragnarok — the final battle of the Gods.
On that day, the evil god Loki will lead an army of fire giants, and huge monsters against the Norse gods and their human allies. The earth will shake as the greatest battle begins.
Lead the Norse gods in their defense of the Tree of Life, or storm across the Rainbow Bridge in search of final victory. Which side will YOU command in this exciting game of Ragnarok?"

So how does all of this tie into the background of Crown of Ancient Glory? Each of the powers, kingdoms, etc  from the module are aligned with the ancient powers of Norse mythology and events from the Der Ring des Nibelungen (The Ring of the Nibelung) which impacts on the over all outcome of the module in a very operatic fashion. PC's died in flights of operatic violence and heroic death. Did I mention that we listened to the opera several times during the fall and took trips to a local museum. 

There were several things that this Fall's campaign taught me:

  1. The module or adventure is always modified to the needs and expectations of the players but not necessarily what they're going to get. Many DM's twist & play with player expectation. Sure we were powerful PC bad asses but when we as PC's were messing around in mortal business we had to possess a human suit.
  2.  More power brought more headaches and puzzles to play on the players minds. 
  3. Operatic means that like the operas of old PC's familial ties are going tie tragically. Sure these are NPC ties but like in operas they can go down and provide the DM a revenge plot hook later on. 
  4. Heavy is the head that wears the crown.  There are all kinds of headaches that DM's can inflict whist the PC is trying on the 'big chair' ala Star Trek this gives some very interesting latitude. 
  5. Mythology is filled with weird and unknown monsters don't be afraid to pull out some weird, dangerous, etc. that isn't in the AD&D 1st edition Monster Manual, Monster Manual II, or The Fiend Folio. Mythology is the mother of chaos 
  6. Glorious death can be fun if its for a heroic purpose. 
  7. Give PC's kingdoms if they've earned it and want to A.Retire their PC's or B. They want to actually provide a safe harbor for the rest of the party. Yes this actually came up during play. 
  8. Sword & Sorcery is operatic and more then slightly melodramatic so its alright to go over the top with the violence, action, and magic! 
  9.  The kingdoms of Vestland &  the Ethengar Khanate are always going to be forever at odds, the holy Sonora Crown has been stolen can be & should be fleshed out as the DM sees fit. Again this ties back into the mythological aspect. Artifacts & relics are always a headache. 
  10. Leave yourself several leads as a DM to continue the campaign. Don't wrap each & every damn adventure hook up in a neat little bow  
  11. Deities & Demigods is an essential book for pulling this sort of a campaign off. All of the major players is in there.

    Here's where my uncle did a bit of shuffling around of using actual historical stand ins for the various
    module locations  from Ruthin Monastery, to the Red Fangs the lost isles, to Seaforth Tower, & Narvendul and more. This made us go through lots of old history books to find clues to certain battles in England, Norway, Wales, etc. I'm beginning to see a pattern to '87's Fall campaign.  We ended up with an isolated kingdom ruled by Ricky one of our warriors but this was a hard slog of a Fall campaign adventure. Winter was a whole other matter as the force of Hel began to pump up her efforts but that's another blog entry.

Wednesday, August 30, 2017

New 'Old Earth' Relic - The Qu'es't Atlantean flying disk For Your Old School Campaigns

Developed out around the remains of Flor'da the Qu'es't  Atlantean flying disk is a treasure beyond compare able to maneuver in any direction the pilot wishes. These disk craft have been the mainstay of 'Old Earth' for centuries and were used extensively during the 'Hyperborean wars' of the ancient past. They can be used in a wide variety of theaters of operation from temperate woodland to extensive jungle environments.

These simple two to six man craft are available in only the most well equipped market places within the main capital city states where they fetch prices of forty to sixty thousand gold pieces easily. These craft can hold up to five hundred pounds of cargo and two pilots. They can fly for 1d8 days at a clip & can be used to fight or fly over bodies of water including oceans. These craft were used extensively for recon and rescue  missions during the various wars. Many craft are often found in underground bunkers or other Hyperborean installations.

Type: Qu'es't Atlantean flying disk
Move per round: 90/120'
Move per day: 18/90'
Armor Class: 7/8 
Worth: 40,000 to 60,000 gold pieces 
Enchanted with a levitate / fly spell permanently enchanted to the 
three hover units at the base of the disk 

Interesting these units are often found in the remains of former FTL colony ships in the outer edges of the asteroid field. These disks are still used in many of the remote corners of the of colonies around Jupiter and the disks secrets of creation are still known as there are some worldlets where the art of making these craft is still practiced.

It is known the Lumerians use a two man type of flying hover vehicle known as the 'Can' for some unknown reason. These types of disks were used extensively during the Mount Voormithadreth incident with the wizard Vinn who had close ties with a base of cultists operating out of an extinct volcano in the Eiglophian mountains.

Campaign OSR Commentary - Dark Albion & Old School Sword & Sorcery Campaign Building

So after the other day's Astonishing Swordsmen & Sorcerers of Hyperborea run through of Vault of the Dwarven King  From   Maximum Mayhem Dungeons  
It got me thinking about Dark Albion & DA's Cults of Chaos because of the isolated elements of the campaign. Let me explain, of course Dark Albion's central theme is the War of the Rose and all of the campaign events  revolve around that historical conflict. But that's not the only resources within the game. For a D&D sword & sorcery based campaign with a variety of technological levels there's lots of resources to focus on.

Part of what Dark Albion strengths are is that the books focus on  other nation states 
governments, religions, with a coherent take on magic,peoples, various technologies & warfare as well as adventure locations throughout the world of Albion. These same gaming concepts & ideas mesh very well with Astonishing Swordsmen & Sorcerers as well as classic D&D style campaigns such as Greyhawk Its one of the reasons why I love Dark Albion as a tool box for running AD&D modules. The sum is greater then the parts or two great tastes that taste great together.

Another thing I've found that works is that Cults of Chaos represents the slow steady corruption of the Lovecraft mythos nicely. This isn't the PC killing/sanity wear down that Call of Cthulhu represents at all. This is the slow steady slide into the corruption & chaos that the Mythos portrays  in the Lovecraft/Clark Ashton Smith stories. Its also something that I feels comes closer to some of the weirdness that we've seen in the AD&D 1st edition  modules such as Dwellers In The Forbidden City & the like.

'Old Earth' & 'Old Solar System' is my take on the future of a Smith/Lovecraft campaign in which the stars have almost but not quite come right. Mankind has reached the planets and the outer worlds, many conflicts have happened & the continents have shifted. The world has mostly returned to a medieval style world with punctuation of high super science here & there. The Hyperboreans, Atlanteans, and many others have returned to the world. My main system has been Astonishing Swordsmen & Sorcerers of Hyperborea and that's what I'm sticking with.
Dark Albion & Cults of Chaos has many sets of tools that allow a DM to make interesting decisions when it comes to cults, the infernal, the weird, and put it in a down to Earth way at the table that makes sense to modern 2017/18 players.

There are several reasons why over all this works for the over all scheme of the campaign:
  1. Settlements are quickly and easily generated with social standing as well as some interesting background details. 
  2. The inclusion of the demons, demonic magick, and guidelines make for an interesting variation.  
  3. The inclusion of the inquisition gives some weight to the paladins & knights of AS&SH. This also means that an inquisition campaign could actually be run in AS&SH by porting over some of Dark Albion's setting details. 
  4. The background information on other countries and lands gives some really nasty turns and surprises to players. 
  5. The DA's take on chaos is far more corrupting and insidious then at first it seems. In action it really takes adventure events in a slightly sideways direction for PC's.
  6. Classic D&D & AD&D modules can be modified with DA to produce newer playing experiences for the most jaded players. 
  7. Parties of explorers from the realms of DA could challenge or even cause all kinds of havoc for PC's. 
  8. The inclusion of some of the magical elements of DA could be used to give 'nature cults' such as druids some actual teeth in a traditional Sword & Sorcery setting. 
  9. Witches really get a boost up in this sort of a mix of game elements with Dark Albion & AS&SH. 
  10. Players might not see this mix coming but Dark Albion & AS&SH work well as one/two punch for really fleshing out certain campaign elements. I've had lots of success mixing the two over the last couple of years.

Tuesday, August 29, 2017

Sword & Sorcery Hex Crawling, Campaign Comprise, & Vault of the Dwarven King From Maximum Mayhem Dungeons Actual Play

Sometimes you've got to go back to basics & in this case its working out the internal adventure elements of our 'Old Solar System' campaign. So last night I popped a couple of beers with a friend & watched Ralph Bakshi's Fire & Ice.

When your getting into Fire & Ice your getting into some of the top talent in the fields of animation, fantasy artwork, film production, artwork, etc. including comic book writing and more. Yes this film is an underappreciated gem of the sword & sorcery genre. Just take a look at the film & street cred that this film has according to Wiki;" The film, a collaboration between Bakshi and Frank Frazetta, was distributed by 20th Century Fox, which also distributed Bakshi's 1977 release, Wizards. The animated feature, based on characters Bakshi and Frazetta co-created, was made using the process of rotoscoping, in which scenes were shot in live action and then traced onto animation cels.
The screenplay was written by Gerry Conway and Roy Thomas, both of whom had written Conan stories for Marvel Comics. Background painter was James Gurney, the author and artist of the Dinotopia illustrated novels. Thomas Kinkade also worked on the backgrounds to various scenes. Peter Chung, of Aeon Flux fame, was a layout artist." And that's just some of the talent that worked on this film back in '77. I saw this at the tender age of seven years old & yeah it made a huge impact on me.

Something my friend Steve & I noticed is that there is an internal flow to the story that one finds in animated films but there's also that same sort of flow in old school hex crawls. This was particularly true of B/X Dungeons & Dragons modules in campaign mode. A look at the basic plot overview of Fire & Ice will show you exactly what I'm talking about;"

From their stronghold in Icepeak, the evil Queen Juliana (Eileen O'Neill) and her son, Nekron (Stephen Mendel), send forth a wave of glaciers, forcing humanity to retreat south towards the equator. Nekron sends a delegation to King Jarol (Leo Gordon) in Firekeep to request his surrender, but this is a ruse orchestrated by Queen Juliana for Nekron’s sub-humans to kidnap Jarol’s barefoot, bikini-clad daughter, Princess Teegra (Cynthia Leake); Queen Juliana feels that Nekron should take a bride to produce an heir.
But Teegra makes an escape and comes upon Larn (Randy Norton), a young warrior and the only survivor of a village razed by glaciers, who offers to escort her back to Firekeep. As Teegra is recaptured, Larn teams with the mysterious Darkwolf (Steve Sandor) to save Teegra and then travel to Icepeak to stop Juliana. Darkwolf faces Nekron and kills him as Icepeak succumbs to lava released by King Jarol and is destroyed.
The film finishes with Larn about to kill a beaten sub-human until Teegra stops him saying that "it's over" and embraces him. Darkwolf is seen atop a cliff; he watches the pair, smiles and then disappears. Teegra and Larn kiss as the credits roll."
You've got all of the basic factions aligned where they need to be for the adventurers find them along the adventure path. This is something we'd later see during the evolution of adventure video games especially the text based ones like Zork. Yes I'm that old. There's another way of looking at this in the point crawl system of the Hill Cantons & there's an excellent series by Chris Kutalik. This sort of adventuring uses an absaract map to great effect but does put a bit of the pressure on the DM.

Basic placement of the factions of a campaign is going to determine the balance or lack there of when it comes to the adventure flow in an old school campaign. Sword & Sorcery campaigns don't often have a lot of balance they are punctuated by the violence & pulpy weirdness of the medium.

"Sword and sorcery (S&S) is a subgenre of fantasy characterized by sword-wielding heroes engaged in exciting and violent adventures. An element of romance is often present, as is an element of magic and the supernatural. Unlike works of high fantasy, the tales, though dramatic, focus mainly on personal battles rather than world-endangering matters.[1] Sword and sorcery commonly overlaps with heroic fantasy."When it comes to hex crawling one or more factional powers are often the fixed points of 'law of the land' on the map. A good example of this is the minor witch queen or wizard that has carved out their own section of the map. These sorts of factions are the bread & butter for Adventurer,Conqueror, King & the game handles this sort of dark & dangerous figures quite nice as they make very portions of a campaign and even sub adventures unto themselves. Again this is where ACK's handles and excels at this sort of a campaign. What we're talking about today is where the Hexcrawl is actually driving the campaign itself. How to Hexcrawl From  Taskboy Games is a really good primer on just this sort of a game campaign. It gives a good solid overview & step by step guide for establishing and making your own hexcrawl for Labyrinth Lord.

So let's bring this round does this preclude a dungeon master from using a high fantasy adventure in a sword & sorcery campaign setting? Not at all, there are several ways that this can be done but for me one of the most successful is to have the high fantasy adventure become its own internal setting beast. A good example of this is my use of the recent Vault of the Dwarven King  From   Maximum Mayhem Dungeons  in my own 'Old Earth' setting. I've done this by having the entire adventure take place in an isolated hex area of the campaign.
Now this isn't the first time I've done this sort of adventure campaign set up & compromise but there are reasons for this including my buddy Steve whose nuts for Dwarves & the fact he brought beer, pizza, & his brothers as players as bribery material. Besides which I've already been ready for this sort of a player issue. Now the answer to this comes from Astonishing Swordsmen & Sorcerers of Hyperborea  whose dwarves are the maggot people who fell from Ymir the ice giant. The goblin races in my campaign came from his feces & fungus!

Both were collected & refined by the Ancient Ones a mysterious Lovecraftian race who spliced them with a bit of humanity we'll get into another day. Most of these two races have gone extinct but the Dwarves are making a huge push to comeback from the brink of extinction in the ruins of Europe. The country that +Mark Taormino 's Vault of The Dwarven King takes place in is going to be an isolated country. The Dwarves were/are a modified race that is occasionally used for outer world work where their expertise in metallurgy is often needed.  Vault of The Dwarven King has more then enough campaign module stuff to create a whole hex country/kingdom unto itself. The events of the module are weird/gonzo enough to take place without actually damaging a campaign in progress. Alright let me address the obvious, yes I think this module is worth getting and after watching Steve & his brothers have an awesome time dying it was worth the writing I did. I'll be more then ready for the traditional D&D players who come down the pike. The module is very deadly and there was a TPK last night in which the PC's were fried badly.

There are several elements that Mark's choice of artwork has worked very well for last night's actual game. The dwarves were very distinctive & so stood out from the usual run of the mill fantasy artwork seen in many products. This gave last night's game a distinctive feel.

The fact that several of Vault artwork pieces convey exactly what the players wanted worked in my favor & might connect up with an idea that I had. Its easily possible to place an adventure or gonzo setting  within a hex and still keep things moving along within a sword & sorcery game without completely and utterly destroying the entire mood of the campaign. This is something I'm going to have to keep in mind and I'm at the moment considering resurrecting the operatic campaign that my uncle did back in the Summer of '87.

Vault of the
Dwarven King Is Available
Right Here

Monday, August 28, 2017

Legacy Of the Neo Ibbians For Your Old School Campaigns

'How is he doctor?,' the knight spoke with a candor of long years of friendship to the Hyperborean cleric. They had found the smuggler twenty miles from the wasteland of Arabia.
'Not good at all, the change has begun & there's nothing our temple can do for him'
'What do you recommend?'
'Take him out to the wasteland marshes to let him be with his own kind'
The voiceless half human thing on the bed thrashed its body as its own genetic code was overwritten by the powerful condition & curse that gripped it. Already its mind was filled with the song of  the great water lizard Bokrug.Anything human had long fled twelve hours ago & it was better it was taken to the marshlands near those damn ruins of Sarnath. How many more fools & fortune hunters would that damn place take?

"It is written on the brick cylinders of Kadatheron that the beings of Ib were in hue as green as the lake and the mists that rise above it; that they had bulging eyes, pouting, flabby lips, and curious ears, and were without voice."
-H.P. Lovecraft, "The Doom That Came To Sarnath"

When the stars of the insane came into position & the forbidden places came back into the old Earth the land & marshlands of Mnar came with it. So too did the ruins of  the city of Sarnath the damned. Those marshlands covered part of what was once the Arabian desert. They attracted fortune hunters by the score who recovered artifacts & relics. They found the ruins uninhabited,deserted, & easy pickings except for a giant statue of the water lizard Bokrug & several thousand strange alien columns dedicated to the deity scattered throughout the city.

Exactly six hours after the first of the expeditions entering the city the first of the expedition began to exhibit the 'Ibbian condition.'  Skin began to turn translucent, jelly like, the victim can't speak nor cast spells, & only they can seem to communicate with one another. All forms of language, communication cease with the victims as the song of the water lizard replaces all. There have been a few insights from the clerics from
Thraa, Ilarnek, and Kadatheron but many of these Hyperborean colonies are silent on the matter. They make the sign of doom, shake their heads moving on, & never speaking of the matter. Those of  the Deep One legacy make the sign of Dagon & say that they are now one with the water lizard.

Those who contract the condition of the Ibbians? They will murder,cause chaos, insanity, whatever it takes to join their own kind in the marshes of Saranth. They dance praises to the water lizard at certain times & bring down horrid curses on the heads of any who try to stop the expansion of their swamp lands. There has been a steady progression of twenty feet of swamp a year into the wastelands surrounding the city ruins. There are rumors among adventurers that the Ibbians are recruiting & expanding their ranks from among the local population. Artifacts, relics, etc. have been found in other ruins & dungeons in the surrounding areas where they don't belong and there are rumors of the water lizard's true priests a strange tadpole like form of Aboleth. These Aboleth have come down from Earth's moon where they have slept for eons until today. The human priests of Bokrug in the cities  shake their heads & mutter worried about the impact of the inhuman   hierarchy that has formed. There are factions clearly forming as the human thralls of the Aboleth have come into power & are able to direct the normally peaceful if insanely disturbing Ibians into violent armies.
Bokrug watches all with its alien amused reptilian continence ever watching & waiting for something.  Ruins of the Ibians have been found on Old Earth, in the swamps of Venus, remote corners of Mars, & especially in the underworld of Earth's moon. The ruins of Earth's moon have become active over the last twenty five years.

Aboleth artwork from the Monster Manual II copyright & trademark Wizards of the Coast used without permission.

Those adventurers who encounter artifacts or relics from Sarnath or associated with Ib must roll a save vs wands or spell to avoid the curse. Those who fail their save must have a cure light wounds, remove curse, or seek to atone at the nearest temple of
Bokrug the water lizard. This must be done as soon as the sign of Ib appears on the skin of the victim within the first six hours. Symptoms of the curse are loss of all body hair, translucent skin, changing of the eyes, loss of voice, sanity, and finally the victim's mind is replaced with the collective hive mind song of Bokrug. Victims gain dark vision up to 30 feet & a claw attack for 1d4 points of damage.
Blessings & spells from a priest of Dagon will halt the effects of the curse for 1d6 days but steps must be taken to reverse the effects with a quest or a donation of 60,000 gold pieces to the nearest temple of Bokrug.

Neo Ibbians
No Encountered: 1d10
Alignment: Chaotic Evil 

Size: M 
Movement: 30 
Dexterity 12
Armor Class:7
Hit Dice:2
No Attacks: 3 Claw/Claw/Bite
Damage: 1d4/1d4/1d4
Saving throw: 16 
Morale: 10
Treasure: D
Surprises on 4 in 6 chance because totally silent 
Able to gate in 1d8 ghosts of Ib because of the connection to Sarnath 
Bite has a 40% chance of passing on the Ibian curse
For every 30 Neo Ibbians there will be a cleric of Bokrug of third or forth level directing them.

I dreamed a dream: I stood upon a height,
A mountain's utmost eminence of snow.
Beholding ashen plains outflung below
To a far sea-horizon, dim and white.
Beneath the spectral sun's expiring light
The world lay shrouded in a deathly glow;
Its last fear-laden voice, a wind, came low;
The distant sea lay hushed, as with affright.

I watched, until the pale and flickering sun,
In agony and fierce despair, flamed high,
And shadow-slain, went out upon the gloom.
Then Night, that war of gulf-born Titans won,
Impended for a breath on wings of doom,
And through the air fell like a falling sky.

Sunday, August 27, 2017

New OSR Lovecraftian Monster Race -The N'naclleph For Your Old School Campaigns

"One was a snarling, murderous, cat-headed monster, with retracted lips revealing formidable fangs, and eyes that glared intolerable hatred from beneath ferine brows. This creature had the claws and wings of a griffin, and seemed as if it were poised in readiness to swoop down on the city of Vyones, like a harpy on its prey."

Clark Ashton Smith, The Maker Of Gargoyles
Photo by Pipolchap

There have always been monsters stalking fringes of reality, monsters of tooth, claw, & anti spirit that have always hunted the human soul. These horrors usually are at the beck & call of the other gods or the Great Old Ones but some packs of these monsters stalk between the spaces of the night. These monsters hunt the wastelands & wildernesses of 'Old Earth' killing where & when they want to. They come to the lonely places & fringe ruins for the souls of fortune hunters & fools as these are their favorite prey.
These creatures are formed from the reflected mockery of human dreams violence  & the evil intelligence of murder filtered through the lens of the Outer Darkness. The process is a natural one with strange essences forming into these vicious life forms. They create their own bodies  that draw the cast off dust of a million planets to form the lean forms of insanity & hate. Down through the other dimensional angles they come to Old Earth drawn down the routes of old magick. They come to hunt the flesh & souls of men but these are monsters whose very existence mocks life. They are immune to the sleep, charm,& mind affecting spells.
They hunt at night galloping on the air & taking on prey much bigger then themselves. These mad alien bastard creations hunt in packs of 1d6 individuals attracted to areas of corruption & black magick. They have a deep & abiding connection with the negative material plane through which they also have an association with death. They attack with a fang hold which drains 2 points of Constitution per round. But this is only the beginning of these horror's hold of depravity on their victims. 

Wounds created by these horrors are infectious with a 60% of turning gangrene if their not treated magically because of the alien fungus & rime left behind by the bite of these monsters. Since they are only partially material in our universe +1 or better weapons are needed to hurt them.  The N'naclleph leave behind a horrid form of russet mold in the wake of their passing. The stuff seems to live in symbiosis with the rock like alien flesh of these monsters.
These horrors are sacred to
the Great Old One Rhan-Tegoth, Thamogorgos, & Aforgomon. Anyone slain by packs of these horrors have their souls divided among these entities to supped upon for eternity. 
These horrors when summoned by simple summon monster rite often rage & howl for the souls of mortals. They are angry creatures who hate mortal life with an undying passion and often will eat the souls of summoner or wizard then going on sprees of insanity, murder, & mayhem leaving behind the sign of Koth in blood & gore  as a warning of their passing. The N'naclleph have been found on 'Old Earth', the asteroid fields, the far side of Mercury, & many of the worldlets around Jupiter. There is a standing bounty of 30,000 gold pieces for the head any black wizard who summons these horrid things with proof of such a summoning.

The N'naclleph
No Encountered :1d8
Alignment: Chaotic Evil 
Size: M 
Movement: 30 (fly 50) 
Dexterity 14 
Armor Class: 4 
Hit Dice:5 
No Attacks: 3 Claw/Claw/ Bite
Damage: 1d4/1d4/1d6
Saving throw: 16 
Morale: 12 
Treasure: C 
Surprises on 4 in 6 chance because PC's believe its a statue 
+1 or better to hit 
Immune to sleep,charm, & most mind affecting spells 
 Bite  drains 2 points of Constitution per round. Wounds created by these horrors are infectious with a 60% of turning gangrene if their not treated magically because of the alien fungus & rime left behind by the bite of these monsters.
PC's have a 40% chance of contracting russet mold on their possessions or equipment after engaging the
N'naclleph in melee.

Like a worm-fretted visage from the tomb,
The moon unswathes her hollow, shrunken head,
Launching such light as foulders on the dead
From pallid skies more death-like than the gloom.
Under her beams the breasted lands assume
Dead hues, and charnel shapes unceremented;
And shadows that towering sepulchers might shed
Move livid as the shadows on dials of doom.

On hills like tumuli, and waters mute,
A whiteness steals as of a world made still
When reptant Death at last rears absolute—
An earth now frozen by malefice of eyes
Aeonian dooms and realm-deep rigors fill—
The gaze of that Medusa of the skies

Saturday, August 26, 2017

Shrine of the Serpent, Aztec Mummies, Tegel Manor, & Tonight's Actual Play Event

As the strange manor continues it strange & weird journey the PC's in tonight's game managed to penetrate some of the inner mysteries of Tegel Manor when they stumbled upon the proto Aztec shrine of Cihuacoatl. And some of its horrid secrets!

In tonight's Tegel Manor game event  the PC's managed to find one of the various hidden shrines in the inner workings of the manor. This was the shrine of the serpents, a place where one of the islander slaves taken by the pirates was about to be sacrificed to a very dark & dangerous aspect of Cihuacoatl. The PC's descended down a flight of hidden stairs & fought off some ghosts of ancient black clerics of serpent aspect.

Photo by Rosemania

I'm not entirely sure if it was the slave or the rich offering of purple crystals on the alter that attracted their attention. They managed to free the slave/sacrifice  but the priestess of the dark goddess got away. They did get a few of the glowing crystals before the giant stone doors closed on them. A pack of serpent style mummies were released as the shrine's doors closed & the weird piping organ music began to play.

The PC's put up a good show of themselves & the rest of the evening was taken up with putting down the weird serpent mummies then checking for any more tricks or traps. The party got back to their room and barricaded themselves inside.

Everything involving the serpent religion in tonight's adventure was created using Rafael Chandler's Obscene Serpent Religion on the fly Saturday afternoon before last night's game.There are several reasons for this:
  1. This is a pay what you want adult tool kit perfect for creating background and details on serpent based religion. 
  2. Fast & ease of use are two of the words here that come when using Obscene Serpent Religion. 
  3. As I've said before this is a metastatic awesomeness dripping with the bile of a thousand serpents echoing from a forgotten age! 
  4. All of the details and none of the guilt, this title can generate a nasty and dangerous sword & sorcery serpent cult very quickly with some very grim and nasty details. 
  5. Clues can be generated using OSR as needed & that's exactly what I did tonight. 
  6. OSR can add serpent based details to a variety of old school monsters including the mummies in tonight's game.
  7. Because this is a Lamentations of the Flame Princess based title it works with AS&SH. 
  8. Aztec mummies are cool and with a bit of wrangling with OSR fit some nasty parameters. 
  9. OSR's content volume can be fiddled with to suit the DM as needed. 
  10. I have a physical copy and OSR fits my needs for this week's play arch.

New OSR Lovecraftian Monster Race- The Neh'kegnygl For Your Old School Campaigns

When the first of the 'Ubbo-Sathla's gene plagues' swept across the face of the Old Earth, there arose strange chimera which had not been seen in eons. The elephantine ogres once again roamed across the world with their strange tusk like ornaments, they are the  tenders & shepherds of the scared mammoth herds. They are most common near the Russian basin. This is where they have reared their hinges & stone piles to their ancient version of Zhothaqquah (Tsathoggua). These trails follow the ancient migration paths & trace out giant glyphs of symbols weird & terrible meaning.


The Neh'kegnygl often sweep en mass on human villages and other settlements in raiding parties to murder in the names of their dark masters. These sacred & bizarre events always align with the coming of the pole star in the night sky. The will slaughter every man, woman, and child in bizarre & violent rites during the evening when the stars align. Why is not known but they leave behind strange ivory carvings as offerings to the gods of
Cykranosh. These weird humanoids have a flourishing trade with the Voormis & often engage in tribal rites together at the end of the planting seasons.
The  Neh'kegnygl are the primal enemies of  the 
and the two often engage in protracted ritual wars which humans are advised to stay away from these strange & violent rites. Violence seems to mean little to the  Neh'kegnygl  who are able to regenerate to certain degree due to their inhuman & alien natures. They regenerate 3 hit points a turn when in a blood or berserk fury.

The Neh'kegnygl are often hunted for their ivory tusks & will mount traps, dead falls, & other ambushes for hunters. These are seen as merely another opportunity to offer sacrifice to the gods of the Outer Void.  The Neh'kegnygl are a pragmatic & yet dangerous people trading with the long lobed Hyperboreans of the Russian basin, the wastelands of Merica, & the ruins of Europe. They often collect & make treasure mounds to attract mates during the rutting season, the most desirable males are those with the largest treasure piles. This makes them prime targets for outlaws & adventurers who don't realize that this sacred rite is also a part of the sacraments of the Neh'kegnygl. 

The Neh'kegnygl Elephant Ogres 

No Encountered :2d4 

Alignment: Lawful Evil 
Movement: 30


Armor Class:6 

Hit Dice: 10+6 

No. Attacks:1(gore)or 2 (Weapon)

Damage:1d10+3 or (per weapon+3)

Saving Throw:12 




The writing, ideas, and opinions 
are copyrighted and trade marked to the author and Dark Corner 
productions. This post is for entertainment & educational purposes 

Thursday, August 24, 2017

New OSR Lovecraftian Adventure Campaign Location - Olathoƫ The Eternal

When the stars started coming right & old Earth  began to grow weird & hoary in its ways. The skies were filled with the terrible light from the star Polaris & Aldebaran shone in the East was there a strange rending as the whole cloth of reality split open once again. The seas boiled & the land buckled as Olathoe in the land of Lomar came back into the world of man with a vengeance! The long lobed & inhuman Hyperboreans step back into the world of men as the words of ancient prophecy were once again on the lips of men.

“Slumber, watcher, till the spheres
Six and twenty thousand years
Have revolv’d, and I return
To the spot where now I burn.
Other stars anon shall rise
To the axis of the skies;
Stars that soothe and stars that bless
With a sweet forgetfulness:
Only when my round is o’er
Shall the past disturb thy door.”

The world was now a very different place as the long lobed Hyperboreans from came from Zobna, a land even further to the north borne by the Boreas winds to Earth. Humanity was not ready for these sorcerers, mystics, & wizards as a monstrous bloated Saturn hangs in the sky. The city of  Olathoe sits on Sarkis, between  the mountains of Noton and Kadiphonek. Adventurers will find them welcomed in the streets & markets of
Olathoe. Most of the equipment & weapons of many of the retroclone systems are available the marble buildings of  Olathoe.

"Still and somnolent did it lie, on a strange plateau in a hollow between strange peaks. Of ghastly marble were its walls and its towers, its columns, domes, and pavements. In the marble streets were marble pillars, the upper parts of which were carven into the images of grave bearded men."

Modern men of old Earth were not ready for the power of the men of Lomar & the bloodshed was fierce & the violence very heavy on both sides. Weapons, plagues, warfare, & worse remade the Earth many times as the seas boiled around the old world. People from the underground realm of K'n-yan unleashed many horrors upon the cities of men. Today it is a very different world as the silver sky birds of
K'n-yan land in the fields outside the city proper. Men of Lomar rule over the humans who know their place & of the relics of super science protect them from the others who also returned with the Hyperboreans.
The hairy cannibal Gnophkehs came back to plague the people of Lomar. But the people from the underground realm of K'n-yan brought an image of the deity Tsathoggua to Lomar, where it was worshiped & granted protection from the terrible cannibals & far worse monsters in the aurora haunted nights.

There are whispered & terrible rumors of the Gnophkehs having truck with 'The Maux' through the wild cult of  Rhan-Tegoth & Ithaqua. The monsters travel & hunt in terrible packs able to rip a man to shreds in mere moments. The abominable things things that they do with the corpses can not be spoken about. They dwell near the ruins of the three black pyramids of Lu which none discuss. Only the pyramid of Bui has been retaken by the men & 
Hyperborean warriors. The cost was terrible & the temple of Nodens cult was able to take care of the survivors of the massacre. Only the Pnakotic Brotherhood has all of the answers but they have been strangely silent on some matters and very talkative on others leading to suspensions that they're hiding some forbidden pieces of information.
Travelers outside of
Olathoe should beware the strange other planar and dimensional vortexes that plague the area. Men & adventurers are sometimes whisked to other worlds
These are said to rip men's souls from their bodies leaving drooling and idiotic living corpses. Those that survive the experience & are still thinking men do not speak of their experiences. Many do not survive the
Gnophkehs who eat any and all they come across in rites too terrible to write about. Only the Voormis oppose them in hate & pure violence, it is a terrible & instinctive hate of old which happens in the Summer seasons. Humans are advised to seek not the mountain Noton for many have disappeared in these wars of the two races. No remains are ever found. 

 The hairy, long-armed, cannibal Gnophkehs

Frequency: Common 

No Appearing 2-10 (usually hunting in packs) 
Size: Large 
Alignment: Chaotic Evil 
Armor Class: 4
No Attacks: 1 (weapon or bite) 

Damage: 3d6+1 or per weapon
Hit Dice:9+1-2 

Saving Throw:15


Experience Points: 530

Treasure: S,T
Special: Capable of hurling boulders for 2-16 points of damage. 
These hairy cannibals love to bite large chunks of flesh from their prey. They are able to open their jaws twice the size of their faces get the maximum bite width from prey.

The writing, ideas, and opinions 
are copyrighted and trade marked to the author and Dark Corner 
productions. This post is for entertainment & educational purposes