Thursday, November 30, 2017

Keeping The Adventurers All In The Family - 1d7 Random Sword & Sorcery Blood Relative Patrons Table For Old School Campaigns

The two barbarian warriors crossed the wilderness as well as the  wastelands just to get to these strange & sick looking bio mechanical towers that hovered over them. They hurt the eyes of the warriors just to look upon.
'I was expecting more Crum, the architectural aesthetic for those towers is so two thousand years ago.'
'Look we need his help if we're going to get to star port temple, you knew taking the job you were going to have to deal with the old pervert.'
'Yeah but everything always revolves around blood, demons, magick, & sex with him. He's like what fifty thousand years old? You'd think that Martar The Servant of Santus'  would have had his fill by now'
'Would you? For your information I'm only four seven and half thousand years old and my harem is quite extensive. Most likely you two might be my great grand sons twice removed. In fact this country is filled with my grand progeny'
'Are you going to help us or not Grandfather Martar or not?'
The old wizard considered them both for a moment with deep & abidingly  inhuman eyes under brows snow white like the snow around them.
'What's in it for me?'
Crum smiled that half lopsided smile of his.Mostly because of the half healed scar from his pit fighting days.
The three were enveloped in a gust of snow, elderith energies, & a hearty laugh of things best not discussed.

Wizardly patrons for parties are rare, dangerous, wily, and some can almost be of a god level. Many are hundreds if not thousands of years old. Many wizards willingly cultivate their own adventuring groups of 2nd to 3rd level often with their own blood flowing through the veins of such parties. Many such wizards have inhuman, demonic, or monstrous genetic material within their own veins. This often gives even the most good repudiation wizards a capricious and wily sense of humor leaving them someone never to cross during deals or dealings with such.

There is a 1d4 chance where such powerful wizards are operating that any NPC that the player characters are dealing with maybe related through familial or other relationships to such a wizards. Wizards of this caliber often have such later operations with blood ties to ensure far more supernatural or preternatural success in rites, rituals, and even Vancian based spells. When there are four or more blood relatives present or precipitating in magick rites  there is a 40% chance of the spells effects & duration being doubled. The supernatural forces, spirits, and gods may look favorable on such operations.

There is a 60% chance that such a wizardly patron may call on adventurers for a favor or errant. The wizard is available for magical research & identification of magic items at a 30% discount & may elect to buy any treasure from PC's. But this might be at a substantial discount. There could be complications if such privileges are abused or if the PC's sell to a rival wizard instead of their own blood. A loss of honor in certain supernatural regions could result as well with more monstrous members of such families.
There is also a 20% chance that such a wizard may have a god or demon  of magick or the occult as a parent further complicating such relations & adventure opportunities.

1d7 Random Sword & Sorcery Blood Relative Wizard Patron Table 

  1. Segus The Magnificent is a 20th level wizard whose gone into semi retirement & has a large colony of great grand children across the dimension some of whom are not human. He is an active & dangerous patron when it comes to adventuring as he has a keen interest in the fate of certain Prime Material worlds. He also has a blood war with an underworld demon & his own progeny. He loves illusions & music of all kinds, there are several noted bards within his blood lines. 
  2. Titus of Rhoades - A highly dangerous necromancer whose mother was the goddess of witches. Titus loves to play the scholar & admirer of beauty as well as patron of the arts while he worms his way into academic or political circles whist placing family members in key positions of power. He is a depraved worm of the lowest order. 
  3. Ironus Mull witch of the heavens, this witch has an entire tribe of great grand children devoted to her & several power witches within. She also has several key heroes and necromancers placed within routes of power & adventure. Her overall goals are murky at best. 
  4. Tina Hargraver - The white hero of Hargrave is one of the most powerful wizards the PC's are ever to encounter. A great spy mistress and mover of nations this wizard has hand picked sons & daughters scattered throughout the worlds spreading her brand of adventuring & magic making. Ti'na as she is know all that more powerful as a seller of information & favors. Two great hero kings & queens of near by nations  are her sons & daughters.
  5. Yotri The Wise One - A seemingly harmless beggar & man of knowledge who wanders from place to place in the company of heroes & gods is actually one of the foremost divine wizards with progeny spread across the universe. He collects favors, treasures, and tithes from his blood. He is actually a highly dangerous wizard because of his connections and seemingly good nature. He is a master manipulator and rumored to be son of a trickster god. 
  6. Quses The Bold A wizard of some renowned who has retired to her tower in the deep wilderness. Quses The Bold is a queen of natural magic that has spawned two groves of druids who rule her kingdom & expand her realm planting trees & spell soaked seeds where ever they go. This gives her magick a foot hold & spies of ent blood across the dimensions. It is rumored she has switched sexes and fathered a hero or two but none bare broach the subject. 
  7.   Martar The Servant of Santus is a master of sex, death, and demonic magick whose reach has touched twenty two worlds. He is a master of seven star systems whose not slowed down. Rumored to be the son of a dragon & a sky goddess this wizard is a wily and dangerous foe who places his family at key points in history.

Wednesday, November 29, 2017

The OSR Spirits Rise! Commentary & Review of RPGPundit Presents #9: The Book of the Art of Hours

So I went to Rpg Pundits publisher & asked to get myself a copy of  RPGPundit Presents #9: The Book of the Art of Hours.  for review. This isn't a regular book of hours, a regular book of hours is, "a Christian devotional book popular in the Middle Ages. ... Like every manuscript, each manuscript book of hours is unique in one way or another, but most contain a similar collection of texts, prayers and psalms, often with appropriate decorations, for Christian devotion." Umm no this isn't remote a book like that, instead this a book of magick & occult knowledge that I happen to know something about. This is a text of occult knowledge that I wished I had when running Lamentations of the Flame Princess & Dark Albion. Why because the  Book of the Art of Hours provides rites & rituals that do something different & unique within an occult context that a wizard needs within an old school campaign that makes him or her unique & dangerous. Like many occult & magick texts this one is ascribed to a powerful Christian Saint of some renowned. So what is the Book of the Art of Hours? "The strange and powerful Book of the Art of Hours was said to have been revealed to the great wizard St. Apollonius at Corinth, where he ascended to the Third Sphere of the Seven Heavens. It reveals the method of contacting and summoning discarnate spirits that rule over the twenty-four magical hours of the day, and describes what gifts those spirits can provide." 

Book of the Art of Hours provides a fast & flexible ritual system that quickly & easily adds more scope to a wizard by providing them with a series of incantations & spells that can aid in old school play. These are rituals that only take fifteen minutes within the game setting & provide some very interesting & dangerous spirits at the caster's beckon & call provided that they have a Table of Operations available to them.
"This text reveals the method of contacting discarnate spirits that rule over the twenty-four magical hours of the day. These hours are not quite the normal hours of a day, because they must be calculated in a certain way. There are twelve hours of day and twelve of night.
To know the time each hour takes, you must calculate the moment of sunrise and sunset. Taking the whole time from sunrise to sunset and dividing it by twelve gets you the length of each hour of day; doing the same from sunset to sunrise gives you each hour of night.
Thus, the hours of the day are longer than night at certain times of
year, or vice-versa at other times. Each of the twenty-four spirits can only be summoned on their particular hour of the day or night.
The ritual of summoning itself takes only about fifteen minutes to perform, but it requires that the magician ceremonially wash himself beforehand (this can be done before the hour of the summoning starts). To summon the spirit, the magician requires the use of a
Table of Operations, which is a special board that contains symbols of the sun and planets. These are arranged in a certain orientation, depending on the spirit being summoned. The construction of a Table of Operations costs about 30gp (2L in Dark Albion), and requires 1d4
weeks at the hands of a skilled craftsman."

Clocking in at only ten pages I surprised & delighted at the layout & easy of reading material. This isn't stodgy & over the top OSR rpg magick book. Instead its simple down to Earth with language that covers the reader in exactly what its trying to do.
RPGPundit Presents #9: The Book of the Art of Hours.  presents a ritual & rite system for the summoning of the spirits of the Hours in the first book & a very dangerous second section that discusses a death rite that has all kinds of applications for adventure construction.
What the hell I'm I talking about? Well let's take a look at the spirit of the eleventh hour number 11. Athos Spirit of the Eleventh Hour (DC: 16+1d4)
This spirit can cause a house of the magician’s choosing to collapse. It can be constructed of wood or bricks, but not solid stone. There is obviously a risk of anyone inside taking damage. The magician can instead request a person be compelled to walk out of a house (this
person can make a saving throw if they have strong enough motive to
remain inside the house)." Minor shrines, small Roman style miniature temples, etc can all be brought down on the heads of priests or officials. Doesn't seem like a big deal but when your talking about a retroclone game such as Lamentations or Dark Albion it could get a PC burnt at the stake.

For Lamentations of the Flame Princess this is a great addition because The Book of the Art of Hours.   is exactly the sort of weird occult tome that would be present in a an academic occultist's library or an educated witch's study. Just the sort of tome to get the PC's in way in over their collective heads when their own wizard tries these rites and rituals.

For Dark Albion the book's character doesn't have to change & its timing in history  is right for the War of the Roses. Copies of this book might be under lock & key especially when some of its content can alter the behavior of Albion royals, temple guards,even minor couriers might be affected by some of the spells. There's also that tricky little matter of possession by spirits. Take for example the spirit of the third hour;"3. Thena Spirit of the Third Hour (DC: 10+1d8)
This spirit causes discord, making two individuals of the magician’s choosing enter into conflict. The magician must know the true name of both individuals. If the two individuals have an intense love (platonic, familial, or romantic) for each other, they both get a saving
throw to resist."

Given the lower tier NPC levels of Dark Albion some of the spells in
The Book of the Art of Hours.   could change the tide of a campaign's direction. But given some of the forces of the occult from Dark Albion's Cults of Chaos, the PC's are going to need the edge that the spirits of the Book of the Art of Hours bring to the table.

Surely there's nothing then that 
The Book of the Art of Hours could offer a traditional original, Advanced Dungeons & Dragons , or B/X Dungeons & Dragons party?
Well given that some of these spirits have a practical & very down to Earth application there are definitely some solid spirits that a wizard could bring to bare. The spirit of the first hour is perfect for a wide variety of applications especially for party's thieves, bards, and other outlaws;1. Thamore Spirit of the First Hour (DC: 10+1d10)
The spirit can free a captive from their bonds or cells—jail doors open, and shackles or ropes slip off, for example. The magician must know the captive’s name and where he is imprisoned."

The second half of the book has a rite of death magick that allows one to know the circumstances surrounding the death of the spell's target. There's an air of destiny about this spell that touches on dealing with the spirit of Death herself. Now I mentioned earlier in this review about the great wizard St. Apollonius at Corinth, where he ascended to the Third Sphere of the Seven Heavens. Well dallying in the affairs of death & having truck with spirits of Death is essentially necromancy. The Seventh Heavens are present in many of the worlds religions & the third Heaven is mentioned in the epistle of the Apostle Paul as very important;
"An epistle of the Apostle Paul, included in the New Testament, contains an explicit reference to the Third Heaven. In a letter to the Corinthian church he writes, "I know a man in Christ" (usually interpreted as: himself) "who fourteen years ago was caught up to the Third Heaven. Whether it was in the body or out of the body I do not know—God knows. And I know that this man—whether in the body or apart from the body I do not know, but God knows—was caught up to paradise. He heard inexpressible things, things that man is not permitted to tell." (2 Corinthians 12:2–4) The Greek says "caught away", not "caught up" possibly reflecting Jewish beliefs that Paradise was somewhere other than the uppermost heaven.[16]
In the Second Book of Enoch, Enoch travels through the seven heavens and gives geographical and visual documentation of them, describing houses, olive oil and flowers. He passes through the Garden of Eden in the Third Heaven on his way to meet the Lord in the 7th Heaven"
There are secrets that The Book of the Art of Hours 

might reveal that might mean the intersession of an angel of Death or worse if abused. PC's dallying with such occult books must watch their steps.
The Book of the Art of Hours 

like all good rpg products spins more adventure fodder the more one dives into it. Are there quibbles? My only minor quibble is that there should have been more to it with a bit of the book's back history & perhaps its place within real world history. The
The Book of the Art of Hours
appearance during the Hundred Years War at a pivot moment in history & time might have contributed to a some decisive directions that history took in both the real world & Albion. Do I think The Book of the Art of Hours  is worth getting? In a word yes because of the ideas,spirits, rituals, and substance that this product brings to the gaming table. Did I happen to mention that The Book of the Art of Hours does all of this for two dollars and in ten pages?! Hence in my book its a five out of five.

The Carcosa Sunset - Review & Commentary For Barrens of Carcosa For Your Old School Campaigns

So way back about 2015 or so, I started seeing rumors & water cooler talk about a new set of Carcosa books by Geoffrey McKinney. 
Today I got an email requesting a review of  'Barrens of Carcosa'  Barrens was the first of the adventure modules that I got for Carcosa from Lulu back in 2016. Its a bit of a departure from the B/X good nesss of Lamentations of the Flame Princess Carcosa black edition. How so? Well, Barrens doesn't have the adult occult controversial content that the LoFP adventure source book has. This adventure is meant for Advanced Dungeons & Dragons and adds a whole new set hex crawling adventure locations to the Carcosa setting. It adds traditional AD&D first edition alignment axis to Barrens of Carcosa NPC's within the hex crawl. This isn't actually a bad thing but its going to be interesting to say the least if your using this product with LoFP Carcosa because what it does is adds in more insight into the motives & motivations of the NPC's of Barrens.  After a short introduction into Carcosa with its Robert Howard Serpent Men demi god cosmic scientists  we dive right into the meat of Barrens of Carcosa. That is because this is actually a hex crawl encounter kit as much as a module.  Its designed so you can drop some group of smuc erm adventurers into the thick of a hex & come Hell or Cthulhu they'll have to survive.

Luigi Castellani's cover art depicts the Yellow Men of Dulaja worshiping a purple worm shoal.

This is a down and dirty survival horror hex crawl with a Jack Kirby slant & a fully moded out set of encounters within the adventure for this region of Carcosa. There are within the module series besides Barrens of Carcosa which is a part of the northeast quarter of a larger campaign area that includes THE YUTHLUGATHAP SWAMPS, JUNGLES OF THE K'NAANOTHOA, and THE MOUNTAINS OF DREAM.

The module's encounter levels vary tremendously between PC levels as does LoFP's Carcosa but this is where the similarities end. As I said before these are meant for Advanced Dungeons & Dragons first edition or OSRIC. They make full reference to various AD&D monsters & some minor concepts. The adds for this module make it clear that these modules are for experienced dungeon masters only. This module has some of the science fantasy aspects to it but these are far & fewer reflecting the change in mode. This isn't a bad thing but different because Barrens of Carcosa plus into Advanced Dungeons & Dragons first edition & its a different region of Carcosa itself.

Statistic information & layout is different but clear for the DM to deal with difficult encounter issues. There's plenty of room for Carcosa DYI efforts on the DM's part for their own campaign but hex encounters are laid out better. Population, resources, alignment, etc. is all there at the DM's finger tips. Understand that this is bare bones from the ground up with some really well done weird areas & Geoff excels at weird areas damn well. There are various nods to Lovecraft & his circle of writers here & over in that slime pit there.

So are you going to need your AD&D Monster Manual? Possibly but I didn't when I ran Barrens of Carcosa but I've always had a soft spot for the Carcosa setting. Because its a hex crawl there's as I said plenty of room for the DM to leave their own sweaty thumb prints all over this module/setting book. The possibilities are pretty endless of how the PC's are going to deal with some of the module's elements. So is all doom & gloom in Barrens of Carcosa? Surprisingly not all, because there are lots & lots of Spawn of Shub Niggurath! Not all of them are immicial to mankind & some are down right friendly (sort of in that weird Carcosa way).

Could Barrens of Carcosa be played with the Lamentations of the Flame Princess source book or B/X Dungeons & Dragons or its attendant retroclones? Well in a word yes with some minor modifications to stats, armor class, etc. In point of fact I would say that the LoFP Black Carcosa book adds a bit of range to the science fantasy artifact roaster, its not necessary but its a sweet sourcebook to have when running Barrens!
The back maps give a good overview of where the hex's are in this module for AD&D Carcosa additions to the campaign. Map turned on its side to thwart my players.

So is Barrens of Carcosa worth the 12.99 price tag? Well, in a word yes with some caveats. I've run this module as part of a marathon of Carcosa/Gamma World goodness & well I stranded the PC's here! They've managed to survive but Barrens has a lot more Lovecraftian references including Great Race artifact areas, some vicious Great Old One cults, & some surprisingly dangerous high technological encounters. Others have said that the lack of artwork is a step back for 
Geoffrey McKinney's Carcosa modules. 
The fact is that I totally understand that sentiment but I'm someone who grew up with Judge's Guild material & the lack of artwork to save on costs is understandable. The lack of artwork in thirty two pages didn't cause me any pain. Do I think you should get Barrens of Carcosa? If your a Carcosa fanatic like myself? Then yes absolutely. If your just getting into Carcosa then get the LoFP black Carcosa book first & then get Barrens of Carcosa. Its got a different feel but for me its much more approachable in some regards.
But now back to the email request, it came in from one of my players who PC is still trapped on Carcosa from our Gamma World/Carocsa crossover. We used the Barrens of Carcosa module for that game! More to come coming up on that front soon!

Barrens of Carcosa is
available right over here!

Ten ways to use Barrens of Carcosa with your old school campaigns

  1. Barrens of Carcosa  makes an excellent start location for a Carcosa campaign. The diversity of monster, cults, & encounters is going to keep a mini campaign moving for months. 
  2. The familiarity of the monsters makes this a much more AD&D friendly and somewhat familiar D&D module to drop your players into for the Carcosa setting. This tactic can be used to introduce the PC's to LoFP's Carcosa wastelands later on. There are several references scattered throughout the module to make this easy. 
  3. For Post apocalyptic games I've used this module as the location for planar travel mutations or gates to open into several times. 
  4. Barrens & the Advanced Dungeons & Dragons series of Carcosa modules are very Astonishing Swordsmen & Sorcerers of Hyperborea friendly both in tone & conversion but some Lovecraftian elements could give players headaches. 
  5. I've seen one game of supers where the DM was using  Guardians - Superhero RPG By Thomas Denmark game and dropped the players into Barrens of Carcosa. The players got stupid with one of the spawn & it was a TPK. 
  6. Crash land your favorite Spelljammer crew on Barrens & watch the hi jinks begin. 
  7. Barrens of Carcosa makes an excellent introductory module for Starships & Spacemen 2e
  8. Take your Apes Victorious crew & dimensionally strand them on Carcosa. Watch them try to survive Barrens of Carcosa's encounters. I guarentee they'll be party cooperation between humans, apes, and underdwellers.  Some adjustments are needed between rpg systems as explained in the back of Apes Victorious
  9. There's an artifact in the Barrens of Carcosa that your wizard needs. Time for a quick dimensional door! 
  10. Barrens of Caroca could be used as the Carcosa introduction for Lamentations of the Flame Princess. The region is a bit less screwed up then the rest of the planet giving more of an opportunity for mayhem on the DM's part before he fully reveals the extent of the the twisted horror that is the planet.

Tuesday, November 28, 2017

1d4 Random Lower Tier Lovecraftian Sword & Sorcery Adventure Hook Table For Your Old School Campaigns

The motley crew of adventurers & warriors were on an errant for their master the wizard Cothlur The Bloodless. They had survived the ritual of the legendary Maze of Pain & Undeath & were now on their way back to Ice River Run village. They would have stories to tell their children. Hathal The Strong had not survived his encounter with mechanisms of the maze but he was also known as Hathal the Brainless in some quarters of the region of the Ever Flowing Ice. His songs would be sung around the fires of the village tonight and his widow would find comfort come the spring.
The band of five warriors, their bard priest Dreven, & the witch Havga The Eyeless came across a curious sight. A priest of forty winters dressing down a deer's rotten carcass swearing in the tongue of the Ancients & then swearing in the common tongue to the sky. He pointed a rotten and bloody finger at them, 'Here they are the brave heroes who have survived the mechanisms of death but you have brought shame & pain to your village. Now death comes for you!'
The knife he held in his hand made one swift movement towards the sky & then the ground. The words of power made even the bard's hair stand on end when the ground around them turned into weird powdery grey mud of the Underworld. Nine dead ones corpses were birthed back into the world at that moment, their cries of unbirth & pain rattled reality with its swift horror! Swords were drawn, spells readied, when the hungry things came for them.
Some place distantly a set of dice of the wyrd were rolled!

Sometimes as a dungeon master you need a bit of a random stop gap encounter to sweeten the pie a bit for the old school Sword & Sorcery adventure campaign that you've planned. The adventurers are on the path to glory but the players are playing with their cell phones or eating when you grab a hand full of dice & deal out a random encounter from the depths of your DM patented bag of tricks. But these need not be the most dangerous or horrid to get your player's attention and keep it.

For old school campaigns based on a Sword & Sorcery style game campaign, the encounters thrive on the weird, bloody, & strangely atmospheric. These encounters need not end in a TPK but rather should come at the beginning of a published adventure or between sessions where the party has some wilderness time on their way from or too the dungeon.
These encounters are designed for a party of 1st through 5th level of player characters and will lean heavily on the pulpy side of encounters especially with an eye towards the Lovecraftian.

1d4 Random Lower Tier Lovecraftian Sword & Sorcery Adventure Hook Table 
  1. A lone druid has sub combed to the will of the Elder Gods & has fled stark raving into the forest. He has been cursed by his own gods as as were monster for a massive transgression, he is slowly transforming into a warg thing as the day goes on & has already murdered a local. A spirit of madness has entered him & he begs the PC's to kill him to put him out of his misery. He speaks at odd times in the tongue of the darkest magicks. There is a 5% chance he could curse an adventurer or npc. 
  2. A local cultist of Mordiggian  has seen the character's latest adventure as a vile sin against death and has secured a spell to create 1d10 zombies of local warriors who were banished to the underworld. He is merely a catspaw for some greater evil to come though. 
  3. 1d3 Ghosts of ancient cultists of Thulu have comeback to the area, they seek a priest of the god who the PC's unknowingly killed off months ago. They are following the scent of a relic or treasure piece off months ago. Or they are merely deluded because the relic might have passed through the hands of the PC. 
  4. One lone fighter waits in the paths just outside the ruins, village,etc. for the PC. He is a 2nd level fighter whose been sent dreams by an unknown bloody handed god that wishes the PC dead otherwise it will mean the end of the fighter's family at the hands of a local grove of cultists of Shub Niggurath. He will ask for the PC's help even as he tries to kill his chosen target and will make them swear if they kill him they will help him.

Ever Their praises, and abundance to the Black Goat of the Woods. Iä! Shub-Niggurath!
Iä! Shub-Niggurath! The Black Goat of the Woods with a Thousand Young!
HP Lovecraft
"The Whisperer in Darkness" (1930)

Under The Irradiated Skies of The Gamma Turquoise: Santa Fe Starport From Kort'thalis Publishing - A Review & Commentary

 So many months ago I agreed to do a review & commentary about Gamma Turquoise: Santa Fe Starport from Kort'thalis Publishing  aka Venger As'Nas Satanis. 
Many months ago I supported the kickstarter on this blog & was really excited to see Gamma Turquoise: Santa Fe Starport hit the wild. But here's the thing, go into this understanding that this is a parody of Gamma World's Albuquerque Star Port adventure sort of. What Gamma Turquoise: Santa Fe Starport really is a post apocalyptic/ sci fi pop culture parody adventure for both Crimson Dragon Slayer & Alpha Blue. 
This is a product with an adult warning on it and it means it. There's sex based factions, horrid tentacle monsters in the background, erotic low humor jokes that are not really necessary, all of the things that you expect to find in a Venger Satanis product.

But despite itself this is a really useful product if your into old school apocalyptic gaming. We'll get into why down below but as Rpg Pundit said a little Venger goes a long way. This isn't anyplace near Gamma World first or second edition levels of quality but this book isn't meant to in any way shape or form do that. Instead this is a third tier OSR product intended for post apocalyptic sci fi & fantasy. It is meant to create a working star port/mini adventure location for any post apocalyptic or sci fi based campaigns. It leans heavily toward those systems but there's enough levy way for a DM to really adapt it to their own needs. The layout is clean, crisp, and up to Monkey Blood Design's standards with lots of well done cartography and weirdness thrown in. Do I think you should get
Gamma Turquoise: Santa Fe Starport  in a word yes. But now I'm going to tell you why!
This is a South Western flavored star port with lots of interesting NPC's, mutants, random tables, and more. And I think it would make an excellent post apocalyptic domain for your PC's to control aka I think that your PC's should take their star ship or post apocalyptic army and blow the living crap out of it!
Time & again throughout post apocalyptic games you see the PC's struggle to make ends meet, adventure through contaminated ruins, face down mutant horrors that would make H.P. Lovecraft have the dry heaves. All for what another day in the irradiated sun? With
Gamma Turquoise: Santa Fe Starport 
everything is laid out for the DM to have the PC's carve out their own pound of irradiated & mutated flesh in the desert. There are a ton of random tables of maps, relics, and more all waiting to snare the PC's. Going all the way back to Gamma World first edition there's been a sub game in science fantasy post apocalyptic games of PC's carving out their own empires. There are tons of factions, sex cults, etc all in the hot sweat hog of a space port. But what if the PC's had their own working space port in the wastelands? Could this be done with
Gamma Turquoise: Santa Fe Starport ?
In a word, yes & yes because going all the way back to Original Dungeons & Dragons when a PC was hit ninth level they were expected to create a domain. For many players this was a giant pain in the ass. But when you start looking at the various adventure locations that the PC's have been too they often looked to start cleaning the monsters out and moving right in themselves. This often gave the DM a perfect excuse to launch another monster or adventure their way from the dungeons below. We can introduce the idea of wasteland domains for a post apocalyptic game. This means that the former ruins or wasteland dungeons become the wizard's tower, fighter's strong hold, etc. By the same token there were various Blackmoor modules that used the trope of  'the city of the gods' concept.

 Here's where Gamma Turquoise: Santa Fe Starport   comes in. There are a ton of Lovecraftian encounters and ideas mixed into the backdrop. By taking these and creating a cargo cult situation around the star port it can easily be transported over to a traditional Dungeons & Dragons fantasy style world. It also gives the DM the perfect excuse & opportunity to get the PC's off planet if that's his or their plan.

So why does
Gamma Turquoise: Santa Fe Starport work? Most of it does but I wanted more of it. More post apocalyptic material, more tools, more background, and deeper NPC's but that's not the point. This is a real rpg tool box that depends on the DM to most of the heavy lifting.  Well the book only clocks in at thirty four pages plus maps meant to be printed used for play. But there are several reasons why Gamma Turquoise: Santa Fe Starport  could spark a campaign faster then a used G3 laser pistol.
Here's ten reasons why 
Gamma Turquoise: Santa Fe Starport is a perfect product of opportunity for your old school post apocalyptic games: 

1. Its really useful with other Kort'thalis Publishing products such as Death Fury Road a free Mad Max style post apocalytic game add on for the Crimson Dragon Slayer game or with No Escape From New York another Crimson Dragon title. This can actually round out a whole post apocalyptic world setting with little effort.  

2. The no holds barred adult content can add a very different vector to an old school post apocalyptic game setting such as Gamma World or have the PC's transported as slaves to the wastelands from their current D&D style fantasy setting via the slave route to Gamma Turquoise. 

3. The wasteland domain level of play adds another dimension to the NPC's of the setting allowing the DM to round them out in any way shape or form as he or she see's fit. This means more as the PC's blow a nice laser precision hole through them. 

4. The city of the gods route allows the technology of the Star Port to be very dangerous within a traditional fantasy setting not to mention its possible uses as things heat up in the wastelands. 

5. Gamma Turquoise: Santa Fe Starport  has lots of uses as an adventure location for repeated visits because of its working & unworking facilities within a post apocalyptic setting. Meaning that the PCs can get into all kinds of situations over  & over. 

6. The  Gamma Turquoise: Santa Fe Starport  is a perfect target for a protracted war by a wide variety of post apocalyptic factions. The PC's might end up saving the place from utter destruction by the forces of the wasteland. 

7. The contents of the Star Port might become a religious pilgrimage for some poor deluded foolish faction meaning that the PC's are brought in as guards for a caravan for a very different way to get to the place. 

8.Raiders could make the place a target causing interstellar gangsters to take notice of a juicy target planet. The whole place could spark an interstellar war. 

9. Should the original owners of the place awaken the PC's could be in all kinds of trouble! 

10. Mutants of the place may make life very difficult especially given the deep Lovecraftian connections.

Gamma Turquoise: Santa Fe Starport Is On Sale Here


Monday, November 27, 2017

1d7 Random Lovecraftian Sword & Sorcery Adventure Hooks Table For Your Old School Campaigns

Horror & evil grow like a cancer across the worlds, heroes are needed to stem the tide of this cancer. Men & women of valor,courage, and wisdom. Monsters, tyrants, & nameless horrors straight from the depths of the deepest underworld threaten the mortal realm. Are your heroes ready to meet this these threats head on?

These Sword & Sorcery hooks are set at levels three through six for PC's of B/X Dungeons & Dragons as well as most retroclones such as Labyrinth Lord or Astonishing Swordsmen & Sorcerers of Hyperborea second edition.

These could be used as adventure or campaign starters with some tweaking for your own home Sword & Sorcery campaign settings. These hooks are set up with an experienced group of players in mind with mid tier characters in mind.

1d7 Random Sword & Sorcery Adventure Hooks Table
  1. A pack of Nightguants has taken residence with a nearby set of ruins. Each night they take a random person on a wretched journey to a hag that strips them of vital life essence and returns them before morning. Each victim always has the same bone jarring nightmare of her asking them over & over about a hidden hoard of treasure in some ruined temple. The village priest is advertising for adventurers to track her down & destroy the monster! The village itself is becoming ruined because no is maintaining the place and the nightgaunts are unnerving as well as consuming the livestock in the most horrid fashion. There is a +2 dagger & small 120 gold piece stash within their nearby hide out. 
  2. A necromancer has moved into the area & has gathered a cult of death worshipers nearby in a hidden grove. Each night zombies rise from the ground to gather around a sacred set of stones and worship a demon he or she has summoned for some unknown purpose. The place is getting an evil reputation among nearby villages and there is a festival coming up.The village elders are looking for heroes to destroy the necromancer & restore order. There are rumors of a treasure buried in the center of the standing stones.
  3. A basilisk has taken residence within the ruins of a once rich temple of Apollo and is coveting the former offerings of the god. Priests of Apollo are seeking adventurers to take down the foul creature but there is a demon behind the thing who is guiding its actions. He wishes to attract a cult to further befoul the place. The heroes receive dreams of the monster going on a rampage through a nearby village. 
  4. Villagers have recently uncovered in a field a sealed vault of the Elder Things a giant black pudding  and the thing is on a rampage each night at the hour of the dead. Fields, crops, and villagers have been killed and a wizard as well as heroes are needed to put the thing down. 
  5. A hunger spirit has been let loose by the meddling of a local wizard and now crops, people, animals are all dying. An ancient talisman of the Ancient Ones is needed to put the thing to rest. The artifact is found in the temple of the gargoyles nearby hidden within the grove of the old ones. There is said to be other treasure there as well. 
  6. A young druid has angered a shambling mound who was resting as a part of the grove of elder trees. Now the thing rampages each evening destroying and all in its way. A horrid fate awaits any who crosses its path but there are rumors of a necromancer who might be using it to uncover a treasure of old. The thing has killed three villagers already. 
  7. A young priest of Cthulhu has come looking for converts to his twisted faith & is assisted by 5 zombies of Deep Ones whom he has awoken from deathless slumber. Now he seeks their grand tomb in the nearby endless swamp of Woe. He is holding the local village hostage and needs brave adventurers to plumb its depths.

    Out of what crypt they crawl, I cannot tell,
    But every night I see the rubbery things,
    Black, horned, and slender, with membranous wings,
    They come in legions on the north wind’s swell
    With obscene clutch that titillates and stings,
    Snatching me off on monstrous voyagings
    To grey worlds hidden deep in nightmare’s well.

    Over the jagged peaks of Thok they sweep,
    Heedless of all the cries I try to make,
    And down the nether pits to that foul lake
    Where the puffed shoggoths splash in doubtful sleep.
    But ho! If only they would make some sound,
    Or wear a face where faces should be found!
    Night-Gaunts  (1939)
    by Howard Phillips LovecraftWritten circa 1930. First published in Weird Tales (no. 34, no. 6, December 1939).
    Part of the "Fungi from Yuggoth" cycle of poems.

Sunday, November 26, 2017

Blood, Thunder, Beer, & The Hundred Years War - Campaign Commentary Set up

So I've been spending some time with a friend today at a local watering hole discussing of all things B/X Dungeons & Dragons & The Hundred Years War.
So between beers & conversation we began to pick apart & overview the Hundred Years War with parallels to B/X Dungeons & Dragons's adventuring conditions. First of all let's do a quick overview of one of the most complex & bloody wars in Europe's history in a quick nut shell via Wiki;
"The Hundred Years' War was a series of conflicts waged from 1337 to 1453 by the House of Plantagenet, rulers of the Kingdom of England, against the House of Valois, rulers of the Kingdom of France, over the succession to the French throne."
This is a complex, three sided & force sided war with far reaching economic, sociological, & even cultural wars.These conflicts bankrupted nations & led directly too the War of The Roses in England & this led to entire generations of families having to eke out a living however they could. Sounds suspiciously like adventurers doesn't it? The one thing that 'Morley the wizard' never told you was that your adventurers were going to have to keep crawling for that gold in those dungeons & the ruins of those classic adventures.

All of this relates to the dawn of Original Dungeons & Dragons when war gaming miniature clubs were all the rage back in the 60's & 70's across the United States & Europe. See Gary Gygax &  David Lance "Dave" Arneson were movers & shakers in the late Sixties war game scene which actually gave rise to original Dungeons & Dragons.
So flash forward to the beers & the tonight's discussion over an old '95 issue of Strategy & Tactics which contained one of the best paper war games of the Hundred Years War described by Board Game Geeks;" The game recreates the wars fought between England and France between 1337 and 1453. Each game turn represents 1 year. Each unit represents leaders or 1-2000 soldiers. The units are either English (red), French (blue) or independent (white). The map is divided into areas not hexes and comes with 280 counters.
Victory is determined by comparing each major powers victory point total with its initial resource value."  This was a fantastic war game & its been trotted out over the years getting lots of air play at our various tables. It does exactly what it says on the tin. So how does the Hundred Years War apply in B/X Dungeons & Dragons? Hmm a lot easier then you might think. The Battle of Castillon marks the end of the Hundred Years War & is a transition & end battle clearly with a victory for the French. 
 This was a very weird time in France especially at the borders of the country. There's lots of rumors going around, backwater villages & towns need to be secured. There's also that backwater castle & the trading post that needs to be taken care of but the war has stretched thin the army perhaps your band of adventurers can help. Yes I'm speaking of B2 Keep Of The Borderlands by Gary Gygax.

This walk into the back water part of the French 'victory' could highlight the need for adventurers intervention as the extent of the witchcraft of the location begins to manifest though out the countryside. The horrific elements could be stuff straight out of nightmare & mythology.  There are several elements of The Battle of Castillon that make it an interesting match up. First of all the use of guns, gunpowder, matchlocks, and long bows all had their time on the battle's stage.

So talking about the Hundred Years War I can help but bring up Rpg Pundit's Dark Albion & Cults of Chaos. Because the outcome of that real world take on the war has a very different outcome for France. The whole place becomes over run with French demon worshiping frogmen. Something went very wrong during 
The Battle of Castillon allowing the Frogmen to consolidate power in the region.

There is a long history of witchcraft, chaos worship, & worse within the hills surrounding this region allowing a DM to situate an entire campaign centered around these events especially if they happen to be using a B/X Dungeons & Dragons game or a retroclone engine of the same type. Dark Albion is unique in that allows the DM to customize it based upon their DMing & player's preferences in D&D edition's gaming engine.

Once again there's actually little that's going to change with the introduction of Keep On The Borderland in a Dark Albion campaign. The Keep & its environs are going to be knee deep in avoiding the Inquistion & keeping ahead of the local people. The Frogmen might not have made that many in roads into this unusual back water location. This could be why they are contacting the PC's. This is so they can free up other on the ground assets. The Hundred Years war makes an excellent prequel to a classic module and the adventure backdrop of Dark Albion.
For now keep em rolling folks!

Saturday, November 25, 2017

The Road To Rumble & Ruins - Olathoë' Session Report II

The PC's bard having spent the night in the grand temple of   Tsathoggua  was alerted by the head monks of the temple that the place was surrounded by one of  Olathoë 's rival thieves/assassins guild in the guise of beggars. The assassins were over seen by a priestess of Tulu (Cthulhu) whom was directing their efforts.

After several carefully placed arrow shots took down key "beggers" the PC's made their way out of the city escorted by a  half Hyperborean musketeer temple scout named Mock. He's used to escorting monks & other temple personnel through the wasteland war zones outside the city. The affiliated thieves guild head of Olathoë met with the PC's to discuss smuggling them out of the city via back ways & hidden paths. The PC's also find out about a paladin of

Tulu (Cthulhu)  who has been making inquires about the PC's and offering bounties on them. After arrangements were made & meals were had the PC's were off via the hidden paths out of the city on mule.

The PC's got a great look at the devastation & war torn route outside the city into the western wastelands along the volcanic wracked landscape. They're trying to ascertain the level of corruption & if the outpost on the western wastelands have been compromised by the forces of chaos. Past silent reminders of the Ancient Ones & a long forgotten  golden age the PC's come across a set of ruins that a Hyperborean scavenger has market out as his own. From on top of a ridge the PC see bandits coming to attack the scavenger, the bandits move their horses into position and begin to draw weapons. They think this should be an easy mark.

The PC move in silently to interfere with the bandits. Drunken, high, and bold the bandits loudly make their way into the ruins to reclaim stolen rot gut hidden away days before. They had business within the ruins.  A still set up long ago by this gang for the production of spirits. The still has been quietly disassembled & claimed by the Hyperborean scavenger much to the anger of the bandits. Things don't go well for the bandits as they burst into the ruins.

The Hyperborean scavenger has an armored construct suit from the golden age. And the bandits are attacked from both sides in an ambush that takes them by surprise & the players rolled very well. Out of the seven bandits one makes it out of it alive as the construct armor, several arrows, and carefully placed wheel lock shots slaughter the bandits.

Another PC is introduced as the last surviving human bandit scum is questioned. He tells the PC's of another visitor to the ruins not five days ago a Hyperborean paladin of Thlu whom the PC's recognize. Where was he going? Why was he in the ruins? The bandit hoping to live tells the PC's of a Hyperborean cult who have claimed the large ruins up the path. They worship strange insect gods & often have truck with the forces of Chaos. The paladin paid them a visit not four days ago. Mock fears that the noise of combat will draw monsters & scavengers to the area, he leads the party down several hunting paths after the party claims the bandit's horses. They've gotten an upgrade in travel but now they come to another set of sinister looking ruins the abode of the strange insect god worshiping cult. Who are these strange cultists and what do they want with our heroes? Tune in next week for another in exciting adventure!

So what's happening here is that I'm using a combination of Adventurer, Conqueror, King as the main system for the PC's & my own campaign world of 'Old Earth' based on the Astonishing Swordsmen & Sorcerers of Hyperborea second edition. The players are having a blast and its working out very well. Tonight's game was a really nice challenge & kinda of a set run to see how things work work out. All in all it was a great game tonight.

Friday, November 24, 2017

1d20 Random Treasures From The Border of Reality Table For Your Old School Campaigns

Not all items from the dragon's hoard are as simple as they first appear. Many of these items are from far distant shores of reality where they've picked up more then their fair share of magick and weirdness.

Adventurers always need more loot, artifacts, and other items to generate an income for themselves. There are however items that come from the very edges of reality. These items have a fundamental residue of the dreams & nightmares of the places they've come through. How many countless hands of power & the fury of violence have been visited upon their various owners before your PC's even find them?

These items pass from one hand to another always passing into another hoard or finding their way through circumstances into the fingers of the greedy. There is a stench of destiny about them which means that there is a twenty percent chance of an NPC or even a lowly slave trying to murder a PC for possession of them. Some items have a 10% chance of being cursed with a geas about them or a blood curse upon them.

There are some items that have passed through the hands of wizards & mages that may have picked up some of their power and have a four percent chance of having 1d3 spells of first or second level attached to them. These are strictly up to the dungeon master to create or maintain. These spells may be an inherit ability or a one off such spell like effect.

1d20 Random Treasures & Items
From The Border of Reality Table

  1. A silver chalice made from a giant mammal's horn wrought with alien scroll work & weirdly decorated with the leering faces of princes & demons. The thing is worth 7000 gold pieces and at night it sings with strangely haunting songs. 
  2. A ring of brass, gold, and ivory with the head of a small boy wrought in it with rubies for eyes. These eyes leer at the owner & there is a feeling of an occult presence within the thing. 5000 gold pieces for this work from before the last Ice Age of Earth. 
  3. A calendar made from the tusks of mammoths & volcanic gold that is warm to the touch the thing marks off strange events that do not conform the local space time continuum. Worth 7000 gold pieces because of the beautiful workmanship and characters of the piece. Sea water damage on the outer edges. 
  4. Twelve statues of saints of no known religion with eyes of diamonds that stare into the owner's soul. The statues are used for some alien summoning ritual because of the weird occult diagrams on the base of the things. Worth 10,000 gold pieces to the right wizard or occult group. 
  5. A gold torc of exceptional work wrought by small hands but with two exceptional emeralds on the ends. This piece has been worn thin at certain spots but there is evidence of a sword cut above one of the emeralds. There is a strange melancholy that hangs over the piece even as its worth a cool 6,000 gold to the right collector. A necromancer would highly prize the thing for strange and disturbing reasons. 
  6. Green jade vase wax sealed containing the ashes of a long forgotten king, the king however is now a ghost who has advised countless adventurers in his undead existence. The vase is worth a cool 10,000 gold pieces because of its workmanship and the precious stones. The ghost is a fountain of adventuring possibilities. 
  7. Ten stone tablets containing the collected erotic poems of a long forgotten people with several love enhancing spells worked in. They actually contain several alignments of stars for powerful rituals that enhance any spells with a 10% tacted onto the spell's effect's duration. They are worth 6000 gold pieces to the right collector or wizard. 
  8. Thirteen gold and silver scrolls punched with the wisdom of a warrior prince of long lost Atlantis. The poems are dedicated to a long forgotten goddess of death enabling the reader to use speak with the dead two times per week. They are worth 7000 gold pieces because there are precious gems used to mark certain passages. 
  9.  Two strange cut crystal gem like lens are actually the eyes of a long lost godling. These items can show the viewer their heart's desire but there is a specter of the lost godling looking for them. It will within 1d6 weeks try to murder the owner. 
  10. A giant tusk of a walrus carved with hundreds of reliefs and scenes of necrotic rites and rituals. Worth 600 gold to the average collector the thing is actually a necromancer's book of ancient secrets and worth 3000 gold pieces to a grove of necromancers and shaman's. The thing whispers with the ghosts of all those who have been sacrificed upon it. 
  11. Three what appear to be brass books contain 3000 plus weird astrological drawings and diagrams. These three books are actually silver so corroded that they appear to be brass because a fine coating of brass dust has settled on them. They are actually worth 8,000 gold pieces each and belonged to the Yithians. They contain the routes of ancient time tunnels throughout space. Anything placed near them will rust & decay 1d20 days as if exposed to the elements. 
  12. A strangely wrought skull that looks like a child's skull but actually a bone joint of some massive animal carved into the shape of a skull. The mouth is a clever arrangement of bone hinges and carved gears. Anything placed within the mouth is devoured by a trapped hunger spirit. The thing whispers ancient curses and dread secret at night in the owner's dreams. Worth 7000 gold pieces to a necromancer or the murder of the owner by an assassin belonging to an inhuman tribe.  
  13. Glass dagger containing seventy diamonds in the hilt, this dagger always points to the weakest point in local time space continuum. It can also be used to stab the shadow of anyone rooting them to the spot as if they were subject of a hold person spell. The dagger is worth 5000 gold pieces because of the diamonds but with its power's known it could be a fifty thousand gold piece treasure. But the dagger bares a curse of weird destiny about it. 
  14. Carved hand of jade contains the soul of an ancient serpent men shaman of horrid aspect. His power is contained in the thing enabling its owner to shed their shape once per day. Worth 4000 gold pieces a group of assassins seeks the thing for a hideous purpose. 
  15. Solid brick of fused gold that contains the wisdom of the Elder Things but its now only worth the forbidden wisdom activated by the bhole chants. Worth only 5000 gold pieces to the right collector the thing echoes with eerie energies that calls 1d4 alien ghosts to it. 
  16. Box of strange nine inch pins of silver and platinum used in strange summoning rites. These pins are aligned to alien stars and worth 3000 gold pieces. They refer to a book of forbidden magick thought long lost in ancient Mu.  
  17. Carved tendril bone from a dimensional shambler that enables its owner contact other plane once per week. There is a 4% chance of a dimensional shambler summoned to the owner's location to carry them off. A weird whistling seems to follow the owner just over their shoulder. The bone is worth 400 gold pieces as a curio. 
  18. A giant key carved from the bone of an ancient dinosaur can be used to summon a weird Lovecraftian blob from between the stars. The key is made from bone but it enlaided with seventeen gold strips of pure gold and jet. The key can control the blob with a successful wisdom roll. Worth 5000 gold pieces there is a cult searching for this key. 
  19. Giant whale bone charm is actually a ward against an aggressive and dangerous leader shoggoth from beyond our dimension. This horror was used to construct the worm hole passages through reality for the Elder Things. The charm has been dipped in pure silver and vibrates when the horror is nearby. Worth 4000 gold pieces to the right wizard.
  20. Twenty weirdly wrought spheres of jet and jade control a star spawn of Cthulhu and their worth 10000 gold pieces as weapon of mass destruction.  

                                                                                      THE UNKNOWN
How strange to look upon the life beyond
Our human cognizance with so deep awe
And haunting dread; a sense as of remorse,
A looking-for of judgment, a great weight
Of things unknown to happen! We who live
Blindly from hour to hour in very midst
Of mysteries; of shapeless, changing glooms;
Of nameless terrors; issues vast and black;
Of airy whims, slight fantasies, and flights
That lead to unimaginable woe:
The unweighed word cloying the life of love;
One clod of earth outblotting all the stars;
Some secret, dark inheritance of will,
And the scared soul plunges to conscious doom!
Thou who hast wisdom, fear not Death, but Life!

HP Lovecraft