Wednesday, April 25, 2018

Monsters, Mayhem, & OSR Urban Dungeon Ecology For Your Old School Campaigns

There are times when a certain aesthetic is called for the monsters in a game setting & for me bizarre is the norm not the exception. Yesterday/early this morning I wrote about my  turn of the of the century alternative Earth setting & system,an old school OSR hybrid of Adventurer, Conqueror, King's Barbarians of Barbarian Conquerors of Kanahu mixed in with Troll Lord Games Amazing Adventures firearms, modern equipment & more. The combination will be called Renegade Heroes, Tyrannical Conquerors, & Wasteland Kings!  I've been working on an Appendix 1800 - 1980's Science Romance list. 
Well today my focus has been on my urban environment & dungeon adventure location New York City.  I love the ACK's Lairs & Encounters books, but sometimes I going over to the classic D&D adventures has a certain something. Fortunately there's a pretty good thread on the ACK's forums for conversions.

What I'm looking for is a bit more pulpy  & a bit more comic bookish in style & substance while simultaneously being very, very, dangerous. But an OSR  resource that I can still plug in all of the classic OD&D resources into. Hmm fortunately a couple of years ago I grabbed Neoplastic Press's Teratic Tome 

'But, but these are campaign ending monsters & nothing but nipple & penis horrors,' save your breath I've heard it all from  certain corners of the pearl clutchers of the OSR & fifth edition Dungeons & Dragons dungeon masters. But the truth is that the Brine orc, gelatinous pyramid, &  azure slime are exactly the sort of horrors that some pulp style vile villain would be cooking up in a New York lab.
The brine orc are perfect servants for the Deep Ones in the pulp make over of  Dave J. Browne with Don Turnbull's UK1 The Sinister Secret of SaltmarshMaking an ACK's style Lairs & Encounters set up for these creatures from the Teratic Tome  By Rafael Chandler would be an adventure unto itself.

Most likely these sorts of encounters would be mid way through an adventure or used as a side adventure unto themselves. Take the Ingenue for example according to the PowerScore blog which has a good breakdown & review on the book;
" A humanoid female with blue skin and white horns. They change their minds constantly and live for cruel pranks. Ingenues thirst for the blood of men, particularly nobles. She takes 1/3rd damage from spells cast by men, and double damage from spells cast by women."
These monsters are the perfect horrors to visit upon the royal houses of Pan America's New York City.  The whole place is riddled with dimensional doors & warp gates leading to other much more lethal planes of existence.

ACK's Lairs & Encounters breaks down not only the background & detailed pseudo ecology of a given monster but then gives a detailed encounter suitable for any OSR retroclone gaming system but obviously geared toward the Adventurer Conqueror, King system. Given this approach its reasonable to assume a very detailed breakdown for a pulp adventure location using these same guidelines found in ACK's Lairs & Encounters. The ACK's system from Lairs & Encounters will give any pulp or super hero pause and then some.

This same sort of approach could be taken with Barbarian Conquerors of Kanahu where a very different occult approach is given to the Lovecraftian horrors of the other worldly setting of  Kanahu.
The approach to these creatures of Chaos is similar  to the  level of lethality of the  horrors found in the Teratic Tome  By Rafael Chandler. 

To a much lesser degree the chaos cults of Lion & Dragon & Dark Albion's Cults of Chaos have a far more personal approach & slower level of corruption but non the less are just as mutating & otherworldly. To some extent the OSR NPC tools of Lion & Dragon  & Cults of Chaos fit the level of weirdness that I'm going for.

So why I'm I worried about using this style of monster placement within my alternative history New York City? Because the monsters often make the setting & while its true that this is a pulpy sort of gonzo campaign with weirdness drenching out of the pores of the campaign & a very strange twist on events of a post Martian Invasion America in 1904. There's some degree with which I'm juggling the campaign's elements around both OSR & classic OD&D ideals here.

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