Tuesday, December 4, 2018

A Christmas Coffin - OSR Commentary & Review of Terror Tales - X! From Beyond Belief Games By Simon Washbourne

"Weird! Baffling! Terrifying! Rousing tales of macabre adventure using familiar rules! Who wants to read through reams of text just to get to the action? No-one right? These rules assume you know how to role play. They assume you know about “Golden Age” comic book pulp mystery fiction. (Thrilling adventures through a retro lens). They assume you know how OSR products work. There, it’s done. You know how to play already. Just get on with it. Two-fisted tales and mysterious investigations. "
Terror Tales -X! by Beyond Belief is a solid addition to the OSR horror adventure  genre. The whole affair clocks in at twenty one pages & gives the DM all of the optional dark adventure material that they need. The focus is the Precode horror comics of the Golden Age & all that goes with it.  Dark rites at three A.M., occult monsters in the deep urban environment of the city, spooky alleyways that lead into other worldly Hells. Adventurers here are crusaders & heroes at much as victims themselves & the forces of darkness are always a heart beat or closing coffin lid away.

Painted cover of Strange Stories From Another World, number 5, February 1953, artwork by Norman Saunders. Another World was published by Fawcett from August 1952 to February 1953. Saunders' richly painted cover recalls the pulp magazines of the 1930s and 40s.

Ahh now that's the Hellfire & classic precode public domain horror comics that I've come to know & love. These are perfect for OSR horror adventure & with a wide array of PC options its a snap to 'plug & play' this set of rules. There's a nifty sanity set of rules for PC's straight off & a wide array of victims erm PC options.  You got your scientist, your detective,the psychic, the scoundrel, the adventurer, tough guy, & mystic. Two pages of advantages & disadvantages along with quick descriptions. Enemies & NPC's to thread the adventure along. Animals including dinosaurs & normal run of the mill wildlife.
The weird & supernatural is a similar but well rounded cast of Dungeons & Dragons style monsters retooled for horror adventure. Vehicles including surprisingly mounted weapons! Quick & dirty combat rules along with modern fire arms, weapons, melee weapons, & armor. Experience charts for the PC classes & some horror adventure hooks.

Cover of Spook #27, (January 1954)

Christmas time is the season for ghost stories & horror adventure. This year is no different Terror Tales -X! is based around Swords & Wizardry rules so its easy to pop into an existing OD&D or Retro clone system setting. The entire product is open game content on the OGL & that makes this a fantastic horror setting enhancement. But if that wasn't enough there's blogs like the OSR Library offer a huge amount of OSR horror adventure support.
May I also go on record as saying that incredible Horrors of It All Blog has some of the best precode Golden Age Horror comic book stories around & his collections of stories are an unsung gold mine of OSR horror adventure. Comic Book Plus is also an excellent resource for lots of pure gold adventure fodder.
All of this is perfect support material & a starting point for OSR horror adventure especially with the
Terror Tales -X! rules.

Another stunning cover from Joe Simon and Jack Kirby: Black Magic number 28 (Prize Comics, April 1952). Following the war, as the superhero genre went into decline, publishing companies turned to romance, crime and horror to stock the news stands. Simon and Kirby were pioneers in all three.

I'm a super hero guy & Sword & Sorcery guy the Terror Tales -X! rules are perfectly compatible  with the other Beyond Belief games rules & for introducing super heroes to the horrors of the dark forces of the occult & supernatural! There is a long tradition of  heroes fighting the over whelming forces of darkness. This crosses over into so many gernes making this a real easy winner to grab for only $3.50!

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