Wednesday, September 4, 2019

OSR Campaign Expansion With 'Castles & Crusades: Brimstone & The Borderhounds RPG Quick Start' & The Book of Powers

For most folks they would be satisfied with simply telling you about a The Castles & Crusades: Brimstone & The Borderhounds RPG Quick Start  yesterday. Brimstone is a bounty hunter in Hell & he his cohorts go gunning for the souls of the damned on Earth. There's a really solid comicbook series that was done on the character of Brimstone.   I compared the concepts to the old Brimstone television show from '98 through '99.  Yes I realize that  Castles & Crusades: Brimstone & The Borderhounds RPG Quick Start  has absolutely nothing to do with the Brimstone television show except for the damned souls bounty hunting aspect.
Then Brim the wrestler whose inside ring persona Brimstone all of this is based contacted me yesterday via email. He's a super nice guy. But this got me thinking long & hard about Castles & Crusades especially some of the notions about demi gods in these games. After speaking at length with Jason Vey about this. I began to read through The Book of Powers for the Amazing Adventures! rpg.  Now what the Hell does any of this have to do with Dungeons & Dragons?! A lot actually, Amazing Adventures is a game of Pulp era adventure that starts in the 1600's buts right up to the 1950's.  Yes,  this includes the Golden age of 1930's Pulps. This gives a whole range of worlds & eras that Brimstone & co. can appear in.

If we dig deeper into Brimstone's origins then it becomes apparent that there's a lot more adventure fodder below the surface then meets the eye;

"Born and raised in Hell, Brimstone is the son of a Janitor of Demonic Forces and a Saxon Warrior Queen. As a child Brimstone knew that he was destined for great things but never seemed to find his niche. He and his Father were abandoned by his mother at the tender age of 20 minutes. Growing up for Brim was hard, being a half-demon/half-human son of a Janitor, Brim had to learn to defend himself from the most vile creatures that reside in the darkest and most evil place in Hell, high school. From High School, Brim went on to join his father in the custodial arts. One day while moving a dumpster from a Infernal Transfer Station (ITS), Brim found a lowly "weeper" (Usually a human soul that cries all the time and proclaims "Why me! I don't deserve this". 9 out of 10 times they deserve it). In a rare moment of tenderness, Brim hid the Weeper and released him past the first gate and let him run into the barren wastelands in search of redemption and salvation away from Hell. Brim let him get at least 100 yards before sniping him through the a calf with his trusty crossbow. He did think twice about sending the Oolog Monster in to rip the rest apart and eat the remains, he sent it anyway. He was bored. A passing Centurion noticed Brimstone's aptitude for dealing with Weepers and offered him a position as a Border Patrol Errant, keeping the population in Hell and preventing souls from getting into the Wastelands. His father did not approve and a large rift formed in their relationship, especially since his father had now become the head honcho of all Hell and began taking his job way too seriously.

In spite of Dad, Brim took to his job like a Hell prawn to a lava pool. In the first month alone, Brim tripled the his quota and even informed on a few of his fellow Errants that were smuggling weepers out into the wastelands and even back into our reality. Praised by his superior, the corporate demon-ass kissing pencil neck geeks, and loathed by his coworkers for basically screwing up the soul curve, Brimstone began making a name for himself in the Border community. Soon Brim shifted into the retrieval department, Autonomous tactical units mandated to retrieve "weepers" that have escaped into the deep wastelands. These units also go by the more common designation, Borderhounds. He was given a small budget and staff and gets to sit around some of the outer borders in his truck looking out for Weepers and other squatters and drinking beer. One day, he caught two Weepers ( A guy and a girl ) trying to get to a transit station. After Brim caught up with them, the girl quickly turned on her male friend and aided Brim in the capture. It seemed she never really wanted to leave and actually was more at home in Hell than she ever was in Delaware, her name was DANIELLE. Brim liked her immediately. They got married and before you know it, they had a couple of kids, DOOM BRINGING YOUNGLING LAMENTOR OF ALL NETHER WORLDS a.k.a. DYLAN and SAMANTHA ( After Danielle's Aunt ). Life seemed to settle down and become routine after a couple centuries.

Around our equivalent of 1977, Brim was patrolling the outskirts of XZA'KIRATA'KI'NOLA'ZI'XQUI'LO'BAI, a big piece of nothing, when he came across an encampment. There he met two big Mexicans, DAWG and LUSCIOUS (had aspirations of being a male stripper at 6' and 300 pounds), just chilling out and drinking beer. Seemed they had arrived in Hell a couple of months earlier and just walked away from the receiving station and into the wasteland to find a place to get drunk and sleep. In their stay in the wasteland they got really friendly with the place, exploring (for chicken and beer), and got to know the local clans and life-forms. Brim took them on as his sidekicks, he pays them usually in imported Country FriedChicken buckets, Beer and Cd's (usually show tunes... don't ask). Brim and his new found buddies quickly garnered a reputation as being one of Hell's best retrieval squads and were given the unit designation XIBALBA. Brim soon had earned enough credits to get himself and his family a nice plot of Hell in a gated wasteland, usually reserved for Serial Killers and Dictators. For Brim, life is a daily routine. He deals with the weepers of the universe and just longs every day to get home to his wife and kids, sit down in front of the idiot box ( a.k.a. TV ), watch reruns of every Wrestlemania, drink beer, and get some from his wife occasionally. "

But this has very little to do with a world & campaign setting such as Dungeons & Dragons Greyhawk. Oh really?! I hate to bring up the Gord The Rogue books by Gary Gygax  but their perfectly attuned Law vs Chaos plot; "
Saga of Old City was the first novel in TSR's Greyhawk Adventures series. It starts in Gord's childhood, and ends with his triumphant return to Greyhawk City as a young man and master thief. He learns his trade in the "beggars' guild", and gets involved in the gang war touched off by the beggars encroaching on the official thieves' guild's territory. He travels and has a variety of swashbuckling adventures, ranging from participating in a war to liberating a young noblewoman held hostage.
Artifact of Evil is a continuation of Saga of Old City. This was the final novel under TSR's Greyhawk Adventures banner that was written by Gygax. An ancient artifact is uncovered, whose power could destroy their world. It is up to Gord and his companions to try to stop this artifact of evil from falling into the wrong hands.
Sea of Death, the first of the series published by New Infinities Productions, Inc., has Gord traveling far afield to the Sea of Dust, on a quest for a "Theorpart", hidden in a lost city. He must face rivals sent by demon lords: the psychopathic dwarf Obmi, who serves Zuggtmoy, and the drow priestess Eclavdra, serving Graz'zt. He meets and falls in love with Leda, a clone of Eclavdra. Leda and Gord part at the end of the book as she returns to the Abyss, impersonating Eclavdra in Graz'zt's service for the sake of higher ideals.
Night Arrant is a collection of nine short stories about Gord's adventures, in his early twenties, in the City of Greyhawk.
City of Hawks is a retelling of the events that occurred in Saga of Old City. Gord's rise from simple beggar to master thief are detailed, as is his search for his true heritage.
Come Endless Darkness continues where Sea of Death left off and has Gord continue his quest to stop Tharizdun and Lord Entropy from taking over the Multiverse.
Dance of Demons is the finale, in which Gord and Gellor enter the Abyss on a mission from the world's most powerful forces of Balance, to retrieve the remaining Theorparts. The goal is nothing less than to free Tharizdun, the long-imprisoned god of ultimate evil and entropy, and to finally destroy him. The novel ends with the complete destruction of Oerth, and the unveiling of a new and better world."
After the Gord novels end he gets involved with the war between Chaos & Law; ""At Moonset Blackcat Comes" is an early tale of Gord and his friend Chert the barbarian, in which Gord accepts a mission for the Catlord.
"Evening Odds" appears as story 14 in Pawn of Chaos: Tales of the Eternal Champion, an anthology of fiction inspired by Michael Moorcock's Eternal Champion mythos. The story takes place some time after the events of Dance of Demons. Gord has apparently been deposed from his position as the new Catlord and is traveling the alternate realities as a Champion of Balance. In the course of the story he upsets a plot by the archfiend Baphomet on modern Earth."

This is the perfect opportunity to involve  Brimstone & The Borderhounds as  Baphomet minions escape Hell & begin ravaging Earth on some alternative plane Prime Earth. The gods call in the PC's as things spiral outta of control. 

I can already hear the players out there gnashing their teeth about how the player''s PC's need an edge. That's where  The Book of Powers for the Amazing Adventures! rpg. comes in & it allows the player's to play their own demi god half angel or demonic PC's. These are not the over powered engines of destruction that we've seen in other systems. Some of this material was inspired by Nuelow Games Awakened PC material on their blogs. I'm going to be incorporating & boiling this stuff down coming up. All of this gets into the back end of the war between Chaos & Order that we've seen played out in Michael Moorcock's novels, stories, etc. again & again. This whole cloth campaign idea was put into the Deities & Demigods Advanced Dungeons & Dragons book. 

In fact if you want to add in another era or wrinkle I highly suggest Mike Stewart's Victorious rpg for a Victorian era 'supers's setting that can handle the PC's abilities with style as well. Great game & I'm a fan of Mike's design & setting. Now let's say that you want a really good twist on the demigod aspect of this style of campaign & something really different?! 

James Mishler did a solid take on the Demi God race as a PC class for Labyrinth Lord but there's no reason not to use it to make out some real  jerks & criminals of the underworld. Add in the The Book of Powers for the Amazing Adventures! rpg & your gonna have a unique & highly dangerous NPC. 

A very different & terrifying war of Chaos & Order calls perhaps its time that I answer it. The campaign setting is coming together quickly & dangerously. 

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