Tuesday, September 3, 2019

Some OSR Halloween Thoughts On 'Castles & Crusades: Brimstone & The Borderhounds RPG Quick Start' By Jason Vey

"Hell is an unkind place. A sprawling megalopolis of twisted streets and ramshackle buildings piled one on top of the other, clawing their way to height’s unseen where the Lords of Hell rule. Here the harvested souls of evil labor as slaves, doomed to eternal torment. Bound to a world of suffering, always yearning for a world beyond their own. Those wicked, and who are able, seek to flee this city of the damned and do so with whatever tool they can: greed, violence, avarice. Fleeing Hell is the only goal.

But to do so, these souls must pass the Borderhounds. They are Bounty Hunters set on the edge of forever who hunt down wayward souls and throw them in, or out, of Hell. Led by grim faced Brimstone, these Borderhounds are the bane of the damned.

Now you can join the Borderhounds!!

Brimstone and the Borderhounds is a complete, standalone Role Playing Game using the tried and tested Siege Engine, crafted by veteran game designer Jason Vey. Fight devils, demons and more in your hunt to capture Hell’s wayward souls!"

Way back in 2016, The Castles & Crusades: Brimstone & The Borderhounds RPG Quick Start  was kickstarted then it didn't go anywhere.But there's a lot here to unpack & some really interesting ideas for a Castles & Crusades game. Yes I said Castles & Crusades. Forget the metal dude on the cover, forget the whole concept except to 'bounty hunt souls for Hell'. 

Forget the 'edge lord' stuff for a moment & then focus on a 1950's over the top Golden age horror comics & then let's look at a very obscure '98 through '99 television show called Brimstone now let's take a quick look at the plot according to the wiki entry; "In 1983, Ezekiel "Zeke" Stone (Peter Horton) was a New York City Police detective whose wife, Rosalyn, was raped. He tracked down and arrested the offender, Gilbert Jax, who was cleared of the charges. Furious, Stone then murdered Jax. Two months later, Stone was killed and went to Hell for murdering Jax. Later in the show it was revealed that it was not the killing itself that condemned Stone to Hell, but the fact he took pleasure in it. Stone died the most decorated cop in NYC history.
Fifteen years later, a breakout from Hell occurs, led by a 4000-year-old Canaanite priestess named Ashur Badaktu (Teri Polo). The Devil explains that, over the centuries, a few souls have escaped (and presumably been returned) to Hell, but nothing of this magnitude, which includes 113 souls. Because the Devil is largely powerless on Earth, he makes a deal with Stone: Stone will be returned to Earth to track down these 113 escapees, and if he can return all of them to Hell (before one of them kills him), he will earn a second chance at life on Earth (and thus, possibly, Heaven). The Devil seems to hinder Stone's work almost as much as he helps it, however, divulging some information but withholding crucial facts or giving only cryptic clues to where Stone will find an escapee, apparently delighting in watching him become more irritable with his interference. It was suggested by an angel (in the episode "It's a Helluva Life", played by John Glover in a dual role) that Stone served God's purpose as well as the Devil's in his former life when he killed his wife's rapist"

Could Heaven & Hell be supplementing its ranks with non union players in the cosmic game? Could D&D fantasy adventurers be helping to make a bit of extra coin on the side?! The idea of Brimstone isn't new at all but the idea of adding in other players to chess board sounds interesting. 

Now Amazing Adventures! Rpg is basically the Seige Engine for Pulp role playing but with a bit of Castles & Crusades perhaps Hell is recruiting adventurers to help filled the ranks. This was suggested by DM Carl over the long holiday weekend. This is something I've been toying with for a long while now.  Coming up for Halloween a mixed band of adventurers hunting down the souls of damned sounds like fun.
But I can already hear the howling saying that this isn't Dungeons & Dragons?  No?! Well the war between Chaos & Law has been on going for years. Michael Moorcock's Stormbringer mythology & his lords of Chaos have certainly been implied to be the lords of Hell as their titles suggest.

The balance of the universe can pivot on one single soul of the living, the damned, & the Heavenly. And the lords of Chaos would be quite willing to go to war over them.  Forget Marvel's Ghost Rider here because he's the latest in a long line of Hell's bounty hunters. No think The Golden Age of Horror comics.

Love this cover & perhaps this is what the PC's are staving off.
Painted cover of Strange Stories From Another World, number 5, February 1953, artwork by Norman SaundersAnother World was published by Fawcett from August 1952 to February 1953. Saunders' richly painted cover recalls the pulp magazines of the 1930s and 40s. Think the AD&D Role Aids adventure  'The Keep', different eras are open to the PC's as they solve the problems that others can't. The problems not big enough for the gods & yet too small for normal villagers & modern humans can handle.

This might be a one shot short adventure that's in the planning stages at the moment. I've got a few ideas in the back of my mind for even more coming up. But I'd love to go with a quick and dirty play session for this one. 

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