Monday, June 22, 2020

The Upside Down City - Blood Soaked Travels With Game Lords LTD's Thieves Guild & The Catalyst series By Flying Buffalo - More OSR Campaign Commentary

"A complete rules system for fantasy thieves!
This new, completely revised second edition of the Thieves' Guild™ rules now provides more ways than ever for players to experience the danger-filled life of a medieval brigand, burglar, or cutpurse. Thieves' Guild™ gives thief characters opportunities to use a wide range of thieving skills and abilities to plan and commit the perfect crime. In addition to basic game mechanics, system rules cover every aspect of thieving activity, including:
• Basic Thieving Abilities • Thievish Combat Tactics • Disguises and Diversions • Tailing and Surveillance • Poisons and Venoms • Fencing Stolen Goods • Medieval Justice • Ransoming Prisoners • Underworld Organizations • And Much More!"

Its been a few years since I busted out my box set of Thieves Guild the Fantasy system from 
1984  by  Richard Meyer & Kerry Lloyd & Michael Watkins aka  GL 3901.  This was a glorious box set from a very different era. A glorious era in fantasy table top gaming called Nineteen Eighty Four & Game Lords were a very cool company. You can read all about their history & products right over at the Black Gate Blog here 

Now flash forward to the Nineties when lo & behold I was able to pick up the whole range of Game Lords product on the cheap. Then I began to run a first edition AD&D style game with sprinkles of Flying Buffalo Catalyst system books you remember those right?! Butcher,Baker, Candlestick maker well the line had one particularly nasty book called Deadly Nightside. As the Amazon reviewer called 'the dude' puts it; "Admittedly, the art is a bit stiff, but the stories make up for it. There are settings like "The Bloodmoon School" for training in the martial arts - replete with a thematic system of advancement and a mysterious sensei with a hidden purpose. There are organizations like the "Beggar's Guild" that establishes an information network and suggests that your best friend might secretly be one of the "changelings" exchanged for deformed children at birth. There's an assassin's "guild" called "The Steel Man" that is over the top on atmosphere. But best of all is the metaplot - there's a connection between the "Steel Man", the "Shadow Riders" (caravan raiders on the route into town), and a slave trader. Played right, it's an epic campaign... And I haven't even mentioned the time traveler!"
Now back in the 90's I used the Thieves Guild box set to give legs at the table top level among my players with the Flying Buffalo Catalyst rpg seamless  system. 

Now I used Deadly Nightside  quite lines up nicely with its sister book Citybook V: Sideshow which both of these line up almost but not quite with 'The Thieves Guild' books. Christ, I got a ton of use out of the Catalyst series of b
ooks including using them for a Vampire Dark Ages game in the early to late 00's.  But now seems like the perfect time to bust out Thieves Guild & the Catalyst series.  The inhuman terrorist cell, the strange almost Night Breed businesses, and more all cry out to be used including Thieves Guild. I have a cunning plan! 

What I'm going to do is add in these books to my Castles & Crusades rpg/Victorious rpg campaign now that the player's PC's have been brought to New York City in 1870;

"Imagine if you will that usual hum drum city of 1870's New York isn't, imagine just for a moment that half a step away & around the corner is another city a world away. A city if you will full of danger,excitement, fairies,dragons, & thieves. Now imagine that at certain hours, days, & times of the year that people can cross between these worlds only a foot fall away. "  Imagine if you will desperate thieves & adventurers stalking the night of 1870's New York City for any booty they can find. A shot rings out & the player's PC's find themselves in a whole cloth different world! The Upside Down city a far from conventional York City of the Castles & Crusades or Dungeons & Dragons variety with overtones of Lord Dunsany thrown into the mix. Elves, gods, & worse exist right around the corner in this fictionalized heavy dark fantasy New York..
Lord Dunsany's Pegana | Skulls in the Stars

As for Games Lord LTD. they still exist after a fashion right over here.  This campaign aspect is still brewing in my head at this point but this is what I've come up with tonight.
Apparently Tunnels & Trolls rpg has a humble bundle & Eric Tenkar is covering that here. 

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