Friday, July 31, 2020

An Alternative Campaign Path For B10 Night's Dark Terror by Jim Bambra, Graeme Morris, & Phil Gallagher

"Barely one day's march from Kelven, the uncharted tracts of the Dymrak forest conceal horrors enough to freeze the blood of civilized folk. Those who have ventured there tell how death comes quick to the unwary - for the woods at night are far worse than any dungeon. 

But you are adventurers, veterans of many battles, and the call of the will is strong. Will you answer the call, or are you afraid of the dark terrors of the night?

This campaign adventure is for characters just beginning Expert play (levels 2-4) and hurls them into the exciting outdoor world which awaits in the Expert rulebook. "
B10 Night's Dark Terror by Jim BambraGraeme Morris, &  Phil Gallagher show cases everything that Mentzer's Expert Dungeons & Dragons set was meant to do. That is drown the PC's into a situation that will test the players to their limits. DM'ed correctly & this adventure could take the PC's into some solidly dangerous situations & could result in a TPK.

This module premiered in '86 & there's a unique history behind its publication; "B10: Night’s Dark Terror (1986), by the TSR UK crew of Jim Bambra, Graeme Morris, and Phil Gallagher, was the tenth adventure produced for the D&D Basic Set (1981). It was also a return to basics after the home office in Wisconsin had stopped producing new Basic Set adventures in 1985. It was published in February 1986."
B10: Night’s Dark Terror (1986), presents the wilderness as both foe & setting for a mid range party of adventurers & it does an excellent job of presenting the adventures with an 'edge of the  frontier' setting that reminds me of the best of Robert H Howard's "Beyond the Black River" The player's PC's are literally up to their necks in the depths of a hostile environment. They'll need to be fast, quick witted, & wily to survive the machinations of the module. The DM needs to pay attention to the contents of this adventure & yes I said contents; "With a 64-page booklet, 2 double-panel covers, and complete scans of the orioginal double-sided mapsheet, this super-module provides all you need for epic wilderness and dungeon adventuring." The journey across the Grand Duchy of Karameikos is a very dangerous one indeed for the players are going to need their wits about them. There are several instances where the updated fan made maps available from the Piazza are a must.  Created by Sarastro Magnifico
The module is basically an adventure tour of the campaign setting of the the Grand Duchy of Karameikos & the DM has to keep the action moving. Done correctly & this module goes like an 80's action movie. All of the while it show cases many of the advantages of Mentzer D&D Expert Rules highlights & really showcases the streamlining of the systems. 

But I want to bring up the Graeme Davis review of Night's Dark Terror from White Dwarf No. 78 from the B10 wiki entry

"Graeme Davis reviewed Night's Dark Terror for White Dwarf No. 78. Davis felt that the farmstead in the adventure's opening was nicely detailed, and that the counters to play out the action on the 25mm scale map for that location were a nice idea. He commented on the plot of the adventure, "There is enough here to keep the fastest-moving party going for some time, and a section of suggestions for further adventures can help the GM to open out a long-running campaign in the area."[2] Davis did note that the numbering system for wilderness locations was confusing, with an example where a location has one designation at one part in the module, and at a later point the location has a different designation which does not correspond with anything on the map. However, Davis felt that everything else in the module was written and laid out very well, and that the module would be a tremendous help for any game master learning the Expert rules"
This confusion with the wilderness locations on the maps has been corrected in that fan made maps from the Piazza by Sarastro MagnificoThe Dragon's foot site has a good thread of suggestions for running B10 as well.

 But now I've got an idea for slipping in B8: Journey to the Rock as a campaign shake up before continuing onto X10 Red Arrow, Black Shield By  Michael Dobson. Not only does this give the player's a more even adventure path but it gives them time to go up the levels needed to tackle some of the challenges seen in X10. 

Of course this is going to depend upon if they survive the horrors, weirdness, events, & weather of 'B10: Night’s Dark Terror (1986)'. Because B8: Journey to the Rock builds upon the foundations of B10: Night's Dark Terror's wilderness exportation in spades & aces.
There are several reasons to do this: 

  1. Using B8: Journey to the Rock with B10 Night's Dark Terror gives the module a frame work to build the campaign upon. 
  2. There could be a connection between B10's baddies & the wizard which gives the PC's more puzzles. 
  3. The deeper one goes with this there could be ties with X10 Red Arrow, Black Shield By  Michael Dobson's forces. 
  4. The campaign context makes the armies of the humanoids very dangerous especially if coupled with B2 Keep on the Borderlands. 
  5. The war depicted in this module, The Grand Duchy of Karameikos, has all of its moving parts & pieces in place. 
  6. The forces of  Karameikos, are going to need all of the outside help they can get that's where the PC's form the internal chain. 
  7. The wizard of B8 might have vital information to the cause of the PC's and done correctly this might spur them on. 
  8. The wilderness of both B10 & B8 could hide any number of mini dungeons & these are the perfect bits for any campaign side quests. 
  9. Be sure to take full advantage of the random encounter & weather tables when running these two modules. 
  10. The PC's could become military spies or assets for Karameikos,& the DM should take full advantage of this. 

Between Strikers & Crossfires - Tegel Manor Session report

So things have been moving forward in my Victorious rpg/Castles & Crusades hybrid campaign. The PC's however have fallen in with a very nasty NPC occultist. This occultist has been poking around the manor grounds after the PC's had to deal with a plague of ghosts. The ghost  plague came to almost wreck the alternative 1870's New York. Every hero & villain was called into service. The aftermath of this was the player's PC's hooking up with a rather loony occultist NPC. 

While dealing with the plague the PC's found  was controlled by a chaos Elven planar gate straight out of Dark Albion's Cults of Chaos. The occultist Johnas Clunter found the crystal skull that was controlling the gate but also found the necromancer & his cult. The PC's saved NPC's from the sacrificial knife of the necromancer! The crystal skull was recovered and all was saved right?! 
Not really the PC's, there have been incursions of coloured men & dangerous technologies from Cha'alt/Carcosa over the last couple of months. The party's bard has literally been kicking in heads & taking names. 
Now things really start heating up after the party begins to listen to the loony occultist. They go back to the chaos Elven planar gate to see if they can get answers to the incursions from beyond! Things go sideways really quick when the gate activates & they get sucked into it! They find themselves on a multicoloured woodland landscape! 
Remember eighteen months has pasted since events on Cha'alt! Events from Cha'alt: Fuchsia Malaise are in full swing! 

What the PC's find themselves in is a full scale war zone! There are strange tank like vehicles engaged in all out warfare with several tribes of coloured people armed with energy weapons. The mobiles are AC 4, HP 40, MPH of 50, 2-3 crew & armed with both machine guns 2d6 damage per burst, & armor piercing rockets capable of doing 1d8 damage with a range of 3 miles, there are sixteen such rockets aboard each mobile. There's also a command & radar mobile with a crew 6. All have cargo room for 4 troops 2nd level fighters armed with machine guns & side arms. 

Sha'do was trying to recover some artifact & apparently there were Prussian troops & special  agents among the tribesmen. The special Prussian agent 'Berst' died while trying to destroy one of the mobiles. And it was actually the PC's who took the artifact some sort of coffin. The loony occultist was kidnapped by the tribesman. More on him later. The party's own occultist has been playing the NPC for all he's worth so he can activate the crystal skull. 
The coffin holds some sort of living being and the gadgeteer determines that everything looks good. Sha'ado ordered the PC's to give up the coffin. But they get a cool peace sign instead! And the PC's gate out! 
So what's in the coffin?! Or whom?! Well I can't tell you that but the occupant came straight outta of the  free Acid Punk Edition of Planet Psychon supplement. 

So now back in 1870's New York the PC's realize that their missing their loony occultist NPC. They don't realize that an old enemy of theirs is right now cybernetically enhancing our occultist & learning all of his secrets! The Reaper A.I. is one that has crossed paths with our heroes before! The party lost two members to its legions before! 
Could Reaper be planning something horrid for our heroes!? Already our party's paladin is wondering?! 

The party has already crossed paths with several cybernetically enhanced Reaper agents when they visited Greyhawk. The plane hopping haunted house of Tegel manor assured that Greyhawk was a major stop! 

In case you haven't figured out Reaper is my Brainiac only much more dangerous and caused the party a major headache awhile back. It double crossed the Rumps awhile back & killed off one PC about a month ago. Reaper has been a major NPC & should it align with the Prussians then events within this alternative  'Franco-Prussian War' could turn very deadly. Back in New York this is gonna take months (weeks of game play) to work out. The players want to add in a number of C&C PC's and what not. 

Thursday, July 30, 2020

Beyond L1 'The Secret of Bone Hill' By Lenard Lakofka & The Old School Environs of the Kroten Campaign


“Danger lurks in the Lendore Isles. Bands of evil creatures prowl the hills overlooking the town of Restenford, seeking unwary victims. Now you have come to this sleepy little village looking for adventure and excitement. You seek to fathom the unexplored reaches of Bone Hill and unlock the mysteries of Restenford."
Tonight L1 'The Secret of Bone Hill' by Leonard Lakofka has been on my mind.  The Secret of Bone Hill (L1), softback adventure for AD&D 1st edition, by Leonard Lakofka at first doesn't seem like L1 would be a good fit for a Swords & Sorcery campaign. But that's where its a bit short sighted. There's something to be said for Restenford because its a great place to make into your own. The module has just about every NPC & bird with stats for it. Here's the kicker this module is perfect as an add on for Greyhawk;" This module contains complete information on the town of Restenford and the lands surrounding it. Included herein are encounter tables, background information, and numerous maps of the town, the surrounding areas, a dungeon, and various points of interest. This module may be incorporated into an existing campaign or used in conjunction with The World of Greyhawk Fantasy World Setting.”Following hot on the heels of the 'UK' series of modules U1 'Sinister Secret of Saltmarsh' L1 'The Secret of Bone Hill' by Leonard Lakofka makes an excellent follow up.  U1 of the Sinister Secret of Saltmash, written by Dave J. Browne with Don Turnbull  this is the start of the U series of modules for its underwater adventure. The speeding train of the U series could lead right into the action of  'L1'

Swords & Stitchery - Old Time Sewing & Table Top Rpg Blog ...

Given the heavily implied sea  background of the town of Restenford the DM can head over to & download the Kroten Campaign Guide This pdf adds in a whole cloth of adventure & supplementary material on the campaign setting surrounds & environs.

L5A: The Kroten Campaign Guide, front cover

The Kroten Adventures manual falls right into line providing every adventure in the campaign area & again we get Leonard Lakofka completeness & though treatment of the area in these adventures. Its an  important book to grab because it brings home the flavor of  the town of Restenford as both area of adventure & campaign setting. While your at it definitely grab the Kroten Map Pack for the L5 module

Finally now there's the Kroten Campaign Companion for the L5 module  provides the DM with new rules, weapons, armour, gods, clerical abilities, magic items, spells and monsters all for  the town of Restenford campaign & adventures. It gives great insight into many of the background elements & deeper adventure themes whilst giving the DM even more hooks & anchors to bring the PC's into the peoples & places of Restenford. 
The real secret to the L5A modules & supplements is that they not only provide a solid basis for an old school or OSR game campaign but they could provide a home basis campaign for a 'Weird Tales' style Sword & Sorcery campaign. Restenford could provide the PC's an isle of normalcy in a sea of the weird. Let's say that events of both the 'U' series of modules & Bone Hill are done but there's the little matter of the mythology of the Crab Archipelago & its crabmen deviant inhabitants of legend. "In the far reaches of Hyperborea’s Crab Archipelago lies a small, mountainous island known as Crystal Point. Passing sailors recently have witnessed a crimson glow in Crystal Point’s waters and beams of russet light shining up from its steep cliffs. Too, unusually frequent lightning storms in the area have torn the sky in blinding flashes, shattering the air with their awesome sound. The seedy wharf taverns of Khromarium and elsewhere buzz with these strange tales—some even speculate that Crystal Point may hold the lost treasure of Atlantis! "

The PC's are going to find themselves a very long way from the relative quiet of Restenford & thrown into the deep end of a Sword & Sorcery campaign. 
'The Lost Treasures of Atlantis'

The stories of the perfect port of Restenford becomes its own little David Lynch island of normality with its own bubbling cauldron of weirdness just below the surface. The lid of which is bubbling & boiling. 
A really good option for doing the Restenford modules as an on going campaign system  is Castles & Crusades. The system not only can handle Restenford & its adventure campaign elements but do it with everything the DM needs from solid PC classes to out & out navel travel as well as combat. 
Castles & Crusades Players Handbook 7th Printing ...

Wednesday, July 29, 2020

1d20 Random Minor Finds Table From The Mega Dungeon Table For Your Old School Campaigns

There are always small items, relics, & unusual finds that turn up in the oddest places that lead adventurers onto the trails of the world spanning places of adventure. Things of odd reputations & fragments from with these places of adventure & dangerous virtue. Here then is a list of 1d20 minor finds that will lead adventurers down the rabbit hole further into the jaws of adventure & danger.

  1.  A pair of brass and red gold skeleton keys with deep etches on them and mysterious writing in high Elven. The pair is bound with animal gut & faintly hum with an aura of magick hovering about them.
  2. A dried monkey paw with something held in the sealed tight fist. Whatever it is makes the paw heavy. 
  3. Twisting and turning piece of jailer's wire made into the shape of a pretezel that twists even as you pick it up. It seems to tug in the direction of the largest structure of ruins locally. 
  4. A single slab of worked and wrought quartz in the shape of a key that glows from within with magicak power. 
  5. Two twin pieces of metal covered over in runes of the clan of local murderous goblins. The pieces a have recently been underground because of the smell of mildew & fungus clinging to them. 
  6.  A single strange twisted piece of gold on a string that floats in mid air toward the mega dungeon and its ruins. 
  7. Weirdly a caged bird always sings when its brought towards road that leads to the dungeon. 
  8. Nine pieces of radiated silver and gold coins all fused together by some intense weapon of war and destruction. The coins seem to make promises of riches and parties. 
  9. Seven rare pieces of miniature artwork that show different & dangerous monsters in scenes in the mega dungeon. They tell a story of the dungeon in its miniature pictures. One of them contains a map and a single tear or drop of gold 
  10. Hobbit leather pouch that is actually a detailed map/account of one section of the mega dungeon. The map is writ in human boil. 
  11. A silver flute made with bone and silver inlaid in with deeply etched Dwarven runes that allow one to pass magically through certain portals. 
  12. A jewel made from the infamous idol's eyes of the god of murder. The jewel wishes to go home to the mega dungeon dungeon. 
  13. A small boy's lunch box that actually contains a mini collection of items including a Spanish coin that seems to float in the air and points towards the local dungeons 
  14. Twelve copper and gold rods that all seem to be part of some ancient magic machine. They lead to a clue that cuts through the entrances of the dungeons. 
  15. A map that show's your location in relation to the dungeon. There are other unusual blips that are closing in on your position. The location seems to call your PC's. 
  16. A compass that responses to the astral winds of the mega dungeon and the deep end dire dangers of the dungeons.'
  17. A cut crystal ball that actually shows scenes from within the mega dungeon and they want you and your PC's there. 
  18. Twenty pieces of gold that are actually radiated with deep magical powers and will teleport you and your party to the center of a maze inside the mega dungeon 
  19. An animated wind up clock work like toy that actually is an automaton with the powers of a 5th level animated wizard that is actually an ex adventurer who pissed off a wizard that lives in the center of the dungeon and wants to murder the PC's 
  20. The crystal skull of a former adventurer that now houses the alien intelligence that responds only the veiled threats of female adventurer. It wishes to return to its mega dungeon home and will try to possess anyone who handles it.

Tuesday, July 28, 2020

Free Comic Book OSR Resource - Charlton Comics Space 1999 "The Metamorph" by Pellowski and Morrow For Your Old School Campaigns

Go Read It Right Over

When I was a kid my dad's friend was a retired RAF pilot and science fiction nerd both of them are to blame for my science fantasy and fiction leanings. This family friend told me about the 'great sci fi square' of his basically '2001 A Space Odyssey.'1968, the classic British sci fi shows 'UFO.', 'Space 1999' & of course the cultclassic 'War in Space.' from Japan ( because the crew jump suit uniforms are similar to Alpha's) are all connected. Then there are the Marvel comic books series connections with the Kirby ' 2001 A Space Odyssey.' marvel series and the Kirby Fantastic Four run all of which have threads weaving throughout each other and its all  the Watcher's fault.But there's plenty to exploit here as fodder for DYI sci fi games.

   Which brings me to the 'Metamorph', the  final issue of Charlton's Space: 1999 mag (issue 8, cover dated October 1976). There's lots of inter connections threading its way through this issue for Space 1999:
  • Psychic computers that use the 'minds and souls' of their victims connected with their masters through a psychic link. 
  • A space wizard with high index psychic powers who has the ability to rearrange matter through thought and energy very 'Forbidden Planet' Krell technology stuff going on here. Technologies and such that Arthur C. Clark and other sci fi writers would use as a primer for our connecting with alien intelligences down the line. Mentor is a higher advanced alien life form then we are.
  • What about those other poor victims of the plot here seems as though the intergalactic scene in Space 1999 was about as busy as the setting in the 2001 paper back. That there are thousands of intergalactic travelers who run into each other. Not always for the good, Mentor is an almost Morbius figure from Forbidden Planet whose under the control of the very system he has serving him. I'm thinking that perhaps this might be Krell technology that Maya's race stumbled upon. Or they might even be left over Krell experimental material. 
  • Some of those space craft even look like ones we'd see in later episodes of Space 1999. Especially the almost but not quite spacecraft Discovery One in the later episode Alpha Child

  •  This is another comic book with lots of potential to exploit, the Alphans wreck even more Eagle Transporters which seem to have a habit of showing up all over the place in my games.

  • Continuing along the thought process line could the ruins of the world of the Psychons be the result of successful transition into a higher evolutionary state of being ala 2001 and the machinery of the Krell from Forbidden Planet? There are some evidence to support this Myra in the Psychon art of molecular transformation, able to assume the form of any living organism at will and her father demonstrates the ability to transform matter into energy at will and viceversa
Then there's this :
Commander John J. Adams: Monsters from the subconscious. Of course. That's what Doc meant. Morbius. The big machine, 8,000 miles of klystron relays, enough power for a whole population of creative geniuses, operated by remote control. Morbius, operated by the electromagnetic impulses of individual Krell brains.
Dr. Edward Morbius: To what purpose?
Commander John J. Adams: In return, that ultimate machine would instantaneously project solid matter to any point on the planet, In any shape or color they might imagine. For *any* purpose, Morbius! Creation by mere thought.
Dr. Edward Morbius: Why haven't I seen this all along?
Commander John J. Adams: But like you, the Krell forgot one deadly danger - their own subconscious hate and lust for destruction.
Dr. Edward Morbius: The beast. The mindless primitive! Even the Krell must have evolved from that beginning.
Commander John J. Adams: And so those mindless beasts of the subconscious had access to a machine that could never be shut down. The secret devil of every soul on the planet all set free at once to loot and maim. And take revenge, Morbius, and kill!
Dr. Edward Morbius: My poor Krell. After a million years of shining sanity, they could hardly have understood what power was destroying them.
 This is a comic with plenty of DYI science fiction & fantasy potential for the gaming table as fodder. The ideas here are solidly done and the artwork is great!

Appendix M For Marvel - Marvel's Worlds Unknown 7 & 8 "The Golden Voyage of Sinbad' 1974 As Old School Campaign Setting Material

When it comes to cult classic film Ray Harryhausen's Golden Voyage of Sinbad is light years ahead of many of the films today in my opinion. Here's the wiki break down on the film ;"The Golden Voyage of Sinbad" is a 1973 British fantasy film directed by Gordon Hessler and featuring stop motion effects by Ray Harryhausen. It is the second of three Sinbad films released by Columbia Pictures, the others being The 7th Voyage of Sinbad (1958) and Sinbad and the Eye of the Tiger (1977)."

But its actually the two issue Marvel comic book of 1974's Worlds Unknown that adapt the 'The Golden Voyage of Sinbad' film into a two part comic book & these are the issues to get for the Appendix N goodness. Why?! Because were  adapted by Len Wein with the art of George Tuska. These two issues are even better adaptations of other Marvel movie licences at the time & yes this includes Star Wars. 

These two issues are must haves for the dungeon master! Seriously if its adventuring in the world of Ray Harryhausen's Sinbad films that you want to bring your old school games these are the issues to have. Don't believe me?! Check out the Mad Thinker's blog entry on these Marvel classics. The world of Sinbad is perfect for bringing in X1 'The isle of Dread' by David Cook & Tom Moldvay. A legendary island of adventure lines up with the popculture Harryhausen depiction of the dashing sea captain. 

Marvel's Sinbad depiction looks like it could be the past of a classic issue of  Dr.Strange or possibly the future of Greyhawk. The action is fierce & the tales are epic! There' plenty of dangling plot hooks in these issues for the DM to really take advantage to weave in their own adventures around the passing of Sinbad & the party left with some of the monsters left in his wake. 

These issues were on Roy Thomas's watch as editor, art team of George Tuska (interior pencils and cover pencils to issue 7) and Vince Colletta (inks- interiors and covers). Along with Glynis Wein (colors) and John Costanza (letters) and finally that iconic cover by Gil Kane on issue eight!  Yes these are the issues to have if your A. a 
Harryhausen completest & B. if your looking to do a quick & dirty campaign in the world of Sinbad. 

Even the Magazines & Monsters blog gave these issues more then a passing grade! These are must haves in my opinion. And what would I actually use to run a game campaign in the world of Sinbad?! The classic Bard's Game Atlantis trilogy of books of course! Its got everything & more found in the world setting of Sinbad! 

Sinbad is the world setting after but the Atlantis books are the world before the Biblical cataclysm that turned the world upside down. Want to know more about Bard Games Atlantis Trilogy? Wayne's books has an entire section here on the history & products of the Atlantis books. 
Marvel's Worlds Unknown 7 & 8 "The Golden Voyage of Sinbad' adaptation taps into that childhood nostalgia while taking on the high end of Sword & Sorcery goodness. Sure there's Al-Quadim setting but there's nothing like crafting your own campaign for OD&D or Holmes from the ground up whist watch a Sinbad marathon. In closing yesterday was Gary Gygax day and I think that Jim Whampler's artwork here captures the spirit & essence of the man. Hope everyone rolled some dice, got together with friends, & played a solid round of the grand game of Arneson & Gygax. 

Monday, July 27, 2020

1d10 Minor Weird Artifacts Table For Your Old Wasteland & Post Apocalyptic Campaigns

During last night's game there were a number of odd and weird minor artifacts that cropped up in a small bazaar and alien market place here's a quick table of some of the objects and minor 'treasures' that turn up in the Martian wastes and death lands surrounding the various city states. From time to time some of these may crop up in the wastes of other worlds.

 1d10 Minor Weird Artifacts Table
  1. Nanite grown crystals which can be shaped into various lens and optics. They change color depending upon the psychic potential of those handling them. After 1d8 days they may take on the form of an abstract piece of artwork reflecting the inner thoughts and spirit of the handler. Sometimes these crystals may retain a minor charge of magic or psychic energy, there is a 4% chance of the matrix of the crystals being near the death point of some Martians from the apocalypse and a minor undead spirit inhabiting the thing. 
  2. A jar of psychic glass beads filled  from the glass plans of Azzru. The beads retain the blood shed and anger of the events that they have borne witness to. They may upon command flare into a fiery display of violent energy and burn with a minor 1d4 damaging unatural flame. There will be 1d30 of these objects. 
  3. A Crazon statue depicting the fall of the God Cu, the statue will seemingly animate and tell the story of the god/goddess. The object de art is actually a minor treasure map to the weak relic fields of what was once the city of Cu named after the Martian god. Those watching this display will feel every point of terror,anguish, and more locked in this object. 
  4. A blue cloak of Tee , this minor cloak is woven from the psychic threads of one of the great worms of Tee. The thing will grant the owner safe passage among the giant mutant ant lions of some deeper wastes. The cloak is actually a survival map of clean water sights and pools of deep basin creeks. The details of these routes will quietly enter the mind of the owner. 
  5. A hook of Vas Created by the mind weavers, the hook is able pull the soul of a target from its body. This is done by the mind weavers to heal the spirit of some of those who have been drained by certain undead horrors found within the deep desert. The hook can also be used to pull the spirit partway from a body to check for signs of possession, level drain or worse. The hook is not a weapon and will shatter if used for non healing purposes within 1d6 rounds of such and act. 
  6. The blue gum of Hriu - This candied confection is made from certain psychically reactive waxes and gums. It is sweetened from the honey of certain ancient mutant insects. The gum can be blown into a bubble upon whose surface the dreams and eroticisms of certain sentient species may be projected. A very rare delicacy 
  7. The Farisu wood of Fale this incredibly weirdly coloured wood grows into fantastic shapes and when burned the scent of it grants incredible visions of vistas of unknown dreams and the ancient visions & tales of those who have gone to the beyond and further into the unknown. Care must be taken or else those whose journey upon such sights may not return. 
  8. The Orb Galen  this orb of ancient psychic circuits and deep cut geode crystals creates sensations of the far planes and ancient places. It gives deep insights and knowledge of ancient ruins and artifacts through a data base of legends, tales, and bardic Martian lore passed from ancient times and different ages but seen through alien eyes. 
  9. Psychic Infinite Knotting Torc - This single piece of infinitely knotted psychically sensitive metal will protect its owner from the trepidation of certain ancient and malevolent alien creatures of Outer planar darkness and essence. The thing will grow warm to the touch in presence of such thing especially if they are possessing another.  These were once made as a novelty by certain tribes of extinct humanoid aliens now long passed but their art remains.
  10. The  crystals of the elemental prince - These blue ancient crystals bare the elemental essence of ancient planar elemental prince whose defeat at the hands of the lords of higher logic were so complete that his being were scattered to the four corners of the planes. These crystals will hold the body and mind together in the deep wastes and not allow the psychic winds of disharmony and horror to blow and shatter the soul of  the owner. The Lords of Higher  Logic's seal is marked upon each facet of these crystals and are gateways for the energies of the elemental prince permitting  him to keep the souls of owner whole and safe. A final insult and curse upon this horrid being for all eternity or so it is hoped by those who deal in such things. 


OSR Commentary On "The Savage Sword of Conan As OSR Campaign or Adventure Resource

So its Nineteen Seventy Four & I'm four years old digging though my favorite uncle's stash of comics & comic magazines. I spy a new one he's just gotten & he waves me off of it. We're talking about The Savage Sword of Conan Curtis imprint.

"The Savage Sword of Conan was a black-and-white magazine-format comic book series published beginning in 1974 by Curtis Magazines, an imprint of American company Marvel Comics, and then later by Marvel itself. Savage Sword of Conan starred Robert E. Howard's most famous creation, Conan the Barbarian, and has the distinction of being the longest-surviving title of the short-lived Curtis imprint."
This is one of the most iconic & cultastic comic magazine titles that stayed on my comic shop pull box & it hardly ever disappointed;
"As a "magazine", Savage Sword of Conan did not have to conform to the Comics Code Authority, making it a publication of choice for many illustrators. It soon became one of the most popular comic series of the 1970s and is now considered a cult classic. Roy Thomas was the editor and primary writer for the series' first few years (until issue 60), which featured art by illustrators such as Neal AdamsDick GiordanoBarry Windsor-SmithJohn BuscemaAlfredo AlcalaJim StarlinAl MilgromPablo Marcos, and Walter Simonson. Painted covers were provided by such artists as Earl NoremBob Larkin, and Joe Jusko."
 It was nasty, lusty, & had Sword & Sorcery action in spades & it was fantastic fodder for a fledgling dungeon master to bring the players to the table.  This wasn't simply a magazine but a great resource for a budding dungeon master.
It was also some of the first exposure that I had to H.P. Lovecraft & Clark Ashton Smith's mythos.

" The cover of issue #5 sports a Boris Vallejo painting of Conan being crucified, from the story "A Witch Shall Be Born". This story features Conan at his most resilient, surviving a desert crucifixion to get revenge on the man who put him there."

This was Conan at his most resilient & dangerous, Sword taught me a lot about how PC's should be put in danger & the lengths that they'd go to to gain revenge on NPC villains. These were stories straight out of the back bone  of various eras of Conan's life & it gave a formula for writing adventures that could take place in various eras of a PC's life. This meant that a dungeon master wasn't restricted to linear game play.
This was a trick that I've used time & again to pin ball levels & eras suiting play around the players rather then the adventure.

"The adventures in Savage Sword of Conan are not always consecutive (as they are in the color Marvel title Conan the Barbarian), and they cover different eras of Conan's life. The Savage Sword stories mostly feature an older Conan, and adapt R. E. Howard stories and pastiches starting from "Black Colossus" (according to the Miller/Clark chronology), thus following the Roy Thomas stories in Conan the Barbarian."
Everything in The Savage Sword of Conan is keyed to the interactions being grand gestures of Sword & Sorcery. Conan is a driven inhuman being of incredible acts of both bravery & savagery. There's plenty of dungeon crawling within these books & Marvel provided lots of T&A or implied it I should say.

The Savage Sword of Conan was a magazine that took lots of riskier from the moment that it broke on the scene & it was a comics magazine that didn't pull punches with its audience. Treasures were recovered but frequently lost to the gambling of Conan. There was also lots & lots of violence on the bad guys. Savage was relentless on Conan's war on the bad guys. His never give up or surrender could infuriating for some readers but this was from a very different time period.

For old school adventure design there was a definitive old school Sword & Sorcery  formula for the writing:
  1. Conan would go to great lengths for revenge and this could dove tail in with the on going soap opera of NPC's in a the mix 
  2. Various ruins often hold secrets form an unknown age. Make sure player's saga is played out on the field 
  3. Adventure plot hooks connect in early in these adventures to take sure advantage of the soap like mix of adventure ideas '
  4. Adventure have to be really tight and this comes across in the Robert Howard 's fiction. Marvel Sword sometimes players fast & loose with the Conan mythos but not their own internal consistence. 
  5. NPC villains often moved in the background of the adventures only to be revealed later on in the story line. 
  6. Rage fueled much of the Conan stories in particular 
  7. Monsters are either one offs or the ancient remains of something drawing from the planet's ancient past 
  8. Magick is dangerous & highly unpredictable. 
  9. Corruption & Chaos were the products of the Outer Dark and should never be taken lightly. 
  10. Adventures always had lots of fall out that might take months to resolve

The Savage Sword of Conan is trade marked & copyrighted to its respective copyright & trade mark holders. This blog post is not an attempt to violate the respective copyright & trade marks of the The Savage Sword of Conan. This blog post is for educational & entertainment purposes only.