Saturday, February 27, 2021

Dungeon Master's Workshop Session Zero Preparation Report With Planet X Games's Jungle Tomb of the Mummy Bride By Levi Combs

 "Tales of the cursed pyramid and the sleeping tomb of the Mummy Bride have long been a traveler’s tale, passed along by wayward explorers and greedy plunderers alike. Deep within the verdant jungles of the south, amidst a Green Hell of impenetrable jungle, savage cannibals and ancient myth, lies the shattered remnants of a once-powerful civilization and the terrible gods who ruled over them. Rumors swirl of untold riches and un-plundered magic for those brave (or foolish!) enough to claim it. Will your players survive… and what will be left of them?

The Jungle Tomb of the Mummy Bride is an old school, grindhouse-style combination of classic role playing adventure and devilishly-designed dungeons for levels 5-7, cram-packed with b-movie goodness to challenge even the most seasoned of adventurers. It’s a module that could only have been made in the primitive jungles of man… where life is cheap!"

So for the last couple of years Levi Combs of Planet X Games has been friend of mine on social media for a few years. Let's drop into the fact that now there's a ton of pressure to get back into the swing of DMing as some of my player's schedules free up. And they want to go back over the fact that we started a Siege Engine hybrid game campaign last year. Now what's been on the table is Planet X Games's Jungle Tomb of the Mummy Bride. Yes Jungle Tomb of the Mummy Bride is for fifth edition  Dungeons & Dragons. But it should work fine with Castles & Crusades as well as Jason Vey's Amazing Adventures

The appearance of a major lich queen upon a pre Thirties Earth is enough to bring every hero with a grudge against 'The Mummy's Bride'.  Make no mistake just because this is fifth edition its easily converted over to Castles & Crusades but the author makes this civet;" Jungle Tomb of the Mummy Bride is designed for a group of player characters who are levels 5-7. The lower level the party members are, the more players they probably need to survive. Any good adventuring group attempting to conquer the Mummy Bride’s tomb should have a rogue or character experienced at dealing with traps, a spell-slinger of arcane magic, and a trusty sword swingin’ meat shield. " 

So already we can see the crossover between Earth & some other old school fantasy location. A campain trick that we've recently employed with War of the Worlds Godzilla 1898 Victorious rpg  campaign. But is our Jungle Tomb of the Mummy Bride from this Earth or someplace even more strange & dangerous. 
Several reasons spring to mind why this will work: 
  1. There are a couple of campaign aces are already up my sleeve. 
  2. Castles & Crusades can be a meet point between 3.X D&D with Fifth edition. 
  3. Exploitive grind house is a campaign style that the players have experience in. 
  4. Pulp is the player's preferred style of play 
  5. Players are readying back up PC's. 
  6. The players know my fondness for crystal skulls 
  7. Jungle Tomb of the Mummy Bride is lethal and very dangerous 
  8. Cannibal gnomes & lots of Aztec mummy goodness.. 

A Deep Look At Bill King's Wasteworld rpg

 "Enter the savage struggle for power and dominion. You can take on the role of a cyborg ninja, a potent psycher, or a fearsome alien. Fight mutant monsters and terrible robotic killing machines in a world gone completely mad"

The  Waste World Rule book written by Bill King. The combat rules are fast, deadly, & nasty.

 Waste World is the sort of game that gets over looked in this day & age. Why? Because really it doesn't know what it wants to be. Its sort like an old issue of Heavy Metal Magazine with a bit of a 40k or a Meta Baron's flavor thrown in.
Infact my history with the game is pretty much tied in with Heavy Metal because back in the 1997 when I first spied the game on the shelves of War & Pieces in West Hartford, Ct.  Not unlike SLA Industries ultra violent edge, Waste World was a post apocalyptic love fest to the genre that had spawned it! The game was/is tight in a cinematic way brings out the best in game play with little room for BS. Unlike SlA Industries it doesn't pretend to be something at its not with a disappointing "secret ending". Here's what you get:
The setting includes cybernetic warriors, powered armor, samurai with energy swords, giant robotic war machines, flying cities, psionics, alien species, and armies of undead. Immortal samurai with energy blades. Powered armor with razor-sharp wings. Armies of mad robots bent on destruction. Hardened wasteland warriors. Demons. Undead. Mutants. Ridiculously large guns. Sound like fun? Waste World may be the game for you.
Want to know more? Read a  Waste World Review I or  
Waste World Review 2  

 From Wayne's Books :
In the dark future of a dying earth five warrior civilizations prepare for the final conflict. In each mighty megacity, technology is an ideology that shapes the destiny of millions. The enigmatic Machine Gods of Prometheus grant their followers the gift of bionics, and faith in total war. The ever-reincarnating samurai defend their Shogun with swords of light. The Lords of Hydra sculpt their followers into superhuman soldiers, using the terrifying power of biotechnology. The decadent nobles of Ikarus descend from their flying city in razor-winged battlesuits to prey on the lands below. The exiled aliens of Janus defend the world's last starport and pray that salvation will come from the stars.

"The people of this ravaged planet fight for Drakonium, the most precious substance in the universe, the ultimate energy source. They know that without it, their cities will fall, their civilization will collapse and the poisoned deserts will claim their homes. They know they can never falter, never retreat, never stop fighting. There can be no mercy. There can only be conflict. It is all they know, and all they will ever know.

"In the Waste World Roleplaying Game, you can enter this savage struggle for power and dominion. You can use the flexible design rules to create the charater you want to play. You can take on the role of a cyborg ninja, a potent psycher, or a fearsome alien. Using the super-fast and ultra-deadly combat system, you can fight mutant monsters and terrible robotic killing machines in a world gone completely mad. Waste World Roleplaying Game provides you with all the rules you need to get right into the action in this harsh and dangerous world."

Still don't have enough post apocalyptic action? Want to dive deeper into to the gene pool? There were 2 world splat books:

From the back of the Shogunate book: "The immortal Shogun rules a land of mystic violence where honor counts for more than life. The reincarnating samurai face countless foes, ranging from cyborg ninja to evil psychic sorcerors. The alien Kitsune shapeshifters weave a web of intrigue that ensnares the lives of billions. Journey to this savage land and carve out your destiny..."

Then there are these creepy bio dudes!
From the back of the Hydra book: "The genclans reshape entire nations using the sinister secrets of biotechnology. They grant their followers superhuman powers. They use life itself to create awesome weapons. Their ruthless pursuit of power threatens to change the destiny of Waste World. This source book allows you to visit their ancient homeland, take part in their deadly intrigues and fight in their brutal wars."
Review of Hydra: The game and world of Waste World is unlike any other I've come across, and I've came across plenty. With their main book you can create virtually any type of pc, high technology, psionics, bio-technology, or just a tough survivor. The in-game balance is pretty good and the rules simple, fast, and brutal, just like a game called "waste world" should be.

But what makes the world and game great is the story, Avernus itself and that is why this book is a must have for anyone who wishes to play Waste World. It details the city of Hydra in beautiful detail including the Genclans that rule and the various powers that each of the Genclans can possess.

This is one hell of a nifty GM screen & believe me when I say that some of the company's operating today might learn a thing or two about designing a GM's Screen. I bought 2 of them in '97 & I'm still using them today! What does that tell ya about quality?

Background & System
A far-future post-apocalyptic RPG, set on a planet ravaged by ten millennia of total war, where five gigantic city-states ("metrozones") are struggling over dwindling supplies of Drakonium, the ultimate energy source. The warfare has spawned mutation-causing weapons, bio-engineered plagues, robots turned amok by a computer virus, and a Galactic interdict trapping unpleasant aliens on the planet. Resolution is a simple d20+stat+skill+modifiers, where an 11+ succeeds. A roll of 1 fumbles, while 20 is roll again. Character creation is open point-bought. There are four attributes (Strength, Dexterity, Intelligence, and Psyche) rated -3 to +3, and skills rated 0 to 9 (divided into Easy, Normal, and Hard). Combat bases damage on the degree of success, with a possible multiplier and/or additive bonus. It also has hit location and critical hits.

Game Use & The OSR!

There is so much for a game master to mine that its not funny. Waste world is sort of like Gamma World without the artifact finding issue. The world is detailed & can handle anything from the intrigues of a Dune style political game to the shooty, shooty, bang, bang of the ABC warriors or Judge Dredd comic. Gamma World D20 might have learned a bit from the writing of  Waste World. 
Economically its a pretty good buy at 288 pages for 50.00  on Amazon or Flea Bay.
The Splat books sell for about if you can find them. 
Please note that I'm bias & love this game.
With a little thought, long campaigns of deceit and intrigue could be run. Or tons of good, mindless, violence. All possible in the Waste World

Review & Commentary On the Free Cepheus Engine rpg Add On Book - Star Trek: Alpha Quadrant

 Star Trek: Alpha Quadrant is one of those fever dream rpg books that crops up from time to time. A fever dream that you don't think is real but it is. This book a mash up of Cepheus Engine rpg with Fasa Star Trek simmered over a coating of old school fandom. Note that this is only original Trek shows  not the Calvin time line movies, or Star Trek Discovery.   Star Trek: Alpha Quadrant is an interesting compromise between FASA Trek & original Trav erm Cepheus Engine rpg    Star Trek: Alpha Quadrant is fan production but its very good fan production. 

   Star Trek: Alpha Quadrant is basically Cepheus Engine rpg Trek taking PC's from beginning career paths right through to serving on the star ship of their own as bridge or away crew. And its done with the usual Cepheus Engine flare. 

  Star Trek: Alpha Quadrant is old school Trek & its vicious in the same way that original Traveller rpg was. The fact is that the Cepheus rpg system does an excellent job of emulating original Star Trek shows. The career paths are there, the ranks, the officer's path, medical, creatures,
etc.  Star Trek: Alpha Quadrant has all of this & much more. 

   Star Trek: Alpha Quadrant is a good alternative to a side game of Trek when you need something to fill in the gaps between sessions or as a solid a campaign Trek  alternative for the Cepheus Engine. 

Friday, February 26, 2021

The War of the Worlds Godzilla 1898! - A Troll Lord Games Victorious rpg Hybrid Campaign - The Maple White Land Battle Royale - Session report # 14

Find the perilous Lost Caverns of Tsojcanth and you may gain the hidden wealth of the long-dead arch-mage - if you live!

 Pro tip if your running vampires & vampirc cults  in one of the most dangerous modules in the 'super modules' category take full advantage of a fact. Vampiric NPC's are some of the most dangerous foes that PC's can run up against. In tonight's games session which picks up all of the back here.  Protip number two use lots of disposible vampiric spawn for the heroe's fire projector to roast. Then let the real NPC's close in. 

The PC's not only encountered several trolls & nearly got their heads ripped off. But found out the hardway that its not a good idea even if your PC has super powers to mess with the Martians. And encountering the cult of Iggwilv & yes they do have their own evil clerics & wizards. Who happen to working with said Martians. But they also quickly learned that the cult of Graz'zt, has an entire village within Maple White Land. Yes its guarded by cannibal apes, mind controlled dinosaurs, & vampiric villagers. But the real surprise during tonight's run through was the fact that the daughters of Drelnza are not only aware of the PC's. But for all of the grief they want them very dead. 

The highlight of tonight's game was the PC's running away from a giant troll after it snacked on of the party's hirelings.. The thing was massive & back handed one of the PC's into some bushes. Then lined up on DM Steve's paladin wacking him into a tree! Awesome! Sir Tristan did survive after our party's healer Empatra a cleric of Ra put him back together. 

Things got a bit crazier after Brush fire lit up the giant troll drive it back into a trio of giant Martian wheel war machines. The Martians didn't bother going after the party instead they used some cybernetically controlled Allosaurus to hunt down our heroes. 

A few exploding arrows & well timed natural twenty right in one of the beasts eyes took one of the prehistoric bastards out. But two more made the party's life a living Hell. But they managed to stumble onto a backdoor into the dungeon complex. 
Allosaurus miniatures were available for tonight's game thanks to Antediluvian Miniatures preCovid order! 

And thanks to Jason Vey's Book of Powers the party found out the hard way that one of the Allosaurus had laser like vision & a powerful breath acidic breath weapon. But a well time bundle of dynamite took the thing down. The party left for the secret dungeon enterance. 
And that's when the party stumbled onto the night hags of  Drelnza growing a massive Kaiju sized Scrag named Auntie Maw. 

And that's where we ended tonight's game session! We'll hopefully pick it next week! 

Review & Appendix N Commentary With C.L. Moore's Jirel of Joiry & Barbaric! By Omer Golan-Joel From Stellagama Publishing For Cepheus Engine rpg or Original Traveller rpg

 "The fierce, proud, and relentless commander of warriors, standing tall above her enemies and simmering with rage, Jirel bids farewell to the world of treacherous men and walks through a forbidden door into Hell itself in pursuit of freedom, justice, and revenge."

So last night it was a night with an old friend, that friend happened to be C.L. Moore's Jirel of Joiry in paperback. She was created in '34 by C.L.Moore as a reaction to the Sword & Sorcery tales of the Pulp magazine era. Reading through the stacks of Amazon book reviews is like reading through a laundry list of a comic book or Pulp letters column. The Amazon break down from one of their reviewers hits the high marks; "C. L. Moore created Jirel, ruler of Joiry, in reaction to the beefy total-testosterone blood-and-thunder tales of '30s pulp magazines, but Jirel is no anti-Conan. She's a good Catholic girl, stubbornly purposeful, relentless in pursuit of enemies or vengeance, hard-boiled and a little stupid, and cannot be distracted by mere physical attractiveness. Indeed, in Jirel's world, beauty = decadence = corruption. Were these stories written today, inevitably Jirel would have a lot of hot sex, but as they were first published in Weird Tales between 1934-1939, sexual attraction is mostly only vividly implied. No loss. Jirel's journeys through unnatural landscapes and her battles with supernatural opponents are still wonderful to read, and though newcomers Red Sonja and Xena are more famous now, Jirel rules as the archetypal, indomitable redheaded swordswoman in chain mail and greaves, swinging her "great two-edged sword."" 
The idea that a Sword & Sorcery character not only rules her own domain but that the supernatural won't leave her alone is something seldom seen. She's a warrior & a more then a bit fallible. This makes her far more relatable to the reader then some of today's characters. She's very much in a similar spirit to some of Clark Ashton Smith's characters in a sense. The ironic play of the setting, the masterful use of the English language, and the sly character development all built around C.L. Moore's weaving of the stories. 

And what does any of this have to do with Omer Golan-Joel new Cepheus Engine rpg powered supplement Barbaric! ? Everything really. Barbaric! is the Sword & Sorcery add on book that has the very essence to run a Sword & Sorcery based rpg 2d6 Sword & Sorcery based campaign from the ground up. This means that  C.L. Moore's Jirel of Joiry  world & setting could easily be adapted into a Barbaric! campaign. Or Robert E.Howard's works, mixed in Clark Ashton Smith, etc. all of the Appendix N writers are grist for the  Barbaric! mill. This book clocks in at fifty seven pages of good solid layout, a readable product, & the quality we've come to expect from Stellagama Publishing

If you want your own Conan wanna be slithering through the darkness, the barbarian hordes tearing down the sorcerer's tower, etc. within Cepheus Engine then Barbaric! is the supplement for you! Omer Golan-Joel does an excellent job of boiling down every Sword & Sorcery & Pulpy goodness of his take on Cepheus Engine rpg system weirdness in Barbaric!. We've seen this before in Sword of Cepheus. 

The difference between Sword of Cepheus & Barbaric! is day & night because of how & where Omar places the life paths, the humancentric elements, the Sword & Sorcery elements vs all of the High Fantasy flavor. This is 2d6 Conan like Sword & Sorcery play vs 2d6 High Fantasy, sure they have elements in common but you know the difference when you see it, read it, & play it. Barbaric! hits the high notes of 2d6  Sword & Sorcery play for the its publishing. Cepheus Atom could be used to plug into a whole new world of post apocalyptical goodness. 

For bringing to life C.L. Moore's Jirel of Joiry into Barbaric! there are several reasons why it would work.  Jirel of Joiry has all of the 'journey of a hero' elements in place, but what happens to her world when she's gone?! Surely there were adventurers looking for her?! Even on a quest for vengence nothing happens in a vacuum. This is where Barbaric! could come into play. The PC's are generated to go on a quest to find her & encounters with the supernatural result from there. Simple & easy to do a 2d6 campaign from there. Moore's Jirel stories include the following:

  • "Black God's Kiss" (October 1934)
  • "Black God's Shadow" (December 1934)
  • "Jirel Meets Magic" (July 1935)
  • "The Dark Land" (January 1936)
  • "Quest of the Starstone" (November 1937), with Henry Kuttner
  • "Hellsgarde" (April 1939)
For grabbing the  Jirel of Joiry  stories cheaply the Paizo's 

Black God's Kiss (Trade Paperback) is the best source in print at the moment. 

Thursday, February 25, 2021

Return To The Blood Soaked Alleyways of SANCTUARY! A Cepheus Engine Rpg View Into Chaosium's Thieves World rpg Campaign Box Set

"Skulk through the night on the heels of Shadowspawn . . . delve into the twisted tunnels of the Purple Mage . . . attend the court (or perhaps the harem) of Prince Kadakithis . . . dodge the keen-eyed Hell Hounds with Jubal's Hawkmasks . . . drink your ale and guard your purse at the Vulgar Unicorn . . . boldly walk the streets of the wildest, most varied, and most downright fascinating city in fantasy literature — SANCTUARY, the Thieves' World!
* The Players' Guide to Sanctuary — the creation of Sanctuary; Thud and Blunder, Sanctuary chronology; 'Hakiem' and 'The Hell Hounds'; a stroll through the city; a captured llsigi document; magic, working ladies, and oaths; glossary /pronunciation guide; a map of the known world; a city map. * The Game Master's Guide to Sanctuary — palm-greasing and arrest procedures; a secret Carronnian report; city gods and religions; main city encounters; encounters for the Jewelers' Quarter, Processional, and Westside; 18 tables of specific encounters, descriptions/encounters for The Maze, Bazaar, Street of Red Lanterns, Downwind; business generators and tables by area; 6 area maps, 15 floorplans of typical buildings (including the Vulgar Unicorn); scenario suggestions.
* The Personalities of Sanctuary — story/character index; system notes as applicable and character stats for 9 RPG systems (minimum of twenty characters each, each system divided to Prince and Retinue. Transients, and Residents); general descriptions of other characters.
* Wall Map of Sanctuary. Referee Maps of The Maze, The Maze underground.""
Write up of Chaosium's Thieves World Thanks to Wayne's Books Rpg resource.

Based on the highly successful Sword & Sorcery paperbacks series & shared universe, '
Thieves' World is a shared world fantasy series created by Robert Lynn Asprin in 1978'. Thieves World spawned a box set by Chaosium published in '81. We covered 'Thieves World' extensively right here on the blog. 

Its been a New York minute since anything has been done with our copy of Chaosium's  Thieves World. But recently something has been at the at the back of our  mind about the box set; "The darkly grim city of Sanctuary was an immediate hit with readers. The series with its roots in fantasy roleplaying in turn inspired the Thieves World Sanctuary Adventure Pack. In keeping with the spirit of the montage of authors of the series, Greg Stafford, et al at Chaosium worked with with some of the brighter lights of the RPG industry (Dave Arneson, Steve Marsh, Midkemia Press, Marc Miller, Steve Perrin, Lawrence Schick, Ken St. Andre, and many others) to make the Thieves' World RPG compatible with 9 RPG systems: AD&D, Adventures in Fantasy, Chivalry & SorceryDragonQuestD&DThe Fantasy TripRuneQuestTraveller, and Tunnels & Trolls." 

Because there is an original Traveller rpg conversion of Thieves World it makes the box set a perfect campaign setting for Cepheus Engine rpg coupled with Sword of Cepheus. Thieves World as a  possible star port destination for Cepheus Engine rpg combined with Sword of Cepheus makes a hot spot for Pulpy  interstellar science fantasy action. 

What makes this work is the fact that Thieves World sets the stage as a blood soaked backwater world with all kinds of possible uses on the galactic stage. What works to set this up are the following Thievs World stories: 
"Sentences of Death" by John Brunner;
"The Face of Chaos" by Lynn Abbey;
"The Gate of the Flying Knives" by Poul Anderson;
"Shadowspawn" by Andrew Offutt;
"The Price of Doing Business" by Robert Lynn Asprin;
"Blood Brothers" by Joe Haldeman;
"Myrtis" by Christine DeWees; and
"The Secret of the Blue Star" by Marion Zimmer Bradley

The PC's could be acting as agents of the local interstellar governement sent into handle Sanctuary itself. Thieves World was really the pioneering work for shared world building and eventually spawned a published RPG setting which we cheerfully used. Even my players loved playing in Sanctuary. But would they still love it using Sword of CepheusThe setting was just as rich as we remembered with plenty of unsavory NPC characters running around, along with some that have a touch of inner nobility.The trick is  knowing which ones can add,hinder, or even soul dri erm kill a PC.. More to come as we continue to develop this into a possible fully releaized campaign setting & shared DM universe.  

Wednesday, February 24, 2021

Review & Commentary on Baggage Games Shadowfall by Paul Drye For Cepheus Engine Rpg or Original Traveller rpg

 "The cultists had it all wrong. What if the stars came right and no-one even noticed? Shadowfall takes you to a 1984 where the governments of the world reached an accomodation with some of the universe's horrors and set a watch for the rest, at the cost of giving up what was once best about humanity. Freedom, pity, tolerance -- they've all been traded for security and paranoia, and the powers-that-be admire and even emulate their amoral allies. Intelligence and military ops run amuck and it is not at all a good time to stand out,"

Baggage Books is one of those outfits that recently came to our attention through being in the middle of the Cepheus Engine Rpg community. So what is Shadowfall? Its basically the meet point between Cepheus Engine & H.P. Lovecraft's mythos in a modern dark alley of club X Files. The Cthlhu mythos have not been quiet in the modern world of 2021. Instead they've been very busy putting themselves into the modern world. Your PC's are the agents, fighters, supernatural surivors trying to deal with the modern problems of the Lovecraftian races, gods, etc. on Earth. The cults of these horrors have not been idle folks. They've been on the move full force &  Shadowfall feels like a mounting war campaign setting for the  Cepheus Engine rpg. Clocking in at 92 pages there's more then enough here to kick off such a campaign. The advantage here is the added benefit of Cepheus Engine rpg extensive system background. The layout & page design is standard Cepheus Engine rpg supplemental book stuff. The font is servicable, the layout solidly done for  Shadowfall. This is both an investigative or straight to the point Lovecraftian Mythos horror campagin setting in the making. 

Shadowfall as a straight up Lovecraftian Mythos horror campagin setting is dark & brutal. The shadowy masters are there but they have their own hidden agendas. The Lovecraftian material is well done, hits the high notes, and brings home some its own feel within Shadowfall. Carrer paths are solidly done. Shadowfall could easily stand completely & utterly on its own as a Cepheus Engine rpg horror setting with its own Lovecraftian spin. 

Shadowfall has its own internal take on the mythos, its histories, the conspiracy theory like shadowy Lovecraftian alien races,cults, etc. slightly different then say the venerable Call of Cthlhu rpg.
Shadowfall is a modern game setting with some highly dangerous forces just waiting to snuff out PC's. And what's really enjoyable is that its a self contained alternative Nineteen Eighty Four campaign setting. And yes there's mention of Ronald Ragan, Margret Thatcher, all of the usual suspects. But here the Mythos looms large in the background colouring everything with its Lovecraftian taint. 
Shadowfall is a queer beast because it fills a niche within the Cepheus Engine rpg genre that being cosmic horror with its own spin the usual Lovecraftian stories, & material. That's really nicely done making Shadowfall valuable for that reason alone. Now add in the interstellar expansiveness of the Cepheus Engine rpg or original Traveller rpg. Suddenly the interstellar scene becomes very interesting indeed. 

Shadowfall in point of fact could be used with other Cepheus Engine products such as Micheal Brown's Dossier series of adventures, careers,etc. and whole new campaign vistas open up for the DM to exploit. 

Shadowfall has lots of adventure generation potential for the Cepheus Engine rpg. Paul Drye does an excllent job with his writing bring out the best in some of his adventure seeds, giving possible campaign hooks, and bring the Eighties awesomeness into focus in Shadowfall. For a fiver I think Shadowfall is a real bargain with lots of potential. 
Side note Shadowfall makes an excellent Dark Conspiracy rpg addition book as a supplement to add in the Lovecraftian mythos to the DC game universe with no problem at all. Five outta of five for a solid campaign setting book. 

Mail Call - Aryxymaraki’s Almanac of Unusual Magic Hardback By Matt Jarmak For Adventurer,Conqueror,King Rpg as well as Old School or OSR Game Systems

 "The ancient almanac of unusual magic, penned by the wizard-lord Aryxymaraki in the time before the Day Without Night, has been rediscovered…

Within the pages of Aryxymaraki’s Almanac of Unusual Magic, you will find four new kinds of magic-user, each of which uses magic in new and exciting ways:

  • Dwarven earthforgers inherit an ancient tradition allowing them to draw on the spark of the divine found in all creation to power their magic.
  • Gnomish alchemists are experimenters whose concoctions range from ‘helpful and safe’ to ‘incredibly poisonous’.
  • Terran engineers are scientists and builders from another time, whose inventions and tinkering certainly appear magical to most non-technological societies.
  • Warlords draw on the chaotic energy of battle, taming it with their practiced tactics and leadership to ensure that their side wins.

These new classes are built for use with Autarch’s Heroic Fantasy Handbook, which provides rules for ceremonial and eldritch magic"

Its been forever since the 
Aryxymaraki’s Almanac of Unusual Magic Hardback  By Matt Jarmak hardback was supposed to appear it seems. Then yesterday it materialized in our mailbox. Its so nice getting ACK's materials like this book because it blends so well with the Autarch’s Heroic Fantasy Handbook. In point fact its simply a PC extension book of that line. 

The hardback is a handsome volume printed in the US which is very unusual but the quality of the paper does set it off. And its the fact that there are  plans for this book that make it special. You can find a review of it over here that we've already done on the blog here

The layout is top notch the binding is solid, the whole cloth of the volume is perfect for the ACK's fanatic in me. This is also a perfect book to use with Troll Lords  Castles & Crusades. So the timing of this delivery couldn't be better. 

Given the recent material from James Mishler games Aryxymaraki’s Almanac of Unusual Magic couldn't have come at a better time. So tonight its gonna be about cracking spines & getting to work on the campaign notes. There's some really interesting ideas happening. Is Aryxymaraki’s Almanac of Unusual Magic worth getting?! Absolutely if your an ACK's fanatic like myself... 

Tuesday, February 23, 2021

1d30 Random 'What's in The Adventurer's Sack' Table For Your Old School Campaigns


Often times adventurers have to leave the dungeon or ruins in a hurry. They leave behind loot, equipment, & other valuables. Those coming into the dungeon will often find the portables left in the wake of those who came before them. But not every sack has good things in it!

Left unattended for more then 80 rounds or so there is a 40% chance that dungeon  vermin such as rot grubs, green slime or worse will be around to investigate & perhaps infect the contents of an adventurer's container.
Larger monsters or humanoids will investigate sacks left around the dungeon & perhaps even leave them out as lures for other humanoids.

1d20 Random 'What's in The Adventurer's  Sack' Table
  1. An animated zombie ogre head with two diamonds for eyes. The thing gnashes its teeth together & will bite for 1d6 points of damage. But the eyes & earings are worth 100 gold pieces each. The thing has a flesh melting purple  gaze attack for 1d4 points on each eye that can move independently. 
  2. Sack filled with 30 copper pieces that will increase in weight as the copper pieces multiple  by 1d20 every seven rounds.
  3. A gold crown inset with twelve rubies worth 50 gold pieces because of the damage that its sustained. 
  4. The right hand of a hanged man that's been made into a hand of glory. Using this item is considered chaos magic. 
  5. Six hundred gold pieces with the names of sixty four angels stamped on them. They also bare a wizard's mark that can be traced over a hundred miles by a wizard with the appropriate spells. Their occult use is unknown. 
  6. A gold plate head of a kobold sealed with alchemy wax. The eyes of the thing still move & will follow the person holding it. Worth 60 gold pieces to a wizard. 
  7. A portable alchemist's lab in a wooden case but the case is half burnt up & the acids are missing. The alchemy books are intact making this a 20 gold piece item to the right buyer. 
  8. Three sacks full of very angry & aggressive gold bugs.
  9. A beating orc heart & a necromancer's scroll detailing how to summon the ghost of the thing. 'It knows where the treasure is', according to a note on the scroll. 
  10. The gold plated teeth of some noble worth 20 gold pieces. There is 30% chance they will animate & bite for 1d4 points of damage. 
  11. A solid iron dagger splashed with fairy & Elven blood that smells of urine & lilacs. 
  12. A strange bejeweled puzzle box that is worth 200 gold pieces to a wizard. There is an air of menace around it. 
  13. A solid gold ball worth 300 gold pieces to an alchemist 
  14. The head of a poet & a magic scroll containing three spells from the empire of the Necromancers. Worth together 100 gold pieces to a collector. 
  15. A small jeweled casket containing a weird jeweled amulet. There is demonic writing and symbols. The thing is worth 100 gold pieces as it stands with some occult research the true nature of this piece will make it very dire & dangerous to the owner. 
  16. Seven jeweled kobold eyes made from the reddest of rubies. The eyes will give the owner dark vision when held. They are worth 30 gold pieces per pair. The extra one gives the owner the ability to speak kobold when held. 
  17.  A pair of golden candle sticks that have forty two alchemy symbols carved into them. These can be lit to perform certain ritual & rites & so are worth 50 gold pieces each. But a demon & his henchmen are after them & so they will begin following the party who carries these. 
  18. A pair of Chinese vases worth 1000 gold pieces but their very fragile. The sack is a sack of protection & they won't break whist in the sack but don't tell that too the players.
  19. The carved jade head of a Deep One statue worth 100 gold pieces & there's also a treasure map to an underwater treasure in the thing's mouth. 
  20. A green glowing jeweled orb that radiates evil magic. It will come to life if someone utters the words 'Heavy Metal' carved on the fabric lined wooden case it sits in. The thing is priceless for some reason & cults of evil will kill for it.
  21. The head of a man with all of the orifices sewn up. The soul of the warrior has been trapped within it. The head will manifest a specter within 3 rounds.
  22. This sack contains 6 gold sovereigns with the images of the PC's etched into each one. They are otherwise unremarkable. 
  23. A +2 rolling pin made of marble with silver handles is in the sack counts as a club. Works very well against werewolves because of the silver dust that within the pattern of the marble. Worth 60 gold pieces. 
  24. A sack full of Mankins that will attack the adventurer opening the sack. There are six of these little bastards AC 4 , HD 3, Damage 1d6, 
  25. This sack is very heavy. There are two crystal balls that show the doom of the  NPC that originally found them. The balls belong to a night hag who will track down the new owner to murder them. They will act as standard crystal balls. 
  26. A sack of magic beans that will begin growing into magic bean stalks that will attack the person opening the bag. There is a small gold statue of a wizard at the bottom of the sack worth 100 gold pieces 
  27. There's a hand of glory at the bottom of this sack. 
  28. A copy of the Necronomicon bound in living human flesh and a dark wizard along with his cult after it. 
  29. 22 pieces of silver along with a wanted poster for some outlaw from Rome. 
  30. A rabbit with very long & dangerous fangs 5 hit points, AC2, Damage 1d8+1 just waiting for someone to open the sack. 

Monday, February 22, 2021

Psychotronic Monster Movie Monday - 'I Come In Peace' Aka Dark Angel For Your OSR or Old School Games

Jack Caine (Dolph Lundgren) is a Houston vice cop who's forgotten the rule book. His self-appointed mission is to stop the drugs trade and the number one supplier Victor Manning. Whilst involved in an undercover operation to entrap Victor Manning, his partner gets killed, and a sinister newcomer enters the scene... Along with F.B.I. agent Lawrence Smith, the two investigate a spate of mysterious deaths.. "

Right at the back of my mind on this psychotronic  Monster movie Monday is a monster that's been running around my mind since the early Nineties. 'I Come In Peace aka Dark Angel' is a favorite sci fi rental from back in the days when I was a video store manager in a back alley video rental place in Boston. 

The hill giant like alien drug trafficker Talic can't be the only one of his alien intergalatic race to appear in a major city or urban area. These aliens have appeared a multiplicity of times across space & various periods of history. They are drawn to areas of conflict & vice for the harvesting of the drug "Barsi". These aliens use high technology to harvest endorphins from their victims brains, synthesizing them into a drug called "Barsi" to be used by addicts on his home planet. They are drawn to drug dens, places of vice, gladatorial games, place of war, sporting events, etc. all for the harvesting of these valuable endorphins. This is done through a blade like brain shunt that does 1d4 points of damage to the victim's cranium. 

Alien Drug Dealer aka The Endrophin Hunter 
Number Encountered:1 
Size: Large (7 1/2' to 8') 
Attacks: Weapon or Melee (Hill Giant Str)
Alignment:Chaotic Evil
Type: Humanoid 
Treasure Type: X or 4 
Xp: 80 +5 

These aliens are highly unpredictible & chaotic evil only with the harvesting of the the valuable commodity or drug upon their minds. They have several very dangerous weapon systems that they use for attack or defense purposes. The first of which is the 'magnetic disk of obliteration' made from high desnity alien alloy of magnetic properties this disk can do 1d6+2 points of damage to any five targets within range of the alien warrior. These are a fire & forget weapon with a range of twenty feet, the target getting a save vs wands or dodge roll to avoid the weapon. Any strong magnetic field or lode stone can distract the weapon's micro field magnetic targetting system. This weapon will continue to travel as long as a magnetic field generated by a living being is present. 

The second most common weapon system present upon one of these aliens is the 'Variable Gun' capable of firing muliple bursts only this weapon does 2d8+1 points of damage & has a range of forty yards.  This 'Variable Gun' has 10 burst shots within it's magazine. 

The third weapon system is the cybernetic tendril which is controlled by the alien's guantlet computer system. This weapon does 1d6 points of damage & is extremely strong capable of wrapping around a target's throat or directly attacking the head or chest area. Unless a dodge or save vs death is made, the tendril is capable of penatrating some soft metals. The tendril is used for making a penatrating hit on the victim's heart. An aphrodesic is then pumped into the victim who must save vs death or the victim becomes completely incapcitated. The cranial shunt is then used to penatrate the victim's brain & then raw "Barsi" is pumped into the alien's control metal gaunlet. 

There is some evidence to suggest that these aliens who fight as Hill Giants maybe only humanoid biological shells. They have both dark vision & have an uncanny ability to track their targets as rangers. They often pick a 'favorite' a victim to whom that they will taunt, track, stalk, for the added pleasure of creating a highly refined version of "Barsi". There is some evidence to suggest that  "Barsi" drugs allows them to leave their current plane of existence for a higher one. They have been known to completely wipe out a humanoid population for their endrophins to create this highly addictive cosmic drug. 
There are intergalatic  law enforcement agencies that track these alien criminals making it their life's mission to stop these agents of pure evil. Several members of this alien species even belong to it.