Tuesday, May 17, 2022

The Mythological Tarasconus For Your Old School Adventures & Campaigns

 The Tarasque is a fearsome legendary dragon-like mythological hybrid from Provence, in southern France, tamed in stories about Saint Martha, such as the one told in Jacobus de Voragine's Golden Legend (13th century)."

The tarasque was described as having a lion-like head, a body protected by turtle-like carapace(s), six feet with bear-like claws, and a scaly tail like a serpent's tail in a text (pseudo-Marcelle or pseudo-Marcella) which is similar to and roughly coeval with the Golden Legend, and issued poison breath according to one hagiography (pseudo-Raban Maur) of perhaps somewhat later date."

No. Enc.: 0 (1d3) Alignment: Chaotic  Movement: Swim: 90’ (30’) Armor Class: 5 Hit Dice:  15  Attacks:4 Claw, Claw, Tail Sting, Breath Weapon  Damage: 2d6 Claw Strike, 3d6 Tail Sting, Breath Weapon  4d6 4 Times A Day, Dung Fling 2d6 Acidic Damage  3 times A Day Save: L4 Morale: 8 Horde Class: H 

The Tarasque (LatinTarasconus) was said to have come from Galatia, a cross-breed between the biblical Leviathan and the legendary Onachus (or onacho, or bonacho[c][d]) of Galatia, this onachus being a creature that retaliated against pursuers by flinging its dung (Latinstercus) like an arrow, and causing burns. 

A huge dragon, half animal, half fish... fatter than a bull, longer than a horse, it had the face and head of a lion, teeth sharp as swords, the mane of a horse, a back that was hatchet-sharp with bristly scales keen as augers, six feet with bear-like claws, the tail of a serpent, and a double shield/carapace, like a tortoise's, on each side.

A terrible dragon of unbelievable length and great bulk. It breathed out poisonous fumes, shot sulfurous flames from its eyes, and emitted fierce hissings with its mouth and horrible noises with its curved teeth. With its talons and teeth it tore to pieces anyone who crossed its path; with its poisonous breath it killed anyone who came too near.

The Tarasconus was a product of the Pre Biblical Flood & is a  creature of absolute malice & Chaos. The dragon like horror is capable of devouring the flesh of anyone that crosses its path. And will attack with its deadly claws at the first chance it gets devouring horse and rider easily. The Tarasconus has the ability to breath out poisonous fumes four times per day devestating plant life, flesh, and anything else that it comes into contact with it. The way to heal from this breath weapon is to use a  only remove curse spell  and magical healing has any chance of healing anyone caught in its wake. The Tarasconus will also fling its offal at anyone trying to pursue it on horse back or in a body of water. The offal is highly acidic causing horrid burns to any metal or  exposed flesh. The Tarasconus is known to destory entire cities, towns, and other urban areas out of a sheerly evil nature. The Tarasconus has reproduced due to the mating with certain undisclosed infernal dragons. There is gossip in certain occult circles that Tiamat or her mates were involved in these matters. 

The Tarasconus can be cast out by a cleric of 7th level or better but only a saint can cow the monster due its semi infernal nature. These monsters are often released by the Chaos gods to sew discord on the prime material plane 

Monday, May 16, 2022

In The Ashen Desert Caper- Greyhawk Castles & Crusades Mixed session report


During tonight's Castles & Crusades rpg campaign put out by DM Steve, the forever DM myself got a chance to slip from behind the screen to play Asrog The Thief a 6th level PC. The C&C  game setting takes place on the world of Greyhawk where the Warden of Metamorphis Alpha rpg fame has crashed! And the world is one of Sword & Superscience but at a price. The Rain of Colorless Fire was actually the Warden hitting Greyhawk! The world is thrown into other utter chaos & our party of adventurers is in the middle of this trying to make sense of it all 200 years after the event. 

Our party is in the employ of a wealthy merchant prince whose obsessed with collecting the remains of what fell from the sky. Or so he thinks. We've a party of seven for tonight's game & my poor thief has been put into the midst of a knight, a paladin, two fighters, a cleic, a smarmy wizard, and a Dwarven warrior. The Dwarf my thief gets along with & we've been traveling for many days after buying a map from a gnome clan of cartographers & explorers. The dungeon is a series of ruins just jutting up from the sands.
The sands have been fused into green golden glass that we passed by & were attacked by 3 glass elementals. The elemental energies are extremely strong here. The warriors pounded on the 3 glass elementals & finally our wizard fire balled the lot! The ruins were a series of low slung buildings or at least they were. After a bit of searching we managed to find an iron wrought door. Checking for traps my PC was able to avoid a needle trap! After picking the lock the door quietly opened!? Why would a door to a dungeon open easily unleas it was maintained! I got one of my daggers out just in case after descending into the darkness on a rope  with only a torch & my daggers forprotection. There were voices from down below! 
A quick series of  tugs on the rope above & I extinguished the torch. Now with the rest of the warriors coming down the rope I moved swiftly to get to the bottom of the ruins.All around us was debris from orc inhabitation. They are after all descended from demonic pigs. We sought cover as soon as we reached the bottom of the ruins & looked around. We were expecting anything around us & so didn't take any chances! More to come next week! 

OSR Commentary - Greyhawk Grognard's Sword of Cthulhu rpg Kickstarter

 Three or four weeks ago I put money down on BRW Games, LLC's Swords of Cthulhu OSR rpg supplement kickstarter! And I can't wait to grab a physical copy of this Lovecraftian puppy! So why the blog entry after the Kickstarter?! Because I'm way behind on the blog entries folks. Joseph Bloch does amazing good rpg writing &  design work. So why put money Swords of Cthulhu? Because of something that jumped out at me; "Everything in Swords of Cthulhu goes back to the original stories by H.P. Lovecraft, plus select others that are in the public domain."

So I can't wait for Swords of Cthulhu to be in my gruppy hands.Can't wait to release the wraith of the Old Ones on my players! So how will this book be different then say Labyrinth Lords Realms of Crawling Chaos;'That's an excellent question. I happen to be a big fan of Dan and Mike's book, but went out of my way to avoid a pure redo of what they had written. However, it's inescapable that, because we're working off the same source material, there's going to be overlap.

Both books have half-Deep Ones (their "Sea Blood" and my "Deep One Hybrid") based off of the story The Shadow Over Innsmouth. They don't have any new character classes, however, and the number of new spells in their book is much smaller than in Swords of Cthulhu. There's some overlap in monsters, but they have some that I don't, and vice versa (I think because I cast a wider net in terms of sources). They also included psionics, which is absent in the Adventures Dark and Deep line as a whole (although I do have in the back of my mind an idea to "do psionics right" someday in its own dedicated book)." 

So now its a question of sit back, relax, and wait for Swords of Cthulhu rpg to show up in the mail! Swords of Cthulhu will be available through BRW Games, LLC's Drivethrurpg point here

Lovecraftian Horrors In Timelines & Alternative 2d6 Time Travel Cepheus Engine rpg Campaign Action

 This is going to pick right up here from the last blog entry as this campaign comes together.  Could the Earth have ended as time travel basically makes a mockery of physics if it goes wrong!? The answer is a resounding yes! A time apcocalyse brings to mind Michael Brown's Afterday and Cepheus Atom . Trying to escape such a reality & timeline could be the focus for an Empire of Time game unto itself. 

For most of the day I've been gone to a local car repair shop & thinking about the implications of 'Deep Time' for an upcoming Empire of Time campaign. The Earth at the beginning of its formation is going to be a place of very valuable commodities geologically speak. Ancient Earth is also going to be an incredibly alien place vastly different from anything we're used to. 

Perhaps the barbarians are not the ones that we're used to?! We know that in Empire of Time there are several species of alien on Earth even up to the time of the first life forms on Earth. But were there other alien species  that the player's PC's could encounter say around 750 million years ago?
"...the basis of the fear was a horrible elder race of half-polypous, utterly alien entities which had come through space from immeasurably distant universes and had dominated the earth and three other solar planets about 600 million years ago." HP Lovecraft 'The Shadow Out of Time' 
The Flying Polyps are some the most dangerous & underrated alien horrors that most dungeon masters wouldn't think to use out of context. The players stumbling upon the Flying Polyps black bisalt cities would be in incredible danger. Shadow Fall from Baggage Books has a really solid set of Flying Polyps stats; "Flying Polyp 100kg Killer (Carnivore), Underground, Fly, A78672, #App: 1-3 Athletics-1. Ranged Weapons (Natural)-2, Recon-0, Survival-1. Gravity 1D6, Hide-6 and see below; Speed: 6m A polyp’s gravitic attack has two effects: it pins a target in place unless it makes a Difficult STR role (Instantaneous and Repeatable) and it creates a strong wind of energy-deficient (i.e., freezing) air that causes 1D6 cold damage. Those killed by a flying polyp will freeze to death. Attacking a polyp is difficult, as their non-material nature makes them essentially immune to physical violence: any such attack must kill it in one combat round, otherwise it heals completely by the start of the next round. Energy attacks such as bombs, flamethrowers, and actual energy projectors supplied by Elder Ones or Mi-Go cause damage in the usual manner: cumulative as more successful attacks are made."

Given the nature of Deep Time is it any wonder that the alien & semi material nature of the Flying Polyps makes them a real hazard where dealing with traveling the eras around 750 million years ago. There are schools of thought in the Lovecraft fandom that think the Flying Polyps may have extreminated a number of interstellar species. There are those believe the Polyps were in point of fact seeking to settle colonies on Mars, Neptune, & Venus. To put this in perspective those colonies if they are still there could be one of the greatest dangers that the player's PC's might run into exploring the 'Deep Time' around those worlds. 

Imagine a Deep Time  mission to Mars to stop mankind from stumbling upon a sealed up well of the Flying Polyps?! We know that the Great Race of Yith's consciousness  left the Earth's 750 million year old  timeline to jump far into distant future. But the Polyps were so dangerous that they left them behind and this is a perfectly dangerous opportunity for the PC's to come across them! Because of the Empire of Time's Deep Time rules on time travel paradox & complications there's opportunity to deal a harsh blow to these Lovecraft invasive alien species. But is there really anything the PC's could do?! 

Could the PC's stumble upon an Earth timeline where physics is breaking down because of the Flying Polyps colonizing Earth as they were always meant to. These horrors have been released from their slumber by the chronal particles of time travel drives themselves?! 

Sunday, May 15, 2022

The Grass Isn't Always Greener - Sunday Morning Prayer Breakfast & Beat Down! Play Report! Neon Lords of the Toxic Wasteland Rpg & Cha'alt: Fuchsia Malaise

 Our get together on a Sunday morning finds our group of gamer's PC in the grip of alien sentient mutant plants! The gang of player's PC's are on Cha'alt & in the middle of one of the worst neighborhoods on the planet after a night of partying! The players are hired as bouncers to clean out any left over partiers! Except things are not as they seem for our crew of Eighties inspired cybernetic & energetic degenerates!  The bands have gone and the partiers are no where to be found!?! 


That's when the adventurers come face to face with 'The We'eedz'! 'The We'eedz are an invasive alien mutant plant species that loves to infect, eat, and prune humanity and other alien species throughout the galaxy. This heinous species arose after the events of Cha'alt: Fuchsia Malaise in the day glow radioactive blood  of the Great Old Ones! 

'The We'eedz' wanted to 'neogiate' with the PC's all of the while trying to flank them. Our Heather Britney Bang Bang 3rd level  wasn't having none of this BS & dropped a plasma grenade into the mix.Things went from bad to worse as the weedz then blasted the party with a psionic head bang for 2d6 points of damage. Foo Man the Wonder Wizard of  Waz  5th level Starspawn  wasn't amused and had put up a magic mind shield.  Things went from bad to worse as the weedz took out The Pink Collector Brutacorn 6th level Sarah's PC growing through out the PC's body. Ronald Rogun Cyberskin level 4 got off a lucky grenade toss and cleared the storm drains & the sewer with another plasma grenade. Tiger Tie Night Stalker 5th cut a path for the party through the wee'edz. 
'The Stack' cosmic barbarian & scholar of beat downs snorted a heavy duty bit of cosmic dust and praised lord Randy began to chant in the name of the cosmic gods! The rest of the party joined in! He was praying for a miracle and he got it! Lord Coke Cosmic Smiter of Justice 7th level brought the pain as lightning & thunder rained around the neighborhood frying the wee'eedz around the party. Lord Randy be praised! If the party wants to get off of Cha'alt they gotta keep working it! Because on Cha'alt this is where the pain starts! 
Alignment: Chaotic
Movement: 60 foot
Armor Class:14 
Hit Dice: 4
Attacks:  Henious Thorns, Flying Razor Leaves, Aging Field, or Weapon
Henious Thorns 1d6, Flying Razor Leaves 2d6, Aging Field, or Weapon
Saves Grit, 13, Agility 11, Resolve 14, Death 14 
Grow like the Wind - The Wee'eedz grow 2 foot per round as per their movement 
 Sentient - The Wee'eedz have fed on the blood of the Great Old Ones & have an evil disposition & intelligence geared  towards the destruction of humanity. 

Aging Touch The Wee'Eedz can activate a field once per day for five minutes. Anyone that comes in contact with the plant ages five years for every round and must save versus poison or be stunned for 2d4 rounds

Flying Razor Leaves
The Wee'eedz  has 2d6 leaves that can detach and fly up to a mile away. The plant hears and sees everything that the leaves do. If the leaves are slain, it takes one week to regrow each (e.g., if the plant has lost six leaves then it takes six weeks to regrow all of them.The leaves do 2d6 edged damage. 

To The Max 
1-19 The Wee'eedz grows at at incredible rate seeking  the orafices & soft tissues of its victim. Blood, liquids, guts of its victims body fuel the horror as it shreds anything it can get ahold of! It  to absorb its victim within itself. Does an extra 1d4 damage 
20 Feel The Wee'eedz - The evil mutant plant species deals an extra X6 as it attacks seem to land everywhere! 

So the wee'eedz atre not all that original & were inspired by Skirimisher Publishing's 

Mutant Plant Monsters book which has all of the plant weirdness for the Wee'eedz 

Saturday, May 14, 2022

'Alone In The Darkness' - Campaign Commentary On Colonial Troopers rpg & Adventurer,Conqueror, King Rpg Hybrid Campaign Session Report

 Being a forever DM sometimes is a great thing & sometimes frankly, 'it sucks as a friend of mine' another forever DM says. But there are lots of highlights of greatness take for example last night's Colonial Troopers & Adventurer, Conqueror, King's hybrid campaign. Which picks up from this post on the blog here. 
And this get's into last night's game session. The player's ship drops out of hyperspace after receiving a distress call. Yes you've seen this movie before or so you think?! 

The party drops out of hyperspace into a no name planetary system & finds a Trade Empire class Commerical Transport floating dead in space. They've never seen this style of starship before and its massive. Yet greed get's the better of them & they begin making preperations to go on board. And yes this starship isn't from their universe. 

Aboard ship they begin to look around & find that Engineering is baracaded from the inside. Their pilot and navigator  begin to slowly start scanning the ship with their own instruments relaying what their finding. They find that the ship's systems are being controlled from engineering & that there is a lifeform at the pilot's station. 
The party splits up ( the players decided to do this not me as the DM) and one half goes to engineering while the other goes to the pilot's station. All of the while system after system has been shut off or shut down. When the party reaches the pilot station the door swings open in zero gee and they are confronted by a humanoid with a beatle for a face! A  Khepri
 warlord confronts the party and all Hell breaks loose as they attempt to open up on the insectal terror. But the fangible bullets are absorbed by an alien force shield the PC's have never seen before. They retreat as the Kephri disengages from combat shuts the pillot station door.  The other group finds itself outside of engineering & tries to communicate with whomever is inside. 

They finally make contact with the 
 Nephilim starship engineer within who after a bout with the universal translator tells them about the Kephri warlord taking over the ship. And turning the crew into fodder for its young. 
The Warlord then began to attach strange bioorganic systems throughout the starship and the cheif engineer had hid. Then the hyperspace generators began to take the starship elsewhere but the engineer managed to maroon them both in this dead starsystem. 
And that's where we ended last night! 

Friday, May 13, 2022

OSR Review - CASTLE OLDSKULL - Oldskull Dragons From Kent David Kelly For Your Old School Campaigns.

" Have you been wanting to include some classic old school dragons in your campaign?  This book will save you hours of development time!  Many thousands of dice rolls have been made for you, with the results carefully collected into stat and treasure templates for easy reference and use.  Herein you will find 100 pre-generated dragons complete with unique names, combat statistics, spells (as appropriate), and pre-rolled treasure hoards. "

 "All 100 of these glorious beasties have been sorted according to their relative challenge level, from Crysthax the Pale (a very young white dragon, suitable for level 1 or 2 encounters) all the way up to Arcanthia the Invincible (an ancient gold dragon, who can easily provide a challenge to PCs of level 15 and up).
All stats are clearly provided in Basic/Expert/Advanced format for easy conversion to other systems." 

There are two things you as a DM can never have enough of and that's  dungeons as well as  dragons. And let's talk about dragons shall we? Specifically CASTLE OLDSKULL - Oldskull Dragons From Kent David Kelly! CASTLE OLDSKULL - Oldskull Dragons rocks in at one hundred & fifteen pages of old school goodness. There's this huge D&D sale on drivethrurpg & a player of mine grabbed the Castle Oldskull mega bundle for me. 
CASTLE OLDSKULL - Oldskull Dragons is on the pile of pdf books that I'm making an effort to review. So CASTLE OLDSKULL - Oldskull Dragons is a tome of well dragons that covers NPC dragons across multiple editions including Basic/Expert/Advanced. What it does is flesh out these dragons not simply as 'monsters of the week'. But as living & breathing NPC's with thier own characteristics, special abilities, treasures, etc.. Instead of simply as a pile of stats on the page. The stat blocks are crisp, the writing solid, & the ideas are well done. There's more then enough to keep dipping back into the well again & again for a different dragon with different challenges to suit your environs & the campaign. 
These dragons could come in very handy in OSR games as you need them as important NPC's. 
Oldskull Dragons fits the bill in several ways. One it allows one to bring dragons into a campaign that most players have never heard of. Two dragons are a perfect for mid to high level OSR campaigns where kings, & royals face down NPC's. Yes, I'm talking about a game such as the Adventurer, Conqueror, King rpg here. Oldskull Dragons  is also excellent for Castles & Crusades but there may be some modifcation necessary to fit your C&C campaign. The truth is that CASTLE OLDSKULL - Oldskull Dragons fits a niche and that is the fact that almost any Dungeons & Dragons campaign can use a dragon. The monsters are incredibly powerful, very well done, and absolutely underrated in my estimation of the grand game. There are a variety of reasons for this and they include the fact that dragons are too damn powerful, dragona have undeserved reputations, dragons can undermine a campaign, and dragons fit their alignment. Dragons are also very cunning & should be used sparringly.CASTLE OLDSKULL - Oldskull Dragons From Kent David Kelly  goes a long way to fixing a multiplicity 0f problems with old dragons. The writing is top drawer, the exacution well done, & over all this is a good book to add too the Dm's tool box.

CASTLE OLDSKULL - Oldskull Dragons From Kent David Kelly For Your Old School Campaigns.  

Sword & Sorcery Timelines & Alternative 2d6 Time Travel Cepheus Engine rpg Campaign Action

This is going to pick up right from this rpg blog post here. Time travel is a dangerous & expensive business, alternative Deep Time worlds with humanity or alternative humanity could be far more alien to our 2022 eyes. Reading through the Empire of Time rpg & the Barbaric rpg today there's some ideas that are rattling around my mind. Could the Barbaric rpg actually hold some real potential for truly alien human societies for your 2d6 time traveling campaigns. 

The thumb print of humanity is a very minor thing in Empires of Time, and sifting through Scandinavian Legendary Creatures for Barbaric! leads me to wonder if the player's PC's stumble upon the remains of ancient literal godforsaken ruins. And the fact that the 'monsters' might actually be ancient alien like creatures left behind by the gods of Scandinavian Legendary Creatures. Things left behind within the Deep Time of  the Empire rpg?! Things left far before the time when the oceans drank Atlantis, and the rise of the sons of Aryas?! 

The Sumerian culture of Warlords of Atlantis seems oddly familar and yet has the required undercurrent of Lovecraftian horror to it. But not the usual H.P. Lovecraft mythos  horror with a bit of tweating. Perhaps the player's PC find themselves at the end of one cycle of Ragnarok before the beginning of another phase of humanity. And this could explain the instance of Terminal spies among the societies of Warlords of Atlantis. 

Reading through Warlords of Atlantis brings up an idea with an alternative 43 AD rpg timeline. What if the Romans never actually left the whole of the U.K.?! And the very land started to turn against them?! The very land turns against the Romans & too a certain extent the Celtics as well who ally themselves with them. The 2d6 is far closer to Zenobia coupled with a d100. But the information within 43 AD rpg is invaluable. And a time travelling trading campaign in alternative timelines means that things can get very interesting very fast. 

The dangers of Deep Time also means looking into Dougal Dixon's The New Dinosaurs: An Alternative Evolution for alternative dinosaur species ideas. The book contains countless examples of alternative evolution for prehistoric dinosaurs abilities, enviromental concerns, & more. For a time travel game campaign that focus on alien weirdness Dougal Dixon's books & the prehistoric ideas within The New Dinosaurs: An Alternative Evolution helps to move things along. 

Porting into an alternative timeline can make the difference between simple survival & a successful campaign. 

OSR Review - The Centaur Race By James Mishler & Jodi Moran Mishler From James Mishler Games For Your Old School Campaigns

This booklet contains all the information you need to create a centaur player character for Labyrinth Lord or Advanced Labyrinth Lord (and is easily adaptable to other OSR systems). Details include both a centaur race and a centaur racial class, as well as information on creating centaur bands and camps. 12 pages (6 pages of content)."

The Centaur Race By James Mishler & Jodi Moran Mishler is a racial PC class for 
Labyrinth Lord or Advanced Labyrinth Lord  has just about everything a DM is going to need to pull of a party of centaurs into their OSR games. Before we proceed let's look deeply into the Centaur race a bit; "Centaurs are a sylvan race of forest and meadow. They tend to be atavistic and live in primal harmony with nature, abiding with dryads, nymphs, satyrs, treants, and other woodland folk and creatures. They tend to eschew contact with non-sylvan, non-fairy races, preferring to live in woodland and meadows in the wilds. Generally, males are wandering warrior-hunters while females are gatherers and gardeners who tend to the young. Males are also known for being wild and violent, especially when confronted with anything from the outside world; they sometimes raid settlements, especially for wine, which they consume with much gusto and little tolerance, making them even more troublesome" Centaurs have all of the standard choices available from Cleric, Druid, Fighter, Magic user, & Ranger. The B/X Racial class for Centuars is solidly done & there's more then enough bones on here to flesh out these dangerous demi humans. The centaur in question lives two hundred years and is able to pick up a wide variety of skills from scholar to brawler the centaur is easily one of the most underrated demi human races in old school gaming. 
Why do I say dangerous?! Because in mythology there are two protraits of centaurs one is the wise scholar & teacher. The other are the lusty, violent bands of roving pillagers who tear across the Greek countryside. The Centaur Race By James Mishler & Jodi Moran Mishler does a good job of balancing these two portrayls of the mythological race. And there's the third pop culture style pull of the centaurs which is as the stoic guardians & members of the Fairy races in old school fantasy. All of these are encompassed by 
The Centaur Race By James Mishler & Jodi Moran Mishler  From James Mishler Games. Centaurs shouldn't be used lightly in old school campaigns they can be the source of adventure or as the foils for quests as well. Centaur settlements can if used correctly wreck & easily destroy an old school party of adventurers. The Centaur Race is a good solid addition to OSR games & for a dollar its a no brainer. 

The Centaur Race By James Mishler & Jodi Moran Mishler  From James Mishler Games Is Available Here 

Thursday, May 12, 2022

OSR Review & Commentary on The Rifter® #21 From Palladium Books For All Palladium Rpg Games

 "The Rifter is a vehicle to numerous Palladium role-playing worlds. It is a tool for Game Masters and players alike. A place to showcase new talent and exchange ideas for the entire Palladium Megaverse. Every issue, unique and informative." 

Rifter Issue number 21 is packed with news and coming attractions as well as exicting material for Palladium Fantasy, Heroes Unlimited and Rifts.

  • A giant, 40 page adventure fot eh Palladium Fantasy Role-Playing Game, 2nd Ed., plus Hook, Line & Sinker adventures.
  • Heroes Unlimited Motherframe: Apowerful type of psionic augmentarion and the agents who use it.
  • P.P.E. Channeling for all Palladium game settings.
  • Rifts: Strange and unusual familiars found on Rifts Earth.
  • Rifts: The form and function of Techn-Wizardry.
  • Rifts: Hammer of the Forge (fiction) - cliffhanger ending.
  • News, what's coming from Palladium, and more." 
The Rifter issue #21 is one of those tricky little sourcebook/housezines from Palladium Games  and because its the Rifter its definitely Palladium games rpg line of books. This includes the inhouse fiction Hammer of the Forge cliff hanger. But is the Rifter still even relevant at this point?! Rifter Issue number 21 starts with 'From the Desk of Kevin Siembieda' & as an editiorial it really gives the perspective of Palladlum Games in 2003. Including why Palladium didn't dive into the D20 glut of that year. 
Kevin Siembieda has mangaded to dodge, pick himself as well as his company off the ground a multiplicity of times. Let the chips fall where they may on that issue. The article on 'P.P.E. Channeling' by Apollo Okamura
Jason Richards n all of the Palladium rpg systems is interesting & has its place within campaigns. P.P.E. is a quick & solid article. 
The Motherframe by Joseph Larsen  Brendan Smith 
is whole cloth other matter for the Info. Junkie R.C.C. and its about psionice aumentation technologies through A.I. and its heady stuff for Heroes Unlimited and other Palladium Rpg's. Familiars of Rifts Earth by C. N. Constantin & 
Apollo Okamura is a solid addition for the Rifts magic users & for Chaos Earth rpg mages. The detail here adds depth to PC familars. But the price for such a familiar is pretty high. 
Techno Wizardry Form & Function By   Brian Manning &  Shawn Therrien is another essential article for Rifts especially Rifts Wild West or any of the West of the Mississippi Rifts America campaign setting information. 
 Hammer of the Forge is inhouse Rift's Phaseworld fiction by  James Cannon  & Apollo Okamura, honest to God I have no idea if this is cannon at this point. But it was a fun read through. 
The real star of the Rifter issue #21 has got to be "
The Long Forgotten Quest" By Kent Burles & Andrew Rusling 'The Long Forgotten Quest' is an amazing adventure a tour & adventuring tear across the Paladium Fantasy continent. If I was running an old school Palladium Fantasy rpg campaign this is the adventure I'd deal with. There are several factors here that allow the tricks, traps, etc. to be very deadly so pay attention to those before running the 'The Long Forgotten Quest'. 
And finally we get a glimpse into the Palladium Fantasy series. Rifter issue #21 came out in '03 and its a solid alternative to other fantasy & Sci fi rpg zines of the time. Because the industry was changing very rapidly and those changes are reflected here. D20 was on its way out & yet Palladium Games kept their own identity through it all. 

The Rifter® #21 From Palladium Books For All Palladium Rpg Games Is Available Here

Wednesday, May 11, 2022

OSR Commentary On The Empire of Time rpg by Paul Drye from Baggage Games As Alternative Time Travel Cepheus Engine rpg

 "The 21st century has cracked open the past and future–not historical periods, true, but really deep time. Dinosaurs are a day trip away on a fast ship and your potential stomping grounds range over billions of years. Pit yourself against a future slave-running Empire, trade between human colonies, or just explore a nearly infinite progression of Earths that get ever-more alien as you get farther away from home."

"Empire of Time is an OSR SF RPG using the free Cepheus Engine core rules (available via DriveThruRPG) or other similar game systems. Play as humans from the 21st century, or from the future, or even one of four different races evolved to intelligence long after we are gone. Includes maps and descriptions of Earth throughout geological time (past and future) based on current scientific discoveries, adventure seeds, organizations to use as patrons and villains, a bestiary of creatures from the most ancient times to hundreds of millions of years from now, and much more."

Tonight I was thumbing through an old copy of Man After Man, after looking through the Monster Brains: Dougal Dixon Man After Man  blog entry on the infamous book.  Why infamous because its worth  between $225 to 600 dollars U.S.. But what does this have to do with the Empire of Time rpg by Paul Drye from Baggage Games?! Well besides the idea of far past or future time travel ?! There are quite a bit of speculative evolutionary ideas within Empire of Time. And Empire goes deep into the best terrority of Man After Man  weirdness. Earth as we know it in deep time is incredibly dangerous from far future diseases to dangerous NPC's with their own time ships. 2d6 alternative timelines & evolutionary paths are explored. 
Man After Man By Dougal Dixon got me on the path of evolutionary though experiments because rampant genetic tampering messes with the human genome. And this is one of the factors that allows Fate to open the door to the evolutionary weirdness of Man After Man. 

Empire of Time is it's own rpg setting, campaign add on, and more. What Empire of Time  does is take the idea of speculative fictional evolution & marry it into Cepheus Engine rpg mechanics. And it does this quite brilliantly thus expanding the game fare beyond the normal Cepheus Engine campaign ideal. And it does this by bringing in the time travel aspect. Five reasons why a time travel campaign set up works is as follows:

  1. The PC's have eternity quite literally across all of time & space. 
  2. Those 'big boy' interstellar projects can be showcased in adventures. 
  3. Theoritically any starship with a hyperspace & FTL drive could become a time machine 
  4. The idea of trading in various timelines is very appealing. 
  5. The entire line of the time & space continuum is open for the PC's to explore & the DM to exploit for their own campaigns. 
  6. Sword of Cepheus or Barbaric! is a perfect add on to Empire of Time for those pesky reptilian barbarians or lizard knights. 
Empire of Time is a great game campaign to trot out those tech level 16 and beyond alien technologies. Why?! Because they don't matter up or down the time line in five million years in the past or future. Saving timelines and being mercenaries across space & time has a definitive slant for Empire of Time as an rpg setting.The various rpg epochs have enough flexability as to be completely separate Cepheus Engine rpg campaign settings to make the entire campaign a point crawl across time & space.

The Empire of Time rpg by Paul Drye from Baggage Games For The Cepheus Engine rpg Is Available Right Here 

Tuesday, May 10, 2022

OSR Review & Commentary - Shemarrian Nation Adventure Rifts Sourcebook By Josh Sinsapaugh, Kevin Siembieda, & Jason Marker From Palladium Games For the Rifts Rpg

 "PAL0878 Shemarrian Nation Adventure Sourcebook Rifts RPG by Palladium Books

The Shemarrians, the phantom right arm of Archie Three and a force to be reckoned with in the wild woods beyond the Eastern Wall (the Allegheny Mountains). An in-depth look at the fabricated femme fatales, their false society, and the schemes and dreams that Archie and Hagan have in store for them.

- The Shemarrians and their place in the Eastern Wilderness. How the regional factions and power blocs view the warrior women and how the Shemarrians (and Archie) view them.
- Shemarrian history, society, and culture.
- Shemarrian Secrets: They are really androids fabricated by Archie-Three.
- New types, war mounts and weapons of Shemarrians.
- Over a dozen android and robot minions of Archie Three, including the Avian Spy, Shemarrian Pariah, and the so-called RMar Alien.
- Shemarrian as and Optional Player Character.
- 96 pages - Cat. No. 878." 

So what's so good about the Shemarrion Nation book by Jos Sinsapaugh & Kevin Siembieda?! Well, first of all this is an update to the Rifts sourcebook one and it extends the reach of A.R.C.H.I.E. - Three & his pet human. The Shemarrian robots & androids have been gathering intelligence on all of the factions that are affecting America and specifically the Eastern Seaboard. As Joe M. Magnus says in his Amazon review from 2020; 
"The game book Shermarrion nation is basically an add on for Rifts source book one, and adds to ARCHE THREE on the east cost of America. Over all this is a good source book, with lots of "new" information, unlike other Palladium product that are mostly rehashed and reused material. There is also a lot of information about the areas on the east coast up into Canada." The Shemarrians are tough S.O.B.'s and even in Rifts Earth their nothing to mess with. And we get a grand tour of the factions of Rifts Earth's various factions seen through 
A.R.C.H.I.E. - Three's eyes. And the Shemarrians themselves are basically high end Terminator style androids & robots manufactured by A.R.C.H.I.E. - Three and Hagan. And they are both spy agency & boots on the ground for A.R.C.I.E. Three quite literally. PAL0878 Shemarrian Nation Adventure Sourcebook Rifts RPG has the usual power creep that one finds in Rifts books from '09. 
The problem is the fact that the artwork isn't very good in this one hundred page source book. And I'd really would like to have seen even more Shemarrian PC classes here. And what Shemarrian Nation does is pose the Shemarrians as a faction unto themselves. The Shemarrians are  minor power player in the wilderness of Rifts America. A vast & very much wild wilderness in the whole scheme of America. Making the Rifts hex crawl or point crawl a reality and that's no joke. The Shemarrians are capable of going toe to toe with Atlantis's minions or a small patrol of the Coalition's forces. But in a stand up fight with say a full paltoon of the Coalition they're going to be slaughtered down to a fighter.  The Shemarrians work best as an alien group of DB's visiting the East coast with mysteroious origins. This sourcebook bares this out and then some. The Shemarrians are another alien force in North America & their mysteries shouldn't be explained to the players. Their far more interesing as mysterious DB's on an alien exploritory mission in North America. Their makers & patrons shouldn't ever come into a campaign. That being said. 
The fact is that Shemarrian Nation sourcebook could have used more in the way of a renagade Shemarrian PC class & less in the background department. These are going to be rare renagade Shemarrians who have slipped away from the control of Archie & Hagan's grasp. They are not going to simply flaunt their origin & background as in the wilds of Rifts Earth this means swift & fast death. 
There is page after page of history, background, etc. But the fact is the Shemarrian Nation is still a good supplement for the Rifts Rpg. There are lots of solid ideas, hooks, lines, and sinkers in the Shemarrian Nation book & what it does is expand the reach of 
Archie and Hagan up & down the Eastern Seaboard of America as well as giving future plans & ideas for Rifts campaigns coming up! 

 Shemarrian Nation Adventure Rifts Sourcebook By Josh Sinsapaugh, Kevin Siembieda, & Jason Marker From Palladium Games For the Rifts Rpg Is Available Here 

OSR Review & Commentary On The Free Cepheus Engine rpg Fanzine & Supplement - issue #007 of the Cepheus Journal

 "Welcome to issue #007 of the Cepheus Journal. Since this is issue 007 we decided to make this a spy themed issue.

To that end this issue of Cepheus Journal is taking a hard look at superspies and espionage. Norton Glover provides a short  set of rules for dealing with intelligence networks, a realistic upgrade for starting your adventures when compared with “So you are in a bar when…”, while Ewan Spence outlines how to make characters in the modern CIA’s Special Activities Center Special Operations Group. Those of you who game in the relatively near future can look to a passel of gadgets and upgrades that would make Q slightly queasy as Mr. Glover makes his second appearance with Zaibatsu Retrogenics. Peter Simon writes about the motivations for betraying secrets. There is also short spy adventure for a medieval setting by our own P-O Bergstedt."

There are also a number of SF articles in this issue. Joseph Jaquinta brings us a brace of articles on Lagrange points and the humble spaceship door. Timothy Collinson supplies us with some alien cephalopods to come through those doors and Neil Lucock a shuttle to put them on. We also have the first part of  Jo Jaquinta’s story “Raider’s Lament”.

So while everyone has been arguing and whatnot over the last couple of weeks. We've decided to dive back into Cepheus Engine's favorite fanzine Cepheus Journal issue #007! This issue is all about spies, super spies, and more. The first article up is From the Editors By Paul Drye which goes over this issue's premise in spies, super spies, and space. There's a general overview of the contents of this issue and then we head deep into the bowels of 2d6 action with Beyond the Iris Valve by Joseph Jaquinta.This article goes into the placement of doors, airlocks, etc. within Cepheus Engine starship plans and their alternatives. There's some solid ideas here for 2d6 play and plans. 'Eroctopi' By Timothy Collinson gives a band new alien race and yes there's a spy theme here. A new alien species is always welcomed in Cepheus Engine! Lagrange Rendezvous by Joseph Jaquinta gives a hard look at Lagrange points & their uses in exploration, Cepheus Engine, and more. Again this is really useful for Cepheus Engine style games. Raider's Lament is a rather bawdy little story and adventure idea By Jo Jaquinta. Again there's some great ideas here. And then we get 'The Chort' By Neil Lucock; "The Chort shuttle is a popular option in the luxury cruise market. In systems near nebulae and with interesting Gas Giants or other attractions, the typical cruise of 5 days allows 20 passengers to enjoy fine food and entertainment while admiring the view from the panoramic windows on the upper deck." This is a fine addition to the Cepheus Engine family of space craft. 
'Why do people betray secrets' By Peter Simon is a good overview of the betrayal of secrets in intelligence agencies and their uses in 2d6 games. And then we come to 'Zaibatu Retrogenics' By Norton Glover. And again I'm so glad these are not real! Norton Glover is at it again with his 'Intelligence Networks' article & its all good stuff here. But then we're given into the tender mercies of 'CIA Special Activities Center' By Ewan Spence. And here things start taking a dark turn for your 2d6 games. 'From Visby with Love'  By P­O Bergstedt is a jolly little romp of a Sword of Cepheus or Barbaric adventure & its damn good. 'Who Goes There' By Brett Kuger  introduces us to Unit Chief Sir Bravan Nickols whose perfect to head the cell of your latest Brit esponisage cell or organization in your 2d6 games.  All in all this was a very satisfying issue of the Cepheus Journal but don't take my word for it! 

Down load The Free Cepheus Engine rpg Fanzine & Supplement -  issue #007 of the Cepheus Journal Here! 

OSR Campaign Commentary - Palladium Games 'After The Bomb' First Edition rpg By Erick Wujcik From Palladium Games

 "After the Bomb is a post apocalyptic role playing game by Erick Wujcik and published by Palladium Books for Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles & Other Strangeness, based on the classic Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles comic books by Peter Laird and Keven Eastman."

First edition After The Bomb by Erick Wujcik holds a very special place in my heart. Supplement for the  
Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles & Other Strangeness rpg was one of the rpg books that I had with me in hostipal after a rather nasty car accident in September 1986. After The Bomb was one of the books that kept finding its way into my hands again & again. And there's few reasons for this. One is the fact that according to its wiki; ' After the Bomb introduces a post-apocalyptic setting centered on the Eastern United States, where most of the area is populated by the mutated animals that form the majority of society.'

After the Bomb introdices an Eastern Seaboard that hasn't entirely been bombed back to the Stone Age. And New York City is right where its always been sans the mutant animals, mutates, and the Empire of Humanity. The Empire of Humity is an nasty bunch of racially pure pro humanity   in a world of human vs mutant animals. 
The dynamic gentic viral changes quickly over the campaign setting's history leading to the apocalypse;  ' The same technology led to both the elimination of viral disease as a major problem, and the introduction of diseases as pranks. Kids would come to school with a vial of "homebrew" and infect the class as a joke. Because such diseases were easily cured, these pranks were regarded as "harmless".

Eventually, someone came up with a way to concoct an incurable disease. A virus was created which possessed an entire copy of a human genome; any cure that targeted the disease would also target the host.

This disease wiped out seventy-five percent of the world's human population. It infected most animals as well, and the animals that survived had human genes spliced in by the virus. These semi-human offspring displayed human characteristics in varying degrees. This would have merely resulted in a population mostly dominated by mutants if the leaders of the world's governments had not made the assumption that the disease was a bio-weapon sent by their enemies. The response from all sides was all-out nuclear warfare that devastated the entire planet.

The game can be assumed to take place a generation or two after this apocalyptic event, which is referred to as "The Crash" or " 'The Death"

So what does any of this have to do with the OSR!? Well looking over the Mutant Future wiki I came across this entry. Not, only does it show you how to run an After the Bomb rpg first edition  campaign using Mutant Future . But it goes into the 'ins' & 'outs' of PC generation & full on mutant adventuring in an Eastern Seaboard  post apocalpytic landscape. 
The adventures in After the Bomb first edition range from low level all of the way up to full on campaign changers. And its not just me who thought that After the Bomb first edition was a solid game accord to the game's wiki; "Marcus L. Rowland reviewed After the Bomb for White Dwarf #79, and stated that "It's all good fun, if you can accept the basic premises involved, but seems a little limited; I find the present-day setting of the original game more satisfactory, since it offers more opportunities for plot development and diversity." I can't really speak to the second edition of After the Bomb because its not a book that we personally own or have played. Everything that I've read on line seems to indicate that it continues the original's post apocalpytic goodness! 
So is the first edition TMNT rpg 'After The Bomb' still viable?! Absolutely it is! There's a ton of 90's rpg   nostalgia tied up with it. After the Bomb has stood the test of time