Tuesday, May 31, 2022

OSR Review & Commentary On "World of Bastards: Furry Bastards" By Joe Coombs, & Miguel Ribeiro From The Red Room

 "Millennia ago, Adityans ruled Antillia. They were an advanced space-faring civilization that used this world for their genetic experiments. Through those genetic engineering projects, the Human race was born. But they also designed other creatures, mixing human and animal DNA. That’s how the Furry Bastards came to be" 

"World of Bastards: Furry Bastards"  By Joe Coombs, & Miguel Ribeiro is a twenty four page supplement for The Wretched Bastards rpg. "World of Bastards: Furry Bastards"  is an uplifted animal shape shifter book that allows a PC to assume the role of a human shape shifter in the world of the Wretched Bastards rpg. Basically there are seven species of Dhogor or shapeshifters. 
The seven species of Dhogor are as follows: • Cat Folk • Bearpeople • Canidaens • Swines • Goat Folk • Amphibians • Apeman
And  "World of Bastards: Furry Bastards"  lays everything out in neat OSR terms. Take for example the Bear People;"BEARPEOPLE RACIAL TRAITS Special Abilities: - Natural armour: they have Defence 16 - Unnaturally strong: add +3 to Strength at no cost - Unnaturally agile: add +2 to Dexterity at no cost Innate skills: - Bear Hug, 1d10 damage Racial Penalties: - Penalty to all social rolls (-2) when dealing with humans, dwarves and elves - Can’t use magic - Bearmen are bad at stealth, they suffer -3 to all sneaking and hiding - Dull-witted: can’t have Intelligence ability above 5 LÉON Léon was only a cub when a circus troupe purchased him and moved the young Bearman from the warm weather of the tropics to the cold tundra. LÈON Age: 29 Class: Fighter Level: 4th Hit Points: 25 Morale: 12 Defence: 17 (+1 Dex bonus) (Abilities: Strength 18 (+3) Dexterity 15 (+1) Constitution 16 (+2) Intelligence 5 (-2) Wisdom 4 (-2) Charisma 10 (0) Comeliness 13 (+1) Basic Skills: Climb, Hide, Native Language, Search, Sneak Skills: Brawling Level 5, Melee Level 5 In the circus, Léon performed feats of strength and was treated as a slave. Luckily for him, the acrobat Alyna fell in love with him and helped him escape captivity. Now they are itinerant performers in Kharabas." 
Everything  "World of Bastards: Furry Bastards"   is easy to understand for those familar with the OSR &  carefully laid out with examples. There just enough customization here to create the PC or NPC that you want. And the lay out is easy on the eyes in  "World of Bastards: Furry Bastards". There's just enough here over the line to allow the DM to extend their own take on the PC material. At 1,50 this isn't an expensive addition to the Wretched Bastards rpg. The material here isn't over the furry line nor does it delve into weirdoville. Instread this is a twenty four page supplemental addition to the Wretched Bastard's rpg line that allows the DM to add in another option for players who want something unique & different to their OSR games. 

 "World of Bastards: Furry Bastards"  By Joe Coombs, & Miguel Ribeiro From The Red Room  Is Available Right Here

OSR Review & Commentary 'White Box: Unearthed Trove' By Jonathan Rowe A 'Pay What You Want' From Fen Roc For Swords & Wizardry

 "White Box: Unearthed Trove is a supplement for White Box and is compatible with any other Swords & Wizardry game."

 "It adds:

  • Three new character classes: the Assassinthe Illusionist and the Ranger. Each of them is designed to be simple and in the same fashion as the original White Box classes.
  • New races: Gnomes and Half-Orcs and their multi-classes: Fighter-ThievesThief-Illusionists and Cleric-Assassins
  • Combat Tactics for characters not involved in melee, missiles or spell-casting 
  • Optional rules: Psionics which streamline the 1970s rules and Trauma to calculate psychological grind and derangement"
'White Box: Unearthed Trove' By Jonathan Rowe A 'Pay What You Want' From Fen Roc For Swords & Wizardry. Clocking in at thirty six pages 'White Box: Unearthed Trove' By Jonathan Rowe includes the following PC Assassin class, the Illusionist, & the Ranger classes. 
'White Box: Unearthed Trove' adds in the Gnomes & Half Orc fantasy races. We also get the following multi classes Fighter-ThievesThief-Illusionists and Cleric-Assassins. The first PC class the fighter thief  is perfect for Swords & Sorcery White Box. So think classic Robert E. Howard  Conan for the fighter thief. The thief illusionist PC class is another class that actually has some solid bones for adding it into a Sword & Sorcery White Box campaign. Stay with me here, we've got side PC's who use magic to inject themselves into some of the upper levels of society & into the company of royals. This is the perfect way of setting up a mark for thievery by a party. 

The Cleric Assassin PC class is perfect for players who wish to serve a death gods and remove criminals & murderers of societies. And these are never good aligned characters. This is an excellent class for mid level NPC villains. 
The combat tactics of 'White Box: Unearthed Trove' is solidly done & takes on several optional systems to deal with White Box's modular nature. The trauma rules are perfect for White Box games that deal with sanity shattering monsters & even Lovecraftian horrors. 
And finally we get deeply into a very well done streamlined psionic system. 

Monday, May 30, 2022

OSR Commentary WGA4 Vecna Lives! (2e) By Doug Niles - Greyhawk Campaign Setting With Castles & Crusades Rpg

 "...and so, after the Rain of Colorless Fire, the One-Named-In-Whispers ascended to the Spidered Throne. In the third year of his ascendancy, Burgred, King of the Mara, refused the tribute of heads the Whispered One demanded. The One-Named-In-Whispers took only himself and Kas, his evil counselor, and devastated the land of the Mara with his magic. Burgred paid with his own head.

Upon their return, Kas struck against his master, so that he might become the master of the Spidered Throne. In the end, both were slain and good people rejoiced.

"It is said that not all of the evil Lich was destroyed. So great was his power that his Hand and Eye have lived on, working evil over the centuries....

"For centuries, Vecna - archmage, despotic tyrant, the most fearsome of all liches - has been nothing but a fearful legend to the honest folk of Greyhawk. Once the supreme master of all undead sorcerers, even today his Hand and Eye are objects of immense power.

Now something evil is stirring in the lands around Greyhawk. The Hand and Eye of Vecna have been found - and Vecna wants them back."

WGA4: Vecna Lives! (1990), by David "Zeb" Cook, is the fourth adventure in the World of Greyhawk Adventures series. It was published in January 1991. WGA4: Vecna Lives! as the fourth adventure in the World of Greyhawk Adventures works on a number of levels especially players attention on Stranger Things fourth season on Netflick. This renewal of the Greyhawk campaign setting brings home the attention Vecna commands. And this brings home the fact that  Castles & Crusades is perfect for plugging in as the running rpg system. And WGA4: Vecna Lives! works well with James Ward's Greyhawk Adventures. Because Vecna Lives takes place after 'From The Ashes' box set's events in Greyhawk. And here's where the  Castles & Crusades NPC Almanac The Register. Comes into it's own. 

 The  Castles & Crusades NPC Almanac The Register is perfect for creating travelers, refugees, etc. from the events of  From The Ashes by Carl Sargent  within Greyhawk. And its dark fantasy roots & underpinnings show through especially with WGA4: Vecna Lives!.

'From The Ashes' up from the Warden slamming into Greyhawk and this kicks off the events of the box set. And stablility goes from civilization into Chaos.

Ancient Ghosts & Demons - Hyperborea rpg & Zothique Campaign Commentary Update

 The moon declines in lonely gold
Among the stars of ashen-grey—
Veiling the pallors of decay
With clouds and glories, fold on fold.

Now, in a crystal interlude,
Stillness and twilight briefly rest,
Ere sudden gules illume the crest
Of peaks where solemn purples brood;

And from the low Favonian bourn
A sweet wind blows so lightly by
It seems the futile silver sigh
Breathed by the lingering moon forlorn.
At Sunrise  (1922) 
by Clark Ashton Smith

Slowly ever so slowly we've been making our way through the Hyperborea rpg third edition books & looking at it as possible expansion for our Old Solar System campaign. So poking around the AS&SH forums this thread popped up here. And it was the ghost hunter class that kinda grabbed our attention. 

We're convinced that Hyperborea third edition may be the way to go to deal with a full on Zothique rpg  campaign. And yes the Eldritch Dark site has the Zothique D20 guide here.  But the more Zothique that we've read the more it feels like the setting was a part of something greater. We know that Hyperborea third edition will work well with Night Owl Workshop's Warriors of the Red Planet rpg. 

And this brings up Swords and Super-Science of Xuhlan From Svartkonst which works particuarlly well with Warriors of the Red Planet giving even greater options for the DM to play with. Thoughts floating around are that PC's from one setting get employment in some of the others. And this might help relieve some of the food import problems that players have been having with the Hyperborea rpg at my table lately. Zothique is a pretty much open rpg setting and its one that will be exploited coming up. 
And do yourselves a favor & download Ben Balls Waif's of Hyperborea a one hundred and twenty five page kit for PCs Ben Ball continues to impress with some of the innovative tools he comes up with for this Sword & Sorcery retroclone. 
The ancient streets of Zothique are home to all kinds of adventurers who make a good living looting the tombs & dungeons of ancient sorcerers, countless kings, and putting down the horrid ghosts of the past of this dying world. But its only one of many.. 

Sunday, May 29, 2022

2d6 Pulp Action With Michael Brown's 'Thrill of the Thirties! 2D6 Adventure in the Pulp Era' & Cepheus Engine Journal Issue #8

 Today was one of those American holidays that flashes by in a heart beat. We were supposed to be getting together today for 2d6 gaming but several scheduling conflicts happened. I did get a chance to pull my buddy DM Steve aside & talk about an idea for future Saturday game taken from Cepheus Engine issue #8. 

If your into 2d6 Pulp action then this is the issue for you! Seriously go download it I'll wait. 'The Space Patrol by P-O Bergstedt is a perfect little campaign to introduce some of the ideas of Michael Brown's 'Thrill of the Thirties! 2D6 Adventure in the Pulp Era'.

You can pretty much get an entire game campaign series of 2d6 adventures off the ground with those two resources. And given the adventure & campaign material in Cepheus Journal issue #8 with the Space Force material, the Cepheus Engine War of the Worlds Martians, not to mention The Space Patrol there's enough to jump start a couple of campaign sessions. 

 Cepheus Engine Journal Issue #8  Is Available Right Over Here 

Saturday, May 28, 2022

OSR Thoughts On Gods of Law in the Young Kingdoms written by Charles Green- with large contributions from Richard Watts For Chaosium’s Stormbringer and Elric! Rpg

 "This second volume of Cults of the Young Kingdoms shows an approach to life in the Multiverse very different from that found in the Cults of Chaos. Where the Church of Chaos is composed of several mostly independent cults, the Church of Law sees itself as a single, monolithic structure that exists to protect the Young Kingdoms and its people from the ravages of the Dukes of Disorder. This book explores this structure. The Player’s section details how the Cult of Law understands the cosmology of the Multiverse, how individual cultists behave, and how they approach their tasks of cleansing the world of the taint of Chaos. "

"We also see the Barrier of Law-a mystical wall of energy that prevents the Young Kingdoms from dissolving into pure Chaos. Magic is discussed as a by-product of this energy, and how both the cults of Law and Chaos use it. The Gamemaster’s section is a series of discussions about using the information in this book in your Stormbringer campaign. There are details about working with gods-appropriate themes, the cultists of Law as antagonists, and campaign seeds for further adventures. The Barrier of Law-a mystical wall of energy that prevents the Young Kingdoms from dissolving into pure Chaos is discussed here, along with magic, seen as a by-product of this energy, and how both the cults of Law and Chaos use it."

Gods of Law in the Young Kingdoms written by Charles Green- with large contributions from Richard Watts is a free monograph for Chaosium’s Stormbringer and Elric!  Rpg respectively. This monograph dives deeply into the background, make up, and monolithic nature of the Cult of Law in Moorcock's Elric series of novels. Gods of Law in the Young Kingdoms goes far deeper into the cheap & cheerful nature of Law then one would expect in a free supplement. 

Gods of Law In The Young Kingdoms is also a good resource for an OSR game as well because it has a solid exploitation of the existing information on the church & cults of Law in the Young Kingdoms. This isn't a monster book per say but instead is a solid addition to the Stormbringer rpg.  
Gods of Law In The Young Kingdoms could be used for other planes of existence where the cults & church of Law has influence. 
The cultists of Law could well be some of the most fanatical and dangerous NPC's that adventurers of the Chaosium’s Stormbringer rpg. The fact is that cultists & followers of Law's religions have a nasty & very dangerous hatred of all things Chaos. The cracks in the barrier of Law has allowed the cancer of magick as Law looks at it to creep into the Young Kingdoms. The church of chaos of Pan Tang has been actively destroying the ancient safety valves that the Young Kingdom has in place. This is  one of the main reasons why the cults of Law & churches of Law are right in a way. But the fact is that the forces of chaos fueled by Pan Tang & the Young Kingdom's human chaos cults have become such a problem. 
Elric himself as a champion of Arioch is a walking disaster area wherever he goes in the Young Kingdoms & beyond. 

 Gods of Law in the Young Kingdoms takes this knowledge of the twilight of Law & adds to it a sense of the cult & church's desparate fight against Chaos. Looking at Gods of Law in the Young Kingdoms with a both a player's & DM's eyes is interesting because it puts the view point of the Law into focus. 
Is Gods of Law in the Young Kingdom worth the download? Yes in my humble opinion because of the fact that you've got the magicks of Law, the layout & background, and much more about the dieties, cults, the church, & more of Law! 

Download Gods of Law in the Young Kingdoms written by Charles Green- with large contributions from Richard Watts For Chaosium’s Stormbringer and Elric!  Rpg Here 

Trolling In The Darkness - - Greyhawk Castles & Crusades Mixed session report III

 Having stuffed our pockets with treasure and provisions we moved on rounding the corner of the dungeon. This is going to pick up right from our last session as we rounded a corner & came face to face with another hobb and four of his warriors. And they looked at us as we all heard a roar in the darkness & then they simply bolted past us! 

Playing in someone else's Greyhawk campaign using the Castles & Crusades rpg system has been interesting to say the least. There's a couple of truths that one faces when the goblins & hobbs we were fighting suddenly scatter in the middle of combat. Greyhawk is in point of fact a vast setting unto itself. And its easy to see why it take

The dungeon under the  ruins that we were in didn't matter all that much because when the dice are not going your way the following thruths become evident. Trolls on encounter tables are exceedingly dangerous. Surviving allows disease to be a huge factor. And torches as well as flammable oil can mean the difference between dealing with a horror movie situation or turning the tide with fast thinking. 

The rest of the night was getting every last fricking piece of troll flesh & burning it. We didn't care about the horde of goblins that we'd seen earlier. Trolls are a problem especially dealing with DM Steve's passion for using the larger varieties of C&C gaint cave trolls often employed by hobbs & goblins. These often turn on their 'employers' & eat the whole colony. 

Now we used a ball of string to map our way back to the store room that we'd barracaded ourselves in a couple of game sessions ago. And were mapping our way through this underground maze under a set of ruins. We came to a temple area that had been repurposed by the goblins & orcs. But we moved past it because of the smell of troll dung. 
And that's when we hit a piece of scap metal from the Warden having slammed into Greyhawk ages ago. This huge slab of metal might be a wall or simply debris that wedged itself in the underworld of this complex. We found the edge of it after feeling for its edge in the darkness & came face to face with a group of hobgoblin adventurer NPC's. And our knight spoke enough hobgoblin to call a parley before we got into a melee. They were down here for a rite of passage being 26 Summers old & actually wanted no trouble. The hobgoblins had a blood oath vendetta against the orcs of the skull rippers tribe who resided down here. We were after artifacts & other sundry items for our wizard patron. So there wasn't any reason to fight. A quick trade of a copy of our map and some food netted us a magic ring from them. And then it was wishing each other luck & moving on. Our party told them about the trolls in this area & the goblin tribes with their huge hobbs. The hobgoblins wanted to trade for more arrows to which we were more then happy to do. The young hobgoblin warriors were scared of the hobbs and we noted this. 
There's something quite frightening about hobgoblin warriors even if their away from their tribe being scared of hobbs?! 

Friday, May 27, 2022

OSR Review & Commentary On The Wretched Country rpg By Miguel Ribeiro, & Sílvia Clemente From The Red Room

 "Wretched Country does for the western genre what Wretched Bastards did for fantasy: it's an old-school game meant for playing anti-hero characters."

 The spaghetti western, already referenced as a source of inspiration for the OSR dark-fantasy

Wretched Bastards, now takes centre stage. In this book you will find:

• Wretched rules adapted for playing a western game.
• The Devil's Country, a western-themed horror scenario about an international film crew travelling to Spain to shoot a movie believed to be cursed.
• Hellstone, a setting that can be used to run spaghetti, classic or weird west adventures. " 

Wretched Country rpg is a completely different take on the usual OSR Westerns & we do love a Western film or is it reality. More on that in a little bit, so Wretched Country follows closely on the heels of Wretched Bastards. And uses a simlar but not quite the same mechanic as the former OSR rpg. 
Wretched Country clocks in at one hundred & thirty one pages of Old Western grim & trail dust taking the PC's down the evil & degenerate spiral of Western outlaw weirdness based partial on the thirteen deadly sins. And alignment we don't need your stinking alignment! This is straight up OSR PC system goodness ala the Wretched Bastards rpg. You can be anything from an assassin to an American Indian shaman. 
The rub here is that not only is there a complete rpg in Wretched Country but its three games in one. How?! Because you've got 'The Devil's Country' which is literally a modern OSR Western rpg where you're PC's are the actors, film crew, etc. all headed into a cursed set which then brings you into the horrid Old Western. But wait there's more! 
Your PC in Wretched Country can actually be within Hellstone the classic Weird Western or straight classic Western campaign setting. Or your PC's could be from The Devil's Country who have been completely whisked into the campaign setting. 
And best of all Wretched Country is pretty close to B/X Dungeons & Dragons where its easy to pick up the rpg system then go play. 

The Wretched Country rpg is one where the cinematic take is far more evident here then just about anywhere else. Is the game good?! Yes in my humble opinion the Wretched Country is solidly done and very well thought out. How does it stack with other OSR  Western Rpg's like say, Independence Games Rider? Well it doesn't. Wretched Country isn't meant to because its a cinematic Western OSR  horror rpg that takes on best of its subject matter and then comes back for more. 

The Wretched Country rpg By Miguel Ribeiro, & Sílvia Clemente From The Red Room Is Available Here 

Wednesday, May 25, 2022

Some Deeper OSR Thoughts On WGR2: "Treasures of Greyhawk", by Walter Baas, Jack Barker, Louis Prosperi, Tom Prusa, and Roy Rowe

From lost settlements on the wild shores of the Amedio Jungle to a dragon's lair in the Crystalmist Mountains, this new anthology of AD&D adventures has something for every adventurer.

Search for the fabled jewel, the Eye of Nur Dav, or seek a powerful magical item like the Helm of Selnor. You must be on your guard, however, for each of these adventures is designed to test the mettle of the experienced adventurer.

So, whether you wish to pay a visit to the archmage Bigby's humble abode, search the tombs in the Cairn Hills, or pass the time of day riddling with a sphinx, these forays into the World of Greyhawksetting will be a challenge for parties of venturesome players, who either excel at role-playing, combat and puzzle-solving, or who wish to.

Who knows, you might even win the treasures of Greyhawk."

WGR2: "Treasures of Greyhawk", by Walter Baas, Jack Barker, Louis Prosperi, Tom Prusa, and Roy Rowe, is the second book in the "WGR" series of World of Greyhawk References. It was published in June 1992. This is one of those books that becomes a favorite over time. And time is how  one comes to appreciate this book, Why? Because when it comes to Greyhawk WGR2 'Treasures of Greyhawk' could be set in any era. 'Treasures of Greyhawk' isn't a reference book or supplement of Greyhawk. Well almost but not quite being instead a clever anthology of mini Greyhawk adventures. And so this blog entry pick up from here. 

Treasures of Greyhawk's format is what makes it perfect as drag & drop adventure anthology for Castles & Crusades. This adventure anthology has enough hutzpa to be the campaign kick in the pants to get a gritty & quite nasty Greyhawk campaign off of the ground. And it's this element that allows this 96 page book to be slotted right into the back door of Greyhawk Adventure  Greyhawk Ruins quite nicely. Several of the dungeon & outdoor adventure elements from Greyhawk Ruins  slide into 'Treasures of Greyhawk' expanding upon what's come before or in addition to. 

The blending of 2nd edition Greyhawk adventure elements is strongly centered around the Greyhawk 2nd edition campaign setting. This is something that encourages the DM to take elements of James Ward's Greyhawk Adventures book. Taking into account the events of Greyhawk Adventures timeline then we get the grimer & grittier Greyhawk we've come to expect. 

These Greyhawk adventure & campaign elements loop around into the Greyhawk folio making the WGR2: "Treasures of Greyhawk" an easy fit for Castles & Crusades. Greyhawk 2nd edition makes sense as a C&C campaign setting because of the fact that it bypasses a lot of time consuming campaign work. And its far more interesting to OSR & old school players then the Troll Lords house campaign setting. Sorry but its been told to me by players not a personal opinion. 

C&C offers all of the modern game play without the having to relearn all of the D&D weirdness. Make a character, drop into  WGR2: "Treasures of Greyhawk",and run it like a regular 2nd edition Greyhawk campaign. 
The City of Greyhawk offers the start point or in one of the world's smaller villages. And things will go down hill for the PC's. This is where its a perfect time to slip in an NPC traveller from the  Castles & Crusades NPC Almanac The Register.

'Build & Go' - Alternative Timelines & 2d6 Time Travel Campaign Session Report Update.

 The PC's made their way across the ruined landscape. No sun rose, nor did the sound of a single person reach their ears, and all around them was ruin. Yet their target trugged on. This blog post is going to pick up from here. 
So its been a rather busy day & I got together with one of my players & long time friends today. And we started talking about his old Cepheus Engine rpg PC. And we spoke at length about his PC poking around the time quake. And the other party following his historian/historical anthropologist through time. The other party got lost in the mix within the local time space continuum's break down. 

The party was separated & ended up in two different time periods on the same Earth's line. But it took days for one time line to catch up with the other. So while the player's PC's were occupying the same space they were not in the same time. The party's psychics were reading that all of the PC's were in the same location but not the same time line. 
The party finally got the idea that they had to leave as the time line deteroirated around them. As they left Earth they found a single hyperspace bouy pointing towards Io. 
Around Io they found a 
Trade Empire-class Commercial Transport  a massive 4500 tonne superfreighter in low orbit. As if the starship had been there for years it was coated with a massive waft of sulfur and other atmosphere dust coating its outer hull. 
The party's sensors could not detect the contents of the Trade Empire ship! The crew of PC's  was forced to go aboard. And once aboard to find out that there were the prefabbed buildings,food,  & supplies for building several colonies on board! 

And there was also a time drive in place aboard this ship. The PC's activated the drive and where whisked into the middle of a huge fire fight around Mars! And the ships were targeted by several 2nd men starships! They immediately left the area & stablized the starship! But now the 2nd men are aware of the party! They left the Trade Empire in a stable orbit and everything on board intact. The party copied the ship's computer drives and one of the places that the nav computer mentioned was 
Turquoise Valley. 

Drinking some whiskey in the saloon in New Liberty is a historian whose recording some of the local legends. We'll pick it up next game coming up! 

Tuesday, May 24, 2022

Review & OSR Commentary On The Tavern from Hell By James Mishler, & Jodi Moran-Mishler From James Mishler Games

"A local tavern, known as a hive of scum and villainy, has fallen under the powerful curse of an angry wizard. The locals and the heirs of the taverner are offering an exorbitant sum for adventurers to go in and perform the needful actions to lift the curse."

"It is a LOT of money. And the adventurers get to keep all the treasure they find in the tavern. And the local authorities have even suspended their usual taxes on treasure.

Too good to be true?

As a down-on-your-luck adventurer, you are probably too poor to care…

Designed for use with Labyrinth Lord, easily adaptable to any Old School RPG system"

Let's do a follow up to last night's Greyhawk Castles & Crusades post with a review of The Tavern From Hell. T
he Tavern from Hell is a Labyrinth Lord adventure for 4 to 6 characters of 1st to 3rd level. And we're looking at a solid first level adventure that will bring the characters up to 3rd level. There's a good number of twists & turns in the Tavern From Hell. The Tavern from Hell has some solid maps from Dyson Logos. Sixteen pages is a solid page count for this adventure. The Tavern From Hell is a good first level adventure to take the PC's into the depths of the dungeon of the adventure. 

The Tavern from Hell is a Labyrinth Lord adventure but it could easily be adapted to the Castles & Crusades rpg. And this is a perfect adventure to drop into the scummier areas of Greyhawk. 

The World of Greyhawk is a solid place to drop into The Tavern from Hell By James Mishler, & Jodi Moran-Mishler. I'm trying really hard not to spoil the Tavern from Hell. Is it worth the three dollars?! Yes in my humble opinion it is. 

The Tavern from Hell By James Mishler, & Jodi Moran-Mishler From James Mishler Games Is Availabe Here 

Monday, May 23, 2022

WGR1 Greyhawk Ruins (2e) By Timothy B. Brown, & Blake Mobley With The Castles & Crusades rpg

 "Enter the infamous ruins of Castle Greyhawk, the most formidable and expansive dungeon on Oerth. Its mazes and catacombs have drawn hundreds of adventurers from around the Flanaess. They are intrigued by tales of its riches, undaunted by its reputation for death in countless unspeakable ways. Getting there is no trick-it's a well-traveled path. The trick is getting in and out again with your own hide intact!"

"Try your hand at the busiest dungeon ever created. There are more than two dozen levels of horror and treasures. Run into brutal foes and gain uncountable wealth-nearly 1,000 separate room descriptions in all!"

Greyhawk Ruins is a complete guide to the most famous dungeon in the World of Greyhawk campaign setting. All you will need is the Advanced Dungeons & Dragons 2nd edition role-playing game, nerves of steel, and the resolve to challenge the puzzles and powers the ruins have to offer!"

WGR1 Greyhawk Ruins (2e) By Timothy B. Brown, & Blake Mobley is one of Greyhawk's most underrated dungeons. Oh sure there are better known & far more deadly classic mega dungeons but Greyhawk Ruins returns to the fold one better & dangerous ones. And it's with no irony that I bring Greyhawk Ruins up with Troll Lords whose  Castles & Crusades deals with "Castle Zagyg" (2005-2008). And while that set of dungeons is solidly done & easily one Troll Lords best. This blog entry is going to pick right from this blog post here. 
Greyhawk Ruins deals with something else entirely and that's Greyhawk. And yes, you can transfer 
"Castle Zagyg" to Greyhawk. Greyhawk Ruins does something else entirely & that's to ground this version of the famous mega dungeon in Greyhawk entirely. Is this Gary Gygax's creation? No. Is it his 
"Castle Zagyg"? No. Greyhawk Ruins is a mega dungeon that ties itself in deep to the lore of Greyhawk. And this works very well for Castles & Crusades rpg

Greyhawk Ruins connects deeply into the Greyhawk 2nd edition setting as a way of covering over the foulness that is Castle Greyhawk. The Greyhawk Ruins is a part of the 2nd edition Advanced Dungeons & Dragon mega dungeon trend. And for the Castles & Crusade rpg style suits both the Greyhawk Ruins & even Robert Kuntz's  RJK1: "Bottle City" (2007) and "The Original Living Room" (2007) adventure modules.
The mega dungeon ideal is time tested & very well defined by the time we get to the second edition era. Its definition that was the megadungeon's undoing in a way. There were never enough adventures set witin the megadungeon settings to show DM's & players their real campaign potential in my opinion. 
Greyhawk Ruins doesn't see this out and instead present a series of mini adventures & campaign seeds within. We see this ideal expanded upon within,"Castle Greyhawk in Expedition to the Ruins of Greyhawk (2008), which revised some of the levels from "Greyhawk Ruins" and also invented new ones. " And this further makes it perfect for a C&C campaign. 
And these are adventure & campaign ideals that we saw previously within The City of Greyhawk & Greyhawk Adventures by James Ward. 

Back in The Saddle AgainOSR Commentary - DM Steve's Down Darker Trails Campaign

 So for the past three years there's been a copy of Down Darker Trails by Chaosium sitting on my shelves. But my childhood friend DM Steve & his ilk of roudy rustlers borrowed a copy of the pdf some months ago. And I've not heard from them for a while. That is until last night when I got an email with his group having an opening for a sawbones or country doctor. The fact is unlike other CoC systems you as  player pick you career and then build the PC around that. 

There are a lot of new CoC  material that's been added into Darker Trails including over 30 monsters & two new realms. And now its a matter of getting caught up on what's been happening within DM Steve's campaign. 
Now the truth is that for the past couple of months we've been using Independence Games Rider rpg for most of our Clement & Earth sector rpg's. We'll get into that in another blog entry. But there are vast differences between Down Darker Trails & Rider. Rider is far more oriented towards a more historical & cinematic feel. While Down Darker Trails certainly has this but goes for the full on Lovecraftian Western feel! However I'm far more inclined to the Cepheus Engine itself because of the past two years of playing & DMing it. 

That being said, this isn't my rpg rodeo! Instead I'm in the player's seat for a change and rolling dice as as a player. Rider is in some respects more beefy system wise and Down Darker Trails can be run very slimmed down if the DM & players wants. 

Saturday, May 21, 2022

Other OSR Thoughts On The City of Greyhawk (2e) By Rick Rose, Carl Sargent, & Douglas Niles & Castles & Crusades


"From the high towers of its grand universities to the rancid alleys of its darkest slums, the City of Greyhawk awaits you. Center of magic and learning in the Flanaess, Greyhawk is also the home of powerful thieves, mighty warriors, traitorous ambassadors, and honest craftsmen.
They all await you within the pages of this information-packed boxed set.

You get four full-size, full-color maps, each depicting a different aspect of the Greyhawk campaign. Two 96-page books give you a detailed overview of the city and a closer look at its more influential citizens - and its more notoriouus criminals.

Many detailed, colorful adventure cards provide players with short adventures in the city and throughout the surrounding realms of Greyhawk."

Today's blog entry is going to follow right behind this blog post here. 
The City of Greyhawk (2e) By Rick Rose, Carl Sargent, & Douglas Niles For 2nd edition Advanced Dungeons & Dragons has been my go to urban fantasy spawl since '89. What makes it work?! All of the details & systems that have gone into The City of Greyhawk. Not only do you get the high mark NPC's but the low life scum all under one package.  The Friends, Foes and Factions sourcebook provides content worth the price of the package, detailing NPC's, factions, & guilds makes The City of Greyhawk worth getting alone. 

But will 'The City of Greyhawk' work for say Castles & Crusades?! Easily the stat blocks for the NPC's themselves convert over to mostly any edition of  Dungeons & Dragons. The twisting & turning of the city's maps can be printed out. Because of this & other details baked into the urban landscape of the City of Greyhawk. This is a must box set for anyone running the low or high life grittiness of the Greyhawk campaign world. 
And 'The City of Greyhawk' box set is an excellent companion piece for James Ward's Greyhawk Adventure book. Seriously all of the campaign details spill over into each other. 

For C&C these two resources along with the Gygax Greyhawk Folio or boxset are enough to light the way into a successful campaign from the ground up! These resources give the Greyhawk setting the depth & breath it deserves especially when dealing with C&C's system asthetics. 

Castles & Crusades with Greyhawk doesn't suffer under its own weight of campaign setting history or legacy unlike the staleness of Forgotten Realms or what passes for a campaign setting today. But we  digress, Greyhawk's urban centers suit the full rank & treatment that Castles & Crusades provides even more so then the system's home campaign setting. Sorry, Trolls but its true even though there are place where the campaign setttings can & should overlap. And this is where Greyhawk Adventures and The City of Greyhawk shine. These old school resources blend & can be homebrewed into the mold that the DM needs & wants for his player's PC's. 

The Future Martian War of Ten Million Years & Lovecraftian Extinction Events In Alternative Timelines & 2d6 Time Travel Campaigns

 “But Ransom, as time wore on, became aware of another and more spiritual cause for his progressive lightening and exultation of heart. A nightmare, long engendered in the modern mind by the mythology that follows in the wake of science, was falling off him. He had read of 'Space': at the back of his thinking for years had lurked the dismal fancy of the black, cold vacuity, the utter deadness, which was supposed to separate the worlds. He had not known how much it affected him till now-now that the very name 'Space' seemed a blasphemous libel for this empyrean ocean of radiance in which they swam. He could not call it 'dead'; he felt life pouring into him from it every moment. How indeed should it be otherwise, since out of this ocean all the worlds and all their life had come? He had thought it barren: he now saw that it was the womb of worlds, whose blazing and innumerable offspring looked down nightly even upon the earth with so many eyes-and here, with how many more! No: Space was the wrong name.”

― C. S. Lewis, Out of the Silent Planet"

Let's pick this up right from here on the blog.  If Mars is the destiny of mankind then in several million years are we going to be the Martians or have we already been so according to those famous ancient astronaut theorists!? The struggle to colonize Mars might be more then we realize. Now let's backtrack here for a moment. If the Yithians have gone uptime then it stands to reason that we're looking at epochs of time for other human species to evolve. And this is where the   real nasties are  so to speak. Let's flash forward ten million years after Zozer Games Outpost Mars. 

Let's say that in ten million years from now a terraformed Mars is home to a race of Martians that were once mankind. And by this same token a highly evolved race of humanity takes umbridge with these Martians & covet Mars as their own?! Such is a very small part of the plot of the Science Fiction classic  W. Olaf Stapleton's 'Last & First Men' 1930.  W.Olaf Stapleton's 'Last & First Men' isn't in the public domain at all. But it's one of those Appendix Science Fiction classics. 
According to the 'Last & First Men' wiki entry; "Stapledon's conception of history follows a repetitive cycle with many varied civilisations rising from and descending back into savagery over millions of years, as the later civilisations rise to far greater heights than the first. The book anticipates the science of genetic engineering, and is an early example of the fictional supermind; a consciousness composed of many telepathically linked individuals."

The Second Men of 'Last & First Men' evolved out of the remains of mankind; "
Second Men. (Chapters 7– 9) The Second Men came into existence ten million years after the fall of the First Men. "Their heads, indeed, were large even for their bodies, and their necks massive. Their hands were huge, but finely moulded...their legs were stouter...their feet had lost their separate toes...blonde hirsute appearance...Their eyes were large, and often jade green, their features firm as carved granite, yet mobile and lucent. ...not till they were fifty did they reach maturity. At about 190 their powers began to fail..." Unlike our species, egotism is virtually unknown to them. At the acme of their highly advanced civilization, just as they are about to create a superior human species by genetic engineering, a protracted war with the Martians finally ends with the Martians extinct and the Second Men gone into eclipse." This genocide creates the perfect cover for the flying polyps to set off a series of extinction events against both the second men & the Martians. What impact does this have for an Empire of Time campaign?!  Quite a bit actually. The Empire of Time rpg PC's have the option to interfere in the Martian genocide. 

If you get into variations & alternative time lines of the events of the Martian genocide then the PC's might find themselves face to face with a very nasty technologal level 9-11 civiliazation in the form of the second men! 
And this brings up the fact that  British writer and lay theologian C.S. Lewis not only objected to W. Olaf Stapleton's 'Last & First Men' 1930.
C.S.Lewis objected strongly to ' Last & First Men' with the following coming out; "C. S. Lewis in his own preface to That Hideous Strength, notes: "I believe that one of the central ideas of this tale came into my head from conversations I had with a scientific colleague, some time before I met a rather similar suggestion in the works of Mr. Olaf Stapledon. If I am mistaken in this, Mr. Stapledon is so rich in invention that he can afford to lend, and I admire his invention (though not his philosophy) so much that I should feel no shame to borrow".

The reference to objecting to Stapledon's philosophy was no accident. In particular, the Christian Lewis objected to Stapledon's idea, as expressed in the present book, that mankind could escape from an outworn planet and establish itself on another one; this Lewis regarded as no less than a Satanic idea – especially, but not only, because it involved genocide of the original inhabitants of the target planet. Professor Weston, the chief villain of Lewis's Space Trilogy, is an outspoken proponent of this idea, and in Out of the Silent Planet, Lewis opposes to it the depiction of the virtuous and stoic Martians/Malacandrians who choose to die with their dying planet, even though they possessed the technology to cross space and colonise Earth."

So the last human descendants die out or do they?! In deep time we've got many alternatives to this except for the fixed point of the flying polyps awakening. Adding in  the virtuous and stoic Martians/Malacandrians to a time travelling crew in Empire of Time is an option. Mars may or may not be able to be saved but it can add a twist or two.
 Could far future corporations actually be the ones developing the 2nd men sealing our own fate?! The 2nd men could be far more important then they seem & it could be them who actually awaken the flying polyps! 
The tangling of timelines could kick off a time quake that destroys the barriers between history & dimensions kicking off an apocalypse that leads to a post apocalypse wasteland kicking off the events of Afterday rpg

This might be the far future of Shadowfall as time breaks down as history unravels. There is far more to this then at first it seems. We'll get into this next time.