Thursday, June 30, 2022

OSR Campaign & Adventure Commentary - B1 In Search of the Unknown By Mike Carr Remix With SURVIVE THIS!! Vigilante City & WWII: Operation WhiteBox By Peter C. Spahn

 So last night's 1939 OSR crossover  game came off without a hitch but now there's an idea brewing in the back of my head. So the idea goes like this B1 In search of the Unknown has already been set up as this weekend's little mini Con romp. Now over the years B1 & B2 have been used multiple times at the table top level. So this is going to pick right up from here on the blog. So  a small  castle on the Austarian border known as Quasqueton holds far more then the player's PC's or the Nazi realize. 

So deep below the castle there are the tombs of a group of cursed nine  Svartálfar kings   who were cursed by Odin for an insult thousands of years ago & entombed within Quasqueton. Their undead state & aura of evil attracted all kinds of monsters during the Dark Ages. The castle itself is a part of the 'other place' an other dimensional realm of dark and twisted Science Fantasy. 
What we've simply done is taken B1 In Search of the Unknown & added in Bloat Games 'Pay What You Want' White Box Zombies Dark Elf Zombies. Very simple and very direct module remix of B1. 

The Nazi expedition didn't make it very far into  Quasqueton as a swarm of striges took out most of the soldiers and some of the officers. Now let's stop and look at 

SURVIVE THIS!! Vigilante City - Superhero Team-Up! which actually has some rules for running a supers team through adventures. There are some advantages that are presented within. But the addition to the SURVIVE THIS!! Vigilante City rpg are solidly done. But are they going to help you against B1?! The short answer is no not at all. 

Keeping the monsters, stats, etc. within B1 does absolutely nothing to the balance between the classic module & the 'pick what you want' adventure module. We've covered this module extensively on the blog here and yes that includes the B1 Sourcebook which is one of the essential books for B1 In Search of the Unknown. Will the PC's survive?! That remains to be seen.  But we're  using a lot of gear & options from  OWB001: WWII: Operation WhiteBox By Peter C. Spahn

So far we've had a few deaths on our other missions & we'll go over the replacements soon. Mist has taken over the leadership position for the group. And the party has had some help from a G.I. Robot but it hasn't joined in as full time party member yet. 
Stay tuned more coming up as we approach the Fourth of July weekend. 

Wednesday, June 29, 2022

OSR Session Report III - Midnight at Tanière de Loup, an OSR WWII Mini-Adventure Using Operation White Box & Bloat Games's SURVIVE THIS!! Vigilante City - Core Rules

 'So it's been a long while since we got together for our  super game event using Operation White Box & Bloat Games's SURVIVE THIS!! Vigilante City - Core Rules but set prior to the events of World War II! The party has been racing all over Europe following on the heels of  Sturmbannführer Hoffrichter and what's left of his vampiric  SS Troopers ' 
So using a combination of the above plus the download of Midnight at Tanière de Loup, an OSR WWII Mini-Adventure from David Miller's OSR Library blog here. Our team of stawart heroes tracked down the pesudo vampire & his minions to a small  castle on the Austarian border known as Quasqueton. This leg of the mini campaign picks up with the player's PC's stopping train with the Nazi pseudo vampire's coffins on it! Everything picks right up from this session report here on our blog! 

The Nazi peusdo vampires never made it! The party caught up with the train the monsters were on and staked them out in the sun! They never made it to the castle! But the party is very curious to find out what or whom is the castle holding?! 

DM Steve has a 2nd level crime fighter The Dog has been killed 
Sherrie DM Steve's wife is The Mist a 3rd level spell caster is now team leader 
Todd is playing a 3rd level mech pilot owner of the Hammer 
Jason playing the vigilante Punch 2rd level 
Sarah is playing Judy 2rd level vigilante 
Brian is the Red Archer 2nd level archer

None of the players are really familar with 
Rogahn the Fearless and Zelligar the Unknown base in B1 In Search of the Unknown per say. So I've had fun introducing it as a Nazi base on the border of Austria in the year 1939. 

ll pick this up on the Fourth of July as we've got a big weekend planned! Stay tuned! We've got a few tricks up our sleeves coming up! 

OSR Commentary On 'The Starship From Hell' For 2d6 Old School Science Fiction & Science Fantasy Campaigns

"The Starship From Hell is a system-agonistic toolkit to be used at the table during sci-fi RPG sessions. With a handful of dice, generate a starship's type, category, name, nearby phenomena, reason for distress signal, dangerous cargo, and passengers or crew members with horrific secrets."

So over the coming weekend we're getting together with friends for a private mini Con that we do every year & there's not a lot of prep time between work and whatnot. So we've got a Hostile rpg one shot coming up that's got me behind the screen again. With the time factor working against me, off of the shelf came an old friend 'The Starship From Hell'. 'The Starship From Hell' is perfectly suited for a Hostile rpg or Independant Games Earth sector oneshot and works very well as a mission generator to create one shot adventures. The encounters in the 'The Starship From Hell' may have to be tailored back a bit to conform to 2d6 style games to be a bit less lethal or not. It's going to depend upon what the DM wants to do with their campaigns. 

So why the Earth Sector rpg?! Because of the nature of the Earth sector's corporate structure which could easily take advantage of the  'The Starship From Hell' random 'Sci fi horror' tropes. The edge of the unknown frontier just like a Space Western film from the Eighties works very well as an anaology for the historical Old West feel of the Earth Sector rpg. And the unknown blackness of space works with it's hyperspacial horrors coming into the corporate spaces of Hostile. Generate your missions and then go right to play as the campaign unfolds from a roll of the dice time and again. 
And this same methodology could be used with Cepheus Deluxe easily and without a problem at all. Roll up a mission with the 'The Starship From Hell'. And off you & your players go with a fully realized campaign. 

The Starship From Hell could be used as the basis for a Sword of Cepheus rpg campaign easily as a space craft introduces weird radiations, monsters,etc. to an interstellar colony stuck in the Dark Ages tech levels. 

Tuesday, June 28, 2022

OSR Commentary D100 Minor Magical Items By Shane Ward 'A Pay What You Want' Title From 3 Toadstools Publishing For Your Old School Campaigns

 Magical one use items are a well established within the bounds of fantasy role playing. "Need a quick magical item? Something not to deadly? All of these rather entertaining magical items are one shots.  ie one charge! The table is based on Old School rules and magic and should work for most Old School Systems." 

D100 Minor Magical Items By Shane Ward From 3 Toadstools is a solid alternatives for the dungeon master who wants a minor magic item for their campaign or  adventure. This pay what you want title clocks in at five pages of solid OSR content. Easy to use & throw into the back end of your game.  Have an abandoned wizard's tower or magic user bolt hole then D100 Minor Magical Items By Shane Ward  is perfect to add into the campaign mix. 
Some of these items are far more powerful then they appear & that's a feature not a design flaw in D100 Minor Magical Items. There's enough variety here to keep the mix interesting for the players. 
D100 Minor Magical Items is perfect to add to Greyhawk out in the middle of nowhere as treasure for a ruined wizard's tower or castle. For Adventurer, Conqeuror, King, rpg these minor magic items could be used as change up for a hoard. Or as minor gifts between rulers or kings for the PC's or too them. 
They could be used as minor treasures in Castles & Crusades that have been lost to time when magic was much more common. Or even as Fey treasures where they have come over from the realms of the Fey. 

D100 Minor Magical Items By Shane Ward  'A Pay What You Want'  Title From 3 Toadstools For Your Old School Campaigns

OSR Commentary Thieves Guild Second Edition & Haven The Free City

 This new, completely revised second edition of the Thieves' Guild rules now provides more ways than ever for players to experience the danger-filled life of a medieval brigand, burglar, or cutpurse. Thieves' Guild gives thief characters opportunities to use a wide range of thieving skills and abilities to plan and commit the perfect crime. In addition to basic game mechanics, system rules cove every aspect of thieving activity, including:

  • Basic Thieving Abilities
  • Thievish Combat Tactics
  • Disguises and Diversions
  • Tailing and Surveillance
  • Poisons and Venoms
  • Fencing Stolen Goods
  • Medieval Justice
  • Ransoming Prisoners
  • Underworld Organizations
  • And Much More!

"Thieves' Guild also contains introductory scenarios to start you on your life of crime, from highwaymen preying on the traveling traders and merchants, to daring burglars seeking the treasures of wealthy city dwellers! Just remember that it's brains rather then brawn that you'll need to avoid the forces of law and order, and the fiendish twists and traps that may stand between you and the booty that could be yours!"

"Thieves' Guild is part of Gamelords' complete Fantasy System, role-playing for the discriminating palate, providing a new dimension of excitement for players who are tired of mindless die rolling and hack-and-slash adventuring. This package includes Basic Character Creation, a separate book describing a detailed character creation system that features flexibility and decision-making by the player as he designed his character's abilities, past heritage, and personality, both at the time of initial creation and as the character advances. The Fantasy System places the emphasis of the game back on role-playing and creative group interaction, and features simple, straightforward game mechanics, with a variety of optional additions for GameMasters who want to introduce greater realism into their campaign."

There are times when one hates remaking the wheel & that's no joke.Thieves Guild by Different Worlds Ltd.  added quite a bit of solidly old school material that it made it excelllent for playing a practical Robert E. Howard Conan style game without the over arching issues of alignment. Issues that seemed to crop up in the grand game with frighteningly regularity. 
Now at length in the past I spoke of Game Lords Ltd. Thieves Guild which remains one of our  all time favorite 'add on' systems for old school Dungeons & Dragons style games.And don't just take my word on the Thieves Guild box set check out the Heroes & Otherworlds blog take on this relic of the gaming past here. 

The Heroes & Otherworlds blog brings up an important point about the Thieves Guild Box set; "In a nutshell, Thieves Guild was a D&D-esque system/setting focused on, well, thieves and running adventures around being the bad guy.  Fun things like tomb robbing, hostage taking, banditry, burglary, etc.  The tagline for Thieves Guild was "Sometimes it's more fun to play the bad guys." At times they are right.  We enjoyed playing Thieves Guild and used the GameLords City of Haven setting as a back drop for many adventures. In fact Brian Isikoff has used Haven with Heroes & Other Worlds as well." 
So Thieves Guild remains out in the wild today with it's systems mostly forgotten by the old school except for some of its die hard fans. The fact that Thieves Guild is so fondly remembered is interesting. And the fact that its peusdo Reniessance setting is so much embodied by the Haven The Free City campaign setting has one wondering about resurrecting both Haven & the Thieves Guild systems. 

With Haven the advantage is the layout, cartography, and even the entire city is right there for the DM to pick up and run with. So we can see that both Thieves Guild & Haven The Free City would be excellent additions to say a Lamentations of the Flame Princess rpg campaign. Everything is right there from playing the 'bad guys' to full out businesses to play around in. 
However the imagination turns to Castles & Crusades because Haven seems just the sort of a setting where the fantasy races, businesses, etc. all scream mid level old school  fantasy. This also comes into the light for Adventurer, Conqueror, King rpg where the player's PC's could be taking over block by block. 
For a combination of Greyhawk & Haven The Free city this adds in that Haven is simply another city on the waterways of Gary Gygax's fantasy campaign. A place of the illusion of wealth & a couldran of greed blending underneath. 

Monday, June 27, 2022

OSR Commentary On The Mines Of Keridav By Kerry Lloyd Part of the Adventurers series

 "The Mines of Keridav is an adventure designed to be used with almost any fantasy role-playing system, including Chivalry & SorceryRuneQuest, and Dungeons & Dragons. The player characters attempt to travel through the valley of Tiraval to rescue the Princess from the evil wizard Keridav"

The Mines Of Keridav By Kerry Lloyd  is a module that resembles a  beast out of time from the late Sevenities and comes from Gamelords, Ltd. There are two versions of this vernerable module according to the wiki entry; "The Mines of Keridav was written by Kerry Lloyd, with a cover by Bob Charrette, and was published by Phoenix Games in 1979 as a 24-page book; a second edition was published by Gamelords in 1983 as a 28-page book including statistics for Thieves' Guild."  The Mines Of Keridav version of  that graces my collection is the 1983 version. The Mines Of Keridav is a departure from other modules that were out at the time of the module's publication because of the clever use of the wilderness in the module. There is overland exploration, wilderness encounters, and much more. And this was an innovative adventure approach that was used in 1979 within, The Mines Of Keridav. This is something that Richard A. Edwards noted within his review of The Mines Of Keridav in Space Gamer issue#33; ' Richard A. Edwards reviewed The Mines of Keridav in The Space Gamer No. 33.[1] Edwards commented that "The Mines of Keridav is a step forward. No longer must other FRP systems adapt D&D-oriented material to theirs. The heavy emphasis on the above-ground adventure is a real bonus over the now-prolific use of underground room to room scenarios. This is a real bonus to any game master's library of adventures."'
And it's this coupled with several other factors that makes  
The Mines of Keridav stand out as both module & supplement in many ways. 

This is because the adventure setting is baked into The Mines of Keridav in many of the same ways that it was in other '80's modules. The use of the setting around Keridav is key here as much as character as the vile villain, the princess to be saved, and the mines themselves. Is this good, bad or indifferent?! The answers are baked within  the adventure. 
The Mines of Keridav is a solid addition to an OSR dungeon master's tool kit. The mines themselves could easily be added into Greyhawk with little issue.Another small terrority in the expansive setting. 
For Adventurer, Conqueror, King this is a another kingdom & area to add into the PC's expanding crowns. For Castles & Crusades this is a classic module with potential. The AC has to be played with but the potential is there to use 
The Mines of Keridav as a jump in point for a classic campaign. Why? Because almost all of the action takes place above ground. Not what the players will be expecting at all from such a title as The Mines of Keridav. 
Now let's talk about the 1983 version of the mines shall we?! This module was created with the Thieves Guild system in mind fully.
The Thieves Guild incorporates quite a few innovations for '83 which according to the Thieves Guild wiki entry includes the following; "Thieves' Guild is a fantasy system that originated as supplementary rules for thief-type characters and grew into a fairly complex system of its own.[1] Emphasis is on outlaw characters with stealth and dexterity skills.[1] There are 60 noncombat skills, each with four levels of mastery; there are no magic skills for characters.[1] The "Basic Character Creation" book (32 pages) describes characters, abilities, skills, training, and equipment" 
All of this is perfect for running a full on outlaw campaign which is what my own experiences with 
The Mines Of Keridav bares out. We survived  The Mines Of Keridav by playing it coolly, keeping our heads, and dealing with the aftermath. 
Our escape from the mines however netted us a bounty on our heads to which a very dangerous bounty hunter came after us. This one! 

The Mines Of Keridav By Kerry Lloyd Part of the Adventurers series Is Available Here. 

OSR Commentary On The Wizard's Scroll - Issue 1- A 'Pay What You Want' Swords & Wizardry Fanzine

 So back in 2016 'The Wizard's Scroll' premeired & since then nothing. Now normally this wouldn't be an issue but since the on going OSR games that I'm involved with have a number of dungeon masters & players with floating dungeon masters. There have been a number of OSR resource that have come to my attention through the other DM's that I share the chair with. This is one of those OSR  resources & this post is going to pick right back up from this blog post here. And this blog post  here as well 

There's a few NPC's that are going back into our current campaign & one of these is Niptuck by Tod Roe. This skinless sorcerer has taken two our number back on Carcosa and turned them into skin bags. All of this centers around the adventure the Demon Shattered Tower By Steven A. Cook from the The Wizard's Scroll - Issue 1. And the tower in this adventure  can be & is a deadly little addition to an ongoing campaign. 
There a couple more adventures in 'The Wizard's Scroll - Issue 1' & one of these is Charles Mason's The Wizard's Tower. The Wizard's Tower is a solid set up for a an isolated expeditionary adventure; "The wizard’s tower is said to be haunted by demons and devils. The tower itself has two demon heads carved into the stone on the east and west sides. The only living inhabitant now is no demon, but he has stared into the depths of the abyss. The wizard acquired the old fortress and renovated it when he was very young. He had the demon heads added to the tower, perhaps to scare off the locals or possibly as tribute to demon patrons. That was over 150 years ago." This is a nasty four level affair in a wizard's tower perfect for a wilderness romp. 
The Wizard's Scroll - Issue 1-  A 'Pay What You Want' Swords & Wizardry Fanzine is available here. 

For a gritty Greyhawk campaign The Wizard's Scroll is a no brainer. It has a ton of potential with just these two adventures. But add in the idea of a Midevil authantic campaign & the Wizard's Scroll  works out even better. 
And the Wizard's Scroll could easily be slipped into a Castles & Crusades rpg campaign with little issue or fuss. The combination of the adventure ideas, locations, etc. all fit with the traditional nature of a C&C driven Greyhawk easily. 

Sunday, June 26, 2022

OSR Review & Commentary On Ashen Void By Albert Rakowski From Underworld Kingdoms For Your Old School Fantasy or Science Fantasy Campaigns

 "Ashen Void - a system-neutral Dark Fantasy campaign setting."

"Welcome to the arid, mysterious world plagued by trans-planar monsters known as the Angels. You won't find any rules here, nor any concrete information that must be used. Everything is presented in form of lists and random tables, to help you flesh out your own version of the world - or to allow smooth transplantation of ideas to your game."

Ashen Void is twisted in all of the right ways, this is a stat free & totally random set of tables about a world plagued with t
rans-planar monsters known as the Angels. Ashen Void is a hard one to pin down as this is a totally free & randomly generated world with tables dealing with everything from giants, ruins, wastelands, towns, etc. all totally random. And there are so many random tables but this is a good thing & we'll get to that. Albert has a long history with the OSR through his World of Ortix blog here. 
There is so much A.I. generated artwork by Albert Rakowski that its a bit distractiong at times. Yes, believe me I get the trend with the  Mork Borg rpg setting up the background artwork & the distracting fonts. Fortunately there's very little of that in Ashen Void.  Instead in Ashen Void we get random tables to generate entire campaign evirons, dungeons, monsters, and much more. This customization of randomness is going to keep players on their toes. 
And this consistant with  random table after table of well everything in Ashen Void & this is done on purpose according to the author's introduction; "In this book you will f ind the outline of a setting that has been growing in my mind for the last few years. Or maybe even longer, as it began somewhere between 2011 and 2013. All rules are presented in a very vague way to make the game as system neutral as possible. They should be compatible with virtually any OSR ruleset. Nothing that is described here should be treated as an element necessary for the setting’s coherence. That’s because nothing is coherent here - it’s just a toolkit for you to use, either to include in your own campaign" 
And what a tool kit! Ashen Void does a Lot of the heavy lifting for the DM to create their own OSR or Science Fantasy setting from scratch. With a handful of dice & Ashen Void the DM can create world after world of good solid gaming material from the ether of imagination. 
In eighty eight pages Ashen Void manages to accomplish campaign material that other supplements take page after page to explain. And it's all at the DM's whim. All in all it's really hard to put a rating on Ashen Void because of what it randomly does & how it does it. But Ashen Void is a solid addition to a DM's tool kit regardless of their genre of choice. Ashen Void fits the OSR very well with it being perfect for Mutant Future, Lamentations of the Flame Princess, Mork Borg, or any other of the original OSR titles. It would also be perfect for orignal Dungeons & Dragons. 
Ashen Void is perfect as a campaign setting for any 2d6 rpg and I'm looking at any of the Cepheus Engine games here. This is especially true of Sword of Cepheus, Cepheus lite, Barbaric, or any of the other 2d6 powered system. 

Stars Without Number Revised Session One Shot Report - Salvage Rite

 Tonight I had a chance to get out from behind the screen & actually get to play one of the scum of the universe for a change. Tonight Clancy McFancy roguish space pirate 4th level got his chance to shine as we encountered a salvage opportunity that almost cost us our party's lives. We were playing in DM Steve's space pirate game of Revised Stars Without Numbers. And tumbling through space was a very unexpected find a seemingly abandoned space wreck of a Milligan class hospital star ship?
There wasn't anyone home when we came across her. No answer to hails nor even a peep outta of her except for her automated response beacon. A psychic reading of the ship confronted feelings of confusion, fear, aggression, & death! 

Our own ship 'The Barracuda' a modified  Demon-class lembus bought with several missions wayback some months ago docked. Something wasn't right off the bat, we were confronted straight on board  with a floating macro celluar life form! 

Artwork created using Dream By
Floating Macro Celluar Lifeform 
HD 4 (25)
AC 9 
Attack +3 pseudopodx4
Damage 1d4+2
Move: 3 Cr,6sw 
Save:15 +
Skills: Exert +3,Notice +1, Sneak+3 
Special Absorbtion 
Organization: Colony 
Climate/Terrain: Any 
Senses: Sight,Blindsight, Hearing, Smell, 
Phiosology: Carbon/Silicon Based Cephalopoid

These alien macro celluar life forms  were floating throughout the Milligan class hospital star ship! They had been freed from some alien colony ship that the Milligan had been assigned to help. Our party vented the entire colony into deep space and then towed the wreck to the nearest alien starbase to claim salvage rights! That's right we didn't do the room by room sweep at all! We claimed salvage rights, copyrighted & trademarked the genetic IP on the alien floating macro celluar creatures. Then ended the adventure. 
That's right no one died on this one because we all worked as a team & didn't enter the set up of the nega dungeon of the Milligen Hospital starship. We collected a sample life form, made our copyright & trademark, collected the salvage and then left. No entered the ship at all. Of course nextime there's going to be complications with DM Steve's campaign next time! 

Friday, June 24, 2022

OSR Review & Commentary On Wretchploitation By Miguel Ribeiro From The Red Room For Old School Exploitation 60's & 70's Game Campaigns

 "While previous Wretched games are meant to play anti-heroes, Wretchploitation goes a bit further allowing you to take the role of obvious villains, such as Dominatrix Nazi officers with a taste for blood, sadistic wardens, psycho-killers, deranged cult leaders and other distasteful personalities. "

expands the Wretched line into exploitation movie territory, already rife with seedy anti-heroes. Whether you like violent action, in the way of blaxploitation, 70s cop movies, Hong-Kong flicks and Eurocrime, or if you would, instead, emulate the horror and gore of cannibal, zombie, Giallo and splatter films, or even if you prefer the sleaziness of sexploitation and nunsploitation, this set of rules has got you covered!"

Wretchploitation is another Red Room creation by Miguel Ribeiro &  Wretchploitation takes its que from the rest of the Wretched rpg titles. You play scum & anti heroes with a take on some really low down PC types with Assassin, Common Citizen, Investigator, Man of Action, Proselytizer, Rogue and Scholar, plus the optional Conjurer, Psychic and Shaman. The adult grind house & exploitation film genres are on  full display here as is the adult artwork & public domain comic book artwork. This style fills all one hundred & fifty five pages of weirdness & depravity. All of which is going to be familiar to the average OSR or old school D&D style of player. But Wretchploitation isn't one for the kids; not at all or anything to do with children around! Seriously this is an adult title & not for the faint of heart! You are playing the scum of the Earth, antiheroes with evil hearts whose character creation relies on the 13 deadly sins mixed in with old school OSR rules! Wretchploitation takes the idea of the exploitation & grindhouse style of OSR play seriously. The subject matter is another turn entirely with both an easy mode & hard play of style for PC generation. 
The attention here on 
Wretchploitation is the idea of the PC's doing 60's & 70's  'evil' and downright weird adventures. The layout, artwork, etc. are all geared in this direction. From Cannibal Holocaust style adventures, to 'Men's 60's Adventure' magazines to straight up Pulp style anti heroics Wretchploitation By  Miguel Ribeiro covers the whole affair. 

Adventures rules  run the whole way with play styles, adventure ideas, equipment, firearms, cars chases, etc.covered in detail within Wretchploitation. And the game excels at those details. But is Wretchploitation By  Miguel Ribeiro  actually playable? In a word, yes! The game takes enough time & energy to bare out Wretchploitation's game systems & rules well enough to encourage a very different OSR style of play. And this follows well in the wake of Wretched Époque which uses many similar rpg system but these are not quite the same. The reason is the fact that two different & very almost opposed fictional  historical epochs are covered. 
Wretchploitation covers this with gusto allowing both DM & players to get down & dirty with their OSR adventures. Sometimes it's fun to play the bad guys & Wretchploitation allows that to happen in spades. You're a part of a crew of the 'bad guys' and bad things are going to happen! 
Wretchploitation is an OSR game this is a rather easy game for OSR or old school players to slip into. But in no way or shape is this a game for children to even be near or to play! Wretchploitation lives up to it's sleazy & scummy roots with it's pedigree of exploitation films, softcore 70's & 80's sources, and some very questionable artwork. Wretchploitation fits the genre of 'exploitation noir' quite well & it's an actually quite well made game. Though I'd love to play this game I'm not sure that I'd ever allow the PC's near my family in real life. Five outta of five if your looking to do an Wretchploitation campaign. 

Wretchploitation By  Miguel Ribeiro From The Red Room For Old School Exploitation 60's & 70's Game Campaigns Is Available Here 

Some OSR Thoughts on Using AC9: D&D Creature Catalogue With Early Greyhawk

 Is it me or does Greyhawk seem be one of the grittiest D&D settings that has graced the grand game?! The more that early Greyhawk's pages slip between the fingers the more the imagination stirs. Maybe its a bit of nosolgia or maybe its something else. 

So slipping back into our copy of  AC9: D&D Creature Catalogue from the BECMI D&D  books. The monsters seemed way more bad ass then some of the other monsters that were on the scene at the time. And this is especially true of the Humanoid section of AC9, take for example the Bhut. Appears like a normal human during the day & a murderous nasty at night. Note that Bhuts are not the same undead as found in normal D&D those are completely different;"Bhuts are similar in many ways to lycanthropes and undead. During the daytime, bhuts appear to be normal humans. At night, their skin becomes scaly, their hair becomes wild, their hands turn into claws, and their teeth become fangs. While in this form they hunt humans and demi-humans for food. They are extremely cunning and often use deception and trickery to obtain their meals."  And these humanoid tribes continues through this section with some really good and silly creatures mixed in. 

And 'the low life' monster section is absolutely nasty with lower life forms that look like something straight outta of nightmares. And they are perfectly suited as things that would be encountered right after a giant magical disaster such as 'the rains of colourless fire'. 

The land is fouled & polluted and things from elsewhere move in after the rains. And this is where the 'monster' section comes into play. There are some majorly dangerous monsters in 
AC9: D&D Creature Catalogue and they so easily slip right into the back doors of early  Greyhawk with little issue. 
Many of the rarer  animals, creatures, etc. within AC9: D&D Creature Catalogue are perfect for the fringes of Greyhawk. Areas that are little explored in the classic modules but edges of the map. And this leads back to the fact that the 'rains of colourless fire' had in my imagination far more impact that it might at first seem. The devestation & mutation on Greyhawk must have been to a grand scale. And it's this opinion of mine leads back to the slight off the animals. creatures, and such within AC9: D&D Creature Catalogue. 

Thursday, June 23, 2022

OSR Review & Commentary On The Vampire Class By James Mishler, & Jodi Moran-Mishler From Mishler Games For Castles & Crusades, Labyrinth Lord, or Your Old School Campaigns

 "Vampire Class

By James Mishler and Jodi Moran-Mishler

This new class booklet presents a 20-level Vampire class for use with Labyrinth Lord, easily adaptable to any other classic style OSR Role-Playing Game.

The Vampire Class booklet includes details and rules on:

Becoming a vampire.
Vampire hit points and ability scores.
Special defenses, resistances, and immunities.
Vampire special abilities.
Vampire combat, bringing back the blood drain!
Vampire weaknesses."

"With this class, a player’s character who has been transformed into a vampire no longer need become a non-player character! One can also run an entire campaign with vampire player characters! And of course, it is an excellent source for creating unique vampire enemies.

16-page booklet, 11 pages of content. $2 – CHEAP!"

The Vampire Class By James Mishler, & Jodi Moran-Mishler From Mishler Games couldn't come at a better time. The Vampire Class clocks in at sixteen blood sucking pages of OSR goodness. You'll have your player's PC begging for a transfusion of blood when you as the DM aim The Vampire Class at the players. The Mishler bring a balance of terror to the vampire; "
Vampires are not natural creatures. They are a form of undead, creature that are neither alive nor dead. They are usually created when a vampire drains all the live energy levels from a victim through their bite or touch attack. Some vampires might arise by other methods, such as a curse, accepting vampirism from Chaotic entities, or drinking vampire blood. In any case, however they die, they rise again the night after being buried. The new vampire retains their old class level and abilities but loses their old hit points and must start out as a 1st level vampire with 1d8 hit points. Once the vampire attains a level as a vampire equal to the class level they possessed in life, they divide their experience points between the two classes (they still gain no hit points from the other class)" 
The Vampire class clocks in at sixteen pages with all killer OSR goodness to create NPC nasties up to and including 20th level vampire gods. 
The Vampire class has everything from level progression, to up ended special abilities allowing you to create that special blood sucker for any OSR or old school adventure. The Mishlers add more then a touch of class with the special abilities granting everything from mist form to full on hold monster abilities at higher levels. The Vampire class takes advantage of it's old school roots by paying homage to the old school rules while bringing the vampire into the modern age easily. They even brought in the modern weaknesses as well as the old classics like daywalker abilities. The Mishlers here do a good job paring back the material to a very reasonable sixteen pages of vampire and fang goodness. Vampires created with these rules could be anything from a solid one night stand vampire to a fully realized lord of the undead. For 2.00 you get a full array of vampire OSR goodness. 
The Vampire Class is flexible, easy to use, and could easily be used in Castles & Crusades as a vampire variation species. There's also Adventurer, Conqeuror, King where a lord of the Undead could be quite the challenge for the ruler of a fledging kingdom. In Lamentations of the Flame Princess the Vampire class could be used to create some very strange variations of the vampire quite easily. For BECMI D&D The Vampire Class is tailor made to create the perfect vile villain easily. All in all The Vampire Class is quick, solidly done, and a perfectly nasty addition to the old school or OSR DM's tool kit. 

The  Vampire Class By James Mishler, & Jodi Moran-Mishler From Mishler Games For Castles & Crusades,  Labyrinth Lord, or Your Old School Campaigns Is Available Here 

Wednesday, June 22, 2022

OSR Commentary & Prep Work On White Box: Fantastic Medieval Adventure Game & A Simple Dark Europe Campaign

 One of the things over the last couple of years that we've started doing is being highly independant from everyone else in the hobby. And this includes returning to the   White Box: Fantastic Medieval Adventure Game. There's just something that works for me as a DM with  White Box: Fantastic Medieval Adventure Game on a primal level. Man vs mythology & monster in equal measure at the table top level. As the world unravels a bit it's safe to say that falling back onto an IP that doesn't disapoint is a good thing. Blood is blood & treasure is treasure we don't end up having to worry about an IP that will disapoint in a couple of months. 

And so we go back down to the Smoldering Wizard blog ( an old favorite haunt) for the White Box FMAG Reference Sheets here.  These reference sheets are exactly what will be needed in a month's time. And while there's a new version of the Smoldering Wizard blog here.  The older reference sheets are fine for my purposes. This material ties in with James & Jody Moran Mishler's 
Fairies Fair and Foul Vol. 01 From  James Mishler Games

The reason why we've been looking in this direction is the idea of a campaign of a dark mythic Europe where the times are dark, twisted, and full of the chaos of a younger world. And coming up I'd love to run a variation of the Smoldering Wizard's Adventures in Text Lair of the White Worm for 1st level PC's  Available under adventures in text section. 
This all came about rereading Three Hearts & Three Lions By Poul Anderson recently over a week ago. With the turmoil that has been going on in real life there hasn't been time enough to really write about the deep abiding love that as a dungeon master that I have for this book. 

One of my all time favorite covers of Three Hearts & Three Lions in French with the cover art having a very Michael Moorcock Elric feel about it. The whole artpiece has the feel of a Stormbringer or AD&D rpg supplement title page. 

OSR 2d6 Review & Commentary Free Resource - Cepheus Engine Journal Issue #11 For Cepheus Engine & Other 2d6 Science Fiction or Fantasy Rpg's

 Up on the slab is Cepheus Engine Journal Issue #11 which is one of the best free resources for 2d6 centric rpg's. This issue's focus is similar to issue #10 and that's the 'alien centric' theme in this issue. And it does an excellent job of presenting that feel for the table top. 

We dive into the P-O Bergstedt driven 'From The Editors' which covers the latest direction for the venerable Cepheus Engine Journal itself and more. Then Todd Bradley takes on the question of  'Cepheus Deluxe Personal Combat' & it's a solid addition to the Cepheus Deluxe array. And then we're given our first glimpse into a new alien race for your Cepheus Engine interstellar campaigns with the 'The Koszrans' by Paul Drye. And then Jim Vassilakos gives us 'Designing Aliens' & it's another great article with lots of practical & hands on advice for the 2d6 DM. There's some solidly done tables. Brett Kruger gives us 'Other Folks Gold' which isn't an article that one would expect; "In this article, which I hope will be the first of many, I’ll be looking at the Netflix original series called Love Death and Robots to see what role­playing nuggets I can mine from it, hence the title. Season one was made up of eighteen episodes. In future articles I’m going to be mining the science fiction of tv shows, short films and movies for gaming goodness." And that's exactly what he does for 2d6 game campaigns. There's some really good stuff in here for Cepheus Engine,  Sword of Cepheus,  or Barbaric taken directly from the Net Flix's series Love, Death, & Robots'. 
And then we get a Todd Bradley article about converting from '
Converting PCs from CE to CD'. This becomes more relative as new titles & adventures adapt to the CD 2d6 rpg format. Brett Kruger is back with Dump Demons a very interesting alien set of alien colony or organisms  as it were; "The Dump Demon is not actually an individual entity but, just like coral reefs, is a colony of creatures that act together as a single semi­sentient creature. Like a reverse hermit crab, as the colony grows it collects objects from its surroundings to build its form. Dump Demons grow by consuming objects and incorporating them into their mass, and especially love the discarded rubbish locations of sentient creatures. Dump Demons do not like environments where they can't consume waste to grow. Dump Demons spawn when a piece of at least one kilogram of the colony is broken off from its host colony. This never happens naturally and is always the result of violence." These are very alien, nasty, & I can't wait to use them. 
Brett Kruger as interviewer with an ' 
Interview with Omer Golan­Joel of Stellargama' and it's a solid interview with one of the 2d6 independant designers in our part of the hobby. 
Jon Zeigler gives us 'Four Aliens' for the Human Destiny setting;"The premise is that in the mid­21st century, Earth and humanity are “annexed” (conquered) by a vast interstellar empire, the Khedai Hegemony. The Hegemony doesn’t seem interested in exploiting us for its own benefit. Instead, as has happened with many other pre­interstellar cultures, we were on the verge of self­destruction; the aliens wanted to rescue us and guide us into mature membership in interstellar civilization." The alien races are well done & the whole article feels & reads like a preview of a coming sourcebook but this is a really well done set of aliens. 
Then we get into 'Almost Alien' By Jo Jaquinta which is about uplifted creatures; "The concept of “uplift” ­ transforming a species of animal into a more intelligent variety, was started in Science Fiction as far back as H.G.Wells, but was most popularized by a series of David Brin’s novels. The essence is that the particular genes or traits that code for intelligence are determined, and these are spliced into existing creatures to create intelligent forms of them. This is a handy tool that a referee can use to create any number of interesting entities to add to their games. Rather than dwell on that, this article will focus on one example and look at it in terms of not just physical stats, but a broader social aspect. " Again the article provides a solid foundation for the player or DM looking to take their game in the article's direction. There's some really solid legs here for an established 2d6 Science Fiction campaign that wants the direction of uplift without the rules heavy aspects. Jo Jaquinta brings more of his 'Raider's Lament' in part five of the ongoing Science Fiction saga. Again really good details. 
'Beast From Beyond The Stars' by Norton Glover is another stand out article detailing a really interesting invasive alien species for Barbaric! & Sword of Cepheus! So well done and I don't wanna spoilt the surprises here. 
'Down & Out In Low Orbit' by Jo Jaquinta catters to the lowlife & seedy side of the 2d6 interstellar aspects of the spacer life in the black. Where local conditions such as gravity, infections, and worse are waiting for the low life spacer PC. 
P-O Bergstedt gives us  'The Imko and The Flertvad' alien racees with enough flavor for the edges of three campaigns. These are very well done aliens and are actually alien while being extremely playable. 
We get a 'What's New' rundown of the latest 2d6 titles with tons of new products entering the market and there's some great stuff! Finally we end with 
Ricardo Emilio providing us with a selection of 100 ton starships! All in alll well worth the band width and down load for our 2d6 Cepheus Engine driven games!