Sunday, July 31, 2022

OSR Commentary On The Free Thundarr The Barbarian Sourcebook By Tim Snider For The Mutant Future Rpg & Other OSR Post Apocalytic Campaigns

 Let's pick this blog entry up from the last time we were working with Goblinoid Games here.  It's been a couple of years since Thundarr The Barbarian was popped in the old Blu ray player. But after a long game night tonight it seemed like the appropriate thing to do. Thundarr The Barbarian ran from 1980 -1981 and was way ahead of it's time in many ways. Thundarr The Barbarian was also partially responsible for getting me into the Savage Afterworld blog back in 2009. 

In many respects Thundarr The Barbarian was hugely responsible for me getting into Metamorphis Alpha & the  Gamma World 1st edition rpg's respectively. The series ruled Saturday mornings for many years & according to the Mutant Future wiki ; "Thundarr the Barbarian is a Saturday morning cartoon series, created by Joe Ruby and Steve Gerber (of Howard the Duck fame), and produced by Ruby-Spears Productions (a studio made up of former members of Hanna-Barbera Productions). This is a show about a stubborn Barbarian (Thundarr), a know-it-all Sorceress (Princess Ariel), and a Wookiee-like Beast (Ookla the Mok) who roam the post-apocalyptic wasteland fighting savage mutants, and evil-wizards wherever they travel. The main characters are designed by famed comic book artist Alex Toth, and when he became unavailable, Jack Kirby (another famous comic book artist ) took over to design most of the villains and secondary characters." 
Binge rewatching the entire two seasons brings a few things to mind here. First there was a lot of weird technologies happening in the world of the Ancients. Did the Ancients actually summon the comet accidently or on purpose back in 1994? Looking through this Enworld thread about Thundarr The Barbarian as D&D setting from 2018 member Thomas Bowman brings up a solid point; '
A giant comet passed close to the Earth, more like a rogue planet to show the tidal effects in the opening sequence. My guess is, for the purposes of this campaign, the "comet" was no ordinary comet, the disasters shown were only the tip of the ice berg, the comet opened up a rift with other dimensions, and when that rift opened, some other creatures stepped through and magic was unleashed unto the world, this also had a detrimental effect on technology, and for a while this technology ceased to operate, this caused the death of billions of people, from which only a few survived, because without the technology and the transportation networks, most people starved to death, some of whom survived by cannibalism, and the descendants of those people still live today. Some people, such as Ariel's people learned to use magic. After a decade or two technology became functional again, but by that time it was too late, the damage was done, the World had reverted to savagery.' This really is the way I'd play Thundarr The Barbarian as a campaign. But the heavy lifting for a Thundarr The Barbarian campaign was already done by Sniderman of The Savage Afterworld with  
THE WORLD OF THUNDARR THE BARBARIAN FOR MUTANT FUTURE. The free sourcebook is on the right hand side of the page with the Thundarr The Barbarian cover that looks like this

The Free Thundarr The Barbarian Sourcebook By Tim Snider goes into most of the major NPC characters, many of the monsters,artifacts, & more of Thundarr's world. For me the The Free Thundarr The Barbarian Sourcebook hits all of the major high points. But there's one villain that defines Thundarr's world. Gemini is a major villain within Thundarr and we almost get a sense that Thundarr & co have clashed with him in minor ways before his appearance 'In Secret of the Black Pearl.' Gemini next appears In Last Train to Doomsday, Thundarr encountered Janus and after Gemini was revealed to be alive. In between & after these episodes the other wizards in Thundarr's world seem to grow far more bold. And within Thundarr's world I believe that Gemini was a stablizing force on the wizard's council. After his defeat, North America's wastelands become open & ripe for conquest. So the wizards of North America go to war over the domains open up by Gemini's defeat. Why?! Because of the fact that wizards are insane, crave power, and Gemini's holdings  were up for grabs. Wizards probably control millions of slaves & these are held within wizard's kingdoms. Mutant mercenary forces are the norm with a mix of human & mutant slaves toiling away for the wizard masters. 
There were hardly any human settlements as Thundarr rode through the wastelands of North America. Gemini controlled the wizard's council & the North American wastes through a combination of fear, power, reputation, & magic. His defeat meant the break up of the kingdom of Manhat. But this only one of his holdings which is why he fell back to his Janus persona. Gemini needed time to heal, regroup, & deal from the shadows with his rival wizards. Gemini could only deal with his loyal hawkoid mutants. 
Reading between the lines that Gemini controlled at least three or four types of mutant mercenaries & I would almost think that it would also be ape gangsters around the Chicago area of the wastes. Here's where  
Mark Hunt's B/X Gangbusters edition comes in very handy to create such gangs especially mixed with Apes Victorious! 

The kingdom of Manhat supported Gemini's manufacturing base then it's not hard to see that a group of wizards could theoritically completely transform the face of North America. And here's where Adventurer, Conqueror, King rpg with it's domain play would come in handy. 
But no one wizard would help to heal the wounds of the world of Thundarr. Why?! Because almost everyone of them is utterly & completely insane.  Thundarr's world could easily connect with the Elsewhere but those wastes could be another potential source of monsters, mayhem, and insanity. 

Saturday, July 30, 2022

Using Port of Entry Supplement Star Ports For The Clement Sector By John Watts, Michael Johnson, & Tony Hicks For Our Shoulder of Orion Campaign

 So last weekend whist looking through Independence Games Port of Entry it occurs to me that what is needed in our current 'Shoulder of Orion' campaign for the Hostile rpg are mobile deployable space bases.What you only thought that Port of Entry was for only the Earth & Clement sector rpg's?! Nope the Independence Games crew designed it with applications in mind; " Port of Entry also includes 11 new character careers as well as two sample starports, several companies and organizations, and a number of example locations.  Also included is a space station design system from Michael Johnson, our starship guru, to allow you to design a station of you own." 

For the Shoulder of Orion these mobile bases will serve to fuel and service the attack ships. Gypsy fighters that move from base to bases making life very difficult for the other corporation's forces. Events have been shaping up to this becoming a full blown war. Let's see how this plays out. 

Port of Entry Supplement Star Ports For The Clement Sector  By John Watts, Michael Johnson, & Tony Hick Is Available Right Here 

Mail Call & Unboxing - North Wind Adventures's Hyperborea rpg Unboxing & Saltmarsh Campaign Update

 Couldn't plan this mail call today any better today when a giant arrived on our doorstep! This lovely box was packed to the gills with Sword & Sorcery goodness. And North Wind Adventures filled their Kickstarter rewards very quickly. 

Now this couldn't come at a better time because we've got a Hypeerborea rpg game tonight. These beauties are going to be for adventure & campaign design. We've got other Hyperborea rule books spiral bound for players in tonight's Hyperborea rpg game session. 

The HYPERBOREA Player's Manual & HYPERBOREA Referee's Manual couldn't have come at a better time. We've got the Hyperborea rpg campaign set up for our game campaign adventure tonight Tegel Manor. The haunted manor will set up the events of the upcoming U1 Sinister Secret of Saltmarsh marathon. My version of Tegel manor by Greg Gorgonmilk used with permission of the artist made with the Midjourny A.I. program. 

The manor & it's valley will be appearing around the Lizardmen Swamp area & then on the Hyperborea coast near Saltmarsh. 
I guess  we should talk about the Hyperborea rule book because it is quality and very solidly done. The artwork is very nice and the whole package says OSR to me as a DM. 

North Wind Adventures packs em right & delivered the goods today! Let's find out how all of this works out when we start chucking dice! 

Friday, July 29, 2022

Review & Commentary The Beserker PC Class By James Mishler & Jodi Moran-Mishler From Mishler Games For Your OSR Campaigns

 Mishler Games keeps on cranking out the good OSR supplements and here's another one! James Mishler Games has some great titles and this includes the new Berserker Class for Labyrinth Lord 

"The new Berserker Class for Labyrinth Lord includes the following:

Class Details;

The following Berserker abilities and skills:
Berserker State;
   Grants bonuses to hit or additional attacks per round;
   Grants bonuses to unarmored armor class;
   Enables the berserker to fight beyond normal physical capacity or even death!
Magical Transformation;
   Human berserkers can transform into animals, including at higher levels man-beasts and giant-sized beasts"

 The Beserker Class  By James Mishler & Jodi Moran-Mishler is twelve pages of Beserker PC goodness with all of the OSR systems in mind. The Beserker class has all of the bonuses & additional hits. This is a part of the classic PC class and the  Beserker class is solid for a number of OSR rpg systems. And the Beserker is perfect for the Adventurer, Conqueror, King rpg for countering the problems of the humanoid Chaos wave. Is there an ACK's Beserker class?! Yes but the bonuses are not quite the same.  The Beserker Class  is also perfect for the Castles & Crusades's Haunted Highland. Because of the fact that the Beserker is great humanoid fighter & with the derth of giant kind in the setting its a natural. 

The Beserker class could also be used in an OSRIC game easily & especially a Sword & Sorcery campaign. The PC class is solid at higher levels to help even out a combat niche within a party. This is also true of a Labyrinth Lord & an Advanced Companion  game campaign as well. In short the Beserker PC class fits a number of roles very well and at higher levels this engine of destruction can be aimed for a number of enemies easily. And that's the strength of this engine of violence & fighting prowess! 

Black Guard Mini Campaign Session Update - Escape Frpm Avalidad Powered By The SURVIVE THIS!! Vigilante City - Core Rules by Bloat Games

 This picks up right from the last session report here.  So the Blackguard PC's actually were able to duck Zonetec operatives and exit Joes through the back. They found themselves half way across the planet at that point. Someplace in South East Asia right near a giant bill board. As a matter of fact this one! The players are freaked out because we've started using the  Wretched New Flesh Postcards from Avalidad Quick Start,  things are coming full circle quickly again. 

The PC's went back to the diner where a weedy little man named Bill “The Stick” McKay made contact with em. They agreed to pay him cash to get them outta of the middle of the South East Asia city where other Zone Tec agents are operating outta of.  Bill however is a bit of a greedy bastard of a driver & shook down two of the other PC's. Being in the Republic of the Union of Myanmar doesn't help the party at all. Bill seems to speak the language & is driving a non descript 1920's truck. 

Bill drove em to the coast & got paid. They paid him a bit extra so he didn't double cross them. 
The players seemed really happy that they've made it to a beautiful resort. The party decided to take a day by the beach & recover. A beautiful nearby hotel seemed very inviting and when they went in the hotel manager greeted them by name. The party went to pay for the rooms but it seems that their employer had already paid for the rooms?! No matter, the players were puzzled but hadn't figured out what was going on. After relaxing for a few hours, recharing in the sun, and getting some decent food in their bellies. The players decided to swim & head into town to re-equip. So after another day of game time it was time to move forward. That's when the first zombies began to show up about noon the next day! And the news reports from SNN came over the hotel's lounge again. 

That's right the party was back in the back half of the time loop of the Red Room's Resort of the Dead! And the players were pissed! After a night of dice rolls to make contact with the black market, make contacts with the local thieves guild, and assassins guild. It was all for not as the zombies began to pour in! 
The SURVIVE THIS!! Vigilante City - Core Rules by Bloat Games came in handy as the PC's began blowing the Hell outta of the beach front property! 

Can they survive the time jumps and the zombies?! We shall find out because the players are determined to survive at all costs! 

Thursday, July 28, 2022

OSR Review & Commentary On CASTLE OLDSKULL - Oldskull Gonneslingers By Kent Kelly For The Castle Oldskull Campaign Setting And Your OSR or Old School Campaigns

 "Have you ever wondered what it would be like to have your players dabbling in low anachronous-tech science fantasy, with anti-heroic gunslinger characters in the vein of Roland of Gilead, Solomon Kane, Lord John Roxton, Jack Sparrow, or even Don Kaye’s Merlin-D? What do you think would have happened if Gary Gygax, in creating his fantastical medieval history RPG, had never arbitrarily erased gunpowder from the heroic fantasy lexicon? And in what possible world, pray tell, do the legendary Cloud City of Laputa, the ever-fabled City of Brass, Jack the Giant Killer, imp-loaded hand cannons, Doctor Mirabilis, the King in Yellow, and Great Cthulhu coexist with one another?

"If you’ve never thought of these questions, let alone their potential answers, that is because you are sane. Fortunately, in the realms of Oldskull we long ago dispensed with sanity as a petty and needless obstacle, barring the way to endlessly strange and fun ideas."

"Herein you will find the Fusilier, an optional Player Character (or NPC) fighter sub-class, inspired in part by Arneson, Gygax and Perren, Howard, King, Poe, Browning, Hodgson, and Jonathan Swift. Secrets revealed in this tome include the following: Oldskull lore, binding old school fantasy firearms and asynchronous tech lore cohesively together; a Gygaxian history of guns in 1970s play; rules for introducing the wondrous Cloud City and its like; alchemical pulver (arcane gunpowder from out of another reality); medieval handgonnes; misfires; trick shots; kill shots; brimstone Glamours; and more. If you’ve ever looked for a way to introduce guns to the classic fantasy RPG in a limited fashion without ruining the lore of your campaign, you will find this supplement to your liking. Particularly if you’ve been drinking.

This book has been written to interface directly with the Old School Essentials game, as derived from compatible systems under the rules originally published by Gygax (1974-1985), Holmes (1978), Moldvay (1981), Mentzer (1983-1986), and many others. Even if it’s just a one-shot, why not give your players a game experience they will never forget?" " 

So last night I approached Kent Kelly & asked him for a copy of CASTLE OLDSKULL - Oldskull Gonneslingers. And this OSR PC resource book isn't what I was expecting. What I was expecting was a Stephen King Dark Tower style PC sourebook for some reason. But what I got was far better! Far better by far. Oldskull Gonneslingers By Kent Kelly is actually an OSR  black po wder gunner's sourcebook. And it supports that angle with 146 pages of a fantasy angle for a match lock powered gunner PC class with overtones of magic. 
Oldskull Gonneslingers By Kent Kelly  does an excellent job of presenting both arguments for black powder style weapons within OSR style games along with the materials to support it. And this is done by the author making his case for the history of black powder style weapons in Dungeons & Dragons powered games going back to the beginning. And it's an amazing sourcebook from the ground up.
Oldskull Gonneslingers By Kent Kelly is a great resource for other OSR games. And I'm looking towards Lamentations of the Flame Princess &  the Gonneslingers PC class would be an excellent fit. The Gonneslingers & it's attendant class goes up too twelve levels with attendant magical effects, glamours, and more. There's a whole cloth setting involved in  Oldskull Gonneslingers ready to drag & drop into your campaign. Take for example Adventurer, Conqueror, King where 
Oldskull Gonneslingers would make an excellent side companion for ACK's Guns of War! The material within Oldskull Gonneslingers By Kent Kelly is a great side sequel to this book. 

Oldskull Gonneslingers By Kent Kelly For The Castle Oldskull Campaign Setting is one of those books that has use across a multiple OSR rpg platforms & systems. And this includes post apocalypse rpg campaign settings! And the Oldskull Gonneslingers makes no bones about this. So Gonneslingers could be easily slid into the Mutant Future rpg and it's attendant resource books. Bottomline, CASTLE OLDSKULL - Oldskull Gonneslingers By Kent Kelly is a solid OSR book and works well to creat a black powder and magical using PC class for your OSR games!
 CASTLE OLDSKULL - Oldskull Gonneslingers By Kent Kelly For The Castle Oldskull Campaign Setting And Your OSR Campaigns Is Available Here! 

Michael Moorcock's Melnibonéans And Clark Aston Smith's Zothique By Way of OSRIC

 OSRIC came out in 2006, and it's use at the table top is a God's sent allowing the DM to create their own table top adventures & supplements. And OSRIC  also allows the DM to transcend the Advanced Dungeons & Dragons Player's Guide, Dungeon Master's Guide, & Monster Manual all in one at the table top level. All of these references are there at the DM & player's finger tips. 

Michael Moorcock – The Stealer of Souls (1963) artwork by Rodney Mathews used without permission 

This thread picks up right from this blog post from the other day here. So let's talk about the  Melniboneans whose alien & very primal ways get a solid from the Knights & Knaves forums here.  And it was Geoffrey's canon that has me thinking over about the classic Michael Moorcock stories:  "My "Elric canon" is pretty short; 

"The Dreaming City" (Science Fantasy #47, June 1961)
"While the Gods Laugh" (Science Fantasy #49, October 1961)
"The Stealer of Souls" (Science Fantasy #51, February 1962)
"Kings in Darkness" (Science Fantasy #54, August 1962)
"The Flame Bringers" [later retitled "The Caravan of Forgotten Dreams"] (Science Fantasy #55, October 1962)" 

And its really Grodog here that I agree with; " grodog » 
I tend to think of Melnibonéans as earlier "generation" of AD&D elves---they're more atavistic/primal, closer to Faerie (in this case the Unseelie Court, of course!), and more tainted with Chaos in comparison to modern-day AD&D elves. Modern elves would likely be seen as some debased Morlock-like freak, if they were acknowledged as relations at all.

YMMV, of course ;)" Of course this brings in the fact that the 
 Melnibonéan tribes may be far more common then at first it appears. There could be other  Melnibonéan sorcerers scattered along the planes that never got the message about their ancient homeland ending. 
And the odd 
Melnibonéan sorcerer will be right at home within Clark Aston Smith's Zothique. These thoughts go back to Guy Fullerton's threads on the Knights & Knaves forum. Fullerton's been playing with this idea for a long time as he's got a Moorcockian Sorcerer class here.  As was said this isn't anything new & goes back to 2015. And it's perfect for Clark Aston Smith's Zothique and Smith himself describes Zothique in a great letter breakdown according to the Zothique wiki entry; "
Clark Ashton Smith himself described the Zothique cycle in a letter to L. Sprague de Camp, dated November 3, 1953:

Zothique, vaguely suggested by Theosophic theories about past and future continents, is the last inhabited continent of earth. The continents of our present cycle have sunken, perhaps several times. Some have remained submerged; others have re-risen, partially, and re-arranged themselves. Zothique, as I conceive it, comprises Asia Minor, Arabia, Persia, India, parts of northern and eastern Africa, and much of the Indonesian archipelago. A new Australia exists somewhere to the south. To the west, there are only a few known islands, such as Naat, in which the black cannibals survive. To the north, are immense unexplored deserts; to the east, an immense unvoyaged sea. The peoples are mainly of Aryan or Semitic descent; but there is a negro kingdom (Ilcar) in the north-west; and scattered blacks are found throughout the other countries, mainly in palace-harems. In the southern islands survive vestiges of Indonesian or Malayan races. The science and machinery of our present civilization have long been forgotten, together with our present religions. But many gods are worshipped; and sorcery and demonism prevail again as in ancient days. Oars and sails alone are used by mariners. There are no fire-arms—only the bows, arrows, swords, javelins, etc. of antiquity. The chief language spoken (of which I have provided examples in an unpublished drama) is based on Indo-European roots and is highly inflected, like Sanskrit, Greek and Latin." 

So using OSRIC to recreate a Zothique style campaign setting isn't only possible but it might be easy to drop in a whole tribe of Melnibonéans and no one is going to be the wiser. 

More artwork by Rodney Mathews used without permission that captures in my mind the weirdness of Zothique.

OSRIC is perfect for a Zothique one shot because of it's flexibility & it's easy of rules for players to grasp. it makes sense then that these rules could be twisted to Smith's world & yes I know about the Free D20 Zothique pdf here.  And we'll be diving into how this applies next time! 

Wednesday, July 27, 2022

Strong Medicine on International E.Gary Gygax Day - Is This My Exit From The New Hartford DM's Network?!

 Today's E. Gary Gygax day & it's hitting me that I really need to get back to the creative well of my gaming. I've been a part of a network of DM's in New Hartford. Which has been a fall back after my own game hit the skits. It's been good, I get a network of DM's & a support system of good friends allowing me to step away from behind the DM's screen & play for a change. But today's it's hitting me hard. But the fact is that these are not my own players but they are friends. And this makes it hard because DM Steve allowed me some time to get back on the horse with his players. But at the end of the day these are his people.

Need to make my own way in the hobby. Grab some new players and make other friends as well in New Hartford. At fifty two this isn't an easy decision on my own part. Does one take the risk or remain comfortable where one is?! 

So my wife & I are talking it over tonight, there are decisions to be made. And is this my time for an exit after two or is it three years?! 
It struck me meeting up with a fellow DM for coffee today. It's time like this when one is too stuck knee deep in a comfort zone that maybe it's time for a challenge & change. Maybe this is my take away from E.Gary Gygax 2022, it was a damn fine cuppa tea & to catch up with DM Paul as well as Steve. 

The Rise of the Haunted Manor - U1 The Sinister Secret of Saltmarsh, The Hyperborea rpg, & Judge's Guilds Tegel Manor


So the other day we were talking about the role that the oceans of Hyperborea has in the average Hyperborean's lives on the blog here.And this has been at the back of my mind with the advent of reading through U1 Sinster Secret of Saltmarsh, again. U1 Sinister Secret of Saltmarsh by David J. Brown along with Don Turnbull has an undercurrent of desperation about it. 

At the end of the events of U1, the PC's should end up with a sweet little boat which will come in very handy coming up as the party ends up in the lap of the lizard men. 
Why are the lizardmen so riled up to begin with?! If we're looking at U1 taking place on Hyperborea then we've got a partial answer. If 
U1 Sinster Secret of Saltmarsh's  Saltmarsh is placed  near Brigand's Bay. Then these are the fishing grounds of the tribes of lizardmen who for thousands of years have been fishing these waters peacefully with the human population.So what's put the screws to them besides the Deep Ones?! Well, the undead  leader of the Deep one corrupted smugglers for one. 

The smugglers in U1 in my version are actually headed by the Alchemist a lich who simply watches the PC's as their looking around the 'haunted house' & whose also the head of the knarly group of slavers. The Alchemist is deeply connected with the undead of Tegel Manor. Yes that Tegel Manor which is a deeply cursed haunted house that dimensionally travels between Hyperborea & Judges Guild's The Wilderlands of High Fantasy. 

This is how OSRIC, Castles & Crusades, and other OSR game's  PC's have come to Hyperborea in the past through Tengel Manor. The manor's undead are not entirely static. The haunted house because of it's dimensional cursed nature regenerates but the undead don't forget. These undead continually make sport out of any other dimensional travelers who fall into their midsts. And through lesser undead have forged a network of criminals across a few worlds over the centuries. The coming Deep One, human, and lizardmen war is simply another diversion in their eon's long undead existence. 
These bastard undead are not done with the party in Hyperborea, yet.. This is just starting. 

Tuesday, July 26, 2022

OSR Commentary On The Hostile Rpg & Dragon Magazine issue #27 A Part Of The Military Action At The Shoulder of Orion - One Thing Leads To Another

 This post is going pick right up from here where the Dutchman has been fading in & out of his history off the 'Shoulder of Orion'. Who or what is responsible for the universal hyperspace gate at Tannhauser Gate?! Possibly aliens who are long dust millions of years ago now only a few artifacts remain and this goes deeply into the mysteries surrounding 'The Shoulder of Orion'  at Mu Orionis. And the artifact in question comes from The Dragon magazine issue#27  in  'Tesseracts: A Traveller Artifact' By Gary Jordon..

Played correctly & the Tesseract itself becomes an alien artifact or space dungeon of high value: "Tesseracts (or hypercubes) have appeared in the pages of TD before, as a gimmick to confuse the mapmakers of D&D. Rather than attempt to confuse the players of TRAVELLER, I’d like to present that device as a boon to them. Readers of that previous article will recall that tesseracts have the peculiar property of containing eight times their actual physical volume, sort of a technological bag of holding. Considered as an artifact, rather than a magical nexus, I postulate the tesseract as a cubical structure with no openings into the “normal” three dimensional space. This is merely the framework, connected to a hyperspace generator; inside is the tesseract itself, consisting of eight cubical rooms or compartments weirdly interconnected (for how weirdly, see the previous article) and each with the same volume as the framework which contains them. Figure 1 is the layout of the internals and their interrelationship; Figure 2 is how the tesseract might be represented in ship’s plans." And within a hypercube of this nature space itself could be warped & the hypercube's technologies valuable beyond reckoning; "Access/egress to the tesseract is via matter transmitter/receiver pairs (mattermitters). One is located within each tesseract employed, while one is located outside the tesseract but within its limited range. The internal structures within are constructed by the shipbuilder and mattermitted into the operating hyperfield. The contents of a hyperfield are impervious to influences exerted from without. Nothing, up to and including a supernova will affect a tesseract in operation, so long as the hyperspace generator continues to function. Interruption of power to the generator for durations of longer than 60 seconds or destruction of the generator itself will cause the field to degenerate and collapse, resulting in the permanent loss of the contents in hyperspace."  The original builders of these technologies are long dead & have passed beyond the pale of the universe. But the tesseract itself bends the laws of physics while keeping the mysteries of hyperspace intact. 
What is the tesseract itself & what was it's function?! Issue#27 of The Dragon's article offers some possibilities. But we're not going to explore those in our springing this on the crew of the Einstein. 

The Dutchman has the location of the Tesseract within it's memory banks & it appears a light refractive sphere floating against the background of Mu Orionis. But there's another corporation's ship in orbit around the artifact ship. How will the crew react to their presence & one of humanity's greatest discoveries?! Probably with extreme violence but we shall see coming up over the weekend! 

OSR Commentary - Happy International E. Gary Gygax Day!

Everytime you sit down to design a dungeon or break open the first edition  Advanced Dungeons & Dragons Player's Handbook or the Advanced Dungeons & Dragons Dungeon Master's Guide your celebrating Gary Gygax day. 

Every single time you sit down at a rpg convention for a classic Dungeons & Dragons module such as Keep of the Borderlands your celebrating Gary Gygax day. And each year that Mr.Gygax's passing get's a bit further away in time.He seems to slip from our collective memories. Or does he?! 
The truth is that even though outfits like Wizards of the Coast & their corporate owners Hasbro would like us to forget about Gary E.Gygax & David Lance  Arneson. We who carry our dice knowing the legacy that Dungeons & Dragons & Advanced Dungeons & Dragons first edition  brings with the game. 
But do we need a E. Gary Gygax day? In a word yes, the legacy of  both  Gary E.Gygax & David Lance  Arneson needs to be preserved. Not through days but games or events of original Dungeons & Dragons, B/X Dungeons & Dragons, as well as Advanced Dungeons & Dragons. 
Otherwise their memories will fade like the morning due and these wonderful games origins will be forgotten. Bearing this in mind everyday is Traveller day, E.Gary Gygax day, David Lance Arneson, & every other creator's day who put pen to paper to create these wonderful games. 

Kingdoms of Sand & Death - "Empire of the Necromancers" By Clark Aston Smith & Zothique

 "The legend of Mmatmuor and Sodosma shall arise only in the latter cycles of Earth, when the glad legends of the prime have been forgotten. Before the time of its telling, many epochs shall have passed away, and the seas shall have fallen in their beds, and new continents shall have come to birth. Perhaps, in that day, it will serve to beguile for a little the black weariness of a dying race, grown hopeless of all but oblivion. I tell the tale as men shall tell it in Zothique, the last continent, beneath a dim sun and sad heavens where the stars come out in terrible brightness before eventide."
"Empire of the Necromancers" By Clark Aston Smith (Weird Tales, September 1932) 

Is there any other tale such as "Empire of the Necromancers" By Clark Aston Smith (Weird Tales, September 1932)?! No, the curtain is raised on our two necromancers from Naat who go about setting themselves up as the two kings in the mighty graveyard of an abandoned city of a not so forgotten empire. According to the wiki entry on Zothique the breakdown goes something like this; "Setting: The city of Yethlyreom in the realm of Cincor. Characters: Mmatmuor and Sodosma, necromancers; Illeiro and Hestaiyon, dead emperors of Cincor." 
The undead in CAS's Empire of the Necromancers are both ancient rulers & victims within their own realm. And it's the perversion of the state of undeath in this story that highlights the complete violation of the 
 dead emperors of Cincor. And it speaks volumes of the nature of Zothique itself as a setting.

 A world of tomb like ancient empires set amid the grand rot of the Earth on its last legs. 
 If your not farmiliar with Zothique let me enlighten you with a letter between Clark Ashton Smith & L. Sprague de Camp from the Zothique wiki entry;

"Clark Ashton Smith himself described the Zothique cycle in a letter to L. Sprague de Camp, dated November 3, 1953:
Zothique, vaguely suggested by Theosophic theories about past and future continents, is the last inhabited continent of earth. The continents of our present cycle have sunken, perhaps several times. Some have remained submerged; others have re-risen, partially, and re-arranged themselves. Zothique, as I conceive it, comprises Asia Minor, Arabia, Persia, India, parts of northern and eastern Africa, and much of the Indonesian archipelago. A new Australia exists somewhere to the south. To the west, there are only a few known islands, such as Naat, in which the black cannibals survive. To the north, are immense unexplored deserts; to the east, an immense unvoyaged sea. The peoples are mainly of Aryan or Semitic descent; but there is a negro kingdom (Ilcar) in the north-west; and scattered blacks are found throughout the other countries, mainly in palace-harems. In the southern islands survive vestiges of Indonesian or Malayan races. The science and machinery of our present civilization have long been forgotten, together with our present religions. But many gods are worshipped; and sorcery and demonism prevail again as in ancient days. Oars and sails alone are used by mariners. There are no fire-arms—only the bows, arrows, swords, javelins, etc. of antiquity. The chief language spoken (of which I have provided examples in an unpublished drama) is based on Indo-European roots and is highly inflected, like Sanskrit, Greek and Latin."

 "Empire of the Necromancers" By Clark Aston Smith is the a typical Zothique tale with it's haughty characters. Strange dark occult underpinnings and it's air of mystery. If you haven't read "Empire of the Necromancers" By Clark Aston Smith then I will not spoilt the ending. But needless to say that the tale is one of CAS's best tales. "Empire of the Necromancers" By Clark Aston Smith speaks volumes about what has been left behind in the wastelands of Zothique and what makes the setting so unique. For the dungeon master this is master class in adventure hooks scattered throughout the three or four page tale. From hints of extensive ruins and scattered dungeons "Empire of the Necromancers" By Clark Aston Smith drops them in spades. 

"Empire of the Necromancers" By Clark Aston Smith could be used as the basis for a Hill Canton's style point crawl where the PC's are hot on the trail of the necromancers after their dirty magicks in the wastelands of Zothique. Learning of their dark fate only seals the deal for the PC's. Because they will only have hints & rumors to help piece together the two necromancer's fates. There may indeed be treasure but would it be cursed by the dead emperors of Cincor themselves?

    Monday, July 25, 2022

    Review & Commentary On The Free A Book of Miscellaneous Spells Volume 2 By Andrew Hamilton For Advanced Dungeons & Dragons First Edition & The OSRIC Rpg

     "This volume contains more than 110 brand new spells for the four AD&D spell casting classes. This includes more than 30 spells for clerics, druids, and illusionists -- plus 78 new magic-user spells of all levels. [Yeah, Andrew has a thing for magic-user spells!]

    That's enough, right? Right?


    This collection includes spells for the Witch NPC class (from Dragon Magazine issue #114), one of Andrew's favorite NPC baddies.

    Plus it contains spells for clerics of the Cult of Juiblex. Never heard of this cult? It will be a nasty surprise for your players!

    If that isn't enough, look for the spells for Frost Giant and Gnoll shaman! Bad guys need more power to combat those dratted forces of Good! This gives it to them ...

    All told, this volume contains more than 150 new spells for use with all the D& D games of the 70's and 80's and their retro-clones." 

    A Book of Miscellaneous Spells Volume 2 By Andrew Hamilton is a perfect Advanced Dungeons & Dragons free resource for the clerics & wizard PC classes as well as NPC's. And it's the latter is my own use for A Book of Miscellaneous Spells Volume 2 is very useful to a dungeon master. Because OSRIC is mix of AD&D first edition Player's Handbook, Dungeon Master's Guide, & Monster Manual.  A Book of Miscellaneous Spells Volume 2 lines up vert well for the magic using PC classes & monsters. Each section of the 150 new spells are bracketted & aligned for PC's, NPC's, & their player character classes. 
    There are some nasty surprises within A Book of Miscellaneous Spells Volume 2 and these include 
    clerics of the Cult of Juiblex, the Witch,  & Frost Giant and Gnoll shaman entries. This gives the average dungeon master even more fire power for NPC's. And it's the application for high Fantasy & mid point magick  campagins where A Book of Miscellaneous Spells Volume 2. And A Book of Miscellaneous Spells Volume 2 would fit perfectly into AD&D first edition's Greyhawk or even Bloody, Bloody, Arduin. 

    A Book of Miscellaneous Spells Volume 2 By Andrew Hamilton layout, the fonts, entries, and more are solidly done. Andrew Hamilton does an excellent job with this material & his imagination's fuel is solid. He really loves his spells & his touch on the game design is a love affair of epic proporations with OSRIC's spells. The fact that this whole supplement is free is a long game for & magazine because A Book of Miscellaneous Spells Volume 2 By Andrew Hamilton is an excellent tool kit for AD&D first edition & OSRIC.

     A Book of Miscellaneous Spells Volume 2 By Andrew Hamilton For Advanced Dungeons & Dragons First Edition & The  OSRIC Rpg Is Availabe Here 

    Michael Moorcock's Young Kingdoms And Clark Aston Smith's Zothique By Way of OSRIC

    Before this blog entry get's underway we already know about the Advanced Dungeons & Dragons first edition Deities & Demigods By Robert Kuntz & James Ward's  Elric mythos. The material below compliments it. 

     Rodney Mathews Elric artwork used without permission. 

     Over the weekend after playing several games & DMing, it was time to return home to the family. My mind wasn't idle at all over the rest of the weekend. And it went back back in time to 2006  & the release of OSRIC or Old School Reference and Index Compilation. At the time OSRIC was particularly a God sent because it allowed me to have instant access to the Advanced Dungeons & Dragons first edition Dungeon Master's Guide, the Players Handbook, and The Monster Manual all in essentially first edition goodness. And yes, the excitement is still there for OSRIC but the mind weights heavily with Pulp origins for a Elric style game using the OSRIC rules. And then Guy Fullerton's Stormbringer/AD&D first edition hack thread from 2015 jumped out at me here. Now Fullerton's been playing with this idea for a long time as he's got a Moorcockian Sorcerer class here.  As was said this isn't anything new & goes back to 2015. But seed is there for me as a dungeon master. 

    Over the years the idea of using the Grey Elves inplace of the Melnibonéans for AD&D first edition & OSRIC. Reading through Guy Fullerton's PC entries that perhaps these rules could serve another Pulp world setting quite easily. I'm thinking about using these rules for Clark Ashton Smith's Zothique as a one shot or mini campaign. And yes this flies in the face of convention or does it. Zothique itself has bold sorcerers who make bargains with otheworldly powers of Chaos & Hell. So it makes sense that these rules could be twisted to Smith's world & yes I know about the Free D20 Zothique pdf here. 

    But how does one incorporate the OSRIC races or classes within such a Zothique game?! The answer is fairly simple really, the OSRIC characters are visitors from another realm and the Young Kingdoms or Zothique are another stop on a whirl wind tour. 

    This all was a thought excercise over the weekend but OSRIC looms large in my DM brains headlights at the moment. So this might be a mini campaign coming up or simply two stops that are a part of the next mini campaign at the moment. 
    Somet thoghts on OSRIC as well, the retroclone isn't fully AD&D first edition but it does emulate a good chunk of it. OSRIC is excellent for Sword & Sorcery adventures and does a nice job at what the Rpg sets out to do. The old school mechanics of OSRIC are very flexible & could be applied to any number of OSR adventure styles. 

    Sunday, July 24, 2022

    OSR Review & Commentary On Three Shops article by Jeff Bowes art by Del Teigeler The Free AD&D 1st Edition & OSRIC Supplement

     Three Shops article by Jeff Bowes art by Del Teigeler is a really solid little addition to the AD&D 1st edition  or OSRIC rpg campaign.Jeff Bowes really knocks it out of the park with this short eight page businesses that can be dragged & dropped into your ongoing campaigns. 

    Del Tigler knocks it outta of the park with his three dimensional cut away maps of the businesses. Proudfoot and Archer finder of lost objects and are literally a throw back to the 40's and 50's private detective film but these guys are perfectly suited to OSRIC; "Proudfoot and Archer are finders. Despite the fact that the city has a large, well-organized City Guard there is still a need for private investigative work. In general they concern themselves with recovering stolen property, the protection of property and finding missing or hiding persons." The NPC stats are well laid out, the adventure hooks write themselves, and the business works well; "The owner of the shop is Rorie Archer, a middle- aged balding Halfling. In the past 5 years Rorie brought on the Halfling adventurer Sam Proudfoot as a partner and his business has blossomed. Sam is much younger then Rorie and still engages in the adventuring life. A combination of his natural skills and enthusiasm has made Sam an excellent investigator. Due to Sam's reputation customers frequently insist on his involvement. This is something of a headache for Rorie." You've got details well laid out with Jeff Bowes going into each business solidly and giving reasons for said details.  And then we get into Northwind Arms Exchange - a precious goods exchange which is part coin exchange, part pawn shop, and part adventurer shop;"Norwind Arms Exchange Precious goods exchange. In most towns of reasonable size transactions must be carried out in the local coinage. Often towns have Laws governing how many foreign coins can be carried within the Town Limits. For this reason there are a few moneychangers near the Town Gates. Norwind goes beyond just changing coins, they will also purchase gems, jewelry and some objects of value. Owner: Anton Kaiden a member of the local Norwind Merchant house. Anton is a portly man of 46 years with close shaven grey hair. Anton married into the Norwind Merchant house and received this position from his unimpressed father-in-law." The fact is that Jeff Bowes goes into staff, layout, adventure possiblilities, hours of operation, customers, & more. Finally we get into 'The Roving Eye Tavern' which is part adventurers tavern & part retired operation for a family of adventurers. But there's far more to 'The Roving Eye' then at first it appears; "The Roving Eye Tavern The Roving Eye Tavern is a small tavern on the Town's main market square. Although a two-story building, only the lower floor is a tavern open to customers. The wooden sign above the door has the shape of an eye carved in its center. Faded red paint clings to the wood. Beneath the eye are two crudely painted legs. Owner: The tavern is owned by the Conwon merchant family but managed by Genin Moorwalk. Moorwalk manages the Tavern with little interference from the owners. Moorwalk is a retired merchant in his late forties. Moorwalk is heavyset and is generally found behind the bar or mingling with patrons wearing a stained apron. He has a wisp of grey hair above his ears and a bald head." You really get a sense of these three businesses from the bottom up and get a real sense of the potential for your own campaigns in 'Three Shops'. Is Three Shops worth the download?! Oh Hell yes!

     Three Shops article by Jeff Bowes art by Del Teigeler The Free AD&D 1st Edition & OSRIC  Supplement Available At The Bottom Link Here