Friday, September 30, 2022

OSR Commentary On The Castles & Crusades Castle Keepers Guide 3rd Printing By Davis Chenault, & Stephen Chenault For The Castles & Crusades rpg

 If there's one book that over the years that needs to go into my collection is  Castles & Crusades Castle Keepers Guide 3rd Printing By Davis Chenault, & Stephen Chenault for the Castles & Crusades rpg. Over the years Castles & Crusades is one of my main favorite OSR systems. The fact is that I'm a really late hobbyist to the C&C rpg line. 

The Castles & Crusades Castle Keepers Guide 3rd Printing is possibly one of the best updates of the classic C&C Castle Keeper's Guide. It is superior to other printings because of the expanded rules across the board for the C&C's Keepers Guide. There are three areas that the 3rd printing shines. The sections on the urban areas. The city as adventuring hub and the dungeon as dynamic adventuring enviroment. 
The Castle Keeper's Guide is a great resource for the dungeon master looking to use the Seige Engine as a world building font. 
The reason for this is three fold, one  Davis Chenault, & Stephen Chenault have a deep as well as an abiding understanding of the system that they've created. 
Two the Siege engine isn't static but rather a dynamic campaign system and the various avenues of outlet found within the Castle Keeper's Guide bares this out. 
Three Siege Engine get's it's due within the Castle Keeper's Guide with all of the alternative rules, roles, and really beefs up the system. Not only for the DM's perspective but the players as well.. 

The Castles & Crusades Castle Keepers Guide 3rd Printing By Davis Chenault, & Stephen Chenault is one of the absolutely key books for the Castles & Crusades system. The Siege Engine system is absolutely pimped out with a metric ton of subsystems that add a huge amount of adventure & world building options to the Castles & Crusades as well as the Seige system. 

Nest of Vipers - Lamentations of the Flame Princess & White Box : Fantastic Medieval Adventure Game by Seattle Hill Games - OSR Campaign Commentary

 It takes a certain style of indivdual to be a DM & keep OSR campaigns going. It takes time, energy, & a bit of mania to keep players interested enough. Lately we've been trying to get a Lamentations of the Flame Princess rpg campaign off the ground. Not that there isn't enough interest in such a campaign but between work shedules, family commitments, etc. it's been a bit of a bear. 

So a friend & myself started to speculate what could be done with the idea of picking up after a Dark Ages period has pasted & the dungeon is now ruins. The Vancian or ritual magick has left a stain on the land & ruins. And this put me in the mind of  White Box : Fantastic Medieval Adventure Game.  by Seattle Hill Games. 

Take the wizard's tower adventure trope & turn it on it's ear. The wizard's tower is long gone by the 1400's century but it's foundations are a toxic waste pit on the land. Monsters & things slither out from the very depths of this place. 
Giant Slugs, the remains of ancient warriors (past adventurers), yellow mold, etc. all add to the mystery of the wizard's dungeons or ruins. And yes, I know that Raggi's 'Tower of the Star Gazer' does an excellent job of pimping the wizard's tower adventure trope. 
This is different because we're sliding in a dungeon or set of ruins long after the fact. The remains of the past creeping in on the PC's in the middle of the wilderness. 
One idea here is that Worgs are actually incharge of the area. Their packs have long served the magus's family & are a legacy of ancient times. The orcs & goblins  are long gone.  
Worgs however are highly intelligent and as evil as it gets. According to White Box Fantastic Medival Adventure game's stats: Worgs - Armor Class: 6 [13] Hit Dice: 4 Attacks: Bite Special: None Move: 18 HDE/XP: 4/120 Worgs are large, intelligent, and evil wolves of chaos. They are sometimes ridden by orcs. They may have supernatural origins.

Yeah these definitely have supernatural origins and it give the impression that the orcs & goblins are still there. And that there's treasure left fueling the constant stream of food erm adventurers. The worgs continue to worship the ancient powers of Chaos that was left there. 
Add in perhaps D100 Minor Magical Items by 3 toad stools with a Lamentations twist or two for 'treasure' and you're almost ready to go. 

But what about the dungeon itself?! Sigh the ruins need to be drawn out a bit and since time is at a premium today Gregorius21778: Beneath Unhallowed Ground is a perfect little set of ruins to drop in here as the 'dungeon'. 

The worgs are actually working for another cult as well offering their services as guardians & lookouts. They scratch out minor maps that a nearby cult can read and they have an empathic connection to the worgs. Gregorius21778: Beneath Unhallowed Ground is a minialist dungeon perfect for the DM on the fly and could act as a stepping stone into a greater part of the LoFP campaign such as LoFP Death, Frost, Doom, or the ever hated around my table 'Womb Cult' By Andrew Marrington.  Last time we did Womb Cult there was a TPK of six people as the cult tore into them & the dice didn't go the player's way. 

Thursday, September 29, 2022

Review & Commentary On "In Wretched Depravity" By Joe Coombs, & Miguel Ribeiro For The Wretchploitation Rpg & Other OSR Horror Rpg's

 "Inspired heavily by the movie The Dead House, in this Wretchploitation scenario the players may take the role of a gang of psychotic house invaders, the family inhabiting the house or even the authorities investigating the case. Besides the conflict between the gang and the family members there will be many other events, mundane and supernatural. So, whether you're looking for a fun one shot night of horror, or something that could be much more expansive, then (hopefully) this will be an explosive fuel for your inspiration."

"In Wretched Depravity" By Joe Coombs, & Miguel Ribeiro is a very different style of Wretchploitation adventure title. This is a sorta of home invasion where you can play the invaders, the invadee family , or your own party. "In Wretched Depravity" clocks in at thirty eight pages of intensive & weird horror  adventure. This adventure takes full advantage of the Wretchploitation rpg engine. And it does it by pulling the players into the action right off the bat. 

"In Wretched Depravity" By Joe Coombs, & Miguel Ribeiro takes the PC's into it's adventure plot reminding this DM of those late 90's horror films of yesteryear or even 80's supernatural films. 
The layout in 
"In Wretched Depravity" is solidly done. The artwork is A.I. driven but done in a way that suits the horrid nature of this adventure. 
This adventure sucks deeply from the 'grind house film' aspect of the Wretchploitation rpg. There's a lot happening within "In Wretched Depravity" & it uses it's adventure location for the maximum amount of carnage, blood, & PC death. This is an adult title that lives up to it's label very well. And it does this by giving us NPC's with lots of OSR horror teeth & nastiness. Done correctly "In Wretched Depravity" could be a real hallow Halloween adventure with an OSR twist or two. 
Look let's be honest there's going to a lot of PC death with "In Wretched Depravity" By Joe Coombs, & Miguel Ribeiro. My advice here is to bring extra PC sheets filled in & rolled up. What "In Wretched Depravity" does is show off how well the Wretchploitation rpg handles modern OSR & horror adventures. It does this by actually putting the PC's in harm's way. 
Could "In Wretched Depravity" By Joe Coombs, & Miguel Ribeiro be used with say with The  Wretched New Flesh rpg?! Quite easily folks especially if the PC's are playing a wealthy family party of adventurers. A planar weapon opens up a horror adventure hook that leads to events in "In Wretched Depravity". 

"In Wretched Depravity" By Joe Coombs, & Miguel Ribeiro has all of the hallmarks of a Giallo horror adventure. Pulp horror elements check, PC's in constant danger check, a well written adventure with a cast of NPC's with weirdness happening?! Check & check. For two dollars this is an excellent rpg adventure to add to the Wretchedverse. 

"In Wretched Depravity" By Joe Coombs, & Miguel Ribeiro For The Wretchploitation Rpg & Other OSR Horror Rpg's Is Available Here 

Inverted Ghost Ship - OSR Commentary On The Hostile Rpg & The Shoulder of Orion Military campaign- Session Report

 So last game we saw one of our main fighters destroyed & the system we'd just claimed almost fall to the Giger wasps. Almost because we went back for seconds against the bastards. But this session it was my turn to DM. And I had nothing in my DM bag or did I?! The Giger wasps had attacked & this left a hole in the system defenses we were supposed to be exiting. The party was battered & weary as Hell almost outta of supplies. This game picks right up from last session. 
And this gave me an in to dig out from the hard drive a favorite of mine from Paul Elliot and that's Ghost Ship. 

The crew got a distress signal from The SS David Ackenson - the Harbinger, a multi-purpose freighter.  And the ship was missing six days ago. The player's party was supposed to be picking up supplies from the Ackenson in the meantime before leaving system aboard their battle station. 
And the players knew something wasn't right. So I printed out the harbringer plans & went straight into Ghost Ship. 

The set up worked flawlessly and the players didn't realize that they'd been set up again! The tension was thick & the nervous jokes were flying as they expected some 'monster' to jump out at anytime. The crew's body was floating in weird positions and there was blood smeared everywhere. Bits of objects were floating throughout the ship. The players had one of their number pioleting a Thunder Chief Heavy Shuttle getting ready to blast the harbringer. And they even called in a Trent destroyer! The  Trent Destroyer armed to the teeth with marines! Needless to say that we weren't happy about this development! 

The game went from tense investigation to search mode as they went over the harbringer again & again looking for the 'monsters'. Finally they began the task of investigating a possible medical issue. 
But then one of our guys found an epislon android stowed among the cargo. And things got pretty serious very fast. What the Hell is a high end andy doing among the cargo & is it responsible for the events aboard the 
SS David Ackenson?! 

Wednesday, September 28, 2022

Dastardly, Dangerous, & Dreaming - Post Apocalyptic Lovecraftian Dragon Squad

 Dragons ruled Cha'alt ages ago, the last couple of weeks Cha'alt has been on my mind again. And it goes back to the fact that the party of Godbound have been disrupting events on Cha'alt. And the Lovecraftian Elven tribesmen have been on the PC's case. This of course is part of my on going Cha'alt/Godbound campaign. 

Dark Sun 1: color version by andybrase on DeviantArt artwork used without permission. 

The various Lovecraftian Elven worshipers are being drawn from Adventurer, Conqueror, King's Secrets of the Nethercity by Alexander Marcus & Newton Grant. These elves were originally worshippers of the ancient dragons but these have been corrupted by the demonic desert worms. And these worms have among their cult's ranks the following:the Elven Cultist, Elven Hierophant, Elven Warlord, and Elven Wizard.

Part of this campaign's NPCs are going to be drawn from Venger's July 2018 entry here.  And this brings up the PC's saving an ancient dragon priest. And this is going to happen below the streets of the city of A'agrybah

The ancient rivalry of worm cults vs dragon cults results in the facts that players may see full on warfare with lots of forces being called in from the planes that appear in  Jeff Grubb's Manual of the Planes for the Advanced Dungeons & Dragons. This gives Cha'alt an almost but not quite Moorcock Stormbringer feel to it. 
The dragons are not going to stand for this & call in the PC's as Godbound to help resolve these issues. 

The PC's may have to speak with the gods of Cha'alt to help resolve this ancient & dangerous rivalry. This is where  Goblinoid Games Realms of Crawling Chaos is a Cthulhu sent resource. Because it includes lots of artifacts,technologies, etc. that can all be created through the book's random charts. 
Cha'alt has a ton of weird Elves that can be used as stand ins for the NPC Lovecraftian worm cult. 
The dungeon that we're going to be using is going be two or three randomly created ancient temple complexes. 

Tuesday, September 27, 2022

2d6 OSR Campaign Commentary - Opus Magi Zaibatsu campaign?!


Over the weekend we're going to be taking the Opus Magi rpg for a test drive with some experienced 'cough,cough, White Wolf players'. So now it's gonna be a bit of a learning curve for these players to pick up the 2d6 habit. With that being said, 'I've got lots of experience with the Cepheus Engine'. Or so my big mouth has said. So now I'm committed. Or I should be. 

So how fast can we adapt & overcome the limitiations of the 'time factor' here?! We've got three options here and that's one throw the players into the 2d6 mix & see what happens. Or we easy into Opus Magi. Naw, that's not gonna happen. 
So instead we're gonna using an existing 2d6 game in this case we're going to be introducing existing NPC's from Zozer Games Zaibatsu & the supernatural or occult elements come in from the PC's.. 

Psion & magi are simply another hidden layer under the surface of a biopunk or cyberpunk  like mixed reality. And this is where the campaign get's very tricky. Because of the fact that many of the players have been asking me about where the cracks are in the campaign. And one thing about 2d6 games is the crossover potential. 
Now we're not sure if this one shot is going to be on going or a mini campaign to get used to the systems at play here. There's also Michael Brown's New World: 2D6 Adventure in a Cyberpunk America as another option for well the good o'le U.S. of A. 


So we're thinking party saves young inexperienced mage or psion from mega corporation which is exploiting magus for their benefit. And other cyberpunk or psion PC's as NPC style hirelings. We really want to get a feel for where these games are going.  We think that the cabal or party might actually be a wing of the occult Blackguard are default occult supernatural mercenaries. 
And I'm thinking of sneakly added in Michael Brown's 

Diabolox to the supernatural mix. 

Sunday, September 25, 2022

OSR Review & Commentary Of Opus Magi: Psions By Mark Janselewitz From Ordo Arcanorum For The Opus Magi rpg

  "Psions have easily become one of the most popular characters in Opus Magi.  However, the core rulebook has only one character Playbook for Psion.  The materials here are an expansion of the Psion character, including the following:

  • rules for using Psionics per the core rulebook
  • new Psionic Abilities for original Psionic Talents
  • completely new Psionic Talents
  • new Psion character Playbooks
  • new Psionic tools
  • pregenerated Psion characters"

Opus Magi: Psions By Mark Janselewitz From Ordo Arcanorum  is a Cepheus Engine rpg systems game supplement for the Opus Magi Rpg. And Opus Magi: Psions was written by Mark Janselewitz & as a supplement flows over into the Opus Magi rpg with some of the most dangerous PC types in the game.Opus Magi: Psions focuses itself on the psions & thier psionic & psychic powers. And they go into great details about the following; "The rules for Psionics and the original Psionic Talents are included:

Awareness:  control over one's own body

Clairvoyance:  perceiving at a distance

Telekinesis:  mind over matter

Telepathy:  mental communication

Teleportation:  teleporting objects or oneself

New Psionic Abilities for the Talents of Awareness, Clairvoyance, and Telepathy are part of these rules.  Look for NEW next to the entry in the rules." These are next level powers & abilities competing very well with the magicks of the Opus Magi in spades. Everything here is laid out bare & well thought out. As you can see this is a very well done supplement that clocks in at one hundred & twenty four pages. 

Opus Magi: Psions By Mark Janselewitz is basically bringing the psion PC class up to the level of Magus and then some by taking full advantage of the psionic systems that Cepheus Engine rpg.And adds in it's own wrinkles by bringing in brand new psionic talents including:

ElectroSensus:  manipulation of electricity

Polymorphism:  changing one’s own body

Thermostatics:  control of fire and ice

Uponyaji / Sanatio:  healing of body and mind

And these abilties really level the playing field for the 2d6 psions in the Opus Magi rpg. And they are extremely useful to go against other psionics & supernatural threats within the game. More on that later on. 

Because of the fact that Opus Magi: Psions By Mark Janselewitz is another player's guide for the Opus Magi rpg because it adds in yet another angle with the character play books these are essential to get PC's ready to go. And these take the original Opus Magi rpg &  the new Psionic Talents and Abilities:

Denki no hito:  the “mind-machine interface”

Mabeobsa:  the “wizard” of fire and ice

Mganga: the healer of body, mind, and soul

Shadow Runner:  the corporate spy

Skin Walker:  the shape-changer

"These new characters come with new Psionic tools and weapons." These new psion & psionic talents are very dangerous additions to the Opus Magi rpg. And these psionic talents are used as a part of the pregenerated PC's &  NPC's. These pregenerated PC's are perfect for use as a group of NPC's. There's also some great uses to support your psion. And because the Opus Magi rpg is open game content the Cepheus Engine rpg truly shines in Opus Magi: Psions By Mark Janselewitz. The true capabilities of the Cepheus Engine rpg are on display here. 
And here's my thoughts on 
Opus Magi: Psions By Mark Janselewitz.  This is a straight up great addition to the Opus Magi rpg because it gives the psion some real teeth for the rpg. These are psion's that can hold their own against magus on their own level & at their own game. 
And it also means that the psion's are a great enemy for magi as well. The Skinwalker has the potential to mess up the day or worse for a party of magus quite easily. And on the flipside the fact is that psion or two would be excellent additions to a party of magi. 

Wasp Trap - OSR Commentary On The Hostile Rpg & The Shoulder of Orion Military campaign- Session Report


This session report picks right up from last time's session here. We attacked the Giger wasps in our Gypsy ships and things went sideways very quickly. The wasps were hold up in a nearby pocket of space debris and came in at us thick & fast. The guy in the space suit was carried off by one of the wasps and we lost em due to bad rolls. But we let missiles fly & were able to get the Hell outta of there. We crawled back to our own battle station & we our Gypsy fighters were in rough shape. We needed down time for maintence and rearming. 
We went in for a debriefing on the current situation that we found ourselves. And one of explorer's ships had come across a dead Thunder Chief Heavy Shuttle floating in between star systems. The station's  corporate chiefs were looking for volunteers to go and take a look at this wreck.We volunteered by way of one of our NPC spacers is related to one of the corporate chiefs whom we owe a favor too. We got in our Gypsy fighters after 18 hours of down time for sleep, medical, etc. and then it was off to check out the wreckage of the  dead Thunder Chief Heavy Shuttle. If something smells like a trap then it's a trap ladies and gentlemen

We came face to face with a rival corporation's Trent Destroyer armed to the teeth with marines! Needless to say that we weren't happy about this development! 

We looked for a hyperspace bouy and signal marking this system as belonging to our own megacorporation. We weren't expecting what came next which were a bunch of Giger wasps to come straight at us from within a shadow of a massive piece of debris. The wasps attacked with gusto and managed to disable one of our main fighters. 
We're now in the thick of it! 

Saturday, September 24, 2022

Cults on the Edges of the Map - OSR Commentary - Lovecraftian White Box Role-Playing in the 1900's through the 1930's

Of our relation to all creation we can never know anything whatsoever. All is immensity and chaos. But, since all this knowledge of our limitations cannot possibly be of any value to us, it is better to ignore it in our daily conduct of life.

H. P. Lovecraft

 There's a fairly serious void in the Swords & Wizardry rpg market for 'Eldritch Horror' or at least it  was the thought that ran through what's left of my head. Then I remembered 'Eldritch Tales: Lovecraftian White Box Role-Playing' From Raven God Games. If you want to set a 1920's style Halloween one shot. This is the OSR rules set to use. 

 'Eldritch Tales: Lovecraftian White Box Role-Playing'is right in line White Box Gothic from Gallant Knight Games. Why because it adds the Gothic horror in spades with an OSR Swords & Wizardry twist or two. 

The late 1900's through the 1930's were really the last golden ages of exploration on Earth. The last places where the Earth's darkest places were finally revealed. And these are the last edges of the map where the Lovecraftian cults might exist. For White Box Swords & Wizardry this is a perfect time to squeeze in a mini game with OSR overtones. Indianna Jones & Call of Cthulhu style PC's whose exploits cover the gamut of occult & supernatural happenings. 
With world wars, market crashes, & more make such a campaign very dynamic. Especially if we use the dreaded Clerical Lich as a part of the cult of the Lovecraftian horrors or even the dread cult of Cthulhu itself. Check the stats from White Box Gothic; 
"Clerical Liche Armor Class: 1 [18] Hit Dice: 12 - 18 Attacks: By weapon (1d6) Special: See Below Move: 12 HDE/XP: 15/2,900, 16/3,200, 17/3,500, 18/3,800, 19/4,100, 20/4,400, 21/4,700 While the vast majority of liches have mastered the arcane arts of the Magic-User in rare cases, some of them devote themselves to the service of a malign god or goddess with such zeal that they rises as powerful and terrible 42 Eric Fabiaschi (Order #34172416) masters of corrupted divine magic. These are known as Clerical Liches. They are able to cast spells as a 10th level Cleric. In addition, they have also mastered the spells of a Magic-User, though to a lesser degree than traditional liches. A clerical liche can memorize and cast spells as a MagicUser with a level equal to half their normal hit dice, rounded down. This means that a liche with 14 or 15 hit dice would memorize and cast spells as a 7th level Magic-User and as a 10th level Cleric. Clerical liches cannot paralyze with either their touch or aura, but can Turn Undead as a Chaotic Cleric of 9th level, as described in Swords & Wizardry: WhiteBox."
With a clerical liche as the head of cell of a Lovecraftian cult then the PC's are going to have their hands full! What many people don't realize is the global reach of the Cult of Cthulhu. 
If we take a look at Ken Kelly's 'OLDSKULL LIBRARY - The Shadow over Innsmouth' then we've got an excellent prop to get the PC's involved in a campaign why? Because Ken Kelly's OLDSKULL LIBRARY - The Shadow over Innsmouth treats the HP Lovecraft story an rpg prop ;  "a confessional journal created by Robert Martin Olmstead, who disappeared some years after revelations that he experienced in exploring the seaside fishing and gold refining town of Innsmouth. Instead of treating Olmstead’s writings as fiction, I have created a series of artworks which crystallize the events, locales, thoughts, and nightmares experienced by Olmstead and later his brother and his “bride”." 

 Ken Kelly's 'OLDSKULL LIBRARY - The Shadow over Innsmouth' is a great way to bring in Innsmouth into a Lovecraftian campaign. Especially when such a campaign takes place within a 1920's or 1930's in New England. And this New England connection could lead to Raven Games 'The Eldritch Inquirer #1' 's Return of The Wind Walker. 
This campaign's  'Return of The Wind Walker' could plug into some of the Lovecraftian adventure elements present within  'OLDSKULL LIBRARY - The Shadow over Innsmouth'
Eventually such a Lovecraftian campaign could lead to other horrors including pathways even into Lamentations of the Flame Princess's Rpg Mark Hess's Colony of Death. Within this campaign is a Mi Go connection in the mountains of Maryland. The Mi Go also have connections to the cult of Cthulhu. And this could lead even further down the Lovecraftian rabbit hole.
Witch cults are a clear part of the Lovecraftian landscape. And as we've seen in H.P. Lovecraft's Dreams in the Witchhouse they have their own links into the Cult of Cthulhu. So what is my own point here?! That the world wide cult of Cthulhu has its tentacles in many,many, areas of the pre modern world. And that these areas can be just around the corner of civilization.