Sunday, March 26, 2023

A Case of First & Second edition Gamma World & the Hand Drawn First Edition Gamma World rpg Campaign Map.


So let's pick it up from here the other day on the blog. Something has been bothering me about this map that Wayne's books posted on Gamma World first edition. First of all let's look into Wayne's Books Gamma World Resources here.  
And the first edition campaign map that started all of this here. 

The truth is that this map bothers me on so many levels as a Gamma World player & DM. And that's because this map has more to do with the fact that much of this map seems erriely familar to me. 
And there's a reason for that. Sure the map is a first editon Gamma World map. And yes it's an artifact of play but what if there's more too it then that?! 
Look at the East Coast and the West Coast as well. These corrispond to the post apocalyptic locations of Gamma World first edition's The Dragon Magazine articles. Those early Dragon magazine articles really fleshed out the Cryptic Alliances and factions of Gamma World first edition. There were hints about all of this addition material within Gamma World second edition. There's more too it then meets the eye. Second Edition Gamma World's map bears a striking resemblance to all of this. 

Notice how everything lines up very nicely from our 'play through' first edition Gamma World Map and the second edition. My conclusion is that our prior owner of the first edition Gamma World set was actually charting not only the course of his players but incorporating details from both play & the optional articles from 'The Dragon' magazine into his or her campaign. 
How does this effect my own Gamma World campaign?! It effects it quite a bit because The Dragon magazine articles hit not only Gamma World but Metamorphis Alpha. There's a complete list here in PDF for download. 

Why is any of this important?! Because of the fact that the wilderness or wasteland plays such an important roll in both first & second edition Gamma World.. The wastelands are both the bane & boon to the future of Gamma Terra. And yes, I believe James Ward did this on purpose. Given the creative roots of Metamorphs Alpha and original Dungeons & Dragons back to the game's wargaming roots. There's a lot that plays across the fields of my mind. And it comes back to the fact that the original owner of the first edition Gamma World map put so much time & effort into it. 
The pink indicates rad zones and the yellow wastelands & deserts on this hand drawn map. Notice that it lines up with the 2nd edition map but not entirely. And this get's into the customization that happens with old school campaigning. 
This DM & thier players have gone about lovingly created thier own version of Gamma Terra. They've forged ahead & filled in tons of details and done adjustments as they needed them probably through actual play. 
Again this goes back into the wargaming aspect of original Dungeons & Dragons The Underworld & Wilderness Adventures By Gary Gygax & Dave Arneson. 

Saturday, March 25, 2023

Review & Commentary A Fist of Blood & Dust by Olivar Tripas For the Wretched Country Rpg & Other Wild West OSR Games

 "The Indians are not yet completely pacified, the roads are still unsafe for pioneers and adventurers of all kinds, and the unexplored territories are full of gold…or bad encounters. In this realm of unknown and danger, a band of misfits – an alcoholic priest, an ancient cult witch, a bounty hunter, a former sheriff, and an Indian – unite to embark on a perilous journey that leads them from the Canadian border to the Rocky Mountains, from the ancestral Indian lands of the Crow people to the heart of frightening and unknown territories. By combining their strengths and knowledge, they attempt to thwart the designs of the one known as the Profaner, a supernatural entity awakened from a long sleep with only one desire: To plunge the Wild West into an era of unprecedented chaos and desolation."

A Fist of Blood & Dust is a a weird western spaghetti by Olivar Tripas (Tears of Belphegor) was the latest adventure to come my way straight outta of the Red Room's vaults.
And the first thing to understand about this module is that it's not a module this is a fully blown mini campaign unto itself. And in seventy five pages manages to cover the gamut of old Western weirdness & horror in spades. The artwork within
A Fist of Blood & Dust is A.I. but it's well done A.I. artwork and it suits the weirdness of the adventure. As the player's Wretched Country PC's get thier necks up into a boat load of horror. With that being said I'm not going to spoilt the plot & horrors of
A Fist of Blood & Dust. A Fist of Blood & Dust is a tightly written adventure that covers it's material & encounters well. The horror is both mundane & external. And the external is nasty & highly dangerous biting into local myth & legend with equal easy. 

A Fist of Blood & Dust really cements the OSR campaign Wild West horror feel as it takes the PC's into it's Italian horror depths. And through the whole of it's rich encounters, complex NPC's and depths of it's plot. There's a lot to deal with within A Fist of Blood & Dust & it's a great addition to the growing Wretch Country product line. Do I think you should pick it up?! Hell yes if your looking for a very different OSR Wild West themed horror adventure then A Fist of Blood & Dust is for you! 
A Fist of Blood & Dust is a highly stylized Italian horror adventure with a solid block of encounters, good writing, and more. 

Edgar Rice Burroughs 'The Master Mind of Mars', Original Dungeons & Dragons, and Our Warriors of the Red Planet/Hyperborea rpg

 Last night we stepped back from gaming because of conflicts with work schedules and whatnot. So instead we DM's got together for a beer. We got a chance to take a breather & discuss Edgar Rice Burroughs, Barsoom, and one of my favorite of the ERB's Mars books The Mastermind of Mars. And my all time favorite is the 1927 publication in Amazing Stories Annual of 'The Mastermind of Mars'. 

The Mastermind of  Mars concerns  Ulysses Paxton, & elderly mad scientist Ras Thavas, the "Master Mind" of the title, as Paxton comes into the household of the mad scienctist. Ras trains Paxton in a few levels of the mad science of Mars. 
And these operations were ground breaking for the 1920's as organ transplants and mind transplants were the stuff of Science Fiction. And this plays the central theme of the novels plot as the mad scientist transplants the brain of an evil queen into the body of a Martian princess. He does this for a fantastic fee of course.. 
There are more then a few things that are interesting about Mastermind of Mars. One is how Ulysses Paxton assembles his team of Martian adventurers. 
Ras Thavas has a wide selection of Martians on the slabs of his science center 'mostly dead' whom Paxton then selects to be his crew. And we get a really interesting White Ape who has the partial brain of a Red Martian. And we also get a swordsmen plus one of the first depictions of a Martian assassin. 
The second half of the book is the really interesting part because of the fact that we get a real deep dive into a Martian city. And  Ulysses Paxton as well as his crew go into the Martian city of an enemy city state. And we see full on the Martian life of the Red Martians from the bottom up so to speak. 

Yes lots of adventure & excitement including a look at the bogus religion of the Martians of  the city-state of Phundahl. One of the neglected areas that almost everyone seems to forget is the wilderness of  the city-state of Toonol. The swamps surrounding  the city-state of Toonol, are completely infested with every horror known to Martian including the four armed White Apes. And this goes straight back into the ideas for monster placement within original Dungeons & Dragons The Underworld & Dungeon Adventures book. 

Everyone seems to forget the scope of ERB's Mars and just how big of a planet that Mars is. Within our Hyperborea/ Warriors of the Red Planet rpg. This is something that we as both DM's and players have come across time and again. 

Not only is there more then enough room for all of the various classes of Hyperborea. There's plenty of room in society that many of the classes of characters that we find within Leigh Brackett's Mars could easily fit into one of Mars citystates without issue. 
What really plays the part here has been Night Owl Workshop's OSR Social Systems. These have allowed our heroes to go about thier business on Mars quite nicely. 

I believe that Paxton & crew are a part of an untouchable caste on Mars. This allows many of the Martians to go about thier business quite nicely. And it fits the strata of the huge number of examples of adventurers going about thier business in ERB. Why?! Because the Green, the barbarians, and other hordes are a part of the uncivilized caste on the sands of Mars. I'm not saying that you can go through the social strata of Mars far from it. There is however an ancient reminder that every Martian has in society of thier place think of fuedal Japan and the samurai as a possible example. 
Martians racially remember the fall of the society of the Ancients & they instinctively have the social strata system in place. This allows assassins & swordsmen to move freely and along with adventurers are looked at with quiet distain by polite society.. Even while the citystates go to war there is still quite a bit of day to day society going on. And within the shadows of society the adventurers skulk and change the course of destiny of a civilization. 

Thursday, March 23, 2023

Exploring Original Dungeons & Dragons & Gamma World First Edition Rpg - Some Observations

 Tonight I've been examing Wayne's Books entries on Gamma World first & 2nd edition here. And as a long time player of Gamma World in almost every edition. There's something about first & second that makes either edition favorites along with the fourth edition as well. 

Gamma World first edition is unqiue among the various incarnations & editions of the Gamma World rpg for several reasons. First of all it's capability with original Dungeons & Dragons. 
The second is the fact that the first edition has a completely different feel then second edition & it's almost coheriant within it's origin for the Apocalypse that takes the world of Gamma Terra. And third is the complete view of the Cryptic Alliances & thier motives. Cryptic Alliances can be enemies, rivals, friends or anything inbetween. 
There's far and away a far more feeling of exploration and rebuilding civilization then is a part of other editions of Gamma World. Gamma World First edition is also some of the most pure of James Ward's GW rules, and writing. The man doesn't get half of the credit he deserves. 

One of the unique things about Gamma World first edition is the fact that it's so cross compatible with original Dungeons & Dragons. And its this fact that has me back reading through Original Dungeons and dragons - Book 3 - The underworld & Wilderness Adventures by Gary Gygax & Dave Arneson.

Keep wondering if the Original Dungeons and Dragons - Book 3 - The underworld & Wilderness Adventures by Gary Gygax & Dave Arneson could be used to fill in some of the underworld & dungeons of Gamma World? The short answer to this is I believe so. The various OD&D races existing along with the mutants of Gamma World isn't out of the question if we look at Ralph Bakshi's movie Wizards.  Cue Thundarr the Barbarian theme music here. Gamma World first edition has the origin of Gamma Terra.The machinations of the Apocalyse organization whom was responsible for the creation of Gamma Terra has never been settled. 

In all of the years of playing Gamma World first and second edition play  we only once ran across one of the Apocalyse's bases. And it was one of the deadliest ruins we ran into. The base was populated by robots, was almost entirely automated run by a homicidal bio computer. We barely escaped with our lives from that facility. Over the years I've compared this facility to Gygax's Tomb of Horror module. 
What I find odd is the fact that a particular marked out  Gamma World first edition USA map has the location of this facility on it as shown by Wayne's Books. 

I don't think that this was deliberate but simply an artifact of similar play. The fact is that Gamma World first edition Gamma Terra  bares a striking resemblance to many of the ideas mentioned in . And its this fact that has me back reading through Original Dungeons and dragons - Book 3 - The underworld & Wilderness Adventures by Gary Gygax & Dave Arneson. To paraphrase Wayne's Books; "

And so began TSR's Gamma World game in 1978: A rich post-holocaust science fantasy setting.

  • Finding relics in long-deserted cities of the Ancients...
  • Encountering bizarre mutated animals...
  • Thinning foliage that fights back...
And yet within original Dungeons & Dragons your looking for loot of lost civilazations. Encountering monsters, and horrors. And thinning back the wilderness. 

Review & Commentary On GEAR: General Equipment Adventurers Require By John Watts, Wendy Watts, Michael Johnson, and "Big" Dan Callahan From Independence Games For The Earth & Clement Sector Rpg's

 "The stuff you need!

"GEAR: General Equipment Adventurers Require brings you a wide assortment of gear for you to personalize your Clement Sector or Earth Sector character.  If your character is shopping in a Tudo's, a Lucky's, or any department store in Clement Sector or Earth Sector, this is the sort of thing you will find!"

"Do you need survival gear?  It's here!  Do you need armor?  It's here!  Need a new vacc suit?  We've got it!  Need a better rifle? We've got it!  Need a tarpaulin?  We've got you covered!"

"While this book may not have EVERYTHING, it's got quite a bit. We've got everything from a MedBed to toothpicks, from a rapier to detcord, from laser drills to sporting gear."

"GEAR!  You need it! "

Several days ago I knew that "GEAR: General Equipment Adventurers Require"  was coming out & it was going to be in my que anyway. Yeah that's right this book has been on my 'to buy' list for awhile now. Why?! Well this gets to the heart of the Earth sector & Clement sector rpg's. And this is the fact that both of these interstellar locations are full on interstellar frontiers. There are times when I really don't think that players actually understand the interstellar distances involved in the blackness of these to independence games. This is your party in a tin can in the middle of a vast ocean of blackness & nothingness in the middle of space. The only thing you have to rely on is something manufactured back home by folks that you've never met. And "GEAR: General Equipment Adventurers Require"  almost everything that adventurers are going to need to survive in the blackness.  
And this is a part of that reality. The stars may be the new frontier but mankind has not changed. The vast blackness of the Earth sector & the Clement sector reminds me of the pre & post American Civil War period back on Earth. A powder keg of explosive situtations & unexplored vastness on an unimaginable scale.

What does this have to do with GEAR: General Equipment Adventurers Require"  ?! A bit of everything as the players have to rely on the equipment & gear that this book provides. GEAR provides everything from general equipment to new survival equipment. And GEAR does it in style for the adventurer. Here you can find new & highly dangerous tools, and equipment all perfectly suited to out fit your soldiers, adventuters, travellers, etc. And it's all at your finger tips in an easy to use one hundred & twenty eight page book. GEAR has been set up to be user friendly. 
And it does so with both the Clement sector & Earth sector rpg's in mind. what I mean by this is that Gear is specifically set up for the explorer, pioneer, or spacer in mind whose out on the edges of the map. This is a very common theme in the Earth & Clement sector. Can Gear be used with other 2d6 games?! Absolutely it can & should be. 

 "GEAR: General Equipment Adventurers Require" is lightweight and easy to use book with just thr right amount of equipment & weaponry that won't overwhelm to DM with useless information. Instead in GEAR we get a concise package that is easy to digest & process within both the Clement & Earth sector games easily. GEAR's usefulness is solid for other 2d6 old school Science Fiction games & Cepheus Engine products as well. GEAR provides just the right amount of adjustment for those wishing to really get down to brass tacks when it comes to equipment. GEAR is a solid addition to both the Clement & Earth Sector lines. GEAR is a great book for both the DM & the player alike providing new & interesting equipment,weapons, gear, and more. 

Wednesday, March 22, 2023

Review & Commentary On Wretched Role-Playing Game By Miguel Ribeiro

 "You will notice a few changes, but the revised rules are entirely compatible with the first iteration of The Red Room’s Wretchedverse, and this book is easily adaptable to earlier editions of the most famous role-playing game."

"To get wretched, you need nothing else but this book and a few dice, though you can find several titles already published for the Wretchedverse. For fans of 1980s Conan rip-offs, Wretched Bastards offers a dark fantasy world to explore. If you prefer spaghetti westerns, Wretched Country allows you to ride off into the sunset as a gunslinging anti-hero. For a more historically accurate setting, Wretched Époque immerses players in a world of horror in 19th-century Paris. Fans of exploitation movies from the late 1960s to the 1990s can indulge in their favourite genre with Wretchploitation. Those who enjoy future noir will love Wretched New Flesh, where you can explore a dystopian Moroccan city inspired by the works of William S. Burroughs, William Gibson, and David Cronenberg. Wretched Space and Wretched Apocalypse offer exciting sci-fi adventures in a sleazy space opera game world and a post-apocalyptic fiction game, respectively. Finally, Wretched Darkness delves into the darker side of human nature with its horror/urban fantasy setting."

"These are the ones already available, but other settings are planned, such as Wretched Vigilantes, a street-level super-heroes game world. Whether you’re a seasoned veteran or a newcomer to the OSR, Wretched has something to offer everyone"

So there's a lot to unpack here in the Wretched Role-Playing Game By Miguel Ribeiro & I'd say that this is really the anti hero rpg. The Wretched Role-Playing Game is a two hundred & ninety page monster of an rpg that covers everything from the Dark Ages right through modern street level horror rpg games plus everything in between. The Wretched Role-Playing Game has a twist in which your PC's are the anti heroes not necessarily straight up 'evil' but twisted in an entertaining sorta of way. WRP is written by the entire Red Room crew and it's a pretty entertaining read through but be warned this isn't a politically correct rpg even in the slightest. WRP is completely cross compitable with other Wretchedverse games that came before it. 
And WRP is designed to work with other OSR games as well and we get this straight from the introduction:"While these are generic rules, they do not apply to all genres. High fantasy, super-heroes and dashing space adventurers are outside the scope of our spaghettipunk Wretchedverse. And remember: Nothing is written in stone! These rules are merely a tool box.With Wretched Role-Playing, you can mix and match what you like with your favourite RPGs. "
So the Wretched Role-Playing Game By Miguel Ribeiro is more of a Wretched tool box of OSR role playing goodness.And the Red Room delivers on it's promise in spades. We get new variations on the 13 deadly sins PC creation and the random PC generation has some slight variations on it. There's new background, life events, PC history and more all with the Red Room spin on them. The Wretched Role-Playing Game By Miguel Ribeiro does three things right. One WRP provides a solid OSR rpg tool kit for not only the Wretchedverse line of products. But it also provides a very gamable back beat rpg system for those who want to do thier own Wretchedverse campaigns. WRP gives more then enough of a system to foster DM's who want to add twists & turns to thier already existing OSR campaign. 
On it's own WRP might not seem impressive at first glance but like the 'nerd girl in the glasses in class' this one has it where it counts. She can play anything from Science Fiction to Gallo Horror with no problem at all.  
WRP brings several things to the table top. The ability to bring Wretchedverse elements to classic adventures is appealing to me. The ability for the DM to bring PC's from any setting over into thier games with a Wretched twist has it for me in spades. Easy to grasp OSR rpg elements is another factor of play for me with WRP. And the ability for me  as a DM to sit down & go straight into a game makes the Wretched  Role playing Game a solid choice at the OSR table top. 

Original Dungeons & Dragons Blackmoor, Gamma World First Edition & the Temple of the Frog

Yesterday was an extremely busy day but there was time enough to look deeper into 1975's Blackmoor supplement. While product designation TSR 2004 is usually known for temple of the Frog. Actually original Dungeons & Dragon Blackmoor actually has several other uses. 
Deep within Blackmoor according to the wiki entry is an entire section on underwater adventures;"The supplement introduced rules for underwater adventures, such as rules and guidelines for swimming, equipment weight restrictions when fighting underwater, and the effects of underwater combat on weapons and spells. Blackmoor also includes numerous new water-dwelling monsters and equipment useful for underwater adventures. A number of these underwater monsters and magic items were the creations of Steve Marsh
And while this does complement Blackmoor's Temple of the Frog it also comes in incredibly handy for those who want to run first edition Gamma World's GW1 Legion of Gold's underwater adventure section on the Legion itself. 

Blackmoor also hits the high notes for Gamma World first edition by providing the rules framework for further underworld adventures. This is a fact that has not been lost upon me. 

Speaking with my players yesterday there was talk about the fact that Temple of the Frog itself could be switched over to Gamma Terra & no one would be the wiser. The Froggies, the advanced technologies, and more are all reflective of the dangers present within the radioactive wasteslands of Gamma World. And what about an NPC assassin straight out of the bowels of Blackmoor that could well be a Red Death operative or agent. Stepthen The Rock could easily be slipped into Gamma Terra and few if anyone would be the wiser that the Temple of the Frog fits easily into the wastelands of Gamma World. 

Monday, March 20, 2023

Manifestation of the Yellow Stone Horror - A Mini Campaign Idea Using The Victorious Rpg & Wreched Eqoque

 The year is 1872 & Yellow Stone National Park has just literally been declared a national park for the United States. This wonder of the natural world has been declared a national resource. Something however isn't right. This isn't our world you see. Yellowstone in our world is one word but on this Earth it's two. 

The PC's literally are awakened out of bed as sensitives, occultists, psionicists, etc. all have strange nightmares across the country about some foul entity that crosses over into our world. 
Everyone dreams of a headless bride that walks along the edge of the grounds of the Great Falls. This is followed a couple of days later by the disappearance of several couples and vistors to the park. 
Yellow Stone National Park is known to many as the site of many paranatural occurances. 

The dreams intensify as guests and locals have encounters with horrid imp like demonic things. And manifestations of ghosts, undead, etc. all bringing in occultists like moths to the flame. 
The United States government grows more concerned as the deaths mount & the park begins to lose money. And then odd weather begins to occur with regularity. Streaks of black lightning, ball lightning encounters, and more deaths happen. The US government puts out the call for agents of unsual aspect. And PC's chosen to answer. This is a mid level campaign. With the local native American tribal leaders having thier own concerns as well. The tourist dollars are not flowing into
thier coffers either and so it has become thier tribal elders concern as well. There are urban legends wihin certain occult circles that this national parks are being used to contain great supernatural evil.  And this evil is trying to break out! 
What's really going on here?! The Yellow Stone National Park is part of a network of deep under Earth networks that channel occult & supernatural power. Certain dark forces from the Beyond have been taking full advantage of this to intrude into this world. 
Manifest Destiny from Troll Lords is going to be one of the key resources for this mini campaign. As well as Victorious itself. And this campaign is going to be relying on investigation as well as combat.
The Red Room's Wreched Eqoque rpg is another overlapping resource. The creatures & ideas here are key to dealing with the Dark Forces that are plaguing Yellow Stone National Park. And the idea for this campaign isn't from some Penny Dreadful instead it's the classic teen horror film 'The Gate'. 
Some teens have opened a gateway within the National Park and things are getting out of hand. Can the 'heroes' get things under control?

Assassin War On Old Mars - Mercs Rising - Old Mars Mini Campaign Set Up - Hyperborea Rpg & Warriors of the Red Planet - Session Report Three

 This week's Warriors of the Red Planet/Hyperborea rpg campaign came into hard focus after picking up straight from this blog entry here.  The party of adventurers encountered the first of a party of assassins after they re equipped at the village of Great Old one worshipers. The assassins sent in a scout to lure the party into a trap with some dead sea barbarians waiting in the wings. These were 2nd level but the party's thief had a few tricks of her own. She and the party's other thief circled around them and dispatched them with extreme prejuidice. 

And they came face to face with the asssasins leader a barbaric red alien psionic. And it was a huge fight with the party of seven against eight red martian warriors and the alien leader. 
They lost one of thier PC's in the fight against the alien leader. They buried thier fallen panth & then looted the alien leader's body. 
They found a flier which is how the party was found in the first place. And the party took off. 
They found a camp of yet another bandit caravan with a ton of alien uplifted animal mercenaries getting ready for a raid on a nearby kingdom. 
The players were wondering where the Hell were the mercenaries getting all of this logistical support?!
The answer came from Buffalo Games Wilderness Encounters 'abandoned' wizard's tower. The tower belongs to a 'former' black circle' wizard who hasn't been seen in centuries. 
The party came up with the idea of using the harnesses and metals belonging to the assassin/raiders they killed before. Using this and some clever rolls the party got into the mercenaries camp and really got an idea of just how big this operation is. And their suspisions about the wizard's tower being the base of operations for the mercenaries proved to be true. 
The party wants to sabotage the mercenaries camp because of all of the heavy weapons & artifact weapon systems they found there. 
There's also talk about how the Black Circle faction of wizards is gaining in power and this also means an increase of Great Old One cults springing up! The party noticed two of these cults supplying the mercenaries with supplies and ammo. There was also the feeling that the mercenaries had some deeper connection to the cult through the wizard's tower. The party went along with the mercenaries for the moment using thier flyer to keep pace with other scout flyers. However they also grabbed extra ammo and bombs during thier stay with the mercs. 

Sunday, March 19, 2023

The Zhuki (Buggems) Attack -GW1 Legion of Gold By Gary Gygax, Luke Gygax, & Paul Reiche III For Our Kosmo 68 & Hostile Rpg Crossover Game Campaign

Tonight's game session report is going to pick right up from last week's here

The players have started to pick up on the fact that the Terra colony of Horn is in point of fact an old pre Recession  Sharashka – Special Research Facilities location. During tonight's GW1 Legion of Gold game the PC's came face to face with mutated Zuhki buggems at the Jeffton after meeting with the Commissioner of Horn & the mayor. The farm area does a brisk trade in produce & dairy which has been funneled back into the Soviet empire. Recent meteor showers have hidden several incursions of the Zuhki. The PC's met with local agents of the SSB through organized crime blinds who reported that several children had gone missing. The epicenter of this is the Genser Goose Ranch and there have been reports of "monsters" being seen around the area of the ranch. The mayor & his SSB 'advisors' had more intel and were forth coming. 

The SSB agents suspected that it was actually a variation of the Zuhki wolves in the buggem stages. There was a reward of a pre Recession laser pistol. And the party was more then happy with this. The party came down to the citizen  Genser Goose ranch and walked right into an ambush. We lost two PC's during tonight's game to the gas attack made by the menaces. And the party retreated back to Horn after two more injured party members. 
The party has a small tiger team containing the menace while they got thier PC's into surgery to attend the wounds. These were extensive and require hospitization & cybernetic implantation which is going to but these PC's out of commission for close to two months. This is even with psionic and cybernetic implatation but both operations were a success! 

This hit into the heart of the party meant that Steve the player's leader decided to thaw out several new PC's from cold storage. These were generated using the normal Hostile rules & the players wanted to bombard the ranch from orbit. Steve however talked the players out of this option and then decided to pull back the Tigers who had been sent to secure the location. 
The PC's were debriefed and took a shuttle from the Ben Franklin back into Horn's merger space port. And from there a cart was sent out to the farm. The party arrived just in time to see the farmer at the tree line taken by one of the Wolves. A strange mix of alien and insectoid. 
The party decided to hold thier action until they could figure out a plan. And this is where we ended for the evening. 

Saturday, March 18, 2023

A Different OSR Ecology Of The Gibberling For Your Old School Campaigns

 Hast heard the voices of the fen,

That softly sing a lethal rune
Where reeds have caught the fallen moon—
A song more sweet than conium is,
Or honey-blended cannabis,
To draw the dreaming feet of men
On ways where none goes forth again?

Beneath the closely woven grass,
The coiling syrt, more soft and deep
Than some divan where lovers sleep,
Is fain of all who wander there;
And arms that glimmer, vague and bare,
Beckon within the lone morass
Where only dead things dwell and pass.

Beware! the voices float and fall
Half-heard, and haply sweet to thee
As are the runes of memory
And murmurs of a voice foreknown
In days when love dwelt not alone:
Beware! for where the voices call,
Slow waters weave thy charnel pall.
Warning by Clark Ashton Smith

There are some places that mankind should not go, places where the weird energies of the Astral & more sinister radiations have had their ways with  things older then men.There were beings here on this world & others long before mankind walked upright. The hand of the Enki & others has their finger prints all over these beings. These are creatures of incredible violence & malignancy, beings who are  inimical to mankind in all ways. These are beings of extremes with violence,insanity & depravity their modus operadi. They have many names across the planes Gibberling, 'The Violent Ones', 'those that murder' & their names are legion as the crimes they commit without order or reason. There is no pattern to their actions only the insanity that a comes from their twistedly insane souls.

Their murderous cannibalistic  rages & hordes pure across their target with a shocking violence & fury that always ends in the quiet of the grave. These beings pour from their hiding places to murder anyone or anything they come across with their swords. Swords created from any scrap metals they come across reforged into a generic shape that has been programmed into these beings of violence. Their swords are plain affairs but very sharp capable of slicing through bone, flesh, and muscle with easy. These beings have no society, art, language, culture,etc. They simply exist under the Earth or out among the asteroids as the remains of a biological weapons system that has gone to seed long ago or so it would seem. These beings are actually the product of weird cosmic radiations that warp the mind and souls of their victims. Latent alien genes created by beings more ancient then the Earth itself created these beings right before the last Ice Age of their epoch. They were created in honor of Nyarlathotep in ancient days but have been seen as the possible final forms of mankind in the distant future millions of years in the future of some nameless Earth.

"I recall that the people went about with pale and worried faces, and whispered warnings and prophecies which no one dared consciously repeat or acknowledge to himself that he had heard. A sense of monstrous guilt was upon the land, and out of the abysses between the stars swept chill currents that made men shiver in dark and lonely places. There was a daemoniac alteration in the sequence of the seasons—the autumn heat lingered fearsomely, and everyone felt that the world and perhaps the universe had passed from the control of known gods or forces to that of gods or forces which were unknown."

Nyarlathotep by H. P. Lovecraft
There are others who whisper that in certain passages of the Necronomicon there are hints that these beings are the spawn of  LahamuThere hints that they are possibly a prototype of mankind gone wrong or the future fate of mankind after it interbreeds with something hideous out among the stars. The tarot of Lahamu has horrid symbolic meanings in its
representations of the anti zodiac,demon-stars, and the dead constellations of many millions of years hence. There are hints in the scrolls of Varq that the reason for the Gibberlings psychotic behavior is the species cold & dim recognition of what they truly are in the face of an uncaring universe.
 Make no mistake the Gibberlings are not human in a capacity as we know it. They are species that can exist in a state of hibernation for 1d100 years as their inhuman physiology slows their organs processes to a crawl. Their alien senses draw them to places where black dimensional  occult magick energies have invaded our universe. These same energies drive them into frenzies of violence & depravity when they must murder, feed, & mate in strange sexual practices that are best not described. These involve the ritual murder of one of their own releasing the alien bacterial infection of Gibber into the air. Any survivors of one of their massacres must save vs disease or in three days take on many of the characteristics of a proto Gibberling. They will seek out the nearest sharp object, be drive into a blood lust of murder by the 'Song of the Gibber' & seek to be with their own kind on an instinctive level. These beings will seek places of desolation, ruin, & loneliness as a matter of course. 

There is a 30% chance that the proto Gibberling will commit three or more murders locally to satisfy its own mad blood lust consuming the corpses of its victims. The thing will seek out the nearest local urban village or location & commit its own ritual suicide with as many witnesses as possible to spread the contagion. Victims will begin turning into more of the monsters with a three day incubation period. These beings will seek out the scent path lead by the first of their kind & go into a quiet cocoon period beginning the final transformations. They will repeat this cycle 1d10 more times until there is a nest of 300 or more Gibberlings. Many times if caught within the first 1d8 hours powerful healing magicks can cure these beings but the change is swift. Many villages or interstellar colonies have inquisition units that handle the eradication  of nests of Gibberlings. 

Gibberlings are sensitive to other dimensional eldritch energies often seek out ruins, dungeons, or other planar locations. Their alien senses, weird physiologic make up, & instinctive level of violence make them perfect top tier predators for other worldly locations. They have been found out around the Asteroids and the Outer Worlds near the far colonies of Pluto. These beings have an instinctively dangerous cunning that has allowed the species to survive for thousands of yeas spreading their brand of madness to the far corners of the dimensions. The are not sentient in the traditional sense but share a horde hive mind with quasi telepathic & emphatic instincts on a base level. This gives some hordes a +1 on initiative during combat because of these monsters psychotic blood lust.  They bark, hiss & spit the praises to their respective forbidden gods but this is done by instinctive route.
 In the post apocalyptic wastelands recessive genes of the Gibberling species crop up in death lands as the potent mutational cocktail activates the recessive profile for this species.  The loath Morlocks, ghouls,  cavemen, mutant, and many goblinoid species which are instinctively seen as competition.
Interstellar & colony locations of deep space the Gibberling disease often manifests on failed colonies, dead worlds, & where demonic or other planar incidents have happened. The disease that creates these beings flourishes in conditions such as those. It is said among certain space wizards that the Gibberling species were used as anti personnel species by certain Lovecraftian races. 

There are certain Lovecraftian cults  which see these monsters as the true inheritors of the Earth when the stars come right. They create, interbreed, and encourage the spread of the Gibberling tribes. These same cults often find themselves on the end of the swords most often used by the monsters but see this as a necessary evil for the spread of the infection to continue.

1d20 Random Lovecraftian Encounters With Gibberlings
& Their Hordes Table 
  1. There is a group of 1d8 men infected with the Gibberling disease that is headed your way. They have blood lust in their eyes and knives in their hands! Run you fools! 
  2. A sink hole has opened nearby and 1d20 Gibberlings has crawled out with blood lust in their beady eyes! What will you do? They are closing with their sword which are caked with alien gore? 
  3. Over head a comet of ill rumor flew last night. It was actually an escape pod of the Ancients. There is a proto Gibberling onboard with sword in hand ready for murder! 
  4. Nearby a woman screams like a demon and reveals a short sword, she kills herself in spectacular fashion spraying a nearby crowd with gore. She then closes on you! Will the infection spread and will you be its next victims?
  5. There are screams as a man is dragged off to nearby underground chambers that the Gibberlings have been murdering  their victims in! Will your PC's be next? 
  6. Sounds like a strangled scream come from a nearby alley and a local doctor is infected with the Gibberling disease. He wields a scalpel and bone saw to take down his latest victims. At his feet lay two of his victims! 
  7. A box lays in the street and inside is a strange book containing queer writing. This is a spell book belonging to a wizard whose brother has been turned into a Gibberling and the location of a nearby nest. 
  8. A horde of Gibberlings pours forth from a nearby sewer system! There are at least 1d100 of the mad bastards who are on the rampage! 
  9. A series of murders reveals a strange and dangerous throw back Gibberling which strangely has its mind intact but insane. It goes on a murderous spree but can't control the urge to kill! Now it wants one of the PC's! 
  10. A nearby dimensional vortex has deposited a blanket of planar energies that changes anyone it touches into a Gibberling! 
  11. Locals are on the hunt for a Gibberling disease infected child that ate its parent. The thing has shark like teeth and will inflict a very nasty wound on anyone it comes across. 
  12. An ancient site is the home to a cult of Gibberlings and they've targeted your PC for murder! 
  13. Twelve Gibberlings are on the hunt for a local wizard who has opened up a portal to an alternative dimension with a tribe of ancient Gibberlings who need more sacrifices to their forbidden and alternative sorcerous gods 
  14. Two Gibberlings are acting as scouts for their tribe and want the fresh kill of a man whose crossed them with his family. 
  15. An ancient relic has turned over some very dangerous designs that have attracted the arcane senses of  a group of Gibberlings. 
  16. Two ancient wizards are at war but the local Gibberlings keep killing both sides. A team of specialists is enlisted for assassinating the problem.
  17. An ancient cryo sleep pod contains a proto Gibberling who will go on a murderous spree if awakened! There are 1d10 local Gibberlings who are drawn to the arcane energies of the Gibberling that has come home! 
  18. There is a massive horde of Gibberlings on its way to kill everyone! 
  19. Twenty two swords arranged into the shape of a symbol of murder & mayhem mark the spot where an ancient warrior fell against the Gibberling horde. Now he has com back for revenge! 
  20. An ancient Gibberling horde has come up from the underworld to kill your PC's! The PC's have a minor relics that that attracts them!

Warriors of the Red Planet rpg, Raiders of the Lost Artifacts, & Geoffrey McKinney's Carcosa

 Sometimes it's time to go back to basics and a recent interview with Matt Finch by Captain Courageous has me thinking. Matt Finch gave an excellent interview about the OGL disaster a couple of months ago. It got me thinking my own use Night Owl Workshop's Raiders of the Lost Artifacts rpg. 

And we use this rpg system with the Warriors of the Red Planet rpg. And the PC's in our usual game are planning on diving further into the activities of the cabal of the Sorcerers of the Black Gate ( this is an alternative class within WRP but it's primarily meant for NPC's). And so I've been looking over my campaign outline & notes. And there was mention of The OSR Library blog. And boy, has David Baymiller been busy with alternative material for Raiders of the Lost Artifacts. 
There's also notes about Carcosa & it's alternatives. And calm down Venger we'll get back to Cha'alt another time. Right now I'd love to focus on Carcosa. 
And so doing some research on the OD&D forums about Carcosa. And there's a ton of older material there. I remember a recent review of the first issue of Ulfire Tablets, a zine dedicated to roleplaying in science fantasy / planetary romance settings. There was a metric ton of solid Carcosa  material within the first issue of Ulfire Tablets. 

Now I'm thinking of dumping the PC's onto Carcosa for the second or third leg of the ongoing campaign. We
grabbed Tristan Tanner's Lost Carcosa a long while ago. Tanner's Lost Carocsa is more then slightly different to Geoffrey McKinney's Carcosa. The inclusion of so many other classic Weird Fantasy author's races such as Edgar Rice Burroughs Green Martians & several Lovrcraft races is interesting. 
Then there's the fact that Lost Carcosa has the feel of another part of McKinney's Carcosa. Almost as if this was another side of the Lovecraftian sphere. 
We've had several teams of NPC archaeologists looking into the Martian desert's ruins. I've managed to sprinkle in serveral Lost Carcosa Green Martians. These have strange tatatoos & body oramentation on them. They are unknown or taboo to the local Green Tharks & dead sea Red Martian barbarian tribes the PC's know. These Carcosa Green Martians are servants to the sorcerers of the Black Gate. 
There are several gates that lead to Carcosa being used by cultists on our post apocalpytic Mars. There's only been one instance of a party of ours making onto Carcosa in the current campaign & they literally lost two party members to cultists. The other players immediately retreated back through the gate and sealed it behind them.