Sunday, April 30, 2023

'" Here Be Dragons" A Sword & Sorcery Campaign Using The Castles & Crusades Mythos Series & Dark Wizard Games Maximum Mayhem Dungeons#4 Vault of Dwarven King Session Report


The PC's journeyed deep into the Fairylands after being recruited tonight by the party's wizard. Things got very complicated as the players found out that they'd be working for the Dwarven royals. 

“Time and times are but cogwheels, unmatched, grinding on oblivious to one another. Occasionally - oh, very rarely! - the cogs fit; the pieces of the plot snap together momentarily and give men faint glimpses beyond the veil of this everyday blindness we call reality.― Robert E. Howard, Bran Mak Morn: The Last King: A Novel

So tonight I did a bit of juggling to get our 'Ancient World' Sword & Sorcery campaign setting off the ground using Castles & Crusades with Maximum Mayhem Dungeons#4 Vault of Dwarven King. Written by Alan Chamberlain & Mark Taormino Vault of the Dwarven King works out quite nicely to be fitted into the campaign with PC's at the center of  events; "The Dwarven King of Brundurum has summoned you to his throne room within the Smokey Mountain. Brave souls are needed for a noble quest into the depths of the earth to retrieve the legendary hammer known as Fireheart. But beware – the Goblin King and his evil hordes believe the hammer woke a Lava Titan and they will seek to possess it at all costs. Who is telling the truth? Who is really kin to this ultimate weapon? What secret powers are at play in this tale of suspicion, intrigue and betrayal? Only your stalwart group of adventurers will find out and walk away with more fortune and glory than ever… if you can escape the Vault of the Dwarven King!" We were using the entire whole of  the Bundle: Castles & Crusades Mythos Series -- Print here. 

The Celtic Codex 2nd edition was front & center tonight as the party was called into the courts of the Fey. They were brought before Sir Erick a gold dragon & his wife Bridgette a paladin. These two were acting as envoys to the court of Brundurum. Originally these two NPC's were left by the Romans after leaving England for the empire. The reason the party has been called in is that the Goblin King has broken the peace with the humans, the Dwarves, and the rest of the Fey.
These are going from bad to worse as the goblins have disturbed one of the ancient elemental evil deep below thier kingdoms. For tonight's game too really help fill in the details on our Dwarven nations I used Autarch's 
By This Axe: The Cyclopedia of Dwarven Civilization.
This fits within the events depicted within 
Maximum Mayhem Dungeons#4 Vault of Dwarven King. The PC's are all from families which are all survivors from the lands of myth & legend. So while not human royals they are members of ancient royal families. 

The party of adventurers have begun to make the journey to the Dwarven lands and already encountered goblin raiders in tonight's game session. And things got interesting from there as the PC's engaged them but after they were killed off it turns out that a brief examination revealed that the goblins were mercenaries and bandits. Are they related?!  Found out next week. 

Friday, April 28, 2023

Alien Day Memorial One Shot Hostile Rpg Mini Game - Session report


So the other day we got together for a quick Hostile rpg one shot, this was something that I threw together. We only had a night to do a tribute for Alien day 4/26/23 but we managed to pull it off. A bit of background here. We were on a long hauler  Rockwell Harbinger and dropping off colonists to a small worldlet in the Tempus system. That's the set up. We based this quick mini game on Mark Schultz artwork from Dark Horse Comics Aliens series. It's from 
Aliens: Apocalypse - The Destroying Angels 3. I claim zero ownership nor is this mean as a copyright nor trademark infringement. It's a piece of artwork that I've admired for years & used it as inspiration for our game session. Zozer Games nor the game's author has anything to do with our mini game session nor the use of Mr. Shultz's artwork. 
The colonists had come across a 'founders' temple and events went South from there. 

The PC's came in with the place overrun by xenomorphs and we had to save as many colonists as possible. And we had a compliment of exmarine mercenaries on board. And those NPC's got finished off quite quickly I might add. 
And my lawman got it in the first half of the adventure as DM Steve was running the game. We had a diffferent goal which was to detonate the colony's reactor because it was the only way to be sure. We had left the Harbinger in low orbit with the captain with orders to take off if we didn't make it. 
And we made our way passed everything else but the reactor. And point of fact the players didn't bother with the temple at all. Steve made up everything on the fly. We lost two PC right on the outside of the colony as we got swarmed! We each had three PC's to attempt the almost impossible. And other PC's died from falls, accidents, and a case of friendly fire. 

Finally after 21/2 hours we were able to get the colonists and set the charges around the reactor. And then downloaded the files from the computer's mainframe. Then it was two burns to get our ship into position. Leave the colonists aboard the shuttle scan the colonists twice for infection and then move the cryo pods back on board! 

We blasted outta of there and detonated the reactor! It was the only way to be sure.
Will this session have far reaching consquences?! You better your behinds it will. This was a multi billion dollar facility & the fact that it was destoryed is going to go bad for the corporate owners. And this could set off a Zibatisu rpg shadow war coming up! Which it damn well will!  

OSR Review & Commentary On Wretched Verses Issue 5: Press the Flesh By The Red Room For The Wretched New Flesh Rpg

 'PressThe Flesh is a one-shot scenario for Wretched New Flesh that serves as an introduction to the Mass 2 Orbit campaign, centering around the goals of Hagashira Aerospace and its inner turmoil over technologies developed using alien technology and telekinetic propulsion."

Wretched Verses Issue 5: Press the Flesh  By The Red Room is a sixteen page adventure for the  Wretched New Flesh rpg. 'Press The Flesh' gets the PC's deeply involved in world spanning conspiracies, emerging weird technologies, and a host of other David Cronenberg meets industrial technologies strangeness on the streets of Aviladad. 
And that's the thing in 
 'Press The Flesh' the PC's are central to the events going on around them.  The PC's are central to the action here. They are both a part of an invesitgative and action adventure within 'Press The Flesh'. Why because of the fact that this adventure presents the events of 'Press The Flesh' as both central to the play and as a part of the narritive of the adventure. Yes, 'Press The Flesh' is pure OSR but it presents Avalidad as both the setting & a character within it's own right. 'Press The Flesh' is a perfect introduction into the 'high strangeness' of corporate Avalidad where the PC's are central. The PC's are subject to the place as antiheros & the adventure fulcrums  in 'Press The Flesh'. 

'Press the Flesh' works very well as an introduction into the world of Avalidad especially because it plugs into the  Wretched New Flesh  rpg.This is because it plugs  directly into the influences works of William S. Burroughs, David Cronenberg, William Gibson, and Clive Barker. The adventure does this with the Red Room's unique twist from it's beginnings to it's strong NPC's. 'Press The Flesh' is a solid and well written adventure for the Wretched New Flesh Rpg. 

Wednesday, April 26, 2023

OSR Review & Commentary - Quick Ship File: Gwad Urm Class System Defence Destroyer By Moon Toad Publishing For the Cepheus Engine Rpg

 "The Gwad Urm Class Destroyer is an armoured 400 dton System Defence Destroyer, with 5G acceleration, intended for anti-piracy, customs inspection, blockade and general defence duties."

"It comes with a 50 dton Missile bay, with associated missile storage, split over two locations (Port and Starboard) for survivability. In addition the ship has 2 x Plasma Barbettes (Dorsal and Ventral) and a standard triple Pulse Laser Turret fitted aft. In addition, the ship is fitted with a Standard Class Armed Gig and a contingent of Marines for detached duties." 

This guide contains:

  • Ship art.
  • Ship statistics and description.
  • 11 pages of deck plans (empty and cluttered).
  • Design specifications.
  • Blueprints, Crew ORBAT, and 5 view drawings.
  • An adventure: The Last Best Hope, and random scenario seeds.
  • Random ship location generator and ship's locker emergency contents.
  • A choice of 8 pre-generated character cards for player crew.
  • VTT assets

I've been looking for a new star ship for our Clement Sector rpg campaign. Enter Quick Ship File: Gwad Urm Class System Defence Destroyer By Moon Toad Publishing.. Ian Stead and co have done an excellent ship that has a role to play patroling the edges of your sector. They have created an excellent ship for a very pitoval role in marine roles; "The Gwad Urm Class System Defence Destroyer is a sturdy and reliable armoured workhorse used for general military and customs duties in frontier areas. The "Destroyer" nomenclature is deliberate, to separate this ship design designation from similar ships without a missile bay. Performance is 5G with 8 weeks endurance, and is capable of wilderness refuelling. The ship is streamlined for atmospheric entry, but the sensor whiskers need to be withdrawn inboard to prevent damage. The ship is well equipped with energy weapons, in 2 x Plasma Barbettes (Dorsal and Ventral) and 1 x rear facing triple pulse laser turret, primarily employed for point defence. The Missile bay is split, port and starboard, for added survivability with 6 missile tubes on each side, both having a separate missile magazine located nearby" 
The Gwad Urm Class System Defence Destroyer is perfect for obilterating space pirates and dealing with planetary uprisings that occur on the Frontier. The facilities of the Defense Destroyers are well drawn out & Moon toad brings the destroyer into deep focus for Cepheus interstellar adventures. Moon Toad brings the Cepheus Engine action with thier own brand of style of interstellar action. This is something that we see with the Bounty Hunter Handbook.

The thing about Moon Toad products is the fact that they are easily adaptable to your own campaigns. And this something that we see within the  Gwad Urm Class System Defence Destroyer. And applying the starship the Clement Sector rpg campaign. This is because of the attention to detail that Moon Toad brings to the table top. The plans of the  Gwad Urm Class System Defence Destroyer 
really bring the star ship too life for the marines or adventurers who will be combing through the starship itself. There are far more details, ideas, etc. which are suggested by the system defense destoryer. But is this starship actually useful?! The answer if the DM is running a space pirate campaign then absolutely. Why because the star ship is perfect for anti piracy and criminal suppression. There are lots of details that the system defense destroyer including variations & other styles of ship profiles. 
The   Gwad Urm Class System Defence Destroyer has everything the DM needs to quickly & quietly drop this starship into thier campaigns without a problem and this includes everything for the cost of a modern magazine at 6.00 dollars US on Drivethrurpg. I highly recommend the   Gwad Urm Class System Defence Destroyer for your marines or mercenaries. 

Tuesday, April 25, 2023

OSR Review & Commentary - Wretched Bastards Second Edition By the Red Room - OSR Adventure, Sex, Drugs, Dark Magick, and Adult Fantasy.

 Right, so after the campaign elevator pitch yesterday. So today was the birthday of The Red Room & we got a new edition of Wretched Bastards Rpg. The second edition is bigger, louder, and prouder then the previous edition. 

So what's changed between editions?! Quite a bit has been revised and added from the WB second edition intro;"With the release of the revised Wretched Role-Playing Game core book, we were able to move forward with our plan to create setting books instead of full games for our second editions. We wanted to provide fleshed-out settings for our players, and thus the world of Antillia grew. While we understand that many gamers enjoy creating their own settings, we believe having a developed world will be useful for game masters looking for a quick and easy setting for Wretched Bastards. In this second edition, you'll find an expanded Antillia with a whole world to explore, even if it's not yet thoroughly described. We've also included The Seven Bastards campaign setting in the main book, so players can dive right in. Finally, we've added some new mechanics suited for fantasy games to round out the Wretched system and provide even more optionsl" 
Wretched Bastards second edition clocks in at 224 pages of streamlined adult fantasy sleazy goodness. 

What it does is bring the anti hero high fantasy vibe into focus quite nicely and keeps the Red Room quality right on tap. And even the focus of magick has changed; "While Antillians believe that they possess magical powers, they actually utilise latent psychic abilities, which their ancestors learned from the Adityan race. These abilities are similar to the Psychic talents found in the Wretched Role-Playing Game, but they operate slightly differently." The world setting of Antillia has expanded by an order of magnitude and is now really central to the Wretched Bastards game. There's lots and lots of connections to other Wretchedverse or other Red Room games now. The Wretched Bastards rpg could be described as sex, drugs, dark magick, and adult fantasy.  The tone of Wretched Bastards second edition is one of sleazy and dark adventure that combines into a solid anti hero OSR rpg. 
Throughout out Wretched Bastards second edition we get a ton of OSR adventure tools for everything from constructing random dungeons, adventures, STD's, and much more. The use of A.I. artwork is well done and adds to the unique feel of Wretched Bastards. The second edition adds in a ton of tools to the box of the players and DM's. Yes there are monsters here and there's lots of other beasties including randomly generating creatures your party of adventurers can face. Antilla really get a campaign setting boost here. We get lots of details, adventure hooks, random tables, and more material then we were expecting. 
The Red Room expands & subverts the 'Seven Bastards' deeply into the Antilla campaign setting. And brings them right  to the fore as a force to be reckoned with by adventurers. Why?! Because thier literally tied into the adventures, boat load of NPC's, and even have ties to the rest of the Wretchedverse. Make no mistake Wretched Bastards second edition is worth your time as a player or DM the Red Room has continued to prove it's worth as some of the hardest working OSR writers and designers. 

" Here Be Dragons" - OSR Commentary Using Castles & Crusades Mythos Series For Furthering A Sword & Sorcery Campaign

"Yonder in the unknown vastness"—his long finger stabbed at the black silent jungle which brooded beyond the firelight—"yonder lies mystery and adventure and nameless terror. Once I dared the jungle—once she nearly claimed my bones. Something entered into my blood, something stole into my soul like a whisper of unnamed sin. The jungle! Dark and brooding—over leagues of the blue salt sea she has drawn me and with the dawn I go to seek the heart of her. Mayhap I shall find curious adventure—mayhap my doom awaits me. But better death than the ceaseless and everlasting urge, the fire that has burned my veins with bitter longing."

"The Hills of the Dead" (1930) Robert E.Howard 

So let's pick this right up from here on the blog. And let's talk about the Ancient World or at least that's the tenative name for this Sword & Sorcery campaign. If we take it out of context and look at the Bundle: Castles & Crusades Mythos Series -- Print. Why it's important is that this bundle offers an alternative to the Troll Lords campaign world itself. And no there's nothing wrong with Aihrde as a campaign world. 

So over the last couple of days we've been meeting and talking about Castles & Crusades Mythos series of books. Ages ago I aquired every Mythos supplement that came out & a couple of the Aihrde books as well. The secret is that I really love homebrewing my own worlds. And Mythos bundle is for me. There are five factors about this. One is the fact that historic & mythological Europe is as a whole compelling as a campaign setting. There's a ton of material here and much of it fits a Sword & Sorcery genre campaign easily. And we've primarily have a solid grasp on history and mythology in the group of Rpger's that we've got. And also given the amount of work that we've got in the Castles & Crusades Mythos Series. It's easy to see that we can as a group of DM's focus on the 'hidden' C&C campaign world as we refer to it. Hidden not because Troll Lords has deliberately hidden the world but because of the fact that outside of the fans of Brian Young's Mythos series there are few who realize that you can take actual mythology and simply run with it as a campaign. We started looking into 
Castles & Crusades Codex Germania & Castles & Crusades Codex Nordica as the basis for a barbarian post late Roman mythological campaign world. 

The PC's are escaped gladiators, slaves, etc. from the Romans on the run and desparately trying to get back to thier families, tribes, etc. And simply go from there. Then it's a matter of making thier way across this mythological Europe as a point crawl using the resources in the Mythos series and letting the chips of adventure or fortune or glory fall where they may. 
The Castle Keeper's Guide as well as Monsters & Treasures could certainly help in this regard. There's far more inherit to letting the players struggle, survive, and hopefully thrive such is the barbarian way. There's something about this sorta of campaign that smolders the older schooler blood in my veins. And the fact that there's so much material to pull from for such a campaign. There's so much certainty and uncertainity going into such a Sword & Sorcery style campaign such as this. 

Not only would the point crawl style of campaign work for a Mythos centric campaign but it could help under score the command & conquest nature of such a world setting. There's a lot to consider with such a campaign and these are only my intial thoughts on the matter. 

Monday, April 24, 2023

The Demonic & The Wretched - Wretched Darkness rpg And the Demonic Tome by Rafael Chandler

Then it goes and takes with it seven other spirits more wicked than itself, and they go in and live there. And the final condition of that person is worse than the first. That is how it will be with this wicked generation.”
Mathew 12:45

So this morning I'm sitting around the diner with my players & we're discussing the Red Room. We've been talking for a solid month about doing a Wretched Darkness campaign coming up. We've done one shots and solitary adventures here & there. Now there are a metric ton of resources in the book to run a sustained urban or dark fantasy campaign. The problem is holding the player's attention with Wretched Darkness because it's a new game. There are a few tricks up my sleave yet that might just do it.

Imagine what might happen if the world of the near future became infected by demons. And no one really noticed. 
No seriously the world just goes on as it is. The weird and unhinged occult world begins to intrude on other supernatural creatures terrorities and here's where things get interesting. 
So instead of using the usual OSR supplements I decided to go with the Demonic Tome By Rafael Chandler. There are several reasons why?! The first of which is that all of the Wretched Darkness material goes to 10th level and the Demonic Tome goes to seventh. The second reason is that the Demonic Tome By Rafael Chandler is not that well known outside of OSR horror circles. 
One aspect of the supernatural invading the other is an old formula. And this can easily lead to other aspects of horror growing in power and might. 

The NPC demons are going to be growing in power and influence. The opening salvo of television style influence for this campaign is going to be late Eighties horror television programing such as Friday The 13th the Series and perhaps Gallio movies such as 'The Beyond'. We've been looking into cop shows and investigative murder shows as well as horror rpg's such as the original Kult rpg as well. 
Is such a  campaign sustainable over the long haul?! This is the question that right now is echoing through my head.  Wretched Darkness  is an excellent rpg and certainly can sustain a long term campaign. Can it sustain one such as what I'm elevator pitching to our players?! 
Only time will tell!  

Sunday, April 23, 2023

Out of the Frying Pan - Adapting Mutant Epoch rpg's Outland Arts's One Day Digs 7:: The Ascent To The Cepheus Engine Hostile rpg As a Oneshot Adventure - Session Report Part I


So I'm literally getting home right now & we've just gotten done running Outland Arts's One Day Digs 7:: The Ascent for the Mutant Epoch rpg with Zozer Games Hostile.  And this is going to sorta pick up right from here on the blog  The events on the space station activated a transmission to an explorer's ship in the Livitus system. The USS Crowe & Reynolds is a deep space explorer ship and her crew is awakened out of hypersleep when they crash land on a planet. 
"You've survived the crash. Now what?

"What horrors face a team of lunar cadets who crash land amid the ruins of the old ones? Can they work together to ascend the mega tower and call for evac, or will they perish in the attempt?"

In this unique one day dig, written by Timothy Berriault and illustrated by William McAusland.

"Players take on the roles of trainees who are forced to cope in the toxic, mutant infested and treacherous world of The Mutant Epoch. Will their training and advanced technology be enough to see them safely home, or will the perils, opportunistic predators and wily inhabitants of the old city bring about their doom?"

The cadet explorers woke up & immediately had to fight for thier lives to get out from thier starship before it sank beneath the waves.  They have no idea where they are or how they got there only that this is a failed colony and from the literature they found it was a post Recession II failed colony. The party found itself in the middle of a ruined city. 

Then they had to fight thier way through the ruined city before we even began this adventure. The encounters in "The Ascent" are balanced and were not that hard to convert over to Stellagamma's Cepheus Atom with a twist of first edition Barbaric.  So we winged it when it came to the players dealing with some of the local inhabitants. 

The players managed to save Captain Darius & thier equipmet bundles from the remains of the ship. And then it was quickly moving after getting a pep talk from the captain before he passed out; " I’m not going to lie to you, this is grim, and worse than you know. The denizens of the earth aren’t the stupid and ineffectual beasts the governments been telling you about for years. They’re mutants, freaks, and weapons from a bygone age who live in brutal harmony with this twisted rock, and we are smack dab in the middle of a likely war zone. Our ship is valuable plunder to them, and they won’t hesitate to kill all the men and violate the women before stripping every scrap from our vessel. You need to get to higher ground and contact a rescue ship. Trust nobody, kill anything that approaches you, and keep moving." Each PC cadet explorer had the following: 
1 Suit of tactical armor per player character cadet 1 Laser pistol, full power cell, per player character cadet 1 Dagger per cadet 1x 20m synthetic steel core rope 10x self anchoring pitons 4x Palm lamps 10x 5 day ration cubes 10x Cyanide tablets (Take 1 to kill a PC, type M, endurance based hazard check) 1x Medical kit (Bandages, tourniquets, bindings, antiseptic solution and 2d6 anti-toxin injectors.) 1x Damaged Long range communicator
We converted all of the stats from Independence Games G.E.A.R. book and kept going. The player's PC's made it five miles away from thier present location to get to a high sky scraper ruin to transmit for a pick up from a mothership vessel. 

The party camped for the night and here's where we ended tonight. There's a few things going on here. First of all it's not hard to use & convert the Mutant Epoch rpg material over to almost any Cepheus Engine or old school 2d6 based Science Fiction system. 

The real challenge was moving over the player's expectations from the usual Cepheus Engine rpg over to this straight up post apocalytic Hellscape that is this failed colony world. Fortunately there's a ton of resources that  I recently downloaded thanks to the Keith Frye Memorial Bundle [BUNDLE]

Now all the party has to do is get across town, set up on the high end of the ruins, transmit to the mother ship and get picked up!?! 

Saturday, April 22, 2023

Canopus Blues In Orbit - Our Hostile & Cosmos 68 Campaign's Session Report

We're just getting back from our session which is going to pick right up from here on the blog. 
So I'm just getting back from our continuing Hostile/Kosmos68 campaign which I've been introducing and playing Gamma World elements. Since the last time we played. Paul Elliot of Zozer games has gotten back from vacation in Australia. Again I'm not stalking the poor guy but instead he's put out some wonderful Cepheus Engine rpg handouts.  And recent events aboard The Potemikin led the party into some real trouble. You see our resident hacker extracted a bunch of senstive Soviet documents. And those documents were Cepheus Engine rpg handouts

 And this includes  documents about a wrecked space station in orbit around the Soviet Terra colony. Of course the players wanted to investigate this wrecked space station! We really played up them landing on the station, getting the power up, etc. 

And it's through these handouts I've gotten the party in trouble in today's lunch time session report! You've probably been reading about our group of DM's & players who have been incorporating various old school Gamma World rpg resources into our game. As the PC's came upon the wreckage of the space station they received docking transmissions. What they didn't know was the fact that they were actually playing Paul Richie III's 8 page mini-module "The Albuquerque Starport." Among the autopsy reports showed that the  station had been 'taken' over by something. The player's PC's began exploring the station & came face to face with Pre Recession II  era robots, and other Soviet style technologies. I really played up the 
Pre Recession II era artifacts & relics. And played on the power & atmosphere being stable. Thier hacker downloaded everything she could and we really played out the unreliablity of the technology of the station. And that's when she came face to face with one of the station's shamblers. They were so busy exploring that  several of them almost got infected by the poor victims of the  the dreaded Canpous plague! Victims upon whom the virus has been feeding upon and too  for the last ten years! Suddenly the victims seemed to be everywhere?! 

And the players freaked! They were expecting alien life forms or the Zhuki. But an alien virus that turns you into a walking mush pit?! Hell no! Maybe it's Covid indused nightmares! The player's grabbed the artifacts and they were outta of that station! 
They secured everything they had gotten from the station into decomamination.
Oh boy do they want to destroy that station but they dare not because of the valuable fuel core aboard the station! They don't want that raining down on the Terra colony. Now of course they have details on the route to the lost 
Pre Recession II Canpous colony!! 
They do however have two Pre Recession II robots & serveral artifacts. There's also the matter of the fact that the PC's know there's a Soviet ship there. Now thier heading back to the The Potemikin to get checked out and make sure they didn't pick up the plague even though they were wearing space suits! Yes thier that paranoid. Our resident cyborg hacker wants to start checking out the Soviet robots. And the party also had the Ben Franklin scanned twice for shamblers?! 
Anyhow I did notice that the players have been using Independence Games G.E.A.R. and really going to town on the customization of thier weapons, equipment, etc. even using Hostile rpg catalog of equipment. 

Friday, April 21, 2023

OSR Review & Commentary On 'Issue 4 Wretched Verses 'The Ritual' By The Red Room For The Wretched Époque rpg.

 "In this scenario, the PCs take the roles of agents of the Criminal Brigade tasked with investigating a sensitive case:The abduction of a wealthy family's young and only child. It should take place in late 19th century or early 20th century Paris, as most Wretched Époque scenarios." 

Confession time I have a huge love of  the Wretched Époque rpg. Why because of the fact that it trips so many buttons for me as a player & DM. Steampunk asthetic? Check. Solid occult system? Check. And a really nasty plane that invades the Earth from time to time?! Check! And that brings me 'Issue 4 Wretched Verses 'The Ritual' an adventure that centers itself  around the villianous kidnapping of a child. 
 "The Ritual" demostrates that you can have an investigative adventure with a strong cast of NPC's. 
'Issue 4 Wretched Verses 'The Ritual' takes the 26 pages of adventure into the direction of very dangerous waters. The PC's are going to be up too thier necks in encounters, back & forth with the secrets of many of the events of the adventure. Here's the thing the DM is going to have to keep the PC's on thier toes because there are some solid twists & turns in  'The Ritual' And this gets into the OSR nature of the Wretched Époque rpg. This isn't a standard OSR style of rpg instead this is an rpg of it's time and that time is 'Victoriana'. And I feel that this fact makes it one of the Red Room's strongest rpg's. 

 'The Ritual' takes advantage of this style to present an adveture that while certainly within the style of the 'Wretched Eqoque''s world setting takes full on it's atmosphere and goings on. 
The Ritual has the feel if you will of a Penny Dreadful novel. And yet I think plays out closer to a Call of Cthulhu Victorian rpg campaign adventure only much quicker. And it's this that allows 'The Ritual' to never overstays its welcome. 
Where else could 'The Ritual' be used in the OSR?! I think it could be used with Troll Lord Games Victorious if the players don't mind playing 'the bad guys'. 
And this is because there's a lot more going on under the bonnet of 'The Ritual' then one might suppose. Without giving too much away the details make the adventure. And this is something we've seen again & again with the 'Red Room's adventures. Not that I'm saying that thier predictable but that they have more then a few twists and turns. There is a certain lethality to the 'The Ritual' but its no more then we've come to expect. 

'Crom Laughs At Your Four Winds' - OSR Commentary Using Castles & Crusades Gods & Legends For a Castles & Crusades Sword & Sorcery Campaign

 "Though the gods dwell beyond the mortal realm, it is often their desire to force their will upon it. Channeling the divine will lies upon the shoulders of the cleric and paladin, the skald and druid. They turn to the gods through prayer, ritual, sacrifice and devotion, all in hopes of bringing that power into and through themselves, to unleash it upon the world at large" 


"Within Gods and Legends there are hundreds of deities for both your characters and monsters; dwarves, elves, gnomes, orcs, gnolls and more besides. Each deity comes complete with information you will need from when to sacrifice to what kinds of temples they prefer. It also includes short stats for the gods of the Celts, ancient Germans, Norse, Romans and Greeks, Egyptians and the Slavic Gods."

"More than that Gods and Legends comes with guidelines on how to run deities and the characters that worship them."

So I've been up since about four A.M. and apologize if I'm a bit late with this blog entry but work has been incredibly busy. So to answer if Gods & Legends replaces the earlier 'Of Gods and Monsters' I turn to Tim Brannan's review of the 'Otherside Blog;"
This book largely replaces the Of Gods & Monsters book from a few years back, though it is smaller in size, 144 pages vs 162. I say replaces, but this is a new set of work. The original Of Gods and Monsters was written by James Ward of Deities & Demigods fame. There are similar gods in both books but this new version is a rewrite of the older work with new entires to work better with the Codex series. " 

Does 'Gods & Legends' really replace the earlier book of James Ward & the Mythological Codexes?! No not really instead this book adds a fair bit with regard to the nature, works, worship, & more. While the Gods & Legends  focus is on the C&C campaign world of  Aihrde. There's more then enough here for a DM with a bit of finess to add these dieties to a Sword & Sorcery  dark version of Earth. 

This combination of mythology & detail to the place of religions in fantasy worlds is one of the highlights for me as a DM. A DM whose going to be needing dieties, and non human spiritual entities coming up.  And this is one of the high points for me as both player & DM.  
 Gods & Legends shifts the focus of worship into a divine force to be wreckoned with. And this is something we see over and over again through out the book. The idea that the divine is a part of both the fantastical & everyday life. And this goes deeply into using these dieties within a Sword & Sorcery campaign. How well one of the ways is the fact that, "Each deity comes complete with information you will need from when to sacrifice to what kinds of temples they prefer." This means that organized religion plays a very significant part within a Sword & Socery campaign for both benefit and bane. 

“I have known many gods. He who denies them is as blind as he who trusts them too deeply. I seek not beyond death. It may be the blackness averred by the Nemedian skeptics, or Crom's realm of ice and cloud, or the snowy plains and vaulted halls of the Nordheimer's Valhalla. I know not, nor do I care. Let me live deep while I live; let me know the rich juices of red meat and stinging wine on my palate, the hot embrace of white arms, the mad exultation of battle when the blue blades flame and crimson, and I am content. Let teachers and philosophers brood over questions of reality and illusion. I know this: if life is illusion, then I am no less an illusion, and being thus, the illusion is real to me. I live, I burn with life, I love, I slay, and am content.”
― Robert E. Howard and L. Sprague De Camp, Queen of the Black Coast

And all of this goes back to the fact that 
 Gods & Legends is both an antagonist & protagonist NPC book. The gods play havoc with the lives of men & monsters in equal measure. And it's by these turns that the engine of Sword & Sorcery turns. even with a strong magical system such as we find in Castles & Crusades. It's easy to see the role of the divine within a Sword & Sorcery campaign where mere survival is the order of the day. And the sheer weight of dungeon exploration's lethality would generate a focus on the divine in all men, beasts, and monsters. 

This divine focus means that the players with knights, paladins, etc. who have thier sights on the divine & the gods are going to be working closely with thier own order's clerics. Unless they are on the opposing team. We see the role of the divine within the fact that conflict within and without the dungeon is a fact of life of those who are subject to the whims of the entities found within  Gods & Legends

Thursday, April 20, 2023

Review & Commentary On "How To Game Master Like A F#%^ing Boss" By Venger Satanis For Any Old School or OSR Campaign

 "What the Hell is this thing called Game Mastering?

"Nope, what you're considering here is not an introductory text.  I've been there and done that with How To Game Master Like A Fucking Boss.  No, this is for when you've been GMing for years and already know the basics."

"Are you missing something in your life?  Advanced Game Mastering Like A Fucking Boss attempts to weave philosophy and meaning and the search for a greater truth alongside the art of describing stuff, rolling dice, and pretending to be other people.  "

"Belief is immersion.  Does that mean super-belief can lead to super-immersion?  Perhaps...  That's but a single theme of this book, albeit a central one... a golden thread that carries the reader (that's you) from beginning to end.  

At this point in the timeline, we're faced with an identity crisis.  What is the nature of Game Mastering, how should we proceed, why does this vocation define us?

The artwork in this book was created using Midjourney A.I. 

I hope you enjoy this book as much as I enjoyed writing it.  Thanks for all your support, hoss.  Cha'alt!" 

So Venger asked me to take a look at How To Game Master Like A Fucking Boss which is basically a hundred and eleven pages of DMing advice, observations, and even adventure design. There's quite a bit of the usual Venger material here & so lots of tentacles. Surprisingly there's also a lot of personal observations and more from Venger's perspective. 
And this extending deeply into his gaming philosphy, and the brand that has become Venger Satanis. There's a ton in here about player choice, immersion, and more. And this goes deep into Venger's theories and ideas about adventure, dungeon design and more all within "How To Game Master Like A Fucking Boss ". And the book goes down several rabbit holes at once using the ideas & philosphies of Venger
. Of course all of the whole cloth of How To Game Master Like A Fucking Boss circles back to Venger's catch all setting Cha'alt. And that's great even the MidJourney artwork that Venger has used within How to Game Master Like a Fucking Boss circles back unto Cha'alt and that's great. This adds another layer of authenticity to the book. Is any of the philosphy, design advice, and more neccesarry!?! No but that's not the point of  "How To Game Master Like a Fucking Boss'. The point is that this book lays out Venger's approach to his style & veneer of DMing. Is "How To Game Master Like A Fucking Boss " any good?! With the success of the Cha'alt Trilogy and the continuation of the Venger brand 'How to Game Master like a Fucking Boss' is a solid add on to the Cha'alt line. 
 Because the sheer pile of 'Cha'alt material, adventures, etc. make this book a necessity.

Do we get a peek behind the curtain?! Yes & no. Yes we have a fully laid out apprach and design step by step set up guide and set of Venger stero instructions with "How To Game Master Like A Fucking Boss ". Is this book going to change your life?! No,but it might change how you DM adventures, approach Cha'alt, and take on the products of Venger Satanis. Can the advice, philosphy, and what not be applied to other old school & OSR games?! I believe it could easily be. And is it worth the ten dollar price tag?! Well considering the fact that there's quite a bit of bang for the buck I do believe so. 

Asssassin's War On Mars - Serpents Crossover - Old Mars Mini Campaign Set Up - Hyperborea Rpg & Warriors of the Red Planet - Session Report Five

This session report is going to pick right up from here.  In which the player's PC's made it into the wizard's tower after covering themselves in monster dung to make it past the tower's guardians. However the PC's have been really getting themselves into trouble! However let's talk Swords & Wizardry kickstarter here for a moment.

So I've been following the updates & progress on Matt Finch's Swords & Wizardry Kickstarter's updates. However the other night the player's party made progress after thier thief got a chance to disarm a deadly trap within the tower. This all comes from Flying Buffalo's Wilderness Encounters that we pulled out several weeks ago. 
The party found a working teleporter in one of the wizard's rooms and found the mechnism was still in operation. Someone had just teleported out of there. 
The party almost bought it coming face to face with a group of rogue serpent men & thier Red Martian cavemen thralls. Things got very heated as the party saw the loss of thier warrior princess and a fighter! More cavemen pressed through the laboratories door and the party took the teleporter as a way out! 
Who knows where the party will end up?! Well I do and here's where things about to get very interesting. 
Over the past two months I've been working with the Hyperborea rpg and several campaign notes from the past especially in regards too Flying Buffalo's Butcher, Baker, Candlestick maker series. So these are going to form the basis for a 'fantasy city' on another plane. 'Pun-anth' is a fantasy city that is controlled by the Serpent Men! The entire city seems like a traditional fantasy city with quite a few Pulpy Warriors of the Red Planet & Hyperborea rpg twists. 'Pun-anth' is actually a trade partner with certain Hyperborean & Martian kingdoms.

Tuesday, April 18, 2023

Running B1 In Search of the Unknown By Mike Carr for an OSR Sword & Sorcery Campaign Jump Off Point

 So tonight I was listening to the Bigus Geekus stream on youtube & it was a good stream.  However all the talk about pre generated PC's and Con's got me thinking about basic play in Castles & Crusades. Or starting a campaign & reading through 'The OSR Grimoire' blog got me thinking about using a classic TSR adventure. And so once again Dave Carr's B1 In Search of The Unknown is in my hands. 

There are several reasons to use B1 & the module plot while basic serves up it's history and rational well:"Many years ago two wealthy adventurers, Rogahn the Fearless and Zelligar the Unknown, built a hidden complex known as the Caverns of Quasqueton. From this base, they conducted their affairs away from the prying eyes of civilization. While of questionable ethical standing, the two drove back a barbarian invasion and gained the support of locals. Eventually, they gathered their own army and went on an expedition against said enemies, where they met their demise." 
So Dave Carr's B1 'In Search of The Unknown' is a great module to pair up with Gary Gygax's B2 Keep on the Borderlands. Why because the PC's could hear rumors about the humanoids invading the various nearby human lands and sacking villages. Perhaps the abode of Rogahn the Fearless and Zelligar the Unknown could hold answers. And as simple as that we're off to the races. 
What if the ruins of the abode of these two really might hold answers?! How well B1 is actually a how to build a dungeon module. And it's very easy to add in Castle & Crusade monsters & treasure from the Castles & Crusades Monsters & Treasures book. 
Add in the fact that the humanoid monsters from B1 might actually be scouts for the advancing armies of Chaos and things get very interesting very fast. The PC's might after ransacking the 
 abode of Rogahn the Fearless and Zelligar the Unknown might stumble into  the Caverns of Quasqueton. This is where the party found the journal that belonged Rogahn the Fearless and Zelligar the Unknown which detailed thier interactions with the Caves of Chaos from B2 The Keep on the Borderland. These two NPC's cast a very long shadow within our campaign by having served the lord of the keep. 
And having been vassel rulers of the Village of Hommlet. If one is going to run B2 In Search of the Unknown be aware that it's a pretty dangerous module. Also be sure to download 
 the B1 Campaign Sourcebook. There's a ton of additional material within the B1 Campaign Sourcebook. We actually had the PC's be related to both Rogahn the Fearless and Zelligar the Unknown there by having a far more personal connection to the classic adventure. Eventually the PC's eventually laid claim to both the keep and the fortress of Rogahn the Fearless and Zelligar the Unknown . 

What works so well with running B1 In Search of the Unknown with Castles & Crusades is how responsive the C&C system is to classic modules. C&C is easy to house rule, run, and take on play from the ground up. 
All one needs too run  is the C&C  player's handbook & maybe C&C Monsters & Treasure. 
 B1 is a template & tool box for running adventures & modules. This slots the adventure right into your own C&C or old school campaign. Framing the adventure within campaign is simple and easy as play can help to determine the role that B1 has within your campaigns. 
We've run B1 numerous times across the board in various campaigns. So using a classic module for Castles & Crusades isn't rocket science. I hate to use that turn of phrase but it's true.  For our own Chronicles of Yerth Sword & Sorcery campaign. We started with B1 In Search of the Unknown and it was the foul dealings of  Rogahn the Fearless and Zelligar the Unknown that got us involved. The two heroes were actually incharge of the barbarian army that they   'vanquished' but were actually building a mercenary army to help topple the king. Unfortunately for them the cult of Elemental Evil's faction in the Caves of Chaos rose up and killed them. This has led to the region of the Borderlands stagnating. Enter the party here. 
There are several reasons why B1 In Search of the Unknown Works for a Castles & Crusades Campaign : 
  1. B1 is not well known today and is out right dismissed by less experienced players and so it's tricks & traps are unknown to these players. 
  2. B1 In Search of the Unknown is a great module to tie into your home campaign because this is what it was created to do. 
  3. Rogahn the Fearless and Zelligar the Unknown are blank slates easily modified for your C&C adventures. They can act as hooks into other adventures. 
  4. B1's caverns could have tunnels that lead into other dungeons further expanding the role that B1's adventure location might play within your campaigns. 
  5. There's something that seems to draw back players to B1 In Search of the Unknown again & again.