Wednesday, May 31, 2023

Review & Commentary On Badge Law Enforcement In The Clement Sector by John Watts For The Clement Sector Rpg & Other Cepheus Engine Rpg Campaigns

 "Welcome to the world of law enforcement! That’s something that was said at the beginning of more than one television series concerning the police, so it seems to be fitting here. Badge: Law Enforcement in Clement Sector is our answer to those types of series involving everything from movies and television series concerning police departments to novels about police and private detectives. This book will give you many of the tools you need to run a similar sort of theme in Clement Sector. "

"Existing as a sort of companion volume with Outlaw: Crime in Clement Sector and Manhunters: Bounty Hunters in Clement Sector, this book fills the void left by those books concerning the police department who may be the antagonists to someone running a campaign with those books. Alternatively, of course, the denizens of Outlaw and Manhunters may be the antagonists to a police or detective oriented campaign. In many cases, they will likely be contacts, allies, rivals, and enemies of one another in a well-rounded campaign. It should go without saying that both Outlaw and Manhunters will be very useful to the Referee seeking to get the most out of this volume. Referees will likely find GEAR: General Equipment Adventurers Require useful as well and many of the careers featured in this book also call back to Diverse Roles, our Clement Sector career catalog" 

The image of the overworked cop or sheriff in the Old West especially in the 19th century is one that we don't really think of when it comes to Independence Games Clement sector. Well, it's one that should be on our minds especially when we look deeper into the Cepheus and Clement Sector rpg. Badge Law Enforcement In The Clement Sector fills a gap in the frontier blackness of the Clement sector. John Watts does an excellent job of looking deep into the nature of a far future 2d6 Science Fiction law enforcement point and the dirty  flip side of law enforcement itself. What is it about the Clement sector?! The fact that it trips the edges of the almost Wild West like Science Fiction or is it the fact that the Clement sector is very well realized as an almost but not quite 2d6 living & breathing campaign. A campaign setting who law men & women have a beyond thankless job on the edges of the darkness.


 Badge Law Enforcement In The Clement Sector by John Watts has a totally different voice from other Clement Sector books. Badge leans into it's Cepheus Engine rpg roots through the lens of it's careers of law enforcement centered around it's colonial roots. And it's because the law out in the Clement sector is beyond stretched thin. The law is quite literally balanced between it's role as peace keeper and guardian of civilization. And it's this that gives Badges it's character. And namely a very tight and well done voice. And it's Badges game voice that rings through with John Watts writing and commitment to his books that shines through. Badges is a book that your going to want to use especially with both Clement Sector and other Cepheus Engine rpg books. 

Badge Law Enforcement In The Clement Sector by John Watts hits the quality established by the Clement Sector rpg book hard. The only other book that hits the notes that Badge does is G.E.A.R. and the Skull & Crossbones Piracy in The Clement Sector books. Both of these books slot into the back end of Badge seemlessly enabling a DM to come up with an underworld that is a part of the Clement sector landscape easily.

 Badge does this by going over the ins & outs of law enforcemet. Introducing new careers, procedures, and much more. Then easing into new equipment, weapons, vechicles, and even NPC's that can be dropped into your ongoing Clement Sector campaigns. 

What really stands out is the frontier asthetic that is one part Science Fiction Wild West and two parts Bladerunner that has the classic Clement sector spin. And it does this by taking into acount on every front it's frontier and Wild West asthetic. 

Badges hits the high points to law enforcement even up to tech level ten. And by going over almost every aspect of the law and it's dirtier underworld elements. There's no sugar coating here. John Watts hits the high points and comes back for more when it comes to the law in the Clement sector. The writing here is tight, the layout is up to Independence Games standards and there's a sense that this isn't going to be last we see of Badges. 
Could Badges be used with other Cepheus Engine settings and more. The fact is that Badges could easily be moved into a classic Traveller rpg campaign. 

 Badge Law Enforcement In The Clement Sector by John Watts For The Clement Sector Rpg & Other Cepheus Engine Rpg Campaigns Will Be Appearing soon in the Independence Games site here. 

Tuesday, May 30, 2023

Elements of the Young Kingdoms - The Other Stormbringer Rpg Campaign - Stormbringer Companion One, Demon Magic The Second Stormbringer Campanion, & White Wolf Temples, Demons, and Ships of War

 ""Stormbringer is a roleplaying game of action and adventure in the Young Kingdoms, the world created by noted author Michael Moorcock in his ELRIC novels. This is the first supplement produced specifically for Stormbringer."

And Yes I'm leaning heavily into Wayne's Books Stormbringer section here. 

"Within this book you will find two main sections: Additions and Scenarios. The Additions section contains creatures, heroes (or antagonists), and exotic treasures for use by the Game Master in Stormbringer adventures."

"The Scenarios section contains six far-ranging adventures ready for immediate play. The adventurers will travel the world over: starting from daunting Forest of Troos, through the Dragon Sea, into the Marshes of Mist, over the northern hills of Shazaar, and onto the Plane of Shadows. They must meet and master every foe imaginable, but the rewards are well-worthwhile for the few lucky survivors.""
In Eighty Three when the Stormbringer Companion hit the shelves & those of us clued in grabbed it with both hands. The Stormbringer Companion brought in brand new spells, monsters, even old school adventures, but what the companion actually did was introduce a series of adventures that could be played as a mini campaign. These six adventures really set the bar for the Stormbringer rpg which as I've said last time was meant for epic & mythic role playing. The PC's could be other aspects of the eternal champion long before our demon sword baring albino anti hero. On the second printing of the Stormbringer companion in Eighty five  a new contender entered the rpg market and this was Demon Magic: The Second Stormbringer Companion. Demon Magic: The Second Stormbringer Companion By Larry DiTillio & Kevin Freeman & Arno Lipfert & Mark L. Gambler  sported one of the most badass covers of an rpg supplements. And yet it clocked up again eighty pages of expansion for the Stormbringer first edtion rpg.  The byline for Demon Magic said it all; ""DEMON MAGIC is the second companion for Stormbringer, the roleplaying game of action and adventure in the Young Kingdoms.

Authorized by fantasy author Michael Moorcock, DEMON MAGIC includes all necessary statistics, maps, and plans, and contains many original illustrations. Among its contents are:
• The Velvet Circle: a scenario in seven chapters, which takes many sessions of play to conclude. The adventure includes a complete red-light district, with business notes and a plan of the Circle.
• Sorcerer's Isle: a shorter, more intense scenario to fill one or two evenings.
• Runes of Rathdor: analyzes and describes the properties of six magical runes discovered during the reign of the 42nd Emperor of Melnibone.
• Sanity for Stormbringer: introduces the optional characteristic of SAN into Young Kingdoms play.
• Six new creatures, six nationalities, seven new Demon abilities, and five new magic items."" 
While researching these two supplements I ran across this review on Amazon by Eric Brinkman from 2013 ;"This old school BRP-supplement, made in the eighties for the then dark fantasy Stormbringer RPG by Chaosium, is a tough nut to crack. For me, this game and supplement conveys tons of feeling from my youth when I was still discovering the wonderful pastime of pen-and-paper tabletop roleplaying. But what I have since discovered, through endless hours of reading and re-reading it (plus other books made for this RPG) and also playing it with my friends, is that it has a wildly unbalanced and over-the-top ritual magic system, but in spite of it (or because of it) - it works!

"Why?" you ask? Well, that is a little hard to describe. But I believe it has to do with the overall style that Chaosium's writers put into this and other material at the time. You hear a lot of praise for AD&D/D&D for the hobby these days, even to the degree that they put it in successful TV-series like Stranger Things. But what company have made it through all these years, and still is here to talk about it? Chaosium! Back in the day when these kind of supplements were produced, they implemented a certain sort of composition that made the Gamemaster who wanted to run them feel that the material was made in the style of the atmosphere of the source books (Elric-books by Moorcock). And still make it blend with the BRP system, or Basic Roleplaying. That is also why BRP or BRP-esque games still today is being used by many players and wins great prices and is a prestigious gaming system of note. That also made me, as a GM, able to relax and absorb the general feel of the background material for the scenarios. I have only ever run one of them, the "Sorcerer's Isle" adventure. I imagine "The Velvet Circle" is a very good mini-campaign, but I have yet to try it. It is the feel of old, dead empires and ancient curses that makes "Sorcerer's Isle" so good. The reek of an organised evil at work, both young and old, still going on and still making the general area of the Isle unsafe. In other words, perfect grounds for an investigative scenario. And all this also works so well with the demon-saturated world of The Young Kingdoms. Find it. You won't be disappointed." 
And I think that these two Stormbringer rpg supplements used together especially with other Stormbringer or Hawkmoon products or editions. This  really sets the 'Heavy Metal balls to the wall' demon soaked vibe that early Stormbringer rpg products bring to the table. Are these two Stormbringer rpg companions wildly unbalanced?! You bet your behind they are! Are they excellent for getting the adventure vibe of the Stormbringer rpg across. And couple Stormbringer companion one & two with a fantastic Stormbringer supplement that hit the shelves in Eighty Seven! We're talking about White Wolf: Temples, Demons, & Ships of War By  Stewart Wieck, Kevin Freeman, & Sandy Petersen

White Wolf brings home several Stormbringer adventure elements that I consider happening on the fringes of the Young Kingdoms and beyond;
""WHITE WOLF, a supplement for the Eternal Champion series of roleplaying games, presents many items of interest to gamemasters, particularly those wishing to run high-level campaigns. The book contains:
• Complete information, stats, and maps for three powerful temples of the Young Kingdoms. DARKSPIRE: Temple of Chaos is a mysterious and sinister place, with many dooms for the unwary adventurer. From this dark abode the twisted worshippers of Mabelrode, the Faceless God, bring fear to all who fail to bow down to the power of Chaos! The Temple of the Eternal Flame lurks in the fiery heart of an ancient volcano. This remarkable temple is dedicated to the worship of Kakatal, Lord of the Fire Elementals. The mighty fortress of HAVEN: Temple of Law stands defiant against the minions of Chaos, and offers refuge to all who flee their wrath. Its courageous guardians worship four great Lawful dieties: Donblas, Goldar, Arkyn, and Callandus. They stand ready to battle Chaos whenever called upon by the faithful.
• Escape From Yellow Hell, a high-level, ultra-magical scenario that will challenge even the most powerful adventurers. The adventurers must rescue a priest trapped in the Yellow Hell, a x5 Chaotic plane of the damned ruled by Zhortra, Lord of Chaos.
• WHITE WOLF also contains naval rules for the Eternal Champion series, suitable for any campaign, and new data on Elric of Melnibone (the "White Wolf")." 
What White Wolf brings to the table is Dark Spire, the Temple of the Eternal Flame, and Haven a fortress of Law. The most deadly for our group was the Temple of the Eternal Flame where our party lost seven characters. These adventure locations were used for gathering intelligence, power, and information on the adventures that appeared in the Stormbringer Companion one & Demon Magic.  And it's this flexibility that makes the Stormbringer material such classics in my book. The DM will sorta have to do some of the heavy lifting to connect these adventures together but it's not that hard with the Michael Moorcock mythos and literature as backup.. 

Monday, May 29, 2023

Exeperiences In The Care & Handling of A Stormbringer first edition Campaign

 One of the advantages that Rogue Mistress allows a DM to do is to take an 'across the board' approach to thier campaigns. Want to bring in a PC from Hawkmoon's world? No problem. Want a barbarian from the lands north of Elric's Kingdom? No problem at all. 

I've seen comments describing Rogue Mistress as 'rail roadie incarnate' and to a certain extent that's true. Chad Bowser on Rpg Geek from '09 described it as thus; "A genre and 'verse spanning campaign. If your players are into it, this can be a lot of fun. The group really has to be up for anything, though."
And this is absolutely true. Why?! Because Stormbringer is designed for epic and mythological play. And that's no lie. 
The fact is that we thought that the game was better without Elric & Moonglum there to muck things up for our PC's. 
My biggest complaint has been the fact that many Americans have lumped the rpg in with the  
Santanic panic'. I've run across people & player who think that the various demons and creatures of the game are 'real'. And during our gaming I got into two very real and dragged out fight with religious players who swore the 'demons' of Runequest and Stormbringer are real. Needless to say that we quickly ejected these two morons out of our campaigns. 
So let's go back to the fact that if we interlock the Rogue Mistress into the events of  Perils of the Young Kingdom. Then we've got an epic cycle that can circle into Sea Kings of the Purple Towns. 
What we did was to take the Stormbringer Companion #1 and the  fact that the companion actually had the Melnibonéan slaver & war ships within. These ships are capable of making even the most hardened adventurer quake within thier boots. 

And that's no joke none of our PC's wanted to end up in a drugged stupor serving on the Dreaming Isle or worse shackled to the end of a Pan Tangian chain. 
When the events of Rogue Mistress come around we were penniless and jumped at the chance to gain entry onboard the Mistress. Much later on we gained our own scale ship the Entropy Climber. That was much later on. All of these events looped back around after all of our PC's had died multiple times within Roge Trader. We had a couple of barbarian tribes men from Glorantha and Avalon Hill's Runequest third edition among our party. 
This was after a lucky break after we had been captured by a 
the Melnibonéan slaver ship. Only a lucky storm allowed us to escape. We had added two new players which would have been right around '04 just before meeting my wife from the U.K.. 
At it's heart is the fact that Rogue Mistress takes place around to key events one is the fact that the PC's are placed in dire circumstances and must complete the events. We didn't do that but were instead picked up by the Rogue Mistress and had a debt to Captain Maria De Pistola. And the second is the fact that the Mistress is a part of the world ending plot that drives Rogue Mistress. We didn't see the need to derail this plot and we were the group up for anything. And this was one of the secrets I think to running a solid Stormbringer rpg campaign. 
And Rogue Mistress events opened up our party for journeying to Corum's five realms. 

Sunday, May 28, 2023

Angels Above & Demons Below - Hostile/Kosmos 68 Game Session Report Two

 This blog post is going to pick right up from this session on May 14th here on the blog.  Having gotten the Soviet's robot memory banks picked clean the PC's find out that the PC's may have been exposed to a necrovirus! 

The PC's had to deal with a street contact between them and the underworld corporates that represented the syndicates on Abysss. So the Soviets in last night's games left behind a surprise in the form of a necrovirus aboard the wreckage that the PC's explored which meant dumping a ton of gear for decom & disposial. And the PC's have been dealing with a rather shady character named  Baosheng, a veteran Snakehead operating in the Off-World colony of Abyss. Dealing with the PC's hackers the design of the necrovirus is actually a  Chinese corporate creation left behind to discredit the Soviets on the colony world. It also hints at a possible all out war! During last week's game the players felt as if they were going up against  the Soviet SSB. And they actually were! Thier street samurai hired bodyguards reported to them that they were being cased out! At stake on Abyss is the fact that the Russians months ago have entered the fray on the side of the Chinese corporations as mercenaries.
High above Abyss sits the Orca a corporate Rokke Class Research Vessel that belongs to the head of the Science division of the Matsuyama corporation. No one is sure why he's there and his vessel is several technological levels above other Hostile starships. The vessel & her crew are all hand made and hand picked.  
Suddenly the PC's and the Soviets were surround by the corporate forces of 
the Matsuyama corporation! Both camps were escorted aboard a shuttle and whisked up into the bowels of the the Orca a corporate Rokke Class Research Vessel. Cloths were stripped and burnt, weapons were decomtaminated, and the PC's were checked over. 15 hours later the PC's were given the all clear!! 

The Chinese corporate forces had set up both the Soviets & the PC's. The PC's noticed that the shuttle they had ridden in was being hosed down as well. They were taken too the head of the the Science division of the Matsuyama corporation. And the Soviet psychics were allowed into the conference. Both sides were given information packs in order to avoid a interstellar corporate incident. They were told that the Colony worlds were burning and  the Matsuyama corporation wants to buy thier contracts in order to head off a mini interstellar war on Abyss. There's far more going on here then meets the eye.  

Saturday, May 27, 2023

OSR Campaign Commentary - Clark Ashton Smith's Hyperborea & North Wind Adventures Hyperborea rpg

 So yesterday I was gone most of the day travelling between places and I ran into a friend of mine down in West Hartford at his bookshop. We hadn't seen each other since 2017 at one of the private Cons at a friend's home. There we played in DM Steve's Astonishing Swordsmen & Sorcerer's Hyperborea rpg campaign mini game. Paul runs a small Science Fiction and Fantasy book shop in between botique shops there. What he had for me was a rare copy of the Smith, Clark Ashton (1971). Lin Carter (ed.). Hyperborea. New York: Ballantine BooksISBN 0-345-02206-8.. The Ballatine edition is excellent for a number of reasons but it really plugs into the Iron age cosmic horror hardcore. And why well the wiki entry on CAS's Hyperborean cycle covers it thus:"The Hyperborean cycle is a series of short stories by Clark Ashton Smith that take place in the fictional prehistoric setting of Hyperborea. Smith's cycle takes cues from his friends, H. P. Lovecraft and Robert E. Howard and their works. Lovecraft wrote to Smith in a letter dated 3 December 1929: "I must not delay in expressing my well-nigh delirious delight at The Tale of Satampra Zeiros [Smith's short story]... [W]hat an atmosphere! I can see & feel & smell the jungle around immemorial Commoriom, which I am sure must lie buried today in glacial ice near Olathoe, in the Land of Lomar!".[1] Soon afterward, Lovecraft included Smith's Tsathoggua (which originally appeared in "The Tale of Satampra Zeiros") in the story "The Mound", ghostwritten for Zealia Bishop in December 1929. Lovecraft also mentioned Tsathoggua in "The Whisperer in Darkness", which he began on February 24, 1930,[2] and in "At the Mountains of Madness" a year later, along with the Hyperborean cities of Commoriom and Uzuldaroum. Because Smith in turn borrowed numerous Lovecraftian elements, the cycle itself may be regarded as a branch of the Cthulhu Mythos. In a letter to August Derleth dated 26 July 1944, Smith wrote: "In common with other weird tales writers, I have ... made a few passing references (often under slightly altered names, such as Iog-Sotot for Yog-Sothoth and Kthulhut for Cthulhu) to some of the Lovecraftian deities. My Hyperborean tales, it seems to me, with their primordial, prehuman and sometimes premundane background and figures, are the closest to the Cthulhu Mythos, but most of them are written in a vein of grotesque humor that differentiates them vastly. However, such a tale as "The Coming of the White Worm" might be regarded as a direct contribution to the Mythos.".[3]"

"The Hyperborean cycle mixes cosmic horror with an Iron Age setting. Adding to the peril is the rapidly approaching ice age
, which threatens to wipe out all life on the Hyperborean continent. A host of other deities play important roles in the cycle; foremost is the toad-god Tsathoggua, who dwells in Mount Voormithadreth."
Hyperborea is a legendary continent in the Arctic. Before it was overwhelmed by the advancing ice sheets of the Pleistocene age, Hyperborea was a warm and fertile paradise, with lush jungles inhabited by the last remnants of the dinosaurs. A race of yeti-like bipeds, known as the Voormi, once populated Hyperborea, but were wiped out by the pre-human settlers who migrated here from the south. These pre-humans built the first capital of Hyperborea, at Commoriom. Later they moved to Uzuldaroum, when prophesies foretold of Commoriom's doom."

So essentially the continant is completely frozen and still out there the world of Hyperborea. What if adventurers stumble upon the frozen country  as a part of the Hyperborea rpg?! They have no idea of the signifiance of this 'lost and legendary' land.. And while Jeffrey Talanian, has a brand new Hyperborea map kickstarter going on. The fact is that reading through the Hyperborea collection last night actually got my imagination fired up. This map here is from the 1971 Ballintine collection when paperbacks actually carried such maps. Now this campaign idea isn't new Chris Kutalik of the Hill Canton's blog fame proposed such an idea here.  Mind you this blog entry was back in 2011. So I don't think anything was done with it. 
That idea sure had some legs in my mind especially given the cross pollenization of Lovecraft & Smith using story and adventure elements. 
Such a frozen continent under the control of the inhuman  voormis might require some really interesting back & forth with clerics or headsmen of the god Tsathoggua. There is a ton of potential for adventure in such a frozen wasteland  continent. According to the CAS's mythos: "
 "Hyperborea was supposed to have corresponded roughly with modern Greenland, which had formerly been joined as a peninsula to the main continent" — in Miocene times ("Ubbo-Sathla", Clark Ashton Smith)"
This frozen wasteland could be the homelands of the once proud and decident Hyperborean races of the Hyperborea rpg. Only the ill regarded Voormis may know the answers. But what does this mean to the other ancient Hyperboreans still within their dungeon vaults?  

 The first thing to do is to read through the cycles of Clark Ashton Smith's stories to get an understanding of the place of Hyperborea within the CAS setting itself. And this cycle goes like this according to the Eldritch Dark site

And this brings up the perhaps since the Hyperboreans fled to the Hyperborean continant that there might be far more at stake then they realize. What happens if the doom that came to the frozen land isn't done?! There's a lot of unanswered questions that CAS's Hyperborea cycle brings to the table top. Even though I know that Michael Moorcock wasn't happy with CAS there are certainly Pulp pivot points between the mythologies of Elric and the doomlands of Hyperborea. 

Thursday, May 25, 2023

OSR Commentary - Rune Quest Cities A Generic Role Playing Supplement

 Let's pick it up from the other day here on the blog.  And now I mentioned yesterday to one of my players how I was shaping a Stormbringer campaign and we started talking about the game. He mentioned having a collection of early Chaosium material and mentioned that there was a book that I was going to need from 3rd edition Runequest. That book is Runequest Cities from 1988 is one of the best generic universal urban supplements ever. 

Rune Quest Cities is a solid sixty six pages of urban encounters and random tables that isn't simply useful for Runequest but game after game of Sword & Sorcery as well as fantasy. 
And it's all keyed with dice matrixes across the board. Rune Quest Cities is even useful for Cepheus Engine or old school Traveller where you need primitive or other Bronze age world encounters. And so it's incredibly useful for a game of Stormbringer or even another OSR game. 

And my most recent use with  Rune Quest Cities has been with Adventurer, Conqeuror, King.  Yes that's right Rune Quest Cities works very well with a late Roman Empire Style campaign. 
And this was around the time when I had quit D&D completely for about two years. D20 had taken over the entire spectrum of the market. And older players wanted something or anything besides 3.5 or even 2nd edition Advanced Dungeons & Dragons. Our Stormbringer campaign had seven or at one point as many as ten players who rotated in and out of the game. 

Wednesday, May 24, 2023

The Care & Handling of A Stormbringer first edition Campaign

 "A thousand years ago a great war between the Dharzi and Melnibone eliminated the ancient race of sorcerers from the Young Kingdoms, and established the Dragon lords as masters of the world. Far to the north of Melnibone, the family of a lesser lord took the caverns of a tall, black island as their home, transforming the former laboratory of a Dharzi sorcerer into a magnificent abode."

"Then, the Bright Empire began its inexorable decline, and the caverns were abandoned. Four hundred and fifty years have past, and something dark and vile now inhabits this isle, warping the natural order of living things and twisting their very beings into hideous monsters."

"Lord Straasha summons the adventurers to the coast of Tarkesh, bordering the frigid Pale Sea and the unholy domain of forbidden Pan Tang. Visions of bloody waves ceaselessly haunt their dreams, presaging a doom to come should the heroes fail to heed Straasha's urgent call."
One of my all time adventures that I love to use to introduce the Stormbringer PC's into the world of Michael Moorcock's Corum has been 'The Man Who Sold Gods' By Geoff Gallian. The adventure centers around a prince from the realm of Corum; "RORN FELDUN HARAI is a Prince of the Vadagh, a fugitive from the World of the Fifteen Planes. He has come to the Young Kingdoms seeking military aid for his people. Centuries ago they left their native plane in their Sky City. Now they are unable to return, and are besieged by the forces of Xiombarg, Queen of the Swords. Prince Rorn’s quest has been in vain. The Melniboneans declined to assist him in any way. Now he only wishes to return home, but cannot find a way to." 
Eventually the PC's have to summon the 'infinite cathedral' & here's where we recently changed the adventure. And this element was the
planar engine  within the cathedral over into an Entropy Configuration ala the Rogue Mistress. 
We did this after a Facebook comment and then to keep internal consistancy with the Stormbringer Rogue Mistress &  Corum book. Our own party had to face the machinations of many Chaos packs and thier handlers.  And this all takes place right after or before the events depicted in Sea Kings of the Purple Town. 

Yes I took this photo from Wayne's Elric/Stormbringer entry here. 

And this allows the campaign to maintain internal consistency. And this is something that we're looking to do coming up with our Stormbringer rpg campaign. The Corum sourcebook has such good material that it can be back drafted into 'The Man Who Sold Gods'. And this allows the DM to pick & choose what adventure elements wants. 
This all feeds into the internal campaign aspect something highlighted within the Rogue Mistress campaign. 

But why?! Well get into that coming up! 

OSR Review & Commentary - Puppeteer Class -- A Shadowdark Supplement From James Mishler Games

"The Puppeteer Class is a new class designed for use with the Shadowdark RPG. While it can be used as a player class, it has excellent potential to provide non-player character villains – and their minions – the player characters can encounter and oppose during their adventures."

The puppeteer class has a 4-sided hit die and includes the following abilities:

Magic Item Use: A puppeteer may use magic items as per a wizard.
Puppeteering: A puppeteer uses arcane alchemical methods to animate puppets using the souls of willing and unwilling subjects, or even elemental or diabolical spirits. The greater the puppeteer’s talents, more puppets can be animated, the more powerful are the abilities of the puppets, and the more special abilities they may possess. A system for crafting and animating puppets is included.
Puppet Special Abilities: Puppets may include various special abilities. 32 special abilities are described.

Puppeteer Class -- A Shadowdark Supplement From James Mishler Games  is a nice Shadowdark Supplement clocks in at about  nine pages of weird and wonderful vile NPC villainy. This is a solid supplemen from James Mishler Games. Now I don't play Shadowdark but where I would use the Puppeteer Class is with Castles & Crusades. Puppeteers would make extremely creepy & formable foes for C&C!  

The puppeteer class has a bit of everything that a vile villain needs. Creepy powers check, ability to create scades of minions at higher levels check, abiliy to create minions and monsters with some lethality too them?! 
Yup they have all of this and more. Could the Puppeteer be used with say Lamentations of the Flame Princess? Absolutely it could and very easily. 
The Pupeteer class hits all of the high notes as an NPC villain. Its a creepy, ookie, and very spooky class with all of th bells and whistles one expects from a James Mishler games product! 

The puppets left behind by a puppeteer make for some different and excellent NPC monsters in their own right and Mishler provides all of the special abilities and weirdness to make them a real threat for the dungeons or ruins of your choice. 
- Puppeteer Class -- A Shadowdark Supplement From James Mishler Games Is Available Right Over Here 

Tuesday, May 23, 2023

Stormbringer rpg Fifth Edition, CAS's Zothique, and Chaos - - Further Mediations on The Stormbringer rpg & OSR Campaign Memories

 The year was 2001 & things were very chaotic for our Rpg group. Folks were getting married, moving away, marriages were breaking apart, and more. A new fifth edition of Stormbringer was hitting the shelves. And it was a switch up for our group, we had aquired  scaling ship & a playing piece in the grand game of time. Where we had grabbed one completely outside of the Moorcockian mythos within the wastelands of Clark Ashton Smith's Zothique. 

This came down after we transferred off several other ships after the events of the Rogue Mistress campaign. And then served aboard a crews aboard a couple of  scaling ships. We lost a ton of players to the D20 explosion of 3.5 D&D but there were just as many folks completely disenchanted with the system. And this led to the second book that brought at few folks to the table the Corum rpg supplement. Corum was completely different then other rpg supplements on the market during this time. The maps were incredible, the mythology true to the source material, and the supplement worked very well for Stormbringer fifth edition. 

While Moorcock hasn't exactly been full of praise when it came to Clark Ashton Smith. This didn't matter to our group as our co DM figured that Zothique was a far future Earth where the powers of Chaos has almost full sway. 

/Deep in the wastes of Zothique we found a plain filled with the wreckage of scaling ships. Zothique was also one of the worlds where you as a magus didn't want to summon demons. Several would answer the call of the mage and then it was a battle to control the horror. 
There was also the fact that any demon weapons were far easier to forge and bind. The works of Law however after several months would begin to gain corrosion and simply evoporate back into the ether. 
There was also the fact that entering Zothique from the 'Million Spheres' was easy. Leaving the world was another matter entirely unless one had a scaling ship. 
Zothique was also the site for numerous species of demons and other creatures of Chaos. Little did we realize that we were on the edge of the latest villain  about to rear his head. So did a couple of things to make Stormbringer fifth edition go quicker. And the first thing we did was to bring the combat system from the Elric rpg into our campaign. The next thing was to make magick easier to learn in Zothique & make the demons even more deadly.. 

Review & Commentary For Wretched Vigilantes By The Red Room For The Wretchedverse Rpg Systems

 "Wretched Vigilantes - RELEASED (Red Room store for now, print version coming soon from Lulu). Wretched Vigilantes is a game setting for the Wretched Role-Playing Game, co-authored by ML Straus, that thrusts players into the gritty and dark world of Hammettville, infamously known as “Crime City.”"

Wretched Vigilantes by line; "Within this setting, players assume the roles of anti-hero characters, retired vigilantes who are unexpectedly called back into action to defend their city. Their adversaries are the Vanguard Squad, a group of once-heroic crime fighters who have become corrupted and transformed into crime lords themselves, terrorizing the very city they once protected. As former vigilantes, the player characters embark on a journey of redemption and self-discovery.

In the Wretched Vigilantes game setting players have the opportunity to immerse themselves in the grim and tumultuous world of the Wretchedverse and Hammettville. It is a world where the lines between heroes and villains blur, and notions of good and evil become murky. While the default assumption is for players to take on the role of the Vigilantes, the game also allows for the intriguing option of playing as the super-villains, former members of the Vanguard Squad. This versatility provides players with a range of perspectives and storytelling possibilities, ensuring a rich and engaging game-play experience. To play Wretched Vigilantes, players will need the Wretched Role-Playing Game core book or another suitable old-school set of rules that align with the game’s mechanics"

Wretched Vigilantes clocks in at about eighty pages of super heroics done in the Wretched style and this is an add on book not so much a complete rpg unto itself. And this makes it very desirable for a DM such as myself whose looking for a setting to stage thier own adventures. Hammettville, infamously known as “Crime City.” has it's own distinctive voice and it's a voice that echoes through the undercurrent of Wretched Vigilantes
The setting & additional systems which is the vices & virtues system adds in many adventure & complication elements into the inner workings of Wretched Vigilantes. The old familar advesaries & monsters are lurking in the background. And there's definitely a huge opening of factions, supers, and whatnot that push Wretched Vigilantes into the world of Wretched New Flesh

This only makes sense given the recent adventure Novanexus. The world of Wretched Vigilantes is right down the road from Novanexus which means the 'Glitch' is more then a mere local phenemana. Forget the rival supers threatening the city and worry about all reality. 
The power players of Wretched Vigilantes are actually small patatoes compared with some of the other issues lurking in the back of the wretchedverse. 
I think that as an experienced Wretched DM I'd pair Wretched Vigilantes with Wretched Darkness & Agents of W.R.E.T.C.H.  

Why? Beacause quite frankly I'd love to see the 'villains' crushed by others who might be working the angles of Hammettville, infamously known as “Crime City.” for thier own benefit. The PC's could well be these folks. There's enough here within  Wretched Vigilantes to keep a campaign going for years. 
What I'm yammering about? Random encounters, plenty of random setting info, neighborhoods, villains, and more all make 
 Wretched Vigilantes highly well arounded as a supers setting.