Saturday, September 30, 2023

OSR Commentary On CM2 Death's Ride By Garry Spiegle & Adventurer Conqueror, King 1st edition Rpg

 "A cloud of death hangs over the land, as an unlikely trio of evildoers orchestrates a reign of terror over the tiny Barony of Twolakes Vale. Because of these fiends' actions, hordes of undead have escaped through a gateway from the Sphere of Death, laying the peaceful lands of the barony to waste and terrorizing its citizens. Can the undead be stopped?"

Right so let's pick this  right where we left off from yesterday with CM2 Death's Ride by Garry Spiegle, with cover and interior art by Jeff Easley. Let's get some history on this one from the CM2 Wiki entry;"Death's Ride (ISBN 978-0-88038-117-8) is a 1984 adventure module for the Dungeons & Dragons roleplaying game. Its associated code is CM2. The module was designed by Garry Spiegle, with cover and interior art by Jeff Easley." The main reason that we got involved with CM2 Death's Ride is because of the incredibly iconic Jeff Easiey cover. But the module has solid footing as the PC's pick right up from CM1; "The barony, which is ruled by Baron Sir Maltus Fharo, has sent no taxes, caravans, or messages in several months. A small body of troops sent by the king to investigate has not returned. At this time, Ericall doesn't have the resources to send a large body of troops, so he is asking the characters to go to the barony, find out what's wrong, and if possible, restore contact. The king gives the characters a royal warrant and permission to act in his name." 
Right so the situation is far worse then the king even remotely suspects with three NPC  villains combining thier strengths; "
Wazor an "Atlantean Mage", Ulslime a cleric of "Death" and  Korbundar the huge blue dragon who have opened a gateway into the literal sphere of Death'.  There is a huge horde of undead bearing down on the PC's. If we look at CM2's plot from the perspective of the Wiki entry here's the PC's break adventure plot breakdown;"A strange black cloud hangs over the Norworld barony of Two Lake Vale, which is cut off from the rest of the world. As the player characters move to investigate, they encounter armies of the living dead and other vile creatures besieging the last pockets of human resistance. The only relief is to find and destroy the dreadful Deathstone, which is responsible for the black cloud, thereby facing the united forces of an evil sorcerer, a powerful priest, and a mighty dragon' 
CM2 Death's Ride by Garry Spiegle is a perfect module to couple with the  Adventurer,Conqueror, King rpg! This is especially true for an epic or heroic level mini campaign. 

For Adventurer, Conqureor, King rpg CM2 is going to be run with PC's on the Conqueror's level. And that is from 7th level and up. And I'd say on the upperside of the ACK's level because this is such an epic module. CM2 for ACK's is one that could be run using ACK's Heroic Fantasy Handbook. All of the adventure elements are here within CM2 Death's Ride. From the kingdom details of the  Barony of Twolakes Vale, to the external threat presented by the undead horde and the three vile villains responsible.What is there within CM2 for the ACK's player's PC in CM2? Well besides an entire kingdom up for grabs and hordes of literal undead. There's plenty of twists and turns to keep the PC's interested. And besides t the Barony of Twolakes Vale is a perfect spot for the PC's to take over. 

The HOSTILE Situation Report 009 - Extraction - A Zaibatsu/Hostile Mini Campaign On Colony World - Tau Ceti Session Report 6

 Tau Ceti five was an interesting little romp with the PC's having to work with thier rivals 'The Coldwell group from last game session here on the blog. The September group went in hard with them putting thier mecha in to help with running miners and others on Tau Ceti five. This latest romp found the September group dealing with the local conditions with the wind whipping the paint off of thier military hardware quite nicely. What they didn't expect was to come under Chinese heavy fire. The Chinese mercs want the  final shipment of precious endopalladium waiting in a warehouse nearby. This follows closely with events depicted in  Paul Elliot's latest Hostile Situation Report #9 - Extraction. 

But we expanded way beyond the situation report because we had Chinese corporate  forces on the ground that had no business being there. And this became the focus for our party's cyberdoc. There was something 'off in his words' about the soldier's movements. And this is where we captured one of the Chines soldiers and something was way off about the guy. 
A quick once over by Sawbones our cyberdoc found one of Tau Ceti five's parasites wrapped around his brain stem. This explained the weird troop movemebt but not why they were trying to hijack the endopalladium. 
The Coldwell group's mercenaries had serveral modifications to them that made it very uncomfortable for the parasites to infect them. 

Conclusion the Coldwell group knew going into Tau Ceti five that there were Chinese corporate mercenary forces on the ground making extraction of the miners and the precious endopalladium a hazard. A then there's the creepy android scientist who keeps showing up with our party. This mission had corporate set up all over it. The Coldwell group uses equipment and tactics from Moon Toad  publishing's Bounty Hunter's Handbook 

And our creepy android scientist unit code named 'Roddy' wanted any parasites saved for him that were extracted. This didn't sit really well with the rest of the party. Did mention that our friendly Roddy unit looks exactly like a young Roddy McDowell from the classic Seventies show 'Fantastic Voyage'. And it also has the same moral compass as the character from the same show?! 

Now asside from the fire fight and some near hits from the miners. The September group managed to secure the precious endopalladium and the Roddy unit while stranding the Coldwell group on Tau Ceti five!
They have samples of the neural parasite, the Roddy android in thier brig, and two Chinese soldiers on ice. They also have several miner witnesses whose contracts they've taken on for thier own. 
The September Group fears that the neural parasites are part of the set up they encountered when they took on the Invaders from Attack Squadron Roswell. 
Thier heading back to meet up with thier troop transport & base to have the whole thing researched and analazed. 

Friday, September 29, 2023

OSR Commentary- '84 One Set To Rule Them All With Mentzer's Dungeons & Dragons Set 3: Companion Rules

 Let's pick it right back up from here on the blog. Nineteen Eighty four was a huge year when the Companion Dungeons & Dragons boxset hit the stands by Frank Mentzer. The Companion box set hit like a ton of bricks bringing the levels of the BECMI Dungeons & Dragons PC level climb past fifteenth level. And this was a big deal on multiple levels because it brought domain level play into Mentzer D&D. And this was a big deal for those of us who had switched up our D&D game campaigns. 

 What Mentzer Companion rules brought to the game were new monsters, higher levels, treasures, warfare rules, domain play rules, and more. Suddenly player's PC's could and were expected to rule a kingdom or vassseldom. The player's PC's had kingdoms, church dominations, and more to worry about. And this was hands on rulership for the adventurers. This wasn't a mollycuddle set of rules. Instead the players were expected to have thier hands get dirty leading hirelings and NPC retainers of thier armies from the frontlines. 

The Companion rules box set was completely different from say Moldvay or Cook in the fact that it spelled out levels 15-25 for PC's. And heavy was head that wore the crown. The Wilderness adventures that were featured in so many Expert adventures & dungeons were the realms that the PC's controlled. Strongholds, wizard towers, temples, etc. became the PC's stock and trade. 
And the Gods themselves couldn't help you if your old adventuring partner's decided to turn on you. Because party dynamics were very much in vogue in Mentzer's Companion rules. Because the Companion rules set was actually a real step into Advanced Dungeons & Dragons first edition if played right. 

Mentzer hit different because when going from Expert into Companion no longer was the X1 The Isle of Dread a place to be explored but a land to be conquerored! Companion had a whole cloth feel of something different because adventuring took on another aspect and marshalling your armies was part of the charm. 
Because D&D had gone so far mainstream it was a readily available rpg system. So  one could not only get it in '84 from hobby and toy stores. But it was becoming available through Sears & Wards toy catalog. 
Suddenly the possibilities opened up by the  Mentzer's Dungeons & Dragons Set 3: Companion Rules seemed within reach. Why have just a stronghold when you can have your PC's rule a kingdom! 

OSR Review & Commentary On Penney Tower By J.G. Desborough For The Wretched New Flesh Second Edition Rpg

Penney Tower was just released at the Red Room store, @biggeekemporium

and . It will be available later at in softcover. Penney Tower is a city sourcebook and an alternative location for the world of Wretched New Flesh, inspired by JG Ballard, and authored by ."

Penney Tower s a hard creation to get a handle on because it harkens back to the early days of the OSR & even in some early repects the appearance of The Red Room. The video by Grimjim basically covers the most basic aspects of Penney Tower. Penney Towers takes place in alternative & yet all too familar world of a JG Ballard universe. Penney Towers is a world unto itself where it's strange inhabitants have become literal residents and citizens for all time. Because Penney Towers is different every time you play it.

First of all when it comes to a physical copy of Penney Tower make sure you've got a copy of a Tarot deck handy. Not only is the Tarot necessary but absolutely vital to getting the full effect of the adventure/resource book's impact that is Penney Tower. Pay attention to the video for vital clues that make up this adventure location that is Penney Towers. 
And Penney Towers loses itself deeply in the themes of  The  Wretched New Flesh Second Edition Rpg & JG Ballard's Science Fiction & Fantasy creations. Alienation, the Seventies brutalism asthetic, the weirdness of the Science Fiction, and even the deep horror of the Penney Towers itself. And trust me the horror is right front and center at the level of some of the classic Lamentations of the Flame Princess rpg adventures. 

Penney Towers could be an alternative Wretched New Flesh second edition setting or simply another universe intruding on the reality of Aviladad. And it's the latter that we'll be going with. And Zonetec would have an absolute field day with Penney Towers. And a party of Zonetec enforcers might not make it out of the towers. 
And then the next question becomes could they?! 
If the reality Penney Towers London intrudes on the time period of Wretched New Flesh then the weird Seventies Ballardarian vibe of the place could begin to infect reality. Slowly the 'weirdness bacteria' of the Towers begins moving out into the surrounding neighborhoods. 
While Wretched New Flesh second edition rpg is weird Penney Towers takes this weirdness is a whole other level. Because each and everytime it's a literally different place. 

 Penney Tower By J.G. Desborough is well layed out, the fonts are easy on the eye. And the themes are creepy enough for many different gamers and hobbyists to really get an idea for this wacked out adventure location. James does an excellent job bringing his flair for Ballard and translating it into a full on Seventies world unto itself called Penney Towers.And for the Red Room crowd who loves thier Science Fiction and fantasy different grab this one! Well worth the 10 dollars and Penney Towers isn't someplace to stay but it may just become your PC's home. 

OSR Commentary On CM1 Test of the Warlords by Douglas Niles & Adventurer Conqueror, King 1st edition Rpg

 "The king requests your presence in the honorable kingdom of Norwold. If you're worthy, you may be appointed lord of a dominion filled with friendly villages, sturdy fortresses, and raging band of monsters."

"Raging bands of monsters?

Well, yes, and you may have to lead your forces into a war or two. But you'll be ready for the challenge. You'll be ready for treacherous spies who conspire to steal you land. You'll be ready for a foul band of giants that raids your dominions. And you'll be ready for the inevitable clash of empires, the outcome of which may alter the fate of millions. You'll be ready! Won't you?'

CM1 Test of the Warlords by Douglas Niles takes the PC's from 15th and above PC levels into the world of managing kingoms, retaking lands, and literally magaging a whole cloth domain.And it's even in the module's set up; "
With the fall of the Black Eagle Barony and its allied forces, the settled lands of the continent are now peaceful. Most of the land's dungeons have been plundered, and monsters have been driven from all but a few of the civilized dominions. Prosperity reigns throughout the land now, which is just how the rulers want it. The government is stable, and day-to-day life is routine. Prospects for adventure, however, are minimal. Then comes word from the north: the empire of Alphatia has claimed the vast lands of Norwold, and has appointed a king to rule over those lands. This monarch is in need of steadfast characters to administer the many dominions that may be carved from the wilderness of Norwold!" Anyone worth thier salt knows that this is BECMI's fabled Mystara. But how could CM1 Test of the Warlords by Douglas Niles be used with the modern clones such as Adventurer,Conqueror, King rpg?!Because CM1 was written for the Dungeons & Dragons Champion Box set then we're fading into ACK's Conqueror phase of PC level requirements. 

 This basically means that the forces of  the empire of Alphatia & all of it's allies are going to be on the middle end of the ACK's scale so between 7th level and upward. The PC's are going to have to deal with all of the problems that surround the world of the wilderness of Norwold! And that's no joke. The encounters of CM1 Test of the Warlords by Douglas Niles are going to test and could easily kill a party of ACK's PC's. This is especially true in the 'Conqueror' phase of an ACK's campaign. Mystara in CM1 is an untamed land & the the empire of Alphatia are seriously expanding it's borders. 
And there's are five reasons why CM1 Test of the Warlords works: 
  1. The CM1 campaign module allows the DM to show and demonstrate through actual play how to run and maintain a domain against external and internal threats.
  2. CM1 takes the player's PC's through actual dangerous encounters where PC death is an all too real reality. 
  3. The Test of the Warlords tasks the PC's to become royal vassels and to have them bare the burden of leadership. 
  4. CM1 introduces another aspect of Mystara into the world of Dungeons & Dragons and it can do the same for ACK's. 
  5. The module is a classic from another era before WoTC. 

Thursday, September 28, 2023

OSR Commentary - On Order - The Clement Sector Third Edition Rpg Book from Independence Games

 So tonight after talking it over with my players I took advantage of the Cyberpunk sale on Drivethrurpg to grab a physical copy of the Clement Sector rpg book in hardcover. For the past couple of weeks our Clement Sector campaign has been on hold. 

The 2d6 Space Western has been a favorite at our table top now for over a year now. Rogues, scholars, bounty hunters, and mad men have all been met at the crossroads of the Clement Sector. The game setting runs the gamit from exploration to full on criminal enterprises that our group has played through. The Clement sector book is six hundred & seventy three pages long!The Clement Sector has been a very expansive campaign setting for our Cepheus Engine rpg action. 
There are a couple of reasons that the Clement Sector has been one of our go too Cepheus Engine settings. First there is the fact that there's plenty of room to drop in real exploration. Second the fact that the Clement Sector is a humancentric setting. There is alien life but it's mostly of the alien animal lifeform variety. The story behind the Clement sector is the fact that it is cut off from the Earth home world. The blackness around the sector is literally unexplored and there's plenty of room to add in your own stamp. 
 The Clement Sector had been attached to the Earth Sector before the wormhole (or "Conduit" as it was called) the wormhole collapsed and the Clement found itself left to fend themselves, separated from Earth. And this has led to the The Clement Sector being divided by twelve sub-sectors with 335 planets (with many planets or sectors haven't actually been discovered). These planets are unique with thier own histories, cultures,militaries, etc. And there are plenty of room for unique and undiscovered planets or entire subsectors. And this is the beauty of the Clement Sector the setting feels like a Space Western with the blackness of space that could literally hold anything.  Now I've reviewed the Clement Sector rpg before on this blog but it's an awesome variation on the 2d6 Cepheus Engine Rpg. 

Stars Without Number Game Session Four - Phaseworld & Trey Causey's Strange Stars Campaign - You Can't Go Gnome Again

 The job from last session from the Engineer and his mafia bosses is a seemingly simple one. Take this genetic material to a Gnome asteroid colony for transport. In return we upgrade your ship, sell you weapons, and provisions. The players are not stupid so thier cybersneaks started checking for a 'gene guy' to check out the material. PC's were looking for viruses and bioweapons snuck into the sample of the material they received. 

This whole part of the session became a cat and mouse deal between the Lakota crew and the house mafia of Circus,Circus. The player's PC's hired Mr.LingKosmonik who looked over his intergalatic tarot and saw that the signs were favorable for him to work with the PC's. 
The genetic material checked out. So where the catch?! The catch is that the material belongs to a rival faction of 
 Gnomes who have lost the 'right' to reproduce and are at war with another rival faction. 
The PC's could end up within the sights of a Gnome rail gun and seemimgly on the outs with powerful mining concern. 
And of course the PC's took the job!

Yup oversaw the upgrades, provisions, and even the weapons ammo for this job. There was never any unathorized drones, droids, or personel from Circus,Circus, near the Lakota. 
I kept  Trey Causey's Strange Stars. And his OSR Strange Stars  rulebook handy and the Lakota departed Circus, Circus, & gate jumped into System 76/6 which is Gnome controlled space. Seven very large gas giants dominated the system. They headed for the largest past debris and several wrecks of ships. They transmitted thier codes and waited. A small transport came from the largest asteroid to meet them. And they had a weapons lock on them the whole time. They met the Gnome transporter and courier who took posession of the material. There were no real words exchanged. The players wanted to get out of the area as soon as possible! The Gnome's ship departed and the crew of the Lakota left Gnome's space. And that's when they spotted some sorta of small ship tailing them. As soon as they got within sight of the system gate they activated thier ace up thier sleeve thier Drivebox. The catch?! They have no idea where she'll take them! 

Wednesday, September 27, 2023

The Outworld setting As An Alternative Hostile rpg Campaign.

 When it comes to the Hostile rpg, we been talking about going back to the Outworld campaign we started ages ago using Hostile rpg rules. The reasons for this are myriad but it comes to the fact that the players love the September group Сентябрьская группаq organization that they've been using as thier over arching campaign corporation. 

We've basically filled in some of the Hostile rpg corporations and the Outworld campaign's corporations as rival factions within our games. We've got the Kosmos68 Soviets going head to head with some of the American and Japanese concerns. This has give me as one of the DM's a bit of a leg up when it comes to picking and choosing which ends of the setting are hitting the interstellar stage. 
And with the Hostile bundle of Holding going on. The players are more in line for getting in even more suppliments for Hostile. 
This isn't a bad thing it just means that as a DM I've got to think on my feet. 
And it also means that Zaibatsu is going to get even more of a work out at the table top level. There are three reasons for this. Fast PC generation, quick combat, and lethal rules. 
The Soviets have thier own section of space carved out but they have secrets. From the fact that they've been dealing with an alien threat to the fact that they've got psionists. The Soviet corporations are barely making ends meet. 


The player's PC's have already faced down several deadly threats. And because of the fact that thier mercenaries they've taken everything in stride. But for how much longer?! 
The Soviets know that there's some heavy duty weirdness happening among the stars. The September group has already encountered both flying saucers, and the alien threats that go with them. 

Tegel Manor - Worlds Without Number & Cities Without Number Rpg -B6 The Veiled Society By David Cook

 "Dawn's light reached through the window to shine on the man who sat brooding in the chair. Cartha Radu, brother to Anton Radu (the leader of the Veiled Society), was thinking. "Today is the day," he said to himself. "Today is the day to bring my plan into action," Cartha smiled. Below his tower window, the cityfolk slowly awoke. Today was the Festival of Lucor. The goodwives flung open their shutters to the morning. Fishmongers and hawkers heartened their cries. Actors and jugglers filled the streets, up from their beds of straw in the stables." 

" On a dusty road a few miles outside the city, a small group roused itself. Some stretched their cramped bones, pained by a night on the damp grass. Others polished their swords and armor. With little ado, they packed their small camp and set out on the road once more. The excitement tingled among them, for today they would reach the city of Specularum — the home of their new fortune" 

So the other day I put up on twitter a picture of B6 The Veiled Society by David Cook. Now I've been thinking about this classic module for a couple of days. And there's been a crazy idea in the back of my head. What if  the city of Specularum was a part of an interplanetary society that has been cut off from the rest of the universe by some unknown indimensional event. Or alternative which we might go with is the idea here that the PC's from our Tegel Manor campaign find themselves with the manor shifting into the city of Specularum. The festival is coming up and the free familes are at it again & new prosepects are out to prove themselves. The Radu, The Torenescu, &  the Vorloi family are separate corporations and family run rivals who control the city. They each have thier own distinctive cybernetics and ways. The mega city has five thousand people within it's gates and is run with 'The Purge' style night of the 'Festival of Lucor'. The city of Specularum is situated within what used to be Italy or near the ruins of Europe. 
The inns, the encounters, etc. all remain the same because of the fact that atmosphere of B6 The Veiled Society was created as a tourist destination for the ultrarich. The fact that these families are at an urban war with one another has continued for generations. And this plugs into the ideas of Cities Without Numbers rpg cyberpunk asthetic. 

Our PC's are going to be dropped into the middle of the urban warfare as things are heating up between the families before the festival. Insults, fights, etc. all come into the mix within the city before the 'Festival of Lucor' kicks events off. And the PC's are put in the middle of this. And then there's fact that there could be a connection to The Barony of Horn & the events surround 'The Legion of Gold'. The PC's have the intel on the Legion and they have to escape the facility, get back to the mansion before it jumps, and survive the machinations of Tegel Manor. 

So this leads the PC's to taking on the machinations of the events of B6 The Veiled Society. And possibly forging new alliances.