Friday, July 31, 2015

Review & Commentary On Five Year Mission From Ivanhoe Unbound For The White Star Rpg System

The White Star rpg has been based on the Swords and Wizardry engine pretty much catters to the pulp and Star Wars style space opera genre. It also has one of the most active and passionate  fan bases imaginable pumping out incredible content for the game as fast as possible. But much of the OSR material for the game has centered around this style of space opera and Star Trek style adventuring has been lacking. And yes there are a number of OSR products and retroclone that meet that need. This isn't what Five Year Mission by Kirt A. Dankmyer is, instead this is an add on tool kit support system for adding in federation style star ships casts and crew to your White Star Games. But Kirt this isn't a complete product, its a product that has some development and the designer/writer wants to share it with you! And at .70 cents can you go wrong?

Grab It Right Over

Five Year Mission adds in tongue and cheek elements to the game in Kirt's solid writing style and it adds in a whole other dimension to your White Star games. This book adds in all of the usual suspects from Trek to your White Star Games. Think about that all of the usual suspects are now dropped straight into your Space Opera games of White Star. Here's the offical word from Ivanhoe Unlimited:
BUT it will transform into the final product! As more is added, the price will go up! But you'll get the updated version, free of charge!
What is it about? It's a supplement for White Star with a sort of Star Trek theme.
Right now, it contains:
  • FIVE (5) new classes: Engineer, Expendable, Guerilla, Sawbones, and Scientist!
  • FOUR (4) new racial classes: Exiled Ruler, Living Starship, Quixoitic Alien, and Simulacrum!
  • FOUR (4) new starships and THREE (3) new starship modifications, including the Quantum Teleporter!
  • FOUR (4) new NPC alien races!
  • A handful of other things, mostly equipment!
But let's take this a step further, have you ever wondered about those away missions that have gone wrong during those five years out in the middle of unexplored space? What would happen if some Star Wars style adventurers ran smack into the midst of this business? Well now you can and at .70's cents its easy to get into the back end of the action. Most of the material here is well done and plays out someplace between the original Star Trek series and Next Generation with a combination of the two possible and easily done. Now there are tons of Star Trek expanded universe material out there to use. What Five Year Mission does is saves you half of the head ache of searching for it and hunting through tons of books to locate facts and figures. Five Year Mission isn't complete but its a damn fine start to a promising book that could add a ton of material to the White Star Universe for Old School play. Personally I would get in on the ground floor cheaply and then as things build you the old school DM is ahead of the curve.
There are several other possible uses for Five Year Mission easily right out of the gate. It could be used to emulate those dirty and dangerous failed colonies we used to hear about on Star Trek in both the original series and the Next Generation. Combined with elements already in  White Star this book could simulate a post apocalyptic world or colony. Used to get PC's right smack into the middle of dangerous situations in the wastelands. This book could be used with elements of Swords and Wizardry  added in to simulate elements of science fantasy or monsters who have become mutational horrors reminiscent of some the classic D&D or AD&D modules such as Expedition to the Barrier Peaks. And you've got the makings of a complete campaign for years to come. The possibilities here are endless and its only .70 cents right now. Personally I can see a myriad of uses for this product and as a Star Trek fan this is a welcome addition to the growing White Star universe and family of products

Thursday, July 30, 2015

Lulu OSR Mini Haul Update

So about a week or so Lulu had a massive sale on their titles with codes and all kinds of promotions, I took full advantage of this to order some titles that I had on my list of must get OSR material titles.
Petty Gods was at the top of the heap because I knew the quality of the title and damn its a nice book with lots and lots of OSR adventure potential. I have been seriously fawning  about the title's pdf for months. The Star Ship From Hell by Neoplastic Press, & Obscene Serpent Religion.
CC1 The Creature Compendium By Richard Leblanc Jr. was also on my list of must gets. Possibly one of the best monster books I've seen slanted to various editions of  the products of your imagination.  Every title I got from the sale that Lulu ran is going to give me a tremendous amount of gaming utility in the field and is going to get a ton of mileage at my table. The books are well laid out, the bindings tight, the material top drawer and I've got a ton of uses for these titles at my table. Dark Albion is going to have to wait as I've still got some other real life issues pressing in on me at the moment.

Ernest Gary Gygax Jr.'s Marmoreal Tomb Campaign Starter by Ernest Gary Gygax Jr Kickstarer For Your Old School Campaigns

Go Fund This Kickstarter Right Over

So for the past two year or more now, I've been quietly lurking on the fringes of Ernie Gygax's Facebook page watching and reading about hints of this project with Benoist Poirie : Frenchman and mapper extraordinaire on the Dungeon Hobby Shop Facebook group forever it seems.
The Marmoreal Tomb Campaign Starter is a completely self-contained sandbox module introducing Ernest Gary Gygax Jr.'s setting, The Hobby Shop Dungeon, and the lands of the Duinnsmere around it, to the gaming masses. The Marmoreal Tomb can be played entirely on its own, in whole or in parts, or used at the game table in conjunction with other GP Adventures offerings. It can be used with its own default setting of The Duinnsmere, and/or in conjunction to other settings, published and home-brewed. Its design seeks to reflect both the way Ernest Gary Gygax Jr. runs the game, and to be amenable to one's own preferences and play styles.
THE HOBBY SHOP DUNGEON is an adventure game setting originally created by Ernest Gary Gygax Jr. in 1978 while working as a clerk for the fondly-remembered Dungeon Hobby Shop of Lake Geneva, WI. Inspired by the many games and campaigns he played with his father and many friends, and aided by incomplete maps initially drawn by Terry Kuntz, Ernest came up with a large sprawling dungeon complex that could be used to run games at the store. Since then, more than a thousand players have explored its depths, as remembered by Ernest, including TSR alumni, family members, customers and gamer friends, up to 22 players per sitting! It has been played in a variety of venues including Margaret Weis’s and Don Perrin’s Game Guild, in California’s Dungeons & Dragons Entertainment division, as a special event for game conventions and many more besides.

This is this entire dungeon and setting around it that GP Adventures wants to bring to publication via its Hobby Shop Dungeon game line, starting now with the Marmoreal Tomb Campaign Starter.

This is one of the Kickstarters I've been quietly waiting for in the background for months, I know how hard the authors have worked on this one. Its extraordinary that its out in the wild now. My advice right is to get on board and see where this is going to go! Go pledge & I'll be following this one up in the next couple of weeks to see how it get's funded.
Given the Gygax legacy, the professionalism that the authors bring to the table and the amount of work that's been put behind this project I wouldn't hesitate to get involved if I were you. This looks like an excellent product that's going to be taken to market. I'm really digging Mark Allen's artwork and what I've read on this project!

This is one of the bits that has me really excited; THE GYGAXIAN GAME. The Marmoreal Tomb has to present an authentic Gygaxian game play experience and present it in an original, unaltered format for those that want it. As such, the module is described by default using first-edition compatible rules, which allow game masters and players to experience the module the way it was played at Ernest Gary Gygax Jr.'s game table. This play style is directly inspired by the games Ernest played with his father, obviously, and we couldn't pass on the opportunity to bring about the publication of an entire castle and campaign that would honor and address this play style in an authentic fashion today.
Since the first advanced rules of the game are readily available for anyone to peruse today, whether in their original or free OGL formats, this default presentation will also be useful to those who use different editions and variants of the game, as they will be able to get access to the original format, use the material and tweak it in a manner significant to their own game and campaigns, whatever play style that implies.
Way too many companies and authors seem to forget this fact today but I know the 'ins' and 'outs' of the way that the designers and authors have applied their skills to the Marmoreal Tomb Campaign Starter. So to me its going to be an interesting time waiting and watching where this Kickstarter goes!  Get on board today!

Wednesday, July 29, 2015

Shilrongo The Undead Kingdoms Of Atlantandria For Your Old School Campaigns

The undead kingdoms of Atlantandria are the remains of ancient Atlantian kingdoms that survived the fall of their world. Deep within the desert wastelands  there are hidden oasis where traders, slavers, and others go to sell their wares in deep wasteland markets take & on profits of gold, super science relics, do business. These traders make sure to be gone by sun set or they are never seen again. The sound of flapping wings marks the passing of these fools. There are those who say that the gates of Hell itself have allowed the dead to return to the lands of the living. Several orders of witch hunters, exorcists, and knights as well as wizards maintain sleeper cells and cults within the lands of Shilrongo trying to ascertain the weird agendas of its undead rulers.

Shilrongo is a land of deep crypts, ancient ruins, roaming tribes of mutants, desert dwellers, and jackals of unusual aspect. There are those who swear that the jackals are really the undead rulers in disguise. The Big Book of Vampires - A lore book of the ancient demon slayer sects tells the legends, wisdom, and stories of these ancient demonic monsters. Those who find a copy will find notes scribbled in its pages and the possibility of 1d4 spells of white or gray magick.

There are always slaves who are fed upon the blood of their masters and serve as their go betweens during daylight hours. These agents are often canny and dangerous on their own, they can be quite confident and are often former adventurers and wield energy weapons or other super science devices in their master's names.  These agents often track and scout out parties as potential food sources and footmen for their master's weird agendas. This often means opportunities for adventure and profit or sheer death under the fangs of a half forgotten demonic race of beings. There is one ancient space port still in semi operation that takes in minor trade these days but it is half neglected and mostly forgotten.
The lords and ladies of Shilrongo wait to take on new blood as the years roll on. There are half vampires who even now roam the wastelands of Accursed Atlantis.

1d4 Random Encounters in Shilrongo
The Undead Kingdoms Of Atlantandria Table

  1. A band of 1d6 adventurers traveling on mutant lizards to bring slaves to market for sales to the 'Deliverers'. Armed with energy weapons and fight as second level fighters, 30% chance of a wizard of second level or better among them. 
  2. A giant mutant bat creature with an undead sorcerer rider decked out in leather armor style gear wearing a gas mask, armed with a bulky laser weapon. 
  3. 1d6 desert phantoms with the shapes of ladies, shimmer and waver in the heat of the day only to disappear as soon as looked at dead on. 
  4. An injured knight of the White light whose been infected with ghoul plague and is stumbling along only to turn as soon as the sun sets!

Review & Commentary On The Fantastic Heroes And Witchery Rpg System For Your Old School Campaigns Part II

You can find part I of this review series right over here . Now when a DM starts really tearing into the Fantastic Heroes and Heroes Witchery rpg system book, this can seem a bit familiar and a bit intimidating. This is a four hundred page monster of a book and it goes right into the old school style of getting the adventurer outfitted with everything from swords to ten foot poles. Much of this is going to look familiar to the average old schooler at whom this product is squarely aimed! The artwork echoes and pulls from the pop culture of AD&D post Seventies and pre-second edition era AD&D. There is a health dose of 3rd put into the back bone as well which has been twisted through a strainer by the author via the OGL with some very cleaver writing and slight of hand. What this means essentially is that the DM can pull from 1st, 2nd, 3rd, and Fifth edition AD&D with a sprinkling of 4th in races, PC classes, some cosmology, and a bit of modern thrown in to handle science fiction,sword & planet, and sword & sorcery to boot but its done in such a way as to be clever and it makes all of the hard work of conversion has been done for you. As a DM this is a life saver, also from a plus side there are appendixes for working with other retroclone style systems such as OSRIC and AD&D 1st edition as well as other retroclone systems such as the Labyrinth Lord system along with the Advanced Companion set. While not specifically named or anything for copyright & trade mark  reasons all of the tools are right there.

The big selling point was the fact that the author has included all of the basic tools for horror and science fantasy all under under one hard back. The classes for weird fantasy, horror from Ravenloft style to investigative Lovecraftian horror is all right there. The classes are well done and such that the DM could with little effort even run a Harry Potter style campaign with just what's in the book. Or even a post apocalyptic campaign with little prep time. The classes are all well balanced and this includes the fact that they all pull from the same experience table. This makes blending genres pretty much a snap with side systems and add ons all at the DM's finger tips but pay attention to the simple skill system because fantasy classes and science fiction ones don't always cross pollinate. But with a bit of slight of hand it should be easy to deal with on the DM's part.
 This book takes huge number of options from second edition AD&D and the Chinese resturant menu of 3.0 and 3.5 edits all of that business into a book that has everything you need right out of the gate to get into a concise mode of play. The character sheet is simple but that's fine with me, there's a nice one with fill one will all of the bells and whistles right over Here along with a ton of  free support.
 The equipment section gives all of the usual fantasy material but then shifts the tone straight over to pulp and weird tales as well with laser pistols and sci fi gadgets. This is fine because with a few tweaks & the science fantasy  a DM can run anything from Flash Gordon to straight up pulp heroes! Did I mention that this is all under one hard back and it easily takes all of those weird 3.0 & 3.5 hardbacks and makes them useful. There's even a space ship lurking in the background of this game!

 Combat is easy, quick and handles like a DM is used to, a stripped down no nonsense approach that has a number of options and add ons that allow the player and DM to customize the action without holding up the game for hours and hours. Yes 4th edition I'm looking your way!
 Hazards from pit traps to radiation is all here as well and its been stripped down, streamlined, and sectioned as per the usual saving throws from the OGL with a few minor twists and turns. I approve of these because they make my life easier and quicker. The systems here are brought together and blended in a clever way. Fantastic Heroes & Witchery provides a streamlined game engine with a myriad of options that is broadly compatible with any edition of AD&D.
 Religion is a whole other ball of wax in FH&W, the cosmology makes sense with a broad based system based on allegiances to gods and goddesses and agents. There is a Moorcock feel of eternal champion lurking in the background with the dark powers truly nasty and corrupting and the powers of Law light and good.  There is a massive twist on druids and all of this makes perfect sense with the addition of PC classes such as the friar, witch hunter, and much more. Yes the alignment system as you know it is out the window sort of. Travel into the afterlife is horrid and dangerous all of which ties back into the six hundred sixty six spells something I'll get into in part three!
 To wrap up Fantastic Heroes and Witchery is a tool box of sheer OSR awesomeness and one of my best purchases from the OSR. It does what it says on the tin and gives the DM  430 pages of rules to play either in the vanilla fantasy, dark fantasy, or swords & planets genres, with its rules on corrupting sorcery, technological equipment, and much more.

Part III coming up soon!

Tuesday, July 28, 2015

New Monster - The Ixus Manibus For Your Old School Campaigns

When the swirling riotous horror of Chaos intrudes into the local space time, often the very store houses of the Abyss, the Outer Darkness and Hell itself spill into the wastelands. This mix of souls, ancient terrors, dark dimensional energies, mutational protoplasmic goo is known as 'the Ixus Manibus'. Cursed with undeath these former souls, and life energies are as toxic sludge to the living. They can cause incredibly dangerous and cancerous mutation in the living, yet this does not stop dark occultists and summoners from tapping into this most dangerous power. These hateful beings despise the living and all things of order, they are able to form into horrid spirits within 1d3 rounds. Capable of being controlled with some forms of necromantic magick the Ixus Manibus will break free of control 60% of the time requiring a Charisma check to intimidate them into complying with their master's wills. Summoned to the material plane these horrors form into blue black pits of swirling malevolent energies that have a 40% chance of causing mutations in victims unless the appropriate saves are made or special super science spirit traps are used to hold them. The sheer volume of malevolence and cancerous horror can be problematic though as these gelatinous horrors slide and fold themselves upon victims. Circles of power can keep them at bay and will protect parties from their toxic semi demonic presence.
Ixus Manibus
Frequency: Uncommon
No Appearing: 2d30 
Alignment: Chaotic Evil 
Armor Class: 8
Hit Dice: 2 
% in lair: 30% 
Treasure Types:E 
No Attacks: 2 
Damage/Attack 2/1-4 
                                                 Special Attacks: Cause Fear, Undead Immunities, Harmed only by Magical or Silver Weapons, Touch Causes Victims to Age 1d10 years unless saves are made 
Intelligence: Semi to Average 
Size: L 20 foot square 
Saving Throw: 12
Morale :10 
Experience points 1,900  
Psionic Ability: Nil 
Attack/Defense Modes: Nil
The Ixus Manibus are sometimes found around ancient Atlantian super science ruins or old Lemurian military bases where the spiritual batteries and holding cells used to power ancient weapon systems have broken down. These horrors can be used to replenish magick spells of a black or infernal aspect. Those who make a successful wisdom check can connect with the deep demonic essence of these horrors and draw 1d6 magick spells back within their minds even as the infernal taint and suffering weaves its way around the black wizard's mind.
These horrors love to drain the living and semi living of their life essences and swallow the souls of wizards. They gain intelligence and wisdom from such acts. Certain tribes of witches and hags love to capture and trade relics and artifacts for these horrors. Guilds of black & wicked necromancers summon pools of these horrors for uses in military weapons of mass destruction. Liches sometimes also call upon these horrors to power their evil unlives and grow in power with black magick techniques of the blackest magick. Demons and devils of Chaos loath these things as the lowest of the low processed waste products of the damned. Yet they value the vast stories of these once lives.


James Ward Update & Metamorphosis Alpha: Epsilon City by Goodman Games Kickstarter

If you've been following up yesterday's blog entry then you know that my friend James Ward went into surgery. James is the creator, writer, editor,etc. of Metamorphosis Alpha 1st edition and Gamma World. And so much more.  Well, that was yesterday. Last night I got this update and this was the best news last night I had last night.

Good news everyone! From James Ward himself!
"The operation went well and thanks to Al Buckolz I have been able to read all of my well wishes this evening. I'm very thankful for my friends and their good thoughts. Thank you all very much."
My prayers and thoughts are with the Ward family today. Right, so I thought that was the end of the awesomeness, but alas no it wasn't. This morning I got up to a brand new Metamorphosis Alpha Kickstarter by Goodman games. With a new source book for Goodman game's coffee table edition of MA. The Epsilon City source book details that city that you saw in the original Metamorphosis Alpha rule book from the original edition.

Get right on board over HERE

So how is this a different strain of mutation from other Metamorphosis Alpha kickstarters?
Here's the source book introduction from the Kickstarter :
On a spaceship 50 miles long that launched with more than a million colonists, Epsilon City was the single largest habitation. It was filled with entertainment centers, apartments, and offices for all the people moving about the ship during the long voyage. The city was designed to be maintained by its own artificial intelligence (A.I.) and a special series of robots able to maintain areas of the city when breakdowns happened.
Epsilon City wasn’t even half full three hundred years ago, when the interstellar radiation cloud destroyed the people of the ship and turned 99% of them into piles of white ash. The city was wiped out. Now, three hundred years later things are vastly different in the city. The A.I. is insane and has an aggressive personality. The special robots have had to change or be destroyed, and have mutated much like the rest of the life on the ship. Wolfoid packs now inhabit many sections of the city and consider this metropolis their lair. And many more dangers lurk, hidden and waiting to be explored...

The contents of the sourcebook include:

  • Details on Epsilon City itself. This includes an overview of the city’s geography, random encounter tables, and an illustrated description of key locations, encounters and situations that players can encounter, and new equipment and mutations for players.
  • The Cyborg Archetype: This section is new player material, including the first-ever publication of the Cyborg archetype, an all-new character class for Metamorphosis Alpha players!
  • The City Blocks: The irradiated city blocks have been repopulated by humans, mutants, and worse! This section of the book details the strange factions that now occupy Epsilon City’s urban centers. Each of the vast original apartment complexes was created with a fun historical theme. The ship replicators still supply costumes and equipment suitable for that theme, even though the human residents were turned to ash three hundred years ago. Now, in the pirate-themed section of the city, Wolfoids communicate with the insane A.I. of the city and arm themselves with metal cutlasses and real blunderbuss pistols and rifles! Throughout Epsilon City are other strange mutant civilizations, living in the ship’s simulations of ancient Egypt, ancient Rome, the Vikings, American Indians, Aztecs, and other places. This section of the book describes these bizarre city blocks and their inhabitants.
  • The Maps: What good is a city book without many good maps? The core content will include at least three 11”x17” maps. Depending on stretch goals, we intend to expand the book to include more maps and potentially a large poster map.
  • The adventures: A series of complete, short adventures ready to play.

My captain, my captain,! This is a very exciting time to be a Metamorphosis Alpha fan!

Monday, July 27, 2015

Happy International Gary Gygax Day & James Ward Update

Happy international Gary Gygax day! July 27th - A day for Role Players throughout the world to celebrate the man that helped create one of the worlds greatest hobbies. I've been drinking tea and trying to put the legacy of this man into words. Every time I get together with my friends and have a game, write or design something. Pick up a Dragon magazine or do something related to OD&D or AD&D its a bitter sweet thing. Someone whom I admired along with so many others is gone. While I do hold games to celebrate the life its at times bitter sweet. There are so many things I would have liked to have said and asked of Mr.Gygax. And I'd love to have played a war game or two with him. Even more so then D&D, I'd love to have played that imaginary war game with miniatures with him. A game that in my mind has gone on for 30 plus years with different forces from history.

I also find it sort of weird that my friend James Ward went into surgery. James is the creator, writer, editor,etc. of Metamorphosis Alpha 1st edition and Gamma World. And so much more.
He's probably had as much influence on me as Mr. Gygax. Right now he's been into surgery two hours and change ago.
From his James Ward's facebook page," Monday July 27th
In just two hours I'm having a medical procedure to put stints in the veins of my leg. My amputated foot isn't healing at all and they want more blood flow. A very nice nurse named Kim just came in and tried to cheer me up. She said I need to be a patient patient (sp). I'm always a little frightened when they put me under that I won't have all of my brain power when I wake up. It's not in my hands today. I really appreciate all the outpouring of thoughts and prayers. I'm a firm believer in the power of prayer and thank all of my facebook friends for sending up good thoughts. I worked on some miniature rules and enjoyed that yesterday. I also have a great Camelot adventure I'm writing right now. Thank you all again for being there."
James Ward and the Ward family along with all of his friends are in my thoughts and prayers today. Yes I will be getting together with friends this evening and celebrating the hobby that I love so much. Positive thoughts, prayers etc on International Gary Gygax to everyone.

Sunday, July 26, 2015

Hainitugobae A New Narcotic Menace For Your Old School Campaigns

There is a new menace that has reared its head in the back alleys of the cities of accursed Atlantis. Hainitugobae is a brand new menace to the mages, wizards, and practitioners of the dark arts, this liquid grey green glowing distillation is the latest menace from the forces of Chaos that threatens the magick stability of the plane. Many times practitioners of the dark arts are pushed to the very edge of existence and beyond by the demands of adventures.  Hainitugobae is sold only in the most unsavory alleyways and black market locations of accursed Atlantis. The drug has been created from the very soul run off from the Damned from the endless suffering and torment , after enduring the very worst that Hell and the Abyss this blackish material of torture is refined and processed by a certain guild of demons.

This run off is collected and put through certain esoteric processes then it finally becomes a black green goo that has particular effects on wizards when smoked or injected into the user's body especially after a day when the powers of the wizard is put to the test. Hainitugobae temporarily adds in 1d4 temporary wisdom and constitution points are added in as the user gains incredible cosmic insights. The drug never quite lives up to the reputation the stuff has among black magicians. If the wizard has exhausted all of his spells for this day; the wizard after taking an injection will gain 1d4 magickal spells but these are temporary at best. The user of this material must make a save vs poison after injecting this stuff or become addicted to the drug and dependent upon the high of power and damnation that comes with this infernal materal.

After taking this drug the PC's should roll on the random 1d4 effects table as
the powers of the Abyss rage through the poor fool's system! Each hit of Hainitugobae will cost 1000 gold pieces per hit and is meant to be taken by injection or smoked in a blessed water pipe. There is supposedly another version of this drug that allows the owner to access certain weird or menacing powers. This version fo the drug is rumored to be sold in certain star ports and other black market venues.

1d4 Random Hainitugobae Effects Table
  1. The victim gains back his spells as if he rested for a full day but he also generates a horrid sulfur smell in a 20 foot radius. 
  2. The victim's skin erupts in six hundred and sixty six mini faces that will talk, spread  rumors, and generally make life a living hell for the users. 
  3. The user can see 1d6 undead spirits around them. These spirits expose weakness and dangerous circumstances. There is a 60% chance that the owner will drag some weird thing from the depths of Hell and it will haunt the owner. 
  4. The user's stomach is infected with a giant Abyssal tape worm which will attempt to open a gate within the body of the user into the Abyss.

Review & Commentary On The Fantastic Heroes And Witchery Rpg System For Your Old School Campaigns Part One

I've been playing around with Fantastic Heroes & Witchery's hardback now for a few months and its been my default house retroclone since it made it through the door here. Fantastic Heroes & Witchery is one of those clones that ticks all of my buttons for a retroclone system. But why? Well right off the bat let's go over dollar value, if your a DM then you've probably got a ton of  3.0,3.5,D20 Modern books, Pathfinder books, etc.. All laying around in your closets book shelves, etc. that you keep meaning to take to the used book shop. With this gaming Rosetta stone you can get the most out of your gaming from 1st edition right up through fifth because of the way that Fantastic Heroes and Witchery is set up. Everything is right under the one hardcover.
Fantastic Heroes and Witchery is a trimmed up and spruced up version of AD&D  which  provides a streamlined game engine with a myriad of options that is broadly compatible with any edition of the world's most popular fantasy game. You get things ported over from the 3.0 era and more like unified experience table, Base Attack Bonus instead of THAC0, or a saving throw system(a single target number, starting high and going down with experience, combined with bonuses/penalties of the targeted attribute). Saves are based on abilities, alignments are cosmic forces while character can pledge their loyality to and existence with an allegiance system. There is a complete reworking of the Cleric as well.

 The hardback is gorgeous and really nicely put together, each traditional race has its own racial classes as well as their own twists. Let's face it this game has been put together with the express purpose of  being used by experienced DM's who've been running OD&D & AD&D games from college on. This isn't a beginner or inexperienced DM's game. This a game that takes race, class, and racial class mixes them into a way that makes perfect sense to me.

While its friendly and open, the game favors not the pretentious but the experienced. You can run everything from high fantasy through pulp hero games, the author knows his stuff and the artwork provides a gritty and weird fantasy feel to it. There's even a post apocalyptic back door slip in with artifact and relic rules as well as science fantasy classes all within their own sections. The science fantasy and pulp elements including the classes get their own sections in the game.
 Right out of the gate do yourselves a favor and spring for the hardback, its well worth the price of admission with the pdf being a nice option with the huge Christmas in July sale from Lulu. For me given my eyes the hardback was the only way to go. The material here is crisp and friendly for OSR style gaming. There is a huge amount of free on line content which is growing by leaps and bounds. The science fantasy and pulp sections gets their due with a ton of on line support right over HERE.  
Don't think that the traditional high, dark, and low fantasy elements of D&D don't get their own sections either for online support.  Things like this free pdf :
A free 20 pages document with 11 classes to use in FH&W. This is a major update and expansion of a former document that proposed the Agent of the Gods (i.e. cleric), Spellcasting Bard, Paladin, and War-mage, as they were found in older editions of the game. But now, this new document adds the Draconic Sorcerer, Shadowdancer, Swan Maiden, Warrior Monk, and others. The classes as they originally appeared, but still with a FH&W twist! Eleven Converted Classes – PDF
Available right over HERE
 The alignment systems are completely reworked with an eye toward magick, religion, a complete retake on the divine and the planes as well as huge sub working of the spells all six hundred and sixty six of them. They're done with twists so the players and DM should read them because these are not your standard fare here. There are differences in the way the flavor and effects have been done.
 Details such as binding, paper quality, and how the book is put together are well thought out with an eye toward actual use. I love this fact and I know that my book has stood up for several months now and shows no sign of wearing down at all.
 I'm a detail oriented person and FH&W ticks all of my buttons as far as having everything I need under one hardback instead of twenty or thirty meaningless splat books that take up shelf space. There isn't a day that hasn't gone by when I haven't had this book sitting right next to my Lamentations of the Flame Princess hardback or my copy of AD&D Dungeon Master's Guide. Yes its that damn useful to me as a DM.
 This is a game that takes race and uses it as a complete system of rpg palette, all of the standards are there:
Dwarf, elf, halfling, half-elf, gnome, halfling, half-orc and of course human with racial classes thrown in to boot. Then some ties with the author's twists on tieflings, &  dark elves. Then some weird tales and pulp races with Tainted Humans, Exotic Humans, &  Earthlings along with Primates (ape-men), Reptilians, Revenants(undead as PC's), Winged Folk, and Witchlings (humans mutated by sorcery). All of these are slightly stronger then standard PC's. This all reminds me of Michael Moorcock's dark fantasy fiction in places as well as standard tropes from D&D editions over the years. But this is all done with an eye towards the modular nature of the game. This is a DM's game straight up, the game doesn't have a set campaign world, thank God. Seriously there is enough under the hood that a DM could write up their own campaign world in a heart beat.
Mr Dominique Crouzet  knows his material and provides the DM with more then thirty classes and spells, then back tracks on itself with a boat load of additional appendix for things taking level play above what's in the standard sections. Then you get city, town, and additional PC backgrounds, fighter options,etc. all provided with an intuitive and instinctive feel for the DM. Skill checks are based on a d20 roll plus bonus vs. difficulty with none of the skill points from third edition.
 The game has an expansive but by no means exhaustive equipment list but it provides the DM with a nice bench mark of material, there are even pulpy and science fantasy equipment here but by no means the Rifts rpg level of over glut. There is enough here to provide the DM with everything needed to run a John Carter of Mars games to a pulpy space adventure all under the same hood along with material for running a Conan style sword and sorcery game or combining all of this together. This is a game that treats OSR gaming as a whole and does it with wit and style in a system that makes senses. But this is a four hundred page book that I've been using for months now. So this review may take a part one, two, or three.

End of Part One

Saturday, July 25, 2015

1d4 'Random When The Door To Hell Is Left Open' Encounter Table For Your Old School Campaigns

The planes of accursed Atlantis are the subject of demonic and infernal magick all of the time as cults try to gain power over one another and more then one would be wizard or despot makes a pact with powers from beyond the gates of the Abyss or the Outer Darkness. But there are always traces left behind and elements of weirdness that linger after a demonic summoning.

After the dust, sulfur, and demonic fringe elements have fled back to the Abyss or Hell by being dismissed by the wizard or magus are there other demonic elements that can linger and exploit the crack or pinprick in reality as broken damn or dike holds back the waters of an ocean? The answer is unfortunately yes as the powers of Hell itself seek to break down the gates of our reality and charge in taking with them all of our existences as one might snuff out a candle. Dungeons and isolated ruins make the perfect venue for such things as summonings where the deeds of darkness will not easily be observed in the wastelands of accursed Atlantis. There is a 40 to 60% chance of these left open doorways developing into full blown Hellmouths

1d4 'Random When The Door
To Hell Is Left Open' Encounter Table
  1. A 4 hit point slime made up from the souls of the damned and the fragments of dreams collected by the dross of disappointment pooled into the thing's half existence. Weapons only do half damage as the thing will seek out the nearest wizard to pour itself through every available orifice and open the gateway to the Abyss. Knows 1d3 spells including the open portal spell of seventh level by instinct. 
  2. A harpy like half human demonic thing made from the left over bits of various sacrifice victims. The thing will worms and worry its way over to the nearest fighter of first level or greater so that it can make a claw attack for 2d6 points of damage and lay eggs that will develop into horrid imp like creatures  to crack open the doorway between worlds. 
  3. The sacrificial dagger has become a living weapon of +2 intent but has been corrupted by the Abyssal forces. The thing has a demonic ego of 30 and intends to murder the next fool to pick it up and use their body as a living sleeve to open the door with the pinprick already here. 1d4 demonic insect like imps already serve this thing. 
  4. A winged demon undead thing waits just over the Threshold to pry open the doorway to the abyss for already a demon possessed hag who was the sacrificial victim awaits any fools blundering into this place. She has a bio mechanical spewing weapon that eats flesh as acid with a range of 40 feet and an agenda of her own. Her undead demonic state can be concealed as an illusion and she loves her new state of being and power that comes with it. She will play the victim for as long as it takes to seduce the party into a vulnerable position for sacrifice and murder.

1d6 Random Weird Salt Flats Encounters Table For Your Old School Campaigns

The tumbled down ruins that surround the marshes of  the port cities of accursed Atlantis are prime breeding ground for all types of mutant monsters, invasive species from Beyond The Outer Darkness and the perfect spot for adventurers & relic hunters of all stripes to go picking and hunting through these ancient and time haunted places. Tumbled down stone structures and alien ruined temples hide unknown as well as dangerous terrors.

Here then are 1d6 monstrous and weird encounters within the Salt Flats and marshes around the wastes of ancient accursed Atlantis.

1d6 Random Weird
Salt Flats Encounters Table
  1. This tumbled down pyramid temple is the meeting place for 1d6 deep one hybrids who are members of the Cult of Cthulhu and will sacrifice anyone who tries to disturb their rites and steal the ancient treasures of the place. There are several unique species of giant mutant lamprey hybrids that guard the place as well two of which are semi humanoid. 
  2. A large double hit point marsh kraken has its lair within the ruins of ancient Atlantian temple complex. It is served by 1d8 1st level fighter of near human aquatic aspect who are armed with energy weapons, they will capture and kill anyone who gets to near to the structure. 
  3. Several huge tidal pools conceal a vast underwater maze of deep sea caverns home to a cult of crab men who worship a star spawn of Cthulhu of unique aspect. The place is concealed under miles of marsh grass and sea weeds. The crab men raid passing trade ships.  
  4. This place is the home of an ancient crumbling fortress of Old Atlantis, it is the home of a giant sea dragon and his cult of salt water piranha men. The place holds a fortune in Atlantian relics and gold. The fishmen are lead by 8th level wizard who makes sacrifices of passing boats. Unique schools of carnivorous sea weed fish guards the place. 
  5. A downed giant alien mother ship sticks up out of the briny mire that is the grave of this ancient ship whose undead crew still haunt the place and use a functioning death ray that has a 1000 yard range on it that does 2d8+2 points of damage to bring down any passing ships so that the alien crew in their mini hover saucers can round up the sacrifices. The place conceals a fortune in alien artifacts and gold. 
  6. A giant temple complex sticking out of the water is the home of a lich and his hellish cult of aquatic half demon things. The lich is a 20th level bad ass who believes himself an ancient god and given that he has a vast store house of super science artifacts he might be a demi god of the wastelands. He has ancients all over the coast line of the mashes.

Friday, July 24, 2015

Elven Tribes of Accursed Atlantis & 1d6 Elven Random Finds Table For Your Old School Campaigns

The Elven clans of Accursed Atlantis are dangerous, mercurial, and move across the surface of the wastelands with regular cycles on giant floating super science constructed cities. They raid settlements for slaves, goods, equipment, and see this as partially a religious rite of their insect gods. A trait they inherited from their Selenite ancestors and creators. Other Elven races conform to the roles set out by the insect god of the woodland fulfilling a niche set out in both ecological terms and religious ones since the dawn of time. Violent and dangerous ritualized warfare has been going on for eons in Fairyland a matter of some surprise for travelers to this supposedly idyllic land. Weird lights, disappearances by locals, odd paranormal activity, and fairy lights are all part and parcel of the appearance of the flying cities in the skies above the wastelands of Atlantis.  The largest concentration of half elves are in these areas around cities and such.  The solar energy based technologies, magnetic weapon systems, and other super science systems used by the elves are facts of life here as are the religious warfare rained down from the skies by the these inhuman creatures. The appearance of these beings cities is a cause for alarm and much concern among the wasteland dwellers. Slaves are taken, sacrifices to inhuman elemental insect gods from across the planes are made and the cycle of life continues.

Many of these flying cities use a combination of anti-gravity technology and magnetic propulsion technology gifted to them by their Selenite ancestors. They're inhuman and weird ways cause much concern among their trading partners for they will only deal with the strongest of clients who can meet both their demands and they're prowess in both business as well as super science and magick. In this the elves of Accursed Atlantis follow directly in their ancestors foot prints. Elven cities such as Pari's, DQuir'i, are among some of the most traditional and dangerous to encounter. There have been reports of warlord city states ripped to shears by the magnetic and psychic weapon systems of these cities for violating a letter of a trade agreement

Violent, dangerous, and amoral elven warriors are used extensively in off world campaigns of  interstellar and planar warfare. These mercenary forces are in high demand throughout the cosmoses but the role of these forces is often to scout out the next region of conquest for these military forces. These aliens are still some of the least understood beings within the planes.

The flying elven cities often dispose of their trash, waste,etc. when raiding areas. This often includes other dimensional biological material as well leading to the proliferation of giant invasive mutant species of insect, fungus, and other dangerous life forms. Many think that this is a way spreading both a psychological mechanism of a  form of ecological warfare and a primitive system of terra-forming some of the wasteland landscape to be more suitable for the elven races. There are several crack teams of adventurers who follow in the wake of these cities picking up relics, finds, and other magick as well as super science artifacts left behind by these flying cities.

These flying cities are known to be so bold as to raid other powers of the wastelands such as warlords, wizards, mutant overlords, and others with impunity and little fear. These beings are not to be trifled with. They live up to their reputation as alien and dangerous warriors of the wastelands.

1d6 Elven Finds of  The Wastelands

  1. 1d4 psychic crystals worth 400 gold pieces on the open market to the right hedge wizard. 
  2.  1d6 super science metal threads capable of supporting hundreds of pounds of weight. 
  3. Worth 200 gold pieces per sixty feet. There are hundred of feet of single super strong threads but only six are worth getting. 
  4.  A partial spell scroll with 1d3 spells on it. Worth 600 gold pieces to a dealer. The right dealer.  
  5. A ring of teleportation that will teleport a fool aboard one of the floating cities. 
  6. A small elven dagger cursed.