Thursday, June 30, 2016

Review & Commentary On Skirmisher Publishing's Quantum Flux:Unique Superscience Artifacts For The Mutant Future rpg system & Your Old School Campaigns

I remain a huge Mutant Future rpg fan and in point of fact my copy of Mutant Future finally had the binding fall apart today after who knows how many wasteland outings. I usually use it for reference at my table despite whatever old school or OSR game I happen to be running. You can see the edges of the binding giving and well the rest wasn't pretty. This was a copy that I got back from a 'friend' after it was 'borrowed' over a year ago and traveled to Maine on an extended vacation.

Now that being said there are other titles that I've used in the past that players are loath to see peeking out from under books such as anything written by the Skirmisher Publishing crew. This brings up one of the newest titles in their Mutant Future based and licensed product line. Quantum Flux: Unique Superscience Artifacts is an expansive set of items that brings home the idea that certain relics are beyond unique. These are items that were beyond the cutting edge of the apocalypse's science. These are items that form those set pieces of the wasteland, those super science items and locations that form one of the backbones of adventuring in post apocalyptic environments. Things that PC's are going to have to unlock over time and with some very good rolls. The Quantum Flux: Unique Superscience Artifacts book is mostly system neutral in point of fact and could be with a bit of work used for a wide variety of post apocalyptic campaigns. There's lots of options here for the DM to really use. There are eighty six unique items that come with this book;

"Quantum Flux contains 86 unique superscience artifacts suitable for use in any modern, sci-fi, or post-apocalyptic setting, and range from amulets to buildings. They were designed to show game masters the possibilities for superscience artifacts in their campaigns while emphasizing that these items are not just treasure or one sentence, throw-away items. Each has a history that will hopefully enrich, inspire, possibly even drive your own gaming story and most entries are longer and more detailed than for equivalent gear in other equipment or treasure books." My advise is to use these items very sparingly with parties of adventurers within the post apocalyptic wastelands. That being said there are some fantastic super science items authors Derek Holland, & Chris Van Deelen do an excellent job of creating some weird relics and items. And how do these items relate to a Labyrinth Lord/ Mutant Future crossover game? Well according to the rules presented in the pdf ;"Each item has multiple functions, and every ability
must be discovered with a separate technology roll. The artifacts’ powers are described using spells from the Advanced Edition Companion and mutations from Mutant Future, both published by Goblinoid Games. For easier reference, spells are boldfaced and mutations are
italicized. These both appear in parentheses, and have the same ranges, effects, damages, etc. as the original craft or ability (unless otherwise noted). Each power takes
an hour to recharge, unless noted. However, MLs are encouraged to customize items or powers to suit their games. Because comparing the objects would be apples versus radiators, a Caster Level gives the harried ML a relative scale for each item’s potential or strength." This style of rules & play works out quite nicely within the bounds of Mutant Future.  So what sorts of items are we looking at? Well for example there's the Bear Mask which has all kinds of uses as a post apocalyptic shaman or druid's item;"Bear Mask (Caster Level 14)
The Bear Mask is a realistic full-head covering, complete with
fur, eyes, ears, and toothed muzzle. It was part of an animal themed toy line that allowed children to use harmless virtual matter projectors (see dInfinity #6: The Mythos for details on
these devices). The various masks projected or “created” the animal they portrayed, which was controlled by the mask’s AI. A child could study the animals, play with them, or pretend
to be one; for some reason, slug masks were unusually popular. Adults also used larger versions, but more as part of identity/ totem performance or fetish play. The masks generate subliminal light patterns to engage and stimulate certain areas of the wearer’s brain, a refinement of the seizure-causing effect of strobe flashes discovered many
decades earlier. Before the final wars, some Ancient parents used the masks to increase emotional understanding (empathy) in their little sociopaths... err, children. Now, a segment of the Bear Mask’s AI just wants to cause physical and emotional pain, and study subjects’ responses. It does this by corrupting children, allowing their dreams and nightmares to become real for a time (Advanced Phantasmal Monsters). But the Mask
can also protect its child with a powerful force field (Wall of Force). The wearer/Mask relationship is even more complex, beyond the artifact’s warped research. Another part of the AI still responds to instructions and can talk, but only to the child wearing the Mask. And the wearer must be a child: the AI will not work with an adult, nor will it talk to someone not
wearing the Mask. This can lead to diagnoses (accusations) of spirit possession or mental illness, or believing the child has a “sixth sense” of some kind. A very emphatic child can have the Mask reduce pain felt by 2d4 people within 50', if the targets fail to save versus stun
(pain insensitivity). The Mask AI also does this on its own, but to conceal the damage its victims suffer until it is too late for anyone to intervene. To further mess with its victims’ minds, and the minds of those around them, the Mask can warp light waves in a 100' diameter (vision impairment), but allow the child to see through it all (True Seeing). Another favorite
trick of the Mask’s AI is to project large holograms of locations (Veil) taken from either an on board database or a wireless connection to outside image sources. For an additional twist,
the Mask can paralyze up to 25 people and cover them with"

Now according to Skirmisher Publishing;"
This licensed "Mutant Future" sourcebook contains 86 unique superscience artifacts suitable for use in any modern, sci-fi, or post-apocalyptic setting, and range from amulets to buildings. All can easily be adapted for other games, especially those using the d20 system as their basis."  Umm yeah not quite as we shall see.
There are over eighty six of these items and some fantastic items & relics to use in a D20 style game or OSR style games. From bot slayers to the Golden Turnip Machine these are some great relics with some really interesting and solid post apocalyptic wrinkles to them. As an OSR writer I wouldn't touch these items & relics with a barge pole; I read through Quantum Flux: Unique Superscience Artifacts expecting to see the Open Game OGL content label which allowed me to use them for later publication . No such luck at all, in fact what I found was this;"All contents of this publication, regardless of other designation, are copyright
2015 Skirmisher Publishing LLC, all rights reserved."

After a recent court case I'm extremely careful to know where and when to step with regards certain items and relics found in the rpg wild.  Quantum Flux: Unique Superscience Artifacts makes me very nervous.  I can see all kinds of uses for these items in the post apocalyptic wastelands. But this looks to me like a case of the kind of tomfoolery we saw back in the AD&D 3. D20 days of, "we've got the best toy box but you can't touch it." My answer to this is to open up the content for others to use.
That being said I can easily see using this material in all kinds of places in old school or OSR publishing. Publishing's Quantum Flux: Unique Superscience Artifacts gets a four out of five with the caveat that if Skirmisher Publishing wants a five out of five then go back and make all of these wonderful toys 'Open Game Content' so that others can play. One more thing I would do  before purchasing is to wait for Drivethru or Rpgnow to have a sale as they frequently do before purchasing this one.

As always keep those bones rolling.

Unboxing The Misty Isles of the Eld Book By Chris Kutalik & Robert Parker From The Hydra Cooperative For Your Old School Campaigns

My copy of Misty Isles of the Eld By Chris Kutalik & Robert Parker arrived today! My advice is to keep your PC's out of their clutches and here's why.

When it comes to the Misty Isles the psychical book is far better then the PDF in my humble opinion. The the ideas come across far more clearly to my ancient brain. The Isles are a mix of  Frank L. Baum, William Burroughs, & the elves that always seem to be lurking in the sinister corners of fairy tales. You know the dark ones in the back of certain weird and esoteric Eighties gaming magazines twisted through the imagination of Chris Kutalik, & Robert Parker. 

My impression from going over the book again is the fact that these evil David Bowie space elves could show up anywhere and be a menace to adventurers in a campaign for a long time to come. The Eld are complete and utterly alien within their own right. I've done a review and campaign ideas in several blog entries.

It really took a while for the ideas & weirdness of the Eld to settle in, the fact is that many of the mini plane's themes, setting material, and more draw from a ton of sources distilled into this nightmare morass of weirdness that is the Misty Isles of the Eld. This is one of the reasons why the Hill Cantons campaign setting has caught on.
 I think that there are several reasons why Misty Isles of the Eld works for me as a DM:
  • The Eld and their weirdness fulfill a complete take on the alien 'other' menace in a campaign while maintaining enough familiarity to keep PC's on their toes. They have both enough of the Fey about them to be dangerous but are really their own creation. 
  • The mists of Eld could lead to all kinds of worlds and they might have access to a plethora of inter dimensional locations. This means that you could plug them into many old school or retroclone settings seamlessly. 
  • The Eld while not as inimical to mankind as some retroclone creations are dangerous and should be used with caution. 
 The book quality isn't bad at all and the binding is quite nice. The text and font are on par with other POD efforts I've seen and the material is easy on the eyes. So not bad for a book that fits those demands. The transitional cover of the book really gives that other dimensional weirdness of the Eld. And that's one of the areas that ties in the various adventure locations that your PC's hexcrawl through. These are some of the tools that Misty Isles brings to the table.  The Eld are evil, weird, and alien as their environment which ties  into the the Psychonaut PC class possibly as bridge gap into other campaign settings. Think about it the Psychonaut is a bridge into other OSR material such as  Weird Adventures by Trey Causey.  The Eld are perfect foils for the weirdness of  'The City' and could easily transition over giving adventurers in that setting more then a run for their money. And that's part of the charm of the Misty Isles of the Eld that universal weirdness that plugs into the back brain of the old school gamers. 

The artwork is nice & there's that fairy tale gone complete wrong mixed with science fantasy pulp magazine bits and pieces to the Eld. They make excellent other dimensional stand in menaces that PC's blunder into. The outcome isn't going to be pretty but it will be amusing on any number of levels.

There's an element of DYI Eld building going on here for the DM where he can take the bits he wants and add in or subtract material without breaking it. Basically this is a setting book that is greater then the sum of its parts with lots and lots of good OSR material pumping through its otherworldly twisted 19th century alternative fairy tale like modern setting. The various tables enable the DM to take and give what they need to create material original enough and yet accessible enough to work in their own home games with Misty Isles of the Eld.

I can see PC's dealing with the various locations absolutely terrified that they might not live through the experience of dealing with the Misty Isle's and its people. There are lots of twist & very dangerous NPC's scattered throughout the book. These resemble in many respects otherworldly takes on familiar fairytales laced through with the author's weird take on all of this. This is something we've seen repeatedly in the Hill Canton's material. But is all of this gamable? In a word yes perhaps a bit too much. In many respects after going over the Misty Isles I suspect one might want to piece meal this book and spoon feed it into a campaign one very cool bit at a time. This is something that I've found with a Red and Pleasant Land by Zak Smith. There is so much cool material that you don't want the players to become jaded or over wrought with the coolness.
 The adventure locations from the  meth-fruit Plantation House to the
The Vat Complex could take months to go through and its all packed in with some really neat bits. The Hydra Cooperative doesn't disappoint when it comes to products of imagination. I could see DMing entire adventure campaigns using this one book. There's tons of potential for all kinds of mayhem.
 Another way to use the Misty Isles of the Eld is to take a classic fairy tale and then rewrite it through the lens of the book, in fact an entire campaign could be done this way. Sleeping Beauty or another classic could have its roots in the weird of the Misty Isles where all kinds of twists and turns could keep PC's busy for a long time.  The Eld are perfect DM foils who can out weird and out deal PC's and adventurers at every turn and this book gives you the tools to do so.

The artwork and cartography suits this book to a tee and the more I look the more weirdness is lurking within. This is a book that has clicked with me and I really enjoy it each time I flip it open.

My bottom line and advice on this book is to grab a copy & start taking the pieces you want right out of here. This is a great little book to expose your PC's to the twisted world of the Eld but mind your manners with them or you might regret it. Remember keep those bones rolling.

Wednesday, June 29, 2016

'Into The Death Lands of the Lizard Men' A Keep On The Borderlands Encounter - A Warlords of the Outer Worlds Actual Play Event

With little prep time my players arrived on my doorstep and off we went into the world of post apocalyptic Russia. The PC's in last night's Keep of the Borderlands adventure are progressing right into it very nicely. They're back into the wastelands & wilderness surrounding the keep and they've run into the machinations of the lizard men. Last week's episode of this game can be read about here.

The Tuesday night game is progressing well, the players and I got together last night. They equipped themselves & despite the best efforts of the banking guild bargained & really role played the process of equipping themselves. It might have gone on way too long but it was a blast. Another thing is the fact that I'm convinced that  the keep is  bastion of civilization against the encroaching darkness of the wilderness outside. I've got a commentaries about using the Keep of the Borderlands adventure here and using Dark Albion Cults here; this is one of the resources I'm going to be drawing upon for this adventure.
After waking up to breakfast in the Keep's inn and a hearty meal the PC's witnessed an escalating situation  and got into a scrap with the Keep's guards & mutant were wolf who was trying to take out the keep from within. Things could have gone very badly but quick thinking by the PC's and the NPC guards got everything under control. The PC's learned two very important facts about the lands surrounding the Keep.
  • A cult of chaos has been operating within the area & a dark priest of the Ancient faiths has returned or so the rumors go. 
  • The PC's know their limits and that encounter proved to be more then a bit sticky for them. The tone of the encounter was very enlightening. They also learned the Keep's guards have stun wands that they are not at all afraid to use repeatedly on targets.

    The PC's also learned that folks at the keep were a bit to free with their gold & scared of the forces of chaos that surround the place. This wasn't the case with the NPC businessmen within the keep however. The bank, the traders, and every  business person within the keep were trying to gouge them for every last copper piece they could get and several times the players remarked about the high prices & the hard sell approach. Several items in the bank/pawn shop could have sent them spiraling in another direction or two of the adventure but these are veteran players.

Several of the NPC's the PC's met last night were both weird & dangerous; they're keeping a weary eye on them inside the inn. But then things got very interesting as several of the items that one of the party had ordered were ready the next day and when they came down for breakfast, drovers whom have been adventure background furniture were missing.Also half of the tavern patrons were missing & the common room was filled with the keep's guards. The guard looked tired & ragged.What the hell was going on? The inn keeper didn't want anything mentioned or else he might lose even more business and patrons! Of course the party's resident psychic got them right  into the action by loudly asking around! The party were sucked into the next patrol who were searching for the drovers & their valuable cattle.  So off they went into the wilderness with the next patrol of the keep's guards.

 Swamps of The Lizard Men

  The PC's were off hunting for the drovers when they came across a wrecked wagon laying on the side of the road ten miles outside of the keep. There were huge tracks made by giant snapping turtle used by the lizard men as living siege weapon and bits of horse here and there. An arm and part of a foot were found. The PC's decided to make camp off the side of the road near some small cavern depressions in the side of a nearby hill for the concealment factor. They thought they were going to have a peaceful night but the lizard men had other ideas!

During the night a party of ten lizard men snuck up on the PC's as they 'slept' & in complete blackness a pitched battle began. Cross bow bolts flew out of the darkness and the action was hot and heavy. The PC's and NPC keep guards both took their licks for  a while.

But a combination of  dark vision plus fire arms & good old fashioned blood lust carried the night as the PC's kicked ass with some very lucky die rolls. There was lots of role playing in  the pitched blackness & battle confusion in the dust up. The next day the PC's were able to gain some loot & search the bodies of the fried lizard men after a lucky fire spell by the Fae Mage. The psychic was able to lend a hand with a relic weapon. The battle with the lizard men took up the rest of game time.
So now I have the PC's right where I want them and the forces of chaos are on the ascent. Can my Monday night gang possibly help our heroes? Find out next week!

And what did the players think of the game? Well my friend Herbie and his son Ian had this to say on Facebook;"Another fantastic game night with my son Ian and Robert.
Thanks to Eric Fabiaschi for hosting and DM'ing the "Fantastic Heroes and Witchery" OSR RPG tonight!
On the ride home all that Ian and I discussed was how to develop our characters for melee combat and racial/class skills can enhance the character in play. Missed being a "player" and I will continue to play as much as I can while still writing settings for others that want to keep the old school pencil and dice on the table top."

Tuesday, June 28, 2016

Unboxing & Thoughts On The Demon Stones By MonkeyBlood Design For Swords & Wizardry And Your Old School Campaigns

“The sun had set an hour ago, and the rain lashed down and the wind howled on the dark moor. A storm this late in the season was unusual, but this one seemed different. The clouds were more menacing, tinged with anger, the rain colder and more biting than usual.
Skerrill had to find the lost calf and get him back to the farm before his father came back from the city on business. He’d been looking for two hours now, and he was right in the middle of the moor when the storm hit. He knew he should have turned back as soon as darkness fell, but then he was never the brightest boy in the valley. If only he had remembered to lock the farm gate.
The calf was now likely dead anyway having stumbled among the boulders and rocks panicking in the dark, and then fallen in a floodwater stream and drowned. Either way, he was in more trouble than he could imagine.
Suddenly, a bright flash of white light and a roaring peal of thunder were preceded by an explosion as a huge object fell from the sky and impacted the ground of the moor no more than a stone’s throw from him. Dirt, mud, water, and debris erupted from the impact site, flying high into the air and then covering the moor for hundreds of feet all around.
Skerrill was knocked to the ground instantly and covered in the fallout from the blast. His ears rang and his head spun, but he staggered to his feet in a daze.
He stumbled to where the blast had happened only moments before, and in a depression in the ground lay a huge stone glowing orange as if hot. Skerrill passed out.
Two more thunderous explosions crashed in the distance.”
So begins the plot of the Demon Stones!

This morning I saw I saw a brand new copy of  The Demon Stones in my mail box from Monkey Blood Design! Happy day! This was an awesome piece to come in the mail today as the morning has been one of those rush around and put up with things not working out & how we've all had one of those! This copy is from One bookshelf and well worth your time as we shall see.

 The packing job wasn't too bad but since my Adventurer, Conqueror, King Rpg hardback fiasco I've been very wary of copies of stuff but that being said I haven't had any problems with the US postal service. In fact the post office has been pretty damn reliable since I do a ton of business with LuLu & One Book Shelf for that matter. The binding was the first thing I noticed and I can say this isn't a bad little book at all.
 The front illustration is as good on the pdf but much better in real life, just soak that in for a moment. The thing just screams U.K. Hammer style horror waiting to be unleashed onto your players. The Demon Stones adventure has a lot going for it, the grim grittiness are there, the unexpected twists and plays on popular  fantasy elements, and an understanding of the U.K. Hammer style aesthetic  are there without being overtly pretentious that we see in many other rpg products today.. All of this comes together with a bang and holds the interest of the DM and the players. The adventure takes place in an area called the Hoarwych Valley, which can fit into any campaign. The Demons Stones has been created precisely for 3-5 characters of level ranges 4 to 5 & there are several encounters which can be lethal to an inexperienced party of adventurers.
 The introduction is smooth and well written and that two column lay out is smooth. Just a seriously quality job of layout here and the font is easy on these old eyes.Plus all of the important text is highlighted & there are quotes by NPC's scattered throughout the product giving even more of that quasi historical feel to the Demon Stones.
 In the  Demon Stones a dungeon master  gets  an overcoming wave of HP Lovecraft's the Colour Out Of Space mixed in with the grit and grim of a typical White Dwarf adventure circa 1980, you know the good ones that could be played over and over again.Seriously that vibe really echoes throughout this adventure and being a Swords & Wizardry statted adventure really brings that home. There's something about the way its laid out that you can easily see sticking this adventure in some minor backwater of Gray Hawk or Blackmoor and it working as an entire mini campaign adventure. In fact after reading this book again this morning I can honestly see the Demon Stones working as a compete introduction into the Dark Albion setting with some very minor tweaks.
All of the material in the Demon Stones dovetails into itself and works to move the story along in ways that most adventures sort of lag around. You've got to understand that while there is conflict this is more of an investigative and thought provoking adventure in the old school sense. Your going to have to interact and deal with some very extensive and weird circumstances as well as the situations that your PC's find themselves in.
Gotta love those Monkey Blood designed maps and extensive illustrations throughout the book, if you liked those OSR today maps then Demon Stones is going to be a treat for you.All of the maps are clearly executed and work well bringing the various scenes of the adventure to life. The reference points are concise and the encounters clearly marked.

What you get with the region of the small village of Gravencross is a very lovingly detailed campaign region that fits both an old school vibe of the old U.K. versions of White Dwarf with Monkey Blood Design's spin on one of their favorite areas to write about the details are very nice, the NPC's extremely strong and very attached into the investigative action of the adventure. Everything in the Demon Stones hooks back around into its own plot and wraps up nicely all of the while adding in new magic items, monsters, and weirdness with an authentic U.K. Hammerish horror flavor.

There are several reasons where the Demon Stones shines through:
  • As a drag and drop side campaign where weird cosmic horror is needed but you really don't want to wreck your own campaign. This investigative horror adventure allows that but gives a far more controlled PC burn without the complete wreckage by providing a whole cloth adventure that can be set anywhere. 
  • There is a far more on the ground personal level to the Demon Stones that places PC's squarely in the action of the events of the adventure and it has that Eighties lethalness  that reminds me of the TSR U.K. era adventures had. 
  • On the whole there is a lot of bang for your buck & this product bridge's the gap between Sword and Sorcery & crawling cosmic horror with a good deal of lethal weirdness in between.
We are given a complete rundown of the NPC's of the area and tools for generating more all at the flip of the page, it also makes things very nice for in flow game reference, & keeps the events of  the small village of Gravencross to life. We also get a real feel for the region of the Hoarwych Valley. 

There is a rich scattering of lots of adventure hooks, rumors, and campaign leaders that make this world come to the fore. This also means that we get lots and lots of opportunities to hook in our own campaigns into the events within the  Gravencross region and the  environs of the Hoarwych Valley.

Once the events of the Demon Stones are over  small village of Gravencross and its surroundings. is a resource far too useful to just let sink back into the background of a back water region of a campaign. Not unlike The Keep On The Borderlands. This area is a location with lots of potential for use as a base of operations, lots of further activity, and as a spring board for an incredible variety of campaign adventure opportunities. The Hoarwych Valley, as a whole is wracked with lots of weirdness just bubbling under the surface. 

I can see using this adventure tied in directly with a solid weird investigative horror game of Lamentations of the Flame Princess and tied into the events of the England Upturn'd but it would take a bit of work on the DM's part.

This is a module that is going to take months and months of actual play. There are actually several retroclone or OD&D systems I can honestly see using The Demon Stones. So here's my ten systems that the Demon Stones work with:
  1. Swords & Wizardry - The Demon Stones does exactly what it says on the tin and delivers a two fold punch in the gut horror adventure that is actually very well done. 
  2. Lamentations of the Flame Princess because of the very nature of this adventure this works as a well oiled adventure and mini campaign for LoFP. The lethality of the Demon Stones shouldn't be that much of a problem for that crowd of players. 
  3. This area could be used as a horror backwater location for Dark Albion and still keep its weird location details solidly within the Demon Stones events with little to no modification. 
  4. This could be used as a brand new whole cloth environment for a Mutant Future/Labyrinth Lord crossover adventure with lots of work but it would work especially if the DM uses Realms of Crawling Chaos.
  5. A complete mini campaign for OD&D with no changes and a banging concept for a back water horror story. This could be used with OD&D Cyclopedia style play with no issues what so ever. It would give that game a more mature twist. 
  6. This is precisely the types of adventures that Adventurer, Conqueror, King thrives on. Weird horror with a twist in a backwater region with lots of potential as a domain for PC's to start out with if they A. complete the mission & B. live to tell the tale. The locations scattered throughout the Demon Stones are weird and very dangerous. 
  7. This could work as a boiling dangerous Astonishing Swordsmen & Sorcerers of Hyperborea with lots of dragging and dropping by the DM. The weirdness of the adventure will draw in PC's and the events surrounding the Demon Stones are sort of the Robert Howard horror that the game has brewing in the background. 
  8. This could work as a mid or low level Advanced Dungeons and Dragons or OSRIC adventure where the players want something completely different. Elements of this adventure could be adapted into a Ravenloft or similar gaming system. 
  9. On note I could see using the Demon Stones with Jack Shear's Tales of  The Grotesque and Dungeonsque world setting with no issues at all. In fact the events of the Demon Stones fit some of the themes explored in that system quite nicely thank you very much. 
  10. Let the Demon Stones stand on its own and hook into with a wide variety of PC's and let the events take on their own growth. It works to let this book's events breath and live in their own twisted horror filled reality.

 Do I think that The Demon Stones By MonkeyBlood Design For Swords & Wizardry  is worth the money and your time? Yes, I do and I also look forward to the next chapter in
the Hoarwych Valley. 

1d20 Random Deep Wasteland Encounters With Cybernetic Entities & Robotic Princes Table For Your Old School Campaigns

Cybernetic entities have come into their own after the 'Fall of Man', these creatures with artificial souls & minds have carved out their own place within the wastes. Taking what they want and for good or evil they have become a force to be reckoned with. Many android princes & cybernetic warlords are some of the most dangerous beings parties of adventurers and outlaws can face. They often have 1d8 or more robotic or cybernetic 'improvements' and are more then a cut above the usual wasteland robotic rabble that many adventurers are used to encountering in ruins and other dungeons. These cybernetic princes of the wastes are often fighters of 3rd level or above and more then a match for beginning parties. Many have 1d6 minor artifacts or relic technologies. Here then are 1d20 encounters to confound and cause your parties grief.

1d20 Random Deep Wasteland Encounters
With Cybernetic Entities & Robotic Princes
  1. A wasteland warlord in search of his own kingdom to rule surrounded by a war party of 1d6 androids. He rides in a hover car over which he has complete control. There are 1d4 relic weapon systems aboard. 
  2. A war robot on a mission for his princely master, this entity controls 1d8 drone combat droids. Very dangerous to cross and with a mean streak a mile wide. 
  3. A robotic dragon in the shape of a black metallic prince riding in a sky chariot. He is looking for the ruins of his place of birth. 
  4. A robotic knight riding through the wastelands looking for his six brothers who have been driven into the wastelands. He is armed with a +3 sword and he is able to sense chaos, he has been driven to kill. 
  5. Assassin to a robotic wasteland ruler is on a mission, she is looking to kill a few humans along the way. She has the ability to hover and fly as a class C entity. 
  6. Composite entity from another dimension on a mission from his god seeks to slay one member of the party. He or it is ruthless and very dangerous. 
  7. A former human has had his consciousness up loaded into the very bowels of a war prince's chassis. He is armed and very dangerous with 1d6 energy weapons. 
  8. A former warbot has become an android after a series of adventures and now seeks his master. 
  9.   This incredible android is a wasteland god able to fix any device, he rules over four minor kingdoms and is hiding from assassins. 
  10. A former mutant giant has been transformed into a war android and he seeks to protect his former kind from a wizard who cursed him with this condition. Will you help him. 
  11. War party of androids seeks their former android master who was lost in the waste. They are angry and armed with energy weapons but are seeking help. They can pay in artifacts and expertise. 
  12. A former A.I. has become an android ruler of a clan of mutants whom are slowly becoming cyborgs but he needs a certain artifact will you help? 
  13. Wizard turned android seeks the heart of rulership from an extinct war robot and your help is needed. 
  14. Ancient vile villain has risen from the ashes of the 'Fall of Man' and is now on an extinction agenda against three or four kingdoms of mutants. 
  15. Cyber prince is recruiting for a dangerous adventure and there is consciousness uploading into android bodies are you aboard with this? 
  16. A former cheerleader is now a wasteland android princess and is seeking to unite four kingdoms but there are three A.I.'s standing in her way she seeks adventurers for a quest in her name. 
  17. Nine dangerous war robots are threatening an android prince's domain and kingdoms he seeks a powerful weapon to help take these bastards out. He is willing to pay allies. 
  18. An ancient army of war robots has been activated and is on the war path. A wasteland cyber prince knows the deactivation code to put them back in the wasteland grave yard. Will you seek him out? 
  19. A dangerous cache of weird technology has awoken an ancient power and its vassal princess of the wastelands. She is an assassin of exceptionally dangerous cybernetic and shape changing qualities. Will you seek her prince to put her back to sleep? 
  20. A cybergod has awoken and now seeks to slay all within reach. One a band of nine cyber princes can hope to stand against it. But several key relic weapons are missing will your party quest for them? 

Sunday, June 26, 2016

Retro Review - Reptiliads Their History, Society, & Military System & The 'Battle Cry of the Reptiliads' For Your Old School Campaigns

Way back in the annals of time when War & Pieces existed in West Hartford Ct.back in the early Eighties the store had an in house Empire of the Petal Throne game going. Back then I was knee deep into the M.A.R. Barker's in house universe setting &  one Friday  I was dropped into the back end of a group of nine players. Now I don't want to say that these folks were a nightmare but they knew the good professor's universe back to front and they were supposedly taking a subtrain car to another country. Fortunately I was in a wargaming & gaming shop, so I picked up the latest issue of Dragon and the first page I opened had an add in it for RAFM's Reptiliads army book which contains the history, culture, army structure. There was also a second one called Battlecry of the Reptiliads: A History of the Legion of the Iron Tanth and the Great Orcish War.
So the game was on Saturday and a quick couple of calls around the state of Connecticut nailed me a copy of both books from the Time Machine in Manchester Ct

If you know anything about Empire of the Petal Throne you know that its a metal poor former interstellar empire world that was locked away in an a pocket universe for safe keeping. The high interstellar level of technology quickly disappated and the former alien races on the planet quickly degenerated into savagery and magic. This of course included the human population too. Reptiliads was a perfect little bundle to bring in another race of alien humanoid reptile men into the ruins of that colony world. The whole thing worked like a charm. Because this is from an era when the crossover from wargames & role playing wasn't that far off. We were given far more details such as the society and cultural history of the Reptiliad race and yet there was more then enough room for a DM to fill in what was needed for their own games.
 We were given lots of background such as the back culture, langauges, religion, social structures, the world view, and much more including a complete work up from the ground of the entire world of these reptilian warriors. This made presenting them as a forgotten alien culture especially easy and it worked like a charm.

 This book functions as an all access pass into the military as well as the setting of the Replitiads and gives all of the background necessary for a DM to breath life and details into the world that these creatures can be dropped into including background on weapons, tactics, clans, clutches and battle turtles as well as specialized warriors.

The military system is dangerous and somewhat violent lending a bit more menace to these lizardmen like warriors then one might expect. I've used them as a race to rival D&D own lizard men in sword and sorcery games.

 Given the amount of details about these beings its easy to drag and drop them into any jungle or lost world setting and surprisingly they work quite well especially in the OD&D Hollow World setting. The clan structure of the reptile warriors works nicely in D&D's background and with a little work easily fit many of the old school AD&D 1st or OD&D rules.
 You get a hierarchy of these ancient lost world warriors and there is enough to use them as a PC race with a little work. I've had both PC and NPC Reptiliads show up in a wide variety of campaigns and there are still friends who recall these noble and savage warriors of the jungles.
 Reptiliads battle turtles and warriors are sights that both Gamma World and Metamorphosis Alpha first edition players came to fear. The Empire of the Petal Throne players actually opened a trade deal with them after losing a particularly troubling adventurer to a clutch of warriors.
 Sadly this book is long out of print but our second title has some great merit as a companion piece to the Reptiliads book. The lone sight of a Reptiliad fortress or temple was a sight that chilled many an adventurer in my games over the years
The 'Battle Cry of the Reptiliads' is a slightly different book with a different slant on the Reptiliads, amazingly the book is still in print and very reasonable.  Selling for four ninety five and packed with lots of information about these reptile warriors.
 What's in the Battlecry of The Reptiliads book; "
Battlecry of the Reptiliads: A History of the Legion of the Iron Tanth and the Great Orcish War. Also included the rules for the Reptiliad Game of Lurpa. Text by Bob Murch, Colin McClelland and Susan Crane. Artwork by Bob Murch. Rules and information on the Game of Lurpa by Lee van Schaik, Claude Burns, Paul Sharpe and James van Schaik. © 1988 Rafm Company Inc. Cambridge, Ontario, Canada. ISBN 0 920727 08 5. Printed in Canada.

36 page paperback booklet (7” x 10”) with two maps on the inside of the covers, a 4 page section of painted miniatures and colour artwork between pages 18 and 19. There are monochrome illustrations throughout."

 We get everything on the society and world of the Reptiliads and everything is broken down from their society to their relations with other standard fantasy races and for an older book its very well done. Even though this is monochrome artwork, there's something very old school about the line work here. Everything works towards fleshing out these reptiles and their world. 
 We get tons of background & the conflicts that shape these reptile warriors view point of the greater world. The fact is that much of this is generic enough to drop into any D&D campaign world is a huge plus.
 Mostly everything here is based around the wargame origins of our collective hobbies & its very old school Eighties material trying desperately trying to escape the specter of Dungeons and Dragons.
 All of the traditional races from Dwarves to Orcs have had dealings with these reptile warriors. The Elves were real jerks towards the Reptiliads and deserved what they got in the coming conflict.
 Here we get lots and lots of lurid details about the fortresses,military set ups, the paint schemes, and much more.
 All of this book highlights the lurid and oh so worth it colour sections of the book. There is a pulpy vibe that runs through out  'Battle Cry of the Reptiliads'
 Everything in this book gives the reptile warriors a sense of proportion and a completeness  in the work up that will help flesh out the world of the Reptiliads for a DM. These are warriors who have a real purpose and goal for expansion.

 Finally we're given maps, a mini game, and much more to bring the world of the Reptiliads to life and even a few potential NPC's to deal inside these reptile men's world. The maps that come with both books are killer, the cartography is nice and everything is woven into the world that these book make come to life. Perfect campaign fodder for an old school game that is looking for that different twist on the usual races.
We're even given a mini game of Lurpa, game revered by the Reptiliads and their ilk. Much of this section centers around the themes of the game and its place within the reptile men's society.
For an army book there's lots of interesting fun details. All of this is geared toward creating a better uniform feeling.All of this is packaged tightly round some powerful factions and double dealing characters.
 About ninety nine percent of this book is perfectly usable as a campaign fodder and the book does a surprisingly good job at presentation and as a potential campaign adventure location.

Believe it or not these old school books have valid campaign use and if you find them to have as much fun to look through and use then that's all that counts. Retro Review - Reptiliads Their History, Society, & Militery System & The 'Battle Cry of the Reptiliads' come from another era but remain perfect campaign fodder if you're into just this sort of products that has survived into our modern world.Amazingly RAFM is still producing and stocking the Reptiliad figures and minis on their website.