Wednesday, August 24, 2016

Gateways, Generals, & Some Real History Resources For The Lamentations of the Flame Princess, Dark Albion, & Your Old School Campaigns

Real history is rife with weird characters incidents of the odd, the macabre, and the down right horrid. All of this is excellent fodder for creating memorable NPC's, incredible adventure locations, and linch pin events for their old school or retroclone campaigns.

First up is Eunus whose exploits are mostly forgotten today but he was known to be a king, magician,general, and finally slave to Rome. According to many outside sources he was;"His name was Eunus – which may be translated, roughly, as “the kindly one” – and although he is practically forgotten now, he was a leader fit to rank alongside Spartacus – or, in truth, above him, for while both men were slaves who masterminded wars against Rome (Spartacus six decades later), Eunus’s rebellion was four or five times as large, and it lasted something like three times as long. He built a state, which Spartacus never tried to do, and all the evidence suggests that he inspired fierce loyalty in ways the Thracian gladiator could not – after all. " He's perfect NPC fodder for a Dark Albion or Lamentations of the Flame Campaign, in fact for Dark Albion does his state persist into the alternative history of that world? 
You can learn more about Eunus right over here.

 Need a real life 'blue beard' of sorts, the sort of an NPC that will have your players talking about them for years to come? Another customer from the pages of history rife with possibilities was;"
Conomor the Cursed, and he lived in the darkest of the Dark Ages – in the first half of the 6th century, 150 years or more after the fall of Rome, when much of Brittany was still dotted with dolmens and covered by primeval forest, when warlords squabbled with one another other over patrimonies that were generally less than 40 miles across, and the local peoples were as likely to be pagan as they were Christian. We know almost nothing about him, save that he was probably a Briton, very probably a tyrant, and that his deeds were remembered long enough to give rise to a folkloric tradition of great strength – one that endured for almost 1,500 years. But the folk-tales hint at someone quite extraordinary. In local lore, Conomor not only continued to roam the vast forest of Quénécan,  south of his castle, as a bisclaveret – a werewolf – and served as a spectral ferryman on another Breton river, making off with Christian souls; he was also the model for Bluebeard, the monstrous villain of Charles Perrault’s famous fairy tales."

  You can read more about
Conomor the Cursed right Over Here

 Next up is an article on Salvador Dali's
  Crucifixion hyper cube which uses some weird mathematics at the core of this modern master piece. Perhaps these same principals might be applied to an artifact or relic of Dark Albion or Lamentations of the Flame Princess. "While it’s difficult to grasp, the idea of multiple dimensions allows scientists to envisage shapes that mathematician Marcus du Sautoy calls “sculptures of the mind”. As he argues in his Radio 3 programme The Secret Mathematician, “It’s not possible to see a 4D cube in our limited 3D universe, but there are different ways to imagine one.”Dalí’s own ‘sculpture of the mind’ brings geometry into the realm of the metaphysical. “There is a meditative intensity to Crucifixion (Corpus Hypercubus),” says art critic and poet Kelly Grovier. “The painting seems to have cracked the link between the spirituality of Christ's salvation and the materiality of geometric and physical forces. It appears to bridge the divide that many feel separates science from religion.”

  You can read more about
Dali's Hypercube Cross right over here 

Underground secret libraries, strange societies, and preserving hidden knowledge for future generations? Sounds like the latest Hollywood block buster doesn't it. Instead its an account of recent from Syria about one of their hidden libraries. "
Beneath the streets of a suburb of Damascus, rows of shelves hold books that have been rescued from bombed-out buildings. Over the past four years, during the siege of Darayya, volunteers have collected 14,000 books from shell-damaged homes. They are held in a location kept secret amid fears that it would be targeted by government and pro-Assad forces, and visitors have to dodge shells and bullets to reach the underground reading space.
It’s been called Syria’s secret library, and many view it as a vital resource. “In a sense the library gave me back my life,” one regular user, Abdulbaset Alahmar, told the BBC. “I would say that just like the body needs food, the soul needs books.”" This is a perfect fodder  for a hidden library in your war torn old school campaigns where your PC's have to rescue certain forbidden or ancient books or scrolls for future generations of scholars and risk their very lives in the preservation of knowledge.
You can read more about Damascus's hidden libraries right over here
 Surely when the bloodshed and violence of feuds and strange casual violence of history's dust ups is done the settings where these  took place is over? What if these places are merely place holders for door ways into the realms of the dead? These places get more then mention in this article. There's plenty of food for thought and potential fodder for unique adventure locations.

The Bloody Histories and Remaining Relics of 5 Violent Feuds

Could these places where violence has thinned the veil provide crossover points into the lands of dead? Perhaps in your old school campaigns they might making this a perfect point to use for a Lamentations of the Flame Princess Old West adventure campaign.

Need an adventure location for a post apocalyptic dimensional teleporter or dimensional gate right in the middle of New York City as a bridge gap for Carcosa to say your favorite  Mutant Future city or Old Earth setting? Then look no further then the windowless Long Lines building, a sky scraper designed to withstand a nuclear blast and fall out. No admittence and security is very tight to say the least. According to Wiki;"
It is often described as one of the most secure buildings in America, and was designed to be self-sufficient and protected from nuclear fallout for up to two weeks after a nuclear blast.[11] Its style has been generally praised, with the New York Times saying it is a rare building of its type in Manhattan that "makes sense architecturally" and that it "blends into its surroundings more gracefully" than any other skyscraper nearby.[12]
The building is completely self-sufficient, and contains its own gas and water supplies as well as generation capabilities. Even with no public utility support the building can remain open for two weeks. During the immediate aftermath of the September 11, 2001 attacks, it was the only building south of Canal Street that was operational." I've used the Long Lines building numerous times as the location for faction of other worldly alternative Earth travelers with shadowy ties to the US government.
You can read about
the Long Lines building from here
Is there a series of books of forbidden knowledge that shook a real world empire to its foundations and does it have ties in legend to one of the most legendary court magicians of all times? The answer is yes. According to an article by Mike Dash on The Blast From The Past Website;"The sibyl, so the story goes, was a woman named Amalthaea who lurked in a cave on the Phlegræan Fields. She had once been young and beautiful–beautiful enough to attract the attentions of the sun god, Apollo, who offered her one wish in exchange for her virginity. Pointing to a heap of dust, Amalthaea asked for a year of life for each particle in the pile, but (as is usually the way in such old tales) failed to allow for the vindictiveness of the gods. Ovid, in Metamorphoses, has her lament that “like a fool, I did not ask that all those years should come with ageless youth, as well.” Instead, she aged but could not die. Virgil depicts her scribbling the future on oak leaves that lay scattered about the entrance to her cave, and states that the cave itself concealed an entrance to the underworld.
The best-known–and from our perspective the most interesting–of all the tales associated with the sibyl is supposed to date to the reign of Tarquinius Superbus–Tarquin the Proud. He was the last of the mythic kings of Rome, and some historians, at least, concede that he really did live and rule in the sixth century B.C. According to legend, the sibyl traveled to Tarquin’s palace bearing nine books of prophecy that set out the whole of the future of Rome. She offered the set to the king for a price so enormous that he summarily declined–at which the prophetess went away, burned the first three of the books, and returned, offering the remaining six to Tarquin at the same price. Once again, the king refused, though less arrogantly this time, and the sibyl burned three more of the precious volumes. The third time she approached the king, he thought it wise to accede to her demands. Rome purchased the three remaining books of prophecy at the original steep price.

What makes this story of interest to historians as well as folklorists is that there is good evidence that three Greek scrolls, known collectively as the Sibylline Books, really were kept, closely guarded, for hundreds of years after the time of Tarquin the Proud. Secreted in a stone chest in a vault beneath the Temple of Jupiter, the scrolls were brought out at times of crisis and used, not as a detailed guide to the future of Rome, but as a manual that set out the rituals required to avert looming disasters. They served the Republic well until the temple burned down in 83 B.C., and so vital were they thought to be that huge efforts were made to reassemble the lost prophecies by sending envoys to all the great towns of the known world to look for fragments that might have come from the same source. These reassembled prophecies were pressed back into service and not finally destroyed until 405, when they are thought to have been burned by a noted general by the name of Flavius Stilicho." Now this is prime stuff for either a Dark Albion or a Lamentations of the Flame Princess campaign. Imagine those books being used for predicting the outcome of the Rose War as the civil war rage across England. Now according to legend John Dee had connections to the Sibylline Books which he had copies of in his special library but like many things this turned out to be mere mythology and occult hyperbole. Perhaps in your old school campaigns this is not the case.
You can find a ton of information on John Dee here

A John Dee style court magician is the perfect figure to add into a Dark Albion campaign, his methods, magic, and courtly spy network ties are a nice balance against the players of the Rose War. He's subtle and canny enough to survive in the dangerous and dark intrigues of the events of the Rose war with easy. His possible ties to the Sibylline Books would make this style of magus a force to be reckoned with.

Finally there is a series of articles on real life historical sex cults that are perfect to add to your old school campaigns for adventure fodder. This article covers the cults of
Simon Magus to Antinous & The Adamites plus lots more. This is perfect fodder for LoFP and especially Dark Albion because its by the author of that campaign setting.

Read about 

15 Of The Craziest Sex Cults Of All Time here

Tuesday, August 23, 2016

Review & Meditations On The 'Tangent! The Grey Man of Chapel Weir' Adventure By Marc Braden From D3 Adventures

Tangent! The Grey Man of Chapel Weir Adventure  is an adventure that was sent to me via a second hand Facebook message from Marc Braden. This isn't a bad adventure but its one of those generic Drivethrurpg  adventures that might work as a fill gap for a generic retroclone horror style campaign. The problem I have with it is the fact that its so generic. The layout, the cartography, the lineage, the entire package needed an art editor, cartographer, etc. in other words this was a garage band produced adventure and it needed a group of professionals to really make it shine. Even the byline premise for the adventure has potential.  According to the D3 Adventures blurb;"
The Town of Tunere’ has been blessed with fertile lands and abundant crops. It has grown from a small village to an incredible city. However, it has a dark history. Every year a youth is sacrificed to maintain this prosperity, but now the Grey Man is coming much more often to claim the tributes.
The mayor and businessmen are desperate to find a solution. Can the heroes stop the sacrifices or will doing so destroy the world? Why is the Grey Man coming more often? Has some other dark force altered the delicate balance?"  Great premise but it didn't live up to its byline unfortunately.

 Tangent! The Grey Man of Chapel Weir  clocks in at twenty pages & the plot is straight out of the Golden Bough and given a few twists and turns for someone's Call of Cthulhu or D&D game. As a mater of fact this adventure is way too generic, it feels flat & without its own individual colour to it at all. There's no personality here and a complete lack of a distinctive feel that one gets with a true OSR product even the bad ones.
"The Town of Tunere’ sits upon fertile land in the northern reaches of its kingdom. Its prosperity comes from these very lands, in the way of bountiful harvests of crops and grapes that are made into fine wines. This richness and blessing are tainted though. For more than a thousand years these lands have been protected by a terrible sacrifice. In order to hold at bay two primordial rivers, each year has required the death of a virgin of no more than twelve years old. This sacrifice is collected by a strange Grey Man that emerges from the swamp to collect the offering. Disappearing back into the mists, he returns to his home; an ancient building known as the Chapel of Weir."
D3 Games The Grey Man of Chapel Weir's maps are painful to look at and look so generic as to have absolutely no individual personality on their own. They all came from 'drag and drop' mapping soft ware that gives the product a grocery store feel.
The 'read this text' is horrid with weird green text bubbles and boxes around them that remind me of horrid Nineties educational comic books that were handed out in middle school in certain parts of Connecticut. The text is rife with descriptions that are as generic as the rest of adventure. Here's a sample of what I'm talking about;
"Before you, great evergreen trees rise up out of murky water. No branches seem to start until at least twenty to thirty feet from the water’s surface. Patches of unnatural fog hang in the air, shifting as if to conceal shadows moving behind them. Strikingly, one would expect to hear the chirping of insects, yet all is quiet as if they are hiding." It almost seems like the flavor & personality of the text has been sucked out or cut to make it even more generic to fit any DM's campaign. I understand that you want to make products that are universal but this is the gaming equivalent of a quick one size fits all horror adventure module that can fit a D&D style game
Yeah I'm going to be avoiding anything from D3 Adventures from here on out. I'm sorry that Marc Bredan chose to go with this outfit because Mr. Bredan is a very talented designer/writer. There is flavor here but its buried under tons of bad maps and reworked elements until the Grey Man of Chapel Weir has become completely and utterly generic.  The Grey Man of Chapel Weir Adventure  has real potential but needs to be completely reworked to be truly something unique and interesting. I would suggest kickstarting this adventure & then hiring either Monkey Blood Designs or Dyson Logos to revamp the maps and art direction.
Two out of five folks.

Monday, August 22, 2016

1d12 Random Warriors, Poets, & Wizards From The Dreamlands Encounter Table For Your Old School Campaigns

Between the haze & the ripples of heat in the wasteland warriors, dreamers, poets, and wizards ride out from between worlds. These beings are from the dreamlands far alien wastelands of far off worlds; they come seeking employment and are often sell swords of the most dangerous aspect.
"Searchers after horror haunt strange, far places. For them are the catacombs of Ptolemais, and the carven mausolea of the nightmare countries. They climb to the moonlit towers of ruined Rhine castles, and falter down black cobwebbed steps beneath the scattered stones of forgotten cities in Asia. The haunted wood and the desolate mountain are their shrines, and they linger around the sinister monoliths on uninhabited islands. But the true epicure in the terrible, to whom a new thrill of unutterable ghastliness is the chief end and justification of existence, esteems most of all the ancient, lonely farmhouses of backwoods New England; for there the dark elements of strength, solitude, grotesqueness, and ignorance combine to form the perfection of the hideous."
(“The Picture in the House”, 12 December 1920)

Often these beings bare the hideous marks and mutations of dream corruption having fought with many nightmares & creatures or demons of unreality. They will often have 1d6 weird or horrid mutations borne by lingering in strange veils beyond the ken of health minds. Those who have truck with these mercenaries & poets of the weird have a 30% chance of contracting a bit of the dream plague. A save vs spells may hold at bay  this dream corruption for 1d8 months but the infection of it may return to warp the sanity or skin of its victims.

It moves me most when slanting sunbeams glow
On old farm buildings set against a hill,
And paint with life the shapes which linger still
From centuries less a dream than this we know.
In that strange light I feel I am not far
From the fixt mass whose sides the ages are.

(Fungi from Yuggoth: Continuity, 1929)

  1.  The Count Inchae a warrior of 5th level with an arm of silver and gold whose skin glows and writhes with the souls of his enemies. His mount is a half demonic & weird mutant creature from beyond the pale he seeks payment and justice for his wife's murders whom he is tracking across dimensions
  2. Ituthanglldror of Ob a poet & prince among the areas along Sanarth who has wandered arcoss countless worlds in his quest for the dream that will set his people free from their curse. He is a 6th level bard & story teller who spins takes from the lost dreams of others.
  3. Lulurcha is a warrior without peer whose children were murdered by raiders from the Plateau of Ling, she seeks revenge & wanders the planes in search of the trail of the raiders.
  4. Mautungu is dangerous man of few words who is on the trail of the cult of the dreams of  Cthulhu  who wish to use the insanity of when the stars are right to harvest the nightmares of the weak and insane.
  5. Moguthellurur chief of the guardians of Kadath in the cold waste, she was forced out after a rival summoned a night guant to carry this 7th level warrior to the Abyss of the Dreamlands. She travels even now for revenge.
  6. Nglaurc former servant of the Moon Beasts & currently 6th level bard with the outrider clan and a known trouble maker.
  7. Orindul former merchant now turned wizard whose blood ties run deep in the dreamlands and whose black spells have trapped many a maiden or fighter in their webs.
  8. Otungitu - The former student of a black wizard who stole a magical sword and whose fighting prowess is only matched by his sense of black purpose and an evil aura that hangs around him. The magic sword has taken over their lives for the worse.
  9. Rimoglrdethm former member of the cult of Set now seeking to serve the gods of Earth and fight against the Great Old Ones
  10. Saeth  wizard of the purple veil and render of worlds, this wizard is an astral menace who ravages the dreams of sleeping humans & harvests the energies for his own dark purpose. But he is for hire for the right price.
  11. Weglrduthmm a seemingly dirty poor warrior is actually the prince of his own dream kingdom who has fallen on hard times and now works as a poet of the strange and unusual. He uses a combination of magic & might to rid the other worldly Mythos. He owns several scrolls to help him in his quest to track down all of the cultists of the Old Ones.
  12.  Fathiarauror is a bounty hunter, dream thief, and harvester of the nightmare realm. This man uses a dangerous magic to trap others in their own webs of lies and forbidden knowledge, 

Sunday, August 21, 2016

Dungeons & Dagons - The Collected Works of HP Lovecraft For Free For Your Old School Campaigns

Table top gaming owes a lot to H.P. Lovecraft especially OD&D & Advanced Dungeons & Dragons first edition. This stretches all of the way back to Dragon issue #12 with the first appearance of an article about them by Rob Kuntz, co-author of Gods, Demi-Gods & Heroes and the first edition Deities & Demigods (1980), and J. Eric Holmes, author of the first D&D Basic Set (1977). Lovecraft is an incredible influence upon Appendix 'N' in the first edition AD&D Dungeon Master's Guide not to mention his passing section in the Kuntz & Ward Deities and Demigods. His fiction has an internal consistency that makes his writing easily grouped into three important periods. According to Wiki;"Lovecraft's fiction has been grouped into three categories by some critics. While Lovecraft did not refer to these categories himself, he did once write: "There are my 'Poe' pieces and my 'Dunsany pieces'—but alas—where are any Lovecraft pieces?"[72]"

Its hard to say when I actually encountered HP Lovecraft? It seems growing up in Connecticut he's always been a part of my life. Connecticut was and has been the backyard of the Lovecraft mythos, not weird enough like Providence or with the weird enough to have the hills raise wild with cults. Connecticut has its own brand of weirdness. There's a big huge sale over at Drivethrurpg and there are some excellent OSR titles on sale there.
There are some excellent stuff there, Skirmisher Publishing is also doing a pay what you want sale there as well many of their titles have some grand implications for OSR gaming. This weekend is HP Lovecraft's birthday & I don't think there is another writer whose had as much of an impact on my life as him. Now that I'm older its not simply the mythos that I've come to appreciate but the circle of writers who made up the 'The Lovecraft Circle"
"Lovecraft was relatively unknown during his own time.[71] While his stories appeared in the pages of prominent pulp magazines such as Weird Tales (eliciting letters of outrage as often as letters of praise from regular readers of the magazines), not many people knew his name. He did, however, correspond regularly with other contemporary writers, such as Clark Ashton Smith and August Derleth, people who became good friends of his, even though they never met in person. This group of writers became known as the "Lovecraft Circle", since they all freely borrowed elements of Lovecraft's stories – the mysterious books with disturbing names, the pantheon of ancient alien entities, such as Cthulhu and Azathoth, and eldritch places, such as the New England town of Arkham and its Miskatonic University – for use in their own works with Lovecraft's encouragement."

But let's face it there are times when you need to reference Lovecraft's works and weirdness. Wouldn't you love to have his writings right at the ready on your hard drive or cloud. Fortunately while doing a bit of research earlier today I came across a solid collection of his writings.

The Collected Works of H.P. Lovecraft

If your looking for the relevant articles on the Mythos in Dragon & Deities and Demigods I can easily help you out with those.   Another great art source on HP Lovecraft was the work of John Holmes (1935 – 2011) a British artist whose work I grew up with seeing in the backs of Creepy and Eerie magazines. His covers always gave met the shivers as a kid but in a good way. You can see the whole lot here and take a trip down memory lane.

Lovecraft remains a favorite despite the various things that have come up over the years and yes he shall remain a favorite for years to come. So I'm raising a glass to the glorious son of New England and saluting him wherever he is!

Meditations On The Free OSR Adventure Resource - Where The Fallen Jarls Sleep By John Turcotte For Old School Campaigns

Something  is stirring & evil stalks the land only your adventurers can purge this horror that has come like a hate from the old times!


I was looking for a quick adventure that I could work into a convention style adventure for the Astonishing Swordsmen & Sorcerers of Hyperborea for today. Fortunately I remembered the free adventure by John Turcotte Where The Fallen Jarls Sleep. 
This is an adventure of monstrous happening a malevolence darkens the northern reaches of  The Land of Song. Can your group defeat the evil and bring peace. An adventure for characters of level 3-5.  Yngvar, the old Jarl of the clans calls in the PC's to determine what corruption & evil is causing the lands to become evil. This is an adventure for experienced DM's because its very nature is centered around the undead central to the plot of it. The open ended structure is very well done and will test parties to their very core.

I really liked where this module takes the party, into the heart of a situation that has its mechanism in dynamic action around the events of the module. The artwork is evocative the artwork is very well done by Stefan Poag & Steve Zieser. This module is ripe with sword & sorcery flavor dripping deep with undead. The dead far out number the living, the players are going to need to go over the turning of undead rules for AD&D.Where The Fallen Jarls Sleep is a great adventure that has a bit of everything including evocative random monster encounters, the adventure has some really great ruins, brand new monsters, and draws heavily upon the AD&D Fiend Folio, Uneathed Arcana, and it plays well with these elements. 
Where The Fallen Jarls Sleep is a perfect vehicle adventure for use to let loose the mythological elements of AS&SH's Norsemen. This adventure plays awesomely with the elements of AD&D & its faux Norse mythology with abandoned. Experienced players are going to be needed for this adventure because Where the Fallen Jarls Sleep has some really nasty & unexpected twists to it. For a free adventure this is a deadly little romp that will take adventurers and players by surprise with both its content and delivery. Grab this one and run it with your favorite retroclone or AD&D first edition!

Signal Boast for Thaumiel Nerub Of Doom Products

Everyone every now and then go through some bad times and this time a friend of mine has been caught in the crossfire of the back end of a bad time. Thaumiel Nerub Of Doom Products is about to have his power cut off in a day or so. He needs help badly he's got a go fund me page to help with these dire circumstances that he finds himself in.
"Even though we have been unemployed for almost a year, we have managed to survive. Now we are in a big trouble with electricity bill! If we cannot pay it, they will cut down our electricity. We have tried to get the money together, but even social service turned us down.

The electricity is essential for two reasons for us:
1. Our water is dependent on it. There will be no water available without electricity to power the water pump.
2. Without internet and computer job-hunting will be much more harder.

I've tried to find a job, but currently it is not that easy in Finland. I've got several applications sent to all kinds of places, but nothing has catched yet.

Thank you for reading. You are our only hope to make this.

Every donator will receive a DIY thank you card from me :)"


Here's why the most current situation is and what's been happening;"I've also updated my Gofundme goal every time I've received money from other sources (ie. Paypal), so currently the price I need is 443€. And I almost have half of that sitting on my Gofundme account!*

I've sent my supporters my stuff, but because I am so thankful for all the help and support I've received, I decided to make
CRYPT OF DOOM PDF pay-what-you-want.

Yes, the PDF is pay-what-you-want and the print is pay-what-you-want (at cost) So go grab it and let your friends and followers know, that they can get some Patreon supported OSR material basically for free!

Now I continue to enjoy my Sunday. Tomorrow is a new day and new panic, because Tuesday is so close! But today I am happy, thanks for everyone who has remembered me. Thank you so much for everything.

Have a nice Sunday too. I hope you have great time with your family and/or friends. And get some gaming goin'. And hopefully you'll read some Crypt Of Doom and enjoy it!

See you again!"

So I'm doing my part to help out a friend whose in trouble. I hope that you in your heart will find it worth donating some cash his way to help get him back on track.

Saturday, August 20, 2016

Saturday Morning OSR Campaign Fodder - The Land of the Lost 1974 Television Series As Old School Campaign

So last night after way too many beers & a phone call at about two A.M. with Steve a friend of mine whose a long haul trucker & AD&D first edition player. I some how ended up watching some of the original Saturday morning  Land of the Lost television shows from '74.When your four years old 'Land of The Lost' is awesome especially given the dinosaurs, the Sleestak, 'the lost city', and many a Saturday morning was spent at High Bluff with the Marshal family. According to the Wiki entry;"Land of the Lost (1974–1976) is a children's adventure television series created (though uncredited) by David Gerrold and produced by Sid and Marty Krofft, who co-developed the series with Allan Foshko. During its original run, it was broadcast on the NBC television network"

Land of the Lost is a hex crawl pure & simple, each twenty two minute episode reveals more & more of the pocket universe of Land of the Lost. In the episode 'Follow that Dinosaur' we get background on the time lost castaways that for centuries and background on the Sleestak who were named for an American  Revolutionary war officer that Private Peter Koenig a private didn't like. Rick Marshall (Spencer Milligan) and his teenage children Will (Wesley Eure) and Holly (Kathy Coleman) are perfect examples of the family of adventurers dynamic that I've used countless times. So instead of a bunch of strangers who meet in a tavern you get a family each with fulfilling the adventurer roles. Much later on we got  Uncle Jack Marshal who takes over the family after his brother exits the land by causing a time paradox in which trapped the Marshals in the first place. This was all because of Enik who whose people the Sleestak are descended from; they are the degenerate remains of the Altrusian people. The Altrusians are a reptilian species whose abilities with planar, time, and dimensional technology is really impressive. Its they're time & space gates that honeycomb the Land. The Altrusian's time space technology is actually part of what regulates the eco & weather systems of the Land of the Lost. The crystal control tables and time space pylons have showed up in many games over the years.

Land of the Lost boasted some really impressive science fiction talent behind some of the episodes with  David Gerrolds the writer of the 'Star Trek' episode the  'Trouble With Tribbles' on board as story editor but who comes to flesh out the entire Land of The Lost universe as the series progresses. There's an internal consistency to the mythology & background of Land of the Lost. Part of the reason is the science fiction talent that was brought in according to Wiki ;"A number of well-respected writers in the science fiction field contributed scripts to the series (mostly in the first and second seasons), including Larry Niven,[6] Theodore Sturgeon,[6][7] Ben Bova,[6] and Norman Spinrad, and a number of people involved with Star Trek, such as Dorothy "D.C." Fontana,[6] Walter Koenig,[6][8][9] and David Gerrold.[6] Gerrold, Niven, and Fontana also contributed commentaries to the DVD of the first season."  But for a four year old kid it was the dinosaurs and megafauna  which if you grew up in the 1970's. This show had a bit of everything for the Seventies kid, UFO's, time space gates, dinosaurs,etc. And as a D&D dungeon master I mined the hell out of this show from the early Eighties through my running Carcosa, Land of The Lost elements keep showing up. But if your want to put together your own OSR Land of the Lost game campaign there are some descent resources.

First of all there is the Land of the Lost fan site.  which has an episode guide and break downs of all of the Land of the Lost material. The What A Horrible Night To Have A Curse Blog has some really nice AD&D 1st edition Sleestak monster stats and breakdowns.

Wiki has a whole bunch of resources that can be used the entry on the original 1974 television show is pretty good.
List of Land of the Lost episodes has quite a few quick nods and bobs for a time line for the show. The real meat for putting together & creating NPC's is the Land of the Lost characters and species entry which has everything to throw into a quick mix or one shot adventure. For artifacts & treasure the Land of the Lost geography and technology entry is one to look at which can give you everything you need to stock the 'lost city of the Sleestaks'
See you on the other side of the time space gate kids!

Note that this blog entry is meant for educational and entertainment purposes only this blog entry is not meant as challenge or violation of the copyrights of the creators or current holders of the land of the lost trade mark or copyrights.

Friday, August 19, 2016

More Frog Men, Dark Albion, & U2 Danger at Dunwater For Your Old School

Good day, I've had an email request for my thoughts on combining Dark Albion & U2 Danger At Dunwater especially sprinkling in The Mystery At Port Greely for the Astonishing Swords & Sorcerers of Hyperborea as the campaign backbone. Your going to want to read here & here for more of the background of this thought exercise. So why would the PC's who are going to be middle mangement royals working for the royal court & possibly as Inquistion agents be investigating the alchemist's house from U1 Sinister Secret of Saltmarsh?
Desolate and abandoned, the evil alchemist's mansion stands alone on the cliff, looking out towards the sea. Mysterious lights and ghostly hauntings have kept away the people of Saltmarsh, despite rumors of fabulous forgotten treasure. What is its sinister secret?This all has to do with the Rose War and the state of the realm; "
The rule of male primogeniture generally applied to the royal succession. Since the civil war known as The Anarchy, caused by the death of King Henry I of England in 1135 without a male heir, was brought to an end by the accession of his grandson Henry II, there had been no major conflicts over the succession.
Following defeat in the Hundred Years' War, English landowners complained vociferously about the financial losses resulting from the loss of their continental holdings; this is often considered a contributory cause of the Wars of the Roses" Basically your carrying out the wishes of your master whose acquired the mansion as a part of the spoils of war. Running The Mystery At Port Greely first is going send your party into the heart of Lovecraftian corruption on the coast of Spain or France. Should they survive the experience they're going to know the extent of the danger to Albion itself.
This style of campaign is going to be a mix of horror (The Mystery At Port Greely), investigative work & inquisition style adventure (U1 The Sinster Secret of Saltmarsh) & straight up messing with even more horror( Danger At Dunwater).

Townies by Del Teigeler

Danger At Dunwater picks up where U1 ends & begins to expand upon the central themes in spades with the introduction of the adventure location of Saltmarsh itself ."Saltmarsh is a small fishing village facing serious problems. Lizard Men are gathering a force nearby and buying many sophisticated weapons. A party of adventurers is hired by the town council to investigate the Lizard Men so the villagers can live in peace"  So where did the lizard men come from in England? Well they've always been there from when before the time when the oceans drank Atlantis. The Picts of Robert Howard's Worms of the Earth are the starting connection here & as we're about to bring it around again to Dark Albion. According to Wiki;"
At 13, Howard, being of Scottish descent, began his studies of Scottish history and became fascinated with what he calls "the small dark Mediterranean aborigines of Britain."[1] As these Picts were portrayed as inferior to later tribes, Howard imagined them as a link between modern and ancient times.
His Picts originated on a group of islands near what was once Valusia, the kingdom of the Atlantean Kull. When Atlantis, Lemuria, and Valusia sank into the sea, the Picts survived and were flung into a period of cultural decline. They forgot the art of metalworking and returned to the technique of flintknapping.
They migrated to the North until they reached Caledon, the northern lands of the later British Isles. They drove the extant tribes northward until the Aryans, Celts, and Germans invaded.[2]
The Picts were pushed to the North, where they mingled with the tribes they had defeated earlier. Forgetting most of their technological skills, they became brutish and skilled in warcraft.[3]
Although Bran Mak Morn has dark eyes, he does not resemble the Caledonian Picts as Howard depicts them. He refers to himself as a Mediterranean, possibly meaning that he associates himself with the more ancient Picts."  The Picts of Robert Howard's Worms of the Earth & Children of the Night are the last remains of the slaves of the Elves of Dark Albion. Centuries of breeding,warfare, & Elven cult acclivities have driven them almost to extinction. By the time of the Roman occupation of Britain the final nail has been driven into the coffin or so it seems. The Elves of Dark Albion have been using the Picts to make war on the Lizard Men or Worms of the Earth for centuries.

According to Pundit & his genesis for Dark Albion Cults of Chaos; "Elves in Albion are a bit of a mix between darker faerie stories and aliens from abductee accounts.  Creepy, inhuman, decadent, alien of thought, incredibly powerful.   In Cults of Chaos you'll get more details about the ancient history of when the Elves ruled Albion, where they live now, where they still show up and how, and what they do when they do show up. You'll also get some straightforward old-school info: encounter types and sizes, Elven equipment and powers.   Info also on elven magic items, and changelings."
This sounds exactly like the tactics of the 'Worms of the Earth' themselves according to the Cthulhu Wiki entry on the Worms;"The worms of the earth, also called the Children of the Night, are a race of almost-human beings created by Robert E. Howard. It is said that they came to the British Isles at a very early time. They were followed by the Picts and later the Celts, who fought the "worms" and drove them out. By the time of Bran Mak Morn (somewhere between 100 and 300 C.E.), the "worms" were horribly degenerate things that lived underground, and by modern times could be expected to have fallen even further from stock humanity. Howard's stories make it clear that the "worms" are descended from humans and had once been human, before degenerating into bestial, sub-human, nocturnal things reminiscent of reptiles or serpents.
In the time of Bran Mak Morn they appeared to be individually weak but wielded powerful magic as a group. They lived in the west of the British Isles near what they call the Dagon-Moor. There they kept a Black Stone as an idol. The worms can be bargained with like men, and those who steal the idol can force the worms to do their bidding in exchange for the return of their prize, though any who would do so should beware the treachery of the worms.
The "worms" are master engineers, having digged great honeycombs of passages and vaults beneath the earth, and master stonemasons, and can tunnel through rock, pulling entire fortresses down into the earth. They also seem able to enter rooms from underground without being seen. Those taken by the "worms" into their subterranean hell-world will be hard-pressed to stay sane. The "worms" may also keep more human-looking people or "witches" - the wild, half-mad, bastard changeling offspring the worms have born upon their unfortunate human captives - above their caves as collaborators and spies to send adventurers to them or away as needed." 
So the the Lizard Men & Elves have been fighting for centuries; Bran Mak Morn might have been the last of the human kings ruling on behalf of the Elves when the Romans showed up. The Worms might have pushed the Romans back for a time but by the time of Dark Albion this is a blip on the historical map. But the Royals of Dark Albion have a long memory & they know about the fate of the Roman Commander from Worms of The Earth. Now why would there be cooperation between the frog/fishmen/Deep Ones of France & the lizardmen of Dark Albion?

If we are using the Worms of the Earth novella then the answer is very simple, Dagon Moor itself where the action takes place with the Worm is key. According to the Cthlhu Wiki;"Dagon-Moor is in the west of the British Isles, near Wales. The moor contains several oddities. These include a large and possibly bottomless pool, where an "unspeakable creature" lives, probably Dagon. Similarly a circle of standing stones also is said to be connected with Dagon." So some aspect of Dagon itself resides in Dagon Moor surrounded by witch cults & changlings. Given the events and civil unrest of the War of the Roses this is a prime opportunity for the non humans to mount an offense against humanity & put the uppity humans back under the heel of non human control once again. Bran Mak Morn is a figure of legend and worship among the humans; another figurehead for the chaos & witch cults to use to stir the people on. So what does all this have to do with Saltmarsh as a whole? Well given the climate of the time of the War of the Roses Saltmarsh is an important but minor point for spies, smugglers, outlaws, & witch cults.
"This growing civil discontent, the abundance of feuding nobles with private armies, and corruption in Henry VI's court formed a political climate ripe for civil war. With the king so easily manipulated, power rested with those closest to him at court, in other words, Somerset and the Lancastrian faction. Richard and the Yorkist faction, who tended to be physically placed further away from the seat of power, found their power slowly being stripped away. Royal power and finances also started to slip, as Henry was persuaded to grant many royal lands and estates to the Lancastrians, thereby losing their revenue."

Margaret of Anjou through human agents and their witch cults is using her control of the pulse of Worms to stir the old hatreds of the Elves, the Worms(lizard men), and the Frog Men.  But she's not the only player with Frogmen backing. As we shall see in further installments of this series. Make no mistake  Margaret of Anjou was a real life spy mistress & royal manipulator of great skill. Her role in Dark Albion is not to be under estimated and as an NPC she can be a party's undoing. 

So where are the lizard men, monsters, etc. getting all of their numbers of warriors & troops? Well from the local population which they've been inbreeding with for centuries. All of these sources especially HP Lovecraft & Robert Howard had cross breeding going on in all of their stories as does myth & legend. All of this goes right back to the influences of Pundit on Dark Albion;
"The idea in Albion of the supernatural and inhuman being found mostly in the margins of society and the geographical frontiers (borderlands?) of the setting is also a natural extension of default D&D play."

So all of this is going to hinge on the fact that the link between France & England is going to be the lesser cousins of the French frogmen. These witch cults are going to act as a buffer between the two groups. Why? Because the very presence of Dagon & that god's word is going to make all of the difference. Why not take full advantage of the blood shed & silly wars of the humans?
Lesser Boglings II - Wilderness Encounters - Otherworld Miniatures (x3 figs)

All of this has to do with the Mystery At Port Greely because of the connection between the events of the U1 Sinister Secret of Salt Marsh. If your PC's were lucky enough to escape the events of Port Greely & then continue to slowly uncover the smuggling going on in Saltmarsh. Then the affair of U2 Danger At Dunwater is simply going to be another cog in how deep & high the corruption goes in Albion.

Witch cults, twisted mutated human mutant hybrids, dark magicks, corruption at the highest levels & intrigue is going to make things very dangerous for the PC's at every turn. If this sounds like it might be a Inquisitor campaign that Dark Albion's Cults of Chaos talks then it could possibly be played that way but remember the corruption goes all the way too the top here. Your PC's are going to be in extreme danger at every turn.

Dark Albion and Cults of Chaos has both a pdf and print run on Lulu. Its a great addition to the arsenals of a DM! 
Grab The Mystery At Port Greely Here
More coming
very soon with U3 The Final Enemy!

Thursday, August 18, 2016

Free Swords & Wizardry Resources For Use With Labyrinth Lord As OSR Campaign Fodder

My books that got stolen in '13 by a 'friend'. Sniff.
Ahh don't worry folks I'll be replacing them soon enough.

So last night I took the night off to really look at what really are the differences between Swords & Wizardry side by side with Labyrinth Lord. One of the best links about the subject which was clear cut & not tainted by OSR opinion was this one, How does Swords & Wizardry differ from Labyrinth Lord?. 
This discussion Dragon's Foot has some solid pointers on the subject, Labyrinth Lord or Swords & Wizardry for a Convention Game?
Tales from The Flaming Faggot also has a solid discussion about the short comings & strengths of both systems in RPG Smackdown: Swords & Wizardry vs. Labyrinth Lord. 
So those are a few of the OSR resources that talk about system differences & whatnot. Generally I don't want to go into too much detail about which system might better or which addition might have this or that over the other. Instead I want to talk about the boat load of support that Swords and Wizardry gets & how you can use that to your advantage at your table.

First of all if you haven't seen this thread over at the LL Goblinoid games forum I highly suggest that you take full advantage of some incredibly awesome Free material there.  One of the best sources is the 'Lost In Time' blog for free Swords & Wizardry material and most of this will be coming straight out of there.
The Ancient Crypt of Feng-Hou is a fifteen page dungeon crawl of weirdness & some clever bits. Its a nice beginning to a campaign dungeon romp with a  rumors table, wandering monsters, and more. All in a good little romp to play around with.
Call of the Xul  is a four page mini dungeon with all of the trimmings that makes a lovely intro dungeon romp and has some great twists. Easily one of the simple dungeons on the list to DYI as the DM likes.
Claw’s Depths a simple easily converted one page GONZO dungeon that makes my weirdo DM heart flutter. This dungeon could easily be used as a location adventure in some pulpy space romp or setting as a hex location. Shades of Carcosa anyone?
Splashdown in Fiend’s Fen  is a hex crawl sort of a swamp adventure location with all kinds of features & monsters in the background. Really well done and I liked it.
Trouble in Trollwood is a different themed adventure location centered around a really nicely done Norse theme.
Ynys Bach  is a one page Celtic island adventure location with a few twists and easily a download that can be DYI for D&D as you like.

Finally one of my favorites is a fifteen minute bare bones dungeon that you can stock and use as you like.

So that's all I've got at the moment but when I come across more dear DM's and readers I'll be more then happy to share. For now remember to keep those dice rolling & hope you make your saves.