Tuesday, April 30, 2013

Five Dimensional Mirrors For Your Old School Horror Campaigns Up On The Dark Corner Blog

These glasses reflect more then mere beauty. They change your character's life forever!
Take a look right over 

Defiance Television show Review and Commentary

Defiance is a post alien invasion/ post apocalyptic western set near Saint Louis some years after Earth has been terraformed by advanced alien technology.
The show revolves around an alien orphan and her veteran father who through a series of circumstances becomes the sheriff of a the town where he grew up. 
The show has elements of post apocalypse  a bit of steam punk, and bits and pieces of many science fiction tropes thrown in with an element of Payton Place thrown in for good measure. 

Defiance A Town With Secrets 

Now after watching the pilot and the extensive background of this world I've come to some pretty interesting conclusions. Each of the characters is a web of plot hooks meshing with all of the other characters. The aliens are very well done and have extensive background, their own languages, and fully developed back stories. 

The push and pull of family vs teen seems to be universal told against the background of the world of this terraformed Earth. There a bunch of  plot lines going in on the background and it seems to be done on purpose by the show's writers. We get alien rites of passage, strange religions, weird technologies, and all kinds of PA goodness in the first three shows. But is it good? Did I mention psychic abilities wrapped up in alien religion? Father & daughter dynamics that seem right out of a John Ford  western? 

Its interesting to say the least and it keeps me coming back to watch more. So its a seven and a half out of ten.

Defiance As Blue Print For Your OSR 

 After watching the pilot plus the shows there are two things I'm convinced of. One the show is an excellent blue print of how a Post Apocalyptic campaign can be done well. Two ecology of a campaign can be done with a little quick research and perpetration.
The town of Defiance sits on a the old city of Saint Louis. That's one big mega dungeon of post apocalyptic goodness under the guise of a mine. The ruins of the city were introduced under the guise of the mine as plot point in the opening pilot.
This week's episode also gives away another plot point. Computers and the internet are gone. The technology level seems a mix of nineteen hundreds and science fantasy.
 We get a mix of alien and mutant monsters as well as minor NPC's and major ones in the form of the town.
The whole show is a great step by step guide to creating a campaign in any post apocalyptic setting. The most important fact about this town is that each and every character has secrets and plot hooks that relate to the town in some way. 
Each is a web of hooks, lines, and sinkers that moves the show or in your case campaign forward.
The video game tie in only covers a very small area of the show and gives further background into the history of Defiance.
Any side adventures in games should do the same. A clear and present tie in to post apocalyptic gaming sets players on edge and moves adventures forward.
 I'm going to be watching to see where the show goes from here.

On Line Support
 Wiki Defiance_(TV_series)
Official Site HERE
Defiance Wiki HERE
 Viral Defiance Campaign HERE

Monday, April 29, 2013

More 1d10 Random Lovecraftian Cargoes Table For Your Old School Space Opera

Elder sign.jpg

1d10 Lovecraftian Cargoes Table 
  1. Deep one suspension pod with a double hit dice and about to wake up! 
  2. Particle weapon beam energy cell belonging to the elder things utilizing a shaggoth cell cluster which is about to break free 
  3. Hyper spacial shunt off of a Great Race Time Engine. Lose 1d4 hours of time when you pick it up or did you already do this? 
  4. Great white worm remains flash frozen. Part of a bio computer and holds 1d4 forbidden spells. Must be hooked up to a cyberdeck to access them. 
  5. Elder Thing healing patches 1d4 of them in suspension. If used on human victim must make a saving throw or make a mutation check. 
  6. Elder Sign badly damage and glowing with Great Old One energies. Take 1d4 points of damage and make a radiation check if handled. 
  7. Ghoul arm with magic ring on finger badly damaged and flash frozen. Roll on Magic ring table. 
  8. A wounded shaggoth flash frozen in eight places. Will revive in 1d6 hours with no memory of how it got here. Very aggressive and dangerous. 1/3 hit points. 
  9. Alien white substance not wholly within the local space time continuum.Actually an alien god mind looking for victims. Passing itself off as an artifact. 
  10. A wing from a spawn of Cthlhu badly damaged. 1d8 parasites riddled throughout it. They will infect anyone coming to examine the thing. Very dangerous. 

Sunday, April 28, 2013

DYI Gring House Torg Setting - Across The 6th Dimensional Alternative - Actual Play

 What a wild game night lots of new Grind House Cross Dimensional action! Time Travel, Cross Dimensional Hop Scotch, Death, Nazi, Deodanth warriors, PC death! You can read all about it right HERE

Saturday, April 27, 2013

Saturday Cyberpunk - The Squares Of The City - A Surreal Old School Campaign

Squares of the city.jpg
When I was in college this book was part of a book sale and I bought it for fifty cents.
Back then I was deep into the Prisoner television series and Squares was part of read while taking a train ride. This is thoroughly sociological SF, when that was still the Next Wave (originally published by Ballantine in 1965).
The  Plot According To Wiki:
It is a sociological story of urban class warfare and political intrigue, taking place in the fictional South American capital city of Vados. It explores the idea of subliminal messages as political tools, and it is notable for having the structure of the famous 1892 chess game between Wilhelm Steinitz and Mikhail Chigorin. The structure is not coincidental, and plays an important part in the story.
Plays an important part of the story? The game actually is the story. 
Brunner takes "subliminal domination" from advertising, the original fear, and explores its application to a city government  and city planning in this story. It is eerily prophetic of the future total dominance of politics by televised sound-bites, advertising, and mass persuasion. It predates the internet by an order of magnitude.
It was natural to combine it with this: 

The Hot House Chess Board
 File:Chess board.jpg
"The political atmosphere was of the hothouse kind. The least incident capable of being made to bear political fruit was being nurtured, protected from the frost [of contrary information] and fed with manure until it blossomed out of all proportion."
 John Brunner Squares of The City
What happens to a fictional South American country when its ultra modern city explodes into an orgy of violence and protests. When all of the chess pieces are put away and only the board is left standing? 

"Conformism is a slow death; anarchy is a rapid one. Between the two lies a control which [...] like a lady's corset is an advertisement  constricts and yet bestows a sense of freedom. We govern our country with a precision that would amaze you." (84-85)

The fiction Latin American country of Aguazul and more specifically to the capital city of Ciudad de Vados, a city envisioned and built by the man the city is named after--Vados. Vados lies abandoned in the jungles of Aguazul. So while riding the train and reading the book I took my copy of Cyberpunk 2020 and Over The Edge. Threw in a bit or two from Gurps Prisoner book then moved the action to an alternative 1969 -1970. 
Cover of Cyberpunk 2020

Less cyber and more punk the adventurers are hired by the "United Police States" to recover a series of cutting edge mind control technologies imported in from else where. Namely the fictional country in Over The Edge. I freely admit to liberally stealing a few Prisoner references and throwing in some South African mercenaries. There were also a bit of a pulp vein running through the adventure when they encountered a few aquatic giant South American centipedes.
Out of the six people playing four survived but it was whom they found in the South American jungle that caused the most problems.
That began the so called "
Club of Rome Quartet" campaign with the adventurers known as the "Amerikan Irregulars " .  The Amerikans roamed through  the games Cyberpunk 2020, Over The Edge, And finally were retired in Mage The Ascension. They made their way through the worlds of Stand on Zanzibar and Shock Wave Rider. I felt that Gibson was over used by the 90's and someone different was needed. 
You can read more about John Brunner Right over Here
 If your interested in the 
"Club of Rome Quartet" campaign and want to know more.Please leave me a comment.
 Part II coming up. Maybe? 

Five Appendix N - Black Sabbath Songs For Your Inspirational Saturday

Just the morning appendix N Stuff for when I'm writing space based stuff. Enjoy the old school influence. 

Friday, April 26, 2013

Five High Tech Mysticism spells For Your Old School Space Opera Part II

  •  Summon Ghost of A Dead Astronaut

  •  Spell Level 5 

    Range : 50 feet 

    Duration - Immediate
     The caster summons the planar echoes of a departed alien astronaut who will answer four questions to the best of the spirit's abilities. The ghost will be truthful in all things but if summoned more then twice day place a curse upon the caster.
    The ghost may also require payment in the form of a boon which must be performed as the Geas spell.
    The cast may temporarily release the spirit with the sacrifice of one of the sacred liquids of his body. The spirit will have the stats of a ghost and may have a level drain attack 2% of the time. The spirit will only be release for 1d8 rounds. There is a 30% of a malevolent spirit being summoned instead. This spirit will try to trick or kill the wizard. 

    Summon Space Angel 

    Spell Level 3

    Range 1d8 light years 

    Duration - 1d8 rounds of service
    This spell will summon a 4 hit dice space angel life form. This spell acts as a telepathic cry into the dark void. The space angel is a complex energy matrix life form that will answer within 1d4 rounds. The creature is a lawful monster and may help the summoner but is under no control to do so. The caster must make a charisma roll and plead for help from the individual space angel.
    The creature may heal 1d4 wounds by binding the soul energies of target. The creature may charge one device or even create a planar energy arch that can create a charge for a small space craft's drive system.
    Alternatively the angel may attack a target for 1d6 points of damage as its planar attacks arch and cause massive energy damage. Space angels are found sailing on the solar and interstellar winds. They are race born in space. The summoner should scatter some blood wine as a sacrifice to the creatures. 

    Keys of the Illogical 

    Spell Level 5 

    Range 480 foot sphere around the target 

    Duration - Immediate
     The wizard summons a series of energy glyphs from the depths of the deepest corners of the minds dead gods. These glowing symbols of planar energy form into a sphere around the target. The target must save vs paralysis or be entranced as the sounds of dead dreams whisper in their ears for 1d4 hours. They will be struck dumb as dangerous sanity shattering cosmic truths are revealed to them. A wisdom check is needed to pass the test of these dead gods.
    This spell may also be used to lock a computer into a trap of chaos and hellish dire calculations that may burn out the poor mind in question unless the device saves. The spell may also be used to rebuke a robot or android. 

    Create gravity pulse   
    Spell Level 4

    Range 480 foot range 

    Duration - 1d3 rounds
    This spell creates a mini gravity well that will rip apart anything within the range of the spell for 1d4 points of damage. The spell may also be used to create a crushing well of gravity around the target but it will only last 1d3 rounds. Targets caught within this sphere can not move until the spell ends. A wizard can alternatively create a pulse sphere and read the gravity waves within a 480 foot radius. This enables them to "read" all comings and goings of any beings caught within the gripe of gravity. 

    Create Limbo Short Cut Gate 

    Spell Level 7

    Range 1d8 light years 

    Duration - Immediate
    The caster is able to create a rend in hyperspace once per week with this spell and send a space craft through it 1d8 light years. There is a 10% chance that a major planar demon lord equal to a pit fiend will notice this incredible intrusion into the unreality of the various heavens and hells of hyperspace and investigate. More over the fiend may find out the caster's name and stalk him across space and time.
    The caster must rest for 1d4 days after this spell is cast. It will cause 1d3 points of constitution damage. This will heal and is only temporary with rest and mediation 

    Five High Tech Mysticism spells For Your Old School Space Opera

    Five High Tech Mysticism Spells 

    1.  Burtrum's Bale Fire Blast -
      Spell Level 4
      Range 480 foot cone
      Duration - Immediate
      This spells summons a blast of bale fire from the depths of the stars of damnation at the user's target that does 1d4 points of damage. The fires burn with cold star fire and will effect  the souls of creatures while leaving flesh untouched and unharmed. This spell is often used to burn any traces  of soul or personality during the creation of certain types of mindless undead. 
    2.  Planar Pulse of Pike  -
      Spell Level 2nd
      Range 240 foot radius
      Duration - Immediate
      This spell summons a burst of planar dimensional energy that temporarily disrupts all communication devices,medical devices,and  high technological devices. As the planar energies crawl across the landscape in a wave of weird and strange effects can be heard and felt by all within the area of effect. There is a 5% chance of over use of this spell will cause a minor cross dimensional rift in the local space time continuum. The cast will be sucked into unreality never to be seen again unless a save vs. death is made. 
    3. Electromagnetic Scattering  -
      Spell Level 2nd
      Range 480 foot cone
      Duration - 1d4 hours
      The caster calls upon the quisi electrical plane and creates a scattering of the signs and symbols of those within the effects of this spell. High technological devices and sensors can not read nor pick up the signals of those within this field.
      There is 3% chance that each time this spell is cast a quisi elemental will appear and stalk the caster. The monster will drain every last electrical and magnetic impulse from the wizard. There are ancient techniques that teach how to ground against these monsters. 
    4. Barker's Symbols and Signs -
      Spell Level 6
      Range 480 foot radius 
      Duration - 1d8 turns
      The caster summons the ancient signs and symbols of the ancient slime and organ filled hells that are no longer being used. The caster is surrounded by a plethora of symbols of the damned and all within effects of this spell must save vs fear or flee the area. The ancient damned of these hells will arrive in 1d4 turns to feed and tear any present. These beings are the equivlant of skeletons and zombies. The caster is protected but can not control these beings at all. The cast must make a successful wisdom check to banish these damned souls back to the alien hells from which they came. There is a 20% chance of one or more escaping though. 
    5. The Last Hurrah  -
      Spell Level 3
      Range 280 foot cone
      Duration - Immediate
       The caster creates an inverted soul cube of force within himself and detonates part of his soul. The spell does 1d4 points of damage and creates a cone of hellish fire that does 1d8 points of damage.
      The caster must save vs death or turn into a small pile of ash. The spell is only taught by some of the most fanatical of wizard guilds and alien schools of  magic. They are those who say that the spell is used for the astral mining of certain types of elemental and psychic crystals. 

    Thursday, April 25, 2013

    Visions of The Dreaming Sky Lich - An Old School Encounter For Your Space Opera Campaign

    File:Pharaoh Seti I - His mummy - by Emil Brugsch (1842-1930).jpg

    Visions of The Dreaming Sky Lich
     From out of the skies a group of  sub-humanoid alien marauders hurls their space craft upon your once peaceful settlement! Their blaster cannons scorching the grounds around your feet turning them to glass in a fraction of a nano second. 
     They have come!  The servants of the Dreaming Lord once again have made planet fall! 


    They are part of a vast armada of alien battle space craft roaming the depths of hyperspace. These alien marauders are nothing more then pirates and thieves living off the dross and dreams of their once great undead lich lord.
     They raid worlds for slaves, booty, and the dreams of any unfortunate enough to cross their paths. These beings serve their once great lord as he dreams of the glories of the past empire he once ruled.
    His sub-humanoid warriors raid and pillage where and when they want without pity or warning.
    Housed within a vast haunted space fortress that roams the wastes of hyperspace these monsters sail the stars under the skies of the damned and mad.
    Are they coming to get your colony worlds soon? 
    The Heart of Madness And Depravity 

    The Dreaming Lord was once the high priest and ruler of a vast alien empire but like all kings his empire past upon itself after a vast atomic war. His people went extinct but not before passing their ruler into the arms of Lichdom. As it was their custom he traveled between the stars in a vast armada of frigates, destroyers, and his floating sky fortress.
    A 12th level wizard in life this monster became a mockery of damnation and terror in death.
     Living off the dross of dreams of the past and the monster was found by a crew of mutated sub humanoid madmen and warriors. These 3rd level  and 5th level fighters agreed to serve as an army for life to this once humanoid monster.
    They move among the stars now a living disease of hate and conquest maintaining dying machinery and weapons of vast destructive power.
    Their master was once a great dreamer and high priest to the Lord of Haunting And Dire Dreams. He is able move his fleet of 80 ships across vast interstellar distances by using the dreams of his god. They cross the bounds of unreality within 1d8 light years per day.
    The Sky Lich spends most of his days traveling the astral seas and unrealities of hyperspace in search of new planets to raid while slaves and his crew maintain their ships.
     The lich is served by a court of fawning psychopaths and clerics who scribe the dreams of their lord watching and waiting for new worlds to conquer. 

    The lich priest king is served by four scarred and debased planar demons. Each one the equal to a pit fiend from the Outer Darkness. These beings act as both counsel and body guards to their lord.

    Treasure of The Sky Lich 

    The Sky Lich is surrounded by thousands upon thousands of scrolls of forbidden knowledge and spells of the most dire and hellish magic. Each scroll is said to be worth 20,000 credits each but each one is cursed with a unique and terrible doom.  The treasure vaults of the monster are filled with unique and alien artifacts from across a myriad of worlds each one worth a fortune to the right alien tinker or collector of antiques.
    The sky fortress of the lich is guarded by traps of the most diabolical nature and his sub human monster guards. Those who fall into the lich's clutches often times become part of this vast collection. Flash frozen to absolute molecular perfection by their master's hands and magics.
    The treasure is guarded as well by two alien seventh level berserk holy warriors each armed with a laser sword of the most dangerous aspect. +2 or better if the rumors about these horrors are to be believed.

    The Dreaming Warriors Of The Sky Lich


    The deadly agents of the sky lich have been seen across the oververse. Often in the employ of wizards of vast power and influence these monsters heal as trolls. They often sport genetic alterations or mutations of the most dire aspect. These monsters often have minor psychic abilities such as telepathy or other telekinetic gifts. They are fanatically loyal to their uncaring god master. These beings gather intelligence while in the employ of others. They have been seen upon the Atomic post apocalyptic realities of other universes and the employ of minor demonic lords and their vile servant wizards.
    They're master may at any time possess these monsters and act as one. This aspect as made them suspect employees and mercenaries at best. They are useful, reliable, and fight as 6th level fighters. Some are also specially created berserk holy warriors.
    They often take mutant or special alien species for experimentation and other vile forms of alteration by their hellish master.


     Contact Dreaming Sky Lich
    Spell Level : M2
    Range: 1d8 light years 

    Duration: 1 week
    The caster creates a powerful psychic flare in the un realities of hyperspace for the Dreaming Sky lich's armada to find. The fleet will be drawn to the signal within seven days. The caster most have a twenty five credit sacrifice ready for the sky lich's forces upon arrival.
    They will begin to move out across the face of the planet in plunder and conquest. The spell is rediculely easy to cast but only a fool would cast it without good reason. There have been rumors of those who misuse this spell being found with the pain endings of their nervous systems misfiring at random intervals.  

    Wednesday, April 24, 2013

    The Highwaymen - The Long Fall - Stars Without Number Game - Actual Play

     The PC's departed the station tonight before almost getting blown apart by a A.I. controlled robot and following the Ice Walker Clan of Space Vikings deep into the bowels of space. They made their way to the hyper space gate where they encountered two ships. Both Ice Walkers and Mucloids in two frigates with a fury of pazotroinic energy signs being broadcast between them. Suddenly the both ships erupted into a fire ball of antimatter energy ! A FTL burst transmission was intercepted by the party.
    The party sent out fighters to intercept the debris and most of it was blown to worthless atoms. The transmission had been successfully copied but that's when a computer virus almost wiped out the computer core of the party's ship. The fast handy work of the PC's saved their ship and they were able to isolate the A.I. soul echoes in the ship's Faraday cage. 

    The party made their way to the Hyperspace Gate but there were spacial distortions indicating that the mercs had laid a sub space mine field and these A.I. mines were lying in wait for the party! They sent out more fighter drones controlled by the computer hacker. There were three such A.I. mines that laid in wait out side the local space time continuum. These car sized devices each created a web of ripped unreality that could catch and slice apart a ship with some easy. 
    After tense battle of wits and alternative plane hopping the party determined where these things were. A fierce space battle later the party was able to move on into the gate to make the first jump. 
    Analyse of the material from the two blown frigates revealed that there were no life forms at all on board. They were crewed by highly advanced androids created by the Delos corporation.  Delos contracts for Apex Medical as well as other Corporates. 
    The hidden base they were heading to is actually a hidden Delos production facility and the real Ice Walkers are heading their to grab the A.I. computer cores and shut down the facilities. To start again! 
    This isn't the first time that the PC's have faced down this bizarre A.I. driven mega corporation either or its postronic monsters! 

    Completing tonight's game was a roll on the following Random encounter table.

    Talon Sector -Random Chasm Hyperspace Encounter Table

    1. A group of war refugees on a barely functioning colony ship. 
    2. Space behemoth 12 hit points trawling the depths - mostly harmless 10% chance of swallowing the ship 
    3. A flock of Chasm angels gathering stellar energies 
    4. Random 1d4 damaging micro cosmic debris 
    5. Corporate cargo hauler capital class - A.I controlled 
    6. Planar Demon - Roll on appropriate matrix 
    7. 1d4 space pirate vessels frigates with desperate and hungry space pirates. Roll initiative now! 
    8. Anti grav space city 1d30 million inhabitants - willing to trade for technical information. 
    9. Pre Stroke Space hulk with 1d3 levels and a 30% of alien tech aboard 
    10. Apex battle pyramid! Roll  initiative! She's preparing to attack!  

    The "Gothic" movie on the Dark Corner Blog

     An old unappreciated classic from the Dark Corner blog today from the  archives today! 
    Right over HERE

    Tuesday, April 23, 2013

    Hulks and Horrors - Basic Black Edition - Review And Commentary

    Hulks and Horrors clocks in at 156 pages of deadly little throwback rpg action. Except one problem. This isn't a throw back rpg at all. Don't let the great back story or weird space opera background fool you. This is actually a total re skinning of the game you love into something very deadly. 

    Hulks and Horrors - Basic Black Edition

    Heart Of The Game 
    The game has a very snap to character generation system and its good for a pickup game and the background is pure dungeoneering in space. The background is nice and solid. The rules are useful except for one very glaring problem with them.
    As it was point out in a Drive thru rpg review by Benjamin M. 
    "I could wish that they had at least run the levels to ten, but six is a nice level. I feel that they could differentiated the skills of the races a bit better for the players if they where going back to the old school style game design, but I also see that most current players will never stand for that level of focus." You can read more of that HERE

    I understand the why this was done and it makes the rules very useful as a pickup game but not for long term for my players.
    However that being said there are some very interesting ideas in this game. The appendix, background, and monsters are very well done. Four stars for those. The solar system, planet generation, and what have you.
     Race as class and more. There are some really nice little weapons, equipment, and what have you. 

    Plot And Blurb From Drivethru 
    We are not alone in the Universe, but we have few friends. As we emerged on the galactic stage, we found a universe stripped bare of sentient life by a great Plague, leaving only the wild beasts and twisted plague horrors wandering the ruined hulks of lost civilizations.
    We are the Surveyors. We explore the uncharted sectors of space and hunt these ruins for the treasures they contain and the riches they might bring to what sentient life remains. We are not brave, merely foolhardy and desperate. Those who survive become rich beyond dreams. Very few survive. Hulks & Horrors is a science-fiction roleplaying game of galactic exploration and adventure for 2 or more players ages 13 and up. Inside you will find:
    • Complete rules for characters up to Level 6 and beyond
    • 7 character classes: Pilot, Scientist, Soldier, Psyker, Hovering Squid, Omega Reticulan, and Bearman.
    • Easy to learn old-school inspired game rules and combat system
    • Weapons, armor, and equipment inspired by classic science-fiction
    • Spaceship construction and combat rules
    • Random tables for creating whole sectors of space
    • Loot generation rules
    • Dozens of alien monsters as well as guides for designing your own
    • Dungeon-mastering advice for sandbox space exploration
    • Optional rules for customizing Hulks & Horrors

    Where the game shines 
    • Loot generation rules - These are very well done and other games could certainly take a nod from these. 
    • Dozens of alien monsters as well as guides for designing your own - Also nicely done. 
    • Dungeon-mastering advice for sandbox space exploration - These could have been expanded and given a bit more fleshing out. 
    • Optional rules for customizing Hulks & Horrors -This part is very old school and that's great and these really really could have been incorporated more of the background into them. 

    This is a great afternoon game but is it good and solid for long term campaign play? Yes if the DM is going to invest time, creation, and worth to put into for a long term campaign which is then going to hit the glass ceiling of the character levels.
    Bottom line is that this the basic edition of Hulks and Horrors that's selling for 10.00 on DriveThrurpg. com akin to OD&D with all of the pulpy goodness your expecting.

    There is one other great little feature to this game that makes it different from others. You can easily convert it from any retroclone into and back again, Not that I said that but you get the idea. 

    Bottom line in my humble opinion? Wait till it goes on sale and then grab it. I got the free edition and printed it out. Its a solid game in the old school tradition. 
     I liked it but your mileage may vary. I'll dig in deeper into the game soon.
     Get the game right over HERE

    Monday, April 22, 2013

    A Post Apocalyptic Extravaganza - Gearing up for an Old School Post Apocalyptic Campaign

    File:Abandoned Motorway Junction - geograph.org.uk - 18901.jpg


    Post Apocalyptic gaming kicks ass and I haven't been doing enough of it. I've spent the weekend thinking about my perfect PA campaign. The setting would have to be off beat and high weirdness. This thought exercise started with Tim "Sniderman" 's Master List Of Available Mutant Future Products

    I stared at that list for hours and went on line to speak with my friend Dave from Fishwife games. He's a bit of a lore master of things PA. He's been designing some of the best system less PA  products for over a year now. Stuff like this. 

    I've been itching to use the Meat Lover's Guide To The Post Apocalypse in a PA setting. The question is what setting?  There are metric ton of worlds out there and I'm not going to use a single one of them. 
    The Meat Lover's Guide To The Post Apocalypse
    Take a look over HERE
    Look for other fine Fish Wife Products HERE

    The Single Best Post Apocalytic Source You've Never Heard Of

    PA games are supposed to kick ass and take names but part of the fun is figuring out the background, technology level, etc. of a PA community. one of the best sources for this sort of thing is the Lindsay's Technical Manuals.  According to conversations with Dave again. 

    "Seriously, since you have a blog and I don't.... you really need to do a follow up on the remaining suppliers of Lindsay's Technical Books... they are pretty much the answer to everything post apocalypse."

     Want to know how that little girl in Thundarr got that locomotive working? Probably with the above book. Sadly, the folks who were putting these out have since retired.
    How do you think all of those weird artifacts seem to crop up that weren't manufactured before the great disaster came from?  

    You can find them HERE

    Whose Post Apocalyptic World?!? 

     I'm looking for a balls to the walls PA game that is going to capture my player's attention hold it and keep going. Cars, mutants, cool mutations, grind house feel, and  Saturday afternoon post apocalyptic gaming goodness. 
     There are two really well done rule sets. Set one is Mutant Future which has this going for it. "The game is almost entirely open game content, and a free trademark license allows anyone to publish materials compatible with Mutant Future." For me that's a huge plus.

     Bottom line you can get the game art free right over HERE
    Then there is choose number two which Bill from Green Skeleton Gaming Guild turned me on to. According to the review on Rpg net 
    "The Mutant Epoch table top RPG (hereafter referred to as ME) is a 246 page post-apocalyptic game by Outland Arts, and specifically by William McAusland. And it’s surprisingly good for being the result of one lone person’s post gonzo atomic gaming output. It’s also a dense tome of game and art, so strap yourself in while I try to do it all justice".  You can read the whole review HERE
    I've recently renewed my ties with Mutant Epoch and took a look at the metric ton of support that they have for the game. 
    The truth is that because of the way both games are set up its quite easy to switch between the systems if. A. Your inclined to do so and B. You need even more support for your PA gaming habit. 

    I like to take a Chinese Menu approach to my gaming. Choosing from rules set A and rules set B. As well as mix in a whole bunch of other stuff. However lets not forget who got us here. Metamorphosis Alpha by James Ward is another option and works very well with both systems.
    Metamorphosis Alpha
     You can still order the original grand daddy of em all right over HERE
     If you want to take the time to do a conversion of the games  Mr. Ward is a genius when it comes to design and encounters. I learned a lot from seeing his style in recent modules as well. But what I'm really itching to run is : 

    This product contains everything found in the classic edition by James M. Ward and Christopher Clark plus a few extras not found in the standard edition.
    * 20 full pages of additional gadgets and encounters
    * a title to the actual station suitable for framing - you own it!
    * a complete copy of the book as pdf on CD-Rom

    There are only 50 of these bad boys on the market and I'm saving my pennies. Find out more right HERE Wait why I'm I telling you about this? Because it will be mine! 
    James Ward needs his due when it comes to post apocalytic new and old school gaming. Seriously the guy invented the genre and continues to crank out some of the best adventures on the market. 

    The Ellis Gambit 

    If your a reader of this blog then you know back in the 90's, I was devouring the Outlanders books. Dark Goddess is prettty typical of the genre. 
    Dark Goddess (Outlanders, #43)

    Here's the plot according to good reads:  

     A doom vector Humanity's past lies buried beneath the ruins of near annihilation, concealed by a secret entity and its ancient blueprint to enslave mankind. But at the dawn of a far more treacherous new battle for domination, the war between humanity and its alien puppeteers is forged by a group of determined rebels whose forbidden knowledge of their inhuman enemy only begins to prepare them for what lies ahead....

    grim footfall
    In her chrysalis state, Baroness Beausoleil was a betrayer, a murderer, an arch foe of mankind. Now, her metamorphosis into Overlord Lilitu poses a far greater menace. But she needs human help in a plot to overthrow her brethren and seize control of the last remaining Anunnaki stronghold on Earth. Buried deep in the sands of the Sinai, a secret port can unleash the dangerous mysteries of an alien race--unless the Cerberus rebels can outwit a she-god with an army at her disposal...and the cunning and cruelty to wrest Earth for herself.

    So why mention Ellis again? To rip off Outlanders? No not at all. See its like this. Mark Ellis is very good at creating setting, atmosphere, characters, etc. His latest book should be a solid blue print to all dungeon masters. Check it: 

     The plot: 
    The Spur: Loki’s Rock. The colony world in the Orion Spur known as Loki wasn't so much lost as forgotten. In the 188 years since a world-wide catastrophe destroyed what passed for civilization there, Loki had become a savage wilderness of strange cultures, as well as being the sanctuary for every bizarre cult, mad sect and outlawed scientific discipline in the Sol 9 Commonwealth. Quentin Crockett, a Colonel in the department of OffWorld Operations leads a team of specialists to Loki to monitor, catalog, and if necessary, eliminate the myriad societies that sprang up in the wake of the global cataclysm. In their armored ACP Ambler, the team travels Loki, searching for the lost Terran Enclave, while fighting off not only wild beasts, and the wilder natives but also the ruthless schemes of a mastermind about whom they know practically nothing. In The Spur: Loki’s Rock, Crockett and his team contend with the bizarre native fauna, but also with resurrected Nazi supermen, flocks of flying piranha, and the denizens of the kill-crazy town of Loki’s Rock, led by the psychotic Django Bonner and his bloodthirsty hench-wench, Pagan.
    Buy it over HERE
     Lets see about that blue print for PA grind house style excitement: Right bizarre planet, weird life forms, dangerous western style action. And more blood then you can shake a .40 watt plasma laser in the terra watt phase. 
    Conclusion And Aftermath 

    I'm going to write my own game setting bottom line and its going to be different then anything that's currently on the market. All of the above is balls to the walls blue prints to me. There are options to be sure but the bottom line is that this going to be old school.
    Very sorry to anyone mentioned in the article about violating your copyright or trademark. That's not the intention and this is merely a piece of fan work.  More to come folks.  

    Sunday, April 21, 2013

    Spinechillers and Silent Killers From Thistle Games Review And Commentary For Your Old School Campaigns

    There are rare and sometimes useful products that come along that sort of defy description and some of these can be called a glorious trainwreck or mess. This isn't one of those fortunately. This is Dungeon Master's book of traps,tricks, and sleaze. Period. This is a book that actually gets into the meaning of old school when it was DM vs players. This is a palette of destruction along the lines of Grimtooth's traps.
    Lets see what's in this palette shall we? 
    Spinechillers and Silent Killers is a system free add-on for tabletop RPGs. It’s full of 500+ highly configurable traps, spinechillers, omens and other hazards or surprises. The content can be put to a number of uses:
    1. Scattering unexpected and unusual events through an adventure or across a campaign.
    2. Designing high intensity gameplay using clusters of high impact encounters.
    3. Adding layers of mystery, suspense and mayhem to adventures and campaigns.
    4. Remixing existing adventures or campaigns by parachuting in hazardous and/ or menacing encounters.
    5. Raising the emotional content of the gameplay by reinstating the sense of the unknown and the unexpected so often reported as part of new players’ gameplay.
    6. Building gritty and grimy gameplay.
    Spinechillers ~ Traps ~ Omens ~ Dark Secrets ~ Jailbreaks ~ Runaway Wagons ~ Unpleasant Places ~ Local Delicacies ~ Mishaps and Misfortunes ~ Extreme Sports ~ Ridiculous Laws ~ Serious Complications ~ Money Pits ~ Debt Collectors
    Spinechillers and Silent Killers is currently available on an introductory offer!
    * - if Spinechillers and Silent Killers gets a Silver badge on DriveThruRPG I'll reburn and update with 50+ extra entries :)

    What Spinechillers and Silent Killers Is and Isn't 

    I come from a different era of Dungeon Mastering when the hobby was a still a part of War gaming and player characters weren't expected to live. There were a number of companies producing books that had dungeon dressing in them. Dragon Tree Press, Judge's Guild, etc. all of these produced books that were meant as tricks, traps, etc. all for your dungeon to smite your players.  Grimtooth's came later but were still in the same vein. So is this book there is a very important tradition that no one ever seems to talk about with these books.
    They show the steamy underside of dungeon crawling. That sleazy brothel crawling, pub living, and drug induced world of adventurers that is evident in the writings of Robert Howard but that have been cleaned up over the years. Forget Fatal and the non sense of the various books of whatever.
    The trap books let this world out of the bag. This is the world of Ralph Bashi's Lord of The Ring's orcs and goblins.
    This is the world of the random tables and dire paths of the DM. This is the world of this book.This  isn't a book for players its a book for the DM to make "snap random encounters". These are the type of encounter that can make or cripple a party of adventurers.  
    The introduction is about fifteen pages and there is another old school reason for that as well. The books of the past offered the Dungeon Master advise and insight into the author's own experience with OD&D or  whatever they were running. This book is no exception.
    There is a difference between the old school books of the past and this one. The artwork, editing,etc in all one hundred and fifty pages is exceptional. 
    The spinechillers are are perfect for a haunted touch to adventures.  The horrible food, extreme sports and jailbreaks are solid and show the steamy un PC life of dungeons and their sleazy world of adventurers.  The traps cover 50 pages of pure malice. 
     The best part about all of this is that its "System less" That's right you can use these in a post apocalyptic setting, a science fantasy world or anywhere including a modern era if you want an old world dungeon touch.  

    Reasons why to use Spinechillers and Silent Killers 
    1. Seamless system integration and random tables that are actually useful. 
    2. Dirty DM tricks that come right out of the past that are also very well done. 
    3. Throwback to the random table from both OD&D and the first edition AD&D Dungeon Master's Guide. Meaning that these tables are well edited and ready to go when you are. 
    4. Great for pit fighting, extreme sports, or gladiatorial games when a bit of an edge is needed for adventurers. Yet not enough to kill em. 
    5. There are enough side encounters here to make out of the dungeon and between adventures actually kinda cool and unpredictable. 
    6. 150 pages of old school goodness 
    7. Seamless integration means that old school ideals can bleed into a wide variety of campaigns. A diabolical DM can get a lot of mileage out of this book. 
    8. There is a lot of weirdness in this book which will keep players on their toes and interested in your campaign. 
    9. Money pits and serious complications (rivals in the dungeon) are prefect tools to separate your pigeons errm adventurers from their coin another old school problem now easily solved. Also perfect for creating more foils for adventurers. Keep PC's low on cash. A desperate PC is a story line waiting to happen. This book is a perfect tool kit for that. 
      1. This book is an old school tool kit from a far gone era now at our doorstep. Use it or mine it for a ton of ideas that can be very interesting. Players aren't going to be expecting it. 

      1. Conclusion 
      1. This is an old school throwback that enables a DM to bring the "violence factor" up in a campaign without  TPKing the player characters while still making the mayhem center stage. This means that you can set up events and encounters with real challenge to the players while playing DM games with the players. Fun,fun, fun. 

    1. Monsters, traps,etc are all given the Thistle games treatment. 
    1. This book is plainly a steal at 7.99 
      1. You can get through DrivethruRpg right HERE