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The Midderlands - OSR Bestiary and Setting
Publisher: MonkeyBlood Design
by Eric F. [Verified Purchaser]
Date Added: 12/13/2017 11:47:26

So I've been looking over The Midderlands - OSR Bestiary and Setting pdf last night during a wicked ice storm. This morning I'm looking over the Midderlands setting last night & can't seem to shake the feeling I've seen this style of setting before. But first what is the Midderlands, "A green-hued, dark-fantasy, old-school mini-setting and bestiary set in a twisted middle-England." So what do I possibly mean I've seen this style of OSR setting before? The Drivethrurpg blurb goes into far more detail;"

"Situated in the middle of Havenland is an area known by the ancestors as the Middle Havenlands. They don’t use that name much any more, preferring to talk lazily, and skip letters.

In strange accents, often misheard and little understood by those outside of the central region - they call it “The Midderlands”, and themselves “Midfolk” or “Midderlanders”.

There are many peculiar folk that call these Midderlands home. Generally mistrusting of outsiders, they suspiciously eye strangers, close doors, bar windows and scurry in opposite directions. Maybe the area has had a troubled history and that is why the folk behave the way they do.

All that aside, there are good folk too. These folk just want to subsist peacefully and not have interference or “goings on” in their lives. Nothing is ever that simple.

As well as the people of the area, there are the places. The towns and hamlets, the woods and hills, the lakes and the rivers. Amongst all these places are stranger locales too; circles of stones, strange towers, castles and burial grounds.

Everywhere, the Midderlands is tainted by a green-hued menace that rises from the deep and affects nature and order, sometimes subtly and sometimes catastrophically. It rises from the mysterious subterranean realm known as Middergloom. Often described as hell bathed in green fire and flames. Green-tinged slime, noxious vapours, and miasmas creep upwards, amongst them viridian-coloured demons, lime-green tentacles and other malachite horrors claw their way to the surface to wreak havoc. The Lords of the land are always working to keep things at bay. The realm of Middergloom is deliberately nebulous and mysterious, and left for you to develop as needed to suit your campaign.

The vileness that lurks below taints the skies above the land too, known as The Drab. The atmosphere is a hint of green rather than blue. The colour can shift between turquoise and sickly yellow-green in a short space of time. When night comes and the Drab clears, the midfolk can see the constellations surrounded by wispy green nebulae, strange wandering stars and comets, and a single many-cratered moon.

There are many things to keep the inquisitive minds of treasure seekers amused. There are also many things to keep the treasures where they are.

Things stir in this viridian-hued landscape. Evil eyes blink and watch. Teeth and claws scratch and sharpen. Gaping maws slobber and drool.

All is not content in the Midderlands." So needless to say that the Midderlands is very well done, the layout is easy on the eyes, the material fits exactly the itch of a deep, dark, dank fantasy England. Glynn Seal knows his sources & solid background of his world very well. This is not your average OSR world but one that seems to reflect the uniquely weird U.K. brand of fantasy. So where have I seen this style before? In The U.K. series of classic TSR modules. This same home grown U.K. style where the grit is matched by the monsters of the setting twisted into the plot background of the product so that the adventure flows together well as a cohesive setting whole.

I'd compare the Midderlands setting to U.K.1 Beyond the Crystal Cave. "Beyond the Crystal Cave was written by British designers Dave J. Browne, Tom Kirby, and Graeme Morris, and published by TSR in 1983" There are several reasons why I'm saying this. Your going to need to actually role play, think outside the box, and figure your way out of the interiors of several of the nastier bits of the Midderlands. This is the same idea that Beyond the Crystal Cave employed. By hook or crook the PC's have to use their brains time & again. The second reason I'd compare the two is because of the way that the author has shunted the material into a strangely spun English countryside;" U.K.1 is set in an old English milieu on Sybarate Isle in the Hold of the Sea Princes." This is the same style that we'd later on see in later on in the classic Warhammer Fantasy by Games Workshop because authors of TSR U.K. would go on to create classic era Games Workshop! Let me go so far as to say that you could drop the entire TSR U.K. series right into the Midderlands & the setting would let out a burp & a fart then continue on. That's the beauty of this setting its adaptable easily able to be used in a wide variety of OSR setting & milieus easily including Dark Albion, Gavin Norman's Dolmenwood , Greyhawk, & many others.

For Dark Albion, The Midderlands is the going to be a mid point in the Albion empire. Not quite a backwater but the sort of a frontier border countryside that's common in England. These lands are going to be 'settled' but not quite up to the usual Albion strictness of control that one gets deeper in the cities & towns. There are deep & dark monsters in these places. PC's are going to have to tread very carefully between the politics of the area, the residents, and the monsters. For adapting The Midderlands setting for an old school Sword & Sorcery campaign world like Astonishing Swordsmen & Sorcerers of Hyperborea second edition, 'The Midderlands' represents the point where civilization ends & the wilderness begins. The technological level is a mid to high point late Roman Empire to Medieval real world historical perspective. As such The Midderlands would be a place where the humans have recovered or retained a good deal of their technological prowess compared to some of the places in Hyperborea. This means that the Midderlands would be the belt way of the capital of Hyperborea. This is the beauty of 'The Midderlands' as a mini setting it can be moved where its needed in an OSR campaign setting. I'd give it five out of five for an outstanding product. Eric Fabiaschi Swords & Stitchery Want to see more OSR support for this & Original Content For OSR games? Please subscribe to https://swordsandstitchery.blogspot.com/



Rating:
[5 of 5 Stars!]
The Midderlands - OSR Bestiary and Setting
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B/X Essentials: Classes and Equipment
Publisher: Necrotic Gnome Productions
by Eric F. [Verified Purchaser]
Date Added: 12/06/2017 01:30:18

So Gavin Norman is at it again with the second in the B/X Essentials series, this time he's tackling PC classes & equipment in 'B/X Essentials Classes & Equipment'. The pdf only clocks in at forty four pages but distills down the essence & spirit of B/X Dungeons & Dragons down to its components with style, grace, & some excellent artwork throughout. The layout is up to the standard that we saw in the first installment of the series, 'B/X Essentials: Core Rules. '

If you want to check out the rules for both titles there are no artwork versions of both 'B/X Essentials Classes & Equipment' & 'B/X Essentials: Core Rules ' available. Everything here is boiled down into its full soul of the B/X rules whist retaining all of the good solid system that will please even the hardcore B/X Dungeons & Dragons addict such as myself. All of your favorite PC classes are here along with some nifty editing to round out & rarefy the system kinks. The whole is more then the sum of its parts allowing players to deal with the only the essentials of the Basic D&D system. The layout is well done and everything seems very top draw with efforts on the author's part to keep the whole of its parts running in a smooth & sustained style for easy of play at the table. The author/designer has smoothed away some of the play ambiguities of earlier editions & clarified the whole for a quick & easy style of old school system. Mr.Norman let's the audience know where & when he's chosen his rulings with this book. The layout is well rounded enabling the reader to grasp the system easily and with a full flourish for old school play. There is some solid artwork throughout the product but I really wish that one or two items featured in the artwork were available in the equipment but I have a feeling those will be in the monsters & treasures book. So what can be done with 'B/X Essentials Classes & Equipment'? Well a few things since there are clarifications, edits, etc. throughout the book old school system play is going to be quicker & easier at the table top. Also the B/X Essential line is open game content enabling DM's to publish their own add ons for the system making this a true retroclone in every sense of the word. It also means that if someone doesn't have access to B/X Dungeons & Dragons these titles are going to be the next best thing. This also means that all of the old favorites of old school play such as fighter, magic user, cleric, & thief are available for quick set up & play but with a campaign setting of the dungeon master's creation. The Essentials line is perfect for plug & play with other B/X style retroclone adventures that are already on the market. I can already hear the nay sayers on the fact that the OSR doesn't need another retroclone system & product line on the market. But this is a bit different with it being several cuts above the run of the mill material already on the OSR market. But is 'B/X Essentials Classes & Equipment' necessary? In a word I think its a vital product to bring to the OSR market because its a true retroclone in both spirit & content. The content here is top drawer quality in my opinion and this is one not to pass up. The production quality, editing, and solid presentation is very well done. I'd give this a five stars and there are already others who agree with my assessment.

There's a lulu publishing version of the B/X Essentials core rules out now.

If your a fan of Gavin Norman's Necrotic Gnome productions and creations then you owe it to yourself to grab a copy of 'B/X Essentials Classes & Equipment'.

Solidly done, easy to use, and a pleasure to have at the table, 'B/X Essentials Classes & Equipment' is a five out of five product to dive into & solve that B/X Dungeons & Dragons itch in a low cost, clearly defined, edited, and solidly presented way!

Eric Fabiaschi Swords & Stitchery blog Want More OSR original content & reviews? Subscribe To https://swordsandstitchery.blogspot.com/



Rating:
[5 of 5 Stars!]
B/X Essentials: Classes and Equipment
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Black Dogs 'zine - issue 1
Publisher: DaimonGames
by Eric F. [Verified Purchaser]
Date Added: 12/01/2017 14:58:01

So today's been a bit on the crazy side but I did actually notice something new in the OSR G+ stream this morning. A handy little new Lamentations of the Flame Princess / OSR campaign setting fanzine called Black Dogs 'zine - issue 1 From DaimonGames. Its an interesting campaign setting beast masquerading as a LoFP fanzine folks. This is a pay what you want title with a suggestion of three dollars on the check out Que. "Black Dogs is a dark fantasy collection of house-rules, materials, adventures, monsters, and together a toolbox to generate new content for OSR systems, particularly focused on Lamentations of the Flame Princess. Black Dogs shares a common set of rules and aesthetics with Lamentations, but it has its distinct flavor. Whenever a rule is not found (or not presented yet) in the Black Dogs ‘zine, just use the default from Lamentations or whatever OSR system you’re running. " It goes on into the weird fantasy aspect of the spirit of the setting; "There’s less horror in Black Dogs, although the material sticks to clearly dark fantasy tropes. In just a few words, Black Dogs is a dark, late medieval setting, for monster hunters and mercenaries

  • kept together into the loose frame of an informal organization that lends some purpose to your characters. When you play Black Dogs you play for three things mostly: monsters, wilderness and its encounters, and non-playing characters’ communities. Basically, the material from Black Dogs aims to bring together three of the most popular fantasy literature and gaming tropes: fighting monsters, traveling in a foreign and fantastic world, interacting with a fantasy community and its people." So essentially this is a Pike & Shot B/X Dungeons & Dragons fanzine with some dungeon master's house rules, monsters, etc.? Alright got it but then this bit got me in the spirit section on monsters;"There is not too much fighting: fights are a few and are risky and important, with emphasis on tactics. Monsters are many but your characters encounter them with a purpose and a fight is also an encounter, with its complexity." So the fanzine is sounding more War Hammer Fantasy then Lamentations of the Flame Princess from here on out. That's not a bad thing but as I continue to read its like the the campaign setting, house rules, character generation for Black Dogs is trying to keep its feet into both pools, the Lamentations & Warhammer fantasy pools. Here's what I'm speaking about with the summery of the campaign setting's world of Black Dogs; Think of Europe in a very late medieval time: there’s a new expansion and a growing economy; a new sense of wonder and discovery; and the feeling that even if there is not going to be an empire, ever again, the single nations and city-states will provide safety and prosperity. It’s a world divided in two: culture and fashion, print and social changes, prosperity and new emerging classes rule in the major cities but the majority of the land still lingers in a feudal, oppressive and brutal social order. It’s a world where a knight might still wear full plate armor and a winged helm, while another favors a light cuirass, a dagger and a musket. A world divided Religion still dictates what’s right and what’s wrong, and fire burns heretics; but a new authentic desire for freedom also infiltrates the most solid religious orders. Monasteries and abbeys collect sacred books, and also foreign tractates, manuscripts of magic and alchemy, mysterious maps and bestiaries among them. Almost everyone is Christian but many worship, in secret, the local spirits of the ancient times. A few talk about a new faith in reason and science. Even fewer know that whatever you believe in, you must guard yourself and human kind against The Wild and the demons of the night." So you get a history of the Black Dogs adventurer organization, background history, character generation, and so forth. But Black Dogs 'zine - issue 1 is trying to do traditional OSR Dungeons & Dragons Pike & Shot with conventional Dungeons & Dragons. What I mean is in on the introduction campaign setting of Flussberg city for the Black Dogs;"This Black Dogs introductory adventure aims to give you a taste of the world of Flussburg; a small village with local political troubles and a greater menace looming on the horizon. There is also an element of weirdness with monsters and a tree that breathes life into the dead. Flussburg is probably wrong in German. If you speak German and it sounds weird to your ears, you could call it Villa Flumine in Latin. Or just pretend it’s a weird name because it’s medieval." Black Dogs 'zine - issue 1 does an alright job giving some Gygaxian ecology on the trolls, fleshes out the setting, PC generation twists, and the background of the city . But again this felt more like a Warhammer Fantasy back water city then an LoFP. I wanted more from this setting,more flavor, more weirdness, and more of the quality of the weird that I've come to expect in a product that even unofficially bears the LoFP moniker. This product is trying to hard to be everything to everyone & loses its product identity half way through. Well I'm really spoiled when it comes to Lamentations of the Flame Princess. I'm used to the Red Moon Medicine Show's Vacant Ritual quality of material of LoFP fanzine. Now with all that being said, I think that Black Dogs 'zine - issue 1 is a fine Pike & Shot style campaign city & wilderness setting for B/X Dungeons & Dragons. Given its direction, ideas, etc. its a perfectly suitable animal for a campaign jump point into its world setting as a quirky later Medival style game setting if your looking for something that will emulate a Warhammer Fantasy style low level adventure setting.

So four out of five stars for Black Dogs 'zine - issue 1 Eric Fabiaschi Swords & Stitchery blog Want To See More OSR reviews & support for many OSR games Subscribe to http://swordsandstitchery.blogspot.com/



Rating:
[4 of 5 Stars!]
Black Dogs 'zine - issue 1
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RPGPundit Presents #9: The Book of the Art of Hours
Publisher: Precis Intermedia
by Eric F. [Verified Purchaser]
Date Added: 11/29/2017 20:37:08

So I went to Rpg Pundits publisher & asked to get myself a copy of RPGPundit Presents #9: The Book of the Art of Hours. for review. This isn't a regular book of hours, a regular book of hours is, "a Christian devotional book popular in the Middle Ages. ... Like every manuscript, each manuscript book of hours is unique in one way or another, but most contain a similar collection of texts, prayers and psalms, often with appropriate decorations, for Christian devotion." Umm no this isn't remote a book like that, instead this a book of magick & occult knowledge that I happen to know something about. This is a text of occult knowledge that I wished I had when running Lamentations of the Flame Princess & Dark Albion. Why because the Book of the Art of Hours provides rites & rituals that do something different & unique within an occult context that a wizard needs within an old school campaign that makes him or her unique & dangerous. Like many occult & magick texts this one is ascribed to a powerful Christian Saint of some renowned. So what is the Book of the Art of Hours? "The strange and powerful Book of the Art of Hours was said to have been revealed to the great wizard St. Apollonius at Corinth, where he ascended to the Third Sphere of the Seven Heavens. It reveals the method of contacting and summoning discarnate spirits that rule over the twenty-four magical hours of the day, and describes what gifts those spirits can provide." Book of the Art of Hours provides a fast & flexible ritual system that quickly & easily adds more scope to a wizard by providing them with a series of incantations & spells that can aid in old school play. These are rituals that only take fifteen minutes within the game setting & provide some very interesting & dangerous spirits at the caster's beckon & call provided that they have a Table of Operations available to them.

"This text reveals the method of contacting discarnate spirits that rule over the twenty-four magical hours of the day. These hours are not quite the normal hours of a day, because they must be calculated in a certain way. There are twelve hours of day and twelve of night. To know the time each hour takes, you must calculate the moment of sunrise and sunset. Taking the whole time from sunrise to sunset and dividing it by twelve gets you the length of each hour of day; doing the same from sunset to sunrise gives you each hour of night. Thus, the hours of the day are longer than night at certain times of year, or vice-versa at other times. Each of the twenty-four spirits can only be summoned on their particular hour of the day or night. The ritual of summoning itself takes only about fifteen minutes to perform, but it requires that the magician ceremonially wash himself beforehand (this can be done before the hour of the summoning starts). To summon the spirit, the magician requires the use of a Table of Operations, which is a special board that contains symbols of the sun and planets. These are arranged in a certain orientation, depending on the spirit being summoned. The construction of a Table of Operations costs about 30gp (2L in Dark Albion), and requires 1d4 weeks at the hands of a skilled craftsman."

Clocking in at only ten pages I surprised & delighted at the layout & easy of reading material. This isn't stodgy & over the top OSR rpg magick book. Instead its simple down to Earth with language that covers the reader in exactly what its trying to do. RPGPundit Presents #9: The Book of the Art of Hours. presents a ritual & rite system for the summoning of the spirits of the Hours in the first book & a very dangerous second section that discusses a death rite that has all kinds of applications for adventure construction.

What the hell I'm I talking about? Well let's take a look at the spirit of the eleventh hour number 11. Athos Spirit of the Eleventh Hour (DC: 16+1d4) This spirit can cause a house of the magician’s choosing to collapse. It can be constructed of wood or bricks, but not solid stone. There is obviously a risk of anyone inside taking damage. The magician can instead request a person be compelled to walk out of a house (this person can make a saving throw if they have strong enough motive to remain inside the house)." Minor shrines, small Roman style miniature temples, etc can all be brought down on the heads of priests or officials. Doesn't seem like a big deal but when your talking about a retroclone game such as Lamentations or Dark Albion it could get a PC burnt at the stake. For Lamentations of the Flame Princess this is a great addition because The Book of the Art of Hours. is exactly the sort of weird occult tome that would be present in a an academic occultist's library or an educated witch's study. Just the sort of tome to get the PC's in way in over their collective heads when their own wizard tries these rites and rituals. For Dark Albion the book's character doesn't have to change & its timing in history is right for the War of the Roses. Copies of this book might be under lock & key especially when some of its content can alter the behavior of Albion royals, temple guards,even minor couriers might be affected by some of the spells. There's also that tricky little matter of possession by spirits. Take for example the spirit of the third hour;"3. Thena Spirit of the Third Hour (DC: 10+1d8) This spirit causes discord, making two individuals of the magician’s choosing enter into conflict. The magician must know the true name of both individuals. If the two individuals have an intense love (platonic, familial, or romantic) for each other, they both get a saving throw to resist." Given the lower tier NPC levels of Dark Albion some of the spells in The Book of the Art of Hours. could change the tide of a campaign's direction. But given some of the forces of the occult from Dark Albion's Cults of Chaos, the PC's are going to need the edge that the spirits of the Book of the Art of Hours bring to the table. Surely there's nothing then that The Book of the Art of Hours could offer a traditional original, Advanced Dungeons & Dragons , or B/X Dungeons & Dragons party?

Well given that some of these spirits have a practical & very down to Earth application there are definitely some solid spirits that a wizard could bring to bare. The spirit of the first hour is perfect for a wide variety of applications especially for party's thieves, bards, and other outlaws;1. Thamore Spirit of the First Hour (DC: 10+1d10) The spirit can free a captive from their bonds or cells—jail doors open, and shackles or ropes slip off, for example. The magician must know the captive’s name and where he is imprisoned."

The second half of the book has a rite of death magick that allows one to know the circumstances surrounding the death of the spell's target. There's an air of destiny about this spell that touches on dealing with the spirit of Death herself. Now I mentioned earlier in this review about the great wizard St. Apollonius at Corinth, where he ascended to the Third Sphere of the Seven Heavens. Well dallying in the affairs of death & having truck with spirits of Death is essentially necromancy. The Seventh Heavens are present in many of the worlds religions & the third Heaven is mentioned in the epistle of the Apostle Paul as very important;

"An epistle of the Apostle Paul, included in the New Testament, contains an explicit reference to the Third Heaven. In a letter to the Corinthian church he writes, "I know a man in Christ" (usually interpreted as: himself) "who fourteen years ago was caught up to the Third Heaven. Whether it was in the body or out of the body I do not know—God knows. And I know that this man—whether in the body or apart from the body I do not know, but God knows—was caught up to paradise. He heard inexpressible things, things that man is not permitted to tell." (2 Corinthians 12:2–4) The Greek says "caught away", not "caught up" possibly reflecting Jewish beliefs that Paradise was somewhere other than the uppermost heaven.[16]

In the Second Book of Enoch, Enoch travels through the seven heavens and gives geographical and visual documentation of them, describing houses, olive oil and flowers. He passes through the Garden of Eden in the Third Heaven on his way to meet the Lord in the 7th Heaven" There are secrets that The Book of the Art of Hours

might reveal that might mean the intersession of an angel of Death or worse if abused. PC's dallying with such occult books must watch their steps. The Book of the Art of Hours

like all good rpg products spins more adventure fodder the more one dives into it. Are there quibbles? My only minor quibble is that there should have been more to it with a bit of the book's back history & perhaps its place within real world history. The The Book of the Art of Hours

appearance during the Hundred Years War at a pivot moment in history & time might have contributed to a some decisive directions that history took in both the real world & Albion. Do I think The Book of the Art of Hours is worth getting? In a word yes because of the ideas,spirits, rituals, and substance that this product brings to the gaming table. The product does all of this in ten pages & at two dollars. So yes its a five out of five product in my book.

Eric Fabiaschi Swords & Stitchery Blog Want to see more reviews & support for this & other OSR products? Then please subcribe to https://swordsandstitchery.blogspot.com/



Rating:
[5 of 5 Stars!]
RPGPundit Presents #9: The Book of the Art of Hours
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Gamma Turquoise: Santa Fe Starport
Publisher: Kort'thalis Publishing
by Eric F. [Verified Purchaser]
Date Added: 11/28/2017 15:24:06

So many months ago I agreed to do a review & commentary about Gamma Turquoise: Santa Fe Starport from Kort'thalis Publishing aka Venger As'Nas Satanis.

Many months ago I supported the kickstarter on this blog & was really excited to see Gamma Turquoise: Santa Fe Starport hit the wild. But here's the thing, go into this understanding that this is a parody of Gamma World's Albuquerque Star Port adventure sort of. What Gamma Turquoise: Santa Fe Starport really is a post apocalyptic/ sci fi pop culture parody adventure for both Crimson Dragon Slayer & Alpha Blue.

This is a product with an adult warning on it and it means it. There's sex based factions, horrid tentacle monsters in the background, erotic low humor jokes that are not really necessary, all of the things that you expect to find in a Venger Satanis product. But despite itself this is a really useful product if your into old school apocalyptic gaming. We'll get into why down below but as Rpg Pundit said a little Venger goes a long way. This isn't anyplace near Gamma World first or second edition levels of quality but this book isn't meant to in any way shape or form do that. Instead this is a third tier OSR product intended for post apocalyptic sci fi & fantasy. It is meant to create a working star port/mini adventure location for any post apocalyptic or sci fi based campaigns. It leans heavily toward those systems but there's enough levy way for a DM to really adapt it to their own needs. The layout is clean, crisp, and up to Monkey Blood Design's standards with lots of well done cartography and weirdness thrown in. Do I think you should get Gamma Turquoise: Santa Fe Starport in a word yes. But now I'm going to tell you why! This is a South Western flavored star port with lots of interesting NPC's, mutants, random tables, and more. And I think it would make an excellent post apocalyptic domain for your PC's to control aka I think that your PC's should take their star ship or post apocalyptic army and blow the living crap out of it! Time & again throughout post apocalyptic games you see the PC's struggle to make ends meet, adventure through contaminated ruins, face down mutant horrors that would make H.P. Lovecraft have the dry heaves. All for what another day in the irradiated sun? With Gamma Turquoise: Santa Fe Starport everything is laid out for the DM to have the PC's carve out their own pound of irradiated & mutated flesh in the desert. There are a ton of random tables of maps, relics, and more all waiting to snare the PC's. Going all the way back to Gamma World first edition there's been a sub game in science fantasy post apocalyptic games of PC's carving out their own empires. There are tons of factions, sex cults, etc all in the hot sweat hog of a space port. But what if the PC's had their own working space port in the wastelands? Could this be done with Gamma Turquoise: Santa Fe Starport ? In a word, yes & yes because going all the way back to Original Dungeons & Dragons when a PC was hit ninth level they were expected to create a domain. For many players this was a giant pain in the ass. But when you start looking at the various adventure locations that the PC's have been too they often looked to start cleaning the monsters out and moving right in themselves. This often gave the DM a perfect excuse to launch another monster or adventure their way from the dungeons below. We can introduce the idea of wasteland domains for a post apocalyptic game. This means that the former ruins or wasteland dungeons become the wizard's tower, fighter's strong hold, etc. By the same token there were various Blackmoor modules that used the trope of 'the city of the gods' concept. Here's where Gamma Turquoise: Santa Fe Starport comes in. There are a ton of Lovecraftian encounters and ideas mixed into the backdrop. By taking these and creating a cargo cult situation around the star port it can easily be transported over to a traditional Dungeons & Dragons fantasy style world. It also gives the DM the perfect excuse & opportunity to get the PC's off planet if that's his or their plan.

So why does Gamma Turquoise: Santa Fe Starport work? Most of it does but I wanted more of it. More post apocalyptic material, more tools, more background, and deeper NPC's but that's not the point. This is a real rpg tool box that depends on the DM to most of the heavy lifting. Well the book only clocks in at thirty four pages plus maps meant to be printed used for play. It does exactly what it sets out to do. That is create a solid and useful post apoclaytic star port for old school play. A five out of five in my book. Eric Fabiaschi Swords & Stitchery. Want to see more OSR content, original ideas for this and other science fantasy products? Subscribe to http://swordsandstitchery.blogspot.com/



Rating:
[5 of 5 Stars!]
Gamma Turquoise: Santa Fe Starport
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Flower Liches of the Dragonboat Festival
Publisher: Kabuki Kaiser
by Eric F. [Verified Purchaser]
Date Added: 11/01/2017 09:58:59

"When omens portend ill fortune for the city, the priests call upon a Dragonboat Festival: a racing competition gathering swift boatmen from all over the continent. Their ancient chants call forth the powers of the undying, waking the Flower Liches from their distant graves. For a week, the liches roam the city freely, and oversee the race, taking the losing crews as tributes and sacrifices. Once the Dragonboat Festival is finished and the liches disappear, the city's prosperity is magically replenished, and all the monetary wealth the citizenry had before the festival — player characters included — is doubled."

I was recently sent a copy of "Flower Liches of the Dragonboat Festival" From Kabuki Kaiser is both adventure & setting resource book that can be dropped into your home campaign. The adventure channels as much of the Wuxia ghost vibe as it does the Asian pulp Dungeons & Dragons vibe as the author can pack into one of his efforts. This is an adventure that dips liberally from its sources & the warped imaginings of its author. Much like his Mad Monks of Kwantoom OSR campaign & setting book the mythological/pulp Asian world of P. Crespy Flower Liches presents a world & adventure that is both familiar & utterly new. In point of fact both of these products would work extremely well together. The artwork, lay out, & presentation is a bit different then other efforts of the author/designer, in this adventure everything dovetails into a seamless product that presents a world of the weird & very dangerous centeral to its setting. There are things to do, experience, and dangers ever present within '/The Flower Liches of The Dragon Boat Festival'. This adventure centers around the party circling and creating weirdness for the party to get themselves into all kinds of trouble.

If presentation is everything within an adventure then this one has some stunning writing, plots, and OSR artwork. The combination reminds me of a Saturday afternoon Kung Fu theater flick. Slick on its presentation and long on its adventure hooks! Everything is double downed on in this adventure from the Kung Fu action to the supernatural horror. Here's an adventure where the dangers to PC's pale in comparison to the weirdness infecting the adventure throughout. PC's are going to have their hands full and clocking in at ninety five pages there's plenty of dungeon and supernatural action to be had. This is a Labyrinth Lord adventure but it has the look & feel of a Lamentations of the Flame Princess line effort but without the lingering adult nonsense to get in the way of play. 'Flower Liches of the Dragon Boats' is clearly easily adaptable to any OSR game. There is a sense of whimsy but deadliness about this adventure & it stands to reason that it would given the writer's passions for Asian culture & pop culture Kung Fu. The fact is that dungeon master has another full stop world book & source book in this adventure for a full South Asian style setting. This works as a set up for a full campaign starting city point in such a campaign. From hirelings to starting equipment 'Flower Liches of the Dragon Boats' is clearly designed for such a purpose & very well designed to do this at that! 'Flower Liches of the Dragon Boats' works with both Labryth Lord & The Advanced Companion in equal measure. The real strength of 'Flower Liches of the Dragon Boats' lays in the fact that it serves as a fantastic source book for 'Mad Monks of Kwantoom'. In this regard its a great source book & add on for this or really any pulp Asian flavored style campaign setting. But it really fits into the world of 'Mad Monks'. Because of its mini game included the adventure has some solid replay abilities. The hirelings, background, encounters, etc. are all inductive of a popculture far East and it works. I can also see 'Flower Liches of the Dragon Boats' being used for a post apocalyptic world such as Mutant Future in which cultures are looking to the 'Ancients' for their divine inspiration. The liches take full advantage of the gullible human fools & the result is the world spot lighted in this adventure/source book.

Another possibility that 'Flower Liches of the Dragon Boats' could be used for a human centric land in 'Apes Victorious' where these humans have used the power of the liches to resist the onslaught of the advancing ape army. So adjustments will have to be made to use 'Flower Liches of the Dragon Boats' with Apes Victorious. Another possibility for campaign use is to drop the setting of 'Flower Liches of the Dragon Boats' into 'Astonishing Swordsmen & Sorcerers of Hyperborea second edition' whole sale again there is a bit of adjustment as a possible South Asia analog. For Sword & Sorcery play this is an excellent book & tool kit to add such a mix. In closing is this isn't a perfect to kit to add to the mix of campaign play for old school style campaign. It clocks in at ninety five pages & to tell the truth I wish there was a bit more fluff connective tissue with this book. There needs to be more here and it I want to know more about 'this' world and not simply use this book as another drag & drop book for campaign play. So in closing a solid four out of five for 'Flower Liches of the Dragon Boats'.

Eric Fabiaschi Swords & Stitchery Blog Want to see more support on this & other OSR products? Subscribe To https://swordsandstitchery.blogspot.com/



Rating:
[4 of 5 Stars!]
Flower Liches of the Dragonboat Festival
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Save Yourself From Hell
Publisher: Kort'thalis Publishing
by Eric F. [Verified Purchaser]
Date Added: 09/26/2017 21:40:32

"This is a scenario for my sleazy space opera RPG Alpha Blue. It's funny, weird, gonzo scifi that references a number of familiar movies like Event Horizon, Hellraiser, Space Balls, Airplane II, various kung-fu films, and anything with Cthulhu in it. " Right so I was handed 'Save Yourself From Hell' before Venger Satanis went on his familial vacation with the Satanis clan. The adventure clocks in a about twenty pages & like many of Venger's other 'balls to the walls' adventure this one is for Venger's Alpha Blue sleazy space opera rpg system. The adventure set up has a lot in common with his 'How to Game Master Like A Fucking Boss' style. "This is a one-shot Alpha Blue scenario for PCs who like to blaze through encounters. For those who prefer to take their time immersing themselves in this wacky scifi universe, it might take two or even three sessions before reaching the cataclysmic end. This adventure attempts to blend sleazy space opera with horror while maintaining a sense of humor. Accentuate those parts that the players respond to. If they like something, give them more. If they seem bored, quickly shoo away whatever's currently on stage and bring out the next act." The opening takes place with a douche of an NPC and no I'm kidding read that as you will folks. This is not an adventure for the KIDS OR The EASILY OFFENDED. Lots of blue & dirty humor throughout, 'Save Yourself From Hell'. The real set up goes more along this line;"The X-III starship is an abyssal-class deep space exploration vessel that has successfully completed numerous missions on the outer edges of the known universe. The X-III entered Hell's Cluster, a treacherous region just beyond the Asmodeus sector of Galaxy 5, in order to answer a distress signal coming from a lunar base on the 7th moon."So we basically have Venger Satanis's breazy sleazy style of writing with a pretty good adventure set up that sort of whizzes around its plot and there's a cat. A ship's cat that resembles Jones from Alien but there might be more to him. There's a random table to determine this. Before you can blink the PC's are zipping across the adventure's plot erm universe. There's a truck stop 'Space Trucker's movie references abound here with unwanted passengers and stowaways.
One of my favorite bits is the 'Kung Fu Marauders in Hell's Cluster'. Who are the marauders? 'One part treasure-hunters, one part salvage team, one part nefarious martial arts school, and one part murder-hobos in space… the Black Dragon Fighting Society prey upon the weak, the rich, and those without honor. That means the PCs should be ripe for the picking.' Venger it seems like me was a watcher of those endless and endlessly cool 1960s & 70's Kung Fu movies. There's an escape pod because of course there is and Lovecraftian cultists. An 'Event Horizon' adventure plot moment and some really nasty bits when Cthulhu shows up!? There's a good bit of humor here but the over all adventure plot points are really directed toward its own internal Alpha Blue style setting. This is really where my problem is. Alpha Blue with each book that's come out for the gaming system has gone on to become its own thing in my estimation. I have no problems with its content but if I as an OSR dungeon master was to use this adventure I'd be gutting half of it. That's a shame because its a good solid adventure for Alpha Blue but I can't see running this adventure for anything else. Maybe a wacky DCC adventure campaign or one shot. I'm not savaging this adventure but I'm saying that its an animal that belongs to the Alpha Blue setting. Its short and well done but its not something that I would want to be running except as a one shot adventure and that's what Save Yourself From Hell is billed as. But is it good?! Yes if your looking for a humorously sleazy take on a one shot original Traveller game or as a one shot OSR space based adventure with lots of cracked up and sleazy humor. For Alpha Blue though? This is a whole other adventure really. For Alpha Blue this is a mid tier adventure that works as a bridge gap to get the PC's into some real danger and distress. Their going to have to think and keep the blasters on tap when their needed. Players are going to keep on their space scum toes. I'd give 'Save Yourself From Hell' a 3 1/2 for other OSR games and a solid four for the Alpha Blue rpg systems.

Eric Fabiaschi Swords & Stitchery Want to see more support for this and other OSR products? Subscribe to https://swordsandstitchery.blogspot.com/



Rating:
[4 of 5 Stars!]
Save Yourself From Hell
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Astonishing Swordsmen & Sorcerers of Hyperborea (Second Edition)
Publisher: North Wind Adventures
by Eric F. [Verified Purchaser]
Date Added: 09/17/2017 14:09:34

So many months ago it seems that the Astonishing Swordsmen & Sorcerers of Hyperborea Second Edition's kickstarter seemed to take the OSR community by storm! Well the long await is over! Last night whist I was at my weekly AS&SH game the pdf broke! It was billed as the premiere Sword & Sorcery OSR rpg during the kickstarter. So let's see if that's true and I'll be the judge of that claim! Clocking in at over six hundred & twenty two pages this is one hell of a hefty tome. But let's get the big question out of the way first for Astonishing Swordsmen & Sorcerers of Hypborea first edition fans this second edition is fully and wholly compatible with first edition. For myself and other fans of AS&SH this is an OSR retroclone that we've been waiting for with both baited breath & some trepidation. Trepidation because its a game that hearkens back to Dungeons & Dragons whist wearing its sword & sorcery linage on its sleeves for all to see. All of the usual AS&SH humancentric racial choices are here with Hyperborean & Atlantean intact inside the PC game swell. Lets start at the top all of the usual PC core classes are there: -Fighter: a swordsman, bowman, or other warrior type

  • Magician: a sorcerer who memorizes arcane formulæ and casts spells
  • Cleric: an armed and armoured mystic sorcerer
  • Thief: a nimble swordsman possessed of numerous specialized skills Then instead of multi classing like AD&D or certain B/X Dungeons & Dragons editions you get subclasses of the main four and there are twenty two of them enabling players to get the pick of the Hyperborean litter: From the fighter you get:
  • Barbarian: an outland warrior possessed of feral instincts
  • Berserker: a rampaging shock trooper renowned for unbridled battle rage
  • Cataphract (Knight): an armoured horseman and warrior elite
  • Huntsman: a wilderness warrior who glories in the hunt
  • Paladin: a champion who crusades for justice and Law
  • Ranger: a borderland fighter, frontiersman, and defender
  • Warlock: a spell-weaving fighter who wields steel and sorcery interchangeably From the Magician you get:
  • Cryomancer: a sorcerer who commands the elemental power of ice
  • Illusionist: a sorcerer who evokes phantasms and manipulates shadows and light
  • Necromancer: a sorcerer who practices black magic and communicates with the dead
  • Pyromancer: a sorcerer who commands the elemental power of fire
  • Witch (Wizard): a sorcerer who brews potions, divines portents, and lays curses The Cleric has some interesting choices:
  • Druid: a mystic sorcerer empowered by ancestral, elemental, and animistic spirits
  • Monk: a warrior-priest who strives for physical and mental mastery
  • Priest: a chaplain mystic of prodigious spell-casting capacity
  • Runegraver: a mystic warrior who carves runic spells on bone, metal, stone, and wood
  • Shaman (Witch Doctor): a primal sorcerer who confers with ancestral and totem spirits And the Thief adds their own flair to the mix:
  • Assassin: a thief who specializes in murder and intrigue
  • Bard (Skald): a warrior, scholar, and weaver of enchanted lyrics and/or music
  • Legerdemainist: an adept thief who also commands the power of sorcery
  • Purloiner: a religious thief who also practices the esoteric mysticism of a cleric
  • Scout: a lightly armed explorer, intelligence gatherer, and stealth master

Now many of these character classes are making their debut in the Astonishing Swordsmen & Sorcerers of Hyperborea in the second edition of the game. Before this they appeared in AFS OSR gaming magazine which has always worn its pulp, Weird Tales, & old school roots proudly. For AS&SH fans all of these classes has been collected, edited, and combined in one package that works with the second edition system. This means that DM's don't have to fart around with system issues straight out of the gate. So why was a second edition necessary? The layout, artwork, organization, and internalization of the games contents is where this game really shines. Divisions of sorcery,campaign & world building material even the advice is all laid out with care. So one of my friends have scoffed at the claims that the Astonishing Swordsmen & Sorcerers of Hyperborea rpg cleaves close to the twisted visions of HP Lovecraft & Clark Ashton Smith. Well I'm happy to report that its so much hog wash. This edition injects even more Smithian goodness into the rpg setting material. The author and his vision are well intact in AS&SH with the roots of Clark Ashton Smith's Hyperborean cycle center stage. HP Lovecraft is here sure but its really Smith's game center stage now. The monster section has borne the fruits of all kinds of metal style monsters in its blood soaked pages. I've got to say something about the demon section.

The demon section has been expanded with some brand new types with Russ Nicholson artwork thrown in. But that's the whole issue, many of the monsters from ants to zombies have been expanded upon & amped up for the Hyperborean setting. This closely ties in with the setting material being knotted back into the world setting of Hyperborea. This is a far more lived in world not defined like you get with Middle Earth or even the HP Lovecraft Dreamlands but lived in. This means that the Dungeon master has clear license to create lots of their own twists & turns in Hyperborean adventure for themselves.

The Lovecraftian little touches that get brought the fore mean that you as the reader get snatches of the world within and actually will want to play in Hyperborea. Take for example that Brown Jenkins from HP Lovecraft fame is now an option for only the wickest of sorcerers;"A brown jenkin is sent by Thaumagorga (or one of his six dæmon princes) to serve only the wickedest sorcerers. Its mandate is to encourage its master to greater deeds of depravity and Evil." Its the little touches that make this a solid addition to the AS&SH line. But there are heaping slime laden gobs of Hyperborean campaign & world building goodness. There's a ton of expanded setting material, campaign stuff, DM advice & guidance. Plus a starting adventure and campaign location. All of this I will get into sometime next week!

Whole sections of the Hyperborea world itself have been built, expanded upon, and been blown open. This also includes the incredible map included by Glynn Seal of Monkey Blood Design . Let's be honest here. This is an excellent example of a map waiting for adventurers to put their mark of violence and depravity on it. There's also a fillable pdf character sheet as well that comes with the pdf

Now how would I rake this second edition of Astonishing Swordsmen & Sorcerers of Hyperborea? Well, kids lets be honest here for a moment, I've done incredibly rude things to my own home game of Hyperborea. I've twisted the world, distorted the setting, added and subtracted huge chunks of the setting, modified the system and much more. I can totally & honestly see me doing the same thing with this edition of Astonishing Swordsmen & Sorcerers of Hyperborea. I give the second edition of Astonishing Swordsmen & Sorcerers of Hyperborea a solid five out of five. I only got the pdf at ten o'clock this morning and cranked this review out at three! This is 'the' game system that I personally use at my table and my players love!

Eric Fabiaschi Sword & Stitchery Blog Like this review & want to see more original content supporting AS&SH plus other OSR titles and game systems? Subscribe to http://swordsandstitchery.blogspot.com



Rating:
[5 of 5 Stars!]
Astonishing Swordsmen & Sorcerers of Hyperborea (Second Edition)
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Battle For The Purple Islands
Publisher: Kort'thalis Publishing
by Eric F. [Verified Purchaser]
Date Added: 08/17/2017 20:22:40

I have a very strong connections with The Islands of Purple Haunted Putrescence, its a very flexible & dangerous adventure location/setting from the warped mind of Venger Satanis. A gonzo science fantasy setting with liberal doses of 'R' rated sex, gore, & lots of mayhem. All of which collide with the concepts from H.P. Lovecraft's circle of Cthulhu mythos writers. But what are the islands themselves & the brand new factions, horrors, & the adventure kit? Wait what?! Didn't you know that the new Heavy Metal style magazine aesthetic adventure & expansion book The Battle For The Purple Islands has hit the shelves of Drivethrurpg "What are they? A forbidden sanctuary of weirdness in the middle of the ocean. Three large islands next to

each other with dark purple sand, unbelievable creatures, and treasures untold. It’s a gonzo science fantasy paradise!

You see, much of the dark forces reigning supreme over the purple islands were vanquished by adventuring heroes. They came, they saw, and they slaughtered. A few years went by without incident.

Everyone started coming to the islands after things quieted down—colonists, anthropologists, big game hunters, sightseeing tourists, etc. But then obscene purple blasphemies deep within the islands began to resurface"

The islands have a bit of an overhaul & get back into the multi dimensional madness that them great as an adventure location in the first place. There's lots of reasons for your PC's to be on the islands and the book actually provides a number of random tables to give your characters a reason to be there. The whole affair clocks in at about twenty three or so pages. There's Venger's usual OSR & O5R vibe through out but in this case that's not a bad thing. Basically this book is a number of interconnected adventure plot points with factional information scattered throughout as much adventure as tool kit. Battle for The Islands of Purple Haunted Putrescence is Venger's Seventies & Early Eighties wet dream love letter with blood slime from 'Cannibal Holocaust' mixed with Stop Motion dinosaurs from 'Land of The Lost'. There are expansions of existing Islands of Purple Haunted Putrescence factions & new ones like 'Cannibal' tribes that will eat your PC's in heart beat, yes you do meet HP Lovecraft & yes there is an Alpha Blue adventure in for you Satanis veteran players. This is an extremely dangerous little book with lots of new pit falls & weirdness waiting for PC's. I'm talking new factions such as the Sorcerers of the Crescent Moon who are serpent men from another time just waiting for PC's. "When at least one of the purple moons is crescent, a snake-man sorcerer named H'ssan comes down from the mountain to steal warm-blooded humans. Under cover of darkness, H’ssan procures sacrifices for Xivirinthi, the ancient wyrm who lives inside the third moon." Then you've got Talking Apes an in for Apes Victorious if you ever needed one! Why? Why not because everything is better with apes! "The purple islands allow for travel through time, space, and other dimensions. So, it’s no wonder that certain areas of the jungle have been altered by the quantum upheaval. Such changes bring civilizations from parallel worlds and alternate universes. Talking apes that walk upright like men is just one example. The apes are part of a community called New Ape City. They carry machine guns, attempting to conquer the purple islands whenever they meet a force that threatens them—both physically and intellectually… radical ideas that go against their religious-scientific belief system." The ones you really don't want to meet are the brotherhood of the Unquiet Void, "A religious order calling themselves Brotherhood of the Unquiet Void devote themselves to those outer abominations whose slime drips down from another universe, a universe of throbbing, twitching, screaming flesh, gory and insane and spilling out into the unreachable darkness. The brotherhood worships entities that hail from such places, and they have a leader named Kaion Vasus" Sort of a combination of the underdwellers from Battle For The Planet of the Apes & what happens to the world population in the film In The Mouth of Madness. These are not folks you want to invite over for supper. Then there's encounters with Lovecraft younger & older(don't ask). Lots of encounter tables for hex crawling across the islands. This is where the book shines of OSR style games especially if your into own a couple of OSR retroclone systems and want to expand your players adventuring! This also takes place in a timeless setting meaning that this is the book your going to want to pick up to introduce new players to the gonzo Lovecraftian sleazy jungle dripping action of The Islands of Purple Haunted Putrescence. Is Battle For The Islands of Purple Haunted Putrescence worth the five dollar price tag? In a word yes, even if you don't own the original then Battle is your entry level drug for the weird science fantasy setting. This book brings home the setting and there are several tables that should have been in the original book. Your not paying twice for same setting folks this book has lots and lots of new material that isn't the 'special features' that ended up on the cutting room floor. Instead this is an add on book for the setting. Which leads into the next question should there be another book in the Purple Haunted Putrescence setting series of books? In a word yes. If your into the All Night Long USA style gonzo cheese and weirdness of Venger Satanis's science fantasy setting then this is book for you. Will I be using it in future and upcoming games? In a word yes! But this isn't a perfect book, I wanted more awesomeness and cult crazy gonzo adventure but this is a gateway & continuation book. In this alone the book sustains and in some points exceeds its goals. I'd say an even five out of five for purple haunted weirdness! Eric Fabiaschi Swords & Stitchery Want More OSR action & support for this as well as other OSR titles? Subscribe to https://swordsandstitchery.blogspot.com/



Rating:
[5 of 5 Stars!]
Battle For The Purple Islands
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The S'rulyan Vault II
Publisher: Kort'thalis Publishing
by Eric F. [Verified Purchaser]
Date Added: 07/20/2017 19:08:58

"Like the first S'rulyan Vault, this is two extremely high-resolution dungeon maps in both old school blue/white and bloody parchment hue. The dungeon is huge and contains a variety of cavern and traditional room/corridor areas... along with special icons." Well, the S'rulyan Vault II is a bit more then that & a bit more. So what is the The S'rulyan Vault II? Well according to its Kickstarter; "The S'rulyan Vault II is more of the same... but different. Obviously, there will be a totally new dungeon layout with lots of interesting things going on. The files can be printed off so you've got one massive map or four quadrants in order to easily mix and match them with each other and the previous S'rulyan Vault." Its giant mix & match dungeon map & DYI kit with Venger Satanis's guile & attitude which is clearly outline about The S'rulyan Vault II introduction; "Delving into dungeons can be the most rewarding roleplaying experience there is. It's the perfect environment for adventuring since that's where the monsters and treasure are. Of course, with monsters and treasure you also get traps, wizards, subterranean civilizations, exotic flora and fauna, natural hazards, and unexplained wonders. There are three things GMs occasionally forget when running a dungeoncrawl... ● Gygaxian Naturalism or Fantastic Verisimilitude, if you prefer. Basically, this provides a "realistic" background for the adventuring. Such as, where does the food and water supply come from? ● There should be a compelling reason why the PCs are down there, besides a desire to slay evil creatures and take their loot. Even if that's the primary motivation, we want to know precisely why the adventurers want to kill these monsters and steal their treasure. And each session, the PCs' emotional investment in clearing the dungeon should pay off. ● This is a great opportunity to show off your own GMing style, aesthetic, and creativity! Use your imagination - come up with at least a couple rooms that defy expectation. Go nuts! Keeping those three things in mind, I invite you to make The S'rulyan Vault (volumes I and II) truly yours."

Can we talk about the Drow babes in implied 'Legend of the Overfiend' style tentacle porn dungeon god cover artwork here for moment? The only reason its there is to attract attention because while the thing might be in the The S'rulyan Vault II but I found it more distracting then tantalizing. Why? Because the contents of the The S'rulyan Vault II book are good solid boiled down DYI dungeon map and kit in seventeen pages of old school goodness. Venger Satanis is a good enough writer/designer who doesn't need to rely on cheap and blatantly pornographic themes and artwork to sell his products. His work is solid enough on its own to stand on its own merits. This is a good tool kit for a really well thought out dungeon. You get factions, reasons for the dungeon crawls, and lots of random tables for generating a grand night's adventure for your players.

This product sinks up with its earlier incarnation, The S'rulyan Vault I adventure plot completely and easily. There's no tears to this and because this product has the quality of Monkey Blood Designs cartography & design work. The S'rulyan Vault II is both OSR cross compatible & rpg system agnostic. The art and cartography by Glynn Seal,Monstark, & Fizzbig, work. The layout is well done and up to the usual Venger Satanis standards. Dungeon masters will get a ton old school gaming utility out of the wandering monster tables, dungeon restocking table, & rival adventuring party disturbance tables. Along with a ton of new & great take on old school adventuring for a continuing dungeon adventure tool with years of life to come at the gaming table. Do I think its worth buy? In a word yes I do and think it will provide a great tool at the gaming table.

Eric Fabiaschi Swords & Stitchery Blog Want to see more OSR commentary & support? Then Subscribe to the Swords & Stitchery blog https://swordsandstitchery.blogspot.com/



Rating:
[5 of 5 Stars!]
The S'rulyan Vault II
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Adventure Writing Like A Fucking Boss
Publisher: Kort'thalis Publishing
by Eric F. [Verified Purchaser]
Date Added: 07/06/2017 00:32:14

I'm doing this review as a favor to Venger Satanis, because I got sent a copy of 'How To Write An Adventure Like A F@#@ing Boss'. This is a part of an O5R product line by Venger which is really a set of guidelines where Venger lays out his philosophy of old school gaming & advise, guidelines for game preparation, dungeon mastering the Satanis way, & now how to write an adventure. So we get 'How To Write An Adventure Like A Fucking Boss' which is an on the ground practical guide contained within fourteen pages. This book doesn't fool around it gets right into the heart of the process and walks you the prospective DM step by step from inception to practical completion. This is a system neutral book & there's not a lot of B.S. in this book its straight up advise and practical hands on process & operation. The tone is easy, the layout straight forward, & the end result isn't half bad for three dollars. The ideas here are workable, consistent, & have been done by someone whose actually run an old school campaign or two. This isn't necessarily going to be for the great & powerful DM's out in the wild but there's some very practical and time saving ideas here. Is it worth the three dollar price tag? I think so actually here's why:

This book takes the DM by the hand and leads them step by step through the adventure writing process. Real advise for at the table and on the ground adventure writing right from the ground up. In depth take down from resources to practical table top prep work.

If I have any real complains its that there's not enough background material on the part of the writer. Venger is a more is less kinda of guy which is fine but this is a system neutral book & I'm an OSR guy who wants a bit more explanation in certain areas especially in the departments that newbies to the hobby are going to need such as fleshing out background, working in more adventure exposition during play, & following through with dovetailing in the adventure into fully fleshed old school campaigns. But this is probably going to be the next book 'How to Run A Campaign like A F$#ing Boss'. In my humble opinion this should have been what we've seen in another section of this book. Fourteen pages isn't enough when your taking about writing adventures from start to finish.

Is this a bad book? No its quite good at what it does and does it well with common sense advise and at the table commentary. The book is selling for three dollars and its well worth the price tag but this needs to be a fully fleshed out book on its own so its going to get four out of five stars from me tonight. Get this book if you want a no nonsense common sense at the table approach to writing good adventures with a practical process for creating adventures that are going to get you players at the table. Eric Fabiaschi Sword & Stitchery Blog Want to See More OSR Original Content For this and other OSR titles? Subscribe to https://swordsandstitchery.blogspot.com



Rating:
[4 of 5 Stars!]
Adventure Writing Like A Fucking Boss
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HS3 Incursion of the Chain Devils
Publisher: Jeremy Reaban
by Eric F. [Verified Purchaser]
Date Added: 06/19/2017 00:25:32

Three nights ago, strange lights and screams were heard from the local temple of Ishtar. Grotesque humanoids, wearing tattered clothes and wrapped with chains, emerged from the very walls, causing murder and mayhem within Can the PCs save the temple of Ishtar from the incursion of the chain devils? I'm always on the look out for another Sword & Sorcery old school style title, so I began to look around Drivethrurpg. Generally this is a dangerous thing to do but there are few 'pay what you' want titles that caught my eye. Incursion of the Chained Devils is one of those weird titles that you don't usually come across but this time I listened to the little voice that said, 'Grab it'. This is a weird & interesting little beast of an adventure that hearkens back to something I would have snatched up as a twenty year old dungeon master. "H3 Incursion of the Chain Devils is a module for 4-8 characters levels 5th to 7th using the first edition advanced rules" This is an expansive & sprawling module with a sword & sorcery horror adventure aspect to it. To be honest about it, I was quite happy to come across this one on a Sunday night. This adventure only clocks in at about eighteen pages but its a really nice change up from the investigative adventures I've been running into lately. Its a really nicely put together module that has more in common with a Conan novella like Red Nails & Eighties horror classic Hellraiser by Clive Barker. This is a module that you can drag & drop right into your existing campaign world such as Hyperborea. It won't make a ripple in the local campaign world & its been designed & written that way; "Much of this depends on where you locate the Temple. If you locate it in the wilderness, you could have the PCs stumble upon it and decide to simply loot it. You might simply drop it into an existing city in your world. If you do this before you plan on running the adventure, the PCs might go and visit the temple, either for healing or to enjoy themselves. Then when the temple gets invaded, they might wish to go to the rescue simply because they know the people there and wish to help. The PCs might also be hired by a fleeing priestess. They might get a vision from the goddess herself. They might also be in the need of clerical henchmen and decided that rescuing some would be a great way to recruit." What I love about Jeremy Reaban's stuff is that he doesn't screw around with his adventures right in the description there's a focus on his OSR sources & where he's gotten material for his adventures;"As with previous entries in the HS line, the focus is firmly on combat. There are 20 rooms and likely 8-10 encounters. Most of the monsters are backward converted from third edition and full write ups are provided." The material here in HS3 is balanced, deadly, & will kill more then a few PC's before they navigate & solve its mysteries. Its made to do exactly what it says on the tin. There are new monsters, some interesting encounters, and everything is geared to be DYI D&D friendly. So in case you haven't noticed this is right up in my wheel house, you've got a lost temple out in the middle of the desert wastelands which could be placed in the Diamond Desert in AS&SH. There is a ton of pulpy monsters in this one & a fully fleshed out adventure location which makes this really nice adventure to add into the back end of B4 The Lost City. In fact the temple in HS3 Incusion of the Chain Devils could be another above ground section of the ruin's environs from B4. There's no reason why another cut off section of the city from that classic module. What I'm saying here is that HS3 Incusion of the Chain Devils is modular enough and packed into its own niche so that it can be used with other old school products with little effort.

Things in HS3 Incursion of the Chain Devils are keyed to bring PC's right into the middle of the action. The cenobite like ' kytons' are original enough to make a lasting impression on a group of AD&D players and weird enough to actually be usable in a one shot adventure that will last several sessions. There are several factors to keep in mind when running HS3 Incursion of the Chain Devils:

This is a straight up adventure with a few twists & turns that challenges, maimes, & the monsters will aim to destroy PC's. The loot is well laid out in the adventure & PC's greed could get a party killed. There are bunch of band new monsters that have the potential to be used outside of HS3 for cults, NPC's or to create your own Lovecraftian cult of lust & depravity.

Infact this adventure could serve as a bridge gap adventure location for say AS&SH Ghost Ship of the Desert Dunes & B4 The Lost City. The temple location has enough going on to allow a DM to place it when & where they want it in the creeping sands of their old school wastelands. So what does HS3 Incursion of the Chain Devils mean in terms of a sword & sorcery adventure? It puts the infernal right into the PC's laps & turns up the old school heat. This adventure doesn't dance around encounters with devils. Those are front & center right in the middle of the whole affair. This means that not only is there the lost temple but the focus is right on the black sorcery aspect right away. But does this mean I like HS3 Incursion of the Chain Devils? No because I love it. This is an adventure that puts the combat front & center, magic weapons are a must not the except. There's no hidden agenda here, no mid adventure switch around or anything special to complicate matters. This is straight up monster fight and a deadly sword & sorcery romp.

Eric Fabiaschi Swords & Stitchery Blog Want To See More OSR support for this & Other OSR titles & Retroclone systems? Subscribe to http://swordsandstitchery.blogspot.com



Rating:
[5 of 5 Stars!]
HS3 Incursion of the Chain Devils
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His Flesh Becomes My Key
Publisher: Kort'thalis Publishing
by Eric F. [Verified Purchaser]
Date Added: 06/14/2017 21:19:29

One of the harder tricks to pull off is telling a modern & engaging Neo noir/horror adventure with OSR overtones. Well, 'His Flesh Becomes My Key' is one part John Carpenter/Stephen King / mixed in with a simmering helping of Cliver Barkerish weirdness strained through the lens of Venger Satanis. Alright this is the usual Outer Presence rpg included in the adventure package bit we've seen before & I'm going to go out on a limb here & throw that right into the waste basket. " This is an eldritch pulp / investigative horror scenario especially suited for The Outer Presence roleplaying game. A serial killer case opens up before the investigators and leads to something beyond the usual detective story." So after reading through this adventure which puts the PC's front & center of a murder investigation/slash horror story I'm going to say that this would make a killer horror story adventure for the Silent Legions From Sine Nomine Publishing. Why? Because quite frankly this adventure has a bit of it all;

Viable underworld/sleaze encounters, a trail of madness & dead bodies everywhere. Sex & weird reality warping world sex magick occult themes pepper throughout the adveture. Darkness & dangerous cultists waiting. Independent Venger Mythos action, if you know the Venger's other adventures then you know the drill here. He's big on working his own brand of horror that fits the same DYI horror ideal that Silent Legions adheres to. There are not enough Silent Legion adventures & this one actually fits the bill very well. He's sort of toned down the T&A to actually tell a coherent adventure & it shows. "The Outer Presence RPG is about curtailing obscenity and darkness. Horror = fear + revulsion. Does that mean spectators, rather than participants, are just as subject to "mature content"? Should reading or listening to the description of unwholesome things also be restricted to "adults only"?" Because he's toned down the sex Venger has upped the weirdness which makes this far more accessible as a dungeon master.

So the PC's are on the trail of Richard Black a horror novelist & run smack into the back burner of a whole lot of unraveling pulp horror business. Sure there's plenty of bloods, guts, gore & more here. But this is a thinking man's adventure that can be played over several nights sessions. Sure it includes everything you need to get started and play through but I want more. I want solid pacing, plot/setting, and a set of rules that's going to give me extended modern OSR neo horror play. That's where Silent Legions comes in and frankly there aren't enough adventure modules to support at system but 'His Flesh Becomes My Key' fills the slimy gap quite nicely. This really isn't Lamentations of the Flame Presence turf although there is this sort of thing, ‘When his gaze meets that of the investigators, the chartreuse-hued dweller of the cavern begins to melt into a pool of liquid flesh.’ Instead this is one part X Files twisted around an unraveling 'In The Mouth of Madness' with a good helping of Cthulhu & Venger's tendrils of horror. So yes its a good solid fit for a Silent Legions game. Eric Fabiaschi Swords & Stitchery blog Want more OSR action & support for this and other adventure titles? Subscribe to http://swordsandstitchery.blogspot.com/



Rating:
[5 of 5 Stars!]
His Flesh Becomes My Key
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Stairway of V'dreen
Publisher: Kort'thalis Publishing
by Eric F. [Verified Purchaser]
Date Added: 05/31/2017 10:09:00

"Find a place to hide! Luckily, such a place happens to be nearby. Approximately 50' away from where the adventurers currently stand is a half-buried hunk of metal the size of a small village. Various metallic parts of the thing are halfway sunk into the ground. The large metal structure is tilted slightly downward." The PC's find a mad scientist Dr. Ebzub in the middle of an experiment will open a gateway to "a place the gods have forgotten." the forbidden Stairway of V'dreen e Stairway of V'dreen From Kort'thalis Publishing. You can think of the Stairway of V'dreen as a mid level adventure/setting for Crimson Dragon Slayer rpg & its easily adaptable to any OSR retroclone rpg system. This adventure is a throw back to those Eighties setting books that we got for many old school system games. The overview from the adventure's Trinity of Awesome Returns Kickstarer best describes the other dimensional setting;"

Each PC will have his own reason for visiting V'dreen - a random table will personalize every character's desire/need. Reaching the stairway, V'dreen's greatest treasure, will not be easy - alien, mutant dreamland hazards bar the way!

This location will be the most bizarre thing I've come up with yet. The main Kickstarter picture above gives you an idea of what's in store. But I've got some additional details and a b/w illustration directly below...

Fruiting bodies. The scent of V'dreen is that of a corpse blooming with strawberry and apricot preserves. A fragrance that one cannot easily forget. Pungent jam and jelly intermingling with the sweat of human fornication.

Rumored tales of V'dreen: a magical timepiece is buried in the ground, preventing this place from aging, neither evolving nor decaying. However, some believe the timepiece to be broken in some way - or perhaps it had always been corrupted - because slavering demons roam free, wizards scry and watch and influence life on V'dreen with their little knobs and levers and buttons... my God, even the tentacles have tentacles!

The stairway leads to an even more distant realm. It is a personal voyage... the discovery of self-annihilation, where travelers lick savage dreams and ride bareback upon the sparkling-scaled magenta snake-thing with golden eyes coiled at the heart of eternity."

So basically this is a part setting, part adventure location that echoes with the Eighties horror/sci fi Lovecraftian horror that Venger loves to mix with his rpg systems. The Stairway of V'dreen is a type of adventure that rarely comes along a mix of dark fantasy, comedy, & lovecraftian weirdness all around the usual Venger quality. It clocks in at nineteen pages & reminds me a bit of the Eighties film 'From Beyond' with a bit of body horror mixed in with an old school style adventure. Because of the very nature of the dark fantasy of the The Stairway of V'dreen its really useful for other OSR systems such as Lamentations of the Flame Princess or other OSR systems. This is partially because of the random monster generators & the random magic items that can be created from similar generators. The vary fact of this unpredictable factor is going to keep those jaded & long time players reaching for their Advanced Dungeons & Dragons Dungeon Master's Guides. I can easily see adding in the The Stairway of V'dreen to a game of Lamentations of the Flame Princes as adventure location or a game of Labyrinth Lord. The setting technically could be used as a twisted Lovecraftian domain for Adventurer,Conqueror, King. But I would using this as an adventure location for Astonishing Swordsmen & Sorcerers of Hyperborea. The pulpy flavor is very strong in the the The Stairway of V'dreen . The Stairway of V'dreen is the type of setting that you could potentially drop in a bunch of Mutant Future PC's or any old school adventurers into & not break it at all. There's the usual Venger Satanis sleaze but much of the setting is far more geared toward the dark fantasy/Lovecraftian vibe. Its well written and balanced for a far more experienced group of PC's to come into in my opinion. I really enjoyed thumbing through this one. Can't wait to subject my players to this adventure/setting. Five out of five.



Rating:
[5 of 5 Stars!]
Stairway of V'dreen
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Guarding Galaxy XXX
Publisher: Kort'thalis Publishing
by Eric F. [Verified Purchaser]
Date Added: 05/07/2017 09:24:21

Venger has been working hard to make the Alpha Blue his brand of sleazy mature(ie Adult) science fantasy and fiction rpg visible in the wilds of the rpg market. You've got numerous resources & source books, etc. including a set of free rules under the dubious title Alpha Blue Quickie. I've used Alpha Blue numerous times to help fill in the gap in science fiction or fantasy campaign or when I needed a location for a 70's style science fiction adventure or even a rest stop. Yeah its good & original for just that sort of thing as well as fully functional system. Now Venger Satanis is a guy to ride the trends & with Guardians of the Galaxy Volume II riding high on the coat tails of the first Marvel block Venger would be putting out his own version for Alpha Blue. Except its not!?! Nope its a free adventure for Alpha Blue that takes some elements from a Guardians style school of sci fi comedy but puts a whole different spin on it. "You wake up out of cyro sleep to find your party up to its ears in trouble and adventure;"The soldier tells the leading man type that the galaxy is in grave danger - Thargons have pissed off the Romulyns who had a truce with the foul Myrmidons who never really saw the point in befriending the Zandarians and had just recently pinky-swore to uphold the freedom of the Azhanti Cresh. In a nutshell, this small corner of the universe is about to blink out of existence unless someone takes out the team who's supposed to defend it - the guardians of the galaxy! Rory blinks a few times at the impatient sergeant waiting for an answer to the question - will you help us

  • and proceeds to lay back down in the cryo-pod. The sleep shield slowly lowers over his body and back he goes to snooze town. At that point, sergeant Kaufman realizes the PCs are also awake and that they've been at least sort of listening to his spiel. "Well, what about you ..... want to come with me and save the galaxy or go back to bed?" If the PCs need any more convincing, the sergeant informs them they've racked up quite a debt in back taxes and freezer fees since entering hibernation. 1,843 credits… each, and that's in addition to what the PCs owed before entering their cryo-pods (1d6 x 1,000 credits in the red). Saving everyone's bacon would go a long way towards erasing those debts. Before leaving the cryogenic facilities, there's a ringing sound. The ringing is coming from inside one of the opened pods. One of the PCs is getting a phone call. Lifting the red phone from the receiver is enough to answer the call. Yes that's right the Guardians of the Alpha Blue universe weren't available so your going to have to do! Things go sideways for the PC's from there. The ride is weird and quite wild, all of this in only about ten pages. Venger's writing is up to its usual standards and the adventure plot moves along for a free adventure its well done and easy to incorporate into your favorite science fantasy system. Make no mistake this is a Venger Satanis production so the adult and mature themes are front & center in that Eighty One 'Ice Pirates' sort of way! But its very well done for what it does and what it does is serve as a beginning grab by the scrotum introduction to the Alpha Blues system. Its not pretending to be another gaming system or parodying or copying Marvel, this straight to the vein Alpha Blue. Its quick, its dirty, funny, and a straight up beginning adventure. Its not dancing around its adventure plot or anything. It takes the players straight into the sleazy weirdness that is the Alpha Blue rpg system. So in that it succeeds in spades. Guarding Galaxy XXX could be & should be used with other gaming systems especially West End's Star Wars or even gasp Traveler or one of its retroclones. Why because they're several adventure hooks that are scattered throughout the adventure that can really bring home the sleazy of 'Guarding Galaxy XXX' vibe. So for a free introductory adventure you could do worse then grab a copy of 'Guarding Galaxy XXX' some friends with a warped sense of humor and bring the sleazy mature party of Alpha Blue's seedy galaxy to them! Adults only Eric F. Swords & Stitchery Blog Want to see more original content for this & other OSR or O5R products? Subscribe to http://swordsandstitchery.blogspot.com/


Rating:
[5 of 5 Stars!]
Guarding Galaxy XXX
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