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Terror Tales - X!
Publisher: Beyond Belief Games
by Eric F. [Verified Purchaser]
Date Added: 12/04/2018 11:42:17

"Weird! Baffling! Terrifying! Rousing tales of macabre adventure using familiar rules! Who wants to read through reams of text just to get to the action? No-one right? These rules assume you know how to role play. They assume you know about “Golden Age” comic book pulp mystery fiction. (Thrilling adventures through a retro lens). They assume you know how OSR products work. There, it’s done. You know how to play already. Just get on with it. Two-fisted tales and mysterious investigations. " Terror Tales -X! by Beyond Belief is a solid addition to the OSR horror adventure genre. The whole affair clocks in at twenty one pages & gives the DM all of the optional dark adventure material that they need. The focus is the Precode horror comics of the Golden Age & all that goes with it. Dark rites at three A.M., occult monsters in the deep urban environment of the city, spooky alleyways that lead into other worldly Hells. Adventurers here are crusaders & heroes at much as victims themselves & the forces of darkness are always a heart beat or closing coffin lid away. Ahh now that's the Hellfire & classic precode public domain horror comics that I've come to know & love. These are perfect for OSR horror adventure & with a wide array of PC options its a snap to 'plug & play' this set of rules. There's a nifty sanity set of rules for PC's straight off & a wide array of victims erm PC options. You got your scientist, your detective,the psychic, the scoundrel, the adventurer, tough guy, & mystic. Two pages of advantages & disadvantages along with quick descriptions. Enemies & NPC's to thread the adventure along. Animals including dinosaurs & normal run of the mill wildlife. The weird & supernatural is a similar but well rounded cast of Dungeons & Dragons style monsters retooled for horror adventure. Vechiles including surprisingly mounted weapons! Quick & dirty combat rules along with modern fire arms, weapons, melee weapons, & armor. Experience charts for the PC classes & some horror adventure hooks. Christmas time is the season for ghost stories & horror adventure. This year is no different Terror Tales -X! is based around Swords & Wizardry rules so its easy to pop into an existing OD&D or Retro clone system setting. The entire product is open game content on the OGL & that makes this a fantastic horror setting enhancement. But if that wasn't enough there's blogs like the OSR Library offer a huge amount of OSR horror adventure support. May I also go on record as saying that incredible Horrors of It All Blog has some of the best precode Golden Age Horror comic book stories around & his collections of stories are an unsung gold mine of OSR horror adventure. Comic Book Plus is also an excellent resource for lots of pure gold adventure fodder. All of this is perfect support material & a starting point for OSR horror adventure especially with the Terror Tales -X! rules. I'm a super hero guy & Sword & Sorcery guy the Terror Tales -X! rules are perfectly compatible with the other Beyond Belief games rules & for introducing super heroes to the horrors of the dark forces of the occult & supernatural! There is a long tradition of heroes fighting the over whelming forces of darkness. This crosses over into so many gernes making this a real easy winner to grab for only $3.50!

Five out of five in my book for solid product & ease of use. Eric Fabiaschi Sword & Stitchery blog Want more solid original content? Subscribe to https://swordsandstitchery.blogspot.com/



Rating:
[5 of 5 Stars!]
Terror Tales - X!
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The Eerie West - X!
Publisher: Beyond Belief Games
by Eric F. [Verified Purchaser]
Date Added: 11/26/2018 01:37:27

"Strange! Ghostly! Mysterious! Rousing tales of action and adventure in a wild west that never was. Who wants to read through reams of text just to get to the action? No-one right? These rules assume you know how to role play. They assume you know about “Golden Age” comic book pulp western fiction. (Thrilling cowboy adventures through a retro lens). They assume you know how OSR products work. There, it’s done. You know how to play already. Just get on with it. Go fer yer gun, hombre! " Sometime ago I got into Beyond Belief Games Eerie West - X! for a set up for an OSR Wild & Weird West campaign set up. The product is put together with spit, bailing wire, & a micro system built on the lines of Swords & Wizardry. But it should work with mostly any OSR rules set with some work & best of all its open game content. You get a wide variety of PC classes from the Shootist, Cardsharp, Trailblazer, Dude, Quack, & Hexer. The shootist is your gun fighter/fighter type. The Card sharp is your thief & all around rogue. The Trail blazer is your ranger & scout type for the Wild West. The Dude class is your socialite, tenderfoot from back East, & diplomat all rolled into one. The Quack is your cleric/doctor/fake medicine man all rolled into one whose potion might actually work or they might make you worse. The Hexer is your occultist who shouldn't be messing with the 'things man wasn't meant to know. Did I mention that there's a sanity rules set in here, full system for guns, monsters, NPCs,equipment, mundane animals, stats weird menaces, adventure ideas, two pages of rules & random charts. The fact is that I've been looking for a more open set of Weird West rules over the last couple of years. Since these rules are cross compatible with other Beyond Belief X rules sets its very easy to swap them out for other OSR or even other D20 systems.

Even though Belle Starr wasn't featured in The Eerie West - X! she's exactly the sort of cowboy or outlaw adventurer that could be used in adventures surrounding this campaign using this product. The fact is that a lot of Golden Age of Comics public domain artwork & source material was used in The Eerie West - X!. This puts the 'X' material square in the Golden Age of Comicbooks & Pulp magazine source material making it perfect for that style of old school or OSR campaigning.

Everything from your bandits to your Wild West Gumberoo is covered; "Gumberoo AC: 10* HD: 3d6+1 Attacks: Claws 1d3 (x2), bite 1d3 Move: 10 San Loss: 1/1d3 Special: The creature has a rubbery hide that bounces back anything thrown on it. Bullets, arrows and so on will rebound in the direction they were fired, hitting the person that fired them (separate roll needed to hit). A nearly hairless, extremely disgusting, bear-like brute of the woods."

There's just enough here to get a campaign off the ground & with blogs such as the OSR library its a snap to get a campaign off the ground plus get support. The material here isn't incredibly expansive but it doesn't need to be. The layout is easy to read, the stat blocks are standard, & the material is straight on point & top drawer. While The Eerie West -X ! follows the tradition Western comic & pulp genre it really plugs into the Revisionist Weird Western;

"The late 1960s and early 1970s saw the rise of revisionist Western film. Elements include a darker, more cynical tone, with focus on the lawlessness of the time period, favoring realism over romanticism, and an interest in greater historical authenticity. Anti-heroes were common, as were stronger roles for women and more-sympathetic portrayal of Native Americans and Mexicans. The films were often critical of big business, the American government, and masculine figures (including the military and their policies). "

But really what The Eerie West -X! does is mix & match its material so that the dungeon master & players get a mix of classic Western material with Golden Age of Comics adventure! But could Wild West-X! be mixed with an old school or OSR adventure? Yes as a matter of fact this material could easily be incorporated with say Swords & Wizardry or even original Dungeons & Dragons? Yes it could easily support such a campaign where the PC's blunder into The Eerie West -X! or perhaps the PC's of the Eerie West X blunder into B4: The Lost City by Tom Moldvay. The PC's become lost in a sand storm & they suddenly blunder into the lost city itself. Its not hard seeing the pyramid located some place in the South Western Mexican desert & the factions of the city waiting to sacrifice the PCs to their bastard Lovecraftian god thing.

"Lost in the desert! The only hope for survival lies in a ruined city rising out of the sands.

A pyramid with five twenty foot high tiers rises from the sand. Atop it are three 30 foot tall statues. One is a bearded man holding a scale and a lightning bolt. Another is a beautiful woman holding a sheaf of wheat and a sword. Between them is a child with two snakes twined about its winged body holding a wand and a handful of coins.

Food, water, and wealth await heroic adventurers inside the ancient pyramid." Is the The Eerie West - X! worth getting?! I think so in spades, the game does what it says in nineteen pages & delivers on its promise with less filler & more killer with little issue. Plus its a great value & the material is cross compatible with other retroclone & OSR games. Five out of five in my humble opinion.

Eric Fabiaschi Swords & Stitchery Blog Want to see more original OSR reviews & material then subscribe to https://swordsandstitchery.blogspot.com/



Rating:
[5 of 5 Stars!]
The Eerie West - X!
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Castles & Crusades Codex Germania
Publisher: Troll Lord Games
by Eric F. [Verified Purchaser]
Date Added: 10/31/2018 14:21:05

"The Codex Germania unearths the mythological realms of the ancient Germans. From the murky forests of their beginnings rise the myths, the magic, gods, goddesses, monsters, heroes and legends of the ancient Germans, all brought to life for your Castles & Crusades game." Let me go on record as saying that 'The Codex Germania' is a big book for Castles & Crusades weighing in at 112 pages! That 112 is packed in wall to wall Germanic mythological goodness & its perfect for Halloween! With new PC classes such as the witch & variations on the slayer class not to mention the variety of horrid monsters waiting to chew on your PC?! But there's more here then simply that. Brian Young goes into the book's contents in the intro & it sets the tone for the entire book;

"This book allows both the Castle Keeps and the players to explore the breadth of early Germanic mythologies and culture.For the sake of history and religion, the pre-Christian Germans are covered because their imagination and colorful beliefs hadnot yet submitted to a European commonality. By the time of Christianization, the Germanic world largely lost it imaginative heritage of wondrous sagas about divine heroes, other worlds,supernatural creatures, and magic. This codex attempts to capture some of that essence and places it into the hands of gamers"

But does the 'The Codex Germania' deliver on its promise of mythological Germany rife with new monsters, PC classes, spells, & more?! Well the mythological & historical background is right on point with the beginning chapters; 'This chapter serves a twofold purpose in telling history. First, it will give a brief overview of early Germanic history in Europe, giving beginners in this field of study a basic understanding. Secondly, it gives the creation mythos from the early Germanic pagan religions as best as possible. Note, that due to the variations among the many tribes, those disparate but similar strands of myth among Germanic peoples do have a commonality and a link to the Nordic sources that came later.' The book here is really on point & gives the dungeon master an actual usable thumbnail view of ancient Germany's history & mythology. The second chapter in we get even more background focusing on the peoples & land itself after the first chapter with a an inter spacing of some mythological elements ; The many descendants of Tuisto dwell in many lands throughout Europa, from east to west and have large tribes often numbering a 100,000 or more members. The three groups of peoples have covered a wide territory over time, from the boundaries of the furthest south (Roman Empire and Spain) to Britannia to the west, Scandza to the North and the Black Sea to the east. In this section, the many tribal confederations and regions across Europe, from east to west, will be given a detail that joins both the mythical and historical into a unified perspective for game play. Germania, on the far side of the Rhine, was seen in Roman eyes as Germani Liberia (Free Germania) where the many tribes there were not under imperial control. Mythical places in the Germanic Otherworld will also be describedas best as information can be gathered from the limited sources. Key locations in Germania and other settled (and invaded) regions by Germanic tribes are detailed here for places that CKs can use in their games. The mythical locations in the Codex Nordica can be used to enhance those listed here by the CK." This sets everything up to come just as we've seen in The Codex Celtarum because we get a detailed history on the two ancient Germany's. Germania Inferior & Superior are brought to the forefront by Caesar Augustus; 'Caesar Augustus sought to have total control over all of Germania early in his reign before letting this wild and untamed part of Europe deluge the Empire. His designation was Germania Magna or ‘Great Germania’, but this was cut short after the fatal Battle of Teutoburg Forest in 9 C.E. It was deemed unrealistic that Germania would ever be completely in the Empire’s possession and so other strategies were employed to find means in which to incorporate this untamed land. The method of divide and conquer, which had been working well against the Greeks and Celts, was not so simple in the face of this newly encountered people.' You get a really nicely detailed semi mythological setting with lots of historical details & then the book jumps feet first into the mythological realms of Germanic mythology after detailing swaths of history on kings, tribes, & gobs of history. This material parells many of the Teutonic & Norse mythologies that I've seen over the years but its got a slightly different take here. Take for example 'ÆLFHÁM – Home of the Elves This magical world exists outside of the reach of Middangeard normally and is bound tightly to the tree of Irminsul, as it is filled with its constant magical energies. The elves that live here are whimsical and frivolous acting among each other, but they turn sinister and devious towards strangers (specifically humans) if they are interrupted. Fair beings, standing both short and tall, the ælf-kind are purely composed of magic. Their world is a large, wild forest-land filled with other magical beings and creatures that can be called faery. These ælves can glow with a white light from within in a heavenly manner if needed to banish away evil or dark beings keepingthis world untainted by the presence of darkness. Wēland the smith (or deor) is their king (Ylfcynig), who dwells in a simple forest smithy away from the hustle and bustle of the court and palace. In his stead, he has many stewards and chiefs that function for him while he creates wondrous items at his forge. Wēland’s crafts have been sought after by many across the worlds, and they have attempted many deceptive plots to do so. To outsiders, the myriad rulers of Ælfhám will appear lofty and arrogant in manner, but this is due to the immortals’ difference from mortals, and the possession of their great magic. The land is largely untamed and filled with wondrous sights and beings beyond all comparison (CK can refer to the Codex Celtarum for faery abilities and extra beings not in this particular codex). The inhabitants of this world choose to intrude on Middangeard often, becoming involved in the affairs of mortals and altering events to suit their own purposes. They do not, however, allow mortals to meddle in their business. Mortals are looked down upon by the ælf-kind for their crudeness, vulgarity, and lack of refinement. The goddess Frigge dwells here and is often seen riding in her chariot in the forests, surrounded by her faery entourage. It is wisest by mortals and invited strangers to never interrupt her ride. This world has never known the scourge of the giants or other invaders in its history because of the powerful enchantments possessed by its natives.' These are the Elves I grew up hearing & reading about with my German neighbors in my home town. Yes they have some of the qualities of the Tolkein Elves but these are the origins & their every bit as alien & weird. The realms of Fairy & the Germanic gods are not to be treated upon by mankind. The monster section folds neatly within the mythological places & realms of the gods starting with alp is a type of elf vampire & then finally ending with the Germanic dragons which we get solid guide line rules ala Beowulf. The Germanic dragons are nasty pieces of work & this might happen to your PC's. Chapter four In Wizardry & Enchantments goes into the magic PC classes, magicks, spells, & enchanted items of 'The Codex Germania'; 'There are many new character classes included that are different from the normal wizard and illusionist classes in that their approach to spell-casting and enchantments are not typical, the Erilaz or (rune master), and Wælcyrig/Halirúna or (witch). The many aspects of rune magic are detailed here and how they can be used in normal gaming. Runes in gaming have always been somewhat close to the ancient Migration Period attestation of runic magic and their later Viking parallels. This chapter will outline a system that is closer to those mentioned previously." Yes I'm skipping over the ring oaths because there's a ton of background with these which are for adventures & I'll go into this later. This chapter is very well done in my opinion & really sets 'The Codex Germania' apart in its approach to handling the whole of Germanic mythological magick in Castles & Crusades. And this brings me to Serve the Gods which really dives deeply into the Germanic Pagan & Druidic traditions. It dives deeply into the Germanic mythological pantheon from the creator gods to the gods of warfare to hearth & home. Sacred groves & funeral practices actually get a solid style of use for Pagan cleric PC classes here. Chapter six 'Skilled in Battlecraft' gives the PC martial classes something to use in the Germanic mythological world. We get more pseudo historical information on the Germanic warrior, further details of the ring oaths of a warrior, & more useful information on the martial affairs of Germanic warriors, soldiers, etc. Including historical information on women warriors of Germany. Deadly rules for ancient artillery & arrows along with the shield wall. Property, land, blood money, and more all used in ancient warfare in Germany. Then finally two new PC classes The Dragonslayer & the Wod or Germanic 'Fury' which is similar to Norse beserker but they have some of their own mythic or divine wrinkles. Both classes are very well done. The slayer & witch classes from the magic section are excellent foils for both of these classes & I can see using all of this to put together an adventuring party for ancient Germany. Finally we get to the Castle Keeper's information about ancient Germany, its rulers, & society. This is a very well laid out chapter & has critical information about the whole of running a campaign. Again its very well put together. 'The Codex Germania' is a solid & well put together product. I like how accessible it is & how well put together all of the information is in this book. I think that the 'The Codex Germania' is a solid five out of five.

Now for the Amazing Adventures! rpg dungeon master this is another in my mind essential book. Why?! Because of the fact that there is so much to pillage & use. The Wod, the Dragon slayer, the slayer class,the witch, & more make excellent foils for the Pulp adventuring of AA! But once again this is a solid case of using the Amazing Adventures companion & the Amazing Adventures Manual of Monsters especially because of the Dragon Slayer class. The dragons & NPC witches of 'The Codex Germania' are solid evil & make excellent vile villains. They have motives, personalities, & out and out agendas that should they find their way to civilization would wreck havoc. The Monsterous Manual has a wide array of minor dragonic monsters that could also wreck havoc with the world of ancient Germany. The Wod could be used as the basis for a nasty PC class of fighter or adventurer. The use of 'The Codex Germania' for a World War two game is both intriguing & beyond the scope of one blog review & yes I will go into this more as my Amazing Adventures campaign continues! Eric Fabiaschi Swords & Stitchery Blog Want More OSR Goodness Subscribe to https://swordsandstitchery.blogspot.com/



Rating:
[5 of 5 Stars!]
Castles & Crusades Codex Germania
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0e Tomb of the Iron God (Swords & Wizardry)
Publisher: Uncle Matt's RPG Studio
by Eric F. [Verified Purchaser]
Date Added: 10/26/2018 23:06:36

"A temple destroyed by divine wrath... An ancient, imprisoned evil and a powerful idol. Mysteries abound in the tombs below the temple of the Iron God, protector of the dead. Discover the dreadful fate of the Iron God's priesthood and the reasons behind their downfall in this intriguing adventure designed for low-level characters. Tomb of the Iron God covers a large catacomb area on two levels, with 58 keyed locations and six new monsters. This is a Swords & Wizardry (0e) dungeon crawl for four to five characters of 1st or 2nd level, by ENNIE-award winning author Matt Finch" October is Halloween for the kids but many of us OSR guys we know that's the prelude to the Sword & Sorcery OSR campaign time during the long Winter months. With the Astonishing Swordsmen & Sorcerers of Hyperborea mega Kickstater going off,"New Kickstarter campaign launching on Halloween! Four new products for Astonishing Swordsmen & Sorcerers of Hyperborea; Hyperborea Players' Manual, Hyperborea Player Character Folder, Hyperborea Referee's Screen, Rats in the Walls and Other Peril". Jeffrey Talanian let the cat slip out of the bag about twenty hours ago on G+ & other social media. What does this have to do with the O edition version of Tomb of the Iron God for Swords & Wizardry?!

Quite bit actually. First of all I had three tons of messages & what not about the fact of why hadn't there been any announcement about The World of Jordoba?! Matt Finch was streaming actual play episodes on Youtube & Twitch. . Go here for the YouTube Playlist of the series. Again the layout here reminds me of a 70's Sword & Sorcery comic book ala Marvel's Conan or DC's various Sword & Sorcery titles. This is done with exactly the idea of putting spot light on the PC's as they are moved into adventure's central point on for the adventure. The Tomb of the Iron God does this right out the gate with mechanical timing;

"For centuries, nearby hillfolk have brought their dead to the Tomb of the Iron God, a largely-forgotten minor deity of the underworld who guards the spirits and bodies of the dead. A community of monks has maintained an ancient temple above the god's sacred underground catacombs since before recorded history,performing funeral rites and bringing bodies below to rest in the Iron God's protection." "However, the monks of the temple became corrupt and venal, and under the leadership of one monk, Ardarus, they began accumulating treasure and secretly raising an army of undead to take control of the villages surrounding the Monastery. About a month before the adventure begins,the High Priest, who remained loyal to the Iron God's true commands, denounced the renegade monks and ordered them to bring Ardarus before the statue of the Iron God for judgment. Furious, Ardarus took and imprisoned him, seizing control of the temple to declare himself high priest. But On the very night the high priest died of starvation, the Iron God visited a terrible vengeance upon these disloyal servitors. Lightning struck from the heavens, lighting the dark skies for hours as every building of the temple complex was blasted from existence. The renegade monks were transformed into statues of living iron, still conscious but trapped in their almost-immobile bodies for all eternity. The subterranean catacombs under the temple still remain, filled with the treasures accumulated by the avaricious monks. The god, also, remains living within his great Idol in the Sacred Catacombs where he guards the dead entrusted to him. One other being remains as well, an immortal evil imprisoned a thousand years ago by the god himself - the Eater of the Dead."

Everything in this adventure pairs the PC's against the forces of the Iron Priests & the monsters of the tomb. Factions & monsters that we heard about in the World of Jordoba Player's Guide. Here the rumors & threads of the player's guide come together in the form of the ruins of the tomb. Necroamancers are going to have a bad time at the tomb. Even though this is a first level PC dungeon its a really nasty one & very dangerous. The adventure contains lots of new elements specifically for Tomb of the Iron God for Swords & Wizardry. Why is this important?! Because they're keyed for this adventure but they have been adapted into the world of Jordoba setting. This places them squarely at the feet of the dungeon master to use elsewhere. Yesterday I mentioned that the world of Jordoba was like dimensional cheese cloth & rotting from within its own universe falling into the multiveral planar void. This means that The Tomb of the Iron God can be upon Jordoba while at the same time appearing in Greyhawk or Blackmoor. Imagine walking into one world for the dungeon & crossing the dimensional threshold unto another universe entirely. Walk across Jordoba & you might end up upon Astonishing Swordsmen & Sorcerers of Hyperborea's Hyperborean setting.
This takes the adventure from the realm of Swords & Wizardry into the pull of appendix N style stories such as Clark Ashton Smith's Sword & Sorcery settings such as the Hyperborean cycle & the Zothique tales. The world's cycle of years has moved on & now its time. The Tomb of the Iron God belongs to a different order & a different older reality then that of Jordoba. This makes the tomb a very dangerous location whose local space time could cross into other worlds & times. Solving the riddles, traps, & monsters of the Iron Tomb maybe only the beginning.

But is the Tomb Of the Iron God solidly done?! Yes its cartography is easy to read, the artwork & layout are easy on the eyes & the module is still a fine addition to any OSR Sword & Sorcery dungeon master's line up! Five out of five across the board.

Eric Fabiaschi Sword & Stitchery Blog For More original OSR Content & more

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Rating:
[5 of 5 Stars!]
0e Tomb of the Iron God (Swords & Wizardry)
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World of Jordoba Player Guide
Publisher: Uncle Matt's RPG Studio
by Eric F. [Verified Purchaser]
Date Added: 10/25/2018 16:35:10

"The World of Jordoba is the masterpiece swords & sorcery campaign setting written by ENNIE award-winning author Matt Finch. Jordoba is an ancient world populated by strange peoples and stranger monsters, physically fraying into the depths of the oceanic multiverse. Ruination has spread across the world, and the civilizations of the Sea of Khoramandu are pushed back to the very coasts. And yet, humankind has risen from worse threats in the past eons of its existence. Scattered villages remain in the wildlands, and new barons carve out freeholds in the wilderness, their names scribed upon new maps. Great wizards make sorties into the very shadows beyond reality, seeking forgotten lore and undiscovered frontiers of arcane scholarship. It is a world where unnatural things survive from ancient times, where nameless gods have turned their unfathomable intentions, and where even civilized regions must literally be re-explored. This is … the Weirdling world of Jordoba!"

So once again I return to my first OSR love Sword & Sorcery with Matt Finch's World of Jordoba Player Guide which is done in the style of Seventies Marvel Conan or Sword & Sorcery comic book. This puts the reader in the product's mind set & campaign setting. While this is about as system neutral a product you can get the whole affair reminds me of Marvel's Guide To The Conan universe . The setting has the feel of a place about to come to the end of its act. There's a great deal of the Robert Howard or Clark Ashton Smith twilight's end of the world bit about World of Jordoba. The World of Jordoba Player Guide setting has the feel of a campaign setting on the last days as the setting bloated sun pulls the whole thing into the Abyss. The dungeon master gets just enough detail to set adventurers onto the path of glory;

"MandrAknow this, my fellow wanderer;The ancient civilizations around the wine-dark waters of the Sea of Khoramandu arepressed back to the very coasts. Do they not cling to the very coastlines against a tide of beasts and barbarians rising from the inland wilds?Even great kings upon their glittering thrones in the citystates lie awake of nights,knowing that civilization may be in its last days! Even the very fabric of the world is rent and frayed. Oh yes, There are places I know of where you can walk straight through into another world than this, another time than this, even into realms of shadow that lie behind the reality we see. Our world is parting at the seams,companion. The oracles know it. The great mages know it. Astrologers chart a path of ruin in the skies, and the wolves sing their triumph to the five moons. Listen well, for what I tell you is little known and seldom spoken of. We talk of Goodness and of evil, we speak of law and chaos. But these are just the conceits of human morality, the way we order our little, insignificant place in the universe so that we can understand it. In truth, however, there is a far larger conflict at work — the cosmic forces of Order, Balance,and Ruination. This battlemight mean little to you now, when your purse is shallow and your name means nothing.But as you claw your way forward in the world, forces and destinies begin to coalesce around you."

From here the World of Jordoba Player Guide setting book jumps into religion, city states, numerous locations, the gods, astrological information, etc.. The whole book feels like Matt Finch's campaign setting notes & that's not a bad thing. What your getting is a thumbnail setting done right. That is to say a whole campaign world in fifty pages that you can make your own. What really puts the world of Jordoba in a different place is how setting elements are used to draw the average Dungeons & Dragons or Swords & Wizardry PC in. The planar rifts element is used here ; Rifts are areas of planar instability; the interior of the rift could be occupied by a part of one of several different “worlds” at any given time. Most of Jordoba’s rifts have a native Jordoban interior that is the most common occupant of the rift. Passing through the border and back while the native Jordoban region is resident in the rift is no different from ordinary walking. However, the native Jordoban region will often be replaced by part of some other world: possibly switching places with that part of the other world, or perhaps sliding into one of the rift’s outlets in a third and entirely different world. The functioning of most largerifts is inconsistent: some astrologers can make good guesses about the drift of worlds through the rifts." This adventure campaign element allows the dungeon master to place the World of Jordoba 'where' & 'when' they want it. That's significant because it takes the pressure off of the dungeon master from ruining the flow of home brew campaign that's already in action. The cartography is by Glynn Seal, the cover artwork by Adrian Landeros & the whole Sword & Sorcery affair has Matt Finch's writing & design all over it. The dungeon master also is given a wide variety of factions, guilds, & brotherhoods to play with the PC's lives & use for adventure opportunity. They're well done & pretty solidly sketched out but not overly so. This same formula applies to the various locations around the setting such as; Mbalamad, City-State of mm-BAHLA-mahd Population (city): 60,000 Current Ruler: Her Eternal Divinity Ralaibala II, God-Queen of Mbalamad, Suzeraine of the Ghanzertes What people have heard:

  • Vast Moon-Temple
  • Sacred monkeys
  • Rich dyes and pottery glazes from Ghanzertes river clay.

Like I said the dungeon master is given just enough material to be able to customize Jorboda & make it their own for their home games. But what makes Jordoba is the idea of a multiveral cancer spreading across the world consuming the adventure setting as it goes.

"Jorboda is physically fraying into the depths of the oceanic multiverse. Ruination has spread across the world, and the civilizations of the Sea of Khoramandu are pushed back to the very coasts" This gives the dungeon master all kinds of lisence to get use old school adventures & OSR material at will. The World of Jordoba Player Guide's setting is solidly done & crams lots of ideas into fifty pages that many other OSR adventure settings take a very long time to do. So for example if a dungeon master wanted to run the classic Keep on the Borderlands in this setting. The keep & all of its kit could be a short ride away. The idea of keeping Greyhawk intact & allowing the PC's to cross into another campaign setting makes this a brilliant adventure addition. I can see using the World of Jordoba with other OSR game settings such as Astonishing Swordsmen & Sorcerers of Hyperborea. The planar rifts & feel of the campaign setting allows parties to make the cross over easily. The fact a myriad of OSR systems could be used to run the Jordora make this a prime candidate for Lamentations of the Flame Princess.The idea of expeditions from a dark historical Europe into a decaying dimensional Sword & Sorcery hellhole has all kinds of appeal as an adventure campaign. Are there certain things that I'd change about the World of Jordoba Player Guide? Yes right off the bat there's no print on demand option for Drivethrurpg. Secondly I'd love a large version of the map featured in the Player's Guide as a separate PDF and as another print on demand product.

Now the reason why this is a concern is the fact that this product uses planar rifts as possible adventure & campaign hooks. Players love to have actual maps & physical products to interact with. All in all I was really impressed with the way that Matt Finch managed to pack so many original ideas into fifty pages. I think that the World of Jordoba Player Guide is worth your time & money. Eric Fabiaschi Sword & Stitchery blog



Rating:
[4 of 5 Stars!]
World of Jordoba Player Guide
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Castles & Crusades Codex Slavorum
Publisher: Troll Lord Games
by Eric F. [Verified Purchaser]
Date Added: 10/22/2018 14:12:14

"Norv & Galv crawled along the guttural entrance to the former Roman temple, its gods long replaced by something much worse. 'Did you bring the torches?!', the voice quivered & it wasn't the rime cold or the slime under Galv's backside. Norv made his way to the ruin's gated remains which had been bent years before by something it hitting it from inside with great force. The candle light arched around the rusted remains & Norv held his hand up for silence. He took the ox oil from his pack & literally applied it but neither warrior saw the spent made from darkness as thick as a man's thigh crawl from right over their heads. The monster was another limb of the thing of darkness that lived in the ruins of the temple. The village chief would keep his half of the warriors bargain & his daughter. Norv's son would marry another & he would mourn his father. There were no time for screams & only the wet sucking sound of flesh then silence played in the aqueduct. But this was the price to pay whist messing in the darkness in the affairs of wizards & demons. ." There are a few OSR products & rpg products that use the Slav mythology & occult traditions as the basis for an rpg setting. The Codex Slavorum does exactly this & perhaps a bit more.

"The Codex Slavorum opens roads into the mythological realms of the ancient Slavs. Born in the shadow of Siberia their myths and magic, their gods, goddesses, monsters, heroes and legends offer an untouched wealth of material for your Castles & Crusades game.

New Classes! New spells! More monsters!

Bring the ancient Slavic worlds to life!"

I opted for the physical package & grabbed my order on Friday from the mail.The books are beautiful with the cover art striking with a Chrenobog demon being confronted by a Slavic wizard in the spirit realm. Drivethrurpg lists three books in the Mythos line for Castles & Crusades by Brian N. Young. Young presents the Slav spiritual & mythological world as easily accessible & fundamentally usable to the dungeon master ( no I'm not nor will I ever be a Castle Keeper, I'm a dungeon master as Gary Gygax & Dave Arneson were). I'm going to turn this book on its side because I'm planning on using this material in my campaigns. But I want you to see the quality of the layout & the black & white artwork.

Peter Bradley does a bang up job with his artwork. Opinions about the 'The Codex Slavorum' vary wildly from Amazon 3 star rating by Chrytal Cartwright . Then there is the five star rating on Good Reads by Winston Crutchfield.

Can't understand the hate nor the three star rating because I happen to be on the Crutchfield side of things. Here's why.

I'm really glad I spent the money to grab this book because the Slavic material is actually useful to me. Al of the OSR setting & campaign material is in the front of the book & the PC stuff is in the back with a solidly done index. Yes this book has an actual index enabling the reader to quickly access the section he or she needs. This layout is similar to the older Ars Magica rpg books. The quality of 'The Codex Slavorum' reminds me of those books. The setting here is pure Castles & Crusades Slavic world setting with a solid overview of both the Slavic/Russian 'real world' & the spiritual world. This includes a good array of monsters, spells, Gods, interactions, & low & behold a good damn solidly usable Slavic Shaman class! Growing up in a Polish neighborhood with Russians, Hungarians, & lots of Eastern Europeans the Slavic shaman & some of the mythical traditions of Eastern Europe make me twitchy with the traditional Dungeons & Dragons clerical classes. They don't mix well. In

The Codex Slavorum we finally get the mix of the Slavic myths & the spiritual realms with D&D style elements even though its Castles & Crusades. Volkhv & their ilk finally get their due & its well done. Among these folk your not going to find any flashy fireball wielders unless you want to get burnt at the stake. This is set during the 'Time of Legends ' & folks like Oleg are important NPC's. The artwork(not in the book btw) below illustrates the importance of the occult world against the world of man. There are some dark reasons for this. 'The Codex Slavorum' presents the all too real struggle of light vs darkness with the Slavic shades of blood red & dark mythic gore. This is an epic book & tool kit. Most folks think of the world of Slavic mythology being the world dragons, liches,a myriad of ghosts, spirits, etc. but its really the world of the vampire. The vampire of 'The Codex Slavorum' is not a monster to be taken lightly at all. This is a force of undeath at its worst & there is a PC vampire hunter class here to counter it. I have to say that there must be more then a few very dead vampire hunters. Sure they may be formidable but here the vampires are very dangerous indeed. These are the vampires of Slavic legend fueled by the gods of the underworld. Forget your cinematic vampires these are the horrors of legend & they make the vampires of "Flavenlost" look tame. The forces of darkness & horror are well represented in the ninety eight pages of the ' The Codex Slavorum'. But the forces of light have their due Eagle Knights, heroes of legend, the gods, Pagan priests, hunters of the supernatural, & more are also within these pages. The Slavic world of ' The Codex Slavorum' is a complex & dangerous world intertwined with the gods as well as native legendary knights. Mythic knights whose stories are as complex as any of the legends of Arthur & his band. There are as many versions of these stories as well all across the Slavic world. They have a very boiled down version of these knights that can be used as PC class. I was very pleased to see this. So what does all of this material in the ' The Codex Slavorum' mean for the Amazing Adventures dungeon master? Well many of the monsters & elements have been transcribed & filtered into The Amazing Adventures Manual of Monsters. This isn't a slight on Jason Vey's work but when you want to have a party of adventurers meet the forces of the Slavic underworld head on. There's nothing like having the original source book in your hands to pull from in order to do it.Sure there's Wiki entries & internet what not but when you want your OSR source book to pull from when constructing then your going to want the ' The Codex Slavorum'. I've already gotten the question of 'how can an Amazing Adventures rpg demon hunter class & the vampire PC class coexist. The answer is simple. The vampire which was transcribed over to the Amazing Adventures Manual of Monsters & the demons of Slavic lore are all under the umbrella of the gods of darkness. There is more then enough darkness across the planes for an army of demon hunters & vampire slayers besides the two classes work extremely well together. For the pulp/super hero gamer who wants a Slavic slant on their character's origins this is a must buy. Raiders & the like who are looking for far deeper depth on the artifacts & treasure that their going after this is the book that can give your PC's deeper grounds. Five out of five for me because of easy of use, utility, & a solid no BS approach to the Slavic mythology & material . Eric Fabiaschi Swords & Stitchery Want more original OSR content Please subscribe to https://swordsandstitchery.blogspot.com/



Rating:
[5 of 5 Stars!]
Castles & Crusades Codex Slavorum
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Castles & Crusades Codex Celtarum
Publisher: Troll Lord Games
by Eric F. [Verified Purchaser]
Date Added: 10/14/2018 12:01:54

"The Codex Celtarum contains a veritable host of gaming material. Built around the complete mythological cosmos of the Celts, in it you'll find new spells for your druid, cleric, and illusionist. New monsters, including mountains of fey. New magic items. For the very bold, there are new powers for your characters, allowing your characters to become fey! 190 new spells 90 gods and monsters from the Celtic mythos 150 powers for the fey monsters & characters (optional) The Druids." For the last two years I've been looking at the cover for Castles & Crusades Codex Celtarum & pretty much wrote it off as yet another "elf games" source book for Castles & Crusades. Every time a Troll Lords sale would come up I look & think maybe?? Two things have occurred that changed my mind. One I'm actually running a Seige Engine powered game. Two I've got players who are nuts about all things Celtic. So I contacted (stalked) Troll Lord Games about the Mythos Bundle for Castles & Crusades.

When they didn't contact me right away I went ahead & bought the entire line of physical books. I loath & hate pdfs but love books at the table. Over the years I've seen various hog pog incarnations of pieces of Celtic mythology in many editions of Original Dungeons & Dragons, Advanced Dungeons & Dragons, 3.0, OSR etc.

There is a lot of material to cover & this book tackles the subject head on & goes right into the meat & patatoes of the material. Is this a book for the player or the dungeon master? The answer is both. This book clocks in at about a hundred & seventy six pages of very well researched material. Castles & Crusades Codex Celtarum came out about five years ago & Troll Lords has expanded the Mythos line quite a bit. This is a book for the serious dungeon This book is for the dungeon master who wants to run an entire Castles & Crusades game within a mythological Celtic Iron age setting with Fey & all that goes with it. In one book you get all of the tools for doing this because your going to be placing all of those elements into the realm of the Fairy. This book was written by an academic who knows, eats, breathes, & lives his material. Castles & Crusades Codex Celtarum encompasses the entire experience of playing within & without in the realm of Fairy & Fey. This book boils down all of the classic elements of Celtic mythology & legend into an actual playable supplement for Castles & Crusades. It does with professionalism, class, & its very well written. Brain Young is an academic who really gets into his mythological gaming material with wit & solid writing. The layout is solid, the writing is easy to get through, the material sparks the dungeon master's imagination. But is Castles & Crusades Codex Celtarum

good for other Siege Engine products? Could this book be useful for say Amazing Adventures?!

The answer to this is yes! Much of the material here is straight up fantastic to adapt to a pulp setting & it easily lends itself to whole cloth idea. The Fey are legendary & very alien their own right. These are not weird Elves & lets play them, this is straight up epic mythological C&C material. This makes it unexpected & straight out of the box a surprise to player in a pulp game campaign. If you are going to use Castles & Crusades Codex Celtarum with Amazing Adventures what are you going to need?Much of this material has been filtered after a fashion & adapted to the Amazing Adventures Companion by its author Jason Vey. With 190 new spells 90 gods and monsters from the Celtic mythos 150 powers for the fey monsters & characters (optional) The Druids all of these C&C elements can be ported over easily into other Troll Lord products including Amazing Adventures! rpg. I can actually see using Castles & Crusades Codex Celtarum with the Victorious Rpg. Using Victorious or Amazing Adventures I can see a pulp investigative or heroic campaign using the Celtic mythological material as adventure fodder. The adventure elements within the Castles & Crusades Codex Celtarum are very fresh & well presented. The book packs a lot into its one hundred & seventy five pages. But is the book worth its price of admission into the Celtic world of the Fey & Fairy? In a word yes! I think that Castles & Crusades Codex Celtarum is not only a high quality book for Castles & Crusades but for any OSR or old school dungeon master. I give the Castles & Crusades Codex Celtarum a solid five out of five.

Eric Fabiaschi Swords & Stitcery Blog Want more original OSR & old school content? Subscribe to https://swordsandstitchery.blogspot.com/



Rating:
[5 of 5 Stars!]
Castles & Crusades Codex Celtarum
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Murder Knights of Corvendark
Publisher: MonkeyBlood Design
by Eric F. [Verified Purchaser]
Date Added: 10/12/2018 11:33:06

"No one knows from where they came. All feathers and spite. Their vile beaks spit angry screeches, and beneath their wing beats, acrid miasmas swirl.

Within the subterranean caverns beneath Wychington — on the shores of Lake Grimwater — a small part of a region from long ago, or maybe a time yet to pass, has come into existence. Malign and abhorrent half-men, half-crows inhabit this harrowing place. Standing menacingly, clad in the darkest armour, or on their pitch-black wings protected by lighter, piecemeal leather armour, they murder men and feast on their flesh. Strangely resentful of their barely-feathered gods, they despise other living creatures for taking their breaths.

This is Corvendark, and under the sign of an inverted, five-skulled star, the Murder Knights dwell. Since the coming of this otherworldly realm, the Grimwater Lake region has been plagued by the atrocities of the ‘harpies’ — as they have been incorrectly named — regularly raiding the surface lands. None have been ravaged more so than Wychington, a small town on the northern lake edge at the mouth of the Lesselling River.

It is now that heroes are needed. Who will destroy this menace, or send them back whence they came?"

So begins The Murder Knights of Corvendark From MonkeyBlood Design

& the product is full of full on maps! This is an adventure location module. But when I received the email I grabbed my comp copy from Drivethrurpg I was astounded at the number of location based maps & yes this does bloody well plug into the Midderlands setting. But not necessarily for all your OSR campaign needs & I was pleasantly surprised by this. The Murder Knights of Corvendark From MonkeyBlood Design is designed for use with Swords & Wizardry but can easily be adapted for use with OD&D. There are a lot of traditional Dungeons & Dragons elements within this adventure & that's a good thing. The fact is that many of today's OSR designers & writers try to reinvent the adventure formula. The Murder Knights of Corvendark doesn't do that. Instead it presents the adventure elements in such a way as to give the players & the dungeon master some time get through the adventure in challenging & engaging way. This adventure can be played over six or so sessions in my opinion but if the players are stupid they're going to die in glorious & gory ways.

The cartography is excellent & the writing is up to Midderlands standards. For the most part everything in the The Murder Knights of Corvendark clicks all of the right buttons. For adapting it to other OSR & old school campaigns. The Murder Knights of Corvendark could with some work be placed within Mystara or perhaps the lands of Greyhawk. Blackmoor might be a bit of a stretch but it would work.
The Midderlands campaign setting is where The Murder Knights of Corvendark

is going to work best. The tone & setting details picks everything in this adventure up with gusto & runs with it. I can hardly see using The Murder Knights of Corvendark with Lamentations of the Flame Princess or another dark Europe OSR setting. This adventure would suit Dark Albion & other Europe based OSR games. The theme of the Old Warhammer / White Dwarf old school adventure weirdness is certainly here in MonkeyBlood Design's efforts in The Murder Knights of Corvendark. Because this is a fifty page adventure location based adventure there's lots to do & events happening within the adventure itself. Sure there is a spooky theme here but its not flat hitting you over the head with itself. There is an investigative & solid way of dealing with players in the module's method. The adventure location areas are well fleshed out but not overwhelmingly so like other OSR adventures. The full theme runs well though out the text here & the dungeon master can & will have to run with certain adventure hooks. Overall I really liked The Murder Knights of Corvendark . I hope to see more adventure location based modules from MonkeyBlood Design crew. I'd give this a five out of five because of the above the cut quality efforts from the rest of the OSR crew. Eric Fabiaschi Sword & Stitchery Blog Want more exclusive OSR content? Subscribe to https://swordsandstitchery.blogspot.com/



Rating:
[5 of 5 Stars!]
Murder Knights of Corvendark
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Midderzine Issue 1
Publisher: MonkeyBlood Design
by Eric F. [Verified Purchaser]
Date Added: 09/15/2018 15:42:35

Glynn Seal of Monkey Blood design has been quietly building his Midderland setting empire with product across the board for old school & OSR games. The Midderlands setting is a dark fantasy England on acid filtered through the warped imagination of early White Dwarf magazine fans wrapped around a Swords & Wizardry rpg core rules set. This brings me to issue #1 of The Midderzine from Glynn Seal & the Monkey Blood crew. So what's in this issue & why is the Midderzine important to OSR fans?! Well here's what's in the zine; "an interview with Jim Magnusson, 'news' from The Haven Gazette, 3 Hex Locations, The Village of Stonecastle, The Eyeless Harrowers cult, two new NPCs, three new monsters, a new class - Crowmaster, two new spells, five new oddities, four new flora and fauna." Even if you haven't gotten the Midderlands setting or the Midderlands Expanded book this has some very interesting fiddly bits & pieces that can be applied to bring the Midderlands to your gaming world. For example 'news' from The Haven Gazette are adventure seeds & hooks to get the PC's involved with the locals of this region. But here the adventure hooks pull the PC's in for example the local leper knights have a new expansion; The Leper Knights of Saint Corrobin in Helm’s Ford "In Helm’s Ford last week, the growing group known as the Leper Knights ofSaint Corrobin were granted rights to erect a monastery on the outskirts of the‘Without’ part of town. Many of the townsfolk are unhappy about the close proximity to the disfigured andcontagious outcasts, but Lord Porc Turmeric has confirmed that they are part of a defensive strategy for the town and anyone who obstructs the rights afforded to them will be dealt with harshly." What happens when some of the locals hire the PC's to help clean out some 'undesirables' from the village?! This is only one of the many examples that are woven throughout the Midderzine. The big selling point of the Midderlands is the Gloomuim - A green magick glowing stone like substance that is in fact concentrated magical chaos that can mutate things, be used for magical items, to power spells, mutate animals & flora into monsters,etc. & it permeates every aspect of this dark fantasy England. The 11 adventure seeds & hooks all tie directly back into the settings & the locals making it very dangerous for PCs! Next we get three new hex locations & all that entail these seem like they came straight out of an early issue of White Dwarf but they have the unique Midderlands spin to them. That is to say they might be based on some possible real world historical location or other. But these locations always have that green laced weirdness factor that makes the Midderlands unique. We get the 'Plinth of Dullen Fields' with its own take on the possessed royals bit; 'It is said that a witch hexed the oldLord of Shroomsbury, and he became possessed by a devil. Staffleford had acted to prevent the malignancy from spreading. However, the Lord of Shroomsbury also believed the same about the Lord of Staffleford, and had acted in the same manner.' And there's some room here for the dungeon master to really go to town on what else its connected to in their own version of the Midderlands. 'The Ruins of The Cock &Pocket Inn' might be the enterance to a dungeon or underground green hued ruin or something far more sinister. Then there's 'Ratdog Tor' & its deep connection to the twisted monstrosities of the Midderlands. I don't want to go into too much detail here but you get the idea.

Then we get the village of Stonecastle," The village of Stonecastle is ruled over by the Fellchurch family, and the current ruler is Sir Uriah Fellchurch (see The Midderlands Expanded page 182). Sir Fellchurch treats the villagers well, and they respect him." And we get a whole village setting for the asking where adventurers might actually have a quiet time of it. Well, of course they won't be cause there's more brewing under the surface. Speaking of brewing we get a brand new cult of eyeless ale brewers known as 'The Eyeless Harrowers' whose ales grace the local taverns throughout the region. These incredibly evocative NPC's have some far more things happening under the tap then you might think & might also be NPC patrons rather then foes!? Two mid teir NPC's are next who come with their own adventure hooks build in;"Edmund Fester travels the Western Midderlands with his fellow adventurers; the human thief, Vex Vandel. Then there's this information broker whose not the usual sort; 'Corlin Lackcraw is in the discrete service of Sir Uriah Fellchurch. He dispatches Corlin around the lands to see what the crows are saying, and feedback any information that may be of use to Stonecastle.' We've got three new monsters from 'the Midderlands' including Gloomrats who are absolutely nasty bastards! 'Catviles are large cats devoid of fur, instead being covered allover with loose, dark, light absorbing skin. ', which I personally want a Catvile as a pet! This takes me into the demonic 'Devil Goat' & I've seen a couple of different versions of a monster called a 'Devil goat' but this is a disembodied demonic goat head with tentacles & a passion for evil! These things are really nasty & even seasoned adventurers are going to have problems! Then we are presented with a brand new class known as the Crowmaster! These are men & women who spend years out on the moors & forests listening to the language of Corvids! This folks know all of the gossip & spinets of rumors & information that these birds collect. They advance up in levels & have very tight relationships with these birds. Imagining royals having spy net works of crows, jays, etc. throughout their kingdoms! Well don't imagine it because that's the sort of weirdness of the Midderlands. We then get two new spells 'covered in shit' & 'bag of crap' which is both pretty great. The covered in shit spell is a second level spell & does exactly what it sounds like. The second spell allows a magic user, druid, or cleric to reach into a leather bag & pull out a useful item or maybe not. The random tables of the Midderlands expanded book has the dungeon master covered but I'd make my own. Its an amusing second level spell for the players. Finally we get bunch of new Midderlands oddities which are solid magic items strongly connected with the Midderlands setting itself. All in all we get a solid setting fanzine that has been set up by the Monkey Blood design crew & Glynn Seal to act as both fan support & as a solid way of continuing the expanding setting of the Midderlands. That being said I think that it could be be bought by an OSR gamer to really get a good foot hold into the Midderland's setting to really get a feel for it's green laiden weirdness! I'd actually say its a four out of five for its utility & usefulness as a game supplement even if you don't own a single Midderlands book!

Eric Fabiaschi Sword & Stitchery Blog Want more reviews & OSR content then subscribe to https://swordsandstitchery.blogspot.com/



Rating:
[5 of 5 Stars!]
Midderzine Issue 1
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The Return Of The Blue Baron (A Collaborative Dungeon For Blueholme)
Publisher: 3 Toadstools
by Eric F. [Verified Purchaser]
Date Added: 08/21/2018 12:53:37

"It is with heavy heart that I confirm the rumors which you must have heard by now. My husband, Lord Gavanov Keiner, 23rd Baron Keiner, known to many as the Blue Baron, is no more.

Yet hope remains in the words of his final command, a rather unique funeral arrangement. The Blue Baron dares all brave and adventurous souls who would risk death in trade for fame and glory to come forthwith to Einhornstadt, arriving no later than three days before moonrise.

My Lord Baron calls on you from beyond the grave. Ignore him at your loss and peril.

Expectantly,

Maria Keiner"

So begins the savage introduction into The Return Of The Blue Baron (A Collaborative Dungeon For Blueholme) From 3 Toadstools.

This is basically a free mid level adventure which is actually an advertisement for the Blueholmes retroclone system but don't let that fool you. The Return of the Blue Baron has some really interesting twists & turns to it. Clocking in at seventy five pages this dungeon adventure serves as a weird mid level testing ground for adventurers. Here's what this actually means in overall play at the table top.

The tricks & traps are original on the whole the adventure breaks down as follows:

2 Levels - A short & sweet way of doing a dungeon with several nights of actual play & that's not a bad thing because it gives the dungeon master & players a good run of sessions without bogging adventure events & combat.

46 Rooms - The descriptions of the rooms break down into a well rounded experience for the players with the challenges being well thought out. Balance is well OSR balance so its an interesting mix.

New Creatures - There are some 'Weird Tales' style creatures that can be ported over to a number of other adventures to keep the campaign flow going. There are some solidly done creatures.

New Artifacts & Magic Items - The artifacts are solidly done but some of the magic items will have to be weighted by the DM on a case by case basis for their over all campaigns. Make sure these items fit your home game style.

The cartography is decent & serves the adventure's style very well. The over all flow of the maps serves to heighten the feel of the adventure.

The Return Of The Blue Baron could be used as a mid point adventure for any number of old school Dungeons & Dragons editions including Advanced Dungeons & Dragons first edition. This adventure is ideally suited for Labryth Lord or Lamentations of the Flame Princess with the Blue Baron's holdings being put on the outer edges of the British Empire in Europe.

For a Sword & Sorcery game such as Astonishing Swordsmen & Sorcerers of Hyperobrea the Blue Baron's holdings should be placed near the Hyperborean capital within about 100 miles or so.

So now that I'm no longer on the OSR product merry go round & not the latest flavor of OSR blogging marketing hotness I'm pretty much free to pick & choose the best adventures out there in the rpg wilds. This of course is subject to my opinion & as such the mileage may vary. I've had very good luck with Three Toad Stool products in the past & The Return Of The Blue Baron (A Collaborative Dungeon For Blueholme) From 3 Toadstools looks to be a blast to run.

I'll let you folks know because I'll actually be running this adventure in the Fall. Eric Fabiaschi Swords & Stitchery Blog

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Rating:
[4 of 5 Stars!]
The Return Of The Blue Baron (A Collaborative Dungeon For Blueholme)
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Creator Reply:
Thank you very much for the review Eric, We appreciate it. Looking forward to hearing about your player's exploits in this adventure!
The Bloodsoaked Boudoir of Velkis the Vile
Publisher: Nick LS Whelan
by Eric F. [Verified Purchaser]
Date Added: 08/12/2018 22:05:57

I was doing some research for a short, brief, but solid adventure today after work. After getting the usual beer & OSR local town chatter at my favorite watering hold. I was surprised that Nick LS Whelan's The Bloodsoaked Boudoir of Velkis the Vile adventure slipped right past my radar. Damn it this is actually a solid & very well constructed ten page dungeon. Anyone that really knows me knows that I love liches & undead of all types. Velkis isn't the usual lich however & comes across as your favorite uncle or the friendly old man whose a bit nuts next door. If next door happens to be a small pocket universe with a number of weird secrets. Tightly written adventure doesn't do this module justice & the brand of vile weirdness going on here is very dangerous to a party of inexperienced adventurers. Velkis could become a major NPC power in the course of a campaign & he's got a lot to offer in such a small package. Don't turn your back on him for an instant because he's got a lot to offer the dungeon master willing to put in some time with reading between the lines of the NPC. The cartography is good in this module but the rooms & the tricks & traps are better.

There's advise on running Velkis & using him effectively, surprisingly its actually good advise & with a bit of work on the dungeon master's part this could become a down right dangerous semi immortal NPC. He's the kind of villain that would fit perfectly into any Lamentations of the Flame Princess game, a Weird Tales themed campaign or even a Sword & Sorcery game. The thing is that he's surprisingly effective for a first through third level challenge. He's effective, dangerous, down right insane, & the kind of villain that if done right will have the players talking for years or he'll be stalking their PC's for years to come. This adventure is effectively a monster lair as adventure location with lots of hooks, bells, & highly dangerous whistles. Played right & this adventure could have player's PC's playing or dying to Velkis's tune. He's had some of the angles of immortality figured out before he went completely & utterly insane. There's lots of indications of his power through the various treasures & objects d'art within his pocket dimension. Make sure to have a few PC's on hand though because Velkis has the power potential to end a multitude of PC's lives. He's a very serial like murderer going about his business because he has to. He knows what he is & the most effective way to deal with PC's. All in all I was really happy to find this adventure & have it shoved my way with a beer or two. Velkis is a perfect sort of monster to drop into any number of OSR settings. I can see him as being a great fit for Astonishing Swordsmen & Sorcerers of Hyperborea second edition. He's a hold over from another era. He's got great potential for a setting such as Greyhawk or even Blackmoor or the Wilderlands of High Fantasy. I can also see using this complete adventure as a funnel for Dungeon Crawl Classics or even as a side quest for an on going campaign of Lamentations of the Flame Princess's Europe. This is not surprising considering that this adventure was specifically created for that system. The Bloodsoaked Boudoir of Velkis the Vile adventure could be used as a starting point for any of the B/X Dungeons & Dragons systems. Mystara could actually support the module for there are fare number of Gothic horror themed places within that old school setting. I give this one a five out of five for simple, effective design, a tightly constructed adventure, & a fantastic NPC worthy of your attention as a dungeon master.

Eric Fabiaschi Sword & Stitchery blog Want to see more original OSR content? Subscribe to http://swordsandstitchery.blogspot.com



Rating:
[5 of 5 Stars!]
The Bloodsoaked Boudoir of Velkis the Vile
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Adventure Writing Like A Fucking Boss II
Publisher: Kort'thalis Publishing
by Eric F. [Verified Purchaser]
Date Added: 04/28/2018 01:04:37

"This is the much-anticipated sequel to best seller Adventure Writing Like A Fucking Boss. Part II has even more advice for the amateur and professional author - secrets which only a select few are even aware. Or maybe it just seems that way because I keep seeing the same mistakes over and over and over again. " this book to go on an actual adventure not a book about adventure publishing! Sorry, I had to get that off my chest folks. The cover art by Lucas Graciano is very well done but has little to do with the contents of Adventure Writing Like A Fucking Boss II. The interior art by Bojan Sucevic & David Miller range from decent to sheer Lovecraftian but mostly seem to match the cover in a Sword & Sorcery motif. The artwork is good & solid reflecting the author's vision. This book focuses on many of the author's own experiences in the rpg publishing industry from behind the keyboard. Venger has written it in a no nonsense style that hits the high notes & some of the low notes of the behind the industry stuff. The author takes his experiences in stereo style instruction to rpg & adventure design that takes a step by step process approach. On the whole its a very straight forward book that has Venger's usual wit & weirdness throw in without a constant running bit of sleaze. Sure there's some T&A after all this is Venger but this is one of his more down to Earth books and that doesn't mean boring. The artwork & layout here is solid and well done by Glynn Seal of MonkeyBlood Design. The advise here is well rounded and I have to mention Venger's stance on rail roading in adventures; "If you can apply any of the following to something you've written, take it behind the woodshed and shoot it between the eyes. A The PCs have to do… A The PCs can't rescue… A The PCs always fail at… A The PCs never… A There's no way the PCs can… A The PCs will… Sure, there are exceptions to the rule. For instance, "the PCs have to offer the bounty hunters a substantial reward if they want to hire them for this job." That's fine because "hire" is specific, but not the only way to get things done. Maybe a PC tries to seduce one of the bounty hunters or blackmails him into tracking down their prey. However, if you write "the PCs have to get into a fight with the bounty hunters in order for them to get captured by Ambassador Kehaan," that's just wrong."

All too often I've seen this exact sort of theme that runs through many old school & even modern OSR products. Don't rail road because its only going to harm the product & Venger continues with this approach. The book is simple & directly down to Earth without being preachy that was one of the short falls I found in many White Wolf products. This one avoids the preachy & pretentious voice. In other words the book does a good job of laying out its voices for writing, publishing, & advise without talking down to its audience. For years I've been telling Venger that he's a good writer & he doesn't need the sleaze gimmick to engage his reading audience. Adventure Writing Like A Fucking Boss II proves that fact in spades & lays the gauntlet on the table for writing more books of this quality. But is Adventure Writing Like A Fucking Boss II a good book? Well, yes for the person whose looking to get into the garage band end of table top rpg's such as the OSR scene.

Are there problems with Adventure Writing Like A Fucking Boss II? Well yes & no, because their small but the book in some ways states the obvious but then if your experienced with small time rpg table top publishing why are you reading Adventure Writing Like A Fucking Boss II?

This book takes the beginning author & walks him or her through the entire behind the scenes aspects of rpg publishing from inception to completion in only twenty four pages with the author's insights, commentary, & humor take on the rpg business. Its actually a pretty solid read for a book with more then slightly ridiculous title. Here everyone needs a hook to grab the buyer's attention and its held. The book's title assures that die hard Venger Satanis fans will be grabbing this book. I'd give this one a four out of five. Grab Adventure Writing Like A Fucking Boss II if you want a no holds bar tour of the rpg publishing world with out breaking the bank!

Eric Fabiaschi Sword & Stitchery blog Want More Original OSR Content? Then subscribe to https://swordsandstitchery.blogspot.com/



Rating:
[4 of 5 Stars!]
Adventure Writing Like A Fucking Boss II
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Battle Star: Trek Wars
Publisher: Kort'thalis Publishing
by Eric F. [Verified Purchaser]
Date Added: 04/19/2018 12:20:31

So this might be Venger Satanis's last run down the old space brothel ways of the Alpha Blue rpg according to the intro into Battle Star Trilogy: Trek Wars.

I'm really sorry to see this development. The OSR needs more independent designers. But what is Battle Star Trilogy: Trek Wars? "Three sleazy scenarios for the Alpha Blue RPG. Plus, a huge, color map of the Ta'andor Galaxy with die-drop event/encounter tables." This book clocks in at seventy six pages of rules, four sleazy scenarios, a fantastic color map of the Ta'andor Galaxy by Glynn Seal of Monkey Blood Design. All of the sleazy adventures center around the space brothel Alpha Blue with lots & lots of random tables from cosmic orgasms to full blown encounters. This is not a game supplement to take seriously at all, the level of humor is that of perv R rated space sex comedies from back in the Eighties. The sort of Up All Night space romp movies that used to be on late night cable & this book plugs right into that. The text, layout, etc is all up to the usual Kort'thalis Publishing standards. The artwork is good for the product & portrays the sleazy vibe that Venger is going for. If your not into the type of space opera comedy that Venger does then this book isn't for you. Could Battle Star Trilogy: Trek Wars be used for other OSR space opera style games? In a word yes if the players don't take their role playing seriously. The scenarios are clever & sophomoric in their content but the adventure ideas have some great potential for a space based campaign. There's some great rules & ideas if your an Alpha Blue dungeon master. Battle Star Trilogy: Trek Wars plays out as it should a sleazy & well written groupings of rules & adventures for the Alpha Blue rpg system. The Battle Star Trilogy: Trek Wars

book is solidly done for the Alpha Blue rpg system & it would take quite a bit of shoe horning to get it to work with other OSR systems. Is Battle Star Trilogy: Trek Wars well done? Yes but is it for everyone? No unless their looking for the sort of space sleaze that Battle Star Trilogy: Trek Wars is offering.

Eric Fabiaschi Swords & Stitchery Blog Want more OSR original content then subscribe to https://swordsandstitchery.blogspot.com/



Rating:
[5 of 5 Stars!]
Battle Star: Trek Wars
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Heroic Fantasy Handbook
Publisher: Autarch
by Eric F. [Verified Purchaser]
Date Added: 04/17/2018 19:40:39

Sometimes its not the genre but the way that a book presents the material. In this case The Heroic Fantasy Handbook From Autarch tries its best to heal a nagging ulcer that has existed in the table top role playing game fantasy book fandom since the early days. That is the divide between the fans of High fantasy vs Low fantasy. There's also a similar divide between modern Dark Fantasy fans & pure pulp magazine fans. The sub divisions of hobbies & fandom also spills over in to Sword & Planet vs Heroic Fantasy books & so forth. All of this B.S. spilled over into the Appendix N of Advanced Dungeons & Dragons in the first edition AD&D Dungeon Master's Guide back in '79. Basically its a way for others to turn their nose up at other people who are using the themes, ideas,etc. of any of the above to play adventures, campaigns, & games where the themes & elements of High Fantasy, Low Fantasy, Sword & Planet, Dark Fantasy, Pulp are used & mixed with gusto! Others haven't been playing their own campaigns 'the right way'. Personally I think all of these definitions & divisions are manure! The Heroic Fantasy Handbook From Autarch takes the ideals of all of the above & boils them into a stew that focuses the lens of Heroic Fantasy in a set of actually playable & usable guidelines for the Adventurers, Conqueror, King retroclone system.

How does "The Heroic Fantasy Handbook" do this? Well, let's look at the actual definition of Heroic Fantasy from L. Sprague de Camp's introduction to the 1967 Ace edition of Conan (Robert E. Howard), p. 13.

""Heroic fantasy" is the name I have given to a subgenre of fiction, otherwise called the "sword-and-sorcery" story. It is a story of action and adventure laid in a more or less imaginary world, where magic works and where modern science and technology have not yet been discovered. The setting may (as in the Conan stories) be this Earth as it is conceived to have been long ago, or as it will be in the remote future, or it may be another planet or another dimension. Such a story conbines [sic] the color and dash of the historical costume romance with the atavistic supernatural thrills of the weird, occult, or ghost story. When well done, it provides the purest fun of fiction of any kind. It is escape fiction wherein one escapes clear out of the real world into one where all men are strong, all women beautiful, all life adventurous, and all problems simple, and nobody even mentions the income tax or the dropout problem or socialized medicine."

"The Heroic Fantasy Handbook" does this by giving the players options that are patterned after the stories, novels, etc. of the subgenre itself while keeping the basics patterns & ideas that are found in the ACK's handbook in tact whist adding a set of 16 new character classes inspired by the archetypes of material. This isn't a quick coat of paint & bunch of OGL revamps but a loving & well thought out inspiration of material. "The Heroic Fantasy Handbook" is well laid out & easy on the eye with a professional care toward its magick systems & PC options. This is a two hundred & twenty four page monster of a book with magics that reflect & heighten the ideals of the material presented in the the Adventurers, Conqueror, King retroclone system. The eldritch magic system is a marriage of the magicks of Conan's Mythos with the temptations of hinted at in C.S. Lewis's Lion, The Witch, & the Wardrobe along side the weirdness of Tolkien. And all of this echos back to the world of ACK's.

The ceremonial magicks of "The Heroic Fantasy Handbook" give the magician a far more reaching & subtle mechanism for game play enabling players to give a heavy hand during play on monsters, rulers, and other enemies. This magick turns the wizard in question into a power to be reckoned with not only in life but in economics & during adventures. There's more weirdness here with the implementation of spellsinging which is directly related to ACK's elves & it works to give the Elven enchanters more arcane muscle which they sorely need. There are over a hundred & fifty five spells here & this doesn't mean that "The Heroic Fantasy Handbook" is another padded 'splat book'. "The Heroic Fantasy Handbook" is designed as an add on book for characters looking to be flesh out for play in a more complete campaign setting. There's lots of options here and all of them are actually usable. This isn't a bull crap book trying to take your money. This is a book for adding more dimension to your ACK's characters & NPC's. This book is as much for the dungeon master as its for the players. Was the "The Heroic Fantasy Handbook" worth the wait? Yes it was! This is a five out of five book and no I'm not kidding. This is the book that I wish I had when I started my ACK's & OSR campaigns. Why because it works at what it does and that's kick ass & take names! Why do I say this? Because if you want to run a down & dirty campaign with all of the elements of ACK's Sword & Sorcery mixed with a healthy dose of Tolkein then this is the book for you! If you want to run a straight up balls to the walls Sword & Planet campaign then your going to want the ACK's rule book & Barbarian Conquerors of Kanahu. But you'll want "The Heroic Fantasy Handbook"to bring the thunder & lightning to the whole campaign affair. While not necessary the ACKS Player's Companionhas several kick ass NPC options that can still kick the crap out the player's PC's such as the Anti paladin, dwarven fury, & a few others to put those Heroic types down! Sorry but I'm going to give the "The Heroic Fantasy Handbook" a five out of five because its just that good!

Eric Fabiaschi Swords & Stitchery Want more OSR original content & more for this and other OSR games? Subscribe now to https://swordsandstitchery.blogspot.com/



Rating:
[5 of 5 Stars!]
Heroic Fantasy Handbook
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Barbarian Conquerors of Kanahu
Publisher: Autarch
by Eric F. [Verified Purchaser]
Date Added: 04/11/2018 17:53:35

Over the course of a couple of days I've been doing a lot of hard thinking about old school systems & Pulp Era campaigns. I've also been doing revamps & rewrites on much of the current Pulp Era campaign. To that end I began to look into Barbarian Conquerors of Kanahu . This book is right in my wheel house leaning close to the edge of both Sword & Planet with a huge foot hold in the Sword & Sorcery end of the prehistoric ocean. Alexander Macris & Omer Joel,are no strangers to the science fantasy genre & this book proves it. So what is the book & setting like? Well imagine if the creators of Buck Rogers & Flash Gordon got together with H.P. Lovecraft & Robert Howard to create an episode of Seventies Battle Star Galactica set on a lost planet. This planet would be Kanahu. Forget Eternia, Kanahu is a place where He Man or Thundarr would feel right at home. The world of Kanahu used to be a Grey outpost work & there is a lot of their artifacts still hanging around because human slaves were toiling away & mining the planet for valuable materials. The Greys are on the wane but the alien slave races including humans are on their way back! You've seen this plot & what not a thousand times but this is Bak baby! Swords & barbarians are everywhere. Whole setting is geared for gonzo Eighties action! And the Greys are still taking slaves for the mines so your old school characters better watch out. The world of Kanahu has lots of racial classes suited for the setting that deal the players into the vibe & science fantasy groove of Kanahu setting. "A set of 15 new character classes from the world of Kanahu, including the scurrying roach-like bugman, the dreaded cultist, the inhuman deep one hybrid, the mighty dragon incarnate, the stealthy geckoman stalker, the savagely sorcerous lizardman witch-doctor, and the mysterious alien Nephil. " There are these & more with lizard men & insect bugmen taking center stage as the former servants of the Serpent men & Greys respectively. Kanahu is a world in deep trouble with the forces of Chaos having raged across it in ages past and now the science fantasy races are having to deal with centuries of fallout. Robots, cybernetic horrors, and worse lay in wait for players whilst worse Lovecraftian horrors from across the Outer Darkness crawls up from the depths of the planet once held in check by the Greys. This is a world where dungeon dwellers & ruin seekers are going to feel right at home & the consequences can be devastating to the players. The world of Kanahu has plasma weaponry in its artifact tables and their rather nasty. The writing is excellent as well as the layout & formatting which is easy on the eyes. There is a lot going on in Barbarian Conquerors of Kanahu meaning that much of the science fantasy setting material adapts itself to both Sword & Sorcery as well as Science Fantasy role playing. The theme running through Barbarian Conquerors of Kanahu is one of both tool kit & planetary sandbox. There are lots of options presented & placed on the table here. These themes are packed & paced into the book which complements & expands upon what's been presented in the Heroic Fantasy Handbook. While its not necessary to have the ACK's the Heroic Fantasy Handbook on hand I can see why the dungeon master & players would want it on hand. The ideas present in the book are highlighted with skill packages,proficiencies ,and other PC kits geared around through out the whole affair of Barbarian Conquerors of Kanahu. This adds into the sandbox nature of Kanahu as a setting for PC's to explore & get lost in on their way to getting killed in one of the planet's innumerable dungeons.
So let's talk about the expansions of ACK's with new takes on existing monsters such as the nasty versions of shambling mounds, terror birds, even the humble toadmen get a Lovecraft make over and its not a pretty one. These monsters all have ties to a variation of Lovecraftian Chaos & its something that PC's should avoid at all costs. This ties back into the revamp of the spells of Kanahu whose magick had a hand in the downfall of the planet. Seriously, there are some nasty business in these spells that you don't want PC's using. All together I'm rather pleased on the whole with the magic section because it really captures the flavor of what the writers & designers were going for. But how does one use Barbarian Conquerors of Kanahu? This is the exact sort of setting book/science fantasy tool kit that I wish I had some months ago. For OSR science fantasy OSR games this is a God sent, no really. Take out the science fantasy planetary sandbox setting with lots of detail and your left with a tool kit perfectly suited for creating all kinds of extra solar system goodness. There are numerous hooks, tags & adventure fodder for doing exactly that built right into the back bone of Barbarian Conquerors of Kanahu. There's already enough maps, ruins, etc. in the book to keep a group of players going for at least a year or more. But with a bit of clever slight of hand a DM could keep a group of players in his or her own setting going for years! I give Barbarian Conquerors of Kanahu a five out of five for a really well thought out system and ACK's base for creating & maintaining a Sword & Planet, Sword & Sorcery or Dark Fantasy campaign. In my opinion grab this one! Eric Fabiaschi Sword & Stitchery blog Want more OSR content & original old school gaming stuff? Subscribe to http://swordsandstitchery.blogspot.com/



Rating:
[5 of 5 Stars!]
Barbarian Conquerors of Kanahu
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