Tuesday, December 6, 2022

Mail Call: Melissa Belladonna Mini

A quick one while I work on dinner. It is still Tuesday, right?

One of the things I do love about the new crop of D&D players is how much they love their characters and the lengths some will go to show that love.  I have shared my enjoyment of Ginny Di and her Aisling, so today, I want to introduce you to Melissa Belladonna. Well, more to the point, her 25mm version.

Tiefling Melissa Belladonna


Tiefling Melissa Belladonna
Tiefling Melissa Belladonna

Yeah, I can get a Tiefling mini cheaper locally, but that is not the point. The point is this is something fun.

You can get yours from Only-Games.co and they also allow you to set up your own store front and sell your own minis if you like.  I thought about it, but I really don't have the skills to make minis.

Though a little Larina to go along with Melissa would be fun.

Melissa and Larina


The Acrobatic Flea for Amazing Adventures

I had so much fun doing the write-up for Tim Knight's Acrobatic Flea a couple of weeks ago for NIGHT SHIFT I thought, why not give it a try for Amazing Adventures too!

NIGHT SHIFT's Flea (dubbed Earth-NS) is a non-powered gritty street-level hero fighting the forces of darkness while working for Weirdly World News.  The Flea of Amazing Adventures is a powered hero with more emphasis on two-fisted action as behooves Amazing Adventures' own origin as a Pulp game and now itself a multiversal game.

The Amazing Adventures of the Acrobatic Flea

The Amazing Adventures of the Acrobatic Flea

Sean Edward Ridire grew up reading comics about his favorite pulp action heroes; Tennessee O'Malley, Mackie Gleeson, Marie Laveau, the adventures only known as "The Fox" and Brotherhood of William St. John. Then to his surprise and joy, at age 14, his own mutant powers developed. He became superhumanly strong, could leap several meters into the air and land safely, and could climb any surface.  At 21 he moved to Knight's End to take a job as a reporter at a local TV News network. During the day he covers the news, reporting on traffic, human interest stories, and other bottom-tier assignments. But he also patrols the city as the Acrobatic Flea stopping what crime he can.

In his short time he has teamed up with other heroes such as the demon hunter known as The Paladin and the mysterious Witch Queen to fight spider mutants and defeat the evil Refrigerator. But the strangest encounter of all was meeting his own counterpart from another, darker Earth!

What adventures will the Flea have next? Only time will tell, but they will be Amazing!

The Acrobatic Flea

3rd Level Powered / 1 level Hard to Kill
Race: Human (Mutant)

Strength: 22 (+4) P
Dexterity: 20 (+4) P
Constitution: 14 (+1) 
Intelligence: 14 (+1) 
Wisdom: 16 (+2) P
Charisma: 16 (+2)

Hit Points: 25
Alignment: Lawful Good
AC: 16
BtH: +2
Power Points: 12

Sanity (SAN): 80 (Max), 80 (Current)

Fate Points: 6
Fate Die: 1d6

Languages: English (native language), French
Background: Reporter
Skills: Knowledge (Popular Culture)
Traits: Quick (Move +10, +1 to initiative)

Powers

True Strike, Jump, Spider Climb (2), Enhanced Strength +8, Enhanced Dexterity +4, cell phone (burner) 

Gear

Night vision goggles (gift from the Flea of Earth NS), costume (AC 6).

Remember, these are the final hours of the Amazing Adventures Multi-Genre RPG crowdsourcing campaign.

Amazing Adventures Multi-Genre RPG

https://www.indiegogo.com/projects/amazing-adventures-multi-genre-rpg#/

Monday, December 5, 2022

Monstrous Monday: OSE and 5e books and Gruß vom Krampus

Quick one today. Feeling a bit under the weather still.

Last week I got my Folklore Bestiary from the Merry Mushmen Kickstarter.  

A Folklore Bestiary

The books are really nice and I got the Old-School Essentials and 5e D&D versions.

They compare very well to the the earlier Twilight Fables monster books for OSR and 5e I have that kickstarted around the same time.

Fabled Monsters

Both sets cover similar ground but have different approaches to what they are doing. So all four have a home now on my shelves and game table. I discussed their similarities and differences in regard to a monster I also did (but not the only one we all share) the Basajaun.

The Basajaun

OSR/OSE versions for me, 5e versions for my kids.  It all works out great.  For me a monster book should come in 5e and OSR flavors from now on.  Or like Frog God Games is doing now in their Terrible Yule Cat with 5e, OSE and Castles & Crusades.

OSE sized too!

Gruß vom Krampus!

Greeting from Krampus!

I have a new project I am working on, something that is actually ready now, but I want to wait to get it out since it will be a big part of my 2023 Year of Monsters.

Here is a sneak peek at my new Monstrous Maleficarum.

Krampus Layout

This is not a replacement for my Basic Bestiary. It is designed to complement it and to serve a different audience.  Basic Bestiary is for the Old-School crowd and Monstrous Maleficarum is for fans of 5th edition. There will be overlap in the monsters, but each will be designed to serve what their respective audiences will like the most. The two projects will have very different looks and feel. 

Both the Basic Bestiary and Monstrous Maleficarum grew out my Monstrous Mondays, but also out of my One Man's God and certainly out of all my books and readings about Witches and Witchcraft.

Also, all profits from Monstrous Maledicarum will go to buy more art for Basic Bestiary.

I have a lot to do over Christmas break (ah...the life of an academic), so I better get on it.

Friday, December 2, 2022

Kickstart Your Weekend: Amazing Adventures

Feeling a bit under the weather this week. Likely a cold, have not had one of those in years.

But that is fine because I want to repost this one since we are hitting the last few days here.

Amazing Adventures Multi-Genre RPG

Amazing Adventures Multi-Genre RPG

https://www.indiegogo.com/projects/amazing-adventures-multi-genre-rpg#/

I have talked a lot about Amazing Adventures here and elsewhere. It is a Modern multi-genre RPG that uses the same Siege Engine as Castles & Crusades.  This is a new printing that reorganizes the material and has it cleaves a bit closer to the Castles & Crusades printings.

I am rather fond of this game ever since its first printing.  This new printing combines the Core book with the Companion, cleans up some rules, and reorganizes everything.  The CK guide for this will be greatly expanded.

I find the rules cover just about anything I want to be honest. For example, I have done a number of monsters for it:

And characters:

So a very comprehensive game to be honest. I'd love to see this go past the $16,000 mark.

Wednesday, November 30, 2022

Class Struggles: The Necromancer, Part 2

The Necromancer
I have not done a Class Struggles in a bit. Let's change that today.

The Necromancer is fertile ground for gamers.  I featured the Necromancer as one of the first Class Struggles.  There is still more to be said. Also in the last few months, I have bought at least three new necromancers. So lets see what we have.

Dragon #76 The Death Master
I spoke a lot about this one when I covered Dragon #76 in This Old Dragon and in my original Class Struggles. It really is the model I follow when creating an evil necromancer type though Len's here was a bit of an arcane necromancer with a bit of a death priest of Orcus mixed in. As I became savvier in what I knew about necromancers and the various D&D worlds I decided that Death Masters were unique to the Word of Greyhawk's Oerth. 

The Death Master became a playable class in the 3.x era with the publication of Dragon Compendium Volume 1 (there was never a vol. 2). Here the Death Master got a full 20 levels and was based directly off of Len Lakofka's class. Personally, I think a Prestige Class would have been a better choice. In fact a Prestige Class with just 13 levels like the original. I'd structure the prerequisites to need 3 levels of cleric and four levels of wizard or something like that. Sadly the Dragon Compendium Volume 1 is not just out of print, it is also not available on DriveThruRPG.  But Amazon has a copy and sometimes Noble Knight Games has them too.  

The Genius Guide to the Death Mage
Speaking of the old Death Master by Len Lakofka in Dragon Magazine. Owen K.C. Steven remembers! it! And this 20-level class for Pathfinder "feels" like that class, but it is its own thing.

This class is a stand-alone class (like most of the Pathfinder classes) complete with new powers and spells over 14 pages. In truth, it is a lot of fun. The author compares it to necromancer wizards, death priests, and undead-bloodline sorcerers, and how it is different. A better comparison is to druids. But where the druid is dedicated to life, the Death Mage is dedicated to death and the spirits of the dead.

There are five "Sub-types" of Death Mages presented. Corpse Mages, Ghoul Mages, Tomb Mages, Reaper Mages, and Shadow Mages.

There are 11 new spells. I think an opportunity was missed here to have 13 spells.

One of the newest necromancers on the block and designed specifically for Old School Essentials.  This is designated as "Play Test Material" but it really is ready to go. There have been necromancers for OSE before and there is at least one necromancer for other B/X-Basic games written by Gavin Norman already. Here the Necromancer is a subclass of the Magic-user, as would be expected, and some notes are given about using these new spells for the magic-user.  But thematically they fit with the necromancer much better. The new spells are from 1st to 6th level and there are 12 of each. I see why there are twelve of each; to fit the style and layout of what Gavin does with his OSE games. But I would have been tempted to make it a nice 13 per level myself. 
The spells are good and fit well. Some we have seen in other forms and formats over the past few years, but that does not detract from this book at all. Do you want a great OSE necromancer? Well, here it is.
The format used here could be adopted for all sorts of other magic-user type classes or subclasses like the Illusionist or Enchanter for example.

Castles & Crusades Black Libram of Naratus
I am a huge fan of Castles & Crusades and frankly, I don't think the game gets anywhere near as much love.

So I grabbed this one since it deals with darker magic and was part of the Haunted Highlands campaign (which I also enjoy). There is also the cover which is a call back to the infamous Eldritch Wizardry of OD&D. The first part covers necromancers and necromancer spells. This includes a way for normal spell casters to gain a level of Necromancer. A nice little add-on for any CK really. There is also a great spellbook in here called the "Grimoire of the Witch Queen" that makes the whole book worth it to me all by itself! That's the first half of the book. Later we get into Ritual/Sacrificial magic, magic items, and some new monsters. Given the types of games I run and the magic I like to have this is a "Must Have" book for me. The book is a tight 38 pages.

I have to give special attention to my other "new" necromancer.  This one does not differ from the previous editions of AS&SH/Hyperborea. At least not that I can tell. The necromancer here is cut from the "evil cultist" mold like their warlock and has a lot of great spells and powers. It is still one of my favorites, but the new OSE one has a lot of great spells to go with their's so a combination might be in order. 

For Pathfinder we have a few choices. 

Mysteries of the Dead Side: Sacred Necromancer
This book is presented in landscape orientation for easier screen reading. We are given a 20-level base class for Pathfinder with six "Callings" (sub-types). I have to admit this got may attention since my cabal of evil necromancers is called "The Order of Six" so I could restat them as one of each type here. No new spells, but there is a fully...fleshed out...NPC. So it is worth the download really.

New Paths 7: Expanded White Necromancer
This 17-page book gives a new perspective a, GOOD necromancer that protects the dead. I like the idea, to be honest.  It comes with a complete 20-level base class and six new spells. There are also feats and stats for various undead companions. It makes for a great companion piece and counterpoint to the 3.x Death Master from Dragon Compendium Volume 1.

Special Mention: Shadow of the Necromancer

Not a class, but an adventure from friend of the Other Side Mark Taormino. This is a short adventure for 1st to 3rd-level characters. And most importantly (to me) it comes in both Old-School/1st Edition and 5th Edition D&D versions!
The adventure comes with a map, in beautiful old-school blue for the 1st ed version and full color for the 5th edition version. The module itself is 16 pages (one page for title and credits, one page for OGL , one page blank).  The adventure is a simple "strange things are going on! The PCs must investigate!" situation. It turns into "stop the minion of the Necromancer from finishing his evil plans." It's tried and true and it works fine here.  The adventure, as with many of the Darl Wizard/Maximum Mayhem Dungeons, is a deadly affair. Not as deadly as the Hanging Coffins of the Vampire Queen, but it is not a walk in the graveyard either. It is a fun romp and really captures the feel of old-school playing. Both versions are great and I can keep the 1st-ed version for myself and give the 5th-ed version to my kids to run.

Shadow of the Necromancer


I certainly have enough here to do an "Against the Necromancer" sort of campaign. Or even bring back my Order of the Six.

Tuesday, November 29, 2022

Not a Mail Call: New Board Games

Not really a "Mail Call" but it feels like one. I was down visiting my brothers and sisters this past weekend and look what my brother had for me!

Trireme and Imperium

YES! I have finally got my hands on a copy of Imperium! But the box is full of surprises.

Imperium Box

Imperium Box

Imperium Box

Imperium Box

Imperium Box

Imperium Box

Imperium Box

Imperium Box

Imperium Box

Imperium Box

Imperium Box

Imperium Box

Imperium Box

Imperium Box

Imperium Box

In addition to the Imperium game there is a complete mini-game, Sticks and Stones, the Monster that ate Sheboygan, tourney rules for Imperium, and either another game or pieces of two other games. And a little zine "The Halfling Magazine."

I am going to need to go through it all and see what I really have but it looks like it was all bought at Origins in 1980.

In addition, there is a game I am completely unfamiliar with.  The naval battle game Trireme.

Trireme

Trireme

Trireme

Trireme

Trireme

Not only does it look intact, it looks like it has been completely unplayed!

These will provide me a lot of fun over Christmas break to be sure.

Monday, November 28, 2022

Monstrous Mondays: The Agathós (and other Angels)

Agathós
Running a bit behind today, so I will share something I am working on.

Much like my reclassification of all the demons and devils in the lower planes I am redoing the various forces of good in the upper planes.  Among these forces are the familiar Angels and Archons, but I am also introducing a new group, with some familiar members, the Agathós.

Much like "demon" can refer to a Chaotic Evil fiend from the Abyss or as a general term for all Evil outsiders, the term Angel can refer to a specific set of Lawful Good outsiders or all Good members of the upper planes.

The word agathós comes from the agathodaemon (agathós daímōn) or 'noble spirit.' These were spirits that aided people.  My thinking here came about while working on my syncretism posts for One Man's God and reading over the original write-up for the various angel-like creatures that would eventually end up in the AD&D 1st Edition Monster Manual II.  The Devas were in issue #63, Planetars and Solars in issue #64.  In these cases the alignment of these angels are all listed as Good. At the time assuming there are varieties that are Lawful, Neutral, and Chaotic Good. 

So in my Basic Bestariry Angels are Lawful Good, Archons are Neutral Good (working for the great good), and Agathós are Chaotic Good, working for the greatest good they can do there and then.

Agathós

Agathós are independent spirits of good.  They are often confused with angels, which they do not mind, but they are not part of the hierarchy of the Heavens and try to make their own judgments on what constitutes the most good they can do for others. Their alignments are Chaotic Good.

All agathós are immune to poison and are resistant to acid, cold, and electrical damage. They take only half damage normally and on a save take no damage.  They all have magic resistance of varying levels. They take full damage from acid attacks. All have infravision to 120'. Many are immune to the attacks of undead (level drain, blood drain, paralysis, mummy rot).

Unlike Angels, who they share similarities with, the Agathós do not have a Divine and Profane form. This is something only true Angels have. 

These are the creatures from my Basic Bestiary that are classified as Agathós.

  • Astral Deva
  • Aurora
  • Lunar
  • Monadic Deva
  • Movanic Deva
  • Planetar
  • Solar

These creatures are Archons:

  • Bastion
  • Codex
  • Exscinder
  • Gate
  • Harbinger
  • Hound
  • Lantern
  • Legion
  • Shield
  • Stag
  • Star Archon
  • Trumpet

And these creatures are Angels (capital "A").

  • Archangel
  • Cassisian
  • Chalkydri
  • Cherubim
  • Dapsara
  • Dirae
  • Dominions
  • Elohim
  • Empyreal
  • Empyrean
  • Iophanite
  • Powers
  • Principalities
  • Seraphim
  • Thrones
  • Virtues

I might still move some around. A few of these Angels might work better as Agathós for example. I can see where the Dapsara might make a better Agathós. There are also the Agathions from Pathfinder that are all Lawful Neutral.  I have not decided if they fit in to my work at all yet, despite the name. I did the same thing with my Qliphoth versus the Pathfinder Qlippoth.

Something to work on in December.

Tuesday, November 22, 2022

The Acrobatic Flea for NIGHT SHIFT

One of the first blogs I encountered was Tim Knight's Hero Press. He had a lot of the same interests I did and he writes about a lot of cool stuff.  I like to joke that Hero Press is "The Other Side" of England.

Like my Johan, he has a character that has gone with him from game to game, but in particular Villians & Vigilantes.  His character, the Acrobatic Flea, is something of a mascot of Hero Press.  He has built the Flea for many universes, much like I do for my Larina.  

So it stands to reason there is a Flea in NIGHT SHIFT.

The Acrobatic Flea for NIGHT SHIFT

The Acrobatic Flea for NIGHT SHIFT

Aspiring reporter Sean Edward Ridire got his dream job at Weirdly World News. Figuring out he would get the big scoop on the truth about UFOs and aliens. But a chance encounter with a vampire and helping a victim out introduced the vigilante known only as the Acrobatic Flea to the world of the supernatural. 

In the worlds of NIGHT SHIFT this Acrobatic Flea patrols the dark streets of Knight City protecting the innocents of the world from the creatures of the night. Donning a protective suit and special night vision goggles he keeps his identity secret. Using his contacts at WWN he hunts down the stories AND the monsters.  

Here he is for Night Shift. NIGHT SHIFT is available from the Elf Lair Games website (hardcover) and from DriveThruRPG (PDF).

The Acrobatic Flea
3rd level Survivor (Human)
Archetype: Correspondent

Strength: 12 (0) 
Dexterity: 14 (+1) S
Constitution: 15 (+1) 
Intelligence: 13 (+1) P
Wisdom: 14 (+1)  
Charisma: 15 (+1) S

HP: 16
Alignment: Light
AC: 5 (tactical suit)
Attack: +1

Fate Points: 1d6

Check Bonus (P/S/T): +3/+1/0
Melee bonus: 0 Ranged bonus: +1
Saves: +4 to death saves. +2 to all others.

Survivor Abilities
Stealth skills; Climbing; Danger Sense (1-4); Sneak Attack +4, x2; Read Languages 80%

Survivor Skills

  • Open Locks: 35%
  • Bypass Traps: 30%
  • Sleight of Hand: 40%
  • Move Silently: 40%
  • Hide in Shadows: 30%
  • Climbing 75%
  • Perception: 50%

Skills
Research, Insight, Notice (x2)

Gear
Tactical suit, night vision goggles, climbing gear.

--

This could be a lot of fun! I like this, I would love to use the Flea as an NPC one time. Hope you approve Tim!

Monday, November 21, 2022

Monstrous Monday: The Magaga Beast

Magaga Beast
A special one today. I was inspired by recent events for this one.

The Magaga Beast

Frequency: Unique
Number Appearing: 1 (1)
Alignment: Chaotic [Chaotic Evil]
Movement: 60' (20') [6"]
Armor Class: 3 [16]
Hit Dice: 20d8+80***** (170 hp)
  Hit Dice (Gargantuan): 20d20+80***** (310 hp)
To Hit AC0: 4 (+15)
Attacks: Trample, Bite (every other round)
Damage: 4d12+2
Special: Cause confusion (speech), Immune to mind-affecting magics, Regeneration, Summon drumpfs 
Languages: Common*
Size: Gargantuan
Save: Monster 20
Morale: 12 (NA)
Treasure Hoard Class: See below
XP: 7,750 (OSE) 8,000 (LL)

Str: 17 (+2) Dex: 9 (0) Con: 20 (+4) Int: 5 (-2) Wis: 5 (-2) Cha: 3 (-3)

Once every four years, the dreaded Magaga Beast will rise up out of its dismal lair to attack the countryside, eating everything in its path. Standing 45' tall, the bloated Magaga Beast, and thankfully there is only one, lumbers through the countryside eating, babbling on, and worse summoning other horrible creatures to its side. It appears as a behemoth creature, vaguely humanoid in shape, though it lower half is obscured by its massive flesh. Two arms stick out with tiny, useless hands. It has slapped a large bit of yellow straw onto its own head in a close approximation to hair.

It is large and virtually unstoppable, but slow and slow-witted. It babbles on in something resembling common, but any who listens to it becomes confused. Its main attack to just trample over everything in its path. It can reach down with its giant maw and attack to eat. On a critical bite attack, it can swallow a person whole. It can only bite once every other round.

Its worse trait is it attracts a large number (2d20) of drumpf goblins to its side to encourage it on. In the presence of the magaga beast, drumphs have a moral of 12 and are more prone to violent behavior to "protect" what they see as their lord and god. The magaga beast will happily eat any drumph that gets too close to its mouth. Nearly as bad is the trail of offal it leaves behind. This offal trail can cause sickness for any that do not save vs. poison. A fail means they are incapacitated for 2d6 days. Success means they can not breathe unless they move at least 10 ft. away

The magaga beast is immune to any mind-affecting magic. Simply put there is not enough of a mind here to be affected. The magaga beast regenerates 5 hp per round, even if reduced to 0 hp it will regenerate. Though if it is brought down to 0 hp it will hibernate for another four years, stirring as soon as two years if disturbed. 

Various communities have tried different means to defeat or sway the magaga beast. Giving it food only makes it demand even more. Others have sent various warriors for justice at it. But sadly it just keeps coming back. Even when reduced to 0 hp it finds a way to come back.

--

The resemblance to any real person is purely conjecture.

Friday, November 18, 2022

Frigid Follow Friday

We are finally getting some proper cold weather here in Chicago! I am not going to complain about it. It's November, it's Chicago. I know what that means.  

It is also Friday and that means it is time for a Follow Friday. Especially important this week with Twitter in melt-down mode.

So if you follow me there, I am sticking around to the end, but here is where else you can find me. 

MiniMe

Blog (here): https://theotherside.timsbrannan.com

DriveThruRPG: https://drivethrurpg.com/browse/pub/8419/The-Other-Side-Publishing?affiliate_id=10748

Facebook: https://facebook.com/OtherSideblog & https://www.facebook.com/timothy.brannan/

Instagram: https://instagram.com/the_other_side_pub/ & https://www.instagram.com/timsbrannan/

MeWe: https://mewe.com/group/5c598927dc9a663c488557e9https://mewe.com/i/timothybrannan

Reddit: https://www.reddit.com/user/timsbrannan

Mastodon: https://dice.camp/@timsbrannan

Twitter: https://twitter.com/timsbrannan

I am still figuring out Mastodon, and MeWe is rather dead. But you can always find me here.

I do hope Twitter sticks around though.

Wednesday, November 16, 2022

Islands, Hyperborea, and Party Like it's 1979

Sort of an overview, sort of me doing more mental gymnastics. 

Note: This one got away from the original thesis, so I cut chunks out for another post later. 

Some light reading material

I have been thinking about a few things this week, namely my 1979 Campaign and my Isles of Avalon one. I flirted briefly with combining them and then realized quickly that by doing so I would lose everything that made the 1979 Campaign special. So I might have ideas that work for that, but I think I need to keep it as it is for now.  One day I'll play it. 

Isles of Avalon is less of a campaign and more of a campaign location. I have a lot of ideas for it. Too many to be honest. But two things in it are prominent. 1.) It has to include an Island nation of Necromancers. 2.) It has* to be run under AD&D 1st Edition.

How are those connected and what does it have to do with today?  Well, I was going over the materials for the IoA idea and began merging the two projects. I quickly realized that I would lose what made the 1979 Campaign idea special to me (moving from a hybrid Holmes Basic/AD&D to pure AD&D) and I also thought maybe I am not wed to the idea of IoA as a pure AD&D 1st edition setting.

I love AD&D 1st Edition. Really I do warts and all. I do want to do a lot more with it in my personal gaming even if it is never seen by you, my reader. After all I never really talked much about the AD&D 2nd Edition games I was playing in here.

But these last two weeks (and most of October) have given me some moments to pause and think. The question remains "What is it I want out of this really?"

The AD&D First Edition Experience

This one is key. I want something like AD&D 1st ed. Which will prompt many to say "then play AD&D 1st Ed, dumbass!" Which is very, very valid. But I also have all these other games that I want to try and I played AD&D 1st ed, for over a decade. I love it, but it sometimes feels like moving back in with your parents or hooking up with your ex-girlfriend.  So. What are my options?

Old-School Essentials: Advanced Fantasy

This one is great, but it isn't really AD&D is it. Plus this is the system I am using for War of the Witch Queens and it is really great for that.

Hyperborea

I have been reminded this week of how much fun Hyperborea is. It is much closer to AD&D. The game is tied very closely to the world and it is a world I enjoy, but some pieces of it don't fit with my idea of what I want to do for my various campaigns. One thing is certain, the ethos of Hyperborea will inform what I do with my Isle of Avalon.

Castles & Crusades

I do love Castles & Crusades and it does provide the AD&D 1st experience I want. Plus I LOVE all the Codex books on world religions and myths. It doesn't quite have the same feeling to it as Hyperborea though.  On the continuum of gritty to light it goes Hyperborea, then OSE-Adv, then C&C. With the endpoints as DCC on the gritty and Hero's Journey First Edition on the light. Still, though I do love this game a lot and I really want to do a lot more with it. 

Special Note: The 1979 Campaign

This one is a special case. The purpose here is to recreate a certain style of play that I would have done in the Fall or early Winter of 1979.  I will only use materials that would have been available then or is closely related.  Rules are a mix of Holmes Basic (not B/X) and AD&D, in particular the AD&D Monster Manual.

--

Why all these mental gymnastics? I am aware that my kids are getting older and moving on. My oldest is a professional pastry chef now. My youngest is in college and spends all their time writing code. They don't have time for dad and his elf-game anymore. Well...they do still play D&D, just with their own groups of friends. My time to get some games on with them is limited and I want to maximize what I can.

So. Let's see what I can cook up here. I know...get to the point already.

Vampire Queen
Isles of Avalon

While I love this name, people who have seen it online and not bothered to read the posts (if you are reading this then that is obviously not you!) were confused with the Arthurian Isle of Avalon and felt they were informing on something. Thanks, but I wrote tons about that in Ghosts of Albion. Still, though, I might tweak the name to be Isles of Avalon Hill to honor its origins. 

So before I put together a campaign (and this would be a sandbox or hex crawl) and try to figure out what rules to use, I think I need to work out some details.

1. This archipelago of islands is old. Really, really old. An empire rose here, grew to greatness, fell into decadence, finally to infighting and decay, and then to dust and forgotten legends.  

2. There is an island of Necromancer kings. This was one of the key notions. Of all the islands, this one is the one that still yearns for the "old times." I think I am coming around to the idea that there is someone called "The Necromancer." Feels ominous. 

3. There is a small island that is home to the Vampire Queen. The Vampire Queen is a reoccurring character in my games. One of her influences is the classic Palace of the Vampire Queen from Wee Warriors, then Pacesetter, now Precis Intermedia.  Wee Warriors and Precis Intermedia also have the Misty Isles, which is another model for my own Isles.  The Vampire Queen lives on a remote island here. 

4. There is the "Big Island" that still has active wizards. The Empire is gone, but there are still wizards that come here for the same reasons there was an empire here. The connection to magical energies here is the strongest. Whether it is a confluence of ley lines, built on the remains of a long-dead but highly magical creature, a magical meteorite hit here, or some combination of all the above.  The only remaining edifice of those times is a place called the Citadel of Conjurers (or at least my original notions of what that place was when I read it in Dragon #91).

Not looking for grand plots. Not looking for world-changing apocalypses. Just a place to do some hex crawling.

Either Castles & Crusades or Hyperborea would fit this fine.

I am leaning more towards Hyperborea for this, but I really, really want to play some Castles & Crusades.

Anyway, random thoughts on a cold Chicago day.

Monday, November 14, 2022

Mail Call: HYPERBOREA

Another Old-school mail call this week and this one is quite timely. I finally got my Hyperborea leatherette Players and Referee's Guides.

Hyperborea leatherette Players and Referee's Guides

If you have been here for any amount of time you know of my love for Astonishing Swordsmen & Sorcerers of Hyperborea, now just called HYPERBOREA.

This new set, 3rd Edition, does not disappoint.

HYPERBOREA

As you can see it comes with the HYPERBOREA Player's Manual, the Referee's Guide, the Atlas of Hyperborea, dice, and a matching dice bag.


HYPERBOREA

HYPERBOREA

HYPERBOREA

HYPERBOREA


HYPERBOREA

HYPERBOREA

Now I have all three editions of this game. I don't need all three, but I can't find myself parting with any of them.

AS&SH and to a degree HYPERBOREA was where I started my ideas for the War of the Witch Queens, but I have moved it on to Old-School Essentials now. I would still LOVE to do something with HYPERBOREA, something special really. 

HYPERBOREA is firmly in the AD&D rules camp of the OSR clones, though it does only go to level 12. 

Part of me wants to run the Dark Wizard Games modules from Mark Taormino. There is some overlap in themes to be sure. I just wonder if some of the Eldritch Weirdness of HYPERBOREA would be lost in the Gonzo weirdness found in the Dark Wizard adventures.

HYPERBOREA and Dark Wizard Games

I have talked before about how great these would be for B/X or OSE, but maybe this is where I need to go. 

Another option is this.

D&D Classics

Now, this would work and The Lost City and Castle Amber both have solid Clark Ashton Smith vibes. Into the Borderlands and Expedition to the Barrier Peaks also fit the tone of HYPERBOREA well. Same with Isle of Dread which is very sandboxey.  The Temple of Elemental Evil is the odd one out unless I do a little massaging. 

Level wise I think it all might work.  Into the Borderlands covers levels 1-3. Isle of Dread covers 3-7. Barrier Peaks covers 8-12. The Lost City 1-3 (though I argue more like 2-4), Castle Amber 3-6, and Temple of Elemental Evil 1-8 (or more). I can already see how I could do this, to be honest. The trouble is I have run most of these with my kids already.

Still might be fun as an intellectual experiment.