Showing posts with label 70s. Show all posts
Showing posts with label 70s. Show all posts

Sunday, December 8, 2019

Wizard's Quest

Last weekend I was at my parent's home for Thanksgiving and my dad's 90th birthday (he is doing great and looking great!). My brother had a gift for me!

Avalon Hil's Wizard's Quest board game.

The box is a little beat up, but inside everything is pristine and like new.  In fact, it is all unpunched.

I have never played it myself but I am really looking forward to trying it out.

PArt of me though doesn't want to punch it because it is in such wonderful shape.

But games are meant to be played.

I due a admit to a little of what I call "Traveller Envy".  Traveller had such a cool RPG and board games that all belonged to the same universe.  I thought it was such a fun immersive idea.
I always wanted to run a D&D campaign that also featured board games in the mix.  Something other than just Dungeon! for the players to do.  I caught a glimpse of what might work back in the 4e days, but that one didn't manifest in the way I wanted.  Thought I think I could work Zanzer's Dungeon into it somehow.

Monday, November 11, 2019

Monstrous Monday Review: Monster Manual

For today's Monstrous Monday I want to do another review. For this one, it still follows my 'Back to Basic' theme I have been doing all year even though it is not a Basic-era D&D book.  It is though one of my Basic era books.  The book is the Monster Manual and it was just about 40 years ago that I first held this book in my hand.

This is the book. This is the book that got me into D&D and RPGs.

But how does one review such a genre-defining classic?

My son had made himself a triple cheeseburger covered in bacon, onions, and mushrooms.  I asked him how he was going to fit that into his mouth. He said, "with determination".

How does one review such a genre-defining classic?  With determination.

My History
The Monster Manual was the book for me.  The one that got me hooked.  The one, sitting in "silent reading" back in 1979 at Washington Elementary School in Jacksonville, IL that I became the über-geek you all know today. How über? I used the freaking umlauts, that's my street cred right there.

Back in '79 I was reading a lot of Greek Myths, I loved reading about all the gods, goddesses and monsters.  So I saw my friend's Monster Manual and saw all those cool monsters and I knew I had to have a copy. Though getting one in my tiny near-bible-belt town was not easy.  Not hard mind you, by the early 1980s the local book store stocked them, but I was not there yet.  So I borrowed his and read.  And read.  And read.  I think I had the damn thing memorized long before I ever got my own game going.

Since that time I judge a gamebook on the "Monster Manual" scale.  How close of a feeling do I get from a book or game compared to the scale limit of holding the Monster Manual for the first time?  Some games have come close and others have hit the mark as well.  C.J. Carella's WitchCraft gave me the same feeling.

Also, I like to go to the monster section of any book or get their monster books.  Sure I guess sometimes there are diminishing returns, Monster Manual V for 3.5 anyone?  But even then sometimes you get a Fiend Folio (which I liked thankyouverymuch).

This book captured my imagination like no other gamebook.  Even the 1st DMG, which is a work of art, had to wait till I was older to appreciate it.  The Monster Manual grabbed me and took me for a ride.

The Book (and PDF)
The PDF of the Monster Manual has been available since July of 2015.  The book itself has seen three different covers.

Regardless of what cover you have the insides are all the same.  The book is 112 pages, black and white art from some of the biggest names that ever graced the pages of an RPG book.
This book was the first of so many things we now take for granted in this industry.   The first hardcover, the first dedicated monster tome, the first AD&D book.
The book contains 350 plus monsters of various difficulties for all character levels.  Some of the most iconic monsters in D&D began right here.  Mostly culled from the pages of OD&D, even some of the art is similar, and the pages of The Dragon, this was and is the definitive book on monsters.

Eldritch Wizardry gave us the demons, but the Monster Manual gave us those and all the new devils.  The Monster Manual introduced us to the devils and the Nine Hells.  Additionally, we got the new metallic dragons, more powerful and more diverse undead and many more monsters.  We also got many sub-races of the "big 3". Elves get wood, aquatic, half and drow.  Dwarves get hill and mountain varieties. Halflings get the Tallfellows and Stouts.   So not just more monsters, but more details on the monsters we already knew.

While designed for AD&D I used it with the Holmes Basic book.  The two products had a similar style and to me seemed to work great together.  It was 1979 and honestly, we did all sorts of things with our games back then.  The games worked very well together.

Flipping through one of my physical copies, or paging through the PDF, now I get the same sense of wonder I did 40 years ago.

Thankfully, you can get the PDF of the Monster Manual for just a little more than the hardcover cost 40 years ago.

Saturday, October 5, 2019

October Horror Movie Challenge: Prophecy (1979)

Wait...are they implying that Armand Assante is a Native American???  That and more horrors are found in Prophecy!

Ok this movie kinda freaked me out when I first saw it at the 67 Drive-In (named for Illinois Route 67).  It really has not aged well.  I saw a while back on TV (maybe 20 years ago) and even then it looked dated.  But today?  Yeesh.

Funny thing though the central theme, a big American company invading land belonging to Native American and poisoning their water supply is pretty much "Ripped from the Headlines" today.
Plus the idea of a giant mutated grizzly is a fun one.
The execution...not so much.

But my real beef with this movie (besides the aforementioned Armand Assante as a Native American) is that the movie is called "Prophecy" but what prophecy?  Sure there is the legend of the Katahdin (named for the largest mountain in the area I assume), but that is not a prophecy really.

Of course Armand Assante and Robert Foxworth and both better actors than this movie would have you believe.  Thankfully both went on to big and better gigs.

The poster for this movie was also much better than the movie itself.  I also remember the trailer promising me more than the movie would or could deliver.

It was left open for a sequel, but none ever happened as far as I know.

Watched: 5
New: 3

Wednesday, May 8, 2019

OMG: Greek (and maybe Roman) Mythos, Part 1

Ah. Now this feels like a homecoming of sorts.  All year I have been talking about how this is my 40th year of playing D&D.  In a very real sense, my early D&D experiences were originated and shaped by the Classic Greek myths.  By 1979 I was 9 years old and had already read all the books in my local library on myths and legends.  Since it was a small town it was the late 70s there were not a lot of choices; I had "American Tall Tales" and Greek and some Norse myths. But mostly Greek.  One of my favorites was D'Aulaires' Book of Greek Myths.  I read it many times as a child and even revisited it back in college and even as an adult. It was one time while reading this that a friend of mine let me borrow his AD&D Monster Manual to read.  I was hooked.
The rest is history or mythology!

I am not going to recount my tale of getting into D&D from that point. I have done it before and will be doing it again this year.  Today I want to talk about the Greek Myths and how they are portrayed in AD&D 1st ed and in particular focusing on what got me involved in the first place, the monsters.

Quick reminder. The stated goal of my One Man's God (OMG) posts are to try and relate the monsters of various myths as presented in the 1st Edition Deities & Demigods (and sometimes Gods, Demigods & Heroes) to the demons as presented in the AD&D Monster Manual.

I am also in the debt of my former Classics Professor, Joan V. O'Brien who would have been 92 this year.  Ten years after discovering the Greek Myths she lit a new fire under me and got me to read even more myths of our world.

This one will have multiple parts I can tell already.

Greek Myths and AD&D Monsters
While AD&D owes a sizable debt to "Lord of the Rings" and the tales of Howard, Lovecraft, and Smith, there is also a great portion of the "D&D Mythos" that comes from the tales of Greek Mythology.  Even before I crack open my D&DG there are monsters from the Greek Myths filling my Monster Manual.  There are the basilisk, catoblepas, centaur, chimera, cockatrice, dragons, dryad, elementals, erinyes, Geryon (monster or devil), giants, giant animals, Golems (at least the iron kind), gorgons, hags, harpy, hell hounds, hippocampus, hippogriff, invisible stalker, lamia, larva, lemure, lycanthropes, manticore, medusa, mermen, minotaur, nightmare, nixie, nymph, pegasus, salamander, satyr, giant scorpion, shadow, skeleton, sphinx, sylph, titan, and triton.

There are also a number of monsters in the Deities and Demigods book that could have been easily moved over to the Monster Manual. Not as demons, but as monsters.  In particular, the Lesser Cyclops comes to mind. Another giant (the Greeks loved giants), the Hecatoncheire or the Hundred-Handed one would be another good choice.  Titans are listed in the MM and you could build one of the "named" Titans in the DDG with the stats, though many are much, much larger.  This seems like a good time to bring up Titans.

Looks Greek to me!

Titans, Primordials and D&D Mythbuilding
Current versions of D&D go with a time before the gods when the Primordial ruled.  In D&D 4e the Primordials were explicitly tied to the various elemental titans still running around.

4e Giants and Titans
This should sound very familiar.  In fact, if we go back to the D&D 3.0 days Sword and Sorcery Studios released their "Scarred Lands" books for the d20 license. In the preface of their Relics and Rituals book, Gary Gygax had this to say:
Allow me to add just a few more words here. The Scarred Lands, of which I know insufficient details at this time, seems a most intriguing setting. Perhaps you will find it likewise. If so, consider how very adaptable its premise is, the war between gods and titans, and the resulting "world" thereafter. Does it not lend itself to adaptation into many different settings? From the mythological Greco-Roman and Norse (substitute "giant" for "titan" and there you are) to any authored world environment in which two or even several groups of deities contended and one triumphed.
Is this coded into our collective sub-consciousness because of the Greeks? Or is it a classic tale? Maybe it's both. Likely it is one because of the other.  Who knows.  The tales of the Greek Myths are so deeply woven into our collective history and storytelling it would be impossible to tease out the individual effects.

James Ward has this to say at the beginning of the Greek Mythos section of the D&DG.
The Greek assembly of gods is probably more familiar to most readers than others of the groups in this work, because they were woven into a literature that has lasted down through the ages. Many of our civil concepts can be traced from the assumed actions of the gods and their mates.
A lot of our concepts of...well most things come from the Greeks.

It then is no surprise that Titans/Primordial vs. Gods is universal and it also appears in our games.
Interestingly enough, almost every evil titan mentioned in the book is Chaotic Evil, although I am not sure they meet the "requirements" to actually be demons.
Let's look at some examples.

Geryon is our first one to really stand out.  There is the devil Geryon and the Greek Giant Geryon have a link, but it would be really difficult to claim they are the same.  The Giant Geryon was the 10th Labor of Heracles.  He was described as a triple-bodied monster with human faces.  The Devil Geryon comes from Dante Alighieri's Inferno.   While my norm has been to try to fit things together, I think in this case there are far too many differences between these two creatures to try to reconcile.

The Primordials
The "gods" that came before the Titans are known as the Primordials.  Well. That works well. They represent larger concepts or even elemental properties in the universe.
There are no Primordials in the D&DG, but there are titans.  The Titans are Atlas, Coeus, Crius, Epimetheus, Kronos (Cronos), Oceanus, and Prometheus.

Among the Primordials, two are of interest here; Chaos and Tartarus.  Both of these creatures represent a "person" and a "thing".  Interestingly enough they also have a relationship to the word "Abyss".

In AD&D Tarterus is sandwiched nicely between the Abyss (Chaos) and Hades (the Underworld).

WHICH gets me to a point.  Hades should not really be Neutral Evil. Sure there is that whole "Rape of Persephone" thing but often Hades, the God, was shown as somber, ill-tempered and somewhat hateful of his role in the underworld, but not exactly evil.
Hades the underworld was the destination of ALL souls, not just the evil ones.  The REALLY evil ones and the Titans went to Tarterus/Tartarus.

The changing of the plane name "Hades" to the "Grey Wastes" was one of the few I approved of in the "Demonic Diaspora" of the 2nd Ed era.

That still gives us Tarterus/Tartarus for the monsters the gods have cast down.  Sounds like demons to me.

We know that Cronos imprisoned the cyclopes there along with other monsters.  When Zeus and the Olympians came to power Cronos and the Titans were thrown into Tartarus.  Though later Cronos won Zeus' favor and became the ruler of Elysium.

Looking through the D&DG there are not many creatures that qualify as an AD&D Demon. Lots of monsters yes, demons...not so much. There are few that might qualify.

There is Cerberus, the three-headed dog of the underworld. But he has always been portrayed as unique.  The Death Dogs of the Fiend Folio are considered to be his offspring.

Enceladus is described as a giant in the D&DG.  A giant with snake bodies and tails for legs and so horrifying that any who view him must save vs. spells or run in fear.  He can also grab spells out of the air.  So myths describe Enceladus as a giant and others as a giantess.   If we change Enceladus into a demon I would be tempted to make them a demon living in Tarterus.  The stats as listed are fine.

The Furies also were known as the Erinyes and are a special case.
They are included in the Monster Manual as the devil Erinyes which are based on the classical Furies. In a way they do exactly what I am doing here.  They are the case study to show that this can work.

Next time let's talk about Typhon, Echidna, the Hyperboreans, and "the dreaded name of Demogorgon".

Tuesday, November 13, 2018

In Remembrance: Stan Lee

Stanley Martin Lieber, known to us mere mortals as Stan Lee died yesterday at the age of 95.
I have often said that my own "Appendix N" would consist of 70s rock, Hammer Horror films, and comics.  Marvel Comics was a huge part of how my D&D world was shaping up.

I grew up being a DC fan, and I still consider myself to this very day a true DC fan.  But in the 70s and the 80s in what was coexistent with my formative D&D years. I dropped DC in favor of Marvel's Spider-Man, X-Men and of course their Horror and Mystic-themed comics like "Tomb of Dracula", Dr. Strange, Blade, and Ghost Rider.  Much of what went on in my D&D worlds was very Marvel influenced.

I had a character named "Rogue" after my favorite bad-girl (at the time she was not in the X-Men yet), and nearly all my character had an illustration that I cut or copied from the pages of Marvel.  While over in DC my first magical-love was still for Zatanna, I also loved reading about the exploits of Dr. Strange and Clea.   I read with a voracious appetite every Tomb of Dracula I could my hands on to.  I read Red Sonja, X-Men, hell...every X-everything in the Mutant 80s.  This leads me to read other comics. 

Stan gave us great characters and stories.  I LOVED Black Panther. Here was a guy who was brilliant, a physicist, a king, he all sorts of superpowers, and yet he still fretted over his people, his lands and doing the right thing.  Peter Parker was so neurotic he could have been a Woody Allen character. Stephen Strange was an arrogant prick, Stark was an alcoholic arrogant prick.  The X-Men had so much pathos it was almost Shakespearian.  These were relatable characters or at least approachable ones.  Jim Croce once sang "You don't tug on Superman's cape" and it is true. Superman, for everything he stands for, is still a god, unapproachable. Even Batman for that matter.  But Stan's characters and the ones he influenced were still more like us.

My introduction to Stan Lee, the man or rather his persona, was via the "Spider-man and his Amazing Friends" cartoons where Stan would narrate the intros. I first heard his "True Believers" here as I suspect most of us did. (Though the FIRST time I heard "True Believers" was on the Electric Company's "Spidey" on PBS in the 70s.) A generation later he would be known to a new audience via his Marvel Cinematic Universe cameos.  But I always felt it was us, the old fans, the ones that remember them smell of comics back in the 70s and 80s (and for others the 60s), that he was there for.

Stan Lee was a flawed, imperfect man.  Just like his characters.  He didn't always say the right thing or maybe he took credit for some ideas that were not his.  At some future date, we can go back and debate the issues of the Stan Lee/Jack Kirby split.  But not today.

Today I want to remember the man that gave us all so much. A man that took his own words "with great power comes great responsibility" to heart.  Stan knew the power he wielded and he used it to create worlds for us to enjoy.

Several years ago, when Stan Lee was in his late 80s I asked a question on Facebook, "Who has had a larger impact on our culture, (Playboy founder) Hugh Hefner or Stan Lee?"  The results were fairly predictable, with Stan beating Hugh by nearly a 2 to 1 margin.

We will miss Stanley Lieber, the man.  But Stan Lee, the icon and the personality will live on forever.  Excelsior!

Monday, July 24, 2017

The Basic Set at 40

Gamers of a Certain Age all know about their first Basic Set.  For some, it was light maroon with a red book.  For many it was a red box with red books.  But some of us had a different experience.  The box was blue(ish) and had a dragon on the cover, the book was blue and it changed gaming forever.

On July 22, 1977 the Dungeons & Dragons Basic Set was shown at Origins Game Fair and it changed the face of RPGs.  Prior to this people learned to play from others that had been playing.  The John Eric Holmes edited Basic Set gave brand new players with no prior experience in either RPGs (which really meant D&D) or in wargames.  It gave us the Moldvay Basic set and the  Frank Mentzer Basic set. But more importantly, it opened the world of D&D to others.

Dr. Holmes took on the massive task of collecting what was then OD&D, edited it and reorganized it into a game that made sense to new players.  There is some debate as to whether this was designed as a stand alone game line (which it would become) or as an introduction to Advanced D&D (which it reads like).

A lot of blogs will talk about the history of the Holmes Basic Edition. A great post can be found over at +Wayne Rossi's Semper Initiativus Unum, Basic D&D at 40  and pretty much the entire Zenopus Archive blog by +Zach H.

My experiences with Holmes though are a little different.

My gaming began in 1979, before the Moldvay set, but after Holmes.  I had read the Monster Manual and I had a copy, badly xeroxed, of the Holmes Basic set.   Like many, my "first" D&D was a combination of Basic and Advanced. Still today that is the same experience I look for in D&D.

I will be honest, it took me a while to get the game down.  With Holmes D&D I always felt like there was something I was missing. I only learned later of the "Little Brown Books" and how "Basic" actually came about.  I also did not have a full copy.

I would later get my hands on a copy of Holmes to read in full.  It was an eye opening experience to be sure. I had been playing Moldvay Basic for a while and moving over to AD&D proper.  Holmes felt like a Rosetta Stone to me.  A product that could crossover between these two games.
When I got a hold of a copy of my own much later I would use it for 1st level characters with my adventure of choice, B1 In Search of the Unknown, before moving over to AD&D.

I became a fan of J. Eric Holmes work and even stumbled on vague references for a Witch class!

I had found some alternate evolution of D&D, one where Basic lead to Advanced and not to Expert. Where you played a magic-user in one and a wizard, illusionist or witch in the other.
It should come as no surprise then that my own witch class is heavily influenced by my time playing using the Holmes and Moldvay rule sets.

Re-reading my Holmes set over the weekend made me think about how much fun a box set really is.  The next time I start up an AD&D game, I'll be starting with Holmes.

I also feel the need to mention that along with Holmes the Traveller "Little Black Books" also celebrated 40 years.

Safe journeys to you Free Trader Beowulf. Hope you found help.

Wednesday, June 24, 2015

Questions for you all. Favorite 70s Sci-Fi

Work has me busy today writing faculty training guidelines.  But that doesn't mean I am not active on my projects.

I have a question for you all today.

What is your favorite 70's science fiction or science fantasy movie (or TV show)?

I am looking for obscure stuff here and the weirder the better.

Now by 70s I do mean 1970 to 1979.  BUT I will take movies as early as 1967 or late as 1983.

A few of mine are:
2001 A Space Odyssey (1968)
Star Wars (1977)
Alien (1979)
Logan's Run (1976)
Colossus: The Forbin Project (1970) (computers were the new demons!)

I also want to extend my personal thanks and a shout out to the Space: 1970 blog.
Christopher Miller really has a great blog and I have spent hours reading it over.

Let me know what you like and why.

Tuesday, December 16, 2014

Adventures that Never Were

Found an old(er) post yesterday on the blog Save Vs. Dragon. "Classic" modules based on some classic rock songs.

Frankly these look so awesome that I would LOVE to build a campaign around them.
Here are a few of my favorites,

I mean seriously how cool would this be?  This hits all my buttons, classic rock, classic AD&D, weird concept albums...In fact I already have an adventure called "Children of the Sun" and have named many of my Cine Unisystem/Buffy adventures after songs; so this is perfect for me.

Now just need to come up with adventures for these!  Might have to listen to a lot of Yes.

Friday, October 17, 2014

October Movie Challenge: Satanic Rites of Dracula (1973)

Also known as "Count Dracula and His Vampire Bride" this is one I was supposed to watch in 2010 when I did mini-Dracula thon.  My disk was a piece of junk and the movie never worked.  No big deal really, I had seen it back in the 70s or 80s. But I always wanted to re-watch it.  I loved the scenes of Satanic Black Mass combined with vampire mythos.

Plus I really liked (then and now) the idea that the descendants of Van Helsing keep popping up to fight Dracula.   This time we are treated to "Lorrimer Van Helsing" and his granddaughter Jessica.  Ah the mental gymnastics I went through to figure out modern Hammer canon and Marvel Comics Dracula Canon; Jessica Van Helsing vs. Rachel Van Helsing. Rachel was either Jessica's daughter or her niece.  But that is just my crazy head-canon.

Additionally there was the high tech/medical science aspect of this.  It is takes a lot of influences from James Bond (which also had Christopher Lee as a bad guy). This movie is also so in tune with the 70s occult revival it is hard to know nearly 40 years later which influenced which.

There really is a lot I love about this movie.  Christopher Lee as Dracula and Peter Cushing and Van Helsing, really it is the best team up in the history of the genre.

The bit about the "Undead Sabbat" is a little silly, but the bubonic plague is a nice way to up the ante a bit.

I used this movie as a basis for my introduction of Dracula to Mutants & Masterminds.

Tally so far:  20 Total Watched / 13 New

What do you find scary?
October Horror Movie Challenge hosted by Krell Laboratories.

Friday, September 12, 2014

Kickstart Your Weekend: That 70s Kickstarter

Today I have three new(ish) Kickstarters that all have their roots in the late 70s.  Either in tone, feel or in gaming.

Maximum Mayhem Dungeon #2: Secret Machines of the Star Spawn
Brought to us by the same group that gave us "The Hanging Coffins of the Vampire Queen".  Only this time it is more of a tribute to Expedition to the Barrier Peaks.  Only more gonzo. And 100% more Chocolate Thunder.  If you liked "Hanging Coffins" (and I did) then this should be fun.
Some of the things that could have ended up looking gimmicky, like the 3D glasses, seem to work here.  It is funded but there are a lot of nice add-ons.

I was part of the Hanging Coffins Kickstarter and outside of the product Mark's communication was great.  There was a slight delay, but he let everyone know and still got the books out under his modestly revised schedule.  I can't complain at all.

Spirit of 77 - a Funky 1970's Tabletop Role-Playing Game
Another one that looks awesome is Spirit of 77.  I have talked about 70s-era role-playing before.  This game looks ridiculously fun.  For me the entire game was sold on this image,

Luchadore vs. Bigfoot?  Sign me the hell up!  The only thing that would have been more awesome would have been fat Elvis vs. Bigfoot.

This one is also funded.  I would love to get this, but use it as background material for my own Spirit of '76 game I want to run under Chill.

Time of the Dying Stars: Book One
Another one that takes it's cues from the 70s, but is really more of an early 80s homage is Time of the Dying Stars.  A collection of short stories set in the City of Dolmvay.
I love the idea of Dolmvay and am happy to see more support for it.

Plus it includes some classes designed by Barrel Rider Games as a Kickstarter bonus.

This one just started so it is not yet funded. But it is very, very close.

So put on some Parliament or Earth, Wind and Fire and check them all out and see what you can do to give them a hand!

Monday, July 14, 2014

Jackson De La Croix for WitchCraft

I wrote this up for a WitchCraft game I was running a few years ago.  Jackson never made an appearance, but I will certainly want to use him for my Spirit of '76 game. Cerri and Brigh were two Wicce characters I had created as NPCs.  Similar to the layout in Chill Vampires the dossier is a collection of reports, news clippings (in this case printouts) and written reports.

Jackson De La Croix, or Jackson Jammer, was one of my favorite vampires from the Chill Vampires book. Here is my attempt to bring him into Unisystem and the 21st century. I am going with 2nd Edition Chill here even though it states that Van Helsing began to tour in 1979 (left over from 1st Ed to be sure). If you want to use 1st Edition Chill, subtract 10 years.  For my game I am going to have Van Helsing start around 74-75.

SAVE Report compiled 01-15-2006 by Cerriweden nic Brigandu, Special Envoy
Note: Cerriweden "Cerri" nic Brigandu is a member of the Daughters of the Flame coven. Born in Boston to Irish immigrants, Cerriweden has served not only as a valued and trusted Special Envoy to SAVE, she is also a top notch rock critic. She has been following the career and exploits of Jackson "Jammer" De La Croix since the death of Pablo "Bubba" Rodriguez in 1992.  She first encountered the vampire in Boston while visiting the Daughters of the Flame sanctuary there.
(incl: Include photo of Cerri and Brigh with Robert Plant and Jimmy Page from the 1994-5 Page/Plant tour).
News item: May 17th, 1996. Raleigh, NC. Jammer Jackson, Dead at 27.
Legendary guitarist Jammer Jackson (news:sear) was found dead this morning in his hotel room in Raleigh, NC. His band Van Helsing had been performing last night (see related story in Arts, page 1D) in Raleigh. Cause of death was not immediately known, but corners office has not ruled out death due to drugs.
Van Helsing had been in the news quite a bit recently due to the often public arguments of its lead singer, Anton Van Helsing (news:sear), and Jackson. Van Helsing's last album failed to chart a Top 100 hit leaving many critics to wonder if the band was a relic of the late 80's
May 18th, 1996. New Orleans, LA. Jackson Death Ruled Natural Causes.
A representative of the Raleigh County NC corners office has ruled that Jammer Jackson's death was due to natural causes. A family spokesman has released a statement that due to religious observances Jackson's body was claimed by his family before an invasive autopsy could be performed. Toxicology results revealed no presence of drugs.
May 19th, 1996. New Orleans, LA. Fans Bid Farewell to Jammer
A simple wooden coffin baring the ashes of Jammer Jackson was laid to rest today. Several celebrities and members of the music business joined with fans, friends and family to say goodbye to what many considered to be a modern legend. Often compared to Jimi Hendrix in style and looks, though Jackson himself likened his style more to blue legend Robert Johnson. Jammer had recently become friends with another gone before his time musician, Kurt Cobain. The inevitable comparisons between all these great musicians cannot be understated.
June 13th, 1996. Los Angeles. Van Helsing, Dead at 31.
Anton Van Helsing the once flamboyant front man of the eponymous band Van Helsing was found dead in his hotel room today. Police are still questioning his long time girlfriend, Astra, in connection to drug paraphernalia found in the hotel. Van Helsing's death comes less than a month after the death of his bands lead guitarist Jammer Jackson.
Website: The Johnson-Hendrix-Jackson link, circa 2001
I know this sounds crazy but Johnson and Jackson shared more than dying young, listen to the cover of Crossroads (the Eric Clapton song for you born after 69, the Robert Johnson song for the rest of us) on Van Helsings 6th album. If you slow it down to 1/16th speed you can hearI mean why did we never see his body! I am telling you that just like Elvis and Morrison, Jammer Jackson is still alive.
November 7th, 2004 Fresh Faces, New Orleans, LA.
You have to living under a rock for the last Summer not to have heard the infectious grooves of the New Orleans hottest club band De La Croix. A spicy Cajun blend of hip-hop, rap, and good old fashioned blues driven rock, De La Croix is ready to take on the world. Whether you are a fan of vocalist Joaquin Esperanza's politically charged lyrics or the rap styling of co-frontman DLC, the one thing everyone agrees on is the shear talent of the band's 20 year old guitarist J.J. It has even lead some to speculate that J.J. is none other than the son of Jammer Jackson, last seen as a 10 year-old, standing by his fathers coffin so many years ago.

Jackson De La Croix Today, Cerriweden nic Brigandu
Jackson did fake his death, but the tiff with Van Helsing's leader was real. Anton wanted to hit the big time, Jackson wanted to remain small and anonymous. Anton used drugs, while Jackson didn't. So Jackson decided to die. He allowed a doctor to examine him to sign the papers, but he hired a single mother to portray the grieving widow. In a rare occurrence of generosity, Jackson gave away almost all his earthly possessions and a fair sum of money to this woman and her son in return for their silence. Attempts to locate the woman have failed and no record of her exists after 1997.

Jackson did in fact kill Anton Van Helsing, but that was a mere technicality. Anton had been slowly dying of drug addiction. Jackson also later killed Anton's longtime girlfriend Astra, though no newspaper reported her death.

Jackson's whereabouts between 1996 and 2004 are unknown, but all reliable sources point to a long period of inactivity. It has been long speculated (see page 212 of the Rodriguez dossier) that Jackson has a hiding place in the ruins of the Belle Marche Plantation.

It is certain that the guitarist for De La Croix, J.J., is in fact Jackson De La Croix. What is curious is that in the hundred or so shows observed by SAVE, no deaths that meet Jackson's former MO have been noticed. In fact no deaths at all have been recorded outside of random stabbing in the same bar after the show.

Physical Appearance: As usual he appears to be a medium-complexion African American man in his early 20s. The same penetrating stare is there and it gives you the impression that he does not blink enough.  He looks much like he did when he was the lead guitarist of Van Helsing.

Jackson De La Croix, WitchCraft RPG Stats

Strength: 5 Intelligence: 4
Dexterity: 8 Perception: 7
Constitution: 4 Willpower: 6

Life Points: 55 Endurance: N/A
Essence Pool: 97 Speed: 24

Skills: Play Instrument (guitar +9, all other stringed instruments +8 ) , Hand gun 3, Streetwise 6, Occult Knowledge 2
Qualities and Powers: Vampyre, Artistic Talent (guitars), Bard, Become Mist/Fog, Charisma 1, Contacts (Music industry), Hard to Kill, Increased Essence 6, Resources 4, Status 2, Semblance of Life, Time Stop
Drawbacks and Vulnerabilities: Aversions (Mint, Religious Symbols, Salt), Bloodthirst, Minority

Punch Damage: D4(2) x Strength
Kick Damage: D4(2) x (Strength+1)
Large Knife Damage: D4(2) x Strength. Damage Type: Slashing/Stabbing
Handgun, .22 caliber Damage: D4 x 2(4). Range: 3/10/20/60/120. Capacity: 8-10

Become Mist/Fog: One of Jackson more amazing powers is the ability to become mist or fog. Anytime he drops below 0 Life Points or below 5 Essence Points (or when he feels threatened) he can become a thick low-lying mist that moves at twice his normal speed. Jackson will then attempt to escape to a safe location. He has several plain wooden coffins stored away in safe houses in New Orleans, Nashville and Savannah, as well as one or two in smaller locales. He has a coffin in his standard gear, but knows that is the first place anyone will look. He disguises it as a crate to carry gear.

Note: Where did this Power Come From?
Not much is known about origin of this power. We do know from Rodriguez's research that Jackson's mother was a powerful Mambo and we do know there are reported, but undocumented, elemental powers among the Legbans. Was this a power Jackson had before becoming a vampyre or was something he developed later? Could this be an evolution of the Greater Shifting power? Further, careful, investigation is needed.

Religious Symbols: Jackson does not cower or flee from religious symbols like other vampyres, but he cannot come within 2.5 (1 meter) from them. He has the same reaction to Mint leaves (but not artificial mints) and Garlic. None of these have attracted any attention in a world where rock musicians will trash a room based on whether or not they got enough green M&Ms in their rooms.

Holy Burial: To permanently destroy Jackson one must perform a variation of the Holy Burial ritual described in the Mystery Codex. A wooden stake needs to be driven through Jackson's heart. His body must be placed in a plain wooden coffin (no other material will suffice) and taken to a crossroads by pallbearers. At the crossroads the coffin must be spun around at least three times. If one piece of the ritual is not done properly or is missing, Jackson will remain dead until the stake rots and he will then rise again to continue his façade of humanity. If every part of the ritual is followed to the letter then Jackson's spirit will pass to the Death Realms, never to return.

Essence Vampirism and Bloodthrist: Jackson De La Croix regains most of his essence during his concerts (has the Bard quality). Over the years he has perfected his performances to cause his audience to release almost imperceptible amounts of Essence (usually only one or two points per), but given that he plays to hundreds, even thousands, at a time, he can absorb a full two weeks worth of Essence per show. Of course Jackson will turn around and use Essence to power-up his performance, attract young ladies (usually several) to his dressing room, or typically enjoy the high that holding on to Essence gives. While in his Jammer days, De La Croix would go for the limelight and shun the backstage antics, as J.J. he provides a solid performance but remains an unknown element on the stage. His backstage antics are often sorid tabloid fodder. It is of course a ruse. De La Croix plays up this persona to distance himself from his previous ones. It also allows him to hide in plain sight as it were, no one thinks twice of some rock musician sleeping all day if he is rumored to be engaging in amorous activity with young groupies all night.

His Time Stop power is actually a Supernatural Quality/Power that causes a localized distortion of time perception, similar in many ways to the Mirage power. It costs 15 Quality/Power Points and 5 Essence Points for the first subjective minute and 2 Essence Points per subjective minute after that. So the drain someone in 5 minutes, Jackson spends 13 Essence Points.
Of course one might ask why he goes through the effort of using this power when he has better ways of getting Essence. Simply put Jackson enjoys the hunt. He has a taste for blood, particularly that of young females, and he enjoys the thrill of picking one girl out of the crowd to drain and doing it in front of everyone. Plus if Jackson does not feed at least once every two weeks he begins to loose Essence.
Like Mirage, this power ineffective against other supernatural creatures and those that can see Essence patterns.

Tuesday, June 24, 2014

The Spirit of '76

With all the talk last week of Chill and Pacesetter games it got me thinking again about this Chill/Cryptworld/Majus game I have been wanting to run.

It is set in the summer of 1976. July 1st to be precise.  The characters are all old acquaintances; possibly all S.A.V.E. envoys who had worked together in the past.  They have all been drawn to New York to stop something from happening.

I want to do it "24 style", that is intense adventures over a relative short space in time.  Basically four or five days.  I am not sure what it will be like yet but I do know that it has to have a few things:

- Take advantage of 70s tropes. Disco, the birth of Punk Rock, "Frampton Comes Alive" playing on every radio, drugs, NY street gangs and the like.  Plus have to do a bunch with 70s occultism.
- Have something to do with the American Bicentennial.
- Give it a 70s Hammer Horror feel. When Hammer moved away from the historical and "Hammer Hamlet" movies to more modern takes.
- Ideally I would LOVE to include a vampire.  Chill Vampires is one of my all time favorite books. Having a vampire in it would really be fun.
- Given the title there should at least be one ghost.

Now I have a Mutants & Masterminds idea I have been knocking around about Dracula in the 1970s. But I also see where using Elizabeth Bathory would be fun.

I have no end of good ideas, I just need to tie them together into a workable mini-campaign or long 5 part adventure.  If I get it all together it would make for a Gen Con game.

Monday, September 9, 2013

Cryptworld: Chilling Tales!

As many of you know I am a long, long time fan of the old Chill game.
I have also enjoyed the recent set of games using the "Pacesetter" system, Rotworld and Majus.
Well it is my pleasure to introduce you to the newest member of the Goblinoid Games Pacesetter Family.


I love the Jim Holloway art and the "Chilling Adventures into the Unexplained".

I just got my pre-release copy and it is awesome.  This plus Majus, Rot World and all my other Chill books should get me back in the mood for my "Spirit of '76" game.

I will get a proper review up soon.

Thursday, February 3, 2011

Season of the Witch: Interlude

Interlude: When Robert met Megan

Sunnydale, June 1976

"I am telling you I don't like this!" The man said for what may have been the twelfth time that evening. He was young, early or mid twenties. He still had the hair and mannerism of someone who had spent a lifetime in the military. In fact that is how he, Robert Maclay, got his current job as squad commander for S.A.V.E. He lit his cigarette and handed the lighter to his companion who lit his own.

"Well, too bad. Her orders came in from Dublin HQ and a fat all good it does talking to them. Sorry mate, she is our problem now."

"Well I for one have not spent the better part of a year and a half fighting god-knows-what just so I can invite a witch into my group" Robert swore.

"Cleanser." Came a feminine voice. "Cleanser or Craft-Worker, but never a Witch."

Both men turned around to see they had been joined a small, rather unassuming, but attractive woman. She was dressed in hip-hugging bell bottoms, sandals, and a tattered Led Zeppelin concert shirt. Her hair was long and blonde. She looked every bit like all the other California girls they had seen since coming to this hellhole of a town. She carried a burlap bag on one shoulder and wore sunglasses that covered half her face. She took them off to reveal sparkling blue eyes.

"Great." Bob replied. "I ask for a spirit removal expert and S.A.V.E. sends me a kid."

"Hey. I just graduated from Berkeley, I'm no kid. Besides you're like not much older than me anyway." She shot back.

"Oi. Don't listen to him." The other man rose to shake her hand, "Nigel. Nigel Delamort. Don't let the accent fool you, I'm French, not English. I just had the misfortune of having to grow up there. That over there is our fearless leader, Robert Maclay. Don't let the rough exterior fool you, deep down inside he is still every bit the humorless bastard we all know and love."

"Megan" the woman answered back, "Megan O'Kelly. Here are my papers. So. What brings S.A.V.E. to Sunnydale?"
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