Showing posts with label Appendix N. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Appendix N. Show all posts

Wednesday, August 26, 2020

#RPGaDAY 2020: Day 26 Strange

Again a couple ways to go.  

I could comment on these strange days, but I have other social media outlets for that.

I am going to comment on the #RPGaDAY2020 list itself in that these are a lot of strange words.  

Ok, I get it, Dave has been doing this a long time and maybe he is running out of words to use. but knowing and the work he has done in the past I highly doubt he is lacking in ideas. So I'll just put this here as my commentary and that's it.

Ok. Strange. Let's get to the meat of this.

Many of my contemporaries will point to Fritz Leiber, Robert E. Howard, Edgar Rice Burroughs, Tolkien, Moorcock, and Lovecraft as their main sources of inspiration to D&D.  While I share the Tolkien, Moorcock, and Lovecraft influences, I also add Clark Ashton Smith.

But those were not my only sources.

Dr. Strange and Tomb of Dracula

The 1970s were a strange time to be sure.  The 70s Occult Revival fueled my tastes in games in ways I never knew at the time and only saw in retrospect.  Case in point. Dr. Strange comics and Tomb of Dracula.  Both were favorites of mine but when Strange, along with Blade, would battle Dracula? Yeah, THAT was an adventure.  I wanted my games to have these epic world-changing battles that start small but then go on out to the cosmic scale.  Strange didn't just defeat Dracula. He destroyed all vampires.

I was already a huge horror fan at this point and Hammer Horror in particular. So these comics sent me searching more and more strange ideas for my games. I think by 1982 I had read every book of occultism in my local public library.  Creating a witch class was an inevitable conclusion at that point. 

When the Ravenloft module was released it found a no more welcome home than mine.

I have mentioned this in greater detail here.

Strange Stories, Amazing Facts

My copy
My parents were voracious readers. Books filled every corner of my home growing up and every room had at least one bookshelf, some like the living room had three. 

They, like many people of their generation, had a lot of Reader's Digest books. One, in particular, was Strange Stories, Amazing Facts.

This book should not by any stretch of the imagination be considered good literature or even good research. It is however good fun and a fun read. 

While the book is divided up into roughly chronological sections including one on the future, it was the past and the monsters of myth that always grabbed my attention.  Though flipping through it now that section on the end of the world would be fun to use.

For my birthday about 10 years ago my family found a copy and gave it to me.  Complete with original dust jacket (I am book snob and prefer my dust covers intact).

I have been asked in the past to assemble my own "Appendix N".  Maybe I'll do that one day.

Tuesday, September 24, 2019

Blog Ahead October Challenge 2019

I have not done a Blogfest/Challenge like this in a while.  Sure there was RPGaDAY back in August, but this is a purely Blogging challenge.

Anna over at Herding Cats & Burning Soup is hosting her annual Blog Ahead October Challenge.

The idea is to stack up some pre-written posts and get them ready to go for October.  The goal, of course, is to give me more time to put into future posts.  So am I not worrying about what to post on each day.  The posts will feel less like a driveby and hopefully be more engaging.

At least that is my goal.  I am going to be doing the October Horror Movie Challenge as well and those I like to write as soon as I can while the movie is still fresh in my mind.

Right now I have about 20 posts queued up, ready to go.  I am supposed to add 31 to that (for daily blogging) and end up with 51 posts for October.  Ok.  Let's see if I can make that!

You can see who else is participating and join your self if you like.
SIGN UP-- Blog Ahead October Challenge 2019







I am looking forward to it and hope I see some new readers.

Thursday, May 30, 2013

Jack Vance

Unless you have not read all your blog roll today you know that Jack Vance has died.
http://www.jackvance.com/

Vance was one of the Godfaters of D&D to be honest.  The "cast and forget" spell system D&D has used since day one is called a "Vancian Spell system".  The Lich Vecna is an anagram of Vance.  Ioun stones and a whole host of other things I am not thinking of too.

To me though the great contribution of Jack Vance to D&D is his Dying Earth series.  There is a feel to those books are are so D&D.  Even more so than say the worlds of Connan or Elric.
If you want another good source of inspiration, try his Lyonesse trilogy.  I remember these from the 80s and thought they had a style and sophistication above and beyond the dross I was reading then.

Indeed we mark the passing of another giant.

Friday, July 20, 2012

Games You Never Get to Play

When people talk about influences on their games and gaming life they typically mention the works of Fritz Leiber or Jack Vance or Tolkein or the other Appendix N names.

Not me.  Well, yes I have read those, but they were not biggest effect on my games.

My Appendix N is full of Hammer Horror and In Search Of... and any more dozens of bad-wrong-fun horror and occult material from the 70s.  It should be no surprise then that I gravitate towards games that let me do that sort of thing, Chill, Call of Cthulhu and of course WitchCraft.

But just as I am a product of 70's and 80's horror, there were other things going on then.  Still lots of "leftover hippie shit" as I used to call it.  Zodiacs, crystals, psychic powers.  All the stuff that gets mixed in with magic and the occult, plus aliens, Atlantis, secret societies, Erich von Däniken and all that.

Basically all the stuff left over when you take out the horror and the magic from the big occult boom of the 70's.

What has this have to do with gaming?

Lots!

There is one game I have always wanted to play but doubt that I ever will.

It's not a game per-se but rather a campaign.

The game is one set in the 70s where all the characters are teens.  They are also, unknown to them until the game starts, the children of the first successful alien-human hybrids.  They look completely human, but each one has unique pyschic powers.  No magic, all psychic.  The drama comes in when the teens discover what they are and the government comes in to take them to a secure facility.

So you can see where this gets it's genesis.  There were a ton of shows in the 70s about kids with powers or people being chased by the government.  I want to put it in the 70s so I can avoid cell phones, gps and the like.  Plus it was the last time teens could hitchhike across the US without people calling the cops.   I'd work in mysteries of Atlantis, crystals with magic powers, strange MIB agents, aliens out to kill them all that great stuff.  Setting it in the 70s also lets me bring in "future tech" like more powerful computers and things we use today.

The list of influences of this game go on and on.  Basically I'd go to Wikipedia's Psuedoscience category and pick and choose.

My game system of choice would be Conspiracy X since I can use most of the mythos intact.  The Unexplained would also work well as would a low powered Mutants & Masterminds game.  Something like Damnation Decade, but with more danger and horror, and none of the alt-history.

I'd love to play it or even write it.  But I doubt I'll have the time.
If I were to write it all out I'd call it "Star Child" sounds very 70s.

What games or campaigns do you really want to play but don't think you will?
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