Showing posts with label Call of Cthulhu. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Call of Cthulhu. Show all posts

Wednesday, August 9, 2017

Star Trek RPG Operations Manual

I am working on my limited run Trek game to start in October.  I have decided on my base system(s).  I am going with my "Black Star" idea with Starships & Spacemen as my main set of rules and adding in "Basic Era" ideas when and where I can.   Nothing against White Star, and I will use it as well, I just want something closer to Trek than to Star Wars.
I also want to use material from the Basic Psionics book.

Here is what I have so far.


Since I am using this ship I wanted to honor it's genesis. So there is a mix, at least in the first adventure of Trek and Galaxy Quest.  At least for the first act.  THEN it becomes Trek. Or rather Trek if "Where No One Has Gone Before" was replaced by "Event Horizon".
Afterall it is good enough for Jason Issacs.


The Klatuu Nebula Shipyards is not only a nod to Galaxy Quest, is also a nod to "When the Earth Stood Still" and even a side nod to "Army of Darkness".  Commander Taggart is now Commodore Taggart.  Since I need a high-level Starfleet officer to get things moving.

The "pilot" episode deals with Taggert and his band of Thermian engineers having been given 22 derelict Ambassador class ships to retro-fit with the new Triberyllium Warp-13 drive.  Many of the ships have failed and one has gone missing with all hands (trying not to be too Babylon 5 here) so now this ship, The Protector, is ready to go and Taggart has taken over command.  There is one other ship that is functional, The Mystic (another nod to it's genesis).

Here are the books (so far).


The Core Rules.


The Lovecraftian Terror.


Mostly for the Mutants.


And Apes...in SPAAACE!  Because why not.

While I have most of these in POD and Dead Tree retail versions, I wanted to print them out so I can scribble in my notes and make the changes I want.   Make them all more "Trek".

For starters, I am converting everything to Metric.  Starships are not measured in feet! They are measured in meters!  I am going with the rough 5 feet = 1.5 meters.  So I have to fix all of those first.

Plus I really like the idea of using the the Basic-era system for this.  Star Trek, the shows not so much the RPGs, are usually fast and loose with skills.  Data can do X, Y, and Z well because he is Data.  The characters will be the same way.  So simple ability checks are fine here.

Also, I need to add some Trek RPG material from various editions.  Not sure what yet, but certainly some material from my FASA Trek books.  I'll have to run them off on the copier for this.

I am setting it well past the TNG/DS9/VOY time.  Though I would still like to use these uniforms somehow.   Maybe I could do it 20 years before TNG.  I am not really planning on using many races from TNG.  I'll see what my players want.

The adventures will not really be Trek adventures per se, but more Call of Cthulhu ones.


Right now I am thinking a short run. Maybe five adventures.  A mini-series really.

Tuesday, July 18, 2017

Star Trek: Horror and the Old Ones

Somewhere in the Galaxy, the stars are right!

I got the new Modiphius Star Trek game the other day. I am not ready for a review, yet, but there is a lot of great stuff in the game.

It got me thinking about my terrible, horrible idea to mix Trek with the Lovecraftian Mythos and do a horror based Star Trek game.  I talked about this last year with my ship idea, the USS Protector, NCC-3120 and my idea for a Black Star game.



One of my favorite episodes of the TOS was "Catspaw" which naturally had some serious horror themes to it.  It is also notable for two other reasons.  First, it was written by Robert Bloch. Bloch not only wrote "Psycho" he wrote one of my other favorite TOS episodes "Wolf in the Fold".  He was associated with the Mythos circle through writers like  August Derleth and Clark Ashton Smith.  Lovecraft's own character of "Robert Blake" was dedicated to Robert Bloch.  So his connection is as solid as they get.

Catspaw is interesting for another reason.  The main antagonists, Korob and Sylvia, are referred to as "Servants of the Old Ones".  There is no reason to doubt that these Old Ones are not the same as Lovecraft's. The idea of having the Mythos in Star Trek has appeal.  It also is not entirely foreign to Star Trek cannon.

Trek has dipped into horror many times over the last 50 years.  Here are some of the episodes I am using for inspiration.

"Wolf in the Fold" also has strong horror elements and postulates that Jack the Ripper was actually "possessed" by a malign alien intelligence known as "Redjac".  While Jack the Ripper is not Mythos, an alien intelligence is.  It is also one of my favorites too.



"Conspiracy" was one of the few stand-out episodes of the first season of TNG.  It dealt with an alien brain parasite invading the Federation.  It is too bad they never followed up on it more.  Given the time frame I am wanting to play in it is likely I won't be either, but still a great resource.

"The Man Trap" (TOS) scared the crap out of me when I first saw it. Ok, I was 6 or 7, but still.  I love the idea of an enemy that looks like everyone else.

"Schisms". This sixth season TNG episode put the alien abduction scenario to the test with aliens from a "tertiary subspace manifold" or for all intents and purposes, another dimension or universe.

"Night Terrors" from TNG's fourth season shows us what will happen if the crew can't dream.  Personally I wanted to Crusher to be a little more immune to this situation. I am sure she once had to do a 48 hour shift at Starfleet Medical back when she was an intern!

"The Magicks of Megas-tu" from the Animated Series deals with magic and witches. While not the horror implied by the Mythos, there is something to this that helps bring magic and science together.

And really, couldn't the monster from "The Thing" been a wounded Founder?

Dark Elf or Romulan cultist?
Over the years I have developed a few Trek adventures for different versions of the game. But mostly for the FASA version.

"Ghost Ship" was my pastiche of the Flying Dutchman featuring the Enterprise-B (long before I knew it was going to be an Excelsior class ship).
"Citadel of Never" was a similar adventure to a dead ship in a dead star system.
After "Event Horizon" came out I wanted to run a Trek adventure just like it, only replacing the ship with a Romulan one.

I love the idea of a fresh group of new Federation explorers running head first into the horrors of the Mythos.  Maybe they find Azatoth in the center of the galaxy or get a distress call from a planet near Yamil Zacara.

Sounds like a fun Halloween themed session.

Tuesday, December 13, 2016

More Trek

Working on some more ideas for my Trek game.   I spent some time last night talking to my Trek-loving son and came up with some ideas.

I want to put this between the TOS and TNG shows.  Sometime around 2344 or later, maybe the 2350s. There is nothing that I know of going on then.
The timeline in my games might be altered, maybe not to the extent of the "Kelvin" Universe of the new movies, but some other things.
For starters I want to use these uniform variants.


Though I might swap the colors for the TNG assignments. We know the red uniforms from WoK were still being used in 2250 though with TNG style com badges.

Still planning on using an "experimental" ship.  I am going to severely limit how the transporters are used I know that much.

Now MY big plot point that has nothing to do with the play test.

My son says you judge how good the playtest is by the number of coffee stains!
I know I should be ashamed (or shamed) for doing this, but I REALLY want to do "Trek + Cthulhu".

For my first adventure "Where No One Has Gone Before..."  (might change that) the new ship is taking it's first run using the new engines.  They are pushed to Warp 13 (I know...stay with me) and they end up in orbit over a dead planet orbiting the star Thuban, Alpha Draconis, 303 light years away.  Here they encounter Mythos-creatures, ones that now know of their existence.
I get the crew back to the Alpha Quadrant (I am not redoing Voyager) but now this new threat is on them.

I want to have an Admiral or Commodore on my ship for the first adventure. He is the one that betrays the Federation to the Old Ones.  I want to keep him alive, but deeply insane, they will need him later.

Not sure what will happen to be honest.
As my wont I REALLY want to give this a 70s feel.  Why?  Well TOS was an artifact of the late 60s and TNG was very much part of the late 80s, so it seems natural to me to make this feel like something from the late 70s.  While it is still Trek, I am going to liberally steal ideas from the old Buck Rodgers series that was on NBC (I know, it was the early 80s) and the original Battlestar Galactica.  Plus I can use some trippy ass occult stuff from the 70s. The so called "left over hippy shit".  Crystals, psychic powers, all of that.   I have plenty of ideas; things I have been playing around with for White Star.

Right now I have more ideas than structure.  So I am going to keep at it for a bit.

Friday, October 28, 2016

Reviews: Leagues of Gothic Horror Guides (and a Kickstarter)

Yesterday I went on (and on) about my love for the Triple Ace Games' Ubiquity-powered Leagues of Gothic Horror.   Today I want to focus on a few of the supplements from the Kickstarter.

In all cases, I am reviewing the dead tree and PDF versions of the books. I purchased these via the Kickstarter they had a while back.   All links are affiliate links. No review was solicited or expected outside of me emailing the author to say "hey,  I am reviewing your books" a couple of days ago.


Leagues of Adventure - Globetrotters' Guide to London
Softcover book. Full-color cover, black & white interior art. 78 pages.
A great sourcebook for the Leagues of Adventure game this covers the City (and County) of London in the 1890s.  The bulk of the book is devoted to a "tour" around London pointing out places of interest.  There are also sections on the police force, entertainment, and transportation.  The book is largely fluff free (ie not much in the way of games stats) so it immediately has utility for a wide variety of games. Even the adventure hooks for London are game-stats free. Most of the game-related material comes in the form of detailing various NPCs and archetypes, but there is enough flavor test to still make them usable in other games too.
This is a well-researched guide and extremely useful.  If you are playing a London-based Leagues of Adventure, Leagues of Gothic Horror or Leagues of Cthulhu game then I say pick this up.

Leagues of Gothic Horror: Guide to Black Magic
(currently on sale at DriveThru RPG)
Softcover book. Full-color cover, black & white interior art. 64 pages.
Set up in a similar fashion to all of TAG's "Guide to" books, this covers Black Magic and "Wickedness".  This book is fairly setting specific, so it has more game stats than some of the other guides.  I still found it to be a fantastic read and can't wait to try some of this out in my next Ubquity game.  The book covers a brief history of "black magic" practices around the world.  Later (Chapter 2) we move into why someone might take up this sort of power.  Fiendish lairs are also discussed since in the tried and true traditions of both Gothic and Pulp fiction every bad guy needs a lair.
The next three chapters I found the most interesting, they are respectively, Power, Demons and Evil NPCs.  So much great stuff here that I really could spend dozens of sessions working through all the ideas this has given me.  In particular, I have a Ghosts of Albion adventure that would work so much better with some of the ideas here. I am going to have to re-run now under Ubiquity to see.
For a small book it packs a lot of punch.

Leagues of Gothic Horror: Guide to Apparitions
(currently on sale at DriveThru RPG)
Softcover book. Full-color cover, black & white interior art. 64 pages.
Set up in a similar fashion to all of TAG's "Guide to" books, this covers ghosts and the damned.  Again, this is fairly setting specific but a lot of the material here is drawn from myths and legends from around the world, so first of there should be something in this book that everyone recognizes. Secondly there is plenty in this book that everyone can use.
The first third of the book covers why ghosts happen and their nature. This is followed by the means of disposing of these pests and some of the powers that they have.  The last third (more like half) covers new monsters and some very specific ghosts.  Frankly it is worth the cover price for the ghost of Lady Macbeth alone.
I once said in a game at Gen Con that are more ghosts in London than living people.  This book helps prove my point rather nicely.
Another really solid buy.



Also don't forget about TAG's newest Kickstarter, Leagues of Cthulhu.  Yeah the name is awkward, but it does tell you exactly what this is about.  My youngest son, who is turning into quite a Lovecraft fan, really wants this game.
You add on any other "Leagues of..." book you like.


Wednesday, October 5, 2016

Plays Well With Others: Victorious and Victorian-era Games

Time once again for another chapter of Plays Well With Others.

Between some games there are often rivalries, heated debates, or even outright distaste.  Some games even have that between editions.
Not so for Victorian-era games.  We, the aficionados of such pastimes, fancy ourselves more genteel Lords and Ladies.  We generally get along and support each other and celebrate each other's successes.  This can be seen in the Facebook groups Victorian Gamers Association and +Jordan Bodewell's Victorian Adventure Enthusiast.

So today it will my pleasure to discuss how you can use Victorious with various other Victorian-era RPGS.

Note and Disclaimers: 1. I am making no attempt whatsoever to hide my biases here. 2. All books are mine. No book was provided for review purposes. 3. Links are affiliate links. 4. This will not be exhaustive.

Shall we begin?

Tho star with let's talk about what Victorious brings to the table that is unique. This is not just a Steampunk game or a game of Victorian daring-do. This is a game of Super-humanity from a Victorian point of view.  This is the writing of Friedrich Nietzsche writ-large with more hope, action, and steam. These are the promises of the ideas, but not the letter of, Charles Darwin.  The attitude is generally positive (which mind you can be a criticism of the game, the Victorian times were dirty, poor and generally terrible for many).
Victorious, true to it's name, is about striving for more and then seeing that goal realized.
If you go back to my review from yesterday you will see right off the cuff there are a few things that can easily be added to any Victorian game from Victorious.
1. The timeline
2. Background on the Victorian world, with various organizations.
3. The NPCs, in particular, the villains.

Many of the games I am talking about will also have these, but using them in concert makes for a better game.

Leagues of Adventure
Right off the bat Victorious has a LOT in common with Leagues of Adventure. Both games have similar motives and design goals.  Where Victorious can be summed up, though inadequately, as "Victorian Superheroes", Leagues of Adventure is summed up as "Victorian High Adventure".  Both have simlar Pre-Pulp sensibilities, and both have the point of view of Mankind will soon be much better.  I think the main difference to me is summed up by think how the characters could travel from London to New York in each game.  In Victorious the character would either fly by some sort of super-human means (in addition to other means) in LoA the characters would pilot a steam powered airship.
The timelines of both games are largely compatible and characters in one would feel right at home in the other game.


Could you imagine a team up of these characters?  I totally can.
The power levels of LoA are a little flatter than Victorious'.  Character start out and remain largely human-powered.  LoA has more skills, but Victorious' rules are a little faster on how skills are dealt with.  The GM of one game should find a lot material in the other game to give them plenty of ideas.

Victoriana
If Victorious is about super-humanity, then Victoriana is about weird-humanity and others.   Regardless of which edition you have/buy (1st Edition is pictured below), Victoriana is a little further on the "Castle Falkenstein" scale of Fantasy Victoriana than Victorious is.  It also takes place in the mid-Victorian era compared to Victorious' ever-popular late-Victorian era.


Victoriana is often described as Gaslight-Shadowrun. This is true. There are also plenty of other races like orcs, trolls, ogres, gnomes, elves (Eldren) and dwarves running around.  Victoriana is a fun game, but I sometimes wonder what it would be like under a different rule system.


Well not exactly like that...but you could fake a really cool Victoriana by mixing Victorious with Castles & Crusades. It would be a system that most of my readers would already be familiar with and still get at some similar types of game-play.  I would then advise GMs to grab some of the 3rd Edition Victoriana supplements.  Most of them are written with a minimum of game stats and all are absolutely beautiful.
While reading over Victorious I could not help but think of this picture from 1st Edition Victoriana.


This appendix in Victoriana covers very well what mixing 21st-century super-heroes with 19th-century sensibilities would be like.  It is a good read for anyone running a Victorious game.

In our hypothetical trip from London to New York, our Victoriana characters also travel by Airship, though it is not steam powered, but rather some eldritch magic.  Or they find an ancient Eldren gate.

Victoria
On the WAAAY other end of the "Castle Falkenstein Scale" is +Daniel Hodges' Victoria.  Victoria is very much set in the "real world". It is, however, a game I always suggest since it deals with the issues of the Victorian times better than pretty much every other game. Why? Because those issues are the focus of the game.   IF as a GM you really want to get a feel of the times then this is the game to use.  In fact, I have often wanted to run this game as an introduction game.  Everything is nice (well...not really nice) and normal then move on to the Fantastic game of choice once the characters learn of the "true world".


To travel to New York from London in this game you better book passage on a steamer and with some luck you will get there in about a week.

NOTE to FUTURE GAME DESIGNERS
We have now used up all versions of "Victoria" for a game!



Baker Street
On the same scale as Victoria is the Sherlock Holmes influenced Baker Street by +Bryce Whitacre.  Baker Street is set in "normal" Victorian times, albeit, one with Sherlock Holmes as a real person.  Victorious also has the world's most famous detective.  GMs should pick up a copy of Baker Street if Sherlock is going to play any part in their Victorious game.  Plus the clue-resolution system in Baker Street is fantastic and is something that can be lifted out to use in any game.
I will go as far as to say that Baker Street is one of those underrated games that should really get much more attention and many more awards.


Again. Steamer ship, arrive one week later.

Let's go to the other side of the scale into more Horror.  It is October after all.

Masque of the Red Death
Ravenloft Masque of the Red Death shares a lot of DNA with Victorious.  Either the d20/3rd edition or the original 2nd edition would work fine here.  I have already mentioned that you can mix Victorious with Tainted Lands and get something not unakin to Ravenloft Masque of the Red Death. Both games have several compliments to each other. Both have great and well-researched timelines. Both games have a great variety of NPCs and Villians. In fact, most of the material from one game can be used with the other with little fuss.  The big issues though are what does the Red Death mean in Victorious and how do super-humans work in Masque of the Red Death.  If you want to add some Gothic Horror to Victorious this is where I would start.   I for one would pick up MotRD's A Guide to Transylvania in a heartbeat to use with this.



Gaslight
Not too far away from Masque of the Red Death, but further up on the CF scale (this is a thing now) is Gaslight.  Gaslight is cut from the same cloth as Masque.  Since it is OGL/d20 it mixes with Victorious well.  I would argue that the system in Victorious/Castles & Crusades is better than d20 for this, but use some ideas from Gaslight to add a little more horror to your game.



Ghosts of Albion
In truth, Victorious and Ghosts of Albion are very, very different games.  Victorious takes place in the late Victorian era, Ghosts in the early. There are plenty of known superhuman and supernatural occurrences in Victorious. In Ghosts everything is hidden behind a veil of secrecy and magic.
But both games have a number of complimentary features.  First, if you plan to run one game in the other's time frame then both have good, detailed timelines.  Magic is a main feature of Ghosts, so if you are planning to add some more magical juice to Victorious then this is a good place to start.
I bet I could put together a "Protector" class for Victorious.  Mix in some details from Amazing Adventures and I could have a Ghost, Faerie and Vampire races for it as well.
Otherwise, the Magic quality is easily replicated by Victorious' Magicians.



One day I'll run an ultimate Victorian game with elements of these games plus Space: 1889 and Cthulhu by Gaslight.  Something truly epic.

Friday, March 18, 2016

Kickstart Your Weekend: Five for Friday

Lots to talk about today, so without further ado.

Classic Edition GM Screen
from +Richard LeBlanc and  New Big Dragon Games Unlimited.


I have been waiting for this one for some time now ever since Richard first teased it.


Sherwood: The Legend of Robin Hood
from +Jonathan Thompson and Battlefield Press


This one looks interesting. I enjoy the Robin Hood legends and this is multi-stated for 5th Ed, S&W and Pathfinder.


Baker Street RPG: Jack the Ripper and Missions from Mycroft
from +Bryce Whitacre


I played Baker Street at Gen Con and it was a fun time.  This looks like an excellent addition to the game.  Honestly with the way Baker Street works this could be an excellent addition to ANY Victorian-era game.


Sandy Petersen's Cthulhu Mythos for Pathfinder


Sandy Petersen knows Lovecraft.  To see this for Pathfinder is a real treat!  And this one looks so good.


Hollow Earth Expeditions: Perils of Mars
by +Jeff Combos


I enjoy the heck out of the HEX books.  This one looks like a ton of fun too!



Thursday, April 23, 2015

PWWO: A Red & Pleasant Land + Victorian Games

The print version with ribbon.
I don't think there are many of these left.
Time for another edition of Plays Well With Others!

A while back I picked up +Zak Smith's vampire-themed Alice in Wonderland mashup (though that does not really describe it) A Red & Pleasant Land.  It is well reviewed and you can read my review here: http://theotherside.timsbrannan.com/2014/12/review-red-pleasant-land.html

What got me at the time is a.) how much I liked it and b.) how much I didn't want to play it under D&D (any version).  I started thinking about Alice, Dracula and this book   I thought that what this book really needs is not a background of fantasy, even the Grimdark of LotFP or DCC, but the prim and proper sensibilities of a more refined time. Victorian England.

Think about it.  I described the country, Voivodja, in AR&PL as Nightmare scape. Not an overt one like say the Hells, but a subtle one, and mostly a chaotic one.  What a better contrast to the streets of fog soaked Victorian London?  After all Voivodja isn't in our world, it's out there somewhere; down a rabbit hole or through the looking glass.  Through a looking glass darkly.  OR if it is, maybe it is an odd mirror.  Page 14 of AR&PL will give you ideas. The difference now is that we are all using the same world. Unless your D&D game is set in Europe of course, then you are ahead.

There are a lot of great choices for games to use this with and each offers something special I think.


Cthuhlu by Gaslight


Cthuhlu by Gaslight is one of the best Victorian era magical games out there. CbG has rules, via Call of Cthuhlu, for dealing with the Dreamlands. This is a good way to get characters from the "real world" to Voivodja.  Now Voivodja could be in our Carpathian Mountains or they could be in the analogue in the Dream lands.  Who knows.
One thing I would suggest is get a good grip on the Sanity rules and how to apply them using AR&PL.  There are things here that could be abused and drive the characters completely insane.  I say use them sparingly; instead focus on the weirdness of it all.  Not the mind bend weirdness typically one associates with the mythos.  Translations of monsters would not be hard.  Though the average CoC/CbG game is more about investigation. There is more doing in AR&PL, even if that doing isn't always combat.  Though they both have that in common.

Ghosts of Albion



I think there are plenty of good reasons to use Ghosts of Albion.  First the there is more expectation that characters will do more in GoA than in CoC.  Again monsters are easy to convert; most are in the Ghosts core book or could be found in any of the Buffy books.  Secondly let's address the elephant in the room.  Zak may not have meant Alice to come off as an ersatz Slayer, but she kind of is.  Or rather the Alice is the trope that the "Buffy" is trying to set up. All I am saying is that thematically they work well together or even as each other.  Alices are not Protectors, but they can be weaker Slayers or Chosen Ones (Army of Darkness) in any case the rules in GoA have it covered.
Alice's would get extra Drama Points (I would say 2 extra at starting).  The leveling up table would be used for every 25 XP gained.  Just allow her to take the appropriate Supernatural Qualities.

The Alice would be a 5-Point Supernatural Quality. I'd have to work out what is in it, likely bonuses to Charisma, Hard to Kill, but some drawbacks too.  Nothing major and nothing more than 5 points.
The more magic-rich world of Ghosts works well for AR&PL too.  And between Ghosts' Supernatural rules, Angel's demon rules and Buffy's vampires you could make every type of vampire in the book and then some.


Ravenloft: Masque of the Red Death


This of course might the best fit.  Ravenloft, Masque of the Red Death is set on Earth in the Victorian era.  It uses the same D&D system as AR&PL. Plus a lot of the changes that LotFP made to D&D can also be found in this book. Specialists are called Tradesmen in MotRD.  While the other two can be "easily converted" this one does not have to be converted at all.  You can even use the Alice as is.
Plus a lot of the strangeness in AR&PL can be explained by the power known as The Red Death.  I would opt for the 2nd Edition version pictured here as opposed to the 3.x update from Arthaus/SSS/White Wolf.   In fact going back through my Masque books I think this might be the one I would use for this.
You could travel the Orient Express and end up in A Red & Pleasant Land.

In any of the above cases I am much more excited to run this than under D&D or a clone.

Wednesday, November 6, 2013

White Dwarf Wednesday #86

February 1987 gives us White Dwarf #86.  The cover looks like it is an older style than the others.  Closer look shows it is from 1978.  Mike Brunton gives us a long editorial on how WD is made.

Open Box hits us up with The Price of Freedom from West End Games.  In my mind this was the golden age of WEG, or just when they get the Star Wars game.  The Price of Freedom is one their big games, though I never cared for it.  For starters it has the same problem that the movie "Red Dawn" had, that the idea of Soviets invading America was crazy at best.  Ashley Shepherd likes the game, but hopes it is tongue-in-cheek.  Other items include Paranoia HIL SECTOR Blues and Hawkmoon.  I have talked about Paranoia before.  Hawkmoon the game suffers the same problems that Hawkmoon the novels has. Namely, the problem is "it is not Elric".   Hawkmoon is played as a game, but it can be played as a supplement to Stormbringer. Hawkmoon, like the books, deals with more tech than magic.
For D&D we have Adventures in Blackmoor adventure DA1 and for AD&D The Book of Lairs, the revised Player Character Record Sheets and Night of the Seven Swords for Oriental Adventures.   I can honestly say I still have a number of my original sheets left over.  I never owned DA1, but I have always wanted run it.  I picked it up just recently, but have not read through it all.

Critical Mass has an interesting book among all the others.  The Vampire Lestat is reviewed and enjoyed.  About this time I also read The Vampire Lestat and I thought it was brilliant. Right here folks is the start of the Vampire the Masquerade.  Some where around this time Mark Rein·Hagen would form his first company and the RPG market would soon change forever.  Interestingly I read "Lestat" before I knew about "Interview with a Vampire" so I always had a better opinion of Lestat than my friends that had read it.
People have complained that this was the start of the "pretty boy" vampire craze.
Well. They would be wrong.
Lestat is still a monster, he kills and he relishes in being a hunter.  Eight years prior we had Frank Langella on stage and in the movies as uber-sexed Dracula, so the evolution of vampire as monster to sex object had been going on a while. Arguably since Stoker and even Carmilla.  Saying otherwise is ignoring the facts.
Now Twilight...yeah that is garbage.  But that's not Anne Rice's fault.

Curse of the Bone is a modern Call of Cthulhu adventure for 2-5 investigators. It looks fun and I like the modern twist to it.  For some reason the "used car dealer/cultist" made me laugh.  But it is also a good adventure in showing that relatively "minor" monsters can make for a great story.  "Lovecraftian" does not always mean elder gods and tentacles.

Open Box is back for some more, this time talking about all 14 of the D&D Dragonlance Modules. Dragonlance gets a bad rap among the Grognards out there. Some of it earned, but most of it is typical "get off my lawn" crap.  Yes they were rail-roady, but the were, as this article points out, epic.  Gordan Taylor does mention that classical role-playing is limited in these modules and no character development outside of what the modules dictate.  But I don't recall Grognards being that interested in character developemnt in the first place.   The modules can be played as "Strict AD&D" as the author mentions, but they are deadly and don't expect things to end well.  Maybe that is what we need (and it must be due to my 6.5 hours of meetings yesterday and my migraine today that I am even suggesting this) is a Grimmdark Dragonlance.  Instead of the Heroes of the Lance, run your typical Murder Hobos through it.  Go all out and use Dungeon Crawl Classics.   I never played these modules back in the day, but my younger brother's group did and they had a great time.  Maybe that is the selling point of these to my generation (and the generation before me) "Dragonlance, it is great for your little brother".

Illuminations is a new feature. It features the art of a particular artist.  This month is Ian Miller.  I would have loved to have seen this in earlier issues to be honest.  But with my impression of WD's art budget I am not sure they could have done this before now.

In what seems like a contradiction on the order of "Grimdark Dragonlance" Phil Gallagher gives us Warhammer Fantasy player character stats for Gnomes in Out of the Garden.

There is a new team for Blood Bowl, the Skaven Scramblers. They are the mutant by-blows of giant rats. The background information on the Skaven is actually kind of cool.  Think of a society of giant rats, like Splinter from TMNT, only warped by religion and placed into strict castes. And plenty of random mutations. So more like the twisted child of Splinter and the Rat King from The Nutcracker.  They would be fun for AD&D/OSR.

It's a Kind of Magic tries to bring magic and tech closer together in your FRPGs. Interesting the article advises against bring magic into technological games and gives a number reasons why it is a bad idea.  It is as if the designers of ShadowRun read the article, laughed and then broke all the rules.  Though this article really concerns itself with tech in a magic world.

'Eavy Metal has a number of great looking minis.  I took a look at a much newer WD recently. I am not sure if the painting of minis has gotten better or the photography is better.  I am not saying that the ones here in issue 86 are bad; far from it.  But they don't look as polished as the ones from newer issues.  I am guessing there is some Photoshop involved too.

Dogs of War covers mercenaries for AD&D (or any FRPG). The article is an interesting one because it not only instructs how to use them, but how they were used. For example you won't see mercenaries randomly killing people; that's bad for business.  I think the trouble is that what most players think of as mercenaries is more defined by fantasy novels and comic books than history.   The authors suggested reading Fredderick Forsyth's "Dogs of War" for more insight.

We get an article on time travel in Judge Dredd.  The article is mostly fluff.

Letters. Followed by Gobbledigook and then ads.

Not an inspiring issue, but set off for me with the CoC adventure and the extended product review of the Dragonlance modules.   While I expected my interest in these later magazines to drop off after issue 80, I am still finding tidbits I like and can use.

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