Showing posts with label DP&D. Show all posts
Showing posts with label DP&D. Show all posts

Friday, November 6, 2020

Kickstart Your Weekend: Dark Places & Demogorgons 5e

Ok, now this one has my attention!

Dark Places & Demogorgons 5e

Dark Places and Demogorgons for 5e
https://www.kickstarter.com/projects/jiangshi/dark-places-and-demogorgons-5e?ref=theotherside

Spend ANY time here and you know that I love Dark Places & Demogorgons.

This seems like a perfect match for anyone that is a fan of D&D really.
Go to the page, read up and then back it.  It is going to be great!


Thursday, November 5, 2020

Plays Well With Others: Kids Games, Dark Places & Demogorgons

Last week I talked about an Other Side perennial favorite, Dark Places & Demogorgons and using it as a central feature of a generational game. Today I want expand on that idea a little more.  While this is a "Plays Well With Others" and I normally use that to talk about how the subject be used in conjunction with a lot of other, maybe unrelated, games.  Today I am going to focus exclusively on Dark Places & Demogorgons and NIGHT SHIFT: Veterans of the Supernatural Wars, but there is no reason why the same logic could not apply to say Kids on Bikes/Brooms and other modern supernatural games like Dark Streets & Darker Secrets.

Reminder: Dark Places & Demogorgons 5e is having a Kickstarter RIGHT NOW to update DP&D to the 5th edition of D&D.  Go. Pledge now and come back here. 

Playing Kids' Games

Dark Places & Demogorgns (DP&D) is fantastic. Full Stop. But, I should say a little more than that, and I have and I will. I have even dedicated other PWWO to their Cryptid Manual.

DP&D is a "Stranger Things" like game of playing kids in the 80s, early and mid-80s in particular, when the audience for this game was the age at the time their characters would be.  It is a great game that captures a time that many remember as simpler (though I also remember trying to get "online" with a 300 baud (bps) modem...nothing simple about that!) time. 

That is the main focus of the game, playing kids and 80s kids in particular.  But that is not all it can do.  It is a great game of "mild" supernatural terror.  A lot less than Call of Cthulhu, or even Chill, but greater than say Scooby-doo or Ghostbusters. For me, it is exactly the sort of shenanigans I wish I could have gotten in to.  You know, but minus all the death. 

But let's say for example you don't play DP&D (and why not?) you play something like NIGHT SHIFT that deals with more adult matters? Not R or X rated mind you or even bills and jobs, just people over 18.  What can a game like DP&D do for you?

DP&D is such a delight. It really is. I am very fond of this game and I still enjoy playing it.  On the surface it looks like DP&D and NIGHT SHIFT could be used to tell the same sorts of stories, and that is true to a degree, but that really underplays what makes both games special.  

NIGHT SHIFT covers adults in a very dangerous supernatural modern world.

Dark Places & Demogorgons covers kids in a very dangerous supernatural world of the 1980s.

Getting the Characters to Play Well With Others

It seems to be an unpopular topic among old-schoolers, but new gamers love this stuff. They want to know about their character's backstory, what they did when they were younger.  Even down to things like what their favorite foods are, who was their childhood crush, and more.  Personally, I think it is fun as hell and I love that these newer players have so much excitement for their characters and games.

But how can an old guy like me do that and still stay true to my own roots?

Easy.  Take my characters and play them as kids.  There are a few ways to make this work.

The Flashback

This is the technique used in the Stephen King movie "It" and a couple of times on Supernatural. 

Take your NIGHT SHIFT characters and re-do them as DP&D characters.  Something I mentioned before, and it is true here as well, do not try to make a one to one correspondence between the classes. Think about yourself, what you were, and what you were doing when you were 13 vs. now.  I would not be the same "class" at all.  In fact, this is part of the fun.  What was your character back then that made them who they are now?  Were the actions of the DP&D game what made your character into who they are now?  OR, and I will admit this is a favorite, was the event so traumatic that your adult character forgot it so you have to replay it as a kid.

The forgotten flashback is a good way to build some background and then they can get XP or perk once they remember.  So in a NIGHT SHIFT based game, I'd give a character some perk from DP&D related to their "kid" class.  Nothing to unbalance the game, but certainly something to add to each character. Making them something a little "more" than they were before.

Lifespan Development

Another great option is to start as a kid in DP&D and progress to the logical end (18) and then pick up as an adult, maybe a couple of years later even, in NIGHT SHIFT.

Again, there is not a good one to one class correspondence between the games and nor would I want there to be.  A Jock (DP&D) might end up as a Veteran (NS) or even as a Chosen One (NS).  In truth, I would give any DP&D kid character some "free" levels in Survivor but allow them to keep some of the perks of their original DP&D class.  So Goths still see ghosts, Karate Kids still kick ass, and so on.  

This is the option for people that want a rich backstory for their characters, but don't want to write it, they want to live it.

Age Regression

There are also a few ways to do this one. In Star Trek: The Next Generation there was a great episode "Rascals" where Picard, Ensing Ro, Keiko O'Brein, and Guinan were transformed into pre-teens due to a "transporter accident".  Their bodies were de-aged, but their minds were the same. 

In the third season of Charmed the episode "Once Upon a Time" did it the other way around; the cast stayed in their own adult bodies but their minds were like children.  They needed to do this because only children can see fairies.   In this case, it was a spell and this also makes it more useful for your NIGHT SHIFT game.  Your character stays the same, but not your mental attributes are DP&D.

Alternate Reality

Finally, one I have been using a lot lately is an alternate reality/timeline.  In this one the characters are children.  It's not necessarily the same character, but certainly the same character in a different situation. 

Case in point I run a "Sunny Valley, OH" game is an alternate version of my Buffy RPG.  Same characters (mostly) but the differences are the characters are all younger than they were in the show/RPG, they are set in the ironically names Sunny Valley, Ohio instead of Sunnydale, CA, and it is set in DP&D's proper 1980s instead of the late 1990s/early 2000s.

Pulling it Together: The Characters

One of my better examples and I have a few, would be my versions of Willow and Tara for both NIGHT SHIFT (my "The Dragon and the Phoenix" timeline) and DP&D (my "Sunny Valley, OH" timeline).

This split allows me to different things, have different sorts of adventures, tell different sorts of stories. 


Can I do this all in one system? Of course. Especially for a game like NIGHT SHIFT.  BUT changing the system allows me to do two things. It allows me to give the different times/ages a different feel via the system.  Do I feel the same way now as I did in the 1980s? No. Do I do things the same way? No.  The mechanics are a good way to reflect it. 

It also allows me to force the players to feel the experience as being different.  ESPECIALLY if it is a game that is similar but slightly different. Like NIGHT SHIFT and DP&D are.  Combat is largely the same for example, but saves are different. Skills are different.  This difference helps mimic the feel of being younger and not always knowing what to do or how to do it. 

I have always said a "rising tide raises all ships."  Other designers/games are not my competitors, they are my colleagues. Playing games from other designers gives me new insights into my own games. 

For more details and examples I am providing some links below to other posts.

And don't forget the Kickstarter!

Dark Places & Demogorgons

Sunny Valley, OH

NIGHT SHIFT Veterans of the Supernatural Wars





Thursday, October 22, 2020

Plays Well With Others: Night Shift and Modern Supernatural Games

I am a firm believer that a rising tide lifts all ships, and that other Game Designers are not my competition, but my colleagues.  I buy their games, they buy mine. We all benefit and we all enjoy.

Naturally, I also feel that a good gaming experience can be had by looking to see what others are doing and seeing what I can bring into my games when I am running them.


When we were working on NIGHT SHIFT we had a fairly strict "no looking at other games" policy.  We really wanted our game to have it's own unique feel and direction.  But that was last year, and now NIGHT SHIFT is out and I am pulling out all my other games to see what each one has that can help NIGHT SHIFT and what Night Shift has that can help them.

Old School Roots

Jason and I have worked on a lot of games. Both together and separately for dozens of publishers. But the one thing we both enjoy are old-school games. This doesn't mean we don't like new ones, quite the opposite in fact. But it is the old-school design aesthetic that keeps us coming back and saying "what else can we do with this?"  NIGHT SHIFT covers both halves of our RPG hearts.

The mechanics in NIGHT SHIFT (what we call O.G.R.E.S. or Oldschool Generic Roleplaying Engine System) are firmly rooted in the Old School mechanics of the world's first popular RPG system.  What does this mean? Well if you have been playing RPGs for any length of time since 1974 then chances are good you can pick up the rules for NIGHT SHIFT very, very quickly. 

Also, it means that out of the box, NIGHT SHIFT is roughly compatible with thousands of RPG titles. 

Appendix A of the NIGHT SHIFT book covers conversions between NS and the Oldest RPG, it also covers conversions between the O.G.R.E.S. of NIGHT SHIFT and the O.R.C.S of other Elf Lair Games products; namely Spellcraft & Swordplay and Eldritch Witchery.


It also covers 0e, B/X and BECMI style conversions. Converting then between NIGHT SHIFT and anything based on Swords & Wizardry or Labyrinth Lord for example is easy.



There are guidelines on how to convert classes, but since the classes have the same DNA as the ones in many of these clone games I am going to take the extra step and say, just play them as is.

So yeah, run a Sage in Labyrinth Lord.  Put a Chosen One in Swords & Wizardry.  In fact, I'd love to hear how this works for you.  This also gives you a good way to add a new supernatural species to your game.  What to play an Angel cleric? With NIGHT SHIFTS rules on supernaturals, you can. IT also makes a nice way to create something my Basic Games have needed, a Vampire Witch.  In NIGHT SHIFT this is easy.

Need more monsters? Grab any monster manual and you can be set to go. Monstrosities and Tome of Horrors Complete are only two examples but they give hundreds of monsters. More than you will ever need.

NIGHT SHIFT is not the only Modern Supernatural RPG out there based on old school roots.  So many in fact that my next one and others would have to constitute another full post to them justice.  But I will mention a couple.

DP&D is such a delight. It really is. I am very fond of this game and I still enjoy playing it.  On the surface it looks like DP&D and NIGHT SHIFT could be used to tell the same sorts of stories, and that is true to a degree, but that really underplays what makes both games special.  

NIGHT SHIFT covers adults (for the most part, I'll talk Generation HEX specifically) in a very dangerous supernatural modern world.
Dark Places & Demogorgons covers kids in a very dangerous supernatural world of the 1980s.


Both games are built on the same chassis and have similar cores.  One day I want to run a game where the Adults (NS) flashback to when they were Kids (DP&D).  Sort of like Stephen King's "It."
Or one could start out as a kid in DP&D progress a bit and then become an adult to continue on in Night Shift.

There is not a good One to One class correspondence between the games and nor would I want there to be.  A Jock (DP&D) might end up as a Veteran (NS) or even as a Chosen One (NS).  In truth, I would give any DP&D kid character some "free" levels in Survivor but allow them to keep some of the perks of their original DP&D class.  So Goths still see ghosts, Karate Kids still kick ass, and so on.  
Frankly, I think it would be a blast with the right group.   Maybe I should write a two-part adventure that covers both. A little like "It" but something very different.  Something "Strange" happened in the 1980s and now a group of characters have gotten back together in their old home town to stop it once again.  

I singled out Generation HEX since that one already covers kids.  I can see a game though were kids from AMPA (Academy of Magic and Paranormal Arts) have to work with the "normies" of DP&D to solve some great mystery.   Likely one that is affecting adults only.

I have also used monsters from the DP&D Cryptid Manual for NIGHT SHIFT many times.

Modern Supernatural

It is no great secret that I LOVE games like WitchCraft and Chill.  I have talked many times about my love of both games. Chill was my first Horror RPG and WitchCraft might be my favorite game of all time.  Jason and I met while working as freelancers for Eden Studios, the company that made WitchCraft.  We worked together on Buffy, Angel, and Army of Darkness.  I helped him with his All Flesh Must Be Eaten books and he helped me on Ghosts of Albion.  A lot of what is in NIGHT SHIFT came out of our conversations of things we wanted to do in those games.


I guess then it is not a shock or surprise that I see NIGHT SHIFT and the spiritual successor, at least on my shelves and table, to games like Buffy and WitchCraft.


Buffy and WitchCraft defined horror monster hunting for the 90s and into the 2000s.  NIGHT SHIFT takes this to 2020 and beyond.  With NIGHT SHIFT I want to be able to play anything those other games offered me.  Sure the playstyle will be different.  WitchCraft is more about the machinations of the Supernatural World.  The Gifted (WC) for example are all covered by the Witch Class in NIGHT SHIFT.  In WitchCraft though there is a HUGE difference between the Wicce and the Rosicrucians. In NIGHT SHIFT those differences would have to be played out by the players in role-playing.  NIGHT SHIFT also is more Normies and Weirdos vs. Dangerous Supernatural types. More like Buffy or Ghosts of Albion in that sense. 


All Souls Night

There is an adventure that I have been dying to finish, "All Souls Night."  It is part of a trilogy across time and distance that includes Ghosts of Albion's "Blight", Buffy's "The Dark Druid" and what I have been thinking of as D&D's All Souls Night.  Translating them all into NIGHT SHIFT makes this so much easier to run. 

Supernatural and Chill
Not the new version of "Netflix and Chill" but adapting the best monster hunter games. 

Chill has such a long history I could not do it justice here.  I love the game but one place it has always felt a little lacking for me is the ability to play a spell-caster.  The Supernatural RPG is the same way.  In truth, Supernatural RPG is the cinematic version of Chill.   I mean sure. If I wanted to play a spellcaster, or a witch, I still have Buffy, WitchCraft, Ghosts of Albion, and about 100 other games to do that.  Both Chill and Supernatural are solid "let's go hunt some monsters" games.  So is NIGHT SHIFT.



Adapting the style of either game is easy.  Having these games also gives your NIGHT SHIFT game a slightly edgier feel.

I have already shown that Supernatural characters like The Wayward Sisters and Charlie Bradbury can have new life in NIGHT SHIFT.  

Some games, like say Call of Cthulhu, fit their niche so perfectly that I would not want to run a "Mythos" game with NIGHT SHIFT, but I certainly could borrow ideas from CoC for my NIGHT SHIFT games.  

In many ways doing a Plays Well With Others and NIGHT SHIFT is a cheat.  One of my own design principles for the game was to make it as flexible as I could so it could cover a wide variety of game and play styles.  I am happy in my belief that we succeeded in that.

Friday, August 16, 2019

#RPGaDAY2019: Dream

Today's topic is Dream.

Dreams have been an important part of my RPG journey as a world creator.


I have detailed in the past my recurring nightmare of the "Very Haunted House".

The house was an old Victorian manor complete with spooky attic and sub-basements.
It was haunted by the ghost of an evil old woman that used to torture kids.

This house was based on a few things in real life.  The biggest was "Maplecrest Apartments" in my old home town.  It used to be an old tuberculosis hospital turned into low-income housing. I delivered newspapers back then and that was on my route.  Scary place.  The house took more form when I went with my dad to see the Dana Thomas House in Springfield, IL.   These nightmares plagued me forever, to be honest, and they were not the "whew that was a weird dream" nightmares these were the "oh my god I am going to die in this dream" sort where you wake up afraid and still full of terror.  I added details to dream with every movie I saw or book I read including a bathtub full of black water with a rotting corpse that I am sure I got from "Silence of the Lambs".

Oddly enough they stopped about 15 years ago. I had the dream and in it, my wife was standing in the dark attic only now it was bright. She held a mop and had her hair tied up, she looked at me and said "What? I cleaned it."  Cheesy as it sounds I think she helped get over whatever fears it represented.

I have since used this house in other adventures I have written.  I first used "Cotton Crest" in my Buffy RPG adventure "Under a Cajun Moon".  Years later "Oakcrest" made it's debut in "The Haunting of Oakcrest Manor" in the Guidebook to the Duchy of Valnwall Special Edition.
I am considering also doing it again, only this time Willow Crest.  Cotton Crest was haunted by demons, Oak Crest by ghosts and other undead.  Willow Crest?  Extra-dimensional aliens.  Sounds like a good Dark Places & Demogorgons adventure.

Other dreams have given me some great monsters and some other game ideas.

Looking forward to see what I dream up next.

Friday, June 28, 2019

Kickstart Your Weekend: Friendship is Magic Edition

Couple of Kickstarters are ending in the next four days from some friends of mine and I wanted to share.  Both are great and I want to see them both do well.

First up is the sequel to Eric Bloat's wonderful Vigilante City supers game.

SURVIVE THIS!! Vigilante City RPG 2 Book Quickstarter


https://www.kickstarter.com/projects/ericfrombloatgames/survive-this-vigilante-city-rpg-2-book-quickstarter?ref=theotherside

Vigilante City is such a great game and I feel bad I have not done more with it. If you are familiar with Dark Places & Demogorgons then you know this system.   This time we get books 3 & 4:  SURVIVE THIS!! Vigilante City - Superhero Team-Up! and Into The Sewers.

From the Kickstarter:
SURVIVE THIS!! Vigilante City Book 3: Superhero Team up! Comes with the inclusion of many new classes, goes through the steps of team building while greatly adding to the equipment and vehicles. It shows how to build new superhero headquarters and stock it full of the valuable tech and tools every team needs to be successful. There will be new combat rules to include Team Moves and so much more!

SURVIVE THIS!! Vigilante City Book 4: Into The Sewers takes you underground to maze of tunnels that travelunderthe Metropolitan of Victory City, into the world of subcultures, gangs, Mutants & Anthropomorphs. Into The Sewers will feel like a new setting and greatly expands upon the already robust Mutant and Anthropomorph classes and powers.
It looks like it will be great!
Did I mention there is an all-star team working on this too?  Well, there is!  Check it out.

Next is Jason Vey's Amazing Adventures.

Amazing Adventures 5E RPG


https://www.kickstarter.com/projects/676918054/amazing-adventures-5e-rpg?ref=theotherside

I featured Amazing Adventures 5e a while back.  It is also in its last 4 days, so time to get moving.

The book is done, save for the art and layout and I have played it.  It's so much fun.
Since my first post there have been a lot of stretch goals met and more added, and met. The next one is about to be unlocked.

Both games are a lot of fun and worthy of space on your game table.

Wednesday, March 20, 2019

Home Sweet Home Summer 1985

The new Stranger Things trailer was released today!  I honestly can't wait for this.

"What did you think? We were going to sit in my basement and play games for the rest of our lives?"


Uh yeah. I did.  So I worked my ass off for several degrees so I could get a great job and then do exactly that!

Got my mix-tape play-list gathered up and going to plan some Dark Places & Demigorgons game for this summer.

I should gather up my Dragons from 85 and see which ones still need the This Old Dragon treatment.
It was also this Summer that I first remember my "Very Haunted House" dream that would later spawn "Under a Cajun Moon" and  "The Haunting of Oakcrest Manor" in the Guidebook to the Duchy of Valnwall Special Edition.

Hmm.  Maybe I need to re-combine them into a Dark Places & Demogorgons adventure!

If you read them both you will see the obvious relationship between Cottoncrest Manor in Cajun Moon and Oakcrest Manor in "Haunting".  That's because both places are based on a real place, Maplecrest Manor.

Yeah.  I should do that.  Have the playlist ready to go for inspiration.  Kids + abandoned spooky old mental asylum?  That's the recipe for a good time!

Tuesday, March 12, 2019

New Releases Tuesday: Vigilante City

It's Tuesday and that usually means new releases.  Today we have a great one.

Eric Bloat of Bloat Games has been a favorite here for a while.  I have gone on and on about how much I love Dark Places & Demogorgons.  Today he has released what is destined to be my new favorite game, SURVIVE THIS!! Vigilante City.

Vigilante City current features two new books.

SURVIVE THIS!! Vigilante City - Core Rules and SURVIVE THIS!! Vigilante City - Villain's Guide


The rules are a version of the same Survive This!! we see in Dark Places & Demogorgons and Survive This Zombies! so compatibility is a nice feature. Especially if you want to use The Cryptid Manual.

The one thing I did not expect was the inclusion of a Compatibility License and Logo.  That honestly SCREAMED at me when I started downloading.

I am going to read these rules over and get up a review and some characters sometime soon.
But you can all now expect a Mystic's Handbook to be coming from me soon! (name might change)

Can't wait to get into this game.

Tuesday, January 29, 2019

Plays Well With Others: DP&D Cryptid Manual

There is just over a week to go for the Dark Places & Demogorgons Cryptid Manual and I have been enjoying the hell out of my preview copy.

Back in the late 70s and early 80s I devoured books about cryptids, monsters, and UFOs.  Honestly, when I wasn't reading books about the occult or witches, I was reading this stuff.
I guess that is one of the reasons why this book (and this game) hit such a nerve with me.

Plus I love monster books. Always have.

So naturally, I want to use this book everywhere I can.


First and foremost, the Cryptid Manual is 90% compatible with Swords & Wizardry White Box. There is not a lot of overlap in monsters, so this makes the CM a perfect monster book for S&WWB players.  Also, there are a lot of "new" monsters in S&W for the DP&D player/GM.  Who's to say that an alien life form could resemble an orc or a wyvern.

In fact, this is true for nearly every clone. The clone game provides monsters for DP&P and the Cryptid Manual provides new monsters for your clone of choice.  You just need to justify why they are there.


The tone of The Hero's Journey is different than the other Clones, but with a tiny bit of tinkering the adventure-centric tone of THJ can work with the dark conspiracy tone of DP&D.  I mean really, isn't a Bigfoot just another kind of forest spirit?  I bit like a wilder, but less evil, ogre or troll.



B/X Essentials is an interesting game and one I will delve into more on future posts.  There is essentially a B/X Essentials Monster Manual.  Either or both can be used with both or either game and all fit well.  I think the only overlapping monster is the Medusa, and they are close enough to each other as to be the same creature with local variations.
Both games have a monster Morale score.  I have not done the math to see if these morale scores are 100% compatible, but they feel that way and are based on the same Basic mechanic.
If you like either game then consider picking up the other monster book for even more monsters.




I think the claim that the Cryptid Manual is a good book for any OSR game is a solid one.
I have been wanting to add a Hodag to my games for YEARS.

Now adding this book to an OSR/Clone book is easy. The hard part is figuring out why or how Chupacabras are out running around with the likes of elves and dragons.

Something that might help is looking at other games that cover many of the same creatures and ideas.


Dark Places & Demogorgons holds the same place that is/was occupied by Chill.  I can pretty much take any Chill adventure I developed and re-run under DP&D.  The Chill Monsters book covers a lot of the same ground as the Cryptid Manual.  The advantage of picking up the Monsters book has more information on each creature and a few new ones.  The Cryptid Manual also has a few new creatures for Chill players as well.  For conversions, I would find similar creatures in the books and use that as a template.

Chill's focus is more international and more adult.  BUT a great idea I had was to play a Chill game with some investigators and do a "flashback" adventure of when they were kids using DP&D.  Players of both games should check out the other books for lots of ideas.



The same is true of Eden's Conspiracy X 2.0.

The focus is even more X-Files than Chill is.  There is also a greater focus on Extraterrestrials than in Chill.  Like Chill, there is a feeling that Con X might be the "sequel" of the DP&P game.  Again a fun idea would be to run a Con X game, but pull out DP&D for a "flashback" adventure to when the characters were all children. 

Think about it in terms of the X-Files.  You are playing Fox Mulder as an FBI Agent working on the X-Files (Con X), but the GM wants to go back and try playing Fox as a kid when his sister gets taken by Aliens (DP&D).  It could be a flashback, an alien device that makes him relive it or he is in therapy and his doctor tries memory regression.  There is a ton of different things you can do. 

The systems are not compatible, but I am pretty fluent in both systems and did some of the work already for my Sunny Valley, OH Buffy game.

So, yes the Cryptid Manual is a remarkablly useful and flexible book that I can already use for a dozen or so games, and I plan on doing so.  Hodags! Hodags in every game!!

Monday, January 28, 2019

Monstrous Monday: Bionic Bigfoot

The Kickstarter for the Dark Places & Demogorgons Cryptid Manual is doing well.

Justin Isaac is also a huge fan of DP&D and has been creating some great material for it on his blog Halls of the Nephilim. He just recently gave us another version of Bigfoot to go with the ones found in the Cryptid Manual; the BMX Bigfoot.  It's fun and really works well with DP&D to be honest.

He then challenged me to do my own and suggested I do the Bigfoot from the Six Million Dollar Man.  So I said yes in a heartbeat! I mean how could I not?

I grew up watching the 6M$M fairly religiously. So yeah I had to jump on this.

Bigfoot in the 6M$M was not just a Bigfoot, but he was also bionic! And an alien! And played by none other than Andre the Giant in the first Bigfoot episodes and then Ted "Lurch" Cassidy.  I mean really? Could anything be more 70s than this?

The Bionic Bigfoot would fit in perfectly into any DP&P game.  Bionic, alien, either with his memory intact or still erased he would make for a fun ally or enemy.

Bionic Bigfoot
Armor Class: 14
Hit Dice: 5+4
Move: On Foot - 18 (ignore rough terrain)
Actions: 2
Morale: 9
Terror: 12
HDE: 7

Attack Damage: Fist (d8), Slam (d8), Rock Throw (d6)

Special: Bionic creature, 20 STR, Toughness +4, Immune to Cold, can run x4 Move

Bonuses: +5 to Melee attacks, +5 to Melee damage, +8 to Spot (bionic eye), +6 to Listen, +8 to Stealth, +2 to Initiative, +4 to Track.

Hug Attack: In combat, if he attacks with his fists and both hit, he will deliver a bone-crushing hug attack for an additional 2d6+4 hp damage.  A successful DEX check by the target will grant half-damage.

The Bionic Bigfoot is not a natural creature, but one created by an alien race as their protector.  The creature is unnaturally strong, even more so than other Bigfoot creatures due to it's bionics.  If the creature is discovered in it's normal state it will be intelligent and generally passive,  though it will lead anyone away from the aliens he protects.  If he is discovered in a damaged state (75% of the time) he will think and act like a normal sasquatch.




Wednesday, January 16, 2019

Review: Dark Places & Demogorgons The UFO Investigator's Handbook

I am sitting here now trying to figure out why my DVR didn't record Project Blue Book on the History channel and it got me thinking about another book about UFOs. 
If you were a kid in the 70s and 80s like me and most of my readership then it likely you watched the late 70s show about UFOs and Project Blue Book called "Project U.F.O.".  Oddly enough a lot of people remember the show as being called "Project Blue Book" too.  More Mandella effect I am thinking.  I am also thinking that Josh Palmer was a huge fan of the show then.

Dark Places & Demogorgons The UFO Investigator's Handbook
This book is the latest (for now) book in the Survive This! Dark Places & Demogorgons line.  A couple of things jump right out at me.
First, the cover has dropped the "Survive This!" label.  It is still mentioned on the cover page, but I am thinking that the Dark Places & Demogorgons name has more visual recognition.
Second, that cover is fantastic.  It's a step up from the covers of past books (which are still great, this one is just better) and it invokes EXACTLY the feelings they wanted.  Is that a Whitley Strieber inspired cover? Fire in the Sky?  X-Files?  Yes. To all the above.

Ok, let's jump right in.
I am reviewing both the book and the PDF.  These were not sent to me, I bought them on my own dime.  Noticeable differences: The PDF cover is blueish on my screen (nod to Blue Book?) but the physical copy is more green (Little Green Books?) anyway.  Not important...moving on.
The book is 48 pages with an interior cover page and two pages of OGL.  The font is larger than say your average Swords & Wizardry book at the same digest size.  Color covers, black and white interior art.

The first section covers new classes. We get a good selection of the usual suspects; UFO Investigator (a class I resemble a little too closely at that age), Conspiracy Theorist, Alien Hunter, and Alien in Disguise (for your Starman types).  The UFO Investigator covers your basic Fox Mulder, Carl Kolchak, Scooby Gang, and others.  The Alien in Disguise is the most detailed with various forms and powers. 

Up next are a couple pages of new equipment including the UFO Investigator's kits.  Some adventure hooks, UFO terms, and some misrepresented UFOs.  Enough in a couple of pages to get you going really.

The really fun stuff is next Alien Encounters/Seeds.  Included are the Hexpost Monster, Alien Probers (we know what these guys are all about),  K.U.F.O.O. (an organization), Green Men Attack Gaslight, and the G-Men Come to Town (basically the Project Blue Book).   So if the hooks couldn't get you going these will.

We end with what is one of my favorite parts of all the DP&D books, the Recommended Reading and Viewing lists.  Interestingly enough "Project U.F.O." is not on this list.  Ok, Josh Palmer, this needs to be added to your watch list.

The book is excellent really. Great addition to the Dark Places & Demogorgons game.


Tuesday, January 15, 2019

Review: Dark Places & Demogorgons Cryptid Manual

If I have said it once I have said it a hundred times. I LOVE Monster books.  Any and all monster books. I even grab monster books for games I don't play.  So when Eric Bloat they head monster hunter at Bloat Games asked if I would be interested in looking over his new monster book (Kickstarting today) for his FANTASTIC Dark Places & Demogorgons I screamed HELL YES at my computer.

Now I promise to be fair here but a couple of words of full disclaimer.  First I was sent this book as part of an agreement for a review.  That is no big, I get a lot of books this way and I always try to be fair.   Secondly. Well, look above. I am predisposed to like Monster books and I already love DP&P and cryptids are a TON of fun.  So please keep all this in mind.

Dark Places & Demogorgons: Cryptid Manual is a digest-sized book weighing in at 90 or so pages.  Some bits look like redacted Governmental documents and blood splattered hunter's notebooks.  It's actually pretty cool looking if not 100% original (see Chill, Supernatural and Conspiracy X).  That being said though it is also 100% EXPECTED.  That's HOW I want my 80s monster hunting guide to look like.

The interior and the cover features two-color art (blacks and reds) on glossy pages. Now the gloss might just be my pre-copy version, or not. In any case the color, the art, and the layout are all a leap ahead in terms of style and look than all the previous DP&D books.  If this is the future of their books then the future looks good.

A little over 50 monsters fill this book.  They use the same stat block as DP&D so that also means they are roughly compatible with Swords & Wizardry (I'd say about 99%) and most other OSR-flavored games.  Given the size of the book it fits in nicely with my Swords & Wizardry Whitebox games, so I have another monster book now for that! Each monster gets a page. Some exceptions occur with the Bigfoots and the E.T.s, but still, it's a good bit for each one. 

There are also templates in the back of the book that work like the monster templates from 3.x.  So you can apply the Vampire, Werewolf or my favorite Radioactive, template (among others) to any monster.  Radioactive Bigfoots?  Hell yes!  There is also a table of enhancements and how they change your monster. So now it's Agile Radioactive Bigfoots!
There are some conditions ported over from 3.x (more or less) but very, very useful and I am happy to see them here.

Ok what are some of my favorites?  There is the Almasti, which I also used in Ghosts of Albion. They have a special place in my heart.  I'll likely include Almasti Shamen in my DP&D games like I did with Ghosts.   Old faves like the Bunyip and Chupacabra.  Holy crap there is a Crocoduck!


I have to admit I nearly shot coffee out of my nose when I first saw that.  Worth the price of the book alone in my mind.  Flatwoods Monster, all the various extraterrestrials (Nordics, Reptilians, LGMs, Greys), Hellhounds, the Hodag! (love those things!), Jersey Devils, Skin Walkers, and the Wendigo.  So plenty really and many more.  The monsters mostly come from modern cyptids, but there some classics from myths and local monsters.

This book is great really. While I may have been pre-disposed to like it, it really delivered and then some with me.  The art is great and fun. The layout top notch and the monsters are just too much fun. 

While reading it I could not help but think how well this would also work with White Star or other White Box derived game.   So even if you don't play DP&D (and you should really, it's just too much fun) you can still get a lot of enjoyment out of this book.

This book is currently in Kickstarter and you can get in for as little as 10 bucks.  Not too shabby of a deal really.


https://www.kickstarter.com/projects/ericfrombloatgames/dark-places-and-demogorgons-the-cryptid-manual-tab

There is a lot more information on the KS page, but trust me. You want this.

Monday, January 14, 2019

Monstrous Monday: Melonheads for Dark Places & Demogorgons

One of my favorite games of 2018 is turning into one of my favorite games of 2019.

I have been given the pleasure of an advance copy of the newest book in the Dark Places & Demogorgons catalog, the Cryptid Manual.

It is not out yet, the Kickstarter begins on January 16, but it might be the best looking DP&D ever.

The book is digest sized, 90 pages and full of great illustrations.  The crew at Bloat Games really outdid themselves with this one.  The book reminds of a Chill or Conspiracy X monster book and that is a really good thing.

Expect a full review from me later this week. In fact expect a lot more DP&D goodness this week as I spend some more time with it and my Sunny Valley, OH setting.

Since today is Monster Monday. Let's find a Cryptid worthy of this book and something my Sunny Valley cast could encounter.

One of the features of the original series was the Monster of the Week episode.  This notion came from spirtual ancestor of both the show and this game, the X-Files. So going back to Mulder and Scully is never a bad plan.  For this episode, though I wanted something new, something we have not seen a lot of in the past AND something from Ohio.

Please allow me to introduce you to the Melonheads.
These creatures have been terrorizing people (reportedly) in Ohio, Michigan, and Connecticut since at least the 1960s.  Really they are kind of perfect for this.

Found in the woods in and around Ohio these creatures appear as small emaciated children with giant bulbous heads.

One legend has it that a deranged doctor (Dr. Crowe) and his wife near Kirtland, OH took in some hydrocephalic children to care for. In truth, they did strange experiments on them.  Eventually, the children fought back killing the doctor and his wife and burning down the home.  They escaped into the woods where they still live to this day, terrorizing anyone that comes into their territory.

Melonheads
Armor Class: 10
Hit Dice: 2
Move: 12
Actions: 1
Morale: 4/8
Terror: 13
HDE: 2

Attack Damage: Claw (d4)
Special: Dark Vision, Hunt in Packs
Bonuses: +5 to Spot, +5 to Stealth, +2 to Listen

Pack Tactics: Melonheads are rarely encountered alone. When they are their Morale is 4. In a pack of 6 or more their moral jumps to 8.  They will attack en masse with three being able to attack a single victim at once.  Their attacks are not very effective, but with multiple creatures, they are sure to land a few.

Melonheads are not particularly strong or very bright.  They attack anything and everything that enters their territory.   Melonheads are only active at night.

Using typical 80s monster logic they mostly attack teenagers making out in the woods.

Sunny Valley, OH Episode: It's a Shame About Ray
(*Someone will appreciate that title)

The episode begins with a missing teenager, Ray. He had been out in the woods walking with his girlfriend Shanon last night. Before they got out of the woods though he was attacked by a group of Melonheads.  His girlfriend describes "creepy, dirty children with giant heads".  It is now up to our cast to find them.

The only way to stop them is to close up the mine they have been using as a home and hiding place.

Read more about these weirdos here:

Tuesday, October 2, 2018

Dark Places & Demogorgons: The Ghost Hunter's Handbook

Nothing beats a good ghost story and the early 80s was full of them.  From the old school hauntings of 1981's Ghost Story to 1982's Poltergeist to the old guard in House of the Long Shadows (1983) and even to 1984's Ghostbusters. And this is now where near all. If you loved ghost stories it was a great time.

Thankfully Bloat Games hears you and has what you need.

DARK PLACES & DEMOGORGONS - The Ghost Hunter's Handbook is 60 pages (digest sized) with color covers and black and white interior.  It has the same feel as the other books in this series.  The art is good and I recognize a lot of the names inside. 

With this book, like the others, we start out with new classes.
The Clairvoyant can see things the others can't (we have a couple "I see dead people" classes already, but this is a good one).
The Parapsychologist is great, but I think it is stretching what it means for a "Kid" class like the core book is filled with.  Though, I guess reading the starting equipment this is also the class that best fit me in High School! Yes, I did write a program to emulate a PKE meter on my TRS-80 Color Computer.
The Mystical Ghost Hunter covers your basic exorcists/cleanser type.
But the class I was happiest to see was the Nullifier!  This is the guy who walks in the room and all paranormal activity stops.  The class might have limited growth, save that they are the ones that will survive any magical attack, but I like them all the same.  In college one of my "hippie" friends claimed I was a "Null" because his Ouija board never worked when I was around! 

Pages 14-24 cover different kinds of ghosts, spectres, and haunts and their reasons for haunting.   This is one of the parts that make this book "and use w/other OSR games".  You can drop these spookies into any OSR game (some will require tweaks) and you are good to go.  They can all be run as-is really; especially if you are playing Swords & Wizardry.    In fact, there is a lot here in the DP&D that the S&W game master can use.

A few pages on what you can find on The Other Side! (uh...Thanks! but I didn't get you anything.  OH! THAT Other Side.)

There are a couple pages on equipment including Ghost Hunter kits to fit your price range.

Next, we have some new ghost-related magic items.
A couple pages of minor and major spells.

And what book on ghosts would be complete without a haunted house? Well, this one taped into that 80s feeling well and gives us a haunted asylum! It's like you guys read my Christmas lists or something!

Information of the J'town Paranormal Society (which feels like it is somewhere between Supernatural's "Ghost Chasers" and Doctor Who's LINDA).

We end with a great, but incomplete, list books, movies, and television shows.

Author Josh Palmer did a hell of a job here and this is a worthy addition to the DP&D line. The book is worth every penny. In truth, at just $5 and 60 pages you are getting a hell of a deal.
Print on demand is coming soon.

It's Halloween. Get out there and bust some ghosts!

Monday, September 10, 2018

Dark Places & Demogorgons: Buffy the Vampire Slayer and The Hex Girls; Bizzare Love Triangle

This one time, at band camp...

Seriously. You can't have read ANY of this blog and not know that my obsessions are music and the 80s.   So for me, an obvious build is the Hex Girls for my "Sunny Valley, OH" game set in the mid-80s for the Dark Places & Demogorgons game.

So what are the Hex Girls doing here?   We know the Hex Girls live in Oakhaven, MA so maybe the band trip seems to be the best choice. The girls are in for a competition.  This is a great time for me to let Oz shine.   A romance between Oz and Thorn?  Or better yet Oz and Luna, they have a lot more in common.



If I set this Pre-Tara (which I am loathed to do, BUT...go with me on this) this could be when Willow and Oz are still dating (I am a die-hard Willow/Tara shipper, but I like Oz and I don't undervalue the relationship they had).  Oz and Willow are dating, but something is not right (Willow is really gay) and along comes Luna.  Smart, musically talented and gorgeous as hell.  Plus I like the idea of Oz, the werewolf, being attracted to a girl named Luna.

It also allows me to use this as the title of the episode.

Bizzare Love Triangle
"The Hex girls are in town and they have awakened something in Oz and Willow both!"

The setup for this one will dirt-simple.  One of the bands in the competition is using magic to cheat by raising a ghost of a dead musician.  The cast needs to find the object that is the focus of the dead musician and destroy it before the ghost is successful in summoning more ghosts in order to "Get the Band back together".  Given the year I am going to say the living band who did the summons is a Bon Jovi rip off, and the "dead" band is a KISS/Glam Rock sort of deal.  Pay homage to the Scooby Doo roots of all these sources and make them like KISS.

OR better yet, just steal this Scooby-Doo Hex Girls episode and have everyone turn into zombies!





AND this gives you an excuse to use Bloat Game sister product, Survive This! Zombies! 2nd Edition.

If this Willow-Oz-Luna thing is happening, maybe I could play with a Buffy-Angel-Thorn thing.  Angel thinks Thorn is a vampire, and Thorn thinks he is just really into the goth scene.  This conflict though is quickly resolved.

Luna is busy with her Oz and Willow issue.  Thorn is dealing with Buffy, and Dusk...Dusk is doing her thing.

The trick now is figuring out what class(es) fit the girls best.

Thorn would make a convincing White Witch. But all are Goths.  I am going to say all are Goths, but they sacrifice a level of goth for a level or two of white witch.

For this episode, I will use the Core book, the Player Options & GM Guide (for White Witches) and the Werewolf Sourcebook (for Oz).


Thorn
AKA Sally McKnight
Class: Goth 2 / White Witch 2
Alignment: Good
Languages: English
Age: 15

Attributes
STR: 10 +0
INT: 14  +1
WIS: 15 +1
DEX: 10 +0
CON: 11 +0
CHA: 16 +2
SUR: 15 +1

AC: 11    HP: 17    Attack Bonus +1

Courage: 3
Critical: 3
Death: 4
Mental: 4
Poison: 2

Class Abilities
Can see spirits and ghosts.
2 Minor spells
Healing touch

Skills
Art & Music +4, Paranormal +4, Knowledge (local "Oakhaven, MA") +1, Knowledge (magic) +2,Intimidation +2, Hide +2, Toughness +2

Possessions
Goth clothing, fake teeth, guitar

Money: $25

Luna
AKA Kim Moss
Class: Goth 2 / White Witch 1
Alignment: Good
Languages: English
Age: 15

Attributes
STR: 11 +0
INT: 14  +1
WIS: 15 +1
DEX: 11 +0
CON: 10 +0
CHA: 17 +2
SUR: 15 +1

AC: 11    HP: 15    Attack Bonus +1

Courage: 3
Critical: 2
Death: 3
Mental: 3
Poison: 3

Background: Biracial

Class Abilities
Can see spirits and ghosts.
1 Minor spell
Healing touch

Skills
Art & Music +3, Paranormal +3, Knowledge (local "Oakhaven, MA") +1, Knowledge (magic) +2, Intimidation +2, Hide +1, Toughness +1

Possessions
Goth clothing, fake teeth, keyboards and bass.

Money: $40

Dusk
AKA Muffy St. James
Class: Goth 2 / White Witch 1
Alignment: Good
Languages: English
Age: 15

Attributes
STR: 12 +0
INT: 12  +0
WIS: 13 +1
DEX: 10 +0
CON: 14 +1
CHA: 16 +2
SUR: 15 +1

AC: 11    HP: 16    Attack Bonus

Courage: 3
Critical: 2
Death: 4
Mental: 2
Poison: 2

Class Abilities
Can see spirits and ghosts.
1 Minor spell
Healing touch

Skills
Art & Music +3, Paranormal +3, Knowledge (local "Oakhaven, MA") +1, Knowledge (magic) +2, Intimidation +3, Hide +2, Toughness +3

Possessions
Goth clothing, fake teeth, drums

Money: $100 (family is stinking rich)

I will have to play these versions to see how they work.

The Hex Girls win with the version of "Bizzare Love Triangle" sung like Frente!.  Note the singer, Angie Hart of Frente!, actually wrote most of the songs from Buffy's musical episode.

Tuesday, August 7, 2018

Dark Places & Demogorgons: Buffy the Vampire Slayer and Charmed; How Soon is Now?

The Buffy crossover I did with Supernatural was so much fun I thought I would try something similar only this time for my favorite genre show of all time, Charmed.


Of course, this is not the first time I have done a Charmed / Buffy crossover.  Back in the days of my Willow & Tara games, I had an episode/adventure "Semi-Charmed Life".

This one though is different. This one needs to live in the world of "Sunny Valey, OH".  Thankfully, while transporting the cast of Buffy to 80s requires some tweaks, I can transport the entire cast of Charmed to the mid 80s (let's say 1986) with barely a change.

Ok, what do we need to know about Charmed in 1986 for a Dark Places & Demogorgons game?
Well. For starters, the girls are all young. Their mother, Patty, has been dead now for 8 years and they are being raised by their grandmother, Penny.  Penny, or Penelope Halliwell has blocked their powers to keep a warlock from feeding on them.  When Patty died she kept the power block in place to keep the girls safe.  Penny was no witch to mess with either.  While originally a peace-loving hippie witch, she soon learned that the only way to deal with demons and warlocks was to kill them.
Leo, the girls' Whitelihter and Piper's future husband, would also be watching the girls at this point.

We have a rule in writing Willow-centric adventures.  Try to avoid having her spells go awry.  It is lazy writing and unbecoming of someone that is supposed to be one of the most powerful witches in the world.  BUT.  This Willow isn't that yet is she?  She is young. She is eager to learn.  So let's say that one day she finds a spell to summon a witch teacher (this is a spell I actually use in my D&D games).  She takes the spell to Tara, who advises caution but can see nothing wrong with it.  There isn't until Willow casts the spell and asks not for a witch tutor, but the most powerful witches in the world.  She is a little shocked when she gets three girls just a few years younger than herself.

For an adventure, I would have the Charmed girls either be NPCs to the regular cast OR as PCs if there are new people.

I see Pru as being angry at first that she was transported here, then angry at grams for hiding their powers.  Pru comes up with the idea of blocking grams and Leo.  Pru also enjoys going on patrol with Buffy (a nod to their real-life friendship).


Piper would be the most out of sorts and the angriest.  I can see her having the most interactions with Willow; the both have issues with witchcraft to work out.
Phoebe would find this to be a great adventure and, this is 100% Phoebe, she is the one that learns Tara is in love with Willow.
Grams will scry for the girls, not get them, yell for Leo then yell at him. She will eventually find them, 100% safe and sound.  I would not be too surprised if she didn't have a word or two with Willow.

Now my first Buffy/Charmed crossover has such a great title. What should I call one from the mid-80s?

Episode Title: How Soon is Now?


Pru Halliwell
Born: 10/28/1970
Age: 15*
(assuming early in Season 2, 1986)

Class: White Witch  Level: 5 (temp)
Alignment: Good
Languages: English

Attributes
STR: 11 +0
INT: 17 +2
WIS: 16 +2
DEX: 14 +1
CON: 11 +0
CHA: 17 +2
SUR: 16 +2

AC: 10     HP: 22    Attack Bonus +0

Courage: 6 +3
Critical: 5
Death: 5
Mental: 4
Poison: 3

Background
Lives with an overprotective grandmother.  Acts as stand-in mother for Piper and Phoebe.

Class Abilities
+1 to saves involving magic, +3 to courage saves, healing touch 8/day, heal at double rate, summon light, see in darkness, advantage on saves, immune to fear, talk to animals and plants, create potions

Skills
Art +5, Math +1, Science +1, Knowledge (History) +5, Paranormal +4, Botany +3

Possessions
(none)

Money: none

Spells
Minor (4), Major (1)

Power: Telekeniss.

Piper Halliwell
Born: 08/07/1973
Age: 13
(assuming early in Season 2, 1986)

Class: White Witch  Level: 3 (temp)
Alignment: Good
Languages: English

Attributes
STR: 10 +0
INT: 13 +1
WIS: 13 +1
DEX: 12 +0
CON: 11 +0
CHA: 12 +0
SUR: 12 +0

AC: 10     HP: 12    Attack Bonus +0

Courage: 5 +3
Critical: 4
Death: 3
Mental: 4
Poison: 3

Background
Lives with an overprotective grandmother.  Acts as peacemaker for Piper and Phoebe.

Class Abilities
+1 to saves involving magic, +3 to courage saves, healing touch 5/day, heal at double rate, summon light, see in darkness, advantage on saves, immune to fear, talk to animals and plants

Skills
Cooking +3, Math +1, Science +1, Paranormal +3, Botany +3

Possessions
(none)

Money: none

Spells
Minor (4), Major (0)

Power: Molecular destailazation.

Phoebe Halliwell
Born: 11/02/1975
Age: 10
(assuming early in Season 2, 1986)

Class: White Witch  Level: 1 (temp)
Alignment: Good
Languages: English

Attributes
STR: 8 -1
INT: 12 +0
WIS: 10 +0
DEX: 12 +0
CON: 10 +0
CHA: 14 +1
SUR: 12 +0

AC: 10     HP: 5   Attack Bonus +0

Courage: 3 +3
Critical: 4
Death: 3
Mental: 4
Poison: 3

Background
Lives with an overprotective grandmother.

Class Abilities
+1 to saves involving magic, +3 to courage saves, healing touch 5/day, heal at double rate, summon light, see in darkness

Skills
Atheletics +2, Math +1, Science +1,  Paranormal +2, Botany +2

Possessions
(none)

Money: none

Spells
Minor (1), Major (0)

Power: Premonitions.

My god, these characters look fun!  I should do this with more Charmed characters.

Take us home Morrissey!