Sunday, January 24, 2016

7 Myths About the Aquarian Order

“The Star Knights are valuable allies. When they are not thinking with their swords...”
-  Abbess Wednesday CLX of the Kelron Priory 

“We have a saying, ‘Never trust a Witch.’  It’s been good advice.”
-  Master Mic-ahn Amej of the Star Knights

The Aquarian Order are a mysterious group. They do rarely reveal their goals and motivations and never come out and say what their plans are.  They also actively spread disinformation about the nature of the order.   With a large galaxy of trillions of inhabitants, rumors and stories spread.

Myth 1, The Sisterhood are not Human:  The most common belief is that the Sisterhood isn’t, or is no longer, human.  This is also the furthest from the truth.  The Sisters are very much human, and any human in the galaxy can be born and become a Sister. Providing that they are female of course.

Myth 2, The Order is the Female Version of the Knights: Also common and also very far from the truth.  The average galactic citizen is likely to have heard of the knights, and even a few may have seen one.  When they learn about the Sisterhood they naturally assume that they are part of their Order.  Many female Knights find this a little insulting.  Both are esoteric orders with their roots in ancient times and both wield strange powers.  Knights and Sisters are concerned with the safety and well-being of humanity, but their methods are often very different.

Myth 3, The Sisters like/hate the Knights:  Those that do know the difference assume there is some sort of accord or rivalry between the two groups.  The truth, like most things, is much more complicated.  The Knights and the Sisters can share goals on one mission and be at odds on others.

Myth 4, The Sisters practice Magic:  Another common myth is that the mystical power of the Sisters are magic. Again the truth is more complicated.  The powers the Sisters have are fantastic but they come from training their minds and their connection to the Gestalt.

Myth 5, Failed Candidates are Lobotomized: One of the more distrusting rumors spread about the Order is that those that take the Test but fail are somehow lobotomized. Either via the process or by the Sisters themselves.  This is also not true but based in the reality that the vast majority of the galaxy does not know about the Tests and what happens after the test.  In reality failed candidates go back to their lives, but are sworn never to talk about it.

Myth 6, The Order takes Girls from their Families:  This one is partially true. The Order searches the galaxy for potentials. Girls that show psychic potential are taken back to the Order’s homeworld of Gaia.  Here the girls are trained, but they are not completely cut off from their former lives.  Once they become full Sisters many are too busy with their own duties.  There is also reality that these girls spend their formative years among the Sisterhood and they do view them as their new family.

Myth 7, There is more than one Sisterhood:  This one is also true, but not in the way most people think.  The vast majority of people in the galaxy do not realize that all the Orders of the Sisterhood are part of the same Order.  The truth, only known to very, very few is there a splinter group known as the Capricorn Order that Sisterhood does not want anyone to know about.


More answers when Sisters of the Aquarian Order is released.

Saturday, January 23, 2016

Dungeons of Dread

Wizards of the Coast has released the PDF of the famous S-Series modules, Dungeons of Dread.



This has long been my favorite series of modules.  I have great memories of playing these as a kid and even better memories of running these for my kids.

For 10 bucks you can get this class set of adventures, considered by many to some of the best adventures ever written.

Zatannurday: More Deviant Art catch-up

Not quite ready to put the wraps on this one just yet...




Zatanna by PsychedelicHeroin on DeviantArt


Zatanna Ink Sketch by Zombie-Teddie on DeviantArt


Zatanna by shinku2187 on DeviantArt


zatanna by genesis-rdz on DeviantArt


Zatanna by debbie1610 on DeviantArt


Zatanna by debbie1610 on DeviantArt


Bombshell Zatanna by PurelightCos on DeviantArt


Erin Lei is Zatanna Zatara 2 by RedStarCosplay on DeviantArt


Zatanna by GregoryBui on DeviantArt


Zatanna Zatara - Cosplay I by Jacilia on DeviantArt


Z is for Zatanna by Inspector97 on DeviantArt


Zatanna by DemetrioBraga on DeviantArt


Bruce and Zatanna by 3d-lucas on DeviantArt

Friday, January 22, 2016

The Temple of Elemental Evil

Confession time.  I have never run or played through The Temple of Elemental Evil.
I think I was in the Villiage of Hommlet once, but that was back in the early, early days of the game.

So I have to admit I really want to run it now.  Though I want to tie it in to my current D&D5 game.
Trouble is that the characters are now already 7th level and in the middle of the Slave Lords.  I didn't want to start with T1 because for me it was more important to start with B1 and B2.

So I have the T1-4 supermodule on PDF, but there is a lot going on that I am not a fan of.  Not that it isn't good, it is, but not what I need or want.  Plus I am no fan linking Zuggtmoy to the temple.  Her powers are not elemental in nature.  Plus I always liked the idea that some remnant of Tharizdun especially in the guise of the Elder Elemental Eye.  Maybe this is an elemental themed patron for a warlock.  The idea is of course to play into the larger "Come Endless Darkness" plot line.  So yes this evil is related to the larger evil. Which might be Tharizdun. At least that is what I have always considered over the years.  Turns out that +Joseph Bloch agrees with me.  I already did S4 and WG4, so I guess I am going in reverse.

As usual I have an embarrassment of riches. Too much material actually.

I found some 5e Conversion notes that look really nice.
And I have a lot of choices when it comes to plots, ideas and adventures.
Of course I will use T1 The Village of Hommlet and likely a good portion of T1-4 Temple of Elemental Evil.  Given my particular desire to make an easy job far more difficult I am also going to look at versions for other editions.
I read through most of those last night.  T1 is easy, T2 will be a bit more work.  I think I am going to steal a lot of ideas from Return and Princes of the Apocalyspe.

While doing some research, I discovered this blog post, http://sagaworkstudios.blogspot.com/2014_08_01_archive.html that talked about T2 The Temple of Elemental Evil as promised  back before T1-4 came out.  It is a very interesting read to be honest. That is where the image above came from.

Here are some other posts I consider "must read" on my goal to build this gigantic conspiracy of evil.
To me "Expert" level (as listed on the T2 cover) is 4 to 14.  But I am more likely to do 4 to 8.  Then the characters of this adventure will then join the other characters of the Order of the Platinum Dragon to move on to GDQ.

So it is settled.  Zuggtmoy is out. Tharizdun is in.  What is his plan?

Simple. He wants out.  He has convinced all these different evil factions to blot out the sun and deliver the essences of gods to him they think they are going to obtain godhood, but in truth they will be freeing him.  Maybe each has a piece of the Elder Elemental Eye.  Lolth has Air, Orcus has Earth, Dagon/Hydra has Water and someone else has fire.  I kinda want it to be Asmodeus.  But I am leaving out the mindflayers.  Why Air for Lolth when she is underground?  Air represents what she has lost. Plus I like tying her to the Queen of Air and Darkness.

This will also let me try some of the new material coming out for 5e.  Like +Mark Craddock's Dhampir TK Monk!

What have your experiences been?  What should I watch out for?

Thursday, January 21, 2016

BLACK Star

I love White Star. It's been a ton of fun so far and I really, really enjoy it.
But I also love Basic D&D more than I do White Box S&W. What's a guy to do?

Simple. Make a new mashup of everything I enjoy!

Basic? Yup! Horror? Sure why not!  Lovecraftian beasties?  Of course!

In the little campaign I am working on for my Sci-Fi game it is a giant big Galaxy that has been mostly explored.  So it is less Star Trek and more Star Wars, but certainly there are Trek enfluences.

However there is trouble on the horizon, and that trouble is in the form of the Old Ones.
The stars are finally right.

This is not really an original idea.  But It does include a lot of things I have laying around.

White Star
Starships & Spacemen 2e (for ideas on using Basic)
B/X Basic and Expert (for the rules)
Labyrinth Lord (for rules up to 20th level)
ACKS (for more rules)

So Basic, Labyrinth Lord, ACKS, and Starships & Spacemen...

Welcome to BLACK STAR! ;)

For some background I want to use Eldritch Skies.
I would then mix in Psionics and Lovecraftian Beasties.
A place to adventure and place to play.


The obvious tribute to David Bowie also makes this appealing to me.

Wednesday, January 20, 2016

Class Struggles & PWWO: The Intergalactic Rogue

The Scoundrel. The Rogue. The Thief.  If you are going to have a galaxy full of Knights, law-enforcement or otherwise protectors of the public trust and law and order then it behoves someone to give all those people work to do.

This is where the rogue comes in.

It doesn't matter how advanced we get as a society there will always be the fringe element that does not want to play by the rules, either as a lovable, if "scruffy" scoundrel or the actually evil thief.

By chance I picked up a number of print copies of some OSR books. I grabbed hardcovers of White Star from +James Spahn, Between Star & Void by +Matthew Skail and a softcover of the B/X Rogue from +Gavin Norman.

One of the first things I noticed was how well the Star Knights might work as a Green Lantern like police force.  And that the galaxy needed more rogues.

Thankfully Gavin Norman's B/X Rogue is so flexible that we can swap out the bits that make it B/X (sorry) and add in the same bits from Swords & Wizardry.  In truth it is not even that complicated.
In the B/X Rogue all the "Thief Abilities" have been replaced by "Rogue Talents".  You start with 4 and  work up to more.   Talents have a high margin of success, only failing under rare circumstances.  So that makes the Rogue into something more versatile.

Magic Talents are an issue and should be taken out.  But I mentioned before that +Richard LeBlanc's Basic Psionics Handbook can be used to add some of wild talents for rogue talents to create a rogue with some power.  Maybe they are a failed mystic, Knight or Sister but still have some powers.

I would also assume that anything like pick locks would extend to their futuristic White Star analogues.   Same with pick pockets.  Instead of actually taking money out of their pocket the rogue has a device that captures transaction codes and allows them to steal credits.

While our model of a classic rogue is often The Grey Mouser, Shadowspawn and even Bilbo our White Star rogue is Han Solo (to a degree), Neo (at the start of the Matrix), mostly James "Slippery Jim" Bolivar DiGriz from "The Stainless Steel Rat" series, Peter "Starlord" Quill (movie version at least), and 90% of the patrons of the Mos Eisley Cantina...I assume.

Now we have a Scoundrel class already which fits some of this thanks to Tenkar.  But the rogue is something a little different.  This now practically begs someone to build a Bounty Hunter class ala "Cowboy Bebop".

Plays Well With Others
A total cheat on my part here.  Both White Star and the B/X Rogue are so flexible that feats of Game Master legerdemain  are not needed here.
There are some features of the B/X Rogue though that make it more suited for White Star than saw the thief from S&W.  This allows for differences in Starlord and the Stainless Steel Rat.

Actually this gives me an interesting idea, but that is for another post.

Tuesday, January 19, 2016

Mail Call, Part 2

When it rains it pours around here!

Look what else was in my mail box today.


A collection of Basic Psionics books from +Richard LeBlanc including a sticker and a pin.


Alpha Blue and Liberation of the Demon Slayer from +Venger Satanis!

Looks great with the batch I got on Saturday.


Now to come up with something that ties all these together!

Though I do want to point out that the Basic Psionics and White Star books have been BEGGING me to mix them up into something different.  I already talked about how well the B/X Rogue and the Psionics books work together.