Showing posts with label Lovecraft. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Lovecraft. Show all posts

Friday, September 23, 2022

Kickstart your Weekend: Gateway To Adventure Trilogy

A fun one today Correction, TWO fun ones today.

Gateway To Adventure Trilogy For Old-School Essentials

Gateway To Adventure Trilogy For Old-School Essentials

https://www.kickstarter.com/projects/gamersandgrognards/gateway-to-adventure-trilogy-for-old-school-essentials?ref=theotherside

Appendix N is kickstarting a trio of books for Old-School Essentials. So the "Gateway to Adventure" is quite appropriate.

These books are updates to various new Appendix N books, a few I am going to review for my 100 Days of Halloween to Old School Essentials.

From the campaign page,

Within the Gateway To Adventure trilogy you will receive optional rules and classes based on the Mid-Realm campaigns of R.J. Thompson, as well as lore for the various kin and classes. All of this information will be presented in a way that will be easily transferable into any campaign setting! These books are meant to be cherry picked by referees and players alike to create the campaign that they want to have! Similarly to how we present our adventures, so that every table's experience is different, so too with our rules variants, we want everyone to have their own unique game! All of this in an A5 format so these books fit on your shelf right next to the core Old-School Essentials line!

Sounds like a lot of fun and OSE is my current OSR clone of choice.

They just launched and are very, very close to hitting their funding goal now, get them a look.

And a late entry.

Raiders of R’lyeh: From the Tideless Sea—Epic Horror Sandbox

Raiders of R’lyeh: From the Tideless Sea—Epic Horror Sandbox

https://www.kickstarter.com/projects/1375282718/raiders-of-rlyeh-from-the-tideless-sea-epic-horror-sandbox?ref=theotherside

An adventure/sandbox set in 1900 for " RAIDERS OF R’LYEH tabletop roleplaying game and other d100 GAMES based on H.P. Lovecraft’s ‘Call of Cthulhu’ and other mythos or pulp stories."

It also looks like a lot of fun and they are also very close to their funding goal.

Monday, September 19, 2022

Monstrous Mondays: Pathfinder Bestiary 4

Still working my way through a bunch of different monster books. Been spending the month of September on Pathfinder, but today is something a little different.  Let's get to it!

Pathfinder Bestiary 4 and Box

Pathfinder Bestiary 4 and Box

Today I am going to cover the Pathfinder Bestiary 4 and the Pathfinder Bestiary 4 Box.  We grabbed these back in 2015 or so I believe.  My oldest was running his D&D 5e game and wanted to add more Mythos monsters to it.  We grabbed the Bestiary 4, which has quite a lot of them, and then got the box of monster pawns to go with it.  By then we had also discovered the Cthulhu Wars game at GenCon and bought a bunch of those minis for him to use. So the box has been sorely underused.

Pathfinder Bestiary 4
Pathfinder Bestiary 4

PDF and Hardcover book. 320 pages. Full-color cover and interior art. For this review, I am considering the hardcover I bought in 2014 and the PDF I got from Paizo's webstore.

We grabbed this book for the mythos monsters. There are over 250 monsters in this book, so there were plenty of reasons to grab it.

This Bestiary gives us Kaiju. This book introduces them and there are more in the Pathfinder Mythic Realms books. There are 11 kaiju mentioned and three are detailed here.  They are all mostly Chaotic Neutral, with some suspected at Chaotic Evil. All are CR 26 and higher. 

Among the Mythos creatures, which are known as Elder Mythos here, are the bhole, colour out of space, elder thing, flying polyp, mi-go, nightgaunt, ratling, Spawn of Yog-Sothoth, Star-spawn of Cthulhu, and an whole collection of "Great Old Ones" that include Bokrug, Cthulhu, Hastur, and even Dagon as a Demon prince.

I can finally do my big "Godzilla vs. Cthulhu" idea!

There are even some old favorites here like the Leanan Sidhe, Nosferatu and Swan Maidens. Even really old ones like the Lurker Above and the Trapper (Monster Manual 1 AD&D) favorites get an update here. Spoiler: They are from the same family of creatures, no shock there. 

So yeah, for a "4" in the series, this one still has great monsters to give us.

Pathfinder Bestiary 4 Box

The Pathfinder Bestiary 4 Box is filled with cardboard cut-outs of *most* of the monsters listed in the Pathfinder Bestiary 4 book.  

They are study and work fine in places where you don't have a dedicated mini.  Also, the price of the box is much more economical than getting all of these minis. 

Pathfinder Bestiary 4 Box
Pawns and mini comparison.

Pathfinder Bestiary 4 Box


Pathfinder Bestiary 4 Box

There are no minis for the Kaiju or Great Old Ones. Which is one of the reasons we grabbed it.

Should have checked the back of the box I guess.

Bestiary Box contents

Still, this is great to have to fill out the places where I don't have the right mini.

Demons. Undead. Kaiju and Old Ones? Yeah, no wonder my oldest loves this one.

Thursday, September 1, 2022

Review: Swords of Cthulhu

Swords of Cthulhu
Nice mail call last week and I got my copy of Swords of Cthulhu from BRW Games / Joesph Bloch. As always BRW fulfills its Kickstarters in record speed. 

There is a lot to unpack here so lets get to it.

Swords of Cthulhu

For this review and deep dive, I am going to focus on the PDF and Print on Demand, I got from DriveThruRPGvia backing the Kickstarter.

The book is set up much like all the Adventures Dark and Deep books for "1st Edition."  This includes his Book of Lost Beasts and Book of Lost Lore.  One might wonder why this isn't the "The Book of Lost Cthulhu."

The book has the "1st Ed" Orange spine and layout and is a proper 128 pages. If the goal here is to feel like a book that would have been in your book bag in 1986 then I would say it was a success.  

Like the BRW's previous "Books of" this one is for 1st Edition AD&D but no mention of that game is found here. There are oblique references to it, but nothing say to the level we saw in Mayfair's AD&D products of the 80s and early 90s.  Though like those previous two books there is no OGL and no Open Gaming content.  So here are my thoughts on that. One, it doesn't affect the game playability of this book. Two, given that much of the Lovecraftian mythos are in the public domain this feels like a slight really, I mean using essentially IP for free but not giving something back. And three, there is so much of this already in the public domain AND released as Open under the OGL from other publishers it my all be a moot point.  Still I am sure some OSRIC, Advanced Labyrinth Lord, or Old School Essentials Advanced might want to do some Lovecraftian-style adventures for "1st Ed." and this would have helped.

BRW 1st Edition Books

But enough of that. Let's get into what is in the book.

If you are familiar with AD&D 1st Ed, any part of the mythos, and/or BRW's Adventures Dark and Deep books then you could likely predict with a high degree of certainty of what is in this book.  This is not a bad thing.

The Scholar
The spiritual godfather here is the Unearthed Arcana. The book gives us new races; the Deep One Hybrid and the Degenerate.  These feel like they are right out of Lovecraft books, though I would argue that both races have issues moving outside of their realms. Deep One Hybrids away from water and Dagon for example.

We get level limits for the new races with old classes and old races with new classes (not introduced just yet).

The new classes are the Cultist and the Scholar.  The cultist gets different abilities depending on which cult they are in.  Scholars are a "split class" starting out as Magic-users and then switching over to scholars. If you have the Book of Lost Lore then you can split class with the Savant. I would even argue that the Cleric would be a good choice if the cleric has a high Intelligence. 

The is a Skill system, the same found in the Book of Lost Lore, and this recaps some of that and expands it. While again overtly for 1st Edition it could work anywhere, also it can be ignored for folks that do not want to use skills for their games. 

Up next are spells. In the Cthulhu mythos books and tomes of occult lore and knowledge never lead to good things. These spells are part of that yes, but this is also an "AD&D" game and not "Call of Cthulhu" magic serves a different purpose here.  We get about 36 pages of spells. There is even an optional rule for human sacrifice that fits the tenor of the tales well.

There is a section on running a "Lovecraftian" game along with the tropes found in an AD&D game.  These have been covered elsewhere, but this version fits this tome well.  In particular how to mix demons in with the Lovecraftian mythos creatures. Something I have covered in my own One Man's God

You can't do the Lovecraftian mythos and not deal with sanity. Now. I am going to be honest. The overwhelming majority of RPGs get sanity and insanity completely wrong. I say this a game designer and as someone with degrees in psychology (BA, MS, Ph.D.) and who spent years working as a Qualified Mental Health Professional for the State of Illinois who specialized in treating schizophrenics.  How does this book do? This one introduces a new saving throw versus Insanity. Not a bad solution really. I will point out that "Insane" is largely a legal definition. "Madness" would be a better term of choice here. 

Sanity in Swords of Cthulhu

The definitions and descriptions used for the various modes of insanity (keeping with the book) are fine. We are not trying to emulate the DSM here. Though "Schizoid" is off. What is described there is more of a compulsion disorder. The Mulitple Personality one is always going to be problematic and I personally would drop the occurrence to more like 1 or 2%; even 3% is too high. I would re-do it as something akin to a "fractured" personality.  It is a usable system, but it lacks the integration of the SAN system of Call of Cthulhu. Though this is understandable.  Side note: I always look for "dementia praecox" in the list of insanities. When I see that and it is used properly I know the developer did their homework. It is not here and I had hoped it would be.

Up next we get to what is really one of the big reasons people want a book like this.  The monsters.

Monsters in Swords of Cthulhu

There are about 30 monsters here in AD&D 1st Edition format. If you use nothing else in this book then this is pretty fun stuff. The art is good and works well here.

This is followed naturally by the magic items. Plenty of books and tomes to terrify players and delight GMs. Yes, the Necronomicon is here.

Ah. Now we get to the stars of the show. The main course of this seven-course meal. The gods.  

Gods in Swords of Cthulhu

All the usual suspects are here and the format is familiar to anyone that has read the Deities & Demigods.  IF playability is your largest concern then yes this book WILL replace the 144-page Deities & Demigods for you. No more having to lurk on eBay or hope for that rare score at Goodwill.  The stats are not exactly the same, nor should they be, but they are what I think many would expect them to be. 

We end with an Appendix of suggested reading (a must really) and lists of random tables.

The PDF is currently $9.95 and the hardcover is $24.95.  Perfectly within the price I would expect for this.

Now before I render my final judgment on this one a few more things.

I don't think it is unreasonable to ask "What does this book have that others do not?" For starters, it is developed specifically for AD&D 1st ed. I will point out that we do have plenty of other books, games, and resources that also do this for other OSR games and their relatives as well. Conversion is a matter of personal taste.

Briefly here are the main Lovecraftian/Cthulhu Mythos-related games/products I pulled from my shelves for this and how they compare. I am going to focus largely on the monsters and gods since that is the most common element. 

Table of Cthulhu

In most cases, I am restricting myself to the "Core" Mythos creatures and the ones I really like.  Some names are different, but I will try to go with the common names. 

Of Gods  DDG  SoC  RoCC  ASSH  CoC d20  SP CM5  WSH
 Cthulhu  Y  Y  Y  Y  Y  Y  
 Abhoth      Y      Y  
 Atlach-Nacha      Y      Y  
 Azathoth  Y  Y  Y  Y  Y  Y  
 Chaugnar Faugn          Y  Y  
 Cthuga  Y        Y  Y  
 Dagon    Y  Y    Y  Y  
 Ghatanothoa    Y          
 Hastur  Y   Y      Y  Y  
 Hydra    Y  Y    Y  Y  
 Ithaqua  Y      Y  Y  Y  
 Mordiggian          Y    
 Nodens          Y    
 Nyarlathotep  Y  Y  Y    Y  Y  
 Shub-Niggurath  Y  Y  Y    Y  Y  
 Shudde M'ell          Y    
 Tsathoggua    Y  Y    Y  Y  
 Yig    Y      Y  Y  
 Yog-Sothoth   Y  Y  Y    Y  Y  
               
  & Monsters              
 Ape, Devil      Y  Y      
 Bhole    Y        Y  
 Beings of Ib      Y      Y  
 Bokrug      Y      Y  
 Byakhee  Y        Y  Y  Y
 Cave Beast      Y        
 Colour Out of Space      Y  Y    Y  
 Crawling Reptile      Y        
 Cthonian / Spawn of Cthulhu    Y      Y  Y  Y
 Deep One   Y  Y  Y  Y  Y  Y  Y
 Deep One Hybrid    Y    Y  Y  Y  Y
 Dhole          Y  Y  Y
 Dimensional Shambler          Y  Y  Y
 Flame Creature / Fire Vampire  Y        Y  Y  Y
 Flying Polyp    Y      Y  Y  Y
 Ghast      Y  Y    Y  
 Ghoul      Y  Y  Y  Y  
 Great Race of Yith  Y  Y  Y  Y  Y  Y  Y
 Gnop-Keh          Y  Y  Y
 Gug    Y        Y  Y
 Haunter in the Dark    Y  Y      Y  Y
 Hound of Tindalos    Y  Y    Y  Y  
 Man of Leng    Y  Y  Y    Y  
 Mi-Go / Fugi from Yuggoth  Y  Y  Y  Y  Y  Y  Y
 Moon Thing    Y  Y      Y  Y
 Night Beast      Y        
 Night Gaunt    Y  Y  Y  Y    
 Primordial One / Elder Thing  Y  Y  Y  Y  Y  Y  Y
 Rat Thing          Y    
 Serpent People      Y  Y  Y  Y  
 Shantak    Y  Y      Y  Y
 Shoggoth  Y  Y  Y  Y  Y  Y  Y
 Spider of Leng    Y      Y  Y  Y
 Tcho-tcho          Y  Y  
 Young of Shub-Niggurath    Y  Y    Y  Y  
 Voormis      Y  Y      
 White Ape      Y  Y      
 Y'm-bhi    Y        
 Zoog    Y  Y      Y  
               
 Open Content  No      No  No  Yes  No  Yes  Yes

It looks like Swords of Cthulhu fares pretty well, to be honest. No one book has everything. Now comparing anything to Deities & Demigods is a touch unfair since space in the D&DG was limited.  Likewise comparing to Sandy Petersen's Cthulhu Mythos for 5th Edition (or Pathfinder) is also unfair for the opposite reason; it has so much and few people have written or said as much about the Cthulhu Mythos as much as Petersen has.

Swords of Cthulhu and the Deities & Demigods

But comparing Swords of Cthulhu to say Realms of Crawling Chaos or Hyperborea is appropriate.

Realms of Crawling Chaos

These two books complement each other well. While there is a very, very slight difference in underlying system assumptions each one offers something the other lacks in terms of gods and monsters.

Swords of Cthulhu in the Realms of Crawling Chaos

Hyperborea

Formerly Astonishing Swordsmen and Sorcerers of Hyperborea, this game is closer to AD&D than it is to Basic D&D and the tone of the world fits well. Where Hyperborea stands out in the inclusion of and the predominance of Howard and Ashton-Smith mythos as they relate to the Lovecraft ones.  So lots of the same monsters and gods, but more Clark Ashton Smith.  While Swords of Cthulhu gives advice on how to integrate the mythos into your "AD&D" world, Hyperborea gives us a world where they are integrated. What is the difference? In Hyperborea "sanity" is not really an issue since the mortals here already know of the gods and these creatures.  Still, Hyperborea is not everyone's cup of tea.

Swords of Cthulhu and Astonishing Swordsmen and Sorcerers of Hyperborea

I would argue that the combination of the three would give you the best Mythos game. Or maybe it would give *me* the best mythos game since I tend to lean into more Clark Ashton Smith tales than H.P. Lovecraft's alone.

Conclusion

Swords of Cthulhu is a great addition to the already crowded field of Mythos-related RPG books. No one book seems to have everything, and maybe that is fine really. If your game is AD&D 1st Edition and you want something a bit more than just what you get from the Deities & Demigods then this is your book.

If you play a lot of OSR games including their spiritual ancestors and you like the mythos, then this is also a fine book, but check with my table here to be sure you are getting what you want.  

For things like "which is better 'Swords of Cthulhu' or 'Realms of Crawling Chaos'" it is a draw. Both do what they are supposed to do well.  Both are good resources. SoC looks a bit better on the shelf next to all my AD&D books, but likewise, RoCC looks good on my Basic-era OSR shelf.

I vacillate on whether we have too many mythos-related RPG titles to thinking one more book won't hurt.  Currently, the word "Cthulhu" produces over 5,450 titles on DriveThruRPG. So there is a market.

Swords of CthulhuSwords of Cthulhu

With so many choices you need to decide what fits well for your games. Swords of Cthulhu is a great choice but it is hardly the only choice. 

Friday, May 13, 2022

Plays Well With Others: Horror in Space (BlackStar)

In space no one can hear you scream
It's Friday the 13th! Something of a holiday here at the Other Side.  

May is SciFi month and for the first two weeks here I have dedicated it all to Classic Traveller. I find myself at a bit of a crossroads.  Do I continue with the Classic Traveller OR do I go along to the progression from Classic to Mega Traveller and beyond?  Choices. Choices. 

In the mean time since today is the scariest day outside of October 31st (well, than and Walpurgis Night) let go to a discussion you all know I LOVE and that is horror in Space.  In particular, the Mythos flavored Cosmic Horror of Lovecraft AND the exploration of Space ala Star Trek.

Since I am going to look a few ways to do this I am going to put it under the banner of Plays Well With Others.

My "Star Trek meets Cthulhu" campaign is known as BlackStar and I have detailed the ideas I have had here.  

The game started out as a combination of various OSR-style games because that is what I was playing a lot at the time. But as time has gone on I have given it more thought and explored other RPG system options.  Every combination has its own features and its own problems.   Let's look at all the options I have been considering.

Basic Era/OSR

The first choice was the easy one really.  I went with the two main books for their maximum compatibility, Starships & Spacemen and Realms of Crawling Chaos.  Both are based for the most part on Labyrinth Lord.   This gives me a lot of advantages. For starters, and the obvious one, there is just so much stuff for this.  If I don't like the Cthulhu monsters from Realms, I can grab them from Deities & Demigods, Hyperborea, or so many more.  The Lovecraft/Cthulhu stuff is covered.  The "Weakest" link here is Starships & Spacemen.  Well, it's not weak, but it is not my favorite set of Trek-like RPG rules.

Starships & Spacemen & Shogoths

Given the rules, I could add in bits of Stars Without Number. That *might* fill out some of the rough spaces (for me) of S&S.  There is a lot, I mean really a LOT I can do with all of this.

It would also make running The Ghost Station of Inverness Five much easier. 

The Ghost Station of Inverness Five

D20 Systems

I'll admit it. I like d20. I enjoyed d20 games. There are LOT of options if I want to go 3.x d20.

d20 Games

Pathfinder, Starfinder, d20 Call of Cthulhu, Sandy Petersen's Cthulhu Mythos.  All of these are great and at least 90% compatible. Again, I am sick with riches when it comes to Cthulhu/Lovecraftian materials here. Starfinder is good...but it is not Star Trek.  In fact my preferred Sci-Fi d20 game is the Wizards of the Coast Star Wars.  I know. I am strange.  

Certainly, the d20 Cthulhu books would be easily converted to OSR, but they already have analogs in the OSR world.   But having all of these is certainly helpful.

Since my weakest link seems to be Trek-like rules, maybe what I need is a good set of Trek rules.

Star Trek RPGs

Currently, my two favorite flavors of the Star Trek RPG are the classic FASA Trek and the newest Mōdiphiüs' Star Trek Adventures.  Both are great. Both are really fun. AND there is even a Mythos/Lovecraftian game using the same system, Achtung! Cthulhu 2d20.  Now this game is set in WWII, but that is not a problem. 

Trek and Cthulhu

Here I have exactly the opposite issue.  There is a LOT of great Trek material and limited on Cthulhu/Lovecraft material.   I could add in material from Call of Cthulhu as needed. Also, I have the PDFs for Achtung! Cthulhu 2d20 but none of the physical books. The 2d20 system is also much newer for me and I don't know it as well as some of the others.

Traveller

I have been talking about Traveller all month long and it would remiss of me not to try something with that.  Thankfully things are well covered there.

Traveller and Chthonian Stars

So I have not even touched ANYTHING yet regarding the Cepheus Engine or new Traveller, but to jump ahead a bit there is a game setting for Traveller Chthonian Stars. It takes place in 2159 (a date I can use!) and there is a lot to it, but the basic gist is Humankind has begun to explore the Solar System and that is about it.  Then we introduce Cthulhu Mythos material to that!  Sounds a bit like BlackStar: The First Generation.  I'll get a proper review up later in the month, but there are a lot of great things in this setting.  Reading over it it really makes me want to try this using just Traveller.  They really make it work well.  Plus I could still use the Classic Traveller system, more or less.

This provides me with a solid sci-fi game with great mythos support too. The publisher has since updated this game to their more inhouse version called The Void. Not sure if it uses the same system as their Cthulhu Tech RPG or not. 

The Expanse RPG
AGE System

I really love Green Ronin's AGE system. I also LOVE the Expanse.  So I grabbed their Expanse AGE-based RPG and am hoping to do a lot more with it.  So imagine my delight when they ran a Kickstarter for Cthulhu Awakens an AGE-based Mythos game.   The Solar System spanning of the Expanse is nowhere near the Galaxy spanning of Star Trek, but maybe I could run it as a "Prequel" game.  Get a ship out to Pluto to discover something protomolecule-like but instead make it mythos-related.  A prequel to my Whispers in the Outer Darkness.  A Star Trek DY-100 class pre-warp ship would fit right in with the ships of the Expanse.  I should point out that the Expanse takes place in the 2350s, the same time frame as my proposed BlackStar campaign in the Star Trek timeline. 2352 for the launch of the Protector and 2351 for the Expanse RPG.

Maybe this "First Mission" might explain why Star Fleet is building its experimental ships at Neptune Station and not Utopia Planitia.  There is something they discovered on Yuggoth/Pluto that makes the Warp-13 engines work. There is my protomolecule connection!

It is possible I could retweak my "At the Planets of Maddness" for this system/setting. Though in my heart I really wanted Shoggoths and Elder Things for that adventure.  Pluto and Yuggoth clearly imply the involvement of the Mi-Go.

--

I have all those choices listed above and that is also not counting games like Eldritch Skies that also combine space travel with Cthulhu/Mythos.

Chthonian Stars might have an answer for me.  What if this story is not being played out over a single campaign, but multiple lifetimes?

I could do something like this.  Note, this is only a half-baked idea at this point.  

Victorian Era:  Scientists work out the means of travelling the Aether to the stars. (Ghosts of Albion*, Eldritch Skies, Space: 1899. Using Ghosts to make the Protector connections a little clearer).

1930s: Scientist found dead with brain "Scoped" out. Investigate. (Call of Cthulhu)

2150s: Travel to Yuggoth discover an advanced civilization was once there.  Items from 1890s and 1930s are there. (Expanse, Chthonian Stars, Cthulhu Awakens)

2290s: Star Trek Mercy (this one is pure FASA Star Trek). Maybe this can be the one with the Klingon Skelleton ala The Creeping Flesh.

2350s: These are the Voyages of the Experimental Starship Protector. (OSR or Mōdiphiüs 2d20)

I could even do an epilogue in the far future of the Imperium.  

And some other stuff to include all my BlackStar adventures.

Maybe all of these are tied to the "Black Star" an artifact that makes space travel possible and is at the core of the Asymetric Warp-13 engine?  Some was found on Earth but there is a bunch of it on Pluto.

Too many ideas, too many systems.  Gotta narrow it all down at some point.  But one thing is for sure, the system used will depend on what sorts of adventures the characters will have. Mōdiphiüs 2d20 is best for adventures and exploring. OSR games are good for monster hunting. FASA Trek does a little of both.  AGE would be suit the New Adventures in Space theme well.

Friday, April 15, 2022

Kickstart Your Weekend: Adventure! Romance! Chaos! Horror!

Lots of new Kickstarters out there.  So many in fact. Let's have a look!

Mini-Adventure #1: Shadow of the Necromancer 1E/5E & Box Set

Shadow of the Necromancer


https://www.kickstarter.com/projects/marktaormino/mini-adventure-1-shadow-of-the-necromancer-1e-5e-and-box-set

Mark Taormino and Dark Wizard Games has another gonzo adventure for us, this time for both 1st Ed and 5th Ed D&D. As always it looks like great fun.

Swords & Chaos

Swords & Chaos

https://www.kickstarter.com/projects/blackspirefantasy/swords-and-chaos

Swords & Chaos is powered by the SIEGE Engine, the same system in Castles & Crusades. Looks like it is cut from the same cloth as AS&SH or Barbarians of Lemuria.

Tome of Adventure Design

Tome of Adventure Design

https://www.kickstarter.com/projects/adventuredesigntome/tome-of-adventure-design

A revised and updated Tome of Adventure design for 2022.  I have the original and it is really useful to whip up something in a pinch.

An Unexpected Wedding Invitation (5e)

An Unexpected Wedding Invitation (5e)

https://www.kickstarter.com/projects/midnight-tower/an-unexpected-wedding-invitation

A bit of change here is a Jane Austin-ish-inspired wedding mystery for 5e. Looks like a lot of fun.

Shield Maidens: A New Viking/Cyberpunk Tabletop RPG

Shield Maidens: A New Viking/Cyberpunk Tabletop RPG

https://www.kickstarter.com/projects/1990654819/shield-maidens-a-new-viking-cyberpunk-tabletop-rpg

Ok, this one sounds interesting.  Mixing cyberpunk, pre-apocalypse, and Norse myth.  There is also a free preview to get your first shield maiden built.  It is its own system, but it still looks fun.

The Art of Ménage à 3

The Art of Ménage à 3

https://www.kickstarter.com/projects/pixietrixcomix/the-art-of-menage-a-3

Now for something completely different.  Ménage à 3 was a fantastic webcomic about three roommates hopelessly in love with each other.  But that did not mean things worked out! It also launched the career of  Gisèle Lagacé.  This has art from the comic and new pieces.

Old Gods of Appalachia Roleplaying Game

Old Gods of Appalachia Roleplaying Game

https://www.kickstarter.com/projects/montecookgames/old-gods-of-appalachia-roleplaying-game

Dark weird folk horror from Monte Cook? YEAH! Sign me the hell up! It is the Cypher system and you know the production values will be high.

FAST Core Rulebook - Multi-Genre RPG System

FAST Core Rulebook - Multi-Genre RPG System

https://www.kickstarter.com/projects/563681582/fast-core-rulebook-multi-genre-rpg-system

A new multi-genre system that looks like it has a LOT of potential.  I like multi-genre systems since I tend to mix a lot of things together in one game. 


Swords of Cthulhu

Swords of Cthulhu

https://www.kickstarter.com/projects/brwgames/swords-of-cthulhu

Another cool one from Joseph Bloch who has a stellar Kickstarter track record.  This one brings the Lovecraftian mythos back (or back again) to AD&D/OSRIC.


Lots of choices!

Friday, February 18, 2022

Kickstart Your Weekend: Cthulhu Awakens Roleplaying Game

This week Other Side Favorite Green Ronin is up with a new AGE game and a new Mythos game.  Lucky for me they are one and the same!

Cthulhu Awakens Roleplaying Game

Cthulhu Awakens Roleplaying Game

https://www.kickstarter.com/projects/greenroninpub/cthulhu-awakens-roleplaying-game?ref=theotherside

Funded in 40 minutes it is currently sitting at about 6x its funding goal. 

This game, powered by their A.G.E. system (ModernAGE, The Expanse, Blue Rose) covers "The Weird Century" from the 1920s til today.  And the mythos talked about in stories and tales are only a part of the picture.

Do we need another Cthulhu/Mythos game?  Maybe, maybe not, but I do like what I see here and I find this more exciting than some of the Mythos-related RPGs that have come out in the past. 

For my home games I can see us using this a lot. For starters there is all the new background details and I like having new life breathed into my Mythos every so often.  Sure I do my own stuff, but it is nice to get a fresh perspective.

My son plays FantasyAGE so I am sure I'll do something with that.

I have been trying out The Expanse (spoiler I love it) and I love mixing space travel with the Mythos (see BlackStar) so what if the protomolecule is related to the Old Ones?  It could be the start of my BlackStar game! Or at least give me some fun ideas. 

The design team for this looks great and I am looking forward to seeing what they can come up with.

Friday, October 22, 2021

BlackStar: Whispers in the Outer Darkness

Soon after I posted my discussion on Aliens and Horror for use in sci-fi horror and in BlackStar in particular I found a wealth of information.  Here are the fruits of those findings.

Whisperer in the Outer Darkness

I see this as the "second" episode of the season after the two-parter "The Stars Are Right" that introduces the Cthulhuoid Horrors we share space with. 

The crew gets new orders from Starfleet.  They are to pick up a professor Alyson Wilmarth.  While setting up a new subspace relay on Pluto the Starfleet Corp of Engineers uncover two startling discoveries.  The first is the remains of a Tellarite survey team that dates back to the early 20th Century, circa 1930-31.  The second is what the Tellarite's were investigating.  The remains of a small outpost of any unknown civilization that dates back to 12 million years ago.  Among the remains are a frozen Danuvius guggenmosi, a human ancestor from the Miocene.   Artifacts from the civilization bear a resemblance to other artifacts found on Earth in the Andes, Appalachians, and Himalayas mountain ranges.  Dr. Wilmarth is an expert on these.

Naturally, Starfleet contacted Tellar Prime about this to see what they knew, and maybe figure out what they were doing on Pluto in the 1930s.  This puts Dr. Wilmarth in contact with Dr. Akeley, her counterpart in the Tellarite College of Exoarcheology.  Dr. Wilmarth was scheduled to take a sabbatical and head to Tellar Prime when the term was done.  Dr. Akeley, in typical Tellarite fashion claims he can't wait for her and takes their data and heads out to a remote system he thinks has the answers.

Once on Tellar Prime, we learn that the Tellarite name for Pluto is Yuggoth, though they claim that name was not one they made up, but what they were able to decipher.  Much like Earth, there is evidence of this unknown species having lived on Tellar Prime, the 5th planet on the 61 Cygni/Tellar system.  The Tellarites wanted to know how artifacts from Yuggoth got to Tellar Prime.

The crew, with Dr. Wilmarth still in tow, head out for the remote system discovered by Dr. Akeley.

<<I'll add some bits about getting to the planet, the tech on the planet here.>>

They discover Dr. Akeley, but he is acting with a flat affect is very polite to everyone (should be a dead giveaway that something is wrong).  He claims to have been in contact with the civilization, the Mi-Go, and they are friendly and only wish to share their secrets of over 70 million years of space travel with the Federation.  Akeley of course has stayed hidden in the shadows this whole time.  When he is confronted they will discover the entire back of his skull has been opened and "scooped" out.  His brain and eyes are gone.  The look is similar to the original Tellarite masks on The Original Series that made their eyes look like they were missing.  Only a tiny device is left in his otherwise empty skull.  It is apparently "piloting" the body.

Here the ship is attacked by Mi-Go.  They can't appear on sensors and are only known by the gravity they displace when they land on any deck with artificial gravity. 

I am certainly going to use some ideas from Forbidden World even if it is just to model a Mi-Go creature from the movie poster.  I like the idea of a human/Mi-Go hybrid that can talk.  Maybe it will have Dr. Akeley's or even Dr. Wilmarth's face.  Recreate the poster art, but not the movie, Galaxy of Terror.

I still need to come up with a resolution for this. What do the Mi-Go want? How does the crew "defeat" them? Still need to work out those details as well.

This will be a good test of Star Trek Adventures mixed with Achtung! Cthulhu 2d20 both from Mōdiphiüs.

Thursday, October 14, 2021

October Horror Movie Challenge: Humanoids From the Deep (1980)

Humanoids from the Deep (1980)
This would have done well with all my Dagon / Deep Ones movies last week. It certainly fits in with the whole humans becoming sea monsters theme.  I am a little surprised I had never seen it to be honest. It's a fairly notorious Corman flick, know more for him adding more gore and nudity after director Barbara Peeters was done with it.

Humanoids From the Deep (1980)

A small fishing village is dealing with the scarcity of fish and the prospect of a new canning factory moving into town.  While fishing a couple of fishermen catch what appears to be some sort of monster.  His sun falls into the ocean and something kills him.  The boat then explodes. Yes there is a reason, but this is Corman we are talking about. 

Later something is going through the village killing and mutilating all the dogs.  Oh, and there is not so casual and fairly overt racism to the village's Native American character.  Also, why is Dr. Susan Drake referred to as a "great little scientist" especially since actress Ann Turkel stands at 6'0" easily towering over everyone here?  We are a third of the way through the movie and we have had more racism and sexism than we have had of monsters.  Or when Doug McClure's Jim Hill is asking for men to help him and Ann Turkel volunteers? "No, I don't need you." Well, it was the 1980s, but even this one seems a little more than the usual stuff.  

Speaking of explosions. Why does one Molotov cocktail blow up an entire cabin?  Oh and cars. When they hit the sea. 

We learn that Dr. Drake has known about these creatures for a bit.  They are caused by the growth hormones that Canco (did they spend all day coming up with that name?) has been injecting into salmon.  These salmon then infected other fish till they "evolved" to humanoids.  They are driven to kill the men and mate with the women.  Totally makes sense.

There is the local Salmon fest going on that night and as expected the sea monsters attack, killing and raping their way through town.  The gore scenes are fun, some special effects people must have had a blast doing this one.  Kudos to Sally, Miss Salmon, for the wherewithal to bash a rapey fishman in the head with a rock.

In the end the monsters are dead (we think) and Peggy who had been raped before gives birth, well..., a monster cuts its way out of her.

So it dawned on me that there is a whole sub-genre of Fishmen movies that I have never really explored. I mean I have had no reason, but I kinda wish I had before running Isle of Dread to the Shrine of Kuo-Toa. Maybe I should check more of them out. I mean I have not seen any so far that I am like "yeah, that's my new jam" but maybe someone, somewhere did one right.

I could not find the 1996 remake anywhere to watch.


2021 October Horror Movie Challenge

October 2021
Viewed: 26
First Time Views: 13

Saturday, October 9, 2021

October Horror Movie Challenge: Army of Darkness (1992)

Army of Darkness (1992)

Tonight is a Horror Movie Challenge AND a Swords & Sorcery & Cinema Night.   Since it is also my H.P. Lovecraft Film Fest there is really only one movie that can fit the bill for all three themes. Is it Horror?  It's close enough.

Army of Darkness (1992) is just one of those movies I can keep coming back to and mine for more gold. 

Of course, I did Army of Darkness for this once before WAY back in the early days of this blog.

I have also done Evil Dead and Evil Dead 2.  Not to mention all the coverage I have given the RPG with stats for KISS, Xena and Gabrielle, and even a Keep on the Borderlands conversion.

I would put it in my list of "Top Ten Gamer Movies." 

I suppose I should figure out what the other nine are.  Off the top of my head?  Highlander, Star Wars, Monty Python's Holy Grail, The Princess Bride, Heavy Metal, Excalibur, and some more.

Sounds like a future post really.


2021 October Horror Movie Challenge

October 2021
Viewed: 16
First Time Views: 6.5

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Tim Knight of Hero Press and Pun Isaac of Halls of the Nephilim along with myself are getting together at the Facebook Group I'd Rather Be Killing Monsters to discuss these movies.  Follow along with the hashtag #IdRatherBeWatchingMonsters.


October Horror Movie Challenge: Island of the Fishmen/Screamers (1979/1980) & Dagon (2001)

Screamers (1980)
I wanted to get in some Innsmouth action this October, but I wanted to get them in tonight.  Up first is Island of the Fishmen from 1979, but the version I found was Sreamers, the re-edit from 1980.

Screamers (1980)

While this one is sold as a "Lovecraftian" movie, the only thing it has going for it Lovecraft-wise is that the Fishmen of the title were once humans.  The movie is part "Dagon" with Innsmouth now closer to the Bermuda Triangle, and little bits of Atlantis, and The Island of Dr. Moreau and some bits of voodoo thrown in for good measure.  The movie does have Barbara Bach in it, so that is a nice plus. 

I can't help but get a strong Isle of Dread vibe from this. The creatures in this, the fishmen, look a lot like the Kuo-toa and Locathah from D&D. Even though neither of those creatures appears in the adventure. 

The plot works well for a Victorian-era game.

Dagon (2001)
Dagon (2001)

I watched this one back in 2010 but I was in a pretty bad mood.  I remember it now while rewatching it.  This is the problem I am running into, most of the movies out there I have already seen.  Though watching it again I recalled/noticed a few things.  The Innsmouth/Imboca people really have the Deep Ones look down. It is actually quite better than I remembered.  Also, Ezra Godden as our protagonist Paul looks a LOT like Jeffery Combs circa ReAnimator. Sounds like him too in many places.  Not a huge surprise since one of the producers is Brian Yuzna. If this had been made in the 80s or 90s then Combs would have been in it.  Likely this is because he was doing Star Trek Enterprise at the time. 

The movie is better than I remember.  Not great mind you, but still better. I am not sure I remembered Paul wearing a "Miskatonic" sweatshirt, but it is a nice touch. 

One thing is certain. If I ever run Isle of Dread again it is going to be more Dagon and less King Kong. 


2021 October Horror Movie Challenge

October 2021
Viewed: 15
First Time Views: 6.5