Showing posts with label adventures. Show all posts
Showing posts with label adventures. Show all posts

Wednesday, June 7, 2023

Tales from the Other Side

Growing up the shows I really loved (in addition to Doctor Who and Star Trek) were the various horror anthologies that came and went during the 80s, 90s, and before. "The Twilight Zone (all versions)" was chief among these, but so were shows like "Night Gallery," "Monsters," "The Outer Limits (both versions)," "Amazing Stories," and two of my favorites, "Tales from the Crypt" and "Tales from the Darkside."  It was "Tales from the Darkside" that influenced me the most. I wanted my games (at the time largely AD&D) to be more horror-like.  Even in sci-fi, I could not help but notice how many of the elements in The Outer Limits would also appear in Star Trek, or more to the point the other way around since I watched Star Trek first.

In the end, I got my wish. NIGHT SHIFT is the perfect distillation of both Horror and old-school adventure rules. A rule system I have been doing in one form or another along with a horror-filled background that is perfect to model the horror and dark sci-fi I grew up loving.

The only thing missing is the anthologies. 

I spent my weekend (like every weekend in late spring early summer) out in the garden helping my wife. I was doing some weeding and thought I needed to do a set of themed adventures I could publish. They are unrelated to each other, but all have a common thread of horror.

Then I realized something. I had already started this.

Tales from the Other Side

I have written a lot of adventures for many different games. All of them (for the most part) have a horror feel to them.

So to get the ideas rolling for Tales from the Other Side, I figure I will talk about the adventures I have already done and how they can be used with NIGHT SHIFT. I am just going to focus on ones that are readily available. I am looking back at some of my old docs and seeing which ones I own outright and can re-do and which ones never saw the light of day.

The Dark Druid
The Dark Druid
The Buffy the Vampire Slayer RPG
Published in Games Unplugged, July 2002

This adventure was a prequel adventure to what was called "The Djinn Arc" that never got going. It's purpose was to introduce new players to the game, and it featured the original cast of "Buffy the Vampire Slayer." It focused on Willow and Tara as the reincarnations of Bohdmal and Liath (respectively) as the foster mothers of the great Irish hero Fionn MacCumhail (Finn McCool). It features the return of an ancient evil and two new kinds of vampires. The biggest issue with it is that it is an introductory adventure for what should be a "season" of related adventures, not an anthology.

So much of my writing from that time is baked into the DNA of NIGHT SHIFT that converting the game's tone is minimal at worst.

Mechanics changes:

  • Use the vampire and vampire spawn from the NIGHT SHIFT core. Give them the unique kill listed in the Dark Druid adventure.  
  • The Dark Druid himself is a weak (CON = 6) warlock of only 3 or 4 levels. 

This adventure gives some argument of while the stories are anthologies, the characters remain the same throughout.

Guidebook to the Duchy of Valnwall Special Edition
The Haunting of Oakcrest Manor
Labyrinth Lord
Published in Guidebook to the Duchy of Valnwall Special Edition, 2017

This adventure has been successfully converted to NIGHT SHIFT many times. Since it uses Labyrinth Lord rules, conversion is trivial. I ran this both at Gary Con 2021 and Gen Con 2021 as a NIGHT SHIFT adventure where I changed the name to Willow Crest Manor. Both manors are based on a real-life place from my old hometown known as Maplecrest.

The biggest change here is to update when and where you put it. Personally, any small town will do. It just needs to have about 100 years worth of history. Dark woods are good too, so somewhere above the 40º North Latitude line is good in my mind. When I did it for Gary Con I set it near Rockford, IL. 

Six of Cups
Witching Weather
Blue Rose AGE Edition
Published in the Six of Cups, July 2022

I do adore Blue Rose, I love the optimism and the feel of the game. So of course I bring horror to it. I must be damaged. This adventure requires that you find and rescue five psychic children. Trouble is there is a monster that wants to eat them (thinking they will make it more powerful) and a demon lord of storms that thinks they are his children. In Blue Rose this is all set in the town of Garnet, but in my running of this using NIGHT SHIFT, I set it in Alton, IL. It features another member of the unpleasant Meacham family and my homage to the Piasa Bird.

For changes, there is the tone and location.  Use the demon stats from NIGHT SHIFT and one of the many versions of the Piasa Bird I have posted here. 

The Nightmare
The Nightmare
Chill 1st Edition
Published by Yeti Spaghetti and Friends, April 2023

My most recent adventure is horror through and through. A night hag, or in this case a dab tsog, has been attacking members of the local Hmong community. There is also a Will-o-the-Wisp feeding off of the dying energies. Tone wise this is perfect for NIGHT SHIFT.

Chill's skill checks are little different than that of NIGHT SHIFT, but as a rule of thumb, and roll pf +1 above what a character makes in NIGHT SHIFT is 5%.  The Nightmare, in addition to being written for Chill, is fairly self-explanatory and can be used as is with a variety of systems.

For the Will-o-the-Wisp you can use my stats for them here. For the Night Hag you can use the hags in the core rules of NIGHT SHIFT.

The next two are total cheats since I did not write them but I did do the D&D 5e conversions for them.

The Shrine of St. Aleena
The Shrine of St. Aleena
Labyrinth Lord and D&D 5e
Published by Peter C. Spahn on DMsGuild

This adventure is a conversion of the Labyrinth Lord adventure created by Peter C. Spahn. The horror elements here are light, but as St. Aleena is the patron Saint of adventurers she is still a good choice. The characters come here and then the horror ensues. There is still an evil cult and still unnamable evil spawn here. 

The Shrine of St. Aleena has thematic connections with my own Dark Druid, or at least, it did when I ran it for my group here

To update this adventure change it over to some modern location, I would say on the outskirts of some town, but it has to be old. So East of the Mississippi River.  Otherwise you are good to go.

Death's Ride
Classic Modules Today: CM2 Death's Ride
Basic D&D and D&D 5e
Published by TSR and Classic Modules Today

This is even a bigger cheat than the Shrine of St. Aleena above. But it is solid horror. Death's Ride is an old-school TSR adventure for Basic (Companion) D&D for characters 15th level and above. It has all sort of nasty things going on and really tough monsters.

My D&D 5e conversion scales them down a bit (but not much). It fits with the whole "weird shit going on in far off places" horror. I mean in this respect it is not much different than "The Children of the Corn."

--

Almost enough for a mini-campaign.

I'll have to work on some more and see what I have that I can resurrect. 

Hopefully there will be more Tales from the Other Side.


Friday, June 2, 2023

Kickstart Your Weekend: Old-School Adventure Style!

 It's the first Friday of June! Growing up that meant it was time for some D&D.  What better way to do that than some old-school adventures? Thankfully we have some great ones to choose from.

Maximum Mayhem Dungeons #0: Village on the Borderlands

Maximum Mayhem Dungeons #0: Village on the Borderlands

https://www.kickstarter.com/projects/marktaormino/maximum-mayhem-dungeons-0-village-on-the-borderlands?ref=theotherside

Mark Taormino is a long-time friend of the Other Side and I have all of his Kickstarters. This one looks great as well and I can't wait to try it out. If it is half as fun as his other adventures then it will still be twice as fun as most of the adventures out there.

Tomb of the Dundel Chief - A D&D adventure, 5e, 1e and C&C

Tomb of the Dundel Chief - A D&D adventure, 5e, 1e and C&C

https://www.kickstarter.com/projects/gaxland/tomb-of-the-dundel-chief-a-dandd-adventure-5e-1e-and-candc?ref=theotherside

Ah, now this one comes from D&D royalty! Heidi Gygax-Garland and her husband Erik have already created some adventures. But this one looks rather epic in scope. Plus it has a Castles & Crusades version, the game that Gary himself felt was the spiritual successor to AD&D. 

Tomb of the Dundel Chief - A D&D adventure, 5e, 1e and C&C

It also looks quite fun.

Things Better Left Alone

Things Better Left Alone

https://pacesettergames.com/collections/bx-rpg-1/products/things-better-left-alone

Ok. So not a Kickstarter, but on sale now. And it looks really cool and would jive well with all of these adventures.

So get out your circa 1983 rulebooks, color in your dice, and get these adventures. It's summer and time to play!

Thursday, May 11, 2023

FASA Doctor Who RPG: Part 4 The Adventures

No RPG is complete without some adventures to have. Here are all the official FASA Doctor Who RPG adventures published. All are out of print and hard to find these days.

Doctor Who Adventures

It has taken me a few years, but I have managed to get all the adventures.  Some of these are so musty I am going to need to double up on my antihistamines just to get through them all!


The Iytean Menace

The Iytean Menace

48 pages. 1985. Design and writing by J. Andrew Keith.

Now here is a fun one. The characters travel back to London in 1885 (I am already on board) to discover a retired Army Officer with a cache of futuristic weapons, a crashed spaceship, and a rogue body-snatching alien. It actually has quite a lot to offer. 

There are plenty of interesting NPCs and even a full set of PCs for the players to use. We are introduced to Time Lord Rollonovaradanavashir, or Rolo for short, and his collection of eight companions. We get coverage of the Type 51 TARDIS with its advanced computer systems and even some new skills.

Yes. That cover is Paris Street; Rainy Day by Gustave Caillebotte. Though the adventure takes place in London in 1885 not Paris in 1877. Minor detail I guess. 

This one might be fun to try out with the Paternoster Investigations gang with the Cubicle 7 system. 

The Iytean Menace and Paternoster Investigations

The Lords of Destiny

The Lords of Destiny

48 pages. 1985. Design and writing by William H. Keith, Jr.

This one has a rather interesting premise. The characters materialize onto a 10,000km long starship built around a planet. As it has been traveling through space and gathering material, it has grown larger and larger. Now its computer is sentient and, of course, insane, so it is targeting mineral-rich planets to gobble up. To top it all off the characters are arrested right away and there is a rebellion happening on the ship of some 100 Billion people. 

This is another adventure, like most of the Doctor Who adventures and stories, that require more thought than beating people up. It is mentioned that while yes, blowing up the ship would solve the problem, it would also kill all 100 billion on board. 

This one introduces us to the Time Lord, "The Professor," which seems like an inventible name.  I would be lying if I didn't say I totally tried to square this guy with the Peter Cushing Dr. Who movies. His companions include Joan of Arc (yes. that one), a tabloid reporter from Peria, IL, and a test pilot from 9880 AD. 

Countdown

Countdown

48 pages. 1985. Design and writing by Ray Winninger

The first adventures were published right on the heels of RPG Boxed set. This one came later. In this adventure the character's TARDIS gets caught in a gravity bubble and they land on the courier Leander in the 26th Century. The Leander is delivering medical supplies that only last for 48 hours and the flight in 30 hours long. There is some meddling with some Vegan pirates (not those Vegans, ones from Vega XII) and a Cyberman plot. 

This adventure is set up for first time Gamemasters with notes on how to run this adventure and adventures in general. Several options for resolving this adventure are given. And we even have a nice map of the starships.

For the Players, we have a new Time Lord, Kelaphaludner, aka Kelly, and some of his companions. Kelly will make more appearances.  Additionally, we also get the Fourth Doctor with Leela and Romana II as choices.  I think there must have been a push to include the Doctor and his companions. 

This one gives a special thanks to the Northwestern University Doctor Who club. This one is also slightly taller than the other books. 

The  Hartlewick Horror

The  Hartlewick Horror

40 pages. 1985. Design and writing by Ray Winninger

This one takes us back to some of the more horror-influenced stories of the Third and Fourth Doctor. The Fourth Doctor even appears on the cover. This one takes place on Earth 1923.  Here the CIA has detected energy waves on the same wavelength as the human brain. There are some disappearances, a strange seance, a trapped alien threat, and a group of angry villagers.

It feels very Hammer Horror to be honest and I think that was the point. There are supernatural overtones, but of course as typical with Doctor Who, it is an alien. It might a bit clichéd, but still, it is fun and there are some nice maps. 

For the characters, Kelly and his companions Phillip and Gwendolyn are back. They even show so updates from the last adventure. Also back as alternate player characters are the Fourth Doctor, Leela, Sarah Jane, and Harry Sullivan (not sure who the art for Harry is...).  There are even suggestions for a sequel the Game Master can do on their own.

The Legions of Death

The Legions of Death

52 pages. 1985. Design and writing by J. Andrew Keith.

This one features the newer FASA logo on the cover and the Third Doctor. This one starts with a temporal anomaly in Britain in 43 AD. Apparently, something (or someone) is helping the local Britions win battles against the Romans they were never supposed to have won. That someone turns out to be the renegade Time Lord the War Chief. 

This one is certainly for the history buffs out there. 

For PCs we get the Time Lord "The Colonel" and Time Lady Leoradrusendalular, aka Leora.  For alternates, we have the Third Doctor, Jo Grant, and Sarah Jane Smith. Additionally we have the Bigadier, and some others. Including the first companion from Chicago! There are good collection of NPCs as well. 

There are player's handouts and lots of background information. We even get coverage of the War Chief's Type 43 TARDIS. 

The adventure reminds a bit of some of things we would also see in the Tweleth Doctor episode "The Eaters of Light."

The City of Gold

The City of Gold

52 pages. 1986. Design and writing by J. Andrew Keith.

While the TARDIS and her crew are supposed to be headed to Venezuela in the 21st Century to deal with some revolutionaries, they get sidetracked and land instead in 1543.  Instead of revolutionaries though they run into dinosaurs and rumors of El Dorado, the lost City of Gold.

There is a lot of background here, some player handouts, and some great maps. It also has the involvement of the Silurians, which is always a plus. This is also our first adventure with a 1986 date on it. 

For our PCs we get a Time Lord . "The Don" (ok...), the time Lady Maranodulandur, aka "Mara", a gunslinger named Jack Ransome, a human doctor Cassandra Maitland, and human cavalry officer Jacques D'Aubanville. For our alternate cast, we have the Fifth Doctor, Adric, Nyssa, Teagan, and Turlogh. And a lot of NPCs.

The Warriors Code

The Warriors Code

56 pages. 1986. Design and writing by J. Andrew Keith.

It's 1986 and America is fascinated with all things Japanese. This adventure is larger and we get Jim Holloway doing the cover art. This adventure takes place in Japan during the Tokugawa shogunate (1600 AD), just before the Battle of Sekigahara. Here the TARDIS crashes into another Time Ship from 5184 AD.  While both crews rush to make repairs to their respective ships they have Fuedal Japan to deal with.

I won't lie, you REALLY have to like Japanese history to get into this one. I am not saying it is bad, but it is a set piece. The Time Ship is just a MacGuffin to get you here. 

This one also focuses on the Doctor and his companions in the forefront. The Second Doctor is joined by Jamie, Ben, Poly, Victoria, and Zoe. For the original characters, we get the Time Lord "Noman" and the Time Lady Marinarratalasanavor, aka Marina, and some companions. 

There are maps, hints for play, and even some flowcharts. All of which are nice touches.  This is also the only perfect bound adventure. 

--

I think all of these adventures could be played, with a little massaging, under the Cubicle 7 Doctor Who RPG rules. Many of the Doctors and the Companions have stats in their respective books as do counterparts for all the NPCs. 

The best thing about these adventures are the tidbits that add to or clarify the various rules. They are all geared toward a starting Game Master and naturally assume that anyone will grab any of these as their first adventure.  The only minor, tiny exception here is the Time Lord Kelly and his companions that do get better across their respective adventures, but that is it really. 

None of them will go down in history as classic adventures in the way that say some of the D&D ones have, but they are fun.

Tuesday, May 9, 2023

The Nightmare in Print!

Got some great news last night that my adventure for Fright Night Classics is now in print!

The Nightmare

Print copies of The Nightmare are now available for pre-order for $20 via Paypal to cryptworldrpg@gmail.com. (Price includes shipping anywhere in the U.S.)

I would love to see this one do as well as the PDF sales.  

I have ordered from Yeti Spaghetti & Friends many times, and the orders are always secure and very, very fast. So they have my full endorsement here.

Let's make this one their best-selling adventure. I have more I want to write!

Friday, May 5, 2023

Kickstart Your Weekend: Mini-Dungeon Tome II

Late one today, but I still want to get it out to you all.

I am always in need of a quick adventure or two, so  120+ sounds like a good deal to me!

Mini-Dungeon Tome II

Mini-Dungeon Tome II
https://www.kickstarter.com/projects/adventureaweek/mini-dungeon-tome-ii?ref=theotherside

Form the Kickstarter:

Mini-Dungeon Tome II contains a wealth of one-shots and side quests for 5th Edition. It is the standalone sequel to the best-selling Mini-Dungeon Tome published by AAW Games in 2018, and continues the collection with over 121 new mini-dungeons.

The Mini-Dungeons in this book are designed to be grab-and-go, easy to run adventures with minimum preparation required, covering levels 1–20.

Looks great and even if just a few of them are good (and it looks like more than just a few) then this is a bargain.

Indeed the sample pack is great and worth clicking on just to get that. So give this one a look. It should be great.

Friday, February 10, 2023

Kickstart Your Weekend: Demons! Classes! Adventure! and Mice!

Lots for you this week. All worth your time to look into.

Demonology For Old-School Essentials - Zinequest 5

Demonology For Old-School Essentials - Zinequest 5

https://www.kickstarter.com/projects/gamersandgrognards/demonology-for-old-school-essentials-zinequest-5?ref=theotherside

We always need more demons.  While I do have my own I have been using for a while now this will be a welcome addition to my OSE library.

Kibbles' Compendium of Legends and Legacies

Kibbles' Compendium of Legends and Legacies
https://www.kickstarter.com/projects/kibblestasty/kibbles-compendium-of-legends-and-legacies?ref=theotherside

I am still supporting third-party 5e folk. I am sure they panicked when the OGL fiasco broke, so I am here to boost their signal.  Still looks like a lot of fun.

After Winter Dark: Aihrde A Fantasy Campaign Setting

After Winter Dark: Aihrde A Fantasy Campaign Setting

https://www.kickstarter.com/projects/ckg/after-winter-dark-aihrde-a-fantasy-campaign-setting?ref=theotherside

How do I love thee Castles & Crusades? Let me count the ways. Wait, that will take too long. Instead I'll just back this new book!

I mean this just looks so cool, and I have been dying to do something that I have been calling "endless Winter" in my mind.  Maybe this is it? 

Escape from Undergarden - RPG Adventure for 5e D&D

Escape from Undergarden - RPG Adventure for 5e D&D

https://www.kickstarter.com/projects/jvcparry/escape-from-undergarden-rpg-adventure-for-5e?ref=theotherside

Another adventure and it looks like a lot of fun. I will admit a certain level of dissatisfaction with some of the D&D 5 adventures of late. This one looks like it could turn that trend around.  Of course I would run it under Castles & Crusades now.

Feathertail Falls

Feathertail Falls

https://www.kickstarter.com/projects/peterelroy/feathertail-falls?ref=theotherside

Ok now this one looks like a lot of fun.  From the creator:

This adventure collection is a mouse-fantasy tabletop role playing game that builds on the free Mausritter rules, a deceptively simple system perfectly suited for mouse-sized expeditions. The collection’s adventurous yet melancholy tone is inspired by Over the Garden Wall, Hilda and Studio Ghibli’s Arrietty, as well as the art of Júlia Sardà.

The adventures take place in Feathertail Forest, a place little mice pups may know from bedtime stories, about mice that dream to fly. When you start to explore it, you will find that the unwelcoming forest has been petrified in time. It is up to you to decide if and how to reawaken it, and how to deal with the consequences as you discover more of the forest's secrets.

This would be great for the right group!

--

So much great stuff and so little time and money.

Thursday, December 15, 2022

Review: HYPERBOREA Products

Atlas of Hyperborea
A few newer products for HYPERBOREA I have picked up recently. Some came with the Kickstarter, others I picked up.

Atlas of Hyperborea

PDF and softcover. 36 pages.

This covers the whole HYPERBOREA world. There is an overview map and then broken up into detailed segments.  The softcover book is great, and the PDF does allow you to zoom in for more detail.

It is a good map, but you need the HYPERBOREA RPG to get the full use out of it.

Hyperborea Annual Calendar

PDF. 14 pages.

This is a great product. It is the 13 month, 28-day per month HYPERBOREAN calendar. It has the moon phases of the two moons, Phobos and Celene, and plenty of room to add your own details.  While you need the RPG to use this for Hyperborea, it would work out well for a homebrew world if you liked.

Forgotten Fane of the Coiled Goddess

Forgotten Fane of the Coiled Goddess
PDF. Color cover, black & white interior art.

This is an old-school adventure for 4 to 6 characters of 5th to 7th level.  

Lemuria. Ancient cults. Dinosaurs and demon apes. This adventure has everything. I kinda wish it could have been done for lower levels because it is a great introduction to sorts of adventures that HYPERBOREA should be the best at. While I originally grabbed this as a supplement to some other related adventures (and still might use it as such) it really, really feels at home in Hyperborea the most.

On that note it can be easily used in whatever OSR/Old-School system feels the most as home to your groups.

Plus it has a Dimetrodon in it. So I am already sold on it. 

Thursday, October 6, 2022

100 Days of Halloween: The Witchwar Legacy

The Witchwar Legacy
Switching worlds, editions, and even systems now.  

This adventure was released in 2010 and is a prelude to their Reign of Winter adventure path released in 2013.

I am not entirely sure to be honest, but I think this is the adventure that prompted Paizo to make the Reign of Winter adventure path. 

The Witchwar Legacy

PDF and Print 32 pages. Color covers and interior art.

This adventure is for characters level 17 and essentially is a MacGuffin hunt for the Torc of Kostchtchie. The characters can choose to aid Elvanna, the Witch Queen of Irrisen gain the Torc or the demon-lord Kostchtchie. 

It is a short adventure, essentially a single location with a lot of monsters and NPCs.

It is a quick one, to be honest for such a high-level adventure. If it wasn't so high level it would be a great introduction to the Reign of Winter series. 

I feel like it could be run in the afternoon, but I also think I would like to adjust the threats to make it a little lower level. I would also tweak it a bit to fit the Reign of Winter series. 

My Snow/Ice/Winter Witch?

Elvanna is fantastic, but she never shows up here. She is a good witch...well an evil witch, but she is great at that. The Reign of Winter also features Elvanna but in a different sort of role and she dies in the end...or at least could die. Plus she is so wrapped up in everything I would have to change the Reign of Winter to work for War of the Witch Queens.

Still, she is rather great and I really want to use her. BUT I am also covering the "Reign of Winter" campaign in a couple of days and that, well, changes things. Tune back in for that.

The Other Side - 100 Days of Halloween

Wednesday, October 5, 2022

100 Days of Halloween: FIGHTING FANTASY - Caverns of the Snow Witch

Snow Witch
Last night I covered an adventure that mentions the Ice Queen, but no more details than a mention. This works fine for me since I have a plethora of choices. Here is the first one I considered, but not my only one.

FIGHTING FANTASY - Caverns of the Snow Witch

PDF and Print. 45 pages. Color covers, black & white interiors.

This adventure has a solid pedigree.  It is based on Ian Livingstone's Fighting Fantasy books from 1984.  This adventure is for the d20 system / D&D 3.0 system published in 2003. So nearly 20 apart, here I am nearly 20 years after that reviewing it. 

This adventure covers the same plot and situations from the Fighting Fantasy "choose your own adventure" book.  

The adventure is designed for one character or a small group of adventures.  Reading through it does follow the same plot lines as the Fighting Fantasy book. 

This adventure also features the Luck saves from the original book. It has some changes to the d20 ruleset. There are a few new monsters (including a Yeti!), some new spells, campaign notes, and some new NPCs.

There are a lot of location-based adventures, essentially a collection of encounters the PCs jump from one to the next. The advantage here is that it is easy to convert from d20 to what I am planning to use it with, Old-School Adventures.  

The Snow Witch in this adventure is a sorcerer/vampire which works great for d20/3.0. For my adventures, I would make her a proper witch. 

The adventure is fine, but I think I might be viewing it through what my "Nostalgia Goggles."  Am I reading a good adventure or am I reading something because it was enjoyable to me in the 1980s?

I guess in the end it doesn't matter, as long as I am having fun with it. 

Is She My Snow/Ice Witch?

Well, I guess I should really ask do I just need one? I have a few more choices but this one has some serious old-school street cred. My other Snow/Ice/Winter witches though are a little more interesting.

Still, this is a fun adventure and one I am looking forward to using.

The Other Side - 100 Days of Halloween

 

Tuesday, October 4, 2022

Mail Call: Blue Rose Six of Cups

Getting a new book in the mail is always a joy. Getting one you helped create is even better!

I got my author's copy of Blue Rose Six of Cups.

Blue Rose Six of Cups

Blue Rose Six of Cups

The PDF has been available for a bit and now the print book can be ordered from Green Ronin's online store.

As I have said in the past I adore Blue Rose. I just love the world, the system, everything about it. It is such a refresher after decades of "grim dark" RPGs.

I am particularly happy with this one. It has a new character I am particularly fond of.  My homage to the Piasa Bird and places I used to frequent. Another distateful member of the less than pleasant Meacham family. But most of all it was a joy and an honor to write something for Aldea. 

The Storm of the Century

The project lead, Joseph D. Carriker, for this book posted in Green Ronin News a little about this book. In particular, he talked about the "Storm of the Century" theme.  This was not something I (or to my knowledge) any of the other authors tried to do. I was pretty much working in my silo just to get this done with my only contact being Joseph. Who, please allow me to add, was great to work with.

Here is what he had to say about the storm.

One of the things I asked of our authors was to send me proposals for their adventures and gazetteers. In short order, it became apparent that (perhaps inspired by the elemental association of Cups with water) no less than three of the stories feature a massive coastal storm. Rather than require some of the authors to change their ideas, I thought I could include them all to highlight one of the interesting ways to use generally unrelated adventures.

Finding a common thread to run between adventures is an awesome way of building a sort of “accidental” campaign. The tumultuous weather plays a role in all three of the stories, and they are not written as being interrelated. An enterprising Narrator might, however, come up with some connecting concepts to help tie them together. Perhaps these are all part of a single, major storm system of some kind, a sort of terrifying storm of the century to strike the southern coast of Aldis? Or, perhaps there is something (or someone…) nefarious at work, hurling storm after storm into the world.

I do love this idea and the thought of a great storm coming to the southern coast of Aldis is too good to pass up. 

Personally, I think this is one of Blue Rose's greatest strengths when compared to D&D.  D&D can do a lot of great things. But it is largely still a game about and centered around combat.  In Blue Rose, you could make an adventure where the central focus was protecting a small coastal town from the coming storm. Not by fighting some demonic force or elemental, but as the Sovereign's Finest playing the role the National Guard does here. Organizing relief efforts, building sandbag walls, and figuring out what to do. Fantastic role-playing opportunity.  

So my darkfiend Dorgogz is not the cause of this massive storm, but rather he is here because of it. 

The adventures are leveled from 1 to 8 (mine for example is level 2-4). A new adventure, say levels 8-10 called "The Storm of the Century" would be this giant coastal storm.  Hmm...I am getting some ideas here.  With this sort of build-up, one could see that there is something connected and nefarious here. 

Can't wait to try out the other adventures in this book. They look great.

100 Days of Halloween: A Witch's Desire - Adventure for Old-School Essentials

A Witch's Desire - Adventure for Old-School Essentials
Honestly, I could not pass this one up. It is a low-level adventure featuring a witch, it is quick and it is for Old-School Essentials.  So yeah, I had to grab it.  But how does it play?  Let's look into it.

As always I will be following my rules for these reviews.

A Witch's Desire - Adventure for Old-School Essentials

PDF and PoD. 27 pages. Color covers and interior art.

The designed levels for this are 1 to 3, but I find that it works well as an "interlude" adventure, that is as the characters are moving from one major adventure to the other.  Not to say that this can't be a major adventure, it can. But for me, I wanted to feel more like the characters "wandered into a dream" sort of deal. 

To start with, and what helps fuel this notion of an interlude, are some rules for travel.  While the PCs are moving from their last adventure to this one using these rules helps give this one it's own feel. Yes they can be used elsewhere and adapted. Adding to this is the section after the travel and before the adventure proper, and that is the influence the witch has on the lands near her. I have been using something similar for my War of the Witch Queens based on the old superstition of Hex Signs, but the rules here are more explicit in their application.

 The adventure is a "straightforward" mission to get some water for the Witch of the Wilds they meet at the start of the adventure. I say "straightforward" because obviously, it isn't.  They are plenty of hazards along the way and foes to fight. The adventure is scaleable so that is also quite good. 

There are no stats for the witch herself, nor should there be. The PCs should not be fighting her.

This adventure is set in the Forever Winter setting. Honestly a name like screams to be used.  Also, there is mention of the Ice Queen and her rivalry with the Witch of the Wilds.  The Ice Queen is not mentioned much here save for a sidebar, but the potential is great.  So great in fact that I have an idea of how to work the Ice Queen (also a witch in my world naturally) into my War of the Witch Queens.  I'll discuss her tomorrow. It is likely that their A Wintry Death adventures could be used in conjunction with this one, but I am pretty pleased with it as is to be honest.

While the art is wonderful for this it does make you think the Witch of the Wild could be something of an evil-ish character, certainly otherworldly.  While reading through this I kept asking myself, what if this witch was good and just really needed the character's help?

Suddenly all I could think of was Ginny Di's character Morelia the Wood Witch.  She would need the water for her potions obviously. Changes the whole tenor of the adventure.   Not that I have any problems coming up with witches. It would also change the nature of the relationship between the Witch of the Wilds and the Ice Queen. They are still rivals, but now it is different.

Witch of the Wilds VS Morelia the Wood Witch

Note: I just noticed that Morelia's familiar Crimini is a cat with white fur and gold eyes. Much like the art for the Witch of the Wilds. Maybe Morelia polymorphs Crimini to act as the scary Witch of the Wild? She then hides in the background so that the PCs she is hiring don't know she really is about as dangerous as a bunny. A lot like Balok in the classic Trek episode "The Corbomite Maneuver."  Instead of tranya she offers them tea of course. Yeah, I like this idea. 

In either case, the Witch of this adventure would need to be a potential ally for the characters in my game.  I can't actually see Morelia getting mad with them anyway. And I really want to use Morelia. I just don't think I can pull off the voice Ginny Di uses for her!

In any case a fun adventure with a lot of ideas for use in my home campaign. The PDF version comes with separate maps. The PDF also features layers so you can turn on the background image for readability. That's worth an extra star in my book to be honest. 

Monday, October 3, 2022

100 Days of Halloween: When Comes the Witching Hour

When Comes the Witching Hour
Another adventure from casl Entertainment featuring the "Witch Queen" which may or may not be Iggwilv. 

When Comes the Witching Hour

PDF and Print. 80 Pages. Color covers. Black & White art.

This adventure is designed for levels 9 to 12 for the OSRIC game, which is the clone of AD&D 1st Edition.

I grabbed this adventure back in February after reviewing The Witch-Queen's Lament, a later, but lower-level adventure.

There is a nudge-nudge-wink-wink commentary on how to fit this adventure into the World of Greyhawk. But it is also fully usable in any world. 

The adventure is overtly the search for a missing princess. What makes this different is the missing princess is likely in the Dungeons of the Mad Archmage and might have something to do with the Queen of Witches.

Now. Before I get too much further let me point out what this adventure can do. Obviously, there are the fans of the World of Greayhawk who can use this to expand on their game worlds. You can grab nearly any other version of the Castle or Dungeons of the Mad Arch Mage.  It is really a nice piece that could fit into a lot of campaigns. 

The adventure is a wonderful romp through some of the storied locations of the World of Greyhawk, if in a thinly veiled manner. Also, anything that involves Iggwilv or the Witch Queen is a must-buy in my mind.

The adventure covers the first half of the book. The last half has new monsters including many unique demons, new magic items, pre-gen characters, and finally the maps. Note. The print version maps are a little difficult to read. I have the PDF so I printed them out.

One other nitpick. There are no page numbers printed on each page. 

When Come the Witching Hour

--

For Use in War of the Witch Queens

This one is so on brand for my War of the Witch Queens that I am shocked how well it works for me. It covers several bases for me. For starters, it is OSRIC thus satisfying my need to involve all sorts of OSR rule sets. It is set in Greyhawk which satisfies my desire to involve many of the game worlds as I can. And most of all it features the machinations of not just "A" Witch Queen, but "THE" Witch Queen. I mean really. If I have any complaints about this adventure it is I didn't write it myself.

For Use in NIGHT SHIFT

While I love to use some of these adventures for NIGHT SHIFT not everything will fit. This is a perfect example, while I love the idea of this adventure it would not be good for NIGHT SHIFT. This adventure is too deeply tied to the World of D&D and especially Greyhawk.

The Other Side - 100 Days of Halloween

Sunday, October 2, 2022

100 Days of Halloween: The Coven

The Coven
Tonight I am starting my deep dive into a bunch of witch-related adventures, many of which I would like to use with my War of the Witch Queens campaign.

The adventures will come from the various versions of D&D and the retro-clones in the OSR. They all have or feature witches in them.  Sometimes these witches are the antagonists, other times they are allies or even friends. The point is to show this rise in witch-related activity.  The players would see this rise but only later learn the reason is that the High Witch Queen had been murdered and now the witches are running wild.

As always I will be following my rules for these reviews.

The Coven

PDF. 45 pages. Black & White cover and B&W and color interior art.

This is a 0-level or 1st-level "adventure". In fact the adventure covers creating a coven of new "witches" (1st level magic-users).  There are a lot of random tables to help generate these characters including their background, patrons, enemies, and more for these witches. You also generate the lands and homes of these witches and their enemies.

This book is designed for Lamentations of the Flame Princess, but that is close enough to B/X that you can use that or OSE instead. 

I say "adventure" in quotes because there is not an adventure here. There is a setup for future adventures and there are plenty of ideas here to create your own. But no "going to point A to point B and kill monster X."

What it might lack (and I don't think it is lacking) in structure it makes up for in style and detail.

For Use in War of the Witch Queens

I would use this as a session zero for a future run of WotWQ (right now my characters are around 3rd level) but this would be a fun start.

Instead on 1st level magic-users I would use my witches, with a random table to also help choose their tradition.  

For Use in NIGHT SHIFT

So this is set up for LotFP, but with some tooling, I could make it work for a modern-age NIGHT SHIFT game. Certainly something for Ordinary World or even Generation HEX.


The Other Side - 100 Days of Halloween


Tuesday, July 12, 2022

New Release Tuesday: Blue Rose Six of Cups

I have been waiting a bit to share this one with you all.  I have an adventure in the newest Blue Rose RPG book, Six of Cups!

Blue Rose: Six of Cups

Yes, that is my name at the bottom. 

I am quite excited about this really. There are a lot of great adventures here from a lot of great authors/designers.  Working with Green Ronin was a joy really. I am honored to have been able to contribute even just a small part to the World of Aldea.

My adventure, appropriately named "Witching Weather" deals with the birth of five children all of who have some sort of magical power and the forces of darkness that are closing in around them.

In addition to the adventure, I was given the privilege to add a bit more detail to the City of Garnet. 

I have seen the world of Blue Rose described as "fantasy Seatle" which may or may not be true, but Garnet as I have written it is "Fantasy Alton, IL."  Alton is a blue-collar riverside town with some great history, some unexpectedly good restaurants, and the shadow of the Piasa Bird everywhere you go.  Vyon Bloodwing, one of the adversaries of the adventure, is my homage to the Piasa Bird.  

So grab this book. It has my adventure in it and a bunch of other great adventures and guides to lesser-traveled places in Aldea.  When you are walking along the "Riverwalk" or "Restaurant Row" in Garnet please don't forget to raise your drink, be it a hearty stout or an equally strong tea, to both the Sovereign and the famous Admiral Celeste Vorcolio. Both the pride and joy of Garnet.  

Thursday, May 5, 2022

Review: The Traveller Adventure (1983)

The Traveller Adventure
The Traveller Adventure is the companion piece to The Traveller Book I reviewed earlier.

I always wanted this book. It would have looked so great next to my Traveller Book. But more importantly it would have given me some more ideas of what to do with Traveller.  At least Traveller was better for me than Star Frontiers, which tended to be D&D in Space.

I did pick this up on DriveThruRPG as a PDF almost as soon as it came out. 

This book (well. the cover) was my first experience with the Vargr.

The Traveller Adventure (1983)

For this review, I am using the PDF from DriveThruRPG.  154 pages, color cover, black and white interior art with red ink accents.

This book is a collection of connected adventures which today would be called an Adventure Path.  See I told you Traveller was ahead of its time. 

The conceit of the adventures is the player characters are all members of the merchant vessel, the March Harrier, where they befriend a Vargr (a fantastic way to introduce an alien species btw) and leads them on a series of adventures.  Additionally, we (or me rather, it could have shown up earlier in another book) were introduced to the Spinward Marches, the frontier of the Imperium.  Even someone only tangentially familiar with Traveller has heard of the Spinward Marches.

So yeah already a lot in this book.

The book begins with all this information as well as background on the Aramis Subsector and some Referee notes.  These notes include details on the overall plot and what all the major NPCs want. There are even some Pre-Gen characters to use.  Seriously. This thing is so much better than I expected it to be.

There are about a dozen and a half or so adventures here of various sizes and types.  Each moves the plot forward in a different way and each can have an effect on the other.  They did not appear to be overtly linear to me, so there is a lot freedom of how these can be used.

There are also deck plans for the March Harrier and a bit on using Vargr as player characters.

There is just so much information here and just so much of value that I am really kicking myself for not getting this back then.  It really would have changed my Traveller experience.

Reading through this now I also really get an appreciation for how deep and rich the Traveller lore is.  

Wednesday, February 9, 2022

Review: The Witch-Queen's Lament (OSRIC Adventure)

The Witch-Queen's Lament
A couple of weeks back I noticed a posting in one of the Greyhawk groups on Facebook about a new adventure. It was called The Witch-Queen's Lament so you know it immediately had my attention. The adventure was designed for OSRIC and had an old-school module look and feel to it.  I didn't know much about it to be honest, but I was sure I was going to get it.  I went over the publisher's website, casl Entertainment, and bought a copy of the PDF and perfect bound softcover.  While I was predisposed to like it, getting the PDF made me quite excited for it.

The Witch-Queen’s Lament

An adventure for character levels 6-9 (70,002 total experience points) for OSRIC or compatible games. PDF and softcover available, 95 pages.

This adventure is "compliant" (I think "compatible" is the word they want, it is "compliant" with the OGL) with OSRIC.  This really means it can (read should) be used with AD&D 1st Edition.  It will work with other games too, but more on that.

This adventure is designed for Tournament play. That is why we have the 70,002 XP value on it and there is a tournament scoring sheet.  IF you wish to play this adventure with tournament rules and scoring my advice is do not change anything about it.  I have run a few tournament adventures with scoring and this one feels like it put together well. My concern would only be can you fit it into the four-hour time slot?  I am 100% certain that author Carlos A.S. Lising has and has done so many times.  I am not sure *I* could do it.  That all being said I want to look at this from the point of view of a campaign, and my War of the Witch Queens campaign in particular. 

So let's start back at the beginning.  This adventure was the official Tourneyment adventure for GrogCon 2021.  Looking over their catalog it looks like they have run a few adventures at other old-school cons as well.  This bodes well.  The adventure was written by Carlos A.S. Lising, with cover and interior art by Daniel Govar, and cartography from Glynn Seal.  Carlos A.S. Lising is a huge fan of module S4 The Lost Caverns of Tsojcanth which is also one of my favorites. This makes me optimistic for this adventure.

Now when this was announced for sale there was a little bit of wailing from the usual suspects in regard to the module code, G2, on the cover.  With many complaining that this was not really G2.  Sorry but the TSR G2 The Glacial Rift of the Frost Giant Jarl is over 40 years old now and neither TSR nor Gygax owned the letter G.  I am sure the G, in this case, stood for "GrogCon."  If this bugs you, be like Elsa and let it go.

On to the adventure proper.  We learn right away that the eponymous Witch-Queen is none other than "Natasha the Dark" aka Tasha, aka Tashanna, aka Zyblina, aka Iggwilv herself!  Ok. You now have my undivided attention.  We get a bit of backstory on Natasha the Dark including her becoming a Daughter of Baba Yaga, and her sisters Vasilisa (Elena) the Fair and Anya the Plain.  Anya is going to be our focus here since she has gone missing with Natasha's matryoshka doll. This was no ordinary doll, this nesting doll held a bit of Natasha's soul/life force and has kept her immortal for centuries.  Natasha, it a bit uncharacteristic token of love, gave the newly enchanted doll to Anya for safe-keeping, knowing her sister would love it and cherish it. The side effect has been that as long as Anya has the doll she will also be immortal, just stuck in the form of a 12-year-old girl.

The doll, and Anya, has now been stolen and IggwilvNatasha needs you all to get it back.

As far as adventure hooks goes this one is a good one.  The doll is in the hands of an evil Wizard named Andrei Anazinov who knows it is special and knows Anya has never aged. He trying to discover its secrets.  So get the doll before the wizard figures out Natasha's immortality.  The adventure overtly makes it about saving Natasha's immortality, but as you read it the real reason is also uncovered, the ancient Witch Queen still loves her little sister. Undoing the immortality would be bad for Natasha, but it is also likely she has many safeguards in place.  It would however kill Anya outright.

I don't want to go too much deeper than this in case potential players read this.  It is a MacGuffin search, but a fun one and a chance to interact with one of the more notorious characters in D&D lore.

Comments on the Adventure

A few comments.  I can completely understand why Natasha wants the doll and Anya back.  I even understand why she wants good adventurers to do it.  I am not sure why someone of Natasha's caliber would a. let the adventurers know who she is and b. what the doll is.  It seems to me that good or evil the party might want to hide or destroy the doll to stop an evil witch queen.  When I run this I am going to need another reason.

The maps are great. I am glad I have to PDF to print them out on my own.

There are some cool new monsters (a must in any adventure) and magic items.  There is even a pronunciation guide. 

New Monsters

One nitpick. None of the pages have page numbers on them. Seems a touch odd, but I can deal.

Sixteen pages are given over to the 8 pre-gen characters.  So that is nice.  There are also tournament scoring sheets.

Adapting for War of the Witch Queens

I bought this adventure with idea of adapting it over to my War of the Witch Queen campaign.  This is not the first "Witch Queen" adventure I have bought, nor will it be my last I am sure.   The fact that it includes Natasha/Iggwilv just makes it more perfect to be honest.

War of the Witch Queens

So here are my changes.

I am not running this as a tournament since I am going to be using OSE-Advanced Fantasy for it. There will be some more tweaks for the rules, but I think it is going to work out just fantastic really.

Natasha/Iggwilv is not going to let the adventurers know who she is or why she wants the doll back.  I am going to have her disguise herself as Elena the Fair and "Elena" will be hiring them to rescue her sister Anya. This way she feels she is not lying about her mission.  In the end, Anya will out "Elena" as Iggwilv, but the terms of their agreement will remain.  Maybe Vasilisa the Beautiful will show up to take Anya.  I have Elena and Vasilisa as two separate characters. 

I love the whole Russian feel to all of this, but I am going to take out Andrei Anazinov and replace him with Kelek.  Kelek has had some dealings with Iggwilv already and he is the "big bad" of the War of the Witch Queens.  I need an adventure to get him in front of the PCs instead of making him a behind the shadows guy.  Andrei is a 14th level wizard. I made Kelek a 15th level magic-user/necromancer.  Also in my games Kelek is looking for ways to make himself ever young, he thinks Anya (not the doll) is the answer.  Kelek is a misanthrope, so kidnapping and experimenting on a little kid is kinda on-brand for him So this all fits.  

Plus I have these great minis to use

There might be other little tweaks along the way. More winter wolves and worgs to be sure. I am certainly going to steal ideas from the newer 5e versions of Iggwilv and Kelek and I am also going to steal ideas from the Pathfinder Witch War series.

The Witch Queens at War

There are more adventures on the casl Entertainment website. Including one, C11 - When Comes the Witching Hour, that looks like it could be Iggwilv on the cover.  So I am going to need to check that one out as well.  Just watched this video and yup, looks like it is! I have to go get it now.