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Death Race: Fury Road
Publisher: Kort'thalis Publishing
by Eric F. [Verified Purchaser]
Date Added: 10/30/2016 19:17:14

Sometimes you need a good set of Mad Max style OSR rules that can handle an interstellar cosmic or OSR wasteland race! Did I mention that Venger Satanis has been working on exactly that and its free? Shall we dive into the deep end race fans?! So I've been waxing & waning between Sword & Sorcery & my ever wasteland present muse post apocalyptic old school gaming. Then a couple of weeks ago Venger Satanis emails me about his current project Death Race Fury Road. The set up for this is pure post apocalpytic gold, I didn't have as much time as I would have liked to contribute more to the community based project. But its been birthed onto the world like new born mutant baby. Cue Thundarr The Barbarian theme music here. Man that brings back memories but not in a bad way at all, I can honestly see using these rules to inject some weirdness into a game between adventures. The PC's become drafted into some of the most insane weirdness that some wizards can draft them into especially a race of comic level strangeness. This might actually work well as a side game for Alpha Blue or Crimson Dragon Slayer. But it would actually work as a nice side support for any OSR game. I can actually see using this as a Mutant Future or Planet Mother F@#$er side support game add on. So its time to get your race on and bring your best gear down to the track, take your best pit crew, get your driving gloves on, and whatever you do don't let the Mok drive! All in Death Race Fury Road is a really nice add on for any O5R or OSR game & its something that can be used again and again because its going to be different every time because of the random tables and awesomeness! Eric Fabiaschi Swords & Stitchery Blog Want to see more independant OSR content for this and other fine products? Subscribe to http://swordsandstitchery.blogspot.com



Rating:
[5 of 5 Stars!]
Death Race: Fury Road
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A Green Jewel They Must Possess
Publisher: Kort'thalis Publishing
by Eric F. [Verified Purchaser]
Date Added: 10/16/2016 16:00:48

Did you ever look at an adventure & think yeah there's something slightly off with that one. Yeah it makes you want to run it all the more. This is one of those adventures, A Green Jewel They Must Possess is from the prolific mind of Venger Satanis. Now is that time of year when you really need an adventure for a Saturday or Sunday night with the holidays coming up. Very few folks have the time to put something together on the spot, that's where our next adventure comes in.A Green Jewel They Must Possess From Kort'thalis Publishing clocks in at about ten pages taking place in the Early Eighties and its mostly a back handed homage to the animated film Heavy Metal. I say mostly because its actually its own beast & really wallows in its own Eighties slime filled juices more on that in a moment. A Green Jewel They Must Possess is about a compact an investigative adventure that a DM can get it clocks in at eleven pages and gets out of its own way in the first page establishing you relationship with the main protagonist in the first two minutes with a random table. "It's Chicago in autumn, nineteen seventy-something. Ezra Jackson calls one of the investigators, asking to meet at a nearby restaurant in order to talk business. He sets the meeting for 5:00pm on a Tuesday. Ezra is about 30, medium height with a medium build, long brown hair, glasses, and wears a tan corduroy jacket with brown suede patches at the elbows. He's usually quiet unless he has something to say. Ezra is ambitious, but not at the expense of his friends. He became fascinated with the occult at a young age, but never went too far down the rabbit hole. Determine which of the following suggestions explain Ezra Jackson's relationship to each investigator." The investigators or adventures meet at a local restaurant and things get weird as he sketches out the origins of the green artifact. "Ezra Jackson has a little proposition for the investigators. Ezra heard about excavation in what is now Syria - a new temple was discovered by a team of Americans, buried underneath what was considered the oldest temple discovered - until now, that is. Within this temple, the archaeologists found a sphere made of an unknown material. After touching it, the sphere began to glow green. After one of the archaeologists died under mysterious circumstances, the sphere was shipped back to America for study and eventual display. "Nothing like this has ever been seen or recorded, not only in the Middle East but any ancient civilization on earth... this is truly a unique artifact!""

Yeah that's right this is actually an occult heist adventure rather then a standard occult investigation and that marks it as both different and well executed. The black market underbelly of artifact, archaeological, smuggling, theft,murder & crime isn't something that nice rpg's like to talk about but not this adventure. Your PC's are put smack into the cross hairs of the Lovecraftian rifle scope. This adventure takes place some very nefarious & dangerous NPC characters. Something that the Outer Presence rpg adventure also takes full advantage of. So basically this puts A Green Jewel They Must Possess right into the rpg camp of Call of Cthulhu's Delta Green or Call of Cthulhu 's Eighties territory this isn't a bad thing at all. This adventure could serve as an introduction to a black market Delta Green or Call of Cthulhu campaign quite easily. The material is there to full advantage of any weird moves on the PC's part in this 'job' adventure but there is a heavy Lovecraftian or occult object here buts its not a red herring in this case. Don't forget this is a homage to the Eighty One Heavy Metal film, the green glowing artifact isn't a dead end, its a major plot element in this adventure & a very deadly one. So now the big question that everyone was recently asking me about 'A Green Jewel they must possess can it be connected to Alpha Blue or Crimson Dragon Slayer? The answer is a very easy yes! In fact with very little work, the back drop of the story could be changed to another world and the same characters could be used as sleazy and dangerous space smugglers whom the PC's have to do a job for. That's the beauty of A Jewel They Must Possess its easily adaptable for all kinds of mayhem with the PC's. The background of the Heavy Metal film gives an easy in for the PC's. One of the nice things that the Jewel They Must Possess has is a table for continuing the events after the adventure is over with. This makes continued place not only possible but campaign events can be linked into the adventure's backdrop for extended play. Seems like a simple thing to do but many adventures miss doing this. On the whole I really really enjoyed this adventure, it does what it says on the tin and creates a really nice set up for a mini campaign in the world of the Outer Presence. Not too shabby at all for a three dollar adventure. Five out of five stars in my opinion Eric Fabiaschi Sword & Stitchery Blog Want to see more support for this or other OSR systems subscribe to http://swordsandstitchery.blogspot.com/



Rating:
[5 of 5 Stars!]
A Green Jewel They Must Possess
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Slaves of Tsathoggua
Publisher: Kort'thalis Publishing
by Eric F. [Verified Purchaser]
Date Added: 10/12/2016 16:33:55

So recently I provided a bit of advertising for Venger Satanis's Trilogy of Awesome kickstarter, well today I received my review copy of Slaves of Tsathoggua From Kort'thalis Publishing & it wasn't at all what I was expecting!? First of all before the set up and plot work for this adventure you need to understand that, "this is the first adventure creates specifically for Crimson Dragon Slayer, edition 1.11. However, it's compatible with the original Crimson Dragon Slayer RPG and relatively easy to convert to any other fantasy RPG." Otherwise everything after this isn't going to make a lot of sense, Slaves of Tsathoggua takes the idea of the 'beast in the cave' cliche & turns this into an adventure of weird proportions. "There's something in that cave... the cave all those villagers are afraid of. What's inside? Will the adventurers be able to leave once they enter? What does this have to do with Tsathoggua?" This adventure clocks in at fifteen pages and is filled with memorable NPC's, lots of weird situations, and a ton of strangeness that connects in deep with the latest incarnation of Crimson Dragon Slayer 1.11 From Kort'thalis Publishing. This adventure is a bit different then other Crimson Dragon Slayer affairs, it combines many of the author's usual themes but has something a bit different too it. Basically this adventure can act similar to a DCC funnel taking PC's from inexperienced yobs to fully fleshed and blooded adventurers in one shot. It uses a series of balanced and very dangerous encounters to really get into the psyche and gonzo pulpiness of the PC's who experience it. Slaves of Tsathoggua could be put between adventures in a campaign to test the mettle of adventurers from from the Crimson Dragon Slayer rpg system and it would do a good job of it. This adventure takes place in the village of Needham is home to around 300 people. About half of them are farmers, the rest owning various shops like the baker or providing services such as the blacksmith.A short distance from the village is a cave & its hiding a secret of dangerous providence. This is Venger at his best dishing out old school adventure with a dollop of pulpy gonzo aggression in equal measure. The stakes here are very high and in fact a bit epic for any party exploring the ins and outs of the Caverns. Slaves of Tsathoggua is a mix of Eighties sword & sorcery fantasy that has mated with an episode of the Outer Limits with a bit of Clark Aston Smith thrown in for good measure but bring some extra PC's. This adventure might be a great one to run with Dungeon Crawl Classics because everything here is a perfect funnel to throw some PC's through to take them from green horn to experienced in one shot. The fact that this is a Crimson Dragon Slayer adventure makes this a gonzo must buy. Did I happen to mention that Slaves of Tsathoggua is a perfect gonzo dungeon crawl of psychotropic proportions to link up with +Venger Satanis' The Islands of Purple-Haunted Putrescence. There are few if any naughty bits in Slaves but the material in this adventure has a perfect link up device for the PC's if the DM wants to take advantage of it. Basically Slaves of Tsathoggua From Kort'thalis Publishing is a great direction to take the Crimson Dragon Slayer game and one that I think is going to be great for future publications. I'm very pleased with Slaves of Tsathoggua From Kort'thalis Publishing and give it a five out of five, for only three dollars this one hits my gonzo pulpy heart of old school goodness. Eric Fabiaschi Swords & Stitchery blog Want to see more reviews, commentary, and more OSR goodness? Subscribe to http://swordsandstitchery.blogspot.com/



Rating:
[5 of 5 Stars!]
Slaves of Tsathoggua
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Wisdom from the Wastelands Issue #52: Nanotech Undead
Publisher: Skirmisher Publishing
by Eric F. [Verified Purchaser]
Date Added: 08/31/2016 00:29:36

Wasteland horrors and zombies are always a favorite but here in Wisdom from the Wastelands Issue #52: Nanotech Undead we get a boat load of monster options and weirdness for the Mutant Future rpg. But is the issue worth getting? Yes but there are some interesting give and take things here in the wastelands. My sweet spot for post apocalyptic rpg's has always been Gamma World first & second edition, the games were and are some of my favorite systems & rpg's. They form a good part of my next phase of gaming in my life. The thing about Gamma World was its flexibility, the apocalypse could be anything from a zombie plague to a full blown holocaust of Biblical proportions with little bits of everything in between. Everyone I knew mixed in everything from Logan's Run to Night of the Living Dead. In case you don't know;"Gamma World is a science fantasy role-playing game, originally designed by James M. Ward and Gary Jaquet, and first published by TSR in 1978. It borrowed heavily from Ward's earlier product, Metamorphosis Alpha."

So I was thrilled to see Mutant Future a retroclone of old school post apocalyptic rpgs from Goblinoid games was available but like its originator the DM has to do a lot of the heavy lifting when it comes to developing the background, setting material, adventures, etc. Which is fine because there's some great licensed products out there to help fill in the gaps such as Skirmisher Publishing's Wisdom From the Wastelands and other fine source books to help fill in the gap. Now Skirmisher Publishing has come out with Wisdom from the Wastelands Issue #52: Nanotech Undead. Basically this is Skirmisher's undead & zombie source book for their version of the Mutant Future setting. The book is really nicely done at twenty nine pages for three dollars, I do wish it had an index because this issue is slightly bigger then normal issues. The undead rules are very well done and there is a vast array of undead to keep your players busy but once again we've got the same issue that I've had with Skirmisher Publishing in the past. None of the content of this book is OGL. They used public domain sources such as Wiki for the artwork and interior art work modified but none of the sweet Mutant Future content from Chris Van Deelen or the Skirmisher crew is 'open game content'. This has been a huge thorn in my side with about ninety nine percent of their publications going back to Skirmisher Publishing's issue #1 of Wisdom From Wasteland. For me as a blogger & writer I understand their stance upon their trademark and copyright but its God damn frustrating too. Skirmisher Publishing makes some of the best content for Mutant Future out there but I wouldn't touch it with a ten foot radioactive pole. Without the OGL open game content label I can't publish or use these great monsters in an adventure or scenario for Mutant Future without the risk of legal action. This is something I'm not willing to do. See that's one of the reasons why its important for companies to use and produce 'open game content' it lets other writers and companies continue the OSR momentum while at the same time putting money in the coffers of companies. Because of the success of properties like Walking Dead, the Night of the Living Dead films, World War Z, and so many numerous video games,etc. zombies and thousands of variations are in circulation. This is because of a lapse in copyright & trade mark of the original Night of the Living Dead. The fact is that this another example of companies raiding the public domain without fueling the content to continue the creativity at the expense of future projects that could benefit the whole Mutant Future community. But is Wisdom from the Wastelands Issue #52 undead necessary or needed? Well in fact not at all. Labyrinth Lord and The Labyrinth Lord Advanced Companion both provide lots of undead and a zombie template that can be used with Mutant Future with little modification and some numbers crunching. What Issue #52 of WFW does is provide a whole host of zombie and undead nanite animated goodness. The rules cover the entire gammit of zombification and the various types of Mutant Future undead. There are over a dozen varieties and sub types across the board in Wisdom from the Wastelands Issue #52. The pdf is worth getting for the support of the monsters and zombies alone but this book covers the whole range of wasteland horrors. Do I think that Wisdom from the Wastelands Issue #52: Nanotech Undead is worth getting? Yes I do especially for Mutant Future and other OGL players but is this product for me? Probably not because I've got this end of the wasteland covered.

Eric Fabiaschi Swords & Stitchery Blog Want to see more then please subscribe to see more reviews and support for this system and other OSR as well old school rpg system right over at http://swordsandstitchery.blogspot.com/



Rating:
[4 of 5 Stars!]
Wisdom from the Wastelands Issue #52: Nanotech Undead
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Universal Exploits
Publisher: Kort'thalis Publishing
by Eric F. [Verified Purchaser]
Date Added: 08/17/2016 08:08:02

Well let's start at the top, Universal Exploits was clocked in at sixty pages on Venger Satanis's Kickstarter. Supposedly the Universal Exploits was going to be sixty pages;" So, what's going to be in the book? Around 60 pages (8.5" x 11") of new adventure scenarios, technology, weapons, drugs, NPCs, adversaries, monsters, galactic factions, Federation sub-committees, a section on taxes, tariffs, and free trade, time travel, random tables galore, alternatives to temporary Health after sexual encounters, alien cities, and even more fleshy envelope-pushing artwork!" Well what we've gotten is a one hundred and nine page book with lots of random PC tables, fully fleshed out adventures, wall to wall NPC's, a great Alpha Blue character sheet, & fully detailed star ship plans by Monkey Blood Designs. Oh and about that fleshy envelop pushing artwork its there. This book is possibly going to be one of those essential books & tool kits for the Alpha Blue rpg system. Universal Exploits takes the Venger Satanis random tables as optional PC generation tool & turns it up eleven. Right at the beginning of the book we get alternative ship to ship combat rules, optional damage rules, the some tables on cyro sleep suspension effects,xenophobia table for when PC's and PC's meet, optional unarmed combat charts, optional PC stacking for abilities, instant background tables, optional campaign set up for harder or softer space opera campaign setting tables, reasons for joining the revolution for PC background, prior PC/NPC relationships tables, alien language table, PC planet origin table, random traveling times, the blue effect ( Alpha Blue style warping of the mind), random horror in space table element table, and then things start to get busy. We get a brand new PC type in the form of clones. Yes that's right clones because back in the 1970's cloning was all of the rage & it gives players another option to bring back or resurrect dead or destroyed biological characters. This is one of those science fiction tropes with lots of implications for Alpha Blue campaign play. And then tucked right into the middle of lots of T&A artwork is a set of serious interstellar domain management rules that actually seem to work along with sources of power. Then there's a straight up piece of porn artwork on the same page that has to remind us that this is an over top sleazy Seventies porn parody rpg. We get random leadership tables followed by rules for cock blocking; yes I said rules for cock blocking. Given the 'over the top' sex parody nature of Alpha Blue these are not a surprising addition to the game. Then random detention block NPC tables, along with what Federation officer is looking for tables, and all of this is rounded out by random cargoes & side jobs for your spacers. We get random 'job benefits and perks' tables of course these include sexual encounters cue Eighties porno music here. Telepathic rules which adds that bit of extra to the Alpha Blue game ( illustration of a girl wanking here). Then we get into some solid drug and a random over dose table which for an Seventies & Eighties porn parody sci fi game is a must. There's some artwork which breaks up the sections in Universal Exploits & its not a bad way of handling the various sections of the book. Just in case I haven't mentioned it, Universal Exploits actually has a fully laid out index that cross references everything in the book and this is one busy book as we shall see. We get an adventure/NPC location that we can drop right into the middle of an Alpha Blue game & its a place that's needed;"Revan 111 is a space station devoted to peace in the Ustrata galaxy, though it occasionally wanders outside Ustrata into neighboring galaxies. Hanging at the central corridor between a wild assortment of alien factions on a thousand different worlds, Revan 111 is a sanctuary, safe haven, and last refuge for the dispossessed, disenfranchised, revolutionaries, activists, libertarians, ordinary space scum, and all those beings with a reason to hide." You see Revan 111 is a place with secrets, NPC's with hidden agendas, and a space station swimming with all kinds of trouble waiting to grab your PC's by the throat and haul them into a side adventure they never wanted. A few random tables breath life into Revan 111 & its a solid adventure location to drag & drop into a game of Alpha Blue. We get two tables that work really well for Alpha Blue for NPC's one is the cultural bias table and the after party table. The after party table is perfect for PC's who stumble into a party they shouldn't have. Then we get into random tables for generating religious orders and NPC figures. Followed by more random motives for NPC spacers. A brief outline and structure rules for running & constructing adventures in Alpha Blue is next which slides into the Universal Exploits adventure set up and the big bad 'the Federation' According to Universal Exploits;"In this book, Universal Exploits, one enemy takes center stage - the Federation! It's an oppressive, corrupt regime, ever growing and always grasping for more and more power. The Federation is a foreboding oligarchy consisting of the ultra-wealthy, bureaucrats, noble houses, assassination guilds, telepaths, zedis, and the military industrial complex. The Federation crushes resistance wherever it sees it… and the Federation believes the seeds of revolution are everywhere" A basic take off on 'Star Wars Empire' with shades of other space opera governments. The whole adventure centers around :"a shipment of Purple Prizm 36 hour ago, but it never arrived. That wouldn't be so bad, but the previous shipment also never made it to the Q'tha homeworld. Neither of them is sure who was supposed to deliver the refreshing and hallucinogenic grape drink, except for the company's name - Sun Belt Distribution." Scattered through out the Universal Exploits book are advertisements for Purple Prizm with really pornographic European style artwork. Its a similar style to many of the West End Star Wars rpg adverts from way back in the 90's but much raunchier. I don't want to give the whole thing away but Universal Exploits parodies the Cola Wars from the Eighties, lots of sci fi show references and in jokes, and generally doesn't take itself seriously for an instant. This isn't a bad thing because of the very nature of the Alpha Blue Game. Then finally we get another adventure in the form of Pussy Chasers The Legend of Oral along with some other adventure locations. Even as part of the Universal Exploits adventure we get another adventure setting location in the form of the 'Red Hologram District'; "a red hologram district (or RHD) can expect an eyeful of prostitutes, pimps, drug pushers, thugs, gangsters, dope fiends, tattoo artists, strippers, contraband merchants, and slimy run-down theaters with sticky floors that play exploitation and grindhouse favorites such as Vanessa Swallows the Star Beast Whole, Space Dogs from Reservoir Gore, and Anal Blasters come for Princess Sex Candy part 5!" And yes there is another table for what happens in the red hologram district'. There are several parodies elements mixed into this adventure referencing Star Trek, Star Wars, Flash Gordon, the Buck Rogers television show along with Grabba the Butt's Pleasure Palace. This is an adventure location unto itself with random motives tables for Grabba & random NPC generation tables. Finally there are a series of Land Rush tables, these are actually really useful. According to Venger; "This is a bit of an afterthought, but I wanted to include a series of random tables for determining the nature of certain territories - planets, planetoids, moons, asteroids, space islands, and even entire systems." Well here's the thing these land rush tables slide right into the domain rules for Alpha Blue. They add a nice little bit of useful DM material to Alpha Blue and another dimension to the game. Finally we get maps and diagrams by Glynn Seal of Monkey Blood Designs of the UX Star Bird, The Milk Shake class star ship( great PC ship btw), and Grabba's Palace. Universal Exploits is an essential book about as essential to the Alpha Blue rpg system as the Girls Gone Rogue book perhaps more so. This is a very busy rpg book that crams lots and lots options into itself. This book is part rules option book for Alpha Blue, adventure resource book, random table book, finally adventure book with several optional adventure locations, and the added resource of domain level play. The fact is that a professional editor could have paired this book in places & took a far more steady hand with it. Universal Exploits is perhaps one of the best books I've seen the Alpha Blue but it could have been even more fantastic. The problem is that the book is too busy & it tries to cover far too much material in the Alpha Blue Rpg system. Even with that said I'd say I think that Venger Satanis gives his buyers, audience & backers their money's worth! Universal Exploits has tons of material to work with for adventure construction for Alpha Blue and actual on the table play. There's enough material in 'Universal Exploits' that could easily be ported over into any OSR style science fiction game for even more sci fi fantasy awesomeness. Four out of five stars for the Universal Exploits book! Grab this one when it comes out!

Eric Fabiaschi Swords & Stitchery Blog Want to see more reviews & support for this as well as other OSR products? Subscribe to http://swordsandstitchery.blogspot.com



Rating:
[5 of 5 Stars!]
Universal Exploits
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Temple of the Ape God
Publisher: Svartkonst
by Eric F. [Verified Purchaser]
Date Added: 08/17/2016 08:02:51

Temple of the Ape God is an adventure that I got sent last night & between work I'm finally getting around to getting my thoughts down on this location based adventure. Its an interesting little sword & sorcery style romp because Temple of the Ape God is a location based adventure suitable for 4 to 6 characters of levels 2 to 4. It is designed to be system agnostic and compatible with traditional roleplaying games & its interesting twist on the usual OSR style adventures. First of all let's talk about the cover, how can you go wrong with a four armed gorilla god attacking adventurers in the best Orientalist pulpy tradition. Temple of the Ape God feeds of the legends and mythology of old school sword & sorcery pulpy adventure. The module has the feel of Rupert Kipling & Edgar Rice Burroughs got together for a night of drunken brain storming on the mythology of a faux Indonesian setting. "In the depth of jungle, a terrible and ancient foe has awakened. There are rumors of gold to be won there, but it will take more than luck and a sharp sword to survive after daring the savage forces of the wilderness. The lost temple of the Ape God awaits!" "In ancient times a battle was fought between ape warriors and devil serpents. The general of the ape warriors defeated the serpent lord but perished from the poison of his enemy. In order to honor the general, he was exalted to divine status, and a temple was raised on the spot where he fell. An order of priests was instituted and tasked with passing on the legend of the heroics of the Ape God. They preserved the skull of the serpent lord and bound one of the devil serpents beneath the temple so that the ancient enemy would never be forgotten."Temple of the Ape God has one part jungle romp & one part lost world ruin adventure location based job. Everything in this adventure pits all of the best parts with some vicious sword & sorcery lost world overtones. There are several conceits about the Temple of the Ape God that should be taken into account, this is an adventure that has ascending & descending armor class, the module is based on the silver standard rather then the traditional D&D gold, & everything in the Temple of The Ape God is set up for a pure jungle romp of deadliness as well as old school fun. There is a D20 rumor table with the appropriate old school Raiders of the Lost Ark style rumors such as;"Two months ago a group of adventurers disappeared into the jungle. Nobody has seen them since. (T)" which leads into the weird random jungle encounters;"A decayed corpse dressed in a red robe. A satchel is poking out from beneath the corpse. A giant centipede, which has nested in the abdomen of the corpse, attacks if the body is touched. 1 giant centipede: MV 120’, AC 9 [10], HD 0 (1d4 hp), AT 1 bite (poison), M 7. The satchel contains 12 sp and an almost completely ruined spellbook. The spells Third Eye and Rope trick are still intact." All of this lends the Temple of the Ape God an almost 1940's Saturday matinee quality to it. This makes it perfect fodder for a weird Lamentations of the Flame Princess game based in the jungle or the Qelong setting by Kenneth Hite. There are other possible uses for the Temple of the Ape God.

"Know, oh prince, that between the years when the oceans drank Atlantis and the gleaming cities, and the years of the rise of the Sons of Aryas, there was an Age undreamed of, when shining kingdoms lay spread across the world like blue mantles beneath the stars" Robert Howard The Conan Saga Another possible use is to drag and drop Temple of the Ape God into the Astonishing Swordsmen and Sorcerers of Hyperborea.

Encounters and monsters are balanced, they're well thought out according to the adventure's constraints & ideas. Descriptions are clear and concise enabling DM's to get to the weird adventure with little prep work which is another plus in Temple of the Ape God. Because it clocks in at twenty one pages Temple of the Ape God is a study in compact design as well as writing. It does exactly what it says the adventure does on the tin. Because Temple of the Ape God is a location based adventure DM's can drag and drop this adventure into their own campaigns making it have plenty of replay value and it works so easily to fit this into your own campaigns. All in all I think that Temple of The Ape God fits into the niche some place between lost world adventures & old school sword & sorcery. All in all this is great OSR adventure resource and well worth your time as well as your money. At three dollars Temple of The Ape is a great adventure to add to your OSR arsenal of adventures. Don't forget to keep the dice rolling & have plenty of replacement PC's ready! Easily able to replace your maimed or killed victims who venture into the Temple of the Ape God'. Eric Fabiaschi Sword & Stitchery blog Want to see more reviews like this one? Plus support for more OSR systems then subscribe to http://swordsandstitchery.blogspot.com/



Rating:
[4 of 5 Stars!]
Temple of the Ape God
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UX02: Mind Games
Publisher: Shield of Faith Studios
by Eric F. [Verified Purchaser]
Date Added: 07/29/2016 16:40:19

UX02: Mind Games By Reid San Filippo is going to be one of those titles that I think is an essential book for Crawling Under A Broken Moon & Dungeon Crawl Classics. Psionics has always been a tricky business in D&D regardless of edition and with post apocalyptic games its even more so even though there have been several good psionic systems out there over the years. Which brings me to UX02: Mind Games By Reid San Filippo From Shield of Faith Studios For Crawling Under A Broken Moon & Dungeon Crawl Classics. Basically UX02: Mind Games - All the psionic rules you need for any genre of DCC. Includes a full psionic system, powers, the new psion PC class, items and monsters.But does it live up to its hyperconscious reputation? So does this sixty nine page psionics add on bring anything new to the table for DCC and Crawling Under A Broken Moon? Yes in some fashion it does; what Mind Games does is brings to the table the no nonsense and no bull psionics and stripes it down to its bare essentials and into a playable DCC format. The book states right out front what it does:

The book sets out to capture the 1st and 2nd edition psionics system in an easy to use format. It brings psionics to the table in a way that is completely different then Clerics or Wizards A psionic system that is set firmly within the DCC system for current and future DCC projects or settings. A balanced psionic system that will not unbalance the play of DCC and yet still be awesome!

So right off the bat we get introduced to the Psion class for DCC which is a re working of the D20 psionic class into the arena of DCC now this may sound like a bad thing but it isn't. First of all its reworking of the class from the ground up & brings it far closer to the DCC aesthetic then the 3.5 class. This is a careful balancing act here and the Shield of Faith crew does a nice job. It doesn't feel rushed or shoehorned into the Crawling setting, it actually fits the 'Merica setting. We get a revamped psionic system and once again its been streamlined into the DCC system and that's a good thing. We get a stripped down and well thought out psionic system including dueling and all kinds of nifty little bits and pieces. Psionics here is compartmentalized and works well for what the designers were trying to do. Take a workable psionic system and fit it into the world of Crawling Under A Broken Moon. I think they've succeeded on that end. The work here is far leaner and meaner then I've seen it before. This is a book that is begging to be used. The production here is very well done and the psionics are solidly done. There are thus the usual DCC random psionic effects and backlashes and all kinds of weird bits for PC's that dungeon masters are going to love! This piece of artwork cracked me up because just last week this happened! There are ton of psionic systems and stuff here that work in equal measure of good, weird, and why didn't I think of that.

Anyhow rounding out this book we start to get into psionic items & monsters. These are some vicious DCC game elements let me tell you. First of there is living crystal weapons for the game these are 'intelligent swords & items' for psions with all of the DCC goodness and complications that go with them. They can be really nasty & dangerous. Next up is Psy- Baubles which are floating and weird psionic items that are sort of like Ioun stones but are for psions. They have some really interesting properties but can crack & break! Because of the rarity of these items its a bit of trade off. Brow Jewels are another psionic crystal item that lowers the DC for PC and adhere to the foreheads of their owners. They have all kinds of nifty little effects & tricks. Memory tomes are psionic virtual reality devices that allow the psion to experience pre holocaust memories and enhancements. They function like Jedi Holocrons for psions and allow all kinds of mayhem to be added into an adventure especially with psions. Finally we get into a whole bunch of nasty psionic monsters straight out of a 'B' science fantasy movie director's day dreams. Things like the Braingineer a brain in jar robot but from another timeline and world, they're completely alien and very Lovecraftian. There also the Edacious Encephalons which are hungry brain devils, life forms in search of tasty emotions and capable of torturing psions and all kinds of possibilities for adventure game mayhem with this monster. An emotional psion parasite with stalker overtones and a vindictive streak a mile wide. Fun monster to torture PC's with. The Hive Mind is an alien psionic into itself weird, strange,and pissed off. Made up of swarms of spiders or insect serpents or other wasteland creatures this being is a weird combination of psion and a swarm of monsters. They are true sociopathic personalities with all of the failings and advantages of them and they're completely dangerous to PC's. A perfect urban or rural monster to throw into the mix. Finally we get the Lobstrosityrant which is the central tier leader of a hive of Lobstrosity and are one of the more colorful and weird potential NPC monsters of the book. They've got personalities, hold conversations with waste landers and are generally easily offended. So bring them treated lumber as an offering in their hives. These guys have the potential to be some bad ass NPC's or perhaps friends to PC's. And then finally we get a table of psi beast complications and attacks and that brings Mind Games to a close. This is a solid system built upon the OGL D20 psionics system but adapted and spun for DCC and the Crawling Under A Broken Moon setting. Does this mean that this is a rehash of material that we've seen a million times back in the D20 days? Umm no its a brand new systems with new monsters, weird items, and plenty of back beat systems material that can be used with any DCC setting or game. This is a four out of five book and easily worth your time, energy, and coin folk Eric Fabiaschi Sword and Stitchery Blog



Rating:
[4 of 5 Stars!]
UX02: Mind Games
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Crimson Dragon Slayer 1.11
Publisher: Kort'thalis Publishing
by Eric F. [Verified Purchaser]
Date Added: 07/11/2016 11:41:49

Alright so you may have noticed a number of posts International Crimson Dragon Slayer's day on July 11th, and I've supporting it with a number of tables and what not. Well there is a reason for this Venger is offering a free PDF of a lean and much more meaner version of Crimson Dragon Slayer as a free PDF. According to a recent blog post;"Sometimes, it seems like we're re-inventing the wheel a thousand times over. Yet, I believe there's value in what Erik is doing with his Swords & Wizardry: Light. That's why I've been taking a little time off from Universal Exploits to create an even shorter, streamlined version of Crimson Dragon Slayer. It will be a free PDF with professional layout and cartography by +MonkeyBlood Design (Glynn Seal). This should be available by July 11th, which just so happens to be Crimson Dragon Slayer Day!" ‘The southern border has always felt... witch-haunted.’

Gone is the jokey & tongue an cheek gonzo weirdness of Crimson Dragon Slayer instead we get a combination of dark & slightly sinister Eighties with touch of the stranger horror romp movies meets sword & sorcery. This is a stripped back Crimson Dragon Slayer with only Human, Elf, and Dwarf as racial types. Warrior, thief, cleric, and wizard as the character classes and VS6 system. So what is the VS6 system? Well its a task resolutation system that is simple, easy and flexible plus it works quite nicely with OSR style games;"VSD6 This system uses six-sided dice exclusively. When 1d6 is mentioned, it means roll one six-sided die. When 2d6 is mentioned, it means roll two six-sided dice. When 3d6 is mentioned, it means roll three six-sided dice, and so on. Occasionally, one may be asked to roll 0d6. In such instances, a player will roll 2d6 and take only the lower of the two results. Roll 0d6 when there's tremendous difficulty in achieving some action, such as picking up a small horse and throwing it a short distance. Similarly, if the village idiot tries to read a wizard's cryptic notes, he would be asked to roll a dice pool of 0d6, as he would be ill-prepared for the task. Roll 1d6 when there's great difficulty in achieving some action, such as convincing a guard to shut his eyes for a few minutes without a bribe of gold or something of similar valuable. If a sorceress tried to pick up a sword and slay a foul creature from the Outer Darkness, she would be asked to roll a dice pool of 1d6, due to her specialization of magic rather than conventional arms. Roll 2d6 when there's reasonable difficulty in achieving some action, such as sailing the high seas in a pirate's ship during a storm. Similarly, if an able bodied character tried to climb up 30' of rope wearing chain mail armor, he would probably be asked to roll a dice pool of 2d6.Roll 3d6 when there's not much difficulty in achieving some action, such as sneaking around in the dark if it's a moonless night and the sounds of nature are all around. Similarly, if a wizard attempted to cast a trivial spell, such as igniting a torch, he would be required to roll a dice pool of 3d6." The magic system is handled in the same sort of free form system, this game doesn't use the Vancian fire and forget method of spell memorization. Instead we get a dice pool system that suits the role of wizards from a dark Thundarr style world; "Wizards must force their will upon the universe, changing reality as best they can. Their sorcery is freeform, there are no spells to memorize or prepare. Though magic can be used in combat, it cannot destroy or even directly harm a living creature,without calling upon the energy of a blood sacrifice, though indirect harm or destruction is acceptable. For instance, if the adventuring party is facing several fire elementals, the wizard may attempt to flood thechamber with water. Neither can wizards heal mortal wounds. Healing powers are granted by the divine. Only clerics may restore a character's Health. Clerics can usually be found in the great cities, but only occasionally in towns and villages. The more ambitious the spell, the lower a wizard's dice pool. That means a spell merely trying to nudge reality a little bit here or there would probably qualify for a dice pool of 3d6. Medium sized spells that affect small areas and/or are far more than mere coincidence probably qualify for a dice pool of 2d6. Spells that attempt to greatly change reality would get 1d6." Like I said this is a lean and mean approach to the Crimson Dragon Slayer game and its in line with the vision of the author at this point. In case I haven't explained this is a one hour from the ground up game that Venger is going to be running. The heart and soul of the International Crimson Dragon Slayer give away is the adventure called The Curse of Xakaar Abbey;"The southern border has always felt… "witch-haunted", for lack of a better word. For centuries, that part of the land was stained - tainted by an unnatural corruption. At the obscene heart of this malevolence is none other than the half-demon sorcerer Xakaar. Ensconced in his ruined abbey directly south of your village, Xakaar traffics with forces from Outside. For the last few decades, the half-demon demanded an annual sacrifice. Apparently, that is no longer sufficient. The sorcerer grows impatient for more victims! Several of the villagers - people you know well and see every day - have fallen into some trance. Mindless, they shamble to Xakaar Abbey, and are never seen again.Last night, someone close to you was taken by that devil Xakaar! That made up your mind. Someone has to stand up and fight… even if it means your death. Yes, it's time to take up the blade and spellbook, to use cunning, imagination, and courage to slay the evil one in his ruined church." Basically in eleven pages Venger manages to get all of his essentials down into an actually decent workable sword & sorcery game. The adventure locations and descriptions read like something that came off of every Eighties metal band album cover but in this case that's a good thing. A special mention for the great artwork and cartography. Layout and Cartography by Glynn Seal of Monkey- Blood Design & the artwork by Craig Brasco is definitely up the quite of efforts that we've seen from these artists before. It really suits the themes and ideas of Crimson Dragon Slayer's new direction. This is the sort of direction I was exspecting Crimson Dragon Slayer to take when it first came out. This new sword and sorcery Eighties metal twist is going to be a lot easier to hook up with the Alpha Blue rpg system as well. Thule is a very dangerous and menacing setting if you read between the lines of the game. This direction cements that deviant direction from CDS's past incarnation. But it really comes across as a playable game system and I do approve of the new direction. The whole idea is to bring new players and blood to the table and in this I do think that this latest incarnation of Crimson Dragon Slayers might succeed. Five out of five for a new incarnation of Crimson Dragon Slayer rpg system and its place in the Kort'thalis Publishing line.

Eric Fabiaschi Sword & Stitchery Blog Want to see more reviews like this one & original content that supports OSR products as well as campaigns? Besure to subscribe to http://swordsandstitchery.blogspot.com



Rating:
[5 of 5 Stars!]
Crimson Dragon Slayer 1.11
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Black Box Books -- Tome Eight: Handlist of Horrors
Publisher: Ivanhoe Unbound
by Eric F. [Verified Purchaser]
Date Added: 07/09/2016 00:57:31

I'm always on the look out for another way of using monsters & adding in a bit more mayhem to my games. The truth is that you have to add in the touch of the unexpected into games because of very experienced & jaded old school players. They've seen it all and played it all. The fact is one way of adding a bit of the weird and unexpected are the monsters. I use a mix of standard and the unusual for creating old school style adventures. Black Box Books -- Tome Eight: Handlist of Horrors From Ivanhoe Unbound is another creative and highly evocative tools of the DMing trade. A handy list of weirdness that can add any number of tiny seeds for creature creation, with suggested hit dice levels and a method for calculating all the other statistics from that hit dice level. Monsters & stats are keyed here for adventure creation with a flare for the unusual & for ninety five sense you do get your money's worth. Example of creatures range from the esoteric such as the DECKLER (10): Undead creature rarely formed when someone dies via a spell. Obsessively devours spell scrolls to the demonic such as the EPHIALODAEMON (7): 6’ tall mantis with head of human infant. Voice like a castrato. This is one of those non standard monsters books that works when you as the dungeon master want a non run of the mill monster but don't want to spend the rest of the day detailing the still born horror of a monster. There is a mixed bag of creatures & monsters making this a perfect combination of horrors that will keep players on their toes and guessing what's around the next bend of the dungeon or wilderness survival crawl.

This is a case of the monster could be used to build the adventure around them. This makes the hooks & bait for the adventure an on going process that the DM's needs to dip into Handlist of Horrors. But is this book a welcome set of tools or simply a waste of money? Well this is a resource with tons of potential to keep even the most jaded player on their toes. Things such as the VISCERA MYRMIDON (9): The intestines of several warriors woven together and animated by a wraith. This is a perfect monster to throw into a game of Lamentations of the Flame Princess. This book brings fifty five monster seeds to the table and then keeps things going with solid hooks and leads inside the dark underbelly of the Handlist of Horrors. This basically means that players are going to have a hard time identifying the weirder monsters. But even the weird ones are variations of many old school stand by's but done in such a way as to keep things fresh. Tome Eight: Handlist of Horrors is a great book to use as a monster fill gap for unexpected encounters during a game when PC's wander into places that might provide them with weird adventure encounters. These places might include wasteland ruins in games such as Mutant Future or even the upcoming Mutant Crawl Classics. Because of the universal nature of Swords & Wizardry this popular retroclone's abilities as a platform are going to be tested. Tome Eight: Handlist of Horrors is there to fill the gap. There's enough adventure and monster fodder to keep the DM going for years to come. Four out of five for originality and utility for adventure construction. Eric Fabiaschi Sword & Stitchery Blog Want to see more? Besure to subscribe to http://swordsandstitchery.blogspot.com For this and other OSR titles reviews & support



Rating:
[4 of 5 Stars!]
Black Box Books -- Tome Eight: Handlist of Horrors
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The Mystery at Port Greely
Publisher: North Wind Adventures
by Eric F. [Verified Purchaser]
Date Added: 07/05/2016 14:46:43

Missing Fishmongers’ Guild representatives? Strange goings on over in the area of Port Greely? The fish supply to the capital of Hyperborea in dangerous peril and more violent happenings? This looks like a prime opportunity for your PC's to make some gold pieces and get involved in the Mysteries of Port Greely! Where the heck do I begin with The Mystery at Port Greely From North Wind Adventures

for the Astonishing Swordsmen & Sorcerers of Hyperborea rpg system? Well, its a really nasty & dangerous run of an adventure. This is a mini campaign adventure that peels back a weird & very dangerous layer of Hyperborea based on the HP Lovecraft novel The Shadow Over Innsmouth. But this adventure puts its own AS&SH spin on the proceedings but be warned this is an adventure meant for PC levels of four to six characters of 4th through 6th level. Well after reading through the adventure this morning at four A.M. I can honestly say that this adventure sets the bar very high in terms of quality & investigative danger to the PC's. The set up is classic old school Lovecraftian weirdness right out of the gate;"Until about three years ago, the peculiar town of Port Greely was renowned as a prolific exporter of crustaceans. Then the Greely lobstermen severed all ties with outside partners. Subsequent attempts at renegotiation were shunned. More recently, a small group of Fishmongers’ Guild representatives from the City-State of Khromarium has gone missing in Port Greely, and answers have been less than forthcoming. At present, the Guild seeks answers. It wants to know what became of its representatives, and it wishes to re-establish its lucrative partnership with the Port Greely lobstermen. Your party have been contracted to help resolve The Mystery at Port Greely." Yeah, and that's where things begin to take a left turn into the weird and dangerous world Hyperborea. This adventure places the PC's right into the action straight from the start;" this adventure begins at sea with the party en route to Port Greely, about 120 miles west long the coast from Khromarium." The minute your ship docks is the minute your in the world of the AS&SH version of the Deep Ones. NPC's are well drawn out and robustly detailed with enough room for the DM to make these things their own. The writing here has been created to draw in the PC's and take them into the world of Port Greely with lots of one on one encounters, plenty of urban crawling action, and one on one action with the inhabitants. The encounters are well balanced , tight, and deadly. The events follow a wandering timeline enabling lots of exploration by PC's. There isn't simply one urban crawl adventure location after another in this adventure instead we get into reams of adventure opportunities with plenty of chances for the PC's to die in the middle of Port Greely. The town isn't the only point of horror in this adventure and there is sea travel, dungeon action, investigative opportunities, and much more. The dungeon master get's a boat load of details on the AS&SH version of the Esoteric Order of Dagon and its a very insidious & dangerous menace for campaigns. There's a claustrophobic and rushed sense of panic in certain sections of The Mystery at Port Greely that is going to put the PC's through their paces. Throughout the adventure I could see bits and pieces of the influences of Robert E. Howard, H.P. Lovecraft, Clark Ashton Smith, and Henry Kuttner. The adventure complete fills out everything you've ever wanted to know about AS&SH's version of the Deep Ones and in this regard The Mystery at Port Greely also works as a source book for future adventures featuring these Lovecraftian horrors. But is the adventure worth getting into as an AS&SH dungeon master? There's a lot going on under the simmering center of Port Greely and the fact that its within striking distance of the capital of Khromarium makes this a very subtle and rising menace with Hyperborea. That leaves lots of weird questions on the table and lots of opportunity for even more Hyperborean adventure. Is it worth getting into? The answer is yes! Because the adventurers are at a cross point and put on the spot with;" At present, the guild seeks answers. They want to know what became of their representatives, and they wish to reestablish their lucrative partnership with the Port Greely lobstermen. Your party has been contracted to help resolve the mystery at Port Greely." the adventurers are going to find themselves up to their necks in the some very dangerous goings on and then their going to have to escape with their lives if their very lucky. This is a very deadly adventure in places & the cartography is top notch enabling the DM to really bring home the extent of the danger of Deep Ones of Port Greely. This module isn't the end of the mystery its really only the beginning. Five out of five for this one and go grab it! Eric Fabiaschi Swords & Stitchery Blog Want to see this and other OSR systems supported plus new reviews? Be sure to subscribe to http://swordsandstitchery.blogspot.com/



Rating:
[5 of 5 Stars!]
The Mystery at Port Greely
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Black Box Books -- Tome Seven: Goetics and Gnostics
Publisher: Ivanhoe Unbound
by Eric F. [Verified Purchaser]
Date Added: 07/02/2016 22:04:59

There was a time back n '08 when I first got into OSR titles that DYI Dungeons & Dragons was the main reason. Basically it means being selective about what parts & pieces your going to use at your table & as a part of the system that your going to be running. For many this is OD&D or Swords & Wizardry. Black Box Books has produced some very interesting pdfs for old school style retroclones and now we've got another offering from them. Tome Seven: Goetics and Gnostics offers up some very dangerous bits of NPC or player classes culled from the warped mind of Kirt Dankmyer. There is plenty of off beat stuff in here for ninety five sense, you get the GOETIC MAGE which is basically a mage able to cast spells, wear armor, & cast spells. How does this PC class do this? Well he or she sort of takes a very dangerous infernal or Lovecraftian short cut;"A Goetic Mage uses a dangerous shortcut to arcane power. By invoking various gods and spirits in a very particular way, a Goetic Mage uses divine and demonic power to achieve personal ends. A Goetic Mage is exactly the same as a Cleric, except in seven respects. First, a Goetic Mage is not dedicated to any faith, instead “praying” to a variety of entities, often to force other entities (like Qlippothic demons) to provide them with spells." They remind me of some hedge wizard/priest types I've seen over the years in a number of games and they can work very well if the campaign calls for it. These mages might be perfect additions into a game of Lamentations of the Flame Princess or as minor cult priest for The Astonishing Swordsmen and Sorcerers of Hyperborea rpg. But the really interesting priest class is the GNOSTIC PRIEST,who is able to do a few very interesting wrinkles & crazy tricks up their robed sleeves;"A Gnostic Priest uses mundane ritual (arcane magic) to divine ends. It is a more difficult path than being a Cleric, but it is another way to directly experience the divine. A Gnostic Priest is exactly the same as a Magic User, except in eight respects. First, instead of using the Magic User spell list, a Gnostic Priest uses the Cleric spell list, though spells are still recorded in a spellbook, a sort of formulaic prayer-book. Second, they may copy clerical scrolls (only) into their book, but can use both Cleric and Magic User scrolls. Third, every time a Gnostic Priest gains a level, they may add a spell to their book of a level they can currently cast. Fourth, a Gnostic Priest cannot progress past 10th level.Fifth, the Prime Attribute for a Gnostic Priest is Wisdom. Sixth, a Gnostic Priest has a percentage chance to resist any hostile divine magic equal -- 3 -- to 3% times their current level. Seventh, a Gnostic Priest may found a temple, exactly like a Cleric. Finally, Lawful Gnostic Priests (only) can turn a Qlippothic Demon like a Cleric would turn an undead being of equivalent hit dice" Both of these classes can be used for OD&D and this product really does meet the criteria that it sets forth in the blurb. The work here is clever, condensed, and very interesting as well as entertaining. Can I see that the author knows what makes some clever bits and pieces that can easily be used with any number of retroclone systems. But the real heart & soul here is the "RANDOM TABLES TO PRODUCE OVER 288,000 DIFFERENT QLIPPOTHIC DEMONS" What exactly are these entities? Well, according to wiki;"The Qliphoth/Qlippoth/Qelippot or Kelipot (Heb. קְלִיפּוֹת, the different English spellings are used in the alternative Cabalistic traditions[1] of Hermetic Qabalah and Jewish Kabbalah respectively), literally "Peels", "Shells" or "Husks" (from singular: קְלִיפָה Qliphah/Kelipah "Husk"),[2] are the representation of evil or impure spiritual forces in Jewish mysticism, the polar opposites of the holy Sephirot.[3] The realm of evil is also termed "Sitra Achra/Ahra" (Aramaic סטרא אחרא, the "Other Side" opposite holiness) in Kabbalah texts." These unclean and weird spirits are tied intimiately with both character classes and these tables could be used to churn out some pretty horrorific unclean spirits which is perfect for any weird or horror themed OSR game? But are they worth it? I think so and best of all the material here in Goetics and Gnostics is open game content; "This product uses the OPEN GAME LICENSE Version 1.0a (see attached document and/or http://www.wizards.com/d20/files/OGLv1.0a.rtf ) DESIGNATION OF PRODUCT IDENTITY: The names Black Box BookTM and Ivanhoe UnboundTM, including the Ivanhoe Unbound logo, when used in any context, are product identity, copyright 2015 by Kirt A. Dankmyer. All other artwork is in the public domain. All text that does not directly affect the game rules for the creatures and classes contained in this document are product identity. DESIGNATION OF OPEN GAME CONTENT: All game rule text and tables, with the exception of material specifically excluded in the declaration of product identity, is open game content. Please give up-front credit where it is due, including conforming to the Swords & Wizardry Compatibility-Statement License (http://www.d20swsrd.com/swords-and-wizardry-srd/legal-information)" This is really important to me as an OSR hobby author & designer, because I actually like & will be using this material in the future for an upcoming publication. However could Goetics and Gnostics be used with a product or setting such as Dark Albion? Yes it could be used as a fill gap until Cults & Chaos hits the wild in July or it could be used to represent a foreign wizard or mage if the DM is using OD&D or Swords &Wizardry for a gritty game such as Dark Albion. Basically Goetics and Gnostics is a set of tools with a very wide range of applications. If you want demons and unclean spirits fast for a game tonight or something different for that class guy whose always got to play something weird or different this might be the pdf for you. Much of the material here is short & too the point but that's fine because it allows the dungeon master & the players to fill in the background as needed. All I want to see is from Ivanhoe Unbound is a collected best of Black Box Books with a print option so I don't have to keep flipping through pdf after pdf. Four out of five. Eric Fabiaschi Swords and Stitchery Blog Want to see more content and support for this and other OSR products don't forget to subscribe to http://swordsandstitchery.blogspot.com



Rating:
[4 of 5 Stars!]
Black Box Books -- Tome Seven: Goetics and Gnostics
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Quantum Flux: Unique Superscience Artifacts
Publisher: Skirmisher Publishing
by Eric F. [Verified Purchaser]
Date Added: 06/30/2016 20:48:54

I remain a huge Mutant Future rpg fan and in point of fact my copy of Mutant Future finally had the binding fall apart today after who knows how many wasteland outings. I usually use it for reference at my table despite whatever old school or OSR game I happen to be running. You can see the edges of the binding giving and well the rest wasn't pretty. This was a copy that I got back from a 'friend' after it was 'borrowed' over a year ago and traveled to Maine on an extended vacation. Now that being said there are other titles that I've used in the past that players are loath to see peeking out from under books such as anything written by the Skirmisher Publishing crew. This brings up one of the newest titles in their Mutant Future based and licensed product line. Quantum Flux: Unique Superscience Artifacts is an expansive set of items that brings home the idea that certain relics are beyond unique. These are items that were beyond the cutting edge of the apocalypse's science. These are items that form those set pieces of the wasteland, those super science items and locations that form one of the backbones of adventuring in post apocalyptic environments. Things that PC's are going to have to unlock over time and with some very good rolls. The Quantum Flux: Unique Superscience Artifacts book is mostly system neutral in point of fact and could be with a bit of work used for a wide variety of post apocalyptic campaigns. There's lots of options here for the DM to really use. There are eighty six unique items that come with this book; "Quantum Flux contains 86 unique superscience artifacts suitable for use in any modern, sci-fi, or post-apocalyptic setting, and range from amulets to buildings. They were designed to show game masters the possibilities for superscience artifacts in their campaigns while emphasizing that these items are not just treasure or one sentence, throw-away items. Each has a history that will hopefully enrich, inspire, possibly even drive your own gaming story and most entries are longer and more detailed than for equivalent gear in other equipment or treasure books." My advise is to use these items very sparingly with parties of adventurers within the post apocalyptic wastelands. That being said there are some fantastic super science items authors Derek Holland, & Chris Van Deelen do an excellent job of creating some weird relics and items. And how do these items relate to a Labyrinth Lord/ Mutant Future crossover game? Well according to the rules presented in the pdf ;"Each item has multiple functions, and every ability must be discovered with a separate technology roll. The artifacts’ powers are described using spells from the Advanced Edition Companion and mutations from Mutant Future, both published by Goblinoid Games. For easier reference, spells are boldfaced and mutations are italicized. These both appear in parentheses, and have the same ranges, effects, damages, etc. as the original craft or ability (unless otherwise noted). Each power takes an hour to recharge, unless noted. However, MLs are encouraged to customize items or powers to suit their games. Because comparing the objects would be apples versus radiators, a Caster Level gives the harried ML a relative scale for each item’s potential or strength." This style of rules & play works out quite nicely within the bounds of Mutant Future. So what sorts of items are we looking at? Well for example there's the Bear Mask which has all kinds of uses as a post apocalyptic shaman or druid's item;"Bear Mask (Caster Level 14) The Bear Mask is a realistic full-head covering, complete with fur, eyes, ears, and toothed muzzle. It was part of an animal themed toy line that allowed children to use harmless virtual matter projectors (see dInfinity #6: The Mythos for details on these devices). The various masks projected or “created” the animal they portrayed, which was controlled by the mask’s AI. A child could study the animals, play with them, or pretend to be one; for some reason, slug masks were unusually popular. Adults also used larger versions, but more as part of identity/ totem performance or fetish play. The masks generate subliminal light patterns to engage and stimulate certain areas of the wearer’s brain, a refinement of the seizure-causing effect of strobe flashes discovered many decades earlier. Before the final wars, some Ancient parents used the masks to increase emotional understanding (empathy) in their little sociopaths... err, children. Now, a segment of the Bear Mask’s AI just wants to cause physical and emotional pain, and study subjects’ responses. It does this by corrupting children, allowing their dreams and nightmares to become real for a time (Advanced Phantasmal Monsters). But the Mask can also protect its child with a powerful force field (Wall of Force). The wearer/Mask relationship is even more complex, beyond the artifact’s warped research. Another part of the AI still responds to instructions and can talk, but only to the child wearing the Mask. And the wearer must be a child: the AI will not work with an adult, nor will it talk to someone not wearing the Mask. This can lead to diagnoses (accusations) of spirit possession or mental illness, or believing the child has a “sixth sense” of some kind. A very emphatic child can have the Mask reduce pain felt by 2d4 people within 50', if the targets fail to save versus stun (pain insensitivity). The Mask AI also does this on its own, but to conceal the damage its victims suffer until it is too late for anyone to intervene. To further mess with its victims’ minds, and the minds of those around them, the Mask can warp light waves in a 100' diameter (vision impairment), but allow the child to see through it all (True Seeing). Another favorite trick of the Mask’s AI is to project large holograms of locations (Veil) taken from either an on board database or a wireless connection to outside image sources. For an additional twist, the Mask can paralyze up to 25 people and cover them with"

Now according to Skirmisher Publishing;"This licensed "Mutant Future" sourcebook contains 86 unique superscience artifacts suitable for use in any modern, sci-fi, or post-apocalyptic setting, and range from amulets to buildings. All can easily be adapted for other games, especially those using the d20 system as their basis." Umm yeah not quite as we shall see. There are over eighty six of these items and some fantastic items & relics to use in a D20 style game or OSR style games. From bot slayers to the Golden Turnip Machine these are some great relics with some really interesting and solid post apocalyptic wrinkles to them. As an OSR writer I wouldn't touch these items & relics with a barge pole; I read through Quantum Flux: Unique Superscience Artifacts expecting to see the Open Game OGL content label which allowed me to use them for later publication . No such luck at all, in fact what I found was this;"All contents of this publication, regardless of other designation, are copyright 2015 Skirmisher Publishing LLC, all rights reserved."

After a recent court case I'm extremely careful to know where and when to step with regards certain items and relics found in the rpg wild. Quantum Flux: Unique Superscience Artifacts makes me very nervous. I can see all kinds of uses for these items in the post apocalyptic wastelands. But this looks to me like a case of the kind of tomfoolery we saw back in the AD&D 3.5 D20 days of, "we've got the best toy box but you can't touch it." My answer to this is to open up the content for others to use. That being said I can easily see using this material in all kinds of places in old school or OSR publishing. Publishing's Quantum Flux: Unique Superscience Artifacts gets a four out of five with the caveat that if Skirmisher Publishing wants a five out of five then go back and make all of these wonderful toys 'Open Game Content' so that others can play. One more thing I would do before purchasing is to wait for Drivethru or Rpgnow to have a sale as they frequently do before purchasing this one. As always keep those bones rolling. Eric Fabiaschi Want to see more reviews and support on this or other OSR products Be sure to subscribe to Swords & Stitchery for more original OSR content. http://swordsandstitchery.blogspot.com/



Rating:
[4 of 5 Stars!]
Quantum Flux: Unique Superscience Artifacts
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The Demon Stones (Swords & Wizardry)
Publisher: MonkeyBlood Design
by Eric F. [Verified Purchaser]
Date Added: 06/18/2016 13:08:30

I've seen the Demon Stones adventure for Pathfinder a while back when I was tracking down information about Glynn Seal and his work with Venger Satanis. Monkey Blood Design is one of those outfits that does cartography, artwork, and graphic design that clicks with me. While it was an adventure that was designed for Pathfinder to me and some friends it didn't work on that level apparently the author saw that there was room for OSR expansion. "When I wrote The Demon Stones, I had envisaged it being compatible with the latest edition of the world's most popular role-playing game, currently now in its 5th Edition. At the time, a system reference document did not exist, which meant that a decision was made to switch to the Pathfinder system (© Paizo Publishing) which was a safer bet. A dreamier foreword lies in that version. The Pathfinder version was released, but I still wanted to create an old-school version with less rules-crunch. It could easily be adapted to other OSR systems on the fly. It would also be a homage to my gaming roots. For that, I chose Swords & Wizardry, primarily for its popularity amongst the OSR communities. Luckily, Edwin Nagy stepped up to the plate to provide his wealth of expertise and knowledge, and was already a fan of The Demon Stones story. It has taken a little longer than I hoped to release it, with commissioned works taking priority, but you now hold it in your hands or on your screen. I hope you have as much fun playing it as I did creating it. Until our paths meet again, Glynn Seal (MonkeyBlood Design) - May 2016"

Right off the top of my head this is a nasty and dangerous adventure much in the vein of the UK TSR material. The author has a damn good feel for the material and his U.K. origins because the entire module is rife with the feeling of corruption and old school low level weirdness. I hate to say this but this adventure could be used as a lower tier Lamentations of the Flame Princess adventure given its Swords and Wizardry pedigree. This is an investigative, twisting, and somewhat more then a passing dangerous adventure. Here's the author's introduction;"THE SUN HAD set an hour ago, and the rain lashed down and the wind howled on the dark moor. A storm this late in the season was unusual, but this one seemed different somehow. The clouds were more menacing, tinged with anger, the rain colder and more biting than usual. Skerrill had to find the lost calf and get him back to the farm before his father came back from the city on business. He’d been looking for two hours now, and he was right in the middle of the moor when the storm hit. He knew he should have turned back as soon as darkness fell, but then he was never the brightest boy in the valley. If only he had remembered to lock the farm gate. The calf was now likely dead anyway having stumbled among the boulders and rocks, panicking in the dark, and then fallen in a floodwater stream and drowned. Either way, he was in more trouble than he could imagine. Suddenly, an explosion bellowed, followed by a bright flash of white light and a roaring peal of thunder as a huge object fell from the sky and impacted the ground of the moor no more than a stone’s throw from him. Dirt, mud, water, and debris erupted from the impact site, flying high into the air and then covering the moor for hundreds of feet all around. Skerrill was knocked to the ground instantly and covered in the fallout from the blast. His ears rang and his head spun, but he staggered to his feet in a daze. He stumbled to where the blast had happened only moments before, and in a depression in the ground lay a huge stone glowing orange as if hot. Skerrill passed out. Two more thunderous explosions crashed in the distance." So you get two shades to the wind of HP Lovecraft's 'The Colour Out Of Space' in the D&D English countryside with healthy does of Robert Howard's grit and gritty action for your PC's to get throw into the deep end of things. Bits and pieces of this adventure remind me of the better early White Dwarf magazine's D&D adventures and frankly adventure seems a far better fit for Swords and Wizardry style OSR games rather then Pathfinder. The reasons for this are simple, the horror filled nature of the background of the adventure, the fact that the adventure is open enough for the DM to customize it to their own home games, and the fact that with a bit of work this adventure could be expanded into a fully thought out campaign region in its own right. The Demon Stones has action packed bits but its more of an investigative and atmospheric adventure with heavy horror overtones. There's lots of well thought out and fully fleshed NPC's sprinkled throughout the adventure. Here the horror is on a more one to one personal level with lots of weirdness happening both around the adventure locations and within the adventure itself. The maps and cartography are very nicely done and echo the old school UK flavor of the Demon Stones. There are some draw backs to The Demon Stones By MonkeyBlood Design in point of fact when it comes to using it with some groups of players:

If your looking for action, action, action, over investigative horror in the older Hammer tradition with more then a hint of the weird pulpy English pagan aspect then this module isn't for you. There are lots of strong and well drawn out NPC's in the Demon Stones, a DM has to be well versed in handling these types of characters. The Demon Stones By MonkeyBlood Design has both a cosmic mythological background and a much gritter on the ground rural feel to it that reminds me of the TSR U.K. Advanced Dungeons and Dragons modules. This isn't going to be to to everyone's taste

I think that this is a hell of a good translation for Swords and Wizardry; The Demon Stones By MonkeyBlood Design will be hitting the wilds of Drivethrurpg and Rpgnow soon but I did get an advanced look into the twisted weirdness of it. All in all think that this is a fine addition to the OSR market and hope that other folks will enjoy running it as much as I enjoyed taking a look at it. Five out of five in my book. Eric Fabiaschi Swords and Stitchery Blog

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The Demon Stones (Swords & Wizardry)
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England Upturn'd
Publisher: Lamentations of the Flame Princess
by Eric F. [Verified Purchaser]
Date Added: 05/27/2016 19:47:56

Blood, thunder, violence, and the nastiness of war explodes across the page as we look into England Upturn'd by Barry Blatt From Lamentations of the Flame Princess.

"The English Civil War was a series of armed conflicts and political machinations between Parliamentarians and Royalists over, principally, the manner of its government." According to the internet and the combatants were simply the Cavalier, & Roundheads

But like many events in history the reality is far more complex especially with your party of adventurers caught right in the cross hairs of history with a dark and dangerous Lamentations twist to the whole affair. This was one of the most dangerous periods in English history and one that hasn't been tackled by too many old school retroclone systems. Like many other Lamentations of the Flame Princess products this is not simply another adventure; here's the thing about Lamentations products on the surface they can appear to be simple adventures when in fact there is a bit more meat on the beast's bones. In this case it's a bloody and quite complex beast of an adventure with the PC's taking part in the back scenes of the events of history & legend. Barry Blatt does an exceptional job created a campaign kit as well as an adventure based around the events of the English Civil War.

Because this is a Lamentations product the political & religions factions of history are tackled head on. These powers and factions are central to the plot of England Up Turn'd as are the supernatural and occult elements of the adventure. This adventure takes the events of history and twists them through the lens of the Lamentations system in such a way as to be both workable and unique in its approaches to the events of history.

According to the author; "While the Civil War changed little in itself, it

marked out the issues that the Glorious Revolution of 1688 eventually resolved. The waves

of emigration immediately preceding, during, and after it exported those same issues to the

American colonies, which had a few rebellions and riots of their own at this time. Lamentations of the Flame Princess does the Early Modern period well enough already, but in the appendices you will find optional setting specific rules to give an English Civil War game a bit more flavour should the Referee

wish to expand on this adventure and run a full blown Civil War campaign. Needless to say the author is not a historian and various small liberties have been taken

with the facts in the interests of fun and not boring the arse off’ the reader with too much

tedious historical exposition. This adventure features real locations in Lincolnshire and refers to real people alive at the time; my fictional depictions are just that - fictional, no offense is meant, and hopefully none will

be taken. This adventure owes an obvious debt to the film A Field in England directed by Ben Wheatley, what with the alchemy, the buried treasure, mud, and hallucinogenic ending. If you haven’t seen it, do so." Much of the material is both real world and alternative roles in history of the PC's in the adventure set against the events of the English Civil War and it does it very well. The adventure takes great advantage of the usual tropes of OD&D's magic system and spins them into a different occult direction to great effect. But is it worth the download? Well yes it is and in fact its a damn fine product and here are some of the reasons why :

The England Upturn'd product is a major turning point for the Lamentations line in my opinion it lays out a sprawling LoFP campaign option for the DM. There are literally several adventures tucked into one book Russian doll style. The adventures are linked via the plot line and have a thread of adventure, blood shed, & politics running through them. These are quite nicely the age of rebellion in English history with the War of the Roses being a close second in terms of adventure opportunity for a Lamentations style game. The occult is quite central to the adventures and much of the material revolves around the axis of the first half of the English Civil War. There are plot and adventure hooks that are scattered throughout the text to move things towards the next end of history.

Magical treasures and occult items in England Upturn'd are very in keeping with the times and circumstances of the history of the era. An example of this are as follows; Crocodile boots—made in Amsterdam by a cobbler with access to exotic Egyptian wares, these fashionable riding boots grant +1 Armour, and once a day can be commanded with the words ‘Ik denk dat ik moet vertrekken’ (‘I think I should leave’ in Dutch), to allow the wearer to walk on water for a minute." Its all of the little touches that add up to creating a veneer of weirdness and pulpy strangeness in England Upturn'd that makes this adventure campaign so damn fun to read. It also makes me want to run this adventure and this is the book where factions, weirdness, and history all collide in a more then dangerous mix of the supernatural and adventure. Parties of adventurers are going to hard pressed to not get dragged into the politic of the history of England Upturn'd. Note that even though England Up Turn'd is steeped in real world history the myths, legends, and mythologies of England the classic literature of Europe is in evidence throughout the adventure source book. I'm sure that some folks might compare England Upturn'd to Dark Albion because of the historical aspects of these product but they are very different animals. England Upturn'd is set in the real world history of the English Civil War with fantastical and occult elements thrown in. Whist Dark Albion takes a much different approach by creating an entire world setting around its own version of the historical events of the War of The Roses even though that book follows the War's events exactly. England Upturn'd is a party's chance to make their own mark within the campaign world and make it well if they are very lucky and play their cards right. There are lots of opportunities for the forces in this book to quite nicely kill off a party. Between the moments of violence and horrors of the events of England Upturn'd there is a solidly done book with lots of well written bits that will keep a party busy for months and months of play.

Do I think its worth your time and money? In a word yes in spades, this a well written and dangerously devilish designed & will provide a well set piece of weird horror adventure for both Lamentations of the Flame Princess DM's and players. Five out of five for England Upturn'd.

The law locks up the man or woman Who steals the goose off the common But leaves the greater villain loose Who steals the common from the goose.

The law demands that we atone When we take things we do not own But leaves the lords and ladies fine Who takes things that are yours and mine. The poor and wretched don’t escape If they conspire the law to break; This must be so but they endure Those who conspire to make the law.

The law locks up the man or woman Who steals the goose from off the common And geese will still a common lack Till they go and steal it back.

‘Protest Ballad, Anon. circa 1635’

Eric Fabiaschi Sword and Stitchery Blog Want To Read More About This and Other OSR Products Be Sure To Subscribe To the Sword and Stitchery Blog http://swordsandstitchery.blogspot.com/



Rating:
[5 of 5 Stars!]
England Upturn'd
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The S'rulyan Vault
Publisher: Kort'thalis Publishing
by Eric F. [Verified Purchaser]
Date Added: 05/25/2016 10:01:01

So last night I received my copy of The S'rulyan Vault From Kort'thalis Publishing from the pen of Venger Satanis. It reminds me of some of the Eighties products that I've seen over the years. This is a third tier OSR product and it hearkens back to some of the dungeon adventure kits that have come out over the years with better production values, designs, and more. If you've got two or three hours before your players arrive to create your brad new old school dungeon that you've been promising all week, but work, real life, and more have gotten in the way but you want to run a bad ass dungeon then the The S'rulyan Vault is for you. This product works with just about any old school edition so using it with an old D&D edition or retroclone system of your choice would be a snap. So besides two old school style maps what exactly does The S'rulyan Vault have to offer? Well, essentially its a dungeon kit built around the maps and offers an adventure setting that highlights the background, history, and D&D elements with a Lovecraftian twist in the Kort'thalis Publishing style. But is it worth your time for the seven dollar price tag? I think so because of the fact that lots of folks are using tablets and other mobile tech to enhance their old school table top rpg experience. The S'rulyan Vault plugs into that and brings to the experience a bunch of interesting options for the dungeon master to pull from for their own unique take on the adventure. The tables, elements, bits and pieces within the Vault all pull from the adventure's history;"

For as long as anyone living can remember, the world was full of men and the darker, stranger forms of life remained at the farthest edges of it. But the scrolls contained within the many temples of Tyr’Urden tell us that this was not always so.

Demonic things came in the night to feed upon mortal souls, ripping and tearing at humanity’s soft, exposed belly. Our people lived in fear. Like children, man was afraid of the dark and what lay beyond the walls of his cities.

Then, one day, a champion came. He slayed many of the evil ones, the creatures who looked like walking serpents. Eventually, his mighty deeds became so numerous that thousands followed him into battle against the forces of evil. Man had both the numbers and the will to push back against these malevolent beings until his cities and forests were relatively free of hell-spawn.

Snake-men were the most powerful humanoid creatures, as they knew the secrets of blackest sorcery, having made a pact with the Demon Lord known as S’rul. Under his satanic tutelage, the snake-men became powerful enough to slaughter the armies of mankind. Before long, the entire race of snake-men were known as the Sect of S’rulyan… (S’rulyan meaning the great and terrible wisdom of S’rul).

At the height of their serpentine reign, a subterranean domain was constructed on the outskirts of the human realm. It became an outpost from where the snake-men continually raided – taking weapons, gold, slaves, and sorcerous objects from man’s cities. This vault was the crowning glory of S’rul and his loathsome worshipers.

Just as the Sect of S’rulyan could see the extermination of man in sight, a large band of adventurers retrieved a lost relic - the Helm of Power, an artifact that siphons the magical energy from everything surrounding it… and gives that magic to the wearer. The Helm of Power protected the adventurers as they waded into the darkness of S’rul’s foul dungeon.

Only three heroes emerged from the S’rulyan Vault, victorious over the evil ones with their spiked armor covered in gore and shreds of serpent flesh. Alas, the Helm of Power was destroyed in the final battle against S’rul. Yet, the Demon Lord was also destroyed, and so the people rejoiced!

The three surviving heroes, Artello, Urden, and D’meskus, established themselves as Kings of the central territories. For decades they ruled and now their children’s children are crowned Kings and Queens of Razira.

One such present-day ruler is Queen Zinnia, an alluring but jealous and ill-advised woman. She reigns over the smallest realm with the greatest ambition for power. Queen Zinnia forced her royal wizard to search deep within the magical abyss where hideous horrors frolic and feed. Upon her instructions, the wizard awakened an entity strong enough to shatter her siblings’ kingdoms – the Demon Lord S’rul.

S’rul’s first order of business was to revive his slumbering legion of snake-men far below the S’rulyan Vault. Brought back to life, the walking serpents felt their sorcery invigorated as never before and concocted a spell that would mean sickness and death for thousands of men, women, and children.

Almost three-quarters of a century after S’rul’s original defeat, nary a snake-man has been seen upon the surface of Razira. Today is the 74th anniversary of the assault upon the S’rulyan Vault. The entire realm celebrates the snake-men’s defeat with feasting, dancing, and merriment. Unfortunately, such revelry was not to last.

At mid-day, the celebration ended with black skies, a broken blood-red moon, and some mysterious plague that immediately killed off a fifth of those living in Tyr’Urden, the largest kingdom and closest to the S’rulyan Vault.

King Urdenson’s seers know that S’rul and his snake-men slumber no more. The King decreed this a time of war, and those who return from the S’rulyan Vault with the Demon Lord’s severed head in hand shall share in the reward: one million pieces of gold… a King’s ransom, to be sure!" The art and cartography by Glynn Seal, James V West, and Bojan Sucevic really does make The S'rulyan Vault as both a resource and a solid entrance onto the rpg market. This is a both a kid friendly and nasty adventure at the same time that will give players a run for their money. All in all I do think its worth the download and your time to take a look into the The S'rulyan Vault From Kort'thalis Publishing for both yourself and your players. I think that you will all have a great time and a unique experience with this homage to the old days of gaming. We can only hope that Venger Satanis and Kort'thalis Publishing continue down this path of old school fun and weirdness. Five out of five because for me it has everything I'm looking for in an old school product.

Eric Fabiaschi Sword and Stitchery Blog Want to get more reviews and support for products such as this one? Subscribe to the Sword and Stitchery blog http://swordsandstitchery.blogspot.com/



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