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Sunday, December 7, 2014

Free OSR Download - Adventure &03 – Book of Low Level Lairs Volume I

Book of Low Level Lairs Volume I

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'&' publishing brings another free old school niche product with the 'The Book of Low Level Lairs Vol. 1' which includes everything a DM and players need to run an entire evening's entertainment and adventure using first edition AD&D or OSRIC. The adventurers are in for a hell of a lot of combat, fun, and high weirdness in the old school tradition.
Here's what its about according to the '&' website :
This adventure collection includes 18 new mini-adventures for parties of levels 1 to 4. Everything from brown bears to giant porcupines to kenku and lizard men! All mini-adventures that can usually be run in a single session. Pick the ones you need, string them together as you see fit!The bonus? Two new cleric spells suitable for low level parties!
Basically this is a series of encounters that can happen in any old school AD&D style world, the encounters are pretty variaried and solidly done but their marketed to be a bit challenging and with some of the progression notes can be woven into a challenging mini campaign.
Many of the monsters and encounters are while specifically designed for AD&D first edition could be adapted to a number of retroclone systems with little issue and might even be thrown into a Lamentations of The Flame Princess for a real boom rang encounter or two for players expecting something less exotic.
These encounters are very nicely done by the '&' crew of designers and writers, there's a real sense of fun and enjoyment that the authors have put into this product. The challenge here is pull in the players with a sense of challenge and bravo while bring the PC's into a real conflict. Combat is up to the usual D&D style and the encounters are original enough to challenge even a mid level party of adventurers with something that they won't be expecting.
The back drop for each encounter is woven into the monsters's reasons, ecology, and lairs as well. Which makes the bonus clerical  spells have their place in the background of the product not simply as bonus 'XYZ' spell that has been randomly dropped in.
These adventures make pulling a party into the deep end of a campaign with a bit of conflict a snap. Tailor an encounter into some little nice corner of your world and watch the party encounter some hi jinks and wonder what they wandered into. This is a really nice product to get a campaign jump started and into high gear. 
With a bit of work these encounters could be used to pull in a group of sword and sorcery adventurers quite easily. The monsters are standard D&D fare and though given a very original treatment can work nicely into a variety of retroclone style systems. I'm thinking about using one or two of these to pad out an upcoming Astonishing Swordsmen and Sorcerers of Hyperborea but adding in my own twist to several of these but which ones are going to be under wraps.
All in all not a bad bit of work that can easily be adapted for a number of retroclone systems. Grab this one when you can and get your PC's into hot water and right into the deep end of your campaign adventures.  Best of all this is a free product with some solid old school backing. 

Monday, December 1, 2014

The Free OSR Download The Second Edition Alchemist By Leonaru For Your Old School Campaigns.

Second Edition Alchemist

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Second Edition Alchemist is a solid old school second edition style add on for the world's most popular fantasy game. Alchemists have always been the black sheep of the grand game but there have over the years been various attempts to create a fill in of essentially what has been in the past an NPC hireling class at worst and a blank spot of metaphysical esoteric background disguised as a class at best. In the past there have been several attempts to bring alchemists into the dungeon with varying degrees of success. 
This is an attempt to grab the alchemist and bring this unappreciated class into the OSR and allow him to be a playable option, on the whole this twenty five page pdf is done in the second edition style right down to the selection of font and layout.If your expecting long winded symbolic laden spells and rites look elsewhere. This is a straight up second edition AD&D take on the Alchemist class complete with a full selection of spells and what have you. There are complete backdrop and explanations for AD&D first and second edition style retroclone action here. And its well done as well as free. The choices of the author are bold and intuitive with the class making it an actual playable option for the dungeon. The alchemist has all of the usual racial AD&D style of choices and options laid out right in front of both player and DM with a wide range of tools brought into play.
The spells are interesting and engaging and there's enough here to play the class right out of the gate. There's not a whole lot of background which is fine, this allows the DM to fill in what he needs as needed for his campaigns.
This class is ideally suited for those middle period AD&D sword and sorcery style games where the talents of an Alchemist could prove invaluable. 

The playility of this pdf is going to really depend upon the imagination and intuition of the DM to adapt the material as its presented and then use or discard what is necessary. The author is no slouch when it comes to presenting a wide array of choices for the Alchemist to advance along the level axis as the class presents itself. 
The language of the rules, spell, setting (what there is of it) is simply straight forward and down to fully realized business. There's no fluff or BS here just a class that is clearly defined and well adjusted to bring a style of Alchemist into a second edition AD&D style campaign. All in all this a pretty nice attempt at bringing the Alchemist out of the Dark ages of AD&D and into the light of the OSR movement. Did I happen to mention that this pdf is free and you might want to download it ASAP to start rapidly getting into the groove of this great little addition to your DM's tool box today? 

AFS Magazine Issue #6 is released and ready for order!


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I've been a fan of AFS magazine for a while now and the latest issue has a ton of old school, retro clone and some solid AS&SH goodness packed within this issue. And its available for ordering! AFS  continues to chart its own course in the OSR and do it with style.
 This issue contains three adventures! Two for AS&SH and one for B/X as well 
Here are the details on 
AFS Magazine Issue #6 is released! and available for purchase. It will ship within the next 2 weeks. It contains a color cardstock cover, is over 50 pages long and will be sent by parcel mail. Each copy costs $10.00 USA Domestic includes shipping, $12.00 Canada includes shipping, $15.75 International includes shipping. It includes old school gaming adventures, tables, a short fiction piece and articles with a nod to the writings of H.P. Lovecraft, Jack Vance, Robert E Howard, and Clark Ashton Smith.
AFS 6 includes three full length adventures! – two written for the Astonishing Swordsmen & Sorcerers of Hyperborea ruleset and one written for B/X .
Paypal is accepted, just go to http://www.paypal.com and my paypal is srmoberly at yahoo.com. Please ensure the address paypal has on file for you is accurate. As is usual - the first 20 copies sold will be numbered and signed.
Thanks for your support!




AFS Magazine #6   - Table of Contents


Adventure – Wrath of the Sea God Khulk-Xu by the Scribe Lestrade

New Monster -  Scorpioids of Xin-  By Michael Haskell

Adventure – Beyond the Ice Fall by Joseph D. Salvador

Fiction – Two Military Executions by Ambrose Bierce (1906)

Table – Celestial Phenomena  by Benjamin Ball

NPC spotlight - Ulva  Esquimaux (Eskimo) NPC of the Purloiner class from the Astonishing Swordsmen and Sorcerers game by the Scribe Lestrade (also includes a re-print of the Purloiner class for AS&SH by Jeffrey Talanian & Colin Chapman)

Adventure – Haunted Ruins of Castle Mold-a-Vay for character levels 3-6 written for B/X by Scalydemon, Rflowers, Fingolwyn, Distorted Humor, & Darkgrey 

Variant Class – The Huntsman written for the Astonishing Swordsmen & Sorcerers of Hyperborea ruleset by Jeffrey Talanian


Thursday, November 20, 2014

Brand New 1d10 Random Minor Treasures Table For Astonishing Swordsmen and Sorcerers of Hyperborea


There are a number of artifacts that have been uncovered at the edges of Hyperborea that speak of the level of sophistication of magical workings of Atlantis and lost Hyperborean kingdoms. Many of these items have ancient curses, magical workings, and incredible powers that tell of the heights that the ancient Hyperboreans reached in their workings.
These items often carry with them strange side effects and weird curses that echo through the ages. The Green Death  often left these items in odd places and with very little to speak of their original functions but their magical power remains.
File:Lorbeerkranz Zypern rem.jpg
1d10 Random Minor Treasures Table 
  1. Magical crown of fey gold and  silver wire with incredibly detailed leaves & branches. The piece enables the owner infravision up 250' feet. The piece is etched with unknown runes and grants the owner visions of celestial bodies within the Outer Darkness. Worth 300 gold pieces. 
  2. Solid Gold harp that plays seven ancient & unknown songs. The thing summons 1d8  demonic mites and Outer Darkness minor spawn. These little horrors will attack the owner of the harp. Worth 200 gold pieces but this cursed item will bound itself to the owner. 
  3. A  jade demonic head's statue that will summon a succubus when held under the third moon's light. The demonic being will try to seduce the owner and murder him as a sacrifice to her Outer Darkness masters. The head will grant its owner a demonic boon should the owner survive the machinations of the succubus. 
  4. A pewter  goblet encrusted with semi precious stones that will fill with one of the prime elemental elements within a round. The goblet will enable its owner to commune with an elemental prince once a week. It will burn its owner for 2d6 points of damage if mishandled. Worth 200 gold pieces 
  5. A large diamond filled with a strange smoky alien Lovecraftian essence that will suck dry the soul of its owner after allowing its owner to use 1d6 minor cantrips and 1st level wizard spells before the new moon. Worth 1600  gold pieces. 
  6. Green Glass prism which glows with 1d6 alien landscapes and occasionally shows a vision of a possible future. The thing is actually the prison for a minor alien elemental demon. Worth 200 gold piece to the right collector. The owner's eyes glow green when using the prism, there may also be 1d6 other minor powers of this object. 
  7. Fine quality telescope like instrument with cut diamond lenses, this strange instruments will show limited visions of the surface of Saturn and its moons. Worth 1300 gold pieces to the right wizard or collector. 
  8. A strange chess set like game that has random unknown 1d20 Lovecraftian god pieces and a metal playing board. The whole arrangement will show these figures and a stylized Hyperborean landscape when arranged. The pieces will move of their own accord depending upon the trepidations of the entities represented upon Hyperborea. The owner can determine the machinations of these horrors by their movements ten days ahead of these events. The horrors may be aware of the owner though if this item is used to often. Worth 2000 gold pieces to the right cult or 400 gold pieces normally. 
  9. An enchanted dinosaur bone flute that in the hands of a bard allows the storyteller to dream in the minds of the ancient reptile lords of Hyperborea. The bard may be lost within these ancient king's minds for 1d10 days and may magically take on a sinister reptilian aspect. Otherwise this is an ordinary if somewhat large finely made bone flute worked over with incredibly intricate carvings. The piece is worth an easy 500 gold pieces and a 1000 to the right Eastern Hyperborean bardic guild. There may be and additional 1d4 minor powers of this instrument. 
  10. Large chunk of raw meteorite diamond from the heart of a cursed star that allows the owner to access the negative energies of the Outer Darkness and have 1d4 minor necrotic powers. There is a 50% chance of an Ancient Earth lich king trying to possess the owner. Worth an easy 200 gold pieces or more. Evil aligned NPC's will try to kill the owner for possession of this item. They will not know why but the compulsion will be very strong. 

Kickstarter Silent Legions: A Sandbox Horror RPG by Kevin Crawford

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Kickstarters are more and more prevalent these days and now author/designer Kevin Crawford has launched a new old school Lovecraftian horror sandbox campaign system. This game looks like it treads the same ground as his Stars Without Numbers Rpg rpg system and its cross compatible. Even though the project is funded, a pledger can get in on the ground floor right now with the Beta version of the rule book. There's a ton more Mythos style rpg systems on the market these days but this looks very well done. Here's the low down on the game from the Kickstarter campaign.
The world is woven of secret names. The skin of our days is stretched tight over strange bones. There are powers that move in the dark corners of the earth, truths that are spoken in lonely places, and heroes who die nameless deaths fighting forces that they dare not comprehend. These are the silent legions that guard the waking world, and their blind armies struggle against the powers of a fathomless night.

Silent Legions is a modern-day Lovecraftian role-playing game, one built to support a sandbox style of gaming and the creation of your own diabolical Mythos. While compatible with the Stars Without Number game system and many other classic old-school games, Silent Legions is built to stand alone and provide you with everything you need to develop a grim world of unspeakable occult secrets and mad, sorcerous scheming.

Silent Legions is 160+ pages of specially-designed material to help a game master create their own cosmic evils and mysterious alien powers. Rather than simply recycle the traditional Cthulhu Mythos baddies, Silent Legions gives you the tools and techniques to make your own, the better to shock and dismay your players with fresh horrors that haven't already been wrung dry by familiarity. The creatures and cults the game helps you build are also fully compatible with most classic OSR games, allowing you to export them to other settings or mix and match with material you've drawn in from your other games.

More than that, Silent Legions is designed to help a GM create a true sandbox horror campaign. Instead of sending the hapless investigators along an intricate story arc, the GM creates a region, seeds it with points of interest, and then uses the tools in the book to quickly and easily create content for the heroes wherever they may go. The faction tools help keep the nefarious cults in motion even when the heroes are otherwise engaged, and both players and GMs are allowed the special excitement of not knowing how their desperate struggles are actually going to end. Will they crush the insidious powers of darkness, or will they miss some cyst of evil until it is far too late?

Inside Silent Legions, you'll find...

Tools for creating eldritch gods, alien races, black sorcery, unique Lovecraftian magical artifacts, fantastic demi-planes of dream, and unspeakable cults of foulest evil. Make your players afraid of the dark again- give them an enemy that's a genuine mystery to them!

Guides for the creation of horrific monsters, building them from basic templates elaborated by unique qualities and special flavors of horror. Use the example templates for a quick abomination or flesh them out to be a special nemesis for your players.

Region creation tools for building your own sections of demon-haunted Earth, including sixty location tags to define the special torments of your land. These tags are largely compatible with the other tags found in Sine Nomine products such as Stars Without Number and Scarlet Heroes, so you can mix things up for even more dread chaos.

Adventure templates for quickly producing an investigative adventure suitable for sandbox use. You can create "blank" templates out of raw plot elements and then drop them on top of your region; the blank spaces in the template interlock with the location tags to create an instant adventure no matter which location receives the template.

Cult rules that adapt the popular Faction system from Stars Without Number for the dark machinations and secret feuding of the malevolent cults you create. Keep your world in a steady downward spiral whether or not the PCs are there!
So what the hell is this game system coming under the swords and sorcery label on my Dark Corner blog? Believe it or not this system is going to be a welcome resource to pull from for S&S because one thing that the Lovecraft circle of writers often did was hint at a myriad of faceless horrors lurking in the backgrounds of their literature and stories.
This book  and attendant systems is going to put the power of random Lovecraftian creation of cults, monsters, and whatnot in the hands of the DM. This enables the Dm to pull enemies from a wide variety of places, times, and circumstances.
All in all I'm really looking forward to using this new system and its up coming products. I'd get in on the ground floor of this one and begin to look into the background of the system's Beta. Even though this project has been funded there is plenty of room for lots of rewards and releases to come. 

Friday, November 14, 2014

Aegean Regional Map (Swords of Kos Fantasy Campaign Setting) From Skirmisher Publishing For Your Old School Sword and Sorcery Campaigns





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Maps are a very tricky little issue when it comes to rpgs, they set the tone of a campaign. Allow the players to reference the entire campaign and even in someways bring players into having a stake in campaign world by allowing the players to chart the course of their PC's across the face of the world. The Aegean Regional Map (Swords of Kos Fantasy Campaign Setting) From Skirmisher Publishing is a very central resource for the Kos setting. The setting of the Kos campaign and its attendant products has been growing for a long while now. 
If your into the old school Swords of Kos sword and sorcery setting then this map is really a no brainer. This map shows in great detail the world of the campaign and allows a DM to see as well as design their own adventures using the whole cloth of Kos as fodder. This is not our Earth but an alternative world with its own distinctive flavor drawn from the mythology and legends that the designers have come up with. 
Kos has plenty of room for a DM to customize and stake out who, what, where they wish to stake out in their own campaign. Everything is laid out in very nice detail within the cartography of Kos and shows all of the locals that the Kos line of products has produced. There's a nice distinctiveness with this map and its a really nice little piece of artistic fluff that allows a DM to pitch their own campaigns within the confines and use this map as both a campaign resource and as a palette to set down their own old world mythological adventures in one sold product. 
Maps such as this one can also serve a higher purpose as both a hand out and as reference to give credence to the DM's vision for his or her own campaign. There are several things that I really like about this map. One the colors are not exploding off of the page but reflect Kos's Agean grounding. Second thing is the level of detail is just enough to explain but not over state campaign bits and pieces. The third thing is that there's plenty of room for customization and just enough places to fit a plethora of adventures across the area. Not too bad of a piece of artwork that actually has real world gaming applications. 

According to the Drivethrurpg blurb: 
This map is bounded by the Black Sea in the north, mainland Asia in the east, the sprawling island of Crete in the south, and the Ionian sea in the west. It encompasses the area occupied in whole or in part by the modern countries of Greece, Turkey, Bulgaria, and Macedonia. States represented on the map, both with political boundaries and their national symbols, include the city and island of Kos, Abbadonia, the Tetrarchy of Anatolia, Attica and the city state of Athens, Çatalhöyük, the Kingdom of Lydia, Greater Peloponnese, the Grand Duchy of Porphyris, and the Republic of Rhodes.


I've always liked the cartography of acclaimed fantasy artist/cartographer Francesca Baerald. And this map looks like it came out of a Ray Harryhausen film. A piece of artwork set's the tone for an rpg campaign and this map looks like a piece that might be on an Aegean general's desk or within a sea captain's cabin with some old instruments around it. 

Thus a DM can use this map to print out smaller sections to bring his party right into the fray of adventure and detail what will be pivotal to the adventurers. Is it worth the price of admission? Perhaps but I might wait till Drivethrurpg has a sale. But I definitely would purchase this product because of its utility and usefulness in adventure creation and balancing of the Kos campaign setting. This is a really nice piece of artwork and cartography with myriad of uses across the board.  

Sunday, November 9, 2014

Free OSR Adventure Resource - TM1 The Ogress of Anubis From New Big Dragon Games Unlimited For Your Old School Sword and Sorcery Campaigns

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This OSR adventure doesn't get much press, that's a damn shame because this is a lovely old school Egyptian style romp with some really inventive action and adventure cues. Between the set up & the plot this one makes a really nice old fashioned sword and sorcery adventure with a central Egyptian plot straight out of an old pulp magazine with a modern sense of play and style.
The plot goes something like this :


Azeneth believed the life of the high priest (or priestess) should be as comfortable as that of the kings and the gods. She spoke her contempt for her father’s “weakness” loudly and publicly, almost from the time she learned to talk. As she neared her teens, she made it known her plan was to supplant her father and become high priestess of the temple, sometimes claiming it was her place as the incarnation of the goddess Nekhbet.
Many say Azeneth has the power to command serpents, and it was she who sent the asp that killed her father Kemosiri. Regardless, she siezed her position as high priestess of the temple and set about her accumulation of power and wealth. 
Recently, children from the villages around the temple have begun to disappear. Rumors abound that Azeneth is sacrificing them and cannibalizing them because she believes this will make her wealthier, more powerful, and more divine. The people of the villages have begun to refer to Azeneth as the “ogress of Anubis”—believing it was Anubis himself that made this woman mad, and commanded her to consume the children she sacrifices.
Someone must end this reign of fear and terror, and try to return the children alive—if it is in the will of the gods.
 
Right so the set up of this adventure places the PC's at ground zero of the Egyptian style action and deals them into a very dangerous and nasty situation. A quick pace is set with this adventure and the vile villian really does live up to the hype of the plot blurb. Because of the very nature of the plot in this adventure the PC's are going to be heavily invested in terms of both time, energy, and as well as the action here. The adventure farely seeps with a sense of dreaded horror and adventure. While not strictly Lovecraftian with a few tweaks this adventure could easily be adapted into the world of Astonishing Swordsmen and Sorcerers of Hyperborea but it really does stand on its own merits. And the author does a marvelous job including all kinds of old school goodies to help run this adventure with your favorite old school retroclone. There are enough goodies under the hood for this adventure to become a full blown campaign world on its own. Seriously this adventure comes with a ton of resources to adapt it for a wide variety of retroclone resources. 
Includes the following: information for adapting to different OSR rules editions; adventure background; regional overview (small map + info on villages and wandering monsters); information on the temple compound and its vicinity (including wandering monsters); a detailed map of the temple compound; a 4-page detailed encounter key for the temple compound; new monster (animal mummy w/ 7 variants, statted for Oe/BX/1e); "generic" stats for all monsters and NPCs mentioned in the adventure; 12 pre-generated NPCs w/ details; 10 adventure seeds (for continuing adventures in the area); and 8 additional unkeyed maps (7 tombs, 2 caves, 1 sunken city) for use with the adventure seeds.

This adventure is a complete world into itself and can easily be added into a whole different campaign with a drop and drag flick of the DM's wrist. On the whole I've enjoyed the read through today on this one.
 Place this adventure within your favorite retroclone desert, go to town with the plot elements and adjust where you need to. There's so much happening with this adventure that there's room for at least three more sub -adventures from the bones and frame work here. The 12 Pre generated PC's could easily appear within your own adventures foreshadowing the events of  
The Ogress of Anubis and act as a bridge gap for the events of this adventure.
Then there are the several other locations that appear within the confines of this adventure enabling further Egyptian hi jinks to occur. All in all this generic tool kit approach of this adventure makes it an excellent resource. The fact that it's free is simply an added bonus. All on all I was extremely pleased with this adventure and highly recommend it for your old school gaming experience.