Friday, March 6, 2015

Marshes & Underground Area d100 Encounter Tables From Tales of Aeril Blog For Your Old School Campaigns

Swamps are a nasty area for adventurers to get caught in, while poking around OSR today I stumbled upon a series of D100 encounter characters that Reece PC has done. I've been looking for resources like this for a very long time. They're culled from a number of old school sources and very well done.


File:Beard, William Holbrook ~ Phantom Crane, 1891, oil on canvas.jpg
All of the old favorites are there including swamp gas,giant spiders, undead,and any number of horrors. Very well done stuff. His underground d100 list is pretty damn amazing. The thing draws from a number of sources and creates an underworld of pretty terrifying nastiness for adventurers to encounter. Most of the material is drawn from a number of OD&D and AD&D first edition sources making this one of the most useful encounter charts I've seen in a long while. Special thanks to Tankar over at the OSR today blog for bring these to my attention HERE
And the Tales of Aeril blog for doing this wonderful series of solid series of encounter tables. 

Grab That One Right Over
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Thursday, February 26, 2015

Random Tavern Generator For Your Old School Campaigns

    Skirmisher publishing just had their 'Game publisher WTF moments'on their  D-Infinity broadcast on Youtube this evening. Which had some pretty fun stuff in it. You can see that right over HERE. But the reason for the mention is actually the Random Tavern generator that was mentioned at the end of the board cast. This handy dandy little generator gives the perfect watering hole or meeting place for your party. 

This is a perfect random generator from Skirmisher publishing for your old school game campaign. This is a solid done generator. Easily adapted to your urban encounter area or adventure locations within a town, city, or even the countryside wagon trail.
Start Using It Right Over 

original artist right over Here

Another trick I came up with is to use the generator a couple of times to create various watering holes within a town or city block. This way various watering holes might be owned and operated by a crime family or thieves guild or some other organization.
All of this material is based on the Jester Dragon's Random Tavern Generator. A system neutral product that's only .99 cents and will seamlessly fit into the background of your campaigns,neatly and quite concisely.

Grab It Right HERE 

Sunday, February 22, 2015

Free OSR Resource From Dragon's Foot - Footprints Issue #22 For Your Old School Campaigns

Footprints #22 of the venerable pdf magazine is out, and its actually one of my favorite old school resources. The magazine has changed and evolved over the years and it now sports the 'ideas and adventures for advanced fantasy gaming';this is exactly what it is and does. This issue is no exception. First I absolutely love the cover on this issue. And that's really one of the places where the places where a revamp for the look of the magazine has been coming. Believe it or not the contents page has the look of the TSR era Dragon and my heart ached seeing it for a moment. 

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But then after looking through this issue's contents it became even more apparent that this wasn't simply the graphic layout and content but there's more to it.
The Dragon's foot page reveals more of this new direction

% In Lair Column  By Ron 'rRedmond' Redmond - This is really a great article about the old school gaming experiences and tackling of the Footprints magazine by Ron. It really gives some personal insight into the who's, what's, why's of his experiences with Dragon foot and the OSR.
It also sets the tone for the rest of the mag as a whole. Some of the tone in this article sets up the backbone for the rest of the articles to come.

Charge It!(article) by Ian Slater is a really solid take on 'correcting' and offering an alternative method for charging magic item from the 1st edition DMG, and it breaks down both math and method to the madness. A really well thought out system with some nice twists that can really be applied in a number of ways. A solid addition to this issue right out of the gate. 
Feelin' Trapped? (article) - Continuing the trend with excellence is this article on random trap generation, Tony Chaplin does an excellent article which again gets back to early Dragon magazine articles. This is stuff that you can add into your own DM tool box and do so with little problems because of its quality. 
Pulling Strings (adventure) - Ahh The depth of this issue is in the adventures as well as the articles and 'Pulling Strings' really is an excellent adventure by Darren Dare  for 2nd edition AD&D but man this is a really solidly done adventure featuring some of my favorite old school monsters. I might have to back engineer this one into something like AD&D 1st or OSRIC. Very well done and love the maps and look of this one. 
Treasure & Tables (article) - Stuart Marshal turns in a really well done article on OSRIC random magic item generation, this one covers all of the bases and its very useful. The article has some very nice applications for adventure generation and provides a quick as well as effective method for magic item creation. 
Systems & Swordplay (article) - Is another Stuart Marshal effort for OSRIC to address the problem of weapon specialization inside the game. This article does a good job of giving the DM the means to deal with this problem that players sometimes make take center stage in combat situations. No more, this one takes the headaches right out of this. 
Many a Quaint and Curious Volume of Forgotten Lore (article) - Michael Haskell does an excellent job of setting up the back drop for wizards and magic users and their time between adventures. This one has it all and its worth the price of admission on the strength of this article alone. Very cool stuff with some horrific applications that reminds me of historical articles I've read about historical characters like John Dee and others. Wizards should often be the catalyst  for adventures and this article gives a DM a nice excuse to slip in plot hooks and twists between adventures. 
Prelude to an Adventure (fiction) - Now this is a good piece of fiction that drops in some ideas for the 'who, what, & where' aspects of old school adventures and their preludes. Nothing happens in a vacuum. And this story highlights that in spades. 

Blacktop Vale (adventure) - This is a solid adventure and Steve McFadden turns in all of the stops with this OSRIC or AD&D 1st edition style adventure. The maps, story, backdrop are all pure sword and sorcery with a pulpy heart that I loved. Again this is worth the price of admission. 

Bottom line this is a solid issue with content that can adapted into any number of old school or retroclone systems. Hell I can see these adventures being adapted for Labryth Lord with the advanced companion, I can see the material being retrofitted into several other systems. Including easily being used for Fantastic Heroes and Witchery, or even OSRIC or AD&D 1st edition. 
Is it worth the download? Hell yes and its very well done issue at that. Grab this issue and get moving to the gaming table. A really nice free download. 

Saturday, February 21, 2015

Free OSR Resource - DC1 Tales From the Laughing Dragon A Dragon Claws Adventure For Your Old School Campaigns

There are adventures that require more then mere skill with a weapon and a bit more investigation as well as ideas on the PC's part. Tales From The Laughing Dragon : A Dragon Claw Adventure. 
DC1 is the kind of adventure that while location based all revolve around the back setting of bars. If your expecting the usual hack and slash OD&D bits your in for a bad time with your PC's. 
DC1 is one part dungeon crawl, one part interlinked adventures and one part thinking man's dungeon adventure all in one slick thirty four page package of OSR goodness. 

Tales from the Laughing Dragon

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The plot sounds like a typical D&D style basic adventure but there's where the similiarity ends.
According to the basic plot which goes something like this :

Fonkin the beloved gnome sage is missing. The town guard is busy fighting off brigands and doesn't have time to look for him. A group of aspiring adventurers take on the task and follow a clue that leads them to an old ruin and footsteps leading down some stairs to the darkness below...

Tales from The Laughing Dragon: A Dragonclaw Campaign is a short three-part adventure series for the Basic Fantasy Role-Playing Game. It's designed for a group of beginning player characters, making it a great way to jump in to the Basic Fantasy RPG!

This is a thirty four page mini campaign adventure that is part basic introduction and part mission oriented adventure with some interesting twists on the usual OSR campaign adventure. What you've got here is a thinking man's adventure that is perfectly suited to throw the PC's into the deep end of the pond. Here the characters are recruited by some patrons in a series of interlinked adventures but there's also another interesting twist on the usual themes. This adventure has the sub heading of a Dragon Claw Adventure. The Dragon Claw Barony is the setting backdrop for this adventure and I think we're going to be seeing a lot more campaign material for this back bone of this campaign in future Basic Fantasy rpg edition adventures. From the adventure: 

/Dragonclaw Barony is a provincial yet rough and ready area, reminiscent of ancient England or Wales. The primary terrain of the Barony is rolling fields and gentle hills, though the Dragonclaw Mountains, from which the Barony takes its name, cut a wide swath through the center of the land. The borders of the barony are primarily comprised of natural features: the forests of Norwood, the northern Dragonclaw Mountains, and the Badlands in the north and west; and the Sea of Storms, the southern Dragonclaws, and the Dreadwood to the east and south. The Barony was once a small independent kingdom known as llancrest. Four hundred years ago, armies from the Kingdom of Albion, to the distant north, forcibly annexed the lands to serve as a southern base in their perennial wars with the eastern kingdom of Kar'Tegra. Llancrest was renamed as "Llancrest Barony" and a new ruler from Albion was given control of the land. Over the years, as the Barony grew more and more independent, the court at Albion began to refer to the distant frontier area as "that Dragonclaw barony", referring to the high mountain range that bisected the countryside; "Dragonclaw Barony" was eventually adopted as the official name of the land.'
And this is one of the things that makes DC1 a bit different, there is an element of the sword and sorcery going on in the backdrop. Things are a bit rougher and darker in this adventure then I was expecting and that's a good thing. The adventure is perfect for children but I can really see this being used as a motivator adventure for a beginning party or as a series of side adventures for an experienced party. Everything about DC1 is very nice and concise in what it does. It sets up the adventures and interlinks them with the Dragon Claw campaign world and setting but this is constantly running quietly in the background.  

The maps, ideas, and player handouts are all very nicely done and there's a really nice professional vibe running through DC1. But if your party is high on the combat end of things, expect a few possible TPK's in the works. All in all I think this is a free download worth your time and energy to get to know  Tales From The Laughing Dragon. Grab this one today! 

Friday, February 20, 2015

Pay What You Want - The Tomb of Rakoss the Undying For Your Old School Campaigns

I've been seeing this module around since 2013, and I've been meaning to check this bad boy out for a long while. Mischief Inc has been teasing me with this one in my Drivethrurpg feed for a while and its an interesting run through reading through OA. As a pay what you want title its pretty damn well put together.

This module has several interesting features: A its truly edition nuetral and could be used with any edition of the world's most popular fantasy adventure game. Second it emulates many of the conventions and tropes of older edition adventures. Third this makes this adventure an easy fit for any old school retroclone. Everything from the stat blocks for the monsters, the artwork, the basic intro here is top drawer. If your going to get into a mid range module for an OSRIC or AD&D style game this module is a god sent. But here's the thing this module could easily be used with a swords and wizardry rule set or Labryth Lord especially with the advance companion. 
The basic plot of this adventure reads through like a TSR era adventure but more heavy on the sword and sorcery aspect. According to the Drivethrurpg blurb: 
Rakoss was a great wizard of ages past who served the Emperor of Maere. Tales tell of his prowess as a military strategist, but they also tell of his fall. It is said that although he won campaign after campaign for his emperor, just one failure earned the wrath of his master. The Emperor had Rakoss, his generals, strategists and personal guard sealed in a tomb somewhere in the Ganlaw Mountains, and cursed them.
Who knows what treasure was buried with Rakoss and his retinue, or what horrors remain to test any who might enter the tomb. Certainly only a brave few would dare seek out the final resting place of Rakoss, and even fewer can survive the terrors of The Tomb of Rakoss the Undying!
"The Tomb of Rakoss the Undying" is a challenging adventure for 3-6 characters of level 4 to 6.
Much of the fantasy elements are twists on the classic AD&D 1st edition of play and with a bit of work could easily be incorporated into a game such as the Astonishing Swordsmen and Sorcerers of Hyperborea rpg system game world.
The monsters are deadly and some of the encounters would have to be used with an experienced party. There is enough meat here to challenge the PC's on a number of levels. 
All in all the quality of the adventure is quite surprisingly good and the writing complex with plenty of adventure hooks for future releases.
Much of this module is well thought out and delivers on exactly what it promises, a pilot episodic adventure from Mischief Inc. It feels and plays with some very interesting twists on some potentially nasty enemies for the PC's and introduces a fully fleshed out vile villain with not a wrap up in sign. This is done on purpose but for a eighteen page adventure with quality artwork and more this is an essential adventure to grab. 

Saturday, February 14, 2015

The Pay What You Want OSR Resource - Five Swords From Harbinger Games For Your Old School Campaigns

Five Swords From Harbinger Games is one of those supplements that fills a niche as a DM that you wish you have thought to have written. Its a damn useful little product with five magical blades. The title includes their history, powers, bits and pieces, all of the useful bits about the weapons and its all done up in a nice concise and well organized package from Harbinger Games. These are not power or munchkin blades, they have a specific set of powers and magical qualities but not enough to unbalance your old school campaigns

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Five Swords has a ton of uses from adding in several NPC magical blades and their history to creating brand new artifacts in the form of swords to add just that extra little bit of shine to that treasure hoard.
According to the Drivethrurpg blurb: 

  Five Swords is exactly what it sounds like - writeups of five enchanted swords suitable for use making a treasure hoard more sought after, or to make a villain more feared!.
  Five Swords has writeups for the holy sword Whitestaff, the thief's sword Stardust, and killer's sword Orphanmaker, plus two more.

On the surface this title does exactly what it says on the title but more then that the Five swords adds that little extra edge of magical sword goodness to an adventure but don't make these swords that easy to aquire during game play. Place these swords within dragon hoard, as part of collections belonging to vile villains or give these swords to NPC's who need a magic sword with an impressive set of minor and useful powers. And that's one of the things that separates this from other OSR products. These swords are actually damn useful for game play. They should be the cherry on top of any hoard's gathering of gold, gems, and silver pieces.
Because of the way that 'Five Swords' is written there is a ton of room to modify these items to your heart's content and allowing you as a DM to make and customize these swords as your own. There is a sense that these are magic swords that are meant to see use by your PC's.
That brings up the question of balance,Five Swords definitely has its collective eyes as a product to providing you with set of swords that can easily be modified to fit your needs as a DM. 
The items are very accurately described and are completely plug and play allowing a DM freedom to drop these swords right into an Advance Labryth Lord campaign, OSRIC, AD&D 1st Edition, or even an Astonishing Swordsmen and Sorcerers of Hyperborea campaign. The fact is that only one of these swords should appear within a campaign. Seriously these are swords that should only show up once every two years or so of game play. They're well balanced and written items with plenty of DYI editing room so you can sneak these swords right into the middle of your carefully aligned campaign with a ton adventure hooks built right into each item. 
All in all I think that this a download with your time and your attention as a DM. Go and gran this one today! 

Friday, February 13, 2015

Adapting The Free OSR Adventure Resource The Stone Alignments of Kor Nak By E.Gygax & B.Poire To The Astonishing Swordsmen and Sorcerers of Hyperborea Rpg System

I've been following the development of this free adventure resource for months and now its come out as a fully fleshed out old school pdf.
What is The Stone Alignments of Kor Nak about?
Well according to the GP Adventures website -
Discover the secret of the Alignments of Kor Nak, defeat many foes, and piece together a secret that will perhaps bring peace to the Carnelian Queen of old. This short module is compatible with 0e, 1e, and most variants of the World’s Premier Role-Playing Game. Light on stats and mechanical details, this hex is usable in a variety of settings and games, including your own.

 Grab It Right Over

So I've been wracking my brains about adapting the brand new adventure resource The Stone Alignments of Kor Nak by Ernie Gygax and B.Poire to the Astonishing Swordsmen and Sorcerers of Hyperborea rpg system. But not in the way you might be thinking, you see some very cool folks have done quite a bit of the hard work for me over at the Hyperborea forums HERE
As one of the B.Poire points out :

"You'll see that we make allusion to the "Black Gulf" as "that which extends beyond the material plane" several times in the description. That's a nod for you guys, obviously. 

This material is eminently adaptable to Hyperborea, by the way, but you might have guessed it, given the source. Please enjoy, and let us know what you think!"The material is hugely influencal and very well done. It presents some clever locations, monsters, adventure hooks, and more.
Hell there are even crabmen, already built into the whole thing. I love the crabmen of Hyperborea because they're a fully fleshed out alien culture with a ton of menace and horror built right into the race.
Benoist Poire points out -
I could post some notes about possible AS&SH adaptations, but I'm not even sure those are even necessary: Switch Tenkar's Landing for the east coast of Hyperborea, and the ancient Ayceni just emerged on the continent from there, cast out from Old Earth or whatever alternate setting (our own Eurth, perhaps) you'd be using in your AS&SH game. Exchange humanoids like ape-orcs for fully blooded ape men, for instance, and you're pretty much there. It's even got a bit of science-fantasy on the side with the Iron Pyramid, the Cobalt Caves and why not, the Lone Tower as well.

EDIT. As far as our HSD AS&SH campaign is concerned, just include a portal from the Marmoreal Tomb into the deepest level of the Alignments of Kor Nak, back-and-forth, so the PCs can return, and you are set. Of course, any portal of such sort in Hyperborea would include some sort of chance of failure, mishap, or misdirection, but that's the gist of it right there. Boom. Enjoy the Dark Youngs of Shub-Niggurath, players. ;)
Once again this is hugely inspirational. And actually very useful advice. 
I read through Handy Haversack's contribution and I see a thousand possibilities for this setting.
Yeah, I read it when I got home, and it seemed like a perfect thing to put out on the coast by Brigands Bay--or to use as the "Black Fief," Blackadder23! It's great stuff, Benoist. Thanks for sharing it.

And sometimes that can be the problem with a setting,its simply too awesome to use right out of the gate.As a DM you need time to digest it and let it rattle around in your head for a day or so. The fact that its been collected and released as a pdf with a nice old school cover is simply icing on the cake.
I've already reviewed it on the Swords and Stitchery end of the blogs but after my Stars Without Number game I cracked open my Robert Howard Nameless Cult's book and my other Robert Howard fan book.
The maps in the Stone Alignment are really well done and I want to take this mini campaign hex location and build a campaign world around it.
There are a few other free resources that I want to add, mold, and mix with this one. The possibilities here are pretty damn endless. The authors have done a tremendous job with the whole package of The Stone Alignments of Kor Nak.
If you haven't gotten into this free resource? I strongly suggest that you stop what your doing and go to the GP adventures website right now and download.This is not the last that your going to be hearing about me adapting this campaign resource to AS&SH.