Tuesday, January 28, 2014

Review And On Commentary On The FREE OSR PDF: Underworld Lore #3 (Hyborian Special) By Gorgon Milk and Co.For Your Old School Sword and Sorcery Campaign

Get It Right Over

Gorgon Milk and the gang has released another issue of  Underworld Lore! By Crom this is a great issue! The OSR material is very much in the Sword and Sorcery vein, there are more articles than you can shake a sword at.
The material is very well done and could be ported into any Cimmerian style sword and sorcery game!
The general vibe here is one of really getting into the spirit of the material. Its well done, very well edited and best of all ~ Free.
What you get is an action packed tour of a barbarian themed magazine that's perfect for dressing a dungeon, hex, or entire campaign in a sword and sorcery vibe.
This is hard core DYI style random tables, a preview of the Little Gods version of Crom. And a whole lot more packed into this little gem.
Download this one and go to town with it. I can't imagine not getting this into the mode of Conan style gaming. 
Any of this material would fit in very nicely into a Astonishing Swordsmen and Sorcerers of Hyperborea game as well. There is a ton to use here and abuse your players with. Seriously a very well done issue. It's too bad that this is only one issue. It would make a hell of an introduction into a supplement for Cimmeria or a generic Sword and Sorcery OSR setting. 
Much of the material here is pretty generic and highly adaptable to any number of Sword and Sorcery settings. There's a lot of mileage to be had here. Given the man hours that went into this its easy to see that Underworld Lore is a labor of love for its writers and friends.
Gorgon Milk and co. really did a nice job with this one and for Sword and Sorcery gaming take an exalt for this one. 


  1. Thanks, Needles! James and I plan to compliment this issue with a full-on supplement called THE CIMMERIAN CAMPAIGN that will be a Known World-style gazetteer to Conan's homeland.

  2. That's fantastic news Greg and thanks for getting this one out there! Can't wait to read it Greg!
    All my best and cheers!

  3. It is a great little mag Dave! And this was a welcome download! Especially with the AS&SH campaigns I'm in the middle of!

  4. Yeah! Call me kool-aid cause I'm breaking down the wall and grabbing a copy.

  5. I got to be the dissenting voice here. This is my take; First item is a map of Hyboria. Okay, I guess you got to have it, but nothing new there. Probably one of the most familiar fantasy world maps after Tolkein.
    A mammoth with a huge backstory is next. I think this could have been shortened to “If your party comes across a mammoth make sure you have some corpses dangling off its tusks”, because that is, I agree, cool. Curiously the author makes a point to let you know this vicious killer is a small mammoth, and is sneaky. Huh? This particular mammoth’s terrible secret is it hunts and devours man because it likes to. There are many examples in the world of animals targeting men for various reasons. This is in itself is neither noteworthy nor particularly sinister.
    Now we have an article promising little known facts of the Hyborian Age. There may be some really cool ones in this list, but after Niftesck, a marriage ritual where the groom pulls out one of his teeth, I had to stop because now I started to get the feeling I’m just being messed with.
    Onward we have the genesis myth retold through the machinations of Crom. Crom, more backstory. Save me Crom from more backstory. Crom is statted up for those Sword & Sorcery characters who want to go toe to toe with a god. God like characters battling gods sounds more D&D than S&S…
    Okay, next is the Hyborian Age, an essay by RHH on his imaginary world. Readily available everywhere, and particularly poignant when found as a preface to any number of the trade paperbacks containing the Conan stories. This section is interspersed with country maps lifted from the play by mail game Hyborian War.
    That’s it. I gotta say pretty underwhelming. Kind of a big cut and paste job.

  6. Really, Jay?
    I'm not going through your huge long counter complaint /review of this free community effort. The reason that this magazine looks like a "huge big cut and paste job". Its because it is, according to your own blog your a subscriber to Gorgon Milk's blog as well as mine and you know the progress that was made on the magazine through his blog.
    The maps were possibly provided by the Hyborian War page. You'll have to ask Greg about that. The Hyborian Age by RHH is a classic and your right it is available everywhere but since this is the issue of Under World Lore that deals with Conan's world and age that's why it was included. If you wish download it else where I believe both the Internet Archive and Project Gutenberg have it as well.
    As for Crom being included in the magazine as a preview of 'Petty Gods' Petty gods is one of Greg's pet projects. This article is written from the point of view of Crom's cult and its use in other retroclone games as well as sword and sorcery themed campaigns.
    If your campaigns including going toe to to with gods then by all means go for it. I personally have never used the Deities and Demigods book as fodder to allow my players to battle gods. Besides AS&SH tops out way below such levels so the point is moot.
    The article "70 Weird and Unknown Facts About The Ancient Lands of Hyboria" was also community generated as you well know unless your simply listing such blogs on your own blog and not reading them. I suggest you actually follow the blogs and the progress of community based projects such as this one.
    As for the Mammoth with the huge back story? It sounds like he's simply got a lot of junk going on in his trunk.
    As for the map of Hyboria, your mileage along with this issue of Underworld Lore may vary. I'm very sorry that you were underwhelmed with the download.

  7. Jay, I think you dislike this issue's contents for all the reasons that I love them! Arnold K's "Vor-Mammut" article sets the tone for the issue with its immersive monster lore; the random Hyborian "facts" are like little shots of steroids for the referee's imagination; James Mishler's take on Crom actually made me a little misty-eyed -- I love it; the inclusion of REH's "Hyborian Age" piece wasn't necessary but I think it compliments the legendary tone of the other articles with its pseudo-historical scope. And it's key information for people interested in running Hyborian campaigns.

    As ever, diff'rent strokes for diff'rent folks. There's plenty of OSR stuff that appeared just recently that is full of the crunch that you may be missing. I highly recommend New Big Dragon's "D30 Sandbox Companion" and the latest Secret Santicore release.

    1. Greg, sorry it looks like I crossed the line here in the rpg bloggesphere offering a critique. Myself, I value critical opinions. I find them usually more valuable for my creative efforts than the usual off hand "that's great". One of the reasons I'm a big fan of 10 foot pole blog. I also pay heed to my initial reaction to criticism, you know the raising of the hackles, getting defensive. I'm sure you've experienced it. You put a lot of effort into something, get some criticism and you start thinking this guy is an idiot. He may be, but truth is many people never get to the point where they can have a fruitful discussion on the nature of their work realistically in terms of quality. Just can't separate themselves from their work. A critic of the work is a critic of them as a person. So yeah, I think rpg's hold many qualities of art, and are worthy of critique. I know my endeavors (artistic, professional, recreational, social, etc.) really started to accelerate when I began to manage this initial "flight or fight" instinct, this initial reaction of getting all defensive. I even get Needles dismissive snark. He feels like I came into his dinner party and insulted one of his guests. So he's all how dare you defensive like. I generally like your style Greg; definitely dig your music selections, and you seem mature enough to realize constructive criticism is not a personal attack. A quality which seems wholly lacking among the uber-sensitive rpg crowd. Yawn.

    2. Oh, no worries. My hackles are at rest. I think criticism is very important, too.