Saturday, November 30, 2013

A New Monster From Ancient And Accursed Terra - The Calopus For The Astonishing Swordsmen and Sorcerers of Hyperborea Rpg

Number Encountered : 1d6 (6d4)
Alignment : Chaotic Evil 
Size: L 
Dex: 18 
Armour Class: 6 
Hit Dice : 5 
Number of Attacks: 4 (Horns, Claw, Claw, Bite)
Damage: 1d8+1,1d4+1,1d4+1,1d6+1 
Saving Throw : 15
Experience Points: 9 
Treasure class: D 

These devilish dire wolf sized feline like monsters seem to be drawn to the various ruins and tumbled down rubble strung across the various lands of Terra where great magical and sorcerous battles have taken place. These malignant predators are drawn to magical auras as some carnivores and scavengers are to the carcasses of certain types of dead animals.
These creatures have wickedly sharp horns and claws which they evesarte man sized creatures with easy. These predators are often depicted as singular hunters but nothing could be farther then the truth. These mad bastard mutations hunt in packs of 1d6 individuals led by an alpha female Calopus of incredible toughness. These things sometimes will lair on the outskirts of civilization or near isolated villages which are often the abode of wizards or magicians. These foul creatures often target such prey drawn by the energies of magic and sorcery. Many times packs will single out such individuals and hunt them down over the course of months. Between the meat of prey and the magical energies which course through the bodies such a being made feed a pack for two weeks or more.
Many mages know spells that will cause an animal's extremely sharp horns to be caught in the undergrowth. These spells are carefully guarded by those who hunt these foul horrors for their reputation among wizards and mages is looked on with fear and trepidation for a pack of the beasts are not something to be taken lightly.
Sometimes the roles can be reversed as well with magicians sometimes using the Calopus packs as barometers for gauging the best ruins or dungeon sites for artifacts or pickings. Mercenaries are often employed to roust a family of such creatures. Sometimes the tables are turned as the beasts are led by so called Black Calopus. These individuals have a legendary resistance to magic and a deadly sting which a target must save vs poison or fall dead as a foul rotting poison courses through the body until it explodes in shower of rot and bone.
 Calopus are evil creatures of foul and terrible cunning which lay traps for prey, sometimes haunt villages for months at a time, and act more as psychotic killers rather then simple monsters. These beasts are found anywhere where the scent of magic and witchcraft is strongest.
 Many times these beasts carry off treasures from the body of prey animals for they know such booty will draw more of the prey to their lairs and havens. Packs may have as many as three to four lairs which they change nightly. This is especially true of packs on the hunt.
The cry of the Calopus is a deep rustling throaty rasping sound that echoes throughout the night of Terra as these horrors hunt down those who call upon the powers of sorcery and witchcraft. 

Friday, November 29, 2013

Using The Free Astonishing Swordsmen And Sorcerers of Hyperborea Name Generator Part II

The folks over at the AS&SH website are having a black Friday sale and taking twenty percent off of their inventory.
So if you haven't gotten in on the Astonishing Swordsmen action now would probably be a great time.


Right HERE

Lately I've been using the AS&SH Character name generator to help roll up some scuzzy NPC's to be devil my players in an upcoming campaign.  Basically, the character name generator is a ten page pdf used for generating PC names according to the various regions of Hyperborea under the dead red gaze of the sun.
 I like to use it to create minor and major NPC's from the various regions to deal with PC's.  Minor NPC's can range from a spice seller who jacks up prices on certain wares to minor bandits who are going to pose a problem for PCs.  

AS&SH Character Name Generator is a resource created by Colin Chapman~ This 10-page PDF document provides culturally specific names for the various races of humanity that populate Hyperborea.
Use it with the 
AS&SH Character Sheet which is formatted in US Letter Size, but it contains plenty of margin space, so it should also work well in A5 and similar international formats. And you should be well on your way to having a game almost ready to go. 
 I've got players who often times like to read up on a campaign world before play and hence why I'll often create a campaign world from the ground up. 
I'll be pulling out more Ancient and Accursed Terra material within the next day or so. 
 Ninety percent of the material for generating solid npcs seems to be available in both the DM's Guide and the Players handbook for AS&SH. The real trick seems to be gauging the level of your players and then letting combat happen naturally. AS&SH is a pretty gritty and harsh combat system that seems to not suffer fools gladly as AD&D first edition is apt to do as well. The whole dynamic seems to hinge on interesting and memorable encounters during the course of adventures. 
 Play appropriate music  & go kick some sword and sorcery NPC butt. 

Thursday, November 28, 2013

Free OSR Sword And Sorcery PDF Resource For Your Old School Horror Campaign - Witchcraft and Sorcery Volume 1 Number 5 (January 1971)

Download It For Free

This is a great British  resource with a cover by William Stout  that hearkens back to the Sword and Sorcery Revival of the 1970's.  Witchcraft and Sorcery was a good solid pulp that concentrated mostly on monsters, vampires, and Werewolves.  According to Vault of Evil blog: Coven 13 was launched in September 1969 and lasted four issues under the editorship of Arthur H. Landis before it underwent a name-change to Witchcraft & Sorcery with a new man at the helm, Gerald W. Page, who presided over six issues until the entire operation folded in 1974.
Too bad it would have been nice to still have such a publication around today. 
Witchcraft And Sorcery is a solid and interesting read as well as a great resources.
 The Contents include the Following : 

WITCHCRAFT AND SORCERY - Volume 1, number 5 - January - February (Jan - Feb) 1971: Mistress of Death; The Momentary Ghost; Tower of Blood; The Dark Door; The House of Evil; Portrait of Things to Come; The Ideas; Wind Magic; The Hate; The Rat and the Snake [Paperback]
According to the Vault of Evil blog :
"Subscribers to Coven 13 received a free 9 X 7 full colour lithograph of William Stout's cover illustration for #1. Wonder how many of them are still floating around?" 
What a great lithograph to have. 

Using Witchcraft and Sorcery For Your Old School Campaigns 
Witchcraft and Sorcery has a completely different feel then many of the other publications out in the 1960's and 70's. It has a very dark and sinister feel to it akin to many of the later British adventures we'd see come out from TSR and the old school role playing publications such as White Dwarf.
Many of stories border on straight up horror but have roots that touch both sword and sorcery as well as dark fantasy. Its a pretty careful balancing act but one we see reflected today in games such as Astonishing Swordsmen and Sorcerers of Hyperborea as well as the efforts of folks like Jack Shear.
The balance between horror, dark fantasy, and sword & sorcery is one that seems at times to not exist in the corners of  OSR gaming. 

Even more information both Coven 13 & Witchcraft and Sorcery can be found right

Wednesday, November 27, 2013

Review And Commentary On Schweig's Themed Dungeon Generator From Griffon Publishing Studio For Your Old School Campaigns

Get It Right Over 

A couple of days ago I received Schweig's Themed Dungeon Generator from Griffon Publishing Stuido. Basically this is a system agnostic dungeon generator work sheet that allows on to customize randomly created dungeons to the DM's heart's content.
 Believe me when I say that this is truly a customized piece of work. This is a DYI product at its finest. This pdf hearkens back to the Judge's Guild days of fill in your own content and generate the dungeon of your dreams.
 The suggestions about the material are a good beginning but this product really depends upon you expanding it.
The product could easily be used for a horror style of game play or any style really depending on the DM's tastes, time, and effort. Everything from high fantasy to a Silent Hill style encounter set up and setting is within the realm of possibility here. 
Drive Thru rpg description: 
Random dungeon generation systems have been a part of roleplaying games since their birth in the 1970s; these tools for creating randomized settings and encounters have found renewed popularity with the recent resurgence of dungeon-delving in the “Old School Renaissance” movement and the pursuit of solitaire gaming.

Use with any dungeon-delving game system!

Schweig’s Themed Dungeon Generation System provides a form outline for customizing a random delve built around a general theme — such as a goblin lair, sorcerer’s basement, ancient ruin, minotaur’s labyrinth, frog-god temple — easily incorporated into most fantasy roleplaying games and even other genres.
A form and some basic instructions offer guidance in choosing die ranges for corridors, chambers, stocking potential traps and exceptional treasures, and preparing a menu of escalating encounters. Fill out the form in PDF and print to paper or PDF; or just print out the blank form and fill it out by hand. Once complete it’s ready for generating a room-by-room dungeon for on-the-fly group play or an unscripted solitaire delve.

Using The 

Schweig's Themed Dungeon Generator
 For Your Old School Campaigns

Schweig's Themed Dungeon Generator

This is not a product for the faint of heart, seriously this is a product that requires a bit of commitment from the DM to get the most out of  this style of generator. But for $3.00 your going to get a generator that can be used over and over for generating all kinds of dungeons.
This is isn't a complete product by any stretch of the imagination but its a beginning of one. I'd say that if your going to invest in getting this style of generator make sure you understanding the underlying OSR style dynamics.
This isn't a subtle product at all, and its fairly straight forward for generating 1970's style TSR classic dungeons, that being said this generator could be plugged into a horror system or any osr retroclone with no problems. 

*My only real complaint  with the generator is the cover. It deserves a new one. 

Sunday, November 24, 2013

Wi Strui City Crossroad Of The Worlds For Ancient And Accursed Terra Setting For Astonishing Swordsmen And Sorcerers of Hyperborea Rpg

Wi Strui City Crossroad Of The Worlds

Decadent and ancient Wi Strui City the trade city and the abode of the first Hyperborea Emperor Lanamelaer.
File:Cao Pi Tang-detail.jpg

 ~Lanamelaer The Twenty Seventh~
Slayer of Derro, Blessed of the Eastern Stars, and Savior of the Western Gate 
And The Provider Of The Sacrament of Trade
Blessed of All Technology 

This strange city seems to have once been a settlement from Hyperborea and now its royal courts trace their linage all the way back to the first ancestors. 
Now a society of trade and politeness during the day and secret societies of Tongs, assassins, and worse during the night. This is a city of contrasts where monks hold the salvation of the common man and the semi divine emperor holds the forces of darkness from the Inner World at bay using forbidden Hyperborean and Atlantian magic.

Wi Strui City's Trade Status 

File:City of Ningpo from the river.jpg

This city state has extensive foreign quarters and  twisting alleyways where foreigners from across the vast Prime Materials come to trade wares, establish contracts, and deal in the decedent treasures of Wi Strui. 
The ancient Atlain Gate systems still function and bring in thousands each year to sample the wares of a million worlds. 
From the strange spices of many worlds and weird Lotus from far off Leng to the Jade treasures of Fal Ru to  artifacts from the Nightlands its all here in the Grand Bazaars  and alchemist shops for your PC's to buy or blunder into.
Giant Automatons and Guardians keep a tight reign on the Foreign Quarter ensuring that nothing escapes into city proper without t the secret police and the Crimson Monks clan knowing about it .

File:Tcitp d051 ancient view of beijing.jpg

Ancient Tongs and secret societies trade arcane technology and relics with Derro spies in the shadow of the city walls while selling wares from the "Gothic Earth" and "The World Between" to clients from across the worlds. Many from the Royal Court come to the cabarets and shows within the Foreign Quarter to be seen, trade information, and establish contracts with the various 'business men'.
 There have been rumors of men from Interzone as well as other dangerous elements occasionally having truck here but of course these are only rumors and urban legend. 

Wi Strui City And The Derro Wars 

Wi Strui City sits on a major tunnel system of the Derro. The region has always been hotly contested between the forces of the emperor and the horrid tunnel dwellers. The city has been rebuilt countless times and much of the Atlain technology found in the tunnel system has formed the basis for the emporium's incredible advances in the forbidden sciences, medicine, and planar control. Still the Derro will not be denied and their forces continue to plague the twisting back alleys of Wi Strui.

File:Tcitp d051 ancient view of beijing.jpg

The Derro occasionally kidnap citizens of 
Wi Strui for experimentation, dissection  and much worse. Occasional Derro relics turn up in the Grand Bizaar as well. They are unreliable at best and dangerous in the extreme. Many alchemist priests will not work at all on these horrors as they are prone to explode into dangerous multi colored grenades doing  1d8 points of damage as well as spraying horrid radiations everywhere.
It is said that the Derro are gearing up for yet another conflict with the city in the coming rainy season. Even now agents of the royal court are hiring adventurers to venture into the twisting tunnels of the Derro to spy and collect intelligence these ancient enemies of mankind. 

1d10 Random Encounter Table For The Streets of
Wi Strui City Crossroad Of The World

File:Lijiang, old town (6170338646).jpg
  1. Barbarian warrior looking for trade and a few adventurers to help with a local clan problem. He is willing to pay in both favors and 1d4 gold ingots. He is not to be trifled with however. 
  2. An alchemist priest trading in the Black Meat and several types of lotus pedals. He is looking for a special type of energy cell for an relic for a client. He is willing to recruit adventurers for a raid on a Derro temple. 
  3. A group of  priests looking for adventurers to help in the slaying of terrible dragon that is besieging their  village.
  4. Water seller in medicinal spring waters and minor potions looking for test subjects. 
  5. A relic repairmen with 1d10 minor treasures to sell. 
  6. A seller of  rare fish from the inner world oceans and maker of alchemical cures looking for adventurers to go with him on an expedition to find a rare specimen. 
  7. A princess on the run from her arranged marriage looking for an escape. Actually a murderous were fox looking for victims in her latest scheme. 
  8. A seller of maps to the treasures of the inner world. Actually a spy for his Derro masters implanted with a horrid control chip that turns him into a murderous psychopath. 
  9. A group of secret police looking to 'arrest' a group of adventurers for a mission for the emperor. 
  10. Derro Raiding party looking to kidnap a group of adventurers for dissection or worse!
    Use Monster Manual II stats and add in energy weapons! 



Wednesday, November 20, 2013

The Hafgygar For Astonishing Swordsmen and Sorcerers of Hyperborea

File:Stories of beowulf grendel.jpg

"Till the monster stirred, that demon, that fiend/Grendel who haunted the moors, the wild/Marshes, and made his home in a hell./Not hell but hell on earth. He was spawned in that slime/Of Cain, murderous creatures banished/ By God, punished forever for the crime/ Of Abel's death."

The Hafgygar
Number Encountered :1d4 

Alignment : Chaotic Evil 
Size : L 
Movement : 40 
Dexterity :7 
Armor Class : 4 
Hit Dice : 15 
Damage : 6d6 
Saving Throw : 9 
Morale : 10 
Experience Points: 3,600 
Treasure Type : Q (X5 In Lair) 

The Hafgygar are amphibious man eating lake monsters found throughout the Hyperborean cosmos. They are secretive, dangerous, and very, very, cunning. They have a humanoid shape barely and are entirely cold blooded as some types of lake fish. These predators have thick insulated matted hair and jaws capable of opening to the width of a man.
Fire and light are enough to drive them away for a night over so but these things love human settlements to feast from. They are often times found nesting with family members and the female of the species are some of the most dangerous creatures within the Hyperborean planets. These mad bastard monsters are often coated with a slime making them hard to catch. Some individuals of the species have been known to have special abilities granted by physical mutation or as 'gifts' from some dangerous heathen gods.
 These monsters often take trophies from settlements that they take victims from. Often these things will murder the men folk of a village and then take mates for the next cycle of odious horrors to plague the landscape.
 There are both fresh and salt water varieties of these horrors. Often times there is warfare between Deep Ones and Hafgygar as they compete with each other for the same human food resources.

Sunday, November 17, 2013

A'teelra The Dungeon Ripper A New Monster From Ancient And Accursed Terra For The Astonishing Swordsmen and Sorcerers of Hyperborea Rpg

The A'teelra Or  Dungeon Ripper

File:Kircher Mundus Subterraneus Vesuvius 1638.jpg

A'teelra Or Dungeon Ripper is found within the fortress/storage houses of Degenerate Atlans or the surface ruins of Derro installations sometimes near surface world. These horrors are much like the rats of mankind. They travel with the Derro and are always with them. They are part predator and clean up crew. The fearless horrors are like something from beyond the pale of mankind's deepest imagination but are actually found within the seas of the inner world. These things move from land to water with little issue and often can be found with damp dripping caves and strange ruins of many inner world dwelling races.
These horrors are protected by a layer of vicious semi acidic slime and rime. They use a form of echo location and primitive empathic senses to 'see' in total darkness. They lash out with six tendrils of powerful muscle and spring steel like grip capable of crushing a grown man's arm. They then attack with razor sharp plate like teeth with thinly and neatly slice through a man's flesh and bone quite easily. There is a 30% chance of these things carrying some horrid disease or underworld contagion.  They have a vile and dangerous aura of evil about them and can be quite cruel as well as cunningly chaotic.
 Often times nests of these horrors are found near the last programmed guarding post where they were assigned. They can often be found around caches of artifacts, treasures, and technological relics acting as guardians and sentinels for masters long since faded from Terra's dark corridors of history.  Often bodies of past victims as well as bones are neatly stacked to attract mates and advertise nest's prowess. 


Number Encountered 1d8 
Alignment : Chaotic Evil 
Size : L 
Move: 70 
Dexterity : 17 
Armor Class:6
Hit Dice:4
No Attacks : 3 ( Tendril, Tendril, Bite) 
Damage : 1d6,1d6,1d4
Saving Throw 12 

Morale: 7
Experience Points: 2,350 
Treasure: F 

Review and Actual Play Of Dragon's Foot Free AD&D 1st Edition Adventure - The Village With No Name

Get It Right Over
I got a chance to play in this AD&D/OSRIC style fifteen page adventure with some friends last night and this adventure was in back of the DM's screen.
Basically, The Village with No Name is an AD&D 1st Edition Adventure for a party of 1st-to-3rd level adventurers. It 
is the first installment in a multi-part series of adventures involving the main NPC in this module. is adventure can be played separately or as part of the larger series.
The adventure is by Robert James and is meant to easily be inserted into an existing campaign or setting. The adventure has that plug and play atmosphere common to many of the early TSR and AD&D efforts. 
 I was playing a fighter 3rd level last night and the adventure has both locations and NPC's galore.  Its a very well done effort. The place could easily appear in any old school AD&D campaign or converted with little effort into an OD&D style of game. The descriptions of the place really give it a lonely and some what desperate feel. 
Located along a remote road, miles from any 
settlement of consequence, is the Village with No 
Name. is village is not much more than a small 
collection of buildings—an inn, a tavern, a stable, a 
general store, a few houses and, for the more pious 
of travelers, a church—where weary travelers and 
distant settlers can rest and re-supply. The villagers 
tend towards neutral, and although the town once 
had an Elder (in reality, more of an elderly informal 
spiritual adviser), there is no organized or official 
government. In fact, the villagers have never bothered 
to name the village, instead referring to it simply as 
The Village or even the Village With No Name.
Rogues, bandits, thieves, and the average cut throat adventurer would feel right at home here. There are enough twists and turns to keep players on their toes. With very little work this adventure could be used with horror setting, a sword and sorcery game, or any old school adventuring group. The NPC's are well thought out, the adventure open ended enough to be used with any campaign and easily linked to an existing group of adventures with little ripples or disturbances at all. The author did a fine job with this one.
 As for me and Miles Quick hands my third level fighter? Well, let's simply say that'll roll up another character for next weekend.
Are you brave enough to answer this call? 
Along the road in a distant location is a village with no name but with citizens under siege by a gang of evil rogues, adventurers and rubes. Who will confront these men and their leaders? And what twist of fate awaits the PCs?

Miles Quick hands gets escorted out of the 'Village With No Name'.

Friday, November 15, 2013

Ancient And Accursed Terra - A New Campaign Setting For Astonishing Swordsmen And Sorcerers of Hyperborea

File:Athanasius Kircher's Atlantis.gif
Beyond where the North Winds blow past the  Black Gulf there is another world. The world of Ancient And Accursed Terra. This world was once seeded by "Those From Beyond". This was once a world of savagery, sorcery, and Atlantian super science.File:Amulet of Venus and Mars.png

But those days are long past and only now are men emerging from the darkness and the long silence that followed in the wake of the sinking of Atlantis,Mu, and more.
 But their survivals even now plot to retake this world from the darkness beyond the poles where the Elder Things and the Great race once seeded the interior world.

File:Symmes Hole.jpg

 This is not our world but a world of  powers at the world's core who wait plot and look at the world as nothing more then a resource to be exploited. Mankind sends representatives of all races into the dark places to plunder ancient ruins, learn the secrets of  those beyond the illusion and take the relics, artifacts, and treasures left behind. 
And while left behind they are still guarded by the monsters, survivors, and far more dangerous inhabitants of the civilizations of Atlantis, Mu, and many other legendary ancient horrors. 

 File:Kircher Mundus Subterraneus Vesuvius 1638.jpg

Many scholars of Terra believe that the planet was once the home of the Atlans and it was they who seeded the races of planet from the stock of Hyperborea. Even though their machines have been found within the interior of some of the great volcanoes. The matter rages within the meeting halls and temples of the great clerics.
The Derro degenerate races who lay claim to their treasures are far too real however as do the Morlocks with whom the Derro make war for the rights to hunt and kill the races of mankind

Welcome to Terra The Accursed
Terra The Ancient
File:1710 First Japanese Buddhist Map of the World Showing Europe, America, and Africa - Geographicus - NansenBushu-hotan-1710.jpg

There are many terrors above and below the ground. The Derro often use Peterson's Basklisk as guardians and servitors. These vat grown horrors are far from common but often encountered after a Derro  raid or strike upon a surface village or town. 
Peterson's Basklisk 

File:Hane basilisk.jpg

Number Encountered : 1d4 
Alignment : Chaotic Evil 
Size : L 
Movement: 30 
Dexterity: 9 
Armour Class: 4 
Hit Dice : 6+4 
Number of Attacks : 2 ( Kick, Bite) 
Damage : 2d6 bite, 2d8 kick 
Saving throw : 14 
Morale : 10 
Experience points : 1,050 
Treasure : F 

 Petersen's Basilisk is named after the alchemist priest who first encountered the beast upon Terra and wrote about it within his journal. These beasts were left behind by the Derro's attack upon the up world village of Krug as terror weapons and displayed an evil chaotic cunning of devilish cruelty.
The beasts use the four feather like antenna to sense their prey and use both a gaze which can turn a being to stone and a highly septic blood venom for attack/defense. Anything meeting their gaze must make a transformation save or be turned to stone. Combatants who are bitten or attack with the a bite or kick must make a save vs poison or die a horrid death within three rounds. The monsters often take the bones, trinkets, and shiny treasures of their victims to decorate their lairs to lure mates.
The things are blood thirty meat eaters and often hunt live stock or farmers as easy prey. The things have dense scale like armor and are powerful runners. They have been known to foul water sources in order force prey animals(humans) into the open. It is said that the things have a telepathic rapport with their Derro masters. 

Public Domain  
Source Material 

I Remember Lemuria
Richard S Shaver

The Dark Goddess by Richard S. Shaver

Daughter of the Night by Richard S. Shaver
Book Cover

Pellucidar by Edgar Rice Burroughs

Part II Of The "Real" Sleeping Beauty' A Public Domain Resource For Your Old School Horror Campaign

File:Sleeping beauty by Edward Burne-Jones.jpg

Fairy tales are supposed be fun little stories we tell our children at bed time. Nothing could be further from the truth and 'the Disney" corporations of this world aren't stupid. They love to copyright, trademark, and stamp every single piece of the psychic landscape and our children's imagination.
They can't because Fairy and the Fey won't let them. These are wild things of chaos and dream sewn together with the collective human unconsciousness of hundreds of years of legends.
Think this hasn't anything to do with the hobby we love? Think again Mr. 
David Lance "Dave" Arneson & so did Mr. Richard Snider  knew better and so capitalized on those stories for an old school rpg that never made it.  It has however been retrocloned HERE

 Far better then me reviewed that game HERE
In the tale of The Glass Coffin the forces of Fairy are in full effect.  File:Briar Wood Buscot Park.jpg

The tale according to Wiki is a wild one and collected by the brothers Grimm.
The Glass Coffin is a German fairy tale collected by the Brothers Grimm, tale number 163.[1] Andrew Lang included it in The Green Fairy Book as The Crystal Coffin.
The Green Fairy Book available right 
According to Wiki : 
A tailor's apprentice became lost in a forest. When night came, he saw a light shining and followed it to a hut. An old man lived there and, after the tailor begged, allowed him to stay for the night. In the morning, the tailor awoke to witness a fight between a great stag and a bull. After the stag won, it bounded up to him and carried him off in its antlers. It set him down before a wall of stone and pushed him against a door in it, which then opened. Inside the door, he was told to stand on a stone, which would bring him good fortune. He did so, and it sank down into a great hall, where the voice directed him to look into a glass chest. The chest contained a beautiful maiden, who asked him to open the chest and free her, and he did so.
The maiden told him her story: She was the daughter of a rich count, and after the death of her parents, she had been raised by her brother. One day, a traveler stayed the night and used magic to get to her in the night, to ask her to marry him. She found the use of magic repellent and rejected his proposal. In revenge the magician then turned her brother into the stag, imprisoned her in the glass chest (coffin), and enchanted all the lands around them.
The tailor and the maiden emerged from the enchanted hall and found that the stag had been transformed back into her brother. The bull he had killed had been the magician. The tailor and the maiden then married.
But this is not the only tale in the Glass Coffin cycle. There is also tale of "The Young Slave" 

Once again wiki : 
Girls competed to jump over a rose bush; at last Cilia, the baron's sister, did so, but she knocked off a rose petal. To pretend she had cleared it entirely, she swallowed the petal and became pregnant. She bore a daughter, named her Lisa, and gave her to fairies to raise. The fairies gave her gifts, but one twisted her ankle and cursed Lisa to die when she was seven, because her mother, combing her hair, forgot the comb in her hair. This happened, and the lamenting mother put her in seven crystal coffins and put them in a room. Her health failed. Before she died, she gave her brother the key to the room and make him promise not to open it.
He obeyed, but he married, and one day while he hunted, his wife opened the door. Jealous of the girl's beauty, she pulled her out by her hair, which knocked out the comb and brought her back to life. The woman beat her and made her a slave, telling her husband that her aunt had sent her a slave and warned her that stern measures were necessary with this perverse slave.
The baron went to the fair and asked everyone for what they wanted. Lisa asked for a doll, a knife, and some pumice-stone, and cursed him not be able to cross a river to return if he did not. He forgot them, but the river swelled, reminding him. Lisa took them to the kitchen and told her story to the doll, and then threatened to sharpen the knife on the stone and kill herself if the doll did not answer. The doll did.
After several days of this, the baron heard this and eavesdropped. When the girl began to whet the knife, he broke into the kitchen and took it from her. Then he put Lisa in the care of a relative, where she regained her health and beauty. The baron brought her to his own home, dismissed his wife back to her relatives, and in due course married off his niece.
Enchanted lands, half fairies, weird magical dolls, curses, and resurrection spells all in one small story?  Sounds like the makings of a Gothic Fairy Tale AD&D campaign to me! File:The Council Chamber Buscot Park.jpg
Fairy Tales are not sexist either there is another variant with an enchanted prince and some very interesting circumstances. This one was told to me by a lovely Greek Ex girl friend back in college.
The Sleeping Prince according to Wiki 

A king had only his daughter, his wife having died, and had to go to war. The princess promised to stay with her nurse while he was gone. One day, an eagle came by and said she would have a dead man for a husband; it came again the next day. She told her nurse, and her nurse told her to tell the eagle to take her to him. The third day, it came, and she asked; it brought her to a palace, where a prince slept like the dead, and a paper said that whoever had pity on him must watch for three months, three weeks, three days, three hours, and three half-hours without sleeping, and then, when he sneezed, she must bless him and identify herself as the one who watched. He and the whole castle would wake, and he would marry the woman.
She watched three months, three weeks, and three days. Then she heard someone offering to hire maids. She hired one for company. The maid persuaded her to sleep, the prince sneezed, and the maid claimed him. She told him to let the princess sleep and when she woke, set to tend the geese. (The fairy tale starts to refer to the prince as the king.)
The king had to go to war. He asked the queen what she wanted, and she asked for a golden crown. He asked the goose-girl, and she asked for the millstone of patience, the hangman's rope, and the butcher's knife, and if he did not bring them, his ship would go neither backward nor forward. He forgot them, and his ship would not move; an old man asked him if he had promised anything, so he bought them. He gave his wife the crown and the other things to the goose-girl. That evening, he went down to her room. She told her story to the things, and asked them what she should do. The butcher's knife said to stab herself; the rope, to hang herself; the millstone, to have patience. She asked the rope again and went to hang herself. The king broke in and saved her. He declared she was his wife and he would hang the other on the rope. She told him only to send her away. They went to her father for his blessing.
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Suicide, enchanted items, weird fairy lands once again and we finally have the makings of some very dangerous and dark tales this time from Greece. 

 Using The Glass Coffin Cycle In Your
Old School Horror Campaigns

File:The Garden Court Buscot Park.jpg

These tales clearly illustrate the most diabolic forces of Fey magic in the hands of human magicians. The lands become enchanted and very dangerous. Objects take on a life of their own. Resurrection spells come into vague and the forces of life and themselves come into play.
These are epic tales where years, centuries, and hidden agendas of power of unseen forces reign over the lives of the humans of these worlds.
Here the social fabric is turned inside out and tailor sons become princes and marry enchanted princesses. Suicide, death, and even undeathly sleep is the norm. This isn't the world of Tolkien or many of the fictional worlds that players may be familiar with at all. These are enchanted realms where the monsters of OD&D and AD&D are equally at home. Time is bent and broken in some cases. Many of these realms are demi planes in their own right and can be used as side adventures or as part of greater cycle. The rule here is on the epic and the magical of fairy and Fey. These tales are part way between dark Arthurian legend and the realms of legend as well as beyond.
Since these tales are in the public domain be sure to bend, change, and even break the mold with them.
 More to come! 

Thursday, November 14, 2013

The Maxis Scorpios - A New Monster For Astonishing Swordsmen and Sorcerers of Hyperborea

Number Encountered 1d8 
Alignment : Chaotic Evil 
Size : L 
Move: 70 
Dexterity : 17 
Armor Class:0 
Hit Dice:10 
No Attacks : 4 (Gaze, Claw, Claw, Sting) 
Damage : Special/1d6,1d6,1d4
Saving Throw 12 

Morale: 11
Experience Points: 2,350 
Treasure: F 

The Maxis Scorpios are a plague sent by the gods themselves upon certain lands of Hyperborea when those born under signs of Winter hunt animals sacred to the gods themselves. These things are hidden within the strange zodiac of Hyperborea's Black Winds only to be loosened upon the lands.
The things often descent upon the land in a firey green meteors and spread among back country establishing lairs and beach heads among certain ancient ruins.Often old or abandon temples of their patrons within which they create nests and lairs. These bastard things often attack local livestock and lone victims among the hills. They are not at all effected by climate because of the strange energies and radiations that course through their bodies.
 Their attack with a gaze that can rot flesh for 2d4 points of damage as the strange energies that animate them engulf their victims if they so choose.
The monsters  attack with two pincers for 1d6 points of damage and a stinger that delivers a lethal cocktail of poison and digestive juices for 1d4 points. The stinger delivers a deadly venom so unless a save death(poison) is made the venom will cause a skin rotting reaction. The monster will drink and eat the slurry that results.If both attacks hit, the stinger attack is made at a +2 to hit bonus.
 These things come in a wide variety of colours and often match the terrain as well as local conditions. They often make their homes in dungeons, sacred caves, groves, and holy ruins. 
Unlike giant scorpions these twisted things of the gods will not show up on ultravision at all. Unless they are cut and the weird energies that animate them bleed into the local background. Then they are revealed.
 Often times in many lands cursed by these horrors a mighty hunter is chosen from among the people. This "Sagittarius" must choose holy companions and go to slay these beasts for the curse to be lifted from the lands. Many priests and wise men believe that the gods test the fitness and hardiness of their chosen with these mad bastard monsters.
These creatures are intelligent and dangerous in the extreme often using trinkets and treasure to lure fools into their lairs. They are careful planners and schemers who set traps and dead falls in dungeons. Though they don't value treasure they know others do.
They are often times used to guard sacred objects of the gods and artifacts of forgotten religions. 

Wednesday, November 13, 2013

Disney's Maleficent and The Real Public Domain 'Sleeping Beauty' For Your Old School Campaigns

Disney's Maleficient teaser trailer has hit the interwebs today and is causing quite a stir. Yeah there is enough CGI eye candy to shake a stick at. Looks great, sounds wonder, incredble  CGI artwork, and the trailer looks great. But you've only gotten half of the story and the story is much, much, darker then anything you'll see on screen! The real fairy land isn't owned by Disney and the "real "Sleeping Beauty is in the Public Domain. And its rifle for adapting to OD&D as well as AD&D . 
Original Source Available
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According to Wiki :
"The Sleeping Beauty" (FrenchLa Belle au bois dormant "The Beauty sleeping in the Wood") by Charles Perrault or "Little Briar Rose" (GermanDornröschen) by the Brothers Grimm is a classic fairytale involving a beautiful princess, enchantment of sleep, and a handsome prince. Written as an original literary tale, it was first published by Charles Perrault in Histoires ou contes du temps passéin 1697
 The basic elements of Perrault's narrative are in two parts. Some folklorists believe that they were originally separate tales, as they became afterward in the Grimms' version, and were joined together by Basile, and Perrault following him
Plot Overview of Part One 

At the christening of a king and queen's long-wished-for child, seven fairies are invited to begodmothers to the infant princess. At the banquet back at the palace, the fairies seat themselves with a golden casket containing golden jeweled utensils laid before them. However, a wicked fairy who was overlooked, having been within a certain tower for many years and thought to be either dead or enchanted, enters and is offered a seating, but not a golden casket since only seven were made. The fairies then offer their gifts of beauty, wit, grace, dance, song and music. The old fairy then places the princess under an enchantment as her gift: the princess will prick her hand on a spindle and die. One last fairy has yet to give her gift and uses it to partially reverse the wicked fairy's curse, proclaiming that the princess will instead fall into a deep sleep for 100 years and be awoken by a king's son.
The king forbids spinning on spinning-wheels or spindles, or the possession of one, throughout the kingdom, upon pain of death. When at the end of the fifteen or sixteen years, the king and queen are one day away on pleasure bent, the princess wanders through the palace rooms going up and down and then chances upon an old woman who is spinning with her distaff in the garret of a tower and had not heard of the king's decree against spinning wheels. The princess asks to try the unfamiliar task and the inevitable happens: the curse is fulfilled. The old woman cries for help and attempts are made to revive the princess, but to no avail. The king attributes this to fate and has the princess carried to the finest room in the palace and placed upon a bed of gold-and-silver-embroidered fabric. The good fairy who altered the evil prophecy is summoned by a dwarf wearing seven-league boots and returns in a chariot of fire drawn by dragons. Having great powers of foresight, the good fairy sees that the princess will be distressed to find herself alone and so puts everyone in the castle to sleep. The king and queen kiss their daughter goodbye and depart, proclaiming the entrance to be forbidden. The good fairy's magic also summons a forest of trees, brambles and thorns that spring up around the castle, shielding it from the outside world and preventing anyone from disturbing the princess.
A hundred years pass and a prince from another family spies the hidden castle during a hunting expedition. His attendants tell him differing stories regarding the happenings in the castle until an old man recounts his father's words: within the castle lies a beautiful princess who is doomed to sleep for a hundred years, whereupon a king's son is to come and awaken her. The prince then braves the tall trees, brambles and thorns which part at his approach, and enters the castle. He passes the sleeping castle folk and comes across the chamber where the princess lies asleep on the bed. Trembling at the radiant beauty before him, he falls on his knees before her. The enchantment comes to an end and the princess awakens and converses with the prince for a long time. Meanwhile, the rest of the castle awakes and go about their business. The prince and princess head over to the hall of mirrors to dine and are later married by the chaplain in the castle chapel.

Part II 
File:W.E.F. Britten - The Early Poems of Alfred, Lord Tennyson - Sleeping Beauty.jpg

 "Little Briar Rose" (GermanDornröschen) by the Brothers Grimm
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Plot Overview Part II 
According to Wiki :
After having been secretly wed by the reawakened Royal almoner, the Prince continued to visit the Princess, who bore him two children, L'Aurore (Dawn) and Le Jour (Day), which he kept secret from his step-mother, who was of an ogre lineage. Once he had ascended the throne, he brought his wife and the talabutte ("Count of the Mount").
The Ogress Queen Mother sent the young Queen and the children to a house secluded in the woods, and directed her cook there to prepare the boy for her dinner, with a sauce Robert. The humane cook substituted a lamb, which satisfied the Queen Mother, who then demanded the girl, but was satisfied with a young goat prepared in the same excellent sauce. When the Ogress demanded that he serve up the young Queen, the latter offered her throat to be slit, so that she might join the children she imagined were dead. There was a tearful secret reunion in the cook's little house, while the Queen Mother was satisfied with a hind prepared with sauce Robert. Soon she discovered the trick and prepared a tub in the courtyard filled with vipers and other noxious creatures. The King returned in the nick of time and the Ogress, being discovered, threw herself into the pit she had prepared and was fully consumed, and everyone else lived happily ever after.
Older Variations of the Myth of The Sleeping Beauty 
According to Wiki:
Perrault transformed the tone of Basile's "Sole, Luna, e Talia". Beside differences in tone, the most notable differences in the plot is that, in Basile's version, the sleep did not stem from a curse, but was prophesied; that the king did not wake Talia from the sleep with a kiss, but prayed to the gods to wake her,[3] when the gods visited he she gave birth to two children, one sucked on her finger, drawing out the piece of flax that had put her to sleep, which woke her; and that the woman who resented her and tried to eat her and her children was not the king's mother but his jealous wife. The mother-in-law's jealousy is less motivated, although common in fairy tales.
In Giambattista Basile's version of Sleeping Beauty, the sleeping beauty was named Talia. When checking out her horoscope, her father had found out that Talia would be in danger from a splinter of flax. This splinter was the cause of Talia's long deep sleep. Unlike the version most of us know from Sleeping Beauty, Basile's version consisted of a more gruesome plot. After Talia (sleeping beauty) died/fell into the deep sleep, she was seated on a velvet throne and her father, to forget his misery of her death, closed the doors and abandoned the house forever. One day, while a king was walking by, one of his falcons flew into the house. The king knocked hoping to be let in by someone but since no one answered, he decided to climb up the ladder he had brought with him and go inside the house. There he saw Talia. He called on her but she was unconscious. Instead of finding out what's wrong or even being worried about this, he carried her to bed and raped her while she was unconscious. Then he just left her in the bed and went back to his kingdom. Even though Talia was unconscious, she gave birth to twins. One of whom kept sucking her fingers. Talia woke up because the twin had sucked out the flax that was stuck deep in Talia's finger. When she had woken up, she saw that she was a mother. She did not know what had happened to her. One day, the king had decided he wanted to go see Talia again and went back to the palace to find her awake and a mother to his twins. He caught her up to who he was, what had happened, and they ended up bonding. After a few days, the king promised her that he will return to take her to his kingdom and went back to his realm. The King's wife kept hearing "Talia, Sun and Moon" coming out of her husband's mouth in his sleep so she bribed the king's secretary and also scared him to tell her what was going on. After the queen learned the truth, she pretended she was the King and wrote Talia asking her to send the twins because he wanted to see them. Talia sent her kids to the "king" and the queen told the cook to kill the kids and make dishes out of them. She had wanted to feed the king his children. The cook instead of doing what the queen had told him, took the kids to his wife and hid them. He then cooked two lambs and served it as it was the kids. Every time the king mentioned how good the food was, the queen replied "Eat, eat, you are eating of your own". Then queen later invited Talia to the kingdom and was going to burn her alive, but the king appeared and found out what was going on about his children and Talia. He then ordered that his wife be burned and not Talia. He also burned those who betrayed him. Since the cook actually did not obey the queen, the king thanked the cook for saving his children by giving him rewards. The story ends by the king marrying Talia and living happily ever after.[4]
There are earlier elements that contributed to the tale, in the medieval courtly romance Perceforest (published in 1528), in which a princess named Zellandine falls in love with a man named Troylus. Her father sends him to perform tasks to prove himself worthy of her, and while he is gone, Zellandine falls into an enchanted sleep. Troylus finds her and impregnates her in her sleep; when their child is born, he draws from her finger the flax that caused her sleep. She realizes from the ring he left her that the father was Troylus; he returns after his adventures to marry her.[5]
Earlier influences come from the story of the sleeping Brynhild in the Volsunga saga and the tribulations of saintly female martyrs in early Christian hagiography conventions. It was, in fact, the existence of Brynhild that persuaded the Brothers Grimm to include the story in later editions of their work rather than eliminate it, as they did to other works they deemed to be purely French, stemming from Perrault's work.
The second half, in which the princess and her children are almost put to death, but hidden instead, may have been influenced by Genevieve of Brabant.
File:Sleeping beauty by Edward Burne-Jones.jpg
This fairy tale is classified as Aarne-Thompson type 410.[7]
The princess's name has been unstable. In Sun, Moon, and Talia, she is named Talia ("Sun" and "Moon" being her twin children). Perrault removed this, leaving her anonymous, although naming her daughter "L'Aurore". The Brothers Grimm named her "Briar Rose" in their 1812 collection.[8] This transfer was taken up by Disney in the film, which also called her Aurora.[9] John Stejean named her "Rosebud" in TeleStory Presents.
The Brothers Grimm included a variant, Little Briar Rose, in their collection (1812).[8] It truncates the story as Perrault and Basile told it to the ending now generally known: the arrival of the prince concludes the tale.[10] Some translations of the Grimm tale give the princess the name Rosamond. The brothers considered rejecting the story on the grounds that it was derived from Perrault's version, but the presence of the Brynhild tale convinced them to include it as an authentically German tale. Still, it is the only known German variant of the tale, and the influence of Perrault is almost certain.[11]
The Brothers Grimm also included, in the first edition of their tales, a fragmentary fairy tale, The Evil Mother-in-Law. This began with the heroine married and the mother of two children, as in the second part of Perrault's tale, and her mother-in-law attempted to eat first the children and then the heroine. Unlike Perrault's version, the heroine herself suggested an animal be substituted in the dish, and the fragment ends with the heroine's worry that she can not keep her children from crying, and so from coming to the attention of the mother-in-law. Like many German tales showing French influence, it appeared in no subsequent edition.[12]
Italo Calvino included a variant in Italian Folktales. The cause of her sleep is an ill-advised wish by her mother: she would not care if her daughter died of pricking her finger at fifteen, if only she had a daughter. As in Pentamerone, she wakes after the prince rapes her in her sleep, and her children are born and one sucks on her finger, pulling out the prick that had put her to sleep. He preserves that the woman who tries to kill the children is the king's mother, not his wife, but adds that she does not want to eat them herself but serves them to the king.[13] His version came from Calabria, but he noted that all Italian versions closely followed Basile's.[14]
Besides Sun, Moon, and Talia, Basile included another variant of this Aarne-Thompson type, The Young Slave. The Grimms also included a second, more distantly related one, The Glass Coffin.[7]
Joseph Jacobs noted the figure of the Sleeping Beauty was in common between this tale and the Gypsy tale The King of England and his Three Sons, in his More English Fairy Tales.[15]
The hostility of the king's mother to his new bride is repeated in the fairy tale The Six Swans,[16] and also features The Twelve Wild Ducks, where she is modified to be the king's stepmother, but these tales omit the cannibalism.

Using Sleeping Beauty In Your OSR Game 
File:La Belle au Bois Dormant - Sixth of six engravings by Gustave Doré.jpg

Enchanted fairylands, cannibalism, weird curses, and strange events that straddle reality as we know it. Sleeping Beauty the fairy tale has all of the elements of a horrifying OD&D or AD&D game in the making. All of the themes are easily convertible to your favorite old school game because they're already written into the system. 
The themes of the tales have always seemed like they'd make a kick ass D&D adventure or campagin all the way back in college when I began to look into them to convert them to one of the White Wolf games. What I found is that these tales are more readily converted into a D&D style adventure.
The lands of enchantment, the princesses, the orgesses and more more make this stuff classic fodder for a game of horror or high fantasy adventure. There have been classic modern retellings of the tales.
Once again wiki : 
There is a huge amount of room for a DM to come into these tales with adventurers helping or hindering the plot and their interaction with the weird fairyland aspect of sleeping beauty. Even though this is a fairy tale there is much to do with these tales. Adventures can take place within or around the events of both tales. The fact that many players are very unfamiliar with the niceties of these tales enables a DM to weave the mythology of snow white into the background of their own campaign.
 Much of the action of Sleeping Beauty can take place in a fairy realm or demi plane so as not to impact or to convey the weird timelessness of the setting. 
Suddenly, Elves, Dwarves, and many other Demi human races don't seem out of place at all among the the landscape of these fairy tales. They might also be used as bridge gaps into places like HP Lovecraft's Dreamlands or the other classic fairytales of Grim and those of an older variety. Osric, Swords and Wizardry, and the works of Jack Shear can easily simulate the ins and outs of this timeless, classic, and very deadly tale that is the Sleeping Beauty Saga.

Finally  in 1842 Day Dream by Lord Alfred Tennyson was written about Sleeping Beauty 

The Day-Dream (1842)[edit]

  • The bodies and the bones of those
    That strove in other days to pass,
    Are wither'd in the thorny close,
    Or scatter'd blanching on the grass.
    He gazes on the silent dead:
    "They perish'd in their daring deeds."
    This proverb flashes thro' his head,
    "The many fail: the one succeeds."
    • The Arrival, st. 2.
  • And on her lover's arm she leant,
    And round her waist she felt it fold,
    And far across the hills they went
    In that new world which is the old:
    Across the hills, and far away
    Beyond their utmost purple rim,
    And deep into the dying day
    The happy princess follow'd him.
    • The Departure, st. 1.
  • O eyes long laid in happy sleep!
    O happy sleep, that lightly fled!
    O happy kiss, that woke thy sleep!
    O love, thy kiss would wake the dead!
    • The Departure, st. 3.
  • And o'er the hills, and far away
    Beyond their utmost purple rim,
    Beyond the night, across the day,
    Thro' all the world she follow'd him.
    • The Departure, st. 4.
  • So, Lady Flora, take my lay,
    And if you find no moral there,
    Go, look in any glass and say,
    What moral is in being fair.
    Oh, to what uses shall we put
    The wildweed-flower that simply blows?
    And is there any moral shut
    Within the bosom of the rose?
    • Moral, st. 1.