Tuesday, March 31, 2015

Review & Commentary On The Idea from Space From Lamentations of the Flame Princess Rpg System And Your Old School Campaigns

 So the Idea From Space is being sold as a low level dungeon romp with the PC's caught in the cross fire between two 'gods' and trapped on an island. Sounds simple doesn't it but this a Lamentations Of The Flame Princess adventure. And one that put's the PC's right into the cross fire of the divine essences of the story.
The adventure has elements of a surreal grind house film combined with bits and pieces of western mythology that were hinted at but never covered in your high school classes.

Grab It Right

Here's the basic outline according to the Drivethru rpg blurb:

Idea from Space, The (Print + PDF)

Xaxus is a creature of pure thought. Manakata is a being of raw power. On an island at the edge of the world, they transform human proxies to act on their behalf. And they war. 

Now it’s you on this island, caught in this battle. Will you remain who you are? Can you? 

The Idea from Space is an adventure suitable for low-level characters for use with Lamentations of the Flame Princess Weird Fantasy Role-Playing and other traditional role-playing games. 

One thing I've noticed about each and every Lamentations of the Flame Princess adventure? Each and everyone is a unique product and very dangerous as well as interesting to the PC's involved. There's a certain amount of high weirdness involved here and your player characters are going to be sucked right into the middle of  the situation. Now believe it or not 'The Idea From Space' is a solid pulp style romp of an adventure with the players sucked right into the middle of a sword and sorcery situation from the darkest corners of some mad pulp writer's wet dream. The idea here is that we have two divine essences making war with each other in a ritual style game of  reality. The players get dragged right into the middle of this trying rescue  the Duke of  Santiago  whose family has been shipwrecked on the island.
The worshipers of Xaxus   a creature of pure thought  whose worship by the original natives of the island was ground to a halt by a meteor falling from the sky. This was Manakata the god of strength,another creature of alien essence and the history of the adventure goes into the backdrop of these two deities. Or is divinities a better word? If their is one thing about alien gods that I've learned from reading LoFP adventures is thus; gods are not something you want to encounter in real life. This isn't Clash Of The Titans or the benevolent gods of TSR's Deities and Demigods, these two 'gods' are alien things in the pulp tradition of Weird Tales. Xaxus & Manakata use the islands inhabitants as finger puppets and what's worse their hell bent on playing out their drama play with your PC's center stage. This plot point is something that I eluded to earlier. There are even bits of adult themed alien bio technology and worse lurking in the background.
The Idea From Space plays with a pulp notion that gods incursions into our world are never,ever a good thing. The author does a great job of taking this one central element  of a plot hook and expanding the hell out of it into an adventure with some real potential for the right group of players.

The inclusion of the Duke of Santiago and his family into the plot is rather brilliant as it places the entire back drop of events into a clever bit of real world history. This places the events of The Idea From Space someplace at around the early 1500's. This links play up right into the heart of the pseudo real world history of a Lamentations campaign. That being said there's no reason not to take this adventure and back link it to other Lamentations products such as Isle Of The Unknown or the Dungeon Of The Unknown. The very pivotal nature of the deconstructionist adventures that Lamentations of the Flame Princess presents allows a DM to back link adventures between adventure set pieces such as the Idea From Space. There isn't a reason in the world why you couldn't have a group of Roman adventurers stumbling onto the events of the island presented in the Idea From Space only to have the same island show up later with a different group of adventurers. But this is one of the exciting things that Lamentations adventures do is to present a piece of mythological adventure locations and then allow a DM to use it as a lost land in their games. This is exactly what The Idea from Space is a puzzle piece adventure with some dungeon crawling, solid maps,plenty of weirdness and perhaps if the PC's are very lucky they'll survive. But will they be forever changed by their experiences on the island? 
One thing about the island and contents presented in The Idea From Space, namely that there is some adult content here.I'm not talking about the ideas that this adventure presents. At its essence the Idea From Space reminded me of Clive Barker's 'In The Hills, The Cities'. In that story from the excellent Books of Blood volume one, two gay lovers get caught up in the path of a two battling cities which have been created from the strapped together bodies of the citizens of two cities in Yugoslavia. This brilliant story presents the idea of religious rites that have happened since time began and the tragic results that occur. The people who are strapped into the giants are dying and their gore as well as essence becomes a part of the bodies that make up these giants. It wasn't the erotic nature of the story but the revelation of what makes up the very nature of gods, giants, and other monsters.  The Idea From Space touches on that very idea that alien divine natures are something to be experienced but the question is really will your party survive? Will they be changed by the experiences and if so can they ever go back to their societies? Or will they be marked forever as outlaws, adventurers, and outcasts living on the fringes of 1500's Lamentations of the Flame Princess society while gods, monsters, and others battle?
About 60% of the ideas presented in The Idea From Space could be gutted out and recycled into a traditional sword and sorcery OD&D style campaign. The idea that the island presented in the Idea From Space is the only place that these two alien gods has met is simply ridiculous. You could take the essential parts of this module and transport it to say Hyperborea or any other weird sword and sorcery local. Much of this can also be done with Robert Howard tales as well or Lovecraft or any other pulp writer. Yes, this is how many ideas this title has spawned in my mind. 
Do I think that the Idea From Space is worth the five dollar download? In a word yes! The whole adventure reads like a kit of ideas, the maps are very well done, and I had a blast visiting it. And its marked for me to run this one. 

Sunday, March 29, 2015

Review and Commentary on Vacant Ritual Assembly #2 From Red Moon Medicine Show For The Lamentations Of The Flame Princess Rpg System or Any Old School Campaign

Where do I begin with this second issue of this great fanzine for the Lamentations of The Flame Princess Rpg system. Issue #2 has possibly enough material to qualify as a mini Lamentations campaign into itself. The second issue has some very strong article that fit right into the backdrop and setting for Lamentations. As a fanzine this Vacant Rituals is sort of like finding that really weird zine in the back of a comic shop, your not sure what the hell it is but you know its got to be something really cool and completely off the wall. But its also high quality and usable off the wall material for Lamentations. 

Grab It Right 

Issue #2 comes on strong with some very nice optional rules, a collection of adventures, some weird Lobstermen, and lots semi aquatic goings on. 
Artwork from Ryan Sheffield, Abigail Larson, Anxious P, Sean Poppe, and Xolis.
d66 Name Table: This is the kind of table that your going to want to use to name your characters in style. Sort of the Robert E Howard baby name chart for Lamentations adventurers. 
Birthsigns: A d12 zodiac table to add in the PC creation process that has a definitive Hammer horror feel with add ons for your PC's. 
Dretcher's Bay: Imagine if your characters are caught between the claws of three lobstermen sea captains and the power and adventure opportunities. 
Carcinology: Anachronistic diving suits, weird cults, more lobstermen, and giant crab gods. There's lots of potential in this adventure situation. 
The Secrets of Acray: Strange ruins, underwater adventure opportunity, and all of it on one page. 
Oarsmen & Their Woes: Guest article by Anxious P! which includes some Moorcockian plane jumping opportunities but with much more LoFP slant on this group of sorts who travel the dimensions but there is a high price for their plane hoping favors and services. 
With Thine Eye Beheld: A cyclops cult and the weird Lovecraftian cult of inbred weirdos who worship these strange and weird beings. 
Interview with Greg Gorgonmilk: Greg talks Dolmenwood, Drunes, weed, and writing. Greg Gorgon Milk goes into his latest about Dolmenwood and its environs, weed, more weed and writing. 

So for a second issue this fanzine presents a complete and compact Lamentations jump off point for a complete mini campaign. This issue has style and quite a solid bit of substance. The material is well written, surreal, and utterly useful. I can honestly say that this issue would make a really weird and highly entertaining campaign. I've enjoyed the run of this magazine so far and the quality of the writing and systems that are behind this one are completely useful and utterly insane in a good solid OSR vibe. Can I see myself using this material? Yes and is it worth the price of the download? In a word I've got to admit that I can say,a solid five out of five stars. Perfect material to run a Lamentations game. Grab a copy of this magazine, some friends, and get right to playing today. 

Friday, March 27, 2015

The Children of Tekeli - A New Lovecraftian Monster For Your Old School Campaigns

The madness and monstrosity lay in the figures in the foreground—for Pickman’s morbid art was preëminently one of daemoniac portraiture. These figures were seldom completely human, but often approached humanity in varying degree.
Pickman's Model H.P. Lovecraft 

The Children of Tekeli are ape like cannibalistic humanoids prone to destruction,rapine,destruction, and incredible acts of horror and they have secretly been with us since the very beginning of our evolution upon this Earth. Ages ago they were called the Shaggoths, named after the protoplasmic horrors who served the Elder Things in ages past. They call themselves 'The children of Tekeli' and were created by the Elder Things in one of the long forgotten cycles of Earth's ages past. The children served the Elder Things during the Age of Mammals when their masters were in sharp decline, they destroyed the last Atlantian colonists  that had come back from their colonies on Uranus. They added their magick power, their gene pool, and forbidden technologies to their own damned heritage. This act occurred near the Black Forrest of Germany and even today is remembered through the collective unconsciousness of humanity. 
The Children of Tekeli carved out a massive empire through the under Earth touching upon all corners of the world that we know. These mad beast like thing's rise to power was chronicled in the so called Grey Necronomicon chapters  penned by Abdul Al Hazard. 
The Children of Tekeli are cannibalistic, brutal, dangerous, completely amoral and capable of the most heinous acts imaginable. They are the inheritors of both Uranian forbidden technologies and the foul alien sorcery of the Great Old Ones from the ancient days of Lemuria and Atlantis. Their vast underground former empire honey combs throughout the world of man. They are completely distinct from Lovecraftian ghouls and the Morlocks of H.G. Wells, though they share many characteristics with both species and are distantly related.
File:Caricature of the Laocoon group as apes.jpg
The Children have vast underground empires beneath the Earth and they are both long lived as well as partially undead in nature. The number between thirty to fifty million and use humanity as both a stable food source and a secondary gene pool. They have vast underworld complexes and hidden lairs behind our own world's facade, it is known that they employ undead minions to record daily activities and strange details of our own world. The tribes of the child have contacts and cults throughout the world and employ thousands of dedicated minions who often help them kidnap modern men and keep vast slavery rings. These activities stretch back thousands of years into the remotest epochs of the past.

The Children of Tekeli

Frequency : Uncommon 
Number Appearing: 2-8
Armor Class: 5
Hit Dice: 7
% in Lair 20% 
Treasure Type : O,P,Q
Number of Attacks: 3 
Damage : 1-4/1-4/1-8
Special Attacks: Rending 
Special Defenses: Nil 
Magic Resistance : Standard 
Intelligence: High
Alignment: Lawful Evil 
Size : L (7'+ , Very Broad )
Psionic Ability : Nil 
Attack/Defense Modes: Nil 

The Children of Tekeli attack humans and have a very heavy appetite for human flesh, they have supernaturally keen senses of hearing, smell, and keenly developed infrared sight for their nearly light less environment. They are only surprised on a roll of one. If the child strikes with both claws it does an additional 1-8 hit points of rending damage.
For every 1d30 children there will be a wizard or priest of at least third level or higher. These black hearted and evil damned souls choose spells from the Gray magic schools and the black lists of spells. These monsters are subject to all forms of attack but are immune to sleep and charm spells. The children may be turned by priests and other religious types. Circles of protection will keep these horrors at bay.
File:Skull of Ape Man thought to be man's ancestor. Wellcome M0001150.jpg

Many cults across the history of mankind have had dealings with the Children of Tekeli and the monsters could be encountered anywhere. In the past the race has had several incidents of activity in the Black Forrest of Germany during the 'Thirty Year War' and have had connections to many of the witch cults of the area. 
The Children also have incredibly complex Earthworks in the New Amsterdam colony in the New World and have have several under Earth tribal warfare incidents with Drow, Elves, and Ghouls in the New England area as well. Several skirmishes with other legendary New England monsters has also happened. These affairs have become a part of occult myth and legend. 

Artifacts & Magick  of the Children of  Tekeli 
For Your Old School Campaigns 

The Children of Tekeli make extensive use of the schools of necromancy, summoning, and many other of the blackest arts of magick and dark occult power.
Rods of summoning often will have the 'contact other plane' spell bound into them. Wizards who have gotten a hold of these items have often found them to be very dangerous indeed. Demons, devils and insane things from Outside our mundane world are often summoned. Usually such items have eight or more charges roll a 1d8 to see how many charges remain.

Wand Sebkay Daressy.png

The Children of Tekeli have extensive tunnels systems that blanket the Earth and have access to several technologies of the Great Race of Yith as well. This includes devices for traveling to alternative dimensions and different planes of existence. There are several Prime material planes where the Children of Tekeli have come to rule the world as their numbers have grown to invasion force size and they have swarmed across the planet. These individuals often use unusual energy weapons that do 3d6 points of damage with a range of some 30 feet, they can be used one handed and have about 8 shots before needing the energy cells replaced.
The Children of Tekeli have extensive colonies surrounding several Antarctica islands hidden within satellite blind spots up to the present day. These colonies were active through the early Seventies and may have served as a landing point for the alien allies of the Child. There is speculation that these alien allies may be servants of the soul of the Outer Gods Nyarlathotep and have aided the various tribes of the Children for more then four thousand years. There have been reports of a hybrid servant race which passes among mankind unseen. These individuals gain +3 to intelligence -1 on wisdom, and have an almost animal like cunning, they often serve as assassins,scouts or spies for the Children. These hybrid spies may be found anywhere across the face of Creation and report back to their masters from time to time as needed.
The Children it is known also operate in several alternative worlds including far into the future after several post apocalyptic events. There is even evidence to suggest that these horrors operate far into the future when Earth's sun has expanded and has turned into a red dying star. But there is rumor that this is only mere speculation.
Several orders of knights and crusaders have made it their life's work to eradicate the Children of Tekeki but so far their efforts have been all for naught. 

File:Jolantha 3 by John Bauer 1907.jpg

Review and Commentary About Vacant Ritual Assembly #1 From Red Moon Medicine Show For The Lamentations Of The Flame Princess Rpg or Your Old School Horror Campaigns


 So I'm always late to the party and when it comes to fanzine doubly so, issue number #2 of Vacant Ritual Assembly is already hitting the stands and I'm just learning about the zine now. Its sort of like an underground zine that back  in the late 90's would have hit the streets if you were into the sort of dark and weird that is Lamentations of  the Flame Princess all in one fetid place. So what the hell is it? Well here's the owner to talk about the zine.

Reading through Vacant Ritual Assembly is sort of like turning into an OSR indie horror movie at about four A.M. and coming into the middle of the movie. You stay up to watch it, you know your enjoying it but you just not sure what the hell you just saw but you enjoyed the hell out of it.
This zine has everything that I loved about old school horror gaming with a dangerous Lovecraftian sensibility and none of the pretentiousness of other BS rpg stuff. It simply presents a solidly done horror OSR kick in the head. Besides some dangerous and weird artwork. Vacant presents some actual useful content for Lamentations of The Flame Princess in an easily digestible form.
The Goblin Market is actually one of the best setting set pieces of the zine. It presents a small Lovecraftian ghoul colony who trade with the living, the damned, wizards, and madmen all in one place under a chapel. Very dangerous and deadly wares are traded here but your PC's will never be the same.
The Skin Smith - This is the sort of demon who can do resurrections and alterations to your PC's but man the horror factor is very high. 
Vespero the Antiquarian is the sort of guy whose business ideals and interests intersect with those who do business with macabre and weird. The guy however can be down right nasty and could be a dangerous NPC as all those who are in a LoFP campaign can be. 
Luminari, Lady of the Golden Lamp is the sort of minor goddess who can make things very interesting and downright weird for a set of PC's. She's exactly the sort of a goddess who you want to use as part of a one shot adventure.
Brahnwick is Dead: one part adventure and one part throw your PC's into a flooded town inhabited by madmen and with weird occult bits happening around their ears. 
An interview with Chris McDowall about his new opus Into the Odd. Shrugs I'm here for the Lamentations of the Flame Princess material. If your looking for more information about Into the Odd then this is your interview. 
Greycandle Manor: An abandoned manor on the edge of town, which makes a perfect side encounter for use as a location between Lamentations of the Flame Princess adventures. The PC can be used as is and used just to make the PC's very,very, nervous or filled with those NPC's you've been itching to use. 
Go grab this issue right now and get cracking with the material as part of a horror themed campaign. This is a tight,tight, well done fanzine.

Using Vacant Ritual Assembly
As Part Of Your Old School Campaigns 

Vacant Ritual Assembly is the sort of a fanzine that replaces so many things that have been missing from OSR horror gaming for a while. It presents a bunch of actual usable elements and dares you to put them into your games. There's no manifesto simply a whole bunch of well assembled parts to install into a Lamentations campaign. 
The ghoul market frame work is the corpse from which everything else is hung and that is part of the form and focus. This issue really pulls everything that I love from the Kult rpg and puts it in one easily useful package. 

Everything in this issue is perfectly focused and useful for a Lamentations of the Flame Princess campaign. Fact is that I can see using this material in a number of OSR horror games and still coming back to raid this material time and again. That my friends is utility. And that's what makes this product utterly useful in my mind. 

Thursday, March 26, 2015

Review and Commentary On Spellbook Games Inferno Bestiary, Second Edition For Your Old School Campaigns.

Way back in the 90's or so I bought a pack of Judge's Guild modules back in the early 90's and among them was Geoffrey O'Dale's Inferno module. The module has been with me on and off for the better part of thirty years. This was actually a requiring of the module from the early 80's. For me the module offered a nice alternative to the well known and admired Ed Greenwood Dragon magazine module. Geoffrey O'Dale's Hell made quite the impression on me. And in some ways continues to. 
Growing up on a steady diet of horror comics with Warren, Skywald,Marvel, D.C. and many others. Hell was the ultimate wilderness crawl. Reading through the module and going to a Roman Catholic grammar school didn't turn me off in the least. In point of fact this module was responsible for me reading Dante's Divine Comedy in its entirety.   But the module has far more to do with horror comics and Dante's Inferno then it has to do with Christianity at all. In fact the module is very, very deadly and it took every ounce of energy and skill to survive it.
Inferno always gave Judge's Guild's City State of the Invincible Overlord series of modules a very deadly razor's edge  of darkness to their adventures. Sure everything looked pretty funny with evocative covers. But your adventurers could end up in the pit with a cursed scroll, magic item, crossing the wrong entity or god. The ways to get their were myriad but there were very few ways of getting out much less surviving. 
I ran an entire campaign for about two years in the pit. The PC's couldn't return to Earth at all, Hell changes characters if they survive. 
Which brings me to my recent brushes with Spell Book games, Geoffrey O'Dale never really left gaming per say. I saw an issue of 'Fight On' magazine where the circles for Hell were completed. This brings me to Spell Book games, which is Geoffrey's company that has taken the original Inferno concept and turned it into an entire campaign setting by itself. This is an entire line of AD&D first edition style products with an eye to providing a line of weird and dangerous adventures set in a Dante style Hell complete with a whole array of demons and devils. These are highly detailed Gazetters and adventure books set in the Pit itself. They really have a style all their own and detail some very nasty adventure locations within Hell.
The Inferno Bestiary is a complete overview of all of the demons and devils of the adventure modules as a stand alone product. Just page after page of demons,devils, and monsters free from any baggage at all.
This makes them perfect to drop in and run with your old school games. This is especially nice for an AD&D first edition style game where you need a monster to add into a old school adventure and just want something dangerous, diabolical, and out & out mean.

Available Right Over

According to the Drivethrublurb:
Spellbook Games releases the Second Edition of Inferno: Bestiary.  This edition includes all of the monsters and creatures from the original Bestiary, including more than 70 unique Devils from the Inferno Hell, plus more than 200 additional new creatures created for the Portal to Adventure rule set. This Bestiary includes more than 750 total entries.  This edition particularly fills a gap in the Portal rule set in that it includes an extensive collection of aquatic creatures.
As an old school DM this is nice book for constructing my own Hells and peppering them with new and incredibly diabolic monsters. The book is on the expensive side but it does its mission quite well.
If your not sure if this book is for you then there is a no cost solution you can take a look at in the form of the free 
Diabolic Denizens book that's available from Spellbook games.
Right Over

With the Diabolic Denzins book you get an overview of the monsters, stat block, and much more for free. You can kick the tires, look into the demons and monsters. Get a feel for the product and much more.

Inferno Bestiary, Second Edition does exactly what it says on the tin and provides a whole swath of monsters completely background free and concisely mapped out for you to use in your old school games as you see fit. The creatures are hideously dangerous and incredibly nasty with a complete eye towards ripping your PC's apart and coming back for more. Personally I can see me using some of these in several old school campaigns. I give this a nice solid four out of five and look forward to checking out more of Spellbook games material in the future.  

Wednesday, March 18, 2015

Review and Commentary On The Pale Lady Adventure By Zzarchov Kowolski From The Lamentations of the Flame Princess Rpg System

"Deep in the woods, every woods, there seems to be a monstrous child stealing witch.
Every spring more and more children go missing never to return.
Two years ago one returned from his absence and is telling tales of vast riches, monstrous servitors, and the way back to her accursed domain."


  So I read through the blurb of 'The Pale Lady' adventure for Lamentations of the Flame Princess rpg system. Now I approached James Raggi about a review copy and I didn't know what I was getting into. I'm familiar with the writing of Zzarchov Kowolski from a number of his rpg products over the years but the Pale Lady is very something very weird and a completely different avenue from what I was expecting. The rpg title refers to an incredible goddess or witch of incredibly strange alien power. The module concerns a mini adventure that surrounds her, her followers, her children and much more. Look I don't want to spoil this module but it addresses a prime concern of mine with the Lamentations of the Flame Princess system. What do you do with the Elves and Dwarves in the Lamentations system. Call it a Tolkien hang up but trying to wrap my mind around the concepts put forth for the 'Fey' powers has been problematic in LoFP. Not any more,this module tackles some of the pseudo historical background of the issue and does it with high weirdness and gusto as well as style. 
This module touches upon the classic Hammer horror and pulp trappings of dark sorcery and witchcraft whipped to a seething froth of high weirdness in a European countryside. The backdrop and setting fits in and dovetails very nicely with the rest of the adventure. There is some dark and disturbing goings on,and much of the plot as such reminded me of some of games of Kult from back in the 90's. Yes there is a child snatching witch and horrid murders but there's dark goings on in the name of the old religions of the region and more.
The adventure for all of its mature content is a seething cauldron of dark magick and forces bubbling out as part of the deep countryside and its a very messy adventure waiting to splatter your PC's in whipped gore, odd happenings, and more.
The writing is well done and possibly as well done as anything that I've seen from the pen of Mr.
Kowolski. The artwork is evocative and even though the pieces are b/w they set the tone nicely. This adventure is sort of like stumbling upon a gem of dark 80's horror popping it into the VCR and coming away feeling like you've found another favorite horror flick as the screen is drenched in gore, guts, and intelligence. That's the type of quality I see in this adventure. 
On the price,you can think of it like this. As a comic book fan, I've paid through the nose for quality pieces of artwork,graphic novels,etc. Well this isn't simply another thirteen page download of low quality crap.What this is a thirteen page adventure and kit that fills in as nice and horrifically weird adventure for a party. Although this adventure can be run as a one shot for LoFP, this adventure serves better as a build up on an existing European campaign set in historic Europe. Personally wait till there's a frequent sale on Drivethru if your worried about the price. For me it was worth the admission. 
The context here is a nice divider into some of the events of Raggi's 'Better Then Any Man' and other Lamentations adventures. The Pale Lady touches on the powers of magick that came up during the witch trials of the 1600 & 1700's across  Europe spun through a darkly pulptastic aesthetic and set into to weird dark common to Clive Barker novels of the fantastic.The content here is a blood drenched mature rife with murder,mayhem, other elements that you'd come to expect from the Lamentations line.
So what's 'The Pale Lady' about? Its about  encounters with ancient powers beyond the ken of mortal men where tales of this  horror are still told around camp fires across the region of your campaigns. Mothers clutch their children and families look over their shoulders as the sun sets as they watch for the coming of the 'Pale Lady'. 
I really enjoyed the hell out of the 'Pale Lady'. A great addition to the Lamentations of the Flame Princess line. 
Four out of Five for weirdness and packing in the horror as well. 

Saturday, March 14, 2015

Deconstructing & Commentary The 'Better Then Any Man' Adventure By James Raggi For The Lamentations Of The Flame Princess Rpg System.

War is Hell

The Swedes are invading!
Sorcerers have taken Karlstadt with the aid of unearthly creatures!
In Würzburg, the Prince-Bishop schemes to retain control of his domain.

… and yet darker forces gather…
Better Than Any Man is a deluxe LotFP: Weird Fantasy Role-Playing adventure for character levels 1–4. Dungeoneering, wilderness adventuring, investigation, politics and negotiation, many new spells, magic items, and monsters—this one has it all!

Welcome to a little corner of  the Thirty Year War in the sword and sorcery back drop of  Better Then Any Man adventure for the Lamentations of The Flame Princess Rpg system. This is a deconstructionist horror adventure with witches, cults, and old school downright nastiness set into the world of a sandbox adventure with plots, counter plots, double dealing, adult situations, and the occult in full blossom around your PC's ears!

'As a pay what you want'
You must be 18+  to download this adventure 
This is one of the best adventures to throw the party into the deep end of a horror themed dark survival horror straight out of the 60's or 70's with a dripping helping of dark fantasy via HP Lovecraft spun through the lens of  Dario Argento. This sandbox is set in the ruins and aftermath of  Karlstalt as the Swedish army coming through on its way for conquest against the Roman Catholic forces. Yes this adventure uses actual history as its backdrop using Catholic against Protestant forces.
From the adventure -
Better Than Any Man takes place in October 1631, in and around Karlstadt, a small town outside Würzburg. Situated in the Holy Roman Empire, both the town and the surrounding area have been in turmoil for much of the past 13 years, caught up as they have in the events of the Thirty Years War. Here are the important background details: The Thirty Years War began almost as a civil war within the Holy Roman Empire. The conflict is often simplified by describing it as a religious war between the Catholics and Protestants, but once foreign powers became involved such distinctions become wholly inaccurate as alliances became less ideologically based.
Add into this mix the Seven, gang and council of witches, wizards, and madmen whose occult power has introduced the  Dark Forces into the backdrop of the ruins of the villages and the surrounding countryside. 
They've seized control of the locations involved and declared an end to war and it gets much,much, worse. PC's can wander through the landscape and deal with a variety of dark and dangerous NPC's. The machinations of the Seven are at the heart of the adventure but there is far more going on here. 

What Better Then Any Man does is introduces several key concepts to the DM from the Lamentations Of the Flame Princess rpg system along with rules for black powder weapons which would be later expanded upon in the hardback rule book. The key adventure location and adventure elements are horrific, dangerous and downright PC tearing. PC's looking to tear across the landscape with guns and swords blazing are going to be dead and that's no lie.

The adventure is a romp through the Thirty Year War and the horrors that echo through history brought to vivid life by the echoes and creatures of occult power throughout Better. This is a completely different take on the pseudo historical elements explored in Chandler's No Salvation For Witches adventure romp.
The darkness here is mankind and the occult forces are working side by side taking every advantage but this Better reaches into the back drop of the soul on a much more personal and intimidate level of play on the horror tradition. This is an adventure that is a piece reaching for Howard and instead finding a splatterpunk aesthetic wrapped in a brutal brick of pulp flavored witchcraft laden piece of weird adventure. In fact this is outlined right in the introduction by James Raggi with the adventure details :
• Anachronistic historical truth taken from other times and places from the Thirty Years War and the early-to-mid 17th century in general, • Historical myth, • Historical detail which is thought to be true by the author, but actually isn’t, • and pure fiction… … and it does not distinguish between them. This is a game book, not a tool for learning or teaching history, nor does it seek to encourage or discourage any real world attitudes or actions other than “Buy more Lamentations of the Flame Princess books because they’re gnarly.”
This will give you a good explanation of what's in store for the PC's and also gives a good benchmark for PC generation.
The PC's should be a very nice cross section of classes from across the Lamentations spectrum to get the best chances of not only survival but profiting from the experience laid out in the adventure.

Using The 'Better Then Any Man' Adventure
With Your Old School Adventures

Better Then Any Man takes the dark and nasty bits of a pesudo historical pulp adventure setting and mixes in the essence of an open ended seven day romp through Germany. This is done with some really nasty adventure elements lurking in the backdrop.
You've got covens,things from outside, the machinations of the Seven, time traveling wizards who murder children, and more.
This module makes Ravenloft look like The Swiss Family Robinson adventures. Seriously its twisted,evil,and darkly dangerous. 

Look with everything I've said before this module introduces all of the major elements of horror and depravity set against the events of the thirty year war in the Lamentations of The Flame Princess game line self contained world. 
This is an offensive, dangerous, maliciously wonderful little romp through history seen through the fun house slaughter mode of James Raggi, if this sounds like a basic adventure to introduce all of the Lamentations of the Flame Princess rpg line to your players then check this one out.
A quick read through of the Thirty Year War on Wiki can't hurt when running this one.
Right over

Get this adventure if you want to get in on the ground floor of a Lamentations of the Flame Princess rpg mini campaign with all of the mature and adult supernatural horror trimmings. Not for the faint of heart but well worth the download. 

Friday, March 13, 2015

Commentary On The Lamentations of The Flame Princess Rpg System's Adventure 'No Salvation For Witches' By Rafael Chandler For Your Old School Campaign

Its Friday the Thirteenth and I couldn't have picked a better adventure/source book to take a look at then this one. I'm late to the party on this Lamentations of The Flame Princess adventure. And once again I'm late to the party and asking myself why I didn't get in on the action from the beginning? 


  No more holding back folks, I haven't devoted nearly enough time to looking into some of the 'E ticket' rides of the OSR. In this case its The Lamentations Of The Flame Princess's Rpg System ' No Salvation For Witches' adventure.
  I've been a bit conflicted about this adventure and not because of the 'Mature Content' but because of the background, and setting research I've done. I read through review after review of it and several interviews of Rafael Chandler and James Raggi's on various rpg outlet sights and various internet what not outlets for marketing the game adventure. And the successful Indie Go Go campaign that the Lamentations line has run for 'No Salvation For Witches' adventure. And no its not the MATURE CONTENT that isn't for little kids or the easily offended or the occult powers that the adventure depicts. No, I want to do the damn adventure justice,because its very,very, well done and one of the best things that Lamentations has done to date.
  'No Salvation For Witches' takes place in the world and setting of Lamentations Of The Flame Princess rpg's pseudo European London of the early 1620's and the middle of the Price Revolution. You can find out more about that right HERE . The whole adventure is a giant back handed sandbox mini campaign of horror and depravity. Your going to need the  right group of players  because their going to come into a situation that reminds me of a X ticket Hammer horror fest and something akin to a punch to the gut via a splatterpunk historic adventure with lots of twists and turns. 

  I've seen this adventure compared with 'Better Then Any Man'; and no this isn't anything like the 'Better Then Any Man' adventure. That's one thing that folks have to understand about the Lamentations line of rpg products. They're all stand alone adventures and have to be taken on their own merits and this was done on purpose. There isn't an over arching meta plot to them except in the fact that Raggi has used his lady adventurers and signature characters as cover connectors for the various products of the line. If you the DM want to connect these products together,well really that's your business. And that brings us right back into the witch coven that centers in London and the deal of the century that they've cut with a really,really alien life form. Rafael Chandler brings his NPC's to life with a flourish and grand gesture or two that gives these poor fools depth but there is an edge of evil here to the situation because once your party is in the middle of this sandbox adventure then all bets are off. 

No Salvation For Witches handles the gore and nastiness with the hand of an 80's Italian horror flick spun through the lens of Lovecraft and poured onto a steaming pile of 1600's European darkness. This is the sort of adventure  that Ravenloft kinda hinted about and never dared do. Look this is the type of adventure that would be directed by Dario Argento and starring your PC's if he was using a Robert Howard Solomon Kane story as the basis. In other words this isn't an adventure to get too attached to your PC's.They may die rather well and truly in a way that you wouldn't want them to be resurrected. Seriously because that alien god thing at the heart of this adventure is polluting everything in the backdrop of it. And its still out there and dangerous, as well as incredibly weirdly dangerous. But it also doesn't quite understand human beings and its powering the heart and soul of this adventure. That's one of the things about Lamentations of the Flame Princess adventures unique in a sense. Yes there's a greater whole to the sandbox but it doesn't touch any other adventure unless you want it too as a part of your campaign. The locations within the adventure were best summed up by the author in a recent interview in Diehard GamFAN - 'Rafael: This is an open world exploration, but there are certain constraints; the players will be able to explore the setting, which includes moors, villages, and a derelict priory. In addition, there’s a bit of a dungeon, but it’s quite small, and really, it’s very safe. Be sure to go there.'
And its all tailored around the twisted heart and soul of the No Salvation For Witches adventure setting!  But wait there's still more. 

Within the adventure is a mini source book of demonology and family fun (kidding unless your family happens to be a demon lord & co.) The “The Tract of Teratology”  is worth the price of admission alone. The thing is a demon and Lovecraftian generator that gives incredibly weird and highly dangerous insane Lovecraftian horrors as prize winning monsters. Once again I reference The Diehard GameFan interview with Rafeal Chandler and James Raggi - 'DHGF: The Tract of Teratology, a key component to the adventure, is supposed to be able to generate roughly 3.6 TRILLION different monsters according to the campaign page. Can you give us any examples of the fiendish thingies that can be born from this thing?
Rafael: Of course!
“Cube-shaped body with transparent skin showing the internal organs; cold to the touch. Appendages: Glistening trench full of delicate bulbs of tissue. Scent of honeysuckle. Neutral: Acts in its own interests; bears the caster no ill will, but is not favorably disposed towards him either. If the caster makes good fodder for satisfying the entity’s Compulsion, so be it. 15 hit points. Armor class 14. 2 attacks for 1d4 damage. Movement 60′. Morale 10. Knows 1 randomly-selected 3rd level Magic-User spell. Attacks at +3. Compulsion: To consume some of the flesh of those who have fornicated recently. After 2 days, the monster vanishes silently.” " 
And you get this sort of thing in spades which is perfect for adding into not only a Lamentations of The Flame Princess campaign but any old school retroclone system that needs that extra demonic kick in the teeth! You can read that interview from Diehard GameFan right HERE 

The rituals and rites for summoning these horrors from beyond the pale is horrid, nasty, and downright murderous in the highest degree! This isn't stuff that you simply add to a game. Reading through this stuff  was like watching Ken Russell's Devils film from 1971. You get uncomfortable and squirm in your seat but you come away feeling that you can actually use this material. This is after all an old school horror adventure and one done in the vein of the Lamentations of the Flame Princess line and venue.
Is it worth the price of admission? Yes and then some the artwork is top notch, the text and flavor of the adventure is up to the caliber that I'd expect from the Lamentations line of product. Grab it and I so want this in print yesterday. 

Using No Salvation For Witches
In Your Old School Campaign 

'No Salvation For Witches' is deadly,nasty, and highly dubious for PC's and that makes it great to use. Playing this adventure is playing a low level, high horror adventure set to 'eleven' and one that hits the high points for an old school OD&D style survival horror adventure. 

I would use the video game rule of three characters each a player at least. Coming into this adventure is like coming into the bad scene of a horror film. The pit here is black and the adventure is survivable but your PC is forever going to be changed by the experience. and marked forever by the experience.
Think of this as a 1620's John Carpenter 'The Thing' adventure in tone and gut churning elements brought home with the style and flourish of a basic OD&D kick to the teeth.
This adventure combines many I think of the best elements of Lamentations of the Flame Princess's rpg system and gives the DM the tools to take it to the players as an introduction into the world of sword and sorcery that this game does so well. 

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
File:Robert Scott Duncanson - The Caves.jpg