Sunday, May 20, 2018

FASERIP Aberration

ABERRATION

STATISTICS
F                 RM   (30)
A                 IN  (50)
S                 UN  (100)
E                 UN   (100)
R                 PR (4)
I                   RM   (30)
P                  TY (6) 
Health: 280
Karma: 40

BACKGROUND
Real Name: None
Occupation: Troublemaker
Identity: Existence publicly none
Legal Status: None
Place of Birth: Zota's laboratory
Marital Status: Single
Known Relatives: None
Base of Operations: Mobile
Group Affiliation: Masters of Menace

KNOWN POWERS
Invulnerability. Class 1000 resistance vs Heat, Cold, Electricity, Radiation, Toxins, and Disease.
True Invulnerability. Monstrous protection vs. Physical and Energy.
True Flight. Can travel at Shift-Z (500) speed within Atmosphere, CL1000 in space.
Hyper-Speed. Amazing rank.
Hyper Breath. Can exhale Monstrous strength winds at a 3 area range. Each area thereafter is at -1CS in intensity. May also emit Amazing intensity cold.
Environmental Independence. Can survive deep space, the deepest part of the oceans, or other hazardous environments (Except those which do environmental damage above Shift-X).
Enhanced Senses. Monstrous Hearing, Amazing Microscopic Vision, and Good Telescopic Vision.

Equipment:
Otherworld Talisman. As his belt buckle, the Aberration wears a magical artifact of Otherworld made of Class 1000 material. Should the belt be removed, his physical attributes drop by - 1CS, and he will loose his powers within an hour.

History: At the dawn of human history, the wizard Zota of Otherworld sought to overcome what he viewed as the inadequacies  of empowering mortals as champions. In his laboratory, he created an artificial being he hoped would be an eternal, perfect Champion, despite the Council of Otherworld having ordered an end to his research. Unfortunately, the materials Zota utilized proved insufficient to hold the power of the Champion’s talisman without deteriorating. He’s Champion was powerful, but physically, mentally, and morally defective.

Zota would have destroyed his failed experiment, but the being escaped before he could do so. It began calling itself “the Aberration”—the term it had heard Zota use to refer to it. The Aberration still sought to act as the Champion, but its flaws led it to actions that terrorized and endangered the people of Earth.

Zyrd was sent by the Wizard’s Council of Otherworld to deal with the matter. He could not destroy the Aberration, but he was ultimately able to imprison Zota and his creation in a bubble of unreality, ending the threat and erasing the Aberration from history.

Thousands of years later, unfortunately, Zota and the Aberration were inadvertently released back into the world. Zota was eventually apprehended and sent back to the Otherworld, but Aberration has remained free, occasionally challenging the Champion for the roll of Earth’s protector.

Friday, May 18, 2018

Weird Revisited: Malice in Slumberland

This post originally appeared in June of 2010. It marked the first foray I believe of Weird Adventures material into more fantastic realms and other planes. This stuff would get brief mention in the book, but the planar stuff was never a big feature of my campaign, nor did it seem to garner as much interest with readers as other things.


All humans (and human-like beings) dream. Like "thought balloons" in a comic strip, clouds of dreamstuff float "upward" from the dreamer into the Astral Plane. There they form bubbles in the Astral substance, tethered to the dreamer until waking. These bubbles are permeable with, and ultimately dissolve into, the Dream Realm--more commonly called Slumberland or Dreamland, or sometimes the "Land of Nod" (but not this one, or this one ;) ). Given their nature, dreams represent the easiest portal for humans to cross the transitive plane of the Astral and move into the Outer Planes.

Slumberland is ruled--or perhaps merely managed--by a being known by many names, but often called the Dream Lord, or Dream King. He appears as a robed humanoid figure wearing a bronze, mirrored mask. He doesn't create dreams--these come from mortal (and perhaps immortal) minds, themselves--but monitors and maintains them. His castle, with its strangely-angled, dream-logic, expressionistic architecture, sits on the border between the material and immaterial worlds, existing both in Slumberland and on the dark side of the Moon. From there, he maintains the oneironic devices, and monitors the content of the flow of dreamstuff. He strives to ensure virulent nightmares don't readily infect other dreams, and that idle fantasies don't spoil and bloat to become perverse obsessions.

It's a big job, and the Dream Lord doesn't do it without help. Gnome-like creatures called "Sandmen" serve him. They carry pouches of silvery, glinting powder made from dessicated and alcehmically treated dreamstuff. They use this oneiric dust to induce sleep in a mortals, or cause waking dreams, or even to cause multiple beings to share the same dream. This is their primary tool for observing or even entering dreams--supposedly for the purposes of monitoring and testing.

"Supposedly" because there is some evidence for the existence rogue Sandmen, or at least breakdowns within their system. Regrettably common are the condensed nightmares called bugbears, or sometimes "bogies" or "bogeymen." These creatures emerge from dark, foreboding places--like "haunted" houses, abandoned subway tunnels, ancient ruins, or even children's closets! They're variable in size, but usually appear slightly larger than humans. Their bodies are described as "bear-like" or "ape-like", but their heads are something like deep-sea diving helmets, albeit with blank face-plates, and strange antennae. Bugbears, as nightmares given flesh, torment humans to feed off their fear. They then employ electronic devices or machinery--with an appearance both nonsensical and menacing--to siphon oneiric potential from the minds of their victims to incubate bugbear pups.


Bugbears aren't the only evidence of corruption in Slumberland. There are persist rumors of Sandmen on the take, selling blue dreams to Hell Syndicate incubi and succubi to slip to unsuspecting marks. There are also rumors of black-market Tijuana bibles produced from the concentrated salacious dreamings of certain celebrities being peddled on the streets of the City, and possibly elsewhere.

Thanks  to G. Benedicto at Eiglophian Press for suggesting a link between bugbears and nightmares.

Wednesday, May 16, 2018

Wednesday Comics: Storm: The Living Planet

My exploration of the long-running euro-comic Storm, continues with his adventures in the world of Pandarve. Earlier installments can be found here.


Storm: The Living Planet (1986) 
(Dutch: De Levende Planeet)
Art by Don Lawrence; script by Martin Lodewijk

Storm and friends have been flying above the clouds in the aircraft they commandeered last adventure for over a day. Storm has been reticent to descend through the cloud cover and attempt a landing as he isn't really familiar with the aircraft or how to read its instruments.

Nomad suggests the blinking light on the console might be a low fuel indicator. He's right. They are forced to descend rapidly through the clouds:


The thermal updraft from the lava provides a little extra lift, enabling Storm to pull out of the nosedive. Still, they have to find a place to land, and the air is difficult to breath. Storm manages to put the plane into a gentle climb to cooler altitudes before passing out.

They awaken to a surprise:


Gnomish men are disassembling their aircraft as salvage! Their foreman makes comments about "making quota" and "tight schedules." Storm protests and tries to stop them:


The little men keep dismantling the plane, unconcerned when Storm points out it will drop his friends and him into the lava below. "What do you expect me to do about it?" the foreman asks nonchalantly.

TO BE CONTINUED

Monday, May 14, 2018

Superhero Logos

I've been working on a supers project with a couple of collaborators that will hopefully be a comic and rpg thing. It's necessitated (or at least allowed) me making logos for the various characters in a Bronze Age/early Modern Age style. I thought I would share a few of the ones I have made for the heroes, the Super-Sentinels. Unlike the villians, these needed to look like they might have been on the cover of a comic.


Ray Logan would have burned alive on re-entry when his spacecraft malfunctioned, if he hadn’t been saved by the COSMIC ARCHONS. Their power healed him and bonded him to a suit of armor, making him one of their paladins for intergalactic justice, the COSMIC KNIGHT!

This one uses a font by Iconian fonts (one of my go-tos) as a pass, but then I gave it a perspective reminiscent of one of the Legion of Super-Heroes logos or Neal Adams' iconic X-Men design. It seemed fitting it should have Starlin-esque cosmic telescoping.


Kelli Cross was a college student, but what she was really into was roller derby. When she discovered her grandfather had been a costumed crime-fighter during World War II with a set of magical roller-skates that supposedly came from an extradimensional imp—well, it all sounded pretty hard to believe, but skating and fighting crime just seemed like the thing to do!

This one was inspired, obviously, on the classic Ira Schapp logo for the Flash. I am not completely happy with the speed-lines. Schapp made it look so easy!


Son of a spelunker and an exiled princess of the underground city of Sub-Atlan, Roy King uses the technomagical harness and gauntlets to swim through rock like it was water. He protects the underground from the surface world—and the surface world from the dangers of the underground—as the SUB-TERRAN!

This one was inspired by the logo of a DC Hercules series, but with roughened, rocky letters as seen on a number of Marvel 70s logos. There are a lot of rocky or stone fonts out there, but none worked well with the extreme perspective, so I had to use a plainer font (by Blambot, I think) and roughen it myself. It had to be done in stages to get the final thing. 

This character was originally going to be called the Subterranean, but that was too long to fit on anything but the plainest "book style" logos, so I had to shorten it.

Sunday, May 13, 2018

Return to Wermspittle


If you like early modern/modern fantasy cities like Jack Shear's Scarabae or Umberwell or the City of my Weird Adventures (if you recall back to 2012 and before), then you will want to check out Hereticwerk's Wermspittle. I did an introduction to that setting once upon a time. Go read it. We'll wait.

After a several year hiatus, new Wermspittle posts have begun to appear, including some actual play reports. Slowly, admittedly, but proof of life. Check it out.

Thursday, May 10, 2018

Again, Random Ultra-Warriors!

Interested in generating the sort of visually distinct science fantasy characters of the sort found in Masters of the Universe? I've got a set of random generators for you, just in case you missed it the first time I posted about it a few years ago. Pair the Random Ultra-Warriors Creator with your favorite science fantasy/post-apocalyptic rpg and your ready to create characters so distinctive they ought to be sold separately in their own blister pack.



Wednesday, May 9, 2018

Wednesday Comics: More Metabarons


I heard there was a Metabarons comic on Free Comic Book Day, which precedes a new Metabarons series. I've mentioned Metabarons on this blog before, but for those unfamiliar with it, it's the Greek Tragedy by way of Space Opera generational saga by  Alejandro Jodorowsky that he came up with riffing off ideas from his aborted attempt to get a Dune movie made.

The original "Saga of the Metabarons" was published, complete, in English in the early 2000s. In 2014, there was a sort of prequel Metabarons Genesis: Castaka published in 2014.

Hearing about this new series, I went looking to see if I had missed something, and what do you know? I had. There are already two volumes in a series called The Metabaron. Now, I haven't read these yet myself, so I can't comment on them (though I'll have them in hand this week), but I wanted you guys to know they were out there:

The Metabaron Book 1: The Techno-Admiral and the Anti-Baron

The Metabaron Book2: The Techno-Cardinal and the Transhuman

Monday, May 7, 2018

Misty Isle of the Meanies

Our Land of Azurth 5e campaign continued last night, with the party and friends still lost at sea after displeasing the Sea King. Their submarine had wondered into strange, dense fog. Kory Keenstep recalls legends of the mist-enshrouded paradise of Cucana and is sure they have found it. When Captain Cog sights a green and pleasant isle in his optics, it seems that Keenstep may becorrect.

When Waylon, Dagmar, and Erekose go ashore, they find the pleasantness to be an illusion. The island is gray and mostly barren and cloaked in gray skies and a sulfurous stench. Going ashore, they find paths strewn with the pulverized bits of broken toys, and occasional gray statues that look more like petrified people.

They made their way past the giant, sessile worms with lolling stripped tongues to the Blue Pagoda City. There they encountered the disagreeable blue meanies--and ended up slaughtering them in fairly large numbers. The party wandered through the bunker encountering and defeating a number of odd and violent people before apparently reaching the inner sanctum of "His Blueness."

This adventure began a loose adaptation of Chris Kutalik's Misty Isles of the Eld, liberally mashed together with the film Yellow Submarine.


Sunday, May 6, 2018

Mecha & Cavemen

The physical copies of the the English translation of the French prehistoric rpg Würm finally arrived last week. I got the main rulebook and the Voice of Our Ancestors  magazine with rules and adventures. I taked about the main rulebook pdf before. On of the Voice of Ancestors issues has rules for the benefits conferred by ritual cannibalism, which is an interesting edition. I don't know if I can convince my group to play it, but I'm not sorry I backed the Kickstarter.

Tom Parkinson-Morgan, the author of Kill 6 Billion Demons, released the latest iteration of his mecha rpg Lancer for free. I confess I have not read through it yet, but hey, it's free.

Thursday, May 3, 2018

Underground Comics Contents


Solo-parenting of a sick infant has kept the blog silent this week, but I wanted to share a bit of what I've been working on just prior to all that happening. Here's a glimpse of the most interesting part of the contents page for the forthcoming Underground Comics with work by Jason Sholtis, James V. West, Stefan Poag, Luka Rejec, Jeff Call, and Karl Stjernberg.

Sunday, April 29, 2018

FASERIP Black Void

BLACK VOID

STATISTICS
F                 RM   (30)
A                 GD  (10)
S                 IN  (40)
E                 AM   (50)
R                 EX (20)
I                   EX   (20)
P                  AM   (50)
Health: 130
Karma: 90

BACKGROUND
Real Name: Ted Crawford
Occupation: Former petroleum engineer
Identity: Known to authorities
Legal Status: Citizen of the United States
Place of Birth: Hagerstown, Maryland
Marital Status: Single
Known Relatives: None
Base of Operations: Mobile
Group Affiliation: Masters of Menace

KNOWN POWERS
Amorphous Form. Outside of his containment suit, he is a mass of protoplasmic entity.
Telepathic Link. Black Void has Monstrous rank telepathic communication with the black mass entity that he is an offshoot of.
Conversion and Draining: Black Void can heal himself by touching his victims, which alters their cellular structure, converting it into more Black Mass Entity like himself. He gains health equal to the targets health or material strength. He does this with Monstrous ability and the target can attempt an Endurance FEAT to avoid.

Equipment:
Containment Suit. Made of Incredible material. Providing:
Body Armor: Excellent rank.

History: Ted Crawford was a petroleum engineer for Hexxon Oil, tasked with exploring a deep underground pocket wherein a material with unusual properties, dubbed the "black mass," had been found. Upon opening the chamber, the Black Mass was revealed to be a vast sea of protoplasm with an alien intelligence. Telepathically communicating with Crawford and his team, it asserted it was the first living thing on earth and all other lifeforms were ultimately derived from its substance. It absorbed all of Crawford's team, but left him with part of his intellect intact and animated his partial absorbed corpse within his environmental suit, so it could use him to explore the outside world.

The Crawford-Black Mass hybrid soon came in contact with Subterrans, who had long been aware of the entity they called the Black Void and had sought to contain it. The prince of the underground civilization, the Subterranean, battled Black Void and forced him back into the chamber then resealed it.

Later, the Black Void escaped again and was brought by agents of Hexxon to its board, who were revealed to all be members of a secret cult that worshiped the Black Mass and sought to use it to gain power. Black Void killed most of the board members and more a time took secret control of Hexxon.

Friday, April 27, 2018

Infinity War


Since Avengers and a shoddily animated post-credits scene, we've been teased with this. So even if, like me, you're beginning to tire of the Marvel Cinematic Formula, then you are probably going to up for this installment. And you should be, because damn if they didn't stick the landing.

In brief: Thanos of Titan (No reference here to comic's original Greek Mythological origin or his actual birth on the Saturnian moon. It's just some planet here.) is after all these plot coupons that have had major to minor appearances in previous films, to crush gemstones from them--the Infinity Stones. He well on his way to collecting them all, when Avengers: Infinity War opens.

What follows is a film structured like a classic comic book crossover with mismatched groups of heroes in different locations try to prevent Thanos or his minions from getting one Infinity Stone or another. Each time they engage them entertainingly. I don't think I felt my interest in the doings flag noticeably over the nearly three hour run time. It is impressive how well paced it is despite the number of location jumps and protagonist shifts. I can't think of any film with an ensemble so sprawling that has done it so well.

And the ending? Well, without significant spoilers let's just say this is the Empire Strikes Back to the Star Wars: A New Hope comprised of entirety of the Cinematic Marvel Universe before.

Are there things not to like? Well, it carries the baggage of previous CMU stuff, so if (like me) you didn't like the "science-fiction"-izing of Asgard and Asgardian, that's all in your face here, starting with Asgardian's sending a distress call like they are Free Trader Beowulf from the cover of Traveller. All you Hawkeye fans (there's gotta be someone) will be disappointed that he isn't in it, and many other characters largely just get brief lines and brief appearances in fight scenes. There is not as much character stuff or dramatic beats here; there just isn't space. In that regard, this is the story of Gamorra, Tony Stark, Vision, Scarlet Witch, Thor, and Thanos, and every one else is showing up just to fight. The CGI is great at times and unaccountably bad in others. Thanos's footsteps always seem too dainty.

And finally, this is perhaps the most comic book of comic book movies, with that fact entailing both good and bad perhaps. This certainly shouldn't be anyone's first Marvel film. It is not as accessible in the way Black Panther or the more comedic Marvel entries like Thor: Ragnarok are.

But overall, I loved it, and if you've been a fan of the other films or even most of them, you probably will too.


Thursday, April 26, 2018

What Are These Items Being Displayed by This Hand Model?


Why, they're the latest proofs from the Operation Unfathomable Kickstarter! The Player's Guide and the second volume of that hymn to the oracular dice gods, Dungeon Dozen vol. 2.  Both adorned with snazzy cover designed by your truly (he said with all due modesty).

First, they will go to the the deserving faithful (i.e. Kickstarter backers), then they will go on sale to more recent converts at the usual outlets.


Monday, April 23, 2018

Weird Revisited: From The Mound

This post first appeared almost eight years ago to the day. The original version ended with a blank #9, but commentors filled in more, included here:


You never know what might be found in those ancient mounds doitting the Strange New World and perhaps other worlds, as well. Here are a few suggestions:
  1. Eight giant (8-9 ft. tall) human-like skeletons in breast-plates and ornaments of a copper-like (but harder) metal. Armor is +1 but half the usual weight.  
  2. 2d10 eggs that will hatch dungeon chickens if incubated.
  3. A phantasmagoria magic lantern obviously of more recent manufacture than the mound itself.
  4. Three partially buried skulls inscribed with mystical designs, which upon closer inspection are actually necrophidii.
  5. The mummified corpses of 1d8 children of both sexes who were killed by ritual strangulation. They will rise as undead mummies on the first night of the new moon after excavation. 
  6. A sarcophagi contain a person in strange, futuristic outfit. If the round, reflective glass helmet is removed it will reveal the apparently dead (but remarkably undecayed) body of one of the PCs at an advanced age.
  7. A glass pyramid containing a Mantid Warrior-Nun, who is alert and active, but unable to escape.
  8. A beautiful woman in ancient garb, who appears to be asleep. Approaching close enough to touch the woman (even if not actually doing so) will allow her to take possession of a victim’s body as per the magic jar spell. If successful, the victim’s soul enters a large gem in her regalia.
  9. A copy of a murder ballad tattooed into the skin of its victim preserved in a whiskey jar. (Tim Shorts)
  10. An ancient spacecraft. A 20% chance of a given system being operational, with the first checked being the entry mechanism. Think of the data banks... (Porky)
  11. A tomb decorated with a finely detailed model of the surrounding area at it was at the time of the original internment. The art style might be native, OOPS Oriental ("How did a diamyo of the Demon Isles end up here?"), mysterious Ancient, etc.If the investigators can work out what they are looking at (the gross landforms are the same, but the rivers have shifted course slightly and some of the distances are just plain wrong according to modern survey maps) it acts as a Treasure Map to 1d6 previously unknown ancient native sites.The models have resale value as antiquaries, but there is a non-trivial chance that removing 1 or more destroys the Treasure Map effect. (Chris Hogan)
  12. One really, really big egg. (NetherWerks)

Sunday, April 22, 2018

Classic Marvel Negastar



STATISTICS
               RM   (30)
               RM  (30)
S                 GD  (10)
E                 IN   (40)
R                 EX (20)
I                   EX   (20)
P                  IN   (40)

Health: 80
Karma: 80
Resources: GD (10)

KNOWN POWERS
Nega-Cosmic Power Manipulation: Negastar is imbued with the extradimensional energy of the dark entities of the Negacosm. He can form simple shapes such as spheres, cubes, columns, and rings or simple tools like pincers.  He can effect up to 2 areas at a time and increase the density of the Nega-Cosmic force to Monstrous Material Strength. He can create a force shield of Monstrous Rank or the power as a weapon to fire a damaging beam up to 2 areas. If Negastar falls unconscious, his constructs will dissipate.
Life Support: Nega-Cosmic energy sustains him giving him breathable air and protection from the elements of Monstrous rank. His effect remains even if he is unconscious.
Flight: Negastar can utilize the energy to fly at Remarkable speed in atmosphere and Class 3000 speed in the vacuum of space.

See Friday's post for more background.

Friday, April 20, 2018

Negastar!


Jim "Flashback Blog" Shelley and I are working on a comic (and possibly a related rpg project) with artist Chris Malgrain. Here's a DC Who's Who style entry for Negastar, the first of the character designs completed. The text is semi-accurate, semi-placeholder, and as such is subject to alteration.

There will be game stats at some point for this guy, but not today!

Here's the character in color:


Thursday, April 19, 2018

The Terror And the Ice-Gripped Sandbox


The AMC drama The Terror is based on the novel by Dan Simmons which in turn is a fictionalization of the lost expedition of Sir John Franklin. The events in the show and the novel have light supernatural element, but most it's a tale of the typical things that would befall ships stuck in the arctic ice for years.

I've been thinking the ice pack could replace the Sargasso Sea in the film The Lost Continent. It could hold the descendants of people marooned their years ago. Their could be a frozen graveyard of ship with weird micro-societies and weird monsters.

Wednesday, April 18, 2018

Wednesday Comics: X-men Grand Design Treasury Edition


I've mentioned X-Men: Grand Design by Ed Piskor before. It's a retelling and synthesis of the history of the X-Men into a single narrative. If you haven't picked up either of the issues in the first chapter in another format, let me suggest you get the Treasury Edition that recently came out. It's an attractive packing (see above) and oversized (over 9 in. wide and over 13 inches tall) size that compliments Piskor's dense page layout.


Monday, April 16, 2018

Submarine Shenanigans


Our 5e Land of Azurth game continued last night, with the party trying to find Kully's father, Cory Keenstep, and figure out how to get him out from under the Sea King, who was holding Keenstep until he won back all the money he had lost. After some exploring of the Sea King's nautiloid manse, they discover Cory is keeping the Sea King's ex-wife, Cecaelia, company in the upstairs sitting room.

It turns out the Cecaelia is a self-absorbed, former (or at least so she claims) starlet. She's keeping Cory busy fetching her drinks, thereby frustrating her ex in two ways: by keeping sea ladies from getting up to him, and by keeping Cory from gambling with him

Cory, an old swindler, is unhelpful in collaborating with the party to make his escape. He wants them to kill (or at least suitably wound) the Sea King so they can get out with the money. This does not strike his son or any of the rest of them as a good plan. Instead, they go to talk to the Sea King, sulking in his penthouse.

The Sea King is willing to let them take Cory--if the royal treasury's gambling debt to him is cancelled and the party smuggles up some young ladies from the party past Cecaelia. The party agrees, but rather than forfeit the funds, they hatch another scheme: they'll sell Cecaelia on headlining a touring stage show in the Land of Under Sea and take her off the Sea King's hands. He'll presumably be grateful enough to let them keep the money.

A natural 20 Persuades the ex-Sea Queen of this plan. The Sea King is incredulous that anyone would want to take the high maintenance Cecaelia with them, but he agrees, tentatively. Cory suggests this is a bad plan and they should just make a break for it.

In this, the party soon begins to realize, he may be right. Logistics of supplying Cecaelia the staff she needs and taking her with them prove daunting, and the Sea King is stingy with extra funds. Ultimately, they decide to stick Cory with her and deal with all this later--only to to find he's slunk off to the submarine and left them holding the bag!


The party takes off too, and makes it to the submarine where they resume there voyage, but they don't get far. The Sea King, grown to giant size, grabs the submarine and flings it through the water a great distance. When they finally right themselves and are able to take bearings. Cog announces that they are lost!

Sunday, April 15, 2018

Underground Comics is Almost Here


First mentioned six months ago, Underground Comics #1 is now nearing completion! It will be 36-pages and 6 black and white features of dungeon-related stuff. Jeff Call debuts that delvers best friend, "Dungeon Dog." James V. West uncovers a lost poem of Barrowstain Goodly, Great of the Brownie poets in "The Ballad of the Doomed Delvers." Karl Stjernberg gives us a glimpse of the dungeoneer "Before and After."

A veritable treasure trove, right? But we're not done. There's also OSR art luminaries like Jason Sholtis, Luka Rejec, and the legendary Stefan Poag!

Look for it in POD and digital in June.



Friday, April 13, 2018

The Operation is About to Begin!


At last, the Operation Unfathomable soft cover proof is in Jason Sholtis's trembling hand--and it looks good! Check out this two-page spread:


Vouchers for order will go out to Kickstarter backers very soon and in in a short time, it will be available for purchase by anyone on rpgnow.

Thursday, April 12, 2018

The Return of Descriptions in Need of Hexes

Edd Cartier

Between Inaust and Rynaw on the Old Panarch Road, a hired coach rumbles past pulled at breakneck speed by a velocipede team. One wonders what mission drives the passengers to brave the dangers and discomforts of the road at night with marauding Gog bands in the vicinity, an ogre slain nearby within a fortnight, and the uncanny croak of a nyctoghoul heard in the distance.

In a clearing in Unthran Wood, a flame-colored thrykee has fallen, bleeding and broken-winged, dying. Skeleton Men pirates move out from their flier, stalking cautiously toward the creature with weapons drawn. The thrykee's saddle is empty. Citrine scintilla glint in the grass, forming a loose trail out from it and toward the surrounding trees.


Enrique Alcatena
Beyond the old fortress of Eneb-Draath, at the edge of the Sanguine Desert, youthful bands of tribesfolk howl and dance around fires built amid the fearsome, angular shadow of their war machines, their war gods. Drunk on liquor made from desert lichen and machine ichor, they whip themselves into a battle frenzy. The tribes claim descent from the First Men who were born in the void and reared solely by machines, and so view the ancient and derelict things left from the First Men's war with the ieldri as their birthright.

These are from this world.

Wednesday, April 11, 2018

Wednesday Comics: Stuff I Read in the Last Week


Injection Vol. 1
A thinktank of eccentric geniuses do a bad thing combining the occult with AI and the world may pay for it if they can't set it right. Typical Warren Ellis characters (very competent but flawed, unique protagonists) in a story that is a bit X-Files-ian (or really more reminiscent of the X-file progenitor Nigel Kneale) but with a more action-y flair.


The Terrifics #1
Four super-powered individuals (Mr. Terrific, Metamorpho, Plastic Man, and a Phantom Girl) led by a genius get together to have fantastic adventures. Not a lot happens in the first issue but it ends with an appearance by [SPOILERS] Tom Strong, so they have my interest at least for a couple more issues.

Monday, April 9, 2018

Visit Skaro

For those of you not familiar with Doctor Who lore (which I would imagine are vanshing few members of my audience, but still), Skaro is the homeworld of those plunger-armed, shrill-voiced robotic monsters, the Daleks.

According to the map, first appearing in The Dalek Book (1964), Skaro is almost D&D Outer Plane weird. Check out the named locales here:


Seas of Rust, Ooze, and Acid. The Lake of Mutations. The Radiation Range. All pretty dire stuff. Also, don't miss the note on the giant "serpents" of Darren that are really mutated earthworms!

If that's not enough, subterranean Skaro, is just as weird:




Friday, April 6, 2018

DC at Marvel Collected Edition



In case you missed the previous installments, here's a collated list of the posts I've done so far based on the idea that the staff at Marvel in the late 50s early 60s got to revamp DC's Golden Age characters (except for those that never stopped being published. The idea was introduced here.

All the characters presented so far are statted for the TSR Marvel Superheroes rpg:

The Atom The Nuclear Man!
Green Lantern Most Cosmic Hero of Them All!
Hawkman Master of Flight!
And a couple of villains Silver Scarab, the nemesis of Hawkman, and Star Sapphire--is she Green Lantern's lover or his enemy--or both?


Wednesday, April 4, 2018

Wednesday Comics: The Tragically Uncollected 1963


1963 was a 6-issue limited series published by Image in 1993. It was a homage (and gentle parody) of the Silver Age of Marvel. It features the talents of Alan Moore, Steve Bissette, Rick Veitch, and Dave Gibbons. It is twenty years later incomplete and is unlikely to ever be completed.

The characters in 1963 are familiar without (mostly) being straight analogs. Mystery Incoporated comes the closely to a straight pastiche, by being the Fantastic Four with different powers and slightly different personality dynamics. The Fury fills the Spider-Man niche, but has a more Bucky-like backstory with hints of Daredevil. USA, Ultimate Special Agent is the Captain America stand-in, but more resembles lesser known patriotic heroes. Horus feels the Thor god-slot. Johnny Beyond is a beatnik Doctor Strange. The Hypernaut is like Iron Man by way of Green Lantern, done all Kirby/Starlin cosmic.

The issues strive for a 60s feel with faux-bullpen bulletins, fake ads, and nicknames for all the creative staff.

Attempts have been made by Bissette and Veitch to complete it or get a collection published but something has always got in the way (and that something may very well be Alan Moore who seems to now hold a grudge against Bissette) but the individual issues can be picked up relatively inexpensively.




Monday, April 2, 2018

Weird Revisited: Highlights from the Dungeoneering Medicine Conference

This post first appeared in 2012. It was one of the minor posts in the Weird Adventures setting that didn't make it into the book.


In 5887, the City Medical Society hosted a symposium on unusual maladies seen among delvers and possible treatments. Here are a few of the highlights:

Spectral Encounter-Induced Cataracts: J.H. Shaxwell discussed a series of cases of cataracts resulting from close encounter with incorporeal undead. Shaxwell theorizes this is the result of negative energy exposure.

Care of the Soul-Dislocated Patient: Trelane Cantor described the care provided unfortunates who have had their astral bodies separated via thaumaturgy. Emphasis was placed on environmental safety.

A Case of Amathocosis: A unique pneumoconiosis resulting from inhalation of the particulate matter left after a demilich encounter was described by Nyland Tonsure.

Antibiotic Resistance of Infernal Acquired Venereal Disease: Villard M. Sturm warns that succubi derived sexually transmitted diseases often required potent alchemical intervention.

Sunday, April 1, 2018

Work in Progress

Coloring the sketch of our Land of Azurth adventuring party by Steve LeCouilliard.

Friday, March 30, 2018

Azurth Eggs


The Rabbit Folk of Azurth have a thing with eggs. Read about it here--and have a good weekend!