Friday, 28 July 2017

Adventurer's Almanac (Honorary)

The Adventurer's Almanac was written by Michael Curtis. Art was provided by Tom Galambos, Fritz Haas, Jim Holloway, Cliff Kurowski, William McAusland (who also did the cover), Jesse Mohn, Stefan Poag, Chad Sergesketter, and Mike Wilson. The publisher is Goodman Games.

This is a hardcover, system-neutral book with a sewn-in ribbon bookmark (presumably to keep your place in the Grand Course of Days, a calendar of 13 lunar months. Although the product is system-neutral (and therefore an honorary Treasure in the Trove), the themes and flavor would work well for a Dungeon Crawl Classics campaign milieu. The product provides astrological information, moon phases, holidays, and events that can take place over the course of each month.

Whether used as backdrop, or used to spawn adventures, these things help to build up the verisimilitude of a campaign milieu. Besides, keeping track of the phases of the moon helps when the judge wants to introduce a werewolf or three to the PCs....

Readers as old as I am (or older) may fondly remember the appearance, in the 1st Edition Advanced Dungeons & Dragons Oriental Adventures tome, of a system to plan events on a persistent calendar. Michael Curtis takes the idea a good step farther than did Gary Gygax, David Cook, and Francois Marcela-Froideval, but the spirit seems to be very much the same.

The back cover text says, in part:

An entire year's worth of adventure awaits you inside its pages, complete with magical items, interesting personalities, strange festivals, and dangerous sites to explore, all presented in a system-neutral format suitable for any fantasy campaign.

Be aware that these are seeds, for the most part. You will have to do some work to turn them into adventures. You will have to determine how to convert the system-neutral format to Dungeon Crawl Classics statistics - but you will be inspired, and the work will not be that difficult.

Also, unless your gaming months are crowded with events, you are likely to get a lot more than a single year's use out of this book. With over 20 possible events for each month, including recurrent events such as festivals and holidays, I would be surprised if you were unable to get a good (game time) decade out of this book before its events were exhausted. And, then, the annual events, the astrology, and the phases of the moon would continue to be useful. There are, after all, over 300 adventure seeds herein,

The utility of most of these pieces is undiminished if you carve the book up and use it as inspiration to plan your own fantasy calendar. Indeed, the author has foreseen this use and made it easier for you by providing you with a calendar blank. Copying the blank will also allow you to use Michael Curtis' calendar as written - either for taking notes or extending the years beyond that which is provided.

Goodman Games has provided a free, 17-page preview of the content.

Get It Here!

Monday, 17 July 2017

DCC & MCC Dice Sets

Goodman Games has come out with several dice tubes, which are named after iconic Dungeon Crawl Classics and Mutant Crawl Classics characters painted by the talented Doug Kovacs. Each of these dice sets comes with a little "extra" printed on the reverse of the label. Dice sets include: D3, D4, D5, D6, D7, D8, D10, D%10, D12, D14, D16, D20, D24, and D30.

The sets are:

Hugh's Weird Dice: This set contains the very dice that Hugh the Barbarian used to defeat a host of terrible adversaries and acquire his legendary magical bell-bottoms. Using these dice in your game is guaranteed to bring good fortune, especially if you rub them on a moustache prior to each session.

Dice are white with red numerals. DCC extra is the "blue gowl".

Shanna's Weird Dice: This set contains the very dice that Shanna Dahaka used to invoke Azi Dahaka and enchant her magical afro. 

Dice are black with gold numerals. DCC extra is the "violet gowl".

Chuck's Lucky Dice: These are the very dice used by Chuck Plimpton in his tavern games. He is reputed to be quite lucky, and if you doubt that, you should know that Chuck made it back from the land of the dead! He had a set of these dice on his person at the time, and while the dice probably had nothing to do with it, can you afford to take that chance?

Dice are green with gold numerals. DCC extra is "Chuck's Little Table of Big Trouble".

Alamanter's Extraspacial Angularities: These dice were created by Alamanter the Violet during his studies in the city of Ciz. Each die draws upon the power of extra-dimensional space to randomly determine numbers. It is said that under the right conditions they can roll numbers that don’t even exist!

Dice are violet with silver numerals. DCC extra is "The Brined Finger of Alamanter".

Sezrekan's Sanguivorous Solids: These are the most dangerous dice ever created. The evil Sezrekan trapped in each the soul of a creature from the depths of the infernal realms, and these creatures crave blood! Whether it be your blood or the blood of your enemies, they care not! Beware fumbling with these dice!

These dice are many-colored. DCC extra is "Sezrekan's Sanguivorous Sliver".

Dice of Lost Lemuria: The Dice of Lost Lemuria have an icy color to them, matching the elven legend of the frozen lost continent. 

Dice are blue with white numerals. DCC extra is the "Ice Stones of Mu".

Ming's Infernal Bones: Ming’s Infernal Bones bear a resemblance to the fiery baubles that follow his legend, thanks to his love of flames.

Dice are red with white numerals. DCC extra is "The Devil's Bauble".

Grakk's Rad Dice: Seasoned veteran of many a melee, Grakk knows how to bring the maximum pain to any hand-to-hand battle. This set of radioactive green dice has been blessed by the War AIs themselves to ensure maximum damage when rolled in any combat on Terra A.D.

Dice are green with black numerals. MCC extra is "Grakk's Artifacts".

Kilra's Glow Dice: This set of dice glow-in-the-dark! Savage raider of the wastelands, Kilra knows when to push her luck and when to burn it. This set of glow-in-the-dark dice has already been exposed to the radiation and luck- enhancing quantum fields of Terra A.D.

Dice are that off-white/green color of glow-in-the-dark plastic with black numerals. MCC extra is "Kilra's Artifacts"

Available Goodman Games dice sets can be obtained here. The Dice of Lost Lemuria and Ming's Infernal Bones were only available at the Goodman Games booth at North Texas RPG Con and Origins in 2017. MCC-based dice sets were announced in 2017.

This listing was put together with the help of the Dungeon Crawl Classics community, and especially Impact Miniatures. Thank you for all the help!







Dread on Demon Crown Hill

DCC #92.5 Dread on Demon Crown Hill is a level 2 adventure by Michael Curtis. It was illustrated by Doug Kovacs (who also did the cartography) and Stefan Poag. The publisher is Goodman Games.

This is a relatively new adventure, and one that could easily be fit into a convention or road crew game slot, so I am going to avoid spoilers as much as I can. Like many Appendix N stories, this adventure thrusts the PCs neatly into the story of other beings, but it is the PCs' actions that resolve the story in one way or another. This is such a constant theme of Appendix N literature - occurring in stories by Fritz Leiber, Robert E. Howard, A. Merritt, and others - that it is difficult to pinpoint influences here.

The area that the adventure takes place in is reminiscent of the Giant's Causeway in Northern Ireland (which the author calls out), or Fingal's Cave in Scotland. This offers a cool backdrop the the adventure's action.

The adventure itself is fairly linear, with only one possible side digression. That's great for convention play, but the prospective judge of a home campaign may wish to increase the options somewhat. Likewise, there are creatures in this adventure that should have a marked footprint on the land around Demon Crown Hill; the prospective judge will probably wish to consider this for campaign play.

Area 1-8 is singularly wonderful, and worth the price of admission by itself.

Long ago, Frygorix of the Thousand Lies, a foul demon, ruled with fear from atop a lonely tor, spreading death and plague across the land. Two brave siblings, one bearing an enchanted shield of great power, challenged the demon, vowing to slay it and free the land. In their climactic battle, black towers of six-sided stone arose from the hilltop, an eerie outcropping called the Demon Crown by some. Stories hold that the shield lied untouched within the Demon Crown, but who knows what else might dwell within those weird, dark pillages of unearthly rock?

Right now, Dread on Demon Crown Hill is only available through retailers. I picked mine up at 401 Games in Toronto.

Tuesday, 4 July 2017

Curse of Mistwood

Curse of Mistwood is a level 4-6 adventure, written by Daniel J. Bishop and David W. Fisher. Illustrations are by David W. Fisher. Cartography is by David W. Fisher, Brian Van Hunsel and Del Teigeler. The publisher is Shinobi27 Games.

Disclosure: I am one of the writers, and have an editing credit as well.

Curse of Mistwood is the sequel to The Trolls of Mistwood. It is a massive adventure, beginning in the swamp-side town of Mistwood, and crossing over to Barg'herzarag, the Hagworld. Mistwood has changed, and there are dark portents that the end of the world may itself be nigh.

This was an enormously fun adventure to work on. Hags have been a staple of gaming since the 1st Edition AD&D Monster Manual, at least. Over the years, "gaming" hags have made departures from, and callbacks to, "folklore" hags. This offered a chance to create a mythology of hags which enables them to be recognizable to longterm gamers, strikes the itch of folklore, and incorporates Appendix N.

As an example, we provided rules for being hag-ridden in the "real" world of Mistwood, which can have a rather nasty side effect when characters transit to the Hagworld. We also supply a sort of ecology of hags, which can be used to personalize randomly encountered hags in this (or other) adventures. In fact, I would go so far as to say that in Curse of Mistwood an attempt was made to simultaneously define hags for Dungeon Crawl Classics while following the "Make Monsters Mysterious" advice of the core rulebook. Others will have to determine how successful (or not) we were in that task.

Events in the adventure take place five years after those of The Trolls of Mistwood, and the town has changed...from the events of the earlier adventure, from the passage of time, and from what is now spurring the PCs toward a crisis. Mistwood is described well enough in this adventure, and in Trolls, that a judge could easily use it as part of the backdrop to a campaign, starting right from the 0-level funnel until the characters retire or die.

Barg'herzarag is detailed so that the aspiring judge could set his own adventures in the Hagworld as well as merely frighten his players with this adventure. Of course, the Hagworld is an unpleasant place, with complete details on how magic is different and some rather unpleasant encounters to be had. Dungeon Crawl Classics completists will note some crossover with The Arwich Grinder and Creeping Beauties of the Wood. Carproaches made an appearance in The Gong Farmer's Almanac. The demo-grues, of course, take their inspiration from Jack Vance...indeed, one hopes that a sense of Jack Vance colors the whole of Barg'herzarag, although his is not the only Appendix N inspiration.

Travel through the Hagworld is a means to an end, though, and that end is Wartaren, the Living Castle. As one of the authors, I hope you find the castle suitably horrific. There are a number of ways that the PCs can deal with Wartaren and its occupants. The adventure describes the factions and politics of the Hagworld, so that the PCs can gain allies or take sides. Wartaren is large enough, and detailed enough, for two or three sessions of play.

As the commercial goes: But wait! There's more!

Curse of Mistwood has five appendixes, detailing Foes and Allies, Demons of Barg'Herzarag, Patrons of Mistwood, the Scrying spell, and the magic sword, Clawreaver. How useful some of these appendixes are to you wil depend upon what other materials you own. The patrons described herein can all be found in the Extended, Otherworldly Edition of Angels, Daemons, and Beings Between, for instance, while the Scrying spell is from The Revelation of Mulmo.

A bunch of demons that visit Barg'herzarag, and might be found as guests in Wartaren? Those could be used anywhere. In fact, the cunning judge could take a page from The Fallible Fiend and have one of these demons encountered in a non-combative capacity early on in the PCs' careers. The PCs might even discover a strange allegiance forming!

Curse of Mistwood is the second adventure in the Mistwood Series. It can be played as a continuation of The Trolls of Mistwood or as a standalone adventure. With 70 pages of adventure and over 20 pages of patrons, spells and magic items, Curse of Mistwood has enough material to be its own campaign setting.

A dark power has stirred in Mistwood. An evil so great that not only is the quiet waterside village at risk but perhaps the world itself. Once more adventurers must heed the call to arms, risking everything to thwart the plans of a much greater foe. Will the adventurers have the courage to seek the source of Mistwood's woes, or will they be consumed trying?

Get It Here!





Thursday, 29 June 2017

DCC RPG Quick Start Rules & Intro Adventure

The Dungeon Crawl Classics Role Playing Game Quick Start Rules & Intro Adventure was published by Goodman Games.

Starter rules edit and design was by Jim Wampler, based on original game design by Joseph Goodman. Art is by Jeff Dee, Jeff Easley, Jim Holloway, Diesel Laforce, Doug Kovacs, Brad McDevitt, Peter Mullen, Stefan Poag, Jim Roslof, and Chad Sergesketter. Cartography is by Doug Kovacs. Cartoons are by Chuck Whelon.

The Portal Under the Stars was written by Joseph Goodman. This section of the book is "Dedicated with great affection to J. Eric Holmes."

Flip the thing over and you have Gnole House, a level 1 adventure written by Michael Curtis, with art by Stefan Poag and cartography by Doug Kovacs.

Quick Start Rules & Intro Adventure

These are nicely laid out, although perforce there are a limit to the number of spells or Mercurial Magic results that can be included. The Portal Under the Stars has appeared in all printings (thus far) of the core rulebook, as well as the DCC RPG Free RPG Day Adventure Starter in 2011.

Gnole House

I ran this adventure at 401 Games on Free RPG Day 2017. You can read my summary of the event here.

Gnole House is based on two short stories by Appendix N authors. These are Lord Dunsany's How Nuth Would Practise His Art Upon the Gnoles, and Margaret St. Clair's The Man Who Sold Rope to the Gnoles. Both stories are fairly short, easily read, and have delightful nods to them within Michael Curtis' adventure. A third story, The Hoard of the Gibbelins, is also well used. It gives me hope that a sequel to this adventure, perhaps called Gibbelin Tower, may one day appear!


Demonland

Demonland: Supplemental Rules for Sword & Sorcery Adventures was written by Jeremy Deram. Writing and art are not credited on the pdf. It was made available through the People Them With Monsters blog.

The Demonland supplement uses the basic Dungeon Crawl Classics rules, with an alternate XP and level progression, to allow Dungeon Crawl Classics to be easily used with (an alternative version ?) of Tékumel: The World of the Petal Throne. I've never been invested in Tékumel, so this is not a product that I can easily comment on.

The Demonland supplement was mentioned on Spellburn here.

This post in People Them With Monsters discusses the supplement.

Scattered over Tekumel are innumerable half-buried, half-forgotten ruins. There are fragments dating back to the prehuman ages, when the Ssu and the Hlyss vied with one another for control; there are tunnels of melted rock and steel constructed during the days of man's first glory; there are jumbled heaps destroyed by the cataclysms which rent Tekumel when the planet was cast into outer dimensional darkness; there are catacombs and subterranean labyrinths dating from more recent empires, cities, temples, pyramids, and fortresses dedicated to the lost and unremembered gods of half a hundred kingdoms.

Get It Here!





Wednesday, 28 June 2017

Blood for the Serpent King

Blood for the Serpent King is a 2nd level adventure written by Edgar Johnson. It is illustrated by Stefan Poag, Fritz Haas, and Cliff Kurowski. Cartography is by Doug Kovacs. The publisher is Goodman Games.

This product was the 2017 Convention Module only available at conventions. I am fairly certain that this product was not available at Gary Con, as I attended that convention and didn't see it for sale...it is possible that I missed it, though! In any event, I was able to get another convention-goer to pick up a copy on my behalf. The back cover indicates that it was available at Origins and Gamehole Con, at the very least.

The adventure is a sequel, of sorts, to DCC #16: Curse of the Emerald Cobra, which was written for 3rd Edition Dungeons & Dragons. This adventure was a bonus adventure in the original printing of Bride of the Black Manse, by Harley Stroh. Curse of the Emerald Cobra is also referenced in The 998th Conclave of Wizards by Jobe Bittman.

There is a strong Mesosmerican Aztec/Toltec/Mayan feel to the adventure, which would make it fit very well into a campaign using the Memories of the Toad God series by Cut to the Chase Games. Since that series starts at 3rd level, Blood for the Serpent King may be part of a series of adventures leading into it.

Role-playing games have always been a hodgepodge of mixed cultures, mythologies, and creatures, but writing this entry, it struck me for the first time that cobras are native to Africa, India, and Asia, and don't really fit into Mesoamerica at all. This is unlikely to cause your players any consternation, though, as they try to loot the Crypt of the Emerald Cobra.

Deep in the jungles, amidst the ruins of an unimaginably ancient civilization, dangers lurk: feral tribes and predatory beasts, and darker things that civilized folk prefer to forget. You've heard rumors of the treasure horses of one of those great evils: the legendary serpent-man, Xiuhcoatl. They say that Xiucoatl is worshipped by feral tribes of degenerate serpent-men who call him The Emerald Cobra. Do you dare face their rites of blood and sacrifice?