"Go to the sign of Harvel's Axe, a dubious inn on the edge of the Thieves Quarter, in the City of Greyhawk, and look to your own wrist. If you perceive a bracelet and dangling dice, watch for the next throw in the war between Law and Chaos and be prepared to follow the compelling geas." -Signal

Tuesday, April 30, 2013

Champions - New Millennium


Champions is a game you play because of the system and not the content that has come out of the modules and rules over the years. New Millennium is not part of the Hero system but it is instead a recreation under the Fuzion system. This was released in 1997 and I have never had a chance to use it. I have heard mixed reviews of the system in general of of this book specifically. I am fairly certain I will never play it. Champions has always been my favorite superhero game of choice (sorry V&V) and I get the feeling this would be going out with someone who is very close in appearance to an old girlfriend. Initially exciting but in the end something that mars memories.

A conversion of the popular Champions superhero RPG to the new Fuzion game (with Plug-Ins, Switches and Dials to let players tweak the setting). This 200pg softback book gives you all you need to start and run a superhero RPG. The game includes the Champions character creation system of buying characteristics, talents, skills and your superpowers. There's some introduction content to guide the DM on how to run the game and campaign, and a lot of campaign material and pre-made characters to get you started.

The book is lavishly illustrated and has 16 full colour pages of a comic book, in case you've never read one.

Monday, April 29, 2013

Challenge #36


Last of the inventoried Challenge magazines. I picked up another five or ten a year or so ago. They have not been scanned and inventoried though.

Twilight 2000

    Red Maple (A Mini-adventure and Campaign Supplement set in Western Canada)
    Equipment for Armor Crews (Equipment Supplement)

Space 1889

    Darkness Falls from the Air (Supplement featuring the weapons and Equipment of Aerial ships)

MegaTraveller

    The Green Hills of Earth (Adventures for Characters - Imperial Regency of Intelligence and Security) 
    Starship Design Notes (Rules Supplement with lots of charts)
    Traveller News Service (News of events in the Imperium to use for scenarios and campaign flavor)

2300 AD

    Devil in the Dark (An deadly adventure)
    The Anatomy of a Missile  (Rules supplement)

Battletech

    Mech Alternatives ( Designing Jump Vehicles)

Warhammer 40,000

    Sunstroke (A refereed scenario for a small unit of Space Marines and opponents )

Star Trek RPG

    Doppelganger (Adventure for 3-6 players )

Paranoia

    Plan 9 From Out-R-SPC (A twisted tale of treachery and clones)

Reviews:

    Top Secret S.I.
    G4 File: Guns, Gadgets and Getaway Gear for Top Secret S.I.
    Orion Rising for Top Secret S.I..
    Covert Operations Source Book for Top Secret S.I.

Sunday, April 28, 2013

Challenge #31





Two issues later than the one from yesterday. I don't really have much more to add about the magazines. You can actually find a bundle of these on rpg.drivethrustuff.com. The bundle includes issues 25 thru 59 and then an idnex (25-77) and is currently half off for $34. I am in no way connected with that and not intended as advertising. I will say that if you are interested in the GDW games from 1986 to 1996 this might not be a bad investment as it is a well don, well written magazine.


Items in this issue:

Twilight 2000 Articles:
  • USSR 2000 (Part I)
  • Combat Examples 
2300 A.D. Articles:
  • The Song
  • Spacesuits
  • Earth 2300 
Command Decision Articles:
  • Additional Aircraft for CD 
Traveller Articles:
  • Hazardous Cargoes
  • Twisting Tech Levels: A Traveller Variant
  • Traveller News Service
  • Wrong Way Valve – An Amber Zone Scenario
  • Megatraveller Designer’s Notes 

Saturday, April 27, 2013

Challenge #29






Challenge was the house magazine for Game Designers Workshop. It began publication in 1986 with issue #25. This is because Challenge is the continuation/replacement for another magazine. It's predecessor was the Journal of the Travellers Aid Society (JTAS). Challenge expanded the systems covered and moved to format of the magazine to 8.5"x11". The magazine ran until 1996 when GDW shut down operations.

Traveller

    Traveller News Service (News of events in the Imperium to use for scenarios and campaign flavor)
    A Decade of Traveller (Article commemorating Traveller's tenth birthday)
    Universal Task Profile  (A comprehensive system for defining and resolving tasks. )
    Scientists (A rules supplement with a special character class for players and NPCs.)
    Picking a Homeworld (Rules to help establishing player characters by first determining their 'home world)

Traveller 2300

    In the Cards (An adventure with supplemental rules on individual finance in 2300AD)
    Trade in 2300  (A short scenario along with rules for buying and selling goods from world to world)

Twilight 2000

    Weather (Rules Variant to make your campaign more realistic. Includes weather effects)
    Inside an M1 (Take a tour of the US' primary Main Battle Tank)
    Buildings Optional Rules for Urban Locales (Presents a system for classifying buildings and suggest how their condition and contents can be more readily summarized.)
    Equipment (A selection of AFVs with an illustration for each. )

Friday, April 26, 2013

Chaosium - Stomp


This is not really a roleplaying game so I thought about not including it in the posts I make. In the end it is a 1978 release by Chaosium so thought many people may not have seen it so why not. It does involve elves and a giant so it is the realm of the fantastical and that alone makes it worth posting about. I have never played it but I have been told it is fun.

From Board Game Geek:

This small elegant game depicts the struggle of elves trying to outsmart and defeat a 40 foot, slow-witted giant named Thunderpumper.

The giant is depicted only by his sandals as the elves work to tangle up his shoes and make him crash to the earth. In the meantime Thunderpumper is swinging his club and trying to stomp the pesky elves that have invaded his master's garden.

The game fits in a ziplock bag with a color map of the garden, barely 2 pages of rules, and counters.
In 1997 it was "reprinted" as an insert in the third and final issue of Chaosium's house newsletter, Starry Wisdom, along with alternate rules incorporating the various universes of the company's roleplaying games, past and present.

Thursday, April 25, 2013

Nephilim - Occult Rolleplaying


This is a product by Chaosium that has been discontinued. This started as a French game released in 1992. It was translated into English and released Chaosium in 1994. I was eventually discontinued in 1999 after the release of a number of supplements and a collection of adventures. The subject material is not one that I have a love for. I am really not even sure when and why I picked it up. I can only imagine it was part of a bulk collection or that I bought it for the cover alone not reading it in advance. Roleplaying games struggle with the appearance of being occult in nature and having been through the 80's purge as I like to call it I have championed the idea that there is not active occult material in the games and then this book features a blurb from a High Wiccan Elder/Magus on the back cover. If I were to make a list of games I would get rid of just because this might top the list.

From the back of the book:

 In ages past you lived many lives: your slaves built the Great Pyramid to honor your death; you died for the sins of Jerusalem; you lost your head suggesting they eat cake. You are Nephilim - demi-god, prophet, saint, and magician from the mythic past.

Again you incarnate, to continue an ancient struggle for enlightenment and to stand against the plots of occult societies, who seek to enslave you and steal your essence.

We invite you to cross the threshold of fantasy in order to discover the hidden side of our everyday universe. Here you will discover the underlying reality which has been hidden for millennia, you will see behind the scenes and reveal the canvas under the paint. You will discover a twilight world where alchemists labor over their alchemical ovens, kabbalists obsessively trace their pentacles, and magicians struggle to decipher their grimoires for the hidden spells within. This world is concealed behind the respectable façade of wealthy neighborhoods, non-profit associations, flourishing businesses, and historical monuments -- which seem to be completely open to public scrutiny.

But this is a world of secrets. Secret societies wage unseen wars against the Nephilim and one another for control of the magic fields and, ultimately, for world mastey. From this world of mastery, magic, and the occult come your characters: the Nephilim.

Wednesday, April 24, 2013

Carse (Chaosium)


City products have always been a weakness of mine. If I come across one that looks like it has any value at all I will eventually end up owning it. I attribute this to my first city based product being none other than the City State of the Invincible Overlord.

This version of Carse is actually the second version. The first was released in 1980 by Midkemia Press. This is a version that was licensed from that group by Chaosium. The earlier version of Carse is one that I am still looking for and will own when I can find it for slightly less than a King's ransom.This product was released in 1986 and I have not had a chance to compare the products.

From the back cover:

"Designed for all fantasy roleplaying systems, Carse is a home base for adventurers. With it, gamemasters present adventures normally, using CARSE to locate shipbuilders, outfitters, armorers, ins, sorcerers, and all the other delights which player-characters demand.

"Nearly one hundred kinds of businesses and professions are noted; in all, about 450 buildings and four major complexes have been populated and discussed.

"But Carse is much more than a medieval shopping mall. A lively city-state, romantic intrigue and secret societies abound here, each with its own prescription for love or power, and each in turn shadowed or hounded by the operative of Baron Bogardis IV, capable ruler of Carse. Gamemasters can use it sub-plots and random encounters to generate new scenarios. Lovers, thieves, thugs, loonies, and even a few honest folk strut down byways where personal schemes and family connections are all-important, yet who can say whether it is good or ill to be known by such residents as the Troons or the Hazara Khans?"

Tuesday, April 23, 2013

Central Casting - Heroes For Tomorrow


The final of the "character" Central Casting books (to the best of my knowledge) is one for future based campaigns. There is a Central Casting Dungeons but I don't have that scanned into inventory yet. What I have said for all the others rings true for this flavor as well.

Source: Back Cover

Unflatten your cardboard Characters!

Unlike Fantasy genre roleplaying, Science Fiction games have studiously depended upon character backgrounds to give their heroes skills and professions. yet like their fantasy brethren, SF adventurers are usually nothing more than two-legged weapon platforms or under-utilized organic parts of 50 ton battle machines. Sure, they served with the space marines, picked up a few skills and a gigawatt microdoom blaster, but they're still a bunch of lifeless statistics -nothing bu flat lusterless characters no different from a hundred other ex-space marines.

Central Casting is detailed, stand-alone system of tables, charts, and roleplaying guidelines for creating thoroughly individualized roleplay characters. By following simple, step-by-step instructions, both gamemasters and players can give life to player and non-player characters alike!

Monday, April 22, 2013

Central Casting - Heroes Now!


This is the modern version of Heroes of Legend. This is designed to help give depth and a level of uniqueness to characters in 20th century games. It was released in 1991 so they might have wanted to include 21st century characters as well but that is a minor point. This does work much the same as it's predecessor. I am not sure I ever sued it for player characters and as intended but it does work well for plot ideas and to help make unique NPCs.

From the cover:

Unflatten your cardboard characters! Breathe life into your heroes of the modern age. Give depth, motivation and a sense of personal history to every player character and NPC in your campaign! NOT for Game Masters only!

Sunday, April 21, 2013

Central Casting - Heroes of Legend (Second Edition)


This is the second edition of the classic Heroes of Legend. I posted about the original version in February 2011. It is a book that I am not sure I ever used as intended but more as a means to flesh out characters and add spice to NPCs I created. The original version had some material on sexual disorders that was removed from this version and some other material was added. You can find the author Jennell Jaquays on Facebook still today.

The original was released in 1988 and this one in 1995. The book has 192 pages of random tables making it a good source for material when you want to add some random quirk to a player or NPC.

From the back of the book:

"Okay, I hate all Lizardmen so I draw my sword and attack!"
"So why do you hate Lizardmen, Corwin?"
"I don't know, I just do!"


Has this ever happened to you?

Are your heroes flat, lusterless characters with no sense of history or depth of personality? With Central Casting: Heroes of Legend, characters take on lives of their own. They gain families, friends, enemies, personalities, detailed past histories, and most importantly - gain motivations for life and adventuring!
Central Casting is a detailed, stand-alone system of tables, charts, and roleplay guidelines for creating thoroughly individualized, involved and invigorating backgrounds for both player characters and non-player characters.

Saturday, April 20, 2013

Centauri Knights


Not sure where I got this. It was either in a box lot off of eBay or a box lot of games I bought at Origins one year. I have very little BESM material and most of it is Tri-Stat and not the D20 variety. I know i have never even cracked the cover on this. I offer material from other sites below.

Amazon

At the dawn of the 22nd century, mankind has colonized the Alpha Centauri system, but the discovery of alien ruins leads to conflict between rival human factions. As the UN battles terrorists and prepares for all-out war, a sleeping alien power is awakening that threatens the lives of everyone in the solar system. This campaign world for the Big Eyes, Small Mouth d20 role-playing game features a complex, hard-science future, detailed descriptions of the people and organizations of Alpha Centauri, and d20 Mecha stats for dozens of spacecraft, vehicles, and servopanzer designs.

RPG.NET


A hard science fiction setting for Big Eyes, Small Mouth set in the Alpha Centauri system. On the planet Osiris, colonists discover the ruins of an alien civilization, shrouded in an unatural fog. The fog turns out to be airborne nanites, used by the ancient Osirans to build tools, toys and furniture as and when they needed. Jewels uncovered in the ruins are found to control the utility fog, which fact is useful to the rebels seeking independence from the UN and the Centauri Consortium.

The book covers character generation for the setting, with templates for cyborgs, AI, colonists, activists, xenosurgeons, fog witches, xeno-archaeologists and others. The Technology chapter covers nanotechnology, colonial equipment, weapons, mecha, and vehicles, including Osiran artifacts, xenomechs and xenoplagues made by the utility fog. Maps and descriptions are given for the Alpha Centauri system, with a run-down of the organizations involved in-system.

Friday, April 19, 2013

C&C - Wilderlands fo High Adventure XXXI


I really don't recall where i heard about this but I remember that the review of it was such that I made a point of buying it. It may have been one of the first secondary market OSR type item that I bought. I had thought that there were and would be more of these at the time. I assumed the XXXI was an issue number. I later learned it was symbolizing the thirty-one years of Judges Guild (at that time). The material in it makes it worth picking up and it can still be found on Noble Knight's site even though they say the print run was only 310.

XXXI contains:

The complete text of the very-well received Free RPG Day product Imperial Town of Tell Qa: Northern Bastion of the Falling Empire, including 83 locations complete with NPCs, plus details on races, cultures, military defenses, local Mycretian cells, adventure rumors, recent history, and streets and market places, and a gorgeous yet eminently useable map of the town;

20 entirely new and highly detailed random encounters designed specifically for use with Tell Qa;

Complete and revised details on the Mycretians for use with the Wilderlands of High Adventure and Castles & Crusades. Designed as a major foil for the use of the Judge, the Mycretians and their lone god, Mycr, have always been among the most mysterious and interesting protagonists of the Wilderlands of High Fantasy. XXXI presents the Mycretian's motives and methods, and three entire Mycretian sects, plus the completely revised Mycretian class along with complete details on all new Mycretian gifts;

Descriptions of the Nguak and Liowan (Duck-folk and Lion-folk) races for Castles & Crusades;

XXXI is was printed in a limited edition of 310 copies.

Thursday, April 18, 2013

CoC - The Unspeakable Oath #10


This is the other issue of The Unspeakable Oath that I know for sure that I have. I really want to make a point of trying to collect a full run of these. It is that or buy a 2013 model car with cash. I think the magazines would be the better way to go don't you? By the way even the single issue contains four adventures let alone all the other sanity eroding goodness inside its covers.

1     The Dread Page of Azathoth        
6     The Paranoia Files    
8     (The Facts In) The Case of Mark Edward Morrison         
14     Interview: Call of Cthulhu's High Priest of Fear: An Interview with Keith Herber    
19     The Crucifix & The Crucible     S    
26     From the Journals of Alexander Hale, Ph.D.: Trouble in Budapest        
29     Tales of Terror: The Specimen    
30     Mysterious Manuscripts: The Voynich Manuscript     
34     Esoterica: What the Deities Mean    
40     Tales of Terror: Natasha        
41     Mysterious Manuscripts: The Testament of Fascination & Survival    
42     Quirk Skills        
44     All Good Children         
54     In Media Res        
64     Message in a Bottle     


Wednesday, April 17, 2013

CoC - The Unspeakable Oath 14/15


I have not had a chance to use anything from the few issues (I know I have two but maybe a third hidden away somewhere) of The Unspeakable Oath that I own. I have been impressed with what I have read and I know that anything from Pagan is gold when it comes to Call of Cthulhu. In some cases that is almost literally price wise. The magazine has a great mix of content inside it and this issue alone contains six adventures.They are not cheap and I really wish there was a compilation of all the issues that would be put out someday. I would even buy the issues if they printed them as they were originally released. Below is the content for this issue:

1     The Dread Page of Azathoth    
6     From Beyond: Losing Sanity     
8     Mysterious Manuscripts: The Lord of the Yellow Sign    
9     Tales of Terror: Dead ... and Buried?         
10     Tales of Terror: Oily Grave        
12     From Beyond: Racism in Lovecraft and Call of Cthulhu    
14     Charles Fort        
16     Mysterious Manuscripts:Charles Fort's X and Y         
19     The Glove Cleaners         
22     The Hand of Y'golonac    
24     The Knights Templar         
43     What You Should Know about the Tommy Gun         
49     Fuel of the Gods        
62     Unhealthy Occupation         
76     Call of Duty         
98     Mysterious Manuscripts:Von denen Verdammten         
101     Mysterious Manuscripts:The Brick Cylinders of Kadatheron    
103     Tales of Terror: The Willowdales        
128     Message in a Bottle

Tuesday, April 16, 2013

CoC - The Great Old Ones


The Great Old Ones is a series of six adventures that are not connected but could be with some work. These adventures are set in the 1920s which is a bonus for me. The book was released in 1989 and it's 176 pages contain a mix of adventures. None of them are bad and the real problem is that two of them are what people might call classics.

I won't go into too much detail on the adventures as I realize that some people reading this may want to play them. I will say that one of them serves as something every campaign needs though not so much with Call of Cthulhu. If you are a GM I am sure you have made the mistake of letting something happen in the campaign that you did not want to. Usually this is an item that is too powerful or someone gets an ability that you did not foresee the damage in them having. When this occurs you need a way to reset everything and one of these adventures allows for just that.

Contains the following scenarios:

- The Spawn
- Still Waters
- Tell Me, Have You Seen the Yellow Sign?
- One in Darkness
- The Pale God
- Bad Moon Rising

From the back cover:

"Cthulhu and his minions plot against the peace and surety of the natural world, but so do a host of Powers distinct from him. Along with Great Cthulhu, these entities comprise the Great Old Ones, awesome beings who came to this planet hundreds of millions of years ago, and who dwell here yet in the dark places, just beyond the reach of man.


The Great Old Ones consists of a set of six scenarios for Call of Cthulhu: 'The Spawn' is in the Wild West, with Indians, Wobblies, and bad guys; 'Still Waters' is an adventure for people who hate to lend books; 'Tell Me, Have You Seen the Yellow Sign?' makes a symbolic stop-over in New Orleans; 'One in Darkness' features South Boston hoodlums; 'The Pale God' introduces investigators to an unusual contract; 'Bad Moon Rising' is an experience to remember. The adventures can be presented in sequence, as a loose campaign; limited cross-references allow the scenarios to stand independently."

Monday, April 15, 2013

CoC - Shadows of Yog-Sothoth


This has the honor, to the best of my knowledge, as being the first supplement/module released for the Call of Cthulhu game system. It was released in 1982 the year after the original game was released. It set off with some lowly ambitions as well, a global campaign to save mankind. I will leave it to the gentle reader to decide on their own if mankind deserves to be saved or not.

The book clocks in at 72 pages and contains a total of seventy-two pages. The campaign consists of seven intertwined adventures. These are all well done and will keep all investigators happy at some point in the adventure. It mixes up action, investigation, mystery and horror quite well. The early adventures for Call of Cthulhu seems to reflect the stories much better in that they built up to horrors in a slow burn where the investigators started out thinking it was something much less dire than it ended up being.

A book well worth having for both historical reasons as well as for the content.

Contents:

- The Hermetic Order of the Silver Twilight (Hutchison)
- Look to the Future (Petersen)
- The Coven of Cannich (Clegg)
- Devils Canyon (Carnahan)
- The Worm that Walks (Petersen)
- The Watchers of Easter Island (McCall)
- The Rise of R'lyeh (Petersen)
- The People of the Monolith (Shelton)
- The Warren (Gore).


From the back of the book:

The Silver Twilight is an international organization dedicated to the destruction of mankind. As brave investigators, you must piece together passages from esoteric books, shards of ancient artifacts and puzzling letters to discover the Silver Twilight's loathsome goals. This multi-chapter adventure begins in Boston and spans the globe. The Investigators must survive and conquer the mind-shattering monsters and minions of the Cthulhu mythos. Come, journey through the awesome realms of reality and match your wits and sanity against diabolical lurkers in SHADOWS OF YOG-SOTHOTH!

Sunday, April 14, 2013

CoC - Sacraments of Evil






I had mentioned before that I tend to prefer my Cthulhu set in the period that the game was originally written for. Modern era Cthulhu just takes some of the air of mystery away for me. Sacraments of Evil is a set of six adventures for the Cthulhu by Gaslight setting. I know it is not the same era but this setting is in my mind almost the same. I know you lose some of the technology and that the world was a little more restrained than it was in the 1920 but the mystery is still there. There is not nearly as much material for the Gaslight setting so this book is a little essential if you want to focus on that period. The adventures are not sequential or directly interrelated but can be connected with very little effort. It also contains advice on creating Gaslight setting investigators.


Contents:

- Introduction (Ross)
- The Eyes of a Stranger (Aniolowski)
- The Masterwork of Nicholas Forby (Love)
- Plant Y Daear (Ross)
- Sacraments of Evil (Behrendt)
- The Scuttling (Woods, Ross)
- Signs Writ in Scarlet (Ross)
- 1890s investigators, a Guide (Willis)
- 1890s Character Sheet

 There is a great writeup on the adventures by Stephen O'Brien at rpg.net. I have copied those here but you can find the full information there:

The Eyes of a Stranger is a whistlestop tour of a pulp-adventure Victorian London, taking in Jack the Ripper, Freemasons, Spiritualism, Chinese gangsters, mind-swapping, opium dens, and, of course, Sanity-Blasting Horrors From Beyond. Starting at a fashionable St. John’s wood party, the investigators are soon thrust into a plot which threatens the Empire, if not the world. Depending upon the investigators actions, a variety of human agencies will be busy helping or hindering them. I like this adventure a lot: not only does it illustrate everything that attracts me to “Gaslight”, but it also looks like it’ll make a nice start to a campaign. 

The Masterwork of Nicholas Formby contains no Mythos elements, being instead a tribute to the Gothic horror stories of the 19th Century. A schoolfriend of one of the investigators is sick, and they are invited to his country house. Thereupon they become involved in the search for a family treasure, and skulduggery of both human and supernatural origin. This strikes me as a good investigative mystery, concerned with finding relevant documentation and studying NPCs. There may also, depending on some investigator actions, be a nicely gothic chill at the very end. 

Plant Y Daer takes place in the Black Mountains of Wales (the title being Welsh, rather than a crazy Mythos language), with the investigators exploring the murder of a retired Colonel (who also features as a minor NPC in “The Eyes of a Stranger”). They will encounter fairly standard Lovecraftian horror of genetic inheritance and ancient secrets. The “standard” tag is the problem. Players with much experience of “Call of Cthulhu” may not find much too much to grab the imagination. On the other hand, I can see this being fairly effective with inexperienced players. 

Sacraments of Evil is set entirely within the ancient Cathedral City of York. It also has the distinction of being a genuinely nasty Cthulhu adventure, which should be able to get at least a grimace out of even us jaded 21st Century-types. The all-too-human problems of serial murder and spiritual corruption are at the forefront here, although an ancient lurking evil is also present. This should contain a few surprises for even experienced players, and is one of the standout adventures of the book. Oh, and a note for non-British Keepers: your average Yorkshire Police Constable won’t have a cockney accent. He’ll have a Yorkshire accent (See Monty Python’s “Four Yorkshiremen” for reference). 

The Scuttling is a strange one, but could be an interesting change for a group. There are no Mythos elements here, but don’t fret, there are sanity-bothering beasts from beyond the Jurassic. Basically, the investigators are hired to travel to New York by a wealthy businessman (who again features as a minor NPC in “The Eyes of a Stranger”). There they are to complete a transaction for a medieval statue. The outward journey and the transaction are reasonably straightforward, but on the way back events take a stranger turn, and players will soon be aware that Something Nasty is on board (perhaps a nod to “Dracula”). If well run, this could provide a few good moments of tension – the Keeper should play up the need to make hazardous “runs” below decks in order to gather supplies. The out-of-the-ordinary location also makes this worth running: how many “Call of Cthulhu” adventures encourage you to make the players sing sea-shanties? 

Signs Writ in Scarlet is a complex epic of an adventure at some 29 pages long, and is recommended for experienced players and Keepers – it’ll probably be quite a while before I feel that I’m up to running it. The action takes place mostly in the danker parts of London’s East End. A serial murderer is on the loose, and there are a variety of ways in which the investigators can become involved. Although the players won’t know it, they will be working against a time limit. At the same time, they will have to contend with the police, the inhabitants of the East End, and several private interests. All of this makes the adventure hazardous to the investigators, with a variety of potential ways of them meeting their downfall, not least their own curiosity. Best of all, the evil here, as with “Sacraments of Evil”, is largely human in nature. The investigators will be placed in at least one major moral predicament.


Saturday, April 13, 2013

CoC - Fragments of Fear: The Second Cthulhu Companion


The second companion to the Call of Cthulhu game provides the GM with a fair bit of information but the second companion is not as large as the first. The material in this does not really reach the level of that which was in the first one either. This is still a good item to have if you can find it at a reasonable price. Being released in 1985 it is coming up on being thirty years old and it will eventually become harder and harder to find so if you are a completest like I am the sooner the better.

From the back cover:

"Call of Cthulhu Questions Answered - Why does it take so long to read a Mythos tome? Why can't my investigator get 'used to' seeing common types of monsters? How do I learn a language in Call of Cthulhu? Must my character lose multiple Sanity for seeing multiple monsters?

The Ubiquity of Cthulhu - Working from the notes of brave Dr. Phileus P. Sadowsky (deceased), William Hamblin assembles ancient linguistic traces of the dread Cthulhu cult.

A Cthulhu Grimoire - Working summaries of all the spells from supplements Shadows of Yog-Sothoth, The Asylum, Cthulhu Companion, The Fungi from Yuggoth, Curse of the Chthonians, Trail of Tsathogghua, Masks of Nyarlathotep, and Fragments of Fear. Indispensible to keepers; deservedly horrifying to peeping players.

Scenario - The Underground Menace - Earthquakes hammer a hamlet in northern Michigan, but the townsfolk refuse to talk about the matter.

4-page Centrefold - Size-comparison silhouettes of selected Mythos deities, entities, monsters, species. See how big Great Cthulhu really is!

New Deities - Several new gods (and their servants) from the Mythos writings of Arkham House author J. Ramsey Campbell.

Scenario - The Hidden Valley - a dangerous quest leads the intrepid investigators into the 'heart of darkness' of the Belgian Congo jungles. This adventure may take several sessions to complete.

More - Model Ritual Curses, Innsmouth Street Map, a poem by H.P. Lovecraft, Mundane Animals from several continents, Sandy Petersen's introduction."

Friday, April 12, 2013

CoC - H.P. Lovecraft's Dreamlands


This is a module/setting for Call of Cthulhu that I have not had a chance to play. This is the third edition of the setting and I am certain I have at least the second and maybe the first which was a box set. This is by far my least favorite of the versions simply for the cover. I actually held off buying this at some really good prices simply because of the cover. There is something about the cover that makes it one of the creepiest things I have seem in gaming. I am sure that this is now somewhat tame for covers and interior art but this goes beyond shock into something unnerving for me.

The 3rd edition of Dreamlands contents;

Entering the Dreamlands
Evoking the Atmosphere of a Dream
Places
New Spells
Notable Inhabitants and Creatures of the Dreamlands
Introductions to the Adventures

Adventures;

- To Sleep, Perchance to Dream
- Captives of Two Worlds
- Pickman's Student
- Season of the Witch
- Lemon Sails
- The Land of Lost Dreams

Map of Dreamlands
Handouts
Player's Map of Central Dreamlands
1920' Character Sheet

Thursday, April 11, 2013

CoC - Cthulhu Now


I am not a purest when it comes to my Cthulhu horror nor when it comes to Cthulhu gaming. As a whole though I prefer the 1920 and 1930 eras for the genre. Not that it matters when it comes to fighting Elder gods. This is shone all to well in the Story "A Colder War", by Charles Stross, which would make a great scenario for this time period. I just find that the idea of having to travel from location to location and not being able to use cell phones and helicopters let alone Google makes for better adventuring. This is easier for people to relate to in some cases. This is the first edition of the game so much of what makes for modern ease was not even around when this was released. In the end give me bootleggers and debutantes over venture capitalists and pop star divas when it comes down to hunting the mythos and going insane.

From the back cover:

Cthulhu Now
Modern Background and Adventures For Call of Cthulhu Roleplaying


Cthulhu and the Old Ones remain powerful in the half-century since Lovecraft's death. The globe is well-explored, but the darkness within men's souls is unfathomed. Now human fortunes encompass Cthulhu and the H-Bomb too! Does technology aid the struggle for good, or is it helpless against forces from beyond space, beyond time?

Cthulhu Now includes four roleplaying adventures, "The City in the Sea," "The Killer Out of Space," "The Evil Stars," and "Dreams Dark and Deadly." Background essays provide new skills and occupations, up-to-date cash-flow information, an elaborate firearms article (and a foldout illustrating contemporary firearms), active and passive night-vision equipment, a survey of forensic pathology from Sherlock Holmes' day to the present (required reading for every serieous player), and even a hit location option (useful when lots of bullets must be dealt with). Player aids for the adventures are repeated on perforated pages at the back of the book.

Wednesday, April 10, 2013

CoC - Beyond the Montains of Madness


I there needed to be an official benchmark for well written modules/campaigns this would most likely be on the shortlist. Long before "big books" became the thing to put out this baby was there. It clocks in at 440 pages and includes enough gaming material to keep a party busy for about as long as a real Antarctic expedition might take.

Though "At the Mountains of Madness" is not my favorite Lovecraft story this module ranks among my favorite Call of Cthulhu modules. Also let me say that "not my favorite Lovecraft" does not mean to take too much away from the story itself. For a long time this was a hard book to get but it was recently reprinted if I am not mistaken which makes it less hard to find but I am not sure if the cost has dropped to a reasonable level yet. If you get a chance to experience this adventure do yourself a favor and make it happen.

"An epic Antarctic campaign and sourcebook for 1930s Call of Cthulhu.

Beyond the Mountains of Madness continues the story begun in H.P. Lovecraft's novel "At the Mountains of Madness". It is the tale of the Starkweather-Moore Expedition of 1933 which bravely - and foolishly - seeks to finish what the Miskatonic University Antarctic Expedition began three years before.
The massive book consists of the following:
  • The adventure itself, in seventeen chapters
  • Seven appendices, discussing timelines, Antarctic exploration background, logistics, vehicles and more
  • Handouts and maps"

Tuesday, April 9, 2013

CB2 - Conan Against Darkness


The two modules in this series are ones that are based on actual R.E. Howard stories set in the Conan milieu. I wish I could say that I played them but I never did. I honestly dismissed them a little bit because playing Conan is sort of like playing Superman in a DC game, Kirk in Star Trek or James Bond. It is not set up so that you could really fail and then comes the factor of deciding who plays the hero and who are the sidekicks. The cover alone was the reason that I bough this. The original Conan movie staring Arnold was a movie that exemplified gaming to me. I am not saying it was a good adaptation of the stories but that is the way gaming worked in our group.

From the back of the module:

 "Taking an iron grip on his nerves, he strode confidently into the dark portal, naked steel in hand, and vanished within"

Thosth-Amon, the greatest living sorcerer of the Hyborian Age, threatens the peace of Aquilonia. His tragic mistake is that he threatens Conan also, for Conan is now King of this mighty land.

Conan and his companions, Pelias, Prospero, and Nzinga journey across the plains of Shem and Stygia to test their will and power against this wicked sorcerer. Battle with them to conquer the evil forces that endanger their land.

Monday, April 8, 2013

Casket Works #11


This is a random magazine that came in a huge lot of random gaming stuff of eBay. It included a lot of nice gaming material and stuff that I would normally never have purchased. This was most likely my first introduction to Reaper Miniatures. I am normally not all that much into using miniatures having less than zero talent when it comes to painting them. The introduction of the AD&D prepainted miniatures was a blessing...and a curse. The magazine was great with it being full of material about the miniatures but in a gaming perspective. It gave NPC write up for miniatures and how to use them in games. There was also information on how to paint and other expert advice. It was almost enough to make me interested in buying more copies but in the end not enough.

Sunday, April 7, 2013

Campaign Magazine #2


The second and last issue of this magazine that I own. I can't say much about it other than that I really like the cover. I was not even able to find index information to provide you anywhere. This may go down as the lamest blog post ever. Sorry!

Saturday, April 6, 2013

Campaign Magazine #1


This is an item that I picked up right when I was starting to buy 3e material. I was certain I would not play it but I wanted to try and get a feel for what it was. I only ended up buying two of these magazines and I am certain they were Half Price Book purchases as I know I would not pay the full cover price though I am for Gygax Magazine but that is another story. In the end I think the magazine would have been a good value if you used the system and still has value for mining purposes.

The Magazine Contents:
 
2     The Standard     Editorial     
4     d20 System News     Information: General
6     Sovereign Stone: The New World     Information: Preview
11     Deadlands d20 Preview     Information: Preview
16     Elder Sons of the Green Lord Prestige Class     Stats
18     The Company of the Golden Sword     Background: Setting  
24     The Trembling Hill     Adventure    
30     By the Numbers: A Fighting Style for Every Occasion     GM Advice 
32     Interview: Interview: d20 Questions     Information: Interview  
39     Fumble Charts     Information: Preview

42     Border Worlds Campaign Setting     Background: Setting
48     Alien Invasion     Stats: Monsters 
51     Treasures from the Black Fleet     Stats: Items
56     Robots & A.I.s     Stats: Monsters 
59     The Bestiary     Stats: Monsters
61     New Friends, Old Enemies     Adventure
69     Preview of Computer 3rd Edition Games     Information: Preview
80     What I Think of the d20 System     Information: General   

72     Review: Dragon Lords of Melniboné
73     Review: Psionics Handbook
74     Review: Relics & Rituals
74     Review: The Forge of Fury
74     Review: Three Days to Kill‡
76     Review: L1: Demons and Devils
76     Review: R1: Rappan Athuk: The Dungeon of Graves: The Upper Levels
76     Review: The Speaker in Dreams
79     Review: The Tide of Years


Friday, April 5, 2013

Call of Cthulhu - Sixth Edition


There is not much more to add about this edition than the last one from yesterday. I prefer the cover from that edition and I know there were some changes in the edition but part of the beauty of the game is that editions change but the system really doesn't. This jumped the page count up to 320 but I am not sure if there was that much more material or a page layout change increased it.

From the publisher's website:

CALL OF CTHULHU is Chaosium's classic roleplaying game of Lovecraftian horror in which ordinary people are confronted by the terrifying and alien forces of the Cthulhu Mythos. CALL OF CTHULHU uses Chaosium's Basic Roleplaying System, easy to learn and quick to play. This bestseller has won dozens of game-industry awards and is a member of the Academy of Adventure Game Design Hall of Fame. In 2001 CALL OF CTHULHU celebrated its 20th anniversary. In 2003 CALL OF CTHULHU was voted the #1 Gothic/Horror RPG of all time by the Gaming Report.com community. CALL OF CTHULHU is well-supported by an ever-growing line of high quality game supplements. This is the softcover 6th edition of this classic horror game, completely compatible with all of previous editions and supplements for CALL OF CTHULHU. This is a complete roleplaying game in one volume. All you need to play is this book, some dice, imagination, and your friends.

Thursday, April 4, 2013

Call of Cthulhu - Mythos Edition (5.x)


There is really not much that needs to be written about this. The system continues to build upon itself with each new edition becoming better and better as opposed to more and more bloated unlike some other game that I won't mention. I am fairly certain I own most if not all the iterations of the game. The third is still my favorite I think but only for the cover of the book itself. Regardless of the version this will always be in my top five games to play.

From rpggeek:

Published in May 1992, this is the 5th edition of the popular horror RPG based upon H.P.Lovecraft's Cthulhu Mythos. A 240pg softback book, the first 64 pages are Rules, the rest of the book is Mythos.

This edition improves upon the previous editions without making substantial changes, by making the rules and content more coherent and complete, adding some dozen Skills, removing others (though not making them illegal), adding more characters, stats, occupations and so on. The game still focuses on horror, terror and the gradual... loss... of... your... SANITY!

Wednesday, April 3, 2013

C1 - The Hidden Shrin of Tamoachan


One of the classic monochrome modules from the early days of the game. This was originally used as a tournament module at Origins in 1979. This was rated #18 in the top 30 modules/adventures of all time in Dungeon magazine. I played this back in the early 80s and still remember the adventure today though most of the details have faded. It is an adventure that is trap heavy. This is easy enough to explain away though in real terms since it is a tournament module and you need to have traps to gauge thinking and to penalize foolishness. In the setting think of how pyramids are portrayed and you see what I mean. I also remember that the names were very exotic in nature. This module is overshadowed by The Tomb of Horrors but given the right DM I think this could rival it.

From the publisher:

"This module was originally used for the Official Advanced Dungeons & Dragons tournament at Origins '79, and is the first in another new series of modules from TSR, the COMPETITION SERIES. This module contains a challenging setting as well as an original scoring system and an assortment of pre-rolled characters for adventuring. The module may thus be used for private competition among players, or as a separate, non-scored adventure! also include herein are background information, a large-scale referee's map, referee's notes, and new monsters and descriptions for an added taste of excitement.

This module is meant to stand on its own, and includes areas on the map where Dungeon masters may add their own levels."

Tuesday, April 2, 2013

C&C: DB1 - The Haunted Highlands


The Haunted Highlands in a module/setting for the C&C game that I have not had an opportunity to use or play in myself. It is as much a setting that can be dropped into an existing campaign as it is a module. The book contains four separate adventures that are designed for varying levels. It also contains a complete pantheon, new monsters as well as extensive encounter tables.

From the front cover: 

Upon the bloody northern marches lies a curious Roadhouse. Here are gathered the flotsam of the world: miscreants, mercenaries, soldiers of fortune, adventurers. Dirty Bowbe's they call it and its as rough and safe a sanctuary as any will find in those dark and bloody grounds! For once, long ago, a Kingdom thrived here and the wealth of its coffers flowed across the lands as honey from a jar. But those days are long past and nothing but memories remain . . . memories and the shadows of yesterday.

Monday, April 1, 2013

C&C:R1 Player Character Reference Sheets


The ever present and forever required character sheet. Castles & Crusades was most likely the first of the games from a bigger company that tried to make a return to what we now take for granted via the OSR movement. Their first release was even a white box with little books inside. This is strictly me throwing my opinion out there but that is what I recall. Back to the item at hand though....

There is not much that needs to be said about character sheets. It does not fail at what it is supposed t do and for a character sheet that is perhaps the best praise it can garner.

From the back cover:

Are you tired of reams of disorganized sheets of paper used to track your character? Can't find that information you are looking for about your character? Is organization a problem? Troll Lord Games is happy to announce the release of the Castles & Crusades Character Reference Sheets. These small but mighty sheets of paper can help even the most experienced player keep track of their character's stats and equipment and is indispensable for novice players.

The Character Reference Sheets Contain six different types double-sided character sheets. Each type derived from an attributes and their associated classes; The Fighter/Ranger (Strength), Wizard/Illusionist (Intelligence), Cleric/Druid (Wisdom), Rogue/Assassin (Dexterity), Barbarian/Monk (Constitution) and Knight/Paladin/Bard (Charisma).

Designed to facilitate attribute check rules system, these sheets include room to record all the character's vital stats from Hit Points, Armor Class, to weapons used and spells known. On the front of each sheet is hand list of your classes' abilities and room to record your racial abilities. Plenty of room is given for what's important to your character and to the game. Record your equipment, keep up with how much ammunition you've used, how much food and water you have left. There is room enough left over to describe your character and give a brief background.

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