Fiendish Friday: Stink River Healers

Here’s another preview from the upcoming Under Dark Spires for Crypts and Things and other OSR rulesets. In this adventure book, there’s an area called the Stink River. It more than lives up to its name, being a broken, weird land full of puss ridden diseases and poisonous insects and plants. Its also inhabited by swamp dwelling tribesmen. Since there are none of the usual Temple of Healing franchise out in this remote part of the world, I thought it best that I detail what levels of healing the player characters can expect.

Getting help from the Local Healers

The Stink River People have an established class of Healers, with one or two in each village. They brew up cures, antidotes and preventative medicines in their healing hut, which also acts as a place to keep ill people, usually up to five patients, in quarantine. In the hut, you can also find the tools of the Stink River Healer’s craft.  Metal needles for lancing noxious boils, a small oven for heating needles, clay pots for storing medicines and creams.

The Healers primary role is to look after their people; all else is a distant second. Adventurers cannot come swanning up to healing Hut, suffering from some disease or poison, and expect immediate treatment from the Healer no matter how much gold they offer. The Healer will merely laugh at them and go back inside, as the village’s hunters notch arrows coated with poison (typically Imperial Folly) and aim in the character’s direction.  First, they must establish a relationship with the healer’s village, and only when they are accepted as an honorary member, after helping out by killing off dangerous monsters rescuing kidnapped members etc., will the Healer even consider healing them. The advantage is at this point there is no charge to the character, they have already paid in kind by helping the village

Stink River Healer AC 7[12] Leather equivalent HD 4 HP 20 Attacks 1 Knife (1d4) Mv 12 Special: Spellcasting CL/XP 5/240

Healers typically know the following spells:

Cure Disease, Cure Light Wounds, Neutralise Poison, Purify Food and Drink, Remove Curse, Sleep.

Note these spells are very heavily based on physical ingredients, such as specific herbs and prepared creams and powers. The Healer one in six times be out of the ingredients and require the characters to fetch them from the nearby wilderness before they can cast the spell to help their wounded colleague.

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Fiendish Friday: The Sixth

A little preview of a longer piece entitled “A Strange Thing Happened on the Way to the Ruins”, which is coming in the upcoming From the Shroud #2, which I’m hoping to get out in time for Furnace in Sheffield next month. (From the Shroud is an occasional Crypts and Things Fanzine, issue 1 is available from DriveThruRPG.com in pdf)

The Sixth

I am the Sixth of my kind.

Out of the mist, a young woman appears. She is bald, has golden skin, wears silver chainmail, which is light and does not impede her movement and gracefully carries a two-handed sword.  If the characters converse with her, she is pleasant enough but is confused about where she is and who she is. All she knows is that she is the Sixth of her kind.  If the characters allow her, she will gladly join their group, sensing that she will be able to remember her past while she adventures with them.

The Sixth is a magical clone of a former lover of the Sorcerer Ternon the Blind (see Crypts and Things page 137), and as her name suggests is the sixth in a series of failed experiments. Her ‘sisters’ are abroad in the world and may be encountered as she adventures with the party. Unlike her, they are all physically or mentally deformed in some way. They have the same stats. They hate her and want her dead. When they encounter her, they will challenge her on one to one combat. Once the other five are defeated, Ternon appears to bring the Sixth home, telling her that he released her into the world that to kill her five sisters. Only she could remove these abominations since of all of them she was the only perfect one. She then returns willingly with him.

Ternon magically created her to be stronger and faster than normal humans. Therefore she has a +3 to hit and damage with her two-handed Sword, has a move of 15 (rather than 12) and -4 [+4] modified Armour Class.

The Sixth AC 1 [18] Chainmail HD 6 HP 36 Attacks 1 Two-Handed Sword (1d10+3, +3 to hit) Move 15 Special Rules: Especially fast moving, Superhuman Strength, Immune to Sleep and other mind control magics CL/XP 7/600.

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Life and Death Zarth Edition is here!

Life and Death Zarth Editon for Crypts and Things and other OSR/Class-Level based games is now on general release!

Get it via

More info, see the three previews

All art in this version is by the extremely talented David M.Wright (who did all the art for Crypts and Things Remastered).

Pot Burial Zombie by David M.Wright

Pit Demon by David. M. Wright

The Chained King by David M. Wright

The Chained King by David M. Wright

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Life and Death Zarth Edition Overview

Its Fiendish Friday, so here’s my final preview of the upcoming Life and Death Zarth Edition scenario book, which is currently on pre-order and out on general release next week.

In a nutshell Life and Death is my attempt at doing a post-apocalyptic fantasy world in the style of George Romero’s Day of the Dead films with a large dollop of Clark Ashton’s bleak take on Swords and Sorcery. Except with me being all Fighting Fantasy “You are the Hero”, the players have the opportunity if they dig deep enough into the adventure to find out why the world is full of shambling undead.

L&D was originally a D100 adventure for OpenQuest and specifically, my attempt at making an open-ended adventure where the players could still make choices and drive the plot depending on them.  I wrote about this in a post I made to support the OpenQuest Bundle of Holding and the Crypts & Things conversion still holds that structure. It’s not a dungeon crawl, but more a location based adventure where each location is described in broad terms, enough to get the GM going and answer basic questions, a list of who is to be found there and then a series of events that could happen there if the appropriate triggers are satisfied. It’s a sort of story based sandbox. I give you the blocks and the players actions put them together. I’ve run the scenarios multiple times and no run is the same.

Pit Demon by David. M. Wright

Let’s delve deeper into the adventures:

Joining the Guild of Treasure Hunters. This is a one-page mini-adventure. It’s a tribute to the sort of introductory adventures you got in old RQ2 campaign boxes, such as Entering Pavis, where the title reflects exactly what happens in this straightforward adventure. Sit down and play through the adventure and let your players basics of the rules and ease them and yourself into the setting.  This adventure gets the player characters signed up the Guild, which gives them a rationale for working together and a ready-made patron for the adventures ahead, who isn’t some bloke they’ve met down a tavern or a high-level character who has a vice like hold over them.

The Dust of Eternity. This my take on the traditional sorcerer’s tower adventure, with Zombies as the main protagonist. I made sure that every NPC and monster in the adventure is a person with a personality and rationale behind their action. A lot of this came from the “Monsters are People too” articles from back in the 80s. Those short essays that held the central realisation that NPCs weren’t just stat-blocks waiting to be hacked apart, but had personalities and motives just like the characters! Another inspiration came from playing far too much of the first-person shooter Bioshock, where the zombie like antagonists wander around moaning and streaking about things to do with their previous life, which brings about a weird morbid fascination that even these monsters have feelings and thoughts which deepens the sense of horror.  I also wanted to write an adventure where the players don’t win if they fight their way through and just collect treasure.

Dead Pot Country. This is a small location based setting. The characters are lured there for a number of reasons, a breakdown of which is given in the setup of the adventure.  On the edge of the dried-up valley that dominates Dead Pot country itself is the village. Things are not happy in the village. Bandit chief and his men have taken over the village and have forced them to look for relics of the ancient dead civilisation that used to flourish in the area. Will the characters help the villagers break free or will they side with the Bandits for quick and easy access to the valley? Once in the valley, the characters must navigate the cyclopean ruins of the dead river civilisation which is haunted by gangs of undead monsters and guardians. Finally, they find their way down into a dark underground labyrinth were rulers of Dead Pot Country wait for them in the darkness.

Life and Death. This is the truly epic adventure of the book, which is served up in four parts. It’s like a film in three acts. The first act sees the characters arrive in the village outside the gates of Miraz, a militaristic city state. During this act, we learn the character’s motives for coming here. Perhaps they are here to make their fortune as a mercenary, rescue a loved one or seek to help destabilise this tyrannical city which is currently suffering from a plague. They spend a night in a “hostel for visitors” since the gates are closed until morning. This allows them to experience Miraz’s culture first time, and prepare them for the state of fear and suspicion they will encounter inside the city. Then the second act focuses on what is happening in the city. It gives a rundown of the city’s culture, the current situation where one-third of the city is overrun by a Zombie plague, a guide to the city’s main locations, with events that can happen there, and a cast list of everyday citizens and various movers and shakers. The last act takes them high into nearby mountains where the source of the city’s power, an iron mine, is the centre of a struggle between three factions seeking to control the destiny. There deep in the mine system the characters finally come in to contact with the enigmatic force that will decide the fate of their world itself.  The final part of the adventure is a section about how to bring the adventure to a satisfying conclusion for the players, no matter what rambling route they have taken around it.

Previous preview posts about this adventure book:

Life and Death Zarth Edition is currently on Pre-Order on the D101 Games webstore and will be available by the end of next week.

Life and Death Zarth Editon - cover by Jon Hodgson

Life and Death Zarth Editon – cover by Jon Hodgson

 

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Something mysterious is happening on Furlong Down

I nearly missed this one due to being on holiday,  but John R. Davis is Kickstarting his latest 5ed adventure module, The Mysterious Happenings on Furlong Down, to pay for art by the extremely talented Jonny Gray as well as a bit of editing. It’s already met its modest goal and is now racking up the stretch goals.

John has a proven record of delivering Kickstarters, having done previously done two other 5ed/OSR modules (linked to in the Kickstarter description).  I can personally recommend this.

More info from the Kickstarter page.

The Mysterious Happenings at Furlong Down is an adventure landscape (mini campaign) for use with 5th edition Dungeons and Dragons. It pays homage to early 1st edition modules such as Bone Hill, Sinister Secret of the Saltmarsh and Against the Cult of the Reptile God. It also draws specific inspiration from the following 1980s small press publications: Starstone by Paul Vernon & the Adventures in Tortured Souls Magazine.

There are at least 20 quests / plots / mysteries to resolve. There is plenty for the PC’s to do.

This Kickstarter is to raise funds to pay for editing and to add as much art, from the most excellent Jonny Gray,  as possible. Some draft illustrations are shown.

This publication will contain:

  • A rural village to investigate, and save?
  • 20 wilderness encounters to overcome.
  • 10 site based adventure areas (with 11 maps), containing about a 100 dungeon ‘rooms’.
  • A random encounter table for the various terrains.
  • A table of rumour, worry and gossip.
  • A map for Hexploration outlining the ranges of the many foul, and fair, creatures that roam the land.
  • Total 32-36 page count PDF in two column format. Size 11 font. Approximately 20,000 words.
  • Access to an at cost Print On Demand.
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Christmas in July UK OSR picks

Here’s my personal list of picks from the UK publishers participating in DriveThruRPG.com’s Christmas in July sale.

Return of the Woodland Warriors by Beyond Belief Games
I loved the first edition of this simplified and tweaked version of Swords & Wizardry that only uses D6s and is suitable for children. The new edition has full-colour art which adds to the magic. Lovely cover by longtime D101 collaborator Peter Frian.

The Cthulhu Hack by Just Crunch Games
Rules light, courtesy of its use of the Black Hack engine, rules for Cthulhu investigative horror. It’s just been upgraded to version 1.5, which refines this already sharp ruleset. Oh and its supplements are also in the sale.

Mythras by Design Mechanism
If you’ve not got this behemoth of D100 goodness by now here’s your chance. As well as the core system, which is a complete thing and good to go running a wide variety of fantasy settings of various genres, all the formidable selection of adventures and setting books are in the sale.

My recommendations: Mythic Rome & Mythic Britain (including Mythic Britain: Logres, the supplement by D101 collaborator Paul Mitchener about the Anglo Saxons), and I’m going to use the sale to catch up with the Monthly Mythras adventures that I’ve woefully fallen behind on.

Crypts of Indormancy by Melsonian Arts Council
A nice self-contained, creepy as fuck adventure for Lamentations of the Flame Princess.

Clockwork and Chivalry by Cakebread and Walton
The English Civil War as fought by Alchemical Cavaliers and Clockwork device using Roundheads.  One of my favourite settings of all time, and the D100 Renaissance system (an offspring of OpenQuest) makes me grin even more. Also check out the epic Pirates & Dragons, if you fancy a bit of fantasy Pirates in the vein of Pirates of the Carribean.

The Christmas in July sale is on until the end of the month over at DriveThruRPG.com, and all of D101 Games Books are participating with 25% off all pdfs.

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D101 Games pdfs in DriveThruRPG’s Christmas in July!

All of D101 Games pdfs are in DriveThruRpg.com Christmas in July sale.

So that means 25% off Crypts and Things, OpenQuest, River of Heaven and The Company, and all the adventures/supplements for those games, until the end of July.

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Crypts and Things Conversion pdf for The Midderlands

I’m currently a big fan of Glyn Seal’s The Midderlands, which I previewed in an earlier post., which is currently on Kickstarter.

Ok if it reaches its funding goal of £12 k (and it’s already over halfway there at the time of writing), I will produce a 5-10 page conversion document.  This pdf will allow you to pick up and play the Midderlands (which already uses Swords and Wizardry) with Crypts and Things, that all Midderlands backers will receive. The Midderlands is a vile and dangerous Weird Land that fits in with the whole vibe of Clark Ashton Smith’s Averoigne Stories, whose tales of weird fantasy set in a fictional province of medieval France, which was a significant influence on Crypts and Things nastier side.

The document will contain sections on:

1. Characters. How to take C&T’s core character classes and drop them in the Midderlands. New Lifepath tables to reflect both characters from the Midderlands and the Savage North and Tame South from outside its borders. New Life path tables for classes to take into account the career opportunities in the Midderlands.

2. The Midderlands is a feast of creatures, but I will also give notes on Fiends from Crypts and Things that you can drop straight in with ease.

3.  Rules modifications for C&T, for example, the corrupting effects of Gloomium and the threats to characters’ sanity the land presents.

Just to be clear, I’m not getting paid for this. I’m doing this because it’s an excellent setting/creature/adventure book that’s got me all excited to do a conversion doc that lets me run it when the book comes out.

So if you are a Crypts & Things fan I hope I’ve given you a little bit of an incentive to go check it out and if you like what you see back it.

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Grab some D101 Old School goodness in our 25% Summer Sale

25% off Summer Sale at D101 Games Web store, for two weeks, closes Sunday 16th July 12 am GMT.
Amongst the items on Sale!

  • Crypts and Things (Softcover £15/$23 Hardcover £23/$30)
  • River of Heaven (Softcover £15/$23 Hardcover £23/$30)
  • The Savage North for OpenQuest (£7.5/$10)

P&P is free to UK residents.

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Into the Midderlands

A quick recommendation/preview here from me.

OSR Map maker supremo and all round nice guy Glynn Seal of Monkey Blood Design is Kickstarting his Midderlands Book.  This is a setting/creature book with a short adventure, which comes bundled with a gorgeous large map of the setting. The Midderlands is a fictional medieval fantasy version of the lands around were Glynn lives in English Midlands region.

Here’s the preview vid in all its green glory.

This book is going to be a 300+ hardcover, comparable in content and form to such OSR classics like Lamentations of the Flame Princess’s Carcosa and Red and Pleasant Land. But that a lazy comparison once you start delving into the content itself.

And what content it is. First, of its all clearly and logically presented, despite the spiky green theme that runs through the book. It would have been very tempting to present this as a ‘messy’ thing, especially with the huge dollops of Monty Python/Black Adder (tending towards the black humour of the later) that pepper the text. No Glynn has resisted that urge and has kept everything tidy and neat. It’s both highly enjoyable read, from what little I’ve have had the pleasure to read of the ‘nearly done’ draft he was so kind to provide me with for this preview. It’s also, and this matters at my gaming/scenario creation table, an easy to use reference book.

I’ll refer you to the Kickstart itself for a breakdown of the book itself. Since Glynn does a much better job than I could myself (with full page spreads), but my highlights from my skim so far are the numerous race as character classes, that cover the various species of goblins and other slimy/spiky things covered in the creatures chapter.  I can easily see myself running a short campaign or convention game based upon an adventuring group of these monsters.

As a Kickstarter project, I can firmly recommend this. It’s logically consistent, the price is right for what you are getting, and the stretch goals are focused on the book itself rather than endless additional supplements, which delay delivery. This book is ready to go, and the funds go straight funding production of a print run.

 

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