Monday, November 6, 2017

The OSR News - Revival Edition

Some Recent New Releases

Flower Liches of the Dragonboat Festival from Kabuki Kaiser.

Author - P. Crespy. Artist - Evlyn M.

Available in PDF for $4.99 and in softcover for $9.90. Available in Hardcover for $19.90. Other combinations also available at the same link. 95 pages.
When omens portend ill fortune for the city, the priests call upon a Dragonboat Festival: a racing competition gathering swift boatmen from all over the continent. Their ancient chants call forth the powers of the undying, waking the Flower Liches from their distant graves. For a week, the liches roam the city freely, and oversee the race, taking the losing crews as tributes and sacrifices. Once the Dragonboat Festival is finished and the liches disappear, the city's prosperity is magically replenished, and all the monetary wealth the citizenry had before the festival — player characters included — is doubled.

Author - Thom Wilson. Artist - Je Shields.

Available in PDF for PWYW. 10 pages.
Once a boisterous and popular bar, Tenkar’s Tavern has recently become a place shrouded in mystery and despair. Members of the kitchen staff have disappeared and have not returned in several days. Additional hired hands have also since gone missing. An empty kitchen means unhappy customers and the barkeep Nerik is losing money! He needs outside help to solve his dilemma. Can the adventurers help find the kitchen staff or the source of the tavern’s problems?
An Adventure for three to six characters of 1st or 2nd level, designed for Swords & Wizardry TM by Matthew J. Finch.
10 pages, B&W
Fever Swamp from Melsonian Arts Council.

Image of Fever Swamp pre-order (print & PDF)Author - Luke Gearing. Artist - Andrew Walter.

Available in Print & PDF for £12.00. Available in PDF for $7.84. 32 pages.

The air is moist. The moisture mixes with your sweat — the heat is relentless. The drone of insects gives you headaches, and the fever from the infected wounds has left you delirious. Your raft is damaged, and there are spirits in the trees. 
You’ve only been here for three days. 
Fever Swamp is a hex-crawl sandbox adventure compatible with Lamentations of the Flame Princess and most other Dungeons & Dragons clones.
PLEASE NOTE: this is a pre-order (expected delivery date late November) discounted to match the Kickstarter pricing. Once released the book will be priced according to material costs, which will likely be higher. Also bear in mind that and any books ordered along with this will be held back until it is ready to ship.

The Dying Sword: A Labyrinth Lord Adventure from Unbalanced Dice Games.

The Labyrinth Lord has heard the story of Delldrell. A mad man who lead his people away from the water to conquer the land people. A man who was not right for that job! Now his clumsiness has been released again. His final battle he must finish with the party's assistance. The priest will show them where he is. Delldrell is making him do it! 
The Dying Sword is a short mid level Labyrinth Lord adventure. A fight for a dark night and a grumpy Labyrinth Lord. Come party, come whispers Delldrell and the blade that will never finish dying.
 The Wasted Hack from Shattered Pike Studio.

Author and Artist - Aaron Frost.

Available in PDF for $5.00. 100 pages.

The Wasted Hack is a “Pen and Paper” role playing game made using "The Black Hack" 
by David Black that uses dice and character abilities to resolve conflicts and overcome challenges in a Post-Apocalyptic world. 
Players assume the roles of survivors in this ruined world, with varied backgrounds and abilities at their disposal. Play as a brutal Savage, disciplined Veteran, crafty Scavenger, or baleful Infected. 
This 100 page book contains rules for Action Dice that fuel special abilities for each class that can be acquired as the characters level up, a wide array of mutations the characters can develop over time, weapons, armor, and gear, varying degrees of success, hirelings, character vs. character combat, waste-land beasts to oppose your players, printable monster cards, Marvelous Items including Future-Tech, Relics, Lost Marvels and Schematics, and more!
Eructation Of The Goblin Troll: A Labyrinth Lord Adventure from Unbalanced Dice Games.

Available in PDF for $3.50. 35 pages.
Again the party is summoned by the Labyrinth Lord. In their hands is a notice from Blurf. Come to the Inn Of The Big Beer, the situation is dire. The party must hall their mid level butts there. To a dangerous place Blurf is sending them, to bring back the head of The Goblin Troll! People have stopped drinking his beer and the Goblin Troll is why. 
Eructation Of The Goblin Troll is a mid level adventure for Labyrinth Lord. Be prepared not only for fighting but for being damn confused! :D A nights entertainment or an eternity of being lost? Blurf is waiting. Blurf Blurf Blurf the party will find themselves saying, why only 100 GP???

Author - Mark Craddock.

Wizardry Unearthed presents Additional Classes, Races, Optional Rules for a Saving Throw inspired system for Thief Abilities, and Monsters from across the planes to add to your SWORDS & WIZARDRY CONTINUAL LIGHT Game.

The Witch for Swords & Wizardry Continual Light from The Other Side Publishing.

Author - Timothy S. Brannon. Artists - Marlena Mozgawa, Luigi Castellani, Larry Elmore, William McAusland, Bradley K McDevitt.

The Witch. 
This is a spellcaster that blends both divine and arcane practices. Whether she is the helpful local healing woman or the evil wicked hag of legends is up to the player. 
Designed to be used with the Swords & Wizardry Continual Light game. 
This class adds three new Witch Traditions, new spells, and new magic items to the Swords & Wizardry Continual Light game.
Advanced Adventures #38: White Dragon Run II from Expeditious Retreat Press.

Advanced Adventures #38: White Dragon Run II (Print Version)
Authors - James C. Boney, Joseph Browning, Joseph A. Mohr. Artists - Peter Mullen, Jack Holliday,
The Forge, Jeremy Hart, Matt Morrow, William McAusland, Rob Torno, Jason Walton.

Available in Print & PDF Combo for $14.00 and in PDF for $7.00. Also available from the  Expeditious Retreat Press Lulu store. 18 pages.
White Dragon Run II is an OSRIC(tm) module designed for 6-10 adventurers of levels 2-5. 
Return to the little village of White Dragon Run! At the edge of civilization— the place where monsters are a constant threat and adventurers thrive—reputations are made or broken, and deeds are performed only to be set in verse decades after the real story is long lost. On this thin line between country and chaos lies White Dragon Run, the last stop for the civilized before the well-trodden road becomes the weed-infested trail leading to creatures that would rather fight than herd, fish or farm. 
White Dragon Run II contains four new locations in the Skathernes: The Sane Hermit, The Rainbow In The Dark, the rare and unusual Ambulatory Tower, and the deadly Temple of the Snake God.
If you enjoy this adventure, look for future releases in the Advanced Adventures line from Expeditious Retreat Press.
Dungeon Crawl Classics #95: Enter the Dagon from Goodman Games.

Author - Harley Stroh. Artist - Doug Kovacs.
DCC95-EnterTheDagonAvailable in Print for $9.99. In PDF for $6.99. Also from DTRPG in PDF for $6.99. 36 pages.
A Level 5 Adventure 
The Isle of Dagon: to common folk, it presages death, pestilence, and woe. To warlocks, witches, and wizards, the isle offers a wealth of occult power, forbidden knowledge, and spells beyond the ken of mortal man. But before you can lay claim to the island’s secrets, first you have to survive its fabled spell duels — a series of death matches where only one caster may reign supreme.
Wizards and elves will be tested to the fullest of their abilities. To triumph, parties must also survive the machinations of the other contenders and their wicked retinues. For when vying for the title of Master of Dagon, and battling against some of the most powerful sorcerers to tread the Known Worlds, you will need every advantage you can glean. Will you and your companions sit passively by, awaiting whatever fate befalls you? Or will you take the fight to your foes? 
And when your life — and those of your companions — hangs on the casting of a single spell, will you have the courage to accept Dagon’s challenge? 
The time for questioning has passed. Black-sailed ships have come to ferry you and your companions to the fabled death matches. It is time to Enter the Dagon.
ImageThreshold #17: Western Brun from The Vaults of Pandius.

Editor in Chief - Francesco Defferrari (Sturm.) Artists - Giampaolo Agosta, Leandro Abrahão, Robin D., William McAusland.

Available in PDF for Free. 210 pages.
This issue of Threshold should be considered a starting point in a great voyage to th

West of Brun, with the help of the maps and the reports sent by previous explorers. 
We will indeed begin by examining the maps of Brun produced over the years, and then we will look at the timeline of the great continent and at the people and creatures who inhabit it.  
Special focus of this issue is on the Arm of the Immortals, with Ignacio Ramos’ maps and Atila Pires dos Santos’ original nations and cultures
Frontier Explorer #22 from Frontier Explorer Magazine.

Senior Editor - Tom Stephens.

Available in PDF for Free. 41 pages.
And welcome to the fourth and final issue in Star Frontiers’ 35th Anniversary year. This issue has a wide ranging variety of articles including new archetypes, new equipment, station construction rules, and more. This issue also introduces a new back cover comic, The Escape Plan, by our comic artist Scott Mulder. It will be fun to see where this new adventure takes us.
Advanced Adventures #37: Under Ruined Onm from Expeditious Retreat Press.

Author - Joseph A. Mohr. Artist -  Bradley McDevitt, Del Teigeler.

Title: Advanced Adventures #37: Under Ruined Onm (Print Version)Available in Print & PDF for $14.00. Available in PDF for $7.00. Also available from the  Expeditious Retreat Press Lulu store. 16 pages.
Under Ruined Onm is an OSRIC(tm) module designed for 6-10 adventurers of levels 5-7. 
Nearly seventy five years ago the greatest bard ever known in the dry land of Zanzia disappeared. Anton Deangelo was a hero famous for some of the greatest songs in Zanzian history. In verse, countless dragons he slew, dozens of giants he felled, and hundreds of demons he put to the sword! Outside of the world of song, he and his band of adventurers gathered significant riches and looted many dungeons all over the land. Then suddenly…he was gone. The last time he was heard from he and his merry band were outfitting an expedition to explore the ruined city of Onm in search of the lost Mandolin of Duaree the Mad.
The Onm ruins are on the edge of the Blood River and the Dragon Teeth Mountains and no other ruins fabled enough to attract Deangelo are known to be in that area.
If you enjoy this adventure, look for future releases in the Advanced Adventures line from Expeditious Retreat Press.
Garden of Evil from Dragonsfoot.

Author - Joseph A. Mohr. Artists - See File.

Available in PDF for Free. 30 pages.
The Great Druid of Zanzia has summoned adventurers to the standing stones near the city of Barrowmar. He is very concerned about one of his initiates who has disappeared in the Dark Forest north east of the city. The initiate has lived there for some time but has not been heard from for weeks. Strange reports have been coming in about bizarre creatures and plants in the forest. Multi-headed creatures and plants that walk, talk and move have been reported. Something dire has happened in the forest and the Great Druid wants the adventurers to investigate these strange reports. An adventure for characters of 7th to 9th Level.

Some Re-Releases and Second Editions

Astonishing Swordsmen & Sorcerers of Hyperborea (Second Edition) from North Wind Adventures.

Author - Jeffrey Talanian (author), David Prata (editor.) Artists - Ian Baggley, Daisey Bingham, Johnathan Bingham, Charles Lang, Peter Mullen, Russ Nicholson, Glynn Seal, Val Semeiks, Jason Sholtis, Logan Talanian, Del Teigeler.

Available in Print for $69.99 and in PDF for $19.00. 622 pages.
ASTONISHING SWORDSMEN & SORCERERS of HYPERBOREA™ is sword-and-sorcery role-playing at its pinnacle. Play an Amazon fighter, Atlantean magician, Esquimaux shaman, Hyperborean warlock, Ixian necromancer, Keltic barbarian, Kimmerian cataphract, Pictish thief, Viking berserker, or one of many other possibilities. 
The heroes of a HYPERBOREA campaign delve the mazes and labyrinths of vast dungeons filled with horrifying monsters, lethal traps, and bewildering puzzles. They explore savage frontiers, breach hostile borderlands, probe ancient ruins, and investigate cursed tombs. They plunder for treasure and magic in a decaying world inhabited by bloodthirsty beasts and weird, otherworldly beings.
Now in its second edition, AS&SH™ has been expanded to include new classes, new spells, new monsters, new magic items, and more! It also includes a new, full colour map, an introductory town and adventure, as well as hundreds of new illustrations! This new edition is backwards-compatible with the original edition of the game.

Explore endless challenges and infinite realms of imagination with this complete sword-and-sorcery role-playing game!

Space Age Sorcery Version 1.5 from Hereticwerks.

Authors - Garrisonjames, Eric Fabiaschi. Artists - Garrisonjames.

Space Age Sorcery (1.5) was first made available from the Hereticwerks blog in 2013, now the free pdf lives again here at DriveThruRPG/RPGNow. We hope you enjoy it. 
The Revised & Expanded Version of Space Age Sorcery (v. 2.0) will be coming soon in both hardcover and softcover formats.

Misc. News

The Bundle of Holding Old School Revival +5 still has 14 days to go.

Rafael Chandler has some cool generators up for your perusal.

The prophet Konsumterra of the Elfmaids & Octopi blog continues to put out weird and wonderful random tables.

Papers & Pencils brings you Blogs on Tape.

Mighty Thor JRS - Fantasy Book News & Reviews.

And a Character Sheet for Death is the New Pink.

A few Product Reviews

Melan of Beyond Fomalhaut reviews Under Tenkar's Tavern.

Bryce of Ten Foot Pole reviews Under Ruined Onm.

And a Map

A pretty cool interactive map of Sigil. 

About The OSR News
Unless otherwise noted, all links to products and files are to the individual authors sites, pertinent posts, or sales pages. I don’t link directly to files, unless that is the only link available.  
I have received no remuneration from any publisher, for reporting on their releases, nor is such a requirement for a product to be included in these posts. At times, an author or publisher may send me a complimentary copy of an item, for purposes of review. This is not a requirement for a product's inclusion in these posts. Some of the links to products are affiliate links and do provide compensation from the pertinent site.

Please feel free to send me information on any new releases, events, or other items of interest, which you would like to see mentioned.

Sunday, November 5, 2017

The Horn of the Edge of Time

This large black horn is made of a dense wood of unknown origin and encircled with thick gold bands engraved with Dwarven runes.

Only a Fighter (or B/X style Dwarf, Elf, etc.) may use the Horn and usually has only one opportunity to do so. A Fighter who raises the Horn with the intent to use it, will immediately know why this is so and may choose not to follow through with their decision.

Upon sounding, the Horn will summon a number of Warriors from the Edge of Time, as follows:

If the user's level is 1-5, then the Horn will summon 1d4 5th lvl Fighters for every three foes present, to a maximum of 3d4.

If the user's level is 6-8 then the Horn will summon 1d4 5th lvl Fighters for every three foes present, to a maximum of 6d4.

If the user is 9th level or higher, then as above, except the maximum number summoned is 15d4, unless the number of foes exceed 25,000 and there are a significant number of outer planar powers present on the battlefield, such that the battle might be considered of apocalyptic import. In which case, the full compliment of Warriors will be summoned to the battle field and their exact number is left to the Referee to determine.

In the aftermath of any of the above cases, if all of the warriors are slain by foes or accidental friendly fire, then the user may retain the Horn and activate it again at a later date, assuming he survives.

Otherwise, if the user and at least one of the Warriors are still standing, then the user is instantly slain and must accompany the surviving Warriors to the Edge of Time and join their number. The Horn will then teleport to a random location in the multiverse, unless seized by a Dwarf who was an ally of the previous user, within 1d2 rounds.

Saturday, November 4, 2017

Reviews: Hubris - A World of Visceral Adventure

Image result for hubris dcc

Hubris - A World of Visceral Adventure

Concept design and writing by Mike Evans.

With art, design and layout work by Mike Evans, Alex Mayo, David Lewis Johnson, Jez Gordon, Jeremy Duncan, Angie Groves, Doug Kovacs, David Lewis Johnson, Jason Sholtis, Wayne Snyder.

Available in PDF for $14.99. In Softcover for $34.99 and in Hardcover for $49.99. 350 pages.
Hubris is a weird fantasy setting that uses the awesome Dungeon Crawl Classics rules! In this book you will find 10 territories filled with tables and charts to generate interesting locations and encounters, new occupations, 4 new classes, 5 new playable races, 3 new spells, 4 new patrons, including 3 patrons spells for each, 11 new and terrible gods, 14 tables and charts for a GM to use to aid them in their game or create interesting/fun situations, two new adventures to kick off a campaign, and 51 new enemies (including enemies that are unique thanks to random generation). Hubris is hackable! Each territory can be used as the GM wills! Need a desert, swamp, or frozen tundra for your game? Use what's in Hubris!
Reviewers note: This review is late. Ridiculously late. Mike sent me a PDF for review and I apologize to both him and my remaining readers.

Jesus, fuck!

Mike Evans was kind enough to send me a free copy of the Hubris PDF for review. I haven't done a review in years. But, returning to the blog is always in the back of my mind and I jumped at the chance to take a look-see at what I was fully expecting to be more than worth everyone's while.

Jesus, fuck!

DIY RPG ProductionsHubris is a setting for the DCC RPG. I'm far from an expert with that system. I've never ran it, though I've read the rules and various other materials for the game. So, I'm not going to be examining this too closely from a rules system perspective. Since much of Hubris is system free and is by and large usable with any Dungeons & Dragons type game, I think we'll be ok.

One of the arguments you often see in old school circles, is that D&D is post-apocalyptic. Throughout the early material you see nods to this idea. Myths and artifacts hearken back to a dimly remembered past. Gods walked the earth, the mortal races were on the brink of something grand and transcendent and the mysterious, all powerful ancients were masters of the world. Then, something happened and things got all fucked up!

Under this paradigm, the traditional campaign takes place long after the great disaster, when humans and other races have began to move civilization forward once again. In a precarious, hold onto your asses kind of way.

There's always the chance that things will take a turn for the worst. There's Dark Lord's a scheming, hordes of misshapen things, invading armies from Hell, meteor's slamming into whatever bright, last hope type of civilization humanity has been working on so assiduously for the betterment of all life. All very typical of what's often referred to as a "Vanilla," D&D setting.

OSR designers have often striven to break from those "Vanilla" ideas, taking their setting inspiration from horror, science fiction, swords & sorcery, atomic-age post apocalyptic media, pre-historic times and a host of other, less often traveled streams of fiction and myth.

Hubris draws from many of those streams, to take the usual D&D Post-Apocalypse and turn it up to 11. Here, things have very much taken a turn towards the dark end of the spectrum and instead of the milieu's peoples slowly climbing back towards the heights from which they have fallen, we have a real nasty world, over-brimming with despair, violence and cruelty.

After the usual Introductions, the book opens with a Setting Summary. Upon looking at the map and its notations, many horrid, nasty, hellish-sounding places are marked. A small number of locales look kind of promising. But, overall there appears to be very little possibility of hope, or succor.

We then get into the rulebook section with Chapter 1: Character Creation, which includes a list of Occupations for Hubris. Many will be familiar, in some variant or another, others not so much. I don't think I've seen a Pus Diviner in any supplement before.  I can work with that!

Four new classes are given: Alchemist, Blood Witch, Druid, and Shadowdancer. Five new races, are also presented for play: Avarian, Ekrask, Half Demon, Murder Machine, and Mutant.

I think all of these are well done. In particular, I like the Alchemist. Aside from being the bomb throwing, potion slinging fellow one might expect, he also has a Jeckyl/Hyde thing going on, which I think is just splendid!

The Murder Machine is a product of techno-sorcery and whatever poor bastard had to endure the process of their re-creation.

The Mutant is gloriously fucked up! Three tables with almost two-hundred total entries, will morph, distort and empower your PC. You're probably going to end up very, very gross.

From there we get some sections on Optional Rules and Chapter 2: Equipment. There's rules for class based damage and a few other things. The equipment section is pretty much what one might expect, except for the alchemical items and the Prostitution table.

Bringing us to Chapter 3: Territories of Hubris. These ten territories each are given a short intro. Then, a Lay of the Land d100 table, sort of a "what the hell is going on here," thing. An Encounters d100 table, sort of a "what the hell do I run into here," thing. The tables are filled with interesting and disturbing things and people to interact with. There's tons of adventure to be rolled up. There's also a few pages detailing some prominent locales of the region, with rumors and more adventure hooks.

The Random Table as setting expository tool is one of my favorite OSR design concepts. Mike does an admirable job of using his tables for this purpose, providing just enough additional prose to round things out and really bring these horrid locales to life. And yeah, the locales are horrid. Phantasmagorical. Visceral.

With names like The Weeping Forest of Forgotten Memories, the Great Plains of Unbidden Sorrow, The Frozen Wastes, these aren't places to build a summer home and retire.

This brings us to Chapter 4: The Wizard's Spellbooks, New Spells and Patrons of Hubris.  As is fitting for DCC, Spellbooks get all weird, with their own random table generator. This is good. This is really good and I don't recall seeing anyone do a table like this before. Cover, Appearance, Personality, Quirks and Special are listed as entries and there are five for each alignment.

Three New spells, such as Summon from the Void and four new patrons with all of the usual DCC accouterments, Invoke Patron and Taint tables, and Patron Spells, are present. DCC can always use some new patrons. The Charred Maiden, The Floating Island of Terror, The Spider Goddess and The Twisted One are herein detailed for your perusal and use. I don't want to get into details, because like in every review I don't want to give away the show. I can tell you these are well done, appropriately creepy, weird, and exuding Swords & Sorcery goodness.

Bringing us to Chapter 5: The Strange and Terrible Gods of Hubris.
Clerics get a new power, the ability to invoke their gods name. With deities like God of the Terrible Whisper, or The Heathen Below and ten other, rather ominous gods, good luck with that!

Chapter 6: GM Tools and Tables, provides all kinds of cool stuff like a Grave Digging Table, City District Table and several other useful tools for the GM. There are 14 generators and tables here, covering 36 pages.

I think my favorite one is What are these Strange and Terrible Ruins? It has 14 parts, with entries for Rituals, Strange and Terrible Artifacts, Strange NPC's, and several others. If I told you there were entries like
The Crystallized Rancid Heart of a Scorned Lover, or All those who enter the ruins feel their hair, teeth, and nails fall out (no save). To remove this curse, they must be blessed by a priest under the full moon while standing in tubs of eels and sucking on newt eyeballs
it might give you a little taste of what life is like in Hubris, but I would have to exceed Fair Use, I think, to really impart the flavor of the whole thing.

Chapter 7: Magic Items, provides a generator as well as some already prepared magic items and artifacts.

Chapter 8: Monsters of Hubris showcases new monsters, as well as versions of old favorites. Including a wonderful Fallen Angel generator.

Chapter 9: Adventures. A 0 level funnel and a 1st level adventure are provided. No spoilers!

Finally, we get an Appendix N, the Index and OGL.

The art is good with fitting depictions of the goings on in Hubris. A list of the artists involved is given at the beginning of this review.

In Summary,

Hubris is an assault on on your gaming sensibilities. Raw and indeed, visceral, there's little respite from the Hell on Earth that the setting offers. Refereeing a group of players here would be a blast.

The book is worth buying for the tables and various tidbits alone. It's ripe for cannibalization and cherry picking things to use in your own campaigns. There's so many useful, evocative things that you could turn to it again and again. How much Hubris you want to bring into your milieu is your call. You can also just go all the way and run the setting whole cloth.

I don't feel that I've come even close to doing this thing justice. Hubris needs to be read and experienced. There's just so much going on and so much to work with here, but it's also very much accessible and easy to digest. There's cool shit on every page and the amount of thought and work that went into providing this much impressively weird fantasy is worthy of high praise.