Sunday, August 30, 2009

Chapter 3, Part 1: "The Seeds of Heroism..."

The Cast (In Order of Appearance):

DUDE EARTHMAN - Simple-minded Earth Man Fighting-Man
MONSTER MONAGIN - Earth Man Sailor and Fightingest Man in this Company
RICHARD "DICKIE" DEE - Bone Man Sorcerer
RYGARR - Green Man Sorcerer

GAN-RON THE SILVER MAN - Simple-minded Good Hero, possessor of a magic silver sword
JAIAG 11-3XG - Synthetic Prostitute
GRUBB GRIZZLER - Earth Man Thief

Part II Here, Part III Here.

The party accepts a commission from the proprietor of the Lamia's Breath Intoxicating Vapour Lounge in Agog city to recover a runaway synthetic prostitute from a do-gooder hero, Gan-ron the silver man.Their reward for returning the synthetic being 250 gold credits value of Gamma Orichalcum, a soft, highly reactive, radioactive metal that is also a potent hallucinogenic stimulant

Tracking Gan-ron to his accommodations at the Palace of Brass Chambers, Dickie Dee managed to befriend him by casting Charm Person. DIckie Dee finds out that Gan-ron is in love with the runaway synthetic prostitute, has married her, and is leaving the city with her on a caravan tomorrow morning.

Next morning the party tracks Gan-ron and his new wife to the westbound caravan with which they are departing. Seeing their quarry enter an iron carriage, one of several in a train drawn by a triceratops, the party quickly pays the caravan master a generous stipend in order to travel with the caravan. As the caravan leaves through the western gate of Agog their friends the Earth Men Grubb Grizzler and Nigel Nightbringer hail them and after a brief discussion Grubb decides to join them, Nigel makes plans to meet up with them later after concluding pressing business in Agog City.

The caravan leaves, traveling westwards across the purple grasses of the western Iridium Plateau and stopping for the night at Fortress Cobalt. The next morning Dickie Dee and Rygarr vist Gan-ron in his iron carriage. They spy the synthetic prostitute, concealing in a enveloping burqua like garment lying motionless on the bunk. Utilizing a sleep spell Gan-ron is rendered helpless and crudely slain by means of a javelin being driven into his temple. The two sorcerers bind the synthetic prostitute and hide Gan-ron's body in a brass trunk.

The caravan leaves with the sorcerers lurking within the carriage, traveling down a steep cliff road to it's next stop, Small Dust (also known as Gully Town)

The caravan decamps for the night at the caravan grounds, and the rest of the party goes to an inn on the far side of town. Once they negotiate secure accommodations at a simple single-story inn, The Red Beak, the thief Grubb Grizzler is sent to the caravan to retrieve the sorcerers and the synthetic prostitute...

Part II Here, Part III Here.

Saturday, August 29, 2009

Stone Golem, Deodand and Sorcerers

More pictures, from, of Ralph Bakshi period Spiderman cartoons.

Twisted Worlds of Ralph Bakshi

Some pictures of the sixties Rocket Robin Hood/Spider Man cartoon, and Planet Algol inspiration fodder, from You can see Ralph Bakshi's hand in this work, I love the lurid psychedelic skies of those old Spiderman cartoons, many of the skies on Algol look like that...


In my personal Algol campaign (houseruled 1st ed. AD&D), I've removed the weapon restrictions for the various classes, while using the weapon proficiency rules, the weapon vs.armor type modifiers and weapon speed factors.

As well, I've implemented strength and dexterity requirements for various weapons, cribbed from runequest. If you're not strong or dexterous enough for a weapon, the character is unable to gain proficiency with it, and are subject to the class specific nonproficiency penalty.

The reason for these choices are to make the choice of weapons for a character important, adding verisimilitude and for the "adventuring everyman" theme I'm exploring in this campaign.

Not every mercenary is muscular enough to fight well with a great sword or a longbow, and daggers become the weapon of the everyman.

Weapon vs. armor modifers are very interesting, many weapons are absolute monsters against unarmored or lightly armored foes while others are efficient at punching through plate.

It adds a level of tactical complexity to combat, you may have trouble hitting an agile, unarmored target with a heavy, high damage dealing weapon or you may be up the creek without a paddle when your fighting a heavily armored opponent without a weapon that can penetrate their protection. Crossbows are more accurate than bows, and better at punching through armor but bows users can fire two arrows per round.

The combination of limited weapon proficiencies, ability score requirements and armor modifiers (as well as the damage by target size) really differentiates the battle axe from the broad sword, the spear from the short sword,, etc. Your weapon choice matters!

Iridium Plateau Hexmap

The Iridium Plateau, at 5 miles per hex.

Aeon of the Ancients, Earth Men and the Elder Races

Although scholars dispute the exact dates, the consensus is that the Aeon of the Ancients ended tens of thousand years ago, and began some several million years past. The Ancients is used to refer to the numerous prehistoric civilizations that existed on Algol. Not much is know about them, but these facts are generally accepted as true:
  • The Ancients were human or human-like.
  • Their civilization did not arise naturally, as Elder Races interfered in their development and possibly their evolution. Many sages posit that the original human of Algol were brought here from Earth by some Elder Race or vice versa.
  • They had much knowledge in both science and sorcery, more advanced than anything known to present day humanity of both Algol and Earth
  • The Ancients had contact with prehistoric Earth civilizations (Atlantis, Lemuria, Hyperborea, Mu, etc.), possibly the Ancients came to Algol from Earth, or perhaps the Atlanteans, etc., came to Earth from Algol.
  • Their civilizations came to an end in a planet-wide war involving terrible weapons of massive destruction and reality-tearing nature. Much of the surface of Algol is scarred, poisoned and tainted from this. Almost all of the knowledge and works of the Ancients was lost in this holocaust or the decline into barbarism, savagery, or decadent degeneration that followed.

Earth Men are technologically advanced humans from our world (commonly referred to as Terra on Algol). The Earth Men, also called Terrans, have been sending rockets to Algol for hundreds of years; but as they do not possess the technology to travel faster than light speed, and with Algol being 93 light-years from Earth, they have had to use such measures as:
  • robot crews
  • automated facilities to grow clones and implant memories
  • generation ships
  • cryogenics
  • time dilation or stasis technology
  • longevity treatments
There are a few Earth Man bases and settlements on Algol, as well as a couple of orbiting space stations. Many have “gone native”, assimilating into local cultures or beginning the process of establishing their own.
Although more technologically advanced than present day humanity, the science of the Ancients and the Elder Races far outstrips that of the Earth Men.
While the Algol term is “Earth Man” or Terran for the language they speak, it is actually Esperanto, which is taught to all Algol explorers in order to facilitate communication between different expeditions.

The Elder Races were various powerful, inhuman races that range from hundreds of millions to billions of years old; almost all of alien or extradimensional origin. Their civilizations sprawled across Algol in prehuman times. The reason for their decline in unknown. Nowadays there are only a few scattered populations of the Elder Races on Algol, hidden in remote or inhospitable regions.

The Elder Races may be responsible for many of the bizarre anomalies of Planet Algol, by virtue of their puissant sorcery and science they were capable of warping the planet to suit their inhuman whims.

Their abilities with technology and magic were far more powerful than anything achieved by man; although survivors of the Elder Races may seem to be gods compared to men, they are only the wretched, degenerate descendants of the true Elder Races who only possess scraps of their unthinkable knowledge and might.

Introduction to Planet Algol, it's Satellites and Suns

An Earth-like planet orbiting the 3 suns of the Beta Persei system. Compared to Earth, Algol has: Lower gravity. Denser atmosphere. Smaller oceans. A very much slower, or nonexistent rate of continental drift. A much thicker crust that is honeycombed with tunnels and massive chambers, both natural and artificial. 3 moons: Ninev, Zhoxx and Thoggyu.

Algol has regions that differ wildly with the rest of the planet regarding gravity, atmosphere (or the presence thereof!), seasons, weather, radiation, and other factors. Much of this seems to be the legacy of a planet-wide cataclysmic conflict, which seems to have ruined or warped much of the world rendering a sizable portion of the surface into wasteland.

Algol is much older than Earth, and has had life and intelligent inhabitants for far longer. Over the billions of years, many races and civilizations, both native and alien, have inhabited Algol, leaving the legacy of their sorcery and science scattered across the planet. Many of the alien races that have inhabited Algol brought flora and fauna from their home worlds or dimensions.

Over billions of years many strange varieties of life have arose on the world, many the result of the strange energies and radiations of the planet or the experimentation of ancients, scientists and sorcerers.

Earth plant and animal species, not only from the present but from every era of the planet, exist on Algol, such as trilobites, dinosaurs, smilodons and humans. Over the millennia in the weird environments of Algol many of those species have developed along strange evolutionary paths as well and there are many different races of man that are, despite being wholly human, are radically different in appearance to Earth men, possessing strange coloration or features such as crests, webbed digits, scaled skin, or other such things strange to our earth sensibilities.

The solar system that Algol is located in is Beta Persei. The 3 suns of Beta Persei are the blue-white Ghoul Queen, closely orbited by the the small white Gorgon's Eye and orbited further out by the large, orange Fire Demon; blotched with sunspots and bearing a halo of fiery gases. Years on Algol are measured by the rotation of the Fire Demon around the Ghoul Queen, which takes 681 years. An Algol day is approximately the same length as an Earth day, and Algol Men use a 7 day week and 28 day month, their years have 24 months with an additional 9 day festival week at year's end.

The closest of Algol's moons, a fuzzy silvery-gray and reputed to be home to a race of gods. Ninev is visible during the day.

The most distant of Algol's moons, shrouded in darkness and of accursed reputation. Thoggyu is the smallest moon and is only discernable by the stars it blots out.

One of Algol's moons, it's orbit lies between Ninev and Thoggyu. Zhoxx resembles Earth's moon in appearance and coloration, is larger than Ninev and visible during daytime.