Sunday, January 31, 2010

A Rough Outline of the Regions Around the Iridium Plateau

Verdant Land of Skla

Klesh Highlands

Plutonium Craterlands

Glass Deathlands

Western Badlands

Iridium Plateau

Red Sands

Plains of Burning Stones

Demon Wastes

Jungles of Venom

Southern Gash

Sea of Boiling Poison

the regions around the Iridium Plateau arranged by rough geographic orientation

Verdant Land of Skla

A foggy country of towering mossy spires and rock formations cut with deep canyons. The country of the Bone Sorcerers of Akhtor-Skla.

Western Badlands
Arid, rocky country cut with radioactive wastes and ancient ruins. Caravans from Agog City travel to and from the few mines that make settlement in this land worthwhile.

Demon Wastes
The Land of Tyranny and Mutation, where the Demon Barons, servitors of the Lords of Change, rule with their bands of raiders and mutants.

Highlands of Klesh
Rocky plateaus that "scrape the sky." A cold, arid, bitter, windy land where the stars are visible during the day with thin air and glaring sunslight that burns unprotected skin. A slender tower of crystal in the northern regions is said to reach through the sky to the airless void.

Jungles of Venom
A sweltering, humid region of howling poisonous wilderness. Sangkalla of Ivory and Incense is said to be a paradise city.

Plutonium Craterlands
Gray wastelands punctuated by sprawling, towering dead ruins and deep radioactive craters that are miles in diameter.

Red Sands
Hot deserts cut by knife-ridge mountains. A few oasis and water plants support scant settlements.

Southern Gash
A deep, hot, salty sea with a jagged coastline and several islands that are the tops of massive drowned mountains.

Glass Deathlands
Radioactive glass plains puntuated by blasted ruins and inexplicable oddities

Plains of Burning Stones
A land of lethal heat at miday with seemingly endless plains of ankle-breaking, knife-sharp stone shards and claw-like rock formations. Caravans to and from the Lands of the Emerald Autarch to the east must travel at night while resting in caves or other protected shelter at day.

Sea of Boiling Poison
A twisted, burned coastline and a sea of boiling water that vents poisonous gasses. All sorts of bizarre tales are told of the almost inaccessible islands that dot the sea.

Saturday, January 30, 2010

The Major Lords of Light

Eishar the Mother of Brides
Depicted as a beautiful, mature woman clad in the jewels and robes of a noble, Eishar is the Patroness of marriage (especially the arranged variety), concubines, institutional prostitution and domestic slaves.

Eitor the Lord of Soldiers
Depicted as a tall, muscular warriors clad in heavy armor with a large-crested full-face helm. Eitor is the patron of soldiers, generals, monster slayers and arms manufacturers.

Kyoth the All Knowing
Depicted as an elderly robes man with a long beard holding tomes and scrolls. Kyoth is the patron of scholars, sages, scribes and scientists.

Mordak the Lord of Civilization
Depicted as a tall, fit middle-ages man clad in light, ornamental armor and holding tools. Mordak is the patron of nobles, architects, engineers, bureaucrats, executioners and tradesmen.

Zamazthu and Ziomar, the Twin Sisters of Burning Blood

Two of the Lords of Change that are more commonly worshiped by the Humans of Algol, they are depicted as slender female youths with wild hair, flashing eyes and clad in torn finery, Zamazthu with bloody loins and Ziomar with bloody arms.

Zamazthu is the patroness of lust, and passion and is worshiped by lovers, street prostitutes and rapists while Ziomar is the patroness of violence and hot-blooded murder worshiped by murderers, raiders and warriors who fight for the love of killing. Ziomar is not commonly worshiped by disciplined assassins and slayers, while "legitimate" prostitutes pay homage to one of the Lords of Light, Eishar.

Friday, January 29, 2010

The Transmaniacon

In the wastelands of Algol the roar of Fusion Cycles can sometimes be heard...the ominous harbinger of The Transmaniacon, a gang of bikers sorcerers from an alternate Earth who serve the Lords of Change.
Clad in filthy, worn leathers and denims, arms covered in blotchy tattoos, with big steel knives on their belts or in their boots and with a lust for intoxicants and violence, the Transmanicon are rightly feared by the travelers of Algol. Their symbol, prominently featured on their vests and skin, is the the ancient Greek symbol for Kronos/Saturn.
The Transmaniacon have been raiding the wastelands for centuries and some claim that their Fusion Cycles are capable of traveling through the Outer Dark to other planes, dimensions and universes.
Although they have no known headquarters on Algol, being nomadic in nature, it is said that they have a clubhouse in the extradimensional city (and hub of the interdimensional intoxicant trade) Interzone.
In addition to their expected weaponry of knives, chains, crude clubs, firearms and the like, they are said to possess technology to release repressed rage in others. Ther are whispers that they are associated with an especially dangerous avatar of Nyarlathotep known as Flagg or the Walking Dude. It is also said that they possess an obscure translation of the Necronomicon.

Thursday, January 28, 2010


Inspired by Blue Oyster Cult, Juicers and Borderlands.
# Appearing: 1-6
Armor Class: 5 or 9 versus mindless opponents
Movement: 12"
Hit Dice: 3+3
Attacks: flaming fists for 1-4/1-4 or by weapon with an additional 1-4 points of fire damage is melee attack
Special: - wreathed in flames, attackers striking with hand-held weapons (aside from spears, pole arms and the like) take 2-8 damage on a hit or 1-4 damage on a miss
- ignores the first 10 points of damage from heat/fire attacks and takes half damage from the rest or no damage on a successful save
- can use the ESP (as the 2nd-level magic-user spell) at will with 9" range
- can use Hold Person (as the 3rd-level magic-user spell, duration of 2 rounds) 1/day
- immune to backstabs and has no penalty to armor class when attack from the rear or flank by non-mindless opponents
- cannot be surprised by non-mindless or non-mentally shielded opponents
- surprises on 1-3/d6
- if not under the influence of any intoxicants Armor Class is 9; Hit Dice is 1; no flaming fists or additional fire damage with melee attacks; cannot use any special abilities aside from ESP 1/day
Intelligence: Very-High (insane)
Alignment: Chaotic evil
Size: Medium
In the turmoil the presaged the fall of the Ancients, there was a conflict known only as "The Psychic Wars." The Flaming Telepaths were engineered by an unknown faction of the Ancients as living weapons for The Psychic Wars.
Flaming Telepaths appear to be emaciated, hairless Humans with a mottled pink and black skin composed of burn scars and an oversize , bulging cranium. They're eyes are a featureless deep, dark blue and they have a third eye, composed of a featureless black orb, located in the center of their foreheads. They were engineered to use Stimulant Intoxicants in order to enhance their mental powers are are dependent on them to use their pyrokinetic abilities and to prolong their lifespan (Flaming Telepaths are unable to reproduce and are thousands upon thousands of years old). While under the influence of stimulants they are able to use mental powers including the pyrokinetic ability to wreath their bodies and weapons in flames.
Flaming Telepaths lurk in the wastelands where they use ESP to probe travelers, primarily in search of stimulants. They prefer to inject stimulants into their third eye.
Particularly powerful Flaming Telepaths may possess additional mental powers, especially those of pyrokinteic nature.

Wednesday, January 27, 2010

Bite the Bulette Planet Algol Campaign "None More Black"

Read it Here.

It sounds like the British Planet Algol campaign is headed well down the road to ENCOUNTER CRITICAL gonzo awesomeness! I'm beginning to think that "Sean Wills" is actually Robert Anton Wilson...

I'm eagerly awaiting what occurs at THE BLACK ZIGGURAT!

Chapter 14, Part II "The Scarlet Lady"

Part I Here.

Fortunately Rodan's Eye of Restoring Life, although running low on charges, brings Dickie Dee back to the living. Thibodeaux is considered inconsequential and left dead.

The party enters the portal into the flying saucer and finds themselves in a disorienting, abstract state of pseudo-reality. They explore the non-euclidean space and eventually come across a large white featureless sphere that begins telepathically requesting "authorization from unregistered elements."

Dickie Dee begins babbling nonsense in Computer at it before Buzz puts his magic two-handed sword through it. Brutal combat erupts as some attack with weapons while others blink to a seemingly safe distance. The Sage Xarnagan Vrokk is consumed with the lust for knowledge and dashes through an unexplored portal during the battle.

The white dissolves into nothingness under the assault but detonates a small silver sphere...another calcium bomb. Buzz Brazelhach and Thragg the Sky-Man lie dead in the aftermath of the explosion and seventeen more calcium bombs lie on the "floor."

Dickie Dee collects the calcium bombs while Rodan the Scrounger reanimates Buzz. Thragg is judged unworthy or resurrection. Xarnagan is unnerved by his explorations and returns to the party. The adventurers decide to leave the saucer and make their way back to Agog city.

Thobodeaux is buried beneath the Purple Grasses by his brother Jedediah while Thragg's body is traded to the Vault Guild in exchange for several tallow candles. The party relaxes for several days in Agog City while discussing their next venture. The party is joined by a strange Hyperborean Sorcerer, Jek-Mor, who is seeking news of his brother Kal-Mor. The party explains how the Hyperborean assassin died and the quirky spellcaster joins the party. Dickie Dee examines the Calcium Boms and determines that they teleport to their destination before detonating and that he can operate them by instructing them in Computer.

Buzz has heard tales of the Scarlet Lady and her voracious sexual appetites and the party packs their mounts and makes their way to the Fortress Scarlet.

At the gate to Fortress Scarlet they are interrogated by a pair of well-manicured, pretty-boy fighting-men who are wearing fancy armor and makeup. They are suspicious of the party and tell them that they have to wait until next morning before they will be allowed to pass through the fortress. Dickie Dee casts Charm Person on one of the guards and he immediately offers to let the party sleep in a stable. Except for Mookla, reeking Mutant of the Slime Lands who is told to sleep in the Rust Desert.

The party is led by Dickie Dee's new best friend to a clean stable. The guard leaves and returns with some meager food and water, with sumptuous fare and delicious liquor for the Bone Man Sorcerer. He warns to party to stay in the stable and takes his leave.

As the party begins settling in and bedding down, Buzz Brazelhach feels the familiar stirring in his loins and sneaks out of the stable to explore. The Earth Man youth Corporal Radar O'Reiley sees his new father figure leaving and follows at a discrete distance.

As Buzz is sneaking through passages of red stone, cunningly avoiding the guards, he spots Radar and beckons the youth to join him. They come to a door of red metal and after listening at it and hearing nothing but a gentle burbling of water they cautiously open it.

Inside is a luxurious bath-chamber with several pools of different kinds of perfumed and heated water as well as a rack of expensive liquors. The two Earth Men hoot and holler in joy before stripping down and plunging into the baths. Buzz jumps into a tub of hot, swirling water while Radar dives into a pool of scented bubbles.

As the two begin vigourously scrubbing the adventuring filth off of their bodies they hear a husky female voice exclaim "Who is this in my bathing chamber?"

They look up and see a tall, stunning female, completely nude and Scarlet everywhere aside for her black pupils, standing in a doorway. Radar blushes and begins trying to sneak to his clothing while Buzz saunters up and says "Do not worry my lady, I am no threat...unless you'd like it that way"

Dripping soapy suds, Radar the Earth Boy grabs his clothing and dashes out the door he entered. As the embarrassed, naive youth dressed himself he hears moans of passion emanating from the bath chamber while he feels a strange stirring in his heart. He realizes that in the brief seconds he saw her that he has fallen in love with the Scarlet Lady...

Confused and dejected, he returns to the stables and tries to sleep.

Several hours later Buzz Brazelhach returns, whistling and capering with a huge grin on his face. He begins enthusiastically regaling the party with the details of his latest erotic adventure and showing off a ring of red metal in the form of a nude female that the Scarlet Lady gave him as a token.

Radar makes several disapproving comments beofe the party retires for the night. Buzz continues talking about his amorous adventure to Radar, who's bedroll is lying next to his. Radar begins to feel sick and takes his leave of the stable, seeking freah air.

He wanders the corridors of red stone, avoiding the fancy-boy guards, and finds a staircase leading upwards. He ascends a considerable distance before coming to a door the leads to a balcony. It features a screen of arabesque stone with a splendid view of the Red Sands, several red-blossomed plants, and a stand with several bottles of liquor and a bowl of red candies.

The Earth Boy takes in the view while enjoying the fresh air. Having a sweet tooth he takes a handful of the sticky, red candies and begins eating the sweets which leave red stains on his hands and mouth.

From behind he hears a masculine voice "Who dares to eat our mistresses' candies!"

Turning around he see two of the fancy, well-manicured guards. A cactoid with his body smoothly trimmed of spines in fancy golden half-plate and a Vlesh Man in opalescent green scale mail.

Radar stammers denials, but he is caught "red handed." The guards sheath their weapons and begins pouding their fists together while discussing how they are going to teach this boy a lesson.

With a quavering voice Radar declare that he will fistfight the guards, but only one of them and if he wins he gets to walk away. The guards laugh at him but agree to fight him one at a time.

The guards are unaware that Radar is a semi-seasoned adventurer and Radar manages to make short work of the first guard. However the Cactoid guard is much tougher than his Vlesh companion and Radar bloodies his knuckles in a long, drawn out brawl before an opening presents itself. Radar grabs his opponent and pile-drives his head into the red stone floor before falling to his knees, crying and punching the unconcious Cactoid repeatedly in the face.

He is startled by a husky female voice, "Who is this who has defeated my guards?"

Before he knows it, Radar the Earth Man virgin finds himself in an amorous embrace with the Scarlet Lady. She is slow and gentle with the inexperienced youth and afterwards offers him a drink of liquor. Radar declines and asks for more candy.

"You can eat my candy...anytime" she replies.

Next she produces a red metal ring in the form of a nude human female and explains that it serves as a token that the wearer has her favor. Radar stammers how he though she was going to ask him to marry her.

She mutters an incantation and Radar finds himself completely trusting the Scarlet Lady. She begins interrogating Radar about his adventures and he finds himself telling her everything about his experiences on Planet Algol. Who. What. When. Where. Why. How. Everything. He holds nothing back and tells her everything he knows. (Buzz experienced a similar interrogation and he too told her everything.)

Afterwards she takes her leave and the confused and lovestruck Radar dresses himself and returns to the stables and goes to sleep.

The next morning Dickie Dee's new best friend, the fancy guard with the manicured eyebrows, returns with breakfast and leads the party to the passage through Fortress Scarlet that leads to the canyon down to the Red Sands wher they rejoin Mookla the Mutant.

They ride their orniths down the canyon trail. Buzz begins talking about how he can't wait to return to Fortress Scarlet and see the Scarlet Lady again.

Radar naively replies "You may find that her attitude has changed in the meantime Buzz." The innocent youth believes that she has fallen in love with him and they are destined to be married. The Earth Boy finds himself greatly conflicted as Buzz had become a father figure to him but is now a romantic rival.

A black pudding with a small white sphere bearing a small blinking red light emerges from the rocks ahead. There is a brutal combat in which several Ornith's are dissolved and Buzz and Radar are seriously burned by acid before it is defeated.

The small white sphere has been crushed in the battle and the red light no longer blinks. It's broken shells exposed Orichalcum wiring and Dickie Dee takes it into his possession for later examination.

The party continues down the canyon, making for Adomaz.


# Appearing: 2-8
Armor Class: 7 or better
Move: 12"
Hit Dice: 2
Attacks: by weapon and tail for 2-5
Special: no armor class penalty or bonus to attack roll when attacked from behind
Intelligence: Average
Alignment: Neutral
Size: Medium
Stegozons are a all-female race of dinosaur-human hybrids. They look like hairless, green-scaled human females with stegosaurus back plates on their head and spine. These plates protect them from attack from the rear. They possess long, muscular tails with spikes on the end like that of a stegosaurus which they can use to attack those to their rear or flanks. Stegozons reproduce via parthenogenesis, laying eggs and nursing their young when they hatch. Stegozons are reclusive vegetarians, despite this they are fierce combatants when assaulted or threatened

Planet Algol Britain - High Times at the Prickly Pair

Cactoid mammaries, insect caravans, seaweed suppositories and exploding bolas. More inspired lunacy from the Bite The Bulette Crew on their mapcap rampage through Algol...
High Times at the Prickly Pair
The Island of the Technomongers? I can't wait to read more...

Tuesday, January 26, 2010

Random Substance Properties Tables

Use to generate potions, intoxicants, foodstuffs, etc.

Base Substance d6

1-3 d12

1 Pellets

2 Fine powder

3 Seeds/pods

4 Gummy/resinous lump

5 Viscous fluid

6 Blossom

7 Fungi

8 Concoction of fermented organic matter

9 Dense vapour

10 Needles/stingers/thorns

11 Dried vegetable matter

12 Root/tuber

4-6 d12

1 Cigar/cigarette

2 Dried creature or portion thereof

3 Chalky lump

4 Flakes

5 Thin fluid

6 Cubes

7 Coarse granules

8 Small live creature

9 Living tissue or matter

10 Organ

11 Fruit/berry

12 Crystal/gem

Appearance d6

1-3 d12

1 Black

2 White

3 Gray

4 Iridescent

5 Mottled/marbled/blotchy

6 Brown

7 Green

8 Blue

9 Ocher

10 Red

11 Purple

12 Urine-colored

4-6 d12

1 Pus-colored

2 Moldy, reroll for colors

3 Glowing, reroll for color

4 Jale

5 Ulfire

6 Dolm

7 Fulgin

8 Translucent, reroll for color

9 Clear

10 Smoking/fuming, reroll for colors

11 Shifting coloration, reroll for colors

12 Metallic

Smell/Taste d6

1-3 d12

1 Metallic

2 Chemical

3 Moldy

4 Rotting flesh

5 Decaying vegetable matter

6 Tasteless/odorless

7 Spicy

8 Cinnamon

9 Fruity

10 Bloody

11 Dusty

12 Fishy

4-6 d12

1 Burnt/smoky

2 Resinous

3 Floral

4 Bitter

5 Pungent

6 Musky

7 Urine/feces

8 Acrid

9 Incense

10 Salty

11 Naptha

12 Sweet (75% sickly)


Illustration by Robin Ruddock
# Appearing: 1-3, Armor Class: 3
Move: 15", Hit Dice: 5+5
Attacks: 2 fists 1-4/1-4 and kick 1-6, or phasic long sword 2-16, or by weapon
Special: immune to poison, sleep, hold, charm, fear and other magical mind and emotion control/compusions
Intelligence: Average, Alignment: Lawful neutral (chaotic neutral if in love/obsessed)
Size: Medium
Androids created by an Ancient lord to serve as bodyguards, Synthezons appear to be pale-skinned human females with inky black hair. In actuality they are composed of a sheath of tough, synthetic flesh over a robotic endoskelton with a positronic brain.
Synthezons are strong, tough and fast. They are programmed with martial arts and are capable of making several lethal unarmed attacks per round. Many (40%) carry Ancient energy pistols or rifles as well, and Synthezons are also capable of projecting a phasic blade (equivalent to a phasic long sword) from one hand. They are able to project the blade for 5 rounds per day before their batteries run too low to maintain the blade. As this phasic blade has the same armor penetrating properties of most other energy weapons Synthezons will often keep their blade in reserve for destroying well-armored opponents.
Sometimes (10%) Synthezons are accompanied by Smilodons that appear normal but are actually robotic constructs beneath their fur. Synthezons are ordinarily cold, unemotional and logical, however if one is repaired after being reduced to 0 or less hit points or is reactivated after being dormant, make a percentile roll when they first see a human male. If the result is equal to or less than the male's charisma score than the Synthezon falls in love and becomes obsessed with him.

Monday, January 25, 2010

Cactogres & Mulg

# Appearing:
1-3, Armor Class: 3
Move: 9", Hit Dice: 5+2
Attacks: 2 fists 2-7/2-7 or by weapon with +4 to damage
Special: minimum damage from piercing attacks; can use mental powers as a 5th-level Mind Wizard
Intelligence: Low-high, Alignment: Chaotic evil
Size: Large (10'+ tall)
Resembling giant Cactoids with swollen, oversized craniums, Cactogres are a psychic mutant strain of the Cactus People. They suffer from enlarged psychic lobes which subjects them to constant agonizing pain in their heads as well as granting them mental powers. They are an irritable people as a result, and often take their discomfort out on smaller beings.

# Appearing: 3-12, Armor Class: 7
Move: 9", Hit Dice: 2
Attacks: by weapon
Special: half damage from piercing and crushing weapons; +4 on saving throws against charm and mental compulsions; -1 to attack rolls and saving throws in sunlight; some practice 'Sporecery'
Intelligence: Average (alien), Alignment: Neutral evil
Size: Medium
A race of motile sentient fungus, Mulg are slouched humanoid beings, mottled dark gray and black, with a skin of slimy, tattered sheets and folds of fungal material. Their eyes are recessed, glistening black pits and their mouths and noses are simple horizontal slits. They amanate a strong odor of wet, moldy, rotting vegetable matter.
The Mulg dwell in dim, moist environments where they practice inscrutable rites. Their way are alien and mostly incomprehensible to Humans, but it is known that many of them practice magic using spores produced by their bodies, the act of which has acquired the name 'Sporecery.' 10% of Mulg are ' Sporecerers,' of levels 2-7.

For examples of 'Sporecery' please consult Ancient Vaults & Eldritch Secrets.

Saturday, January 23, 2010

Planet Algol 1 : The Iridium Plateau - Update & RPG PDF Vendor Inquiry

I've been hashing out the Planet Algol 1 manuscript and working out the publishing matters and some plans have changed, so here is an update.

Planet Algol 1 : The Iridium Plateau will most likely be published via Comixpress. I went with Comixpress as they seemed far more flexible than Lulu and that they also can produce the booklets at a better price than local services. It will be a 52-page saddle stitch booklet, digest-sized at 5.5" wide and 8.5" tall.

I would like to make the PDF available for those who prefer the format but I don't have much experience with RPG PDF vendors, do any of you have recommendations in that regard?

Planet Algol 1 will be around 52 pages long. I was planning on including a detailed city (Kharhem) but with the 52-page limit imposed by Comixpress there is insufficient room and so it will be part of the next Planet Algol booklet.

As well I believe that you will pleased with both the quantity and the quality of the illustrations gracing the booklet's pages.

Here is a brief overview of it's contents:

The Players Section
- Introduction
- Planet Algol and it's Solar System, History and Inhabitants
- Earth Men and the alternate Planet Algol Earth History
- Map & Gazetteer of the Geography, Settlements and Ruins of the Iridium Plateau Region
- Suggested Houserules for Planet Algol Campaigns
- New Races: Cactoid & mutant
- New Classes: Cactoid, Mind Wizard and Sage
- Mounts & Equipment
- "Appendix N"

The Referees Section
- Referees Introduction & Other Books/Rules Suggested for Use With Planet Algol
- Hexmap & Hex Locations of the Iridium Plateau Region
- Encounter Tables for the Iridium Plateau Region
- Monsters
- Sorcerous and Technological Items
- Intoxicants
- Airships/Skyvessels

I don't have a firm deadline for publication, although it should be sometime in the next month or so. I've been working with some very talented artists and I don't want to rush them and also I certainly don't want to rush this product to the press without taking the time and attention to detail that a "labour of love" warrants.

It will be available soon and it should be beautiful!

Thursday, January 21, 2010

Chapter 14, Part 1: "The Flying Saucer"

Buzz Brazelhatch - Rowdy, Hearty and Lusty Australian Adventurer
Corporal Radar O' Reiley - Earth Man Rocketship-Soldier, Former Crewmate of Dank Darkstar
Dickie Dee - Bone Man Sorcerer and Intoxicant Enthusiast
Jedediah - 1850s' Nevada Alien Abductee, Cousin of Thibodeaux
Mookla of the Slime Lands - Fighting-Mutant possessing a Sulfurous Stench and twisted limbs
Nigel Nightbringer - British Man-at-Arms
Rodan the Scrounger - Zermish (Green) Man Fighting-Man and Scavenger
Thibodeaux - 1850s' Nevada Alien Abductee, Cousin of Jedediah
Thragg the Skyman - Zermish Man Ornithopter Passenger and Fighting-Man

Part II Here.

The party returns to the crashed flying saucer and discuss various inane plans involving using nonexistent logs and acid to open the seemingly impenetrable sky-vessel. Attempts using the deceased Dank Darkstar's tool set to pry open the hatch prove fruitless. The reeking, malformed Mookla volunteers to figure out how to use the disintegration bomb they acquired and the rest of the party moves 200 feet away behind a green and begins waiting and listening.

The hideous yet very intelligent mutant squats of the disc of the massive flying saucer halfway embedded in the mossy floor of the Forbidden mist valley. His tiny fingers clutch the black housing of the deceased Jhooghovahr's disintegration bomb and he attempts to figure out the knobs and buttons on it's top. After roughly seventy Earth-minutes he believes he is making progress with the controls but is interrupted by the hatch opening revealing several spindly silver figures.

As Mookla runs down the side of the saucer he feels a burning pain as an ulfire beam lashes through his side. As he dashes into the mists he feels an intense deep hot pain in his back before getting away.

The rest of the party hear the repeated loud snapping sounds and run to the saucer while unsheathing blades and guns. Mookla comes stumbling out of the fog and haltingly gasps out the story of the saucer inhabitants. The adventurers decide to kill the silver beings and make for the crashed alien spaceship in an aggressive assault formation, arms and incantation at the ready.

There are six of the spindly silver beings, with elongated rod-like heads featureless aside from tiny moving green luminescent dots, on the saucer, some bearing strange tubular apparatus, and when they fall to laser beam or bullet they explode in a burst of evaporating green foam and melting silver shreds. Although one fires ulfire laser beams and another invisible microwave blasts the party slays them all.

Before they have a chance to celebrate their victory a tiny silver sphere appears among the back ranks of the party and explodes with a loud popping sound knocking most of the rearward group on their backs in a shower of tiny white calcium particles. They are all seriously injured by the concussive blast and the Earth Man Thibodeaux and the skeleton-like Bone Man Sorcerer Dickie Dee lies dead. Not only that but there are no energy weapons or any other artifacts to be found among the evaporating silver and green matter of the slain alien's remains.

Another Update From That Other, British, Planet Algol Campaign...


There are Crypts Deep Beneath the Surface Where Horrible Things Lurk in the Eternal Darkness...

Perfect soundtrack music for exploring ancient, filthy crypts and battling the things that lurk in the suffocating darkness deep in the rotted flesh of the planet's crust. Coffins literally makes people lying in a bed dying of cancer headbang...

Wednesday, January 20, 2010

The Viridian Fungus of Yoth

A palely glowing parasitic fungus that grows on anthropoids and similar creatures with chitinous exoskeletons, it is slain by sunlight. When the venom of creatures infested with the Fungus of Yoth is introduced to the bloodstream it acts as a powerful narcotic and induces vivid, euphoric hallucinations of bizarre blue and green vistas of a lifeless alien world, much of it composed of numberless tiers of complex, ornate architecture. Strange glyphs can be viewed within some recesses of the aforementioned architecture and some sorcerers have claimed that they divined certain potent alien incantations from these glyphs. Occasionally a user of Yoth venom will have the sensation of being viewed and hunted by a vague malevolent force.

Tuesday, January 19, 2010

"... must infiltrate a wealthy banker in a castle, but have to contend with robot psychology, and opposition from clones trying to murder settlers..."

Age of Fable Plot Generator

It might as well have been designed for Encounter Critical and it seems very useful for those of us who run "gonzo/weird" games!

Video Of A High Level Planet Algol Sorcerer Kicking Ass?

Plant Algol artist and player Lester forwarded this to me, obviously depicting a lost chapter of Planet Algol's history...

Settlements of the Iridium Plateau Region - Adomaz

Adomaz is a small caravan town located on the western edge of the Red Sands beneath the escarpment of the Iridium Plateau. A circular rim of a smooth, curved dark red glassy stone with jagged, irregular tooth-like crenelations serves as the town walls and is the remains of a destroyed dome of the Ancients.

Inside the wall Adomoz is mostly large manor-complexes with several floors and wings with a distinct baroque, flowing, organic style. The building are constructed of a smooth, hard marble like matter in pale sea-green tones; this substance is excreted by a slave-caste of small blue termite like nonhumans who build and maintain these buildings.

Adomoz is located on the Caravan routes between Agog City, the Red Sands, and Kharhem and the South, and much of its economy is based on this. Some miner gangs harvest the mineral wealth exposed by the canyon west of town.

Adomaz's population is most Lhovhami Red Men, with a distinct minority of Kherulhi Blue Men followed by a mix of all races. Many Cactoids travel through the regions around Adomaz in their nomadic wanderings and it is said that they have a secret shrine located in the desert nearby. Often Cactoids take work as guides or scouts for caravans going eastwards into the Red Sands.

Adomaz is ruled by Baron Azdhar Aizdt Alzadhar of House Alzadhar (A Lhovhami House), who is strikingly tall and handsome, obsessed with the art of swordplay, and always wears a severe black military uniform. Several fencing-masters live in Adomaz, training House Alzadhar and its fighting-men. Although Adomaz pays tribute to the Controller and acknowledges it as its liege, the Baron prefers to stay out of the affairs of Agog City and Kharhem.

Sunday, January 17, 2010

New Magic Item: Scroll of Summoning Aspect of Kurt Russell

These scrolls are similar to protection scroll in that characters of any class are capable of utilizing them. Unlike most scrolls they feature an illustration of a rugged, handsome human male with a beard or stubble and great hair. When read 1d6 rounds later an aspect of Kurt Russel appears. This aspect of Kurt Russel will willingly aid any non-evil user of the scroll as long it does not involve outright villainy and will be present for 24 hours before disappearing back into time and space. Roll on the below table to determine which aspect of Kurt Russell appears; any harm inflicted to an aspect will not affect the real Kurt Russell of our world. All aspects of Kurt Russell have maximum hit dice and a +2 bonus on all saving throw rolls.

1 Dexter Riley (8th-level scientist; 17 intelligence and charisma; 1d6: 1-2 19 intelligence, 3-4 can become invisible at will, 5-6 hill giant strength)
2 Elvis (8th-level bard/monk; 18 charisma; carries 1-3 handguns)
3 Snake Plisskin (8th-level fighting-man/thief; 17 strength, dexterity, constitution and charisma)
4 R.J. McReady (8th level fighting-man & helicopter pilot; 17 strength, wisdom, dexterity, constitution and charisma; carries either a firearm (50%) or a flamethrower (50%))
5 Jack Burton (1st-level fighting-man but believes he is 8th level and actually has the maximum hit points of an 8th-level fighting-man; drops held weapon or pratfalls on any attack roll of 1 or 2 but will kill any supernatural opponents on an attack roll of 20; all allies within view get +1 on all attack rolls and +2 on all saving throws)
6 Captain Ron (8th level thief and sailor; 17 constitution and charisma)
7 Wyatt Earp (8th-level fighting-man; 17 dexterity, constitution and charisma; carries a long-barrel revolver that he can pistol whip with for 1-6 damage)
8 "Jack" O'Neil (8th-level fighting-man; 17 strength, dexterity, constitution and charisma; carries an automatic pistol and a tactical nuke)
9 Todd (8th-level fighting-man; 17 strength, dexterity and constitution; 3 charisma)
10 Actor Kurt Russell (8th-level fighting-man; 17 charisma)

"Cacotopic Stain" Weather Generation Table

I can't believe I missed this the first time... (disclaimer: not actually related to the Cacotophic Stain)

Also, here's some suitably weird radiations.

Irrationalist Frequencies

Irrationalist Frequencies are violent, crushing audial waves and tones that will temporarily transform sentient listeners into unthinking, instinctive beings that exhibit insane behavior yet often possess predatory cunning equivalent to their normal intelligence. These frequencies must be extremely loud to have any effect and are usually generated by machines custom built for the purpose by chaotic technocrats, scientists and sorcerers.

Although Irrationalist Frequencies may have been developed as a sonic weapon by the Ancients, some Men, especially those of chaotic inclinations, revel in the mindless state induced by these sounds and will attend secret gathering in order to expose themselves to them. Some even become addicted to Irrationalist Frequencies and many avant-garde artists secretly rely on the state induced by these frequencies to produce their bizarre creations.

Special Note: Inspired by and intended as a tribute to The Rita and Leigh Brackett.

Saturday, January 16, 2010

The Blue Radiance of Erysh

An extradimensional radiation utilized by Sorcerers and the like to induce awareness of higher order dimensions, The Blue Radiance of Erysh is invoked by use of a apparatus of prisms and rods. The radiance itself overpowers all other illumination, and resembles ultraviolet "black light" illumination. Shadows are darker and patterns dance in the corners of one's eyes.

Although it is an exceedingly potent tool for the purposes of meditation, divination and sorcerous research, those who make frequent use of The Blue Radiance of Erysh are often subject to obesession and madness; with intense, frequent exposure users becomes canker-ridden and anemic.

Friday, January 15, 2010

Hawkwind Related Third-Party Planet Algol Madness

[Spoilers-My Players Keep Out!]Sean Wills of Bite the Bulette continues his Awesomeness...

All I have to say is Wow! and that I am glad that someone beat me to the punch in detailing a means of getting to Athanor from Algol. And it's powered by Hawkwind!

Civilizations of the Ancients Pt. 2

Part 1 Here

The Militarists
Sometimes adventurers uncover remote bunkers filled with powerful weaponry and lethal robotics, the remains of a civilization of imperialist technological warmongers. Many of the hostile robots and androids that wander the wastes are products of the Militarists and some Sages claim that the Militarists are responsible for many of the radioactive wastelands that scar the surface of Algol.

The Sky-Kings

Occasionally floating islands drifting miles above the surface of Algol are seen, the legacy of the Sky-Kings who used atmospheric manipulation generators to dominate surface dwellers by creating powerful storms or removing the oxygen from sections of the surface atmosphere. Many of the Sky-Vessels found on Algol are their legacy

Thursday, January 14, 2010

Planet Algol Music

Diverse music that I find inspirational.

Civilizations of the Ancients Pt.1

Although many imagine the Aeons of the Ancients to be a golden age of man-gods with great technological and sorcerous wisdom, in reality there were multiple Ancient civilizations over a span of hundreds of thousands to possibly millions of years.

During this time, the Aeon of the Ancients, many civilizations arose, gained knowledge surpassing that of contemporary Algol or Earth Men, and than collapsed due to catastrophic wars, sorcerous disasters, inhuman interference, natural disasters and so forth, afterwords descending into savagery and barbarism before beginning the long, slow ascent of civilization again. This is known as "The Great Cycles" by sages.

At some point tens of thousands of years there was a planet-wide conflict involving multiple Ancient societies and inhuman forces. Terrible weapons, both magical and technological, ravaged the world and in the ensuing holocaust the societies of the Ancients fell, either reduced to barbarity or losing their knowledge in a long, slow descent into stagnation and degeneration. Some sages claim that this holocaust "broke" the Great Cycle and that the Men of Algol are trapped in an endless state of ignorance and decline until the world is devoured by Iajuxxu.

Not much concrete information about these Ancients remain, and most stories about them are fanciful legends and folktales. However some scraps of their histories survived and some of these known Ancient societies are detailed below:

The Flesh-Weavers
The Flesh-Weavers were scientists and masters of genetic manupulation. They used their arts to warp and create a wide variety of biological organisms to serve as everything from servants to tools and war machines. Many of the more strange creatures of Algol are presumed to be their creations.

The Vat Guild seems to be descended from the Flesh-Weavers as they produce biological products and synthetic beings from their algae-, yeast- and protein-vats. They are a secretive order who are very protective of their secrets and are always garbed in robes, bandages and goggles. They are given much sanction by the societies of Algol Men an account of being important food producers for many communities as well as providing medical services and synthetic beings.

The Lords of the Crystal Spires
There are ruins on Algol composed of clusters of towering crystal spires and artifacts of entirely crystalline construction are found as well. These artifacts tend to be very potent and seem to operate on a sub-atomic level. Surviving records from the Aeon of the Ancients refer to an mysterious, isolationist, psychic race possessing great scientific knowledge, "The Lords of the Crystal Spires."

The Necroveults
A civilization of powerful necromancers that served a terrible deity known as "Zharrghu the Corpse Worm," the Necroveults were masters of the undead using them for labour, warfare and pleasure. Although powerful in sorcery their were not very technologically inclined, preferring to used undead servitors and magic instead.

Vampires claim to be descended from the Necroveults, which seems reasonable as surviving Necroveult inscriptions are in a language very similar to Vampirish. Some scholars claim that while some of the Necroveults became Vampires other degenerated into Ghouls and were the ancestors of the Ghoulic races. The more scholarly inclined among the Ghouls scoff at that hyposthesis stating that they predate the Necroveults and that much of their sorcery was taught to them by Ghouls.

Wednesday, January 13, 2010

A Second Planet Algol Campaign & Savage Swords of Athanor

While performing my usual post-work/walking the dog blog reading routine I was surprised and gratified to learn of a Second Planet Algol game!

I have been corresponding with Sean Wills, the auteur responsible for Bite the Bulette, regarding adapting his excellent Martian Skyship Rules for the upcoming Planet Algol booklet (which he very graciously allowed), and he had posted about a Planet Algol related project, but this still comes as a very pleasant surprise. I am also very pleased that his group used Savage Swords of Athanor * for the game, one of my intentions with the Planet Algol booklet is to not only present a weird science fantasy campaign setting but to also provide a rules options and supplements for weird science fantasy gaming, and I'm glad that others are finding Algol's "sister projects" similarly useful.

So to Two-Blade Leetha (Angalla warrior woman), Johnny Tupelo (Earthman (fighter), cowboy who may be dreaming the whole thing due to being cabbaged out of his head on peyote after capture by the Apache), and Uncle Lhubi (Kheruli magic user); shine on you crazy diamonds and may no shoggoths find you without a fully-charged gamma radiation pistol! And to Sean Wills: Thank you for finding my wacky creation a suitable venue for your campaign, may your players be able to laugh and start rolling up a new character when faced with the horrible death of a PC!

* I had opportunity this weekend to peruse a print copy of Savage Swords of Athanor and I am thoroughly impressed. Doug Easterly has expanded and refined the Athanor material previously presented on his blog into a complete and elegant package, and every page I perused made me want to adventure on Athanor!

Monday, January 11, 2010

Chapter 13, Part 2: "The Tentacle-Faced Sphinx"

Part I Here.

In the cold, thick, white nmouldy fog of the Forbidden Mist Valley the party searches for a tomb with a lintel carved with a tentacle-faced sphinx. In the rolling, almost featureless green moss slopes of the valley ahead they see a small structure build from the same white stone as the occasional rocks and boulders seen in the dismal valley.

They cautiously approach and slithering, tenticular shapes are seen carved into the pale, squat building. Jhooghovahr is prodded to the front of the group and is provided with a ten-foot pole while the others prepare pistols and fighting irons before again tentatively proceeding.

As they get close a loathsome form graven into the lintel above an orifice-like descending tunnel is discerned; a bloated, scaly toad-sphinx with a writhing mass of long, slender tentacles bursting forth from where it's face should be, the carved tentacles continuing along the visible surface of the crypt.

Jhooghovahr is instructed to approach the aperture, the way is littered with chunks of white stone graven with serpentine forms. He cautiously prods the ground ahead and gets up next to the tunnel mouth before a pale-gray tentacle whips up from the camouflaging stones and wraps itself about first the pole and than the starlted Jhooghovahr while a second tentacle, with a long bone needle at its end, rises like a cobra before driving its sting deep into the struggling Vhaashti Man.

Several members of the party rush up while others blast at the tentacles with their guns. The serpentine gray appendages are joined at a leathery, pulsating, sack-like body located within the tunnel. They drop the broken, lifeless Jhooghovahr and one wraps around and constricts Buzz Brazelhatch while the others whips about Dickie Dee and drives its long bone needle deep into the Bone Man's transparent flesh.

As the Australian brawler writhes in the tentacles clutches, attempting to wrestle his way out of the muscular coils, the bone needle seems to be pumping some sort of fluid into Dickie Dee and his flesh around the stinger is turning waxy and gray.

Soon the tentacled sack-thing is dispatched, but Buzz is gasping and sorely strained and bruised while Dickie Dee lies on the mossy stones, the flesh about the stinger wound turning gray and pulpy while he complains of burning pain in his veins and heart. His ordinarily invisible circulatory system does seem to be slightly visible as well as grayish.

The reeking, incoherent Mutant, Mookla bursts through the party and begins pawing through the bloody possessions of Jhooghovahr with his tiny fingers. He pulls out the medical device; some of it's appendages are slighly bent but when placed upon Dickie Dee's chest it chirps; its lights begin blinking; and it multiple articulated arms begin unfolding and probing Dickie's flesh.

Soon Dickie's flesh resumes its normal, transparent state and the Bone Man proclaims that he feels recovered from the poison of the tentacle-thing. The party loots the Vhaashti Nobleman's twisted remains and split his meager purse of gold; Mookla claims a cubical black device, the disintegration bomb.

The party takes stoke of their new situation and decide to return to the flying saucer and attempt an entry, perhaps using the disintegration bomb to crack its shell and access the artifacts within.

"...And Quite A Few Complete Losers."

"... I wanted the kind of freaks you'd see in an actual campaign, so I generated a bunch of stats randomly by using the random number generator in the spreadsheet. This resulted in a couple kickass PCs, some decent ones, several mediocre characters and quite a few complete losers. This is completely acceptable to me, as every campaign that uses random chargen will show a similar distribution."

- Jeff Rient/Jeff's Gameblog
I use straight 3d6 in my Planet Algol campaign. Initially it was an experiment in "Gygaxian Archaeology," a luddite/radical traditionalist thought experiment. If it turned out to suck, we could go back to 4d6/your choice I thought.

It wasn't very long before many of the players and myself came to appreciate the results. Firstly, less math. With AD&D ability score modifiers and the bell curve of 3d6 generation, ability score modifiers are rare. With all the fumbling over math by the less numerically inclined in the previous 3.5 campaign, this was a breath of fresh air.

It also made characters with good ability score stand out. Being a tough guy in 3/4E is nothing special, neither is being a ninja-esque olympic acrobat. In my game, a character who has high strength and constitution, is a real tough guy straight out of the gate. The rest of the party and the players know this guy is "Extra Tough." He acquires a reputation in the party for his toughness.

You know how in classic ensemble action/caper flicks how the characters had their roles? "The Face," "The Brawler," "The Jewel Thief," "The Genius," etc. Although 3/4E explicitly had allowances to build your character to fit such a vision, ironically enough I find that using 3d6/straight down and a ruleset makes for more "Organic" and "Archetypical" examples of such cliche characters.

In a game where any character can be a strongman or a genius, it doesn't end up meaning that much. But when strongmen and geniuses are rare, than they become truly special.

As well, many in my group and I have come to absolutely love "Loser Characters." In Sean/Dudebird's AD&D Wilderlands game that the Planet Algol players and I game in, he allows 4d6/place them where you like method. When making a new character I decided to "walk my talk" and rolled my ability scores in the orthodox 3d6 method. He came out pretty average, aside from a low charisma and a dismal wisdom.

Enter "Jeryk the Unwise. " With an unpleasant, small lipless scowling mouth; eyes like a guilty ashtray; and the character traits of two of the most annoying people I've known. Within minutes of joining the group Jeryk began flapping his jaw about how he was an expert about this or that, usually due to an uncle. When the party came to a set of doors in some ancient ruins Jeryk proclaimed:

"I'm actually kind of a door expert. My uncle made doors, the fancy kind that rich men and nobles had. I spent a lot of time with him at his shop and helped him out. I actually would have become a master door crafter but I decided to be an adventurer instead." And than he started making a big show of using lamp oil to lubricate the rusty hinges and handle. The electricity trap on the door handle nearly killed him.

Loser characters are hilarious, usually the awesome players in my campaign play their ability-score deficient character to the freaking hilt! Jeryk's jackass antics had a couple of us helpless with laughter. With the lowered emphasis on ability score in AD&D, it really doesn't make it a huge handicap in most instances, and it seems like the characters with ability scores that are a genuine liability play smarter as a result and those characters tend to be survivors as well as having a lot of heart.

"If You Really Consider Your Character Very Valuable..."

"...if you really consider your character very valuable and worthy of the emotional investment you placed upon him, then it is your duty to play excellently, whereby ensuring that a single die roll does not result in the death of the character; that the fate of your character does not purely rely upon the scales of fortune or the outcome of a single die roll...."

- Spielmaster/Under A Blood Red Sky

Saturday, January 9, 2010

Sentient Beings of Planet Algol

Just a little list-making exercise while I try to hash out languages for the players in my campaign.

True Men

Algol Men
Ancients (almost completely extinct)
Earth Men

Ancients (some varieties)
Degenerated Serpent Men
Maggot People
Pallid Croakers
Saucer Men

Space Aliens

Elder Races
Deep Ones
Flying Polyps
Grey Martians
Mind Eaters/Brain Lashers
Primordial Ones
Serpent Men
Shunned Ones
Star Spawn

Urban Action Mayhem Chase Tables

"My idea of a town adventure goes something like blah, blah, blah, there's a fight, and then the town burns down. "
- Jeff Rients
When cocky, amoral adventures roll into some settlement and start thinking they can browbeat, bully and strongarm their way over the locals. When a chaotic neutral low-level thief can't resist shoplifting or pickpocketing. Hell has a way of breaking loose.

A smart party would try to make themselves disappear when that happens, but the adventurers may find themselves being chased down a street. Here are some tables for over-the-top urban chases.

What's Around the Corner?
1 - Two tradesmen with a large pane of glass (10% chance glass in unbreakable; 10% chance of mimes).
2 - Open sewer grate, 25% chance of 1d4 crocodiles in sewer below.
3 - Fruit/vegetable stand.
4 - Fragile cage, contents d4: 1 - bear, 2- tiger, 3- ape, 4 - baboons (3d4), 5 - giant lizards (1d3), 6 - Hyenas (2d4).
5 - Wealthy, powerful noble or other important figure, easily offended, with 3d4 guards. 25% chance of being in a litter with 2 or 4 slave bearers.
6 - Snake charmer, 2d4 poisonous serpents in basket
7 - Slaves pulling wagon loaded with barrels of human waste.
8 - 2d4 Elite soldiers, 50% of being officers
9 - 3d4 Unruly foreign mercenaries or sailors, may side with underdogs, mavericks, rebels and the like.
10 - Human chain of 4d6 slaves with 2d4 slaver guards.
11 - Elephant, mammoth, or dinosaur and handler(s).
12 - Beautiful woman, may fall in love with charismatic pc, 50% chance fo being rich/noble.
13 - Merchant and 2d4 servants or slaves bearing clay urns of oil, 50% chance an urn has just been dropped and a pool of oil is on the street.
14 - Urchins playing marbles.
15 - Powerful sorcerer, easily offended, 75% chance of 1d4 apprentices or henchmen.
16 - Large, crowded group of people (d4: 1 - spontaneous street party; 50% chance of impromptu dance sequence occurring, 2 - angry crowd about to riot, 3 - labourers leaving workplace, 4 - parade)
17 - 4d4 Clumsy, stupid, comical guardsmen armed with truncheons and only helmets for armor, 50% chance of carrying whistles.
18 - Procession of pilgrims, zealots, dervishes or monks. 75% chance of them bearing a sacred relic of their cult.
19 - The mayor/king or equivalent and entourage.
20 - Fishmarket

What's In the Alleyway? d10
1 - Jaded prostitutes.
2 - Camp of 3d4 hobos.
3 - 3d4 street toughs, 25% chance of fighting 3d4 rival gang members. Armed with knives, clubs and chains.
4 - 1d8 large vicious dogs.
5 - Wrought iron fence, 25% chance of hidden broken glass in top.
6 - Obstacles composed of rotting garbage.
7 - Prostitute servicing rich/upper class/important client.
8 - 1d4 flesh-eating zombies, 10% chance of being infectious.
9 - 1d4 illicit intoxicant vendors. Will be surly, tough and armed.
10 - Serial killer (usually high-level assassin) and victim; 50% chance killer is rich, noble or some other important member of society.

What's Inside the Building They're Attempting to Escape In/Through? d10
1 - Boudoir full of scantily clad or naked beautiful women; on positive reaction may hinder pursuers.
2 - 2d6 Criminals, armed.
3 - Powerful sorcerer, easily offended, 75% chance of 1d4 apprentices or henchmen, 50% chance is summoning demon or some other complicated, dangerous rite.
4 - Undead d4: 1 - ghosts or other evil spirits (1d4), 2 - flesh-eating zombies (3d6, 10% chance of infectious), 3 - ghouls (1d8), 4 - vampire (50% chance of 2-3).
5 - Hidden temple of evil cult and guardians.
6 - Secret treasure stash, 75% chance guarded by 2d4 fighting men or 1d3 dangerous beasts/monsters. 50% chance trapped.
7 - Abandoned residence, factory or warehouse.
8 - Shocked family.
9 - Social club, 3d6 gentlemen and 3d4 servants.
10 - A crowded, raging party; 50% chance of spontaneous musical number occurring.

Friday, January 8, 2010

Mother-Freakin' Slam-Bam Wrestling Rules For D&D?



- From Joesky the Dungeon Brawler (thanks to Gnome-Bientus for turning me on to this!)
I was thoroughly amused by the above, giggling and all. But the idea stuck in my head. I'm not a wrestling "Fan" although I can enjoy it (especially small, local league matches), but the idea of a D&D Fighter having his sword eaten by a Rust Monster only to, without missing a beat, pick up said Rust Monster and pile-drive it's bug-eyed head into the stone dungeon floor!! is far too awesome to not experiment with. (yes, I know about the various "grappling" rules in various editions of D&D, they can fuck off on account of not Being Exciting/Awesome.) Plus I read this afterwards, which really motivated me to continue with this line of thought.

You know which genre characters were inveterate bad-ass wrestlers? Conan and Captain Kirk! (I also need rules for double karate-chop shoulder attacks...)

I also need something spontaneous, something that's not going to be a "magic bullet" weapon such as 3.5s sunder or trip/AoO combo, but something exciting.

I immediately thought of Zak Smith's (the master of awesome, simple subsystem rules) "Lucky Number Kung Fu," which seems an almost perfect fit, although I would change it so that Fighters and Fighter-types are the only ones with "lucky numbers", with perhaps the head-butt and grappling options from Sham's What Price Glory rule packets and perhaps something from this. And pile-drivers.

I'm going to put some more thought into this, look over the 1st-ed Oriental Adventures martial arts rules, and try some play-testing; but for some gonzo-stupid-awesome reason I am obsessed about incorporating wrestling moves into my D&D.

Thursday, January 7, 2010

For Anyone Who Missed It The First Time...Star Trek Romance Rules!!!

Jeff Rient graciously reprints the Freakin' OFFICAL STAR TREK RPG ROMANCE RULES on his blog. I believe that these rules also incorporate True Scientific Realism!

You better believe I'm frantically combining this with the womanizing rules from Ready Refs Sheets in order to have "making a pass" rules for this Sunday's Planet Algol Game...

Wednesday, January 6, 2010

The Journal of the Sage and Red Box Vancouver!

Due to formatting weirdness, two "in character" posts by Fat Cotton that I just published are located in the clutter of older posts. Read them here and here.

As well, I am aglow with hometown pride that Vancouver now has It's Own Red Box Campaign! We're a big city like New York now! I would love to join in, but my other commitments (playing kill-your-mother music; getting up at 5:30 for work; spending time with the better half) preclude my involvement.

Still, I heartily endorse (with some jealousy!) this project and encourage any interested locals to meet up with them for a session!

Tuesday, January 5, 2010

"No Gandalfs!"

The following consists of excerpts from emails I've sent to the artists who have been producing Planet Algol artwork. I'm laughing at what a control freak I am in these, but I've had my fill of tattooed mohawked ninja-hookers with 4-bladed battle-axes. Feel free to laugh at me as well!
"Planet Algol is Not Extreme! No modern or even anachronistic "extreme" imagery
- no mohawks or punk hairstyles
- no punk rock anything
- no "hot rod" flames
- no tattoos or piercings
- no warhammer/games workshop extreme spiky imagery
- no oversized weapons
- no ridiculous "rock shop/bong store/klingon" style triple bladed axes or nunchuck swords or even any martial arts weapons
- no overmuscled, over-the-top steroid case musculature
- no hooker clothing
- no punk/metal style spikes or studs (a tasteful spike on top of a dome or helmet is good, a spiked collar or jacket is bad!)
- avoid overuse of skull imagery, with appropriate exceptions for "The Monolith of Skulls" or "Pile of Skulls Monster"
- avoid real-life historical, religious, occult, political, etc. symbols. No pentagrams or fleur du lies!

Planet Algol is Not Medieval or Even Earth
- see later section regarding earth men
- no weapons, armor, clothing or architecture that looks overtly medieval, viking, renaissance, etc.
- however, weapons, armor, clothing or architecture that appear vaguely "ancient", east indian, mesoamerican, middle-eastern, southeast asian, or mesopotamian can be acceptable, but avoid copying actual historical styles. likewise clothing that appears vaguely napoleonic or victorian is good, as long as it is alien!
- avoid doing traditional fantasy subjects; however traditional "pulp swords & sorcery" subjects are good!

What Does Planet Algol Look Like?
- classic rpg illustrator Erol Otus
- contemporary rpg illustrator Peter Mullen
- European cartoonist Moebius
- classic sixties "Star Trek" alien cultures/planets
- "The Warlord" comic book published by DC in the eighties
- anything Flash Gordon
- illustrations for Edgar Rice Burrough's "Mars/Barsoom" series
- legendary comic artist Jack Kirby
- classic Marvel Conan comics
- classic cartoonist Richard Corben
- "Tekumel," (google it)
- the sixties Spider-Man cartoons
- art neuveau & art deco

Algol Men
- are anatomically identical to standard humans, aside from whatever specific details are in their description
- no pointed ears, weird eyes, star trek alien facial prothesis, etc.
- if a race has scales they are small/fine and consistent in texture over the entire body
- algol people should ideally be of ambiguous race/ethnicity compared to earth men
- avoid identifying algol men, cultures, etc. with real life/historical cultures, races, ethnicities
- however, weapons, armor, clothing or architecture that appear vaguely "ancient", east indian, mesoamerican, middle-eastern, southeast asian, or mesopotamian can be acceptable, but avoid copying actual historical styles. likewise clothing that appears vaguely napoleonic or victorian is good, as long as it is alien

Algol Technology
- should be rare
- contemporary Algol Man technology is rare and looks art neuvau/art deco/baroque
- contemporary algol man energy weapons should look like baroque flinlock/musket/black powder firearms, but without the serpentine/hammer/flint&firing pan
- ancient algol technology looks saucer man/over the top with fins, crystals, vanes, cones, prisms. Jack Kirby, Moebius, Erol Otus

Earth Men
- look like "pulp adventure characters," imagine the illustration on the cover of a lurid men's adventure magazine in the 1930s'
- Most Earth Men are from Rocketship expeditions to Planet Algol from earth
- These Earth Men's clothing and technology looks vaguely 1940s-1950s but slightly futuristic (as that era viewed futuristic)
- Their firearms should look like world war ii era, but no automatic weapons/machine guns. firearms should also be sparse!
- pistols look like classic six-shooters, Colt Model 1911 automatics, broom-handle mausers, lugers
- rifles should be bolt action or level action. if they have a clip/magazine it should be small like a M1 carbine. no assault rifles, etc.
- things like flap-top holsters, old western ammunition bandoleers, and the like are good
- no grenades, bazookas, flamethrowers and other military armament
- weapons like WWII combat knives, bayonets, machetes, cavalry sabers, nightsticks, hatchets, and the like are good for earth men. imagine pulp adventure heros.
- earth man technology looks like a 1940/50s' futuristic version of ww2 era technology.
- some earth men are time/space travelers that have fallen through some sort of spacetime rift and ended up on planet algol. they can be from any eara/background (including children) but please keep them sparse, in the spirit of the style guide, and try to avoid fantasy cliches like viking warriors and the like.

- generally sparse, the only non-arid areas in the currently known region is the moss steppes, the forbidden mist valley, the slime lands and the adjacent jungles
- should look prehistoric, alien, mutated, pulp adventure tropical
- no pine trees

Nudity & taste
- keep it PG-13. I may have to deal with some licensing and distributing issues down the line
- tasteful cheesecake is good, but avoid pin-up art style stuff
- many Algol Men wear loincloths/breechclouts, loincloths with weapon harnesses, breechclouts with capes
- no ninjas

Further Suggested Artists
- classic sci-fi paperback cover artist Jack Gaughan

Further Taste Guidelines
- no gandalfs
- sorcerers in star patterned robes and conical hats are acceptable however

Also, check the following out for inspiration:

Algol Melee Weapons

Axe, Battle - Dane Axe, Long Bearded Axe
Axe, Hand - cane knife, francisca mak 1 2 Fishtail Knife 3 4 5 6
Dagger - Pugio, Seax 1 Jambiya Koumiya 1 Tetela Knife
Mace, Any - Scorpion Macehead, Narmer Macehead 1 2 (middle two)
Mace, Heavy - Kanabo
Mace, Light - 1
Morningstar - Morningstar 1
Picks - 1 (bottom one)
Spears 1 2 3 4
Sword, Broad - Dao, Spatha, Takouba, Bolo, Makhaira Falchion Khanda 1 Qama 2
Sword, Long - Flyssa, Kampilan, Jian 1 Walloon Mortuary Sword Backsword Yang Sabre Qi Jian Khyber Mexican Sabre
Sword, Scimitar - Yataghan, Kilji, Saif, Nimcha, Shotel, Falcata, Talibong (three leftmost) Pirate Cutlass Tulwar Hanger Dha Cutlass
Sword, Short - Kukri, Gladius Hispania, Parang, Golok, Kopis, Bronze Age Sword (disregard khopesh), Bronze Age Rapier, this bayonet Cinqueda Seax Choora Gunong Talibon 1
Sword, Two-Handed - Dadao ( giant swords) Zhanmadao Executioners Sword (again...not huge) Greatsword
Trident - Tripula

Algol Energy Weapons (without the huge bulge at the handle end of some pistols or the lever/hammer mechanism)
1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 11 12 13 14 15 16 17 18

"Alien" Guns

1 2 3 4

1 2 3

Earth Man Guns

Automatic Pistols
1 2 (without stock) 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 11

1 (disregard the zigzags) 2 3 4 5 6 7

1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 11 (with shorter magazine) 12 13 14 15 16 17 18 (with shorter magazine) 19 20"