Sunday, August 29, 2010

Planet Algol is my Insect Shrine of Goblin Hill, Digest-ive Aids, and Public Planet Algol Game

Recently I've received a few emails inquiring when/if/already has? the Planet Algol project has been published; in that regard, although I've horrendously slacked over the summer, I've been obsessively banging away, with the goal of providing both a toolkit of weird science fantasy resources and a campaign setting usable "out of the box" so to speak.

I want this think to be as useful and awesome as I can practically make it. So, much like the aforementioned ISOGH, I've been taking my own sweet, damn time with it. Currently I'm reorganizing/editing  the core material while continuing on cranking out dungeons.

I know I've been repeating platitudes in the above fashion for a while....and before that there was some "Coming Soon In Early 2010!" hot talk. But please bear with me; I want this thing to be the ultimate, ready to use, sandbox campaign setting where you just need to add players. Need a dungeon? There'll be plenty. Need a NPC? There'll be a bunch well as the tables for rolling them up.

In that regard, I'm ready to take the playtesting to the next level...the public, open-house level. I'm going to try and coordinate a second, weekly or bi-weekly, Planet Algol game with the Vancouver Red Box crew.

So if you're interested and are in the Vancouver area, drop me a line (planetalgolATgmailDOTcom); even if you're in town for a couple of days, drop in for a session.

Enough with this bafflegab, let's get back to the gamer-porn; behold, my collection of digest-sized awesomeness:

What I really like about this is that I could just grab a few of these booklets and have a campaign, I could randomly generate a campaign by blindly selecting a couple of these guys! Of course, I still need digest-sized copies of Gamma World, Empire of the Petal Throne, Terminal Space, The LOTFPWFRG booklets, The Arduin trilogy, The Otus Necronomicon, Metamorphosis Alpha, The Underworld & Wilderness Adventure, Labyrinth Lord Advanced Edition Companion, etc, etc, etc!

Saturday, August 28, 2010

My Master/Meta Wilderness Encounter Table

This below is the "master" wilderness encounter table I use to determine which edition/game's wilderness encounter table I use to generate wilderness encounters in my Planet Algol game (it's usually just rudely wrote down on a piece of scrap):

1. Expert D&D
2. AD&D Fiend Folio
3. Empire of the Petal Throne
4. Arduin
5. Gamma World
6. Mutant Future
7. Carcosan Grimoire
8. Savage Swords of Athanor

I usually reroll or "re-skin" inappropriate results; for some reason my dice LOVE the Arduin result, which can have ....unfortunate... results.

Thursday, August 26, 2010

My Take on the FGG Swords & Wizardry Cover Controversy, Cave Map & Blasphemous Bestiary Request

So some folks aren't taken with the cover artwork for the upcoming Swords & Wizardry complete edition being released by Frog God Games. See Here, and Here.

Now, I absolutely adore Peter Mullen's artwork and his cover for Swords & Wizardry Core (I've seen pictures of folks in a shirt with that artwork...anyone know where I could get one?), I've stated several times that my dream team for Planet Algol cover artwork would be Peter Mullen & Stephen Poag.

However, I'm also a big fan of the artist responsible for the cover of the upcoming Swords & Wizardry FFG release, Rick Sardine (or however you spell it...). I find them subtle, evocative, and with a rich depiction of lighting. Mesopotamia, Coils of Set, this cat has done some great covers.

I love the Peter Mullen cover, but I'm quite down with the new version as well (although if I wasn't financially strapped right now I'd be desperately ordering the Black Blade Publishing version of Swords & Wizardry core in order to own a copy with the Mullen artwork).

To me the the Rick Sardinia cover says "Some may poh-poh the idea of a simple, oldschool system such as S&W providing a rich, sophisticated, adult RPG experience..but you're wrong! Not only is S&W good for simple dungeoncrawls, Rient-sian gonzotude, and funn cheetoism; but it can also be used for serious, "adult," dramatic, "literary" play!" (not that I'm advocating railroading, Dragonlancing, or story-before-game), "Not only can you use S&W for the Treasure Dungeon of Darth Viraxis, but you can also use it for a serious game of Tolkein-ish questing!" (does anyone else get a watcher at the gates of Moria vibe from it?).

However, and a tangentially related topic that gets my blood boiling with NUCLEAR NERD RAGE!!!1, I HATE HATE HATE the newer Swords & Wizardry logo; and I absolutely fucking love the older, cryptic, Metal-er one.

Well, since the above constitutes an internet argument, I must kowtow to the wisdom of the esteemed JOESKY; here's a hand-drawn map (tee-hee) of  a cave complex for all you DMs & GMs to stock and use (yeah, my players can forget about checking it out!):

Also, does anyone out there have one of those preview copies of Blasphemous Bestiary that were in circulation before the editor nuked them? I'd love a chance to check it sounds like it was right up my alley! (planetalgolATgmailDOTcom)

Monday, August 23, 2010

Assorted Algol Related Material & SPACE!

Bat from Ancient Vaults & Eldritch Secrets freakin' Blows My Mind ...and also may have unintentionally provided a potential solution to an Interplanetary Castaway Situation in my own game...

Il Male of The Doomed Wasteland provides us with Random Robot Generation; Random Cults and Societies in Standard Fantasy and Weird Science Fantasy flavours; and a table for Generating Rough Hexmap Hex Contents.

This blog post is actually a set of bookmarks for when I get more ink cartridges for the money pit printer...


Put up with first 1:45 or so, it's worth it...

Somewhat relevant to the above video.

Thursday, August 19, 2010

Ghorhats, Khirhine & Monoclopians

# Encountered: 4-16 (20-200 in lair)
Armor Class: 7
Movement: 12"
Hit Dice: 2+1
Attacks: By weapon or bite/gore for 1-6
Special: Nil
Intelligence: Average
Alignment: Neutral evil
Size: L (8')
A race of tall, gaunt humanoids with hairless, tough, rubbery green skin; long, wiry limbs; long, white curved tusks; pointed ears; two vertical slashes for nostrils; and large, round eyes with red irises. Ghorhats live for violence and battle, knowing no mercy or kindness. Their society is based upon bands lead by warchiefs, and all of their disputes are settled by violence. They often have settlements in remote ruins. Ghorhats prefer weapons that are slender and elongated, like their wielders, usually bearing long spears and hand-and-a-half swords, with a short sword or a hand axe serving the function of a knife. They greatly prize the projectile weapons of civilized men, as well as their luxury goods such as jewelry and rich fabrics, and often raid human settlements or caravans for such loot. Some legends claim that they are the degenerated and mutated descendants of on the civilizations of the Ancients.

# Encountered: 3-12
Armor Class: 5
Movement: 18"
Hit Dice: 4
Attacks: By weapon plus two foreleg strikes for 1-6/1-6
Special: Nil
Intelligence: Average
Alignment: Lawful evil
Size: L (8' tall)
The Khirhine superficially resemble the centaur of Earth's legends; they have a large, quadrepedal body with the upper portion of a humanoid where the head and neck would be; however, they have thick green-and-yellow reticulated scales; a long, broad tail; massive claw-like nails instead of hooves; and a horned, beaked head with a single, globular eyes of solid red coloration.The Khirhine are a cruel race and place much emphasis on their code of martial honor. They say that they are the descendants of star-travelers trapped upon Algol by misfortune in the distant past; the Khirhine greatly resent their present situation and take their frustration out on the inhabitants of this world. They often serve as mercenaries.

# Encountered: 4-24
Armor Class: 8
Movement: 12"
Hit Dice: 1
Attacks: By weapon or two claws for 1-3/1-3
Special: Nil
Intelligence: Low
Alignment: Chaotic evil
Size: M
A savage race of raiders and despoilers, Monoclopians are skinny, gangling beings with jaundice-yellow skins; long talon-like nails; pointed ears; and a single, large, human-like eye. Some have long, scraggly hair in nauseating ocher and brown hues growing from their lower legs and the sides and backs of their skulls. They inhabit the desolate wastes of Algol where they live a savage existence little removed from that of beasts. Monoclopians are reputed to harbour an unwholesome lust for Human women.

Monday, August 16, 2010

Shaggy Hulks

# Encountered: 2-12 (6-36 in lair)
Armor Class: 5
Movement: 9"
Hit Dice: 3+1
Attacks: 1-4/1-4
Special: Surprise on 1-3/6; move silently 50%; 5% have abilities of 3rd-level Mind Wizards
Intelligence: Low-Average? (alien)
Alignment: Neutral evil
Size: L (7')
Shaggy hulks are barrel shaped bipeds, with a carapace of chitinous plates covered with shaggy grey tendrils. They have clawed paws that they use to attack; two large dark green compound eyes; and large, beetle-like mandibles. Those that possess mental powers have a thick, upright horn on the crown of their heads.  Although they appear clumsy, having a wobbly gait, they are surprisingly stealthy.

Monster - Khorhung (Four-Armed Giants)

# Encountered: 2-8 (6-36 in lair)
Armor Class: 5
Movement: 9"
Hit Dice: 4+4
Attacks: 1, 2 (at -4 'to hit') or 4 (at -8 'to hit') for 1-10 or by weapon with +2 on damage dice.
Special: immune to fear
Intelligence: Low
Alignment: Neutral
Size: L (8-9')
Hulking, muscular humanoids with leathery, thick, hairless ocher hide; four powerful three-fingered arms; flattened, oval ear-less heads; bulging, metallic, green compound eyes; pit-like nostrils; and a wide, lipless mouth full of dark indigo tusks. They  wear loinclouts and battle harnesses of scaled hide and carry several crude stone-headed axes and spears.
The Khorhung inhabit the wastes and deserts of Algol where they hunt massive beasts; wage war with other tribes of wasteland inhabitants; and occasionally raid the caravans and settlements of the soft, civilized men. They are a simple people that love fighting; physical exertion; and gorging on meat. Despite their proclivities for raiding, they will trade with outsiders on occasion, and especially prize quality battle axes and great swords, which they are capable of wielding with one hand.
Due to their four muscular arms Khorhung are capable of attack with two weapons in one round (with a -4 on all attack rolls) or four weapons (at -8 on all attack rolls); they are also capable of biting while disarmed or wrestling for 1-6 points of damage. Due to their great strength they inflict +2 on damage dice with weapons. Spears and thrown rocks are the only missile weapons that they commonly use.
Khorhung tribes will often have champions and chieftains with additional hit dice, up to a total of 8+8 for grizzled hero-warlords.

Friday, August 13, 2010

Magic Item - Dagger Of The Akhtholanduvian Karcists

Chalk fondled the sinister dark, curved dagger.

"I wish you'd get rid of that thing already!" Koram harshly whispered as the party crouched behind a fragment of the massive brassteel girders that supported the lilac dome above them.

"Quiet!" whispered Valance, "there's a pack of rubbery things with metal limbs coming out of that hole in the ground."

Koram quickly raised the strange silvery weapon that fired lines of violet energy.

"My mistake, it's just spider venom hallucinations again."

"This whole fucking world is like your fucking spider venom hallucinations!" muttered Chalk as he continued caressing the malicious looking knife.

The signature weapon of the aforementioned Karcists, a shadowy destruction cult of Assassin-Sorcerers from the Flying Mountains of Ylesh who terrorized the regions below tens of thousands of years ago during the Aeon of the Ivory Autarch.

The weapons are single-edged crescent-bladed daggers of dull, dark hepatazon, tarnished a almost black by the millenea. They are +2 to hit and damage, and if the wielder strikes with a natural 20 on the attack roll the target loses one life level to energy drain and the wielder takes 1-4+2 points of damage.

Thursday, August 12, 2010

The Deep Demon Worlds Pt. II


An endless mire of waist deep grey mucous and massive intertwined colonies of translucent thin worms, the atmosphere suffused with hot, moist, sulfurous yellow vapours emitted from organ-like vents.

This Demon World consists of an endless flat waste of cracked, fossilized mud, interspersed wuth bottomless reeking black rifts. A harsh brassy sun perpetually hangs at the top of the metallic pinkish sky.

UGGUDGA consists of vast, miles wide organ-cavities in a world-sized mass of gelatinous, fleshy living matter. These cysts are connected by all sorts of tubes and organs, and regions of acidic fluids are common.

Miles high heaps of pale bones, carapaces and fossils upon the flanks of obscenely tall, narrow, fang-like spires of black stone. Month long nights with starless skies interspersed by a few hours of flickering, hazy silver sun in a white sky.

Dozens of continents sized "islands" of rocky-metallic matter floating in the uppermost reaches of the atmosphere of a luminous gas giant banded in lurid yellows, oranges and reds. The black skies bear a few handfuls of dim, malignant red stars.

Beneath an unending dismal gray twilight, lies the Demon World GHORORIATH, an infinite labyrinth-palace of decaying, sodden, baroque splendour. The skies above are constantly raining, this frigid rain ranges from a light mist to common torrential downpours. The infinite nature of this palace extends downward as well.

This Demon World is composed of violently storming flaming violet gasses above a sea of boiling tarry matter. Occasional lifeless dome-cities of semi-translucent silvery metal float randomly across the black sea.

A Demon World of endless, mountainous plateaus and canyons of crumbling, cancerous, ocher stone; encrusted with tomb complexes and ziggurats of lead and gray granite. The canyon depths are choked with darkness and emit faint mocking echoes. The sky is sunless but several throbbing blue and yellow stars provide dim illuminination. The LIBRARY OF ELKHAODATH is located atop the highest mountain of ABDOATHAON, and in a plaza of vitrified matter towers the PYLON OF GHADASH, a beacon for navigating into the madness that is the Outermost Demon Worlds.

Wednesday, August 11, 2010

"Cursed" Treasure Emerging From Play

No, this isn't about that -2 cursed backbiting hayfork or transgendering girdle, but about treasure that acquires a "cursed" nature due to the greed, betrayal, misfortune and death that it engenders. There have been a couple of such items in my current Planet Algol game...

Gan-Ron's Silver Needle Sword

One of the first adventures in the Planet Algol Campaign involved the party being commissioned by intoxicant distributors to retrieve a synthetic prostitute that had run away with a  "Hero," Gan-Ron the Silver Man, a dim witted but good hearted crusader. The party sorcerers befriend, ensorcel and than murder Gan-Ron and take his magic, silvery, needle-bladed long sword as loot.

The party members were excited to acquire their first magic weapon...and than every character that wielded the sword died. Every character. It was random happenstance, but it was ....appropriate.

Eventually Kalervo, the folksy, stoic cactus man bore it, and even though he died a few times always managed to come back...until the "Eye of Restoring Life" ran out of charges while Kalervo lay there, a mass of pulpy green shreds and splintered wooden bones...with Gan-Ron's Silver Needle Sword lying broken next to him (failed save vs. crushing blow from the BIG monster that slew him). The curse ended with the shattering of the blade and the loss of beloved, useful member of the party.

The Magic Helmet

In their adventures the party came across a friendly, good-natured gossip that told them all sorts of tales of treasure and adventure scattered across the hexmap. One of his tales involved a cache of loot including a magic helmet.

An expedition set forth to fid this treasure. They defeated the guardians, but were slain by nocturnal emissions from poisonous blossoms before they found the treasure.

Another expedition set out, on a R&R (recovery and resurrection) mission. The dead characters are found, and Kalervo is resurrected (leaving only one charge in the party's Eye of Restoring Life). The treasure is found...several thousand gp worth of jewelry and a magic helmet. Identify is cast upon the helmet and it is revealed to be a Helm of Teleportation...a real top-shelf magic item.

The party sets out on their long, grueling return journey and during the next night a roll on the "Which Wilderness Encounter Table Do I Use" table results in the Arduin Wandering Monster Table. Which results in a crazy badass wandering monster, which results in the wholesale slaughter of every party member that can't outrun said monster (Dave Hargrave...he was a maniac!).

Kalervo...dead. Buzz Brazelhach...dead. Sleestakuras...dead.

One of the survivors, a new 1st level character that also managed to nab the jewels and Helm of Teleportation by virtue of finding them in a tank of slimy alagae water, returns to the scene of the carnage, loots Buzz Brazelhach's corpse for all of his valuables (Buzz had been rude and pushy with him), and uses the last charge of the Eye of Restoring Life to bring back Rodan the Scrounger...who sees his rescuer wearing the Magic Helmet and carrying his dead companion Buzz's magic sword reacts by reaching for his laser pistol to blast the 1st level character to atoms for his impudent greed.

The bearer of the Helm reacts by using it's power of Teleportation to escape back to "safety" before the laser pistol clears leather and Rodan is left in the wilderness, sans companions or supplies (ruined by the monster) and with much of his gear ruined by the same monster (including all of his radiation crystals...power cells for his energy weapons).

To me, that is an epic pulp adventure tale of greed and death. Sure, an expedition ended disastrously, characters died, but The Curse of Fucking Greed In Effect!! ...just fucking harrowing, the stuff of legends...How Many Men Died Seeking That Helmet and How Many More Will Yet Die? As Kalervo died and Gan-Ron's sword was broken in this misadventure, did the curse transfer to the helmet? I know not...but I am eager to see what ensues.

Also, now we have a PC with a serious murderous vendetta against another PC that possesses the power of teleportation...crikey, the drama that may unfold!

Also, here's some sublimely transcendent Krautrock I've been listening to a lot lately, perfect tunes for psychedelic space deaths...

Monday, August 9, 2010

The Deep Demon Worlds Pt. I

After the Sorcerer has disembarked from ERUHKHT further into the depths of the Abyss the Sorcerer has left the Rim Demon Worlds and has entered the Abyssal layer known as the Deep Demon Worlds. Here both the matter and the physical laws of the universe have been irrevocably warped and curdled by the emanations of the Great Old Ones.

The most well known of the Deep Demon Worlds are the Thirteen that comprise the shortest route from ERUHKHT to the Outermost Demon Worlds.

The Demon World ZAEDAOBAOTH consists of churning, cold, dense, oily gray mud and clay continents that are constantly grinding against each other, with occasional mountains of filthy, rotting, fossil infested jade floating in the morass. The skies are sunless and look like a slightly luminous endless sheet of slate, providing dim gray illumination. It is whispered that there are vaults of pure force located in the bowels of this world where artifacts and entities are imprisoned.

XYLZHZKH is a Demon World of utter darkness, where even illumination brought from outside is dimmed and suffocated. The lands consist of blobby, melted black glass, with occasional talon like formations of monomolecular obsidian blades. The air is harshly cold and dry.

Under low, throbbing skies of lead vapour lies UTUMEGLON, a Demon World of flattened, cold, black ashes and cinders. UTUMEGLON has crushing gravity levels and the world is suffused with lethal radiation levels. Occasional charred and slagged  ruins of fortifications  spot the wastes and lifeless, saucer like flying cities soar below the gray clouds.

The skies of KAGZALAG consist of churning purple frothy clouds with floating luminous clusters of oily green egg like spheres providing shifting green illumination. The lands are a gently rolling steppe of 10 foot tall razored brass grass  punctuated by seas of quicksilver and ridges of basalt spires. Tales tell of pleasure palaces and nyphmariums located on the sides of the basalt spires that provide the utmost in otherworldly sensual delights.

A Demon World consisting of a lightless, 4-foot gap between two endless, parallel planes of dull, black, impermeable force.

Sunday, August 8, 2010

Another Algol Dungeon Map Preview

Sans room numbers, doors, stairs, pits, shafts, altars, etc.

Thursday, August 5, 2010

The Seven Rim Demon Worlds

Although there are an uncounted legion of Demon Worlds, on Algol "The Seven Rim Demon Worlds" refers to the Demon Worlds that comprise the shortest path through the Abyss to the Deeper Demon Worlds.

The Demon World OGGUTT is a toroid shaped world, its atmosphere suffused with massive ragged clouds of semi-living gaseous colonies that emit blude, green and ultraviolet light. The regions of OGGUTT that lie withing the central, or "hole" portion of the world are a torrid jungles of acidic and poisonous, animate, yellow-green vegetation; while the outer regions of the world are a frozen wasteland of towering glowing spires of radioactive ice.

The Demon World ZAIYAAT is an endless, bottomless sea of slimy, viscous, phosphorescent, green liquid; floating fragments of unthinkably massive, fossilized or decaying abominations serve as islands. The black, city sized Temple Barge of the Worm Sibyls haunts this world.

An endless subterranean maze of crumbling ruined catacombs and palaces, suffused with sulfurous and poisonous gases spewing from chemical geysers and punctuated by occasional pits of squirming larvae.

A desert of hot grit, embers and brass, scoured by unending wind and fire storms. Towering colossi in the form of palaces atop elongated legs stalk across the writhing dunes.

A neverending labyrinth of deformed mirrors, haunted by hallucinations and the echoes of chimes, cymbals and bangles.

A region of swirling glowing black and red breathable gases filled with hundreds of planetoids. Many petty minor demon lords have their holdings on one of these planetoids. It is said that THE UNKNOWN ONE uses these demons lords as pawns in it's entertainments.

The Demon World of URUHKHT is comprised of a planet-sized cubical cavity in a mass of slightly radioactive, luminous silvery-blue metal. All six faces are covered with sprawling cities, pavings and ruins of lead and basalt while a painfully bright white luminous sphere lies in the center of the cavity. Many of the more mercantile varieties of demon coagulate here.

Tuesday, August 3, 2010

Planet Algol Preview Dungeon Map

Although I've found my self somewhat less that choleric lately, I have been working on dungeons for the Planet Algol booklet. I've found that micro- and mini- sized pads of graph paper invaluable for my mapping style, I just keep on churning out tiny to normal sized dungeons maps. The below is one of my favorites:

Monday, August 2, 2010

R. Ruddock's Depiction of a Talos

R. Ruddock has been really knocking them out of the park lately, and I've been sorely negligent in updating this blog with examples of his artistry. A Talos does what it does best.
Chris Huth's depiction of a Cactogre; stay tuned for his depictions of some of the Iridium Plateau hex descriptions.