Friday, January 20, 2017

Modules in an On-Going Campaign

This is an adventure I've thought of using but would spend too much time changing it
In my gaming career, I haven't ran too many published adventures. When I was younger and had a lot of time, there didn't seem much point. These days, I can definitely see the appeal. I've run more since starting this blog than I did in all my gaming years prior, I think.

The problem is, either I'm too particular or my settings are such special snowflakes that it still takes a good bit of forethought and prep for me to be happy with them. In my Weird Adventures game, Castle Amber only wound up serving as inspiration to swipe a couple of rooms from for a sprawling, haunted estate. Jason Sholtis's Zogorion, Lord of the Hippogriffs was so freely adapted that the session served as the basis for Mortzengersturm, the Mad Manticore of the Prismatic Peak. I tend to alter them so much that I'm pretty picky about the fodder I start with, if only to minimize that tendency.

I wonder if other people have that problem? Do other folks with particular settings/campaigns just alter them to accomodate the "facts" of the published adventure or do adaptations like I do?

Thursday, January 19, 2017

Wednesday, January 18, 2017

Wednesday Comics: My Recent Collections Haul

Will take a breather here in the Storm series, before heading off to Pandarve to consider to comics collections I scored in my holiday gift haul.

I've been (slowly) picking out Fantagraphic's E.C. Seegar's Popeye collections, and I got the last two volumes I needed. Volume 4: Plunder Island includes the titular storyline, often considered to be the best of the series, which features the Sea Hag and introduces her goon henchman, including Alice. Volume 6 is the last one and features a return of the Sea Hag, among other things. Both collections are original size and up to Fantagraphics usual production standards. Popeye's Depression era adventure fantasy was an sinspiration for Weird Adventures.

The Deadly Hands of Kung Fu Omnibus was not technically a gift, but I picked it up during my holiday shopping, so it was kind of a gift to myself. This reprints material from Marvel's black and white The Deadly Hands of Kung Fu magazine. It features Shang-Chi, Iron Fist, and the Sons of Tiger, and the usual Marvel magazine topical articles. The stories feature art by the likes of Paul Gulacy, Rudy Nebres, and Jim Starlin.

Monday, January 16, 2017

Thirty-Three and A Third

by Lester B. Portly
Circus registry 331/3 (called by its operators Thirty-Three and A Third) is a Universal Standard Transport LS1517 series space hauler. The LS1517 series is often used as a pilot engine for a train of container pods with the primary motive power coming from a secondary drive at the end.

The series is an older design with a higher crew (or more sophisticated nonspohont mind) than new models and only one axis of container attachment, but it has better armaments (ostensibly "space debris protection") and a more powerful engine.

The above diagram will appear in Strange Stars OSR.

Sunday, January 15, 2017

Colonial 5e Rogues

Continuing my look at adapting 5e/Adventures in Middle Earth for a low magic game set around the time of the American Revolution. The fighter types are fairly usable as is; the spellcasters need some adaptation. Now it's time to look at various roguish sorts:

The base Rogue class in 5e works fine as does the thief & assassin archetypes. The Arcane Trickster has so nice features that could maybe form the basis of a "magical trickster" or charlatan (wherein the magic is feigned or pretended), but as currently constituted it's too magical. The Mastermind and the Swashbuckler archetypes from the Sword Coast Adventure's Guide work too, the the latter would be a bit of a relic. Rogues would also be the class of choice for "Thief-takers" working on the opposite side of the law.

Obviously musicians and performers have always existed, but the inspirational "powers" of this class seem better suited at a time of revolutions for rabble-rousers, speechifiers, and pamphleteers: your Samuel Adamses and Thomas Paines.. The Warden class of AiME seems to get closest to this range of types without the use of spells, so it's probably a good bardic substitute.

Friday, January 13, 2017

Strange Stars OSR Tease

Strange Stars OSR is getting close to release! To prove these words are true, here's the Gamemastering chapter. Some minor edits and typo-fixes aside, this is what it will be in the finished product.

Thursday, January 12, 2017

Can Willow be Redeemed by Moebius? Let's Take A Look

George Lucas's Willow is no Star Wars. Even though its made from the same sort of stock characters and the same sort borrowings from early sources, but it doesn't quite come together in the same way. At least it didn't seem to to my fifteen year-old self, and it doesn't seem to to me today.

Moebius's concept work, which I first glimpse in a magazine at the time, has only grown in my estimation since. Perhaps it doesn't suggest a weird fantasy Willow or anything that radical, but it does at least suggest to me a decent Studio Ghibli-esque film might have come from the material. Let's take a look and (re-)imagine:

Here's the titular hero and (I believe) one of his Nelwyn fellows. Nothing of the pastoral gentility of a Baggins, nor the too literal "small folk" of the film. These guys make me think of Howard's diminutive and declining Picts in "The Lost Race," but also aboriginal peoples like the Emishi (in Princess Mononoke) or Ainu. A sense of the Nelwyn threatned by humanity (or Daikini) would have been nice. I like the long earlobes, too.

Madmartigan is the rogue with the heart of gold Han Solo type, but with a bit more wastrelness, he could have been a wuxia sort of character, or Sanjuro from Yojimbo, or Mugen from Samurai Champloo--both of which are great swordsman, too. Moebius gives us a design that completely fits with those characters, suggests a world of ronin or wandering swordsmen of some sort.

So at this point, you might be thinking, "basically he's just going to say Willow should have been more Asian?" So now I'm going to throw you off:

King Kael here (General Kael in the film) is described as "bestial" in the third draft of the script, which he obviously is here. Perhaps he is a lover of Bavmorda transferred by her magic? A reverse Beauty and the Beast (there's maybe a bit of Cocteau's beast about him. Maybe)? Or is he the captain of the flying monkeys, so to speak? Anyway, he fulfills a bit of a Witch-King of Angmar role, so fleshing out his badass villainy would have been good.

Now, it's back to the Asian stylings. The mask suggests (to me) childhood mindwarping courtesy of Bavmorda for the warrior woman Sorsha. Maybe she's just go a slight blemish, but has been convinced its a horrible disfigurement a la (some accounts of) Doctor Doom? Maybe her inhuman beauty as a daughter of the Tuatha de Danaan-esque folk of Tir Asleen is her disfigurement to her witch queen mother? Note that the mask isn't just a human mask, it's go that single Oni horn. Probably means something.

Lastly, I believe this is one of two fairly divergent designs Moebius did for the brownies--but in an earlier script draft Willow and baby get captured by elves who are described as wearing "samurai-type outfits and angry little haircuts." These are guys who (in the script) collect baby tears as part of their gig. Now think of these sinister little guys, like a mashup of the Indian in the Cupboard and the evil faerie of del Toro's Don't be Afraid of the Dark remake. I think we could do without the French accent Lucas specifies for their leader, though.