Sunday, July 24, 2016

Teasing Hubris

Mike "Wrathofzombie" Evans's successfully kickstartered campaign setting, Hubris: A World of Visercal Adventure, is set to drop in September, I believe. I've got my advanced backers copy, and if "a visceral world of adventure" is a phrase that intrigues you, I think you will want to see this.

Hubris (we're told in the intro) is a world created from the corpse of a dead god. That sort of sets the tone. It's a bit Sword & Sorcery in its underlying chassis, but its not about purple prose, instead it creates more a Heavy Metal Magazine or sensibility, with a hint of Dark Sun, maybe. I could see it easily having been illustrated by Brom, Simon Bisley or Tim Truman. We don't get either of those guys, but we get David Lewis Johnson, Jeremy Duncan, Doug Kovacs, and Jason Sholtis among others, so we weren't suffering there!

As an example of the tone, one of my favorite bits is the Murder Machine race which is sort of like the Warforged with a bit of the Kuath from Strange Stars, but more metal than either of those things by at least seventy-five percent. The write-up is accompanied by an awesome Jeremy Duncan illustration that has a badass Ian Miller vibe.

Mike used Dungeon Crawl Classics as his ruleset, which has the right vibe. There are a lot of tools here (inspired by Vornheim which is Mike's not-so-secret rpg crush) which make it usable in pieces even if you don't want to go with the whole world.

I imagine it will be up for sale once the Kickstarter has been fulfilled, so even if you didn't Kickstarter you'll have a chance to check it out.

Friday, July 22, 2016

Xmas in July and Strange Stars in Spanish

Listen to sparkly Glamdalf from the Hill Cantons and check out the sale over at Rpgnow. There's a lot of good stuff besides Hydra stuff--but there's Hydra stuff, too! Fill out your collection.

On the Hydra-related front, Strange Stars is now available in pdf in Spanish, too, as Estrellas Extrañas from Hirukoa!

Thursday, July 21, 2016

Giant Space Robot, Revisited

I've been thinking about fleshing out my barebones Giant Space Robot game idea. Earth is in danger! Only intrepid human pilots controlling giant robots from space can save us! 

While we wait for me to do that, you can check out these posts on it from the past: Here's my initial sketch of the game. Here's various Godzillas statted for it. And this is a gigantic Frankenstein's monster.

Wednesday, July 20, 2016

Wednesday Comics: Storm: The Secrets of Nitron Rays

My exploration of the long-running euro-comic Storm, continues. Earlier installments can be found here.

Storm: The Secret of the Nitron Rays (1981) (part 3)
(Dutch: Het Geheim van de Nitronstralen)
Art by Don Lawrence & Script by Dick Matena

The traitor Benjamin's ship is brought down on one of the asteroids by the power of Bitak, who is now apparently working with Azurian pirates. Benjamin pleads for his life, saying he killed Mordegai (true) and he is on  the Azurian's side (a lie). The pirate leader, Fahir, lets him live for now, while they investigate his claim.

Elsewhere, an Earth reconnaissance craft encounters a vessel drifting. It has something unusual in it's hull.

A statue of Storm.

The logbook suggests the ship was from the colony on Venus. They found the statue and were bringing it to Earth when they were attacked by pirates. Storm believes the statue must be from the 21st Century as it shows him in the clothes he was wearing when he left for his mission on Jupiter. They discover the statute was found in Lake Tecumseh, the site of one of the early Terran colonies on Venus during the terraforming. Storm wants to go their to investigate.

As their ship nears the site, they see signs of battle. The pirates are attacking the scientists. Storm's approach puts the Azurians into a panic. Fahir tries to get Bitak to destroy Storm's ship, but she refuses. He slaps her and she responds:

Bitak refuses to go with the fleeing Azurians, but they hit her over the head and take her anyway. The Azurian cruiser is fired upon by an Earth star-cruiser, but Bitak uses her power to save them. The pirates are able to make their escape.

Meanwhile, Storm and Ember and helping the survivors of the pirate attack. An old man recognizes Storm from the statue. He tells Storm that children discovered it diving for stones in an old temple from the early colonization centuries ago. There was a room full of statues.

This has Storm intrigued. He decides to put on a diving suit and check it out.


Monday, July 18, 2016


by Jason Sholtis
Hohmmkudhuk* are dwarfish beings resembling bipedal anteaters whose dorsal surface is covered with over-lapping, plate-like scales similar to a pangolin's. They spend much of their life underground in great subterranean halls or warrens. They are clannish and eusocial. Each hall belongs to a Queen, though her holdings are managed by her mate or mates, the Drone-Princes, of which there may be as many as three.

Only the Queen and her consorts reproduce, the rest of the clan is made up of their siblings and children who are sterile. Children are raised communally and in the same way: they pass through a sort of apprenticeship, doing low-skilled tasks as soon as they are able, then advancing to the role of warrior, trader or artisan as they so aptitude and develop the appropriate skills.

If the Queen dies or decides it is time to create a daughter-clan, one of her female progeny becomes able to reproduce and becomes a new queen. This new Queen will have a mate from an unrelated clan. These unions are arranged to form alliances, but their is also a strong tradition of wandering male adventurers winning the heart of a young queen.

Hohmmkudhuk know the ways of the underground and the working of stone. Their magic is bent to this purpose. They personify the planet itself as a goddess.

Hohmmkudhuk Traits
Ability Score Increase. Constitution score is increased by 2 and Wisdom is increased by 1.
Alignment. Hohmmkudhuk tend toward lawfulness.
Size. Hohmmkudhuk are around 4 feet tall, but heavy for their height.
Speed. Base walking speed is 25 feet.
Darkvision. Accustom to life underground Hohmmkudhuk can see 60 feet within dim light as if it were bright light.
Natural Armor. Due to their scales, Hohmmkudhuk get a +1 bonus to Armor Class.
Resilence. Hohmmkudhuk have an advantage on saving throws against poison and resistance against poison damage.
Languages. Hohmmkudhuk can speak and read the Common language of humans. They also speak and read their on consonant-laden, rumbling tongue.

*pronounced ho-hmmm-ku-thuk, where u is as in put and th as in though.

Sunday, July 17, 2016

Dungeons & Stranger Things

Watching Stranger Things the very 80s horror/sci-fi Netflix series last night gave me an idea. I won't be discussing a lot of plot detials here, but I will mention some setting/situation stuff, so the absolutely spoiler averse should beware...

So strange things are afoot in a small town, that seem to involve another dimension/universe whose walls have been breached by a nefarious research organization and D&D-playing kids investigating these goings. What if the other world was something more like a "realm of Dungeons & Dragons," as the Dungeon Master in the old cartoon used to say?

Somehow (psychic powers, I'm guessing, but maybe a device), a gaming group gets transported to this parallel realm that is a distorted mirror or their home town, filled with the trapping and set-dressing of setting-nebulous D&D. Like, geographically, where the nefarious corporations facility is, there's a mountain where evil creatures dwell. The sublevels beneath the facility are (of course) dungeons. The corporations video archive room might be a forbidden library, etc. The kids aren't transported into this realm to stay, like the D&D cartoon or Joel Rosenberg's Guardians of the Flame novels, but instead visit there in sessions and return to the regular mundane world at other times.

The kids are trying to solve a mystery of some sort in the real world. The forays into D&D fantasyland would need to serve this mystery somehow, allowing them to gain information or get access to places that they couldn't get to "in the real world." While the presentation would be different things would work pretty much the same as the Matrix/real world divide in the Matrix films.

You could run a campaign with two systems (or at least two settings) in tandem. The players would play kids in the real world 80s small town, but also kids playing D&D characters in a more conventional D&D game. The goal of adventuring in the D&D world would be to ultimately solve the mystery in the real world. Both worlds would be essentially mystery sandboxes.

Friday, July 15, 2016

The Savage Sword of El Cid

Rodrigo Diaz de Vivar, the man called El Cid, famous war leader of Medieval Spain, got the comic book treatment from in Eerie Magazine in the mid-1970s--and now a collection from Dark Horse. Though not as gonzo as the history-be-damned romp that was DC's Beowulf (where, I will remind you, Grendel battled Dracula to see who would replace Satan), it kicks history and even legend to the curb to present El Cid as Prince Valiant by way of Conan and the Medieval world as something more akin to the Hyborian Age.

While this approach is not unique in comics (Arak: Son of Thunder did a similar thing--though Thomas borrowed more from myth and legend), The approach of writer Budd Lewis and artist Gonzalo Mayo is different. Lewis tends to write it caption-heavy like a latter day Prince Valiant, albeit with more sword & sorcery paperback prose. Mayo is one of a number of Spanish artists in the Warren Magazines that look somewhat similar (and this is by no means a criticism), so if you recall Esteban Maroto's illustrations in the Ace Conan volumes, then you have the basic idea of how the world of El Cid looks. He does "homage" some poses at at times: Frazetta's ghoul queen at one point, and Racquel Welch on the this page below:

It's pretty standard 70s Sword & Sorcery stuff, but if you like that--and I know a know a number of my readers do--you should check this collection out.