Monday, May 29, 2017

The Power of Grayskull Compels You!

Dark Horse have been doing a great job with their series of Masters of the Universe reference works. The artbook was great, but for sheer information value and rpg inspiration James Eatock's He-Man and She-Ra: A Complete Guide to the Classic Animated Adventures and most recently He-Man and the Masters of the Universe: A Character Guide and World Compendium are goldmines.

The character guide and world compendium is so thick, I don't think I've given it a complete look through, yet. There is so much there! It covers ever continuity from the original minicomics through the on-going collector toy revival and the current DC Comics (though I don't know how up to date it is on the last group). It even has stuff from foreign comics and kids books. Major characters get much more extensive write-ups, and ever character or thing that has appeared in multiple media gets a discussion of the different portrayals.

At $35, some might balk at the cover price, but it's length and detail make it well worth it.

Sunday, May 28, 2017


Drow as "elves but evil" has been done. Let's take a cue from Otus's ink-blot, living shadow rendition, and say that they are the arcane Evil Twins of evils. Maybe not quite Bizarro World duplicates, but close. They look like photographic negatives of some elf, somewhere, sometime. (It is quite possible that if a specific elf and anti-elf come into contact there will be an explosion, Or, they will untie into a single, transcendent being and leave this plane. In an explosion.)

Anti-elves live underground in ultra-controlled, industrial, technolgical environments because they hate nature. They want replace it all with a machinery hellscape like Apokolips. The only reason they haven't yet is because they hate the sun, too, and are forced to live underground. They're working on that one.

Anti-elves are profoundly unmagical. All those magical abilities listed in a drow stat block have a technological basis. No surface creature can steal a anti-elf device and make it work because their bio-energy polarity will just disrupt it and make it nonfunctional after a use or two.

Ant-elves don't believe in gods, meaning they accept the existence of tiresome things other races call gods, but they think them ridiculous impediments to their own purposes and would never worship them. All sacrifices you might see them make are strictly translactional. Any temples are really just fanclubs--an anti-elves are the sort of crazy, obsessive fans that are very likely to progress to stalking and murder.

Friday, May 26, 2017

Mortzengersturm Review on Gnome Stew

John Arcadian at Gnome Stew has a positive review of Mortzengersturm up today.

Here's a shipping update on the original batch of print copy orders: All U.S. orders here shipped as of Tuesday. The last two foreign orders I plan to put in the mail today.

Thursday, May 25, 2017

OSR Extravangza

There's a sell going on on rpgnow/drivethrurpg it includes basically every OSR thing you can think of and a number of Hydra Co-op products including the Hill Cantons trilogy (Slumbering Ursine Dunes, Misty Isles, and Fever-Dreaming Marlinko) and also my very own Weird Adventures.

There are also some cool D&D megabundles (Known World Gazetteers and Planescape).

Check it out!

Wednesday, May 24, 2017

Wednesday Comics: Weird Stuff I Read Recently

Rock Candy Mountain #1
by Kyle Starks
This series scratched my Weird Adventures itch. It's the story of Slim (down on his luck even by hobo standards), who encounters Jackson, a hobo badass on a journey to find that hobo Shangri-La, Big Rock Candy Mountain--if he can stay ahead of the Devil. It's kind of like a combination of O Brother, Where Art Thou? and maybe a martial arts movie.

The Grave Robber's Daughter
by Richard Sala
This one's a little bit horror, a little bit black comedy. No-nonsense gal sleuth Judy Drood's car breakdown near the town of Obadiah Glen. The town is deserted except for a group of  ne'er-do-well teens, a little girl--and an abandoned carnival full of sinister clowns. Drood will face sideshow mutants and magic potions before she solves the weird mystery.

Monday, May 22, 2017

Twin Peaks and the Investigative Sandbox

Twin Peaks
returned to TV last night, though I haven't seen it yet since I don't have Showtime. But hey, here's a map!

Also, check out this classic post on Weird Towns as "investigative sandboxes."

Sunday, May 21, 2017

Prometheus Unhinged: The Dungeon Mad God Machine

Seeing Alien: Covenant yesterday, which (no real spoilers) carries a theme from Prometheus (and from Frankenstein, ultimately) of lesser beings meddling in creation of life, gave me an idea. I've written before (and it's sort of baked into the rules in any case, most explicitly in BECMI) about dungeons in D&D being an engine of apotheosis.

What if dungeons didn't just create gods or god-like being? What if they tended to create mad ones? All those weird D&D monsters are waved off as the products of crazy wizards, but maybe they're more specifically the product of crazy, god-level wizards?

In fact, it's possible dungeons weren't originally a tool of apotheosis at all. One made race, the Engineers (or Dungeoneers) did it all on their own. The first dungeons were their laboratories, their three dimensional journals of magical experimentation. A delve into one charts (and recapitulates) their ascension to post-mortaldom--and their descent in madness. A dungeon then, is a living blasphemous tome, recording secrets man was not meant to know.

It goes without saying that probably all life in the campaign world began their. Everything crawled up from the depths, evolving away from its original purpose to its current form. Unless of course, that evolution was the point. The Dungeoneers might have felt they would only have arrived at godhood when they could create beings that could follow in their footsteps--or maybe even challenge their supremacy. Perhaps there's another, higher level game and they need soliders, or experimental subjects, to win it?