Monday, May 21, 2018

Weird Revisited: The Muvian-American War (1898-1903)

This post first appeared in Sepember of 2013.


In the wake of the Spanish-American War, the U.S. went to war with at least two of Spain's former colonial holdings. The most protracted was on the islands of Mu. There, American troops faced a foe they were totally unprepared for.

Though Mu appeared to a peaceful colony of Spain, in reality the power of it's Priest-Kings was only held in check by certain ancient ceramic seals in possession of the Spanish. When the Americans inadvertently broke these, the  Priest-Kings were free to unleash their power and reveal their true, inhuman nature. Not only were these reptilian humanoids adepts at amazing powers of the mind, but they were  heirs to ancient Agharta, but they were also in possession of machinery older than all of human civilization that could create monsters.

Of course, Mu hadn't had to wage a war since men were armed with bronze. The U.S. forces were able to hold on, if barely. It was only when the first of the clandestine draftees from the ranks of mentalists, spiritualists, and Theosophists arrived that the Americans began to turn the tide.


Sunday, May 20, 2018

FASERIP Aberration

ABERRATION

STATISTICS
F                 RM   (30)
A                 IN  (50)
S                 UN  (100)
E                 UN   (100)
R                 PR (4)
I                   RM   (30)
P                  TY (6) 
Health: 280
Karma: 40

BACKGROUND
Real Name: None
Occupation: Troublemaker
Identity: Existence publicly none
Legal Status: None
Place of Birth: Zota's laboratory
Marital Status: Single
Known Relatives: None
Base of Operations: Mobile
Group Affiliation: Masters of Menace

KNOWN POWERS
Invulnerability. Class 1000 resistance vs Heat, Cold, Electricity, Radiation, Toxins, and Disease.
True Invulnerability. Monstrous protection vs. Physical and Energy.
True Flight. Can travel at Shift-Z (500) speed within Atmosphere, CL1000 in space.
Hyper-Speed. Amazing rank.
Hyper Breath. Can exhale Monstrous strength winds at a 3 area range. Each area thereafter is at -1CS in intensity. May also emit Amazing intensity cold.
Environmental Independence. Can survive deep space, the deepest part of the oceans, or other hazardous environments (Except those which do environmental damage above Shift-X).
Enhanced Senses. Monstrous Hearing, Amazing Microscopic Vision, and Good Telescopic Vision.

Equipment:
Otherworld Talisman. As his belt buckle, the Aberration wears a magical artifact of Otherworld made of Class 1000 material. Should the belt be removed, his physical attributes drop by - 1CS, and he will loose his powers within an hour.

History: At the dawn of human history, the wizard Zota of Otherworld sought to overcome what he viewed as the inadequacies  of empowering mortals as champions. In his laboratory, he created an artificial being he hoped would be an eternal, perfect Champion, despite the Council of Otherworld having ordered an end to his research. Unfortunately, the materials Zota utilized proved insufficient to hold the power of the Champion’s talisman without deteriorating. He’s Champion was powerful, but physically, mentally, and morally defective.

Zota would have destroyed his failed experiment, but the being escaped before he could do so. It began calling itself “the Aberration”—the term it had heard Zota use to refer to it. The Aberration still sought to act as the Champion, but its flaws led it to actions that terrorized and endangered the people of Earth.

Zyrd was sent by the Wizard’s Council of Otherworld to deal with the matter. He could not destroy the Aberration, but he was ultimately able to imprison Zota and his creation in a bubble of unreality, ending the threat and erasing the Aberration from history.

Thousands of years later, unfortunately, Zota and the Aberration were inadvertently released back into the world. Zota was eventually apprehended and sent back to the Otherworld, but Aberration has remained free, occasionally challenging the Champion for the roll of Earth’s protector.

Friday, May 18, 2018

Weird Revisited: Malice in Slumberland

This post originally appeared in June of 2010. It marked the first foray I believe of Weird Adventures material into more fantastic realms and other planes. This stuff would get brief mention in the book, but the planar stuff was never a big feature of my campaign, nor did it seem to garner as much interest with readers as other things.


All humans (and human-like beings) dream. Like "thought balloons" in a comic strip, clouds of dreamstuff float "upward" from the dreamer into the Astral Plane. There they form bubbles in the Astral substance, tethered to the dreamer until waking. These bubbles are permeable with, and ultimately dissolve into, the Dream Realm--more commonly called Slumberland or Dreamland, or sometimes the "Land of Nod" (but not this one, or this one ;) ). Given their nature, dreams represent the easiest portal for humans to cross the transitive plane of the Astral and move into the Outer Planes.

Slumberland is ruled--or perhaps merely managed--by a being known by many names, but often called the Dream Lord, or Dream King. He appears as a robed humanoid figure wearing a bronze, mirrored mask. He doesn't create dreams--these come from mortal (and perhaps immortal) minds, themselves--but monitors and maintains them. His castle, with its strangely-angled, dream-logic, expressionistic architecture, sits on the border between the material and immaterial worlds, existing both in Slumberland and on the dark side of the Moon. From there, he maintains the oneironic devices, and monitors the content of the flow of dreamstuff. He strives to ensure virulent nightmares don't readily infect other dreams, and that idle fantasies don't spoil and bloat to become perverse obsessions.

It's a big job, and the Dream Lord doesn't do it without help. Gnome-like creatures called "Sandmen" serve him. They carry pouches of silvery, glinting powder made from dessicated and alcehmically treated dreamstuff. They use this oneiric dust to induce sleep in a mortals, or cause waking dreams, or even to cause multiple beings to share the same dream. This is their primary tool for observing or even entering dreams--supposedly for the purposes of monitoring and testing.

"Supposedly" because there is some evidence for the existence rogue Sandmen, or at least breakdowns within their system. Regrettably common are the condensed nightmares called bugbears, or sometimes "bogies" or "bogeymen." These creatures emerge from dark, foreboding places--like "haunted" houses, abandoned subway tunnels, ancient ruins, or even children's closets! They're variable in size, but usually appear slightly larger than humans. Their bodies are described as "bear-like" or "ape-like", but their heads are something like deep-sea diving helmets, albeit with blank face-plates, and strange antennae. Bugbears, as nightmares given flesh, torment humans to feed off their fear. They then employ electronic devices or machinery--with an appearance both nonsensical and menacing--to siphon oneiric potential from the minds of their victims to incubate bugbear pups.


Bugbears aren't the only evidence of corruption in Slumberland. There are persist rumors of Sandmen on the take, selling blue dreams to Hell Syndicate incubi and succubi to slip to unsuspecting marks. There are also rumors of black-market Tijuana bibles produced from the concentrated salacious dreamings of certain celebrities being peddled on the streets of the City, and possibly elsewhere.

Thanks  to G. Benedicto at Eiglophian Press for suggesting a link between bugbears and nightmares.

Wednesday, May 16, 2018

Wednesday Comics: Storm: The Living Planet

My exploration of the long-running euro-comic Storm, continues with his adventures in the world of Pandarve. Earlier installments can be found here.


Storm: The Living Planet (1986) 
(Dutch: De Levende Planeet)
Art by Don Lawrence; script by Martin Lodewijk

Storm and friends have been flying above the clouds in the aircraft they commandeered last adventure for over a day. Storm has been reticent to descend through the cloud cover and attempt a landing as he isn't really familiar with the aircraft or how to read its instruments.

Nomad suggests the blinking light on the console might be a low fuel indicator. He's right. They are forced to descend rapidly through the clouds:


The thermal updraft from the lava provides a little extra lift, enabling Storm to pull out of the nosedive. Still, they have to find a place to land, and the air is difficult to breath. Storm manages to put the plane into a gentle climb to cooler altitudes before passing out.

They awaken to a surprise:


Gnomish men are disassembling their aircraft as salvage! Their foreman makes comments about "making quota" and "tight schedules." Storm protests and tries to stop them:


The little men keep dismantling the plane, unconcerned when Storm points out it will drop his friends and him into the lava below. "What do you expect me to do about it?" the foreman asks nonchalantly.

TO BE CONTINUED

Monday, May 14, 2018

Superhero Logos

I've been working on a supers project with a couple of collaborators that will hopefully be a comic and rpg thing. It's necessitated (or at least allowed) me making logos for the various characters in a Bronze Age/early Modern Age style. I thought I would share a few of the ones I have made for the heroes, the Super-Sentinels. Unlike the villians, these needed to look like they might have been on the cover of a comic.


Ray Logan would have burned alive on re-entry when his spacecraft malfunctioned, if he hadn’t been saved by the COSMIC ARCHONS. Their power healed him and bonded him to a suit of armor, making him one of their paladins for intergalactic justice, the COSMIC KNIGHT!

This one uses a font by Iconian fonts (one of my go-tos) as a pass, but then I gave it a perspective reminiscent of one of the Legion of Super-Heroes logos or Neal Adams' iconic X-Men design. It seemed fitting it should have Starlin-esque cosmic telescoping.


Kelli Cross was a college student, but what she was really into was roller derby. When she discovered her grandfather had been a costumed crime-fighter during World War II with a set of magical roller-skates that supposedly came from an extradimensional imp—well, it all sounded pretty hard to believe, but skating and fighting crime just seemed like the thing to do!

This one was inspired, obviously, on the classic Ira Schapp logo for the Flash. I am not completely happy with the speed-lines. Schapp made it look so easy!


Son of a spelunker and an exiled princess of the underground city of Sub-Atlan, Roy King uses the technomagical harness and gauntlets to swim through rock like it was water. He protects the underground from the surface world—and the surface world from the dangers of the underground—as the SUB-TERRAN!

This one was inspired by the logo of a DC Hercules series, but with roughened, rocky letters as seen on a number of Marvel 70s logos. There are a lot of rocky or stone fonts out there, but none worked well with the extreme perspective, so I had to use a plainer font (by Blambot, I think) and roughen it myself. It had to be done in stages to get the final thing. 

This character was originally going to be called the Subterranean, but that was too long to fit on anything but the plainest "book style" logos, so I had to shorten it.

Sunday, May 13, 2018

Return to Wermspittle


If you like early modern/modern fantasy cities like Jack Shear's Scarabae or Umberwell or the City of my Weird Adventures (if you recall back to 2012 and before), then you will want to check out Hereticwerk's Wermspittle. I did an introduction to that setting once upon a time. Go read it. We'll wait.

After a several year hiatus, new Wermspittle posts have begun to appear, including some actual play reports. Slowly, admittedly, but proof of life. Check it out.

Thursday, May 10, 2018

Again, Random Ultra-Warriors!

Interested in generating the sort of visually distinct science fantasy characters of the sort found in Masters of the Universe? I've got a set of random generators for you, just in case you missed it the first time I posted about it a few years ago. Pair the Random Ultra-Warriors Creator with your favorite science fantasy/post-apocalyptic rpg and your ready to create characters so distinctive they ought to be sold separately in their own blister pack.



Wednesday, May 9, 2018

Wednesday Comics: More Metabarons


I heard there was a Metabarons comic on Free Comic Book Day, which precedes a new Metabarons series. I've mentioned Metabarons on this blog before, but for those unfamiliar with it, it's the Greek Tragedy by way of Space Opera generational saga by  Alejandro Jodorowsky that he came up with riffing off ideas from his aborted attempt to get a Dune movie made.

The original "Saga of the Metabarons" was published, complete, in English in the early 2000s. In 2014, there was a sort of prequel Metabarons Genesis: Castaka published in 2014.

Hearing about this new series, I went looking to see if I had missed something, and what do you know? I had. There are already two volumes in a series called The Metabaron. Now, I haven't read these yet myself, so I can't comment on them (though I'll have them in hand this week), but I wanted you guys to know they were out there:

The Metabaron Book 1: The Techno-Admiral and the Anti-Baron

The Metabaron Book2: The Techno-Cardinal and the Transhuman

Monday, May 7, 2018

Misty Isle of the Meanies

Our Land of Azurth 5e campaign continued last night, with the party and friends still lost at sea after displeasing the Sea King. Their submarine had wondered into strange, dense fog. Kory Keenstep recalls legends of the mist-enshrouded paradise of Cucana and is sure they have found it. When Captain Cog sights a green and pleasant isle in his optics, it seems that Keenstep may becorrect.

When Waylon, Dagmar, and Erekose go ashore, they find the pleasantness to be an illusion. The island is gray and mostly barren and cloaked in gray skies and a sulfurous stench. Going ashore, they find paths strewn with the pulverized bits of broken toys, and occasional gray statues that look more like petrified people.

They made their way past the giant, sessile worms with lolling stripped tongues to the Blue Pagoda City. There they encountered the disagreeable blue meanies--and ended up slaughtering them in fairly large numbers. The party wandered through the bunker encountering and defeating a number of odd and violent people before apparently reaching the inner sanctum of "His Blueness."

This adventure began a loose adaptation of Chris Kutalik's Misty Isles of the Eld, liberally mashed together with the film Yellow Submarine.


Sunday, May 6, 2018

Mecha & Cavemen

The physical copies of the the English translation of the French prehistoric rpg Würm finally arrived last week. I got the main rulebook and the Voice of Our Ancestors  magazine with rules and adventures. I taked about the main rulebook pdf before. On of the Voice of Ancestors issues has rules for the benefits conferred by ritual cannibalism, which is an interesting edition. I don't know if I can convince my group to play it, but I'm not sorry I backed the Kickstarter.

Tom Parkinson-Morgan, the author of Kill 6 Billion Demons, released the latest iteration of his mecha rpg Lancer for free. I confess I have not read through it yet, but hey, it's free.

Thursday, May 3, 2018

Underground Comics Contents


Solo-parenting of a sick infant has kept the blog silent this week, but I wanted to share a bit of what I've been working on just prior to all that happening. Here's a glimpse of the most interesting part of the contents page for the forthcoming Underground Comics with work by Jason Sholtis, James V. West, Stefan Poag, Luka Rejec, Jeff Call, and Karl Stjernberg.