Friday, March 30, 2018

Azurth Eggs

The Rabbit Folk of Azurth have a thing with eggs. Read about it here--and have a good weekend!

Thursday, March 29, 2018

DC at Marvel: Atom, The Nuclear Man!

This is a follow-up to this post.


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E                 IN   (40)
R                 IN (40)
I                   EX   (20)
P                  GD   (10)
Health:  110
Karma: 70
Resources: GD (10)

Real Name: Peter Palmer
Occupation: Physics professoer
Identity: Secret
Legal Status: Citizen of the United States with no criminal record.
Place of Birth: New York City
Marital Status: Single
Base of Operations: New York City
Group Affiliation: Avengers

Alter Ego. All of his powers manifest with a transformation to his Atom form, which is green-skinned.  As Peter Palmer his Strength and Endurance are only Typical.
Radiation Emission: His body generates radiation of up to Incredible intensity. He can direct it in a blast at one target up to Incredible rank, or release it to effect an area. When transformed, he emits Poor intensity radiation constantly. He wears a containment suit to protect others.
Resistance: In Atom form, he has Incredible resistance to energy and Remarkable resistance to physical attacks.
Growth: The Atom can channel his radiation to increase his size and mass with Good ability up to 24 feet tall. (his growth works like Atom-Smasher's here.)


Palmer is a brilliant scientist in the fields of physics and engineering.

History: Peter Palmer was a genius graduate student, but a proverbial “98-lbs. weakling.” He was working with his mentor, Dr. Curt Connors on perfecting the Atomic Transmuter than could transform materials into other forms. Palmer was in love with law student Mary Jane Loring but he believed her to be infatuated with the more traditionally manly Major Glenn Talbot who represented the military’s interest in Connors’ research. In reality, Loring was conflicted, alternately intrigued and put-off by the diffident Palmer.

Palmer brought a group of high school students to a demonstration of the Transmuter. When something went wrong and the Transmuter overloaded, he heroically attempted to shield student Rick Jones from the blast. Palmer’s cells were bombarded with radiation. He awakened a short time later in the hospital, remarkably unscathed, but within hours he began transforming into a green-skinned being, He grew ever larger and, confused and delirious, went on a mindless rampage until he dissipated enough radiation in combat with military tanks to return to normal.

For a time, it appeared that Palmer might have been cured, but within weeks, the energy began to build up in him again. Palmer built a containment suit that allowed him to control the power. He dubbed himself the Atom, and begins using his powers to fight alien menaces and Communist spies. Over the years, he has gained greater control over his powers, but also perfected his containment suit to a much less bulky form.

Wednesday, March 28, 2018

Wednesday Comics: Storm: The Hounds of Marduk

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 Hounds of Marduk (1985) 
(Dutch: De Honden van Marduk) (part 5)
Art by Don Lawrence; script by Martin Lodewijk

The Hound man forces the craven rebel leader to take him to Storm, but when the door is opened, Storm and his friends have escaped by climbing out a whole in a dome unto the roof.

One of the rebels, incensed by his leaders betrayal, activates all the temple's ancient booby traps. In numerous fiendish ways, men are killed:

Meanwhile, Storm and friends have climbed down from the rooftop--and just in time, too. The motion of all the traps being sprung at once begins to shake apart the ancient temple, and the toxic gases meet flows of fire:

Storm, Nomad, and Ember stumble on to the field where the Hound and his men left their aircraft. Storm is confident he can fly it. The pilot, springing from hiding, gets the drop on him. He plans to turn Storm over the the Theocrat. The Hound has other ideas:

Marduk watching the scene is joyous. He thinks he has the Anomaly. The Hound, though, reveals that he is the dog Storm saved in the harbor. Despite what Marduk did to him, the Hound has not forgotten. The lets Storm go.

The enraged Marduk activates the collar and in a flash of energy the man hound is again just a hound. He bounds off just as Storm and friends fly away.

Monday, March 26, 2018

What Do You Want to See?

Hopefully, everyone who reads this blog is aware of (and enjoying) the two Land of Azurth products on the market. I have two more planned currently: a second issue of the Azurth Adventures Digest and the adventure The Cloud Castle of Azurth. Both are running behind schedule due to real life stuff, but I still intend to bring them out.

Blog comments are exactly profuse these days, but I thought it was worth asking both here and on social media: What particularly would those who appreciate Azurth material like to see in the future? More adventures, maybe something in the other countries of Azurth beyond Yanth? A pure setting book? While I can't promise I will go with suggestions, the content of the second Azurth Adventures Digest was at the suggestion of Enworld's Chris Helton. So I do listen sometimes!

Sunday, March 25, 2018

A Day When Titans Walk the Earth!

I saw Pacific Rim: Uprising yesterday. My short review: If you liked the first Pacific Rim, you will probably like this one, though I missed some of the del Toro quirkiness. If you didn't like the first one, this one probably won't change you mind about the series.

Anyway, vaguely tentacled blob things from another dimension taking over the minds of those who make contact with them, driving them mad, and monsters rising from the ocean depths made me think of the Cthulhu Mythos. The first movie had me distracted with the name "kaiju" and all that, but it really is a sort of Lovecraftian (in a way Lovecraft himself would have never, ever wrote it) setup.

Now, I know there is a game called CthulhuTech which is mecha vs. Lovecraftian monsters/aliens, but what I think would be cool is something a bit less Neon Genesis Evangelion and more 70s Shogun Warriors! That would be a cool setting, I think.

Thursday, March 22, 2018

DC at Marvel: Bring On the Bad Guys

This is a follow-up to this post and those that came after.


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I                   EX   (20)
P                  EX   (20)
Health: 120
Karma: 50
Resources: GD (10)

Real Name: Anton Hastor
Occupation: KGB special operative
Identity: Known to authorities
Legal Status: Citizen of the USSR
Place of Birth: Unknown
Marital Status: Single
Known Relatives: None
Base of Operations: Previously New York City, now Moscow
Group Affiliation: Former Soviet Super-Soldier

Nth Metal Armor: All powers and enhanced abilities derive from a powered nth metal exoskeleton he wears Without it, his physical stats at F TY, A GD, S GD, E GD. The Armor possess Incredible Material Strength and has the following powers:
Body Armor: Incredible rank.
Flight: Remarkable airspeed.
Energy Blast: Remarkable damage.
Solar Absorption: Remarkable rank.
Self-Sustenance: 1 hour air supply.
Talents: Trained spy, engineer.

History: Anton Hastor either is (or believes himself to be) the reincarnation of an Egyptian high priest. He is obsessed with killing Hawkman and Hawkgirl, but wishes to still all of Hawkman's inventions for the Soviet Union as well.


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E                 RM   (30)
R                 EX (20)
I                   GD   (10)
P                  EX   (30)
Health: 100
Karma: 60
Resources: EX (20)

Real Name: Carol Ferris
Occupation: Queen of the Femizons; Acting head of Ferris Aerospace
Identity: Secret
Legal Status: Citizen of the United States with no criminal record
Place of Birth: Los Angeles, California
Marital Status: Single
Known Relatives: Carl Ferris (father)
Base of Operations: Central City, California
Group Affiliation: Queen of the Femizons

Star Sapphire: All powers are derived from jewel of Amazing material strength she wears.
Energy Blasts: Amazing rank.
Force Blasts: Amazing Rank.
Force Field: a solidified energy shield of Amazing rank in a single area.
Flight: Incredible air speed within atmosphere, Class 3000 in space
Life Support: A life-support field, providing breathable air and protection from the elements, as well as an Amazing force field. This field can be sustained even if she is unconscious.
Phasing: Remarkable rank.
Talents: Pilot, business.
History: Ferris is the boss and sometimes love interest of Hal Hogan, the Green Lantern. On a solo flight across the California desert, Ferris was transported to the 23rd Century (though she was initially allowed to believe it was a different planet) where a gynocratic civilization known as the Sisterhood of Femizonia had emerged in North America after a nuclear war. The sacred jewel fallen from space the Sisterhood venerated told them to select Ferris as their queen. The jewel pushed Ferris to proof her superiority to men by defeating Green Lantern.

Wednesday, March 21, 2018

Wednesday Comics: Storm: The Hounds of Marduk

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 Hounds of Marduk (1985) 
(Dutch: De Honden van Marduk) (part 4)
Art by Don Lawrence; script by Martin Lodewijk

An aircraft carrying the newly evolved hound and a group of the Theocrat's soldiers lands in a field outside of town. They carry with them a device to locate the Anomaly aka Storm.

Meanwhile, Storm and friends are meeting with the rebel leader. He wants to know why Storm as the Anomaly is so important to Marduk. Storm reluctantly explains Marduk's theory as to how his travel through time and space has filled his body with some sort of energy. Storm demonstrates:

But that's enough to make him show up on the Hound's device. The Theocrat's men track Storm to an abandon temple.

The rebel leader tries to sell Storm on letting the rebellion harness his power. Storm isn't buying it. The rebels detect the incoming Theocrat troops. The temple is full of ancient traps. They kill some of the troops, but the Hound figures out how to avoid them and a contingent makes it through. I firefight breaks out, and the rebel leader attempts to get Storm and friends away.

The Hound, again thinking quickly, uses a prismatic Tear of Pandarve to reflect the energy beam from the booby trap against the rebel forces.

He leads the Theocrat's men forward, but they are stymied by another trap.

Meanwhile, Storm and friends have had about enough of being pushed around by the rebels:

Unaware what's going on in the other room. The rebel leader surrenders to the Hound and his troops who have just made in through. He promises to give them the anomaly in return for his life.


Tuesday, March 20, 2018


Mortals always run a risk when they traffic with magical forces. Just ask June Moone. A strange encounter with a being called the Dzamor at a costumed party left her with the power to transform into the raven-haired witch known as the Enchantress. During the late 60s and possibly longer, she used the powers of the Enchantress to combat evil. Few of her adventures are known. She kept a low profile—until she tried to trick Supergirl into altering the orbit of the moon.

At least that’s what the comics say, but we have reason to doubt the complete veracity of that account. Santa Augusta is really just a barely pseudonymous stand-in for publicity shy (at least this sort of publicity) Saint Augustine, though the New Athens Experimental School was a real place. Supergirl was commonly seen in the area, but this wasn’t Linda Danvers. Instead, it was her niece Lola Kent, daughter of Lois and Clark, who worked as a student counselor at the school. June Moone was a parapsychology teacher (I told you it was an experimental school); she had hardly aged in the decade since gaining the Enchantress identity, though she had long since split from her trouble-prone boyfriend Alan Dell.

Enchantress was still on the side of heroes, but her methods had become, it’s fair to say, unsound. She sought to capitalize on a cosmic alignment of astral forces centered at New Athens and make herself (and her mystical patron, perhaps) nearly omnipotent, so she could defeat evil once and for all. The only downside was the complete overturning of all scientific law. How Supergirl defeated her is not entirely clear, but we may be certain it was not accomplished by briefly changing the moon’s orbit as depicted.

Shortly thereafter, the two clashed again at Miami Beach. This time, the Enchantress tricked Supergirl into helping her, but ultimately the Maid of Might saw through the ruse and again defeated the sorceress. Moone vowed revenge, but never seems to have gotten it.

When next we see her, she has joined up with a band of forgotten villains who call themselves exactly that. Interestingly, this Enchantress is blonde and blue-eyed, like June Moone herself, but not her Enchantress persona. This may be the author's signal that this was the Asgardian sorceress also known as the Enchantress instead.

What little nobility there was in the Enchantress must have died in the Crisis. When she next surfaces as a coerced member of the Suicide Squad, the power hungry and sociopathic Enchantress persona has completely overtaken June Moone.

Monday, March 19, 2018

Crashing the Sea King's Party in a Yellow Submarine

Imagine this underwater
Our 5e Land of Azurth campagin continued last night with the party hearing a desperate plea for aid from Old Freedy, the kaleidoscopic tophat-wearing frogling ambassador from the Land of Under-Sea. It seems the utopia of Under-Sea has been overrun by the evil toad people from beyond the Blue Wall. Kully's father, Cory, and the cat-man Calico Jack were in Under-Sea at the time and are now aiding the froglings in finding champions.

The party quite reasonably wonders what they can do against a toad people army. Old Freedy explains that their are not actually that many toads, but that are too tough for the froglings to handle. The party was suggested by Cory Keenstep and Calico Jack (who had heard of them through his sister, Calico Bonny). Freedy discloses they have hired the party's old friend, the steam-powered  Commodore Cog to command the submarine craft they brought from Under-Sea.

This is all pretty incredible, but the most adventurous members of the party are eager to do it, and they overrule the more strictly avarous members. The first step (Freedy now reveals) is rescuing Cory Keenstep from the Sea King's folly. It seems he beat the libertine old merman in cards too many times, and the King won't let him go until he has gotten his money back.

The party traveled down a tube of airy water to the Sea King's palace. Only the female members were allowed inside by the sahuagin guard. They learn that the Sea King is sulking in his sanctum to avoid his ex-wife Cecaelia, who had taken over the second floor lounge. She was monopolizing Cory's attentions there. On a tip from some sea elf party-girls, Shade drugged an octopus body guard so that the males in the party could sneak in the back door. Unfortunately, the sahuagin and his four sharks caught them in the act and a bloody underwater melee ensued. The party was victorious, but at least 3 were seriously wounded.

Sunday, March 18, 2018

Azurth Digest--Still copies available

The first issue of the Azurth Adventures Digest  print edition is still on sale, but only about 10 copies remain! Twenty-eight full color pages at 5.5 in. x 7.75 in. with art by Jeff Call and Jason Sholtis. There are random tables for the generation of quirky Motley pirates, a survey of interesting and enigmatic islands, and a mini-adventure on the Candy Isle. Plus, there are NPCs and a couple of monsters, all straight from my Land of Azurth 5e campaign.

 Go here for the print(+pdf) edition, while supplies last. If you only want the pdf, well, that's always available here.

Friday, March 16, 2018

Kickstarters Fulfilled

I've had several Kickstarters I backed drop their products in the last few weeks, and though some of them had longer than expected waits, I've been pretty pleased. Here's a brief rundown:

Talislanta: The Savage Land is a "prequel" to Talislanta as we traditionally have known it, written (at least in part) by Talislanta's creator Steven Michael Sechi. It's more barbaric setting loses so of the Vancian nature of the original and the various cultures are often familiar but different which will take so getting used to, but it has the creativity I expect from a Talislanta book and probably the highest production values yet.

Paladin: Warriors of Charlemagne adapts Pendragon's rules to Charlemagne's court as depicted in the Song of Roland and related Romances. I haven't dug much into this one yet, but Pendragon has a good ruleset, and this is a setting that has always interested me.

Aquelarre is the English translation of a well-regarded Spanish rpg. It bills itself as "A Medieval Demonic Roleplaying Game" which says it all really. Just browsing it, I'm really digging the wealthy of detail on the setting, broken down in easy to digest, pretty playable pieces. There are a host of classes like Muccadim (Jewish militia in ghettos) and Goliardo (licentious, worldly young monks) (the whole chargen system reminds me a bit of WFRP at first blush) and a number of monsters from Basque and Spanish folklore.

Thursday, March 15, 2018

DC at Marvel: Green Lantern--Most Cosmic Hero of Them All!

This is a follow-up to this post.


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R                 GD (10)
I                   EX   (20)
P                  IN   (40)
Health: 120
Karma: 70
Resources: GD (10)
Popularity: 20

Real Name: Harold "Hal" Hogan
Occupation: Test Pilot
Identity: Secret
Legal Status: Citizen of the United States with no criminal record.
Place of Birth: Riverside, Iowa
Marital Status: Single
Known Relatives: None
Base of Operations: Central City, California
Group Affiliation: the Green Lanterns; the Avengers

Power Bands: Green Lantern's powers are derived from the power bands he wears on his wrists. He can utilize one effect per round, but can maintain up to 3 effects with a successful Psyche FEAT roll.
Energy Blasts: Monstrous rank.
Force Field: a solidified energy shield of Monstrous rank in a single area.
Flight: Incredible air speed within atmosphere, Class 3000 in space
Life Support: A life-support field, providing breathable air and protection from the elements, as well as a Monstrous force field. This field can be sustained even if he is unconscious.
Energy Solidification: Monstrous ability to create and shape solidified energy. Power stunts include:

  • Containers of Monstrous material strength
  • Carrying Monstrous Loads
  • Acting as a limb of Monstrous Strength

Phasing: Excellent rank.
Mystic Lantern: The countainer for the Green Flame energy which powers his bands is a green lantern made of Unearthly strength material. The lantern may be invisible at Amazing rank, if Green Lantern wills it.
Limitation: The power bands must be recharged in close proximity to the lantern every 24 hrs. or they lose their powers.
Weakness: Without his power bands, Green Lantern's Strength and Endurance drop to Good and Excellent, respectively.

Hal Hogan has Remarkable knowledge of piloting, aeronautics, and navigation.

History: See the previous post for his origin.

After managing to survive an all-out assault by the Baron Sinestro, Blastaar, and a force of Qwardian Thunderers from the Negative Zone, the Guardians of the Universe summoned Hal Hogan to bestow upon him greater power. His ring was transformed into twin power bands, through which flowed even greater power.

Tuesday, March 13, 2018

Yeah, They Call Me Speedy!

Charles Bernard "Barney" Barton took the opportunity his brother Clint refused and left the circus sideshow to become the sidekick of the second Green Arrow, Roy Harper. While they continued to be a nominal team for a longer period, the two only actually worked together for a few years. Like Bucky Barnes and the Boy Commandos before him, Barney soon got pulled into things beyond superheroics, things his perhaps more naive mentor wouldn't do.

By the early 70s, he had a heroin habit, but he was still effective at his job, so Sarge Steel and the CIA kept calling. Perhaps it was in Madripoor where he met the assassin for hire, codenamed Chesire, and began a relationship as short-lived as it was ill-advised. He later would discover he had a daughter from the affair, but the immediate result was that Steel decided he was compromised and severed all ties.

Back in the states, his former costumed allies would help him get clean. He became a drug counselor and hung up his costume for good, leaving only one battling bowman in the family.

Monday, March 12, 2018

Weird Revisited: We Have All Become God's Madmen

This post first appeared in 2012.

[This view of clerics follows from my post "Apocalypse Underground"]

The clerics aren't priests. Before the underground was discovered, Man had priests--and gods whose intercession they sought. Their prayers had been in vain. The old gods had abandoned Man to the monsters.

Then the clerics came. Their gods were unyielding of personifications of law. They marked their chosen with fits, visions, and miracles of faith. Their precepts were few: Destroy chaos and evil, protect the innocent.

The monsters are (in the view of the clerics) chaos and evil manifest. The clerics wage a savage holy war against the denizens of the underground and are willing to martyr themselves in the service of their gods.

The clerics sometimes use titles of the old priestly hierarchy, but all clerical groups are cults founded around a charismatic leader who is considered strong in the faith due to the spiritual power he or she wields.

Sunday, March 11, 2018

DC at Marvel: High-Flyin' Hawkman

This is a follow-up to this post.


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R                 RM (30)
I                   EX   (20)
P                  EX   (20)
Health: 80
Karma: 70
Resources: GD (10)
Popularity: 20

Real Name: Henry Carter Hall
Occupation: Inventor, adventurer
Identity: Secret
Legal Status: Citizen of the United States with no criminal record.
Place of Birth: Chicago, Illinois
Marital Status: Married.
Known Relatives: Susan Sanders Hall (wife)
Base of Operations: New York City
Group Affiliation: Partner of Hawkwoman, Avengers

Winged Flight: His artificial wings and nth metal belt (Unearthly material) allow Hawkman to fly at Remarkable speed.
Avian Communication: Cybernetic circuitry incoporated into his cowl allow him to command birds at Remarkable ability.

Hawkman has Remarkable knowledge of aerial combat. He is a brillaint scientist skilled in Electronics, Physics, Biophysics. Orinthology, and Engineering. He also has the Repair/Tinkering talent, and is an armchair Egyptologist.

History: Henry "Hank" Hall, scientist and inventor, was experimenting with a metal of extraterrestrial origin that could be used to produced antigravity effects. He dubbed "nth metal" which had been recovered from a meteorite in Africa. He attended an exhibition of newly discovered artifacts at a local museum to investigate his theory that the  Ancient Egyptians had utilized nth metal in tools.

At the exhibition, Hall surreptitiously exposed a ceremonial dagger he suspected of being nth metal to high frequency sound waves. Energy emitted by the dagger caused Hall to experience a vision of the distant past that felt like he had lived it. He was an ancient Egyptian prince who was slain along with his betrothed by a treacherous and power-hungry high priest. Unknown to Hall, two others present experienced that same vision. Susan Sanders saw it through the eyes of the Prince's wife to be, and Anton Hastor, a Soviet agent who had been monitoring Hall's research, felt he had been the high priest.

The three left somewhat disoriented, but Hastor kidnapped Sanders on her way home, planning to use her to coerce Hall into turning over his nth metal research, then kill the both of them as he believed he had done in his previous life.

Hall agreed to meet Hastor and turn over his notes, but instead donned his experimental wings and nth metal lift belt, a cybernetic helmet he had been working on to communicate with birds, and a makeshift costume. He rescued Sanders in the guise of Hawkman.

Hall and Sanders instantly fell in love. She suggested he continued fighting crime as Hawkman and had him build fight gear for her so that she could assist him as Hawkgirl.

Thursday, March 8, 2018

Marvelous DC Universe

Here's a superhero rpg campaign idea: What if DC had outsourced their Silver Age revival to Atlas/Marvel? Nevermind that there is not really any reason they would have done this, but imaging what it might have been like has a lot of possibilities.

In general, I think it would mean more commie villains in the early days, more contentiousness relationships with supporting characters, and more angst for the characters themselves. This would mean re-imagining the characters that were revamped in the 50s, so Batman, Superman, Wonder Woman, and Green Arrow would stay the same (at least at initial concept).

What would this do for you? Well, allow you to recreate a lot of DC characters in a Mighty Marvel manner, and give you both universes to plunder for something both fresh and familiar.

Here's an example:

Hal Hogan is an Air Force pilot, flying an experimental spy plane over Southeast Asia when he is shot down. He is captured by red guerillas and in mortal peril thanks to a piece of shrapnel lodged close to his heart! Imprisoned, he meets a strange old man named Yinsen who reveals to him a green lantern carved from a fallen star and a ring. The light of the Green Flame in the lantern stays the motion of the shrapnel and saves Hogan's life, at least temporarily. Yinsen explains he has been an agent of mysterious beings known as the Guardians of the Universe for hundreds of years, but he is too old to continue, and they directed him to choose a successor as the Green Lantern, the protector of this world. He has chosen Hogan to be that successor. Donning the ring (which must be recharged once a day with the Lantern) Hal Hogan becomes one with the Green Flame of Life. He is the Green Lantern!

Hogan escapes the communist forces and returns to America. His injury gets him discharged from the military, but he gets a job at Ferris Aircraft. The owner, Carl Ferris doesn't fully trust Hogan. He believes he was compromised during his time in communist hands. His daughter Carol, though. is in love with the handsome flyboy. Neither is aware that Hogan is secretly the Green Lantern.

Wednesday, March 7, 2018

Wednesday Comics: Storm: The Hounds of Marduk

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 Hounds of Marduk (1985) 
(Dutch: De Honden van Marduk) (part 3)
Art by Don Lawrence; script by Martin Lodewijk

The tattooed fisherman who rescue Storm, Nomad, and Ember come from a place called Pandarve's Ribs. Ember won't seem to wake up. The fisherman explains that she must have taken in some of the waste-water from the sewer, which has an intoxicating effect.

Meanwhile, the hound of Marduk they encountered previously has run far to the north. Marduk still watches through the creature's eyes. he and his servants don't know where the it was when it saw Storm, so they have no clue as to where to find him.

The fisherman take Ember to their shaman to cure her. The old man proclaims that since she is in "the sleep of Pandarve, only Pandarve's breath" can save her:

As no one can be "naked" on the Ribs, Storm and Nomad are sent off to get temporary tattoos while Ember is treated.

As days past, the hound makes its way back to its master. Marduk has an idea of what to do to allow the hound to tell him Storm's location. He transforms him into a humanoid form so he is capable of speech:

Back on the ribs, members of the Anti-Marduk group that was trying to capture Storm in the city sneak up and kidnap Ember. She awakens before they make their escape, and her cries summon Storm and Nomad. They threaten to kill Ember if Storm won't come with them.

Angrily, he agrees, and they leave the island in a small boat.


Monday, March 5, 2018

Weird Revisited: Magic from Davy Jones' Locker

This post first appeared in November of 2012. The magic items were intended for the world of Weird Adventures, but could be used anywhere.

Besides the riches dredged up from the wrecks at the bottom of Dead Man's Cove, the treasure grotto of the Phantom Diver contains several maritime magic items:

Spyglass: This brass spyglass allows the user to look back into the past as well as into the distance. 1d4 indicates hours, days, months, or years into the past; d20 indicates how many, at GM's discretion.

Diver's Helmet: This antique diver's helmet smells of the briny depths. It allows the wearer to see the shades of things that have died in the area, all the way back to the dawn of life. Spirits appear almost like neon lights, translucent, faintly glowing and colorful.

Whaler's Harpoon: This antique and somewhat rusted tool has a blade strangely unblunted by time. It's a normal weapon against man-sized or smaller creatures but +1 against large adversaries and +2 against anything bigger than that.

Walrus Tusk Scrimshaw: Yellowed tusk engraved with a swirling pattern that perhaps depicts eddies and currents. When held, it allows command of pinnipeds and communication with selkies. Hungry killer whales and sharks, however, will be drawn to anyone holding it.

Sunday, March 4, 2018

Adventures on Weird Worlds

Jason "Dungeon Dozen" Sholtis and I were talking the other day about the potential for D&D or Gamma World-esque adventures in a setting inspired by the Silver Age version of Superman's Krypton or Adam Strange's Rann. I've blogged about inspiration from elements of these worlds before (the maps, here, here, and here--and monsters!), but the idea we were bouncing around was sort of a "Dying Krypton" setting. What if there was no cataclysmic destruction but instead civilization just sort of wound down. (Rann already is sort of post-apocalyptic, though recovering.)

How would this sort of setting differ from the usual Dying Earth or even Carcosa? A glance at those maps provides a clue. The planets are fool of a lot of weird, possibly even goofy locales and monsters. They are evocative and intriguing but made up as color in mostly low violence kid's publications of forty years ago, and so are a completely different line of evolution from the pulp fiction that proceeded it than most old school game material. A vein of untapped gold.

Friday, March 2, 2018

Operation Unfathomable by Blacklight

I shoulded the proof of concept version of this cover before, but here's the mostly final version of cover of the DCC Conversion of Operation Unfathomable:

Thursday, March 1, 2018

This Woman, This Warrior

In 1958, another Kryptonian craft crashed on Earth. Superman was able to beat the authorities to the crash site and rescue a teenage girl who turned out to be his cousin, Kara Zor-El. She was the last survivor of Argo City, which had remarkable escape the destruction of Krypton by becoming a hastily improvised generation ship, only to have his people succumb to radiation poisoning over the course of the next 30 years.

The comics depicted Kara being placed in an orphanage by her bachelor cousin before being adopted by the kindly Danvers couple. In reality, as in certain “imaginary stories” of the day, Clark Kent was married, and he and his wife, Lois, eventually adopted the girl. Through there government connections, they were able to obtain for her a cover identity, Linda Lee Danvers, an orphaned child who had died. Her Kryptonian heritage was thus safeguarded and kept hidden to allow her a normal childhood, as Kal-El/Clark had had.

But Kara didn’t arrive as an infant. Adapting to life on Earth wasn’t always easy. She had to hide you she was, and she fought against the foreign culture of her adopted world. Kryptonian society had a much greater degree of gender equality than Earth of that era, even in the home of assertive investigative reporter, Lois Lane, and the so-called Man of Tomorrow. Kara defied her cousin and guardian and began adventuring as Supergirl. Superman was eventually forced to publically introduce her.

Kara left home at 18 for Stanhope College and didn’t look back. She got involved in movements for social change: the civil rights movement, protest against the Vietnam War, and the women’s movement. She largely abandoned her superhero identity. In the late 60s, she was living in San Francisco and working at KSF-TV as a camera operator and freelance journalist. That was when she wasn’t involved in activism. She joined the women’s group Sudsofloppen and other organizations, and participated in protests from picketing to guerrilla theater under an assumed name, Karen Starr. It was at one of these protests that she showed up in a cape, white swimsuit, and blue go-go boots. The police and others trying to counter the protesters didn't know what to make of her. The press started calling her Power-Girl, much to her irritation.

By the mid-70s, she was in New York City and took a job as editor of Woman magazine, owned by J. Jonah Jameson. Jameson disliked the “women’s lib” approach the previous editor had taken. He wanted something useful for women: diet tips, fashion, recipes, the like. He was going to be disappointed. The magazine was also provide coverage of a new superhero, Ms. Marvel, who espoused the magazine’s feminist viewpoint. A superhero who was none other than Linda Danvers.

Annihilation and the Dungeoncrawl

Some relatively non-spoilery ways I think the movie adaptation of Annihilation could inform dungeoncrawls:

1. Relatively mundane creatures with an odd twist can create atmosphere, but also a more interesting threat.
2. Oddly behaving things can create a sense of menace without actually doing anything hostile.
3. Dressing a locale is important. The details don't have to be extensive, but they should set the adventuring environment apart from mundane environments.
4. Even a map-able/navigable terrain can be made to feel disorienting or untrustworthy.
5. The terrain itself may be toxic to the visitor. (Operation Unfathomable already points in this direction, as no doubt others have.)
6. The remains and things left behind by those who went before can provide useful clues, but also add to a sense of dread.

My previous posts on Roadside Picnic-inspired elements might be helpful here, too.