Saturday, 15 February 2020

[Homebrew] Improving Ability Scores

Bunch of apes earning pips to their Intelligence.
Old-school D&D and its clones don't offer much in improving ability scores besides magic. I don't have any issue with the rolled values being the peak of natural development, but in my campaigns I like giving my players options to increase them. Getting a +1 to something every x levels though is pretty damn boring, predictible, and uninspiring. In my Swords & Wizardry Wilderlands campaign I used a system inspired by HackMaster's percentile scores that increase with every level up. In my DCC RPG Terminus campaign I took the game's "Quest for it!" advice to heart and allowed the players to increase ability scores after reaching certain milestones. The system I use for my Old-School Essentials Eremus campaign is a mix of both: I allow a slight increase at level ups while also rewarding experimenting, research, and questing.
Improving an ability score needs a certain number of pips depending on its current value:

Improving ability scores
Current value
Pips to increase value
3-8
2
9-12
3
13-17
4


Pips are awarded for the following:
  • Leveling up grants one pip to a Prime Requisite. If there are multiple Prime Requisites, choose randomly which one increases. If a Prime Requisite is 18 it can't be increased and the pip goes to another, randomly chosen ability score.
  • Achieving certain deeds grant one to three pips to a corresponding ability score, depending on the difficulty and scale of the deed.

The latter includes eating powerful creatures, interacting with alien objects, performing esoteric trials, succeeding at difficult tasks, dealing with deities and demigods, visiting hard to reach landmarks, training with legendary masters, and so on. A few examples from my campaign:
  • Eating a giant's flesh increases Strength.
  • Impaling yourself to a tree for nine days increases Wisdom.
  • Looking into the black monolith without going insane increases Intelligence.
  • Taking bath in the thermal pools of the Moon increases Constitution.

I keep the possible achievements secret, thus the player characters have to learn them from rumors, mentors, journals, or by experimenting. Sometimes if the player character does something amazing or surprising, I hand out one on the fly and add itt to my list.


There are a few limits of course:
  • The maximum ability score is still 18.
  • Performing a deed is only worth a pip for the first time.

So far this method worked fine for us. I'm not afraid that it will create game-breaking characters on the long, because the importance of ability scores and their modifiers is diminished at higher levels, and there are plenty of opportunities for my players to decrease their ability scores.

Sunday, 26 January 2020

[Review] Cha'alt, Part II: Dungeons and Demon Cat-Snakes

Welcome back to the second part of my Cha'alt review! In the last episode I took a look on the book and the world itself. Time to move on to the dungeons - and a night a club!

My favorite illustration in the entire book: strong female
characters unimpressed by the Demon Cat-Snake.
Beneath Kra'adumek is a dungeon under the City of the Purple Demon-Worm, a settlement whose people live their lives as mind-controlled slaves of the titular invertebrate. A recent solar storm interfered with the mind-control though, freeing dozens of slaves temporarily - including the player characters, who having no better idea enter the caverns below the city, hoping to scavenge some equipment from the Demon-Worm's priests and find the secret to resist its mind-control. Sounds suicidal, but hey, that's pretty much true about everything on Cha'alt! Now that I think about it, being brainwashed by an alien entity doesn't seem like a bad fate on this planet...

Beneath Kra'adumek is an introductory dungeon meant to ease players into the campaign setting - though a trigger-happy invisible wizard bullying the party at the entrance and the piles of shredded corpses in the first room where spellcasting has a 2 in 6 chance of summoning a Greater Demon feels more like throwing people into the deep water than a step-by-step tutorial. Furthermore, the entire dungeon is teeming with purple crystals that dampen psionic abilities, slowly mutate humanoids, and cause magic to have random side-effects, because fuck spellcasters. The latter gets a small, but disappointing d20 Magical Mishap table, where a few amazing entries (eg. "the pungent odor of carnality and the desert lotus blossoming in the eldritch illumination of demon moons") set the expectations high, but are ultimately overshadowed by the mundane ones and the 35% chance of rolling "nothing".

While it's only 17 rooms long, Beneath Kra'adumek packs a lot of punch. Every section has something interesting going on, be it a slumbering Demon Cat-Snake expecting worship, a chamber for preparing sacrificial virgins, clerics holding back a rift in the fabric of reality, or a group of priests planning a coup because they believe the Demon-Worm is violet instead of purple. There are plenty of opportunities to mess with the environment and the inhabitants - and suffer the consequences, though unlike Lamentations modules it's not always punishing. The monsters are all unique, and carry a satisfying amount of treasure which is a good mix of valuables, magic items, trinkets, and some sci-fi junk.

Venger uses a terse, effective, conversational style. Highlighting, bullet points, cross referencing is seldom used, but that doesn't really hurt the entries, because usually they are easy to wrap your head around. I did run into some redundant or garbled text, but no outrageous errors - or maybe my threshold went through the roof after reading Magic World. Still, it's a fun little adventure, a fitting starting point for your Cha'alt campaign.

That's one damn fine dungeon entrance if
I've ever seen one!
Inside the Frozen Violet Demon-Worm follows the events of the previous adventure. Kra'adumek is frozen solid, more and more people are regaining consciousness, the Purple Priesthood were overtaken by the Ultra-Violet Rebellion, and those who didn't flee yet are taking up arms against the priests. These tumultuous times might be the best to enter the Demon-Worm's maw, because why not. There is no hook, but if you have a party that survived and enjoyed Beneath Kra'adumek, then you probably won't need one - they will do it for shits and giggles.

Besides introducing us to the current state of affairs, the chapter starts with a solid chart for random NPCs, general notes about the environment, and a table with twelve psionic abilities. If you thought Carcosa's psionics was simple, think again. Each power gets a single row that contains the name, the hp cost for using it, and a vague description of its effects. While "cause an opponent’s head to explode; saving throw to avoid" is pretty clear (and brutal), what "able to see the essence of a humanoid" means is left the GM.

After the caverns beneath Kra'adumek his fleshy, acidic, rat-infested bowels feel more of the same, but bigger, and unfortunately also more disjointed. It is a 23 room linear dungeon with branches on both sides. Considering his rampant imagination I find it odd Venger didn't go crazy with the layout. It is an alien after all, so there is no reason to stick with anything resembling a real worm. For inpsiration, I recommend checking out episode 7 of Tigtone, which is about an insane journey through the body of a giant.

The characters can face Za'ardaz brutalitarians worshipping a stone head, meet the Apostle of the Demon-Worm whose clones are performing various tasks all around Cha'alt, help a young couple in child delivery, drink rum with the captain of a pirate ship whose crew reanimated as skeletons after he killed them, and even rip Kra'adumek in half by tinkering with a photon torpedo! The place is chock full of fun stuff to do, with a shitton of potential for faction play - but alas the latter is shamefully wasted. The various encounters are all isolated in their own little rooms, busy with their local issues, leaving the heavy lifting to the GM in turning the dungeon into an active setting. Inside the Frozen Violet Demon-Worm isn't a bad adventure at all, but with some extra effort it could have been a weird living-breathing environment instead of a haphazard collection of cool ideas.

At first glance even the cantina feels more
complex than the insides of the Demon-Worm.
Gamma Incel Cantina is Cha'alts wretched hive of scum and villainy: a night club frequented by mercenaries, frackers, criminals, et cetera. The chapter starts with a short summary about Cha'alt's intergalactic status quo - a qucik summary for those, who didn't read or drank enough to forget part I: it's drained dry of its zoth required to create mela'anj, which will soon destroy the planet.

The cantina itself is invisible, so finding it in the vast desert can be a quest unto itself. Once the player characters get inside they can meet the 69 patrons, who are summed up in charts and differentiated by colour coding so you can find their tables easily on the map. Neat! A few examples:

13. RD-FU: Protocol droid; stainless steel; just arrived from his home planet New Aldera’an 2; hoping for skull souvenirs after successful night-hunting Cha’alt natives; abrasive personality; carrying thermal detonator.

27. Halvern: Sentient chartreuse vapor inside environmental suit; fake mustache painted on helmet visor; uncontrollable giggling – that’s why they call him “laughing gas.”

45. Thonda: THOT; pink skin; Alpha Blue satisfier; prefers blowjobs to handshakes; carries box of transparent aluminum condoms (1d12 remaining).

Yeah, the cantina is full of deviants, degenerates, perverts, and can be easily inserted in your Alpha Blue campaign. After wasting some time an NPC called Ka'ala appears looking for adventurers who will venture with her into the Black Pyramid to find the sanguine orchid, which she wants to feed to her half-demon daughter so she can receive her full powers. That's a pretty cool hook to move things forward! The chapter ends with a d100 table of random ability scores and charts for ability score modifiers, which feels a bit out of place, but whatever.

Join us next time, when we'll finally reach the biggest, nastiest, bestest part of the book: the Black Pyramid! I'll try to make haste, so Venger won't suffocate holding his breath while waiting for it.


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Tuesday, 24 December 2019

[Homebrew] The Portals of Eremus Have Opened

Like all good campaigns it started in a tavern.
By session #3 they stepped on the moon.
In August our HackMaster campaign ended with a glorious TPK, after which we decided to give the game some rest - it was fun, but it was becoming a bit tiresome, plus we were in the mood to play something else. My best and longest campaigns so far were my two Wilderlands of High Fantasy campaigns (using Swords & Wizardry Complete and D&D5e), and my homebrew Terminus campaign (using DCC RPG). Following the old wisdom "let the shoemaker stick to his last" I decided to run something akin to those: a gonzo kitchen sink sandbox inspired Wilderlands, Arduin, Tékumel, Wizardry 6-8, and the various Might & Magic games.

"I hope it won't be AD&D though" said one of my players after I told them my idea. Once again my plans to use my dream mix of AD&D 1e + 2e + house rules were delayed indefinitely. I rarely let my players have a say in what I'm going to run, but this time I had to agree with him, because I both wanted to minimize preparations and introduce some new players to the game, thus something lighter seemed beneficial. Enter Old-School Essentials, which I managed to upgrade last minute to the print version in the pledge manager, which closed on the night of the aforementioned TPK. After I got the pdf I began to revamp old materials, write new stuff, convert content from other games, draw shitty maps, outsource said maps to someone more skilled, and so on.

This isn't even my final form!
Thus Eremus was born, a continent on Anachron IV, a planet terraformed eons ago by the primogenitors to be a paradise on the galactic fringe. Then they fucked it up during their great war, and vanished without a trace, leaving behind the soldiers and creatures they summoned from across time and space to wage their battles. After a long dark age the survivors began to rebuild civilization.

The campaign which I named Portals of Eremus takes place millennia later, during the tumultuous centuries following collapse of the Tritonian Empire, which ruled over the entire region before it fell apart during the Succession Wars. The players are adventurers seeking fame and fortune in the Contested Lands, where barbaric kings began to raise kingdom upon the ruins of past nations.

We use a heavily modified and expanded version of OSE. Without going into details, the following resources are in use, more or less (sometimes an entire book, other times a few articles only):

Plenty of house rules are work in progress, under playtest, even totally untested. Nothing is set in stone, and if they won't work out as intended they will be changed, retconned, or thrown out. Not that I care too much about balance, but usability and simplicity are paramount. If we keep forgetting to use something, then it wasn't interesting in the first place and should be thrown out. Some highlights of my house rules document:
  • crapton of races for the wandering circus feel
  • monk, samurai, techno class conversions
  • a deck o' stuff table that keeps growing
  • learning skills and talents by training
  • improving ability scores by questing
  • smoother THAC0 and save charts
  • expanded secondary skill list
  • spell point based spellcasting
  • spellburn and spell mishaps
  • expanded weapon qualities
  • dungeon fortune cookies
  • combat maneuvers
  • psychic powers

I will go into the details in future posts. I will also consider writing session reports, but time and time again they have proven to be something I can't keep up with on the long. For now, enjoy the Holidays, and this overview map by Gábor Csomós (author of the excellent The Lost Valley of Kishar).

Work in progress overview map of Central Eremus

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Monday, 23 December 2019

[Review] Cha'alt, Part I: Planet of Apostrophes

Beauty is in the eye of the be'holder.
It's the end of December and I finally have some time to sit down and blog again. Since Christmas is right around the corner, it would be fitting to write about something relevant, like The Kringle Castle Invaders or How Orcus Stole Christmas!, but I won't yield to the comformity of the Holiday Season - instead I'm going to write about Cha'alt, like a fucking boss. Cha'alt is the magnum opus of Venger As'Nas Satanis, a controversial OSR author and a many-faced agent of Chaos. Is he a Raggi knockoff? A za'akier high priest of Cthulhu? A mad genius of adventure design? A juvenile metalhead with sleazy imagination? The greatest troll of the old-school gaming community? He might be all of them, and neither...

I have ambivalent feelings about Venger's previous works.  While there is a rampant creativity behind them I enjoy, it's often smothered by incoherent writing. Venger needs someone to discipline him, badly - preferably not with a whip, because he would enjoy that, but with strong criticism. Enter the fair prince of the Netherlands, whose passionate reviews of Venger's works lead to one of the most entertaining bromances I have seen in the history of the OSR. Him jumping aboard during the Kickstarter campaign was the straw that broke the camel's back, and made me shill out the money for the pdf.

I would gladly travel back in time to the very moment I selected my reward tier on Kickstarter to slap myself for being a miserly bastard and not going for the hardcover, because Cha'alt looks stunning. It's a lavishly illustrated book with a nice parchment background. The art styles are varied, and do a good job at telling what kind of kitchen sink madness awaits the reader in this book as the mecha battles, lovecraftian monsters, vast deserts, gonzo postapocalyptic scenes come alive on its pages. Sometimes it's unusually alive, thanks to the cosplayer photos used here and there instead of illustrations. They aren't bad at all, but they feel a bit out of place. Cha'alt uses colours to convey information: all chapters have a defining colour scheme that makes them immediately recognisable, and maps have sections differentiated by colouring too. Sometimes it goes a bit overboard, but it didn't make my eyes bleed. Most of the text is presented in a simple two column layout, with a rather minimalistic use of highlighting and bullet points. It's okay, because the majority of the entries are short anyway, but it does feel a bit lackluster after the clean german precision of Old-School Essentials. The stat blocks do deserve praise though: although far from groudbreaking, they use space effectively, are easy to read, and cover everything you need in a terse style. They are like a very light-weight version of HackMaster's combat rose.

People with 300 hp mechas are the kind of people
one should befriend.
While Cha'alt doesn't use an exact rules system, I wouldn't call it system neutral either: the stats are some hodge podge of a D&D-isms with hit dice, hit points, ascending armour class, and single saving throw. It's straightforward and easy to convert to your game of choice, though if Cha'alt is very old-school in one way, it's balance - or rather, it's lack of. Monster power levels are all over the place, some of them have ridiculously high hit points, and there are save or die attacks galore! The Crimson Dragon Slayer d20 ruleset is included in the appendix, though calling it a ruleset is a far stretch - it's one of those super light few pages long "systems" that I find too vague and basic for anything other than a beer & pretzels session (heck, even for those I would rather run B/X or Tunnels & Trolls).

Enough of the form though, let's talk about substance! Cha'alt offers a post-apocalyptic setting that feels like an unholy bastard of Gamma World, Tatooine, Dune, Lovecraft, and who knows what else. Originally a generic fantasy world, Cha'alt was first fucked up by the Old Ones for shits and giggles, then aeons later again when they re-awakened and started an apocalyptic war with the now technologically advanced surface dwellers. The current era is called the Obsidian age, where ancient technology, sorcery fueled by the corpses of fallen Old Ones, monsters mutated by the radioactive wastelands, and insane lovecraftian cults co-exist. There are also travellers from outer space who visit Cha'alt to extract the rare resource called zoth needed to refine the spice Mela'anj, which will destroy the planet in a few months. The latter is mentioned only casually once or twice, which is surprising considering saving or leaving the planet seems to be a great hook to kick off the campaign.

Cha'alt's (sigh) map aims to look good over being functional. I would preferr having a hex or square grid overlay over the scale at the bottom right corner - I hated using that on geography classes, and still do twenty years later. There are a dozen intriguing points of interest shown on the map, including a city mind controlled by a giant purple demon worm, a high tech outpost guarded with battle-droids, a sea of green slime full of dredge, a hardcore feminist matriarchy where males are castrated, and so on. The journey between them isn't trivial, because most of the region is covered by the S'kbah, a radioactive desert that will kill or mutate the unprepared. The rules and advice for travelling the hostile sands and obsidian patches are simple: bring plenty of food and water, doff your armour, take anti-radiation pills, and avoid other wanderers.

Rare photo of a ga'athrul mating ritual.
The latter should be taken to heart considering what kind of factions inhabit the wasteland: the cults of the desert are worshippers of Old Ones, the skeevers are desert pirates scavenging the S'kbah, the hunter-killer droids are mysterious machines attacking humanoids on sight, the spice frackers are the aforementioned space travellers, the death-stalkers are nihilistic raiders who fuel their vehicles with blood, and the Dha'arma Initiative is a secret sect of scientists trying to change the past so the Apocalypse never happened. All are cool and inspiring, but it's a pity that half of them is so antagonistic by default it's unlikely the PCs will do anything else other than fighting them. If the desert wasn't colourful enough already, gargantuan sand worms, alien dinosaurs, serpentine sirens, and lovecraftian horrors also lurk among the dunes. Except for the sirens, neither of them has less than 10 HD. The more I think about it, the more I'm convinced that Cha'alt begs to be ran using Rifts. MDC weapons will come handy.

The overview ends with a generic loot table for NPCs (simple but good), some meh magic items (the good ones are in the adventures), six elf sub-races with vague racial abilities (interestingly none of them has tentacles), a random chart for names (of course most of them has a'po'stro'phes), and some rules about saving throws, advantage and disadvantage, critical success and failure. This section was a bit of a letdown after all the zaniness seen so far, but it's just a slight downturn before Cha'alt picks up the pace again. We are 32 pages in, and the meat of the book is just about to begin, so buckle up!

Part II co'ming so'on...


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Saturday, 26 October 2019

Satanic Panic's Great Gnolls

No trace of hyena DNA here.
One little bit of detail that made me raise an eyebrow when first reading the Monsters & Treasures booklet of Original Dungeons & Dragons was the description of gnolls: "A cross between Gnomes and Trolls (. . . perhaps, Lord Dunsany did not really make it all that clear) with +2 morale.".[1] After knowing them as hyena men for years I found this paragraph more than amusing, especially with the included illustration, which shows them as some crouching goblinoid.

Since the release of the AD&D 1st edition Monster Manual the hyena-headed humanoid became the widespread design for gnolls, and I recall very few examples that deviated from them. One of them was Citadel's FTG Fantasy Tribes Gnolls line, where similar to OD&D's Monsters & Treasures the gnolls were big goblinoids. The line was later renamed to FTG Fantasy Tribes Goblins, and finally became C12 Great Goblins.

This April Satanic Panic Miniatures ran a Kickstarter campaign to release its Great Gnoll line - a bunch of multi-part old-school miniatures inspired by the classic gnolls/great goblins. The campaign was successful, and the figurines are available for sale on the SPM website. A few months ago during a sale I bought two sets, which collected dust until two weeks ago. Despite my aversion towards multi-part miniatures, I had a lot of fun already with these little bastards, and I'm nowhere near finished! I spent a copious amount of time figuring out how to combine the various parts, gluing them together, coming up with the color schemes, et cetera. Alas this project is on hold now, for I ran out of bases, which probably won't arrive in the next two weeks (thanks Brexit).

Crossbow gnoll looks so excited to get primed,
 longsword gnoll not so much.
The minis have separate heads, torsoes, shields, and weapons. While the bodies within a set are identical, the heads are all distinct and characterful - my favorite being the one with the chubby cheeks and buck teeth. For some strange reason there are only three shields for four minis, but the weapons more than compensate for that, because there is a crapton of them. Preparing the great gnolls wasn't hard. There were plenty of flashes to cut down, but none of them were problematic, and the seamlines were few and far between. Be careful with the weapons though! They are a bit fragile, I managed to break a sword while trying to force it into a great gnoll's hand. The "great" part in their name is no joke, they are pretty tall for goblinoids - they are a bit shorter  than my Frostgrave characters, and taller than my Heartbreaker Kev Adams orcs.

Not sure what these charming fellows will be at my table. I might introduce them as "true" gnolls into Old School Essentials, or use them as great goblins in Zweihänder. It's also possible I'll use them as hobgoblins until I find better minis for that - although SPM has some intriguing plans for them too. Speaking of which, SPM has another Kickstarter campaign running as I post this to produce a bunch of multi-part great gnoll boar riders. There are only a few days left, and it's almost funded. If you are not interested in mounted units or you want some footmen too, you can add the original infantry packs and their C variants to the pledge.

A finished great gnoll in classic D&D hobgoblin colours.


[1] Interestingly the Lord Dunsany story the author refers to is How Nuth Would Have Practised His Art upon the Gnoles from Book of Wonders, and doesn't have any description of its titular gnoles. In Margaret St. Clair's The Man Who Sold Rope to the Gnoles one of they are likened to an artichoke, and have tentacles instead of arms.

Monday, 30 September 2019

[Review] Wee Warriors Reprints, Part III: The Misty Isles

The original cover dug up from the depths
of Pinterest, because you deserve it.
Well crap, it took more than two months, but here we go again: the final part of my Wee Warriors reviews has arrived! The Misty Isles is not only the last of the Wee Warriors modules, but also happens to be my favorite from the trilogy. Unlike its predecessors, Palace of the Vampire Queen and Dwarven Glory, the third and final DM's Toolkit is not a dungeon crawl, but a collection of nine small islands complete with hex maps and keyed entries.

Lacking better option I have to go with the Pacesetter release again, which thankfully has no bland AD&D conversion this time. This doesn't mean the Pacesetter version is an exact reproduction of the originals: the maps were revamped, there are some reused illustrations, and a new cover nobody asked for. My mind boggles why we get is a cheap ass homage instead of the real deal - again. Heck, Bill Barsh even praises the original cover in the introduction! At least it could have been included in the book, but alas instead of preserving this historical piece of rpg art it was more important to waste an entire page for an orc, and for the fucking Vampire Queen again, who isn't even in the module. Give her a rest, please.

The Misty Isles wastes no time on bullshit. After a short guide about using the maps and an introduction we get a summary the nine islands, which then the book describes in more details one after another (frequently on a different name, to make things confusing). Each isle comes with a map of 21 hexes, and a few pages of entries explaining what each hex contains. There are only a few empty spots, which are usually areas covered by the sea anyway. The regions are full of encounters and adventure sites described in very dense, but straightforward manner. Monster and NPC stat blocks are embedded in the text, and aren't highlighted in any way, so good luck looking them up on the fly. Not that they would help much, at best you get hit points and armor type (not class!), other times just class and level. Most entries are related to the main conflict or theme of the land, and frequently the hexes are connected to each other, even if it isn't spelled out outright. Yeah, they weren't big on cross referencing back in the day either (although there are some examples).

If the overpowered local ruler wasn't enough, there are hexes
of carnivorous unicorns and transforming wild cats.
But why should you care about a bunch of small hex maps with messy entries? Besides being historical curiosities from the dawn of our hobby, they are also surprisingly good. The themes and tone of the isles range from mundane through fantastic to gonzo. While the most remarkable happening on the Island of Baylor might be a plot against its king or a royal hunt, on the ruined Island of Dwarven Outcasts one of the warring clans discovered an arsenal of modern weapons, on the magically fucked up Island of Warring Wizards an order of lawful kung-fu wizards have been fighting chaotic magic-users lead by a beautiful sorceress for fifty years now, and on the Island of Tripids invasive shapechanging space plants are waiting for a way to spread out. My absolute favorite would be the Island of Nonhumans, which was conquered by merciless aliens who are now living in harmony with nature. Would be, if it wasn't left for the GM to work it out...

Well fuck you too.
The empty half page under the "NOTES" subtitle is just furter insult to the injury. There is one intriguing tidbit in the text though: the "if the game is played without a Game Master" part. GM-less roleplaying games seemed to be a relatively new invention for me - with the exception of solo adventures and gamebooks, which are a different kind of animal. For some reason the author felt an urge to mention how to handle the island for GM-less play, which suggests it must have been a ting even back in the day. Gentle reader, if you have any stories, house rules, or anything about GM-less sessions from the seventies or eighties, please share it in the comment section below. Thank you!

The way The Misty Isles approaches its regions is quite different from how the contemporary giant Wilderlands of High Fantasy does it with its dry charts and lists. It's also pretty deceptive. The entries in The Misty Isles might be wordier, but usually they don't carry more net valuable information than what you can decipher from the average Wilderlands of High Fantasy entry, and it's also harder to find relevant information in a chunk of text than in a table row. While far from perfect, I consider Wilderlands of High Fantasy to be a far more useful tool in running a hexcrawl with its technical style. One thing that The Misty Isles does better though, is being focused. While its regions are smaller, they all have an obvious overarching theme, which makes them easier to grasp for both Players and Referees.

The Misty Isles is a curious relic of the past. It's rough, it won't blow your mind, and there is a product from the same era that did at better job at what The Misty Isles attempted, but still, it's an interesting and entertaining snapshot from the era of low production values and high creativity. It has a heart and a vivid imagination behind it, and for that alone I recommend having it on your shelf, be it physical or virtual. Still, fuck you for the Island of Nonhumans...

Onward to Cha'alt...

Tl;dr: A forgotten attempt at sandbox campaigns that falters in presentation, but has some really good ideas.

Where to find it: You can find the module in print and pdf in the Pacesetter Games & Simulations webshop. Some of their modules are alse available on DriveThruRPG in pdf, so I wouldn't be surprised if the above mentioned three would surface there in the near future.

Other parts of the series:
Part I: Palace of the Vampire Queen
Part II: Dwarven Glory

Disclaimer: The DriveThruRPG links on this site are affiliate links. If you buy something through the link we'll get some credit for your purchase too.

Sunday, 29 September 2019

Beasts of Chaos!! Kickstarter Launched

Why buy a regular minotaur when you can get one
with a fucking drill arm?!
In July I had an interview with Paul Smith of Creative Sculpt Studio about his second Kickstarter campaign called The Bigger Hordes of Chaos!!!, where he was gathering money to expand his line of Oldhammer chaos warrior miniatures. The campaign not only succeeded, but the rewards arrived in time. I love them all, they are characterful sculpts that are fun to work with, so it's needless to say, even with my ever growing backlog of unpainted figurines I was eagerly waiting for the next line.

The third Kickstarter campaign called the Beasts of Chaos!! just launched this week. I'm not sure why there is one less exclamation mark in the title - heck, there should be at least four, because it's a more ambitious project than the earlier ones. This time Paul wants to introduce a bunch of misshapen monsters into the hordes of Chaos - hounds, beastmen, minotaurs, slugs, and even a Jabberwocky. Some of these are pretty big, and thus only available in resin, unless we cough up enough money to cover the cost of metal moulds.

If you are looking for quality, hand-sculpted, old-school miniatures for your Warhammer FRP or Zweihänder sessions, I recommend checking out the campaign.

My humble attempt at painting the Cavalier from
The Bigger Hordes of Chaos!!! in the colours of Tzeentch.