Gorgonized cover for Supplement II. I've noticed that Blogger likes to re-size my huge images. If you want hi-res versions of the OD&D covers, here's a rar archive (9.75 MB) you can download.
TIP: My covers are pre-sized as 8.5" x 11" documents. When printing DO NOT resize. Allow clipping to occur -- none of the graphics will be cut because the area "clipped" is empty.
TIP: My covers are pre-sized as 8.5" x 11" documents. When printing DO NOT resize. Allow clipping to occur -- none of the graphics will be cut because the area "clipped" is empty.
Per Blair of Algol's request, here's OD&D Supplement III, gorgonized. Check out more of Russian artist Ule-Kuole's work here. The piece used on the cover originally appeared on the LP version of Blackdeath's Vortex album. As for my chop-job on Frazetta's "Sacrifice" on the back -- I always imagined that it was the inspiration for Eldritch Wizardry's original cover [see here], but as it turns out Frazetta painted "Sacrifice" in 1980 -- four years after Supplement III was published. So much for my theory.
The supplement has been expanded to include the missing page from Rob Kuntz's Dragon article. Also an appendix has been added for Mythos-related material appearing in Gods, Demi-Gods & Heroes (1976). Iä Shub-Niggurath!
Inspired by this post at Zenopus Archives, I cobbled together a scrapbook of Cthulhu Mythos-related D&D stuff from the late 70s and early 80s. Then I turned it into a PDF. Download it HERE [expanded version].
Here's what this vitamin-rich supplement contains:
- "THE LOVECRAFTIAN MYTHOS IN DUNGEONS & DRAGONS" by Robert Kuntz
- "THE CTHULHU MYTHOS REVISITED" by Gerald Guinn
- "A REBUTTAL TO 'THE CTHULHU MYTHOS REVISITED'" by J. Eric Holmes
- "H. P. LOVECRAFT'S RICHARD UPTON PICKMAN" by L. Schick and T. Moldvay
- Deities & Demi-Gods: "CTHULHU MYTHOS" by James Ward with Robert Kuntz
- Material from OD&D's Gods, Demi-Gods and Heroes
Sadly these scanned pages are double-columned which makes printing them up in booklet format kinda pointless. Anyway I hope you dig it.
Courtney Campbell's Psionics is another one of those OSR library essentials. If you don't have it, head on over to Hack & Slash to download the free 44-page PDF.
As tribute I offer up another alternate cover:
In my favorite iterations of D&D, magic-users with low intelligence can't access high level spells. They simply don't have the raw material to become an archmage or even a master. But what if their own personal aspirations drove them to attempt it anyway?
Providing the DM is willing to entertain the possibility -- the strain on the half-witted wizard's mind would be considerable. What might that do to his mind afterward, even if he is successful? Enter: Wizard Madness.
The sort of madness being suggested here should not be confused with the mundane, purely psychic kinds. When magic-users go barmy,they take part of reality with them.
D30 TABLE OF MAGICAL INSANITY
- Name it.
- Describe its effects, beneficial and/or detrimental. Include dice mechanics if applicable.
- Is it permanent or temporary?
- Let us know if it can be cured by Remove Curse or Cure Disease or some other means entirely.
- Leave the URL to your blog/site in your comment. Thanks!
- When a magic-user attempts to learn a spell that is beyond his normal limits, he/she must save vs spell.
- Success indicates that the mind of the magic-user is unharmed.
- Failure indicates madness. Roll d30 on the table below.
|1||Lose Shadow: Your shadow decides to leave you, making you highly paranoid until it returns. (Remove Curse) [Simon Forster]|
|2||Voices From Beyond: You clearly hear a wide and varied selection of disembodied voices, many of demonic bent. This makes it terribly difficult to rest, concentrate, or listen. Save vs. spell to have a night's sleep sound enough to memorize spells in the morning. Double spell casting times unless a save vs. spell is made. Chance to hear noise suffers a -2 penalty. (Remove Curse) [Michael Moscrip]|
|3||Addled Gramarye: Also called Wizard Tongue. Your confused about things in the world and your confusion is potent. When a wandering monster is encountered DM rolls a second time, the wizard thinks the monster is actually the second type. If the wizard mentions anything about this verbally, the monster will begin shifting to actually become the second kind of monster, each round gaining or losing hit and damage dice, special powers after all hit die obtained, etc. This is permanent unless the afflicted is spoken to by a smarter wizard and makes a save which then clears the confusion. [Telecanter]|
|4||Unwinding Touch: As the magic-user loses her grip on reality, so her equipment loses its own. Any non-living item the magic-user touches starts to erode from reality (weapons, equipment, etc), in a reverse Midas Touch effect. Thankfully, the wizard's clothes and backpack are immune -- it must be items held in the magic-user's hands. He can attempt a save vs spell every three rounds to hold the item together with pure willpower, but cannot cast any spells due to the concentration required, and might take a penalty to other actions at the DM's discretion. (Remove Curse) [whiskeytangofoxtrot]|
|5||Faulty Matrix: The higher level spells are unimpressed with their temporary abode, and sometimes tunnel out looking for better accommodations. These escape routes can now be used by any spell inclined to leave. Memorized spells can slither down into the wizard's subconsciousness to make a new home for themselves, while others might attempt to materialize and escape into the physical world. Roll percentage dice whenever the wizard casts a spell: (01) The spell fizzles as it dives into the deep darkness behind your eyes; (100) The spell begins materializing as it escapes through your (mouth/nostril/ear). The process is painful and lasts until the end of the next round, during this time a Remove Curse or Dispel Magic will dissipate the magical energy. Otherwise the wizard takes d6-1 damage as the tail end of the creature materializes inside his body. These beings are typically malformed tentacled horrors with animal intelligence and have 1HD per level of the spell... but who knows what else might be breeding in there. (The only known cure is for a group of trusted associates to enter the wizard's dreams, help his befuddled dream avatar evict all the rogue spells, and repair the damaged spell holding area. Oh, and try not tear up the dreamscape or it's natural inhabitants too badly. Good luck!) [Quibish]|
|6||Brainfart: All the knowledge currently held in the magic-retaining part of the MU's brain escapes in a wild rush out his ears. Anyone standing within a 10-foot radius must Save vs. Spell or roll on the Critical Hit Effects Table - Edged Weapons in this pdf. The MU loses all spellcasting abilities for 1d12 days while the mind heals itself. And even then, the spellcaster only has a 50% chance of memorizing any spell already in his spellbook, and only a 15% chance of memorizing any new spell. This is a permanent effect. Leveling up no longer means automatically gaining access to new spells, or gaining higher-level spells, but are determined by a percentile roll. The effects of the Brainfart can only be reversed with a wish, the benevolence of a deity, or a demonic pact. Perhaps it's not too late to give up magic and become a gardener? [Matt Schmeer]|
|7||Thousand Yard Stare: The unfortunate victim literally can only clearly see what's going on 1,000 yards distant. They are effectively blind to whatever is happening right around them. (Remove Curse) [garrisonjames]|
|8||Memory Leakage: The contents of this poor sot's memories are seeping out past their skull and pooling like so much cat urine on the now yellowed and dismal walls of wherever they sleep or spend the most time. With slight effort, another person could learn a great deal about this victim, but would anyone really want to? (Remove Curse) [garrisonjames]|
|9||Arcane Vacuity: The person affected becomes something of a magical void, their brain literally sucks up spells and scroll-contents, even the words from books that they gaze upon (spell books gain a save), and all that accumulated knowledge and power circulates and percolates within their gray matter...they cannot use any of it, ever...and when it hits a critical mass, it will explode with great force...better lay off the spells and such, at least until a cure is discovered... [garrisonjames]|
|10||Communicative Inversion: Individual units of productive communication by the caster are reversed. In the case of speech for example, words are pronounced backwards, but sentence structure remains the same. This effect may be ignored if the communication is directed at a mirrored surface, or by intense concentration on the part of the caster, with this concentration becoming easier over time. [Porky]|
|11||Sensory Rotation: The caster's perception by means of every sense seems to rotate to face the opposite direction. For example, the caster's eyes may now see as if from the back of the head, and any sensitive surfaces that the caster has sense internal stimuli rather than external. This is largely hallucination, and the perception only an approximation of what actually exists. However, very real phenomena do occasionally appear by this means to the caster alone. Being primarily psychological, the effect may be ameliorated by recognition, analysis and remedial action. [Porky]|
|12||Essential Haemorrhage: The spell takes effect as if cast, but 1d10% of the caster's personal essence per spell level has been dispersed within it. This leaves the caster's current body diminished -- reflected in appropriately reduced attributes -- but creates a permanent, irreversible and existential bond with the entities and spaces coming under the spell's influence, living or otherwise. The caster is haunted by an awareness of the current whereabouts, actions and conditions of these entities and spaces, and by a unity and inner discourse with them. Of course, the caster may simply be imagining it. [Porky]|
By my count all you wonderful old school community peoples (plus Gorgonmilk hisself) have four open, very much undead community projects that
should nay! need to be finished. Here they are (from most recent to not very recent at all):
- Arcane Dwellings (d30 table): Twenty-five entries needed.
- Sources of Magical Energy (d12 table): One entry needed to finish.
- Magical Insanity (d30 table): Eighteen entries needed. This one was actually almost complete during Gorgonmilk's brief experimentation with Wordpress when he prematurely (like unto a dumb butt) deleted his account there before saving all of your rad entries. Please add to these accumulated horrors so we can finally PDF this greasy pig!
- Long Guns & Cannibals (a campaign setting): This community project has been sputtering on the back burner for aeons it seems. If any of you want to lay some fresh eyes on the great material that's been assembled thus far start here -- and by all means drop me a line if you want to collaborate on it or just bounce some ideas off on me: flowthrake AT gmail DOT com.
Given the frequency that your average semi-retired magic-user finds himself pestered by the demands of johnny-come-lately adventurer-types, it's no surprise that the "wizard tower" has seen a steady decline in popularity. For one, it's ostentatious. A tower practically screams "MAGIC STUFF HERE! COME ON IN!" to any and all vagrant treasure-seekers who happen to spy its undeniably phallic stone shape from afar. Once upon a time, a wizard's tower was a place to be avoided, but no more. Most of them have now been abandoned by all but the most vain of magic-users (I'm looking at you, sorceresses!) for more secretive accommodations. These dwellings may be remote -- located in areas nigh-impossible to reach by non-magical means. On the other hand, they may be secreted under the noses of urban passerbys, hidden away through cunning use of arcane geometries, so that not even the most astute of thieves would suspect their existence. What follows are thirty examples of such unreal estates.
D30 TABLE OF ARCANE DWELLINGS
- Fill in the blanks in the table below by commenting. Designate a result number to go with your entry.
- Describe the dwelling as if it were for sale (but omit the price).
- Specify any unusual conditions or hazards related to living there.
- This table is designated open-source gaming content. No rights reserved.
- Names of contributors with links to their respective blogs (if any) will appear next to their entries.
Gelatinous Cubicle: More of an office space than a dwelling proper, the cubicle is actually a living gelatinous cube with a roughly 10' x 10' x 10' hollow inside it that contains a lead-lined chamber. Various metal tubes extend from this chamber through the creature's translucent body, providing the interior with ample air to breathe. A circular port-hole can be found on one of the cube's sides that is large enough for a man to pass through and step inside the chamber. The door to this port-hole resembles that of a safe and usually features a trap-loaded combination lock. [Gorgonmilk]
|Hollow Giant: The Hollow Giant is the result of an Animate Dead spell cast on the stitched-together flesh of Titanic Humanoids wrapped around an iron housing. Along with the Hollow Giant proper comes the Command Ring that allow the Wizard to direct the actions of the Hollow Giant, as well as stay in communication with it when away from the dwelling. The entrance to the Hollow Giant's chamber is through the mouth, which will unhinge to accomodate the entrance and exit of the Wizard -- with a directive through the Command Ring, of course. Once inside, the resident-Wizard will find that within the Giant's enormous ironclad belly is a finely furnished and provisioned single-person dwelling -- fit for study, respite or simply isolating oneself from the Mundane World.The resident-Wizard within the Hollow Giant should take care and bring plenty of scented oils and salts into the iron housing. The Animation spell, while complete, does nothing for the horrible stench of the dead that the Giant continues to exude. Caveat Emptor! [Dane Black]|
|The Watch Maker's Alcove: This lovely little pocket dimension, once the abode of a "Lord of Order", is now up for sale with the over 20,000 tools of the trade of such a lord. Long abandoned, this lovely plane takes the form of a deserted shop or office space belonging to a professional merchant. Seated between the "real world" and the other of the astral plane this space has enough room for both the busy on-the-go wizard, his tools, familiars, and family. The wizard should be familiar with both the school of Order and the issues that its magic can cause. Any broken or mismanaged machine brought inside will fix itself within 1d20 hours as the magic of the place heals all broken mechanical imperfections. The place has a 60% resistance rating to the magics of chaos. These safeguards may be improved with time, patience, and sacrifice of the proper rites. Those wishing to purchase this wonderful dimensional property should contact the real state offices of Vance, Lovecraft, and Moorcock through the usual Astral Channels. [Needles]|
|4||Earnest Jan's Well-worn Wizardly Workplaces [see sub-table below] [Porky]|
|5||The "Hallenbruck-Brewery-Front": This well established brewery in (next big city in your campaign) not only produces one of the finest ales in the known kingdoms, it also comes with a inebriation-fueled mirror-dimensional arcane facility (you may remember the positive review in "Potion Weekly" a couple of years ago), complete with an occult library (value not known), a fully equipped laboratoy (with minor fire damages due to recent unfortunate events) and the recipe for the "secret ingredient" that makes this place so special. This clandestine extra-dimensional space is a perfect copy of the brewery (and in the same place, sort of), with all the necessary changes to realize big projects and all the comforts needed for after hours relaxation. And no smell. There is no smell. In the interest of full disclosure: Apparitions of drunkards are a bare possibility. They are harmless and their songs are decent. Rumors that our dearly departed uncle and his highly sophisticated recipes (which are all part of the deal!) are responsible for a local zombie outbreak, cases of mind control, demonic possession or mutations are overly exaggerated. Interested parties are welcome to send their references. [JD]|
Earnest Jan's Well-worn Wizardly Workplaces
Step right up my good being and get yourself a bewitching bargain - the bargain of the very age! I saw you coming a mile off - right here through my crystal ball. Now, gaze deep. I've got just the place for you. Do you see it? A fine arcane abode priced for the pocket of the discerning prestidigitator but fit for a minor deity. Did I say minor? Middling even! It's (roll 1d10):
|anchored along sunbeams in a shaft of unusually vivid light and accessible only by means of a reconfigured spell for illumination adjusted to the given wavelength. A stellar opportunity!|
|zipped up in a dimensional hollow; the hollow itself and/or the careful - ahem - current owner may be a braner.|
|strung taut up into the heavens, space elevator-like; import/export offworld or keep a personal space fleet - or lure someone else's from afar! The choice is yours!|
|inside an exceptionally dense body orbiting within the atmosphere of its host world. Spectacular views! Accessible using convection currents, perhaps in the eternally elegant style of that impeccable sorceress Ms Mary Poppins.|
|tightly woven from thick silver cord and suspended somewhere on an astral plane. Classy.|
|built upside down into the ground, the foundations showing flush with the surface. Now that's workmanship, and by nameless ancient artisans to boot!|
|compressed into a pointed hat. How's that for imagination - worthy even of the indefatigable arch demiurge jasons.|
|one fractal scale further down, easily mistaken for an intricately carven staff, just as you - its new proud owner - could easily be mistaken for a woodworm while within. Confound your foes - at no extra charge!|
|the original inspiration for the old British police box, a classic design recognised across the dimensions. Often imitated, never bettered.|
|sewn from the outer skins of gas giants and bobbing like a cork on a lost sea of stars. Hideous hellhole and holiday home in one!|
Who needs halflings?* While I have perused the class creation rules in ACKS' new Player's Companion (which is an awesome resource btw), I can't say as though the following class is precisely balanced or even within the guidelines. Yep. I made it Hargrave-style.
Click the image below to embiggify. This class is (cc) (I think), but the art is used without permission. See Emperor's Choice for all things Arduinian.
"The company was named after Ral-Partha a particularly successful wizard character created by Tom's young friend John Winkler. The character was a notoriously hard bargainer whose shrewdness was exemplified by the catch phrase "What's it worth to you?" It was hoped that the fledgling company would have similar good fortune. Like their popular line of "3-stage characters," Ral Partha has had a trio of aspects.
"The first was a Winkler's gaming character, depicted as ES-001 Evil Wizard, casting spell.
"'Ral' Winkler himself became one of the company's chief casters. [No image available]
"Lastly, 'Ral' was the company's totemic progenitor credited with collaborative projects and depicted as 10–412 Lord of the Balrogs."
Another great interview from Grognard Games aired recently. This time GG talks to the Father of Landsharks, Tim Kask:
During this interview there is a brief allusion to hobbit ponies. Apparently Gary Gygax and Tim were both frustrated with how ponies -- hobbit ponies in particular -- were being treated in some campaigns. Tim mentions something about them having 3x the carrying capacity [of regular ponies?] before the conversation turns to other matters.
So what is the full back-story here? Were hobbit ponies considered special in the 70s? Was there a common house-ruling pertaining to how much weight they could carry?
Below is a map of Dolmen Island I personally commissioned from the ever-evocative Jonathan Roberts. Jonathan's star is rising. Have you seen his Dolmen-ish Iconic Isle map for sale on RPGNow? It's going in my archipelago. Also check out the maps he did for George R. R. Martin's Westeros setting.
|Original Map (cc) Jonathan Roberts|
|My DM Map for Sea of Isk campaign|
My desktop is four or so years old and I'm getting to the point where I'd like to replace it. Friends have suggested that I put one together using sites such as Newegg. I've never done this sort of thing before, aside from installing a few cards and replacing RAM sticks. I've no idea what I'm doing basically.
Here's a combo at Newegg that I've been considering. What motherboard should I get to go with this puppy? I have a very good audio card that I can re-use, but my current video card is almost shot. I don't need top-of-the-line, just enough graphical output to play a good game of Minecraft with some fancy textures.
It is common knowledge that Dwarves and other folk of the Underworld make use of mine carts and tracks to move raw materials from one area to another. Less known to surface dwellers is the existence of an extensive railway system that connects disparate subterranean enclaves and strongholds. Tracks and tunnels can extend for many leagues, crossing under seas and monolithic mountain ranges. A minority of railways are well-maintained and trafficked by the slave-engines* of the Grey Dwarves. Many others have fallen into disrepair for various reasons: populations have receded to other zones of the Underworld; troglodytic monsters have made certain regions impassible; flooding or lava-upflow has made travel impractical and difficult. So-called "complete" maps of the Railways are invariably cheap knock-offs of the invaluable Dwarven originals and contain many errors and outright fabrications.
*Slave-engine: The rail-equivalent of a sea-going galley. Slaves are often seated in pairs and operate leg-driven wheel systems. Moderate-sized engines are pulled by thirty slaves or more. Slave-engines are often used in large-scale mining operations but are not limited to this area. Wealthy dwarves have teams of slaves to pull their private carriages and house-cars.
Last Days of Coney Island will be an anthology of shorts -- "an animated cop, mafia, horror movie set in the 1960s in Coney Island, with political overtones both realistic and outrageous."
If you feel like giving Ralph $1250, you'll get an actual original background layout drawing from Bakshi's Lord of the Rings! And my undying jealousy!
file(s) Ralph Bakshi
August Derleth, co-founder of Arkham House and an early protege of H. P. Lovecraft is perhaps most famous for his creative misinterpretations of HPL's story cycle dealing with concepts such as Cthulhu, the Old Ones and the abhorred Necronomicon of Abdul Alhazred. Derleth believed that the so-called Cthulhu Mythos needed some "good guys" to balance out the eldritch horrors provided by HPL, Clark Ashton Smith and other authors seen in the pages of Weird Tales. The infamous (and spurious) "Black Magic Quote" was the genesis of Derleth's vision:
You will, of course, realize that all my stories, unconnected as they may be, are based on one fundamental lore or legend: that this world was inhabited at one time by another race, who in practicing black magic, lost their foothold and were expelled, yet live on outside, ever ready to take possession of this earth again.
Purportedly a quote from one of Lovecraft's letters, these words actually come from a man named Harold Farnese. Farnese was not blessed with a good memory. He managed to conflate his own discussions about "black magic" and the dichotomy of good and evil and then pass them off as Lovecraft's ideas to Derleth.
Derleth took the idea of a good/evil struggle within the Mythos and ran with it. He added new deities and new concepts -- such as using the Elder Sign to ward off dark powers in much the same way as the cross is used in Hammer horror films.
While I prefer my Lovecraft to be free of these Derlethisms from a literary standpoint, I think some of Derleth's concepts might be useful to -- and to some degree are already incorporated into -- Dungeons & Dragons.
Derleth's conflict between the horrific Great Old Ones and the benevolent Elder Gods predates mankind. Through some means, the Elder Gods overcame their chaotic evil counterparts and banished them from the Earth or trapped them in some way. Cthulhu, for instance, was brought down and imprisoned within its ancient city called R'lyeh, whereas Hastur was cast out into space to be imprisoned under the Lake of Hali on dread Carcosa.
Which brings me back to the Underworld. That onion-like, many-layered dungeon-of-dungeons beneath the crust of many a D&D world. What if certain Powers of Chaos were imprisoned down there in a similar fashion to Derleth's Old Ones? Perhaps they sleep. Perhaps they are biding their time and building up their strength to break the bindings that have held them for untold eons. Perhaps like Shub-Niggurath and Ubbo-Sathla they are giving birth to new monsters and populating the deeper strata of the Underworld.
This is rife with possibilities. And even those of you who are inclined to steer away from Lovecraftian dark gods could easily substitute something more traditionally demonic in their place.
“What race or races had built the original maze no one knew. It seemed, in the opinion of the sages and magicians of the time, that there must have been many layers of dungeons and underworlds laid down, one atop the other, as the world crust was formed, so that now no one knew, or even guessed, how many levels it extended below the surface.”- From The Maze of Peril by John Eric Holmes
- A theory/interpretation of the D&D Underworld (see below)
- Examples of Underworld strata (i.e. dungeon levels) that illustrate what this region is like (a) near the surface, (b) somewhat further down, and (c) drastically deeper.
- Descriptions of native fungi, molds, jellies, and oozes
- Descriptions of inhabitants and their activities
- Examples of imprisoned powers
- Random tables of weird goings-on
- Survival tips
My own take on the Underworld is heavily informed by the musings of Philotomy. The “Mythic Underworld” he describes is a kind of descent into madness. The deeper one travels, the more peculiar and unearthly this subterranean realm becomes. The megadungeon provides its own raison d’etre and has no obligation to reason or Law. This is the antithesis of Gygaxian Naturalism. Call it Holmesian Unnaturalism: The gradual dissolution of surface-world logic in the Underworld cauldron of magical thinking.
A great literary example of exactly this sort of subterranean milieu: Margaret St. Claire’s The Shadow People.
“I kept on eating atter-corn. There was really nothing else for me to eat, unless I wanted to fight one of the elves for the poor loot he had brought from Upper Earth. The meal is not only a potent hallucinogen, it is also extraordinarily nutritious and sustaining, though its exclusive ingestion gives rise to long-term deficiencies.”- From The Shadow People by Margaret St. Claire
I think it would be worthwhile to congeal all these ideas into a single resource. Would something like this be of value to the old school community? I can’t guarantee the project would ever see the light of day, naturally. But I’m curious to read your thoughts on this.
I completely missed out on Shannon Appelcline's history of tabletop RPGs, Designers & Dragons, when it was published by Mongoose back in 2011. And I'm soo tight with my gold pieces that I refuse to pay Amazon over $400 for a used copy. (WTF)
As Lady Luck would have it, Evil Hat Productions is working with Mr Appelcline to produce a four-volume revised edition of Designers that, I'm told, will be prettier and more comprehensive than the Mongoose original. And hopefully less than 400gp. (WTF)
So back in ye early 80s SPI produced a board game based on Dragonslayer (1981), IMHO one of the best fantasy films ever. Click on the vintage ad to the left and take a gander at what I believe may be the only map for the setting of Dragonslayer. I would love to see a larger, clearer version. Perhaps I'll make one. I like the smallness of Urland and its peninsular appendages, and I believe it would make for a good D&D campaign.