WORMSKIN

1/31/2014

IDM 91-99 | Tracks selected by GGMLK

Sometimes I just want to listen to the classics 

naked

with my cyborgs.

12 tracks // running time 1:06:27

Not mixed; just some fine tracks.
DOWNLOAD the RAR file (116.93 MB)
  1. JEGA, "Phlax"
  2. SPOOKY, "Hypo-Allergenic"
  3. APHEX TWIN, "Xepha"
  4. GESCOM, "Key Nell 3"
  5. BEAUMONT HANNANT, "Morphous"
  6. RELOAD, "Peschi"
  7. SOLAR X, "Net Camouflage"
  8. D'ARCANGELO, "Dorth II"
  9. CYLOB, "Foid"
  10. BOARDS OF CANADA, "Close4"
  11. THE BLACK DOG, "Pot Noodle"
  12. AUTECHRE, "Nil"

Underworld Lore #4 | March 2014


Coming soon
Cover art by Mr Beaudry

1/30/2014

Underworld Lore | Basic Potion Flavor Codes

Illustration by Sophie Puch
  • Bt (bitter)
  • Sa (salty; saline)
  • Sw (sweet)
  • So (sour; acidic)
  • Um (umami) [thanks, +Brett Slocum]
  • Yc (yuthuic)
Potions can be combined based on complimentary properties, so attributes like flavor, odor, and color all affect how volatile any synthesis of potions might be. Other considerations: effects of boiling and freezing; magical half-life; side-effects resulting from certain combinations.

Cartoon Time | Bravest Warriors

In case you haven't heard of Bravest Warriors -- it's a show created by Pendleton Ward of Adventure Time fame and is, essentially, to sci fi what Finn and Jake et al are to fantasy. Right now this is airing on YouTube but I wouldn't be at all surprised to see this released on DVD sooner than later. Some highlights:

"Mexican Touchdown"


"Ultra Wankershim"

1/29/2014

Delver's Dictionary | Butter

BUTTER. n. (1) A fatty substance derived from milk and used in cooking and baking; (2) Gold, usually of the raw and uncoined varieties, as in the phrase "butter this" -- as in Butter this palm or [threat]; (3) A bribe, usually (but not always) of gold.

"Thrix better butter us good for that body we buried back in Blackloome."

Music Videos | Kate Boy and ASTR

Two beautiful women sing against electronic beats. This pleases the GGMLK.

Kate Boy



ASTR

Underworld Lore | Imaginary Inventory

Illustration by Mr. Beaudry


Ideas that want to break out and appear in future issues

Weird cults that don't necessarily worship a deity but operate under a very specific, often inane litany of rules and conduct.

The Loremonger is a male NPC-only class, a dark brotherhood that controls the dissemination of magical knowledge from their legendary cache of grimoires and herbals, rare and dangerous spell components, ancient maps of the surface and Underworld, etc. They often sell bits of knowledge for outrageous sums, but only under certain conditions. Namely, this knowledge cannot be transcribed in any fashion -- to do so means instant blacklisting -- no loremonger will ever deal with you or your associates again. Often knowledge is given on only a temporary basis and "recollected" magically by an unbreakable spell invented by the mongers. Loremongers have a close association with Necromancers and grant the black magicians a special "grace" that allows them to actually enter the secret site of their arcane hoard. No others are allowed to know the location of this place, let alone enter it. It is not that the loremongers possess ALL magical knowledge -- many wizards acquire their knowledge through masters and books not controlled by the mongers -- but suffice it to say that the amount of esoteric lore possessed by them is enough to dwarf all that they do not possess as a range of mountains dwarfs a lone hillock.

"Periodic" Table of Potions -- how they work, what happens when you mix them, what they smell like, etc. -- broken down systematically and exactly and presented in table format. A chart that would be made available to only those player characters who come into the lore in-game. This idea originates with my co-DM Josh D. and I really want to collaborate it into existence.

Gygaxo-Naturalistic Monster Generation -- a Traveller-like approach to generating scads of new monsters -- both threatening and non-threatening to populate otherworldly regions.

Zothiquean  Elements -- monsters, classes, locales -- presented in piecemeal as a regular feature.

Spell "Etymology" -- Demonstrate how spells could "evolve" over periods of centuries and present a series of examples of "snapshots" in the spell's history. Also discuss the magic-users associated with the spell's development.

As ever, I am open to collaboration with creators who are sympathetic to my particular weirdo flavor.

Delver's Dictionary | Buggbugger


BUGGBUGGER n. One who literally buggers bugbears or any other form of non-human life found in dungeon and Underworld environments. Cryptosexual or Crypto is a less offensive variation. Frequently applied to the party's magic-user (regardless of the truth on the matter) as an insult or denigration of character.

"Oh, sure, Jintle the Flame is a fine old wizard to have around in a fix, but ye never trust a buggbugger completely, if'n ye catch me drift..."

>> ATTN: UNDERWORLD LORE needs more DUNGEON SLANG FOR #4

1/28/2014

ART CALL | In which GGMLK offers to pay you with Unearthed Arcana

Here's the deal, see.

I need some cover art for an upcoming issue of Underworld Lore based on my concept below. In exchange I will send you a decent reading copy of Gary Gygax's Unearthed Arcana. Even Stevens.

Contact me if you have the mana/will/skills to achieve the level of virtuosity that is required by the dark powers who compel me:

flowthrakeATgmailDOTcom

>
>


Underworld Lore #x cover concept
Three of the core characters from THE GOONIES. One of them has to be the chick at 4 o 'clock in the picture above.
They're adults now and have become grizzled and intimidating underworld adventurers (with all the appropriate pseudo-Medieval accouterments), as opposed to the smiling, simple-minded idealists in the photograph. Because that's what the world needs to see.
Also Sean Astin (9 o'clock) can be depicted as grizzled Samwise Gamgee. 
300 dpi; black ink on white background

1/25/2014

#Paperbackstack | Conan the Swordsman (Ace, 1978)

So opinions on the Howardian pastiche-work of Lin Carter and L. Sprague de Camp vary WIDELY with the emphasis being on the LOW end. This particular book -- which includes the work of Bjorn Nyberg, author of the much-maligned novella, "The Return of Conan" published in Conan the Avenger (Ace, 1968) -- isn't all that different from pastichery found in the original twelve-volume Lancer/Ace Conan series.

Be that as it may, the jewel within this book is not found in the stories at all but in the back: "Hyborian Names" is an appendix that glosses every invented name in the Conan stories of Robert E. Howard, L. Sprague de Camp, Lin Carter, and Bjorn Nyberg up to that point in '78. Assembled by de Camp, each entry includes possible literary and historical sources -- some of which are probably way off the mark but intriguing in their own right. 



1/22/2014

Lacerations of the Slain Priestess

Rafael Chandler will be issuing his own rules set shortly and it sounds pretttty metal. Like if you played it backwards Satan would appear and have sex with your mom in the family room.

"Modern-day gonzo heavy-metal dungeon-crawl action game that goes well with cold beer and the music of Iron Maiden. Corpsepainted necromancers and spandex-clad glam rockers wield flamethrowers and magic swords against seven-headed cyborg dragons atop burning shopping malls while shrieking civilians are devoured by giant spiders in the parking lot -- and the sky is full of laser pentagrams."



[All of which only inspires me to come up with an LotFP one-off/spiritual journey of my own.

Working title:
LACTATIONS OF THE CREAM SORCERESS]

1/17/2014

Nerd Cred | Madame Web's True First Appearance

The so-called "comic book experts" would have you believe that the character Madame Web first appeared in Amazing Spider-Man #210 in November 1980. But in reality she -- or at least a Madam(e) Web -- first showed up in this Hostess ad three years earlier:

Scandalous
Continuity-schmontinuity.

Underworld Lore | Hyborian Winter Sunrise


I'm really psyched to get #3 out, what with all the awesome OSR community-generated content. If I don't have everything together for the issue by the end of the month, I'll work up a Cimmerian Berserker Special pdf for the material I have at hand and ready for eyes to look at.

Howard the Duck didn't invent gonzo, just perfected it

One suspects that this was not the first time that the creators of Marvel's Howard the Duck visited Dr. Bong.


1/14/2014

Dolmenwood | Cover Take 3


The image used above -- a work called "The Tomb of Boecklin" by German painter Ferdinand Keller -- has a lot of vivid texture. The clouds of froth moving down the slow-moving river seem slick and palpable. Other details are vague or borderline impressionistic. This juxtaposition gives the piece a dream-like feel.

I've tried to compliment that mood with the title by way of a classic archaic/medieval-looking font [called Tarantis, no less] in smooth apple-hued stone.

The embellishment on the bottom is intentionally dark and understated.

1/13/2014

Dolmenwood | Cover Take 2


Tolmenwode/Dolmenwood | Image Bank


The following images were gathered over a long period of time and now organized here by virtue of their Dolmenwood-ness.

[btw: In order to avoid any maltreatment of trademarks, the wilderness hexcrawl project formerly known as WORMWOOD shall now be called (archaically) TOLMENWODE or (in modern usage) DOLMENWOOD -- both names amount to the same meaning.]

"BUT WHAT IS THIS BOOK YOU SPEAK OF, GGMLK?"

The book is a Carcosa-like numbered-hexcrawl approach to a pseudo-medieval forest and its peculiar lore written by Greg Gorgonmilk and Gavin Norman and featuring the work of Matthew Schmeer. The Dolmenwood it describes is approximately 1,000 square miles of sparsely populated wilderness, a tract of land that has been a possession of the Dukes of Brackenwold for many centuries. Known abroad for its spell-guarded standing stones and freakish non-human inhabitants, the place's wooded depths are largely left to their own devices, most townsfolk never stepping very far beyond the outskirts of their dim little towns. It is a region steeped in superstition, grown senescent and fuddy-duddy through time and the weight of its own half-remembered history.

















1/12/2014

A different Old School Renaissance

My mom just foodied me a photo of her fireplace:


Disney will take a hacksaw to the accumulation of fat rolls that is the Star Wars Expanded Universe


Article here. Excerpt:
"It's unclear at this point what in the EU will be pitched out into the trash, and what will be promoted to canon. When asked, Chee himself responded that he can't say when fans will be able to see the results the trim's impact on the universe's lore. Still, it's a safe assumption that every single bit of EU story set after The Return of the Jedi will have to go—and, for the most part, good riddance to it, because almost all of it is terrible."

1/10/2014

OSR Loot Bag | January 2014


All three of the projects I've backed in the last six months -- Dragon Kings, Islands of the Purple Putrescence, and World of Calidar -- have all managed to fund, so I'm greedily anticipating the goodies that will eventually (Crom willing) appear in my mailbox this year. This is an interesting phase in the Revolution of the Old School -- we now have several campaign settings and modules designed by ex-TSR staff persons beginning to materialize. Eldritch Ent. -- a joint enterprise that publishes new system-neutral fantasy RPG stuff by James Ward, Frank Mentzer, Tim Kask and Chris Clark -- is proving to be prolific and offers fourteen items over at RPGNow. That total is nothing to poo-poo in the dimly lit OSR world of basement publishing when you consider that LOTFP -- one of the most active/consistently productive small press outfits 'round these parts -- maintains about 28 different items at the same retailer.

Meanwhile it seems there are always great RPG books popping up out of nowhere. I try to stay on top of these things, but I'm consistently surprised by works that have been under my radar for weeks, months, or even years. Here's some things that I suggest you check out:




"I am ruined by whimsy!"

The Simpsons pays tribute to Hiyao Miyazaki:

[Trailer] Zero Charisma (2013)

This was a lot of fun. Featuring: a Gary Gygax analogue, a big socially retarded nerd and his fantasy heartbreaker, D&D group dynamics, hipster-pseudo-nerds, LARP combat -- need I say more?


1/09/2014

Wormwood | Cover Mock-Up, Both Maps

Wormwood cover mock-up (not final)
featuring art by Ferdinand Keller (1842-1922)
The Regional and Basic Reference maps are HERE.

The final big map will offer some basic topography -- I think it's important that Gavin and I have the same "mental layout" of the landscape as we do the hex descriptions.

Little maps will follow for each of the several towns, castles and ruins.

Additionally, several lairs and dungeons.

!!!

Music | File Not Found, Boards Of Canada, Milieu, Coppice Halifax

1/08/2014

Wormwood | Regional Map

It was decided that Wormwood should be divided into a number of smaller areas -- with each region corresponding to a specified set of Random Encounter tables in the back of the book.

Regional Map

UPDATE:
Basic Reference Map

Colorado on my mind



Oglaf distills what it is to play the D&D

Oglaf is HERE but if you can't cope with lots of penetration and naked bewbs and things I would hold off on catching up on what is an absolutely brilliant weekly strip devoted to D&D tropes and dick jokes.

"Hefty Grogol"


1/07/2014

Flexing the Five-Fold Saving Throw System


Three-point-Oh transformed the traditional array of saves seen in the image above into a three-fold system -- namely Fortitude, Reflex and Will. These are fine in their way, but I prefer the original for one major reason: The five saves describe external forces in terms of the character's resistance to them. The three-fold model turns the focus inward -- rather than what the character might be exposed to, they describe him physically in a manner akin to Ability Scores.

The five-fold model has been modified and adjusted superficially as time has passed, both between TSR editions of D&D and between the retro-clones and quasi-clones of those versions of the game. The common thread is threats -- particularly magical -- that emanate from the campaign environment.

Like many other beautiful articulations of the Rules (whatever form they take in the adjudication of a role-playing adventure), saving throws are flexible elements that yield to the Referee's interpretation when needed or desired. For example, we can say that Spells or Magic Staff covers magical radiation in general, while Dragon Breath could cover the entire milieu of energy weapons available to large monsters. Which leads me to my Big Questions for ye Readers:

How do you flex the Saving Throws at your table? Are there any additional, non-traditional uses for Saves that you've explored in your games?

1/05/2014

Underworld Lore | Underlord's Dozen: The 12 Ways Black Leaf Offed Herself

How did [Insert NPC's Name Here] kill herself?


eg. In a fit of rage, she immolated herself using oil and a tinderbox.


  1. x
  2. x
  3. x
  4. x
  5. x
  6. x
  7. x
  8. x
  9. x
  10. x
  11. x

Underworld Lore | #3 Is More Metal Than You Can Handle

Black Dougal is wearing our
latest chain bro-kini top
[-2 to AC].
(art by Joseph Cole)
So as it turns out, UNDERWORLD LORE #3 is the means to craft one serious Cimmerian campaign setting with added bits of unseriousness thrown in for good measure. James Mishler is largely to thank for the former aspect of this upcoming issue -- with both his detailed hex map of the country of Cimmeria (and surroundings) & his practical gazetteer that describes this landscape. Combine this with copious facts, myths and dark LORE about the Hyborian Age and its peoples, creatures and gods and you have practically everything you need to explore the wilds of Conan's homeland in your next campaign. Well, minus the ruleset. That's up to you.

1/01/2014

Ggmlk hates on the Papyrus Font

Maybe this is a "me" thing and not a "y'all" thing. Certain fonts make for difficult reading, whilst other fonts are tacky -- perhaps through over-use*, perhaps because they are just naturally ugly (see Comic Sans).

Papyrus combines both of these aspects -- poor readability + overused oogliness -- into one godawful package.

I will back away from a product that uses this font for its body text AND NEVER LOOK BACK. I will never purchase it. I will never allow it near my other books BECAUSE I CARE ABOUT THEM.

That is all.

____________________
*This may not apply to certain fonts that preserve an utterly generic "look" (eg. Times New Roman).