Tuesday 10 October 2017

The Gong Farmer's Almanac 2017 Vol 1

The 2017 Gongfarmer’s Almanac Volume 1: Welcome to Pandemonium was written by Julian Bernick, Marc Bruner, Keith Garrett, Gwendolyn Harper, Tony Hogard, and Harley Stroh. Artwork is by Doug Kovacs, Marc Radle, SGT Dave, Clayton Williams, William McAusland, David Lewis Johns and Jeff Brown, with thanks to Kevin Crawford, Sine Nomine Publishing, and Mantis image. Cartography is by Gwendolyn Harper, Jon Hershberger, Harley Stroh, and Shyloh Wideman. The publisher is the Gongfarmer's Local #282.

Unlike previous years' Gongfarmer's Almanacs, five volumes of the 2017 edition have an overarching theme - the roiling, ever-changing plane of Pandemonium.

"Awash in the roiling seas of phlogiston, home to alien horrors and unknown powers, the ever-changing lands of Pandemonium remain a mystery to even the most powerful of wizards and sorcerers. Few explorers choose to travel the chaos-way, and even fewer return. To most, Pandemonium is a myth, an impossible place where the land and sky are all mutable, where the land itself can be an ally or foe, and where a powerful will can transform reality." - Harley Stroh

Let's look inside.

Welcome to Pandemonium: Author Harley Stroh provides the basics of Pandemonium, including why someone might want to travel there and what one might encounter. "Our world is not alone. Rather there are hundreds, no thousands, of other realities, each home to people and powers like our own. These planes and demi-planes are all connected by an ever-shifting sea of the mutable chaos-material known as phlogiston, and when – like a wave casting foam droplets from the sea – these take brief material form, it gives birth to the lands of Pandemonium."

There are things worth recovering from various areas in Pandemonium, but travel requires passing through one or more "hexes" to reach any given location, where a "hex" denotes a world in miniature, which can be of any size at all.

There is also a chance of encountering deadlands, where entropy is enervating all within the hex, or new lands, which are freshly born from the raw material of Pandemonium.

Locations and Encounters of Pandemonium: Marc Bruner provides a random encounter table for the hexes included in this year's Gongfarmer's Almanac, and a random encounter table for Pandemonium.

The remainder of the volume is given over to describing some of the hexes of Pandemonium.

Abyss of Automatons: Keith A. Garrett supplies a Hell for robots and their ilk, which would provide a good transition between Mutant Crawl Classics (or Crawling Under a Broken Moon) and more standard Dungeon Crawl Classics fare. This is also a great location to include any robot (or near robot) you fancy from the media of your choice: Daleks, Terminators, C-3PX, or an R2 unit with a bad motivator.....

Helljammers of the Crashed Plains: Julian Bernick brings the Crawljammer universe into Pandemonium with a visit to the Crucial Observatory of the Voidlings. These are beings who tried to bind the powers of Hell to their will, and failed miserably, creating a Pandemonium hex which is inhabited by demon-saur war-machines (which may, perhaps, end up in the Abyss of Automatons when destroyed) and the voidlings, who travel using soulburners - flying skiffs powered by souls of ritually sacrificed beings.

Hunting Preserve of the Cambion Queen: Another hellscape, brought to you by Gwendolyn Harper. Tamarah Pandoramicum, the Cambion Queen, hunts "those who have displeased her, as well as those they bring here from other worlds" across a wasteland of howling winds and monstrous hoodoos, where "all smells sweet but charred". If you were hoping for a plethora of well-developed demons, the author has provided!

Labyrinth of the Elder Minotaur: Finally, Tony Hogard provides a vast Primal Labyrinth that is not another version of Hell! Or, actually, perhaps it is. Here the Elder Minotaur dwells, and, although "the abandoned treasures of a thousand lost explorers" may be found in its darkened halls, so too can the bones of many an explorer.

Get It Here!

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