Sunday 1 March 2020

Phantasmagoria #1

Phantasmagoria #1 was written by Chance Phillips. Art is by Luka Rejec (cover), Jim Magnusson, Stefan Poag, Jeremy Hart, and Penny Melgarejo. The publisher is Apollyon Press.

Disclosure: I backed the successful Kickstarter for this project. I also wrote a Zine Scene News Flash related to it for the Goodman Games website.

There is an embarrassment of riches now for those who want to throw a little star- or planet-hopping into their DCC campaigns. Crawljammer, Star Crawl, Operation Bug Hunt, Cyber Crawl Classics, The Hobonomicon, Sub-ether, Monster Extractor IV - Aliens & Manufactured Beings, Leopard Women of Venus, Drongo: Ruins of the Witch Kingdoms, Cyber Sprawl Classics, Terror of the Stratosfiend, RPGPundit Presents #19: Frantabulous Gonzo Robot Generator, Umerica, UX01: High Caliber Hijinks, Crawl! fanzine #8, Vehicle Mayhem!, Null Singularity, and Mutant Crawl Classics all provide material that the judge can use to craft an interplanetary romance with.

On top of that, adventures like Frozen in Time, Peril on the Purple Planet, Against the Atomic Overlord, The 998th Conclave of Wizards, The Dread God Al-Khazadar, Imprisoned in the God-Skull, The Weird Worm-Ways of Saturn, The Vault of Ash, Demon Drums, The Silent Army, The Tribe of Ogg and the Gift of Suss, Shade Hunter, Silent Nightfall, Secrets of the World-Harvesters, Lair of the Mist Men, Mother's Maze, and anything Mutant Crawl Classics or Umerica take you to space, or other planets, or have strong enough science fiction elements to help populate those brave new worlds where you seek out new life and new civilizations.

Appendix N fiction is like a stewpot left to simmer and filled to the brim with a number of distinct (but often inter-referential) voices. Dungeon Crawl Classics campaigns are similar. Each publisher, and each author...and, let's be honest, each artist!...adds their own unique flavor to the pot. The judge, like a chef, picks and chooses the ingredients which comprise a personal campaign milieu.

Let's take a look inside and see what flavors Phantasmagoria #1 adds!

Automatons: "Automatons are the universal debris of ambitious magitechnicians across the universe, thrown aside once they realize someone else has done it before and done it better."

That might seem ironic, as there are takes on similar themes in Hubris and Meanderings #2. The Umerican Survival Guide contains a Robot class. However, even if you are playing in a game that mashes things together, it is good to have options, and this is flavored a bit differently than the others. Also, if it malfunctions badly enough it might spontaneously burst into flame! Others have done it before. Better? That depends upon your tastes. They are different takes, but, being attempts to describe similar character types, there are certainly similarities in design.

Captains: "Captains are beacons of hope, capable of uniting people and willing to do anything to protect their crew. They are also adept duelists and swashbucklers."

This is definitely more Captain Blood than Captain Kirk. A bit like the Warrior, a bit like the Thief, and with a bit of the Bard's ability to inspire, without really being like any of those classes, the Captain really is a dashing swashbuckler whose ability to inspire their crew is real.

Gremlins: "Gremlins, sometimes called goblins, albeit never to their faces, are technological wizards who also possess minor spellcasting abilities."

Jovians: "Jovians were natives of a gas giant adapted to their home planet's crushing gravity. They lived in massive cities that floated above the clouds. Each city was ruled via committee with the head of each family being able to vote on communal affairs. For the most part the extended families operated independently, but recently the floating cities were conquered by various empires and the native Jovians were taken as slaves by their conquerors."

Together these classes give a vision of a setting where humans have largely conquered the aliens they have met in the cold depths of space. Gremlins work the engines, Jovians are slave troops sent into dangerous areas, Automatons serve at the pleasure of their Captain....perhaps their notorious engineering mishaps are a form of subtle resistance by the Gremlins....

But humans are not really the top dogs here. There are also Star Princes.

Star Prince: "Star princes are the humanoid forms of the stars who have undergone the final phase of their metamorphosis. There are no star princes of 5th level or below".

A really unique class which might be reminiscent of Stars in the Darkness, Star Princes are never generated through funnels, but only unlocked during actual play. They are forever recognizable as former stars, but burdened by being stars no longer, and are (short of accident, poison, or injury) effectively immortal.

Weapons & Kit: Includes armor and weapons for your explorers. There is a problem with the range of the nuclear pistol, which is listed as 20/10/1930. I am assuming that the range should read 20/100/1930. A few other bits of science fiction gear are also included.

Occupations: d100 table.

Spaceships: A workable system for spaceships is presented in four pages.

Explore the ruins of lost alien civilizations or sail through space in a massive freighter, weighed down with all manners of gold, jewels, and relics.

Play as a Jovian, a lithe yet strong alien native to a gas giant, a Captain, a brilliant tactician and duelist, or a Gremlin, an alien skilled with magic and technology. Build any type of ship from a tiny fighter to a massive dreadnaught, bristling with cannons.

Get It Here!

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