Thursday 9 December 2021

Tomb of the Savage Kings

Tomb of the Savage Kings is a 2nd level adventure by Stephen Newton. Art is by Will McAusland (including cover), Stefan Poag (including cartography), Chris Arneson, Jason Edwards, Brad McDevitt, and Jesse Mohn. The publisher is Goodman Games.

This product was the Goodman Games DCC offering for Free RPG Day 2021. It makes use of Portnelle, the town from the author's The Corpse That Love Built, and has ties to Harley Stroh's Doom of the Savage Kings. At its heart, though, the adventure is pure Hammer Horror mummy films, and acknowledges is!

Thanks to pandemic restrictions in Toronto, I was unable to attend Free RPG Day at my FLGS - or any FLGS. I was in the United States over American Thanksgiving weekend, and stopped by Noble Knight Games after emailing to ensure they still had the adventure in stock. Alas, they were mistaken, and I went away...well, not empty-handed, but without this adventure!

Goodman Games offered it free, but the customer still pays shipping, which is costly to Canada at this time. I've had it sent to family in Wisconsin, where I hope to pick it up after Gary Con. As a result, I have not yet had a chance to run this, although I do have the pdf, and have given it a brief read-through. All of which is to say that I am not really qualified to speak about it at this time. I did find this thread interesting on the Goodman Games Forums. Especially reading the author's comments, it feels as though I am doing a major injustice in not having sat down with the adventure to give it a thorough reading. Honestly, I prefer to read physical copies.

Pregenerated characters are available here.

Portnelle’s most popular and wealthy socialite, the widow Zita Aztur, has approached the PCs in a desperate plea for assistance. Zita’s sister Isobel has gone missing! Isobel had recently become smitten with a mysterious suitor who fancies himself an adventurer. Zita fears the stranger may have enticed Isobel to seek out the Moon Spear of Andoheb. Most who have searched for the spear have never been seen again, but those foolhardy souls never had your skill or confidence—and the widow is paying handsomely…

Get It Here!

Sunday 24 October 2021

Tomb of the Ghast Queen

Tomb of the Ghast Queen is a 0-level funnel adventure by Mark Knights. Art is by Mark Knights (cartography). The publisher is RPG Knights.

This adventure was originally written as a free adventure for 1st level 5th Edition Dungeons & Dragons characters, which was then turned into a Dungeon Crawl Classics funnel adventure. The author discusses this on his blog. Because both versions of the adventure are free, this is a good opportunity for prospective judges interested in converting materials to DCC to see how another judge approached it.

This is a fairly good adventure, but it is not polished, and the judge is advised to tweak it to their preferences. Some Wizards of the Coast era "D&Disms" remain that I recommend weeding out - the adventure does not need minotaurs to perform a menial task that strong humans might do, for instance. 

If I were running this, I would strongly consider creating some alternative exits to the dungeon, to account for the needs of the living creatures found therein. I would also add some material related to these additional exits that are caused by the outside world coming in. I think that would make the environment more dynamic for the players, and give them more to explore. There are also a number of places where I would replace references to the core rulebook with actual stats or spell effects. That would at least make it easier to run at the table!

Also, consider altering starting equipment based on the PCs being prisoners working in a quarry before the adventure starts. No one is likely to have a cow or a pony, or armor or a real weapon, no matter what their occupation is. Whether or not they should even have normal starting funds (5d12 cp) is questionable. On the other hand, it would not be unreasonably for every PC to have either a mining pick or a sledgehammer.

Even with these caveats, though, it is a free adventure, and worth taking a look at!

Get It Here!

Tomb of Curses

Tomb of Curses is a 6th to 8th level adventure written by Paul Wolfe (from a concept by/and Sean Conners, depending upon the credits. Art is by David Fisher (including cover and cartography) and Scott Ackerman (including cartography). The publisher is Dragons Hoard Publishing.

Disclosure: I have an editing credit on this product.

This adventure was written as a perk for the Indigogo campaign that brought about the original run of Angels, Daemons, and Beings Between, which I have written about that elsewhere.

This adventure is a sort of funhouse ride that combines the lethality of The Tomb of  Horrors with the gonzo ethos of Dungeon Crawl Classics. At the time it came out, I believe it was the highest level DCC module in existence. It is certainly deadly, and fun. Although the adventure start is more than just kind of railroad-y, a clever judge can easily alter this so that the PCs are the cause of their own pain. As a cold start for a one-shot adventure, though, the current start is more than adequate.

If you read the review at Die Hard Game Fan, you might think that the background is problematic. I tend to think of it as being more like the work of Michael Moorcock. No matter how much you think you know about how the multiverse works, it turns out you're wrong. I would also like to direct you to the review of Megan R, who is a Featured Reviewer at DriveThru RPG: "The actual Tomb itself is mapped out and described well. It is very much a 'puzzle dungeon' - if you or your players do not care for such things, find something else. Most of the puzzles are pretty deadly and clues to solve them are limited (I'm finding many hard to figure out even with the book in front of me...), you may wish to add clues or allow the players to roll for hints. Plentiful use is made of random tables and teleport spells, it can all get quite confusing... but played in the right spirit, this has the potential to be a blast, a fun adventure (provided you are not too attached to your character)."

Overall, I really like this adventure. Yes, it is gonzo. Yes, it is deadly. But it is also survivable by clever PCs who think before they act. It is worth playing, but you can always use it as a one-shot adventure if you imagine your players might be unhappy with the effects on their PCs (which may include sudden and irrevocable death). In the inevitable comparison to The Tomb of Horrors, I would say that The Tomb of Curses offers less of a slog, greater player agency, and more fun. I think that this is partly because the two adventures use different systems, and partly because adventure design has changed over time. Be warned that your mileage may vary!

The adventure includes patron write-ups for the Three Sisters and Agars, the Petty Demon. Both are effectively demi-patrons, in the Agars is not strong enough to grant patron spells, and the Three Sisters can only interact as though "When Cast on Other" column using the patron bond spell. On the plus side, the module includes a permission to use these patrons in other products, reproducing the text from the Angels, Daemons, and Being Between tome.

Hell hath no fury like an ex-wife scorned, and Uth'Pentar has eight of them.

For some, even death cannot trump the need for revenge. Prey to a vicious curse, the party must walk a careful path  through an other-dimensional tomb to win their freedom. Can they survive the centuries-long, multiverse-spanning vendetta of Uth'Pentar's wives long enough to escape?

Wednesday 20 October 2021


Tinmen is a race-class written by Ville Rahkila. Art is not credited. The publisher is Knights of the North.

The tinmen are an idea familiar with anyone who has seen or read The Wizard of Oz....or even the much darker Return to Oz. It is a metal man, an automaton which doesn't suffer the pangs of flesh. In this case, it is an automaton that has the ability to repair items (including itself) and to spend money on parts to improve itself.

Tinmen is not the first (or only) product to contain variations on this theme. All are a little different, though, and using one version should not preclude using others. There is also an explicit nod to the original Tin Man (Nick Chopper) in Creeping Beauties of the Wood, so if PCs obtain his cursed axe, the judge could easily use this class to model the soon-to-be-metal PC's advancement.

It should also be noted that this race-class would easily fit into a post-Apocalyptic milieu, be it Umerica or Mutant Crawl Classics

In addition to the race-class, there is a bare-bones character sheet designed to go with it.

It was just a jumble of tubes and screws and metal plates. But the group decided to fuel it with the blood of their dead and take it with them. And thus, I had to write the following rules for the rickety race of tinmen. They are a weird bunch but should provide some tank-y power in combat and some useful utility skills for the group.

Have fun!

It's free!

Tuesday 19 October 2021

Through the Dragonwall

DCC #92: Through the Dragonwall is a 3rd level adventure by Daniel J. Bishop. Art is by Clyde Caldwell (cover), SS Crompton (cartography), Doug Kovacs, Peter Mullen, and Stefan Poag. The publisher is Goodman Games.

Disclosure: I am the author. Two of my children were playtesters.

So imagine this as background: I was asked to do conversions of two Harley Stroh modules from the 4e era. There were the "Master Dungeon" series of Dragora's Dungeon and The Curse of the Kingspire. Then imagine being told that there was a third TSR-era legend Clyde Caldwell cover licensed, and I was being asked to write an adventure to utilize it.

The first two conversions were published as ".5" modules between the regular numbers, so I expected (erroneously, as it turned out) that this adventure would be given the same treatment. I also wanted the "Caldwell Cover" series to be unified in some way. We already had levels 1 and 2 covered, so it made sense to make this a 3rd level adventure. The previous adventures had included ape-men, a dragon god, and ancient elven ancestors with a stronger connection to Elfland. This last was a byproduct of the adventure's 4e origin, but I had kept the idea as the "Elder Kith" in that adventure. It was changed to "Elder Kindred" here to avoid confusion with the Kith of Peril on the Purple Planet. There is definitely no "adventure path" between the three adventures, but there are links for the canny judge to exploit.

The adventure also hearkens back to the works of Abraham Merritt, perhaps one of the less-referenced Appendix N authors. For those who know the works of Abraham Merritt, there are specific references made to The Face in the Abyss, Through The Dragon Glass, and The Women of the Wood. The entire set-up of the adventure, with a thwarted love affair, a setting divided into two distinct regions, and the intervention of powerful forces, echoes The Ship of Ishtar. You will find other references if you look hard enough!

The adventure also had to match the cover. The images on the cover are an elven woman, a bone dragon, and part of a wall. You will find all of these elements in the adventure. Through the Dragonwall is not the first DCC adventure to feature a dragon. That honor belongs to The Tainted Forest Near Thorum by Yves Larochelle in Crawl! #4. It is not even the first Goodman Games adventure to use a dragon, as both previous "Caldwell Cover" modules had done so. Even so, the Bone Dragon holds a special place in my heart, both because of his potency as a foe and because of the poignancy of his backstory. You can run this in a four-hour convention slot; it benefits from being given more time to allow the players to truly understand how the Valley of Two Lands works, and the history of its occupants.

This adventure was featured on the Sanctum Secorum podcast Episode 27, where it was paired with The King of Elfland's Daughter. I feel that this was just good luck on my part, because if Michael Curtis had already written The Queen of Elfland's Son, that would have been the obvious pairing. You can also find a review of the adventure here.

If you find yourself drawn to discover more DCC goodness inspired by A. Merritt, I advise you to check out Moon-Slaves of the Cannibal Kingdom by Edgar Johnson, the Sanctum Secorum Episode #29 Companion: Creep, Shadow!, and the patron write-up for Logos, the Perfect Form, from Angels, Daemons, & Beings Between: Extended, Otherworldly Edition

Embroiled in a curse from the dawn of history, you have become pawns in a cosmic struggle between the King of Elfland and the ancient dragon-god, Baphotet Kor. Will you stand with the last Empress? Will you face the dreaded Bone Dragon? Or will your bones lie bleached beneath an unchanging sky? This adventure is a test of player skill that will push characters to the edge and beyond…Beyond the Dragonwall.

Through the Cotillion of Hours

AL3: Through the Cotillion of Hours is an adventure for all levels by Daniel J. Bishop. Art is by Scott Ackerman (including cover) and Kristian Richards (cartography). The publisher is Purple Duck Games.

Disclosure: I am the author.

This adventure takes place in a dreamscape, and is my second piece of published writing for Dungeon Crawl Classics. Like Bone Hoard of the Dancing Horror and the later Stars in the Darkness, this adventure used pre-existing cartography to suggest a new adventure. In this case, the original adventure was also converted to DCC, and can be found here.

This adventure is unusual in that it doesn't need to be solved in a single sitting. In fact, it is better if it is not, and if the judge allows significant in-game (and real) time pass between sessions. It acts as an extended riddle, with some potentially dangerous combats. A large party will make time in the dreamscape pass more swiftly, as each player triggers separate chimes. A single player, or a two-player team, if clever, can solve the adventure in a single session. I have had one player go so far as to solve it within a single hour!

If Quest For It is the beating heart of Dungeon Crawl Classics (and I maintain that it is), the judge needs to provide adventures that can answer questions, prompt the PCs toward resolving their goals, or that can even grant them outright. This adventure is specifically designed to do just that, and the PCs do not need to solve the adventure to benefit. There is a built in method of using the adventure just to ask questions, and some players may intentionally choose not to reach the end just so they have another chance to dip into that well of knowledge!

The title of the adventure comes from the first line of a poem I wrote, Far Dance Thrilling, which is among the first pieces of poetry I had published (in the now-defunct Pandora's Box). Although I did include the classical reference to the Gates of Ivory and Horn, there are a number of Appendix N nods to be found within the adventure. Most prominent are allusions to the Dream Cycle of H.P. Lovecraft, but astute readers will note nods to Michael Moorcock, Andre Norton, and even Fletcher Pratt. There is also a tie-in to my later adventure The Weird Worm-Ways of Saturn.

If you have any players who are as enthused about role-playing as they are about combat, this can be a fantastic adventure. Players have a chance to talk to dream analogues of themselves (which they may eventually figure out), as well as the 0-level PCs they lost in the funnel, now manifesting as dream ghouls picking at the remnants of a feast. 

You can read reviews of the adventure by Other Selves, the Iron Tavern, Tenkar's Tavern, Endzeitgeist, and Ten Foot Pole. Megan R. (a Featured Reviewer at DriveThru RPG) said "This is an adventure like no other, one that if done properly will live in your group's collective memory for years to come....This is an original idea well-presented." Her complete review can be found here.

Invoke patron results for Somnos, the Dreaming God, are also provided, although a full patron write-up is not.

Sooner or later, characters are going to want to quest to achieve some specific end – to raise a fallen comrade, to regain lost ability points, to discover a new spell, to find some new magic item…the possibilities are nearly endless. This scenario can occur at any time during the course of overland travel, and gives characters the opportunity to meet some of these goals.

In this adventure, sleeping characters are invited to the Cotillion of Somnos, the Dreaming God. If they can make their way past the entertainments at the Masked Ball, they can petition the Dreaming God to fulfill some request on their behalf.

Three Nights in Portsmouth

FT 2.5: Three Nights in Portsmouth is a series of three short 2nd level adventures written by Daniel J. Bishop. Art is by Matt Morrow (cover),  Kristian Richards (cartography), and Luigi Castellani. The publisher is Purple Duck Games.

Disclosure: I am the author.

This product offers three short adventures that can be sprinkled into, or occur separately from, FT 2: The Portsmouth Mermaid. The adventure came about largely for two reasons. First, I had intended to include a dragon in each installment of the Faerie Tales from Unlit Shores series, and I had failed to include one in FT 2. Secondly, there was a lot more to explore in Portsmouth. If your players are anything like mine, at the very least they will want to rob some graves, and having something planned when they visit the Overlook is a good thing.

The adventure contains three scenarios:

The Open Tomb takes care of the most pressing question a judge might face in Portsmouth - what if the players want to go grave robbing? There are homages herein to Peter Pan, as well as the potential to run into worse things. The name "Grimperrault" is a combination from the Brothers Grimm and Charles Perrault.

The Trail of the Rat is my own take on The Pied Piper of Hamlin, with ghouls and a little added nastiness in terms of a choice the PCs must make. No one makes it out of this adventure without making some form of alliance, and some form of enemy.

Blood for Cthulhu! makes use of several fairy tales themes and creatures while crossing the salt marsh, but ends with a scene straight from The Call of Cthulhu. Depending upon how successful the PCs are at preventing the titular sacrifices, the final encounter may be easy...or close to impossible. For added tension, make that PC whose player couldn't make it tonight one of the potential victims....!

If you are not using Portsmouth, these scenarios can easily be adapted to any urban environment.

You can read an Endzeitgeist review here.

Get It Here!

Monday 11 October 2021

Theater of the Hammed

Theater of the Hammed is a 3rd to 4th level adventure written by Clint Bohaty. Art is by Jack Kotz. The publisher is Order of the Quill.

Other adventures may take their place upon the gilded stage, but Theater of the Hammed was the first one written for Dungeon Crawl Classics. It makes use of its setting both in requiring the PCs to collect scattered pages to understand how best to proceed, but also in that the PCs themselves may fall under the potent illusions of the theater, potentially fall deeper under its curse – bolstering both their own strength and their enemies. 

The adventure uses a Misbelief Rating to keep track of how far from reality the PCs fall, which can aid both them and their enemies. If they fall too far out of touch with the real world, they are very likely to never emerge (living) into that world again!

Linked to this, and to the ideas of theater and illusion, the adventure plays upon the idea that each character has some form of True Love. The intersection of love, illusion, and fairy tale offer plenty of opportunity for role-playing. Players can keep track of their descent into illusion by using Melodalia's Medallion of Misbelief, which is a physical object that either the judge will have to make ahead of time, or buy from online. You can play the adventure without using these props, but using them is part of the fun.

Content-wise, Theater of the Hammed would make a fine addition to a campaign based on the Faerie Tales From Unlit Shores series. "The Boy in the Golden Pantaloons", the play which sets off the events in the module, may in some ways be liked to Robert W. Chambers' "The King in Yellow", as a play that is existentially dangerous to those who come into contact with it. I would recommend setting up the adventure by alluding to the story earlier in the campaign - even within a funnel, if a PC has an appropriate occupation - so that the players have a frisson of recognition when you run this. As long as you don't go into any details about the story, the adventure will not be damaged.

The adventure was discussed on Episode 55 of the Spellburn podcast. It was also discussed on the Sanctum Secorum podcase on several occasions. As of this writing, there are no reviews on DriveThru RPG, and only one four-star rating, which is rather a shame. That does mean, however, that you can run an adventure that your players are unlikely to have experienced before.

"The people of Minstrel need your help! A divine ritual meant to heal our sleepless king has gone abominably, giving birth to blood-thirsty creatures from the pages of fable! Now we are trapped between both the Western raiders which rule our port, and the nightmarish demons which hold our once great amphitheater. Scattered within the theater are the cursed fable’s pages, which we need to complete the ritual! Where could such a group of adventurers be found, who would dare face creatures and beasts so vile as to even hurl the imaginative minds of a theater audience into abject terror!"

Theater of the Hammed is written to be played by five to seven 3rd-level characters, or four to six 4th-level characters, in approximately six hours of playtime. Because of the dangerous encounters waiting within the amphitheater, it is recommended that the party have both a warrior and dwarf class. Over the course of the adventure, PCs will collect the scattered pages of an enchanted bedtime tale to decipher the weaknesses of their fabled opponents. While exploring the theater, characters will potentially fall deeper under its curse – bolstering both their own strength and their enemies. A new mechanic called the Misbelief Rating (MR) is used to track the players fall from reality. If players fail to manage their MR with vigilance, the adventure may become too much, as the blood-thirsty illusions lurking within complete their passage from the pages of fable into the planes of reality!

Get It Here!

The Thing in the Chimney

The Thing in the Chimney is a low-level adventure by Daniel J. Bishop. Art is by Bygrinstow (including cover image) and Daniel J. Bishop (cartography). The publisher is Raven Crowking.

Disclaimer: I am the author and cartographer.

In December of 2012, I decided to create a yuletide adventure and make it available for free. The adventure was, I think, a good one, even though my maps and layout left something to be desired. There were no official DCC Holiday adventures at that time, so this was unique at the time. Bygrinstow graciously offered  to create illustrations,

In 2013, this adventure was reprinted as part of The Perils of the Cinder Claws by Purple Duck Games with new art and cartography. For a brief period, both versions of this adventure were available, but free file hosting services in 2012 were not as stable as they are now, and the link eventually stopped functioning.

At the waning of every year, as the sun grows closer to the horizon, and spends less time in the sky, there comes a time of terrible cold and deep snow to the lands of the north.   The world waits with hushed breath for this, the longest night of the year, to be over.  Soon, the sun will begin to climb higher each day, and the days grow longer.  Although long stretches of cold weather are yet to come, this is the night in which winter’s back is broken.  After tonight, the world turns slowly back to warmth and light.

But that is after tonight.

This version of the adventure is no longer available.

They Served Brandolyn Red

DCC Horror #1: They Served Brandolyn Red is a 0-level funnel adventure written by Stephen Newton. Art is by Doug Kovacs (cover and cartography), Bradley K. McDevitt, and Stefan Poag. The publisher is Goodman Games.

This module is dedicated to Michael T. Frezzo.

This listing describes the full-size release which began the DCC Horror line. For the original, digest-sized release of this adventure, see here. Actually, you are advised to read that entry, because, apart from formatting, this is very much the same product.

You will find an excellent five-star Endzeitgeist review here (based off the original version).

The village of Portnelle is once again bright and festive. After years of feuding, the town’s most prominent and influential families will finally be making peace as the youngest generations are joined in marriage. However, when an evil born of dark secrets refuses to stay buried, blood will flow like wine at the reception.

This wedding is one your fellow villagers will talk about for generations!

They Served Brandolyn Red

The DCC 2015 Halloween Module: They Served Brandolyn Red is a 0-level funnel adventure written by Stephen Newton. Art is by Doug Kovacs (cover and cartography), Bradley K. McDevitt, and Stefan Poag. The publisher is Goodman Games.

This module is dedicated to Michael T. Frezzo.

This listing describes the original, digest-sized release of this adventure. Originally released as the first Halloween DCC adventure from Goodman Games, it went on to become the inaugural offering in the DCC Horror line.

It has been said that good adventures start with good stories, and I take that to mean the story that seeded the adventure rather than the story that the PCs will follow. Horror adventures often make strong use of this, as horror tends to be about uncovering the sins of the past as much as it is about trying to defeat the fears of the present. They Served Brandolyn Red does this very well.

The other major component of horror adventures is the Terrible Thing That Can Happen To You. Funnel adventures have a lot of death, but the Terrible Thing usually has to do with survival. As a result, most horror adventures focus either on one of these components or the other. It is easier to link characters to backstory in funnels, and easier to include Terrible Things once a character has reached level 1. There are a few adventures which do both of these things extremely well, but they are rare.

In the case of They Served Brandolyn Red, the author leans into the backstory. The adventure utilizes family trees, tying initial PCs into the adventure's background. It begins with a wedding, and as marriages are critical to the backstory, this gives a nice thematic tie-in. The story also ties directly into DCC Horror #4: The Corpse That Love Built. These two adventures are very much in the Gothic Horror genre used by the Hammer Horror films, which would make this adventure usable in Transylvanian Adventures with a few changes.

They Served Brandolyn Red was the featured adventure on the third episode of the Sanctum Secorum podcast. It is also discussed in a few other episodes. It is also mentioned in Episode 59 of the Spellburn podcast. You can find another review here. You can read more about the adventure from the author here.

The village of Portnelle is once again bright and festive. After years of feuding, the town’s most prominent and influential families will finally be making peace as the youngest generations are joined in marriage. However, when an evil born of dark secrets refuses to stay buried, blood will flow like wine at the reception.

This wedding is one your fellow villagers will talk about for generations!

The original version of this adventure is no longer available, although the DCC Horror version is.

They All Burn Down Here

They All Burn Down Here is a 0-level funnel adventure by KJ O'Brien. Art is by KJ O'Brien. No publisher is listed. The OSR blog, The Lair, is credited for inspiring the Cinder Hag and Fenghors.

This is a "One-Sheet Crawl" made available in a pdf file that could be printed double-sided on a single sheet of letter-sized paper or side-by-side on a sheet of ledger paper. There is also a player handout which would require another page to print.

One of the amazing things about Dungeon Crawl Classics is the amount of fan material that exists. DCC authors - those who also publish, go on to publish, and never otherwise publish - are incredibly generous with the community.

This adventure was written to accommodate a smaller group, and would be wholly appropriate in a Shudder Mountains campaign. There is a nice use of curse totems, and encounters do a good job of being thematically tied together. The adventure is likely to be a bit linear, but for a well-written free adventure written to be printed on a single sheet of paper, that is a pretty small complaint. 

This is the first time I have not included a cover or first-page image in these listings. In this case, the first page is the adventure map, and that would be inappropriate to post. You can find a more detailed review of this adventure here

Malevolent things have started happening around the small hamlet of Hogsfoot. A fortnight ago multiple children started reporting identical nightmares about an ash-covered figure hovering over their sleeping bodies. Last night an entire herd of sheep and a prized wooly ram were found mangled and set ablaze in the Clark family's pasture. You join the local posse of concerned villagers in tracking the still-smoldering trail into the northern bogs.

Unfortunately, it seems as though the original document for They All Burn Down Here seems to have been withdrawn. If there is a legal way to download this adventure now, I do not know of it.

Sunday 10 October 2021

Them's Monsters!

Them's Monsters! is a collection of monsters written and Illustrated by Joshua LH Burnett. The publisher is JLHB Polytechnic.

Disclosure: I backed the successful Kickstarter for this project.

Dungeon Crawl Classics has a vibrant, creative community and a fantastic zine scene chock full of home-brewed content. DCC monsters don't play by the rules, and there is a lot of encouragement to create your own creatures - but there is also a wealth of shared creature content in the DCC community. Sampling the creative output of others can not only spur your own creativity, but it can give you options that you might not have thought of yourself. Also, of course, sometimes it just prevents you from reinventing the wheel.

While Them's Monsters! is largely a collection of critters, it also contains a two-page Moonblossom and Chance comic (itself containing statistics for Slugboys and Syklopsnik the Monster Boss) and Grist for the Mill, a 0-level funnel adventure which both uses the creature material herein and includes additional monsters for the harried judge. At only two pages (including map), the adventure is sparse on details, so the judge may wish to give this some consideration before using it.

The old abandoned windmill just north of Boggart’s Hollow is rumored to be the haunt of ghosts, witches, and demons. Over the years, dozens of villagers have disappeared after wandering too close to the old mill, but that’s just the way of things. People go missing, monsters eat villagers, and life goes on. But today, things have changed.

Tonight, the village shepherdess, Molly Brubaker, came running into town in a panic. While Molly was out tending to her flock, some great shambling ogre-like beast came stalking from the shadows of the windmill and snatched away Lucibelle the Educated Sheep. Lucibelle is the pride and joy of Boggart’s Hollow–a symbol of luck and fortune. Her theft certainly spells doom

for the entire village. A rescue party of desperate townsfolk has been quickly assembled!

The creature also took her shepherd’s crook after she dropped it and fled. The crook is a family heirloom dating back 5 generations. She will happily reward it to whoever rescues Lucibelle.

The class included herein is the Dungle, a humanoid dung beetle. This is a fully developed class, taking up three pages for the class and one for general description. A 0-level occupation table is provided! This is a viable class, which might also be used in an Umerica or Mutant Crawl Classics game to good effect.

Scholars believe that dungles evolved from the dire dung beetles that haunt the Glowing Desert far to the south of Xöthma-Ghül. In time, they moved into the great necropolis upon which the Crepuscular City would eventually be built. Forming loose tribes within the mighty dungeon, dungles functioned as scavengers and often served as minions of more powerful monsters. When Imperious Perfectus conquered the necropolis and built his city atop it, he offered the dungles an opportunity to live and work within the city.

(From this it is easy to see that the lore in Them's Monsters! ties into Crepuscular #1.)

The creatures herein largely are mid-range to more potent. They include: the Carrion Knight, the Chaos Ooze, the Cleric Lick Monster, the Crovoborge, the Cybersnail, the Eyeless Dead, Humbaba, the Iron Medusa, the Millennium Tortoise, the Muldasynkovi, the Pumpkin Knight, Raw Head, the Sanity Assassin, the Sludge Dwarf, the Sludge Golem, the Terrible Infant, the Void-Belly Giant, and the Weremoose. 

I did not see an OGL page, and there is no indication of Open Content or usage rights, which is the only thing marring this collection. This shouldn't matter for a home game, but remember that you have to ask for permission, or redo stats, description, and lore if you want to publish.

Get It Here!

Wednesday 1 September 2021

The Tribe of Ogg and the Gift of Suss

The Tribe of Ogg and the Gift of Suss is a 0-level funnel adventure written by Daniel. J. Bishop. Art is by Michelle Dixon (Cave Paintings font), Peter Slingsby (Fonts of Africa), Jester’s Fonts (Rock Art), copyright free clipart, and Paul Wolfe (cartography). The publisher is Mystic Bull Games.

Disclaimer: I am the author. I also have an editing credit, and a Lead Developer credit.

This adventure came about originally as a stretch goal from the unsuccessful In the Prison of the Squid Sorcerer Indiegogo campaign. Although the campaign was unsuccessful, Paul Wolfe shepherded everything planned for the campaign into existence. He talks a bit about how this adventure came to be here. In the Introduction to the adventure I talk about the genesis of the adventure from my perspective. 

Herein you will discover cavemen more primitive than those in Frozen in Time. There is a caveman occupation chart, which might be used with Mutant Crawl Classics if you want PCs who are more than huners and gatherers (see also here). There is a new race-class, the Ooloi, which are halfling-sized arboreal prehumans. There is a complete Mercurial Magic table for cave dwellers. The is a space princess. The ending allows you to send your cave dwellers anywhere you desire. And there is an encounter with Cthulhu.

There are some subtle links between this and Children of the Fallen Sun, by Stephen Newton. Bob Brinkman wrote an authorized sequel, The Tribe of Ogg and the Trials of Moss in the Sanctum Secorum Episode 41 Companion as well as publishing it as a Bonus Adventure for Free RPG Day in 2019. The adventure has been brought up on Spellburn and on the Sanctum Secorum podcast. You can find a review of the adventure here. Finally, if you pick up Danger in the Deep! you will gain patron statistics for Gul, the Old Darkness, one of the gods of prehistory described herein. This is still an adventure that I think deserves more play/coverage. 

But, really, it's free. There is no reason not to grab it.

Suss, the Bright One, has sent a gift to the Tribe of Ogg – with a great screaming cry, a shard of the sun has splintered off and come hurling to the earth north of the Dread Forest. There it landed with a noise like many thunderbolts, making the earth shake like a horse shivering flies from its skin. For three days and three nights, there was a great light and a smoke. Then the bravest of the Tribe of Ogg came forth to determine just what Suss had sent. The characters are this party of brave cave-dwellers.

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Sunday 29 August 2021

The Trolls of Mistwood

The Trolls of Mistwood is a level 4 to 6 adventure written by David W. Fisher. Illustration is by David W. Fisher (including cover) and Brian Van Hunsel (including cartography). The publisher is Shinobi27 Games.

Disclosure: I have an editorial credit on this product, and a writing credit on the sequel, Curse of Mistwood. Two patrons I wrote, Hecate, Goddess of Witches, and Hhaaashh-Lusss, Lord Duke of Reptiles, are used in the adventure.

I have written about this product previously, and the comments in that post are probably also worth reading. My opinion hasn't changed much since my original post in 2014. 

It should be noted that DCC trolls are no joke. I think that this is the first published DCC adventure to use a Prime version of a monster, and the PCs will find a prime troll even less of a joke than a "normal" one.

This adventure pairs well not only with its sequel(s), but also Stronghold of the Wood Giant Shaman. As mentioned in the "Everyone Else" blog post (linked above), the inclusion of a developed DCC settlement is a definite plus for judges intent on creating a persistent world. 

The Trolls of Mistwood is discussed in Episode 35 of the Sanctum Secorum podcast. It is also touched upon in Episode 5.

The Trolls of Mistwood is the first adventure in the Mistwood Series. Adventurers must investigate the return of marauding trolls to the isolated fishing village of Mistwood. Will they be able to stop a terrifying curse, or will they fall victim to it?

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Saturday 28 August 2021

Twilight of the Solstice

Twilight of the Solstice is a level 4 adventure written by Marc Bruner. Art is by Doug Kovacs (including cover and cartography), Cliff Kurowski, and Stefan Poag. The publisher is Goodman Games.

This was the fourth yuletide and the sixth holiday module put out by Goodman Games. The adventure is about as epic as you can get, with the fate of the entire universe in the balance. The opponents are more than tough enough, and incautious players are going to get creamed.

This is the adventure that introduced the "scratch off" character sheet, and the idea is used well herein. One notes that the idea that players do not have access to their PCs' abilities immediately - but get them over time - makes this far more suitable for one shot and convention play than for use in an ongoing campaign. The pdf version does include the means to simulate scratch-off character sheets.

I like to consider how an adventure can be used as part of an ongoing campaign though, or woven into the larger tapestry of your play experience.

The first thing to note is that the time travel that the PCs experience doesn't necessarily affect the rest of the universe. The PCs (should they fail) might find themselves at the end of time, but the rest of the campaign milieu will not be affected immediately. Or, should I say, the immediate effect is not the end of the campaign milieu. Certainly, effects should leak back through time to confront whatever current PCs share the setting.

A judge could run this as a one-shot when the party reaches 4th level, using the PCs provided (either the actual scratch-offs or their simulacra). If the one-shot PCs survive, they become alternates in the case of PC death. If they fail, the adventure forms a kind of "cut scene" showing how this new problem came to arise...and the wily judge can create a new adventure to give the players a chance to repair the damage, perhaps at 8th level....

There is also a chance that the one-shot PCs end up in a different era, in which case the judge can use this opportunity to run the occasion adventure that teaches history and sets up what the regular PCs must deal with. It is possible that an elf could survive from an earlier era, as Elrond remembers being at the Last Alliance between men and elves which defeated Sauron at the end of the Third Age. In this case, a former-one-shot-PC elf might become a recurrent NPC. Being originally from the PCs' future, he may even hint at some knowledge of their potential destinies....

An Endzeitgeist review of this adventure can be found here.

A conflict at the end of time! On the eve of the winter solstice, long-banished giants from the frozen void strive to complete a ceremony that will cause an endless winter to envelope the world. The adventurers find themselves torn from existence, stripped of not only their equipment, but their very memories, and summoned to the far edge of the world to repair an ancient temple of time. Will you recover your abilities and solve the challenges of the world clock before the end of time itself?

An exploration-based adventure taking the characters deep into the icy depths of unknown, Twilight of the Solstice tests the player’s ability to confront the challenges of the harsh winter setting while also unraveling the singular puzzle of their own identity. Faced with limited knowledge and time, only the most crafty - and lucky - can hope to defeat the returned agents of primeval chaos and restore events to their proper course!

The original print edition of this module included scratch-off character sheets! This PDF edition includes a PDF of that sheet, plus a special separate file that allows the judge to randomly generate up to 10 pregenerated characters which can be used to simulate the scratch off aspect.

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Friday 27 August 2021

The Twisted Menagerie Manual

The Twisted Menagerie Manual is a collection of creatures for the Umerica campaign setting. It was written by Reid San Filippo and Bob Brinkman, with additional content by Daniel J. Bishop, Gilbert Isla, and Tanner Yea. Illustration is by Nate Marcel (including cover), Aaron Robinson, Andrew Walter, Brad Morris, Clip art, David Coppoletti, Diogo Nogueira, Frank Turfler Jr., James V West, Karl Stjernberg, KJ O'Brien, Lee Anthony “Deadpoolrus” DeviantArt (CC BY SA3), Matt Hildebrand, Matt Jordan, and Richard Tingley. The publisher is Shield of Faith Studios, LLC.

Disclaimer: I have an "Additional Content" credit on this for use of the Doomriders from this blog post. This was an unpaid contribution.

What we have here is a hefty collection of creatures, not all of which are "combat-only" types. All of them are at home in the post-Apocalyptical setting of Umerica. Many would be at home in other settings as well, including Mutant Crawl Classics, Hubris, and more vanilla Dungeon Crawl Classics games. Definitely, many of these beings would fit into a Star Crawl or Galaxy Black milieu.

The Umerica setting, from The Umerican Survival Guide onward, does use different rules for armor than the core DCC rules. This book provides everything you need to convert monsters from the Umerica rules to standard rules and vice versa. 

It also contains a section on Boss Monsters, that gives the reader/judge some idea of how to utilize these beings to create the "Big Bad" for an adventure or campaign arc. Overall, it is an extremely impressive piece of work. 

The Twisted Menagerie Manual is brought tangentially as part of a wider Umerica discussion on the Order of the Shanna podcast here. Umerica is discussed on the Glowburn podcast here.

The wild and weird world of Umerica is a dangerous place filled with murderous creatures. It’s a good thing too since XP does not grow on trees! Within these pages dwell a cornucopia of crafty creatures to cram your campaign with consternation and paralyze your party with panic. Each one listed with adventure hooks to help drop them into your game.

Take a look at this selection of monster names from this tome

Apocalypse Ooze • Autogiest • Autovore • Beetle Apes • Blast Shades • Bowel Tyrant 
Can Crabs • Cake Horror • Clown Servants of Buddy O’Burger • Constrictor, Mutant
Corpsenado • Cryo-lurker • Cyber Ghoul • Cyber Saucer Simian • Demolishroom
Dinosaurs • Dinosaurs, Augmented • Dinosaurs, Mutant • Shroomers • Ox Beetles • Pigtipede
The Discarded • Doomrider • Dragon, Biohazard • Dragon, Cryo • Dragon, Forest
Dragon, Gearhead • Holographic Dragon • Robot Dragon • Xeno Dragon • eGhost
Elementals-Data • Elementals-Debris • Elementals-Gun • Falcon Wolf • Flying Laser Ursine
Frab • Fruiti-Slush Ooze • Game Devil • Golem, Junk • Golem, Mannequin • Golem, Plush
Golem, Vehicle • Greenman Swarm • Hippotaur • Iguanadillo • Insect, Mutant
Jack-O-rang-utan • Komo-doans • Linoleumoeba • Lion-Snake • Luck Eater • Menfish
Monitor Lizards • Muckraker • Mutitan • Newt, Aberration • Octowolf • Orbus • Power Wight
Puppetcubi • Quantum Ape • Railipede • Rail Wraith • Reindire • Rerun Wraiths • RoboDevil
Robo-Lich • Robots • Rocker • Rockin’ Wraith • Scorpionoid • Septicraken • Serpent Shrubs
Sharkhana • Shriek • Splice Fiend • Sporefangs • Techno-Mimic • Think Tank • Toycubim
Trapdoor Toadspider • Trashlodyte • Tru-Pet • Un Men • V.E.T.T. • Varrok • Vendibeast
Whalephant • Wraith Rider • Whaaar Mutts • Wheeler Demon • Wrath • Xeno-Locusts
Xenotaur • Xeno Mummy • Yowling Atrocity • Zilla • Blink Zombies • Chrono Zombies
Melting Zombies • Petrol Zombies • Rave Zombies • Silver Zombies
Zombie Monks of the Cyberhive

Besides over 100 brutal beasts, this book also contains a bevy of barbarous Bosses based on a few of the creatures within. Each one listed with a backstory, common followers, motivations, and more.

The icing on the irradiated cake is the Scenario Sketches, a bunch of rough encounter ideas incorporating one or more of the monsters from this tome, all ready to be polished a bit and dropped into your campaign on short notice.

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Terror of the Stratosfiend #2

Terror of the Stratosfiend #2 Melancholic Terminal Ascent was written by Sean Richer. Art is by El Huervo (Niklas Åkerblad) (cover), GRAZ,, RabidBlackDog/Krzysztof Bieniawski, Shane O'Neil, James Everett Jackson, Michael Weeks, Sam Mameli and Andy Hopp. The publisher is Orbital Intelligence.

Disclosure: I backed the successful Kickstarter for this product.

Let's look inside. 

Introduction - or Welcome Back: This is not a standard foreword, but is a mini-description of the setting. Someday, I hope that there is a volume which is pure sourcebook, that expands upon the Drop. 

Equipment: This section has two major parts. The first is The Conduits : Living, Sentient, and Incubating, wherein we learn more about the strange effects the Drop had on ordinary objects...including (and, in this case, specifically) weapons. This is really, really good stuff that judges using any flavor of DCC may wish to use in their campaigns.

The second part is The Six Chambered Hell's Apothecary for Wandering Clerics, which offers four items that clerics, surgeons, or others might use to aid the wounded, and two that simulate parts of Turning the Unholy. This does be the question "What do clerics look like in this setting?" and makes one want to mash up Stratosfiend with the twisted deities from The Umerican Survival Guide

Characters: This issue of Terror of the Stratosfiend offers up three new character classes:  

Half-Stratosfiend Reality Binder: Living siege towers-watch as they twist and contort their limbs and tentacles into complex formations. Flesh surging forth, forming platforms and facades. As they harden, the Stratosfiend's will surges through, warping and mutating all spells they cast.

It is rumoured the Stratosfiend were here all along, and the Drop was caused by those trying to force the Hive to join them. All over the planet you find strange enormous statues of tentacle entwined beings-allegedly these Reality Binders called the Drop.

But who cares about history, when all we have is now? Benders serve as conduits and nodes for the Stratosfiend hivemind's will, their bodies are the tuning forks.

Stratosfiend Magistrate "IX-777" Fear-Engine: The most secretive members of the Stratosfiend invasion are known as Unit IX-777. They are, literally, the Terror of the Stratosfiend. They believe dread is the only way to drive the invasion forward and they are ordained as "living saints" with a divine right to spread fear.

The Fear-Engines rely on living sentient weapons that they refer to as "instruments"-voice of the Stratosfiend Hivemind and conduits for the nightmares they've incubated.

They prefer the company of the lesser Stratosfiend. As a result, they often infect worlds with Half-Stratosfiend agents, making way for the towering Gladiatrices.

Members of the IX-777 frequently take trophies from the defeated but do not believe in or practice torture as it means expulsion from the unit. (ALSO THE WRITER DOES NOT CONDONE IT.)

Half-Stratosfiend Roof Jumper: Glass, concrete and rebar form no cage that can hold these kin of the Stratosfiend. They excel leaping from rooftop to rooftop, unleashing bursts of speed confounding all that seek to trap them.

If you need a job done quick, consider it already done-delivery, theft or a quick assassination.

They, and their trademark RavenSpawn, are literal front runners of the hive mind. Their temporal wakes serve as guideposts for the arriving armada.

It should be obvious from the class descriptions that there is a certain amount of complexity involved in their write-ups. This is not, however, too much complexity to make the class mechanics at all difficult. The very real differences in these characters makes me, again, wonder what adventures in the author's home campaign must be like. There is a section on Terror Incarnate, which relates both to the Conduits in the Equipment section and the IX-777 Fear Engines.

Spells: This section starts with a wonderful bit of lore entitled Doors Were All the Rage. It is necessary to understand the spells that follow. More importantly, it provides statistics for using doors as they were intended - as two-handed weapons. Included, naturally, is a d10 table of door types. The spells are:

Hatch Door Offspring (level 1): One of the strangest spells; where do doors come from? Rumour has it that strange forms of door husbandry, egg laying and occult magics led to ‘The Modern Door.’ Door mages rely on this spell to replenish their door supplies—as they’re always running off, shattering or being ushered into dark realms. Each additional door used in the spell adds +1 to the spell result.

Door Surfing the Cosmos (level 2): A simple spell from back when the Door God still held lavish parties and everyone was expected to show up in style. Door practitioners often use flocks of doors to transport their associates. So, uh… pile on and let’s fly!

Oh, and the door is imbued with some extra damage potential.

And it might shatter…

Entangle Doors (level 3): Easily one of the most useful and dangerous spells of a doorceror, allowing 2 (or more) doors to be spectrally entangled over long distance. What does this mean? You can use 2 (or more) doors for long distance communicating and—with enough invested energy… maybe even as a portal.

Once a connection is established, 10% chance both doors shatter when used.

Good stuff for any post-Apocalyptic setting where magic and super-science mingle. 

Bestiary: This section has six parts, the first providing demon statistics for the various entities in Razor-Worn's Oasis of Wires and the second all the cultists of Razor-Worn and the Door God in A Tale of 2 Cults. For more information on Razor-Worn, see Terror of the Stratosfiend #1.5. The third part, Space Piracy, provides some tables for describing your space pirates. The fourth part, Goliath Fractal Engines, provides a doomsday scenario monster if you want one. The fifth part is A Brief History of Organ-Fractals, where a bit of body horror...or healing...or power-gaining comes into play!

Organ-Fractals were initially a medical process to repair damaged limbs and organs, a strange mixture between the maggot spas of Xentarsus and nano biomachines with minds of their own. They bend to strong wills and all of them flock to the Orbital Intelligence Acceptance (considered by many to be the root OrganFractal, from which they were all shaped).

Let's skip to the part you care about: how to inject them and what happens when you do.

The final part details two demons related to Acceptance, who is also described in Issue #1.5. The Table of Contents does not list the Goliath Fractal Engines or the demons related to Acceptance as separate headings, so this might all be considered part of the Brief History.

Appendix O - Post-Drop'Torate Occupations: Setting occupations. 

Appendix S - Lucky Signs: Alternate birth augurs "for those of pre-Drop earth origins (or those in hiding)" and "those born beyond the stars and those that were molded and warped by ways of the Cosmic  Gantry".

Appendix L - An Aside on Language: Information on the setting languages, which has a random table. 

Wait... There's More: Finally, the issue rounds off with Appendix B - The Lust of the Bat God...which consists of random tables for when you ask the Bat God for a lift to another planet. How you get there, what the Bat God does to the planet, the state of the planet when you land, and how you pay. 

“While Earth was ravaged by the Drop, space continued distorting. Strange new entities, unknown to modern and fantastical humanity, roiled in the depths of space.”

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Sunday 4 July 2021

DCC#2 Beneath the Well of Brass

DCC Day #2 Beneath the Well of Brass is a 0-level funnel adventure written by Harley Stroh. Art is by Doug Kovacs (cover), Chris Arneson, Tom Galambos, Cliff Kurowski, Jesse Mohn, and Stefan Poag (including cartography). The publisher is Goodman Games.

At least part of the purpose of a 0-level funnel is to make clear what happened to these particular characters, that they can never simply go back to working fields or scaping out garderobe middens. Well, this adventure is going to accomplish that, and how it ends will set the tone, in all likelihood, for the PC's careers (at least in the short term).

Another thing the funnel can accomplish is to ensure players understand that the game will kill you if you act without caution and that you are not guaranteed any sort of balance. Oh, and that the universe is full of weirdness, with other planes of existence far closer than you think. This funnel accomplishes all of those things as well.

Actually, this funnel introduces Dungeon Crawl Classics amazingly well, and I predict that it will join Sailors on the Starless Sea, Hole in the Sky, and Frozen in Time as a fan favorite.

As long as you’ve known of the flame-licked caves and suffocating caverns, they have been forbidden to your people. But three days ago the Black King and his brigands overran your small hamlet, taking friends and family hostage. His demands are as simple as they are impossible: Venture into the burning caverns and return with the secret of eternal life.

Now, standing before the seething fissure, armed with only your simple tools and desperate courage, you must accomplish what an army of blackguards cannot. The Well of Brass awaits.

Designed to be run in a single session, this introductory 0-level module wrenches your PCs free from their humble lives and casts them into a world of high adventure. Many will perish amidst the strange mysteries, weird foes, and forgotten magics, for only the most courageous and cunning of reavers can emerge from Beneath the Well of Brass.

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Saturday 3 July 2021

DCC Day 2021 Adventure Pack

The DCC Day 2021 Adventure Pack was written by Julian Bernick, Marc Bruner, and Bob Brinkman. Art was by Russ Nicholson (cover), Brad McDevitt, Stefan Poag (including cartography), Chris Arneson, Tom Galambos, Doug Kovacs, Cliff Kurowski, Jesse Mohn, William McAusland (including cartography), and Chad Sergesketter. The publisher is Goodman Games.

The Adventure Pack contains three adventures that can be run in a single session each. As of this writing, I have not had the opportunity to play or run any of these.

Temple Siege! was written by Julian Bernick, and is a level 1 adventure for Dungeon Crawl Classics, inspired by the Cossack stories of Harold Lamb. As a point of fact, I have not read Lamb to date, so I can't say how well the author captured the spirit of these stories. The adventure is unusual in that the exploration portions are interspersed amid waves of attacks.

Reading through this, one of the things that I like best is that the author followed the general guideline that NPCs do not need to follow the rules. Secondarily, the villain of the piece is so well known and hated that his body itself is a significant treasure. Moreso to some than others!

Fathoms Below Witch Isle is a level 1 adventure for DCC Dying Earth, but, sadly, you get no sneak-peak at the mechanics of the (at this time) forthcoming boxed set. The adventure is written by Marc Bruner, and could potentially take place in any DCC game milieu, although the details make use of the flavor of The Dying Earth. It is difficult to say how long the video will remain, but as of this writing, there is a live play video of this adventure on the Goodman Games Twitch Channel. Notably, this is the first published adventure for DCC Dying Earth.

The Neverwhen Rock is a 0-level Mutant Crawl Classics adventure, written by Bob Brinkman based on a concept by Jim Wampler. If you, like me, are a fan of Doctor Who, you will not be able to avoid noticing the many homages to the series. I recently created statistics for Silurians; you can see how my work compares to that of Bob Brinkman by picking this up. Not that one is better than the other - they are different interpretations from the same inspiration. And, of course, you will discover quite a few other nods herein. You may also note a nod to The Land of the Lost, unless I am mistaken.

Get It Here!

Thursday 1 July 2021

The Bakeneko

The Bakeneko is written by Gustavo Tertoleone. Art is credited to Gustavo Tertoleone. The publisher is Black Dog

This is a character class written for use with Old School Essentials, Caves & Hexes, Dungeon Crawl Classics, and Lamentations of the Flame Princess. Like The Jester before it, this product does make some use of harder-to-read fonts, but this doesn't extend to the important text.

The Bakeneko is a Japanese nature spirit, a yokai, which takes the shape of a cat, of a humanoid cat, or even a human. In this they are similar to Faerie Animals, but there the similarities end. Bakeneko get a number of class skills, which they need to allot points to in order to use. All of the skills are potentially useful, and the Bakeneko can gain more points (potentially) at each level. The skills are roll-under, d6-based, so that if you have 2 points in the Necromancy skill, for instance, you have to roll a 1-2 on 1d6 to use it. Skills may have other limitations; for instance, Nine Lives can only be used nine times.

Some of the skills are not well defined, and will require judges to adjudicate when and how they apply. This is an artifact, in part, of the OSR aesthetic, in part due to the pamphlet-sized space the class is published in, and in part, I think, because the class abilities are written to make sense in more than one game system.

Altogether, this is a good class, and will fit well into an Oriental/Asian-themed DCC game.With minor name changes, it would work well in almost any game. A judge running a game in Dolmenwood could use this class as a substitute for the Grimalkin in Wormskin #1. See also the Black Cat class in The Class Alphabet.

In the Far East, located in a secluded island which is home for an entire nation, live a group of powerful individuals who have deep connections with nature itself. These beings are called yokai by the local people. Some of them get used to living among humans, disguising themselves to look like us. These are called Bakeneko, cat spirits who can take different forms, like humanoid cats or regular cats, and some may even take the face of other people to look exactly like them! Be ready to become a Bakeneko and live huge adventures in a far land.

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Sunday 20 June 2021

Demon Cult Classics

Demon Cult Classics was written by James MacGeorge. Art is by (with apologies) Giovanni Canavesio, Caravaggio, Louis Le Breton, Carlo Dolci, Gustav Dore, Hugues Merle, Guido Reni, Jean-Léon Gérôme, and Agostino Musi. Thoughts and Prayers were provided by Doug Kovacs, Wayne Snyder, Ian Walker, Daryl Austin, and Christian Kessler. No publisher is listed.

Disclosure: I was provided with a pdf copy by James Pozenel Jr., without which this listing would not exist. Thank you, James!

There are a lot of these small-run items put together, which get played at one or more conventions, and then become extremely hard to find. Most of them push the bounds of the game in some extreme direction, and offer a fun diversion, but then become difficult to work into a long-term campaign.

Demon Cult Classics does not follow that model, but rather offers an elegant system for handling demonic cults that should be usable in almost any campaign. 

At its core, Demon Cult Classics uses the four-PC funnel character sheet as a way to model a sect of a demonic cult. Instead of Luck, the sect has Favor. If your Favor falls below your Personality, you receive disapproval. If your Favor ever reaches 3, you are dragged down to hell. Simple, elegant, and easy to understand. There is more to it than that, of course, but the system is clear, and is neither so under- or over-powered as not to be usable with levelled characters as well as with Zeroes. You could have a party of PCs, each run by a different player, who were part of the same sect, and this system would work.

Specific rules for Cultists of Astaroth and Cultists of Paimon are provided. The aspiring judge could easily create more. Likewise, the aspiring judge could create patron write-ups for Astaroth and Paimon (or other demons of their choice), which would help when using this material with higher-level characters.

The author makes a great point of saying 


If there's anything about this that confuses you, if you're unclear about any of this, if you disagree with me on this point, anything you find herein in no way justifies, validates or in any way provides you with anything you would need in order to do anything illegal, immoral, or otherwise.

For the rest of us, what an amazing product! I would gladly shell out cash for an expanded version of this. Sadly, I know of no place where it is currently available.