Category Archives: News, Rants & Reviews

Underworld Kingdom Volumes 2 & 3

I grabbed up a couple PDF’s over the last week. I was looking for something weird and just a little dark. So I grabbed up some more Underworld Kingdom material. This is all in prep for a campaign after the group finishes of the current 5E Sword & Sorcery campaign.

Volume 2 is Dark Gods, Dark Magic. So this one starts off with some gods and elder Lovecraftian gods. None are exactly friendly or benevolent. But hey it’s called Dark Gods what do you expect? This one also has some new spells. Since the default setting for this is science fantasy, there are spells that interact with technology. Since I’m not planning on anything like that there are some that are pretty interesting. Then there’s something really useful. Renaming the standard spells to something more interesting. Sure it does make it easier to communicate at the table using the the standard names that have been around since the very early days. But it does add something if the party finds some scrolls or even a spell book. Just to gives things a little bit more mood. And finally, there’s specialty spells from the aforementioned Dark Gods. Once again, something handy to be reskinned into your weird world.

Volume 3 is Untold Monstrosities and Elder Artifacts. It’s monsters and magic items. Like I mentioned before the default is science fantasy so you’ve got crazy robots and cyborgs but those other creatures are pretty darned weird and twisted like the Skinless Ghouls or the Ho-Ru (aka Black Lizardmen). For the magic items, the thing I like the best are the potions and magical dusts as well as magical incense. Some do good things and others bad.

Both these PDF’s are bits, pieces, and inspirational material and ideas that you can plug into your own dark weird campaign. There’s no artwork nor is there any real layout. Think it as if you’re reading your own notes. These are things that I don’t personally mind in this case. I bought these with the goal of using them for inspirational material. And that’s what I got.

Complete Folio Black Label Kickstarter

I don’t often plug Kickstarters. Every time that I do folks pop out the shadows and want to plug their Kickstater. Just like reviews, I plug the one’s I like and one’s that I put my money where my mouth is back it myself. And I’ve already backed the previous Indiegogo campaigns that funded some of the original adventures so it’s time to do a little rant on those.

So what’s the Folio Black Label series? Let’s just get the point. These adventures are more adult and risque than your standard adventures. So yes. Warning. Boobies and sex. So if that freaks you out or you don’t want the children flipping through the pages then you might want to give it pass. That being said, sex is easily one of those dials that a GM and the players can set for their own group.

As I said previously, I backed the Indiegogo Campaigns for the final trilogy in the Complete Folio: Lair of the Slaver Succubus; Dagger, Venom, Throne; and Before the Necrotic Gate. I’ve already got my PDF’s of Slaver Succubus and Dagger, Venom, Throne so I’m basing much of this on those adventures.

Overall, the adventures are interesting and well written. They aren’t “Kick in the Door, Kill the Monster, Loot the Room” style of adventures but there’s still plenty of that and good old dungeon crawling. So the adventures do take some thought and may required some stealth or other tactics. Plus there’s a slew of new monsters and magic items that fun and just downright quirky. And it’s one of the few times that I’ve seen someone put a privy in a dungeon.

Another that makes these shine for me is that they are dual statted for 5E and old-school games. Yippee! And speaking of doubling up. The maps are both standard top down grid and a nifty isometric version.

You can follow along or just back the Kickstarter for the Complete Folio Black Label series over here. Heck. It’s only $10 for the PDF version. FYI, that’s six adventures!

With all that being said, Art of the Genre does have some pretty cool adventures and supplements that part of the Black Label series. I’ve personally found The Storyteller’s Arcana is filled with some very cool thoughts and resources for GMing.

Thinking About Horror RPG’s

I posted last week about the possibility of running a Call of Cthulhu/Delta Green game. Of course, this got me thinking about Horror RPG’s in particular. I have a couple of newbies in new gaming group so I was thinking how would I differentiate the play between a horror RPG and good old D&D.

Let me start with this point. IMHO, the two best horror RPG’s are Call of Cthulhu and Chill. These games have two some similar mechanics and design philosophies. Horror is about fear. Chill has a solid Fear mechanic and, as most of you know, CofC has the Sanity mechanic which can play into a fear mechanic. So basically, there are rules to say when your character might run away or otherwise crack.

Now, this is the big one. The monsters. Sure a lot of the common horror monsters are in D&D. There’s ghosts, vampires, werewolves, and zombies even a few things that mirror or were inspired by Lovecraftian horrors. And, of course, many of those horrors have been converted to various editions of D&D. But generally in D&D, most of those monsters are designed with expectation that the player characters will beat the monsters. Heck, you’ve spells and other magical abilities plus magic swords and crap. That certainly evens up that playing field.

But in Horror RPG, the monsters are designed with the intention that they are going to wipe the floor with a party of meddling kids. The player characters probably won’t have a magical arsenal at their disposal.

The basic formula for the monster of the week type scenario is pretty simple. Bad things happen. Player characters investigate. Figure out it’s a monster. Research and discover what monster. Research how to kill said monster. If they make wrong assumption anywhere along the line then that final confrontation will go very badly for them.

I’ve also heard the argument that Horror games don’t lend themselves to heroic adventures. Really? Who’s more heroic the normal guy who’s outclassed by the monster or Mr. +5 Sword of Killing with a Resurrection scroll at the ready just in case?

Yeah, I know. YMMV. It all depends on the campaign and other factors. There’s more than one kind of fantasy campaign and there’ s more than one kind of horror campaign. Just some random thoughts.

What’s Cool Wednesday: Chaos Factory Books

I like going off the beaten path and finding those little things that fall outside of what all the cools kids are doing. It doesn’t matter if it’s a blog or small publisher, there’s folks out there that don’t get enough recognition. That leads down to a little publisher, Chaos Factory Books.

Now, I haven’t purchased every single title but there’s a group that I have purchased many of and that’s the Dark Fantasy supplements. These are short, low-cost, system-neutral PDF’s. I’ve grabbed up Dark Fantasy Settings, Dark Fantasy Places, Dark Fantasy Religion, and Dark Fantasy Magic. Each one contains a whole series of random tables for a GM to use as inspiration for creating a Dark Fantasy or even a Weird Fantasy campaign or adventure. For me personally, these are the best kind of supplements. They don’t spell everything out for a GM but inspire to bring in whatever weird thing they want. And as I said, they could used for just plain old inspiration. Each PDF is only about 12 pages. Long enough to cover the subject but not overly detailed. These PDF’s give you just what need to get the job done.

So these are worth checking out on DrivethruRPG. Oh and the author, Eric Diaz, has a blog too so you can a good sense of what he’s up to.

What’s Next Part 2

Last week I posted about about what I’m planning next. But that’s not the only thing that I have bouncing around inside my head.

Last week’s post was what I was thinking about for an old-school D&D style campaign. But since we’re playing 5E now, I don’t want to put two campaigns that have a lot of similarities (be mechanical or fluff/genre) back to back. I like to mix things up. So what does that mean for future plans? Well.

Oh that’s right. Delta Green. I did a post at the beginning of the year about some random thoughts about running Call of Cthulhu or Delta Green. And those thoughts are still in the back of my mind. I am leaning towards Delta Green over 7th Editions Call of Cthulhu. I just like the rules more and find them a little easier to hack. I do plan on adding a few of the 7th Edition rules like Pushing the Roll and the Luck mechanic.

Delta Green’s character abilities are much more aligned with the d20/D&D vibe. Since I’ve got new players, it would be one less new thing that they would have to wrap their minds around. Now, I do plan on making character generation a bit quicker and even easier. One of my philosophies about gaming is that character generation time should be inversely proportional to character life expectancy. And like every other game , I’ve got some random thoughts on various house rules and tweaks. And who knows? Maybe this will go off into some other weird direction. But that’s for a later posts.

I also know myself and my players. Just because the game is about cosmic horror doesn’t mean that there will be no crazy dark humor. There will be. I admit that and relish it.

We never take anything too serious.