Thursday, January 26, 2012

d12 reasons to buy Weird Adventures

1. A hardcover binding strong enough to repel a Brain Invader. The book must somehow be secured to head to remain 100% effective.
2. A rich, vibrant setting with multiple instances of “Damn I wanna run this NOW” on every single page.
3. A game book that forgoes character sections in favor a describing a world with enough hooks to inspire a thousand characters.
4. Some of the best plot hooks I’ve seen in gaming. I could run games set around the Fate Exchange or the Boardwalk War for years.
5. Art that ranges from Badass to Totally Badass.
6. The Barrowmen’s Horrify ability finally gives you a way to play the Vault-Keeper from The Haunt of Fear. That’s pretty great.
7. It’s got Hill-billy Giants. And, more importantly, it’s got Hill-billy Giantesses!
8. Efreet Kong. Just deal with that for a second.
9. The tagline for Djinn Cigarettes (“your wish for flavor is granted!”) is just damned good copy.
10. Speaking of copy, the entire book is written in a bulletproof style that I wish we saw more of in game stuff. It’s conversational yet packed with information, and contains enough cheek to stay entertaining. Highly readable stuff.
11. It’s nearly rules-agnostic. It’s written with an eye toward OSR systems but the only mechanical bits are in the monster section and the occasional mention of an NPC ability. I would happily run Weird Adventures in Moldvay, LotFP, BRP, FASERIP, Savage Worlds, FATE, or D20 Modern. In fact I think a Gumshoe-based detective game set in The City or Heliotrope would be pretty spectacular.
12. Alan Moore and Rick Veitch’s  Greyshirt is explicitly called out as inspiration. If you haven’t read it, buy a copy the same day you buy Weird Adventures.

I am immensely impressed by Weird Adventures. Trey does more in 160 digest-sized pages than most settings do in twice the page count. In recent years the only thing that compares is Kenneth Hite’s The Day After Ragnarok. It would be easy for a lesser author to lose control of such a wide array of ideas and influences, but Trey maintains a tight grip on his vision. The atmosphere is heady and focused here. Everything feels cohesive and natural.

Buy this book. Even if you don’t think you’ll run it, Weird Adventures is worth the cover price as a fun read all by itself. But I can’t imagine any self-identified gamer being completely immune to its charms.

This is the stuff of True Adventure, folks. 

Friday, January 13, 2012

The Temple of Gorgolac. Hex 1812

The monster descriptions of Isle of the Unknown generally don’t make many demands as far as setting goes. Given that each hex is 86 miles square, it seems a waste to just have all these weird abominations wandering (or in some cases crawling or even flopping) around their respective hex.

Why not steal a page from the book of Zelda and give some of these critters a nice little dungeon or temple to call home?

The Temple of Gorgolac. Hex 1812

The entrance to an ancient temple is set in a cliff face 150’above the river in hex 1812. The temple was once dedicated to a river god, but is now the lair of a 22’ tall, emaciated bipedal Panda named Gorgolac. The hunger of Gorglolac is said to be insatiable, and all who have sought the enchanted helm rumored to wait within the temple have failed to return.

A shy but peaceful community of mundane Pandas living near the cliff are willing to trade their handmade flutes for small, shiny items.

Thursday, January 12, 2012

F Work

Profound apologies for the lack of updates of late. I recently fell into a work-related layer of the Infinite Abyss. I love my job, but I’ve been doing 90-hour weeks since I started this blog, and that is some garbage. Advertising is a brutal business.

Just for fun I put together a DIY version of the Holmes booklet. It’s digest size and has art by Skinner (one of my favorite non-D&D D&D artists) and Pete Mullen (My favorite OSR artist). I designed these to give out to players for a thing I’ve been working on, which I hope to actually have up and running with my regular crew once my ridiculous workload cools off.  I’m not 100% committed to using Holmes. Moldvay has always been my guy. But I had the Holmes in PDF so it was easy.

The wholly expected announcement of 5e made me realize I should just print up a bunch of these and start stashing them in the many nerd-friendly places around town (comic shops, the fantasy section of bookstores, libraries, Metal shows, etc). I’d replace the swiped art with my own, but I'd leave the swiped innards intact. They'd be free. 

 Just doing my part for the Old School Renaissance Revolution.