Friday, October 21, 2016

Apes of the Southwest

Here's the map with some events labelled from my ongoing Planet of the Apes game. Of course, this old map contains cities and roads, none of which continue to exist in the 36th century.

Review the highlights of the campaign here.

Thursday, October 20, 2016

Würm: First Look

The Kickstarter for the English translation of the French prehistoric rpg Würm dropped yesterday. I haven't had time for more than brief flip-through but it seems pretty cool. Here are not observations:

  • The art is at times a bit on the cartoony side (it reminds me a bit of some Franco-Belgian comic art), but is "realistic" in what it depicts, not pulpy. No Raquel Welch in One Million Years B.C. lookalikes. Neanderthals get a lot of depiction and as protagonists, not brutish adversaries.
  • The mechanics related to hunting, tracking, and killing are as robust as combat is in most rpgs. Their is a "Butchering" roll and a "Skinning" roll, apparently--and cool features like this: "If eaten raw in the moments following the death of the animal, the liver of a killed mammal grants the one eating it the Strength connected to this kind of animal until next dawn. Note that this power only applies to mammals."
  • "Magical" abilities of various sorts are discussed including Shamanism and "Sorcery" (the making of potions and ointments). There are also rules for handling relationships with spirits and curses.
  • The monster section contains the usual prehistoric beasts (no dinosaurs), but also, somewhat surprisingly, some fantasy staples like dragons, a couple of types of giants, and spirits of the elements.

All and all, it looks interesting, and I'm glad I backed the Kickstarter.

Wednesday, October 19, 2016

Wednesday Comics: Storm: City of the Damned

My exploration of the long-running euro-comic Storm, continues. Earlier installments can be found here.

Storm: City of the Damned (1982) (part 2)
(Dutch: Stad der Verdoemden)
Art by Don Lawrence & Script by Kelvin Gosnell

Through the device given him by the city's representative, Storm sees the fall of the 25th Century. The massive array of satellites around the Earth somehow  delivered a surged of deadly solar radiation through all the world's television sets and monitors. What few that were left in the ruins of society soon reverted to barbarism. If Storm returns to the past he will most likely die, but he stubbornly still intends to go.

The man reluctantly agrees to take Storm to Terminal One. On the way, he shows off the space and amenities of the city. When they pass a fire, he also gets to point out the robot emergency services directed by the central computer. Unfortunately, the robot transport breaks down. The building will be sealed to smother the fire, killing the people inside.

Storm and Ember rush to the rescue. Elsewhere a woman named Anor monitors the events. She is intriqued by Storm's behavior. She appears never to have seen "courage" before. Storm has a little girl in his arms, but the fire rages around him. Anor's unseen Master bids her to help him. She doesn't feel her powers are equal to the task, but she does as commanded.

Storm manages to jump to safety. The girl is safe, and Ember commends him on the rescue. For his part, Storm feels like he had some help in some way.

They travel on to Terminal One. The man shows Storm and Ember the central computer. All the important decisions for the city are made there. Before the man programs it to take Storm to the 25th century, Storm wants to ask it some questions. First off: What's the purpose of the city?

The computer tells him that after the barbarian invasion, the people of the city began to study humanity, to understand the setbacks that seem to periodically plague civilization. They studied evolution, then began to look toward man's future development. They began to look for and develop psychic powers. One subject developed telekinetic powers, but he couldn't control them and had to be atomized.

Storm questions the necessity of that action. The computer responds that it was not programmed for morality, only to protect the city. The computer then surprises Storm be making a request of him...


Monday, October 17, 2016

Jovian Revelry

The most farflung civilized court of the Cosmos is that of Bethor, the convivial Oyarses of Jupiter. In the great hall of a domed palace bobbing in the variegated clouds, the revels are ceaseless, though the partcipants are everchanging.

Bethor himself is a laughing giant, bearded and ruddy-faced. His head is wreathed in laurel. The bejeweled cup in his hand is always full, despite the way he seems to heedlessly spill its contents with his gesticulations.

All the delights of the Cosmos find their way to Bethor's table: Mercurian wines, Venerian viands, the finest game meat of Earth. Beyond food and drink, entertainers of all sorts are invited by the monarch for his guests' pleasure--though the palace is hardly the full extent of diversions to be found close at hand.

Jupiter has many moons, and several of these host gambling houses, bordellos, and other places of pleasure. Small vessels flit between these worlds, but the more adventurous and properly accoutred travel betwixt in batwinged flying suits.

One of the most singular recreations is hunting leviathans, the great beasts that swim Jupiter's cloud depths. Hunters do not always come back alive, but all that do bring a tale with them. It is said that the only thing that may truly darken the mirth of Bethor is talk of Scarred Rahab, the greatest of the leviathans, in whose terrible pursuit Bethor is doomed to die in some remote future.

All the wealth of Jupiter is stored in coffers and compting houses are located on Io. Other great banks of the Cosmos also have houses there. Such wealth in one place might attract would-be thieves, but among the contingent of guards there is no less than a dragon--and the wrath of Bethor, who wields Jupiter's lighting, is not a thing to be trifled with.

Sunday, October 16, 2016

Odious Uplands

The Operation Unfathomable Kickstarter is going strong! We reached the first stretch goal last we: Odious Uplands. This describes the upper world of Operation Unfathomable: Stonespear Province, Upper Mastodonia. There's a sample layout spread and more info on the Kickstarter page.

Here's a vaguely mid-Centory travel ad I made for it a while back:

Friday, October 14, 2016

New Alliances on the Planet of the Apes


Player Characters:
Jeff Call as Brock Irving
Jarrett Crader as Aurelius
Billy Longino as Olsen Potter Graves
Lester B. Portly as Eddy Woodward
Jason Sholtis as Francis La Cava

Nonplayer Characters:
Ted Cassidy as Eezaya
Robert Sutton  as Kreeg Dog Rider
Frank Sorello as Kor-Tez
Jem of the Rey-Gonites
Various tribesfolk

Synopsis: While the astronauts and Aurelius are guests at a meeting of human tribes, the mutants make a surprise attack.

The PCs met Eezaya again (last seen back in Episode 2) and take part in a conclave of human tribes (both Tehi from the former Texas side of the Rio Grande and at least some Mehi from the Mexican side). The astronauts find the humans woefully unprepared in their estimation to take on a gorilla fort, which is their plan.

A mutant attack forestalls any consideration of deserting the humans for the moment.  The mutant raiders ride giant mastiffs like Darkseid's dog cavalry in The New Gods. I used the stats for the podog-rdiing Scarlet Knights from the Gamma World adventure The Cleansing War of Garik Blackhand.

The mutants call themselves Kreeg. They are no doubt the descendants of the Kreeg mutants in the Planet Earth pilot. They have the same Klingon head bumps and purple uniforms.

In the end, the PC's glimpsed the Kreeg's secret weapon:

A war wheel, much like the one that plagued Blackhawk.

Thursday, October 13, 2016

In Case You Forgot

The Operation Unfathomable Kickstarter is "go." Check it out and lend your support! The full list of stretch goals is now available.

Also, on an unrelated note, here's another one of my counter-factual covers, this one with art by Earl Norem: