Thursday, May 28, 2015

Back to the Strange Stone Age

Or maybe forward to a remote future? Whichever, it's a time where prehistoric humans do battle with monsters--both known to history and unknown--and with incursion of aliens or ultraterrestrials, part Kirby and part von Däniken. The actions of the aliens create sores in the skin of reality where the normal laws are warped and disrupted.

Some humans have benefited (or so they believe) from alien technology and even interbreeding. They view themselves as superior to the others and hunt them for slaves--or worse. But humans have allies, too: the gregarious Small-Folk (Halflings, pakuni, homo florensis), the hardy and aloof Stone Folk (dwarves, T'lan Imass, Neanderthals). And then there are the spirits, made stronger since the aliens rent holes in reality, with whom the shamans intercede through the use of sacred, hallucinogenic technologies--their "passkeys" into the operating system of the universe.

Comics: Devil Dinosaur, Tor, Tragg and the Sky-Gods, Henga (Yor), Turok, anything New Gods by Kirby or Morrison (for the "magic as technology" aspect).
Fiction: Karl Edward Wagner's Kane stories (mainly the implied pseudo-scientific background), Manly Wade Wellman's Hok, Roadside Picnic (the portrayal of zones and alien artifacts)
"Nonfiction": alien abduction stuff and forteana, "forbidden history" stuff, Chariots of the Gods.

Wednesday, May 27, 2015

Wednesday Comics: Marvel Apocalypses

Continuing my review of post-apocalyptic comics with Marvel's contributions to the genre:

What's the Apocalypse? Not entirely clear, but evidently a coup by Roxxon Oil followed by war.
Who are the heroes? Luther Manning aka Deathlok, a cyborg.
Where can you read it? Deathlok the Demolisher: The Complete Collection.

What's the Apocalypse? An alien invasion (from Mars) in 2001.
Who are the heroes? Killraven and his companions, freedom fighters against Martian rule.
Where can you read it? Essential Killraven volume 1.

Planet of the Apes
What's the Apocalypse? A nuclear war.
Who are the heroes? Time-displayed astronauts, a human named Jason and an ape named Alexander.
Where can you read it? back issues only. Or here.

Tuesday, May 26, 2015

More Sample Strange Stars Pages

Lester B. Portly sent me several more chapters from John Till's Strange Stars Fate this weekend. Here's the first page of the draft for the "Threats" chapter featuring art by Adam Moore, where the usual suspects appear (the ssraad, ksaa, and the Vokun and the Zao Pirates), but also some you might not immediately think of: a modified clone of Hannibal Early, a renegade thrax, and a blesh master criminal.

Sunday, May 24, 2015

Salem and Threefold Alignment

Salem season 2 is on now (subtitled, "Witch War" according to wikipedia, which fits the lurid tone perfectly, so I'm disappointed they don't use it in advertising). Watching the conflict between the forces of the oppressive, conformist Christian Orthodoxy and the ruthless witches, out to steal the new world for themselves (and their dark master), it's interesting how both sides are presented as having legitimate grievances and a legitimate point of view. Both sides are also guilty depravity, harming innocents, and using the end to justify the means.

Though neither God or Satan has directly opined on the actions of their supposed agents but if we take the obviously real nature of witchery and the claims of its adherents and enemies as fact, then the with-hunters and Christian majority map to the Lawful side of things and the witches map to Chaos. Both show evidence of behaviors we might call "evil" and (less commonly) "good", so those are largely not of concern to the factions, just like they aren't in old school D&D alignment.

There is also a Neutral faction. Petrus the Seer wields magically powers and is most often seen helping the witches but doesn't appear to be one of them. The Native Americans likewise have magical traditions with real power but they are opposed to the witches. The tribes and their beliefs are also condemned by by the Salem Christian establishment.

So, there you go. All and all, a good example of threefold alignment in action.

Thursday, May 21, 2015

Strange Stars: Trouble with 'Bots

I figured it was time for another tease of the (limited) number of new pieces of art that will appear in the Strange Stars gamebooks. This one is by Adam Moore, who Weird Adventures fans may remember from this great illustration.

I hope you guys dig it as much as I do.

Wednesday, May 20, 2015

Wednesday Comics: Comics Apocalypses

There have been a lot of post-apocalyptic comics. (I've covered several before on this blog, in fact!) Over the next installments, I won't to point out the various post-apoc comics in print somewhere besides the back issue bin (and maybe a few that are only there). We'll start with DC:

Atomic Knights
What's the apocalypse? "The Hydrogen War," October 1986.
Who are the heroes? The Atomic Knights who wear armor from the Middle Ages and ride giant mutant Dalmatians to help rebuild society and right wrongs.
Where can you read it? Atomic Knights (hardcover), Showcase Presents: The Great Disaster (soft cover, b&w).

What's the Apocalypse? The Great Disaster, the nature of which is unspecified.
Who are the heroes? The Last Boy on Earth (Kamandi) and his friends and allies, who fight weird mutant animal cultures and other oddities.
Where can you read it? Kamandi Omnibus vol. One and Two

Hercules Unbound
What's the Apocalypse? A nuclear war
Who are the heroes? Hercules and his teen friends fighting Ares and his minions.
Where can you read it? Showcase Presents: The Great Disaster

What's the Apocalypse? A limited nuclear war ca. 2045.
Who are the heroes? Jonah Hex (the Old West anti-hero) brought to future.
Where can you read it? In back issues only, alas.

What's the Apocalypse? "The Blight", an ecological disaster. Then the creatures of myth and magic return.
Who are the heroes? Prosper Monday and other human survivors in world overrun by creatures from myth and legend.
Where can you read it? Starting with Hinterkind vol 1: The Waking World

Y: The Last Man
What's the Apocalypse? A genetic plague that wipes out almost everyone with a Y chromosome in July of 2002.
Who are the heroes? Yorick Brown, the last man, and his monkey Ampersand.
Where can you read it? Starting with Y: The Last Man Book One

Monday, May 18, 2015

White Star

While I toil away at getting Strange Stars Fate ready to go, Mike aka Wrathofzombie continues to throw out quick adaptations of Strange Stars stuff to other systems. This time, he's statted some of the sophont clades for the new OSR sensation White Star .

Check out what Mike's done here!