Thursday, July 2, 2015

Forces are Joined

The Armchair Planet storefront on drivethrurpg and rpgnow are no more, but Armchair Planet lives on as an imprint in the Hydra Cooperative. Here's where you can find Weird Adventures, Strange Stars, and my upcoming projects. While I'm excited about the future or pooling capabilities and resources with the Hydra guys, there was a little sadness in giving up Armchair Planet's spot, still having everything under one umbrella is the best thing in the long run--synergy as the kids say, and all that.

So if you have a link on your site to one of my books, please update it, or let someone else know if you visit a page that does.

The Strange Stars game system books are the next things from Hydra from me. The Fate book is in the editing stage, so hopefully not too much longer, and the old school book is being written. Robert "The Savage World of Krul" Parker is lending me a hand on that one, which should speed up the process.

Hydra overall has a lot of cool stuff coming: Anthony's California Dunes (a weird, mythic California recasting of Slumbering Ursine Dunes), Chris unveils The Misty Isles with mo' Eld and mo' problems, Mike is working on the second edition of his Japanese-flavored old school Ruins & Ronin, and just over the horizon is Jason "Dungeon Dozen" Sholtis's weird underworld epic campaign setting Operation Unfathomable.

Tuesday, June 30, 2015

Wednesday Comics: Rann Mapped

Rann, as originally appearing in Showcase #17 (1958) is in the Alpha Centauri system. It's home to an advanced civilization reminiscent of advanced civilizations throughout planetary romance--which is to say advanced in some ways but without a lot of infrastructure to get in the way of adventuring. The person doing the adventuring in this case is Adam Strange, archaeologist from Earth who is brought to Rann by the Zeta Beam, ostensibly an attempt at communication (though Alan Moore suggests its creator had teleportation in mind all along).

Though Adam Strange had a good run in his early adventures and has been brought back for later series, all this traversing of Rannian geography has never been accompanied by a map. Jack C. Harris addressed that lack in The Amazing World of DC Comics #8 (1974):

Harris scoured Adam Strange's appearances to get all the details:

Monday, June 29, 2015

Azurthite Bestiary: Deodand, Leprous

Deodands are a horrible danger in the darkness of Subazurth, and the Leprous Deodand is perhaps the most feared of the lot. Not only do they favor humankind in preference to all other meals, but they spread a wasting disease to many who are lucky enough to escape their clutches. The no doubt terror-tinged recollections of their appearance agree on most points: They are giantish, like other deodands, but with an emaciated look. Their sore-marked and flaking skin hangs in loose folds as if they are wasting away within it. Their lips are receded back from their mouths lending them a permanent rictus. Their eyes are wide and vacant. The only sound they make is a desiccated wheeze or sigh, or a corpse-moan.

large monstrosity, neutral evil
AC 20 (natural armor)
Hit Points: 126 (12d10+60)
Speed: 30 ft.
STR 17(+3) DEX 18(+4) CON 20(+5) INT 12(+1) WIS 12(+1) CHA 17(+3)
Saving Throws  Dex +8 Con +9 Wis +5
Damage Resistances bludgeoning, piercing, and slashing from nonmagical weapons that aren't silvered
Damage Immunities poison
Senses Truesight 60 ft., passive Perception 11.

Magic Resistance. A leprous deodand has an advantage against spells and other magical effect.
Contagion. A creature that touches a leprous deodand or is touched or hit by it must make a DC 15 Constitution save or become infected. One day later the individual develops a flesh rotting which gives a vulnerability to all damage. At the end of each long rest, the infected must make a DC 15 Constitution save or the disease progresses. At the end of the next long rest the disease has spread so that they have a disadvantage to Charisma checks. At the end of the second long rest they can a disadvantage on Constitution checks. Three successful saves cause the disease's progression to halt and healing to begin. Three failures mean the effects become permanent.
Sunlight Weakness. In anything brighter candlelight, a deodand have a disadvantage to attack rolls, ability checks, and saving throws. Bright sunlight causes them to melt like film in a projector, losing i hit dice worth of hit points a round.

Multiattack. A leprous deodand may make two claw attacks.
Rotting Claw. +8 to hit. 10 ft. reach, 1 target. Hit: 10 (1d6+7) plus 1d6 necrotic damage.

Sunday, June 28, 2015

In Doom's Wake

My girlfriend's gaming group is interested in giving 5th edition a whirl, so I agreed to run a game for them. I don't know if I'll be able to get it finished in time, but I've love to run an adventure idea I've had some some time (and used part of in my Weird Adventures campaign). It involves an unusual gang of pirates marauding coastal villages. The pirate's have a small fotilla, a bit like a miniature version of Armada in China Mieville's The Scar, but embedded in a drifting mass of seaweed and mist like in  William Hope Hodgson Sargasso Sea story.

At the center of floating mass is main pirate ship, the massive Doom's Wake:

It is home (or at least throne-room) for the monstrous witch-mother of the inbred pirate family--a crew like a combination of The Hills Have Eyes/Sawney Bean clan and Shadow Over Innsmouth.

That's the basic I think the location itself will provide some interest challenges, plus the pirates and various seaweed-lurking monsters.

Friday, June 26, 2015

Azurth Creature Catalog (so far)

Here (with a new illustration of the hirsute deodand by Matthew Adams) is an index of all the Azurthite bestiary posts I've done so far:

Aarakocra & Azer  Peacock-folk of a distant island and fiery dwarfs fallen from the sun
Behir & Beholder Faux-intellectual murders and an insane alien ruler
Bugbear The nightmare in the closet or under the bed.
Death Dwarf beings of anti-life.
Deodand: Gleimous and Hirsute if it's dark, you are likely to get eaten by one.
Hobgoblin when a goblin warlock goes to far, this is what they become.
Manhound "He who makes a beast of himself gets rid of the pain of being a man."
Moon Goon will be coming soon in their lead balloons, and everyone will know fear.
Super-Wizard possess magic of a forgotten age
Tigerpillar part-tiger, part-inchworm, all hunger.

The new races for Azurth can be found here.

Thursday, June 25, 2015

The Strange Glamour of Virid

"Virid, the Western Country of Azurth, is the place where magic of the faerie is the strongest. There are a few mundane places there. Or perhaps it is truer to say the fantastic is the mundane in Virid. It's Queen Desira is called an Enchantress by those of other countries, either for her beauty, her sorcery, or perhaps both. Certainly, she has ensnared the hearts of her people, though they speak of her compassion and fairness, and the brave deeds she performed in her youth."

-  A History of the Land of Azurth

High Concept: A patchwork fantasyland ruled by a faerie-descended Enchantress, brave and beautiful, who with her companions sought adventure and love in her youth.
Conspectus: an inland sea of mists with a castle beneath its roiling color; creatures of myth and legend abound: mermaids, centaurs, unicorns; many of the rulers were once friends and companions on adventures--but also rivals for the affections of Queen Desira.
Media Inspirations: Wonder Woman comics in the Golden Age and her imitators; She-Ra: Princess of Power and her rival Golden Girl; the various incarnations of Amethyst, Princess of Gemworld, some magical girl anime and manga projected into the future when the magical girls are adults.

Wednesday, June 24, 2015

Wednesday Comics: Weirdworld

"Where Lost Things Go"
Weirdworld #1 (August 2015), Written by Jason Aaron; Art by Michael Del Mondo

Synopsis: Arkon, Lord of Warlords, has been fighting is way across the land he has dubbed "Weirdworld," one of the sections of Battleworld, looking for his lost home of Polemachus. Finding himself on a floating island, after defeating a group of squidsharks, he is about to give in to despair and step off the edge, when a group of ogres trying futilely to wrangle a flying dragon comes in view.

Arkon grabs hold to one of the ropes on the dragon and holds on as it dives to attack the ogre's friends in a tank below. The dragon with a little help from Arkon makes short work of the ogres. Arkon manages to climb onto the dragon's back. The two fly along for a while, but then the dragon swallows a piece of over-sized bait, shot up on a line from a body of water below. The two are dragged into the depths, where Arkon encounters:

Apes in diving suits.

Meanwhile, the surviving gun ogres report back to their mistress. They tell her that the man they fought called himself Arkon spoke of a place called Polemachus.

The name (and fantasy elements) are the only things this series seems to have in common with the Doug Moench/Mike Ploog created series in the '70s. (I've discussed that one before.) This one seems to be a hodge-podge of Marvel weird pulp fantasy elements--and things re-imagined as weird pulp fantasy, not unlike the DC Elseworld JLA: Riddle of the Beast did with a more high fantasy approach.

Arkon and Polemachus first appeared in Avengers vol. 1 #75 (1970). Arkon was the leader of a war-like extradimensional realm that was always coming into conflict with superheroes of earth for one reason or another. He and his macho warriors eventually went to war with Thundra and her gynocratic regime in Femizonia--before Arkon and Thundra fall in love.

Morgan Le Fay also has a long Marvel history. She first appeared in the Atlas era in Black Knight Comics #1 (1955). Her first official Marvel Universe appearance was Spider-Woman vol. 1 #2 (1978).