Friday, July 6, 2018

End-of-Week Nicholson (7/6/18): The Wages of Sorcery

I love this illo from Russ Nicholson, which I spotted in the Lamentations of the Flame Princess Rules & Magic book. Russ's work is always evocative, IMHO! The guy in this piece looks like he's suffering for his craft...or should I say witchcraft? He seems to be paying a steep price for power!

Friday, May 25, 2018

End-of-Week Kelly (5/25/18): Dark Castle

This past weekend, I went to one of the few remaining used book traders in my area of the world. As is my wont, I went seeking some old pulpy genre fiction from bygone eras.

While slipping through delightfully tight aisles of shelving that towered over me on both sides, I came upon a stack of books by Tanith Lee from the 1970s. I've never read any of her work, so I decided to take a chance and picked up a couple of the books.

The cover art of one novel called Dark Castle, White Horse was done by the talented Ken Kelly. I thought it was very cool, evocative, and suitably pulpy! I'm not sure how good the book actually is, but I'll report back in on my thoughts when I'm done with it!

Friday, March 9, 2018

End-of-Week Elmore (3/918): Killer Queen!

Dynamite with a laser beam!
Guaranteed to blow your mind...anytime!

Friday, February 9, 2018

Tales of Telluria Session 1: The Adventures Begin!

Identities hidden to protect the not-so-innocent...

So, here's the scenario: we got the old gaming band back together. These guys are good friends I've known since my youth, and include gentlemen that were around in the early days of my gaming career.

We decided at last that it was a crime we haven't roleplayed together in ages. This had to be remedied ASAP. So, we set a date and got together. Me? Well, I got into my traditional role as DM. 

Yeah, I said DM, not GM. Because we're playing D&D, baby! Moldvay/Marsh/Cook Basic/Expert D&D, to be precise! Yeah boy! It was beyond awesome to have the old crew around the table again! It's been far too long, criminally so! 

But all regrets aside, here's what I'm doing with the old crew: I'm running an episodic campaign. Whoever can jump in during the sessions, that's who's there. Players/characters can pop in and out on the fly. If a guy can't make a session, his character gets "separated from the group," whatever. The excuse doesn't matter. 

I printed out 70 pregenerated characters before the session (generated from this excellent site). Ten characters of each class. The guys decided to pick characters at random. Here's who they got:
  • Derek is Devalla of the Mountains, second level female magic-user
  • Dan is Eam the Spiritual, second level male halfling
  • Pat is Nufar the Searcher, second level female cleric
  • Jim is Cope, second level female fighter
The campaign is set on the world of Telluria, the setting for the Dwimmermount megadungeon. The campaign has started out in the town of Salton. A day's ride west is none other than Stonehell dungeon.

Oh yeah, I'm throwing it all into the pot, folks!

ANYway, three ladies and a halfling walk into a tavern after checking in at the adventurer's guild. The tavern is The Wanton Cockatrice, and the crew is there for a good time.

Cope the fighter puts her high Charisma to immediate work, looking to fleece some poor sucker out of some gold. She puts the moves on Finz the veteran fighter (an NPC), who she convinces to buy drinks for everyone in the place. 

Eam the halfling earns some gold plucking on his mandolin, while Nufar and Devalla drink up (Devalla does so in a disgruntled manner, because she is generally disgruntled... by the way, she's a magic user with 18 Strength, 18 Intelligence, and 18 Dexterity... what can I say, that's how the character generator created her...)

Well, suffice to say the usual roleplaying tavern shenanigans ensued, interrupted by sudden iridescent flashes of light and rumblings from outside. The party scrambled outside to see flashes of rainbow-colored lighting emanating from the red crystal dome of a wizard's tower across the river to the north. The place has been the dwelling of a powerful magic user who has hermited himself there for years. 

As the artificial lighting struck the surface of the river, a great bubbling arose from the depths. Then, pale, grotesque humanoid fish creatures pulled themselves from the water onto the docks.

The group sprang into action, entering into combat with the monstrous, disgusting things! Once the creatures were dispatched, the proprietor of the Wanton Cockatrice, a beefy fellow named Dirk, told the group that the wizard in the tower, the former adviser of Salton's Lord Brereton, had holed himself up in the tower years ago. During that time, events such as this would plague the town. The party resolved to get some sleep and investigate the tower in the morning. 

Ah, but in the middle of the night, there were more screams of terror! The party awoke to see dark, hulking forms running through the streets outside the Wanton Cockatrice. Whatever the creatures were, they had broken into homes and murdered local citizens before disappearing.

The group suited up and headed out, and spoke with some members of the town guard, who led the party to a collapsed well in a nearby public square. The well had caved in not long after the shockwaves emanated out from the wizard's tower. The party, worth their adventuring salt, decided to head down to investigate. The town watch lowered them into the collapsed well. 

The group found themselves in a winding passage, lined with burial niches. Perhaps they had stumbled upon an ancient Thulian Empire burial chamber? They lit up torches and lanterns and headed forward into the dark...

They eventually came to a larger chamber with several columns carved with bas-reliefs depicting scenes of conquest. None of them being Thulian scholars, they weren't sure if the carvings were from that empire, but the supposition was likely, given the fact that Salton is located at what would have been the eastern frontier of that old kingdom. 

There were eight niches in the walls of this chamber, filled with bodies wrapped in ancient linens, and adorned with ceremonial costume jewelry. These were more elaborate burials than those found in the niches in the passageway they had just left, though the fake jewelry spoke of pretended nobility. 

The group decided to cut open one of the "mummies" to see if there was greater wealth inside. The action of slicing open the wrappings exposed the group to a noxious, powdery substance. Saving throws were rolled, and a few of the group failed. Those who didn't make their saves began to cough up blood!

Then, the desiccated corpses in the wrappings began to stir, and ripped free! The cleric turned a few of the undead abominations, and the remaining things were defeated with a combination of weapons and magic!

We decided to stop there, after a long night of gaming and drinking! Overall, the group felt good to be back at the table! I, for one, felt great! After years of gaming with "strangers" who became friends, it was wonderful to be roleplaying with my original crew!

Session two of the campaign will happen next month! Can't wait!

P.P.S. One complaint I have is regarding the Labyrinth Lord screen I was using during the session. Now, I know there's some minor differences/modifications from B/X, but that's not my problem. Here's my gripe: I really wish DM screens had reminders of rolls for demihuman detection skills (hidden doors, etc.) and other abilities like what you have to roll to open doors, etc. But maybe that's just me. It makes me miss the unified SIEGE Engine mechanic of Castles & Crusades.

Saturday, February 3, 2018

Friday, February 2, 2018

End-of-Week Willingham (2/2/2018): Dragon Slaying in Living Color!

Love this Willingham illo! Of course, the one at the front of the Moldvay Basic book is black and white, but with some color added it becomes even more epic, no? 

Incidentally, the image in my old, much-used copy of the Moldvay Basic book was colored in at some point by a prior owner. That is so cool, isn't it? I mean, someone else at some time in the past, perhaps back in the early 80's when the book was "hot off the presses," was so enamored of this image that they felt compelled to bring it to colorful life! Here's a shot of it:

I love D&D, folks!

Friday, January 26, 2018

End-of-Week Willingham (1/26/18): Haunted Halfling

What dark spirit lurks behind this halfling?

Friday, January 19, 2018

End-of-Week Willingham (1/19/18): Adventurers on the Job!

I love this illo, from the first page of the Expert set that puts the X in B/X! There's some doughty adventurers as seen from the perspective of some dungeon creature or other! Those hardy folks don't look worried at all! As a matter of fact, they look eager to take out their opponent! I love it!

Friday, January 12, 2018

End-of-Week Dee (1/12/18): Well...

Continuing on with my current obsession with Moldvay Basic D&D, I've featured an illo from Jeff Dee this week. You've seen his art in both basic and advanced D&D tomes, no doubt. Keep watching this blog, kids. I'm planning some interesting things. Well, I think they're interesting. It remains to be seen if YOU think they're interesting. Stay tuned...

Friday, January 5, 2018

End-of-Week Willingham (1/5/18): Drow Warrior

If you're a fan of the Moldvay/Marsh Basic/Expert era of D&D, you're familiar with the art of Bill Willingham. I have to confess that I've recently delved back into B/X...indeed, thoughts and plans are swirling around in the old noggin with regard to that particular set of rules...

More information to the meantime, enjoy a Mr. Willingham's drow warrior!