Dynasty Zero

Tuesday, August 26, 2014

Elak of Atlantis


Over the last several years, I have been trying to read the key works of sword and sorcery.  I was introduced to this genre as a teen through the Ace paperback version of Robert E. Howard's Conan.  I enjoyed those books immensely, both Howard's stories as well as those written by L. Sprague de Camp, Lin Carter, et al.  (I really like the non-Howard story "The Thing in the Crypt" for example.)  For quite a while this was the entire sword and sorcery universe for me.  I met Elric during high school but I wasn't overly impressed with the stories.  Then my interest faded for a long time as it did with roleplaying games. 

When my interest in RPGs revived about 14 years ago so did my interest in these type of stories.  (Odd how that worked out, isn't it?)  I began to reread many of the Conan stories and started seeking out other stories, also.  I read the Kull stories and moved on from there.  I've found and read at least some of C. L. Moore, Clark Ashton Smith, Fritz Leiber, Lin Carter, John Jakes, and even Gardner Fox.  Some were easy to find, Leiber for example and surprisingly Clark Ashton Smith.  There is a website dedicated to CAS with many, if not all, of his stories.  (It's at Eldritchdark.com.)  Other's were not so easy.  Gardner Fox published several S&S stories in early issues of Dragon Magazine.

One author I couldn't find in ebook form until recently was Henry Kuttner.  His Elak of Atlantis stories followed the Conan stories and are considered some of the founding stories in the genre.  I recently discovered that an ebook collecting all four Elak stories is available on both Amazon and B&N for a reasonable price.

Happy reading!



Sunday, August 17, 2014

Cthulhu Mustache

My 14 year old son's take on Cthulhu:


People don't go insane when they see Cthulhu.  They're just crazy jealous of his stylin' mustache!

Then he makes a Cthulhu mustache with his hands.
















Saturday, August 9, 2014

Barbarians of Lemuria: Mythic Edition Characters

So, I want to join the fun of creating characters for the new edition.  Here are two characters to start with.  The first is one I really like for some reason.  It is a revised version of a character I posted a couple of years ago.  The second is an original creation.

Arak-Aree the Talon of God

"Never again." The vow of Arak-Aree

Arak-Aree saw her parents killed by the flatlanders. The Winged Men could not defend themselves effectively against their nets and bows. The Wingless raided her aerie, killing the adults and taking the children as slaves. Arak-Aree was sold as a novelty to a rich merchant from Oomis who gave her to his spoiled daughter as a pet. A first she was just a pet but soon became the constant companion, then friend of the girl. Arak-Aree found life nearly bearable until she reached her teens and the girl's older brother began showing an "interest" in her. Wanting to protect her friend, the daughter tried to convince her father to free Arak-Aree.  A merchant to his very soul, he refused to give up such a valuable acquisition. The girl would not relent and eventually found a way to smuggle Arak-Aree out of the city. Arak-Aree made her way to the Axos mountains but with her aerie destroyed she was at a loss. But a fire burned in her heart. She made her way to the mountain top temple of Karyzon, "He of the Rending Talons" and dedicated herself to Him. It was then she took her vow, "Never again." She trained in the ways of war and soon like-minded youths began to gather around here. She formed the Aerie of the Talons, a society of warriors dedicated to protecting the Winged Men from the depredations of the Wingless.

Arak-AreeWinged Man

Attributes
Strength 0
Agility 3
Mind 1
Appeal 1

Combat
Initiative 1
Melee 0
Ranged 2
Defense 1

Careers
Slave 1
Priest 1
Warrior 2
Scholar 0

Lifeblood 10
Hero Points 5
Fate Points 1

Weapons
Bow
Sword

Languages
Windsong
Lemurian

Boons
Winged Man Agility

Rialdo the Exile

"Since you don't seem to have a better vintage, bring me another glass of this swill."

Rialdo was born in Tyrus.  A sprig on a branch of the royal family tree, he was raised in the utmost luxury, every whim satisfied, ever wanting more.  Despite his lifestyle, Rialdo did exert himself in one area:  Swordsmanship.  He loved the riddle of steel, the hiss of a sharp blade through the air and the sound it made sliding into a body.  He became a feared swordsman around the city with a reputation as a keen duelist.  But even this wasn't enough for the jaded and debauched teen.  Casting about for new thrills he found a man who was willing to instruct him in the most taboo of topics in Tyrus:  Sorcery.  Rialdo took to it like a fish to water.  It was as if he were born to it.  He soon outstripped his teacher and began seeking a new master to guide him even deeper into the dark arts.

This was his downfall.  His discreet inquiries were not discreet enough and soon his distant cousin, the King, got wind of Rialdo's activities.  Agents of the King caught him in the act of performing a vile ritual and they arrested and imprisoned him.  Though he was condemned to death he managed to escape the royal dungeons and fled Tyrus.  Now he wanders Lemuria spending every coin he acquires on adventures or as a hired blade to increase his arcane knowledge.  The pittance that remains he squanders on wine and the supple flesh of women.

Rialdo
Tyrus

Attributes
Strength 1
Agility 2
Mind 1
Appeal 0

Combat
Initiative 1
Melee 2
Ranged 0
Defense 1

Careers
Noble 1
Champion (Duelist) 2
Rogue 0
Sorceror 1

Lifeblood 11
Hero Points 5
Power Points 11

Weapons
Rapier
Dagger

Languages
Lemurian
Sorceric

Boons
Magic Resistance
Carouser

Flaws
Arrogant

Wednesday, August 6, 2014

Killer Quote

I've expressed my admiration for Simon Washbourne as a game designer on this blog before.  I have just run across the single best quote about him I have ever heard.  (And perhaps the best quote ever for anything.)  It was made by Vargold (Rob Barrett) in an RPG.net discussion about Supers! Red.

"Simon Washbourne craps better games on a monthly basis than most people who slave over rules for years."

You can find more of Rob's writing at his blog Vargold:  The Wolf Time

Saturday, June 14, 2014

Your Inner Character

Your inner character:
Unaligned Dwarf Pit Fighter 

Who'da thunk?

Take the quiz here.

Tuesday, June 3, 2014

Crimson Blades

Simon Washbourne (yeah, probably my favorite game designer) has created a new sword & sorcery/dark fantasy rpg called Crimson Blades.  It is an old school OGL game based on his Woodland Warriors' ruleset and influenced by Moorcock's Elric and the magic system from Chaosium's Stormbringer.  I had the chance to scan the draft but didn't have the time to read it thoroughly.  And now he's gone and published it.  You can find it on RPGNow here.  For a low price too.  I'm excited and now I'm off to buy it.

Monday, May 19, 2014

Traveller or ....

Is it just me or is Traveller suddenly being discussed more on the blogs and on G+?  I seem to be seeing more posts and such about it.

Which is fine by me.  Between all the posts and showing my oldest son Firefly for the first time, I am really in the mood for some Traveller.  I got Traveller back in '82 I think.  (That picture.  Not my copy.  My books have rusty staples from a stint in storage and have the occasional grease stain from food.  The box top is flat and the box bottom is held together by yellowing masking tape.)  To be truthful, I didn't get to play it with a group that often but I got a lot of entertainment out of it nonetheless.  I spent hours rolling up characters (and watching some of them die [that's die as in death, not die as in dice]), creating subsectors and running a Free Trader between them solo, etc.

So, I reached for Traveller thinking it would be a good match for Firefly.  After all, I read that Jos Whedon had based Firefly on his Traveller campaign.  I fooled around with it a bit and started making a subsector intending to create a setting not connected to Traveller's official Imperial setting.

However, I've also been rereading and pondering Mini Six for the purpose of tweaking it for a sword & sorcery focused game.  (More on that in a later post.)  And what is tucked away in the back of Mini-Six?  A setting called "Perdition".  Firefly with the serial numbers badly filed off.

So, my conundrum is this:  Traveller or Mini-Six?  I think they would both do a fine job with a Firefly game but which should I choose?

I await your words of wisdom....