Thursday, September 14, 2017

Warhammer FRP

While this isn't strictly Crypts & Things related, WFRP holds a special place in my heart for grim and gritty, swords & sorcery gaming. I especially loved the 2nd edition by Green Ronin and Chris Pramas.

So I thought I would mention that right now there is an awesome deal on the 2e pdfs over at Bundle of Holding.


Tuesday, September 12, 2017

USR: Horrors Material & Magic Malignant



Just a brief mention and mini-review for Jay Murphy's USR product Horrors Material & Magic Malignant. This is a neat little product that came out this summer. At less than $2 for the pdf, it's hard to go wrong.

The book is broken into 5 sections: Characters of Cunning, Creatures Noble and Foul, Artifacts and their Mastery, Mesmerism, and Black Arts of Sorcery.

Characters of Cunning gives the gamemaster several evocative NPCs to quickly drop into his game Need a vile necromancer or truculent nomad? They're in there! Along with resigned princesses, haughty wenches, and more. I really like how each entry packs so much flavor and plot hook material into such compact entries along with the brief stat block that you'd expect from USR.

Creatures Noble and Foul takes a similar tack on monsters. Rather than generic names, these also have colorful titles and descriptions.

Artifacts and their Mastery gives the GM several fun (and nasty) items to place in a game. These aren't +1 long swords. They are items with histories and often dangerous curses or risks in using them.

Mesmerism is a neat chapter. It covers not so much hypnotism, as multiple ways to control or warp the mind. There are hallucinogens, rituals, and magical languages to control a victim's thoughts or actions. I appreciated that this was made its own entry as opposed to being lumped under the larger "Magic" umbrella.

Black Arts of Sorcery has spells as well as rituals and items of power. There is a little overlap with the monsters and artifacts sections, as both things appear here. But in such cases the entity or object are usually tied to a spell or rite the caster performs to produce the result.

Even if you don't play USR you'll find a lot of good material for your swords and sorcery game here.

Thursday, September 7, 2017

Getting the Ley of the Land



Magic in Crypts & Things is a far less tame beast than in most other classic fantasy game systems. Things like corruption and attracting the Others' attention makes using it an exercise in risk assessment. That's one of the things I really like about the system.

The term "Ley Line" was originally coined in reference to the placement of certain geographic features -both natural and man made- in relation to one another. Later, occultists coopted the phrase for the idea that "veins of power" ran through the earth. An interconnected web of arcane energies. One of the ideas was that rituals and spells performed along these lines or at their intersections would be able to better tap into that power.

Obviously, this idea has a lot of potential for fantasy stories and games. In terms of C&T, I am imagining a region or micro-setting which is rife with such lines, or perhaps more potent than "normal." Sorcerers come to this land and build their towers to be close to these energies and tap into it for their spells and research.

Such a land would be a strange place. Not just because of the "extra" magic, but because so many powerful sorcerers in one area would have interesting effects on the local power structure. The mages would probably be less interested in conquest or politics than their studies, but the local lords or townsfolk wouldn't want to annoy them needlessly.

"Do not meddle in the affairs of wizards, for they are subtle and quick to anger!"  -JRRT




There would be other by-products of such a place that might make good adventure fodder. Magical experiments gone awry, loosing horrid beasts into the wilds. Wizards paying handsomely for retrieving rare, quest-worthy ingredients, etc.

This is an idea I plan to play with a bit over the next few weeks. We'll see where it leads.

Wednesday, August 30, 2017

Further thoughts on the possible King Conan film

...and Conan in the media generally.

While I'm sure the movie (if it happens) will draw at least somewhat on the events of the previous two Arnold films (hopefully more the first than the second), I do hope the writers look to the original REH materials for more inspiration.

One of the things that disappointed me about the Jason Momoa remake was that it was basically the 1982 film again, instead of a new plot, using Howard's stories as a basis. The Milius version drew heavily on Howard for themes and imagery, but the story was original. That's a good thing. But for the 2011 film to rehash a story that was only "inspired by" the classic tales is like a copy of a copy: It's just not as crisp.

Just of the top of my head, here are a few stories that -IMO- would make great fodder for the screen:


  • Red Nails*
  • The Jewels of Gwahlur
  • Queen of the Black Coast*
  • Hour of the Dragon
  • The Scarlet Citadel
  • The Devil in Iron
*Unfortunately, the 1982 film already used Valeria (Red Nails), and Belit's line about coming back from death to save Conan. They were awesome callbacks to the stories, but it makes it harder to use the rest of those tales.

Hollywood is going to do what they're going to do. And if the film is ever released, they have my money. But I can dream, can't I?


Tuesday, August 29, 2017

Tuesday, August 15, 2017

The Lost Isle

I know it's been a while, but distractions have been myriad. Rather than let the perfect be the enemy of the -well, let's just say less than perfect, here is a pdf  here is a NEW pdf * of the mini module/adventure I was working on. it's a bit rough around the edges, but feel free to take a peek!

*Room numbering was missing. Added now. Thanks, BC!

Tuesday, March 7, 2017

Incremental Progress Reported!

An editor friend of mine proofread the adventure draft for me and sent it back with comments. Once I've looked over the changes, all that really remains is drawing one map and doing a bit of layout. I'll post a free link to the pdf once that's all finished.

I don't mean to build up expectations for the adventure. It's not really any great shakes, but I've been in a serious creative dry spell for a while, so getting any project finished is a real milestone to me. Hopefully, someone will find it useful and/or amusing.