Saturday 30 August 2014

[Review] Vampires Of The Olden Lands - The Chronicles Of Mhoriedh

Vampires of the Olden Lands is a supplement for The Chronicles of Mhoriedh campaign setting. There are two stats. For Castles & Crusades and for Labyrinth Lord.

The PDF is 26 pages including the cover, credits, a colored hex map, a page for OGL and three pages of advertisements. Within you'll find one page with general info on vampires including nice list of vampire warding and hurting objects. Rest of the pages are different types of vampires and a new playable character race.

Monsters Monsters

Yes, all the monsters are different kinds of vampires. Hag-like soul suckers, spirit vampires, beastly vampires, vampires who infect plague, creepy vampire children... and more! The variety of vampires is huge and many of them are creepy or weird. Great for gothic and horror campaigns.

The vampires all have special powers, some which they share with other types, some unique. The special powers make sense and don't feel like they are just artificial buffs to make these vampires harder to kill. Many different vampires have different origin and they also are killed with different methods. Every vampire also has a vulnerability like they should have.

You, The Monster

There's also a new player character race, Dhampir, the half-dead. You guess it right, daddy's a vamp and momma's human. At first I thought, oh no, 16 years old goths would be crazy about this if it was early 2000 or 90s or something! Yes these are kind of tragic and naturally angry and stuff, but for a race I think this is solid. Character balance sucks and I don't give a fang about it so don't know how solid build this is. This is not race-as-class (as far as I understand it) what is a bummer. So you kind of need AEC to go with Labyrinth Lord. Not sure about C&C because not familiar with that system.


No neat front cover here, but I can live with that. Two column layout is clear and illustration works. Most of the pictures are more like symbols or emblems, but they are good enough. I do actually like them a lot and cannot decide if pictures of these vampires would have been better. Not necessarily!

One thing bugs me a lot though. Some of the special powers would have been arranged a bit better. A couple of times I felt that an entry should have been positioned earlier because that earlier text kind of mentioned it so it would be cool to first read the thing where thing is first mentioned before you read more about this. Does that make any sense? Before you mention A make sure that A has mentioned already, mkay?

Also there's another problem. All kinds of locations where vampires live and stuff are mentioned, but when I asked the author what product I should get to gain more information about these places, the answer was:

"The Olden Lands Gazetteer is still on hiatus. That's the book where full details on locations will, eventually, be found..."

Does that matter? Well, at this point you pretty much must ignore the little setting information presented in this product and just use it in your home campaign or other published campaign setting.

Printed as a booklet. With two random
dice appearing. In very vampiric colors!
Few bloody tears because the font is regular size for A4 page dimensions. That means, that if you want to print this you need to print it on sheets. Problem? Hell yes! This, my friend should be made for booklet printing because such a nice little booklet this printed. Only problem is that now the font is super tiny!
Things like this I want to add into my collection. In zine size. A4 format PDF sucks butt. Remember this for smaller products.


But There's A Nice Map

No setting information, yet, but there's a nice full color hex map included! The hex map has all these areas of the setting but you need to get other products for the details (right?). The map would be nicer if the resolution was higher. Or something. My printer is perfectly right but this looks like saliva when printed on quality paper. Damn shame.

How Would I Use This?

Vampire hunting! Book full of vampiric monsters what would be better campaign than to run around the realm killing these foul mouths! Monster of the week - with vampires!

Or gothic horror with one location (remote village with a nearby creepy castle anyone) with supernatural problems what lead to a vampire - or two. Low level investigation and horror.

Also you can be the half-vampire and hunt vampires, because of angst. Or you can try to be a badass, because of vampires!

How would you use this?

Should You Sucked In?

You should consider getting this if:

  • you like monsters. This is a vampire manual of Monster Manuals. Extra monsters never hurt (except the poor characters)?
  • you like vampires. Not those sparkly nappy heads but real monstrous vampires. Also if you want darker gothic horror into your campaign (and don't own Ravenloft) or want to spice up your Ravenloft games (if you do own Ravenloft).
  • Labyrinth Lord and Castles & Crusades supported. Don't know about C&C but with LL stats this is highly compatible with many old style rules!
Where To Get It?

Glad you asked! You can get it from: RPGNow.
The author +James Mishler is at Google Plus.

Thursday 21 August 2014

Why do I like OSR

I haven't posted a lot here yet, so I thought this could be a good crack to tell why I personally like OSR. That's what my blog mostly is about. In the context OSR means old-school Dungeons & Dragons, retro-clones, neo-clones and simulacrum games. So basically those games which use AC, HD and other basics. I do know that old-school can be more and is not restricted to only D&D and simulacrum but here in this posts context OSR is D&D and its children.

When I started gaming I didn't enjoy D&D that much. I already had played RuneQuest and Warhammer RPG and other games and when tried D&D felt it is restricted. Rules were simple, character classes were restricted and the premise was dull. When I tried AD&D 2e later it didn't fit the game: swashbuckling heroism I intended to run. And the problem was that I didn't grow up with D&D so I didn't know how to use it well - nor how to houserule it to fit what I wanted. Didn't understand the power levels and how to make the game enjoyable.

Many years passed and I played many games.

Then one day I not many years ago I heard of this OSR and it sounded really interesting. I downloaded some free games (OSRIC and Labyrinth Lord for example), tried to read those and felt the same problem I encountered earlier. I felt these games were very in genre and not outside the box (dungeons). But I was interested in OSR as a movement because it revived the old rules back in print and I appreciated it for kind of preserving the history.

Somewhere in between I tried to play D&D 3e but felt it was clumsy and there was too much rules and not that much roles. I played very stripped version of it for a while (no Aoo, flat footed, minis). But it didn't feel right. Two big books and minimal rules felt stupid. It was fun though as long as it lasted.

Then I learned about Lamentations Of The Flame Princess Grindhouse Edition. Oh was I sold. The box looked super neat (I didn't have a single boxed set at that time) and the premise of weird fantasy. Also what I read about it everywhere blew my mind. I thought this might be the version of retro Dungeons & Dragons I might give a try. And I bought it.

With LotFP and its supporters and all OSR community I started to understand the purpose of D&D style rules - or rulings. Simple, not in the way of action, easy to modify and house rule and add your own rules. Now it all made sense to me!

I think that it needed something as a premise to get me interested. Weird horror stuff. I was bored with vanilla fantasy for 10 years at that time and OSR felt like vanilla fantasy what might have been one of the reasons why OSRIC and LL didn't apply to me at the first place.

After LotFP I naturally wanted to know the origin of these rules. I thought getting the original Basic and Expert sets would have been too complicated I settled with Labyrinth Lord. And loved it! True, LotFP with ascending AC might feel more elegant (also got used to it with 3e) compared to descending with tables, but I loved the feel of LL.

After those two I couldn't get enough. Always searching for reviews and articles of other rules. At that time didn't know how much material there was available.

Then I discovered Google Plus. Found RPG people, found OSR people, found unlimited wisdom and resources. I didn't realize how much OSR material there was available both commercial and free. In print and PDF. In blog texts and forum posts. Everywhere!

I found RPG nirvana in OSR.

I have a collection of different games but OSR are what I value the most. I want more and more. Cannot get enough.

Me getting into OSR I have to thank:
- Lamentations of the Flame Princess Grindhouse Edition for really invoke me.
- Labyrinth Lord for showing how great the Basic and Expert rules actually are.
- OSR community for wisdom and resources and unlimited resources of fun.
- Google Plus people I follow for showing how great OSR is.

Before OSR I had a GM burnout. OSR made me flourish.

Before OSR I wanted to create my own rpg system to create material for. Now with OSR I can focus on material instead of system.

Thank you OSR for making my hobby ten thousand times better.

Friday 15 August 2014

Teratic Tome - you should check this out!

Picture from:
From now to August 18, you can save 25% at Lulu with the code TWODAY14.

If you like things that are nasty and nostalgic (nastalgic?), then the orange-spined Teratic Tome might just bring a smile to your carapace.

Also available...
> Pandemonio: In the streets of Boise, Kansas City, or maybe Portland, sociopathic exorcists rip demons out of victims' orifices
> ViewScream: Video-chat larp about blood-spattered crew members inside a derelict spaceship, and tentacled horrors just outside
> Hexcommunicated: A novel about skelekinetics and soultergeists and fearwolves and war and terrorism and so forth

All this filth can be yours if you just throw drachmas here:

That's what +Rafael Chandler announced at Google Plus.

I love Teratic Tome. I have to admit I haven't had time to actually read it but I've gone through the illustration thrice! First when I got it. Then second time with time (and awe) and third time I forced my girlfriend to check those pictures out with me. AND RATE THEM (1 lame, 2 ok, 3 awesome). She gave more awesome than lame and ok...

For busy myself the monster entries are a little tl;dr but that's my problem. It would be better for me if there was a quick note what the monster is about, and then the longer text :) But yeah, that's just me.

I had one question for Rafael about the working process he had done with this. Which was first, the text or the pics? Did he write monsters and got illustration for those or did he get pictures and wrote fluff and stats based on the visuals?

Rafael answers: Some of the artwork came from Pandemonio (which was previously released as two games -- Dread in 2002, and Spite in 2009). In those cases, I started with the image, then wrote up new descriptions. The rest of Teratic Tome's artwork was new, and for those commissioned pieces of art, the description came first.

Bonus question: Do you have a perverse fixation to tentacles and appendices with mouths and what not instead of legs?

Rafael answers: Mmmmmmaybe.

Thursday 14 August 2014

I got mail... from the USA!

I love getting mail from the USA. Because I know it is some RPG stuff (and if it is not, its still awesome because I wouldn't have an idea what it would be). And I know it usually is some RPG stuff what is not that easily available here in Finland (yes I can order everything but you get the point - yes?).

Anyways, today after work I found this in my mailbox:

Addresses remain secrets.

Seeing that the sender is +David Brawley I knew what it is. Well, I didn't, because there would be FOUR different possible options what it would be. Why?

Because David Brawley held a competition in his blog, where you sent him a random table and then he randomly chose four winners to get four free RPG day products. Check that post here:

Lucky me with my Swampcrawlthingy (Get it here) I was one of the four!

What I won? This:
A choose your own adventure playbook with dinosaurs (well that's how much I got from the cover anyways).

This is cool because:
1. Dinosaurs
2. Everyone who is awesome and cool loves dinosaurs but dinosaurs don't get enuf love in fiction and games
3. It's been a while since I played choose-your-own-adventure so it's about time to have some solo fun!

Also, you SHOULD follow David Brawley's blog Tower Of The Archmage because from there you will find (eventually, that's why you should start following) all 12 contest tables.

Start here with first four:

When I got time, I am planning to make Swampcrawl thingie more... complete. Before it, please tell me what you think of it!

Fabulorbis now with a blog

I wanted to get a place for my Labyrinth Lord campaign. A place where I could keep my notes and material easily in hand. And where I can update campaign setting information. I realized maybe this blog is not the right place for a world creation. Too much material... And this is for me and my game. Though why not to share if someone is interested in it?

I tried Obsidian Portal first but found it a little too clumsy and constrained for me (the free version at least). And for some reason I find wiki style updating a little too hard for me.

I am not sure if blogs (in blogspot) are most organized-ready for things like this, but I'll give it a shot. And what is most important is that I know how to navigate it!

At the moment I feel busy and all, so not going to flood Fabulorbis blog with material! But it is there ready for me.

I hope I made all the "about" section right. I am not that good with licenses, trademarks and OGL!

Oh and the world map I created using is awesome!

The world is crazy big! Now My adventures are set in Longland (map below, need to make it pretty with GIMP).

I do know where Longland is in that huge Fabulorbis map, without hex numbering it is quite hard to point out though...

And the blog address? Here:

Saturday 2 August 2014

When rolling random encounter roll also a wild die

This is not my original idea. The inspiration I got from +Eric Hoffman at Google+ Mutant Future group. His blogpost "Mutant Future Expanded Wilderness Rules" is where I got the idea from.

When you roll for random encounter, also roll an additional d6. If the d6 shows "6" roll twice from the random encounter table. The encounter will be these two creatures interacting somehow. Also when you had a result 6 roll again - another 6, add an additional creature to the encounter and roll again.

Example: Before I roll d20 to see what the random encounter is, I roll a d6 and have a result "6". So that's two critters they encounter. But because I scored a 6 I roll again. Blah result is 3. With another 6 I'd got to mix one additional creature in the encounter extravaganza!

When you know how many encounters there are, roll their relations to each other:
1 - Aggressive, they most likely fight each other
2 - Suspicious of each other
3 - Passing by
4 - Close to each other, neutral
5 - Friendly, but not associated
6 - They work together

To make things fun, roll for each encouter pair. For example of three encounters Spidergoats and Morlock might be passing by when Spidergoats work with Brain Lashers but Morlocks fight them. Try to figure that out, nah, let player characters do it! You grin and let the mayhem begin!

If you feel that 1 in 6 change for double-encounter-situation is too big, then just rise the die size. Use d12 or d10 instead.

Friday 1 August 2014

RPGaDAY in August

Will you join the fun?

Follow my blog for daily updates for this challenge.

Share your participating blog in comments.


UPDATE: Actually I won't do this. You who do this have fun. In the end of the month (or when I feel like it) I might write a post based on questions here. It would be a small introduction of my gaming history for those who don't already know it.

Thanks +James Young for reminding me something important I already had forgotten.


Answering these questions here, now.

1. ANKH. Finnish RPG what has something common with OD&D, but not everything. I should still have my copy somewhere, but I don't know where it is! So big chance is that I don't have it anymore. Three books, boxed set, awesome! I must buy this some day again. Every now and then can be found online.

2. Same as above, ANKH.

3. Same as above, ANKH. It was found in a normal department store's toys section! How cool.

4. Most recent? Well, 1/10/2014 is today, I ordered four Basic D&D books translated in Finnish this Tuesday. I shouldn't spend money on RPGs but hey, what can I do?

5. 1E Monster Manual is my oldest RPG book owned, thus most old-school.

6. Probably Kult. I love the setting, but never actually play it. I have used bits of it every now and then here and there, but it's 15 years or so since I actually played it.

7. Vampire, maybe. If you play it right... humanity, hard choices, being an outsider etc. Vampire can turn into a bloodfest with right people, but with the other kind of players (who like mirror shades, The Cure and trenchcoats) 100 sessions can pass without any action. Just dead emotional dudes talking shit.

8. Trevor Mortis for Vampire: the Dark Ages was fun to play, but a GM nightmare! I sometimes forgot how to be a good player because I've GMed so much! So I did what I wanted to do making my character a total jerk. I learned, that abusing RPG freedom trying to make a cool character sucks so bad.

9. At the moment my favourite die is orange D6 from Mythoard. It's damn neat! My favorite die set is my custom built D&D/OSR set I use. Several dice in different colors (white, red, selected etc). No clear fancy dice, just normal solid colors. I like that custom built set a lot!

10. Vanha Koira (Old Dog) by Ville Vuorela is based on Petri Hiltunen's comics in which a RPG Praedor is based on. Low grit low fantasy.

11. I don't own weird stuff, but Mutant Future can get pretty gonzo, in a good way!

12. I'd say BECMI, because I read it and I play it through OSR games.

13. Most memorable because it sucked a lot. My character had an argument with another player character. The other player character decided to push me with his maul. GM was a dick so damage roll had to be made normally, even though the player said he didn't mean to hurt me, just knock. Critical shit and my character lost a hand. Low magic, so my character without right hand was boring (damn off-hand penalties). My protest was character suicide. Nice GM he was, because of that my new character started game with negative experience points. Good times (not).

14. - 15. Not been in any convention.

16. Arcana Rising. Modern day urban fantasy, why not! I won't touch Vampire (or other WoD games) with a long stick as they are, so this might do the trick for that kind of needs. Also I like Hulks & Horrors. And there's cyberpunk sourcebook for this also!

17. Funny moments for sure, but funny game? I don't think I've played purposely funny RPG ever. Paranoia maybe? But it was more ass-hattery than actual fun.

18. Basic/Expert style rules. BRP is second. It is simple and stays in the background.

19. The original Death Frost Doom because it enlightened me to published adventures. Before I never ever used published adventures, but now I find those fun and entertaining to read, good inspiration and idea mines and actually fun to run.

20. I've only played 22 years or so. And believe me, my taste has changed so many times. I hope I'll be playing OSR games, because I feel those games have infinite possibilites, easy modification, simple but fun rules.

21. Can Mythos be licensed? If yes, then Call of Cthulhu. If no, then... haven't played many licensed RPGs. I think that trying to play a licensed game is always trying too hard and it always fails the great of the book/movie it is based on. Except for CoC/Mythos, because there's not too strong background in it with meta and things like that.

22. BECMI + other things. I so wanted to get basic and expert books of D&D because I am into B/X similacrum games. And I wanted to have Finnish translation of Basic for reference use (English to Finnish terms). Now I got Finnish basic + expert, companion, master and immortals. Best second hand purchase I can ever get!

23. We are going into LotFP section of my bookshelf here. Because I don't own A Red And Pleasant Land (yet), I have to say Carcosa! Many LotFP books are magnificent with colors and stuff, but there's something extremely cool in Carcosa book. The feel on your finger tips, minimalistic layout with awesome pictures and details on pages. Colors. Everything. This seriously is not only coolest LotFP book I got but also coolest any book I got!

24. Hey! I don't have complicated RPGs! Pendragon is meaty, but I think most complicated must be 2nd or 3rd edition D&D.

25. My girlfriend doesn't want to play All Flesh Must Be Eaten! Too tragic, she says. I have to sneak zombies in other games, then.

26. Probably something Dyson Logos made. But coolest original sheet? World Of Darkness sheets are pretty cool.

27. Kult. I don't know, some easy simple fast quick rules so players can focus on OH THE HORRORS.

28. Kult. Damn horrific setting with so much awesome and nightmares and insanity and DO NOT WANT.

29. When my player in Mutant Future saw Zunicorns. She likes horses, but zunicorns weren't that nice to her!

30. Dwarf-Land. Should not be available online and only DIY prints shared.

31. Of all time? Can something I've loved for like 2 years be all time? If so, basic and expert style rules are my new love. All time favourite is ANKH even though I haven't played it for 18 years.