'Barbarism is the natural state of mankind,' the borderer said, still staring somberly at the Cimmerian. 'Civilization is unnatural. It is a whim of circumstance. And barbarism must always ultimately triumph.'

-Robert E. Howard
Beyond The Black River

Corrupt Cliffs

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Showing posts with label monster. Show all posts
Showing posts with label monster. Show all posts

Tuesday, May 19, 2020

A First Impression of the Vaesen RPG by Free League

VAESEN: väsen n. supernatural being or creature.

Recently the Vaesen BETA rules were released to the backers of the Kickstarter project, and I wanted to write down some first thoughts on the book and game.  Like Tales from the Loop, the game itself comes from extremely evocative art.  Tales from the Loop takes it's setting from the Swedish artist Simon Stålenhag, while the Vaesen RPG take's it's setting from the book of the Swedish artist Johan Egerkrans, Vaesen

Some people probably question basing games on the work of an artist, but some art is so distinctive and evocative that it immediately transports you to another world, and if that doesn't scream RPG, I do not know what does. In the case of Johan we are shown the creatures of Scandinavian Folklore: fairies, trolls, lindworms and everything in between. Which doesn't mean Johan hasn't drawn other fantastic works of art, he is just more well known for his creatures of myth and legend.

The Book

The current Beta rules have 232 pages including the character sheet and index. Roughly the first 100 pages are dedicated to the basic rules and character creation.  The basic rules will be familiar to anyone that has played a Year Zero Engine game. The remaining 100 pages are dedicated to setting, lore, how to set up an adventure, a sample adventure and of course the Vaesen themselves. All of this is interspersed with art from small sketches to full page color renditions of Johan's art.

I backed this game largely based on it being a Free League game, it having beautiful art, and the potential behind it.  I knew very little about what the game would be like beyond the kickstarter descriptions.  That is to say I knew it was going to be centered around fantastic creatures that were beyond the general persons's ability to perceive.  Judging from the art I could guess it would probably be late 1800s to the Early 1900s, generally the Victorian era.  From the book itself, "The idea is that you
and your friends will use it to tell – or play – mystery stories together in mythic Scandinavia of the nineteenth century."  Beyond that I didn't know what was in store for me.  

The Game

In Scandinavia of old there are creatures, faeries and trolls and such, that existed outside the perception of humanity, but were very real.  The people were aware of them through folk knowledge and knew how to make them happy, leaving offerings for them.  In return the beings were largely benevolent and lived in relative harmony with humanity.  

As humans advanced and industrialized much of this knowledge was lost.  People moved into towns and cities, and the rituals and offerings to the Vaesen were forgotten.  The Vaesen still exist and some have become less benevolent for various reasons, which the game lays out as adventure idea hooks with each of the Vaesen descriptions.  for example a wood based Vaesen might be wreaking havoc because of deforestation and logging.

You and your compatriots all have the ability to see the Vaesen and so stumble across an ancient society dedicated to fighting the Vaesen, and protecting humanity.  If you are playing in a campaign the Society and it's headquarters are more than just a part of the background and lore of the game, it is itself a character in the game. As the players grow in power and resources, they are able to add abilities to the Society that will grant them more ability to glean information about the Vaesen they are dealing with.

A secret society set in Victorian times isn't a new idea.  A secret society dedicated to fighting the supernatural isn't new either.  Still I think the idea the players can grow the Society back to it's former glory, which is in turn a usable resource for the players is a pretty cool idea to add to the campaign play.


Overall this book will be a beautiful addition to any RPG library and should delight fans of Free League and the Year Zero Engine.  It is full of amazing art and cool lore ready to open up a new world of Nordic horror for you and your players.  If you are a fan of monsters of the week, mysteries and the unknown, then I think this will make an excellent addition to your game library.  

If you are not part of the kickstarter look for this when it hits the shelves!

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Remember this isn't the end times, this is humanity working together to save as many lives as we can through proven methodology for fighting new a new virus. Stay Strong.

Till next time, don't forget to Keep it Weird!

Friday, January 18, 2019

Friday's Forgotten Fiends: The Jungle Crawler

Friday is here and that means another fiend from a time immemorial! Today I am going to introduce you to a giant creepy crawly, something that should make at least one of your players dread the fact they ever entered that jungle.

The Jungle Crawler

In the wild places across the world forgotten by man. In places that grow lush with life, deep jungles and dark forests, things grow large. Things that time has turned it's back on and allowed to thrive against natures best judgement. In these places dragons roam. But in these places things creep and crawl with hundreds of legs, dripping poison and death.

Today I introduce you to the Jungle Crawler, a giant centipede. Will it's pincers slice through your players armor, or will it's venomous tail inject it's death into them? Perhaps their incessant chittering drive your players mad as these things invade their camp in the night?

Here is is The Jungle Crawler in a toughened and minion variety, may they strike terror into your players.

I am also include a couple of tokens that you should be able to resize and use in your favorite VTT. Tokens created with Token Tool 2.0!

If you liked this article then don't forget to subscribe to get the next exciting installment on pulp gaming both Sci-Fi and Fantasy!

If you have questions or comments don't forget to hit me up on Twitter, Facebook, Youtube or Instagram!

Make sure you don't miss a single post and subscribe by e-mail today!

If you need to check out any of these great games stop on by DriveThruRPG and pick something up through my affiliate link to help support the blog!

Till next time, don't forget to Keep it Weird!

Thursday, August 10, 2017

3d Printing useful or not?

Awhile ago I picked up a 3d printer from Gearbest. It was the Anet A8, an inexpensive/cheap acrylic frame printer below $300cad. It is a basic FDM model, a clone of the Prusa system.

I have printed in ABS and PLA, and frankly I have gotten nicer prints with the ABS, but it is trickier to work with and has nastier fumes, so I am now working largely with PLA.

My latest video is an overview of printing miniatures (I needed 8) for a scenario using statues/golems.

For me the answer to the question, is that it is useful, though not a replacement to regular modeling and miniatures.

Have a watch and don't forget to leave a comment.

Saturday, December 24, 2016

Monday, December 12, 2016

The Gibbering Darkness: Conan 2D20

He stepped lightly into the stone chamber, his sword gleaming in the light of his torch.   His small party of explorers seeking treasure and knowledge in the dark places of the earth.

His eyes took in the room, and the unnatural darkness that hung there, darker than the torchlight would penetrate causing the hairs on the back of his neck to stand.  "What do you see?", came a voice from behind him.

"Nothing....", he replied uneasily as he moved further into the room, "There is a darkness here......"

The rest of the party moved in, all proven warriors in there own right, all had seen more than most human eyes could comprehend.   Now they all saw the darkness hanging a dozen or so feet in front of them, obscuring the rest of the room.

Then they heard it, unintelligible noises, voices, non-sense.  Bjartur, whispered a prayer to himself as he saw the first of the shapeless forms slide out of the void towards him, before he could react he was beset on all sides by blackness, ethereal cold clawing at him.  He screamed even as he swung his sword.  The steel blade passed through several of them as if they were smoke, but even as it passed into the formless shapes they vanished back to the void.

Birta, muttered, "by Mitra", under her breath as her sword cut an arc through the black formless things, sending the remainder of them back to whatever darkness had spawned them.

Bjartur's arms and body ached with the cold of unnatural wounds, he gasped in agony, looking up at the unnatural darkness, the gulf to another place flickered and vanished.  The room was silent beyond the sounds of their own breath.......


In Conan, monsters and NPCs die quickly.  Without players feeding into the DOOM pool, a GM may find it difficult to provide challenges to the players.  A brand new fighter may have the ability to add to the momentum pool while maintain swift actions most rounds.  It is possible this fighter could kill a Toughened opponent in the beginning of combat.

What to do?

I give you an idea for a creature from beyond.  Small formless demonoid beings that spew forth from a tear, or portal opened by a dark sorcerer, or perhaps a natural occurrence?

They are minions and spring forth from the void in a mob.
They are Dread Creatures starting with 1 doom, so they can gain initiative.
They excel in melee with an Agility of 14 and a combat focus of 2, with dark ethereal claws, reach 2, 8CD and Vicious 1 and Piercing 2. 
They have no armor soak.

They won't last long in a fight, but they will probably put the fear of Crom into your heroes.

This is untested at this time, but I wanted to get the idea down, they may end up doing too much damage.  The general idea is something small, easily killable that can generate doom and actually make the characters realize that they are also pretty fragile.

Slightly modified version after some dice rolling.  Damage reduced.  Agility and Focus updated.