Monday, December 30, 2013

Save versus Purple

The Purple-Haunted Putrescence isn't just part of my 2nd module's name... it also happens to be a gargantuan monstrosity spawned by the unholy union betwixt Yogsoggoth and the mother of all purple slimes!  Those unlucky enough to be caught beneath the massive, tentacled, open-mawed ooze as it wafts dreamily above the islands' surface must save vs. purple.

Save versus purple?!?  Why?  How?  Where?  What does it mean to be purpled by this godlike abomination?  Have you ever imagined a purpling effect happening to one of your characters?  And in what Lovecraftian universe?

Even though I have a pretty good idea [see the image above/right], I would love to see it through your artistic eyes... to understand it via your uncompromising description and philosophical musings.  I'm giving away two The Islands of Purple-Haunted Putrescence PDFs, one for coolest art and the second for awesomest writing.

If a submission is used somewhere in the book, assuming permission is granted for me to include it, then credit will be given, as well as, a signed copy of the book.  Thanks for participating in this brain-tank-think-storming-group session!

Happy New Year,


Saturday, December 28, 2013

Purple kickstarter update

This kickstarter update will give you all the latest details!

To the right are rudimentary blocking sketches showing the various approaches and perspectives the new cover could take.  Have a favorite?  Let me know...



p.s.  Click on the image to enlarge it.

Wednesday, December 25, 2013

& It Was Advanced!

Hey guys,

Merry Christmas!  Just wanted to share another little interview (it never rains but it pours) where I talk more about gaming, Kort'thalis Publishing, and what's on the horizon.

Thanks for reading!


p.s.  Tonight, I finally got to watch the Advanced Dungeons & Dragons episode from the Community tv show.  Probably the best present I could have received.

Saturday, December 21, 2013

Black Lotus Kult interviews VS

As some of you may already know, I didn't just awaken from a cryo-stasis chamber a year ago and immediately start scribbling weird sci-fantasy roleplaying stuff all over the internet.  Venger has a past.

This right here is an interview I did with the Black Lotus Kult to help promote The Islands of Purple-Haunted Putrescence kickstarter.  Ariock, the guy who interviewed me, wanted me to discuss the Cthulhu Cult (an actual religion I founded back in 2004) and my recent OSR projects.

So, if you're interested in delving a little bit deeper into who I am and what I'm about, then delve away!  If not, that's ok, too.


Sunday, December 15, 2013

Deflected by Flashing Steel

This idea came from an online conversation "Save versus Sword!!" at Original D&D Discussion here.  I'd like to thank snakeeyes and Azafuse for the initial idea.  deadDMwalking and Exploderwizard from TheRPGsite helped me work out the kinks.  Here's my submission...

If a fighter is wielding a magic sword, he's able to deflect an amount of damage equal to the sword's enhancement (count the sword's highest plus possible), in addition to, the fighter's level to reduce damage. 

This applies to only fighters or straight-up warriors, no ranger, cavalier, barbarian, or paladin fighter sub-class types.  GMs can decide how narrowly they want to define the word "sword" in their campaign.  

This special maneuver is usable once per day and in response to any weapon, attack, or act of god - an arrow shot from a bow to a red dragon's fiery breath... even falling rocks during a cave-in.  The only thing for which there would be no possible defense is direct contact with a sphere of annihilation. The fighter does not have to be aware of the threat or danger in order to make use of flashing steel deflection.  However, utilization must be announced before damage is rolled (or after the GM rolls but before the player knows the extent of his character's wound).

This is not an automatic ability.  A religious battle-ritual must be performed by the fighter while his magic sword is wrapped in a crimson sheet or blanket... frequently a blood-soaked shroud.  If the fighter does not currently worship a deity of war (combat, battle, crusades, etc.), then a quest must also be completed before the feat is bestowed upon him.  Henceforth, the character may be recognized as a Templar Knight.

If the fighter forges (or re-forges) his own sword, with specific runes of war worked into the blade, then he may also include his strength modifier (the larger number if there's a discrepancy) in the deflection, as long as, that particular sword is enchanted, infused with magic, or blessed / made sacred by a war-god worshiping cleric.

Note, when a fighter falls out of favor with the god(s) of war or a magical sword is brandished which has not been through the blood-shroud ceremony, the maneuver cannot be performed as intended.

For example, if a 6th level fighter, Carr, with a +1 bastard sword, +3 vs. dragons is about to be slashed in twain by a giant mutated claw, the PC can elect to (partially) deflect said blow by 9 points of damage [11 assuming the character forged his own rune-sword and his strength bonus was +2].  

"I use Espada Bastardo to impede the creature's claw attack."  

"Very well,"  says the GM as he rolls a few dice.  "The mutant crab is thwarted to a degree.  Carr would have taken 25 points of damage, but instead takes only 16."

It may not be much, and the Templar Knight in question might still die, but at least his extraordinary blade gives him a chance of survival.


p.s.  See this in its own slick PDF!  Give me feedback please.  Thanks.

Thursday, December 12, 2013

Kickstarter update!

Thanks for your active interest and participation in The Islands of Purple-Haunted Putrescence!  I really appreciate the support.  You can bet that it'll be the adventure of a lifetime.

BTW, (the whole purpose of this post) I added a bunch of new stuff, more pages for the initial funding, a helpful FAQ with teaser content that explains a bit of what the module is about, and new rewards!  So, please take another look.  Also, share it with others who might be into weird-fantasy with scifi, gonzo, and Lovecraftian tones.

If you're interested in LotDS or the Baleful Sorcerer, then look to your right.  Click on the covers and you'll be whisked away to RPGNow.  Feel free to post reviews and/or tales of awesomeness and woe.


p.s.  The picture is from one of my primary motivations, the early 80's movie Heavy Metal.  If you've never seen it (or it's been a while) do yourself a favor and watch it.  The only film I can name that contains all 4 of Venger's major food groups:  scifi, fantasy, horror, and exploitation!

Monday, December 9, 2013

The Islands of Purple-Haunted Putrescence

The time has come...

Kickstarter + Kort'thalis Publishing = The Islands of Purple-Haunted Putrescence

Sounds like a fairly straightforward equation, right?  Well, I'm sure there will be bumps along the road.  Thanks in advance to those who take this journey with me.  If you have questions, please post them here.

Take a look at the cover art I already purchased from Faustie (he did the LotDS cover, too)  I also plan on using Dyson for the dungeon cartography, Paul Allen for a lot of the interior illustrations, Ed Wedig for the layout, and lots of sword-and-sorcery pulp stories for inspiration.

This sophomore effort should be even weirder, if not better than Liberation of the Demon Slayer, and hopefully you're already enjoying the free, old school character class, The Baleful Sorcerer of Tsathag'kha.  Ok, wish me luck!

*  *  *

What is this "Purple-Haunted Putrescence" of which you speak?

Here's a taste...
The Purple-Haunted Putrescence is a nebulous mass of tentacles, gaping orifices, and decay about 2 miles in breadth by 3 miles in width. It's a sentient being of dribbling, putrid, gelatinous, filth drifting between 30 - 50 feet above the islands like a malignant cloud of purple ooze; sometimes seeking victims to devour, other times attempting to communicate with inhabitants, or simply observing the life it may one day consume. Worshipers call it The Thing That Rots From They Sky.
Even inattentive adventurers will notice the purple-stained hands of cultists who worship The Thing That Rots From The Sky as god. The purple stain comes from squirming protoplasmic matter infrequently excreted from the putrescence itself. Cultists eagerly scoop up the translucent semi-fluid, its juice-secreting substance staining their bare hands. Cultists drop the excrement in the Pit of Yuzklatan in hopes of spawning a new Thing That Rots From The Sky in the next aeon.
A few choose to imbibe it. Most die; however, some become carriers of putrescent visions... prophets of the purple! All subservient to the Arch-Acolyte, of course. 

Arch-Acolyte Yiksha Saleece is the cult's spiritual leader. He's as old as he is cunning, having received revelations from the Thing generations ago when Yiksha was only a boy. Those prophecies were set down upon several scrolls by a long-forgotten scribe. Since those early years, Yiksha Saleece is recognized as messiah of the Purple-Haunted Putrescence. 

The prophecy of Yuzklatan, recorded upon purple juice-writ parchment and concealed within Yiksha's tent, speak of a time when The Thing That Rots From The Sky grows old and feeble, requiring an heir of its own ilk. When a purple spawn shall be created from small bits of the god itself, gathered at a time when it is healthy. In return for assisting the Thing's renewal, worshipers will eventually become part of this new, younger deity. The original, pre-translated word for this process of self-deification is "Yuzklatan". 

Various belief systems regarding the Purple-Haunted Putrescence 

1. Aeons ago, the Purple-Haunted Putrescence was flushed out of a space craft, drifted through a radioactive nebula, and landed in some kind of primordial ooze. 

2. It developed from a biological weapon, used on another planet to subdue a citizenry on the brink of revolution. 

3. The Purple-Haunted Putrescence is indeed divine, though a lesser god compared with Yazag-Thoth. 

4. This rotting monstrosity was conjured from the abyss by three sorcerers; they were promptly immolated as it shuddered and dripped from a gateway bathed in violet flame.

Thursday, December 5, 2013

The Baleful Sorcerer of Tsathag'kha

If you've ever wanted to play a swarthy, silk-clad sorcerer from a Clark Ashton Smith or Robert E. Howard story, then look no further... The Baleful Sorcerer of Tsathag'kha is up on DriveThruRPG and RPGNow for FREE!!!

I wanted to thank everyone for purchasing Liberation of the Demon Slayer by making this new sorcerer class available to all those GMs and players searching for something a little different.  And a special thanks (as mentioned at the front of this brief tome) goes out to all those who furnished me with helpful tips and good advice.  I appreciated it.

Also, please post your feedback!


p.s.  If, for any reason, you'd like a larger file size of the cover image, shoot me an email.  Specify PDF or JPG.

Sunday, December 1, 2013

Doctor Who Convention

Was thinking about titling this post: A Doctor I Barely Recognize or The Internet Did Not Break.  Who knows, I might still change it...

Before we go any further, know ye this: I'm a fan of the old series.  I'm a dinosaur, a grognard, and a 39 year old vintage relishing nostalgia whore.  I'd rather be watching The Talons of Weng-Chiang than doing practically anything.  I'm into "scifi gothic" from the 70's and 80's, don't you know.

Got back last night from the Chicago TARDIS Doctor Who convention.  Heard about it months ago through a local geek meetup website - those things are useful because there's a lot of stuff one doesn't hear or read about if they're living a semi-normal, occasional geek lifestyle.  Maybe I should have gotten a free subscription to Entertainment Weekly years ago?

Decided to make a short family vacation out of it.  I'm sure my wife pressuring me into taking her and the kids had almost nothing to do with it.  Not because she likes Doctor Who, of course (though she did pretend to enjoy Jon Pertwee running all over Peladon before getting pregnant with our first child), but because it meant a weekend out of the house, in a nice hotel, and why should I get to go off and have fun while she takes care of our two young children for three days.

The trip to Chicago (just outside, actually) from Madison (Sun Prairie, technically) wasn't too bad.  About two and a half hours.  Due to my wife's negotiating with the hotel manager - the art of badgering men with her constant barrage of demands (I'm mostly kidding) - we had a very nice, very large corner room for an extremely reasonable price.  I knew sleeping with both kids in the room was going to be tricky.  More on that later.

After check-in and registration (Nicola Bryant rushed past the line I was in at one point), I got to see a panel of Paul McGann and his companion from the 1996 made-for-TV movie.  So many people were fawning over the movie, saying how great it was, how it changed their lives, gave them hope, thought that he was their favorite Doctor, and so on.  Well, I finally decided to watch it with my wife the night before we left for the convention.  I had low expectations which is why I'd never seen it until then.

Forgive me it you're one of the many (apparently) who love it, but I thought it was terrible.  Riddled with mistakes - from not bothering to get the audience involved with the minor characters before the action starts to... it's pretty much all bad.  However, I thought some of the acting was good.  Paul McGann did a fine job, and his companion was decent and pretty.  Anyways, I'm not surprised that Doctor Who didn't take off again after that sad pile of Gallifreyan fluff.

Beyond that, the moderator, audience, and McGann were talking about something called Night of the Doctor which apparently was six minutes of heaven for anyone who ever enjoyed scifi.  I had never heard of it until then, but a lot of conversation evolved around that mini-sode or however its categorized.

Onto the next!  Accidentally ran into Michael Jayston who played the Valeyard back in the Trial of a Timelord era.  We briefly talked about local restaurants before I recognized him.  My wife said his breath smelled of booze and both of us spotted him smoking a cigarette outside the hotel at multiple points in our 24 hour convention experience.  So, he aged quite a bit, and for good reason.  Shook his hand, and got a less than crystal clear picture with him.

There was a "Dalek Alley" which was pretty cool.  A lot of prop and replica Daleks for all to see.  A nice little photo-op which I took advantage of.  Also, got to have my voice Dalek-ized with a computer simulation of some modulation whatever.  It's been a long time since I spoke nerd or geek fluently.

I saw a fair amount of costumes.  And not just people dressed like Tom Baker.  I saw an old school Cyberman, Ice Warrior, the Master as played by Anthony Ainley, some dude walking around with a mobile K-9, and a bunch of stuff from McCoy on, of which I've never been much of a fan.

Sleeping was hell.  I went to bed extra early (probably around 8pm) because I knew that all four of us in one big room was going to be nightmarish.  Unfortunately, I missed out on a 50th anniversary party downstairs and probably some other cool stuff.  I felt bad about just leaving my wife to struggle with the kids while I went off to carouse.

Next morning came early, but was eventually filled with Briella going swimming with Mom while I wandered around the lobby with Illyria who just turned 1.  More pictures!  Also, my wife and I decided to cut the trip short and leave mid-afternoon, even though I bought tickets for the whole weekend.  The hotel was very accommodating and let us leave early without having to pay for Saturday night.

Listened to Dick Mills give his one millionth talk on making those classic Doctor Who sounds like the Tardis landing, ray guns firing, and the cloister bell.

Finally got to see Peter Davison, Colin Baker, Sarah Sutton, and Nicola Bryant talk about various things.  Found out about a 30 or so minute 50th anniversary "film" which was (again!) news to me.  The Five-ish Doctors it's called.  Apparently, that was also mind blowing!

By now I am sick and tired of hearing that "the internet broke".  These moderators obviously don't know how niche this stuff is.  Even a casual fan like myself (20 years ago I would have classified myself as a super-fan) never even knew this stuff existed.

So, a lot of talk about that, some about the new series - of which I've only seen bits and pieces, except for the real BBC 50th anniversary special which was pretty awesome (I thought Tom Baker was dead) - and quite a bit about those "radio dramas".  Apparently, those are still going on.  Back when Doctor Who had been cancelled, I tried listening to those (twice!) but just couldn't bring myself to enjoy it.  Nevertheless, there were several applause breaks for Big Finish.

Before leaving for WI, I went back into the hotel to pee and get change for those god awful tolls.  On my way to the restroom, I walked by Sarah Sutton.  I smiled, said "Hey", and extended my arm.  She feigned a weak smile, knowing she was going to be forced to shake my hand (which she did), and then scampered off to who knows where as I relieved my bladder (in the men's room, not in the hallway as she was planning her escape).  Afterwards, I convinced myself that it was my own resemblance to the Master which made her uneasy.

You wouldn't think I'd be so happy to sleep in my own bed after just one night away... but I was.  We all were.  I'd never been to a Doctor Who convention.  As you can probably tell, I'm not really a convention kind of guy (fan, geek, whatever).  But, since it was the 50th, and happening less than three hours away, I felt it was something I should do at least once.

Next time, and my wife is in full agreement, I go alone.


p.s.  Oh yeah, I also bought a couple Dalek t-shirts and a pink My Little Pony patch for our 2 3/4 year old.  Thanks for reading!