Thursday, March 31, 2011

[Thundarr Thursday] Thundarr RPGs Found Throughout The Blogosphere

Demon Dogs! Looks like role-playing in the "Thundarrverse" is gaining steam! When I stumbled across a post at Adventures in Gaming v2 titled "[Mutant Future] Thundarr!", I knew I had to poke my head in to see what was going on. Blog-meister James Michler has set up a Thundarr-based Mutant Future campaign based on some material found here (thankyewverymuch), with some additional house rules to round things out. I suggest you stop by and see what he's developed. He has already posted a recap of the first session, "The Mad Mage of Madzone" which begins the adventures of Rash the Barbarian, Canthar the Sorcerer, and Bakra the Puma Girl in a land teaming with evil wizards and twisted mutants. Check it out!

Another Thundarr-related blog sighting includes Jeff's Gameblog. Blog-meister Jeff Rients has a regular Mutant Future game well underway. According to one of his earlier game recaps, he ran his merry band of Future Mutants through The Valley of the Man-Apes, based on the classic Thundarr episode. Read the recap for an epic giant-robot-ape fight scene. The stuff gaming legends are born from.

More Thundarr RPG goodness can be found in the Wasteland Generator over at Djeryv's Graveyard. Blog-meister Djeryv has incorporated Thundarr the Barbarian creatures into the random generator. Take a predetermined map, tell the generator the number of room/areas, and get an automated list of room encounters along with a table for random encounters for the area.

As if that's not enough, there are Thundarr-based sourcebooks and materials for other RPG systems, including:

Under the Broken Moon (based on the Over the Edge system)

Under a Broken Moon (based on D&D 4e)

Savage Thundarr (based on the Savage Worlds system)

And, in case you've forgotten, there's the World of Thundarr the Barbarian sourcebook for Mutant Future right over there in the right-hand column. ;)

Sunday, March 27, 2011

Savage Menagerie: Fleshmelt

No. Enc.: 1 (1d3)
Alignment: Neutral
Movement: 150' (50')
Armor Class: 6
Hit Dice: 11
Attacks: 1 (bite)
Damage: 2d8
Save: L9
Morale: 8
Hoard Class: None

The Fleshmelt is a huge lizard-like creature found in deep underground caves and caverns. Due to its appearance, it is believed the Fleshmelt is a descendant of the Ancient komodo dragon. It lumbers about on four legs, however, due to its size, it has a faster-than-expected movement rate. Fleshmelts are a deeply subterranean race of creatures. Due to the many generations of living in pitch blackness, Fleshmelts are completely blind, relying only on sound and smell to guide it to its prey. They have not evolved any enhanced senses, but they are fairly accurate with their other senses.

The Fleshmelt primarily attacks with a sharp-tooth-lined mouth, which it uses to bite for 2d8 hit points of damage. But the true danger of a Fleshmelt is from its dermal poison slime. The Fleshmelt's skin secretes the same digestive juices normally found in the stomach. (The Fleshmelt's own skin is obviously immune.) This acidic substance dissolves organic materials such as wood, plant life, and - yes - flesh. Any contact with a Fleshmelt results in 2d8 hit points of burning acidic damage. Unless a save versus poison is then made, this hit point loss will become permanent and should be subtracted from the PC's maximum hit point total. The PC will undoubtedly be stunned as he watches the skin and muscle whither and drip from the point of injury. It is said that the shrieks of agony coming from a dissolving victim also helps the creature locate its prey.

Mutations: sensory deficiency, dermal poison slime (special)

NOTE: Today's beastie was generated using the
The Random Esoteric Creature Generator!

Tuesday, March 22, 2011

Savage Menagerie: Soulrider

No. Enc.: 0 (2d10)
Alignment: Chaotic
Movement: 180' (60')
Armor Class: 8
Hit Dice: 2
Attacks: Special
Damage: Special
Save: L2
Morale: 7
Hoard Class: None

The Soulrider is a deviously intelligent, brain-sized, pulsating mass of a creature. A Soulrider has one leering eye and moves about through the use of a set of tentacles on its underside. Soulriders are never encountered singularly; rather they are a nesting society of creatures, which leads directly to the threat they pose.

Because Soulriders are so physically weak, they use their ability of possession to overtake a victim's mind, commanding them to act as their virtual slave -- providing the Soulrider with food and protection. Soulriders will usually enter a village unseen and, over the course of time, will dominate every individual within. Soulriders will also use their metaconcert mutation to coordinate their actions amongst themselves. Once the entire village is dominated, the Soulriders will run the village as hidden slavemasters. PCs may pass through a village without even realizing the entire town is being manipulated by a hidden Soulrider society.

Soulriders are incapable of any degree of attack or defense. If discovered, they will command their thralls to attack on their behalf. A PC may find himself attacked by an entire village once a single Soulrider is discovered. (It's a fair bet that the discovery of one Soulrider means that more are lurking nearby.) Soulriders do have one defensive ability. They have the mutation of quickness, which means that they can lift themselves up onto the tips of their tendrils and skitter away at an incredible rate of speed once discovered or if combat turns against them.

Soulriders thrive on creating larger and stronger communities, as they see strength in numbers. Once a nest of Soulriders hatches a new generation, the village may be overly welcoming to new visitors. Unless on alert, these visitors may become the newest possessed residents of the village.

Mutations: possession, metaconcert, quickness

Friday, March 18, 2011

Fight On! Issue 11 Is Out! (With The Return Of Sir Tendeth!)

That old-school stalwart fanzine Fight On! is now out with issue 11! Here's the blurb for this exciting issue:
Watch out! Fight On! is back with another full issue, packed to the rafters with 3 big dungeons, classes, races, rules options, monsters, spells, magic items, tables, how-to articles for new kinds of adventure, comics, two self-contained minigames, and a superabundant sideboard of succulent supplements to get your party started down the road to adventure! Dedicated to Greg Stafford and his legendary campaign of Glorantha, this issue features art and articles by Mark Allen, Kelvin Green, Baz Blatt, Jason Vasché, Gabor Lux, James A. Smith, Jeff Rients, Erin Bisson, David Coalman, Jason Sholtis, Jennifer Weigel, Erol Otus, Steve Marsh, Geoffrey O. Dale, Lee Barber, John Hitchens, Scott LeMien, Fat Cotton, Ndege Diamond, Peter Schmidt Jensen, Kesher, Patrick Farley, Ed Heil, John Larrey, Tim Snider, Carlos Torreblanca, and many, many more! Don't be caught out without your broadsword and blaster ready - Fight On!
This issue, I didn't contribute my usual Mutant Future fodder. Rather, I resurrected a comic strip I used to do years ago in two gaming publications. "Sir Tendeth" appeared regularly in both The Chainmail -- the monthly national newsletter for the International Fantasy Gaming Society -- as well as Metagame Magazine. I missed doing a regular RPG-based strip, so Fight On! is now the new home of Sir Tendeth, Brother Fahthur, Abner KaDabner, and the rest of the medieval misfits. Hope you enjoy 'em.

Monday, March 14, 2011

Giant Mutant Chickens? Call In LEGO Hazmat Guy!

Saw this guy appearing in a LEGO ad in the Sunday paper:
Meet HAZMAT GUY! (Yes, that's the actual figure's name.) Here's the blurb straight from the LEGO website:

When you’ve got a bad case of mysterious glowing goo in your city, the hard-working Hazmat Guy is just the fellow to call. Whether the job involves searching the sewers for mutant sludge or cleaning up after giant radioactive chickens from outer space, he’s always ready to put on his airtight protective suit, grab his hi-tech equipment, and make the streets safe and tidy once more. Of course, when you get sent into dangerous situations to handle hazardous materials every day, you’re bound to get a little jittery. Although he never backs away from an emergency, the Hazmat Guy is always nervous that this is the one time his gear won’t work. After all, with all of the crazy substances he’s been exposed to, it’s a wonder he hasn’t grown an extra face on the other side of his head!

"Growing an extra face?" "Giant radioactive chickens?" Tell me someone at LEGO isn't a fan of the gonzo post-apocalypse! Now if we can just get them to release a LEGO spidergoat...

Hazmat Guy is one of 16 randomly packed figures in the LEGO Minifigures Collection, Series 4.

Saturday, March 12, 2011

What Is "Gonzo"?

When folks discuss the post-apocalyptic genre of RPG play, one word occasionally pops up to somehow describe the "feel" of the game's environment:

Both Mutant Future and Gamma World have been described as "gonzo post-apocalyptic" RPGs. You yourself may have even used the term. But what does it MEAN? Gonzo seems to be one of those words where everyone knows what is implied, but no one has ever specifically defined the term, like "pornography," for example.

First a bit of a discussion about the post-apocalyptic genre. "The End of The World As We Know It" isn't exactly a "fun" place to game in. The blasted earth, humanity in shambles, radiation and poisons everywhere. Some apocalyptic RPGs play this straight. Aftermath!, Twilight 2000, and The Morrow Project all present a serious take on man's survival after all Hell breaks loose. Exposure to radiation won't cause you to grow a prehensile tail; rather you may have to roll on the "Radiation Exposure Table" to see what body part turns black and falls off.

But if we look up the word "gonzo," we find this handy thumbnail definition: "Crazy, madcap, anarchistic." (We also get about 1,000 hits for a certain crook-nosed blue Muppet with a chicken fetish.) So taking that to heart, anything classified as "gonzo" is not based in reality, is somewhat chaotic, and can be -- and often is -- played for laughs.

** Batman is not gonzo. The Joker is gonzo.
** Superman is not gonzo. Bizarro is certainly gonzo.
** Kermit? Not very gonzo. Gonzo? Absolute gonzo.

So "Gonzo Post-apocalyptic" takes place after the End Wars where reality and the laws of nature take a backseat to imagination and wacky hijinks. Radiation doesn't give you leukemia; it causes you to shoot lasers from your eyes. Mutations aren't crippling physical deformities; they are beneficial abilities that are borderline superheroic. The end of the world may be at hand, but that's when the fun begins!

I don't think any other RPG genre has a "gonzo" subcategory -- at least not officially. I suppose HackMaster 4th Edition could be described as "gonzo fantasy"; Stuperpowers could be "gonzo superheroic"; and Ghostbusters would be "gonzo horror." But "gonzo" seems to be strongly rooted in the post-apocalyptic genre, and that's what makes it great. After all, a man riding a giant chicken-wolf in AD&D is bizarre. In Mutant Future, it's typical.

Hot Post-Apocalyptic Chicks! Elven! Cyborg! And "Other!"

I'm a day late, but hey! Hot Chicks are timeless! Always one to pander, toady, and jump on a bandwagon, I finally got around to joining the "hot elf chick" OSR meme started by James over at The Underdark Gazette. For those who may be under the mistaken notion that the Old School Renaissance only encompasses the fantasy genre, might I remind you that gonzo post-apocalyptic survival is alive and well with Mutant Future and the recent relaunch of Gamma World. You ain't gotta slay a dragon to be "old school!"

Let's to combine "hot chicks" and "elven" with "post-apocalyptic" for you. Ah yes, let's step into the Way Back Machine and discuss Shadowrun -- the game of a dystopian future when fantasy and sci-fi collide. That's close enough. And hot elven chicks abound in that world:

Shadowrun elf cosplayer I found...

Hot cyborgs have a place in the Mutant Future!

And I wanted one "hot mutant," but a Google search kept turning up the three-boobed chick from Total Recall. Then I found "her" above. Keen!

Thursday, March 10, 2011

[Thundarr Thursday] Ancient Armory: Zogar's Trident

Weapon: Zogar's Trident
Damage: 1d10+16
Attacks: 1
Range: N/A
Weight: 5 lbs.
Battery: Minifusion cell
Charges: Cell depleted after 30 minutes of use

Zogar's Trident was given to him by the evil wizard Kublai in hopes that he could use it to thwart Thundarr and his Sun Sword. Because Zogar was another barbarian now also armed with a powerful energy weapon, Kublai assumed Zogar would be triumphant.

Although presented to Zogar by a wizard, the Trident is not magical. The weapon is a very powerful technological artifact, powerful enough to stand up to the Sun Sword for a short while. In Zogar's hands, the Trident deals 1d10+16 hit points of damage. As a thrusting weapon, it can very easily "punch" a hole through solid matter, though actions of this kind deplete 5 minutes of charge for each attempt. After 30 minutes of use, the power cell will be drained.

Although Zogar and the Trident held up to Thundarr during a protracted fight through Chinatown, the Trident eventually ran out of power, and it powered down. At that time, Thundarr easily cut the weapon in half, disarming Zogar.

NOTE: This weapon is inspired by the episode “Battle of the Barbarians” from the classic Ruby Spears post-apocalyptic cartoon “Thundarr the Barbarian". Stay tuned each week for “Thundarr Thursday”!

Monday, March 7, 2011

Savage Menagerie: Brain Lord

No. Enc.: 1
Alignment: Chaotic
Movement: 120' (40')
Armor Class: 6
Hit Dice: 13
Attacks: 1
Damage: Special
Save: L9
Morale: 9
Hoard Class: III, IV, IX, XXI

Deep in the cavernous recesses of every brain lasher lair (MF rulebook, page 63) is rumored to lurk their mysterious evil leader -- the Brain Lord. If the brain lashers are the despised, feared, monstrous despots of the Mutant Future, then the Brain Lord is their intellectual ruler. However, there is currently no one who has ever admitted to encountering one; rather their existence is the stuff of legends and nightmares.

A Brain Lord appears to be a large (6 feet long), floating, disembodied brain with a set of glowing yellow eyes leering from the front lobe. A Brain Lord never speaks nor does it communicate with any save its brain lasher minions. It is usually found at the deepest, most isolated chamber of a brain lasher stronghold, manipulating its underlings to further the brain lasher agenda.

A Brain Lord has all of the same abilities as its brain lasher underlings, with the addition of three other abilities. The Brain Lord has developed psionic flight, allowing it to float about as it wishes. This ability is considered always active and requires no concentration on the behalf of the Brain Lord. The Brain Lord is also able to use its metaconcert ability to mentally "link" to all brain lashers nearby. It uses this ability to issue commands to all at once, as well as to alert everyone to immediate dangers and threats. When triggered, all brain lashers within 1,000 feet will be linked to one another, seeing and knowing what any one of them experiences. Finally, the Brain Lord can trigger a killing sphere once a day. All within 25 feet will immediately drop to 1 hit point. Victims must also save vs. stun attacks or be rendered unconscious for 1d10 rounds. The Brain Lord uses this ability only as a last resort if death is imminent or if escape otherwise is impossible.

Although the usual brain lasher lair holds 1d3 of them, a Brain Lord will only be found in larger brain lasher communities containing 1d12 of the creatures all beholden to the Brain Lord. It is said there is a Brain Master back on the brain lasher homeworld that all Brain Lords answer to, but this is the stuff of nightmare speculation.

Mutations: ancestral form, mind thrust, plane shift, possession, precognition, thermal vision, psionic flight, metaconcert, killing sphere

Sunday, March 6, 2011

Dangerous Encounter: Cult of the Red Band

This encounter can take place in any small village the party encounters while between adventures. The village should be only a handful of hovels and shacks -- very destitute with downtrodden villagers. When the party first arrives, the townsfolk should initially be wary of them. However, once they have been determined to not be a threat, the party will be swarmed by people begging and pleading for their assistance.

The villagers will explain that they are constantly being attacked by a marauding band of Pigmen (MF rulebook, pg. 88) who have taken most of their food and valuables over many months. Anyone who tries to fight back is killed. Sick and weak individuals unable to resist are dragged off, never to return. Although Pigmen are known for these tactics, they are not known for taking prisoners. Another odd fact; the Pigmen scream "Amf! Amf!" during these raids, and they've been wielding oddly-shaped clubs made of some kind of Ancient material. These clubs have a red ring around the handle, giving the Pigmen the name of "Red Banders." The villagers plead with the party, asking them to drive away these bandits. While discussing the issue, a small raiding party of Red Banders arrives in a rusted-out pick-up truck, ready to attack.

Pigmen (4) (AL C, MV 120' (40'), AC 6, HD 7, #AT 1 (club or energy ray), DG 1d6 or 4d6, SV L6, ML 9, mutations: bizarre appearance, energy ray (heat), negative empathy, thermal vision)

During the course of the fight, the party will see the "clubs" the Red Banders have been attacking with. Each of them is armed with an Ancient bowling pin and is using it as a bludgeoning device. Once the Pigmen are killed or captured, the party can try to determine where they may have taken the prisoners. They can try to follow the truck's tracks back to its point of origin. They can interrogate any live Pigmen for the location. Or, perhaps, one of the party may have enough knowledge of Ancient cultures to recognize the nature of the "club" or figure out that "AMF" was somehow also connected with the Ancient sport as well. Either way, the leads points to an Ancient AMF bowling facility about 12 miles down the road.

When the party arrives at the bowling alley, they will see a small encampment of Pigmen who have set up in front of the building and around the perimeter. There are six milling about, armed with "clubs." In the center of the camp is a small holding "pen" ringed with barbed wire which holds the prisoners. Unseen by the party are two more Pigment on the roof of the building, acting as sentries. These lookouts are armed with cobbled-together cannons that have been custom-built to fire bowling balls scavenged from the facility. They can fire these with alarming accuracy, and the bowling balls will do 2d10 damage if they hit. Unless the party are being very stealthy and staying off the road upon approach, the sentries will warn the camp of the approaching party members.

Pigmen (8) (AL C, MV 120' (40'), AC 6, HD 7, #AT 1 (club or energy ray), DG 1d6 or 4d6, SV L6, ML 9, mutations: bizarre appearance, energy ray (heat), negative empathy, thermal vision)

As combat truly begins, the Pigmen will change their chanting from "Amf! Amf! Amf!" to "Brunswick! Brunswick! Brunswick!" The doors to the building will be thrown open, and the leader of the Red Banders will charge out. "Brunswick" is a Hideous Boar (MF rulebook, pg.
63) that has evolved into a humanoid form, able to walk upright on its hind legs while holding two clubs -- one in each of its "hands." Brunswick's three heads have also each evolved advanced intelligence, quick mind, and martial intellectual affinity (martial). This gives Brunswick an almost genius-like intelligence, an ability to thwart mental attacks, and a +2 to hit bonus in hand-to-hand combat. Brunswick also has the acidic spittle toxic weapon as all Hideous Boars do.

Mutant Hideous Boar, "Brunswick" (1) (AL N, MV 120' (40'), AC 5, HD 7, #AT 5 (2 clubs and 3 tusks or spittle), DG 1d6/1d6/2d8/2d8/2d8 or 2d10, SV L2, ML 9, mutations: humanoid form, advanced intelligence, quick mind, intellectual affinity (martial), toxic weapon)

Brunswick's initial reaction is to charge into combat in an animal-like rage, attacking the nearest invader. However, after two rounds of combat, Brunswick will calm down enough to assess the situation. The party may be unaware of his intelligence, and Brunswick prefers it that way as his foes often underestimate him, thinking him to be some mindless mutant enforcer. If the combat goes against him, he will do as much damage as he can, memorizing the faces of these invaders for future vengeance, before escaping into the woods. (He has prepared many modes of escape for just such a situation.) If the party is captured, he may have them fight amongst themselves for his amusement. The winner goes free and the others will be killed.

Brunswick is large and violent, but also cunning and ruthless. He is beginning to establish himself as a local warlord and this base was his first attempt to establish a stronghold. If the party foils this, they will have made a very, very deadly enemy.

Saturday, March 5, 2011

[Savage Menagerie] Octoshark

No. Enc.: 1 (1)
Alignment: Neutral
Movement: Swim: 240' (80')
Armor Class: 4
Hit Dice: 15
Attacks: 7 (bite, six tentacles)
Damage: 4d8, 2d8, 2d8, 2d8, 2d8, 2d8, 2d8
Save: L9
Morale: 10
Hoard Class: None

An Octoshark is a viciously violent giant sea creature with the head of a shark and the body of an octopus. It is often confused with the sharktopus, which is thought to only exist in Ancient "B-movies." But whereas the sharktopus is nothing more than the imaginings of a fevered movie director, the Octoshark is quite real in the Mutant Future.

Octosharks are incredibly large, able to use their monstrous tentacles to pull up and out of the water to attack large ships and coastal villages. They are water-breathers, so they cannot stay out of the water for very long before needing to submerge again to breathe. However, they have a voracious appetite and will consume nearly any animal life it encounters. When a favored fishing spot becomes empty, anglers sometimes worry that an Octoshark has nested nearby.

An Octoshark attacks first by trying to grasp an opponent with one of its six tentacles. Because it has so many of them, it is not unusual for an Octoshark to grab and hold multiple victims during combat. Once held, a victim will suffer 2d8 of crushing damage each new combat round. It can also bite for 4d8 points of damage, preferring to bite a captured victim. On a natural 20 on a "bite" attack, an Octoshark will swallow a victim whole. The victim will then suffer 4d8 hit points of drowning/acid damage per round from the creature's stomach acids until he either dies or is able to somehow escape. It is fortunate that an Octoshark has no mutations as the creature is more than a challenge to an unwary party as-is.

Mutations: none

Thursday, March 3, 2011

[Thundarr Thursday] Savage Menagerie: One-Eye

No. Enc.: 1d2 (1d4)
Alignment: Chaotic
Movement: 90' (30')
Armor Class: 4
Hit Dice: 12
Attacks: 1 (hand or weapon)
Damage: 2d8 or weapon
Save: L9
Morale: 9
Hoard Class: VII

A One-Eye is a classic giant cyclops straight of of Jason and the Argonauts. However, in the Thundarr universe, the One-Eye is is often found under the thrall of a Wizard who is commanding it to do his bidding.

A One-Eye is nearly 30 feet tall due to its gigantism mutation. It is covered with matted brown fur, has a set of sharp teeth and -- of course -- one large eye in the center of its forehead. Due to the lack of depth perception, a One-Eye has a -1 To Hit penalty. However, due to its size and strength, a One-Eye gets a +2 damage bonus if it hits in combat. One-Eyes prefer to use a club in combat. However, this club will be the size of a large log, dealing 2d10 hit points of crushing damage if it hits.

When dealing with a One-Eye, the party will have one other advantage other than the creature's inability to see well. One-Eyes are notoriously stupid with a very basic animal-like intelligence. It will get confused easily during combat, and a clever fighter will be able to use this slowness to his advantage. One thing to avoid is being caught and lifted by a One-Eye. If they are able to grab an opponent, 50% of the time they will immediately hurl them into the distance. Upon doing so, they will turn their attention to those who are left to fight.

Mutations: gigantism

NOTE: This creature was inspired by episode "Fortress of Fear" from the Ruby Spears post-apocalyptic cartoon series "Thundarr the Barbarian." Stay tuned for more of Thundarr Thursday!