Sunday, September 19, 2010

Kirk vs Cthulhu, Asteroid Adventure, Imaginitive Monster Lists, Stat Inflation, Intelligent Magic Items, and Music

I received some great comments regarding my off the cuff "Just Imagine" Kirk vs. Cthulhu post; two dealt with past efforts in that direction:

From DearGod:
"I once began running a CthulhuTrek game. It only lasted a couple sessions--mostly because school and work broke up the game night.

In my game Dagon had granted the deep ones knowledge of space travel. I had the players come across a derelict ship that was completely flooded with water. The deep ones knocked out the ship's shields, uploaded a virus that caused the replicators to mass-produce water, and then transported on to the ship to steal away all of the humans to sacrifice them to their fish-gods."
From Chris Hüth:
"A few years ago, when I was more enthused about 'running' Beyond The Final Frontier, I started writing an article on exactly this topic, called 'The Doom That Came From Space' or something like that.

The first part was ideas for converting Call of Cthulhu adventures to Star Trek, including series outlines for SoYS and MoN, and talking about horror in Trek, both in running it and examples of it from all the series (and negotiating the humanism-antihumanism Trek-HPL divide in tone).

The second part was conversions, revisionings and fittings of CoC things into Trek (including examples of mi-go spaceships, sinister interpretations of regular Trek species (like why the Breen wear suits), and episode outlines for each. I've got a few crazy ones (The Ruins of Aldebaran III and 65 Million Years To Earth) I still really want to run.

The SFier interpretations of Mythos elements in Trail would also be a big help here, especially for stripping out the cliche cultist/tome parts where they don't fit." 
As a relevant aside, I believe that one version of the Star Trek rpg used 3d6 stat & percentile skill system that at first glance looked to be quite compatible with Call of Cthulhu...

I've been working on a new Planet Algol adventure/"dungeon"; this one is set on an asteroid and is very influences by 60s & 70s television & movie sci-fi such as Star Trek, Doctor Who and Space 1999. Hopefully my players will take the bait tomorrow...

As part of the research for this project, I dug up some great OD&D monster lists from fellow OSR bloggers I remember really liking, and it would be despicable of me not to share them with you guys (nevermind having a compiled set of links for use in my own game):

From Aeons & Auguries: Lunar Encounter Tables.

From Sham's Grog 'n Blog: The Dismal Depths Bestiary; More Monsters; and Even More Monsters.

Dig those terse/spartan stat blocks! Especially compared to the sprawling 3rd/4th edition monstrosities, although I wish they had treasure type and morale scores ;) Not to be an edition-jerk, but it's a lot easier to write up monsters when you just need to come up with a couple of reasonable numbers as opposed to figuring out ability scores and calculating ranks in basket-weaving.

This brings to mind something I've been meaning to blog about for a while, the "stat inflation" in D&D over the editions. Reading the monster design booklet in the LOTFP referees booklet really hammered in how it may not be the best idea to inflate a creatures AC, HD and attacks; I know some B/X and AD&D monsters kind of become ambulatory tree-chippers with their multiple attacks as compared to OD&D versions, and things get crazy with 15 hit-die humanoids with armor classes of 33 in more recent editions.

This is mitigated by the inflation in stat bonus; weapon specialization; larger hit dice for PCs; more magic bonuses, and the like as D&D changed from OD&D, but I'm really coming around to the OD&D-ish paradigm of less bonuses. It makes for a faster game with less "processing cycles" needed for both the DM and players to do the math, and as long as the numbers are less for both the monsters and PCs everything should work out fine.

I've been thinking more about magic items, some of it inspired by reading about the awesome-sounding Dicitionary of Mu. I'm thinking that you have the awesome weapons and armor made by ancient master trademen using skills lost to modern man, such as Wolfe's Terminus Est; than you have the mysterious technological items, "sufficiently advanced to be indistinguishable from magic" such as the Eyes of Tekumel; and than you have the capital-A Artifacts, often intelligent and aligned, the sort of things that were wielded by legendary warlock-villainsm or are extradimindensional beings bound into a physical item, such as Stormbringer or the Shining Trapezohedron.

I haven't been posting much about music lately, which is practically criminal on my part. I've lately been revisiting a past obsession of mine, the Sun City Girls, instigated by Planet Algol campaign participant Pete's introduction of the Sublime Frequencies "Cambodian Cassette Archives" into Planet Algol background music rotation.

While reading about Sublime Frequencies releases I investigated Group Doueh, which plays some absolutely sublime Moroccan guitar freakouts!

I also read about the Sun City Girls-related Master Musicians of Bukkake. In the past, not knowing much about them, I dismissed them due to their name; but Fat Cotton told me about a great show of theirs he saw, and when I found out about the Sun City Girls connection I had to check them out..and I'm very glad I did, I highly recommend them to anyone into ritualistic/trance-inducing weirdo music!


  1. The Sun City Girls are highly endorsed by B. Portly who spent a few nights on their couch. Sublime Frequencies rules!

  2. The Master Musicians of Bukkake are amazing.

  3. Sham's Dismal Depths bestiary certainly had an impact on my lunar encounter table listings.
    I've always enjoyed the encounter table ever since getting the original Gamma World back in the good old days with it's encounter tables in the back which included a number of encounters that were not otherwise detailed in the rules.

  4. @ B. Portly: Haha, awesome! I weird how people I know keep ending up having some connection to the SCG...I don't know if I'd want to hear the couch stories...I want them to be mythical in my imagination!

    Ragnorakk: Indeed they do!

    Yesmar: I'm glad to have discovered them, although I can't find any information about who's in the band...

    JDJarvis: I'm going to have to go over those encounter tables again, I remember them and d% loot tables being pretty dang keen. It's pretty awesome creating monsters lists out of (almost) whole cloth!