Mystery Men! – Meat on a Rampage

Like this, only with pants (thank God!)

Dr. Zanislav Prokov, Russian émigré and visiting scholar at Shore City University, was pursuing his research into the medical uses of radioactive enzymes late one night when his laboratory was broken into by a gang of students looking for drugs. In the ensuing fight, the doctor fell into a tub of his radioactive enzymes and transformed into something monstrous.

The enzymes not only made him terrifically strong and nearly invulnerable to pain, they also warped his mind, imbuing him with rage and giving him the ability to project that rage in the form of field of pure force.

Unable to continue his work, Dr. Prokov has become a super powered criminal and a frequent foe of the Golden Gladiators. Despite his scientific training and intellect, his crimes are usually simple – bursting into a bank and tearing the vault door off its hinges or jumping on top of an armored car and battering his way in to steal the loot. On occasion, he does nothing more than go on a rampage, destroying cars and buildings out of sheer hatred for his misfortune.

Note: A 100 XP penalty will be assessed to folks who make the obvious joke about “beating Meat” in the comments. Probably still worth it, though – have fun!

Image from HERE

Hex Crawl Chronicles: Map of Namera

Quick post to give people an idea of how the hex crawls I’m writing for Frog God Games “connect”. They were designed to depict different types of terrain so that Referees could stick them into their own campaigns when they need a certain terrain type, but it’s tricky to write a hex crawl without injecting some setting – at least for me – and I found the blank slate of the HCC’s irresistible.

I decided early on, just for fun, to base the maps loosely on the geography of North America – partially because North America was used as the basis of the original World of Greyhawk, and partially because I didn’t want to spend too much time formulating the hex crawl maps.

HCC1 is set in the vicinity of Iowa, since the Stater family hails from Iowa and that is where I was when Bill Webb first emailed me about the idea of writing the HCC’s. The second is centered around Lake Geneva, WI (do you know how hard it is to come up with a reasonably original play on Gygax’s name?). HCC 3 really just got shoehorned into Canada because I wanted it to be north of HCC 2. The Shattered Empire (HCC 4) is centered around Cincinnati, OH, where my new grand nephew lives. You get the idea. I’ve nicknamed the “campaign world” Namera.

The squares on the map are not quite to scale, but they should give people an idea of where the HCC’s take place. There are a few additional notes on the map that might be turned into additional HCC’s if the project proves popular.

So – on to HCC5 – The Pirate Coast.

Yun-Bai-Du Sideview

Finally got a moment to draw the sideview of Yun-Bai-Du. (1) corresponds to a royal palace and (2) to the upper fortress of the sohei of the Splendiferous Tiger King. The other divine mountains are similar in profile. A great wall connects these eight mini-cities to one another, with the interior flat land serving as grazing land for the King of the Yun.

And, just for fun, a couple more locales.

44. Barge Captain: This single-story brick house with the overly ornate roof belongs to Muhisim, a youthful barge captain who operates primarily between Yun-Bai-Du and Artuk. A shameless womanizer, he has a family in each city, his local family consisting of wife Anaima and six children (four rugged boys, two equally rugged girls). In Artuk he is married to the wealthy (and old) Jarengi. Muhisim is built like a panda bear and always maintains a neat appearance, even when plying the filthy canals of Mu-Pan. He considers the gods to be a sham and makes sure to mock priests constantly behind their backs. Besides his collection of wives, Muhisim also owns a collection of exotic monkeys from the southern jungles.

48. Apartment: This single-story brick building with a bowed roof is divided into four apartments. It is owned by Noyorbelu, a young woman with vibrant skin and eyes as bold as a stormy sky. Short and pretty, she owns several buildings in this area, making her money renting them out. Though one would hardly suspect from the looks of her, Noyorbelu was once a queen among the wako of the eastern coasts. Deposed in a mutiny, she managed to find her way back to civilization after seducing first a shark man called Kidaki and then his lord, the gold dragon called Chaachingh. Noyorbelu has a magical trident hidden beneath the floor boards of one of the apartments. It is still sought by the dragon, so she does not wish to have it too close to her own domicile.

Naming Yun-Bai-Du’s Streets

Time to name some streets. I noted them on the map using letters, since writing the names on the streets can be a pain and sometimes the darn things obscure the buildings.

In Yun-Bai-Du, you have the long, circular streets that wind around the divine mountain and then the smaller streets that slope down from the mountain to the outer wall.

A – Street of the Earthbound
B – Way of the Dragon
C – Sublime Path of the Tiger King
D – Street of the Ninefold Virtues
E – Nine Dragon Road
F – Street of the Eastern Wall
G – Street of the Most Low
H – Splendid Abundance Street
I – Street of the Western Wall
J – Tiger King Road
K – Street of the Yellow Swordsman
L – Street of Jubilant Spirits
M – Street of the Black Tortoise
N – Street of the Golden Rabbit
O – Peaceful Flower Road
P – Road of the Five Manifold Thunders
Q – Street of the Unflinching Stone
R – Street of the Slumbering Warriors
S – Filial Piety Street
T – Northern Gate Street
U – Golden Promise Street
V – Street of 10,000 Monkeys
W – Street of the Blessed Peach
X – Calligrapher Street
Y – Street of the Wondrous Maiden
Z – Street of Elemental Truth
# – Street of the Burning Red Star
@ – Street of the Prosperous Phoenix
$ – Street of the Jade Tiger
& – Silk Merchant Road

Sunday Grab Bag

Happy Fathers Day, folks! (Yeah, like we don’t know all the real money is in Mothers Day). Enjoy some random nonsense from across the internet.

Betty vs. Veronica Department

Just for the record, I’m also Betty over Wilma and Mary Ann vs. Ginger. From HERE.

Gargons are Real! Department

According to this article, lobsters never stop growing as long as they live, and they apparently show no signs of aging. Bonus points if you know what movie I’m referencing without googling.

I Think to Myself, It’s a Wonderful World Department

So I wake up this morning, jump on the internet and learn of the existance of something I never would have thought existed.

Crappy Place to Encounter a Fire Elemental Department

Roll for initiative, sucka! Although on second thought – I’m really not sure what I’m looking at here – that might be weirdly lit ice. In which case, who’s the sucker now fire elemental?

Now That’s a Stylish Dungeon Entrance Department

From the troll-blooded lords of deepest Arkansas.

Medieval Engineering Department

Yeah, dungeon engineering is make-believe, but it doesn’t have to feel make-believe. From Biblio Odyssey.

I Saw It at Super Punch Department

Imagine a colony of tiny desert dryads living in those spires.

12th level action star vs. Giant Killer Squid. From HERE.

Best artifact you’ll ever find on the streets of the mutant future. On sale NOW.

Greatest use of a squid/octopus in comic book history?

Oh yes – it’s a free for all! By Ulises Farinas.

Mystery Men! – A Heroine and a Villainess

Born on the blazing streets of Silverado City, Helena Holt made more than a few wrong turns in her life. The daughter of one of the oldest families in Silverado City, she resented growing up as the daughter of the Sheriff Andrew Holt and soon found herself involved in juvenile crimes of a fairly minor nature. An angry confrontation with her father convinced her it was time to leave home and join her boyfriend and his gang in committing a more serious crime.

The next day, while he was at work, she entered his room planning to abscond with some cash she knew was kept in his closet, and instead found a polished wooden box. The box contained two six shooters, embossed with silver tracery, and a collection of old letters. Delving into them, she discovered the secret family history of her great-grandparents (and her namesake), Tim and Helena Holt, better known in the Old West as Red Mask and Black Phantom. After a couple hours spent reading the letters, Helena realized she was meant for nobler things. From that day forward, she dedicated herself to study and practice. By the time she had graduated from the UNSC (University Nevada at Silverado City) with a degree in the forensic scientists, she was ready to wear the mask and carry the guns of the Black Phantom. Naturally, her father, now retired as sheriff, was aware of the true identity of Silverado City’s newest super heroine, and he couldn’t be happier.

Helena now works in SCPD’s CIS department and, when a case is more than the police can handle, she takes on the mantle of the Black Phantom. She is also a founding member of the Silver Sentinels, a group of super heroes with a rotating membership based in a secret mesa headquarters in the American Southwest and serving the Western U.S., Canada and Mexico. The Silver Sentinels include Commandette, the Conqueror, Fu Chang, the Great Defender, Jet Powers (leader and funder behind the team), Mighty Man, Super Ann, Captain Flash, Red Bee, Toreador and the heroic team of 13 and Jinx (man, they look familiar).

Charlotte Munroe had grown up a poor woman with rich tastes. Working as a beautician in some of the finest resorts of Silverado City, she grew jealous of the wealthy, pointless women who spent their days lounging in spas while she worked and slaved to make them beautiful. On a night that found her particularly depressed, she went for a walk and witnessed something fall from the sky and land on the sidewalk a few yards in front of her without a sound. Coming closer, she discovered a coin or disk of black metal. Touching the disk, she heard a voice in her head urging her to sleep and dream, and she fell into a deep coma, the disc grasped tightly in her hand.

Two weeks later, she awoke in the hospital. The disk was gone, but a black circle was now in evidence on the palm of her hand. While in her coma, she was given to bizarre, frightening dreams of writhing oozes and toad-things of every color of the rainbow, and of herself possessed of wondrous powers. Rubbing the disk, she said the words “I wish it was all true” and found herself transformed by the Lord of Madness.

Set loose on an unsuspecting city, Charlotte, nicknamed Faster Pussycat by a wag in the local press, went on a crime spree in the resorts of Silverado City until the combined efforts of the Black Phantom and the Silver Sentinels finally brought her down. A brief stint in Iron Island in Shore City ended when Harletron 3000 pulled off a rare jail break from that facility, and the two Agents of Chaos are now on the loose.

Super Lazy Free RPG Day Post

I like to think that every day is free RPG day in the Land of Nod. Yeah, I know – a cheap blog post. I’ll have something more fun later today.

A bare-bones sketch of an idea for a sci-fi “dungeon crawl” game involving a team of heroes delving into a dark lord’s space fortress to rescue the space princess.

Mystery Men! is a rules-lite role playing game based on the original fantasy rpg that lets you play out comic book adventures. Includes a sample setting and scenario. Available at as a BOOK.

The basic rules for the PARS FORTUNA experiment in random game design include four playable race/classes (level 1 to 4), sixty spells from level 1 to 3, dozens of monsters, 40 new magic items and scads of alternate rules. Play PARS FORTUNA on its own or use it as a toolbox to spice up your favorite old school rules. The complete rules are on sale at as a PDF and BOOK.

In this first issue of NOD, you can explore the Wyvern Coast, a sandbox hexcrawl with over 190 encounters. There are six new classes, three new races, a random village generator, a dozen new deities, new monsters, and more! Compatible with most Old School game systems. Over 1,300 downloads so far – what have you been waiting for!? Available at as a BOOK.

This holiday issue of NOD includes a massive sandbox hexcrawl adventure, another level of the Pleasure Palace of Izrigul (and a very odd level at that), holiday-inspired spells and magic items, a pseudo-Olympian pantheon of gods and goddesses and The Traveler – a world-hopping class for old school games. Available at as an E-BOOK and BOOK.

A sack of dead man’s fingers swiped at the autumn equinox …

Magic Spell Ingredients:
A sack of dead man’s fingers swiped at the autumn equinox
Fresh leg of cow
2 cups of beaten feathers of frog
A piggybank of laughs scrumped at dawn

Magic Spell Method:
Scald in the cauldron on the third Wednesday of the month.

Magic Spell Effects:
Induces angry dragons to vomit cherry stones, and makes men with small heads forget who they are.

I got this nifty little spell from HERE, via a Facebook link from Neoncon Naomi. Actually not a bad generator for on-the-fly spell components for RPGs, judging from this random generation. Could be a fun way to run a weird fantasy, non-dungeon-crawly game – everyone plays a mage, and everyone randomly generates their spells from here and then goes about solving a mystery.

I also discovered that my unicorn name is Sunflower Celestial Lord, and that I’m as dark as the night sky and change the weather. So, not a bad day’s work, really.

Image from HERE.

Mystery Men: Harletron 3000

When Dr. Van Voort built his first android, he garbed it as a harlequin in order to demonstrate it at the 5th annual Conference on Advanced Thinking Machines. After years of labor and invention, he had created the first robot that could think on its own and move in such a human-like manner that, when equipped with false flesh, it was indiscernible from an actual human being. And then, in the still of the night, chaos.

While some have suggested it was a mere glitch or bug, Dr. Van Voort always maintained that it was an act of sabotage. In this, he was actually correct, though his accusations against his colleagues were unfounded. In truth, the mechanical man with the human face drew the unwelcome attention of an from a parallel dimension called the Lord of Madness. On the night before the conference, Harletron 3000 pulled on his mask and crept out the window.

Naturally, Dr. Van Voort was beside himself. He couldn’t bring himself to attend the conference, but imagine his surprise when his android did. As the assembled scientists demonstrated their newest advancements, the android struck, carrying away any number of advanced components. Making its escape, the robot, dubbed Harletron 3000 by the press, established himself in an abandoned factory in Shore City’s industrial corridor and installed the components. Eventually, Harletron 3000 would be cornered by the Golden Gladiators and plunged into freezing water. Though thought destroyed then and on other occasions, Harletron continues to show up again and again to challenge Earth’s heroes, always attempting to improve itself with stolen technology or sew the seeds of chaos and madness on Earth.

Image from Golden Age Comic Book Stories. Harletron 3000 will be appearing soon in NOD 9 as a minion of the Black Dragon in the adventure Washed Out in Washoe. Assuming I finish writing the darned thing.