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Friday 30 November 2018

OSR Conflict: I may Have Misjudged Vince Florio

In my recent conflict with the #DnD SJWs seeking to destabilize the #OSR I may have misjudged someone. Everyone deserves the benefit of the doubt, once.


Currently Smoking: Lorenzetti Poker + St.James Flake 

Thursday 29 November 2018

Lords of Olympus: "Stealth"

So, my player doing the session reports has come through, a little late but better late than never. Here's his report of the session before last.


In Atlantis.
Fito returned with Poseidon to Atlantis to try to get Triton, Poseidon’s son, allegedly to convince him go on adventures with his father. Since Poseidon did not want to see his wife Amphitrite, he decided to use his Metamorphosis power to grow a fake mustache. He blended right in! Fito then asked Triton to please help him and talk to him in private, so he got into an interrogation room with him, as Triton doesn’t seem to enjoy Fito’s presence.
After a lot of secreting, Fito told his half-brother that he was absolutely tired of following Poseidon around, and that he wanted him to take responsibility in Atlantis, but that he needed him to help rescuing Arrit, as she was in grave danger. Triton accepted, and as they left Atlantis, leaving Poseidon behind, they took Elon’s Musk Aquacopter and set sailed. In his trip, he saw many parts of the multiverse, such as the giant pillars of heaven and the whirlpool of the great monster Charybdis. They moved to Parnassus as to try to rescue Arrit, but didn’t arrive on time.

In the Underworld:
Guillermo Hudson went to the Underworld as to contact Erebus. He told Hecate about his origins and he tried contacting Erebus directly, accompanied by Ralph. A weird silent shadow emerged and answered Guillermo’s questions. While he didn’t know about Guillermo’s primordial parents, he showed him and image of three strange women who would surely know: The three fates.

Telling Hecate about this, she told him that she wouldn’t try to contact them directly, as it was far too dangerous, for everything the fates pronounce is considered to be true, and is absolutely unavoidable. He recommended for him to go to Olympus to contact Themis, the Fate’s mothers. He decided that it was a wise choice, but since he didn’t have world walking, he remained waiting for someone with the ability to travel through planes…buying some shoes with Frank, Paneb’s brother, in the Underworld’s poor zone.
Paneb got healed from his train encounter by Hecate, but afterwards, when he finally was alone, he tried to find Roman, since he had told him that he would guide him to a person that would protect him, and he feared both Hecate and Frank's influence on him. He went to Hecate’s tower of the Trivium, trying to infiltrate in her own home, with the amazing strategy of randomly opening doors to find him. He was greeted by three giant frogs thanks to his horrible luck. After fighting them, he had a moment of super-intelligence….and kept on doing the same thing. This lead to him colliding with Hecate by accident and ending up begging for forgiveness.
On the same side, Ralph used his new metamorphosis power to disguise as a wolf. He infiltrated the Trivium and used his heightened sense of smell and found out about Roman’s location, on a pedestal with magical spell cast upon him.

On Mount Parnassus
Arrit started her therapy with Psychologist extraordinaire Dr Sidney Greenberg. He managed to get her to talk, but not without her trying to run away a couple of times and puking on Apollo’s original Louis Armstrong trumpet. Meanwhile, Ares and Corey infiltrated the temple complex of Delphi. After killing some poor guys for clothing and some guards in a lot of “stealth”, Ares found Sidney Greenberg, enraged at Aphrodite’s lover, he tried to kill him, but Corey stopped him just in time, telling Ares that killing your ex-lover's boyfriend isn’t the best way to pick up a girl.
Apollo and Prometheus suddenly appeared, and a fight between him and the God of War broke out, Corey used this opportunity to mind control Arrit’s terribly poor ego and run away with her while having Arrit piggyback her, they entered the Olympian road and fled.

In Olympus.
In his desire to obtain political power, Aetos had a plan. Apparently, The City’s communication with Olympus was scarce. Considering The City had the Door Which Must Not Be Opened, a door that would likely end the entire multiverse if it was opened, Aetos wanted to give Zeus a means of easy, secure, and fast non-scrying communication with the city (Apparently, according to Athena, they didn’t do scrying with them because the scrying could be hijacked). He met Zeus, and after a few sex jokes and Thai Massages, the King of the Gods was ready to hear his deal. Aetos offered to use his Advanced Metamorphosis to create a clone of himself that Terminus, the God of the City, could put into stasis with a magical spell. Since this clone would be contactable at anytime, Aetos would be aware of any emergency call that Terminus sent to Olympus. For this, Aetos requested Zeus to make one of his own sons immortal. Both agreed and Athena offered to send the clone to Terminus.

He afterwards went to his realm of Grecoromania, taking with him some of his finest servants, his friend the Minotaur, one of his bastard sons, Flavius, who was a sort of super agent for the equivalent of Grecoromania’s CIA, and some fine Grecoromanian tech that would synergize with his Metamorphosis powers. Now, he’s moving along the Olympian road, taking his servants back to his new palace in Olympus.


Wednesday 28 November 2018

The Thing From the Cave

Today, I present to you a new and sinister adventure for Lion & Dragon or any other OSR game where you want to add a touch of Medieval-Authentic style!

RPGPundit Presents #56: The Thing From the Cave presents both a challenge and a mystery:

Panicked and distressed news abound regarding the town of Buckfastleigh. A band of openly-blaspheming brigands, led by Allen of Exeter, have invaded the town. Worse still, they have summoned a demon that is now slaughtering wantonly and is accompanied by phantasmal hounds and flying imps. Can the characters separate exaggeration from reality? Is there really a demon? And can they stop such a threat? Will the decaying abbey hold any clues about what might REALLY have emerged from Reed's Cave? 

The Thing From the Cave is available at DTRPG right now, or at the Precis Intermedia Webstore, either way for just $2.49!

And while you're at it, be sure to pick up the rest of the great supplements in the RPGPundit Presents series:

RPGPundit Presents #1: DungeonChef!

RPGPundit Presents #2: The Goetia  (usable for Lion & Dragon!)

RPGPundit Presents #3: High-Tech Weapons

RPGPundit Presents #5: The Child-Eaters (an adventure scenario for Lion & Dragon!)

RPGPundit Presents #17: The Hunters (an adventure for Lion & Dragon!)

RPGPundit Presents #21: Hecate's Tomb (an adventure for Lion & Dragon!)

RPGPundit Presents #54: Medieval College Adventures (compatible with Lion & Dragon)

Stay tuned for more next week!


Currently smoking: Brigham Anniversary + Image Latakia

Tuesday 27 November 2018

Help Fund a Scholarship for Young Genre Artists

So I wanted to bring people's attention to a very good cause: the Zelart Scholarship.

The scholarship is named after a young artist who had contributed work to RPG books, who died in an accident.  This annual scholarship in his honor goes to a young and underprivileged artist in order to help them in their nascent career.

All funds raised go to the artist awarded the scholarship, and applications for the scholarship are open for anyone to apply.

So if you want to give a few bucks to a charitable cause for the arts and related to RPGs, please check out the Indiegogo page for the scholarship and help out a young artist to move along with their career!


Currently Smoking: Neerup Acorn + Image Virginia

Monday 26 November 2018

Inappropriate Characters: Venger Birthday Special

So last night we had another live episode of Inappropriate Characters!

In this episode, while congratulating him on his birthday, we asked Venger some tough questions about his recent blog post where he "came out" as a Trans-alien, and his real motives for doing so.

We also talked about the OSR Logo debacle, and about the end of White Wolf as an independent publisher, and about the imminent demise of RPGnow.

Also, my cat shows up.

So, be sure to check it out, to share it, to subscribe to the channel, and if you want us to be able to make more episodes more frequently, please support us on patreon


Currently Smoking: Neerup Hawkbill + Image Virginia

Sunday 25 November 2018

Inappropriate Characters LIVE Tonight! Venger Birthday Special!

So, in about an hour from time of writing, we're going LIVE with a new episode of Inappropriate Characters.

That will be LIVE, at 7:30pm CST, where we'll be talking about all sorts of news and controversy in the RPG world. Including the folding of White Wolf, the OSR logo bullshit, Venger's controversial blog post, the end of RPGNow, and more!

All this, on Venger's birthday! So some join us and wish him a happy birthday, and watch the most interesting RPG-chat show starring three of the most-censored RPG designers in the hobby!

Inappropriate Characters starts at 7:30pm CST.

Saturday 24 November 2018

My "Lords of Olympus" Guy Failed Me

I don't have time to post myself, today, because I'm about to play Lords of Olympus

Now this is where I'd normally post a session report about the last session of LoO, but sadly, my session-report guy has failed me. He had four weeks to hand over his session report, and he didn't. I'm guessing because he already got the points for it.

Ah well, this has always proven a flaw in the system. Still I'm disappointed because he was sincerely excited about the campaign (and still is as far as I know) so I hoped these would still keep coming once he didn't need to do them any more.

I'll have to figure out what the plan is for me to substitute these.


Currently Smoking: Lorenzetti Oversize + H&H's chestnut

Friday 23 November 2018

Pictures From Uruguay

Time for a few new images from Uruguay!

The entryway to another of the many inner-courtyard complexes of houses hidden at the center of city blocks.

There's a big mishmash of historical influences on any single block, but always beautiful.

Wow! That's an awful lot of birds:

Maybe my cat will catch them!

...guess not.


Currently Smoking: Lorenzetti Poker + H&H's Chestnut

Thursday 22 November 2018

D&D Stuff They Taught You Wrong on Purpose: The DM is NOT a "Storyteller"

Today, a new video: If you're a newer #DnD player, you might have been taught wrong about the GM being a 'storyteller'. What you do is much more interesting than that.


Currently Smoking: Moretti Rhodesian + Barking Dog

Wednesday 21 November 2018

Sky Ships Stats & Combat Mods for Your Gonzo OSR Game!

In a previous issue, Floating Islands, we detailed floating worlds above the ground of the material plane of the Last Sun.  Now, in the newest issue we have it's sequel: RPGPundit Presents #55: (Sky-)Ships Happen!

While the Floating Islands book details the cultures of the floating islands and mechanics to generate them, SkyShips Happen is a guide to different kinds of flying vehicles in the skies of the Last Sun. Skyships you could also use in any Gonzo OSR game or other fantasy RPG.

These vehicles include magical flying galleons, balloons, blimps or zeppelins, or high-tech sky ships. Discover the dangerous fleet of the pepperpot-like "Guardian Robots", determined to exterminate all organic life, the amazon-piloted "Valkyrie fighters" of the FSA sky-station, high tech Posh Elf Warbirds, the police cruisers of the now-defunct Sky Police, the UFOes of the Grey People, and the advanced war fleet of the evil Sky-Nazis.

You'll also get a set of rule mods for handling very simple sky-ship combat. 

Then there's also a d100 table of typical Floating Island character occupations, for generating starting PCs or NPCs, including various special items.  There's also stats for the evil Guardian Robots, the brilliant Techno-Walruses (complete with special cybernetics), and stats for the Superfly II, the fastest sky-ship in all the skies.

So, if you want to introduce flying vessels into your gonzo game, be sure to check out RPGPundit Presents #55: (Sky-)Ships Happen on DTRPG, or at the Precis Intermedia Webstore!

It's a 20 page sourcebook for just $2.99!

And while you're at it, be sure to pick up the rest of the great supplements in the RPGPundit Presents series:

RPGPundit Presents #1: DungeonChef!

RPGPundit Presents #2: The Goetia  (usable for Lion & Dragon!)

RPGPundit Presents #3: High-Tech Weapons

RPGPundit Presents #5: The Child-Eaters (an adventure scenario for Lion & Dragon!)

RPGPundit Presents #17: The Hunters (an adventure for Lion & Dragon!)

RPGPundit Presents #21: Hecate's Tomb (an adventure for Lion & Dragon!)

RPGPundit Presents #54: Medieval College Adventures (compatible with Lion & Dragon)

Stay tuned for more next week!


Currently smoking: Brigham Anniversary + Image Latakia

Monday 19 November 2018

Classic Rant: “Real” Magick in RPGs: Aleister Crowley

December 1st is the anniversary of Aleister Crowley’s “Greater Feast for Death”.  That is to say, almost 71 years ago (ed.), he croaked.

Certainly, one could have all kinds of material related to Crowley that would spice up any historical/occult campaign set anytime from the 1890s to the 1940s. But what about in a modern campaign? What makes the guy important?

I can’t possibly dedicate a single blog entry to telling you everything about the man and his magick: there are tons of biographies of the guy out there, and feel free to read one if you’re really interested.  What matters now is only the “cheat sheet”, of how you can use him in your campaign without knowing every detail.

For starters, Crowley was very important not only to modern magick, but to modern society.  As one of his biographer’s put it: “new ageism, witchcraft, hippies, paganism, sex, drugs and rock ‘n’ roll: it’s all his fault”.  

It really was. Crowley was doing all that shit 40 years before it was cool, in many cases 40 years before it technically existed.  And magically, his influence was paramount.  He took a bunch of medieval systems and Victorian pseudo-masonry and gave it a purpose for our new Aeon, the new astrological age.

And while we’re at it, he ended the world.
Magically speaking, the apocalypse happened in April 1904. The procession of the astrological ages took place at that moment, when Crowley received the Book of the Law from the god Horus, after a vision received inside the great pyramid in Cairo.  Essentially, this was the change from the “age of Pisces” to that “age of Aquarius” the new-agers talk so much and know so little about.  Its already happened, and it marked a moment when humanity grew up in its capacity for understanding of its relationship to the universe.  As a result of this vision, Crowley predicted a number of things that few in 1904 would have expected to come to pass: devastating wars, atrocities, and incredible human destruction; but these were just the birth pangs for an age of societal evolution where equality of all human beings, sexual and gender liberation, a new interest in the discovery of the self, experimentation with drugs as a means for transcendence, new pseudo-scientific/psychological ways of understanding magical symbolism, a breaking free from old restrictions and limits of both morality and human potential, all would come to pass.  He predicted, in other words, a world that looks very much like our own.

The essence of his teaching is a word I’ve used in this series before: Thelema.  It means “will”, and is represented by the law of this Aeon: “Do what thou wilt shall be the whole of the Law. Love is the law, love under will”. 

This is a new magical paradigm that gives a greater purpose to magical work; not that it is completely new, but that it was something that had been long lost or hidden in the background of mumbo-jumbo, of people summoning angels or demons or working with elemental forces or ritual without really grasping a bigger philosophical purpose behind it all.  That purpose is to discover your True Will. 

“Will” in this case means not whatever the fuck you want (to the chagrin of the many satanists and heavy metal geeks that love Crowley on that mistaken basis) but rather it means that you have a higher self, a higher purpose, that magick is supposed to help you get in contact with. Discover your true will, and then unite to it (in Love, meaning union), and then to the universe itself. This is the purpose of magick, not unlike many other mystical systems, not unlike Tantra or Buddhism, Sufism or Taoism; its to “know thyself” and then become “one with everything”, or nothing.

The Book of the Law itself is a short but fairly complex spiritual text, that most magicians will have read at some point, and certainly every thelemic magician; it might make very little sense to a non-magician who reads it, but you may want to give it a try. Its not hard to find online, and its in the public domain as far as I know (at least, its on a ton of websites).

There is one other mystical operation of Crowley’s that’s very worthy of mention, though probably even more incomprehensible to the non-magician; its the kind of thing that if you were running CoC, would cause you to lose 1d10 SAN just by reading it (the Book of the Law would probably cause you to lose 1d4, while we’re at it): This is “The Vision and the Voice”.  I mention it here because it is the record of Crowley’s personal enlightenment, 5 years after writing the book of the law; where in the  middle of the North African desert he entered into a series of “pathworkings”, or astral journeys, to the 30 Enochian Aethyrs, gnostic dimensions beyond our own.  There he encountered a series of powerfully transformative initiatory visions, that changed his understanding of magick and himself.  The system for using the “Enochian Aethyrs” was not invented by Crowley, it was given by angelic beings to Dr. John Dee, the famous Elizabethan magician, in the 1580s; and while the Golden Dawn used some elements of enochian magick, as far as anyone knows no one had actually used the “enochian calls” to travel to the Aethyrs until Crowley did it (not even Dee, although he received the system of magick, there’s no evidence he ever used it).  Of course, since then, quite a few other magicians have done so.  It's almost as though the Enochian Aethyrs weren't meant to be accessed until the new aeon.

“The Vision and the Voice” is the kind of book that many would-be occultists will own, very few will have read, fewer still tried to seriously understand; and some (though not necessarily the same as those who understood) may try to imitate.  Without proper preparation, trying to pathwork to the higher Enochian Aethyrs is a recipe for going batshit nuts. It would do to the psyche what going to the outer planes would do to the health of 3rd level AD&D characters… almost certainly nothing good.
It's a good example of the kind of spiritual visions and trips that a very experienced magician is capable of doing, however.

Aside from these, Crowley wrote a ton of books on the themes of magick, yoga, and taoism (and designed a rocking tarot deck).  Remember, in your game, none of these should be very difficult to find!
Resist the temptation to make “books of true occult power” difficult to obtain, they’re NOT. They’re all over Amazon, Ebay, and the internet in general.  What’s difficult is having any sense of context to study them properly, and the lack of laziness to actually do the work they suggest and do these right.   Crowley’s “Magick in Theory and Practice” alone is, in one very large book, more than enough to get someone all they need to know to start successfully performing magick, yet most people won’t bother to thoroughly read it, even those who own it or claim to be magicians.

In a modern setting, Crowley should be portrayed as misunderstood by the general occult scene, with the know-nothings being generally scared shitless of him, aside from a minority of fawning admirers who like the idea of him because he’s “wicked” without actually knowing anything about him at all (he’s the Occult equivalent of Che Guevara in that sense: far more people will go around wearing his image on a T-shirt than actually know what he did or why).  Among serious practitioners, there’s a group of hardcore “old aeon” magicians who despise him, a larger group of modern magicians (self-described as Thelemites or not) who base their magick on what he did, and a third group that express admiration for him but don’t necessarily follow his precepts.  But in each sense, every modern magician is affected by him, even those who have never read him; including some who may not have a clue who he is.  His teachings have affected all books of magick that came after him whether he gets credit for it or not, as well as movements like Wicca that try very hard sometimes to pretend that he had nothing to do with them, even though the whole basis for what they do started with him.

Crowley also spawned 2 magical orders: the A.’.A.’. and the O.T.O. (the latter, though not founded by him, was completely redefined by him).  I’ve talked about these before, and remember: they’re mostly useless in terms of serious magick, though they may have serious magicians in them. They’re usually used by their membership as ego-trips or social clubs.

Other fun things you can do with Crowley:
-From time to time, some magician (usually a total newb) will go around claiming they’re Crowley’s reincarnation. This is usually coupled with the person trying to talk or act like Crowley (though usually not matched with some of Crowley’s non-magical achievement, like being a world-record mountain climber or chess champion), and is met with derision.

-Crowley taught a secret form of sex magic as part of his OTO framework, this is not really secret anymore, its available online, but more than a few unscrupulous people have started sex cults based on it.

-Boleskine, the Loch Ness mansion where Crowley attempted (and failed) his first effort at doing the complex magical operation known as the Abra-melin rite, has long been said to be haunted, and the locals have many stories of people who have gone mad, or killed themselves or others, as a result of the house’s nefarious influence (the Abra-melin operation culminates in summoning up demons, after having obtained a full connection to your Holy Guardian Angel (your higher self or true will), and some have speculated that having failed to complete the operation, the demons got loose with nothing to control them).  The mansion was for many years owned by Thelemite and Led Zeppelin frontman Jimmy Page, and has since been turned into a bed & breakfast. Some have even tried to connect Boleskine/Crowley to the Loch Ness Monster, pointing out that modern sightings of the monster only started after Crowley's time there.

-Crowley had a commune in the 1920s in Cefalu, Italy, named “The Abbey of Thelema”.  The house where the commune was based has been abandoned for decades, is half-ruined, and has been put up for sale.  It is frequently squatted in by Crowley-fans and occultists, and still has the fading images of the wall-paintings that Crowley and his students drew there, some of them quite unusual.

-The Book of the Law was received in connection to an ancient Egyptian funeral Stele called “The Stele of Revealing”.  The Book of the Law contained the instructions that the Stele should be stolen or otherwise obtained (it was at that time on display at the Boulak museum in Cairo) and taken to Boleskine, and that if this was done it would have stunning and transformative effects on the world.  Crowley himself never got around to doing this; the Stele is now in the Cairo museum, where it was reported unharmed by the recent civil unrest in that country.

-The Book of the Law instructed Crowley to “find the value of the English alphabet”, that is, to figure out a numerical system of gematria (as in, the Kabbalah), by which one could directly determine the number-value of English words without having to translate into Hebrew first.  Crowley never ended up accomplishing this (he didn’t seem to bother to try very much, being quite happy with Hebrew Gematria) and after him many would-be “English kabbalists” have broken their minds trying to make a system that makes sense and works magically as well as the Hebrew gematria system.  Some have claimed success, but none has been universally adopted and recognized as a success.

-The Book of the Law also contains a code, a series of letters and numbers that Crowley was instructed were not for him to understand, but that someone would come after him to decipher it, and its meaning would be clear to all and near-universally accepted as correct.  Up till now, that hasn’t happened, though many many would-be-Crowleys have tried.

-it recently came to light that Crowley was an agent of British Intelligence. He is credited, among other things, with having given Winston Churchill the recommendation of using the “V for victory” sign as often as possible, as a magical countermeasure to the Nazis’ own use of magical symbols (the swastika, the nazi salute, etc).

-every once in a while, items show up on sale on E-bay which claim to have once belonged to Crowley.  Most of these are unquestionably fake.

-Crowley was the first white man to have provably used the I Ching for divination on a regular basis. To do so he had designed his own special set of divining sticks.  After his death these came into the possession of one of his magical heirs, Grady McMurtry (who re-founded the biggest claimant to the modern OTO).  McMurtry in turn lost the pouch with these sticks one night at a party on a California beach when he was either drunk or stoned out of his mind.  They have never been found.

-Crowley has no tomb; he was cremated, and his ashes eventually brought to America by one of his students, Karl Germer.  Germer’s wife eventually dumped the ashes under a tree in the garden of their New Jersey suburban home.

Anyways, all of these and many many other details about the guy’s life should give ample fodder for modern-occult adventure.


Currently Smoking: Masonic Meerschaum + Image Perique

(originally reposted July 26, 2013; on the old blog)