I now have some copies of Jungle Castle Rock Apocalypse in stock, so I added a new “direct from me” ordering method and also a picture of the jungle map to that page. Check it out.

But first. Check these out. A series of paintings by Eric Joyner called “It’s a jungle out there.” Go here for more info and images.

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I don’t remember the last time I participated in a blog meme, but Mr. Justin Davis gave a shout-out to Jungle Castle Rock Apocalypse yesterday [fist bump, Justin!], so I’ll join in on this little parlor game of his…

22 Quick Questions For Your Post-Apocalyptic Campaign Setting
  1. What’s the deal with my village’s particular Rite Of Passage?
    Depends which village you are talkin’ about…what its shortage and surplus is.  Roll…rolll…roll.  Let’s say you are in the mountain village, which has a food shortage and a surplus of fertility.  Oh my! Reroll…reroll…reroll…
  2. Which way to the nearest tavern?
    Definitely “The BAR” in the Castle on the Rock.  Is it worth joining the Phantom Soldiers just for the booze?  Hmm, maybe.
  3. Where do we buy useful gear?
    “Buy” “useful” “gear”?  Ha, you need to find it out in the Apocalypse Jungle.
  4. Where do we repair / reload / refuel these artifacts?
    The villages sometimes have tinkersmiths, but their idea of repair is often just ritualized manipulation, very little technical knowledge involved.  So it’s a gamble.
  5. Where do we get some high-tech healing?
    Definitely the nano-electrolytic healing capsule in the buried submarine.
  6. Where do we fix our resident android / robot?
    There’s a auto-bot repair garage in the underground bunker-city (aka Clown Robot Doctor Apocalypse), but it’s not exactly easy to get to and sometimes their repair work results in MUTANT BOTS.
  7. Say, what IS the local currency / medium of exchange, anyway?
    Barter, all the way.  The Phantom Soldiers are amassing a treasure hoard, so maybe when they establish their jungle kingdom of tyranny, they will create currency with images of General Li, so as to reinforce the cult of personality.
  8. Are there any infamous ruins / vaults / laboratories / installations around where sane mutants fear to tread?
    Yes.  Muwhahahaha…
  9. Where is the closest contaminated zone to idiotically try for powerful new mutations?
    The Lands of Devastation are you destination for spiritual strengthening and mutation permutations.
  10. Where do we get cures for the following conditions:  toxin, radiation, infection, lousy new mutations, nanobot infestation, corrupted databanks, broken cybernetic implants?
    The Health and Happiness Administrators are a faction of Orwellian doctors and nurses that control a fantastic array of medications in the underground bunker-city.
  11. Are there any cults / gangs / cryptic alliances I can join and / or fight?
    The Survivors.  The Virgin Jungle Force.  The Jwarves.  The Gorillas.  The Phantom Soldiers.  Within the Phantom Soldiers are The Inner Circle, Dude’s Gang, and Sarsi’s Cult.
  12. Where can I hire mercenaries?
    Major Dude in the Castle on the Rock is the mercenary ring-leader.
  13. Where can I find a technician, lorekeeper, psychic, or other expert NPC?
    The Gorilla Padre is your best bet.  He appears under mysterious circumstances in whichever village or gorilla pack territory you happen to be visiting.
  14. Where do I find a mighty mutant monster mount?
    Barkrunners are great rides, found in the perilous Lands of Devastation.
  15. Who is the greatest warlord in the wasteland?
    General Li.  He wears football pads, mirror lenses on his blastmask, and a machete instead of a hand on his left arm.  Other than that, he’s like Klaus Kinski.
  16. Who is the craziest Artificial Intelligence in the wasteland?
    Deep in the Tunnels under the Rock is a comm center with resident AI.  It is clinically crazy.
  17. Who is hoarding all the gasoline in the wasteland?
    A sentient splash of sinister solvent hoards itself in the Tunnels. Its only natural predators are the Burn Barrels…angry canisters of incendiary anger.
  18. What critters are sufficiently terrorizing the wasteland that if I kill them, I become famous?
    The Trirannosaurus Xes.
  19. Are there any wars brewing I could go fight?
    The Phantom Soldiers are becoming too powerful and soon the other factions may unite against them.  The Resistance needs a leader.  Will you be “The One”?
  20. How about gladiatorial arenas complete with hard-won glory and fabulous artifact prizes?
    The mutant gladiators are the top entertainment attraction at the Castle on the Rock.
  21. Is there anywhere on the map where certain races are shunned, mutations / artifacts are outlawed, and / or other The Powers That Be significantly hassle the PCs?
    The Virgin Jungle Force can be rather protective of their pristine forests.
  22. Are there means to journey into space, or under the sea, or through the dimensional barriers?
    Rumor says the Phantom Soldiers are trying to build a space ship called “The Paradise Express”.  Also, there is a huge downed aircraft deep in the jungle that may have a malfunctioning teleportation device, among other things.

There is no question #23, but if there were, this would be the answer:

Benjamin+Marra

 

Jungle Castle Rock Apocalypse Find out more on MagCloud)

Jungle Castle Rock Apocalypse is now available on Magcloud…click above to order.  PDF is FREE!   Get the physical book for $6.54 + shipping.

Jungle Castle Rock Apocalypse (JCRAp) is a post-apocalypse fantasy role playing setting and adventure supplement. I aimed to make it more like Ralph Bakshi’s Wizards than Mad Max, but I’m not sure if I succeeded!

I’m not sure how to explain the book other than by briefly describing what’s in each page.

Page 1. cover image depicts entrance to the Tunnels under the Rock.
2-3. These two pages briefly describe the Apocalypse Jungle and introduces the factions vying for survival. These pages can be read by players as an intro to the setting.
4 – 6 Three pages of monsters by Justin Davis, creator of A Field Guide to Doomsday!
7 Color map of the Tunnels under the Rock. This is only the large first level of what could potentially become a megadungeon.
8-9 Color map of the Apocalypse Jungle, with brief location descriptions and encounter charts surrounding map. I put all the maps in the center so they can be easily removed.
10 Color map of the Castle on the Rock.
11 Describes the Gorilla Padre…a potential ally or enemy and source of information. Then introduces the Castle on the Rock, scenarios therein, and a collection of tables for castle events.
12-13 Describes castle NPCs and squads and where they are located at different times of day and night.
14-15 Describes key locations in the Tunnels and the weirdness and haunts therein.
16 back page bonus: “Clown Robot Doctor Apocalypse” one-page dungeon.

A few author’s notes:

Note #1
So the book contains sixteen monsters by Justin Davis, fully described and statted out.  These are the wilderness monsters. I also briefly describe another dozen or so monsters inhabiting underground adventure sites, but don’t stat these out.  What’s up with that?

Basically, Justin’s monsters are awesome and I wanted to emphasize them and the idea that the Apocalypse Jungle is loaded with big baddies that are dangerous to characters of any level.

To clarify, and to help you determine if this is a book you would find useful: this is not a fully-detailed, ready-to-play setting or adventure.  It has lots of specific detail, but never tells the whole story.  Improv-happy DMs could probably run it without much prep, but other DMs will probably need to sit down and flesh out parts of it beforehand.

About the only part that is ready-to-play is the jungle wilderness, where Justin’s fully ready monsters enable wilderness exploration from the get go.  At least until some humans are encountered, at which point the DM gets to start having fun deciding what’s what and who’s who.

Note #2
This book contains a lot of d6 tables.  At some point I got tired of writing sentences and started writing down all of my ideas in the form of d6 tables.  Then I had a vision of filling the book with nothing but these tables, with no explanatory writing.  This was probably around the time I was reading the classic Arduin books. Eventually, I wussed out and started writing sentences again, but all the tables remain.

Also, due to the nature of placing tables in a columnar page layout, there is plenty of space for you to cross out my dumb ideas and write in your own.

Note #3
Just a list of influences.

On the Castle description:
Keep on the Borderland by Gary Gygax. Duh. For the concept of describing a castle for use as both a home base or as the target of an adventure.

The idea to indicate where the Castle inhabitants are at different times of the day is from a d20 adventure called The Gryphon’s Legacy by Wolfgang Bauer.

On the Castle map:
The map in Duck Tower by Paul Jaquays for using color to indicate building height.  Yes, Duck Tower.  Not Dark Tower, also by Paul Jaquays.

The ruins or Corregidor as a real world visual reference.

On the Tunnels map:
It’s basically a riff on the patterns found in the Malinta tunnels on Corregidor.  The maps in the old Judges Guild module Glory Hole Dwarven Mine had some influence too.

On the Apocalypse Jungle map:
Not sure exactly, I think this was partially inspired by zone control board/war game maps, combined with colorful maps like Divine Right.

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Hola, amigos. I know it’s been a long time since I rapped at ya. I vowed to myself not to post on this blog until after I finished my next book.  I’ve ordered a proof copy, so it’ll be released within a week or two most likely.  Onward…

“The Big List of 1980s Barbarian & Fantasy Movies” is the most popular post on this blog.  It’s just a list with very little commentary, so I figured it was time to recommend a few.

These aren’t necessarily the best 80s fantasy movies, but are those I find most interesting. One of my main criteria for choosing these five is that they aren’t well known. My general cutoff was movies with less than 1000 votes at IMDB.com at the time.

So here are the most interesting 1980s fantasy movies in the world:

Throne of Fire (1983)

I gave Throne of Fire a hard time in The Big List, but I’m fascinated by it. Throne of Fire a throwback: “60s castle and king cinema” with a large dose of 80s barbarian fantasy dope. By “60s castle and king cinema” I’m talking about Lion in Winter, Man For All Seasons, Becket, etc. Throne of Fire takes the castle setting of those movies, adds a mess of fantasy elements and the stupid fun of trashy Italian barbarian flicks…and wins!

I’m not talking Shakespeare, but Throne of Fire has a better plot than most fantasy movies. Sabrina Siani is drop dead awesome in this one.

Conquest (1983)

Conquest director Lucio Fulci must have had a violent epiphany of excitement when he saw Quest for Fire.  He’s more well known for gore movies and must have seen potential in cavemen as the vehicle for bringing his schtick to the bustling barbarian movie market.  Fulci’s next thought was probably “I can’t get Rae Dawn Chong in my caveman movie, so who do I know that has small breasts? SABRINA SIANI. Bellissimo!”

At it’s core, Conquest is a “buddy movie” with the same general setup as Midnight Cowboy. One guy is a bumpkin stranger who has introduced a powerful weapon to a grim land: Jon Voight.  The other guy is the street smart loner who wanders around scrounging for food: Dustin Hoffman.

As a movie, Conquest is rather sparse, despite having one if the more unique and interesting settings to be found in fantasy movies.  It’s better to think of it as a meditation. On what, I’m not exactly sure, and I’ll stop talking out of my ass about this movie now.

The Dungeonmaster (1984)

The two 80s movies with the most obvious D&D influence/coattails-riding are Mazes & Monsters and The Dungeonmaster (aka Ragewar: The Challenges of Excalibrate, aka Digital Knights). Both are set in the modern world and transport the characters to fantasy land via psychosis or dreams or something.

Mazes & Monsters is more well-known and apparently reviled by many. Great for laughs, at least.

The Dungeonmaster seems to have been retroactively gussied up to appeal to D&D fans. The movie itself doesn’t explicitly reference the game, but the plot structure could totally work as an example of one way that D&D was/is played:  short, unrelated, gonzo puzzle and combat challenges joined together in a quest to rescue the damsel from the evil wizard/Satan.  Very stupid and entertaining.

Also, this movie invented Google Glass before it was even a twinkle in Sergey Brin’s eyes.

Star Knight (1985)

By the mid-80s, the fantasy movie mania was at its peak. To get to the next level, a crossover hit was needed.  It finally arrived in 1987 with Princess Bride.

But several filmmakers had the right idea back in 1985, as both Legend and Ladyhawke were minor crossover successes.  But the true 1985 crossover champ is a forgotten movie made in Spain called El caballero del dragón, aka Knight of the Dragon, aka Star Knight.

I’m not saying it’s a great movie, but it has Klaus Kinski, is some funny, and should be at least a little more well known. I guess you have to be willing to mix aliens and comedy with your knights and castles.

Iron Warrior (1987)

By 1987, the barbarian movie fad was past its prime, but a half-decade of barbarian movie-making culminated in twin peaks that year: The Barbarians and Iron Warrior. The Barbarians is the more well known of the two, pushing all the right buttons (almost to the point of parody), resulting in perhaps the quintessential barbarian movie. But only because it treads familiar territory.

Iron Warrior deserves more attention. It gets overlooked for two opposing reasons:

First, it was kinda-sorta made as a sequel to Ator and Blademaster, two movies that wear the “bad movie” crown with pride.

Second, it has an experimental style and pretentious grandiosity feel to it at times, which has given it a bit of an artsy fartsy reputation.

Some people who do like the earlier Ator movies are put off by this different style.  People who don’t like the earlier Ator movies won’t bother with Iron Warrior anyways.  It can’t win with either crowd.

Iron Warrior is bizarre, but no more pretentious than anybody’s D&D campaign.  The artsy fartsy stuff works, partly because the movie is ruthlessly edited to keep it moving at a brisk pace.  Give it a chance and Iron Warrior may just end up being your favorite barbarian movie.

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