Still, it would seem, I live after an eternity of darkness and madness in the flier, of death and winter in the world outside. During that time, I have not written in the log; and I know not what obscure impulse prompts me to resume a practice so irrational and futile.

– Master of the Asteroid

Somebody read Clark Ashton Smith in quantity this winter.  It makes me want to write, but don’t worry…I’m not planning to resume blogging on a regular basis!  I just wanted to provide some linkage to Calum’s neato play reports of Clown Robot Doctor Apocalypse reskinned:

Part One

Part Two

Magic Item and Treasure Appendix

Excerpts:

The characters are baffled by the tan and beige walls, the soft back-lighting, the constant hum of machinery in the background, and the unusual corridors which are comprised of moving floors (travelators and escalators), stairs, ladders and one person lifts.  Some experimentation is needed to operate the lifts,but before long they can at least get them to go up and down by thinking about it.

Once we were all inside a ‘schlupping’ sound came from behind us.  We turned to see the brown mud forming into a mound about four feet high, with a bright yellow ‘eye’ forming at the top.  The eye brightened and a keening whine rose before a blindingly bright energy bolt ripped from what we have dubbed the ‘poo monster’ which seared the Elf’s flesh from his skull.

When we got back up to the entry chamber the exit door was closed.  A panel slid back in the wall revealing a smallish god’s eye that had a red symbol of a box with an eye in it on a black background; Neither Pelgost nor Fokus knew of any orbital god fitting the description.  It appeared to be looking right at us.  A machine like voice told us that it was ‘The Computer’ and it was dedicated to our happiness, encouraging us to stay.  It also informed us not to leave the chamber, relating that a public management platoon had been dispatched to ensure a joyful and seamless orientation and induction into the happy halls of Alpha Complex.

Paranoia_Eye_by_SaintImber

My daughter drew this robot:

robot

 

The other day I discovered the perfect album to accompany “Clown Robot Doctor Apocalypse”:  Neil Young’s Trans.

trans

Background story…

Said the condor
to the preying mantis
We’re gonna lose this place
just like we lost Atlantis
Brother we got to go
sooner than you know
The Gypsy told my fortune,
she said that nothin’ showed.

Who put the bomb
on the sacred altar?
Why should we die
if it comes our way?
Why should we care
about a little button
Being pushed by someone
we don’t even know?

Well. I wish I was an Aztec,
Or a runner in Peru
I would build such
beautiful buildings
To house the chosen few
Like an Inca from Peru.

If you want to get high,
build a strong foundation
Sink those pylons deep now
and reach for the sky
If you want to get lost
in the jungle rhythm
Get down on the ground
and pretend you’re swimmin’.

If you want to put ice
in the lava river
First you must climb,
then you must stand and shiver

I feel sad, but I feel happy
As I’m coming back to home
There’s a bridge across the river
That I have to cross alone
Like a skipping rolling stone
Like an Inca.

Generally applicable to the Orwellian environment…

We control the data banks
We control the think tanks
We control the flow of air.

We’re controlling traffic lights
We control computer flights
We control the chief of staff.

We control the TV sky
We control the FBI
We control the flow of heat.

Computer age in harm’s way.
We will prevail
and perform our function
C.C.T.V.

We’re controlling
We’re controlling
We control.
We control.

We control you floor to floor
We control you door to door
We’re controlling
while you sleep

Computer age in harm’s way.
We will prevail
and perform our function
C.C.T.V.

We are in control,
we are in control,
we are in control.

Chemical computer
thinking battery.

A tale of robot lust…

Sample and Hold
Hair: Blonde
Eyes: Blue
Weight: 110
Disposition: Even
Mood Code: Rotary Adjustable

I need a unit to sample and hold
But not the angry one
A new design, new design.

I need a unit to sample and hold
But not the lonely one
A new design, new design.

Sample and hold.

We’ll send it out right away
Satisfaction guaranteed.
Please specify
The color of skin and eye
We know you’ll be happy.

Don’t hesitate to give us a call
We know you’ll be satisfied
When you energize
And see your unit come alive
We know you’ll be happy.

I need a unit to sample and hold
But not the lonely one,
the lonely one,
the lonely one
Sample and hold.
Weight: 110.

Perfection in every details
Fabricated from
the curl of the hair
To the tip of the nail
Because our units never fail
We know you’ll be happy.

I need a unit to sample and hold.

Don’t hesitate to give us a call
We know you’ll be satisfied
When you energize
And see your unit come alive
We know you’ll be happy.

I need a unit to sample and hold.

We know you’ll be happy

This must be about Radio Clowns…

Well, his cattle each have numbers
And they all eat in a line
When he turns the floodlights
on each night
Of course the herd looks perfect!
Computer Cowboy.

Well, he rides
the range ’til midnight
And the wild coyotes yowl
As he trots
beneath the floodlights
And of course
the rhythm is perfect!
Computer Cowboy.

Ride along computer cowboy
To the city just in time
To bring another system down
And leave your alias behind:
Computer syscrusher.

Computer syscrusher.
Crusher. Syscrusher.
Syscrusher.

Come a ky ky yippee yi yippee yi ay
Come a ky ky yippee yi ay.

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.

Snakefightej

Screen-shot-2012-01-15-at-11.15.45-PM

Screen-shot-2012-01-15-at-11.15.55-PM

Screen-shot-2012-01-15-at-11.14.42-PM

joyner_catfish2_big

joyner_rainbow_big

Screen-shot-2012-01-15-at-11.15.11-PM

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.

apocalypsejunglemap

Edit 6/1/2014: I’m happy that Bryce liked my One Page Dungeon Contest entry.  Click here.  Actual quotes from his short review:

“I FUCKING LOVE THIS ADVENTURE!”

“ROBOT THAT GONNA FUCK YOU UP”

“And a hearty “Fuck You!” to the judges for not recognizing your genius Dustin!”

It seems bloggers are posting their contest entries on their blogs. Alrighty, here’s mine.  Click image to get the pdf…

crda

Speaking of one page at a time, here’s a work in progress sample cover of the next jungle supplement I am working on:

jcra_cover_sample

So I wanted to spice up the Gorilla class a little…show that it can be more than just a “grunt and smash” class.  Introducing…

The Gorilla Padre

The Gorilla Padre

The Gorilla Padre is the spiritual leader of the gorillas and the only known gorilla that can speak a human language. Because gorillas are highly immune to the effects of radiation, he is able to wander the apocalypse jungle, attending to the needs of his flock, performing rites and calming disputes between gorillas and humans.

The Padre plays both sides of the growing conflict between The Resistance and the Phantom Soldiers, but works as an agent for The Resistance.  He has a secret library of gorilla and human texts from before The Green Fire (aka The Gimmick, aka The Blast. )

His motto is “I don’t think so…but I can try.”  Sometimes he leaves off the second part.

Mottos
So what does a motto do besides just being a nifty thing to say?  I decided to make it a bonus mechanic tied to Wisdom, which is sometimes the ignored stat.

Mottos are not made at character creation, but emerge at opportune moments during play.  You say something cool in-character and somebody else says “Hey, that could be your motto.”  Then you say “Yeah, you’re right.” Now you have a motto.  Or maybe you’ll say “Nah, that’s not my motto.”  Maybe the DM will want some input into the decision.

Anyways, the first time a motto is used is the most powerful. That player can choose a roll in the near future (within ten minutes or whatever) to be “inspired”…the roll gets a bonus equal to the character’s Wisdom.  So if your Wisdom is 14 you get +14 on that roll.  This inspiration bonus can apply to any roll performed by or directly relating to the character that created the motto.

Characters of average or less Wisdom can get that initial “inspiration” bonus, but no more motto bonuses for them after that.  The motto can still be a fun or useful roleplaying catalyst, of course, but mottos with lasting effects should be born of exceptional wisdom.

Characters with above average Wisdom get a “daily affirmation” bonus equal to the amount by which their Wisdom exceeds 12.  So a score of 14 would give a +2 bonus and so on. This can be added to any roll, once a day or whatever frequency decided by DM, but the player must invoke the motto and it should be relevant to the situation.

Understood in any language...

Understood in any language…

The Ruins of Corregidor

January 22, 2013

I would guess that when people think of ruins in the jungle they usually think of something in Thailand, Cambodia, or Mexico.  Some great ruins there, but for something a little different, consider these…

6 Ft. Mills Hospital

4 Overturned pedestal Battery Ramsey

4 Topside Barracks

2 Battery Cheney

2 Topside Barracks rainy seaon

Middleside Barracks hallway

Battery James before clearing

3 Walkway to Middleside barracks

1 NCO barracks

All these pictures are of Corregidor Island and posted with permission from Steve and Marcia on the Rock. Check out their blog for a treasure trove of photos and stories from Corregidor.

Corregidor Island is the most well-preserved World War 2 battlefield. The remaining structures have a familiar look, but an otherworldly feel to them.  One of the most bombarded 3 square miles in the world, it hardly had any vegetation left after the war.  But you can’t keep a good jungle down.

The ruins of Corregidor have been repeatedly used as a movie set (for better or worse), either as themselves, a battle stage in a Vietnam war movie, a gang hideout in a post-apocalypse flick, etc.  This post is a reference list of movies that feature the ruins of Corregidor. More will be added as I find them. Let me know if you come across a filmed-on-Corregidor movie not on this list (not including stock footage).

The “Cirio H. Santiago” category. Cirio seems to have been the most prolific director on Corregidor. First is one of his Post-Apocalypse movies, then a bunch of Vietnam War entries…

Wheels of Fire (1985)
Corregidor ruins show up for about five minutes as a post-apocalypse militant gang hideout. Also of note is the painting of additional ravaged ruins into the scene during an outdoors shot of one of the batteries (perhaps Wheeler). Makes it look extra epic. Cirio recycled the same painted ruins scene for a few seconds in Raiders of the Sun (1992).

Eye of the Eagle (1987)
Corregidor is the headquarters of a “lost command”. Lotsa shots of the ruins and Battery Way throughout the movie, culminating in an explosive finale. A couple pictures in my Guide to Cirio’s Nam Movies show Corregidor ruins.

The Expendables (1988)
Terminate shirtless Vic Diaz and rescue the kidnapped nurses from the ruins in Cambodia!

Nam Angels (1989)
This contains the infamous gasoline torture scene involving the unfortunate South Vietnamese capitalists tied to the big guns at the abandoned fortress.

Field of Fire (1991)
In the other Nam movies it’s the “bad guys” that control the Corregidor ruins. This time it’s the US soldiers that defend the “Fort Bien Hoa” ruins.

Kill Zone (1993)
Corregidor as weapons depot. Brief exterior shot and some interior shots that may actually be from Intramuros, Manila.

The “Corregidor as Corregidor” category…

Impasse (1969)
This movie has a common theme: find the gold hidden in post-war Philippines. The gold is on Corregidor, of course, so the final 35 mins or so is among and under the ruins. Notable for starring Burt Reynolds AND Vic Diaz.

Fortress of the Dead (1965)
A moody ghost tale by Ferde Grofe Jr. set on Corregidor Island with great B&W shots of the ruins and tunnels.  Warning: this contains a totally unexpected and eye-popping wet t-shirt scene about mid-way through the movie.

The ‘I haven’t seen these yet” category…

The Hell Raiders (1988)
Another one by Ferde Grofe Jr. I haven’t watched this or ever seen it available anywhere, but the Dutch VHS cover clearly shows scenes filmed on Corregidor, as seen at When the Vietnam War Raged…in the Philippines.

Island of the Living Dead (2006)
One of Bruno Mattei’s final movies and it looks like a hoot. Looks like I need to rewatch some of the earlier Mattei movies to see if he ever used Corregidor previously.

As I was updating my old Trash of the Apocalypse post (adopting the style of the Guide to Cirio’s Nam Movies) I noticed that most of them contained Little People.  You’ve gotta give credit to these directors for not succumbing to stereotype and using them differently each time…

Post-Apocalypse Dwarves d6

  1. Buzzing Dune Dwarves
  2. Babbling Scavenger Dwarves
  3. Leper Bandit Dwarves
  4. Cavemen Dwarves with crossbows
  5. Gypsy Dwarves with battle axes
  6. Immortal Assassin Clown Dwarves

The Philippines is also home of the Hobbit House grill and bar entirely staffed by little people.  This made me wonder… Are little people mad at Peter Jackson? Yes. Yes they are.

"Short people are just the same as you and I...a fool such as I...all men are brothers until the day we die."  Or in this case, "don't die".

“Short people are just the same as you and I…a fool such as I…all men are brothers until the day they die.” Or in this case, “they don’t die”.

Pyramid on the Prairie

December 18, 2012

I grew up on a farm in north-central North Dakota. About an hour’s drive from one of the greatest existing relics of the Cold War nuclear arms race…

1029b

The Safeguard anti-ballistic missile (ABM) system near Nekoma, ND.  More up-close and current photos of the site can be found at Ghosts of North Dakota.

By design, it’s located in the middle of nowhere, so I’ve driven past it only a few times in my life.  But it always stirred my imagination.  The ALMIGHTY posts from last month took a hint of inspiration from it.

While in construction, Safeguard likely influenced treaty negotiations and compelled the Soviets to pour more money into ICBM research, but by the time it was complete…Safeguard was already obsolete.  It was only operational for four months in 1975-76, by which time the Soviets had developed MIRV-type missiles that laughed at ground-based ABMs.  It was defunded and has sat empty for 35+ years.

I mention all this because it recently sold to an undisclosed buyer for $530,000.

Safeguard