Category Archives: Antagonists

dT&T: The Voyage of the Panora

Wherein your humble scribe presents a group of noble warriors for Deluxe Tunnels & Trolls. Why? Because his long-awaited hardback from the agonizingly (if moderately understandably) oft-delayed Kickstarter arrived at long last yesterday. Pictures of the book provided for your enjoyment.

Erginius of Autoria’s lost classic, The Panoriad, tells the tale of Alkibiades of Pythos and the journey he undertook to recover the Lyre of Tiros for the glory of Pythos and to win the love of Queen Meliana. The charming and charmed Alkibiades – a brilliant historian and philosopher with a talent for preparing spanakopita so delicious that Hera herself declared it the finest outside of Mount Olympus – recruited a disparate band to join him on his quest. Lasthenes, captain of the Panora. Echephron the beast tamer. Isagoras the tale-teller. Thestor, famed bronzesmith of Xaneira. Philonikos the Giant. And, of course, all of the unnamed Panoranauts who perished as the quest continued.

Among the dangers faced by Alkibiades and his compatriots included the Nacippe – a legendary sea serpent, the Oedes – twin tigers of Tartarus, the Haleclyphes – an army of damned souls risen from the River Styx, and Belemeos, son of Hades.

The tragedy of The Panoriad, of course, is that its ending has been lost to time. Many scholars have their own theories, and many fragments and forgeries have been discovered over the centuries, but none have been accepted by the academic community as definitive.

The Panoranauts

Alkibiades of Pythos / Human / Warrior 3 / 5′ 9″ 160 lbs
STR 16 CON 6 DEX 9 SPD 7 INT 14 WIZ 12 LK 16 CHR 32*
Combat Adds +8 Wt Possible 1,600 WU
Talents Cooking (+3), History (+3), Philosophy (+3)
Mace (5d6), Short Sword (3d6), Target Shield (4)

Lasthenes / Human / Warrior 1 / 5′ 7″ 155 lbs
STR 14 CON 12 DEX 14 SPD 14 INT 6 WIZ 11 LK 9 CHR 11
Combat Adds +6 Wt Possible 1,400 WU
Talents Knot Tying (+3)
Medium Spear (4d6), Short Sword (3d6), Target Shield (4)

Echephron / Human / Warrior 1 / 5′ 10″ 180 lbs
STR 13 CON 6 DEX 10 SPD 12 INT 8 WIZ 16 LK 16 CHR 19*
Combat Adds +5 Wt Possible 1,300 WU
Talents Animal Handling (+3)
Broad Axe (5d6), Short Sword (3d6), Target Shield (4)

Isagoras / Human / Warrior 1 / 5′ 10″ 170 lbs
STR 13 CON 9 DEX 19* SPD 10 INT 13 WIZ 6 LK 9 CHR 9
Combat Adds +8 Wt Possible 1,300 WU
Talents Storytelling (+3)
Short Sword (3d6), Javelin (3d6), Target Shield (4)

Thestor of Xaneira / Human / Warrior 1 / 5′ 5″ 145 lbs
STR 13 CON 12 DEX 14 SPD 10 INT 12 WIZ 12 LK 8 CHR 7
Combat Adds +3 Wt Possible 1,300 WU
Talents Bronzesmith (+3)
Broad Axe (5d6), Short Sword (3d6), Target Shield (4)

Philonikos / Human / Warrior 1 / 6′ 7″ 250 lbs
STR 14 CON 10 DEX 9 SPD 5 INT 7 WIZ 6 LK 11 CHR 10
Combat Adds +2 Wt Possible 1,400 WU
Talents Merchant (+3)
Medium Spear (4d6), Short Sword (3d6), Target Shield (4)

The Antagonists

Belemeos, Son of Hades
MR 150
Special Damage: 1/2 (double Spite); 5/Dem Bones (MR 50 Skeletons)
Special Abilities: Bone Armor (10)

Belemeos is a demigod, son of Hades and the mortal woman Polytio. He serves as a guardian of treasures that have been consigned to his father’s realm. He wears armor constructed of the bones of dead heroes and stands well over 9′ high.

The Haleclyphes
MR 120 (8 X15)
Special Damage: 1/1 (normal Spite); 4/Curse You (Level 12, Targets CON)
Special Abilities: Impervious to missile damage

Seeming at first like a dense, swirling fog, the individual spirits that comprise the Haleclyphes rise from the Styx to repel any who would cross without the express approval of Charon.

The Oedes
MR 90 (45 X2)
Special Damage: 1/3 (triple Spite);
Special Abilities: Tough Hide (8)

As black as the grave, the twin tigers of Tartarus stalk the shores of the Styx hungry for any living flesh they can devour.

MR 70
Special Damage: 1/1 (normal Spite); 6/Blasting Power (Level 7)
Special Abilities: Tough Hide (15)

Nacippe is a red-hued sea serpent that preys upon smaller vessels across the breadth of the Sea, breathing fire to destroy the ships and deliciously roast their crews.

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BoL: Mission to Enceladus

It’s time for another imaginary movie with Barbarians of Lemuria (etc.) stats for the major players. This time, let’s check out a completely fictional East German science fiction “classic.”

In 1974, after the success of Stanley Kubrick’s film of Arthur C. Clarke’s 2001: A Space Odyssey and Andrei Tarkovsky’s version of Stanislaw Lem’s Solaris, the East Germans decided to get in on the deeply philosophical (and sometimes psychedelic) science fiction film action. Thus was born Einsatz zu Enceladus (Mission to Enceladus), which tells the story of a group of international explorers traveling to (oddly enough) Enceladus, one of the moons of Saturn. This being East Germany in the thick of the Cold War, the film is replete with Communist/Socialist propaganda despite its initial conceits of an East-West partnership in exploring space.

Under the auspices of the IWP (Internationale Weltraumforschung Partnerschaft, or international space exploration partnership), a crew comprised of an American soldier, a British scientist, a Russian cosmonaut, and an East German engineer set out in a Soviet spacecraft for Enceladus after a number of radio transmissions – in ancient Greek! – are received from that icy moon. The first half of the film or so consists of slow, largely silent shots of the crew performing their assorted duties and looking at very nice computer readouts, rather like the filmmakers were aping 2001 very closely and carefully.

The propaganda starts to creep in about the time the crew passes Mars (the Red Planet, get it?). At this point the swaggering, cartoonish American soldier, Colonel Rick Carson, begins hitting on the taciturn yet beautiful (and intelligent!) Soviet pilot, Commander Valentina Yegorova. Carson tries to buy her affections with stories of American excess. He breaks into a musical number (yes, it’s wildly out of place) in the style of Elvis movies. And ultimately he tries to force himself on her, only to be stopped with a strong punch to his glass (lantern) jaw by the ugly yet honest and upstanding (and intelligent!) East German engineer, Lieutenant Knut Volkmann. Being a creature of much bluster and little-to-no substance, Carson backs down immediately.

Throughout all of this the British scientist, Professor Alec Baxter-Pearl, is shown to be a weak-willed (and incompetent!) lackey of the domineering American.

Once the ship reaches Saturn the movie turns back towards the somber. For what feels like a very long time, we are treated to some slightly less stunning visuals and more of the slow, quiet shots. Eventually, an outpost is sighted on the surface of Enceladus – an outpost that looks for all the world like the Parthenon perched high atop an outcropping of rock rising from the icy seas that cover the moon.

The ship’s landing module, piloted by Yegorova, descends to the surface, with all four crew members aboard. Once on Enceladus, Carson, Volkmann, and Baxter-Pearl set out to explore the “ruins” and perhaps make contact with whoever lives there. Yegrova stays behind to helm the landing module in case of any trouble.

The three explorers discover a set of long stairs cut into the rock and ascend to the summit. They poke about the marble structures and are eventually greeted by a sole white-furred, yeti-like being wearing Greek-style clothing. The creature converses with Baxter-Pearl, revealing himself to be Hephaestus, the blacksmith of the gods. When he is told that the Olympian gods are no longer found on Earth, he flies into a rage and vows to destroy the planet for its insolence. Or something like that.

Baxter-Pearl tries to calm Hephaestus, spouting off incessantly about all of the Greek ideals that live on in the world (Democracy comes up more than once), but the “god” is having none of it (“Democracy is for fools!” he shouts back in response). Carson, back in stereotype mode, tries to fight Hephaestus, is beaten, and begs for mercy, offering to sell out the entire planet so that he may live on in service to the god. He is slain for his troubles, and Baxter-Pearl is destroyed as well (on principle, one presumes).

Volkmann escapes and returns to the landing module, where he manages to stammer out a brief explanation of what has transpired. Alarms then go off, indicating the launch of a missile from the west (which just happens to be painted red, white, and blue). Volkmann and Yegorova spring into action, launching from the moon intent on intercepting the projectile – even if it means their own doom. Instead of dying, however, the crafty engineer devises a way to “fire” the landing module at the missile and deflect it back to the surface where it might just destroy Hephaestus.

The plan works. The East German and the Russian embrace. (A) god is destroyed. The world is saved by Marxist-Leninist ideology. And the credits roll over brass-heavy closing music.


  • Astronaut/Cosmonaut as a career is meant to cover all of the things that go with being an astronaut, like vacc suit operation, piloting, operating communications arrays, etc.
  • Scientist as a career represents an overall science background, while specific careers like Archaeologist or Physicist represent the more specific fields of study identified by their names.
  • Spacesuits are rated Light, Medium, and Heavy. Light suits provide little defense and are not rated for extravehicular or direct contact with hostile atmospheres/environments for more than 1 hour. Medium and Heavy suits provide more protection at a cost to mobility and are capable of 2 and 4 hours EVA/hostile environment activity.
  • Laser Weapons are incredibly accurate and grant a +1 to Ranged COmbat Ability.


Professor Alec Baxter-Pearl / Lifeblood 9 / Hero Points 5
Attributes: Strength -1 Agility 0 (-1) Mind 3 Appeal 2
Combat Abilities: Brawl 0 Melee 2 Ranged 1 Defense 1
Careers: Archaeologist 2 Poet 1 Scientist 1 Astronaut 0
Languages: English, Russian, German, Greek
Equipment: Medium Spacesuit (d6-1), Archaeological Tools, Hand Computer

Colonel Rick Carson / Lifeblood 12 / Hero Points 5
Attributes: Strength 2 Agility 1 (0) Mind 0 Appeal 1
Combat Abilities: Brawl 1 Melee 0 Ranged 2 Defense 1
Careers: Soldier 2 Astronaut 1 Musician 1 Politician 0
Languages: English
Equipment: Laser Pistol (d6), Medium Spacesuit (d6-1)

Commander Valentina Yegorova / Lifeblood 10 / Hero Points 5
Attributes: Strength 0 Agility 2 Mind 1 Appeal 1
Combat Abilities: Brawl 2 Melee 0 Ranged 1 Defense 1
Careers: Cosmonaut 3 Physician 1 Scientist 0 Farmer 0
Languages: Russian, English
Equipment: Laser Pistol (d6), Light Spacesuit (d6-2)

Lieutenant Knut Volkmann / Lifeblood 12 / Hero Points 5
Attributes: Strength 2 Agility 1 (0) Mind 2 Appeal -1
Combat Abilities: Brawl 2 Melee 0 Ranged 2 Defense 0
Careers: Engineer 2 Astronaut 2 Soldier 0 Bureaucrat 0
Languages: German, Russian, English
Equipment: Laser Rifle (d6+2), Heavy Spacesuit (d6)

Space Yeti Hephaestus / Lifeblood 20
Attributes: Strength 4 Agility 1 Mind 2
Combat Abilities: Defense 1 Protection d6-2
Attack with Fist +2; 2d6

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BoL/H+I: The Dukes’ War

Wherein your humble scribe presents some potential allies (or antagonists) in Oriad, a world he’s been messing with for a long time now, in Honor + Intrigue format. H+I, if you don’t know, is a nifty offshoot of Barbarians of Lemuria that’s well worth a look.

The Dukes’ War was a conflict that raged between the Houses of Madréz and Valdaño in the Kingdom of Ordoño for twenty years. Both houses claimed to represent the true line of royal succession after the death of Baltazar III and, after each failed to receive support in the Court of the Black Queen, open warfare was declared.

The Dukes’ War ended 97 years ago, when Emerenzia Viora of Combriazzi successfully negotiated the Treaty of Soderno, which divided the kingdom into two new countries: The Duchy of Madréz and The Duchy of Valdaño.

Recently, factions within both countries have begun reconciliation and reunification talks. Unfortunately, there are still many citizens of both Duchies that would rather see their own country achieve ascendence by force rather than achieve unification peacefully. Among these are two secret societies – The Order of the Unseen Pyramid in Madréz and The Crimson Brotherhood in Valdaño- whose assassins play against one another for the future of the Duchies in an epic game of chess.

Recently, Duke Xaime Ignacio Omero de Madréz was assassinated, by his own subjects (members of the Order of the Unseen Pyramid), for his aggressive pro-unification stance. In his stead, the Duchess Anaïs Olaria Flores y Marín de Madréz now rules. In stark contrast with her late husband, she is a staunch voice for Madrezaño independence. There are whispers in the Court that she herself is a ranking member of the Order and may well have personally handled the assassination of the Duke.

Meanwhile, Duke Alejo Ulises Prieto de Valdaño, at the urgings of some former comrades-in-arms based in Galiana, is actively pushing for a unified Ordoño – with House Valdaño in power, of course. The Duke believes that he, along with his Galian allies, can successfully challenge the Empire of Roczny for dominance of Oriad if he can command a united Ordoño.

Duchess Anaïs Olaria Flores y Marín de Madréz / Lifeblood 10 / Fortune 6 / Advantage 3
Motivation: Maintain Madrezeño Independence
Qualities: Might -1 Daring 1 Savvy 2 Flair 3
Combat Abilities: Brawl 0 Melee 1 Ranged 1 Defense 2
Careers: Noble 2 Diplomat 1 Spy 1 Temptress 1
Boons: Beguiling, Great Wealth, Membership (Order of the Unseen Pyramid)
Flaws: Obligation (Madréz), Terrible Secret
Languages: Urra Lucia (N), Ora Luccia (F)
Equipment: Dagger (d3-1)

Duke Alejo Ulises Prieto de Valdaño / Lifeblood 10 / Fortune 4 / Advantage 3
Motivation: Restore Ordoño (with Valdaño in power, of course)
Qualities: Might 1 Daring 3 Savvy 0 Flair 1
Combat Abilities: Brawl 0 Melee 3 Ranged 0 Defense 1
Careers: Noble 2 Duelist 1 Soldier 1 Hunter 1
Boons: Daredevil, Laugh in the Face of Danger, Friends in High Places (Galiana)
Flaws: Tragic Fate, Obligation (Valdaño)
Languages: Urra Lucia (N), Galia
Equipment: Cutlass (d6+1), Flintlock Pistol (d6+1)

Order of the Unseen Pyramid Assassin / Lifeblood 9 / Advantage 1 (L3 Retainer)
Qualities: Might 0 Daring 1 Savvy 2 Flair 0
Combat Abilities: Brawl 0 Melee 1 Ranged 0 Defense 2
Careers: Assassin 2, Alchemist 1
Boons: Poisoner, Poison Resistance
Flaws: Obligation (Order), Zealot
Languages: Urra Lucia (N)
Equipment: Dagger (d3+1), Epee (d6)

Crimson Brotherhood Assassin / Lifeblood 8 / Advantage 1 (L3 Retainer)
Qualities: Might 1 Daring 2 Savvy 0 Flair 0
Combat Abilities: Brawl 0 Melee 2 Ranged 0 Defense 1
Careers: Assassin 2, Duelist 1
Boons: Sneaky, Friends in Low Places
Flaws: Obligation (Brotherhood), Unsettling
Languages: Urra Lucia (N)
Equipment: Epee (d6+1), Garrote (d2/Strangle)

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BoL: Sweetly Sings The Mourning Bird

Continuing our survey of imaginary movies, which includes providing Barbarians of Lemuria stats for the main players, we turn our inner eye towards the 1997 Korean cinema classic, Sweetly Sings The Mourning Bird (애도 조류는 여전히 감미 롭게 노래). Though this film doesn’t feature any effects by Ray Harryhausen, the climax is a rather stunning sequence in which the protagonists turn their astounding martial skills against an entire army of Chinese soldiers, their general, and a 9 foot tall terra cotta warrior/golem thing. So there’s that, which is good enough for us.

The central narrative of the film follows the journey of young An Do-Keun, from his humble beginnings as a blacksmith’s son in rural Korea through his rise to the heights of the martial world. His master is a grouchy old swordsman whose skill with the blade is rumored to have accomplished many great feats but who is also responsible for the death of a woman who was once the Chinese Emperor’s most beloved concubine.

We find out, via flashback, that the woman in question was actually some kind of supernatural assassin sent by the Lord of the Underworld to murder the Emperor and pave the way for evil eunuchs to rule China. A brief scene involving a many-tentacled puppet (whose strings you can barely see) illustrates the battle, but there’s not much time spent on this portion of the story.

In any case, the Emperor is a rational man of modern thought who never believed this tale, and he banished Sook (then called Lu I-po) to Korea, where he is no longer able to exert influence in the Imperial Court. Hold that thought – it’s important, but it will take a little while to get back to.

Twenty years later (according to the on-screen text), the drunken, irascible swordsman has taken the name Sook Seong-Kim and done his best to vanish into his new country. One winter day he stumbles drunkenly into a town that is under siege by Chinese soldiers disguised as bandits – just as the town’s blacksmith is coldly murdered because he won’t surrender the blade he is crafting for the Korean emperor. In a flash, Sook’s inherent nobility returns and he makes swift work of the rabble with only a stick, a rake, a hammer, and finally the still steaming sword the blacksmith had been working on. The sword sequence in particular is stunning and amusing as Sook is perpetually tossing the blade from mittened hand to mittened hand to avoid burning himself.

In the aftermath of all of this, the blacksmith’s young son – our previously noted protagonist, of course – begs Sook to teach him how to be a great warrior so that he can protect his country and never allow another boy’s father to die. Sook, disturbed that the people responsible for this tragedy were his own, takes the boy under his wing and begins training him. A musical montage follows, naturally, and in the span of 3-1/2 minutes of Korean pop (sung, it turns out, by the actor who plays An) the boy becomes both a man and a master swordsman in his own right.

The two swordsmen, young and old, travel about Korea for an unspecified length of time, righting wrongs and defending the populace from the depredations of bandit, pirate, and the like. On one of their adventures they wind up taking on a new companion, the Sadie Hawkins-esque Pak Myung-sun, a barbarian woman from the north, who serves the dual role of comedy relief and love interest. Pak chases the affections of An relentlessly, but he doesn’t fall for her. We’re privy, through a sequence in which the old master accidentally sees Pak emerging from a hot spring, to the knowledge that the woman isn’t as outsized as she seems in her dirty quilted armor (though she is still definitely not a small woman – think Kirby’s Big Barda here). Sook keeps this knowledge to himself, though.

At one point we cut back to China, where we learn that the old Emperor has gone senile and the country is now in the grip of a military coup lead by the exceptionally large and evil General Kwan. The General is, of course, under the influence of a small cadre of eunuchs who are clearly in league with the forces of Hell who were thwarted by Sook/Lu in the prologue. Kwan, at the urgings of the eunuchs, is on a path towards invading Korea in the name of the Emperor and plans for the invasion are revealed in small pieces. Reports of the “great Korean heroes” punctuate the briefing, with Kwan starting to piece together that Sook/Lu – his own old master, we learn in a flashback – is involved.

Back in Korea, our heroes have a few more little adventures, with each one revealing a bit more of the Chinese plot to invade Korea. Soon after, the invasion (and the heart of the story) begins at last.

In short order, we reach the climax of the film, wherein the Chinese army, led by Kwan and assisted by the giant clay warrior golem, face off against Sook, Pak, and An. An spends much of his time routing the soldiers, while Sook engages with Kwan and Pak leads a small force of brave Korean warriors against the golem. Things go fairly poorly for the Koreans initially, and Sook is defeated and left for dead by his old pupil. An then engages with the General, wild with anger and grief over the apparent death of his master/second father.

Across the battlefield, Pak’s cadre has been defeated by the golem, leaving only her and her large axe standing between the creature and the Korean Emperor’s palace. She fights valiantly and ultimately bests the creature, but not before suffering a number of grievous wounds and being almost completely stripped of her bulky, padded armor in the process. This does, conveniently, reveal her to be the far more beautiful woman that she actually is. You can see where this is going, I’m sure.

We cut back to the showdown between An and the General, whose battle has escalated into epic territory, with flying leaps and sundered trees and all of the over-the-top stuff you’ve been built up for based on the flashbacks showing what these two swordsmen’s master was capable of in his prime. The CGI and wirework in this sequence is serviceable, but to the modern eye it definitely seems a bit dated.

Needless to say, An winds up winning. Sure, there are a couple of teasing moments where it looks like he will fail, but really, they wouldn’t have made the movie if that were ultimately the case. His father’s last sword does shatter at one point under the powerful and unrelenting blows of the General, but even that is not enough to stop the great hero.

The real heart-rending drama comes in the aftermath, when it’s unclear if Pak will pull through, choking and gasping as she confesses her undying love for An. The young hero cradles her in his arms, tears streaming down his face as another love song (again, sung by the actor who plays An) swells to accompany a montage sequence of Pak being treated by physicians and slowly but surely recovering.

In the end, of course, everything turns out fine, with Pak and An marrying and becoming legendary heroes of Korea. We are shown a glimpse of their future, about a year later, with a prosperous farm, two beautiful twin children, and An hammering out a new sword on his father’s anvil.

Ah, but what of the seemingly defeated Sook? Just as you think there’s a giant hole in the script, An picks up the still cooling sword from the anvil and tosses it, steaming, through the air where is it caught by none other than Sook’s charred-mittened hand. The old master smiles, nods at the happy couple, and mounts a horse to ride off into the sunset. Westward, to China, to finish cleaning house.

Sook Seong-Kim (Lu I-po) / Lifeblood 11 / Hero Points 5
Attributes: Strength 1 Agility 2 Mind 2 Appeal 0
Combat Abilities: Brawl 0 Melee 3 Ranged 0 Defense 3
Careers: Warrior 3 Physician 1 Scholar 1 Vagabond 0
Boons: Swordsman, Carouser
Flaws: Distrust of Sorcery
Languages: Korean, Mandarin, Cantonese, Japanese
Equipment: Sword (d6+1), Very Light Armor (d3-1)

An Do-Keun / Lifeblood 12 / Hero Points 5
Attributes: Strength 2 Agility 2 Mind 0 Appeal 1
Combat Abilities: Brawl 0 Melee 3 Ranged 1 Defense 2
Careers: Warrior 1 Blacksmith 2 Scholar 1 Merchant 1
Boons: Attractive, Swordsman
Flaws: Feels the Heat
Languages: Korean, Cantonese
Equipment: Boon Sword (d6+2), Very Light Armor (d3-1)

Pak Myung-sun / Lifeblood 15 / Hero Points 5
Attributes: Strength 3 Agility 1 (0) Mind 0 Appeal 1
Combat Abilities: Brawl 1 Melee 2 Ranged 0 Defense 3
Careers: Warrior 1 Barbarian 2 Pirate 1 Thief 1
Boons: Attractive, Hard-To-Kill
Flaws: Country Bumpkin
Languages: Korean
Equipment: Great Axe (d6+5), Medium Armor (d6-1)

General Kwan / Lifeblood 14 / Hero Points 5
Attributes: Strength 5 Agility 1 (0) Mind 2 Appeal -1
Combat Abilities: Brawl 2 Melee 2 Ranged 2 Defense 2
Careers: Soldier 3 Torturer 2 Warrior 1 Scholar 0
Boons: Swordsman, Poison Immunity, Cerulean Strength
Flaws: Arrogant, Ugly & Brutish
Languages: Mandarin, Cantonese, Korean
Equipment: Great Sword (d6+7), Heavy Armor (d6)

Chinese Soldiers (Rabble) / Lifeblood 3 / Hero Points 0
Attributes: Strength 1 Agility 1 (0) Mind -1 Appeal -1
Combat Abilities: Brawl 0 Melee 1 Ranged -1 Defense 0
Careers: Soldier 0
Languages: Mandarin
Equipment: Swords or Spears (d6+1), Medium Armor (d6-1)

Giant Terra Cotta Warrior / Lifeblood 30
Attributes: Strength 4 Agility −1 Mind -2
Combat Abilities: Defense -1 Protection d3
Attack with Sword +1; d6+6
Attack with Fist, +0; d6+4

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BoL-lywood: Prince Rajinder’s Adventures II

Speaking of the late, great Ray Harryhausem, everyone remembers the time that he did the jaw-dropping animation of the four-armed (and four-breasted!) elephant-headed Rakshasi, Bulusu Sunita Kal, in the classic Bollywood fantasy flick Prince Rajinder’s Adventures II, right? No? Well, that makes since, given that it never happened and there was never such a movie. But since we already play pretend all the time, let’s do a little meta-pretending and act like there was such a movie and we all remember it, ok?

So… the climactic showdown scene, which happens after brave, handsome Rajinder has done a little song & dance routine about how he will live forever in the love of the beautiful Princess Kathindra (even if he dies while rescuing her from the wicked sorcerer Bontu Bhavsar) while fighting off a dozen or so thuggee cultists armed with aruval swords and throwing chakrams, features the prince fighting a desperate battle against the aforementioned Bulusu Sunita Kal and her four massive tulwars, which she wields both offensively and defensively.

Just before he enters this battle, Rajinder manages to shatter the iron bonds that hold Kathindra helplessly to the evil magician’s altar by throwing one of the cultists’ chakrams (using multiple ricochets and delivering huge sprays of sparks, of course). This frees her to face Bontu Bhavsar and keep him from interfering with Rajinder’s desperate struggle against the demon.

And who can forget the absolutely amazing comedy relief portions of this scene, which are delivered by Rajinder’s loyal friend, the Monkey Prince Candraprabhava, and his acrobatic antics displayed while keeping the rest of the Thuggee foot soldiers occupied?

After the battle is won (and of course you knew it would be), there are, like, four more song & dance numbers, most of which aren’t worth remembering. Except the one where Candraprabhava interrupts his comedic romancing (chasing, really) of the princess’ sisters, attendants, and every other female on screen other than Kathindra, to urinate on the head of Bontu Bhavsar, who for some reason is being held in a dungeon cell directly beneath the main room of the palace (thus being tortured by hearing the celebration song – along with suffering the “monkey shower” – through the iron grate that is just above his head and out of his reach). One can only imagine the trouble he would have caused if only they had made a third installment.

Prince Rajinder / Lifeblood 11 / Hero Points 6
Attributes: Strength 1 Agility 2 Mind 0 Appeal 2
Combat Abilities: Brawl 0 Melee 2 Ranged 2 Defense 1
Careers: Noble 2 Warrior 1 Bard 1 Thief 1
Boons: Attractive, Marked by the Gods
Flaws: Arrogant
Languages: Hindi
Equipment: Magic Scimitar “Gururatna” (d6+1), +1 to hit; Bow (d6); Very Light Armor (d3-1)

Princess Kathindra / Lifeblood 9 / Hero Points 5 / Arcane Power 12
Attributes: Strength -1 Agility 2 Mind 1 Appeal 3
Combat Abilities: Brawl 0 Melee 1 Ranged 1 Defense 3
Careers: Noble 2 Sorcerer 1 Bard 1 Dancer 1
Boons: Attractive, Power of the Void
Flaws: City Dweller
Languages: Hindi
Equipment: Bichawa Dagger (d3)

Candraprabhava / Lifeblood 12 / Hero Points 5
Attributes: Strength 2 Agility 3 Mind 0 Appeal 0
Combat Abilities: Brawl 2 Melee 1 Ranged 0 Defense 2
Careers: Noble 1 Thief 1 Tumbler 3 Scholar 0
Boons: Keen Eyesight, Keen Hearing, Keen Scent
Flaws: Lecherous, Country Bumpkin
Languages: Hindi
Equipment: Gada Mace (d6); Fist (d2); Kick (d3); Very Light Armor (d3-1)

Bontu Bhavsar / Lifeblood 11 / Villain Points 5 / Arcane Power 13
Attributes: Strength 1 Agility 2 Mind 4 Appeal -1
Combat Abilities: Brawl 0 Melee 1 Ranged 2 Defense 3
Careers: Sorcerer 3 Assassin 1 Scholar 1 Torturer 1
Boons: Magic of the Sorcerer Kings, Magic Resistance
Flaws: Poor Eyesight, Untrustworthy
Languages: Hindi
Equipment: Madu Dagger (d3) X2

Thuggee Cultists (Rabble) / Lifeblood 3 / Hero Points 0
Attributes: Strength 1 Agility 1 Mind -1 Appeal -1
Combat Abilities: Brawl -1 Melee 1 Ranged 1 Defense -1
Careers: Assassin 0
Languages: Hindi
Equipment: Aruval Sword (d6-1); Chakram (d3); Light Armor (d6-2)

Bulusu Sunita Kal / Lifeblood 20
Attributes: Strength 3 Agility 3 Mind 0
Combat Abilities: Defense 2 Protection d3 (+1 for each sword not used to attack)
Attack with one Tulwar, +2; d6
Attack with two Tulwars, +0; d6 each
Attack with three Tulwars, -2; d6 each
Attack with four Tulwars, -4; d6 each

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TFT: Against The Ifriti King

Wherein your humble scribe presents some experienced protagonists and an antagonist for The Fantasy Trip. You could turn this into a wee combat scenario if you were of a mind to. One of the various retroclones (like Legends of the Ancient World) should let you play this out if you don’t have TFT books handy.

These characters were created “by the book” with one key exception – I’ve built them using the Skill Points house rule used by my old group for years & years. The gist of this option is that instead of IQ serving as the point pool for buying Talents & Spells, you get your IQ plus the average of your ST and DX to spend (though you are still limited to a maximum number of Spells equal to your IQ). This lets characters be a little more well-rounded, without being particularly overpowered. Of course, TFT isn’t a game that really lends itself to characters being overpowered anyway.

Drawn from across the face of Cidri by forces beyond their comprehension, a disparate group of warriors and wizards finds themselves on a dangerous quest to defeat Tamir ibn Mu’tazz, the King of the Ifrit. Led by the noblewoman Takeda Mizuki, these unique individuals have faced numerous opponents and challenges as they have sought the palace of ibn Mu’tazz. Each hero stands ready to lay down his or her life to thwart the nefarious goals of the Ifrit.

If you’re going to give this a go as a combat scenario, treat Tamir ibn Mu’tazz as a 3-hex figure and allow him a 1-hex Green Slime, a 1-hex Silver Slime, and a 4-hex Goo as allies (stats below), thanks to his Ring of Slime & Goo Control.

The Villains

Tamir ibn Mu’tazz
ST 24 DX 16 IQ 20 MA 8/10 (40/20)
Sword, Charisma, Alertness, Acute Hearing, Diplomacy, Business Sense, Courtly Graces, Literacy, Recognize Value, Assess Value, Scholar
Fire, Speed Movement, Fireball, 3-Hex Fire, 7-Hex Fire, Create/Destroy Elemental
Chainmail (3), Scimitar of the Shayatin (2d6) allows a second attack each round at -4 DX, Amulet of Reverse Missiles, Ring of Slime & Goo Control

Green Slime
ST 14 DX 1 IQ 1 MA 2
Does 2 hits/turn once it engulfs a target by flowing into that creature’s hex.

Silver Slime
ST 18 DX 12 IQ 6 MA 6
Emits a lighting as the Lightning spell (i.e., 1d6/STR spent).

ST Nigh-Infinite DX N/A IQ 1 MA 4
Suffocates in 2 turns once it engulfs. Requires a 6 dice vs DX roll to hit the nucleus to kill.

The Heroes

Takeda Mizuki
ST 12 DX 15 (10) IQ 11 MA 6
Sword, Two Weapons, Courtly Graces, Diplomacy, Charisma, Tactics, Literacy, Horsemanship, Expert Horsemanship, Bow, Missile Weapons, Physicker, Sex Appeal, Alertness
Dou of Ama-Tsu-Mara (6), Katana (2d6), Wakizashi (2d6-1), Horse Bow (1d6), 20 Arrows

Black Crow
ST 11 DX 16 IQ 11 MA 12
Pole Weapons, Shield, Bow, Alertness, Missile Weapons, Tracking, Mimic, Silent Movement, Naturalist, Woodsman, Axe/Mace, Thrown Weapons, Animal Handler, Running
Small Shield (1), Spear (1d6/1d6+1), Bow of the Thunder Bird (1d6 + 3 pt lightning damage), 20 Arrows

Ultan MacEochagan
ST 10 DX 12 IQ 16 MA 10
Literacy, Sword, Bard, Seamanship, Sex Appeal
Light, Summon Wolf, Summon Myrmidon, Sleep, Summon Bear, Persuasiveness, Reveal/Conceal, Invisibility, Mage Sight, Magic Rainstorm, Control Person, Lightning, Glamor, Summon Giant
Silver Shortsword (2d6-1), Silver Dagger (1d6-1), Sapphire Eye of Manannan Mac Lir (5 ST Battery Gem)

ST 15 DX 13 (12) IQ 10 MA 10
Sword, Axe/Mace, Shield, Warrior, Priest, Literacy, Acrobatics, Diplomacy, Naturalist
Light, Clumsiness, Blur, Aid
Cloth Armor (1), Shield of Horus (3), Hook Sword (2d6), Battle Axe (3d6)

Eratosthenes of Herapho
ST 11 DX 13 IQ 14 MA 10
Literacy, Architect/Builder, Scholar, Alchemy
Staff, Lock/Knock, Create Wall, Destroy Creation, Summon Gargoyle, 3-Hex Wall, Slippery Floor, Telekinesis, Control Elemental
Staff (1d6), Diamond Heart of Hephaestus (5 ST Battery Gem)

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Nogoloth: The Singer From Beyond

Wherein your humble scribe presents a couple of NPCs and a demon for BoL. These were written with his Nogoloth Lovecraftian/dark fantasy setting in mind, but could easily be used with any BoL fantasy setting. The demon was assembled using the demon rules posted on the BoL boards way back in the day.

“Why have you summoned us?” the creature’s three mouths spoke-sang in unison, its voices harmonizing in a perfect minor triad.

“I call you forth in the name of Zog-Thaloth! The Red King! The Pipes of Wisdom! The Song that Dwells in the Copper Halls of Ullaq!” Sharuthua responded, her tones rising and falling in the prescribed melody of the ritual as Naqugol beat the ceremonial drum in time with the lesser priestesses’ orgiastic dancing.

“You sing well… for having only one voice,” the demon mused. “But the rite is not complete until you reach the highest note, fleshling.”

“Your presence here is at my will! Your power serves my own! Your service shall be rewarded in blood! So I sing in the name of Zog-Thaaaaaaal-oooooooth!” the priestess concluded the summoning song, ascending the scale of Ullaq fully, her lungs afire with the raw power of the final note, so high and piercing that the cavern came alive with a host of Kral bats, their slumber broken by a tone unfamiliar even to their keen ears.

“Well done, savage bonesack. Well done indeed,” chuckled the being from beyond this world. “Phu’ghaq’ug approves of your performance and will gladly serve your will in humility and good faith. Tell us now your wishes, and do please provide us with something to soothe our throats. Travel from our far home is so… drying.”

Sharuthua / Lifeblood 8 / Hero Points 5 / Arcane Power 14
Attributes: Strength 0 Agility 1 Mind 1 Appeal 2
Combat Abilities: Brawl 1 Melee 1 Ranged 0 Defense 2
Careers: Priestess 2, Sorcerer 2, Warrior 0, Farmer 0
Boons: Magic of the Sorcerer Kings, Power of the Void
Flaws: Delicate, Poor Recovery
Languages: Nogolothian, Low Speech, Star Tongue of the Elds
Equipment: Dagger (d3), Staff (d6-1)

Naqugol / Lifeblood 14 / Hero Points 5 / Arcane Power 10
Attributes: Strength 2 Agility 1 Mind 0 Appeal 1
Combat Abilities: Brawl 1 Melee 2 Ranged 0 Defense 1
Careers: Warrior 2, Priest 1, Hunter 1, Sorcerer 0
Boons: Quick Recovery, Hard to Kill
Flaws: Country Bumpkin
Languages: Nogolothian
Equipment: Spear (d6), Light Armor (d6-2)

Phu’ghaq’ug (Greater Demon) / Lifeblood 30
Attributes: Strength 3 Agility 1 Mind 4 Appeal 4
Combat Abilities: Brawl 4 Melee 2 Ranged 2 Defense 4
Demonic Powers: Speech, Sorcery (AP 20), Appeal, Telepathy
Attacks: +3 w/ strike (d6) or as weapon
Protection: 1d3 (iron-like hide)

Phu’ghaq’ug, called The Singer from Beyond, is a demon capable of living in – manipulating the arcane energies of – Nogoloth. Its normal appearance when summoned is of an attractive human man – typically in exceptionally fine clothing – with an effete affect. What marks Phu’ghaq’ug as otherworldly is the extra length of its otherwise human-like head, which accommodates the creature’s two additional mouths. Each mouth speaks with the same voice in a different register (bass, baritone, and tenor). The mouths typically speak in unison, though it is possible for them to communicate independently. Phu’ghaq’ug prefers not to do this, however, because it is deeply in love with the sound of its own voices

Phu’ghaq’ug is typically sought out by savage tribes and primitive sorcerers to serve as a weapon against the more civilized cultures. Whether its powers are employed in defense or aggression it cares not, so long as its taste for human blood is slaked.

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Mini Six: Contra Los Monstruos Neptunicos!

Their faces... they look like lucha masks!Los Monstruos Neptúnicos (the MonsterMen from Neptune) have landed in Mexico City and they will stop at nothing in their conquest of the Earth. These beings are tall (well over 9 feet) and quite strong. They are also clumsy and are terrible dancers, which is a shame. Because what each MonsterMan wants most in life – above conquest, mayhem, and destruction even – is to dance gracefully to the salsa rhythms they pick up from the radio broadcasts from XEPH. Their rampage through the city can only be stopped by brave luchadors and, perhaps, the clever application of some serious ritmo.

Los Monstruos Neptúnicos
Might 4D+1 Agility 1D
Wit 4D Charm 1D
Skills: IceRay Gun 3D, Dodge 2D, Computer 5D, Intimidate 3D
Perks: Rock Hard Skin (doubles Soak)
Complications: none
Gear: Neptunian IceRay Gun (see notes below)
Static: Dodge 6, Block 13, Parry 13, Soak 26 (13 when dancing)

Because of some strange trick of their alien neurophysiology, the MonsterMen from Neptune must dance – often quite badly – when they hear salsa music. If there’s such music playing within earshot, the creatures will not attack and are unable to defend themselves actively. Perhaps even more amazing is that when dancing, these creatures’ normally rock-hard skin becomes supple, reducing their ability to withstand damage.

Neptunian IceRay Gun
These weapons do no damage initially. When they first hit they incase the target in a sheath of ice that has a strength of 3D. Each subsequent round the ice grows in strength as it freezes more water out of the atmosphere. Roll an additional die each round and add it to the total strength of the ice.

A person trapped in the ice is completely immobilized unless he can make a successful Might check against the strength of the ice (this counts as an action for the round in which he attempts to break free). Once the ice reaches a strength greater than the victim could roll on a Might check (not counting the possible exploding of the wild die) begin applying the ice’s strength as damage against the victim’s Soak.

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Mini Six: Contra El Zombi Atómico!

El Zombi Atomico

El Zombi Atómico, the scourge of Veracruz, is at it again. Now – with his Zombi Queen by his side and his Zombi henchmen dutifully following his every order – he holds the city in his cold, dead hands. The call goes out all across all of Mexico for brave luchadors to send Eza (he hates it when people call him that) and his gang back to hell and save Verecruz from a fate worse than death!

El Zombi Atómico
Might 4D+2 Agility 2D+2
Wit 3D Charm 3D+2
Skills: Brawling 5D+2, Athletics 3D+2, Toughness 5D+2, Dodge 3D+2, Diplomacy 4D, Persuasion 4D, Leadership 4D, Streetwise 4D+2
Perks: Signature Move: Zombi SLAM! (once per combat may double the result of one Brawling roll)
Complications: Not really alive… or is he?
Gear: none of significance
Static: Dodge 11, Block 17, Parry 14, Soak 17
Armor: none

La Reina De Los Zombis
Might 2D+1 Agility 3D+2
Wit 3D Charm 4D
Skills: Dodge 4D+2, Magic 4D, Seduction 6D
Perks: Sorcerer
Spells: Paralysis, Slumber
Complications: Not really alive… or is she?
Gear: none of significance
Static: Dodge 15, Block 9, Parry 6, Soak 7
Armor: none

Zombi Henchmen
Might 3D+1 Agility 2D+2
Wit 1D+1 Charm 1D+2
Skills: Brawl 4D+1, Melee 4D+1, Muscle 4D+1, Stamina 4D+1, Throw 3D+2, Intimidation 3D+2
Perks: none
Complications: none
Gear: Pistol (4D), Clubs/Chains/Etc. (4D+2)
Static: Dodge 8, Block 13, Parry 13, Soak 10
Armor: none

New Perk: Signature Move
What’s a luchador without his (or her) signature move? Nothing! That’s what. This perk, which costs two skill dice, gives your character the ability to declare that he is performing his signature move once per combat encounter. When doing so you get to double your Brawling roll for that particular attack roll. You must, of course, name your signature move and declare it with the appropriate lucha spirit when you decide to perform it in combat.

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LL/RoCC Antagonist: Othoghu, The Knife Of Shub-Niggurath

Wherein your humble scribe presents an antagonist for use with Labyrinth Lord and the brand new Realms of Crawling Chaos. Three appropriately Lovecraftian artifacts are included below. Each is the result of rolling on the Random Artifact Tables contained within RoCC, which I believe is OGC.

Once a devout priest called Simon Aldurn, the man now known as Othoghu, The Knife Of Shub-Niggurath, willingly fell from grace at the urgings of Stelaugha, an uncommonly alluring Young of Shub-Niggurath. Othoghu makes his home in Canton-on-Imisk, where he serves the Black Goat of the Woods as a spy.

Othoghu longs for the day when Shub-Niggurath chooses him as a mate and will stop at nothing to please the Old One. Any who pass through Canton-on-Imisk with ill intentions towards the Black Goat of the Woods or who are in possession of items her cult might desire are certain to be subject to Othoghu’s evil.

Othoghu is currently in possession of three eldritch artifacts that he will employ as needed in his efforts to please and serve Shub-Niggurath. These are detailed below.

Othoghu / Human Cleric/Assassin 4/5 Neutral Evil
STR 14 INT 12 WIS 18 DEX 13 CON 10 CHR 13
HP 36 AC 5 Gold 3,571
+2 Mace, Bracers of Armor (AC 6), Silver Holy Symbol, The Key Of Haathoa, Idol Of Mmnao, The Eye Of Eiculura
Cleric Spells:
1st Level (5) Command, Darkness, Detect Magic, Fear, Sanctuary
2nd Level (4) Hold Person, Silence 15′ Radius, Snake Charm, Spiritual Weapon

The Key Of Haathoa

Carved from a bizarre, ancient stone, in which fossils of creatures never seen by human eyes are occasionally exposed, this key is able to summon a Night Beast to serve the possessor. The Night Beast will faithfully obey every command for 3d12 turns before returning whence it came. The Key of Haathoa can only be used once per day. Additional attempts to use it will result in the appearance of 2d4 hostile, hungry Night Beasts that will seek out the holder of the key.

Idol Of Mmnao

Crafted from a strange green soapstone in the image of a sitting siamese cat, this statue marks its owner as a friend of cats. Any felines who interact with the owner of the Idol of Mmnao are subject to a −2 reaction modifier and will only willingly attack the Idol’s holder in self-defense or to protect their young.

The Eye Of Eiculura

This large gem, which has been heavily etched with tentacle-, or perhaps root-like patterns, can be used to animate 1d3 nearby trees, which will uproot themselves to serve the Eye Of Eiculura’s owner. Treat these animated trees as chaotic treants that do not possess the ability to animate additional trees. Trees found in and near graveyards become particularly fearsome when affected by the magic of this artifact due to their roots having fed on fetid corpses over the ages. Such trees receive a +2 bonus to their Hit Dice. The Eye Of Eiculura can only be used 10 times before it crumbles into dust.

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