May 31, 2023

Two ERB Extended Universe Novels by John Eric Holmes

New edition of the two novels, "Mahars of Pellucidar" and "Red Axe of Pellucidar," written by John Eric Holmes, are out. These are action-packed adventures set in the Pellucidar universe. These books offer imaginative settings, inspiring heroes, and fast-paced action, accompanied by bonus novelettes by Joe Lansdale and Geary Gravel. Additionally, the attractive dust-jacket art perfectly captures key moments from each story. I spotted this on the ERB Facebook page, and noticed that all versions are available on Amazon, including audio.

Book One: "Mahars of Pellucidar"

Published in 1976, this story is set in a time period with advanced science that enables limited contact between the surface world and Pellucidar. The protagonist, Chris West, a grad student in biology and former Marine, narrates the tale in first person. The story begins with the discovery of an underground cavern through a borehole created by advanced technology. Chris, along with the brave and captivating Varna, faces perilous challenges as they navigate Pellucidar's diverse races and tribes. Eventually, they are captured by the Mahar, an alien race with unique physiology and communication methods. Chris forms an unlikely alliance with a Mahar scientist and discovers the gruesome fate that awaits human captives. With the help of his surface world friends, Chris leads a daring escape from the Mahar city.

Bonus Novelette: "Tarzan and the Land That Time Forgot" by Joe Lansdale

Originally published in the "Worlds of ERB" story collection in 2013, this novelette follows Tarzan and the crew of the O-220 airship, who find themselves stranded in Caspak after a storm. Tarzan, Captain Zuppner, and Zamona, a Pellucidar native, embark on an exciting journey through the evolutionary zones of Caspak, accompanied by a heartwarming romance.

Book Two: "Red Axe of Pellucidar"

The Forward, written by Eric Holmes' son, explains that Book Two remained unpublished for several years due to the poor sales of the first book. However, both novels deserve recognition for their exploration of the rich world of Pellucidar. In "Red Axe of Pellucidar," the protagonist, Red Axe (Chris West's Pellucidar name), and his companion Varna encounter two fascinating tribes: a Polynesian-inspired sea tribe and a stone-age tribe of mammoth hunters. Both tribes are manipulated by "witch doctors" who use a pagan religion to control their followers. The story showcases breathtaking landscapes, abundant wildlife, and thrilling life-and-death struggles. The romantic relationships in this book are portrayed differently than in previous ERB novels, emphasizing close bonds and genuine love. The novel also delves deeper into the enigmatic Mahar culture, revealing them as an ancient race with alien perceptions and values.

Bonus Novelette: "Jason Gridley of Earth, Across the Moons of Mars" by Geary Gravel

In this novelette, John Carter's lengthy report, transcribed by Geary Gravel, reveals strange events unfolding across multiple worlds. Carter finds himself transported from one world to another, struggling to gain control over this mysterious force. He encounters captivating characters and witnesses scientifically impossible phenomena, hinting at inconceivable alien technologies. While the story moves at a good pace, readers familiar with companion novels may appreciate it more.

Fans of the Pellucidar universe are highly recommended to dive into these two novels by John Eric Holmes. The adventures in "Mahars of Pellucidar" and "Red Axe of Pellucidar" offer thrilling escapades, captivating characters, and a love for the rich world created by Edgar Rice Burroughs. The bonus novelettes by Joe Lans

May 18, 2023

Kublacon 2023

 Kublacon 2023 is coming up soon. One of the best gaming conventions in California that I try to attend each year. Night Owl Workshop has a booth I'll be working. This year has a few new things like the recent adventures that I posted last week: Treasure Island (Freebooters), Haunted Ruins of Koris Nesh (WotRP), and A Midsummer Night's Dream (for OD&D or compatible systems). Also the Beasties book of Loathsome Horrors full color book. Each of these are print copies at the show, only PDF's are currently available online.

Also I have some prototype box sets coming out for Warriors of the Red Planet, Freebooters, Colonial Troopers, and Guardians. These are meticulous replicas of the original woodgrain ODD box. They include the game, adventure, and character sheet pads (dice not included, but will have a pencil). I'm working on making these available widely in print-on-demand editions through soon.

If you happen to be in the San Francisco bay area on the weekend of May 27th swing on by.

What about Gunslinger? Well, as mentioned in a previous post the writing is done. It is all about the art now. I will print a copy for display at the show. But the rulebook is this --> <-- close to being finished.

May 9, 2023

Treasure Island Adventure

Strangely, the Freebooters roleplaying game sells fairly regularly though it has little support. It is about time to make some adventures for it. This adaptation of Robert Louis Stevenson's classic youth novel "Treasure Island" is very much in the spirit of Freebooters and so it is a natural fit. While it was some work, it came out quite fun, and might even lead to some other adventures.

Turns out that Long John Silver is as compelling a character in a tabletop adventure as he is in the novel.

May 8, 2023

A Midsummer Night's Dream - Adventure

Dungeonland and The Land Beyond The Magic Mirror are two of my all time favorite adventures. Should I be embarrassed to say I read and played them before ever reading Lewis Carroll's classic novels? Let's just say that when I finally got around to reading them my appreciation for the Gary Gygax penned adventures only increased. What delightful exploits in madness and mayhem they are.

I have long thought about turning my favorite Shakespeare play, "A Midsummer Night's Dream," into a D&D adventure. It seemed like a challenging idea at first. However, after rereading the play with my daughter, who enjoys Shakespeare, I found inspiration. We read an edition with explanatory notes for a modern audience, which helped clarify the text.

I drafted up a rough copy of the adventure and foisted it on my unsuspecting players, and we had a blast! It was every bit the mayhem I was hoping it would be.  While I'm not sure if my written version captures the full experience, I hope that by engaging with the text, you can see its potential.

This was also inspired, in part, by Neil Gaiman's take on The Bard's play in the Sandman graphic novel where he adopted it into a story set within the world of the Endless. Gaiman makes a lot of references to Shakespeare's work all throughout the Sandman, so if you like that sort of thing I can highly recommend that series. Gaiman manages to elevate graphic novels to high art.

If you are looking for something a little different from your typical Swords & Sorcery dungeoncrawls, then I hope you'll consider this adventure.

Prehistoric Earth - A Great Fantasy World

 Looking for a great new fantasy world to set your next campaign in? Look no further than this interactive globe of the Earth when the continents were still undivided.