Thursday, December 27, 2012

Universal Studios Mutants

Enough time has passed since Airing Of The Grievances Day, so it guess it's okay to gloat about our presents.

We gamers know a thing about treasure hoards and mountains of loot, and my absolutely favorite haul came in the Christmas of 1981.  That was the year the glorious Sears Wish Book catalog and my ornery ol' Nana (who found all my childhood interests distasteful and disturbing, if not outright Satanic-with-a-capital-S) joined forces to bring me The Greatest Toys Of All Time:

The Remco Universal Mini-Monsters...and Their Dream House!

To this day, I'm still unsure how she rationalized buying those for me (aside from me being a generally awesome grandson, I mean.)

1982's Xmas score was pretty snazzy, too, because that was the year Remco released glow-in-the-dark versions of the very same 1981 figures.  I only received 3 of the 6 (The Creature, The Mummy, and Frankenstein's Monster) in my stocking, but that was okay, because I pretended they were the Evil Duplicate versions of the Real Deals.

1982 Wish Book "Glow Versions" Advert

Those glow-clones (glones?) caused all kinds of trouble in my action figure wonderland. Perhaps their most dastardly crime was unleashing RODAN HIMSELF against the Death Star, requiring the "good" monsters to team up with a random Cylon and Ovion to stop the rampage.  (I think a carjacked Landspeeder may have been involved, too.)

Send In The Glones

The point of all the above was to indicate that the Universal Monsters Pantheon and Christmas go together for me like eggnog and Santa and mummies and tana leaves.

So I'm overjoyed to share my Secret Santicore 2012 present by the awesome Hudson Bell. He doesn't know me from Adam (neither Baron Frankenstein's version, nor Yahweh's), but he definitely made my Christmas very, very awesome.

Thanks, Mr. Bell!

Wednesday, December 26, 2012

"V" is for "Voxclaw"

Voxclaw  ("Chattercrab")

No. Enc.:  1d6 (2d10)
Alignment:  Any
Movement:  60' (20')
Armor Class:  2
Hit Dice:  2+2
Attacks:  2 (2 claws)
Damage:  1d2 / 1d4
Save:  L3
Morale:  7
Hoard Class:  VII
XP:  59

The 3-eyed, 1' diameter voxclaws are terrestrial crustaceans found in all but the coldest climes.  They build elaborate communities out of mud and debris, complete with underground tunnels and spires as tall as treetops.

Voxclaws instinctively comprehend and articulate all spoken dialects (including animal cries), and grasp written languages with ease.  Accordingly, they are masterful orators, diplomats, translators, and guides...and the more unsavory members of their species become spies, snake-oil peddlers, revival preachers, grifters, and politicians.

Being considered "as charming as a voxclaw" is one of the greatest compliments one can receive in the Mutant Future.

Mutations:  Mental Telepathy, Parasitic Control

Monday, December 24, 2012

The Gift That Keeps On Giving!!! The Thing That Just Won't Die!!!

If late-night creature-features have taught me anything, you can't keep a good abomination down...and you never know when it's going to strike again.

Which means that Christmas Eve is the perfect time for a rebroadcast of October's Spawn Of Devastation Drive-In event... in convenient PDF form!!!  Download it from the handy-dandy widget, right over there!!!

(Yeah, took me long enough.  It's just that after a full month of greasy corn dogs, fruit sours by the pallet-ful, and flat, sticky soda (well, I sure HOPE it was soda), I could barely look at the material without getting the dry-heaves.  Then came those danged space-apes.

And I apologize in advance for any egregious typos and/or grammar issues.  My eyes have plum glazed over, y'all.)

Happy Halloween all over again.  And have a very merry and super-safe ChristmaSolstice.

Friday, December 21, 2012

Radioactive Review — 'Wisdom From The Wastelands #13: Medical Devices'

Healin' ain't easy in the Mutant Future.

Sure, when compared to other Ol' Skool games, Level 1 characters start out with a hefty chunk of sweet, succulent Hit Points.  But unless you're lucky enough to have rejuvenating mutations or a stash of Ancient medical supplies, you're at the mercy of all manner of apocalyptic hazards and laser-toting animal-men.  And the Mutant Future Core Rulebook's stark random Treasure Hoard Tables don't do you any kindnesses.

So thank Wisdom From The Wastelands #13: Medical Devices for saving your irradiated bacon!

This issue showcases 5 dense pages of all-new, life-sustaining Artifacts, including these dandy devices

) Auto-Medic:  Essentially a souped-up tricorder that diagnoses and treats what ails ya.  It's the gadget 4 out of 5 surly, cornfed space-doctors recommend most!

) Auto-Injector:  Something went seriously awry at Waynetech if they started mass-producing a certain someone's trademark gadget....

) Black Ray:  Any Gamma World player worth his salt knows that the Black Ray Pistol is "the ultimate hand-held weapon...[that] causes instant death to living targets not protected by a force field"¹.  But the Mutant Future versions have been repurposed to just rid a target of invasive organisms.  INSTANT DEATH TO ACCURSED PARASITES...WHOO-HOO!!!

) RadBeGone:  Nuclear-negating nanites.  It's nice to know that Ron Popeil's legacy lives on, thousands of years after the apocalypse.

) The Resurrector:  I'll just say this:  any artifact whose Negative Effect Table lists Death as the least terrible option is AWESOME.

And there are plenty of more invaluable tools to keep your PCs alive another day.

Rounding out the supplement is a new mutation, Genetic Replication, which translates to "viral duplication".  PCs with this one could run amok, for good or ill.

So much cool loot make this edition of WFTW is one of my favorites of the entire series. Yeah, it reads a little dry (like most WFTW supplements), but author Chris "Outlander" Van Deelen did a dandy job, and really expanded the game's medical options.  Order today!!!

1:  Gamma World 1e Core Book, p. 32

Thursday, December 20, 2012

Naughty, Nice...It's All Relative. Now Where's The Damned Presents?

I've had a hoot AND a holler participating in my fellow blog-nards assorted shindigs, soirees, and shenanigans this holiday season.  The raw creativity on display has been humbling, exciting, and downright rejuvenating.

And while the Secret Santicore 2012 event hit some (totally justifiable and lamentable) snags, I'd like to put my gift out there, in hopes that someone gets some use out of it.  It's not much...but, well, it was made with love.  And isn't that what the season is all about?  *snort, cough, guffaw*

Here was my assignment, verbatim:

[Create] Either an encounter (monster or group of monsters) or a random encounter table for bronze-age astronauts travelling through space in some kind of primitive vessel.

Being a big-honking comic book guy of retro-stylings and sensibilities, the words "bronze age" instinctively conjured twisted visions of Jack Kirby and Marvel Horror and Gold Key Insanity...but then I realized it meant something else entirely.  Less spandex, more loincloths.

And so I present my, um, present in a format shamelessly ripped off from one of my absolutely favorite blogs.  I hope someone can get some Carcosan or Encounter Critical-ish or Mutant Future-y or Flailsnails-ian use from it.

Bronze-Age Astronauts...In Space!!! Encounter Table
d12  Encounter
Rocky maze-steroid infested with mutated mechano-minotaurs
Funerary rocket-barge carrying souls of wrongly-demolished droids to The Land Of The Deactive     
Star-sphinx sentry singing "Riddles Of The Spheres"
Despondent constellation-golem seeking companionship...but preferably a mate
Convoy of automated mining-chariots shuttling moon-copper into black hole
Drifting laser-ziggurat of the conquering gas giant, Vituprex The Vaporous
Debauched robo-revel of the quasar-druids at Space-Henge
Be-feathered jag-warbots pillaging in the name of Mecha-Zuma, Emperor Of The Azmeks
Jeweled comets pushed by sky-scarabs
10 Beguiling pulsar-sirens and nebula-nymphs offering hospitality and delights at Saturn-ringed oasis
11 Muntinous quarantine-ship overrun by anguished prisoners afflicted with infectious sunspots
12 Freshly-hatched larval planets seeking blood-sustenance

Tuesday, December 18, 2012

Mutants In The News — "Hear Ye, Hear Ye!!!" Edition

I gotta give credit to Mr. Stephens...he's given us more info about Warlords Of The Apocalypse in 24 hours than the prior caretakers did in the last calendar year.

Here's the official press release, hot off the, um, presses:



December 18, 2012

Super Genius Games, critically-acclaimed publisher of supplemental material for the Pathfinder, Savage Worlds and Call of Cthulhu role-playing game systems, has acquired the rights to the Pathfinder-compatible WARLORDS OF THE APOCALYPSE game setting from original developer Adamant Entertainment.

WARLORDS OF THE APOCALYPSE, first announced in 2010,  brings the gonzo, over-the-top world of classic post-apocalypse science-fantasy to the Pathfinder rules system, featuring mutants, psychic powers, radioactive beasts and warriors of the wasteland.

"The game ran into some major snags during development," says Gareth-Michael Skarka, director of Adamant Entertainment.  "We soldiered on, trying to pull it together, but it became apparent that the property would be far better in the hands of Pathfinder experts like the crew at Super Genius.   We're very glad they expressed an interest and that we were able to come to an agreement that honors not only WOTA, but the existing pre-order customers, who were our primary concern."

Customers who had pre-ordered WARLORDS OF THE APOCALYPSE will see those orders fulfilled by Super Genius Games. "We are well aware folks have already been waiting a very long time, and shown amazing patience," says Owen K.C. Stephens, the Line Developer for WOTA at Super Genius.  "We'll be outlining our full plans soon, and setting up a forum for open discussions. We know we'll eventually put the book in the hands of the pre--order customers, and we're working out how the general public can get involved. Since we want the biggest, best release possible for Warlords of the Apocalypse, we're even considering a Kickstarter campaign."

Stephens and Skarka both expressed enthusiasm for the project and it's future in the hands of Super Genius Games.   "It's such a fun genre, and Super Genius has strongly established themselves as seriously excellent developers," said Skarka.  "I look forward to seeing WARLORDS OF THE APOCALYPSE in its final form.   I'm sure it will be brilliant!"

Super Genius Games was founded in fall 2007 by game industry veterans Hyrum Savage and Stan!, SGG is dedicated to publishing quality PDF and print products for a wide range of games and game systems.  For more information contact

Adamant Entertainment is a digital media company founded in 2003 by Gareth-Michael Skarka.  For more information, visit

Mutants In The News — "Super Genius Games Makes Me Glad-A-Mant, After GMS Made Me Sad-A-Mant" Edition

This Original Cover Is Problematic...

So...according to assorted emails I received yesterday, Pathfinder's Warlords Of The Apocalypse will (sooner than later) arise from the atomic ashes, courtesy of the fine folks at Super Genius Games.

I had a sassy-n-surly post all ready to go about Adamant Entertainment's 2+ years of broken assurances and deadlines, but it's the holiday season, and I'm just thankful the project has been passed on to capable hands.

And not only thankful, but excited, based on correspondence with new project lead Owen K.C. Stephens.  He said the right things to melt this frosty, be-nuclear-winter'd heart.

There will be a press release this week, and the word "Kickstarter" will be involved.  But don't let that give you the jibblies, as S.G.G. swears those that originally pre-ordered WOTA will get the book, come hell or high water.

It's a Christmas miracle!!!

...And This Second Take Is Gods-Awful.  Third Time's The Charm...?

Saturday, December 15, 2012

Radioactive Review — 'Wisdom From The Wastelands #12: Parasite Mutations / Transformations'

In the months I spent prepping for October's mega-movie event, the gang at Skirmisher Publishing released a plethora of products that I let slip through the cracks.  Then there was that whole kidnapping-by-alien-primates-from-space thing, which delayed my reviews even further.  (And there may or may not have been a whole lot of Other Stuff in between, which was draining and distracting and just not too pleasant.)

So lemme apologize to the dandy chaps at Skirmisher:  Sorry, guys.  I've been lax.

This is me getting back on track, and making things right.  You all have every reason to be surly, and I grovel profusely.

But enough of that sheepishness.  There's reviewin' needin' doin'!

Succinct Review:  Wisdom From The Wastelands #12 : Parasite Mutations / Transformations freaks me the hell out.

There.  Done.


You really expect me to talk about this, don't you?

Fine.  Be that way.

Why does it give me the jibblies, you ask?

Because when I was a wee one, a relative—yes, really, a relative...NOT ME—had a horrifyingly disgusting infestation of real-life creepy-crawlies, and it was a two-week blur of bleach and plush animals stuffed in trashbags and a haggard mother and me stealthily blocking up the gap under my door at night and rampant paranoia that every little itch meant I WAS INFECTED, TOO.

If only these had been around in kiddie sizes in the '70s.
And had dinosaurs printed on them.

In fact, to this very day, my honest-to-gods very first thought each and every time my skin tickles is:  I've got parasites.  I wish I was joking.  My subconscious is a sadist.

So, here's a supplement about MUTANT parasites, and the gross creativity and squirmy graphics and sheer Cronenberg-ness of it all make me break out in the fidgets even as I'm typing this.  Seriously, I've been scratching the whole time.

Which I reckon means that author Derek Holland did his job just way, way too well.

WFTW #12 starts off with a general one-page overview of parasitism in general, and how it works in the Mutant Future framework.  It's standard GM rulebook stuff.  But then come the mutations themselves, and, wow, are there some doozies.

Here's the ones I particularly like (and by that, I mean "find absolutely nauseating, but in a good way"):

) Crimson Leaf:  Burrowing insects that turn your Mutant Plant PC into a fire-flinging force of ferocity.  Sure, it SOUNDS cool, but it's just wrong.

) Red Tusk:  "A centipede that lives in the host's neck...." kinda says it all, doesn't it?  *SHUDDER*

) Skull Slug:  You like more Mental Mutations, right?  And you really don't need all that spinal fluid, do you...?

) Snothorn:  Nasal fungus that spreads across the face and turns you into a size-shifting Rudolph The Reindeer.  AWFUL.

Then there's the Transformation section, where conditions with names like Ant Colonization (it's as grody as you think) and Ghost Form (I can now add "space-spiders" to my list of irritation-related nightmares) and Roachling Curse (it's EXACTLY what it sounds like) turn your PCs into a walking, talking critter-condos.

Each gets a detailed, half-page description of benefits and drawbacks, so you can really come to terms with the hideous freak you've become.

I may or may not have mentioned fantastic parasites on this very blog before as a form of self-therapy, but those came from The Silver Screen.  These, however, come exclusively from the minds over at Skirmisher, and it's clear that they're not only well-versed in biology and SCIENCE! (which means the material reads  a tad dry, despite its ickiness), but they're also sick, demented freaks in need professional help.

Friday, December 14, 2012

Imagine Being Trapped In Your Local Zoo's Monkey House. For A Fortnight. Underground.

Boy, howdy, do I need a shower.

What a weird two weeks that was, eh?  Had I known that participating in The 13 Days Of Creepmas blog-a-thang would get me kidnapped by a garrulous gorilla mad scientist and his belligerent henchman, I'd have never gotten involved.

Worst.  Hosts.  Ever.

I was forced into all kinds of unpleasantness.  Mucking out monster kennels.  Tasting mutagenic goo "to make sure the flavor was right".  Trying to teach Karas to play boardgameswho cheats, might I addjust to keep him away from the earth-girlies.

Oh, who could stay mad at that face?

Thank goodness I was rescued by that brass-clad cyborg.  Much obliged, mystery man of metal!

My Hero

There was a bright side to my imprisonment, though.  I spent the lonely nights in my cell catching up on all kinds of reading, and I have a flurry of reviews in the pipeline.

So...I guess this is the part where I apologize for getting kidnapped by space-apes.  Um, sorry.  I swear it wasn't on my schedule AT ALL.  I'm overjoyed it's back to business as usual.

And I sure hope that no-good Dr. Gori leaves me alone, because I'd hate to give that gesticulating gloryhound any more airtime.  It would be a danged tragedy if he left secret boobytrap posts, set to unleash random garbage-beast entries in the future....

I can't deny he's a snappy dresser.

Thursday, December 13, 2012

Dr. Gori Unleashes... THE ZAFTIG ZUNOHMAN.


No. Enc.:  1 (1d4)
Alignment:  Neutral
Movement:  90' (30')
Armor Class:  8
Hit Dice:  8
Attacks:  See Below
Damage:  See Below
Save:  L8
Morale:  8
Hoard Class:  XVI
XP:  5,060

Ahhh, visitor from dared challenge Gori!!!  You thought to possess the body of MY henchman, and steal MY spaceship to return to your homeworld?!!!   Fool!!!  I turned the tables on you easily, and made YOU the captive.  Your race's alleged guile was no match for my genius!!!

Fortunately for you, I had need of your talents.  I offered safe passage to your planet in return for inhabiting my monster Giligand, so as to combine your brains with its brawn.  Truly, you must concede that I am your master!!!

Hailing from the planet Zunoh, Zunohmen resemble fleshy, pulsating, ovoid tumors atop spindly legs.  Each possesses a single, milky eye.  Zunohmen explore the galaxy in their advanced spacecraft, and those encountered on Earth are usually marooned and in desperate search of transport.

Zunohmen are powerful mentalists, but their physical forms are vulnerable and nigh-useless. They counter their weaknesses by parasitically merging with, and possessing, other creatures and humanoids.  A Zunohman incapacitates its target mentally, and then flops atop the victim, melding into one.  A merged Zunohman takes on the attributes (AC, HP, attacks, etc) of its host, and not only has full access to abilities, knowledge, and mutations, but also uses them in superior fashion (hence the Combat Empathy).

If the possessed creature dies, the Zunohman is not harmed in any way; it simply disengages from the body, and seeks out new quarry.  Zunohmen often treat their hosts as disposable, even going so far as to force them to commit suicide if it proves advantageous.  Peculiarly, a deceased host shatters as if made of porcelain 2d6 rounds after a Zunohman leaves its confines.

Three times per day, a Zunohman can run in a 100' diameter circle at hypersonic speeds, and all trapped within suffer the effects of a Killing Sphere.

Mutations:  Combat Empathy (x2), Killing Sphere (Modified), Mental Barrier, Mind Thrust (x2), Neural Telepathy, Possession (Modified), Quick Mind

[The Zunohman (aka Zunou-Seijin in Japan) appears courtesy of Episodes 21-22 from the 1971 TV series, Spectreman.]

Wednesday, December 12, 2012



No. Enc.:  1 (1d6)
Alignment:  Neutral
Movement:  90' (30')
         —Fly:  360' (120')
Armor Class:  2
Hit Dice:  14
Attacks:  2 or 1 (2 claws, or 1 tailslap)
Damage:  2d8 / 2d8, or 2d6
Save:  L10
Morale:  12
Hoard Class:  1d4 eggs (See Below)
XP:  8,700

Ahhh, Moonthunder...what a fortuitous discovery you were.  Just as I prepped my saucer's weapons to destroy the Apollo astronauts for treading in my cosmic domain, you erupted from the lunar surface and did the job for me.  How foolish they were for stealing your precious eggs!

And now, here on Earth, you wreak a savage vengeance.  Humanity's space programs and museums are in ruins!!!  Smash these troglodytes back to the Stone Age, mighty Moonthunder!!!

Moonthunders are powerful, dinosaur-sized bipeds with knobby hides, frilled necks, and leathery wingflaps.  Hatchet-shaped growths jut from their snouts.  Moonthunders rocket through the galaxy at incredible speeds (easily keeping pace with advanced spacecraft) and dig subterranean dens on barren planetoids, asteroids, and lunar bodies.  Each lair always contains 2d4 eggs, which frequently dislodge and scatter across the landscape.

Given their harsh habitats, moonthunders are utterly immune to adverse effects from temperature extremes, radiation, gasses (as they don't breathe), pressure, and vacuums. Crushing oceanic depths are accordingly no hindrance to the creatures.

Moonthunders can unerringly track their crystalline eggs over thousands of miles, and as the creatures close in, both their snout-growths and eggs pulsate with purple radioactivity.  This link proved problematic for The Ancients, for as they explored outer space, numerous "moon rocks" were returned to earth for which happened to contain monstrous embryos.  Many Ancient spaceports, museums, planetariums, laboratories, and military installations were destroyed as surly moonthunders landed planetside to retrieve what was theirs in the most destructive of fashions. 

Moonthunder hatchlings are trainable as pets and allies—assuming their parents don't come calling, that is—and can theoretically be outfitted with specialized harnesses so as to make them "living airships".

Mutations:  Aberrant Form ("Deep Space Adaptations"), Increased Sense (Vision), Reflective Epidermis (Cold, Fire / Heat, Radiation), Optic Snoutic Emissions (Bright Snout, Gamma Snout), Unique Sense ("Moonrock Tracking")

[Moonthunder appears courtesy of Episodes 34-35 from the 1971 TV series, Spectreman.]

Tuesday, December 11, 2012



No. Enc.:  1 (1d4)
Alignment:  Chaotic
Movement:  120' (40')
Armor Class:  2
Hit Dice:  10
Attacks:  7 (6 claws, 1 bite)
Damage:  1d6 / 1d6 / 1d6 / 1d6 / 1d6 / 1d6 / 2d10
Save:  L10
Morale:  10
Hoard Class:  XXII
XP:  4,500

Ahhh, the arachnosphinx...truly, my most twisted creation!!!  With but one application of my mutative mists, I transformed the deceased Sphinx-Beast into a monstrosity straight from humankind's worst nightmares.

Your multiple limbs rend flesh from bone.  Your electro-webs incinerate anything they touch. Your stony shell makes you impervious.  You are the ultimate manifestation of my genius!!!

Mutant Future Version

Arachnosphinxes are freakish, man-sized bipeds with gaping maws, multiple spiked limbs, and bloated bodies covered with brick-like chitin.  They are so disturbing, anyone beholding an arachnosphinx for the first time must make a successful Saving Throw Versus Stun, or be Paralyzed for 1d4 rounds.

Arachnosphinxes spit electrified webbing.  Every other round, they can discharge gooey, sizzling gobs that inflict 6d6 damage and require an Ability Check Versus STR to escape. Arachnosphinxes spin massive web networks (which also cause 6d6 damage upon initial contact) that can entangle—and incinerate—multiple vehicles at once.

At range, an arachnosphinx can hurl 1 limb per round at distances of up to 50' with frightening accuracy, gaining a +2 To Hit and causing 3d6 damage.

Mutations:  Aberrant Form ("Spear-Legs"), Energy Ray (Modified) (x2), Extra Limbs (Arms)

[The Arachnosphinx (aka the Spider-Monster in the U.S. and Japan) appears courtesy of Episodes 38-39 from the 1971 TV series, Spectreman.]