Saturday, January 17, 2015

Now Available -- The Three Lives of Fantomah: Daughter of the Pharoahs

Art by Bradley K. McDevitt

The Three Lives of Fantomah: Daughter of the Pharoahs is NUELOW Games' final collection of tales starring one of comicdom's earliest leading ladies. In these stories, she claims her destiny as the Queen of Khefra, a hidden civilization that has kept many of the traditions of ancient Egypt alive. In addition to seven rarely seen stories illustrated by George Appel, the book features OGL d20 rules that let you incorporate the gods of Khefra into your campaigns, no matter what d20 System variant you're using. It's all behind an original cover by Bradley K. McDevitt.

If you enjoy sword-and-sorcery fantasy, you'll not want to miss this final chronicle of the multi-faceted existence of the most fantastic woman to have ever lived -- Fantomah!

Click here to see previews of the book, or to get your own copy. It's available at a reduced price through January 22, 2015.

The other books in the Three Lives of Fantomah series are still available...

Art by Richard Case & Fletcher Hanks
Cover for Mystery Woman of the Jungle
Art by Richard Case & Fletcher Hanks
Cover for Guardian of the Jungle

Thursday, January 15, 2015

The Gods of Khefra: A Preview (Part Two)

More snippets from the RPG material that will be featured in The Three Lives of Fantomah: Daughter of the Pharoahs. Coming soon! (This is Open Game content, and it may be reproduced in accordance with the license detail at the link in the sidebar to the right.)

The gods of Khefra grant spells to members of their priesthoods as described in the rules for the Adept class in OGL Modern, or in the rules for Clerics or Druids in the general OGL rules. In Khefra, an Adept, Cleric, or Druid must select a deity to serve and that deity grants them spells. They may also select any of the "Favored by" feats in place of any bonus feat they earn for their class. (These feats may also be selected by non-clergy characters who honor the god in question through their words and deeds.)
   The gods of Khefra often answer desperate pleas from the citizens of the city-state. Simply mentioned a god's name if one isn't a member of the god's priesthood or engaged in a  formal rite or prayer, triggers a 1% chance that the deity will manifest an avatar (use the stats for the astral deva in all cases) at the location its name was mentioned. If the deity determines that its name has been taken in vain and/or it has been called upon for frivolous reasons, he will place a curse upon the summoner and immediately depart.
Until the character seeks out a temple devoted to the offended god, and completes a quest of atonement assigned by the high priest there, the character suffers a -4 penalty to all d20 rolls and a -2 to damage dealt and a +2 to damage received.
Isis is the patron goddess of spell casters and widows. She was the wife of the now-dead god Osiris, and she is the sworn enemy of the gods who slew her husband, Babi and Set. Legend holds that the first undead creatures came into being when Set tried to make amends with Isis by combining forces with her to restore Osiris to life, using her magic and his knowledge of the forces that dwell in the chaotic outer reaches of existence. The dead husk rampaged across the land for days, before the Lord of Water and Fire grew angry at the noise and shattered it, causing it to break into the first liches, vampires, ghouls, and the other various kinds of undead.  In artwork, she is portrayed as a regal woman with multi-colored wings.
   Symbol: A pair of wings
   Interactions with the Mortal World: Isis comes to the aid of imperiled widows who call upon her. There is an 80% chance that she will manifest for a widow in danger and battle those who are threatening her. (The avatar of Isis uses the stats for an Astral Deva.)

The Lord of Water and Fire
This fearsome entity was one of the first to emerge from the chaos that pre-dated the creation of the universe. It is both feared and honored by Khefrans, because water and fire are both sources of life and deadly destruction. Except for new year's celebrations--where Khefrans thank the Lord of Water and Fire for permitting them to live another year--no rites and devoted to it.
    Symbol: An vial made of smoky glass (symbolizing steam)
    Interaction with the Mortal World: If called upon through the performance of highly secret ritual, there is a 60% chance that the Lord of Water and Fire will cause wildfires and massive floods to destroy an area in a 1d100+10 mile radius in the area the ritual is performed. The place of the ritual is hardest hit by the disaster, and no magic functions there for 1d100 days immediately after the ritual has been completed.
Ra is the father of Set the now-dead Osiris, and he is viewed by Khefrans as the primary defender of all life on Earth. He is the offspring of the Lord of Earth and Air and the Lord of Water and Fire, and it was he who convinced them to curb their wild ways and allow other beings to spring from the world they inhabited. Ra spends the day watching over the world from his palace in the heavens, and then decends to the world at night to relate all the good deeds he witnessed so the Lords will remain convinced that life on Earth is generally righteous and worth preserving. (He is not always successful, which is why people are beset by floods, earthquakes, and other natural disasters.)
   Symbol: A gold disc.
   Interactions with Mortals: Ra does not answer prayers given by human beings. If called upon by anyone who isn't a member of his priesthood, there is a 1% chance that will curse that person as described under Interacting with the Gods. As much as Ra loves mortal beings, he is too busy keeping the Lords in check to be bothered with their concerns.
Set is the patron god of abandoned places, and all things that live underground and in the desert -- including the undead. Murderers and assassins pray to him in the hopes that he will intervene on their behalf to lessen their punishment in the afterlife. He is the younger brother of the now-dead god Osiris. Set was jealous that their father Ra seemed to favor his older brother, and he conspired with Babi to murder Osiris. He thought he would be able to hide his guilt, but Ra and Isis discovered the truth, and he has been hiding from their wrath ever since. Khefran's believe that the desert to the north of their city state is so barren because it houses Set's main temple and Ra has his feiry gaze turned upon it when he is awake, hoping to spot and incinerate his hated second son. Set is portrayed in art as a slender man with the head of a creature that vaguely resembles a misshapen ant eater.
   Symbol: A bone with a broken, jagged edge.
   Interaction with the Mortal World: Set does not directly answer prayers given by human beings. He is too afraid of Ra and Isis. He deals only directly with undead beings and monstrous desert dwellers. If called upon by anyone other than his priesthood, there is a 1% chance that he will curse them as described in "Interacting with the Gods."
Favored of Isis [Charismatic Hero, Dedicated Hero]
Prerequisite: Must be able to cast spells. The ability cannot be derived from any of the "Favored of" feats.
   Benefit: Any weapon you wield against undead creatures functions as if it had a +2 enchantment higher than its base. (A non-enchanted weapon would have a +2 bonus to hit and damage, while being effective against undead creatures that can't be injured with weapons of less than a +2 enchantment. A weapon that is already enchanted would operate as if it were more powerful, such a +1 sword functioning as a +3 sword.)
   Special: Once per day, you may cast a spell from the following list, with your character level treated as your caster level: Dispel Magic, Detect Magic, Magic Stone, Magic Missile.
These are considered bonus spells and do not count toward any daily maximum the character may be subject to.

Favored of Set  [Dedicated Hero, Fast Hero]
Benefit: Spells that animate dead function at +1 to your caster level. You gain a +2 bonus to all Hide skill checks.
   Special: Once per day, you may cast a spell from the following list, with your character level serving as the caster level: Animate Dead, Obscure Object. These are considered bonus spells and do not count toward any daily maximum the character may be subject to.

Wednesday, January 14, 2015

Random Feat: Shadow Meld

An OGL Modern feat that came to mind while sitting on the freeway today... it's presented under the Open Gaming License (which is detailed at the link in the sidebar to the left).

Shadow Meld [Fast Hero]
Prerequisites: Hide 8 ranks, Move Silently 8 ranks
Benefit: When in an area that features at least some shadow, the character gains a +10 bonus to Hide skill checks. Essentially, he or she uses even the slightest shadow to "hide in plain sight."

Yuki uses her Shadow Meld feat.

Monday, January 12, 2015

The Gods of Khefra: A Preview

In the forthcoming NUELOW Games book The Three Lives of Fantomah: Daughter of the Pharoahs includes an RPG supplement detailing the gods of Khefra, the hidden city state that Fantomah rules. Here is a sample of what's in that article.

The divine forces in Fantomah's world have been touched upon in The Three Lives of Fantomah: Mystery Woman of the Jungle and The Three Lives of Fantomah: Guardian of the Jungle, but they are referenced frequently in the third and final volume in the series, so we chose to detail them there. In addition to descriptions useful in any game world that features supernatural beings such as gods, the book contains several new OGL d20 feats that can be used with the rules presented in the previous Fantomah books and in other NUELOW Games releases, such as Feats of Magic and Mysticism.

Dozens of gods are honored by the citizens of Khefra. They reflect the civilization's roots in ancient Egypt, but certain gods are worshiped only in Khefra and all have evolved beyond their roles in ancient times.

This jackal-headed god is reputed to guide the souls of the dead safely to the afterlife. In Khefra, he is also honored by those who enforce the law and is considered to be the final judge of innocent or guilt. He is portrayed in artwork as a powerfully muscled man with the head of a jackal carrying an executioner's axe.
   Symbol: A jackal head
   Interaction with the Mortal World: If an innocent person stands wrongly accused of a crime and beseeches Anubis to prove his or her innocence, there is a 90% chance that Anubis will respond in some manner that will fulfill the request. If the party making the accusations is knowingly lying, 2d20+20 jackals appear in the area and attack the accusers. The jackals attack until they or their target(s) is slain.

Bast is the patron goddess of cats and gamblers, and the dedicated enemy of snakes and scorpions. In Khefra, it is believed that she was once herself the most loyal cat of the Lord of Earth and Air, and he rewarded her by making her a god. She is portrayed in art as a black cat wearing bejeweled collars, or as a slender, cat-headed woman wearing little more jewelry and a short skirt.
   Symbol: A cat head, or a die.
   Interaction with the Mortal World: If a person calls upon Bast while engaged in a struggle to protect, save, or benefit a friend, there is a 50% chance that 2d4 panthers appear to fight at the character's side. A black house cat will also appear and lead the beseecher to the key to a solution to any greater problems the character may be facing. If there is no need for physical might, the panthers do not appear.

The Lord of Earth and Air
A fearsome being who was one of the first creatures to emerge from the chaos of pre-Creation, he is viewed as one of the most powerful of all the gods. He is never portrayed in art, except as storm clouds appearing in paintings of Bast. Aside from certain cults devoted specifically to serving him, few dare call upon him, because while he is known to give supplicants great powers, he usually exacts a terrible price in return. He is the patron god of Khefra's royal family, and it is through his blessing that they reputedly have life-spans ten times that of normal human beings.
   Symbol: A glass vial with a few grains of sand.
   Interaction with the Mortal World: The Lord of Earth and Air gives all characters who have the blood of Khefra's royal family in their veins extended longevity. They age normally until they reach 19 years of age, after which the aging process slows down and they age 1 year for every 10 that pass. (There is a 1% chance that any player character may be an illegitimate heir to the throne of Khefra and thus a receipient of the Lord of Earth and Air's gift.)
    Any other interactions with the mortal world are prompted through complex rituals. One such ritual can lead to a person becoming an avatar of the Lord of Earth and Air, such as Fantomah early in her life. (See The Three Lives of Fantomah: Mystery Woman of the Jungle and The Three Lives of Fantomah:Guardian of the Jungle for details.)

Cover for the final book in NUELOW's Fantomah series.
Art by Brad McDevitt

Friday, January 9, 2015

Friday Freebie: Meet Kismet, the original Muslim Superhero

This weekend, Jan 9 - Jan. 11, everyone can download Complete Golden Age Oddballs: Kismet & Penny Parker for free. The book collects for the first time every single appearance of the first Muslim comic book superhero... a figure who is closer to what little would-be Jihadists to aspire to than any real-world role-models they have. It's too bad the character only appeared in an obscure comic book, from an obscure imprint that was barely around for a year.

Maybe, if Kismet had become an international figure like Superman, Batman, or Tintin, maybe psychopaths wouldn't find easy justification in their religious beliefs for acting out, nor would others be so quick to defend their actions or offer broad condemnations that indict truly devout and peaceful Muslims.

Read the stories. See if you can pick up on what I mean. Yes, this is a simple comic book... but Kismet is a far better exemplar of a Warrior of Islam than any member of al Qaida, Boko Haram, Hamas, or any other front-man for a club for psychos has ever been.

Click here to get your free copy of the book at DriveThruComics. (FYI, we also use Kismet, Man of Fate, in our forthcoming Complete Golden Age Oddballs: Iron Lady & Electric Ray.)

You can see some previews of Complete Golden Age Oddballs: Kismet & Penny Parker by visiting the Shades of Gray blog. There are also previews on the listings page at DriveThruComics.

Wednesday, January 7, 2015

Coming Soon -- ROLF!: The Prophet Motive

Today, Islamic terrorists murdered ten staffers at the French magazine Charlie Hedbo. May those cowards, their bastard children, and the whores who spawned them, be anally raped by horny pigs for all eternity.

Back in 2011, when we were talking about reviving NUELOW Games, Hundal suggested an ROLF!/Houseboat on the River Styx battle scenario where Jesus and Mohammed kicked the asses of lunatics sullying their respective reputations. We eventually used the title on a scenario included in ROLF!: Apocalypse Not... but we're probably going to use it again in the next week or two.

The 2011 Charlie Hebdo issue that enraged idol-worshipers
throughout France and the rest of the world.
(Yes... that a cartoon of Mohammed. The horror... the horror!)
L.L. Hundal and I are both horrified and outraged at the brutal murders of writers and artists at French humor magazine Charlie Hebdo. We're responding with the only method we have at our disposal--we are producing a satire product of the exact kind that they are trying to stop. We don't know if it will be able to be carried by our usual distributor--they recently bounced a satirical release from another publisher that was deemed too offensive--but it will be produced and released.

If anyone out there is an artist who feels like drawing cartoon portraits of Jesus, Mohammed, Joseph Smith, a generic televangelist, and a generic mullah, we can cut you in for a tiny sliver or what will be very meager sales on this product. You can send queries to the email address in the footer of this post, or contact us via NUELOW's Facebook page.

The Father, the Son, the Holy Ghost...
on the cover of an issue of Charlie Hebdo!

Tuesday, January 6, 2015

A product whose time has come (again)!

Do you want to bring to your OLG Modern game the sort of character who will chain themselves to a dolphin, do a "BlackBrunch" or scream on street corners about boycotting a movie or book they don't like? Then the Hardcore Activist is the advanced class you've been waiting for!

Do you want to bring to your OGL Modern game the sort of character who will murder a pair of random police officers sitting in their car, or who will beat up a random member of this or that ethnic or social group just because they look like someone who once wronged them in some way? Then the Masked Avenger advanced class may be your path to roleplaying thrills.

Modern Advances: The Hardcore Activist & The Masked Avenger is a concise, straight-to-the-point supplement for OGL Modern that is easily adaptable to similar game systems. It offers two advanced classes, 12 new feats, two nonplayer characters that show the classes applied while offering hooks to incorporate them into your adventures.

This kick-off product for the Modern Advances series was among the first releases of the reconstituted NUELOW Games back in 2011. If the news is anything to go by, it may be a product who's time has come again. Or maybe we're being absolutely tasteless in the way we're promoting again... we're not known for being particularly sensitive, politically savvy, or socially aware.

Click here to see previews of Modern Advances: The Hardcore Activist & the Masked Avenger, or to get your own copy.