Thursday, May 22, 2014

SLEAZE FEATURE: 'ZOMBIE ZOOLOGY' (2010)



Thanks to one of my hooligan friends who brought a grossly age-inappropriate book to 3rd Grade lunch back in 1980, I've been obsessed with zombie fiction.

THE SOURCE OF TWO-DECADES-PLUS-WORTH OF LITERAL NIGHTMARES.

Thing is, aside from the above and novelizations of Night Of The Living Dead and Dawn Of The Dead, there wasn't any zombie fiction.  It simply didn't exist.

At least not until 1989, that is, when Skipp and Spector exploded my brain and helped get the nightmares out of my head.

Note the misprinted "R." initial...should be an "A."!

Therapy resumed in 1992.



Then came The Internet, and the late '90s (1997?  '98?) brought Homepage Of The Dead, where I read each and every story (even the garbage) as they went up.

And in the decade-and-a-half that followed, hundreds of zombooks hit the stands...and thousands more [of generally terrible, Terrible, TERRIBLE offerings] arose from the vanity presses.

I'm a certified zombologist.  I know my stuff.

I'm also bored to tears with said stuff.

So it's always neat to find something unique, and Zombie Zoology fits the bill.  Aside from zombie dogs in vidya games, animal-based undead mayhem isn't all that common in media; Brian Keene has probably done the most with it, in his The Rising franchise, and Dead Sea.

Kill, Ubu.  Kill!


The Zombie Zoology moan-agerie features monstrous primates, panthers, moose, bugs (zombugs!), hounds, birds (zombirds!), sheep, and horses, with the full spectrum of origins mysterious, magical, and scientific.

Of the twelve tales within, Tim Curran's Monkey House is the goopiest, Anthony Wedd's The Roo is the most heebie-jeebie-ing, Carl Barker's Why The Wild Things Are is the most heart-tuggy, William Wood's Loss Of Vector is the most steal-this-idea-for-a-game-ful, and Wayne Goodchild's One Man And His Dog is the the-world-is-totally-fucked-est.

And while Hayden Williams' The Rising [seriously?] is satisfying, I wished more had been done with the concept.  More fossil-things > less fossil-things.  That's just science.

The true duds are Eric Dimbleby's Lucy and Anthony Giangregorio's Dead Dog Tired, because the leads are cartoonishly, obnoxiously awful and ever-so-deserving of their climactic comeuppances. Slogs to read.

The grammatical errors are kept to a minimum (I counted about five), which is a godsdamned miracle in this era of anyone-can-publish-anything.  Severed Press did much, much better than the norm here...but it's weird there's no editor credited for the collection.  None at all.

Human zombies show up in trace amounts.  Zombie Zoology truly showcases the critters, and lives up to its title.



Most Hilariously Disgusting Evocative Line In The Collection:  "Emma pulled herself away, wet and stinking with the male's drainage."



RPG Relevance:  In addition to beasties o'plenty to stock your Planet Motherfucker world, there's devil worship and voodoo swamp-billies and lost monkey astronauts and mutagenic viruses and grody worms and revived prehistoric thangs and mutant roaches.  Good, good stuff for the tabletop.



Final Review Score:  3 Full Moon Fevers out of 5.

Friday, May 16, 2014

ALL RISE FOR THE 'MURICAN NATIONAL ANTHEM...

...from the depths, that is!




In honor of today's release.  Go see it.  Now.

Thursday, May 15, 2014

"MOMMY, MOMMY! CAN I HAVE A CUDDLY-WUDDLY MASS-MURDERER OF MY VERY OWN?!!!"


Ever wonder how kids on Planet Motherfucker get tucked in at night?

Now you know...and you'll never, ever be able to forget!!!

If you have a mewling rugrat, get it a Horror Buddy today, courtesy of Horror Decor!  Your spawn will love you forever and ever, all for only the low, low, low price of $50 worth of toilet paper and beer!

Available in The Farmer, Jason, and Clown styles!



Monday, May 12, 2014

'Monster Montage' Cards

Here's a Kickstarter project that's perfect for all your Planet Motherfucker-y needs:

The Monster Montage creature feature playing cards!


Have some art!


The backs look like this:


Decks are $11.00, and you can add monster dice and coins and such, too.



Given Planet Motherfucker's Savage Worlds roots, these gewgaws are perfect for the system.

<Cryptkeeper>Guaranteed to be an absolute scream at the table!  Heh-heh-heh!</Cryptkeeper>

"It's Monday.  Shut up."

Again. decks are only $11.  Buy some!

THIS IS PLANET MOTHERFUCKER


Friday, May 9, 2014

PLANET MOTHERFUCKER'S MOST WANTED: RICH UNCLE SKELETON

 

Dashing.  Charming.  Debonair.  Rakish.  Affluent.  Truly, Rich Uncle Skeleton is Planet Motherfucker's most eligible bachelor.

But his ladyfriends usually don't stick around, as wealth and status make him a target for all manner of swindlers and nogoodniks.  And maintaining his holdings is considerable effort in the face of constant monster incursions, alien invasions, and Infernal Revenue Service audits.  Heavy is the skull that wears the tophat!

Rich Uncle Skeleton buys whatever gear, mounts, and/or vehicles he needs before each adventure. Sure, he's got literal mountains of supplies already, but it's far more convenient to repurchase everything than dig through his stockpiles.




Rich Uncle Skeleton
Attributes:  Agility d6Smarts d8Spirit d8Strength d4Vigor d6
Skills:  Driving d6, Fighting d6, Gambling d6, Persuasion d8, Riding d6, Shooting d6, Taunt d6
Derived:  Charisma 2Pace 6Parry 6, Toughness 5
Hindrances Code Of Honor, Loyal, Quirk (Snob)
Edges:  Noble, Rich, Quick
Gear:  Cane-Rapier (Str +d4, +1 Parry)Flintlock Pistol (range:  5 / 10 / 20, 2d6+1, RoF 1, reload 2 actions), 50 Bullets (Lg)$1150 in trade goods (toilet paper and beer)

Tuesday, May 6, 2014

EPISODE #1: "FUCKIN' ZOMBIES. TAKIN' OUR JOBS."

It was a night like any other in The Offal House.

The beer was too warm.
The overly-loud jukebox was drowned out by the overly-louder bartender.
The zombie cockfights sprayed blood, brains, and teeth all over the floor.  (More than usual, anyway.)
The geriatric, wife-swappin' werewolves prowled.
The Nazi gorilla-bikers played pool.
And they conspicuously shunned Hitler, who was sobbing in the corner.

Our terrible trio, the last members of the once-great Ant Hill Mob, slumped at their usual table. Their glory days were long past, as most of their lot had come to ruin:  some perished, some vanished, and some shamefully went legit.  All because of a dame.

The Face Of Despair

The gang nursed their drinks and absorbed the gossip, ranging from a rash of scarecrow pregnancies to Martians absconding with huge batches of allergy meds to a new Presley's Chicken Tomb franchise opening down the way.

Ahhh, Presley's Chicken Tomb:  Murica's fastest-growing franchise of fried chicken roadkill meat-things, founded by The King after he rose from the grave with full-on mummy-mojo.

News of the establishment made "The Honorable" Mr. Butch break into Blue Suede Shoes (which he totally wrote and gave to an up-and-coming Elvis for free), and the melody suddenly got him a lap full of Ol' Gertie, a be-corseted, eight-breasted, silver-haired, lycanthropic granny who lasciviously clacked her fanged dentures in his ear and slobbered about "swing-parties at the senior center."

"Fumbles" McGee got the munchies, and trundled up to the bar to order chicken (which EVERYONE knows Mel doesn't sell).  He navigated through the oppressive crowd without bumping into a single soul [an Agility roll with 2 Raises], making everyone in the joint question his infirmities yet again.

"Happy" Mikey Marchetta just wanted to shoot somebody.  Anybody would do, really.

Butch distracted Gert with more tales as he picked her purse; dude was so successful, he just dumped its entire contents into his trenchcoat.  Fumbles pissed off Mel asking for "savory, delicious chicken as good as The King's" and got the group thrown out under threat of violence.  Mikey got up to give Mel the whutfer, but got distracted when a frankenstein biker looked at him funny.

Cue several rounds of a 4' tall mobster trash-talking and terrifying an 8' tall lummox into submission, after which Mikey strutted out into the parking lot.  Butch followed, getting slobbery wolf-kisses blown at him across the room.  Fumbles wandered after them.  Gert's husband Cyrus leered at his wife as they left.


The crew stepped onto the porch, and into the night.   The full moon blazed.  A ufo theremin'd across the skyline.  Vampire bats sizzled and spiraled as they hit the neon zappers.  A few wayward zombies shambled at the farthest edges of the parking lot.

[On zombies:  I told the group that they're swarming all over Planet Motherfucker; a standard operating hazard, with a few ghouls in the background of each and every scenery description.  In small groups, they're like mosquitos...but in packs, you're screwed.]

Speaking of the lot, it was jam-packed with hot-rods and motorcycles and VW microbuses and witch brooms and a monstrous mount or two.

Mikey, Butch, and Fumbles stalked to their car, the pride of The Ant Hill Mob.  Definiteive proof they used to be SOMEBODIES.

The Bulletproof Bomb, aka "Chuggaboom"

It's a sweet, sweet ride.  Fumbles keeps it cherry.

Parked right next to them was a funky half-carriage, half-motorcoach, half-coffin, all-gold conveyance. Giant chariot wheels in back, small rubber ones in the front, and adorned in cobras and gemstones and glyphs and filigree.  The license plate read Z00M T00M.

It looked kinda like these two pics, mashed together.  But much, much cooler.

A Car-cophagus, If You Will

Butch and Fumbles looked at each other, grinned, and proceeded to vandalize the vehicle.  Butch went for the wheels, going for hubcaps and loosening the lugnuts.  Fumbles jimmied the door open, revealing the interior...and Butch jumped in and grabbed a wrapped-up package.

It was a (very dead, very dry) mummified cat.

Mikey got annoyed, and told them to all get into The Bomb.  They had a mission for chicken!


Fumbles drove, and complained the whole time about the lousy condition of the roads and all the potholes...which were really zombies he'd blindly plow into.  But he got them there without a hitch [again rolling amazingly well]...

...only to discover not a restaurant serving deliciously greasy eats, but instead a mere shell still under construction.  There was a giant mixmaster (which was bizarrely decked out in chrome and paint and flash like the fanciest of kustom kars) dispensing cement, and about a dozen goons in orange vests and hardhats toiled in the moonlight, lugging hammers and saws and pressurized nailguns.  The pyramidal fast food joint was clearly weeks away from being ready.

But Fumbles wasn't deterred—"It's gotta be a soft opening!" he cheered—and went full-on Magoo, flooring it to the drive-thru window to order his meal.  Workmen flew like tenpins.  One poor soul got caught in the grill and splayed across the hood, and when the gang peered at him through the windshield, they beheld he was no mere laborer...

Uh-oh.

...but a zombie!  A zombie who dragged himself up the hood with a clawhammer.  A zombie who grinned ominously at the occupants!  And surrounding the car were more zombies...with more tools...in protective hardhats...who also smiled evilly, instead of moaning and groaning dumbly.

That wasn't right.  Not right at all.

"Fuckin' zombies.  Takin' our jobs," Mikey snarled in the none-too-happiest of manners.  Combat commenced!

The Mob tumbled out of The Bomb, shotguns a'blazing and sword-canes a'dicing.  And things went insane from that point, as the group rolled just incredibly well on attack and damage dice. Seriously, they were on fire, with each attack making at least one Raise, but usually two.

Even accounting for headshot-impeding hardhats, Mikey blasted zombies to smithereens three at a time.   The (allegedly) blind Fumbles did the same.  And Butch diced 'em up...then hijacked the cement mixer—without knowing how to drive, I might add—and smooshed more zombies before ramming it into the building in an explosion of steel and wood and plaster and concrete.

And the maneuver of the evening came from Butch against the last standing zombie, as he rolled three Raises and with tons of exploding damage dice, resulting in a final attack of 46 points. Butch's player described it as a masterful pirouette of shining steel that delicately sliced off the top of the zombie's skull in a perfect circle that left the brain intact.

Pop went the skull.  Tumble went the zombie.  Out plopped aforementioned intact brain onto the gravel...and "tattooed" atop it was a glowing red symbol of vaguely Egyptian design.

"Weird rune...but I can't read," Mr. Butch commented.

Must've Been Done In Prison

Mikey squashed it beneath his platform spats.

Fumbles wandered into the demolished building, and found a zombie buried in quick-drying cement, with only bony fingertips visible from the mire, and twitching furiously.

Satisfied at the mayhem, The Mob got ready to depart...but then Butch remembered that zombie on the hood, which no one remembered seeing during the battle.  They followed a slime trail that led under the car, and discovered the last ghoul furiously tearing at the undercarriage and the breaklines. Mikey and Fumbles dragged it out and stomped it into goo, but kept the head intact to see if anyone back home recognized the enclosed brain-glyph.

They drove back to The Offal House.

The mummified cat, which had fallen under the seat during the havoc, bounced free.  Butch picked it up.

"Her name is Princess."


On the way back, Mikey suggested there had to be a way to turn their adventure into profit.  They decided to ask Mel if he'd pay for, um, "an accident" to befall the Chicken Tomb.  If he said yes, then the group would reveal that they'd already done the job!

The sun peeked over the horizon as they drove, and our gang passed a vehicle on the side of the road with its windows blacked out with shoe polish and tinfoil.  I told them that skeevy vagabond vampires (the grotferatu) often lived in their vehicles, and pulled over to nap during the daylight hours.

"I blow out their windows as we drive past," Mikey said off-handedly.  "I hate vampires."

And so he did.  Smoldering and screaming trailed behind The Bulletproof Bomb as it tooled back to the roadhouse.


They arrived, with sunrise in full swing.  The parking lot was empty, as all the monstrous citizenry had gone to ground.  Fumbles parked, and Butch flounced free, noticing some golden nuggets on the ground.  Lugnuts from the chariot!  He pocketed them, naturally.

Our trio swaggered into the bar, and only Mel was there, having just finished hosing off the floors and counters to a pristine shine.

Mikey and Butch approached him to discuss business, while Fumbles decided to go put on some tunes in the jukebox.  Thanks to some fancy talking and blustering, they got Mel to offer a year's worth of free drinks(!) in exchange for successful sabotage, but Mel said there's no way they'd pull it off, because, "You don't want to piss off the Mummy Mafia."

Cue Mikey plopping that remaining zombie brain on the counter, with rune glowing an angry red.  "Looks like you owe us a year's worth of drinks.  Mission is already accomplished," he crowed smugly.

And then the brain slid off and exploded on the immaculate floor.

That's when Mikey and Mel started to get into an Intimidation and Taunt-off, and it got ugly with a quickness.  As I didn't want my PCs or a prominent NPC to get murdered at the end of this first adventure, this GM resorted to cinema trickery:

In the foreground, Fumbles went to put money in the jukebox...but it resulted in more Magoo-ery with a bottlecap and amplifier left on the stage.  And as he hammered and hammered and hammered some more at that confounded "jukebox", in the background, Mikey and Butch and Mel engaged in a cartoon-esque whirlwind of violence and cursing-squiggles and ouch-lines and distended-fists-emerging-from-a-dust-cloud and such.

Fumbles came back to the bar in frustrated disgust, only to find the other three panting in a battered and bloody pile.

Cue Rob Zombie over the closing credits.


So, that is a thing that happened.  It was an absolutely scream, with madcap action and copious swearing and ridiculous violence and all the Z-movie trashoholism I adore.

This GM thought it was absolutely nuts, though, that the group left all the power tools and equipment at the construction site.  I mean, a fully functional nail gun, just lying on the ground? That's crazy!  I'm used to these players stealing everything that's not nailed down in my Mutant Future game.  And they straight-up destroyed that decked-out truck.  That would've been a sweet chop-shop score right there.

Must've been delirious from all that werewolf musk.

And my favorite quotes weren't from the PCs, but the players themselves.  They were grousing about my two "lurking zombies" (the one inside the building that got entombed in concrete, and the one hiding under the car) at the construction showdown.

"You ALWAYS do that.  Put in hidden monsters, hoping we'll forget.  You think we're not onto you, but we are," my wife glowered, air-jabbing her finger at me from across the table.

I beamed.  They know me well.

Saturday, May 3, 2014

WELCOME TO GRUESTON, TEX-ARCANA!

I swear the first session recap is coming.  Got distracted by my goofy campaign map.

Hexes are measured in metric yonders.  Not that anyone's counting.

GRUESTON, TEX-ARCANA

Welcome to Grueston, rowdiest and rootin'-tootin'est ruin in all of Tex-Arcana.  Those losers in Scam Antonio can suck it!

At the center is The Offal House, where the PC's get liquored up, carouse, and get quests from wizards.  The nearby ruins and tenements are where the locals generally make their lairs.  This region is mostly free of wandering hazards, but the lakes are full of gators...and worse.

The zombrothel (every town in Planet Motherfucker has one) is down the eastern roadway, conveniently near the haunted cemetery.  And speaking of haunted, just up a ways is the not-so-abandoned amusement abusement park.  By day, it's an overgrown, crumbling ruin; by night, it's all neon and laughter and taffy and coasters and kill-clowns and screaming.

Across from the boneyard a ways is Voodoo Village, full of mojo-men and tiki-freaks.  Beyond that is Stakewood Church ("The Oasis Of Blood"), where the vampiric, stakehandling zealots practice their ritualistic stabbenings.

And can't forget the ghoul-infested Doom Mall.  Place is full of valuables, but no one ever makes it back.  Rumor has it that there's a functional chopper on the roof....

Way south of The Offal House is the construction site for the newest Presley's Chicken Tomb franchise.  Mel Sharkles is mighty pissed it's going up, because the place'll drive him out of business.

To the west is the Devil District, full of cults and covens and black masses and crossroad soul-sellings and sacrifices and the like.  The Satanists are always surly, though, because the hardest thing to find on Planet Motherfucker is a virgin.

Trailerhenge is up a ways.  That's where The Witch Of The Double-Wide divines her prophecies.  She demands tribute, though, so best track down some moon pies and RC Cola before paying her a visit.

Along the same road is Ol' Man Gutchel's Farm, where there's all kinds of backwoods hellbilly doin's afoot.  The UFOs congregate here, too, probin' and cattle-mutilatin' and whatnot.  But it's a great place to meet comely alien babes in cut-offs and tied-in-the-front shirts that need to understand this emotion you Earthlings call "love".   Oh, yeah—those wily tripod-Martians are always stealing stashes of sinus remedies.  Probably for space-meth.

Camp Killalotta is nearby, where teens come from miles around to go through their (boozy, horny, machete-y) rites of passage to adulthood...or die in the process.  Either way, there's fewer mouths to feed, by cracky.

Almost forgot the boo-seums to the south.  The artifacts, jewels, and fossils aren't worth the hassles from all the ectoplasmic nonsense down thereabouts.