Sunday, January 31, 2016

Return of Prophet

The far future space opera saga of Prophet, which has been on hiatus since issue 45 (the last of the previous run) in 2014, returned this past week with Prophet: Earth War #1. I've mentioned Prophet here before on several occasions and wrote at least one post about it.

Here's short synopsis: John Prophet (the Extreme Comics character from the 90s) awakens from cryosleep on an Earth dominated by strange alien species in the far future. He must trek across this exotic landscape to find the ancient tower where he can complete his mission. There, he sends a signal to revive the Earth Empire from it's slumber. That signal awakens the Empire's most implacable foe, too--who just happens to be another John Prophet. Each side begins to marshall it's forces, and the conflict seems like to reach its conclusion in Earth War.

You can get the first issue in digital here, but they'll be a trade eventually. I highly recommend it.

Friday, January 29, 2016

The City Oroboro

The city Oroboro is a great ring larger than any other city, larger than many worlds.

Philippe Druillet

Everything strange and everything precious is fated to pass through it--and also a great many things that are neither. It is (Ill-)Fortune’s Wheel, the Nexus of All Tales.


The city encircles the double-ended Tower, where the Sandmen priests  say the Goddess sleeps and dreams the multiverse. Just beyond the oneiric event horizon, Oroboro is stable (mostly) and rational (sometimes) and permanent--so long as the Goddess sleeps.

Julio Ribera

Some cynics say there is no Goddess and the Tower is empty. To preserve their power, the Sandmen hide the truth: the Architect of All has abandoned creation and is likely to be found in a brothel or ginhouse in Oroboro.

Wednesday, January 27, 2016

Wednesday Comics: Storm: The Deep World (part 3)

My exploration of the long-running euro-comic Storm, continues. Earlier installments can be found here.

Storm: The Deep World (1978) (Part 3)
Art by Don Lawrence & Script by Saul Dunn

Surprised by the spider-bats, Carrots loses control of the cart and they crash. All that she and Storm can do is take cover until the swarm passes. At that point, they she Kiley apparently unconscious on the tracks as Ghast approaches.

All is not as it seems though, and Kiley turns to deliver a prodigious kick, derailing the handcart. He and Ghast go at it in a battle of near-superhuman strength. Kiley is winning, but then the tunnel starts to collapse above their heads. Kiley sends Carrots and Storm on to the underground treasure rooms. He stays behind to finish Ghast. Carrots doesn't want to leave him, but Storm pulls her on to keep her from getting herself killed in the cave in.

Inside the treasure room, they find strange machines and a wheel surrounded by symbols on the wall. Storm gets it spinning and an image appears:

Elevator doors open, though Carrots requires some coaxing before she'll step in. Suddenly, Ghast appears wielding Kiley's sword. Before he can attack, a little from one of the machines makes his sword disappear. Storm and Carrots escape into the lift.

Storm pushes a button on the controls. The elevator stops, and the doors open:

Besides the waters, there's an ancient power station. As our heroes are taking in these wonders, the old Mandroid emerges from the darkness. Before he can say why he brought them here, the elevator doors open again and the apparently unstoppable Ghast runs out. The Mandroid blasts him:

Ghast falls against the wall and knocks some rocks lose, unleashing a swarm of hungry, oversized rats. Mandroid tells Storm and Carrots to make for the water and safety. Ghast stumbles after them, covered by rats. For some reason, the Mandroid uses his power ("a laser") to save Ghast.

Leaving him there, the Mandroid leads our heroes back to the treasure room. He begins to fill them in on Earth's history. The immense cavern does indeed contain the waters of the Atlantic. Mankind built an immense wall around the circumference of the earth to contain the oceans and use them to generate power.

Mining for energy researches undermined the walls, causing them to fail, and in their failure, they opened up fissures into the earth. The oceans mostly drained away. Only a few humans were left alive, but other beings came to earth from other worlds.

Mandroid explains that the dynamos here have enough power to restore the oceans. As he explains, Ghast awakens and animated by discussion of "power" runs in and starts pressing buttons--with predictable catastrophic results. Storm, Carrots, and the Mandroid make a run for it as the waters begin to churn:

Ghast follows them to the elevator, but the Mandroid blasts him and leaves him behind. The waters burst through the ground and flood Ghast's city while our heroes watch from the top of the great wall. Soon, the water will top the wall. Storm and Carrots have to get prepared. As to the Mandroid:

Before he goes, he hologram magics our heroes up a raft--somehow:

Monday, January 25, 2016


Our 5e Land of Azurth campaign continued last night, with the PCs at sea in an automata-rowed vessel on their way to the city of Polychrome in the Motley Isles. Their goal was to find the probably-not-kidnapped Gwendolin Goode. Only a few hours away from their destination, they respond to a flag of distress from an unusual barge:

There are only 4 green-haired women on board the ship, claiming to be future wives on their way to a future husband, a potentate of Zoob. The party is suspicious, and these suspicions turn out to be well-founded as the women are revealed as harpies. A battle ensues, and all the harpies lose their lives. The party cuts off their heads in the hope that this proof of their bloody-handedness will prove their bona fides to the pirates in Polychrome.

After haggling with the harbormaster over docking fees, they make their way to a tavern called the Pale Whale. It turns out that buying a round of drinks for everyone is more impressive than brandishing harpy heads. The barmaid tells them the first mate of the Vixen (Black Iris's ship) happens to be there in the bar.
Art by Yuriy
Kully strikes up a conversation with the half-drunken Hara (Rabbit Folk) named Rarebit Finn. Rarebit reveals he was jealous of the relationship between his captain and "the young land lubber," and angry that she seemed to be influencing the captain to turn from piracy. In anger, he dangled "tales of a trinket" in front of them, so they went out to look for this treasure on the Candy Isle, one of the infamous islands in the Chain of Fools.

Kully is less successful in getting Finn to join them, but the inebriated sea-dog promises to think about it and give answer in the morning. The party goes back to inform Cog and beginning preparing the ship for the journey the soon expect to embark on.

Sunday, January 24, 2016

Select Contents of a Wizard's Spice Cabinet

Here's a excerpt from Mortzengersturm, The Mad Manticore of the Prismatic Peak: unusual items found in the wizard's kitchen:

Demonlander ground hellpepper in a smoked glass, stoppered vial. The hottest pepper in the known realms. It has a burnt smell, and even sniffing it will slightly irritate the nose.

Slow thyme sprigs in a lidded wooden vial. Slows (as spell) the person consumes it briefly to enhance the pleasure of a meal. In high doses (like all the sprigs in the container) it can keep a dying person from passing from the mortal plane for 2-12 rounds.

Troglopolitan memory bulbs in a wooden box. Pale yellow fungal bulbs from Subazurth. For most they have a light flavor of nostalgia and evoke a memory of home; for a few, they have the slight, hops-like bitterness of mild regret and bring to mind a thing left long undone.

Friday, January 22, 2016

Baroque Space: Brethren of the Belt

The Brethren of the Belt is the somewhat lofty name the pirates of the asteroids use to describe their outcast society. It suggests a certain honor among these thieves, and those who claim the rights of brotherhood must also adhere to a certain code of conduct: No member may  rob or cheat another, loot must be apportioned by established rules, and no captain may command without being elected by the crew.

Though these buccaneers may range the whole of the known cosmos, they most commonly lying in wait amid the strewn rubble of an ancient world betwixt Mars and Jupiter, destroyed for its iniquity. They harry trade between Earth and Mars and hunt treasure craft going the domain of the King of Jupiter to the inner planets. Their base is the planetoid of Ceres, a barren rock where pirate law is the only law, riddled with crooked tunnels lined with alehouses, inns, and brothels.

Thursday, January 21, 2016

At Last! Strange Stars Fate Softcover Available

After a couple of proofs and some corrections (included in the updated pdf) Strange Stars Fate by John Till is finally available at rpgnow/drivethrurpg. Reserve your copy today!

Wednesday, January 20, 2016

Wednesday Comics: Storm: The Deep World (part 2)

My exploration of the long-running euro-comic Storm, continues. Earlier installments can be found here.

Storm: The Deep World (1978) (Part 2)
Art by Don Lawrence & Script by Saul Dunn

After passing the red-haired woman, Storm is taken to the upper levels of the prison where strangely Ghast appears to have his throne room. He allows Storm to test his strength against him; Storm is no match.

Ghast has no idea what an ocean is and quickly tires of Storm asking about it. He crushes Storm's space helmet in his bare hands to show how little he's concerned with Storm's questions. He's got questions of his own:

Ghast is not pleased with that response and Storm ends up in the lowest level of the dungeon with no food or water--but he does have the red-head he saw before as a companion. She's mistrustful, thinking he might be a spy for Ghast, and doesn't believe his story about oceans and other worlds, either. Her name is Carrots, and she comes from the lands beyond the Wall that Ghast is so eager to know about. Eventually, she decides to trust him so they can both escape.

They don't have to wait long for a chance. A thin, reed whistle sounds from outside and Carrots responds with a whistle. She says it's "Kiley."

That night, Kiley pulls the bars out of the window with a rope and Carrots and Storm escape, though Ghast's men aren't far behind. Kiley stays behind to hold them off, sending the other two on to "the Dive": a tavern where others of Carrots people are waiting.

Storm is greeted with mistrust, but Kiley arrives and tells them he has gotten reports of a machine (Storm's spacecraft) and knows Storm is the man that arrived in it. Carrots is still skeptical the machine can fly, but they agree to accept his help against Ghast.

The escape route for Carrots, Kiley, and Storm is via an underground river. They swim to room that acts as an airlock. Storm is surprised to learn that they have electricity; Kiley explains that they are more advanced than Ghast's city. He leads them to a waiting craft:

Unfortunately, Ghast and his men have found the dive and the trapdoor. They make it to the railway, but most of Ghast's men perish in the explosion caused by the control panel Kiley boobytrapped. Ghast survives, though, and finds a hand cart to continue the pursuit. Then:



Monday, January 18, 2016

SWN World Tags in Strange Stars

Stars Without Number has an interesting way of presenting world information by use of  "tags." Many of these takes are familiar science fiction tropes/elements and work fine in Strange Stars, but some are more specific to the Stars Without Number setting and are based on different assumptions. Here's a list of those that don't really work with Strange Stars and in some cases how they can be tweaked to fit:

Alien Ruins: These could be alien, but are just likely to be ancient ruins from the time of the Archaic Oikumene or before.

Altered Humanity: Much less notable in Strange Stars than in the standard standard SWN, but it is still usable for more extreme cases.

Eugenic Cults: The rough equivalent of these can be found in the Strange Stars, but given the commonness of genetic modification, the “eugenics” element is less important than the “cult” part.

Exchange Consult: This organization doesn’t really have an equivalent.

Forbidden Tech: Much of the technology considered forbidden in the standard setting of SWN is common in the Strange Stars, so the use of this tag would be limited.

Perimeter Agency: In Strange Stars, the equivalent of this group might be Luddite or anti-technology fanatics/cultists.

Preceptor Archive: These would be replaced with troves of data or technology from earlier time periods, mostly the Archaic Oikumene, but possibly the Radiant Polity. The Library of Atoz-Theln would have the suitably modified version of this tag.

Pretech Cultists: Like the eugenic cultists above, the focus should be on the odd use of a technology rather than its mere existence.

Primitive Aliens: Probably just “primitives” of a nonbaseline or exotic biotype, rather than actual xenosophonts.

Unbraked AI: This would instead be a “Tyranny” that just happened to have an infosophont tyrant.

Xenophiles/Xenophobes: Again, read “alien” simply as an “exotic clade.”

Sunday, January 17, 2016

Grit & Vigor

I sometimes think John M, Stater is the hardest working man in DIY gaming (and that's saying something). He turns out game after solid game--not just adventures or settings but--games. And those are just the ones in print. His latest is Grit & Vigor, which is a pulp adventure adaptation of his Blood & Treasure (read Chris's review here) which is either a distillation of 3e-ish D&D to an old school level of complexity or a rebuild of old school D&D with some modern features, depending on how you look it at.

Unlike post pulp games which plant their flag squarely in the Depression era 1930s, Grit & Vigor seems a bit more informed by the early pulp and the end dime novel era that prefigured it: something like 1890-1920s. This is not to same G&V doesn't cover the classic pulp era--it does--but most of its illustration and sample NPCs harken this this early era. (For a good retrospective of the pulps of this time, you could do worse--and likely no better--than Robert Sampson's multi-volume Yesterday's Heroes.) Stater mentions expanses later covering some of periods the stories in those pulps take place including the Golden Age of Piracy and the Furture--and given his track record, I expect he'll deliver.

All the usual bases of classes are cover for the era, though magical (or occult ones) are left to an appendix so you can tailor the level of fantastic you want in your game. Feats providing for the larger than life nature of the pulp heroes are likewise a part of the game. There's even a section on Wonder Dogs! NPCs include Nellie Bly, Sherlock Holmes, Bertie Wooster, and Aleister Crowley.

So if pulp or adventure gaming interests you particularly with a familiar D&D-ish backbone, Grit & Vigor is well worth checking out.

Friday, January 15, 2016

Project(s) Update, Or I Get By with a Little Help from My Friends

Art by Jeff Call

I haven't done a general update in a while, so here's what Armchair Planet (i.e. me) has cooking with the Hydra Co-op:
A lot of cool stuff to come in 2016.

Thursday, January 14, 2016

Limbo: The Sargasso of Space

Any hyperspatial fissure can be a hazard to interstellar navigation, but a large, stable one like the irruption zone known as Limbo is to be avoided at all costs. Those vessels unlucky enough to have been caught in Limbo but lucky enough to escape report a strange world trapped within the borders of distorted, kaleidoscopic spacetime.

First and foremost, there is a graveyard of ships, some still inhabited, some partially cannibalized by the survivors of other vessels. Mutual distrust is the general rule, as resources are limited, but also because the bleed of reality warping hyperspace has deleterious effects on the human mind, leading to paranoia and often insanity. This may or may not explain the general xenophobia of the non-marooned races that make Limbo home.

by Tony DiTerlizzi
There are multiple species of the froglike humanoid Slaad existing in state of mutual hostility with each other and apparently every other sapient being. The Red are near bestial, the Blue are barbaric and more organized, while the somewhat more intelligent Green are merely narcissistic and sociopathic. All known Slaad are all the more unpleasant due to their parasitic or infectious means of reproduction. Both the Blue and the Green have human slaves indoctrinated to believe being used in such a way allows they themselves to be reborn as more evolved Slaad.

There is rumored to be a fourth Slaad race--the Gray or Elder Slaad--that created the others in a rash attempt at eugenics, but credible reports of encounters exist. The Slaad place almost religious significance on an asteroid they call "the Spawning Stone" that is purported to contain their ancient genetic laboratory-temple and the cloning vats from which all Slaad species were born. 

The so-called mad monks of Githzerai are sallow-skinned ascetics with settlements on various asteroids and dwarf planetoids. They are not hospitable, but neither are they as murderous as the Slaad. The Githzerai have protected themselves against "hyperspace madness" to some degree by mediation, physical discipline, and psychic links between abbots and their subordinates. Still they often swing between periods of religious ecstasy and intense emotion or dream-like dissociation. They believe such openess to the divine Chaos of hyperspace will allow their intellects to complete a cycle of rebirth.

This is a follow-up to this post.

Wednesday, January 13, 2016

Wednesday Comics: Storm: The Deep World

I finally broke down and ordered the Don Lawrence Storm hardcovers I had been eyeing for some times, so it seems like a good time to start a  retrospective of the long-running science fantasy series:

Storm: The Deep World (1978)
Art by Don Lawrence & Script by Saul Dunn

From a satellite in orbit around the planet Jupiter, a manned-mission to closely observe the Great Red Spot is about to be launched. The UN emissaries bid the astronaut Storm (that's the only name we're given) good luck before he enters his ship: the aptly named "Storm Probe."

Storm's ship gets a bit to close to the Spot and is drawn in by its hurricane winds. Storm blacks out from the G forces. Mission control is unable to save him. In fact, his ship seems to disappear into the Spot. Storm is lost.

When Storm wakes up, his ship is still in Jupiter's atmosphere, but there is no Great Spot--and no satellite! Believing they gave him up for dead, he sets a course for earth and puts himself in suspended animation. The trip takes a year, and when he arrive the Earth has changed.

When, Storm comes out of suspended animation, he finds the Florida he thought he landed in to be frozen and airless. He dons his spacesuit and goes outside to investigate. He finds a house mostly covered by snow and at where he believes the coast should be, a cliff edge:

Storm climbs down into the valley. He finds the air is better there, but he gets an unfriendly welcome from sword-wielding warriors. He manages to kill one of them, but ultimately the other knock him out and steal his spacesuit.

The warriors take the loot to their king, Ghast. Ghast realizes the clothes are dwarfed in value by the strange man who wore them. The man who could tell him what these things mean and how they work. He orders him minions to go back out and get him! They do so, taking an iguana--one of the city's giant guardians:

They find Storm, now dressed and outfitted with the stuff from the man he killed, and capture him, thanks to the iguana beast's tongue. They take Storm into their ancient-seeming city to a prison where he see's a face looking out from him from a cell in passing:


Monday, January 11, 2016

A Star Warriors Summary

Along with a new text block for the noble Star Knights and the nefarious Dark Star Warriors, here's a list of the posts I've done regarding this mini-setting so far:

The Azuran System - A map and brief gazetteer of where the action takes place.
STAR WARRIORS! - the introduction to the Star Warriors Universe.
The Bad Guys in the setting.

Sunday, January 10, 2016

The Grim Frontier

After seeing The Revenant this weekend in all its visceral frontier glory, a setting idea occurred to me: Take the resource management of the dungeon and combine it with survivalist horror in an American-ish (though ahistorical) frontier setting: The Grim Frontier.

The bullet points:

Elements: Potentially easy death, resource management, and some horror elements beloved by many old school gamers; an evocation for modern audience of the strangeness or alienness of new environments through use of Roadside Picnic-esque zones elements (like my random tables for those); possible implication of post-apocalypticness of the level of The Gunslinger. The wilderness as an area of unsettled reality like the Weird of the Hill Cantons or the West in Felix Gilman's Half-Made World. Ancient mounds, giant skeletons or mummified dwarfs borrowed from the real folklore of the West; vaguely late 18th to first few decades of the 19th level of technology, probably with low magic.

Differs from: The Weird Frontier (more emphasis on horror and resource management, perhaps, hence the "grim"); Fantasy Western (earlier time period than the classic Western); Fantasy American Frontier (not specifically the American continent with the attending ethnic groups, political, and religious struggles).

Film: Black Robe, The Revenant, Man in the Wilderness, Aquirre: The Wrath of God, Ravenous.
Comics: Manifest Destiny, Pilgrim.
Books: The Gunslinger, Roadside Picnic, Half-Made World and The Rise of Ransom City.

Friday, January 8, 2016

People of the Land of Azurth

Here's an excerpt from a reference I'm making for my players: A catalog of the NPCs they've encountered.

Aura: Princess of the Cloud Folk and daughter of King Cumulo. Like her father, she was held captive in the dungeon beneath the Cloud Castle so that Zykloon could insure the Cloud Folk’s loyalty.

Calico Bonny: The seldom-seen queen of Rivertown’s ramshackle flotilla red-light district, "The Floating World." Her palace is the Queen Azura where she also runs a cabaret. Most of her dealings are handled by her representative(s), Fleur.

Cheape, Aunder: A merchant from the northern Country of Yanth. One of the captives freed from the Cloud Castle’s dungeon, made it out of the ordeal alive and presumably returned home.

Cumulo: The boisterous King of the Cloud Folk. He was held hostage in the Cloud Castle’s dungeon by Zykloon to ensure the cooperation of his son, Prince Thunderhead, and the rest of the Cloud Folk with the giant wizard’s commands.

Fleur: A series of lissome, serene (or perhaps disinterested) young women who serve as the intermediaries for the reclusive Calico Bonny in her dealings.

Gladhand, Yrrol B.: Mayor of Rivertown and the self-appointed patron of our heroes.

Gritz, Lumpley: The Vagrant-ambassador of Lardafa, the City of Beggars. For weeks, he had been in Rivertown awaiting an audience with the Princess Viola (and panhandling to make ends meet), when he and his attache, Mister Jipp, were kidnapped by the Burly Brothers and held for ransom. After he was freed, he got his audience, and left to return to Lardafa.

Inkwell: Mayor Gladhand’s harried chief clerk and accountant. 

King Kuel: The unflappable, Fagin-esque mentor of Waylon and his childhood band of thieves.

Llailogan: A hermit and druid living in a cabin in the Enchanted Wood. He acts as the Wood’s protector, but was tricked and drugged by Ursa so that he wouldn’t interfere in her schemes.

Man in the Metal Suit: On level “L3” beneath Castle Machina, our heroes encountered a man-shaped constructed that they discovered had an old man pierced with various tubes encased within. They delivered to him a velvet bag containing tiny metal sculptures, apparently game pieces of some sort. The man seemed to be playing again with a person never clearly seen whose voice emanated from a large lens of some sort.

Mister Jipp: A well-dressed and (when moved to do so) well-spoken monkey who attends the Lardafan ambassador, Lumpley Gritz.

Nimbus: A callow and not terribly bright youth of the Cloud Folk. 

Pryce, Hyram: A merchant from the northern Country of Yanth. He was one of the captives freed from the Cloud Castle’s dungeon, made it out of the ordeal alive and presumably returned home to resume his rivalry with his more successful brother, Loward.

Thunderhead: Son of King Cumulo and Prince of the Cloud Folk. He enlisted the help of our heroes in freeing his father and sister from the dungeon of Zykloon.

Tubbs, Leakey: Captain of the keelboat Venture that transported our heroes from Rivertown to Ianthine.

Waylon's Childhood Bandmates: Wendle (a raccoon folk jug player), Herv (a human bass player), Emmy (a Renert singer and washboard player).

Woggin: A muscular Frox thief held captive in Zykloon’s dungeon beneath the Cloud Castle. He was freed by our heroes and aided them in their attempts to steal back the magic mirror containing the light of the Whim-Wham Stone.

Thursday, January 7, 2016

The Galactic Great Wheel

Looking at my Azuran Sysem map and its conspicuous shape, an idea occurred to me: the AD&D "Great Wheel Cosmology" adapted to a science fiction setting. I've sort of toyed with that idea before in a science fantasy multiverse kind of way, but now I'm thinking more classic space opera in the vein of the things that inspired Traveller, but a bit more Vancian--as is appropriate to its AD&D roots.

So here's the pitch: Sometime in the future, an early spacefaring humanity encounters a gate and gains access to a system of FTL via hyperspace (or the astralspace) and gets its introduction to an ancient, galactic civilization with arcane rules and customs a bit like Brin's Uplift universe. At the "center" of the gates is Hub, a place with a gigantic neutral territory station--like Babylon 5 on a grander scale. Hub connects to all the various worlds. Here's a short sampling:

Archeron: A war world, possibly one where a decadent civilization has kidnapped warriors form different times and worlds to battles for their entertainment.

Baator: The world of beings who (like the Overlords in Childhood's End) look suspiciously like devils from Earth belief, and indeed act very much like them, destabilizing worlds with Faustian bargains somewhat like in Swanwick's Jack Faust.

Beastworld: A planet where many animal species share a group intelligence.

Carceri: An environmentally hostile ancient prison planet.

Limbo: A world in an area of reality warping "broken space" where hyperspace spills in leading to a graveyard of ships.

Mechanus: Robotic beings out to bring order to the galaxy via assimilation. A somewhat (maybe) more reasonable Borg.

Pandemonium: A world only inhabitable in subterranean caverns, but even those are swept by winds that generate infrasound that can drive humanoids insane like the titular Winds of Gath.

Wednesday, January 6, 2016

Wednesday Comics: 8House: Yorris

I've discussed 8House here before. It's an anthology series conceived by Brandon (Prophet) Graham. It's stories all take place in the same universe ruled by 8 magic houses. The first story (still unfinished) was Arclight. The second, Kiem, is a science fiction tale about a soldier whose mind inhabits the dead body of her twin brother, asked to transport a mysterious item.

The third is Yorris by Helen Maier and Fil Barlow. It's a fantasy that tells the story of  the titular young noble woman who has the ability to see the astral creatures invoked and impowered by the emotions of others--particularly her houses ritual curses cast against their enemies. When Yorris sees what she believes to be an astral assassin at her families ritual, she's thrust into a wider world.

8House has been great so far. Well were checking out. You can see a few sample pages from Yorris here.

Monday, January 4, 2016

Star Warriors: The Bad Guys

The two "bad guy" factions in the world of Star Warriors. The baddies behind the scenes:

And the more mundane threat:

Sunday, January 3, 2016

Theriospheric Transfigurations

Erik Jensen has released his first compilation (don't let the "41" in the title fool you) of material from the Wampus Country setting. For the uninitiated, Wampus Country is an old school D&D setting that with an early American frontier veneer, and a somewhat humorous tone. It's sort of The Hobbit, if Bilbo were Davy Crockett and the dwarves were talking dogs in nice hats. Maybe.

Any way, Theriospheric Transfigurations is a collection of animal themed spells material (mostly spells) with a Wampus-y tone, but entirely usable in any old school setting. So long as its a setting where punny creations like a diseasel (a weasel that's a magical carrier of plagues) or the spell Fancify Rat (gives a rodent a snap set of clothes) might be appropriate. Which is to say: almost any, by my reckoning.

I've had the pleasure of playing in Erik's Wampus Country game and he's an inventive DM with a perfect ear for this sort of material. So head over to Rpgnow and pick it up. It's Pay What You Want, and well worth it!