Friday, November 07, 2014

New m20 Iconics: Ibbisin Nannar

Ibbisin Nannar is a hamazin kemling expatriate.  Born in glittering Simashki to a concubine of a leading light of the Cherskii Mafia, she was at a young age viewed as potentially useless and nearly put out on the street.  However, a friendly trainer for the Mafia saw in her a spark of potential; a ruthlessness and deviousness, willingness to take risks, and talent as a thief, and she was allowed to remain, and even trained by the assassins guild within the Mafia.  In this, she excelled far beyond her trainer's expectations, yet still she was passed over in favor of stronger and even more ruthless men in her class.  Correctly perceiving, at the young age of 16, that she was a liability to the Mafia if they weren't going to use her, she escaped Simashki and traveled south, eventually arriving in Porto Liure.

Ibbisin has an intimate acquaintance with The Shadow.  In Simashki, she was raised in a cell that still clung to the Old Ways; the original charter of the Cherskii Mafia that is largely forgotten by most who remain in the organization today, especially those who live expatriate lives.  She was tutored and educated in arcane arts, although she herself is no spellcaster, and fears The Shadow tremendously.  

On arriving in Porto Liure, she had little to her name other than her skills, so she quickly put them to work as a cat burglar, and before long she had amassed a fairly significant bit of wealth.  She soon found, however, that she had brought upon herself unwanted attention not only by the Watch in Porto Liure, but also from other criminals and organized crime, including that of the local Cherskii Mafia.  Of course, she had no reason to suspect that the local Mafia would be aware of her connection to that of Simashki, but this scared her into keeping a lower profile.  After fencing her goods, she found that she had enough to set herself up as a student at the Academy, and at the age of 17, was an independent young girl living in the dormitories.

She was fated to find herself still in trouble, however--her room-mate, a Terrasan girl named Natalia Miroz was caught in the Fall of the Church of Starry Wisdom.  Somewhat reluctantly, Ibbisin helped her room mate escape trial and sure sentencing to execution by firing squad (witchs are traditionally shot and their bodies burned in Porto Liure, by law).  Natalia is still out there in Porto Liure somewhere, in hiding, and using her growing arcane power to bring woe to the city that condemned her and her colleagues to death.

Ibbisin fell in with Vaz do Camões a year ago--now four years after the Fall of the Church.  While still young, she is experienced and hardened, and her fear and respect for the supernatural has grown.  She immediately saw the value in working with a group that is pledged to combat its baleful influence in the city, and agreed to join the small group (at the time, it was only Vaz do Camões himself, and his "bodyguard" Ottvar Golovskin.

Ibbisin does not live on the Rua like most of the rest of the group (for one thing, it's proximity to the Church of Starry Wisdom makes her uneasy)--rather, she maintains a presence at the Academy, posing as nothing more than a student.  Now that she no longer has to pay for her own tuition, room and board, she intends to continue studying for as long as she's allowed; not only does she enjoy learning for its own sake, but she is well aware that the temptation many students have to delve into knowledge that should be left alone brings many threats to the Academy itself.  She has positioned herself with a minor staff role in the Biblioteque at the Academy, and keeps an eye open at all times.  Although she is retired as a cat burglar, and her training as an assassin never actually culminated in working as one, she is still extremely stealthy, and uses her skills to further the aims of the iconics' group.

Character sheet:
Name: Ibbisin Nannar
Class/Level: Rogue 3
Race: Kemling (hamazin)
Sex: Female
Height: 5'5"
Weight: 125 lbs.
Hair Color: Black
Eye Color: Yellow
Skin Color: Sooty dark gray
STR: 13 (+1)
DEX: 16 (+3)
MND: 14 (+2)
Hit Points: 26
Armor Class: 16 (light armor)
Athletics: +3
Communication: +3
Knowledge: +3
Subterfuge: +6
Survival: +3
Melee To Hit: +4
Ranged To Hit: +6
Magic To Hit: +5
Wealth on Hand: 21 gp, 13 sp, 4 cp
Weapons: Machete 1d6 + 1 damage
Bow 1d8 damage 500 ft.
Pistol 2d6 damage 100 ft.
Other Equipment: Leather armor (light), Bedroll, Bell, Candle, Chalk, Courtier's outfit, Explorer's outfit, Crowbar, Flint and steel, Grappling hook, Hooded lantern, Lock, Mirror, Rope, Signet ring
Spells: None
Notes: Sneak attack, Night vision

Thursday, November 06, 2014

Game books as a gateway into gaming

Although I technically played D&D (once) before, or at least about the same time as I stumbled across the concept of the interactive book, I think it's fair to say that the interactive book had a much stronger impact on me and helped grease the skids so that I would later be attracted to the notion of gaming in the first place.  In the late 70s and throughout much of the 80s, there were a whole host of these kinds of books, most of them spawned by success of the very first series, Choose Your Own Adventure.  I discovered them in an English class in probably 3rd grade or so?  Possibly 2nd?  I ended up buying about three dozen of them over the years, many of which I still have (although not all.)  I believe the first one I read was actually the first one period: Cave of Time, although it later turned out that a book I read later, Sugarcane Island in the Which Way Books series was actually the true first book in the series, published in a small imprint.  The ones I knew were the ones published by Bantam and widely available almost everywhere after they had been in print in limited form for some time.  One of my favorites was the first Which Way book, The Castle of No Return, which was a fair bit darker than most of the actual CYOA's, and which featured a haunted house theme, basically--but which might also instead have turned into a spy or thriller type theme, depending on what choices you made.

Of course, I also liked a lot of the actual, original CYOA series; Third Planet from Altair, The Cave of Time, The Race Forever, By Balloon to the Sahara, Space Patrol, Escape, and others still remain fixed in my memory as fond remembrances of my childhood.  I actually tried to look some of them up at the library, and I found that while back in print again, they have all new art and modified text.  Reading The Race Forever without the old Paul Grainger art and being able to pick my Toyota Jeep was just plain wrong.  It didn't take.  Sadly, that's not one that I managed to keep.  One of these days, I'll probably seek out a used copy.

It didn't take long before people with ties to the gaming industry decided to make use of the concept.  There were actually official D&D CYOA books, called Endless Quest, although I don't remember actually liking them much.  Rather, I liked the ones that actually had a few character sheets, some rules, and expected you to roll dice and enact combats by yourself against monsters.  One thing that these did, also, was greatly increase the number of sections by not limiting themselves to one section per page.  The first I discovered of these were the Fighting Fantasy Gamebooks, which are still probably the best and most iconic.  Luckily, however, I didn't discover the first in the series first, because Warlock of Firetop Mountain, while considered an iconic classic by some, was really frustrating and frankly kind of ugly.  Instead, I ended up with Forest of Doom and City of Thieves first (although I later bought maybe half a dozen others.)  As you can imagine if you've read my old posts on my setting, the latter was right up my alley especially.  Although I didn't retain either of my copies of those over the years, I have since bought a used copy of City of Thieves again.  What great artwork that book had!  The cover art, on the other hand, was a bit sketchy.  On the other hand, the cover art for The Forest of Doom caught my eye immediately.  It's not a bad book, but it wasn't as good as some of the others that I read.  City of Thieves is still a good read, but the "system" in the books is laughably inadequate.  You're better off ignoring it completely and just reading through.

In the other hand, the Lone Wolf books had a decent system, and that was part of the fun.  You could actually equip your character, and have a few noticeable differences in how the book unfolded depending on how you did so.  The Lone Wolf books also had a thread, or "meta story" that unfolded across the titles, and its own setting, which was enumerated in a separate book (which I own.)  I no longer have any of the old Lone Wolf books (other than the setting book), but hey, guess what?  You can read them for free online, thanks to the generosity of the creator and copyright holder!  Check it out!  I had, at one point, more than half a dozen Lone Wolf books, but only the setting book, or The Magnamund Companion still remains in my possession.  I especially recall really enjoying this bit of cover art here, although altogether the series was quite good.

Lastly, the final (and my favorite) series was Tolkien Quest, which only had a few entries before being renamed Middle Earth Quest (this shouldn't be terribly surprising given my decades long love affair with the work of Tolkien.)  This was then later cancelled before the majority of the entries once listed were actually published.  It was produced by I.C.E., the publishers (and developers) of Middle Earth Roleplaying (MERP), a reasonably popular game of the 80s that was semi-compatible with their generic roleplaying system, Rolemaster.

Although I've never actually played any MERP, I do have a copy of one of the editions of it that I bought years ago and can't bring myself to throw away (even though I literally haven't pulled it out to look at it in years, and I've become somewhat disenchanted with the execution over time.)  The Tolkien Quest books actually allowed for you to play using MERP characters, although it also came with its own system.  The Tolkien Quest system was somewhat lightweight compared to MERP (which was somewhat lightweight compared to its parent system Rolemaster; but let's face it, the entire I.C.E. output was notorious for its compexity) but it was still significantly more complicated than anything that another gamebook provided.  Rather, I think where Tolkien Quest really shined was its ability to emulate a hex crawl of sorts.

There was a map on glossy cardstock included with the book that had numbered hexes on it.  The text of the book itself was broken up into two main sections (not counting the rules; I guess I should make that three sections.)  One of them was very typical for gamebooks, and had numbered sections that you read, you'd make selections and choices and then be instructed to go to another section based on your choices and selections.  But another vast section was keyed to the map.  To actually progress through the book, you would start out in hex, and once you did everything you could in that hex, and read all of the sections that you might have had to read for that hex, you simply moved to a new hex--any new hex that was adjacent to the one you just left.

The first (and in my brief experience, the best) of these books was Night of the Nazgûl, which had your character starting off in Bree shortly prior to Frodo's exit from Hobbiton.  You were tasked by Gandalf (if I recall) with making your way to Hobbiton to warn Frodo to leave at once.  The map gave you a fairly straight road to cross, but if you went to the bridge that crossed the Brandywine, you'd eventually come across a Black Rider and be in trouble, which would encourage you to explore the cross country hexes a bit.  This allows you to, for example, explore the Barrow-downs or the Old Forest.  Or perhaps visit some parts of the Shire or Bree-land that are mentioned briefly but not really seen in the text of The Lord of the Rings such as Tuckburough, Scary, Stock, Frogmorton, Archet, etc.  This hex crawl exploration was truly brilliant, I thought, but it didn't work quite as well for areas that were smaller (such as the other of the two books in the series that I originally bought, which took place on Weathertop, and also had "dungeons" below the fallen tower.  Of course.  :/)  It also didn't work quite as well on the third book that I picked up later, which took place in Mirkwood, featured a visit with Radagast, and had a rather bland overland map without much in the way of interesting or useful features to explore, really.

Just for the heckuvit, and because it wasn't hard to find them online, here's a link to the west and east sides of the Night of the Nazgûl map, just so you can see what it looks like.

Friday, October 31, 2014

Happy Halloween!

My favorite holiday.  And my favorite "Halloween carol..."


I really love a good Jeep.  Ever since I was a little kid, I've coveted one of these, and it hasn't ever made sense for me to have one yet.  The year fast approaches, however, where it will.  I'll be past the point of supporting kids (or at least some of them), I won't need to haul them around, and I'll be indifferent to the price of gas (to a certain extent) and the practicality of my vehicle.  Plus, as I've made hiking and backpacking a major hobby again, I've found that the ability to drive on some of these really bad roads to get to remote trailheads is actually a practical concern after all.

That said, I see Jeep as a type of vehicle moreso than as a brand.  Ironically, most Jeeps are not jeeps (just as Libertarians are not necessarily libertarians.)  I don't know how a Grand Cherokee can qualify when it's really just a soccer mom SUV with only minimal off-road capability (or styling, for that matter) to call itself a true Jeep, an actual descendant with similar capabilities as the old GP's or Jeep-class light utility vehicle.  And there are a number of others that I'd love to drive, but since we don't live in a free country anymore... I can't.  They've been legislated out of legality here in the US, usually due to spurious association with "global warming"--a non-scientific theory which has just recently made the news again after it was rather prominently denounced and debunked by a wide variety of experts who are finally going public--a little late, since the general public has seen for years that "global warming"--whether under that name, or the more nebulous new labels it's been getting like climate change or climate disruption--is intellectually bankrupt.

Ahem.  Anyway, Jeeps.  My first love is probably, of course, the actual Jeep Wranger, which luckily are readily available in the US.  But I wouldn't mind getting my hands on any of these perfectly acceptable surrogates, if I could.
The original, with lift kit and big super-swamper tires.  Beautiful, even in Caterpillar orange.

The Land Rover Defender, or "Landy"--the best and most widespread ersatz Jeep, inspired by the MBs seen in Europe during WW2.  Sadly, this icon will cease production at the end of 2015, and it's never been for sale in the US--even though you can get them almost everywhere else.
The Chevy Niva, for the Russian market.  Although it has the look of a "sport cute" as much as an honest-to-goodness light utility vehicle, it's still been engineering to be relatively capable.  I'd take one.
Troller T4, a Brazilian vehicle which has been part of the Ford family for a few years now.  This is the upcoming redesign, and holy cow is it hot.  I really wish Ford would bring these guys over.  Isn't there a market among the old Bronco buyers for something like this?  My favorite of the current crop of ersatz Jeeps.  Plus, I like that it's with Ford, which isn't owned by Italians, and which wasn't given millions of dollars by the federal government just to go ahead and declare bankruptcy anyway.
Some new Land Rover concepts.  Whatever ends up replacing the Defender will probably look something like this.  Sport cute?  Yeah, kinda.  But also very sporty and probably reasonably capable.  As long as I can get them with a lift kit and big tires; these particular ones with the low profile tires and fairly non-aggressive approach angles aren't going to be rock-crawling anytime soon.

Wednesday, October 29, 2014

New Marvel announcement

I've been way too busy to focus on the development of my new DARK•HERITAGE site (possibly exacerbated by the fact that it's not going to be terribly different from the old one, really, which means it's less exciting to work on.)  I've also been too busy to give too much thought to my campaign noodling projects, such as AD ASTRA, SOLNOR, HYBRID DREAMLANDS, ODD D&D, or heck, I might as well throw REALMS TRAVELER and EBERRON REMIXED into that while I'm at it, right?

Frankly, I haven't had much time to even game, much less develop games.  Work has swamped me, personal life has been very busy.  I'm not even reading very fast anymore.  This means that my normal suite of topics has been kinda dry for several months, and I've been struggling to think of meaningful things to post about.  I did, however, make a trip report post on my hiking blog.  Check it out, if you're at all interested in that kind of thing.  I've got one more yet to do on that trip before I'm done; it was big enough that I split the trip report into three posts.

In keeping with the season, I've watched a few scary things here and there, but I'd like to do more.  I got Mama and The Grudge for my daughter, who wanted to watch one of the two of them for a Halloween party with the rest of her teenager friends.  I've seen the latter but not the former, and thought it was quite good.  I've also been wanting to watch the remake of The Wolfman in October for quite some time now, but haven't done it in the last few years.  Maybe this will be my year.  I did, however, watch the second half of The Adventures of Ichabod and Mr. Toad, specifically the part where Mr. Toad ends and Ichabod begins.  The Disney Headless Horseman retelling has always been one of my absolute favorite Halloween stories and I've had a tradition for many years of watching it.  It's short; can't be more than about half an hour, and it's fun.  A true classic.  Although the tone is mostly silly, the Headless Horseman itself is a reasonably frightening entity as portrayed here.  Not bad, Disney.  Plus, you can never go wrong with Bing Crosby.

However, what I think is the biggest and most interesting news is the announcement of a full slate of Phase III Marvel movies yesterday.  Some of them were surprising, but many were not.  In any case, there's a lot more news available than there had been for some time.  Marvel is, of course, done for 2014, and we will have the final two Phase II films next summer; Avengers: Age of Ultron and Ant-Man, which surprisingly, has been under development for a long time, and which so excited Marvel's production company that they bent over backwards to accommodate it.

Phase III then kicks off with Captain America: Civil War in 2016 that will feature Robert Downey Jr. as Iron Man (thus validating a number of rumors that he managed to insert himself into the Marvel management's consciousness as necessary to move forward.)  This also gives us some hints as to how Avengers 2 may end.  Dr. Strange is next, which isn't terribly surprising either, given that his character was notably mentioned in Captain America: Winter Soldier, fueling speculation that there was a strong desire to get him on the schedule.  Although filming hasn't yet started, apparently Benedict Cumberbatch is strongly favored for the role and is in negotiations for it as we speak.

In 2017, we get three movies: Guardians of the Galaxy 2 (about which we know very little), Thor: Ragnarok (which hopefully doesn't have the stupid "Asgard in Oklahoma" finale that it did in the comic books--I'd be happier if it was more similar to how Thor #400 ended up as an expression of the Ragnarok myth.  The third is Black Panther, who as a character will debut in Captain America 3 first, actually.  The next year, he gets his solo film.

2018 also gives us three films: Avengers: Infinity War Part 1, in which the Thanos threat (presumably) makes its appearance, Captain Marvel (with Carol Danvers; it's rumored that Emily Blunt is favored for the part, but that's just a rumor) and.... Inhumans.  Yeah, that's a weird one.  Then again, that's what I thought about Guardians of the Galaxy too, and the Inhumans could work out interestingly.  The second two movies also suggest that the Kree are somehow associated with the Infinity War in some way or another, and that Inhumans and Captain Marvel would be spin-offs of a sort from that.

The last Phase III film is slated for 2019 and is Avengers: Infinity War Part 2, which given the close release dates will probably share much of its principle photography with Part 1, a process pioneered with the Back to the Future series and cemented as viable with the Lord of the Rings films.

There are also persistent rumors of work being done on a Black Widow project, a Nick Fury project, and an Iron Fist project, although clearly none of them have made the release announcement yet.

Wednesday, October 22, 2014

Top 5 80s songs

The other day, I was talking to some of my kids about 80s songs (I was probably listening to Pandora on the stereo smart TV too.)  My kids always want to rank things.  I have a harder time actually doing it.  I like stuff.  I like some stuff even more.  I don't like other stuff.  But forced rankings?  Those are hard for me.  That said, we had a discussion about our top 5 80s songs, and I thought for the heckuvit, I'd post them here.

Given my predilections, it shouldn't be surprising that for the most part, I'm going to lean towards post punk New Wave, especially stuff that has a drum machine and a synthesizer as the main instruments.  But not exclusively.

In no particular order (and if you ask me again next month, there may be some significant differences in my choices.  Maybe.)

"Bizarre Love Triangle" by New Order.

I've included the official music video version, but for years, the version (and only version) that I had was the 12" one that's included on Substance.  In the meantime, I've come to also really love the Richard X remix.  It's a little tough to leave off "Blue Monday" but I think I should only have one song per band or artist when I'm only picking five songs anyway, and I do like "Bizarre Love Triangle" better.  And, as an aside, when I first met my wife, we danced to "True Faith."  I like both of the other mentioned songs better than that one, though.  Sorry, hon.

"If You Leave" by Orchestral Manoeuvres in the Dark

You can probably see why I tend to just write OMD; that British spelling of maneuvers is killing me.  Every single time I write it.

I don't actually really like the movie Pretty in Pink all that much, but for whatever reason, OMD's "If You Leave" definitely makes the cut of one of the top songs of the decade at me.  Never featured on any album other than the soundtrack for the movie and OMD's various greatest hits compilations is kind of a real shame; you have to go a little bit out of your way to pick this one up (along with their other great song, "Dreaming".)  For what it's worth, this song also makes my teen-aged daughter's list, but she is a big fan of Pretty in Pink.  In fact, she watches the movie on Netflix every couple of months or so.

"Behind the Wheel" by Depeche Mode

It's hard to pick a single Depeche Mode song.  I think that Music for the Masses is my favorite album of theirs, though (although that's a hard pick), and of the songs on that album, certainly "Behind the Wheel" is my favorite.  I think "Enjoy the Silence" is the single most iconic DM song ever, and probably their single best single, but it was not released in the 80s (5 February 1990) and more properly belongs, of course, along with the rest of Violator with the transition into 90s post-New Wave Alternative music.

I've included the album version rather than the single version, which was remixed and which misses out on a lot of the dark droning menace of the album version, honestly.  There's also a very interesting Vince Clark remix of the song that came out much more recently.

"A Little Respect" by Erasure

To show that I'm not all dark and edgy with my synthesizer New Wave music, I should probably put something like Erasure on the list too (although I'm also tempted by Book of Love and Pet Shop Boys for this slot.)  And among Erasure's songs, is it "A Little Respect" or "Oh, L'amour" that gets the nod?  I'm going with the former just because The Innocents was the first Erasure CD I picked up and I have some nostalgic attachments to it above and beyond the others for that reason alone.  There's a great 12" for "A Little Respect" including an Extended Mix and a Big Train Remix.  The 12" Vocal and Dub remixes, on the other hand, are not worth the trouble.

"Animal" by Def Leppard

Not everything that I listen to and like is synthesizer New Wave from the second half of the decade, though.  As we get to the "bottom" of the top five, I'm finding more and more that there is a ton of material competing to be on the list.  But, hard choices have to be made!  Duran Duran gets edged out, as does a-ha, Real Life, and a bunch of other similar artists.  In fact, I think that I definitely need representation from at least one of the "hair rock" bands of the 80s.  For this selection, I went with my favorite track from Hysteria, which is truly one of the greatest albums of all time.  Competition for the glam metal bands was pretty fierce, though--strong output from guys like Quiet Riot, Whitesnake, Mötley Crüe, Van Halen, Ratt and more merited consideration.  At the end of the day, there could only be one, however, and "Animal" gets the nod.

Friday, October 17, 2014

Star Wars Rebels

Well, with the double-length pilot now out, and the droids cameo episode now out, and with the a Zeb/Ezra buddy "cop" episode impending, I thought it might be a good idea to talk about this show and the Star Wars franchise as a whole (interesting after a bunch of leaked concept art has appeared on the internet just recently.)

I'm still waiting for the show to get really good.  It had a credible beginning.  It's certainly not bad.  But the character relationships and the plot haven't really "gelled" yet.  And although the Robin Hood approach is a familiar one to Americans, who appreciate a good rebel, the problem of keeping these character heroic and sympathetic seems like an interesting and difficult line to walk.  In this regard, I'm interested in seeing where the next episode goes.

What bothers me a little bit is that there isn't any hint yet of a direction for the show. If it devolves into "caper of the week" it won't go very far.  So far, that's all we've seen.  Even the pilot didn't really hint at much of a direction, although it does set up an apparently recurring antagonist in the form of Agent Kallus.  One of the things that made The Clone Wars good were the arcs, however.  If we don't start seeing arcs that go somewhere, this show will not be as good as the show it replaces.  Even though, as my kids say, the era is more interesting.

I do like the concept of an ensemble cast being the crew of a heist team, basically, though.  That's not a bad idea at all, and one that feels almost like a shout-out to RPGers everywhere.  I've heard more than one gamer say that they are tuning into the show basically because the crew of the Ghost reminds them an awful lot of their own PC group in an Edge of the Empire game or something.

Speaking of my kids and the franchise overall, I also recently found out that there's a Star Wars: Battlefront reboot in the works.  This is tremendous, since the first two games are really quite good.  I haven't had a chance to tell my boys yet, but I'm sure they'll be thrilled.  I found some interesting concept art for a fallen Dark Obiwan Kenobi that is pretty interesting.  It's probably best repurposed, but we've seen both Clone Wars and now Star Wars Rebels have been able to quite nicely repurpose old concept art into new characters to good effect.

For what it's worth, the Star Wars Rebels character Zeb is based on original Ralph MacQuarrie concept art for Chewbacca and Chopper is based on old concept art for R2-D2.

And oh, hey, here's some concept art from cancelled game 1313 of a younger Boba Fett.

Monday, October 13, 2014

Setting noodling

I've got a number of irons in the fire with this basic idea; noodling around with high concepts for settings, including REALMS TRAVELER, SOLNOR and ODD D&D.  There may be others that I'm not thinking of at the moment.  But, in my read-through of the Complete Works of H. P. Lovecraft, I got to the novella The Dream-Quest of Unknown Kadath, which was always actually my favorite Lovecraft story, in spite of its atypical nature.  And I thought, as I have done before, that there's a wealth of useful information in that setting.  Therefore, here I am adding yet another setting noodle tag: HYBRID DREAMLANDS.  Sigh.

Not that I'd want to actually game in the Dreamlands per se.  That can be done, of course.  There's a Call of Cthulhu scenario/setting that explores the Dreamlands.  But I'd rather just use the map and a few of the details of the Dreamlands as a setting, and then play it straight as a secondary world fantasy setting, rather than using it as it really is meant to be.

How would I do this, if so?

1st: There's really only one PC race; human.  It's not possible to play one of the almost-men of Leng, or a zoog, or a moon-beast, or one of the lunar fish people of Ib or whatever.  Only human.

2nd: I'd look to the primary sources (or perhaps secondary sources) of the Dreamlands for inspiration, but not force myself to be completely stuck into the interpretation thereof.  Ghouls and ghasts, for example, might be like they are in D&D, or how they are in Dream-Quest, or some other interpretation that differs even more.

3rd: Might have to whip up a little bestiary.  Zoogs, gugs, ghouls, ghasts, night-gaunts, shantak birds, moon-beasts, and more all make notable appearances.

4th: The Great Ones, or gods of the Dreamlands, are only vaguely referred to, really, in spite of their prominent "off stage" roles in a few stories.

5th: Magic seems relatively subtle.  I don't see any role for clerics, although the more arcane magic-users aren't necessarily out of place.

6th: I'd almost certainly use an m20 variant anyway, although I don't know that I'd use the same one that I use for DARK•HERITAGE.  Maybe a more "classic" m20 variant is called for; "Purest Essence" without clerics and a few minor house-rules (like Heroism Points, fer instance, to counter a bit the lack of healers.)

7th: Lovecraft himself never wrote any action-oriented stories of any kind.  Randolph Carter is not an action star, and he's a bit questionable in his choice of allies and actions.  I'd rather borrow a bit of Robert E. Howard's tone here, and make it a bit more straight-forward in some ways, while still retaining the sense of dark fantasy sword & sorcery as much as possible.

8th: Not all Dreamlands stories were by Lovecraft.  Gary Myers wrote a long set of them, collected in the book Country of the Worm.  Brian Lumley wrote others.  A lot of Lovecraft's own stories are unclear; do they take place in the Dreamlands, or in some kind of semi-mythological past world, not unlike the Hyborian Age?  And Lovecraft also generously makes reference to the works here and there to places created by Howard or Clark Ashton Smith, including Valusia, Hyperborea, etc.  Some of these would not be unwelcome in my Hybrid Dreamlands campaign.

9th: The map linked in the image is not the HYBRID DREAMLANDS but rather an interpretation of the actual Dreamlands.  I wouldn't mind whipping up a HYBRID DREAMLANDS map.  I'd love to figure out a way to color hand-drawn maps well and without as much effort as I need to use to do it digitally myself, though.

10th: I'm going to also think about adding some of these locations to my Forbidden Lands area of my setting.  I already had, of course, but now that I'm reworking the setting a bit, well, that gives me the opportunity to rework that as well.