Sunday, 15 May 2016

Ksárul Speaks Again (plus the first ever Jez Goodwin Chaos Warrior)

In which I take onboard the task of a brief review of Ksárul Speaks Again! from my sadly miniscule collection of Trollcrusher zines.  Written by Stephen Foster - the oracle of Artificial Intelligence KSRL IVB. And there, an already interesting idea thrown into the pot - that deities of Tékumel are actually artificial intelligences from pre-times-of-darkness, tho' a cursory look over the Blue Room Archive suggests this is an unlikely prospect, as the remaining robots on Tékumel are unable to use other-planar energies, it may be that the technology was so advanced, or alien that the AI gods operate on different levels. Oh yes, and this is 1979. William Gibsons Cyberspace wandering Voodoo Loa won't hit until Count Zero in 1986.

BEHOLD! Trollcrusher 16 

Ksárul Speaks Again opens with an announcement of an Oxford vs. Cambridge (or Durritlámish vs. Qon & Ksárul!) D&D 'match'. I wonder how that turned out? My money is on Cambridge - they had some heavy RPG hitters in those days! Stephen then goes on to elaborate on Saving Throws for D&D

  • Magical Resistance against Primary Spell effects (i.e. magic doesn't work on you) 
  • Evasion - chance of leaping out of the way of the physical explosion. 
  • Physical Resistance (i.e. the effect of being sat on by an elephant). 

It makes sense technically and errs towards more simulation and differentiation between magical effects, but it seems a little complex for the gains in realism.

Then there's some explanations on The Tomb of Klorvetus (published in a previous Troll Crusher) which was a dungeon that apparently was a bit too tough, and situated in Judges Guilds City State of the Invincible Overlord setting.

We then get to the meat - Some Additions to the List of Eyes - some 13 Eyes for The Empire of the Petal Throne. For those unfamiliar with EPT or Tékumel an Eye is a small, spherical, ancient technological device that does magical things, roughly the equilivant of how magical wands work in Dungeons & Dragons. The majority of Stephens Eyes are of a combat nature, either offensive - such as The Eye of Sublime Zephyr - which produces a Wall of Wind, or defensive such as the Eye of The Charmed Barrier which creates a forcefield. I like very much the Eye of Non-Functioning which simply deactivates all eyes in the local area, which like the Thoroughly Useful Eye, has that oddly utilitarian aspect that makes the place come alive.

The rest of the issue has contributions from Laurence Miller, Hartley Patterson (famed for his News From Bree zine), Graham Coles Quivia city for D&D as well as all the usual blather you'd expect from a British D&D zine. Solid gold!

Chaos Champions by Jez Goodwin

Oh yes, and the cover up there of Trollcrusher 16 depicting a Champion of Chaos, with his spiked helmet and shield, inverted cross,  raising his sword through the arcane mists and black jagged peaks of some unearthly domain, is an early masterpiece by none other than Oldhammer fan favourite illustrator and miniature designer and sculptor Jeremy Goodwin, whose sculpts and designs for Chaos Champions are regarded as some of the finest and most characterful miniatures produced under the Realms of Chaos banner. Jez did the back cover too, and it is a thing of utter grim and frostbitten eldritch tr00 kvlt beauty so shall remain unseen, lest it's unholy awesomeness does send lesser denizens of the interwebs insane.


  1. (grabs by collar) SHOW US THE BACK COVER PLEASE !

    1. Lo! Such sights may only be beholden by the initiated.

    2. And how does one become "initiated", Grand Master Zhu?

    3. Apparently all you have to do is look it up on Google. I FOUND IT! Definitely tr00 and kvlt, but hardly sanity-shattering.

    4. Ah, you retained your sanity because you are already one of the initiated Douglas, and probably more worthy of the title Grand Master than I.

      It is the lesser denizens and feeble minded plebians whose eyes must be shielded from the terrors that such mighty work awakens!

    5. Alternatively, I lost my sanity long ago and have gained immunity to such things.

  2. Ive just picked up an original Troll Crusher 9 from a house clearance...of course all french to me

    1. Awesome find. You'll be wanting to eBay that, or just send it to me.