Wednesday, November 3, 2021

Beasts, Men & Gods!

For those of you fascinated, as I am, by less well known RPGs from the first decade of the hobby, allow me to point you toward this site. Bill Underwood, creator of the game, Beasts, Men & Gods, has made its revised second edition from 1982 available as both a free electronic file and as a print-on-demand book.  

Take a look!


  1. I'm guessing this isn't connected to Ossendowski memoir of the same name? It's probably kind of obscure unless you're a history buff (I first ran into it when studying up on the captivatingly crazy Baron von Ungern-Sternberg) so probably not, but an RPG based on the Bolshevik Revolution and its aftermath would be something novel. Certainly gamed the period enough with miniatures rules sets like Back of Beyond.

    1. It may sound ludicrous but I think an RPG on the October Revolution, Civil War and fall into Stalinism, would more or less cover an arc that has some paralels with the Pendragon Campaign.
      For a while I entertained the thought of writing a Pendragon hack about that, with Political ideologies taking the place of Religions.
      Kind of Dr. Zivago the RPG.
      Instead of Cymric Pagan Knights and Saxon Wotanic Warriors you would have had Ukrainian Anarchist Doctors and Georgian Zarist Dragoons.
      I wonder if it could actually have worked.

    2. "It may sound ludicrous . . . ."

      Liberal catnip, I'm sure.

    3. Doing a Soviet Pendragon kind of thing could work, I can sort of see the parallels.

      I was thinking something more along the lines of a survival horror campaign, albeit one where all the monsters are technically human beings. Regardless of which side of the ideological divide the PCs are on there are plenty of existential threats waiting for them. Although I suppose if you wanted something even more unnatural the time period and general chaos would be a fair fit for Mythos shenanigans.

      Weirdly, I suspect introducing cosmic horror to the grim realities of the situation would actually lighten teh mood somewhat.

    4. Yes, I too think adding the Mythos to Civil War Russia would somehow lighten the mood, it would be all too easy to unload the responsability of the horrors on weird alien gods.

    5. PS: @Dick McGee, talking of Sternberg, are you familiar with Hugo Pratt's Corto Maltese? He's a character in the graphic novel "Corto Maltese in Siberia" (aka "Corte sconta detta Arcana").

    6. artikid wrote: "it would be all too easy to unload the responsability of the horrors on weird alien gods."

      Certainly the Whites and their bourgeois and fascist allies would push this line.

      What is it about this particular conflict that leads you to draw the parallels you do?

    7. @artikid I'm familiar with Corto Maltese but have only read a few English translations, unfortunately not including the Siberian stories. Sternberg was one of those rare larger-than-life types that crop up every now and then, be very difficult for a fictionalized version of him to actually be weirder than the real man was.

  2. Very interesting and super generous of the creator to put it out there for free. I do like the attribute generation mechanic where he pairs attributes that he feels should be connected and makes them even out better - I don't know if I've seen that before - it could work with D&D. I also like his take on HP.

  3. The complex History of RPGs is every bit as fascinating as the gaming itself! Thank you for the heads up, !

  4. It's a dramatically better game that AD&D 2nd edition. 400 spells in the book, many classes of magician and you can learn more than one area of magic. Magicians can learn how to use swords. Scrolls do not disappear when you read them because the power is in the mage not the piece of parchment