The Great Martian Vizier Koraz-hu had no game that night, for, even with his vast powers and estates, the needs of the Martian Warlord sometimes required his personal attention. In this case, one of the lesser Stone Princes – silicate beings far older than Koraz-hu himself – sought to create trouble along the western edge of the Dying Sea. In the Mars we know, that Sea is long dead, but the Red Planet still hides water in underground lakes and reservoirs that we are only beginning to discover. The Martian Vizier’s world lies along a different planar vibration than our, and so has different qualities.
It was late enough that the sun herself was on the verge of rising that the fatigued Vizier returned to his citadel on the Face of Mars. It may seem strange to us that items posted from our world awaited him there, but there is a brisk trade between many planar vibrations, many Earths, many Venuses, and indeed many versions of all the worlds of our Solar System and beyond. When the Vizier saw what awaited him, all weariness fell away, and he brought his hoarded prized to his study to read.
Tales From the Magician’s Skull #2 is the newest entry in Goodman Games’ ongoing love letter to the pulp magazines of yore. Like the previous issue, it is perfect bound on quality stock. Tales From the Magician’s Skull is made to last.
Trial by Scarab, by John C. Hocking, is a sequel to the first issue’s The Crystal Sickle’s Harvest. In the World of the Archivist, some jobs are easier to secure than others.
Day of the Shark, by James Stoddard, is a Tale of Thalassa. Good underwater adventures are rare in role-playing games. This story is (hopefully) the first of a series of submarine adventures to delight the reader and inspire the judge.
Stolen Witness, by James Enge, is an adventure of Morlock Ambrosius, who was also featured in the first issue. Like the first story, this is a detective yarn in a magical world, where the protagonist is an outsider.
Blood of the Forest Born is an Anla and Lanci Story by Nathan Long. These two are thieves who, nonetheless, find themselves doing more than mere thieving. Although the story is told in a light-hearted matter, the subject matter is not.
Break them on the Drowning Stones, by Setsu Uzume, is a powerful story of revenge and magic. Although it is presented as a stand-alone story, both setting and characters could easily support a series.
A Soul’s Second Skin is a Dhulyn and Parno Adventure by Violette Malan. The search for a missing man leads to an adventure that touches upon Lovecraftian entities, compassion, and what being “human” actually means.
Shuhalla’s Sword, by Dave Gross, is a stand-alone adventure that could as easily provide inspiration for Mutant Crawl Classics as for Dungeon Crawl Classics. The setting, if not another world, may well be a post-apocalyptic version of Earth.
The People of the Pit is an illustrated adaptation of Abraham Merritt’s classic story, by Stefan Poag. If you read Appendix N fiction, one thing you will note is that, if a story is not set on Earth, the secondary world explored in the work is somehow tied to Earth. Our protagonist comes from Earth, or there are gates to and from Earth. We view the Earth in a forgotten past or a distant future. Having a story directly set in our world, and wonderfully adapted, is a real bonus. Having this story arise from Appendix N itself is a distinct bonus. It is unfortunate that Terry Olson didn’t try his hand at game statistics from this adventure.
A comic (Old Skule by Chuck Whelon), a letter column (Skull Scrolls) and the Editor’s Introduction round the issue out. Even the ads, with their focus on gaming or pulp action, enhance the feel of the magazine.
The sun had passed the zenith by the time the Martian Vizier set the magazine down. Uvis of Cold Yuggoth (which we call Pluto) would be projecting itself to his citadel later that night to run a game using the fifth edition of the Earth’s First Fantasy RPG. Koraz-Hu did not often get the chance to sit as a player, and he was looking forward to it.
There was enough time for a brief rest before sitting at the games table with his friends. The Martian Vizier pulled himself wearily to his sleeping chamber, unaware that, even now, his servants were admitting a messenger from the Warlord. There would be no rest for him this day.
The second issue contains 7 new stories by some amazing talent!
Editor: Howard Andrew Jones
Contributing writers: John Hocking, James Stoddard, James Enge, Nathan Long, Sets Uzume, Violette Malan, and Dave Gross
Cover artist: Diesel LaForce
Interior artists: Samuel Dillon, Jennell Jaquays, Doug Kovacs, Cliff Kurowski, William McAusland, Brad McDevitt, Russ Nicholson, and Stefan Poag
Cartoons: Chuck Whelon
DCC stats: Terry Olson
Layout: Lester B. Portly
Publisher: Joseph Goodman