every book’s a sourcebook: The Ginger Star
The Ginger Star
The Ginger Star by Leigh Brackett
, by Leigh Brackett – the first of the Eric John Stark sci-fi series – is chock full of D&D-inspiring goodness, which is not surprising because Leigh Brackett inspired her way into Appendex N. It’s technically sci-fi because there’s space, but between the space-ship landings at the beginning and the end it reads like fantasy. Over the course of a Fellowship of the Ring
-style overland journey, Stark encounters guys who are described as looking like trolls, wizards (whose magic really works), and short, squat men who like to forge iron.
D&D-ready encounters of note:
A toll drawbridge over an otherwise impassable gorge. On each side of the drawbridge is a bridgehouse that controls its own half of the bridge; both sides most be down for people to cross. If you kill everyone on one side, the people on the other side won’t let you up. Also, if the tollkeepers feel like it, they can lift one half of the bridge, cornering you on the other.
A winter wizard who attacks you from afar with a killing frost. I’d run this as a more elaborate skill challenge than most, with uses for action points, fire-based attack powers, burnable items. The penalty for failure in the skill challenge, as is true for many combat encounters, would be death. Every skill challenge can’t be toothless.
A land of cannibalistic ghoul tribes – but the ghouls aren’t ghouls, they’re savage, hungry humans. There are a lot of monsters that are Other trying to eat Us. It might be scary to fight Us trying to eat Us.
Overall, the book gives the impression of a world, like Middle Earth, that has more and less dangerous “zones”. Eric John Stark is a typical pulp-fiction badass, and in the beginning of the book, in the South, he is the baddest ass in the room. As he heads north, he travels through progressively higher-level areas until he is routinely being defeated and captured.