Showing posts with label books. Show all posts
Showing posts with label books. Show all posts

Wednesday, March 20, 2024

The Enchanted World: Fairies and Elves

Time LIFE The Enchanted World: Fairies and Elves
Today is the Spring Equinox, an in-between time of light and dark, winter and summer—the perfect time to talk about Fairies and Elves. My reading of this has already been fruitful, with two more monsters added to my Basic Bestiary: the Trollkönig and Rübezahl. I am sure there are more to come. Many of the Faerie Lords you will find in my Basic Bestiary can also be found here, in one form or another. So let's get into it.

Fairies and Elves

by Editors of Time-LIFE Books, 1984 (144 pages) 
ISBN 080945212X, 0809452138 (US Editions)

There is a certain Euro-centrism to this book and that is to be expected, though there are plenty of creatures that are similar to Elves and Fairies around the world. This gets better with other books and we saw this in the Wizards and Witches and the Lore of Love books.

Like all the books, this one is hardcover with canvas-like covering (this time green) illustrated by John Atkinson Grimshaw.  This volume has four chapters. Also like all the books this one is lavishly illustrated with both new and classical pieces. 

Chapter One: Lands Behind Enchantment's Veil

We are introduced to the worlds of the faeries and their myriad of names; the Daoine Side, the Tylwth Teg, and the Tuatha Dé Danann. Sometimes, they are also divided into camps of light and dark, like the Seelie and Unseelie or Liosálfar and Döckálfar. And all have multiple spellings. But all are immortal, or nearly so, and are members of a world long since gone by the time humans, or at least Christian humans, enter their lands.  But for a time, a brief time the Fair Folk and humans could live side by side and these tales would enter into the legends of a later time. 

Chapter One: Lands Behind Enchantment's Veil

Here, the fairies were more similar to humankind, with an air of regalness and otherworldliness, and of course, there were tales of their magic. One how the mere touch of the Queen of the Seelie court cured a young knight of his curse. Other tales on how trees would spring magical fruit or fountains of ale and wine. 

Some lived on the land, but many lived under it or even under the sea like the chieftan O'Donoghue. These lands, regardless of where they were had the same otherworldliness about them. 

A World in Miniature 

The great peoples of the fairies reduced in nature and size, so when the lands they had lived in were settled, it was believed that they had shrunk and were living, somewhat literally, under our noses. 

Chapter Two: Guardians of Field and Forest 

Here, many different types of fairies are discussed, and we move further afield than just Northern Europe. We meet the changeable Leshy, who could grow from diminutive size to that of a giant. Sylphs, some as small as mice, would flit about in the air. Hobgoblins like Robin Goodfellow, also known as Puck, were tricksters, but others like Churn-milk Peg were malicious. Willow fairies from Czech legends were as common as German wood nymphs and the mountains of Rübezahl.  Nearly every type of natural setting had a multitude of faeries of all shapes, sizes, and dispositions. 

Chapter Two: Guardians of Field and Forest

And that was the problem. Wander too far off into a fairies' home territory and one ran the risk of becoming lost and not finding their way home for years, if ever.

Not all faeries were human in appearance, either. The Kelpie was an underwater horse that drank the blood of swimmers, for example. 

Others fit a theme. Russia's Father Frost was the lord of Winter, except in Denmark where that role was taken by the Snow Queen, and in Scotland it was the dreaded one-eyed hag, the Cailleac Bheur that ruled over winter and the cold. 

All faeires were considered to be part of and guardian of their locales or area. From the dread three Faerie Lords and Ladies of Winter mentioned above to the tine Brown Man, who was content just to protect one small house.

The Myrtle Tree's Sweet Tenant

This is the tale of a dryad of the Myrtle tree and her love of a human prince, and the women who were jealous of her and the extent they would go. To match with the theme the tree from which the dryad came from was in the prince's palace courtyard. She would come to the young prince at night for lovemaking and disappear before sunrise.  This infuriated the women he had been pledged too and must choose among them a wife. They stripped the leaves from her tree and broke of branches.  Out came the dryad and the women turned on her, stabbing her and breaking her bones. The prince distraught, gathered the bark, the leaves, and the bones and tried to fix the myrtle tree, but could not. He stayed in his chambers, distraught. The rains came and new tree grew and when it had bloomed, the dryad stepped out again. The Prince married her and cast his former mistresses into his dungeons.

Chapter Three: Of Fairy Raids and Mortal Missteps

The last chapter had a happy ending, but that was not always the case when it came to fairy and human interaction. Princesses were abducted by fairy kings. Faerie maidens seduced otherwise virtuous knights, and faeries of all sorts made sport with the poor wives and daughters of locals. Sometimes though the mortals were the ones looking for trouble, stepping into faerie rings to become lost or seeking out their feasts, or, as in the case of the infamous Goblin Market, find their wares. 

Chapter Three: Of Fairy Raids and Mortal Missteps

Faeries were notorious for stealing children, leaving ugly, mal-formed changelings in their place. Sometimes the babes could be found and rescued, other times, most times, they could not.  

Tam Lin 

It wasn't always the maidens that had to fear from the intentions of faeries, often mortal men were the target. Such was the case of Tam Lin the son of the Earl of Roxburgh. He had caught the eye of the Fairy Queen. He would have been lost forever had it not been for the courage, strength, and love of a mortal woman named Janet, who was able to turn Tam Lin away from the Fairy Queen. 

Chapter Four: The Heart's Far-Carrying Call 

Love between a mortal and faerie was never an easy path to take. Swan maidens could love a mortal, but only if the mortal hid their feather cloaks from them. Lamias craved the love mortal men, but equal craved the flesh of their children. Tales abound that if a mortal man ever struck his fairy bride she would leave him forever; maybe good advice for mortal brides as well!

Chapter Four: The Heart's Far-Carrying Call

Though not all tales ended bad, but all had a common theme; the road to true love is a hard one. We saw that in Lore of Love as well. Such is the next tale.

Trials of a Charmed Passion 

Sir Launfal was a knight in King Arthur's court. By chance, one night, he spied a fairy lady of such beauty that all thoughts of mortal women left him. She also saw him and would visit him whenever he wished for her by name, Tryamour. The Queen, though, became jealous and asked him who it was that had given him so much happiness. He then insulted his Queen by saying she was not as beautiful as the fairy lady's lowest handmaiden. An insult, of course, and one that nearly got him burnt at the stake. But Tryamour comes to the court, and all agree that there is no way that Sir Launfal is lying or insulting. They ride off together, leaving the mortal world.

Again, like Wizards and Witches, the theme here is that once there was magic in the old world, but now it is gone. Though that theme is less overt here and more of a given. Faeries, creatures of magic, were once part of this world and now they are not.

Again the stories tend to bleed into each other and there is the feeling of half being told a story and half reading a factual account of things that had happened. The effect is an engrossing one. 

It reflects what I have felt games like D&D have been missing. While yes, there is a Feywilde and lands of Faerie in many versions of the game, there is no real magic to them, if you know what I mean. There is nothing about them that brings them to life. There are few, if any, Faerie Lords and Ladies, and no reasons for them to do what they do. This is a book I'll come back to for more ideas and certainly more names and ways to use them.

Next time: Here there be Dragons! (for real this time)

Friday, March 15, 2024

Kickstart Your Weekend: Kickstarter Overload!

 There were so many this week, and so many were good ones. Let's get going.

Tales of Voracious: Ragnarok

Tales of Voracious: Ragnarok

Kate Bullock is back with a new set of erotic horror monster tales.  This one covers the nine realms fo Norse Myths. If it is anything like her first book in this series then it should be a lot of fun. This one has the added benefit of a connecting theme.  

Kate is a great write and great person to boot, so I'd love to see this one do well.

Fey Earth

Fey Earth

I have been following this one for a while now, and their Kickstarter is live. It is set in the 19th Century and has Fey races, magic, and more. That sounds exactly like my cup of tea, to be honest.  Add in some witches and that makes it a must buy! 

So yeah, I know next to nothing about the system but the premise sounds good and the art is great. I also want this one to do well.

The tiers are nice and simple. Easy to figure out what I want.

THE EXPANSE Collectible Action Figures

THE EXPANSE Collectible Action Figures

Before it was a TV Series, or a Green Ronin RPG, or a Book Series, the Expanse was a d20 Modern game. I just learned that today.  This Kickstarter is for action figure line. Because really, you need Chrisjen Avasarala and Camina Drummer figures!

As of this writing this has not hit it's goals yet, but I am sure it will get there.

Gary Gygax's World Builders Archive

Gary Gygax's World Builders Archive

Troll Lords continues to add weight to their claim that Castles & Crusades IS the spiritual successor to AD&D. This Kickstarter brings new Gygax material to C&C.

There is so much here that I can't get into it. If the name Gygax means anything to you then click on this and see what they have.

BX Advanced Bestiary, Vol. 2

BX Advanced Bestiary, Vol. 2

More monsters are always great! The only I like more than making monsters is reading about them so this one is also a must-get for me.

Legend of Seven Golden Demons & Slime Pits of Sewer Witch

Legend of Seven Golden Demons & Slime Pits of Sewer Witch

Legend of Seven Golden Demons & Slime Pits of Sewer Witch

Mentioned this one last week, but it is worth repeating!

NOW some upcoming ones.

Djinn Unboxed - NSFW Artbook

Djinn Unboxed - NSFW Artbook

Djinn is a great friend of the Other Side. I feature her art here a lot. She is coming out with her own art book and it should be great.

Not live yet, but please sign up for updates.

Murders at Lorelahc Manor - a mystery campaign for D&D 5e!

Murders at Lorelahc Manor - a mystery campaign for D&D 5e!

This one is also not out yet. But a murder mystery for D&D? Hell yes!

There is also a pre-launch page for it on Backerkit.

Sign up for more details.

And of course, this one!

Thirteen Parsecs

Thirteen Parsecs

Thirteen Parsecs is coming! Please sign up to get notified of our launch of the Backer kit.

We really want this game to be your sci-fi RPG of choice, so help us make that happen.

Wednesday, February 14, 2024

The Enchanted World: The Lore of Love

The Enchanted World: The Lore of Love
 I saw an online conversation in an old-school RPG group a bit ago. This guy was boasting that his games never had romance, sexuality, or anything at all like that. My first thought was, "How sad," and my next immediate thought was, "How boring his games must be!"

Without the stories and contributions of love and romance or just plain good old-fashioned sex, we would loose most of the works of Shakespeare, many of the Greek myths, and practically all of modern music. Ancient Greeks to Motzart's Le nozze di Figaro and Così fan tutte, to "Silly love songs" by Paul McCartney to most of Taylor Swift's catalog. Love just might make the world go 'round.

That is the topic of today's The Enchanted World. I mentioned before that I am not going in publication order, save for the first, and instead going to post the titles that have some connection with when I post them. Today is February 14th, Valentine's Day, so let's look at Love...Enchanted World style. 

Lore of Love 

by Editors of Time-LIFE Books, 1987 (144 pages)
ISBN 0809452812, 0809452820 (US Editions)

This is a later one and does not have a single author. Tony Allen is listed as "text editor" and Ellen Dupont is listed as "staff writer." Of note, in the US, the cover is purple. In the UK, this book had a green cloth cover. 

Like the others in this series the art is a mix of newer pieces with a lot of classical ones. There are for example a lot of John William Waterhouse. The bibliography for this one is also rather impressive. I imagine that as they went on there were a lot more texts collected that they could reference.

Like Wizards and Witches, this one is divided into three larger sections. These can be roughly described as "Finding Love," "Love Gone Wrong" and "Keeping Love."   That's not a perfect match, but it will do.

Chapter One: Destiny's Playthings

Chapter One: Destiny's Playthings

This covers love as a shaper of destiny. The six stories here involve the gods getting involved with the love lives of mortals to some degree.  "A Groom for the Sea-Lord's Daughter," for example, tells about the fairest sea nymph of all, Thetis, and how she spurred the lust of both Poseidon and then Zeus, only to be given to a mortal Peleus because it was prophesized that her son would defeat his father. As an aside I noticed that Thetis' requests of Peleus are very much the same as we see in later mermaid and selkie tales of Northern Europe. 

Maiden's Visions

Tales of the problems when mortals try to avoid their fate abound as in "The God of Marriages" a Chinese tale of a man who sees his bride to be as a toddler and tries everything to avoid his fate, and just playing into it. Or the Indian tale of "A Love Forgotten" of two lovers reunited at last. 

Sometimes, love, though meant to be, is also tragic. Such is the tale of a German knight in "The Cursed Embrace" whose betrothed is already dead.

Chapter Two: Blighted Passions

Chapter Two: Blighted Passions

The story of love is not always about happy endings. Romeo and Juliet aside, there was Popocatepetl and his love Princess Iztaccíhuatl. When an army could not stop Popocatepetl the Jaguar Knight, his own spread lies about his death so they could possibly claim his bride. When she heard her love had died she died herself. When the Jaguar Knight returned and learned of her death and why, he killed all his men.

Across the ocean in Spain we are treated to the story of Don Juan and his ill-fated affairs. Of the tragedies of Narcissus, Daphne, and Thisbe of Ancient Greece. 

The Warlock's Comeuppance

Though not was all tragedy. There were times when love went wrong and it was comical. Such is the tale of the Warlock's Comeuppance. A warlock found a young women he wished to put a spell on, so he convinced his young Latin pupil to get three hairs from her head. The girl caught her brother trying to steal the hairs and instead gave him three hairs from their young heffer. The warlock performed his dark arts spell and soon had a lovesick cow following all over the town!

Chapter Three: True Love Triumphant

Chapter Three: True Love Triumphant

Of course the best tales are the ones where true love wins out over all odds. Tales like Aucassin and Nicolette the Saracen Maid. They were separated by wars, pirates, and separation of years. Or of Hiku, the Polynesian hero who was so brave he went to the underworld itself to find his lost love Kawelu.  Can your characters claim that? (Yeah. Mine can.)

I am a little surprised that the tale of Cupid and Psyche is not here, but maybe that one is so well known they dropped it in favor of these other stories.

Like all the ones I have read through so far, this one is wonderfully illustrated and amazingly researched. Combining the bibliography for all of these would provide a lifetime's worth of reading.  

This one might have fewer "game-related" details than others, but there is undoubtedly a treasure trove of ideas here. 

Next time: There is a land beyond the veil

Thursday, February 1, 2024

The Enchanted World: Wizards and Witches

The Enchanted World: Wizards and Witches
 Let's start this series with the book that has the most meaning to me and the first one in the series: Wizards and Witches. Fitting for Imbolc on Thursday really.

Overview of the Series

The Enchanted World books from Time-LIFE were a series of high-quality, hardcover books sent to you via mail from Time-LIFE subscription. The first one you got for free was Wizards and Witches. This also makes it the most common one and the one you can find in most secondary markets. Fortunately for me, it was also my favorite.  

Imagine, if you can, a time when one of the world's largest publishers decided to invest in a series of books (21 in total) filled with full-color art, cloth-bound covers, and access to some of the world's greatest libraries and scholars. Libraries like the Bodleian Library at Oxford, Cambridge Library, and the London Library. Scholars like Prof. Tristram Potter Coffin (Chief Series Consultant),  Ellen Phillips (Series Director and Editor), and Prog. Brendan Lehane (author of this volume).

Well, that time was 40 years ago, and the Enchanted World series sought to capitalize on the growing fascination with all things fantasy, not in a small part due to the popularity of Dungeons & Dragons.

Over the years, I have seen a lot of collections of other folks' RPG books. It is no surprise when you see one or more of these books stuck in their mix of FRPGs.

Many of the books follow a similar pattern. Usually, 3-4 chapters of the book detail different aspects of the myths and folklore being covered. These are usually interspersed with some of the stories themselves or excerpts, as well as art. The art is often from classical sources or paintings depicting the stories or characters involved. There are also new pieces of art throughout. There are margin notes or marginalia with some other related tidbit of information. Each chapter ends with a longer story.

There is a bibliography, art credits, and some publication notes in the back.

These books were published around the world. Some of the European publications also had dust covers.

Wizards and Witches

by Brendan Lehane, 1984 (144 pages)
ISBN 0809452049, 0809452057 (US Editions)

This book is divided into three sections covering ancient wizards, wizards of the Middle Ages, and witches. There is quite a lot of art from Arthur Rackham here. 

Chapter One: Singers at the World's Dawn

Here, we begin with a tale of the old Finish wizard Väinämöinen and the young upstart Joukahainen in what could be considered a magical sing-off. The line between Bard and Wizard was very thin in ancient Finland. Thus it was when the world was young and youth could aspire to wizardry. We learn of other powerful names like Volga Vseslavich, Cathbad, Manannan Mac Lir, Taliesin, and, most well-known of all, Merlin. Not all were old men. Ceridwen, Circe, and Louhi were there too.

Time-LIFE The Enchanted World: Wizards & Witches

The thesis here is that in those olden days magic was something people could aspire too, but few could truly master. We get snippets of stories of all these wizards and sorceresses, each playing into the next. It is somewhere between a bedtime story and an undergraduate survey of various wizards. In between we get longer stories, like the "Wizard of Kiev" and "The Welsh Enchanter's Fosterling."  All cover magic in a semi-forgotten age that seems to have one foot in history and another in mythology.

Chapter Two: Masters of Forbidden Arts

If the last chapter dealt with magical using men and women as heroes as often as villains, then this chapter leaves no ambiguity on where it sees (or rather history sees) the wizard of the Middle Ages. Here the singing battles of Bard-Wizards are given way to the academic study of magic in dusty tomes of forgotten lore and those who sell their very soul for power. We encounter the likes of Roger Bacon (1219-1292), Oxford Scholar, Empirical Philosopher, Franciscan friar, and dabbler in magic. There is even a bit on Michel de Nostredame (1503-1566) aka Nostradamus. But for the most part we see magic going from a force of nature in a world where the rules are not yet set in stone, to men (for the most part) partaking in deals with demonic or devilish figures for power. All it takes is their soul.

Time-LIFE The Enchanted World: Wizards & Witches

We spend quite a bit of time on the legend of Faust and his deal with Mephistopheles. In fact, this one is so set into our vernacular that a "Faustian Deal" hardly needs any explanations. 

Given the time period, there is also a wonderful overview of the Tarot and its origins with some rather fantastic art. 

Time-LIFE The Enchanted World: Wizards & Witches

But most of all I loved the "Legions of the Night" section with its coverage of Demons. The descriptions of just the few here and the art by Louis Le Breton from the Dictionnaire Infernal by Collin de Plancy were enough to make me want even more strange demons in my game. More so since it featured Astaroth. A demon that already fascinated me from when I first saw him in Best of Dragon II.

Time-LIFE The Enchanted World: Wizards & Witches

Harry Clarke's illustrations of Mephistopheles should be how the devil appears all the time. 

Time-LIFE The Enchanted World: Wizards & Witches

Along with the Tarot, there is some coverage on astrology. This predates the Middle Ages by, well, thousands of years really, but there was new keen importance on it at this time. 

Chapter Three: The Shadowy Sisterhood

Ah. Here are my witches. We get some cover on what could be called Folk Magic or Hedge Witchery, on how these natural healers were initially an important part of everyday life. The magic was simpler and more in tune with nature.

Time-LIFE The Enchanted World: Wizards & Witches

Throughout this chapter, the "helpers" of witches are mentioned. We call them Familiars. Up first is the hare, which they claim (and back up) was closer to the witch than the black cat we associate with today. This reminds me that rabbits and hares should really feature more in my games. The others include spiders, ravens and crows, cats, snakes, and toads, which they claim as one of the first animals to be associated with witches. I have read that before as well.

As the chapter professes the old Black Magic vs. White Magic trope appears. While less in favor today among Real WitchesTM (remember the ads with Litney Burns?) it is an important distinction of the time. It is almost the same divide as the "Natural" vs. "Academic" wizards of the first two chapters, really. 

There are various stories, mostly about how someone was suspected of witchcraft and what happened. But also the machinations of witches in general. 

There is a section flight and witches and how brooms were not used at first, but rather things like butter churns and distaffs. I even added distaffs to my games in part because of this connection. 

Our story at the end of this chapter is a classic tale of Baba Yaga and Vasilsa the Fair. Again featuring amazing artwork, this time right from Vasilisa the Beautiful by Ivan Bilibin.

Use in FRPGs

With so many books out there, there is no end to the ideas they can generate. Upfront, it should be noted there is nothing "new" here. The stories, the folklore, and even a lot of the art are things we have all seen before. The stories of wizards like Väinämöinen, Merlin, Faust, and Circe should all be known to anyone who has a passing interest in fantasy and, indeed, to anyone who has played FRPGs. But that is not where their value lies. These books do have tidbits that the causal pursuer of these tales would not know, and maybe even some for the more advanced students.

To be sure, while there is academic rigor here, these are not textbooks. But they are educational.

Reading these tales one could use them as the basis for other characters. There is more than just a little bit of Taliesin in my own Phygora, for example. These tales, often set right on top of each other, can give the reader and player plenty of means of comparison. 

This book also makes good arguments for the separation between, say, Wizards, Warlocks, and Witches (as represented by the three chapters) but less of an argument on where bards fit in. Are Taliesin and Väinämöinen wizards or bards, for example? It is not up to this book to decide but rather the reader.

If you are playing a game like D&D that lives in a different world, then ideas abound. I mean we know Gygax, Arneson and the early designers of the game were very much into folklore and mythology. Those elements are the hook for more of these, beyond the Greek, Roman, and Norse myths we were all raised on.  Like any good synthesis, it should make you want to check out the primary stories these are all from.  If you are playing a Medieval game, say Chivalry & Sorcery or Pendragon, then this is practically a sourcebook for you. I would even say it is a must-have for a Mage: Dark Ages or Mage: Sorcerers Crusade game.

Wizards & Witches


I can't let it go unsaid, even if it is obvious, but this book profoundly affected me when it was out. While I did not own my own copy until much later on, I had friends that had it. Since this was the first of the series, many people had it. The art in this book set the feel for how I wanted my Witch class books to look. I have since included the art of Arthur Rackham and the Pre-Raphelites in many of my books. This was one of the books that made me want a witch book for D&D. When none showed in the stores I took it on myself to make it. I do know that my first encounter with the "Black School" of the Scholomance was from this book.

Time-LIFE The Enchanted World: Wizards & Witches

While I can't say with any certainty other than the timeline, this book was likely a contributing factor to one of my favorite themes in games; Pagans vs. Christians and how magic would later be demonized by the Church.

This series is lovely, and each book, while filled with things I already knew, also has many things I did not. 

My only real complaint? At 12.25" x 9", they just don't fit nicely into a standard bookcase.

Next Time: What is love?

Tuesday, September 12, 2023

RPGs are Now Mainstream, example #254

 I want to share a few books with you today. Not reviews, but I do want to talk about them.

Most everyone reading this blog likely knows about this book.

Grimtooth's Traps Too

The Grimtooth Traps books were not official AD&D books, but nearly everyone back in my gaming groups in the 1980s had one or access to one.

These next two are less well-known.

Book of Encounters

They are the Game Master's Book of Random Encounters. The large hardcover (brown) we got my son for Christmas from Amazon. The smaller green "magazine" style one I bought last week. At a grocery store in South Carolina.

All three books share the same origins and goals. They are third-party products designed for "any RPG" but obviously for their respective current editions of *D&D. They fill a niche market of DM's tools, so a small number of people will buy these. 

The biggest differences?

For the Traps Too book, my then-DM and I had to drive to Springfield, IL, to get it. It was 35 miles away, and then we had to go to a store downtown (Black's Hardware) because our regular D&D stores (Waldenbooks and B. Dalton's) didn't carry this.

I found the magazine Gamemaster's Book of Random Encounters in the periodical rack in the checkout line at a grocery store next to copies of People, Us, and whatever holiday cookbook magazine America's Test Kitchen was selling.

This is just one more example of how ubiquitous RPGs are getting. 

Hell, even at my sister's funeral people from a side of my family I barely know were talking about how great Baldur's Gate 3 is. (Spoilers. It is great.)

Sometimes, it is easy to forget how great we have it now. Sometimes it is easy to forget how scarce or rare things used to be. 

We are really in a Golden Age of RPGs now and sometimes it is nice to sit back and soak it all in.

Tuesday, February 21, 2023

Not a Mail Call Tuesday (But Just as Good!)

I was recently at my FLGS, and I decided to pick up some old friends.

AD&D 1st Ed

Like many gamers my age, I started with a wide variety of D&D books. A Basic book here, an OD&D book here, and an AD&D book here. In my case, I started with a lot of D&D Basic (B/X) books. I picked up my AD&D books later on.  So my first AD&D books were Deities & Demigods and the Fiend Folio. I only later grabbed the PHB, DMG, and MM and when I did, they were "newer" Easley/Orange spine covers.  I wanted mine to be different from my then DMs. 

Also, like many gamers my age, I lost them in one of the many, many moves during my university days. This was sad, but I had my 2nd Ed books so I could still at least play.

When I got to a point where I could settle down and get them back, I bought back the original covers. But I always missed the "Trinity" of the orange spine ones.  Well, I decided it was well past time to fix that.

The Holy Trinity x3

I now have the original covers, picked up around 2000 or so. The WotC reprints. And now the Orange Spine ones.

All are in really good condition. I have others, like my softcover Monster Manual and Players Handbook from England and my first-printing PHB and DMG. But those are all safely tucked away from light

Big 3 and Little 3

And I had the mini versions of these covers, so that was one of the reasons I was not rushing to get new copies of these. But I figured I really should get them.

They were not cheap, much more expensive than when I re-bought the original covers in the early 2000s, but honestly, they are really worth it to me.

I have to say, it does put me in the mood for some AD&D 1st Ed! I think I even have some goldenrod character sheets around here as well.

Monday, February 6, 2023

Monstrous Mondays: Pathfinder 2nd Edition Bestiaries

I have a few projects to wrap up then I will be getting back into my own Basic Bestiary, but until then I am enjoying some non-5e options as well.

In particular, the new(er) Pathfinder 2nd Edition Bestiaries.

Pathfinder Bestiaries

I ordered the Bestiary 2 from Paizo's website just before the OGL news broke last month and right before they became slammed with orders.  It took it a little bit, but this past weekend I got new box in the mail.

Gift from the Golem

I enjoyed it so much I ran to my FLGS to grab the Bestiary 3!

The art, layout and presentation are all fantastic. There are plenty of new monsters and old favorites here. The old favorites even get a few new twists to make them all feel like new.

Monster Layout

They all look great next to each other, and I am a sucker for a ribbon in a book.

Pathfinder Bestiaries

Looking forward to giving my "Second Campaign" a spin with some Pathfinder rules.

Thursday, September 22, 2022

Sucker for a Slipcase

Maybe it goes back to my first set of the Lords of the Rings books, but I am a sucker for a slipcase for my books. I was in my office and I was noticing that many of my books are getting bleached out due to the fluorescent lights I have.  I turned the spines to the back, not a great solution, which got me to notice all my slipcases for other books.


This got me thinking about my AD&D 1st Ed collection and how they seem to be getting the worse of it all. So I went on a search for some slipcases that would fit my AD&D books, in particular my oldest ones, and "fit" them thematically. 

Searching for custom ones was not very helpful since most places that make them custom-made expect you to order a bunch of them.  There are binder ones too, but nothing that I really liked.

Once again, eBay provides.

Back in the 1980s the RPGA made slipcases for Dragon and Polyhedron magazines. I found one on eBay that was only slightly more expensive than a binder slipcase.

RPGA Slipcase

I can fit in my second printing of the PHB, DMG, D&DG, and my softcover PHB and MM from Games Workshop. There was enough room to slip in my DM's screen too.  I can justify grabbing this since I actually had joined the RPGA during its last days


Softcover MM & PHB

Deities & Demigods

Signed by actual demigods!

You can see why I want those protected.

The only problem is that the double slipcase is taller than my shelves!  I am going to need an oversized bookcase or make room on my desk for my oversized books.

But at least now they are protected.

I still would like to find a custom one for some other books, in particular, my 1st and 2nd Edition reprints.

1st and 2nd Ed reprints

Tuesday, February 22, 2022

Want a Book? Ask!

I posted this elsewhere, but I am super busy at work today.  So here it is here.

I get it. Books and Game PDFs are expensive and everyone is on a much tighter budget these days. SO to that end, if you want one of my PDFs and can't afford it just ASK ME. I'll likely send it along with a couple more to spare.

Maybe at least say somewhere that you thought it was cool/fun/informative or made you sick to your stomach, whatever. But at least ask, the worst thing that can happen is I'll say no (which leaves you where you were) or I say yes and you have a new PDF.


Wednesday, January 26, 2022

Dungeons & Dragons Rules Expansion Gift Set

Grabbed the new Dungeons & Dragons Rules Expansion Gift Sets at my FLGS today. 

Dungeons & Dragons Rules Expansion Gift Set

I have to admit I am a sucker for a boxed set.

Boxed set

New DM's Screens

New DM's Screens

Comparisons of the new books to the older ones.

Tasha's Cauldron of Everything

Xanthar's Guide to Everything

The new book, Mordenkainen Presents: Monsters of the Multiverse, is the big star of course.  Lots of monsters from other books, but new ones as well.  I am not sure how many are new but I am happy to have them all in one place.  Kinda like a Monster Manual II for 5e.

Astral Dreadnaught

I'll have to review the books in detail, but so far I like what I have here.