Showing posts with label music. Show all posts
Showing posts with label music. Show all posts

Wednesday, June 20, 2018

Wednesday Night Videos: Happy Summer Solstice!

Right now, as of this posting, the sun is rising over Stonehenge to celebrate the longest day of the year.  The Summer Solstice.

For some reason, I always want to play this song.

I would be lying if I said I never wrote an AD&D adventure based solely on this song.

Of course, "Solstice" means "Sun stand still".

Plus Aimee Mann was so cute in this video.  I had the biggest crush on her back then.

Though the Solstice means we begin the slow, inevitable fall to Winter.

Enjoy the sun while you can!

Monday, August 15, 2016

RPGaDAY2016: Day 15

What types or source of inspiration do you turn to most often for RPGs?

I have mentioned it before, and if you hang out here for any length of time it is obvious, but music and horror movies are my primary sources of inspiration for games.

Yes. I am a voracious reader and I devour fantasy, horror, history and psychology books to feed my game ideas.  But those ideas usually come from a place when I am listening to music or watching a horror movie.

Many of my games even have a "Soundtrack", often known only to me, but they do.
For my "The Dragon and the Phoenix" Buffy game I posted many of the songs here. The Dragon Slayers also had/have a soundtrack.

Ghosts of Albion was written on a steady of diet of Hammer Horror films and Black Sabbath.
The Witch was written with a playlist full of "witchy" songs, from the obligatory Stevie Nicks, to Garbage, Third Eye Blind, and Love Spit Love.

I pretty much lay my muses bare for all to see.

This is going to be a fun one to read from others!

Tuesday, May 3, 2016

New Releases Tuesday. Witch Edition.

It's Tuesday and that means new releases.

Today I am very excited to report that The Witch is now available on iTunes and Amazon Instant Video.

I am going to be staying up tonight to see this one.

Also out is the third book in Barb Hendee's Mist-torn Witches series, To Kill a Kettle Witch.

While not exactly a new release for today, it was released on Friday.  Rob Zombie's The Electric Warlock Acid Witch Satanic Orgy Celebration Dispenser.

On the D&D/OSR side of things The Rogues Gallery is now out.
I remember getting this and being quite excited.  I remember years laters rediscovering it and recognizing some of the names.

Friday, February 12, 2016

Friday Night Videos: Supernatural Soundtrack, take 2

Been meaning to do tthis for my kids for a while now.

This is an expansion of a similar FNV I did a while back.

I have taken some liberties with the song selections, but the spirit is there.

This is a long play-list. 25 songs, about an hour and half long.

Friday, January 29, 2016

Friday Night Videos: Frog Leap Studios Metal Covers

No big theme tonight. Nothing to do with RPGs either.

Just a new artist I discovered this week.
Leo Moracchioli of Frog Leap Studios (which I think is just him and his wife, and sometime their daughter) does these amazing metal covers of popular songs.

You can find his cover on Amazon and iTunes.

Here are few I got a kick out of.


Friday, January 15, 2016

Friday Night Videos: Women Rock!, Part 2.

A while back I posted a bunch of videos from women that rock.
It was quite popular.

I said then that a part 2 was in order.  So here it is!

K's Choice wis a band from Belgium that had some notoriety in the mid to late 90s.  The biggest album was 1995's Paradise in Me which gave us the hit "Not An Addict". This was a huge song for me during my Sojourn in Hell period, for what should be obvious reasons.  My biggest issue with K's Choice is that for years I swore they were Canadian.   This is the European version of the video which I prefer.

Speaking of the 90s, no one, and I mean no one, does angry like Tori Amos.  Don't think so?  Listen to her lyrics sometime, especially songs like "Me and A Gun", "Pass the Mission", "Spark" and "Cornflake Girl" or to a lesser degree "Crucify".  Taylor Swift sings about someone and it is fodder for Twitter. Tori Amos sings about someone and it is Primal Scream Therapy.
Though the song that always gets me is the first time I saw her.  "Silent All These Year" from the phenomenal Little Earthquakes.

My scream got lost in a paper cup
You think there's a heaven
Where some screams have gone

Never fails to get to me.

I am not all about pathos.  Last time I mentioned my love of Siouxsie Sioux and the Banshees.  That is still true. But I was thinking back to the first song I ever heard of theirs.  Without a doubt it has to be "Cities in Dust".  I remember hearing this all the time in the hey of MTV. I actually sat down to listen to the lyrics once and realized it was about Volcano Day.

At this point do I really need to explain why I am including Stevie Nicks?  No. Ok good.  But I will add that this is my favorite song from the fantastic The Other Side of the Mirror.  This is a more adult and more mature Stevie.  This is a woman that knows who she is and where life is going.  At 31 she was more interesting than the "Wild Heart" girl of her early to mid 20s.

Last time I also mentioned Joan Jett, but I really need to give a shout out to the band that gave us Joan Jett, Lita Ford and Cherie Currie, The Runaways.  The Runaways have been given their due more lately. There was the bio-pic in 2010 and appearances of their signature song "Cherry Bomb" in both Lollipop Chainsaw and Guardians of the Galaxy.   The version from the movie is not too bad, but lacks something raw that original had in droves.

Taylor Momsen may have gotten her start as "Cindi Lou Who" but thankfully for all of us she sold her soul to darkness.  Just kidding...mostly.  Well years later she is fronting the band Pretty Reckless and she seems to be constantly trying to shed that wholesome image.  She is, in some sense, the spiritual successor to The Runaways.   She looks like Cherie Curry and tries to sing like Joan Jett.  She isn't bad and the band has some good songs.  "Heaven Knows" might be the most recognizable.

So who are your favorites?

Friday, December 4, 2015

Friday Night Videos: Conceptual Continuity

Welcome to the Friday Night Videos salute to Frank Zappa.

Earlier today I posted some people and things from Frank Zappa's Conceptual Continuity.

Here are the songs and videos that inspired them.
Note: Not all of these are part of Zappa's actual Conceptual Continuity, but they are good for this.

My python boot's too tight.  "Stinkfoot" appears on the 1974 FZ album Apostrophe ('), which is now usually sold as a combo CD with Over-Nite Sensation.   Stinkfoot is very much part of the Conceptual Continuity. I also think it might have been the first Zappa song I ever heard.  I am sure that my brother Mike was the one that introduced me to it.

One the same album St. Alphonzo and Father O'Blivion can be heard on "St. Alphonzo's Pancake Breakfast" and "Father O'Blivion" respectively.    Funny thing, the next song on that side "Cosmik Debris" was one of "inspirations" for the Aquarian Tradition of Witchcraft.

Speaking of the Aquarians.  Over-Nite Sensation from 1973 introduced us to The Short Forest in "Camarillo Brillo" a tale of a magic mama that could throw a mean tarot.    I decided that the woman in Camarillo Brillo was the same as the Witch of The Short Forrest and likely Dinah-Moe Humm from the same album.  Camarillo Brillo, by the way is not the witch's name, it describes her hair.

The idea of her sister drowning comes from Zappa's 1982 album Ship Arriving Too Late to Save a Drowning Witch.  This is the album that gave the world "Valley Girl".

"Goblin Girl", is not really a goblin, but gobbling or gobbl'en.  What she is gobbling...well you listen and decide.  But it is one of the best songs on the completely fantastic You Are What You Is from 1981.  For me she looks like Gren Razortooth from YAFGC.

Her suicidal behavior comes from the same album in the form of "Suicide Chump" and "Jumbo Go Away".

Going all the way back to 1968 we have the classic Frank Zappa and the Mothers of Invention album We're Only In It For The Money.  One of my favorite songs on this album  is "Absolutely Free" which teaches us that "discorporate means to leave your body."

We go back to Over-Nite Sensation and end with Zomby Woof, which should be self-explanatory.

Conceptual Continuity: The World that Frank Zappa Built

Today is sad day. 22 years ago one of the greatest performers in music died.  Frank Zappa.
ETA: We also just learned that form leader singer of Stone Temple Pilots, Scott Weiland has also died today.

I love Zappa's music after being introduced to it by both a friend and my older brother Mike.  Zappa was a genius and I could spend the next dozen posts talking about him, his music and his contributions.  But instead in a move that might amuse Frank himself I am going for the cheap (but well thought out) gag.

Here are some Zappa inspired items, people, places and things for your game.

Oh I can't explain Conceptual Continuity. It is something that has to be experienced.

Barking Pumpkin
This looks like a normal jack-o-lantern, but once lit it acts an alarm ward. Anyone approaching withing 10' of this pumpkin will cause it to starting barking like a large dog.   Only the command "Sit, Fido, sit." followed by "good dog" will stop it from barking.

Python Boot (magic item)
These boots look like they are made of a skin of a large python.  They give the wearer a +2 on any roll that might involve Charisma (though not magical rolls).  It is assumed that anyone wearing such a boot must be interesting to talk to.

Python Boot, Stinkfoot (cursed)
This cursed version of the Python Boot gives the same powers as a regular python boot.  Though the wearer will not be able to remove them.  Once they try the boot will begin to emit an order like a Stinking Cloud spell.  All Charisma based rolls are now at a -4.

St. Alphonzo (and his Pancake Breakfast)
Saint Alphonzo was one a kindly friar that believed that breakfast was the most important meal of the day.   Special pancakes blessed by the saint keep adventures full and warm till nightfall when consumed in the morning.
St. Alphonzo's is currently run by portly cleric by name of Father O'Blivion, who may or may not be plagued by leprechauns.

Camarillo Brillo by farlo
The Witch of The Short Forest
13th level Witch, Aquarian Tradition, Female (Neutral)

Strength: 10
Dexterity: 14
Constitution: 12
Intelligence: 13
Wisdom: 10
Charisma: 18

Death Ray or Poison:  9
Magic wand or devices: 10
Paralysis, Polymorph or Turn to Stone: 9
Dragon Breath: 12
Rods, Staffs and Spells: 11

Hit Points: 41
Alignment: Neutral
AC: 5 (Ponch [equal to Leather Armor], Amulet of Protection +2 )

Occult Powers
Familiar:  Snake
Herb use
Lesser: Astromancy
Minor: Moon Blessing

Cantrips: Chill, Daze, Detect Curse, Object Reading, Open, Sound
First: Cause Fear, Charm Person, Chill Touch, Sickly
Second: Agony, Evil Eye, Levitate, Rose Garden
Third: Bestow Curse, Bewitch III, Dispel Magic
Fourth: Animal Growth, Emotion, Withering Touch
Fifth: Baleful Polymorph, Bull of Heaven
Sixth: Eye Bite, True Seeing
Seventh: Wave of Mutilation

The witch of The Short Forest is notable for many reasons. First are her looks. Her hair is bright red and curled. Her skin is gray-green and all she seems to wear is an old poncho and an amulet.  She is also sometimes seen with her snake.  She will attempt to read your fortune with a deck of old tarot cards.  Or she will try to seduce any male, particularly adventurers but especially Bards (she loves the guys in the band).  If asked she will play a pair of castanets.
She lives in a small two story hut in the valley in the middle of the Short Forest. She will tell you she was born there and that makes her a valley girl.
She had a sister that drowned and doesn't want to talk about it. She will mention many times that she doesn't want to talk about it. (Ship Arriving Too Late to Save a Drowning Witch).

She created the Barking Pumpkin and has a many of them outside her home.  She also has a cat (not a familiar) that speaks fluent Chinese (a language she does not know).

The witch's real name is Dinah, but she never answers to that.

Goblin Girl
Armor Class: 14 (5)
Hit Dice: 1 (6 hp)
No. of Attacks: 1 weapon (dagger)
Damage: 1d6
Movement: 20' Unarmored 30'
No. Appearing: 1
Save As: Fighter: 1
Morale: 8
Treasure Type: R
XP: 12

Goblin Girl is a short, kind of pretty little goblin lass. She isn't evil, per se, but she does tend to get into a lot of mischief.  She is very fond of ale, and for a sip she will help out adventurers.  She is also overly amorous and will adopt a "boyfriend" in the party very early.  She will get upset and even suicidal if affection is not returned.  She won't actually kill herself, but she loves the attention.
She wears a green dress and a black witch hat.  She isn't really a witch, she just likes the hat.  It also covers up her head, which is flat on top.

She is friends with the Witch but has been kicked out of St. Alphonzo's many times for stealing margarine.  She has a boyfriend that is a hobgoblin, but she will claim they "are not serious".

Discorporate (Absolutely Free) (spell)
Level: Witch 5, Wizard 5
Duration: 1 hour + 10 mins per level
Range: Touch

By means of this spell the witch can leave her body and project herself anywhere on the current plane she is inhabiting.  She can not affect objects or people unless they are also astral, ethereal or in spirit form.  She can pass through walls and travel great distances, but she must return to her own body before the duration ends or be lost.
The witchcan bring the astral forms of five other willing creatures, provided all subjects are linked in a circle at the time of the casting. These fellow travelers are dependent upon the caster and must accompany her at all times. If something happens to the caster during the journey, her companions are stranded.
Like the Astral Spell, a physical body is left behind attached by a silver cord.
Material Component: A bit of velvet.

Zomby Woof
Armor Class: 15 (4)
Hit Dice: 4+1 (20 hp)
No. of Attacks: 1 bite
Damage: 2d6
Movement: 20'
No. Appearing: 1d6
Save As: Fighter: 4
Morale: 12
Treasure Type: None
XP: 270

This is a large werewolf zombie stuck in mid-transformation. It is very ungainly and moves slow. It's right foot is larger than the left one and only one paw has claws.
It is a mindless monster that attacks anything in The Short Forest.
A Zomby Woof is turned as a ghoul.

Friday, September 25, 2015

Friday Night Videos: Long Live the Queen!

Not really 100% yet, but I am sitting here at home reading through some witch material for Strange Brew. Which also has me thinking of my War of the Witch Queens adventures.

So I think then is a very good night for one of my favorite groups ever.  Queen!

Queen might not be the first band you think of when you think about RPGs, but I played the hell out my Queen tapes back in the day.  So lets start with some good game-mood setting songs.

Not a lot of talk tonight. Just music.

Since this is a Queen mix I always begin with "Let Me Entertain You" from Jazz.

Here is "Dragon Attack" from their first 80s album, The Game.
Ok I am pretty sure the song is about heroin and not actual dragons.

"Ogre Battle" was always one of those songs that painted a very cool picture for me.  So much so that when it came time to do an epic battle in my game the army was full of ogres.  From 1974's Queen II. If you really want some music, listen to the first three Queen albums.  Freddie was a lyrical god.

From the same Album is the short, but mystical, "Seven Seas of Rhye".  Both songs were later sampled on Queen's own The Works album 10 years later.

Speaking of The Works, one of the best songs on the album is "Hammer to Fall".  Played at the first Live Aid nobody had ever heard it before and Freddie got everyone to sing along.  That's showmanship.

A Kind of Magic might have been one of their biggest albums.  At least in terms of over the top theatrics.  "Princes of the Universe" was something a of D&D anthem or least for our characters.  Yes, this is the song from Highlander.

"I Want it All" is another anthem from a now dying Freddie. I am not trying to be maudlin here, Freddie's death really shook me.  Another "character" anthem it is easy to relate to the "adventure seeker, on an empty street."  From The Miracle or as friends of mine working at EMI at the time used to say "it will be a miracle if it sells".

The connection to gaming and this next song is thin at best.  But I don't care. The album Innuendo was Freddie's good-bye to us all. Who else gets to write their own Requiem?   The title track is epic as anything he ever wrote in the 70s or the 80s.  Musically it is the flip side of "Bohemian Rhapsody" and it is as good as a send of as anyone should hope for.   Plus a ground breaking video from a bad that HATED doing videos.  You can see clips from previous videos in this one as well.

Long live the Queen!

Friday, July 17, 2015

Friday Night Videos: Urban Horror / Soundtrack of the Apocalypse

Welcome back to Friday Night Videos! Urban Horror edition.

D&D is metal. But the gritty Urban Horror I enjoy is Rap with Metal. Two great tastes that go great together.

Make sense to me really.  I was getting into more urban horror in the 90s when rap and hip hop were huge and nu Metal was on the rise.
Personally I believe that Metal and Rap/Hip-Hop have far more in common than they differ.

So how about we start where it started. More or less.
Anthrax and Public Enemy are as about as different as you can imagine.  That is till you dig beneath the surface and realize they are saying the same things to their audiences.  Public Enemy is more politically charged than Anthrax is.

Judgement Night.  Not just a sub-par Emilio Estevez film, it is also a great urban battle song.  Personally I always felt this was a better soundtrack for an apocalyptic battle scene between humans and demons.

Ozzy + Trick Daddy.  Ok, Ozzy is only sampled in this.  But this was one of the songs I had on repeat when working on the Ghosts of Albion game.  My understanding is that Ozzy rather liked this.

I won't lie. I listened to Linkin Park's "Hybrid Theory" on pretty much repeat all throughout my time working the Buffy game. When I began work on Ghosts of Albion I switched over to "Meteora".
Linkin Park is pretty much the archetypical Nu-Metal band. An alchemy of rock, rap with bits of punk and grunge.  Absolutely part of my soundtrack of the Apocalypse.

For shear oddness you can't beat the Gorillaz.  One part Blur, one part LSD trip and a bunch of  Del Tha Funkee Homosapien.  This doesn't really fit in the "hard rock" mode, but the trippy video is pure "All Flesh Must Be Eaten" crossed over with "Terra Primate".

I am still taking applications for Guest VJ!

Friday, July 10, 2015

Friday Night Videos: 2,000,000 Other Side fans Can't Be Wrong!

Welcome back to Friday Night Videos!

Tonight we do a little self-celebrating and mark 2,000,000 hits to the Other Side blog.  Yeah I know, a little self-aggrandizing, but hey. I pay the bills here.

I have talked about the history of this place before, so no real need to do that again.  Let's just get to the videos.

I am not 100% sure, but it is likely that the name "The Other Side" came from this Moody Blues song.  I had a newspaper article in my school newspaper back in 86-87 named "The Other Side of Life".  My first web site was then called The Other Side.  Kinda anti-climatic isn't it.  But still I like the Blues and this was a good album for 1986.
Like the song, thought the video was a little lame.

Interestingly enough the next Other Side, my website, came out a little after this Areosmith song did. It was from 1994, the same year I moved to Chicago to work on my Ph.D.

I have been a fan of the Red Hot Chili Peppers since "Mother's Milk".  The Otherside came out at a very, very weird time for me.  I might talk about it sometime. or not. Have not decided yet.

Here is a new one for me. Sirenia.  I know nothing about Norwegian symphonic metal, but I like the sound of this.  It certainly has all the elements of things I like.  This video is kinda cool.

If I had to be honest. Really honest. Well then I would have to stick with the Moody Blues story above.  But I was rewriting my personal story then this is the song that really motivated me to name my lexical outlet to the world then I would have to choose The Doors and "Break on Through (to the Other Side)".  Total cheat on the title too.

Red Sun Rising is another new band for me.  They have this Alice in Chains feel about them that I really enjoy.   I heard this one on the radio the other day when trying to come up with tonight's theme.

Hope you are all with me for the next 1,000,000 hits.

Friday, July 3, 2015

Friday Night Videos: Guest VJ Paul "Wiggy" Wade-Williams

Welcome back to Friday Night Videos!

It is my pleasure to bring you another Guest VJ.   Tonight we are honored to have Paul "Wiggy" Wade-Williams.  He will be playing videos that relate to his newest RPG book "Leagues of Gothic Horror".

So here is Wiggy.

Hi! My name’s Wiggy (also known as Paul Wade-Williams) and I’m the creative director and a partner at Triple Ace Games. Tim has invited me to guest VJ and talk a little about the music I listened to while designing and writing LEAGUES OF GOTHIC HORROR, which launched on Kickstarter this week.

Truth be told, I’ve mainly been watching movies and listening to Gothic audio dramas while pounding away at the keyboard and watching the shadows for werewolves and vampires, but there is always time for music in the creative process. Maybe I’m a little anal, but I often create a playlist to match the product I’m working on, rather than accept whatever random tune my player throws up. Here are some of the tracks in that list.

Blue Oyster Cult — Magna of Illusion

This track is from my all-time favourite album—Imaginos. The lyrics are laden with layers of hidden meaning and weird significance—ancient prophecies, magic mirrors, alchemy, astrology, witches, magical ships! I’ve always had an interest in the occult(not to be confused with Satanism) and the entire album was essential listening—I never tire of listening to it! I love it so much there are references to it scattered throughout LEAGUES OF GOTHIC HORROR.

Sheelanigig — Lost in Transitvania

My music tastes are quite eclectic. Most of my playlist is heavy metal or rock, but nestled among the albums are 80s pop, folk, movie soundtracks, and Mongolian throat-singing. I came across this band at the Shetland Folk Festival only a few months ago and immediately fell in love with their stuff. Writing can be a boring process, even if you love what you write, and this song gave me an excuse to chair dance while absorbing the Eastern European folk vibe that transported me at least part way to Transylvania.

Ozzy Osbourne — Bark at the Moon

It’s Ozzy, the Prince of Darkness himself! This song met all the criteria when writing a book on Gothic Horror—the heavy metal I love and an atmospheric (if occasionally camp) video replete with elements of the genre. I’ve listened to Ozzy for many years, and regardless of my mood there’s always a song to suit.

The Unguided — Deathwalker

Remember I said my tastes were eclectic? Well, here’s some Swedish melodic death metal for you! I admit I am not without bias in choosing this track—the band based it on my Hellfrost fantasy setting and I was lucky enough to collaborate on the lyrics. Despite its fantasy origin, the track concerns the rising of a powerful lich and his gathering support from the undead, an apt enough topic for Gothic Horror.

Iron Maiden — The Number of the Beast

Iron Maiden, the first heavy metal I ever listened to. This track, from their third album, always reminds me of one of my favorite horror film—The Devil Rides Out. The beat is fast, hardly fitting for the creeping terror of Gothic Horror, but the content, Satanism, was perfect for writing the magic section. The track also reminds me of school (I was 12 when it came out), especially since 1982 was the date The Warlock of Firetop Mountain was published, the book that got me into gaming.

Dalibor Krigovský — Moriens Spiritum

Conveying mood to the reader is an essential part of writing. Gothic Horror isn’t slash and gore. It’s dark and moody. It reeks of decadence and decay. Capturing that unique flavour so GMs can convey it to their players in words was essential. Often I can get into the right mood without much thought—it is part of the job being a full-time author working on varied projects—but there are times when I need a boost. This track is heavy and brooding, perfect for immersing myself in Gothic atmosphere.

J. S. Bach — Toccata and Fugue in D Minor

More mood music! I’ve always loved this piece of music. Maybe I’m odd, but it immediately conjures up images of the lonely figure of Dracula (or Strahd von Zarovich) seated in front of an organ in his desolate castle or the Phantom of the Opera. It’s a very powerful and emotive piece that ebbs and flows, never failing to drag my mood along as it does so.

(ETA: This is one of my favorites as well! - Tim)

If you like the playlist and you’re interested in our Kickstarter for LEAGUES OF GOTHIC HORROR, please check it out here:


Thanks so much Wiggy!

Friday, June 26, 2015

Friday Night Videos: The Sword

Welcome back to Friday Night Videos.

Tonight I want to focus on just one band, but one that I really identify with the entire OSR and nostalgia D&D movement.

The Sword hit my awareness in 2008 or so with their album "Gods of this Earth".  Right around the same time this blog got going.

Like the retro-D&D/OSR/Nostalgia movement The Sword was a new thing that sounded like an old thing from the 70s.  In this case a band that had a similar vibe to Slayer to sound like Black Sabbath.  In any case it worked.

Fire Lances of the Ancient Hyperzephyrians was the first single from "Gods of the Earth".  It sounds old school and the video is something right out of Ralph Bakshi.  The biggest influence is obviously Bakshi's Wizards.  Confession time. I am not a fan of Wizards.  Never saw the appeal. I also don't care for rotoscoping.

If any song captures this retro-feel of The Sword the best it's How Heavy This Axe. The video even looks like something filmed the same day Black Sabbath filmed Paranoid or Iron Man.  Plus this was also the theme song to +Zak Smith and gang's "I Hit it with My Axe".  That gives it OSR street cred right there. Or it gave them cred.  Not sure which.

What can I honestly say about Maiden Mother Crone?
Well for starters it is easily my favorite song from The Sword.  Plus there are great allusions to Pagan myths and witchcraft.  In true heavy metal cliche fashion it has a "mystical orb" at the end (3:30 mark).  I am sure that was done completely tongue in cheek.  But still it's pretty awesome.

I listened to this a lot when working on The Witch.

Tres Brujas or "Three Witches" came along later.  It mixes in elements of Westerns, sci-fi, witchcraft (again) and Kung-fu (the TV show).  So yeah...sounds a bit like the AD&D DMG.

Veil of Isis is a newer song.  The video reminds me a bit of some of the videos of the later 80s, before Grunge took over. Still it's a pretty cool song.

You can find The Sword on the web at

Friday, June 19, 2015

Friday Night Videos: Celebrate Summer with Rush!

We are coming up on the first day of Summer.

Ah Summer. When you are a kid there is nothing better.

I remember spending my summers playing outside, running around and of course playing D&D on the weekends all night long.
It was an innocent time really before we all discovered girls, drinking (drugs) and other ways to pass the time.  I don't regret and would not change a single moment of those times.

Let's start this right with Rush's "Time Stand Still" I think it sums up what I want to say rather well.
Plus "Solstice" means "Sun stand still" so yeah. Perfect song.
And Aimee Mann was damn cute here.

Let's keep going with Rush for a bit.  They are afterall the most "D&D" band I know.

"Subdivisions" spoke to everyone in my gaming group in a why that is difficult to quantify really.  I didn't grow up in the suburbs (though I live there now) but the feelings are the same.  Replace the video games in this video with RPGs and the message is the same.

Ok. So Canada in the Winter does not invoke images of Summer, but the video aside no song reminds me of playing D&D quite as much as Rush's "Tom Sawyer".  This was my DM's favorite song.  I think I have heard it 1000 times.  One more time would be good too.

Ok I lied.  "Fly By Night" reminds me of D&D maybe just a little bit more than Tom Sawyer.  I remember one of the first big "D&D Parties" we had in Jr. High.  My friend and DM Jon put a copy of Rush's Fly By Night into my hands and told me I had to listen to it.  He did that a lot.  It did change my life.

"Freewill" came to me at a very interesting time in my life.  The song was something of an anthem for me, but not one I could shout out loud.  1980, I was 10 and just learning to play D&D. I was also becoming what I would later know to be called an atheist.  D&D was my way to explore religious spaces; which is why I tend to play clerics, paladins and witches.

Fast forward to a little over 10 years later Rush releases a new album, Roll the Bones. I remember that some of the hard core Rush fans in college didn't care for it, but I loved it. I know some people hated the rapping in the song, but fuck them.
Isn't that what we do? Roll the Bones.

Enjoy your summer!

Friday, June 5, 2015

Friday Night Videos: Guest VJ Chrys Fey

Welcome back to Friday Night Videos.

Tonight I want to welcome guest VJ Chrys Fey!
Chrys is the author a number of books including the her most recent The Witch of Death and the Ghost of Death.

I asked Chrys to come by tonight and share some songs whe was listening too or were inspiring while she worked on her books.

So without further ado, take it away Chrys.

Witchy Woman by Eagles

This song was done ten years (1972) before Liberty Sawyer was born, but it could be about her: “raven hair and ruby lips, sparks fly from her fingertips-” Although there’s the mention of the devil, which Libby doesn’t like, she can’t help but dance to this fun song in her living room.

Jillian (I’d Give My Heart) by Within Temptation

This is the song that really gets me, my muse, and Libby pumped up. Ever since we stumbled across it ten years ago, Within Temptation has been our favorite band. They are a Dutch rock/metal band. The combination of Sharon Den Adel’s angelic voice and the dark, beautiful music is spellbinding. And if you’re a fan of Serenity/Firefly, you’ll enjoy the video.

A Witches Song by Ordo Funebris

The odd thing about this song is that no one can find lyrics to it but because it’s so beautiful, eerie, and mysterious, Libby loves it. On top of that, the video features work by her favorite artist Victoria Francis.

You can find Chrys on the web at
And more about Libby at The Faux Fountain Pen and Tasha's Thinkings.

Title: Witch of Death
Author: Chrys Fey
Genre: Supernatural/Suspense
Format: eBook Only
Page Count: 45 (short story)
Release Date: May 20th, 2015
Publisher: The Wild Rose Press


Detective Reid Sanders doesn’t believe in the supernatural, but when he’s faced with a crime scene that defies the laws of nature, he has no other choice but to start believing. And solving a magical murder involves working with a witch.

Liberty Sawyer embodies the look of your classic evil witch, so, it’s no surprise when she uncovers the murderer is a witch that she becomes Reid’s number one suspect. If she can’t convince him otherwise, more people could lose their lives to dark magic, including her.




Jolie Montgomery, a twenty-one-year-old woman, wakes up in an alley next to her corpse. She has no memories of her murder or the night she died. She didn’t even see the killer’s face before he or she took her life. Wanting justice, Jolie seeks answers in the only way a ghost stalking the lead detective on the case. 

Avrianna Heavenborn is determined to find the person responsible for a young woman’s death. She gets closer to the killer’s identity with every clue she uncovers, and Jolie is with her every step of the way.

But if they don’t solve her murder soon, Jolie will be an earth-bound spirit forever.

Book Links:


Chrys Fey is the author of Hurricane Crimes and 30 Seconds. She is currently working on the sequel to Hurricane Crimes that’ll serve as book two in the Disaster Crimes series.

When Fey was six years old, she realized her dream of being a writer by watching her mother pursue publication. At the age of twelve, she started writing her first novel, which flourished into a series she later rewrote at seventeen. Fey lives in Florida where she is waiting for the next hurricane to come her way.

You can connect with her on Facebook and her blog, Write with Fey. She loves to get to know her readers! 

Author Links: 

Friday, May 29, 2015

Friday Night Videos: Flashback 1982

Welcome back to Friday Night Videos!

Tonight I want to pay homage to the years that really got me going D&D wise.  1980, 1981 and 1982!

So this morning I was reading Arlee Bird's blog Tossing it Out.
Lee is the brains behind so many great blog challenges including the April A to Z challenge.

This morning he was talking about music and it's relationship to people.  For me though music has always been about the times it was in or what was going on when I heard it.  The cue for me to switch gears tonight and focus on 1982 was his use of the fantastic Alan Parson's Project, Eye in the Sky.  The meaning of the song of the same name is debated; is it about 1984, security cameras or something else.  For me this song will ALWAYS be about the module B3 Palace of the Silver Princess.  The "Eye in the Sky" in this case is the evil creature/god Arik and his ruby eye.  This song was on constant rotation the entire time I bought and first ran this adventure.

From the same album is a song my younger brother and I loved, "Psychobable". To me the song was more about horror and nightmares and that certainly had a huge effect on the style of game I ran even back then.  This was only compounded when I got my first copy of Chill.
This video is an odd one but I really like it.  The creator re-edited an old Orson Welles student film to go with the song.  For me it just fits.

Few albums are more "D&D" than Blue Öyster Cult's Fire of Unkown Origin and few songs more so than "Veteran of the Psychic Wars".  Let's look at the song's pedigree for a moment.  It was co-written by Micheal Moorcock, author of the Eternal Champion series. It is about the greatest, or at least the most popular of all the Eternal Champions Elric of Melniboné.   The song also appeared in the movie Heavy Metal.  On the releases I saw this was during the Taarna sequences.  The song is an ode to any D&D character ever. It is practically a Grognard anthem.  I would revisit the imagery myself during the years I was running my "Willow & Tara" game, Episode 5: Veteran of the Psychic Wars.

Last week I talked about how much Stevie Nicks influenced, well, pretty much everything I have ever written.  "Leather and Lace" was another song from Bella Donna that I loved.  This one I also connect to B3.  In particular the love story of the Princess and the White Drake.  In the original version of the adventure (written by Jean Welles) he was the bad guy.  In the revised version (by Tom Moldvay, the hero of 1981!) they became lovers instead.  I have to admit I like his version better than hers.

In the opposite direction of the sentiment of Leather and Lace we have Greg Kihn, whom I always associate with the start of the "video age".  "The Breakup Song" was from Kihn's album Rockihnroll.  The truth is, just like the song says, they just don't write 'em like that anymore.

This is one is kind of a cheat. I loved this song back in the day, but never associated it with gaming till much, much later.  Donnie Iris' "Ah! Leah!" from Back on the Streets.  Though it was out in 1980 I am sure I never heard it till 81.  Like Veteran of the Psychic Wars this song became part of the "soundtrack" of music I listened to when working on the Buffy RPG and then later Ghosts of Albion.  "Leah" was immortalized in my game universe as the name of the woman that married Tara's brother Donny in "Strange Sort of Homecoming" (which itself is named for a Sting song).

"Let me be the one to say when I've had enough..."

Sum songs capture an age perfectly.  Others only capture the feeling, and in retrospect are perfect.  Santana's "Hold On" is that sort of song.  It's too Latin sounding to be really part of the early 80s. But yet here we are and this song is perfect at describing the time.  The first track released from 1981's Shangó.

Got to concentrate, file away
Every last detail
Don't want to lose what's going down
I want to remember everything I'm feeling
Should time try fading or stealing something away.

What are your favorite memories from 1981 and 1982?

Friday, May 22, 2015

Friday Night Videos: Stevie Nicks

Welcome back to Friday Night Videos, where we wish a happy birthday to the White Witch herself, Stevie Nicks!

You don't have to know a lot about me to know that I LOVE Stevie Nicks.   Tuesday May 26 is her birthday and we are going to celebrate here this weekend.

Whether with Fleetwood Mac or on her own no single artist has ever influenced my writing more.  To this day if I am going to write something new about witches I put Stevie and let the words flow.

We first hear of Stevie Nicks in the 1975 self title Fleetwood Mac album. Stevie and then boyfriend Lindsey Buckingham had joined the band bringing Rhianon with them.  Stevie had heard the story of Rhianon from a book, and only later heard of the Welsh Goddess.  She would often introduce the song as "This is a song about an old Welsh witch..."

Stevie went on to record her first solo album.  The enchanting Bella Donna.  While many of us were already in love with her from Rumours and Tusk, this solidified her hold as the Queen of Rock.
"The Edge of Seventeen" came about because Stevie could not understand Tom Petty's wife's thick southern accent.   Either way it gave us one of the enduring Stevie Nicks images, the White Winged Dove.

Fleetwood Mac was at their height when 1982's Mirage was released.  The album had a number of hits but the most Stevie of all the songs was "Gypsy".  Mirage my have been the swan song of the Fleetwood Mac that was, but Stevie never rose higher.

Shortly after the Mirage tour came to an end Stevie threw herself right into the recording of what would become, in my humble opinion, her greatest album to date.  This is the album I had playing on cassette when I wrote the first draft of the witch class. This is the album I listened to on CD when I made my 2nd Ed. Netbook. And this is the album I listened to on MP3 when I wrote The Witch.
The Wild Heart is one of the best albums ever.  My memory of this album is I got it for my 13th birthday just as soon as it was out.

Featuring keyboards by none other than the Purple One himself, Prince, "Stand Back" is not very witchy, but I love it all the same.

"Nightbird" the song that launched a 100 characters. I wanted my witch character to be as awesome as this song and to look like Stevie. It was 1983, but it is still just as true today 32 years later.
This version from "Solid Gold" is still one of my favorites.  In an age when artists were just lip-syncing their own songs  Stevie was singing hers.  She is joined here by her longtime back up singer, best friend and sister-in-law Lori Nicks singing the parts that Stevie over-dubbed on the album.

Stevie has spent years trying to escape the image of the "Witchy Woman" only to embrace it full on in season 3 of "American Horror Story".  The finale for "Coven" was an episode featuring what can only be called a Stevie Nicks video.  The song and the episode was called "The Seven Wonders".  The album was Tango in the Night from 1987. The last Fleetwood Mac album I ever bought on tape.  Yeah. We used to buy tapes.

You can watch the American Horror Story: Coven version below.

There are so many more of course. But that is good for tonight.

Friday, May 15, 2015

Friday Night Videos: Garbage Edition

Welcome back to Friday Night Videos and tonight we celebrate the best of what happens when Wisconsin and Scotland get together. Garbage!

Garbage is like the penultimate 90s band really.  And perfect for the games I was planning and playing at the time.

I have mentioned before that by the mid 90s I was really burned out on D&D and wanted something new.  That new ended up being various World of Darkness games like Vampire and Mage, but most of all WitchCraft.   I made more than one witch that looked like Shirley Manson.

"I'm Only Happy When Rains" is exactly the sort of song that I had in mind when I was playing then.  Alternative, hard, and a great lead singer. From their debut self titled album.

"Stupid Girl" showed that this band was no one hit wonder.

"#1 Crush" appeared on the Romeo + Juliet Soundrack, but that is not where I know it best.  It would go on to later be the theme music to the British witchcraft serial "HƎX". I still consider it a "witch" song.

Garbage 2.0 was another breakthrough album for the band. Getting them quite a bit of critical acclaim and giving them their high chart topping songs in the UK.

"Push It" adds more electronica than their previous outings.  The video has a nice homage to Village of the Damned.

"I Think I'm Paranoid" is pretty much the theme song for any Mage game I have ever played.

What is better than hearing your favorite band?  Hearing your favorite band cover a great song.
"Because the Night" has been covered and recovered by Bruce Springsteen and Patti Smith (they wrote it), 10,000 Manics and Garbage with Screaming Females.  The song is a passionate ode not just to a love but to the night itself.  As a nyctophiliac myself, I can relate.

Next week I celebrate the White Witch herself.

Friday, May 8, 2015

Friday Night Videos: Space Age Love Songs

Welcome back to Friday Night Videos! Sci-Fi Edition.

All week I have talking about Sci-Fi games and sci-fi themes.  All of this has sent me back to the late 70s / early 80s when I was hard core into scifi and playing Traveller.

I had so many ideas back then for games. Most I'd never use or even admit to today.  But back then they were awesome. You just have to take my word on that!

Again. This time was ripe for ideas in gaming. Anything seemed possible.  I was already associating D&D and Star Wars together so when the 80s dawned, I threw MTV into the mix.

No one (except one other artist on my list tonight) looked more like a futuristic alien than Mike Score of A Flock of Seagulls.  "Space Age Love Song" was a lesser know, or at least lesser charting, song from their self titled album.  But I always thought it was a great ode for the classic space age hero like Flash Gordon or John Carter.

Who was my idea of a Space Hero?  It varied, but I knew his name.  Major Tom.

Here is the other Alien artist on my list, David Bowie, in his Ziggy Stardust best, singing about our hero Major Tom in his "Space Oddity". This song appeared on his 1969 album of the same name. It was written as an homage to both Apollo 11 and 2001 A Space Oddity.

German born artist Peter Schilling heard "tell my wife I love her very much" and took his own stab at the story of Major Tom in "Major Tom (Coming Home)".

Major Tom finally made it into my games, but not till much, much later and as a riff on the movie "Lifeforce".  Major Tom comes home but he is carrying a virus that starts a zombie plague in All Flesh Must Be Eaten.
You can also here/watch the original German version, Völlig Losgelöst and the really-cool-even-though-it-is-a-commercial version by Shiny Toy Guns.

Back to Bowie for bit.  The Rise and Fall of Ziggy Stardust and the Spiders From Mars just BEGS to have a game made from it.
Ziggy played guitar...

Call me crazy. But I always wanted to write a game called "Space Truckers". It would be the unholy fusion of late 70s sci-fi and late 70s "trucker chic". It has not been an easy sell. Regardless of how the game comes out in needs to play like Deep Purple sounds.

Few rock acts can speak credibly on matters of scifi, let alone science.  Few acts are Queen.
Brian May, the lead guitarist, writer and sometimes singer of Queen is also Dr. Brian May. He has a Ph.D. is astrophysics.  "'39" from 1975's A Night at the Opera is song that grabbed me from the first time I ever heard it.  The story of the song is that a man and 19 other astronauts leave on a spaceship to discover a new world.  They return with good news of a new world. For them it's only been one year, for the Earth and his family it has been much longer.  His wife is dead, his daughter is an old woman and his own grand children are there to meet him.
"Ne'er look back, never fear and never cry."

Friday, May 1, 2015

Friday Night Videos: Supers Edition

Welcome back to Friday Night Videos! Supers Edition.

I have been thinking a lot about supers this last week or so. I have a big "deep dive" I want to do this summer with supers and of course the Summer movie season starts tonight with The Avengers.

This got me thinking about 2003-2005 (well that and a post at Age of Ravens that I will get too later) when I was working on a big Supers/Supernatural crossover.  Not Supernatural the show, but rather a world, or two worlds, that were "light" and "dark".  The dark world was my regular WitchCraft/Buffy/Ghosts of Albion game.  The light world was a world populated by Super Heroes.  Characters in one world had a counterpart in the other.

It is from this effort that I began working up a number of different versions of Willow and Tara and it gave birth to Justice.  Of course I had a soundtrack.

"Heroes" was not just the centerpiece of this time period, it became the name of the first adventure.  Honestly, there is very, very little about David Bowie's singing and song writing that doesn't inspire me.

Heroes always reminds me of the 1977 movie "Heroes" that starred Henry Winkler, Sally Field and Harrison Ford.  The movie was not about supers, but about a soldier from Vietnam and the loss of his dream.  I remember seeing this movie dozens of times.  But what always, always got me in the end was when the credits closed in on a broken Henry Winkler (he came to the reality that his friend was dead) and a crying Sally Field was "Carry on Wayward Son" by Kansas from their prog-rock classic Leftoverture.   I put this in my top 20 of all time favorite songs.   Like the movie I always felt that this song was what the characters and situations I were working on were about; Noble, but deeply flawed heroes.  The fact that it is use every year for Supernatural only cements it's credibility for my games.

What I wanted to say about my next song was "Fuck you P!nk is my jam!" but you all deserve much better and more than that.  P!nk is freaking fantastic.  I bought Missundaztood for my wife and I promptly left it in my car where I listened to it everyday.  "Just Like A Pill" is not about supers. But it did give me an idea on an old comic/cartoon trope, the drug-addiction episode.  Plus if I am going to mix supernaturals with supers then drugs seem like a no brainer.

What became something of a theme song to my later Buffy games, this also captured something I wanted to capture in my own games.  These characters, these supers are as removed from humanity as the monsters they fight.  I wanted to capture what is was to be human.
Rob Zombie may not have the answer, but in "More Human than Human" from White Zombie's Astro-Creep: 2000 he knows what question to ask.

It's a wicked world we live in. It's cruel and unforgiving. No one raps it better than The Transplants in "Diamonds and Guns".

If you need a theme song for an end of the world Armageddon event then you can do worse than Disturbed and their cover of Genesis' "Land of Confusion" from Ten Thousand Fists.  The video was animated by Spawn creator Todd McFarlane, so it also has "street cred".   If I need to write an adventure about destroying the world I put Disturbed on first.

Mixing Supers and Supernaturals is the Reese's Peanut Buttercup of campaigns for me; mixing two different things together to get something that is better than either on their own. Or at least something new and exciting.
EXACTLY like "Bring the Noise" by Public Enemy and Anthrax.  Rap meets speed metal.  This gets me pumped.  Just like Chuck D says "these lines are dope".

In truth I could do an entire night of rock/rap crossovers and talk about how they influenced my horror writing.
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