Wednesday, August 31, 2011

Thanks to Stuffer Shack!

With the end of August nigh (gods, I used"nigh") I'll no longer be the site of the month over at Stuffer Shack!
http://stuffershack.com/portfolio-item/favorite-site-of-the-month-august2011/

It has been great fun and I am looking forward to seeing which site is the site of the month for September.
http://stuffershack.com/

Tuesday, August 30, 2011

Oh Hell!

There are some new posts over at The Land of Nod about Hell:
Going to #&!!
Ruminations on the Netherworld

I like what he has so far.
I have been going on a similar path myself:
Going (Up) to Hell? Cosmology
Post 666

Let's be honest here.  Hell is interesting.  It is the ultimate mega dungeon  Everything there can be killed and not only that, it is a good thing to do!

What I have been struggling with though is cosmology.
IF there is a multiverse in my game (and there is) then does each world have it's own Hell?  Or do all Hells connect to each other.
Obviously one answer is that in the core of my world there is my Hell and in the core of the Land of Nod there is another Hell and so on...  Another is they are all the same place, just different points of view and different access points.

The other issue I still have is how to get Hell and the Abyss to work together.  Sur eI could make the same place and have the demons be the thralls of the devils, but that robs them of some of their chaotic power.

I should figure this out soon.  The Dragonslayers are about to get a copy of the Demonomicon and I want to do an whole arc where they fight Orcus.

Could the Antechamber of Hell/Limbo also be the Abyss?  Is it big enough to support all the demons I need? The Earth currently is home to almost 7 billion people.  How many demons then are there?   According to many of the myths of the time there is anywhere from 6,666 to 133 million demons, with up to 72 demonic leaders.

According to the 4th ed Manual of the Planes Hell is a planet that is 7,000 in diameter. If my world is roughly the same size as Earth then Hell can be inside the Earth with 460 some odd miles between the the two surfaces.   The deepest part of the Earth is under 7 miles deep and I recall reading somewhere that the deepest we have ever dug is 2 miles.  So plenty of room for demons, devils and all sorts of beasties.
Even if the Underdark is 10 miles deep that is still a lot of room.


So I think I have enough room.  Now where to put them all.

Other useful links:
http://www.wizards.com/dnd/Article.aspx?x=dnd/dra/400ninehells
http://kotgl.blogspot.com/2010/01/kill-planes-abyss.html
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Inferno_(Dante)
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Paradise_Lost
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Hell


Monday, August 29, 2011

First Ed AD&D

Been in the mood for some 1st ed AD&D.  Maybe play a druid.

Now to find a game.

Elmore love

So there have some posts recently about people's love (or general like) of Larry Elmore's art:
http://monstersandmanuals.blogspot.com/2011/08/larry-elmore-and-utter-ridiculosity.html
http://rolesrules.blogspot.com/2011/08/light-fantastic-and-eight-other-fantasy.html
http://jrients.blogspot.com/2011/08/my-favorite-elmore-cheesecake.html

I even posted about it last year:
http://timbrannan.blogspot.com/2010/01/elmore-art-for-old-school.html

I know there are some of the "old guard"  that don't like Elmore's art or associate it with a change at TSR and in D&D they are/were not happy with.  Well to quote my youngest "Balderdash and Poppycock!" (he heard me say that in a game and now he uses whenever he can).

Elmore art can be cheesecake, but it is also quite a step up from the art we had up to that point.  Nothing against those old-school artists, but Elmore had a vision of the D&D world and it was a vision I liked.

But let's be 100% honest.
I love his witches.


This witch appeared in the famous Dragon #114 version of the witch class and she was the "face" of my witch character ever since.

Later when I was looking for some new art I found this one:
I liked it so much that last Gen Con I bought the mini from Dark Sword and a signed print from Larry himself.



Of course those are not the only witches he has done. (linking instead of adding the pics of these)
http://larryelmore.com/white-witch/art
http://larryelmore.com/the-green-witch/art (have another mini of this one)
http://larryelmore.com/wp-content/uploads/2010/11/EYES_OF_.jpg

He explains it a bit in an interview he did in 2010 with Casey Philips:
http://fyi.timesfreepress.com/news/2010/feb/19/q-larry-elmore/

CP: You've illustrated so many different things over the years. Do you have a favorite character you've depicted?

LE: No, not really. I've sort of been plagued with the image of a dark-haired, woodsy kind of woman - a witchy woman. She's always been on my mind, starting when I was about 22 or something. That's why I do a lot of witchy looking women, especially in drawings, but I don't have many paintings of it. It's funny, I just laid out a painting of a voodoo woman I'll be doing for myself.

The biggest thing when you're making a living as an illustrator, which I've done for my whole life, is that you don't get to do what you want to do. You're always illustrating a book or a game or somebody's image of a creation. Finally, after 25-30 years of it, I just got tired of it. Now, I'm doing more private contracts and my own work. I like to paint people and landscapes. With people, I like to paint women more than men, of course. I'm a red-blooded man. (Laughs.) This witchy woman thing still plagues me - this mysterious, dark-haired woman.

I totally get that.  Maybe he can join the Witch Lovers Anonymous I am planning to start with Paul Dini.

Sunday, August 28, 2011

Pathfinder now

Playing some Pathfinder now in the Dragonlance world.

New DM and I am playing a dwarf fighter.  I am going to try to avoid doing a Scottish accent.
Been a long time since I played in Krynn.

Should be fun.

Saturday, August 27, 2011

Zatannurday: Even More Cosplay


Is the best thing about cons are the cosplay? Well, maybe not, but these Zatanna hopefuls certainly are giving it their all.









Friday, August 26, 2011

Heartbreaker your time has come, can't take your evil way

I have talked before about the Fantasy Heartbreaker.
Fantasy games that attempt to "improve on" D&D but in the end break your heart.

Here is the Ron Edwards/The Forge standard definition. (circa 2002-3)
characterized by (1) the basic, imaginative content is "fantasy" using gaming, specifically D&D, as the inspirational text; (2) independently published as a labor of love, essentially competing directly with D&D in the marketplace; (3) the rules are similar to the majority of pre-1990s RPGs.
And some links:
Fantasy Heartbreakers
More Fantasy Heartbreakers

reviewed a couple in the past and made a number of posts about one of my favorite ones, Quests of the Ancients.

I was going through my stacks of books (and PDFs) to figure what I had and what I should look to buy at the most recent Gen Con and came on a bunch of what could be called Fantasy Heartbreakers.

I have no idea why these games fascinate me so much.
I *could* claim it is an academic interest that the design of these game reflects either the personal psychic of the designer or the inherent zeitgeist of the times.  But in truth, I don't care enough about the first and the later can be better observed in better more popular games. (Thesis topic: Is the change from oWoD to nWod a direct reflection of the post 9/11 world or merely an attempt to make more money? Another post perhaps.)

I *could* claim that each one is a fascinating game evolutionary cul-de-sac, but that is often giving them too much credit.

I think I like them because each one is insight to someone else's process of writing a game.  A flawed process from a flawed premise.  The flawed premise is "I can make a better D&D than D&D" rather than "I can make a better FPRG than D&D".  I say it is flawed because D&D is the best D&D there is.  There are great FRPGs that are not D&D and they do a wonderful job.But the FHB does not try to be a fantasy game, it tries to be D&D.

There is one thing I always find interesting in FHB's, their "Appendix N" or list of books to read.
Sometimes, rare times, there are good tidbits here.  Most of the time it is a bunch of pretentious posturing of "ooo look what I have read! You read it now to or you are stupid!"
I get putting in Lovecraft (if you have actually read his stuff and not just the bits with Cthulhu), Howard and Poe.  But "Walden", really???  How is transcendental thought going to help me in my game of mass murder and theft (killing things and taking their stuff).  I am going to put list John Dewey (a major figure in my academic life) in one of my books one day JUST so someone will call me on my shit.
Seriously.  The one-up-manship in these is crazy sometimes. In others I am convinced they never actually read the books they mention since the bulk of their game so antithetical to the writings of the author they listed.

But I digress...

Before I go on too much more let's get to today's post.

What are your favorite (or least favorite) Fantasy Heartbreakers?

and

What is the state or role of the FHB in this post OGL, retro-cloned world?
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