Wednesday, February 6, 2013

White Dwarf Wednesday #51

Good afternoon all!  Welcome back to Wednesday and the next issue of White Dwarf.  This week we are going to be looking at Issue #51 from March 1984.  We have this awesome cover.  As can be expected I remember this one well.  I loved the idea of the caster gathering something in her right hand to blast her enemies with the left.  To me this meant she was an evil witch or a "Left Hand Path" witch.  Don't know what the artist meant it to be, but that is what it was to me.

Ian Livingstone's editorial discusses changes, not just in the world and the gaming industry,  but also in White Dwarf. We will be getting some new articles soon including coverage on Car Wars and minis.  The big changes coming up though are color (excuse me, colour) interiors, more pages and a 10 pence price increase.

First up is Gifts From the Gods: Religion and Magic in AD&D by Thomas Mullen.  This continues from last issue's installment.  While I recalled the previous issue well, this one is drawing a blank for me.

Open Box has some more classics.  First, two from Chaosium,  Cthulhu Companion and Superworld.  Both get a 7/10 from Jon Sutherland. CC gets downgraded because of it's use mainly for Keepers.  Fantasy Games Unlimited gives us Dardevils and Daredevils Adventures 2. Marcus Rowland gives them a 8/10 and 7/10 respectively.  Andy Slack turns away from Traveller to review Star Frontiers Knight Hawks. He praises the Campaign book comparing it favorably to Traveller's offerings. He gives it 8/10.

Next is Critical Mass and the lengths Thrud will go to for a drink.

Richard Hanniwell has an article about thieves in Warhammer.  The cross game appeal for this article is evident in the different types of thieves.  Oddly enough "Pickpocket" is not one of them.

After that is new RuneQuest story featuring Griselda.

Starbase has an article by Bob McWilliams on extending UPPs for NPCs.

The Black Broo of Dyskund is a color RuneQuest Cavern Crawl.  Plenty of cults and new monsters in this one.  The adventure itself looks fun, but an evil cult hiding in the caves?  I think that was cliche even in 1984.

Letters is a general bunch. Some liking the new improvements, others not.
Comics Gobbledigook and the Travellers follow.

An AD&D scenario is next. Also in color (well mostly blues and greens like the Black Broo).   Four pages, it is a respectable size.

Fiend Factory has Creatures in Exile Based on Julian May's The Saga of the Exiles novels: Firvulag, Tanu (human off-shoot), and Howlers.

RuineRites has an article by Russell Massey on RuneQuest Economics. There is a lot of good information here that can be used anywhere.  Granted in 84 I was not thinking about Dungeon Econ 101, but today it is something I consider.

Treasure Chest gives us "A Page of Many Things" which is a bunch of small articles.  A cart for pulling all that gold you clean out of a dungeon (unless your GM read the last article), a word search and drowning rules for D&D.

Ads, small ads and classifieds follow.  Can you speak French, well is so then Game's Workshop is (was) looking for a salesman for France.

We end with an ad for Gamma World.

Ok, so another transitional issue.  The D&D content is much lower than the past though there was hardly any Traveller content outside of Starbase.  I do enjoy seeing more games being covered and right now the balance might still be weighted a bit more towards D&D, it is getting better.

Also the last issue at 75p.

Tuesday, February 5, 2013

D&D Expert Book at

The D&D Expert book along with some other new products from WotC are now up on

This is the one that fired so much imagination in me more than 30 years ago.

D&D Expert Book

This was the 1981 followup to the D&D Basic set.  Designed for the Moldvay Basic there was even a little bit about what to do if you had the Holmes Basic.

This expanded the game to level 14 and for most of us it was all we needed for a very long time.
I loved the introduction of all the new undead like Vampires and Spectres (was a big horror fan even then) and that little map of the Known World.  I starred at that map for hours, learning lands and names of places far off and never were.
Plus all the new spells!  The options of spells for my cleric and magic-users were beyond my 11-year old brain's reckoning at the time.

At 5 bucks this is a criminal steal.   I wore my old copy of my expert book out, now I have a PDF to go back too anytime I like.  Combine it with the Basic book and some adventures and you are set.  Everything you need to play D&D just like the good old days.  No skills, no feats, no attacks of opportunity, but plenty of flexibility and action.

I love newer games, but this is the one.  The one that keeps me coming back. Back to the Keep, back to Glantri and back to D&D.

And if you want to add Witches to your Basic/Expert game I high recommend my own Witch book.

Kickstarters of the Week

We are in the final hours of the Tunnels & Trolls Deluxe Kickstarter.

We are also at the start of Bite Me! The Gaming Guide to Lycanthropes.

Both are worthy projects and I'd like to see them both on my shelves someday.

Tenkar tells you about the late and/or dead ones, I let you know about the new ones!

Monday, February 4, 2013

Ugh...Here We Go Again.

Just when I was beginning to forget about Jim Shipman we get another one.

This time I am not going to post any of this guy's "art" since he is sending out DMCA notices to all sites doing this.  Effectively silencing all his critics.

Who is this guy?  Mykal Lakim of Dark Phoenix Publishing.
What is the charge?  Stealing art is the big one, but he is also accused of blatantly ripping of White Wolf's games.

First the art.
Steven Trustrum of Misfit Studios has been collecting all of these.
You can see all the art and the comparisons on his Plus page.
The amount is not Shipman staggering, but still very damning. Of course the balls this guy has claiming his stuff is original is just as staggering.

If it were only one person making this claim that's one thing.  But this is Matt McElroy and he is not prone to this sort of thing.  More to the point he is a professional and would not make claims like this lightly.
Also he is not the only one.

Secondly is the content of his books.
Matt McElroy also covers some of that in his link, but your best bet is read the forum threads.
A review,
Discussion on the review,
and finally a discussion on the books and art that got Lakim permabanned,!

Now keep in mind that I have seen dozens of D&D-clones in the last few years.  Some are built on the SRD others are rip offs.  This seems to be a different sort.

You be the judge and report back here if you see it or see it differently.

Edited to add:  I added Steve's link instead of Matt's.

Sunday, February 3, 2013

Game Room Walls meme

Over at the Savage Afterworld people are posting what they have on their gameroom walls.  This is very timely since I just put up some more art on my walls.  So here is my game room!

Please ignore the wood paneling.  It was there when moved in and I have not had the time or money to tear it off and replace it with something more modern. Also I don't mind it.
Here they are.

On the west wall I have some prints from Eden Studio's WitchCraft game line on either side of one of my favorite Larry Elmore paintings.

The South wall I just got up.  An autographed picture of Zatanna cosplayer Alouette, an Elmore poster from my kids' first Gen Con (and the one where we were hit at 70mph by a guy that fell asleep. The poster was messed up pretty bad, but I kept it).  An original drawing from George Vasilakos for Conspiracy X.  And an evil looking worm from my brother Dan.

Better view.

On the south wall. In keeping with what I am known for, a couple of vaguely Celtic-looking Amazons from Peter Bradley of Ravenchilde Illustrations.  Best know for Castles and Crusades.
Close up here,

And of course a Harry Potter poster.  I have room on the other side for something else.

And the East side for my custom shelves.  The area below are for games I am not playing, binders of PDFs and board games.

My basement is not just my game room.  I also have my office down there, the video game room and workout area.

Above my office desk.  Put it up for Halloween and never to it down.

The back wall of the video game room/workout area. These are not reproductions, I got these from a local theatre when they were being shown.  They had two of those Star Wars ones, I kept one and gave the other to a friend of mine.  He can trump me because his has been signed by George Lucas.

And the clock on the wall.

So that is my game room.  Worked pretty hard to get it like that.

I Made YDIS!

So my mostly-tongue-in-cheek post about grabbing some of Grognardia's wayward followers was noticed by cognescenti at Your Dungeon is Suck.

Dubious honor to be sure.
But hey, keep send the hits my guys.

Saturday, February 2, 2013

Zatannurday: Happy Birthday to my Brother!

Wednesday was my brother's birthday!

Here is a a Zatanna drawing he sent me earlier in the week.

Love the rabits!

Daniel has done art for me before and you have seen some of it.  You have seen more if you picked up a copy of my Witch book.

The Xothia

Xothia of the Rock by Daniel Brannan

Halfling Witch
Halfling Herb Woman by Daniel Brannan


Druther by Daniel Brannan

Thanks so much Dan!!