Saturday, August 31, 2013

Zatannurday: The Fishnets Brigade

It looks like the oft-rumored Zatanna-Black Canary team-up is going to happen.
The news comes from Paul Dini himself.

Here is the link,

And here is the awesome Joe Quinones cover.  Yup. These are the pre-52 continuity.

Black Canary is another fave of mine so I am really looking forward to this one.   Visit the link above to see more great art.  I am looking forward to the background story of when Zee and Canary were younger.  Plus seeing a pre-dead John Zatarra (and not brought back to life) is also fun.

Dini will do a great job. He is the only guy that loves Zatanna more than me.

Sucks I have to wait till May 2014.

Friday, August 30, 2013

The Quests of the Ancients / Forgotten Realms connection

I just discovered something neat.

A character from this:

Makes an appearance in this:

Raven TenTolliver, the woman on the QoA cover in the dark cloak, is also known as Rhiannon and Whisper.

According to a source I just found she is supposed to look like Victoria Principle.  That's cool I can get behind that.

I'll have to investigate some more!

30 Day D&D Challenge, Part 2

Looks like I am going to be in good company with this. (who had the idea first)

I have a few ideas of things to say already.

30 Day D&D Challenge

Anthony Emmel  over at Polar Bear Dreams and Stranger Things is going to do the 30-Day D&D Challenge.
I have seen this floating around and thought it was a cool idea.  He makes the very good point that September has 30 days, so it's a perfect fit really.

So I am going to do it too!

I am going to talk about ALL versions of D&D.  Not a lot in each post, but enough.

Come on join us!  You know you want too. ;)

Thursday, August 29, 2013

Return to the Caves of Chaos

How many gamers cut their teeth on The Caves of Chaos / Keep on the Borderlands?
I have been taking my own kids through this well trod adventure for our current 1st Ed AD&D game.

For this time around I am adding some new ideas.  Stealing from the Return to The Keep on the Borderlands and even some ideas that came up in my "Ash vs. The Keep on the Borderlands" for the Army of Darkness game.  I am going to set up some of clues for the ultimate adventure they will be on (AGDQ+).

Michael Komark, The Caves of Chaos (2005)
In my research I found the following resources and thought I would share.

Some awesome 3D maps. Click for larger.

Map by Weem

Caves of Chaos - D&D Next Playtest report

Google Sketch-up Map

Humanoid Distributions

I am sure there are more.

Wednesday, August 28, 2013

White Dwarf Wednesday #77

White Dwarf #77 does nothing whatsoever to change my impression that White Dwarf  shares a lot with Heavy Metal Magazine.  The cover is the famous Heavy Metal magazine cover of September 1981 and movie poster by Chris Achilleos.

The editorial mentions the magazine's movie to Nottingham...and how the staff is not moving with them.  What?  Paul Cockburn will be running the magazine from the new offices.  Paul is ex of Imagine Magazine.  Interesting time of change here.

Open Box is up. One of my favorites is reviewed, DC Heroes by Mayfair Games. Marcus Rowland like the game (8/10) but laments the limited supply. I had played a bit of DC Heroes around this time as well. My DM was huge into Teen Titans (as was pretty much everyone), but interesting enough I was more into Marvel and X-men at this time.  Another fave, though I wasn't playing it much, is the Stealer of Souls scenario from Chaosium for Stormbringer it gets a 8/10.  I mentioned a bit ago I found my old FASA Doctor Who game.  This issue has supplements The Daleks and The Master, neither of which I owned but had wanted at one time.  I was a bit cautious of FASA's material after this when I picked up the Officers Manual for Star Trek the Next Gen and it was just all over the place. These feel similar, though I would still like to read them someday. They get 7/10 and 6/10 respectively.

Critical Mass is back covering Anne McCaffery and the then current Stainless Steel Rat book (Stainless Steel Rat is Born). I tried to get into both of the these series but they never clicked with me.  I felt I just wasn't getting something that every else got.  Now I just see it for what it was.  I was drifting into horror at this time so SciFi and Fantasy wasn't going to interest me for much longer.

2020 Vision covers Jewel of the Nile, Enemy Mine, The Evil Dead and Young Sherlock Holmes among others.  All really fun movies.

The Crazy File is a new article for Judge Dredd. It details the latest Crazes for the Judge Dredd RPG.  There might more here than I am getting, not being all that familiar with the comic (just the game and the bad Sly Stallone movie. No I have not seen the Karl Urban one).  But it also looks like something that might work for Traveller.   It occurs to me that Dredd + Traveller might equal Cowboy Bebop.

Ok this one is close to my heart.  Spellbound discusses magic in superhero games.  It's a good read talking about the nature, and a little bit of the source, of magic.  How it works in the game, both rule wise and narratively, and how it can be used.  The author, Phil Masters, has a the "street cred" in my mind to discuss this.  Reading this I am struck with the similarities of a review on Harry Potter's use of magic.
There are rules to comic book science, and magic seems to violate those. Doesn't matter that supposedly being born under a red sun gives a man super strength, the ability to fly and to shoot laser beams from his eyes. That's science. (supposedly). Cast a few spells and you are breaking the game. Or at least you shouldn't have to break it.  Years before Aberrant made it their thing the article also discusses how to run a Supers game without any magic at all.

Another good article, and one I wish I had back then, is The Final Frontier: Roleplaying in the Star Trek Universe.  The article briefly touches on the massive cultural impact of Star Trek (and this is still 25 years before George Takei would take to the Internet) has, but it focuses mostly on the new FASA game. IT talks about how, maybe more than any other game, how the players can come to it with more knowledge than the GM.

A Simple Wish is another really interesting adventure for AD&D and MERP.  This one strikes me less as Middle Earth and more of MERP. Yeah there is a slight distinction.  Like the distinction between Star Trek and Star Fleet Battles.  It uses the trappings of Middle Earth; even my current favorite The Silmarillion.  But  it plays like an AD&D adventure and could take place in the Realms just as easy.   It still has the problem of the PCs being "lesser players" to "Big Names", but not as bad as past MERP adventures WD had published.  Dual stat anything and I am going to be interested.

A Cast of Thousands covers NPCs and their motivations.  It's not a bad article, but we live in a post World of Darkness world were every NPC has a huge backstory.  Heck, the MERP adventure in this same issue has this issue.

Treasure Chest has an article ripped from todays' blog posts.  How to run non-sexist Heroines.

Tabletop Heroes has more photography tricks.

Fracas, the new rumors page, has a bunch of news.  Most interesting is a new game based on Ghostbusters.

We end with ads.

Ok. So if this is the last of the old guard issues, then they did great job. This is one of the better recent issues.

Tuesday, August 27, 2013

Damn. There goes *that* idea!

So I am reading Christopher Hitchen's Arguably and I had the great idea for new RPG.

It was going to to be a game where all the characters are investigative reporters of various types.  The idea then you work for a paper, tabloid, news service or blog and investigate.  Their could be supernatural elements (if the "Editor" chooses) or the stories could be played straight.

I'd use something like Fate since it really fits this idea well.  Plus that would give me mechanics for bribery and addictions of various types (or as Hitch might say, Bribery, Boozing and Buggery).

While most of the fiction I read is supernatural in flavor, most of the non-fiction I read deals with news items and the journalists that uncover it.  I just I was just as much impacted by The Hobbit as I was by All the President's Men.

I was going to call it "Scoop! The RPG of Muckrakers, Tabloids and Yellow Journalism".

Turns out that this game already exists.  Of sorts.
"Scoop! An Investigative Reporter RPG" is talked about here,

Ok. So their's has dinosaurs. My wouldn't.
But it is very, very, very close to the same idea.

Damn.  Plus Machine Age Productions, the company that came up with this game also does some games with Fate.

Hmm.  Not sure what I want to do yet.  The easiest of course is not to do it, but that is not very satisfying.
*IF* I still do it, then at least I need to change the name.

Back to the drawing board I guess.

Monday, August 26, 2013

Everyone loves Sparlock

I just discovered JaclynGlenn on YouTube and she discovered Sparlock.

She rips the video too.  Watch her channel, it's great.

Got that feeling again...

That "I have too many games and I need to get rid of them to make room for more".

It usually ends in remorse. I end up selling something I wish I had held on to.

While I am not  parting with my 4e collection (just yet) I am thinking of getting rid of one or two of the basic sets that were out for 2e, Quest of the Ancients (I have 2 copies) and maybe SuperBabes.

A few other items from the recent Free RPG day.   No idea just yet.

I have a game auction I normally sell these things at, but that is not till October.

Sunday, August 25, 2013

Couple of great Utility sites

Two older sites came up for me this weekend from various places.  Thought I would share.

RPG Sheets Archive
This site goes all the way back to the RPG Host days.  I can recall going here over 10 years ago to get various sheets for games.  It was down for a while and now it seems it is back.
The site is simple.  Need a sheet for a game? Go here.
I used to just go to this site and download sheets for games I never knew about to check out their sheets.

TSR & WotC Font Usage FAQ
Ok it's really more of a list.  The only question being asked (and answered) here is "What font was that?"
This one focus mostly on the TSR side of the publications, with some 3rd edition.
It's an interesting read really.

Friday, August 23, 2013

Sparlock The Warrior Wizard!

And now for something completely different.

It is no secret I am an atheist.  In truth I am pretty much an anti-theist.  So yeah I mostly play witches and paladins in my D&D games.

It should also then come as no surprise I find the following so damn funny and not for any of the reasons the group that produced it, The Jehovah Witness', wanted me too.  Yeah I know, Gary Gygax was a Jehovah Witness, but he was "disfellowshiped".  Not because of D&D but his hair was too long.  Or so says the internet.

Thanks for crushing the imagination of a child you douchebag.

Anyway read more here:
and of course why these people fear the internet,

Here he is, Sparlock the Warrior Wizard, ready for your Pathfinder game!

Male Human Fighter 5 Wizard 5
LG Medium Humanoid (human)
Init +2; Senses Perception +4


AC 10, touch 10, flat-footed 10
hp 74 (5d10+5d6+10)
Fort +7, Ref +2, Will +7 (+1 vs. fear); +2 trait bonus vs. illusion
Defensive Abilities bravery +1


Speed 20 ft.
Melee Heavy Shield Bash +9/+4 (1d4+2/x2) and
   Flame tongue (1/day) +10/+5 (1d8+3+1d6 fire/19-20/x2+1d10 fire)
Special Attacks weapon training abilities (light blades +1)
Wizard Spells Prepared (CL 5):
3 (2/day) Fireball (DC 17), Arcane Sight, Lightning Bolt (DC 17)
2 (3/day) Scare (DC 16), See Invisibility, Acid Arrow, Burning Gaze
1 (4/day) True Strike, Cause Fear (DC 15), Mage Armor, Charm Person (DC 15), Ill Omen
0 (at will) Detect Magic, Light, Arcane Mark, Flare (DC 14)


Str 15, Dex 11, Con 12, Int 18, Wis 14, Cha 13
Base Atk +7; CMB +9; CMD 19
Feats Alertness, Arcane Armor Training, Arcane Strike, Arcane Vendetta, Combat Casting, Combat Reflexes (1 AoO/round), Craft Magic Arms & Armor, Dazing Spell, Eschew Materials, Persistent Spell, Scribe Scroll
Traits Resilient, Skeptic
Skills Acrobatics +7 (+3 jump), Appraise +9, Bluff +7, Climb +9, Diplomacy +11, Escape Artist +2, Fly +1, Handle Animal +5, Heal +8, Intimidate +14, Perception +4, Ride +1, Sense Motive +5, Spellcraft +17, Stealth -3, Survival +10, Swim -1
Languages Celestial, Common, Daemonic, Elven, Gnome
SQ diviner's fortune +2 (7/day), forewarned +2, opposition schools (illusion, transmutation), specialized schools (divination)
Combat Gear Wand of call lightning; Other Gear Dwarven plate, Absorbing shield (1/two days), Flame tongue (1/day), 150 GP

Special Abilities

Arcane Armor Training Swift action: -10% arcane spell failure due to armor.
Arcane Strike As a swift action, add +1 damage, +1 per 5 caster levels and your weapons are treated as magic for the purpose of overcoming damage reduction.
Arcane Vendetta +2 bonus on damage vs. arcane spellcasters
Bravery +1 (Ex) +1 to Will save vs. Fear
Combat Casting +4 to Concentration checks to cast while on the defensive.
Combat Reflexes (1 AoO/round) Can make extra attacks of opportunity/rd, and even when flat-footed.
Dazing Spell You can cast a spell that dazes those injured by it (duration = spell's level in rounds, Fort negates).
Divination Diviners are masters of remote viewing, prophecies, and using magic to explore the world.
Diviner's Fortune +2 (7/day) (Sp) Creature touched gains +2 to attack rolls, skill checks, ability checks, and saving throws for 1r.
Eschew Materials Cast spells without materials, if component cost is 1 gp or less.
Forewarned +2 (Su) Always act in surprise round. Initiative bonus. Init = 20 at level 20.
Illusion You must spend 2 slots to cast spells from the Illusion school.
Persistent Spell Foes must succeed at 2 saves or suffer the spell's full effects.
Skeptic +2 save vs. illusion.
Transmutation You must spend 2 slots to cast spells from the Transmutation school.
Weapon Training (Blades, Light) +1 (Ex) +1 Attack, Damage, CMB, CMD with Light Blades

Thursday, August 22, 2013

Sexual Harassment in the Gaming Workplace

Again, with all apologies to Frank Zappa.

There has been some more talk about sexual harassment, gender power politics and related issues when it comes to gaming.  No surprises really, it is a hot button topic in most of the places I frequent on the net.

When is comes to gaming here are some of the latest developments.

And there are lots more.  How many more really is sorta the point.  Everyone seems to be talking about it.
Not sure what anyone is doing yet.

Though to be 100% honest I am not even sure what there is to do.  Not that there isn't something to do, I just don't really know what *I* could do.

I am not espousing a particular viewpoint here; I think my viewpoint is pretty well known.
Though I do think talking is good, action is better.

What to do?  No idea.

Updates er or something.

Well I got a lot of stuff in the mail recently.  Things I should review.
Work is still busy as heck.  So maybe soon.

Wednesday, August 21, 2013

White Dwarf Wednesday

White Dwarf Wednesday #77 will be a bit late.

Work is kicking my but right now and I have a lot I need to get done.

Monday, August 19, 2013

Reading Appendix N

The Dungeon Master's Guide Appendix N is well know to many gamers of a certain age.  Maybe too well known really.
In case you are curious, never seen it before, or don't have your DMG handy, here is the list:

Anderson, Poul. Three Hearts and Three Lions; The High Crusade; The Broken Sword
Bellairs, John. The Face in the Frost
Brackett, Leigh.
Brown, Fredric.
Burroughs, Edgar Rice, Pellucidar series; Mars series; Venus series
Carter, Lin. "World's End" series
de Camp, L. Sprague. Lest Darkness Fall; Fallible Fiend; et al.
de Camp & Pratt. "Harold Shea" series; Carnelian Cube
Derleth, August.
Dunsany, Lord.
Farmer, P. J. "The World of the Tiers" series; et al.
Fox, Gardner. "Kothar" series; "Kyrik" series; et al.
Howard, R. E. "Conan" series
Lanier, Sterling. Hiero’s Journey
Leiber, Fritz. "Fafhrd & Gray Mouser" series; et al.
Lovecraft, H. P.
Merritt, A. Creep, Shadow, Creep; Moon Pool; Dwellers in the Mirage; et al.
Moorcock, Michael. Stormbringer; Stealer of Souls; "Hawkmoon" series (esp. the first three books)
Norton, Andre.
Offutt, Andrew J., editor. Swords Against Darkness III.
Pratt, Fletcher. Blue Star; et al.
St. Clair, Margaret. The Shadow People; Sign of the Labrys
Tolkien, J. R. R. The Hobbit; "Ring Trilogy"
Vance, Jack. The Eyes of the Overworld; The Dying Earth; et al.
Weinbaum, Stanley.
Wellman, Manly Wade.
Williamson, Jack.
Zelazny, Roger. Jack of Shadows; "Amber" series; et al.

Certainly a worthy list to be honest.

But it isn't my list.

Yes I read Tolkien during my formative years, followed quickly by Moorcock and Lovecraft. I dabbled in Norton.  But I didn't read any Conan till almost a year ago. I had read "A Princess of Mars" before I played D&D, but nothing more till recently and none of the Pellucidar series till almost two years ago.

I have joked, half seriously, that my Appendix N is mostly Hammer Films, 70's exploitation horror, Led Zeppelin, Twilight Zone and Dark Shadows.

But semi -serious for a moment Appendix N was never supposed to be passed on as Holy Writ and there are some notable omissions.  Here are some things I would add.

Le Fanu, Joseph Sheridan:  CARMILLA. Natch.

Lucas, George: STAR WARS.  Star Wars, the first movie, is a D&D adventure writ large.  Star Wars and D&D are so forever linked together in my mind it would be hard to tease them apart in terms of which one colors my perception of the other more.  This one though is a total cheat as a movie and as one of the "newest" item on my list.

Poe, Edgar Allen. Lots.

Robbins, Russell Hope. Encyclopedia of Witchcraft and Demonology: This book has been long out of print, and I got mine at a used book store, but it is the indespensible work on witches, the witch craze and demonology. The book takes a very pro-witch point of view as it frankly discusses the murder of women, children and even men in the name of god. Not to be missed, this book has been THE source for most of my writings. Several editions are out there, mine is the 1959 edition. I have seen them on Ebay as well.

Smith, Clark Ashton: Everything.  No seriously.  I discovered CAS after reading about his friendship to Lovecraft.  I found a copy of his unfinshed works in the basement of my university library (no joke).  I was RIVETED.  He spoke to me in ways Lovecraft never dreamed.  In particular I recommend his Averoigne series and his Zothique series.

Stoker, Bram: DRACULA;  Need to know what else a cleric can do in your group? Let me introduce Prof. Van Helsing.  I suggest getting the Annotated Dracula by Leonard Wolf.

There are many others.  But these are the ones I keep coming back to.

Sunday, August 18, 2013

Oh Google!

Dear Google searchers coming here by searching "Real Succubus Summoning Spells".

Sorry. I can't help you.
If you want a soul sucking sex fiend that will damage you for life you are just going to have do what I did.

Date redheads. ;)

Hell is nice isn't it? by ~Dragerdeifrit on deviantART

I kid of course.


Saturday, August 17, 2013

Zatannurday: Injustice DLC

If you are a fan of Injustice: Gods Among Us then you probably already know that new Zatanna Zatara DLC was released this week.

For $5.00 you can get her as a DLC character.  Totally worth it in my opinion.

I am pleased to see her in her classic outfit rather than the New52 one.  I am fine with that outfit, but this one is better.

Her ending scene is also depicted here:

Special thanks to Tower of Fate for the tip here via Twitter!
I am not 100% sold on her voice to be honest, but it sounds like the same actress from Young Justice, Lacey Chabert.

Now that Zatanna, Raven and Wonder Woman are part of the game I really need to pick it up. Just need Batwoman too!

Friday, August 16, 2013

Not Going to Gen Con, but here are some winners


That was a lot of people.

So I expanded my winners.
I pulled out my dice and did this old school.

Congrats to:

F. Douglas Wall.
John Harp
David Cutts

and since demand was so high I did some more.

Thaumiel Nerub
Anthony Hunter
Tim Shorts

Seven is a good number!

Honestly that was fun.  I am working on more material for a variety of things (vague much?) so I am going to give more stuff away in the future.  Certainly in October, but maybe sooner.

Thanks everyone for participating!

Not at GenCon? Get a Free copy of The Witch!

I am at work. Been here for 2 hours now.  Wish I was at Gen Con to be honest.

How about you?

Well maybe I can improve some people's days.

I am going to give away 3 copies of The Witch today!
I will pick three people that comment below "I am not at Gen Con either".  I will need a way to get in touch with you via email to send out your copies.

How about till the end of the day today or something.

Thursday, August 15, 2013

Enjoy Gen Con!

I hope everyone is having a great time at Gen Con today!

I have seen some pictures and they look fantastic.

Have fun!

Wednesday, August 14, 2013

A Tale of Two Doctors

Digging through some boxes today and look what I found!

Ok. Technically it belongs to my brother.  But he never played it.

It's still in great condition, but I can't seem to find the dice that went with it or even if it had dice.

I remember mixing in bits of FASA's Star Trek into this to really create a weird ass game.

While the newer Adventures in Time and Space is a better system, FASA Who just has some appeal to me.  Maybe it was when I got it, er, my brother got it.

I am certain there are some conversion coming up in my future!

White Dwarf Wednesday #76

White Dwarf #76 takes us back to April 1986.  The magazine feels a bit larger than past issues (68 pages now) and there is more color.  The cover features a could of eagle riders in a tie in with the AD&D adventure.The cover artist is Peter Andrew Jones, who I do not recognize.

The editorial covers the demise of such columns as Fiend Factory, Star Base, Crawling Chaos, Rune Rites and Heroes & villains.   But we knew this.  Also, and maybe they are taking a page from Dragon, they planning more "theme" issues.  This one is all about the AD&D thief with two articles and and an adventure.

Open Box opens up big this issue with 3 pages and 7 reviews.  Iron Crown Enterprises has some MERP offerings. The Riddle of the Ring board game (6/10) and Erech & The Paths of the Dead Scenario (9/10).  Alone Against the Wendigo is a CoC solo adventure. Surprising there are not more of these to be honest.  (8/10).   Send in the Clones is also reviewed. This is the only Paranoia adventure I have ever played myself, so I have nothing to compare it too.  Marcus Rowland gives it 6/10 and that matches my memory of it.  Graeme Davis LOVES Lankhmar, City of Adventure for AD&D (10/10), I'll admit it has made me want to read the Fafhrd and Grey Mouser books more than once.  Two Doctor Who RPG adventures are covered The Iytean Menace and the Lords of Destiny. I loved the Doctor Who RPG from FASA but I never played these. They get a collective 8/10. Finally Hero games gives Fantasy Hero, it gets an 8/10.

The first article on AD&D Thieves is up.  How to Make Crime Pay is for players in the form of a lecture from a guild master.  Once upon a time I would have eaten this up. In fact in 86 my favorite character was a thief turned assassin.  There is nothing in this article that screams "D&D only", it could be used with pretty much any fantasy game.

Accounting (no joke) is covered for Judge Dredd.
A scenario for Warhammer is up next.

The second article on thieves is up, this time for the DMs/Referees.   Again, useful, game-agnostic advice.  This one is more in the form of tips and tricks and advice rather than a narrative. Actually this would have been a good article to have back in 86 when I was working up the details of the various guilds in my game world.  Today I just hand wave that sort of thing away.

An article on running Golden Heroes is next.  There is also a lot of good advice here too for any supers game.  I think the next supers game I run there will be a tabloid, ala The Sun, involved.

Castle in the Wind is the next article on thieves and takes the form of an adventure.  This one in pure AD&D and the thief connection is a touch thin.  It's long and detailed and with a dash of Hayao Miyazaki it could be really, really awesome.  I might have to xerox this one for later use.  Plus I love floating castles in my D&D.

Treasure chest is still around, at least for now.  It has half-a-dozen new spells. Never can have too many of those.

There is this interesting ad for "Labyrinthe" LARP (it's not called a LARP but that is what it is) taking place in the London Underground.  At first I had to double-take cause it looked like an ad for Labyrinth Lord!

Not exactly, but you can see what I mean.  Granted EVERYONE used that Old Style font back then.  It was the Morpheus of it's day.

This followed by a lot of ads.
Tabletop Heroes covers painting with oils, part 2.
Large ads continue with some Doctor Who minis, the D&D Master Rule Set and the Tunnels and Trolls paperback fantasy/rule books.

The theme is nice for issue but it makes it feel like there is less content than there really is.  I used to think the same about Dragon when they did themes as well.  Though to be fair, when they did themes I enjoyed then the issue seemed much more full.
More than any other issue before it, WD#76 is the dividing line between the new and old White Dwarf.  

Tuesday, August 13, 2013

Anyone wnat to lend me a quick hand?

I need someone (or multiple someones) to have a look at new Basic Era class I am working on.
By quick I mean something like 12-18 hours from now I would need your feedback.

Obviously not enough time to playtest, so I am looking for eyeballing it.

Shoot me an email at and I will email you the docx file.


Majus is mine

I got a nice treat in my mail and email yesterday.

A nice perfect bound edition of Goblinoid Games Majus.  The PDF is also available from DriveThru.

Others have pointed out that this began as a Kickstarter. Layout was done they just need the art. So thus there were no stretch goals.  I think this worked in their favor.  The books and PDFs were promised by August 2013 and look at that.  On time and everything.

Honestly I think it makes a nice companion to all my Chill books.
It is also 100% compatible with Rotworld and the other books in Goblinoid Games Pacesetter line.

I am just dying to revive my old "Spirit of '76" game with this now.  I'll have to post some characters for it.

Of course given my odd sense of humor I think the first adventure I want to try is Castle Blood.

Also from (a different) Pacesetter.

New banner

Thought I needed a little change here.
Course I am only about 9 months late on getting a John William Waterhouse Magic Circle themed one up.
But I figure it is still less self-indulgent than my last one.

Monday, August 12, 2013

Gen Con Blues

I had mentioned earlier in the year that we (my family and I) were not going to go to Gen Con this year.
Partly due to expense, partly due to this being the busiest time of year for me at work (getting ready for Fall term to start).

Now I am thinking that was a bad decision.
My kids love to go and frankly so do I.  Not that there is anything special we were looking forward too this year.  Just the normally hanging out with gamers, playing some games, hitting the food trucks, seeing all the costumes and spending way too much money.

We are already set on going next year. In fact we might even go a day early to hit the zoo or the museum.
Can't wait for it!  But until then I will have to settle for hearing all about the fun you all have.

Sunday, August 11, 2013

Saturday, August 10, 2013

Zatannurday: SDCC Part 3, Valerie Perez Edition

Valerie Perez is a top tier cosplayer.  Not only does she rock the outfits you can also tell she is having a great time.  I have seen pictures of her with little kids where you know that little kid is thinking "I just met Zatanna!" or "I just met Wonder Woman!"

Also check out the Amazon Princess blog today for some of her great Wonder Woman cosplay too!

Valerie Perez and Vegas PowerGirl

Friday, August 9, 2013

Tomb of Horrors

I am gearing up for the Tomb of Horrors.
I finally got a copy of Return to the The Tomb of Horrors for 2nd ed, so now I have a copy for every editions of D&D including 3rd and 4th.

I am hopping to take my kids through the same week everyone else is at Gen Con. They are somewhat higher level than the module recommends, but I don't think that will be an issue since there are not a lot of monsters in this anyway, but a lot of traps.  I will be running this under D&D 3.x.

Sure. It's not the "Classic" version, but that is fine for me really.  Plus I can't help but want to add some monsters from the 3.x/Pathfinder Tome of Horrors too.

I picked up this printout of the maps for minis, so running it unnder 3.x would be nice.

Past conversations on this:
Plus these goodies on the internet
WotC's 3rd Edition conversion
WotC's humorous walkthrough map

So how about you? Have any stories about the infamous Tomb?

Thursday, August 8, 2013

What I Am Reading: Creativity Recharge

I have been working on some pretty big projects recently. I got two of them done and took a break from a third to do a couple of smaller ones and I am finding my creativity is running a bit dry.  So I am hitting some books to help recharge.  Here is what is on reading list right now.

Occultism, Witchcraft, and Cultural Fashions
I have this belief that the 70s Occult revival was very much part of the zeitgeist of a bunch of other things going on in the 70s.  This also lead, I believe, to the 80s Satanic Panic.  That is the alchemy that produced my best gaming memories and something I would love to recapture in my Old School books like The Witch and the game I'll never write but really want too, Star Child.
Since I am not writing a dissertation I can make insane leaps in logic if I like. So I am reading this.  I also have a Chill game I am trying to run set in 1976.  The first adventure is called "Bell Bottom Blues" but it is not written yet.  This book will provide me some imagination fuel for Chill, my next Old-school book and maybe Star Child.
I picked up my copy at Orphic Vellum Books with a signed book-plate from Wednesday Mourning (who was not even alive yet in 1976).

Victorian Academy of Magick
I love Victorian era games. This book was written by Paul Voodini and I participated in the Kickstarter for it. Lots of great ideas here for Ghosts of Albion, Gaslight, Victoriana or any other Victorian game where magic is real.  It's a fun book really. Sort of an alt history of London before magic disappeared from the world.
What really gives this book an edge is all the photographs and the research that Voodini has done.  Not to mention the dry wit.

Not everything I read is about magic and game related though.

Arguably: Essays by Christopher Hitchens
Most people either love or hate Hitch. I find him vastly entertaining even when (sometimes especially) I don't agree with him.   One thing though that can't be denied is that Hitch loved the printed word and this book shows that.  Even when he is trashing a well known author or book, or praising a little known one his love for books, and to a degree authors, is obvious.  Hitchens makes me want to read better books.

What are you all reading?

Wednesday, August 7, 2013

White Dwarf Wednesday #75

White Dwarf #75 takes us back to March 1986 with new(ish) Editor-in-chief Ian Livingstone.
The cover is a very Call of Cthulhuesque one with Buckaroo Banzai and Elvira battling a creature on a chees board floor.  Just out of curiosity I wonder if One Night in Bangkok had be released in the UK at this point? (yes...almost a year before.)
Ian Livingstone gets right in and talks about the changes that have been happening and more are on the way.  But we knew that really.  The changes we are seeing here are not really abrupt; they have been happening for a while now, but they do become apparent in later issues.

Open box is getting into a wider variety of games, but a lot of them seem to come from Games Workshop:  There is the Supervisor's Kit for Golden Heroes (8/10), Terror of the Lichemaster for Warhammer (9/10), Judgement Day for Judge Dredd (9/10) and Cosmic Encounter Boardgame (8/10).  The only non-GW game this issue is Fragments of Fear by Chaosium for Call of Cthulhu (7/10).  Detecting a trend here.

Critical Mass is back.  I only want to touch on a couple of things here.  Dave Langford talks about how long C. J. Cherryh's Forty Thousand in Gehenna is.  I agree. But that didn't stop me from using it and going back to it time and time again for ideas for my AD&D games (despite it being Scifi).  There is also a title I have never seen before, "Sex Secrets of Ancient Atlantis".  Looks fun.

2020 covers some mid 80s horror  movies. The Return of the Living Dead and Fright Night are featured.  I enjoyed the heck out of Fright Night despite (or because of) the gruesomeness that reviewer Colin Greenland seems to disdain.  Word of advice, if you don't like gore, don't review horror movies.  He also mentions Teen Wolf which is horror only in the way that connecting puberty to lycanthropy in the hands of Micheal J. Fox can be.  Which is to say, not at all.  Granted it isn't a horror movie.  To see a much better take on this idea see Ginger Snaps.

Oliver Dickinson has some thoughts on the upcoming RuneQuest 3.
Pete Tamlyn has ideas on Superhero games. There are ideas here to make Superhero games, and by proxy comics, more adult oriented (not themed) and they are not bad.  This article though fails today because it was too close, but on the other side, of the great breakout of the Graphic Novel.  Yes, the Dark Knight Returns was just out and Watchmen was on the way, it was still just a little too late (or early depending on your view) for the masses.

Gamemanship covers some idea on how to put the mystery back into AD&D.  Some of the ideas would later see similar treatments in AD&D titles like Ravenloft and eventually story-based gaming.  Most of it is still good advice today.

Mass Media by Andrew Swift covers how the news is delivered in various Tech Levels in Traveller.  My personal favorite is his predictions of the smart phone-like device in which to read the news on (TL 10) AND Google Glass (TL 11).  I mock Traveller often, and really unfairly so, for it's ideas on computers.  But this one was really fun to read.  There are ideas for characters too.  I now have a desire to play or run a bunch of intrepid reporters and muckrakers for the Galactic News Service.

Graeme Davis gives us "Nightmare in Green" an AD&D adventure for 4-8 4th-6th level characters.   There is the adventure and a few new monsters which is nice.  I like adventures that introduce a new, maybe one-off monster. Also it helps make up for the loss of Fiend Factory.

The Heart of the Dark is a Call of Cthulhu scenario.  It deals with a murder and you know it only gets worse from there.  I have always liked WD Call of Cthulhu adventures.  Actually most of their adventures for any game are rather good.

Treasure Chest has something really nice, a system for Character Backgrounds for AD&D.  Today we add a +2 to some skill that you had before you took up the adventuring life, but since AD&D is not like that this works out rather nice.

Tabletop Heroes covers oil painting.

Not a bad start to the stewardship of Ian Livingstone.  The articles and adventures are good.  Open Box seems a bit doggy to me, even given the gushing reviews gamers typically give their favorite games.

Tuesday, August 6, 2013

Where do you create?

I have been watching more videos of late of various designers, hobbyists and writers of all stripes and it got me thinking.  Is that where their ideas are born?  Now I am not going to start posting video blogs. I don't honestly think anyone wants to see and hear me rattle on about things.  But all the same, here are pictures of where I do my own creating.

Here is my main computer, Frankencomputer.  It's not much more than a web-machine and word processor which is what I want when I am writing.  The keyboard is actually worth more to me than the rest of the computer.  If I am going to sit and pound away on a keyboard then it needs to be comfortable to me.

My new work laptop.  Since Frankencomputer is Unbutu and the laptop is Windows I have been using Google Drive to edit docs.  Underneath is "Son of Frankencomputer" which I still need to drop another harddrive into to get working.  I like to rebuild computers.

My game room.  Shelves full of games I am currently playing and/or reading. The rocker was from when my kids were babies.  Still the best chair to fall asleep in read a book in.

Underneath are my lower shelves. Or the stuff I am not using as much.  These are most of my Modern games.

So how about you all?  Where do you create worlds and fates of characters?
Share your work areas/game rooms!