Friday, October 31, 2008


Dear Readers,

I recently met a gentleman (well, I really just talked to him online) who had decided to relieve himself of a large part of his D&D collection. (1e, 2e, 3e, 3.5e) This was due to a “shortage of shelf space and a recent and complete conversion to 4e.” When I first spoke to him I was a recipient of some of his collection’s initial culling. Unknowingly, I asked that if he had more items and that I would gladly take them off his hands. He responded that he did and planed to make them available soon. (Shipping gets expensive) So in comes my “Hail Mary” pass, I asked if we could deal directly with each other, instead of within the confines of the previous middleman. (This would allow me first pick on every item instead of getting the scraps) Luckily, I didn't have to resort to my superior negotiation skills. Which in this case, would of consisted of whining and saying please a lot. The gentleman agreed to allow me first crack at the remaining titles. We then arranged a set price for each item and he emailed me a list. I perused the list and I am still smiling because there were books on there I have never even had a chance to look at much less use in a game. I emailed him back and I told him I would take it all! I will not discuss specifics but I can say that this deal has demolished a significant portion of my Amazon wish list. Plus, there is a bonus. The gentleman’s wife, who is from the city in which I live, is visiting family here this weekend. Since she will be here anyways he would forgo shipping and she would bring the books down with her and we can arrange to meet. How awesome is that, an entire shelf of materials driven to the city in which I live for a very reasonable price. I can not seem to thank this man enough, so here I go, one more time… Thank you Pat for your generosity!

A Little Motivation.

Thanks to CROM

Thursday, October 30, 2008


Sometimes I like to stir it up a little, especially with short campaigns. They give one the opportunity to bust out all the random ideas and plots that float around inside one’s head without the players or the DM having to commit to them for a period longer than a few sessions. My personal favorite is my RPG Turducken. A real Turducken is a chicken stuffed into a duck, which is then stuffed into a turkey and cooked. So for my RPG Turducken, I blend a little Sci-Fi, maybe some mutants (my TMNT&OS comes in handy for ideas), into a high-fantasy setting (D&D etc.), and finally a dash of some of my old Street Fighter stuff. So the characters are Mutant Street fighters in a high-fantasy setting. This is also the reason I collect RPGs like a cook does recipes. Every once in a while it is good to blow the dust off those old games and take another look even if its just for inspiration.

Wednesday, October 29, 2008

Look in the phonebook under "Wizard"

It happened to me with Firefly and it is happening again! Just as I find a show that I really like and I watch a episode or two, I find out the show which I am so excited about had already been canceled. The TV show The Dresden Files, based on the books by Jim Butcher, is about a wizard who hangs up his shingle in Chicago. Harry Dresden, Wizard, is played by Paul Blackthorne most recently on The Lipstick Jungle. The show plays out like a pulp detective story complete with dishy gals and “tough cookie” types. The magic and “otherworldly” forces which Harry employs and often battles against must be keep secret from his Police cohorts, since they hire him on as a consultant for all the “weird” cases. One of the things I thought was most amusing is that Harry uses a drumstick as a wand and a hockey stick for a magical staff. How cool is that?

Now I am not going to blather about the particulars on how or why the show was canceled, needless to say it was. Now, so much like I did with Firefly, I will watch all the episodes as fast as I can so I won’t have time to mourn the loss. But, there is a light at the end of the tunnel. I have not had the chance to read the books yet and from what I hear the show is a pale comparison.

You can currently watch episodes 1-12 here on Hulu

Tuesday, October 21, 2008


If you haven't seen it yet and you have fond memories of The Legend of Zelda I highly recommend taking a look at Legend of Neil. Much like the song Centerfold by J. Geils Band where his fond childhood memories are striped away, Legend of Neil does the same to Zelda. Created by Sandeep Parikh, better known as Zaboo from The Guild, it is a ribald and ridiculously funny journey of "every-man" Neil as he becomes trapped in Hyrule and must take Link's place in the quest to defeat Ganon. I say it is a must see for anyone who enjoys the unforgiving satirization of pop culture.

Sunday, October 12, 2008


At the moment I am re-reading The Dark Elf Trilogy so I thought this would be apropos.

10 reasons why I will always love the drow:

10) They’re EVIL.

9) They have innate magical resistance.

8) Zaknafien

7) Nothing strikes fear in a adventurer like a drow raiding party.

6) The Wand of Viscous Globs.

5) Who wouldn’t want to ride around on a giant, wall-climbing lizard?

4) Snake-headed whips are cool

3) Jarlaxle

2) Everyone loves it when they turn good.

1) Drow women are tough and give all the orders.

Monday, October 6, 2008

Guerrilla RPG: Take the Game from the Players

You wake up, the smell of smoke and burnt flesh almost chokes you. Your head is pounding, you force your eyes open and try to sit up. You raise your hand to your face and notice it is covered with blood. You try to stand and notice the bodies littering the ground around you. You cough, your lungs are burning. You crawl to a nearby puddle. As you cup your hand and reach towards the dirty water, you notice your reflection. It is a face you have never seen before. Who are you? You try to remember your name but cannot. You look around at the devastation that surrounds you. With abject terror you hear a voice saying “Who am I?” You look around startled at the strange croaking voice, and then you realize, it was yours.

Guerrilla RPG: I have used that previous description in a couple guerilla role playing games. I have premade character sheets for the players with only the briefest of information. I keep in my possession a full character sheet with character history. The player’s job now is to find out who she is, what has happened, and my personal favorite who she was. The best part is this style works with any RPG and any setting.

This game style is rather GM intensive and you would have to gather some rather open role-players. I have found that this style can offer a role-playing intensive game with a lot of superb PC interaction, moral quandaries, and if the character’s history is sufficiently horrible possibly some psychological damage.

Heel vs. Heal: A tale about a player and their wolf.

My girlfriend is playing in a game I am DMing and this leads to questions about rules while I am trying to go to sleep. I don’t mind really, I am just glad she is playing. The following is just a funny little anecdote about new players and what they hear.

The party is in combat with a small, vicious fey creature and his very large, vicious bear. A few people are wounded and the Druid/Rogue is in the back of the party, away from the action, due to an earlier strength draining encounter with a shadow. The Cleric is out of healing spells and someone reminded her that she can “heal”. She chimes up “I heal him”. “Ok roll the dice.” That is one of her cure light wounds (CLW) spells. A round later “I heal him again.” That is two cure light wounds spells, she only has two in her inventory at this point. Another player falls back wounded, who would of thought a bear would do this much damage, and she says “I heal him too.” I look at her “How?” “You have no more CLW spells.” She replies “Spells, I thought I was using my heal skill?” “No, you were using your spells” “But the Favored Soul guy is ‘Healing’ stuff. How do you heal stuff without using your healing?” “That is through spells” I respond. “Can I use my heal skill anyways and oh, my wolf can heal too?” I look at her “Huh?”

At this point I am distracted by another player and I honestly thought she was pulling my chain, until we got home. We are lying in bed and she asks me about the differences in feats, skills, castings, etc and I go on to describe the differences. She brings up that often the Cleric will say “I heal you for this amount of damage.” “Why doesn’t he say I cast CLW?” My answer is not very helpful “I don’t know. I think it is because we all know what he is doing when he says that” Once again she brings up the “Heal.” She explains it to me that it upset her she could not find any spell that said heal on her character sheet but she could find the heal skill, so she thought she was “healing” people with that.
Here comes the kicker, She then says “Well, my wolf can heal too.” My response for the second time that day is “Huh?” “It says it on his sheet, under tricks; you told me to write down heal.” “At this point I am trying not to laugh “I said heel, not heal, darling.” She starts cracking up; she explains that, during the game, it was making her furious that we were not letting her wolf heal people.
(related here with the express permission of my girlfriend, thank you:)

Sunday, October 5, 2008

Why I hate ebay!

I hate to lose. I am a competitive person and I have found that I can no longer allow myself to shop on eBay. I get very, very upset. One part of me knows that items will be back and that deals will come and go. But each one for me is the last. I will never see it again. Every role-playing item that slips from my fingers wounds me and I hate it.

I am not someone who bargains well because I don't want to have my pride force me to walk away from an item I want. Maybe that makes me a sucker? My last loss hurt the most; I lost a full collection of 15 1e books in great condition. Money was tight that week.

Now, I will get stuff for the “Buy now” price and avoid the pain. Have you had similar experiences? GAME ON!

Wednesday, October 1, 2008

The Dragon Dowager Lassanthra Dalgren

This is a bit on Zinthalion's grandmother:

38 years ago

The Lady Lass was 50 years old, a widow and the head of the minor noble house of Dalgren when a flight of marauding dragons attacked the capital city. While the battles raged, most of the city was evacuated to include her only son and heir Samthalion. She refused to leave and stayed in the house with her two most loyal and oldest servants. As the city burned most of the defender’s congregated within the palace walls, other’s hid in basements or the sewers. Lass ordered a chair placed on the upper most roof of the house, known as widow’s walk, where she could see most of the city. Her servants begged her to leave or to hide within the crypts beneath the house but once again she refused. The dragons had not reached her house yet. Her Late husband’s high-backed chair was placed on the walk and Lass ordered the servants into the crypts below. They complied and moving towards the stairs they saw the Lady Lass place a pillow on the seat and gracefully sit down as if she were to hold audience.

The rest of the story is a bit blurred due to only a few people seeing what exactly happened, they being too frightened to recall most of the details, and Lassanthra refuses to give a full account of what happened next. People fleeing say they saw her sitting as cold and regal as a marble statue. For a half a day she sat, when at dusk one dragon had broken off his looting and set his eyes upon house Dalgren. His fly over revealed the odd sight of the old woman sitting in the throne-like chair upon the walk. One can only assume that curiosity caused the dragon the land upon the edge of the walk, tearing the roof stones up and causing the timbers of the roof to groan under his great bulk.

All that is known from that point on is that there was a conversation, lady and dragon. People fleeing recall the strange sight of the dragon and the Lady Lass perched upon the rooftop speaking. Reports are that all through the night the lady and the dragon talked and as the sun rose the dragon left his perch. House Dalgren remained untouched. The battle raged for another two days. Finally the dragons taste for destruction was sated and with full bellies rose into the sky. Almost half of the city had been burned or destroyed by pillaging dragons searching for loot but not one dragon had attacked House Dalgren.

As the story spread, the tale brought the Dragon Dowager into being. It was often asked “What woman could be so vicious that she could scare away a dragon?” House Dalgren was able to help feed the populace and rebuild the city with their trade contacts and un-plundered wealth. This caused the elevation of the house to one of the most powerful families in the nation. It is not know what the lady and the dragon talked about, what was offered or what promises were made to have the dragons spare the House of Dalgren. The King, upon the houses elevation, ordered a silver dragon's head be added to the Dalgren’s sable coat of arms. They are the only family in the Kingdom to be allowed a dragon on their standard other then the royal family.

My Turn Behind the Screen, Part III

This is the email I sent to my players for a quick recap since we play my campaign every other Sunday:

Well Met Adventurers!

Time for the re-cap:

Arriving at Silden-Yar “The City of Bridges": Silden-Yar is actually two cities separated by a river, tall bridges cross to the other side. Their exceedingly high arches are remnants of an age past. Silden is the larger and more prosperous of the two. While Yar is slowly being reclaimed by the marsh surrounding it and respectable people have long abandoned it. Tired from the road and running out of money, you find an inn in Silden that caters to adventuring/mercenary types. Bedding down in the inn seemed easy enough, until the late night appearance of the push gang. Having paid the Innkeeper enough to watch out for your small band he gave you the only escape route, through the common room and kitchen and out the back. Trapped by the buildings surrounding the inn you took the only path available, which lead to the front of the inn. Peering around the corner you could see the gang’s leader waiting. During your next attempted escape, perhaps it would not be the best idea to let the fiery-eyed Cleric announce his presence with intimidating display of swordsmanship. Neither was it a good idea killing the bully-boys (whose compatriots may or may not be gunning for you), but oh well, luckily for you the city guard showed up when they did.

The speed at which you were arrested, processed and placed in front of the Lord of the City of Bridges , whose cold eyes and serious lack of a sense of humor still gives you chills, made your head spin. It seemed that this was a well rehearsed maneuver, which also makes you think you were not the first group to be "employed" using this method. What about the seeming absent-minded sycophant Simkin. Though he tries to hide it behind his facade of mindless obeisance you could see a feral intelligence in his eyes. He looked at each one of you and wrote your names onto your charter (which you have noticed will not tear burn or otherwise be marred). At least now you're a legal adventuring band employed by the crown and you can give all who pass your group’s current fearsome title, Troupe #27.

Onward to the Forest and the mysterious ring of stones: After speaking with the tribe of Half-elves, perhaps they forgot to tell you that when walking the forest at night, they would often walk into the standing stones' clearing and have no idea how they arrived there. Oddly, the trail behind them remained the same. What was the darkness that grabbed your cleric and drug him away causing the rest of you to follow, was it a mindless thing grabbing a random person in the forest? Or perhaps was it after the black crystal shard that Simkin gave you along with your mission kit?

Whatever it was, it did its job and having been transported by the stones, you are now wandering through these glowing crystal towers. The horrid occupants seemingly divided between living and dead and each room shows signs of recent battle. Will there be more like the creature you last fought, the animated pile of dead skin, which was slowly flaying a hobgoblin when you interrupted it? The seeming contention of undead and living makes you wonder if perhaps, there is dissension in the ranks of those aligned against you? But who and what they are still eludes you. This lack of knowledge leaves you worried and wondering why you are here, if you can reverse the gate that brought you and in the end find you way home.

See you all Sunday! GAME ON!