Saturday, April 30, 2005

The Angry Flower's Guide to the Galaxy

Stephen Notley, creator of Bob the Angry Flower, also does movie reviews. He recently tackled the new Hitchhiker's flick. Review here. Also, if you've never read Bob the Angry Flower comics, you really ought to take a look at the Fabulous Bob Archive.

More Quizcrap

Per Pat's request:

Your Irish Name Is...

Gavin Butler

This next one was harder for me to answer, as the quiz amounted to "click all the bands you like". Does liking a groups one big hit count? That seems to low a standard, so I went with having to like at least two songs, one of which I can actually name. Anyway, here's the results:

Your Taste in Music:

80's Rock: Highest Influence
Classic Rock: Highest Influence
80's Alternative: High Influence
80's Pop: High Influence
80's R&B: High Influence
90's Alternative: High Influence
90's Pop: High Influence
Gangsta Rap: High Influence
Old School Hip Hop: High Influence
Progressive Rock: High Influence
90's Hip Hop: Medium Influence
Hair Bands: Medium Influence
Punk: Medium Influence
90's R&B: Low Influence
Adult Alternative: Low Influence
Heavy Metal: Low Influence
R&B: Low Influence
Ska: Low Influence

And here's one back at you, Pat:

You May Be a Bit Schizotypal ...

A bit odd and socially isolated.

You couldn't care less of what others think.

And some of your beliefs are a little weird.

Like that time you thought you were Jesus.

Friday, April 29, 2005

It's that time again

Your Linguistic Profile:

80% General American English

10% Midwestern

10% Upper Midwestern

0% Dixie

0% Yankee

Another stupid but fun Google-based webtoy

Montage-a-google builds tiled mosaic montages from google image searches. This ought to be able to produce Lovecraftian class madness if only it allowed one to turn the safesearch filter off. I'd post a sample montage but I'm already using my account today to host a pic I put up over at RPGnet.

Decisions, decisions

I need to come up with another character for next Friday's Living Greyhawk game. We'll be playing 2 intro modules and my swashbuckler PC will either be dead or level 2 by the end of the first one. Only 1st level characters can play intros. I've been knocking around concepts and I'm down to three basic ideas:

Healer Dude: Either a bard, druid, or *gasp* cleric. Maybe a cleric of a druidic deity will help the medicine go down. Or some bastard of a deity like Ralishaz. Perhaps with a mystic theurge prestige class in the planning. I can be a team player. I honestly don't mind playing support characters like clerics, I just happen to hate the typical holier-than-thou walking medic most clerics are played as. Hell, maybe I could break the mold by building a cleric of St. Cuthbert or Pholtus who is not a total ass.

Burninator: The spellcaster what casts the spells that makes the peoples fall down! Prolly a human sorcerer. I like the faster spell progression of the wizard (who doesn't?) but my informants on EN World say spellbooks and such are hard to find in most Living Greyhawk modules. Also, the Wrinkle Academy. Other campaign settings get wizardly orders with names like the Invisible College of Thaumaturgy. Verbobonc gets Wrinkle Academy. Suddenly Hennet seems a lot cooler than before.

Axer: He will hit you with his axe! Fighter, ranger, paladin, barbarian, whatever. Just give me a greataxe and a roomful of orcs.

Maybe I'll make two or three of these dudes over the next few days so we can try to put together something resembling a coherent team.

Okay, I'm done

Buying D&D books that is. I just placed an order at Amazon for D&D for Dummies (finally available for sale) the MM 3.5, the DMG 3.5, and some minis. Outside of a module or a magazine, I now have way too many 3.5/3.0 books. Call it "a sufficient quantity" to run most campaigns that interest me. Especially when the stuff Pat can bring to the table is added to the equation.

For the minis I ordered a Deathknell booster and a Giants of Legend hugepack. I really, really want one of those fly new beholders. A bullette would be sweet as well, but I wouldn't turn up my nose at a fiendish tyrannosaur. But really, all of the size huge critters look pretty sweet.

I spent my lunch today reading the opening section of the spells chapter of the 3.5 PHB. You know what? I am finally digging this big crunchy thing that is the new D&D. I'm getting ideas for NPCs and encounters and such. I may even build a smallish dungeon.

Cool pic

Space Beholders are Go!

Thursday, April 28, 2005

Annoyed at Amazon

I was planning on clicking over to Amazon and buying the 3.5 Monster Manual, the 3.5 DMG, some D&D minis, and D&D for Dummies just as soon as that last book was released. D&D for Dummies has been on shelves for going on a week now and Amazon still won't acknowledge that the damn thing is available for purchase. I like ordering from Amazon, but they are driving me to the competition by not selling me a product I know should be available. Barnes & Noble's website will sell me the book I want. I'd prefer to stick with Amazon. Their prices are almost aslways the lowest and I haven't had any real problems with them in the past but their database sometimes seems to be clogged with books that never existed and outdated pre-order pages. Just sell me the stupid Dummies book, dammit!

Tuesday, April 26, 2005

J-Con 2: Electric Boogaloo

So my next Living Greyhawk event is scheduled for Friday, May 6th. DM James Holzhauer and players Doug, Bruce, and Thom Hendricks are confirmed. Unless I can swing another DM that means I only have two player slots still open. Pat, read your damn gmail!

Martian Dust Devil

Here's an animated gif of a Martian dust devil passing in front of the camera of the Spirit robot. Courtesy of Astronomy Picture of the Day.

Monday, April 25, 2005

Quote of the Day

By G'Quon, I can't recall the last time I was in a fight like that! No moral ambiguity. No . . . hopeless battle against ancient and overwhelming forces. They were the 'bad guys,' as you say, and we were the 'good guys.' And they made a very satisfying 'thump' when they hit the floor!

G'Kar from Babylon 5 was old school.

(Thanks to RPGnetter OsamaBonJovi for the quote.)

I scored 11

...and I don't even read that much sci-fi.

Phobos Entertainment's "100 Science Fiction Books You Just Have to Read"

Phillip K. Dick got on that list 3 times. I used to think of him as "that author Pat likes" but more and more I see evidence that he really is a giant in the field.

Saturday, April 23, 2005

Big Sale at Waldenbooks

The Waldenbooks over at the mall is running a Buy 3 Get 1 Free sale in their graphic novels and manga sections. Even better, according to their crazy taxonomy roleplaying games are graphic novels. I splurged and bought six D&D items: the 3.5 PHB, the D&D Miniatures Handbook (has plenty of stuff that will work for straight D&D), the Arms & Equipment Guide (which has entirely black & white interiors. I didn't know Wizards did that in hardbounds.), FFG's Monster's Handbook (Mike Mearls explains how to build your own monsters and assign CRs), the Tome of Horror (a big book of monsters, many of them conversions from earlier incarnations of D&D), and the latest version of the D&D basic set (the prepainted figs inside are about the best bang-for-buck you can find). If I could've found one more item I like I might have gotten the Star Wars minis intro set and Races of Destiny. I'm a sucker for a sale.

Their rpg selection is mostly limited to D&D, Star Wars d20, and some White Wolf. You might want to go check it out if any of those trip your trigger.

Friday, April 22, 2005

Almafeta's Meat Soda

16 oz. club soda (chilled)
Heaping tablespoon beef bullion (sodium-less)
One teaspoon steak sauce powder (the kind you mix yourself)
Dash of onion salt
Dash of tabasco

Mix ingredients in a cup that can hold 16 oz, one tablespoon, one teaspoon, and two dashes. Drink.

(Meeting interesting people like Almafeta is one of the reasons I love so much.)

Someone please make this comic.

Nazis. I hate these guys.

I <3 SomethingAwful.

Thursday, April 21, 2005

This will probably screw up the formatting

From Merle Rasmussen's designer notes for Top Secret:

Wednesday, April 20, 2005

Marcella Has a Posse

Marcella Detroit, one half of Shakespear's Sister, has her own website with some tracks here. Ms. Detroit was always the cypher of the duo to me, as I knew Siobhan Fahey, the other member, from her work in Banarama.

Tuesday, April 19, 2005

Follow-Up: Advanced GMs Guide

There's a brief En World review by Psion posted today.

Unrelated bonus review link #1: C&C Module Assault on Blacktooth Ridge review by Mythmere

Unrelated yada yada #2: The classis review in which Mike Mearls rips on the Keep on the Borderlands. Sure the guy makes some good points. Mearls is a smart cookie. But I don't go to his house and tell him that the first girl he ever kissed was uglier than he remembers.

Monday, April 18, 2005

BethDragon's Hashbrown Casserole

2lb hash browns, thawed (Important, thawed because it takes a lot longer to cook if they aren't. And also, they're a pain to stir frozen.)
1/2 cup of milk
1 can of cream of mushroom soup
1 cup sour cream
1 tsp of pepper
1 cup (or more to taste) of cheddar cheese (sharp or mild or mix. Feel free to experiment.)

Mix all of the ingredients together except hashbrowns and cheese. Add hashbrowns. Grease 9x13 baking pan and place hashbrown mix in. Pat down a bit to break air bubbles. Top with cheese. Bake at 350° for 1 hour. Cheese should be gooey and maybe a little toasted brown.

Kids These Days

or Projection Can Be Fun

A recent thread on RPGnet discusses the theoretical horrors of trimming your D&D book collection down to just 10 texts plus the PHB, DMG, and MM. What do you do? (Highlight the bottom of this post for the correct answer.) These sorts of threads both attract and repulse me. Now I admit that my game collection is pretty dang large. And that I have a room in my house just for gaming crap. And that I can't keep track of how many individual versions of D&D I own. But still, ten books plus the three core? Oh boo fucking hoo, the tragedy of it all. What ten books do I choose? It's questions like these that cause my existential gorge to rise because debating such trifles lays bare the dread truth of the hobby: we're all a bunch of prancing nancy boys spending way too much money on stupid D&D books. We're frickin' diletanttes when we should be gamers. Days like this I get the urge to quit buying game crap cold turkey and just start running a game with a bare bones rules set and my own frickin' imagination. Where did I make the wrong turn? Was it those four Advanced books bought so many years ago at a K-Mart after-Christmas sale? I had hardly played my D&D Basic and Expert sets at that point. Was it all the other TSR games I purchased over the next couple of years? We barely got past chargen for most of them, with an occasional single run of Gamma World or Star Frontiers. Was it Unearthed Arcana? Somewhere along the way I got a nasty combination of the collector bug, variantitis and inflamed completist syndrome. And the hobby is all too ready to feed these dark urges. Meanwhile, I am dead certain that I have yet to fully plumb the depths of any single D&D book I own, including my precious '81 Basic rules.

A: Shoot the hostage.

In college I experimented...

...with media. I bought more books, magazines, comics, and albums during my four years at the U than at any other time before or since. One of the musical groups I was big into during that period was a Brit-chick duo called Shakespeare's Sister. I played the crap out of a cassette of their '92 album Hormonally Yours. One song from Hormonally Yours (a mournful, ethereal number called "Stay") made it into heavy rotation on MtV. This was back in the paleolithic era when they showed videos most of the time. They broke up shortly after announcing a forthcoming sequel to this minor hit. For years I thought they only released one album, but it turns out I was wrong. Turns out Hormonally was their second release. In 1989 they released their debut album, Sacred Heart. Unfortunately my usual media outlet these days, the Amazon, does not acknowledge that Shakespeare's Sister ever existed. I'd check eBay, but I'm having problems accessing it today.

Friday, April 15, 2005

It's about time

I finally passed the Herald Level GM test for the RPGA. I've been trying to ace this thing for the last couple of days. You have to get 20 out of 20 questions right, but it's open book. Of course I don't have the books so I've been using the 3.5 System Reference Document and google for the occasional non-SRD question. You can take the test as often as you want, so I would take it several times in a row. The pool of randomly selected questions is small enough that I had memorized about half the questions asked in the test I finally passed. At one point early this morning I got kinda frustrated with the whole process. On the twentieth question I blew it. I had assumed that you could ready a sleep spell. You can only ready standard actions and sleep has a 1 round casting time.

Has it always required a full round to cast sleep? I don't think so. First they give it a saving throw to avoid and then they increase the casting time. Frankly,I never thought sleep was so overpowered that it needed to be cut down to size. It had a hit dice cap, it didn't work on undeaders or non-humanoids, and the numbers it could affect were really quite small.

I don't really have any plans to GM any RPGA events any time soon. That really wasn't the point of me taking the test. For one thing I wanted to see if I could pass it. Aside from the challenge there's the educational aspect. By taking the test multiple times I learned a lot about 3.5 D&D I didn't know. And I learned my way around several chunks of the SRD. I also now have memorized my RPGA number becuase I had to re-enter it every damn time I re-took the test.


Green Ronin's new Advanced GameMaster's Guide is out, part of their attempt to reattach the 'A' to 'D&D'. EN Worlder Garnfellow reports a neato tidbit from it:

There is a very interesting variant using playing cards instead of d20s. Take a deck, pull out all the face cards, aces = 1, black suits = 10 + card value, and deal 5 cards to each player, and the DM gets 8 or so. Instead of rolling 20s, you play a card, applying all the normal D&D modifiers. The players get to choose when to use each card; when they've used up all 5 they are dealt 5 more.

This would be a nice mechanic in a story driven game. Task resolution is still random, the math stays the same with the same success/failure probabilities, but players have a lot more control over when they "roll well" or "roll badly."
I like this idea, though I know some folks won't. I'd want to keep the face cards and jokers and come up with something jazzy for them to do. The other problem would be players trying to work the system by initiating non-dangerous but roll-requiring actions in hope of dumping their low cards.

Anyway, if you're intertested in the Advanced GMG it's not yet available in print but RPGnow has it in PDF form.

Thursday, April 14, 2005

Adventures in Beverages

Work got kind intense yesterday, so despite being swamped I positively had to get out of the bank for a little while. One customer, a Mr. S, had dropped by for a visit and spent the better part of an hour driving me freakin' nuts. On the phone he had said he was coming in for what should have been a simple transaction. In person he wanted to go over every crossed i and dotted t on his account. I had to visit no less than three other departments to put together all the information he suddenly needed. I finally got him out the door and turned to the receptionist:

"If for any reason Mr. S returns tell him he can either wait until I get back or he can leave a number I can call him back at. If anyone else comes looking for me while I'm gone just tell them I'm dead."

Moments later I was out of the bank. I swung by the corner store and bought a sammich and a vanilla frappuccino. That's one of them there Starbuck's drinks in a bottle. Now I have never been a coffee drinker. I like the aroma but can't stand the taste. Once every year or two I manage to gulp down a cupfull of liquid that's approximately a 50% cream/50% coffee. I do this at work when I am absolutely dead dog tired and my usual caffeinated beverages aren't doing the job.

But I'm a sucker for a new beverage and I like vanilla and the copy on the bottle said "A Lowfat Creamy Blend of Starbucks© Coffee and Milk." The contents of the bottle looked even more pallid than my own attempts to water down coffee (or perhaps "cream down" would be the better term), so I figure I'd give this a try. Let me attempt to portray graphically what this concoction tastes like:


Not exactly what I was hoping for, but it sure took my mind off of work.

Interesting Game Theory Item

A Theory of Fun for Games

Wednesday, April 13, 2005

The Existence of This Justifies All Fanfic Everywhere

Behold the Power and Glory of Rebecca Borgstrom

JCon '05

So apparently when doing the paperwork for an RPGA Living Greyhawk event your sessions needs a name. James dubbed last night's get-together as JCon '05. Someone congratulate me, I have my own gaming convention! JCon consisted of one staff member (me), one judge (James), 3 attendees (Doug, Pat, and Bruce) and one visitor (Beth). We had two events, back-to-back Living Greyhawk scenarios. All in all, I would consider the first JCon a rousing success. Check back to this blog as more JCon events are scheduled. :D

Monday night was boardgame night, at the end of which I discussed my character Ahjay a bit with Bruce. He offered some free advice on my PC, which resulted in me doing a rewrite over my lunchbreak yesterday. Ahjay 2.0 is a swashbuckler 1 instead of a monk 1. So of course ther were at least two points during the night in which being a monk would have been super helpful. The other funny part was that Pat made a swashbuckler too. I think you can tell the two of us apart though: he's the elf and I'm the black woman. ;)

One of my highlights of the night was when I successfully planned and implemented a Tumble roll to avoid an Attack of Opportunity and followed that up with poking the bad guy with my rapier. Huzzah! I was also pleasantly surprised by how easy the RPGA paperwork turned out to be. I think we'll be playing more of this stuff in the future.

Coming in May

A new comical funnybook:

The Gloom

"Nazi's. Monkey in a fez. Two silver guns of vengeance that fire pure hellfire. A Vigilante and the future of 1940's Manhattan"

As Stan the Man would say: 'Nuff said.

(Thanks to Johnny Nexus for the tip.)

Tuesday, April 12, 2005

PowerPuff Girls Doujinshi

I guess a doujinshi is the comic equivalent of fanfic, yet this thing does not suck. Look for appearances by Samurai Jack, Dexter, the Time Squad, Billy & Mandy, and many, many more.

Update to last item

I got an email back from the nice folks at Westarch University Press indicating that they have permission from Monte to use the AE races. That's great! Mr. Cook seemed to designate a lot of cool stuff as Product Identity, so I assumed he was going to be a stingy guy with them. Apparently I'm a big jerk for assuming that Monte is stingy and WUP are a bunch of clueless n00bs. My apologies to both of them.

Monday, April 11, 2005

Here's an interesting idea

Today EN World had a linky to Westarch University Press, who are looking for contributors to their new World of Llowellan setting. This is a standard kitchen sink fantasy setting with a twist: they plan on doing material for D&D, d20 Past, and d20 Modern. I like that idea. I'm not sure what to do with it, but imagine a d20M campaign in which Greywhawk as we know it was medieval history!

However I kinda wonder if these folks understand the legal end of the d20/OGL/OGC world, as they mention verrik and other Arcana Evolved races in their stuff. The word 'verrik' and the names of the other AE races have been designated by Malhavok as Product Identity. Hopefully these folks have permission to be using Monte Cook's IP. I sent them a little note asking them about this issue. I'm nosy that way.

Arise ye Living Greyhawk!

Well it looks like I have 4 players (myself included) and a DM. That's the minimum group to do an official Living Greyhawk event at my house, so it looks I guess night is a go. I don't know how poor James is going to manage to wrangle Pat and Bruce and I. Doug (the nice fellow from St. Joe) will probably be James's new best friend by the time the evening is over, simply because he won't be half the handful any one of the rest of is will be.

So anyway, I made a monk. Somewhere at home is a chart marking out 16 levels of progress for this character: multiclassing, prestige class choices, feat selection, the whole kit-n-kaboodle. How does monk 2/swashbuckler 1/ranger 2/fighter1/dervish 5/tempest 5 suit you? I've also been boning up on my 3.5 rules in hopes of A) building an effective character and B) using it effectively in play. I've been reading tactics and tips articles on Wizards' site, hanging out more on EN World, and I even bought a couple of items to help with my game. The Power Gamer's 3.5 Warrior Strategy Guide from Goodman Games and a little PDF all about the dreaded Attack of Opportunity.

As a minor postscript to this char generation stuff my PC is a black female. I usually play dudes with lily white skin (like myself) or pale greenish skin (like a half-orc) with an occasionally foray into Drow black or Xvart blue. When I say that Ahjay, my PC, is black I mean black-as-in-African, not black-as-in-that-Drizzt-jackass. Ethnically she's a Touv, which is the Greyhawk pidgeonhole for all African types. Hey, at least Greyhawk has a pidgeon hole. How many Tolkien ripoff style settings have any black folks at all? You can find Arabian knights (like Greyhawk's Backlunish people) or usually some crappy Sino-Japanese hybrid (Kara-Tur, fr'instance) but sometimes it seems that the Southern hemisphere doesn't exist in most fantasy worlds.

I have to give credit to RPGnetter Amado G for the idea of playing someone who isn't just a another white guy. He has a policy of only playing a Caucasian or a male when constrained to do so by campaign limits or other metagame considerations. I can dig that. Of course he's like twenty times cooler and smarter than me so its a surefire bet that he won't stumble over the role. When you play someone of a different ethnicity or gender you have to steer clear of two obstacles. The obvious one to avoid is falling into the trap of playing a stupid stereotype. I think I can probably handle that one on most days. But on the flip side is the "Whaddya mean you're playing a black chick?" snare, where your character is so lusterless and uninspiring that no one can even tell that you are playing a role beyond Human Monk Level 1. If you fall into this trap then gender and ethnicity become nothing more than the words in the sex and skincolor fields on a char sheet. I might end up caught by that second problem, but I still think it is important to try. Some days I squirm at the fact that in too many campaigns black people don't exist and women exist primarily as sex objects. Not that I'm against sex objects. This is a fantasy game, after all. But I think there's room for other stuff beyond typical puerile swords & sorcery stuff.

With all the thought I've put into this PC she's probably doomed to die in the first encounter.

Saturday, April 09, 2005

Behold the Massacre!

If you are one of my regular readers (or perhaps my only regular reader - Hi Pat!) then you might remember me mentioning the forthcoming Greg Stolze game Meatbox Massacre. As I mentioned previously, this new boardgame about vile biomechs slugging it out in a gladiatorial arena isn't exactly my thing, but I was intrigued by its distribution and sales method. Basically Stolze agreed to release the game as a free download only if he received at least six hundred bucks in donations. Well I just got the word that Meatbox Massacre has made its target and is now available for free download here. Please do go and grab a copy. I spent five whole bucks so you could have this game for free. The least you could do is check it out, dag nab it.

Teh intarweb is a strange place

Earlier today I found this here blog linked to from a page that does nothing but catalogs blogs referencing Fahrenheit 9/11. Weird. I think I made one whole entry on that flick not long after seeing it last July.

I also found a link to here from anyway., the blog of Forge luminary and notorious puppykiller Vincent Baker. It's pretty effin' cool to see him linking to my blog. I think I'll return the favor and add Mike Mearls's Livejournal while I'm at it.

Didn't know such things these existed...

Japanese women-in-prison exploitation flick

Friday, April 08, 2005

Coming in Dungeon #123

Quicksilver Hourglass
by Anson Caralya

Hidden between the planes of existence and behind time itself, the Quicksilver Hourglass has kept its terrible prisoner obscured from reality. Yet now, the leader of a transplanar conspiracy of vampiric masterminds has invaded this ancient prison, intent on unleashing a wretched doom upon the multiverse. An epic D&D adventure for 30th-level characters.

Alright gang, which of us is going to run this thing? Unlike the crazy old Throne of Bloodstone (a 1st edition module "For Character Levels 18-100") this won't be the final installment in a lengthy series. A one-shot is clearly in order.

Dag nab it!

I am seriously considering switching blog services again, either to livejournal or back to tripod. has been real unstable the last few weeks. Tripod's twitchiness was the whole reason I went to blogger. If I go back to them at least I can host images again with no more hassles than I am experiencing already.

Couple of cool links:

EN World preview of d20 rules for Tesla technology

Dark Star 6mm sci-fi figs (Until these guys pointed it out, I never realized that BattleTech was in 6mm scale. Some days I am an idiot.)

White Wolf changes d20 approach


April 07, 2005

Calling the d20 market "volatile," White Wolf is adjusting its Sword & Sorcery line to concentrate on its best-selling titles. Citing the "economic necessity" of dealing with the tough market for RPGs, the company will not release any new Scarred Lands or Gamma World products this year.

The last Scarred Lands product was in December, and the final Gamma World product was also late last year. White Wolf expects its strongest d20/OGL lines this year to be its licenses, Ravenloft, Warcraft, and EverQuest, and Monte Cook's Malhavoc Press.

In the Everquest line, the connection to the online game is being emphasized this year. The just-released Everquest II RPG Player's Guide was designed to look like a videogame "strategy guide." In June, the Everquest II RPG Spell Guide ($34.99) will feature lots of full color screen shots.

Like the Everquest products, the Warcraft products are also being brought closer to the source material. World of Warcraft: The Roleplaying Game is scheduled for July at $39.99. This will be an OGL game, not d20, which will allow the design to take players closer to the online experience. This will also allow more cross-marketing with Blizzard, the marker of the videogame. White Wolf is also doing an ad swap with Tokyopop, which publishes the Warcraft manga.

Two Ravenloft products are scheduled for the next few months. Dark Tales and Disturbing Legends will be released in May at $22.95, and Von Richten's Guide to the Mists in August, also at $22.95.

Malhavoc's big release for 2005 is Iron Lore, due out this summer (see "Iron Lore from Monte Cook"). "Malhavoc has weathered the d20 storm," White Wolf's Philippe Boulle said.

White Wolf will also continue to work with three other studios: Necromancer, Paragon, and Goodman (for its Dragonmech line). Necromancer is bringing back Grimtooth's Traps via The Wurst of Grimtooth's Traps in May, at $34.99. And Necromancer and Judge's Guild are bringing out The Wilderlands of High Fantasy in August, a $69.99 box set with the first major campaign setting for fantasy roleplaying. The box will contain two 250-page manuals and nine double-sided full-color maps.

Exile on Main Street

Apparently Exile on Main Street has been open for about five months without me knowing anything about its existence until yesterday. During my lunchbreak I was smoking a cigar and walking around downtown Champaign when I noticed that one of the store fronts at the new One Main building had an oldish stand-up coin-op video game in the window. Turns out Exile on Main Street is a new and used CD/DVD/videogame establishment. Not exactly my cuppa but still pretty durn cool. The music section includes a resptable shefload of local musicians and labels. I nearly bought a neat looking magazine called Retro Gamer, but it was a British import with a cover price of thirteen dollars American. Yeesh. I take back all the things I've ever said about Dragon being too pricy.

Thursday, April 07, 2005

Bible Lesson for the Day

I found this tucked in the great article "Things Creationists Hate". I think this would make great fodder for a modern high weirdness campaign. And it's an interesting theological issue to boot.

The Genesis 1 & 2 Resolution

Paul Murray has recognized a solution to some of the Genesis 1 & 2 conflicts--but not one that creationists are likely to welcome:

[In Paul's words] Genesis 1 and 2 do not conflict, provided that you remember that Moses and the partiarchs were polytheistic heathens, just like their heathen neighbors. They believed that the world was inhabited and animated by "spirits," much like most native religions do. They claimed that their particular god was better than all the other gods (much as people today will cheer for their home-town football team), but that does not mean that they were monotheists. The wording of the First Commandment in Ex 20 makes that plain ["thou shalt have no other," not "there is no other"]. Jehovah was to be number one god, but that's all.

As to "the order of creation," many people have noted that the word translated "God" changes from "Elohim" [a PLURAL] to "Jehovah" in Gen 2:4. Some take this as evidence of Gen 2 being a second account. I say: the two tell a single story.

Genesis 1 describes how the spirits created the world and mankind; the spirits (or "Elohim"--plural) made their own people after their own image--that's why races of people look different. The spirit who created the Hebrews made people that looked like himself, the spirit who created the Egyptians made people that looked like himself, etc.

Genesis 2 zooms in to one among the Elohim, named "Jehovah," and his little eugenics experiment in the Garden of Eden.

See? Doesn't it all make perfect sense? The name of God changing from the plural "Elohim" to "Jehovah" in Gen 2:4 is not an artifact, it's actually a meaningful and important distinction. Gen 1 is talking about the gods in general, Gen 2 about one particular one. [In other words, the Bible is right, even where creationists DON'T want it to be. -RJR]

So enough of this "Gen 1 & 2 contradict one another" business! It's total nonsense - there's a perfectly reasonable explanation

Tuesday, April 05, 2005

Pat needs one of these...

old Warhammer chaos familiars. The 'mystery imp' would make a great Black Mage.

UPDATE: Found one for sale.

Monday, April 04, 2005

Razzin' frazzin' sports

Tonight's session with the grognards has been canceled because the Illini are playing in the men's NCAA basketball championship this evening. I guess now I have a little taste of what it means to be a sports widow.

Here's an interesting article by D&D numinary Sean K. Reynolds on the subject of NPC classes. In short he ties levels in NPC classes to age, using the following breakdown:

Up to age 20: Level 1
21-22: Level 2
23-25: Level 3
26-29: Level 4
30-34: Level 5
35-40: Level 6
41-48: Level 7
49-60: Level 8
61+: Level 9

I'm somewhat interested in this research because I've been statting up soldiers and conscripts for my upcoming Arcana Evolved project. Given their similarites in longevity the above chart should work not only for humans, but also for Dracha, Sibbecai, and Verrik. Faen and Giants mature much more slowly, so their chart might look something like this:

Up to age 60: Level 1
61-66: Level 2
67-75: Level 3
76-87: Level 4
88-92: Level 5
93-110: Level 6
111-134: Level 7
135-167: Level 8
168+: Level 9

Two special cases are the Litorians and the Mojh. Litorians have lifespans somewhere between the shortlived human/sibbecai/verrik/dracha group and the longtoothed giant/faen group, but according to their racial write-up they reach maturity just as quickly as humans. My solution is to just use the chart for humans. Watch out for old lion men: any Litorian showing grey in his mane is going to be 8th or 9th level. And as far as mojh go, I'm not sure how useful it is to even worry about how manny levels of commoner a mojh might have. Willingly undergoing the mojh transformation strikes me as something only a crazy adventurer type would choose to do. Maybe they have some experts or adepts or hedge mages among their numbers, but my guess is that most mojh are adventurers and that any attempt to build a table for them is pointless.

While I'm on the subject of The Dragon War project I ought to mention the miniatures. I am seriously considering getting fielding miniatures for this campaign. Bewteen MageKnight and the D&D miniatures game there are a lot of excellent prepainted figures available for relatively low cost. As the DM my main concern would be a sufficient quanitity of dragon men to fill the ranks of the draconic armies. Given availability of the Kapak archer in the Dragoneye expansion for D&D minis and the Draconum faction in MageKnight there seems to be enough d00dz for sale to make this work. The new style halflings in the D&D material ought to work fine as Faen PCs. Humans can be painted red for Verrik. Mojh can be represented with lizard men, troglodytes, yuan-ti, etc. For sibbecai some gnoll sculpts will work, as well as the anubi from Wargods of Argyptus. Giants abound in nearly every fantasy figure line. And let's not forget the official figures from Iron Wind Metals.

I wonder if Pat still has that big bowl of MageKnight figures somewhere?

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