Thursday, June 30, 2005

d20 Prime Directive Gossip

Prime Directive, as some of you may know, is the RPG arm of the Star Fleet Battles universe, that alternate vision of Star Trek in which Klingons still look like Mongols and Starfleet personnel still wear velour. I thought the announcement of d20 Prime Directive was the last best hope for a new Star Trek rpg that might suit my tastes. Unfortunately Dorkland, one of my favorite gaming and general geekery blogs, has a rather bad report on the progress of the d20PD project.

'Nother webcomic

Alien Loves Predator, the wacky adventures of two buddies (who happen to be an Alien and a Predator) sharing an appartment in New York.

Obit: Real World RPG Character

Supermodel bounty hunter found dead

By Chris Ayres

30-06-2005 From: The Australian

Tragic ... lesbian bounty hunter Domino Harvey

She was the daughter of a famous actor, became a supermodel in New York and then a socialite in Beverly Hills. She even inspired a Hollywood movie. For British-born Domino Harvey, however, beauty, wealth and stardom went horribly wrong. When pulled out of a bath in West Hollywood on Monday night, presumed drowned, she was facing life in jail on charges of drug dealing, crossing state lines for unlawful activity and having property that was used in or obtained through criminal activity. The charges, filed in the city of Gulfport, Mississippi, were the result of a bizarre change in career for Harvey, who was 35 at the time of her death. The former catwalk star and daughter of Oscar-nominated Laurence Harvey had become a bounty hunter - a mercenary who hunted outlaws for the price on their heads. Lieutenant Don Mauldin, of West Hollywood Sheriff's station, said: "We got a call ... saying possibly a person had drowned in a bathtub. A friend or relative had called 911 from the house for paramedics. She was found in the bathtub." The Los Angeles coroner is expected to perform toxicology tests on the body to see if drugs were involved. "The hospital reported to us they suspected a drug overdose," a spokesman for the coroner said. Tony Scott, the action film director who decided to turn Harvey's career into a Hollywood blockbuster - starring Keira Knightley as Domino, with other parts taken by Christopher Walken, Mickey Rourke and Jacqueline Bisset - had already been forced to reshoot the ending to incorporate the charges against her. Now Scott may have to return to the editing room to include Harvey's tragic death. There will also be pressure to make the film truer to life and explain how she became a bounty hunter and accused drug dealer. In the film's trailer, which has already been released, Knightley fires a .50-calibre machinegun and says: "My name is Domino Harvey, I am ... a bounty hunter. What I say will determine whether or not I spend the rest of my life in prison." She recently said of the film: "I think the whole concept of the story, the whole idea of this girl who's from an extremely privileged background who completely turns her back on all of it and goes off on this wild path, is an extraordinary idea in itself." Harvey, a lesbian, had expressed disappointment she was portrayed as heterosexual in the film. Friends and family gathered in tears at her West Hollywood home yesterday. It is thought Harvey would have been forced to sell the property to pay the $US1million ($1.3million) bail in her drugs case. The Times

Wednesday, June 29, 2005

That time again, folks

Here's a political quiz that's so straight-faced serious it doesn't even churn out HTML code to drop into your blog. Turns out I'm a liberal.

Obit: A True Badass of WWII

Pilot Who Saved Buckingham Palace Dies

LONDON - Ray Holmes, a World War II fighter pilot who rammed a German plane to prevent a direct hit on Buckingham Palace, has died. He was 90. He died Monday at Hoylake Cottage Hospital in Wirral after a two-year battle with cancer, his wife, Anne, said Tuesday. Sgt. Holmes spotted a German Dornier bomber lining up to attack the palace on Sept. 15, 1940, and, finding he had run out of ammunition, the pilot from 504 Squadron slammed into the bomber, slicing off its tail. Holmes, from Wirral in northwest England, parachuted to safety, while his Hurricane plane crashed at 400 mph behind Victoria Station, well away from the palace. The German bomber plunged into the station's courtyard. The German pilot also survived the incident, which was captured on film. "There was no time to weigh up the situation," Holmes recalled afterward. "His airplane looked so flimsy, I didn't think of it as solid and substantial. I just went on and hit it for six. I thought my aircraft would cut right through it, not allowing for the fact that his plane was as strong as mine!" Last year, archaeologists unearthed parts of Holmes' fighter plane for a TV documentary. The plane's engine was later exhibited at the Imperial War Museum in London. A Buckingham Palace spokeswoman said Queen Elizabeth II was "very sad to hear of the death of Ray Holmes, given his role in the valiant defense of London during World War II." Holmes continued to fly throughout the war and taught Russian pilots to fly Hurricanes. He later moved into photo-reconnaissance, taking pictures from 30,000 feet of locations that included Berlin and Adolf Hitler's hideout at Berchtesgaden. When the war ended, he was a King's Messenger, delivering mail for Prime Minister Winston Churchill. After the war he returned to the Wirral, where he worked as a journalist. Funeral details were not available.

Tuesday, June 28, 2005

Yet another webcomic

I followed a link to Shortpacked recently. The Batman strips were awesome, but I knew I struck gold when I found this one.

5 More Nifty Links,

once again having nothing to do with one another.

"The Real Ten Commandments"

How to Be a Romance Novel Hero

Scott McCloud's My Obsession with Chess

The Bad Astronomy Page

The Baby Name Inventor

Monday, June 27, 2005

Rabbi: Hitler was right!

Lapin took that spat one step further in an essay that ran in the Orthodox paper the Jewish Press in January. He complained that Jewish leaders criticized Gibson but ignored Jews such as Howard Stern and the producers of "Meet the Fockers" who were "debasing the culture." He then quoted a section of "Mein Kampf" in which Hitler denounces the "horrible trash" produced by Jewish entertainers in Weimar Germany. Hitler was an "evil megalomaniac," Lapin writes, but what he was saying was "obvious and inescapable."

From page three of a Washington Post article entitled "The Republicans' Rabbi-in-Arms". Stern's Jewish? I had no clue? Meet the Fockers is just as important a statement about Jewish/Christian relations as Gibson's Passion? I had no fucking idea that a shitty sequel to a shitty comedy was that damn important.

I think this blog's official position vis-a-vis Hitler and Nazis in general is pretty well established at this point. Just in case you are here for the first time, let me sum up: Hitler does not get credit for any good ideas. He lost that priviledge due to that whole Holocaust thing. The moment you say "But Hitler was on the money when he [fill in the blank]" then you have lost all credibility.

Arkham Horror shipping!!!!!1!!onehundredandeleven!!!

Unbe-fucking-lievable. In the eighties I passed on a copy for sale at Adventureland in Bloomington, Illinois (back before that store started to really suck). In the early nineties the hope of getting a copy at the live auction was one of my primary impetuses for attending GenCon (alas, no copies came up that year). Now Fantasy Flight Games says the new version of the classic Chaosium boardgame will be in American stores by the first week of July. I wasn't even fully cognizant of the fact that FFG was publishing the new version. Last time I checked (which would be year or three ago, I guess) the Chaosium was still promising a redo 'soon'.

Thursday, June 23, 2005

This first one's an oddball

What military aircraft are you?

EA-6B Prowler

You are an EA-6B. You are sinister, preferring not to get into confrontations, but extract revenge through mind games and technological interference. You also love to make noise and couldn't care less about pollution.

Personality Test Results

Click Here to Take This Quiz
Brought to you by quizzes and personality tests.

The graphic's dead, but I gotta post the results of this next one anyway.

Video GameHistory..test your knowledge

Game God

All hail the Game God.....ooooooooo...can i touch you?

Personality Test Results

Click Here to Take This Quiz
Brought to you by quizzes and personality tests.

And finally:

What random picture I found on the internet are you?

Your some toilet paper

long and plain

Personality Test Results

Click Here to Take This Quiz
Brought to you by quizzes and personality tests.

FYI: Blogger doesn't like the HTML spit out by YouThink.Com. You'll need to add an extra /font tag after the last /font tag.

Wednesday, June 22, 2005

5 Cool Links...

...that have nothing to do with one another.

And I thought he was one of the good guys: Superman is a dick.

Sassy political gossip blog: Wonkette

Quick way to freak yourself out: 55 Optical Illusions

Quicker freak out, for entirely different reasons: Operation Clambake

An ass-kickin' American hero: Smedley Butler

Here's a nifty idea...

RPGnetter Denaes came up with a cool idea that's right up my alley. For a modern game with all the crunchy character-building fun of d20 Modern but none of the hassle of running d20M combat, substitute in the BESM d20 combat system. Whaddya think? On first glance it sounds golden to me. In fact it goes a long way towards solving a key issue with an idea of mine about using d20 Modern/d20 Future for some Star Wars action. (Under this idea Jedi would be an Advanced class and most of the time PCs would start at minimum 5th level or so.) Anyhoo, please let me know if all y'all anticipate any major bugaboos in running a BESM d20 M/F campaign.

Quote of the Day

at some point we have to just learn from experience and develop a natural prejudice; if someone said to me, “hey Dave, the Nazis are back!” I’d say “hey, fuck those guys” without waiting around to see if they were different this time

--Dr. David Thorpe

Tuesday, June 21, 2005

An Unsettling Series of Discoveries

In my recent web researches into Micro-Heroes and obscure comic characters I happened upon the Marvel Villains Lounge, a repository of information on bad guys from Marvel comics. So of course I started flipping through their alphabetical listings of bounders and miscreants. I was rather startled to disover Abdul Alhazred was listed among Marveldom's villainry, as he is the author of that blasphemous tome called the Al-Azif, also known as the Necronomicon. The Mad Arab (as he is often known) made his debut in Marvel comics back in 1978, in issue number 15 of Tarzan's comic. I was expecting a first appearance in one of the various Conan books, but the King of the Jungle is a respectable opponent for such a one. The truly freakish part about Alhazrad's entry in the Marvel Villains Lounge occurs on the last line of the page, where it lists the Mad Arab's arch-enemy as Wolverine. Fucking Wolverine. I like ol' Logan as much as the next guy, but this sort of thing just creeps my ass out. Who came up with the idea that Wolverine needed to fight the insaner Mary Sue of the Lovecraft Mythos?


Osprey reference

This is Osprey as he appears in the Advanced Marvel game from TSR.

And after...

Osprey Mico-Hero

I allowed the color scheme to be partially dictated by the available parts. Boots and gloves are courtesy of Nomad, while Captain America provided the shorts. I chose red for the tights to get that old fashioned underwear look. The symbol on the chest was by far the hardest part. I omitted the little wings because I would have to make the yellow 'O' smaller if I wanted the wings to fit in between the suspenders.

Monday, June 20, 2005

Isn't he cool?

Blue Streak
Ladies and gentlemen, please allow me to present Blue Streak, the disco-tastic roller-skating superhero and former member of the SHIELD Super Agents. This fellow is part of my Fantabulous Five project, so I have been searching all the internets trying to find a Micro-Hero for him. I finally gave up on finding him, since he's a very obscure character. So I made one myself. The Micro-Hero community has a wide variety of body, face, and hair templates available, making the task much easier. The tricky parts were adding the collar, the skates, and the difficult-to-see-from-this-angle blue lightning bolt effect down the sleeves and pants. You can check out the reference pictures I used here. Next task? Osprey, a character so obscure he appears in exactly one comic book: Fantastic Four #177. I haven't decided yet whether I'm gonna pony up the five bucks needed to buy a copy of FF #177, but the only reference shot I have for him at the moment is black and white. I have no idea what the proper color scheme for Osprey's costume might be. It might be fun to do my own color job and then buy the comic, just to see the difference between my vision and the original.

Also: I ordered the Wraeththu rpg from Amazon. Consider yourselvesd warned!

Comic Linky

I may have posted this to my old blog, but this is well worth a repeat:

Stalin vs. Hitler, The Authorized Annotated Translation

Sunday, June 19, 2005

Happy Amazon Day to Me!

I got some birfday swag over the weekend. I have finally reached the point where my family looks at my Amazon wishlist without me prodding them. My sister bought me Star Wars: Droids, the DVD release of some episodes from the 1985 animated adventures of C3PO and R2-D2. I nearly bought myself a copy Wednesday when I was at Toys 'R' Us with Elizabeth, but she poo-poo'ed the idea. My folks got me a book, Paul Naudon's The Secret History of Freemasonry: Its Origins and Connection to the Knights Templar. I don't yet know where this book sits on the spectrum between sober, credible scholarship and outright quackery but part of the charm of the subject matter is the discovering how crazy the author seems to be. The publisher is an outfit called Inner Traditions, so that's a tick in the kook column. The back cover also explains how the author has held the post of Grand Prior of the Gauls of the Rectified Scottish Rite. Most of my Masonic reference books are sitting on the shelves of Western Star Lodge, but my gut instinct tells me good ol' A.E. Waite would not approve of these Rectified fellows. I can almost picture him scowling at their rectifications. But then again I always picture him scowling at pretty much everything.

Friday, June 17, 2005

True20 pdf is out

Click here to go to the RPGnow entry for True20. As I understand it a print version is to follow.

Thursday, June 16, 2005

Games, Cartoons, and more Games

Tuesday night game night featured an older German game called Tikal. If I recall correctly had last played Tikal on Christmas day 1999 with the family of my then-fiancée now-wife. I was pleasantly surprised by how much of the gameplay I remembered. Unfortunately vague memories of how the game worked weren't enough to get a win, though I think I did respectably. We followed Tikal up with a round of the Bean Game. I came in second, probably from giving away too many cards again.

Yesterday we got a shipment in from including a bunch of DVDs and the Nazi-hating Hoover vacuum. The DVDs were all cartoons: a trio of Peanuts holiday specials, some more Superfriends, another disc full of Teen Titans, and the Clone Wars. My daughter isn't too enthused about watching the Star Wars cartoons. At the toystore yesterday she even objected to getting a plushie R2-D2 or the Droids cartoon. Have I failed as a parent? She does like playing with my precious Darth Vader action figure, so I guess she isn't a lost cause quite yet. Either way it looks like I'm going to have to watch Clone Wars on my own time. The trouble with that scheme is that, thanks to indulgent parents, Elizabeth monopolizes the TV when she is awake. That's okay. She likes the Superfriends, Teen Titans, and SpongeBob just as much as she enjoys Dora the Explorer, Hello Kitty or the Care Bears. But since Amy is no huge cartoon fan I let her choose the show after Elizabeth goes to bed. That leaves me with very little time to watch Clone Wars unless I make a special effort to get up in the morning before everyone else. And if I do that I need to watch some more Firefly episodes. I feel guilty over how long I've had that boxed set and I still haven't watched anything other than the pilot. I'm sure Kathleen and Josh didn't intend for me to hold onto their copy forever.

I'm still freaking out over the fact that Amazon has the Wraeththu rpg in stock. I certainly don't need to be spending money on a new rpg, especially one that has zero prospects among the local game scene. But dang it, I still want one.

Tuesday, June 14, 2005

Wraeththu Watch Update

I've mentioned the Wraeththu rpg over the course of this blog and my earlier tripod blog. Here's my original overview of Wraeththu.The game is out (even Amazon has it now) but I've seen precious little additional information about it. I'd very much like to own a copy and try to play it, maybe even write a review for it. But paying even near-retail for this puppy seems so wrong, especially when I could be playing/reviewing all the other bad rpgs in my collection: Cyborg Commando, Lords of Creation, SenZar, World of Synnibarr, Encounter Critical, etc. And I've already spent the money acquiring these treasures.

Monday, June 13, 2005

Revenge on Revenge of the Sith

Episode IV: A New Script

I really enjoyed the movie. But Lucas seemed to try to make it easy for people to do send-ups like this.

Sunday, June 12, 2005

That Time Again?

I'm thinking it's time for me to start organizing another one shot of some sort. I just sort of got a hankering, you know? Now I just have to answer the big questions: who, what, and when. When would probably be no earlier than mid-July or so. The other two are much harder to answer. In the last couple of years the number of local gamers I know has doubled or so. On my short short list are Kathleen and Josh, Hank Woolsey (who I've only gamed with at Winter War), and RPGnetters Thornhammer and BethDragon. But the longer short list includes a bunch of people from the Pancake Hut Gang, all the members of my current D&D and MnM groups, my sister, and Thom Hendricks. And as to what, the variety of RPGs at my disposal is vast and weird. I clearly want to try doing something with Nobilis again. This time maybe we won't try to integrate the play style of Pat & me with a trio of college-aged Buffy the Vampire Slayer players. And I still want to run that old Boot Hill module "The Taming of Brimstone" but use Savage Worlds to run it. I've still got a two-part Feng Shui adaption of some Ninja Hero material laying around here somewhere. And I've still got ideas for some Star Wars gaming. Then there's the metric assload of free indie games I've got laying around. I've never run most of them. And then there's indie gems, like the rpg Wuthering Heights, that demand to be run again. But then again, I'm not even sure an rpg session is what I want. A day of board and card games might be in order. Or maybe some boardgaming along the lines of Starmada, BattleTech, and Dawn Patrol. It's all just idle speculation at the moment, but if anybody has an opinion please let me know.



The above warning is printed on the side of the bottle of Squirt soda pop I'm drinking as I type this. When did soda become so dangerous? Has anybody evey had a popcap zip out of their grasp the way champagne corks like to ricochet about the room? Is it okay if I point my deadly popbottle at small furry animals? After all, there's no explicit warning that the soda can injure bunnies or kittens. Maybe pets will be added to warning after some unfortunate poodle-related incident and the subsequent multizillion dollar litigation.

Saturday, June 11, 2005

Mmmmm, Igor Bars

As I type this my wife is making up a batch of Igor Bars, a snack invented by a comic book character. Normally she wouldn't do something this silly but after Pat brought them over once now she's hooked. Since this is all his fault, he will have to help us eat 'em. I hope you don't have any plans for tomorrow, dude. ;)

My two roleplaying sessions were sorta a mixed bag this week. I thought session 2 of my new D&D campaign went pretty well. Everyone seemed to have a good time. We finished the final encounter with session one's master villain and played through a whole nother adventure. Stuart (RPGnetter szilard) joined us, bringing a nifty photosynthetic monk/druid to the table. Next time I think we'll tackle the search for the bigass dungeon.

Last night's Mutants & Masterminds game was sort of a mess. Work's been busy and I just didn't have the prep time I needed to get my act together. The result was a short run with very little action. We did managed to advance a couple of plot threads just a hair. And Radarman and Dingo doubleteamed Rhino and knocked his ass out. That was pretty cool I thought. It'll be six weeks before the next run, which gives me plenty of time to work on the next big action sequences. Next session should give the Home Team an opportunity to save New York City. Not just a few New Yorkers, but the whole damn town.

Friday, June 10, 2005

An Item of Note

The Lesser Tome of Farinus

The exterior of this work is red dragonskin hidden underneath a thick layer of encrusted earth. The first fifteen pages of the book are wizard spells listed below. The dirt on these first fisteen pages adds one to the DC of any Spellcraft checks involving copying spells or using the Lesser Tome as a "borrowed spellbook". The next ten pages after the spells are blank. The remaining seventy five pages are partial notes penned by the wizard Farinus during his horrible experiments in the creation of bizarre new monsters. This book is called the Lesser Tome because Farinus undoubtedly had a more complete spellbook and perhaps better records for some of his vile experiments. Resale value: 750gp as a spellbook, perhaps this Tome would be worth more to someone interested in Farinus's efforts in monster creation.

0th Level
detect magic
ghost sound
touch of fatigue

1st Level
burning hands
cause fear
comprehend languages
endure elements
obscuring mist
protection from chaos
protection from evil
protection from good
protection from law

Two great links

One for religious skeptics or folks who don't believe in Biblical inerrancy: Kissing Hank's Ass.

And one for geography buffs: The Dymaxion Map.

Thursday, June 09, 2005

The Bottled City

Erik Mona reports (in his blog, The Analytical Engine) the offering on eBay of a level (one large map and a four page key) from the original Castle Greyhawk! Here's the direct link to the auction. Final sale price of this treasure was $3,650. That blows away the previous record of just over 2 grand for a copy of the super-rare (but otherwise un-noteworthy) module ST1 Up the Garden Path.

As far as I can tell the item that I consider the one true Holy Grail of D&D collectors has never come up for sale. This would be a little manuscript called "Supplement to Chainmail" that was the original draft for Dungeons & Dragons. Something like 50 copies were distributed among the local gamers in Lake Geneva and possibly among Dave Arneson's group.

Although I get itchy for old stuff like this from time to time, I'm just as happy with decent retro efforts such as Gary Gygax's hopefully-forthcoming Castle Zagyg. But it's difficult to pull off a good retro product. There's always the issue of changing sensibilities among the gaming community. You couldn't just tart up an exact transcription of something like the Bottle City and expect people to be able to run it nowadays. But if you stray too far from the original you get uneven results like the various "Return to" modules.

A new feat

from RPGnetter WombleHunter.

You can confuse the blind nuclear chaos at the centre of the universe with your quick wits.
Prerequisites: Bluff 10 ranks, Improved Initiative
Benefit: You may, when confronted by a being of cosmological power and rage so vast it flows around the universe, attempt a DC 20 Bluff check to render the being effectively stunned for one round. Making this check is a full-round action.
Special: You may retry this check in each round that you are in the presence of such a being and are not consumed.

Inspired by a report of a Call of Cthulhu PC who managed to survive 10 minutes at the center of the cosmos by repeated Fast Talk rolls.

Last night's custom critter

(Medium Half-(red) Dragon Monstrous Hunting Spider)
Medium Dragon
Hit Dice: 2d10+4 (15 hp)
Initiative: +3
Speed: 40 ft. (8 squares), climb 30 ft.
Armor Class: 18 (+3 Dex, +5 natural), touch 13, flat-footed 15
Base Attack/Grapple: +1/+1
Attack: Claw +8 melee (1d4+4)
Full Attack: 2 Claws +8 melee (1d4+4 each), Bite +3 melee (1d6+4 plus poison)
Space/Reach: 5 ft./5 ft.
Special Attacks: Poison, web, breath weapon
Special Qualities: Darkvision 60 ft., low-light vision, tremorsense 60 ft., vermin traits, immune to sleep and paralysis, immune to fire
Saves: Fort +5, Ref +3, Will +0
Abilities: Str 19, Dex 17, Con 14, Int 2, Wis 10, Cha 4
Skills: Climb +15, Hide +7, Jump +14, Spot +8
Feats: Weapon FinesseB
Environment: Temperate forests or warm mountains
Organization: Solitary or colony (2–5)
Challenge Rating: 3
Treasure: 1/10 coins; 50% goods; 50% items
Alignment: Always chaotic evil
Advancement: 3 HD (Medium)
Level Adjustment:

Dragonspiders are the result of an insane attempt to crossbreed giant hunting spiders and red dragons.
Poison (Ex): A dragonspider has a poisonous bite. Fortitude DC 13 or take 1d4 Str damange both initial and secondary.
Web (Ex): Dragon spiders often wait in their webs or in trees, then lower themselves silently on silk strands and leap onto prey passing beneath. A single strand is strong enough to support the spider and one creature of the same size. The web is break DC 17 and has 6 hit points.
Breath Weapon (Ex): 30-foot cone of fire. 6d8 points of damage. Reflex save vs DC 13 for half. Useable once a day.
Tremorsense (Ex): A dragonspider can detect and pinpoint any creature or object within 60 feet in contact with the ground.
Skills: Dragonspiders have a +4 racial bonus on Hide, a +8 racial bonus on Climb checks and Spot checks, and a +10 racial bonus on Jump checks. A dragonspider can always choose to take 10 on Climb checks, even if rushed or threatened. Dragonspiders use either their Strength
or Dexterity modifier for Climb checks, whichever is higher.

Green Ronin continues to kick ass

Green Ronin Publishing is proud to announce to upcoming release of the True20 Adventure Roleplaying game. Based on the innovative new rules system from Blue Rose, our Roleplaying Game of Romantic Fantasy, True20 provides a complete set of rules for fast, easy, and fun adventure roleplaying. All you need is a single 20-sided die to play, and the system guides you through the process of creating your own heroic character, with plenty of options to choose from, letting you create the hero you want to play! True20 Adventure Roleplaying will be available next week in PDF format from RPGNow. Whether you are an experienced roleplayer or just looking for a new, simple, and fun game system, True20 is roleplaying done right!

I'd like to get True20 Adventure but I'm afraid it will just sit next to Castles & Crusades collecting dust.

Wednesday, June 08, 2005

In other news:

Mike Mearls has signed on to work for Wizards of the Coast. Kudos to Mr. Mearls for nabbing his dream job. On the down side this means he will no longer being doing any work for Malhavoc.

Obituary: David C. Sutherland III

A Great Man

I have some profoundly sad news to report. David C. Sutherland III passed away sometime Tuesday in his residence in Sault Sainte Marie, Michigan. While his health had been in sharp decline, he was fairly active in his last days and was taking good care of himself. Thus, his death comes as sudden and unexpected.

Dave is survived by his ex-wife and two daughters. His sister Trudy, brother Scott, and mother would like to pass along their warmest regards to all of those who participated in the Collector's Trove auctions of David's collection over the past year. The funds have been placed in an account to support David's estate and his surviving family members.

He will be interred with full military honors at Ft. Snelling National Cemetery in Minneapolis, MN.

David as you know was a longtime artist in the gaming world. Producing countless works at an incredible rate, he helped illustrate the games of our imagination for generations of players. Wargames, roleplaying games, strategy games, and board games. David had done it all with the care and intensity that only a true fan of the historical, sci-fi, fantasy game genre could uphold.

The seminal artist of the Dungeons and Dragons and Advanced Dungeons and Dragons game and the fantasy world of M.A.R. Barker's Tékumel, David helped shape the very roots of the roleplaying games we all know and love. His work is the canvas of our youth and fond sentiments. Many of the top writers and artists involved with the roleplaying games industry owe their inspiration and calling to him.

David's involvement in the art of games goes back to 1974 and the breadth and depth of his work is a roadmap for the history of the industry.

Every game industry person that knew Dave respected him for his unswerving devotion to art and remembered him for his great heart. Dave was a truly honest, loyal, decent, kind hearted soul, that selflessly shared a particularly keen wisdom to all around him. Many of them owe their happiness in life and life's calling to David. He was truly a man for others.

Born in 1949, in Minneapolis, David grew up in the image of his artistic father, David C. Sutherland II. His father's work in the paper industry brought vast supplies of creative material to their home and fueled David's interest in artistic endeavors. So too, his father's love for drawing, woodworking, and painting fixed Dave's heart in the field of art.

Dave, like his father, served in the military. Dave saw active duty as a Military Policeman in the Vietnam War in 1969-70. Also, like his father, David avidly sketched and recorded his days during the war.

Dave loved to dance, was an avid reader of science-fiction and fantasy novels, and became involved with the Society of Creative Anachronisms in the early 70's. He spent his free time drawing sketches and cartoons regarding these pastimes.

Eventually, Mike Mornard, a friend of Dave, also involved in the Society of Creative Anachronisms, would introduce Dave to Professor M.A.R. Barker at the University of Minnesota in 1975. The latter was producing an imaginary world for use with the wildly popular Dungeons and Dragons game published by TSR Hobbies of Lake Geneva, Wisconsin. The happy meeting of the two sparked a creative relationship and Dave began illustrating Barker's world for all to see. Soon, David was working for TSR and continued to do so for nearly 25 years. Loyalty.

Alas, TSR Hobbies was purchased in 1999 by Wizards of the Coast. Despite his unparalleled loyalty to TSR Hobbies the new company did not rehire Dave. In a particularly shameful moment for the roleplaying games industry, the company did not even give Dave so much as a single phone call.

This was a particularly devastating, heartbreaking, blow to David, a person founded in loyalty. Those years were unkind to David and they took a terrible toll on him. Soon his health was in sharp decline. Doctors gave him a terminal prognosis.

Work was sporadic for David during this time and he felt abandoned by the gaming industry. He was unhappy and unwell. He had given up wanting to live.

In autumn 2004, however, a meeting between Paul Stormberg of the Collector's Trove and Dave's sister Trudy, revealed Dave's fantastic collection of artwork, miniature sculptures, games, and game memorabilia. According to Dave's wishes the collection was to be auctioned off on eBay by the Collector's Trove. It was Dave's hope to add the proceeds to his estate so that he could provide a financial trust for his daughters upon his passing.

The response to the auction was tremendous, a huge outpouring of support from Dave's fans swelled interest in the auctions. To date the auctions and sales of Dave's collection have garnered over $22,000. Letters, cards, and emails poured in for David, all wishing him well and hoping for better health for him. Most importantly, they shared how much David's artwork had meant to them over the years.

The auction and subsequent communications were a real affirmation for David. Outside of his family and close friends, he never realized just how much of a positive impact he had on so many people from so many different walks of life.

This outpouring of well wishes and sentiments of appreciation gave David a new will to live. Every day he tried to rejuvenate his spirit and fine motor skills. He even finished a piece of artwork that had lain unfinished for years.

It would be tragic for a great man to die not knowing he was a great man. Dave knew. Thanks to all of you.

Cards and sentiments can be sent to Trudy DeKeuster, 13911 Castelar Circle, Omaha, NE 68144. Email correspondence and requests for additional information may be sent to Paul Stormberg at


Paul J. Stormberg

Monday, June 06, 2005

Been messing with templates

I've produced several templated critters for my new D&D campaign, but the monster below I made strictly as an homage to the old Legend of Zelda nintendo game. The rest of my new beasties will be published after my PCs encounter them.


(a.k.a. Half-(red) Dragon Unicorn)
Large Dragon
Hit Dice: 4d12+24 (52 hp)
Initiative: +3
Speed: 60 ft. (12 squares), fly 120 ft. (24 squares), average maneuverability
Armor Class: 22 (–1 size, +3 Dex, +10 natural), touch 12, flat-footed 19
Base Attack/Grapple: +4/+13
Attack: Claw +12 melee (1d6+9)
Full Attack: 2 Claws +12 melee (1d6+9 each) and 1 Bite +7 melee (1d8+9)
Space/Reach: 10 ft./5 ft.
Special Attacks: Breath Weapon
Special Qualities: Darkvision 60 ft., magic circle against evil, spell-like abilities, immunity to poison, charm, paralysis, sleep, and compulsion, low-light vision, scent, wild empathy, immunity to fire
Saves: Fort +10, Ref +7, Will +6
Abilities: Str 28, Dex 17, Con 23, Int 12, Wis 21, Cha 26
Skills: Bluff +5, Jump +30, Listen +11, Move Silently +9, Spot +11, Survival +8*
Feats: Alertness, Skill Focus (Survival)
Environment: Temperate forests or warm mountains
Organization: Solitary, pair, or grace (3–6)
Challenge Rating: 5
Treasure: None
Alignment: Always chaotic evil
Advancement: 5–8 HD (Large)
Level Adjustment: +7 (cohort)

Aquamenti speak Draconic, Sylvan, and Common.

Magic Circle against Law (Su): This ability continuously duplicates the effect of the spell. An aquamentus cannot suppress this ability.
Spell-Like Abilities: Aquamenti can use detect law at will as a free action.
Once per day it can use greater teleport to move anywhere within its home. It cannot teleport beyond the boundaries of its native forest or mountain chain nor back from outside.
An aquamentus can use cure light wounds three times per day and cure moderate wounds once per day (caster level 5th) by touching a wounded creature with its horn. Once per day it can use neutralize poison (DC 22, caster level 8th) with a touch of its horn. The save DC is Charisma-based.
Wild Empathy (Ex): This power works like the druid’s wild empathy class feature, except that an aquamentus has a +6 racial bonus on the check.
Breath Weapon (Ex): 30-foot cone of fire. Reflex save vs. DC 15 for half. Useable once per day.
Skills: Aquamenti have a +4 racial bonus on Move Silently checks. *Aquamenti have a +3 competence bonus on Survival checks within the boundaries of their forest.

News Item

Mutants & Masterminds Second Edition Announced

For your reading pleasure

The secret origin of Batman! Or something.

Sunday, June 05, 2005

Two Odd Bits

I ended up having lunch earlier this week at Aroma, the hip new cafe downtown. This is the place I have mentioned once before as serving powdered chai but charging real chai prices. The food's good though and they have other non-coffee drinks on the menu. I forgot to bring reading material and the only thing handy was the Wall Street Journal, which interests me less than if Jehovah's Witnesses had left a Watchtower behind. A few glances at the Journal was all I could muster, leaving me plenty of time to think while waiting on my curry chicken salad wrap. I eventually struck upon this question: Do the artsy girls behind the counter exist only because there are coffee houses to employ them? If no such jobs were available, would they skip the piercings and emo glasses and just get a straight job in an office somewhere? I know none of them consciously decide, as the tattoo man is finishing the little butterfly on the small of their back, that if they want to support their alternative lifestyle they better learn how to make expresso. But it seems to me that these hip coffee houses enable them to live their lives that way. If suddenly everyone stopped drinking half-caf mocha enchirritos or whatever then these ladies would probably have to get a conservative haircut and buy some non-capri pants. Conclusion: we should all support the cafe industry more. Free-spirited hippy chicks throughout the nation are counting on us!

I was on checking out vacuum cleaners (ours just died) when I noticed a particular Hoover I was examining had two reviews: a "hey, it works!" five star seal of approval and a vicious one star panning. I usually take bad reviews much more seriously than ringing endorsements, so I decided to research this guy a little bit more via Amazon's handy "click here to see other reviews by this jimbo" link. First off, this guy had one bad hoover and decided to cut and paste his diatribe into the review section of every Hoover model sold by Amazon. His beef wasn't even with the vacuum I was looking to buy! Second, he gave Mein Kampf five goddamn stars. Jaysus. You can't give a book written by Adolf Fucking Hitler five stars and expect to be taken seriously. I don't care if it's the new goldleaf annotated complete Mein Kampf for the serious historical researcher. I don't care if this particular edition comes with a wish-granting genie inside. Hell, I may just start telling my friends to buy Hoover vacuum cleaners because Nazi sympathizers don't like 'em. That's a completely unfair assessment of this guy but you know what? I reserve the right to be completely unfair when motherfucking Nazis are involved.

Friday, June 03, 2005

Darius Solluman Explains Nobilis Combat

Combat in Nobilis works as follows:

A) People act in Aspect order.
B) People have a Miraculuos and a Mundane action.
C) When Miracles directly conflict, highest Miracle level wins (thus why you can artifically inflate a Miracle's level).
D) When Miracles indirectly conflict, both work to their fullest extent; in aspects where they partially conflict, the higher level miracle tends to win out (this is likely the most fiaty-element of conflict).
E) When a Miracle would directly harm a Noble, it must have Penetration equal to the Noble's Spirit to penetrate the Auto-thingy.
F) Miracles must be of at least Level X to deal a Deadly Wound; Y to deal a Significant Wound, and Z to deal a Surface Wound. Gifts like Durant increase those levels (and Immortal makes them basically irrelevant).
G) Mundane Actions have a 'miracle equivelent' level, based on what tools you might be using. (This is a bit fiaty, but examples of various levels of tools is provided). Any Miraculous Action trumps a Mundane Action.

Quote of the Day

I don't do it for the money
I don't do it for the fame
I don't do it for the complements
Or the stories that I frame,
For the GM's true reward
isn't cash, cred, or aclaim
But the simple lasting joys of
mastering the game.

--RPGnetter Bailywolf

Even More Picking on Ep III

Remember kids: mockery is the sincerest form of mockery. Or something like that.

Thursday, June 02, 2005

Wednesday, June 01, 2005

Insipid Quiz Results

Nothing says "nuanced" like either/or answers that make no sense and percentages of ideological purity.

Your Political Profile

Overall: 10% Conservative, 90% Liberal

Social Issues: 25% Conservative, 75% Liberal

Personal Responsibility: 0% Conservative, 100% Liberal

Fiscal Issues: 0% Conservative, 100% Liberal

Ethics: 0% Conservative, 100% Liberal

Defense and Crime: 25% Conservative, 75% Liberal

From the weird nostalgia vault

The tale of Garzon the Lobster God, as related by Fred Snyder. I had forgotten about my Garzonian Papacy.