Wednesday, December 16, 2020
Wednesday, November 25, 2020
Amazon has the David Macaulay series of books at a great price. The books range in price from less than $6.00 to just under $20.00. I love this series of books as they are wonderful reference materials for a variety of games and models. They are informative as educational.
Even better, they have a collection of 5 DVD which bring the books Mill, Castle, Pyramid, City and Cathedrel to life. This one has a hefter price tag, around $100.00 for the set. If you shop around, you can find the individual DVD for about $12-20 each.
Ads provided by Amazon help fund this website by remuneration.
Thursday, October 22, 2020
I love these choose your own adventure style books. Since then, I noticed the price dropped on a couple of them. Back in March, I realized I'd have some time on my hands so I picked up a few of these. The prices were better on Alibris, so that is the route I when. However, they did not have all of the titles, so Amazon has a better selection.
The links below are paid ads and will take you to Amazon.com.
Endless Quest Books
Thursday, April 16, 2020
As a social studies teacher, I like to tell people that I know everything... just not all at once. :)
The fact is, while I can't know everything, I have complied a list of resources so I can get an overview of a vast variety of subjects rather easily. Today, I found a new resource:
From the desk of Dr. Oskar Seyffert. this 1895 illustrated dictionary runs from Abacus to Zosimus. I'm sure it's horribly dated, but you have to love a dictionary that ends with a Greek historian and an Index. The first seems perfect to me, but the second is most definitively wrong in my internet addled brain.
Archive.org has 10 different files and 19 different ways to download this book for free. Check it out, it could be a great campaign helper for you game.
Tuesday, April 7, 2020
It looks like they're missing some titles, but the prices can't be beat. Since I last checked, it looks like the prices are down a buck or two. None of them are over $8.00 and most of them are under $5.
Thursday, February 27, 2020
#TBT review - Dunromin University Press' SM00 A Traveller's Atlas of Dunromin and the Land of the Young Review
Author: Dunromin University Press (Simon Miles)
Rule Set: OSRIC
Number of Players: N/A
This is supposed to be a full color map folio of the Free City of Dunromin, but the work goes so much further. In addition to the beautifully drawn Free City, Mr. Miles killed it with amazing details of the surrounding area, political and physical maps of the Land of the Young, barony maps, maps of the continent and of the world.
The artwork is incredible, a great addition to any old school gaming campaign. Being a set of maps designed for OSRIC, it is generic enough to fit into any fantasy game system.
I just can't get over the art. The cover and some other images are wholly digital, but others look hand drawn. It's a near thing, I can usually tell the difference, but not in this product. Many of the pages are on a graph, but I can't tell if it's pencil on graphpaper, or digital work meant to look old school. There are a few pages where I think I can see blowthrough, like a scanner picked up information from a page behind the scanned page, but I can't be certain it isn't photoshopped to look like that.
I probably won't use this in my campaign, but I am already looking to see which pages I will print and frame. Simply put, it's awesome!
Priced a pay what you want, you can't go wrong with this title. I can't wait to check out the rest of the series.
If you need a Christmas gift and you have a nice printer and paper, this is perfect.
Friday, February 14, 2020
I do love serialized books, because they tend to be quick reads. Crossfire is the second in the series. Both books' reviews often call them page turners, so I hope to knock them both out this weekend.
Alastair Reynolds' Permaforst is another thriller, which seems different for him. It includes time travel, which I also like. Reynolds is often a hard sci-fi writer, so I want to see how he handles it. I love all of his shorter works and have reread many of them. This one is a novella.
And my long slog of reading is Aquelarre Breviarium, the classic Spanish roleplaying game. This one will take awhile as I can read Spanish, but never read anything of this genre. You can pick up the PDF from Nosolorol. I found it hard to find on their website, so the link goes directly to the PDF's page.
NEW! Aquelarre is now available at DriveThruRPG!
Thursday, January 2, 2020
Over on THAC0's facebook page, someone was just asking about guns in D&D, which sort of fits John's idea. However, my question is, how does magic slide into a Colonial Setting?
Go check out the Red Dice Diaries here. And friend THAC0 on Facebook here at this link. THAC0 also has an associate blog page which is a wonderful read if you like anything about D&D.
If I were to suggest a resource or two for John's campaign, I would pick the book "Everyday Life In Early America". I've always meant to do a review of this book as it paints a highly detailed picture of common things the colonist would have done or encountered in a day. I totally use this for my D&D campaigns to get the brain juices flowing.
Red Dice Diaries also has a link to an excellent resource called "30 Days of Worldbuilding: An Author's Step-by-Step Guide to Building Fictional Worlds" by A Trevena. He will be using this book to build his campaign, so now is a great time to either follow his blog or add the podcast to your podcatching software.
Wednesday, January 1, 2020
Sunday, December 1, 2019
Sunday, September 29, 2019
My intent is to take some of Mr. Davies' observations and plug them into my role playing games. I haven't gone far into the 741 page book, but it's great so far. Once I'm done, I'll throw up a review.
I can't wait to get through this. So many games rely on money, gold, credits, but I really have no idea how an economy develops money in lieu of barter. Barter is such a pain in the butt that I can see the drive to cash and coins, but how that happens in the real world is mystery to me.
Saturday, September 14, 2019
Author: Michael DiBaggio and Shell "Presto" DiBaggio
Illustrator: Shell "Presto" DiBaggio
Rating: 5 of 5 stars.
I hate big screen or small screen characters render in novel form. It's always horrible, little better than the second Star Wars book, Splinter in the Minds Eye. I want to tell future readers that this is a mashup of comic book characters set in the science fiction worlds of 1880s and 90s.
It is, but it really isn't. The prose reminds me of the classic adventure of The War of the Worlds, which it should because it is implicitly set with in that world. Each of the four short stories captures that time period perfectly, no accidental or intentional anachronistic parts at all. The Signalman does remind me of Iron Man, but he is not remotely a superhero in that vein. In fact, I know that he should be a comic book character because that is what he was designed to be, but somehow, he isn't. Nor are any of the other characters.
Its hard to describe what the Celestial Paladin is, but I can tell you where these characters came from. There are hints of C. S. Lewis, J. R. R. Tolkien fused with H. G. Wells. The story "In Hoc Signo" starts in Well's world of Tripod invaders and ends with a taste of Lewis's Out of a Silent Planet. The writing is more than strong, it is powerful. Reading older works is often difficult due to the changing of styles. But Mr. and Mrs. DiBaggio do not struggle with this. They capture the flavor of these works, but also give it a style all their own. The easy comparison is to the past, but the authors manage to infuse this style with a more modern frantic-ness, in the vein of Dagberto Glib ("Love in L.A.") or Louise Erdrich ("The Red Convertible"). Perhaps it is the vignette style of these 4 short pieces that capture a tiny bit of introspection by the authors, which echos through each piece.
Regarding the illustrations, they are from a very different artist from the Shell "Presto" DiBaggio, who engages with her audience on social media. They have tiny reflection of the work of Kahlil Gibran. What is most interesting about the images of the Signalman and The Cyclone Ranger, is that they show an evolution of style over 2 years. The second is more like Mrs. DiBaggio's current artwork, but still reflecting the style of that old era. Like the writing, the illustrations have a touch of modern, frantic energy, while still embodying the works of arts from the past. Instead of being caught in between eras, they are great enhancements to the stories told. They fit perfectly.
I was only vaguely aware that the book contained artwork, and I would suggest to the reader that they obtain a paper copy as paper will always render the artwork closest to what the artist intended. It is an inherent flaw in all ebook technology.
I will give this book one more read, maybe two before purchasing the next title. It was an excellent primer for the world of Ascension Epoch.
Sunday, September 8, 2019
Today's choices were Astronomy Cast's Stellar Collisions and Alastair Reynold's House of Suns. I picked up the Kindle version of the book, but I also found the Audible version appealing. I might upgrade to the that next and combine the idea of listening and reading.
If you have any suggestions for books or podcast, leave them in the comments.
Sunday, August 11, 2019
Jon Wilson, of Appendix M put the bug in my head to steal a villain with his post on The Rival Party. These characters are decidedly different, with incredibly cool powers and abilities. I love the idea of a rival party as adversaries.
I immediately thought of a character I want to steal for a campaign. He is the Monomach from Stephen R. Donaldson's Mordant's Need series.
The Monomach is the villain's right hand man, the most skilled swordsman in the lands. As a villain, he is totally one dimensional. He's given a target and then the target dies. Or at least that is how he should work.
He is actually simple enough to build an AD&D character class with little adaption. First, he is a fightman so he has all of the abilities of a Fighter. Second, he has the disguise abilities of an Assassin. Third, he has some ability to heal himself like a Paladin. Finally, he will gain the damage bonus of a Monk. His prime requisites are Strength, Constitution and Intelligence. To get a +5% bonus to exp, he must have at least a 12 in each of those skills. To get a 10% bonus, he must have a 15 in each.
In framing the villain as a character with a class, he can scale with the Player Characters. He can start relatively weak with the PCs and grow from there.
Let's assign those abilities by level.
On creation - +1 to Strength or Constitution regardless of race.
Level 1 - Disguise as an equal level Assassin.
Level 3 - Laying has as Paladin of equal level.
Level 5 - Damage adjustment as per Monks +1 per 2 levels.
What is the Monomach characters limitations?
They are limited to two magic items plus one magic weapon and one magical piece of armor. They are limited to only equipment they can carry, even at home. They cannot backstab as Assassins do. They do not fight weaponless as Monks do. They do not have the variety of weapons of a fighter, they tend to stick to one main weapon and one back up. They don't often use bows. They can ride horses, but can not care for them. They work alone and are likely to strike a "friendlies" as they get in the way like a berserker. This berserker tendency is not a special skill or ability, it is just a ruthless and bloody methodology. They are relatively poor in day to day skills, unable to cook, care for animals or hunt making them reliant on their master's staff for self-care.
This lack of people and daily living skills prevents them from having followers, retainers or constructing a keep, tower or other base of operation. When assigned to retainers by their master, they tend to follow the retainer until a target presents itself.
What would make this type of character too overpowered? A crystal ball and a ring of teleportation. Yeah, I would totally give my evil Monomach a ring and crystal ball.
Tuesday, July 23, 2019
I received Castle from my parents as a birthday present. The other three I picked up on Amazon, very cheaply. I plan on buying one every few months to complete the collection. I prefer the black and white editions, on paper, but he has updated the series in color and also has many titles available for Kindle.
Fast forward to something I didn't know. Some of them were adapted to documentaries by Unicorn Productions. Even better, they are on Youtube.
I have yet to find a better streaming source, but if I find these elsewhere, I will let you know.
I was going to watch a little Netflix, but this is much better. That and order the few books I am missing from the series. The links below are paid ads and will take you to Amazon.com.
Kindle or Print
Thursday, July 18, 2019
Anyway, I have collected up 3 reviews of The Gardens of Ynn and added a bit of commentary on each review.
The Gauntlet Blog, called the book "evocative" and praises the use of all five senses in the area descriptions. The Gauntlet takes the point of view of White Hack players, which is a step removed from typical D&D. This perspective enhances the review as it leaves the typical D&D archetypes out. While I don't play White Hack, Fraser Simons' review of The Gardens makes me wonder if I should.
Bryce over at Ten Foot Pole, stress the Gothic Horror aspect while digging right into the mechanics of how to use this setting. Bryce is right that this is a setting book as opposed to an adventure, which something that the reader could over look, something that Emmy Allen took a moment to confirm in Ten Foot Pole's comment section.
d4caltrops calls The Garden "elegant". d4 praises the binary aspect of "go deeper/go back" to control where the adventurers go in The Garden. Even better, he suggests easy ways to use this book as a means of transport for your characters. Talk about taking a great idea and making it better.
I was surprised to see that no one commented on the artwork of this piece, which I totally enjoyed. Its Gothic simplicity is wonderful. I love this style of art.
You can pick up The Gardens at DriveThruRPG for just a couple of bucks. You can also go an add the three blogs above for free. Why not do both?
Wednesday, July 17, 2019
Saturday, November 17, 2018
In the image below, you can see my Illustrated World War II Encyclopedia and The New Junior Classics set. These are some of my favorite books for brainstorming gaming ideas.
Well, off to clean up again.
Monday, November 12, 2018
Why not take a look yourself.
I know I will be pouring over this book for days to come. For some odd reason, it isn't even for sale. It's free.
Damn. A mighty big thanks to you Mr. Pearce, you made my day.
You can see the problem, I am sure.
What is in each binder? Might as roll 1d100 to see what I get when I grab one. I decided to print labels for them using Google Docs. Well, there is a horizontal but no vertical ruler.
In an effort to fix this, I made a template with an image of a ruler on each axis of the page. I trimmed the image down to read from 1/4 of an inch to 10 1/2 inches. On the other one, I ended at 8 1/4. It roughly takes into account a quarter inch margin all around and a 48 pt font.
It worked nicely and now I know what books I have.
You can download the template on Drive.
Speaking of books on DriveThruRPG, you could download my book: Zero to Hero: Uncommon Commoners. It's pay-what-you-want and compatible with many OSR D&D type games. It contains over 50 commoner character classes, rules for using the commoner class as a professional skill for PCs and many other game ideas.
While you are there, why don't you leave a review. Feedback is always appreciated.