Showing posts with label Series. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Series. Show all posts

Wednesday, February 19, 2020

The Minus Faction: Breakout review

Title:  The Minus Faction: breakout
Team: Rick Wayne  (Author),
Robert Sammelin (Illustrator),
Karen Conlin (Editor)
Year: August 5, 2014
Pages: 124
Rating: ★★★★

I've always loved serials. Especially the old 50's stuff. The Minus Faction: breakout is not old school, it's is in the now while hearkening back to classic serials. It's concise, fast paced, and a great story. It embraces current events and calls back to ancient mysteries.

I can't wait to read the next one in the series. Give it a try for free with your Amazon Kindle.


Monday, January 27, 2020

Matt Jackson's CollaboDungeon #2

Here we are, round two! I picked room 22, a forested room in a dungeon. Click here to read Matt's full post and see all three maps.


22. The Faerie Queen’s Thicket

Small animals frolic among all the trees. Under the largest tree is a white brocade blanket, upon which sits a elderly woman. On noticing the party, she sings out:

“Come out, come out,
“I am the mistress of scrying.”

As the characters approach her, she issues a warning:

“Come and sit,
“There is a place for all here,
“But don’t drink the water.”

The reference to water refers to room 15. She offers the characters food and drink. Consuming the food and drink of the Faerie Queen will restore 1d6 hit points and remove any curses or poisons. Characters may be reluctant to partake of the Faerie Queen’s provisions, but it is safe.

If asked about other rooms, the Faerie Queen will produce a crystal ball and describe them. The only limitation to scrying is if the characters have not be there, they might not understand. If characters look at the crystal ball, they see nothing but cloudiness.

The woman is reluctant to leave room 22, but the party can convince her to leave if they promise to take her out by the shortest route. If the party deviates from the shortest route, she will teleport back to her seat in room 22.

If they return to her, she will sing:

“This is my home,
“And you have been banished.”

No food or drink will be offered this time, and if the characters consume it, they will die in 24 hours. There will be no pain, only a sudden feeling of certain doom.

If any character takes the crystal ball, the Queen will vanish and that character will take her place.

The Goblin’s Henchmen’s rule is in effect, 300 words, less 1 for fun. This post draws on DMB’s song Don’t Drink the Water.

Monday, July 1, 2019

Appendix N+ Louise Cooper's Lord of No Time Series

Louise Cooper
The Initiate
ISBN: 1594260842
Publication Date: 1985

The Outcast
ISBN: 1594264155
Publication Date: 1986

The Master
ISBN: 1594261385
Publication Date: 1987

Louise Cooper's 1977 Lord of No Time was reworked into this trilogy. The story covers the epic battle of law vs. chaos, with Cyllan and Tarod as pawns of the gods.

Not only is the story captivating, I found the cover art to be fascinating.

Available at Alibris: Books, Music, & Movies.

Appendix N+ Terry Brook's Magic Kingdom For Sale/Sold Series.

I have decided to reformat the Appendix N+, so the first 3 entries show a post date of July 1, 2019.

The first offering for Appendix N+ is the Magic Kingdom For Sale/Sold Series.

Magic Kingdom for Sale-Sold!
ISBN: 0-345-31758-0
Publication Date: 1986

Follow Ben Holiday on an adventure to an impossible magic kingdom where none is as they seem. The series includes 6 books spanning two generations of heroes.

The Black Unicorn
ISBN: 0-345-33528-7
Publication Date: 1987

Dirk the prism cat's introduction to the series, as unicorns race through Chicago! Seriously, the best damn non-sequitur ever!

Wizard at Large ISBN: 0-345-36227-6
Publication Date: 1988

If I had magic, I'd want it to be like powers of Questor Thews. Unsure, uncertain but always on the right side.

The Tangle Box ISBN: 0-345-38700-7
Publication Date: 1994

Squick results when The Tangle Box opens.

Witches' Brew ISBN: 0-345-38702-3
Publication Date: 1995

Brookes explores Fey magic with the introduction of Mistaya, Willow and Ben's daughter.

A Princess of Landover
ISBN: 0-345-45852-4
Publication Date: 2009

Mistaya is loaded with charm and magic, but being Ben's daughter means this story isn't going where you think. It's a horrible ending to a great series, but an excellent reason to write one more book.

Saturday, January 5, 2019

52 Weeks of Magic - 1 of 52 - Magic Lamps

As a New Years resolution, I have decided to create a news column style post, entitled "52 Weeks of Magic".

These spells and items have played a prominent role in my various D&D campaigns over the years. They should be amendable to the various D&D editions available to all players, including retro games such as Labyrinth Lord and BlueHolme. I am uncertain about 4e or 5e as I do not play those sets... yet.

The first entry to the 52 Weeks of Magic is a basic magic spell employed in a way that was never really intended: Continual Light as magic item. Quite possibly, this was your first magic item. It was mine.

The spell creates a sphere of light with a 60' radius. It will move at the direction of the caster or it could be attached to a mobile or immobile object such as a rock. As an attack spell, it could be cast at a creature's eyes to cause blindness. Over the years, dispelling the globe of light was worded differently. It could be canceled by a Darkness spell, at will by the caster, Dispel Magic, and in the case of blinded creatures, Remove Curse.

Gee, that is a rather problematical spell on a couple of levels. It disappeared in 3.5e, replaced by Continual Flame which has a cost and is less effective. This was a stylistic change and probably for the better.

Down to the brass tacks. Or tube, as the case may be. Character's intelligent enough to realize the immediate benefit of the spell could cast this spell into a scroll tube. My character used a brass map tube, creating a brass lantern, ala Zork. One of my players cast the spell into a cut and blackened tube of bamboo and added a large glass bead for color and dubbed it the 'boo Torch. The color of the bead of glass was assigned to specific characters so they could identify each other over great distances. How ingenious.

This article is not about the spell, it's about the items created for the spell. The material cost can be very low in the case of the 'boo Torch. Or more likely, the spell would be cast on a high value item such as an ornate, custom-made tube or a standard votive candle.

The game breaking aspect of this spell and the items created by it are not the obvious ones. A Continual Flame spell in 3.5e carries a cost of 50 gp. Even at many times this rate, every village should have one or more lanterns powered by Continual Light. Dungeons should be lit all the time. Another consequence is lanterns should not exist at all or exist as a cheaper replacement to the magic lanterns being turned out by the player characters.

An interesting cultural twist on this type of item is whole cities being lit by these devices. Attackers would be well advised to make Dispel Magic and Darkness apart of their siege craft. Imagine the terror of having your defenses plunged into darkness the moment a besieging army arrived? Where are those lamps and torches, again? Defenders wouldn't have ready stocks of oil due to a lack of reliance on it for lighting.

Another aspect to considered for this infiltration of magic on a culture is the lack of heat by light sources. A permanently lit room is pretty chilly without a fire or stove. Some cities may require lamp and torch making materials on hand at all times after the "White Winter Death", a particular bad winter which exhausted all primary sources of fuel for heating and no reserve of burnable lighting materials existed. Sure, there was light but it was of little comfort from the cold. Other cities may not be able to handle tradition sources a light as they are walking fire hazards.

In general, if a culture has no reliance on oil for lighting, the need for oil is greatly reduced. This fact could reduce a nation's need for presses, ceramics, waxes, machines, crops like olives, the hunting for blubber bearing creatures, etc. Lighting is a critical aspect of a culture's style.

Limitations to this type of object could be simple. There is a desire to outdo other wizards, clerics and magic users by having the most ornate device imaginable. It isn't a material cost of the spell, it is the desire to have shinier kit than everyone else that drove the price.

Another limitation introduced by my characters was to voluntarily end the blinding effects after a period of time. This is an entirely different issue, but interesting because the players thought of it themselves. I liked it because I had forgotten about the poor blinded victim. He was never coming back into the story, but the good and lawful players decided that a day of blindness was more than enough "punishment". Can you say bonus role play experience?

The oddity of this was the "dispel at will" function never had a clear distance rule. This circles back to siegecraft, a wizard could be enticed to turn out the lights on an offending city.

I experimented with the "the birthday rule", where all magic spells ended on the caster's birthday if not supported by another energy source. A Resurrection spells continued past the birth date of the caster because the living person was the source of power for continuance, but poorly worded Wishes and Continual Light stopped on the caster's next birthday. I liked this story line as a one shot, as it put a single character at the center of an adventure, but it was impractical over time. This adventure corresponded to a player's birthday and I was unable to keep it going over the whole campaign.

I hope you enjoyed this essay. Next week's magic item is The Rat Bag. Please come back next Saturday evening for another unique essays on magic.

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13 14 15Shape of Memory16
17 18 19Staff of Eyes20
21 22 23Whispering Wings24
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Now, the commercial. I have a little book called Zero to Hero: Uncommon Commoners, over at DrivethruRPG. I am obviously thinking of writing another and Gnolls might be the subject. Please let me know what you think in the comments. 

Tuesday, May 15, 2018

Outside the Envelope

Sometimes my family gets a chance to step out of New York and experience wonders in other places. Our most recent major endeavor was Disney World.

My wife and I had made this journey a couple of times, but the kids have only been twice. Both trips were amazing!
Alice, the Mad Hatter and my kids.

We had a little help for all of our trips. The first time it was AAA, the second was my mother-in-law, who is amazing a trip planning. She travels all the time, but Disney isn't really her favorite. We need a pro this time. 

A good planner can help get all your ducks in a row. Over the next few weeks, I will be reviewing some of the choices we made in the past and a few vacation planners, like Jaime Nowicki. You might find her helpful, too. Expert help is always wonderful, they can point you to new options and things you might not have thought of even if you are good at planning. Jaime has given me a ton of ideas for this upcoming trip. 

Two of three trips to Disney have been in August. The other was in February. Completely different experiences. This next one will be a big one around a major holiday. All of the rules change and I'll need a little help from Jaime to pull this off. 

I have another vacation in the works. This is more of a working vacation as it will be to support a novel called "Pio". It takes place in Bari, Italy. This is likely several years down the line, but the planning started a year ago. Jaime specialized in Disney, but also plans cruises and other all inclusive packages. I'm ready to pick her brain, but bookings and spousal approval are months to years away. 

If you are looking to get away, drop her a message or check out her website.