Many years ago, I decided every post needed some artwork. It's more interesting that way. The other day, I decided that all series need a logo. I have only three built, but here they are.
Wednesday, April 21, 2021
Friday, February 12, 2021
|The path forward is murky|
Once that happens in or around December 2021, I can launch my 2021-2 series on Appendix N+. This will be about books formative to game play and scenario creation, post-1977ish. The Population of Loss review is the kernel of an idea to start my Winter 2021-2 series on Superhero themed gaming posts. I now need to read the rest of the titles in the series because this series is wildly different than other superhero titles.
So on deck, I have a couple of post series planned:
Spring 2021 - Models
Summer 2021 - Outdoors Game sessions,
Fall/Winter 2021 - Superhero gaming,
Fall/Winter/Spring 2021-2 - Appendix N+.
Wednesday, February 19, 2020
Team: Rick Wayne (Author),
Robert Sammelin (Illustrator),
Karen Conlin (Editor)
Year: August 5, 2014
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
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
Publication Date: 1985
Publication Date: 1986
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.
The first offering for Appendix N+ is the Magic Kingdom For Sale/Sold Series.
Magic Kingdom for Sale-Sold!
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.
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
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
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.
|1||2||3||Emulous Cursed Sword||4|
|5||6||7||The Symbol of Sol Invictus||8|
|13||14||15||Shape of Memory||16|
|17||18||19||Staff of Eyes||20|
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
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.|