Pith Helmet

The Otus/Elmore Rule
February 29, 2008, 11:30 am
Filed under: Gaming | Tags:

tip o’ the helmet to Jeff’s Gameblog

Kellri at Knights & Knaves Alehouse posted some recommendations for “How best to experience weird fantasy in a campaign.” Some suggestions were pretty lame, but some were pretty good. My favorite:

– The Otus/Elmore rule: When adding something new to the campaign, try and imagine how Erol Otus would depict it. If you can, that’s far enough…it’s a good idea. If you can picture a Larry Elmore version…it’s far too mundane and boring, excise immediately.


William F. Buckley
February 28, 2008, 3:48 am
Filed under: Obituary | Tags:

William F. Buckley is dead. I first heard the news today from Rush Limbaugh, an appropriate source, I guess. I first discovered Mr. Buckley as a kid in the seventies, checking out the three channels on the television that we received: an NBC affiliate, an ABC affiliate, and PBS. It was there that I found Firing Line. Mr Buckley was the epitome of relaxed preppy cool. Then, in high school, when I found National Review in my school library, I was in heaven. It’s a shame now that if some kid turns on the television, the voice of conservatism he is likely to hear is more likely that of Ann Coulter or someone of her ilk.

National Review Online has collected Buckley tributes from everyone from John McCain to Joe Lieberman.

From The Archives of Greyhawk
February 28, 2008, 2:52 am
Filed under: Gaming | Tags:

The following information is from an Advanced D&D Adventure Record. The gaming session occurred somewhere back during the early-to-mid-eighties. My character in the game was a 1st level Cavalier known simply as Crusader, a monastic knight from medieval Earth who escaped to Oerth to avoid capture by the Saracens only to find that he had no way home. The adventure took place on 8/7/1294. His fellow adventurers were a Bandit named Angrimbor, a half-elven Cleric-Ranger named Taurwen, an Imperial Roman soldier named Selenius who had also been transported to Oerth, a Monk named Danlow, and a Duellist named Fortunado.

The Town of Nilbog
Once our party was assembled, we went out in search of adventure. Our first encounter was in the town of Nilbog in the nation of Celine. Our party rode into the town and was greeted only by the wind and the clatter of our own horses’ hooves. This boring stillness was broken by a human who burst from a tavern. The daring human’s face was broken by a fatal crossbow quarrel. I prepared for my first battle in this world of rampant enchantments. Our opponents were lemon-skinned goblins. During the melee which followed, I pierced one with my trusty lance. My companion Angrimbor sent two of the foul beasts into the ranks of Malgubiyet’s army. Following the battle, we went to the tavern where we rescued the mayor and other denizens. The mayor gave us 50 gold pieces for ridding his town of the goblins. After accepting hospitality from the mayor, we parted company with Fortunado and Danlow and began a southward trek in search of fame and glory.

Topographic Tuesday: The Allied States of America
February 27, 2008, 4:32 am
Filed under: television, topographic tuesday | Tags: ,


Jericho is back, and to mark the occassion, this week’s Topographic Tuesday is a map of post-apocalyptic America. Everything east of the Mississippi is still known as the United States of America, and it is run by remnants of the old Administration from Ohio (no wonder Obama and Clinton are slugging it out so severely).

Almost everything west of the Mississippi is known as the Allied States of America, which is headquartered in Cheyenne, Wyoming. Its army has currently claimed jurisdiction over Jericho, and its government seems to be made up of an evil cabal made up of the John Birch Society, the Halliburton-like Jennings & Rall ubercorp, and the Blackwater-like Ravenwood Solutions mercenary organization.

The sole western holdout is a small republic with its own supply of desperately needed oil: the Republic of Texas.

And speaking of the apocalypse, here are The Top Ten Best Post-Apocalyptic Survival Vehicles

A Throne Carried by Zombies! A Throne Carried by Zombies! My Kingdom for A Throne Carries by Zombies!
February 24, 2008, 12:58 pm
Filed under: Gaming | Tags:

A horse, a horse, my kingdome for a horse.
–William Shakespeare, Richard the Third (London: Andrew Wise, 1597).

Sometimes the comments in a blog can be as good as, if not better than, the actual blog post itself. Case in point. I’ve been following Jeff’s Gameblog for a while now, primarily for his chronicling of Cinder, his OD&D-plus sandbox campaign. If I were to run another campaign, I’d want it to be something like that. In his most recent post, he discusses banishing horses from the campaign world to “go with something dumber.” His main idea: big Joust-style ostrichy birds. Not one of his better ideas, in my humble opinion. I much prefer his idea to have “orcish knights on giant war butterflies.” Although, when I read that, I immediately heard a high-pitched voice in my mind’s ear, “Beware the sting of the Monarch!”

One of his readers, MIke Kuciak, had some very interesting suggestions:

Shoggoth-sized amoebas


Lightning bolts

Tame tornados a la the samurai guy in Challenge of the Superfriends

Sharks with legs

Golems — you ride on their backs in adult-sized papooses.

Giant millipedes

Flying carpets

Vines that grow in whatever direction you guide them

Hamster balls

Giant flying squirrels


Thrones carried by zombies

None — everyone travels via a system of catapaults and nets

Giant, magical boots you ride in as they stomp from place to place

Carriages with monster feet

Human slaves bred as mounts

I’ve loved the idea of golem mounts ever since I first saw an illustration inspired by China Mieville’s Iron Council. However, the system of catapults and nets would be a blast to run. It reminds me of the trebuchet at Roloff Farms.

February 23, 2008, 1:05 pm
Filed under: Art | Tags: ,

Adventure Team
by ~Frohickey on deviantART

GI Joe on Spy Island
by ~Frohickey on deviantART

New York Times Finds New Niche
February 22, 2008, 4:22 am
Filed under: Politics | Tags:

Everyone from Matt Lauer to Rush Limbaugh to NPR was talking about the New York Times running an eight-plus year old story on John McCain’s relationship with a lobbyist.

“Why now?” is the question on everyone’s lips.

The answer is simple. Since the explosion of internet news (sites like The Huffington Post, Newsmax.com, and The Drudge Report), the newspaper biz just isn’t what it used to be. Sales have been flagging. So, like the outhouse builders and the buggywhip weavers before them, print journalists have had to find a new niche. And what better void to fill than that left by Weekly World News. Next thing you know, The New York Times will break the story that Hillary has announced Bat Boy as her running mate.