Pith Helmet


Greyhawk Archive #2: Citadel by The Sea
July 19, 2008, 11:52 am
Filed under: Gaming | Tags: ,

This is a write-up I did of my cavalier’s adventures in Jawarl Avignon.

After departing the town of Nilbog, our party joined a brave samurai and a knightly prestidigitator. During our travels, we came to Awad. The once fair hamlet had fallen to the cruel sword of decay. The citizens had assembled themselves with a brutish mob with a single fiendish goal: the exile of Crommard, a scholar in the field of Orcish culture. Apparently, the sage and the priest Sethus Maximi had unleashed a diabolic force during their archaeological expedition at Jawarl Avignon. With the utmost gallantry, we came to the wise man’s aid. We decided to explore the Elven ruins. Before our journey began we were assaulted by villagers aided by a treacherous youth known as Tom. After the skirmish. we stayed in the old mayor’s home. Once we gregained full strength, we set out of Jawarl Avignon. When we arrived, we were met by a malicious host. The combined orc-ogrillon troop made an ill-fated attempt to repel our valiant assault. By the grace of heaven, we vanquished the piussant humanoids. OUr success was insured by the savage archery of Elton. OUr next melee was with an orcish shaman and his foul minions. Although it was I who struck the blow of death (and mercy), the downfall of L…. Ulmus was achieved with the gracious aid of my comrades. We also managed to defeat Serga Ulmus (a half-orc cleric/assassin who was disguised as Sethus Maximi) and the legendary Mongru IV who bore the ensorcelled spear, Alkarg. After losing three comrades, we travellled to the capital with Sir Merrick, Jes, and a captive orc. There were werwe treated with the utmost magnanimosity by Sir Daromond, the periolous ruler of the Pomarj. He proved to be a most generous and courteous host. My comrade Callifrey’s fiery death reminded me to place my faith first in the Cross, secondly in my skill, and lastly in the sorcery of the old religions.

The prize treasure of the adventure was Alkarg, an enchanted spear of Orcish design. It normally gives a +1 bonus “to hit” and damage. When in the presence of elves, Alkarg glows red hot as if it has just been pulled from the forge and is then +2 “to hit” and damage. Alkarg is +3 against half-elves and +4 against elves. It also gives its bearer +2 resistance to fire-based attacks. However, this nifty little prize went to Selenius.

We lost three party members on that outing: Athelmund, a magic-user to ended up skewered on Alkarg, Elton, who was taken out by an invisible skeleton orc, and Callifrey, a paladin was incinerated by a glyph of warding.

In addition to Crusader, my cavalier, survivors were the bandit Angrimbor, the cleric/ranger Taurwen, the Roman legionaire Selenius, and the samurai Danlow.

Next up, “The Sinister Secret of Salt Marsh.”



Pistol-Grip Pulp
July 12, 2008, 11:03 am
Filed under: Firearms, Gaming, History | Tags: , , ,

The folks at IAR (International Antique Reproductions) Arms posted a review of the Chinese Shansi .45 version of the Mauser C-96 “Broomhandle” that originally appeared in the February 2001 issue of Gun World. File this under: “I want…”

http://www.iar-arms.com/mausereview1.htm

First Rule of Guards Club
The folks at Guards Club share my love of pith-helmeted expeditionary forces, moustachioed White Russians, and purple-clad masked avengers and my fear of the Yellow Peril and the Red Menace. They can be found at http://members.tripod.com/kriegsmann/adventuretoo.html.



Random Acts of Gamegeekery
June 28, 2008, 12:22 pm
Filed under: Gaming | Tags:

Quote of The Day
“Some of my more…’Bohemian’ friends have described government as ‘Non-consentual S&M with the 2nd ammendment as the only safe word.'”
–Turk

The Fantasy Novelist’s Exam
In an effort to put the kibosh on the flood of derivative fantasy novels out there, David J. Parker, along with Samuel Stoddard, came up with The Fantasy Novelist’s Exam. The quiz is designed to ferret out the derivative elements of anyone’s novel and quash its being submitted for publication. The rules are simple: Answer “yes” to any one question, and you should abandon your writing project immediately.

My favorite set of questions: “Does your novel contain orcs, elves, dwarves, or halflings? How about ‘orken’ or ‘dwerrows’?”

For the full quiz, go to http://www.rinkworks.com/fnovel/

WoAdWriMo
July is Worldwide Adventure Writing Month ’08.

Join us in expanding the number of free, downloadable adventures for tabletop roleplaying games!

The goal is to write a complete RPG adventure by July 31st, 2008.

Geek Muses
Jim of LotFP issued the following challenge to all of the blognards:

You know, when referees sit down to design their campaigns and adventures, I really don’t think they are wondering if they’re staying true to the influences of the game. Obviously someone well-versed in those influences is going to internalize them and they’ll show through to some degree no matter what, but I think a referee’s choices can make it perfectly clear what’s influencing them, what drives them to create and go through the bother to run a game for other people in the first place.

So… I challenge the role-playing blogosphere (and I know you are reading… :P) to name the primary influences in your personal game, so we get a flavor not of what set of rules you decide to use, but what kind of game people can expect to play with you! Minimum five. No maximum. Plus include what people might assume influences you that you actually reject. Bonus points for detail and explanation!

Continue reading



OD&D Sleestak Stats
June 23, 2008, 3:11 am
Filed under: Gaming | Tags: ,

Sleestaks, AC 5; Move 3; HD 1+1

Sleestaks are nocturnal reptilian humanoids that dwell in the remains of their once advanced technological/mystical civilization. They are a bit dim and are usually armed with ineffective light crossbows with ranges as follows 1″/2″/3″. they will always miss on the first shot and seldom surprise anyone because of the noisy hissing they make when excited. They do not like to operate in bright light and will flee areas of all but the mildest of illumination.
[ h/t Philotomy Jurament who posted at ENWorld ]

Sunday Night Photodump
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The Moldvay in The Machine
June 20, 2008, 9:01 pm
Filed under: Gaming

Jeff Rients of Jeff’s Gameblog provided a link to a random “dungeon” generator that does all the nuts and bolts work for the busy DM, so that all he needs to fill in is story and flavor. You pick the number of encounters you want, click the “Create Adventure” button, and voila!. I picked eight encounters and got the following. I could see it all making sense.
Continue reading



John Carter, Warlord of Pixar
June 20, 2008, 9:46 am
Filed under: Gaming, Movies

Like every parent of every child born in 21st century America, I have seen almost every Pixar movie to come down the pipe. I’ve found Nemo, raced with Lightning McQueen, and followed a plucky group of rice farmers ants as they hire a band of samurai an insect circus troupe to defend their village hill against roving bandits grasshoppers. I have enjoyed them all. But now, according to The Pixar Blog, Andrew Stanton is writing the script for “John Carter of Mars.”

*Insert fannish squee from geekparents everywhere here*

The Pixar Blog‘s MB1000 posted the following back on June 6:

Stanton: “I am writing John Carter of Mars right now.”

[ h/t io9 ]

Unclebear’s Appealing Idea
In his post yesterday titled “How I’d Do Risus D&D,” Uncle Bear offered the following idea:

For spells, you can pick spell names and effects out of a D&D book of any edition, or, to be more creative, invent spells on the fly. For authentic flavor made-up spells should be named using the Name-Adjective-Noun(ish) format. “Cure Light Wounds” is boring; I always wanted to cast something like Garbledor’s Astonishing Recovery. Fireball? Feh. Try Faldoron’s Spectacular Holocaust.

I never played magic-users for more than a single adventure, but I always thought that casting Bigby’s Crushing Fist or Drawmij’s Instant Summons sounded much cooler than casting the generic Magic Missle. However, I will say that while Rary’s Mnemonic Enhancer has much more flair than a plain old Fireball, it doesn’t do squat for you in a pinch when your party gets bushwhacked by a band of frost giants.

[ h/t Uncle Bear ]



Jest A Minute
May 24, 2008, 2:29 am
Filed under: Gaming | Tags:

Most of my Dragon magazines disappeared over the years. Some due to poor storage, some to thievery, and some due to parental zealotry. I managed to preserve most of my favorite stuff thanks to the photocopy machine at the local library. I’ve got most of the Deities & Demigods of The World of Greyhawk. I’ve got a few centerfold modules. But the lion’s share of the stuff I preserved were character classes. Back in the eighties, whenever the folks at Dragon came up with a new NPC class, someone felt obliged to run it as a PC. After all, “NPC class” meant “‘Nother Player Character class,” right? I experimented with the halfling Guardian, the Bandit, my favorite was the Duelist (see Dragon #73); however, I must confess, there is a nunnery in the Pomarj that learned to hide whenever my Anti-Paladin rode into town. I even ran a Sentinel once, perhaps the most boring thing to play this side of a Cloistered Cleric. My friend Danny, at different times, played a Samurai, a Berserker, and a Smith. Victor perfected the Duelist. But, my pal Aaron seemed to be born for one purpose: to play the Jester. Me, I never ran one. As a teen, I took myself much too seriously, and never cared much for the thieving classes anyway, so I didn’t see the appeal. But, there was one thing that did intrigue me in the Jester section of good old Dragon #60: “Diarmuid’s Last Jest.” It was a short story (and I believe a spell) that explores that old cliche “died laughing.”

Proving that other cliche, that “truth is stranger than fiction,” Prof. Rob’t MacDougall, Propt’r & Gen. Mg’r of Old Is The New New, posted about an epidemic of laughter that occurred in Tanganyika in 1962 which was appropriately named the Tanganyikan Laughter Epidemic . While all of the Tanganyikan outbreak’s victims eventually recovered,. there actually have been people who literally died laughing.

For example, a Burmese king Nandabayin reportedly died laughing back in 1599. Then, in 1975, an English bloke named Alex Mitchell died laughing while watching The Goodies on the tellie. As recently as 2003, Damnoem Saen-um, a Thai ice cream truck driver, died of a suspected heart attack after laughing nonstop for two minutes in his sleep. Talk about a “rough night in Bangkok.” Oh wait, that’s “rough night in Jericho.” And it’s “One night in Bangkok.”

Nevermind.

Links

  • snopes.com: Death By Laughing