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Tuesday, January 31, 2006

State of the Lair address

Well it’s about time to write an update about what’s going on here hobby-wise at the lair.

Legends of Steel - It’s been taking me forever to get through the magic / psionics section but I'm almost done. I have about 37 spells written up which I feel is sufficient because spell casting isn’t going to be a major component of the game, just as spell casters are not a large component of true Sword & Sorcery literature. Despite my efforts, I realize most people are going to treat this as just another FRPG (fantasy role-playing game) but I'm trying my best to give it a different angle. I'm making it human centric, low magic, and a bit tongue in cheek- all the ingredients I see in countless S&S movies, comics and books. Hopefully when I'm done with the writing and start looking to commissioning the art I will find illustrators who can translate what I’m looking for to brush.

Gaming – Online, I'm currently in just one game. The “Basher” game, I'm running a Druid named Tarus, and since it’s a wilderness adventure, I'm King Enchilada in the taco stand at the moment.
I tried to resurrect the old “Action heroes” game but the guys on that list are either burnt out or tired of all the drama that list has been through. I got a few halfhearted “Sure okay” responses but no follow- up. We had some good times, but I figure that horse has run its race.
I’ve got a Tabletop 2nd edition AD&D Greyhawk game going on. The group has just leveled up and they have divested a wizard of his tower and are setting up house.

Joes - On the Joe scene I found a program called Xow! Which does stop motion movies. I'm planning on playing with this for a bit and see if I can add a new facet to my Joe collecting.

Writing – I just sold another article to Knights of the Dinner table Magazine. It’s a “Lost gaming safari” piece on the original Chill game from Pacesetter. I'm planning on working on another piece highlighting the original Marvel Superheroes Role-playing game by TSR next.

Tuesday, January 24, 2006

The Magic Dagger

(Originally posted on the GMing Q&A Forum)One time during a gaming funk, i was over at my cousins house watching tv with him, his wife and another friend of theirs. the conversation turned to fantasy and then D&D. before you know it we were rolling characters. none of them had ever played before and we had no books, so i did a quick n dirty fighter, mage, priest.
i then drew up a dungeon and tossed in some orcs, zombies, skeletons, a couple of traps and some treasure.
now like i said none of these folks had ever gamed before, so needless to say their style of play was totally unconventional, unpredictable and totally refreshing.
They managed to gain a +1 dagger, once i told tham the dagger was magic they treated it as if it was a holy relic. you would have thought i gave them Excalibur by the way they reacted. whenever they ran across a monster they would shout " prepare the magic dagger" as if it was the "holy handgrenade of Antioch."
we played with monopoly dice and all the rules were from my head. we played late into the night.
the next day I was back into gaming. and so was my cousins friend from what I hear.
so if your feeling down on the game grab some newbies and work some magic.

Sunday, January 22, 2006

Mego Action Team

I heard about the Bratz land rover going on sale at Big Lots! While it's way too small for 12" Joes, it's Perfect for my Mego guys!

Here is my first try at an animation. It aint much but I did it in about 15 minutes using Xow! I think you need quicktime to see it though...

This video or more for your site at

Tuesday, January 17, 2006


Nothing much today. Just a cool animated Gif.

Monday, January 16, 2006

2nd edition- alive and well

Since I was off for the holiday today I decided to swing by a used book store near the house. It was a good call because I found a copy of the Night Below Campaign setting for 2nd Edition AD&D. It was in great shape, complete, and only seven bucks! This find has been the exception to the rule for me lately.
I run a 2nd edition Greyhawk campaign every other weekend, my oldest son plays in the game. I decided to get him a set of his own books for Christmas. Since the holiday was coming up and I didn’t have time for EBay, I figured I’d try finding a used copy of the Players handbook and Dungeon Masters guide over at the local game store- no such luck. I found the same at several book stores. Finally, luckily I ran across a set at a used bookstore. When I was telling the owner of the store about my ordeal he stated that he wasn’t surprised. He stated that in the last couple of years he can hardly keep any 2nd edition material in stock, “it’s usually out the door within a day” he said.
I decided to take a sample poll during my weekly book/game/comic store runs. At every store I asked, I was told that 2nd edition material sold very well much better than the 3.0 books clogging the shelves (3.0 became obsolete before their spins became creased). Now I’m not getting into which system is better that argument has been geeked to death, all I’m saying is that for several reasons the 2nd edition game is still out there and still being played. My research has uncovered several reasons why:

• Nostalgia- The guys who played 2nd edition in high school or college in the 80’s and 90’s are getting older. When folks get older and raise families they tend to reflect on life “back in the day…” I started a Play by Email (PBEM) AD&D group about 5 years ago with some friends from a GI Joe collectors forum (see what I mean about nostalgia?), when I first proposed it several of the guys confessed that they hadn’t played in years-since college at least, but they had never forgotten the good times they had. Before you know it they were posting about their characters and looking through their parents attic for the box of books and character sheets.

• Familiarity- according to the game store owners, when these folks do begin to wax nostalgic about AD&D they are surprised to find out that a whole edition and a half has taken place since they hung up their dice bag. As they flip through the 3.5 books the find them similar but not the same. These guys are trying to recapture a feeling, not rededicate themselves to gaming. They want to go home with some books and dice and take their 12 year olds through “The Keep on the Borderlands” or raid “The Temple of Elemental Evil”. They don’t want to relearn a whole new set of rules Feats, prestige classes, etc. They want to play a Dwarf fighter in a Gygax module set in Greyhawk. Not a spell casting robot –thing in Eberron.

• Price-This is probably the biggest reason for the resurgence of popularity of 2nd edition. With a little surfing, and legwork I can get a hold of the three core books for about 30 bucks. That same 30 bucks wont even buy the players handbook, if you kick in sales tax. Once again the guys buying these books are looking to relive the good old days, you start quoting the prices of gaming books these days and their eyes just gloss over.

Lets face it, there is nothing a 35 dollar mega campaign book can do for you on a Saturday night, that you couldn’t get from a copy of “Vault of the Drow” and a decent DM.

Sunday, January 15, 2006

Shadow over Mystara

The other day I posted some thought on the Five Shires Gazetteer. Subsequently I started Googling the keyword Mystara. One interesting thing I came up with were several sites dedicated to a couple of arcade games from Capcom called “Shadow over Mystara” and "Tower of Doom". I also stumbled on to a site that showed how to down load an engine for playing the arcade version of the game. A little poking around and …Voila! I have this little known D&D gem all for my own! The graphics are classic Capcom arcade but the game is fun and takes up very little space. theres a link about the game here and an engine that can play it here, and a tutorial on all of it here. Have fun!

Monday, January 09, 2006

Tarus the Druid

Here is a AD&D Druid Kitbash I was working on over the weekend.

Thursday, January 05, 2006

The Five Shires

I recently acquired a copy of The Five Shires. It’s one of the sourcebooks in the old Mystara series of Gazetteers. Each book in the Gazetteer series detailed a different region in the classic D&D world (quite a well done series actually) . “The Five Shires deals with a nation of Hobbits umm…Halflings, or as they prefer to be called amongst themselves (according to the book) The Hin.
This sourcebook is one of the most sought after and highest priced gaming supplements on EBay. I recently saw a shrink-wrapped copy go for $85.00, my copy wasn’t shrink-wrapped but it was complete and in good shape, it still cost me $29.00 (To add insult to injury the seller left the original $4.99 discount sticker on it- gee thanks). The book is written by Ed Greenwood, he of Forgotten Realms fame, and gives a real complete look into Halfling culture that goes beyond the typical “Bilbo Baggins” stereotype that most gamers have when thinking of Halflings. He provides a complete history of the nation that is filled with struggle and adversity; overall it’s a good read. I came away with a greater respect for the race, which when I DM will reflect on the way I use Halflings in my campaign.

Tuesday, January 03, 2006

Masters of the game

A really great message board is forming up over at the GMing Questions and answers forum.
It’s a message board where GM’s of all types post questions regarding the art of game mastering. Drop by and take a look.