Monday, April 30, 2007

Motivational Monday

Thanks to RPGnet.

Friday, April 27, 2007

Here we go again...

Well it looks like it's on again. after months of nothing, the Red Nails website is back up and running. there are promises of frequent updates and creator blogs and an actual future release. Uh-huh.

I refuse to get excited over this though. Remember those Peanuts comics where Lucy would try to convince Charlie Brown to try and kick the football just one more time? Unfortunately that's how I feel about ever seeing this project completed.

Thursday, April 26, 2007

A new look for an old friend

It looks like the "Old School" gaming renaissance is going full speed ahead. We have OSRIC for 1st edition AD&D, Four Color for the FASERIP (AKA: The Marvel Superheroes RPG), a new re-mastered facelift for Star Frontiers, and now one of my personal favorites; The TSR Conan Game is getting the SRD-style treatment with ZeFRS (Zeb’s Fantasy Roleplaying System). ZeFRS is aptly named because the system is extremely light and fast playing. There is an active discussion thread going on over at RPGnet. So all you Conan and Sword and Sorcery fans come on by and join in. It’s a good chance to get in on the ground floor of a fan based revival of a great game that has flown under the radar for too long.

Tuesday, April 24, 2007

I wanted to like it

Okay kids here is the hook:

From the exotic, mysterious East they come to menace western civilization, to challenge all that decent, God-fearing men hold virtuous. With hatchet and knife, pistol and poison, they strike from the shadows. These are the Perils of the Orient, the sinister villains who swarmed across the pages of pulp magazines from the very beginning in the late 1800s to the very end in the 1950s.

Written by novelist C.L. Werner (Witch Hunter, et. al.), Pulp Villains: PERILS OF THE ORIENT is your complete guide for including these villains in your d20-based pulp campaigns. In these pages are presented some of the most common themes that were evoked in the pulps -- from Mongol warriors dreaming of a new empire to sinister Tibetan monks with terrible powers of mysticism and mesmerism; from the Tongs of Chinatown to the nefarious machinations of the sinister Oriental Mastermind.

This supplement contains details of the most common archetypes of the genre, with fully-statted generic NPC examples of each, ready to use. An armory of exotic oriental weapons is included, for use against (or indeed, by) your pulp heroes. Horrific creatures appear as well....including the dreaded Mongolian Death Worm!

Now here's the skinny:

Let’s have a look by sections…

First of all – the product starts off with ten pages of flavor text. A bit excessive in my opinion. Anyone buying this product probably has a good handle on just what this supplement is all about, the reader is most likely a pulp gamer who has purchased this in the hopes of finding some crunchy inspiration Death traps, exotic locales, ports of call, villains, etc. instead ten pages are wasted on what could be summarized in a paragraph or two, at ten pages this section is just too fluffy. It could easily be reduced by half, giving over the remaining pages to more crunch.

A standard introduction that speaks to this particular sub-genre of pulp. The author is very careful to point out that none of the information in this work is to be taken in any context other than a reflection of this particular genre of fiction and the style of the writing of the period.

The Mastermind revisited
In this section we are given an overview of the Oriental Mastermind and some of the particular traits that make the Oriental Mastermind special. That was the good part. The disappointing part is that we are given a set of stats for an Oriental Mastermind but no background on him. No history, no motivation, no information on his empire, secret base, connections, family, nothing-just abilities skills and numbers- this is one of those areas where we could use a page or two that was wasted on the flavor text in the beginning.

East meets west
In this section we are given a light overview of the history and struggles of Asians in America, with particular focus on the Chinese, “Chinatowns” and the Tongs.

The Dragon lady
Here we are treated to a section on that most alluring of pulp fixtures the “Dragon Lady”. Real world examples of powerful Asian women are offered in addition to a nice section on the motivations and behaviors of this Femme fatale as presented in the Pulp genre. A sample character write-up is added, but here again no specific background, or details about her organization, etc.

The Mysterious Orient
At the halfway point of the product we reach a gazetteer of sorts that takes us on an all too brief (two page) tour of the Orient, touching briefly with paragraphs on China, Japan, Mongolia, and Tibet. What’s lacking is any detail whatsoever on the cities that make the “Mysterious Orient” so Mysterious- Shanghai, Singapore, Manila, Macao, just to name a few. There is a huge map of China though, which looks like it was photocopied from a 1930 high school textbook and takes up three quarters of a page; pure filler.

Enemies from the East
This section deals with the exotic adversaries that are in the service of the Oriental Masterminds. This section proved the least disappointing of the entire product. Besides your run of the mill Ninja, Mongol, and Martial artist write-ups, there are two foes that showed particular promise for my campaign: The Dacoit and the Black Monk.

Oriental Armory
Here the weapons of the Orient are described with stats and descriptions.

Horrors of the Orient
The monster manual section of the product. Three monsters are presented-a snake, a lizard, and a yeti. That’s it. What was I expecting? I don’t know- choking vines maybe, brain worms that are inserted in the ear and make their way to the brain, more stuff along those lines.

Adventure seeds
The product ends with three one-paragraph adventure seeds.

When I saw this product at RPGNow I was so excited I bought it instantly. I wanted it to be great; I knew it could be great. Man was I disappointed.

Nothing on deathtraps, exotic locales, or hidden bases. No detail on how the Oriental Mastermind’s organization operates, nothing on the various illicit rackets (dope smuggling, prostitution, white slavery, piracy, extortion), nothing on how the Oriental Masterminds empire influences city hall, the state department, or small countries. None of that.

On one hand it was only six bucks, but on the other hand I felt I spent four bucks too much.

Monday, April 23, 2007

Motivational Monday

Thanks to Midnight's Lair.

Friday, April 20, 2007

Just a little Respect

Today I read the news about Dragon magazine. The news saddened me. And then I started to read the posts on various gaming forums and message boards where many of my fellow gamers callously dismissed this event with snide remarks and a pretentious attitude of indifference. And that made me angry. I’m one of those gamers for who Gaming means D&D. I enjoy other systems and other genres, but I give credit where credit is due. In the beginnings my personal gaming history there was the occasional game of Traveller, Boothill, Gammaworld, etc. but I always came home to D&D. And a huge part of that D&D experience for me was Dragon magazine. In a time before PDF’s, before Splat books, before endless D20 campaign worlds, before the internet, before most of you reading this could even read, there was Dragon magazine.
Dragon magazine was a monthly life-line for gamers. It helped us through some rough times, times when it wasn’t chic to be geek, when the media labeled us Satan worshippers, when our parents sat us down and had a talk to us about “That game”. Dragon magazine let us know there were others like ourselves out there. And that we weren’t any more weird or obsessed than any other dedicated fan of a sport or hobby.
Dragon Magazine connected gamers around the globe and allowed us to push the boundaries of our gaming worlds. Dragon magazine opened our minds to countless NPC classes (nowadays you kids call them “Prestige classes”) –The Alchemist, the Bounty Hunter, The Jester, The Anti-Paladin (remember him?). Dragon magazine helped us define the heroes of classic literature in D&D terms and opened debates on subjects such as alignments and “the politics of hell”. Dragon magazine took us beyond the dungeon and the nearby village- The nations of Oerth, Toril, and the farthest reaches of the “Known world” were first explored in the pages of Dragon magazine.
Right now I can go online and visit hundreds of gaming websites, forums, and message boards in an instant. Back then, all many of us had was Dragon magazine. We would scoop up copies eagerly every month to discover stats for new weapons, armor, and equipment. We would use Sage Advice to settle disputes, crack up reading “Fineous fingers”, and try to sneak a peek at the free module in the middle of the magazine.
But that was then, and this is now. Dragon will soon be going away. You may never have read it, you may never have cared for it, it may no longer do what it once did for you, and you might not miss it when it goes, but have a little respect for it. Because chances are many of today’s systems and campaign worlds that are so “cool and edgy”, were created by guys who, at one time, waited every month for the next issue of Dragon to hit the shelves.

Tuesday, April 17, 2007

Ziggurat Con June 9th-Camp Adder Iraq

When I was in the Army back in the big 80's a good 70% of my off-duty hours (and much of my on-duty hours) were spent gaming.
From basic training to my duty station my fellow soldiers and I played many a game of AD&D, Traveller, Car Wars, Recon, GURPS and Twilight 2000.

After moving to Hawaii in the 90's I joined a great group of guys known as the D.O.G.S (Dedicated Oahu Gamers Society). Over half of our membership consisted of Airmen, Soldiers, Sailors, Coasties, and Marines. Anywhere you find US military personnel, you will eventually find a game happening. Even in a Warzone.

Ziggurat Con will be held in June at Camp Adder in Iraq. If you can find it in your pocketbook to send a box of Heroclix, a bag of dice, or maybe even a game- I know for a fact it will be played and appreciated.

Monday, April 16, 2007

Motivational Monday

Thanks to Midnight's Lair

Tuesday, April 10, 2007

I'm guilty, you may be too

For more useful nuggets go to the get it in writing blog. thats where this came from:

Top 20 Words You Use in Speech or Copywriting That Make You Look Stupid When You Misuse Them.

"Adverse" means unfavorable. "Averse" means reluctant.

"Accept" means to to receive with consent."Except" means With the exclusion of.

"To affect" means to influence, change or produce an effect "To effect" means to accomplish, complete, cause, make possible or carry out. If you're looking for a noun, you're probably looking for "effect." If you're using a verb, you're safest with "affect."

"To allude" means to speak of without mentioning. "To refer" means to speak of directly.

all right
not alright

An "allusion" is an indirect reference. An "illusion" is a false impression or image.

"Around" should refer to a physical proximity or surrounding (I'll look for you around the front of Baker Hall). "About" indicates an approximation (Let's have lunch about 11:30 a.m.).

Use "between" to show a relationship between two objects only.Use "among" when it's more than two.

"Complement" is something that supplements. "Compliment" is praise or the expression of courtesy.

"Farther" refers to physical distance. "Further" refers to an extension of time or degree.

"Historic" means important. "Historical" refers to any event in the past.

"Imply" means to suggest or indicate indirectly. To "infer" is to conclude or decide from something known or assumed.

"Insure" means to establish a contract for insurance of some type. "Ensure" means to guarantee.

General rule? Use "ensure."

The word is "regardless." "Irregardless"? No such word.

"Literally" means in an exact sense. "Figuratively" means in a comparative sense.

"lose" means to To fail to win, or misplace. "loose" means Not fastened, restrained, or contained.

To "peddle" is to sell. To "pedal" is to use pedals, as on a bicycle.

"Principal" as a noun is a chief person or thing; as an adjective, it means first in importance. "Principle" is a noun meaning a fundamental truth, doctrine or law; a guiding rule or code of conduct; a method of operation.

"Toward" is correct. "Towards" is not.

We rarely see the word "whom" in writing. But if your sentence has an objective clause referring to a person or animal with a proper name, you're being ungrammatical if you don't use whom.

The word "who" substitutes for subjective pronouns‹he, she or they; "whom" must be used in the sense of him, her or them. If you don't want to use "whom," restructure your sentence. Don't just stick in "who" when it is incorrect.

Do not use this suffix to coin words like "weatherwise."

Monday, April 09, 2007

Motivational Monday

Special thanks to Midnight's lair

Saturday, April 07, 2007

Sword and Planet Pulp coming Soon!

More pulp goodness coming in August. I am in serious need of a nice sturdy copy of Almuric. This story has been out of print way too long.

Introducing Planet Stories: Classic Science Fantasy Novels
New Paizo Novel Line to Feature Moorcock, Howard, Gygax
Fri, Mar 30, 2007, 04:30 PM
Paizo Publishing®, LLC announced the creation of a new line of classic science fantasy novel reprints called Planet Stories. With large printing houses distancing themselves from backlisted novels, Planet Stories brings back some of the long forgotten classic inspirations for much of today's science fiction and fantasy genres. Planet Stories will be available at your local book or hobby store and will retail for around $12.99 each.

This August, Planet Stories launches with two venerable titles from classic veterans of the science fiction and fantasy genres:

Almuric, by Robert E. Howard, is a savage planet of crumbling stone ruins and debased, near-human inhabitants. Into this world comes Esau Cairn, Earthman, swordsman, murderer. Only he can overthrow the terrible devils that enslave Almuric, but to do so he must first defeat the inner demons that forced him to abandon Earth. Filled with vile beasts and thrilling adventure in the tradition of Edgar Rice Burroughs, Almuric is one of Howard's few novels, and an excellent yarn from one of America's most distinct literary voices. Robert E. Howard is most known for creating the fictional character, Conan the Cimmerian (a.k.a. Conan the Barbarian), who has been featured in comic books, short stories, novels, and feature films for over 70 years. Howard's work is often credited as the source of the sword-and-sorcery genre and influenced everyone from J.R.R. Tolkien to George R.R. Martin.

The Anubis Murders, by Gary Gygax, weaves a fantastic tale of warring wizards that spans the world from the pyramids of ancient Egypt to the mist-shrouded towns of medieval England. Someone is murdering the world's most powerful sorcerers, and the trail of blood leads straight to Anubis, the solemn god known by most as the Master of Jackals. Can Magister Setne Inhetep, personal philosopher-wizard to the Pharaoh, reach the distant kingdom of Avillonia and put an end to the Anubis Murders, or will he be claimed as the latest victim? Gary Gygax co-created the Dungeons & Dragons roleplaying game over 30 years ago and has watched it grow to become one of the largest entertainment sources in the hobby gaming industry. Dungeons & Dragons has been played by tens of millions worldwide and the name Gygax is instantly recognizable to any fans of the game, past or present.

Planet Stories will release one classic science fantasy novel each month beginning this September. Additional planned releases include:

City of the Beast/Warriors of Mars, by Michael Moorcock, features the return of Moorcock's Eternal Champion, Kane of Old Mars, a brilliant American physicist whose strange experiments in matter transmission catapult him across space and time to the Red Planet. Kane's is a Mars of the distant past, a place of romantic civilizations, fabulous many-spired cities, and the gorgeous princess Shizala. To win her hand and bring peace to Mars, Kane must defeat the terrible Blue Giants of the Argzoon, whose ravaging hordes threaten the whole planet! Adventure in the Edgar Rice Burroughs tradition from the creator of Elric of Melniboné. The first stand-alone American printing since 1979, City of the Beast/Warrior of Mars will be available this September.

Black God's Kiss, by C.L. Moore, was first published in the pages of Weird Tales in 1934. C.L. Moore's Jirel of Joiry is the first significant female sword-and-sorcery protagonist and one of the most exciting and evocative characters the genre has ever known. Published alongside seminal works by H.P. Lovecraft and Robert E. Howard, the five classic fantasy tales included in this volume easily stand the test of time and often overshadow the storytelling power and emotional impact of stories by Moore's more famous contemporaries. A seminal work from one of fantasy's most important authors, Black God's Kiss is an essential addition to any fantasy library and will be available this October.

To learn more, visit Planet Stories online at

Friday, April 06, 2007

The Spider's Test

I’ve always enjoyed frontier type stories, settlers in a new land hacking out an existence on their own. One of my favorite books in this vein also happens to be related to gaming.
TSR came out with a Campaign set for the 2nd edition AD&D game called Birthright. Birthright was never a major success but it had high production values and a good amount of support, including several novels. My favorite of the Birthright novels is The Spiders Test by Dixie Lee Mc Keone. The novel deals with young Richard Endier, a landless freeman, and his cousins who gain permission from the local Baron to settle in a wild borderland area near a Goblin infested forest. They are soon joined by others including several warriors looking to settle down, a few farmers, a Druid, and a warrior-priest who serves a martial Deity similar to Helm in the Forgotten Realms campaign. Eventually they go through several trials and tribulations of creating a new settlement- fighting off raids, deciding a chain of command, trying to keep folk from splintering off on their own, religious differences, etc. It’s a fun read that applies frontier style adventure in a AD&D setting. I would actually really enjoy playing in this type of campaign. Past the adventures offered in the novel I could see taking scenarios from various frontier style stories and TV shows like Daniel Boone and The High Chaparral and giving them a fantasy twist. The Spider’s Test offers a different spin to the average D&D campaign, and it would take a different type of group to play it out. Though there is plenty of action, it really isn’t of the Hack n Slash variety. It’s easy to invade a kobold lair, kill all the monsters, take the treasure and move on to the Ogre lair. Compared to trying to keep the peace between two religious groups in your camp that insist on building a chapel in the same spot, or fighting off a combined assault of goblins and river pirates who are threatening to burn your crops and set fire to the fort.
In fact, this may be why Birthright the campaign never really made it begin mainstream gaming. It may not have been hack n slash enough. Maybe it took a certain type of gamer who enjoyed the detail and the richness offered in the play of the campaign, the political intrigue, large scale battles, and international diplomacy.

Tuesday, April 03, 2007

whats on my PC?

In other words I'm too tired to write about anything.

I have quite a few map makers strewn about my hard drive. one of my favorites is still the one that came in the 2nd edition core rules. Man, I wished they would have expanded on it.

Here is an old Kitbash I did with a Remco Warlord figure and a wrestlers head. he makes a decent Dwarf.

This is one of the first maps I ever did of my old homebrew campaign world of Erisa. I actually did this at work on MSPaint. not too shabby.

Kaliman the original Pulp superhero from Mexico!

I love Heromachine. I hear Jeff is working on a new and improved version! I can't wait.

Arnie My Governator.

Just having some fun with the comicbook creator software.

Danger International. Action and Adventure in the BIG 80's!

Viva Villa!

Monday, April 02, 2007

Motivational Monday

Thanks to RPGNet.