Wednesday, May 29, 2013

The Dying Earth

Jack Vance (August 28, 1916 - May 26, 2013) did not prefer the title, but I use it here with sadness and affection. He founded an entire genre of fiction and deserves to be remembered for it. Plus, it echoes my own feelings at this time.

I found the works of Jack Vance through my love of Dungeons & Dragons. In the back of the Moldvay Basic Rules book, on page B62, there was a bibliography of "Inspirational Source Material." Jack Vance was one of many that caught my eye. The stories were wild, wondrous, and witty. Far from the typical sword-and-sorcery fare I was used to. They made me think. They made me re-read to see if I had missed anything.

I miss Vance already.

I would thank him for the magic and the wonder of reading about a world so out of reach, yet so tantalizingly near. Full of sheer myth and legend. Echoing with enchantment and the booming presence of so many larger-than-life characters. Shimmering with charm and color even as the star giving it life gutters and dies.

I wish him well on his next journey.

Tuesday, May 21, 2013

Summer Hiatus

Well, my 1E AD&D campaign seems to be on a summer break for now.
Haven't run B/X Nightshade & Cream for my wife since the first session. Bummer there.

Still jotting notes for my (non-OD&D) setting revision. For want of anything better, I thought I'd share some.
Here are my thoughts for the classic core PC races so far. Apologies for all the references that probably will make no sense.

Races and Culture

·         Dwarves: Possibly in control of the majority of Grindinggap. Isolationists and guardians of Teloen. Scholars and travelers of the planes. Still fearful of Erebus and other Outside incursion. PC dwarves are often in search of knowledge and magic regarding other planes and early warning signs of Outside incursion. They seek allies in their struggle and details of the strengths and weaknesses of their alien foes. Dwarves do not hesitate to destroy aberrations and threatening outsiders. After the Planewrack, many dwarves are quick to leap to the attack, and ask questions later.

·         Elves: A race in dignified decline. Once traveled the planes, but have recoiled in horror from some of their experiences and now guard against incursion from Outside. Elves tend to favor the shore, and islands. Do not like to be landlocked. In tune with elements of air and water. Work with resins and corals. Because they know so much of the fae and of Nature, the elves prefer not to interact much with either. Get along very well with djinn and marids. Craft living ships and submersibles. Also airships and gliders. Tend to favor amoral elemental deities. Elemental afterlife, with the possibility of becoming bound genies if less-than-good in life. Many are followers of Roji's "Rippling Path." Admire the water that ebbs and flows, that shapes stone and gives life. Abhor stagnant water. Distrust still water. Watercunning. Sand castles. Water elemental symbiosis. Ruled by elders in symbiosis with ancient and powerful water elementals, known as Waterbearers. Race name may be Lau'annyn. Still Water elves: Assassins and necromancers. 

·         Gnomes: Sometimes feral and bestial. In tune with nature. Nearly fae. Adaptive to environment. Get along well with animals, especially with those represented by their particular Totem. Natural affinity for shapechanging and elemental magic. Adapt very well to their environment. Excellent druids and rangers. Standard gnomes will be an option, but not the base.

·         Halflings: Thrillseekers and adventurers. Historians and engineers. Skilled with devices, constructs, and languages. Their little hands are very nimble and adept with mechanisms. Love to fly - enthusiastic aviators. Monk-like reduction to falling damage. Like to set bullies up for a fall. Enjoy using the apparent strength of foes against them. Speed, position, initiative. Retain the concept of halfling drifttowns.

·         Hobgoblins: Still no orcs in the setting, so the Yalkhoi remain the PC race option in place of the half-orc. Still a semi-nomadic Mongol-like society. Leaning toward a samurai/bushido code of honor and conduct. Fine paladins and monks. Possible lawful barbarian variant. Half-hobgoblin will become a viable race for the first time - with a Volgate bloodline only. Havenish humans still cannot breed with any other species.

·         Humans: Pulled themselves up from their post-Harrowing circumstances. Begun building kingdoms again. Border skirmishes and the occasional raid are not uncommon. Horses have returned to the setting. Armigerial Courts even more influential. Heraldic Houses on the rise. Illegal elemental bindings becoming more common.. The fae grow suspicious and aggressive. Another Harrowing may be coming. Human clerics, paladins, and other divine classes gaining in power and influence.