Thursday, June 20, 2013

New Feature - The Book of Impudent Japes

This feature will offer a page from this infamous tome with each installment. Scholars and those desperate for an occasional dubious distraction are encouraged to partake. Luck be with you.

Sunday, June 16, 2013

The OD&D Handbook Project - Part the Third (The Things I Do for Love of the Game)

Yep - still working hard on the OD&D Handbook Project. In an effort to organize the often disparate pieces of data involved in such an undertaking, I've started to compile all relevant points into a single worksheet. Thus far, I've plowed through Chainmail, the original three booklets, and the Greyhawk supplement.

The results can be found below. More to come.

Thursday, June 13, 2013

Borrowing from the Past

While it is widely known that I do not run published campaign settings or adventures, I do like to see what other people are doing, and to read through some of the classic material. It can be fun to take a good idea presented in one venue and tweak it for my own use. Even something so innocuous as an interior illustration - or, more specifically, an unimportant object from that illustration.

From the pages of Allen Hammack's classic adventure module, C2 - The Ghost Tower of Inverness, I bring you a few brief notes for the Trump Blades.

Trump Blades: Also known as Wild Blades or Urikaen Blades – after the original creator. Each is a longsword (some say bastard sword) of identical design – except for a hole cut into the blade, near the hilt, and one half with black hilts and scabbards and the other half with red hilts and scabbards. Each hole is of a shape corresponding with a suit found in real-world playing cards. A talisman was made for each sword, designed to fit within the shaped hole in the blade. It is thought the talismans were created by some other artisan – possibly Urika’s apprentice. It is also said that this apprentice completed the forging and enchanting of the fourth blade – after the demise of the master. This fourth blade is not quite as powerful as the others. Each sword has a base magical bonus equal to the corresponding ability score bonus possessed by the wielder – to a maximum of +4.
  • Sword of Clubs: Life. Based on user’s Con. Bonuses against undead and fae.
  • Sword of Diamonds: Desire. Based on user’s Int. Exceptionally hard and sharp. Known to damage other weapons. Rumored to be vorpal.
  • Sword of Hearts: Passion. Based on user’s Cha. Wounding and Charming.
  • Sword of Spades: Death. Based on user’s Dex. Deals superior damage to objects and constructs.

While an illustration of the Sword of Spades is provided above, the graphic below shows the Sword of Hearts.

In closing, I will mention that I know there is no such item in the module. I was inspired purely by the excellent illustration and wondered what the heck that sword could be. Of such stuff are legends made.

Wednesday, June 12, 2013

The OD&D Handbook Project - Part the Second (Progress and Sharing)

Yesterday, I mentioned the newest project on my overladen plate. To avoid keeping anyone in undue suspense, I'd like to post a brief progress report.

In brief: This is tough going.

Because I am me, the details are almost as important as the content. I want to capture the feel of the original, as well as offer a comprehensive and cohesive final product. It is important that the material look a lot like the original, but I also want the content to be presented in such a way that the player is not forced to flip back and forth through multiple sections and volumes just to make a single character. A tall order, you can trust me on this. Not to mention correcting the errors in the original and hunting down various bits of errata. I even tracked down a special font or two.

Because I care, that's why. So, without further agonizing ado, here is a sample of what I've created so far. It isn't much, but it should give you an idea of the pain to come. Enjoy!

Still missing you, Jack

Since the passing of the irreplaceable Jack Vance (May 26th, 2013), I've been re-reading some of his stories of the Dying Earth. I tell myself it is part of my research into the origins of the D&D game.

It has been pointed out time and time again that one of the great attractions of my own campaign settings lies in the extent and proliferation of memorable details which enhance and solidify the gaming experience. I do detail without noticeable effort. It's just how I am.

So, while I was reading Rhialto the Marvellous, I was immediately struck by the Foreword, which lists a great number of 21st Aeon magicians, often with a brief description of each worthy. The idea tickled me to the core. Of course, my feverish brain began to concoct similar characters for my own game world.

As this is intended to be but a brief sojourn into quasi-Dying Earth arcanology, I will offer the alphabetical listing of those magicians which came to mind as I jotted as quick as possible in the notebook found at my bedside.

The brief descriptions will have to wait for another time. It may also be worth mentioning that I am a great fan of Fritz Leiber's Nehwon, Lankhmar, and the various mad wizards that occupy certain parts.

Magicians: Much like the Dying Earth milieu, the setting is greatly influenced by powerful arcane spellcasters. Throughout history, there have been a number of these puissant men and women...and, other - things. Their names and titles are often ostentatious or downright inscrutable - but they are very, very rarely those of their birth. The following is an incompleat listing.

·         Alaq of the Burning Robe
·         Blue Whisper
·         Bornewine the Collector
·         Cacophonous
·         Carrion
·         Certitude Glim
·         Crethe the Lesser
·         Darl Writhing
·         Diaphon Azor
·         Dim Cunac
·         Dread Unstromm
·         Eye of Impunity
·         Fatan Morganthe
·         Foreshadow
·         Glaomaer the Unmortal
·         Glizzar Half-Glyph
·         Gryphon Azor
·         Haero of the Inverted Labyrinth
·         Irunor Five-Shadow
·         Javelin IV
·         Kailu Wandwright
·         Kalumvar Whence
·         Kestrel Synn
·         Khafac the Importune
·         Logom Sporefane
·         Lord Ratbite
·         Meduin Dawndance
·         Mounce-In-Iron
·         Mulfescance Coil
·         Muntorboq Aun
·         N'roth of Onkse
·         Peculiar Wuel
·         Phoenix Prowl
·         Piper Fray
·         Polemus Lightbane
·         Porcelain Howl
·         Scintillic Briemel
·         Seil-Vartha
·         Shuel of the Final Rune
·         Shunned Topola
·         Sulaes the Impressar
·         Tainoimin
·         Tirithion
·         Uboc Cloudmonger
·         Veil Ephemeral
·         Wayfarer, The
·         Xibrun Eille