Saturday, March 10, 2018

All Roads Lead to...

Four-out-of-five now finished and published.

This insane personal project is coming to an end.

Time to start making decisions for the future.

Mothshade Concepts was created to make publishing and distributing Avremier 0e a reality. It is now a thing. A bigger thing than I ever intended or imagined.

There is one more supplement coming - Deities, Deminities & Personalities. My Avremier homage to Gods, Demi-Gods & Heroes. Just as Eldritch Avremier is my Avremier homage to Eldritch Wizardry. DD&P is due to print mid-year.

Then what?


There is more Avremier. More than 30 years' worth of Avremier. Pages and pages of Avremier. Reams of Avremier. Mounds of Avremier. People keep asking for more, so more they shall have.

But -

There is other stuff. My brain leaks a lot. It gets onto pages. There are other settings. There are games. There is fiction. There is art. There much...

Mothshade Concepts will get it out as quickly as possible. Digital and PoD products are coming.

Monday, January 29, 2018

Once and Future Avremier

One of the underlying concepts of Avremier as a setting is that it can be presented in different eras of world history, present events, and future possibilities. Also, each era can be impacted by events that have gone before. The idea of "Make This YOUR Avremier" is more than a tagline.

While Players and Referees can make their own history, the "default setting" is known for specific events that shaped Avremier as offered in published supplements. These events can be included or left out, as desired - or, as gameplay dictates. Each event, by its occurrence or absence, has the potential to change the structure of the setting in major ways.

For example, an Avremier campaign could be run during the time humans first came to these shores. There would be no human civilization beyond fortified encampments. PCs would be exclusively human - unless the partymembers were made up entirely of native species. PCs could conceivably influence the entire future of human society in the setting. Perhaps humanity prevails during the Harrowing. Maybe humanity is exterminated. Could be the Harrowing is avoided entirely. Such a setting might have no halflings or gnomes *GASP*. PC race options might include humanoid otters and badgers instead. Or, giant upright pangolins.

Some "Era Supplements" would include:

Avremier: Arrival.
Avremier: Settlement.
Avremier: Harrowing.
Avremier: Compact.
Avremier: Heritor.
Avremier: Planewrack.
Avremier: Crucible.
Long ago, there was even a setting option called Dwelethyr - the world before humans showed up. 

Tuesday, January 23, 2018

The Queen is Dead

Ursula K. Le Guin is gone.

She was a beloved influence on the development of my Avremier setting.

Her writing meant so much to miserable and lonely adolescent-teen David.
In our brief interactions, she was nothing but kind, giving, brilliant, and wise.
Everything I could want in a hero.

The Queen is dead.
The world needs MORE like her - not less.
The world is a little less bright for me.

Friday, January 19, 2018

What is Avremier, Really?

While it is important to convey Avremier as a physical setting with places, people, critters, dungeons, geographic features, and loot - there are vital aspects that define its essential nature.

With the release of only three supplement booklets, Avremier has already been hailed as "different," or even, "unique." For this project, both are desirable qualities. Still, there is a great deal more to come.

Yet, so much of the theme or force of an adventure comes from conflict. That's fairly universal. Good vs. Evil. Light vs. Dark. Law vs. Chaos. Man vs. Nature. That last one was the basic starting-point for Avremier. Most of that is now in the past of the setting - the time of the Harrowing. And, while Good vs. Evil is a classic struggle, there are other forces at work in Avremier that have more influence.

Order vs. Entropy. Not Law vs. Chaos. That's not accurate enough. It can be labeled or trivialized as such, but that would be wrong. For the purpose of this project, Law is a method of defining and standardizing Order. Order is a force. Law is a philosophy. Order is the arrangement of atoms. Law is naming and diagramming those atoms. By the same token, entropy is not chaos. Entropy is fundamental change. Chaos is disarray. Chaos is a concept. Entropy is the potential dissolution of our entire reality. In some settings, Law and Chaos are "cosmic forces." In Avremier, Order and Entropy are fundamental states of being. The difference is crucial. If Chaos wins, it's bad news for Law. If entropy prevails, it's bad news for everything with a physical form.

Light vs. Dark. Again, we are not talking about Light-as-Good or Dark-as-Evil. In Avremier, Dark is pretty much the natural state of things. Light must be created, and maintained, and nurtured. Light is an act of will to push against the Dark. For the most part, Dark doesn't need to do much. You can never really destroy the Dark. Look around the universe - Dark is essentially winning. Lucky for us, Dark isn't greedy or hungry. Right? Light and Dark form the "vertical axis" of Creation for Avremier. It represents trasferrence of energies. Light rises and Dark sinks - at least that's the simplified version. Makes it easier to diagram.

Man vs. Nature is pretty much how the terrestrial Avremier setting came to be. Humans arrived and the forces of Nature resisted their advancement - to the near-extinction of the human race. History tells us that only the intervention of the gods of humanity prevented that extinction. That's another vital point. The closest thing Avremier had to deities before humans showed up was the Manifestations of Nature, quite literally the personifications of the seasons and their passage. The fact that humans brought gods with them is a hallmark of the Avremier setting. Of course, now we have Man vs. Other.

A dwarf or an elf doesn't care much about your geneaology or gender. Your religion, if any, is rather baffling to them - but they are trying to understand. As a human, you are Other. You are an alien. You have no elemental spark or affinity. You breed fast and die young - like an animal. If you weren't so dangerous, you would be an object of pity. The human race in Avremier is often pitted against itself. In the compromises it is willing to make. In the paths of progress it pursues. In the respect shown to others and respect earned in return. It is a challenging time for humankind.

So, Avremier can be seen as a proving ground. Or, even a crucible. Certainly a focal point. The center of everything.

Thursday, December 28, 2017

Alphabetical List of Female Authors of Fantasy/SciFi

This list is partially a result of some thoughtful conversations from the past few years. The genre(s) enjoys works from many talented and prolific writers of the non-male gender. Those names that follow are all from my own library. No claims as to quality or your own likelihood of enjoyment are given or implied. No reviews are forthcoming. This is just a list. Many of these writers are no longer active. Their works are long out of print. Any name not found here is absent only by chance. This is not meant as a comprehensive list – just as a list. I’ve enjoyed reading books from every single one. Most (or all) are well worth looking for.

·         Lynn Abbey
·         Leigh Brackett
·         Louise Cooper
·         Susan Cooper
·         Susan Dexter
·         Diane Duane
·         Lynn Flewelling
·         Mary Gentle
·         J.V. Jones
·         Katherine Kurtz
·         Ursula K. Le Guin
·         Tanith Lee
·         R.A. MacAvoy
·         Patricia A. McKillip
·         Janet Morris
·         Andre Norton
·         Jody Lynn Nye
·         Diana L. Paxson
·         Meredith Ann Pierce
·         Jessica Amanda Salmonson
·         Elizabeth Scarborough
·         Kathleen Sky
·         Nancy Springer
·         Caroline Stevermer
·         Judith Tarr
·         Sherri S. Tepper
·         Kim Wilkins
·         Terri Windling
·         Janny Wurts
·         Chelsea Quinn Yarbro

Friday, December 22, 2017

Magic of the Holidays


A holly, jolly assortment of festive items to delight and amaze. All presented in OD&D style. Some are taken from published Avremier supplements. Others are offered here for the very first time. Happy holiday mayhem!


Peppermint Shank: This is a striped candy cane of ordinary size and appearance. If the bottom end is sucked into a point (requiring a full turn), the item becomes a magical stabbing weapon of +3 enchantment that pierces armor of armor class 3 or worse. A stab inflicts 2d6 piercing damage and creates a freezing rush through the target that causes blindness and paralysis for 1-4 turns. After one such use, the peppermint shank becomes broken and non-magical.

Snowstar: Magical (+1) shurikens of unmelting ice that can be thrown, three at a time, up to 60', for 1-6 piercing and cold damage each. They will melt when hurled in combat.


Wish List: This scroll has written outlines and space for three wishes to be scribed upon its surface. The first wish may contain up to six words. The second wish may contain up to ten words. The third wish may contain up to 20 words. Each space starts with “I Wish,” and those two words are not counted against the limit of each wish. The Referee determines if the writer has been “nice” enough for each wish to be granted properly.


Icicle Wand: This is an (unmelting) icicle, enchanted to produce a ray of bitter cold that inflicts up to 12d6 of damage and freezes the target in place for an equal number of turns. The exact dice of damage (and freezing) is chosen with each use, which diminishes the icicle until it is gone after a total of 12 dice used. The wand does not affect a creature of greater hit dice than the amount of damage dice chosen. Magical fire damage melts the icicle by an equal amount of dice.

Staff of the Uttermost North: This is a red-and-white-striped pole with a gleaming golden knob at the top. Used as a weapon, the staff performs as a morning star +3. The bearer is immune to non-magical cold or ice and takes half damage from magical cold/ice effects (or none, on a successful save). The bearer also knows the direction of true north at all times. The Staff also has the following powers:
            Detect Good/Evil: As the Cleric spell.
            Dimension Door: As the Magic-User spell.
            Control Weather: Changes to colder temperatures, or to snowy precipitation, use no charges.


Bag of Toys: Resembling a Bag of Tricks, this seemingly-empty bag contains objects that may be pulled forth, one at a time. At first glance, each object resembles a child’s toy. Each toy animates in some way and exists to serve the user. Only one toy can exist outside of the bag at a time. Each may be commanded to return to toy form and returned to the bag.

Die Roll
Rocking Horse
Becomes a heavy warhorse in full plate armor to serve.
Rag Doll
Becomes a small-size animated companion similar to a homunculus.
Wooden Sword
Serves as a Dragon-Slaying Sword +2.
Wooden Top
Spin to create a whirlwind as from a 12 HD air elemental.
Tin Soldier
Becomes a 3rd level Fighter with sword and plate mail armor.
Dragon Puppet
Wear on hand to cast three breath weapon effects as a dragon of minimum HD. Determine dragon color randomly.

Carulee’s Bonny Bear: A soft, black, plush bear with eyes of dark sapphire. Has a calming effect (save vs. Paralyzation) on anyone who touches it, even suppressing a berserk rage. If held while sleeping, the sleeper gains double the normal amount of hit points when recovering from wounds, and cannot be affected by mind- or dream-altering magic while sleeping. The sleeper always feels well rested regardless of the conditions of his/her “bed.” Once per day, if held and rocked for one round, while humming or singing a lullaby, the bear creates a “zone of sanctuary” for the user. Any creature wishing to harm the user must save vs. spell or ignore them in favor of others. If the user makes an offensive action, the effect is lost. This effect lasts for up to eight rounds, as long as the user sings.

Hat of Animation: When this item is placed upon the head (or what passes for one) of a medium-size humanoid figure formed entirely of a single natural material, that figure is brought to life. This is not merely animation, the figure is alive and aware – if childlike in mentality, at first. The effect ends if the hat is removed for any amount of time. The newly-animated figure is kindly disposed toward the individual that brought it to life, but is not under any form of control or compulsion. Such creatures can move and function as well as their anatomy allows. They do not need to eat, breathe, or sleep.

Irundoth’s Wintry Cottage: Snow globe music box with tiny cottage inside. Turning the key as far as it will go plays a song for one minute, at which point the globe expands to encompass a full-size rustic cottage sitting in the middle of a perpetual snowfall. A cobblestone path untouched by snow leads from a little wooden gate to the porch of the cottage. The gate is the only entrance to the extradimensional space that contains the cottage. The snow falls at a rate of one inch per hour. After twelve hours of use, a tone like a gigantic wind chime will sound twelve times, and the cottage becomes a snow globe again — trapping anyone that fails to leave. The cottage also reverts to snow globe form if the user walks back out through the gate.

Jangleball: Large jingle bell creates a 50’ burst of sound when thrown, dispelling the bindings of 3d6 hit dice of skeletal and zombie undead – causing them to fall apart, inert.

Jingle Harness: A red leather harness of the type used for draft animals pulling a wagon or sleigh, this item is adorned with silvery jingle bells. Any hooved animal of about the size of a horse or reindeer may wear the harness to gain 2x normal movement speed, flight (up to 12”/turn), and a “sanctuary” property that forces any creature wishing harm to the beast to make a saving throw vs. Spells, unless the animal attacks them first.