31 May 2011

On the two forthcoming 'Hobbit' films

The latest news on the two (two?) forthcoming Hobbit films (from here):
We have names for the two films (carved out of the single novel by J.R.R. Tolkien) — The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey and The Hobbit: There and Back Again — and we have release dates, Dec. 14, 2012, and Dec. 13, 2013.

Several veterans of The Lord of the Rings trilogy will appear in the prequels to Jackson’s smash-hit, Oscar-winning film trilogy. Returning stars include Sir Ian McKellen as Gandalf, Elijah Wood as Frodo Baggins, Andy Serkis as Gollum and Orlando Bloom as Legolas.

British actor Stephen Fry has also been assigned a role.

The $500 million 3-D project began filming in New Zealand in March, following months of wrangling, delays, financial woes and health problems for Jackson.
By Morgoth's iron crown, why, oh why, must it be 3-D? I hate 3-D films! Hate, hate, hate them... L

That complaint aside, it's good to hear that Ian McKellan and Andy Serkis will be back. (And I'm fine with Elijah Wood and Orlando Bloom, although I'm deeply puzzled as to why they would be appearing, given that neither 'Frodo' nor 'Legolas' appear in the novel!)

I'm curious to know which character Stephen Fry will be playing. Perhaps Thorin?

And who will play Elrond (assuming it's not Hugo Weaving), Beorn, Bard, and Thranduil (the 'Elvenking')?

30 May 2011

Cthulhu Cappucinno

Not only will a cup of this stuff wake you up in the morning, it'll totally blow your mind!

(From the Lovecraftsman; hat tip to Chris Robichaud)

27 May 2011

Mythic Iceland for BRP

This looks interesting. Here’s the blurb from Chaosium’s site:

MYTHIC ICELAND

by Pedro Ziviani

MYTHIC ICELAND brings to life the world of the Icelandic Sagas and fairy tales.

The Nordic and Celtic peoples settled Iceland in the 9th century coming from lands with rich traditions of folklore, where the mythical and supernatural are part of daily life. They discovered an island of striking beauty, with inland valleys, richly grassed and forested lowlands, massive glaciers, and impressive volcanic mountain ranges. They also found the land to be teeming with spirits of nature and mythic creatures.

This small country produced the largest body of medieval literature anywhere in Northern Europe. Mythic Iceland mines this rich tradition, and weaves background and adventure with the roleplaying experience of the Basic Roleplaying system.

Those pictures that I posted earlier this week would be quite useful for a campaign using this supplement!

24 May 2011

Pictures of Iceland

My friend Peeter (who plays 'Adralat Na-Keth' in our RuneQuest Young Kingdoms campaign) recently was in Iceland. Here are some of the pictures that he took while there. I think that these could be useful as 'visual aids' in a fantasy role-playing game campaign, especially one set in a 'Nordic' environment (say, one involving Vikings).







23 May 2011

Some Reactions to the Mongoose-RuneQuest Divorce

Here is Newt Newport’s take. It’s wonderful, of course, that OpenQuest will continue to be available and supported by D101 Games into the future!

Here is the Swordsman’s take over at ‘Rune Under Water’. The future of the MRQII fanzine, Impale!, that the Swordsman was working on looks uncertain now, unfortunately. I was very much looking forward to reading, and possible contributing, to Impale!.

The perspective of James Maliszewski of ‘Grognardia’ can be found here.

Finally, the future of Cakebread & Walton’s excellent Clockwork & Chivalry series for MRQII (I own every module produced so far the remarkable ‘Kingdom & Commonwealth’ campaign) is unclear. However, Cakebread & Walton seem committed to the series and setting.

Mongoose Dropping RuneQuest II

Here is the announcement:

Joint press release from Mongoose Publishing and Issaries, Inc.

“Today we have agreed to dissolve the business relationship between our companies. While such partings are regretful, we recognize the need to play to our strengths and specialties in today’s market.”

Says Matthew Sprange, Managing Director of Mongoose:

“RuneQuest has been an adventure in publishing fantasy, but we can only seek so much treasure at once. It is clear to us that Traveller, miniatures and our future board and card games are our strong suits. We’ll now channel more resources in these directions.”

Says Greg Stafford, President of Issaries:

“I’ve enjoyed the creative efforts of Mongoose, and I will miss the entertainment and expansion that it’s given us. Thank you Matt. ”

Apparently, though, Mongoose intends to support the MRQII system in a new form, calling it ‘Wayfarer’:

We have recently announced that Mongoose and Issaries have mutually decided to part ways which, on the face of things, means no more RuneQuest and Glorantha (at least, from us). However, Mongoose retains ownership of the (frankly, absolutely cracking) core rules system which we intend to keep as our central fantasy roleplaying game mechanics.



We will therefore be republishing the current RuneQuest II core rules as the Wayfarer rules system (as Traveller covers science fiction, Wayfarer seemed the logical choice for fantasy!). We will be using the same ‘half-size’ format currently in use for the Lone Wolf Multiplayer Gamebooks, ensuring the rules system carries on.

The new Wayfarer rulebook will be 100% compatible with the current RuneQuest II range, albeit with some RuneQuest and Gloranthan-specific items removed/changed. In short, if you have any RuneQuest II books right now, they will be 100% compatible with Wayfarer. If you pick up Wayfarer, it will be 100% compatible with any RuneQuest II books available now. They are, after all, the same game system!



The Wayfarer rulebook will be appearing in the winter this year, and the current RuneQuest II range will remain available until this time – so if you want to grab the last of the ‘larger’ (and leather bound) format books, you can do so and be assured they will remain compatible with any new material.



There will be no more Glorantha books from Mongoose when Wayfarer appears, so if you want some Second Age goodness, get them before they disappear for good!



We will be moving Deus Vult, Wraith Recon, Eternal Champion and the forthcoming Age of Treason to Wayfarer, along with many books in the core RuneQuest II line, such as Vikings.

The choice of the name ‘Wayfarer’ seems problematic, as there already exists a FRPG called ‘Wayfarers’. Moreover, the name 'RuneQuest' has a history and mystique that 'Wayfarer' simply lacks (in my opinion).

The news gets even worse, RuneQuest fans. Pete Nash is leaving Mongoose:

What with the big news release that RQ and Mongoose are going their separate ways, the time has come to announce that I too have resigned from Mongoose. Its been a hectic few years, but very educational.

Many thanks to all those who appreciated the hard work Loz and I placed into the revised MRQ2 rules. Indeed your glowing reviews and continuing support of our books have encouraged us to work above and beyond the modest gratuity we received. I have been especially pleased by the general congeniality of these forums and hope that you'll continue to help one another in the future.

However, as time moves on my interests meander and head-hunting offers become increasingly difficult to resist. I already have a few projects waiting in line so I shall still continue to write RPGs, but those waiting for an Ancient Greece source book might have to wait a while longer.

So without whittering on any longer, I bid you all adieu. Take care and keep on playing!

Lawrence Whitaker departed Mongoose last October, so neither of the creative minds behind the RuneQuest II system will be involved with the future of the MRQII/Wayfarer system.

This is a lot to take in.

Here’s a quick ‘tinfoil hat’ thought. Consider the following comment from Matt Sprange:

“RuneQuest has been an adventure in publishing fantasy, but we can only seek so much treasure at once. It is clear to us that Traveller, miniatures and our future board and card games are our strong suits. We’ll now channel more resources in these directions.”

So how serious, then, is Mongoose about 'Wayfarer'? I can't help but think that Mongoose doesn't intend to support it much at all, but wants to avoid being stuck with a pile of MRQII stock that they can't move, and so wishes to create the impression that the FRPG will continue into the future.

I hope I’m wrong, but today’s news is quite depressing.

The Journal of Edvund Yrvim - Entry 9 – The Straw Dogs

Adralat returned to our room sometime after I had fallen asleep. The next morning he told Bōdric and I, “My good Melnibonéan friends, I am pleased to inform you that I now have a second dream stored in my staff. This dream is a quite disturbing one; it comes from the realm of Falador, a place of madness and horror.”

Scowling, the dreamthief paused for a moment before saying, “Having experienced this dream, I now find myself consumed with a burning hatred for the sorcerer Malagan! By the Million Spheres I wish him dead. Alas, such are the effects of travelling through the dream realms, my friends.”

I looked at Adralat’s dreamstaff with interest. Our human colleague seemed to be an accomplished practitioner of this mystical art. It was a form of magic that I knew very little about. One reason why I was eager to keep Adralat with us was to learn more about this form of magic, and the ‘dream realms.’

After we broke our fast, the three of us, Adralat, Bōdric, and myself, departed the Frozen Gem and walked along the harbour. There were about thirty boats there. The ship from the Purple Towns, the captain of which had purchased Lady Salamir, remained at its dock. We spied a few Pan Tangian ships, their bold merman flags fluttering in the breeze. Many of the other ships looked to be those of pirates, smugglers, and slavers.

At the far eastern end of the harbour we spotted a rather unusual vessel. It looked to be a Shazarian longship, and a number of mercenaries walked about on its two decks.

“Those are the mercenaries I noticed at the market square a couple of days ago,” muttered Bōdric, his brows furrowed in concentration. “I wish I could remember who they are; I’m sure that I’ve encountered them at some point during my past travels!”

One of the mercenaries was lithe warrior with long blond hair and a flowing, well-made cloak. Bōdric hailed him. The fellow looked at my half-brother, a flicker recognition lighting his face. He shouted, “Wait a moment, friend!” and then disappeared below deck.

Returning a few moments later, the blond warrior was accompanied by a tall dark-haired man with a haunted look about his eyes. He scrutinized Bōdric for few seconds, raised his left brow in mild surprise, and stated, “Greetings, sir, I believe that I know you! Perhaps you remember us, Melnibonéan? I am called ‘Tassis,’ and this is colleague ‘Edric’.”

[Tassis]

“I am Bōdric, and you do look familiar, Master Tassis,” my half-brother replied. “We would have words with you, if it should please you.”

“You and your companions may come aboard, Bōdric,” replied Tassis, sporting a wolfish grin.

We clamoured up the plank onto the Shazarian vessel, and followed Tassis and Edric below deck. In a plain room with a simple wooden table, which supported some crude clay mugs of ale, two additional mercenaries joined us. The first mercenary had a badly burnt face, and when he smiled he revealed a set of metal teeth. He was called ‘Jurgen.’ The other mercenary was a short, stocky, and strong barbarian, with elaborate tattoos and a tiger-skin over his shoulder. He was identified as ‘Dark Sky.’ (Based on my lore concerning the realms, I judged ‘Dark Sky’ to be a savage from the Weeping Wastes, to the north.) These four, I surmised, were the leaders of the mercenary company, and Tassis seemed to be the leader of all, given his authoritative demeanour and luxurious cloak.

[Dark Sky]

“Ahhhh, now I recall who you lot are,” exclaimed Bōdric, his frustration with his blocked memory finally relieved. “You’re the ‘Straw Dogs’!”

Tassis smiled and nodded in an exaggerated manner. “Glad to know that you have not forgotten us, son of Lord Yrvim.”

After some further introductions (I carefully went by my cunning moniker, ‘Ilkyn Blackviper’), we discussed the current situation in Ryfel, including Governor Boorg’s forthcoming banquet. However, our inquiries as to why the ‘Straw Dogs’ were in the town were unsuccessful; Tassis kept his cards close to his chest.

Much to my surprise, though, Tassis guessed correctly why we were here. “You’re here for the girl, no? The Melnibonéan lass with the fancy tattoo?”

Obviously our expressions betrayed us. Tassis let out a short laugh. This fellow was in possession of a sharp mind; I realized that I would have to be vigilant around him.

Bōdric sighed and said, “Aye, Tassis, you’ve guessed our mission well enough. However, we would be happy to hire you and your company to aid us, if you’re looking for work. I suspect that we will be in need of some strong sword arms before we’re done in this squalid port.”

Tassis stroked his chin thoughtfully for almost a full minute. Edric, Jurgen, and Dark Sky smiled slightly at each other, a strange knowing look in their faces. I had the distinct feeling that we were at a marked informational disadvantage.

Finally, Tassis broke the heavy silence. “An interesting, and quite bold, offer. I’ll tell you what, Bōdric, we’ll think about your proposal, and get back to you in the near future. Where might you be reached?”

“We’re staying at the Frozen Gem.”

“Ah, of course you are. We’ll be in touch.”

And so, our discussion concluded, we were escorted off the ship by Edric. Nodding goodbye, we began to walk back to the inn.

“So, brother, tell me about these ‘Straw Dogs’,” I said to Bōdric, my tone slightly testy, as I was not happy with our new vulnerability.

“Edvund, the Dogs are the most formidable mercenary band – well, human mercenary band – in the Young Kingdoms! According to legend, they have never lost a battle. Indeed, a rumour amongst many of the sell-swords of the western lands is that Tassis has sold his soul for the guarantee of eternal victory. Having them on our side would be a great benefit.”

Adralat and I looked at each other, both of us unsure as to how to take my half-brother’s information.

“Well, if they do choose to help us in our quest, it is good to know that they will be able to hold their own,” I said as we reached the Frozen Gem.

“But I quite strongly suspect, Bōdric, that their goals do not coincide with our own.”

19 May 2011

May Miscellaneous Items

1. Swords and Wizardry core rules – the 4th Printing PDF – is now available for free here! (Note: the 'core rules' version of S&W differs from the 'complete rules' version; the latter is sold by Frog God Games.)

2. Newt Newport (of D101 Games) has posted a new picture depicting a scene from the world of ‘Zarth’, for the forthcoming S&W-based RPG Crypts and Things:

3. The ‘One-page Dungeonwinners for 2011 can be found here. Congrats to all the winners!

4. There is a cool new logo for the ‘Links to Wisdom’ wiki:

13 May 2011

Lost Post

My post on the amazing artwork of Russ Nicholson seems to have disappeared.

Hmmm...

11 May 2011

My Top 5 FRPG Artists – Number 5 – Russ Nicholson

Amongst long-time fantasy role-players, I’m sure that Russ Nicholson’s work for the first edition Advanced Dungeons and Dragons Fiend Folio book is most well known. Many iconic D&D creatures were first portrayed by Nicholson, including the Slaad, Githyanki, and Githzerai.

Above is a recent picture by Nicholson depicting a Githyanki and Githzerai, taken from one of his blog posts.

Nicholson also illustrated many of the ‘Fighting Fantasy Gamebooks’, most of which were written by Steve Jackson (the British, not the American, one) and/or Ian Livingstone. The first book in this series was The Warlock of Firetop Mountain.

Here is the dragon from The Warlock of Firetop Mountain.

And here is the Warlock himself, ready to blast you to Hades!

Here is a ‘Gark’ from The Citadel of Chaos, the second book in the ‘Fighting Fantasy’ series.

I loved playing through these books as a young lad. They enabled me to get my ‘fantasy gaming fix’ when I couldn’t meet up with my friends.

Nicholson’s evocative black and white illustrations made a deep impression on my young mind, and very much influenced how I subsequently imagined my fantasy adventures.

Finally, below are two recent pictures by Nicholson. Both are taken from a recent blog post.


If you’re a long-time fan of Russ Nicholson’s art, or just discovering it for the first time here, I encourage you to check out his blog, aptly-named ‘Russ Nicholson’. Many more wonderful pictures can be found there.

It is great that Nicholson is still actively producing amazing illustrations!

The Journal of Edvund Yrvim - Entry 8 - 'Deals and Deliveries'

We awoke in the early afternoon. I had slept continuously since our return shortly before dawn, replenishing my limited vital energies after the extensive use of my sorcerous powers the previous night. Adralat, Bōdric, and our loyal slave Myluk, in contrast, took turns ‘guarding’ our sleeping quarters. We had reason to fear the possibility of treachery from our newfound ‘ally,’ Nhagren Fhuur, Assistant Governor of Ryfel.

After I awoke and broke my fast, I began to have some serious doubts concerning our deal with Nhagren. No doubt the snake would betray us as soon as it became convenient. Nonetheless, it seemed unlikely that he would attempt to have our throats slit until we had at least performed the services he sought from us. By that time, I could only hope that we would be in a position to strike first against the vile Pan Tangian –- or be far away, sailing to Imrryr.

In any case, we now had an immediate objective: the delivery (willing or not) of the courtesan Aneera into Nhagren’s grasping hands. Obviously, a ‘willing’ Aneera would be easier to deal with than an unwilling one.

Given his training in negotiation and his aptitude for fast-talk, despite his rather prosaic appearance and odd accent, we decided that it would be most prudent if Adralat investigated whether Aneera might be willing, somehow, to participate in our scheme. And so our human companion disappeared down into the common room of the Frozen Gem, pretending to ‘hire’ Aneera’s services as a ‘client.’

Still somewhat weary from the previous night’s exertions, Bōdric and I remained in our room relaxing, while Adralat went about his business. Returning to our quarters after an hour or so, my half-brother and I noticed immediately the cut on Adralat’s left hand, bandaged with a silk strip, most likely cut from a dress or gown.

“My fascinating Melnibonéan friends,” Adralat exclaimed, “I have negotiated a deal with the prostitute Aneera. She will aid us in our task –- so long as we perform a service for her in return.”

Sighing loudly in irritation, Bōdric snapped, “What must we do now, human?”

“Ah, well, let me explain,” Adralat began. “It was a most intriguing experience! It seems that Aneera’s room is completely blue. Clearly it was her dream that I sensed last night, when we returned to the inn. She radiates a remarkable presence, a power of some sort.”

“Anyhow, during my discussion with Aneera, in her wondrously blue room, I learned that she, unfortunately, loathes our ersatz ally Nhagren. Apparently, the Pan Tangian, despite his protestations of love and devoation, is quite abusive in his treatment of her.”

Adralat paused for a moment, scowling. I shared his anger, recalling the ill treatment experienced by my own mother, an Ilmiorian concubine of Lord Yrvim, during my childhood.

“Nonetheless, she has agreed to surrender herself to Nhagren, so long as we liberate her eleven sisters, also prostitutes here at the Gem, and deliver them safely to some other, more lawful realm, preferably Argimiliar. Apparently, Aneera and her sisters originally hail from the cosmopolitan and learned city of Cadsandria, but through some cruel twist of fate, were captured and sold into slavery. Graciously, she is willing to sacrifice herself in order to free her sisters.”

“By Arioch’s right ear, man, now we have to free a gaggle of whores? Could things become even more convoluted before we can leave this miserable pustule of a town?” snarled Bōdric in obvious frustration. I must confess that I shared his complaint. Things seemed to be becoming ever more difficult for us.

Shrugging, Adralat continued, “Well, I’m afraid that I am now sworn to this course of action, my friends. Aneera compelled me to take a blood oath –- hence the cut on my hand. We joined our bleeding hands and swore a pact in the name of some entity called ‘Eequor, the Blue Lady.’ I’m not sure…”

I bolted forward, spitting some stale small beer from my mouth. “You what?!”

Startled, Adralat replied softly, “I, um, swore a pact in the name of ‘Eequor’ … what could be wrong with that?”

Groaning, I explained, “Eequor, my horribly naïve friend, is a Power of Chaos, the Goddess of Sorrow and Dismay! A blood vow to her will sear your soul if you fail to keep it. You have committed yourself to a most dangerous course Adralat –- one that could doom us all!”

“At least her commitment to Eequor explains all the damned blue,” I continued, in a softer voice.

Shrugging, Adralat seemed unperturbed by his predicament. “What is done is done, gentlemen. We have our agreement with Nhagren. In any case, I feel sorry for Aneera and her sisters. It seems that the chap who runs this roach hotel, that Zherez Zheringen whom we met when we first arrived here, is even crueller than Nhagren.”

[Zherez Zheringen]

(‘Roach hotel’? Adralat’s expressions frequently mystify me.)

As we discussed these matters, a note was slid under our door. It was from Aneera, asking Adralat to speak with her again.

This time Adralat disappeared only for a few minutes. Upon his return he said, “Aneera plans to convince Zherez to allow her to go to a nearby herbalist in order to have her hand treated. She plans to blame a client for the cut –- apparently, some vile pirate who, consequently, will not live much longer. I think that we should arrange to transport her to Nhagren now. It will be our best opportunity.”

After a few minutes of considering Adralat’s proposal, Bōdric and I agreed to it. We departed the Frozen Gem, heading towards the herbalist’s place, guided by instructions given to Adralat by Aneera.

The herbalist’s establishment proved to be little more than a crude hut, crammed between some of the ramshackle buildings found in Ryfel’s unpleasant Harbourside district. Bōdric opted to remain outside, lurking in a nearby alleyway, while Adralat and I entered.

Within the herbalist’s shop were many bunches of drying herbs, hanging from low rafters, conferring a sickly-sweet odour upon the entire place. The herbalist herself –- a rough looking woman with tangled hair and a well-lined face, most likely from one of the primitive clans of Pikarayd –- introduced herself as ‘Auhora.’

“Excuse me, my good lady, but I was wondering if you might be able to facilitate the healing of my wounded hand?” inquired Adralat with his usual flowery politeness.

Grunting and mumbling, Auhora bathed Adralat’s hand in salt water, placed some dried herbs within his cut, and bound the wound tightly. She uttered some instructions to Adralat, to which I paid little attention, before accepting some of my colleague’s coins in payment. We left the herbalist’s place and joined my half-brother in the alleyway. There we awaited our prey.

Perhaps an hour passed before we spied Aneera, the hood if a voluminous cloak placed over her fiery hair. Accompanying her was a scruffy young man and a kitchen woman, both of whom we recognized as wretched employees of the Frozen Gem.

Acting with catlike grace, I approached the party, uttering my rune of Sleep while doing so. The young man and kitchen woman, soon unconscious thanks to my remarkable eldritch power, were deposited in the alleyway. The three of us then escorted the concealed Aneera away from Harbourside and towards Ryfel’s less squalid ‘Old Side.’

[Aneera]

Much to my enormous relief, the journey to Nhagren’s green gabled house in Old Side proved uneventful. We spotted a band of Governor Boorg’s swaggering Black Guard down the street, but they fortunately chose not to accost us.

A painfully obsequious Pan Tangian named ‘Graive’ greeted us at Nhagren’s house, showing us into an antechamber, in which we were served fruit and wine. According to Graive, his master, Nhagren, was expected to return in approximately an hour.

Eventually, the craven worm left our company. We waited anxiously, not daring to drink the wine, lest it be poisoned in an attempt to double-cross us.

Finally Nhagren returned, limping noticeably from the blow my sling had inflicted upon his knee the previous night. I felt no sympathy for the two-legged serpent.

Clearly, the Pan Tangian was delighted that we had succeeded in bringing Aneera to him. The beautiful red-haired woman, however, regarded the Pan Tangian wth cold contempt. Obviously Nhagren’s passion was not reciprocated by her –- hardly a surprise, given Aneera’s report to Adralat of how Nhagren treated her when not in the company of others.

“Thank you, oh thank you, my Melnibonéan friends,” hissed the Pan Tangian at us. “You have kept the first part of our bargain! I am most thrilled, gentlemen, most thrilled indeed. In return, I will give you letters of entry, with my seal. These letters will entitle you to enter the Black Citadel two days hence, to attend the gladiatorial games and the banquet that my half-witted cousin, the Governor, will be holding. At that time, it is my most sincere hope that the rest of our agreement can be fulfilled!”

Nodding, we accepted the letters, and began to move towards the exit. Before we could leave the antechamber, though, Aneera suddenly grabbed Adralat’s head, and kissed him passionately for several long seconds. Nhagren looked on with poisonous envy. Given Adralat’s rather plain features, I inferred that this simply was a ploy by Aneera to wound Nhagren’s pride. Inside, I silently applauded.

Finally out of Nhagren’s manor, we breathed in the salty air, and let out a collective sigh of relief. We then made our way back to the Frozen Gem.

Upon returning to the inn, we spent some time in the common room. It was clear that Zherez had discovered the absence of Aneera, and was outraged at this development. Much to my intense concern, he seemed to be eying Adralat with suspicion. After a few minutes, the innkeeper leapt dramatically upon the bar.

“Patrons of the Gem! Men of taste and distinction!” exclaimed Zherez forcefully, “Something has been stolen from me. Something of great value! You all know her. She is the red-haired goddess who has given many of you moments of happiness in the past. Aneera, beloved of all who frequent the Gem and appreciate true beauty, has gone missing! This injustice cannot stand. I will not let it stand. And so, my friends, I offer a reward –- this bag of a dozen gold coins –- for her safe return! I offer half that number of gold coins for reliable information of her whereabouts. A kingly sum!”

After spending a few moments surveying his motley clientele with an imperious glare, Zherez leapt off the bar and stormed out of the common room, leaving it in the care of his gruff bartender and serving wenches.

Trying our best to lay low, Bōdric and I chatted with some gambling sailors and merchants who seemed somewhat less uncivilized than most of the rogues and thugs that patronized the inn. From our newfound friends (purchasing a round of black ale seems to be the price of friendship in Harbourside) we learned a number of interesting things about the power structure of Ryfel.

Zherez is a former pirate and, it seems, the de facto ruler of much of Ryfel, especially Harbourside. To cross him, according to our drinking partners, is to ensure a painful death. Nhagren, despite his de jure authority, is very much dependent on Zherez for much of his effective power. And Zherez enjoys –- or rather, enjoyed –- using Aneera as a pawn in their ongoing power struggle.

Furthermore, according to our new friends, the obscenely fat Governor Boorg, unsurprisingly, is despised by all in Ryfel, even his cousin and right-hand man Nhagren. Boog continually squeezes the city of its wealth, and sends most of it back to Pan Tang. Despite being generally loathed, however, no one in Ryfel dares to challenge Boorg’s power, as the Governor is supported by the sorceror Malagan, who is feared by all. Malagan, it seems, can do as he wishes. Indeed, Boorg is simply Malagan’s puppet.

No wonder Nhagren wishes us to eliminate both Boorg and Malagan. Simply removing Boorg, while likely leaving Nhagren as Governor of Ryfel, would leave him at the mercy of the malevolent sorcerer.

While Bōdric and I chatted with these helpfully informative fellows, Adralat spied someone whom he referred to as ‘Eleus.’ Winking slyly at me, our human friend approached Eleus, spoke with him briefly, and then disappeared with him upstairs.

Despite the passionate kiss given to Adralat by Aneera earlier, I wondered briefly whether our human friend’s animal inclinations bent towards men rather than women. But then I remembered what Adralat had told me earlier, and realized that he no doubt was on a mission to obtain another dream for his mystical staff. Such is the business of a ‘dreamthief,’ it would seem.

The thought of dreams made me realize just how horribly weary I was! And so my half-brother and I retired to our chamber in order to steal some much needed rest.

Sweet slumber!

10 May 2011

Two Middle-earth Pictures by Jon Hodgson

It looks like the talented Jon Hodgson will be responsible for some (/much/all?) of the art for Cubicle 7's forthcoming Middle-earth role-playing game, The One Ring.

Hodgson's work graces the covers of OpenQuest (one of my current favourites) and Dragon Warriors. It's great that The One Ring also will benefit from his formidable skills!

Below are two pictures taken from Cublicle 7's new blog/website.

[Good old Smaug]

[A nasty Goblin]

(I posted Cubicle 7's announcement concerning their forthcoming The One Ring RPG here a few months ago. Interested readers can check out this post, or the reposted version over at Cubicle 7's new blog/website here.)

02 May 2011

Potential RuneQuest II Fanzine

The Swordsman writes over at his blog 'Rune Under Water':
"...My model for the fanzine would be the excellent OSR fanzine Fight On!, but I'd suggest a rather more organized set of regular content. This is an example of ideas for the regular content:

Runerites: (in honor of the great White Dwarf column) New rules ideas or general concepts
The Coliseum: new monsters
Foes: Fully developed NPCs with tactics and motivations
Plunder: Magic items, unique or generic
Elder Secrets: New spells and magical abilities
Cults: Fully developed cults
Blood and Souls: Specific items for the Elric setting
God Willing: Specific items for the Deus Vult setting
Major Arcana: Specific items for the Wraith Recon setting
Njallsaga: Specific items for the Vikings setting..."
More information can be found at the blog post linked above, as well as in this thread over at the Mongoose RuneQuest II forum.

It would be great if such a fanzine could get going -- especially if proved to be a Fight On! for the RuneQuest (and BRP) folks. I look forward to seeing how this turns out, and, possibly, contributing a few articles as well!

Blog Archive

About Me

My photo
I'm a Canadian political philosopher who divides his time between Milwaukee and Toronto.