27 October 2018

G+? Isn’t that worse than an F?

The imminent end of Google-plus is now old news. For some interesting thoughts on this development and its potential impact on the role-playing community (especially the ‘old school’ wing) I recommend this post by Melan at his Beyond Fomalhaut blog.

I vaguely recall joining G+ many years ago, but after a few forays into it, I decided that it wasn’t for me. The interface just rubbed me the wrong way. Among other things, posts quickly disappeared and subsequently were difficult to find. For the life of me, I just couldn’t see why anyone thought it was a better platform for discussing RPGs than forums and blogs.

Anyhow, my sympathies to anyone who found G+ helpful, interesting, or fun. People who were fans seem to be migrating to the (unfortunately named IMO) ‘MeWe’ place. I wish them well.

(Speaking of blogs, I really need to update my ‘blog roll’ here. I removed the old one a few months ago—it was too static [I want the version that shows the most recent posts] and out of date [many of the blogs were ‘dead’ or had become focused on topics of little or no interest to me]. I’ll do it some day—I promise! I just need RL to stop stomping on my soul every day…)

24 October 2018

Ancient ship = Eldritch horrors


“More than a mile beneath the surface of the Black Sea, shrouded in darkness, an ancient ship sat for millennia unseen by human eyes — until the Black Sea Maritime Archaeology Project happened upon its watery grave last year.… [T]he trading vessel plied the waves in the days of Plato and Sophocles, when the city-states of ancient Greece had scattered colonies all around the Black Sea.”

Sometimes a real world news event writes a cool Call of Cthulhu scenario for you…

(Though I’d replace the “Black Sea Maritime Archaeology Project” with the “Black Sea Miskatonic Archaeology Project” -- and move everything back to ~1930.)

15 October 2018

Greg Stafford RIP


Greg Stafford passed away on October 11th.
Stafford was the founder of Chaosium—one of the most important companies during the early days of role-playing games (perhaps second only to TSR)—and creator of the acclaimed Pendragon RPG. He helped to create—and provided the setting (Glorantha) for—one of the greatest and most influential RPGs of all time: RuneQuest. In his role at Chaosium during its ‘golden age’, he helped to shape and support two of my all-time favourite RPGs: The Call of Cthulhu and Stormbringer. By all reports he was a generous genius. It is hard to believe that another one of the greats from the mythic era of role-playing is gone.

Here is the announcement at Chaosium.

[Part of William Church's map of Glorantha from RuneQuest 2nd ed.] 

04 October 2018

Saga's Sword

This sounds like the beginning of a fantasy epic: a young girl named 'Saga' finds an ancient sword in a lake...

But it actually happened: "An eight-year-old [Saga Vanecek] found an ancient pre-Viking-era [~500 AD] sword while swimming in a lake in Sweden during the summer."



UPDATE (2018-10-22): Saga describes her experience.

19 September 2018

Scottish dwarves

Another insight from Existential Comics:


This is a great comic, by the way. I've mentioned it here before. There are a number of strips on 'Dungeons and Dragons and Philosophy', all of which are worth reading.

06 September 2018

The Resistance inside Nyarlathotep's Death Cult

"In the year-and-a-half since the Black Pharaoh replaced the Oval Office with a literal blood fountain throne, I’ve watched as the hits keep on coming. The executive cabinet is wracked with scandal, ordinary citizens who signed the cultist oath are making good on their grave pacts, and, of course, the entirety of the country’s water supply is now teeming with pulsating eggs from some kind inter-dimensional parasite. It’s easy to look at these kinds of headlines, to read these sorts of leaked stories from the desiccated Capitol Hill, and see an unsustainable administration. Rumors of reversal incantations are beginning to make the rounds, and if our Commander-in-Chief is not careful, It could find Itself cast back among the stars beyond the universe. The past few weeks, in particular, have seen our President certainly live up to our campaign slogan 'I See All, and It Shall Burn.'" 
"But it’s important Americans know there are still some of us upholding the tenets envisioned by the original Necro-Party. We are part of a different kind of Resistance, one that still supports the foundations scrawled within the Tome of Infernal Torment, and not the whims of a Mad Anti-God who cares not for the literalist interpretations we hold so blasphemous. We believe the Tome is, was, and will forever be instrumental in wresting reason from the minds of the multitude. It may provide faint solace, but we felt we owe it to our fellow subjugates to let them know all is still very much for naught." 
"We still believe utter ruin can be brought to the land through the proper rituals and unhallowed traditions, not by this fly-by-the-seat-of-your-tentacles kind of governing."
From: "I am Part of the Resistance Inside Nyarlathotep's Death Cult" by Andrew Paul at McSweeney's.



09 August 2018

Lyonesse map draft

The good people at the Design Mechanism have shared this draft of their map of the 'Elder Isles' for their forthcoming Lyonesse RPG (based upon their Mythras system). The map is by Daniel Hasenbos, and the final version will be in colour.

I can't remember the last time I've looked forward so much to a new RPG...

08 August 2018

Colbert and Manganiello talk about Dungeons and Dragons

In this interview Stephen Colbert and actor Joe Manganiello spend about 9 minutes talking about (almost) nothing other than Dungeons and Dragons. Truly, we live in a very different world than the one in which I lived as a teen...

I have to confess that I had no idea who Manganiello was before this interview (apparently he was in 'True Blood', a show that I stopped watching after a couple of episodes). But he struck me as a decent, down-to-earth fellow, someone with whom I'd be happy to roll a few d20s.

The interview, needless to say, is quite entertaining.

03 August 2018

The Frost Giant's Daughter coming to TV

[Frank Frazetta's classic picture of Conan fighting the frost giants.]

I mentioned a few months ago that Amazon is planning a series based on Robert E. Howard's famous Conan character. At that time I hoped that the series would follow (more or less closely) REH's actual stories.

Well it looks like this will be the case. According to producer Ryan Condal, the first episode will be based upon "The Frost Giant's Daughter":
“I think the Conan purists will be very pleased [...] If anybody knows and follows the saga [‘The Frost-Giant’s Daughter’] is... the earliest story in Conan’s life. He’s basically just left Cimmeria and he’s running around as a mercenary with this Viking band of warriors called the Aesir... I’ve put [the Conan stories] back in [chronological] order and the idea is to tell Conan’s story over the time of his life.”
My hopes for this show are starting to build. Don't disappoint me, Crom (or "to hell with you!").

27 July 2018

Spider Cult of Mirkwood Campaign

Here is the index of my posts on my Spider Cult of Mirkwood campaign. It will remain in the section of this blog entitled ‘Some of my RPG Stuff’ (always found in the upper-right corner). This index will be updated as new entries concerning the campaign are posted here. 

[Part of Peter Fenlon's beautiful map from ICE's Mirkwood]

General Description:

This campaign takes place in Mirkwood and the surrounding regions—the Long Lake area, the ‘narrows’ north of Mirkwood and south of the Grey Mountains, and the Anduin Vale—about five years after the events described in The Hobbit (it starts in late spring 2946 of the Third Age).

I’ve drawn on a number of different resources for this campaign. In addition to the works of Prof. J.R.R. Tolkien (of course!) and my own imagination, I’ve made use of some of ICE’s old Middle-earth Roleplaying (‘MERP’) materials, in particular their Mirkwood setting book, and the more recent books from Cubicle 7, especially the Loremaster’s Guide and the Rhovanion Region Guide. However, I’ve changed a lot in what I’ve taken from the ICE and C7 materials. Finally, the campaign idea was inspired partially by an old White Dwarf MERP adventure—‘The Dawn of Unlight’—written by Graham Staplehurst. I’ve used very little from the adventure itself except for the core idea (namely, a secret ‘cult’ devoted to Ungoliant), but I’ve always liked Staplehurst’s adventure and am delighted to finally make us of it.

The system I’m using is Adventures in Middle-earth, which adapts the 5th edition Dungeons and Dragons rules for Middle-earth. I think it does a pretty good job!

Character Information:

  • The character backgrounds for: Hengil Foros (Dúnedan Warden of Rivendell), Ulvmund Galmund (Barding Warrior of Dale), and Hartmut Hare-Eye (Beorning Wanderer of the Anduin Vale).

The Adventures and Fellowship Phases:


Some related posts:

[A picture by Charles Peale from ICE's Mirkwood.]


Blog Archive

About Me

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