30 August 2016

Dungeons and Dragons artifact from 1983

I found this slightly damaged artifact in the basement of my parents' house today. I'm pretty sure that I drew it in 1983. I was 12 or 13 at the time, and Advanced Dungeons and Dragons had become my life.

Ah, memories!

28 August 2016

Loz Con 2016 summary

So "Loz Con 2016" took place over the weekend of August 12th—14th. The generous host, Lawrence Whitaker, summed up the grand event in the following Design Mechanism post:
LozCon 2016 was a lot of fun. With 7 attendees, it had grown by over 25% on 2015's venture, and the variety of games was, as ever, eclectic. 
1. Cthulhu 7 - in which an intrepid band of Irish hoodlums investigated a strange tenement in Arkham. Lots of madness ensued. 
2. Into the Odd - in which an intrepid band of semi-Undead residents of Necrocarcerus went for a fun day out in the theme park of the demon Muurl. Lots of madness ensued. 
3. Bridge Over Troubled Parallels - in which an intrepid band of Valhalla agents ventured to an alternative Edinburgh, encountered an alternative Billy Connolly, an alternative Sean Connery, some alternative killpanzees, and almost died in very horrible ways. Most controversial scenario of the con, and madness ensued. 
4. The One Ring - in which a hand-picked fellowship (chosen by Elrond himself) escorted a twitchy Ranger to his ancestral home, that appeared to be in the hands of bandits and a creature known as 'The Eye'. Fighting ensued, and the madness was confined to the 'Ranger'... 
My thanks to the marvellous attendees (Blain, Chris, Jude, John, Sean and Erich) and compliments to the chef (me)...
One quick correction regarding Loz's comment on the Mythras/RQ6 'Arkwright' game ("Bridge Over Troubled Parallels"): "in which an intrepid band of Valhalla agents ... almost died in very horrible ways." One agent — my character, the Scottish revolutionary hero Duncan Barr — did die in a very horrible way. He was shot to death by machine-gun wielding chimpanzees. I guess I should've expected that that would happen, as we were in Edinburgh after all. Still, it was an ignoble way to go. Indeed, the entire adventure went pear-shaped over a period of five hours (red herrings pursued, mission failed, parallels destroyed, one character killed, multiple characters near death, etc.). Ah well...

I ran the Call of Cthulhu 7th edition game. The scenario I used was "Missed Dues" from the 7e Keeper Pack. It worked quite well as a 'one shot' adventure. It also was quite effective at introducing some new players to the CoC universe. However, given the adventure's hook — all the characters are gangsters who owe the local 'boss' a favour, and thus agree to try to track down a burglar behind in his 'dues' — it probably would not fit within a regular 1920s campaign. But if one did want to run a campaign in which all of the characters were criminals, this adventure would work well with the other one in the Keeper's Pack, "Blackwater Creek." (The latter adventure can be run either for a group of bootleggers or a group affiliated with Miskatonic University. When I ran the adventure last year, I used the latter hook, as one of the characters was a professor at MU. [I plan to write more about my sporadic, but still ongoing, CoC 7e campaign here in the near-ish future.])

Finally, I enjoyed The One Ring role-playing game a lot more this time around than I did the few sessions I played of it a few years ago. I had a small issue with the way the 'madness' mechanic worked, but other than that I thought that the game did a rather good job in capturing the feel of late Third Age Middle-earth. Consequently, I would be happy to try TOR again, and am considering picking up the new hardcover version for my collection.

This is the second Loz Con I have had be pleasure of attending. My thanks again to Lawrence for hosting. I hope to attend again in 2017!

25 August 2016

Stephen Colbert and Anderson Cooper discuss Dungeons and Dragons

This exchange (within the first three minutes or so) between Stephen Colbert and Anderson Cooper is pretty hilarious. (And of course Cooper's favourite character was an elf.)

12 August 2016

Tolkien Elf or Prescription Drug?

Two months ago I posted a story about my experience with the 1980s ‘Dungeons and Dragons panic’. I mentioned that one of the friends with whom I gamed regularly during my early teens (~ 1984) had an elf character named ‘Feldene’ (an anti-inflammatory drug, properly known as ‘Piroxicam’).

Well, it turns out that many prescription drugs have names that sound quite elvish! Indeed, there is a quiz: “Prescription Drug of Tolkien Elf”? (Much to my shame, I scored only 24/30.)

It’s good fun. Almost as good as the high from some Finarfin

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I'm a Canadian political philosopher who lives primarily in Toronto but teaches in Milwaukee (sometimes in person, sometimes online).