Archive for April, 2014

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Tuesday Magic Item – Draga’s Sash

29 April, 2014

Here worn at the waistThere was fire and smoke, Princess Rosaline, fled from her room only to hear the distant cries of men and the clash of arms.  Suddenly, her lady in waiting Clarival was at her side, her clothes thrown on but her every present blue sash was tied around her waist.

“My princess, we must flee, it is a coup,” said Clarival.

“But where to?” asked Rosaline, her voice just above a sob.

“Your aunt in the west will shelter you,” replied Clarival.  “Robart is preparing horses.  You will be save if you can just get out before the find you.  Now, take my hand.”  The young princess gripped Clarival’s hand tightly and suddenly, the smoke was gone replaced with the earthy smell of the stables.

“How?” Rosaline asked, confused.

“My sash,” answered Clarival, “I am your guardian as well as your lady in waiting.  Now mount up.”

Draga’s Sash

These decorative sashes are usually made of silk in a solid color, usually one tied to the ruling house, and can be worn in a variety of fashions.  Its name comes from one of the most loyal of the ladies in waiting who sacrificed her life so that her princess could escape.

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Dark Future Ahead 6 – News from the ‘Net of a Cyberpunk bent

26 April, 2014

The LA police are watching you . . . and recording you . . . and analyzing the data, predicting crime and more.  But who watches the watchmen?

For the musically minded, a drummer’s cyberhand.  Or you can look at Z-Machine, the all robot band.Ride with (anime) style

The future of urban farming?  Would you eat salad grown in a bomb shelter?

The Honda NM4 Vultus looks like it is from the future and is built like it too, Honda brings anime style to the streets.

Another possible step towards cybereyes, Google Eyes, Google Glass as contact lens.

Would you live in a house that was 3D printed?  You can now.

More to the soul of cyberpunk than anything else, Freedom2014: Grant Morrison and Rian Hughes’ The Key.

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Review – The Boy with the Porcelain Blade (novel)

24 April, 2014

The Boy with the Porcelain Blade by Den Patrick follows the coming of age of Lucien di Fontein in the city of Demesne in the Kingdom of LandfBwtPBall.   Lucien is one of the Orfano, mysterious orphans cursed with unusual physical characteristics, Lucien blood is clear but turns blue after it has bled out while another Orfafi has spines on his forearms for example, but the Orfani are raised within the nobles house and treated as nobility on the Orders of the King.

The title comes from the fact that Orfani are not allowed to wield a steel blade until they come of age, before that they are restricted to -still lethal- porcelain bladed weapons.  The story is told in chapters alternating between ‘now’ and chapters showing how Lucien’s grew up and how it shaped his view of the world, while this occasional breaks up the action it does cause the story to unfold in an interesting fashion without overwhelming the reader with background information.

The city is very Italianate in style -and the characters curse in Italian- with a dark Renaissance feel to the technology and society, vendettas and rivalry for status dominates the relationships between the noble houses.  And very dark secrets are hidden behind the facade of Demesne, secrets that Lucian is drawn into and must confront in order to survive.  It is a good read, though there is some issues with pacing due to the chapters alternately switching from present to past, with interesting characters and a compelling plot.  The story resolves completely but sets up the characters up nicely for future stories (which makes sense as it is the first of a series).

From a roleplaying point of view, it has many useful ideas, a group of characters like the Orfani, physically distinct and social privileged by law but shunned by many people for being different.  Adopted into different House they would have access to different skills and contacts but still united by their aspect of ultimately being outsiders, pawns of the politics of the nobles yet with their own agenda and a certain amount of social protection from their status.  That could make for quite a fun setting, dark and baroque yet with a reason for the character to band together against the world that does not have a place for them, unless they make it.

Notes: Gollancz kindly provided me with a copy of this book so that I might review it.  And you can find more information on the author, Den Patrick, at his website.

 

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Tuesday Magic Item – Three-Silver Coin

22 April, 2014

TriSilverGorian hide his smile as the greedy merchant accepted the over-sized silver coin and did not offer additional change.  “Will that be all, sir?” the Merchant asked, the coin vanishing into his pocket.

“For now,” Gorian nodded taking the packet of candies.  He nodded to Maus as he left the store and tapped his waistcoat pocket.

A few minutes later, Gorian was sitting watching the fountain in the market square.  Maus settled down next to him and passed over the coin.  “Smooth as ice.  He even had a couple of other coins in there, I think he was skimming from his employer.”

“Well, greed is it own punishment sometimes,” grinned Gorian.  “Shall we find a game of cards?”

“Without doubt, I hear there is one going on in the back room of the Dancing Dog.”

Three-Silver Coin

These coins are slightly larger and thicker than a standard silver coin and marked with the numeral three on one side with a variety of designs on the obverse.  While not quite three times as heavy as a standard silver coin they do obviously contain at least twice as much and of obvious purity.  The coin, however, is resistant to any attempt to clip, shave or cut it, stubbornly retaining all of its silver.  It is suspected these coins have some sort of divine origin but if they were created by a god of justice or trickery is unknown.

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Tuesday Magic Item – Boots of the White-Footed Fox

15 April, 2014

The raiders were proving to be more than we, the local militia and the Baron’s rangers, could handle.  They struck without warning, sneaking into the villages and breaking into the houses to take what they wanted.   Fleeing before the militia could turn out and they could be tracked only out to the edge of the fields and a bit beyond, but once the tracks hit the sandy riverbank they vanished.

Even the one who had been grievously wounded by a lucky arrow from Thom, we followed the trail of blood to one of the barns but inside . . . nothing, just a pool of blood and no body.  Though Regs says that he say fox tracks leading out of the barn.

Boots of the White-Footed Fox

These boots are made of sand-colored leather and lined with fox fur and any buttons on them are made from carved fox bone.  They are far more durable than they would appear.

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Tuesday Magic Item – Black Mirror

8 April, 2014

“And thank you again for coming, Lord Selist,” said Castellian Vostall, clasping the lord’s hand.  “I have not felt well enough to come to the meeting of late.”

“It is quite alright,” said Selist.  “We all pray for your health.”

“Thank you.”  The door closed and Vostall hurried to the mirror, he pricked his finger on the black crystal and watched as the hidden secret of the Lord Selist play out before him.

Black Mirror

These rare items are prized by nobles and politicians, spy-masters and inquisitors, a large silver mirror in a decorated silver frame with a single clear teardrop shaped crystal at the base of the frame.

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Mapping the Lost Lands

5 April, 2014

On Wednesday, one of my RPG groups meets and we play a variety of things, including most recently AD&D and playtesting some systems being developed by the various members.  But, as we have had some unscheduled disruptions to playtesting, we generated Rolemaster characters and started an exploration based game with the game world being defined by our choices and the crazy random tables of Rolemaster.

You can read about our first adventure here:

Mapping the Lost Lands

Which is a site put up by our GM.  I am playing Orlyn the warrior, and (from my perspective) the only one of the group with any common sense.

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