Archive for June, 2014


Hello July, Goodbye June

30 June, 2014

Summer has arrived in my local area, with temperatures in the 98f/36c range with 90%+ humidity expected this week, though things have been hot here since June began.

July is named after that all around skilled politician Julius Caesar in his re-formalization of the Roman Calendar creating the Julian Calender (which, naturally, is named for him too).  So, in honor of Caesar, we shall be looking at governments, organization and people of ambition in the Sea of Stars.  As usual, if there is a particular subject you would like to know more about or see more of, please let me know.

Looking back over June, which was -as it happens-  the fifth anniversary of this Journal, it was a fairly light month for posting but did see the following:

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Short Reviews – Half (Orcs) and Half (Elves) for Pathfinder

29 June, 2014

All of the Player’s Options products for the various races from Four Winds Publishing / Purple Duck Game share a structure: They start with variants of the race, add new feats, optional flaws, and new equipment to provide more options to those playing the race.  Let us see what is in these two:
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L5R Children of Destiny – Episode 6 “Food, Shadows and Fire”

27 June, 2014

ForestMistContinuing their investigation of the imbalance in the Valley of Two Generals, our heroes having learned that the wood carvers is probably behind the attempted murder by blood magic of the Hare, they decide to pursue the carver.  Questioning of the villagers does not turn up much beyond that his wife died due to disease over the winter and that there is a merchant that often buys his shadow puppets who has not been through recently.  A search of the wood carvers shop turns up nothing useful though some of the tools are obviously missing.

They follow his trail to one of the small villages on the edge of the valley where the carver often went to buy raw materials.  They get sidetracked in chasing down the male villagers who have retreated to secret enclaves in the hills to avoid being conscripted by the ravenous Lion war machine, instead preferring to help their families by gathering wood and food from the forested hills.  They confront the rogue villagers, after capturing one, and decide to let them be.  While technically in violation of Imperial law, the collapse of the local villages will not help the Empire (or even the Lion clan) so they move it into the ‘problems to be solved’ later column.

Returning, tired and a little frustrated, to the village which seemed deserted, though they had talked to people only that morning . . .  Our heroes split up to investigate, looking in the headman’s house, the inn and the fields.  Then the people appeared, moving in groups in a jerky fashion, obviously not in control of their actions.  The group in the inn finds it ignited around them with armed villagers trying to keep them in.  The Crane tries to keep the others from killing the villagers as they are not in control of their actions.

The Hare brook free and spots pale smoke coming from the roof of another building, followed by the Boar, they climbed up and confronted the blood magician, who had a full stage of the town and puppets of the villagers.  Dark magic flashes, blood is spilled, both to power blood magic and by blades, and the blood magician is slain.  The villagers wake from their enspelled slumber and help to fight the flames.

This is reported back to the Lion along with intimations of the desperate plight of the villagers.  The problem in the valley seems to be solved for now.

Notes: Yes, this happened some time back thus the short writeup and brief description, my memories of it all is a bit hazy now.  The Children of Destiny campaign is currently on hiatus as I work on other projects.

Photo by markfountain42 and used under a Creative Commons Attribution 2.0 Generic license.


Review – Racial Ecologies: Living Dolls (for Pathfinder)

25 June, 2014

Racial Ecologies: Living Dolls is a fun source book, while they do not necessarily have a place in all campaign, there are enough options here that a GM should be able to find a way to use one if they want.  Equally a short “all toys” campaign would be rather fun using these rules.  While there are a few odd bits and one important oversight in the rules proved, overall it is a strong, if niche, addition to the races available for Pathfinder.

Racial Ecologies: Living Dolls is a new “race” for Pathfinder and an unusual one, not a race of flesh and blood but a constructed race animated by magic of various sorts, toys by a child’s love, dolls by dark magic, or other combinations.

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Tuesday Magic Item – Fox Cape

24 June, 2014

Cape Fox“How do they know our every move?” cursed Sir Morase.  “They are simple people, they did not even used iron weapons before we traded with them.”

“They are skilled warriors and brave, my lord,” said his sworn sword.  “Do not mistake the lack of metal working skills for lack of intelligence.”

“Enough!  They are barbarians and we will defeat them.”

“Yes, my lord,” replied the sworn sword, tossing a stick at the fox rooting around in the camp’s midden.

Fox Cape

These cloaks are made of a mix of heavy cloth, leather and fox fur, the colors are all neutral and blend in easily with most terrain.  The fittings are carved bone taken from animals killed by foxes.  The fur must be given freely by the fox and blessed in a ceremony.

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Solstice Quest Item – Fern Flower

21 June, 2014

Solstice Night is a magical night, the shortest night of the year.  In the Northern arc of Eastern Europe, it is celebrated in various ways.

Across the region sacred or magical rituals are enacted, almost all linked with symbols of fertility (the maypole, the wreath) and  elements of water and fire.  In Belarus girls and boys bathe in lakes, in Sweden they dance around the Maypole, in Poland young maidens dressed in white float flower wreaths with candles – symbols of maidenhood – on the rivers.  If the wreath gets caught by a man, the girl will get married soon, while if it floats, she can hope to get married one day but not in the near future.  However, if it burns, sinks or gets caught in something, she will never marry.   Herbs gathered during this time and considered to be especially effective in combating illness, but none more so than the mythical fern flower.

The fern flower, which only flowers on this one night, and only the the deep forest, can only be found by the most dedicated or most pure or perhaps just the luckiest individuals . . . For the fern flower is potently magical, it brings one or more of the following:

  • Ability to understand animal speech.
  • Earthly riches.
  • Health.
  • Luck.

Of course, some say the flower is secretly guarded by evil spirits.   Others that any blessing gained from the fern flower will be balanced by a curse.  Though one that is pure of heart and only using the flower for noble ends will not be punished . . . right?



It is Free RPG Day today! (Now with bonus PDFs!)

21 June, 2014

Yes, it is that time of year again, Free RPG Day supported by a wide variety of the best and brightest in our industry, visit their site to see the wonderful things available this year.

You can find a participating store here but if you are in the North Georgia, US, area, I recommend Tyche’s Games in Athens, GA, where I do all my game shopping.

And remember to support the friendly stores that are supporting our hobby.

Edit: Hereticworks has provided a free OSR Module for the day as well, visit their fine site to acquire Clatterdelve.

Edit 2: Mobius Adventures have offered The Smiler, a 1-page spark, for free at RPGNow in honor of Free RPG Day.

Edit Final: More free stuff! Chubby Monster has provided The Pool of the Alchemist and New Big Dragon Games Unlimited has proved the Lost Caverns of Azgot for Free RPG Day at RPGNow.





Review – Thunderscape: The World of Aden Campaign Setting (for Pathfinder)

20 June, 2014

Thunderscape: the World of Aden Campaign Setting is an interesting book, obviously if you want to run a campaign set in the world of Aden this is a must buy item, but what if you are just a Pathfinder GM?  Well, in that case, it depends on how much use you think you will get out of the new races, classes and rules.  If you want to move your campaign in a more magical steampunk sort of direction, there are considerable tools to support that especially of you want to make vehicles more important to your game.  Want to have a corrupting evil that spawns twisted agents?  There are tools for that.  For me, the insect druid Entropomancer is almost enough reason alone to have the book, but not every campaign has a place for such a class.  But each GM will have to make the call for themself.

Thunderscape: the World of Aden Campaign Setting by Kyoudai Games for use with the Pathfinder RPG is based on the World of Aden used in the SSI computer game created by Shane Hensley and developed in both novels and source books.  This current version is written by Shawn Carman and Rich Wulf and was made possible by a Kickstarter.

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Tuesday Magic Item – Storied Coup Stick

17 June, 2014

Elk-Foot_of_the_Taos_TribeThe two tribes had agreed that the latest rounds of  insults and provocations, horse thefts and more,  could only be solved by combat and so they gathered on the field, young warriors and old , all ready to show their bravery.

But the bravest eschewed bow or lance, axe or war club, and went into the fight with just a coup stick or a bare hand.  They rushed ahead showing their bravery by dodging arrows and thrown lances and clubs and then dodging between the other armed warriors, evading weapons to touch their rivals with coup sticks or slap them with an open hand.

Their bravery did not always end well, some were cut or speared, but those who made it through to count coup, they inspired their allies and family to greater acts of heroism and effort.  In just a brief time, the two groups split apart, returning back to tell their own tales of adventure and bravery.

The matter settled . . . until next year.

Storied Coup Stick

These items are passed down from generation of warrior to generation of warrior.  Its appearance depends on where it is in the warrior’s cycle.  The coup stick of a new warrior will be plain and unadorned, while that of an old warrior will be decorated with many notches and often other decorations such as feathers or pennants.

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Five Years and a Day

16 June, 2014

I got notice yesterday from WordPress that it was the fifth anniversary of starting this journal.  It certainly does not seem that long ago that this project began.

My recent output has been a bit slow, and I apologize for that, sadly inspiration has not been overly forthcoming.  But I will try and get geared back up moving towards GenCon.

But, slow or not, this journal will continue.   Expect a new magic item tomorrow.

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