Archive for July, 2014


GenCon Approaches! And where to find me.

31 July, 2014

Less than two week until GenCon and I am furiously trying to get everything ready for my adventures.  This is the most sustained game preparation I do all year.

Places you can catch up with me at GenCon:

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Tuesday Magic Item – Caïssa’s Medallion

29 July, 2014

Your moveI idly flipped the medallion over and over in my hand, the chessboard design on the back appearing and disappearing to be replaced by the stylized pawn.

Then something changed, as the designs flashed by.

I stopped and slowed turned it over, now instead of a pawn, it was showing a bishop.

Caïssa’s Medallion

These unusual items are crafted by or for lovers of games and adventure, they are made from a silver or gold coin that had been won through gambling.  On one side, there is a chessboard pattern, on the other a pawn, though that can change.

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Tuesday Magic Item – Godstalker’s Lion Tooth Necklace

22 July, 2014

Sharper than . . .“But to hunt the divine?  That would take a will of iron and a soul without fear of consequences,” said the Indigo Sage, leaning back in the heavy chair.  “It is not a curse I would wish upon anyone.”

The slender woman flexed her hands.  “But what if justice can only be found in such a fashion?”

“Justice and the divine?” the sage gestured for his servant to bring tea.  “You have me intrigued.  Please sit and tell me more . . .”

Godstalker’s Lion Tooth Necklace

These items are rare, only two or three are thought to exist, which is no surprise as they are made from the teeth of the radiant lions that guard the pathways between the world, etched with occult runes and strung on a necklace made of dream silk and gold from the shadow realm.  While the appearance of the necklace  may be simple, the skill needed in creating such and symbolism of it all is immense.

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Happy Trails Maverick, Good bye Rockford

21 July, 2014

James_Garner_Bret_Maverick_Jack_Kelly_Bart_MaverickA sad day, James Garner, one of the greats passed away at the age of 86.  One of my favorite actors for a variety of his roles which should be of interest to gamers:

  • The skilled gambler Maverick, who preferred cunning and trickery to gun play and, while in it for the money, always stood up for the little guy.
  • The down on his luck PI Rockford who relied on the false IDs, short cons, and stunt driving to (mostly) outmaneuver the bad guys.
  • The hero of Support Your Local Sheriff!who relied on psychology, trickery and an occasional thrown rock to protect the town, even though he was basically on his way to Australia.

An excellent actor whose roles showed that heroes were not above making money and that avoiding violence was sometime more admirable (and often more effective) than the alternative.

You will be missed.

The NY Times has and excellent obituary of Mr Garner here.


Reviews – Fae Friends and Foes

21 July, 2014

More resources for the fae in a campaign:

Dark Fey by Kobold Press is a collection of fae creatures and beings for use as antagonists and (possibly though unlikely) allies.  After a short introduction to the Fae Courts of Midgard, this product introduces eighteen fae, ranging from CR 1 to 12, and a template for Fey Animals, most of the fae comes with a paragraph of designer’s notes which often discuses the origin of the fae in question.  There is a good mix of challenges here, sneaky, magical and cunning foes all make their appearance and from a variety of environments, it should be possible to weave a variety of encounters from them.  A feat and a new magic item, both linked to the fae included, are presented.  As one expects from Kobold Press, a solid and useful resource for a campaign that has use of the fae as potential threats.

In the Company of Fey by Rite Publishing provides more options for the Fae, allowing them to be played as characters or created as more fulled formed NPCs.  Following a lengthy discussion of the way the fae view and interact with the mortal world, the First Folk, a playable fae race, are detailed complete with alternate racial traits, two class archetypes and a twenty level racial paragon class.  The paragon class gains various fae powers center on their choice of an aspect, the paragon has a variety of abilities that interact with the core abilities of other classes making it useful for multiclassing options, though it is very much a class based on its own special ability chains.  Because of its ability to build very specialized character from the paragon class, it is well suited to building characters to challenge player characters in narrowly focused ways.  Eight new feats for the First Folk round out the resources presented.  This is another useful resource for the fae and while the racial paragon class is not for everyone it is full of useful ideas and inspiration for the fae in a champaign.

Disclosure: As a featured reviewer for RPGNow/DriveThroughRPG, I received my copy of this product for free from the publisher for the purpose of this review.


Ypisara, (former) Godesses of Salt, Serpents and Fishes

17 July, 2014

As promised, some time ago, here she is:

Ypisara, (former) Goddess of Salt, Serpents and Fishes

Title             Mother of Serpents, Salt Mother, the Salt Serpent
Portfolio         Formerly Salt, Sepents, Fishes, Now indirectly Saltwork, Serpentfolk
Typical Worshipers     Fishermen, Salt Carvers and Workers, Serpentfolk
Domains         Earth, Repose, Scalykind
Subdomains         Ancestors, Salt
Favored Weapon     Curved Dagger or Kris
Favored Animal(s)     Snake

Light through saltYpisara was a minor goddess with an odd portfolio, the association with fishes was possibly inherited and the least portion of her worship.  The center of her believers were the serpentfolk who mined the salt of the Bitter Hills and hunted among the mangrove swamps of the Darksea Marsh. Not a numerous people but dedicated to their mother-goddess.

When the dragons went to war with the gods, Ypisara was one of the few who saw how the battles were going to play out, she found and submitted to the Empress, asking only that her children and followers be spared.  The Empress agreed and took the life of Ypisara personally, placing the lands and people of Ypisara under her personal protection and rule.

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Tuesday Magic Item – Grocer’s Chest

15 July, 2014

Chest“My compliment to your cook,” said the King of Vekonia, guest of the Royal Court of Navir.  “A truly spectacular meal with everything as perfect as you ask for.  Truly a marvel.”

“My chief has agents scouring near and far to find the best and most delicious ingredients for our table,” said the Queen of Navir.  “They have never failed to amaze and impress.”

“Count me among those amazed and impressed, your majesty,” said the Vekonian King.

“We shall assign the chief’s services to you while you are our guest,” smiled the Queen.

Grocer’s Chest

These carefully made chests fit together perfectly, the seams sealed and the rims scribed with protective runes.  The hinges are etched with runes and oiled.  Each has a lock built into the frame which is carved with sigils but inside and out.  When it is closed, one of these chests is cold to the touch.

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Dark Future Ahead 7 – News from the ‘Net of a Cyberpunk bent

14 July, 2014

Building the future!  PBS has an excellent show on building super skyscrapers, recommended.

This is a mission in the making, the dirty business of palm oil, environmental destruction, mercenaries, shells games and a corrupt government, what more could you want?  Well, probably for it not to be real.

One way to avoid facial recognition technology, wear someone’s else face.

Control of how the media perceives you is an important tool on anyone in power, see how the White House does it.

Vanadium useful for steel and batteries, this may become an even more important resource in the future.  Again, a potential mission.

Can you ask for a better adventure seed than this?  “A herd of hippopotamuses once owned by the late Colombian drug baron Pablo Escobar has been taking over the countryside near his former ranch.”  Read more here.


Reviews – Fae Fantastic

13 July, 2014

Two works looking at options for fey characters in the Pathfinder RPG:

Convergent Paths: Fey Archetypes by Rite Publishing provides three new archetypes, seven new feats and a new monster for the Pathfinder RPG.  The three archetypes are: Faerie Knight, a Cavalier variant, that serves one of the fae courts gaining a fae mount -with whom the knight can perform various magical abilities- and access to allies from the realm.  Laughing Man, built off of the monk, who uses words to manipulate his foes as much as weapons, the class uses skill rolls quite heavily but looks like it could be fun for the right player.  And the Masquerade Reveler, a Barbarian variants, who uses masks built off of Eidion powers (from the Summoner class) as their “rage” effect. a vary interesting archetype that looks quite intriguing.  The new feats are mostly linked to the new archetypes but three of them could be used by others.  Lastly there is the new fae being, the Gancanagh, a trickster and seducer adapted from Irish and Scottish lore which could be used for a variety of tricky scenarios.  Overall, a good selection of options on a relatively narrow theme, so if you are looking to expand the role of the fae in your campaign you should find some inspiration here.

Faerie Passions by Legendary Games is “[a] supplement devoted to the iconic romance between mortal and immortal” and show what happens from such romances and passions, it is also designed to compliment a certain King-making Pathfinder adventure path.  After an introduction to how this product can be used with an adventure path, it has an excellent introduction to the ways that the fae interact with the mortal world and how their passions and mortal one’s intersect and the end results of such.  Five new sorcerer bloodlines playing off of the idea of fae heritage are introduced: dryad, neriad, nymph, norn and satyr.  Along with two new archetypes, the Fey Friend druid, who walks the intersection between faerie and nature, and the Fey Hunter ranger, who, well, hunts dangerous fae.  While the new mechanics are solid, this work really shines in its advice on how to use the fae in a campaign, mechanically some feats or traits to allow characters outside of sorcerers to show their fae heritage would have been a nice addition, but in the end, a good bit of work here.

Disclosure: As a featured reviewer for RPGNow/DriveThroughRPG, I received my copy of this product for free from the publisher for the purpose of this review.


Tuesday Magic Item – Victor’s Sceptre

8 July, 2014

Submit to the victor's ruleThough they did not wish to they knelt before the conquering Prince-King Scimeri, clad in glittering mail and holding a sceptre lightly in his hand. 

“We have waited for years for this day,” said the Prince-King.  “Due to your efforts, constantly outmaneuvering my commanders and coming up with new stratagems to confound my staff.  There were time when we almost gave up, almost turned back, but do you know what stopped me?”

“What?” spit out Baron Asal.

“The fact that once we won, your talents at warfare, your exceptional talents, would be mind to command.”


“You think not?  That is the oath you will have to swear to me if you wish your people to stay alive and free of the yoke of slavery,” the Prince-King said, his smile hard and dangerous, the sceptre looking more like a weapon than a symbol of office.

Victor’s Sceptre

These scepters are rare, consuming considerable resources in their construction but are desired by any military commander who seeks to become a conqueror.  The sceptre is made of the hardest material available then gilded and decorated with enamels, marked with symbols of rule and conquest.

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