Archive for February, 2015


Another Star Lost, Leonard Nimoy dead at 83

27 February, 2015

Leonard_NimoySad news for the community, Leonard Nimoy has died at the age of 83 (NY Times obit here).  He played my favorite character in the original Star Trek and many other fine characters as well.  I managed to see him on stage once at Sherlock Holmes in the Seven Percent Solution, but I can barely remember it, though I never met him in person.  He was definitely one of my idols growing up and the world is a poorer place for his passing.

Thank you for everything, Mr Nimoy, may you boldly go to wherever is next for you.

Photo by Gage Skidmore taken from Wikimedia Commons and used under the Creative Commons Attribution-Share Alike 2.0 Generic license.



Dark Future Ahead 10 – News from the ‘Net of a Cyberpunk bent

25 February, 2015

Blood sports seems to be one of the staples of cyberpunk futures, what about blood sports without the blood?  Unified Weapon Master is trying to build a MMA sort of league for armed combat using high tech armor to keep the fighters safe.  You can read a bit more about UWM here as well.

The Russian official media is a tool for propaganda and disinformation, read about how it works for Putin.

A hacker has caused actual physical damage to a German steel works, read about it here.

Its not all soy in the future, how about cricket flour or sweet blue lupine seeds?  Read about the (potential) future of food.

One step closer to a direct neural interface?

The Regenerative Bioscience Center of the University of Georgia is trying to Save Endangered Species: the Sumatran Tiger and the Clouded Leopard by using stem cells to increase genetic diversity.  How biopunk is that?  It is a worthy goal and an good way to advance several interesting fields of study.  Please help if you can, I have tossed my bit in.


Tuesday Magic Item – Amber Ant Amulet

24 February, 2015

Together foreverVoddick gasped for breath, lying on his back on the roof.

“I though we would never loose them,” muttered Golloan, peeking over the edge into the alley several stories below.

“It was like they knew where their friend were, even though they hardly said a word,” said Voddick quietly.

“And they looked a bit alike too, did you notice?”

“A family then?  What did we do to offend them?  We have only been in town one night.”

Amber Ant Amulet

These amulets, as one can guess from the name, consist of pieces of amber with ants trapped inside them.  The finishing is minimal and they are most often worn on chains.

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It never hurts to help (Feb 2015 Edition) Updated

22 February, 2015

One of our own, Jonathon Thompson of Battlefield Press, last the love of his life Tammy Mansfield to an unexpected heart attack and he is trying to get things sorted out in the aftermath.  The charity bundle hit its goals and we, the gaming community, have helped in this tough time.

Unfortunately, other gamers have had some terrible things happen to them:

Recently, fellow gamer, game master, and game designer Christopher J.N. Banks incurred the greatest loss that a parent should never have to experience – the loss of his 5 1/2 year old daughter, an only child. This charity drive is to raise funds to cover medical expenses and put together a proper tribute for his little Persephonee.  You can help here.

And if you are still feeling charitable:

The Philippine Gamer is having a bit of a rough patch with medical problems besetting wife and family.

The Regenerative Bioscience Center of the University of Georgia is trying to Save Endangered Species: the Sumatran Tiger and the Clouded Leopard.  It is a worthy goal and an good way to advance several interesting fields of study.

All worthy causes so please help out as you can.


Tuesday Magic Item – Plowshare Amulet

17 February, 2015

Something like thisVoddick picked up the silver amulet and turned it in his hand.  “So why was Master Crazybones here trying to destroy this?”

Golloan finished scattering blessed salt over the body of the recently defeated, and hopefully dead, necrourgist.  “Search me, old friend.  But did you notice that he was using his wands and that ring,” he gestured to the wizards severed left hand and the ring that still glowed violet around the index finger, “I think something had gone wrong with his magic.”

Voddick looked closer at the amulet, “It seems harmless enough, it has a pruning hook on one side and a plow on the other.”

Plowshare Amulet

These amulets are made of silver or less valuable metal, never of gold, and feature farming implements upon them or the fashioning of such, sometimes from weapons.  The designs are rarely fancy and sometime are quite basic.  They are very hard wearing and difficult to damage, but tarnish easily.

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PinkCat: Running in the Shade “Xmas Story” and “Politix Sux” (A different sort of SR campaign report)

16 February, 2015

To understand what is going on here, you had best read the first PinkCat: Running in the Shade post, but short summary, this is a campaign report for our Shadowrun campaign set in NorCal through the filter of a cartoon made by one of the team members.  Read about Episode 4.

Episode Five: Xmas Story

At the MallGuest Starring: Clawz.

This episode is a very special Christmas episode where the gang goes Christmas shopping in The Mall and learns something about the spirit of the season.  The central theme of the episode is Pink and Glitter (with Clawz along grumbling the whole time) trying to get their Christmas shopping done while BigGunCo is trying to rebrand themselves as Holiday friendly (“Nothing says I love you like a new piece.”), a ground of mean students from a local prep school are picking on other young people and Officer Bloodhound has a new flying drone that he is just sure will allow him to catch Pink and Glitter this time.  Hijinks ensue with BigGunCo pitches getting increasingly surreal (ending with a commercial with Weird Al’s Christmas at Ground Zero as its music), the mean kids being taught the True Meaning{tm} of Christmas and Officer Bloodhound deciding to spend the holiday with his family rather than chase Pink and Glitter.  The final scene is Pink and Glitter unwrapping gifts, with Pink getting a new scarf and Glitter getting Officer Bloodhound’s new drone.

What really happened- The team was hired to steal data on a new drone being developed by a regional weapons company, the inspiration for BigGunCon, and to destroy the data left in the system.  Bladez and Sparky visited the site and posed as test subjects (as the company hired people off the street to test its “nonlethal” weaponry) to get a look at the security, which seemed fairly tight.  But PinkCat came up with the idea of posing as students from the private school the company’s VP sent his kids to, collecting for UNICEF as a holiday charity project.  So, she hacked the school’s systems (and found that they had no meta students, so Sparky got volunteered to go in full Santa Claus gear complete with beard), setup things with UNICEF, while the others got school uniforms prepped and Sparky build a light up tree that could be used as a jammer if things went pear-shaped.  The trio went in posing as (and disguised as) students, met the media rep for the company (the whole thing was filmed for company ads!), sang carols, got donations for charity and, oh yeah, stole the data.  The great thing is that everyone, the students, the school, the media rep, would look bad if they reveal the deception (if they even realize it occurred) so the team should be pretty safe.  I was very pleased by how it played out, but there was no way to map the cartoon to the actual events without giving things away. Read the rest of this entry ?


Tuesday Magic Item – Dreadnought Armor

11 February, 2015

Neigh invulnerableVoddick held his side.  “I think half my ribs are broken, I thought the Knight would never go down.”

Golloan looked over the courtyard strewn with the first dozen men who had tried to stop the knight before them.  “It was unstoppable.  I think they dropped rocks on it as it crossed under the gate.  I heard something hitting metal.”

Voddick limped over to now still suit of armor, knelt down and pulled off the helmet.  “Golloan?  How did a grandfather do all this,” he gestured back over the courtyard.  The man inside the armor was obviously eighty years old if he was a day, only a few wisps of grey hair clinging to his head.

Dreadnought Armor

This full plate armor is made of dull grey metal, solidly constructed, even for armor.  The interior of the armor is etched with protective wards washed with silver.  The padding made of layered silk, sew with protective sigils in gold thread.  The helmet is unadorned and hardly limits vision, for a helmet.

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Last Chance to Support my Sea of Stars Kickstarter – Updated Again

8 February, 2015

Only half a day left on my Sea of Stars Campaign Setting Kickstarter!  Even at the $12 level you get a 150-page PDF setting for Pathfinder, conversion guides to FATE, D&D and Savage Worlds (and maybe 13th Age too) and an additional adventures, The Mansion of the Shadow of Mar.

Last twelve hours!  Get it while you can!

Update– Only a third of a day left.  It is my birthday so I am off to lunch and then a movie, back in four or five hours.

Update 2 –  Just back from Seventh Son which was a blast, expect more on it soon.  Only a few hours left, closing in on 300% of the original goal, please help me make it there.



Three Days Left on the Sea of Stars Kickstarter!

5 February, 2015

Come and join more than one hundred other gamers and visit the Sea of Stars!  Even our new stretch goals are tumbling as we close in on the final days.

Come and help us unlock a Savage Worlds conversion guide and a new adventure for everyone, the Mansion of the Shadow of Mar, which was the first adventure I ever ran for the Sea of Stars setting back in 2002 and I would be thrilled to turn it into a module for other people to use.

Sea of Stars Campaign Setting


Tuesday Magic Item – Venturer’s Coin

3 February, 2015

One silver coin and the start of an adventure“But where did it come from?” asked the young boy, studying the coin intently, as if by will alone he could understand the writing upon it.

“Does it matter?  It is silver, it spends like all the rest,” said his father holding out the open leather bag.  “Now put it with the rest.  We are done for the day.”

“Must I?”

“Yes,” he said with a firm look.  “In the bag, it will be safe there.”

With a lingering look the boy watched the coin fall into the bag but he promised himself that he would retrieve it one day.


“Where did you get that coin you wear around your neck?” asked Voddick.

Golloan’s hand flew to the coin, “I have had it since I was a young man.  Hunting for it origins is what sent me fourth as a venturer, someday I will find where it came from.”

Venturer’s Coin

These coins are always from some exotic place, their images still readable after who knows how much handling.  They are usually the most common denomination, or a close approximation thereof, in the region they are found in, the sort of coin only the curious would give a second look to.

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