Archive for June, 2015


July already, Farewell June

30 June, 2015

Summer arrived with the Summer solstice and it certainly feels like it here, with some brutally hot days, hope things are more mild wherever you may be, dear reader.

July is -of course- named after that all around skilled politician Julius Caesar in his re-formalization of the Roman Calendar which created 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 in July.  As usual, if there is a particular subject you would like to know more about or see more of, please let me know.  I will be off to GenCon at the end of the month which may affect my posting schedule somewhat.

Looking back over June, which was -as it happens-  the sixth anniversary of this Journal and also saw my 1,300th post.  Not bad if I do say so myself.  If you like what you read here, please consider supporting my Patreon.

June, 2015, saw the following posts here:

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Tuesday Magic Item – Gallowglass Locket

30 June, 2015

A simple locket“That big fellow’s locket is quite nice,” whispered Voddick with a discrete gesture.

“I had not realized he was a bodyguard,” replied Gollaon, equally quietly.

“Indeed?” queried Voddick.  He started looking for threats now, after all, they were hired for the same task bu the Graf von Eisenstahl.

Gollaon nodded.  “I recognize the style of amulet.  It is common among the sept lords to hire mercenary bodyguards who will not have ties to local politics.”

“Considering their tendency to be murdered by their cousins, seems very sensible.”

Gallowglass Locket

 These lockets are made of bronze or steel and decorated with gold or silver and usually marked with the symbol of the family it was made for, inside there is a place for a miniature portrait or a lock of hair (rarely both).   The locket’s magic is protective and it is activated when given, with a portrait of or lock of hair from the giver inside, to the recipient.

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Rokugan SRIU Episode 4 “Paper Street” (L5R Campaign Report)

26 June, 2015

The characters have just returned from Ryu Bannin Toshi and their tiger hunting and temple building where they are rejoined by the Otaku and introduced to the new member of the unit:

Suzume Ryosuke, a brave and heroic Sparrow bushi . . . who likes the ladies.  (Suzume bushi 2,  Played by C1.)

The next morning they head to Kamimachi (“Paper Street”), Read the rest of this entry ?


Review – Shadowrun: Data Trails

24 June, 2015

Shadowrun: Data Trails provides information, tools and background for the Matrix, the successor of the web in the Shadowrun future. Is it vital to your Shadowrun game?  Yes, immediately, if you are a GM running a Matrix focused game, and at some point otherwise as it has enough useful information on the Matrix and deckers to be widely useful for any Shadowrun campaign.  The product could have been better organized and the GM’s section deserved to be much larger but still a useful addition to the Shadowrun range.
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Tuesday Magic Item – Book of Withered Souls

23 June, 2015

One reciepe at a time“Funny how the duke just took sick,” said Voddick, slicing onions for the stew.

“And so soon after his brother’s death too,” said Gollaon peeling carrots.

“A tragedy for the family it is,” agreed the old cook, unconsciously patting her book of recipes in her apron pocket.

The Book of Withered Souls

The origins of this most sinister tome are much debated but it seems to be an artifact of the darkness within people rather than from some outside power.  The book itself is surprisingly nondescript, looking more like an overstuffed recipe book, which to some extent it is, perhaps formerly owned by the cook employed by a merchant or petty nobility.  The recipes within are a bit strange but they do product tasty food.  It is when someone with ill-thoughts looks through it, they will find . . . other recipes those for curses.

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Summerland Blog Carnival – the Empress’ Birthday

22 June, 2015

The Sea of Stars is unusual in that all of the lands upon it have the same seasons, indeed the same length of day, as the Sun is allowed out for longer times during the summer and shorter periods in the winter.  As the Empress likes summer best, it lasts for four months, rather than the three for each of the other three seasons, and in the middle of Summer on the day with the most daylight, her birthday is celebrated (or at least recognized) across the Empire.

Enjoy the show!The tradition has evolved to have a huge party in the Capital starting at dawn.  The Empress mingles with her people and gives out gifts and recognition to the Imperial bureaucracy and military and, occasionally, to one or more of the Draconic Houses.  In the later afternoon, she ventures out to visit other celebrations, bringing stories, entertainments and gifts.  The appearance of the Empress at one of the distant celebrations is a great honor . . . and a terrifying experience.  There are rumors, never proven, that one insult will lead to the wrath of the Empress and the extermination of all who participated.  But no one has visited such a place, or even met someone who has, but always a cousin who met someone who knew a traveler who found such a ruin.

Feasts, contests and fireworks after the Sun returns to his prison are the traditional entertainments and Imperial duties and taxes are suspended for the day, the Empress wishes everyone to enjoy the day, at least, so her proclamations say.

While the Empress’ Birthday is celebrated, her age is never discussed.  (Though it is believed to be well over two millennia possibly as much as three and a half.)

Notes: My contribution to June Blog Festival – Summerland hosted by Tales of a GM.

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


New Spell – Spectral Skirmisher (for Pathfinder)

18 June, 2015

“More of them?”

Spectral Skirmisher
School conjuration (creation); Level magus 1, sorcerer/wizard 1, summoner 1; Domain war 1

From small beginningsCASTING
Casting Time 1 standard action
Components V, S, M (a toy soldier)

Range close (25 ft. + 5 ft./2 levels)
Effect one semi-visible skirmisher
Duration 3 rounds + 1 round/level
Saving Throw none; Spell Resistance no

This spell creates a humanoid form of magical force that serves its creator as a skirmisher.  It can attack once a round using its creators base attack bonus with either a “sling” (1d4 bludgeoning damage, 50 range increments) or “javelin” (1d6 piercing damage, 30 range increments), the weapon choice made when the skirmisher is summoned, if the caster has any feats that apply to the weapon used (such as point blank shot or weapon focus), the skirmisher has access to those as well.  The skirmisher’s attack is treated as is it was a magic weapon at 5th level and gains a +1 enhancement bonus to attack and damage at 7th level, increasing to +2 at 13th and +3 at 19th level.

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New Spell – Spectral Skirmisher (for D&D 5)

17 June, 2015

Material componentsVoddick ducked behind a rock as another near invisible javelin bounced off that shelter.  “I hate fighting things you cannot see!”

Gollaon tosses a knife at it.  “I think we need to worry about the sorcerer who summoned it more.”

Spectral Skirmisher
1st-level conjuration (ritual)

Casting Time: 1 action
Range: 30 feet
Components: V, S, M (a toy soldier)
Duration: 10 rounds

This spell creates a humanoid form of magical force that serves its creator as a skirmisher.  It can attack once a round using its creators proficiency bonus with either a “sling” (1d4 bludgeoning damage, 30/120 range) or “javelin” (1d6 piercing damage, 20/60), the weapon choice made when the skirmisher is summoned..  The spectral skirmisher has AC 12, 5 hit points with resistance to piecing and slashing weapons and it may either be semi-invisible, gaining the effect of half cover against those who cannot see invisible, or fully visible (though slightly translucent).  If it drops to 0 hit points, the spell ends.

Once during each of your turns as a bonus action, you can instruct the skirmisher to move 15 feet and attack a specific target.  Once given a target it continues to attack that target as best it can.

Used as a ritual, a single 1st level skirmisher can be created and accompanies the caster for up to eight hours.  It normal duration only ticking down once it has been commanded to attack.

At Higher Levels. When you cast this spell using a spell slot of 2nd level or higher, the skirmisher has +1 AC, +10 hit points and +1 to attack and damage for each level above 1st used in the casting.

Notes: The idea for this spell came up in casual discussion for our D&D group, so I tossed it together.  You can find a Pathfinder version here.

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


Tuesday Magic Item – Healer’s Hive

16 June, 2015

Bee live here“Do we have to?” said Voddick, eying the healer’s tent with suspicion as he cradled his broken arm.

“You are the one with a shattered bone, my friend,” replied Gollaon.  “If you would rather it blackened and fell off . . .”

“Oh very well,” muttered Voddick.  “I just do not like her methods.”

“I understand.  But you must admit, they have been effective.”

Healer’s Hive

These wooden boxes are sturdily built and usually circular with a sturdy carrying handle.  They unfold revealing many drawers and compartments that are, in turn, stocked with jars and other containers primarily holding living insects and other small invertebrate creatures.

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PinkCat: Running in the Shade “Parties and Pilfering” (A different sort of SR campaign report)

13 June, 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.

Episode Eleven: Parties and Pilfering

Guest Starring:

  • DD, a dancing parrot diva with an ear to the music of the streets.  (Representing BB “beatbox”, an elf music and dancing adept.  Played by L.)
  • Ichi-kun, Japanese bear in a three-piece suit.  (Representing Adam, an ork from a Yakuza family trying to prove his worth to his family.  Played by C1.)

Party!The group is invited to a pool party, which they have to get ready for by buying new clothes, cue humorous montage of outfits with Ichi-kun ending up in tartan kilt, Hawaiian shirt and tricorn hat much to his unhappiness.  The party has a Moonshadow cover band (the “Lunar Dudes”) playing music and general party vibe.  However, the neighbor hates the noise (and people having fun) so traditional cartoon craziness of him trying to ruin the party (freeze rays, catapult full of sand, and other absurd cartoony things) and Pink and company stopping him and keeping people from getting hurt.  Finally Pink convinces the band to play some ‘classic rock’ (Mercurial, Jack Entropy, Gossamer) and convinces the neighbor to join the party.  Peace is declared, everyone has a good time and congas out of the cartoon.

What really happened:

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