Archive for October, 2015


All Hallows Today. All Saints and November tomorrow.

31 October, 2015

Happy All Hallows Day and Eve all!  Enjoy costumes, food and whatever else one does on this lovely holiday!  Tomorrow is the beginning of November with All Saints Day, November is the ninth month of the Roman calendar, and -in the traditional Irish calendar- the start of Winter.   Tomorrow also sees the beginning of NaNoWriMo (National Novel Writing Month) which I will be participating in, as usual, and perhaps I will even complete it this time.  Though I may have some game writing due in the early part of the month, plus I need to continue working on the Sea of Stars kickstarter . . . but more writing is more writing.

In light of that, and seeing no obvious theme to November I will just write about whatever inspires me.   I will keep up with the Tuesday magic items and whatever else I can fit.  However, if you have any requests, anything you would like to see or any theme you would like me to expand upon, please let me know and I will try to fit it in.

October, 2015, saw the following posts here:

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Oath Blade for D&D5

30 October, 2015

Emperor Aurangzeb approves of oaths“I am not sure if this job is worth swearing an oath,” said Voddick, eyeing the dagger suspiciously.

“We always try our best to live up to the requirement of a job, why not make it official?” said Gollaon.  “And you get a nice new dagger out of it.”

“Well, there is that.”

Oath Blade

These daggers come in all forms from plain functional weapons to bejewelled and nearly ornamental display pieces, what they all share is a motto of some sort engraved on the blade.  Usually it is something along the lines of “My Word is My Honor” or similar sentiments.

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Review – Shadowrun: Hard Targets

29 October, 2015

Shadowrun: Hard Targets provides information about assassins, killers for hire, along with some metaplot advancement and information on Cuba in the Shadowrun setting.  It is very specialized toward particular levels and styles of play so it is not universally useful but interesting and has some fun toys.  Do you need it?  Unless you are running an assassin or Cuba-based game, not really, but it is a good read and a GM will probably eventually add it to their library.

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Tuesday Magic Item – Overo’s Last Blade

27 October, 2015

Black Blade

“Cannot say that I like the look of the commander’s new sword,” said Voddick.

“Nor I,” agreed Gollaon idly tuning a lute.  “There is something about it something . . .”

“Evil?” suggested Voddick, sipping at his mug of mulled wine.

“Exactly.  I keep thinking that I recognize it.  Something about a duelist, but I just cannot remember.”

“Well, no good will come of it.  Of that, I am sure.”

Overo’s Last Blade

Commissioned for Overo Dirgeblade, the infamous necrourgist-duelist of Vartoria, it is a black steel rapier with prayers for the dying etched along the blade.  A silver skull with cut onyx decorating the eye sockets forms the pommel and the grip is wrapped in black mourning cloth.  He only used the sword for a year before he was slain in the Sorcery Riots that tore down the ruling aristocrat-wizards and installed the new Republic of Vartoria.

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Creative Sunday – M C A Hogarth, Artist and Writer

25 October, 2015

Third in this (hopefully) weekly series of posts, where I highlight some of the awesome creative things being done out in the world.  Today, we have:

M C A Hogarth

Tea Break by MCA HogarthI first encountered MCAH’s art some time ago, long enough ago that I do not recall the exact details.  But I started follower her work on LiveJournal (remember LJ?  It still exists but is not nearly the hub of activity it once was.) and we would occasionally exchange comments and idea.  I purchased some of her artwork back then too, well, quite a bit of it actually including one commissioned piece (“Tea Break” pictured right).

She has since gone on to bigger and better things, getting a lot of writing down and published.  You may have heard about her when there was the big blowup when Games Workshop tried to get her book Spots the Space Marine pulled down off Amazon because GW claimed the term Space Marine was theirs and theirs alone.  Thankfully that was squashed though GW ended up with quite a bit of -well deserved- bad press for being such bullies.

Mantid portrait by MCA HogarthHer writing is fascinating, often exploring alien cultures from the inside, and she has quite a bit published bow.  I am obviously a huge fan of her art (she used to livestream her process on occasion where I picked up a second Mantid piece, on the left there).

Go visit her site for some inspiration.

She also maintains a Patreon to support her work creating Noblebright (as opposed to grimdark) fiction.

Notes: For last week’s Creative Sunday we had the music of Al Stewart and before that the lovely art of Nwain, the Knight who Wandered Dream.  More to come!


Tuesday Magic Item – Heart Nail

20 October, 2015

Hammer it inVoddick cleaned his sword and frowned.  “It that a nail in the chest of that unliving corpse we just put down?”

Gollaon looked from where his was cleaning the wound to his forearm.  “I think you are right.”

“Bugger,” said Voddick, pulling a dagger from his belt.  He stepped over to the corpse, knelt down and dug the nail out of the body with his dagger.

“Messy work,” commented his friend.

“Some of the dead brought back with nails like this do not stay dead.  Lost two members of a patrol to a nailed corpse once.  Not again.”

“I am glad you recognized that.  I have not encountered such before.”

Heart Nail

These nails are at least as long as a grown man’s hand and the metal used to make them is often pitted and scarred.  They seem heavier than they should be and they are as cold as ice when inactive and as warm as blood when they have been prepared.  Made from the metal of weapons that had been used to kill, the fires used to forge the nail must be stoked with bones and the finished nail quenched in fresh blood.

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Creative Sunday – Al Stewart, Singer-Songwriter

18 October, 2015
Modern Day Bard

Modern Day Bard

Al Stewart is a musician that I always associate with gaming, not that he is a gamer to my knowledge, but many of my earlier gaming friends were fans of his and his album Past, Present and Future was often a background soundtrack to our games.  He is best known for the song Time Passages, which is far from my favor piece of his, but it or Year of the Cat are the songs of his that get the most play.

Mr Stewart often chooses historical themes for his songs, many of which should be inspiration for a wide range of games.  The album Between the Wars is all tied to interwar Europe and should have useful hooks for anyone playing Call of Cthulu or a pulp adventure game, Night Train to Munich especially should be inspirational.

In any case I recommend you check out his official webpage and try out some of his music.  I will not be offended if it is not to your taste but I hope that people can find something they like among his many songs and styles.  You can also learn more about Mr Stewart from his profile on wikipedia.

Mr Stewart is currently on tour and will be performing in Atlanta on 6 December and I will be there.  Any chance that I will see you there?

Photo by Elaborating and found on Wikimedia Commons and has been placed in the Public Domain.

Notes: Second in my weekly series of looking at creative people and endeavors, last week was looking at Nwain, the Knight who Wandered Dream and her creator.


Review – The Frontline series, Three SF Novels by Marko Kloos

17 October, 2015

The following reviews are as spoiler free as I can make them, while still being able to make a few comments, of the first three books of the Frontline series by Marko Kloos.

The three novels of the Frontline series Terms of Enlistment, Lines of Departure and Angles of Attack) follow Andrew Grayson and his service and adventures in the military of the NAC (North American Confederation) in the early 22nd Century.  The future Earth depicted here is a near dystopia, massively overcrowded, with the two primary power blocs, the NAC and the SRA (Sino-Russian Alliance) in a constant state of cold-to-warm war (other nations and groups, for example the EU and SAU -South American Union-, do not show up until the third book and then only in essentially a cameo).  It is implied from textual evidence that they was at least one more world war with limited use of weapons of mass destruction, leading to the banning of using such on Earth or the colonies.  Yes, colonies, an inexpensive form of FTL travel has been developed and humanity (in the form of NAC and SRA settlements) have spread to the stars.

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Tuesday Magic Item – Homeward Compass

13 October, 2015

Find your way homeVoddick rapped the compass against the table.  “I think it is broken.”

“Let me see,” said Gollaon extending his hand.  He took a close look at the decorated compass.  “That is because it has lost its bearing.  The previous owner must be dead.”


“This sort of compass are magicked to point toward the owner’s home,” explained Gollaon, handing it back.

“Why doesn’t it work for me then?” Voddick asked, watching the lazily spinning needle.

“Because we don’t have a home.”

Homeward Compass

These rugged compasses are usually decorated with an inscription and often a scene of the original owner’s house or home city.  Almost always made of bronze or brass exterior, sometime covered in leather, they are extremely hard wearing.

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Creative Sunday – Nwain, the Knight who Wandered Dream

11 October, 2015

New (hopefully) weekly series of posts, I thought I should highlight some of the awesome creative things being done out in the world.  Today, we have:

Nwain, the Knight who Wandered Dream

Nwain ridingThis is an animated webcomic by Terrana Cliff detailing the adventures of Nwain in a very unique fantasy world.  Lots of problems solving and investigation so far with some greater mysteries hinted at.  Very good inspiration for a wide variety of games and campaign style.  Due to the fact is is an animated webcomic, the production of it is fairly slow so we only get a few new pages a month, though because they are animated, they pack in a little more information and action than a normal comic would in that space.

An example of the art is posted (borrowed from the artist’s DeviantArt page, and now used with permission).

If you enjoy the art and story, you can support Terrana Cliff’s creation of Nwain on Patreon.

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