Archive for July, 2016


July finishes and moving into to August

31 July, 2016

August (named after that most Roman of Romans Augustus Caesar) will be a month of personalities from the Sea of Stars (and possibly other places).  If there is someone -or something– in particular you would like to see, please comment.

I will be off to GenCon from the 1st-8th but page updates will continue during that time.  If you have not commented before, your comments will have to wait to be approved (sorry).

July, 2016, saw the following posts published on the journal:

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Wizards in the Sea of Stars

30 July, 2016

Wizard EarlMy, rather last minute, addition to this month’s RPG Blog Carnival theme of the Ways of the Wise hosted by my friend Brandes over at Harbinger of Doom.

Wizards were once a great power in the pre-Sundering Sea of Stars, indeed the gods feared that it would be the wizards that made a play to displace the divine beings and so agents of the faiths were actively working to undermine the power bases of the great wizards and keep them divided.  Unfortunately, the gods focus on the wizards caused them to almost entirely overlook the draconic conspiracy.

When the dragons attacked the gods, the wizards dithered, some arguing that the gods needed their help, others were happy to watch two rivals tear each other apart, most just waited and trying to figure out what was happening in the heavens.  A handful of ambitious wizards in the immediate aftermath of the Sundering tried to caim their own independent states, the Empress offer them one chance to bend the knee to her, most did not and were destroyed in swift and decisive action.  The other wizards either went into hiding or found draconic patrons, the choice was stark, avoid the eyes of the dragons or serve them.  The wizards’ ruins were left behind by the Empress’ wrath, she forbid anyone from looting them, leaving them as a testimony to her power.  Of course that has not stopped the greedy and the curious from exploring them, especially as Imperial oversight of the ruins fell away after centuries.

The wizards who found draconic patrons, most found them to be generous and willing to give them free reign as long as they produced the results there patron desired.  Such pressure to succeed does sometime lead to the cutting of corners and taking of risks, such as hiring of venturers to acquire needed items or information.

Those who went into hiding pursued various tactics to vanish, some found patrons among the elves, dwarves or even the criminal underworld, others traveled to the wilds at the edge of the world where few went, other concealed their skill and power and posed as hedge wizards or scholars.  Most managed to avoid detection by a few were swept up by Imperial forces or the Draconic houses to be pressed into service or executed.  After a century, the wizards had either integrated into their new lives or died, but the power of these rogue wizards was vastly reduced and the Imperial project to find them was wound down.

Wizards and their machinations, abandoned towers and labratories, can serve as adventure locations and seeds.  While not directly able to challenge the power of the dragons, the magic secrets of the wizards are a stepping stone toward equalizing the power imbalance between mortal and dragon.

Notes: Image of the Wizard Earl (Henry Percy, 9th Earl of Northumberland) by Nicholas Hilliard, held by the Rijksmuseum and is in the Pubic Domain.


Dark Future Ahead 17 – News from the ‘Net of a Cyberpunk bent

28 July, 2016

Looking at the future of fashion among other things.  Now, tune in for the latest interesting and cyberpunk inspiring stories that I have found:

The Museum of Fine Arts – Boston is hosting a exhibit called #Techstyle looking at the overlaps and twists between technology and fashion.  Reason magazine has a good interview with the curator here.  You can also look at the tech fashion accessories of CuteCircuit who are providing items for the exhibit.

For protection against the paparazzi, ISHU has produced a scarf made of reflective material that uses the light from camera flashes to ‘blind’ cameras.  Useful for those trying to keep out of the public eye, ISHU also makes neckties and other things of the same material.

On a different level, there  are bunches of companies recycling bit of piece of cars and bikes into bags, clothing and even clothing.  Good ideas for the sorts of things you might find in street markets and underground bazaars.

Would you wear leather made from vat grown human skin?  What if it included tattoos and was cultured from a celebrity?  Fashion is going to be strange in the future.

In flightFacebook moves closer to its goal of bringing the internet everywhere with the test flight of the Aquila solar powered drone, designed to circle for months and act as a broadband link for people and areas outside of usual connectivity.  (See a video of the test flight here.)

Lastly, a Dutch company is upcycling industrial waste, (ceramics, glass and insulation) into fancy bricks, read about it here.  Or visit the company’s, StoneCycling, webpage directly.

What visions of the coming dark future have you seen recently?


Tuesday Magic Item – Monarchomachs Blade

26 July, 2016

Sic Semper TyrannusGollaon leaned in to read the notice nailed to the courthouse door.  “Time to be leaving, my friend.”

“Civil war?” asked Voddick.

“Yes, it is a notice of abjuration, severing them from the authority of the king,” read Gollaon.

“He will not like that.  This will be getting decidedly uncivil once word reaches the royal garrison.”

“Thus, time to be on our way, such local conflicts never end well.”

Monarchomachs Blade

These swords are etched with faint words, so worn as to be almost unreadable, and usually show the signs of hard use.  The hilt is plain and the entire weapon is very utilitarian and practical.
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Where to Find me at Gencon 2016

26 July, 2016

At long last, I have my schedule for GenCon 2016.  I will be primarily working in the board game hall in the AEG section of said hall.  The list below is which game I will be teaching, so if you want to learn any of them drop by, we accept generic tickets if there is space.  After teaching, I may also have time to talk if you want to drop by 30-45 minutes after start but I do not have a good feel for this as I have not worked the board game hall before.

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PinkCat: Running in the Shade “Party Crashers” (A different sort of SR campaign report)

20 July, 2016

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 Twenty Two: Party Crashers

Guest Starring: DD, Double Up and introducing:

  • Tora.  An androgynous young tiger with martial arts and stealth skills.  (A stand in for Toru, a Yakuza raised young woman on the run.  Played by L2.)

Dance!New student Tora is depressed because they are always excluded from events, Glitter and Pink decided to help her make new friends.  BB takes Tora salsa dancing, Double Up introduces Tora to the gun club, Glitter take them to the racing club, Pink shows off the comics club, they wrangle invites to a populars party.  But, in the end, Tora finds that they are happy just hanging out with Pink and the rest of the team, being part of a large group just is not their thing.

What really happened:

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Tuesday Magic Item – Bureaucrat’s Box (for Pathfinder and D&D5)

19 July, 2016

Something like thisVoddick tried to mute a sigh as the bureaucrat reviewed the latest version of the license request.

Gollaon shot him a warning look and shifted his chair to help conceal the noise.

“Well, everything seems in order . . .” the bureaucrat said.  “Now it just needs to be approved by the Permanent Undersecretary for Unusual Trades.”

Gollaon slide a pouch across.  “I am certain this will cover all needed fees.”

The bureaucrat’s grey face managed a watery smile.  “Very good, sir.  It should be ready for you tomorrow.”  He swept the pouch into a drawer and placed the papers in a secure red box.

Gollaon stood, quickly followed by Voddick.  “We shall be back tomorrow.”  Voddick kept his mounth shut until they were well away from the offices.

These solid wooden boxes are usually inscribed or otherwise marked with the symbol of the organization they are made for and the rank of the person who should be using them.  Most have a single lock but those of the higher-ranking members will have multiple locks.  They cannot hold a great amount as they are usually sized to hold a thick sheaf of papers and little more.

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Review – Kemononmimi: Moe Races for Pathfinder

16 July, 2016

Kemononmimi: Moe Races for Pathfinder opens some interesting thematic options for character race.  While they certainly will not be to the taste of every player, or fit in every campaign, there are some fun and interesting ideas here that are worth taking a look at if animal-themed races have a place in your game world.
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Sean’s GenCon Advice 2016

14 July, 2016

GenCon is about three weeks away, so, I thought I would (again) share my hard-earned experience and try and help out people who are going.


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Tuesday Magic Item – Sortition Box (for Pathfinder and D&D5)

12 July, 2016

Most are not this fancy.“Seems an odd way to chose who runs the place,” said Voddick, watching as the citizen lined up to drop their name into the box.

“It is hoped that by choosing such important roles at random, political posturing and corruption will be avoided,” replied Gollaon.

“Does it work?”

“Sometimes, but not always.  No matter how good the system, people will be people.”

Sortition Box

These boxes are sturdy and often decorated with symbolism of the state they were made for.  The size of them varies depending on the size of the group it was made for and what they use to mark the name of the candidates.  It is used to randomly select people to serve in the government.
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