Archive for July, 2017


July fades and August dawns

31 July, 2017

August (a month 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 communicate such with me.

I will be off to GenCon from the 13th-21at but page updates will continue during that time (if you are going to GenCon, see my con advice here).  If you have not commented before, your comments will have to wait to be approved (sorry).  Hope to catch up with some of you fine people there.

July, 2017, saw the following posts published on the journal:

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Dark Future Ahead 22 – News from the ‘Net of a Cyberpunk bent

29 July, 2017

My latest scores from my time jacked into the Matrix, hopefully you find this as weird, wonderful and inspiration for cyberpunk gaming as I do:

Fashion advice from several sources on how to confuse and distract surveillance.

Where does the French Foreign Legion fit in the modern world?  See this article for some answers, still a good background option for mercenaries and ex-soldiers.

The Russian company Android Technics is developing robots and drones for a variety of uses including FEDOR (Final Experimental Demonstration Object Research) a humanoid robot their have taught to use pistols.

A company called UrbanAlps has developed the Stealth Key using 3D printing technology to make nearly uncopyable keys.  Steal the key or the source file to get in (or pick the lock but that is boring).  You can visit the UrbanAlps site for more information and advertising.

Stealth Key System

Image from the UrbanAlps site and used without permission.

Such things are probably a good idea, as a team of hackers have built a simple robot that can crack safes.  Not perfect yet but such things can always be improved.

What visions of the coming dark future have you seen recently?  Any skies the color of television, tuned to a dead channel?






Tuesday Magic Item – Magical Incense

25 July, 2017

Drifting smokeVoddick rubbed at his nose. “Incense always make he want to sneeze.”

“Well do not,” whispered Gollaon.  “We do not want to offend any of these god-botherers.”

Voddick nodded and tried to breath through his scarf. “Why are we here again?”

“Because our patron asked us to be.”

Voddick nodded and sighed.

Magical Incense: Calming, Mystic Focus, Petitioning

Incense comes in various forms, block, cone, coil, stick and no doubt others.  Magical incense must by lit and breathed in to be able to use if, each unit of incense fills a 10 x 10 foot area and requires a minute to take effect.  One can hold their breath or move other of the area to avoid then effect should they wish.

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Tuesday Magic Item – Intelligencer’s Hive

18 July, 2017

What's the buzz?Voddick shooed a bee away from his drink.  “The bees are particularly busy today.”

“Price you pay for good mead,” replied Gollaon with a smile.

“Truth.”  Voddick nodded.

“But it does seem a bit late in the season,” mused Gollaon.  “And it is a little odd to see them around so many people.”

Voddick frowned.  “It is magic, isn’t it?  It is always magic.”

Intelligencer’s Hive

This magic item consists of two components, a piece of jewelry (usually a broach) emblazoned with a bee, hive or hexagon pattern and a gold disc with a matching pattern.  The disc must be placed in a bee hive to function.

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Doomsdays and Dystopias of the Sea of Stars

14 July, 2017

The theme for this month’s RPG Bog Carnival is Doomsdays and Dystopias hosted over on Daemons & Deathrays.

What a messThere are two major doomsday points in the Sea of Stars:

The Fall of the Gods and the Sundering, the war between the gods and the dragons had considerable, to use the current term, collateral damage.  While the dragons did not seek to destroy any more than necessary, looting rubble is less productive, there were situations that required significant devastation especially in the cases of the gods who choose to live among their worshipers.  The combats in those cities were massively destructive to life and property.

But the damage caused by the Gods War pales by comparison to that of the Sundering which followed immediately afterward, as the world itself shattered and pulled apart.  The loss of life was immense and some area were rendered uninhabitable as rivers were diverted, lakes and oceans drained away, mountain ranges crumbled or emerged.  In less than a day, the world was irrevocably changed.

However, with the help of their new rulers, the dragons, the world was slowly rebuilt.  Some areas took longer to recover than others . . . and a few never did leaving ruins in formerly fertile areas that were now deserts or marshes or worse.

If massive environmentally disruption is your idea of a good campaign, the Sundering has everything you could imagine.

A much more focused doomsday is the Sen’Tek Revolt, the attempt by a conspiracy within the Visse servant class and Imperial bureaucracy to overthrow (and replace) the draconic overlords.  The deep conspiracy planned across decades was forced to act prematurely when it was revealed to the Empress.  While many dragons and dragonkine were killed, the plot as a whole was foiled, and many, many Visse were slain.   Though the core of the conspiracy escaped deep into the far mountains.  Even this failure caused deep disruption to draconic rule as the dragons turned upon the weakened houses and sought to benefit until the Empress stepped in and reorganized the survivors.

If you want a survival horror type scenario it could be run on either side of this: either dragonkine nobles trying to survive against servants who know their every foible and weakness or a group of Visse, possible mixed conspirators and innocents, avoiding dragons and trying to escape.

For dystopia, well, it is a world ruled by dragons after killing the gods, for many, they could not imagine a worse world.  For the dragon rulers who had to “reeducate” formerly pious societies, it was not a pretty task.  While, in general, the dragons take a claws off approach as long as they get their taxes, there are always exceptions.

So if you are looking for unhappy places, there are no shortage such as the Kingdom of Laccini and its militant knights backed by necrourgists or the Dark Star Dominion and its ruler, Ba’a’ai, the Dark Star himself.

Other dystopias must exist as well but I cannot immediately think of any more.


Notes: Photo “Ruined Castle” by Grant is licensed under CC BY 2.0.







Tuesday Magic Item – Banner of Authority

11 July, 2017

So many banners“I do not think I would mind seeing the Autocrat’s symbol everywhere if it was less . . . brutal,” finished Voddick as they walked down the main thoroughfare.

“I must agree, a crowned sword impaling a globe is hardly subtle,” said Gollaon idly flipping a coin.

“Subtle is not their strong suit here,” agreed Voddick.

“But I think they serve a more sinister purpose than simply showing the colors,” said Gollaon.  “I think they make one feel unsettled.”

“It is the banner causing that?  Not the armed men?”

“One reinforces the other.”

Banner of Authority

The banners are well made though often to identical designs, they are designed to showcase and display the authority of the state for which they were made and are usually produced in large numbers for such a state.  Individually, the effect of each banner is minor but combined they can prove very effective in maintaining the hold of an oppressive state.

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Review – Through Their Own Eyes: New Personality Features for Fantasy Races for D&D 5e

6 July, 2017

More than pointy earsThrough Their Own Eyes: New Personality Features for Fantasy Races for D&D 5e presents good roleplaying tools for constructing nonhuman characters. It is entirely support for character building and is quite helpful for those interested in playing nonhuman characters.

Through Their Own Eyes: New Personality Features for Fantasy Races for D&D 5e by Brandes Stoddard and published by Tribality Publishing is what you would expect, new traits for fantasy cultures tied to the traditional type of fantasy folk. The layout is clear with thematic color photographs for illustrations.

For each dwarves, elves (surface and drow), halflings, gnomes, half-orcs, dragonborn, tieflings, aasimar, goblins, and kobolds there is a short paragraph with thoughts on their culture. Then each of either six or eight options for personality traits (gnomes get ten options here, the only ones that do), ideals, bonds, and flaws to mix and match with those from backgrounds.

The only layout issue is that the notes on aasimar culture are repeated, it is not a lot of wasted space but some more thoughts on aasimar would be interesting. While primary player oriented, a DM can get some food for thought about the nonhuman cultures in their campaign world as well.

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. Also, Brandes is a friend of mine and one of the players in my original Sea of Stars campaign, but I like to think that did not influence this review.

The links are affiliate links and I will earn a small amount if you purchase through it.


Tuesday Magic Item – Citizenship Shield

4 July, 2017

Defend your people

Voddick checked his bolts and closed their case.  “Well, I am glad they are enthusiastic, though I would prefer that they were better trained,” he said surveying the gathered militia with their mismatched weapons and armor.

“At least they have kept to a unified choice of colors and the shields are in good shape,” answered Gollaon.  “Though I would have liked another week or two of drills and weapon practice.”

“Very rude of the raiders not to be sporting about all this.”

“Indeed, we shall have to let them know how we feel about their lack of manners.”

Citizenship Shield

These shields are solid and well made, decorated with the symbols of the community they are made for.  Often each civic bearer has painted their name on the inside as if to emphasize the continuity of the defense of the citizens.

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