Archive for September, 2019


October emerges and September receeds

30 September, 2019

Eris and Artemis, catsTomorrow begins October, the eighth month (naturally) of the Roman Calendar.  It seems the Romans had no special association for October beyond Autumn, but we have Halloween!  So the theme on the Sea of Stars Design Journal will be Monsters and Monstrous Things!

If you have ideas for Monsters, let me know and I will try to make it happen.

Our kittens are now just over a year old thus, officially, cats.  There they are in the photo, Eris on the left and Artemis (always looking so serious) on the right.  They have been a joy and helped us over our loss of our dear Joxer cat.

September, 2019, saw the following posts here:

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Dark Future Ahead 28 – News from the ‘Net of a Cyberpunk bent

29 September, 2019

Energy VaultHow will the latest technological advances be used to advance the plutocracy?  Join me in reviewing some inspiration for cyberpunk gaming culled from my many trips into the matrix.  Enjoy the news:

Raytheon, that big defense contractor, is working on drone defenses for the US military working with various sorts of directed energy weapons, such as lasers and microwaves.

The Chinese Government is backing a Belt and Road Initiative, a new Silk Road, to build transportation and economic links from Asia to Europe and Africa, some of the giant machine used to build it are impressive in size and productivity.

A Swiss company, Energy Vault, has a design using cranes and concrete blocks to store energy.  If nothing else, it would be a great place to have a fight going on.

More ways to avoid facial recognition technology, some useful, others less so.

There are many ways to grow food inside using artificial light, LEDs are proving to be extremely flexible in such applications.  Who knows what harvest may come from such technologies?

For plants grown in the traditional methods, they are becoming increasingly vulnerable to diseases and other blights in our interconnected world.  Perhaps ironically, viruses may provide the best way to introduces defenses into plants to fight these dangers.

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

Notes: To my surprise, it has been nearly a year since my last Dark Future Ahead . . .

Image from Energy Vault and used without permission.










Shadowrun Campaign Update with New Seattle Scream Prop (#62)

28 September, 2019

ElvisFor various reasons Shadowrun gaming in our local groups has been slow for the last few months.  The monthly games at Tyche’s Games (every first Saturday every month, come and join) have been interrupted by Conventions (GenCon and Dragon*Con) and University of Georgia football games but we are back on track for October!  In support of that we have a new Seattle Scream (#62).

The Saturday game will be moving to the Sixth World Edition of Shadowrun which hopefully we will be seeing actual hard copies of in October.  Our other GMs are still debating if they want to adopt the new rules or stay with 5th Edition.  I suspect that eventually we will all shift over but it will take some time.

I have also built my first Shadowrun, 6WE, character: Elvis, a knight-errant of the Church of Elvis, traveling the highways and byways of North America bringing the good news and good music.

Our NorCal campaign just had a game this week and hopefully I will have a game report up soon.

Notes: Elvis Photo found on Wikimedia Commons and used under the Creative Commons CC0 1.0 Universal Public Domain Dedication.


Down and Out in Taren Kost – Campaign Report Episode 11 – Family, right?

25 September, 2019

To the sea, and beyond, in shipsThis takes place shortly after Interlude 3, again, amazingly, it is a straight chronology from one game to another.

Our cast for this episode (for more information on the game background, see here):

Reed Greenbottle, Mercutio, Skathfka and introducing:

  • Agrippa, tortoise beastkine martial artist seeking his three lost brothers.  (Shadow Monk 3, played by B, naturally, as his other character is very city focused)

Episode 11: Family, right?

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Tuesday Magic Item – Autumnal Wand

24 September, 2019

Autumn leavesVoddick took a deep breath.  “Ah, the smells of an autumn festival.  Spiced drinks, pies, and other wonderful foods.”

Gollaon nodded around a bite of pie.  “Truth.  It is good to be among people who are enjoying themselves.  Too much war wears on the soul.”

“Indeed,” smiled Voddick.  “Such times lift my spirits and give hope for the future.”

Gollaon laughed.  “Such poetry.  Let us go and watch a show.”

“Have another pie.”

Autumnal Wand

These wands are made of wood, always, are of of the colors of the season it represents: orange, gold and browns.  They feel comfortable to the touch, as if warmed by sunlight.  These wands are created for entertainment and amusement, but can be turned to more creative ends.

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Tuesday Magic Item – Dragon Mask

17 September, 2019

What hides behind a friendly face?Voddick leaned in to whisper to Gollaon as they marched through the streets. “Being surrounded by masked people makes me a touch nervous.  Especially when they are hiding behind dragon masks.”

“I think they are more showing off than hiding, given the elaborate decoration,” replied Gollaon, equally quietly.  “But I understand your concern.”

“Still . . .”

“Yes, we had best be careful.  People who seek to idolize dragons are . . . unpredictable.”

Dragon Mask

These masks can be symbolic or faithful depictions of actual dragons, made of a variety of materials but always masterworks and often decorated in precious materials and gems.  They always cover the wearer face entirely.

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Tuesday Magic Item – War Mage’s Gauntlets

11 September, 2019

Handy“Good to be working with competent people again,” said Gollaon, parrying a pirate’s slash.

Voddick smashed his shield into the over extended pirate knocking him off balance and into the hold.  “Truth.  Would be nice to have a fewer enemies however,” he said just before ducking under a hurled spear.

A crackle of electrical sparks and flashes washed across the deck of the pirate ship.  Their new ally gave them a cheery wave.

“That seems to have helped,” said Gollaon stabbing another pirate in the calf.

“Indeed it has,” agreed Voddick, following up with a punch to the pirate’s stomach.

War Mage’s Gauntlets

These gauntlets come in a wide variety of styles from simple leather gloves, to articulated leather gauntlets, to masterpieces of the glover’s art.  They are always made of the highest quality materials and to the highest standards, often decorated with symbolism particular to the society it was made for.

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Tuesday Magic Item – Sabre Tooth Daggers

3 September, 2019

The better tostab you with“That woman is a spectacular combatant,” said Voddick with admiration.

“Indeed, a brutal but effective style,” nodded Gollaon.  “Powerful and direct.”

“Her weapon choice is unusual, made of bone?”

“And almost certainly enchanted.  I think they are from a rare type of hunting cat.”

“That explains much of her style,” commented Vodick watching more closely.

Sabre Tooth Daggers

These daggers are made from the teeth of sabre tooth tigers, which must have been killed by a hunter using a melee a weapon, carefully honed and treated, blessed and worked, often using additional bone of strips of tiger hide to create a grip.

They are +1 keen daggers that on a critical hit, inflict 1 point of bleed damage as well.  When used as a pair, the wielder gains a +4 enhancement bonus to initiative rolls and gain the effects of jump spell when moving to engage in combat, any attack made at the end of a jump gains a +4 to attack.

Additionally, when worn as a pair, the bearer gains low-light vision.

Aura Moderate Transmutation; CL 9th
Slot none; Price 21,301; Weight 1 lb
Construction Requirements
Craft Magic Arms and Armor, cat’s grace, polymorph; Cost 10,500 + 301 for each dagger

For D&D 5E:

Weapon (dagger), rare (requires attunement, see below)

First paragraph as above.

They are magic daggers that gain a +1 bonus on attack and damage rolls, and on a critical hit, and the target loses one hit point from bleeding at the start of each of its turns for six rounds unless it receives magical healing. Bleeding damage is cumulative; the target loses 1 hp per round for each bleeding wound it’s taken from a sabre tooth dagger.  When used as a pair, the wielder gains advantage on initiative rolls and gain the effects of jump spell when moving to engage in combat, any attack made at the end of a jump gains +1d4 added to the attack roll.

Additionally, when worn as a pair, the bearer gains dark vision.

Attuning a pair of these weapons counts as only a single attunement for a character.

Notes: Inspired by the beautiful sabre tooth tiger skeleton in the Smithsonian that we saw in the new fossil hall yesterday.

Photo of the sabre tooth tiger skeleton from the Smithsonian Natural History Museum and taken by me.

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