Archive for June, 2020


It is Summer, Welcome July

30 June, 2020

JuliusHope all of my readers in the Northern hemisphere are enjoying Summer, it is looking to be a warm one in my corner of the world, and that those in the Southern are having a safe winter.

As many of my readers will know, July was named after Julius Caesar in the re-formalization of the Roman Calendar that created the Julian Calendar (which, unsurprisingly, also named for him).  So, in honor of Caesar, we shall be looking at governments, organization and people of ambition in the Sea of Stars and elsewhere.  As usual, if there is a particular subject you would like to know more about or see more of, please let me know.

Looking back over June, 2020, with a fair amount of posting:

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Tuesday Magic Item – Blue Jacket of Bravery

30 June, 2020

Worn by all the stylish officers.“I am sure I have seen that coat before,” said Gollaon, watching the commander talk with some of the other officers.

Voddick nodded slowly, “Was that not Commander CœurdeLion’s jacket?”

Gollaon’s eyes widened.  “You are right.  The braiding has been removed and it has been repaired, but, yes, it is the same jacket.”

“I am amazed it survived his final stand.”

“It must possess some of his luck.”

Blue Jacket of Bravery

This blue jacket has seen much action and is much repaired, yet the underlying structure remains intact even as braids, ribbons, medals or other decorations are added and removed.  It is a military coat and nothing can be done to disguise that.

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Review – Shadowrun: Tales from the UCAS: Age of Rust

28 June, 2020

Shadowrun: Tales from the UCAS: Age of Rust is a missed opportunity, a Age of Rustsourcebook for the Omaha, Nebraska, region which is undergoing a period of unique instability and change making it a potential hotspot for the sort of work Shadowrunners do. Unfortunately, it fails in providing anything beyond the most basic plot hooks and minimal background material.

Shadowrun: Tales from the UCAS: Age of Rust, is location/adventure resource for Shadowrun, Sixth World Edition, expanding on the situation in part of the UCAS and providing adventure hooks.

It begins with an introductory piece laying out what the situation is in Omaha, Nebraska, where due to border shifts and changes in the UCAS, NORAD has withdrawn from the Offutt air force base here (where it apparently relocated after the creation of the NAN) leaving a massive economic and political hole in the local area. But with instability comes opportunity for some and that is what this work tries to present.

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Play and Review – Dialect: A Game of Languages and How they Die

25 June, 2020

DialectLast week we had a chance to play Dialect: A Game of Languages and How they Die by Thorny Games.  The play was via Roll20 and Discord, which has a play set for Dialect, and the mechanical parts of the game worked fairly well (except for the one player who was using a smartphone, apparently Roll20 and smartphones do not play well together).

Dialect is one of the indie games, focused on telling one particular type of story but telling it very well.  In this case it is the evolution and death (or abandonment) of a dialect of an existing language.

The game comes with four example settings, we went with Sing the Earth Electric where we are AIs sent back to Earth after humanity has abandoned the planet.  We decided we were there to preserve what cultural information we could and prepare the (now barren) planet for Re-Terraforming (and that we were looking for the answer to why the human left).

Character roles (just brief description like Explorer with hooks) are assigned by drawing three cards and choosing one.  Then the game is played in three rounds, each round each player will get to play one card, again from a hand  of three, most of these give you a chance to create a new word.   The card will tell you what the word is for (ritual, happiness and such) and you can, and should, discuss the word with the other players but whoever played the card has final say.  Then two (or more) characters are placed in a scene where they can use the word in conversation.  Once everyone has played a card, it moves onto the next round, the situation changes and the sequence begins again.

In addition to word, there are action cards which replace the player’s creation of a new word such as one which causes an existing word to change meaning over time.

Lastly, at the end of the three round, everyone gets an epilogue card to help conclude the story.

It plays very easily for those used to this style of game and everyone else should pick it up pretty quickly, most everyone was in the swing of things by round two.  It was a good time even if the story was rather sad and tragic.

An interesting experience if you want to explore the arc of evolution and decline of a sub-language.  Recommended by me.

You can purchase it directly from Thorny Games or (if you are in the North Georgia, USA, region) at Tyche’s Games.


Tuesday Magic Item – Sugarfoot’s Bowl of Comfort

23 June, 2020

But it is what it contains that mattersVoddick leaned back and set the bowl down.  “Where is that bread?  I cannot waste even a drop if this.”

Gollaon was still eating from his bowl.  He pointed with a spoon.

“Thank you,” Voddick said tearing a hunk off of the loaf.

“Brings back memories,” sighed Gollaon.


Sugarfoot’s Bowl of Comfort

These bowls are simply, but well and sturdily, made with the symbol of the Sugarfoot family somewhere upon them.

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Short Reviews of D&D 5E publications – School of Awakenings and the Pike-Pole

21 June, 2020
School of Awakening

Been awhile, so here are some quick reviews of products for D&D 5E:

Wizard School of Awakening: How to Make Friends presents a new arcane traditions for wizards one that specializes in imparting magic life to objects, awakening them as it were.

The mechanics are quite fun, allowing the wizard to create two “thoughtlings” (awakened objects) at 2nd level and then more as they gain levels, to a maximum of five, each has its own personality (of a list of tweleve ranging from haughty to silly) which gives it or its creator access to special abilities.  As the wizard grows in power they can awaken larger objects and magic ones as well, eventually gaining the ability to build a magical “homestead” which will maintain animate objects at the wizard’s home.

There is a lot of potential for fun and interesting interactions between the awakened object and the wizard, and other people too, but there are some questions.  Can the awakened objects speak for example?  Or how does an awakened shield move?  Why does a large awakened object only have 3 more hit points than a tiny one?  Why do they inflict force damage when they attack?  A little more attention should have been paid to such questions.

From a Dungeon Master’s perspective, some advice of how to cope with someone who know has a character plus at least two awakened object (and maybe a familiar too).  That could easily double the party size!  Also several of the ability granted by the awakened objects personalities (kind and lazy especially) could cause some balance issue as they strike me as subtly powerful.

Overall, a very fun and inventive class, one that would be very well suited to a solo campaign.  A DM will have to weight if they will fit into their campaign and how to balance them if they do.  But, mostly, a job well done here.

Pike Pole

The Pike Pole, a nautical themed weapon, presents just that. it gives a brief history of this sort of weapon and how they have been used along with ideas for a how a character could have learned to use one.

Several variations on the pike pole, both mundane and magical, are included each with its own illustration.  As are rules for trip and disarm attacks using the weapon.  All well and good except it is a tool turned into a weapon that is just better on all levels than weapons made as weapons.

As listed, it does not have the heavy or two-handed properties yet has reach and does a 1d10 damage for 5 lbs of weight and 1 gold (or 5 gold if you want the improved one that gives you a small bonuses with the maneuvers).  It is a spear with a hook, it should do spear damage (1d8) and have both the heavy and two-handed properties to bring it in line with other pole arms (and the trip and disarm should be added to other weapons as well, if you are giving out those maneuvers).

A good idea and excellent presentation of the weapon, but it just too good mechanically.  However, that is easily fixed.

Notes: The links above are affiliate links and if you purchase through them, this site gets a tiny amount from it.


Tuesday Magic Item – Collar of Deadly Reversal

16 June, 2020

Be safe, my petGollaon paced around the body, it was not a pretty sight.

Voddick shook his head,  “Unpleasant.  Some sort of foul magic?”

Gollaon nodded.  “If I am not mistaken, his own turned back upon him.”

Voddick looked again.  “In that case, he probably deserved it . . . evil feeds upon itself and all that.”

“Indeed, not let us make sure there are no more threats.”

“If there were, that should have scared them away,” Voddick said with a gesture to the body.

Collar of Deadly Reversal

These collars are always well made and often exceedingly fancy, hidden on the interior are an extremely complex set of interlocked protective runes.  They are only made for small and mostly harmless pets, nothing bigger than a small spaniel does to the nature of the magic involved which requires that the subject be comparatively harmless.  The person who puts the collar on the pet can (almost) always find it, feeling a gentle tug toward the pet and collar’s location.

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Review – Shadowrun: Firing Squad

13 June, 2020

SR: FSShadowrun: Firing Squad is the first sourcebook for the Sixth World Edition of Shadowrun covering combat, always an important part of the game. The new equipment, combat options and advice widely expand the tactical choices and the discussions of the role of violence and its place in the world and characters’ lives allow for interesting roleplaying if that is your focus. A must have for any Shadowrun GM and any player who enjoy combat focused characters.

Shadowrun: Firing Squad, is the Core Combat Book for Shadowrun, Sixth World Edition, expanding on the combat side of the game through new gear and new rules and options. Pretty much everything a street samurai could need.

It begins with a short introduction laying out what is in the book, then we have one of the ubiquitous fiction sections, before we find the Weapons Rack section, more new toys for the violently inclined ranging from new melee weapons to guns of all sizes to crowd control water cannons. More options are always good and there is something for just about everyone, lethal, less lethal, probably non-lethal, big, small, it is all here. There are also new ammo types (two) and gear mods (though more of those later). Even a combat chainsaw (from the Ash Arms)! It does fill in some needed gabs, like a portable flame thrower but has some strangeness, such as why the ‘Xiphos’ Tactical Gladius, which is literally modeled on the classic Roman short sword, is an exotic weapon? The second part of the weapons rack section is new weaponry from rEVOlution Arms, weapon designed by Monads (if you have not been following the metaplot, human bodies and brains inhabited by AI) which all use the wild die, which has not seen much use in the game until now, and include wacky things like laser weaponry, PULSE stunners, and more. I have serious game balance questions about some of them (PULSE stunner I am looking at you) but they mostly seem like interesting bleeding edge technology to add to the game.

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Tuesday Magic Item – Mercenaries’ Ledger

9 June, 2020

To be paid“It has been sometime since we have signed one of these,” said Voddick as they made their way forward.

“I must say, I have not missed them,” replied Gollaon.  “But rules are rules and these people are honorable enough.”

“True and the contract is simple enough.  I like direct and clear in such things.”

“As do I and it means we will be paid.”

Mercenaries’ Ledger

These ledger books are made of strong paper bound in warded leather.  The front section lays out the duties of the mercenaries hired, followed but the duties of the employer towards those hired.  The main body is place for those hired to place their names.

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

6 June, 2020

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.

Trash or treasure?Episode Forty Five: Haunted Junkyard

Guest Starring: Clawz, DoubleUp, Gimmick, and Tora.

Glitter asks the gang to find some special parts for a classic vehicle that she is working on restoring.  The only place that seems to have it is the S. Pektor’s Auto Wrecker out at the end of Really Not Spooky Road.  The main building looks like the mansion from the start of Scooby Doo with the junkyard behind.  Classic setup meeting with the owner leading to warning about the Ghost of the Junkyard.  They venture in to find the part, high jinks and chases ensure as the Ghost of the Junkyard tries to chase us away.  Finally, the ghost is caught using a Rube Goldburg-esque trap and he is revealed to be a former government agent who knew that a shipment of gold was hidden in the yard, somewhere, and needed to keep people away while he searched for it.  Yes, classic Scooby Doo homage.

What really happened:

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