Archive for November, 2021


Welcome December, fare thee well November

30 November, 2021

Into Winter we goIt is a cold evening here, it does seem like winter has begun.  Which is appropriate as the first of December comes the meteorological start of Winter and it certainly seems that way here.  December was, as you might expect, the tenth month of the Roman calendar and it is a month filled with holidays for us modern folk.

So, the themes for this month on the Sea of Stars design journal will be Winter, festivals and gifts: cursed gifts, divine gifts, magical gifts or whatever else we can think up.

If there is a particular idea that any of those themes inspire, let me know and I will try to realize it.

Looking back over November, 2021, we saw the following posts here: Read the rest of this entry ?


Tuesday Magic Item – Axel’s Plant Hating Cleaver

30 November, 2021

Get to the chopperVoddick frowned as he watched the lead soldier cutting his way through the undergrowth with considerable glee.  “Our pathbreaker does not seem to care for plants,” he said to his companion.

“Indeed, I think it has to do with his blade.  He seems quite normal until it is drawn,” said Gollaon following behind.

“But he does clear an effective path.  But I do not think he is making any friends among the forest dwellers,” he added steping over a severed branch.

Axel’s Plant Hating Cleaver

This heavy chopping blade is designed to cut it way through vegitation and enemies with equal ease, it has obviously seen hard use and the blade is stained with unidentificable stains.  Made for the mercenary Axel Druckknopf, it became inbued with his viceral hater of all plants and begitation

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Coraxin (Ravenkine), a new Beastkine, for Dungeons & Dragons (5E)

28 November, 2021

die_rabenballade_by_shandria“Born as scavengers, we are seen as symbols of death and misfortune, not helped by our dark sisters who truly bring death and destruction in their wake.  We are what we are, travelers and scholars, watchers and gatherers.  We see you.”


The origin of the Coraxin species is told by their legends, but cannot be independently confirmed, however it seems likely this is the truth.  The take runs that an unkindness of ravens had gathered in the snowy forest, hoping to find something to eat, when there was a flash and a crash and suddendly, freshly slain meat!  Once they regathered after the initial shock, they set about consuming this unexpected feast and as they did so . . . they changed.  Becoming the Coraxin.  It is assumed the flesh they consumed was that of one, or more, of the fallen gods and the remnants of divine power uplifted the ravens into the Coraxin.

The Coraxin evolved on the far rim of the Sea of Stars and have never been numerous, though their numbers have slowly grown.  They travel in nomadic bands that act as merchants, messengers and entertainers.

Coraxin are wanderers and often distrusted but at the same time welcomed as they bring news and interesting items from distant places.  They have an uneasy relationship with the Ba’aikire, who also share a kinship with ravens, the Coraxin call the Baikire “Dark Sisters” while the Baikire call the Coraxin “Little Birds”.

Coraxin Traits

Your Coraxin character has a number of traits in common with all other Coraxin. Read the rest of this entry ?


Tuesday Magic Item – Doll Death Rod

23 November, 2021

TCEsmVoddick swung his crossbow towards the sound echoing through the abandoned manor.  “I know we are skilled in hunting dangerous sorcerers and warlocks,” he said quietly.  “But why can they not hide in someplace pleasant for once.”

“Dabblers in evil magic do not like witnesses?” ventured Gollaon in reply.

“Well, there is that,” admitted Voddick.

Doll Death Rod

These rods are rare as the magic that powers them is widely considered evil and unpleasant, they are short heavy and -inevitably- a dark color, usually black, with minimal adornment.  It is so named because it leaves the bodies of its victims shrunk to doll-like size.

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History Resources for your Game [5]

17 November, 2021

A variety of interesting articles about history that I have found recently that you can use to add depth and texture to your game world or just to expand your general knowledge.  I use them for both.

A long walk for a drinkThere are more ways to catch fish than nets and lines, the Pacific North West tribes built extensive fish traps along the coast.  These fish traps were extensive and suddenly forgotten due to a terrible set of circumstances.  But a fascinating technology for harvesting fish.  Is your campaign set along a coast?  Is there a place there for fish traps?  If so, would any of the cultures there be likely to use them?

Though sometimes your concern is with water, in Indin they used to use step wells to gather and store water.  There is a concerted effort to reclaim and rebuild these unusual and fascinating water storage systems.  Is water a concern in areas of your campaign world?  What strategies do the people there use to store and conserve water?

This is a fascinating article about the Zone Rouge, the area of France still deemed too dangerous to visit because of abanded Great War munitions and toxins.  Interesting enough on its own, but noted in there is the fact that certain types of plants can tell you what sorts of minerals are in the soil.  Yes, prospecting with plants!  It would be a neat “secret technique” for exploring druids, perhaps an order that is tied to one of the Dwarven cultures?  Are there any areas due to the aftermath of war or other reasons that are unsafe to visit?

Dogs and people have been living together for millennia, and we have shaped many dogs to fit very niche needs.  This article looks at some of the vanished breeds whose purpose vanished and, as happens, so did they.  The story of the evolution of our current types of dogs is interesting and a bit sad as so many other types of dogs were left behind, lost in the mists of time.  Though a turnspit dog might make a fine familiar for a wizard who specialized in culinary magic.  What sorts of dogs are there in your campaign?  Does any culture specialize in creating exotic dogs?

Did you know that there are abandoned buildings and even entire towns in the US Nation Parks?  Here are a few of them.  Great place to set a horror game or perhaps for a supervillain to hide their secret base.

Hope this has you thinking   Have you found any intriguing or fascinating history you would like to share?  If so, please do!

Notes: Photo by Dharani.prakas, found on Wikimedia Commons and used under the Creative Commons CC0 1.0 Universal Public Domain Dedication


Tuesday Magic Item – Peacemaker’s Baton

16 November, 2021

Keep the Peace“Why are we escorting the envoy again?  They are protected by a peace banner and that fancy baton,” grumbled Voddick

“Because we are mercenaries and ultimately expendable,” answered Gollaon cheerfully.

“Ah, right, all the pay, all the glory,” said Voddick.

“Not enjoying the sellsword’s life?”

“Not at the moment, if we had not been rushed out without breakfast, I would be in a cheerier mood.”

Peacemaker’s Baton

These batons can be short of long enough to serve as banner pole, depending on what is traditional among the culture that made it, but must are small enough to be easily held in one hand.  They are usually made of light colored materials to be highly visible and decorated with symbols of peace.

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Superheroes – Once upon a Time in 1968 – Issue 11 – The Sinister Mansion of the Occult

12 November, 2021

320px-The_Haunted_House_Das_Geisterhaus_(5360049608)Immediately after Issue 10, things are about to go from bad to worst.

Cover:  The usual font is replaced with a twisty, creepy one.  Our heroes are shown menaces by werewolves, a vampire in classic suit, and a mad scientist.  The characters are changed: 808 looks ghostly, Horizon is in full Romani dress, Roboto look more like Frankenstein’s monster (bolts in the neck and all), Shadowfist and Vulpix are both in Regency-era dresses.  A black cat is standing, tail puffed out, with the heroes.  “Can our Heroes survive the Sinister Mansion of the Occult?!

Opening page: Our heroes standing around at the end of last issue, 808 and Horizon taking with Jack Diamond and Plasma-Man, Roboto looking for something to use as a temporary chest piece, Vulpix berating her cousin and Shadowfist looking for escaped thugs.  Their communcators crackle to “Jaiipuur Central is under attack!  Repeat, Jaiipuur Centralin under attack!  Emergency recall of all agents initiated.”

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In Memory of those Who Served

11 November, 2021

It is fitting the weather here is  grey and sullen as another Armistice Day (in modern parlance Remembrance Day in the Commonwealth and Veterans Day in the US) is once here.  As Armistice Day it originally served as a remembrance of the end of the Great War, the Armistice that ended the war starting at 11:11am on 11 November 1918, and those who served and died there.  Since then, it has been expanded to include the many others who have served and died for their country in honorable service through the years.

If you remember, pause for a minute of silence to honor the brave soldiers and other members of the armed forces that have guarded us -and still do- at 11:11am.

While it has been my wont in recent years to find poems from lesser-known war poets, for this year, an Australian: Read the rest of this entry ?


Shadowrun Campaign News and a new Seattle Scream Prop (#71)

10 November, 2021

Waiting for a riotWe continue to pay Shadowrun with both online and, gasp, actual in-person play.  I must say that I find managing to flow of Edge much easier in person with something physical to represent the pool, the officlal Edge tokens work quite well, but anything works.

Comfortable enough with the rules to start making minor changes via house rules to fit our style of play (you can see the current evolution here) but always a work in progress and there will be some things to incorporate from Double Clutch and the other source books eventually.  Any comments and suggestions welcome.

Sadly, I have fallen far behind on updating the screamsheets to go with the adventures, but here is (at last) a new one:  Seattle Scream 71 The first story, the one involving the eco-terrorists is tangeltally related to a recent adventure, thankfully the violence was not their fault but they did take advantage of it.

Notes: Photo found on pxfuel and is free for commercial use.


Tuesday Magic Item – Freeman’s Pick

9 November, 2021

Break down walls and tyrants

“Now we have mobilized the locals, what next?” asked Voddick.

“I fear we are going to have to storm the castle,” answered Gollaon.

“That sort of task rarely ends well,” said Voddick grimly.  “Unless we can convince his solders to turn their coats.”

“If we can make a good show of force, they may see reason.”

“Well, they do have some tools that might help, those pick carry some ancient magic,” said Voddick.  “Do you think you and the other archers can keep the defenders from killing us while we give them a demonstration of that magic.”

“We will do our best.”

Freeman’s Pick

These picks are tools as well as weapons and able to shift from one role to another as needed.  They are usually decorated with scenes or symbols from the regions in which it was made.  The metal is always well cared for and free of corrosion.

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