Archive for December, 2021


December ends and with it MMXXI

31 December, 2021

7636832632_7de889e6f9_bWhere did the year go?  I can understand why my perception of the passage of last year was so wonky but what happened to this one?  However you perceived its passage, I hope that your MMXXI was safe and productive.  Now, into MMXXII!  May it be a good and constructive one for you all.

January is, naturally, named after the Roman god of doorways, Janus (Ianuarius), who as fits his portfolio is often portrayed as looking both forward and back, in and out.   So in January, we will return to the themes of doorways, transport and travel to open new possibilities for the New Year.  As usual, if there is something on this theme you would like to see, let me know.

Looking back over December, 2021, we find a month with quite a few campaign reports and more:

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Tuesday Magic Item – Dizzying Darts

28 December, 2021

Dart“Darts?” Voddick said looking at his shield.

“Do not let them hit you!” said Gollaon taking cover behind a barrel.  “They are dizzying darts!”

Voddick crouched behind his shield.  “Curses!  I hate those.  So, they are definitely kidnapper then.

“Agreed, we has best find an alternate route and save our charge.”

Dizzying Dart

These darts are enchanted to make prey unstable and easy to catch, originally made for an order of paladins who sought to capture wanted criminals so they could face justice.  These darts are unusal weapon, actually design to inflict minimal physical damage, but to make to person hit vulnerable to capture.  Unfortunately, the magics to make such were stolen and they have been used by kidnappers and slavers.

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A Superheroic Theory of Time Travel

23 December, 2021

prague-astronomical-clock-112917440026rDOr Time Travel on Earth-H!

The best works of time travel fiction generally have a clear and compelling structure for time travel, perhaps it is:

Linear Time, time moves in a straight line and where changing the past will change the future (such as in Poul Anderson’s Time Patrol stories or, mostly, in the Terminator movies).

Branched Time, where changing the past causes an entire new timeline to appear following the branch, but the events (and timeline) of the original version still exist as the original starting point for the time traveler who changed the past.

Parallel Timelines, infinite or limited, usually this means that travel in “time” is just traveling to a different timeline that seems identical to the past of the person traveling.  With enough Branched Time and you get close to the sme effect.

Immutable Time, the past is fixed, either you cannot change the flow of history or anything you did is alreadt accounted for in your present.  A variant of this is, you change the past but someone/thing steps into that hole and make the the future turn out pretty much the same.  Immutable time can be good for fiction but not much fun for roleplaying games.

There is also what might be termed “Monkey Paw” Time, which has been showing up in time travel stories recently.  Where any change to the past will cause increasingly disaterous alterations to the time traveler’s present (“the darkest timeline”) and further attempts to fix the timeline will just accelerate that downward trend.    Again, good for fiction, not so much for roleplaying games.

So, setting aside those last two, which form of time travel do the comics usually use?  Read the rest of this entry ?


Tuesday Magic Item – Solstice Wand

22 December, 2021

wand-gb2b5e2443_640“How have we ended up involved in a fight between light and dark?  Surely this is above our level of responsibility,” said Voddick fingering the charms hanging off his weapon belt.

Gollaon nodded, “But we are here now.”

“Truth,” he sighed.  “And it would look cowardly to leave . . . would it not?”



Solstice Wand

These wand exist in three states, unclaimed they are relatively unremarkable wands tipped with a dull crystal.  But once claimed, it takes on the timbre of its owner, golden and glowing with warm light for those on the side of light, violet and radiating a dim aura of shadows for those servants of the dark.

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Superheroes – Once upon a Time in 1968 – Christmas Special – Riddles and Snowmen

21 December, 2021


This story is in canon but out of continuity, the most recent Issue was 12, but this story does not directly connect with it or Issue 13.

Cover: TIC Superheroic Christmas Special 196880-Page Giant!  The cover art shows all of the heroes in ranks, some with hats, singing Christmas Carols.  Circles around the edge have team names: Heroes Inc, the New Atlantians, the LA Stars, Freedom Five and more!

Opening page:  A list of stories with the faces of the team members next to the team name.

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Time Travel in the Sea of Stars

19 December, 2021

Temple_of_Time_(1846)_editMy friend Brandes posted about Time Travel stories for RPGs on Tribality.  Which got me to thinking about Time Travel in the Sea of Stars, or, perhaps more precisely, the lack there of.

Time Travel, as it is usually thought of, is just impossible in the Sea of Stars.  People cannot travel back into the past and interact with it.  There is no way to change the past and cause changes to the present. It is quite simple, the past is past and thus immutable.  If there ever was any way to travel into the past, the acension of the Empress shut such a doorway, completely and irrevokably.  Yes, it is impossible, no loopholes, no debate, no time travel . . . into the past. Read the rest of this entry ?


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

16 December, 2021

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 Forty Nine: Chiller

Guest Starring: Clawz, DoubleUp, Gimmick and Tora.

Ikea-Brooklyn-Warehouse-AislesA friend of Pink’s has just started work in a big box Nordic shop (“Icekia“). she says she is seeing a ghost late at night when she is cleaning and closing up and asks for help.  It turns out the whole chain of stores has an urban legend of being haunted by a frost ghost from back in the Nordic lands, some say it was a tree spirit turned into flatpack furnature, others that it was one of the early worker who was crushed to death when a refridgertor slipped from an extendable forklife, in any case she has been seen in stores all across the world.

So, totally time to Scooby Doo this up.  Early sighting of the ghost end in disappointment and ice, snow, frost and intense cold, with the ghost seemingly vanishing into thin air.  But the idea that it is really a spirit starts to unravel when Gimmick find hidden passages through the warehouse and sliding panels on the display floor.

Cue one overly elaborate ghost trap that manages to totally malfunction yet somehow still capture the frost ghost.   Who is unmasked and revealed as the store’s assistant manager who had been smuggling premium frozen food from the Nordic lands to avoid custom fees and using the frost ghost to keep people from looking to closely at the shipments.  “And I would have gotten away with it if not for you meddling kids!”

What really happened:

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Tuesday Magic Item – Monkey Sash

14 December, 2021

309px-Animals_of_Hindustan_monkeys_called_bandar_that_can_be_taught_to_do_tricks,_from_Illuminated_manuscript_Baburnama_(Memoirs_of_Babur)Voddick groaned as the thief scrambled up the wall like, well, a monkey.  “Why do the annoying people always have magic to allow them to scurry away?”

Gollaon flipped a knife underhanded which sunk into the thief’s buttocks.  The thief gave a cry of pain and almost fell when he tried to grab the knife.  “There are solutions,” said Gollaon.

Voddick grinned and grabbed discarded chunk of wood.  “Come down or we will knock you down.  We will be more mercifal than the fall.”

“We will take that knife out and patch you up too.”

The thief paused, looked at how much further they had to good and started, slowly and painfully climbing down.

Monkey Sash

These sashes are usually decorated in what could be called a garish style with multiple colors, metalic threads, bangles and beads.  To say that they are distinctive is an understatement.

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Superheroes – Once upon a Time in 1968 – Issue 12 – The Road to Jaiipuur

12 December, 2021

Tanks looking something like this.

Picking up right after Issue 11, with our heroes back on Earth, briefly

Cover: The team fighting a group of soldiers in vaguely (but not really) Eastern European uniforms with automatic weapons as Roboto tears the turret off of a tank, in the background a burning derigible fall from sky among tall slender buildings.  “It is WAR!  Are our young heroes ready?”

Opening page: The heroes in Vulpix’s swinging pad.  “How can I get back to Jaiipuur!?  My world is in danger!” says 808 hammering his fist on a table.  The rest of the team looks concerned.

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Tuesday Magic Item – Betrayer’s Gift

7 December, 2021

BetrayalGollaon frowned as he looked over the royal guardians.  “Something is wrong, I feel it but I cannot see it.”

Now Voddick was also frowning.  “I have come to trust your intuition.  Any thoughts on how to reveal the wrongness?”

“There are a variety of techniques but I do not know if the guardians will let me try any of them.”

Voddick glanced over them.  “You are correct, they seem . . . less than likely to trust the intuitions of strangers.”

Betrayer’s Gift

These items are crafted for ill purposes, they are subtle and cruel, and deceptively simple, usually a single rune on gossamer thin cloth.  Set onto an item, they vanish, melding into the item, unseen, waiting.  Their magic is primed when the item they are attached to is given as gift, the final magic is triggered by a command word.

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