Archive for May, 2022


Welcome June and Summer, Goodbye May

31 May, 2022

Peacock complaining to JunoAs long time readers know, the month of June is named from the Roman month Iunius, or Junius, which in turn is named in honor of the ancient Roman goddess Juno who is the wife of Jupiter and oversees marriage among other portfolios (and is associated with the Greek Hera).   For the Romans, the first half of Iunius is a period of religious purification and was considered the most favorable time to marry.

June is also this journal’s anniversary month, so I may try and do something special for that.

Summer officially starts this month, so, any thoughts on a theme, readers?  Send me your suggestions and I will try to act on them.

May, 2022, saw the following posts here:

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Tuesday Magic Item – Scythe of the Harvest God

31 May, 2022

Let the harvest begin“That is one fancy scythe,” said Voddick, looking over the supposed agricultural tool, that was decorated with gold leaf and the blued steel blade was decorated with pastoral scenes in gold and silver.

“Truth,” agreed Gollaon, “it is a powerful ensorcelled item as well.  I have seen one other like it, though far away.”

“So it will be used for the harvest tomorrow?”

“Yes, it will be impressive, though taxing upon the reaper.”

Scythe of the Harvest God

These scythes are beautiful, as much works of art as tools for agricultural work.  Harvest scenes or abstract versions of grains are popular as are marks of the gods of harvest.  The scythes are virtually indestructable requiring divine intervention or specific circumstances unique to each scythe. Read the rest of this entry ?


Superheroes of the 1960s – Hexygon, the Black Cat Kid

29 May, 2022

Bad luck for you?Or, in this case, a supervillain, Hexygon, the Black Cat Kid, sidekick to Queen Magic, who is one of the major players in the New York underworld hoping to come out on top in the aftermath of the disappearance of the “Napoleon of Crime”, Mr. Magister.  In my current Masks game, she is mostly going by the name of the Black Cat Kid, and makes an appearance in Issue 4 and leaves a stuffed cat for Shadowfist in Issue 9 (and is very helpful in Issue 11, but not as her usual self).

Hexygon’s powers are enhanced speed and agility paired with bad luck generation (“black cat”) and a collection of throwing hexes, flash, shocks, smoke, and just hard rubber.   She is interested in learning magic but her training in that has just started.

Hexy is positive and upbeat, a very silver age character, just because she is a villain it does not mean she cannot be friendly!  She is happy to taunt and distract people in combat, relying on her acrobatics and the bad luck she imposed on her enemies, but she has no real wish to hurt anyone as long as they are not trying to hurt her or Queen Magic.  As they tend to specialize in thefts, there is no percentage in causing harm or wanton destruction, they just want to get in, get what they need, and get out.

The art is, of course, by the ridiculously talented Karl Kesel and David Hahn back their current Impossible Jones Kickstarter!

Notes:  Hexy was first created for a Necessary Evil campaign where she was lost in time since 1967.  Unfortunately, the Situation of 2020 put that game on infinite hiatus but playing Hexy reawoke my deep love of superheroes and superheroic RPGs and thus lead directly to my Masks – Once Upon a Time in 1967 campaign.

And, yes, really the whole post is just justification for showing off the amazing art of Hexy!


Happy Towel Day! And reflections.

25 May, 2022

Don't PanicToday is TOWEL DAY, a day to celebrate the life and works of Douglas Adams.  Douglas Adams wrote the Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy, radio show, novels, and much more, along with several other books and a few Doctor Who episodes.  He was a great talent who left us way too early.

Now, I hope you know who he is or, if not, seek out some more information about him, his books are a joy (as is the radio series of the Hitchhiker’s Guide, the TV show and movies are more of a mixed bag).  Now, when I was a young geek, everyone knew the Hitchhiker’s Guide, they may not have been fans, but everyone knew about Vogans and Towels and the Meaning of the Life. the Universe and Everything.

These days, as an older geek, I often feel disconnected from the greater geek culture, my general knowledge of such things are no longer the shared, lived experience of people, of the geek subculture.  Younger geeks inhabit an entirely different world, not worse, not better, just different, and I miss the shared culture of my youth.  Such is the fate of people in a subculture I suspect, time moves ever on and the new replaces the once new.

Though it is my impression that geek culture is less shared these days, when I was getting into the subculture there were only a limited number of science fiction and fantasy (especially fantasy) shows and movies, so everyone had seen Star Trek, Star Wars, what Doctor Who their local Public Broadcasting station grumpily agreed to show, even if you were not a fan of say Battlestar Galactica (the original) you knew about it.  These days you can find a fandom you like and if it is big enough (Star Wars, Harry Potter, Lord of the Rings) you never need to venture outside of that niche.  I want people to like what they like and do what they enjoy, but I miss the shared references and culture.

Anyway, just the passing thought of someone who has been a geek for a very long time and intends to continue to be so.

Note: Image Rendition of the Guide, based on its description in the novel The Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy by nclm and used under the Creative Commons CC0 1.0 Universal Public Domain Dedication.


Tuesday Magic Item – Helpful Honey

24 May, 2022

As sweet as“Kind of the beekeeper to give us some of his honey,” said Voddick tucking away the jar of honey.

“We help protect the hives, the product of the hives helps to protect us, it seems a virtuous cycle,” said Gollaon with a smile.

“I like that, seems . . . complete.”

“Sometimes the things we do work out.”

Helpful Honey

This honey is a beautiful golden hue but sometimes, if you catch it just right in the light, it has a rainbow sheen.  It must be kept in clear glass, stored in any other sort of container, it just vanishes.  The honey’s magic comes from the types of bees that make it and the types of flowers they gather pollen from, usually, one or both are from the fae worlds.

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Review – Shadowrun: Sixth World Companion

23 May, 2022

Shadowrun: Sixth World Companion, Shadowrun: Sixth World Companionis a long-awaited book, with the rules for alternate character building systems, meta variants and infected characters, optional and clarified rules, changelings, new qualities and more. It is a needed book but it could have been better with some odd missteps along the way. Even more so than most core books, Games Masters will probably want this just for the optional rules, which address many of the concerns that people have had with the new edition of the rules and players will want it for the wealth of new character options.

Shadowrun: Sixth World Companion is a core character book. It is designed to provide new general options for character building and development. Note this is a long review and you can just take the summary above or if you feel you are interested in my detailed critique, read on.

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Tuesday Magic Item – Fae Torc of Forms

17 May, 2022

Change your look“Was not that . . .” whispered Voddick.

“The Duchess, now the Duke,” answered Gollaon.  “They seem to have acquired a rather potent magic item for form shifting.”

“Hmm,” mused Voddick.  “I can see uses for it I suppose but I do not think such magics are for me.”

“Some people are not comfortable with the form they were born with, nothing wrong with them finding one that suits them better.”


Fae Torc of Forms

These torcs can be made of various precious metals, from copper to gold, and subtly decorated with runes and symbols representing various genders and kindreds, these are so carefully worked that it requires careful examination to even notice them.  Rarely they are decorated with gems or enamel work.

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Kickstarter Sunday – Trekker & Impossible Jones

15 May, 2022

Two writer-artists I highly respect have ongoing comic kickstarters that you should look at and back if they hit your interests.

From the KickstarterFirstly, Ron Randall’s TREKKER, is about Mercy St.Clair who is a bounty hunter (a ‘trekker’ in the setting parlance) who has gotten involved in all sorts of trouble including interfering with the plans of a powerful and secretive organization, the Council, who really want her out of the way. In the latest Kickstarter. Trekker: Blood on the Wind, this conflict hits hard. (You can learn more about Trekker here.)

If you like science fiction adventure, this is the sort of thing you are looking for, and Ron Randall’s art is fantastic (check out the Empress he did for me). The campaign ends May 26 so you have time to jump in! Eight stretch goals have already been hit so the physical book is going to look amazing!

Impossible you saySecond, as it ends later, is IMPOSSIBLE JONES, by Karl Kesel, about a criminal who gained superpowers and now, maybe, is a superhero, mostly. The story is an unabashedly silver age sort of super world, with light-hearted hijinx and action-packed conflicts between costumed villains and heroes. This kickstarter is for Impossible 2C: Impossible Jones & Polecat Team-Up, it is also fully funded and knocking down stretch goals, the current one for an Even Steven backup story that is currently three-pages long but could stretch to six with additional backers (hin-hint). Even Steven is an amazing character, someone who believes that good will always defeat evil as long as they are playing on an even playing field, so he always matches his foe. Fantastic.

The Imp Kickstarter runs until 2 June come and join in the fun!

Images from the respective Kickstarter pages and used without permission, but I expect they will forgive me.


New Monster: Hellsnake (For D&D 5E)

14 May, 2022

Not friendlySeeming to appear out of nowhere, the black and red scaled snake struck lightning fast.  The warrior grunted at the fangs pierced through his boots and into his flesh, he tried to counter-attack but the snake had already darted away.  “Damn, that hurts,” he managed through gritted teeth.  “Come on let’s get it.”

medium monstrosity, unaligned (evil)

Armor Class 14 (natural armor)

Hit Points 39 (6d8 + 12)

Speed walk 40 ft

STR       DEX     CON     INT     WIS      CHA
12 (+1) 18 (+4) 14 (+2) 3 (-4) 14 (+2) 10 (+0)

Skills Perception +4, Stealth +6

Damage Resistances acid, fire, poison

Senses darkvision, passive Perception 14


Challenge 1 (200 XP)

Alight with Hellish Flames as a reaction, the hellsnake can wreath itself in hellish flames, anyone attacking it with melee weapons takes 3 (1d6) fire damage, this doubles if a creature is grappling the hellsnake.

Shadowy Stealth: the hellsnake can hide using Dexterity (Stealth) when in shadows as a bonus action when not alight.

Bite. Attack: +6 to hit, reach 10 ft., one target. Hit: 6 (1d4 + 4) piercing damage plus 2 (1d4) acid damage, and the target must make a DC 11 Constitution saving throw, taking 10 (3d6) poison damage on a failed save, or half as much damage on a successful one.

The hellsnakes are primarily black with other colors in stripes, often red but others have been seen, they can grow up to ten feet (3m) long with powerful jaws and fangs that inject acid-laced poison.  They can blend into shadows, becoming nearly invisible, or wrap themselves in flames.  They are hostile to most other forms of life and will coordinate attacks against larger and more dangerous creatures.

Notes: The Hellsnake seems like a natural choice to get a full monster writeup as I can see them being used in a variety of situations by foolish cults and ambitious wizards.

Image from Karen Arnold found on and is in the Public Domain.



Tuesday Magic Item – Comfortable Saddle

10 May, 2022

Saddle up!Gollaon leaned back, “This is the nicest saddle I have ever had.  Why could we not have had these before?”

“Because we are simple mercenaries who cannot afford the finer things in life,” replied Voddick.  “But you speak truth, these saddles are fantastic.”

“We should try and make them part of our pay.”

“Superb idea.”

Comfortable Saddle

These saddles are always decorated, sometimes ornately, sometimes simply, but decorations seem to be part of the enchantment process to create these magic items.  Some are made from exotic leather but this does not seem to actually be required to make them but seems to have become common perhaps so that the creators can pad out the price. Read the rest of this entry ?

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