Archive for the ‘Uncategorized’ Category


Tuesday Magic Item – Black Sow’s Tail

1 November, 2016

potential tail donarVoddick made a sign against evil and turned away from the passing mercenary.

“What was that about?” asked Gollaon.

“He was wearing a black sow’s tail, a piece of dark magic,” replied Voddick.  “It feeds on death and keeps you alive so that you can kill more.  Thoroughly unpleasant.”

“Ah, I have heard of similar items,” nodded Gollaon, “their wearers usually come to a bad end.”

“But they cause much evil before then.”

Black Sow’s Tail

These items are often made by hedge wizards and village witches, requiring only the tail of a black sow and a variety of herbs to create.  They are usually as simple as the cured tail on a string, but some fancy them up with copper or silver wire and a chain.  As the tail become charged with power, it curls upon itself.

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Where to Find me at Gencon 2016

26 July, 2016

At long last, I have my schedule for GenCon 2016.  I will be primarily working in the board game hall in the AEG section of said hall.  The list below is which game I will be teaching, so if you want to learn any of them drop by, we accept generic tickets if there is space.  After teaching, I may also have time to talk if you want to drop by 30-45 minutes after start but I do not have a good feel for this as I have not worked the board game hall before.

Schedule follows: Read the rest of this entry ?


New Spell – Blood Weapon (revised)

15 June, 2016

WarriorsAfter a few dark words, the priest touched his symbol to the weapon and it began to glow with a pulsing red light.  When I next attacked with it, it almost seemed to leap of its own accord to strike my enemies.

Blood Weapon
School transmutation [evil]; Level cleric 2, paladin 1; Domain evil 1

Casting Time 1 standard action
Components V, S, DF

Range touch
Target weapon touched
Duration 1 min + 1 min./level
Saving Throw none; Spell Resistance no


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Elementals, again (A to Z Challenge, E)

6 April, 2016

A mix of elementsSome background, Elementals are one of the classic creatures in fantasy roleplaying but the first game I really remember them from is RuneQuest which named each of the types of elemental (air elementals were sylphs, fire, salamanders and so on) which I found very evocative, as was the art of a sorcerer summoning a salamander.  AD&D gave us elemental planes, which I now find very strange, as the world is composed of elements, several of the Ancient Greek philosophies in fact explicitly define everything as being built from the four elements.

For the Sea of Stars, Elementals are the elements awoken and they share the characteristics we think of when anthropomorphizing them, fire is hungry, earth is plodding, air is flighty, and so on.  This is further modified by what particular element is awoken, a water elemental composed of wine will be quite different in personality then one made of sea water from Shipwreck Bay.

Elementals can be awoken for a short period or bound into a permanent form depending on the needs of the elementalist.  Entire technologies can be built around using bound elementals (such as the earth elemental road crew encountered in Petrichor) but elementals are ‘living’ creatures in their own way and must be treated with some care or they will rebel or escape, though how the elemental must best be treated varies considerable from elemental to elemental.

Elemental shaping, manipulation and binding is a reoccurring theme among the uses of magic in the Sea of Stars as it is a relatively reliable and easy to systematize magical schema.

Some of my earlier thoughts on elementals can be found here.

Notes: Photo by James St. John and used under the Creative Commons Attribution 2.0 Generic license.


New Magic Item – Shepherd’s Axe for D&D5

9 December, 2015

Tool and weapons“Young man, if you wish to go into the mountains, take this axe, it has served me well,” said the old man.

“Thank you, grandfather,” said the young man with a bow.  “I shall use it well as you did.”

“Be careful, the mountains are dangerous and have no mercy for the incautious.”

“I will keep my wits about me and the axe close.”

Shepherd’s Axe

These weapons are a light axe with a long and straight wooden shaft, usually about three feet (one meter) long, often reinforced with metal.  Carved decoration on the wooden shafts is not uncommon as the owners usually have considerable time for such work.   The axe head has a narrow blade and the other end is blunt so it can be used as a hammer.  The whole is designed to comfortably fit into the owner’s hand so it could be used as a walking stick.

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The Sea of Stars Kickstarter is Funded! Please help us reach some stretch goals.

5 January, 2015
Good News, Everyone!

Thanks Professor Farnsworth.

Earlier today the Sea of Star Campaign Sourcebook Kickstarter hit its funding goal!  Thank you everyone who has support it so far.

We have some great stretch goals that are with in easy reach, writing by Ben Baugh (noted game author), Brandes Stoddard, and Trey Causey to contribute to a Sea of Stars Companion PDF which would be a bonus beyond the base campaign setting.  More art.  Conversion guides to FATE or D&D5 or both.  And more.

So, please take a look, download the free adventure and take if for a spin and if it appeals to you, toss in some support.

Let us boldly go.



The Sea of Stars Kickstarter is Go! Now With Terrible Video and Did I Mention the Free Adventure?

31 December, 2014

It just went live, the Sea of Star Campaign Sourcebook Kickstarter, though it is currently without video as I could not get it to upload the one I had shot so you will have to wait until later to see my ugly mug asking for your support.

A brief explanation of the odd length of the Kickstarter, it starts today so that, technically, it started in 2014.  I just had to get it started this year or it was not going to happen.  The end date of the 8th is on my birthday, so, thus the odd length.

If you have any questions or comments, feel free to post them below.

Update: Now with terrible video!  And there is a free adventure so you can take a look at the setting.

Let us boldly go.


Superhero RPG Appendix N Challenge

20 October, 2014

So, Barking Alien has challenged us Superhero RPG GMs to:

[L]ist between 5 and 10 Superhero comic books, and 5 to 10 Superhero live action or animated shows or films, that typify your style of Superhero RPG campaign.

Minimum is 5. Maximum is 10. This means you have to really think about the ones that best embody the type of Supers gaming you prefer. Who’s up for the challenge?

So, let me give it a shot.


Astro City, Busiak’s love of comics and appreciation of the craziness of the genre is evident across this entire series.  Very inspirational.

The Doom Patrol, especially Grant Morrison’s run, I love the hardluck superheroes of the Doom Patrol, people who did not want superpowers yet are willing to use them to help others and the Chief is fantastic in his madness.

Planetary, the exploration of the secret history of a supers world is fascination, while it has occasional missteps, overall a fantastic series.

Power Man and Iron Fist, Heroes for Hire, hitting my love of street level superhero and supervillains.  Yes, a bit blinkered in its sensibilities but Marvel was trying to reach out, I think, even if they had a tin ear every now and then.

(New) Teen Titans, the Perez/Wolfman run primarily, teen supers managing the best they can both in the shadow of the established heroes and with their own enemies.

Zenith, Morrison’s first superhero comic and suitably dark yet poppy with amazing art by Steve Yeowell (and now being re-released after being out of print for years).

I am sure there are others, my interest these days is more along the lines of Silver Age heroics, when heroes were heroes and villains were villains with crazy shticks.

Other Media

Doctor Who, he is a superhero without a doubt and he fights all sorts of bizarre supervillains and a good warning about how difficult it is to use time travel in a game.

Greatest American Hero, again, someone trying to manage the best they can with powers they can only just manage.

The Specials, a little known live action superhero movie that is more a slice of life story, it is just that the people involved happen to be part of a super team.

Teen Titans, a great blend between action heroics and light comedy.  I was very sad when they shut this series down.

The Tick, both animated and live action, truly but lovingly embraced the insanity that a world filled with superheroes would lead to.  (The comics are good too.)

I am willing to look in on most any superhero themed show or movie (and I am enjoying both the Flash and Gotham so far) and I am sure there is more media I should put up there, but nothing is leaping to mind.


Review – Stolen Souls (for Shadowrun)

10 October, 2014

Shadowrun: Stolen Souls advances elements of the Sixth World’s metaplot while providing some useful resources and advice.  Do you need this book?  Well, if you want to understand the mystery of the Head Cases, yes.  If you want to run a game set in 2070s New York, yes.  But for me, it is the discussion of extraction tricks and tactics that makes this book immensely useful as it is one of my favorite types of mission to use as a GM.  But your campaign is your campaign, so see if this will help and purchase it if the answer is yes.

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