Friday, April 8, 2011

The best things in life are free...

or cost 99 cents plus shipping on e-bay where I recently purchased the 1st Edition Monster Manuel 2 and the Fiend Folio for 99 cents each plus shipping. So, I got both the these books for about $3.00 each.

Secondly, I offer the plethora of free pdf material available for rpgs of all types. Old school, new school, retro school, flight school, you name it and there's a free pdf, some where, on the entree'-net for your game.

One of the best free items I've gotten lately only cost a book of stamps and I don't think I sent a full book either. This is a little 'zine by Christian of Destinations Unknown titled One Square Equals Five Feet. The mag is one hand written page and always contains a new area for a 2nd Ed. AD&D solo adventure. I haven't started playing the adventure yet but I haven't read the separate parts, thus spoiling the fun for myself, either. I intend to make a fighter soon and begin his adventures in the 1 [] = 5' dungeon. I'll post the results here for everyone to follow.

The issue of 1[] = 5' that I received this week had two other contributions in the same envelope. The original 'zine was enjoyable but now I'm three times as inspired to hack out one page of nonsense and send it off to join these other publications, it will not be content for Encounter Critical either. Surprise!

Thursday, April 7, 2011

A - Z for Encounter Critical: Lexicon of Vanth

It's the nature of my job that I occasionally have an off day in the middle of the week. Since I have worked the last ten days in a row today is my day off. I did all the usually stuff, took out the garbage, went to the post office, did the laundry, mowed the lawn. I even organized my closet. I have, as I've mentioned, a writing project I need to be working on but, there's nothing quite as pleasantly distracting as writing the ol' blog. So, let's have at it people!

I thought I'd post an A - Z account of elements in Encounter Critical but, the fact is, we have been working on such a project for over a year. It is called the Lexicon of Vanth and was started by Jeff Rients. The entries are written by members of the Encounter Critical mail group or any one else who would care to contribute.

I'm not going to post the 26 letters of the alphabet because they can all be accessed at the Lexicon web page. I'll just post A - C as some examples fromf the Vanthian Lexicon.

Ape Sultans (by Shoffner Kalthof; Prof. of Social Sciences, God City Community College.)

The Ape Sultans are the religious and civic leaders of the planetary ape culture of the jungles of Eastern Vanth. For nine generations, at least, the Sultans have maintained their inhumane culture through merciless use of the Scepter of Bahoobie. According to Jaquie Cuisinart, the Bahoobie was a gift from the Vulkins, awarded to the Sultans for their assistance in the War of Fthagn. Dr. - Prof. Cuisinart further informs us that the Bahoobie has been stolen from the Sultans, possibly ten years ago or as recently as last week. He also speculates that the Ape Sultans would have enslaved all of Eastern Vanth if not for the Amazon and Wooky Freeholds which lie directly to the north of the Sultans' homeland.

The religion of the Ape Sultans, known as Rosstafarianism, is based upon the worship of their creator Kong the Immortal. They believe Kong, a gigantic ape at least 40 feet tall, was responsible for the creation of all Vanth. The borders of the Ape Sultans holdings are lined with temples to Kong. These tower shrines are known as the Spires of Kong. Rosstas believe firmly in the superiority of their culture over all others, justifying the enslavement of all who oppose them. Their wealth is derived from the operation of Trilithium mines.

Conversely, Rosstas believe that Hell, the realm of the dead, is ruled by Inubus, a daemon with the body of an ape but the head of a man. Thus giving rise to the oft' used curse, "By the Black Arts of Inubus!"

B -- Bahoobie (Shoffner Kalthof; Prof. of Social Sciences, God City Community College.)

Bahoobie; literal translation from Planetary Ape meaning; "That thing." The Scepter of Bahoobie is an energy weapon powered by Trilithium. This scepter was awarded to the Ape Sultan, Oh' Oh' Gone the First, son of Kong by the Vulkin Counselor, Speck, son of Spe' Vack at the end of the War of Fthagn. A brief transcript of the ceremony follows:

Speck: In recognition of the honorable service of Oh' Oh' Gone, son of Kong, and likewise the service of his armies, I Speck, son of Spe' Vack, present you with this, the Scepter of...

Oh' Oh' Gone: Bahoobie!

Speck: .... The Scepter of Bahoobie. (End transcript.)

After the presentation ceremony traditional celebrations ensued including the destruction of many villages along the southern border of the Amazon and Wooky Freeholds. This celebration, while appropriate for Planetary Ape culture, has become known as the Battle of Bahoobie or the Last Battle of Fthagn.

There is much dispute concerning the current location of the Scepter of Bahoobie. The reigning Ape Sultan, Oh' Oh' Speck the IV, claims the Scepter remains in it's rightful home, the Palace of Oh' Oh' Gone. However, scientist Jaquie Cuisinart has reported that the Scepter has been missing for as long as ten years. He suggests that the Scepter is now hidden among the many warehouses of the Mercenary Coast.

C - Cuisinart, Jaquie (by Shoffner Kalthof; Prof. of Social Sciences, God City Community College.)

Jaquie Cuisinart is a pioneer in the biological, geographical and social sciences. He is best known for his work studying culture of the Ape Sultans. He was the first scientist to catalog the now famous Squirrel Nut Zappers. Cuisinart's most recent discovery is an island in the oceans of the Mighty Land which he has named Gilamon's Island. Professor Cuisinart is not currently employed by any institute of higher learning or working under a grant from said institutions.

Ya see, the Lexicon of Vanth is written in character. It's wacky stuff but that's all I've got, it's time to make some dinner.

Tuesday, April 5, 2011

Swords against Tomorrow; edited by Robert Hoskins

This book is very fun and isn't that largely the point of fiction, to enjoy reading, to enjoy the tale. These tales, while enjoyable, light reading, are told by a Who's Who of Sword and Sorcery Fiction. I don't need to introduce these authors to anyone reading this post but only to mention their names; Poul Anderson, a multiple Hugo and Nebula Award winner, Fritz Leiber, famous for his Lankhmar series, John Jakes who is a bestselling author of Historical Fiction and Leigh Brackett who you all know.

I love these short story collection because they are very quick reads. Swords against Tomorrow is much like the old Flashing Swords series and Year's Best Fantasy series and has much the same cast of authors. I noticed that in the two final stories, by Jakes and Brackett, the heroes become altruist in the end. Jakes hero was Brak the Barbarian, of course, who surrenders the treasure of his adventure to restore the a town which had previously sold him into slavery. Brackett's hero, who could be Hans Solo with lines like; "Sister, will you for Pete's sake get that light out of my eyes," allows his own capture to insure the escape of the remnants of an alien race. Both these authors use a heroic quality rare in the Swords & Sorcery genre while Leiber's tale, Bazaar of the Bizarre, could be considered altruistic too since in involves Fafhrd rescuing Grey Mouser from his own foolishness.

Don't be fooled by my brief artistic evaluation of these tales, there is plenty of inspirational sorcery and bloodshed in these pages and I've posted the book at Paperback Swap for any who would like to read it.

Friday, April 1, 2011

Polyhedral Newsbag

Last month (March) was the second anniversary of my game group, formerly known as the Old School Pastafari. We play on Tuesday nights and three of the original six members still gather with three new companions to roll funny dice or gather around a board game. We have played a number of different rpgs, most of them either old school or retro-clones; 1st Ed. AD&D, Labyrinth Lord, Encounter Critical, Mutant Future and we played d20 Spycraft for about a month.

With the ushering in and out of different players in the group we have developed a generation gap. It is funny how the younger players are the same age as my step-sons but I don't sense a generation gap around the game table. Well, on a personal note, I don't feel a generation gap with my step-sons either because they have been adults as long as I have known them. We now refer to our Tuesday night group, more or less officially, as the Adventure Capitalist.

This past fall I discovered that there was another rpg blogger in my own backyard of Knox County, Tn. I expediently attempted to contact this blogger when, through his blog, he expressed a desire for a group to run through his frpg setting. Around Halloween, he and his wife and another member of the OSP/A.C. and I met at a local game shop for a social ice breaker. This meeting lead to his becoming our DM, I believe, in November of last year and said DM/blogger is still lording over the territory of our game table.

His blog is still going strong too, much stronger than the ol' Polyester Dicebag. The blog is In Places Deep and I am the player of the recently deceased party magic-user Thign (we hardly knew ye.) My new M.U. will be known as Pilsen and will be my fourth character, all magic-users, in the Nightwick Abbey campaign. How's that for old school for ya, four characters in as many months into the game and I still haven't reached second level.

I'm enjoying playing in the Nightwick Abbey setting and maybe, if I intend to reach second level, I need to send my character running at the first sight of danger. That's most the news from the ol' Dicebag for today. I've been working on another adventure for Encounter Critical and intend to use the Adventure Capitalist as guinea pigs once it sufficiently reaches the play test stage. I'll probably be throwing some Swords & Sorcery bookish nonsense at you all next.

As we say in East Tennessee, "Have a good un."

--I see that Blogger indicates I posted this blog around 3:40 am. It's actually 7:40 am here in E.S.T.--