Friday, November 30, 2012

Phasic 5!

Yeah, yeah, I finally finished editing issue 5 of phasic, the Encounter Critical fanzine. This issue actually had five contributors, many thanks to these guys. There are a few scraps remaining, which I forgot to include, that I could use to start issue 6. That may be a project for next year? I've got an unfinished adventure design, or two, I want to work on before I start another issue of phasic.  Of course, if someone else would like to take up the editorially banner and produce a subsequent issue that would dandy too.

I posted the file, a pdf, on Google Drive and left it open for public viewing. It's here: phasic # 5

Monday, November 26, 2012

Dungeons & Dirigibles

 I know this has been done, but leave it to my DIY nature to reinvent the wheel, I think that's much the nature of the OSR, is reinventing the RPG wheel. While reading Frankenstein I began imagining what D&D, I mean original D&D, would be if Appendix N where composed of Shelley's Frankenstein, Stoker's Dracula, the Jules Verne catalogue and 1001 Arabian Nights.

First, the list of classes would be slightly different. There would be the traditional Fighters but they might be renamed Soldiers and magic users would be heavily focused on alchemy . All clerics would be Christian, Masonic, Muslim or Egyptian. (Gotta throw in the Masonic and Egyptology hooks.) Since Frankenstein is based on a scientist that recreates life, there would have to be a class called Professor, Surgeon or Scientist. (I like Surgeon.) There would have to be a rouge, scoundrel or beggar class and a specialist class that all classes could adopt, we'll call it Adventurer. The Adventurer subclass would allow characters to focus on weapon specialization, fine tuning their profession and/or exploration.

The weapons list would be different too, focusing mainly on cutlasses, rapiers, flint lock firearms, torches and pitchforks.

 Since Frankenstein was the source of these ideas I'll focus a bit more on the Surgeon class. In Shelley's tale, Frankenstein's creation was the central problem or obstacle of the plot. Within the scope of an RPG, the nature or personality of the creation, or Flesh Golems, could be variable.  V. Frankenstein struggled with the moral nature and responsibility of his creation and this wouldn't be the case with all, if any, player characters. The player character surgeons could, possibly, create any number of socially functioning Flesh Golems.

Now I'm thinking that this idea, which I'll call Dangers & Dirigibles, is most likely to become a set of rules for Encounter Critical. Which brings me to the obvious point that I'm way past any reasonable deadline for producing Phasic issue 5.  To be continued...

Wednesday, November 7, 2012


That's, Mary Shelley's Frankenstein. I thought I'd dip into this classic. I have vague memories of reading it in college, now that I'm revisiting it, I hope no one has to suffer through this monstrosity to get an education these days.

It is just all too wordy for me. While I think the style of Frankenstein is just tedious Victorian romance, I can see the obvious influence on the works of H. G. Wells and Jules Verne. In fact, the style reminds me of Journey to the Center of the Earth. Both are written as a series of letters which convey the action and plot to the reader. For example:

"This expedition has been the favourite dream of my early years. I have read with ardour the accounts of the various vouyages with have been made in the prospect of arriving at the North Pacific Ocean through the seas which surround the pole. You may remember that a history of all the vouyages made for purposes of discovery composed the whole of our good uncle Thomas's library."

Shelley or Verne, I ask you? And, if it's Shelly, what's the North Pacific Ocean have to do with the tale of Frankenstein?

The influence of Mrs. Shelley's tale on subsequent literature, as well as society, are obvious and my complaints are as miniscule dust particles in the endless measure of the Milky Way. I've read one third of the book. We'll see if my intellectual appetite  can contain the remainder of this verbal flesh golem.