A Cat of Tindalos

A Cat of Tindalos

Sunday, January 31, 2016

Spiderhaunt Woods

A Dungeon Starter dedicated to the memory of fantasy author Tanith Lee (19 September 1947 – 24 May 2015):


Saturday, January 30, 2016

Tuesday, January 26, 2016

New Monster

In honor of the new 10th X Files limited season....

X Files Flukeman (Solitary, Devious, Terrifying)
Infecting Bite (b[2d8] damage 1 piercing) 12 HP

Special Qualities: Regenerates unless killed by fire, magic or acid

The Flukeman – a form of quasi-vertebrate human – was an example of reproductive and physiological cross-traiting due to radiation, abnormal cell fusion and/or the suppression of natural genetic processes; essentially, the creature was a result of human science rather than nature. Its vestigial features seemed parasitic but it also had primate physiology.

The Flukeman transmitted its larvae, a form of flatworm, through its bite. The being searched for hosts, in order to multiply, and attacked because its victims' bodies provided generative nourishment.

Typically, a survivor of a bite by the Flukeman would be infected with a flatworm which the victim would cough up, at a later point. The wound pattern from the Flukeman's bite looks similar to scolex attachment but is much larger.

There is evidence to suggest a bite by the Flukeman might result in a survivor subsequently experiencing a peculiar, unfavorable taste in their mouth that would be difficult to remove, although not be accompanied by a difficulty with swallowing.

Like other fluke or flatworms, the Flukeman had no sex organs and was genderless but was, even though technically human, capable of spontaneous regeneration.

Instinct: Infecting Bite

Inhabit Sewers
Infects with spawn
(Defy Danger when first bitten or be cured by magic healing; Otherwise Last Breath when next party makes camp)

Fun Fact: Scully once told Mulder that, except for the Flukeman case, she wouldn't change a day of the past four years in which they had been working together.

Tuesday, January 19, 2016

Humanity is on the verge of discovering alien life

"I think we're going to have strong indications of life beyond Earth within a decade, and I think we're going to have definitive evidence within 20 to 30 years," NASA chief scientist Ellen Stofan said Tuesday (April 7) during a panel discussion that focused on the space agency's efforts to search for habitable worlds and alien life.

"We know where to look. We know how to look," Stofan added during the event, which was webcast live. "In most cases we have the technology, and we're on a path to implementing it. And so I think we're definitely on the road." 

Former astronaut John Grunsfeld, associate administrator for NASA's Science Mission Directorate, shared Stofan's optimism, predicting that signs of life will be found relatively soon both in our own solar system and beyond.

"I think we're one generation away in our solar system, whether it's on an icy moon or on Mars, and one generation [away] on a planet around a nearby star," Grunsfeld said during Tuesday's event.

Recent discoveries suggest that the solar system and broader Milky Way galaxy teem with environments that could support life as we know it, Grunsfeld said.

For example, oceans of liquid water slosh beneath the icy shells of the Jupiter moons Europa and Ganymede, as well as that of the Saturn satellite Enceladus. Oceans covered much of Mars in the ancient past, and seasonal dark streaks observed on the Red Planet's surface today may be caused by salty flowing water.

Further, NASA's Curiosity rover has found carbon-containing organic molecules and "fixed" nitrogen, basic ingredients necessary for Earth-like life, on the Martian surface.

Farther afield, observations by NASA's Kepler space telescope suggest that nearly every star in the sky hosts planets — and many of these worlds may be habitable. Indeed, Kepler's work has shown that rocky worlds like Earth and Mars are probably more common throughout the galaxy than gas giants such as Saturn and Jupiter.

And just as the solar system is awash in water, so is the greater galaxy, said Paul Hertz, director of NASA's Astrophysics Division.

The Milky Way is "a soggy place," Hertz said during Tuesday's event. "We can see water in the interstellar clouds from which planetary systems and stellar systems form. We can see water in the disks of debris that are going to become planetary systems around other stars, and we can even see comets being dissipated in other solar systems as [their] star evaporates them." 
Looking for life

Hunting for evidence of alien life is a much trickier proposition than identifying potentially habitable environments. But researchers are working steadily toward that more involved and ambitious goal, Stofan and others said.

For example, the agency's next Mars rover, scheduled to launch in 2020, will search for signs of past life and cache samples for a possible return to Earth for analysis. NASA also aims to land astronauts on Mars in the 2030s — a step Stofan regards as key to the search for Mars life.

"I'm a field geologist; I go out and break open rocks and look for fossils," Stofan said. "Those are hard to find. So I have a bias that it's eventually going to take humans on the surface of Mars — field geologists, astrobiologists, chemists — actually out there looking for that good evidence of life that we can bring back to Earth for all the scientists to argue about."

NASA is also planning out a mission to Europa, which may launch as early as 2022. The main goal of this $2.1 billion mission will be to shed light on the icy moon's potential habitability, but it could also search for signs of alien life: Agency officials are considering ways to sample and study the plumes of water vapor that apparently erupt from Europa's south polar region.

In the exoplanet realm, the agency's James Webb Space Telescope (JWST), an $8.8 billion instrument scheduled to launch in 2018, will scope out the atmospheres of nearby "super-Earth" alien planets, looking for gases that may have been produced by life.

JWST will scan the starlight that passes through the air of super-Earths, which are more massive than our own planet but significantly less so than gaseous worlds such as Uranus and Neptune. This method, called transit spectroscopy, will likely not work for potentially habitable Earth-size worlds, Hertz said.

Searching for biosignature gases on small, rocky exoplanets will instead probably require direct imaging of these worlds, using a "coronagraph" to block out the overwhelming glare of their parent stars, Hertz added.

NASA's potential Wide-Field Infrared Survey Telescope, which may launch in the mid-2020s if given the official go-ahead, would include a coronagraph for exoplanet observations.

from Space.com

Monday, January 18, 2016

The Hateful Whomever

This is my attempt to write up a short adventure according to John "Indigo Galleon" Aegard's ideas. 

Feedback, war stories, lavish praise are all welcome.


Friday, January 15, 2016

The Toad Working

A new Dungeon Starter draft: The Toad Working
After you read it ask yourself: Should the goblins look like Tom Cruise?


Thursday, January 14, 2016

Wednesday, January 13, 2016

This is just....weird.

Here I am having my mind blown reading about L. Ron Hubbard, Jack Parsons, Crawley, JPL,Robert Heinlein, sex games,the occult, etc. (Strange Angel by George Pendle} and somebody has already turned into a Cthulhu RPG adventure! (Cue Rod Serling...) I don't know how I'm going to revamp this for Dungeon World but I may have to make it less bizarre...

"The Big Hoodoo is Lovecraftian noir in 1950s California with a ripped-from-history plot centered on the explosive death of real-world rocket scientist, science fiction fan, and occultist Jack Parsons in a garage laboratory in 1952. The investigators are iconic figures active in the science fiction scene at the time of Parsons' death, and their inquiries lead them from the mean streets of Pasadena to the edge of the Mojave Desert and the mountains of southern California as well as the beaches of Los Angeles.

Play sci-fi great Robert Heinlein, his ex-Navy engineer wife Virginia, renowned editor and mystery writer Tony Boucher, or a young Philip K. Dick as they confront the lunatic fringe in La-La Land, and find themselves caught in a charlatan's web of chicanery, mendacity, and deceit-laced with a strong strand of Mythos menace.

The adventure includes brief biographical hooks for the PCs to orient players to their investigators as well as suggestions for alternate and additional investigators. Brief rules for a magic system intended to evoke the Enochian "magick" invented by John Dee and Edward Kelley, adopted by Aleister Crowley, and passed on to Jack Parsons are appended, and are used in the adventure. It can be played as a convention one-shot, or serve as the basis for a slightly longer set of episodes covering two or three evenings of entertainment." 

Words of Wisdom

Tuesday, January 12, 2016

Tanith Lee R.I.P.

Tanith Lee (19 September 1947 – 24 May 2015) was a British writer of science fiction, horror, and fantasy. She was the author of over 90 novels and 300 short stories, a children's picture book (Animal Castle), and many poems. She also wrote two episodes of the BBC science fiction series Blake's 7. She was the first woman to win the British Fantasy Award best novel award (also known as the August Derleth Award), for her book Death's Master. -Wikipedia 

I only recently learned Tanith Lee had died last year. I can't say I was her biggest fan; I've only read one of her books: Kill the Dead. Yet it was a book I loved in high school, a book I still think about often. She was a real outsider: a woman and genre writer who kept writing despite being largely ignored by critics, exploited by publishers and loved by her fans.Precisely those qualities that had built her career – her endless fertility and constant self-reinvention – were liabilities in a publishing world obsessed with strict category and with authors who produce the same reliable product. At one point, she complained that she was writing books because she could do no other, but was stacking them unpublished in a cupboard. She just kept writing. I admire that.

Rest in Peace.

Words of Wisdom

Monday, January 11, 2016

The Hateful Whatever

Any guess what movie I saw this weekend? I couldn't resist the Dungeon Starter transmogrification:


Wednesday, January 6, 2016

Words of Wisdom

Stellarium of Vinteralf

This is a simple, little Dungeon World conversion of the classic adventure location Stellarium of Vinteralf. I changed the Seal people to South Pole Walrus guys and added Marshall Miller's Frozen South Starter to round it out. No reason you can't do the same!

Check out other great adventure locations from Michael Prescott  http://blog.trilemma.com/search/label/adventure

Tuesday, January 5, 2016

Monday, January 4, 2016


Dungeon Starter: Entombed (Hello 2016!; I guess the Past really is Prologue)


Sunday, January 3, 2016

New Monster

Gibbering Pudding (Solitary, Terrifying, Amorphous)
Countless jaws (d10+2 damage, 1 piercing) 15 HP,1 armor
(Ignores Armor)

Special Qualities: Immune to death by normal weapons; Vulnerable to fire. Fire damage to zero HP will destroy it forever.

A Gibbering Pudding is a horrible hybrid of a Black Pudding and Gibbering Mouther. It resembles a writhing mass of ooze covered with dozens of randomly placed multicolored eyes, writhing tentacles and gibbering mouths, all of different sizes and shapes.

Instinct: To gibber and consume

Custom Moves:
- Gibbering causes -1 on all player rolls in earshot
- Gibber a random but useful message in an unknown tongue.
- Withdraw to regenerate when seriously damaged by mundane weapons.

Saturday, January 2, 2016

Fear and Loathing in Las Vegas Wave Speech

2016: I'll begin with a Hunter S. Thompson quote...(My best friend's favorite)

“Strange memories on this nervous night in Las Vegas. Five years later? Six? It seems like a lifetime, or at least a Main Era—the kind of peak that never comes again. San Francisco in the middle sixties was a very special time and place to be a part of. Maybe it meant something. Maybe not, in the long run . . . but no explanation, no mix of words or music or memories can touch that sense of knowing that you were there and alive in that corner of time and the world. Whatever it meant. . . .

History is hard to know, because of all the hired bullshit, but even without being sure of “history” it seems entirely reasonable to think that every now and then the energy of a whole generation comes to a head in a long fine flash, for reasons that nobody really understands at the time—and which never explain, in retrospect, what actually happened.

My central memory of that time seems to hang on one or five or maybe forty nights—or very early mornings—when I left the Fillmore half-crazy and, instead of going home, aimed the big 650 Lightning across the Bay Bridge at a hundred miles an hour wearing L. L. Bean shorts and a Butte sheepherder's jacket . . . booming through the Treasure Island tunnel at the lights of Oakland and Berkeley and Richmond, not quite sure which turn-off to take when I got to the other end (always stalling at the toll-gate, too twisted to find neutral while I fumbled for change) . . . but being absolutely certain that no matter which way I went I would come to a place where people were just as high and wild as I was: No doubt at all about that. . . .

There was madness in any direction, at any hour. If not across the Bay, then up the Golden Gate or down 101 to Los Altos or La Honda. . . . You could strike sparks anywhere. There was a fantastic universal sense that whatever we were doing was right, that we were winning. . . .

And that, I think, was the handle—that sense of inevitable victory over the forces of Old and Evil. Not in any mean or military sense; we didn’t need that. Our energy would simply prevail. There was no point in fighting—on our side or theirs. We had all the momentum; we were riding the crest of a high and beautiful wave. . . .

So now, less than five years later, you can go up on a steep hill in Las Vegas and look West, and with the right kind of eyes you can almost see the high-water mark—that place where the wave finally broke and rolled back.”

― Hunter S. Thompson, Fear and Loathing in Las Vegas

In many ways the failure (and success) of the 1960s has defined my life in many ways. Thompson understood. It’s a short step from the Civil Rights Act of 1964 to Charles "Thulsa Doom" Manson. Or Colonel Walter E. Kurtz from Apocalypse Now. Role playing games were born because Excalibur had gone back to the Lady of the Lake but we still needed to dream again.

I wish everyone a 2016 in which dreams come true, our monsters are slain and treasure found.