A Cat of Tindalos

A Cat of Tindalos

Tuesday, June 20, 2017

Another version of the Dark Tower Gunslinger...

The man in black fled across the desert, and the gunslinger followed...

Found another Gunslinger base class posted on the internet for Dungeon World Dark Tower fans. No idea of author or author but kudos.

See what you think...

https://drive.google.com/file/d/0B7cav44145d9b3c4MTFTQUpVcnc/view?usp=sharing


Sunday, June 18, 2017

Dark Tower Trailer

Gunslinger Playbook

The man in black fled across the desert, and the gunslinger followed...

https://drive.google.com/file/d/0B7cav44145d9VUZhQ2FBamI0Mlk/view?usp=sharing

I've been thinking how easy it would be to play a Stephen King inspired Dark Tower game in Dungeon World, now that the new film release approaches and looks promising. The casting at any rate seems excellent and making the film a sequel/reboot opens up a lot of space. The playbook I downloaded from the web long ago and with that and the Dungeon World rule book it could be enough to get you started...







Friday, June 16, 2017

Can't Wait!

The Dark Tower is close, now. The Crimson King awaits. Soon Roland will raise the Horn of Eld. And blow.

Thursday, June 15, 2017

Our Tax Dollars at Work...Hail Hydra!

D&D Creator Gary Gygax's FBI Records Make Him Sound Like a Badass
"He is known to be a member of the Libertarian Party."

C.J. Ciaramella|Jun. 15, 2017 10:20 am

About a year ago I filed a Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) request for the FBI's files on TSR, Inc., the company that originally published the iconic Dungeons & Dragons role playing game.

I received several dozen pages of records back on Wednesday, including a May 1995 FBI report that contained several paragraphs on Gary Gygax, the game's beloved creator. D&D may have been the summit of nerd culture in the '80s, but the FBI makes Gygax sound hardcore.

An FBI source in the report alleges that Gygax was "eccentric and frightening," carried a weapon, proudly responded to every letter he received from an inmate, and had a Liberian holding company. It concludes: "He is known to be a member of the Libertarian Party."

In short, Gary Gygax wasn't a snitch and fought the power. When Gygax died in 2008, one of his many fans, the San Francisco artist Chicken John Rinaldi, wrote in an email to Reason eulogizing the original dungeon master:

"Gary Gygax saved more lives than penicillin. When I was 10, he was 39. He knew he was writing a book for 10 year olds...but never talked down to us. He was the only adult presence in my life from the time I was 10 to the time I was like 15 that didn't preach, didn't talk down and didn't have any parameters."

C.J. Ciaramella is a criminal justice reporter at Reason.
Follow C.J. Ciaramella on Twitter

Ecclesiastes

Whatsoever thy hand findeth to do, do it with thy might; for there is no work, nor device, nor knowledge, nor wisdom, in the grave, whither thou goest. —Ecclesiastes 9:10


Tuesday, June 13, 2017

Tales of Peril has arrived!

From the publisher:

The Tales of Peril first print hardbacks are in stock and available for shipping. The cover price for Tales of Peril is $35 USD. These are the signed and numbered copies of Tales of Peril. Orders for one or more copies of Tales of Peril may be combined with other Black Blade Publishing titles to economize on shipping costs.

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With USPS Priority Mail Flat Rate, the shipping cost will be $14.00 for domestic US addresses and includes up to $50 of insurance. Delivery should be in 2-3 business days.

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Tales of Peril: The Complete Boinger and Zereth Stories of John Eric Holmes

Published by Black Blade Publishing
Printed in the USA

334 pages 
Signed and Numbered Limited Edition Hardcover with Dustjacket
200 copies signed by Chris Holmes, Zach Howard, Allan Grohe
46 signed, non-numbered copies (comp and contributor copies, spares for losses in the mail, etc.)

ISBN 978-0-9842870-7-9
BP5000
$35

Contents

Table of Contents
List of Illustrations and Artwork
Introduction by Allan T. Grohe Jr.

FICTION

Preface to The Maze of Peril by Chris Holmes
The Maze of Peril 
Entrances
Dark Water
Green Cloak
Centaurs and Clerics
Theft and Pursuit
An Unusual Ride
The Second Descent
Battles in the Dark
Visible and Invisible
Breakout
Resolutions

Alarums & Excursions Campaign Materials
“Warrior for Hire”
“Were-Shark”
“The Adventure of the Giant Chameleon” by John Eric Holmes and Chris Holmes
“Adventure of the Lost City, Part One” 
“Adventure of the Lost City, Part Two”

Dragon Magazine Stories

Preface to “Trollshead”
“Trollshead”

Preface to “The Sorcerer's Jewel”
“The Sorcerer's Jewel”
Preface to “In the Bag”
“In the Bag”

Unpublished Short Story
Preface to “Witch Doctor”
“Witch Doctor”

NON-FICTION

“Confessions of a Dungeon Master”
“Boinger & Zereth Player Character Summaries and Character Card Scans” by Chris Holmes
“My Time as Murray” by Eric M. Frasier
“The Writings of Dr. J. Eric Holmes” by Zach Howard
“Annotated Bibliography for J. Eric Holmes, 1930-2010” by Zach Howard
“Afterword” by Chris Holmes
Contributor Biographies
Published by Black Blade Publishing
Printed in the USA

334 pages 
Signed and Numbered Limited Edition Hardcover with Dustjacket
200 copies signed by Chris Holmes, Zach Howard, Allan Grohe
46 signed, non-numbered copies (comp and contributor copies, spares for losses in the mail, etc.)

ISBN 978-0-9842870-7-9
BP5000
$35

Contents

Table of Contents
List of Illustrations and Artwork
Introduction by Allan T. Grohe Jr.

FICTION

Preface to The Maze of Peril by Chris Holmes
The Maze of Peril 
Entrances
Dark Water
Green Cloak
Centaurs and Clerics
Theft and Pursuit
An Unusual Ride
The Second Descent
Battles in the Dark
Visible and Invisible
Breakout
Resolutions

Alarums & Excursions Campaign Materials
“Warrior for Hire”
“Were-Shark”
“The Adventure of the Giant Chameleon” by John Eric Holmes and Chris Holmes
“Adventure of the Lost City, Part One” 
“Adventure of the Lost City, Part Two”

Dragon Magazine Stories

Preface to “Trollshead”
“Trollshead”

Preface to “The Sorcerer's Jewel”
“The Sorcerer's Jewel”
Preface to “In the Bag”
“In the Bag”

Unpublished Short Story
Preface to “Witch Doctor”
“Witch Doctor”

NON-FICTION

“Confessions of a Dungeon Master”
“Boinger & Zereth Player Character Summaries and Character Card Scans” by Chris Holmes
“My Time as Murray” by Eric M. Frasier
“The Writings of Dr. J. Eric Holmes” by Zach Howard
“Annotated Bibliography for J. Eric Holmes, 1930-2010” by Zach Howard
“Afterword” by Chris Holmes
Contributor Biographies


Friday, May 26, 2017

The First 100 Days - A Presidential Fiasco Playset

ROFLMAO-(Rolling on Floor, Laugh My Ass Off)

After an eternity of campaigning, dozens of debates, hundreds of promises, thousands of tour stops and millions of voters, the unimaginable happened, and now you and yours have won the White House.

Sure, there’s allegations of tampering, of collusion with foreign agents, and before your guy is even in the seat, the streets are swollen with protests, people are setting fire to trash cans and it kinda looks like Nazis are making a comeback.

But ignore that for now, you’ve wormed your way into the left hand of the most powerful man in the world, and it’s time to take advantage of that. Exploit your position, get everything you can and get out before the ship burns to the ground. Or hell, see if you can bail the water fast enough to keep it afloat till the end of the term, stranger things have happened. Or undermine the whole rotten system and destroy it from within.

Whatever you do, it’s going to be a crazy 100 days.

The First 100 Days is a Fiasco Playset, set during the first 100 days of a  particularly chaotic presidency, inspired by @DungeonBastard on Twitter.

http://www.drivethrurpg.com/product/212780/The-First-100-Days--A-Presidential-Fiasco-Playset?src=newest_recent


Wednesday, May 24, 2017

Dungeon World Conversion Notes for Will Doyle's Temple of the Moon Priests

I love one page dungeons.

I  love Will Doyle's one page dungeons.

https://drive.google.com/open?id=0B7cav44145d9cFdlRXhJZ0dBS0E

Will Doyle won this year for best one page dungeon.

I love Dungeon World.

Here are my conversion notes of Will Doyle's Temple of the Moon Priests for Dungeon World:

https://drive.google.com/file/d/0B7cav44145d9cHkzTnQwVFRkLXc/view?usp=sharing

Start Delving!






Listen, and understand.


And here's to the fools who dream / Crazy as they may seem.


God did it?

"Does it mean, if you don’t understand something, and the community of  physicists don’t understand it, that means God did it? Is that how you  want to play this game? Because if it is, here’s a list of things in the  past that the physicists at the time didn’t understand [and now we do  understand] [...]. If that’s how you want to invoke your evidence for  God, then God is an ever-receding pocket of scientific ignorance that’s  getting smaller and smaller and smaller as time moves on - so just be  ready for that to happen, if that’s how you want to come at the problem." -Neil deGrasse Tyson



Monday, May 15, 2017

New Dungeon World Adventure Starter: Beowulf 2.0

Beowulf 2.0

https://drive.google.com/file/d/0B7cav44145d9S3lUclRVZVlRcTg/view?usp=sharing

Beowulf: I am Ripper... Tearer... Slasher... Gouger. I am the Teeth in the Darkness, the Talons in the Night. Mine is Strength... and Lust... and Power! I AM BEOWULF!

Grendel's Mother: Are you the one they call Beowulf? The Bee-Wolf. The bear. Such a strong man you are with the strength of a king. The king you will one day become.

-film Beowulf, 2007


Saturday, May 6, 2017

Saturday, April 29, 2017

Stranger Things - SNL

Barb Returns to "Stranger Things"

Stranger Things Meets A Charlie Brown Christmas

Into the Demon Idol

Joeb Bittman did a wonderful one page a few years back that I've converted for my niece's "Stranger Things" adventures. https://drive.google.com/open?id=0B7cav44145d9eno0NVF0cVB2U1U

Here are my conversion notes: https://drive.google.com/file/d/0B7cav44145d9YjloN1pieDJxWFU/view?usp=sharing
I've based two dungeon starters on her current epic and this provided a nice conclusion: https://drive.google.com/file/d/0B7cav44145d9NDhaODNvX2VCZ1E/view?usp=sharing and https://drive.google.com/file/d/0B7cav44145d9WTNNQmV3Ym9lWnc/view?usp=sharing

I used this for the lizardman army: https://drive.google.com/file/d/0B7cav44145d9em0zb05xTzMyUW8/view?usp=sharing

I've heard Jobe based a longer adventure on this but I can't find it anywhere. 

(FYI for those interested the Idol was restored by feeding it the "summoning" gem from the altar starter while the "gate" gem sent the idol to the Vale of Shadows to trap Demogorgon within it there forever...or until Bridget & Company's next adventure!)




Thursday, April 20, 2017

APPENDIX N: INSPIRATIONAL AND EDUCATIONAL READING

Inspiration for all the fantasy work I have done stems directly from the love my father showed when I was a tad, for he spent many hours telling me stories he made up as he went along, tales of cloaked old men who could grant wishes, of magic rings and enchanted swords, or wicked sorcerers [sic] and dauntless swordsmen.

Then too, countless hundreds of comic books went down, and the long-gone EC ones certainly had their effect. Science fiction, fantasy, and horror movies were a big influence. In fact, all of us tend to get ample helpings of fantasy when we are very young from fairy tales such as those written by the Brothers Grimm and Andrew Lang. This often leads to reading books of mythology, paging through bestiaries, and consultation of compilations of the myths of various lands and peoples.

Upon such a base I built my interest in fantasy, being an avid reader of all science fiction and fantasy literature since 1950.

The following authors were of particular inspiration to me. In some cases I cite specific works, in others, I simply recommend all of their fantasy writing to you. From such sources, as well as any other imaginative writing or screenplay, you will be able to pluck kernels from which will grow the fruits of exciting campaigns. Good reading!

Anderson, Poul: THREE HEARTS AND THREE LIONS; THE HIGH CRUSADE; THE BROKEN SWORD
Bellairs, John: THE FACE IN THE FROST
Brackett, Leigh
Brown, Frederic
Burroughs, Edgar Rice: "Pellucidar" series; Mars series; Venus series
Carter, Lin: "World's End" series
de Camp, L. Sprague: LEST DARKNESS FALL; THE FALLIBLE FIEND; et al
de Camp & Pratt: "Harold Shea" series; THE CARNELIAN CUBE
Derleth, August
Dunsany, Lord
Farmer, P. J.: "The World of the Tiers" series; et al
Fox, Gardner: "Kothar" series; "Kyrik" series; et al
Howard, R. E.: "Conan" series
Lanier, Sterling: HIERO'S JOURNEY
Leiber, Fritz: "Fafhrd & Gray Mouser" series; et al
Lovecraft, H. P.
Merritt, A.: CREEP, SHADOW, CREEP; MOON POOL; DWELLERS IN THE MIRAGE; et al
Moorcock, Michael: STORMBRINGER; STEALER OF SOULS; "Hawkmoon" series (esp. the first three books)
Norton, Andre
Offutt, Andrew J.: editor of SWORDS AGAINST DARKNESS III
Pratt, Fletcher: BLUE STAR; et al
Saberhagen, Fred: CHANGELING EARTH; et al
St. Clair, Margaret: THE SHADOW PEOPLE; SIGN OF THE LABRYS
Tolkien, J. R. R.: THE HOBBIT; "Ring trilogy"
Vance, Jack: THE EYES OF THE OVERWORLD; THE DYING EARTH; et al
Weinbaum, Stanley
Wellman, Manley Wade
Williamson, Jack
Zelazny, Roger: JACK OF SHADOWS; "Amber" series; et al

The most immediate influences upon AD&D were probably de Camp & Pratt, R. E. Howard, Fritz Leiber, Jack Vance, H. P. Lovecraft, and A. Merritt; but all of the above authors, as well as many not listed, certainly helped to shape the form of the game. For this reason, and for the hours of reading enjoyment, I heartily recommend the works of these fine authors to you.

- E. Gary Gygax, 1979, AD&D Dungeon Masters Guide, p. 224

I've highlighted in black authors I love, particularly Fritz Leiber and J..R.R. Tolkien, the masters in my mind of epic and sword and sorcery. A modern list would certainly include George R.R. Marin's "A Song of Ice and Fire"novels series as essential.I would also add Ursula K. Le Guin's Earthsea novels, Clark Ashton Smith, Michael Shea and McKillip's Riddlemaster Trilogy.

For films I would include all of Peter Jackson's Middle Earth movies, Milius' Conan the Barbarian, Dragonslayer, The Princess Bride, Stardust, Ladyhawke and HBO's television series Game of Thrones as a start to the "A list".


-Mark Tygart, 2017



Nobel Prize-Winning Economist: We're Headed for Oligarchy

In a recent interview at the Economic Policy Institute, Nobel Prize-Winning economist and MIT professor Robert Solow riffed on the political effects of increasing inequality and concentration of wealth at the very top. "If that kind of concentration of wealth continues, then we get to be more and more an oligarchical country, a country that's run from the top," he said.

Solow's sentiments echo a point he made earlier this week in his review of Thomas Piketty's book in The New Republic. (Solow, it should be noted, is not the only Nobel Prize-winning economist to use the o-word in discussing Piketty's work.) Having examined and explained the trends Piketty identifies, Solow turns his attention to the possible measures that could be taken to ameliorate the inequality, and rejigger the system to favor merit over inheritance. Piketty, Solow says, favors an annual, global progressive tax on wealth, such that the benefits of a growing economy could be more widely felt.

This is a proposal that Solow cheers. But there is one problem: 

Piketty writes as if a tax on wealth might sometime soon have political viability in Europe, where there is already some experience with capital levies. I have no opinion about that. On this side of the Atlantic, there would seem to be no serious prospect of such an outcome. We are politically unable to preserve even an estate tax with real bite. If we could, that would be a reasonable place to start, not to mention a more steeply progressive income tax that did not favor income from capital as the current system does. But the built-in tendency for the top to outpace everyone else will not yield to minor patches. 

And this is, perhaps, the most significant point. Piketty has identified the mechanism by which inequality accelerates over time (Solow calls it, simply, the “rich-get-richer dynamic"). But the consequences of that distribution are not merely economic but political: A concentration of wealth leads to a concentration of power, which in turn protects the concentration of power. That our political system is incapable of tempering Piketty's dynamic is not a bizarre coincidence but a direct result.

"Wouldn’t it be interesting," Solow asks in his TNR review, "if the United States were to become the land of the free, the home of the brave, and the last refuge of increasing inequality at the top (and perhaps also at the bottom)? Would that work for you?"

It's working for some people, anyway.

(Source: The Atlantic)


Wednesday, April 19, 2017

Muck Monster: A Monster of the Week Mystery Starter

Sometimes I get two ideas for a concept and later write up the other idea as well.

This is "Lake Monster" 's Big Brother.

https://drive.google.com/file/d/0B7cav44145d9U19iOWhBQXlvSzQ/view?usp=sharing

As with all my mystery starters feedback and war stories greatly appreciated.









Tuesday, April 18, 2017

Atuan Returns

Just a little revision to my most minor of creations, but I ran it again and I think it works better now with the new "labyrinth rules". It is a fun dungeon to use with newbies as you can have the monster eat or drain a minstrel and depart while they are learning the ropes.

https://drive.google.com/file/d/0B7cav44145d9a3U2NjFWR0ptWjg/view?usp=sharing

For those interested this starter was always intended to be the sequel:

https://drive.google.com/file/d/0B7cav44145d9N0UyRWJmbnF2cEE/view?usp=sharing





Sunday, April 16, 2017

Breaker Morant

Breaker Morant

D. L. Kershen comments: "Breaker Morant tells the story of the court-martial of Harry Morant, Peter Handcock, and George Witton in South Africa in 1902. Yet, its overriding theme is war's evil. Breaker Morant is a beautiful anti-war statement—a plea for the end of the intrigues and crimes that war entails."

Although it is generally accepted that Morant and/or others in his regiment were responsible for the deaths of a number of Boer commandos, historical opinion is still divided over the central questions of the case — how many Boers were killed, by whom were they killed, and on whose orders? In his book, Born to Fight, Speed has photos of a number of Canadian Scouts wearing black feathers , a symbol that they would shoot any Boer captured under arms.

In 2012, South African historian Charles Leach published the book The Legend of Breaker Morant is DEAD and BURIED: A South African version of the Bushveldt Carbineers in the Zoutpansberg, May 1901 – April 1902. Based upon extensive research, Leach had complete access to unpublished South African sources and the papers of the Viljoen and Heese families.

Joe West, a British Bushveldt Carbineers researcher, wrote in response: "Charles Leach's impressive research has revealed that the crimes of Morant and his associates were worse than originally thought. In today's day and age Morant and Handcock plus several others would be arraigned before a War Crime Tribunal."

Morant's supporters, on the other hand, argue that he and Handcock were unfairly singled out for punishment even though many other British soldiers were known to have carried out summary executions of Boer prisoners. In their view, the two Australians were made scapegoats by the British, who were intent on concealing the existence of the "take no prisoners" policy against Boer insurgents — a policy which, they claim, had been promulgated by Kitchener himself.

However, Hamish Paterson, a South African military historian and a member of the Military History Society, has pointed out that the Bushveldt Carbineers were a British Imperial unit, not an Australian one: technically, the two "Aussies" were British officers.

 It said that while Morant and the others probably committed some crimes and may well have deserved disciplinary action, there is now persuasive evidence from several sources to show that the Kitchener 'no prisoners' order did indeed exist, that it was widely known among both the British and Australian troops and was carried out by many disparate units. It also asserted that the court-martial was fundamentally flawed in its procedures.

The graves of Morant and Handcock were left unattended for many years, but after the release of Beresford's film it became a popular place of pilgrimage for Australian tourists. In June 1998 the Australian Government spent $1,500 refurbishing the grave site with a new concrete slab. The marble cross which stood over the grave had been vandalised, as had many other gravestones nearby.

The most important primary source, the official records of the court-martial, vanished following the trial and their location remains a mystery. A report on the case from Kitchener to the Australian Governor-General (published in the Australian press on 7 April 1902) quotes Kitchener as saying that "the proceedings have been sent home" [i.e. to England].[this quote needs a citation] Whatever their actual fate, the transcripts have not been seen since the trial and evidently not even the Australian government was granted access to them.


The Australian government felt so strongly about this case that it insisted that none of its troops would be tried by the British military during World War I.

Quotes from the film Breaker Morant (1980):

George Wittow: [after Handcock has admitted to murdering the missionary] Major Thomas has been pleading justifying circumstances and now we're just lying.
Peter Handcock: We're lying? What about THEM? It's no bloody secret. Our graves were dug the day they arrested us at Fort Edwards.
George Wittow: Yeah, but killing a missionary, Peter?
Harry Morant: It's a new kind of war, George. A new war for a new century. I suppose this is the first time the enemy hasn't been in uniform. They're farmers. They come from small villages, and they shoot at from behind walls and from farmhouses. Some of them are women, some of them are children, and some of them... are missionaries, George.

Lt. Col. Denny: [regarding Kitchener's order to shoot any Boers taken prisoner] Do you really believe that Lord Kitchener, a man venerated throughout the world, would be capable of issuing an order of such barbarity?
Major Thomas: I don't know, sir. But I do know that orders that one would consider barbarous have already been issued in this war. Before I was asked to defend these soldiers, I spent some months destroying Boer farmhouses, burning their crops, herding their women and children into stinking refugee camps where thousands of them have already died from disease. Now these orders WERE issued, sir! And soldiers like myself and these men here have had to carry them out however damned reluctantly!

Harry Morant: It really ain't the place nor time to reel off rhyming diction, but yet we'll write a final rhyme while waiting crucifixion. For we bequeath a parting tip of sound advice for such men who come in transport ships to polish off the Dutchman. If you encounter any Boers, you really must not loot 'em, and if you wish to leave these shores, for pity's sake, don't shoot 'em. Let's toss a bumper down our throat before we pass to Heaven, and toast a trim-set petticoat we leave behind in Devon.

Sentry: Do you want the padre?
Harry Morant: No, thank you. I'm a pagan.
Sentry: And you?
Peter Handcock: What's a pagan?
Harry Morant: Well... it's somebody who doesn't believe there's a divine being dispensing justice to mankind.
Peter Handcock: I'm a pagan, too.

Harry Morant: There is an epitaph I'd like: Matthew 10:36. Well, Peter... this is what comes of 'empire building.'
Major Thomas: Matthew 10:36?
Minister: "And a man's foes shall be they of his own household."

(Source: Wikipedia & IMDB)