Friday Grab Bag

A grab bag of digital flotsam and jetsam that has floated past my perch on the cliffs that overlook the vastness of the World Wide Web …

Pirates + Goofy Headgear = Pirates in Goofy Headgear

The Victual Brothers were Baltic pirates who, frankly, would be much less groovy if they called themselves “The Baltic Pirates”. Likewise, every D&D party should have a name, awesome, goofy or otherwise. Thanks to that rule of my game, I can now tell tales of the Tender Blades and Wyld Stallyns and their adventures in Nod.

I think every good sword school needs to be named after a saint who, technically, should have been opposed to violence. And speaking of kickass names, these lads were officially known as the Brotherhood of Our dear lady and pure Virgin Mary and the Holy and warlike heavenly prince Saint Mark. “Holy and warlike heavenly prince” – eat your heart out Cuthbert!

I’m listening to these guys at the moment. I officially endorse them as my favorite depression-era swing quintet ever!

Pole arms kick ass.

I’m color blind. Just discovered, via my daughter, that Batgirl’s costume is purple. My love of her (my daughter and Batgirl) has increased immeasurably because of this.

If you thought Carrie Keagan made a spectacular Power Girl (she does), she’s also easy on the eyes as Princess Allura. And if you don’t know who Carrie Keagan is, then your life has been misspent (and not in the good way).

That’s all for today! Over and Out!

5th Edition D&D For Free

Most of us have seen the claims – the new edition will join all the editions (and one ring to bind them?). “But how,” people ask, “how can such a thing be accomplished?”

Easy. Roll some dice.

The Land of Nod’s Handy Dandy D&D 5E Simulator

Here’s the deal, for each of the following items, roll 1d12 and use the rules from the corresponding edition.

I. Classes
II. Races
III. Equipment
IV. Spells (includes powers if you roll an 11 or 12)
V. Combat
VI. Monsters
VII. Treasure and Magic-Items

Roll d12 for Edition
1. OD&D
2. OD&D plus supplements
3. Holmes Basic
4. Moldvay Basic/Cook Expert
5. Mentzer BECMI
6. AD&D
7. AD&D 2nd edition
8. AD&D 2nd edition plus Complete Handbooks
9. D&D 3rd edition
10. D&D 3.5 edition
11. D&D 4th edition
12. D&D Essentials

Now, we have to figure out two more items – Feats and Skills. You’ll need a d6 and a d4.

Feats: 2 in 6 chance of feats
1. D&D 3rd edition
2. D&D 3.5 edition
3. D&D 4th edition
4. D&D Essentials

Skills: 3 in 6 chance of skills
1. D&D 2nd edition proficiencies
2. D&D 2nd edition + Complete Handbooks proficiencies
3. D&D 3rd edition skills
4. D&D 3.5 edition skills
5. D&D 4th edition skills
6. D&D Essentials skills

Ta-Da! You’re ready to play your campaign of 5th edition D&D without having to wait for them to release it, provided you’ve bought every other edition of D&D (or a reasonable facsimile thereof).

Let’s see how it works. For my first campaign of 5th edition, I’ll be using …

Classes from AD&D 2nd edition, plus all the handbooks for kits
Races from D&D essentials
Equipment from D&D 3rd edition
Spells from OD&D
Combat from D&D 3.5 edition
Monsters from AD&D
Treasure and Magic-Items from Moldvay/Cook D&D
Feats: D&D 4th edition
Skills: D&D 3rd edition

So, if you want to play a halfling thief with the buccaneer kit armed with a sunrod and kukri getting an attack of opportunity on Yeenoghu, then by golly, you’ll be in the right campaign!

Sunday Grab Bag!!!

Just a few random notes today.

From the Weird Adventures Dept.

Got my copy of Trey Causey’s Weird Adventures yesterday. It is gorgeous. If you’re working on a game product, check this baby out – sets one heck of a standard.

From the Badass Air Elemental Dept.

What would Clint Eastwood look like as an air elemental? I think a little something like this …

From the Get Into the Game Dept.

Check it out – Liz is wearing a Monster Manual dress. Can you do any less at your next session?

From the Sailor Man Dept.

My Hero!

From the American Empires Dept.

Yeah, still working on it. When you find an image like this, you cannot help but be inspired. Benjamin Franklin, American wizard.

From the Checking Her Out Dept.

Checking out women is timeless.

From the Feminine Pulchritude Dept.

And beauty is timeless as well. Thank you Charles Gibson!

See you next week with some Abaddon previews and … heck, I have no idea what else I’ll come up with.

Shout Outs!

I’ll probably do a Deviant Friday post later, but at the moment I want to do a few “shout outs” (as the kids say these days).

First, several months ago I was sent a gratis electronic copy of a comic book to review by Gerald Cooper – Genency #1. It’s a great mag, and I apologize for taking so damn long to read it – but most folks who read the blog know that I spend a lot of time writing when I’m not working at my real job. So – a shout out to Gerald Cooper, InVision Comics and Genency – a rousing sci-fi tale and produced by an indy producer, so he shares that with lots of folks in the OSR.

Second, the Brian Wood with Awesome Dice asked for a shout out on the blog, and this is it. They sell dice (if you couldn’t put that together from the name) and also blog about gaming. Check it out, lads and lasses.

My last shout out has to be to the fine folks at Albertsons, who are finally addressing the desperate need the OSR has for a cereal to call its own. Bless you, Albertsons, and God’s speed.

A SAN Check for New Year’s Eve (and a bit more)

Most disturbing video of 2011? Perhaps …

Weird Al aside, just want to take this opportunity to thank everyone who made 2011 a good year for me. I spend my days researching the Las Vegas commercial real estate market and the economy in general, which has been both interesting and depressing for the last few years (and just wait for 2012 …), but the year has been pretty good overall. I’ve had the opportunity to do some TV interviews here in town, which has bolstered my real job. The family is healthy and happy, by and large, and I’m thankful for that.

On the hobby side, I want to thank all of the kind folks who read the blog and buy my goods – you’ve made a dream come true for me. I want to thank Bill Webb and Frog God Games for giving me the opportunity to be published by someone other than myself (Hex Crawl Chronicles – available now!), and for the opportunity to work on Tome of Horrors Complete and the new Rappan Athuk conversion. I’d also like to thank the players of my Google + Mystery Men! game, which is proceeding nicely through the Dark Renaissance storyline (the heroes are now split between Washington D.C. and Greenland – who knows where they will go next).

For those who didn’t have such a banner 2011, I pray that 2012 is a better year. Economics and finances is a big part of life, but it is only one part of life. Many folks who lived through the Great Depression learned that lesson and a few of us old timers (well, middle agers maybe) were lucky enough to spend time with those folks, who were our grandparents to hear about their experiences. That said, when the wolves are at the door, it’s hard to pay attention to much else. The best we can all do in 2012 is to be creative, productive and optimistic.

Finally … NOD

In two years (well, really more like a year and a half) I’ve managed to scrawl out 12 issues of my own little magazine. I’m hoping for another six issues in 2012.

NOD 13 (Feb ’12) should feature three more rings of Hell – Abaddon, Gehenna and Stygia. I should manage to get the different shades of dragons in this one, as well as some more Mystery Men! content. I have one more level of the Pleasure Palace of Izrigul I want to produce, but I’m not sure when it will happen. Sometime in 2012 for sure. By the time this is out, I hope Space Princess will also be out, allowing me an opportunity to play with sci-fi a bit more in the magazine.

NOD 14 (Apr ’12) will delve into Dis, the massive city of Hell. I’m hoping to do something interesting with this one – more of a metaphysical crawl through the back alleys of the mind than a proper city with streets and buildings. We’ll see. Hopefully Blood and Treasure will be completed by the time this issue arrives.

NOD 15 (Jun ’12) will kick off Summer with the final installment of the Hell hex crawl, right down to Hell’s frozen heart and the great escape through Lucifer himself. God willing, I’ll have begun work on Action X by now. I also hope to complete a Pars Fortuna dungeon for this issue.

NOD 16 (Aug ’12) will leave Hell behind for the savannah of Pwenet and the jungle basin of Cush. I’ve already submitted an excerpt from this Africa-inspired hex crawl to Fight On!, and this issue will take up half of that complete hex crawl.

NOD 17 (Oct ’12) will feature the city of Iksum on the savannah of Pwenet. Iksum has a small part to play in a future adventure set in Nod that is being written by Greg Vaughn, who does work with Frog God Games. I have no idea what else will show up this far in advance.

NOD 18 (Dec ’12) will round out the year with the finish of the Cush/Pwenet hex crawl and other assorted holiday goodies. I didn’t think I’d make it to 6 issues in 2011, and I only hope I can make it to 6 in 2012.

Besides Nod, I’ll be working to finish Space Princess, Blood and Treasure, Action X, Queen and Kaiser and 1800 – American Empires. I have a few mini-campaign ideas for NOD, including one based on the Bowery Boys/East Side Kids movies. I had wanted to do a couple other mini-campaign things in 2011 that didn’t materialize, and perhaps they will show up at some point in 2012 (post-apocalyptic Great War and giant robots). Some folks have asked for a compilation of classes that have appeared in NOD over the past couple years, and if I hear from some more people interested in such a thing, I’ll see about doing that as well.

Oh, and if the Mystery Men! Dark Renaissance campaign on Google + comes to a close (which I think it will), I’d like to start a new campaign … maybe a crazy MM! campaign based on the comics of the Silver Age, but more likely something with Pars Fortuna or a Nod hex crawl. A cruise along the highways of post-apocalypse America with Mutant Truckers could be fun as well, and might not take too much time. If you’d be interested in playing such a game on Google +, keep your eyes peeled for announcements on this blog.

So, to close this ridiculously long blog post (and blogging in general for 2011) – Thank You! I hope I can continue to entertain folks with my writing in 2012 and well into the future. If any of you need some help making your own ideas materialize, feel free to call on me – I’ve been very fortunate these last two years, and I’d love to help somebody else realize their dreams in 2012.

Happy New Year!

Saturday Grab Bag

Just some random nonsense. I have some leaf raking and bagging to do today, along with other household chores to prepare for the family coming over tomorrow for all the traditional festivities. Whatever you do tomorrow, do it with a little love in your heart and find a way to be happy.

From the Old Fashioned Geek-mas Dept.

When I was a young lad, maybe 12, I remember borrowing a friend’s copy of B1 – In Search of the Unknown and transcribing it on my parent’s typewriter. Not as fancy a model as this (and they still have it!), but until I finally got an Apple IIE, the typewriter was one of my most important RPG tools. Image comes from James Lilek’s Merry Kitchmas site.

From the Zeppelin Christmas Mash-Up Dept.

Fleming & John – Winter Wonderland to the tune of Misty Mountain Hop. Image and link from one of my favorite daily reads, NEVVER.

From the My Hero Dept.

I officially declare that the rest of my life will be dedicated to trying to match the greatness of this man.

From the Heart’s Desire Dept.

I’m back on the weight loss trail again. I lost 50 pounds about a year ago, and then hit a long plateau. I’m now back on the trail, trying to finally get back to my college weight of 180. Images like this are both a balm and a torment.

From the Sci-Fi RPG Challenge Dept.

Okay, so we have a couple new planets to play with. Who wants to do a non-denominational sci-fi hex crawl with one of these planets? Maybe I could set up a blog called Kepler 20-F, post a map and people could all throw their 2 credits in. No game stats, no over-arching theme other than – “Recently discovered by ‘Man’, largely unexplored, holds secrets and ruins of the ancient Keplons”. Just anything that grabs your fancy that other Referees could then use with their groups to explore. Whaddya think?

From the Thank God for Frank Cho Dept.

Yeah – just … yeah.

From the Super Short Story Dept.

I wrote a very short story for some Lulu contest. You can download it for free from HERE if you have an e-reader thingee. If not, I’ll probably post it in the near future. It’s set in the Beyond the Black Water hex crawl I did with Frog God Games, and I might look at expanding it into a proper short story.

From the Blood and Treasure Art Dept.

I leave you with an elf paladin and a dwarf cleric from Blood and Treasure, both illustrations by Jon Kaufman (Pachycrocuta). Not a bad way to end a pre-Christmas post. Maybe a post tomorrow, maybe not, definitely normal posting next week. Enjoy the day, even if it has no spiritual meaning for you.

Happy Thanksgiving, Mystery Men! Style

To start off, I want to give thanks for what has been a pretty good year for me. A couple years ago, I wouldn’t have thought I’d now be making a few bucks writing game material and even publishing my own games. I’m thankful for the opportunities I’ve had and for the support folks in the game community have given me. I’m even more thankful for my wife, daughter and family and friends. Things are going well today, but I know that things can change, and I’m determined to be thankful for what I have while I still have it.

Now then, on to the goodies. When I was a kid, we used to do these book orders in elementary school. One of the items we could get from these four-page “catalogs” was a subscription to one of two magazines (I think one was four younger kids, the other for older kids, though which is which I don’t remember), Bananas and Dynamite. One little article from Dynamite that stuck with me was about “Zero Heroes”. Apparently, these less-than-stellar superheroes were created by B. K. Taylor as a set of stickers. Years later (now, in fact) I managed to find them online (amazing, isn’t it) and happily present you a hero for the holiday (well, kinda).

The Great Gobbler
According to the back of the sticker, the Great Gobbler had some exciting adventures, but his series was finally cancelled because, no matter how exciting they were, people couldn’t get over the fact that he was just a big turkey.

Cover image above from retroCRUSH.

When Monks Aren’t Allowed in Dungeons

So you think monks don’t belong in your fantasy game?

This is what happens when monks don’t have dungeons to delve into …

For the love of Shaolin, give the monks something useful to do. Monks should be kicking orcs in the face, not making spectacles of themselves on weird game shows.

Sunday Grab Bag

From the Mystery Men-Approved Vehicles Department

From the Bashful Blue-Eyed Ever-Lovin’ Thing’s Mom Department

From the Fab Four Department

If you don’t dig Hard Day’s Night, I’m not sure we can be more than friendly acquaintances.

From the Robots Have a Hard Life Department

From the “It’s Called a Hobble Skirt” Department

Useful information for fans of Morticia Addams

From the “It Ain’t Just Good to be a Gangsta” Department

From the Red Sonja Department

An image so awesome, I’m afraid I don’t even remember where I found it. Wherever it was, thank you!