Wednesday, April 16, 2014

Kingdom Death: Monster

Speaking of artistic embellishments, there was no lack in the Kingdom Death: Monster Kickstarter that concluded many moons ago. 

In addition to a multitude of nightmarish monsters and desperate human survivors, the game creator included pinup versions of the available armor selections and heroes as optional rewards during the kickstarter campaign.  The above miniatures are pinup versions of the Survivor and Twilight Knight characters respectively.

If you missed the kickstarter campaign, you can buy a boxed set of 8 pinups featured in the KD:M lineup for $100.  That works out to $12.50 per miniature (the pinup miniatures were $15 each during the kickstarter, and were quoted as $25 retail, so this a heck of a deal).
It was such a good deal, that I bought a set, which arrived in the mail today, even though I pledged for many of the same miniatures during the kickstarter.  I also purchased and received the Experiment Of Death collection, which was the KD:M creator's earlier attempt to produce the miniatures line in PVC plastic.
Experiment Of Death is accompanied by another Twilight Knight pinup, which gives me a chance to improve my painting skills, if I flub the first attempt to paint that miniature. 

Monday, April 14, 2014

Old School Illustrations: Advanced Wizard

I recently posted several illustrations from Metagaming's Advanced Melee rulebook. 

There were two other main resource books for The Fantasy Trip game system: Advanced Wizard and In The Labyrinth.  Like the art in Advanced Melee, the Advanced Wizard illustrations were exclusively produced by Robert Phillips. 

Arguably, the illustrations found in Advanced Wizard were the weakest of the three resource books, thematically and otherwise, because there were no illustrations of Wizards (surprising, considering the title of the resource book), nothing connecting the subjects to any identifiable milieu, and a complete absence of hot fantasy chicks.  We are instead treated to battles with sabre-toothed tigers, does that make up for the lack of the former two?
Various humanoid antagonists make appearances in Advanced Wizard, beating their chests, reaching into crevices, and otherwise posing menacingly.

Many of the best main sourcebook TFT illustrations appeared in the gamemaster's resource, In The Labyrinth.  But it seems odd that for a gamebook, wholly devoted to the development of Wizards, there are no images of Wizards.  Instead we are provided with  illustrations better suited to Advanced Melee and In The Labyrinth, like Conan-esque characters battling Lizardmen and Archers facing off against Giant Lizards.
Robert Phillips' illustrations tend towards minimal environment connecting the subject of the piece to the scene.  Take for example the two illustrations below, one of an adventurer discovering an exit from the labyrinth, and another of a guard protecting the entrance to one.  There's nothing in the background to connect the adventurer or guard to anything more than a generic fantasy world.
And there's nothing in the text of Advanced Wizard to tie any of these illustrations to the purpose of the resource book.  Though the illustrations fit into the broader Fantasy Trip aesthetic, I have to wonder how the editor and publisher justified the inclusion of this particular artwork in this gamebook.

Doraleous & Associates: I See A Bitch

Do you see a bitch?

Sunday, April 13, 2014

Little Soldier Games: The Book Of Shamans

Here's something you rarely see in role playing game books anymore: bibliographies.

Little Solder Games' Book of Shamans, written by Ed Lipsett, and published in 1978, has a bibliography, identifying those books used to research the proposed game abilities of Shamans. 

Joseph Campbell's "Hero With a Thousand Faces" and J.G. Frazer's "The Golden Bough" appear among the nine books listed in the bibliography in the Book Of Shamans.

I've always wondered, was The Book Of Shamans also published in digest book format, similar in size to the Book of Sorcery and Book of Demons?  My 68-page copy of the Book Of Shamans is printed in the larger, journal format, but this website indicates that it was also published in Digest format.

Anybody have a digest-sized version of the Book Of Shamans?

Friday, April 11, 2014

Paizo's Pathfinder Miniatures: Self-Defeating Business Decisions

I'm still trying to digest last week's announcement on the Paizo website (see the blog-post entitled "ch-ch-changes") regarding a change to their Pathfinder Miniatures structure. 

I don't play Pathfinder RPG, but I'm a proponent of Paizo, and a supporter of their pre-painted miniatures line. I've been purchasing a case of each of Paizo's pre-painted miniatures sets since they were first released. 

By my calculation, only 70-75% of Paizo's pre-painted miniatures will see play at my table: many Pathfinder pre-painted miniatures are entirely unsuitable for my games, being too specific to Paizo's adventure paths.  A few other miniatures have been re-purposed to represent similar, non-Pathfinder creatures.  To wit, my personal suitability evaluation of each set:

Heroes + Monsters: 31/41 = 76%

Rise Runelords: 48/65 = 74%

Shattered Star: 43/55 = 78%

Skulls + Shackles 39/55 = 71%

Legends Golarion 40/55 = 73%

Wrath Righteous 41/55 = 75%

Nevertheless, the variety of figures in each Pathfinder set has, heretofore, been sufficiently broad to ensure I get very few figures I don't want, while getting more figures that I do want.

That changed during mid-reveal of their newest, Reign of Winter set.  See an excerpt of Paizo's announcement, below:

"Number of Figures Per Set

Starting with Reign of Winter, Pathfinder Battles sets will go [from 54] to 44 figures plus the Gargantuan case incentive figure. This reduction in number of figures per set is designed to help WizKids get its costs in line, and also comes with the added benefit of providing more common and uncommon figures to folks who buy their miniatures by the case (something a lot of customers have been asking for). The number of figures in a case, brick, or booster does not change, just the composition of the set in terms of total sculpts.

A case should still contain a full set (as always in the case of a collated product we can't guarantee this, but it's certainly the goal). Below is the model rarity breakdown for a case:

56 commons,
32 uncommons,
8 rares,
28 large uncommons,
4 large rares.

Here is the figure breakdown for the Reign of Winter set:

7 common (Small),
6 common (Medium),
11 uncommon (Medium),
8 uncommon (Large),
8 rare (Medium), and
4 rare (Large).

The total number of figures per case and the overall price of the case will not change. The specific figure size breakdowns will differ slightly from set to set, but the model rarity breakdown should be stable from release to release."

This reduction, in the number of unique figures, results in 5 fewer rare miniatures, 3 fewer uncommons, and 2 fewer commons, with a corresponding increase in the number of duplicate common and uncommon figures. 

I see this reduction as both a bad business decision and a poorly timed one.  Wizards of the Coast and Wizkids have already announced the introduction of a new line of Dungeons and Dragons miniatures, slated for a summer 2014 release.  Fooling around with Paizo's miniatures format so close to the entry of Wizards of the Coast  into the pre-painted miniatures market seems defensive and suggests financial trouble at Paizo.  And if Paizo really wants to satisfy customer demands for more commons, they should be costing them properly on their website, since they do offer individual miniatures for sale on-line.

So I don't buy Paizo's spin that customers are asking for more commons and uncommons in case-lots.  And suggesting that customer demand is reason for this change is too much.  If Paizo's margins are getting squeezed, they should be raising their wholesale prices to on-line retailers (who are undercutting Paizo's website prices) or raising retail prices, not reducing the quality and quantity of their miniatures line.

With Reign of Winter, this will be the first time, since the launch of the Paizo pre-painted miniatures line (and may not be the last) that I take a pass on purchasing a complete case, or any individual miniatures for that matter. 

Here's hoping that Paizo reconsiders their decision and provides a better quality product with future releases.

Friday, April 4, 2014

Doraleous And Associates: DnD Cartoon

The Doraleous And Associates youtube cartoon series is surprisingly hilarious.  Broof and Sir Walken are my favorite characters.  The creators have already made 42 episodes, and the series is still going strong.  Check it out!

Thursday, April 3, 2014

Old School Illustrations: Advanced Melee

The passing of David Trampier has me reminiscing about some of my favorite old school illustrators and games. 

Advanced Melee, the volume from which the above and following illustrations are ripped, was part of Metagaming's "THE FANTASY TRIP", a stripped down role-playing game.  The Fantasy Trip was one of our go-to games in the early 1980's, as it could be easily carried about and played during a lunch hour of after school. 

The Advanced Melee rulebook included only a handful of illustrations, all in black and white, drawn exclusively by Robert Phillips.  His Advanced Melee illustrations had a strong sword & sorcery flavour, in contrast to the later, second generation, colorized heroic fantasy artwork that would be introduced to role-playing games by such artists as Elmore, Parkinson, Easley and Caldwell.
The earlier RPG artists were perhaps not as technically proficient as the RPG artists that followed, but what they lacked in finesse they make up in raw motion and emotion.

Everything was less heroically styled in The Fantasy Trip artwork.  Take for example the above encounter between a warrior and a Dragon.  The Dragon looks to be an overgrown crocodile with wings.  Dragons have since morphed into creatures several stories high, and larger than jumbo jets.  But even at the scale used in the Fantasy Trip, the Dragon looks formidable, although more likely overthrown.
The humans were similarly scaled back, sporting plausible facsimiles of real-world armor and wielding sensibly-sized weapons.  Perhaps a typical gamer's power-fantasies were less urgent back in the day!

Tuesday, April 1, 2014

Appendix N: April 2014

Time to update my Appendix N list. During the last several weeks, I added several titles to my collection, including the following.
At the Edge of the World (Lord Dunsany), Don Quixote (Cervantes), and The Gods of Bal-Sogoth (Robert E. Howard)
Dark Crusade (Karl Edward Wagner), Foundation (Isaac Asimov), and Lud-in-the-Mist (Hope Mirrlees)
The Vultures Of Whapeton (Robert E. Howard), The Iron Man (Howard), and Legion From The Shadows (Karl Edward Wagner)
Incident On Anth, The Terra Data and Iduna's Universe (all by E.C. Tubb)
King Arthur (Roger Green), At the Back of the North Wind, and The Wise Woman (both by George MacDonald)
The Queen of Zamba, The Hostage of Zir, and the Virgin of Zesh (all by Sprague de Camp)
Death's Master (Tanith Lee), Masters of the Maze (Avram Davidson), and Neverending Story (Michael Ende)
And finally, Le Morte D' Arthur (Sir Thomas Malory), Tristan and Iseult (Joseph Bedier), and the Elder Edda (Taylor and Auden)

Abbey, Lynn: Daughter of the Bright Moon; The Black Flame

Adams, Richard: Watership Down; Shardik

Alexander, Lloyd: The Book of Three 1; The Black Cauldron 2; The Castle of Llyr 3; Taran Wanderer 4; The High King 5

Anderson, Poul: Ensign Flandry; Flandry Of Terra; Agent of the Terran Empire; The Long Night; Three Hearts and Three Lions; The Broken Sword; The High Crusade; A Knight Of Ghosts And Shadows; The Last Viking 1; Hrolf Kraki's Saga

Anthony, Piers: A Spell for Chameleon; Split Infinity; On A Pale Horse; Ogre, Ogre

Ariosto, Ludovico: Orlando Furioso

Asimov, Isaac:  I, Robot; Foundation

Asprin, Robert A.: Thieves World I; Tales from the Vulgar Unicorn II; Shadows of Sanctuary III; Storm Season IV; The Face of Chaos V; Another Fine Myth

Barker, M.A.R.: The Man Of Gold; Flamesong

Baum, L. Frank: The Wizard Of Oz, Emerald City Of Oz, Land of Oz

Beagle, Peter S.: The Last Unicorn; A Fine And Private Place

Beckford, William:  Vathek

Bedier, Joseph: Tristan and Iseult

Bellairs, John: The Face In The Frost

Bellamy, Francis R : Atta

Bester, Alfred:  The Stars My Destination

Blackwood, Algernon: 

Bloodstone, John: Thundar Man Of Two Worlds

Bloch, Robert: Strange Eons

Bok, Hannes: The Sorcerers Ship; Beyond the Golden Stair

Brackett, Leigh: Eric John Stark, Outlaw Of Mars; The Best Of Leigh Brackett; The Sword Of Rhiannon; The Ginger Star 1; The Hounds Of Skaith 2; Reavers of Skaith 3

Bradbury, Ray:  The Martian Chronicles

Bradley, Marion Z: Warrior Women; Sword and Sorceress Anthology; Sword And Sorceress II; Sword And Sorceress III, Sword And Sorceress VII; The Planet Savers 1958; The Sword Of Aldones 1962; The Bloody Sun 1964; Star Of Danger 1965; The Winds Of Darkover 1970; The Forbidden Tower 1977; Stormqueen! 1978; Seven From The Stars;

Bramah, Ernest:  Kai Lung's Golden Hours; Kai Lung Unrolls His Mat

Brooks, Terry: The Sword of Shannara

Brown, Fredric: The Best Of Fredric Brown; What Mad Universe

Brunner, John: Secret Agent Of Terra; Stand On Zanzibar

Budrys, Algis: Rogue Moon

Bulmer, Kenneth:

Burroughs, Edgar R.: Pellucidar; Tanar of Pellucidar; A Princess Of Mars 1; The Gods Of Mars 2; Warlord Of Mars 3; Thuvia, Maid Of Mars 4; Chessmen of Mars 5; The Mastermind of Mars 6; A Fighting Man of Mars 7; The Moon Maid; Out of Time’s Abyss; Jungle Girl, Land of Hidden Men; Pirates Of Venus; Lost On Venus; Carson Of Venus; Escape On Venus;  Tarzan Of The Apes 1; The Return Of Tarzan 2; The Beasts of Tarzan 3; The Son Of Tarzan 4; Tarzan and the Jewels of Opar 5; Tarzan and the Lost Empire 10; At The Earth's Core

Cabell, James Branch: Figures Of Earth; Domnei; Cream Of The Jest; The Silver Stallion; Jurgen, A Comedy Of Justice; Something About Eve; The High Place

Campbell, J Ramsey: Demons by Daylight

Card, Orson Scott:  Ender's Game

Carter, Lin: Thongor and the Dragon City; Thongor and the Wizards of Lemuria; Thongor Fights the Pirates of Tarakus; Thongor and the End of Time; Zanathon; Tower at the Edge of Time; The Black Star; Beyond The Gates Of Dream; Down To A Sunless Sea; Journey to the Underground World; Warrior of World’s End; Flashing Swords 1; Flashing Swords 2; Flashing Swords 3; Flashing Swords 4; Flashing Swords 5; Dragons, Elves and Heroes; Golden Cities, Far; The Spawn of Cthuhlu; Discoveries In Fantasy; Great Short Novels Of Adult Fantasy; New Worlds For Old; The Young Magicians; Lost Worlds;

Cervantes, Miguel: Don Quixote

Chalker, Jack L.: Midnight at the Well of Souls 1; Exiles at the Well of Souls 2; Quest For the Well Of Souls 3; The Return of Nathan Brazil 4, Twilight at the Well of Souls 5

Chandler, A. Bertram: The Road To The Rim; The Hard Way; The Wild Ones; The Inheritors; The Gateway To Never; Star Courier; To Keep The Ship; Matilda's Stepchildren; The Rim Of Space;

Chant, Joy: Red Moon And Black Mountain

Cherryh, C.J.:  Ealdwood; Downbelow Station

Chesterton, G.K.:  The Man Who Was Thursday

Clarke, Arthur:  Rendezvous With Rama

Cook, Glen: The Black Company

Cooper, Edmund:  Double Phoenix

Crawford, F Marion:  Khaled

Daley, Brian: Han Solo At Star’s End; Han Solo’s Revenge; Han Solo And The Lost Legacy

Davidson, Avram: The Phoenix And The Mirror; The Island Under the Earth; Masters of the Maze

deCamp, L. Sprague:  The Virgin & The Wheels; The Tritonian Ring; The Complete Compleat Enchanter; The Compleat Enchanter; Lovecraft, A Biography; Swords And Sorcery; Spell of Seven; The Fantastic Swordsmen;  Warlocks and Warriors; The Fallible Fiend; Conan The Barbarian; Conan And The Spider God; Lest Darkness Fall; The Carnelian Cube; The Emperors Fan; The Reluctant King; The Unbeheaded King; The Goblin Tower; The Clocks Of Iraz; The Queen Of Zamba; The Hand Of Zei; The Hostage Of Zir; The Virgin Of Zesh

Derleth, August: The Trail of Cthuhlu

Dick, Phillip K: Eye In The Sky, Do Androids Dream Of Electric Sheep?

Dickson, Gordon R.: Dorsai!; The Dragon and the George

Donaldson, Stephen: Thomas Covenant The Unbeliever

Doyle, Sir Arthur Conan: The Lost World

Drake, David:  Hammer's Slammers

Dumas, Alexandre: The Three Musketeers

Dunsany, Lord: The King Of Elfland’s Daughter; Over the Hills and Far Away; The Charwoman's Shadow; Don Rodriguez; At The Edge Of The World; Beyond The Fields We Know; 51 Tales

Eco, Umberto: The Name Of The Rose

Eddings, David: Pawn of Prophecy, Queen Of Sorcery, Magician’s Gambit, Castle of Wizardry, Enchanter’s Endgame

Eddison, E. R.: The Worm Ouroboros; Mistress of Mistresses; A Fish Dinner In Memison; The Mezentian Gate

Ende, Michael: The Neverending Story

Farmer, Philip Jose: The Maker Of Universes 1; The Gates Of Creation 2; A Private Cosmos 3; Behind The Walls Of Terra; The Lavalite World; Hadon Of Ancient Opar

Fiest, Raymond: Magician

Finney, Charles: The Unholy City; The Circus of Dr. Lao

Foster, Alan Dean: Nor Crystal Tears, Splinter of the Minds Eye; The End of the Matter; The Tar-Aiym Krang; Bloodhype; Orphan Star; For Love Of Mother-Not; The Time Of The Transference

Fox, Gardner: Kothar Barbarian Swordsman; Kothar and the Conjurer's Curse; Kothar and the Wizard Slayer; Kothar and the Magic Sword; Kothar And The Demon Queen; Kyrik Warlock Warrior; Kyrik Fights The Demon World; Kyrik and the Lost Queen; Kyrik and the Wizards Sword; Warrior Of Llarn; Thief Of Llarn

Funke, Cornelia: Inkheart

Gardner, Craig Shaw: A Malady Of Magicks

Garner, Alan: The Moon Of Gomrath; The Weirdstone of Brisingamen; Elidor

Gemmell, David: Legend

Goldman, William: The Princess Bride

Glut, Donald F: The Empire Strikes Back

Green, Roger: King Arthur

Gygax, Gary: City Of Hawks; The Samarkand Solution; The Anubis Murders; Death In Delhi; City Of Hawks

Haggard, H. Rider: King Solomon's Mines; The People Of The Mist; The World's Desire; When The World Shook; She And Allan;  She; The Return Of She Ayesha

Haldeman, Joe:  The Forever War

Hambly, Barbara: The Time of the Dark; The Walls Of Air, The Armies of Daylight; The Ladies of Mandrigyn, Dragonsbane

Harrison, Harry: The Adventures Of The Stainless Street Rat; The Stainless Steel Rat

Harrison, M. John:  The Pastel City; A Storm Of Wings; In Viriconium; The Centauri Device; The Machine In Shaft 10

Heinlein, Robert: Glory Road; The Moon Is A Harsh Mistress; Starship Troopers

Herbert, Frank:  Dune

Hickman, Tracy:

Hodgson, W.H.: The House On The Borderland; The Night Land; Boats Of Glen Carrig; Carnacki The Ghost Finder; The Ghost Pirates

Holdstock, Robert:  Mythago Wood

Holmes, John Eric: Mahars of Pellucidar

Horwood, William:  Duncton Wood

Howard, Robert E.: Cthulhu; Sword Woman; Almuric; The People Of The Black Circle; Red Nails; Shadow Kingdoms; People Of The Dark; Beyond The Black River; The Hour Of The Dragon; Black Hounds Of Death; Conan 1; Conan Of Cimmeria 2; Conan the Freebooter 3; Conan the Wanderer 4; Conan the Adventurer 5; Conan the Buccaneer 6; Conan The Warrior 7; Conan The Usurper 8; Conan The Conqueror 9; Conan The Avenger 10; Conan Of Aquilonia 11; Conan of The Isles 12; Solomon Kane, The Hills Of The Dead; Skull-Face; Black Canaan; Swords Of Shahrazar; Marchers Of Valhalla, The Book Of Robert E. Howard; The Second Book Of Robert E. Howard; Tigers Of The Sea; Bran Mak Morn; Son Of The White Wolf; The Last Ride; The Lost Valley Of Iskander; Black Vulmea's Vengeance; The Vultures Of Whapeton; Pigeons From Hell; The Sowers Of The Thunder; The Iron Man; The Gods Of Bal-Sagoth

Hughart, Barry:  Bridge of Birds

Hyne, C J Cutliffe: The Lost Continent

Jackson, Steve: Fighting Fantasy; The Warlock of Firetop Mountain 1; The Citadel of Chaos 2; The Forest Of Doom 3; Deathtrap Dungeon 6; Curse Of The Mummy 27; Armies Of Death 36

Jakes, John: The Last Magicians; Brak The Barbarian; Mark of Demons; The Sorceress; The Fortunes Of Brak; When Idols Walked; Mention My Name In Atlantis

James, M.R.:

Kay, Guy Gavriel: The Summer Tree; Tigana

Kline, Otis Adelbert: Swordsman Of Mars;  Outlaw Of Mars; Planet of Peril; Port of Peril, Prince of Peril

Kuttner, Henry: Fury; The Mask Of Circe; Elak Of Atlantis, The Dark World, Robots Have No Tails

Kurtz, Katherine: Deryni Rising; Deryni Checkmate; High Deryni

Lanier, Sterling: Hiero’s Journey; The Unforsaken Hiero

Laumer, Keith:  Envoy To New Worlds; A Plague Of Demons

L’Engle, Madeleine: A Wrinkle In Time

Le Guin, Ursula: A Wizard Of Earthsea; The Left Hand Of Darkness; Tehanu; The Farthest Shore

Lee, Tanith: The Book Of The Damned I; The Book Of The Beast II; The Birthgrave; The Dragon Hoard; The Storm Lord,  Night’s Master, Death’s Master

Leiber, Fritz: Swords and Deviltry 1; Swords Against Death 2; Swords In The Mist 3; Swords And Wizardry 4; The Swords of Lankhmar 5; Swords and Ice Magic 6; The Knight and Knave of Swords; Heroes And Horrors

Lem, Stanislaw:  Solaris

Lewis, C.S.: The Voyage Of The Dawntreader; The Silver Chair

Lindsay, David: A Voyage To Arcturus

Livingston, Ian: The Forest Of Doom3, Deathtrap Dungeon 3; Armies Of Death 36; Curse Of The Mummy 27;

Lovecraft, H.P.: The Doom That Came To Sarnath; The Dream Quest of Unknown Kadath; The Shadow Over Innsmouth; At The Mountains Of Madness; The Lurker At The Threshold; The Tomb; The Watchers Out Of Time; At the Mountains of Madness Omnibus 1; Waking Up Screaming; The Dunwich Horror

Lumley, Brian: The Burrowers Beneath; The Transition Of Titus Crow; Spawn of the Winds; The Clock of Dreams; In The Moons Of Borea; Khai of Ancient Khem; Hero Of Dreams

MacDonald, George:  Lilith; Phantastes; The Princess And The Goblin; The Princess And The Curdie; Evanor; At The Back Of The North Wind; The Wise Woman

Machen, Arthur:  The Three Imposters; The Great God Pan

MacLiesh, Roderick:  Prince Ombra

Malory, Sir Thomas: Le Morte D'Arthur

Martin, George R.R.: Dying Of The Light; A Song Of Ice And Fire

Matheson, Richard: I Am Legend

McCaffery, Anne: The Ship Who Sang; Dinosaur Planet; Dragonflight 1

McKillip, Patricia:  Riddle-master of Hed

McKinley, Robin:  Hero And The Crown; The Blue Sword

Meredith, George:  The Shaving Of Shagpat

Merritt, A.: The Ship Of Ishtar; The Seven Footprints Of Satan; The Moon Pool; The Metal Monsters; The Face In The Abyss; Dwellers In the Mirage; Creep Shadow Creep

Miller, Walter: A Canticle For Leibowitz

Mirrlees, Hope:  Lud-in-the Mist

Moorcock, Michael: Legends From The End Of Time; The Jewel In The Skull; The Mad God’s Amulet; The Sleeping Sorceress; The Runestaff; The Lord of the Spiders; The Masters of the Pit; The City of the Beast; The Warlord of the Air; Stealer Of Souls; Stormbringer; Elric of Melnibone; Elric At The End Of Time; The Vanishing Tower; The King Of Swords 3; Sword of the Dawn; The Sailor On The Seas Of Fate; The Sword Of The Dawn

Moore, C.L.: Northwest Smith; Jirel Of Joiry

Morris, Janet: High Couch of Silistra; The Golden Sword

Morris, William: The Well At Worlds End I; The Well At Worlds End II; The Wood Beyond the World; The Water of the Wondrous Isles; The Sundering Flood; The Glittering Plain; The House Of The Wolfings; The Roots Of The Mountains

Mundy, Talbot: Tros Of Samothrace; Avenging Liafail 2; Liafail3; The Praetor's Dungeon 3; The Purple Pirate 6

Niven, Larry: The Man-Kzin Wars; A World Out Of Time; A Gift From Earth; Tales of Known Space; Neutron Star; The Magic May Return; The Magic Goes Away; The Flight of the Horse; Ringworld; World Of Ptavvs

Norman, John: Tarnsman Of Gor 1; Outlaw Of Gor 2; Priest-Kings Of Gor 3; Nomads Of Gor 4; Assassin Of Gor 5; Raiders Of Gor 6; Captive Of Gor 7; Hunters Of Gor 8; Marauders Of Gor 9, Tribesmen Of Gor 10, Slave Girl of Gor 11; Time Slave

Norton, Andre: Quag Keep; Exiles of the Stars; Warlock of Witch World; High Sorcery; Witch World; Sargasso Of Space; Lord Of Thunder

Nowlan, Philip F.: Armageddon 2419 A.D.

Offutt, Andrew J.: Demon In The Mirror 1; Eyes Of Sarsis 2; Web Of The Spider 3; Conan, The Sword of Skelos; Conan The Mercenary; Swords Against Darkness I; Swords Against Darkness II; Swords Against Darkness III; Swords Against Darkness IV; Swords Against Darkness V; The Iron Lords 1; Shadows Out Of Hell 2; The Lady Of The Snowmist 3; Sword of the Gael 1; The Undying Wizard 2; The Sign of the Moonbow 3; The Mists Of Doom 4;

Peake, Mervyn:  Ghormenghast; Titus Groan; Titus Alone

Piper, H. Beam: Space Viking; Little Fuzzy; Fuzzy Sapiens; Fuzzies And Other People; Lord Kalvan Of Otherwhen

Poe, Edgar Allan:  Collected Stories

Powers, Tim:  On Stranger Tides; The Anubis Gates

Pratchett, Terry: The Colour Of Magic; The Light Fantastic, Equal Rites, Mort

Pratt, Fletcher: Land Of Unreason; The Blue Star; The Well of the Unicorn; The Carnelian Cube

Saberhagen, Fred: The First Book Of Swords; Second Book Of Swords; Third Book Of Swords; Empire Of The East

Salmonson, Jessica: Amazons!

Schmitz, James: The Witches of Karres; The Demon Breed

Shackleford, Jack D.: Tanith

Shea, Michael: Color Out Of Time; A Quest For Simbilis; Nifft The Lean; The Incompleat Nifft; The Mines of Behemoth; The A`Rak

Sims, John:

Sirota, Mike: Master Of Boranga

Smith, Clark Ashton: Lost Worlds Volume 1; Lost Worlds Volume 2; Out Of Space And Time 1; Out Of Space And Time 2; The Abominations of Yondo; Genius Loci; Poseidonis; Zothique; Hyperborea; Xiccarph; Tales Of Science And Sorcery; Other Dimensions 1; Other Dimensions 2

Smith, David: Red Sonja 1; Red Sonya 2, Demon Knight; Red Sonja 3, When Hell Laughs; Black Vulmea, The Witch of the Indes

Smith, L. Neil: Lando Calrissian and the Midharp of Sharu; Lando Calrissian and the Starcave of Thonboka; Lando Calrissian and the Flamewind of Osean

Smith, E.E. ‘Doc’: Triplanetary

Spenser, Edmund:  The Faerie Queene

Springer, Nancy: The White Hart; The Silver Sun

St. Clair, Margaret: The Shadow People; Sign of the Labrys

Stapledon, Olaf:  Last And First Men; Starmaker

Stasheff, Christopher: The Warlock Wandering; The Warlock Rock; A Warlock's Blade; Warlock And Son; The Warlock Is Missing; Her Majesty's Wizard; King Kobold

Stewart, Mary: The Crystal Cave; The Hollow Hills; The Last Enchantment

Swann, Thomas: Green Phoenix; The Goat Without Horns; The Forest Of Forever; Day Of The Minotaur; Cry Silver Bells; Moondust; The Gods Abide

Taylor, Paul: The Elder Edda

Tierney, Richard: Red Sonja 1; Red Sonya 2, Demon Knight; Red Sonja 3, When Hell Laughs; The Drums Of Chaos

Tolkien, J.R.R.: The Hobbit; The Lord Of The Rings

Twain, Mark:  A Connecticut Yankee in King Arthur's Court

Tubb, E.C.: The Winds Of Gath 1; Derai 2; Toyman 3; Kalin 4; Jester Of Scar 5; Lallia 6; Technos 7; Veruchia 8; Mayenne 9; Jondelle 10; Zenya 11; Eloise 12; Eye Of The Zodiac 13; Jack Of Swords 14; Spectrum Of A Forgotten Sun 15; Haven Of Darkness 16; Prison Of Night 17; Incident of Ath 18; The Quillian Sector 19; Web Of Sand 20; Iduna's Universe 21; The Terra Data 22

Van Arnam, Dave: Star Barbarian

Van Vogt, A.E.: The Voyage Of The Space Beagle; Quest For The Future

Vance, Jack: The Languages Of The Pao; The Dragon Masters; The Best of Jack Vance; The Dying Earth; The Eyes of the Overworld; Cugel’s Saga; Rhialto The Marvelous; Trullion, Alastor 2262; Wyst, Alastor 1716; Marune, Alastor 933; The Faceless Man 1; The Brave Free Men 2; The Astura 3; Lyonesse 1; The Green Pearl 2; Madouc 3; The Face 4; The Blue World; Galactic Effectuator; Big Planet; City Of The Chasch 1; Servants of the Wankh 2; The Dirdir 3; The Pnume 4; The Last Castle; The Palace of Love; The Book of Dreams

Verne, Jules: The Mysterious Island; A Journey To The Centre Of The Earth;

Voltaire:  Candide

Walton, Evangeline:  The Island of the Mighty; The Children Of Llyr; The Song Of Rhiannon; Prince of Annwyn

Wagner, Karl E: Bloodstone; Death Angel’s Shadow; Dark Crusade; Legion From The Shadows

Weinbaum, Stanley; The Black Flame; A Martian Odyssey

Wellman, Manly Wade: The Old Gods Waken; The Hanging Stones; The Lost And The Lurking; After Dark; Silver John; Who Fears The Devil?

White, Theodore: The Once and Future King

Williams, Robert M.: Return of Jongor

Williamson, Jack: The Trial Of Terra; The Legion Of Space

Wolfe, Gene: The Shadow of the Torturer 1; The Citadel Of The Autarch 4

Zelazny, Roger: Nine Princes In Amber; The Guns of Avalon; Sign of the Unicorn; The Hand of Oberon; The Courts of Chaos; Jack Of Shadows; Dilvish, The Damned; The Changing Land; Isle of the Dead; Trumps of Doom; Blood Of Amber; Sign Of Chaos; Knight Of Shadows; Prince of Chaos, The Chronicles Of Amber 1

Sunday, March 23, 2014

Witch: Day 28

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The Witch has survived 27 days in the Magic Realm.  She awakens on Day 28, ready for one last chance to recover treasure and defeat monsters.

Sometimes Magic Realm games are wild affairs, with mad scrambles to the finish line, securing the last few victory points.  This game will end with a whimper, not a bang.  The Witch has already accumulated an impressive score of 41, all from defeating monsters while in Dragon form. 
As indicated at the start of this play-by-play, the Witch is a great Magic Realm character to select, as she can absorb the Tremendous Flying Dragon and defeat nearly any other monster in the game.  The strategy requires that the Witch quickly fly to distant parts of the realm and search, patiently, for the right absorb monster opportunity.

On her final day in the Realm, the Witch intends to continue looting the Octopus Pool.  Regardless of the monster roll, the witch will, using her second of two prepared black mana chits, transform, again, into the Tremendous Flying Dragon.  While in Dragon Form, the Witch will not suffer fatigue from looting the Octopus Pool.  If monsters arrive at the end of the day, the Witch will already be in Dragon form, ready to destroy them. 

It may be time for the Witch to adopt another familiar: her Cat has had poor luck, lately, with its hidden path search attempts.  Perhaps its eyesight is failing?

Witch: Search, Search, Search, Search
Familiar: Peer, Peer, Peer, Peer
The monster die roll is a 2: Serpents and Demons.  A disappointing Day 28 result, as no monsters will arrive in the Cliff.

The Witch's familiar fails all four peer attempts.  Sigh.  Time for Kitty to be given a soft pillow in some corner of the Witch's hovel, and a new more perceptive Black Cat brought into the fold.
The Witch uses her final black mana to transform into the Tremendous Flying Dragon, and then performs four loot attempts.  She recovers two more treasures from the Pool, the Map of the Ruins, and the Battle Bracelets.
The Map of the Ruins are useless to us, since it is the end of the game.  The Battle Bracelets are worth 2 Fame and 4 Notoriety.  The addition of the Battle Bracelets to the Witch's inventory, and the relatively minor increases in total fame and notoriety, increases the Witch's game score from 41 to 48.
Meanwhile, at the Inn: the Black Knight and Sorceror spend the last Day in the Magic Realm looting back the items they sold to the Rogues before they slaughtered them yesterday.  The exchange some gold with each other during the last phase of Day 28.  At the end of the Day, we calculate our final games scores:
The Sorceror and Black Knight racked up impressive scores, using the sell-kill-loot strategy, each finishing with a +22.  The Witch more than doubled their individual scores, with a +48.  As you can see, the Witch can beat even the powerful Black Knight/Sorceror team using her absorb essence strategy.

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Saturday, March 22, 2014

Witch: Day 27

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Only two days left in the Witch's adventures in the Magic Realm.  She and her Familiar are in the Cliff, looking for hidden paths and the Octopus Pool.  They will continue to do so today, on Day 27, while waiting for the arrival of the Bats and Giant Octopus, who the Witch intends to kill while transformed into the Tremendous Flying Dragon.

Witch: Search, Search, Search, Search
Familiar: Peer, Peer, Peer, Peer
The monster die roll on Day 27 is a one:  Dragons.  The Witch has already eliminated the Heavy Flying Dragons that can appear in the Cliff, so there will be no combat here today.

The Witch's Familiar Peers four times, and fails to find the hidden path in the Cliff.
The Witch searches for the Pool, and finds it on her first of four search attempts.

This is a good opportunity to demonstrate one of the benefits of absorbing monsters.  In Magic Realm, characters must fatigue a chit with one effort asterisk each time they draw a treasure from the Pool, or attempt to loot the Cairns.  However, hired natives and Monsters are exempt from those treasure recovery exhaustion rules.  Therefore, before the Witch attempts to recover treasure from the Pool, she will use one of her two black mana chits to activate her absorb essence spell, transform into the Tremendous Flying Dragon, and loot the Pool while in Dragon form.  Because she is in Dragon form, the Witch will thereby avoid having to fatigue any chits.
The Witch selects one of her black mana chits, and uses it to active her Dragon form.  She then loots the Pool three times, recovering the Shielded Lantern, Vial of Healing, and Lost Keys, without suffering any fatigue.
The Shielded Lantern is a useful treasure, allowing an additional phase in Caves, and the Lost Keys are handy if you come across the Chest, Crypt or Vault.  None of these treasures will be of much use to the Witch, as she cannot reach any Caves or the Vault before the end of the game.  The Giant Bats stay where they are, so there is no combat for the Witch at the end of Day 27.

Meanwhile, the Black Knight and Sorceror travel to the Inn, sell most of their treasure to the Rogues, and then defeat them using their fiery blast spells and mace attacks.

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