Saturday, December 29, 2012

And The Band Played On...

Sale of pills at an all time high
Who put the filling in pie in the sky?
The city's aflame in the summertime
And the beat goes on...

Economics, reaganomics, birth control, the sound of soul
Shooting rockets to the moon, kids growing up too soon
The politicians say
And the band plays on...

Fear in the air, tension everywhere
Unemployment rising fast
Rocket's new record a gas
And the band played on...

Eve of destruction, tax deduction
City inspectors, tax collectors
Solid gold in demand, population out of hand
Suicide, too many bills
Everyone moving to the hills
People all over the world are dying in the wars
And the band played on...

Friday, December 28, 2012

Gothic Panels For Hirst Arts Dungeons

Here are some of my favorite Gothic decorated plates from Scibor Miniatures,

I'm intending to place an order with Scibor in the next couple of days, as i've got some paypal money that is just crying out to be spent.

The above pieces should make quite an impact on the look of my Hirst Arts dungeon.

Any recommendations on other manufacturers of interesting gothic wall accessory pieces?

Wednesday, December 26, 2012

A Hirst Arts Christmas

I can't possibly complete with others who deliver a more compelling Merry Christmas message: the angel of death is a poor substitute for the christmas angel. 

Still, these images represent some amazing Hirst Arts dungeon porn.  Full disclosure, i`m not responsible for the following dungeon pieces, nor the accompanying embellishments.

You can find the embellishments here, at Scibor Miniatures, and the forum thread at the Hirst Arts site, both of which you will find quite inspiring, if only from a Hirst Arts construction standpoint.

Sunday, November 25, 2012

Hirst Arts Walls

In original Dungeons and Dragons, Dwarves have the ability to note new construction in underground settings.  That OD&D Dwarven ability heavily informs my approach to Hirst Arts dungeon tile construction:  I am building tiles that feature different construction styles, depending on who built the particular dungeon area, and during what epochs they were built.

Hirst Arts provides a plethora of options, including gothic, fieldstone, egyptian, and other themed construction molds.  Even within those broad classifications, there are varied pillars and block sizes and shapes around which different construction styles can be aggregated.

I've been spending much of my limited spare time building wall sections.  I have plenty of floor sections.  The wall sections tend to be more complicated, with more pieces, so it has been a drawn-out process building them, not to mention that the related construction elements are more detailed and less common on the molds than those for floors.

Almost all of the currently buit walls have been built with gothic elements.  Because there are two different sizes of doors, door arches have to come in two different sizes, thus explaining the two photos above.  One doorway is peaked, the other is arched.

All of my floor tiles are built in 3"x 3" sections.  In order to create corner sections, I have sandpapered the edges of the walls where they connect at the corner.  Dental plaster is a pretty hardy material, so this takes some time.  I recommend wearing a filter mask while you are sandpapering, as you generate significant amounts of plaster dust.

There are several different sizes of wall bricks.  The above photo shows a "bricked-up" door arch, representing those door arches that have been bricked-up, to prevent access to the area beyond, or prevent whatever is behind the door from getting out.

Sunday, November 4, 2012

In Which Zombies Eat Our Brains

In celebration of Halloween, we played a couple of games of Zombicide, both last and this weekend.  I purchased Zombicide through one of several Kickstarters I recently participated in.  The rules are very easy to grasp, and Zombicide does a great job of emulating the Zombie-movie genre.  The zombies just keep piling on.

One of early forays into the land of zombies resulted in only one death, as Rob (playing the red figure in the centre of the photo above, and lying on its side in the photo below) "took one for the team" so that the other four survivors could escape with the food we had foraged.

Our most recent game of Zombicide did not end nearly as well: a Total Party Kill.  The picture below shows the last two survivors, Rob and Anita, completely surrounded by zombies, with a street-full of zombies pressing up right behind them.  At this point the survivors were out of molotov cocktails, and the rest of the party had already been eaten.

Thursday, October 25, 2012

Barrowmaze 2 Arrives

I arrived home late tonight -- a long day at the office, and then dinner with clients -- but this delivery really capped things off, in a good way: Barrowmaze 2, along with two Tomb-of-Horrors style illustration books, and the mega-map, arrived in the mail. 

Greg Gillespie did a terrific job with Barrowmaze.  The room descriptions are just long enough to be evocative without burdening the DM with endless walls of text.  In addition to the artwork in the illustration books, the Barrowmaze adventure book itself is crammed with illustrations.

My only quibble is the hard-cover book binding.  We in the OSR need to find a better way to package these old-school adventures, that allows the DM to keep the adventure books open and flat on the table, rather than using traditional book binding which results in the pages flipping unless you break the bookspine or place weighs on the page-edges to keep the book open.

Fantastic product.  I feel bad for those of you who missed out on this megadungeon crowdfunding project.

Monday, October 22, 2012

Pathfinder RPG: Rise Of The Runelords Miniatures

While the Pathfinder RPG is far too cumbersome for my tastes, I do admire Paizo's related miniatures. 

Reaper produces the unpainted versions, while Wizkids is behind the comparable pre-painted versions.

The Rise of the Runelords pre-painted miniatures were released several weeks ago, but I only recently picked up a case.  The Sentry Box, after no small amount of arm-twisting, finally agreed to sell me a case of 128 miniatures for $400, the same price that Paizo was advertising on their website.

I was looking forward to this set of miniatures, as it includes several miniatures based on the artwork of Wayne Reynolds, an artist whose illustrations I enjoy.

I didn't take photos of all of the miniatures, but here is a fairly representative sample of the figures that come in the Rise of the Runelords set.  Among the figures are several iconic characters, including Seoni (centre) and Harsk, some npcs and what I presume are succubi and harpies.

The grey giants in the back row are stone giants.  There is also a red dragon in the back row and a pair of lamias in the front row, plus some other monsters that must be peculiar to the Pathfinder game.

Here's another stone giant, who appears to be casting some sort of ice globe, flanked by more of those Pathfinder-specific monsters.

The above appear to be more monsters and npcs.  Someone who knows more about the Rise of the Runelords adventure path can probably identify these.  The sculpts and paint jobs are very well done, considering the regular-sized figures cost me only $2.50 each, with the large figures double that.

I'm not much of a fan of the Pathfinder goblins.  As part of the case of miniatures, I came into possession of 11 goblin miniatures:  3 goblin dogs, 2 dog riders, a goblin riding an alligator, and 5 goblins on foot.  I have no use for these (I have 50+ LOTRSBG goblins that I much prefer to these fellows) so if anyone is interested in these figs, i'm willing to part with them for $30, which includes shipping within North America.

Sunday, October 21, 2012

Motivation? Here's Your #$%&! Motivation!

"Now Commoriom, as all the world knows, was deserted many hundreds of years ago because of the prophecy of the White Sybil of Polarion, who foretold an undescribed and abominable doom for all mortal beings who should dare to tarry within its environs. Some say that this doom was a pestilence that would have come from the northern waste by the paths of the jungle tribes. Others, that it was a form of madness. At any rate, no one, neither king nor priest nor merchant nor laborer nor thief, remained in Commoriom to abide its arrival, but all departed in a single migration to found at the distance of a day's journey the new capital, Uzuldaroum. And strange tales are told, of horrors and terrors not to be faced or overcome by man, that haunt forevermore the shrines and mausoleums and palaces of Commoriom. And still it stands, a luster of marble, a magnificence of granite, all a-throng with spires and cupolas and obelisks that the mighty trees of the jungle have not yet overtowered, in a fertile inland valley of Hyperborea. And men say that in its unbroken vaults there lies entire and undespoiled as of yore the rich treasure of olden monarchs; that the high-built tombs retain the gems and electrum that were buried with their mummies; that the fanes have still their golden altar-vessels and furnishings, the idols their precious stones in ear and mouth and nostril and navel."

-- Clark Ashton Smith, The Tale of Satampra Zeiros

Saturday, October 13, 2012

Otherworld Miniatures Crowd-Funding: Dungeon Adventurers

Otherworld Miniatures is running a crowd-funding campaign on indiegogo, featuring four, 12-miniature sets of dungeon adventurers.  And you're not participating in this, why?

For $280, you get all four, 12-miniature figure sets (a total of 48 miniatures): male adventurers, demi-humans, females, and hirelings and henchmen.  Plus, as the stretch goals are unlocked, a whole raft of additional figures and adventure-dressing get added to your pledge. 

Check out some of the miniatures that have already been produced for this crowd-funding campaign:  here are the fighter, magic-user, cleric and thief miniatures from the first 12-figure set.

It's no secret that I consider Otherworld Miniatures the premium producer of old-school minis.  I've posted about their miniatures on several occasions, about their pig-faced orcs and lizardmen, both faithful reproductions of the original artwork for those monsters.  They also recently released an awesome lich, which is on my "must-buy" list.

The Dungeon Adventurers crowd-funding campaign is attractive to me because the figures are incredibly old-school, complete with light-sources and backpacks (see below).

Compare that to your typical figure from other manufacturers, which are uniformly heroically posed and are absent any evidence that the represented characters are actually dungeon-delving.

Thursday, October 11, 2012

Hirst Arts: Pairs of Stairs

I have a small box of Hirst Arts stair elements, so I decided to build a couple of 10' sections of dungeon stairs. 

The front-most staircase is made from Hirst Arts chipped stone stair elements, while the staircase in the rear is built from the smooth, marble elements.  The stairs descend at a 45 degree angle. 

You'd need to put three of these staircases together to repesent your typical 30' staircase, found in many dungeon designs.  Suddenly a 30' staircase seems awfully imposing!

Wednesday, October 10, 2012

Hirst Arts: Platform

I'm still playing around with the Hirst Arts construction elements.  Here is a raised platform, with two sets of stairs on either side.  With so many elements at my disposal, I am trying to find ways of using up all of the excess pieces. 

The platform comes apart in four sections, and each is 3" x 3", which is my favored scale for 10' x 10' dungeon tiles.  Using a scale of 1" = 3'4" allows for walls on the section, while still permitting two miniatures abreast on your typical hallway.

Sunday, September 23, 2012

More Hirst Arts Scenery

With the summer winding down, and autumn arriving, we come to the end of the Hirst Arts casting season in Canada.  Good weather is required for plaster casting, as the heat is needed for the plaster to set up.  It gets too cold in the autumn and winter to do much casting.

Most of the Hirst Arts molds have been put away, as well as the plaster and the related paraphernalia.  A couple of days have already been spent on scenery building.  The above columned chamber will serve as a "throne room of the gods" in an on-going campaign.

The second piece of Hirst Arts scenery is a traveller's bridge, useful as a choke point over a raging river.  This will be brought to bear once we return to our Lord Of the Rings tabletop battle games.

I've got my eye on a couple of additional Hirst Arts molds, but there's no hurry buying them, since I won't be getting back to casting until next summer.  Hopefully the Canadian Dollar continues to ride high, making the molds more economical to purchase.

Friday, September 21, 2012

Will The Real Mitt Romney Please Stand Up

You all act like you haven't seen a Mormon before
Jaws down on the floor, i'm not concerned about the very poor

I got that wrong, sorry, that's not what I meant
I want every American to be in the top one percent

I'm really named Willard, that is my first name
Not looking for a colony on the moon just someone to blame

I like to fire people, I love cars, and I love lakes
I'm running for political office, for Pete's sake!

With regards to abortion, am I Pro-life or Pro-choice?
I firmly believe in my own singing voice

I'm more concerned about banks, they're unable to lend
Corporations are people too, my friend!

My dog is on the roof. My dog is on the roof.
Who let the dogs out? Who? Who? Who?

Understand i'm an exception, the Obama contraception
Not a vulture, i'm an eagle, I get my lawn cut by illegals

There will be an influx. of Hispanic voters in trucks
Look, if you don't believe me, bet ten thousand bucks?

Well, I made a lot of money, matter of factually
I drive a couple of Cadillacs. actually

I have emotion and passion. That's a joke for the record.
But if you want the soul of America restored, come on board
Take your fair share, every Mormon wave your underwear

I'm Mitt Romney. Yes, I'm the real Romney.
All the other Mitt Romneys are just mass debating.
So would the real Mitt Romney please stand up, please stand up, please stand up.

I'm Mitt Romney. Yes, I'm the real Romney.
All the other Mitt Romneys are just mass debating.
So would the real Mitt Romney please stand up, please stand up, please stand up.

Tuesday, September 11, 2012

Resource Cards: Swords N Wizardry Kickstarter

I was sorely tempted to participate in the recent Swords and Wizardry kickstarter.  I don't really need another copy of Swords and Wizardry, but one of the add-ons was sets of resource cards, something dear to my heart.  Unfortunately, there we no proofs or previews of the actual cards, or I might have pledged.

It will be interesting to watch the post-completion updates to the kickstarter, to see if they provide some sample cards.

Sunday, August 26, 2012

Resource Decks: Publication Order

Here's a list of various resource decks, along with a possible publication order.

Saturday, August 25, 2012

Resource Card Color Wheel

It's been some time since I last worked on my resource card project. That project plods along as i'm still trying to build the framework within which I can ground the card categories themselves. One of the difficulties is trying to establish color-coding that the cards will use, to define what they are and who can use them. Here is most recent effort.

The chosen colors are intended to evoke a related mood.  White is attached to the Paladins, Grapplers (Monks) and Clerics, as those are the three "good" classes.  Conversely, black (evil) is connected to the Necromancers, Xsionicists and Witches/Warlocks.  Locations are assigned the color brown since many of the locations are (obviously) above earth or underground.  Monsters are dangerous and thus have the color red.  Treasure has been connected to the color orange as it is reminiscent of the color of gold.  Yellow is used for the Fighters, Valkyries and Knights because they are the bold classes.  Druids, Rangers and Barbarians are all connected to nature and the wilderness, and have thus been assigned the color green.  Thieves, Assassins and Jongleurs (Bards) use the color blue since it is the color of shadows.  Purple is a mysterious color, and is appropriate for Sorcerers, Magic Users and Illusionists.  And finally, mundane equipment is assigned the color grey or silver.

Thursday, August 23, 2012

Since You're Pledging For Reaper's Bones...

In addition to your $100 pledge towards an insane number of Reaper miniatures, you may want to give consideration to another worthy Kickstarter project, a Dungeons and Dragons documentary.

 $40 gets you a copy of the Blu-ray version of the D&D documentary, with a planned release date of 2014, to coincide with the 40th anniversary of Dungeons and Dragons' original publication.

The Kickstarter Pitch from Dungeons & Dragons A Documentary on Vimeo.

Sunday, August 19, 2012

Dance After Curfew

I was hunting (again) for Nash The Slash's cover version of "We're An American Band" but I just can't find an adequate video.  So we'll have to settle for "Dance After Curfew" and Grand Funk Railroad's original version.

Thursday, August 16, 2012

New Appendix N Discoveries

I've finally returned home from vacation, along with 24 used books for my Appendix N collection.  Although I visited nearly every used bookstore in the lower mainland, I discovered almost all of the purchased titles at The Book Man in Chilliwack, B.C.  Never fear; there were still plenty of Appendix N books remaining on the shelves as I departed. 

What a great store.  I had the good fortune to meet the co-owner, David (above), at their Abbotsford location, who was super-helpful in finding several titles for me.

Here is the collection of books I purchased.

Among the titles:  She (H. Rider Haggard); The Palace of Love and The Book of Dreams (Jack Vance); Figures of Earth, Cream of the Jest, and Domnei (James Branch Cabell); Tros of Samothrace (Talbot Mundy); Flashing Swords #4, Thongor and the End of Time, and Journey to the Underground World (Lin Carter); The Stealer of Souls and The Vanishing Tower (Michael Moorcock); Mayenne and Kalin (E. C. Tubb); The Dark World (Henry Kuttner); Black Vulmea's Vengeance, Conan the Freebooter, and Son of the White Wolf (Robert E. Howard); Red Sonya 1 (David C. Smith); Hero of Dreams (Brian Lumley); Lost Worlds 1 (Clark Ashton Smith); The Best of Fredric Brown; The Phoenix and the Mirror (Avram Davidson); and Kothar and the Wizard Slayer (Gardner F. Fox).

Tuesday, August 7, 2012

Appendix N: August 2012

Since it's nearly vacation time again, that means more hunting through endless stacks of books at innumerable small-town second-hand bookshops between Calgary and Vancouver.  My Appendix N list comes in handy at those locations, as i've already purchased the books in black text.  I just need to look for the ones in red. 

Abbey, Lynn:

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

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

Ariosto, Ludovico: Orlando Furioso

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

Bellairs, John: The Face In The Frost

Bellamy, Francis R : Atta

Bloodstone, John: Thundar Man Of Two Worlds

Bloch, Robert: Strange Eons

Bok, Hannes: The Sorcerers Ship

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

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

Brooks, Terry: The Sword of Shannara

Brown, Fredric:  The Best Of Fredric Brown

Brunner, John: Secret Agent Of Terra;

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; 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;

Campbell, J Ramsey: Demons by Daylight

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; 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.:

Cook, Glen: The Black Company

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

deCamp, L. Sprague: The Complete Compleat Enchanter; The Compleat Enchanter; Lovecraft, A Biography; Warlocks and Warriors; The Fallible Fiend; Conan The Barbarian; Conan And The Spider God; Lest Darkness Fall; The Tritonian Ring; The Carnelian Cube; The Emperors Fan; The Reluctant King; The Unbeheaded King; The Goblin Tower; The Clocks Of Iraz; The Queen Of Zamba

Derleth, August: The Trail of Cthuhlu

Dickson, Gordon R.:

Donaldson, Stephen: Thomas Covenant The Unbeliever

Doyle, Sir Arthur Conan: The Lost World

Dumas, Alexandre: The Three Musketeers

Dunsany, Lord: The King Of Elfland’s Daughter; Over the Hills and Far Away; The Charwoman's Shadow

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

Ende, Michael: The Neverending Story

Farmer, Philip Jose: The Maker Of Universes 1; The Gates Of Creation 2; A Private Cosmos 3; 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

Funke, Cornelia: Inkheart

Gardner, Craig Shaw: A Malady Of Magicks

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

Gemmell, David: Legend

Goldman, William: The Princess Bride

Glut, Donald F: The Empire Strikes Back

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

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

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

Heinlein, Robert: Glory Road

Hickman, Tracy:

Hodgson, W.H.: The House On The Borderland

Holmes, John Eric: Mahars of Pellucidar

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; Bran Mak Morn; Son Of The White Wolf; The Last Ride; The Lost Valley Of Iskander; Black Vulmea's Vengeance; The Vultures Of Whapeton

Hyne, C J Cutliffe: The Lost Continent

Jakes, John: Brak The Barbarian; Mark of Demons; The Sorceress; The Fortunes Of Brak

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

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

Kuttner, Henry: 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

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 Storm Lord, The Birthgrave, The Dragon Hoard, 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

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; Waking Up Screaming; The Dunwich Horror

Lumley, Brian: The Burrowers Beneath; The Transition Of Titus Crow; Hero Of Dreams

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

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

Miller, Walter: A Canticle For Leibowitz

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

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

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

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; Eyes Of Sarsis; Web Of The Spider; 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; The Undying Wizard; Cormac Mac Art;

Piper, H. Beam: Space Viking

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 Sonja 3, When Hell Laughs;

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

Springer, Nancy: The White Hart; The Silver Sun

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

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

Tierney, Richard: Red Sonja 1; Red Sonja 3, When Hell Laughs;

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

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;

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 Wanhk 2; The Dirdir 3; The Pnume 4; Suldrun's Garden; The Last Castle; The Palace of Love; The Book of Dreams

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

Wagner, Karl E: Bloodstone, Death Angel’s Shadow, Dark Crusade

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

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

Wednesday, August 1, 2012

The Hobbit Movie Production Video 8

The light at the end of the tunnel. Exciting stuff.

Tuesday, July 24, 2012

Why America Is The Greatest Country In The World

He failed to mention that America is also number one ... in guns per capita.

Sunday, July 15, 2012

Appendix N: Display Bookcases That Almost Were

With birthdays fast approaching, a decision had to be made whether to buy ten of these Costco bookcases for my Appendix N paperback, Microgame, RPG, LOTR Strategy Battle Game miniatures, and boardgames collections, or buy a new iPad for the wife.

The manufacturer would have even shipped me two FREE shelves per bookcase, giving me seven shelves per bookcase.  All I`d be required to do is pay for the shipping.

That would have worked out to 70 shelves on which to display my various collections.

But in the end the iPad won out, which is as it should be. 

Sigh.  I`m consoled by the knowledge that slightly superior bookcases were on sale at Costco about six months ago, so it seems probable that the opportunity to purchase some nice bookcases will come around, again, in the not-to-distant future.

Saturday, July 14, 2012

DnD Spells: Massmorph

Messenger To Macbeth
As I did stand my watch upon the hill,
I look'd toward Birnam, and anon, methought,
The wood began to move.
Liar and slave!
Let me endure your wrath, if't be not so:
Within this three mile may you see it coming;
I say, a moving grove.
If thou speak'st false,
Upon the next tree shalt thou hang alive,
Till famine cling thee: if thy speech be sooth,
I care not if thou dost for me as much.
I pull in resolution, and begin
To doubt the equivocation of the fiend
That lies like truth: 'Fear not, till Birnam wood
Do come to Dunsinane:' and now a wood
Comes toward Dunsinane. Arm, arm, and out!
If this which he avouches does appear,
There is nor flying hence nor tarrying here.
I gin to be aweary of the sun,
And wish the estate o' the world were now undone.
Ring the alarum-bell! Blow, wind! come, wrack!
At least we'll die with harness on our back.

While Shakespeare's march of Birnam Wood was an effective, if mundane, ruse, Gygax and Company give us the magical alternative:  Massmorph. 

This is yet another of the many utlility and miscellaneous spells that provide early versions of Dungeons and Dragons with their richness and depth. 

While my preference leans towards the player-created or organically-introduced spells, the existence of Massmorph and other non-combat spells within the DnD lexicon is welcomed. 

And it doesn't hurt that the apparent inspiration for this spell is found within the works of one of the greatest playwrights of western civilization.

House For Sale In Citadel

My neighbor (the house on the far left side of the picture) is selling her house, as she is downsizing and wants to move to a house closer to where she works.  Great opportunity for one of you folks to move into Citadel ...

Okay, truth be told, i'm just looking for more gamers to move onto the culdesac.  I was complaining yesterday to Timeshadows of The Grand Tapestry that i'm not getting much in the way of gaming these days. 

Maybe some more die-hard gamers on the culdesac would help!

That's my house, the one the far right-hand side of the picture, with the silver car in the driveway.  Cloudy day today, which is fine by me, it's been a sweltering week and i'm glad of the respite.

Sunday, July 1, 2012

Happy Canada Day

In Canada, we celebrate the 4th of July three days early.  Happy Canada Day, fellow DnD bloggers!

Monday, June 25, 2012

DnD Spells: Shape Change

Shape Change is a ninth level Magic-User spell that evokes remembrances of that wonderful wizard's duel in the Disney film, The Sword In The Stone. 

Like the Magic-User spell, Gate, it's a shame this spell is reserved for high-level Magic-Users, as it would be fun to play out a wizard duel at low to mid-levels.

Thursday, June 21, 2012

David Trampier's Gamma World Cover

Sure, I like the Erol Otus Gamma World art well enough, but I still prefer the David Trampier Gamma World Cover.

Monday, June 18, 2012

The Hilarious House Of Frightenstein

Where else was a six-year old supposed to go for his horror-fix?

Sunday, June 17, 2012

Second Generation DnD Illustrators

I consider Parkinson, Elmore and Caldwell to be premiere members of the second generation of DnD illustrators.  Technically proficient, that group of artists raised the bar when it came to the quality of art appearing in Dungeons and Dragons publications.

But while they brought a more professional look to DnD game materials, their skill came at too high a price.  Dungeons and Dragons art became increasingly disconnected from the game itself.

Fewer and fewer covers and interior illustrations reflected what Dungeons and Dragons was all about. 

Instead, we had posing and posturing of highly fantasized personalities. 

Here are three illustrations, by Parkinson, Elmore and Caldwell, gracing the covers of Dragon Magazines, that are representative of the second generation of Dungeons and Dragons art.

Yes, these are excellent examples of fantasy art, but none provide any insight into, or reflect the major themes of, Dungeons and Dragons.

Saturday, June 16, 2012

My Three-Dollar ADnD Players Handbook

Sometimes its just a matter of right place, right time. 

I've mentioned before that there are a couple of charity booksales in Calgary, one sponsored by our local public radio station, CBC 1010, and the other by our local daily newspaper, The Calgary Herald.

I took a couple of hours off, yesterday to visit the Calgary Herald booksale, and came across this almost pristine copy of the ADnD Players Handbook.  I'm not sure that it has even been opened, as the binding was so tight it made a soft cracking sound when I opened it.

And they sold the PHB to me for $3.

Thursday, June 14, 2012

DnD Spells: Gate

"Jagreen Lern has succeeded in making a sizable breach in the Law-constructed barrier which has hitherto kept the creatures of Chaos from wholly ruling our planet.  He is forever widening this breach as his power increases.  This explains how he could summon such a mighty assembly of Hell's nobility where, in the past, it was hard to bring even one of the Dukes of Hell to our plane."

-- Michael Moorcock, "Stormbringer"

Few of the DnD campaigns that I participated in ever reached the player character levels necessary to access ninth level magic-user spells.  One of those spells, Gate, permits the magic-user to open a gate to another plane and entreat a powerful entity to come to the caster's aid.

I've always wanted to include scrolls with spells like this, as treasure.  To have a powerful one-shot item that the players could use, in this case, to gate in a powerful entity, would be handy for those occasions where the party is overmatched and otherwise needs some deus-ex-machina intervention by the DM to survive.

The problem is that a lower-level magic user are more apt to write the spell into their spell-book (for use when they reach the necessary level) as keep the scroll as a one-use item, thus defeating the point of scrolls as one-shot magic items.

Tuesday, June 12, 2012

The Dwellers Under The Tombs

The final page of Jonas Kiles' journal:

"I wonder how Jacob Kiles discovered these subterranean ways?  He did not construct them.They were carved out of dim caverns and solid rock by the hands of forgotten men -- how long ago I dare not venture a conjecture. 

While hiding here, waiting for the time to be ripe, I have amused myself by exploring them.  I have found they are far more extensive than I had suspected.  The hills must be honeycombed with them, and they sink into the earth at an incredible depth, tier below tier, like the stories of a building, each tier connected with the one below by a single stairway.

Old Jacob Kiles must have used these tunnels, at least those of the upper tiers, for the storing of plunder and contraband.  He built the entrance tomb to mask his real activities, and of course cut the secret entrance, a stone door hung on a pivot.  He must have discovered the burrows by means of the hidden entrance at Smuggler's Point.  The concealed door he constructed there was a mess of rotting splinters and rusting metal when I found it.  As no one ever discovered it after him, it is not likely anyone will find the new door which I built with my own hands, to replace the old one.

I have wondered much as to the identity of the race which must have once inhabited these labyrinths.  I have found no bones or skulls, though I have discovered, in the upper tiers, curiously hardened copper implements.  On the next few tiers I have found stone implements, down to the tenth tier, where they disappeared.

Also, on the topmost tiers, I found portions of walls decorated with paintings, faded but evidencing great skill.  The picture paintings on lower tiers were cruder than those of the tiers above, until the last paintings were but meaningless daubs, such as an ape might make with a paintbrush.  One gets a fantastic impression of an imprisoned race, burrowing deeper and deeper into the black earth, century by century, and losing more of their human attributes as they sank to each new level.

The fifteenth tier is without rhyme or reason, the tunnels running aimlessly, without apparent plan -- so striking a contrast to the top-most tiers, a triumph of ancient architecture, that it is difficult to believe them to have been constructed by the same race.  Many centuries must have elapsed during the building of the tiers, and the builders must have become greatly degraded.

But the fifteenth tier is not the end of these mysterious burrows.  The doorway opening on the single stairway at the lowest tier was blocked by stones.  Prompted by curiosity, I cleared away the debris, in spite of the tax it was on my strength, and opened a hole, this very day, although I did not have time to explore what lay beneath.  Indeed I doubt I could do so, for my light showed me not the usual series of stone steps, but a steep smooth shaft leading down into the blackness.

Into what unthinkable pits it leads I do not care to even guess.  For some reason, the realization that the fifteenth tier descent is not a stepped shaft gives me a strange creepy feeling, and led me to fantastic conjectures regarding the ultimate fate of the race that once inhabited these hills.  I had supposed that the diggers, sinking lower and lower in the scale of life, had become extinct in the lower tiers, although I have found no remains to justify my theories.

Tonight I leave this infernal retreat forever.  Nor will I be sorry, for the eternal darkness and silence are beginning to shake even my iron nerves.  I am becoming imaginative: even as I write, I seem to hear stealthy sounds, as of things creeping up from below."

-- Robert E. Howard, "The Dwellers Under The Tombs"

Sunday, June 10, 2012

Dragon Magazine Collection: June 2012

Still busy filling holes in my Dragon Magazine collection. I came across another six missing Dragon Magazines, and also decided I might as well expand my collection past issue 145.

I've been looking for Dragon Magazine issue 140 for a while now.  It features one of the few Larry Elmore illustrations that I consider to be Dungeons and Dragons art.  In this case, a female cleric healing a stricken warrior.  It's an imperfect illustration, from an old-school perspective, since the depicted scene is almost entirely devoid of menace.  The female cleric seems unconcerned by the proximity of the giant, and the giant's glance towards the cleric seems half-hearted.

You can't help but be impressed, though, with Elmore's skill and attention to detail.  Consider the treatment given to helmets, weapons, chainmail and how the snow interfaces with the two human subjects.