First Distant Messenger

Comets have long been a sign of troubles so it was to no surprise that troubles were upon the citizens of Earth when Oumuamua first speed through the solar system in 2017. Shootings were frequent from within the borders of this ‘most prosperous’ nation while the government continued to cast suspicion upon people thrust in regional conflicts halfway around the world and the resultant convoys of desperate refugees.

Elsewhere, governments closed ranks and nationalism and xenophobia spread like a virus. As the mysterious object gained speed and raced away, speculation dwindled to the occasional over-the-shoulder wonder.

Perhaps it wasn’t just a rock.

ESO/M. Kornmesser

Meanwhile the oceans continued to warm and rise, fossil fuels dwindled, food supplies concentrated to enclaves of influence and power. Business, in other words, carried on as usual.

Everything was carrying on so much as it was, or at least the trajectory that it was heading, that few noticed the anomalies in the mapping satellites. Features on the ground exhibited nearly undetected traces of manipulation. A feature once there, now gone. A stretch of road subtly rerouted. Image details months older than other details miles away.

Notes from the Keep II

I deleted my MeWe account. Too frustrating.

I’ve been exploring Discord, which has some features that I like, most notably the potential to jump in on a game while the children are napping, etc. It’s a mess of things going different directions, however.

Generally though, my OSR Social Media Plan is to just ride G+ out.

A lot of interestingness in these Ritualising D&D Spells. I enjoy mechanical elements that inform on the game world, and these certainly do that.

This good thing, better: Tomb of the Serpent Kings v4

The cover to the novel The Time of the Dark (Darwath, #1) by Barbara Hambly; Artist Unknown


How to Write Usable Room Descriptions A good reminder to be concise and packed with kinetic energy. Something that I fail at even when writing in my personal notebook.

Map by Quentin Forestier

B/X: Unearthed Arcana Illusionist Spells

Whispering Wind

Range: 1 mile per level

Duration: Special

This spell allows the illusionist to send a message or other sound via the wind to a distant location within range.

• The destination must be known to the illusionist.

• The message travels on the wind, unnoticed, at a speed of up to 10 miles per hour.

• Once it reaches the designated destination, the wind delivers the illusionist’s message — up to 100 words or one minute of other sound.

• The message is whisper quiet, relayed by the susurrations of the air, but can be heard by all within 30′ of the destination.

• Even if no one is present to hear it, the message is automatically delivered.

Away With the Faeries (a racial mechanic) I’m wary of new stats but this simple little thing adds quite a lot, reinforcing the peculiarities of the game world.

I Swear Upon Your Death I love this sword.


Rambles: Digging up the past?

Once I removed the strata of garbage which composed the wasteland, such as all the modern fantasy and science fiction, once I dug deeper and deepr and uncovered the real dungeon did it all start to make sense. Fantasy genuinely only began making true sense to me when I found Conan, Elric and the stories of Vance..

Impromptu OD&D Session Report On my gamestart bucketlist.

A Severe Lack of Creativity (But Also 3 New GLOG Classes)


The Fencer is a melee glass cannon: it’s able to do way more damage than seems reasonable, but a single good hit could get him rolling on your favorite Death & Dismemberment table.

The Fencer rolls 1d4 instead of 1d6 when generating HP.

Face net not mandatory.

A: Improved Critical

B: Challenge, +1 Critical Margin

C: Bleed Out, +1 Critical Margin

D: Nimble Strike, +1 Critical Margin

A: Improved Critical

The Fencer’s experience makes it easier for them to accurately strike: they Critical Hit on rolls of 19 or 20, decreasing with each Fencer template. (On Template D, a Fencer would Critical Hit on rolls above 16.)

B: Challenge

The Fencer can challenge opponents to duels: in combat, the target must Save or be goaded by his calls. Outside of combat, nobles, knights, bandits, mercenaries, and similar will begin combat: if the Fencer wins, he gains +3 to Charisma when persuading the duel’s audience.

C: Bleed Out

Successful attacks by the Fencer deal 1d4 CON damage as well as their normal damage.

D: Nimble Strike

When using a one-handed weapon, the Fencer can make 2+DEX mod attacks per round.

Further Into The Forest As Zak pointed out, these are not only good, they’re concise and good. A worthy ring. Also, I’m currently building a forest and some of these are definitely going in.

John Harris

even if it’s eight different games

Imagine a table at a wedding:

There’s a conversation going on. Everyone can hear it but not everybody has to talk. There’s rarely an embarrassing silence, though, because there’s at least one person there who just really wants to get to the heart of the matter of whatever this conversation is about and so will start talking if there’s a lull.

Once in a while, no matter who you are, you will be called upon to perform simple, well-defined tasks. “Can you pass the peas?””Are you going to hit the rust monster or do something else?” This is easy for pretty much anybody and doesn’t put you on the spot.

Nothing necessarily stops you from doing something mechanically novel like, say, putting olives on your pancakes, but the conversation and the meal will keep on even if you don’t.

Nothing stops you from interjecting with your own ideas “Well I think Sigmund Freud was full of shit!””I think we should tie the displacer beast up before we try to sell it to the mountain gnome,” and thus taking the conversation in a whole new direction, but the conversation will keep going if you don’t.

This is normal, this is what all kinds of people do every day. They are shy and insecure or apathetic about the subject or the company they’re in and when they become comfortable or the conversation moves to a place they have ideas about, then they talk.

In D&D, as a player, you can (often, not always) choose to grapple hard with the scenario (“I look in the desk,””I write ‘xvarts suck’ on the wall with a rock”, “I mix the growth and shrinking potions together to see what happens”) or you can sit back and roll dice when it’s necessary and just regard what the DM and the more aggressive players are doing as entertainment, like a movie where you have a choice.

In other words, D&D supports several playing styles simultaneously (assuming the DM’s any good). In a good game, everybody’s playing the game they want to play, even if it’s eight different games.

Right here, I should say something: the ‘passive player’ is rarely forever passive.

Playing D&D with Pornstars: How Much Do You Want To Be A Wizard?

Notes from the Keep I

First, a little wisdom

Writing and Illuminating and Lettering by Edward Johnston, via Jeff Rients

The good craftsman seeks out the commonplace and tries to master it, knowing that originality comes of necessity and not of searching.

Gamma World 1e (aka the best edition) is available in pdf and print on demand at drivethru


[Modern Book of Lairs] II: Aboleth – Secumbei’s Bath House

I come back to this often, for some reason. It’s a good scenario, but also the hand drawn to blog post, though impractical, is refreshing.

Dan’s Notebook of Unfinished Wonders & Dan’s Notebook of Unfinished Wonders, vol 2

I’ve been an inconsistent reader of Throne of Salt. I’m going to change that because wow, so many ideas!

The Door 1 by Eric Basiletti [via gorgonmilk]

BASTIONLAND: d100 Oddities for New Characters

The first photographed page from my DM notebook.

2d6 OSR games: Make monsters special

Olde House Rules ruined me some time ago. I’ll link to any good 2d6 mechanic.

Land of the free? How Trump has put America’s identity in peril

Taking it as a given that “meaningful individual agency” requires applying our brains, our experience, our memories, and requires as well making a sustained, good-faith effort to inform ourselves of our reality. This could be as profoundly simple and radical as going to the library every few weeks, checking out a couple of books on history, and reading them, as opposed to taking every post that Google and Facebook steer our way as the gospel truth. Not that books are sacrosanct by any means, but they’re quiet. They allow us the mental space to absorb, reflect, evaluate at our own pace. Learning essential stuff is as much a discipline as going to the gym or sticking to a diet, and an excellent antidote for the modern condition of being numb and dumb.

[BEYONDE] Beyond Google Plus, and Fixing the Internet

Just go read this.

Picture by Luka Rejec

Dear God,

Please show me how to draw.

A Deck of Many Things: Using AD&D’s Mixed Bag of Rules and Loving Them

Anthony, that’s so much money! No. Not really. Not really at all. To better understand the buying power of treasure and what it means as status in the world, I think of 1 SP as 1 $USD. A single GP is therefore $20 and a platinum piece is a Benjamin $100. A 6,000 GP jeweled crown is therefore worth $120,000. Whereas a real jeweled crown might be worth millions. In the ranks of millionaires and billionaires, your adventurers hauling piles of gold to town will still only classify as “wealthy”…and the money will go fast. When they divide the spoils among 5 or more party members, pay all the bills and then try to build a fortress they are going to need millions of GP to even begin to classify as “rich”. It is my opinion that magic items are too easy to come by in many campaigns while proper monetary treasure is far too difficult. Treasure stinginess bogs down progression and enhances the pain of character death. Plentiful treasure (combined with infinite demands for spending) make level-loss to undead, character death and many other things easier to swallow. Thirst for treasure is not really a silly abstraction, it is founded on the real principal that kingdoms are built out of wealth…and kingdom building is what high-level AD&D is all about. Treasure as XP is the foundation of balancing your game. The characters will literally need tons of it. So don’t be shy. Consider how quickly you could spend a million dollars if you had it. Then consider how quickly you would NEED to spend a million dollars if you wanted to rub elbows with the rich people living in your neck of the woods…or had to pay for enormous legal or medical bills. Money goes quick so make sure your hoards are worth the trouble. That’s it for now.

Source Unknown

Welcome to my phone

My computer is nearly dead – a simple chromebook bought as I began taking classes again. I bought it to replace the Ubuntu laptop, itself bought to replace the Macs, owned when I cared about performance.

My wife has a Mac. It’s getting on in years, and she doesn’t maintain it so it whines and groans on startup, trying to load applications she doesn’t use or log in to a near defunct yahoo account.

And, as you all know, G+ is dying.

So really, all I have is this phone. Turns out I’m fine with this little machine packed with OSR feeds. My plan is to tap these posts into this little keyboard.

So here’s something maybe useful:

The Royal Robe of Sloth

Constructed of the finest of materials, the Royal Robe of Sloth is rumored to be the daily garb of the richest, most decadent of rulers. If not currently worn, everyone who sees it must save +2 vs paralysis or be irresistibly drawn to its luxury.

Once adorned, the character assumes a recumbent position, making all conversation as sharp orders, followed by two claps of the hands. To remove the robe, the player must save vs paralysis, once per day at +3, +2, etc to -3 each day following, wherein the cycle begins again.

If others attempt to remove the robe, the character who has donned it will only kick weakly as resistance. Once off, the cycle of save or don will begin again until everyone is out of site of the robe.