The image isn’t on 2W2N or WATM, as far as I know, but it used to have Duty Now for the Future on LP and never forgot the image.
This post is just a shout out to a project I recently noticed on someone else’s blog roll: The book of creatures. The posts are all like encyclopedia entries, with an excellent color illustration, a map showing the creature’s habitat/origin, and a silhouette showing the relative size of the creature next to a human (much like the silhouettes in the books published by Chaosium, Inc.). The description gives a bibliography too, which is nice. The creatures are all from folklore so far, and not your run-of-the-mill collection of stuff everyone knows about. Looking at the old posts, I have only heard of three of the featured creatures, plus maybe a couple more that similar to more familiar creatures. The unfamiliar ones are pretty amazing. The eventual goal is to create a comprehensive catalog, or nearly so.
The site has a (broken) link to a Patreon account, so you might support the project by pledging there.
Some time ago I got a pdf copy of Dyson’s Delves. I didn’t have to pay for it — it was a consolation prize to replace something else he’d tried to send to me and which was apparently lost or stolen in the mail — and he didn’t ask for a review, but it’s only fair to post one now because I have had some time to look it over and have even used one of the scenarios. <Edit: There is also a Dyson’s Delves II? I didn’t know about that until just now when I went looking for links. So this review is just about the first one.>
Anyway idea behind Dyson’s Delves is to provide both a set of usable dungeon adventures and a set of maps, ready to be keyed and stocked (with sheets of blanks provided on facing pages for those who want to keep a permanent record in their copy). Some of the maps and adventures have already been published on Dyson’s blog. They are all pretty good. There is a “mini-mega-dungeon” that was originally published on the blog as “Dyson’s Delve,” and which consists of eleven smallish levels (with room for expansion). This mini-mega-dungeon has multiple entrances, so higher level adventurers could bypass the goblins-infested uppers, and there are multiple paths through the dungeon — the party may need to go “up one, down two” to find everything. This dungeon could easily serve as the centerpiece to a dungeoneering campaign, and yes there is dragon in there somewhere. The dungeon is designed to take a party from first to sixth level. (I have a copy of the “deluxe edition” printed out that I keep on hand just in case I ever need to run something with no preparation… though I’d probably swap out the goblins for almost anything else.)
There are several other keyed dungeons, ranging from single-level adventures to multiple-level dungeons. The dungeons have a variety of difficulties, which is very nice for DMs looking for a quick side-adventure in a campaign, as I am often am because I did not have time to prepare or because the players go so far afield of what I expected. There is a surfeit of first-level one-page-dungeons, so it’s nice to find delves here for mid-level parties. My favorite is probably The charmed grotto (for level 5-8 characters), which I ran in my home campaign and provided a decent challenge to a mid-level party, but you’ll also find adventures for 3rd-6th level parties, ranging from the award-winning one-page The worm’s gullet to another multi-level crawl, Erdea Manor.
The blank maps are generally very good. Anyone who has visited Dyson’s blog will have seen his work, so there is not much for me to add about that.
It’s available in PDF, softcover, and hardback. No-one asked me, but if he did I’d tell him to see about offering in a spiral bound edition, as my experience with perfect-bound print-on-demand has been that they do not hold up well to use at table, especially if you’re writing in them. As it is I guess you could get the pdf and print yourself a copy and have it spiral bound at an office supply store. Or just three-hole punch your printout.
In any case Dyson’s Delves is great idea, well-executed and worth a look.
I used to joke that every few months the OSR blog-o-sphere blows up with some bullshit controversy or other. More recently though there has been a increasingly ugly thing going on where some people don’t like to see that people with opinions on things they disagree with have had some influence on 5e. So they post stuff on various blogs (no links for the wicked) and whatnot saying these guys are … well the charges keep changing, apparently. At first the accused (Zak S. and RPGPundit) were supposed to be anti-LGBTQ, then they were cyberbullies or something, and now the charge is something like: they send coded messages that send internet trolls (Manchurian commenters?) to harass their enemies. No, really… get your tinfoil hat.* And if you ask for proof well that’s harassment right there. And it gets “better,” I guess, if you are a student of human stupidity and assholery, because now people who spoke out in defense of the first two guys (who frankly seemed able to speak for themselves…) are actually being harassed — I mean they are actually able to give evidence of it. I’m just glad the guys making up the charges against Zak and the Pundit are decidedly not part of the OSR community. They make whatever community they are part of look awful. The irony is that no-one reads the sites where the original accusations were raised but the two guys being attacked felt affronted enough to defend themselves on their more public sites and asked for people to show support, calling out the lying liars and their lies. At this point no-one I play games with is probably even aware of all this BS. I was only vaguely aware of “RPGPundit” and had only heard of one of the shitty people calling him and Zak S. transphobes or whatever. From what I can tell, most gamers don’t know anything about all this. Hell, I know some gamers that don’t even know there is a 5e. And WotC is certainly not commenting on any of this, for reasons of their own I guess. I’d keep the hell out of it too. So naturally I’d been ignoring this for the last week or so but then I saw that one of guys who’s been fending off the baseless accusations is in the middle of dealing with a health crisis on the part of his long time girl friend and for fuck’s sake. Enough already. My advice to RPGPundit and Zak S. would be to ignore these losers. But it’s not my name they’re dragging through the mud so I guess they gotta do what they gotta do. I can’t really say anything about RPGPundit though I suspect that it’s all lies about him; what I do know of Zak makes the charges so ludicrous as to merit no attention. Granted both of them argue a lot and doubtless hurt people’s feelings at various times, so I guess I shouldn’t be surprised that every person who’s been offended by RPGPundit’s “swine” comments and Zak’s unrelenting debates in comments areas and forums has come out to attack them or reblog the original attack. How sad. At this point I should be posting something, anything, else as a palate cleanser, but I’m tired. Maybe later this weekend. ========= * (To my discredit I gave some credence to the notion that their rabid fans might secretly be bugging the people they named & shamed. I hereby apologize for the indirect damage that might have been done by my entertaining this idea in the comments on someone else’s blog. Asking someone to stop lying is NOT harassment.) ========== <Update … and it turns out the RPGPundit dude is pretty indefensible for completely other reasons. He apparently has talked a lot of crap about Empire of the Petal Throne, then ripped off the magic system and claimed it was developed independently (see link). And when someone illustrated exactly how baldly the rip-off was made, he won’t even own up to it. Classy.>
This is just a shout out for a great blog I’ve been following for a while called “300 stories.” The author, Dieter Rogiers, is writing a story a day or thereabouts, with the idea being he’ll write 300 stories, each of 300 words or less (what the cool kids are calling “flash fiction”). They have mostly been pretty damn good, and have covered a lot of different genres, usually with dry humor. Anyway my point is that it is well worth your time to check it out. Unfortunately I only started following a month or two ago and he’s pretty close to the 300 mark now, so if you follow by email you’ve got a month and half or so to look forward to. I think there is almost certainly a book to come out of this though, and of course the stories are archived on the blog.
The death of David A. Trampier, a wonderful illustrator of D&D and some other games from the mid-70s to 1988, has been reported. A lot of blogs started posting brief RIPs and a few pictures as tributes, which is fitting. Now I am noticing that there is some kind of race to report more details as quickly as possible, be the first kid in your webring to post the news, and other star-effing. One blogger who is probably well-intentioned has started digging into the details of Trampier’s funeral arrangements and encouraging gamers to crash what has already been communicated to him to be a private event. What.The.Fuck?
For whatever reason — and now is not really the time to get to the bottom of it — Trampier wanted out of the “gaming community” and politely refused requests for interviews etc. for the last decade. Apparently his mounting medical bills did convince him to consider publishing and/or making appearances shortly before his death. Still, I think the gaming community needs to back the fuck off.
If you did not know the man personally, you don’t need to be crashing this funeral. You can sign the online guestbook if you need to let his family know how much you loved his art. Hordes of strangers (especially the unwashed masses of gamers) showing up at a private funeral for a man who wanted no attention (or anything at all to do with the general public gamers really) — hordes of gamers showing up at his funeral would be in incredibly bad taste. The cynic in me suspects all the gushing about going to the funeral is just online braggadocio and trying to be grognarder-than-thou. I will try to be more charitable and assume it is just talk coming from a real sense of vicarious loss. Yes, all of us who loved D&D in the 70s and 80s, or appreciate the classics now, can feel a sense of loss at his passing, and as humans of course we can feel sorry for the family’s loss. But imposing ourselves on DAT’s grieving family & friends does not honor him nor respect his or their wishes for privacy.
If you have followed any blogs over the past few years you have probably noticed sites that die, and perhaps even get deleted by their owners, only to return some time later as bullshit advertisements. The latest one I happened to notice is the Retronaut blog, which used to have amazing old-timey photographs and articles about historical curiosities. But if you go to http://www.howtobearetronaut.com/ now, you get a typical ‘squatter’ site — in this case with “reviews” of “books” on miracle cures. I don’t know how long ago this happened, as I have not been as active as a blog reader lately, but WTF!
I bet a good many links on my own blog now point to squatter sites but I have never gone back to fix them, because in some cases I was holding out hope that the blog or site would return, or in others because I have been meaning to see if anything is cached in archive.org. I suppose I should work on that, because any ill-gained traffic those sites are getting from me must stop. If you happen to notice and dead or broken links while you are here, do let me know.
I spent a good three minutes typing up a comment here and as usual, Blogger eats my comment. Arg.
I was gonna say:
I like the one-and-only summoned being idea. I’d connect it to the infernal/celestial being’s true name. You learn the spell, you learn one true name of a creature, and if you want to summon a different one, you need to find another name to use. This also would make wizards very reluctant to sell a copy of their spell, as now someone else might be “using” their little extraplanar buddy or “tying up the line” when they want help! Maybe a swindler will sell you a spell with an invalid or wrong name. Maybe a demon named “Insert name here” is terribly overworked and tries to get the party to collect all known copies of the spell with his name in it, for a reward or whatever. And scrolls with a few true names would be desirable treasures. (Sure you know “Summon,” but all that doofus you learned it from knew was the name of a celestial muskox and you’d really like to be able to summon up a celestial peacock or whatever.) Then again a really old scroll might only have the names of now-dead-as-in-killed-on-their-home plane-and-really-really-dead creatures. You should run with this idea…
Is here. All about folklore and fairy tales. Fantastic stuff. Can’t believe there are not more followers and comments on that blog.
That is all.
Just wanted to point some traffic to an interesting blog which is still very new but which has a couple of provocative posts that are worth checking out: RPG Iconoclasm.
That is all.
<update, Dec. 19th> Jesus, that went from “some kind of interesting arguments about solo D&D” to “whackjob who reads, but does not actually understand, Nietzsche” in less than two weeks. Guess I better be more careful about my recommendations.
<update, Dec. 20th>
Whew, crisis averted. FWIW there were a couple of sort of off the wall posts, but they’re off the site now, so no worries.