Yeah, I'm hideously overdue to talk about my fun times at Helgacon V. Frankly, as awesome as it was it was so long ago I can't hope to do a play by play.
So here's some eye candy from one of the events I ran, a sugary little concoction in the "gonzo" vein that stirred in influences from disparate corners of pop culture with the strongest flavors coming from Saturday Morning Cartoons, that I called "The Kingdom of Murgatroyd"
And representing the lovely ladies of adventuring, we have Galgasaurus the Priumusaur, Sorta the Shapeshifter, a Unicorn Pony known as The Fabulous Pixie, Pearl Diamond the Dweomon Master, Vixen the Pegasus
Pony, Brandywine the Earth Pony, and La Pantera Muchacha, a fearless Handswoman.
Long and forgotten story short, the doughty team of heroes busted into the secret lair of the nefarious evil world domination bent organization S.K.U.L.L., beat up a lot of goons, and rescued some hapless travellers from the sinister cabal's sweaty clutches.
Well, I've kinda been distracted by other stuff, which is modern shorthand for slacking off, mostly, but I've also been relocating from New England to my old stomping grounds in PA.
So anyway, the reason I'm delurking is to tout the VERY cool kickstarter project that my awesome bro and his partner have just sparked up.
It kinda relates to gaming, I reckon, 'cos it's called the Hero Project, and it involves super sweet action figures of world mythological heroes.
Check it out, there's a lot of cool swag in the offing if you lay down some moola. One of the items is a cool art book full of illos of their first hero, Rama from Indian mythology. I contributed one of the illos, so if you pledge at that level I'll be extra stoked.
Back from another year's Helgacon! This one was bigger and better, and I'm whupped and happy, having had a tremendous time. Thanks to all my good friends who ran the games I played in or played in games I ran. A special thanks to Paul, who drags the whole thing across the finish line every year by the sweat of his own brow. You are awesome, sir!
They go by so fast, and leave you hungry for more. I'll be sporadically posting play by plays of the games I was in as time and inclination allow.
I was saddened yesterday to find out about the passing of one of the legends of fantastic art, Jean Giraud a.k.a. Moebius. His work was a tremendous influence on my own, and books of his art and comics were some of the seed stock for my library of art books back when I was still in high school. If you're not acquainted with his work, now's as good a time as any to go forth and seek it out.
So here's to a transformative artist, may the world he's moved on to be as wonderful as the worlds he'd shared with us for all these years. He will be missed, but his work will be his immortality.
These strange magical potions are always found in sets of three, and are reputed to have been originally created in the lost city of Ralay Hoa, which is said to be in the unexplored territory of the barbaric tribes of Hana.
They follow the standard rules for potion onset and duration, activating upon the round they are drunk and lasting for 1d6+6 turns. Only one of these potions may be drunk by an individual at a time. If mixed they will cancel one another out.
Potion of Liquidation: Upon imbibing this oily greenish fluid, the user becomes capable of transforming into a liquid state, which can flow through any opening that water can pass through. They can flow along at a rate of 60' (20'). If they choose to remain still, they are indistinguishable from a puddle of slightly greenish tinted water. While the potion is in effect, the user can switch between states at will, and gain a Save vs. Spell in combat to avoid being struck by weapons by spontaneously liquifying. All equipment worn or carried by the user upon drinking the brew will liquify along with them, but any objects picked up or acquired while it is in effect will not. While in liquid form, the user cannot lift or move anything but the lightest, most buoyant objects.
Potion of Coiling: This thick, purplish liquid brings on a strange transformation in the user's limbs when quaffed, causing them to shorten by about 5" and become like tightly coiled steel springs. While under the potion's effect, the user may make leaps of 20' high, or 50' distance, or may move at a rapid, springing gait of 240'(80') if unencumbered. They may also extend their arms out to 50', allowing them to attack distant foes with melee weapons or punches and kicks. The fully extended arm/leg span is 100'. The user may also choose to make a constriction attack, doing 1d8 per round if they manage to successfully grab a foe with both arms. (This requires two separate melee attacks.)
Potion of Multiplication: This murky, reddish tincture allows the drinker to will up to four duplicates of themselves into existence. These doubles act in concert, commanded by a single will. Each has 1/4 the hit points of the original. If slain in combat they vanish instantly. By some strange factor in the potion's magic, in a combat situation the original is always the last to take damage or fall, unless all are subject to an area effect. Any magical devices carried by the user won't be duplicated with enchantments, and will only function as mundane versions of whatever they are. Spellcasters who drink this potion do not gain additional spell uses, but the duplicates can cast different spells from the original's daily allotment. (i.e. A 2nd. lvl wizard with 2 1st. lvl. spells could have one duplicate cast one spell and another cast the other one, using up their memorized spells for the day in a single round)
Created by the Astrodukes of Fahr to stem the tide of evil, these magical weapons appear as the bronze hilt of a sword lacking a blade of any kind. If casually handled that is all it will seem to be, and it can be easily kept in a belt pouch or pocket.
When wielded with intent by a Lawful being, a blade of invisible force manifests that functions as a +2 magic weapon. Against Chaotic enemies, the blade is razor sharp and does 1d8+2 damage. Against Neutral foes, it becomes more like a blunt rod that does 1d6 damage. Against a Lawful opponent the blade will not manifest.
The length of this unseen blade is variable based on the desires of the wielder, and can be anywhere from dagger to pole arm length with no appreciable change in weight.
When the hilt is handled by a Chaotic being, there is a 20% that the blade will manifest itself, cutting or stabbing them for 1d8+2 damage.
In certain dens of evil where these weapons are known, it's possible to bluff those denizens of lesser intelligence, putting them to flight by brandishing a simple sword hilt bereft of its blade. Such is the fear that the Bladeless Sword engenders in the dire and darksome.
Obviously if you're on the internet, you've heard about these things a lot. I'm not planning on doing anything particularly flashy here, I'm just gonna give my opinion.
The problem with these pieces of legislation is that they're vaguely worded and draconian, allowing for arbitrary enforcement based on how much political pull can be applied. They would make running a website rather like playing Russian Roulette, especially for smaller operations that don't have the money or manpower to chase down every link that might contain infringing material.
The enforcement of this act also abrogates due process, and tramples on a site host's constitutional 1st. Amendment rights.
The classic definition of censorship is making it illegal to say something. Making it prohibitively expensive, or making your message impossible to reach, is just as insidious a form of censorship, and it allows those in authority the cover of technically not making the message itself illegal. SOPA and PIPA are built to allow just that sort of abuse.
I exhort my fellow Americans to contact their Senators and Congresspeople. If you go to Wikipedia today and type in your zip code, you'll get contact info for your representatives. I got my reps' phone numbers and called them all, and left messages assuring them that if they vote YES on these bills, they will NOT be receiving my vote in the next electoral cycle.
And finally, while I hope that public outcry will force the sponsors of these bills to back down, bear in mind that this will at best be a temporary victory. The film and music industry have deep pockets, and until the current old guard in positions of power in those industries have been replaced by generations who've grown up with the web and understand its potential, SOPA & PIPA will reappear in some new form. Stay informed, stay vigilant, and VOTE.
So yesterday I had the opportunity to join my old gaming cronies Paul and Delta in an awesome game of Delta's magnum opus, Book of War.
Whenever there's a city in one of Paul's campaigns, sooner or later somebody's gonna want to come and wreck it, as evidenced in 2010's disastrous defense of Restenford. This time around it was an undead army, aiming for the walled city of Bridgefair. Our forces were Paul's excellent selection of eeny meeny 10mm minis from Pendraken Miniatures.
About five members of Paul's gaming group at his job were playing the defenders, so I threw in with Delta and Paul on the side of the attackers. I also served as the session photographer.
I was given a unit of skeleton archers, a unit of skeleton fighters, a unit of zombies, and a siege tower, and formed kind of a detachment from the main force. My big role in the fight was tying up the Bridgefairies' heavy cav, and keeping them off our main force and our necromancer. I managed to get my siege tower up to the wall too, which was cool.
In the end, the dead guys lost big time, being ground down from a massive wave of animated bodies to just one disgruntled necromancer, who vanished in a puff of formaldehyde vowing revenge. A greatly reduced force on the side of the living lived to fight another day.
As usual, Delta's rules play like a charm, and we got in 15 turns in about 3.5 - 4 hours. I'll leave it up to Delta and Paul to give a better play by play, because I was really too busy taking photos to commit the events to memory.
Paul has posted his in depth account of the fracas here.
Delta's report is here. Read them! Experience them!
And neither do you, when it comes to what I think about it, probably.
On a related side note, though, you could market the ka-rap out of "D&D V". Just that assembly of letters could yield countless awesome visual statements. Like have a gigantic V with a dragon wedged in it or something. It's like a big box full of birthday presents for any graphic designer upon who's desk it may land...
I just thought I'd take a moment to mention that Thundarr the Barbarian rocks on toast. And not just any toast, but artisan* baked multigrain toast simultaneously sliced & toasted by Thundarr's mighty Sun Sword.
My brother gave me a bunch of Hanna Barbara classics DVD's for Christmas, and Thundarr is the gem of the group. I thought it was awesome when I was eight, but it continues to be awesome when I'm about to turn forty, which is quite a feat for a cartoon show.
It's got some pretty sophisticated concepts for a kid's cartoon show of its vintage, and Robert Ridgely's always kinda pissed off delivery for Thundarr is a gift that keeps on giving (plus he's got some awesome lines).
All the Jack Kirby designs for the various mutants, monsters, wizards, and war machines make for a very distinctive look. (Although Thundarr, Ariel, and Ookla were all designed by Alex Toth.)
This obviously isn't really big news for any old school gamer types who came up in the 80's, but I am enjoying the heck out of it, and it makes me want to do something Gamma World-esque very badly. The series is pretty much just an animated version of the Platonic ideal of a GW campaign.
These civilized saurians hail from the vast, verdant valley of Gwangitopia, where they are ruled by the fearsome yet benevolent Megasaurus Rex from his mighty fortress atop the volcano known as Mount Krong.
Primusaur society is in many ways quite similar to that of ancient human cultures, and thus there are among them more adventurous souls who strike out to make their fortune as mercenaries and dungeon delvers, rather than spend their life on a capybara ranch or giant termite plantation.
REQUIREMENT: Con 9, Str 12 PRIME REQUISITES: Con & Str Hit Dice: d12
ABILITIES: Primusaurs can range between five to seven feet tall, and weigh between 250 to 500 pounds. They resemble small tyrannosaurs, but walk in an upright posture with their tails dragging behind them. Their forelimbs are small and weak, while their legs are large and powerfully muscled. They possess thumbs on all four limbs, using their arms for delicate tasks and their legs for lifting heavy weights, as long as they don't have to walk anywhere with their load.
They are capable of delivering a bite for 1d6 damage, or a kick with a hind leg for 1d8. This latter attack can only be made every other round, as they need to recover their balance in the intervening round. Primusaurs can wield one handed weapons, or use a spear one handed with a -1 to hit, but cannot use two handed swords, pole arms, or any kind of bow except crossbows, which due to being aimed one handed also suffer a -1 to hit.
Their skin is leathery, and ranges in color from yellow green to dark brown. It provides a natural Armor Class of 7. Primusaurs can wear any armor, and can use shields.
These creatures are possessed of an amazing ability to regrow lost extremities, even a severed head may be regrown thanks to a secondary brain situated above their hips that retains their memories.
It takes a Primusaur 30 days minus their Level to regrow limbs and tail, and 50 days to regrow a lost head. This ability is independent of their Hit Points, but can be accelerated by 10 days with a Cure Serious Wounds spell.
A Primusaur with a severed head is blind, deaf, cannot communicate, and cannot eat until their new head starts budding about ten days later. While this fast goes on, they cannot heal naturally, and they will be mindlessly ravenous when their new head grows back for 1d4 days. Most Primusaur adventurers set up a special code of taps and touches so they can recognize and be assisted by allies should they be rendered headless.
Veteran Primusaur warriors often have one or two of their own heads on display in their trophy alcove. Tarkasaur the Implacable, a near legendary figure among his people, was said to possess seven of these grisly trophies, kept in a place of honor among the heads of a multitude of other foes.
Primusaurs are exothermic, and if they are exposed to cold conditions (below 50º Farenheit), they move as if they are under one higher level of encumbrance. If they are at maximum encumbrance, they go torpid and are unable to move.
Their eyes change color to reflect their mood, with red indicating anger, yellow fear, green a neutral mood, and blue indicating satisfaction or serenity. They cannot control this color change, and thus suffer +2 to reaction checks if they are attempting to lie or deceive. They possess infravision out to 60'.
Males possess a small, blunt horn on the tip of their nose, and females tend to be smaller and lighter in build. Primusaurs lay eggs to reproduce, and these eggs can be kept dormant in cold storage for up to 20 years. Their diet is omnivorous, but they favor meat and insects.
Primusaur culture is at once barbarous and refined. They adorn themselves in richly colored cloaks and harnesses and torques of gold and copper, and collect the severed heads and skulls of their foes as trophies. (They consider it a point of honor to retrieve their own lost heads or limbs, which they keep to be placed their funeral pyre upon their death.)
They are capable of terrible outbursts of extreme violence, but are known to wax lyrical at scenes of natural beauty, and are earnest patrons of music, song, and poetry. They duel to the point of dismemberment over matters of honor, but are gentle, loyal, and caring to those they consider their friends.
Primusaurs are mortal enemies of the troglodytes, and consider it their duty to slay them. They are ambivalent toward lizard folk, and can get along if the marsh dwelling reptile men are highly enough evolved to make treaties and honor bargains. Savage lizard folk are generally avoided if possible, or slain if not.
Primusaurs possess parrot like vocal chords that allow them to speak Common with a thick accent. Their own language sounds like a collection of grunts, rumbles, and roars, and a lot of the phonemes are subsonic. They can speak the language of troglodytes and lizard folk, and those with intelligence over 14 may speak Draconic.
Upon reaching 9th. level, a Primusaur may seek a grant from their ruler to establish a fortress, preferably in a lush jungle valley or atop an active volcano, which he will rule as a Dinolord. This community will attract other Primusaur warriors and their clans to come live under its skull festooned banner. Primusaurs favor large caves and ancient lava tunnels for their lairs, with creche rooms for their eggs in the deepest, warmest parts of the complex.
Primusaurs use the dwarf tables for combat, level advancement, and saving throws.