CAS

CAS

Saturday, April 22, 2017

Rumpole



Can't understand a word he says but I love they way he talks. One the gems of British TV.

Friday, April 21, 2017

Falkenberg's Legion by Pournelle


Just reread this and I wish they had it on kindle as that paperback text size is a killer. An excellent book though the rest of the series is a bit lacking. The last two books in the series are co-authored with S.M. Stirling and I'm not a fan of his style. If Pournelle is the literary descendent of Piper then Stirling is his antithesis.

Falkenberg's Legion is really an anthology of three short stories or perhaps novellas with brief connecting material. Each is enjoyable and Pournelle is his own man, but comparisons with Piper are inevitable and in these stories Pournelle falls short.

Drake obviously read these or at least the Mercenary story and he does them better, not just because of the grittiness of his own work but because Drake touches on something deeper that is more of a veneer in Pournelle's work. I still recommend this book highly.

Wednesday, April 5, 2017

Elric of Melnibone


I've been wanting to reread the Elric books but I ended up misplacing this the first book in the series. It seems like the series has become much more involved since the days of the Berkley reprints and there just didn't seem to be a kindle edition of this particular book. The entire run of these reprints isn't much in page count. I know that some fantasy series have almost as much text in a single book as all six of these books contain together but Moorcock puts more into these short novels than other writers put into a 1,000 page tome of verbiage.

I find Moorcock to be an uncomfortable writer to read. His ideas are rich and his setting evocative and his stories well worth reading but to me they have seemed more tragic than uplifting and I need to be in the right mood for Moorcock's kind of story.

Tuesday, April 4, 2017

The Winter Queen's Handmaiden



The Fox God has many terrible children, but his daughter, the Winter Queen, is perhaps the least unfriendly to mankind, She rules an icy realm near the roots of the Tree of Life and the spirits of the lost and tormented dwell there. Her Handmaidens protect that realm. The are creatures of great beauty but show the signs of death. Their eyes bleed tears and their hands end in nails that drip a deadly venom. They feast on the bodies of those who intrude on the Winter Queen's realm. The voice of a Handmaiden is a song that can charm man or woman, beast or monster and they will have a following of such charmed creatures about them always.

Friday, March 31, 2017

Leiber - Swords in the Mist


Kindle recently had this for $1.99 (thanks Joe) and I've been listening to it before I go to sleep. Just finished chapter 2 'Lean Times in Lankhmar' one of the funniest Fafhrd and Mouset stories Leiber wrote. I'm not a big fan of his last few books but the first 4 or 5 in the series are fantastic

Thursday, March 30, 2017

Train to Busan - Decent Zombie film


A decent zombie or zombie-ish film. Not quite sure if they are meant to be World War Z fast zombies with quick conversions or 28 Days Later bio-rage kind of people. They seemed pretty invulnerable once converted. The movie jumped a few sharks along the way but the pace kept it zooming along.

Friday, January 27, 2017

Coins



I like to use props as a DM and I was a bit dismayed by the coin weights in 1e AD&D so I used USA coins instead so that players could get a tactile sense of the numbers on paper that represent treasure.

Copper Piece = Half-Dollar = 2/ounce = 32/pound
Silver Piece = Quarter = 5/ounce = 80/pound
Electrum Piece = Nickle = 5/ounce = 80/pound
Gold Piece = Penny = 10/ounce = 160/pound
Platinum Piece = Dime = 10/ounce = 160/pound

So if you find 2,000 coppers you have lug over 60lbs of coins with you which has a value of 10 gold. The equivalent gold pieces weigh 1 ounce and take up the room of 10 pennies. 

I have found that rather being a fiddly way of dealing with coins it brings a sense of reality to the game. The player's get a sense of the coins, the feel, the weight, even a better idea of what jewelry and ornaments might be worth lugging out of a dungeon. Finding a goblet or crown of solid gold that might weigh a pound or two can be reasoned out in the weight of coin not just notes on paper. Higher level player characters begin to loathe the sight of copper and even lower level characters need to work out how to transport the stuff in quantity.

As a side note I also use alternate currencies especially spices. Saffron, I believe, was worth up ten times its weight in gold during the middle-ages. There was a time when Salt was a currency and one which you could use in the most rural hamlet or greatest urban center. A farmer might not want to sell his mule for gold but spices and other trade goods would certainly interest him.

Tuesday, January 10, 2017

Lone Wolf Bk1 AD&D Conversion Part 1 - The Watchtower





The adventure begins with 4 first level characters, students from the Kai Monastery, sent to bring fresh supplies and take their turn at watch. The tower is about ten miles distant from the Monastery toward the South-East.

The tower is on a hill about 80ft above the surrounding forest. The woodlands are thick and wild with only hunting and animal trails nearby and the wagon road that leads back to the monastery. There is a roadway some distance away that follows the valley floor and heads from Toran to the North to Holmgaard to the South with a branch leading toward the Kai Monastery but it is hidden by the tall trees of the forest.

What can be seen from the roof, which is 60feet high, are the towers of the Kai Monastery, some open fields to the west where crops are grown, cattle raised and small farms scattered about, and the tops of trees for the most part to the North, East and South. The tower is used as a fire watch for the most part and sometimes a waystation for hunters and rangers, especially during the winter.

1. The interior of the tower has a large hearth against one wall and a smaller iron stove more frequently used against another. There are wide benches used for beds or storage against the walls and two long tables with benches in the center of the room. A trapdoor leads to a root cellar and small opening near the hearth is a well that goes down a spring beneath the hill.

The stairs lead to the top floor where the watchers sleep and keep emergency supplies and signaling equipment. A short set of stairs leads to the roof which slightly curved so that water will roll down into gutters along the side and collect in rain barrels below.

2. The stables are large enough to hold a dozen horses and contain a small forge and anvil.

It from this rooftop that the Player Character see a dark cloud envelope the Kai Monastery.

If they make their way to the monastery they find the swirling black cloud to be impenetrable.                      

Gamma World Pic 1


Thursday, January 5, 2017

Returning to Lone Wolf AD&D conversion


My apologies for my long absence from this project. Hopefully 2017 will prove to be more productive.

The Kraan are one of the first monsters encountered in the Lone Wolf series.


They are described as leather-winged flying creatures and in game terms as having a combat skill of 16 and an endurance of 25. A very powerful foe right out of the gate.

One of the main problems with a conversion between the AD&D system and the LW gamebooks is the skill-based system and relative uniformity of the monster strengths as compared with the level experience system and incremental increase in strength and power of both characters and monsters in the AD&D system.

The Kraan are perfect example. If they are to be encountered as monsters to be fought directly from the very first then they must be represented as creatures of relatively low HD. For a game beginning with 1st level PCs then it is my belief a Kraan of no more than 2HD should be encountered. A party of 4 1st level PCs will be challenged to defeat a 2HD Kraan with 2 attacks bite 1d4/ claw 1d6 AC7 but completely overwhelmed by a more powerful, larger version that can act as a mount for enemy NPCs.


 For my game conversion I'm using Kraan of varying ages. The youngest encountered are Spawn. They are 1HD flying creature with a single slashing attack of 1-2HP damage. They run to about 50lbs and are AC8. They are normally encountered in groups of 1d6+1

2-3HD Kraan are Young and are double the size of the Spawn. They are still too small to act as mounts and more solitary. 1d4 are the normal number encountered.

Young Adult Kraan are 4-5HD, AC5  with 3 attacks Bite 1d6 and Claw/Claw 1d8/1d8 and are more than twice the size of Kraan Young. These creatures are much larger than humans and are trained to be mounts, but are still not used as mounts for the Darklords but smaller Humans and Giaks will be found riding them.


Sunday, January 1, 2017

The Cave of Delos K'y Part 1





Delos K'y, the Feral Druid, is a legend among the people of the Targent Valley. He is said to live in a cave somewhere among the hills in the far west of the borderlands surrounded and protected by the creatures of the wild and by traps and snares of his own devising. In game terms he is a 7th level Druid of considerable experience on the cusp of achieving greater power (level 8).

While not unfriendly Delos is said to be very uncommunicative and spends a good deal of his time in the form of an animal. (Hawk or Cave Bear are his most common forms).  Delos will aid individuals who approach him in a friendly manner. He demands no payment for his services in material form but instead collects 'favors' to be called in at a later date when he may be in need of aid himself. Most locals of the valley are on very friendly terms with the reclusive druid and some are followers of the 'Old Faith' ( a druidic belief system that reveres nature and balance over any form of deity). anyone causing harm to Delos can expect trouble from the locals and a number of fairly powerful friends that Delos has made in the past.

Delos a number of druidic magical items on him at all times. most notably a bone amulet that he wears in all forms that provides protection from fire and protection from lightning as per the druidic spells of the same name which he can activate twice per day as if he cast them himself' His boots are enchanted with a permanent Pass Without Trace spell. Around his waist he wears a small pouch which is a Minor Pouch of Holding. The Pouch weighs only as much as a copper coin and Delos can carry it even in Hawk form. It will carry 8 items (8 coins, 8 swords, 8 stones, etc...) of no more than 8ft in length with a maximum 1ft diameter (the maximum size that the lips of the Pouch can be stretched open).

Delos in human form will always wear his Necklace of Animal Summoning. There are seven wooden figures of animals on his Necklace. He can detach one per turn and cast it in front of him. The figure is consumed and the semi-translucent form of the depicted animal will appear to serve the druid for 10 game turns after which it disappears in a clap of thunder and flash of light that has a chance to stun anyone within 10ft for 1d4 rounds (-1 to hit/-1 AC) save versus magic to negate. Creatures summoned have all the physical attributes, benefits and limitations of the actual creature they represent but suffer no pain, have maximum HP and if slain disappear in the above mentioned clap of thunder and light.

End Part 1