Wednesday, July 15, 2015

Appendix Nspiration: Michael Whelan: Edgar Rice Burroughs "Mars" Novel Covers

Continuing our adventure into the art of Michael Whelan, we move on to another piece of Appendix N literature. That being the excellent "pulp" science fantasy of Edgar Rice Burroughs. In particular we will take a look at Whelan wonderful Barsoomian covers and illustrations from the "Mars" series. Enjoy, and hopefully these will offer some inspiration for your Warriors of the Red Planet campaign!


Tuesday, June 30, 2015

Summer Gaming Involuntary Hiatus...

Summer is here again. With it came a wedding that needed performing and lots more time that the kiddo isn't in school (and therefore is up later at night.) That said, not much of it (outside of the wedding) should have interfered with gaming. But, gaming has been sparse since about mid May. 
In May +Crystal Summerfield and I decided we needed to kick off our relationship mentioned here. She also joined our Friday night group. I have since moved the Friday night group playing C&C in the Lost Lands to a bi-weekly game out of a desire to play. Every other week my good friend Jon is running a 5E game in which I play a paladin whose faith is strongly based upon medieval Moorish practices. 
This should all be well and good. Except... we have since played my game exactly once and played only one real session of the 5E campaign. Summer. Schedules. Bleh.
I also decided to run a Monday night game on G+ through the summer only. This was going to be Swords & Wizardry, plus Goldenrod and I was going to run Keep on the Borderlands (I shouldn't be using past tense here, as this is still happening.) Last night was to be our first session of this. Unfortunately we were faced with drama on two fronts. We decided to wade through the drama and begin playing anyway. Then we discovered that a player was sick and couldn't play. Three strikes and your out, right? Yeah. We cancelled. We SHOULD be playing this next week. Also on the 10th we SHOULD be returning to the 5E campaign, and the following week returning to C&C.
Additionally, many of the same issues that have withheld actual gaming, have also put a wrench in getting much writing done in the second installment of Goldenrod. I have some stuff. I need TIME to finish up new spells. This, I should be able to work on a bit the next few evenings, hopefully.
There were a couple of one off highlights in there. Crystal and I played a one on one session of TSRs old "The Gem and the Staff" module last week. A few weeks before that, she got to play through some of "Tomb of Horrors" for the first time. So, there has been some gaming goodness in there.
All said and done, I need to get back to a regular game pretty soon.
That's it. Just a rambling post about not much. Still, I got to post.

Tuesday, June 23, 2015

Appendix Nsipiration: Michael Whelan Elric Paintings

The next few inspirational posts (now called Appendix Nspiration, see what I did there?) will be devoted to the art of Michael Whelan. The first of these is truly drawn form Appendix N. Michael Whelan did a series of iconic covers for Michael Moorcock's Elric novels. Many of these are also recognizable by fans of 70's and 80's Metal, as they were picked up as album covers.
Elric himself holds a special place for me (though I presume this to be true of many old school gamers.) I have always identified strongly with the forlorn albino sorcerer, emperor of his people. He wasn't of the best health, needing special medicines to survive, when first we meet him. When I first read Elric of Melnibone I was young, and rarely in the best health. I was out of school several times a year for more than a week at a time with all manner of illnesses. I had an interest in the spiritual, the occult and all things fantasy. This character strongly appealed to me. Because of my interests, I was not looked on favorably by family or many of my classmates (though I had several loyal friends. Another common factor with this character. Elric's views were different than the dark society from which he sprang. My views were quite different from my peers as well. As I said, I strongly identified with this albino sorcerer. I love his exploits, and they shaped much of my early roleplaying experience, as much, if not more than Tolkien and Lloyd Alexander (more on these at another time.)
I was exposed to the art of the Brothers Hildebrandt at a very early age, though it wasn't until I was twelve that I truly began to discover (and devour) the are of Michael Whelan. Much of his art shaped my gaming at the same time as I was discovering Moorcock. So, it is that I give you a combination of the two, in today's Appendix Nspriration.


Friday, June 12, 2015

U-Con 2015 OSR Track and Event Submission Info

It's announcement time folks! It's official. The OSR Track at U-con in Ypsilanti Michigan is set to go this year! I will, again, be filling the roll of OSR Track Coordinator. Last year went very well and we had quite a draw for a first time track. I have been given permission to expand upon the old school gaming goodness that we can accept within the track this year (based partly on the discussion had during the roundtable that occurred in our seminar last year.) If you haven't listened to the seminar, go ahead right over here on Save or Die! 
With that in mind, I proudly announce that event submissions are officially open! Go ahead and register your events right here. If your event will qualify for the OSR Track (or any other tracks) please explicitly make that known in the comments box. I will be organizing the track events myself this year, so I will attempt to keep everyone's events precisely in the slot that they want to run in.
What qualifies as an OSR event this year? Well, let me tell you good people about the plethora of awesomeness that you can submit to me. Firstly we have D&D. But not all D&D of course (pssh, we have to have some type of integrity you know. Not to mention leaving some games for the other tracks.)
Official D&D:
All TSR Era D&D qualifies,
AD&D 2nd Edition
Rules Cyclopedia
Other TSR Era Stuff:
Gamma World (TSR editions)
Boot Hill
Metamorphosis Alpha
Star Frontiers
Top Secret
Alternity etc.
Other Early Era RPGs/Supplements:
Early Chaosium products (RuneQuest, Elfquest, Sandy Petersen era Call of Cthulhu etc)
RuneQuest (yes I know I mentioned it before)
Tunnels & Trolls (all editions)
Dragonquest (all editions)
Chivalry & Sorcery
Pacesetter System Games (Chill, Time Master etc.)
Did I mention RuneQuest?
Middle Earth Role Playing (I.C.E.)
Rolemaster (er... if you must?)
The Complete Warlock
Rapier & Dagger
Cyborg Commando (Did he really just say Cyborg Commando?)
WEG D6 Star Wars
WEG D6 Ghostbusters
The Fantasy Trip
Pre 2000s Palladium Games (TMNT, Palladium RPG, early RIFTS etc)
If I missed your favorite, contact me and make sure, but it will likely be fine to run.
Swords & Wizardry
Labyrinth Lord
Mutant Future
Dark Dungeons
Delving Deeper
For Gold & Glory
Spellcraft & Swordplay etc.
Near Clones:
Dungeon Crawl Classics
Adventurer Conqueror King
Fantastic Heroes & Witchery
Castles & Crusades
White Star
Adventures Dark & Deep
Warriors of the Red Planet
Lamentations of the Flame Princess: Weird Fantasy Roleplaying Game etc.
Again, this list is hardly exhaustive regarding all of the great Old School RPGs in the world. If you have one you want to run and it isn't here, just let me know. Let's make this thing huge. I want to give your favorite Old School game a place to live and breathe.

Friday, June 5, 2015

Appendix Nspiration: The Brothers Hildebrandt Atlantis Calendar Art

It's been some time coming, but I am pleased to present you with the first of the Inspirational posts. It was my intent to do these as a Wednesday thing, but I thing that I'll just post them as inspiration hits. The first will also be the last of all things Hildebrandt for a while. So, without further ado, I give  you The Brothers Hildebrandt Atlantis 1982 Calendar in all of it's glory. Sword & Sorcery? Got it. Sword & Planet? Got it. 1950's era Sci Fi? It's there. Mammoths? Yep. Dinosaurs? Fuck yeah. It's all there. Maybe we should make a community campaign setting out of this thing. I think it would be a good White Box meets White Star game.

Sunday, May 31, 2015

Life, Love and Everything

Post not completely related to gaming. Maybe not at all. You have been warned.

So, you may all have noticed that I have been on hiatus again. Work was a bit busy. That's not my excuse. I make no apologies this time around. Sometimes life, wyrd, karma, fate... whatever you might call it brings you something that changes your life, restores you faith, makes you more of what you need to be. Sometimes something happens that makes you see things in a way that you never thought possible.

Most of you don't know, but for a while in there I was in a pretty dark spot. I had given up on just about everything except taking care of my daughter and the career that I have to do that. The only place that I have had any solace in over a year was in gaming. Events in my life over the years pushed me to make some hard decisions, that I had thought were right.

As it turns out, the universe gives exactly zero fucks about the choices that I make and what I happen to think.

Sometimes, when you expect nothing at all, amazing coincidences culminate and create that most beautiful circumstances. Sometimes light shines clearly out of the dark.

I long to feel my heart burned open wide, til nothing else remains,
except the fires from which I came.
Like parted souls, divided for an age, awe and wonder I´d embrace,
and the world anew again.
But now, this picture from me fades.
From still´s cold hand there´s no reprieve, light the fire in me.

Shine, shine your light on me.
Illuminate me, make me complete.
Lay me down, and wash this world from me.
Open the skies, and burn it all away.
'Cause I've been waiting, all my life just waiting,
for you to shine, shine your light on me.

I dreamed the world, with my eyes open.
But time moved on and then, new worlds begin again.
Oh my heart, in this universe so vast.
No moment was made to last, so light the fire in me.

Shine, shine your light on me.
Illuminate me, make me complete.
Please shine, shine your light on me.
No hesitation, make me complete.

Lay me down, and wash this world from me.
Open the skies, and burn it all away.
'Cause I've been waiting, all my life just waiting,
for you to shine, shine your light on me.
-- VNV Nation - Nova

It used to be that the whole of my faith was in Fate and it's design.  Many life circumstances since my daughter's birth caused me to lose that over time, until finally I was pretty lost in general.  I lost my house, my relationship with her mother fell apart and she and I move back home to my parent's house.  I've always been a very proud man, and that has weighed on me. I had given up on a lot of things.  I was content to play games and raise my daughter on my own. Rather, I pretended that I was content with that. I intended to make attempt to date or find any sort of relationship outside of friends that I already possessed and gaming.  Those of you who know me in real life may have noticed that.  So I've been drifting that way for a year and a half or so.

A little over  month ago I had a dream about a girl that I used to know. For some reason she was gaming in our Friday night group. It was odd and I blew it off. I figured that I saw her post something on Facebook or G+ and that is why she was in there. Funny thing.  About a week later I received a message from her asking if I was running anything and if I would consider letting her play. I had absolutely no idea that she even played. It was weird. Moreover, it was Wyrd. I ran it by a few of the senior members of the group and decided that it was fine. So, we began texting with the idea that we would meet up and I would give her the scoop on old school gaming, as she had only ever played 3.5 and 4E.  Those texts led to talking about everything. It was odd.  I'm typically a pretty closed book, but we had no limits on what we would discuss. It was a bit strange, but I'm certain that there was a spark there before having seen each other in person after so many year. Additionally we learned that we had far more in common than either of us would have previously believed.  The entire experience was amazing.

The experience was so amazing, in fact, that I believe we were both a bit anxious about the night that we had intended to meet. I know that I did not know what to expect. You see, I had a crush on this lady a long time ago in high school. I kept second guessing things thinking that, maybe, there was nothing there buy an emotional build up from the conversations that we had been having mixed with nostalgia about that long ago crush. Then I went to meet her. 

I could not have been more wrong. I saw her and everything clicked. I looked into this woman's eyes and I saw my future. Even when I had faith in love and fate, I thought that this was some cliche that people had come up with to give meaning to their lives. It isn't. We had discussed moving things slowly if we were going to try seeing each other. The universe gave exactly zero fucks about that plan, as well.  We fell hard and fast.  We made each other experience things that we were both convinced were nothing but b.s. stories that people told to make themselves feel good and happy with mediocre relationships. Within days we were doing little but taking care of our respective children and drowning in each other. It was the most beautiful thing that I have ever experienced.

A man in my shoes runs a light
And all the papers lied tonight
But falling over you
Is the news of the day

Angels fall like rain
And love, love, love is all of Heaven away

--The Psychedelic Furs - The Ghost In You

We have been lost in each other ever since. We expected to meet resistance from every one that we told.  We expected people to tell us that we were rushing things and that this was just us getting caught up in new love. We have not received any of that. I even prepared arguments o justify what we were doing and the plans we have been making. We have gotten nothing at all but support!

Love, real love, finds a way. We have come to the realization that we both felt some odd thing back in high school. A desire to be better at everything we did. A desire to try to do good things. We didn't realize what that was then. That is a wonderful thing. Back then I was a complete asshole. She wasn't without her issues either. The relationship would have been destroyed. But, love finds a way. Fate finds a way. 

The universe took us by surprise. All that she wanted to do was play a game. I was happy to oblige. We got more than we bargained for, and it is the best thing that has ever happened to me. The only other comparable event is my daughter's birth and existence. Like I said, I looked into her eyes and saw my future. That is a fact. We both did.

Tell me, what are the chances of this happening? What are the chances that two people meet, drift apart, but continue to think about each other, and contact one another through time, causing pivotal impact on one another's world views? Did I forget to mention that before? It happened, and has happened several times through the years. And what are the chances that through all of those years, events continue to happen, again and again, that mold these two individuals in a way to make them more and more compatible? What are the chances that they become molded in such a way that they each become a virtual fit for each other? What are the chances that coincidence after coincidence happens to bring them to this point? What then, is the chance that one decides to contact the other to play some game, after months of deliberation over the decision? What is the chance that, at the time of that question, both are in a perfect place, with odd plans that really aren't such a good decision, that they meet and in that moment find their destiny? Is this coincidence? Coincidence seems like a far shot in this case. No, I have to believe in fate again. And love. Love is more real than I had ever imagined it to be.

I have seen my future. I have seen our future, and now we are planning it, together. That is the way that our lives will be handled from here on out. Good. Bad. Indifferent. When times are great or terrible, we will embrace and weather them. Together. 

And so I ask that the readers and the community bear with me a bit longer. We lift each other up and make one another better. When I begin to really produce work again, I can assure you that posts, booklets and all will be better than ever. Because she makes me better than I ever was on my own. Better than any person has made me before now. Everything that each of us do from here on out is going to be better than anything before, because we lift each other up.

And do you know what? I'm in the best place ever. She has given me my faith back in live, love and everything.

Wake up to a new morning
Got my babe by my side
Now I won't yield to new warnings
'Cause I got my piece of mind

Who could bring me heaven
When heaven's already here?

No more living in darkness
Now that love lights my way
I don't need any new changes
To make me love today

--Collective Soul - Heaven's Already Here

Saturday, May 9, 2015

Where in the Hells has This Guy Been?

What's new with me and where I have been:

So, you may have noticed that I haven't been around much since wrapping up the giveaways form SWAp Day.  I have been pretty busy with work, fatherhood and something else.  That something else is the next Goldenrod supplement.  I've taken some time off from almost everything else to real pound away on this one.  It took far too long for me to produce the combat guide.  The next one is going to be a booklet centered on one class, the Sorcerer.  

I got to thinking about the Sorcerer that I adapted for S&W back on the original SWAp Day in 2013. I decided that it was time to really hammer the thing out.  Well, I'm more than half done.  All that I have left to do is write up some of the new spells that I have ready and it will be good to go.  

Revising G&G:

Another thing that I've been thinking on in my hiatus is "Hump-day Hildebrandt."  I want to keep rocking this, but with an expansion.  Starting this coming Wednesday, you can expect to see a revised feature.  "Inspirational Wednesdays" will occasionally feature Hildebrandt are, but it will feature so much more.  From music and film, to art and literature I will be posting images and articles about things that have inspired my games, or things that I have recently found that I  find inspirational.

Well, that's all for now.  Just wanted to let you all know what I've been up to.  I'll let everyone know when the next Goldenrod Guide is available.