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Wednesday, January 29, 2014

Forty Years of D&D, A Celebration and Some Random Talk

So, I missed the boat.  I know.   Sunday was D&D's 40th Anniversary (official unofficial.)  Sunday I was watching my daughter.  I post nothing and didn't get a game in. We did play Kings Quest V together, so that's something.  I also started a game of Eye of the Beholder, but no table top happened.

As far as I'm concerned that is somewhat OK.  That's because I intend to celebrate this entire year. That starts (with any luck) this weekend running some classic modules.  Tomb of Horrors run using OD&D is on the table at for this at present. Possibly followed by White Plume Mountain.  +Shane Harsch is planning on running Hidden Shrine of  Tamoachan using FATE as the rules engine.  At this point it looks like my thing for D&D's Birthday is going to be a decent little shindig.  We even have someone this cat bringing some nice grub. It will be held at Warriors 3 Comics & Games in Wayne Michigan this Saturday afternoon, presuming that my daughter is still has a solid sitter that afternoon.

It should be a fun time.  I know I'll have several people that I get to run through the Tomb for their very first time!  Most of those will also be OD&D vigins, so I'm a bit stoked about that.

In other news, I'm back to writing The Black Book of Faust, and I'm stoked about that as well.  I intend to complete (my end) of at least two Old School Gaming products this year, the first of which will be the aforementioned LotFP book.  The second project is one pretty near and dear to me.  That will be the publication of a dungeon that the group I played with in high school had the pleasure of playing through many times in different incarnations.  The Lair of the Brigands, also known as the Brigand Cave was a recurring dungeon back then.  It was always similar, but never quite the same.  In the tradition of what I ran back then, I want to give other groups a similar experience with the module.  My intent is to publish a finished dungeon with built in randomizers.  That meaning there will be areas that will be rolled on a series of tables within the module so that the dungeon will never be the same twice!  I already my my interior artist, Chris, ready to roll, and he's great.  I intend to get some of his work up here someday, as he's pretty good and deserves to be shared with the world.  Well, I'll update on how my Birthday Party for D&D goes as well as plans and progress on these projects.  Remember, in the 40th year...

Be Excellent To Each Other and always...
Fight On!

Hump-day Hildebrandt

Here's a pretty picture.  More posts will be on the way later in the week.

Tuesday, January 21, 2014

Henry 'Hank' Esslinger (Sholo Critumbo) Memorial Page and Memorial Fund

If you have an interest in this page, you likely knew Hank Esslinger in some way, whether you knew him in person or on the internet via his varied interests.  This post is meant to be a memorial page dedicated to him.  Late last week I was made aware of his passing, and while I only had the opportunity to speak with him via the internet, he added quite a bit to my daily life, and provided me with several good conversations over these past few years.  I have already missed his presence greatly.  He was a great part of the online Old School Gaming Community.  After I had learned of his passing, this post by his niece's husband was brought to my attention on Hank's Facebook page:

Hello everyone...I see the posts are starting to come in, so I thought I would explain a few things about Henry/Hank/Sholo Crittumbo. He passed away this week from an unknown condition. He had been living with his niece Valarie (I am her husband) for a few months, and had been in relatively good health. The cause of his death is unknown, and the funeral/memorial arrangements are not set as of now. We all have stories about Henry. He was a good man with a good heart, and we ask that you pray for the well being of his family in this time of grieving. I know of few people who would not want mourning at his death...Henry was one of those few. Thank you for your kind thoughts, more information will follow when it is available. 

Jason January - Huntsville

Since that time people have been writing on his page in droves.  He was loved by many people in many circles. I am opening this page up to any memories, eulogies or pictures that you would like me to post.  If you have anything about Hank that you would like me to put up, send it to treewytch_at_yahoo_dot_com.  Send your message, poem, picture of Hank etc. Also give me the name that you prefer to be known under on this page.  I will get everything up as time permits.

Additionally, a fund has been started to help Hank's family take care of his finances and funeral.  Any donation is welcome.  Jason hd this to say:

Jason here (Val's Husband). I thought I would pass this information on to everyone as soon as able. As you can tell, we have opened up Henry's computer and have found almost a 500 messages between the different online groups he was a part of. Some of you may have only met him online. He was even more cantankerous in person. 

As per multiple messages to our emails, phones and Facebook, the family decided to open up a memorial fund to cover the expenses. While Henry would give you the shirt off his back, he really was a free spirit and did not have a lot to give. We are working to cover his funeral expenses and take care of his property/obligations he left behind. His sister (Monica) is taking on the financial strain of the funeral currently. Any help would be appreciated.

Below is an option for you to give to cover some of those expenses. If you do not have money now but will during Faire, please give to the assistance fund in his memory at that time. 

It appears that there is a high chance that we are going to have a memorial in Houston, Saturday, January 25, The exact times and location have not been set in stone. I will continue to update you as more information is available.

The donations can be given at youcaring.com here.  

Henry "Hank" Esslinger (Sholo Critumbo,) we will see you when we pass into the west.  

Wednesday, January 15, 2014

Hump-day Hildebrandt: The Steading?

This piece by Tim Hildebrandt reminds (and it may be that hall in the background) of Steading of the Hill Giant Chief.  I'm going to have to run those modules soon!

Monday, January 13, 2014

The 2014 State of (My) Gaming Address

Well, it's January.  I'm done moving.  I'm ready to game again and ready to write again.  I suppose it's time for me to update everyone on the State of Gaming (as it pertains to my life.)  My move and temporary shift in life that made my late fall and holiday season hectic is done and in the past.  Now I have time for the things that I love again.  This year looks promising on several levels.  Let's start with the most base.

I can finally get back to a solid gaming schedule.  That means that my weekly face to face game on Fridays should become regular again.  That's right, the Castles & Crusades: Lost Lands campaign will be back in full swing!  Two great companies combined into one awesome campaign.  I also intend to be running my monthly Mutant Future campaign on a monthly basis again with +Amy Kohl & co.  Additionally on my regular gaming front, my good friend Jon will likely be running his Numenera campaign on a monthly basis, which I greatly look forward to PLAYING in! Also, I have been told by +Adam Muszkiewicz  of another once a month game coming up, and I would love the chance to play with him once a month!  Everything I've played with or run for him at cons has been great. Wow.  With all of that I almost forgot the "occasional" LotFP game, that I intend to make slightly more than occasional.

On top of all of the above I promised myself that I would get on this here light box and play some Hangout and Roll20 games this year.  It's also been (literally) years since I painted a mini and I have a backlog to work on!

Lets jump on the 40th Anniversary topic now.   As I wrote about here this year marks the 40th Anniversary of D&D specifically, and RPG's in general by default of that.  We believe that the 40th Anniversary proper is January 26th (read the linked page and follow it's links to learn why, if you aren't already familiar.)  In honor of this event I have created a shirt, which was mentioned on Geek Native.  Thanks for that if you guys happen to be reading!  

I for one intend to do something to celebrate the 40th Anniversary of my favorite hobby!  My plan is to run a day of D&D.  That will be one full day of face to face games.  I plan on running them at Warriors 3 Comics & Games in Wayne, MI.  I originally intended to do so on Jan. 25th, but that is now looking unlikely.  Now I plan to move that to Sat. Feb 1st.  What will I be running?  I plan to run all three games using OD&D.  I may or may not port in some Arduin Grimoire stuff.  I will be running classic mods.  White Plume Mountain is my definite adventure for the day.  Other than that I'm tossing around Tomb of Horrors, Ghost Tower of Inverness, The Lost City, Secret of Bone Hill...  the list could go on.  All of that said, I think I'll be sticking with "tournament" style mods, as they should fit in the time that I'm giving myself that day.  For the record, I will be wearing that sweet 40th anniversary shirt while running these games.  Hell, my birthday is a couple weeks after that, so we might see round too and get more of these games in.  Maybe I'll run the entire "U" series for my b-day. That would be pretty damned sweet.

Now that I'm settled I can also get back to writing my "my afterwork project."  That is to say, in the next couple of weeks I intend to start pounding away at "The Black Book of Faust" again.  I've been missing my Lamentations of the Flame Princess project and game these last few months and need to get back on track with it now that time is again available.  I greatly look forward to returning to this.

That looks like a big year.  But wait folks... I don't think that I've quite bitten off more than I can chew yet!  It was somewhat un-officially proposed that in 2014 U-Con have an official OSR track going on. A"track" essentially boiling down to a collection of similarly themed games and events.  U-con has an awesome Tekumel track every year, and I would like to get an OSR track in there as well!  We had a great OSR turnout in 2013, so I would love to coordinate an official track.  I have sent in my plan for the project and have been told that a board meeting is coming up at which it will be discussed.  Now I wait with bated breath.

Well, it's late here in The Land of the Inland Seas, and I have to get up for my real job early in the morning.  So, I'll leave you good folks with Gary's words...


Wednesday, January 8, 2014

Hump-day... Vallejo?

It's Wednesday.  That should mean that I post a painting by one or both of the Hildebrandt Brothers.  This week is different.  This week, it's also Boris Vallejo's birthday!  In my opinion where Sword & Sorcery art is concerned he is second only to Frazetta.  In celebration I give you a small gallery of his work.

Tuesday, January 7, 2014

Swag For the 40th Anniversary of D&D

You may know, if you've ever clicked on the "Raid Grognard the Dragon's Lair" icon to the right, that I design a few items here and there to promote the Blog and OSR gaming in general.  Well, I've owned some of my own product, and some OSR shirts that others have produced.  I'm sure that WOTC has something on the horizon from their own clothing line to mark the occasion, but I wanted something to embrace more than just D&D itself.  The anniversary of D&D is the anniversary of rpg's in general, as it was the first.  Therefore I have designed a shirt that pays tribute to our past, yet looks to our future.  If you've been looking for something to wear for the 40th Anniversary of D&D or to your local Con, look no further!  It is available here by clicking the here.  Today (1/7/2013) you can get 50% off shirts using the code: TEEREFRESHER.

My primary reason for getting this designed was to have something for the 40th Anniversary coming up, as +Jon Peterson has pointed out here.  Seeing as how the presumed date (and Jon provides some reliable research to prove his point) of the 1974 release of D&D is Sunday Jan. 26th, I will be running a full day of games on the 25th (conditions permitting.)  This will be an event at one of our local FLGSs, Warriors 3 Comics and Games.  It will be an semi-open event, and I intend to post more about my plans for it in the following weeks.

Thursday, January 2, 2014

Hump-day Hildebrandt: New Year and A Lot of Snow

With the New Year the hectic-ness of my life should come to a close.  I am finally moved and (mostly) settled in.  With that, I should be able to post more regularly and within a couple of weeks I should be back to work on "The Black Book of Faust."  I intend to have it complete before spring.  I know that it is a day late, but I was rather busy yesterday (more so than I would have liked to be on New Years Day) and the snows continue to come down here in Southern Michigan.  So, here is your HDH for the week.  I intend to have some updates and retrospective pieces done this weekend.