Monday, 25 July 2011

Norway, a nation of naïve hippies?

Tonight I was in Oslo for the first time after the bomb. The first thing that struck me was the number of people in the streets. Most of them had come to partake in the grassrot-organized memorial, but I couldn't help thinking about the safety-aspect -- after all, only four days ago, Norway was hit by a gruesome act of terror. It didn't take me long before I abandoned my anxieties. It felt safe, or rather, I chose to feel safe.

Does that make me naïve? No one else looked afraid either, does that make all of us naïve?

Sunday, 24 July 2011

The attacks

"Our answer is more democracy, more openness, more humanity, but without naivety."
-Jens Stoltenberg, Norwegian PM

Norway is a small country, and Friday's atrocities touched us all. We all know someone who were touched by this attack on the basic values of our society. 

The terrorist claims to be part of an international group, unified in their hatred against Islam and socialism. His goal was to force the hand of our government to take actions against what he sees as a threat against the Western Christian civilization. He failed. Norway of today is a nation without dividing lines; religion, politics and colour does not define us. Solidarity and humanity does.

Instead of seeding his own hatred in our souls, the terrorist has brought us all together. When I heard that he was of Norwegian ethnicity, and a Christian, I was relieved. How would Norway have looked today had he been a Muslim? It also made me realise that Christian terrorism hurts just as much as Muslim terrorism. We cannot fight intolerance with more intolerance. 

I have been reminded of one of our poets, Nordahl Grieg:

Here is your battle plan,
Here is your shield
Faith in this life of ours,
The common weal

For all our children’s sake,
Save it, defend it,
Pay any price you must,
They shall not end it

Please read the whole poem on Wikipedia.

I have never been as proud of my country as I am now.

[Picture source: NRK]

Saturday, 23 July 2011

Thursday, 21 July 2011

Boldly going...

I've now packed all my earthly belongings. Today'll be all about cleaning the gaff, plus readying my stuff for transport. Tomorrow I leave for a week with my folks, and when we hit August, I'll be crossing the ocean. Blogwise this means I may or may not be posting for the next few weeks. It all depends on factors I do not necessarily control, or am able to see at the moment.

I'll also take this opportunity to let you know that I've made a few adjustments on this here ol' blog o'mine. If you scroll down, you'll now find two new sections on the right-hand bar. One is called Featured blog, and I plan on changing that one semi-regularly. What ends up there will be blogs I think you aught to read. The other is called Podcasts, and... yeah, exactly. If you have any suggestions regarding 'casts, please let me know in the comment field. Oh, and it looks like the crowd likes the partial post-view, so that's staying.

Before I get crackin', here are a few posts on a game-relevant topic:

Rather Gamey 
["Cold Steel's Great Sword"]

the only successful one
["Science explains why running around in plate mail all day was not a good idea"]

Realm of Zhu 
["Animal Armour"]

Curse of the GM
["The spear is king."]

I'd Rather Be Killing Monsters
["This Is What I'm Talking About..."]

CoastConFan Blog 

Lastly, courtesy of Monte Cook's G+ feed, the Internet Movie Firearms Database.

For now, enjoy your summer (if applicable), and for the love of dice, get some gaming done.

Wednesday, 20 July 2011

My old notebooks, part I

I'm almost done packing, and tomorrow I'm leaving Bergen. While I was going through my stuff, deciding what to keep, what to put in storage, and what to get rid of, I started leafing through some of my old note-books. I've been using them to plan my games for about a dozen years -- that is, until I started blogging, as now most of my writing ends up here. This time I've decided that I wont bring these tomes with me, but rather store them safely at my mum's.

However, there are a few pages in these books I'd like to preserve for posterity and easy reference. And I know a couple of my players will appreciate seeing some of these things again. Hence this post, the first of at least two, if not three. And since chronology is as good a system as any, I'll start with the oldest two. They measure 14 x 9 cm, and are the smallest of my books. They were in use between 1999 and 2002.

Tuesday, 19 July 2011

Hero: Toadface

AARGH, feel the might of my fist, puny human!! 

Storyteller's note: This is the third of the hero-biographies from the Pius Chronicles. It is written by Bjørnar, this character's player.

Toadface is something of an enigma and little is known about his life before he joined the adventures of the Pius Cabal.

What is known is that he was raised by his grandmother, both living alone in a cabin located somewhere in what is called The Wild. His mother died giving birth to him, and his father is unknown. The only things he inherited from his parents was his grim-looking face and his considerable bulk, though there is a possibility that the magical artifact called Thunderer's Gauntlet once belonged to his father.

Monday, 18 July 2011

A Thief and Thirteen Fighters

Bilbo Baggins

These are the lead characters of The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey, all put together in one post, for consistency and your viewing pleasure. Instead of editorialising, I'll just say that I'm looking forward to seeing what Jackson can come up with this time.

Sunday, 17 July 2011

Historical References: The Lost Expedition

Relics from the lost expedition, published in the
Illustrated London  News, 1854

Do not go gentle into that good night
Rage, rage against the dying of the light.

~Dylan Thomas
It is 19 May 1845, and the two ships HMS Terror and HMS Erebus are setting out on an expedition to find the near-mythical North-West Passage. Aboard are 129 men. The vessels are outfitted with the most sophisticated and modern inventions — no expenses have been spared. Both have modern steam-engines and screw propellers, making them capable of travelling at a speed of 4 knots under their own power. They have reinforced hulls, and steam-powered heating for the crew-quarters. They have supplies to sustain the members of the expedition for five years. The commander of the mission is Sir John Franklin.

Fragments of Truth and Fiction: Lethal Ladies

 Elyn von Sturm, one of the best Panzerzeppelin-commanders of the OUT, is a first generation Argonian. It is said that she is more at home in the air than on the ground. She often volunteers her dirigible, the Himmelwulf, for long-range scouting missions. She is known to be particularly interested in arcane phenomena, and lately it has been commented that perhaps her methods are a little too dynamic for the Thulist establishment.

Saturday, 16 July 2011

Non-magical loot: Singing Bird Pistols

These should be worth a hefty sum in just about any setting, and probably well worth a little crime. This particular pair was sold for $5.8 million in May this year, after "[...] an epic bidding war between two of the world’s most connoisseur collectors who fought fiercely for more than 10 minutes." [source]  Now if that isn't enough to make you hum the theme from Mission Impossible, you're in the wrong hobby.

Thanks to Kevin Mowrer for the video.

The Voyage of RAS Talôn

Storyteller's note: The following article was published in the The Correspondent, No. 47, in YE 1042.

Correspondents,The following letter was submitted by The Hon'ble Rev. Dr. Thaddeus Potley COGD, Gardener to His Majesty King Rowar II of Pendrell, regarding his service on the gun-sloop RAS Talôn's journey to Thule. As you are no doubt aware, in Tertius YE 1041, Commodore Sir Jonah  A. P. Peregrine CA KCOGD was gazetted by the Council to find a passable passage to Øksfjord in Thule, and was considered lost until recently. You are no doubt also now aware that the northern OUT colony is powerful enough to claim the troposphere.

Wednesday, 13 July 2011

A good place to lurk...

...these days, is this thread over in the Yog-Sothoth forum.

Tax Instalment: Nightfall

According to Joesky, I owe some tax, seeing as I'm prone to punch out rather lengthy posts every now and again. To settle that score, I give you the second adventure I've ever written. The first was 19 years ago, and not that big of a success. Hopefully this one isn't as bad.

Nightfall is an adventure for three to six players, using the Storytelling System. It is based on the film Pitch Black, but both scenario and plot has been modified to accommodate the chaos of roleplaying. I wrote it mostly as an exercise, but if you find it useful, I'd love to hear how it went. For that matter, should you have any comments, I'm all ears eyes.

Tuesday, 12 July 2011

White Wolf: Print on Demand

This is something I've been thinking about since I found out that White Wolf was going Print on Demand. The hype at the time was that "every book from [their] back-catalogue would become available." Since then I've seen nothing to indicate this is becoming a reality. Until now, that is.
"The PoD catalog currently available on DriveThruRPG is the only stuff they've so far converted to PoD format. Everything which isn't on that list is in the "to do" pile, but depending on the individual book, the availability of original source documents, how easy it is to convert those documents to the proper format, etc., all affect the amount of time it takes to prepare them for PoD. It's a process that takes time, and they've got limited manpower to do it. There's no real way of predicting how long a book will take until they're doing it, so there's no real release schedule. Stuff's ready when it's ready. 

Looking at what DriveThruRPG has available in print as per today [link], the list is somewhat dismal. As Watson pointed out in the same post: "Older stuff has been out of print longer, so it's probably got a higher priority for conversion." In practice, this seems to mean that at the moment, unless you're looking for an oWoD-book, you're SOL. I don't know, it seems a little half-assed. If they want to keep people playing their newer lines, they probably should prioritise those, but what do I know. I do know that I want Geist, and I'm not paying the 100 bucks Amazon is asking these days.

Disclaimer: As far as I can tell, Watson is not an employee of WW, nor does he quote an official source. Thus this information, though seemingly accurate, may be considered anecdotal -- a rumour, if you will.

[Picture source: Timothy Bradstrreet]

Monday, 11 July 2011

Speaking of Trolling...

Sorry about that. You can go back to whatever you were doing now.

Pantheon: Gudmund

Black Staff, Wanderer, Hand of Fate, Second Witness
God of Fate and Magic
Symbol: A black staff or rod

The legends tell us that Gudmund, son of Arkon, betrayed his brother Trond. In punishment for his crime, Arkon sentenced his son to wander the lands until he had made penance. There are many lesser tales of the lonesome Wanderer throughout Eria and the North, but the most important is that of the Second Witness.

Sunday, 10 July 2011

5.000 gp and an Ice Cream Cone

The user Jetshield posted this little story in the Wizards Community forums. It's a wonderful tale of imagination, roleplaying, and the next generation.

"So there I am, watching my group bicker (in character) about how to get into the Temple of Akargon to retrieve the Rod of Improbability that's rumored to be there. The little one (she's 7), comes in from the next room, taps on one of my player's shoulder to get his attention, and says "I've got the key I can sell you."

Wednesday, 6 July 2011

Re: Your Dungeon Is Suck

Over a year ago, my blog-surfing led me to a blog named Your Dungeon Is Suck. I scanned a few of the top posts, and quickly dismissed it as immature, anonymous mudslinging of the uninspired type. Then I moved on. Since then I've seen this blog mentioned here and there, and I've also read a post or two. It stays true to form. It sometimes puzzles me that this type of garbage attracts an audience, then I remember that the internets are full of losers, bullies and piss-ants.

Had Your Dungeon Is Suck at least been written by someone with enough integrity to put his own name, and maybe even a picture, to his profile, I might have been inclined to look for nuggets of satire in the steady stream of filth. It is not. It is instead an example of the bad side of the web -- the side where the inadequate feel empowered by their anonymity, and where they use this power to see how much they can hurt other people.

I cannot respect the person hiding behind Your Dungeon Is Suck, nor can I respect the cackling choir that seems to frequent that particular digital dung-heap. He and his followers represent the absolute low of this community.

Tuesday, 5 July 2011

A job that needed doing

The Pius had reached the highest reaches of the troposphere. Above was only the darkness of the Void. Below and to her aft, arching north and westwards, lay the unnatural storm-front that blocked the approach to Cora. From this perspective it looked like a fat, black snake on the dark waters of the Straits of Ahriman. Somewhere down there, beneath the waves, the demon of the cauldron was fighting the Kraken. Hidden beneath the tumultuous clouds were also the combined fleets of the Hannumen and the Wolf Lords, as well as the Armada of Forlorn Hope  that would be a great battle. None of these things concerned Commander Spearhawk.

Monday, 4 July 2011

From my shelves: Leviathan

One of the things that naturally moving is packing. While boxing my RPG-books yesterday, I had to stop more than once to leaf through a tome I'd half forgotten. I'll readily admit there are books I probably wouldn't ever remember, should I decide to part with them, but there are also some treasures amongst them. One of these is Grendel's Leviathan. This "post-apocalyptic fantasy battle system" was published in -95, and I assume it never made it big.

I picked it up in a discount-bin sometime shortly after Y2K, not because I wanted a mini-game, but because of the artwork by Adrian Smith. Once I'd read through the fluff-section, I came to like the setting as well. The five factions of the game are dwarves, elves, goblins, humans and orcs. While this is far from innovative in and of it self, these five pieces should illustrate some of what's made me remember Leviathan. The goblins have become my standard go-to-goblins for my fantasy games, and the elves became the First Fallen of Argos. As for the steampunk dwarves, they're just too cool for school.

I did some light looking, and Leviathan-minis are still available, for those of you who have such inclinations.

EDIT: Yup, there's also a blog dedicated to this game. I love the internets.

Sunday, 3 July 2011

Chapter: The End of an Era

Cast: Aegir of the Enæidùn, Mandan Bansl, Gryff Galan, Percival O'Conner, Velimir Tito, Yolander van Zaar, and Toadface. Many NPC's also played a part.

The following takes place between 6 and 21 Undecium, YE 1022.

After the Pius Cabal returned from the Void, having killed Dr. Mörbius, they came to realize that unless the schemes of the Queen of Stars were stopped, all they had done would be for naught. No amount of lesser victories would stem the tide. Evil would triumph, and the fate of mankind would be sealed. But how do you go up against an ancient goddess?