Showing posts from November, 2015

A Turkey Day's Eve Ramble

I’m stretched thin between my day job and non-blog writing (some of which is actual work-for-hire), so my attempts to form any coherent blog post are coming to naught. Whenever that happens, it’s time for bullet points!

Have you heard that creator Joel Hodgson is raising money to fund a new season of Mystery Science Theater 3000? If you’re in my social media circles, then I can assure you that you have! I’d apologize for the shilling on Joel’s part, but MST3K was a seminal influence on my life. I would eagerly give $10,000 to be one of those guys who gets to pitch a riff, but I don’t have that kind of money. Instead, I’ll beg that if you ever enjoyed Joel or Mike, please dig into your wallets and give $35 (at least that way you get some episodes to download).I’m blowing off watching the Captain America: Civil War trailer online because I’d rather see it in the theater – and I’m still mad that it’s not just Steve and Sam driving around in a van fighting MODOK while looking for Bucky.I’…

SCAG Observations

This isn’t a review. I’ve got way too much on my plate to read this thing cover to cover, but I have skimmed it a few times and read a few bits more thoroughly so I think I can provide some observations at least. It doesn’t turn back the clock, but the Realms of SCAG is much more like the one I love. A lot of effort has been made to undo most of the random, crazy changes 4e introduced. Mulhorand, Faerun’s goofy-ass Egypt analogue, is back. Waterdeep is once again the shining star of the Sword Coast. The stars are in the sky, the water is in the Sea of Fallen Stars, etc.If anything, the combination of 5e changes and 4e changes moves the Realms back to what it was like in 2e. The Silver Marches (AKA Luruar), a nation of allied city-states based around Silverymoon, has been disbanded and the far north of Faerun is once again a dangerous frontier. I’m not exactly upset about this, even if I would like to see Alustriel reinstated as ruler of Silverymoon.Players worried about their characte…

Hey, SCAG! You forgot someone!

The Dancing Lady, the Tawny Temptress
Alignment: CG
Domains: Life, Trickery
Symbol: A pair of luscious lips

The history of Sharess is long and twisted. In brief, the cat-goddess Bast wandered away from the Mulhorandi pantheon, merged with the obscure and dying elf deity Zandilar the Dancer, and eventually was tempted by and partially integrated into the goddess Shar. For centuries, Sharess existed as an aspect of Shar – a reminder that secrets can be enticing, that longing and loss are intimately related – and was worshipped as the patroness of festhalls and sensual fulfillment. Sune helped Sharess regain her independence during the Time of Troubles, but the long, strange road from the Spellplague to the Second Sundering seems to have ended with Sune absorbing Sharess and becoming the goddess of hedonism.
In truth, the worship of Sharess has gone underground. Crusades against Shar (instigator of the Spellplague) resulted in demonization of the goddess who shared her name. Sharess …

The King is Dead: Illuminated Connections

A key component of The King is Dead is leveraging a hero’s connections to her secret society (literalized in all player characters gaining the Connections Edge for free). The Game Master can also utilize these connections to help build the world by developing the hero’s contacts into NPCs with their own goals and personalities. To assist GMs and players in fleshing out these contacts, each secret society has a list of archetypal connections with their own unique abilities.

All heroes know a number of Experts equal to ½ Charisma + 2. Additional Expert contacts can be gained and lost by improving or reducing Charisma, by purchasing the Improved Connections Edge, and by getting the Experts killed in combat.

New Edge
Improved Connections
Requirements: Seasoned, ConnectionsThe hero gains connections with two more Experts. These Experts are not replaced if they die aiding the cabal in a combat mission. This Edge can be taken multiple times.

Illuminated Connections
Most members of the Illuminat…

An Altellan Fragment...

I need to practice my prose, so here's a fiction fragment from Altellus...

Lucan assumed a guarding stance, planting his hooves far (but not too far) apart for balance, tucking his left arm behind his back, and turning his torso to present as little target as possible to his opponent. He held his blade low, point high, in order to interpose as much steel between his vital organs and his foe’s point as possible. His movements were graceful, even poetic, as he studied himself in the mirror.

He smiled fondly at himself and laughed at his own absurdity.

Lucan Aetherious never chuckled. He did not chuckle or snicker or titter. He laughed, he guffawed, and he even brayed but he never laughed quietly, not even at his own thoughts, not even when he was all alone. Cerberos, his sooty-furred cat, had grown used to the sudden outbursts long ago and merely yawned at the satyrid.

Lucan slid his rapier into its sheath, primped his hair, adjusted his codpiece, and opened his door. His room was on …