Wednesday, December 29, 2010


From the Troll Lord forums (fora?):

Here is where we stand on the CKG:

As you know we own our own print shop and bindery. The bindery is a very new edition and not 100% operational for hardback books. That which we cannot do, we outsource to a company in Georgia. We did this for the M&T of Aihrde hardback and the Gods & Monsters. It proved to be a complete disaster, the time lag is huge, the aims not clear, and problems quickly mounted. So during the week before Christmas we invested in a further expansion of the bindery and have purchased the necessary equipment to bring this about...or rather in typical Troll fashion, we purchased the necessary components to make this happen, and we'll assemble it ourselves. I finalized the deal today (December 28, 2010) and the equipment is ready to ship...of course Europe (where it is manufactured) and the Northern part of the States (where it ships to first) is blanketed in a blizzard of epic proportions.

So, what does this mean? It means that the CKG hardcover, the one everyone has pre-ordered is still another week or two out. That's bad news for all those who want to see it, but good news for all those who have it and can locate any last minute editorial mistakes that our editors and myself may have missed.

Please put all editorial mistakes here in this thread. I will check daily and enter the texts into the original document so that when the final goes to press for the release, we can get it as close to perfect as possible.

Thank you for your continued patience.

post script: The digest version is available for sale, as are all the digest versions, in our online store.

So that's what.

Tuesday, December 28, 2010


Kayso my buddy Jacob totally has a copy of the Castles & Crusades Castle Keeper's Guide, like, IN HIS HOUSE.  And he wouldn't lie to me 'cause he knows it'd make me cry, and so who wants to see THAT? 


I got one coming to me via mail, I'm pretty sure...

Monday, December 27, 2010

I Inkscaped A Star Map.

See, 'cause Daniel over at World Without Syn keeps making keen stuff with Inkscape.  And I keep hammering on him about HEY DO SOME TUTORIALS DEMONSTRATING HOW YOU DO THAT THING.  And finally he was all like *SIGH* FINE WHATEVER DOC GEEZ GET OFF MY LEG and he did one.

So I followed it, and -- VOI-LA!

Click to make way too damn big

Saturday, December 25, 2010


WHOA-HO!  What the -- ?!  Robot Viking reports that the STAR WARS game license has been acquired by "mystery game company that has yet to make any kind of official announcement". 

Hmm.  Mystery game company.

It's known who doesn't hold the license:

Several companies this week announced that they were not successful in their pursuit of the valuable Star Wars license from Lucasarts, including Paizo, Mongoose, Margaret Weis Productions, Steve Jackson Games, and Green Ronin.

Through logical deduction, and accounting for the fact that the license covers RPG, trading card- and miniatures game rights, Robot Viking opines that the new license holder is probably Fantasy Flight Games.

The guess makes sense.  The only FFG RPG products that I'm aware of are the Horizon d20 minigames, but I doubt that they'd go back to that well.  Do they have a house system?  Would they devise a new one?  Only time will tell.

And me all starry eyed, you'd think that I would have known by now.

As it turns out, though, Robot Viking posits the possibility of another licensee -- one that I, frankly, would prefer over FFG, if only because I'm familiar (and pleased) with their RPG output:

Cubicle 7.

Look -- I dunno about you, but I think that FATE 3.0 would work just dandy fine for STAR WARS RPG shenanigans.  In fact, I've used it for (short-lived PBEM) STAR WARS RPG shenanigans, and I liked it.

Granted that there's nothing preventing anyone else from doing same.  Still and all, if it's gonna be in print, I'm totally down with STAR WARS FATE.

Then again -- there is a certain OGL system floating around which juuuuuust might fit the bill...

Friday, December 24, 2010

I Juana Weesh You A Mary Cree-Muss

Okay, so...Merry Christmas, folks!

*gasp*  WHAT?!  "Merry Christmas"?!  From Doc Rotwang!?  But -- but-- !  Doc Rotwang! is a filthy damn baby-eating godless damn filthy A-T-H-E-I-S-T!  Why would a filthy damn baby-eating godless damn filthy atheist wish anyone a Merry Christmas?

Why?  Because I'm not a callous, heartless jerk.  Being an atheist doesn't make you a callous, heartless jerk.  Being a callous, heartless jerk makes you a callous, heartless jerk and I do my best not to be a callous, heartless jerk.

You know...look.  I live in the United States.  We got Christmas here, and it's not going away.  Nor do I want it to go away, because I actually sort of enjoy it.  So I've decided that I will enjoy it, and wish a Merry Christmas to everyone else, too, while I'm at it.

So why do I enjoy it?  I certainly don't believe believe that it marks the birth of Christ; that is most likely to have happened in Summer or Fall to begin with, and it's pretty damned obvious that what we call 'Christmas' is an old pagan holiday marking the winter solstice, hijacked by guys with a book and some power.  I won't go into all of that, because others have covered it already.  So no need to recap.

What I like about Christmas is that very original identity as a pagan celebration.  "Dammit!  It's cold, dark and shitty outside.  We need cheering up.  So...let's build a fire, put lights on things that don't normally have lights, drink something hot and eat!  Whoooo!"


Oh, and the gifts.  Yeah, I like getting gifts.  I like giving gifts.  I like sharing.  I like that there's a convenient excuse for everyone to try -at least- to focus on the compassion and camaraderie that makes us human.  We are social animals; animals, yes, but capable of compassion.  That's a big thing about what makes us human, and I like to celebrate it.  It's a common theme at Christmas, and like I say -- Christmas ain't goin' anywhere, sooooo...

Actually, I like to celebrate human compassion all year long, because it's just that important.  As far as I'm concerned, when it come up at Christmastime, that's just everyone else catching up to me.

I cannot, and would not, and should not and will not and don't want to speak for all atheists on anything but a few things.  But for me, one of the cornerstones of my atheism is the love for life and the quality of it -- and not just my life.  When I say "quality of life", I mean EVERYONE'S life, even the lives of people with whom I disagree, or who would see me harmed or censured because they disagree with me.  I don't care about those things.

I care about life mattering, and being experienced, and being treasured and being lived like it's the only one we'll ever get, because it IS


Merry Christmas.  If you celebrate it for secular reasons, great.  If you celebrate it for religious reasons, great.  If you celebrate it because you like eggnog and it's hard to find the rest of the year, great.  If you call it -- whatever you call your holidays.  Whatever.  It's like this:

Enjoy it, damn you.

Wednesday, December 22, 2010

Hey, Everybody! It's Gamer Quiz Time, Yipee!

Thanks to Badger for pointing me toward this thing.  It's short and easy and fun.  Plus -- BAR GRAPH!

NOTE: I was gonna post my results, buuuuuuut the HTML table was all funked up when I C&P'd it into El Bloggero.  Whattaya gonna do.

Tuesday, December 21, 2010

Here's To Future Days!

Slow dancing...anything I want.
So whatcha got right now is your Winter Solstice, see, and that means that we've seen the Sun at its lowest high point in the sky this year -- in other words, less daytime, more night-time.  After that, right, is where things start to flip-flop:  More daytime, less night-time.

Now, I know that night time is the right time for...well, lots of stuff, it's true, and not just the stuff in Sheena Easton songs.  But "less daytime" equates to "less sunlight" and that equates to "colder" and SCREW COLD IN ITS FACE.

So!  What have we learned (besides that Sheena Easton's song "9 To 5" was retitled "Morning Train" in the US, so as to avoid confusion with the Dolly Parton single)?  Well, we can deduce a few things, namely:

  1. Dr Rotwang! took Astronomy 101;
  2. He has a funny way of explaining stuff about axial tilt;
  3. From today on, the days'll get longer and the nights shorter -at least until the Summer Solstice, when the process reverses, but it's OK because it's warm out and things don't start to get cold and sucky until the Vernal Equinox- which will result in a gradual increase in temperature on the northern hemisphere, which is where Dr Rotwang! keeps all his stuff; and
 So!  Now!  There.  Dig it.  It's science, dammit.

Great.  You guys cogitate while I go outside and punch the crap outta some snow.  DON'T DRINK ALL MY EGG NOG!

Saturday, December 18, 2010

(Just Can't Resist) Showing Off

Tonight, my extended family will engage in a tradition we call "Dirty Santa". 

It's not a Zak Sabbath title, no.

No, what Dirty Santa is, is it is this:  Everyone brings a wrapped gift of some sort.  It doesn't matter what it is as long as someone there might like it.  Then, everyone takes a turn picking a gift -- either an as-yet unidentified wrapped one from the pile, or an unwrapped one that someone else has.  Eventually everyone's got something, and we all had fun yoinking stuff away from one another, ha ha ha.

I'm bringing a mix CD, and this is the insert for the jewel case:

Clickity-click.  Yes, I misspelled "Hazard" on the cover.
But there's a trick to it -- it comes bundled with a sock.  A single sock.  YOU CANNOT HAVE THE CD AND NOT HAVE THE SOCK.

It's a brand-new sock, though.

Friday, December 17, 2010

Goodbye, Stargate Universe

Goodbye, Stargate Universe.  There is the door; you may use it.

Monday, December 13, 2010

Wherein I Betray The OSR (Well, Just A Little Bit)

I work with this dude I'm gonna call "The Oatmeal Kid".  The Oatmeal Kid used to play D&D with some of his homies -- a couple of whom I know.  He still has some dice and stuff, and plenty of good memories.

The Kid also has a son.  We'll call him Bonesy, because this is my blog dammit and I'm listening to Jean-Luc Ponty and so get outta my face and also that's what his dad calls him.  Lad's 11 years old.  Finds his dad's dice.  "Hey, Dad, what's this, eh?  Eh?  Eh?" happens, and BOOM the kids wants to get his game on.

Swank times, sez I.

But I thought THIS.
So The Oatmeal Kid comes up to me and asks about the state of D&D, and how can he get Bonesy set up to game, and so on.  Cheerful ambassador that I am, I hook The Kid (the Oatmeal one) up with links a-plenty to some retro-clones.  I gave him some dice and stuff.  Good to go, right?

Well, Bonesy musta dug it all because today The Oatmeal Kid told me that he and Mrs. Oatmeal want to buy the boy some D&D swag for Xmas.  He asked me, "I was thinking of getting him the fourth edition.  What do you think?"

Right then, my stomach twisted.  I was -- well, remember that time you were on Corumna Alpha III and you had to nuke all the chromazebras to ensure that the atmosphere stayed mucus-free?  It was just like that.  'Cause I knew what the boy had to have.

Reluctantly, I zapped The Kid a link to WotC's page for The Red Box That Isn't The Red Box No Matter What Color It Is.  I tried to find him a freely-downloadable quick-start, but no go.  So I wrote him this e-mail:

Most companies publish a free "Quick Start" product, usually downloadable, which teaches basic rules and gives you a taste so you can try before you buy.  Not so Wizards of the Coast, sadly.  I'd refer you to some other commercially-available games that do have such quick-starts, but here's the thing:

They're not D&D. 

In other words, 4th Edition (4E) is The New Hotness.  It's what's In Stores Now.  It's The Brand Name.  His homies are more likely to have heard of (or be playing) D&D in the form of 4E. 

4E is not the D&D you played with Erko and your pals.  That stuff (Erko ran 1st and 2nd Eds. of AD&D back then, I know for a fact) was born of the free-wheeling spirit of the late 70s and early 80s.  4E is much more guided by Magic: The Gathering and other card games, with more rigid rules, more pre-programed options and more...

...fuck, it makes me sad to talk about it. 

But then, before I clicked SEND, I added the following:

Your choice.  You know the kid.  My suggestion?  Give him the WotC Starter Set and a copy of the latest Castles & Crusades Quick Start, and tell him: "This red box is how they play it now, but this Castles & Crusades stuff is how the co-creator of D&D played his own damn game before he died". 

I don't know how this is gonna play out, but there it is:  I gave him the choices.

Thursday, December 09, 2010

Dust-Up At The SE Corral

Herein, cross-posted, my contribution to a thread at The RPG Stack Exchange which resulted from my previous comments about said site.

It's very easy, apparently, to take my blog post out of context. One of my cardinal rules, stated elsewhere in my blog, is that I don't talk smack unless it's really deserved.

You can't say "dust-up" and NOT think of this guy.
I'm not interested in, have not played, and cannot comment upon the 4th edition of D&D. Thus, upon seeing a proliferation of questions about said game, I find that I can't really help. I found myself plowing past piles and mounds of questions to which I can contribute nothing, in search of something with which I could help -- and I really didn't find much.

My point was: Everybody's talkin' 'bout stuff I can't talk about.

I feel powerless, unable to really help. That's just the way it is; no helping it.

I will admit that being voted down for presenting a possible answer that wasn't apparently welcome left a bad taste in my mouth, especially when I was sincerely trying to help by presenting a different light under which to look at AD&D and answering from experience, having once felt the same way about AD&D's supposed inadequacy for certain in-game activities. But that's the nature of the internet -- it's the nature of humanity, really. No helping that, either. That's why I said (in metaphor) that I could ignore that, but I was still left with all these 4.0 questions that I can't help with, and only a few other questions which I might be able to answer.
Filtering tags and so on helps -- to a point. I now see questions that I can address more quickly, but they are not great in number. Still, it's something, and I pitch in where I can.

The fact is that 4.0 is The New Hotness. I am still down with the Old-And-Busted.

*shrug* What can ya do?

Friday, December 03, 2010



Look, man -- I don't know why, but for the last few days I've been feeling an itch to play a Star Trek RPG.

It may have to do with the fact that I've never played a Star Trek game before -- that makes it enticing, interesting, seductive.  A new experience.

I've picked out a set of the rules from the many, many, many available to me:  The FASA game from the early 1980s.

" boldly go to, school."

I sincerely think that "Where No Man Has Gone Before", the MicroLite20 variant, is totally aces.  I feel the same about Risus.  But somethin' in my blood tells me that it's this one.  Why?  Hell, I dunno.  All I know is that I want to run a Star Trek game in the TOS/TAS era, ignoring canon post-1978, and that the PCs would be the crew of an Antares-class ship -- in fact, the non-canonical Antares-class:

Armed with an OCR scan of the old rulebook, the Starfleet Technical Manual and LUG's Star Trek Narrator's Guide by some fulano name of J R Sauce or somethin' (WTF, right?) and my own...umn...let's just call it a "mania", I am ready to roll up some characters, put 'em on the above starship and start makin' stuff up.

My buddies would probably play; my wife, not so much.

Well, it's not like I'm playing anything at all these days...

Why I'm Blah About RPG Stack Exchange

Hey!, I thought.  A question-and-answer thing about RPGs!  Nice!  I'll try it.

So I registered and got started.  Asked a question, two.  Got some good answers.  Gave a few.  Got a little excited.  Badges...Reputation...okay, that's cool.  More excited.

But then...then.

I looked around to see if there were any questions I could help with.  It went like this:

Okay!  Ahhh...see here...D&D 4.0, D&D 4.0, D&D 4.0...Dogs in the Vin- no...D&D 4.0, D&D 4.0, D&D 4-- AHA!  Call of Cthu-- no, that's got plenty of answers already.  D&D 4.0, D&D--OOH!  HEY!  AD&D 1st Ed. question!

So I peek in on a guy looking for help turning a Thief into a Con Man.  In other words -- where are AD&D's social interaction rules?

The first answer was one of those definitive "AD&D sucks for that, it can't do that, it's all about combat" things, which I hold to be untrue.  I offered polite disagreement, and further added some ideas about how one could resolve these things with dice mechanics in the event that role-playing (as in "Role-Playing Game")  were insufficient.

Cue blustery rebuttals, insistence that AD&D is all about what you can't do, and suggestions that if D&D doesn't say you can't do X, then why not just play "Candyland", since that doesn't say you can't do X either?

...Dude...whatever.  But thanks for undoing my attempt to help on, like, the one thing I could.

Well.  That bathwater's out the window, but all the baby seems to say is, "4.0, 4.0, 4.0."

So why am I blah about RPG Stack Exchange?

Because it's like an ass-kicking contest, and I only got half a leg.

Wednesday, December 01, 2010


YAY:  World Without Syn is back.  The author listens to Synergy.  How cool is that?

BOO:  It snowed.