Quick Update

Greetings, just a quick update. Boy has the summer flew by – I had hoped to post more on both of my blogs but I just haven’t had much to say sadly. Now that fall is nearly upon us, do I plan to post more and it has gotten me to reevaluate my blogs. Though my ‘Musing about Original Edition Adventures’ will keep its focus, I’ve decided to tweak things for this blog.

It will still have an RPG focus but I’ll discuss topics I feel warrant posting my views about, such as things that happen to touch upon the hobby. Though I’ll not discuss my personal politics here as I want to try to keep this blog non-political , I will call out the politicalization of our hobby when I feel that it as warranted. I’ll also likely discuss some of my philosophies when it comes to reffing games, especially campaign design.

The focus most of the actual game coverage and content of this blog will be to for the following three RPGs: Classic Traveller, Palladium Fantasy and Basic/Expert Dungeons & Dragons. That said, I may cover RPGs such as Twilight 2000, Mutant Future (once I get it in print), Cyberpunk 2020 & Cyberspace; if I end up eventually running future campaigns either face-to-face or via Play-by-Post. I may also post reviews about non-OD&D based OSR games that I purchase here as well.

Of the three RPGs,  Basic/Expert D&D will likely get the bulk of my initial postings (once I have printed out my PDFs and put them into a binder that is). Outside OD&D, B/X D&D is my favorite version of D&D. I have two potential projects tied to it – the first is creating a default setting using the B/X rules as a guide and second may be a hodge-podge setting drawn from the 1e Forgotten Realms Gray Box Set, 1e ’80 Greyhawk Folio (+ the Gygax Deity articles) and some of my other D&D/Pathfinder related settings (possibly including a version of Arneson’s Blackmoor).As I said these are strictly potential projects.

If and when I create a setting for my future Classic Traveller campaigns it will be largely inspired by the Dark Matter, Firefly and Killjoys tv series and thus not be rooted in the Third Imperium setting. Now concerning Palladium Fantasy, though I will be using the 1e revised version of the rules, I might tweak things that I don’t care for (such as the default religions – I hate it when settings include real world deities).

Well this will be all for this update as I have things to do this afternoon offline. I’ll be back soon. Fin.

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Support the Secrets of Blackmoor film project.

Secrets of Blackmoor Project

Please check out this site if you are 1) a fan of Blackmoor or 2) Interested in the history of our beloved hobby.

“If you have not seen posts in other places, Secrets of Blackmoor the documentary is trying to raise funds to offset expenses on the final stages of the film. Having seen that a lot of people over worked and under delivered on kick Starter we are trying a different approach. We are offering T-shirts for sale. These are original limited edition T-shirts by Bob Bledsaw of judges guild. Bob was kind enough to donate his art to the project.

So it isn’t like you pay your money and… You didn’t even get the T-shirt. *groan*”

A quote from Secrets of Blackmoor’s post at the Ruins of Murkhill Forum. If you desire & can afford to, the best way to support finish this documentary is helping by buying a t-shirt. I am not one to promote projects like kickstarter & I generally won’t post links to them, BUT in this case I’ll make an exception as I believe it is warranted.

We all need to preserve the history of our hobby or we’ll 1) let it disappear or 2) allow people with a nefarious agenda twist the facts and paint a wretched picture of not only of our hobby but its founders (Kotaku & Analog Games studies I am looking at you). So if you can please support this project.

Musing on Arduin – Hargrave Day 2018 [Repost]

Greetings and welcome to my post in celebration of Dave Hargrave the creator of Arduin. I’ve never played Arduin but plan to eventually once I get another group together. That said Hargrave’s imagination was immense, what he created in Arduin is frankly wondrous. His prose like writings are evocative of the world he was inviting others to visit as they played Arduin. Over the last few months I’ve read about Dave & Arduin – shit the dude inspires me!

My World of Xôðûn is inspired by Arduin – the whole gonzo feel of the World of Khaas just beggers you to let your imagination run wild. I love the fact that Dave had no qualms not only meshing science fiction with fantasy but also that both in art and rules he defied the norms of the day. Though TSR in their OD&D books flirted with similar norm defying art (though not even close to the level of quality that Arduin had), they  did eventually abandoned such art to pander to parents and critics.

Arduin would likely spark outrage if published today – you just have to take the ‘Female Attribute Chart’ which is a random chart to determine a woman’s Bust, Waist & Hip size. The fact Dave not only included such a chart but broke down nearly every race on the height & weight charts between male and female would send feminists and their allies into hysterics.  Personally I think the ‘Female Attribute Chart’ is silly and wouldn’t include it in my OD&D campaigns, but I’d likely keep it if I ran Arduin at least initially just to play it BtB. That said I am not offended at the least by Dave’s design choices with these mechanics; remember young men were still the primary audience for RPGs & frankly what red-blooded young male did not love Playboy & check out each month’s measurements & other stats for the playmate of the month? I know I did and I won’t apologize for it either.

ShardraCitidel of Thunder

How can you not be inspired by these? 

There are some rules I will likely import into my OD&D campaigns like the ‘Overland Travel Rules’ and the various travel charts, as I don’t use hex maps at this time , so the OD&D hex movement/exploration rules would need to be converted in any case; so instead of doing that I’ll import the Arduin rules.

A lot of the Arduin rules would not apply to my campaigns in the World of Xôðûn as they are specific to the World of Khaas & the rules themselves. But outside the travel based rules I’ll likely incorporate the ‘Magikal Equipment Saving Throw Matrix’, the ‘Optional Character Appearance Chart’ for non-native NPCs from other worlds or for mutants – yes the World of Xôðûn has mutants! I’ll also likely include the ‘Special Ability Charts’, the ‘Character Social Status’, ‘Character Wealth Chart’, ‘Character Legacy Chart’ & ‘Owned Equipment Chart’ as well. I might actually include the last batch to all of my OD&D campaigns too.

Let’s just say if I ever got to the point where I wanted to create a campaign guide for the World of Xôðûn – I’d take a page from Dave’s book and be true to my vision. I’d buy commissioned art and publish the kind of supplement I want no matter who I’d offend. I’ll definitely add Dave & Arduin to my acknowledgements page a long with Gygax & Arneson, as he deserves it.

I wish more people would give Dave Hargrave his due as a innovator in RPGs like they do to both Gygax & Arneson. I see potential inspiration of Arduin in Palladium Fantasy & Talislanta RPGs. Whether or not Dave’s Arduin influenced Kevin Siembieda & Stephen Michael Sechi or they simply had been of similar minds as they developed their own settings and game systems, I think that they tried to create something different than TSR was doing – which was a very good thing.

I know I wish I had gotten to play Arduin with Hargrave and had been able to get Arduin in print when I was younger. Just looking at the PDFs of the original Arduin series really inspires me from the art alone. I wish Emperors Choice would add a POD option for their Arduin Trilogy, but I doubt that will ever happen as they are largely defunct. I hope someone else would get the licence from Emperors Choice & create cleaned up PDF & POD files for the original Arduin series and sell them again.- I’d buy multiple copies for sure.

This is all I have for you today – I’ll likely discuss what other rules and elements I’ll likely incorporate into my OD&D based campaigns for World of Xôðûn in my Original Edition blog as soon as I give the rules a full in depth read through. That said, I’ll likely discuss my thoughts on Arduin itself in its various incarnations on this blog as I’m trying to keep my ‘Musing About Original Edition Adventures’ blog focused on OD&D. Take care & see you later, Fin.

[UPDATE: This is a repost using my new address for the blog so I do not just delete it like I did the others.]

Gary Gygax Day 2018

Greetings, I decided to celebrate Gary Gygax Day in a brief post about how he touched my life. Though I never met the man nor did I correspond with him, this hobby he helped give birth to has been a salve upon my soul. I am not a religious man though I am a seeker spiritually, so I have to take solace where I can.

I have had a rough life, though others have had it far worse than I have. I have suffered traumas as a child & bore witness to others own traumas. Like many others I grew up in a broken home with a troubled single mother who with help from her parents raised me & my sister. Outside music (Metal, Hardcore & Hip Hop) I had very little to find solace in, but I found some in a few colorful box sets that would later be referred to as BECMI (which stands for Basic, Expert, Companion, Master & Immortal box sets; though I detest the Immortals rules).

Though I never played BECMI as I was too young to really understand the rules, the art & concepts intrigued me. Like a lot of boys in the 80s we played ‘Cops & Robbers’, ‘Cowboys & Indians’ and even ‘Star Wars’ in what is basically proto-LARPing. Also like a lot of boys I played with my GI Joes & Star Wars figures creating little adventures with them, often inspired by the cartoons or movies they were based upon. So the concept of creating characters to play appealed to me greatly.

It wasn’t until near the end of 1e AD&D’s run did I actually get to play D&D & I loved it. Like most young kids we didn’t play it right & eventually I became a (albeit crappy) DM for my friends with 2e AD&D and eventually Cyberspace (my favorite rpg for most of my life). Though I always bought RPGs and supplements I stopped gaming for nearly a decade, there was just no one to game with as I was a shy and introverted person. It wasn’t until my early 30s that I joined a group and gamed again.

Throughout all the ups & downs in life, the chaos & concern I caused for my family because of my then Hooligan lifestyle – the only solace I really had was reading RPGs, comics/manga, watching anime, reading novels and listening to music and conservative talk radio. Where everything else mentioned above did create positive impacts upon my life, RPGs gave me something they couldn’t – a creative outlet for my imagination.

I love to create worlds & I’ve grown to love refereeing campaigns (though I am currently without a face-to-face group). Roleplaying games, especially classic editions of Dungeons & Dragons are a salve upon my soul. I just “discovered” Original Edition Dungeons & Dragons in February of this year, though I had been introduced to various OSRs rooted in it or games derived from it (B/X D&D); I had never owned a copy of the Three Little Brown Books (3LBBs) or played the game. Even though the organization & clarity of some rules take a bit to work through since I am not well versed in 70s era war-gaming the rules sing to me; OD&D appeals to me greatly – hell I created a sister blog to celibate it.

A lot of modern players knock them as being too confusing or not being a properly complete game.  Lets face it I’d hold the same view had I not listen to interviews by the early TSR development members and the OSR movement. But I have to admit it was through forum posts by members of Ruins of Murkhill (including Rob Kuntz & Gronan) that opened my eyes to the world of possibilities not only for OD&D but for the whole DIY Old School ethic and style that OD&D to 1e AD&D really embraced. Though it can be played Rules As Written (RAW) it really sings as a toolbox to create your own version of the game – it is clearly stated in the 3LBBs and it’s several supplements.

If it wasn’t for Gygax (yes Arneson played a huge part in it – but this is Gary Gygax Day so let Gygax have his due), I might not even be alive to day or I might be in prison. Gary created wonderful worlds even after his ouster at TSR. From everything I’ve heard though not a perfect man (who is perfect anyway?) he would engage with fans & DMs in a way not many would. He’d want to know how you dealt with any issues that came up & was encouraging.

There are some modern RPG creators or critics out there who try to minimalize Gary’s contribution to this hobby & at times give him at best backhanded complements while accusing him & others at TSR of being either racist (Link here.) or misogynists. (Link here.) I’ll not go into a political rant about the site linked or the asinine bias of the authors – as that is not the purpose of this post or blog.

I have a great debt to pay to Gary Gygax for being alive and the solace his games give me. I am thinking about running a 1e AD&D campaign down the road once I rebuy the core 1e AD&D books again and have a firm grasp on the rules. Maybe do a Oriental Adventures one-shot or mini-campaign over the month next year of July to celebrate Gary Gygax all month long. I’ll finish this post with this – thank you Gary Gygax for helping give birth to hobby that has made my life bearable, may you rest in peace. Fin.

Matthew

Introduction 2.0 – the reintroduction.

Greetings, I decided to write a new introduction, not just for the purposes to explaining the new focus of the blog but to also introduce you to me your humble blogger – Matthew Seibel. When I started the original blog & it’s sister blog ‘Musings about Original Edition Adventures’ I had intended to do so under a unified internet persona so not to get flack from family and potential future employers. Recently I have decided that since I have nothing to hide here or on my other blog I’ll just post under my birth name.

I am a 45yo American Hooli-Geek and a Maverick Referee. Though the ‘Hooli-Geek’ bit is done so half-jokingly, it is an apt label. But I am trying to get away from labels, as they are too limiting – you cannot put a round peg into a square hole. I am a eccentric person, I am very pro-Liberty, yet have some conservative ideas. I also have been a Metalhead and a Bootboy most of my life, as well as a being a died in the wool geek – thus the ‘Hooli-Geek’ bit. I love comics especially manga & the works of Sophie Campbell (Wet Moon & Shadoweyes). I listen to Metal (no duh there), Punk/Hardcore & Hip Hop (especially Hick Hop/Country Rap).

I love art, be it Sword & Sorcery related (Frank Frazetta & Justin Sweet), anime/manga inspired, 3dCGI art or even erotic art. All of it inspires me and informs my creative visions.

When it comes to gaming I was a fan of Rolemaster and other crunchy RPGs, until I began to run them. They are fine if I am a player in campaigns run with their rules but as a Referee I won’t run them. I prefer Old School D&D & the OSR retro-clones that emulate them, especially rpgs like OD&D, B/X D&D & 1e AD&D; thus Delving Deeper, Labyrinth Lord & OSRIC; among others. That said I’ll run modern games that are inspired by the above games & the Old School DIY spirit they embody like Sharp Swords & Sinister Spells, ICRPG, Blood & Treasure RPGs and anything by Bloat Games.

Though I might run Rolemaster, RuneQuest, HARP, Palladium Fantasy, RIFTS and Pathfinder via Play-by-Post campaigns on forums thus scratch the itch they represent; i’ll never run them Face-to-Face again. I’ll only discuss them here if I am planning to run such a PbP game or I want to review a supplement for them that I’ve read.

This blog will be solely focused on non-OD&D (or its clones) based RPGs as I do not want to dilute the content for my ‘Musings about Original Edition Adventures’ blog by also posting about them here. If I discuss non-RPG related topics, such as music, art, comics, video games or films/tv – these discussions will be tied directly on how they impact my games as inspiration.

I’ll post about monsters, spells, equipment, classes, races and campaign settings I am developing for my non-OD&D based campaigns. I’ll also post about my favorite content creators and their works like Dave Hargrave & Arduin, Hankerin Ferndale & ICRPG, Diogo Nogueira and Sharp Swords& Sinister Spells and Arneson & Gygax; among others from time to time.

I want to keep this blog, like my sister blog non-political unlike how the original incarnation began to become political. It is a chief reason I decided to relaunch it, as I didn’t want it to be another divisive voice in the blogosphere. I’ll not be going on political crusades here and do not expect me to champion Pride Month; as all it has become is another politically charged divisive celebration for radical identity politics. I am not a Gatekeeper and this blog is not going to promote any political agenda even my own pro-liberty one. I’ll game with anyone who isn’t an asshole, keep your political and religious opinions to yourself & we are golden.

That all said some of my content might offend the delicate snowflakes on both sides of the political divide. I’ll likely be labeled a wretched deviant by those on the far right and a horrible misogynist by the extreme left. That said, do not expect me to cuss a lot or post things just to offend people like a certain “Shitlord of the Internet” does.

If you want to reply to any posts do so and if you want to contact me outside my two blogs here you can do so at the following places:

Malik-Rešef Tenebrous G+ profile

My personal Facebook Account

Ruins of Murkhill where I am a new moderator under the username Ebon Hearted Soul.

Take care and I’ll post again very soon, Fin.

Matthew (aka Ebon Hearted Soul, Lucifer Draconus & Malîk-Rešef Tenebrous)

 

Relaunching the blog

Greetings, I decided to radically change the focus of this blog from a general geekry blog to a general RPG focused blog. It had already had become such a blog except a few posts about comics. But after burning myself out posting daily during AbTab’s 30 Day setting campaign & the growing BS plaguing mainstream comics I had no desire to post here at all.

That said, I’ve been wanting to post about other RPGs, house-rules and campaigns for use with them. With my ‘Musings about Original Edition Adventures’ sister blog I have a strict focus that only allows me to post about OD&D based topics and related games. As such I wanted to reorganize this blog to have a place I could discuss RPGs like Mutant Future, B/X Dungeons & Dragons, Rolemaster, Tunnels & Trolls and Arduin at without feeling like I was diluting the focus of my blog.

The only posts I kept up of my old blog are Arduin related but I’ll need to republish them as the site address has changed. i’ll copy & paste into a new post and republish them later tonight as I have errands to run before I cook dinner for tonight. See you soon, Fin.