Saturday 30 December 2023

The year was interesting.

I don't really like those lists of "the things of the year". They're stupid and pretentious, and more often than not people who write them don't mention anything really cool. So screw that. 

Still, the year was interesting. I wrote an adventure for Lamentations of the Flame Princess, which as of now had been downloaded 847 times. If you haven't read it, you are in a unique position to get the 848th PDF of "All Dogs Go To Hell", and give us some money or not, it's pay-what-you-want. 

I played some games with some cool people, half a dozen of my characters died horribly (rest in peace, Miyamoto Unagi and his Raccoon Dog. You did what you were sent to do, and more - you destroyed the bridge, and you sent a single paper lantern down the stream for the poor spirit of the bridge that stood in your way). 

There are some ideas and projects for the next year. We'll see how it goes. 

Meanwhile, James Raggi uploaded another video, the message of which I'd summarize as "Guys, you're doing satanism wrong". Don't know if he's right, I try to stay as far away from religion of any kind as possible; but the thing that the compilers of the Bible went "Guys, guys, let's keep this story about Job, this is something that makes our god look good!" really is hilarious.

Zak wrote this idea of a book. He says it should be published, and I think he's right. Personally, I now want The Stars My Lamentation, which should be like Spelljammer only better and with pictures of cool space pirates. Probably at least one with a tiger-like tattoo. 

Monday 11 December 2023

Odds and ends.

Gem at Damage to an unresisting target is always Massive wrote a cool post about the xenomorphs from Alien and the Thing from that film based on Who Goes There?, and made up monsters with Demon City stats based on those two horrible extraterrestrials. Gem is very methodic with their approach to horror films and games. 

Stygian Muse wrote a review of my doggy adventure which you can buy at J. E. Raggi IV's PDF store at Drivethru. I feel flattered. 

Raggi himself uploaded a video where he talks about how the owners of D&D change the language in the books and why it is not a good idea. It's worth watching. 

There's an Australian cartoon called "Bluey" and it's excellent, some of the episodes say more about tabletop roleplaying than some shows about tabletop roleplaying. Also, an episode of this cartoon was banned by Disney because it's about a male anthropomorphic dog pretending to be pregnant as he plays with his daughters, and that's offensive to someone?.. Anyhow, it's on Youtube and it's great.

Friday 8 December 2023

On Bards

Statement: bards using music to cast spells is stupid.

Query: how does one make bards using music to cast spells cool? 

Answer: creative cursing. 

What I'm thinking of is a mixture of the classic witchery (the curse works because you believe it works, because you know that someone cursed you and you're superstitious and your brain makes connections that aren't really there), and a single episode from Terry Goodkind's writing legacy about how a magic-using artist is more dangerous than anyone else - because an artist's spell doesn't depend on words. It is powered by visuals. Hiding your true name doesn't protect against it. 

So: art imbued with magic can become a curse. How does it work with poetry? 

Here's what you need. 

1. A bard. It can be someone born with a magical ability, or someone who met a Fairy Queen and she liked him and had a one-night stand with him and seven years later he showed up and was changed forever, or someone who drank some godly mead from a magic cauldron, you can write your own d20 table of the source of bardic power if you like. Point is, there's someone who can put the magic into the rhyme and tune rather than weird gestures and mixing bat guano with pure white sand.

2. A target. Here's a retelling of an old Irish legend about Seanchan the Bard, a highly unpleasant individual. Feeling offended by a cat, he claims: "I shall satirize the tribe of the cats, and their chief lord, Irusan, son of Arusan. For I know where he lives with his wife Spit-Fire, and his daughter Sharp-Tooth, with her brothers, the Purrer and the Growler". For his offensive song to work, the bard needs to know his target well enough. It must be written in a tongue that the target understands. 

3. After the bard composes and sings the song, it will magically find its way to the target (unless the target is right there next to the bard - Seanchan killed ten mice that had the misforture of hearing his ballad about them). It'll be catchy enough for people to sing and repeat it, even though they would hardly remember where they heard it first. 

4. As soon as the target hears the song, bam - the curse activates. Seanchan's song led to the death of King of Cats. 

5. Depending on the target and the curse, the target might have enough time and opportunity to kill the bard. The target will know who cast the curse-song, it's part of the magic. The King of Cats might've bitten Seanchan's head off if he wasn't convinced by his daughter to bring the bard alive to their cave so that they'd all take turns torturing him. 

It feels like it's a mechanic best reserved for NPCs. How can it be useful in a game? Either there's an evil bard who's making a curse against someone, and you the characters must find a way to stop the bard, or there's an evil king or something and there's a bard who wants to kill the evil king with a magic song, and you the characters must provide bard with the information about the evil king for the curse to become possible.  Or you hire a bard to hit your enemy with a curse-song, why not. 

Don't know when, or if, I'll get to test it.

Answering Jeff Rients's twenty questions for our Krynn game

We're still stuck in Spidernesti, so this is what I mean when talking about "land".   What is the deal with my cleric's re...