Thursday, December 22, 2011

The Free City of Imira

Here's the map of the starting town in my newly minted OD&D campaign:

Friday, December 16, 2011

Tolkien on Elves, Dwarves, and Men

Here's a brief except of the Professor discussing the races of his secondary world.

Thursday, December 1, 2011

Reflections on Tolkien and his Legendarium

J.R.R. Tolkien is the author who still continues to astound me. Before I loved Moorcock and Lovecraft and Wolfe, I was a reader of Tolkien. Middle Earth is still in many ways, for me, THE primal fantasy world. I recently finished the excellent biography of Tolkien by Humphrey Carpenter, and I've fallen into his works once again. This time, I find myself appreciating things that I never did when I was younger: his intensive control over language, the songs, and the total willingness to be himself in defiance of literary conventions of his time. In regard to The Hobbit, I find I'm realizing just how funny the book is.

When I was younger, after having read both The Hobbit and The Lord of the Rings, I read The Silmarillion. The early chapters were daunting at first and after a time I put the book aside. This is a very common story that I hear over and over from many people who loved The Lord of the Rings and The Hobbit. They find themselves unable to find a way into The Silmarillion. There are no Hobbits here to ground us into the fiction. We are off flying deep into the secondary world and it is, perhaps, too much of a leap for some. I was very fortunate that I DID find a way into The Silmarillion. I happened to pick up the book one afternoon and for some reason I decided to skip to one of the later stories. What sounded interesting? The chapter I read was simple titled "Of Beren and Luthien" This tale, little did I know, is, along with the story of Turin Turambar, one of the key stories in all of the Professor's Legendarium. It's a tale of love and adventure and loss like no other. After that, I was hooked. I went back and read from the beginning and this time it was different bacause I'd already fallen in love with this world that he was showing me. I can't say it enough. If you enjoy Tolkien and you haven't read the Silmarillion--try to find your way in--you won't regret it.

Here's Tolkien reciting one of his poems in Elvish:

Thursday, October 20, 2011

Another clip from Ranking Bass' ROTK

This clip from the Rankin-Bass Return of the King also has a certain something to it. I've got lots of problems with this animated adaptation, but this scene isn't one of them. GO GROND!!

Most of my good feeling about the film comes from the fact that I first saw it when I was seven and that I had a book and record set telling the story of the film. I also had the book and record set of the Hobbit which was just about my favorite thing in the world back then. Much of my fondness for fantasy (and subsequently D&D) come from seeing these movies. I didn't get around to reading Tolkien's books for another three years, but these films were enough to get me started.

In some ways this is better than the Peter Jackson film. . .

I've had a love-hate relationship with the Rankin-Bass naimated Tolkien adaptations since the 1970s. Return of the King, for one example, has way too many goofy songs! However, it has its moments too. I always liked this moment in the film:

Tuesday, October 18, 2011

Low Anthem!

This video is the perfect collision of image and music. It haunts me.

Monday, October 17, 2011

I WILL read the Necronomicon!

Here's a brilliant video from the same folks who brought you the Elder Sign commercial which I posted back HERE

Friday, May 6, 2011

Running Stormbringer at SoCal MiniCon IV (July 30-31).

UPDATE: My slot at the SoCal Minicon has been cancelled due to obligations that have come up since I first signed up for running this game. I'm sad that I won't be able to attend, but hopefully it will work out for me to go next year.

It's now official: I'm going to be running Stormbringer at the So-Cal MiniCon. I'm one of those gamers who doesn't go to cons very often, but I went to MiniCon last year and had a great time. I played in Tavis Allison's OD&D game where I played a Sleestack, and I played in Cyclopeatron's legendary Mutants of Metal session which you can read about HERE.

As if that wasn't cool enough, one of the designers of Stormbringer, Steve Perrin, is running a session of his homebrewed version of Runequest that afternoon!

My game is in the 7pm Saturday Evening slot on July 30. There are plenty of seats as of now--so sign up if you're up for some old school sword and sorcery goodness. Details and schedule can be found HERE.

Blood and souls for my Lord Arioch!

Wednesday, May 4, 2011

1980s Fantasy Art: Robert Gould's Moorcock Art

Here's a selection of images by Robert Gould who remains one of my favorite fantasy artists. Back in the 1980s his work graced the covers of most of Berkley's Moorcock novels. His Elric covers remain the definitive version of the character for me--although I also quite like Brunner, Whelan, and Cawthorn's Elric work as well.

The above picture here is my favorite Elric image ever. Its was used as the cover for my favorite book in the series: The Vanishing Tower (which was a re-title as it was originally called The Sleeping Sorceress).

Here's Gould's wonderful cover for Moorcock's City in the Autumn Stars--the sequel to The War Hound and the World's Pain.

Wednesday, April 27, 2011

The Return of SSSLASIFFON!!! (More Campaign Stuff from Thirteen Year Olds)

Here’s a listing of characters from a campaign I was running when I was thirteen. After a while all of our games started to bleed together so that by this point I was stealing from everything. There’s nods here to D&D, Gamma World, Jack Kirby’s Fourth World (with the Para-demons and such), Moorcock’s Eternal Champion stories, Traveller, and whatever comic books or TV shows I was watching at the time.

What I love about looking at this is that it’s totally a stew of all of those things, and by putting all this together it starts to have its own crazy vibe. Feel free to pilfer names or ideas from this list, but I make no apologies for any of the names as I was thirteen when I came up with this stuff. What would a campaign with these characters look like?

Asmos (Human Warrior, Technician)
Geendra (Human Scientist)
Aldrak Human Scientist)
Umok (Human Warrior, Twin of Vomok)
Vomok (Human Warrior, Twin of Umok)
Aleesha (Aerianian Queen)
Kumanseth (Para-demon, Commander)
Ajagramund (Para-demon, Commander)
Toosath Poitav (Para-demon, Commander)
Bashab Dall (Para-demon Monarch)
Sarash (Para-demon Monarch)
Oolg (Giant Para-demon)
NARTHOX (Dark Lord) (Yes, written in all caps so you know he’s badass)
Lord Toxic (Osab-Human Crossbreed, First Slitonitusikus)
Nitrav, the Enslaver (Master of Taurin 4 Prison Planet)
Tors (Centaurin King)
Hisha (Centaurin Queen)
Eleesha (Amazon)
Teena (Amazon)
Mygala (Amazon)
Henelim (Amazon Queen)
Ssslasiffon (Vapor God King) (The Vapors were sentient deities made of gaseous
Ammox (Vapor God King) materials as I recall)
Timso 99 (Head Borg)
Alamond 12 (Borg)
Prince Bellark (Son of Narthox)
Zoe Wiseguard (Sorceress) (PC)
Prince Jodane (Warrior of the Worlds)
Rendikose of Drexil (Warrior of the Worlds)
Enrom (Warrior of the Worlds)
Brath (Companion to Enrom)
Dimos Bloodsheddar (Warrior of Gehenna) (Para-demon hero)
Admiral Moorsh

Wednesday, April 20, 2011

Gamma World Drawn by Thirteen Year Olds.

Here are some old Gamma World related pictures drawn by my friends who played in a particularly long running campaign inspired by Dune and Robotech and Heavy Metal magazine and anything else we happened to be into at the time. These drawing would have been done (I'm guessing) in 1985 when we all around thirteen.

This last one was drawn by Yours Truly. I don't totally remember who the Gathian tribes were, but I do remember they has a cool looking city. I'm thinking they were some kind of cross between Logan's Run and the Robotech Masters.

Wednesday, April 13, 2011

Old School DMs: How Do You Prep For Running a Game?

The blog has been fallow recently, but I'm back and so here's my initial return post. Hopefully some people are still paying attention. Anyway. . .

I'm interested in hearing about how old school DMs prep for their games. In the comments please answer the following questions:

1. How much prep do you do for a typical session? How much time?

2. What materials do you have in front of you at the table?

3. How much do you actually have written down vs. what's floating in your head?

4. Have you found this changes over the course of a campaign?

Edit: Added the "How much time?" part to question 1.