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Tuesday, August 30

Cast Upon Tides of Weal and Woe - Part 6: The Tempest and the Tumult

Sebastian crouched down to look the boy in the eye. "What did they do to you, Emric?"

"Emric?" the boy responded indignantly. "My name's Camring. Let me go!"

"Cassicus?" said Kham. He was starting to sound a bit desperate. "Did he say Cassicus?"

Sebastian rose to his feet. "I fear this is neither Emric nor Cassicus." [MORE]

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posted by Michael Tresca at 9:37 PM | 0 comments links to this post


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Sunday, August 28

CCFA Heel to Heal Walk

Imagine a future without Crohn's disease and ulcerative colitis! Your support for the CCFA Heel to Heal Walk will provide funds for vital research, for educational programs and supportive services for patients and their families.

Amber and I will be joining the CCFA Heel to Heal Walk on Saturday, September 17. Please visit the CCFA Web Site to make a contribution or to register to walk. Every step we take will bring us closer to a cure!

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posted by Michael Tresca at 6:59 PM | 0 comments links to this post


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Movie Review: The Brothers Grimm

The Brothers Grimm isn't as much a crowd pleaser as it is a film filled with Message. And there are quite a few: fairytales aren't always nice, good people die, and sometimes it pays to believe in your dreams. It's a modern parable about fairytales, how they mirror reality, and the grim reflections that lurk beneath them.

Fairytales once served as warnings and parables, to scare children into doing the right thing at the right time. The Brothers Grimm is no different. That doesn't necessarily make it a movie for everyone though. [MORE]

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posted by Michael Tresca at 6:49 PM | 0 comments links to this post


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DVD Review: Ginger Snaps 2 - Unleashed

Unleashed is a serviceable sequel, but it feels like the middle entry in a longer story arc. With this entry, the Ginger Snaps series begins to have an episodic feel to it, more appropriate for a television show than a movie series, and that's not a good thing. [MORE]

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posted by Michael Tresca at 10:41 AM | 0 comments links to this post


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Saturday, August 27

IK World Guide Wins TWO ENnies

I got tired of waiting for someone to make a big deal about this. Since I'm just one of a billion contributors, I figured that if I don't mention it, nobody will. So here it is:

The Iron Kingdoms World Guide won TWO ENnies, for Best Writing and Best Campaign Supplement! It's a bit difficult to lay claim to the award, as there were so many contributors. I think it's a crying shame that the folks who contributed (myself included) didn't get any credit whatsoever in the book's success, so I'm correcting that oversight here:

Writers: Rob Baxter, Brian Gute, Joe Martin, Doug Seacat, Jason Soles.

Other Writing and RPG R&D Contributors: Brian Brousseau, Jason Dawson, Chris Gunning, Brett Huffman, James Maliszewski, Martin Oliver, Phil Reed, Bryan Steele, Jon Thompson, Michael Tresca.

That's everybody. Sorry we couldn't all be mentioned in the thank you speech (you know, the usual, "there's too many contributors to list" speech), but now I can feel vindicated that EVERYONE got credit for those two ENnies. Congratulations to all involved!

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posted by Michael Tresca at 11:46 AM | 1 comments links to this post


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Friday, August 26

Cast Upon Tides of Weal and Woe - Part 5c: All Ashore That Are Going Ashore

"Emric's getting away!" said Vlad, blocking another thug's scimitar. "Cal?"

Calactyte roared. "MOMMA'S COMING!"

The big lizard slammed through the thugs that were still standing, batting them aside like reeds in a field.

Then a black-skinned, white-horned woman stepped into his path. "Amalia loves a challenge," she shouted as her huge flamberge sheared towards Cal.[MORE]

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posted by Michael Tresca at 10:25 PM | 0 comments links to this post


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New Blood & Spooks Review

Gene Howard just reviewed Blood and Spooks: The Ghost Hunter's Guide at ENWorld.org:

If you are looking to run a straight up Ghost hunting campaign (whether serious or tongue-in-cheek), or wish to integrate a series of ghostly adventures into a current campaign, this book fits the bill. You shouldn’t have a problem integrating these rules with anything form the Basic D20 Modern Campaign thru Star Wars, Star Gate, or what ever d20 game you play. [MORE]

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Wednesday, August 24

New Review for Blood & Brains!

John Picot reviewed Blood and Brains: The Zombie Hunter's Guide at RPGNow:
A huge source of things for a zombie apocalypse campaign (and boy aren't those popular nowadays?!), or just a campaign that deals with zombies on a regular basis. Good stuff here for players and GMs alike. Lots of new occupations, and prestige classes for the players. Loads of new monsters and ideas for GMs. You have to appreciate the level of detail paid to this material, yet somehow it doesn't take itself too seriously (unlike another zombie product out there). [MORE]

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Tuesday, August 23

Blood and Blades Mini-Review

Marx sent Chris of RPGObjects an email about Blood and Blades: The Profiler's Guide to Slashers. I just had to repeat it here:
I caved in over the weekend and opened an account with RPGNow so I could download Blood and Blades. Just wanted to let you know that I really enjoyed B and B. By far one of the best supplements I've read for d20. It captures that 80s horror film feel really well.
Thanks for the kind words, Marx!

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posted by Michael Tresca at 8:50 PM | 1 comments links to this post


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Monday, August 22

Gen Con Summary Now Live

Check out the edited and compiled version of my blog entries on Gen Con 2005 in the Appearances section. [MORE]

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Cast Upon Tides of Weal and Woe - Part 5b: All Ashore That Are Going Ashore

"Well if it ain't just my lucky day," said Zainat with his peculiar accent. "I done thought Cam Val'Abebi went down with the Dauntless." He eased back his midnight blue watch coat to reveal the mother-of-pearl handle of his flintlock. "There's a bounty on yer head, boy." Two more hired thugs flanked Zainat but stood off to the side. "And I intend to collect on it."

Kham froze in mid-step. He pushed his back his jacket to reveal all four of his handgonnes. "It's pronounced ‘kai-EM'. Have we met?"

"Fortunately fer you, not ‘til today," said Zainat. "I hear ya run off from Altheria with the plans tah make a bunch of gonnes. From whatcher carrying there, I can see it's true. Ya been abusin' the privilege of an Altherian, boy. I'm here tah set things straight. I'm a callin' you—"

BLAM! BLAM! [MORE]

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Sunday, August 21

Final Day Wrap-Up

Well, overall I would say that this latest outing was a success. I bought more than I should have, but I bought stuff I knew I couldn't get cheaper online. I gamed more than I ever had at a convention and had a lot of fun. True Dungeon was hard but hysterical. And the gaming was a mixed bag, but I've definitely had much worse.

And oh yeah, the book I contributed to won Best Writer at the ENnies. It was a great time for all of us.

I'll compile all these entries later, edit them, and hyperlink to all my buds' sites. Boarding the plane now...

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posted by Michael Tresca at 6:10 PM | 0 comments links to this post


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Living Greyhawk: The Price of Power

By this time we were all seasoned gamers, having been through at least one Living Greyhawk adventure. So we were happy when our latest players appeared to be mellow. The only small glitch was that one of the players was late, but he arrived just in time for the first combat.

This adventure was much more of a "find this quest item" plot, which suited us just fine. We spent some time in a town, role-playing with the DM, who was cool.

We ultimately killed some undead, fought off some bandits, and otherwise got a crazy book back to its rightful undead owner. In the woods. I called it the Pinecone Witch Project.

The only hiccup was a guy who was annoyed that Eric didn't specifically use the flanking bonus. To put it another way, apparently everyone is supposed to run around targets than straight at them. So yes, the barbarian, who was in a frothing rage, actually ran PAST an opponent, only to swing back behind him, all for the flanking bonus. It was a really stupid thing to harass anybody about, but this guy had difficulty letting it go. Not cool.Then again, I'm generally disdainful of people who argue with the DM, and there was some of that going on as well.

Anyway, Blast leveled (not a structure, he went up in level) as did Matt's character Perin.

All in all, our second best game of the con.

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Day 3 Wrap-Up

We took it easy after a Living Greyhawk game and True Dungeon. Unfortunately, the city was swarming with Colts fans (the stadium is a few hundred feet away, we could hear them cheering from the room). So it wasn't even worth trying to get a decent meal anywhere. We just went to TGI Fridays and that was good enough.

Now we have to deal with the stupidity of the hotel, who failed to mention that rollaway beds bare a fire hazard. Therefore, only rooms with one bed can have them. So I slept on the floor.

Then, to add insult to injury, Matt put his card down for incidentals, and they decided to use that for the room charge instead. Going to have breakfast and fix that now.

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posted by Michael Tresca at 8:21 AM | 1 comments links to this post


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Saturday, August 20

True Dungeon: Battle Beneath Castle Greyhawk

All the pent up nervousness when playing this LARP (and let there be no doubt, it's a LARP) had dissipated, so we could concentrate on enjoying ourselves. Unfortunately, this session wasn't as good as the first.

Basically, the problem with this year's True Dungeon is that the riddles were hard. REALLY hard. I was thrilled to be the bard again (I had all the bard runes memorized), and in this adventure that knowledge came in handy. A few of our fellow players dropped significant cash (as in, real life money) to buy more equipment tokens, including a masterwork lute, so my singing helped more. There's a rumor that someone bought $2,000 worth of tokens, but I'm not sure if I believe it.

There was a lot more combat this go round, and with our bulked-up items, we blew through them. Matt, as the wizard, blasted an efreeti. Eric, as the rogue, sneak attacked several monsters. My annoying singing caused several monsters to attack me (the DM's were quite vengeful), whereupon I would sing "U can't Touch This" by MC Hammer. And you know what?

Both times the monsters rolled a 1. Seriously.

Then we got to the end and were imprisoned in Limbo forever. The End.

It was obvious that a lot of people were getting frustrated as the DMs in each room kept giving us hints.

Overall, this version of True Dungeon was okay. It had more combat and the bard was much more useful, but it wasn't as thrilling as Assault Atop Castle Greyhawk.

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posted by Michael Tresca at 8:13 PM | 0 comments links to this post


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Living Greyhawk: The Quotes

Ever been to the Prancing Pony? The Red Dragon? Then why bother calling the local tavern anything more than what it is: The Adjective Noun.

A lot of Greyhawk adventures are mysteries, and depending on the party, can be quite ridiculous. So let the world know by adding, "Scooby Doo and the..." to the title. For example:

Alternately, CSI: Greyhawk can be added as well. This idea is all the guys at Skirmisher Publishing, so blame them if your players use it.

Eric gets the blame for this one: imagine Deliverance, only with orcs and elves. "Yew got sum purty ears..."

Finally, another one from the Skirmisher gang. Whenever a PC is hit by a touch spell, the other player asks, "show us on the miniature where the dirty orc touched you."

So much humor in the first half of that game. Too bad it didn't last.

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Living Greyhawk: Return to the Undercity

Well, this turned out to be Blast's best adventure yet. Sort of.

Blast is a noble wannabe, who forever wants to join the elven court but can never get in because he's a low class shlub from Bissel. This adventure took place in Celene, the elven homeland, so he was in his glory.

We gamed with an old school DM who was a lot of fun. Two of the players were my buds at Skirmisher Publishing. Hi guys!

Things were going well. We beat a back a slaver attack and hatched a plot to pretend the press gang attack worked, through judicious use of charm person and hypnotism. We were about to be led straight to the bad guys...when THAT GUY screwed it up.

This player, who shall remain nameless, had the only character that could speak goblin. Since the slavers were hobgoblins, we needed him to pull off the ruse. Instead, he spat at the slavers, who proceed to beat him nearly to death. That forced us to reveal our plan early.

Then, this genius slit the throat of one of our bad guy captives without explaining his actions. When he went to do it a second time, our lawful good cleric (played by Eric) intervened...and The Idiot slashed another hobgoblin's throat again anyway. What the hell?!

His excuse was that as neutral good he "hates slavers" to the exclusion of everything else, including sanity. And oh yeah, he had 16,000 gold as a 2nd level ranger, and some weird ass "sand sculpture" item that can turn into any mundane item which was from the Sandstorm book, only he didn't have it with him. He argued with the DM over every rule. By the end of it, the DM had to lecture us on how to have fun.

Fortunately, the planning saved time, so we finished...barely. Great group spoiled by an idiot, but that's the risk you run in playing a living game...people are unpredictable.

It wasn't all bad. We had a bunch of notable quotes that may not seem funny now but were hysterical at the table:

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posted by Michael Tresca at 2:26 PM | 0 comments links to this post


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Day 2 Wrap-Up

Well, Gen Con's been a blast so far. I've spent way too much money on rare figs, but they're all difficult to find anywhere else. I bought the prepainted Roman Legion minis from Heroscape, which will be perfect for the Arcanis campaign. I also bought some Cthulu-esque figures, including a byakhee, the King in Yellow, and a hard to find D+D mini, the Chuul (or as I like to say, CHHHHUUUUUUUUUUULLLL!)

It did occur to me that sometimes Blast (my prissy elven wizard) probably shouldn't cast fire spells in a "guano filled cavern." Kobolds live in a lot of those.tunnels. I can see it now: "I cast burining-BOOOOOM!"

Okay, enough jibber jabber, time for breakfast and more Living Greyhawk.

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Friday, August 19

ENnies: Best Publisher

Necro games is up for THIS award. The silver goes to: Paizo Publishing. And the gold goes to...Green Ronin Publishing.

And that's it folks. Thanks for sticking with me through this (all 2 of you, Eric's sitting next to me).

I'd like to add one more award. This is too my wife, Amber, who isn't feeling well and is back at home. All my love...I'm off to shmooze!

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posted by Michael Tresca at 11:51 PM | 0 comments links to this post


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ENnies: Best Publisher (Fans)

Here it is, the popular vote by the fans, for the fans. And the silver goes to: Green Ronin publishing.

The gold goes to:

PARADIGM CONCEPTS! It looks like all the living players finally rallied to show their support. Go Team Paradigm!!!

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ENnies: Best Game

And the silver goes to: World of Darkness rulebook from White Wolf Publishing. The gold goes to: Warhammer Fantasy Roleplaying by Black Industries. Chris Pramas pointed out that he can't be as eloquent as Sue Cook or as foul-mouthed as Justin Achilli. Heh.

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posted by Michael Tresca at 11:39 PM | 3 comments links to this post


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ENnies: Best d20 Game

And the silver goes to: Blue Rose from Green Ronin. The silver goes to: Monte Cook's Arcana Evolved! Go Sue and Monte!

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posted by Michael Tresca at 11:34 PM | 1 comments links to this post


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ENnies: Best Electronic Product

The silver goes to: Fiery Dragon Productions for their Counter Collection Digital. The gold goes to: PCGen 5.8. I don't have the latest version, but I love the work done by Code Monkey Publishing with e-Tools!

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ENnies: Best Free Product or Web Enhancement

Necromancer Games got an Honorable Mention, yay! The silver goes to: Danse de la Mort from White Wolf Publishing. The gold goes to: Dungeon Magazine's maps and handouts from Paizo Publishing.

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posted by Michael Tresca at 11:24 PM | 0 comments links to this post


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ENnies: Best Aid or Accessory

I just bought the Battlebox today, so I hope it wins! And the silver goes to: Battlebox! Go Fiery Dragon! The gold goes to: Dungeon Magazine from Paizo Publishing, as it should!

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ENnies: Best Supplement

And the silver goes to: Beyond Countless Doorways from Malhavoc Press. Monte took this one...go Monte and Sue! The gold goes to: Vampire the Requiem from White Wolf Publishing.

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ENnies: Best Campaign Setting/Supplement

Iron Kingdoms World Guide is up for this too! Go IKWG! The silver goes to: Black Company from Green Ronin Publishing. The gold goes to: Iron Kingdoms World Guide from Privateer Press!!!! BOOYAH! It won in both of the categories it was nominated!

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ENnies: Best Adversary Product

The silver goes to: Advanced Bestiary from Green Ronin Publishing. The gold goes to: Old World Bestiary from Black Industries.

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ENnies: Best Adventure

Goodman Games' The Dragon Fiend Pact is up, hope it wins! I just told Joseph Goodman that I hope his speech is good 'cause I expect him to win. Silver goes to: Villainy Amok by Hero Games. The gold goes to: Maure Castle from Paizo Publishing.

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posted by Michael Tresca at 11:03 PM | 1 comments links to this post


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ENnies: Best Rules

Silver goes to: Blue Rose freom Green Ronin Publishing. The gold goes to: Ars Magica 5th Edition from Atlas Games.

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ENnies: Best Writing

Iron Kingdoms World Guide, which I contributed to, is up for an ENnie! And the silver goes to: World of Darkness from White Wolf Publishing. As Justin Achilli put it "rock the fuck on!"

And the gold goes to the Iron Kingdoms World Guide!!!! YEEEEEESSSSSS!

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ENnies: Best Production Values

I voted for X-Crawl on this one. The silver goes to: Ars Magica 5th Edition from Atlas Games. The gold goes to: Warhammer Fantasy Roleplay from Black Industries. Atlas Games' speech was cute...they didn't expect to win so they didn't have anything prepared.

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ENnies: Best Interior Art

The siver goes to: Vampire the Requiem from White Wolf Games the gold goes to: Arcana Evolved from Malhavoc Press. I can tell that Sue was delighted by this award...I'm one table away from them. Go Sue and Monte!

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ENnies: Best Cover Art

Iron Kingdoms Character Guide received an honorable mention, which I contributed to. The silver goes to Blue Rose from Green Ronin Publishing. The gold goes to: Beyond Countless Doorways from Malhavoc Press. Go Monte and Sue.

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posted by Michael Tresca at 10:38 PM | 0 comments links to this post


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ENnies: Best Cartography

I voted for e-adventure tiles, hope they win! The silver winner is: City State of the Invincible Overlord. The gold goes to: the World Map of Greyhawk from Paizo Publishing! Go Necromancer for the silver!

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posted by Michael Tresca at 10:34 PM | 1 comments links to this post


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ENnies: Best Fan Site

I was up for this Ennie once, but didn't win...and the silver Ennie goes to: http://www.planewalker.com. The gold Ennie goes to: http://www.d20srd.org. I voted for this site!

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Intro

Piratecat is presenting and doing well. He"s introducing the judges and volunteers right now. "One of the awards won by less than two votes" said PC.

The setting is incredibly posh. It looks like the walls are an Italian villa, very cool. Oops, need to shut off my ringer. More in the next update.

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posted by Michael Tresca at 10:23 PM | 0 comments links to this post


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The ENnies!

So here I am, after forgetting about the fact that the ENnies moved, we found it. It took several hours to get into the Ram but it was worth it...the beer and the food were delicious. The festivities are about to begin. Get ready...

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Living Greyhawk: Dark Deceit on Bright Sands

Fortunately, we were able to muster an entire group of APL2 players and off we went, and the DM was no less than the author himself!

Unfortunately, he was a bit annoyed by the "nerfing" of his module. The less said, the better, but let me just state that Blast hates kobolds enough that I would consider multiclassing as a ranger with humanoid (reptilian) as favored enemy. Blast went down (but not out!) Along with much of the party in a corridor full of murder holes. First time we used pyrotechnics to get the hell out of there.

Unlike the first adventure, we made it out on time...we even got out early. Which was good, because Eric arrived. Then we went to the dealer room again.

Good news is it looks like I've got another major project coming up. Hope to have an outline soon. I also bought a lot of stuff, but that's for the next blog entry...

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posted by Michael Tresca at 6:45 PM | 2 comments links to this post


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Marshalling for Dark Deceit on Bright Sands

So, here we are in the gaming hall, 15 minutes early. That's 15 minutes of precious sleep we missed out on. However, we ate breakfast. Now I'm just waiting for my Claritin-D and multivitamin to kick in. And the ibuprofen, for the hang--I mean headache.

The hall is awfully empty. Sans Eric, it's possible we might not have enough players. I guess we'll find out soon enough.

The Party You Don't Know About was great even though we got their late. I met fellow authors of the Complete Guides, including rakshasas and vampires. And of course, consumed a wicked concoction known as pale ale. Bad, ale, BAD!

Bought Matt The Power Gamer's 3.5 Warrior's Strategy Guide. It's much cooler than I thought...need one for clerics!

Also, we met Andrew Barlow, the sculptor of the life counters Matt and I bought at Z-Man games. He's an amazing artist!

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True Dungeon: Assault Atop Castle Greyhawk

True Dungeon was a lot of fun. Matt was the wizard, a veritable death-dealing machine. I, on the other hand, was a bard. Which means I had to sing.

Nobody's surprised, I know.

What's funny is that you need to DO things, like memorize what certain runes mean, to emulate your class skill. When it came to my bardic lore, I completely screwed it up, triggering a gas trap that poisoned half the party. Amazingly, no one died.

Then we got to the end, couldn't figure out the riddle, and us along with all of Greyhawk blew up.

The End.

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Living Greyhawk: Secrets of Tsojcanth

Matt's first intro to Living Greyhawk was a great one. We got to play in the "special edition" of the event, which means the DM has minis for all the monsters. Our DM was a female, which is only noteworthy because the women outnumbered the men at the table (4 women, 3 men). We were fortunately playing with all adults too. Everyone was extremely cool.

We also had a great mix: fighter, ranger, barbarian, wizard and 2 clerics. We were sorely tested fighting 3 kobolds, but the greatest threat came from each other. Perin/Matt tried to hop over a trap only to set it off, whereupon a troll nearly mangled us all. We killed another kobold shaman (and his little dog too!) Along with some nasty spiders. Then there was the water elementals...

One of the clerics was a gnome asherati, basically desert people who are terrified of water. And we had to get in a boat. She spent most of her time clinging to a barbarian. Time ran out, so we had to stop in mid-adventure.

This is one of the best groups I've played with in a long time. B last spent his money on a new wand of magic missile, so we'll be better prepared for the next challenge. One thing that sucked is cash values were not provided for magic items from other sourcebooks besides the DMG. So we couldn't buy some of the items we earned.

That minor quibble aside, it was a great first adventure! And now it's too late to do the other summaries, so it will have to wait until tomorrow. Night!

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Day 1 Wrap-Up

Wow, so much has happened it's now 1 am here. First, some updates: Matt is once again unconscious. Eric was delayed due to a work conflict, so he will hopefully show up tomorrow. Also, I discovered that I brought the wrong charger, so my Blackberrying days are numbered.

I'll write separate entries for the other events, but our next one is Living Greyhawk at 8 am tomorrow. What was I thinking?!

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Thursday, August 18

Marshalling for Secrets of Tsojcanth

All I can say is...HOLY CRAP.

We're now getting ready to marshall for the Living Greyhawk "Secrets of Tsojcanth." Doesn't look too busy so hopefully we'll have enough players.

I already made it halfway through the Dealer's Room. I'll talk more about it later. I would be remiss if I didn't give a shout out to my new friend J.J. He plays Warmachine and was cool to talk to on the bus ride over. He had a wooden case for his figs...very cool!

Going to go muster, we'll see how it goes...

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On the Plane

First, let me state up front that I am only typing this on the plane...the wireless function is not actually on. So this entry won't show up until we land.

Anyway, I ended up sitting next to Peter and his buddy (I instantly forgot his name after introducing myself...I'm so bad!). They are indeed going to Gen Con to play Shadowrun no less. This is their first trip to the convention too. They weren't too eager to talk to me (I can't blame them, most gamer types find me a bit overwhelming), so I'm not going to harass them further.

Matt was up really late last night, so he's now fast asleep. Lucky bastard. I, on the other hand, felt obligated to drink an entire can of diet Pepsi. It goes like this:

  1. They ask if you'd like a drink.
  2. You're a little thirsty, so you say yes.
  3. Then you realize that you can't very well throw away a can full of soda--it'll leak through those flimsy trash bags--and that eventually you HAVE to throw the can away. So there's all this pressure.
  4. By the end of it I end up hastily guzzling the whole can, stressed out every time the stewardess goes by with a bag and wondering if that was my last chance to get rid of the damn soda.

Can you tell I've had a lot of caffeine? Man, I should try to take a nap, but now I'm not tired. Curse you Matt and you cat-napping skills! If this keeps up I may bother poor Peter again. Next update will be from the ground as we face down the CR 10 Share-A-Ride!

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Short Nap

I think I dozed off for a couple of minutes, just long enough to be snapped out of it by the pilot telling us we're beginning our descent. He thanked us for our business too. I think every business should legally be required to state that after you pay.

I just sneezed three times and nobody said bless you, not even my buddy Pete (and certainly not Uncon Matt (tm)). The pilot's more polite than the passengers! Go figure.

One more entry and then I'll stop yapping until we land. My next entry must be written covertly...

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Birthdays!

Matt just had a birthday, and I plan to buy him something gamerish. Anyone have any suggestions? Leave a comment (I can't read email but can reply to comments). Matt plays a fighter type in our Arcanis game--sword/shield/plate kind of guy.

Also, my brther's birthday is coming up (Joe gets my blog updates so CLOSE YOU EYES JOE!) So I'm taking suggestions on what to buy him too. He plays a lizardfolk barbarian. Leave a comment...I call upon the power of the three people who read my blog. Hi mom!

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posted by Michael Tresca at 10:52 AM | 1 comments links to this post


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Sonova...

I pretend to try and nap and sure enough, a steward (male version of a stewardess, right?) comes by and just grabs the empty can off of the tray between Matt and I! All that stress over throwing away a can for nothing.

Wow, my glucose levels are high now. Will try again to take a nap but a phrase keeps popping into my head:

"Can't sleep, clown will eat me, can't sleep, clown will eat me..."

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Peter

Wait, he is a gamer...and he is wearing a gamer shirt. I think he's looking at his character sheet right now. And a map. Cool, there are other gamers flying to Gen Con from the East Coast!

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In the Airport

Well, we're now in LaGuardia airport and things have already gotten interesting. I was totally oblivious (I'm still half awake), but Matt spotted Patrick Ewing and apparently his entire family.

In retrospect, I'm not sure how I missed him. He's the tallest man in the airport.

I wonder if he's going to Gen Con? Probably not. However, the airline attendant kept asking if I was with some guy named Peter, who is also going to Indianapolis. I didn't see any gamer-type shirts so I assume he's not going to Gen Con either. But if you read this Peter, great traveling with you!

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Ready, Get Set...

Okay, so now I'm wishing I could learn to instantly fall asleep. I think I'm running on a couple hours of sleep at this point, but there was much preparation to do and I don't sleep very well anyway. My secret plan is to sleep on the plane, but that never works.

A preface about the nature of this blogging thing and Blackberries. It's hard to type accurately on a Blackberry. So I apologize in advance if there are typos--I plan to go back and edit/compile my entries later.

A quick introduction to my traveling companions:
* The stalwart Matt Hammer is going with me from Connecticut. He's also graciously agreed to drive. Matt's the kind of guy you want in a pinch, because...well, because he's a lot bigger than me, and he agrees to do things like drive to the airport. And sleep on the uncomfortable roll-out bed (we'll see how that works out).
* Eric Reifert, my brother-in-law and premiere play tester. Whereas Matt's playtested my ideas because he games in my campaign, Eric playtests my published books because he actually LIKES them. He's the only person I know how's actually played all of my adventures. He's driving to Indianapolis from Michigan and will be joining us tonight.
* My lovely wife Amber. She's not going this year, but this blog is dedicated to her. Without her support, I could never go. Also, she's my agent. She ensures I eat at the right times, get to the right places, and don't make a fool of myself. Since she's not going, I'm going to have to do the clear thinking for myself. Or ask Matt.

In other words, we're screwed. :)

Five minutes before Matt picks me up. See you in the next entry!

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Wednesday, August 17

The Great Gen Con Experiment

Because I'm most certainly insane, and since I get a lot of hits to my convention reports, this year I'm doing something different. I have a Blackberry. I have a blog. Mix the two together and you get...LIVE UPDATES!

I'm not even sure that this is a realistic idea. I suspect that after awhile, typing with two thumbs is going to suck. And I don't know if I'll have access. But I don't care, it's worth a try, and besides--what else have you go to do if you're not at the con?

You heard it hear first folks. LIVE updates, instantly (or at least, when my Blackberry reaches a zone of service), as I piss and moan about our gaming events, give you scoops on the ENnies as they happen, and otherwise make a big web nuisance of myself.

If it works, I'll probably be the fastest Web reporter of Gen Con on the net. And if not? Well then I'm just a big geek. But we knew that anyway. :)

Unfortunately, Face-2-Face Games (formerly known as Monkey God Enterprises) is NOT attending. Which makes me sad, but happy for them. They can focus their efforts on cons more likely to sell board games. For those of you who would like to meet me, I'll be hanging out at Chris' RPGObjects booth #336. Poor Chris doesn't know what he's gotten himself into.

Stay tuned folks. It's going to be a wild ride...

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Cast Upon Tides of Weal and Woe - Part 5a: All Ashore That Are Going Ashore

The thugs they hired stepped into the alley behind them as Broled dragged Emric along.

"Stop dem," said Broled over his shoulder.

Amalia walked forward and held the flamberge before her with both hands. "Oh, don't worry," she said with a wicked grin, her tail flicking in agitation behind her, "Amalia intends to." [MORE]

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Tuesday, August 16

Movie Review: Ginger Snaps

I often reference how movies sometimes fail to stay true to the characters. This is another way of saying that happy endings should never be forced. Ginger Snaps never shies away from the stark realities of broken homes, social pressures, or biological changes. The ending is harsh but appropriate.

"Out by sixteen or dead in this scene but together forever," swear the two girls over and over before the changes begin. They never had a chance. [MORE]

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RetroMUD Comic Update

RetroMUD has contracted with Keenspot to highlight RetroMUD. Check out the latest issue of Dan Shive's comic!


[MORE]

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Monday, August 15

Frost & Fur Reviewed at Dragon's Landing!

Frost & Fur received a fantastic review in Episode 4 of the Dragon's Landing Inn podcasts:
  • Is Chuck a power gamer?  You decide!  (Shoot!  This should have been the poll question for the week!)
  • We announce the contest winners!
  • On the Frugal Gamer, we look at some of the dungeon tiles a fold-up cardboard models available for your miniatures.  Here are the links: HeroQuest Tiles, Dungeoneering.net, Lemonbutter.com, Stones Edges, and Chunky Dungeons.
  • We answer some questions from our listeners.
  • We review some products from Highmoon Media.
  • And we discuss new ways of starting a campaign rather than the tired, old, "Alright, you're in a tavern..."
[MORE]

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Another 5-Star Review for Blood and Blades!

Check out Justin Dunnuck's review of Blood and Blades: The Profiler's Guide to Slashers:
Confession time--I'm not an expert when it comes to the d20 System. Sure, I have a passing familiarity with the rules set and a few gaming sessions under my belt, but I don't feel qualified to comment on this product's "crunchiness," or its mechanical accuracy.

However...I am a connoisseur of fright flicks (the trashier the better) and creepy rpgs (Chill, It Came From the Late Late Late Show, and Dark*Matter rank amongst my faves), so I can say, quite immodestly, that I know superb spooky sleaze when I see it. And I have seen it in this product--oh, yes, this book has STYLE.

Michael Tresca, our esteemed author, obviously knows his stuff, and his knowledge, respect, enthusiasm, and unabashed affection for the slasher genre shines on every page. And such energy was contagious for this reader--I wanted to crack open my d20 books and play in some grindhouse-inspired gaming. [MORE]

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Sunday, August 14

Cast Upon Tides of Weal and Woe - Part 4: Freeport

Sebastian was staring at the ships in the harbor. He exchanged a glance with Beldin.

"I see it," the dwarf said.

Vessels from every known nation lay at anchor in the harbor or were moored in the docks. Amongst them were Canceri merchantmen, Naeraanthi trading cogs, Altherian carracks, Coryani trade galleys, Skohiir longships, a crimson-sailed Garundian slave ship, Magran brigantines, Freeporter caravels and a single, black-hulled dromon.

"See what?" asked Cal.

"Ymandragorians," said Sebastian. The black hull of the dromon was unmistakably a ship of Ymandragore. Inside, demons were chained to its hull, the magical engines that propelled the evil ship across the ocean.

Sebastian pulled the hood of his cloak up over his head. "We must be cautious." [MORE]

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Friday, August 12

ENnies Location Changed!

Instead of the Crowne Plaza as originally advertised, the 2005 Gen Con EN World RPG Awards will be held at the lovely Indiana Roof Ballroom.

Next to the Embassy Suites Hotel and across from the Hyatt Regency Hotel, the Roof's main entrance is on Washington Street under the Indiana Repertory Theatre Marquee. Connected via skywalk to the Embassy Suites Indianapolis Downtown, Circle Centre, and the Indiana Convention Center and RCA Dome, this unique venue specializes in ambiance, excellent service and unforgettable atmosphere. [MORE]

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Welcome to the Paranormal Response Unit

The PRU's mission is a noble one. It entails protecting everyone from slashers; upholding federal criminal laws against repeat killers; providing leadership and law enforcement assistance to federal, state, local and international agencies in investigating paranormal attacks — and performing these responsibilities in a manner that is responsive to the needs of the public.

The PRU is offering rewards for information leading to the apprehension of Top Ten Most Wanted Slashers. Check it out!

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Wednesday, August 10

RetroMUD Comic Update

RetroMUD has contracted with Keenspot to highlight RetroMUD. Check out the latest issue of Dan Shive's comic!


[MORE]

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D&D Hones Students' Reasoning Skills

A recent article indicated that playing Dungeons & Dragons can help a child's grade point average:

...a recent five-year study by a Pennsylvania school board determined that students regularly engaged in chess classes showed a 17 percent improvement on school tests, compared with only about a 4.5 percent improvement for students who did other enrichment activities such as Dungeons & Dragons and creative writing. [MORE]

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Tuesday, August 9

Cast Upon Tides of Weal and Woe - Part 3: Catch of the Day

"That's great kid," said Kham. "But what does your mom look like?"

Emric pointed at Cal, who looked pretty miserable. The big saurian's head swung towards them when Cal sensed eyes upon him.

"What?" he said, dripping seawater from his nose holes.

"Like him," said Emric. "Mother is very tall, with opaline skin the color of the moon on a deep velvet sea. Her eyes are quick and bright like emeralds and her hair is dark and lustrous black."

"What?" asked Cal, saltwater still streaming from his nostrils.

"THAT'S what his mother looks like?" said Ilmarė. "I'm afraid to ask about the father…" [MORE]

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RetroMUD Comic Update

RetroMUD has contracted with Keenspot to highlight RetroMUD. Check out the latest issue of Dan Shive's comic!


[MORE]

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Monday, August 8

Cast Upon Tides of Weal and Woe - Part 2c: Flotsam and Jetsam

Check out the latest update to my Story Hour: Gonnes, Sons and Treasure Runs over at ENWorld:
One mailed mitt stretched to grab a piece of reef. Beldin, his beard sopping wet, slowly dragged himself up to the surface. He had been bitten several times by the shark, but to little effect. The teeth couldn't penetrate the bands of metal that encased him. And yet the most innocuous creature had done just that.

In his other hand, Beldin lifted a black sea urchin to the surface. Some of Beldin's blood was still on its poisonous tips.

"It's a good thing I'm made of sterner stuff," said Beldin, spitting seawater. [MORE]

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Sunday, August 7

Review: Death in Freeport

What's interesting about Freeport is that although it's nominally presented as a pirate setting (with an 18th-century feel to it), the adventure has almost nothing to do with the setting.

Basically, an alien being on an exploratory mission possesses a librarian of the Temple of Knowledge (Lucius) in Freeport. Lucius promptly leaves the Temple and disappears for several years, only to return with no memory of his past. He tries to put it all behind him, but eventually his dark past catches up with him.

No wait, that's not entirely true. We have no idea what Lucius experiences. We only know that a secret cult of serpent people and human cultists are attempting to bring back their dark god, the god of the Yellow Sign. And that the leader of the cult suspects that Lucius might have some tie to their dark god. So they capture and torture Lucius, ultimately leading the adventurers on a path to retrieve him.

Not much in the way of pirates, huh? [MORE]

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RetroMUD Comic Update

RetroMUD has contracted with Keenspot to highlight RetroMUD. Check out the latest issue of Dan Shive's comic!


[MORE]

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Friday, August 5

RetroMUD Comic Update

RetroMUD has contracted with Keenspot to highlight RetroMUD. Check out the latest issue of Dan Shive's comic!


[MORE]

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posted by Michael Tresca at 8:06 PM | 0 comments links to this post


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M&M Web Site

Check out the latest project my brother worked on!

The M&M Megalab!

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Review: Lord of The Rings: The Third Age

Check out my brother-in-law Eric's review of Lord of The Rings: The Third Age:
It sounds like a great idea at first. The "Lord of the Rings" books are about a group of heroes that save Middle Earth. But they could not do it single-handed. So let's make a game that follows a group of lesser known heroes through the adventure behind the adventure. Sure, SOUNDS like a good idea.

It Isn't. [MORE]

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Review of Blood and Blades

Check out the first review of Blood and Blades: The Profiler's Guide to Slashers at RPGNow!
If you're a fan of horror genre, this is a fun addition to any horror based game. If you've had that itch to run Friday the 13th or Nightmare on Elm Street, this is an absolute must for your game. Accept no substitute. Since it is such a niche product it might not appeal to every gamer, but overall it's a well produced sourcebook for a really fun genre. Just remember, having sex means you're going to die! This is PERFECT for that one player in your group (you know you have one) that wants to seduce anything and everything. If you're wanting to get a little revenge on that guy, put him through this and make sure he has a pretty cheerleader to flirt with. [MORE]

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Cast Upon Tides of Weal and Woe - Part 2b: Flotsam and Jetsam

"Emric?" Kham stretched out from the piece of driftwood and clambered up a coral reef. "That's not short for Emricassicus by any chance, is it?"

"No sir," Emric said.

"Didn't think so," said Kham. "Well, that's my good deed for today." He prepared to spring to the next shoal and then, upon seeing two more fins circling the boat, decided against it. "Maybe we should just rest here for a moment."

"Will they be okay?" said Emric, pointing at the fracas.

A bubble popped to the surface that sounded suspiciously liked "HELP!"

"Oh, I'm sure they'll be fine," said Kham. [MORE]

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Wednesday, August 3

Blood and Spooks: The Ghost Hunter's Guide on Sale!

So you think strapping a nuclear reactor to your back and waving an electron pack around makes you a ghost hunter?

You're darn tootin' it does!

Now, there's other guides out there that don't give you new ghost-hunting professions, skills, feats, magic, and whatnot. This isn't like those guides. Blood and Spooks: The Ghost Hunter's Guide has all the crunch you know and love and more.

For a limited time, Blood and Spooks is on sale! You can grab the coupon for Blood and Spooks: The Ghost Hunter's Guide from Ronin Arts through RPGNow.

Blood and Spooks: The Ghost Hunter's Guide is a d20 Modern supplement that includes:

For a limited time, Blood and Spooks is on sale! You save $1.45, which means Blood and Spooks costs only $5.00. That's five bucks for 57 pages of ghost hunting goodness!

So what are you waiting for? Buy Blood and Spooks today!

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New Review of Blood & Brains: The Zombie Hunter's Guide

Check out the latest review of Blood and Brains: The Zombie Hunter's Guide:

I wasn't expecting as much as I got from this book, truth be told. Oh, sure, it's got new classes, feats, etc. and it's all very good quality, as is quite common for RPG Objects. The REAL fun, however, is that MASSIVE zombie generation table in the back. You can probably create MILLIONS of different types of zombie with that sucker. [MORE]

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posted by Michael Tresca at 7:57 AM | 0 comments links to this post


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PDF Review: Construct Mechanus

Construct Mechanus is the first in a series of books about magical robot characters in a fantasy setting (*COUGH* Warforged *COUGH). Actually, I think Construct Mechanus beat Warforged to the punch. But in any case, the Ronin Arts combination of Philip Reed and Christopher Shy band together to present all the mecha goodness you could ever want for a fantasy game, including two new races (Stilt and Abombinus), two new classes (tanker and mystic defender), mechanus-specific feats, and rules on firearms.

The modular design of the mechanus means there’s a lot of variety. And then there’s the guns, which lets them blow stuff up real good. This is a daring product that isn’t afraid to take risks and go places with the d20 system. [MORE]

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posted by Michael Tresca at 7:53 AM | 0 comments links to this post


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Tuesday, August 2

RetroMUD Comic Update

RetroMUD has contracted with Keenspot to highlight RetroMUD. Check out the latest issue of Dan Shive's comic!


[MORE]

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posted by Michael Tresca at 8:14 AM | 0 comments links to this post


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Cast Upon Tides of Weal and Woe - Part 2a: Flotsam and Jetsam

"What is that?" asked Bijoux, pointing at a fin cresting the water's surface.

"I don't know," said Beldin. "I've never seen it before."

"Me neither," said Bijoux. It was heading straight towards them. "I'm not familiar with the native creatures of Onara."

"I am," said Cal, his reptilian eyes narrowing to slits. "That's a—"

"SHARK, you idiots!" Kham had been shouting at them with cupped hands, but only when the waves subsided could they hear him. "Three of them!" [MORE]

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posted by Michael Tresca at 8:01 AM | 0 comments links to this post


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Monday, August 1

Detention of the Damned: Blood, Brains, and Backpacks

Check out Crimson Aneurysm's D20 Modern message board game: Detention of the Damned: Blood, Brains, and Backpacks! He uses D20 Modern and Blood and Brains: The Zombie Hunter's Guide.

Like any other significant population of human beings, the small Northern California town of Pleasant Valley has its secrets. Hidden evils, both minor and grave, lurk behind its manicured gardens and friendly inhabitants. Tough, brawny, Coach Murphy, for example, enjoys berating the weaker, scrawnier boys in his gym class...but come nightfall, he puts on pantyhose, stands in front of his bedroom mirror and weeps. Sally Callahan was her class's homecoming queen...but Skip Traister got her pregnant, and now she takes out the misery of her dead-end life on the soft, defenseless body of her infant son. "He fell out of his crib," she tells Skip when he comes home drunk from the paper mill. And stranger things spread their ineffable corruption among the townspeople. Little Jimmy Buckton isn't sure why the rotting corpse of his pet cat tasted quite so good slithering its way in pieces down his throat, but he wants more...and young Herman Mulfield across the street has been looking awful tasty. The strange wooden doll that Principal Henriksen picked up on vacation in Budapest is undeniably ugly, but lately it's been telling him some pretty interesting things...like how pretty the insides of his students' heads will look decorating the freshly painted halls of Pleasant Valley High School. It's only a matter of time before the stench of the rot afflicting Pleasant Valley is too putrid to be ignored... [MORE]

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posted by Michael Tresca at 8:40 PM | 0 comments links to this post


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