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Sunday, October 30

All That Glitters - Part 4: A Watery Grave

Ilmarė looked over at Bijoux. "Well, one of us has to scale that cliff."

"Don't look at me," said Beldin from the other boat. "Dwarves were built for digging, not—"

He didn't finish his sentence as something rammed the rowboat, hard. Beldin went over with a SPLOOSH!

"Swimming?" asked Ilmarė.

"I think he meant climbing," said Sebastian with a sigh. [MORE]

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Thursday, October 27

All That Glitters - Part 3: Two if By Sea

"Oh for crying out loud!" shouted Ilmarė. "Just have the lizard sing it and be done with it. Osric won’t be with us for that long."

Baldric harrumphed. "Fine, fine." Several of the crew shot sideway glances at Cal, who was staring out at the ocean and sniffing the air. "We’re gettin' sea sick o' th' lad singin' that song anyway." [MORE]

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posted by Michael Tresca at 7:51 AM | 0 comments links to this post


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Wednesday, October 26

Announcing the Welstar Wiki

As I return to my novel, I realized that I had piles (an entire notebook, actually) of notes about Welstar. Only none of it is collected in one easy to find place. Thus the creation of the Welstar Wiki: http://welstar.pbwiki.com

It has information for RetroMUDder and role-player alike.

Man I love the alliteration. Welstar Wiki. Heh.

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posted by Michael Tresca at 10:56 PM | 0 comments links to this post


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New Blood & Blades Review

Crothian just reviewed Blood and Blades: The Profiler's Guide to Slashers at ENWorld:
Slashers and serial killers are a big part of the horror movie and genre and can easily be placed into any modern game. There are plenty of movies and books that deal with these type of cold blooded killers and it was only a matter of time before someone brought them to d20 Modern. And it is just in time for Halloween. [MORE]

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posted by Michael Tresca at 8:26 AM | 0 comments links to this post


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Tuesday, October 25

Software Review: So You Wanna Learn Photoshop

Overall, this is an excellent series for folks who are more visual and need to get up to speed quickly on Photoshop without time to read those massive 400+ page tomes. A must have for any budding Photoshop artist. [MORE]

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posted by Michael Tresca at 3:22 PM | 0 comments links to this post


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Book Review: The Mote in God's Eye

Despite occasionally straining credibility, The Mote in God's Eye is an excellent example of an alien culture. Larry Niven and Jerry Pournelle explore everything from the aliens' biology to their art, from their architecture to their social mores. It's a must read for anyone who likes their aliens alien. [MORE]

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posted by Michael Tresca at 3:21 PM | 0 comments links to this post


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New Blood & Brains Review

Marx Pyle just reviewed Blood and Brains: The Zombie Hunter's Guide at SciFi411.com:
...overall an excellent book with some great fiction sprinkled throughout. If you combine this with Tresca’s Blood and Blades and Blood and Spooks, you can cover just about anything found in horror films. So, if you are serious about adding Zombies into your game, then this is the book for you. Your players will never know what kind of Zombie they will run into next. Trust me, after your players run into a Video Zombie, they will never feel safe watching TV again. [MORE]

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posted by Michael Tresca at 2:39 PM | 0 comments links to this post


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Monday, October 24

ED-209

My brother, Joe Tresca, just uploaded a really cool animation of ED-209 to his web site, Creepyportfolio.com, from the movie Robocop. Check it out!

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Sunday, October 23

All That Glitters - Part 2: The Temple of Althares

Sebastian looked him up and down. "Fine," he said. "But if you betray us, you will not live long enough to regret it." Then he brushed past him.

Oriku looked shaken but nodded at Sebastian's back.

"Why was Sebastian so mean to that man?" Bijoux asked as they exited the temple.

"Ymandragorians put him on edge," said Beldin.

"Freeport will do that to you," said Ilmarė with a smirk. "I'll be glad to leave this cesspool behind for a few days." [MORE]

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Wednesday, October 19

Join Me in National Novel Writing Month

Starting on November 1 (that's right, my birthday), I'm going to do one, final push of writing madness to complete my novel. I swear, I'm going to do it this time.

Those of you who know me know that I've already written a novel. But it's so ahead of its time that nobody wants to publish it. Either that, or it sucks.

In any case, the next novel will be infinitely more marketable, has a lot more humor, and is written for those with short attention...oooh, KITTY.

To make matters worse, I will be posting a word count every day. You read that right: EVERY FRICKIN' DAY. For the handful of you who witnessed my live blogging during the ENnies, you can appreciate the insanity that's in store.

I'm doing this because I'm convinced that this book is going to be the one that gets published.

Mind you, given that NaNoWriMo requires you to write a novel from scratch, I'm already disqualified from actually participating in the end result. That's okay, this is one of those 1/3rd-life crisis things I have to do.

This is where I'm at so far.
Progress on "The Well of Stars"

22,993 / 75,000
(30.7%)
Feel free to heckle me, encourage me, scream obscenities at me...no wait, people do that last one already without any goading. The wordmeter above will track my progress as I hurdle towards 75,000 words. That's the magic number, baby. Now I just have to reach it.

Wish me luck!

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posted by Michael Tresca at 9:02 PM | 0 comments links to this post


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All That Glitters - Part 1c: Nikko’s Flophouse

Kham lifted his feet off the table and adjusted his bandolier. "It's not a good idea. But after all the trouble we've been through, I'm not waiting anymore. The next ship out of Freeport to Coryani leaves in an hour, so we better get going."

He scribbled something on the back of the note and pinned it with a dagger to the bar. "There, that should get their attention."

Then he walked out the door. Vlad sighed and followed him.

Something was dislodged from bar by the force of Kham's dagger: Nikko's arm flopped out from behind it. [MORE]

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Tuesday, October 18

Paul Kupperberg

I had the pleasure of meeting Paul Kupperberg at my local comic book store, A Timeless Journey. He's a very cool guy. Check out his work! He's written everything from Star Trek to Superman to Wonder Woman:



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posted by Michael Tresca at 11:42 PM | 0 comments links to this post


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Game Review: Hunter: The Reckoning - Redeemer

By far the best part of Redeemer is that it's one of the rare four player games for the Xbox. The controls are customized for blasting away at opponents, including a very cool strafing maneuver. It's all about killing zombies, vampires, and other weird things.

And that's not a bad thing. Redeemer makes no pretense about what it is: a straight up shoot-em-up for four. If you can stand the everything-but-the-kitchen-sink premise and don't mind your Hunters showing a little leg, Redeemer is for you. [MORE]

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Monday, October 17

D20 Fantasy Magic the Gathering Cards

New players are often bewildered by the number of choices their characters have in the D20 Fantasy system. That doesn't include all the spells, feats, and class abilities they have at their disposal. That got me thinking about Magic: The Gathering. Each rule is modular, easy to remember (because it's printed on a card), and you can pull it out for reference whenever you need to. Test runs proved their usefulness in play, especially as a DM who doesn't remember all of the rules all of the time. So I put together all of the combat actions and skill actions one might perform in a round (not including feats, spells, and class abilities). You can download these and print them. It took me five tries, but I got the card backs to line up correctly as well (I should point out they say "Arcanis" for our game). Enjoy! [MORE]

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posted by Michael Tresca at 8:29 AM | 0 comments links to this post


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Sunday, October 16

All That Glitters - Part 1b: Nikko’s Flophouse

"Terribly sorry about that," said a tall, well-dressed man with narrow features. "My name's Japheth." Three hired thugs fanned out behind him. "You're new to the city, aren't you? You may have heard that the city is full of crude, mannerless pirates," he nodded towards Baldric, asleep in his drink, "but that's all changing."

"I prefer pirates to assassins," said Ilmarė, blade out. Sebastian and Beldin had their backs to the wall. "At least when they betray you, it's with a naked blade instead of a poisoned drink."

"Ah yes, well, I find it makes things easier," said Japheth, looking genuinely embarrassed. "Now if you'd be so kind as to give me those little scraps of paper on the table, we can all move on with our lives."

Sebastian vaulted himself onto the table from the floor. "No," he said. [MORE]

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Thursday, October 13

New Review: Blood & Blades

Eldritch Mage recently reviewed Blood and Blades: The Profiler's Guide to Slashers at ENWorld. The verdict: Five stars!

When I first got hold of this supplement, I skimmed it. Man, it was like taking a stroll down Psycho Lane. I couldn’t wait to get into it. Once again Michael delivers. The short stories through out gave an excellent feel for the setting, and his humor throughout the rules defiantly lightened the mood for the reader. If you like slasher flick, or if you want to surprise your party this Halloween, pick this up. It will be a Halloween adventure your group will not soon forget. [MORE]

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posted by Michael Tresca at 10:36 PM | 0 comments links to this post


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Wednesday, October 12

New Review: Frost & Fur

I. Perez recently reviewed Frost and Fur: The Explorer's Guide to the Frozen Lands at RPGNow.com. The verdict: Five stars!

The final four chapters are the gem of “Frost and Fur”. The dungeon master can use these to guide the creation of a new campaign setting. The earlier chapters all support these campaign settings by identifying which cold climate cultures are relevant to each particular detail. In keeping with that line of thinking, the web enhancement is a listing of all the relevant game material from “Frost and Fur” listed by culture.

If you are interested in creating a cold weather campaign, “Frost and Fur” is a must have resource. [MORE]

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posted by Michael Tresca at 9:46 PM | 0 comments links to this post


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HMP Turns One, Catches Cold

One year ago, Highmoon Media Productions' first product went live at RPGNow.com. Today, they're celebrating this first milestone and reflect on where they've been and where they are going. All HMP products are on sale at RPGNow.com from until Friday, Oct. 14.

In addition, any purchase of $5.00 or more gets a free copy of their first product, Liber Sodalitas: The Blind Path, as a gift.

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posted by Michael Tresca at 9:42 PM | 0 comments links to this post


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All That Glitters - Part 1a: Nikko’s Flophouse

There was a thump at the table. Ilmarė sneered down at the greasy hair of an unconscious Baldric. "Stupid human pirates," she said.

Then a litany of flesh on wood echoed around them as pirate after pirate fell where they sat, blissfully snoring away.

"That's some drink," said Beldin, wiping his lips. He didn't seem affected in the slightest.

Ilmarė sniffed her mug. "That's no normal drink. That's oil of taggitt." She unsheathed her elven thinblade. "We've been tricked!" [MORE]

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Sunday, October 9

Book Review: The Hastur Cycle

Ultimately, The Hastur Cycle is an important but flawed survey of Hastur mythology. It's much less about Hastur than it is about Price's personal tastes on what stories influenced Lovecraft…as if the entire mythology's importance hinges upon Lovecraft's slim contribution. What's missing are other stories by Chambers, such as "The Mask" and the "The Court of the Dragon." Also missing are John Tynes' contributions, which have become part of the Hastur mythology mostly through Chaosium's support.

Did I mention it contains the majority of "The King in Yellow?" Read it, if you dare...[MORE]

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posted by Michael Tresca at 3:40 PM | 0 comments links to this post


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Saturday, October 8

All That Glitters - Prologue

"What kind of beggar so willingly gives up his gold?" asked Beldin, staring at the pile before Sebastian.

"A beggar who has more to lose than gold." Sebastian plucked the rubbing from the pile and held it up in the sunlight. "How many more of these do you have?"

"Enough," said the beggar with a twinkle in his eye.

"We'll play you for all of them," said the dark-kin. [MORE]

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posted by Michael Tresca at 10:30 AM | 0 comments links to this post


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Thursday, October 6

New Review: Modern Dispatch: Executive Solutions (#56)

Peter Martin recently reviewed Modern Dispatch: Executive Solutions (#56) at RPGNow.com. The verdict: Four stars!

A nice mercenary company to use with the mercenary's handbook. However, it's not what I was expecting it to be from the name. I expected more of a small, elite, "security solutions" company that dealt more with site security, executive protection, and the occasional bit of "dirty work" for large corporate customers. Instead, it's a large, professional, conventional mercenary company. I must admit I'm a bit disappointed based on my preconceived notions, but that's not the product's fault. [MORE]

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posted by Michael Tresca at 11:17 PM | 0 comments links to this post


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New Review: Modern Mercenary Manual

Peter Martin recently reviewd Modern: Mercenary Manual at RPGNow.com. The verdict: Three stars!

First of all, I want to say that the concept behind this release was excellent, and it deals well with the role playing aspects of mercenary life, contracts, and the like. This book is absolutely indispensable for anyone who wishes to run a modern game incorporating mercenaries in some fashion, whether as player characters or as NPCs. [MORE]

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posted by Michael Tresca at 11:14 PM | 0 comments links to this post


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Movie Review: Sexy Beast

A fantastic, tightly focused film that deftly wields profanity and terrified looks with the same measured approach. The director, Jonathan Glazer, knew what he was doing when he cast Ben Kingsley. You'll never look at Gandhi the same way again. [MORE]

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Wednesday, October 5

All That Glitters - Introduction

I moved some of the encounters out of order for two reasons. For one, there’s no explanation as to how the characters come into possession of the rubbings. The adventure’s written for new players rather than experienced PCs. So the beggar king of Freeport made for a nice foil (I used his optional encounter from Cast Upon Tides of Weal and Woe). Two, no experienced adventurer in his right mind is going to bump into someone on the street and then let the guy “pay them back by apologizing.” They certainly wouldn’t take a swig of any drink offered from said gentleman off the street. So I had to set the adventure up differently to get people to take a swig of the tainted drinks, and the only way it even worked is because we actually had drinks in our hands at the gaming table to toast with.

This adventure ranged from laughably easy (watch Beldin decapitate the main bad guy in one shot!) to meat grinder-hard (watch Calactyte go down…TWICE!). That said, the party took it all in stride and worked hard for their experience points. They started working better together as a team: Beldin began protecting Sebastian in melee and Bijoux’s spells saved the party from a trap. Speaking of traps, there were so many traps and encounters in the cave that it was enough to boost just about everyone up one level too (for the sake of the story flow, I didn’t cover all of them here).
[MORE]

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Tuesday, October 4

Movie Review: Corpse Bride

If your kids want to see something Halloween-ish, this is just the movie for them. While Corpse Bride is cute, it is not necessarily for young children. There are a lot of dismembered organs moving about (most gruesomely, a fellow who splits himself in two, pulsing organs and all), along with a lot of dead bodies. Adults might be a bit bored, as the plot is fairly linear. [MORE]

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posted by Michael Tresca at 7:50 AM | 0 comments links to this post


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Monday, October 3

Cast Upon Tides of Weal and Woe - Part 11: Fair Winds and Following Seas

Kham snorted. He had Zainat's pistol and bullets out on the breakfast table.

"What's so funny?" asked Cal.

"Zainat wasn't kidding," he said, still chuckling. He held up one of the ten bullets between thumb and forefinger.

The letters: "C", "A" and "M" were etched into its side. [MORE]

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posted by Michael Tresca at 8:04 AM | 0 comments links to this post


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