Wednesday, June 29, 2011

stock that

Gen Con prep and stuff

Yee haw, Gen Con is coming up very soon. Sadly, I will not be able to make it this year. It will be my first Gen Con missed in 10 years. As a consolation, I get to sit around the office and answer emails, fill orders and print stuff.

So anyway, every year at Gen Con i run the "Davis Special." These sales usually involve a wad of product for up to 50% off or more. But its a wad of product. I get to set those up this year and Steve will do the sales.

There will be a whole gablooey sale, an introductory sale, a troll sale. So today I get to go through our product line and design the sales.

Tuesday, June 28, 2011

Now this is a home with a view


For eaons unknowable, the Great Dragon moved in the Void knowing no direction; neither up nor down, neither here nor there, not but empty and blind space. Turning upon herself, the Great Dragon began to swirl upon herself in anger and frustration, giving chase to her tail in her madness. So magnificent was her strength and the power of her wings that a great agitation occurred in the Void and in the midst of her swirling a rift opened and from it came a great twisting mass of fire and earth of air and water. 


Its raining

Thank goodness, its been 30 days with temps approaching the upper 90s and low 100s the whole time. Good gaming weather.

No armor AC adjustment and Hit Point Hades

I'll be adding to this post as I have time. 

I have been laboring away in an effort to create a Sword and Sorcery feel to a game I am supposed to run Thursday. With the deadline near, so far I have only managed to hang a rope from a tree and get the horse. Today I am climbing atop the horse and positioning myself beneath the noose.

I have come up with nothing that works. Last night was funny. Here was my great 'rule insight'.

All weapons do four die of damage. Either 4d2, 4d4, 4d6, 4d8 or 4d10. Damage die higher than d10 are relegated to monster of great strength. I also plan to order some weird dice (d14, d16, d18).Then, armors are broken down into four categories each with a damage reduction value; none -0, light-1, medium-2 and heavy-3. When damage is rolled,the number of die rolled is adjusted by the damage reduction value.

Looking at the average damages against an unarmored opponent we have the following means:
4d2 - 6 (dagger type)
4d4 - 10 (short sword)
4d6 -14 (longsword)
4d8 - 18 (two handed types)
4d10 - 22 (lance and similar)

That is some staggering damage.

So my first thought was to dispense with hit points and assign wound points. The character would receive a low number of wound points perhaps equal to there starting hit points. Then, when damage is rolled, a '1'on any die indicates a wound. But, then I would have to manage percentages on the die as wound delivery vehicles (ie. the d10 has a 10% chance of delivering a wound whereas the d2 has a 50% chance).

At first I thought, this is great, now I can give weapons a basic wound percentage value instead of a numeric value. I could also have armor do variable damage reduction based upon the type of weapon being used. Actually, it opens up to a lot of possibilities.

Now as for armor class, that is a whole new ball game as are attack and defense rolls. I have this funny feeling I am no longer playing CnC.

So, my hit point/wound idea did not settle well. It 'feels' incomplete. Perhaps this is because I have played high hp or progressive hp games for so long, I just want more wounding or hit points. So I decided to up the hps - dramatically. A normal human would use 2d10 for their hps while a warrior type would get 3d10. You can see where this is going. And one might ask WHY?

Then I had the idea of two sets of hit points; one for wounds and one reflecting fatigue and small cuts scratches.

I'm shaking my head.

Now, armor will add no ac value just DR value. Defense is to depend upon the shield and skills.

So this is how a weapon would appear.

weapon       damage     wound     type
Mace           4d6          1             bludgeoning
long sword   4d8          1             hacking

and armor would look something like this (attack type to the right)
armor           B     H
chain            1      3
leather          1      1

or something like that

Monday, June 27, 2011


India, Ranki Vav

Forsaken Mountain - back to work

Well, this module has lingering close to finished for months and months and months.I need to wrap up the end of the module, enter a dozen or more stat blocks and correct a few others.

Forsaken Mountain is an adventure designed for 3-5 characters of 8th to 10th level. It is an epic adventure that sets the adventurers on a fantastic journey, leaving behind the mundane prime and entering the fabled Dreaming Sea. This module is designed for those characters that are truly leaving behind the mundane and entering those fantastic and heroic adventures where death lingers behind every door and doom follows every misstep. Creatures in this and the following adventures in the A series are powerful beyond imagining and aged beyond dreams. Events swirl around the characters and they come to realize that events are occurring outside of them but, through their actions they may influence, in a major way, the outcome. It will be here that heroic characters are made or broken and the adventures they have ever after will no longer be the same. Ultimately, through their actions the characters are going to influence major events in the world, and now the hero must step forward and affect that outcome.

The Forsaken Mountain follows the adventures in the A series developed by Troll Lord Games, however the adventure can be used as a stand alone should the Castle Keeper desire (see Involving the Player Characters for more details on this option). The characters must travel far beyond the realms of man and cross over into the land of dreams and thence into the realms of the forever dying, where creatures both horrifying and ambrosial dwell. Only the bravest can survive here for one's fear will certainly be one's undoing.

For the first time in many long years a cold wind blows from Aufstrag. The Ahargon Den, The Great Maw, the gates of Aufstrag, has opened and a host issued forth. Lord Coburg the Undying, Master of Aufstrag, self-appointed heir to Unklar Dark Heart has sent forth his servants. Rumor spreads across the land, far and wide, that they seek the Vessel of Souls. But all know the legend of the vessel of souls, stolen by a Confessor Knight before the Winter Dark War's end and borne upon a wind of desire across the Dreaming Sea, there the thief set it at the base of the Forsake Mountain, safe from all hands and all those who would misuse it. This vessel, possessed of wondrous power must never fall into the hands of the enemy, for if it does the power in Aufstrag must surely bend its will into the lands of the Empress.

Roman Toilette

Neolithic Beer

If you ever happen to be near Dogfish Head brewery (probably within walking distance of anywhere in Deleware), have a Midas Touch for me please.

Homeo Erectus from Asia?

A recent discovery has brought this discussion up again. The origination point for man is of great interest to many who have few scientific concerns or interests regarding the matter.

Sunday, June 26, 2011

Inzaen predator

One of the most feared predators in Inzae. The Sirdneefin goes by many names. It is found throughout Inzae, from the high mountains of the Kragenmores to endless velt of the Leergaslant.The greatest amongst them stand five feet at the shoulder and weigh 1400 pounds or more.


Before, there was naught but void. Into this came Inzaa, the Great Dragon, the Creator of Worlds and the Flame of Life.

The Tree of Tenere

The loneliest tree in the world (notice they did not say unhappiest). The tree was located in northeast Niger about 120 miles from the nearest other tree. I say "was" because, apparently some drunken Lybian managed to knock it over with his truck (in 1973 or so).

The only tree for 120 miles.

In a desert.

Saturday, June 25, 2011

Gobekli Tepe

This site contains the oldest known temple or holy area dating to 11,500 or so years ago. Although that is interesting, what is even more interesting  is that this appears to have been built by hunter gatherers and not 'settled' or agricultural people.
these new findings suggest a novel theory of civilization. Scholars have long believed that only after people learned to farm and live in settled communities did they have the time, organization and resources to construct temples and support complicated social structures. But Schmidt argues it was the other way around: the extensive, coordinated effort to build the monoliths literally laid the groundwork for the development of complex societies.

google the images, good fodder for thought


Doing nothing.


So I was making an egg and put a tad of water onto the skillet. I was testing for temp. The water bubbled and bounced as single droplets for a few seconds. Perfect temp. Watching the water bounce on that searing hot cast iron skillet mesmerizes me. So I finally got around to trying to figure out the chemistry behind it.

It appears to be the Leidenfrost Effect.

Though some people claim its the Van der Waals force.
I can't figure it out. As if it would matter. I can't understand anything I read and the water would still bubble and bounce regardless of which I believed it to be.


Friday, June 24, 2011

Up that mountain

Speaking of libraries

Limestone Forest

Mark Twain on Role playing games

There are few things that are so unpardonably neglected in our country as role playing games. The masses know very little about it. Now and then you find elites who have sort of a general knowledge of the game, but the ignorance of the people is fearful. Why, I have known clergymen, good men, kind-hearted, liberal, sincere, and all that, who did not know the meaning of a "nat 20." It is enough to make one ashamed of one's species.

- quoted in A Bibliography of Mark Twain, Merle Johnson


Dragon Extinction theories

The scientific community is split and no consensus has been reached as to why the dragons died off. Several explanations have been offered.

1. Climate change: the earth warmed quickly and the dragons could not adapt to the new conditions.
2. Climate change: the earth cooled and the dragons could not adjust to the new conditions.
3. Comet impact: the earth was destroyed
4. Human predation:the dragons were hunted out
5. Infections: The dragons succumbed to some viral infections

6. gamma ray burst
7. solar radiation explosion

Dracula's castle

The real name is Bran Castle.

Thursday, June 23, 2011

Castles and Crusades at Origins

Troll Lord Games actually made an appearance at Origins. Steve left a day or so ago and has just spent his first at the hall. All went well I believe. He is running several games of Castles and Crusades while at the convention. He does a real good job running large groups, so if anyone is interested, and attending, stop by for a visit and ask him to run a game in the evening.

I understand Eric Piper is there as well. I know he has an adventure or two up his sleeve so get that mad man to run a game.

The Crusade goes on.


" is only about things which concern us most profoundly that we lie clearly and with profound conviction."
Elric of Melnibone, Michael Moorcock

Nice ending.

First book of Elric finished

Very good read. I do not think I have read an Elric story since the late 80's. I have decided to reread them and those that I never read. I just checked the chronology and realized there are lot of books I did not read.

Elric, Conan, Kull and Kain are probably the greatest influences on my game play.


Specifically, game time.

The passage of time in games is oft overlooked and neglected. This is a shame, as the passage of time allows for many developments for characters and plots.I am not claiming all games are like this, just that many give no or little attention to time.

As a general rule, games move from moment to moment, adventure to adventure with very little relatedness in time and outside events. I think this is natural as games are episodic in real time and adventures are, by their nature, fairly episodic even though some take several sessions to complete.This is not necessarily a poor decision for the game one plays. Many gaming groups go from adventure to adventure and moment to moment and exist in an ever-present now. Games of this nature can last a very long time, be very fulfilling and fun. If it works for the group playing this way, then march on. Yet, I believe that very significant roleplaying potentials are being shunted in so doing.

The passage of time allows plots to develop. Kings grow old and die, wars unfold and territories are overrun, wizards discover ancient artifacts, gold is discovered, demons release from underground caverns.... there are a myriad of events that occur outside the characters actions that could impact their world and impact their play and their character's development. The characters grow to become enmeshed in their world and a part of it and even vested in it.

For these to occur, time must pass.

For example, lets examine a small event and its potentials. The characters begin their career with a meeting in a tavern in a small town. They have slight interaction with the tavern keeper and go on a few adventures. They decide to make the tavern their 'home base' so to speak. The CK, would at this point, make an effort to have the tavern keeper become friendly (even outside of business). After a few more adventures and perhaps a year, the characters have come to know the family. The tavern keeper's eldest daughter become betrothed to a local and the character's attend the wedding.

As this is unfolding, the characters become aware a local power broker (young lord, magistrate, sheriff's some or some such) who has eyes for the girl as well. This person is becoming powerful in his own right.really on par with the party.

Are the wheels turning?

The characters become invested with the tavern keeper and his family. For most normal humans (even playing a game) the investment becomes personal, loyalties develop and problems ensue. Problems inevitably follow. I can think of half a dozen good adventures taking off from this point; kidnapping, murder, trumped up charges, arson, assassination but importantly and for the players, what starts of simple could become a running confrontation with a lord or king.

Now, if I really thought it out, I could and have come up with far more dense plots from the mundane to the supernatural. Some adventures have involved deities (though the players often only realized this much later) or greater powers and destinies.

But for all this to be possible and for the players to be invested and the events to unfold in a logical and meaningful progression, time must pass.

Forn Sidr

The modern Norse religion.

If you are looking for a religious community where you can be saved, then you have come to the wrong place. We have neither the ‘truth’ nor a fully defined system of beliefs.

More information can be found here.

We never surrender our will to theirs or humble ourselves before them, because we see ourselves as their kin, not as inferior, submissive pawns. Nor do we beg and plead. We commune with them and honor them while seeking their blessing through formal rites and informal meditation

The summer solstice is June 21st. There is a growing number of celebrants observing the time as a religious or spiritually significant date.

Lets hope the Nordic peoples don't take sword in hand and go a-raiding again...

Imagine this full of Vikings.

Burial Mounds

 Burial Mounds are cool

Wednesday, June 22, 2011

The card catalog and google and shelves and feet

I remember going to the card catalog and perusing titles and subject for hours, jotting down locations on a notepad, meandering about the five story library looking for particular books. The process took a long time. Occasionally the book I was searching for was already checked out or misplaced. I do not recall becoming aggravated. I found the process relaxing and, because of the nature of the process, gave me an extra focus for my research.

When I search for something on the internet, I expect immediate and accurate results. I do not expect advertisements for vacations, life insurance offers, mortgage offers, job scams, or even worse the pron-take. Then pages load slow, very slow, so slow that after about 3 seconds, I'll close the page out. The searches often provide some of the information I am after, but rarely provide what I am after.

It can all be very aggravating. My google-fu needs some insight. Or maybe I should Bing things now.

All that said, the internet can still be a wealth of ideas and information made assessable.

Tuesday, June 21, 2011

Busy Day

Steve left for Origins late this afternoon. So I was helping out in the print shop, packing and what not. If you happen to be attending, look him up and get that old boy to run a game or or two.

Help solve the Roman 12-sider

Update. Excellent site.


No one really knows why these were made or for what they were used. An article here and here gives some ideas and background. There is a facebook page where you can throw out your own ideas. There is more information out there, so just google it.

I will dismiss its religious use off the bat. I will meander about the next day or two and see if I can locate some well researched articles concerning the artifact so that there is some context for it - and presumably better interpretations for its utility will follow. 


Hoard of coins discovered (some time ago) in England. They will actually stay in England! By the way, the coins belonged to the Iceni tribe.
Very cool stuff.

Elric has a mother and a father

Only one has a name. Elric's father's name is Sadric. His mother remains nameless. She died giving birth to Elric. Elric entertains the possibility that his father's abandonment of a marriage tradition involving the sacrifice of 72 (I think) couples resulted in his mother's death as well as his own affliction.

Monday, June 20, 2011

The Lantern Shield


So, if you had, at your disposal, a master dwarf craftsmen, a wizard of great renown, a cleric of divine power and a metal of fantastic nature, what would you design to go exploring in a deep dark dungeon?

My peculiar current obsession...

is with armor class.

It seems to me that armor (not the shield) is primarily a passive defense against attacks. By the time the blow lands, the armor is the only thing protecting a person from damage. Armor is not used to parry blows or dodge, the person does that with their weapon, movement and shield if they possess one. The armor is, so to speak, the last line of defense. When all else fails, it just absorbs damage. I do believe that a person skilled with an armor's abilities (limitations and nuance of construction) can place themselves to receive blows in particular areas but, never-the-less, primarily it functions to soften a blow..One's defense comes from skills in maneuvering one's body to avoid blows, using a weapon or shield to deflect blows or using a shield or weapon to absorb blows. This is the active defense a person possesses.

Yet, most games provide a static AC or static modifiers irrespective of a person's level or possible skill. Yet, the attack skill, reflected in BtH for CnC for example, increases with level. I intend to remedy this and propose the following.

Armor provide damage absorbtion
level adds to AC
Shield adds to AC i variable amounts
weapons can potentially add to AC

I don not know, as yet, how to implement this, but I shall.

And one last thought, since the attack roll is variable, shouldn't a defense roll be variable as well? 

Research potential for budding archaeologist in UK

All that I see from the statement below is an undergraduate classroom, a master's thesis, followed by a PHD, job at Birmingham Archeology and a smoking jacket.

“Despite the great historical and archaeological significance of Rudh’ an Teampaill, this area is largely un-interpreted and poorly understood. Whilst it is known that the area has been used and occupied for around 9,000 years, it is not known what kind of people lived there, how they made their living, and what the area was used for, whether there was an earlier religious site there before the chapel was built, and what the role of the area was in the larger Harris community through the millennia.

Re-thinking the AC

In most games, armor class is a static representation of a character's defense with armor being the most significant contribution to that rating (until magic items come into play). As a character levels up, their attack bonus goes up but their AC does not (excepting the monk).

Skill plays virtually no role in AC. I intend to remedy that. Everyone in my game will suddenly become AC 1.

Sunday, June 19, 2011


Me no write well. Here is a link to a cool site. It deals with ancient scripts.

Below is an Old Hungarian alphabet. Apparently it was in use until the 19th century!


A Warrior's Protection


musty of posted the previous last night in a daze - I thought I dreamed I did it. Any way, I gotup this morning and posted the following first thing,

In a sword fight, or generally any weapon excepting fists and guns, what offers the warrior the greatest protection? Would it be their shield, their skill, their weapon or their armor?

Think about the same in a fist fight and then a gun fight.

Gun fights are fairly interesting. Even in duals, skill in placement of the body could make the difference between life and death. Modern combat is the same way. A soldier learns how to move and place themselves to best avoid the bullet (not any single bullet but you get the picture).

Fist can pound a person in field plate all day long and will do no damage to that person.


funny huh? I must have thought about it in my sleep.

Saturday, June 18, 2011

Protection in a sword fight

So I am sitting here wondering, what provides a person the most protection in a sword fight (or axe,knife, club fight - you get the picture)? Would it be their shield, their skill, their armor, or even their weapon?

Hidden in valleys deep
Where no man dares to keep

The urks of Bittenvale
Dig their holes to slumber and sleep

If humans could build this, what could a giant with magic at his disposal build?

Friday, June 17, 2011

The Book of Swords

Work has officially begun on the Book of Swords. The project is an effort to compile and provide stats for thousands of weapons stretching back to the neolithic and up to the latter middle ages. Currently we have no intention of putting firearms in the book. Additionally we are planning to make an effort at created fantastical weapons that might result from various magical alloys, the prodigious amount of technical knowledge and magical capacities some creatures would possess.

Should be interesting. There is no time line. Just a project.

Atlantis Discovered


Conan's Parents

Do you think Conan ever missed his parents?

Last Bits

I am finishing up A8, The Forsaken Mountain. I always peter out on the last fiddly bits. On a good day I can crank out 2000 words and then it might take 3 days to write a stat block.

I wish I had a program that would do that for me.

That's bright

Superdupernovas? I hope that is not really their name. Naming objects in physics and astronomy is becoming rather bland. HIC 91262 is Vega. Betelgeuse can, apparently, be any one of the following: Alpha Orionis, HR 2061, BD +7 1055, HD 39801, SAO 113271 or PPM 149643. I really like SAO 113271 - it just rolls off the tongue. Then there are up quarks and down quarks. Not to mention charm, strange, top and bottom quarks. Then again, it would be quite a challenge to some up with billions upon billions upon billions of cool names.


Thursday, June 16, 2011


So, I was over at Steve's last night explaining that I needed some books for "research."

"I need some Conan, Elric, John Carter and Kain stuff. You know, know, those old stories."

"What kind of research are you doing?" Steve inquired with not a little hint of sarcasm.

"Oh you know, the writing kind."

He allowed me to take a few books. So I sat down with the first book of Elric and started reading. What a good book. I had forgotten that the Elric series is such a great tale. I sat up half the night reading. Good gaming fodder.

Elric, Conan and Kain did more to inform my gaming than any other piece of fiction.

Davis has arrived

I now have access to "the blog."

Let the mayhem begin.


Memories from the Office of a Game Publisher – Office Space

Everywhere I look across social media I seem to be encountering two things. Economic news about the pending commercial real estate collapse,...