Wednesday, December 28, 2016


The meadow promised light and warmth, a relief from the cold enfolding darkness of the wood. But it was but a short reprieve...

Wednesday, December 21, 2016


It was more like to a tunnel in a cave . . . but no matter, there the Coblnau dwelt and they would need his wisdom.

Monday, December 19, 2016


The journey's beginning had been hard, but the last of it would prove almost impossible.

Friday, December 16, 2016


The water proved refreshing and cold. Beyond lay the jumbled slope of the mountain, wreathed in snow and ice and the Vaults of Ethren.

Friday, September 02, 2016

The Siege Engine

The Trebuchet

With an average stone weight of somewhee in the vicintiy of  200lbs, the cycle rate on this puppy was one launch every 15 seconds.

One every 15 seconds.

Heavier stones were used, of course, up to 3000lbs it is believed.


That is a lot of pouundage.

The siege engine does a whole lot of work and can carry a big load. A real big load.

It was most recently seen being used in the Syrian civil war (I would post a picture but I do not believe it is appropriate).

Thursday, September 01, 2016


Role playing games interest me in more ways than one. I enjoy playing The Game and always have. I could never really understand why, nor did I ever give it much thought until decades after I starting playing The Game.

Why role playing?

There are many papers and studies out there that point out this that and the other about the nature of the players and The Game. I have to find many that focus on what I believe to be one of the most critical and attractive aspects of role playing.

Story telling.

Role playing is one of the many guises under which story telling is realized.

Storytelling is one of the most powerful ways to activate our brains, and role-playing games do this incredibly well. When we tell stories—or experience them—our brains have to process language, the cause and effect of events, and also relate it to our own pre-existing experiences. While you're playing a role-playing game, your brain is firing on all cylinders. 
Role playing, or story telling, is one the manners in which we interpret, rationalize and come to understand our world.

So tell stories. Lots of stories.

Tuesday, August 30, 2016

One Rule

Three million rules for the designers at the desk
Seven million for the masters at the table
Nine million for the players on the stage
One for the maker at his command
In the realm simplicity where clarity lies
One rule to usher them all, one rule to lead them
One rule to guide them all and in the confusion free them
in the land where bare knuckles lie

Friday, August 12, 2016

The Weekend is Upon You So . . .

Watch out for arrows!

Dragons on High

I feel as if my title above was misleading. There are no actual dragons in the picture posted below. However, I saw that picture and I thought it would make the great beginning to an adventure that involved would be a high level adventure no doubt.

Something along the lines Reign of Fire!

Dance Moves from Ancient Rome...Well, sort of

I enjoyed this show. Insanely violent and bloody, lots of fun, basically it hit my requirements...
beautiful people doing extraordinary things. Enjoy!


Its the end of the series. Be careful.


It's Not Advanced Dungeons and Dragons

It's muther#(*&@#& Castles & Crusades! The original Bare Knuckles Role Playing. I was talking the game up to someone at Gencon and he said "It's just another version of..." But that's just not right. It's not another version of AD&D....
 It's an RPG that is so streamlined I can run a pick up game of 21 players and still have fast moving combats.

It's an RPG that you are able to guide the mechanics to fit the story.

It's an RPG that allows me to set up a table of 9 never before played people and be playing within 20 minutes.

It's fast, furious fun. Like two kids in California's Kubla Khan told me at 3 oclock in the morning after running a pick up game for them...It's Bare Knuckle Role Playing!

Monsters in the Bark!

Ha! No monsters here this is Winnie the Poos house in the hundred acre wood. I'll bet dollars to donuts that he's in there right now with his paw in the honey pot! Why, because he's winnie the muther $@*&#@ poo!





post script: That might not be true. The best fictional character ever might be Mad Max. Now that would be a movie worth watching: Mad Max: Winnie's Thunderdome!

Thursday, August 11, 2016

2000 Year Old Spells

Archeologists have discovered tiny gold scrolls inscribed with all manner of writing in Serbia. They mention several named demons, but it is unlcear what they actually are.

What they actually are, is props in the below mentioned adventure I'm going to write called The Witch's Mirror.

Thank you ancient peoples of Serbia!

After a night of Castles & Crusades

The Witch's Mirror

First, that is going to be the title for my next Darkenfold Adventure.

Secondly, its going to involve this picture somehow.

Movie Trailer ~ Resident Evil the Final Chapter

I absolutely love these movies, especially Afterlife, the one with the giant axe wielding giant dude. They are cinematic operas! Motion, color, sound and living feel about them. Absolute fun.

Here's the trailer for the next one, though I don't like that "final chapter" bit, all things must, I suppose, come to an end.

There is a reason...

There is a reason that so many nations, from Rome, Russia, Austria-Hungary to the United States choose the Eagle as their national bird. It is a powerful creature. Decisive. Fearless in the face of uncertainty and utterly confident in its own abilities to achieve its end. Other birds, such at the turkey though fierce when cornered, run, hide, and depend upon camouflage for survival.

But all that, though true, pales in comparison to having a bad ass looking symbol and the Eagle is just simply bad ass!

Wednesday, August 10, 2016

Kickstarter ENDS today!

We have slid into the last day of our Hallowed Oracle Kickstarter! We are down to a few scant hours. Its funded and grown far beyond what we intended. The main book is now in hardcover, the Players Guides has grown from 24 pages to a hardback book and is very close to tipping over the scales into an even larger book.

You can read all about it here.

Head on over and pledge!

Gencon 2016

I fully intended to live-blog from Gencon, but was quickly swallowed by my booth and didn't escape until sometime late Monday evening!

So much for live-blogging!

The con was great, our 17th to date and filled with all the things you have come to expect with Gencon. That said, there seems to be an ever growing number of very large vendors swallowing up more and more space.

A sign of the times!

The TLG Rig!

Friday, July 29, 2016

How Wizards See the World

Why Can't Modern Man...

Wear a toga without looking like an idiot. I mean, really, its a pretty simple garment, what gives? Perhaps its the cloth, perhaps its our build, perhaps we really don't know what toga's were like. Perhaps we are idiots.

Or maybe all the Greeks and Romans looked like idiots. That's possible, but I find it hard to believe since the did so much ass kicking for so many years, centuries really. The Spartans kicked everyone's ass for like 400 years, and the Romans did a fair job at it for 700 years (neither of which are small feats).

Of course that may be why their statues have them naked all the time, the toga made them look like idiots and they took them off to fight!

Trailer Talk ~ Justice League

Okay, the casting looks great. Ben Affleck looks fantastic as Batman (might be the best yet), the Flash, Aquaman both look spot on (really spot on) and Wonder Woman, well, through the roof on her.

But I'll say this, this trailer looks to be a 10th as good as the Wonder Woman trailer.

This is Cosplay

Thursday, July 28, 2016

Your Morning Music ~ Mikey Mason, Summer of 83

The Druid's Lair

Cornelius the White dwelt in the forest deeps for many years, and when the King at last sought him out his messengers found his abode to be a realm within the King's own. The task before them was never so easy as they had hoped it would be . . . .

Troll Lord Games at Gencon

This will be our 17th Gencon! Trollzah. We've not missed one in all those years. Not sure what that means, but I think its good!

We'll be at Booth 1321 this year, hawking all the Castles & Crusades, Amazing Adventures, Victorious (hopefully), fiction and other various and sundries at that show like we always are.

We'll have 8 new releases just for Gencon, plus about another 14 Kickstarter releases.

Come on out and see us!

But in the meantime head over and pledge on our latest kickstarter! Its the right thing to do and you know it!

Featurette ~ Suicide Squad

I typed that as "Suicide Square" at first, and though, NOW THAT would make an awesome movie...but then couldn't think what it would be about it.

Powering Through ~ Knight on Horse

Wednesday, July 27, 2016

Gary Gygax & the Troll Lords

As many of you know, and some may not know, Troll Lord Games worked with Gary Gygax from 2001 until his passing in 2008. In that time I struck up quite a friendship with him. One of these days I'll put it all to ink!

But its good to remember him, he was a remarkable man and the volume of his creativity new no depths. I remember, a few months before his passing, after reading a list of things he wanted to do and had started doing, thinking that the fountain of his creativity hasn't even been tapped!

I'll drink a cold Dr. Pepper to Gary Gygax today as I think fondly on a designer that brought so much to the table!

One of Frazetta's Best

I love this piece! One of my favorite. The sword hanging wild and loose at side, the bending spear as it takes the weight of the impaled beast-man. All that to the backdrop of apocalyptic fire consuming the towers he meant to defend.

On Kickstarter Now

TLG has been running another Kickstarter! We have partnered with Shane Moore, author of the Abyss Walker series of books. You can check all his material out on his website:

But head over and check out The Hallowed Oracle, a new hardcover adventure path for Castles & Crusades! We've rolled over a mountain of stretch goals, but have so much more we want to do. Please join us!

Bat vs Sups & Wonder Woman

You know, I enjoyed the Batman vs. Superman movie somewhat. It wasn't as bad as I feared, but I thought it was far too predictable. And by that I mean extraordinarily predictable. Really, Batman, the super genius should have figured out Lex's plan before the fight and planned to stage the whole thing with Sups, or perhaps Sups should have spoken faster just before the fight began.

Let me know what you think in the comments!

In any respect, it was a good flick, but I have to say, on what we are seeing coming out of Comic Con this year, it PALES in comparison to the Wonder Woman!

HOLY TROLL LORD! That looks good.

Cobbled Roads

The cobbled stones led into their sanctuary, which stood, eerily unguarded . . .

Tuesday, June 14, 2016

One Last Time

 If only for a moment, he would see the sun and feel the air one last time....

Monday, June 13, 2016

The Lost Valley

The forest gives way and the ridge-line tumbles down before you. In steep cliff-like steps it descends to the banks of a slow moving river that winds off and into the setting sun as if feeding some hungry god. All the land before you opens up to what must be the Lost Valley you have so long looked for....

Monday, May 02, 2016

Call of Duty Trailer

Infinite War

Holy shitsnacks!

From the Armory

Faerie Grove

Turning Monsters into Classes

In my own games I don't very often allow players to play monster-based classes, or classes based in a particular monster. I've done it from time to time, orcs, goblins and the like. That said, it offers a whole new avenue for gaming, particularly when the monsters can easily fit into a mythology or setting.

With our latest Kickstarter (see it here) we are reprinting the Monsters & Treasure of Aihrde. It chalk full of all kinds of monsters, a few of which, play well into being turned into player classes. They are certainly tied into the mythology and setting.

Yesterday afternoon we hit our second stretch goal, turning the book into a hardcover. Up next is taking two of the monsters and turning them into classes. I've had a few thoughts, but that which comes to mind first was the dragonmen of Kaath. The Katha are one of the 13 tribes of men that wandered from the forge of Erde in the long gone Days before Days.

NOTE: there are going to be some changes to these monsters from the MTofA.

These men have an innate magical ability. From the MTofA they get the following: Every dragonmen, great or small, is a wizard. They range in level from 5th to 15th. The Grand Master of the cult is always a 20th level wizard and he is accompanied by four Acolytes to the Dragon, called Keepers of the Sacred Knowledge, each in turn a 16th, 17th, 18th and 19th level wizard. They possess a minimum intelligence of 15.  The dragonmen are able to draw from a wealth of sorcerous power. Dragonmen can draw upon all the wizard spells listed in the Castles & Crusades Players Handbook. They do not need books or scrolls as the spells are passed down through memories. Like a normal wizard caster, level and spells per day limit the number of spells they can use. For instance, a 5th level Dragonman of Kaath with a 15 intelligence can cast five 0 level spells, five 1st level spells (one bonus for intelligence), two 2nd level spells and 1 3rd level spell. The can memorize any of the spells listed for 0-3rd level.

So I would build of it.

Here is their tale from the MTofA (much the same from the Codex of Aihrde.

Of all the tribes of men the Katha were the most wise. Early in the dawn of the world they paid homage to the god Athriat, the Birth Mother, and called upon her for their needs and desires. They built cities upon the banks of the Inner Sea and lived peaceful lives. They were tall and knowledagble and in those early days Athria walked among them and taught them what they could learn. The dedicated temples to her and nominated a high priestess to serve her. But eventually war came to their cities and they were despoiled and the Katha were driven into the wilderness. They traveled for long years, over great distances until at last they crossed the sea and came to an unexplored island in the southern oceans.

Here they built new cities and discovered the Waters of Life. These sacred springs flowed from the high mountains and carried with them water pure and cool. The water was magical, and the priestesses and the priests knew it and they hoarded it from their fellows and built temples over the springs. By drinking the water the Katha ingrained magic into their very being. In time, they learned that those who drank of the Waters of Life were not subject to aging or death, they became immortal. Those who partook of the Waters were called the High Kaath, all those who did not were called the Low Kaath.

Eventually the Katha dwindled. The High Katha chose lives of luxury and indolence. They built ever greater towers and their palaces reflected a wealth that only long years can accumulate. Low Katha were condemned to lives of ever greater servitude. Many of the High Katha were corrupted by their pleasures and became shades of their former and they forgot the worship of Athria and fell to worshiping strange gods, half gods and the like. The Dragon Cult of the High Katha became the wild fancy of many of the men and women and the fell to worshiping a great blue dragon of the mountains called by the Katha, Lamul. 

Lamul was an evil beast, old as time, a greater wyrm could hardly be found. He called sacrifices of flesh and he gave them in the guise of Low Kaath men and women. In time the Dragon Cult became wildly powerful and despotic and preyed upon the High Katha as well until the slew a priestess of Athria and were finally branded as criminals and exiled. They fled the island in the face of a fearful death and migrated to the distant north. Lamul settled into his aged stupor and dreamed of the mortal flesh he had dined on for so long. The Katha struggled on.

But the Dragon Cult, wild now without their lord, settled in the distant parts and built a city for themselves and named it Alaunot-Kav-Lamul. Long taken by madness they began to use vile sorceries and magic to twist their forms, to shape themselves like the beasts they worshiped. They grew and stretched their skin to encompass their arms, giving themselves wings of sorts. They captured lial beasts from the heavens and plucked their scales and these they grafted into their skin so that in the end, they looked not like dragon men, but rather as if they were misshapen creatures of nightmare. They were tall, immortal and colored translucent by the Waters of Life and they preyed upon men of all stripes and they sought followers.

So the Dragon Cult spread too many reaches and many kingdoms. It is an evil gathering of men, elves and other sad fools who disdain immortality through their deeds, but seek it in their lives. They are found in most cities of reputable size and gather in towers when the moon is not quite full. They are wealthy for many spoiled, disaffected youth of the noble houses of all the great kingdoms, supposed intellectuals and the like find themselves seeking the “peace” offered by Lamul. The enclaves are usually small but dedicated and can manage all manner of mischief.

~ Monsters & Treasure of Aihrde

Saturday, April 30, 2016

High Level Inspiration

So a week or so ago, I ran a high level game, average level being 25. These games are challenging as the monsters just don't exist in the books that make it challenging. This is where you (as a game master) must needs rely upon the environment to make it tough or at least mysterious (I went with the latter).

I found the below picture on the net, just before the game and conjured the encounter of a living cloud bank...for Aihrde fans, the remnants of the poison of Unklar.

They had to enter the cloud....

Into the Valley of Fire

Friday, April 22, 2016

Castle Cool

Word of the Day -- Scorpio

The scorpio or scorpion was a type of Roman artillery piece. Also known by the name of the triggerfish, it was described in detail by Vitruvius. In the progressive evolution of catapults, the next major improvement after the scorpio was the cheiroballistra. A weapon of remarkable precision and power, the scorpio was particularly dreaded by the enemies of the Roman Empire.

The scorpio was a smaller catapult-type weapon, more of a sniper weapon than a siege engine, operated by one man. The scorpio was basically an early crossbow, a "catapult with bolts", probably first invented by the Greeks, then later adopted and used on a larger scale by the Roman legions. This catapult used a system of torsion springs to propel the bolts.

Reconstructed Scorpio, or Triggerfish

The temple stands under a few inche of water . . .

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,...