Tuesday, May 31, 2022

Your Shield is Worthless - after a bit

So, while working on our revamp of the Arms and Armor book, I inadvertently got sidelined into some shield research while looking at weapon designed to reach around shields in combat. Yes weapons are designed to reach around shields - such as a shotel. Many weapons with that basic design (to include many polearms) were useful in reaching around shields. To the point though, up until the latter middle ages, shield were mostly made with wood (there are exceptions) and were quite often destroyed. Wooden shields were 'easy' to break.

We don't have many examples of broken shields because, well, they were thrown away, burned, or repurposed. It should be noted that the Romans would typically go through ten shields per soldier while on campaign. Being consummate record keepers, we can sorta accept that as close to accurate. I assume that number to be far less if the shield is made of bronze and later of iron or steel, and their combinations. Modern reenactments tend to back this up. 

When fighting with blunted weapon, HEMA members say that a shield can last up to six months. However, when using sharpened weapons, the shield is usually replaced after one or two combats. Tests by Viking Combat Research Center, Hurstwic (yes there is a viking warfare research center LOL) come up with the same results. I never considered a shield a throw away item, but apparently it was. 

So in short, for the upcoming Arms and Armor book, I will be taking a closer look at the shield and creating some alternate rules for its use - and frequent destruction. Then I will apply the same to armor.

Wednesday, May 25, 2022

Calling on the Doctor & the Final Leg

This is my final entry for the journey from Little Rock, Arkansas to Portland, Maine and back again. It was a wild drive that covered over 3500 miles in 7 days of almost continual driving with a host of side trips. It saw me and my nephew and later wife, daughter, and her boyfriend on a meandering ride with many unexpected side treks from Niagara Falls to Gettysburg and on the last leg a surprise that even I never expected, and nor I suspect, will you. For previous adventures check out the previous six posts.

We rose early, abut 7 in the am in Christianburg VA with 11 hours left before us. We had to get back as everyone had to get to work and the Kickstarter needed her final push. The four of us ate quickly, loaded up and headed out, hitting interstate 81 south, through some wet wilderness.

This area of Virginia, the Appalachians I believe, with climbing hills of green forests cut by pastures with small herds of peacefully grazing cattle is a little surreal. Old barns look down upon a highway of speeding cars, large trucks and all the wise assortment of vehicles that lumber and race down the blacktop. It is hard to escape the dichotomy. The lingering memories of lives spent in weather and labor, settling a land with deliberation, in a life of slow-moving mules and barking dogs, whose ghosts dwell still in the fields they broke, watching the never ending clatter trap of motion and noise that surrounds their descendants in air conditioned wifi with screen-mapping destinations and a people that push the idea of settlement into new and unimagined fields.

Not long after we started, my daughter Rachel, late from her studies in York England, took over direction of the trip. She guided us to the exit for Highway 90 and a little town in Virginia called Rural Retreat. It was the only real request she had on the whole journey, to go to Rural Retreat. There, she said, she had a surprise for me. What that could be I had no idea. I hadn’t even any idea of where this surprise lay nor how she got it there to surprise me. But enjoying any excursion I happily guided the car off 81 and onto this small highway that turned to Main Street almost immediately. It led up into the Virginia Hills and an old town of quiet calm. We passed into town beneath the shadow of a retired caboose that sat near the old train station. Over the tracks and through downtown, the Veterans Hall and old red brick buildings and into well-manicured neighborhood of old houses. From there we passed up a green hill, patches of mist clinging to distant pastures that lay beyond the little town.

It was amazingly peaceful and quiet, another calm corner on this long journey. Once the news is turned off America is an amazing country.

To my continuing confusion we entered a cemetery and stopped the car. Rachel was beside herself with joy, laughing and curious as to what my response would be. I had no idea why we were where we were until Kathy spied it and said “There it is.” I looked and could see nothing at first glance. What forgotten ghost of America’s past had she brought me to see?

And then I spied a familiar name on a stone and I thought that strange. I walked closer, a little confused, but slowly the realization dawned on me.

“You have got to be kidding!?” I lost it laughing first and then  raced across the green yard, careless of the restful dead, something I never am. But it was meant to be because there beneath the wet, green grass, lying in peaceful repose with a tall headstone standing high above him, was the inspiration of my greatest comfort. Here beneath the green sward lay the man who inspired the elixir of my living days. From the age of 10 in Monticello Arkansas to just moments before Kathy stopped the car, I consumed its joy.

Here lie the final resting place of the esteemed gentleman of yesterday, Dr. Charles Pepper. Though a host of stories abound about how the drink got its name, it is obvious that Pepper played a role in it. There are rumors of lost loves and early jobs abound, but regardless of all that, here I stood at the door step eternal of Doctor Pepper whose name eventually adorned my drink of choice.

I’ve been to the Lourve in Paris, slept in Hyde Park in London, visited Saint Stephen’s Dome in Vienna, the Grand Canyon and lately Niagara Falls, I’ve lived on two oceans, parachuted from planes and repelled from helicopters…but all paled to the tomb and grave of Dr. Pepper, whose name alone has carried me through five decades, across two centuries and a millennia.

This was an excursion that made a worthy trip worth more. Rachel had outdone herself. I couldn't stop laughing and nor could she. It was a euphoric moment!

I toasted the old man with a cold drink from a cold can and we rambled on.

The journey from that point was one of driving and more driving. We cut through Tennessee down to Knoxville where I played soccer as a child of 12 and on to Nashville. The weather held nice until we hit Jackson and it opened hotter than a “pepper sprout” hammering us all the way to Memphis, only breaking as we crossed into Arkansas. The flat plans and crop lands opened wide as we cut through the state to Little Rock. The rain came on again in torrents, welcoming us home and cleaning all the foreign dust from window, wheel and bumper. The rain broke as we crossed the Arkansas River and the fading light of the setting sun slipped beneath the horizon a few minutes later. We pulled up in front of the house at dusk, completing this wild, wonderful journey.

It was time to get back to work, but first there was a cool Dr. Pepper and a turntable with my name on it.

Tuesday, May 24, 2022

A Sword by any Other Name is a piece of cutlery - for humans

I like that title, but it has nothing to do with what I am about to write about. 

So, some of you may know I am working on an expansion of the Arms and Armor book. This requires some research into weapons, their use, their manufacture, and their history. A lot of things strike me. Several of the most notable, of which I was aware but still strike me, is how weapon development was related to armor development, cultural selection, tactical consideration, strategic utility, resource availability, and craftsman skill. That about covers it. What is really cool is how the sword changes from time to time and place to place.

I think the most common view of the word is that of the late Merovingian or Carolingian periods. This would be a a double edged straight sword with a fuller running nearly the entire length of the blade. The blade is broad at the base and narrows toward the tip. The tip is beveled or rounded and not generally pointed. The pommel has a quillion and the base of the pommel a round knob series of knobs. Overall it was about three feet long and weighed two and half pounds. The blade is designed for cutting or hacking, not for thrusting attacks.

Through the next five hundred years or so, the sword would undergo so many permutations it would be an encyclopedic task just to track. Long story short though, be the end of the Medieval period and just before the introduction and widespread use of guns, the more common sword is an arming sword. Armor had changed, tactics changed, strategy changed, force disposition changed, technology advanced, and economies of scale were developing. So of course the sword changed. 

The arming sword is, like its predecessor and seemingly simple design with few changes. A lot had changed through. The arming sword was about 3 feet long and weighed, roughly 3 pounds. The grip and pommel were designed for one handed use. The blade is broad at the base and has a ridge extending at least two thirds its length. Significantly, the blade tapers from its base to its sharpened tip. The arming sword was designed to pierce armor or to be thrust into gaps in armor. 

The differences may seem minuscule, but they are not. Each had its own purpose and utility. Each was designed under a specific set of circumstances and needs. During the 900's heavy armors, such as chain, were not the norm, though chain would shortly become ubiquitous. The swords of the time had spatulated tips (beveled or rounded) making chain armor very effective against any thrusting attacks and even diverting and hampering slashing attacks. Swords changed. Once plate and mail and full were developed, swords like those found in the 900s were nearly useless for attacking. On the other hand, swords with long and narrow blades sharpened at the tips had a better chance of piercing armor and allowing for thrusts inside armor gaps. There were thousands of iterations in between.

Just something to note as this is going into the arms and armor book as I build a chart for weapons versus armor.... yes I am going there.

The Second Court House or Miserly with the Miles

The continuing ramblings about my journey from Little Rock, Arkansas to Portland, Maine and back again, up to attend my wonderful niece’s wedding in the Portland City Hall and Court House and then back. I chose to drive, first up there with my nephew Dakota and then back again with wife, daughter and her boyfriend Fin. I did so mainly because I like to see things I’ve not seen before and this is the best way… well aside from some form of astral projection, a skill I have not yet attained, despite my many efforts of sitting in the humid summer heat. For the previous adventures, refer to the 5 posts below.

We got up in Gettysburg Pennsylvania pretty early and headed out to the Gettysburg battlefield. For those not familiar with it, this was a fairly large engagement between the Union and Confederate forces in the American Civil War. Some 175,000 men came to blows, and about 54,000 suffered wounds or worse. I’ve read about this battle several times, from several different angles but never quite grasped the size of country it covered. It sprawled over several long ridges and over wide, open fields, through forests and small clefts and round topped hills. We followed the driving tour and hit all the main spots. It took hours. I can only imagine if one did the tour proper. We stopped by the state monuments and were stunned by the beauty and scope of them. What struck me most was the sheer beauty of the fields the battle took place on. Deep green graces of many hues, some manicured, some wild nestled between long split-rail fences, small copses of trees, old homes of red brick and white clap board. It must of have looked very similar on those hot days in July.

After several hours, we left the battlefield and cut cross country to Chambersburg and caught our trail south on 81. We drove for a good while, entering the Shenandoah Valley.  This broad swath of hills and dales, valleys and rivers is a site to behold. Passing through it leaves an impression of forgotten desires, not primeval and wild but somehow sedentary, with old wisdom.

We stopped for lunch at Cracker Barrel as Fin had heard many things about it (he’s an Englishman) and wanted to give it a go. I interrupted my cheeseburger marathon with some fried chicken, or vegetables that cluck as I like to call it and beans. Good, but not very satisfying. Chicken, like fish or turkey, always leaves one thinking that the meal is yet to be. It’s like the half-formulated memory of better times, when food was good and plentiful, but now, it’s just chicken.

Fin wanted to see Lynchburg as some of his people settled there at some point and while looking at the map Rachel spied Appomattox Court House and it seemed a good time to see this monumental spot. We veered off the interstate at Lexington onto 501 and took the road south and east. We figured it would be a quick jog over there. We were wrong. 501 snakes its way through the Blue Ridge Mountains like a crazy string gone wild. It climbs long, tall hills, winds down into deep valleys, follows switch backs, and doubles around on itself in countless places. The forests here are deep, dark and grow up the steep hills in a seemingly impenetrable hedge with no end. The rain that picked up in Lynchburg only added to the dark greens, turning them gray in rising patches of mist.

Time and distance played us hard and the rain blotted out dusk’s light. I picked up speed hoping to get to the Court House (the second of this journey) before sunset, thinking that was when it closed. We picked up 460 and after a short spell pulled into the national park only to find it closed. They locked the gates at 5 pm, an hour earlier. That didn’t stop us from poking around a bit and pushing the borders to get a glimpse of the spot that General Lee surrendered the Army of Northern Virginia to General Grant, essentially ending the Civil War. I was curious to see the house owned by a man who moved there to get away from the war, after his first home was rattled by the opening salvos at First Bull Run in 1861, only to see the war end in his parlor. But it was not be. The park curator was eating a well-deserved meal of beans and hard tack no doubt and didn’t need disturbed by meandering Arkansans and Englishmen.

We took off, after a brief attempt at different angles (our attempt to find different roads in) and headed back up 460 to Roanoke Virginia and Interstate 81. The skies opened up at that point and we realized the front above us was stalled and the rain would continue unabated. I drove as fast as safety would allow, hoping to close on the interstate before dark. Succeeding at that, we pushed on for a while until the battering rain grew worse, visibility dropped, hunger set in and sleep beckoned.

With no regrets we realized we’d managed to cover a miserly few hundred miles in our journey home, leaving a whole lot of miles untread. But I’ve always found that miles untread keep tonight as well as tomorrow, and you’ll find little sense in tackling them before the after. Best to get some sleep.

Today’s trek will be a long haul, from Christiansburg to Little Rock, as work and the Kickstarter  beckons, the kickstarter and the completion of this particular journey lies, with luck, before the evening sun sets.  

Monday, May 23, 2022

The Back Again Begins

This is my fifth day of meandering about the eastern seaboard. I’m on a round trip to Portland Maine from Little Rock, Arkansas, for my niece’s wedding. I’m driving and poking my head in places along the way. Currently, the wedding done, I’m headed back. For previous entries, see below.

I was up late watching the stream for our ongoing Kickstarter (that was a blast), heading off to bed somewhere around 1 am. I planned to sleep in a bit, till about 7:30 and then Kathy and I would hit the road to Newark to pick up Rachel and Fin. For some idiotic reason I woke up at 6. My attempts to return to the land of nod succeeded only in waking Kathy. We mused about sleep in silence for a while, but I knew she was ready to get started. Without further ado we trundled out of bed and gathered our whereabouts and hit the road.

The drive south out of New England proved pleasant enough. Good roads, light traffic till 495 around Boston and sunny weather. Passing through New Hampshire and into Massachusetts we trundled along. We hit Connecticut like a bullet and I have to say, those folks are the first I’ve seen on this whole journey who leave the passing lane clear for passing vehicles. Not sure if that is common or not, but the road opened pleasantly enough for us.

The drive congested a bit in the south of that state and began to really gum up closer to New York. We angled for the George Washington Bridge to get over the Hudson and into New Jersey.  The traffic thickened like sap on a limb so that we slowed and crawled, sped up, slowed and crawled on and on through late morning. The ride up to the bridge was a twist of turns to the top until we were high over the street and water. I’ve not been on that bridge in 25 odd years, more probably, and I had no memory of it being that large. Honestly, I’m not sure I’ve ever been on it. I passed this way once before back in 94 or 95, when I left Portland and Tim on Higgens Beach. I thought I took this bridge, though maybe it was another. Regardless the bridge is a monument to human ingenuity.

Driving didn’t allow me to see the skyline very well, but the few glances I stole of Manhattan were breathtaking. I was some distance away and the buildings lost in a late morning haze, but even so it was amazing. That massive, old city, claws up into the horizon like a shattered dock whose only memory are the uneven, weathered, mooring poles, that once held the decking in place. Even the brief glimpse left a lasting impression.

Note: our attempts to photograph this across several lanes of traffic, the bridge trestles and distance proved fruitless. Sometimes its best to just look and remember. The picture here, was taken from the NJ turnpike on the other side of the river.

We crossed over into New Jersey and it was different than I remembered from my previous trip. A mad cap sprawl of highways, seemingly laid one next to the other in an impossible row, traffic flowing in the opposite direction on both sides of me. All this chaos an orchestrated distraction caused the first vague hints of irritation.

All that soon passed as we swept into the Newark Airport and retrieved our stranded daughter and her boyfriend. Loading them in the car we rushed out of there. Two hours of city traffic, turns and twists, flying cars and madness ensuing left me needing the open road. Once directed to Interstate 78, I was off running for the hills of Pennsylvania. This was our first actual meeting with the Englishman and we were once again impressed with our daughter’s life choices. The four of us carried on into the west, chatting and joking.

A sudden storm hammered the hell out of us in Harrisburg and rolled on like a mad cap thought until it hammered the east coast, where it stranded all the planes of the wedding party, scattering them far and wide with delays and procrastinations. My sister called me about the time we pulled into the battlefield at Gettysburg to ask if I was enjoying my drive as they sweated it out on the tarmac. I told her I was enjoying it immensely and promised we’d rent a bus next time and all drive together.

This unplanned jaunt to this massive Civil War battlefield came late in the afternoon and gave us some purpose as we wanted to get there before it closed. We failed in that, though the gates were open till sunset and we drove around to see, got out and looked about. It proved quite enlightening. I had no idea the area the battle covered. The sun was warm and the air damp and a bit heavy. I could only just see the canon smoke and the lines Confederate Gray melting away. Reading one monument’s inscription “Grapeshot at 10 Yards” brought the struggle home like nothing else. The whole experience was enlightening and will probably take up a bit of today’s trek.

We found a hotel shortly after that, ate at a small tavern called Gettysburgers, and I had a Confederate Burger stripped of its trappings with a basket of fries. It was very good, much more than that I cannot say. A bit of ice cream and then off to the hotel to get ready for the next day’s travel.


Sunday, May 22, 2022

Windows with Eyebrows

For those following along, I’ve logged the adventures of the last three days that’ve taken us from Little Rock, Arkansas to Portland Maine and my wonderful niece’s wedding. You can follow the eastern journey on my previous three posts. Today, we took a break, lounging in Portland and enjoying the actual wedding.

We wandered to town early in the morning, to do a little sight seeing and shopping. Portland has all manner of places to poke one’s head in, from taverns to pottery shops, all wrapped in the gabled roofs and windows with eyebrows that were so favored in the 19th century. Narrow streets lined with sidewalks help foot traffic. Benches and door stoops abound. It had been a long time since I meandered about the town and it was nice to do so again.

After a bit I got it in my head that Dakota should see the Atlantic. He loves water and boats and fishing, traits he learned from his father. We had already spent some energy seeing Lake Erie and Niagara Falls, so it seemed only fitting. Leaving Kathy to explore pottery shops we headed to the port and began poking around. It proved an impossible task as the Fore River spills into the Portland Harbor and both are shielded from the ocean by a series of islands.

After that realization dawned, we wandered off. We met up with my sister, Nicole (Dakota’s mom), Kathy and found a book store to nest in for a while. Yes Books is a great used book store if you find yourself up here.

As the afternoon turned, we headed back to the hotel, stopped by the airport to pick up Rachel’s baggage that the airline had decided to ship on up from Newark, despite not shipping her and Fin (see previous posts). With that in tow we got some food and headed to the hotel. Kathy doesn’t sit well and we had an hour to kill so we decided to head to Fort Williams Park, just south of Portland. It proved a quick jaunt, but paid tremendous dividends as it overlooks the ocean. Though misty and we could not see far, the waves crashing on rocky shore made up for it. Having added a third water to his site seeing tour, we headed back to prep for the wedding.

We of course got snared in traffic and I had to ride over a few curbs to get us there in time but we managed it and it paid dividends. Not only did Kathy look stunning in the saved dress, but Claire and Zack put on an amazing ceremony, somehow taking the traditions of the past and blending them with a relaxed good sense of humor. It was fantastic. The reception too allowed us all have a good visit and some food, though truthfully the young man cutting portions of beef needed a thinner knife for bigger slices, as portions for beef eaters are more than decoration for other foods.

But no matter, Kat and I slipped out after saying our farewells and she had a lobster roll and I a cheeseburger at a nice little restaurant down the street. They used potato bread, whatever that is, and some kind of cheese I should probably know, on the burger, but it was good nonetheless and I scarfed it down.

Back to the hotel to watch the stream that Scxrlet64 put on for the Kickstarter. Today, we are off again. This time headed south to Newark to pick up the two lost travelers and take them home to Arkansas. The back again begins.

Saturday, May 21, 2022

Crisp Clean Air of Maine

This is my third day of trekking across the eastern United States. If you’ve not read the previous two posts, they are below. I’m off from Little Rock, Arkansas to Portland Maine for my niece’s wedding, and then back again. Most are flying to the event. But I drove with my nephew Dakota, and will be driving back with wife, daughter and her boyfriend, Fin. Its sort of a there and back again trip… if I might borrow a phrase from a certain barrel rider from Bagshot Row.

We slept a bit later in Utica than intended, but no matter, we packed up and headed out. It took some doing getting out of Utica New York – that’s a town that has an interesting lay out. I popped the radio on and we hit interstate 90 with some speed. Dakota settled into the passenger seat and enjoyed the quiet. This was his first time for a third day of driving and I think it was a smidge heavy. Still six hours to Portland.

The drive was rather eventless actually. There was real purpose in today’s trek as we had to make the rehearsal dinner and get the dress to Kathy. We stopped once for fuel and food and then booked on. Upstate New York offers some really nice countryside. Forested hills with steep ravines and rivers sprinkled throughout. The towns seemed nestled in the deeps and old houses to boot. Reminds me of the Ozarks quite a bit, though less hot I suspect. Eastern Massachusetts is about the same. Lots of trees and friendly people…well the one fellow I talked to on the pit stop.

We hit 495 like mad men, not sure why I was moving so briskly, but getting behind a box truck (lots of box trucks on the road it seems) meant I missed my exit for 495. That turn around was quite an adventure as the off/on ramps were not laid out in a western fashion. (that’s my polite way of saying that was a tangled mess of twists and turns that left me wondering how much pub time the designer had had the night before).

Back on 495, we cut up through the rest of Massachusetts, into New Hampshire and to Maine in short order.

Crossing into Maine was a bit odd for me. Tim Burns, whom many of you know, lived here for decades. I visited him every year for several weeks and lived with him in Ocean Park for a while. That was a time in my life that was in great upheaval. Tim said, come to Maine and live here. We plotted out a plan to get jobs on the fishing boats and make some good money. I got here but we mostly wandered from bar to bar for several months, enjoying the nightlife. We did frequently go to a bar that had fisherman in it, so there was that. But a couple years back, Tim left Maine to take care of family and is still doing so down in Hardy, AR. As soon as I breathed the Maine air (it is unusually crisp and sharp, very pleasant), all those memories came flooding back. It seemed somehow unnatural to be here without him.

Kathy (the wife) was already at the hotel, so we dismounted and headed in, dress in tow. She didn’t take a second look at it because other news hit the pan. My daughter and Fin were stuck in Newark NJ as their flight was canceled. There was a mad two hours of trying to rebook, get hotel rooms, plans and plots, aps and what nots. All to no avail. I offered to hop in the truck and go get them, but no one though that was a good idea (except Dakota). I told her to take advantage of the opportunity and go to Manhattan and we’d pick ‘em up on Sunday. They settled in a bit disappointed, but resigned.

Traveling by air offers little attraction for me anymore. Even as I write this Rachel texts with “we are in line to get baggage; it will take about two hours.” A bus in the air is half as good as truck on the ground. If I can build a few more hours into my journey. I drive. Take my work with me if need be. It’s easy enough to find travel lodges, motels, hotels and roadside inns along the way.  And if you are lucky you’ll meet a bunch of folks at the Knucklehead Saloon who’ll guide you to a cheeseburger worth talking about. Air travel has lost its shine, I’ve returned to the car rides of the 50s. Well, unless its overseas…might be tougher to drive.

At last, things settled down with the air travel debacle and Kathy got a chance to look at the dress. Turns out, those marks were not my doing at all. She thinks they were on there from the garment bag. Regardless after much magic she managed to get the marks removed and the dress cleaned. The lesson here remains, don’t trust me with your clothing or jewelry

The wedding festivities were wonderful last night, Portland folks nice as always. Afterwards we drove around town a bit, stopped in to look at the Atlantic, covered in mist and twilight. That was a pretty good night cap.

Friday, May 20, 2022

Missing Turns and Distractions

This is day two of my (with nephew Dakota) meander across the United States to Maine to see my niece wed. She picked a good spot in the world to settle and in turn gave us a reason to jog to New England from Arkansas. Check out yesterday’s post below for day one’s events.

We loaded up in Terra Haute in the morning in no particular hurry. The primary concern was to secure the dress from any gesticulations that might end in punctured water jugs or empty cans of Dr. Pepper. Having secured that and the rest of the stuff we climbed in and ambled off. I’m not sure what time it was, later than I had mapped out in my head, but probably earlier than I had expected. Maybe 8:30. We ate in the hotel lounge, had cold Dr Pepper in the cooler and a full tank of gas, so were on the interstate heading to Indy quick enough.

Dakota had a work meeting so he dialed into that and I turned the radio off and cruised around Indianapolis. I’m relatively familiar with the town and its byways after attending so many GenCons there. It’s a nice place, easy to navigate. Circling that mighty berg we lumbered north to Fort Wayne. I hadn’t looked at the map, to see which was the easiest and most direct route to Toledo. It was north and a little east, so generally going north worked for me. Dakota’s meeting lasted well over an hour so there was no asking him to double check. I missed a good opportunity to see Tom Tullis in southern Ohio as in retrospect I should have gone to Dayton and up. But no matter, one hard top is the same as another, though I really would have loved to leave a jar of pickles on Tom’s door step, ring the door bell and take off. I can see him now shaking his fist “curse you Steve Chenault”. But life is full of missed opportunities and all one can do is ramble on.

I’ve been to Fort Wayne a few times, mostly for conventions. The Alliance Open House and some other one whose name escapes me. It’s where I met Marcus King, a very good friend of mine, who is on his own journey now, across the Divide. Prayers to you my friend. You are missed.

As we drove right past the bypass, we had to turn around and swing back to get on it. Once there we settled into cruising. I knew we departed Fort Wayne for Toledo at some point but wasn’t paying much attention and kept driving. After awhile it dawned on me there were a whole host of exits that led from this bypass to Fort Wayne, a few too many, so we checked and realized we missed the Toledo turn off and were presently circling the whole city (it’s at this point that Dakota began using his phone to map us). The country is pretty enough around the little town but didn’t really warrant such a circumnavigation, so we turned back around and headed for the exit to highway 24.

It’s here that Blondie showed up. She alighted in the car with her angelic voice, giving us a nice rendition of the Tide is High. For those who don’t listen to the radio, but prefer play lists and such, it is hard to describe the excitement of hearing a song unlooked for, and often long forgotten. She had me so whipped up I had to drop down off a speed that briefly topped 3 digits.

24 put us at last on the way to Lake Erie the real objective of the day’s drive. I looked forward to this part of the drive the most as I had never been in this part of the country on anything but a train. So virgin land for my peepers.

Hats off Ohio! You have a good looking state.

We landed in the tangled outskirts of Toledo a few hours later and plotted the next leg to Cleveland. I had it in my mind that we’d drive the length of the lake before departing on other roads. Not sure why this got so lodged in my noodle plate, but there it was. Dakota, not knowing this, plotted us a course that skipped a good chunk of it and unknowingly we started on some highway or the other. He had taken over the wheel and I was looking at the map. Seeing what he had done I called a halt to the direction and redirected us up through the strangely car empty but street congested burbs of Toledo, to Highway 2, which seemed to hug the coast of the lake. Turning around, off we went.

We passed onto that small road and ambled along the coast we couldn’t see for a good short while until the road ended. Big signs saying “road closed” put a temporary halt to the drive. Undetoured in our objective we made our own detour and wandered around some small county lane until we popped back out on Hwy 2 and kept on our journey. My plan to see the lake failed utterly though, as 2 at no point rolled on the coast. But no matter, it’s a long lake.

I was hankering for some food and looked to the town of Huron for our break. About that time Kathy called and we chatted and she started looking for a place for us to eat. We were directed to the Kuncklehead Saloon. She didn’t know anything about it, but knowing I call people knuckleheads all the time, she thought I only fitting. We had to turn around as we had just passed the exit. We arrived in short order. We snapped a quick pic of the outside and went in ready to eat and relax.

But there was no food there, not at this time of day at least. It was an honest saloon with about 7 locales in there having an afternoon’s drink, and a nice lady tending bar. We joined (drinking a coke) and struck up a conversation with everyone in the bar about I have no idea what. I did however, have the presence of mind to ask for the best burger joint in town and were unanimously directed to Main Street Tavern. I say unanimously, but it was really unanimously minus one. The fellow next to me said “I don’t know! I just come to Huron to drink!” Hat’s off to purpose!

Off we went.

A few miles down the road we at last saw the sprawling Lake Erie, just briefly, beyond the yard of ond of Huron’s local inhabitants. But the burger was the target now, so lake forgotten we headed over to the Tavern. We were the only patrons there, which is often a good sign (fresh food), plopped down and ordered a cheeseburger. Well, I did, Dakota ordered some monstrous thing with condiments on it. We dug in and I must say, though no Tatum burger, it was delicious. Absolutely worth every moment.

A kindly thank you to the Knuckleheaders! Good call. Really, I should have bought them a round for their kindness. If ever I find my way back to Huron, I’ll do just that, as I’m sure they will all still be sitting there enjoying a beer.

We headed back up Main Street to have a good look at Lake Erie, as we had yet to see it clearly. We stopped at some beach there in Huron (an insanely beautiful town by the by) and took in the view. And it was breathtaking. That body of water is massive. The Lake’s color is hard to describe, not blue or green, or gray. Just Erie. It should really be its own color. Calm and placid, water as far as you can see.

Though a question for the lake shore residents. Why all the dead fish on the beach? Is this a seasonal thing? They looked just washed up on shore.

We enjoyed that for a few minutes, then left with greater purpose. We’d spent a few too many hours meandering in and around north Ohio and hadn’t quite made the distance planned. So we wandered down to Cleveland by early afternoon and made interstate 90 and headed east to Buffalo. We drove this stretch for a while, trying to make up some time, to get to a resting place in decent order as we still had 12 hours to Portland and a wedding to attend. I have many good friends in Cleveland it was a shame to miss you all!

We drove thus for a while until we hit the outskirts of Buffalo, a town I really wanted to see for some reason (still not sure why, Buffalo Bills, the movie True Romance that actually takes place in Detroit, who knows). I looked at the map, saw that we were going to drive right through it and was very pleased. Then I saw Niagra Falls and saw how close it was. Turning to Dakota I asked him if he wanted to see Niagra Falls. He was a little taken aback, but said sure. I consulted with Tim about times and direction, and decided none of that mattered and we took another side trip to the falls. If we were lucky it would only add a little less than an hour, or a little more, if not.

A couple of observations here. First, Buffalo might be the prettiest town I’ve ever seen. This on two continents. It is absolutely beautiful. I texted kat and told we are coming back soon. Second, Niagra is everything they say it is. The falls are breathtaking. We arrived as the sun was setting over the west/Canada and the view was simply amazing. The waters at the foot of the falls, froth filled by calm, the waters above with rabid white caps that even out as the slide over the edge. Clouds of mist and spray. Just beautiful. If you have the chance, give it a whirl.

We enjoyed that for a few minutes, but much like Chevy Chase at the Grand Canyon, we had a little distance to go. We hit the road again and drove till 1ish until we arrived at Utica, NY where we found a room at the Days Inn. Exhausted we collapsed.

Off to Portland now, I’ve a plane to meet and this dress to deliver that will either end me or become another footnote in reason #1997 to not trust your husband with your clothing or jewelry.

Note: I keep saying car, because I’m in my wife’s car. She didn’t want to drive back across the country in my truck. Why, I’ll never understand. I keep my water jug in the bed of the truck…. (I know you told me not to say anything Derrick, but I couldn’t resist!)

Hit Locations and Called Shots

 Hey, everyone, Jason here! 

Yesterday I did a quick post over on my blog about hit locations and called shots, and it occurred to me that it would work just as well for SIEGE Engine games, C&C, AA, Harvesters, Victorious, or whatever your poison might be. So here's a version modified for he SIEGE Engine.

One of the things I enjoy about SIEGE Engine games is that they are anything but simulationist. It's heavily abstracted, and that's by design. The idea is that the game is not about the minutiae of combat, but is about telling an exciting, cinematic, or literary story. It's not bogged down with called shots and overly detailed tactical combat maneuvers, though basic called shots rules are included in the Castle Keeper's Guide

That being said, it can sometimes be fun to play with a bit more detail. A fun add-on can be hit locations. This sort of subsystem can slow down combat, but also adds some unique effects such as lingering injuries that often tabletop RPGs don't deal with unless they're crazy complicated. Let's check out how hit locations and called shots might work in a simpler system. 

When and How to Use Hit Locations

The first thing to consider when deciding to use hit locations is when to apply them. Applying them to every attack roll can vastly slow things down. At the same time, it also makes it possible to blow off a hand or foot easily, or do way more damage than a limb or location should be able to take. The latter idea is easy to deal with when one considers that hit points are not wound points. They're a measure of the target's overall combat capability in an extremely abstract sense. Thus, taking 6 points "of damage," means reducing combat effectiveness by 6 points. 

What this means is that shooting someone in the arm and rolling 6 on your damage die doesn't mean that they take 6 points of damage to their arm. That 6 points of damage reflects the harm the targeted area takes, and also represents the overall pain the target feels, how much it slows them down and distracts them, and other intangibles. 

With hit locations, then, it's important to explore other effects that a targeted area suffers. Sometimes this will, in fact, just be additional damage because a serious hit to a vital spot just brings the victim closer to death faster. Other times it's the loss of use of a limb (or the loss of a limb entirely), becoming blind or deaf, or some other condition. 

While you could roll on a hit location chart on every attack, this can create exceptionally lethal combats and should only be considered for truly gritty games. For normal games, it's recommended that hit location checks only occur on a roll of natural 20 on an attack; they replace the idea of "critical hits," which again are explored a bit in the CKG

Alternately, the CK could allow Fighters, Barbarians, Rangers, Knights, and the like to roll a hit location check on a natural 20 (if they choose), and Monks, instead of rolling, may choose a location to strike (no roll necessary) if they roll a successful stun attack, in lieu of actually stunning the target. Likewise, a Rogue or Assassin making a successful Sneak Attack, Back Attack, or Death Attack may be permitted instead of dealing additional damage, to roll a hit location to strike. For Assassins, with a successful Death Attack, they could feasibly choose a hit location to strike instead of rolling.

In Amazing Adventures, fighter-types would equate to Gumshoes and Raiders; Monks equate to Pugilists, and Rogues equate to Hooligans. 

Called Shots

If you have a hit location chart, the CK may also choose to allow called shots. To make a called shot, the attacker targets a specific hit location and must hit the adjusted AC listed. Damage is always 1d6 unless otherwise stated in the hit location, but on a successful hit, the target also suffers the effects of that location. For example, attempting to shoot a target in the head requires lowering the target's AC by 4, and on a success they suffer triple damage and are either blinded or deafened (50% chance either way), with a 60% chance of the condition being permanent, plus unconscious unless they make a Constitution save. 

Image credit: 5650863 © Sergeyussr | Dreamstime.com

Hit Locations and Effects

The following chart lists hit locations and effects as well as AC modifiers for optional called shots. Roll 1d12 for a random hit location.

1 - Head: A shot to the head deals triple damage, and the target is either blinded or deafened (50% chance either way and 50% chance of partial (one eye or ear) or total). There is a 60% chance of the condition being permanent. Even if they survive, the target must succeed at a Constitution save (Difficulty: 10-damage dealt) or are unconscious for 1d6x10 minutes after they are brought above 0 hit points. AC Modifier: -5

2 - Heart: A shot directly to the heart deals triple damage, and the target is knocked off their feet. They must succeed at a Constitution save (Difficulty: 10-damage dealth) or be unconscious for 1d6x10 minutes after being brought above 0 hit points. Characters suffer 1d6 damage each round until they receive medical attention. AC Modifier: -5

3 - Lungs: A shot to the lungs deals double damage and the target is knocked off their feet. Until they receive medical attention, they must succeed at a Constitution save every minute to remain conscious; this save begins at Difficulty 10 and lowers by 1 each round. A failed save also deals 1d6 additional damage. Characters suffer -5 to all Strength and Dexterity checks and saves until they receive medical attention. AC Modifier: -3

4 - Guts: A gut shot is a slow killer. It deals standard damage, but the target is poisoned as their bile spills out into their body cavity. Every hour the target must succeed at a Constitution save, treating the shot as a poison whose potency begins at 3, but reduces by 1 every hour. Failure means the target takes 1d6 damage per failed save. Thus, on a third failed save the victim takes 3d6 damage. Failures do not need to be consecutive. Proper medical attention before the character reaches 0 hit points can save them; such characters will recover if they make their next save, with the medical attention adding +5 to the saving throw. AC Modifier: -3

5 - Thigh: A shot to the thigh is not deadly. It deals standard damage, but the target is hobbled; their speed is halved and they cannot run. AC modifier: -3

6 - Knee: A shot to the knee is flat-out crippling. It deals standard damage and the target is knocked off their feet. They cannot walk without help, they cannot run, and their speed is reduced to 1/3 of normal. There is a 75% chance their knee is destroyed and they are permanently crippled unless they receive a replacement knee. AC modifier: -5

7 - Lower Leg: A shot to the lower leg has the same effects as a shot to the thigh, but there is a 50% chance of shattering a bone. In this case, the character is crippled for at least 6 weeks, during which time they cannot walk without crutches, are reduced to 1/2 speed, and cannot run. If the result of the bone breakage roll is 20% or lower, the bone is completely shattered, the leg is blown off at the knee, or is so damaged it must be amputated. The victim is crippled permanently unless they receive a prosthetic limb. AC modifier: -4

8 - Foot: A shot to the foot has the same effects as a shot to the thigh, but also knocks the target off their feet and they cannot stand until they succeed at a Difficulty 5 Constitution save. The condition lasts until they receive medical attention plus 1d6 weeks. AC modifier: -5

9 - Shoulder: A shot to the shoulder is painful, but rarely deadly. There is a 5% chance such a shot strikes a major artery, in which case it is treated as a lung shot. Otherwise, it deals double damage and the target loses the use of the associated arm (50% right/left) until they receive medical attention. Thereafter, all checks and saves that involve the associated arm are at -5/-25% for the next 1d6 weeks. This includes spells requiring somatic components (genstures). AC modifier: -4 

10 - Elbow: A shot to the elbow renders the associated arm (50% right/left) useless, and deals double damage. The victim must succeed at a Constitution save (Difficulty: 10-damage dealt) or fall unconscious from pain and shock. There is a 60% chance the limb is lost below the elbow, or the elbow is shattered, rendering the condition permanent without a prosthetic replacement. If the limb can be repaired, the victim suffers -5/-25% to all checks and saves with the limb for 1d6 weeks. AC modifier: -5

11 - Lower ArmA shot to the lower arm has the same effects as a shot to the shoulder, but there is a 50% chance of shattering a bone. In this case, the limb is crippled and unusable for at least 6 weeks. If the bone breakage roll is 20% or lower, the damage is catastrophic; the lower arm is lost or must be amputated, with all effects permanent unless a prosthetic limb can be fitted. AC modifier: -4. 

12 - Hand / Wrist: A shot to the hand/wrist has the same effects as a shot to the lower arm. AC modifier: -5.

A Final Note

This subsystem, as I stated, was more of a fun thought experiment than anything else. It has to be stated that it is not a core rules subsystem, nor is it intended at this point to be included in any future books. It's just somehing I thought I'd throw out there for fun, to provide some dynamics to combat, which can make battles far more brutal and result in permanent injuries to characters and NPCs. It has not, however, been playtested. It should also be noted that the AC modifiers here are not in any way related to the effects; a shot to the lungs is easier to make than a shot to the hand or knee because the lungs provide a larger target area that's easier to hit, but it's also far deadlier. CKs should keep all of this in mind before importing called shots into their game. 

In addition, incorporating the kinds of disabilities that these rules represent could be problematic or even traumatizing to some players. CKs should always be sure that the rules you use are appropriate to your table. Discuss things with your players before dropping major combat complications like these into your game. 

If anyone does try this system out, I'd love to hear how it works. Hit me up on Discord, Facebook, or comment here and let me know how it works! I would be more interested in actual play comments than theoretical ones, however.

Thursday, May 19, 2022

On the Road to Portland...By Way of Buffalo

I’ve finished the first leg of my trip from Arkansas to Portland, Maine. I’m headed off in that direction for my niece’s wedding. She’s to be married this weekend at some point…I can’t remember the when, just the where, well mostly the where. I’m going up and will meet my better half, who is flying up, and my daughter and her boyfriend, who are flying over and all four of us will drive back after the wedding. The Englishman wants to see America, so we are going to start with the east coast and Virginia and a bunch of trees in the long state of Tennessee.

But I have to get there first.

I’ve been to Maine a few times and the route is well laid out. Little Rock to Memphis, across Tennessee and up and so on. But I’ve done that before and it seemed a bit old and dusty. Looking about I spied Buffalo on the map. I’ve never been to Buffalo, but have always loved the name (I think because I remember the heyday of the Buffalo Bills when I was a kid). Looking at the map Buffalo has a direct…sort of…road to Boston which leads to Portland. So the route was loosely laid out to go to Portland by way of Buffalo. Lake Erie needed a look see anyway, so it all worked out.

I loaded my nephew, Dakota (who some of you have met at Garycon) into the car and we took off yesterday, sometime in the early afternoon.

I planned the first day to be short, and to stop on the east bank of the Mississippi, but the weather was good, traffic as light as it ever is and we decided to carry on through to Terre Haute, Indiana. We got to talking and apparently, I thought I was going to Gary Con as we took 55 north to Chicago and had logged a few miles before I realized it. We turned onto 140 east in Hamel Illinois, and had a very pleasant drive through some beautiful farmland with hardly a car in site. Makes me wonder sometimes if it isn’t better to take such routes and avoid the interstate.

We stumbled into Terre Haute and meandered around until we found a roof to sleep under and settled in.

Its then that I discovered the gallon jug of water I always carry had cracked and soaked into my duffle bag, my lap top, up through the lap top bag and into the garment bag that held Kathy’s beautiful brand-new blue dress. How in the sam fuck that happened was beyond me, but didn’t surprise me. It was a great deal of scrambling to get it hung and dried. And there are some marks on it, where they came from, I have no idea, so if I stop posting after Friday night you’ll know that the very patient woman I’ve been married to for 25 years finally lost her patience. You’ll find her wandering wild in Montana no doubt.

About 11 I set up the TLG mobile office and tried to get some work done. We have a kickstarter that needs some looking after, after all. It took me forever to get online as something was wrong with the connection. The call from the desk to the tech support line was fruitless and soon was elevated to “we have our senior engineers working on it” which I know is sign for “we don’t know what is fucked up, and can’t fix it”. Sometime later, I managed to find the problem and at last got to work.

I promptly fell asleep.

So today, we hit the road again, heading north to Toledo and then east to Buffalo. Somewhere in route is the town of Cleveland and I’m told a good burger joint…something I’ll no doubt need.

Movies to Watch

 1. Duelist - Ridley Scott... need i say more

2. Barry Lindon - Kubrick

3. Ran - Kurosawa, one of the best movies i have ever seen. it follows Blade Runner and Fight Club only.


Wednesday, May 18, 2022

2000sp for an Arming Sword

I've been doing some research on wages and cost in the Middles Ages. First, I want to say that nobody knows what the wages were in the Middle Ages (there are some lists). Further the Middle Ages comprise roughly 1000 years (depends on who is counting). During that time wages changed to reflect monetary policy, inflation, a county's wealth, and a myriad of other issues. The area of those places considered part of the Middle Ages in Europe is quite vast, stretching from Moscow in the East and Iceland in the West. What I am trying to say is pinning down a wage is difficult. So, I decided on about 1200 England, rounded some numbers out, and came up with a number. Its a number that may not be grounded in any reality.  

A free farmer would produce 50 silver a day in goods or services. That is the number I decided on. There are variety of factors that led me to that conclusion not the least of which was some averages and rounding and lack of knowledge about such a poorly documented phenomena. Record keeping was fairly good during that time but it is incomplete and difficult to pin down especially for farmers. So, I decided on 50 silver a day. A silver would be equal to a shilling, pfennig, or denaro, more or less. Now it is important to note that most of the value created was consumed by the farmer (milk, vegetables, etc.)

Now I made another assumption. The silver to gold ratio is 100:1. I base that on today's price of silver and gold. I am not sure what the conversion in the Middle Ages might have been. However, a silver to gold ratio seems to hold over time and across cultures. I may be wrong. But, to make thing easy for creating prices for weapons and stuff I had to make a decision. That is my decision. It is for a fantasy roleplaying game so does not have to bear much resemblance to reality. That said, the closer to reality we can get, the more real the setting will feel and the more immersive the experience. So anyway, one gold piece is worth 100 silver pieces.

How much did a peasant make? I have no idea. It changed and depended on where one was located. Also, acquiring actual silver pieces could be difficult for a farmer because bartering made up such a huge part of the economy, especially for farmers. Merchants and nobility could use coin to pay, but also used the bartering service. Trade of goods and service was the most common form of exchange for the vast majority of people the vast majority of time. Roman soldiers were sometimes paid in salt, a valuable spice at the time. Bartering even made a huge comeback in America in the 1930s. Coin was not common, but it was still valuable. 

Assumptions and more assumptions. How much did a sword cost? I basically compared the cost of a average firearm today and converted it to the cost of an average sword. There are two assumption or beginning points in this comparison. First, I am talking about a real useful gun for combat and not some off-the-shelf common or hunting gun available everywhere. I chose a specific gun that sorta represent, not the creme de la creme, but one of very high quality and, well, status (at least among gun owners). I then chose the same amongst swords. I chose the arming sword. I know that things varied by class, local, culture, etc, but that seemed a really good starting point. Hence, I am planning on converting cost to silver rather than using gold. 

The first thing i did was average out the cost of good gun at 2000usd. I don't know if that is right and it really doesn't matter as long as its in the ballpark. I then converted that value to time. How long would it take for someone who is at the bottom of the economic latter to save up enough money to buy a 2000.00 gun (I say bottom because farmers were at the bottom in medieval society, more or less toward the lower rung). Again this is all dependent and full of assumptions. The average income for those at the lower end of the economic strata is, for purpose of this discussion, is 20,000usd a year (I think its actually 15,000 but I don't know and I needed an easy figure to work with.). Further, I am assuming 95% of that goes into bills,food, lodging, and other expenses. By that estimate it takes two year to save up the money, if one were intent on buying that gun, instead of say, a car or cell phone, etc. 

So I then I assume the lower economic strata (a free farmer I should say) in the middle ages to have the same options. So basically I have to work backwards to get an accurate price of an arming sword. It should take a farmer two years to buy an arming sword again, assuming they are buying nothing else of utilitarian value with 5% being saved. An average free farmer would have to make 20,000sp or roughly 50sp a day in goods, services, etc. 

So, an arming sword is 2000sp or 2 gold pieces. Now I have some numbers to work with and some weapons values to create. Its sorta neat to see how much stuff cost. 


Saturday, May 14, 2022

Dungeons and Plumbing and the Gong Father

I know for a fact this is one of those rarely thought about subjects. I know from years and years and years of playing and looking at dungeons and designing dungeons that this is one of those subjects very very few people ever touch - plumbing. what happens to all the waste and trash and debris and, well, corpses that appear in dungeons. Or castles for that matter. I do not know why but it is one of those things I always think about.Notice that in the NPC Almanac their is a Groom of the Stool.


Do you know how important plumbing is! 

Trash disposal, corpse disposal, offal disposal, and just the general waste that seems to accumulate wherever 'higher thinking' individuals stop and hang out for a while. It is true. Nomadic tribes were probably nomadic for reasons other than following game animals and moving with the seasons. I mean, sometime they only changed camp by like a mile or so. That's not following game that's avoiding trash accumulation. As soon as anyone settled down for the long haul, the offal had to go somewhere.(With Native Americans we know they were fairly clean and tidy, burying their offal or disposing of it far away or in fields. Offal breaks down fairly quickly.) 

Now cities were a little different. One could not just scratch a whole in the ground and get rid of it. There was just too much and it was too inconvenient. So of course plumbing was invented. Now, roughly 5000 years ago, the Harrapan of the Indus Valley developed indoor plumbing. This is brilliant and occurred 1000 years before the pyramids of Egypt were constructed. That should indicate how important plumbing was and is. 

Of course castles had plumbing. One would defecate into holes that were emptied outside the walls or into pits. Enter the gong farmer. So collecting 'gong' was an important, if not low status, job in medieval times. The waste was collected and sometimes sold or just dumped in fields. It makes great fertilizer. I would not suggest trying this at home. There are probably ordinances against it and, if anyone has been so lucky, fields sprayed with human excrement smell atrocious. It can sting as much a chicken poop. 

Stephen and myself discussed this the other day on our morning twitch stream. We came up with all manner of solutions to the offal problem in a fantasy world. A portable hole could be set up on a castle. Maybe several portable holes could be used. Mini-dimension doors could flush the offal away to some other plane. With magic, there are many solutions to the problem. There are also monsters that could solve the problem. Carrion crawlers and the neo-otyugh were suggested by commenters as solutions. However, on thinking about that, carrion crawlers would be dangerous and, who in their right mind would sit on a privy knowing a carrion crawler or neo-otyugh would be down there. 

Assuming magic such as dimension doors and bags of holding are not readily available, we are back to basics. So look into plumbing and try to incorporate some aspect of it to castles and such. Dungeons are a whole new ball of yarn. Without endless holes, deep pits, or flowing water, offal would have to be carried out. Enter the gong farmer again. The lowly gong father is a very important cog in the machinery of civilization. Imagine, you will, the formation of gong guilds. These gong guilds would control a lever of civilization, the baseline of the civilized world. These guilds might be powerful enough to influence the elites. The gong guilds would, of course, be led by the.....

Gong Father!!!!

Thursday, May 12, 2022

Something Wicked This Way Comes

One of my favorite Ray Bradbury novels. If you have not read it, give it a quick read. As with many of his stories, it is an easy read. I read it about the time I started playing The Game. It had an influence not only on how I perceive the world (I have a perennial distrust of lightning rods, sorta like harbingers of bad things to come - not that anyone has a lightning rod anymore) but also on how I run or conceive my game world. 

it is a movie as well apparently

In essence, the story is an exploration of good an evil and how both reside in everyone. Overcoming the evil in oneself is sorta the goal. That aside, the good/evil dichotomy did not rest well with the good/evil dichotomy in The Game. I dispensed with alignments altogether. This would have been one of the first alterations to The Game I made as a youth. Many followed - as did with most everyone else who played back in those days. 

So I just came back around to alignment this morning as I was writing up a short adventure for the patreon account. An evil monster confronts me. I sent the brief over to Stephen and he sent back a correction, "change the reason, it does it because its just evil." And there it was. The monster does 'x' because it is evil. It is just plain evil and finds satisfaction in the pain and suffering of the innocent. That's all it is. There is no other reason than that.

rendering of azi dahaka

So that got me thinking. As in "Something Wicked This Way Comes" the evil and good of ONE person are split into two characters in the book.This seems to be an English literally manner of tackling the subject. Stories clearly posit the good and the evil. This is unlike, say, Russian literature in which characters have both aspects and is explored through the a SINGLE character. (This is little more than an observation that may or may not have any validity in reality.)

In any respect, I am taking a different look at alignment. I am still hesitant to add it back to my game, but I rather torn in how to apply the metagaming aspect of good and evil. As I contend, The Game is little more than our own myth making and exploration of internalized myths and through this making sense of the world. In this exploration of the world, the lines between good and evil become blurred and positional. It is a post-postmodern approach to understanding a world. 

I feel for those of you growing up in today's world. Everything great lies before you, but there is a lot of work and sacrifice to make it so. There was a certain clarity growing up in the 70s and 80s not around today. Hence, younger players are sliding away from simple good and evil and more to mixtures and positional nuances. Ultimately I think the whole will slide back to simple dichotomies because it always seems to. 

To the point. Evil creatures are evil because, well they are evil and make for good stories.

Songs from the Drowned Lands ~ Kernaghan

Recently I took a trip to New York (the city) and needed something to read that I could easily carry on the plane. I don't really buy pa...