Nuadha's Tale

Ignorance can be tolerated, where reason is left free to combat it. -Thomas Jefferson

Tuesday, September 30, 2003

Sephiroth is back!
Here are some screenshots of Final Fantasy 7: Advent's Children, the next movie from Square.

Monday, September 29, 2003

Was still feeling under the weather all weekend, but still managed to go to the Renfest and MacGeek's birthday party. Over the weekend, my nose quit running only to be replaced by a cough.

In the remains of the Hunley, they found Dixon's coin! Neat. I often wonder how much fact is in some of these stories. When they did that made-for-tv movie a few years ago about the Hunley, I was almost certain that they made the bit about the coin up. I guess that just shows how much I know.

Wednesday, September 24, 2003

Monday Mashup: The Dukes of Amber
I'm actually thinking I could run this game sometime at a con....

This week's Monday Mashup is The Dukes of Hazzard. The way I see this, The Dukes of Hazzard was basically a show about a family of swill-making smugglers who help their hometown when needed but stay one step in front of the law while they are at it.

Making their way,
the only way they know how,
but that's just a little bit more
than the law will allow.

My first thought was a D&D game where the characters take this role while staying one step ahead of the local law, but that ends up a little more like Robin Hood than the Dukes. What made the Dukes more than another Robin Hood show? What was missing? The car! The car chases! The crazy jumps!

So, I offer you the Amber/Dukes crossover!

The kingdom of Amber has increased its borders since the days of the Patternfall War. These days, local nobility rule over much of shadow, offering their allegiance to the King (or Queen) of Amber. They control trade and inter-shadow travel and very little travel between the planes goes unnoticed by their guards, elite warriors with the travel to move through shadow like the true-bloods of Amber. The Count for the area that our campaign is set in is a greedy man who taxes trade between shadows very highly and exploits the people of his shadows.

Along come our heroes. With enchanted vehicles that travel through shadow, they move back and forth between the worlds, helping people where they can and making a few bucks of their smuggling. They are much loved by the locals of the shadows and folk-tales have grown around them.

A few times these "Dukes", as the locals have come to call them, have tried contacting the other nobility of Amber but the local count manages to keep his nose clean enough that Amber hasn't seen his dirty-dealing.

One of the local guards chasing the Dukes, is a soldier who rides a large dog-like creature named Flash. "Come on Flash! We'll get those Duke boys this time!"

this game would obviously be run extremely cinematic with big chase scenes and crazy stunts as the Dukes drive crazily through country roads and small towns trying to escape the "Boss"s men.

To make it really like the show, the Boss and Guards have to be somewhat incompetent and occassionally willing to work with the Dukes.

Damned Cold
I have had a cold since last Friday, and it just isn't going away. It's bad enough to make me miserable, but not bad enough that I'm staying home from work.

I've discovered Alka-Seltzer Coldand it is helping a bit now.

Monday, September 22, 2003

Sunday, September 21, 2003

Gaming Resource: Children's Rhymes
For the D&D game I'll be running, I decided to hint at part of the plot with a fictional Nursery Rhyme I found in gaming book that fits the plot that I'm running. My slightly altered version of a poem found in a Stormbringer RPG supplement:

Ten lie sleeping in the west,
Arms are folded, hands on chest
Please Father, grant them further rest.

Amazingly, I was already setting my game on the west side of the world of Connemara. I had not set the number 10, but there were somethings sleeping. (Sorry, I have to stay vague.)

this got me thinking of how cool the use of a childrens rhyme was in the Buffy episode "Hush."

Can't even shout
Can't even cry
The gentlemen
are coming by

looking in windows
knocking on doors
They need to take seven
and they might take yours

Can't call to mom
can't say a word
You're gonna die screaming
but you won't be heard

Creepy stuff.

I did some net surfing and found this website which lists a bunch of nursery rhyme with the historical stories that they supposedly are about. Threre's a lot of good game inspirations in there, so I figure'd I'd link it for my fellow GMs out there.

One of my favorite rhymes with possible games I found was this one:
A tisket, a tasket,
a red and yellow basket,
a severed head cannot reply,
to questions that you ask it.

What if there are creatures or demons out there that collect human heads in these baskets? It could be a sorcery spell that requires wizards to place human heads in a special ceremonial basket....with red and yellow markings. Perhaps the spell allows someone to talk to the spirit the head once belonged to....or in a reverse thought- perhaps it seals the spirit in the casket so that teh sould does not go to the afterlife and cannot be contacted by any form of spirit communication. One way, the rhyme says that it is normally not possible and anyone who believes this spell will work is wrong and of course for gaming purposes, it does work. The other way, it hands at the reality of the spell.

Whatever the reality of the rhyme, using the rhyme alone should set a certain mood for the game. Children know the dark things of the world and many of these dark faerie tales and nursery rhymes could hint at the horrible truth behind it all.

Here comes a candle to light you to bed,
and here comes a chopper to chop of your head.

Of course if you use well-known real-life rhymes, you'd want to se them for Modern settings (or Amber, since the rhyme could be a shadow of the true world). If it's a lesser known rhyme, you can use it in any game. I was thinking of using the above one to create creatures for a fantasy world: undead creatures that lure their prey into the wilderness with will-o-the-wisp-like lights and then pounce on them with axes, knifes, etc..

Movie Reviews: Underworld and The Ring
Warning: There may be some minor spoilers ahead. I tried to keep the reviews as spoiler free as possible, but any review you ever read is going to give you a little ideaof what to expect.
Carla and I decided to go see Underworld yesterday morning. Originally, she did not want to see it but she changed her mind. So, we run up to the theatre to catch a matinee.

I liked it. Carla didn't. A lot of people won't and for good reasons. In my opinion, it wasn't a fantastic movie. It was just good. I'm sure a lot of people won't even give it that.

As action movies goes, the fight scenes in this movie would have been jaw-dropping twenty years ago. between the stunts and special effects, it has a lot of neat stuff. However, since movies like The Matrix and Spiderman have raised the bar for action movies, this one fails to live up to modern expectations. Since the action sequences is a lot of the selling point for a movie like this, it's a shame.

The end fight has one of the best build-ups I've ever seen and then disappoints. I won't say much in order not to give anything away but let me say this: We've seen it before.

Visually, the sets and costumes in this movie were great. I'm a sucker for movies with big gothic cities like you see in Batman, Dark City, The Crow, and even Metropolis. Underworld doesn't show you a lot of the city and mostly sticks to just a couple of sets but it makes full use of the sets it does have.

The acting could have been much better. I'm not sure if it was the actor's faults or the scripts but none of the characters seemed....well....alive. You could tell that they were supposed to have emotions...because they tell you of their anger and jeaolusy. You rarely see it. Their were a few good bits as you think the actors are struggling to give some shallow characters a little depth.

The plot was generally weak. It has some good twists in it, but not enough to save it.

I haven't told you the worst part of Underworld. To explain this I have to bring up a movie that was worse than it: Judge Dredd. When the Judge Dredd movie came out, I was really looking forward to it. I was a big fan of the comics. However, they added a humorous character that followed Dredd through most of the movie that grated on my nerves through the whole movie. I counted it as one of the worst comic book movie adaptions I've ever seen and that says a lot. However, now I understand why they felt they needed to add the "humorous side-kick". Judge Dredd comics were funny, but in a way that would not have translated well to a movie. Action movies need light-hearted scenes. Judge Dredd wouldn't have had any without the annoying character (and I think still didn't have any, but at least they tried.) Underworld didn't have any humor. All of the characters were deadly serious. I don't think any of the characters even cracked a smile through the whole thing. Because of this, the movie dragged. It had a serious case of "taking itself to seriously."

Underworld is eye-candy, but not much more. Since I like good visuals, I enjoyed it. Your mileage may vary.

Last night, I wasn't feeling very good at all. My sinus allergies have been bad all weekend and I'm still feeling horrible today. Not having a clear head, I decided that I didn't want to do anything that required much thought. I decided to watch a movie. A co-worker loaned me The Ring on DVD the other day, so I decided to watch it.

Big mistake.

The Ring is one of those movies that you really need/want to pay attention to. It's got a great plot that keeps you on the edge of your seat glued to the screen. It was sucked me in so much that I was pausing the movie whenever I had to blow my case the kleenex blocked my view and I missed something.

The Ring was based on a foreign film, a Japanese film called Ringu. It shows. It has one of those well-crafted stories that you rarely see out of Hollywood. Every moment of the movie moves the story along or gives you some hint of what is going on.

...and it's creepy. While most horror movies go for the cheap scare (someone jumping out of the darkness, etc.) or gore, this movie doesn't do any of that. I wouldn't say its scary. I think very few movies are. But, this movie gets under your skin and makes you a bit nervous without ever resorting to the usual horror movie tactics. That's pretty amazing.

For those of you don't know and are interested, the basic premise of this movie is that there is a video tape. Anybody who watches it will die in 7 days. The main character, a reporter, is researching the tape after she watches it. She has seven days to figure it out.

Like I said: edge of my seat. I made the mistake of not seeing The Sixth Sense before other people ruined the ending for me. This movie is a lot like I imagine Sixth Sense was for people. Don't make the mistake of waiting until someone else spoils it for you. See The Ring.

My scores for these movies on a 1-10 scale:
Plot/script: 3.5
Acting: 3
Visuals: 8
Soundtrack: 5
Overall (not an average): 6 but then I'm giving it bonus points for visuals

The Ring
Plot/script: 9
Acting: 8
Visuals: 8
Soundtrack: 5
Overall: 8.5

Friday, September 19, 2003

(Via No Longer Strangers)

You are a siren.

What legend are you?. Take the Legendary Being Quiz by Paradox

Wow. Not at all one I would expect to get.

Wednesday, September 17, 2003

What can $87 billion buy?
(excepts from

On September 7th, President Bush asked Congress for an additional $87 billion for the war in Iraq, acknowledging that the engagement in Iraq is going to cost many hundreds of billions of dollars. This was a surprise considering that prior to the war, the administration dismissed such estimates, and even fired its top economic adviser, Lawrence Lindsey, for suggesting those estimates were correct. To get some perspective, here are some real-life comparisons about what $87 billion means.

$87b Is More Than The Combined Total Of All State Budget Deficits In The United States

$87b Is Rougly The Total Of Two Years Worth Of All U.S. Unemployment Benefits

$87b Is Enough To Pay The 3.3 Million People Who Have Lost Jobs $26,363 Each

$87b Is More Than Double The Total Amount The Government Spends On Homeland Security

$87b Is 7 Times What The Government Spends On Title I For Low-Income Schools

$87b Is 87 Times The Amount The Federal Government Spends On After School Programs

$87b Is About 9 Times What The Federal Government Spends On Special Education

$87b Is More Than 10 Times What The Government Spends On All Environmental Protection

$87b Is 8 Times The Total For Pell Grants -- The Major College Program In The U.S.

$87b Is More Than The Total Cost Of The First 3 Years Of The Medicare Pres. Drug Proposal

$87b Is Enough To Give Every Man, Woman And Child In America $300

"[We] want to control spending. And I hope Congress lives up to their words. When they talk about deficits, they can join us in making sure we don't overspend. They can join us and make sure that [they are] focused those items that are absolutely necessary to the American people." - President Bush, Jan. 6, 2003

Making Hallibuton richer is not necessary to the people. Health care is.

Democrats: Kicking Ass?
(Link via Tom Tomorrow)

I've been saying for a while that the best chance the Dems have of winning the next election if if they started playing hardball like the Republicans have been doing for year. Until then, most voters...including myself....see too little difference between the parties. Seeing no clear-cut "lesser evil," people will vote for whoever's more likable. It's often been stated, people don't usually like people who seem smarter than them and Bush doesn't seem smarter than anyone. Well, it looks like they are ready to quit pulling their punches. The DNC has a new blog and it actually makes them sound different from the Republicans. They're going on the offensive and they're all out of bubble-gum.

Tuesday, September 16, 2003

Quote of the day
....and on Sunday, Vice President Cheney insisted that although he and President Bush have presided over a deficit that's reaching well beyond $500 billion this year, we shouldn't worry. Why? "I am a deficit hawk," Cheney explained. "So is the president." Don't you feel better?
-E.J. Dionne Jr.

Updated D&D Quiz
I Am A: Chaotic Good Elf Ranger Bard

Chaotic Good characters are independent types with a strong belief in the value of goodness. They have little use for governments and other forces of order, and will generally do their own things, without heed to such groups.

Elves are the eldest of all races, although they are generally a bit smaller than humans. They are generally well-cultured, artistic, easy-going, and because of their long lives, unconcerned with day-to-day activities that other races frequently concern themselves with. Elves are, effectively, immortal, although they can be killed. After a thousand years or so, they simply pass on to the next plane of existance.

Primary Class:
Rangers are the defenders of nature and the elements. They are in tune with the Earth, and work to keep it safe and healthy.

Secondary Class:
Bards are the entertainers. They sing, dance, and play instruments to make other people happy, and, frequently, make money. They also tend to dabble in magic a bit.

Solonor Thelandria is the Chaotic Good elven god of archery and the hunt. He is also known as the Keen Eye, the Great Archer, and the Forest Hunter. His followers respect nature, and only hunt when needed, but are quick to defend the forest from intruders. Their favorite weapon is the bow, and they tend to be extremely talented with it. Solonor Thelandria's symbol is an arrow with green fletchings.

Find out What D&D Character Are You?, courtesy ofNeppyMan (e-mail)

Monday, September 15, 2003

Gaming Resource: Traditions of Magic in Late Antiquity
Making a not of this website for my benefit, but it may also be useful for other GMs: Traditions of Magic in Late Antiquity

It doesn't have a lot, but it will be useful for Buffy. Best of all, it's apparently a University of Michigan website. Ann Arbor is such a mecca for practitioners of "the dark arts." :)

Gaming Resource: Welsh Castles
Not only is the Welsh Castle Database a great source for castle pictures but it also comes in handy for names! Here are some pics that are just asking to be used in my D&D game. I can picture a fight taking place in the ruins of the old castle.

Sunday, September 14, 2003

Always Low Wages, Always Wal-mart
Wal-mart has been on my "boycott list" for a long while. A friend sent me this webpage that details a few of them.

Just so y'all know- The DSA is basically a progressive wing of the Democratic Party. They call themselves Socialists, but routinely endorse for and vote for Democratic candidates.

Selling my Soul...
I got a quote here. "Your soul is worth £14790. For your peace of mind, 61% of people have a purer soul than you."

Movie Review: Once Upon a Time in Mexico
"....and in walks the biggest Mexican I'd ever seen."

Short review: Desperado, it ain't.

Longer review: Last night Carla and I wentto see Once Upon a Time in Mexico, the third movie in Robert Rogriguez's Mariachi series (which started with El Mariachi and Desperado). Carla and I loved Desperado. It was one of the first movies we bought on DVD when we got our DVD player. So, we were really looking forward

To quote James T. Kirk, "it" At times it was as painful to watch as Kirk's death scene in that Star Trek movie, but if you go in with low expectations, you're OK. It has some really cool gunfights, but none as cool as the barfight in Desperado or for that matter most of the gunfights in the previous two movies. They were good.....but they were missing something. They were a bit more over-the-top than the previous movies, which is saying a lot. Also the plot of this one is much more convoluted and far-fetched. While the first movie was a story about a man in the wrong place at the wrong time and the second one a movie about revenge, this movie has more characters and tons of subplots and becomes extremely hard to follow.

The violence in this edition of the series is much more graphic. Which, once again, is saying a lot. There are several times in the movie where I was wincing in pain from the graphic representation of the violence. Less people probably died in this movie but when they die in this one, it's much more painful to watch.

As for the acting, Banderas returns to play the Mariachi and gives a decent performance, but Johnny Depp steals the show as a corrupt CIA agent whom your never quite sure what his game is. He's not a good guy. He plays a complete bastard, but at times you still end up rooting for him. Perhaps, that's because he was the most interesting character in the bunch. One character, a retired FBI agent, could have been very interesting but was given very little screen time. All the other characters are as two dimensional as El Mariachi himself, who is supposed to be two dimensional. El Mariachi's two guitar case carrying friends are back from the second movie as well and we still know little to nothing about them. How could they possibly be back from the second movie? I'm getting to that.

This movie has as much connection to Desperado as Desperado had to El Mariachi. In other words, if you're a stickler for continuity this movie will drive you crazy. After watching the this movie, I'm under the impression that Rodriguez is making a movie about legends and like any legend there are different tellings of it. Watching the first movie could start with a guy saying " So, there was thie Mariachi who cam to a town to play....." The second movie could be a friend of his saying "No man! That's not the way it goes. It happened like this......" The third movie is the most outrageous El Mariachi story and at this rate, he'll be fighting evil scientists with death rays in no time. It's not really the same character, it's a different version.....a different telling. Noone has the facts right and this one is just another story of that mysterious man with a guitar case full of guns and this time we find out how he saved all of Mexico.

Take this attitude while watching the movie and you'll be able to happily ignore every place in this movie where the plot differs from the previous movies. El Bucho, the villain of the first two movies isn't mentioned once and during this movie you find out that, according to this movie, Carolina (Salma Hayek's character) was not dating El Bucho as we were shown in Desperado. It was someone else completely and as the legend grows she becomes a butt-kicker in her own right.

So, not much is really known about this mystery man....this Mariachi. We've been giving sketchy details and many contradicting stories but one thing is almost certain. We have seen the last of him. This movie will probably flop and with it are any chances of seeing any more Mariachi movies. Judging from this movie, it might not be a bad thing but I'd like to see more of Robert Rodriguez's take on the ""Legend of the Mariachi."

I liked this movie, but I'm warning anyone who reads this. It can wait until the dollar show or a rental. It's just not worth the full price of movies these days. Save your movie for Underworld. There was a trailer for Underworld last night before the movie and it just looks better and better. There was also a trailer for Dr. Strangelove, or How I Learned to Stop Worrying and Love the Bomb. They didn't say when but I guess that means they will be re-releasing it.

Regarding the White Wolf vs Underworld case, I realized one thing last night. One of the reasons the case seemed frivolous was the idea that how could this movie be hurting them? They publish rpgs and the rpg may receive more sales if this movie is popular. Then, it occured to me that if White Wolf should decide to make a Vampire: The Masquerade movie now, the general public would criticize them for ripping off Underworld. They didn't exactly invent this stuff, but they aren't completely unoriginal either.

Wednesday, September 10, 2003

Too many questions
(Via Lintra)

Questions are a burden for others and answers are a prison for oneself.
- The Prisoner, "Arrival", a sign in The Village

1) What's on your bedside table?

On my side, books and candles. On Carla's side, books, a lamp and a clock.

2) What's the geekiest part of your music collection?

I can't decide between these two:

A cassette of the original music soundtrack to Castlevania 1 and 2, two games for the original Nintendo.

Bob Denver and the Muppets, the Christmas Album. I found it on CD at a CVS Pharmacy a few years ago and bought it because I had it on LP when I was a kid.

3) What do you eat when you raid the fridge at night?

Lately it has been white cheddar cheese-its.

4) What is your secret guaranteed weeping film?

I don't have a guaranteed weeping film. Once I know the sad part's coming, it doesn't affect me. The scenes that usually get me, however, are the ones where someone watches a friend or loved one die and they are helpless to stop it.

5) If you could have plastic surgery, what would you have done?

I wouldn't. I don't think I'm perfect, but I'm not going to go under a knife just for vanity reasons. If I could magically change something about my appearance, it would be my nose, but even then I doubt I'd actually do it.

6) Do you have a completely irrational fear?


7) What is the little physical habit that gives away your insecure moments?

I've never noticed if I do. I must, though. I hardly ever win at Poker.

8) Do you ever have to beg?


9) Do you have too many love interests?


10) Describe your bed.

Ask Carla to describe it. It's a bed. It's a Queen size

11) Spontaneous or plan?


12) Who should play you in a movie about your life?

Antonio Banderas. Hey, who says it has to be a realistic potrayal? Actually, there was a time that people used to say I looked a bit like James Hetfield from Metallica. I never saw the resemblence.

13) Do you know how to play poker?

Yes. See above.

14) What do you carry with you at all times?

Keys. Wallet. Wedding Ring.

15) How do you drive?

Depends on where I am and who is in the car with me.

16) What do you miss most about being little?

Free time.

17) Are you happy with your given name?


18) What color is your bedroom?.

Ask Carla while you're asking her about the bed. I seriously can't picture the colors right now.

19) What was the last song you were listening to?

"Kick Some Ass" from the Jay and Silent Bob Strike Back soundtrack.

20) Have you ever been in a school play?

Yes. A couple.

21) Do you know anyone famous?


22) Have you ever been in love?

A few times.

23) Do you like yourself and believe in yourself?


24) Do you think you're cute?

Not sure. I don't think I'm ugly.

25) Do you consider yourself to be a nice person?


Gaming as an Adult
Doyce talks about this article on his blog that makes several great points about how gaming is different as an adult and how you should plan games different. One of the things it suggests is keeping the groups smaler than their more "youthful" sizes. This is sooo true. One of the big things it mentions that I have seen the ill effect of is: Do not cancel unless absolutely neccesary.

During my first and second Changeling campaigns (the first in Fort Wayne and the second in Michigan) I managed to keep a very steady schedule and it rarely changed. While there was several other things that I did better in my first two games than the White Wolf campaign that just prematurely ended, I think that the steady schedule went a long way towards keeping players enthusiastic.

With the last campaign, we had had to cancel several months in a row. This was mostly because of my new job. With a less reliable schedule, I could ever know if I could actually game on our scheduled day until the week before. To make things worse, my friends have very tight schedules. Many of them are in several other games that also meet on weekends, making it nearly impossible to reschedule games.

Anyways, head on over to Doyce's blog and check it out. It's all common sense, but sometimes we all need to be reminded.

Tuesday, September 09, 2003

Monday Mashup: Good Vibrations
In this weeks Mashup, we are asked to combine The Beach Boys with a roleplaying setting.

Since I've been thinking up D&D stuff for my campaign, the Beach Boys go D&D!

Follow the ocean's coast north, far away from the land of men and you will find the Waverunners, a race of humanoids that look a lot like gnomes with dark brown skin and child-like faces. The Waverunners may be an off-shoot of gnomes or another race completely. (In my Connemara setting, they'd be a "sub-human" race.) The waverunners are unaware of the troubles in the rest of the world and are largely unaware of other races. Few visitors ever come to this hidden paradise.

Waverunners are named such for their love for water-sports. (No! Not that kind! Get your mind out of the gutter!) When not eating the berries and plants that grow in the area or sleeping, the waverunners run into the ocean with pieces of wood that they use to balance upon the waves. The first human explorer to write bout the Waverunners described them as running along the water.

Waverunners share everything and largely unaware of the concept of property. All that they need grows naturally nearby and can be found in abundance. Even shelter can be found under the thick branches and roots of the nearby Orricka trees.

Waverunners are child-like and playful. At night they can be heard singing songs to eachother and smoking the leaves of the great Orrikka tree which produces a euphoric effect. Later in the evening they will separate in goups of two or more and spend hours lovemaking before falling asleep. The next day they start all over again: eating, playing, singing, smoking, loving and sleeping.

When strangers visit they are extremely open and trusting. Very few waverunners have ever learned any reason to be distrustful of others. Only olderones who are more likely to have dealt with outsiders before may be cautious. Waverunners rarely live past 30. The heavy smoking of the orricka leaves usually cause them to develop a lung condition.

How can Waverunners be used in campaigns? Since they rarely can be found outside of their homeland, it is unlikely that PCs will run into them unless they travel to them. There is little of value to man in that area but there could be temples or other ancient places in the area that PCs would need to visit. They could come across the peaceful waverunners on the way to get some ancient evil artifact only to find some villain threatening the lives of the waverunners when they exit. I'm picturing a group of orcs with knives held to smiling waverunners and a sorcerer saying, "You could leave with the orb.....but...."

Waverunners as PCs: This is a tough one. In many ways I picture the Waverunners like the Kender of the Dragonlance books. After some time in the world, waverunners would be more aware of the dangers around them than Kender, but they still would be extremely playful. Because of this, I would think the best D&D classes for Kenders would be Rogues or Bards. Of course, the big question for a waverunner PC is why they are out in the world in the first place. Perhaps they were taken from their homeland by slavers and escaped or maybe a curious waverunner went to far in the woods one day and lost their way.

Stats: I'm thinking that Waverunners would have high dexterity and charisma at the cost of strength, constitution and wisdom. Something like this: Str -1, Dex +2, Con -1, Int same, Wis -1, Cha +1. They would also have some special ability that represents their amazing sense of balance....learned from years on their surfboards.

Quote of the Day
President Bush has asked for an additional $87 billion dollars to pay for the war in Iraq. And remember, folks, when you write your checks out, there are two l's in Halliburton.
-David Letterman, 9/8/2003

Monday, September 08, 2003

I said that I would do this with my Changeling game. It never happened. I said that I would learn from my mistake and do this with my World of Ineffecient Light game. I didn't.

I finally remembered to do things right and I forgot how much this helps.

I'm keeping a notebook for the two games I'm currently planning and its amazing how much it helps in planning. I took a break from planning the Connemara game for the last couple of weeks to work on the Buffy game. I've been scribbling down plot ideas and elements on the Buffy game in my spiral notebook. Now that it loks like "Gillian, the Vampire Slayer" may be missing its original premiere date in September, I've returned to planning Connemara and just the few pages of Connemara notes in my notebook helped me remember the feel I'm shooting for and the ideas that came before.

There wasn't much written down about Leviathan but it was enough to jump-start my memory. I've come up with a few ideas for

For feel, I have a few words here and there that trigger my imaginations like:

The Village: River with mill, pastures, woods....not too forboding, cave with ancient carvings

Important World elements: Ruins of old world, Ancient Forests (Lovecraft), Elven areas (off limits to mortals), Mountains, superstitions, City in volcano, dark tower (need name)

I also have notes on mechanics and allowable character races and plot bits (although less plot has been planned than the Buffy game, I have the basic scenario).

The biggest thing about this notebook is that it will hopefully catch a lot of the stray thoughts that I come up with. I don't know how often between WoIL games, I had ideas of plots and plot-elements to work in and by the time I went to run the game, I'd have no idea what plot ideas I had come up with and would end up trying to wing something. Depending on the enthusiasm of the players and how "on-the-ball" I am, this off-the-cuff style of GMing can work for me but I have to quit relying on things.

So, I've started the GM's notebook. It's a spiral-bound notebook like I used in my early days of gaming and I'm scrawling in it whenever I think to. I've got two games coming up. I need to plan.

Gaming Sources- Weapon Names
One of the biggest problems I have when planning roleplaying games is coming up with all the names...for people, places, artifacts, etc.. One of the websites I regularly check has posted this list of all the swords and magical equipment from Castlevania: Symphony of the Night and Castlevania: Aria of Sorrow. It has some obscure magical weapons in it. There are several from fantasy works, like names from the Silmarrion and Michael Moorcock's Eternal Champion novels and plenty of magic weapons based on real-world myths/legends like the Claimh Solais (the Celtic "sword of light" that was, according to some versions, wielded by Nuadha) and the Joyeusu (Charlemagne's sword). I'll probably be using this page as a reference for both the Buffy game (the real world/mythic weapon names) and the Connemara game (for the made-up names that sound cool).

The City of Leviathan
I've been planning the setting for the D&D game I'm going to run, Connemara. I came up with this idea for a moving city, but I have no place to fit it into the world. At this point in the campain planning, I have no need for a desert. I think it's a neat idea, so I'm going to share it hear for any GMs who may be able to use it in whatever game they run. This could be a neat thing to find in a shadow of Amber or a planet in Star Wars. All it needs is a desert and a fantastic setting. Feel free to borrow the idea, although don't go publishing it or saying its yours.....or creating a big budget summer movie.

The Sand Crawlers are giant bugs. From far away they look like giant slugs but on closer inspection, they are more akin to Millipedes. Their armored hide protects thousands of legs that they use to slowly crawl across the desert sands, searching for water. Sand Crawlers can sense pockets of water underneath the sands and dig with large trunk like tubes under its head to get to the water.

Leviathan is one of the oldest Sand Crawlers in existence. It has lived for hundreds of years thanks to a symbiotic relationship it has with a city that has built itself on the back of Leviathan. Hundreds of years ago, a nomadic desert people realized that they could ride the back of a sand crawler. They chose a particularly large one and camped on it. When the sand crawler, which they named Leviathan, would find water, it would dig the whole to the water and in the process bring much of the water to the service. The tribe could take some of the water and store it until Leviathan found the next oasis. The tribe created a village on the back of Leviathan/ The people prospered and it eventually became a city.

Today, Leviathan is the largest known sand crawler. It is about two miles long and 2/3 of a mile wide. Hundreds of pemanent sandstone buildngs have been built on the slowly shifting plates of Leviathan and desert crops are grown on its back, particularly a cactus-like plant that produces a bitter sweet fruit that is popular amongst the people of Leviathan. There are all sorts of ladders and starirways attached to the side of Leviathan, which the people use to board and disembark the great city.

The secret to Leviathan's long life is the people's urine. A little bit gross? Yeah. The chief cause of death amongst sand crawlers is a parisitic infection that develops under the plates of their exoskeletons. It was discovered years ago that the urine of the people of Leviathan had a highly acidic nature from eating the desert fruits and this acidic nature killed the parasites. So, the people collect their urine and work it under the plates of the sandcrawler wherever an infection develops...and occassionally just as a preventive medicine.

Well, the science of Leviathan is sketchy but hey, its for a fantasy setting. There are plenty of details to fill in. How do sand crawlers breed? If Leviathan is a female and a male sand crawler goes to mount Leviathan, it could destroy the city. Do the citizens of Leviathan occassionally have to fight off a male suitor? Are there telepaths or sorcerers that communicate with the creature? How can it fit in your game? I'll leave that to you ti figure out. I'm still figuring out how to work it into mine.

Feel free to email me at Nuadha_Silverhand at yahoo dot com and tell me what you think.

White Wolf sues
White Wolf is taking legal action against the creators of the new Underworld movie.

I admit. When I first saw the trailer for Underworld, I thought "Wow. It's like White Wolf's World of Darkness." Not having read the script or anything and just going off what I've seen in the trailers, they probably did draw a lot of inspiration from White Wolf material.

However, I think WW is going a little too far. I seriously doubt the movie has a vampire clan called the Brujah or Toreador. I doubt the movie will have the Eco-warrior Garou. The movie combines them with the Romeo and Juliet story. Are WW and Collins claiming they invented that story too? Nobody believes Shakespeare actually came up with the idea either. (Romeo and Ethel, the Pirate's Daughter on the other hand, would have been completely original.)

When the Vampire RPG game originally came out, Anne Rice was at the peak of her popularity and Vampire: The Masquerade made no attempt to hide all the material they were borrowing from Rice. If they can sue the makers of Underword, can Anne Rice sue them? Can the creators of Near Dark sue White Wolf?

Maybe White Wolf's just pissed that Underworld is probably going to turn out better than Kindred: The Embraced.

Sunday, September 07, 2003

Holidays and Kidney Stones
Last weekend was the trip to PA. We had a great time. I was afraid that my Kidney Stone may decide to come out while on vacation, but no problem.....and still no problem to this day. I've been drinking a lot of cranberry juice and I'd like to think that it helped enough but I know that's not realistic.

Besides the general fun of hanging out with friends, the weekend included reading, lots of video games, a climb in the mountains, a game of Diplomacy, lots of good food, a game of Call of Cythulu, and a relaxing view of a river.

This weekend, I've been working the whole weekend. Not fun.