Petty Gods (XPG-1) Update / WORMWOOD

The bad news first: The first PG booklet will not be ready till Sept/Nov. I'm still waiting for some key pieces of art (and hopefully writing) that will make this Petty Gods volume complete.

If you've still got a PG assignment in the works, put the final polish on that bad boy!

* * *

The good news is that I get to collaborate with Gavin Norman of The City of Iron blog. We're working on an iconic Monster-Haunted Forest Wilderness Adventure/Hexcrawl/Saturday Night Special/Drag n' Drop Into Your Home Campaign micro-setting called Wormwood. The format is decidedly Carcosa-esque in terms of structure, with much of the book devoted to (approx.) 200 hex descriptions. The rest will be comprised of
  • New monsters and monster types (goat-men, magically anthropomorphosed animals [many of them psychotic], IOUN-wielding snails of unusual size)
  • New magical forces and objects (ley lines, summer stones, plinths)
  • New spells (Gavin excels here!)
  • New (petty) gods -- Atanuwe the Nag-Lord, Big Chook, and others
  • Several dungeons
  • Several monster lairs
Here's a sneak preview of the map. It's not the final version -- note the lack of roadways and trails. That swamp texture owes its existence to Rob Conley btw.


Tastes Like Sheep's Wool: Lays Chicken and Waffles

I've actually never eaten mutton, and I find lamb to be somewhat disgusting though in a different way than Lays brand Chicken and Waffles potato chips. It's not so much the combination of these vaguely compatible flavors -- after all, chicken sausage and waffles make for a fine breakfast -- it's the accumulated aftertaste. I liken it to the taste-equivalent of the odor of unprocessed sheep's wool. That cloying, lanolin-drenched smell of fresh-sheared herd mammal. Why this is I have no idea. Possibly it's a case of two chemically similar flavones (flavonoids? I may be making this stuff up...)

In any case, offer these to players you don't intend on having back to your table.

A New Vancian Supplement from LotFP

My copies of LotFP's Rules & Magic and The Seclusium of Orphone arrived yesterday and I couldn't be more pleased. I've had the PDFs for a while, but I held off reading Seclusium till I had the book in my hands. This is my first exposure to the work of D. Vincent Baker, so I wasn't entirely sure what to expect. I had an inkling that the book had Vancian overtones, and being a sucker for that sort of thing I knew I needed to have it in my collection. 

Baker openly acknowledges the book's Vancian inspirations. What he sets out to do -- quite successfully -- is provide the referee with a guide for creating abandoned (or partially abandoned) and secluded wizard mansions for curious and greedy player characters to explore. While many details are provided the book's overall approach is open-ended -- leaving much of the final orchestration and invention in the hands of the ref. 

Seclusium is not a module -- it gives you three examples of "vulnerable" wizard cribs with loads of options for developing them. I love this "Madlibs" style -- you fill in the blanks and fiddle with the material to produce your own unique manse. Orphone herself will differ according to the tastes of the referee.

Physically Seclusium is a beautifully crafted 8.5" x 6" hardcover that matches the high design standards of previous LotFP hardbacks like Isle of the Unknown and Vornheim. James Raggi the Writer gets a lot of flack that may or may not be deserved, but Raggi the Publisher is making all the right moves IMHO. Not many tabletop RPG companies are producing books of this quality right now. Orphone, Carcosa, Vornheim -- these are at the top of the stack in terms of art, design and production quality. Even if you object to the approach/style of these works, it's difficult to find more attractive fantasy RPG books.


Ben Affleck as Batman

Guess I won't be seeing that steaming pile of shit film.

I have given Affleck many chances, and he has failed to entertain me every time. Thank you, Warner Brothers, for this horrible attempt at casting. Obviously you enjoy wasting money.


D&D Just Got Hauter

Little video starring none other than Elijah "Frodo" Wood and junior fashion model Sidney Williams. It has something to do with the Dee und Dee. I think.


August and Sinister Music Video Assortment

 LUSTMORD \\ 2010 Teaser

 LORN \\ "Weigh Me Down" (official)

 BALAM ACAB \\ "Big Boy" (official)


Time-Life Enchanted World Series: How many of you own(ed) this?

I had a few of 'em. The Wizards volume for sure -- can't recall the others.

[Music] "Base Metal" by Download

Featuring both cEvin Key and Phil Western noodling on analog synthesizers with the help of Mark Spybey (Dead Voices On Air, Zoviet*France). From the concept album The Eyes of Stanley Pain (1996).

Cover art by none other than Dave McKean of Sandman fame.

[Music Video] "Simpleton" by Phil Western

Phil is a master of hypnotic techno. One of my favorite electronic artists operating in the Western Hemisphere (oh, puns). He frequently collaborates with cEvin Key of Skinny Puppy.


[Music] "Bob's Shadow" by cEvin Key

[New Spell] Bestow Mnemonic Contents

Inspired by this passage from Michael Shea's Nifft the Lean (p.29):

"Come nearer, and I will put in your memory the manner of your coming, and the spell."
My friend put his ear to her lips. She whispered for a long while, and my friend looked outward as he listened, but you could see from the dazed shifts of his eyes strange spaces opening up in his mind.

Urdustin's Mnemonic Exchange
[aka Bestow/Receive Mnemonic Contents]

Level: Wiz 5
School: Incantation; Metamagic; Mnemonic Science
Vintage: Antideluvian
Author: Urdustin of the Long Memory*
Rarity: Common in civilized and barbarous areas
Casting Time: See below
Components: Verbal, Psionic**
Range: Hearing distance (varies with acuity of listener)
Save: Only necessary if target wishes to resist

This spell creates a psionic channel between the wizard and a single target listener. Any others within hearing range will not be able to comprehend the sounds being uttered. Other magic-users, perhaps scrying the scene from afar, will be able to identify that Mnemonic Exchange is being used, but will be unable to determine the content of the exchange.

Through the temporary mental bond created a wizard may send any number of memories (including memorized spells, with some limitations) into the target's mind. Such transfers require time and the wizard's full concentration. A 1st level spell takes 1 turn (10 minutes), a 2nd level spell takes 2 turns, and so forth. Spells higher than 5th level will inflict 2d6 damage to the target's brain as they physically re-organize it to properly accommodate themselves (ignore this rule if target is a magic-user of at least three levels of experience).

Other types of memories -- mental images, scenes and other data acquired through the senses -- may be transferred at a rate of 1 turn per hour of mnemonic content. Most concepts and solitary images take significantly less time to impart. In such light-volume cases, ESP or spells with ESP-like effects would be used in this spell's stead.

The reverse of this spell copies information from a target's mind into the mind of the wizard. The rates of transfer are identical to those outlined above.

More complex variants*** of this spell allow the wizard to alter the subject's memories -- adding, changing and annulling information according to his design.

Mnemonic Exchange has been used to raise the intelligence of beasts and teach them the use of language.

*Most modern wizards are 85% likely to consider Urdustin to be a mythological figure similar to Hermes Trismegistus. His name is widely recognized in magical circles and carries a note of ancient tragedy.

**Psionics are an underlying part of many forms of magical inquiry and practice. It is considered the foundation of the school of Illusion, for instance.

***See Anteleoch's Secondary and Tertiary Adjustments


[Round Table] How do you guys handle lock-picking?

I know Zak Smith and Telecanter have touched on this and offered some fairly elegant procedures (I love it when those words are paired together!) But I'm curious how other DMs/refs/judges take this on. Which canonical/BTB or non-canonical/homebrewed system do you guys reference? I am genuinely interested.