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New Scenics from Warcradle Studios

Gamer Goggles - Fri, 06/28/2019 - 12:16

Introducing New Kyoto scenery!

There’s a new collection joining the Warcradle Scenics range of tabletop terrain; New Kyoto offers a series of Japanese style sci-fi buildings ideal for 25mm – 32mm skirmish wargames.

Whether you choose to mix and match these scenery sets or get the entire collection to create your sci-fi tabletop, all of the New Kyoto buildings, when finished, are a beauty to behold. With modular buildings and walkways that fit together, you can build your city the way you want it. You’ll have complete tabletop freedom with this scenery and the option of constructing taller and more complex structures!

NEW KYOTO SCENERY KITS

Each of the buildings in the New Kyoto range has removable doors, walls, and ceilings so you can continue the tabletop action inside – it doesn’t matter how large your structure is!

The range includes three themed H.A.B (Habitation Modules) scenery kits, varying in size and luxury, a Hallway set, a Staircase set and Walkway set. For those of you who want to transform a HAB into a distinctive sci-fi building, there’s also the Pagoda set and the Roof Corner set to collect (add these on to HAB units).

All of the New Kyoto scenery sets are available to pre-order now at Wayland Games and with your FLGs – due for release at the end of July 2019.

Categories: Tabletop Gaming Blogs

Link Love: My Favourite Thing This Week

Knitted Bliss - Fri, 06/28/2019 - 11:00

www.knittedbliss.com

My Favourite Articles and Links This Week If you are looking to diversify your reading with some great stories of what it means to be an immigrant, these are fantastic choices. So interesting- 10 new ways to interact with your city. If you are feeling like where you live is getting boring, this might change

The post Link Love: My Favourite Thing This Week appeared first on %%www.knittedbliss.com%%.

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Categories: Knitting Feeds

"I Faced A Tyrannoclops!"

Sorcerer's Skull - Fri, 06/28/2019 - 11:00

Last year, I posted about an Atomic Age riff on Operation Unfathomable. It was a good enough idea to get a second post--with new art, with illustration by Nik Poliwko.


Paternity, Promiscuity & “Poly”

The Rational Man - Fri, 06/28/2019 - 02:04

Nature is cold and ruthless when it comes to reproduction, human reproduction is no exception. Rollo’s essay carries with it some pretty heavy implications. As has been pointed out before, monogamy is a male institution masquerading as a female institution, it ensures some level of paternity and stable bonds and expectations in order to arrive at a semblance of order among males in a community, it’s a tradeoff for order/security/reduced violence among males while at the same time providing sex at a limited scale to a majority of males, it’s a check/taming of nature invented by man that most likely allowed for the rise of civilization. This area yet again is not really about women but about a male structure to reduce intra/extra tribal violence.

We are witnessing the wholesale destruction of monogamy and indirectly the family unit. You can see the beginnings of the violence with the mass shootings by kids without a dad among whites. We see the black community in certain sectors/areas of the U.S begin to disintegrate as a stable social unit now that the family unit is absent. This is not a race issue as the black community in certain areas of the U.S remains solid/stable(the American South is one example), so it is not a race question, it’s a question of pressure brought to bear on certain sectors/areas. Any race is vulnerable to this, the Hispanic community is beginning to face headwinds among the current 18-30 generation, the number of single moms in the community is pretty high, I suspect the numbers in time will exceed that of the black community. This however doesn’t negate that the current inner city black community is the canary in the coal mine, and a picture of a possible future.

Foxguy

I thought these were some really good comments to start today’s essay off with as you’ll read in a moment. I’m going to try something a bit different in this post. There’s a lot to digest in what i’ve been working on lately with respect to evolved and social aspects of men’s innate drive for paternity. So rather than come out with a tightly packed essay on these individual topics I’m going to just throw out some of the concepts I’m working on at the moment. This will be a rare insight into how my writing process works, but I hope these topics will fuel further discussion in the comments and elsewhere.

As I stated in last week’s essay I’ve been reading my way through Tim Birkhead’s book Promiscuity. If you want to know what’s inspiring these ideas this is (still) it. I don’t want to call this book a ‘slog’, but I’m having to take my time with it in order to really digest it in a Red Pill sense. Any of my readers know that I’ve done a lot of work on Hypergamy to the point that I get criticized for being overly focused on women’s sexual strategy. I’m going to change this today and focus on men’s sexual strategies and how they fluidly adapt to women’s strategies.

The rise and acceptance of single motherhood over the past 50 years is a Reproductive Strategy

In The New Polyandry I proposed that with the rise of women’s independence from men, and the social unfettering of their sexual strategy (Hypergamy), women have shifted the prevailing social norms from socially enforced monogamy to a female-initiated form of polyandry. In a social environment where Alpha Fucks/Beta Bucks is openly embraced, what follows is the breakdown of women’s old strategy of looking for men who best embody the both genetic and provisioning qualities and focusing primarily on one or the other in separate men depending on her state of need. A state of Open Hypergamy can only result from a social shift from enforced monogamy to female-primary polyandry.

Our feminine-primary social order then (Blue Pill) conditions men, via social reward and punishment, to fulfill these roles to be serviceable to women at various stages of their reproductive and life needs. I’ve joked that today women see men as either breeding stock or draft animals, but there’s truth to this. And men fulfill these roles in an effort to effect their own reproductive strategies that they’ve been socialized and acculturated to believe are in their best interests.

In the wake of the Sexual Revolution western cultures have removed all social stigmas that used to surround single motherhood – and even elective single motherhood. This is the necessary result of transitioning from male-primary monogamy to a female-primary polyandry and social support mechanisms designed to maintain it. Men are only now learning how to maneuver and adapt their own sexual strategies to this transition.

However, in order to accept their roles in this female-primary sexual marketplace they must sublimate their evolved drive to ensure their own paternity.

Open Cuckoldry is a Beta Male Sexual Strategy

In a socio-sexual state of Sandbergian Open Hypergamy the next logical step is convincing men to repress their innate need to know paternity and teach them that cuckoldry (and in particular, self-initiated cuckoldry) is in their reproductive interests. I’ve written about this in Open Cuckoldry. The definition of cuckoldry is tightly controlled to only mean “a woman deceiving a man to believe the children she’s born are his when they are in fact the progeny of another man.” When defined this way “cuckoldry” is perceived to be rare – though even this is changing with the advent of home DNA tests like 23 and Me. However, the latent purpose of cuckoldry is to effect women’s sexual strategy in securing the best genetic material (and validational sex) from one man while procuring the best provisioning and parental investment (and transactional sex) from another man. Socially accepted Cuckoldry is how this is effected in a feminine-primary social order.

In fact, cuckoldry is only socially acceptable when it happens in a gynocentric social framework. In just 60 years cuckoldry has become an accepted reproductive strategy for both men and women. By shifting the social norms to encourage men to sublimate their innate drive to know paternity we prioritize women’s sexual strategy above mens’. By reinforcing women’s ‘cuckolding’ men via socially acceptable means we encourage men to see adopting women’s sexual strategy as their own.

We convince men that this is a “lifestyle choice” when in fact it is social engineering that selects his genetic interests out.

  • Single Mothers —> Stepfathers
  • Female Promiscuity —> Polyandry
  • Open Cuckoldry —> “Poly” Lifestyles

To better come to terms with this shift in contemporary intrasexual strategies I propose that “cuckoldry” be defined as ” The state in which a man, either by deception or being socially convinced, assumes the parental investment responsibilities of a child he did not biologically sire”. Men adopting children due to impotency, and doing so of their own volition might not meet this definition because their choice is considered first in the decision and not as a result of seeing their choosing to be a foster father as an extension of their sexual strategy.

That’s an important distinction; having the choice to adopt versus adopting a single mother’s children as a means to his own reproduction. Many men who involve themselves with single mothers initially do so as a means to reproducing with her himself; ergo, a sexual strategy.

Wifing up a single mother and adopting the children sired by another man is a Beta male sexual strategy that has developed in the wake of feminine-social primacy. The cost of his own reproduction, assuming this occurs is, is an exchange of his reproductive efforts and resources invested in another man’s genetic legacy – a choice that was made for him, via a woman’s sexual strategy, before he ever entered the picture. As reproductive stresses continue to escalate in modern (western) societies, more Beta men will see (subconsciously) accepting their own cuckolding as a necessary state if they are to reproduce at all. With 43% of children being born out of wedlock today it’s easy to see that an ever increasing number of men will chose to exchange their innate drive for paternity for reproductive access.

“Poly” Lifestyles are being socially reinforced to facilitate women’s sexual strategies

Men’s drive for paternity is more difficult to sublimate in Alpha men than Beta men. In Promiscuity Tim Birkhead details the innate drives male animals have with respect to ensuring their own paternity:

The issue of paternity is at the core of much of men’s behavior – and for good evolutionary reasons. In our primeval past men who invested in children which were not their own would, on average, have left fewer descendants than those who reared only their own genetic offspring. As a consequence men were, and continue to be, preoccupied with paternity and this has shaped not only many male behaviors but, perhaps surprisingly, some female behaviors as well. The most obvious way in which men’s preoccupation with paternity manifests itself is in jealousy – watching a partner and keeping her away from potential competitors.

Promiscuity, Tim Birkhead pg. 33-34

In my counseling I have had to deal with the constant of jealousy in every man I’ve talked to about a breakup or divorce.

“Rollo, why can’t I get the thought of her fucking another guy out of my head? The thought makes me physically sick.”

There is a physical aspect to jealousy for men and particularly so for deeply pair-bonded Beta men whose sexual strategy it is to invest more fully into one partner due to a scarcity mentality (see strategic pluralism theory). When I talked about men committing suicide in Zeroed Out I should’ve stressed the importance that mate guarding and jealousy play in a man’s physical condition when he’s had his ‘soulmate’ leave him for another man.

There are two latent purposes in men evolving a capacity for this physical distress – fomenting parental investment and ensuring paternity via mate guarding. Why is it that men take so much longer to get over a woman than women for men? For women the War Brides theory explains this neatly, but for men the long physical disconnection comes from our innate drive to ensure paternity and the confirmation of mate loss to a rival male. This is the degree of preoccupation with paternity Birkhead describes above – it is so existentially important men evolved physical manifestation for it.

Now, if you can stomach the new age sophistry and rationalizations of Dr. Geoff Miller for a “Poly” lifestyle you might want to watch a bit of this video to grasp the next concept I’m developing here:

I’ve included this here because it’s a prime illustration of the cognitive dissonance necessary today to justify a Beta male’s acceptance of his own cuckoldry and laundering it to convince himself that it’s actually in his own best interests. After all the confirmation of the importance of, and preoccupation with, male paternity, (and the sometimes violent fallout that results from it) it seems counterintuitive for a man to convince himself that sharing his woman is at all a good idea.

Have a look at the collage of images I’ve used for today’s header picture. This is a collection of relatively recent articles promoting the idea that “poly”, if not outright cuckoldry, is a positive, progressive trend. Why is poly in its various forms so important to us socially? The free love generation and 70’s swingers didn’t have anything like the impetus we see now. We have more than enough research showing that women’s capacity to pair bond with men in the long term decreases with every new sex partner. We know that (Beta) men can feel a natural, physical jealousy at just the thought of their pair bonded mate copulating with another man. Even Dr. Fleischman admits she struggles with “feelings of jealousy” in their “poly marriage”. But here we have the promotion of the idea that cuckoldry actually makes a man ‘more secure in his masculinity’. Why?

Why pretend to monogamy while openly practicing open cuckoldry? Why not simply stay single, practice non-exclusivity and honestly spin plates?

Because unfettered Hypergamy is the preeminent sexual strategy in this era. And men have adapted their sexual strategies to be contingent on it.

Men who aren’t insecure about their women dancing on other men > pic.twitter.com/6IdezghEMe

— . (@hibzsta_) June 27, 2019

I believe what were observing in all this is men adapting to the changes women have installed in the global sexual marketplace according to feminine social primacy. In Strategic Pluralism Theory, lower SMV men are by necessity predisposed to investing their reproductive efforts in a single woman (K selection) rather than applying himself to spreading those effort to various women (r selection). Across the animal kingdom female sexual monogamy is the exception rather than the rule.

Monogamy can occur either because a female chooses to remain faithful to one male, or as a consequence of a particular lifestyle.

Promiscuity, Tim Birkhead pg. 43

In today’s global sexual marketplace Beta men are socially rewarded for abandoning their sexual strategy and to abandon their innate need to ascertain paternity. This is done by promoting social and status rewards for compliance with the objective roles women need men to play in their sexual strategy. We saw exactly this last Fathers Day. Step-fathers, the dutiful cuckolds, were celebrated while biological fathers are largely vilified. Single mothers who assume the role of “father” are likewise celebrated.

But (Beta) men adapt themselves to the role that they believe will best serve their reproductive interests. Thus, we have a chorus of men police their thoughts and the thoughts of other men to affirm their beliefs in that strategy.

We have men write sanctimonious, self-affirming essays about how they believe they are more “secure in their masculinity” for allowing, encouraging, the women’s they’re ostensibly bonded with to have sex with other men. Then they wait for their male peers to pat them on the back for ‘evolving above their biology’ and their naturally jealous impulses.

This is not seeing the forest for the tree though. What is the larger function of all of this? Why is the ‘progressive’ take on self-affirming cuckoldry one that Beta men are supposed to find rewarding?

Because it’s necessary to perpetuate the unilateral control over the human reproductive process men ceded to women after the Sexual Revolution.

Categories: Miscellaneous Blogs

Deeper Cuts into DDA2: "Legions of Thyatis" (1990), by John Nephew,

Swords & Stitchery - Thu, 06/27/2019 - 18:18
"REVOLT OF THE GLADIATORS! The corrupt Thyatian senator, Helenites Osteropolus, his latest scheme smashed by the adventurers and their gladiator allies, hatches a new plot to destroy the influence of the Order of the Sands (even, perhaps, to attack the Emperor himself!). Yet greater dangers lie ahead. If his plot succeeds, it will remove the guardians that protect the city from the creaturesNeedleshttp://www.blogger.com/profile/11243274667834930867noreply@blogger.com0
Categories: Tabletop Gaming Blogs

"This is a Fight! ... Isn't it?" (a deconstruction of combat - design post)

The Disoriented Ranger - Thu, 06/27/2019 - 17:08
It's a declared goal of this blog to post at least once a month. Well, I tried. However, I'm not just barging in right now to arbitrarily cast "Wall of Text" and be gone again. No. Main reason for me sitting down only now, at the last days of June, was research. Believe it or not. I'm working on a combat system for that dystopian rpg I'm currently almost-finished-writing, and here's how I went at it.
RPG combat is too structured ...
... and that's a bad thing. And a good thing. Sometimes it's ugly. Let me tell you why. First of all, it's just not called into question that much why fights have to be structured. You hit, the orc hits, some have protection, some get hurt, some get lucky, some die. All in order, maybe with some tactics, sometimes with light rules, sometimes heavy on the fighting rules.
Don't get me wrong, it's mainly a good thing, imo. However, this war-game based understanding of what a skirmish is fits well in most role-playing games, for that's the stories you want to tell. In D&D the characters go into combat ready for it (at least on the character sheet, right?). The game is more or less build around a war-game engine and the trappings changed, even grew over time, but so did the board game aspects that are in the DNA of that first game.
H. G. Wells in action ... those roots are deep [source]What it also does is telling a specific set of stories. And that's the limitation. It's where combat in a game can turn ugly or even bad. I've talked in other posts about how detailed power curves in rpgs practically force specific power structures on the worlds they emulate. If you can play a level 36 half-god, able to kill some old dragon in a fair one-on-one, the world around that character needs to be layered like that.
A king just can't (shouldn't?) be level 1 or a level 10 character could just force his will into the story, maybe killing that king for shits and giggles. There are consequences on stories for detailed rules like that, and to a degree those rules will dictate the rhythm of the game. This will mostly be felt on higher levels, though. It's probably the reason why many regard D&D levels 1 to 8 as the "sweet spot" as far as range goes (might vary a bit between editions).
Anyway, I digress ... Rules give rhythm to a game. If it's heavy on the combat rules, it's what will have lots of table-time over a course of a campaign. More so on higher levels, and badly if those consequences aren't taken into account for high-level games. Not only a problem D&D has, btw, look no further than WoD for problems with high level characters. I'm sure there's more.
Of course there's ways to solve those problems. The D&D Rules Cyclopedia, for instance, (the gold standard, if you ask me), shifts gears from adventurer to noble to legend to god, all playing out differently. I'd argue that's good design, because it takes into consideration the power curve of the game. The stories told in the D&D RC (if you go the distance) change as the rhythm of the system changes. This is because of the combat system (and to equal part because of magic, I should add, which is mostly written around combat, so ...).
That basic war-game structure echoes through almost all role-playing games. When there's a call for initiative, everyone knows the jig is up. If that's not the kind of story you want to tell, if you want to, say, copy patterns we know from action movies, if you want chaos and arbitrariness and tension, you have to change that rhythm significantly.
The boardgame-kind of abstraction [source]What stories? (patterns, not structures)
The first step towards this would be to stop seeing combat as an isolated incident, as something that needs to be fenced in a specific set of rules or a separate ritual with a specific set of terms attached to it.
The next step would be to integrate it into the system in a way that allows for enough detail to honor the implications and enough abstraction to make it manifest naturally in every possible narrative scenario the game on hand has. It needs to appear as part of the story as it would in a noir novel or a thriller.
This is about direct consequences. If characters are prepared and capable, the outcome of the confrontation should not only be just that, it should enhance and celebrate that. If they are in over their heads, it's that what the game should enhance.
We are talking the bar scene in Inglorious Basterds here or the first 40 minutes of Sicario. It's also when the hero fights his way through some extras in no time, only to face a tough one at the end. Both scenes need equal spotlights as well as feel different without having the system bog it all down too much or shift tone in a way that it doesn't feel cohesive anymore.
There is a flow in good action movies that constantly builds and releases in patterns that relate to the story, not to a template (although those exist as well). People are less keen on stories that get too formulaic. Of course, that's a bit different in games. When having an active roll in a story that includes random results, the average outcome of several rolls is what lets a character's abilities make manifest*. That needs to be considered and addressed (which can be done with the level of abstraction, but more on that later).
Before I came up with anything myself, I checked out what other games did in that regard (special shout-out to the mewe-group for their suggestions!)
Random Kung Fu pic ... [source]What's out there (just examples, not a list)
The idea is to look for as long at games as it takes to get an idea what I will need for the game I'm writing. Took me longer than I expected and I found more games that I like enough to regret never playing them.
One more caveat, though. Lots and lots of games offer nuance to the same old formula. No initiative, group initiative, one roll for attack and damage ... variations like that. When all is said and done, though, they really don't stray far from it. It's merely house-rules to the established. Nothing wrong with that, but also not relevant for this.
There's also a huge array of skill-heavy role playing games (CoC and the like) that either tend towards either D&D or oWoD, so I consider them covered as described below. If you know any game that strays from anything I describe here, please give it a shout-out in the comments. I'd love to check it out ...
Okay, let's have a look at some staples and some exotics:DUNGEONS & DRAGONS (all editions and clones) - We've talked about that above already. Strong templates, war-game roots, very specific rhythm. The only thing to add would be that newer editions try to expand the "sweet spot" described above and force the game into a ever more complex variant of the original formula on higher levels. While making the lower level a computer game like experience and short-term fun (like a boardgame would), it's not very successful to encourage long-term or campaign play.
Old WORLD OF DARKNESS - Didn't check out what happened with the newer editions. The oWoD games where the first popular example of having a higher level of abstraction opening a system successfully towards the stories the game wants to tell. While combat still followed established structures, it offered different patterns to get to results and stayed vague (as well as consistent) enough with its terminology and how it all connected, that allowed an easy transfer between system and drama. In other words, it was easier to do a character's individual choices to solve conflict compared to older games.
UPWIND RPG (cards) - The GM (mostly) offers "plays" if something is at stake, same is true for combat. It can be resolved in broad strokes or very detailed, just as the narrative manifests and the involved parties see fit. Plays will mostly involve 1 player and the GM (pretty sure the others can chime in, but not to great effect, as I read it), and it should be possible to have a detailed skirmish that way, even with several players having several plays. However, it would burn through cards quick and since card decks are "set" in a way rolling the dice aren't, players might end up less welcome cards if they want to or not. This encourages less detailed play, I'd say, as players like to plan with the cards they have to get things done ... Interesting system, just not what I'm looking for.
AMBER Diceless - Combat here is about finding out if your enemy is superior or inferior to you and how to go about it. Combat is a narrative and has no strict scheme like rounds or even initiative. In a sense, players are observing, analyzing and reacting as the narrative manifests. Characters can only die if they are in over their heads and usually get an opportunity to avoid a fate like that or even chose it. Not what I'm looking for, but it most certainly works. It's basically the other extreme to using structures as described above. The story is the thing here, not so much the game.
TUNNELS & TROLLS - T&T is notable for its very abstract and light combat system. It was designed in direct contrast to D&D and its war-gaming roots (quite early as well). In short, both sides roll and the losing side gets the difference to the winning side's result as damage. Since the hit points a monster has defines the dice it can use to attack, monsters will get weaker as they get hit. There are rules for armor and "spite damage" (where the winning side gets damage as well), but that's about as concrete as it gets. No movement and just a little maneuvering, the rest is played as it makes sense. It all evolved a bit from earlier editions, but mostly by adding detail to the existing system. A good example what can be done by thinking out of the box.Let's leave it at that. There is obviously way more games out there than that, but there also isn't that much variety. Most of that might be due to the fact that it works. You can scale the level of detail somewhat, it's intuitive and it allows for tinkering as per taste. Some games do away with combat as much as possible, because they tell different stories (you could argue that they just shift the focus in the system from combat to something else).
What I haven't seen a lot is attempts to change the rhythm in a way that it cohesively allows an established tension to erupt brutally and as the story dictates, while considering that this needs to work within improvisation. That is, it needs to work unplanned and as the result of the system interacting with the players and the narrative ... Okay, okay. Wait a minute. You've read so far. Here, have a funny pic before we move on:Her had it coming ... [source]Crazy talk, you say? Hold my beer ...
The greatest and most memorable fight scenes are all about drama, not about the action, is what they tell screenwriters (a very interesting and inspiring article about screenwriting). I like that a lot. Those meaningful escalations are build over time and when they bloom, it is recognized. Normally something like this is arguably in the realm of a good DMs narrative power (or writer or director). It doesn't need a system, if the participants are able to produce that kind of tension as they manifest the narrative and interpret the dice results.
However (you probably guessed), I think a system should be able to build that kind of tension and allow the abstract room to apply it to whatever interpretation the players and the DM can come up with.
Here is the thing: we intuitively know the patterns necessary to evoke certain reactions. The Big Guy in the crowd with the scars and the Big Gun everyone else is shying away from? That's a clear set-up for a tougher opponent. If the characters recognize him from somewhere or he shouts at them something he did to them, for instance, like "I was the one that killed your wife! Hahahahah!!" or if he's about to do something that might escalate the situation further (like killing innocents or destroying something or ...), you'll load that scene further. Every bit helps to make it more intense.
For a system to offer that kind of output, you need to go away from seeing non-player characters as single entities, but as part of a potential instead (a bit like Tunnels & Trolls does, actually). How this potential is build up is totally individual as the story manifests. The system sets the markers, like "something is stolen" or "someone threatens the neighborhood" and keeps track of it, like "you get accused as the thief" or "people get beat up and there is corruption".
All that can be done randomly, and if done on a level abstract enough, it can be applied to every situation within the stories a game might want to tell. Actually, it'll influence those stories towards specific outcomes an occurrences you'd expect for a genre or setting by giving directions, not results. Oracles, if you will (if you've been reading this blog for any amount of time, you will have heard some of those ideas already).
There you have it, then, patterns and opportunities for escalation and hinting and interpretation, randomly created and with natural "hot spots" where the stakes are somewhat established, but also offer room for surprises as the story shifts from narrative encounter to narrative encounter and the reactions to that.
That's not all, but then we are done
It needs one more dimension to make it work properly, though, and that would be a bigger disconnect between player and character. An abstraction not only how hurt a character is, but (in this case) if the character actually is in the mood to fight or even pumped and eager for some of that ultra-violence.
Think about it. We monitor characters all the time for how damaged they are or how well equipped and there are some more or less established systems around for seeing if a character is hungry or thirsty or if it's too hot or cold. We already take those things into account when we decide how to play the character. Same is true for the never changing, but still relevant ability scores. If your character isn't strong, you will try to avoid things that involve using that ability score. It comes natural.
So a logical step would be to install a system that can have a character being very angry as well as not in the mood. Having characters getting frustrated or stressed will have players react to that and it all becomes part of the story just out of pure necessity. That's the beauty of having output like that come through the system: it will give impulses otherwise easily forgotten or neglected. Giving them importance is giving them power over the narrative and that is a great source of tension.
And that's where I'm at. It would be a post just as long as this one to go into detail how this will be done in that game I'm writing, but I can say that we gave the beta a test-run and it is promising. I'll have to write more about this soon, but I hope I was able to illustrate the distinctions I saw and how I addressed the problems thereof.
As always, thoughts and impressions on the ideas formulated above are very welcome here or wherever I share this.
In other news, the first draft for my next publication is almost done, we are already working on a layout and art is on its way ... You know what? Have a tease of some interior art by Daniel Petri (who can be found here):
Copyright by Daniel Petri [hompage]
* Incidentally this is the weakest point of light systems with very few rolls allowing for a limited assortment of results: success conditions have a probability of occurring, but there is a number of rolls necessary to reflect said probability in a way that it is recognizable as good or bad probability. So limiting rolls and success conditions will have less controllable outcomes and discourage long term play.

Categories: Tabletop Gaming Blogs

Fake jquery campaign leads to malvertising and ad fraud schemes

Malwarebytes - Thu, 06/27/2019 - 16:14

Recently we became aware of new domains used by an old malware campaign known as ‘fake jquery’, previously documented by web security firm Sucuri. Thousands of compromised websites are injected with a reference to an external JavaScript called jquery.js.

However, there is something quite elusive about this campaign with regards to its payload. Indeed, to many researchers the supposedly malicious JavaScript is always blank.

In this blog we share how we were able to identify the purpose of the fake jquery malware infection by looking for artifacts and employing a variety of User-Agent strings and geolocations.

Unsurprisingly, we found a web of malicious redirects via malvertising campaigns with a strong focus on mobile users who are tricked into installing rogue apps. The end goal is to monetize via fullscreen adverts that pop up on your phone at regular intervals.

Looking for a clue

Our search begins by looking up some of the domains mentioned on Twitter by @Placebo52510486. There are thousands of sites listed by PublicWWW that have been injected with malicious jquery lookalikes.

While we do not know the exact infection vector, many of these websites are running an outdated Content Management System (CMS).

Like other researchers before, when we replayed traffic the supposedly malicious JavaScript was once again empty.

However, with some persistence and luck, we were able to find an archive of this script when it was not empty.

We can see that it contains a redirect to: financeleader[.]co. A cursory check on this domain confirms the host pairs corresponding to those fake jquery domains. It’s worth noting that browsing to the root domain without the special identifier will redirect to google.com.

Desktop web traffic

There is some geo-targeting involved for the redirections and clearly desktop users do not appear to be the primary focus here. From a US IP address, you are presented with a bogus site where all items point to the same link that redirect you to instantcheckmate[.]com.

Associated web traffic:

From a non US IP, you are redirected to a page that aggressively advertises VPNs:

Associated web traffic:

Mobile web traffic

Once we switch to a mobile User-Agent and Android in particular, we can see a lot more activity and a variety of redirects. For example in one case, we were served a bogus adult site that requires users to download an app in order to play the videos:

Associated web traffic:

This app is malicious (detected as Android/Trojan.HiddenAds.xt by Malwarebytes) and will generate full screen ads at regular intervals.

Traffic monetization and ad fraud

While we encountered some desktop traffic, we believe the primary goal of the fake jquery campaign is to monetize from mobile users. This would explain the level of filtering involved to hide non-qualified traffic.

We weren’t able to get an idea of the scale at play, especially considering that the domain initiating the redirects really only became active in late May. However, given the number of websites that have been compromised, this campaign is quite likely funneling a significant amount of traffic leading to ad fraud.

Malwarebytes users are protected against this campaign both on desktop and mobile.

Indicators of Compromise

Fake jquery domains:
12js[.]org
16js[.]org
22js[.]org
lib0[.]org
16lib[.]org
12lib[.]org
wp11[.]org

Redirects:
financeleader[.]co
afflink[.]org

Malicious APKs:
0e67fd9fc535e0f9cf955444d81b0e84882aa73a317d7c8b79af48d91b79ef19 a210c9960edc5362b23e0a73b92b4ce4597911b00e91e7d3ca82632485c5e68d

The post Fake jquery campaign leads to malvertising and ad fraud schemes appeared first on Malwarebytes Labs.

Categories: Techie Feeds

MooglyCAL2019 – Afghan Block #13

Moogly - Thu, 06/27/2019 - 15:00

Relax and enjoy Block #13 in the MooglyCAL2019 – courtesy of The Purple Poncho! This graphic crochet square pattern features tons of texture with simple but clever moves! Disclaimer: This post includes affiliate links; materials provided by Red Heart Yarns, Furls Crochet, and Chetnanigans. Just getting started with the Crochet Along? CLICK HERE for the...

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The post MooglyCAL2019 – Afghan Block #13 appeared first on moogly. Please visit www.mooglyblog.com for this post. If you are viewing this on another site they have scraped the content from my website without permission. Thank you for your support.

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Categories: Crochet Life

Taking a Deeper Slice of DDA1: "Arena of Thyatis" (1990), by John Nephew

Swords & Stitchery - Thu, 06/27/2019 - 06:54
"And simply everyone is going to the magnificent Villa Osteroplus, home of the wealthy old senator, Helenites. Raucous fun, exotic food, and even advanced betting on the upcoming Arena games are expected. Even adventurers just in from the outlands may meet the powerful here. So don your festive togas, for in Thyatis City there are important connections to be made and deeds to be done, Needleshttp://www.blogger.com/profile/11243274667834930867noreply@blogger.com0
Categories: Tabletop Gaming Blogs

On the Last of the Sale!

Hack & Slash - Thu, 06/27/2019 - 06:45
We will have a normal post tomorrow, but this is the last day of the sale.

I'm very proud of my art, and I think I've been doing good stuff. I'd like to move some of it, so between now and Saturday morning when I wake up, everything on my Etsy store is 60% off! On Saturday morning, the sale ends, and all my stuff returns to its default price, so take advantage before it's too late!

It's original art, check some of it out. Most of these pieces took between 40-60 hours to create, so you're really getting something fantastic to add to your gaming space, or perhaps to sell after the next few very popular books I write! Did you know I have 3 books in various stages of production right now?

Exciting stuff. Get in and get something awesome for your house or gaming room before the opportunity ends!!

The prices are so crazy low on these, I'm almost embarrassed to post them. What artist would sell his work at such a discount? Get yourself something nice and help and my daughter out in the deal!!

Saturday morning the sale will end, and we will see you next month for the release of Megadungeon #4.

















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Categories: Tabletop Gaming Blogs

1308

Looking For Group - Thu, 06/27/2019 - 04:00

The post 1308 appeared first on Looking For Group.

Categories: Web Comics

GreenFlash Sundown exploit kit expands via large malvertising campaign

Malwarebytes - Wed, 06/26/2019 - 18:30

Exploit kit activity has been relatively quiet for some time, with the occasional malvertising campaign reminding us that drive-by downloads are still a threat.

However, during the past few days we noticed a spike in our telemetry for what appeared to be a new exploit kit. Upon closer inspection we realized it was actually the very elusive GreenFlash Sundown EK.

The threat actors behind it have a unique modus operandi that consists of compromising ad servers that are run by website owners. In essence, they are able to poison the ads served by the affected publisher via this unique kind of malvertising.

In this blog, we review their latest campaign responsible for pushing ransomware, Pony and a coin miner. A number of publishers have been compromised and this marks the first time we see GreenFlash Sundown EK expand widely out of Asia.

Stealthy compromise

At first, we believed the attack originated from one ad network, but we were able to pinpoint where it came from by reviewing traffic captures. One of the affected publishers is onlinevideoconverter[.]com, a popular site to convert videos from YouTube and other platforms into files. According to SimilarWeb, it drives 200 million visitors per month:

Stats over the past few months show high traffic volume

People navigating to the page to convert YouTube videos into the MP4 format will be sent to the exploit kit, but only after some very careful fingerprinting. The full redirection sequence is shown below:

Web traffic leading to the exploit kit

The redirection mechanism is cleverly hidden within a fake GIF image that actually contains a well obfuscated piece of JavaScript:

Smart way to conceal JavaScript within an image

After some painful debugging, we can see that it links to fastimage[.]site:

Debugging the JavaScript reveals the next hop in the chain

The next few sessions contain more interesting code including a file loaded from fastimage[.]site/uptime.js which is actually a Flash object.

Another fancy method of performing a covert redirect

This performs the redirection to adsfast[.]site which we recognize as being part of the GreenFlash Sundown exploit kit. It uses a Flash Exploit to deliver its encoded payload via PowerShell:

Leveraging PowerShell is interesting because it allows to do some pre-checks before deciding to drop the payload or not. For example, in this case it will check that the environment is not a Virtual Machine. If the environment is acceptable, it will deliver a very visible payload in SEON ransomware:

SEON’s ransomware note

The ransomware uses a batch script to perform some of its duties, such as deleting shadow copies:

Batch helper to delete backups

GreenFlash Sundown EK will also drop Pony and a coin miner while victims struggle to decide the best course of action in order to recover their files.

Wider campaign

Our previous encounters with GreenFlash Sundown EK, for example during our winter 2019 exploit kits review, were always limited to South Korea. However, based on our telemetry this campaign is active in North America and Europe, which is an interesting departure for this threat group.

Telemetry stats showing where we found GreenFlash Sundown most active

Malwarebytes users were already protected against these drive-by attacks and we have informed the publisher about the compromise so that they can take action.

Indicators of Compromise

GreenFlash Sundown infrastructure:
hxxps[://]fastimage[.]site/
hxxp[://]adsfast[.]site/
hxxp[://]accomplishedsettings[.]cdn-cloud[.]club/
104.248.42[.]143
172.105.66[.]231
198.211.126[.]118

Seon ransomware:
a89591555b9acb65353c2b854e582bc41db2fbc0eda2210b89a877d1862084df
591e7f5eb141c22919a406508f63a558e3bd732fe38844cedbbea938d666e78b

Pony:
c772bdf4bd05ab63d90f4399e97a1d7eec2891c221739e3b843f9a8c9eddf4d3
9ff00b46b949bd76923137c0b0ed3cd4e252d6e88a55e9b4798525fa40164850

Coin miner:
58002d0b8acd1a539503d8ea02ff398e7ad079e0b856087f0ca30d767588be4e

[Update: 2019-06-28] Joseph Chen from Trend Micro has blogged about the return of this campaign called ShadowGate.

The post GreenFlash Sundown exploit kit expands via large malvertising campaign appeared first on Malwarebytes Labs.

Categories: Techie Feeds

An Alternative Campaign Path For B10 Night's Dark Terror by Jim Bambra, Graeme Morris, & Phil Gallagher

Swords & Stitchery - Wed, 06/26/2019 - 17:12
"Barely one day's march from Kelven, the uncharted tracts of the Dymrak forest conceal horrors enough to freeze the blood of civilized folk. Those who have ventured there tell how death comes quick to the unwary - for the woods at night are far worse than any dungeon. But you are adventurers, veterans of many battles, and the call of the will is strong. Will you answer the call, or are you Needleshttp://www.blogger.com/profile/11243274667834930867noreply@blogger.com0
Categories: Tabletop Gaming Blogs

Perfect Summer Crochet Clutch Tutorial

Moogly - Wed, 06/26/2019 - 14:57

The Perfect Summer Crochet Clutch Tutorial demonstrates how to make this simple and classic looking summer bag pattern – in right and left-handed video tutorials! It’s easy to customize this one – and fun to crochet it, too! Disclaimer: This post includes affiliate links; materials provided by Red Heart and Furls. Perfect Summer Clutch Tutorial:...

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The post Perfect Summer Crochet Clutch Tutorial appeared first on moogly. Please visit www.mooglyblog.com for this post. If you are viewing this on another site they have scraped the content from my website without permission. Thank you for your support.

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Categories: Crochet Life

From the Mouth of Babes

Ten Foot Pole - Wed, 06/26/2019 - 11:15
By Ken Carcas Aegis Studios B/X Level 2-3

A dirty pair of hungry goblin children wander upon the party on the wilderness side of The Untamed Gauntlet. Through difficult communication, the party manages to find out that something bad happened to their clan. The children, still unaware of the villainous nature of man to goblin, attempt to convince their newfound ’friends’ to come and help. Leading the party back to the lair, they are eventually confronted with the fact that the clans own hunting wolves are responsible for the clan’s demise. To make matters worse, it appears the crazed nature of the wolves, due to the arcane effects of the poison has transformed the once ordinary wolves into poison wielding beasts in their own right. Will the party overcome these freaks of nature and their poison attacks, and what will become of the goblin children themselves?

Nothing to see here, move along.

This sixteen page adventure features a five room linear dungeon. With encounters spanning a page or more, the backstory and irrelevant detail is strong with this one.

The exploration of Aegis Studios carpet-bombing of content continues, and probably will as long as different designers keep producing content for it. I think this is designer number six under the Aegis banner? Aegis certainly came on strong with O&O content.

The hook encounter is a page long. It involves two goblin children coming out of the forest, hungry, asking the party for help. This should have been the first warning … a full page for this is long, with separate read-alouds for day and night. To its credit it does present a second hook, for when the party kills the kids; a diseased wolf shows up and you can track it back to the same caves.

Otherwise …

To find the goblin cave you need to make a wisdom check. If you fail you can try again next hour. Each hour you get a +1 bonus. There are no wanderers, so it’s just pointless dice rolling.

The encounters are between a column and a page and half long. Two giants rats? That’s a column of text. Three goblins, that’s a page and half because of all the backstory they could relate to you. An empty room is a quarter page. Two wolves is a page long.  This is all textbook padding through history and other detail that’s irrelevant to the game at hand. “The remaining goblins from Area 2 have recently killed a couple of giant rats that ventured into their lair obviously looking for an easy meal. The goblins managed to kill both but only managed to drag one back to Area 2 before the Venom Wolves from below ventured up to see what the noise was all about. It is unknown why they chose to leave the remaining dead giant rat where it was and not claim it as a meal.” In the end I sigh, roll my eyes, and thank Vecna I never have to try to run this at the table. There’s just way too much shit for each room to be able to scan it and run it easily. Padding, filler, poorly organized … it’s words for the sake of words. I wonder if Travis pays per word?

The female goblins are listed with HD:1-1. They have 14HP, 12HP, and 8HP. Is this on a d20? Maybe it’s just me, but something seems off to me …

This is $2 at DriveThru, where Featured Reviewer Megan R. gives it five stars. A quick check of her last sixty reviews shows one three star review (for a Delta Green DM screen) a couple of four stars and mostly five star reviews. This is the world we live in.

Anyway, the preview is four pages. The last page shows the Wisdom Check for the cave, the first room, and the start of the (1.5 page) second room. Room one is a good example of what to expect, only much much much more so, in terms of padding.


https://www.drivethrurpg.com/product/275682/From-the-Mouth-of-Babes?1892600

Categories: Tabletop Gaming Blogs

On New Henchmen and More Crazy Deals!?!

Hack & Slash - Wed, 06/26/2019 - 07:40
Hey everyone! I started this sale because I had medical bills to pay, along with needing to get some money together to help my daughter attend some fun summer camps. Well, the medical bill has been paid, and I'm looking for a way to give back a little. How can I make this not a bullshit sale?How about this. Henchman Season 1 .pdf, and the Hack and Slash Blog Compendiums are all pay what you want till Thursday. The print copies of the 4 compendiums are 50% off (it won't let me go any higher with the discount, otherwise it would lose money.) 
Get all these .pdfs for Free! (Although feel free to help out with the summer camp bill.)Henchmen Season 1Hack & Slash Compendium I: Covering theory, and 16 great 5th edition backgrounds!Hack & Slash Compendium II: The updated Treasure document, never have boring treasure again!Hack & Slash Compendium III: Covering classes and class design!Hack & Slash Compendium IV: A tome devoted to wizards and their nefarious shenanigans!The print versions are as cheap as I can make them for the next 24 hours!Hack & Slash Compendium I, Normally 7.99$, 3.99$ for today only!Hack & Slash Compendium II, Normally 8.99$, 4.50$ for today only!Hack & Slash Compendium III, Normally 8.99$, 4.50$ for today only!Hack & Slash Compendium IV, Normally 7.99$, 3.99$ for today only!I use all these books at the table during games. I used them last night while running Perdition online!
Oh, This sale hasn't stopped my content creation. Here are the first 2 henchmen of Season 2, which focuses on demi-humans. You can check me out on stream today, if you'd like to hang out and talk about Dungeons and Dragons and the Debates while I work on Season 2!
The high-def versions of the henchmen are over on the Patreon, along with all the above books (simply for being a patreon). Patreons also have access to special editions of each compendium and henchman seasons with additional content.Thanks everyone! We'll be back on Thursday with more great deals! See you then if I don't see you online!


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Categories: Tabletop Gaming Blogs

Gorbelization

3d6 Traps & Thieves - Wed, 06/26/2019 - 00:56
Fiend Folio – Tome of Frequent Rants and Much-Maligned
During the past almost-forty years, I’ve learned that I’m not exactly the typical D&D user.I’ve never DMed a module. I’ve never set an adventure in another setting besides my own. Every book or supplement I own is used as reference. Sometimes, as a source of inspiration. So many players like to say “Make the game your own,” or, “The rules are just guidelines.” Agreed. But, I tend to take those observations very much more to heart than most.
So many of the monster entries in the Fiend Folio really suck. Sure. I can say the same for the Monster Manual II. Hell – I can bust on quite a few of the original Monster Manual entries as well. But, what is the point? So many of these monsters were created for use in a very specific fantasy game environment. If you’re playing a game where much of the action takes place in a grossly unrealistic “dungeon” environment, then why disparage monsters created to complement that environment? That might be another blog entry entirely. I’m here to talk about the damn Gorbel.
In Avremier, some kobold tribes found deep underground cultivate fungus as a food staple. One in particular is a big, reddish, globular specimen that grows from a pair of extremely tough stalks. The pinkish flesh inside makes for a delightful meal. In time, the fungus passes through the more viable stage of its life cycle, and is no longer edible. The outer skin grows thick and leathery – or rubbery. The reddish hue becomes more pronounced, almost as a visible warning. Rhizome stalks sprout along the upper circumference of the spherical body. An aperture opens near the bottom to slowly release spores that have built up within. The inside of the fungus fills with a spore-laden gas that can cause vivid and pleasant hallucinations when inhaled. Some kobolds like to climb inside, curl up snugly, and take a relaxing little hallucinogenic “trip.” Sometimes, the “trip” goes bad and the kobold tears off on a brief and addled rampage. This is known as “going gorbel.”
So – the Gorbel in Avremier is an LSD-tripping kobold in a crazy leather mushroom suit. Much less ridiculous than the original, I know.
The kobold wakes up from its hallucinogenic reverie and tries to act out something it sees in a lucid dream. The kobold’s little legs and feet find their way into the twin stalks of the fungus – which break off, and it’s off to the races! Hopped-up on goofy-gas, the kobold is immune to blunt damage – like impacts and falls, which it just bounces back from and then goes off on its merry way. The kobold’s arms have nowhere to go. They stay inside. So, all damage inflicted by the gorbeling kobold is through the jagged stem-feet. Piercing the fungus causes it to burst outward – leaving the kobold inside a calm epicenter, totally unharmed and wearing a great big smile.Some kobold tribes send gorbeling kobolds out into battle as somewhat unreliable, but surprisingly effective, shock troops. And, yes – the Gorbel is related to the Gas Spore, which is related to the Beholder (in Avremier). All those creatures are fungus-based (in Avremier).

Categories: Tabletop Gaming Blogs

Roleplay in the Cosmos in Teens in Space from Renegade Games

Gamer Goggles - Tue, 06/25/2019 - 22:48

Roleplay in the Cosmos in Teens in Space
Spinning off from the exciting RPG of strange adventures in small towns, Kids on Bikes, Teens in Space takes the adventures of youth to the stars.
We are so thrilled to announce, in partnership with Hunters Entertainment and Infectious Play Publishing, that Teens In Space is landing everywhere in August!

Designed and developed by Jonathan Gilmour and Doug Levandowski, this roleplaying game sets the stage as you and your group of friends venture into the cosmos for adventure and profit. Along the way, your crew’s bonds will be tested, your ship will malfunction, and you’ll probably get shot a few times. But that’s all in a day’s work for Teens in Space!

Player characters will take on the roles of adolescents of a variety of species at the age of nearly full maturity; closing near their full physical and intellectual potential but lacking experience and wisdom. You’ll travel the stars in a customized starship of your own design and through your adventures you may discover many things about the galaxy you inhabit, as well as about yourself at this formative stage just before adulthood.

 

Teens in Space is an all-in-one 122-page full-colored book featuring art by Heather Vaughn and with sections for both players and GMs. Powered by the Kids on Bikes system for a streamlined world-building and storytelling experience, this game is optimized for crews of 2-6 players aged 8+ with a dedicated storyteller at the helm.

Categories: Tabletop Gaming Blogs

[REVIEW] Magical Murder Mansion

Beyond Fomalhaut - Tue, 06/25/2019 - 18:08
Magical Murder Mansion
Magical Murder Mansion (2019)by SkerplesSelf-publishedMid-level
Before you stands a bizarre creation: a funhouse dungeon that tries to make sense. It is a neatly engineered mishmash, an IKEA nightmare that would pass an EU inspection. You see, the killer cucumbers are all according to directive, and the death ray room will kill you in a fair way. Do not run. You will, in fact, have fun. Welcome to Magical Murder Mansion.
In this module, the characters will explore the haunted house of a crazy wizard who has apparently shuffled off this mortal coil, but not before turning his mansion into a funny deathtrap where adventurers will love to die. Indeed, it will be Hubert Nibsley – and the GM – who will have the last laugh! Where early funhouse dungeons were created through a stream-of-consciousness loose association approach (magical herbs optional), this is a studied recreation of this dungeon subgenre. Tegel Manor, White Plume Mountain and The Tomb of Horrors are cited in the introduction, which lays out the design goals of the module in a clear and transparent fashion. It is deadly, it is full of bizarre stuff, and it is somewhat adversarial, but it is not capricious – a real “thinking man’s dungeon” that plays fair and allows for a lot of open-ended problem solving. Of course, it is also a lesson in the ultimate funhouse design – that poking hornets’ nests is a lot of fun.
Magical Murder Mansion is admirably large and complex by modern standards. It describes a multi-level mansion and its 90 keyed areas – and takes only 15 pages to do so with inset maps and a few illustrations, before dedicating the other half of the module to new monsters and other supplementary materials. The entries represent a good compromise between scope and detail. There is establishing flavour (“Tawdry abstract red and orange wall hangings, badly chewed or motheaten”), and GM information presented in a clear, succinct way tailored for table use (“Small water basin full of light pink oil of slipperiness: makes everything it touches frictionless for 10 minutes”).
Most encounters are things to mess with, traps, or puzzles which are reasonably open-ended and typically depend on observation and a little lateral thinking, which usually represents 40-50% of the mythical “player skill”. The author set out to write a module where even failures make sense in hindsight (“Yup, we did walk into this one”), and has stuck to this vision. The action is mostly non-linear (although there is one gated “collect these four objects” puzzle that’s essential), and after the players go through a few encounters, they’ll invariably start to think up crazy schemes to turn the deathtraps and monsters into an asset to combat other deathtraps and monsters. This kind of emergent complexity is nice to see in a published product.
Vegetables Gone Bad
This is not a module for people who like deep immersion, or care for some kind of pseudo-historical veneer over their games. The mansion is completely anachronistic even in D&D’s obviously ahistorical assumed setting (which, ironically, would not have been out of place at a late 1970s game table). It is also filled with gonzo monsters like laser rats, the cool-as-ice wrestling angel, and the veggie-mites, a tribe of animated vegetables. It is all silly, but the monsters are functional, and two (the module’s take on tooth fairies and the mole dragon) are original and quite creepy. It did lack a certain whimsical sense of wonder that’s present in Tegel Manor and White Plume Mountain, which also pitch seriousness out the window, but somehow do better at building an environment that feels magical (the whole "dungeon as mythic underworld" concept). This is, again, a rationalist’s take on these old hallucinatory visions.
It would be unfair to omit the module’s dedication to usability. Dungeon sections are mostly presented on facing pages, one of which displays a partial map of the specific mansion section. The map itself is easy to read, and there is a blank players’ version that could be printed on a larger sheet of paper (something that comes from Tegel). Handy cross-references point to the material you will need. Creature stats are not included in the main module text, but at least they are simple to find in the appendix – along with more useful stuff, like tables for magical accidents and enchanted pools. There is also abundant explanatory text and GM advice about running the module and getting the most out of it.
As mentioned above, Magical Murder Mansion is a sleek, highly polished take on the funhouse dungeon concept. Everything is in its right place, and it is actually quite sensible as some powerful madman’s final prank on the world. Maybe it is just a bit too orderly – it lacks some of the drive and baroque flourishes of the modules it was inspired by, like the Green Devil Face or the Gazebo with a killer vine which has -8 AC and 50 hit points. So what you get is more Scooby Doo than a bizarre Fleischer Brothers cartoon caught on late night TV – which is a criticism only if you were expecting the latter. As a beer-and-pretzels that doesn’t take itself too seriously, it is very well done.
No playtesters are credited in this publication.
Rating: **** / *****
Categories: Tabletop Gaming Blogs

Fragmentation Parade

3d6 Traps & Thieves - Tue, 06/25/2019 - 16:24

Sometime around 1982: The Moldvay Basic Set of D&D comes into my possession. Work on what would eventually become the Avremier Campaign Setting begins almost immediately.
Late-90s: I wanna do a funny campaign setting or game. My mind obsesses over the idea of what would become Duckin’ & Braggin’. Sword & Farcery becomes a genre for my project development.
Y2K: With the release of the D20 3E rule set, I set aside my long-running D&D campaign to try my hand at a new setting – Pelagena. Due to – reasons, the game falls apart and Pelagena is mothballed, but eventually becomes integrated into Avremier as select bits and pieces.
Circa 2004: Development begins on a new setting called Avremier. While this one eventually falls through, many of the core concepts, along with the name, are retained for the project going forward.
Sometime between 2004 and 2010: Taking my notes for regions of Avremier that never saw use, I set aside these areas for future consideration. They never seem right for inclusion in the “final” incarnation of the “official” Avremier setting. Thus, they languish in development Limbo.
2008: D&D 4E is released and I swear off the brand entirely. I have enough books and materials to keep me going for the rest of my life. Not long after, Pathfinder rears its shiny new head.
Circa 2010: I embrace Pathfinder as my rule set of choice. An attempt to compile and edit Avremier to share, using Pathfinder rules, is launched – to frustrating failure. Too crunchy for me at the time. Still too crunchy for me today. I'm also trying to be an author.
Not long after 2010: In a fit of depression, I dive back into development of Duckin’ & Braggin’. It seems easier and more fun. At least, less frustrating. I am wrong, as the focus and direction for the project still eludes me. Back to Avremier.
2012: This is a hazy period for me. I lose my mind entirely and decide to go back to formula. I started with the BX rules, so that’s where I should start. Right? Nope. I go back even further…no – further still. I manage to acquire copies of all the original booklets from 1974-1976. Naturally, Wizbro decides to release a retro set of booklets in 2013. Screw it – I get that too. I never played this edition of the game, but I’m gonna learn it. I am now a historian. I wanna know where it all came from.
Early 2015: D&D 5E is released. I decide to give it a chance. It isn’t bad. But, I’m already in the throes of a nostalgic fit. I set 5E aside for now.
2016: Start of the Avremier Project. I want some nifty little booklets of my own setting – for myself. I want to see if I can write, compile, edit, layout, illustrate, print, and publish these things all by myself. I’m neck-deep in madness now.
2018: It’s done. Avremier is a thing. Mothshade Concepts is a fledgling thing. My mind implodes and I descend to new subterranean dungeon levels of insanity.
2019: What have I done?! Well, whatever it is, I need to figure out how to make it work. I need to become Mothshade Concepts. But, there are SO MANY projects. I’ve devoted my mind, body, and soul to Avremier these past few years and it’s taking a toll. Oh, look – Duckin’ & Braggin’! Wait – I’ve finally figured out just how I want to approach developing D&B! Buuuuuuut…I have a few ideas for some entirely new D&D campaign settings. Remember those early, unused regions of Avremier I set aside – yeah, me too. Now I have RedStaff, Grayharrow, and Violet Grimoire to contend with. New stuff to develop! My brain loves that! I’m doomed.

Categories: Tabletop Gaming Blogs

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