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6GS Devilis Elbow . Draw! Step by step how-to when outnumbered?!

Two Hour Wargames - Wed, 11/28/2018 - 00:44









"Yeah, but what if there's 3 or 4 opponents?"  That's why you carry two six-guns. Pass 3d6 and get four shots off!
Categories: Tabletop Gaming Blogs

Why Malwarebytes decided to participate in AV testing

Malwarebytes - Tue, 11/27/2018 - 22:44

Starting this month, Malwarebytes began participating in the antivirus software for Windows comparison test performed by AV-test.org. This is uncharted territory for us, as we have refrained from participating in these types of tests since our inception. Although recent testing results show Malwarebytes protecting against more than 97 percent of web vector threats and detecting and removing 99.5 percent of malware during a scan on any machine, we still maintain reservations about the entire testing process.

Why participate now?

In the past, we’ve avoided AV comparison tests because we felt their methods did not allow us to demonstrate how our product works in a real environment. By testing only a small portion of our product’s technologies, AV comparison tests are often unable to replicate Malwarebytes’ overall effectiveness. However, we understand the importance of independent reviews for those considering a Malwarebytes purchase, so we decided to participate.

Malwarebytes is not a traditional antivirus, and detecting files based on signatures—which is what the testing companies review—is only one of the methods we use to protect our customers from threats. We probably never will be the best performer in this category; it simply isn’t our focus. We mostly rely on other methods, such as hardening, application behavior, and vector blocking defenses that disrupt malware earlier in the attack chain.

What did the test miss?

Some of our best technologies block malware before it has the chance to execute. Our application behavior and web protection modules, for example, stop threats earlier in the attack—at the point of delivery instead of the point of execution. However, the URLs tested only represent the final stage of an attack (i.e. the URL pointing to the final payload EXE).

In addition, testers often do not replicate the original infection vector used by malware campaigns, such as malspam, exploits, or redirects. Instead, they download the malware directly, bypassing typical delivery methods. By doing this, they´re controlling the environment, but also missing out on the trigger for many of our detections.

What exactly is checked in these monthly AV-Test.org tests?
  • Detections (specifications)
    • Detection of URLs pointing directly to malware EXEs (i.e. “web and email threats” test)
    • On-demand scan of a directory full of malware EXEs (i.e. “widespread and prevalent malware” test)
  • Performance impact, such as browsing slowdown, application load slowdown, slowdown of file copy operations, etc.
  • Usability test, with focus on false positives

More information about the test procedures can be found at AV-Test.org.

Unsolicited tests

A number of times in the past, Malwarebytes has been included in tests that we were not aware of or in which we didn’t choose to participate. Some even compared our free, limited scanner against fully functional AVs. No surprises there: while the other vendors may have scored higher in their detections, our free scanner still outperformed them in remediation and removal.

Change the tests

If the tests miss out on our best protection modules, you would expect us to try and change the testing methods altogether, right? We did look into this, and it’s not entirely off the table. We feel sure that using live malware or duplicating real-life attacks would show our excellence, but these conditions are hard to replicate for a controlled and equal testing environment.

What we would like to see is a test for zero-day effectiveness, and not a test based on relatively old samples and infection vectors. But again, we also understand that this is hard to achieve for a testing organization that likes to have some control over the environment and in order to create a level playing field.

When and where can we expect to see your test results?

As of November 27, 2018, AV-Test.org will include results for our flagship consumer product, Malwarebytes for Windows versions 3.5 and 3.6. AV-Test.org publishes their results publicly every two months. The November 2018 results are the summary of tests performed during September and October. Our participation is only in the “Windows Antivirus” test for home users.

We still do not believe in the “pay-to-play” model, and especially the “pay-to-see-what-you-missed” model that some organizations use. (AV companies, for an additional fee, can see the samples they did not catch in the test and develop fixes in the product for future tests/use.) Nonetheless, we want to give our customers some idea of what we are capable of, even when the playing field is skewed.

We would just like you to keep in mind that, when reviewing our scores, these tests only show part of the whole picture. Many of our best protection modules have been left out of the test entirely—which basically misses what Malwarebytes is truly capable of.

So what would you rather have: a product that does well on AV tests, or a product that detects, blocks, and cleans up threats in the real world?

The post Why Malwarebytes decided to participate in AV testing appeared first on Malwarebytes Labs.

Categories: Techie Feeds

The Vidja Games

Looking For Group - Tue, 11/27/2018 - 21:48

I have been fortunate of late, in that I have had some of what the ancient scholars referred to as ‘free time’ and have been able to vidja game (translation: video game). I’ve always been very peculiar in what I […]

The post The Vidja Games appeared first on Looking For Group.

Categories: Web Comics

And there were robots

Yarn Harlot - Tue, 11/27/2018 - 20:09

Well, there. Youngest daughter is not only married, but the occasion’s now been properly feted, and I can’t even tell you how trashed our house is.  Not the kind of trashed that comes from not cleaning up for a few days because you’re busy, I mean the kind of deep trashing that comes from three sisters doing their nails while searching for just the right earrings (everything from my scant collection was rejected, and in the end Megan gave Sam the ones she was wearing) while a father tries to find his cuff links and tune his guitar while another installs fairy lights all over a venue, while people drop things off, and pick things up and Pato and Ken cut signs out and Megan arranged props for the photo booth and Amanda’s trying to secretly tune a violin and there was rehearsal and sound check and all of my pairs of tights had holes and my hair was trying to come out funny and we cut and arranged all the flowers and made three kinds of salad for sixty people while there’s glitter goddamn everywhere and there’s a hairdresser doing Sam’s hair in the living room and auntie’s are being picked up and dropped off and another one is bringing over the favours and who did we think was picking up the samosas, and I baked six batches of brownies and then we had to figure out how to get a brownie tower and all the flowers to the venue and then it started to rain.   That’s what put us over the top, I think.

(A few quick shots of her shawl, what with you all caring about the knitting, I think. Pattern is Timeless, and the yarn is Shibui Lunar, beads are silver lined crystals.)

It was worth it. Every minute of it. Just look at that Bride shine.

I think it’s pretty clear, from the way I’ve chosen to live my life, that making and doing things for others is a love language for me, and it’s a value I know Joe and Ken share, and one that we’ve worked hard to instill in our children and those we’ve chosen to make our family.

I have never been more confident that I’m surrounded now by people who feel the value in it. From Sam, agreeing to have this party – one I’m not sure she wanted (hence eloping to Vegas) but going along so cheerfully to show us she loves us, and feels the love we have for her… to watching her siblings bust a move so hard to fill the day with things and people that she loves… to the gifts of music and time and energy and hand made things that were special for Sam, and for each other.

 

It was good for my heart too, to see her new husband Mike working to learn this language. He’s a good guy, that Mike, and I can tell his family shares a lot of these values, though the scale of our escapades might be a surprise to him. (Quite possibly, it was the flashmob that got him – when Joe brought out the guitar, and the gathered masses all broke into “You’ve really got me” with a lot more enthusiasm and less skill than The Kinks.)

It is in these moments that I am so proud of this little family – and I my only wish now is that we could learn to do it without trashing the house so completely. (I have washed the kitchen floor twice and I think the silver glitter may be permanent.)

PS. Amanda has been instructed to not even think about dating for a while. Or at least until I get the house clean.

Categories: Knitting Feeds

Christmas Appendix N Campaign Commentary - Algernon Henry Blackwood & The OSR Campaign Apocalyse

Swords & Stitchery - Tue, 11/27/2018 - 19:33
Adventurers are made not born into the life that we often find PC's & with the Christmas holidays approaching Algernon Henry Blackwood has been on my mind. Blackwood's is a world where one steps out the door into nature & you risk stepping into an alien world not of this Earth. The world of a fundamentally different reality whose rules are not those we know or can easily understand.   For Needleshttp://www.blogger.com/profile/11243274667834930867noreply@blogger.com0
Categories: Tabletop Gaming Blogs

Malwarebytes’ 2019 security predictions

Malwarebytes - Tue, 11/27/2018 - 16:00

Every year, we at Malwarebytes Labs like to stare into our crystal ball and foretell the future of malware.

Okay, maybe we don’t have a crystal ball, but we do have years and years of experience in observing trends and sensing shifts in patterns. When it comes to security, though, we can only know so much. For example, we guarantee there’ll be some kind of development that we had zero indication would occur. We also can pretty much assure you that data breaches will keep happening—just as the sun rises and sets.

And while all hope is for a malware-free 2019, the reality will likely look a little more like this:

New, high-profile breaches will push the security industry to finally solve the username/password problem. The ineffective username/password conundrum has plagued consumers and businesses for years. There are many solutions out there—asymmetric cryptography, biometrics, blockchain, hardware solutions, etc.—but so far, the cybersecurity industry has not been able to settle on a standard to fix the problem. In 2019, we will see a more concerted effort to replace passwords altogether.

IoT botnets will come to a device near you. In the second half of 2018, we saw several thousand MikroTik routers hacked to serve up coin miners. This is only the beginning of what we will likely see in the new year, with more and more hardware devices being compromised to serve up everything from cryptominers to Trojans. Large scale compromises of routers and IoT devices are going to take place, and they are a lot harder to patch than computers. Even just patching does not fix the problem, if the device is infected.

Digital skimming will increase in frequency and sophistication. Cybercriminals are going after websites that process payments and compromising the checkout page directly. Whether you are purchasing roller skates or concert tickets, when you enter your information on the checkout page, if the shopping cart software is faulty, information is sent in clear text, allowing attackers to intercept in real time. Security companies saw evidence of this with the British Airways and Ticketmaster hacks.

Microsoft Edge will be a prime target for new zero-day attacks and exploit kits. Transitioning out of IE, Microsoft Edge is gaining more market share. We expect to see more mainstream Edge exploits as we segue to this next generation browser. Firefox and Chrome have done a lot to shore up their own technology, making Edge the next big target.

EternalBlue or a copycat will become the de facto method for spreading malware in 2019. Because it can self-propagate, EtnernalBlue and others in the SMB vulnerability present a particular challenge for organizations, and cybercriminals will exploit this to distribute new malware.

Cryptomining on desktops, at least on the consumer side, will just about die. Again, as we saw in October (2018) with MikroTik routers being hacked to serve up miners, cybercriminals just aren’t getting value out of targeting individual consumers with cryptominers. Instead, attacks distributing cryptominers will focus on platforms that can generate more revenue (servers, IoT) and will fade from other platforms (browser-based mining).

Attacks designed to avoid detection, like soundloggers, will slip into the wild. Keyloggers that record sounds are sometimes called soundloggers, and they are able to listen to the cadence and volume of tapping to determine which keys are struck on a keyboard. Already in existence, this type of attack was developed by nation-state actors to target adversaries. Attacks using this and other new attack methodologies designed to avoid detection are likely to slip out into the wild against businesses and the general public.

Artificial Intelligence will be used in the creation of malicious executables While the idea of having malicious AI running on a victim’s system is pure science fiction at least for the next 10 years, malware that is modified by, created by, and communicating with an AI is a dangerous reality. An AI that communicates with compromised computers and monitors which and how certain malware is detected can quickly deploy countermeasures. AI controllers will enable malware built to modify its own code to avoid being detected on the system, regardless of the security tool deployed. Imagine a malware infection that acts almost like “The Borg” from Star Trek, adjusting and acclimating its attack and defense methods on the fly based on what it is up against.

Bring your own security grows as trust declines. More and more consumers are bringing their own security to the workplace as a first or second layer of defense to protect their personal information. Malwarebytes recently conducted global research and found that nearly 200,000 companies had a consumer version of Malwarebytes installed. Education was the industry most prone to adopting BYOS, followed by software/technology and business services. 

The post Malwarebytes’ 2019 security predictions appeared first on Malwarebytes Labs.

Categories: Techie Feeds

Support OSR News

Bat in the Attic - Tue, 11/27/2018 - 14:02

Collecting news and information about the OSR is often a thankless job. There is a ever-growing kaleidoscope of OSR publishers with new products being released every day either commercially or non-commercially on a variety of platforms and formats.

James A. Smith of Dreams of Mythic Fantasy has dedicated considerable time and effort into collecting various bits of information and news about what going on around the OSR. Now he would like your support to keep on doing this. He has established a Patreon page where you can contribute a few bucks every month to keep his OSR News continuing. I hope you will join me in supporting James.

Support OSR News and Dreams of Mythic Fantasy

Categories: Tabletop Gaming Blogs

The Plight of the Unfrozen Dungeon Master

DM David - Tue, 11/27/2018 - 12:15

If you play Dungeons & Dragons in game stores, you will meet an unfrozen dungeon master. Fifteen years ago, I was one.

The first surge in the popularity of D&D started in 1977, when I found the first Basic Set, and continued in the 80s. Nerdy kids everywhere found the game, played obsessively, and then mostly moved on. Eventually groups separated for college and jobs. Players abandoned their books in their parents’ attics or sold them for gas money.

But we missed the game, and 10, 20, or 30 years later, those of us who loved D&D come back. We are the unfrozen dungeon masters.

Over the years, D&D has changed. Not just the rules, but also play style and player expectations have changed. When unfrozen DMs play, we can either adapt to the new style—shaped by 45 years of innovation. Or we can find like-minded players in the old school—still as fun as ever.

An unfrozen DM came to my local store during the fourth-edition era. He played enough to learn the new edition and then served as a DM on a Lair Assault. After the game, he told me about the rules he fixed on the fly because they didn’t suit him or his style of game. Such changes defied the spirit of fourth edition, which aimed to limit DM meddling in favor of giving players a clear understanding of how their actions will play in the game world. Such DM fiat especially defied the spirit of a competitive challenge like Lair Assault.

Since then, I haven’t seen a DM so clearly unfrozen, but DMs still stagger from caves and icebergs into game stores. When they run a game, newer players probably see too much focus on pitting an unyielding game world against the party, and too little on shaping the game to suit the players and their characters.

This topic inspired a question that I asked on Twitter. The answers showed the gulf between the game when I started playing and the current style of play. I felt a little like a DM staggering from melting ice to see a new world of wonders. Will I ever learn enough of the new ways to fit in?

When D&D started, DMs were called referees and they played the part of an dispassionate judge of the game. As a referee, you used die rolls to place most of the monsters and treasure in your dungeon. When the players explored, you let die rolls and the players’ choices determine the outcome. A referee ran home adventures the same they ran a tournament where competing teams might compare notes and expect impartial treatment.

D&D’s roots in wargaming set this pattern. Referees devised a scenario in advance. Players chose sides and played. In the spirit of fairness, referees didn’t change the scenario on the fly.

Chivalry & Sorcery (1978), one of D&D’s early imitators, spells out this ideal. The rules advised the GM to set out a dungeon’s details in advance so he could “prove them on paper should an incredulous group of players challenge his honesty or fairness.”

That style didn’t last. In most D&D games, no competing team watches for favoritism, so if the DM changes unseen parts of the dungeon, the players never know.

Dungeon masters differ from referees in other ways.

Unlike wargames with multiple sides, dungeon masters control the foes who battle the players. Now, DMs sometimes struggle to suppress a will to beat the players. In the 1980s, when people still struggled to understand a game that never declared a winner, competitive urges more often proved irresistible.

RULE NUMBER ONE in Chivalry & Sorcery is that it is a game, not an arena for ‘ego-trippers’ to commit mayhem with impunity on the defenseless or near defenseless characters of others. Games have to be FUN, with just enough risk to get the adrenalin pumping. The moment that an adventure degenerates into a butchering session is the time to call a halt and ask the would-be ‘god’ running the show just what he thinks he is doing, anyway.

All of the early fantasy RPGs came as reactions to D&D. For example, Tunnels and Trolls (1975) aimed to make D&D accessible to non-grognards—to players who didn’t know combat results table from a cathode ray tube. C&S follows the pattern. It reads as a response the shortcomings of D&D and the play style it tended to encourage.

C&S reveals much about how folks played D&D in the early years.

Before I entered the DM deep freeze, my players would sometimes discuss their plans of action out of my earshot. In their talks, as they speculated on the potential threats ahead, they imagined worst-case scenarios. To avoid giving me ideas, they kept me from overhearing. After all, their worst-case scenario might be harsher than anything I planned. (Obviously, I never borrowed the players ideas. My worst cases were always worse.)

D&D has changed since then, so I asked current players on Twitter for their feelings:

How do you feel about GMs who eavesdrop on your conversations, and then incorporate your speculations in the game?

  • Love it. Let’s tell stories together.
  • Hate it. The DM shouldn’t steal my ideas to complicate my character’s life.

In the responses, the lovers overwhelmed the haters to a degree that surprised me.

Players see RPGs are structured, collaborative storytelling and they enjoy seeing their ideas shape the tale. “D&D is a collaborative storytelling activity,@TraylorAlan explains. “I imagine it as a writer’s room for a TV show, with a head writer who has a plan that is modified by the other writers. A good DM riffs off what players do, uses that to build. Players then feel invested because their choices matter.

I agree, but my sense of the answers is that folks don’t often imagine their DM overhearing a worst-case scenario, and then wielding it against characters. If players only wanted compelling stories, DMs should sometimes adopt players’ cruelest ideas and use them. Stories feature characters facing obstacles. Countless sources of writing advice tell writers to torture their beloved characters. But how many players want to participate in the torture of their alter egos?

For my money, the answer to my question depends on the part a DM plays in the game, moment by moment.

Are you the adversary, with a Team Evil button?

Better to keep your eyes on your own paper, even if the players’ worst-case scenario fills you with glee. Never adopt killer strategies or dream up countermeasures for tactics you overhear.

Are you the collaborative story teller, looking to help the players reveal their characters?

When players speculate at the table, they’re making connections based on what they know about the game world—connections that the DM may not see. Adopt the speculations that link the characters to the game world in unexpected ways. They reveal they characters and tie them to the shared fantasy. Making connections real makes the D&D world seem deeper and more meaningful. It adds a sense of order that we humans enjoy in the game world, especially at times when the real world shows too little order and too little sense.

Categories: Tabletop Gaming Blogs

THE BLACK HOOD VOL. 3 preview

First Comics News - Mon, 11/26/2018 - 21:28


THE BLACK HOOD VOL. 3 (TP)
A ruthless assassin known as The Nobody considers the Black Hood a loose end, and he’s willing to slaughter dozens of innocent people to flush him out of hiding. How high must the body count rise before Philadelphia’s former vigilante Greg Hettinger steps forward to face an opponent he can’t possibly beat? Collects THE BLACK HOOD SEASON 2 #1-5.
Script: Duane Swierczynski
Art: Greg Scott, Kelly Fitzpatrick, Rachel Deering
Cover: Greg Smallwood
978-1-68255-883-6
$14.99 US/$16.99 CAN
6 5/8 x 10 3/16”
TR
136 pp, Full Color
Direct Market On-Sale Date: 11/28

Categories: Comic Book Blogs

EAGLEMOSS CYBER CODE

First Comics News - Mon, 11/26/2018 - 20:12
Eaglemoss just activated a 50% Off Sitewide Cyber Sale in their online Eaglemoss Shop – with an extra 20% Off when shoppers use the code CYBER.  So folks can get up to 70% Off.  Sale includes many items typically excluded from such promotions, like the Star Trek Shuttle Sets 2-4, all Battlestar Galactica ships (including the Galactica itself), all Star Trek: Discovery Starships and all Star Trek XL Edition Starships. It’s their biggest sale ever. Eaglemoss.com

Categories: Comic Book Blogs

MATT WAGNER’S MAGE SERIES COMES TO EPIC CONCLUSION AFTER 35 YEARS OF ADVENTURE, FINALE ISSUE TO FEATURE 8-PAGE GATEFOLD

First Comics News - Mon, 11/26/2018 - 19:48

PORTLAND, OR, 11/26/2018 — Image Comics is pleased to announce that long-running, cult-favorite series MAGE by Matt Wagner will feature a special, breathtaking 8-page gatefold in the finale issue of the series, MAGE: THE HERO DENIED #15. This highly collectible issue will bring the series to a stunning conclusion after 35 years of adventure.

First premiering as part of the indie comics boom in the ’80s, MAGE tells the story of the classic Hero’s Journey through the lens of a contemporary setting and as an allegorical autobiography of Wagner himself.

Wagner’s fictional alter-ego, Kevin Matchstick, confronts both supernatural enemies as well as his own humanity in his heroic role—a modern-day incarnation of the legendary Pendragon, wielder of the mystic weapon, Excalibur.

A vanguard of the independent comics movement for decades, Wagner is perhaps best known for his epic crime-and-sci-fi noir narrative, Grendel, but it is in the pages of MAGE that his most personal story comes to fruition.

“MAGE has been an utterly unique and rewarding experience for me,” said Wagner. “I’d like to thank both my new and longtime readers, especially those dedicated fans who have stuck with MAGE through the long gaps between the various books of the trilogy. Your continued interest and passion for this story have always served to inspire me. And I’d also like to thank the entire Image Comics crew in their unfailing support and enthusiasm for seeing this project through to completion.”

MAGE: THE HERO DENIED #15 Cover A by Wagner (Diamond Code DEC180259) and Cover B by Wagner (Diamond Code DEC180260) will feature colors by Brennan Wagner and letters by Dave Lanphear as a special oversized issue weighing in at 56 pages.

It will retail for $7.99 and arrives in stores on Wednesday, February 27th. The final order cutoff deadline for comics retailers is Monday, February 4th.

MAGE: THE HERO DENIED #15 will also be available for purchase across many digital platforms, including the official Image Comics iOS app, Amazon Kindle, Apple Books, comiXology, and Google Play.

Categories: Comic Book Blogs

BETTY & VERONICA #1 unlettered preview

First Comics News - Mon, 11/26/2018 - 19:43

BETTY & VERONICA #1 (of 5)
BRAND NEW SERIES! “Senior Year, Pt. 1: Summer” – Betty and Veronica go where they’ve never gone before—their senior year of high school! Only one school year stands between them and freedom, but when the two BFFs think they’ll be attending the same college in the fall find out that their plans have changed, their senior year—and their friendship—is put to the test!
Script: Jamie L. Rotante
Art: Sandra Lanz, Kelly Fitzpatrick, Jack Morelli
Cover: Sandra Lanz
Variant Covers: Laura Braga, Francesco Francavilla, Audrey Mok, Marguerite Sauvage
On Sale Date: 12/19
32-page, full color comic
$3.99 U.S.

Categories: Comic Book Blogs

A week in security (November 19 – 25)

Malwarebytes - Mon, 11/26/2018 - 18:21

Last week on Malwarebytes Labs, we took a look at a devastating business email compromise attack, web skimming antics, and the fresh perils of Deepfakes. We also checked out some Chrome bug issues, and took the deepest of deep dives into DNA testing.

Other cybersecurity news

Stay safe, everyone!

The post A week in security (November 19 – 25) appeared first on Malwarebytes Labs.

Categories: Techie Feeds

EzPacking Holidays Giveaway

Moogly - Mon, 11/26/2018 - 16:00

It’s travel season – and crochet and knitting season! These are the days of running around like crazy and squeezing in more crafting time than ever. So make it a bit easier (and more organized!) with the EzPacking Holidays Giveaway on Moogly! Disclaimer: This post was sponsored by EzPacking but all opinions are my own. [...]

The post EzPacking Holidays Giveaway 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

Maze of Peril Ch 1, Scene 7: "The Grisly Business of Swallowing the Corpses"

Zenopus Archives - Mon, 11/26/2018 - 15:51
This post is part of the Tales of Peril Book Club, indexed here.

The party wins their first combat, and Zereth directs them in standard D&D post-melee activities — searching the corpses (no treasure is mentioned), retrieving arrows, guarding the passage, checking for injuries (none are noted). Murray dissuades them from hiding the corpses as a waste of time, which proves prescient.

The area where they fought the battle was described in the previous section:
"More dark side corridors, some less than five feet wide, opened to the north. A glow of light ahead resolved, as they approached, into a diffuse beam of sunlight coming down a shaft in the ceiling which illuminated a round pit in the floor. Two thick wooden doors in the south wall were visible by the sunlight, both tight shut. At the lighted shaft, Boinger noted, there was a broad cross corridor and a narrow, darker passage intersecting the tunnel they were in."These details closely match one of Holmes' original dungeon maps, a sheet adjacent to the one shown in my previous post. In fact, the details match this map so closely that I feel Holmes must have been consulting it while writing this part of the story. Below is the relevant portion with color annotations added by myself. The main corridor runs east-west, 25' wide at a scale of 5' per square. Narrow side corridors open to the north, two doors are in the south wall, and "The Pit" is at the intersection with a broad cross corridor. The orcs attacked while the party was examining the Pit, coming up behind them from the west ("Orc Battle").


Detail from a map by J. Eric Holmes, scan by Tristan HolmesBoinger suggests investigating the two doors, which are the first doors they've found in the dungeon. They handle these in typical OD&D fashion — Bardan and the two men-at-arms bash one open, finding nothing (room above labeled "Empty"), and Boinger listens at the other. He hears nothing, but on bashing this one open they are are surprised by an "orange mass". Zereth recognizes this an Ochre Jelly, which is a "giant amoeba" member of the "cleanup crew" of Vol 2 of OD&D, and Holmes has it attack accordingly in a nice bit of description — a "long pseudopod of glistening, translucent orange tissue thrust through the gap as the door was pulled shut". The closing door severs this pseduopod, which continues to attack, and a further slash with a sword similarly divides it into two smaller globs, in accord with OD&D ("hits by weaponry ... will merely make them into several smaller Ochre Jellies"). Bardan wisely suggests burning it with a torch, which is successful, and also in accord with the original description ("can be killed by fire or cold"). Thus they survive their second melee.

Next, Boinger's "keen ears" detect an approaching sound. While in OD&D, Vol 3, Elves, Dwarves and Hobbits all have an increased chance to hear noise (1-2 in 6 versus 1 in 6), here Boinger clearly has better hearing than the elf or dwarf in the party. In Greyhawk, Hobbit thieves get an extra +1 to Hear Noise, which advances the idea that Hobbits have the best hearing of the non-humans. The sound resolves into a grating noise like someone "dragging a sack of heavy rocks down the tunnel", disturbing enough that Murray suggests they head down a side corridor. They then double back "into another corridor, this one only ten feet wide and black as pitch", where they put out their torches and wait ("Hiding Place" marked above).

Here Zereth they find a "a narrow passageway" that Zereth believes will lead "back toward the intersection", so he and Boinger use this to investigate the noise further. On the map above, this is the five-foot passage paralleling the wider north-south passage. Back at the intersection, our two heroes spy a huge Purple Worm, now in the "grisly business of swallowing the corpses" of the orcs, armor and all. Per OD&D Vol 2, Purple Worms are sufficiently large enough to swallow opponents in combat. The party had earlier noted the worm's trail throughout the main corridor, and now they have found it. They quickly head back to the party.


The original illustration of a Purple Worm from OD&D Vol 2, page 5, possibly by Dave Arneson.
Next up, we finally reach the last scene of Chapter 1!
Categories: Tabletop Gaming Blogs

Dead God Excavation

Ten Foot Pole - Mon, 11/26/2018 - 12:16


Venger As’Nas Satanis
Kort’thalis Publishing
Crimson Dragon Slayer
Levels 1-3

A fifteen page non-adventure calling itself an adventure. One door, one room, a couple of NPC’s to interacts with. Didn’t Venger write a “How to write adventures” book? Yes, yes he did. Exhibits A & B in the buying things from DriveThru. Really, the jokes on me. His pitch for a review was more manipulative than his usual “PLEASE PLEASE PLEASE REVIEW MY ADVENTURE PLEASE.” I knew it was a front and did it anyway. I just didn’t realize how bad it was.

So, yeah, it’s an archeology thing. Nobles and laborers are gathered around a recently unearthed big iron door. Carnivals, circuses, archeology expeditions, museums, post offices, DMV’s, sewers … it’s like the imaginations of the designers are bankrupt. I’m waiting for the circus archeology (or archeology circus?) adventure.

Which is not to say that the core social aspects of the nobles, sages, laborers, priest and sorcerer NPCs is bad. Quite the contrary, a group of fuckwith NPC’s each with different motivations hanging around the party while they do something dangerous tugs at my DM heartstrings. It brings the roleplay and involves a kind of push your luck mechanism with how much shit the party is going to take and/or how they are going to use the resources that a few extra bodies provide … Or, it COULD do that, if it were written well. Venger tries. You get that he’s trying to set this up with a bunch of different NPC’s hanging around, offering advice, getting in to trouble, etc. That is, if you squirt pretty hard and you see that. It comes across on a couple of pages, about a paragraph or so per NPC ending with a one line motivation. I’m going to address Venger directly now: Hey, dipshit, I know you read these reviews. Stop making the same mistakes over and over again. Put in a fucking summary sheet for the NPC’s. Stick in the name and a couple of words for motivation, characteristic, etc. That way I don’t have to keep turning back to the NPC pages and digging through the stupid text to find something worthy for them to say/do. See, if it were all on one page then I could attach it to my DM screen and look at it on the fly and see everyone in one glance and get some real nice interaction shit going on. And while I’m at it, if the NPC’s are supposed to be a big part of the adventure then give them a couple of things to do. Have the laborers smuggle in a couple of liquor bottles, or play the lotto, or a full tea service for the nobles or some such. You don’t need to drag it out, four or five words per. But its your job to help prompt the DM to action, giving them tools to work with. “Bob is a jackass.” is a little too open ended. Sure, it works, but if he’s a face talker with odious body scent/personal habits .. AND useful, all the better.

Ok, so, there’s this door. You open the door and there’s a room beyond with a dead god in it and a couple of other things to fuck around with. That’s it, that’s the adventure. Oh, and every fifteen minutes you take 1d6 damage from acid drips from the ceiling. And every fifteen minutes you have a 50% chance of just dying from some d6 table. That’s fun, right? Actually, I don’t mind the acid drips; it’s minor and encourages the party to find a way around it. The whole “evil effects while in the tomb” table, though, needs to go. It discourages exploration and interaction. Not cool. I get it, dangerous environment. But NOT exploring an erupting volcano is not fun.

Venger also puts shit in the wrong order. E’s got such a hard on for describing the dead god, and its effects, that he puts the room description elements FAR down in the adventure. Hey, first n the description is what the party see/encounters first. Then you expand it later on. You put what the DM needs first as the first thing the DM sees. Otherwise I have to read a page of text before I run the room. I’m not reading a page of your text at the table.

And what’s with the names dude? Miss Forgotten Realms much? Voss’th Ekk, Chanz Kol, grok-nods, Zirnakanan. I guess Forgotten Realms isn’t the only place where random letter generators are used for names. Next time try some names WITHOUT apostrophes in them?

He’s got some decent alien/demon magic items and At one point, when characters open a book, a woman screams at the same time … because she thought she saw a spider. Nice. That’s the kind of local colour I like to see.

Didn’t I like a Venger product in the past? Islands of Purple, maybe? Dude, what happened? Is this a money play or something else?

Get it together man. This thing needed a fuck ton more editing to tighten it up and expand it a bit.

This is $2.50 at DriveThru. The beginning of the preview shows your the NPC’s. They are not bad, they just need the summary sheet and a couple of prompts for causing trouble. The end of the preview shows you the “random death and damage” shit from when you are in the tomb. The middle shows you the, essentially, preprogrammed events at the start of the start when the party arrives. Sage touches tomb, gets headache, sorcerer shows up and warns everyone off, etc.
https://www.drivethrurpg.com/product/232344/Dead-God-Excavation

Categories: Tabletop Gaming Blogs

Imp [ICONS]

Sorcerer's Skull - Mon, 11/26/2018 - 12:00

















IMP
Abilities:
Prowess: 5
Coordination: 5
Strength: 4
Intellect: 4
Awareness: 5
Willpower: 5

Determination: 3
Stamina: 9

Specialties: Athletics, Investigation

Qualities:
Devil-Man's Sidekick
Wisecracking Teen Heroine
Daughter of Demoniac

Powers:
Trident/Staff Device: Strike, Blast 4
Swinging Device: 3

Background:
Alter Ego: Elizabeth "Libby" Knight
Occupation: Student
Marital Status: Single
Known Relatives: Dane Ward (father, possibly deceased), Kurt Ward (paternal uncle)
Group Affiliation: Partner of Devil-Man
Base of Operations: Arkham
First Appearance: DEVIL-MAN #362
Height: 5'4"  Weight: 105 lbs.
Eyes: Blue  Hair: Reddish blonde

History:
Orphaned Libby Knight discovered a serious of startling family secrets. Not only was her biological father the super-villain cult leader, Demoniac, but her uncle and guardian was the superhero Devil-Man! Libby joined her uncle in crime-fighting, replacing Jim Chase as Devil-Man's partner, the incredible Imp!

Why Pay Attention to the Children?

Just Call Me Pastor - Mon, 11/26/2018 - 11:00

I was seven years old when my first nephew, Barry, was born. Perhaps I was a bit giddy about my new status in life. After all, at such a young age I was Uncle Don.

As other children came along to enlarge my parents’ family – nephews, nieces, my own children, grandchildren, great-grandchildren – God put a love for them into my heart, a love that has never left me.

Our most recent addition is Baby Isabel, eight months old, the daughter of Zach and Lisa. Our love for her is nourished by means of pictures sent electronically to update us on her development through her first year of life. We will see her at Christmas.

And we have the promise that, come spring, by the mercy of God new love will come yet again, this time for the child of Ben and Charis.

My love never made me an expert in bathing or changing diapers or otherwise caring for the little ones’ intricate and earthy needs. In that category my best grade would be “awkward.”

But I loved to talk to them and rock them, and to get down on the floor with them and “communicate” with special sounds. Insofar as possible, I have followed closely the development of each of my children and grandchildren right into their adulthood.

This love for children seems to have been part of my calling in life. Back when I myself was approaching young manhood and my mother could see I was preparing seriously for the Christian ministry she offered me one word of advice.

In less than one minute she said, and never repeated it a second time: “Don, when you are a pastor do be sure to pay attention to the children.”

Even now her words remind me of Our Lord’s parting assignment to Simon Peter after the resurrection; Simon’s first task was to feed my lambs (John 21:15b).

Earlier, when his disciples thought Jesus too busy to pay attention to children, he rebuked them. He saw in the little ones what the disciples at the moment did not see: eternal worth and the need for love given wisely.

He said to his disciples, “Let the little children come to me, and do not hinder them, for the kingdom of heaven belongs to such as these” (Matthew 19:14). He then took time to gather the little ones in his arms and bless them.

Not long ago I had a conversation with a public school teacher with advanced training in early childhood development. She was recognized in the public system for her skill as a teacher and had exercised her gift with children in the church as well.

Speaking in the context of the church we noted the need of children to be recognized among the congregation – to be greeted and assured of a place – and their need to be protected. In today’s church, especially, well-planned systems of oversight must be put in place and followed.

But the comment that registered most deeply was that people who work in children’s ministries should be aware of the capacity of children under five years of age to learn.

Two-year-olds, she said, can be taught to sing a simple chorus. And three- and four-year-olds can take in well-told Bible stories. They can memorize short pieces of Scripture too.

Sunday school for the little ones can be much more than a nursery or a place for them to be entertained. To teach them Christian things at that age sets a good base for spiritual development later on and lays the groundwork for their personal response to the Gospel.

It is nearly 90 years since I was taken to my first Sunday school class. The few of us little ones were gathered around a dark oak sand table in the corner near the pulpit of the little church. The mirror facing upward in the sand became the Sea of Galilee. The teacher’s name was Elva Tisdale. She was loving and feeding Christ’s lambs.

Photo credit: Roger Davies (via flickr.com)

Categories: Churchie Feeds

OSR Holiday Review & Commentary - The Eerie West - X! By Simon Washbourne

Swords & Stitchery - Mon, 11/26/2018 - 07:37
"Strange! Ghostly! Mysterious! Rousing tales of action and adventure in a wild west that never was. Who wants to read through reams of text just to get to the action? No-one right? These rules assume you know how to role play. They assume you know about “Golden Age” comic book pulp western fiction. (Thrilling cowboy adventures through a retro lens). They assume you know how OSR productsNeedleshttp://www.blogger.com/profile/11243274667834930867noreply@blogger.com0
Categories: Tabletop Gaming Blogs

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