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A Dungeons & Dragons Birthday Party

Ultanya - Tue, 05/29/2018 - 19:25
This past weekend I took part in amazing party for our friend’s son who was turning 9-years old. It all started last year when my wife and I offered the use of the Game Tavern for his birthday. The family lives 6-hours away, but that did not stop them making sure this epic quest occurred! Our friend Tanya has always been super crafty, with many amazing parties under her belt. Her son Brokk comes from his love of Dungeons & Dragons honestly, as I have been playing the game with his dad for decades.

Most of our friends have kids between the ages of 6 and 13; so many different activities would need planning. Tanya definitely delivered that and then some, which I will detail below. If you are planning a similar party for your own children, I hope this post serves as inspiration. This is the stuff of legends and great memories!

The party started with outside activities. Since there were many younger kids, they were ready to jump right into the fun. In addition, it was important for the older kids to get some energy out also. When it comes to D&D, the mind can only absorb what the seat can endure. This could not ring any truer with children and teens. Below are pictures of the various crafts and activities all put together for the party.
 
The character sheet shirt.
All of the children received these home made dice chests.
Each chest is guarded by a dragon. Their curled tail holds a D20!
Inside the dice chests, complete with Brokk's birthday d6s.
Outside included a bouncy joust with rings.
A refreshment tent.Bottled Water Weird was on hand!
An area for birthday presents (loot) to be placed. 
Of course there was alchemy!
The slime recipe was a big favorite with the kids!


A water balloon siege engine!



What monster to attack?
A goblin target!
A Gnoll target!
An of course an Owlbear...I missed it every time!
This station had target dummies and shield making!
Homemade pillory for photo ops!
A home made BEHOLDER Pinata!!! This was amazing.


The poor Beholder did not last many rounds against a dozen kids!
A home made MIMIC Birthday Cake!!!
This is what it looks like after taking critical damage.
A lock picking station for rogues in training.
Home made Kobold Kandy inside!
My own son is 11-years old, and a new Dungeon Master. With about a dozen game sessions under his belt, he was quick to volunteer to DM for the party. Over the past few weeks, we worked on a 3-hour dungeon together. It was linear on purpose, after all this was a party and things needed to keep moving. The star of the show of course was the birthday boy, Brokk. The story being he was attempting to recover his lost family sword from the vile dragon Acidmaw!

The adventure featured many classic monsters such as a Water Weird, Gelatinous Cube and, Piercers. Many times during the adventure, some of the adults stepped in to quietly watch the adventure unfold. It was really cool experiencing the next generation playing a session together. All I could think was, wow...wish I had parents like us when I first learned about the game in 1983!

The players were given pre-made characters complete with custom paper miniatures. They also received a Bag of Holding which contained all sorts of accouterments such as pencils, paper, etc.

The kids had a blast and were thrilled to battle a dragon. Brokk's character found his magic sword, Dragonslayer and it launched to his hand. We ordered a cool foam sword and had it waiting for that very moment. My son handed it to him and the surprise was priceless! The group eventually slayed the evil dragon, with the birthday boy landing the final blow.


The Game Tavern ready for the adventure.
The game session. Faces blurred for privacy.


If if you have any questions about some of crafted items in this post Tanya can be reached on Twitter @Tuneses. Dungeons and Dragons is such a wonderful hobby. I'm really happy that our own children all love playing it. Keep gaming and remember you're never to old to be a kid at heart!
Categories: Tabletop Gaming Blogs

SEO poisoning: Is it worth it?

Malwarebytes - Tue, 05/29/2018 - 19:12

Search Engine Optimization (SEO) poisoning basically comes down to getting your web page high in the rankings for relevant search results without buying advertisements or using legitimate, but tedious, SEO best practices. Instead, threat actors use illegal means to push their page to the top. Sometimes, this technique is also referred to as black hat SEO. (Although the people selling these services will refer to them as “link building services.”)

So how does SEO poisoning work? And is it something site owners should actually try? Or should they avoid it at all costs?

The basics

SEO is short for Search Engine Optimization and it is a marketing strategy that is designed to make sure that your website is found if people search for certain keywords that are relevant to your business. The ranking of a site in Google’s search results is primarily based on how well the page is optimized, but it’s also based on “reputation.” The reputation of a page is calculated using the number of inbound links pointing to that page. It helps a lot if the incoming links come from pages that are about the same or related subjects, but a large amount of links coming from all kinds of sites helps as well.

Why focus on Google?

In this article, we will focus on how SEO works for Google. This is for a few reasons:

  • Google is by far the most popular search engine, despite mighty efforts by their competitors. The fact that “Googling” is a verb in many languages should tell you enough.
  • Google is relatively open about how its algorithms work, and you can find a lot of information if you want to improve the ranking of your search results, which is what SEO is all about. For good results, it’s imperative that web developers keep an eye on new updates and how these updates might influence their SEO strategy.
  • Google is the industry standard in this field, and because of this many available SEO tools are limited to or aiming for Google results.
How does link building work?

Search engines want to serve you authoritative pages on the subject that you are looking for. One of the determining factors for the ranking in the search results is called the Page Authority. As you can see in the example below, the page authority is not just a matter of how many incoming links there are. And it is also not the only factor that determines your ranking in the search results. Even though the BBC site has more “page authority” on the keyword of “spyware,” the Page Authority calculation is based on many other factors and seems to take into account that detecting spyware is part of Malwarebytes’ core business.

Authority calculations and screenshot made with Moz Pro

So, a good method to be seen by the search engine’s algorithm as an authority in a certain field is to attract incoming links. And it is important that these links come from other authoritative sites in the field that your page aims to rank high for. Quality really outweighs quantity here. To accomplish this, you need a well-written and cleverly formatted (optimized) page that people will point to if they want someone to read an informative or explanatory piece.

When does link building become SEO poisoning?

If you are lazy, you can’t spend the money to hire someone, or it’s just plain hopeless to become an authority due to heavy competition in your field or for your keywords, you might consider buying incoming links from a black market vendor. These threat actors will usually have, or be able to obtain, a multitude of compromised sites that they can use to post links on. Another method that they may use is to spam forums with the help of spambots. So, we draw the line at whether the site owner agrees with the links being posted on his site.

Contrary to popular belief, posting links on social media like Facebook and Twitter does not help to improve a page’s SEO. The links on social media are “nofollow” links, and Google’s bots will not follow them or add them to your tally of incoming links. Google+ is an exception to this rule. I wonder why.

A quality link from an authoritative site weighs heavier than a lot of low quality links.

Pure malicious purpose

A recent example where SEO poisoning was used successfully is one where link building was done purely for malicious purposes—to infect visitors. By adding keywords and links in hacked websites, threat actors were able to get malicious pages ranked at the top of the Google search results for specific and carefully-chosen queries. The desired queries were banking and financial questions, and visitors of the ranked pages were infected with a banking Trojan.

Are all link building services bad?

No, that’s not what we are saying. But the services offered on black hat forums with a “no money back guarantee” should be examined with a 10-foot pole and a disinfected microscope. If you are not an SEO professional and SEO is just a by-product of trying to sell your goods or services, then by all means, contact a professional and see what they can do for you.

Just make sure you don’t end up sponsoring some malware author who goes around hacking legitimate sites and who may end up ruining your reputation. Because there are ways to investigate whether you have used black hat SEO techniques to boost your search rankings.

Is SEO poisoning actually recommended?

It is not recommended for several reasons:

  • It’s not effective. With Google’s new search engine algorithms, black hat SEO is far less effective than it used to be, but is still offered by malware actors on underground markets.
  • There are negative side effects. If Google or others sniff out your method, this might ruin page or domain authority, as well as professional reputation.
  • It doesn’t come cheap. In the long run, you may end up spending a lot of money—money much better spent on legitimate and long-standing methods for success, such as hiring an SEO professional on staff or working with a consultation on learning best practices.

Not to give you any ideas, but you can also buy negative link building services for your competitors. As appealing as it may sound to have your competitors’ product associated with the keyword Viagra, we do not recommend using these either.

The best long-term solution is to work hard and play fair using legitimate SEO tactics to boost your page rankings. If you aim for a cheap and easy way around SEO, you’ll get exactly what you paid for: a whole lot of nothing.

The post SEO poisoning: Is it worth it? appeared first on Malwarebytes Labs.

Categories: Techie Feeds

Allan Dean Foster, Arduin, The OSR, & Temporal Campaign Adventuring

Swords & Stitchery - Tue, 05/29/2018 - 17:31
So I've been rereading the Arduin books & getting into the back end of some campaign ideas when the latest BS in the OSR reared its head. Man, these things seem to come up every three seconds & so I headed back down memory lane a bit to Nineteen Eighty Nine. Its been a bit of a bumpy ride all of the way back there. Advanced Dungeons & Dragons second edition  was in full swing along with Needleshttp://www.blogger.com/profile/11243274667834930867noreply@blogger.com0
Categories: Tabletop Gaming Blogs

ARCHIE JUMBO COMICS DIGEST #289 preview

First Comics News - Tue, 05/29/2018 - 15:50

ARCHIE JUMBO COMICS DIGEST #289
BRAND NEW LEAD STORY: “Room With a View!” Archie’s ready to move onto bigger and better things—namely, a bigger room! But when Archie decides to remodel himself, things might get messy!
Script: Dan Parent
Art: Bill Galvan, Jim Amash, Glenn Whitmore, Jack Morelli
Cover: Jeff Shultz, Rosario “Tito” Peña
On Sale Date: 5/30
192-page, full color comic
$6.99 U.S.

Categories: Comic Book Blogs

THE ARCHIES VOL. 1

First Comics News - Tue, 05/29/2018 - 15:49

THE ARCHIES VOL. 1 (TP)
The rockin’ debut featuring the battle of friendship vs. fame, with a few special guests along the way! Follow Archie’s quest to make his songwriting dreams a reality, and see how the rock ‘n’ roll dream effects the lives of the band! Features a special cameo from indie-pop trio CHVRCHES! Collects The Archies one-shot and issues #1 – #3 of the ongoing series.
Script: Alex Segura, Matt Rosenberg
Art: Joe Eisma, Matt Herms, Jack Morelli
Cover: Greg Smallwood
978-1-68255-893-5
$17.99 US/$19.99 CAN
6 5/8 x 10 3/16”
TR
144 pp, Full Color
Direct Market On-Sale Date: 5/30

Categories: Comic Book Blogs

JUGHEAD: THE HUNGER #6

First Comics News - Tue, 05/29/2018 - 15:49

JUGHEAD: THE HUNGER #6
The history of werewolves in the Jones family runs deep—but does that include Jughead’s little sister Jellybean as well? It’s a question good ol’ Jug must answer before the Coopers or Reggie’s new Pack get to her first!
Script: Frank Tieri
Art: Pat and Tim Kennedy, Joe Eisma, Bob Smith, Matt Herms, Jack Morelli
Cover: Adam Gorham
Variant Covers: Derek Charm, Michael Walsh
On Sale Date: 5/30
32-page, full-color comic
$3.99 U.S.

Categories: Comic Book Blogs

DAYS OF HATE: ACT ONE WILL BE COLLECTED INTO TRADE PAPERBACK AND AVAILABLE THIS JULY

First Comics News - Tue, 05/29/2018 - 15:39

PORTLAND, OR, 05/29/2018 — Bestselling writer Aleš Kot (ZERO, THE NEW WORLD), artist Danijel Žeželj (STARVE), and Eisner-winning colorist Jordie Bellaire (REDLANDS, PRETTY DEADLY) introduce readers to a near-future dystopian America in DAYS OF HATE: ACT ONE this July.

The United States of America, 2022: the loss that ripped two lovers apart drove one into the arms of the police state and the other toward a guerrilla war against white supremacy. This is the story of what happens when they meet again. A story of much more than just revenge.

A terrifyingly realistic dystopian tragedy—in the vein of The Americans and The Handmaid’s TaleThe Onion’s AV Club describes DAYS OF HATE as a “speculative fiction that doesn’t pull punches” and IGN calls it “a beautiful and haunting look at a very troubled world.”

DAYS OF HATE: ACT ONE (Diamond Code MAY180060, ISBN: 978-1-5343-0697-4) hits comic book stores on Wednesday, July 18th and bookstores on Tuesday, July 24th. The final order cutoff for retailers is Monday, June 4th.

It can be pre-ordered on Amazon, Barnes & Noble, Books-a-Million, IndieBound, and Indigo.

The trade paperback collects chapters #1-6 of the twelve-part series.

Categories: Comic Book Blogs

SOMETHING DARK HAS TAKEN ROOT IN FARMHAND…

First Comics News - Tue, 05/29/2018 - 15:34

PORTLAND, OR, 05/29/2018 — Image Comics is pleased to reveal preview pages from Eisner Award-winning co-creator of CHEW Rob Guillory’s forthcoming FARMHAND. The series is set to launch this July.

FARMHAND follows farmer Jedidiah Jenkins whose cash crop isn’t corn or soy… it’s a little more unusual. Jed grows fast-healing, plug-and-play human organs. Lose a finger? Need a new liver? He’s got you covered. Unfortunately, strange produce isn’t the only thing Jed’s got buried. Deep in the soil of the Jenkins Family Farm, something dark has taken root, and it’s beginning to bloom.

FARMHAND is a dark comedy about science gone sinister and agriculture gone apocalyptic. Nature is a Mother.

FARMHAND #1 (Diamond Code MAY180011) hits stores on Wednesday, July 11th. The final order cutoff for comics retailers is Monday, June 18th.

Categories: Comic Book Blogs

RICH INTERVIEWS: Richard Dent Creator/Writer for Myopia

First Comics News - Tue, 05/29/2018 - 15:14


First Comics News: How did you end up creating “Myopia” where did the idea come from? 

Richard Dent: I was always a huge fan of dystopian fiction and Myopia just sort of emerged from this passion. I didn’t really know what the story was going to be until I started writing. 

1st: Can you give us a brief idea of the story in “Myopia”?

Richard: Myopia takes place two hundred years in the future in a society that has grown dependent on The Formula Media Lens. The government steps in and takes control of the company that makes the lenses and starts using them to manipulate what people see and think. We are also post energy crisis and the world has entered into something called the Magnetic Energy Agreement, an international law that forbids dependency on one source of energy over another. 

1st: There is some nice artwork in the comic who is responsible for it and what do you think of it?

Richard: My primary artist is Patrick Berkenkotter, and I think he’s incredibly talented. On the second issue, he received a little help from Ronilson Freire who did the almost impossible task of matching Patrick’s work. Patrick’s attention to detail is probably what I love most about his work. He also has a great eye for perspective and layout. Ronilson is also quite capable of incredible detail and design. 

1st: Why is Bill Glen important to this comic book?

Richard: Bill Glen developed fundamental programs and technology that run the Formula Media Lens. In issue 2 there is innuendo that he is tied into a bigger conspiracy, but what it is, nobody is quite sure. 

1st: Who else is in the pages of “Myopia” that we should care about?

Richard: James Chase is Bill Glenn’s protégé; Matthew Glen, Bill’s Glenn’s son, seems to know something nobody else knows about his father’s work at Formula Media; and Molly Glen is trying to hold her family together. We also have Ledge Carver who is the CEO of Formula Media and Agni Shelton, the head of Lens Security, who is starting to make things quite difficult for Ledge and the Glenn’s. 

1st: What is the main selling point of “Myopia”

Richard: Aside from the great writing and amazing illustration?! Seriously the great writing and the amazing illustration. That and there is a resurgence of old dystopian novels lately and Myopia brings this classic feel into a more contemporary setting. 

1st: Would “Myopia” make a good movie, why or why not?

Richard: Myopia was originally a screenplay, so it would naturally do well on the big screen. 

1st: Would you use the Formula Media lenses if they existed today for real?

Richard: Absolutely. They’re the coolest devices ever! 

1st: How many issues are there going to be of ‘Myopia’ and would you like to see it. 

Richard: Right now, there is a thick (40 pages per issue) four-issue story arch, but I already have some ideas for the next story arch. This is truly an expandable universe. 

1st: Why do you keep writing comics? 

Richard: I write in a lot of genres. Right now, I’m really digging comics. I love the collaboration, and I love the tools–especially how a writer can essentially tell two stories at the same time or work in two different timelines at the same time by using panels and lettering. I also love how everything that is usually left to the reader’s imagination in a prose novel can be shown with just a fraction of the cost it would take to display it on film. 

1st: Which comic book character and not just from comics you worked on but anyone, are you most like and why?

Richard: Nobody has ever asked me that before. I guess Professor X. I like the idea that I’m so smart it hurts! 

1st: How or what do you attribute your success to?

Richard: I put years into learning how to write. I went for school for it. I failed a lot. But I kept with it and that’s all you can do. 

1st: What is the most enjoyable way for you to spend your day?

Richard: I love writing first thing in the morning until I just don’t want to write anymore, then I go to the gym and think about what I wrote, make notes and grade papers then wind down with friends and family if time permits. The days I work I try and stick to the same schedule, albeit more truncated. 

1st: What do you have to say to those who read your work?

Richard: Thank you! 

Categories: Comic Book Blogs

Babay Fay Preemie Hat Templates Giveaway

Moogly - Tue, 05/29/2018 - 15:00

If you aren’t familiar with Babay Fay Hat Templates yet, you’re in for a treat! Crocheting and knitting hats is super easy with these templates – and I’m giving away THREE of the Preemie Sets here on Moogly! Disclaimer: This post was sponsored by Babay Fay, but all opinions are my own. The Babay Fay [...]

The post Babay Fay Preemie Hat Templates 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

Box Breaking 248: Senshi from Arcane Wonders

Gamer Goggles - Tue, 05/29/2018 - 02:33

Check out Senshi from Arcane Wonders. It’s a unique hand management token drafting game that makes you think.

Click here to view the video on YouTube.

I will play this week, even if I have to knock down some doors! This game looks like a something I will play a lot of!

Categories: Tabletop Gaming Blogs

Dan's Top 19 RPGs - #3 - ACKS

19th Level - Tue, 05/29/2018 - 01:36


I have a special place in my gaming heart for early editions of D&D. I'm not quite enough of a grognard to have played the original D&D when it came out - my gaming career began in the early 1980s. I played a lot of the Basic and Expert D&D incarnation as well as a ton of Advanced D&D. But they didn't quite make it this high in the list.

One of the things I loved about the Companion rules of D&D was the way it brought about domain play. Early in this list I had Pendragon as a game I really like but didn't get a lot of time playing. I really like the idea of PCs ruling domains. It's a reason I greatly enjoy George RR Martin's Song of Ice and Fire series. But there were a few frustrations I had with D&D. I liked the idea of demi-humans having their race as their class - it added a certain amount of character - but I also found it a bit limiting. When I played, I liked being a magic-user but I was frustrated by the limits of low-level magic-users. I liked the additional details in AD&D but missed the domain play rules. And sometimes those details got to be a bit too much. And yes, like everyone else, we swapped things between the games.

Along comes Adventurer Conqueror King - ACKS, which for me, emphasizes the things I love about those early versions of D&D and AD&D. It's definitely more of a D&D game than AD&D. It really emphasizes domain play. The designers put more thought into a fantasy economy than anyone I could imagine. They kept race as class... but made multiple classes for each race. This keeps the non-human races distinctive from humanity but still gives a lot of choice. The game (in its Players' Companion) also has rules for making your own classes - and wonder of wonders, all of the classes in the game follow those rules. Magic-users are fine-tuned to give them a pool of spells they can cast from daily, giving more versatility. It adds a proficiency system to add additional details to your character - a bit of a cross between skills and feats from later editions. Non-magical healing, dabbling in magic, blind fighting, navigation, etc.  The new Heroic Fantasy Handbook even acknowledges some of the issues thieves have, being so poor at their core abilities, and fine-tunes that a bit.

Basically, ACKS takes all the things I like about old D&D, keeps them, and fine-tunes them - smoothing over the frustrations I've had. The line of products for ACKS isn't huge but they are all first rate. I especially appreciate the Lairs & Encounters book - an excellent resource for sandbox play. The new Heroic Fantasy Handbook and Barbarian Conquerors of Kanahu show how the game can be adaptable to other genres. Heroic Fantasy is good for a lot of literary fantasy, from Lankhmar to Middle Earth. Barbarian Conquerors is excellent for Conan, Elric, Barsoom, and Buck Rogers.

I've not played ACKS in a while - I do find it requires a bit of prep time and my group is a bit on the small side - I also find older D&D-type games tend to work a bit better with larger groups. It is time I'd like to be able to spend. Hopefully when I complete my master's degree later this year some time will open up - as readers of my blog have seen, my free time over the past several months has dramatically decreased. In any case, ACKS is a game I find gets so many things "right" for the way I see D&D which is the reason I have it ranked so highly.
Categories: Tabletop Gaming Blogs

Lake Geneva Original RPG Campaign: Finishing > Starting

Lord of the Green Dragons - Mon, 05/28/2018 - 20:58
Lake Geneva Original RPG Campaign: Finishing > Starting: To End Is But To Start... FINISHING-- OUTLINING and ORGANIZING  FROM MEMOIRS--
Categories: Tabletop Gaming Blogs

A week in security (May 21 – May 27)

Malwarebytes - Mon, 05/28/2018 - 20:26

Last week we told you about a Mac cryptominer using XMRig, an overview of Dreamcast related scams, part 1 of decoding Emotet, and what to do about bad coding habits that die hard.

We also published the results of our second CrackMe contest.

Other news News about the Russian “router botnet”

Stay safe, everyone!

The post A week in security (May 21 – May 27) appeared first on Malwarebytes Labs.

Categories: Techie Feeds

1d6 Random Shadow Stained Other Worldly Weapons of War For Your Old School Campaigns

Swords & Stitchery - Mon, 05/28/2018 - 18:22
It was great pity, so it was,That villanous saltpetre should be digg'dOut of the bowels of the harmless earth,Which many a good tall fellow had destroy'dSo cowardly; and but for these vile gunsHe would himself have been a soldier. Act I, scene 3, line 59. William Shakespeare,Henry IV, Part I (c. 1597) Do not pick up that lonely & forgotten weapon from that vault for you don't know where it Needleshttp://www.blogger.com/profile/11243274667834930867noreply@blogger.com0
Categories: Tabletop Gaming Blogs

Shirakawa, Ryuji in Calgary, Alberta Sept. 21-23 2018

Aikido News - Mon, 05/28/2018 - 15:23
Shirakawa, Ryuji in Calgary, Alberta Sept. 21-23 2018
From: Andrew James Barron posted on 28. May 2018, 02:23pm
URL: http://www.calgaryaikikai.com

Calgary Aikikai is excited and looking forward to training with 6th Dan Ryuji Shirakawa Shihan of Sendai, Japan this September. This is the only seminar he will be conducting in North America and should not to be missed. All are welcome to come train with this dynamic and energetic Sensei. Info at : www.calgaryaikikai.com

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  • Categories: Aikido

    Beer, Fritz Leiber, Arduin, & An OSR Campaign Set Up

    Swords & Stitchery - Mon, 05/28/2018 - 15:19
    Its Memorial Day here in the States again & I got together with friends at a local watering hole to discuss OSR stuff. Swap some beer & shoot the breeze about International Dave Hargrave day, classic original Dungeons & Dragons, OSR games, & everyone's current campaigns. So we began to talk about WWI & some of the history leading up to it including the international  brush fire conflicts that Needleshttp://www.blogger.com/profile/11243274667834930867noreply@blogger.com0
    Categories: Tabletop Gaming Blogs

    The Haunt at Crow’s Gulch

    Ten Foot Pole - Mon, 05/28/2018 - 11:12


    By Randy Musseau
    Roan Studio
    1e
    Levels 4-7

    … word of adventure and gold has drawn the characters to Crow Gulch A Gnome by the name of Galemon has offered 50 gold pieces, in advance, to adventurers and sell-swords willing to explore the ruins of the ancient tower in search of a silver orb. He will pay another 500 gold upon success. Rumors and fireside tales speak of a growing terror that lies deep beneath the Haunt and the rocky crag upon which it rests, but this has not deterred those hungry for wealth and glory.

    This 24 page adventure details a small town (first half) and a about twenty wilderness encounters followed by about ten dungeon encounters (second half.) Small fonts, lack of whitespace and bolding leads to some wall of text and SERIOUS highlighter fodder. The descriptions get long, even if there is a nice realism to them. Far too many negatives for me, but it’s altogether terrible.

    You drudge up a cliffside, having wilderness encounters along the roadway, then get to the tower and explore the dungeons underneath. Along the way are a couple of expanded wilderness areas: a harpy lair and dragon crevisse, if you choose to go off path to chase down some fleeing monsters for their lairs. Inside the dungeon you find a sorceress … turns out the gnome hiring you was ruse and she uses him to find strong souls to sacrifice in order to summon a demon. So, while a test/challenge adventure, it doesn’t feel artificial like those usually do.

    That is the great strength of this adventure. The encounters feel natural and things seem to fit as a part of the natural world. It’s not because the toilets and fresh water were provided for. Rather the text gives that natural feel and also a kind of ‘in the moment’ sort of vibe. You find prisoners almost dead, or raving madmen who rushing down a narrow cliffside trail … who slip and fall off the edge. Harpies and dragons feed, creatures are doing things. More than that though it has that natural feel that the best MRP products did.

    That does, however, come at a steep price. The font is small. Whitespace is sparse and bolding/offsets/etc non-existent. This text is THICK and hard to wade through. This all combines to make the text something torturous and I can’t see how you can run this at a table easily. Highlighter? Sure.

    It engages in repetition to pad things out, with the same details being repeated. It has motivations and background and history embedded in the text. It engages in … definitions! Roblins are playing dones(dice.) There is a jacinth (orange gemstone.) Folks, if you’re gonna use a two dollar word then don’t explain it. Give your readers some credit. Otherwise 7th grade me will never pronounce Chaos as if it rhymes with Taos.

    One of the harpy lair rooms starts with “Large Cavern. The ceiling is a dome of sharp stalactites and filth covers the floor. A ledge along the right wall is covered in piles of twigs, rags, fur and clothing, each arranged in a nest-like fashion.” That’s not so bad. Relatively short. Not a paragon of evocativeness, but better than most. Then come harpy stats, inline, then comes the searching, inline, all in the same single paragraph, with comments. “Searching the nests (8 in total) will yield …” (four more sentences, including telling us what a jacinth is.)

    It engages in this behaviour in a variety of ways, over and over again. At one point you encounter a will-o-the-wisp trying to lure a victim in . It has in it: “This is a trap. The boggart is trying to lure victims in” and then at the end of the encounter everything is justified. “The Boggart is an immature Will-o-wisp. It is building strength by feeding off the essence of its victims. It can appear in humanoid form or as small and bright hovering lights. The net is old and useless. The crackling was coming from the Boggart itself as it attempted to maintain its current form.)” Well, no shit to both.

    But, the core of the encounter is great. A tony writhing and twisting figure trapped under a small net crackling with blue electricity. And if you watch long enough you can see it change to tiny hairy man, giving you a hint something is not right. It’s great little encounter.

    Most of the encounters here are great. People slipping off cliffs. Harpies luring you off cliffs (cliffs are a feature of the wilderness part of the adventure.) They are great. They just get ruined by the fact I don’t want to slog through the text.

    That’s all commentary on the back twelve pages or so of the adventure. The first half describes the region and town. In the same, if not more, detail. Lots of motivations for the butcher’s wife to stay in town, and so on. It feels more like a writers guide for a Tv series than it does something to use at the table.Way WAY too much detail, and a focus on things not needed.

    It’s not a bad adventure, it’s just not good. Or, rather, it’s a pain to dig through. It feels like the setting should be pulled out for a fluff book, while the text proper needs to be pruned back a lot to remove all of the extraneous stuff, and then some whitespace and bolding, etc added for improved scanability. Also, I might buy a fluff book on the region, but it also needs to focus more on game ability rather than why the baker chooses to stay in town … unless there’s a hook in there.

    This is $2 at DriveThru. The preview can give you a sense of the font size and density of the text, but not really the encounters, etc.
    http://www.drivethrurpg.com/product/152482/Crow-Gulch

    Categories: Tabletop Gaming Blogs

    Weird Revisited: Afterlife During Wartime

    Sorcerer's Skull - Mon, 05/28/2018 - 11:06
    This post first appeared in February of 2012. It was intended for the world of Weird Adventures but is usuable anywhere really...


    Explorers in the planes beyond have recorded two noumenal realms devoted to the concept of war, though from two different perspectives. One is a shining realm of trumpets sounding the call to glorious battle for a righteous cause. The other is a grim place of endless, grinding war of attrition, leading to an apocalypse they may never come.

    The Halls of Valor or the Fields of Glory is the name given to the after-life for the heroic warrior dead of several pagan faiths. Its trappings are pre-modern, though never in history did swords and spears so gleam, or armor so shine. The warriors revel all night in feasting halls and walk out at dawn (strangely hangover free) to do battle with representatives arriving from places of evil and chaos (or at least the representations of such beings). Occasionally (if that word has much meaning in a timeless place) tourneys are held, and the warriors pit themselves against each other. While dire wounds are suffered, they heal quickly and wound and pain are forgotten in the face of glory.

    There have been some warriors of the Oecumenical faith, or even soldiers from modern times, who fell in battle and were taken to Halls of Valor in some sort of cosmic error. Some warm to the place after a while, but others seek a way out by appeal to the pagan gods who rule there. Sometimes, angels try to recruit such misplaced warriors to serve in the Heavenly Hosts. This is considered by the eikone Management a tidy solution to the problem of a misplaced soul.

    The other realm is a place of blood-red skies, where clouds of ash are buffeted by winds thick with the smell of death. This is the Plains of Armageddon, the Eternal Battlefield. Here, the souls of warriors damned by their actions in war are conscripted as soon as they arrive into the army of one faction or another. Weapons are supplied by agents of the Hell Syndicate or the demon lords of the Pits; They use the armies here as proxies for their own agendas. Warriors from infinite worlds and all of history do battle in bleak and blasted landscapes where no one is truly trustworthy and most hands are actively raised against every other.

    Some of the damned delight in bloodlust and slaughter and give themselves over fully to their not entirely metaphorical demons. Others seek desperately to escape and sign faustian deals to return the the Material world as diabolic thralls. Others are lucky enough to make contact with the agents.of Heaven and make other deals for a chance at working off the stain on their souls.

    Modification Monday: Lacy Boxy

    Knitted Bliss - Mon, 05/28/2018 - 11:00

    www.knittedbliss.com

    Original Pattern: Cancun Boxy Lacy Top and Boxy Knitter Extraordinaire: Keiko (Ravelry ID, blog) Mods: Using the Boxy pattern as a shape guide, Keiko integrated the stitch patterns from Cancun Boxy instead. Details can be found on her project page, here. What Makes This Awesome: Pattern mash ups, my favourite! I love how Keiko used

    The post Modification Monday: Lacy Boxy appeared first on %%www.knittedbliss.com%%.

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