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Hex Crawl 23 #240: A Useful Vendor on the Road

Roles & Rules - Tue, 09/12/2023 - 06:17

Ten hexes northwest, one north of Alakran.


Encounters along the tilted gargantuan paving stones of the ancient Road of Flowers are not always about swindles or robbery. Some of the people you meet can be useful. Such is the case with Sharyukin.

Sharyukin is a tall, slender man who dresses in silks and wears his hair up in an elaborate style, giving him a womanish look. His narrow eyes are steel-gray and he shades himself with a great green parasol. A vendor, his goods are all in and on a four-wheeled wooden cart, which is pushed diligently by a muscular, sun-baked, beetle-browed man who answers to "Turtak."

Sharyukin is a dabbler in the arcane, a hanger-on of wizards and witches, a sometimes fortune-teller and purveyor of dubious curses as well as relief from same (often as part of the same operation.) In short, he's a wozard-3 and Turtak, fighting with a wooden hammer and whip, is a barbarian-6.

Through luck, gods' grace, or some kind of astrological quirk, Sharyukin's cart will always hold the second-best thing to what the party needs. You might run into him when you need healing potions for the next adventure, and he offers you heroism or weapon resistance potions at the same price. Need torches, and he's got a little lamp with scented oil. Need armor, and he's got a fine shield.

His other trait is that in each city he visits, he knows exactly the right person to buy any curious or precious object. This, he never buys treasures in coin, but trades an object worth on to 1 1/2 times its worth for it, for he is sure to sell at 2 -3 times the book value. To this end he keeps treasures worth 2000, 1000, 500 and so forth gp. 

Finally, there are rumours of a curse that keeps robbers and theieves away from the cart. These happen to be  true; the cart contains an untouchable treasure, a gleaming black opal discretly engraved with the old Urig characters for the Void. Touch it, and a wave of necrotic energies doing 20d6 damage erupts within a 20 foot radius, save (WIS DC16) for half damage.

Categories: Tabletop Gaming Blogs

OSR Review & Commentary On Vice: Sandcove Under Fire by The Red Room For The Wretched Role Playing Game

Swords & Stitchery - Tue, 09/12/2023 - 02:48
 "The job consumes you, sucking away your humanity day by day. Maybe you still cling to some semblance of ideals, or maybe you’ve embraced the dog-eat-dog law of the streets.Either way, you’re in too deep to get out clean… The criminals and crooked cops you deal with are not cardboard cut-outs, but complex souls wrestling with their own demons. Even the worst monsters have some shred of humanity Needleshttp://www.blogger.com/profile/11243274667834930867noreply@blogger.com0
Categories: Tabletop Gaming Blogs

Remembering September 11th

Swords & Stitchery - Mon, 09/11/2023 - 22:15
 Comic book artist Ken Branch captures my mood today on this 911.  Artwork from comic artist Ken Branch used without permission. I look at the skyline of New York & think of the minutes lost to time without reason or rhyme.The souls of friends lost to the treks of time that flow into infinity & the fact that once again words fail to move me my emotions consume me. The days are shorter now but Needleshttp://www.blogger.com/profile/11243274667834930867noreply@blogger.com0
Categories: Tabletop Gaming Blogs

It Came From The Radio: Catherine Sutherland

First Comics News - Mon, 09/11/2023 - 18:30
Mark and Senior Correspondent Charlie Saladino discuss the news, a new Jaybird and Lee segment, and from the Eternal Con, we have interviews with Carl Palino, Frank Cassuto and Catherine…
Categories: Comic Book Blogs

A Hellboy Holiday Tradition Continues with HELLBOY WINTER SPECIAL: THE YULE CAT

First Comics News - Mon, 09/11/2023 - 18:27
By BARBARIAN LORD Creator and Acclaimed Cartoonist Matt Smith Featuring a Haunting Variant Cover by HELLBOY Creator Mike Mignola MILWAUKIE, Ore., (September 11, 2023)— The holiday season is full of cherished traditions: gatherings…
Categories: Comic Book Blogs

RICH REVIEWS: Young’s Infinite City

First Comics News - Mon, 09/11/2023 - 18:23
Young’s Infinite City Audio Drama Fiction Podcast   Young’s Infinite City is a full-cast science fiction audio drama set in the near-apocalypse. The show was created by Alex Dolan, produced by Alex…
Categories: Comic Book Blogs

Andy Warhol: A Graphic Biography

First Comics News - Mon, 09/11/2023 - 18:17
Andy Warhol: A Graphic Biography Unofficial and unauthorized In 1962 Andy Warhol displayed 32 canvases of Campbell’s soup cans in a New York gallery and what we think of as…
Categories: Comic Book Blogs

Quentin Tarantino: A Graphic Biography

First Comics News - Mon, 09/11/2023 - 18:03
Quentin Tarantino: A Graphic Biography Unofficial and unauthorized‘When people ask me if I went to film school I tell them, “No, I went to films”’. From the set of 1993’s Pulp Fiction,…
Categories: Comic Book Blogs

Money #3 preview

First Comics News - Mon, 09/11/2023 - 15:56
Money #3 Written by Curt Pires Art by Luca Casalanguida The Last Age Of Man. House Sawri reckons with the end of the world.
Categories: Comic Book Blogs

Lost Falls S2 #2 preview

First Comics News - Mon, 09/11/2023 - 15:56
Lost Falls S2 #2 Written by Curt Pires Art by Pierluigi Minotti A mystery in the heart of the falls. Pynchon and Sommers visit Isaac and finally learn the history…
Categories: Comic Book Blogs


First Comics News - Mon, 09/11/2023 - 15:50
SHERLOCK HOLMS #1 Descended from the man who inspired the world’s most famous detective, Spencer Holmes was orphaned at a young age, never knowing her true lineage. But when her…
Categories: Comic Book Blogs


First Comics News - Mon, 09/11/2023 - 14:19
 PORTLAND, Ore. 09/11/2023 — Image Comics is pleased to unveil an action-packed video trailer for the upcoming series Petrol Head by writer Rob Williams (Suicide Squad) and artist Pye Parr (2000…
Categories: Comic Book Blogs


First Comics News - Mon, 09/11/2023 - 14:16
LOS ANGELES 09/11/2023 — Top Cow Productions, the company behind The Darkness and CyberForce, will celebrate Robert Kirkman’s The Walking Dead 20 year milestone anniversary with collectible variants by artist Giuseppe Cafaro and colorist John…
Categories: Comic Book Blogs

Threshold Jr – September 11th

Mark Hughes (Church of the Rock) - Mon, 09/11/2023 - 14:00
This Week!

Corn Maze!
Wednesday, September 13th @ 6:15pm-9:15pm

Join us as we Kick off Threshold Jr at the Corn Maze. We will have free hot dogs and pop.
Please wear warm clothes and shoes.
A completed Activity Release Form is required for this event.


Next Week!

Pizza Party!
Wednesday, September 20th
@ 7:00PM-9:00PM

We will have FREE pizza, worship, games and a message!

In 2 Weeks!

Giant Volleyball
Wednesday, September 27th
@ 7:00PM-9:00PM

Join us for a game of volleyball that will be fun and ridiculous.

Follow us on Instagram for event and weather updates all year long! @threshold_jr Join us throughout the week on Discord!

Here’s what you need to know:
First, create a Discord user by downloading the application here.
Second, sign on to our Threshold Jr Discord server by clicking here.
You’ll be up to speed throughout the week!


The post Threshold Jr – September 11th appeared first on Church of The Rock.

Categories: Churchie Feeds

High School Ministry – September 11th

Mark Hughes (Church of the Rock) - Mon, 09/11/2023 - 14:00
This Week!

Pizza Party!
Friday, September 15th @ 7:11pm-10:00pm

Come enjoy Free Pizza as we kick off the year!
It’s going to be an awesome night filled with games and prizes!

Next Week!

Giant Volleyball!
Friday, September 22nd @ 7:11pm-10:00pm

Join us for a game of volleyball that will be ridiculous and fun!
Prizes to be won!

In 2 Weeks!

Escape Room!
Friday, September 27th @ 7:11pm-10:00pm

Put your skills to the test and complete tasks to escape rooms in the church.
Prizes to be won!

Follow us on Instagram for event and weather updates all year long! @ churchoftherockhsm Join us throughout the week on Discord! Here’s what you need to know:
First, please download Discord for your device! You can do this by downloading the application here.
Second, add yourself to our High School Ministry Discord Server by clicking THIS LINK.

We will keep you informed on what’s coming up AND spontaneous hangouts!

The post High School Ministry – September 11th appeared first on Church of The Rock.

Categories: Churchie Feeds

D&D’s Biggest Controversies Ranked—10. TSR Trashes the Entire Print Run of the Palace of the Silver Princess Adventure

DM David - Mon, 09/11/2023 - 11:46

In 1981, D&D publisher TSR printed B3 The Palace of the Silver Princess, but when the new copies reached key TSR management, they ordered the entire print run sent to a landfill rather than to distributors.

The debacle started when, after a year working mostly administrative tasks, the module’s author, Jean Wells, had finally landed a creative assignment writing an adventure that would introduce D&D to new players. Perhaps the company’s management expected a woman to deliver a gentle module that would nurture D&D’s burgeoning young audience. Instead, she wrote a sandbox with the same grown-up sensibilities as prior TSR products.

When TSR co-owner Brian Blume saw the newly printed adventure for the first time, one illustration titled “The Illusion of the Decapus” led him to have the printing trashed. In the picture a woman dangles from a ceiling beam, bound by her own hair. Men taunt and poke her, “pulling at what few clothes she has on.” Just a year earlier, such an illustration might have passed unnoticed. After all, in the October 1980 issue number 42 of Dragon, TSR printed a picture of a bound, naked woman on her knees before the corpulent, goat-headed figure of Orcus.

Illusion of the Decapus by Laura Roslof

In 1981 though, D&D enjoyed rocketing sales that reached beyond the older wargamers and sci-fi fans who first found the game. Now the public worried that the game blurred reality and fantasy, potentially leading players to real trauma or to act out the violence in the game in real and dangerous ways. Fundamentalist parents feared the spells, demons, and devils in D&D would lead their kids to actual witchcraft, satanism, or ritual sacrifice. TSR strategy focused on building sales to younger gamers while comforting the parents who might worry about a game full of evil creatures and supernatural make believe. The original Palace of the Silver Princess failed to fit that approach.

For the whole story, read Part 1 and
Part 2

Tomorrow: Number 9.

Categories: Tabletop Gaming Blogs

The Lair of the Wild Hunt

Ten Foot Pole - Mon, 09/11/2023 - 11:11
By Brian Binh Pufferfish B/X Levels 4-6

Vahden is a sleepy, little sheep-ranching village in a valley on a market road. A wizard’s tower overlooks the valley, but the reclusive wizard, Chageth, hasn’t been seen in years. In recent nights, livestock and travelers have been found burned to death. Witnesses have seen a “huge, horned hunter driving a pack of fiery hounds” across the valley at night.

This sixteen page adventures features a small tower/fort with dungeon with about thirteen rooms. The descriptions are both dull and confusing, especially for a site of this size. A case of trying too hard, perhaps?

We;ve got a small tower thing on a hill with about six rooms in it. There are two separate dungeon areas connected, one with three rooms and another with about six more. There’s a nice side-profile map, and, for a small hill fort/tower thing, it’s got some interesting features that let it be more than just a simple ten room flat dungeon map. I can’t tell you how over I am of simple flat ten room dungeon maps.

The tower is infested with undead fire blobs, and has an ogre wizard inside that is a kind of shaman undead hunter that is trying to get rid of them. There are a few encounters with the blobs till you reach the main dungeon levels, where the undead pick up dramatically. You get both the undead former wizard owner and the barrow mummy thing that the fort was built over. So, stabbing undead, maybe talking to to ogre, and fucking with a machine inside (thats making undead flaming blob things) is the interactivity here. That’s kind of low, even for an adventure of this size.

The major malfunction here is in two parts: the descriptions and the … formatting? Layout? The descriptions are essentially non-existent. The False Crypt room gets “The Malevolence (viscous, vicious, grey goo): This mass of hate puppets an empty Sarcophagus and three skeletal warriors in its sticky strands of viscous ooze.” While this is not the worst description, I want you to notice the lack of scene setting. There’s nothing at all about the crypt. AT ALL. And this is par for the course here. While there’s a kind of hybrid OSE format going on (bolded keywords), the choices for what to describe aren’t done real well and there’s no real overview of the room. Further, that description would probably work better if it started off like “Viscous vicious grey goo (the Malevolence …” Starting with what you see and noting the creature in bold in parens instead. And, ug, don’t get me started on the creature names. The Malevolence. Dark Thoughts. Raging Dreams. Foul Hopes. I’m not hating too much on the names, but, rather, how they are used in the adventure. While going through the text you can’t tell whats flavour text and whats a creature name and whats something that is expanded on further. Is foul hopes a creature? A vibe? Something else? And the formatting, with the bolding choices and sidebars, while it is trying to be helpful, just gets in the way, making it harder to slog through and find things instead of making it easier, cognitively, on the DM. 

I really, really, hate the lack of descriptions in this one. And when there are descriptions we get things like “Barrels (many shattered) Pool of ooze (grey seething, knee deep)” That’s not enough. The formatting might work if the vibe were set better with the word choices, but, also, why not just describe the room? Give it an actual description that sets the mood. 

So, does it make me angry and feel ripped off? No. It makes me sad. Just another lost dream of a dreamer. The designer made an effort, clearly. They tried, but went a little overboard on the formatting and needed to focus more on the room and creatures, giving them a vibe, and then working a little more on the interactivity. Thirteen rooms in sixteen pages. ?

This is $5 at DriveThru. The preview is BROOOOOOKKKEEEENNNNNNN!!!!


Categories: Tabletop Gaming Blogs

When Two Become One

Just Call Me Pastor - Mon, 09/11/2023 - 11:00

Pastors are to bring theological substance to events they administer. That is one of the expected benefits of their years of pastoral training.

Consider marriage. In a time when its definition is increasingly fuzzy in society at large, a pastor’s first task in the conduct of weddings today is to reflect what the Scriptures teach about marriage.

In my book, The Pastor’s First Love: And Other Essays on a High and Holy Calling, I summarize a Christian understanding of marriage, as follows:  

When a man and woman come to the altar, what happens there in a few minutes changes them forever. They approach the altar as two single persons, legally unrelated; they leave as a married couple; a new unit in society. Their status will be forever altered, and so will the church community of which they are a part. Should not anything so crucial deserve appropriate celebration in the setting of Christian worship? The event is more than a legal moment; it is a sacred moment of life-changing significance.

For a Christian couple, a wedding may be a very personal matter, but it cannot be a private one — limited to two people only. It is the couple’s wedding for sure, but it is also the church’s, meaning it also belongs in the context of a particular unit of the body of Christ.

So, the Christian church has a large stake in the wedding: its sanctuary provides the setting; its congregation provides the witnessing community; its ministers provide the authorized officers; and its rituals provide the theological content concerning what the event means. It can be argued that all of this is brought together best and most coherently when the couple meet at a Christian altar and the people gather with them in a setting conducive to the worship of the God who is the creator of marriage.”

I recognize that across a lifetime of ministry spanning well over 60 years, secular influences have had their effect on Christians.  On occasion, two people raised in a church setting may therefore still need gentle and loving instruction as they approach their wedding — such as, on what the parts of the ceremony mean. And of course, pastors need to teach their people basic theology regarding weddings, even when none is in the offing.  

One example of Christian doctrine is that marriage is an “institution” ordered by God at the time of creation (Genesis 1&2). Therefore, the couple must not appear at the altar as though they were creating something new. They may be demonstrating a fresh version of the event but they are entering into the timeless, created order.  This should make the moment for them not only joyful but also humbling and worshipful. That’s why we are not so likely to speak of “performing” a wedding as “solemnizing” the event.

Given marriage’s profound attachment to creation, the words spoken should contain deep Christian substance.   Rituals that are designed by the couple are not nearly as useful as rituals that begin by proclaiming that the event is ordained by God.  Next, the couple is asked to pledge to each other (and God) their lifelong support and faithfulness to each other.  Finally, the wedding concludes by asking God in deep earnestness for his blessing on the couple at the altar. Repeating, to accomplish these three things in the face of today’s secularizing influences may require some teaching and counsel by the officiating minister.

It seems to me that, as never before, Christians ought to give special attention to each wedding’s content and meaning. Weddings, insofar as possible, should be shining reflections of the grace of God which enables two — a man and a woman — to become one, and profoundly united in all aspects of their life together!

Originally published April 14, 2014

Revised and reposted September 11, 2023

Photo credit: Marco Verch Professional Photographer (via flickr.com). CC License.

My new memoir, FROM KITCHEN CHAIR TO PULPIT: A Memoir of Family, Faith, and Ministry, has just been published. I hope you will click on one of the links that follow to be taken to the page on these sites that enable you to view and potentially purchase the paperback or ebook. My book shows just how extraordinary the pastoral life can be, describing how I prepared for ministry and ministered to three congregations and then, as a bishop, to pastors as a bishop, with the help of my wife, Kathleen, and the support of our children as they grew up from children to adults.

Purchase in Canada

Purchase in the US

Categories: Churchie Feeds

Aquaman and the Lost Kingdom Tease Photos

First Comics News - Mon, 09/11/2023 - 08:44
Having failed to defeat Aquaman the first time, Black Manta, still driven by the need to avenge his father’s death, will stop at nothing to take Aquaman down once and…
Categories: Comic Book Blogs


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