A blog about games, gamers, and various and sundry geek culture-related ephemera and paraphernalia.

Monday, December 29, 2008

Alas, Poor Zagyg

One of my holiday gifts this year was Gary Gygax's Castle Zagyg: The Upper Works from Troll Lord Games. It's an impressive - albeit bittersweetly welcomed - boxed set based on the Great DM's own long-sought-after-by-old-school-gamers megadungeon, Castle Greyhawk.

I might have attempted a review of the product - had James Maliszewski not already done such an excellent review (in three parts, no less) on his blog, Grognardia. I highly recommend that anyone interested in the set take a look at James' extensive and - IMHO - fair review of it. It's well worth the read...


While poking around the stores for post-holiday bargains (and braving massive crowds and insane drivers) I stumbled across this little beauty sitting in the Papo/Safari/Schleich toys display at the local Michael's store:
I knew that this dragon from Safari had to be mine, because - horns aside - it instantly reminded me of my all-time favorite illustration from the interior of my first RPG love:

This illustration has always been, IMHO, what D&D is all about...

This little guy is just about as tall (in relation to human-sized models) as the beastie in the illo above; a ~30mm tall D&D miniature stands just a hair above the dragon's shoulder, meaning that my old Ral Partha 25's should fit perfectly in proportion with it.

Now if only my Ral Partha's weren't all buried in storage... /sigh

On the Topic of Bulettes

I've only recently discovered Jeff's Gameblog, an excellent blog devoted to my first RPG love and more. (So I've been living under a rock... sue me!) I was reading Jeff's post on The Incomplete Pictorial History of the Bulette and was struck by the omission of my favorite graphical representation of the "land shark." (I know, I know, the title said it was incomplete...)

Here it is, from the pages of S3: Expedition to the Barrier Peaks:

I think this was my favorite illustration from S3 from the first time I flipped through the module. I loved Jeff Dee's work on the early TSR products, and this one in particular sparked my imagination. I loved how unceremoniously the bulette had been dumped from the hold. And I'd love to see Dee's take on what the scene would look like a couple of rounds later - when the bulette awoke and decided to take out his misfortune on the closest living things at hand: the PC's! (Note the wizard in the right side of the illustration - probably the smartest member of the party, and he's already running for the hills...)

Tuesday, December 23, 2008

... And Something a Little More Old-School

My fourth RPG: TSR's Star Frontiers. (This was before it was known as Star Frontiers - Alpha Dawn.)

I never really got into it when I first bought the game. It was too... not-what-I-wanted-from-my-space-opera-RPG. Too low tech, too dirtside-centric, too lacking starship rules. /sigh

I loved the Elmore cover, though! (Alpha Dawn version follows - couldn't locate a decent scan of the blue-box cover.)

It's still one of my favorite Elmore pieces today, and never fails to inspire me with the urge to run a full-on, damn-the-physics-to-hell, space opera game. (Which I tried with a heavily house-ruled Star Frontiers earlier this year, thus the newer character sheet.)

There may be a few extra boxes on this one for house rule content, but nothing that would interfere if you want to run a vanilla game of SF:

Monday, December 22, 2008

D&D Basic (Moldvay) Character Sheets

I made these around the same time as the Aerth map. Astute readers may notice that the halfling shares a sheet with the thief. That's because I had a standing house rule at the time that halflings could use thief skills at one level lower than their class level.


[Edit: I've since made a newer version of the B/X character sheet. You can find it here.]

Map of Aerth

Okay, I know the world name's not clever - nor was it intended to be.

I was in full-on retro-mode when I created this a couple of years back, so I make no excuses for place names, no matter how cliched they may be.

(Fans of Milton Bradley's Dark Tower board game will undoubtedly recognize some of the names on this map - what can I say? I'm a big fan of the game, and I've always wanted to include some of these in my own sandbox world. And, as I said, I was feeling very nostalgic when I made this...)

So, without further ado, here's my map of my D&D game world, called simply Aerth:

Statement of Intent

I'll be honest: I'm not much of a blogger.

Oh, I've tried it before... but it just never seemed to work out. I'm just not much for sharing my thoughts. (Quiet, shy, soft-spoken, man of few words - these terms and phrases have often been used when referencing yours truly. Of course, this doesn't mean I'm not opinionated, because that term has also been used to describe me.) Unless I see a dire need for thoughts to be made known, I usually just keep them to myself.

Furthermore, I suffer from a condtion I call HADD: hobby attention deficit disorder. I become temporarily fascinated with certain things (games, genres, etc.), immerse myself in them for a brief period, and then move on. (I'm a source of no little frustration to my friends and family, as you may have guessed.)

These two facts mean, ultimately, that I can make no promises guaranteeing frequent, consistent posts to this blog. You have been warned...

That being said, there is a positive side to all of this. As a result of the two aforementioned facts, I have amassed quite a collection of home-brew gaming paraphernalia. From maps to character sheets to house rules to entire rulesets, it's all here - and mostly unshared outside my small game group. (Membership of which has changed very little over the last 20 years!)

So, my intentions are to share these things, especially those related to my first RPG, the one to which I always return - even if only for a brief visit - time and again: Basic (Moldvay) Dungeons & Dragons. (More on that in a later post - probably.) I hope to use this space to share these with the millions of blogosphere travelers who will no doubt flock to my awe-inspiring, resource-rich personal Web log... or, rather, the one or two users who actually happen to stumble by and take the time to peruse this grain of internet sand.

So, with the formalities out of the way, we may move on to the meat and potatoes of the blog... eventually. /wink