Saturday, April 30, 2011

Z is for . . .

Whose brains these are I just don't know.
Her body's in the tunnel, though;
She will not see me stooping here
To eat her brains before I go.

My staggering gait you might find queer,
To shuffle-step when you're so near
Between the exit and the dark,
The darkest tunnel under here.

My skin, it flakes, my voice—a bark,
My bite leaves just a little mark;
I'm the worst thing you'd ever meet
In this black place beneath the park.

The tunnel is gloomy and smells of peat
And I have chains upon my feet,
And brains to devour before I sleep,
And brains to devour before I sleep.

*after Stopping by Woods on a Snowy Evening, by Robert Frost

Friday, April 29, 2011

Know What I Hate?

I hate it when people complain that people don't comment on their blogs, and then they delete a comment you leave on their blogs.

Stay classy, you.

I may have jumped the gun on this one. I've noticed that the last few comments I've left on blogs have disappeared, so it might just be Blogger, not the blog owner. Even so, I still hate it.

In Response to a Comment by -C on Mythmere's Blog, Which Was a Response to My Comment

The following post is a response to a comment by -C of Hack & Slash (a great blog with some fantastic ideas) on this blog post at Mythmere's blog regarding what makes an OSR blog popular. The discussion in the comments veered towards whether bloggers should give away their creations or charge for them:

Only you can decide if it's a mistake to give your material away for free. I'm not saying it was a mistake to give away material, or that it's a mistake to charge for it. Only you can decide the fair market value of your ideas and the time and effort you invest in realizing those ideas in physical form.

That said, though, no one pays attention to a license that isn't in some ways restrictive. Making folks pay for content is a good method to get what you want--the money IS the comment, as you pointed out. Offer a free snippet on the blog, request payment for the whole shebang. Everybody wins. That's not a popularity contest, it's just good business sense.

Charging for something is selling. Giving something away for free is sharing. Those who chose to give stuff away for free (and I am one of those) should realize that "free" usually means no obligation whatsoever. None. Nada. Zip.

Any non-enforceable license is not a license. The "leave a comment license" is not a free license--you are requesting payment in the form of comment. But you have no way to enforce the payment. How can you enforce the terms of the license when you do not restrict access to the content you are licensing? In short, you can't. Yes, it is a very small fee, one that doesn't demand much from the user and shouldn't be that big of a deal for the end-user to fulfill. But because it is so small, it is not seen as worth doing; if the cost is a comment, it's damn near close to being free anyway, so why even leave a comment, even if it is the "right thing to do"? In short, you can't enforce moral behavior without a requiring something more than the guilt of not leaving a comment.

What you can do instead is what Geoffrey did with Carcosa, what Doug did with Savage Swords of Athanor, what James did with World of Onn, what Matt has done with S&W: use the social media platform of the Web (blogs, forums, etc.) to give people just enough to tease them into a purchase. Sometimes that means giving away the PDF to drive traffic to higher-priced print product. Sometimes that means giving away a "lite" version of a product (NOD & Pars Fortuna Basic, S&W Whitebox, etc.) in PDF in the hope of driving traffic to a more complete version of the PDF or a print product.

Essentially, blogs are terrible places to get detailed feedback on a product or release. Forums are better--because you can keep track of threads & discussions in one central location--but better yet is intense peer review among a small cadre of playtesters, either via email, wiki, etc. Having a cadre of reviewers and testers before release is a much better feedback method.

For example, I'm heavily involved in peer reviewing a textbook for the college composition market right now (I have an NDA, so I can't disclose the publisher or the project details). The editor emails us chapters in progress, and we provide feedback via an online survey site where specific questions are asked of us and we have to type detailed comments in addition to simply giving scaled ratings. The whole process of reading, commenting, and providing feedback on a chapter takes about a week to complete. Then, we are sent a new chapter. And sometimes we are sent a revision of a chapter we have already worked on.

In short, review, commentary, analysis, and feedback are all part of a slow process. And it SHOULD be a slow process.

So, here's an idea. I don't know if it'll work or not. Post your release, for free or for sale. Draw attention to it. Then, let it go a few weeks. Then come back and ask folks who visit the blog what they think about what you posted and ask for specific comment. Ask questions about the kinds of feedback you want. We tend to post something to a blog and then forget to draw attention to it again (there are exceptions, of course, like Greg over at Errant and George Strayton working on his L&L project).

In other words, detail for us the kinds of feedback you want. If all you want is a pat on the back and an "atta-boy!", then I think you'll get it. If you ask a specific question— i.e., "How does how I explain the dice rolling mechanic to determine initiative in unarmed combat affect the time it takes to complete the combat round?"—then you are more likely to get substantive comments you can use to revise or improve what you have released.

The question is quite simple: is your blog a personal platform, a development platform, or a marketing platform? Or a combination of two of the above? Or a combination of all three? And if a combo, then how much of each? Then and only then can you decide if, how, and what to charge for what you write, post, and develop.

As for me, I'm going to keep giving things away for free. The moment I start collecting money, I turn into a business, and then the IRS starts getting involved and I don't want to deal with that. I'm a hobbyist, and I like staying a hobbyist, and my doing projects with other like-minded hobbyists is my way of "giving back" to the community that I have gotten so much out of it.

I do not begrudge those who want to get something in return for their time and efforts. Only they can be the judge of what is fair and equitable compensation, or even if they want to be compensated at all.

I willingly support those who have a consistent track record of churning out good stuff. I don't make much of a distinction between "professional" and "hobbyists" anyway--our corner of the RPG scene is too small for that, and technology allows most hobbyists to churn out professional quality work if they decide to put the time and effort into it. And yes, those folks should be the ones deciding how they like to be rewarded--whether it is cash or download count or atta-boys. Or all three.

And thus, I come back to my original comment: do good work. The rest will follow.

Y is for . . .

Yellow Mold
It glimmers and it shimmers
And it looks like golden dust
But this fungus is poisonous
So steer clear of it you must;

It lingers on set tables,
It clings to silver plates,
Its spores will eat away your guts
Or acid-burn your face.

Fire will destroy it
Or so I've been been told—
But whatever you do in a dungeon,
Don't eat the Yellow Mold.

Thursday, April 28, 2011

X is for . . .

X is for X,
the unknowable unknown
we know we know is still unknown,
yet for all we know of the known unknowns,
the unknown unknowns are not known
to be known by those who know unknowns the best.

X is for X and yet not for X
because X is now known to be known,
so if it is X and also not X,
then it's really no place that is known.

And if we know it's unknown then we know what is known,
not unknown as some people might claim;
So known or unknown, knowning what we know
Is really just one and the same—

So perhaps it is true that X does mark a spot,
But not on the material plane.

Wednesday, April 27, 2011

W is for . . .

Wall of Fire*
Death can be a burning thing
That deals a fiery sting.
Things look pretty dire,
When you fall into a wall of fire.

I fell into a flaming wall of fire
I went ahhh, owww, arrggh, and the fire went higher;
And it burns, burns, burns, this wall of fire,
This wall of fire.

I fell into a flaming wall of fire
I went ahhh, owww, arrggh, and the fire went higher;
And it burns, burns, burns, this wall of fire,
This wall of fire.

The taste of death is sweet
When sorcerers like us meet;
Your life was on the wire
Then you cast wall of fire.

I fell into a flaming wall of fire
I went ahhh, owww, arrggh, and the fire went higher;
And it burns, burns, burns, this wall of fire
This wall of fire.

I fell into a flaming wall of fire
I went ahhh, owww, arrggh, and the fire went higher;
And it burns, burns, burns, this wall of fire
This wall of fire.

And it burns, burns, burns,
this wall of fire
this wall of fire
this wall of fire.

*apologies to Johnny Cash

Tuesday, April 26, 2011

V is for . . .

There is no right way to play our great game;
The rules are are not rules, only guides.
You may change them and twist them,
Subvert, or discard them; only the DM can decide.

Houserules are just laws of the worlds we create
When we sit down at table to play;
All that it takes to change that world's fate
Is whatever the DM might say.

Elves can advance like split fighter-mages,
Turn undead, a first level spell;
You could split up the take or trade out your treasure
Or say screw it, each man for himself.

Some say houserules change the work that's been done
To keep the game balanced and fair;
But grognards say phooey to thinking like that;
This is old school, not Legends & Lairs.

Despite the trend to twist and to rend
The game into a cheap MMORPG;
We'll keep on gaming the way we've been gaming:
The game isn't dying, it breathes!

Variant rules are the soul of old school,
We vary the game as we like;
Now draw your sword, you scummy young fool
While I roll the the big purple die!

Monday, April 25, 2011

U is for . . .

The undead I dread aren't the wights I might fight
Or the ghoul who might drool when he's bled.
The banshee ain't fancy and doesn't romance me—
Skeletons & shadows the same; I've never lost faith
Facing down wraiths, and spectres cry at my god's name.
Vampires spook me but I know can't harm me
Though true ones don't sparkle (for shame!),
Zombies just shuffle unless they must hustle—
Yet fast ones fall quicker than rain
(The slow ones are scary, but easy to parry
And they really just want to eat brains).
No, the bastard I dread out of all the undead,
The one that always does the trick—
Is that miserable corpse—Oh, that terrible corpse!—
The Horned King himself, the Lord Lich!

Saturday, April 23, 2011

T is for . . .

Eeeny meeny miny moe,
Catch a Troll by his big toe.
Lop off an arm, just take a whack--
Don't be surprised when it grows back.
Chop off a leg, his nose, an ear,
And it comes back, just as you feared.
Decapitate his precious head,
And you'll find he's still not dead.
But torch his scrotum, burn his balls
And they'll not come back at all.
Only fire or an acid bath
Will kill a troll--just do the math.
He keeps on regenerating
Until his flesh's incinerating.
Then take his ashes, once he's charred,
Mix with seven parts of lard,
Form into lumps around a rope
Then scrub up nice with fresh Troll Soap™!

Friday, April 22, 2011

S is for . . .

Spade of Excavation
It's rumored that Xagyg the Crafty
(Or maybe Nosenera the Great)
Gave Smada Gierb Chnif
The terrible idea
To endeavor this spade to create.

With this spade in your hand you can clean out
A pegasus stall in an hour;
You can dig a quick ditch
With a flick of your wrist
Or dig under keep walls and watchtowers.

Why, I used it last week to escape the dark deep
Of that labyrinth known as Dyson's Delve;
It dug while I slept
And when I woke from sleep--
Well, that dungeon now has a level twelve!

My friend, you look very trustworthy--
And I know that this might sound insane
But I'll trade you this spade
Plus this Balm of Nightshade
If you bring me the Sword of Ducaine!

Wednesday, April 20, 2011

New Magic Item: Case of Irony

The following is declared Open Game Content:

Case of Irony
This small leather case has a permanent variation of the Magic Mouth spell cast on it. It can deliver any message of twenty-five or fewer words long in any language known by the user and the message can be delivered over a period of 10 minutes.

The mouth cannot utter verbal components, use command words, or activate magical effects. It does, however, move according to the words articulated.

The mouth appears inside the case, and opening the case triggers the message to begin.

However, there is a 90% chance that the message stored in the Case of Irony becomes twisted to mean the opposite of what was intended by the person who stored the message. In these cases, the message is delivered in a humorously sardonic manner. Roll 1d4 to determine who the voice sounds like:
  1. Bill Hicks
  2. Mitch Hedberg
  3. Gilda Radner
  4. Richard Pryor

A Word About All These Blogging Awards . . .

I felt left out, so I gave myself this:

Feel free to award one to yourself. It's just as valuable as the other blogging awards I'm seeing pop up on OSR blogs.

EDIT: If you decide to post this on your blog, there's no need to link back to this post or this blog. Sometimes, a lot of link backs can make Google and/or Blogger think that a blog has been infected by a spambot. Therefore, I release the image contained in this post to the OSR community. Feel free to do with it what you will.

After all, it's a joke. Just like all the other blogging awards.

Monday, April 18, 2011

Blogging from A to Z Update

It appears I am several days ahead of the curve on the A to Z blogging challenge. I'm already up to R, but everybody else is on P.

Since I'm so far ahead, I'm going to give myself a bit of a break until I can be in sync with everyone else doing this blogging challenge. My next post, S, should appear on the Friday, April 22, right on schedule with everyone else.

This also gives me some time to come up with material for U through Z! X is giving me a headache, as there aren't any Xvarts in the Swords & Wizardry Whitebox. I'l think of something mildly silly and entertaining, I hope.

R is for . . .

Raise Dead
You might be rather gamey
If you've been in the grave for a week;
Your nose filled with mud,
Your flesh dripping with crud,
And your clothing—well, best not to speak.
When you've come back from hereafter,
Yes, you just might stink up the hall—
So if you've been resurrected,
Please sleep away from us all.

Sunday, April 17, 2011

Q is for . . .

I am compelled to obey you,
To complete the task that you set.
I will travel from Rimthorp to Kantikintal
To bring back the Gem of Hoptet.

I will travel through seas and through deserts,
I will climb the most perilous climbs
I will hack through the jungle of darkest Arktet
To bring back this jewel of desire.

I have heard tales of death and dismemberment
Of those who have fought for this jewel,
Of magic so bleak that it's best not to speak
Of the curse that turns clerics to ghouls.

So I will set off on this journey,
Though this be against my free will
And when I come back, beware my next task:
Your own damn black heart to still.

*this is a fifth level Cleric spell / sixth level Magic-user spell under the S&W Whitebox rules

Saturday, April 16, 2011

P is for . . .

Purple Worm*

Purple Worm! Quick, run away!
The bastard swallows all its prey;
The stinger'll pierce right through your hide;
'Scuse me while I watch you die!

Purple Worms all around!
We're gonna die here undergound.
Are you happy or in misery?
Doesn't matter much, just don't bleed on me.

Help me! Help me!
Oh no, no . . . no!

Purple Worm right before my eyes—
Don't know if I will live or die;
Warm breeze blowing as I head towards death—
Damn thing has the worst halitosis.

No, help me! Aw yeah!
Oh no, no, oh help me!

*with apologies to The Jimi Hendrix Experience

Thursday, April 14, 2011

Evidently. . .

I can't think through an idea very well. My 1d120 Table: What's in the Jar? has now been split into a series of sub-tables because I am a moron. Mad props to Restless for pointing this out.

d6+1 Table: What's in the Box?

The following is declared Open Game Content:

d6+1 Table: What's in the Box?*
The hearty adventurers have found a box. What's in it? Roll 1d6. If an odd number is rolled, the adventurers also find item 7.

1. The ossicles of seventy-two mice.

2. A 3/4-inch diameter purple glowing orb. Inside the orb, colors seem to swirl and loop in a mesmerizing pattern. Held in the hand, the orb twitches and rocks with crackling, electric energy. When thrown, tossed, or flicked, the orb will return to the user's hand after it hits its intended target. Used as a bullet in a sling, it functions as a bullet +2. It is really a Shooter +6, most useful when used in a game of ringer.

3. Several pieces of chalk and charcoal, fashioned into thin sticks to serve as writing implements.

4. 327 dried nurdles.

5. Two scrolls of 1,875,273 names, writtin in miniscule script, with lots of crosouts and deletions. One scroll is titled "Demonic," the other "Angelic." Each adventurer's name is on one of the lists.

6. Someone's desiccated junk.

7. A monkey's paw which functions as a ring of three wishes. It's cursed.

Per Gratuitous Saxon Violence's request.

N is for . . .

Neutralize Poison
You've been bitten by snakes and by spiders
You look worse than what the cat dragged in;
You'll have to put faith
In a potion or scroll—
Unless you are true without sin.

Then your cleric can ask divine favor
(That's something to believe in)
To stop the quick spread
Of the venomous dread
That courses and flows through your veins.

Yes, this spell is your only hope now
To get yourself back, tippy-top:

You'll soon be back on your feet,

Drinking stout mead

And doing the unskinny bop.

Yes, we know that you just want action,
That you want nothing but a good time;
To be true, I think you've learned your lesson:
Every vampire rose has its thorns.

(inspired by this post at Rather Gamey.)

Wednesday, April 13, 2011

d120 Table: What's in the Jar? --CORRECTED!

The following is declared Open Game Content:

d120 Table: What's in the Jar?
The hearty adventurers have stumbled into the pantry. All around them are jars and vessels filled with foodstuffs. But what's in them? Roll 1d100 and 1d20 (or, I guess, the easy method of 6d20), add the result, and choose from below

Roll 1d6. Given the result, roll 1d20 on the appropriate table:

  1. Apple Butter
  2. Apple Chutney
  3. Apple Juice
  4. Applesauce
  5. Artichoke Pickles
  6. Asian Pears
  7. Asparagus Pieces
  8. Asparagus Spears
  9. Baked Beans
  10. Berry Syrup
  11. Black Olives
  12. Bread and Butter Pickled Jicama
  13. Cantaloupe Pickles
  14. Cayenne Pepper Sauce
  15. Chayote and Jicama Slaw
  16. Chayote and Pear Relish
  17. Collard Greens
  18. Cranberries
  19. Cranberry Orange Chutney
  20. Cranberry Sauce

  1. Creamed Corn
  2. Cubed Beets
  3. Cubed Pumpkin
  4. Cubed Sweet Potatoes
  5. Cubed White Potatoes
  6. Cubed Winter Squash
  7. Diced Carrots
  8. Dill Pickle Relish
  9. Dill Pickles
  10. Dilled Beans
  11. Fall Garden Relish
  12. Fig Pickles
  13. Figs
  14. Fresh Dill Cucumber Relish
  15. Fruit Pureés
  16. Grape Juice
  17. Grapefruit Sections
  18. Grapes Whole
  19. Green Beans
  20. Green Mangoes

  1. Green Olives
  2. Green Peas
  3. Halved Apricots
  4. Halved Nectarines
  5. Halved Peaches
  6. Halved Pears
  7. Halved Plums
  8. Lemon Curd
  9. Mango Chutney
  10. Mango Sauce
  11. Marinated Peppers
  12. Marinated Whole Mushrooms
  13. Mayhaw Juice
  14. Mayhaw Syrup
  15. Mixed Fruit Cocktail
  16. Mixed Vegetables
  17. Mustard Greens
  18. Okra
  19. Orange Sections
  20. Papaya

  1. Peach Fruit Topping
  2. Pear Pickles
  3. Pear Relish
  4. Peppers
  5. Pickle Relish
  6. Pickled Asparagus
  7. Pickled Baby Carrots
  8. Pickled Beets
  9. Pickled Bell Peppers
  10. Pickled Bread-and-Butter Zucchini
  11. Pickled Brussel Sprouts
  12. Pickled Carrots
  13. Pickled Cauliflower
  14. Pickled Corn Relish
  15. Pickled Dill Okra
  16. Pickled Eggs
  17. Pickled Green Tomato Relish
  18. Pickled Horseradish Sauce
  19. Pickled Hot Peppers
  20. Pickled Mixed Vegetables

  1. Pickled Pearl Onions
  2. Pickled Pepper-Onion Relish
  3. Pickled Sweet Green Tomatoes
  4. Pickled Yellow Pepper Rings
  5. Pineapple
  6. Rummage Relish
  7. Sauerkraut
  8. Shelled Lima Beans
  9. Sliced Apples
  10. Sliced Apricots
  11. Sliced Beets
  12. Sliced Carrots
  13. Sliced Mushrooms
  14. Sliced Nectarines
  15. Sliced Peaches
  16. Spiced Apple Rings
  17. Spiced Apples Rings
  18. Spiced Crabapples
  19. Spiced Green Tomatoes
  20. Spiced Pears

  1. Spicy Jicama Relish
  2. Spinach
  3. Stewed Rhubarb
  4. Succotash
  5. Sweet Apple Relish
  6. Sweet Cherry Sweet Topping
  7. Tangy Tomatillo Relish
  8. Three-Bean Salad
  9. Tomato-Apple Chutney
  10. Watermelon Rind Pickles
  11. Wax Beans
  12. Whole Beets
  13. Whole Berries
  14. Whole Cherries
  15. Whole Kernel Corn
  16. Whole Mushrooms
  17. Whole Plums
  18. Whole Sweet Potatoes
  19. Whole White Potatoes
  20. Zucchini-Pineapple Slices

*mad props to The National Center for Home Food Preparation for the list of stuff that can be canned and/or jarred.

d50 Table: Bear With Me

 NOTE: This table has been updated and expanded upon! Check out this post to download the expanded table, plus many more!

The following is declared Open Game Content:

d50 Table: Bear With Me*
The hearty adventurers burst open the door. There, pacing around an otherwise apparently empty room, is a bear which, from cursory appearances, was previously chained to the floor. It's only a bear. But what kind of bear?

1. American Black Bear
2. Cinnamon Bear
3. Kermode Bear
4. Asiatic Black Bear
5. Baluchistan Bear
6. Formosan Black Bear
7. Pakistan Black Bear
8. Brown Bear
9. Atlas Bear
10. Bergman's Bear
11. Blue Bear
12. Eurasian Brown Bear
13. European Brown Bear
14. Gobi Bear
15. Grizzly Bear
16. Himalayan Brown Bear
17. Hokkaido Brown Bear
18. Kamchatka Brown Bear
19. Kodiak Bear
20. Marsican Brown Bear
21. Mexican Grizzly Bear
22. Siberian Brown Bear
23. Syrian Brown Bear
24. Giant Panda
25. Qinling Panda
26. Sloth Bear
27. Sri Lankan Sloth Bear
28. Sun Bear
29. Polar Bear
30. Ursid Hybrid
31. Grizzly-polar Bear Hybrid
32. Spectacled Bear
33. Agriotherium
34. Ailuropoda microta
35. Arctodus simus
36. Bear Dog
37. Cave Bear
38. Cephalogale
39. Dwarf Panda
40. Hemicyon
41. Hemicyonidae ("dog-bear")
42. Kolponomos
43. Kolponomos newportensis
44. MacFarlane's Bear
45. Parictis
46. Yogi Bear
47. Smokey the Bear
48. Corduroy
49. Snuggle
50. Sugar Bear

*tip of the hat to Wikipedia again.

Gold Star from Jeff!

Jeff wanted to give me a gold star for my previous post about I gave one to myself instead!

Print-to-PDF Any Post!

I was turned on to the Print-to-PDF feature of after reading a blog by the poet and professor Joseph Hutchinson of The Perpetual Birder . I've added this feature to the blog, so now you can print any post direct to PDF for easy saving!

It'd be great if this becomes a feature we see on more OSR blogs--there is so much goodness out there that I save for offline viewing as HTML that I'd love to have as PDFs instead.

d50 Table: Dungeon Ducks

 NOTE: This table has been updated and expanded upon! Check out this post to download the expanded table, plus many more!

The following is declared Open Game Content:

d50 Table: Dungeon Ducks
The hearty adventurers burst open the door. There, sitting in the middle of an otherwise apparently empty room, is a duck. Just a duck. Only a duck. But what kind of duck?

1. Abacot Ranger
2. Blanc d'Allier
3. Ancona Duck
4. Aylesbury Duck
5. Bali Duck
6. Black East Indian
7. Blue Swedish Duck
8. Buff Orpington Duck
9. Call Duck
10. Challans
11. Cayuga Duck
12. Chara Chemballi Duck
13. Crested Duck
14. Danish Duck
15. Duclair
16. Dutch Hookbill
17. East Indie Duck
18. Forest Duck
19. Gimbsheimer
20. Golden Cascade
21. Gressingham Duck
22. Huttengem Duck
23. Indian Runner Duck
24. Khaki Campbell
25. Magpie Duck
26. Majorcan Duck
27. Muscovy Duck
28. Orpington Duck
29. Pekin Duck
30. Rouen Duck
31. Saxony Duck
32. Semois
33. Silver Appleyard Duck
34. Silver Bantam Duck
35. Termonde Duck
36. Venetian Duck
37. Welsh Harlequin Duck
38. Wood Duck
39. Swedish Duck
40. Swedish Yellow Duck
41. Australian Spotted Duck
42. Barbary Duck
43. Cayuga Duck
45. Mulard Duck
46. Yellow Bath Duckie
47. Donald Duck
48. Daffy Duck
49. Darkwing Duck
50. Goose

*this is when Wikipedia comes in handy.

M is for . . .

Though the Manticore curses in common
And he blasphemes in great detail,
When attacking he hovers
So warriors, take cover
From his dangerous, poisonous tail.

Tuesday, April 12, 2011


After posting the previous post, I noticed that I now have 40 followers myself! Thanks, guys, for coming along for the ride.

Now it's time to level up!

New Level: Thinker. Hmmm.....

Following vs. RSS

I've been transitioning over to the "Follower" widget in an effort to clean up my RSS feeds in Google Reader. Some of you might see you've gained me as "follower" but lost me as a feed reader. hope this doesn't screw up your blog stats too much.

L is for . . .

Give me a quart of vampire blood
And the well-simmered heart of a virgin,
The sexual glands of seven giant moths,
And a measure of fresh venom of wyvern—
I'll toss in two pinches of arsenic powder
And a pinch of my best belladonna;
I'll cast Magic Jar, Trap the Soul, Enchant Item:
Your life-force will flee to new sanctum—
I'll capture it here, in this phylactery
Made of amber & silver & bedlam.
And if you're not a lich by the end of the week,
Well, sorry, no refunds, no tantrums!

Sunday, April 10, 2011

J is for . . .

Jug of Alchemy*
As I was traveling, going over White Plume Mountain,
I saw the Watch Captain and his gold, he was counting;
I first produced my short sword and then produced my dagger—
I said "Stand and deliver or Orcus he may take ya."

Musha rain dum-a-doo dum-a-da,
Whack for my daddy-o,
Whack for my daddy-o,
There's alchemy in the jug-o!

I took all his money, and it was a pretty penny;
I took all his money, and I brought it home to Jenny.
She swore that she loved me, no, never would she leave me;
But Lloth take that harlot, for you know she tricked me easy.

Musha rain dum-a-doo dum-a-da,
Whack for my daddy-o,
Whack for my daddy-o,
There's alchemy in the jug-o!

I went to the tavern, all for to take a tumbler—
I drank a pint and then ten more, for sure it was a wonder!
And while I was a'drinking, Jenny told her daughters
To send word to the Watch Captain to be ready for my slaughter.

Musha rain dum-a-doo dum-a-da, ha, ya,
Whack for my daddy-o,
Whack for my daddy-o,
There's alchemy in the jug-o!

Being drunk and weary, I went to Jenny's chamber
Takin' my plunder with me, but I never knew the danger;
For about six or maybe seven, in walked the Watch Captain—
I jumped up, drew my dagger, and backstabbed for double damage!

Musha rain dum-a-doo dum-a-da, ha, ya,
Whack for my daddy-o,
Whack for my daddy-o,
There's alchemy in the jug-o!

If anyone can save me, it's my brother in the army—
If anyone can find his party in Waterdeep or Undermountain.
And if he'll come and save me, we'll go roving over Glantri,
And I swear he'll treat me better than me darling harlot Jenny.

Musha rain dum-a-doo dum-a-da, ha, ya,
Whack for my daddy-o,
Whack for my daddy-o,
There's alchemy in the jug-o!

Now some men like wild campaigning, and some like dungeon crawling;
Some men like to hear the sound of a trebuchet a-roarin';
But me, I like sleepin', 'specially in a fair maid's chamber—
But here I am in prison, here I am with a ball and chain, yeah . . .

Musha rain dum-a-doo dum-a-da, ha, ya,
Whack for my daddy-o.
Whack for my daddy-o,
There's alchemy in the jug-o!

*with apologies to Thin Lizzy & Metallica

Saturday, April 9, 2011

I is for . . .

Invisible Stalker
I’ve got an Invisible Stalker;
I keep it on a short leash.
It’s a cloud of mist from the Aerial Plane
And I’m finding it quite hard to teach.
I’ve trained it to heel and roll over,
It’s great when it begs and it fetches;
But how do you teach an invisible beast
To learn not to kill what it catches?

Friday, April 8, 2011

H is for . . .

She might be stacked like a champion,
She might be as pretty as hell,
You might be bewitched to believe her
When you're under her siren song spell;
But remember that she is part vulture,
So if you're intent on this match
(There's really no way to avoid it)
Be prepared for your kids to be hatched.

Thursday, April 7, 2011

Another Word About this A to Z Blogging Thing

Once I finish the whole A to Z thing, I'm going to take all these silly verses and compile them in a free PDF. I'll call it The Tome of Silly Verse or something like that. Suggest a better name if you think that one sucks.

All you artsy types, it'd be great if you want to contribute sketches or something. Especially for a cover. Obviously, since this is a freebie, I can't pay for art--maybe if you have something that you have the rights to that you care to recycle for this project, you could pass it along. Or, maybe you could point me to specific public domain pieces that could work.

I don't think I mentioned this before, but I'm taking the inspiration for the silly little verses I'm writing from the 2nd print edition of Brave Halfling's take on The Swords & Wizardry Whitebox Edition. You know, this one:

Sadly, this edition is no longer available for purchase, and S&W WB is into a new third edition with its original publisher, Mythmere Games. However, since I have a few copies of this 2nd edition, that's the one I'm rolling with.

G is for . . .

Grey Ooze
In the cool depths of Kalchis near the pools of no name
It quivers in darkness waiting for prey;
No mouth to feed it, no eyes to see,
It engulfs and devours, and leaves no debris.
Corrosion and death are all that it seeks
As it lashes out blindly 'gainst blade, claw, and beak.
Mindless and formless in the black of the void
Beware the grey death or your sword be destroyed.

Wednesday, April 6, 2011


I've never heard of Hârn or HârnMaster or HârnWorld. So imagine my surprise when this morning I discovered's downloads section. Talk about a gold mine of roleplaying goodness!

I've just poked around a bit and discovered the Hârn Pottage series--three PDFs full of bits and pieces that could be worked into any fantasy campaign.

There's also a Hârn fanzine, Thonahexus. I've added it to the Old School Zine list.

F is for . . .

Morlog the Great cast Fireball
In an enclosed space
And though the gnolls are dead and all,
He burned off his face.

Tuesday, April 5, 2011

Name It & Stat It Challenge 2!

An X-ray of a new species of stingray discovered in the Amazon.

Now, imagine the picture above isn't an X-ray of a stingray. No, imagine this glowing creature inhabits the darkest depths of the deepest, most vile dungeon ever created. What's its name, and how deadly is it?

Name it & stat it! Best stats & description wins a big box of no-prize, plus I'll edit the post to reflect the winning entry.

E is for . . .

Never trust an efreet
To perform a feat
If it's bound to do your bidding,
For soon you will find
Yourself in a bind,
Either dead or severely bleeding.

Monday, April 4, 2011

d6 Table: What’s That Camel Doing Down Here?

The following is declared Open Game Content:

d6 Table: What’s That Camel Doing Down Here?

You’re deep underground. Even your mule is smarter than you are, because it stayed on the surface. So WTF is a camel doing down here?

  1. It’s a space camel, baby. It knows no bounds.
  2. Looking for a light.
  3. Lost a bet to a ghoul and has to wander around underground for a week while the ghoul chills out at an oasis.
  4. On a quest to recover the Jade Hare.
  5. Can’t remember where he parked his bad motor scooter.
  6. Looking for love in all the wrong places.

D is for . . .

We spelunk the depths, we slay the orcs
We lust for the dragon's hoard
And all along we sing this song:
Fuck it, it's a dungeon!

We fight, we die, we spring some traps
& Grok the Halfling ain't coming back—
Crap, I think the mage miscast:
Fuck it, it's a dungeon!

The ways are dark and things go bump
(Is that Orcus or is it a flumph?);
Who really cares, this place is a dump—
Fuck it, it's a dungeon!

Do we stay, do we fight,
do we turn and take flight
In our deepest darkest despair?
Or do we blame ourselves
For trusting the elves
And this ripped map of Karnal Throk's Lair?

We carry a torch, a pole, and a rope
But it's gonna take more than a bucket of hope
To pull us through to our ultimate goal:
Fuck it, it's a dungeon!

I've lost my shield, my sword is bent,
Any treasure we find is already spent
To pay our bills and the inn keeper's rent:
Fuck it, into the dungeon!

Friday, April 1, 2011

A is for . . .

Anti-Magic Shell
Renvar the Deranged
Attacks the ice cream golem:
Anti-Magic Shell!

A Word about the A to Z Blogging Challenge

So, the folks in the OSR are doing some sort of A to Z Blogging Challenge for April. And April also happens to be National Poetry Month. Hmm.....I wonder. . . .