Showing posts from April, 2011

Z is for . . .

Zombie 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

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. EDIT: 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 s

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.

X is for . . .

X 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.

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

V is for . . .

Variant 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

U is for . . .

Undead 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!

T is for . . .

Troll 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™!

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!

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: Bill Hicks Mitch Hedberg Gilda Radner 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.

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.

Q is for . . .

Quest* 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

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! Oh! 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

O is for . . .

Ogres & Ochre Jelly First you take the Ogres And you torch 'em, You torch 'em; First you take the Ogres And you torch 'em, You torch 'em For your Ogre, Ogre butter And Ochre Jelly! Ogre, Ogre butter And Ochre Jelly! Then you take the Ochres And you squish 'em, You squish 'em; Then you take the Ochres And you squish 'em, You squish 'em For your Ogre, Ogre butter And Ochre Jelly! Ogre, Orge butter And Ochre Jelly! Then you take the hardtack And you split it, And spread it; Then you take the hardtack And you split it, And spread it For your Ogre, Ogre butter And Ochre Jelly! Ogre, Orge butter And Ochre Jelly! Then you take your sandwich And you eat it, You eat it; Then you take your sandwich And you eat it, You eat it 'Cause its good, Ogre butter And Ochre Jelly! Good, Ogre butter And Ochre Jelly! First you take the Ogre And you torch 'em, Then you take the Ochre And you squish 'em, Then y

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

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 .)

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 Apple Chutney Apple Juice Applesauce Artichoke Pickles Asian Pears Asparagus Pieces Asparagus Spears Baked Beans Berry Syrup Black Olives Bread and Butter Pickled Jicama Cantaloupe Pickles Cayenne Pepper Sauce Chayote and Jicama Slaw Chayote and Pear Relish Collard Greens Cranberries Cranberry Orange Chutney Cranberry Sauce 2. Creamed Corn Cubed Beets Cubed Pumpkin Cubed Sweet Potatoes Cubed White Potatoes Cubed Winter Squash Diced Carrots Dill Pickle Relish Dill Pickles Dilled Beans Fall Garden Relish Fig Pickles Figs Fresh Dill Cucumber Relish Fr

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 B

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. S

M is for . . .

Manticore 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.


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 . . .

Lich 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!

Here's One for Your Blogroll

If ...and the sky full of dust. isn't in your blogroll, go add it NOW .

K is for . . .

Kobold Though it looks like a lizard And fights like an orc, When it's drawn and quartered , It tastes more like pork.

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 da

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?

H is for . . .

Harpy 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.

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, Mythmer

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.


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 . . .

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

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 . . .

Efreet 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.

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

D is for . . .

Dungeon 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!

C is for . . .

Centaur Centaur, centaur, what do you see? I see a dead elf looking at me .

B is for . . .

Black Pudding Hey little halfing What have you done? Sprung a trap For a Black Pudding.

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. . . .