Category Archives: General Geekness

The City Of Onescore-And-One

The Abbot, greybearded and softeyed. He told of the dangers in the wildewood and wideworld. Beyond the walls of the city and out of the shielding reach of the lord dwell the spirits that serve the red goat. Dancing wickedsinful faeries and rending fleshungry trolls. Temptations of wealth and the flesh, forbidden fruit dangling from every branch. Leaves whisper blistering sins that can drag the hearer to hells worse than even those he’s preached of on Sunsday.

The Abbot, raspvoiced and hunchbacked. He anointed us the sacrificial slaughterlambs to venture outward into the threatening leagues. Full was the city and with tearstained pity he sent us on our way. Seek another clearing in the darkwood to found a fresh Cathedral to shield you, he told us. Blessings intoned and our banners bold with the golden threads of the Church’s work, we alone could face the dangers in the wildewood and wideworld.

Threescore, soulsick and fearfed. We marched into the darkness and soon were lost. Our steel glinted dimly in the little light that filtered through the twisted trees. Our nightfires burned slowly and scarcely kept the gloom at bay. Five died firstnight, drawn into the wildewood by weeping tears and entrancing breathless entreaties from women unseen. At firstlight we found their bones picked clean just beyond the edge of our nightfires’ light.

Twoscore and fifteen, terrorblind and horrorshaken. We marched on into the darkness and knew we were beyond the lord’s reach forevermore. Our feet leaden, burdened as they were with the weight of the wildewood’s watersoaked floor. Seven died secondnight, torn from our circle by redfleshed hands as big as horses. At firstlight we beheld the trees felled by the giants’ footsteps, but naught of our number sought to follow that dire path.

Twoscore and eight, brokenwilled and heartshattered. We marched ever on into the darkness and understood our doom too well. Our backs bowed beneath the weight of own ghosts. Thirteen died thirdnight, dragged down into damp earth by talons and teeth that dwelt beneath our feet. Only their twisted faces remained in view when firstlight arrived. Blessed snow soon covered their grizzly graves.

Onescore and fifteen, hollowsoulled and graveshocked. We marched on and on into the darkness and were consumed by dreadgrief. Our limbs near frozen, we stumbled through brambles and barrows and blight. Fourteen died fourthnight, shrieking in agony as our own nightfires turned against us. Firstlight revealed blasphemous ashen symbols where once our companions stood.

Onescore and one, heartnumbed and soulweary. We marched yet on into the darkness and were deaf to our surroundings. At highsun we found ourselves in a clearing and resolved to travel no more. We built stonewalls low and archways high. None died fifthnight, though the holwingwind and screamingbeasts drove us nighmad. At firstlight we continued to build. And building we have continued. In building we survive.

**********

These words are carved into the walls of the Cathedral that stands at the heart of Onescore-And-One, the city where you were raised. The elders say the city has stood for longer than any living can remember. They also say that the city has grown too crowded and that one day soon three score souls must needs be sent into the wildewood never to return.

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Happy Birthday, Vargold!

Vargold is two years old today. Get ya some wolf time action on if you haven’t (or even if you have).

This post, by the way, is in lieu of commenting on the post itself. Why? Because I can’t comment on Blogger-based blogs. Their authentication method and I don’t see eye to eye. We did at one point, but then it stopped working. Roughly around the time I switched from hosting Strange Stones at WordPress.com and started hosting it myself. So if you’ve ever wondered why I don’t chime in with anything pithy on your Blogger-based blog, now you know why.

But the important thing here is to cheer for another geek blog that made it to the two year mark. So huzzah!

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Two Years And Counting

I almost forgot that today is the second anniversary of Strange Stones! I certainly haven’t been posting at the pace I started out at, but I also haven’t managed to give up completely. So I’ll call it a victory and keep on keepin’ on.

I would be remiss in noting this anniversary without extending hearty thanks to all my loyal readers. You dudes & dudettes make this something worth doing and I’m glad I’ve gotten to know some of you by way of this exercise in geeky self-indulgence.

Also, I haven’t given up the idea of trying to run some kind of game or another online with you fine folks. I just haven’t had the time I’d like to have to really delve into that kind of thing. Soon, though, I should. And then you’ll all be in trouble. Muhaha.

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Shameless eBay Auction Plug: Battledroids!

BattledroidsHowdy, everyone. It occurred to me this morning that some of y’all might be interested in (or know someone who would be) this eBay auction I’ve got up for a very cherry copy of the original Battledroids boxed set.

If you’re not familiar with Battledroids, it’s the original version of Battletech, that Macross-esque miniatures wargame that FASA used to produce back in the olden days. When they first released the game it was indeed called “Battledroids” but then a certain purveyor of science fiction films got all chippy with them over the use of the word “droid” and forced them to change the name to Battletech. So this is something of a rarity.

If you’re one of the StrangeStonesHeads and you wind up winning this auction, let me know. It would please me to know this set was going to a good home.

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SOPA/PIPA and the OSR

(cross-posted to a bunch of forums)

Hey folks. I try not to mix my politics with my gaming, but this is something I think we all need to be thinking about. The proposed SOPA & PIPA legislation seems like bad stuff, and I’ve especially been thinking about how it could impact OSR games, blogs, and so on. If you’re not familiar with this stuff, there’s a good primer on the topics here: http://www.copyblogger.com/sopa/

As I interpret this stuff, it could very well kill just about everything that’s been great, is great, and could still be great about the OSR. If this junk had been in place when OSRIC, LL, S&W and the other retroclones had been just getting started, it’s entirely possible that all of these things would have been nipped in the bud. And that would have been a tragedy.

So please take a few moments to educate yourself on these proposed laws and, if you’re so inclined, contact your elected representatives to let them know how you feel. A lot of great work has already been done by folks around the internet to put an end to this madness. But there’s more to be done.

Also, if you run a blog or other site, please consider joining in with Reddit’s blackout planned for 1/18/12. Full details here: http://blog.reddit.com/2012/01/stopped-they-must-be-on-this-all.html

I’ll definitely be taking StrangeStones.com dark that day, but I don’t think that making a statement to all four of my readers is enough. If a huge swath of the OSR and other geek blogs took part, though, it might actually add up to something.

Oh, and for the record, I am 100% against piracy and IP theft and all of that. I’ve had my own pirates and thieves to deal with in various parts of my disparate artistic & other pursuits. I just happen to think that these particular approaches to the problems are draconian, stupid, ineffectual and downright dangerous.

That’s all I’ve got. Thanks for your time.

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Naming Fictional Chinese Provinces

Gianni is at it again! This time he’s provided a set of tables for generating names for fitional Chinese-esque provinces. The man knows his stuff and is awesome for sharing his knowledge with the rest of us geeks who, let’s be honest, would probably throw a couple of random Chinese-sounding syllables together and wind up naming a province “Dog Excrement.” Or something even worse. Go check it out if you’re interested!

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Naming Fictional Chinese Cities

the celestial empire for brpHey! In case you missed it, a very nice guide to naming fictional Chinese cities has been posted over at The Celestial Empire.

If I’m not mistaken, the blog in question is operated by Gianni Vacca, the author of the book that’s also named The Celestial Empire, which is an awesome resource for (and I quote) “Roleplaying in Imperial China” for Basic RolePlaying. So you can rest assured that the semi-random name generation won’t leave you stuck with names that people who actually speak Mandarin (or maybe it’s Cantonese? I admit to being a clueless gweilo* here) won’t laugh at or be offended by.

So what are you waiting for? It’s time to pay a visit to that noodle house in Ningzhou! The Celestial Empire blog has lots of other neat stuff to look at, too. So stop there along your journey.

*Why is it that so many derogatory terms for white people start with “G”? Gweilo. Gaijin. Gringo. Gorey. Gurra. It’s odd.

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Recovering From A Hack

No, this isn’t about healing in RPGs. This is about the fact that Strange Stones got hacked a while back and I think I’ve just finished fixing everything. You probably hadn’t noticed, because it was a hack that was designed not to be noticed. But everything should be back to the way I want it to be. I’m actually only mentioning this so that if something seems amiss (like links that aren’t working, etc.) you’ll know what’s up.

So, if you do happen to see something that’s not behaving properly, let me know and I’ll get it fixed. In the meantime, please continue to enjoy whatever it is you happen to enjoy about my humble little blog. Cheers!

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2012 Gaming Plans Update

Well bugger. I just found out that one of the guys I game with is running Castle Amber (or at least a variation thereof) for a group I’ve been taking a break from. So that pretty much takes good ol’ X2 off the table for me in 2012. Alas and alack. But that’s ok – it just helps me focus a bit. Against The Giants, here I come 🙂

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