Dungeon Crusade

So, over at Tenkar’s Tavern, Erik was taking a dump on a Kickstarter project for a board game called Dungeon Crusade.

Now, admittedly, the text is a grammatical disaster, but holy shit, this board game looks crazy!  One of the problems with the presentation of the Kickstarter is that dude goes all out explaining all of the rules and nuances of the game, and it’s overwhelming as all get out.  But, oh, god, I’d love to play this game!

The biggest problems, besides presentation itself, is the goal,  the cost and lack of mid-range rewards.  I would love this game, but as a sad bastard with no friends, I find it hard to want to drop $100 to get a copy.  The $80,000 goal is pretty high, too.  A lot of super-well known kickstarters that are a big deal in the gaming community are half that on the high end.  With disasters such as the Doom that Came to Atlantic City, I can understand how reluctant anyone would be to invest in a board game.  But hell, this thing looks ready to go, based on the prototype, which is more than 90% of the gaming kickstarters out there can claim.

Bottom line: I’d like to play this game, I probably won’t spend $100 on it, I hope it funds, I hope the crazy rule set is written in some sort of sensible (and grammatically correct) fashion.  I am a professional technical writer and would totally donate my services to proof and edit the rules for a free copy.

30 Days of D&D in a single moment!

I’ve failed the 30 day challenge, mostly because I got super busy in another writing project, wholly separate from Cirsova.  I failed it so bad, I forgot to even schedule the posts.  So, without further ado, here’s what would’ve been Cirsova’s 30 Days of D&D.  Please disregard any contradictory information presented here.

 

Day 1 – How I got Started
I’m doing the D&D for 30 days challenge! Which ultimately means that there are going to be a lot of really short posts for the next 30 days. A lot of these, I don’t know how detailed I can really get (I mean, oh, god, over a week of different classes of favorite monsters?), but at least these won’t interrupt the normal posting schedule. Or maybe I’ll let it. Give Cirsova a break and catch up on encyclopedia entries. Plus, I told Varg I’d do a write up about the Staff Sling in MYFAROG, so I’ve got that on my plate. Oh, my, I have a lot to do!

How I got started? Well, it was kind of a natural outgrowth of my interest in wargames. I played a lot of board games with my dad growing up (the ones with the little fiddly cardboard pieces that you push from hex to hex and roll lots of tiny dice and check several charts). I was also big into turn based computer strategy games, my favorites of which, were “Medieval Lords” (the old dos game, not the newer one) and “Le’emperor” (a Napoleonic war game using the pld R3K engine).

When I finally got a chance to play D&D, I jumped on it. Even though I haven’t always had great experiences with groups, my love of games and game systems has always borne me through.
Day 2 – Favorite Playable Race
With 3rd ed, I always liked playing elves, because that +2 dex is great. But now I’m thinking more about humans. I went through a period where I kind of hated demi-human races in fantasy in general, but I’m finally warming up to them again. I’d like to play a dwarf at some point.

Day 3 – Favorite Playable Class
It used to be magic user, because of all of the potential there, but so few games I’ve played really lasted long enough for me to do what I wanted with the MU class, I’m beginning to think that maybe Cleric or Fighter may be my new favorite.

Day 4 – Favorite Gameworld
This one is really hard, because I’ve so rarely played a pre-made world. I did used to have kind of a hate-on for Mystara because of how stupid Night of the Vampire was.

Day 5 – Favorite Die
I have a clear d20 with clear numbers. It’s really pretty.

Day 6 – Favorite Deity
Time was once I’d’ve said one of the Cthulhu mythos deity, but they’re kind of played out now, aren’t they? I’ll go ahead and cover all bases by saying Brahma.

Day 7 – Favorite Edition
B/X. I’ve played in a game that was a mishmash of D&D, 1st & 2nd ed and some Arcanum thrown in. Also both 3.0 and 3.5. I appreciate B/X’s simplicity and freedom.

Day 8 – Favorite Character I have Played
I played a wild-mage once. Shennanigans.

Day 9 – Favorite Character I haven’t Played
I rolled up a human light cavalryman for a 3.x game that never happened. He was devastating with his spear.

Day 10 – Craziest thing that happened
A member of our party hadn’t finished filling out his character sheet yet and didn’t have a name. We’d just arrived at the Keep on the Borderland. He couldn’t answer what his name was when the gatemen issued their challenge. The DM was an asshole and told us that we were thrown out of the Keep and lost .
Day 11 – Favorite Adventure
This is another tough one, as I really haven’t played any of the pre-made modules, and the ones I have run were kind of disappointing. My favorite adventure wasn’t even a D&D game, so i guess, as far as today’s post goes, I’ve got nothing.

Day 12 – Favorite Dungeon type
I like haunted places. Places that are cursed as all crap and stacked floor to ceiling with ghosts. As such, I tend to like the spooky dungeons, like the Maze of Nuroman.

Day 13 – Favorite Trap/Puzzle
I really like the sealed wraith in Terror in the Gloaming. Kinda damned if you do, damned if you don’t. If you break the seals and solve the puzzle, you unleash a plague of undead. If you don’t solve the puzzle yourself, someone else comes along and lets things loose, but you won’t have the weapon that will help most against the wraith.

Day 14 – Favorite NPC
Hiram, the Blacksmith.

Day 15 – Favorite Undead
How about a mummified elven vampire?

Day 16 – Favorite Abberation
What does that even entail? I don’t think they have abberations in B/X. Are mimic’s abberations? I like mimics, especially the one from Rusty & Co.

Day 17 – Favorite Animal
Lemurs. I don’t care if they’re not statted anywhere. You have small mischievous primates that are like a cross between a cat & a dog, oink like a pig, scream like nobody’s business and are thought to house the souls of the damned. Plus, they are cute & fluffy!

Day 18 – Favorite Immortal/Outsider
Connor McLeod/Pony Boy .

Day 19 – Favorite Elemental
Fire elemental, duh.

Day 20 – Favorite Humanoid
I’m really partial to goblins.

Day 21 – Favorite Dragon
Standard red.

Day 22 – Favorite Monster overall
Undead displacer beasts.

Day 23 – Least Favorite Monster
Trolls.

Day 24 – Favorite Energy Type
Potential. You don’t even have to leave the couch!

Day 25 – Favorite Magic item
+5 Staff Sling

Day 26 – Favorite Non-magic item
The bar of soap.

Day 27 – A character I want to play in the future
A staff slinger.

Day 28 – A character I never want to play again
A low level utility mage.

Day 29 – What number do I always seem to roll on a d20?
Whichever number I feel like, if I’m using my clear d20. JK, JK…

Day 30 – Best DM I’ve had
The text parser from Zork.

Beauty and the Beast and Maximilien de Robespierre

Also, I think in light of my recent readings, this is one of the most awesome things I’ve come across.

Greg has a blog now. God help us.

It’s Movie Review Monday (on a Tuesday, but still, I like the alliteration)

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I don’t need to sum up the plot of Disney’s Beauty and the Beast. We all know it. We’ve all seen it. It’s a masterpiece. And it has such a happy ending. The Beast and all his servants change back into humans and Belle presumably gets married, becomes a Princess, and escapes the dreary monotony of her rural French village. Just in time for all of them to be guillotined by the Committee of Public Safety.

Now I do not claim to know when Beauty and the Beast is set. However, the Disney version is mostly based on a version of the story written by Jeanne-Marie Leprince de Beaumont in 1757. However, we see Belle’s father, the inventor Maurice, working with a steam-driven invention, which would not have been practical until the mid 1760s. So I feel…

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French Revolution Reading

So, I’ve been reading John S.C. Abbott’s “The French Revolution of 1789: As Viewed in the Light of Republican Institutions”.

It’s a very old work, published in 1887, written in 1858(ish, that’s when the copyright is; it’s not easy to find out much about this particular work), and while not one of the oldest scholarly or semi-scholarly accounts of the French Revolution, it is absolutely ripe with citations and quotes from these earliest accounts, many of which were written by those who were actually there and living the nightmare of Revolutionary France.  After having read this, I’d love to read Madame Campan’s memoires of her life with the Royal Family.

Now, there are a few things that are particularly interesting about the author’s views on the French Revolution.

-His heart was strongly with the people who wanted to throw off the chains of feudal despotism

-He simultaneously has great sympathy for the Royal Family, and a great respect for Marie Antoinette as a woman, wife and mother, if not a leader, and much like La Fayette, wishes that they had acquiesced to the Constitution, giving legitimacy to a constitutional monarchy rather than coordinate for its overthrow by external forces of foreign despots and emigrant aristocrats, ultimately leaving the carcass of France to be torn apart by Jacobins.

-He strongly believes that the three significant differences between the French and American Revolutions, which affected the former’s outcome for the worse were: 1) the French Population was by and large illiterate and uneducated, where the American was significantly more likely to be well read, 2) The great pre-revolutionary thinkers of France had, while espousing liberty, also embraced libertinism and sought to destroy the foundations of Christian faith, attacking the faith itself rather than the corrupt institution of the Church.  America, largely protestant, did not face the oppression by the Catholic that the average Frenchman did.  The American Revolutionary thinking was largely rooted in protestant Christian ideals upon which the founding documents relied heavily for inspiration. The First Amendment largely reflects the ideas of thinkers who wished to avoid such humanitarian tragedies as the exile and wholesale slaughter of Protestants that had occurred in France, Edict of Nantes and such.  3) The American Colonies were not surrounded by Bourbons and Despots ready to crush anyone who would challenge the privileges of nobility and espouse popular liberty.  The American Colonies, having been ruled by merchants and entrepreneurs, rather than feudal lords, did not have a well-connected wealthy class with easy access to foreign troops ready at the borders to crush the shoots of liberty.

-He totally thinks Napoleon was an awesome dude.

The disconnect between National Assembly at Versailles and Municipal government of Paris effectively established two parallel revolutionary governments vying for power.  The former was a more conservative body, who favored rule of law and establishment of a constitutional monarchy, largely hoping to avoid the sort of chaos which ensued in 1790s.  The latter, however, tended to lean more towards the demagogic.  The distance between these two bodies prevented effective meditation between the reformers and those who had been suffering under feudal abuses and wanted bloody justice rather than effective governance.  By the time that the government was consolidated in Paris, it was too late.  Those who wanted law and order were seen as traitors to the people, and the court refused to support the constitutionalists, who they believed were the primemover of the chaos that threatened their lives.  Had Louis XVI not been a vacillating and doddering fool, easily swayed by the whims and whispers of those around him, the Constitution may have been upheld and the bloody Jacobin movement silenced by rule of law and good governance.  Had the King been allowed to flee France, the Republicans and Constitutional Monarchists could have declared the king abdicated and the throne vacant, and the debate of the day would be to either enthrone the Duke of Orleans as a new and legitimate executive head of a constitutional monarchy or to establish a Republic of France; both of these options would have avoided Regicide and left the administration in Paris better equipped to prepare against the threats of allied despots of Europe.  Instead, Louis was kept as a captive, acting within his constitutional authority to thwart any attempts to prevent his rescue by foreign invaders (at the price of a great many border provinces).

All in all, it has been a fascinating read, and I can’t wait to start volume 2 tonight (1792-1799).  I highly recommend this book, and, despite its antiquity and burdensome size, it is very affordable, with the edition I have going for around $30 on the web.  Or you can get a scan off Archive.org.  I’d recommend the real thing or a facsimile edition, because it is filled with period prints.

Please help usher in the triumphant return of Mutant League

Mutant League is back!  Maybe.  The original creator has launched a kickstarter to make a new Mutant League game for the current gen of console systems.

Really, I’d kind of hoped that they were going to bring back the cartoon series, which I loved as a kid.

In fact, this kickstarter won’t really help me much either, since I don’t play Live.  Man, I hate that the physical distribution market is dead.

But regardless, I think it would be awesome for this to actually happen!

Corineaus

The port of Corineaus boasts the best harbor on the western coast of the Empire, rivaling even Syflanis.  However, unlike Syflanis, Corineaus lacks the great shipyards for construction (or even repairs) of large ships due to the lack of timber in the region.  This has confounded many captains sailing south along the coast who had been harassed by pirates.  As such, many vessels have taken to carrying an extensive supply of timber in addition to their merchant cargoes.  Despite this disadvantage, Corineaus sees a great deal of traffic as it is the last major port town southward along the western board, as much of the land is either geographically unsuited for any sort of serious port or too inhospitable for inhabitation (the coast winds its way along the wastes and deserts of Paelnor and Ortia, where few journey and even fewer dare live).

Ships often take on large supplies of foodstuff provisions for the long journey to Solaris if they are southbound.  Though there are some quantities of Brebean metals that reach the docks for export, food & steeds (the eastern plains are renown for the excellent horses, many of which are provided in lieu of coin taxation from the loyal horsetribes as tribute) are far and away the most plentiful and valuable commodities produced in Karkuras (a land whose fortunes have somewhat waned in recent times).

 

Corineaus does see its share of the art and goods of far northern make, though much of this finds its way to the royal houses of Karkuras and lesser imperial noble residents in the south.  These remain idle curiosities for the less provincially minded gentry, however, and are not as highly prized as in the northern provinces.  The average Karkuran native tends to prefer finely wrought and beaten metals to the odd stonework and graven crystals of Polaris.  Other imports tend to include Gatlian quarried stone (for building; many of the older structures in Karkuras are native stone and mortar) and supplies for the legion stationed in Athdaelda.

Like other cities in Karkuras, Corineaus is subject to both the Imperial Agent and the Athdaeldan crown.  There are frequent disagreements between the local, Imperial and Athdaeldan authorities in regards to jurisdiction of law and collection of taxes and tariffs (and the matter of occasional mystery ships).  The question of how to handle piracy and other maritime matters has provoked as much debate as it has inaction.  Since all timber must be brought (usually overland) from the Cirsovan heartlands, the general consensus (to the frustration of locals) is that Gatlia, by way of Syflanis, is far more capable of dealing with such trouble and should, thus, be left to them.

There are a few landmarks of particular note in Corineaus, the first being a lighthouse, old as the city itself, shining brilliantly over the harbor.  Some claim that on truly clear nights, its beacon flames can be seen from the top of Owen.  Another is a small, squat tower on the western edge of town. Made of carefully piled and stacked stones, this structure predates any others in the town (perhaps in all Karkuras).  There is only one portal, a small window (too small for anyone but a child to pass through) roughly 15 feet from the ground.  A large fence has been erected around the tower in effort to discourage the practice of youths throwing stones through the window. Attempting to climb the tower has been a violation of public ordinance since a boy fell to his death while scaling the structure.