While looking for something else, I came across this swastika-filled cartoon in which Donald Duck works in a German munitions factory during WW2. Got eight minutes? It’s got a catchy tune:
Spoiler Alert: The part where he dresses in a German Uniform (complete with swastika’d cap) and works on an ammunition assembly line while being poked with bayonets and saluting pictures of Adolf Hitler is only Donald having a nightmare, but there is a bit on the end after he wakes up where Donald sees the shadow of a figure with its arm raised and he snaps to attention and returns the fascist salute… only to discover that this is the shadow of the statue of Liberty being cast on the wall by the morning sun. But isn’t that weird? The duck immediately becomes a fascist when he thinks that another fascist is in the room?
Trivia: Hitler hated Disney cartoons — he claimed Mickey Mouse was a Jewish plot to ‘subvert culture’ by having ‘vermin’ as a hero. Like Jazz, American cartoons were popular in pre-war Germany and banned by the fascists.
|Crabs on the attack in Grimrock.|
I don’t play a lot of computer games, but I have to admit that ‘Legend of Grimrock,’ which recently came to my attention via this blog, pulled me with its video trailer (see below). They somehow managed, in the few screen shots that I have seen, to make a video game that looks just like I used to imagine ‘the dungeon’ looking when I first started playing D&D so many years ago. Plus, the developers are trying hard to lure in the ‘old school’ players by allowing users to turn off the ‘auto-map’ function and let you map your own way through the maze using paper and pencil.
The premise, if I understand it correctly, is simple. You control a group of four prisoners who are dropped off at ‘Grimrock’ for unspecified crimes. Grimrock is a maze of tunnels, inhabited by monsters and filled with traps and puzzles, and you have to navigate your way through to survive (I think if you make it all the way through, you get out, so it is sort of like ‘Papillon’ but with a dungeon rather than an island). On your way through, you can scavenge food, armor, weapons and other supplies you will need to make it.
I doubt I will ever buy or play Grimrock, but I find it probably represents something ‘old’ being new again, and this aspect interests me.
Have been working on some more stuff for Goodman’s DCC (looking forward to that stuff getting released so I can go public with it), a cover painting for AFG by Tjoscanth/Paolo (finished but have one tiny thing to fix; hopefully will post tommorow) plus the job hunt and some other things. Waiting in the wings is another private commission and a few more Black & White illustrations for Barrowmaze 2.
Someone asked, “How do you post updates if you are so busy?” Three things:
- I sometimes write a post just to relax, last thing in the evening or with morning coffee, and then schedule it to ‘post’ at sometime in the future. I don’t want them all to post at the same time because I fear that my pearls of wisdom will be lost in the flood of wonderful posts that you have all come to expect from Aldeboran.
- There seems to be a delay in when I post something versus when it shows up on your blogger reader or whatever other feed you use. Sometimes that delay can be hours or days. Most other bloggers maintain a list of links to other blogs they like; I don’t know how it works or how long it takes for my blog’s new post to show up on other blogger’s ‘links of interest,’ but I am under the impression that most of the traffic on this blog comes from that source. So when you see a new post from me, it might already be hours old.
- I like to write as a way of thinking about stuff (I also like to draw as a way of thinking about stuff). Sometimes it is just a way of ‘musing,’ like me wondering, “What would a man’s head on a cat’s body look like?” I sit down to draw it to answer that question (answer: it looks a lot like a manticore without wings or tail spikes). What I write (or draw) may not represent my ‘last thought’ on any given matter (including serious stuff). It is all a work in progress for me. But if I change my mind, I try to remember to update or post a retraction.
Has anyone who reads this silly blog done any D&D type gaming via google+ or similar platform? How did it work?
I’m particularly interested in your opinions on:
- Issues of scheduling for more long term games — did the same players always show up, was there a rotating cast of characters with a mix of ‘visitors’ and ‘regulars,’ or was every session a new gang tossed together at random? And which did you like and why?
- How did you schedule games?
- How did you share info both during and between games?
- During game did you use IM or something similar to ‘pass notes’ to one player without the other players knowing about it?
- How did social interaction via google+ or similar platforms work out?
- In terms of ‘the game experience,’ did you have a ‘board’ or diagram of some kind to help players envision the space or did you just use “talking?”
I’m considering something for the distant future when elements of real life settle down a bit, but am only at the ‘info gathering’ stage at this point.
Google analytics has determined that I really want cheap swords made in Asia because everywhere I go online and whenever I open up my email I get ads for Bud K’s “Swords for under $30.00!”
Obviously they have recognized me for what I am; a barbarian on a budget.
Here is their video of the 300 style Spartan sword chopping up an old mini van:
What if the parody of a song is better than the song it emulates? Like this one:
I don’t know who the intended audience of ‘Horrible Histories’ are; are they old enough to have even heard of Adam and the Ants? What happened to Adam Ant, anyway? Last time I remember seeing him, he was shilling Zima and Honda scooters.
Raise your hand if you thought ‘Adam Ant’ was a reference to the metal that Drow swords were made from rather than a synonym for ‘determined.’
Check out this excellent picture of devils from a medieval book I found here (well, there are saints and angels and Jesus in the picture, too, but the good guys look like a bunch of snooty killjoys; my eye is drawn to the much more expressive and happy-looking creatures on the bottom half of the page):
The devil in the middle, with the chicken feet hands and a face on his belly, has little faces on his (her?) knees, elbows and shoulders and the rest of the limb comes out of that faces open mouth. I’ve seen this curious trick of anatomy before in other medieval art before, and always liked it. It suggests to me two things:
- If I were into tattoos, wouldn’t it be cool to get demon faces tattooed on my joints?
- If his knee face or elbow face bites down, isn’t the rest of the limb going to fall off?
|“Now watch me destroy the sun with this stick!”|
I’m considering possible NPC classes for campaigns that will include astrologers/fortune tellers, healers/doctors and possibly scholars (although how they would function in the campaign is still something I am thinking about).
Astrologers and scholars could be sources of possible information, but adjudicating how the astrologer ‘predicts the future’ becomes difficult if, as DM, you don’t really know what the players will do next. Perhaps astrologers could provide answers to certain types of questions, i.e.: if the players ask, “What will happen if we enter Garagur’s cavern?” and the DM knows that Garagur’s Cavern is full of really dangerous monsters that are far beyond the player’s current level of ability, the astrologer, if accurate in his or her prediction, might reply that chances of returning alive are slim. Questions like, “What will happen to me tomorrow?” however, are unlikely to work simply because the astrologer won’t have anything to work with unless the player character adds a provisional statement like, “… if I do X?” Nothing of interest might occur if players just hang around their room in the inn… and even charlatans and incompetent fortunetellers could make predictions based on hunches and common knowledge and still be right at least some of the time.
On a side note, in Arneson’s original First Fantasy Campaign, Dave Arneson used random cards for rumors and the pronouncements of fortunetellers and soothsayers. Some of which described future events (like a surprise invasion of an enemy army he might have had planned), others might have been just mystical sounding gobbledygook… which inevitably leads me to think that if a player character goes to a fortuneteller and the fortune teller says some profound sounding shit like, “A dark shadow hangs over you!” and that character is subsequently eaten by a vampire, the rest of the players are going to say, “By gods, the fortuneteller was right!”
I’m suspecting that I can handle astrologers with a simple chart that cross-references the ability of the astrologer with the difficulty of the question… and the astrologer might have a chance of returning good, bad or no information (although ethically challenged astrologers might make something interesting up even if they failed to determine anything during their “research” simply because, well, who is going to pay an astrologer if he responds, “Hell if I know” to a lot of the player’s questions?) A percentage of astrologers/fortunetellers could be frauds (no useful information is ever returned, although they will gladly relieve player characters of excess gold).
|“I can answer that question for 3d10 gold!”|
Scholars would probably function a lot like astrologers/fortune tellers, except they would use libraries or conduct research. Again, there would be a dice roll on a chart that would cross reference the relative skill of the researcher and the facilities available with the difficulty of the question. Scholars might be good ones to consult on questions of history, lore about obscure cults, etc. Like astrologers, some scholars could be frauds or crackpots (again, no useful information is ever returned — or perhaps on rare occasions the crackpot or fraud could be right for the wrong reasons).
|Medieval doctor ready for the plague.|
The most difficult NPC for me to envision would be the doctor/healer simply because so much of that role is already performed by the cleric. Perhaps at lower levels, a doctor could be hired when players are attempting to recoup lost hit points and don’t yet have access to oodles of healing spells. Perhaps while resting under a doctor’s care, a patient would have a chance of healing at a faster rate from his injuries. ‘Cure disease’ spells might be out of the price range of many lower level players; perhaps ‘doctors’ could provide more affordable (but less foolproof) alternative nostrums. Doctors, apothecaries and alchemists might also be able to analyze and identify magic potions and similar substances — again, a chart cross referencing the difficulty of the cure against the skill of the doctor might get the job done. The biggest problem here is redundancy; who is going to go to a doctor when clerics can cast cure light wounds or resurrection? Atheists and the poor and desperate, I guess.
My real goal here is to get these different NPC types described on one page, like one of the pages from the Judge’s Guild Ready Ref Sheets, so that I wouldn’t need to describe each doctor, scholar or astrologer in detail before the game. If the players consult one of these medieval “knowledge workers’ in game, I could just make one roll for the relative skill of the service provider and another for the consultation and then tell the players the result. If a particular visit rendered bad information or failed to effect a cure, once couldn’t say for absolute certain that the service provider was at fault (although it might be fun to speculate on the competence of NPCs). This is preferable to me because I’ve often felt like the DM can succumb to the temptation of using NPCs to control the players actions too much… consulting an NPC can often be the part of the game where the DM tells the players what they have to do next. If, on the other hand, the players can gain bits of intelligence of unknown value, they can decide for themselves which leads they wish to follow.
As the handful of regular readers will know, I have been keeping a notebook where I try to draw SOMETHING in it every day… some days are better than others. This spread is from April 18 through April 21… each day I worked on it a little more. I began in the upper left hand quadrant, but from that point on I kind of worked a little here and a little there. (original size is about 13 inches wide x 10 inches tall).
Medium is a black rollerball pen with a fine tip that you can buy in a drugstore on the lightweight paper of this cheap notebook — not my favorite drawing surface, but once I decided that I wanted to draw in this notebook every day, by the time I began to regret my choice of cheap paper I had already done a month or so.