Exchange Rates of Coins in RPGs

I wrote a long comment on a post from Dyvers on the Pen & Paper RPG Bloggers. Dyver’s original post here.

I liked what I wrote so much, that I decided to make it into a post on my blog. This is how I do it in my game. The players don’t like it. They have found some people that are willing to buy ancient coins, like the sage who wants to fill in his collection of coins from the ancient empire, to help him piece together a history of its rulers, and he pays well for them. This is not well enough to offset the money changer. There are a few less than scrupulous merchants who take the ancient coins, but charge more.

Dyvers is wanting realism of monetary exchange in his system. I understand the sentiment. In my game, I keep it simple and just have names for different coins. Some coins, like electrum and platinum, are rare and either ancient and out of circulation, or only used in a few current places. Exchange rate math it complex, just google for exchange rates and figure out the formula to convert from dollars to yen and back to dollars. Does the exchange rate fluctuate like in the real world? I like realism, but adding more things to slow down the game while I do math, is just one more complication and aggravation both for me and my players. If you can handle the complexity in your game without impeding the flow of gameplay, then go ahead. As with anything in RPGs if it works for you and you, the GM and your players are having fun, you are doing it right!

Below is what I wrote in my comment to Dyver’s post:

A simpler way is to have a copper = a copper, etc. but in the neighboring kingdom, they only take that kingdom’s coins, so the players have to go to the money changer and pay the fee, say 3% to 10% or more, depending on how honest the money changer is and if the PCs have insulted him, etc.

Wait until the characters get to a small town and are out of local money and no one will trade with them, or only at a price where the individual or merchant comes out ahead after they makes a trip to the nearest money changer. Prices can easily go to 1.5 times to 2 times or more due to the hassle to the merchant to find a money changer. Reliance on gems, jewels, and bullion could get around that. Reliance on bullion/ingots could have other complications. With gems and jewels can the players get the full value out of them in trade?

Also, if the players haul back a treasure from the ancient ruins, there is the money changer, and maybe the tax collector so the local lord/kingdom gets their cut.

For treasures found on monsters, set how much of it is which kingdom’s coin. Is it an existing kingdom, or one long conquered? If the orcs just robbed a merchant train, it would most likely be all coins for the kingdom where the merchant does business. If a merchant crosses between nations, he will have a supply of coins for each nation, plus more portable jewels and gems.

The breakdown of a treasure into 50% ancient coins that require a tax and the money changer, and the remaining 50% split between two or more kingdoms that require a trip to the money changer, and go a long way to shrink the haul. In this case, I would rule the players get the experience for all the coins in the treasure they haul back to civilization, in AD&D, even though they don’t get to keep it all.

There are a lot of ways to boost the realism and make a copper more than a copper without the complication of exchange rate math or a fancy table, or reliance on a spreadsheet at the game table.

Email Seeking Support for an RPG Kickstarter

I just got an email, a follower on my Google+page, and a like on my FB page seeking a plug for a Kickstarter. It is one that has been mentioned over at the Tavern. NOTE: I am not mentioning which Kickstarter it is. I am sure Erik will have his own post about it.

Little ol’ me?

My attempts at blogging and going on about my experiences and ideas with the RPGs I play is good enough for them?

There is no offer of remuneration for my time to plug the product. It is not one that I would use, so even if they offered it to me for free, I would not use it. I find using devices, such as computers/laptops, tablets, or phones are not much use to me.

I may fire up my phone to use the calculator, if I need one.

If I am playing in the weekly Wednesday night Roll20 AD&D game, I have rarely needed my tablet, and my computer is busy with showing the Roll20 interface. I occasionally use the calculator program on my computer during play, usually to make sure I add up or divide coins or experience correctly. When I did try to use my tablet during a game, it was to display my character sheet or a map my character bought. I haven’t used my tablet in the last several weeks. This past Wednesday was session 30. We had a two week break for the DM to go on vacation, and I was late to one session due to work.

I have manuals for AD&D that I bought via DriveThru RPG and manuals for free and fee OSR style games on my computer and my tablet. I find having them on my tablet useful for reading while at work, so I don’t have to lug them all around. I also have dice rollers on my tablet so I can do adventure/game prep away from home.

If I were going to run a module, I would print out the pertinent parts.

I am a paper using guy. The one struggle is finding what I want. Even with an electronic format, I usually need to look at more than one thing at a time. If I can’t look at the player’s version of the spell and what the DMG says about it at the same time, I have to remember what the one I can’t see says. Yes, the books take up more space, but I can’t change who I am or what I am used to and most important of all, what works for me.

I am at a point in life where I should have more disposable income. My children are older, one on his own, and the other nearly on his own. Neither are going the college route. However, due to the financial condition I was left in by my ex and her love of credit cards, I still have some large bills, so I have to be selective on what gets my money and attention.

Kickstarters that I support with my money tend to be things that I will use or the geek factor is to good to pass up. For RPG stuff, something that has an option for both a PDF and a softcover or hardcover book is the most useful to me.

Kickstarters that I will support by sharing their link will be those that I find appealing and if I had more money to spare, I would pledge my dollars.

No ill will to these fellows, just not something that I can support.


Collaborative Sandbox Design

I am a participant in the Tenkar’s Landing Crowdsourced Sandbox Setting. It is an interesting concept and it is cool to see all the ideas and how people consult their neighbors to sync up features like rivers and roads and adjust maps to flow with the ideas of others.

I picked a swamp hex. In my campaign I don’t have players running around near a swamp, so my ideas are limited in application to my game. However, other’s hexes have ideas and terrain more in line with where my players are running around, so I can glean ideas.

I see this growing and becoming a very thick book, even a series of modules.

I can’t wait to see how it all plays out and fits together.

Original Modules

I wonder why WotC hasn’t released more of it’s original modules to PDF via D & D Classics?

The answer is most likely the bean counters and management at the VP and higher level have revenue targets that must be met and the percentage of expenses to revenue must be low so that profits are higher. They probably also have a “lean business model”. This means doing more with less and teams are made as small as possible to get the work done. Of course, that is just a guess based on my experience working for a publicly traded company in an unrelated industry.

Of course, from my perspective in the trenches, the bean counters often count the wrong beans.

So, I get it, WotC, now a part of Hasbro, is a publicly traded company and the stockholder’s expect lots of dividends for their investment. I have often wondered why the boards of publicly traded companies don’t further increase their profits by paying their presidents and CEOs less? I am sure that market forces have an influence on this, but why does anyone need more than a million dollars a year in salary, stock options, and benefits?

The problem for the fans who want these out of print items, who can’t afford the gouging on eBay, so they can’t get things they want. A good example is Chainmail and the original LBBs for OD&D. Yes, I know you can get the basic D&D rules, which I have, but it is not the same as having the originals. Also the Player’s Handbook is not available in PDF for 1st Edition AD&D, like the other rule books. It was before WotC’s meltdown a few years ago over a handful of people sharing their PDFs with others. I don’t recall if Chainmail and OD&D were available or not. I spent a lot getting PDFs to rebuild my manuals lost to the great water leak incident before I managed to get hard copies of them all.

It would be very helpful to have the Player’s Handbook available in PDF for those wishing to conduct 1st edition games online, so their players could buy it, thankfully, OSRIC helps with that. The Monster Manual (MMI) is another I don’t see available now, this would only be needed by DMs, but again OSRIC helps.

For any of the old manuals, modules, etc. that were once in PDF, it is not that hard to make them available for sale again. Unless there is some technical aspect about the watermarking process that DriveThru RPG, RPGNow, and D&D Classics that require re-working the PDFs. I know that the Player’s Handbook is not as high a quality of the other manuals that were re-released. Yes, a cleaner scan, etc. would be nice, but I would pay WotC for a legible and usable scan before I would spend tons of money on eBay for something I would be reluctant to use at the table.

Yes, I could scan an expensive hard copy and make my own PDF, but I would have to use a flat bed scanner for one sheet at a time, and based on what my company charges customers for my time (I only wish I made $150/hour), it would be very expensive. Plus, I could do a lot of game prep in that amount of time.

Since WotC turned to members of the OSR for help with D&D Next, it only makes sense to me that WotC turn to fans with skills. I am sure there are D&D players with technical skills that would trade their time for a hard copy of the original rules or at least a free copy of the PDFs they helped create. This would minimize the expense in time for WotC that only requires putting the PDFs on D&D Classics. Granted, they wouldn’t make millions of dollars, but they would make more than enough to cover the salary of the person(s) who coordinate getting PDFs of old resources on D&D Classics.

Problem Solved! I don’t have the skills or the equipment to make decent PDFs, but I am sure there are lots of others out there who do. In the world of publicly traded companies, having a solution for a problem or complaint that you bring, is a big step in getting action.

I don’t know anyone at WotC or personally know anyone who knows anyone at WotC. I’m just a 36+ year player and lover of the game who would like to buy copies of the modules and other things I didn’t have the money to buy when I was in high school.

Does anyone else think this is a good idea?

Reality of Wounds and Other Things

CAUTION: Explicit content about injuries, death, and dying. Not for the squeamish or easily offended. This is also based on my personal experience and knowledge, some of it formal training, and some self education from miscellaneous things I have read over the years. Like a lot of other RPG players, I am good at Trivial Pursuit due to my eclectic knowledge and dabblings in a lot of different things. That does not mean that all of what I have written is using the correct terminology or explanation, but is an illustration for adding flavor to your game. This is not for everyone, so if this is not your cup of tea, move along.

The following is to give a sense of things and not to be the basis for a special table or more realism in the game engine. Just information to keep in mind, either for descriptive purposes, or for effects on characters and NPCs to add some flavor to the game. Disease and parasites are covered on pages 13 & 14 of the DMG. I have rarely played in games where this was used. My only recollection of something close to this was one player reading a cursed book and getting a psychological disorder, which is not the same thing.

The effects of wounds can be much more devastating than the game might convey. Unless it is a game with magic, like a heal or restoration spell in AD&D or similar, or a high-tech science fiction RPG with technology to put you back together. Side Note: If you think about the Star Trek transporter technology, no injury would be a showstopper and one could merge their memories with a scan of their younger self and maintain perpetual youth.

Major Bones:

I knew an elderly woman who broke her hip. The shock to her system was such that she was confused and didn’t know who or where she was and didn’t know anyone. It was several weeks until suddenly one day she knew what was going on. Major bones breaking can cause people to go into shock and lose consciousness. The breaking can be from a fall, accident, or wounding, like being shot. Surgery to fix a broken hip prevents death. Prior to such surgery, people with a broken hip would die of pneumonia because they couldn’t get upright enough to keep their lungs clear.


Once one of my brothers, Robert, and I were coming home from school. I was driving a 1973 Buick LeSabre, a tank of a car. It was wide and long, and low to the ground. I could lay down in the the front seat and not be cramped. Robert and I were trading punches in the arm. We started that just as we turned onto the bottom of our street. By the time we were pulling in the driveway, we had passed the point of fun and were both pissed. I pulled in slammed the car into park and opened the door and started to get out. Robert grabbed my shirt and pulled me close and hit me so hard he knocked my torso out of the car. He had at least 50 pounds on me, maybe more like 75. I jumped out and ran around the back of the car and he met me and we punched and swung and swirled and were engaged in mortal combat, two testosterone crazed teenagers. My dad heard us and came to the front porch and hollered at us and broke it up. Robert’s hand started hurting. He said he hit me in the back. I had no discomfort in my back. I am surprised we didn’t have bruises. Adrenaline can stop you from feeling pain as part of the fight or flight process. This is why bears are known to fight beyond the point where they should be dead as reflected in the AD&D Monster Manual.

Eyes of the Dead:

I once sat with a man with terminal cancer so his wife could get a break and go shopping. While she was out, he died. I combed his long hair, etc. to clean him up. I tried to close his eyes and they opened about half way. I tired several times. This is the origin of coins on the eyes of the dead, to keep them closed. It is why modern undertakers sew shut the eyes of the dead, if there is to be a viewing. When the wife returned she was bothered that he would be embarrassed to have soiled himself. I had to explain that when you are dead you can’t control your bladder or your sphincter. When creatures are killed in game, there will be an odor on top of whatever the thing smells like.

My family has grown weary of my complaining about every movie and TV show where they close the eyes of the dead and they stay closed. I can’t help it, that is totally wrong! In modern American culture, we have distanced ourselves from death. Sanitation, plentiful food, vaccinations, and antibiotics have done so much in the 20th century up to the present to halt huge numbers of people dying from the simplest things. I think it is morbid to have a viewing of the dead, but it is a part of closure and reminds us that we are all mortal. The majority of people who eat meat have never killed any animal for which they eat its meat. We are so distanced from the death and slaughter that leads to our plastic wrapped meat, it is all too easy to forget where it comes from.

The dead also fart and can make sounds like they are exhaling or gasping or moaning. There can also be spontaneous muscle contractions and a dead body can “sit up”. My high school biology teacher said that in college he had a job driving a hearse to transport bodies from the hospital to the funeral home. He quit after he looked in the rear view mirror and saw his passenger “sit up” in the body bag.

As a body decomposes it will swell and eventually burst. I “missed out” on this experience, thankfully.

A body in water swells up like a bloated water balloon and easily comes apart during retrieval from the water. I am very glad, I have never had to be a part of something like that!


I hunted rabbits and squirrels in high school. I did not know that rabbits made noise until I wounded one. A wounded rabbit makes a sound like a baby crying. It is heart wrenching. I still finished it off, dressed it and cooked and ate it. Rabbit and squirrel have a consistency similar to chicken and a somewhat similar taste. Wild rabbit and squirrel have a “gamey” taste to them, that is common of wild animals. It is not a bad taste, just one most are not used to living with farm raised meat.

My parents taught me how to cut up a store bought chicken to make fried chicken. Where I live, near Kalamazoo, MI, I haven’t found a fryer in the store. The only whole chickens are for baking or roasting. Part of that is frying isn’t the healthiest option, and most people don’t fry their own chicken anymore. This will be much different in a wild west or D&D setting where every housewife knows how to kill, clean, and prepare fowl, small game, and farm animals. Lots of blood and gore and refuse pits if they farmers don’t have hogs. I have been told that hogs eat anything, even the bones. Someone told me that if you want to kill someone and get away with it, take the body to a hog farm. While that may be true, 80+% of modern hog farms are indoors and are factory farms, so they would have cameras to keep an eye on things. It isn’t that easy anymore. But in a rustic game setting, it would be possible. How do you solve the murder without a body and forensics to identify trace remains. CSI and Columbo can’t make it in those settings.

My mother told me that she asked her mom what food she most missed from the farm, and my grandmother replied, “Fried blood.” I don’t know how it was prepared or if flour or starch or anything was added. It is not something I would try, short of starvation.


My parents were cremated and my siblings and I scattered their ashes. These ashes are a fine grey powder and remind me of cement in color and the consistency is much like ashes from a fireplace or campfire. If you don’t buy a fancy urn, the cremains (technical term for the remains of those cremated) are placed in a plastic zip lock bag (about the gallon size, if memory serves) inside a two part cardboard box that is about 8 to 10 inches cubed. This fine stuff will get into crevasses and some inevitably sticks to the plastic bag and in the corners of the box. I would guess that the weight was no more than ten pounds.

One Armed People:

I was an EMT way back when. One call we had to go get a one armed woman who fell between her toilet and tub and was slightly overweight. She was a cancer patient and was in a lot of pain. Without two armpits, it is very hard to pick up a a person in a tight spot, especially if they can’t help.

Great Toes and Thumbs:

In the Old Testament, the Children of Israel would cut off the thumbs and great toes (fancy terminology for the big toe) of the captured enemy kings. This was so that these kings could no longer lead men into battle. Back then, most kings were also the military leaders of their people. Without thumbs you can’t hold most weapons. I would think you would be limited to some sort of thrusting weapon that goes over what is left of the hand(s). The great toe is a major part of the ability to stand and balance as well as to walk and run. If you ever saw “Roots”, you may recall that Kunta Kinte had part of one foot cut off so he could not run away.

Warm and Dead:

In my EMT class, we learned that you aren’t dead, until you are warm and dead. This is because people that fall through ice, etc. can go into a sort of hibernation, and one should not declare them dead until they warm up.

Sucking Chest Wounds:

This occurs when the chest wall is punctured due to stabbing, gunshot, or other piecing injury. When a person exhales, the hole in the chest allows air into the chest cavity so that the lungs can’t expand when the person attempts to inhale. The EMT method for this is to put your hand over the hole when they exhale and remove it when they breathe in to help get the air out and then to seal it with plastic and tape until reaching the ER. If you ever saw ER or other medical dramas, they might open the chest between the ribs to drain blood which filled the chest cavity, or used a syringe to let the air out of the chest cavity so the patient can breathe. In addition to compressing the lungs, air or blood in the chest cavity can also compress the heart to the point it can’t beat or can’t beat correctly or enough to maintain life.

Evulsed Eye:

The eye can be knocked from the socket and dangle by the optic nerve and the patient can still see. The EMT treatment is to put a sterile cup over the eye and socket to keep it clean. I have no idea how the ER deals with it.

Exploding Cars:

In addition to once being an EMT, I was an Volunteer Firefighter/EMT. I attended multiple car fires and even had one of my cars have a fire. None of those 20+ cars ever exploded. While in the right conditions, gasoline vapor, gasoline is very explosive, those conditions are usually not present very often. From TV and the movies, every car crash seem to result in an explosion.

House Fires:

The average house fire burns at about 3,000 degree F. This is hot enough that the steel I-beam most modern houses use for support will twist. For this reason, I have no problem believing that a high speed jumbo jet loaded with jet fuel would burn hot enough to weaken the steel holding up the World Trade Center buildings. 20 or 30 floors of falling debris would be enough to collapse one floor, which adds to the weight on the next floor, until each floor has collapsed like dominoes.

The protective gear a firefighter uses can make it bearable to stand relatively close to a fully engulfed house. However, they are hot enough that standing across a two lane highway from a large burning building is unbearably hot if you open or remove your coat.

Kidney Removal:

My father had a form of kidney cancer that if caught before it grows outside the kidney, they can remove the kidney with nearly 100% chance of getting it all. He had a scar that went from near his spine to his abdomen. The kidney is deep enough that they literally cut you in half. This is what a kidney donor goes through. They do not put the kidney in a recipient as deeply as it is naturally, so it is not as traumatic for them.

Compound Fractures and Infection:

In the age before antiseptics, a compound fracture meant near certain death due to infection, or amputation in an effort to avoid or fight off infection. In D&D such injuries are not part of the rules, unless house ruled. A Paladin in good standing will automatically not have to fear infection, since they are immune to disease. Others will require healing, is cure light wounds or cure serious wounds enough to avoid infection? Do orcs sterilize their weapons between uses? There  are rules for diseases in the DMG to cover this, if you want that as part of your game.

I knew a man who had a quadruple bypass and then had a staff infection. It took nearly six months for him to get over the infection with modern antibiotics.

My ex injured her knee in a car accident and needed surgery. They had to re-schedule the surgery because the air conditioning went out in the surgery room. They don’t operate it the temperature is over 70 degrees to help minimize infection. Even in so called sterile environments in hospitals, it is easy to spread infections.

In a pre-modern D&D setting, will the characters know germ theory? Will the culture have baths and aspire to cleanliness like the ancient Greeks, Romans, and Japanese? (Yes, I know there are other cultures who used baths, etc.). Will they have practices that have the same practical effect as observing germ control in the modern era? Will their be plants or animal substances that are known to fight infection, besides whiskey? Honey is a known antibiotic and was used by ancient peoples in their wound dressings. Some even use raw honey today. Because of it’s antibiotic properties, honey does not spoil. If it dries up, just heat it and it is as good as new. Maybe the honey from giant bees? In MMII, giant bees have a 20% chance to have royal jelly that both cures damage and disease. Would the players encounter someone who knows that?

There is a famous example in The Lord of the Rings where Aragorn knows that Kings Foil isn’t a weed, but a powerful medicine. Will their be similar “weeds” due to “lost” or limited knowledge? The level of verisimilitude is up to the DM and what the players enjoy. If it isn’t fun, you’re doing it wrong.

Car Accident, multiple injuries:

I was in a bad car accident 20+ years ago and broke my back (T-12), left collarbone, had a big gash on the back of my left hand that required 7 stitches, smaller cuts on my forehead, some of which required stitches, loss of an estimated 3-4 pints of blood, and a concussion. I don’t recommend sleeping and driving at the same time. Once was more than enough to know it’s not a good idea. It was very cold and 3 hours before I was found and had minor hypothermia until I was cut out.

My oldest son was almost a year old and we had done Lamaze class so I knew how to breathe. This was important because a broken back was the worst pain I have ever had and would have spasms of pain. The Lamaze style hee-hee-hoo breathing helped with the spasms. Due to my concussion, I had to rely on that to deal with the pain for my first 24 hours in the hospital because they didn’t want to give me pain medication to make sure I didn’t go into a coma. I was blessed and no spinal cord damage, and things were lined up. The treatment was a back brace that I had to wear 24×7 for a few weeks, then I had to wear it except when I was in bed for a few weeks. In such a short time, my back muscles got weak and I had to do exercises and wean myself off of the brace so I could hold myself upright for very long.

When I could finally got something for the pain, they gave me intravenous morphine. My eyes rolled back in my head and I was out, just like in the movies. After I was on morphine, I knew who came to see me, but the order is jumbled in my mind.

While trapped, I KNEW I had a broken collar bone because I could not lift my arm without putting my right hand on my collar bone to compensate for the break. Your arm works like a crane. If your collar bone is broken, it is like a crane with a broken arm, it can’t lift itself, let alone anything else. They also don’t do any surgery to fix a broken collar bone unless is a complication. The female doctor in the family practice we used stopped in to check on me and told me that I could never wear a strapless gown because my lines were now off. Darn, I missed the opportunity. The treatment is a figure eight type wrap to pull your shoulders back straight. For several years after it healed, I had sharp points under the skin that were sensitive to pressure.

For me the estimated 3-4 pints of blood loss was not enough to merit a transfusion. IV’s were used to increase blood volume. It was 3 days before they put me in the back brace and tried to sit me up. I immediately grayed out and had to lay down. The levels of blood loss some heroes have in the movies would render them incapable of standing.

There was also concern that my spleen had ruptured because I didn’t have bowel sounds. Your insides make a lot of noise in healthy individuals due to peristalsis, the movement of food from one end to the other. A broken back hampers your ability to move waste, and was the reason for my quiet abdomen. They told me that if I didn’t burp soon, I would have surgery. To avoid surgery, they did a nasal cannula. A plastic tube inserted into my my nose and threaded down to my stomach. I had to continuously swallow to get the tube down. They then drained the contents of my stomach looking for blood. Finding none, I avoided a spleenectomy. After they withdrew the cannula, it felt like it was still there for about a week, yuck!

Both morphine and back injuries make it difficult for the body to pass solid waste. My first BM after the accident was very painful. You don’t realize how many muscles in your back are used for pooping until you have a back problem. OUCH!

When I finally could stay conscious while upright, they walked me around the hospital floor to help me build up my strength. I was still very wobbly and week. Because our son was almost one year old and able to crawl all over the house, I stayed in the hospital nine days, until I could sit up on the bed by myself and walk to the chair so that my then wife wouldn’t have to do so much for me and chase David.

One day, while in the hospital, the fire alarm went off and they had to evacuate. I did not have my back brace on, so I was at the mercy of someone else to wheel my bed out. Thankfully, it was a false alarm, but it had me very concerned for a few moments, because I was helpless.

Another problem I developed was pleurisy. It is a condition where the lubricating fluids between the lungs and the chest cavity are absent due to long term shallow breathing. It can also be caused by pneumonia and other illnesses. It makes deep breathing very painful. The “cure” is to force yourself to breathe deeply to get your body to lubricate the lungs as they inflate and rub against the interior of the chest cavity. The best I can describe it is sandpaper rubbing against the inside of your chest.

My concussion was mild, but any head injury has lasting issues as the NFL has finally acknowledged. My ex had to do all the driving for a few weeks. We lived in south central Missouri and had to take state Highway 68, which is like a roller coaster. Even sitting in the front passenger seat I got carsick and had to have her pull over so I could puke. Later when I was finally able to drive, I had to drive that stretch of road and I got carsick while driving. Thankfully, that was only really bad nausea. I used to spin David around, I could not spin even once without getting dizzy. I can now spin around a few times before it gets annoying. I can no longer handle spinning amusement park rides. I am hoping that spinning is the only thing I have issues with and it doesn’t have major repercussions as I age.

The big gash on my left hand was so deep that the ER doctor who stitched me up said he could see the tendons. My hand was swollen to about three times normal size. For about 7 or 8 years the area of the gash was numb. I could feel pressure on the subcutaneous tissue, but the back of my hand was like it had Novocaine. Nerves grow about 1/4 per year. The worst part of my hand injury was a small “knot” on the inside edge of the knuckle of my index finger. When my boys would hold my left hand, their little finger would naturally rest on that and it felt like a nail going through my hand. One doctor dismissed it as a mere adhesion. 7 or 8 years ago, about 13 years after my accident the skin over this small “knot” split and when I touched it to clean it a small piece of safety glass about the size of four grains of salt square came out. My sons were amazed that my hand didn’t hurt and I told them to squeeze all their wanted.

I’m about a half inch shorter than I used to be. My T-12 vertebrae is shaped like a triangle that slopes towards my front, so my back can get out of place easily. I usually bend over just right and it goes back into place. This was a great frustration to my sons when they thought they were taller than I, and I would put my back in place, and then they were shorter than I. Now they are really taller than me, so that doesn’t work anymore.

Prior to my car accident, the only thing I had broken was my little toe. That pain is immense, due to all the nerves in it. My foot swelled so much I could not wear dress shoes. I had to loosen my sneakers, and driving a manual transmission (stick shift) was painful, because it was my right foot.

I also did something to my neck in the crash. I used to be able to pop my neck with no problem. Now it sometimes feels like it needs to pop and it won’t.

I can still do hard manual labor, but it isn’t easy. It isn’t easy because I have a desk job and don’t do that stuff on a regular basis. It’s definitely not because I’m “old”. 😉

So there is my take on a lot of things that can enlighten things of a “flavor” for your game, not necessarily something requiring a rule, mechanic, or table to handle. As I have said above and elsewhere, if you are not having fun, you are doing it wrong!



Newly Discovered Deepest Known Cave In Continental USA

This is very interesting and got me to thinking about, what else, RPGs!

I did some spelunking back in high school. Our band directory had an interest in geology and taught a high school class on geology for several years and took students to a couple of caves. This was in Missouri, the cave state, and we drove from the eastern suburbs of Kansas City to the caves west of St. Louis, in Meramec State Park, not to be confused with the commercial Meramec Caverns. There was one cave we couldn’t enter at that time of year due to an endangered bat species that was in hibernation the part of the year we were there. The one cave we were able to enter had a very cold stream coming out and got narrow and low very quick. We had to go sideways where we could stand and had to crawl on our stomachs in other parts.

It was a hot spring day and the water was like ice. One could easily get hypothermia even in summer.

In college and a few year after, I went on several canoe trips on some of the rivers in south-central Missouri, like the Meramec and the Current, and those can be very cool, but feel great on a hot sunny summer day!

The Current River is well named. There are places where it is only about 3 feet deep and if you lay down, or were to fall or be knocked over, you can get swept quite a bit down river, 30 to 40 feet or more, until you get your bearings and can plant your feet. Even if you keep to your feet, you can’t run without the danger of falling. This was while in sneakers and shorts. Someone in armor and weighed down with a pack would have their stance shifted to compensate and could very easily get knocked over. Just something to think about. Deeper than three feet in a swift river would be even more challenging. Where there are relatively sharp bends in the river with a limestone cliff, the river will dig down and create a deep area. Such places are good to jump off the cliff. CAUTION: I knew a guy who dove head first into one of these places headfirst and died because he came down in shallow water and broke his neck. Always make sure of the depth of the water before jumping off a cliff.

I have also taken tours of some smaller commercial caves and they have very interesting rock formations, very slick stone, made slick as ice with water.

I also recall stories a few years ago about a cave with a secret location in Mexico that has giant crystals. The pictures were cool. I will leave it to the reader to do a google search to see what I mean.

Deepest Known Cave in continental USA.

Subtle entrance to Tears of The Turtle cave. This type of entrance would be very hard to miss. This is a neat album with more than one cave and gives some ideas about how caves look.

Double Date cave Entrance – This looks like a mine to me. This could confuse characters without a mining background to think they found a mine. Dwarves or gnomes would know better.

One also has to be careful in caves. I recall the movie I saw as a kid and found it via Google. Ace in the Hole AKA The Big Carnival with Kirk Douglas, based on a true story.

Alliteration Though The Monster Manual, A to Z.

I play in a Roll20/Google Hangout AD&D first edition game. We recently started back and forth strings of alliteration in our online comments about write ups of our sessions, etc. I took it much farther than the others.

One player posted a link to a poster of a blind monk on a blind beholder, to which I posted: “Blessed Battling Blind Beholders, Batman! ;)” To which I must now add, “Robin retorted, rhetorically.”

I have the bug bad. So bad, in fact, that I am going to inflict it on the internet at large. I’m sorry, but not that sorry. 😉

So while in the shower the other day I had the idea to do alliterative phrases for an A to Z listing from the Monster Manual. This was initiated as I was reflecting on my post on what the OSR stands for.

Without further ado, here is the list and a couple extra at the end. Yes, I know I have two for B. B for bonus! Hmm…. This just may be my list for next years A to Z challenge….

  1. Angry ankhegs attacking artichoke agriculturalists assiduously.
  2. Bespectacled bald baby basilisks bouncing beautifully.
  3. Barbaric bugbears beheading bullywugs.
  4. Caterwauling catoblepas callously casting cats.
  5. Devilish druidic dervishes dancing defiantly.
  6. Eager ettins eradicate elves enthusiastically.
  7. Fancy famished frogs feasting furiously.
  8. Giant gorgons gobbling goblins greedily.
  9. Hungry harpies harpooning harried hippos. (Get where I got this one?)
  10. Inquisitive imps investigating intrigue.
  11. Jacked-up jackalwere jousting jauntily.
  12. Killer kobolds kissing ki-rin.
  13. Lazy lycanthropes lounging longingly.
  14. Manic misanthropic minotaurs minting mounted miniatures.
  15. Naughty nymphs nuzzling Norman. (Who wishes they were Norman?)
  16. Obtuse owlbears overbearing orcs.
  17. Perspicacious pixies painting pegasi.
  18. Quick quassits quietly questing.
  19. Raging rocs routing rangers.
  20. Silent skeletons slink surreptitiously.
  21. Tough trolls trick troglodytes treacherously.
  22. Uniformed umber hulks undulating under ungainly untied unicorn umbilicus.
  23. Violent vapid violet vampires vamping.
  24. Weird wraiths wriggling wildly.
  25. Xylophoning xorn.
  26. Yellow yeti yelling, yet yearning.
  27. Zombie zoning.

And the two bonus phrases:

  • Master’s multitudinous machinating minions menace marooned mercenaries manning mantlets meekly, masticating meat.
  • All alliteration alludes allegorical alternative alertness, allegedly.

And another….

Flying flaming flamingos fleetly fling flagons flung flatly.

My plea:

Help harried honest human halt horrendous haphazard haranguing.

This is terrible, the tune to “R-O-C-K in the USA” came into my head with the words, “Alliterate in the OSR”.

Will this post never end? Will the puns and assault on the unwary link clickers continue???? …. Tune in next week, same OSR time, same OSR channel.

My Son’s Music Videos (Covers)

My son recorded these today, so I got to hear them live… along with the exclamations of frustration along the way. Isn’t is fun being creative? I wish I could play an instrument….







Technical Difficulties Resolved

I realized a few days ago that the ability to comment on my blog was not working.

I verified that comments were on, and I get plenty of auto-generated spam comments. I have all comments moderated.

I figured out the issue, I had installed a plugin, Gigya a while back and it isn’t compatible with the current version of my blogging software. I have disabled Gigya and now you can comment on my blog, if you wish.

Technical Difficulties
Technical Difficulties – This image brings back memories of childhood.


Creatures you stated from fiction

Some creatures from mythology and fiction that do not already exist in a game are fun to develop stats for in game use. I have only created stats for a few creatures myself, and have yet to use them in my campaign, but have played in games that had them.

For me, the most memorable are creatures in my brother Robert’s game.

Stormhounds from Chronicle of Amber – I don’t have specifics, but Robert mentioned that the adults have 12 HD. The main NPC wizard has them to guard his tower and raises them. Many an adventurer has offered a lot to try to get a puppy.

The Rancor from Return of the Jedi – See Out of Character Outbursts.

Modifications of existing  creatures:

 Stewart war dogs 3 hd instead of 2. In my brother’s game, the hillsmen are based on Scottish clans. My character in his game, Griswald, is a Stewart and raises these dogs. They were historically (in the game) used in battle. The dogs would be lined up in front of the battle lines with collars with sharpened blades, thus they are also called “Sword Dogs”.

I read about the labors of Hercules back in February and yesterday I finally did stats for the Stymphalian birds with beaks of bronze and metallic feathers they can launch. I have not seen the movie with Dwayne Johnson/The Rock that came our earlier this year, to know if it included them.

What mythical or fictional creatures have you stated for use in you game(s)?