The Growing List

As with much else in life, I find that the things I want to do related to RPGs and the new ideas that come into my head keep growing, and the available time to focus on those ideas is shrinking.

I have found that my summer “TV” watching is much less than the rest of the year. I don’t have regular TV, and only watch shows that I can get on the free version of Hulu, NetFlix, and YouTube. This is good, since I also spend more time outside, when Michigan finally thaws.

Coming to a focus on an article for today seemed harder than usual. I persist in writing a daily article for this blog, because I made a commitment to do so at the end of January. So far, I have not missed a day, since I decided to blog every day.

Some days and article seems like a stretch, and other days, I am able to write multiple articles in one go and schedule them out.

It has been chaotic around here the last few weeks, and traveling for work, trying to keep up with mowing my yard and weeding my garden, and recovering from a summer cold seem to have tapped out my creative reserves. I managed to build up enough posts to get me through last week when I had to go out of town for work, but for the last few days, I have been getting in a blog on the day it’s due. A few times it has been minutes before midnight when I post the final draft.

I won’t stress it, if I don’t have something to write about. I want to add value to my readers, not just drone on and one with no real point.

I have some half formed ideas for some tables and other ideas, but nothing worthy of sharing. For some reason, distilling tables down to their essence and making them a quick and easy to use tool, I struggle. Sometimes the struggle is coming up with multiple pieces. Sometimes the struggle is completing the idea. I have some all the dice style tables that need more polish before I share them. My ideas are to help me focus and plan out my own campaign(s), I hope others can getsome use out fo them also.

AD&D Player’s Handbook PDF Updated

I just got an email that the 1st Edition AD&D Player’s Handbook has been updated. It is not 5 MB instead of about 25 MB, but it uses the new Gygax Memorial Fund Cover instead of the original cover by Dave Trampier.

The interior text quality is excellent, and all the interior artwork appears to be the same on a quick glance. Copy and paste, if you need some information appears to be smoother, but tables are still jumbled if copied to either a text editor or word processor.

The Table of Contents are not clickable links. I am good with that. I just wish I had the option of the original cover with the cleaned up pages. I suppose that I could make my own with various PDF editing tools and swap the covers.

However, the PDF is only available to those who have already purchased the PDF before it was removed from sale. I hope that this signals that the three core manuals for AD&D will soon be for sale again!

[UPDATE: The PDF is now for sale! – Affiliate Links]




[UPDATE 2: Thanks to the heads up from OSR Today, the new PHB does not contain all of the errata. See the Acaeum for the full list.]

[UPDATE 3: Collected Errata for all AD&D 1st Edition Re-Prints at Dragonsfoot.}

R.I.P. Blaine Gibson – Disney Imagineer

Today, I saw a post on my sister’s FB wall that our maternal grandmother’s cousin, Blaine Gibson, died.

Many don’t know his name, but he is a credited artist in several Disney cartoons: Fantasia, Bambi, Song of the South, Alice in Wonderland, Peter Pan, Sleeping Beauty, and One Hundred and One Dalmatians, and others.

His desire was to always be an animator, but when Walt Disney found out that his hobby was sculpting, Walt made Blaine the chief sculptor.

Blaine always sent hand made Christmas cards to my dad and others, with sketches of him walking his dog in the snow. He also sent a nice color sketch to my parent’s for their 40th Anniversary.

As a sculptor, his first famous work was the head of Abraham Lincoln for the audioanimatronic exhibit at the 1964 World’s Fair. He went on to do the heads of all the presidents, except Obama, and came out of retirement to add H.W. Bush, Bill Clinton, and G.W. Bush. His apprentice did Obama. My mom’s favorite story from Blaine about creating all the audioanimatronic heads was the response from a glass eye manufacturer when asked for pairs of glass eyes. The mere idea was absurd and took some convincing that it was a serious request.

He also did the sculpture, Partners, that has Walt and Mickey holding hands.

The Haunted Mansion, Pirates of the Caribbean, and other figures also relied on his sculpting talent.

I wonder how many more of the rides and attractions with your sculpted heads will be made into movies?

Hall of Presidents? Partners?

Way back in fourth grade we had to write a letter to someone and have them write us back. Getting a letter back from a real Disney artist with a sketch of Mickey Mouse and Donald Duck on official Imagineer paper was a big hit. I wish I still had his letter. I do still have the sketches.

Cousin Blaine will be missed. He was the last of his generation on that side of the family.

As the keeper of the family tree started by my parents, it is with sadness that I enter the last piece of information about Blaine. He is survived by his son and grandson, who will miss him most of all.

Mickey Sketch
Mickey Sketch

Several news outlets mentioned him:

He doesn’t have his own Wikipedia page, but has an IMDB and d23 pages, and is mentioned on lots of other Wikipedia pages.

New Monster – Felt Golem

I was trying to come up with an idea for a new monster. I looked next to where the dogs sleep, and saw how much they shed. I made a comment that there was enough hair to knit a couple of new dogs and cats. One dog is “mine” – actually my youngest son’s. The other dog and the cats belong to my oldest son and his girlfriend.

Instead of knitting, I thought of making felt and then filling a felt body with loose hair.

I know that the Mongolian nomads make felt from horse hair for their tents and clothes. Felt can be made of any kind of hair.

Such a golem would be susceptible to fire, but would otherwise have the characteristics of the animal from which it is made. If made from the hair of multiple animals/sources, it would have multiple characteristics.

For example, plant fiber fabric, such as cotton, or linen, also can be felted. Bits of fabric separate when washing. How about a dryer lint golem? It would be made of cotton, and artificial fibers.

If the hair of a dog, a felt golem of larger than normal size could be constructed. Add hit dice and damage capabilities based on your rule set of choice.

Gather the hides from slain animals with fur to make any manner of felt golem.

They would move silently, being made of a soft fabric.

If combined with amber for the eyes, they could have an additional attack similar to shocking grasp, say once per turn.

Can you imagine a woolly mammoth golem with a trampling and goring attack, plus a shock attack?

If attacked with electrical attacks, it would allow them to be re-charged and make an extra shock attack.

That cute life size grizzly teddy bear will rip your arms off!

How about a room full of the things?

Lions, tigers, and bears! Oh yeah!!

How about a hell hound felt golem! The possibilities are endless!


Today is Independence Day in the United States. We celebrate with parades, picnics/barbecues, festivals, carnivals, and fireworks.

How does the town that is home base for your players celebrate its founding, or other secular or religious days?

Are there any nationwide celebrations? Are their similar yet different celebrations and traditions in neighboring nations?

Happy Independence Day to my fellow Americans!

The Journey Home

I traveled home yesterday by car, about 8 hours of driving from south central Illinois to south of Kalamazoo. It was interstate and highway all the way. I took a couple US and state highways for a bit to go around/avoid construction. I got to thinking about a journey of that distance in D&D.

I think it was like 350 miles or so, maybe closer to 400. At ten miles a day, walking would take 40 days! If you have ever walked 10 plus miles in a day you know how sore your feet are, if you are not used to it. If you carry a pack or any gear, you know how tired you are. Imaging doing that all the time.

When characters are walking for miles on end, we need to keep in mind the need for them to stop and rest, to avoid exhaustion. We should also keep in mind that a character with a lower constitution might have trouble staying awake for a watch. Lack of enough food and water can make one weak and more prone to dozing off as the body conserves energy.

I’m not arguing for complicated rules and tables to track this, just keep in mind if there is an encounter while traveling and it happens before they can take their next rest during their daily travel, they might be exhausted sooner. Of course, if they have enough food and water and are not injured, sick, or exhausted for some reason, such as running, they will have a natural resistance to being worn out. However, any characters with a low constitution would be hard pressed to maintain a normal/standard pace.

Age also has an effect. When I was a teenager I used to mow lawns in the high heat and humidity of Missouri summers. I would mow on days it wasn’t really safe to do so, and as long as I drank enough water, I was fine. Now, 30+ years later, I mow my yard and on hot days, I am spent if I don’t take it slow and stop to get plenty of water and a snack to keep me going.

Again I think these don’t need complicated mechanics. Just keep these in mind, for those times it makes sense. If the party has no random encounters and plenty of food and water, and gets enough rest, it won’t be an issue. Just apply the effects if they are short or out of supplies, injured, running for their lives, or short on rest.

Roll 20 On The Road

Roll20 and Google+ make a good combination for remote gaming. I play in a regular Wednesday night AD&D campaign, we his Session 63 last night. This was the second time I had to be on the road for work, and use the hotel wi-fi to get online so I could play.

Different towns, different hotel chains, different wi-fi experience. It works, it lets you get by, but it is a challenge sometimes. I could spend a lot of money for anywhere access via a national phone company, but it would be a waste of money most of the time.

The things technology allows us to do and the ease it can bring to finding a gaming group is wonderful, but the inconsistency of internet access when on the road makes it a challenge.

At least I have the option to do it, even if I had to juggle my schedule so that I am in a motel so I can play, instead of travelling on game night. It’s not that big a stretch, I’m not driving until 2 or 3 in the morning to get home. It’s not worth it. I tried sleeping and driving once, I don’t recommend it. I’m also trying to get completely over being sick, not relapse.


Dirk Derringer And The Hartufan Plot

+Matt Jackson has quite the writing talent and is generating a Science Fiction pulp serial, with an obvious White Star influence. He is publishing it both on his blog and a site called Wattpad.

I am honored that my encouragement to write more has helped him to come up with more ideas.

My recommendation is to go read this serial!

He can write and make cool maps!