Tag Archives: History


How can I not mention the 300 Spartans at Thermopylae?

While 300 blog posts is not as impressive as the feat of those long-dead Spartans, as someone with a BA in history and a big interest in ancient and medieval history, I could not help it, nor did I try.

Someone posting daily for a year can easily accomplish 300 posts with over two months to spare. In my case, I started in July of 2009, almost six years to get to 300 posts. That’s only 50 posts a year. In 2014, I hit 100 and 200 posts. In 2014, when the weather got nicer, I had a lot fewer posts. When the weather got cold my output increased until November, when I participated in NaNoWriMo, Tenkar’s Landing, UCon, and in late December decided to GM for the first time at a con with Marmalade Dog 20 the first weekend in February.

It isn’t that I wasn’t writing or wasn’t being creative in some way, it just wasn’t on this blog.

I don’t have enough ideas, or the time and energy to post as often as some do, or to have the consistent quality of others. This is not my 300th written post for this blog, it is the 300th posted for this blog. I have an article ready to post for the next nine days, plus what I have started for the April, 2015 A To Z Challenge.

I will post as often as I can and strive for good ideas.

This is merely a navel gazing post, so other than mentioning Spartans that many seem to think are only a movie, or a movie based on a comic book. Few seem to know it is a real event that occurred long ago. There was a movie about the 300 in the 60’s. The acting is not good and the special effects were not outstanding, but the movement of troops give the general idea of how it must have been.

I have mentioned my character Griswald, a 10th level cleric, 10th level fighter, 11th level wizard half elf. I once estimated, based on the area of effect spells and other offensive spells he has that in a narrow area, he could kill over 500 orcs, perhaps more, by the time they got close enough for him to have to use his sword. That was assuming optimal results in his favor. Who would face such a man? One who can call down the power of his god, or evoke the mysteries of the universe, or beat you by martial skill? As long as there are hundreds or thousands of orcs more scared of their chiefs and sub-chiefs than they are scared of Griswald, that’s who.

I have yet to have a character drive a stake in the ground for a final stand. I have thought about it and planned how it might happen, but never actually played that scenario. I thought I might be playing that scenario when Griswald’s town was under siege, but they left. They will think long and hard before they try it again.

Have any of you had a character perform a rear guard action and fight to the death so that other characters could escape or defeat the bad guy?

WotC Fan Site Policy Uproar

WotC’s Fan site Policy, as many have pointed out, is actually a license. It prevents you from using some images on your site, yet if you use it, you assign all your writings over to WotC. Not a fair trade, in my opinion. I will continue to write about what I want to write about, the way I want to do it. I will not use copywrited images or material to do it, so WotC has no fear from me. I do not plan to buy 4e, but would buy more PDFs of AD&D and OD&D, if they are ever made available again. If not, then I will make due with what I have, or use one or more of the retroclones.

Greywulf’s Lair [old link: http://blog.microlite20.net]  has an interesting idea, about a “Happy User Policy” [old link: http://blog.microlite20.net/2009/08/07/dearest-wizards-these-are-my-terms-conditions/]. This sounds like an idea related to Net Promoter Score. NPS is the current focus where I work, and the idea is to make customers so happy with you, that they tell all their friends, such that they are a free sales force. It also requires converting disgruntled customers to ahppy ones. Basically the idea is, don’t jerk your customers around, or they will find a vendor who will treat them right.

The level of quality Greywulf is asking for, is on the same level people keep asking for from Microsfot Windows. An OS that does not crass, get viruses, or slow down with time. Like so many have turned to the OSR instead of 4e, many in the computer realm, have turned to Linux and other free alternatives. Surprisingly, in the realm of Operating Systems, free has what the fee-based Windows has not been able to do. Microsoft gives the impression that they care more about money than customers. WotC gives the same impression. I am not a lawyer, but a smart lawyer could draft a license that does not stir up a hornet’s nest. WotC needs to get a lawyer with knowledge of the internet. Look at all the fury over Facebook’s license/policy change. Facebook had media coverage, the whole D&D thing will probably not get much traction in the media.

There is also a petition to WotC to drop this new license. I do not think this will have much traction with WotC. The numbers who agree to the license will be a stronger determinant. If it is only 100 people who have low traffic websites, WotC will take notice. However, if it is 100 very high traffice sites, then WotC may see it as a win. As with everything, time will tell how this plays out.

I do not see WotC listening to fans who do not agree with them. I hope for the sake of the hobby I am right. As it is, I don’t plan to spend the money or time to learn a new rules variant, so 4e and its successors will have little direct impact on me. If I can’t find a local group to play with my rules of choice, then I won’t play. I can spend my time polishing my campaign setting, or I can go read a book. I like writing about my reminiscences and ideas. It helps me flesh things out. If no one reads this blog, I am okay with that.

Pantheons in Roleplaying

I do not like the idea of using the pantheons of real, yet dead religions, such as the gods of the Greeks, Vikings, Sumerians, etc.

There are several reasons for this. D&D already has a bad name and is wrongly associated with devil worship. Invoking the names of the gods of other religions, some of who are mentioned in the Bible, Apocrypha, and historical writings, just adds fuel to the fire. Both the Monster Manual and Dieties & Demigods/Legends and Lore, use these historical names. Tiamat, Mephistopheles, Zeus, etc. are all from historical religious writings.

While one could use a the structure of those historical pantheons, for their ready made stats in various game source books; change their names, to avoid continuing the stigma. It takes a lot of effort to come up with a religious structure from scratch. Yet, there has to be some framework of dieties if a player wants to be a cleric. For the humanoids, I go with the materials in the various source books. For the humans, I am torn between finding the time to develop my own, or just picking and choosing a few from the Greyhawk setting. After all, keeping prep time to a minimum, to maximize play is the key. A DM does want a life outside the game, right?

As a Christian, it does bother me to speak the names of historical deities while roleplaying. Roleplaying is not the same as having a literate discussion of the religion of the ancient Greeks.

That is one aspect of roleplaying where I think we should draw a line. Granted, we are all free to run the rules as we see fit for our own group. For my campaign in the works, I will avoid the use of any historical religious names, for both a clean conscience and to avoid the appearance of evil, for those who would judge our preferred game without all the facts.

Some may view this as a naive view of the world, but if we want our game of choice to be an option for the people of faith in our communities, or at least move them to a neutral and accepting frame of mind, we should keep such things in mind. Granted, there have not been a lot of movies about the dangers of D&D like in the 80s. However, I still do not feel comfortable discussing D&D with those who are more likely to look down on it.

While I have not run into outright anti-D&D sentiment in a long time, I have been an “in the closest” gamer for years. It was really bad when my wife questioned my beliefs when I mentioned that I like D&D. She like many from the 80s, bought the line of the movies and sensational headlines.I think I finally have her convinced it is not devil worship or evil, as she has not complained about having my books openly displayed on the shelves in our computer room. Yet she did state she did not want me spending hours wrapped up in those books. (She understands the time sink problem.)

How does your family, friends, and community react to D&D?

Medieval Population Density

This informative article about population density of medieval based worlds and number of cities, towns, and villages and numbers of a give occupation relative to population.

There are links to websites to run the formula and build a kingdom quickly. One can also use Excel to build the formula into a spreadsheet, of which there are links to some examples .

I recommend saving it as a PDF so that it is available for off line use.

[Edit] Corrected link to website to use current URL. 09 February 2014.