29 August 2012

One evening, down at the Wounded Griffon...

... a group of young farm labourers and woodsmen are just getting into the swing of things. Ale and insults are flowing in equal measure when one of them decides it's his turn to tell a tale.

Look at this, lads! Well it’s a jewel, ain’t it? Yes I know it’s just glass, that’s not the... Look, shutup, will you... What!? Really? Well your sister didn’t complain! OW! Alrightalright, sorrysorrysorry, get off me, will you!

Anyway, this jewel. Got it from one of those wandering preachers this morning, he was up by that dead oak near the crossroads over by old man Fletcher’s place. He was just standing there, eyes closed. I was going to walk past him but he called my name, didn’t even open his eyes to begin with, and said he had a gift for me. “What sort of gift?” I asks. “Wisdom” says he and then hands me this bauble. Great, I think, a bit of broken glass. Some gift. But then he grabs my hand and I can’t pull away, even though he must be about sixty and scrawny as a sick hen. “Look at the jewel,” he says. “See how it has many sides? All the temples focus on a single face and call it their god, but it’s just one face of the Whole. Remember that, boy.” And then, I swear, he just fades away like mist, but I still have the jewel. Perhaps I’ll save it to be a bride-stone for your sister, eh?

Ow, get OFF me, you savage...

27 August 2012

A second glance

Trying to fix part of my previous map just screwed it up as I had all my images in the same photoshop layer. Duh! So I cribbed from this great tutorial to use layers properly and made, to my eye, a much better map.

I diverged from the tutorial slightly, using the Pen, rather than Polygon, tool to produce the coastline. I also am not quite sure how I eventually managed to get the Marquee tool to do as suggested. It involved me pressing loads of options at random :/

Anyway, if anyone finds this useful and makes their own maps as a result, do share what you produce! Also, if you have any suggestions for making my map better, do leave a comment.

Happy geeking,

EDIT - just noticed, this is my 100th post. Yay for me!

26 August 2012


The lands that comprise the kingdoms of Averaigne, Calthus, Ferrand and Lombria are not newly inhabited by men. True, the great woodlands once were tended by the elves and the mountains stood firm over the realms of the dwarves, but there were earlier empires of men. Not all were good. Many, indeed, were foully corrupt and brought nought but horror. The echoes of those perversions lies heavy on the wildernesses that encircle the bright points of law that the kingdoms aspire to being.

25 August 2012

Echoes of Averaigne

My two boys, aged 4 1/2 and 2, now have their very own sets of 'gem' polydice so their full geek conversion nears completion mwahahaha!

When they are a little bigger, I hope they'll enjoy playing Swords and Wizardry with me (although I doubt darling wife will ever join in). By that time I hope I'll have a well-developed 'world' for them to adventure in. I've made a start on the first part of it: the northen Marches of the Kingdom of Averaigne. Given my overwhelming attraction to all things chivalric, it'll come as no surprise that Averaigne (and its neighbouring kingdoms of Lombria, Calthus and Ferrand) are inspired by western European countries of the late thirteenth and early fourteenth centuries.

I haven't drawn a map yet (although I have the outline in my head) but I have written a couple of imagined overheard conversations of the folk who scratch out an existence in the Marches. Here's the first, from a pessimistic old fellow, deep in his cups.

Life in the Marches can be hard. 

Not like in the broad vales and wide, gentle plains of the Near Shires with their abundant harvests. Nor like the peaceful Forests in the Earldoms and Baronies of the Founding Families, with their common grazing and the security of the King’s Law. Nor yet like the river and coastal towns, brash and wealthy, fat on trade and the bounty of the sea. Up here the winters are hard and long, the soil scarcely rewards its ploughing and the forests are dark and unwelcoming.

We may not have to worry about armies marching under the banners of other kingdoms during the short-lived wars that flare up around the border towns and fortresses but, nevertheless, we are under constant siege. Too far from the King’s palaces to be considered a prize, we are also too far to attract much notice or concern. Out of sight of the rich and powerful, monsters thrive. In the mountains and the forests, the caves and long abandoned ruins, they make their lairs and strike when bold or desperate enough. It has always been so.

Kings and kingdoms have risen and fallen down in the plains but, whatever flag has fluttered above the seats of power, their writ has never truly extended here so it has ever been a place for the desperate, the mad, the monstrous.

Oh yes, life in the Marches can be hard.

19 August 2012

Yet another kickstarter - pig faced orcs

I've been waiting for these pig-faced orcs from newish company Fractured Dimensions for ages as a potential SoBaH warband, doubling up as dungeon dwellers for my (stalled -sigh-) Quest rules, and tripling up as encounters in Swords and Wizardry. Have a mosey on over to the link and see if it takes your fancy.


I think I'd probably take off the topmost chain from the mace off the orc on the right to give him more of a classic morningstar but, otherwise, I rather like these and the other standard sets. The death cultists I'm not so sold on but you get to choose your packs so I may still dive in.

Apart from the Otherworld ones, are there any other decent pig-faced orcs out there at the moment that you know about?

Keeeeeeeep geeking!

18 August 2012

Bingeing on OSR

The OSR in the title is the Old School Renaissance (or Revival, if you prefer) seems to be an internet driven 'thing' all about returning to the (possibly mythical or at least 'rose-tinted' nostalgic) roots of when roleplaying was done properly, as presided over by the Sainted Gygax himself. In practice, this has led to the creation of several 'retroclones' such as Labyrinth Lord and (my chosen iteration) Swords and Wizardry which are very careful rewordings of 'the original game' to avoid problems with copyright etc.

As with any 'ooh, shiny' moment, I've been spending a lot of time scouring the internet to find resources and (if I'm being honest) validate my choice of ruleset! So far, so good. I've also dragged at least one other into a dungeoneering party. So, a handful of the better links:

On avoiding the 'kill em all' approach fostered by video games:

Brilliant dungeon/city/everything map generator:

All round top blog with LOADS of idea:

The hilariously titled random hireling generator:

The S&W blog from the creators/publishers, Frog God Games:

An almost daily updated blog of spells, magic items, curses and the like: