Monday, April 25, 2011
Wednesday, April 20, 2011
Sunday, April 17, 2011
Friday, April 15, 2011
The Sierra Club and the U.S. Forest Service were presenting an alternative to the Wyoming ranchers for controlling the coyote population. It seems that after years of the ranchers using the tried and true method of shooting... or trapping the predators, the Sierra Club had a "more humane" solution to this issue.
What they were proposing was for the animals to be captured alive. The males would then be castrated and let loose again. This was ACTUALLY proposed by the Sierra Club and by the U.S. Forest Service.
All of the ranchers thought about this amazing idea for a couple of minutes.
Finally, an old rancher in the back of the conference room stood up, tipped his hat back and said; "Son, I don't think you understand our problem here...... these coyotes ain't screwin' our sheep... they're eatin' 'em!"
The meeting never really got back to order. . .
Thursday, April 14, 2011
- The Godfather
- Lawrence of Arabia
- Doctor Zhivago
- Breakfast at Tiffany's
- The Searchers
- Rosemary's Baby
- American Grafitti
- South Pacific (I have seen the play of this, though, actually)
- Cool Hand Luke
Wednesday, April 13, 2011
Rather, I'm going to talk about one of the more curious details of that book. A major non-appearing, historical character who nonetheless plays a major role, is Heinrich Kemmler, a major, monster, master necromancer, who's accused of being the direct proximal cause of both World War I and II, as well as being seen as so dangerous that the entire might of the White Council was marshalled against him alone, as if he were a major supernatural "nation" like the Red Court--and in fact, he was killed at least three times by the White Council, first in the 1800s, at the end of WW2, and most recently in 1961. Is he gone for good? No telling. Good villains are hard to keep down, and he's one of the best--perhaps up there with Nicodemus himself.
Curiously, Heinrich Kemmler is also the name of a major, monster, master necromancer from the history of the Warhammer world as well. Since Jim Butcher is generally pretty clued into geek culture, and since Warhammer is reportedly his favorite roleplaying game (and since Heinrich Kemmler, the lichmaster, features prominantly in several of the old and famous Warhammer modules from back in the day) it seems very unlikely that the names are the same is a coincidence. Heck, it even seems very unlikely that it was accidental, even. More likely it was a deliberate homage.
In fact, when couched in those terms, the use of Heinrich Kemmler as an uber-necromancer from history who's legacy still causes tons of trouble for people in the present day comes across as an example of Yog-Sothothery--the taking of names and details from one story and integrating them into another to give a sense of familiarity. Heck; by now the name Kemmler just sounds like a necromancer's name--because I've heard it used twice as such. So, now--I want a Heinrich Kemmler in my setting. Still trying to figure out where he'll fit in, and I don't have time this week to work it up, but after that, I'm going to actually integrate the idea of Heinrich Kemmler, the master necromancer, into DARK•HERITAGE too, and continue the tradition.
Tuesday, April 05, 2011
I always liked the idea for my fantasy settings; it's a flashy magical effect, which in many ways I eschew, but at the same time, it's more of a martial artist, Zen kind of thing, not the stereotypical wizard with his flash-bang spells. I'd long had the soulknife as an optional class available in the DARK•HERITAGE setting, and in fact one of the main protagonist characters in my very slowly progressing novel is based around that idea too.
Perhaps it's somewhat curious, then, that I'm now leaning towards using another class altogether to represent it: the Jedi Guardian from d20 Star Wars Revised. In fact, in most respects, this is actually a more complete class; ready to plug and play without any more work, than the soulknife is. True; the Jedi focus is around using a lightsaber, but converting the lightsaber into a mindblade is mostly just cosmetic, and almost everything else is ready to go. I've already got a Defense bonus. The whole Force powers thing is quite a bit more involved (and useful) than the soulknife's very minor access to psionic powers. In fact, in most respects, the jedi guardian is a slightly more powerful version of the soulknife. Since the soulknife is widely considered to be underpowered, needing (at least) the adoption of a Fighter BAB progression to hold its own with other classes, I don't see this as problematic. Although my own playtest experience is fairly slight, in general, the jedi guardian is not considered overpowered relative to the other Star Wars classes, some of which are almost word for word identical to their D&D analogs (fighter vs. combat specialist, for example.)
Of course, one of the most important flavor points about the jedi and the Force is the whole light side and dark side dichotomy. I'm interested in having my first NPC who will feature this class be a "Sith lord", so I intend to use plenty of dark side powers, but in general, I don't want to get into this dichotomy for my campaign. I want to use the mechanics, but make them morality neutral (after all, one of the most notorious dark side powers is Force choke; and Luke uses that on Gamorrean guards in Return of the Jedi.) So, although it's been a little while, I'll need to re-read the jedi and Force powers rules again in more detail, and probably modify them somewhat to make them more value neutral without such a strong good and evil component. And I'll also need to think a little bit about the mindblade; if having it always accessible (instead of being something that can be lost or taken away) makes them potentially a bit overpowered, and if so, should I weaken the damage it does slightly or something.
Anyway, when complete, I believe I'll post my revised rules for using mindblades, more based on the jedi guardian class than on the soulknife class, on my mechanics wiki.
Monday, April 04, 2011
One thing that I'm considering, since I now have the time to do so, is coming up with a soundtrack specifically for this campaign. I've spent the better part of the last few years collecting movie score soundtracks, in part because I think that they're great to play in the background while gaming (but also while reading, while writing, and while doing all kinds of other things, and I even move movie scores out of the background and listen to them for their own sake as good music.) I don't worry too much about matching particular tracks to particular sequences in the game; rather, I prefer to simply look for songs that have the appropriate mood and feel for the campaign as a whole.
With that, I'm trying to decide exactly which soundtracks best approximate the D
We'll see how much room I have, actually--ideally, I'd create a "mix" CD (of mp3 files, so I can get a lot of tracks on it) that I can use as my portable soundtrack for the campaign. That'll be about 9-10 CDs worth of music. So, for all of the soundtracks, I'll have to make sure that I edit it to just the exact tracks I want; I won't have room to pad it out with too much repetitition, or tracks that bring in a different mood.
Friday, April 01, 2011
To at least find the silver lining here; I can polish off my plans a bit, and I can polish off the material that I've given the players so far too; make it a little bit more coherent and organized, and give them a bit more of it while I'm at it. And heck; maybe I can bust my hump to get my big poster map finished and painted before then so I can show them where they are while I'm at it. I can actually stat out some of my villains, make better plans for the various encounters, maybe photocopy the pages from the monster books that I need (so I don't have to actually take the books with me--even if it's just coming downstairs at my own house) and otherwise be a bit better prepared than I am now. It also gives me the opportunity to print off some images that will make the session more evocative.
All in all, I'm going to force myself to see this as a positive and come up with an even better session than I otherwise would have when we get together next!