Monday, August 29, 2016

Jihizar Oasis

This campaign is three sessions old now and is up to 4 players. The oasis seems a terrible place to the players - the ruler has perverted the local fertility cult with blood sacrifices to feed his lush gardens and rules with a legion of undead skeletons, ghouls and zombies.

Then there is his vizier who has seized the wares of the alcoholic elf wizard and has threatened the players with execution as spies if they do not spy for him on his master. The players are all in the monthly blood sacrifice lottery and three of them have just survived a fight in the arena to prove their worth as workers at the oasis, which earns them a crust and a bed rather than being cast out into the desert where sand-dwelling trollkin lurk, waiting for the unwary.

A 200-strong bandit force, which sacked the caravan that brought the players to the oasis, is about to attempt to take the oasis but must first content with the Undead Legion sent to settle things away from the palace. Stories of demonic possession of the caravan captain have been brought back by a cleric healer traded by the bandits for items held by the Jihizar priestesses - this does not bode well for anyone.

The people here - Scarabs - have a hard life and steal anything they can and the vizier's 70 year old secretary has developed a hankering for the elf wizard, much to his distress. The halfling paladin has continually to deal with ignorant Scarabs assuming he is a little boy while the thief/scout player has been cursed by a Scarab and his condition is deteriorating daily.

The one mitigating factor is that the Scarabs selected as oasis guards seem honourable and honest.

The players are about to attempt to spy on Boreas, the oasis ruler, in his Gardens as the vizier has demanded a report but they have only an hour before they must go out into the desert to seek to recapture stray camels.

Nothing is simple here. nothing happens which does not add a strand to the web of deceit that is being spun about them.

This game is a D&D game, a set of hybrid rules as each player uses a different edition and I know none! My T&T tendency has been brought to bear in one particular way - adding a LK attribute which is getting a good work out.

Here are the gardens they are entering:

And this is the commander of the Undead Legion, Leviticus:
 These are the sand-dwelling trollkin flesh-eaters:

This is the scheming vizier:

Thursday, August 11, 2016


I got an email from my sister in Australia this week telling me she had bumped into a D&D fan who she told I was a D&D writer. She asked me to get in touch with him because he wanted signed hard copies...

Of course, I 'confessed' to being no such thing and told him he had to replace the dungeons with tunnels and the dragons with trolls. He still wanted to buy!

Anyhow, I bit of PayPal cash came my way so I used it to back Darcy Perry's Kickstarter Miniatures campaign that I mentioned here a few days ago (you can Google it easily so I won't look up the address now).

I got a very warm message back from Darcy straightaway and I think the world went round a little better for all that.

I've been listening to a Kickstarter this week.

After plunging headfirst into The Jam I then swum a few lengths with The Clash.

My take at 55 on why those bands resonated so much with the 18 year old me is that when I wanted to hear myself better articulated I listened to Brother Paul and when I wanted to know the world as it 'really' was I turned to Uncle Joe.

Joe Strummer died at 51 in 2002. The documentary I watched suggests he was very happy at the end of his life and I'm glad about that. Mick Jones (despite being sacked from The Clash by Joe) was so genuinely fond in all he said that, just like Joe said back in 1977, he's my guitar hero). The icing on their cake was that Mick got up from the crowd and played with Joe's band for the first time in long years just a couple of months before Joe died.

Anyway. I like this wall:

Monday, August 8, 2016

The Age of Exploration

I agreed to give a talk today to a class of thirteen year olds learning about the world beyond these shores on where I come from - so they get to hear about my life in Essex. It was a rough place by the end of the 70s with skinheads in the town centres and Thatcher at the reins.

To prepare, I've been listening to the Jam. They were colossal in my life from 77 until they split. That music stands my test of time! I used to rush my money to the record shop, that's for sure. "All Mod Cons" is the sort of pun I grab whenever I can.

What's stuck in my head now is a couple of lines from 'Sounds from the Street' off the first album, "In The City": I know I'm from Woking and you'll say I'm a fraud but my heart is in the city where it belongs". There was always someone to make you feel a fraud but you stuck with where your heart was at if you didn't want to lose your way.

Anyhow, this is not a music blog, despite the recent Jukebox, so here's how I'm really going to recommend any thirteen yeat old escapes the orbit of our current consume-at-all-costs paradigm:

Sunday, August 7, 2016

The Snollygoster

Charlie Flemming publishes "The Snollygoster" from time to time.

It's free via DriveThru and this issue has a short, drunken solo written by me:

Saturday, August 6, 2016

Rose of Stormguard

We have been playing a game involving a transplanted Goa'uld character who hooks up with Rose in the larcenous city of Caerthaeph't (see 'Joyride' and 'Control Freak').

Rose features in Ken St Andre's novel - which I want to recommend. It's a great picture of a dungeon delve and cracks along at a thunderous pace.

Rise is still alive and making her way to the Ogre Peninsula on Khaghtch'an, the Kraken continent. She has had a little trouble with the befuddled Wizard-God Khaghbboommm but has been put on the right track again by the Witch-Goddesses Octopussy and Lois at Lake Calamare.

Here's the back of the novel: