Monday, June 27, 2016

The Many Words of Jack Vance

The first edition of the Jack Vance Lexicon came out in the early 90s and goes for a high price today, if you can find one. Luckily, Spatterlight Press has come out with an updated edition by Dan Temianka, now available in hardcopy  and ebook. This covers all of Vance's neologism and generic names, and where possible, suggests possible etymologies. You'll find things like:

archveult: A species of tall, powerful magician with blue-scaled skin and a plumed headress.


cackshaw: A species of loud bird.

This makes a good companion to Weird Words: A Lovecraftian Lexicon by Dan Clore, which I've mentioned before. It covers both Lovecraft and Clark Ashton Smith and deals with obscure, real words, as well as neologisms.

Sunday, June 26, 2016

Strange Stars OSR Excerpt and Update

After a delay for important non-rpg stuff, I've really been putting the nose to the grindstone on Strange Stars OSR. The guys at Hydra made some good suggestions on additional content and clarification on the manuscript and I have responded to those and will have it back in their hands this week for another round of proofing. Then it will be on to layout.

Anyway, here's and excerpt (except for the photo) from the NPCs and Adversaries chapter:


No. Appearing: 1-3
AC: 3
HD: 2
Saving Throw: 14+
Attack Bonus: +3
Damage: 1d6+2 retractable cyberclaws or concealed monoblade 1d8+1
Skill Bonus: +1
Movement: 40’
Morale: 10
The bioroids of the pleasure world of Erato have a myriad of modifications to primary and secondary sexual characteristics, sexual performance, and biochemistry. Always seeking to expand their market share, the Eratoans have began to generate members of their clade with new purposes. Bioroids with idiopathic poison biochemistry or weaponized genitalia command a high price on the black market as assassins. The above stats represent a somewhat less exotic assassin or covert bodyguard type.

Friday, June 24, 2016

More Descriptions for Hypothetical Hexes

by George Barr
4. On a frozen pass on trail to Hleng, the wind carries the hypnotic, banshee song of the Fell Waeroo, that chills the blood and draws prey into its clutches.

5. A permanent fae mist overhangs a small forest in the vicinity of the village Trinell. It hides the remnant of an ieldrawood. A small pack of wildling ieldri make their homes there, harrying and possibly stalking and killing any non-ieldra who enter. By way of a taunt, they will allow themselves to be seen before they strike, their cherubic faces gleaming with feral cruelty amid the uncanny foliage.

6. A small carvanserai displays an unusual relic: the skull of an usually large skarzg. The innkeep, Gan Thrut, says that tracks (like four clawed human hands) show that a family of smaller but still deadly skarzg still haunt the area. The local Prefect is paying a bounty on any further skulls delivered.

Wednesday, June 22, 2016

Wednesday Comics: Master of Kung Fu

Last week, I picked on the first Master of Kung Fu Omnibus from Marvel. It was pricey, but it's some classic Bronze Age stuff, and given the rights issues involved, it is even less likely to see print again.

The series Shang-Chi: Master of Kung Fu was conceived out of necessity in 1972. The necessity being that Marvel was unable to obtain the rights to Kung Fu, the popular TV series. Marvel looked back to that pinnacle of Yellow Peril baddies, Fu Manchu, and crafted new character (a previously unknown son, Shang-Chi) and tied him into Sax Rohmer's stories.

The series is most written by Steve Englehart and has art by the like of Jim Starlin and Paul Gulacy. Stuff like this:

And this:

Stuff like that. Costly the collection may be, but you can't argue with the quality.

Monday, June 20, 2016

Three Descriptions in Need of Hexes

by Konstantin Komardin
1. An Amazon, Kai An Zura, is encamped beneath the boughs of an ancient tree grown from a seed brought from another world. She waits for something. A band of Gogs is desperate to remove her from  her camp, but so far they have had no success.

by juuhana
2. The tents of an itinerant mystery show are pitched in a clearing. Strange, half-working machines of the Ancients bring otherworldly sensory experiences or troubling, waking dreams. In one tent, a bored young medium smokes up wayward spirits with the polychromic fumes from a long-stemmed heka-pipe. Her turban hides a silvery tattoo of a third eye on her forehead. She will not speak of it nor of Hidden Ulumé, her home.

by P. Craig Russell
3. A small hilltop with frozen tableau: a courier in somewhat antiquated livery seems to pause from his journey to have a meal. What has held courier, mount, fire, and cookpot suspended in time for many years is unclear, but anyone who comes close enough to touch any of the above will fall prey to the same stasis.

Thursday, June 16, 2016

Chances Are Walter Velez Has Illustrated Your Game

Sure, it's the Frazettas and Fabians, or Blanches and Buscemas--or even Elmores and Caldwells whose art fueled most of our gaming imaginations, but at least for my game, the works of George Velez hit a bit closer to what the reality is at the table.

Exhibit A. See that? That's a pudgy wizard running from a dragon that looks like it doesn't have a whole lot of hit points.

This is all the PCs trying to parley with the leader of the NPCs at once.

The fight didn't go exactly how you planned? Quelle suprise.

Hassled by annoying little people? It's been known to happen.

Wednesday, June 15, 2016

Wednesday Comics: Storm: The Battle for Earth

My exploration of the long-running euro-comic Storm, continues. Earlier installments can be found here.

Storm: The Battle for Earth (1980) (part 5)
(Dutch: De Strijd om de Aarde)
Art by Don Lawrence & Script by Dick Matena

The Azurian ship arrives to take Storm to Mars for negotiations and exchange him for Ember. As soon as Storm is aboard the spaceship, "Ember" is revealed to be merely a projection.

Soon, the real Ember and Storm are brought before the Grand Council. They are offered the choice of having their minds erased--or death. They choose death rather than live as puppets under the alien yoke.

Meanwhile, Solon and Balder have traveled to Mars. They free the convicts working on the canal and incite them to revolt. In the chaos, the former Supervisor runs off with a plan to restore his position.

He is brought before the Grand Council and informs them of the army that's coming. He asks only for the right to kill Storm and Ember who brought about is discommendation. The Council grants his request:

The execution is broadcast to the rebels to get them to stop fighting. Storm and Ember appear to be blasted to nothingness. The Grand Council is confused by the lack of bodies. The Supervisor reveals his deception. Those two are useful to him and the Grand Council who humiliated him is not:

The Supervisor plans to complete his coup on another Azurian colony. He takes a spacecraft and forces Storm and Ember to go with him. Storm secretly programs a random coordinates in the dimension control, however, and they are dropped into the middle of a storm. The Supervisor, convinced the larger craft is doomed, abandons ship in a small vessel.

Storm manages to safe the ship and pilot it back to Mars. There they reunite with their friends and make plans for peaceful co-existence with the Azurian former convicts. Many other Azurian former colonists accept the treaty as well, but on the Moon, a new Grand Council of hardliners forms. An armada of ships sets out for Earth to purge the disloyal Azurians and kill Storm!