Tuesday, May 24, 2011

Sartorial Sorcery: Pointy Hats Explained

I finally figured out why wizards wear those blue robes and pointy hats with the lucky charms pinned to them: the dorky duds serve as antennae for the mana that they require to cast their spells!  Hear me out: Mana floats about us unseen much like the ether that fills outer space but it can only be harnessed for magical purposes by those who can concentrate it into a useful force.  The best way to focus arcane energies is clearly to make them laugh at you.  So theurgists and thaumauturgists alike don the most garish garb they can muster in an effort to incite the mirth of mana.  An unfortunate side effect is the de facto celibacy such attire certainly causes.   

It's the same reason MUs suck at combat and yet still won't wear armor; mana serves only those who humiliate themselves.  What better way to humiliate yourself than to pursue a career where your life is constantly at risk yet the only thing between you and the dragon's maw is a silly robe and a wooden stick?  "Hahahaha," says mana as the orcs rush your ridiculously resplendent conjurer, "ok, here's your magic missile."  Mana sure has an evil wit.

Pointy ears and hat?!  Double the laughs!
This also explains why elven multi-classed MUs get to cast spells whilst wearing armor: they've got those silly ears sticking out of their helmets!  HAW HAW HAW!  From there it's easy to extrapolate why half elves are weaker spell casters than either of their parent races*: their ears have been diminished in the crossbreeding,  reducing commensurately their ability to elicit the mirth of mana.

Silliness applies to gnome illusionists as well: they've got those big-ass noses to make the mana smirk.  The forces of magic, however, apparently have an aversion to the hirsute--who doesn't?--thus halflings with their hairy feet and the profusely bearded dwarves are unable to focus the eldritch powers at all.

*as per the PHB 1978, half elves can only achieve 8th level while full elves can achieve 11th and humans are unhindered in their advancement

Thursday, May 19, 2011

Un-postworthy: B-sides and misses

My publicist is constantly pestering me to make an effort to boost my presence in the Blogosphere, and one of the tactics that she keeps harping on is that I actually post stuff more often than once every month or two.  Good idea, right?  She's worth every penny.  But where to find the material?  I did some soul searching and didn;t find anything so I went to my good ol' bloglist and realized that--shit!--I've got like thirty unpublished posts just sitting there!  Some dating dating all the way back to the first week I holed up in this here corner of the internet.  I went down the list of titles to see if any of these might be worth another look and wrote up a brief synopsis of each.  I didn't actually look at the posts; these are my best guesses.
Here's the list in reverse chronological order:

Dungeon of Liberty
The conflict of freedom of action in the confines of the "dungeon" adventuring milieu.  Or something else.

I'm Beginning to See the Light
Why newer games suck.

Kill a Rat Scenario
A rant about rules quirks of AD&D

Original 6
An obvious hockey reference in a post dating from the beginning of the NHL season, but more likely an article about the 6 abilities in D&D.

Thac0 Again?
Wherein the Dicechucker goes off on yet another youngster who gets too close to his lawn.

Ramblin' 'bout Modules
Essay about the quirks of the L-series modules; the precursor to my Restenford Project site.

Thieves Assassins & Spies
Old Guard Accoutrements totally outdid me on this topic. 

X2 Castle Amber
Essay about the non-CAS influences of said module.

Assassins revisited for the first time
Rant about the failings of the Assassin class as penned in AD&D; most likely the precursor to the Assassin level titles series from last fall.

Going to the Bullpen
The pros and cons of rotating DMs

SF: Getting drunk
Article on intoxicants in Star Frontiers.  Ripped off wholesale from the Fronteirsman.

Modified Advanced Game Rules
Satirical bit about post-1e game rules.

Zet's Tiny People
An ode to Thundarr.

DMing As critique:
I plead the 5th.

Reverse Engineered Pre-Original Rules:
Satirical bit about the origins of D&D

Pre-Scorn AD&D:
Probably a rant wherein I say in a roundabout fashion that DragonLance can suck me. 

"Cleric" is a Profession Too
It's true; look it up if you don't believe me.

Feral Hobbits:
I'm hoping there are illustrations with this one.

Greyhawk Architecture
Self explanatory.  This one eventually became the Greyhawk Realty post.

Long-winded article about the name of this here blog.  Eventually replaced with an entry in the Lexicon

Tuesday, May 3, 2011

Lendorology: What IS the Secret of Bone Hill?

Anyone who can read a blog archive will realize that for the last several months I've been slacking off even by my own uninspired standards.  Largely this has had to do with real world distractions like job and family but, at least initially, this also had to do with a side project that was draining off most of my game-related energies in the beginning of the year.

Where can I buy spandex in Restenford?
I had just received a real-live, TSR-produced copy of  Lenard Lakofka's L1 The Secret of Bone Hill set on Lendore Isle. I won't pretend to be one of those old timers who believes that this module is a classic of the golden age--indeed, I have to confess that I've neither run nor played this bad boy either back in the 80's or in my recent gaming resurgence.

While it follows the general structure of a village setting with adventure locales nearby a la Keep on the Borderlands, Village of Hommlet, and probably some others, it is riddled with inconsistencies and odd notions that, sadly, would likely not have made it through the editorial process in latter day TSR.  And this may very well be what makes it so interesting as literature, as these odd notions and unanswered questions present fertile ground for the minds of readers to interpret. 

A close reading raises a whole host of questions such as why is there a casino inside a nigh-impenetrable compound hidden deep in the woods?  Why does the wizard have a lease on the Baron's tower?  And who keeps the lawn mowed on top of Bone Hill? The lords of Lendore don't offer an explanation to these mysteries; some things, one must suppose, just are.  These open ended oddities make it the single most fascinating read of any old school module.

So, using a pen and a spiral-bound notebook, I wrote a bunch of essays--warning: I was once a history major--about the mysteries of Lendore.  Some of them (actually only 2 so far) have been transcribed to non-caveman format and can be read over at The Restenford Project if you're interested.