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Member Since 22 Apr 2011
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Topics I've Started


21 October 2014 - 03:51 AM

Watch that singing show on TV, The Voice? I never watch shows like that, but this season, I have a co-worker who has a daughter on the show. Her stage name is Regan James. She's 15 years old, and she's on Blake Shelton's team.
She's doing her Battle tomorrow night (Tuesday, 10-21-14), if you want to catch her.
This is her second appearance. Her first was when she got on the show.
She's pretty damn good. I wish I was that good at something at age 15. People are saying the she could be the next Taylor Swift (Swift's father also works for my company--at least he did when she first got started--though not in the same city).
Check it out.
Oh...and as far as the show goes....
I always roll my eyes when people talk about these types of shows. Dancing With The Stars this, and American Idol that. Who cares.
Well, I tuned in, and I am totally blown away at how well these shows are put together. The performances are amazing, and there's so much emotion in the program--all those people doing whatever they can to reach for their dream. 
I've had lumps in my throat and goose bumps several times.
I now see why people watch it.
The Voice. 
Regan James.

I Need A New God

26 July 2014 - 04:49 PM

To the tune of I Wanna New Drug by Hewey Lewis And The News...
I need a new god.  One that's gonna fit,
In my roleplaying game, one that's gotta twist
Nature, man, you Conan fan
I need a new god
OK, before I go digging through the tombs, I'm looking for an Hyborian Age god that I can use in Argos for a lost ruin that I'm planning on having the players discover in the hills between Argos and Shem.  The focus of this place is twisted nature.  Think of a bad druid, with vines and weeds used for sorcerous purposes.  Sacrifices held down to the ground by nasty, dark vines that rapidly grow their way out of the ground to act as bonds.  Carnivorous plants.  Things like that.
Is there a god already in one of the Hyborian Age religions or cults that would foot this type of bill?

Conan The Barbarian In The Skull of Set

26 July 2014 - 01:10 AM

I've begun reading this over-sized Marvel graphic novel from 1989, and I'm surprised at how good it is. The art, I didn't like at first. It seems a bit "simple". But, it grows on you. Paul Gulacy is the penciler. Gary Martin is the inker. And, Steve Mattsson is the colorist.

Gulacy has an eye for action scenes. Conan comes across as this brutal rogue of a barbarian, as he should. What really shines in this book, though, is Doug Moench's writing. In this work, Conan feels like he's still new to civilization. He comes across as he does in Howard's prose from The Tower of the Elephant. Actually, Conan comes across as if he's just a bit--a tiny bit--wiser in the ways of the world than that untamed youth we saw in Howard's story.

Except for the set-up, the story is down well. I won't speak much about this as I don't want to spoil it for anybody who hasn't read the book. I will say, though, that I love the characterizations. These people really stand out as individuals--even the smaller parts. Hell, when I read it, I can hear accents when they speak!

The book is brutal, too, as a true Conan work should be. There's a scene where Conan is squared off with an attacker. The barbarian defeats the attacker's swing. Then, the two talk. The attacker seems to let down his guard. In many Conan tales (not by Howard), in novels and comics, Conan would then warily keep an eye on this guy, starting an uneasy alliance with him. That's what I thought would happen in this book.  Nope.  The dude drops his guard, then, quick as lightning, Conan takes advantage of the sitting duck and rams him through.  When I read that, I knew I was reading a Conan tale that is superior to many others I've read.


In another scene, a priest of Set is killed.  Stabbed in the chest.  Yet, even in death, the priest is lethal.  The blood pouring out of his body congeals and shrinks--starts to take on form, morphing into a snake.  A snake made out of blood.


That's friggin' cool.


The blood snake slides its way though a camp at night where everyone is sleeping.  Up the skirt of a woman the snake goes.  Then, the woman begins to coo, as if she's having sex.  Her eyes open, but her pupils are no longer her own.  She must now be possess...and the blood snake entered her through...well, you know how it got inside her.


That is dark gritty swords-n-sorcery stuff worthy of Conan.


I haven't finished it yet, but I'm already sold on it. 


Good book.

Speculation on the Shaipur Monks?

30 June 2014 - 02:57 PM

I'm curious about the Shaipur Monks from the 2011 Conan film.  We learn little about them in the film.  And, I read the novelization.  There's not much more there.


So, let's speculate a bit, given what we know.


And, what do we know?


1.  They don't seem to be a religious order.  No gods are mentioned.  They must be dedicated to a way of life or some ideal.


2.  They've been hiding in the Forbidden Forest of Argos (I assume it is Argos, from the details in the film) for over a thousand years.


3.  They are connected with a similar monastery in northern Hyrkania (I'm assuming it's northern Hyrkania--that's a big land).


4.  They promote martial arts.  Tamara is shown to be physical (her jumping around on the coach in the chase scene) and skilled with a dagger.  A monk escorting her easily flips around in the saddle, facing where the horse has been, holding on with only his legs, accurately firing a bow at the enemy.


5.  They suck on opium or some such to get visions of events to come.


6.  Sex isn't an issue with them.  Tamara drops into bed (well, in a cave) with Conan.


7.  Several seem to have Acheronian blood, though that might have been due to the monastery being in Argos.


8.  They call themselves the Order of Shaipur.


9.  They had nothing to do with the killing of Khalar Zym's wife or the Mask of Acheron.


10.  They seem to keep interaction with the outside world to a minimum.






Given that, care to speculate on what the Order of Shaipur is all about?

Mapping Quandary

27 June 2014 - 03:24 PM

I don't know why I've never thought of this before. Probably because I haven't created landscape in a populated and tame area for a game in a long, long time.

Background: How I came upon the quandary--

I am creating a map for my upcoming Conan game. I'm setting the game in Argos, which is an old Hyborian kingdom. It's been settled land for thousands of years, ruled over by different peoples, all the way back to the time of the Acheronians (who were overrun by the Bori barbarians, who eventually evolved into the Argosseans, the people who inhabit the land today). The point here being: this is not the frontier. This is land has long been settled, and, in fact, the interior of Argos is generally considered very peaceful, free of bandits and most monsters.

But, this is a fantasy game (well, sword & sorcery, to be more precise), and adventure can be had anywhere during the Hyborian Age. My last campaign centered on the true frontier of the known world, in Cimmeria, and it was primarily a wilderness setting. This time, I wanted to go the opposite direction where I had a mix of races (the cosmopolitan nature of the Argossean port cities) and big cities to explore as well as the wilderness. Plus, there aren't a lot of ruins in Cimmeria, and in for this campaign, Argos is littered with ruins from the various peoples who have conquered the land dating back to the time of the Acheronians. That means, unlike my previous campaign, I'll be able to add dungeons to explore.

So, I've set game (will start the game), in the border region of Argos near the border with Shem. In my game, the region is a bit more lawless than the true interior of the kingdom. This is what passes for the "frontier" in Argos, although it is, in no way, as savage as Cimmeria was/is.

Here's my quandary:

Part of designing a campaign is setting up places to put the PCs in jeopardy. Part of creating jeopardy is isolating the PCs, cutting off any support, so that they have to rely upon themselves. Well, a town of villagers can be quite a resource for PCs, depending on what it is that has them in jeopardy. The villages typically aren't isolated places. They have alliances and are maybe protected by the local lordling. At the least, the village is a safe place to sleep and resupply--maybe even gather NPC help.

Ever seen a map of a fantasy world where the villages and towns were very close together? Typically, no. It's usually a trek to the next town.

Quandary: But, in reality, especially in antiquity and medieval times, towns and villages were usually spaced very close together. You typically can't go 10 miles without hitting some small village. This lattice network of villages and towns provides a support network for populated areas.

Have you ever thought about that? Unless there is some terrain feature to prevent it (even then, in real life, villages will pop up in the damnest places, on the sides of mountains, in the center of swamps, etc), populated areas usually have a town or village every 10 miles or so from each other. And, if I follow that pattern for my roleplaying game, "help" is never going to be that far away.