Mongol Home

Mongol Home

Friday, September 30, 2011

Mail Call 30 SEPT 2011

More stuff from the Emerald Empire or Rokugan arrives via Ebay actions to my door, the games represented are the first and second editions of the Legend of the Five Rings roleplaying game and the Clan War miniature battle game; all books this time, the pictures are from the EBay auctions.

I keep saying I am not going to buy the books for the clan expansions separately from the expansions anymore, but I keep finding them at such bargains. Also, I play a lion clan samurai on the Facebook game Emerald Empire, so it's clan loyalty*, eh.

The Unicorn, or Kirin, you'd think they'd have been a shoe-in for my favorite Rokugani clan, they're clearly 1/2 Japanese and 1/2 Mongol. They have a Khan! I like them and all, I guess I just don't want to be playing a part Mongol, part Samurai; I'd rather play one or the other. Still, they are pretty cool in the setting.

This book is interesting in that it is dual statted out for D20 and L5R, it's a 3e OA book, it says "Oriental Adventures" on the cover. It looks on the interior like a supplement to the 3e OA book, as though AEG was trying to recover WotC's fumble. That said, it's a 96 page soft cover book published in 2002 with a cover price of $24.95; there's no way I would have paid full price for this then or now.

This is another D20 dual statted book, but there is very little rules wise in it, it is almost entirely a setting book, with some adventure hooks and a couple of prestige classes thrown in to make it marketable to D20 fanboys. L5R fanboys would have bought it most likely anyway, and there does not appear to be enough D20 OA rules content to really constitute calling it a rulebook. Also 96 pages, softcover and $24.95. I am glad I have it now, I never would have bought it then.

The Crab, bad-ass watchers on the wall. They keep the hordes of the Shadowlands at bay. My character in Emerald Empire was born into the Crab clan, but joined the Lion when he married a Lion bride. I still maintain a lot of connections to the Crab.

*That test on the AEG website for what clan are you, I am depending on my mood, a Lion, a Crab or a Crane; it all comes down to how I feel more or less strongly about two questions when I take the test. Maybe it should be more comprehensive. There is a link at the bottom of my blog.

Tuesday, September 27, 2011

The Wedding- The Full Story

I was going to wait until I had a bunch of pictures to go with this post, but none seem forthcoming anytime soon, so I guess I'll just start with what I have.

The days leading up to the wedding itself were fraught with all kinds of last minute concerns and changes; the caterer was a particular concern because he cut two major menu items, a whole spitted pig and a venison dish, (as well as a bunch of minor ones) from the wedding feast over the course of the two weeks leading up to the wedding simply because he discovered they would be to expensive for him to cover within his budget. Curiously these were the menu items he was most interested in doing when he got hired, he suggested them and he was the one that set the price. He also kept canceling meetings with the bride and groom in the weeks leading up to the wedding, he even blew off conference calls. My wife Mona and I were about 75% certain he wouldn't show up at all and we'd end up having to throw an impromptu medieval feast for fifty guests ourselves, fortunately we have experience with putting on medieval feasts.

Also, a week before the wedding, my lovely wife got stuck making a bridesmaid dress for the bride's sister, which ate into her sewing time. Two days of her sewing time, which had been allotted for sewing MY kilt and ghillie shirt and altering my son John's Kilt to fit. Let's not forget that everyone in my house is in various stages of sick through this week too AND that Ashli just got back from the US army with a medical discharge and we are taking care of her. I also am STILL building my father's new garage, although we are nearing completion on that project it has taken a LOT of my time, and John's and Ember's. Mona got sick enough that she had to take a whole day off. My son John got his outfit completed. My ghillie shirt got started and my kilt is still a complete bolt of Black Watch tartan fabric, the official tartan chosen for the wedding. Fortunately, the rest of my household already had medieval clothing to wear, me included, just not quite fitting the Scottish medieval (renaissance/Victorian) theme of the wedding. Aside from me and the couple of other (former) SCAdians there, my old man-at-arms Matt S. and Kevin M. both of whom are also old school D&D buddies, no one really seemed to notice that I didn't fit the theme. My pants were plaid anyway.

I got a little ahead of myself there. Mona, in her role as Matron of honor, had to leave early to help decorate the hall. I sent her on ahead with the printed copy of the ceremony. As an aside, usually when I do a wedding I ask the bride and groom what they are looking for in a ceremony and then write one up, custom made for each couple, the bride made this one herself; I was not entirely comfortable with being scripted, much in the same way I don't really like to DM modules that have lots of boxed text to read to the players, I like wiggle room for my own creativity and I am more comfortable reading my own words; this will come up again during the ceremony. I stayed back and got ready here and made sure the kids got ready and we had one house guest Michael P. come up from New Jersey for the wedding. At the appointed hour we all left and drove to Camp Hollis, where the wedding and reception were to take place.

My job, as guy who has worn a kilt a lot since he was 16 years old, was to help the men in the wedding party get dressed properly. I found that kind of amusing since I was the only guy involved in the wedding, and one of only a few males AT the wedding, not wearing a kilt, having given mine to my younger brother years ago when I started to get too fat for it and never replaced it. He needed one anyway, although now I am pretty sure he's too fat for it too. It's a vicious cycle. Apparently, the men in my family need to always work jobs of back-breakingly difficult physical labor or we'll get fat; if we retire, move into management, become disabled, or get an "easy" job, we all get fat. Working out is NOT enough. Getting older doesn't help either, slowing of the metabolism and all. Maybe a topic for a different day? Of interest also, most of them had these new fangled bargain kilts with velcro stuff all over the belts and other stuff and their kilts were polyester blends. Part of me says this is sacrilege, the other part says excellent work making kilts more affordable to everyone.

At some point here, Ashli decided she was too sick to be there, so Michael brought her home. They missed the rest of the long and interesting day and watched movies on DVD and ate the kosher food Michael's mom sent up for him to eat while he was here. She always sends enough for everyone, so it's an interesting culinary experience whenever Michael comes to visit.

Anyway, after getting everyone properly kitted up, I went out and talked to the piper. He was a nice young guy, but I don't think he'd ever done a wedding before. So I gave him a brief bit of coaching on what the bride was looking for, a processional to the ceremony- which was to be held out at the woods stage, followed by a recessional out of the woods after the ceremony. I asked him what he was going to play and he said "Probably just a bunch of marches.", good plan. I figured most of the guests wouldn't know the songs anyway, and it's just be "Bagpipe Music". I then grabbed the copy of the ceremony from my lady wife and headed out into the woods to wait for the wedding.

Shortly after I got out there the groom, Scott W. occasional D&D buddy and KAG buddy, as well as just my friend, showed up and his grown daughter, Angela, showed up to film everything; which made me curiously nervous. Other guests started to fill the seats. I reread the ceremony and joked with Scott about burning a wickerman after the vows (we had been tormenting Debbie, the bride, with traditional Celtic things like wickermen and morris dancing for months and claiming that they were traditional Celtic wedding fare, although I think both Scott and I would have liked to have had a real Wickerman to burn before the end of the night). Eventually we heard the pipes start to play and got serious and waited for the bridal party to emerge from the woods.

Now, the Woods Stage is nice, it's a small stage in a small, pretty clearing in the forest that's just big enough for the stage and the seating. The forest is all around you green and the canopy covers the area, so even if it rained we were confident we'd be able to do this in anything other than a downpour. It had, in fact, rained that morning but there was only one mildly muddy spot on the forest trail leading to the stage. Additionally, it's close enough to the lake and was windy enough that day that we had a background sound of the waves crashing onto the beach a few hundred feet away through the woods, which I thought only added to the ambiance of the setting.

The ceremony itself went pretty well- I paraphrased the two pages of history lesson about hand-fasting into about two paragraphs on the fly; if you are interested I am pretty sure she just copy/pasted that part from wikipedia. I read through the obviously Wiccan hand-fasting and the Christian bride didn't seem to notice that she had as better than half of her wedding ceremony lifted a Wiccan ceremony, OK. We did the binding of hands with his "Clan" tartan, clan is in quotes there because his Scottish last name comes from a Lowland house, not a Highland clan. Yes, we Highlanders occasionally get particular about that.

We move on to the (allegedly) medieval Christian portion of the ceremony, fairly standard vows, although we all have to suppress a chuckle when she vows to be "Bonny and buxom at bed and at board". Rumor has it that this was the one part Debbie was willing to cut out, but Scott said "No, leave that part in. I like it.", since he's a pretty quite guy and doesn't ask for much, I guess he got that one. Scott pins his "clan" tartan to Debbie with his "clan" crest badge. I recite a lengthy blessing in Gaelic, during which I stumble on a word in the middle. This embarrasses me somewhat, but no one seems to have noticed. I practiced it at home a bunch of times with no problems. I don't speak Gaelic well, but I can read Gaelic phonetically written out pretty well from my efforts to learn Scots Gaelic in the past.

The ceremony being over, I tell Scott to kiss the bride and then, just loud enough for the wedding party to hear, make a joke about now leaving to the traditional burning of the wickerman and heavy weapons tournament. We are then piped out of the woods and I am pleased to see the caterer is actually there and breathe a sigh of relief . After a couple of pictures most of us guys decide it's time to get rid of the swords, they take a lot of getting used to and being in close quarters is only going to make not whacking people with the scabbards as you walk around harder.

But first the DJ, Gary D., who I used to work with when I did radio in Syracuse in the early 1990's and I worked for his DJ service with Scott on and off over the years since too, catches us and wants to announce us in. Sadly I know this means dancing while wearing my sword. He announces everyone in as Lord and Lady so and so or Sir whoever for the bachelors, for which I jokingly told Kevin that he'd been promoted to a peerage apparently (SCAdian reference). I guess being best man has it's perks. We all got announced in Scott and Debbie had their first dance as husband and wife, then the rest of the wedding party was forced to dance. After the first dance, the menfolk escape to de-sword.

Then things went spectacularly awry. Unbeknownst to all of us problems with the caterer were already started. First, the servers he hired for the wedding blew him off, so it was just him and his wife. Next, as I was talking to Matt S., who now lives downstate and I rarely see, Kevin's new girlfriend comes up to me and tells me that the caterer is having a seizure and that she has been instructed to come inside and tell someone. Kevin is outside on the phone with a 911 operator. I go in and ask Debbie if anyone on the guest list is perhaps a doctor or any other type of medical professional; she tells me that yes Scott's daughter Angela is a nurse and her brother Scott was/is a professional Fireman, he may be retired now I don't know for sure. They both say that his seizure was unusual in nature, the prevailing theory, given how the rest of the evening plays out, is cocaine overdose.

At any rate, the ambulance takes him away, and Matt, Debbie's brother Scott and myself take over in the kitchen. Matt and I used to work together as cooks AND we have done medieval dinners together for college projects at SUNY Oswego. Debbie's brother Scott obviously has a lot of restaurant experience too, but I don't really know him all that well having just met him the day before. We have the raw materials brought by the caterer, soup started on the stove, chickens ,roasters of mixed vegetables and some pork loin roasts were in the oven. Scotch eggs were done. they were working on fruit and cheese platters when he had his seizure. No menu, no recipes. The caterer's wife stuck around, which I thought was a pretty remarkable devotion to duty, but she was essentially useless; her husband ran the show, she was just kitchen help. So we let her help out and gave her some easy jobs while we figured out how to throw together a medieval banquet with the ingredients on hand. We made a red wine garlic glaze for the pork loin and a honey apricot glaze for the chicken. Since we were not sure what soup was supposed to be, all it had in it was potatoes and onions when we took over we doctored it up some with some chicken and leeks and assorted other stuff that seemed like a good idea at the time. My son John and Kevin's son Thomas volunteered to serve.

My critique of the menu items is that there was a startling dearth of commonly used medieval food items and an overabundance of new world foods. The caterer came completely unprepared without nearly enough butter and no cream or milk at all. We had to grab wine from the table to use for cooking. There was also no vinegar or almond milk. That covers the medieval complaint I think.

The menu was also not particularly traditionally Scottish. The faux- cock-a-leekie soup and scotch eggs notwithstanding, the Scots, in my experience, are not all that fond of pork dishes; a beef dish probably should have been the main course. The bride would not have stood for haggis being present at all, fine, I get that, not everybody loves haggis, but this caterer just did not research either Scottish cuisine or medieval food before putting in his bid. He also tried to jack up the price for the catering by $150.00 the day before the wedding, but we'll get back to that later.

So, we get all the food out, fifty people fed in a pretty timely manner and everyone has a good time. Just as we're finishing up in the kitchen the caterer's wife gets a call on her cell phone and needs someone to be given directions from Oswego out to Camp Hollis. Kevin has just walked back in the kitchen to bring us guys a drink, a home brewed scotch ale made by Debbie's former professor, so he grabs the phone and handles the directions. I try the ale, it's fantastic. I later jokingly challenge Debbie's son Paul to single combat for the right to the rest of them, he refuses. I still got to bring a couple home with me. Much to my surprise, as I am drinking my ale and cleaning up in the kitchen, the caterer returns with a couple of other people. He thanks us for taking care of getting the food out and helping out his wife, then he and the couple he arrived with start picking up and taking care of their job. Cool. I go back out to the reception with Matt and the other guys and we eat some food and have a couple of drinks and chat and celebrate the wedding and all. Cool. At least the wedding won't be remembered for me stumbling over a Gaelic blessing right?

I recruited another buddy of mine, John S., for my OA reskinned ToEE campaign. Talked a little more with Matt, we didn't get a lot of time for non-cooking related talk in the kitchen I got to meet his son Finn, who just turned one. I found some scotch eggs and ate them, they weren't very good. I danced with my wife. Talked to Debbie's son Paul about fighting heavy in the SCA and about D&D, he's definite for heavy, iffy for D&D, but I think it's because he was trying to impress the delightful pretty blonde girl that was his date; probably, given my experience with Paul in the past it's more likely the opposite. I can't blame him, I'd be trying to impress her too, honestly I don't know how he got a date with her; looks alone put her WAY out of his league, but she's also smart and personable. I guess he met her at his college manga/anime club before he dropped out, she's trying to talk him into going back to school. I hope she has better luck than the rest of us have.

I knew it was going to be a long day because my wife was in the wedding party and that meant we had to stay and clean up after the rest of the guests left. Scott W., the groom, helped Gary D., his boss and friend, pick up the DJ equipment. Debbie paid the caterer. The rest of us picked up the stuff from the tables so we could put the tables away. The caterer goes ballistic. He starts ranting and raving about how he was being fucked here, how he expected cash and got a personal check and how his servers weren't being paid. He threatened Scott the groom, kind of vaguely, while Scott was loading Gary's equipment, so Scott came to me and asked me to keep an eye on the caterer and not leave until he was gone. I am 6'6" and a former bouncer whose hobbies include martial arts, so this is not an unusual or unreasonable request. Debbie's brother Scott was also on top of this situation and, apparently, the guy's real problem was that he didn't have enough gas money to get home; so he gave him $20.00 cash and thought it was over.

Meanwhile, my wife is talking to the caterer's wife in the kitchen about how they should just probably leave before this situation escalates, and she gives them our home phone number as a contact to work out any problems (I am less than thrilled about this). The caterer wanders back into the kitchen and starts working himself back into a frenzy. All the same stuff comes back up about how he is the one being fucked over here, only now he's screaming at my wife. I enter the kitchen, my wife tries to make me leave, the caterer retreats, I assure my wife that I got this. She's just worried I am going to kick this guy's ass and end up in jail, but I altered my personal philosophy months ago to take violence off the table*, so I figure going into this with my bouncer persona it'll be OK, but she's got to go. She's a liability to me if he does get violent. She leaves.

I walk toward the caterer with my nothing in my hands palms open peaceful posture, he seems confused. He asks me if I am there to kick his ass and kick him out or if I am just the bodyguard. I say I am just here to keep things calm. He starts to tentatively tell me about his deal with Debbie and how much he was supposed to get paid, I know it's all BS because my wife was Matron of Honor and Debbie was at my house every day the caterer changed anything in an email or blew off a meeting, but this guy just doesn't seem right. He goes on about how Debbie was supposed to provide the servers and then he had to at the last minute. I tell him I don't know what the deal was, but this isn't the time or the place to sort it out, everyone is tired and he's been to the emergency room (which he left against medical advice, without being seen by a doctor). He starts working up to a frenzy again, only now he's screaming at me. All the same stuff, he wants the other $150.00 he was promised, he wants $60.00 for his servers (the couple that brought him back from the hospital, who, as it turns out, are his neighbors) and he wants it in cash right now. I tell him I don't have that kind of cash on me and it's not my job to pay him anyway. He whips off his chef's jacket and throws it on the floor in front of me an tells me that I have fucked with the wrong person, that I have fucked with the Aryan Brotherhood and I could tell her that too, referring I am assuming to Debbie. Then I see the swastika tattooed on his bicep. My first impulse here is to just snap his Nazi neck, but I suppressed it and told him to hold that thought. Then I sought out Kevin, who is a manager at a Walmart and has to deal with assholes everyday.

When I told Kevin he had to walk outside for air for a minute to figure out what to do. Then Kevin and I went back to the kitchen, I was ready to back whatever play he made. To my surprise, he tried to bribe the guy to just leave, but the guy refused to budge from his $210.00 cash now demand., which, given that he'd already been bribed $20.00 should have only been $190.00; but I guess psycho-nazi cokehead caterers aren't really renowned for their math skills.

Now, I am not really afraid of the Aryan Brotherhood, since A. I doubt this caterer really can speak for the organization as a whole and B. they're a prison gang, and I am not in prison. I do find it irritating though that his wife keeps calling here and trying to be nice and work things out like her husband isn't a psycho-nazi coke fiend. I am also a little pissed off that I felt any sympathy for either of them at all.

The lesson to be learned from this is when you are planning a major event don't go bargain hunting, if the caterer's deal sounds too good to be true it probably is. Also, get references and check them. It couldn't hurt to make sure that you aren't hiring an ex-con neo-nazi as your caterer too. It also couldn't hurt to have a wickerman ready on standby.

It could have ended like this by the lakeshore...

*Except in self-defense or to defend others, I call it the Superhero/Jedi clause. Handing out ass-beatings just because somebody deserves them only seems like a good idea and who am I to judge? That guy might be having a bad day, or there might be something I am not privy to. Plus, this way I am more likely to avoid jail, I've been successful so far, but men can't just settle their differences through violence the way they used to be able to these days. I know guys that are just 10 years younger than me that have NEVER been in a fight. Me, I've been in way too many to count.

Saturday, September 24, 2011


I just got back from one of the most memorable weddings I have ever been to. I am too tired now to recount everything that happened, but I'll see if I can get some pictures and tell the tale tomorrow.

One hint- there is probably a reason the caterer was cheaper than all of the rest.

Friday, September 23, 2011

Reskinning ToEE for OA

This actually works pretty well and you can use the events of the module OA1: Swords of the Daimyo (kind of) as a set up for it. The Black Temple that's harrassing the villagers in the beginning just gets to be the Temple of Elemental Evil. Since all of the PCs in my OA campaign died last year, I can just move things ahead in time appropriately and assume that other heroes defeated the Black Temple and sealed it and now it's about to rise again. Miyama province was a hex sandbox anyway, the Black Temple never had a set location that I recall, although I should look that up. So, if you skip the weak follow up to the Seven Samurai style set up for beginning OA adventurers and throw the ToEE in in it's place, it really works. The reskinning of EGG's mega-module shall commence!

Thursday, September 22, 2011

Still Sick...

But otherwise energized. I talked to Lance W. last night and we set up a tentative schedule to start gaming again. My dad's garage is costing me a lot of weekends. I still need to talk to Lee Ann and see if maybe any other players not living in my house are interested, but it looks right now like 1st edition AD&D is a go for beginning in early October, which coincidentally matches almost perfectly the end of SCA heavy fighting season here in Aethelmearc; and it'll probably be the Oriental Adventures variant. We're going to have a vote. I vote for OA and I know Lance does, Mona could go either way and the other choice I am presenting is a classic Greyhawk game starting in Hommlet with the ToEE. Oddly enough, none of my players have ever played through the Temple of Elemental Evil and I've only gotten to DM it part way through once. I will be DMing. I tried to pitch the L5R RPG, but nobody really wants to have to learn a new system, they just want to make characters and get down to playing. I can't say I blame them, but I am itching to try out the L5R RPG.

Merrie Melodies - Daffy Duck Wizard

OK, I spotted this a couple of times today and thought I'd share with anyone who hasn't seen it already. I found it amusing.


Wednesday, September 21, 2011

Keeping Your Dungeon "Real"

How do you do it? Tim Shorts over at Gothridge Manor started a discussion earlier about it and I was curious if anybody else had any ideas for keeping their dungeon environments dynamic and real. Also, I am sick and figured I could just pretty much steal his post for the day. I did comment on it.

Here's some stuff I got in the mail too-

I actually already had a copy of this, but I figured a second copy would come in handy at the table when we start to play. The seller has kind of irritated me with this auction by not mentioning that some of the pages (73-90, a glossy section) have separated from the binding, which was obvious as soon as I opened it and clearly not damage from shipping. I most likely would have bought the book anyway at the price I paid if they had disclosed the damage, I just don't like the dishonesty there.

Another L5R Clan splatbook, number 1 actually. I think that's a little odd because they aren't the Rokugani great clan I would have been keenest on getting more information about first, but apparently AEG or the L5R fans of the time did not agree with my sentiments. Personally I would have gone with the Crab, Lion or Crane.

Tuesday, September 20, 2011

Hey there...

You all like the way I said I'd be back with real content yesterday and then came back with nothing today? I came down with a cold instead. I forgot this happens every year when the kids go back to school; so I spent the day not really wanting to do much of anything and instead ate chicken soup and played some Crusader Kings in anticipation of the release of Crusader Kings II. Started in 1066, 5 generations in- my kingdom has expanded from Scotland to include Ireland, Sweden and Portugal (as royal titles) and lots of other territory through vassals across Europe, but primarily centered on Britain, Scandinavia and Iberia. Some territories in Asia minor and North Africa.

I also have a wedding this weekend, so there shall be neither gaming nor SCA for me. Also kind of a bummer is that I will miss Oktoberfest, which I look forward to every year because I love having German girls in Bavarian costume bring me copious amounts of good beer and delicious sausages. I really have to get around to finishing up the final touches on that ceremony. It's a medieval (actually more Renaissance Faire style with Victorian trappings added, but it's the brides choice here. I had no say on the design for historical accuracy) Scottish themed wedding, I'll try and get some pictures. It should be pretty cool.

Monday, September 19, 2011

Holding Steady... 63 followers. Not going to level up that way. Ash is home, and while she isn't in great shape and helping to take care of her and helping her with her recovery isn't easy, we are settling into a routine. The other kids, John and Em, are back in school now, so there is a little more time in my day; particularly since we aren't spending as much time building my dad's new garage. So, I guess I am going to have to start blogging about some actual game content again now, instead of just showing off my cool new stuff I get with my "Mail Call" posts- although they often have non-Mail Call commentary attached to them too.

I am slowly falling in love with the Legend of Five Rings RPG, 1st edition so far, although I have a bunch of second and third edition stuff too and I imagine it's quite good. Considering the long and hateful grudge I held against the game based on WotC's abandonment of Kara-Tur in favor of Rokugan and my irrational hatred for collectible card games (based solely on being burned by Decipher's Star Trek: The Next Generation CCG, I hate the idea that people can buy a better deck), I think I have come a long way in my personal journey towards Rokugan love. I am even struggling with the idea that I might enjoy the card game on a casual basis, maybe with the kids. Admittedly, it was the Clan War miniatures that drew me in, mainly because I needed a source of Asian (mainly Japanese) fantasy miniatures for my own AD&D Oriental Adventures game, which morphed into a Ruins & Ronin game, the due to several consecutive TPKs- ended.

Anyway, my point is- I do have a bit more time now, my creative energies are somewhat recharged and I am ready to start giving you loyal readers that have stuck with me through the summer of computer troubles and other woes some real content other than just what I got in the mail today from EBay.

Thanks for sticking with me, I'll have something real soon.

Friday, September 16, 2011

Mail Call 16 SEPT 2011

A short list today, just one thing in fact-

But, damn, what a thing! A complete 1st edition Clan War boxed set and at a bargain price. There is another one on EBay right now going for 300.00$ buy it now, I got this for less than a tenth that. Everything is in there and the miniatures aren't even unwrapped. Is intact shrink wrap really worth driving the price of a product up to more than four times it's original price after only 13 years? Is lack of intact shrink wrap really worth driving the price down to less than half of it's original MSRP after the same 13 years have passed?

I had this same philosophical argument with my buddy Lance W. a couple of months ago regarding old AD&D Gold Box Grenadier miniatures; I mentioned that I had several complete sets now due to some shrewd EBay bargain hunting and he poo-pooed my efforts because I didn't have the boxes. Really? I never use the boxes on the table while we're gaming. They are there as packaging for storage, nothing else really; maybe a painting guide if you really want to make them look just like the guys on the box, but I never did.

Oh well, maybe he just feels that it takes away from his achievement of scoring a nearly complete collection of them at a Gencon auction for 5.00$, but I can't see how. Plus he got to hang out with Frank Mentzer for like 3 Gencons in a row, they still keep in touch via email.

Thursday, September 15, 2011

Mail Call 15 SEPT 2011

Rokugan is solely represented again today, this time in it's Clan War miniature battle game alone.

This book is full of new rules and errata, as well as some more Rokugan background, short fiction and new army lists.

This one is pretty much the same, just for the forces of the really bad guys.

This pair was, I am guessing, the first published set and probably came with the original boxed set. I don't know, because I haven't been able to find an intact original boxed set. I actually already had a copy of the "Rulebook", but I figured since they came as a set and were really quite a bargain and you can't have too many copies of the rules around the table, why not?

This one is interesting in that it says it's the "Basic Rulebook" and it mentions the Daimyo edition, as well as sharing it's cover art; it also has a WotC logo on the back, next to the AEG logo. Sadly, it doesn't have an OA or a d20 or OGL or D&D logo anywhere; if it did that would make it kind of a defacto D&D miniature wargame by accident, just because it amuses me to think so.

Quick edit and editorial: I never noticed before, but the Daimyo Edition hardcover Clan War rulebook has the WotC logo on the back too, so do the 2nd edition Legend of Five Rings RPG Player's Guide and Game Master's Guide; additionally all of the Legend of Five Rings novels were published by WotC too. I am going to guess that AEG was owned by WotC for the entire run of 2nd edition L5R RPG and that is what led to the horrible decision to abandon Kara-Tur in 3e D&D in favor of the much more well developed Rokugan setting, despite the fact that 3e D&D as an engine wasn't really a great fit for the setting. Importing ideas from L5R into D&D didn't work all that well either, trust me, I ran a 3e OA campaign set in Kara-Tur and had to retrofit a lot of stuff; really devolving 3e to fit Kara-Tur more than evolving Kara-Tur to fit 3e. I hate having to rewrite classes and feats and monsters. That 3e Oriental Adventures book really vexed me. I had such high hopes for it, especially after OA was spurned during the 2nd edition era.

Wednesday, September 14, 2011

Mail Call 14 SEPT 2011

Another Rokugan heavy day here, featuring items from two editions of the L5R RPG and some cards for the Clan War miniature battle game. Once again the pictures are all from the EBay auctions, perhaps one of these days I'll clean up my office area here and take some pictures of my hoard.

Actually, for as setting intensive as the L5R RPG is this is a pretty darned good idea I think. It also has a lot of random tables and alternative rules in it, so that's cool too; kind of like getting an experienced L5R GMs campaign notes and house rules.

This one is interesting in that it has the WotC logo, but not the 3e D&D or OA logos; apparently it was published at a time when AEG was owned by WotC but L5R and OA were not merged. Other than that it is the 3rd book published about the Shadowlands, I have the other two.

The Way of the Lion was an important book for me to grab when I could for two reasons- first, I am trying to grab all the Clan splat books, just for completeness' sake, and second because I play a Lion Clan Samurai (Akodo Bushi, if you want to be technical) in the L5R Facebook RPG "Emerald Empire"; I know, Facebook games are sad time wasters, but I've learned a lot about the setting by playing the game there. They have got a lot of dedicated people making it happen.

This is all about playing Monks.

This is the first book of the Shadowlands. Noteworthy in the fact that it is a hardcover book too.

These are the cards for the Clan War Miniature game I mentioned above, some of mine were missing and needed replacing.

Tuesday, September 13, 2011

Mail Call 13 SEPT 2011

Images collected from EBay auctions and from the web. It's another Samurai-tacular day here in my household.

I figured I might as well check out an alternate set of Samurai miniature wargame rules for if I want to play a straight historical game; so when I spotted this at a pretty decent price I went for it.

This is a pretty cool looking supplement for the 3rd edition L5R RPG, I have been pretty impressed with the quality of their stuff so I bought it without really looking too hard at what it's about, but I assume from the title we're going to get some war action here.

From what I could tell this is an introductory level adventure, since I am new to the system and accustomed to D&D, I wouldn't dream of trying to run a game off the cuff like I do for D&D without getting a little experience under my belt first.

This is the latest Sano Ichiro mystery novel, I had it on pre-order from I just really like these books, I don't recall how many there are in the series now, and a lot of people say it's showing it's age and getting a little stale, but I always enjoy them and I am not really a big mystery novel fan.

Friday, September 9, 2011

Mail Call 09 SEPT 2011

Just the one today, picture from EBay.

This one is all about Ronin in Rokugan, which sounds pretty cool.

In other news, Ashli came home yesterday. She is recovering OK, but is somewhat depressed and angry about her service with the US Army being at an end. She should be OK to start college in the Spring semester like she had planned anyway, so I guess there is still that.

Thursday, September 8, 2011

Mail Call 08 SEPT 2011

A GURPS WW2 extravaganza today, once again the pictures are from the EBay auctions.

I convinced myself this was research material for my, now largely back-burnered, B/X WW II project; but really I just like GURPS sourcebooks despite the fact that I really am not a big fan of the game system.

This gives us the specifics of the mighty British Empire.

Wednesday, September 7, 2011

Since I'll hop on any bandwagon...

...I am rated R.

I never would have guessed my blog was for the over 17 only crowd. I guess I can feel free to swear more often and add more blood and boobs. Sex, drugs and violence are the wave of the future, eh?

Tuesday, September 6, 2011

Mail Call 06 SEPT 2011

It's a Samurai RPG extravaganza in the mail today; as always the pictures are from the EBay auctions or, in the case of the Sengoku book, despite the fact that I recently bought a new digital camera. Now I am just set in my ways.

I already have a version of the L5R RPG Gamemaster's Pack, but this one is different.

Walking the Way- The Lost Spells of Rokugan. It's a compilation of spells and adventures.

Kind of like a Rogues Gallery.

I was curious as to why this wasn't called "Way of the Nezumi". I noticed it has a WotC logo on the back, odd; I guess this means it's one of the ones that's compatible with 3e OA.

When each of the major clans has a splat book I guess it's time to make the L5R RPG equivalent of the Gnome/Halfling handbook?

This seems like a proper non-human splat book for the L5R RPG.

Ah, the Crane. They're like L5R elves as far as I can tell, all artsy and better than everybody else, yet still deadly as all get out.

Serious wizards.

Straight up toughest fighters. Tanks. Maybe like L5R 1/2 Orcs? Dwarves?

And now for something (almost) completely different. This was supposed to be being designed, I read, as a new edition of Bushido; which I own but have never played. They grafted it onto the generic Fuzion rules set, as was the fashion at the time and included a bunch of conversion guides including for Bushido, as well as L5R and GURPS: Japan.

I figured I might just as well order the only published supplement for it too, it's an entire campaign.

The auctioneer was kind enough to include a picture of the back cover too.

I have a lot of reading to do; this is just the first wave to reach here, there is more to come.

Saturday, September 3, 2011

A couple thoughts

First- I kind of suck at sitting down and trying to plan out an adventure. I have been called a great DM by a lot of people, so I have to assume they weren't all BSing me about my DMing skills; but I have a really hard time sitting down and creating an adventure. I am bad at making dungeons. I am bad at drawing maps. I can create a compelling campaign world, but I tend to avoid having to map as much as possible. I steal maps from other sources and repurpose them when possible. I can take a published adventure and make it my own, altering it beyond recognition from the original and I can do that on the fly. I can pull an entire evening's entertainment completely out of thin air based on a couple of die rolls and my knowledge of the campaign world; I am good at hex-crawls and other sandbox style stuff. It's creating unique locations and mapping them out ahead of time that I am bad at, I have made some pretty cool almost random dungeons on the fly. So I don't really write adventures, I write vague outlines of what the bad guys plans are and what will happen if they aren't stopped probably and update it after each session with the party's actions (or inactions); I also make liberal use of other people's ideas, particularly if they're better than mine.

Second- I have a mountain of Legend of the Five Rings RPG stuff (and some Sengoku stuff) that I won on EBay coming soon, just a head's up- there'll be a flurry of Mail Call activity in the near future. It's mostly for 1st edition, but since I have never played any edition I guess 1st edition is the place to start. Since my gaming group hasn't really met since Ashli went away to basic training I may try to kick start some gaming with L5R, maybe online via Google+ if I can't get everyone together in my regular gaming group.

Thirdly- I saw Paizo has a new product with Ninja's and Vikings in it. I laughed a little, I did the OA meets Vikings thing over a decade ago; it was a cool idea then and it's a cool idea now, I hope it does well for them.

Lastly- My daughter Ashli is getting a medical discharge from the US Army, that's our current crisis. She's been in the hospital at Fort Jackson for about 3 weeks now, she may be coming home soon. Since she is over 18 and it's a medical condition, I figure it's her place to tell people about it if she wants them to know.