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Sunday, September 30, 2012

Just One Day Left

There is just one day left to get in on the Viking themed One Page Dungeon Contest I am running here, in 24 hours no more submissions will be accepted. Win cool, old TSR stuff from the Khakhan's hoard as a prize or a cool car bumper sticker style magnet! Or both! Every entry gets a free refrigerator magnet!

This has been a public service announcement from the Great Khan to the old school gaming community.

Monday, September 24, 2012

I know this'll come as a shock...

...especially to everyone that knows me, but I took a "Which Star Trek character are you?" quiz, and this is the result-

Your results:
You are Worf
Mr. Sulu
Jean-Luc Picard
James T. Kirk (Captain)
Will Riker
Geordi LaForge
Mr. Scott
Beverly Crusher
Deanna Troi
Leonard McCoy (Bones)
An Expendable Character (Redshirt)
You are trained in the art of combat
and are usually intimidating.
Click here to take the Star Trek Personality Quiz

I am slowly getting back into the swing of things here. I am mostly playing catch up, reading blogs I haven't read for the last couple of weeks and I did try out a new RPG last weekend, it was pretty good. There's still time for anyone to enter the One Page Dungeon Contest, and I have plenty of magnets left.

Monday, September 17, 2012

OK, I am back...

Kind of anyway.

It's been a rough week since my sister died, but I finally got the refrigerator magnets out in the mail today that I had planned to do last Monday and I am writing here again. I don't have a lot to say, but I am trying to move back towards normal in my daily life, and that means getting back to my blog and talking about games. My partner in crime, Darryl Cook, has about finished up a beta version of the "World of Garnia Rules-Lite System" or "WoGRLS", pronounced "Whoa Girls"- it's a working title, but it amuses us; and we're looking for people to playtest it. It is a really rules lite fantasy RPG that is based on a slightly more complex game that he and I designed back in the 90s and never finished. We couldn't get the magic right, he's got it down pretty good now, and he's about ready to release it into the wild, we plan on packaging it with our world book when we put it out there for you all.

I should also mention that I am still running a one page dungeon contest, viking themed, it actually doesn't have to be a dungeon though, so I guess I should call it a one page adventure contest. Also, since I still have a ton of extra magnets, I guess I'll just let everyone have one, whether they participate or not. I was going to do that anyway, I just wanted to give everyone incentive to enter the contest.

Anyway, thanks everyone for the massive outpouring of sympathy. I really appreciate it and so does the rest of my family.

In closing, if you all want a magnet, or want to contact me about WoGRLS, or for any other reason really, my email address is williamjdowie AT gmail DOT com I haven't been on the internet much over the past week, but I'll be getting back up to speed here pretty quick I'd imagine.

Tuesday, September 11, 2012

My sister died today

While the rest of the country is busy remembering 9/11/2001 and the terrorist attacks on that day, I am going to never forget 9/11/2012, the day Lesa Jane Hassett, my only sister, died. She had been suffering from an illness for a while, but kept the details pretty much to herself, so the rest of the family didn't really know how bad it was until quite recently. It was easy really, she lived on Long Island and the rest of us live in upstate New York over 300 miles away. She went into the hospital for the last time on Sunday afternoon and died this morning. Our parents and her husband were with her at the end, her three children had been sent home for the night. She was 46 years old.

She was my big sister, 3 years older than me and when we were kids she always had my back. I didn't always have an easy time of things being a smart, nerdy kid back in the 1970s and 80s, even after I got to be bigger than everybody else, but she was always more socially adept than me and managed to smooth over my rough patches most of the time with bullies. When that didn't work she made sure they knew she would not hesitate to jump into the fray on my side if it came down to it, and she did, on more than one occasion. She also legitimately saved my life twice, both times from being hit by careless drivers when I was small, by throwing herself bodily at me and knocking me out of the way at risk to herself. She was fearless and protective.

She was a daughter, a wife and a mother too, but I only really knew her as a big sister and I will really miss her.

This was the last time all three of us kids were together, for scale Lesa is 5'7" and Jon is 6'1", it was taken at her daughter Shelby's graduation party in my parent's yard - July 2010.

This is one of those studio photos that my parents used to make us get every year back in the 1970s.

This is my mom, Lesa and me as a baby, so 1969-70 depending on how many months old I am here, I am bad at guessing baby ages, even my own.

Rest in peace
 Lesa Jane Hassett
April 15th 1966 - September 11th 2012

Sunday, September 9, 2012

Vikings and More!

I started the Vikings game with the PCs arriving on the mystic isle of Dvergrholm and presenting themselves to the Dwarf-King of the Northern Clans, Frodi Jarnhamar, and then accidentally accepting his commission to be protectors of his people; essentially to become members of his warband, his Huskarls. One of the PCs had died in a random encounter on the way there, the party's only Wizard type, a Necromancer whose name I don't remember; he was killed off the coast of Norway by a small band of pirates that the rest of the party managed to kill, but he died well.

I ran the One Page Dungeon "The Dodsbakken" by Bard, which was one of the submissions for the contest I am running; with some minor changes for flavor - "Ivar the Boneless" became "Andvari I", because I set the burial mound outside a Dwarven settlement, but other than that it was unchanged. I had eight PCs enter the Dodsbakken, Grimhild the Gentle and her sister Ingebjorg the Kind (both Fighters), Sjolf Skullsplitter the Berserker, Dagvaldi the Doomsayer (a Runecaster with the "Seer" gift and a horrible attitude), Ragnhild Red-Tresses, Brynhild the Swede, Aesa Fjoradottir and her brother Gust Fjorason, all four Fighters. Viking campaigns are a Fighter fest.

I won't give away spoilers, in case you guys are players and have GMs that might want to run this adventure, but it was fun and it was fast and for all the fighter heaviness of the party, we could have used a Cleric, which the 2nd edition Viking Campaign Sourcebook specifically prohibits, or a Mage of some sort in the party. There were three near deaths and one death in the party, poor Ingebjorg, she died during the final encounter. I guess if you have to go, that's the way to do it.

Everyone who has submitted a module and sent me their postal address, I missed the Post Office on Saturday with the Magnets because my son John had a Cross Country meet and my wife decided to do some original artwork on each envelope, so enjoy, you all get a Mona Dowie original as well as a cool refrigerator magnet. Anyone who HASN'T submitted a dungeon yet, there are still a LOT of magnets left. If you DON'T want to submit a dungeon, but still want a magnet, I'll send you one if you volunteer to judge the competition with me and the other volunteers, ultimately I'd like to get up to ten judges for the contest so every judges personal opinion doesn't carry overwhelming weight. I'd also like to thank everyone again who mentioned my contest on their blogs and, lastly, point out that you aren't limited to a single submission for the contest; if you don't mind competing against yourself, I don't have a problem with extra entries, so that answers that question.

Now, also going on in my gaming world, I've been a little busy working on 43 AD, actually working on the game with Paul Elliot, the game's designer. 43 AD will be going to print soon and it should be my first print RPG credit, although mostly as an editor, since the print deadline didn't give much of a chance to do much else; but if a revised edition ever sees the light of day my buddy Darryl and I have a lot of ideas we'd like to see incorporated into it.

I have also been working with Darryl on OUR project- The World of Garnia, a home-brewed, Celtic themed campaign world that we have been designing for the last thirty years together (and apart), that we have decided to actually put together for real, down on paper and make available for other people to use if they want. He has finished primary cartography for the new world map as of yesterday and I have been piecemeal presenting things on my other blog for months, go check it out. He posted some pictures of the maps with continental outlines drawn in, the blog has some timelines and other cool bits of our process. The idea here is to get other people interested in this too, so we can make this creative endeavor more crowd-sourced- get some short fiction set in the world, have some people that can convert stuff to other game systems, just have other creative people join our design team.  

Sunday, September 2, 2012

The Great Khan's One Page Dungeon Contest

This year's theme is Vikings. Specifically I am looking for Viking themed stuff I can plug into an existing mega-dungeon as a sub-level or as a stand alone mini-adventure. Feel free to spread the word to your gaming friends and on your own blogs.

I buried the lead when I mention the contest as a possibility the other day, and I got a lukewarm response as a result. I also didn't mention where to send your One Page Dungeons to, so you can email me directly at williamjdowie AT gmail DOT com. I still managed to get one volunteer judge, so I am looking for a couple more and I need some submissions.

Apparently the sweet refrigerator magnets weren't enough to make you leap at the opportunity to show your creative talents, so I have decided to up the ante and throw in some genuine old school swag, I am going to open up my gaming vault and let the top three winners take a pick from my module collection - it's heavy on 1st edition AD&D modules, all are used, there are a few doubles and a couple of "super-modules". I know the complete A, S & D series are there, and the combo versions (G-D-Q, S1-4) and Q1, T1; plus a whole bunch of Mentzer Era D&D modules, mostly Basic and Expert, some higher level. I also have one 3e module, Return to the Temple of Elemental Evil. Some of them are in pretty rough shape, some are in damned good shape for their age and the fact that they were opened up and used at all. Probably the ones that held up the best were the "super-modules", "Queen of the Spiders" and "Lankhmar: City of Adventure" both look pretty good.

So, I'll be accepting submissions starting now and running through October 1st, everyone who enters will still receive a refrigerator magnet (while supplies last, after they come in, provided you send me your postal address); so let's get out there and show all the creative talent the OSR has to offer!