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Mongol Home

Thursday, December 28, 2017

This Year

This year was devastating for me. My wife Mona, the love of my life, and my partner in all things, died on September 13th. Everything else pales in comparison. My kids lost their mother, her parent's lost another daughter. I lost my best friend, the only person who really understood me, the only woman I ever really loved.

I have tried and failed to adequately write about Mona since she died, she deserves to be written about, but I can't make it work yet.

I am told that in a few more months things will become marginally better for me, but it's hard to see right now.

I moved back up to Oswego county, the snowiest place on earth. I plan to start a new D&D campaign in the next few weeks, if I can find players. I need to find something to keep me busy, and I have tons of material from prepping my last campaign down in the Valley. We had just started playing when Mona died. She played the night she went into the hospital for the last time, it was the second session of the campaign, and the first had been a character creation, "session 0", that was a Friday night. If she hadn't gone into the hospital we'd have played my "Jigoku" campaign the next day, Saturday; we'd played 1/2 a dozen sessions of that one. Her character was a Mongol princess there, initially leading troops in their invasion of Japan, I think if that game had continued, if she hadn't died, it would have been truly epic, and one of the best characters Mona ever played.

Yesterday marked 15 weeks since my Mona died and it still doesn't feel entirely real to me, I am lost without her.

Thursday, August 10, 2017

Setting the stage-

I just sent this out to the Facebook Group for my new West Marches style campaign.

Setting the stage-

Fort Augustus is the “safe town area”, it is the only remaining imperial outpost here in the wilderness, it is a port. The fort proper is on an island in the mouth of the river, the town itself clings to both banks of the river, nearest the fort. Beyond the buildings of the town are fields, pastures and orchards belonging either to small holders or owned by great-holders and worked by a mixture of hereditary serfs, indentured servants and convicts. The area is, in general well patrolled by imperial soldiers.


The better part of a millennium ago, this land and all the land further east, belonged to your ancestors. There were many petty kingdoms of man, elf, and dwarf. Those kingdoms fell to a tide of beast-men and their demon overlords, your ancestors became refugees who eventually fled westward across the sea to the safety of a new land. Those refugees, united in their purpose to create a new home for themselves settled and civilized that land, creating the empire.

Nearly two centuries ago the empire sent an exploratory expedition to their old homelands, they found that they had become a wilderness, full of danger, but ripe for reconquest and resettlement. This proceeded fairly quickly, the surviving peoples had lapsed into barbarism, but many welcomed the empire, at first. Eventually, after a number of incidents, there were some native uprisings against the empire. The threat of savage tribes of bestial humanoids was omnipresent as well, still, conquest and settlement continued unabated.

Almost a century ago the emperor was assassinated, and died with no clear successor. The ensuing civil war lasted for over eighty years, with short, intermittent periods of peace while alliances shifted and forces gathered and regrouped. The colonies were largely abandoned to their fate. One by one they ceased to exist, except Fort Augustus.

Within the last decade the new imperial house consolidated their power and chose to once again pursue the colonization and conquest efforts of their predecessors on the imperial throne. A viceroy was appointed for the colonies and rapid settlement was encouraged, with many inducements, such as free transport, and free land. Ex-soldiers and mercenaries were given tracts of land as payouts for their services. Various noble houses have been granted vast tracts of wilderness for their cadet branches. Large sums of money have been offered to skilled laborers. Many imperial soldiers have been transferred to duty at Fort Augustus, then mustered out of service while there. Many have chosen exile to the colonies as preferable to life under the new regime. Transportation of convicts to the colonies has become a common punishment for many petty crimes.

However you got here, you are here now.

Sunday, July 23, 2017

Happy Birthday

Today is my birthday, I am 48 years old today. I was a little surprised to see I share a birthday with the original Traveller RPG and Holmes Basic D&D, both of which apparently turned 40 this weekend.

Friday, June 30, 2017

Thank You All

I am humbled by the support of the OSR community for myself and my wife Mona in our time of need. Since being made aware of her gofundme for her expenses, the OSR community has helped to push us over the 2/3rds mark, meaning we'll get to pay off all of our impending bills.

I probably waited too long to ask for help, we lost our house in late 2014 after she'd been out of work for about 9 months, too sick to do much of anything. Our youngest was still in high school then. We moved to Mona's hometown, from mine, after the end of that school year. Ember suggested it, so her mom could be around her family and oldest friends for her recovery period, despite the fact that she would be spending her senior year of high school in a new school. I love the house we are renting now, it is very nice, but it's not the same as the one we owned.

I have been selling my gaming stuff on Ebay since just before we moved to keep us afloat financially, but the cherries of the bunch are long gone, so that's more or less dried up. I've held a few things back, for sentimental reasons or because I still use them, and I've picked up a few bargain priced items in this time too, often for resale.

I am saddened by the fact that her art career was just starting to pick up during her initial recovery time. Richard LeBlanc held a couple of pieces in Petty Gods for her when she had her initial surgery and the complications kept her in the hospital for weeks. This led to her collaboration with Timothy Brannan, although she was already sick again by then.

Anyone that won a contest I held here, or requested a refrigerator magnet from me probably got an envelope that had been “Mona-ed up” by her, usually a dragon or something drawn on the envelope.

In light of this newest news from the oncologist yesterday, where we were told the odds were not in her favor and the option to just stop treatment and focus on her comfort was discussed, and she chose rather to fight, even though it would probably shorten her remaining lifespan, I would like to ask everyone to keep her in their prayers, if they are the praying kind, and I'd like to thank all of you for rallying to her cause.

Here are some pieces of her art- 

These first two she did for "Petty Gods"

The next three she did for Great Khan Games

She has always loved to draw mermaids

And Fairies

The odd dragon here and there

And a Valkyrie

And a photo of the lady herself, during her initial recovery in 2015

Wednesday, June 21, 2017

Go Fund Me for Mona

Since I am doing this, I figured I should probably reach as wide an audience as I can. I have set up a gofundme for my wife Mona's ongoing expenses related to her cancer here. Please donate if you can, and share the campaign. I won't go into all the details here, I have detailed the progress of her cancer in the gofundme, but I will point out that she is one of us. Old school. Her and I met at a D&D game in 1990. She has been my constant gaming companion ever since. She has more published OSR cred than me too, having done all of the art for Great Khan Games and she has a couple of pieces published in Petty Gods.

Thursday, February 9, 2017

Rest In Peace Richard Hatch

So I’ve had a day to think about the passing of Richard Hatch. Like most men my age, when I was a kid I watched Battlestar Galactica and I loved it. My dad loved it too, so it was one of those few things we did together that we both enjoyed. Apollo and Starbuck were my heroes back then, probably moreso than Han and Luke or Kirk and Spock; partly because they were on every week with new episodes. In the days before VCRs being commonplace that was pretty important. I loved Battlestar Galactica so much that I subscribed to the Marvel Comic series. I learned to draw the ships and the cylons. I bought every magazine I could find that had articles about the show, I got the paperback sized Marvel graphic novel and the photonovel, I collected the trading cards. I begged my parents for the Viper toy for Christmas and they came through, I was the only kid I knew that got the viper. I bought the model kits, and I am bad at model building, always have been, but I spent a long time making them and they turned out OK. I even bought the crappy, sub par action figures.

Later on, in my teen years and into my early twenties I gamed Battlestar Galactica. A friend of mine bought the FASA BSG starfighter game, we played that fairly often. I adapted the AD&D rules set, with help from Boot Hill and Dawn Patrol, into a BSG RPG. Later on I did it again with GURPS. I never forgot BSG and I kept on loving it. I bought a bunch of the novelizations I’d missed when I was younger, they made decent source materials.

Close to 20 years after the brief run of Battlestar Galactica I found myself on the internet, a lot, before that was really a thing people did, and I discovered Battlestar Galactica fandom. I knew a few people that fondly remembered the show from 1978-79 before the internet, but when I sought out information back then I found that there were hundreds, maybe thousands, of devoted fans. People who loved the show like I did. I dove into BSG fandom with both feet and that is how I “met” Richard Hatch back in 1997 I think. I can’t remember how it came about, it was either through one of the BSG mailing lists I was on at the time, or on AOL, it doesn’t really matter I guess. I was a little suspicious that he was who he said he was at first, then a little starstruck I guess. I was trying to be cool, but it always made me feel something, honored maybe, perhaps excited, whenever he’d comment on something I wrote, or addressed me directly. We emailed back and forth a few times, after a while, and had one brief, awkward phone call. We lost contact, I broke the contact I guess, but it wouldn’t be long before he was back in the game and wouldn’t have had a lot of time for that kind of personal interaction.

He was a humble guy, really nice and he made a lot of jokes, often about himself. I got the impression that he was maybe a little shy, and wanted us fans to like him personally. We did. He seemed to love the show he worked on in 1978 as much as us hardcore fans did, it was endearing. He is the one TV star that I ever really had any interaction with. He was a good guy and I’ll miss him, despite not having really spent any time interacting with him since the late 1990’s.

I know he had a decent body of work as an actor, but to me he’ll always be remembered best for his role as Captain Apollo on the original Battlestar Galactica. Rest in peace.

Saturday, January 28, 2017

AD&D back in print

Old TSR stuff has been coming back to life as print on demand products for a few weeks now, but I feel I’d be remiss in my duty as an OSR blogger if I didn’t mention that the core AD&D books are back as POD products now. 1st edition AD&D was where I cut my teeth as a gamer and it’s the dialect of D&D that I speak natively. Sure, I learned on the OD&D variant Holmes Basic, but in less than a year I had the entire AD&D core rules and I never looked back. To this day 1st edition AD&D is my go-to game. Yes, I have many retroclones. Yes, I played 2nd edition for pretty much the entirety of it’s run. 1st edition made me as a D&D player though, so I am pleased to see it’s return to print, even just as a POD product.

I bought the AD&D premium reprints for the Gygax memorial fund- not that that worked out, but I never use those books, they seem to nice to use at the table really. I probably will not buy these POD copies, because I already have multiple copies of each of them, and I would prefer the original covers. Maybe, at some point, they will let you choose between cover variants?

Anyway, here are the links-

Players Handbook

Dungeon Masters Guide

Monster Manual

At $25.00 each, I think they are well priced, provided the quality of the paper and the binding are good.