Showing posts from 2012

After Xmas Swashbuckling Sale

As a public service announcement, I'd like to point out that -- as of this writing -- the recent Blu-ray release of the 1975 "Zorro" with Alain Delon is $7.99 at Amazon.

And for Zorro completists, "The Erotic Adventures of Zorro" is also available for $9.98 on DVD. You can find your own link for that.

Guess who the patron saint of pirates is?

When the crew is in port during December, they encounter a strange figure at the tavern:
The old man is short – barely five feet tall -- and heavy-set.A white beard frames his fleshy face and laughing eyes twinkle above a broken nose.His knuckles are calloused – the hands of a brawler – and a length of heavy chain wraps around his thick stomach.Three jingling bags of coins are tied to his belt.He raises his mug to you and smiles.
Rugged sailors and crusty pirates give the old man’s table a wide berth.He smiles warmly at the tavern wench who brings his meal and wine and tips her generously from the gold he carries.He says grace and tucks into his hearty meal.
Questioning the tavern staff and guests reveals the following rumors and speculation (one per success or raise on a Streetwise roll): 1.He’s a Dutch pirate – Nikolaas van Hoorn* – wanted by the Spanish for the sacking of Vera Cruz. (False) 2.He’s a slaver; his ship is crewed by the ugliest scum on the face of the earth.(Almost False) …

Half-Told Stories: Bat-Bond

My first blog was over on LiveJournal, a half-baked concept called Half-Told Stories where I basically pitched the ideas for all the comics, movies, novels, and RPGS that I would never really write out into the ether so that they lived on apart from me (in some sense, at least).Some of the half-told stories I’m most proud of are my Batman pitches (including what I still think is a great plot for a fifth film in Burton/Schumacher series) and my Lone Ranger pitch.On the way to work today, an idea of this style just popped into my head unbidden, so I thought I’d start sharing those on this blog too.
The name is Batman… The Batman.
Internet wisdom is that Warner Brothers will be launching a new series of Batman films sooner than later, and that these films will be more “comic book-y” to fit the mood of a shared universe with Superman, Green Lantern, and the Justice League.There will be less “realism” and less angst than the Nolan films, more colorful villains, and a more open-ended approa…

Notes Toward an Imaginary Japan

So, anyway... We launched into the "Grand Quest" campaign outline in my post about elevator pitches -- and then we stalled out.  While Greater Albion is in the shop, we've decided to pick up another of those elevator pitches and go with SEIRYU.
Robin and I are geeks about a lot of things, both together (RPGs, Doctor Who) and individually (G. I. Joe, Jem and the Holograms).  We are both diehard Japanophiles (even though neither of us speaks Japanese).  When we started gaming duets campaigns together in the early years of our marriage, the world of White Wolf's Year of the Lotus was our setting and we played that into the ground.  We have a bookshelf bigger than my gaming shelves that's full of books about Japan or by Japanese authors (like Haruki Murakami), another shelf packed with manga several layers deep, and a shelf that's just anime and Japanese music (mainly anime soundtracks and J-rock, but also some traditional stuff).  Telling Robin that the setting…

Gaming Shelves

So I'm going to jump on the Grognardia gaming shelves meme even though I'm not an OSR gamer.  Sue me.

If I'm going to be honest, my go-to gaming shelf is actually two books that spend most of their time on my coffee table.  The vast majority of my games these days are set in the "real world" sometime between 1600 and 1840 and Pirates of the Spanish Main has all the NPC archetypes, cool fencing Edges, and equipment I need.  Savage Worlds Deluxe is used primarily for magic, monsters, and a few cool new setting rules and modifications. 
That is not to say that I don't have an entire bookshelf of game books, because of course I do.

I store my Savage Worlds materials, my "Order of the Stick" books, and "A Touch of Evil" on top of the bookcase in easy reach.

The top shelf is dedicated to White Wolf games.  We have the entire run of "Kindred of the East" books but have never actually run a game.  We've got more "Changeling:…

Savage Bestiary: Dolphin

Am I right in thinking there's no stats for dolphins in any of Pinnacle's Savage Worlds supplements?  I'm working on adapting my "Undying Youth" character write-up for Unisystem into a full-blown Savage Tale and I need some dolphin stats, so here you go:

Updated with suggestions from Ninjas Riding Dinosaurs and a new Monstrous Ability.  Stats now reflect Savage Worlds Deluxe standards.

These statistics can represent most species of common and bottlenose dolphins and larger porpoises.  

Attributes: Agility d10, Smarts d8(A), Spirit d6, Strength d8, Vigor d6

Skills: Fighting d8, Notice d10, Swimming d12, Taunt d6

Pace: --; Parry: 6; Toughness: 5

Booty: None

Special Abilities:
Aquatic: Pace 10Brawler:  As per the Savage Worlds Deluxe Combat Edge.  A headbutt from a dolphin (actually a punch from the dolphin's rostrum or snout) does Str +2 damage.Echolocation: Dolphins ignore penalties for bad lighting due to their sonar-like senses.Exceptional Intelligence: Dol…

Peter Pan Will @#%^ You Up

This concept actually got use in my foolishly-abandoned Pirates of the Spanish Main campaign earlier this year.I moved a bit further away from the golden boy to a more hedonistic, adult Dionysus.The story became that Saint Brendan’s voyage to the New World was actually taken to dispose of the more hostile (to the Church) or troubling (to the Church) bits of paganism that were still lurking around Europe.St. Brendan and gang entombed the Undying Youth on a remote Caribbean island where – many centuries later – he was mistakenly freed by cannibalistic Caribs (Tiger Lily’s tribe).When my crew stumbled upon the island, they found his opened tomb overgrown with lush grapes fermenting on the vine and only the words “Pater Pan” visible through the growth.
Wisely, they chose to bargain with the god instead of fighting him.

Lost God

The lookout nodded sleepily in the crows nest until his growling stomach woke him. Outrunning the hurricane had sent the ship into unknown waters an…

The Queen of the Mermaids is Out to Get You

Another entry in my rescued bits and pieces of aquatic monsters for Cinematic Unisystem presented with only minor editing and without conversion to Savage Worlds.I’ve used this as the basis for mermaids in several campaigns now, but I’ve never yet actually had PCs who wanted to seek out the dread goddess.Atargatis is based on a real-world deity but I’ve slightly altered her back-story.

Queen of the Mermaids

Atar was once a young priestess who loved a simple shepherd, but that was 3,000 years ago. Abandoned by the youth when she became pregnant, the defrocked priestess attempted to drown herself and her newborn babe. The child was borne along the current by her wicker basket and became the Assyrian queen Semiramis; the mother was dragged down into [the] deeps.        

Something came to her there. For the purposes of the individual Series this patron could be Cthulhu or some other aquatic Lovecraftian thing, Dagon (the ancient Middle Eastern fish-god, not the Lovecraft critter)…

Mermaids are Undead Demon-Spawn

I’m a Savage Worlds fanboy these days, but a few years back my main interest was Eden Studios’ Cinematic Unisystem as exemplified in Angel, Army of Darkness (written by Shane Hensley!), and Buffy the Vampire Slayer.It’s a good system and I played many homebrewed duets with Robin using it.The only reason I gave it up is that Unisystem only uses 10-sided dice and it’s a little number-heavy; Savage Worlds is just a little bit more streamlined and fun.

(Also, I got totally sick of waiting for Aargh! Thar be Zombies! and a print version of Ghosts of Albion -- and my love for Joss Whedon died with Wash.)

Back in 2007, I was briefly active on the Eden Studios forums under the handle “Gwalchbach.”My main contribution during that period was a thread about supernatural threats and menaces for a “Pirates of the Caribbean”-style campaign (though I also did a bit about the Authority and the Venture Brothers).I thought all of that material was lost when Eden changed servers but when Beedo recently w…

Stolen Regency Name Generator

This Regency name generator originally comes from the website Stuff and Nonsense.  The page has apparently been abandoned, so I present it again here for public use.  I apologize that I did not save the place name generator or Gothic novel title generator.


I've rearranged things a bit.

To your left you will now find that my blog list is now "Friends of Wine and Savages;" my goal here is to highlight the blogs of my followers and frequent commenters.  Let me know if I've accidentally left you out -- and let me know if you've added me to your blogroll and I'll add you to mine.  (Thanks, Age of Ruins!)

At the bottom of the page, I've added four new blogroll widgets so I can keep track of things I like and more easily add them to my page.  In addition to the expected gaming and wine link lists, I've also added a catch-all pop culture category and another for Regency-related stuff.  These are honestly more for my use than anything else, but I encourage anyone who doesn't know about them to check out MightygodkingDotCom and Black Gate Magazine (I especially recommend the online novellette "The Duelist").

It doesn't take much to get promoted to "Friend of Wine and Savages."  Comment…

Go Laugh Your Butts Off

Get thee to John Seavey's awesome blog Fraggmented and check out Fred Saberhagen's Rejected "Sword of Power" Ideas.
I totally want a magic sword called Pubcrawler...

Elevator Pitches

Duet campaigns can burn out fast; there's a reason romance novels and movies end with the wedding.  Before the blog and the Savage Jane Austen project, I used to offer Robin a page or so of "pitches" whenever we were contemplating a new campaign.  These usually comprised of nothing more than a paragraph hitting the highlights of the concept.  This was often the only preparation I did before character creation, as I get bored if I know too much of what's going to happen ahead of time.  Yes, I can proudly say my campaigns straddle the middle ground between sandbox and adventure path -- there's a deliberate story, but I have no idea where it's going.

Anyway, "Thornshire" may be coming to a close (or not, we could always just segue to Rosalind and William on their Grand Tour honeymoon) so I thought I'd exercise my brain by writing a few pitches:

The Grand Quest
They say that travel broadens the mind -- so why can't that be true for a lady too?  In…

Review -- Elminsters Forgotten Realms

“Your mileage may vary,” is the single most applicable thing I can say about Ed Greenwood Presents: Elminster’s Forgotten Realms (hereafter EGP:EFR).   The vast majority of gamers may find little to interest them, but long-time Realms fans like myself will find it a welcome (if sometimes frustrating) insight into Greenwood’s own approach to running the Forgotten Realms.  EGP:EFR is, unfortunately, not the book some of us hoped for.  It is not an unexpurgated Gray Box cyclopedia with brothels in place of festhalls or Tyche instead of Tymora.  It is not a guide to Ed Greenwood’s home campaign -- the original, pristine Realms unmarked by Avatars or Spellplagues.  It is, however, a delightful insight into how Greenwood makes the Forgotten Realms come alive for his players.

The book is largely a collection of system-agnostic* Realmslore with a small selection of reproductions of some of the original notes Ed Greenwood submitted to TSR back in the late ‘80s.  It reminds me of the old Volo’…

Regency/Arthuriana: More Notes

I went through a decade-long period of being a serious King Arthur nut during my mid-teens to mid-twenties.I’ve got several shelves of books on the historical Arthur, Arthurian RPGs, reprints and reinterpretations of Malory, modern novels, and even the Arthurian Tarot.I overall prefer the “historical” 5th Century side of Arthuriana, but I know Greater Albion will swing toward the medieval romances instead. Part of this is just because the medieval romances are more familiar to a wider audience, part of it’s because the romances have more material to work with, and part of it can be justified as in-universe misinterpretation of the past.Just because “Camelot” did not end at Camlann doesn’t mean historical records from that era aren’t spotty.
I think the Grand Tour is called the Grand Quest and is taken in imitation of Thomas Malory-style knight errantry. ·Just as during the actual 19th Century Regency period, most young men use it as an opportunity to sow wild oats rather than educate …

Regency/Arthuriana: Notes Toward a Setting

Lots of different little questions and ideas pop into my head as I switch tracks to begin work on the Regency/Arthuriana setting.Since I’m happy to get feedback on this project, I thought I’d just jot down some of my notes on the blog.(This will also help make sure I don’t lose them.)Feel free to comment!
How’s “Greater Albion” for a setting name?I’m not sure it works as the actual name of the book, but I kind of like it for the alternate history Great Britain itself.
I think a case could be made to include all of the standard Savage Worlds Arcane Backgrounds in the setting, but I’m not sure that’s wise. ·When you look at Arthurian legend and try to map it to SW, you could certainly argue that Gawain’s super-strength that waxes and wanes with the movement of the sun is a Super Power – but is that an argument in favor of including it in the setting?Strange innate abilities could conceivably come from having faerie ancestors (not just fairies, but also giants and goblins and pagan gods)…