Monthly Archives: March 2014

Thoughts on an Alternate Magic System

Recently, I’ve been thinking of coming up with a game setting with a more science-fantasy feel than the typical D&Dish fantasy world.

One thing I knew I would have to figure out is how “magic” would work. In the context of the setting idea, it really would not matter if it is actually “magic,” super-science, or some combination of the two. In fact a certain degree of ambiguity might be desirable.

So on Thursday night a few things gelled in my brain and I wrote them down before they escaped. This is only a starting set of postulates for how the science-fantasy magic system might work.

1) Long ago, all the magic in the world was gathered and imprisoned into a mountain consisting of a single gargantuan gemstone.

2) The gemstone mountain was shattered in a titanic explosion and countless millions of gem fragments were scattered across the world.

3) Each gem fragment contains a portion of the magic, still bound to the gemstone.

4) “Spellcasters” in the world know how to manipulate the magic in the gemstones.

5) Each time a “spell” is “cast” a fraction of the magic in the gem used by the spellcaster is released back into the world.

6) After a number of “castings” the gem crumbles into dust, when all the stored magic has been released.

7) Gem fragments come in various sizes and types that contain different amounts and forms of magic.

I’m starting to do a bit more thinking of what these starting concepts would mean for how an actual alternate magic system might be constructed, while still bearing some relation to the usual magic system found in D&D and old-school clones.

More to come when I feel it has gelled some more.

Categories: D&D, game mechanics, Gaming, RPG | Tags: , , ,

Bored while everybody is at GaryCon post

I’ve noticed that a couple weekends a year a lot of the OSR blog posting dries up as some of the more prolific bloggers head off to one of the Old School game conventions.

This weekend is GaryCon. I’m sure in a few days there will be posts-a-plenty about what they played, who they met, what phat loot they scored, etc.

But it’s going to be a slow blog-reading weekend until then.

Maybe I’ll come up with something of my own to post to help fill the drought?

Categories: blogging, Gaming | Tags: ,

When the Master Villain wants to retire?

“You know, being a world-threatening criminal mastermind is kind of tiring. Maybe I could just retire from this business. Yeah. All I’d have to do is blackmail the world into letting me retire.”
-the short short version

OK. I have been watching the James Bond movies in order. One about every 2 weeks. So I was up to “On Her Majesty’s Secret Service.” Yes, the one with George Lazenby, who was fired after one movie and Sean Connery was brought back.

It is not all the lead actor’s fault. He is certainly not as charismatic, as Sean Connery, but the plot of the movie basically boils down to my made-up quote above. That is what Blofeld’s motive is – blackmail the world into pardoning him so he can enjoy his new title of count during his retirement.

At least, that is what I gathered after all 2 hours and 22 minutes. Too long for one thing; parts of it just seem to drag on and on. Could have used a bit more trimming in some of the slow parts.

Telly Savalas as Blofeld is just … bad. Maybe Blofeld realized he was losing his ability to be a criminal mastermind and should retire, because this is about the worst portrayal of a master villain I have ever seen. No contingency plans for escape. He personally chases Bond down a mountain on skis along with his minions.

At least he manages to avoid what looks like his death, and reappears at the end so his henchwoman can shoot Bond’s woman in the head.

Roll credits.

It had been 25 years since I remember seeing this on TV, and barely remembered any of it. Not sure I did myself any favors by having this in my memory now.

Perhaps it has some value in an RPG context after all – how NOT to portray a master villain.

Categories: movies, rant, retro | Tags: , , ,

Blast from the Past: PBM Games?

Having recently learned that their are still some remnants of the Play-By-Mail (PBM) / Play-By-Email (PBeM) gaming style still going, I have decided to give it another go.

(This seems to be about the best place to start learning about PBMs and what is still running: )

I tried out several PBM games back in the 1990s, but I kind of drifted away once I got a home computer and PC strategy games.

For those with PDFs of old Dragon Magazines from the Archive CD set, have a gander through the ads and you’ll spot some PBM ads. I seem to remember that they were often shown on the back cover as well.

Since my schedule does not lend itself to playing tabletop RPGs in person anymore, this may be about the only gaming I will get for a while.

Have signed up for a free game called Olympia (currently G4 version) at for now.

Categories: Gaming, PBM | Tags: ,

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