zondag 24 maart 2013

Interview Ed Greenwood

Pretty much from the beginning when I started roleplaying, the first setting I got into was the Forgotten Realms. My first games all took place in that magical world and since I was a dungeon master from the start, I bought a lot of Realms stuff. Back in those days it was for actual use in a campaign.

These were the pre-collecting days. But when I did start considering myself a collector, the Forgotten Realms was already a big part of the collection. There's currently about 200 Forgotten Realms items in my collection which is the 3rd most after generic D&D and Call of Cthulhu.

I was therefore very happy to stumble upon an interview with Ed Greenwood, the creator of the Forgotten Realms so I thought I'd share it with everyone.

I feel so honored that I could do this for people and that people are having fun. If I lift someone's spirits, if I give them a couple hours of fun, and if I give them an excuse to get together with their friends, or make new friends and spend their time gaming, that's my real reward - Ed Greenwood

zondag 10 maart 2013

Pathfinder character: Dolgrin Rogargun, blood of Blackforge, dwarf foehammer

Dolgrin Rogargun comes from a very traditional and religious family that traces its ancestry to a legendary dwarven smith known as the Blackforge. With such an ancestor, worship of Torag the Father of Creation was self-evident. Growing up in Rolgrimmdur combat, tactics, and engineering were as much part of the program as rigorous physical exercise. At age 40 his gladdinggarsun sent him into the bowels of the Darklands, looking for the gladdringgar of his great-grandfather Grimm. It took him three months and several encounters with his hated duergar kin to locate Grimm's name-rune and chisel his own to the right of it.

Upon his return in Rolgrimmdur, his succesful rite of passage was celebrated and Dolgrin received the family heirloom, a masterwork warhammer crafted by the Blackforge himself. The warhammer's head depicts an adamantine inlay of Blackforge's and Torag's sigils and has been wielded in countless battles over the centuries. In addition to his warhammer, Dolgrin also carries the traditional dorn-dergar, a 10-foot-long chain weighted at the end by a fist-sized metal ball.

His rite of passage complete, general Hayla Sagginsdottir sent Dolgrin to Five Kings Mountain's capital Highhelm as a mercenary to help reinforce the battlements and share his knowledge of siege engines. Ten years later he was reassigned to the city of Kovlar for more mercenary work, guarding the Anviler's Guild's shipments towards Highhelm.

Halfway into this assignment he has been recalled to Rolgrimmdur. His new mission: travel to Absalom to look for trade and mercenary opportunities and to establish a link with dwarves residing in the city at the centre of the world. This presents quite a challenge to Dolgrin since his connection with the earth and its stones is so great that he distrusts any means of transport besides his own two legs. He refuses to use mounts due to a 'complete lack of control over one's movements', and even riding along in a wagon has him shifting from one side to the other uncomfortably. The true test of his resolve he will face in Andoran's capital city of Almas, where a ship awaits him.

Dolgrin Rogargun
Male dwarf foehammer 1
LG Medium humanoid (dwarf)
Init +1; Senses Perception +8

AC 18, touch 11, flat-footed 14 (+5 armor, +2 shield, +1 Dex); +4 against monsters of giant subtype
hp 13 (1d10+2, +1 favored class)
Fort +4, Ref +1, Will +2, +2 against poison, spells, and spell-like abilities

Speed 20 ft.
Melee mwk warhammer +7 (1d8+4/20), Dorn Dergar +5 (1d10+4/20), heavy spiked shield +5 (1d6+4/20)
Special attacks Hatred (+1 against monsters of orc and goblinoid subtype)

Str 18, Dex 13, Con 15, Int 12, Wis 14, Cha 8
Base Atk +1, CMB +5, CMD 16; +4 CMD to resist bull rush or trip when standing on ground
Feats Endurance, Weapon Focus (Warhammer)
Traits Deep Marker, Guardian of the Forge
Skills Climb -2, Craft (Siege Engine) +7, Intimidate -1, Knowledge (Engineering) +6, Knowledge
(History) +6, Ride -5, Survival +3, Swim -2; +2 Craft or Profession checks related to stone and metal; +2 Perception for traps and hidden doors in stone walls and floors 
Languages Dwarf, Common, Orc
SQ Darkvision
Combat gear -; Other gear masterwork warhammer, dorn dergar, heavy spiked shield, scale mail, backpack, bedroll, flint & steel, grappling hook, rations (1dag), hemp rope (30 ft), traveller's outfit, holy book Torag (Hammer and tongs: The forging of metal and other good works) bound in metal

dinsdag 5 maart 2013

Remembering Gary Gygax (1938 – 2008)

On the 4th of March 2008, the world said goodbye to one of gaming's greatest, Gary Gygax. It's been five years already since and I thought I'd share the views of some of Gary's greatest friends Tim Kask and Frank Mentzer.

When he learned that Gary has passed away, Tim wrote the following :

"My world has been lessened; my friend and one-time mentor is gone. But, unlike the overwhelming majority of us, he will not be forgotten any time soon; he touched too many lives while on this planet.
Several years ago, whilst sitting in the dark enjoying Peter Jackson’s second hobbit opus, The Two Towers, I experienced a quick flash of pride that once I had been a very small part of the cultural phenomenon that had eventually led to this image flickering on the screen before me. Before D&D, the only “fantasy” movies were Harry Harryhausen’s Aladdin and Sinbad movies. (I always regarded the monster movies like Godzilla and Rodan and the like as a separate genre; and never cared for them at all.)

“Before D&D”; that’s like saying “before steam engines” or “before internal combustion engines”, because that’s what D&D was—the driving force behind a veritable revolution in fiction, in movies, in culture and without question, in gaming. The only thing even slightly rpg-like before D&D was Diplomacy; that’s a little like saying that before Gutenberg there were woodblock cutters.

D&D started a cultural tsunami that changed the face of all it inundated leaving nothing the same in its wake.

I first met Gary pre-D&D, through Chainmail. I called him up out of the blue in late ’73 or very early 1974 to talk about medieval miniatures and rules. My call was answered by a most genial and gentlemanly fellow that was the soul of kindness and courtesy who took no offense at being called at home one evening by a stranger. In fact, I got the idea that he admired my initiative in tracking him down. There were other calls, trips to a fledgling convention called GenCon in ’74 and ’75 where we met in the flesh, and eventually I moved to Lake Geneva with my wife and daughter to go to work in his brand-new company publishing his dream.

Gary was very well read, erudite and prone to writing in a style that hearkened back a generation to when writing well was a prized art and good writers were known for their ability to “turn a phrase”. Oh, Lord, could he turn a phrase. My job was to take his writing and edit it down into something more easily digestible by readers not as skilled as he. It used to kill me sometimes; I felt at times that I had to “dumb it down” so less well read readers could understand it; kind of like “Homer for Dummies”. And I mean no slight to those early readers; they were already part of an elite reading audience that had cut their teeth on Vance, Anderson, de Camp and JRRT. They were our first market.

I think back to the times we sat in his study in those early days, smoking a good cigar and sipping some vino. Yarning about the possibilities ahead of us, I don’t believe that either of us envisioned what was ahead for D&D, RPG’s, gaming in general, the miniatures industry or any of the rest of it.

Throughout the entire rollercoaster ride that followed, I never knew the man to put on airs or to get a larger-than-life sense of himself. He remained “just Gary” and was somewhat bemused by the whole phenomenon as it developed. Look how many quotes attributed to him say that what he thought about something wasn’t that important in the cosmic scheme of things. I never knew him to be short or curt or nasty with anyone at any convention. He shunned that kind of limelight.

Gary’s nature was such that he never looked for the bad in anyone; an argument can be made that that trait was a failing and led to getting involved with some people that did not share his decent nature and later betrayed him or sold him out. Be that as it may, he was at heart a very decent and moral man throughout his life. He strove mightily to be a good father and husband. He was a great boss and collaborator, and a pleasure to edit.

Think about it: decent and honest, talented, well read, imaginative and strove to be a good father. Can any of us wish for more to said about us at our passing?

And to top it all, his imagination and creativity, his visions and work have influenced three generations of people in a positive and profound way. What more can any of us strive for? What more can any of us hope to have said about us after we are gone?

I am going to miss the quiet breakfasts we had planned for his porch at LGGC; I had to suck it up to face attending in his absence. But I will always treasure the memories that I have. I must content myself with the thought that God had need of a great storyteller and DM to run games in heaven, and Gary is there now, on a wonderful screened in porch, with a gentle breeze to waft away the cigar smoke, but not strong enough to blow his notes around, beguiling and challenging the great minds around him to step into his world and have some fun. My life is better for having known him, and I will miss him greatly."
And below Frank talks about Gary and his legacy. 

vrijdag 1 maart 2013

Ernie Gygax loses house in fire

Last month Ernie Gygax, son of Dungeons & Dragons co-creator Gary Gygax, lost his house and all his possessions in a fire.

On Facebook, the Ernie Gygax Fire Relief page was set up to coordinate a relief effort.

Through the Gygax Magazine website, you can find Auctions for Ernie, Ebay auctions to financially support Ernie. On that website you'll also find a Paypal donation button if you would like to support the relief efforts directly.