Thursday, September 30, 2010

Encounter with Saturn

Encounter with Saturn by ~Atlantean6 on deviantART

Sometimes, Exploration can be as dangerous as encountering a space monster or an evil race in space.  But the rewards can be great after the trials.  This was rendered using a doctored picture of Saturn blissfully taken from the NASA website and the Cassini expedition.  The pair are flying in a Vanguard, a large class of shuttle.  Up ahead is Saturn.

I had to resize the Saturn picture to fit a certain range, and then use it as a backdrop.  The light from Saturn blocks the stars, unfortunately, so no Solar Nebula.  I would have used Saturn with a starry backdrop, but the photo editing would have been murder. :)

Sometimes, you need science fiction too.  That's why I'm doing more science fiction renders from now on. :D

American Wolfman

American Wolfman by ~Atlantean6 on deviantART

There is a beast in Wisconsin that is stalking the Bray Road and places like Canada, Michigan, Ohio, and Northeastern Utah.  The beast can only be described as a Wolfman. 

Tuesday, September 28, 2010

Mary Shelley's Frankstein

In 1816, Mary W. Shelley wrote Frankenstein: or the Modern Prometheus in response to Lord Byron's little contest to see who could write the best ghost story.  Of the ghost stories told in Lord Byron's little party, only Mary Shelley's Frakenstein would live on.

The story, to be summarized, is about a scientist named Victor von Frankenstein that studied and found the secret to life.  He used his knowledge to bring to life a creature made from human body parts.  Essentially, a flesh golem in D&D but with the ability to reason and to speak.  Horrified at reanimating dead tissue, Victor runs from his laboratory and the creature also leaves.

Through their adventures the creature is shunned by humanity and it starts to murder.  After each murder, Frankenstein grows ill because he is responsible by default since he brought the creature to life.  At some point, the creature demands that Victor creates a mate for him.  Victor starts to do so, but he stops before completing the second creature.  Victor gains a conscious, realizing that the creatures may be mortal and may be able to reproduce.  He tears the thing to pieces and the first creature angrily curses him for destroying his font of happiness.  In retaliation, he murders Victor's wife.  The two have a final confrontation at the North Pole and in the end Victor dies and the creature wanders the Earth, never to be seen again.

The Modern Prometheus

The reason why Mary called the story the Modern Prometheus is because its an allusion to the myth of Prometheus and Epimetheus.  Both Prometheus and Epimetheus were tasked to create life on Earth by the gods.  Epimetheus, which his name means Afterthought, created all the animals first.  He handed them all the powers that each of the animals all have.  So, when he set to create man, there was nothing to give.  So Epimetheus turned to his brother, Prometheus.  Prometheus, whose name means Forethought, designed man with all the powers of the gods and gave them life.

However, Prometheus' story doesn't stop there.  Prometheus cared for his children so he wanted to give them fire.  Zeus forbade him to give Men fire.  However, Prometheus disobeyed Zeus and took a fennel stock and started it on fire using the sun.  He returned to Earth and showed men fire and taught him how to make fire.  The result made Zeus angry, so Zeus chained the Titan to Mount Caucasus where an eagle or a vulture would come to eat out his liver every day.

By comparing the novel with the myth, Prometheus creates life and Victor von Frankenstein reanimates life, Victor von Frankenstein becomes Prometheus.  At the outset, Mary Shelley wrote the book as a cautionary tale of how science can be used without limits or conscience.  This book had a sequel, written by H.G. Wells known as The Island of Dr. Moreau that did deal with the consequences of science turned loose without ethics or morals to restrain it.  Only in this case, The Island of Doctor Moreau had dealt with the consequences of genetic research without ethics and how it can be used to create monsters.

Frankenstein as a critique on Government

Frankenstein can be viewed as a critique on the Industrial Revolution and the politics of Commerce at the time.  Although the writer Charles Dickens revealed how terrible the Industrial Revolution has had  as an impact on 19th Century England; Mary Shelley goes at the heart of the problem and how Industrialized commerce could collude with government.  Mary Shelley wasn't critiquing the Industrial Revolution she was critiquing government behind the Industrial Revolution.  The government was personified by Victor von Frankenstein.  The creature personified the society of the Industrial Revolution at the time.  In a way, you could say that the story argues the consequences of social engineering -- something that the President of the United States wants to put into high gear on the United States of America.

It's also a story about the arrogance of government, and the monsters it can create out of society.  In a terrible way, one can interpret Frankenstein as a story of what happens when government interferes with nature.  It is the natural order of things for life to beget life and to die.  In human society, it's natural for commerce, science, and religion to go about unregulated by the government.  However, when government starts interfering, it can create an unnatural society.  As capitalism can be seen as natural to Man, or even better yet, a society working under the Law of Consecration; socialism is a wicked construct that forces everyone to be equal in the eyes of human beings, removing the hope of individuality.  The result is an unnatural society as powerful and mighty as the Creature Victor created.

Frankenstein's inspirations.

Mary Shelley took inspiration for Victor von Frankenstein from the work and lives of four men.  Luigi Galvani, who experimented with electricity on dead animals to see what happened; his nephew Giovanni Aldini [pictured], who worked with electricity on dead human cadavers; Andrew Ure, a Scottish scientist who built on Luigi Galvani's experiments and also worked with cadavers.  And finally, the infamous Konrad Dippel.  The man who is strongly linked to the Frankenstein story even though his macabre experiments was done with alchemy rather than electricity.

Luigi Galvani was probably one of the scientists that studied electricity and its effects on dead animals.  He stumbled across the notion that electricity was apart of our bodies when a thunderstorm caused the frog legs to twitch.  So, Galvani tested electricity by applying it to a dead frog's sciatic nerve.  The result was that the frog's legs jumped.  He then released his findings and it revolutionized biology.

Galvani's work led to an explosion of using electricity to treat many kinds of ailments, as the new technology was believed to be a panacea and used as an entertainment piece.  Much like computers are being used today, no doubt.  Also, during Galvani's day, the new knowledge of how electricity was linked to the Body was demonstrated in Europe with all kinds of shows showing twitching limbs.  It surprised and horrified people as the scientist explained how electrical energy was used by animals and humans to help their bodies move.  However, Galvani put forward an idea that man can achieve immortality by being infused with electricity artificially.  However, it took his nephew to demonstrate this in a much more startling and macbre way.

Giovanni Aldini had more common with Victor von Frankenstein than Galvani or Konrad Dippel.  The man would demonstrate the effects of electricity on a human body.  Aldini did this with a dead murderer's body.  He'd connect electricity to the head and the anus and other parts of the body and the cadaver seemed to have come to life.  Which was an unnerving experience.

The other man was Andrew Ure. Andrew Ure used a cadaver which he had made incisions into the body.  He then applied electricity in the incisions.  The bizarre experiment caused the man to make several faces, extend his leg and jump the leg enough to cause one of the assistants to fall back, and finally he used the electricity on the finger, which caused it to extend and point at the audience.  Many believed that the man had come back to life.

The final man was Konrad Dippel.  Dippel was born in, ironically enough, Castle Frankenstein.  Konrad Dippel was educated in Alchemy and all matters of science.  Konrad fought with his professors and felt his thoughts were right.  He left the university and followed his own theories on finding the secret to life.  Konrad Dippel was responsible for Prussian Blue, Dippel's oil, and other things.  No one, however, was sure tha he used cadavers  but the authorities found strange human bones in the courtyard of where he lived.  Konrad Dippel died mysteriously either by poison or a stroke.

Frankenstein Filmography
Frankenstein is the story that is the most adapted to film, beating out Dracula the strange love story between an undead count and a young woman.

Frankenstein (1910)--one-reel Edison Studios film, recently recovered.  
Life Without Soul (1915)--five-reel version.
Frankenstein (1931)--Universal film with Boris Karloff.
Bride of Frankenstein (1935)--with Elsa Lanchester.  
Son of Frankenstein (1939)--with Basil Rathbone.  
The Ghost of Frankenstein (1942)--Lon Chaney, Jr.
Frankenstein Meets the Wolf Man (1943)--Bela Lugosi.
House of Frankenstein (1944)--Glenn Strange.  
House of Dracula (1945)--last of Universal's horror series.
Abbott and Costello Meet Frankenstein (1948)--Glenn Strange.
The Curse of Frankenstein (1957)--Hammer Films with Christopher Lee.
I Was a Teenage Frankenstein (1957)--pieces of teen corpses.
The Revenge of Frankenstein (1958)--Hammer with Michael Gwynn.
Frankenstein 1970 (1958)--Boris Karloff.
How To Make a Monster (1958)--make-up man's revenge.
Frankenstein's Daughter (1959)--son of creates woman.
The Evil of Frankenstein (1964)--Hammer with Kiwi Kingston.
Frankenstein Conquers the World (1965)--Japanese Toho Studios.
Frankenstein Meets the Space Monster (1965)--British, with android.
Jesse James Meets Frankenstein's Daughter (1966)--p.u.
Frankenstein Created Woman (1967)--Hammer, revenge.
Mad Monster Party (1968)--Rankin/Bass, stop-motion.
Frankenstein Must Be Destroyed (1969)--yes, we know this.
Horror of Frankenstein (1970)--Hammer.
Dracula vs. Frankenstein (1971)--Lon Chaney, Jr.
Lady Frankenstein (1971)--woman builds man.
Frankenstein's Bloody Terror (1972)--Spanish.
Frankenstein (1972)--Dan Curtis Productions, made-for-tv.
Frankenstein: The True Story (1973)--Michael Sarrazin; and see Jane Seymour get her head ripped off.  
Frankenstein's Castle of Freaks (1973)--brain transplants.
Andy Warhol's Frankenstein (1974)--French-Italian.
Frankenstein and the Monster From Hell (1974)--Hammer.
Young Frankenstein (1974)--Mel Brooks parody.
The Rocky Horror Picture Show (1975)--the cult musical.
Terror of Frankenstein (1977)--fairly literal adaptation of the Shelley novel.
Frankenstein Island (1981)--John Carradine plus spiders, snakes, and Amazons.
Frankenstein (1982)--stars Robert Powell.
Frankenstein 90 (1984)--Frankenstein descendent and cultured creature.
Frankenweenie (1984)--resurrected pet dog.
Transylvania 6-5000 (1985)--tabloid scoop on return of monster.
Weird Science (1985)--nerds create woman.
Frankenstein's Great-Aunt Tillie (1985)--inheritance comedy.
Gothic (1987)--account of the 1816 stay of the Shelleys with Byron.
Dr. Hackenstein (1988)--comedy resurrection of late wife.
Frankenstein General Hospital (1988)--med. student "hi-jinks."
Frankenstein Unbound (1990)--Roger Corman's return to directing.
Frankenhooker (1990)--New Jersey mad doctor.
Edison's Frankenstein (1990)--Researched remake of the 1910 one.
Frankenstein: The College Years (1991)--Augh.
Frankenstein (1993)--Randy Quaid.
Mary Shelley's Frankenstein (1994)--Kenneth Branaugh, Robert De Niro.
Frankenstein and Me (1995)--carnival sideshow exhibit.
Mr. Stitch (1996)--A humanoid military weapon made from 88 corpses.
Lust for Frankenstein (1998)--Dr.'s ghost tells daughter to resurrect project: lesbian monster.  
Frankenstein Reborn! (1998)--13-year-old Anna Frankenstein is curious about her uncle's experiments.  
Rock & Roll Frankenstein (1999)--Music agent has nephew piece together rock star from pieces of greats.  
Mistress Frankenstein (2000)--Lesbian nympho's brain in the dead Mrs. Helena Frankenstein. Frankenthumb (2002)--Spoof of the Frankenstein films done "digitally."
    Hallmark's Mary Shelly's Frankenstein (2004) --Hallmark's version which centered on the love story.  Frankenstein Reborn (2005)
    Frankenstein (2007) -- Asylum's modern retelling.
    Frankenstein (2010) -- College adaptation. 
    Any of these would be perfect to start.  The best movie to start with is either the 1931 Universal Film with Boris Karloff, or this Peter Cushing classic, The Curse of Frankenstein.

    Friday, September 24, 2010

    For Queen and Country!

    The Cast of For Queen and Country! is complete.  It's an interesting campaign for others, a fun one for me.  Some people are actually thinking that I'm trying to produce an actual T.V. show.  I'd love too, actually, but I am not.

    The campaign runs like a T.V. show with seasons and so forth.  Best part about it, the Network can't cancel this one.  This one runs until the PCs reach their goals.  Using Rolemaster Fantasy Roleplaying for its engine, the campaign is serious in tone.  Any one of the PCs can be slain.  The idea brings in roleplaying in a whole new context.  Every encounter classed as a combat encounter is potentially deadly.  So, why the Moonshaes?  I've been wanting to game there for a while.

    The Moonshaes seemed real after reading the first Moonshae trilogy.  Douglas Niles did a good job bringing the Moonshaes to life in his books.

    New Work-in-Progress

    I'm working on a scene that is much like this one:

    This is the High Queen Alicia, the Queen Mother and High Druid Robyn, and a man representing the Northmen meeting with High Lady Ordalf of Karandor after the palace rose from the sea in 1375 D.R. (the Year of Risen Elfkin) in the Moonshae Isles.  I took a different approach.

    High Lady Ordalf-WIP by ~Atlantean6 on deviantART

    Here, the High Lady Ordalf abandoned her palace for a more sylvan setting until her new subjects, the Llewyrr Elves, can build her a city.  The meeting is taking place in the High Lady's makeshift throne room.  I used a lot of props here I can't possibly name all the creators.  Except that Nora was made by Thorne and Sarsa.

    Saturday, September 18, 2010

    The Barbarian at Sunset

    Barbarian at Sunset by ~Atlantean6 on deviantART

    This is a barbarian woman I rendered on my computer.  Ambience provided by Uberenvironment 2, Sunlight and radiosity light are distant lights and one spotlight.

    Friday, September 17, 2010

    The Illithid-Terran War

    INthe most ambitious science fiction campaign ever conceived, and it must stay an OFFICIAL ghost work! I hate Wizards of the Coast.

    During the beginning stages of World War II, where Hitler of Germany started to take over portions of Europe, the Illithids started to expand their empire to the Orion Spur.  The Illithids find Sol and the blue green planet known as Earth.


    During the first air strikes in Britain, the Mind Flayers made landfall in the Orkneys and started killing people. They then invade Edinburgh and Leeds, and started killing men, women, and children; for food.  They also extradited what was left of the two populations into space.  The next day, they touch down in France and Germany and wiped out most of the population of the Rhineland.  It was on this day that the Axis Powers and the Allies became allies for it would be clear that the Illithids will destroy the population of the Earth.

    Hitler, Roosevelt, Churchill, Stalin, and Hirohito all combined their forces together to repel the Illithid threat.  Using just planet based forces, they stopped the first invasion of the Illithids.  The Mind Flayers fled, however the fleet was just a small task force.   It wasn't the true Invasion fleet of the Mind Flayers.  Faced with unimaginable foes, the leaders of the Major Powers worried.  What would happen now, and how they would repel the threat?  The answer came just three years later . . .


    Earth's mightiest hope came in the form of the Eladrin.  The Eladrin came in their ships made of plants to offer their assistance.  The Eladrin taught the people of Earth how to construct Einstein-Rosen Bridges.  With this technology, the Earthers had a chance to strike against the main invasion fleet.  The Earthers built four ships to head their invasion fleet:
    * The U.S.S. Enterprise -- the first Space Carrier.
    * The H.M.S. Hood -- Britain's Space Battleship.
    * The D.R.S. Bismark -- Germany's Space Battleship.
    * The J.I.S. Yamato -- Japan's Space Battleship.

    With these four ships, and with several smaller cruisers, the Earthlings met the Illithid Invasion Force at the Planet Jupiter and managed to destroy them.  But that was only the beginning of the Terran-Illithid War. . . .

    For Earth's mightiest Campaign has begun.  Not a campaign for conquest, a campaign for Survival.  It's forty years later, and new technologies have been developed - especially with Space Travel.  The Warp Drive had been perfected and Gate Travel allows the navies of the Earth to marshal their forces against the Entire Interstellar Illithid Empire.

    The story of this war will be documented in pictures and I invite any and all artists to participate in the greatest Space Campaign in the Milky Way.  Render Illithid fleets, the Eladrin, the Humans, the Drow, and the Orcs and other aliens who participate in a battle royal against an evil so insidious it's hard to imagine. 

    And always remember . . . . 


    Thursday, September 16, 2010

    Review of the DMG 4.0

    Dungeon Master: Fear Not. Ranger, Barbarian, Magician, Thief, Cavalier, and Acrobat!

    Shelia: Who was that?

    Dungeon Master: Venger, the force of Evil. I am Dungeon Master, your guide through the Realm of Dungeons and Dragons!

    One Creative person who is willing to spend countless hours designing a campaign, preparing player guides, and showing one to five other people a good time. Must be social, must be enthusiastic, must be willing to be able to give such a group some free nights of Entertainment. Storytelling talents are a must!

    The Dungon Master

    So, are you ready to take on a thankless job or a rewarding role of play? Are you ready to spend countless hours running possibly one to five people through dungeons and realms of adventure? Are you ready to teach people effective teamwork in an activity of creative, co-operative storytelling? Can you adjudicate rules? Can you yell at and stand up to Rules Lawyers? Are you enthusiastic about creating a moving setting to move your players through?

    Are you ready to be the Dungeon Master(tm)?

    If so, you might want to take a look at Gamemaster Law, Gamemastery, Robin's Laws of Good Gamemastering, or the various Dungeon Master's Guides, which this review focuses on one -- the 4th Edition Dungeon Master's Guide. With this book, James Wyatt hopes to stand with the writers and other sages of Game Mastering. Well, lets take a look at this guide.


    Here, James Wyatt explains what the Dungeons and Dragons game (any edition, or really any roleplaying game) really is: a fundamentally cooperative game between two or more players. He also explains the job, or joy, of what a Dungeon Master is. He goes into what you need to play, although the DM really needs is
    * His imagination and the players' imaginations.
    * Dice.
    * Paper and Pencils.

    The rest are all useful additions to the craft and truly superfluous. Oh yeah, you need fun. But then, all of you supply that.

    So, the next section is on the Players.

    The Chinese Zodiac

    James Wyatt goes into a zodiac of players. He explains that players tend to fall into certain types: Actors, Explorers, Instigators, Power Gamers (which the 4th Edition PHB is written for), Slayers, Storytellers, Thinkers, and the people who just sit on the sidelines watching and getting entertained by the active players and you.

    Each player type is discussed in detail, and what their habits are according to James Wyatt's experience at Dungeon Mastering. Now each player type represents a stereotype, and it's my experience that each player has a little bit of every type inside them. But certain personality types can heavily gravitate to one type one day, and be another type another day. So, I stress that these are just based on observations and no one player is exclusively one type consistently.

    He then goes into party building. He does tell you what happens if a certain type is missing. But that is for your information only, and as a DM, it is your job to be flexible. If the party doesn't cover all the roles, then change the adventure to accommodate the party. Either alter your adventure, or use a different adventure, or change the story.

    The chapter also goes into party background and campaign details, when to use character backgrounds (and if they are extremely detailed, you have a lot of material to use), and what kind of style you are looking for.

    My current campaign, For Queen and Country! is set in the Forgotten Realms in the United Kingdom of the Moonshaes and borrows it's tone and feel from King Arthur and Ivanhoe. Which means, I'm running Medieval Fantasy with some Anachronisms. I am also using Rolemaster Fantasy Roleplaying. But the whole game is run like a T.V. Show. So you could say that my campaign is a gritty, Anachronistic, Medieval fantasy that is quite serious.

    He then goes into several types of games. He then lays down some rules he uses at the table. That doesn't mean you have to adopt them all, or throw them all out, or you don't have your own rules. This last part of this chapter is necessarily subjective.

    CHAPTER 2. Running the Game

    In Chapter 2, James Wyatt explains what it takes to run the game. Specifically Dungeons and Dragons 4th Edition, generally the rules apply to any game. The advice on Preparing and Getting Started is definitely from James Wyatt's experience. These two sections apply to any game. So does the discussion of the modes of the game. There are points on narration and storytelling: including leading by example, brevity, atmosphere, and style. Even pacing and props are given consideration. In fact, the whole chapter is useful for GMs of any game, or any edition of Dungeons and Dragons. It's all general advice and very good advice.

    Chapter 3. Combat Encounters

    The real mechanics of the game, save the PHB only, is in chapter 3, combat encounters. Still, some of the advice here can be used by GMs of all games. Strangely enough, you could almost call this chapter "CHARTMONSTER" since this chapter has all the charts needed to adjudicate the game and combat encounters and special situations. Everything from listening to a door to flying to disease has a chart that accompanies it. I don't know about you, but Rolemaster might have a run for it's money as to which game has the most charts.

    Chapter 4. Building Encounters.

    Charles, Duke of Orleans

    Okay, this chapter is 4th Edition specific, but also useful for other games. It has advice on monster roles, artillery, how controlers work, brutes, minions and most everything else. Stuff that is 4e specific are XP rewards, how they work, and several encounter templates. Although the information in the encounter templates can be used by any GM for any game, the game mechanics aspect are all 4th Edition.

    James also gives you a lot of encounter settings. From the most interesting areas to terrain features, to the most difficult terrain. Also, something called an encounter script is included. This chapter shows the Dungeon Master how to build an encounter and it does it brilliantly.

    Chapter 5. Non Combat Encounters

    These rules deal with 4th Edition as far as skill challenges go and gives general advice about puzzles and and traps. Chapter 5 isn't particularly useful to GMs of other games, however the advice is still sound. The chapter teaches the DM how to deal with Skill Challenges, Puzzles, and Traps and Hazards. In fact, examples how skill challenges work and how the DM works with them is provided. There is even an example of play (although the players participating in it aren't actors. *smiles* )

    James draws on his experience with using puzzles in his games. Although not all adventures should have them. A puzzle is a device that isn't as important as the skill change. Or should I say that overuse of puzzles in your adventures -- unless you are playing an espionage game -- will lead to them losing their savor.

    Traps and Hazards are important in gaming, and James talks about this at length. They break up the action and provide danger of a different kind instead of the monstrous or the villainous. Traps may be natural, the result of deteriorating architecture, or deliberately set by your villain to catch your PCs. However, in the case of Benedict and Beatrice, the women and menfolk lay a different kind of trap than what you would design for the PCs.

    Several traps exist: blasters, lurkers, obstacles, warders, and elite and solo traps. Then James goes into length about how to use them.

    Chapter 6. Adventures

    This is the chapter that teaches you how to build and modify your adventures. There are several books that go indepth on this very subject. Some are esoteric, some are straight forward. But this chapter provides the Dungeon Master with indepth information about them, especially if you are starting out. With this chapter, unless you are looking into storycrafting or going into the subject indepth; it's pretty much contains everything you need.

    James goes into published adventures, fixing certain problems, and building them. He even talks about quests, encounter mixes, and world building. All of this is great information for the DM and the GM of a Non-D&D RPG.

    Chapter 7. Rewards.

    This chapter is all about awarding experience points. This is 4th Edition specific so if you use another system, your mileage may vary.

    Chapter 8. Campaigns

    One word. WORLD BUILDING. This one chapter is all about world building. Published Campaigns, Campaign themes, Super-Adventures (or Adventure Paths), campaign stories, beginning a campaign, running one, and ending one. Very good advice is in this book, but again, to really get into the craft of building and running campaigns there are many books on world building and you can ask the advice of other Gamemasters on how to run campaigns. This chapter is useful to the novice and can point you in the right direction on honing your craft.

    Chapter 9. The World.

    This chapter deals with a default world. Like the Known Realm of the Dungeons and Dragons cartoon as an example. The default world makes certain assumptions. However, you don't have to use the Default world at all. Chapter 8, Campaigns; is written before this one for a reason. Chapter 9 only gives you an example of such a world for use in D&D or any Fantasy RPG. This part of the book also talks about artifacts specific to that world.

    Chapter 10. The DM's Toolbox

    This is your chapter about using everything you know to customize your adventure. Customizing monsters, creating monsters, creating NPCs, Creating House Rules, Random Dungeons, and Random Encounters. This chapter is about customizing D&D 4e within its framework. Of course, remember rule 0, the DM trumps all rules. You can take away framework, change the scaffolding, and make additions. This chapter shows you how.

    Chapter 11. Fallcrest.

    This chapter offers a sample adventure to get you started. I've never run it, although don't trust me to run it with 4e. The DM's guide ends, thankfully, with an index, something for your miniatures, some other things you may find useful, and the obligatory advert for D&D Insider.

    I never used D&D Insider myself and I don't feel it's worth my time as a DM to use.


    The DM's Guide, 4th edition, is the strongest of the 3 core books for 4th Edition roleplaying. I wholly recommend that you add it to your library as a good reference for the craft. There is a lot for you to use, even if you play GURPS, Rolemaster, King Arthur Pendragon, or countless other games. James Wyatt has done a good job sharing his experience.

    The substance is excellent, since this is one book I would buy for my private collection. The book I am reviewing is my cousin's copy. Secondly, the style is only average. I'd dare say that Wizards of the Coast could have used a multiplicity of art styles to dress their book in. Photographs from the D&D movie, Computer Generated 3D illustrations, Paintings from DMG 2nd Edition, and the like along with the current cartoony illustrations would have made for an excellent styled book.

    It's a book on Gamemastery as a whole, I say, make it look like such.

    THIS REVIEW is published under the Creative Commons Attribution-Share Alike 3.0 U.S. License, except for the Videos and two photos, which are used under the doctrine of Fair Use and for the purpose of Review.

    Videos used for the purposes of this review, and thus under the doctrine of Fair Use:
    1. [i]Dungeons and Dragons: The Last Illusion, pt. 1. Marvel Productions, overseen by E. Gary Gygax.
    2. Kenneth Branagh's Henry V ; The Battle of Agincourt, part 1.
    3. Kenneth Branagh's Much Ado About Nothing; Beatrice and Benedict entrapped.

    Photos used are for the purposes of this review, and thus under the doctrine of Fair Use:
    1. The Dungeon Master (Source: Dungeons and Dragons cartoon).
    2. The Chinese Zodiac (source: Wikipedia)
    3. Charles, the Duke of Orleans (Source: Henry V).

    Wednesday, September 15, 2010

    Dreams of Fires

    I dreamed a dream last night.  I was living in the mountains to the east of Salt Lake City.  It was summer, and a nice breeze.  I was along the lake with a friend of mine. However, later in the day a powerful hot wind blew in from the west, bring with it a powerful wild fire.  Then thick, dark smoke covered the Sun and sky.  From the smoke floated tiny particles of poison as the fire ravaged the land.  The particles were fallout, and they killed most every living thing that the fire could not kill.

    Tuesday, September 14, 2010

    Eladrin Lantern Bearer

    Eladrin Lantern Bearer by ~Atlantean6 on deviantART

    An image for the Forgotten Realms setting.  The Sun Elf/Eladrin is standing to greet the dawn in Evereska.  The image was done with UberEnvironment 2 for ambient lighting.  I then had two distant lights: one for radiosity, another for the Sun.  I then added a spotlight to bring out the elf a bit more.

    The Eladrin was made with VAMP's Syndori morphs except: Utopia was set to .4 and Voluptuous set to .6.  certain muscles were set to .20 to .37.  I then Steph 4's petite morph set to 1. I then used Aiko's pigtail with the color set to Auburn. :)  Rendered in DS3A.  The background is from Fantasy Stock, and it's Misty Morning 4.


    In Roleplaying Games, not all changes are for the better, and not all changes are for the bad. Be critical of any new Roleplaying Game you buy. 

    Wednesday, September 8, 2010

    4e, Comedy and Choreography -- Rolemaster and Tragedy

    Despite how I feel about the PHB1, the whole of D&D 4th Edition gives me this feeling, illustrated by Danny Kaye and who is supposed to be Basil Rathbone.

    In other words, I can't take 4e seriously for serious Roleplaying in certain genres.  4e is light hearted.  It's built for comedic roleplaying.   And they happily lived ever after!  Although the Court Jester is still epic, it's epic comedy.  In other words, you can take it seriously for family entertainment.  So, this makes D&D 4e family friendly.  It's great for a light hearted romp in adventuring.  That's why it's so deceptively simple.

    To compare it to Rolemaster is to compare Danny Kaye's The Court Jester with Shakespeare's Henry V.  Shakespeare, when he writes a comedy, its light hearted.  D&D like.  But when he writes a history, like Henry V, he doesn't hold back.  And neither does Kenneth.

    When you play Rolemaster with the right GM, you're possibly going to be in for a treat.  Rolemaster is built for Epic Roleplaying.  Both tragedy and comedy in built into Rolemaster's framework.  Although the comedy might come after a lot of pain and hurt.  Although D&D 4e can go that far, it wasn't initially built for the possibility of Tragedy unless your DM is out for a Total Player Kill.  Danny Kaye was transformed into the best swordsman in England due to hypnotism: a level 20th bard under the D&D 4e rules.

    For this representation of Agincourt, however, King Henry the Fifth is young, so he can't be more than a 7th level fighter.  He faces fighters on the French side with more experience (8 through 10) and slays many of them.  However, if you look around, there are fighters on the English Side more experienced than he -- and they are slain.

    Monday, September 6, 2010

    For Queen and Country! (Forgotten Realms Campaign /w RMFRP and played on OpenRPG!)

    The Moonshaes. For years, High Queen Alicia Kendrick rules over a United Moonshae Isles. The Moonshaes are at peace and at balance. Still this has attracted the attentions of malefic gods. One such God, Bane, looked over the Moonshaes and their Unitedness and began to hatch a plan in which freedom will be severely restricted.

    Malar, however, senses the thoughts of the people of the Moonshaes, and Correllon Larethian is constantly being petitioned to raise the city of Kandor from it's watery grave. But, when Kazgoroth stalks the Moonshaes, is anyone truly safe?

    For Queen and Country!
    For Queen and Country is a campaign set in the United Moonshae Isles. Player characters are encouraged to fight for the Moonshaes and their actions to keep the people safe from all threats: Internal and external, mundane and supernatural. Fight for Honor, Glory, and of course the Queen and your Country!

    The Campaign is set in the Forgotten Realms kingdom of the Moonshae Isles!

    * Play a Knight or a Housecarl and do battle with Sword and Shield.
    * Be a mighty Magician and fight the Moonshae's enemies with magic.
    * Take the role of a Druid and protect and preserve the Balance.
    * Or take any number of roles!

    * Be a Llewyrr elf and see what life is like outside of Myrloch Vale.
    * Take the role of a gruff dwarf, a noble savage orc, or a rural halfling.

    The Campaign is ran like a T.V. series. If it were actually shown on T.V. (and everything got past the *insert expletive here* censors in Renton) it would be an Ensemble Show with an open-oriented format. You play characters who defend the Moonshaes against any threat.

    The theme of the show has to do with bravery and honor against dishonor and cowardice. The tone of the show is that it takes on the tone of Ivanhoe (by Sir Walter Scott) and the Arthurian Saga (various authors).

    The year is 1372 DR, the Year of Wild Magic.

    * The game is played on OpenRPG (Server: RPG Refugees).

    Game System Used

    This is a game of Intrigue, Excitement, and Roleplaying. It has an undertone of Epic Medieval Movies like The Adventures of Robin Hood, Excalibur, and of course, Ivanhoe (1952, 1980, and 1997).

    A style that can be replicated with D&D 4e but with great difficulty [its very difficult, if you know anything about 4e and the Medieval Romance genre -- the two are incompatible in certain ways]. And since King Arthur Pendragon (4th Edition, ironically) is a rather complex game to set up the FR for, the game system that is most appropriate is Rolemaster Fantasy Roleplaying (RMFRP) or Rolemaster Classic (RMC or RM2).

    Rolemaster has a few things going for it:

    * Its the most realistic FRPG still in print.

    * A first level Rolemaster Character can conceivably slay a 20th level Rolemaster Character dead.

    * Character generation allows you to create truly unique characters: in knowledge and ability.

    * Dozens of character concepts can be created and supported by the rules. Including: timid nobles, Ladies who's only ambition is to marry a good man, and ESSENCE spellcasters who can train to strike at enemies, defend and lead others, instead of just to control enemies.

    * Slower leveling. Rolemaster uses an easier way to level so as the characters don't get too big for the series' britches too fast (in D&D 4e and 3e, leveling is a bit too quick).

    * Core Professions to choose from including:
    - Fighter
    - Thief
    - Rogue
    - Warrior Monk
    - Everyman

    - Magician (Essence)
    - Illusionist (essence)
    - Cleric (or Priest) (Channeling)
    - Animist (Channeling)
    - Mentalist (Mentalism)
    - Lay Healer (Mentalism)

    - Mystic (Essence & Mentalism)
    - Sorcerer (Essence & Channeling)
    - Healer (Channeling & Mentalism)

    - Ranger (Semi-Channeling)
    - Paladin (Semi-Channeling)
    - Dabbler (Semi-Essence)
    - Monk (Semi-Essence)
    - Bard (Semi-Mentalism)
    - Magent (Semi-Mentalism)

    What are you waiting for? Join the campaign and gain glory for yourself and For Queen and Country today!

    What do I need?

    * If you are planning to play in this campaign, and you want to play a fighter, magician, mentalist, thief or cleric; then you will need just Rolemaster Fantasy Roleplaying (RMFRP) to start with.

    * If you are planning on playing a Druid or Paladin, then in Addition you will need:
    -- Character Law
    -- Spell Law of Channeling

    * If you want to play an exotic race (Fey'ri, Avariel, Drow, Tiefling, or Dragonborn) you will also need:
    -- Races and Cultures

    * Other recommended products:
    -- Arms Law (2003)
    -- The Armory
    *little hint, this book has a table that allows you to throw around your favorite hench gnome!*
    -- Spell Law of Essence
    -- Spell Law of Mentalism

    And there are Starter Packs out!
    -- Starter Pack One (RMFRP, Character Law, Arms Law {2003}).
    -- Starter Pack Two (Spell Law of Channeling, of Essence, of Mentalism)

    If I use Rolemaster: The Standard System?

    You may use the Channeling Companion and the Martial Arts Companion. The Arcane Companion is off limits: there are enough Elminsters and Simbuls in the Realms.
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