A collection of meanderings+Doom of King James Revision

I’m starting a new job soon so that means upcoming vacation time while I finish up some stuff, like Palace, god willing. In the meantime, expect a steady stream of reviews, classics, donations (thanks for filling up that cue again gang), requests and inevitably more Lamentations of the Flame Princess.

In the meantime, here’s some updates and ruminations.

Venger Satanis’s Cha’alt made RPG Silver Bestseller. Considering I consulted on it, I’ll take the time to pat myself on the back a little and offer congratulations to Venger. I don’t know if it’s the best thing you’ve ever done hoss, but I don’t think I’ve reviewed anything better.

Aaron is planning something as a hors-d’euvre to Vermillion City and is marching across frozen tundra 6 days a week and eating raw fish in preparation for an epic module creation binge that will be the subject of future songs and balads. He told me its going to be an adventure, possibly PWYW, so I’m pretty stoked.

I’m unhappy with the last couplet of The Doom of King James so I propose a rewrite here, lemme know what y’all think. If everyone agrees I am adjusting the shit out of it 1984 style baby.

Original:

“See how much greatness
yet lingers in this cold flesh
who could think
that death could ever overtake
Such a splendid being

Rather then turn away in ignominous defeat
I will double down

What of it that his works
are banished from Gencon and Drivethruhallah?
Such edicts
are of no importance to me
I heed only the alluring siren-song
of piles of twinkling moulah

I will flaunt the Edict of Wieck,
and charge mightily for the privilege,
and call it an adventure.
And men will have their breasts filled with purpose
and rejoice at this seeming nobility
for men might love DnD but they love drama first and foremost!

It is not like men will oust me
merely for flaunting their edicts
and costing them profit
and stirring up trouble

I will defy their stupid Narrative and win
Hummingbird with me!
Together we will assail the gates
of Drivethruhallah itself!”

The first couplet rox. Then the bridge which is two sentences is fine, but then the third couplet breaks form at around the time of “such couplets.” I don’t know anything about classic poetry beyond a reading of the Illiad, Beowulf, Gilgamesh and a Wordsworth edition of Dante. I think it flows better like this.

“What of it that his works
are banished from Drivethruhallah?
I do not adhere
to such puny restraints
I heed only the siren-song
of piles of twinkling moulah”

Then the next couplet is a mess because of the jarring use of multiple ‘ands’ and I propose it be rewritten thus and divided into two couplets:

Watch as I flaunt
Wieck’s paltry Edict
With this studied insult
disguised as a module
See how it proclaims
the Virtue of the Titan
Already I savor
The Wailing and Butthurt

What matter that it
is not truly a module?
All Gold Looks the Same
Agleam in my coffers
It is even better!
For moreso then Dungeons
men love their Causes”

The fourth couplet is kinda okay but can also use a little beefing up since the subject matter is superfluous. For fidelity’s sake I will not use anything from James’s facebook post, which came after the story.

“I will not be ousted
for stirring up trouble
I shall not be blamed
for open defiance
my cunning ruses
can never backfire”

We have here a more Imperial James, confident that his defiance of the God Wieck will pay off, heedless of the possibility of a backlash, which is more faithful to the actual event if we go by his facebook post. And then we keep the final couplet intact (since it is a good un) for the final result.

“See how much greatness
yet lingers in this cold flesh
who could think
that death could ever overtake
Such a splendid being

Rather then turn away in ignominous defeat
I will double down

Watch as I flaunt
Wieck’s paltry Edict
With this studied insult
disguised as a module
See how it proclaims
the Virtue of the Titan
Already I savor
The Wailing and Butthurt

What matter that it
is not truly a module?
All Gold Looks the Same
Agleam in my coffers
It is even better!
For moreso then Dungeons
men love their Causes

I will not be ousted
for stirring up trouble
I shall not be blamed
for open defiance
my cunning ruses
can never backfire

I will defy their stupid Narrative
(sotto voce) and win
Hummingbird with me!
Together we will assail the gates
of Drivethruhallah itself!”

Much better.

Bookfaggotry:

A Voyage to Arcturus (David Lindsey): A book that probably merits an entire blogpost in and of itself, I discovered A Voyage to Arcturus when it was mentioned as an inspiration on Carcosa (albeit only distantly, contributing the colours of ulfire and jale and perhaps some psychic powers) although the world of Arcturus is far more unsettling and strange then even Carcosa could be. A disturbing and murderous gnostic odyssey across a rugged and untamed landscape, inhabited by single individuals that seem more like incarnations of philosophical schools and bizarre flora and fauna. The main characters undergo many metamorphoses as each land he ventures through has its own visual organs that the character adopts. A challenging, sometimes tedious work, but with imagination and driving vision that is second to none.

Berseker Blue Death (Fred Saberhagen):  A good entry in a long running series (though not as good as Berserker Man), darker in tone then the usual fare. A starship captain who has lost his wife and daughter to the marauding berserkers sets out for a mission of vengeance against the ancient Berserker Old Blue, who he believes is responsible. Battlestar Galactica meets Moby Dick, a classic story well told, with a menacing buildup of colonies emptied of life and some surprising revelations along the way. Perhaps fitting, you do not encounter Old Blue until the very end of the story. Rather then indulging in revenge porn, Saberhagen turns the story into a meditation upon the grapes of wrath and the evil that is inherent in human beings, while also capping it off with a terrific space battle. Solid, intelligent space opera.

More Scale Conversions:
Part of reviewing the B series is that it helps me solidify my position on what makes a good Dnd adventure and makes it easier for new readers to understand what I am coming from. With that in mind, let’s try out the new scale on some Role Aids stuff that came from the same era:

Beneath Two Suns (Troy Denning); *

Trash. Beneath Two Suns is backwards design from DnD to Choose Your Own Adventure, sword and planet elements notwithstanding.

A Question of Gravity (Jerome Mooney); **

I’m torn. An interesting map and a detailed starting village don’t make up for a grindingly mediocre dungeon.

Quest for the Nanorien Stones (Jim Gallagher & Steve Morrison);**

Quest for the Nanorien Stones is planar adventure done wrong but there was some sort of ambition in it and its failures are too mundane to warrant a *

The Throne of Evil (Stephen Bourne); *

Throne of Evil has a halfway decent infiltration section buried under the shitty rest but some of its design decisions are infuriating. My blood pressure is rising just rereading my review.

Evil Ruins (Stephen R. Bourne); **

Much much better. Evil Ruins is merely boring.

Shadows of Evil (Stephen R. Bourne): ****
Deadly Power (L.Nicholson, J.Keefe & D. Nicholson); ****
Pinnacle (Dan Greenberg); ****

A trio of high class adventures, easily on par with good TSR modules. I gave Pinnacle a slightly higher grade because it came together more harmoniously but Deadly Power is much more complex.

Clockwork Mage (Susan Stone & M.E Allen); ***
Beastmaker Mountain (William Fawcett); ***

Once again we bump into the limits of the Five Point grading system. Clockwork Mage is flawed but ultimately alright while BM is a fine module in its own right, a little aimless but perfectly respectable.

Dragons (Cory Glaberson); ***
Pt. I
Pt. II

I am cowardly downgrading this one until I figure out a better means for rating campaign settings by finding a benchmark, if at all possible.

Crystal Barrier (Cory Glaberson); ***

Crystal Barrier is fucking cool but every time you wait for it to ascend to godhood on a pillar of blue flame it stumbles into a doorframe or trips over its shoelaces. I think if you cleaned this up you would have a fantastic adventure.

More reviews soon. Take care!

 

 


14 thoughts on “A collection of meanderings+Doom of King James Revision

  1. It’s now 7 days a week….as apparently my state is having a massive power outage. Maps by candlelight!!!…really sets a good vibe. I treasure these last few moments on my dying battery of my laptop…

    Like

    1. Wait you have a home?
      I always figured you just lived somewhere in the wilds … I mean you always seem to be hicking or camping ….
      I envisioned you like some wild hermit wise guy … a kind of osr moses coming down the mountain from time to time to dispense his widsom in the form of sweet,sweet adventures …

      😛

      Can’t wait to see what you got 😉

      Like

  2. I do like the revised Doom of King James.

    A film adaptation of A Voyage to Arcturus was filmed (in the1970s) in a town where I used to live (in the 1990s). I’ve yet to take the time to actually watch it, despite that it’s available on YouTube.

    I have been tempted to check out Cha’alt based on the cover art alone (them eyeballs) and will read your review.

    Like

    1. They filmed A Voyage to Arcturus? Damn. I can’t imagine it’s any good on a low budget with 70s tech and I have serious doubts whether it can even be filmed at all, with its plethora of indescribable or novel colours, sounds, genders, sensations and so on. One of the most bizarre things I have ever read.

      My review of Cha’alt would have to be taken with a grain of salt since I actually did stuff for it with Venger. I might give it a review either way, but I’d urge you to check out other people’s reviews of it.

      Like

  3. An excellent revision to your epic ballad. With the Fall of a Titan and the Doom of King James, you may have on your hands the OSR version of the Edda. With all the drama and shitstorms coming out nowadays, it may just be exactly that, o chronicler of the OSRagnarok.
    On a side note, I’m digging the book recommendations. I had Voyage to Arcturus on my list, but I sadly forgot about till now. I think it might have hit the top after that endorsement. Which reminds me, I have to finally finish Blood Meridian.
    Looking forward to more of your reviews since you have more time, and good luck on the new gig!

    Like

    1. OSRagnarok, Nice, I’m retrocloning that.

      I’m glad you are finding the book recommendations palatable. I am trying to upgrade my reading to cover more of the classics as of late but Blood Meridian was recommended to me by no other then our own Ray Chandler and ended up very high on my list. It also served as an inspiration for The Prince of Nothing series by R.Scott Bakker, so naturally I was curious.

      Voyage to Arcturus is a difficult read, but I don’t know anything that is more creative and fantastical.

      Like

  4. Given your talent in writing in couplets, I am going to recommend DCC Lankhmar 3: Acting Up in Lankhmar. I am expecting a critique of the sample material of the play.

    Like

    1. Now you’ve got me at least curious. I consider Leiber’s stuff among the best S&S I have read, with the exception of his execrable Knight and Knave of Lahknmar which I had to sell for fear of incurring a depression.

      Like

  5. Way back in the 1990s, when I was starting to get fed up with mom-friendly AD&D, Role Aids seemed like forbidden fruit that’d impart all kinds of knowledge man was not meant to know.

    Alas, it mostly turned out to be trash, just a different brand of it. Never got to any of the good ones. However… the Demons II boxed set was a very well-written and lavishly produced supplement for… Ars Magica? I wonder how that happened, but instead of edgy off-brand AD&D with demon tits, I got a surprisingly classy work on fantasy demonology / inquisition / occultism that, unlike White Wolf products, did not have that peculiar whiff of whole foods meets patchouli.

    Like

    1. I don’t think Role Aids did Ars Magica did it? That sounds pretty good. I think the closest thing my juvenile self ever got to a good treatment on the lower realms and their inhabitants was monte’s Book of Vile Darkness, and even that is probably more edgy then substantial or mature.

      Like

    2. “…instead of edgy off-brand AD&D with demon tits, I got a surprisingly classy work on fantasy demonology / inquisition / occultism that, unlike White Wolf products, did not have that peculiar whiff of whole foods meets patchouli.”

      Haha.

      Like

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