Fantasist's Scroll

Fun, Fiction and Strange Things from the Desk of the Fantasist.


Technical Update

Filed under: — Posted by the Fantasist during the Hour of the Dog which is in the evening time.
The moon is Waning Crescent

Updates and such…

Well, I’ve been a little busy with site development stuff lately, which is why I haven’t been too chatty in this blog. But, I think it’ll pay off.
I’ve been working with MovableType elsewhere on this site and I’ve gotten some good results, I think. I’ve worked out a blog that I hope will help me get around some writer’s block and get me back into writing. Essentially, all I’ve done is set up an instance of this blog software to let me publish short fiction quickly and easily. And, the format will encourage me to not only write, but keep it tight. So far, all I’ve done is add in two old stories from ten years ago, which is when I was really writing a lot of fiction. But, I hope to add more soon. When I get more stuff in there, I’ll make it active and publicly available instead of the wierdly formated stories that are available now.

Also, I’ve been working on alternate methods of posting to this and my other blogs. So far, I’ve managed to set up a barely passable method via AvantGo. But, I’m trying to get a mail to MT gateway setup, so that I can just send e-mail to my blogs. That would rock!

More later!!


A Sudden Darkness

Filed under: — Posted by the Fantasist during the Hour of the Rooster which is in the early evening.
The moon is Waning Crescent

It must be storm season again…

This morning, shortly after I finished shaving, we lost power. There was a great roll of thunder and a flash of lightning then all the lights flickered and went out. Luckily, I knew where there was a flashlight and my wife has lots of candles around. In short order, I had several candles burning and could navigate around without fear of tripping on one of the cats.
Then, I had to get enough candles and light together to take a shower. And, since the hot water heater’s thermostat is electric, I decided I should hurry and get a warm shower!
It was actually a bit of fun, after I first made the adjustment. I think I got a slightly better understanding of what it was like in earlier times for workers who got up before dawn. A bit of fumbling about and a fair amount of squinting in the mirror, really. And, I really appreciate the fact that I didn’t have to shave in the dark! I would have had all kinds of odd whisker shadows on my face if not for that. But, just as I was trying to decide whether or not to put on water for tea, the lights came back on and my fun was over.

We talked about living by candles on purpose for a day, one weekend, though. Just for fun. My wife and daughter both thought it might be an interesting experiment. Reading by candle-light. Cooking over an open fire, or on the gas stove. Warming ourselves by the fireplace. It’s good to remember the old skills of seeing by candle. To relearn what it was like for our ancestors to live ruled by the cycle of day and night, their lives changing as the seasons changed.
So, today, I got a little inspiration from the dark and I move from the darkness to the light.


Pen and Paper Role-Playing

Filed under: — Posted by the Fantasist during the Hour of the Hare which is terribly early in the morning.
The moon is a Third Quarter Moon

DragonQuest still rules.

Okay, the new version of Dungeons and Dragons is good, but is a new version really neccessary already? Well, Wizards of the Coast sure seems to think it is. They’ve announced a D&D 3.5. What, are they taking lessons from Micro$oft?

So, it’s back to good old DragonQuest for me. Thanks to some helpful pirates in New Zealand, I can still get copies of the DragonQuest rules, albeit modified with their house rules. Still, the Seagate Guild of Adventurers has everything you need to play, except dice. Of course, as I mentioned earlier, they’ve ignored copyright issues to bring this to the public, which I admire. Of course, they’re in another country, which makes copyright enforcement a little tricky, I guess. In any case, over the years several gamers, myself included, have tried to get teh rights to DragonQuest, to no avail, so it’s nice that someone has made the info available.
Though, you can still try eBay for stray copies. They do turn up from time to time.


Litany Against Fear

Filed under: — Posted by the Fantasist during the Hour of the Snake which is mid-morning.
The moon is Waning Gibbous

For those of you who are wondering what that lovely parody from yesterday came from, here it is:
I must not fear. Fear is the mind-killer.
Fear is the little death the brings total obliteration.
I will face my fear. I will permit it to pass over me
and through me. And when it has gone past me I will turn
to see fear’s path. Where the fear has gone there will
be nothing. Only I will remain.

“Bene Geserit litany against fear”
Frank Herbert, Dune


Javacrucian Chant

Filed under: — Posted by the Fantasist during the Hour of the Hare which is in the early morning.
The moon is Waning Gibbous

It is by Caffeina alone
that I set my mind in motion.
By the Beans of Java,
my thoughts aquire speed.
The hands aquire the shakes,
the shakes become a warning.
It is by Caffeina alone
that I set my mind in motion…
– Javacrucian chant, attributed to Isaac Bonewits


Quest for a Game

Filed under: — Posted by the Fantasist during the Hour of the Rooster which is in the early evening.
The moon is Waning Gibbous

Ah, the quest for the perfect role-playing game!

For me, that would be a whole, complete game with a specifically fantasy setting that included magic and is contained in a single volume. A tall order you say? Not at all. DragonQuest is one such game. In fact, it is the standard by which I rate all other games.
Oh, Dungeons and Dragons is a fine game. Really, it can be said that it was the first true role-playing game. But, even that was broken up into multiple books, each of which cost about what the single DragonQuest volume cost. What’s more, DragonQuest dispenced with such artificial notions of “alignment” and “character classes”. Characters are motivated by the same things people are and few are wholly “good” or “evil”. And, as for the notion of a character class, DragonQuest took the much more reasonable approach of grouping skills into professional classes, but didn’t impose any artificial limits on who could learn what. So, a player could create a thief that was also very good with a sword and could cast spells. All it took was time, experience, and finding a teacher for the desired skills.
The really cool thing, to my way of thinking, was that DragonQuest did all this in less than 160 pages, including illustrations, introductions and a starter adventure! And the cost? $19.95. Mind, this was back in the mid-80’s when the dollar was worth more, too. Of course, there were additional adventures and even an entire supplemental world to adventure in, but all one really need to get started was the one book. A game far ahead of its time.
Of course, TSR bought SPI, who produced DragonQuest, just so they could take it off the shelves. Or, so it has been rumored. Then, TSR was swallowed up by Wizards of the Coast, which was in turn bought by Hasbro. All of which means, I fear, that DragonQuest will never see the light of day again. I treasure my copies of the game.

What got me thinking about this, though, was a rumor I heard on-line today about a game-alike of DragonQuest being released at the upcoming GenCon. I have no idea if it’s true or not, but I sure hope it is.
Stay tuned!


Life in a Medieval City

Filed under: — Posted by the Fantasist during the Hour of the Rooster which is in the early evening.
The moon is Waning Gibbous

Oh, to be a burgher in the Middle Ages!

Some short time ago, I wrote a review of the rather disappointing Medieval Lives. But, since I’m either a glutton for punishment, or an eternal optimist, I tried another similar book called Life in a Medieval City by Joseph and Francis Gies. I’m pleased to say that it’s a much better book.
First of all, the authors set out to simply enlighten the modern reader as to the daily life of a Medieval city-dweller. They had no hidden agenda, just the report of the facts, as best as they could determine from existing documents and sources. Their work represents a fairly accurate representation of what life might have been like for the average city dweller during the Middle Ages.
Second, they focus on one, particular city, namely Troyes. But, what they discuss can be generalized to other cities. Also, they compare Troyes to other cities of similar size and time periods, as examples of how standard, or not, Troyes was.
Thirdly, they use easy to understand language without talking down to the reader. They don’t try to make their historical personages talk to the reader, but, instead, let the occasional quote do their talking for them. They speculate only a little bit about what the people might have been thinking, focusing instead on what they actually did.

All in all, a very enjoyable book. I recommend it to anyone who has an interest in the whys and hows of life in early cities.


No Map’s Land

Filed under: — Posted by the Fantasist during the Hour of the Hare which is terribly early in the morning.
The moon is Waxing Gibbous

Lost and directionless, I plod on.

This morning, I am disheartened. Some months ago, when I had nothing but time and an empty wallet, I put forth the idea of selling catalogs of symbols for Profantasy’s Campaign Cartographer. The mere thought of someone making money off this product and the associated user community seemed to really irritate some people on the CC2 Yahoo Group, for some reason. In any case, after a bit of feedback, both pro and con, I decided not to pursue the idea. I really felt at the time that not enough people would buy the product to make it worth the effort of setting up the merchant account and website.
This morning, from that same Yahoo Group, I got an e-mail announcing that someone had just setup a website for that very purpose.
To be fair, the proprietor of that webshop, Ralf Schemmann, is not only good enough at making symbols to do work for Profantasy, but he’s a nice guy, too. My only regret is not following through on it when I had the chance. Now, while the opportunity still exists, I don’t really have the time. Ah, well, I guess that’s what I get for listening to the nay-sayers instead of my own inner voice.
Oh, by the way, Ralf’s site is called Maps and More. Good luck, Ralf!

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