Blog Posts

“Faust: A Tragedy” by Johann Wolfgang von Goethe

Woodcut image of winged devil with cloven feet pressing a paper to a surprised man.

I flew out to Stanford last week for my annual pilgrimage to LDCX, a technology conference for cultural heritage organizations. I always take a few books to read during the flight.

One of those was Goethe’s “Faust”, translated into English. I picked it up on a visit to my local library. I was curious, and wanted to go to a source to understand the “Faustian bargain.”

I can barely process what I read. The core theme …

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Daniel Collin's “Book of War”

A medieval battle field

I’ve always been a sucker for mass combats in D&D.

When I saw Alex Schroeder’s “2019-03-29 Mass Combat Alternatives”, I thought of Daniel R Collins’s Book of War. I believe Daniel’s system might be a great fit for the Alex’s Halberds and Helmets.

Daniel Collins provides some Java programs to run simulations on the base system for Book of War. You may also be interested in posts at Dungeons of Klang …

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Better World Books Closing Goshen Store

Three people working to sort books and put them on shelves.

On Tuesday, March 12th 2019, during our commute home, I learned from a carpool buddy that Better World Books was closing its Goshen Indiana retail spot. The news stunned me and my local community.

Eleven years ago my children, my mother, and I were one of several volunteers helping get the store ready; Everyone chipping in some labour to help nurture a much needed bookstore.

Better World Books quick departure leaves a noticeable and aching hole …

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Finding Cartographic Inspiration

A matte-white painted tin ceiling tile

Earlier, I was working in the upstairs loft at Soapy Gnome, my spouse’s retail store. In a moment of contemplation, I looked up and saw the above tile. My first thought was Now that would be a cool campaign map!

With mind adrift, I surveyed the other tiles within line of sight. Seafaring adventures, ports of call, land of lakes, the pocked crater, commerce, and trade. Small river craft and nimble vessels connecting the archipelagos. A …

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Let's Read “Codex of the Black Sun” - Seeds of Stranger Fruit

A massive star filling half of the image

Codex of the Black Sun’s second chapter, Seeds of Stranger Fruit, shambles through a history and meta-physical explanation of magic as though a scientific paper in which the author had to hit a specific word count. Mercifully, the short chapter is both optional and positioned (via call out texts) as one possible explanation for magic.

The chapter introduces the concept of Shadows; beings summoned from another reality by sorcerers.

At the …

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