Tuesday, July 27, 2021

Caper’s Song Book from hairylarry’s blog

Original post on Gamer+

A bard’s songbook is like a magician’s spell book in that it contains words of power, songs for wind, songs for rain, songs to make the fire burn hotter and warm the room, songs of companionship to warm the heart.

https://gamerplus.org/blogs/post/797

Ari and Caper worked on Caper’s Song Book last night on Inspired Unreality.

First we worked on a list of songs.

Song to make people dance
Song to make people alert
Song to make people like me AKA the opening numbers
Song of reflection

Song of hope

We renamed Song to make people alert to

Song of perception
tin tin aree tin tin aroo
look about look about could be you
jump about jump about one and two
tin tin aree tin tin aroo

and we wrote the lyric.

To be sung by the whole party twice through to increases alertness and perception.

The bard leads the song. The party sings it twice around. Just that helps. Some DMs may give pluses or advantage on perception and other pertinent rolls.

We had a great time and I look forward to filling in more blank pages in Caper’s Song Book in the future.

Next week, Monday, August 2, is the first Monday of the month and we will be discussing Fantasy and Science Fiction literature.

Wednesday, April 21, 2021

The Planet Savers by Marion Zimmer Bradley

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Excerpted from the book.

Get it on Project Gutenberg - http://www.gutenberg.org/ebooks/31619

* * * * *

Carthon lay nestled under the outlying foothills of the Hellers, ancient
and sprawling and squatty, and burned brown with the dust of five
thousand years. Children ran out to stare at the ‘copter as we landed
near the city; few planes ever flew low enough to be seen, this near the
Hellers.

Forth had sent his crew ahead and parked them in an abandoned huge place
at the edge of the city which might once have been a warehouse or a
ruined palace. Inside there were a couple of trucks, stripped down to
framework and flatbed like all machinery shipped through space from
Terra. There were pack animals, dark shapes in the gloom. Crates were
stacked up in an orderly untidiness, and at the far end a fire was
burning and five or six men in Darkovan clothing–loose sleeved shirts,
tight wrapped breeches, low boots–were squatting around it, talking.
They got up as Forth and Kendricks and I walked toward them, and Forth
greeted them clumsily, in bad accented Darkovan, then switched to Terran
Standard, letting one of the men translate for him.

Forth introduced me simply as “Jason,” after the Darkovan custom, and I
looked the men over, one by one. Back when I’d climbed for fun, I’d
liked to pick my own men; but whoever had picked this crew must have
known his business.

Three were mountain Darkovans, lean swart men enough alike to be
brothers; I learned after a while that they actually were brothers,
Hjalmar, Garin and Vardo. All three were well over six feet, and Hjalmar
stood head and shoulders over his brothers, whom I never learned to tell
apart. The fourth man, a redhead, was dressed rather better than the
others and introduced as Lerrys Ridenow–the double name indicating high
Darkovan aristocracy. He looked muscular and agile enough, but his hands
were suspiciously well-kept for a mountain man, and I wondered how much
experience he’d had.

The fifth man shook hands with me, speaking to Kendricks and Forth as if
they were old friends. “Don’t I know you from someplace, Jason?”

He looked Darkovan, and wore Darkovan clothes, but Forth had forewarned
me, and attack seemed the best defense. “Aren’t you Terran?”

“My father was,” he said, and I understood; a situation not exactly
uncommon, but ticklish on a planet like Darkover. I said carelessly, “I
may have seen you around the HQ. I can’t place you, though.”

“My name’s Rafe Scott. I thought I knew most of the professional guides
on Darkover, but I admit I don’t get into the Hellers much,” he
confessed. “Which route are we going to take?”

I found myself drawn into the middle of the group of men, accepting one
of the small sweetish Darkovan cigarettes, looking over the plan
somebody had scribbled down on the top of a packing case. I borrowed a
pencil from Rafe and bent over the case, sketching out a rough map of
the terrain I remembered so well from boyhood. I might be bewildered
about blood fractions, but when it came to climbing I knew what I was
doing. Rafe and Lerrys and the Darkovan brothers crowded behind me to
look over the sketch, and Lerrys put a long fingernail on the route I’d
indicated.

“Your elevation’s pretty bad here,” he said diffidently, “and on the
‘Narr campaign the trailmen attacked us here, and it was bad fighting
along those ledges.”

I looked at him with new respect; dainty hands or not, he evidently knew
the country. Kendricks patted the blaster on his hip and said grimly,
“But this isn’t the ‘Narr campaign. I’d like to see any trailmen attack
us while I have this.”

“But you’re not going to have it,” said a voice behind us, a crisp
authoritative voice. “Take off that gun, man!”

Kendricks and I whirled together, to see the speaker; a tall young
Darkovan, still standing in the shadows. The newcomer spoke to me
directly:

“I’m told you are Terran, but that you understand the trailmen. Surely
you don’t intend to carry fission or fusion weapons against them?”

And I suddenly realized that we were in Darkovan territory now, and that
we must reckon with the Darkovan horror of guns or of any weapon which
reaches beyond the arm’s-length of the man who wields it. A simple
heat-gun, to the Darkovan ethical code, is as reprehensible as a
super-cobalt planetbuster.

Kendricks protested, “We can’t travel unarmed through trailmen country!
We’re apt to meet hostile bands of the creatures–and they’re nasty with
those long knives they carry!”

The stranger said calmly, “I’ve no objection to you, or anyone else,
carrying a knife for self-defense.”

“A _knife_?” Kendricks drew breath to roar. “Listen, you bug-eyed
son-of-a–who do you think you are, anyway?”

The Darkovans muttered. The man in the shadows said, “Regis Hastur.”

* * * * *

Kendricks stared pop-eyed. My own eyes could have popped, but I decided
it was time for me to take charge, if I were ever going to. I rapped,
“All right, this is my show. Buck, give me the gun.”

He looked wrathfully at me for a space of seconds, while I wondered what
I’d do if he didn’t. Then, slowly, he unbuckled the straps and handed it
to me, butt first.

I’d never realized quite how undressed a Spaceforce man looked without
his blaster. I balanced it on my palm for a minute while Regis Hastur
came out of the shadows. He was tall, and had the reddish hair and fair
skin of Darkovan aristocracy, and on his face was some indefinable
stamp–arrogance, perhaps, or the consciousness that the Hasturs had
ruled this world for centuries long before the Terrans brought ships and
trade and the universe to their doors. He was looking at me as if he
approved of me, and that was one step worse than the former situation.

So, using the respectful Darkovan idiom of speaking to a superior (which
he was) but keeping my voice hard, I said, “There’s just one leader on
any trek, Lord Hastur. On this one, I’m it. If you want to discuss
whether or not we carry guns, I suggest you discuss it with me in
private–and let me give the orders.”

One of the Darkovans gasped. I knew I could have been mobbed. But with a
mixed bag of men, I had to grab leadership quick or be relegated to
nowhere. I didn’t give Regis Hastur a chance to answer that, either; I
said, “Come back here. I want to talk to you anyway.”

He came, and I remembered to breathe. I led the way to a fairly deserted
corner of the immense place, faced him and demanded, “As for you–what
are you doing here? You’re not intending to cross the mountains with
us?”

He met my scowl levelly. “I certainly am.”

I groaned. “Why? You’re the Regent’s grandson. Important people don’t
take on this kind of dangerous work. If anything happens to you, it will
be my responsibility!” I was going to have enough trouble, I was
thinking, without shepherding along one of the most revered Personages
on the whole damned planet! I didn’t want anyone around who had to be
fawned on, or deferred to, or even listened to.

* * * * *

He frowned slightly, and I had the unpleasant impression that he knew
what I was thinking. “In the first place–it will mean something to the
trailmen, won’t it–to have a Hastur with you, suing for this favor?”

It certainly would. The trailmen paid little enough heed to the ordinary
humans, except for considering them fair game for plundering when they
came uninvited into trailman country. But they, with all Darkover,
revered the Hasturs, and it was a fine point of diplomacy–if the
Darkovans sent their most important leader, they might listen to him.

“In the second place,” Regis Hastur continued, “the Darkovans are my
people, and it’s my business to negotiate for them. In the third place,
I know the trailmen’s dialect–not well, but I can speak it a little.
And in the fourth, I’ve climbed mountains all my life. Purely as an
amateur, but I can assure you I won’t be in the way.”

There was little enough I could say to that. He seemed to have covered
every point–or every point but one, and he added, shrewdly, after a
minute, “Don’t worry; I’m perfectly willing to have you take charge. I
won’t claim–privilege.”

I had to be satisfied with that.

* * * * *

Friday, January 1, 2021

The Truth Is a Cave in the Black Mountains

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From his website

Read “The Truth Is a Cave in the Black Mountains” by Neil Gaiman online here.

Read here

Tuesday, November 24, 2020

24 Sci-Fi Novels You Can Read for Free

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A true classic from the Golden Age of science fiction, written by a science fiction great. The pulpy space opera tale has aliens who secretly shape humanity’s destiny, nuclear war, space travel, genetic engineering, stellar pirates, and more. This was just the first part of the Lensman series, an expansive set of books that spans billions of years.

John Wenz writing for Popular Mechanics presents a nice article about public domain science fiction including works by Samuel R. Delaney and Harry Harrison.

https://www.popularmechanics.com/culture/web/a15831/gutenberg-sci-fi-books/

Saturday, February 16, 2019

Encyclopedia of Science Fiction

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Welcome to the Third Edition of the Encyclopedia of Science Fiction, edited by John Clute, David Langford, Peter Nicholls (emeritus) and Graham Sleight (managing). All the more than 17,600 entries are free to read online; a few samples appear below. Click here for the Introduction and more on the text; here for Frequently Asked Questions; here for Advice to Students on citations. Find entries via the search box above (more on searching here) or browse the menu categories to the right of the SFE logo.

- Encyclopedia of Science Fiction

This is an amazing resource for stundents, academics, and fans. They even teach students how to make correct citations.

Plus Extras!

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Saturday, January 19, 2019

Cosmic Voyage

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Cosmic Voyage

cosmic.voyage is a tilde community based
around a collaborative science-fiction
universe. Users write stories as the people
aboard ships, colonies, and outposts, using
the only remaining free, interconnected
network that unites the dispersed peoples of
the stars. If you would like to join us,
contact register [at] cosmic [dot] voyage.

I did. Sounds like a great project to me.

Friday, January 11, 2019

Men Like Gods

menlikegods-00.jpg
First US edition cover

Serialised in The Westminster Gazette, Dec 1922-Feb 1923
First book edition: Cassell & Co., London, 1923
First US edition: The Macmillan Company, New York, 1923
public domain

Men Like Gods is one of H.G. Wells utopian novels. Because it was published in 1923 it is now public domain in the United States.

Here’s a link to the entire text.

And here’s the first chapter.

Mr. Barnstaple found himself in urgent need of a holiday, and he had no one to go with and nowhere to go. He was overworked. And he was tired of home.

He was a man of strong natural affections; he loved his family extremely so that he knew it by heart, and when he was in these jaded moods it bored him acutely. His three sons, who were all growing up, seemed to get leggier and larger every day; they sat down in the chairs he was just going to sit down in; they played him off his own pianola; they filled the house with hoarse, vast laughter at jokes that one couldn’t demand to be told; they cut in on the elderly harmless flirtations that had hitherto been one of his chief consolations in this vale; they beat him at tennis; they fought playfully on the landings, and fell downstairs by twos and threes with an enormous racket. Their hats were everywhere. They were late for breakfast. They went to bed every night in a storm of uproar: “Haw, Haw, Haw—bump!” and their mother seemed to like it. They all cost money, with a cheerful disregard of the fact that everything had gone up except Mr. Barnstaple’s earning power. And when he said a few plain truths about Mr. Lloyd George at meal-times, or made the slightest attempt to raise the tone of the table-talk above the level of the silliest persiflage, their attention wandered ostentatiously…

At any rate it seemed ostentatiously.

He wanted badly to get away from his family to some place where he could think of its various members with quiet pride and affection, and otherwise not be disturbed by them…

And also he wanted to get away for a time from Mr. Peeve. The very streets were becoming a torment to him, he wanted never to see a newspaper or a newspaper placard again. He was obsessed by apprehensions of some sort of financial and economic smash that would make the Great War seem a mere incidental catastrophe. This was because he was sub-editor and general factotum of the Liberal, that well-known organ of the more depressing aspects of advanced thought, and the unvarying pessimism of Mr. Peeve, his chief, was infecting him more and more. Formerly it had been possible to put up a sort of resistance to Mr. Peeve by joking furtively about his gloom with the other members of the staff, but now there were no other members of the staff: they had all been retrenched by Mr. Peeve in a mood of financial despondency. Practically, now, nobody wrote regularly for the Liberal except Mr. Barnstaple and Mr. Peeve. So Mr. Peeve had it all his own way with Mr. Barnstaple. He would sit hunched up in the editorial chair, with his hands deep in his trouser pockets, taking a gloomy view of everything, sometimes for two hours together. Mr. Barnstaple’s natural tendency was towards a modest hopefulness and a belief in progress, but Mr. Peeve held very strongly that a belief in progress was at least six years out of date, and that the brightest hope that remained to Liberalism was for a good Day of Judgment soon. And having finished the copy of what the staff, when there was a staff, used to call his weekly indigest, Mr. Peeve would depart and leave Mr. Barnstaple to get the rest of the paper together for the next week.

Even in ordinary times Mr. Peeve would have been hard enough to live with; but the times were not ordinary, they were full of disagreeable occurrences that made his melancholy anticipations all too plausible. The great coal lock-out had been going on for a month and seemed to foreshadow the commercial ruin of England; every morning brought intelligence of fresh outrages from Ireland, unforgivable and unforgettable outrages; a prolonged drought threatened the harvests of the world; the League of Nations, of which Mr. Barnstaple had hoped enormous things in the great days of President Wilson, was a melancholy and self-satisfied futility; everywhere there was conflict, everywhere unreason; seven-eighths of the world seemed to be sinking down towards chronic disorder and social dissolution. Even without Mr. Peeve it would have been difficult enough to have made headway against the facts.

Mr. Barnstaple was, indeed, ceasing to secrete hope, and for such types as he, hope is the essential solvent without which there is no digesting life. His hope had always been in liberalism and generous liberal effort, but he was beginning to think that liberalism would never do anything more for ever than sit hunched up with its hands in its pockets grumbling and peeving at the activities of baser but more energetic men. Whose scrambling activities would inevitably wreck the world.

Night and day now, Mr. Barnstaple was worrying about the world at large. By night even more than by day, for sleep was leaving him. And he was haunted by a dreadful craving to bring out a number of the Liberal of his very own —to alter it all after Mr. Peeve had gone away, to cut out all the dyspeptic stuff, the miserable, empty girding at this wrong and that, the gloating on cruel and unhappy things, the exaggeration of the simple, natural, human misdeeds of Mr. Lloyd George, the appeals to Lord Grey, Lord Robert Cecil, Lord Lansdowne, the Pope, Queen Anne, or the Emperor Frederick Barbarossa (it varied from week to week), to arise and give voice and form to the young aspirations of a world reborn, and, instead, to fill the number with —Utopia! to say to the amazed readers of the Liberal: Here are things that have to be done! Here are the things we are going to do! What a blow it would be for Mr. Peeve at his Sunday breakfast! For once, too astonished to secrete abnormally, he might even digest that meal!

But this was the most foolish of dreaming. There were the three young Barnstaples at home and their need for a decent start in life to consider. And beautiful as the thing was as a dream, Mr. Barnstaple had a very unpleasant conviction that he was not really clever enough to pull such a thing off. He would make a mess of it somehow…

One might jump from the frying-pan into the fire. The Liberal was a dreary, discouraging, ungenerous paper, but anyhow it was not a base and wicked paper.

Still, if there was to be no such disastrous outbreak it was imperative that Mr. Barnstaple should rest from Mr. Peeve for a time. Once or twice already he had contradicted him. A row might occur anywhen. And the first step towards resting from Mr. Peeve was evidently to see a doctor. So Mr. Barnstaple went to a doctor.

“My nerves are getting out of control,” said Mr. Barnstaple. “I feel horribly neurasthenic.”

“You are suffering from neurasthenia,” said the doctor. “I dread my daily work.”

“You want a holiday.”

“You think I need a change?”

“As complete a change as you can manage.”

“Can you recommend any place where I could go?”

“Where do you want to go?”

“Nowhere definite. I thought you could recommend—”

“Let some place attract you—and go there. Do nothing to force your inclinations at the present time.”

Mr. Barnstaple paid the doctor the sum of one guinea, and armed with these instructions prepared to break the news of his illness and his necessary absence to Mr. Peeve whenever the occasion seemed ripe for doing so.


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Men Like Gods first edition. Click to continue reading.

Thursday, January 3, 2019

100 SF/F Books You Should Consider Reading in the New Year

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From tor.com here’s a fascinating list by James Davis Nicoll.

100 Books

There is a preponderance of female authors here, which I like. It is also a very personal list, which I like.

And I like this citation too.

THESE ARE NOT THE ONLY ONE HUNDRED BOOKS YOU SHOULD CONSIDER. OBVIOUSLY. DE GUSTIBUS NON EST DISPUTANDUM.

It’s a fun browse and I am sure there are many fun reads included. I will be pulling from this list in the near future once I get caught up on The Broken Earth and Oathbringer.

Friday, November 9, 2018

Announcing the 2018 World Fantasy Award Winners

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From TOR.

The winners for the 2018 World Fantasy Awards have been announced! This year’s awards ceremony was held at the World Fantasy Convention in Baltimore, MD with the theme of “Port in a Storm,” and included a celebration of the 200th anniversary of Mary Shelley’s Frankenstein. Charles de Lint and Elizabeth Wollheim were honored with Lifetime Achievement Awards.

The full list of nominees follows, with winners in bold.

Link to full list here.

Tuesday, October 30, 2018

The World Turned Upside Down

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When readers first encounter science fiction, they find adventures on other planets and in future worlds, explorations of future technology and its implications, and extrapolations of social trends and warnings of where they may lead—but they also encounter concepts heretofore undreamed of, and the impact on the readers’ thinking does nothing less than turn their world upside down.

Now, David Drake, Jim Baen and Eric Flint gather together some of the greatest science fiction ever written in one volume, with each story chosen for a startling breakthrough concept which left readers stunned and changed the course of science fiction.

In the Golden Age of science fiction, the science fiction magazines weren’t given titles such as Astounding, Amazing, Startling, etc., for nothing! Pick up this generous serving of the very best of science fiction and prepared to be astounded, amazed, startled—and entertained.

Seven great short stories by some of the best SF authors of all time are online here.

baen.com/chapters/W200501/0743498747.htm?blurb

Monday, September 3, 2018

The J.R.R. Tolkien Lecture on Fantasy Literature

An annual lecture on fantasy, sci-fi, and other speculative fiction, held at Pembroke College, Oxford

From 1925-1945 J.R.R. Tolkien served as the Rawlinson and Bosworth Professor of Anglo-Saxon at Pembroke College, Oxford. During this time he wrote The Hobbit and the majority of The Lord of the Rings.

Since 2013 the students of Pembroke College have organised an annual public lecture in honour of J.R.R. Tolkien. The purpose of the lecture series is to promote speculative fiction — including, but not limited to, the fantasy genre — as literature worthy of study and scrutiny, and to advance our understanding of it by hearing from some of the most influential and talented people working in the field today.

- About The Series

‘Tolkien appears in the fantasy universe in the same way that Mount Fuji appeared in old Japanese prints. Sometimes small, in the distance, and sometimes big and close-to, and sometimes not there at all, and that’s because the artist is standing on Mount Fuji.’
— Terry Pratchett

Wednesday, August 8, 2018

Dark Dungeons and Darker Dungeons

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Dark Dungeons Cover Art

These are both retro clones made possible by the Wizards of The Coast Open Game License. So both games play like an older version of D&D. The Dark Dungeons version is a close copy rulewise. Darker Dungeons retains the same feel and probabilities with a streamlined rule set.

Here’s a quote from the Darker Dungeons pdf.

Darker Dungeons uses several terms and names that are Copyright 2000-2003 Wizards of the Coast, Inc.

These terms are used under the terms of the Open Game License v1.0a, and are designated as Open Content by that license. Other than those terms and names, all original text in Darker Dungeons is hereby placed in the Public Domain.

All artwork found in Darker Dungeons is copyright by the original artists, and may not be reproduced.

Downloads

Dark Dungeons

Darker Dungeons

Personally I’m interested in Darker Dungeons. Looks very similar to the RPGs I learned on but with better dice rolls and fewer tables. I’ve been wanting to find a rule set I can use to DM some games and I think this is it.

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Skeleton pic courtesy of kalhh at pixabay - public domain

Crossposted at MixRemix.cc