Tuesday, June 25, 2019

Legal Arms and Armor in the Commonwealth

Based on guidelines from Pyramid #3/58 Urban Fantasy.

Status 0

Typical delver level.  
Can carry daggers, small and large knives, or quarterstaffs. Basic armor is allowed, no metal armor.

Status 1

A gentleman, member of a professional class in good standing.
Can carry one or two light weapons such as long knives, small or shortswords, rapiers, or sabres. Can war metal armor up to DR 4 with little question or comment. Dwarves may wear any armor and are generally given extra deference with most weapons.

Status 2

An actual Knight or someone with a rank like guildmaster of a decent sized city.
All weapons and armor are allowed.

2020 Candidates Andrew Yang

Good fast interview on Stephen Colbert.
I think the citizen dividend thing is too far left for my taste but so far hes the only candidate with a plan for the automation crisis. Getting rid of the penny and a psychologist in the White House makes sense too.

Monday, June 24, 2019


I have had a few of these for my Chalice World setting but the venerable TBone issued a challenge so here is my response and a listing of plants that rely on mana for energy instead of light.
Unless noted otherwise the ambient energy they gather is not large enough to affect the local mana level. They do tend to grow better in areas of higher mana levels and along dragon or ley lines.

Mage Moss

This white moss grows in thick clumps and sheets, particularly in damp and dark conditions. It is valued by alchemists as its easily harvested and ground up for use as a base in potions.

Mage Stools

This fungus sprouts quickly in areas where mages have recently cast multiple spells. The turbulence in local mana from frequent spell casting seems to be especially friendly to this fungus. They are a serious problem for spell casters and cause a -1 penalty to normal casting and a -5 penalty to ceremonial casting, including enchantment. They are also highly resistant to spells and enjoy a +5 resistance to regular spells cast on them.

Glow Flowers

These flowers come in many varieties and use some of the mana they gather to attract insects and other animals. This helps spread their pollen to other caves.  The light they provide is pretty dim, each flower is about a candles brightness but a cavern full of them can add up. Dwarves and other subterranean dwellers will breed them in a variety of colors and plant them as decorative background lighting.

Fae Bane

This is a parasitical plant, much like a hyperactive mistletoe and is a threat to magical creatures. Once in contact it slowly siphons off innate magic draining 1 point a minute from magical ERs and making casting very painful (treat as Agony). It requires little water or nutrients from soil and can live for days off a magical source even if uprooted.  Used by some to shackle mages.

Wednesday, June 19, 2019

Review of Dungeon Fantasy Monsters 2

As Preorders close on June 23 I thought now would be a good time to review this book. Before I do so here is another review to give you a second look. Dungeon Fantastic another review by Blind Mapmaker

This book has 24 monsters, each with a picture and 2 pages of text.  Some are old classics like Giants, Stirges, Chimera, and the Naga.  Others are new monsters. The book is based on stock art so some will look like classic monsters from various games but are given unique and often exciting life here.
Each monster has stats,and many have a special attack that is well described in the text. The text also includes adventure seeds (I think all have 2) which helps the GM quickly drop them into a campaign.

Most of these are rather tough, if not boss level, and the variety is enough that something here will be good for any DF type campaign. Some are pretty creepy and most have enough flavor to amuse me and add to a campaign.
For an idea of the contents here are the monster by type:
Construct 2, Demon 3, Dire Animal 3, Divine Servitor 2, Elder Thing 2, Elemental 2, Faerie 2, Hybrid, Mundane 3, Plant 2, Slime, Undead 3

As a kickstarter backer I received my PDF copy a few weeks ago, and I am looking forward to my printed copy later this year. I really liked the book and hope you get yours as well.

Thursday, June 13, 2019

Big Government vs. Small Government

This is one of the classic debates between the two camps, so lets look into it...

Right Wing

Big government is bad! As it gets bigger taxes go up to pay for it, bureaucratic red tape makes it slower and less efficient, and it intrudes in peoples lives.

Left Wing

The government should take care of its people.


As with most things either extreme goes too far. The government is supposed to protect the country and its people from foreign attack, both sides agree there. But what abut other things?
  • Police, fire departments add to the size of government and increase taxes but if no one did it we would have anarchy. Also privatized services cost more money to run because they want to make a profit and may choose to only cover those who can afford them. We actually used to have that setup in the USA but it turns out fires spread and if not controlled quickly they spread out of control.
  • Corporate takeover is a risk from not just US based companies but foreign ones as well. In fact most corporations are owned in whole or in part by foreign entities. Without government oversight companies could seize your home, charge you anything they wanted, force competitors out of business, and trample all over citizens rights and freedoms. So clearly we need some government controls, the real question is how much is too much.  That is a topic for another post.
  • Public Education is another thing to look at. We used to have private education but the trouble is uneducated people find a hard time getting good work and are more likely to resort to criminal activities. Also with a poorly educated population we have to import skilled workers from other countries or ship skilled jobs overseas. This weakens our country and makes it more vulnerable to foreign control so an educated population is in the countries national security interests.
  • Infrastructure is something the government can do well, though its subject to corruption. We need roads and airports to connect us and do we really want all roads to be toll roads?


The size of government and what it does is a good topic for debate, clearly we need some but not too much. Those who think government can solve everything are mistaken, some things are in fact done better by private entities motivated by profit and greed over patriotism. However some things that profit over patriotism gets in the way and is counter to the good of the country. Remember in modern America big business is beholden to its stock holders and they may or may not be Americans. By definition we cant reasonably expect them to be patriotic and loyal to our country, especially over making a profit.

An Open Letter to Robert Mueller

Dear Robert Mueller,

I've heard you dont want to testify before Congress and that you feel your report stands by itself. I respect that, you seem like a work hard kind of guy and likely expect others to work hard too.  And having read your reports it seems pretty clear and well laid out case.
However most Americans have not, please understand that many are working multiple jobs and have families and dont have a lot of free time. And its hard reading, especially if your not a lawyer, and to be fair its a very hard read. Also many Americans likely feel that if there was anything in there Congress would do its job but all most are hearing are partisan politics. You have a major news channel in Fox telling everyone its a witch hunt and totally exonerated the President. You have the President himself and most of the GOP saying the same thing. So its understandable that Democratic voices are considered partisan hacks, especially since Speaker Pelosi and most of the House has chosen to not begin impeachment.  That tells the American people that they dont have enough evidence so they need to keep digging.

Unfortunately we have corruption and most of Congress looking to protect their own power and political aspirations.Some want to bury the investigation and let Russia and other countries continue their attacks on America to protect themselves and their party. Some just are cowards who are afraid to do what they swore to when they took office and are waiting for the wind to blow the right way.
I understand your disgust at all this and testifying before them will not be fun and you'll probably feel like showering for a month wont get rid of the slime and stench from being in the same room.  I understand the feeling that you served your country yet again and its about time others who are in a position of power to do so stand up and be counted.
But we all know that is not likely to happen soon, in the meantime cyber security has been pretty much nixed and our elections are still insecure as there is no political will to protect the country.

The sad truth is your country needs you again. We need you to stand up and explain in a manner that will get coverage and be clearly understood and repeated by every American. We cant trust Congress to do its job and hopefully we can replace most of them in 2020 for their failure. But efforts to protect our republic need to happen soon if they are to do any good at all. If the President and Congress are allowed to get away with these crimes against our country then things will only get worse.
So I ask, no I beg you to testify, do it soon, and do it publicly.  And I ask that you call out Congress (both parties) on their failure to do their duty.
America needs to hear from you, it may be our only chance.
Thank you,
Rory Fansler
USAF Veteran.
(No war hero, but I served and was willing to die for my country and do not feel its too much to ask the same of my elected representatives.)

Wednesday, June 5, 2019

Sci-Fi Settings

Check this page for a list of settings. Thats a good list but as a list it lacks flavor.  For flavor we need to break that down into something smaller.

GURPS Infinite Worlds

Created to showcase the versatility of GURPS this is a pseudo time travel setting with two competing parachronic opposing organizations. The setting presupposes a bunch of alternate timelines and the characters travel from world to world doing various missions, This is a fun setting, though it can be hard on the GM as it jumps from world to  world and mission assignments vary.
There are a number books and Pyramid articles supporting this setting.

GURPS Transhuman Space

This is the largest sci-fi setting for GURPS and started near the end of the Third Edition, but has had an update and conversion book as well as several fully Fourth Edition supplements.
The concept is a near future where transhumanism is front and center. Computer technology is prolific and humans can upload themselves into machines. Its similar to cyberpunk but less dystopic in a way.

Reign of Steel

Another Third Edition setting updated to Fourth Edition.  This is a post Apocalypse series where computers took over the world. The difference between this and most others of that ilk is that there are several computers (called zone-minds) with each in charge of a certain region of the world (or beyond!) and they are vying with each other for control of resources and philosophies. This is a harsh world where computers send out hunter killer teams to eliminate a human resistance, use them as lab rats, or a labor force.

Tales of the Solar Patrol

This is a Space Opera setting in the vein of pulp science fiction, with square jawed heroes, helpless damsels to rescue, and a lot of stereotypes. Its a fun setting and one not to be taken too seriously.

Lands Out of Time

Another fun setting designed to be less than serious is Lands Out of Time which has a lost world with dinosaurs that the characters are somehow sent to.


So that 5 complete sci-fi settings for modern GURPS, two tongue in cheek, two serious and more gritty, and one that is pretty much anything goes. Pyramid has several setting ideas in it as well, and Third Edition settings can of course be adapted.
But that is what we have now, what would YOU like to see in the future?