Of Sorrowful Villainous Shrikes and Losing Encumbrance

Way back when, I used to write these short posts (yeah, Pffft!) where I would mix and match various cool things I’d seen on the web or to update people on things I had been doing.  I thought it would be a good time to do one now.

Font of Sorrows 3.0

A recent, Montreal-based, bilingual gaming forum called Roludo opened-up a few weeks ago.  Managed by a group of passionate gamers, including my friend WalkerP,  they decided to organize their first convention (held in one of the organizers’ apartment)  this next weekend.

They invited me to join and I offered to run my Font of Sorrows adventure, a 4e Dungeon Crawl featuring new monsters, fiendish traps and heavy exploration elements.

I’ve spent some time fiddling with it this week. I ran it at Pax East and it ended up being too complex to run properly. I’m simplifying it while highlighting the elements that made it different from other adventures I ran.   I’m very happy with the results so far, thanks to Dave: The Game who helped me with the Skill Challenge involving a very special 4 ton monster called Spurt.

I also plan to run this adventure at the Toronto Fan Expo over the summer where I was invited as one of the featured guest along geek luminaries such as Robin Laws, Ed Greenwood and Felicia Day!

I know I keep busting other RPG bloggers ‘ ass when they’re being negative about themselves online, but try as I might, I have trouble wrapping my mind about  being associated with the above in such a large event (60 000+ participants).

I guess you really made it as a geek when you get invited to your country’s largest Fan convention.  Still, part of me says “but I haven’t even started yet”.

Anyhoo, with so many playtest sessions of Font of Sorrows, I hope to be able to have a final manuscript ready for publication by the end of the summer.  The adventure could even be the starting point for a Primal/Within campaign setting should I ever decide to go for it.

When Twitter leads to awesomeness

Two weeks ago, while fiddling on my home D&D session, I imagined a mechanical construct that would be the embodiment of the Blade Barrier spell in humanoid form.  I envisioned  some sort of encounter element that could act as both a trap and monster.  Thus I created the Doomforge Bladeshrike as a tribute to both the cleric spell and Hyperion.

At the same time I was designing the monster and musing about it on Twitter, my friend Jared Von Hindman  of Brain Injury Theater (where I just learned that I made the top of his “What people say about me” list, yay!) gave me advice on the creatures’ look and spontaneously decided to draw it.

Have a look (click to enlarge), it’s Made of Win.

I love the internet.

Now go buy his art! I need his butt at Gen Con for our annual Drunken D&D.

My first piece of Blogger Fan Art!

Last month, blogger Corwin of Ready an Action (A nice looking blog that posts regular D&D 4e adventures) wrote me a tribute adventure.  It’s called Musings of the Chattering Skull and features a undead skull named Menardo that’s driving a whole town crazy with it’s echo-amplified incessant chatter.

The adventure features a full encounter against the garrulous skull and pokes fun at many of my past articles and idiosyncrasies. Its clear that Corwin knows my stuff and had fun working it in the adventure.  He especially went all out to spell out a lot of catch phrases and dialogue for the Chattering skull, it’s hilarious.  I’m now the villain of a D&D adventure, so cool!

I’m really touched and feel all weird.  I guess that I have fan art now.

Have a look and let the author know what you think of it.

Power Word: Melt!

On a more personal note, last week I saw my physician for the first time since my Type 2 Bipolar diagnosis last year. I knew I that the combination of mood stabilizing drugs and 4 months of near complete physical inactivity during my last seminar season had made me gain significant amount of weight. What I didn’t expect was that I gained so much (35 lbs) and that my bad cholesterol levels skyrocketed to such height that my doctor wondered aloud how come I was still alive.

I needed to do something about it.

When I shared this as a semi-joke yesterday on Twitter, Dave offered a friendly, but very serious wager.  We would both commit to losing 40 lbs before the start of Gen Con 2011 (that’s 13 months from now).  We would wager that the loser would spend 100$ in Gen Con swag on the winner’s behalf.  If we both won, we’d spend the money on us.

However, if we both lost, we’d donate the money to our respective Heart Foundation.

The idea caught fire and both Vanir and Chris from the website joined and paired together in a similar wager.

E from Geeks’ Dream Girl has suggested that we join her “Fit for Gen Con” project and I think that our approach would bring a cool male geek (i.e competitive yet for Geeky stuff) vibe to it.  You can rest assured that I’ll keep everyone posted on the project and the steps I’m going to take to beat Dave’s plan to a pulp.

So if you feel like pairing off with a friend (be it online or not) and joining us, feel free to comment or email me with the details of your wager and stakes.

Also, we need a cool name for the endeavour, here are the ones we have so far:

  • The Geekest Losers
  • Operation: Mass Reduce Person
  • Mordenkainen’s Faithful Diet Buddy
  • Power Word: Diet
  • Power Word: Melt

Any suggestions?


  1. Power Word: Shrink sounds cool to me, but among those that are there, The Geekest Loser is catchy and, being a TV reference, is bound to reverberate in people’s heads.

  2. @Wyatt: I do like Power Word: Shrink. What I like less about the ‘Geekest Losers’ is the vague negative vibe that “Losers” projects when used near “geek”

    But then again, my political rectitude gene has always been expressed too strongly.

    Thanks for the suggestion.

  3. The shape up challenge sounds great. Although the D&D spell I immediately thought of was Tenser’s Transformation. Took me a couple tries to look it up too, kept remembering the really old version and trying to look it up by the potion of heroism material component. Hopefully your diet plan has a less snarky/elitist material component. 🙂

  4. OMG you are going to be at Toronto Fan Expo?!?!?!?! … *drools* Where do I sign-up for your adventure? 😛

    Will you running a seminar or anything?

  5. @Lanir: Good call on the spell. 🙂 Healthful Polymorph could also work!

    @Phil: Really? That gets you excited? My adventure(s) will be on the Gaming list along with all others run by voluntary GMs. I’ll keep everyone here posted. I’m also supposed to be on the GMing seminar along with Robin and Ed. I’ll try not to babble too incoherently. 🙂

  6. I love the idea of a monster that turns into a trap as well. That can be a real party stopper. All sorts of movement and pushing options become nulled by having a trap cover a large area of the map. It also makes for some nifty “Well, I’ll bull rush the guy in front of me into the trap that has graciously appeared behind him.” opportunities. Nice one!

  7. Monster that turns into a trap, eh? Awesome!

    Good luck with the weight loss! Lucky for you, it seems the first 30 pounds are the easiest – I lost them in a few months of non-intensive regular training… mostly water fat. The next 12 months saw me loosing roughly 5 pounds (gaining muscular mass). Then I got a baby girl and countless excuses. 18 months of no training later, I got most of it back.

  8. @John: The possibilities are really awesome. While I haven’t gotten around to the design of the trap itself, I envision the archetypal encounter with those to be a bunch of Artilleries on platforms, guarded by Soldiers that push PCs down and at least 2 Bladshrikes starting in Trap mode, giving the monster a Lurker sub-function while still being dangerous.

    I really love mixing and matching encounter elements of that game, it feels like I’m building crazy Magic: the Gathering Decks.

    @Eric: I have gained and lost hundreds and hundreds of lbs so far, as you say, keeping it off will require a fundamental lifestyle change. Speaking of which, I need to go ride my bike some.


  9. If I could vote, I’d say the Geekest Losers. I think that works perfectly.

  10. Ismael_DM says:

    How about “Reduce Person: 40lbs” with a motto of “Flensing For A Better Tomorrow”, “Dropping 1 Size Category” or “Taking a Move Action to drop Encumbrance”?

    Yeah, it’s a little 3.5, but that never hurt anyone…. too much.

  11. How about Power Word: Thinner.

    If you’re a Stephen King fan, you might be totally creeped out by it though.

  12. @Dave: In French, that novella was titled “Skins and Bones” and it is kinda creepy…