D&D Rules Cyclopedia is Back

Though it has been available as a pdf for some time now, the Dungeons and Dragons Rules Cyclopedia (you know that compendium and update of Basic/Expert/Companion/etc. from the 80’s) is now available print-on-demand. You’re welcome!





Reading the Draft

Tied in with traveling, I’ve been busy reading the draft of my friend’s new novel. Its a fantasy piece and, quite frankly, I’m floored….it’s that good. It is based on a setting originally conceived as a part of our gaming, but expanded upon and polished. I’m under a gag order to say more, but will be looking forward to the day I can formally announce publication here. Way to be, Wraith.


It’s here! It’s Here!

It’s here! It’s Here! Well, it was actually here *Saturday*, but seeing as I was too busy to get the mail until late in the day on *Sunday*…and then again too busy to do anything meaningful about it until today (man, how time flies), it is still “freshly here” for me.

I generally read mine in my “other office”. I consider it the best seat in the house. And when I’m seated there, well, that’s one of the prime times that I’m not staring at a computer screen AND have some time, energy, etc. to read stuff. At least until my two-year-old comes knocking at the door wondering if he can see, but I digress.

crus_vol15_bigFor those of you who are out of the know, I am speaking of the fabulous table-top gaming magazine known as “The Crusader”. Now monthly and up to 36-pages per issue, The Crusader is published by Troll Lord Games and focuses on their flagship product(s): Castles & Crusades with its illustrious SIEGE Engine. It supplements and reinforces one of the greatest strengths of C&C and the SE, their ability to accepting tweaking. They stand up to all sorts of rules hacks without breaking.

The early issues added several different options on how to make multi-classing work. They’ve gone on to include all sorts of flavorful weapons and armor. The musings of the late Gary Gygax on the origins of the game were included serially. And the magazine has gotten even better under veteran James Ward’s watch.

All and all I’m very pleased. I encourage you to have a seat and give it a read.


Movie Review – Stardust

Stardust Poster Promo PicStardust is the movie adaptation of the novel by Neil Gaimon, who brought us the wonderful American Gods (read it!).

This enjoyable bit of fantasy earns a solid 8.

A break in a stone wall along a quiet English town leads to another world, Stormhold. It is filled with princes, magic and the usual schtuff. The king has died after leaving his many sons a quest. The first son to return the magic ruby to its full redness will be the next king. Several of the princes have already been done in by their scheming brothers. They are unaware that their sister has had a son, Tristan, who grew up in the town in England. Tristan returns in search of a fallen star to prove his love to the ungrateful Victoria. In short order, everyone is trying to find the fallen star (Claire Danes) for their own devices.

The story line is charming and witty with regular doses of laughter and visual delights. Not finding the right adjective, I know that it is somewhere between whimsical and fantastical. The movie has character and heart. It moves right along and takes some interesting turns.

Claire Danes is gorgeous and charming as the fallen star. Her heart will bring immortality and can restore the ruby to its magical state. Her character has grace and poise. She reminds me of a young Cate Blanchett. Michelle Pfeiffer is outstanding as the witch, Lamia. She is wily and evil (and just a bit sexy…) and fills her role most excellently. Peter O’Toole puts in a cameo as the king, and Ian McKellen is the narrator (I thought he sounded like Patrick Stewart). Robert De Niro was priceless as Captain Shakespeare the pirate. He was definitely a show stopper.

The movie was well done and is great for anyone that loves fantasy or just a good, classic fairy tale.

~Elric the Damned

Lloyd Alexander passes

Some sad news….I will comment more shortly…[See below for my added thoughts] The High King

Author Lloyd Alexander dead at 83
1 hour, 10 minutes ago

Lloyd Alexander, a prolific writer of children’s books including the five-book series “The Chronicles of Prydain,” died Thursday. He was 83.

Alexander died at his home in the Philadelphia suburb of Drexel Hill, said Jennifer Abbots, spokeswoman for his publishing company, Henry Holt Books For Young Readers. He had cancer, she said.

The final book in his Prydain series, “The High King,” won the Newbery Medal from the American Library Association in 1969, being recognized as the best children’s book of the year. Another book in the series, “The Black Cauldron,” was named a runner-up for the medal in 1966, a status now known as a Newbery Honor Book.

His final novel, “The Golden Dream of Carlo Chuchio,” is scheduled to be published by Holt in August. The publisher described it as an adventure in the tradition of Middle Eastern folk tales.

Alexander joined the Army at the start of World War II and got much of his training in Wales. His experiences in the area inspired many of his books.

He met Janine Denni, whom he married in 1946, while attending the University of Paris. She died two weeks before he did, Holt said in a statement.

Copyright © 2007 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. The information contained in the AP News report may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed without the prior written authority of The Associated Press.

Well, it has been more than the “shortly” in which I indicated my comments/thoughts would be forthcoming to be sure. Part of the delay was due to business (kids, work, house, stress, sleep, health…). Such is life, I suppose. Another part of the delay was due to my deep sadness to hear that Lloyd had passed. Let’s be clear, I was not on familiar terms with Mr. Alexander, but I felt that I knew him (or an important part of him rather) through his works.

Both in a literary sense, and in a inspirational capacity (in terms of role-playing games), I am deeply in Lloyd’s dept.