Our group had our session 1 this past Friday, or I should say perhaps session 0.5 since it appears that half of my table didn't fully fill out their character sheets or somehow forgot a stat or two. So after about 45 minutes of doing that again we finally got started in Morgansfort.
Here are the names of the players we rolled up.
- Ysln Candlewick (Female)
- Swingeld (Male)
- Arjune (Male)
- Cybil Burle (Female)
- Beatrice (Female)
- Canboil Studerman (Male)
For those that might be interested in running the module, it essentially is a fort placed on the edge of the “Western Lands” which are part of the former Urd Empire. The fort is placed right near the edge of civilization which allows for plenty of opportunity to engage in the wilderness. It features three dungeons to explore along with general wilderness areas. The module has a nice bit of information (2-3 pages) that provides enough background information for GMs to give their players a sense of place, but not so much that one can’t easily modify or adapt it to their own setting or needs. A nice summary is provided right on page 1 of the three dungeons and the fort.
There is also a really detailed bit of information of the world’s religions and the fort itself, including details on all of the buildings and numerous NPC’s within the fort.
Our group had two characters randomly roll up clerics as backgrounds so they took an interest in the religion information in the Morgansfort module. I won't write it all out here, but here is a brief summary.
The Hundred Gods: Basically the old world religion. Hundreds of gods from the existing inhabitants of this region. I positioned this that most of the denizens outside of the fort, and under its protection followed this religion.
The Church of Tah (aka the Bethite Church): The official religion of the empire. Known for its corruption and opulence.
The Church of Tah Reformed: The opposite with members sworn to celibacy and poverty.
Arjune from our play group took to the Church of Tah reformed and had in their background “Discredited”. They played to that nicely, indicating that they had to escape to the wilderness to avoid that discredit to their name.
Arrival at Morgransfort
When our players arrived at the fort, I directed them to “The Toothless Dragon Tavern” and to the “Iron Helm Inn” for their rumors. Per the module direction they immediately began a conversation with “Bat” who I made as a toothless old koot of a farmer, who gave them the initial rumor for the first dungeon, which was an abandoned ancient fort.
Cybil was the one who took some initiative to try and find out about other rumors or to find a hireling to go with the party. I used the random character generator on the Cairn website and came up with a ridiculously good character who had stats well above our players and a background to boot named Wenlan. Stats below:
You are Wenlan Candlewick, formerly a ranger. You have a lanky physique, weathered skin, oily hair, and a rat-like face. You speak in a gravelly manner and wear rancid clothing. You are rude yet serene, and are generally regarded as an entertainer.
You have had the misfortune of being defrauded. You are 35 years old.
Armor: Brigandine (1 Armor, bulky), a Helmet (+1 Armor)
Weapon: Crossbow (bulky)
Gear, tools & trinkets: Nails (stacks), Cart (+4 slots, bulky), and Bottle
Bonus item: Longbow (bulky)
Starting supplies: 8 gold, a Torch, and three days' Rations
After a lot of advice solicitation both on the Cairn Discord and on the OSR subreddit, I settled on running Morgansfort (https://basicfantasy.org/downloads.html), which is a free adventure module from the Basic Fantasy RPG game system. It looks to have a nice balance of dungeon crawling, overland adventure, etc wrapped into a single package.
My rating: 4 of 5 stars
It is hard not to re-iterate what others have already said about this book, but when it comes down to it, this is exactly what everyone has been talking about. It is an incredibly cozy and quaint story about a retired adventurer and the people and trials she comes into contact with while trying to start a new life.
The book just simply exudes a level of warmth and charm that you get almost no where else. I can best describe it as a children's book for adults. Everything written here just comes across as incredibly satisfying from the way baked pastries are described to the general atmosphere of the coffee shop, all wrapped up into a warm fantasy-core setting. If you wanted to take the best parts of the Shire, Hogsmeade, and Ankh-Morpork and wrap them into their most wholesome and delectable little packages, then that is what you get here.
The characters are really what make this story shine though and everyone from Thimble, to Cal and Tandri all make this story what it is.
Worth the read all around.
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My rating: 3 of 5 stars
Another good book in the Hercule Poirot series, although this one isn't quite as brilliant as some of the others I have read. My real issue with this book isn't the mystery at hand. That follows the fairly standard Hercule Poirot "whodunit" formula with twist and turns. For the most part, this was a solid enough entry with that respect, although I did find myself parsing out who the murderer was fairly early on.
My major issue with this book had to do with the Hastings character. His bungling of major points of evidence throughout the story broke much of the illusion for me. The fact that there was no legal repercussions for someone who lost evidence and then at a later point, potentially harbored a murderer really just doesn't make sense.
I did really enjoy the Giraurd character, mainly because it was fairly evident that he was meant to be a crude version of Sherlock Holmes. It was a nice jab at the two famous characters from this genre.
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I may have mentioned this before online, but the past year or so I have had a really hard time getting into books. One would think with the pandemic in 2020, that last year would have been the ideal time to really get some good reading done. Unfortunately, I really struggled last year to get into anything very deep.
I was having the same trouble through the first couple months of this year as well, and Megan suggested that I may be in a bit of a rut simply with the types of books I was trying to read. Now, I typically like to read fiction, fantasy specifically, that will give me a bit of escape. I have been just trying to read the same type of thing over and over though and not making any real ground. While talking it came to me that I should dive back into some "whodunit" murder mysteries. I read some Hercule Poirot by Agatha Christie and Sherlock Holmes stories a few years ago and I really enjoyed them, way more than I would have thought. In fact, Murder on the Orient Express has become one of my favorite books.
I decided to pickup book #2 in the Poirot series, "The Murder on the Links". So far it has been a delight to read, and I have to laugh at the subtle stabs at Sherlock Holmes that seem to exist in the book.
That brings me though to a website that I want to recommend to everyone. If you have an ereader, I highly suggest you check out Standardebooks.org. It is site that takes public domain books, many of them from Project Gutenberg, re-formats them and puts a cover on the ebook. It is a really nice site and while it is not nearly as comprehensive as Gutenberg, there is a really nice collection of some common books there. I have linked below some books I have picked up there that I have already read and really enjoyed.
I came across what has to be one of the coolest website I have seen in a long time. It is called Artbreeder.com and it utilizes AI to morph and merge images together. You essentially input two parent images and it will create an offspring. There are several categories on the site that you and select from, so I presume the the AI system has been tweaked for each one to get the best results. As you can see from the image above, where I have the portrait system selected, there are some sliders for various features you can select.
The results are algorithmic, so you don't have any control over the creation. This isn't drawing, but it is an easy way to get an endless amount of good imagery. I have found the portrait mode to be very useful and something you can easily kill a few hours just going down the rabbit hole on.
The only quirk I have found with the portraits at least, is that they tend to favor very "soft" female features. You also have to pay a fee to upload your own images, which is understandable, if unfortunate.
I am trying my hand at my first 3D model to print up on my Ender Pro 3. I want to develop a dust cover for some of my synths, since dust is always sort of a problem, collecting on them. There is a great website out there called Decksaver which produces some really great looking clear plastic covers for various synths. Unfortunately they are rather expensive and to top of off, they definitely do not have covers for any of my older synths like the E-MU Command Station or the Korg EMX-1.
So I am starting off with what I hope is probably the easiest of my synths, the Novation Circuit. It is by far the smallest one I have right now. Even still, the cover will need to be broken into two different pieces and then assembled after the print. The Novation Circuit's Dimentions are 240x200 mm. From the top of the play surface, the highest knob (the Filter) is 20mm.
With that in my I decided to jump on over to an online CAD platform called TinkerCAD. It is a very rudimentary 3D modeling software that has basic shapes, extruding and masking tools.
My initial design for the top case was to have beveled edges, which TinkerCAD does technically do. Unfortunately the way that the beveling is implemented means that it gets beveled in all three dimensions and not just at the corners. So The beveling sort of shrinks the outside diameter of the shape you are working on. I found that this ended up being problematic when I needed to merge a beveled vs non-beveled shape, as they would not line up. With that idea thrown out the window, I decided to just start with the basic box concept and work from there.
In the course of a few hours, I was able to quickly get the left hand side of the case mostly complete. I added a couple of additional pieces along the way, such as some filler components on the inside to the strengthen the shape, and I did create a soft curve on the exterior for a design effect. Time will tell if that prints well enough or not.
I need to now figure out what sort of "supports" I need to install to connect the left and right pieces. I am thinking either some rectangular tabs or a circular dowel rod sort of approach. My guess is that a square shape will be easier to print for a 3D printer over a circular one.
I would also like to put the Novation logo on the top, so that will be next steps later this week.
Is Winter finally on its way out? I sure hope so. I had an opportunity this past week to finally get to a few motorcycle "to do" projects. I was able to get my pannier hangers up in the garage. Thankfully, that was a very easy project. Just drill into the studs and done.
"Create a piece of music within 2 hours after unboxing your new Deluge from Synthstrom Audible"