Sunday, 31 October 2010

Rædwald Blog

Just a quick note to say that I've started a dedicated Rædwald Blog. New Adventures in Fantasy Fiction will now focus on writing and everything Rædwald related will be on the new blog. At some stage I might even start a third blog for more general RPG posts, or perhaps an Old School Review blog.

Saturday, 30 October 2010


This year I'm taking my first shot at NaNoWriMo. That means I have to write 50,000 words in one month. That's 1,667 words a day. This should be interesting as normally IO only manage a 100,000 words a year, and 500 words a day is my usual. Not that I always manage to write everyday.

I'm going to be writing Lembek of the Towers the WIP I was planning, but dropped but it wasn't quite the type of fantasy I wanted to write. However, when I decided to try NaNo I hadn't come up with anything else yet, and didn't have time. I'd already done so much prep work on Lembek of the Towers it seemed a shame to waste it, plus it did keep nagging away at me as an idea so perhaps I was too hasty in abandoning it. I'm looking tio make it a short (by fantasy standards) novel at around the 80,000 word mark. So if NaNo goes well I'll be well past the half way mark at almost at the climax of the novel by this time in November.

There's just the small issue of finishing off the outline, and blocking out the opening scenes which I have a whole day to do, before I start on Monday.

EDIT: This is my 100th post. A good NaNoWriMo omen.

Thursday, 28 October 2010

Scrivener Public Beta for Windows

Scrivener, the well loved Mac software-app for writers, is on its way to Windows at last.

You know you don't really need anything beyond a decent text editor, but there are a few software apps for writers, that help with the pre-writing planning side of things, and post-writing editing stuff. None of them actually help you write your novel, screenplay, script or whatever it is you are writing, but some writers, me included, do find them helpful with the structuring of projects.

Out of all of these software apps the one that has always looked the most useful to me is Scrivener. But as a windows user I've only been able to look on enviously as Mac users tap away at their projects with it. Now, it's on its way to Windows and there's a free Scrivener Public Beta which will run until Dec 12, and the full product will be available in early 2011. There's also 50% discount for anyone who finishes their 50,000 words during NaNoWriMo. Which is a good incentive for me to finish NaNo which I'm attempting for the first time. More on that later.

Tuesday, 26 October 2010

The Fifteen Names of my Fifteen Games

This is a meme that's been doing the rounds on the RPG blogs of late. I could easily do three lists of fifteen games, one for RPGs, one for Computer, Video, and Console games, and one for all the other games, but I'll stick to just the one. Although, it pains me to leave so many of my favourite games off the list.

1: Tunnels & Trolls - The first RPG I ever played, and one that I still love and still play. Simple and fun.

2: Basic Dungeons & Dragons - Unlike most I came to D&D second, rather than as my first RPG experience. Of all the versions I've played, and still play, this is my favourite D&D.

3: Runequest - Loved this game. It was different back then, and really exiting at the time as it introduced rules that were skill based rather than class and level based.

4: Space invaders - Mum, mum can I have 10p!

5: Gorf - Each level was different, and it talked to you, and it had a trigger type joystick and in the early 80's it owned my holiday money.

6: Game of Life - This was the first boardgame that was mine, as opposed to the family games like Cluedo and Monopoly. It also got me making my own little boardgames.

7: Unhappy Families - This was a Christmas present very seventies, very pollitcally incorrect, and very funny. Unfortunately no picturexs.

8: Valley of the Four Winds - A very simple chit and hex fantasy wargame based on a serial story that appeared in early editions of White Dwarf. The artwork sold me on this.

9: Pass the Pigs - Pigs instead of dice and the chance to throw a 'Double Leaning Jowler' what's not to like.

10: Jetpac - One of my first and favourite games on the ZX Spectrum. Back then the lush colour and detailed graphics were cutting edge. Damn I feel old.

11: Age of Empires - Although I got my first home computer, the ZX Spectrum, in 1982 it was long time before I got one of the iconic big beige boxes of the true computer age and when I did Age of Empires was the game I wanted,  and played to death.

12: Shogun: Total War - I remember reading about this game, just paragraph in PC Zone well before the game was released, and I remember thinking I'd love that and I did, and still love the Total War Franchise.

13: Unreal Championship - I loved Unreal and Unreal Tournament on the PC, so when I managed to get on the Xbox before the full UK release Unreal Championship combined with Xbox Live was one of the all time great gaming experiences of my life.

14: Suikoden - Final Fantasy VII was a great JCRPG, so was Vandal Hearts, but Suikoden just pips them both as my all time favourite JCRPG on the Playstation. Lots of fun, very charming, based on the Water Margin, and you get your own castle.

15: X-Com: Enemy Unknown - The Playstation controller wasn't exactly a good fit for turn based strategy games, but that didn't stop me playing this game to death.

Well, that's my fifteen games and really that doesn't even scratch the surface. I've prolly spent far too much time playing games. Far too much. Still, everything is research.

Friday, 22 October 2010

Write, Edit, Balance

I’m in that weird space between projects at the moment; trying to find the balance between writing and editing. I write fast, don’t edit as I write, don’t even tidy. It's the way that writing works best for me, but it does make editing a bit of a laborious process; as most of what I get down in the 1st draft reads like English is my second, possibly third, language.

I’ve finished what will be the playtest PDF of Redwald, and now need to edit it. I also have two 10k short stories that have been waiting for me to edit them for few months now and I need to get on and do that too. In November I intend to attempt NaNoWriMo for the first time, so that will be 1,667 fresh words a day, for thirty days. But between now and Nov 1st I have lots of editing I can be doing, but no writing. I don’t really want to sink my teeth in to another project before I try and write 50k of a novel in a month, but I also don’t want to spend a week just editing. I always feel I should be producing new work, even if it’s at a paltry 250 words a day, even if editing is piling up. I always feel this urge, this drive to get new words down.

I could, I should do some writing exercises, but every time I try I always think, always feel I could spend my valuable writing time writing fiction instead of exercises. Even though there is a good argument for ‘directed learning’, and trying new techniques, other styles, etc.

The ideal would be to spend part of my writing time writing fresh words, and part of it editing. To do that, and do it consistently, so that every day I write, edit, write, edit, write, edit. Given limited time if I have to choose, one it’s always write now, edit later. After all if you don’t write there’ll be nothing new to edit. Of course, with drafts as rough as mine, if I don’t edit there’ll be no new publications. Sometimes I think my drive for new words is a way of putting off editing as I find it tiresome, but if anything is to come of my adventures in fantasy fiction, I have to strike a balance.

Anyone else struggle with the write, edit balance?

Monday, 18 October 2010

Dragons of Redwald VII

The last dragon . . .


Wælgeuga, the deadly walker, is the most bestial of the Dracan. The size of a burial mound, it has no tail, or wings, but a barrel shaped body that is low to the ground and a broad head with powerful jaws full of dagger sized teeth. Its hide is grass green and the scales covered in horns and bumps and impervious to most weapons.

It lacks the guile and cunning of its brothers and sisters and in fact seems to lack any intelligence other than the basest animal wit. It has no particular hatred of humanity and is intent on nothing more than satisfying it voracious hunger. It feeds once every 10 years, but feeds in a frenzy devouring anything and everything it can: whole herds of sheep and cattle, crops, the villagers, even their homes and possessions, sometimes even hedgerows and trees. Once it has fed, Wælgeuga burrows far beneath the earth and creates a huge lair where it sleeps for another 10 years until it awakes, emerging from its lair twice its previous size and twice as hungry as before. Those that have survived Wælgeuga terrors and seen it return decade after decade larger and hungrier each time, are convinced that if it isn’t stopped one day it will devour the world. Unfortunately most people who see it don’t survive, and most that haven’t seen it don’t believe the tales, dismissing it like all the other myths and stories of dragons, monsters and other such childish foolishness.

Wælgeuga: AC: 0[19]; HD: 10; HP: 42; Attacks: Barge, Stamp, Bite (1d6, 1d6, 1d6); Special: All is edible, Stone hide, Magic resistance 45%; Saving Throw: 12; Move: 14; HDE/XP: 14/1400

Wælgeuga is lumbering and predictable in combat concentrating bullishly on one target until it has killed and devoured it. It ignores everything else unless someone wounds it then its rage will focus on them.

Once a target is selected it barges into them if the barge attack fails then the attack is over for that round. If it is successful not only does it damage the target it knocks them prone, making its next attack at a +2 bonus. After the barge it stamps on its victims legs causing not only damage, but reducing their movement rate by half and negating any Dex bonus to AC. Once it has its victim prone and crippled it starts to eat them. It can bite through anything so any protection from armour is ignored, making its targets AC: 9[10] for its bite attack unless they have any other method of protection. It will continue to keep biting its chosen victim until they’re dead then spend the next turn eating them before attacking someone else. Wælgeuga’s hide is tough and thick making it impossible for arrows, spears, and axes to penetrate and do any real damage. Only a sword can pierce deep enough to wound Wælgeuga.

Friday, 15 October 2010

Dragons of Redwald VI


Úhtfloga, the twilight flier, lives entirely on the wing. From tail to nose she is as long as two mead halls, but is svelte and graceful her body being only a little broader than the cattle she feeds on. Her scales are coloured in a blackish-blue that makes her hard to spot in the night sky.

In the day she spends her time high above the clouds gliding and sleeping, but when the sun sets she descends to hunt. She glides down to ground level under the cover of darkness, silent but for the faint whoosh of air. She approaches her prey from behind and strikes with her talons at the base of their skull, stuns it, then flies off with, gaining height as swiftly as possible so her victim will think twice about breaking free of her grip, that’s if they even recover from being stunned before she devours them. If faced with any resistance Úhtfloga can breathe a cloud of paralyzing fumes. She only needs one cow (or man) sized meal a week and is a good hunter so if faced with fierce resistance is more likely to fly on, rather than fight for her hard for her kill.

Úhtfloga: AC: 3[16]; HD: 6; HP: 29; Attacks: Talons (1d6+3); Special: stunning strike, paralyzing breath, magic resistance 45%; Saving Throw: 10; Move: 30; HDE/XP: 9/900

Swooping silently down behind her victims in the cover of darkness, Úhtfloga has a 3 in 6 chance on a d6 of surprising her victim. Her stunning strike is +3 to hit and does the normal damage for her Talons, but the victim must also roll under their Con, minus the damage caused by the talons, on a d20. If they succeed they are only stunned for 1 round. If they fail they are stunned for 1d3 plus the amount they missed the roll by in rounds. Either way, unless their companions act quickly when they come to they’ll find themselves hundreds of feet in the air, held in the grasp of a hungry dragon. If she does face resistance Úhtfloga will use her paralyzing breath which can affect 2d6 targets at once, who if they fail their saving will be paralyzed for 1d3 turns.

Thursday, 14 October 2010

Dragons of Redwald IV & V


Lígdraca, the fiery dragon is a formless creature of pure fire. He often takes the shape of a fierce winged dragon composed of flickering orange-yellow flame, with eyes of white hot fire. He preys on human settlements, attacking at dusk screaming down from the sky. He flies from building to building until the whole settlement is aflame and then rises to watch it burn. He takes no interest in people, other than destroying their settlements, and ignores them unless they are foolish enough to try and stop him. He also burns the settlements cattle and crops. After his burning he often watches the aftermath of the devastation he has caused spending days, hovering high in the sky. Many believe he derives a grim satisfaction from watching the survivors as they shuffle around in shock wondering how they’ll manage without food or shelter.

Lígdraca: AC: 4[15]; HD: 5; HP: 22; Attack: fiery grasp (1d6+3); Special: Immunities, firestarter; Saving Throw: 12; Move: 18; HDE/XP: 7/700

Lígdraca can only be harmed by magical means or enchanted weapons and anything he lands on (including people) has a 4 in 6 chance of bursting into flame causing 1d3 damage for 1d6 rounds to anyone affected.


Níþdraca, the dragon of malice looks like a muscular draconic wolf that is twice the size of a bull. It is jet black and hunts at night, but even in daylight is hard to follow as it can move in a blur of speed and can wrap itself in a shroud of shadow.

Níþdraca, is the youngest, and smallest of Eorðdraca’s progeny, but is also one of the most hateful of the Dracan. Typically it stalks humans and follows them back to their settlement. It then spends a few days watching the settlement until it has a sense of the people and their relationships. It is then that Níþdraca strikes. Stealing into one of the homes it takes member of the community making sure its attack is witnessed; so that someone sees it flee with the victim then it disappears into the night. Instead of devouring its chosen victim immediately it keeps them alive, and near to their home then torments them so that their friends and loved ones can hear their pitiful cries for help.

If any of the villagers are brave enough to attempt a rescue it uses its powers to spirit itself and its victim to another location. Once the rescue party has given up it begins its torment again, to mock the rescue attempt and torture the villagers with more cries from their loved one. It does this for a week or so or until it tires of toying with the settlement. Its last act of malice is to devour the victim’s body, sneak back into the settlement, and leave the head at the door of the victim’s family for them to find when they awake.

Níþdraca: AC: 1[18]; HD: 7; HP: 30; Attacks: Claw, Claw, Bite (1d6,1d6, 1d6+4); Special: blur of speed, shroud of shadow, magic resistance 50%; Saving Throw: 8; Move: 24; HDE/XP: 10/1000

Already twice as fast as men, once a day Níþdraca can move in a blur of speed so fast that nothing can see it move let alone catch it. If tracked in daylight and unable to use its speed to escape Níþdraca can envelop itself and the surrounding area in a shroud of shadow that no one can see into or see out of (making it -4 to hit Níþdraca ). People might know that Níþdraca is in the cloud of darkness, but not where. They would also know their loved one was also in the darkness.

Wednesday, 13 October 2010

Dragons of Redwald III


Eorðdraca, the earth dragon is the oldest living being in Redwald. It is told in legend that she slumbered under the earth for a thousand years when nothing lived and all the world was ice. It was only when she awoke, that her heat and warmth brought life to the world.

She is worshipped as a deity by the Dweorgas, but it is a strange kind of worship that includes holding her prisoner in magical bonds, using her fiery breath to power their forges, and farming her eggs to create their fire powder, their weapons, armour, and the intricate metalcraft they are famed for.

It is because of Eorðdraca that the Dweorgas live beneath the mountains. Their ancestors, exploring the caves beneath the mountains, found Eorðdraca and because they were brave, and forward, and because they were the first creatures to speak to her, Eorðdraca allowed them to live, and to worship her. They brought her prisoners to feed on and in return she gave them the knowledge of runes, and taught them the secrets of crafting metal making them the first race of men to understand the secrets of metallurgy.

When Eorðdraca laid her next egg and the Dracan, Níþdraca was hatched the Dweorgas discovered that powerful weapons could be formed using what was left of the eggshell and their lust for power and riches overtook them.

Through cunning and treachery the Dweorgas captured their god and bound her with golden chain, forged in the heat of her own fire, and enchanted with the very runes she taught them. Since that time, although they worship her as a god, Eorðdraca is their prisoner and all her eggs are harvested by the Dweorgas before they hatch.

The shell they grind down to make fire-powder, the scales and bones of the unhatched dragonlings they grind down and add to the ore that makes their weapons, armour, and trinkets. The flesh and blood is consumed by the Dweorgas elite in dark rituals. To force her to breathe flames, to power their furnaces and heat their underground city, the Dweorgas use a gold-plated bone goad enchanted with runes which they force through her left eye and directly into her brain.

The Dweorgas still worship her, and feed her on slaves and prisoners taken in war or traded with the mountain men, or the king of Westlund Seaxe. Eorðdraca’s existence is one of misery and torture. If she ever gains her freedom she will take great pleasure in the slow and deliberate destruction of the Dweorgas people and will not rest until they are no more.

She is huge the size of a large hill, the sort men build hill forts on. Her scales are a dull earth-brown hue with golden tints. Her long neck is serpentine and her head alone is the size of a longhouse, the powerful jaws able to swallow up groups of men. The backdraft of her powerful wings can flatten buildings, her rear and fore claws sharp and deadly and even in her current weakened form she is a fearful foe and a threat to all mankind.

Eorðdraca: AC: -2 [21]; HD: 20; HP: 160; Attacks: Bite (3d6) Tail bash (2d6) Claws (1d6 each); Special: Magic Resistance 80%, Devouring Maw, The Dragon’s Breath, Earthmover; Saving Throw: 6; Move: 16 on land 24 in the air; HDE/XP: 25/25,000

As well as her regular attacks targeted at individuals her devouring maw can swallow 3d6 1HD enemies per round and she can breathe fire doing 1d6 damage to 1d100 massed troops or 10d6 damage to a single target. Being of the earth herself once free of her magical bonds she is able to create huge rifts in the earth, rifts powerful enough to submerge a village or hill fort.

Tuesday, 12 October 2010

Fight On! Issue #10

Once again, Fight On! returns to unscroll the Runes of Chaos and conjure the mighty titans of yesteryear! Dedicated to Tom Moldvay, this BIG issue contains three BIG undercities and lost worlds by Gabor Lux, James Mishler, and Chris Robert, right alongside the rules supplements, mini-adventures and modules, villages, one-page dungeons, spells, monsters, NPCs, tricks, traps, geomorphs, reviews, and tables you've come to know, love, and expect from our fantastic fanzine. Illustriously illustrated by Patrick Farley, Jennifer Weigel, Lester, Kelvin Green, Jason Sholtis, Peter Mullen, Mark Allen, Anthony Stiller, Steve Robertson, and more; puissantly penned by Jeff Rients, Calithena, Jerry Stratton, Tim Snider, Geoff McKinney, Patrice Crespy, Peter Schmidt Jensen, Paul Stormberg, Geoffrey O. Dale, Tim Kask, and a whole gang of garrulous grognards trying to take it (their PC, that is) to the next level. We hope you'll roll the bones on this issue and check it out - but either way, keep Fighting On!

You can check out the print version here.

Or the eBook version here.

Here’s the TOC to whet your appetite:

Table of Contents

Fast Company (Alex Schroeder)…………………………...3
Wear and Tear (Mátyás “Urban” Hartyándi)....…………….5
Catwomen and Lion-Men (Calithena)…………...….….…..5
The Time-Displaced (Tim “Sniderman” Snider)…....…..….7
Cult Leader (Lee Reynoldson)……………………………..9
The Familiar Spirit (James A. Smith)……...……………...11
Knights & Knaves (Duncan Jones & Sean Still)…..…...…14
Khosura, Part II (Gabor Lux)………………...………….15
Killing Monsters You Can’t Kill (Jeff Rients)……...……..39
Creepies & Crawlies (various)…………….………...……40
The Godzillas Will Breath On You (Geoff McKinney)…..43
Futa-kuchi-onna (Ian & Andrew Baggley)…...….…….….47
Urgent Care Cleric (Jonathan Linneman & Kelvin Green).48
Education of a Magic-User (Douglas Cox)……………….49
Trolls will be Trolls (Heron Prior)……………………..…50
Time For Tea (Clarabelle Chong)…….…………...…...…51
Heart of Darkness (Lord Kilgore)…………………...…...52
Laboratory of the Asmodean Techno-Mage (P. Mullen)....53
Special Properties of Gemstones (Wayne Rossi)……...….54
The Coinage of Ilthar (Calithena)………………...………55
Artifacts, Adjuncts, & Oddments (various)……….……...56
Lost Dragonia (James Mishler)…………………….......…57
Tables for Fables (Age of Fable)………………………....79
Weird Treasure Containers (Telecanter)……………...…..81
Moldvay-esque Adventure Generator (Michael David, Jr.).81
Dungeon Modules (Geoffrey O. Dale)……..……….……82
Hobgoblin Halls (Joshua Mackay)………………………..83
The Shrine that Glittered (Patrice Crespy)………………..86
Moulin Rouge 1955 (Jerry Stratton)……………………....94
Random’s Assortment (Thinker, Random, and Jensen)…..98
The Darkness Beneath (Chris Robert)……………….….100
Merlyn’s Mystical Mirror (Hargrove/Hewlett/Pookie)….121
Everyone is Here to Have Fun (Paul Stormberg)…….…129
One-Off Con Adventures (Tim Kask)……………….....133
Dougal Must Die! (Steve Robertson)………...……..…...135
Dungeon Geomorphs (Tim Ballew)……………...……..137

Monday, 11 October 2010

Dragons of Redwald II


Fýrdraca, the Fire-Spewer, is a voracious predator and a bane to mankind. Cattle, sheep, goats, farmers, villagers he isn’t fussy which he takes, but feeds once a week on three or four at a time. He is a flightless quadruped about the length and height of a small longhouse, and is a mass of muscle and mottled grey and green scales whose colour matches the forest and rocks of the mountain highlands he haunts.

Despite his size his colouring offers a certain amount of camouflage as he stalks his prey, but once he has spotted his kill there’s no attempt at ambush or stealth. Instead he roars a challenge that shakes the hills and leaves his prey frozen in fear. It’s then that he charges out of cover, sprays them with a spew of liquid fire, and devours the charred remains. His hunting grounds range across the kingdoms of Geatlund, Westland Jute mainly in the north on the borders with the Wildling Highlands. Between hunts he spends most of his time sleeping in his mountain, digesting his kill, and building up his energy reserves for the next hunt.

Fýrdraca: AC: 1[19]; HD: 12+4; HP: 55; Attacks: Bite (1d6) Claws (1d6); Special: Roar of Dominance, Fire-Spewer; Saving Throw: 12; Move: 14; HDE/XP: 14/14000

Anyone who hears Fýrdraca’s roar of dominance must make a ST. If they fail they are paralyzed with fear and can do nothing until after Fýrdraca’s next attack.

Fýrdraca’s deadliest weapon is the liquid fire he spews forth. This attack uses a lot of his energy and can only be used twice before Fýrdraca either has to feed and sleep for a week, or, if his hunt is unsuccessful, sleep for two weeks.

The Fire-Spewer attack is hits automatically. To determine how many are affected and what damage they take roll 1d6. The number rolled is the number of targets affected; the number on the opposite face of the die is the number of d6 in damage they must each take.

For example: if you roll a 1, then one target must take 6d6 damage if you roll a 6, then six targets take 1d6 damage each. The first roll also indicates how many rounds the liquid fire will burn for after the initial round during which anyone affected takes 1d3 dice of damage unless the flames are put out by spending a round rolling in the dirt, covering them with a blanket, via magic, or some other means.

Thursday, 7 October 2010

The Dragons of Redwald

Dracan (Dragons)

The Dracan of Readwald, sometimes called Wyrms, are not a race or species, but a collective name for a variety of monsterours reptiles that roam the land. Each Draca is a singular creature which bears little or no relation to the others. Little is known of these solitary hunters, even by the Dweorgas who worship a Draca as a god. There are only seven Dracan and when they have been slain they will be no more than folk tales to frighten children.


Áttorsceaða is a poisonous destroyer, but her poison is not the venom that flows through fangs, but the lies and desires she uses to poison the hearts of men. One of the oldest, most cunning, and malicious of her kind Áttorsceaða remembers the days long past when her kind ruled the world.

Áttorsceaða is the most Wyrm like of the Dracan and resembles a huge serpent large enough to coil herself around a hill. Her scales are corpse white, her eyes amber yellow, she has diminutive malformed wings, but cannot fly. She can use her tail as a club, or bite foes with her fangs, but considers such bestial behaviour below her and has yet to meet either beast or man that she couldn’t bend to her will. She does not need to feed on flesh as the despair and woe of mortal men is the only sustenance she requires.

Áttorsceaða: AC: 5[14]; HD: 8; HP: 38; Attacks: Tail Bash (1d6) Bite (1d6+4); Special: Poisoner of hearts and minds, Shape-shifter, Saving Throw: 4; Move: 10 (12 in human form); HDE/XP: 12/12000
Depending on the gender and preferences of her intended victim she changes form to resemble a man or woman of great magnetism and raw sexual attraction. It is only in the moments before their death or doom that her victims see or realise what she truly is.

One of Áttorsceaða’s greatest powers is to be able to read the hearts and minds of mortals with a mere glance. Her victims are allowed a ST, but with a -2 penalty.

Once she has read their darkest desires, hopes, and secrets she uses this knowledge to manipulate people to cause misery and mayhem for those around them. For example, she often convinces two people that each bars the way to that which the other desires most in all the world, then sits back and enjoys the fallout.

Another of her favourite schemes is to take the form of someone her victim knows: a friend, family member, lord, or rival and use the familiarity of the relationship to manipulate, hurt or mislead her victims and cause more misery.

She dwells in the kingdom of the Wulfingas where she has many opportunities to cause mischief and feed amongst the chaos of the kingdom’s six-way civil war. A war in fact she herself started.

Monday, 4 October 2010

TrollsZine! 3

Just sent off my TrollsZine! 4 submission and remembered I'd forgot to mention TrollsZine! 3 . . .

You can get it from RPGnow: TrollsZine 3