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The Book of Weird

Some time ago, I wrote about one of my early significant influences, the Judges' Guild Ready Ref Sheets . But recently I was reminded of an even earlier influence, The Book of Weird , by Barbara Ninde Byfield. Or, to give it its full title as it appears on the cover: The Book of Weird, Being a Most Desirable Lexicon of The Fantastical, Wherein Kings & Dragons, Trolls & Vampires, to say nothing of Elves & Gnomes, Queens, Knaves & Werewolves are made Manifest, & many, many further Revelations of The Mystical Order of Things are brought to light.   But yeah, The Book of Weird is much easier to type .   The book has had a somewhat complicated publishing history. It was initially published in 1967 under the title The Glass Harmonica . There being but a single passing mention of that instrument in the book, it was reissued in 1973 under the title given here in a large (9x11-ish) format, and reprinted yet again in a somewhat smaller format in 1994, which happens to b
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Charcuterie Bard

A few days ago, I dropped this random gag:   I shall make a character for an RPG who has powers related to artistic creativity, but instead of music and song, they come from arranging cheeses and cured meats. A charcuterie bard. — Turhan's Bey Company (@turhansbeycmpny) December 21, 2021   But then I remembered that there's absolutely precedent for food-based magic:  So, then, obviously we can have food-based bards in GURPS, right? The best approach I see is modifying the Enthrallment skills (p. B191). However, rather than requiring Public Speaking at 12+ as a prerequisite, a charcuterie bard requires Cooking and Professional Skill (Food Stylist) at 12+; see Ferrous Metal Food Fighting Guy for a bit on the latter. The skills are used by preparing and feeding an audience with tasty, tasty foods. The elements of food in question cost a minimum of 1% of COL per target, though higher quality ingredients provide a bonus (use costs and reaction bonuses for styling, GURPS Low-Tech

Action Documentaries?

In his review of GURPS Action Adventure 1: Templars' Gold, Mailanka introduces the charming phrase "action documentaries" to describe adventures which also contain interesting educational content. You play a fun adventure, but you also learn stuff you didn't know before. And that's a marvelous idea, particularly for a game as frequently entangled in history and real world concerns as GURPS . So naturally I started thinking about how one would write such a thing. To start with, it's probably best to attach such an adventure to some existing product line. For the 20th and early 21st century, that's clearly the Action line. While I wouldn't write it, there's room for such things around more obscure corners of WWI (the war in Africa, for example), some of the less European, more Asian parts of the Russian Revolution, events around the end of the Qing dynasty, the settlement of WWII ( The Third Man or intrigue around landing Trieste as part of Italy

Doing Stuff With Spies of Venice

A recent review of Spies of Venice (largely fair save for a crack about Wikipedia) noted that it didn't talk a lot about using the material in a game. This is true, and not surprisingly it's for reasons of space. Spies of Venice is intended largely as a tool for world-building, providing ideas and information on actual historical practices of intelligence gathering and counterintelligence, whether for use in an historical campaign or, more likely, an historically flavored fantasy campaign. However, since word count is limited, there has to be a focus on stuff which can only be provided by specialized research (into sources well beyond Wiki-freaking-pedia) rather than things the GM could plausibly extrapolate on their own. But if I were to talk more about adapting the material to other campaigns and settings, it might look something like this: Intelligence Agencies One of the things Spies of Venice underlines is that there weren't intelligence agencies as such in its day

Cheap Dice Mold Mod

 A lot of people (me included) are playing with making our own dice with resin and inexpensive silicon molds. You can get a set of nearly 20 two-part molds for about $20, with the full range of polyhedral shapes plus some oddities like FUDGE dice. They're pretty good, and it definitely beats going through the molding process to make your own, both in time and material costs.   But they're not without problems. Notably, resin has a tendency to shrink a bit as it cures. larger "squish" molds deal with that by having a sort of built-in funnel leading into the mold which has extra resin in it. These inexpensive two-part molds, though, do not, which means that there's often a little dent or bubble in the die once it's finished curing, and cutting off the sprue is generally better than having to fill in more resin and going through another curing time. But I've come up with a potential fix, for which the materials are relatively inexpensive and the kind of peopl

GURPS 2021 PDF Challenge: Templar's Gold

I don't necessarily intend to post about these in anything like a systematic fashion, but I'm inclined at the moment to post some brief thoughts about at least some of the entries in this year's GURPS PDF Challenge. To start: GURPS Action Adventure 1: Templar's Gold.   Despite being part of the GURPS Action line, this is a bit historical rather than modern, set in the aftermath of WWI. The heroes set out in search of a lost treasure in the still dangerous former battlefields of the recent war, pursued by enemies after the same thing. This is a relatively straightforward adventure (it's ten pages; what do you expect?) but it reads like one which would be satisfying, probably a good game for a con, though there are hooks to more adventures to follow up on what it begins. There are, alas, no maps, but the descriptions give a good sense of place, particularly of the devastated Zone Rouge , and the few NPCs who get many words are quite well drawn. Indeed, the only real

The Terra Cotta Warrior

One of the organizations statted out in GURPS Boardroom and Curia is a superhero team, the Mid-City Defenders. That was a sort of throwaway idea, a compilation of superhero team tropes intended to outline the kind of organization a superhero team might be and using that to illustrate how stats for it might look. For no particular reason (seriously, no particular reason; this is not a tease and nothing I'm working on is related to this), I was reading through B&C and thought that as an exercise, I might stat out one of the members. Moreover, to illustrate the flexibility of the core text, I thought I'd limit myself to the Basic Set. So here, then, is the Terra Cotta Warrior, a ~1000 point four-color superhero for GURPS.   Terra Cotta Warrior (1014 points) Age 2225/90; Animated Statue; 5' 7"; 350 lbs. ST 35 [250]; DX 15 [100]; IQ 12 [40]; HT 16 [60]. Damage 4d-1/6d+1; BL 245 lbs.; HP 50 [30]; Will 15 [15]; Per 12 [0]; FP 30 [42]. Basic Speed 7.75 [0];