Tuesday, 19 May 2009

One Year of Monsters and Manuals

It was this blog's first anniversary the other day. Completely passed me by, but my first post (entitled Shakespearian Aspects), came out on Saturday May 17th 2008.

I feel a retrospective coming over me. I've seen other people rank their posts by number of comments, but I suspect that would result in a list purely composed of various vitriolic rants I've posted and which attracted the ire of large numbers of people. Instead, here's something a bit more positive - the 10 posts I'm proudest of. Just off the top of my head.

1. Old Johnny in the Lake - the Crayfish Demigod, which was the first 'monster' post I made, and still my favourite idea (though it was originally inspired by various people on my mammoth rpg.net thread).

2. What the Public wants is the Image of Passion, not Passion Itself, in which I basically "went off on one" about Roland Barthes and what he had to say about D&D. Possibly.

3. I am the Law, in which I expound on, basically, the laws of demihumans.

4. Random Encounters with Military Units in a Feudal Japanese Setting, which I was probably insane to have written and which you would probably have to be insane to want to read through.

5. Chaos Patrons! (Blatant Plagiarism Alert), which I've yet to use in a game but will some day, I swear.

6. Fat Tail Venom (Goblins 2.0, Part I), in which I detail a tribe of goblins who use scorpion venom to boost their fighting abilities.

7. 3d6 - What True Heroes Are Made of, where the consequences of rolling 3d6 in order are explored, and I reminisce about characters named after unimposing animals.

8. A Slug is as Evolved as You, in which my terrible art recieves its first airing.

9. The Two Towers of Fantasy, wherein I talk about the classicist/romanticist split which divides the two halves of the fantasy genre. A bit like the Montagues and Capulets, except not.

10. Beware the Were Stuff, where I introduce a random therianthrope generator (including were-cassowaries and were-secretary-birds) and detail three NPCs - a were-komodo-dragon, a were-orang-utan, and a were-baboon.

This list is based on a cursory glance through the calendar of the blog, so if you think I'm forgetting anything or want to dispute that any of these posts are any good at all, have at it.


  1. Oh great. And now you've sent me on an archive binge. Thanks a bunch. :)

    I'm a long-time fan of #1. It's fun linking newer edition gamers to it and watching them go "Does not compute! Does not compute!"

    Srsly: thanks for the gaming brainfood noisms. Here's to another year, and more thereafter. Cheers!

  2. Regarding the Random Feudal Japanese Military Encounter Table:

    One problem I always have with these kinda things is that they are possibly useful and definitely (if you like rolling dice) for the GM, but that what the players get out of it is (roughly) what they'd get if you'd just made the host up. That is: the player has no access to whatever combo of clever improvisation and luck produced the force they're looking at. To them it's just a bunch of guys with axes.

    HOWEVER: I feel like this chart is a great candidate for an idea I've always loved with random tables--roll the thing up right in front of the players during play.

    Basically go:

    GM: Ok, you see a force approaching.

    Player: How big?

    GM: Oh, let me see: (the players watch in horror as they see how big the force MIGHT be) then you roll--ok, 300 strong.

    Player: Is it hostile?

    GM: Oh, let me see...

    (V-word: Moniest. Definition: The name of the next platinum-selling-debut-album by the next flash-in-the-pan rapper.)

  3. Congratulations on the anniversary! This blog is one of my favourites and was really one of the biggest reasons why I began to investigate blog/internet rpg writing in the first place.

  4. Congrats! I can't believe it's only been a single year.