A place wherein this Dwarven Cleric can share his love of maps, dice, miniatures, and all things involving gaming and general geekery--not to mention the occasional witty non-gaming observations--whilst escaping from the humdrum existence of his routine Terran existence.

Hail and Well Met, fellow traveler! May my Stronghold provide a place for enlightenment and amusement, and somewhere to keep your dice dry. Enter and rest awhile.

18 July 2016

[The Stronghold 'Zine] Issue #3 is One Step Closer!

Gentle readers, Issue #3 is one step closer to reality!

Both figuratively and literally (at least, in a literary sense).

Last night I received the digital image for the cover from +Jim Magnusson. It is, in a word, fantastic. I gave him the barest of suggestions (include a monster and the Stronghold) and he delivered in spades and with bells on. the artwork means I'm down to waiting for just one last image. And the monster in question, is leaving footprints. Big ones.

Sorry, folks. No teaser image this time around.

It truly made my day, and I needed it. Family crap again; trying to divide up my parents' estate is nearly killing me. The sheer greed and childishness that has come to light is...well, ludicrous, but also absurd to the level of humorous. I needed some good news after the emotional wringer that was my Saturday and Sunday.

Back to Issue #3: start gearing up and spreading the word. It's coming; can't you feel the earth shake?

15 July 2016

[The Stronghold 'Zine] Issue #3 Update and a Dance Break

A quick update on Issue #3 of The Stronghold 'Zine: I have received 1 of the last 3 pieces of artwork. It looks fantastic, courtesy of +Ripley Stonebrook.

Here's a teaser: a snippet of the art accompanying the new class presented in Issue #3: The Warder.

I'm really excited about this class, designed by a long-time friend of mine. It'll be presented in 3.x format. I'm seriously considering finding someone to translate into an OSR-compatible format as well. If there's any interest in this, let me know ASAP!

In other news, Holy Crap. I'm getting old. And I'm feeling every single day of it today, and then some. For our most recent anniversary, I bought tickets for my beautiful wife to a Howard Jones concert. I had never been a great fan back in the day; nothing against him—I didn't listen to '80s music back then, I was listening to '50s and '60s music. My wife, on the other hand, is a HUGE fan.

But, y'see, back...oh, 28 years ago or so he came through town and my (then) wife-to-be went to the concert with a guy. Her then-boyfriend became jealous of the attention she was showing Howard Jones, even though they were probably 100 yards away or more in an open-air, mountainside venue, where he was about an inch tall or so from their seats. But Psycho-boy became jealous and forced her to leave the concert three-quarters of the way through the concert to "beat traffic down the canyon."

That was the breaking point in their relationship, and she's never forgiven or forgotten. So I agreed, mostly knowing that she would have fun.

And she did. So do I, frankly. My wife danced through all 90+ minutes. I tried to keep up. I've never danced that long in my life. And today...I'm feeling it. 18 hours later and I still can't hear from one ear. (It was a fairly intimate venue with IMMENSE speakers.) I am stiff and sore. And exhausted.

But Momma's happy...so the Stronghold is happy.

07 July 2016

RIP Steve Russell of Rite Publishing

Photo courtesy of thenerdstash.com
The news is spreading today of the passing of Steve Russell, 42, of Rite Publishing. Award-winning designer, developer, publisher, and a man I was proud to number among my friends. He leaves behind his wife of six years, expecting their first child later this year.

I've known Steve since 2012 when he first responded to an e-mail regarding printing problems I was experiencing after downloading a Rite Publishing product. He had the problem fixed quickly, and responded graciously and helpfully to future questions and concerns. Looking at all the tributes, I was not alone in feeling this way. It was who he was.

About 18 months ago, I was privileged to join the Rite Publishing family, if only in a small way, assisting with proof-reading their Pathways magazine. Through these later interactions, I grew to know him a bit better and have considered him a friend. I'd like to think I was numbered among his friends as well, even though I was little more than an internet acquaintance.

My last interaction with Steve was three weeks ago: a bit of witty repartee concerning the cover for Pathways #58. Even though I'd probably put him in a difficult position, he was still gracious and friendly.

My sincerest condolences—as well as all of my thoughts and prayers—go out to his family and close friends today. All of us who knew Steve, even peripherally, have been touched by knowing him and will miss him.

The world is truly a bit darker today.

Godspeed, Steve.

Steve's sister has set up a memorial fund for Steve's wife and soon-to-arrive first child. That link is here.

[The Stronghold 'Zine] Bride of the Son of the 'Zine

Just a short visit to say that work on Issue #3 of the Stronghold is not only progressing, but we're at about 75%-80% the way there.

I had no idea it was going to take this long; real life has been busier and commitments more numerous, but the light in the tunnel is getting brighter. Artwork is in process and one last article and one map appear to be the last content necessary. Once those are done, there's the proofreading and then assembly and sales time!

Thanks to all my friends who have and continue to support me with good karma, prayers, and positive messages. They've been much appreciated. I have managed to get one door into my past professional life mostly closed. Some obligations still exist and will exist for the next few years. But the worst albatrosses around my neck appear to have been plucked, skinned, and roasted. I'm in the process of considering a complete change of career altogether, as my current situation is not improving and does not look like it can improve. But that's a discussion for another day.

Until then, be aware that I still have some copies of Issues #1 and #2. If you haven't picked one up yet, or know of someone that might like one, the links can be found below, or at Blue Moon Ink's website.

Issue #1


Issue #2


04 July 2016

[Random Booster Encounters] Roadside Ambush (#01)

This series is something experimental, at least for me. The concept: create an encounter based solely on the four miniatures found in any one single random booster. I had originally thought about calling this a Pathfinder project, but then I remembered that Wizards had re-started their random miniature production. They're not the greatest paint jobs in the world, but then...some of the early Pathfinder paint jobs weren't terrific either.

The attached character sheet was also something of an experiment, as it has been somewhere over 35 years since I truly worked with the AD&D First Edition ruleset. Please forgive any errors, and accept them as what they are: an effort to pay tribute to that set of rules. It's also a nod to my OSR friends and readers. [But if you have suggestions regarding the character stats or character sheet—also of my design—please feel free to let me know. I welcome correction; I want to learn.] It was intended to be used on a 4" x 6" card.

The 3.x statblock follows the AD&D character sheet.

So, the project begins... after the break

02 July 2016

[Found Items] The Toad God Lives!!!

Some 1,859 days ago (5 years, 1 month, and 2 days) +Tim Shorts  unleashed upon the world a vision of amphibian animus that inspired its own adventure creation challenge, not to mention a 20-page bit of magnificence by +Dyson Logos .

Today there is undeniable proof that the Toad God lives!

This appeared overnight in the Stronghold's garden..
(Actually, lest too much arcane mystery be attributed to the Toad God and its power strengthened thereby, I will admit that I was walking through the local Kroger's store and found him on sale in the garden aisle. At that moment, he had to be mine. ...Come to think of it, the intensity of the attraction and need...perhaps there's a bit of the arcane at work after all.)

Not wanting my children to worry about the devilish divinity of this creature, I immediately dubbed it "King Toadankhamun, Pharoah of the Frogs."

 It may be easier to see in this picture: the smug, self-satisfied and satiated expression on his face. Look at the undisguised evil in his eyes and malicious pleasure on his face, as if he'd just finished swallowing a neighborhood dog, cat, or small child.

Now, the Mistress of the Stronghold—that beautiful, loving half-elf who stole my heart—isn't quite as enamored of the presence of the Toad God, especially as one of the first things that visitors would see upon arrival. (I suspect it has more to do than the potential threat posed to her beloved miniature yard moose that inhabit this garden.) As a result, the Toad Goad may soon be banished to the rear of the Stronghold where he poses little danger to anything but the occasional intruder. But he is here, now. And what better impetus could I have to revisit those various adventures mentioned above?

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