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Jeff's Gameblog
Saturday, 1 May 2004

I had a great time at Don & Sue's tonight. Sue ran her D&D campaign for the lot of us (Don, Michael, John, Bruce, and me). Her campaign consists of an ongoing series of those 'Adventure Keep' pamphlet modules. This evening she ran her fourth installment The Crypt of St. Bethesda. Good adventure. Sue runs a fun game and the group is good people.

Afterwards Michael flipped on his X-box and he and I played a little Legends of Wrestling II. I managed to get stomped as both Koko B. Ware and Greg 'the Hammer' Valetine, though I lasted longer than I expected.

Sue brought up wanting to play my superhero game and we sent a tentative date of May 14th for "issue" 2. Yippee!

Posted by jrients at 10:02 PM CDT

I returned the Red Baron's autobiography to the library today. I've started another WWI book, The First World War by Martin gilbert. It's been slow going so far. This baby is a big, heavy, serious tome.

Finally, the library also had in The Magicians of the Golden Dawn by Ellic Howe, the last book I need for the Enochian chess project. Howe offered no big relevations vis-a-vis Enochian chess, but he did provide some additional corroboration of the existence of the game circa 1896. I'm now ready to put the finishing touches on my essay and send it in, except for last stupid delay. The disk I've been using to truck the data between home and work seems to have become corrupted. My back-up copy is at the office, so it looks like I won't be able to finish the project until Monday evening.

Posted by jrients at 3:46 PM CDT
Strange dream...
Early this morning I had a strange and mostly incoherent dream about a visit to a game store or some other place that sold BattleTech miniatures. One mini hanging on the display rack drew my attention because I had never seen one like it before, because I don't think it exists in the real world. So here's what I know about this new mech design, the Jester:

You can tell at first glance that the Jester was done by the people who designed the Awesome. The resemblance is as similar as the Phoenix Hawk to the Wasp. One of the key differences between the Jester and Awesome is the fact tha the Jester is only a light mech. The basic outline of the Awesome is preserved, but it is a much skinnier mech, almost with a "scarecrow" effect like the Vulcan.

The shoulder-mounted armor plates reach up significantly higher on the Jester, such that these plates could possibly protect the head from shots from either side of the mech (at least if those shots originated from an angle of about 90 degrees to the centerline of the mech). The head, while blocky like the Awesome, does not have the same "face" effect because the entire front of the head is a square slab of canopy material, as if the face was covered by a square black veil.

Both arms end in armanent, much like the right PPC-arm of the Awesome. These weapons, which are mounted just below the elbow, appear to be lasers of the same type as used on the Locust, but I couldn't tell if they were supposed to be small or medium lasers. The right torso has a weapon system that looks much like an Awesome's torso-mounted PPC, but the weapon in question is either a large laser or medium laser. It's definitely one size bigger than the arm-mounted lasers, which look puny in comparison. There's no left torso-mounted weapon. Below the right torso laser and above the hip actuators are a pair of rotary machineguns, much like on a Chameleon or Merlin. These could be either two center torso mounts, or one each in the right torso and left torso.

I got the overall impression in the dream that the Jester was an early light recon design, but not as small as 20 tons. Also, its not as fast as later light recon mechs, like maybe it is a 5/8/? mech. I couldn't tell if it had jump jets or not.

Posted by jrients at 8:15 AM CDT
Friday, 30 April 2004

I'm going over to Don & Sue's tomorrow night, maybe to play a boardgame, maybe to play a session of Sue's D&D campaign. I'm hoping to jumpstart interest in resuming my Marvel campaign "Home Team".

Since I'm thinking about it, here's my cover image from the first session of the campaign.

Hideously amateurish, I know, but it did help set the mood for the game.

Posted by jrients at 9:22 PM CDT
I *heart* Google
Googling "Jack Ripper Aleister Crowley" yielded, among other things, this lovely site. I love these kids and their kooky conspiracy theories. Quator Coronati Lodge is about as Satanic as a church sewing cricle.

Here's another link that might prove handy. Could teenaged Edward Alexander Crowley be one of the PCs?

Posted by jrients at 11:18 AM CDT

So yesterday the Golden Dawn book I've been needing to finish my Enochian chess project came into the library after I got back from it. And my schedule doesn't allow for a trip back today. Grrr. At least they got it in. I should be able to complete and transmit the article tomorrow.

Last night I read the main section of The Red Baron, the part containing Richthofen's memoirs and letters. I don't see the overbearing arrogance that Kennett warned about. Maybe he read it in the original German or one of the earlier translations. The rest of the book contains some meaty stuff: a short memoir written by Manfred's brother Lothar, an account of the death of the Baron, and an appendix will plane illos among other things. I plan on photocopying the appendices and sticking the pages in my Dawn Patrol boxed set.

Posted by jrients at 9:32 AM CDT
Thursday, 29 April 2004
Saucy Jack
My brain is starting to work over the Jack The Ripper CoC scenario idea again. I'm now suspecting that maybe I should do it as a mini-campaign, maybe a three-parter. (Run at one convetion? Over three years? I dunno.) Anyway, this blog is as good a place as any to store the booklist I am working on. Hopefully my friendly local library can get me at least some of these texts.

The Complete History of Jack the Ripper
Philip Sugden
Carroll & Graf. 1994. 532 pages.
ISBN 0-7867-0124-2. photographs. index., bib.

Did Aleister Crowley Know the Identity of Jack the Ripper?
Pangenetor Lodge Publications, 1993.
Frater Achad Osher 583

East End 1888
Fishman, William J.
London: Duckworth. 1988.
343pp. Illustrated, Bibliography, Index. [Victorian London]
ISBN: 0715621742

Alias Jack the Ripper: Beyond the Usual Whitechapel Suspects
R. Michael Gordon
McFarland Publishers, 2001. ISBN 0-7864-0898-7
363pp., photo, maps, chronology, bib, index.

The Jack the Ripper A to Z
Begg, Paul, Martin Fido & Keith Skinner,
Headline, dist. by Trafalgar Square. Sept. 1991. 523p. photogs. index.
ISBN 0-7472-3676-3. pap.

I also need to find out what Colin Wilson has written about the case.

I'll also need some good maps. Props would be wonderful as well.

Another thing I need to do is work up some operating parameters for designing the scenario. What am I trying to accomplish? What don't I want to do?

(Total aside: I find it weird sometimes that Victoria London, with Sherlock Holmes and the Golden Dawn and Saucy Jack is the exact same period as the Old West.)

Posted by jrients at 4:53 PM CDT

I'm on hold with a librarian as I type this. Seems the Golden Dawn history by Howe isn't in from the University yet. I am hoping she can help me track down a copy of Duncan Anderson's The Falklands War 1982 and Greg Bear's Songs of Earth and Power. Bear's novel has been recommended to me as a spot-on representation of the kind of thing that can happen in a well-crafted Lords of Creation campaign.

Getting back to going to the library is good for the soul, even if all the books I'm checking out are intended solely to inform my gaming. Any reading is probably good reading after all.

Posted by jrients at 10:11 AM CDT
Updated: Thursday, 29 April 2004 10:54 AM CDT

This morning I finished reading Lee Kennett's The First Air War, 1914-1918. Here's one of my favorite passages:

If aerial combat was admittedly an affair of great complexity, still there were rules to the game, and if a pilot learned them and applied them, then he should have victory within his grasp-- this was the reassuring message of the tactical manuals and the flight school lectures. Then came the reality of combat. One must wonder how well the precepts were applied in one air battle a German captain described after the war. It came toward the end and it was fought in appalling conditions. There were perhaps 100 planes contending in limited airspace, flying at less than 3,000 feet under a ceiling of thick cloud; antiaircraft fire, particularly threatening at that altitude, was constantly arching up from below. On the ground the German and British armies were locked in combat. The pilots caught occasional glimpses of the battlefield with its drifting clouds of gas and the bright streaks made by flamethrowers. Above, the airplanes twisted and climbed and plunged "like wild things." The captain continued: "In the rain and mist the danger of midair collision was added to all the other hazards. Other planes would suddenly appear like phantoms. An adversary would emerge as a shadow for a fraction of a second, then vanish into the black clouds. There was something uncanny, sinister, about this flying in rain and storm, cloud and mist." The pilots, German and British alike, were "half-dead, exhausted and worn to tatters by the inhuman strain and the nerve-shattering tumult." It was eery and unearthly, like some "frantic witch's sabbath in the air." Such was the recollection of Captain Hermann Goering.

I enjoyed the book immensely and am desirous of continuing to learn more about WWI flying aces and the period in general. Kennett recommends as good reads the memoirs of airman Cecil Lewis, entitled Sagittarius Rising and Red Knight of Germany, a fictionalized account of the Red Baron written by a fellow named Floyd Gibbons. I have Richthofen's autobiography, but Kennet warns that the arrogance of the man grates on some readers.

I'd also like to read a short overview of the political events leading to the war and maybe another text otulining the war itself.

Posted by jrients at 9:08 AM CDT
Updated: Thursday, 29 April 2004 10:13 AM CDT

Last night Pat lent me a copy of Israel Regardie's The Golden Dawn. I had read this book years ago and wasn't expecting to find much substantive information on Enochian chess. Surpise! Nestled towards the back of the book I found about a dozen pages dedicated mostly to the magical aspect, but with some substantive information on the game play, including a short treatise penned by MacGregor Mathers! Regardie confirmed two of the starting arrays as presented by my primary source, Zalewski. Mathers also confirmed the unorthodox queen movement. This material prompted a rewrite of several passages in my article. I'm going to the library today to see if Ellic Howe and his Magicians of the Golden Dawn contain any additional surprises.

Posted by jrients at 8:54 AM CDT

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