Friday, December 21, 2018

Ware the Winder Man!

Wherein is described another holiday for the Rainy City, one celebrated at the height of the Windy Season (for context, see Seasons and Holidays of the Rainy City).

Mid-Winder Night, when family and friends gather with smoking fires spilling over every hearth.

Why? To feed the Winder Man, of course, so that he does not come into our homes and feed on our breath. 


Every ship in the city flies its banners and flags this day, the peak of the Windy Season and windiest day of the year. Doors, windows, and the tops of chimneys are decorated with torn and frayed cords, ropes, and threads, in hopes of binding the Winder Man and other Winder-Wraiths out. Winder Man Effigies smoke and burn above the doors of pubs before being tossed into the sea. Winder Man dolls are stuffed with scraps of paper naming illnesses, misfortunes, and enemies -- and hung on poles or left on rooftops so that the Winder Man might find and take them away.

It is also a time of charity. The poor are invited in off the streets, fed, and kept hale. Every death and every breath the Winder Man takes this night makes him greater, and it is known that if ever he breathes enough breaths he will blow away the city, casting it over into the sea. We've lost parts of town before on Mid Winder Night, and surely we will again. Even the assassins stay their hands on this night, for last breaths are the gravest gift of all.

The streets are alive with activity, late into the night. Revelers careen from pub to pub, for tonight may be their last. Carolers sing songs of praise to the Winder Man in front of homes and businesses to encourage those inside to pay them handsomely in food, drink, or silver, so that they might move on to another home and stop drawing the Winder Man's attention to the place. The faithful visit shrines and temples to pray that all Winder-Wraiths be averted by their guardian daemons, gods, and spirits.

All who are out on this night wear thick, colorful scarves and kerchiefs over mouth and nose to hide their breaths from the Winder Man. Colorful threads and strings are affixed to coats and hats for added protection. Those who can afford it wear censers, in all shapes and sizes, enveloping them with alchemical smoke.  

The Winder Man and his Wraiths will be held at bay another year, through the festivities and rites of the people of this great city. And if he is not? Then we all go down together this night. So let us celebrate.

Thursday, October 18, 2018

Another OSR Guide for the Perplexed

I've enjoyed reading other people's responses to Zak Smith's OSR Guide for the Perplexed, so I thought I'd add my own. 

1. One article or blog entry that exemplifies the best of the Old School Renaissance for me: 
d100 Monster Missions and Deals in Redbrick Dungeons is just one example from a ridiculously useful blog. It is immediately applicable at the table and adds complexity to just about any dungeon-y situation. The blog is full of entries like this.

2. My favorite piece of OSR wisdom/advice/snark: 
This, from Zak Smith.

...if you play with a lot of distance--the distance is the content of the game. You're not pretending to be an elf because you want to be an elf, you're pretending to be an elf because you're an insurance adjuster and the back-and-forth between being an insurance adjuster and an elf is interesting and funny. The insurance adjuster is automatically complicated because he's real--the elf can be, but doesn't have to be. That's what's interesting--the constant juxtaposition of worlds. One full of quirks and logistics and ordinary people, and one made of nothing but genretastic invention. 

... somebody like me would say--the sand castle isn't really the end product--the product is the fun in trying to make a castle out of something as chaotic as sand.
3. Best OSR module/supplement:

4. My favorite house rule (by someone else): is still Shields Shall Be Splintered. 

5. How I found out about the OSR:
This is hazy for me. I remember reading Jeff's GameblogRobert Fisher's TSR Era D&D thoughts, Philotomy's Musings, Grognardia, and the OD&D boards. A poster going by the name "Calithena" looms large in my memory of the early part of the whole thing, especially Fight On. I was also combing forums for scraps of information myself, in a spotty way, before I remember an OSR label really coming together. (My first post on this blog (2008) was a repost of a few links from my (now super lost) Livejournal, doing just that.)  

6. My favorite OSR online resource/toy:

7. Best place to talk to other OSR gamers: 
G+, but I don't talk much, just read.

8. Other places I might be found hanging out talking games:
Blogs. I also lurk at most of the main RPG forums.

9. My awesome, pithy OSR take nobody appreciates enough:
The OSR conversation is a lot like the Forge, and it has been as successful as it has for many of the same reasons the Forge was successful in its day (esp. a combination of intense content moderation with a focus on DIY production). 

10. My favorite non-OSR RPG:
Street Fighter: the Storytelling Game (20th Anniversary Edition, fan-compiled, here!)

11. Why I like OSR stuff:
People create interesting new things I couldn't imagine myself. 

12. Two other cool OSR things you should know about that I haven’t named yet:

13. If I could read but one other RPG blog but my own it would be:
Rolltop Indigo, hands down, if I'm reading the question correctly (i.e., that any RPG blog counts, not only OSR). 

14. A game thing I made that I like quite a lot is:
my "Rainy City" campaign setting. 

15. I'm currently running/playing:
Running: my current Rainy City campaign, about the first class of City College of Magick. Homebrew game system. 

Playing: Stars without Number 

16. I don't care whether you use ascending or descending AC because:
It's a boring conversation. 

17. The OSRest picture I could post on short notice: