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Sensor Sweep: Elden Ring, James Ward, Hyperborea RPG, Appendix N –

Sensor Sweep: Elden Ring, James Ward, Hyperborea RPG, Appendix N

Monday , 25, March 2024 Leave a comment

RPG (Grognardia): When I first read Astonishing Swords & Sorcerers of Hyperborea, two things about it greatly impressed me. Most significant was that this roleplaying game of “swords, sorcery, and weird fantasy” demonstrated an obvious love for the pulp fantasies of Robert E. Howard, H.P. Lovecraft, and Clark Ashton Smith.

Robert E. Howard (Echoes of Crom): Join me and Matthew Knight as we discuss the Bran Mak Morn story “Worms of the Earth” by Robert E. Howard.

Conan (Sprague de Camp Fan): “The People of the Summit” by Bjorn Nyberg and L. Sprague de Camp is the second story in Conan the Swordsman, Bantam Books, 1978. It was originally published in The Mighty Swordsmen, Lancer Books, 1970. The original version was by Nyberg alone.

Weird Tales (Tellers of Weird Tales): Weird Tales was in trouble one hundred years ago this month. Although by March 1924, “The Unique Magazine” had been in print for a full year, and although it seemed to be prospering, Weird Tales was also only two months away from faltering. After the quarterly anniversary number of May/June/July 1924, Weird Tales went into hiding, and things fell apart for its publishers, Jacob C. Henneberger, John M. Lansinger, and their Rural Publishing Corporation of Indianapolis and Chicago.

Games (Fandom Pulse): The year has been tough for Pokémon after being blindsided by the massive popularity of PalWorld, a new creature-collecting game. And in spite of the many flaws with PalWorld and the accusations of stealing art assets from Pokémon, it quickly took the internet by storm in the first couple of months of the year. And led many fans of the Pokémon franchise to question why such a fun game could be produced by a company with a fraction of Nintendo’s budget.

D&D (Bell of Lost Souls): One of the greats of the RPG industry passed away yesterday. Jim “Drawmij” Ward left an indelible mark on D&D and beyond. Legendary designer James M. Ward, better known as Jim, passed away yesterday at the age of 72. Ward’s influence on the RPG industry is hard to overstate. From the earliest days of Dungeons & Dragons to the dizzying days of the collectible card game explosion, Ward played a huge role in creating memorable games.

Beer (Mlive): Inside the 800-liter clay vessels, Take it to the Grave, a Scottish heather ale, has been fermenting since early February. The recipe, long-thought to be extinct, was recreated by experts who analyzed scrapings from clay vessels found during Scottish archaeological digs. Today, the Orkney Islands contain some of the oldest and best-preserved Neolithic sites in Europe and are home to a UNESCO World Heritage Site.

Tolkien (Art of the Movies): I read parts of the The Hobbit, the first half of The Fellowship of the Ring, and had a vague childhood memory of Ralph Bakshi’s animated Lord of the Rings but I felt like I had absorbed the full saga through cultural osmosis growing up.

Pulp (Comics Radio): Louis L’Amour is, of course, most famous for the many, many excellent Westerns he wrote. But he did write in other genres. For instance, early in his career, he wrote a series of stories set in the South Seas, with his own experiences as a merchant seaman giving those tales authenticity. The protagonist in these stories is a “Ponga Jim” Mayo, who is the master of a tramp steamer and who has a penchant for finding trouble.

Science Fiction (SFF Remembrance): While never quite breaking into the mainstream like Ray Bradbury, Richard Matheson clearly copped a few notes from the Bradbury notebook and, over time, became one of the more accomplished authors in the field. He debuted in 1950 with “Born of Man and Woman,” which despite being written when he was 22 or 23 remains one of his most famous stories.

Nostalgia (Grognardia): I retained a vague affection for the idea of superheroes, especially after I started playing RPGs. I can still vividly recall some of the adventures my friends and I had playing, first, Champions, and, later, Marvel Super Heroes. I remember, too, when we started to see big budget Hollywood movies featuring various costumed characters, starting with Tim Burton’s Batman.

Comic Books (Paper-Dragon): Gold Key’s Green Hornet.

Cinema (Grumpy Wizard): Pat Kilbane and the producers of the film were trying to to show us just how remarkable Gary was while not leaving out that he was a human with faults and frailties.

Conventions (Six of One): The Prisoner Appreciation Society
Six of One – formed in 1977 2024 CONVENTION DATES: 12th -14th April

Science Fiction ( M Porcius): Merril-approved 1958 stories by P Ashwell, D Berry and R Bloch

In alphabetical order by author, we are reading stories published in 1958 that Judith Merril recommended in the back of her 1959 anthology SF: The Year’s Greatest Science-Fiction and Fantasy: 4th Annual Volume.  We started this journey with Poul Anderson and Alan Arkin, and today finish up the “A”s with Pauline Ashwell and advance into the “B”s with Don Berry and Robert Bloch.

Comic Books (CBR): In every Look Back, we examine a comic book issue from 10/25/50/75 years ago (plus a wild card every month with a fifth week in it). This time around, we head back to February 1949 to see the comic book introduction of Superman’s famed Fortess of Solitude.

Comic Books (Super Hero Hype): The new Conan comics published by Titan Comics and Heroic Signatures have been hailed as a welcome return to form. Both fans and critics have praised the series for how it honors the legacy of Robert E. Howard. However, the preview of Conan the Barbarian #9 suggests the series will go beyond emulating Howard’s classic pulp stories in tone. Indeed, it appears the Barbarian will be joining forces with another of Howard’s most popular heroes.

History (Art of Manliness): During the Civil War, the Confederacy’s greatest hope for its defense of New Orleans, and the Union’s greatest fear in securing its capture, were the former’s fleet of ironclad ships. As it turned out, the ironclads proved ineffectual, and the Confederacy’s overall defense, hampered by disorganization and what one historian called the “cowardice of untrained officers,” fell apart. The Union Navy handily muscled its way up the Mississippi to capture the South’s largest city.

D&D (The Silver Key): This is the year of golden anniversaries. On the heels of 50 years of Savage Sword of Conan comes a half century of a game that meant and still means a hell of a lot to me. It’s a game in my past, but I might play it again. Hell, I bought my first comic book/illustrated magazine in 33 years, Stranger Things could happen (<=intentional D&D reference inserted here).

Appendix N (Grognard): The most well-known of these lists is Appendix N of the AD&D Dungeon Masters Guide. While I was not the first person to draw attention to the importance of Appendix N – Erik Mona, publisher of Paizo, springs immediately to mind as a noteworthy early advocate – it’s no mere boast to suggest that Grognardia played a huge role in promoting Appendix N and its contents during the early days of the Old School Renaissance.

Games (Rageaholic): They came for D&D and I said nothing, for I was not an elf. They came for Warhammer, and I said nothing, for I was not a space marine. But they made one mistake: They attacked MY HOME PLANET!

RPG (Goodman Games): Goodman Games is deeply saddened to hear that legendary RPG designer James M. Ward has passed away. Jim was a personal friend of the company and a close business partner for many years. Jim was best known for creating the first science fiction RPG Metamorphosis Alpha. He was one of the early players in Gary Gygax’s Greyhawk game and a fan of the stories that inspired the creation of Dungeons & Dragons.

Tolkien (The One Ring): This month we found out that renowned Tolkien scholars Christian Scull and Wayne Hammond will be publishing a NEW book with NEW content by Tolkien–The Collected Poems of JRR Tolkien. I take a look at their announcement, highlighting some of the details they mentioned. I also take a bit of time to discuss last year’s revised and expanded version of Tolkien’s letters.

Interview (DMR Books): I’m Wade German, I write poetry and prose in the Weird Tradition, and for the last fifteen years or so my poems have been appearing in magazines, journals and anthologies of the science fiction, fantasy and horror kind. My first poetry collection was Dreams from a Black Nebula (Hippocampus Press, 2014), which was followed by The Ladies of the Everlasting Lichen and Other Relics (Mount Abraxas Press, 2019) and the verse drama Children of Hypnos (Raphus Press, 2020).

Science Fiction (Future War Stories): I would buy the original Destiny in 2016 and then bought the Taken King expansion a little later. And damn! I did love me some original Destiny, but I wished the story and the single-player campaign had been much better. HALO it was not. I played D1 for nine months until I bought other  Xbox One games and I came to the original game here and there.

Games (Swords Lore): From Software’s Elden Ring has already been out for almost two years now, yet it still manages to induce feelings of awe and inspiration in players who have experienced almost everything it has to offer. From the moment I first started playing it on Christmas Eve of 2022 to when I started my end-game scramble around the map to get everything I needed before starting New Game Plus, I have been captivated by nearly every corner of the Lands Between.

Pastiche (Rough Edges): BÊLIT: SHIPWRECKED is the latest entry in the series of Robert E. Howard pastiches published as e-books by Titan Books. Not surprisingly, it’s a prequel to Howard’s story “Queen on the Black Coast” and takes place before Conan meets the pirate Bêlit and becomes part of her crew sailing on the ship Tigress.

Weapons (Isegoria): I haven’t heard any complaints about dense inert metal explosives recently: A DIME weapon consists of a carbon fiber casing filled with a mixture of explosive and very dense microshrapnel, consisting of very small particles (1–2 mm) or powder of a heavy metal. To date, tungsten alloy (heavy metal tungsten alloy, or HMTA) composed of tungsten and other metals such as cobalt and nickel or iron has been the preferred material for the dense microshrapnel or powder.

Cinema (Bleeding Fool): Directed by British maverick Guy Ritchie, Snatch is a frenetic and stylish crime comedy that showcases Ritchie’s signature off-beat style. Released in 2000, Snatch is a follow-up to Ritchie’s successful debut, Lock, Stock, and Two Smoking Barrels. The film boasts a star-studded ensemble cast, featuring memorable performances from Jason Statham, Brad Pitt, Benicio del Toro, and more. The characters they play set the standard for Guy Ritchie eccentricity.

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