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KENZER AND
COMPANY
Knights of the Dinner Table #85 C RUTCH C ASSIDY AND THE S UNDICE K ID
CRUTCH CASSIDY AND
THE SUNDICE KID THE KODT DEVELOPMENT TEAM IS
November, 2003
_________________________ J OLLY R. B LACKBURN B RIAN J ELKE
Copyright 2003, Kenzer and S TEVE J OHANSSON D AVID S. K ENZER
Company, All Rights Reserved.
Knights of the Dinner Table mag- TA B L E O F C O N T E N T S
azine (ISSN 1526-307X) is published
monthly by Kenzer and Company,
1234 Triplet, San Antonio, TX DEPARTMENTS: Send the Orcs to the Mountains
78216.
Periodicals Postage Paid at San Cries from the Attic . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .3 by Rick Moscatello . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .53
Antonio, Tx. Table Talk . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .4 The Learned Bard
Postmaster:Send address changes to: Strip Tease . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .58 by Noah J.D. Chinn . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .55
Knights of the Dinner Table
511 W. Greenwood Ave. Critical Mass by Andrew Carso . . . . . . . . .65 SPECIAL FEATURES/ARTICLES:
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Subscriptions: A one year subscrip- Tales from the Table . . . . . . . . . . . . . .68 by Jason Zavoda . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .43
tion (12 issues) is only $45.00 (US Face Off . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .69
$50.00 in Canada and US $74.00 Crossed Swords by Alan Atkinson . . . . . .44
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To subscribe, send a check or money Back Room at the Games Pit . . . . . .79 REGULAR COLUMNS:
order (made payable to Kenzer and Lookin at Comics
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_______________________
by Barbara Blackburn . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .46 Disks of Wondrous Power
or fax a valid Visa, MasterCard, by Rick Moscatello . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .75
AmEx or Discover card number, your All Things Magic
signature, card type and expiration by Barbara Blackburn . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .49 THE STRIPS: by the Usual Suspects
date to us at (847) 540-8065. Rustlers of the Night
Back Issues: Back issues and related No Deposit No Concern . . . . . . . . . . . .8
by Barbara Blackburn . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .50 Second Chances . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .18
merchandising are also available. See
inside cover of this issue or our website Bait and Tackle A Frolicking Good Time . . . . . . . . . . .22
for details. by Rick Moscatello and Scott W. Roberts . . . .54 My Only Friend, The End . . . . . . . . . .31
Internet: jolly@kenzerco.com Getting the Most Laughs
(editorial inquiries only) or HOMEBREW:
noah@kenzerco.com (all other by Erin Mills . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .59
Fuzzy Knights by Noah J.D. Chinn . . . . . .35
inquiries). World Wide Web: Movies on the Battlemat
http://www.kenzerco.com Heroes of the HackLeague
by Wil Upchurch . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 62
Submissions: We accept submis- by Don Thomas . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .36
Deadly Trappings by Kevin Vance . . . . . .64
sions for strip ideas, jokes, cartoons, Challenge Rating Vicious
etc. We are interested in running any- PLAYERS ADVANTAGE: by The Brothers Grinn . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .41
thing that other gamers and fans
would enjoy. Check out our website Game On! by Jeff Aldrich . . . . . . . . . . . . .51 RPG Blues: . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .84
for writers guidelines.
Advertising Contact: D TABLE was accidentally created by Jolly R. Blackburn way back in 1990
Impressions Advertising & Marketing
(925) 240-0862.
Kas filler for his small
NIGHTS OF THE INNER
press magazine, SHADIS. It was something of a creative burp and Jolly real-
ly didnt give it much thought. Perhaps thats why he was just as surprised as anyone that soon
email: aldo@impressionsadv.net KODT was overshadowing everything else hed ever done and that the created was now controlling
Legal Notice: Knights of the Dinner Table, HackMaster the creator. Fortunately, writing and drawing KODT strips isnt the lonely job
and Kingdoms of Kalamar are registered trademarks of it was in the past. Hundreds of fans have contributed to the beast over the
Kenzer and Company. Crutch Cassidy and the Sundice
Kid, Cries from the Attic, Table Talk, KODT, Retro- years and since joining the ranks of KENZER AND COMPANY and the formation
KODT, Hacklopedia of Beasts, Off the Shelf, Tales from of the KODT D-TEAM, the Knights have gone far beyond anything Jolly or 1997 1998
the Table, Adventurers for Hire, Summon Web Scryer,
GameVine, Weird Petes Bulletin Board, Back Room at fellow D-team members, Steve, Dave or Brian ever imagined. Its been a wild
the Games Pit, Brians Small Press Picks, Disks of ride and the D-Team looks forward to seeing where the gang takes them next.
Wondrous Power, The Gamers Eye on the Movies/TV,
Parting Shots, Hard Eight Enterprises, One-Two
Punches, Gary Jackson Files, SpellJacked, GameMasters
Workshop, All Things Magic, Players Advantage, The
Good, the Bad and the Ugly, Rustlers of the Night , the
Kenzer and Company Logo, kenzerco.com and all
prominent characters and likenesses thereof are trade-
marks of Kenzer and Company. Dungeons & Dragons
and D&D are trademarks owned by Wizards of the
1999
Coast, Inc., a subsidiary of Hasbro, Inc., and are used by
Kenzer and Company under license. Copyright 2002
Wizards of the Coast, Inc.
CRIES FROM THE ATTIC
B OB S D AD : what gives? \ thought you guys said C R E D ITS
J ERK OR L OVING FATHER ? these games were all about being
PUBLISHER
HEROES and doing things
LARGER-THAN-LIFE. so this is it? Kenzer and Company
know Ive said it

I many times before,


but Im always
amazed when were put-
shooting men who dont even
SEE it coming? then RIFLING their
EDITOR-IN-CHIEF
Jolly R. Blackburn
jolly@kenzerco.com
ting the finishing touch- pockets for loose CHANGE? ASSISTANT EDITOR
es on an issue of Knights Noah Kolman
of the Dinner Table. youre PATHETIC. a couple of noah@kenzerco.com
muck swillin BOTTOM FEEDERS
One of the last things I livin off the MISERY and PRODUCTION MANAGER
do before turning an MISFORTUNE of others. Steve Johansson
issue over to the produc-
tion-dude (Steve COVERT EDITORIAL ASSISTANCE
Johansson) is to update cmon dad. Barbara Blackburn
y-y-you
the issue number on the cant talk
to me like
SALES AND MARKETING
title page (although Noah, my assistant editor, that -- \m Jeff Abar
SIXTH LEVEL!! jeff@kenzerco.com
has been beating me to the punch lately).
That little final act has always felt like clicking ADVERTISING LIAISON
the tally button on a counter. Over the years Ive Impressions Advertising
watched that counter climb month to month. & Marketing
Through the teens, past fifty, seventy-five, and Above: Bob Senior gives his son hell aldo@impressionsadv.net
beyond. And now here we are at issue eighty- in KODT#84s Blazing Barrels SUBSCRIPTION SERVICES
five. Thats a lot of dead trees. orders@kenzerco.com
idate both his son and Brian. I wanted to reach into
When ever I update that little number, I STRIP WRITING
the page and choke him.
always have the strange feeling that THIS could Jolly R. Blackburn
be the last issue. That this will be the issue no Another reader wrote, Hooray for Bob Senior! Brian Jelke
one shows up to read. The one that will send us I see him in an entirely different light now. As is Steve Johansson
home back to our real lives. often the case, it turns out weve only been getting David S. Kenzer
I suppose thats because Ive seen so many one side of the story: Bobs side. Instead of a heart- KODT STRIP ART
gaming magazines come and go over the past Jolly Blackburn
less bastard who throws his poor son to the curb, we
decade. Damn good magazines like Shadis, d8,
Infobia (aka White Wolf Magazine), Shred, The discover hes a loving father frustrated with his sons COVER ART
incredible slacker-ways and lack of ambition. Steve Ellis
Familiar, and Pyramid (the paper version; the
online version is till going strong of course). I Bob Senior is a jerk and a hypocrite. com- CONTRIBUTING ARTISTS
could list a half dozen more. With so many Peter Delgado, Jr.
mented another reader, He took every opportuni- Brendon Fraim
graves along the way I guess the fact that nothing
ty to belittle Bob, and did the same to Brian, because Brian Fraim
is for certain has really been driven home. The Brothers Grinn
Thats why Ive never taken this gig for grant- he knew Brian was Bob's friend. He got up on his
Don Thomas
ed. As hard as putting out a monthly publication high horse about Bob's actions being less than hon- George Vrbanic
may sometimes seem, Im always mindful of just orable, calling him a murderer, bottom-feeding scav- CONTRIBUTING WRITERS
how lucky I am to be doing what Im doing. enger, etc. but when Sheila cold-bloodedly murders Jeff Aldrich
So when you (the readers) continue to pick us Brian's character, he applauds! Alan Atkinson
up month to month and allow us to keep living Barbara Blackburn
the dream...? Well, lets just say Im personally Many readers pointed out that Sara (had she Jolly R. Blackburn
been there) would have climbed up on the table Andrew Carso
grateful. Noah J.D. Chinn
Speaking of readers, the appearance of Bobs and danced with glee after Bob senior berated Tony DiGerolamo
dad at the gaming table last issue resulted in more Bob and Brian over the utter lack of heroics in The Brothers Grinn
mail in than any other issue in recent memory. their style of gaming. When I read the part about Noah Kolman
Apparently you guys actually read this thing. Erin Mills
gutless turds, I cheered! wrote a reader. Bob sen- Rick Moscatello
The relationship between Bob Sr. and his son ior is a breath of fresh air. A man who says whats Kenneth Newquist
touched a major nerve it would seem. Readers Brian Pierce
on his mind and makes no apologies about it. He
reacted in a big way but not all in the same Scott W. Roberts
manner. Everybody seems to have their own take gave Brian both barrels and all the Big Guy could Wil Upchurch
on the two characters and their strained relation- do was mumble under his breath. This is why I Kevin Vance
ship. Some of you were thrilled to see father and Jason Zavoda
read KODT and cant wait for the next issue.
son playing together. Others were down right SHIPPING DIRECTOR
Aaaahh... the NEXT issue. See you next Don Captain Morgan
angry.
month, folks.
Bobs dad is a bastard! wrote one reader. He CHARMED PERSONS
has Bob beaten down like a whipped puppy and he Game on!! Chris Allen
seemed to gloat over the fact that hes able to intim- Jolly R. Blackburn Chuck Boswell

Knights of the Dinner Table Magazine November, 2003 3


TABLE Our Readers Talk Back!
TALK few changes over the years as different people have
added to it.
Jolly
: EMPIRE OF THE PETAL
THRONE

I n Cries from the Attic #84 (Oct 2003), Jolly


wrote Too bad J. R. R. Tolkien never had an
opportunity to pick up the dice and run a game of
D&D.
It may be that he did not, but a contemporary of
his did. I'm talking about M. A. R. Barker. Like
Tolkien, he was a linguist (and South Asian Studies
scholar). Like Tolkien, he wrote a few books the
hard-to-find paperbacks The Man of Gold (Daw
Books, 1984) and Flamesong (Daw Books,
1985). The key difference is that M. A. R. Barker
created one of the first complete D&D settings, the
infamous Empire of the Petal Throne (EPT), bet-
ter known as Tkumel.
He invented Tkumel as a child in the '30s and
EDITORS NOTE: The mail just never seems '40s after reading the Arabian Nights, pulp science
to stop. While we make every effort to read fiction, books on Egyptology and the Mayans,
each and every letter, it is not always possi- ancient and mediaeval history, etc. Empire of the
ble to give a personal reply. So even if your letter isnt Petal Throne was first published in 1975 by Tactical
published or if you dont get a direct response, rest Studies Rules (TSR), shortly after D&D.
assured you ARE being heard. EULOGY OF A GAMER The setting has been expanded by a variety of
Remember, KODT is an interactive magazine. We There is an empty chair fanzines and supplements (there's a complete gram-
want you, the reader, to be involved. So keep your sug- at the table this day. mar of the Tsolyni language, TrueType fonts,
miniatures rules, maps, etc.) and republished first in
gestions, thoughts and opinions (constructive and oth- A hallowed place where
1983 by Gamescience and later by Theatre of the
erwise) coming. Opinions expressed by readers are not a friend once played. Mind Enterprises (TOME), circa 1991-1994. A
necessarily shared by the editor or Kenzer and GURPS adaptation also exists. Rumor has it
The roll of his dice,
Company. Guardians of Order plans to republish it in 2003,
my ears long to hear.
Please be aware that due to space considerations, using the Tri-Stat System of Big Eyes Small Mouth
Or perhaps it would suffice (BESM).
some letters have been edited and/or trimmed. Jolly
if he should suddenly appear The context is quite unique. Tkumel was a
: THE EMPTY CHAIR...? with character sheet in hand planet circling Nu Ophiuchi (which is about 54
and a bag of Cheeze-doodles to share. parsecs away from us) in a vast interstellar empire
J olly, I have been reading Knights of the Dinner
Table since #61. I have just recently been buy-
ing back issues. In one of the letter columns, you
All his friends would stand
(set roughly 60,000 years in our future), with vari-
ous mutually alien species present and a displaced
referred to a poem you wrote called The Empty as he sat in the empty chair. indigenous population (terraforming wasnt com-
Chair. I wonder if there is any way for me to get I hear his voice a-callin plete). A cataclysm occurred which expelled
a copy of this piece? Tkumels star system into its own pocket uni-
and it ties my heart in a knot.
verse/dimension. Civilization collapsed promptly
Thanks! For he cries, Though a comrade has fallen, and rebuilt itself slowly over millennia (roughly 30
Gil Reyes you must play for those who cannot. millennia!). Magic was invented. Extra-dimension-
We conquered worlds on the run, al beings were contacted and worshiped as Gods.
No, problem, Gil. The piece is actually entitled,
Eulogy of a Gamer but its come to be known as the Being metal-poor, the stranded populations make
he and I in the name of fun. do with animal resources, giving the world a some-
Empty Chair by most readers.
And as others may come and go, what Aztecish flavor (there are no riding beasts
Fact is it is one of the most requested pieces readers either everyone walks). Various high-tech devices
ask to see from the back issues. Ive asked our web- I make both friend and foe.
can still be found, but no one knows quite how to
maestro, Eric, to post it permanently on our website. But what I long for most,
operate them (or what it is they really do, in some
For the benefit of those who hate to do html, here it is is our past, now long a ghost. cases); there are remnants, some still in working
again in print. order, of a global underground transit system. In
*Eulogy of a Gamer was briefly quoted by Brian
By the way, I did write the original poem but its the Empire of the Petal Throne setting, the
VanHoose in The Temp (KODT#10). According to
officially credited to the fictional character of Gary Tsolyni empire dominates a large part of the world.
strip lore, Gary Jackson wrote the poem when his best
Jackson from the strips (dont want to step on the big It is a highly stratified society, reflected even in the
friend, Garrod Havatya, quit gaming.
mans toes). When the character of Gary Jackson was language, which has conjugation modes varying
killed off in the strips, the poem took on a life of its according to the respective social ranks of the inter-
own. Its also taken on a locutors.

HOW TO CONTACT US
: Via ONLINE FORUM Just pop over to www.kenzerco.com and visit our discussion forums.
: via E-MAIL Send your strip ideas, reader mail, back room fodder and questions to mailbag@kenzerco.com.
: via SNAIL MAIL Or write to us at KODT c/o KenzerCo, 511 W Greenwood Ave., Waukegan, IL 60087.

4 Issue #85: Crutch Cassidy and the Sundice Kid


Treat yourself and hunt down copies of the

h t t p : / / g h . d r l o b s t e r. c o m
sourcebooks this is a unique experience.
Some Web resources to check out if your inter-
ested in learning more:
http://www.weirdrealm.com/tekumel/
http://www.tekumel.com/blueroom_main.html
http://www.deathstar.org/~jmsaul/ept.html
Daniel U. Thibault

: A BOB CAMEO...?

I do believe I've spotted Bob narrating for an old


webcomic. Its creators have since moved on to
other projects, so no info was forthcoming.
However, the likeness is fairly good:
http://gh.drlobster.com/20010223.php
What do you guys think? And in other news, I
hope the move went well and yer all settling in. I
sure hope you guys allowed for a customized games
room or three in yer new office!
Adventuring Bob
Possible Bob cameo?? Hey, Bob... Is that you?? I dunno. He seems too cool-headed to be our Bob.
: THE LYNCH REPORT: #84 emphasis on the dialogue and story than most : BUMMED IN BLOOMINGTON
comics. Having said that, dont underestimate the
I m a big enough man to admit it: Im 5'11". Oh,
and I was wrong about Switch getting caught and
ratting out Crutch and Bob. It looks like Switch is
power of your art. Although simply drawn, they
have the ability to convey a LOT of emotion. As a I was really excited when I first saw the Previews
listing for KODT 84, because you were using the
long time reader I know these characters. They are Hacktastic Four cover idea and title I submitted.
a man of extremes full of excuses when hes down
on his luck, full of generosity when his ship comes flesh and blood. To be honest, KODT is the only I showed my friends the ad and even ordered an
in. Still, its only a matter of time before he gets comic thats ever made me cry (three times actual- extra copy. I just finished combing through #84
busted again, and hes already named Crutch and ly). Once when Sara asked B.A. if she could come and was really bummed out that you never even
Bob in his plans. It was nice to see Crutch both back to the group. Once when JoJo had his coffin mentioned my name anywhere.
resisting temptation and standing up for Bob; side chat with Gary Jackson, and just recently when Please tell me my name is in there somewhere
maybe Crutchll wind up being Bobs surrogate Bobs dad came to the table and Bob said Hi, Dad
and that I just overlooked the right spot to check.
father! and his dad ignored him. But I know you hear this
all the time. I know you guys get tons of mail, submissions,
As for Bob and his real father, I loved Dads etc., but I really thought my name should have been
influence in the game. For the usual Hackers, its all And if that doesnt convince you, consider this.
mentioned once in some little corner of a page or
about EPs and treasure; to outsiders, they see that as There are a lot of imitators out there scrambling to
capture what you guys have done. And while some something.
slaughtering people as cowardly as possible and
stealing whatevers not tied down (and sometimes may be prettier, none of them have the heart of Since I bought my first issue of KODT, I have
what is tied down). Who knew that Bobs dad was- KODT. Theres a reason they mimic you. purchased many back issues and KODT collections
nt against gaming, but his real-world attitudes So please. Stay away from art school. Turn a obsessively. My enthusiasm light, however, just
would make Bob not want him back? And Im glad deaf ear to those who suggest hiring a new artist. flickered a little.
Sheila got her revenge on Brian he had it comin. Keep doing the magic. The D-Team is doing just Bumming in Bloomington,
(Then again, he always does). fine. Chris Aubry
Great cover! I especially liked how Benjamin J. Mike Avars PS On a different note regarding the crap-
Grimms brow matched Brians hair. And seeing py art that is often discussed in your letters pages
The Lynch Report in print always brightens my : BRIAN FINALLY GETS HIS I LIKE the crappy constantly re-used cartoony art
day!
Jim Lynch Y eeeessss!!! I finished reading KODT #84.
Just when I thought KODT had no more sur-
prises, you put out another batch of classic strips.
it works I actually prefer it over the more
detailed, realistic artistic interpretations of your
characters.
: NO ART SCHOOL FOR JOLLY The story arc with Bobs Dad and the one with Hey Chris, sorry to hear about your disappoint-
Crutch, Switch, and Bob are really getting interest-
J olly, Im sure Im not the only reader to scramble
to his keyboard to bang out an email after read-
ing your response to Joe Frankes letter in 84 (in
ing. This is some of the best KODT since the Bag
Wars Saga. Best of all, after two and half years,
ment. Although I have no recollection of your sugges-
tion, I have no doubt you suggested an idea for a cover
called, Hacktastic Four similar to what appeared on
which Joe suggested you hire someone else to do the Sheila (in a secret alliance with Sara apparently)
84. This is one of those strange instances of great minds
art in KODT). You commented, maybe KenzerCo finally gets her revenge against Brian for offing her
(and in this case, more than two minds) thinking
will send me to art school. character during the Player Exchange program.
Sweet. I loved the fact that she lied to his face and alike. According to Mark Plemmons, (our comics
Please. NO!! Joe, dont know! I know you were manager who is responsible for coming up with the
said, No hard feelings. Water under the bridge.
probably joking, Jolly, but it would be a huge mis- covers), he commissioned the cover months ago based
take to hire someone else to do the art or to become My only complaint is that we didnt get to see on an idea of his own.
a schooled cartoonist. One of the most appealing the act of revenge on the written page. But perhaps
its best left to the imagination. Ive been hoping Interestingly enough, since the cover appeared at
aspects of KODT is that rough, unfinished look of
Brian would get his for a long, long time. Then in least two other people have contacted me saying they
the strips. I cant explain it but its like youre one of
one issue he gets reamed by Bobs Dad and put in had also suggested the same idea (Including Don
us. A fellow gamer.
his place and then his character is killed by Sheila. Thomas the artist for the Heroes of Hackleague
I think the fact that you are untrained (and by strip). So I hope you can see there was no intentional
your own admission not a huge comic reader) is one Seeing Brian mutter yes, sir to Bobs dad like a
foul here. When you draw from the same creative well
of the reasons youve managed to remain so fresh for scared eight year old had me in stitches. Any chance
for ideas, buckets occasionally get tangled. Jolly
so long. The strength of KODT has always been in of putting out KODT weekly?
the writing itself. The crappy art puts more Mike Schmitt

6 Issue #85: Crutch Cassidy and the Sundice Kid


: TELLIN IT LIKE IT IS

W ow, do I ever have new respect for Bobs Dad. Hes the first one to
actually tell them [Bob and Brian] to their face what type of charac-
ters they run and what their standard of game play really is:

...I think you and your buddy there are a couple of gutless turds. That's what
I think... Ever see the duke shoot a man in the face? Ever?!! And without so much
as a word of warning? I dont think so. Im callin it as I see it. It was a gutless
move...

...You dont shoot a man without provocation or fair warning. I taught you
better than that...

.. What gives? I thought you guys said these games were all about being heroes
and doing things larger-than-life. So this is it? Shooting men who dont even see
it coming? Then rifling their pockets for loose change? Youre pathetic. A couple
of muck swillin bottom feeders livin off the misery and misfortune of others...

...Just playin your characters eh? So were back to that old crutch again. How
oh so convenient. Well, heres a little news flash for ya. Zayne Kolby doesnt hang
with deadbeats, scavengers, or murderers...

Well said I must say! This gave a lot of insight into Mr. Hs relationship
with Bob and why hes so disappointed in him. Its also a great way to show
how an outsider would view Bob and Brian in the light of them supposedly
playing heroic genre characters. I say again, well done! I was only disap-
pointed by Bob not taking some of what his dad had to say to heart and maybe
examine a few things about himself. Though Brians character getting toasted
was brilliant!
Also a pat on the back for the fact that so many people are involved with
these characters lives as if they were real... great stuff Jolly! Thanks! I look for-
ward to it every month... How about a poll on whether to continue with the
break up of many stories into multi parts every month vs. having one single
long story that runs until its resolved. I would like the latter... Id like to read
the entire Bob and his dad saga all at once, or the entire Newt vs. Pete and
Stevil saga without it being interrupted after just a few pages to skip on to
another storyline in that issue. Just a thought...
Thanks again,
Eddie Presley
Claws of Doom
Mystic Lore Master; DDS

: MADE A GAMER OUT OF ME

Y ou made a game out of me. Early this summer while my grandma was
in Wisconsin, she was looking around at a used book store in order to
find anything I might be interested in reading. She spotted some issues of
KODT, and thinking I would like them, she sent them to me.
She probably thought it was some sort of parody of the tales of King Arthur
and knights of the round table or something of the sort but I dont think she
realized the great evil erm, I mean load of fun lol, that she would introduce
me to.
Anyways, so I read the issues she got me (the earliest being issue 12 and the
rest being different ones between 20 and 45) and I was laughing my butt off.
My friend told me that there was a games and comics shop nearby, so I decid-
ed to take a look to see if they sold the comic there. I was nervous when I
entered (I feared the worst, what if the attendant was like the comic book guy
from the Simpsons?) but the owner (shout out to Jonathan! w00t!) was very
helpful. I purchased the players guide for Dungeons and Dragons, and got
myself on a pull list for KODT. Thank you guys so much for introducing me
to the great world of role-playing!!
Im sure readers often wonder which character they are most similar to... I
am definitely like Newt from the Black Hands. I am young (15) and I first
started RPing not in a play-by-mail but in a MMORPG called Graal.
(www.graalonline.com for those interested)
Anyways back to the subject at hand... If not for you guys, I would have
never been exposed to the wonderful atmosphere of table top gaming. Keep
churning out great stuff, thanks a billion, and sorry for my poorly organized
thoughts in this letter lol.
Feivel from Atlanta, GA K

Knights of the Dinner Table Magazine November, 2003 7



No Deposit No Concern by david kenzer and
jolly r. blackburn

RECAP ( from issue 82 ) : okay, folks -- heres how this is gonna work. \ve set up the FIRST
the UNTOUCHABLE TRIO LEVEL of the DUNGEON using the MASTERMAZE 3D DUNGEON SET.
+1 are on an HONOR
QUEST to retrieve the the CARDBOARD PANELS will be removed as your characters MOVE through
legendary LYRE OF the DUNGEON -- no PEEKING!! \ mean it. any questions before we begin?
HOUND SLAYING from
yeah, can you tell us oh man, this is EXCITING.
the infamous dungeon HA!
these new 3D DUNGEON
where the LYRE OF HOUND
KREATINS KRAWL. good one,
tiles are gonna ROCK!
SLAYING is hidden?
dude.
with barely 20 days
funny, bob
left to destroy the
DOOMSDAY PACK,
tension is high. whos
joking?
the party is assembled
outside the ENTRANCE
to the KRAWL
and about to enter...

\ WILL tell you okay, so the PARTY is assembled


that all PLANNED -sputter- what the... outside the ENTRANCE to the dungeon
encounters have
been PRE-PLACED.
A DRAGON??!! if youll be so kind as to PLACE
your MINIS and ESTABLISH your
for example, if \ pull MARCHING ORDER, well proceed.
away a PANEL to reveal -sigh- it was JUST
a DRAGON MINI...? an example, bob.

you should REACT


accordingly. geezus, b.a. dont
SCARE me like that. good
REACTION luck!
time will be
judged in sorry.
REAL TIME.

oh man, SA-WEET!! these MUSEUM-QUALITY MINIS oh... so you ended up


we LEASED from brian ROCK ASS!! \ got a feeling LEASING them
theyre gonna bring us GOOD LUCK.
from BRIAN after all, eh? *
HA!! yours doesnt hold a CANDLE to
mine. you can even see the RIVETS on
EL RAVAGERS RING MAIL HOOD. -sigh- so, how much
look it, b.a.!! this
and just LOOK at how the BLOOD did THAT set
one looks JUST like
dripping down the BLADE of his sword you guys back?
KNUCKLES -- right
down to the FRENCH GLISTENS as though its WET.
BRAID of his BEARD!!
they ARE nice.

le!
ibb
scr ibble!
scr

* See KODT#82: THE ROAD TO PERIL After seeing the amazing 3D Dungeon set B.A. purchased (under Weird Petes Rent-to-Own program), the group
feels their ordinary figures are unworthy of the setting and begin to pester Brian in to breaking out his finely painted (museum quality) figures from under
glass. After refusing to budge, the group finally realizes that money talks and the negotiations begin.

8 Issue #85: Crutch Cassidy and the Sundice Kid


it took some TOUGH negotiation,
but we were EVENTUALLY able the BIG GUY wouldnt BUDGE on the DEPOSIT, however.
to whittle him down he INSISTED we lay out TWENTY BUCKS per fig
to just a five-buck to cover any CHIPPING or WEAR and TEAR.
USAGE FEE per FIGURE.
good grief -- you guys
five bucks?!! paid a DEPOSIT?? on yeah, so long as we RETURN
\ know, \ know -- TOP of the USAGE FEE?
but it was WORTH the minis UNDAMAGED
per FIGURE?? it. just LOOK at after the game.
the mini \ leased
yeah, but we
for LITTLE BABU.
get THAT back.
you leased
minis
for the
HIRELINGS
as well?

so you put out TWENTY-FIVE BUCKS each for the


PRIVILEGE of using BRIANS figures? thats INSANE. you got it covered??

thats a JOKE.
actually it was more like THIRTY BUCKS
with the LEASED figs for the HIRELINGS --
we got a special GROUP DISCOUNT on those.
no, really. \m ROLLIN
with the optional
in the money since \
INSURANCE PLAN its
took on a second job
for cryin out loud! more like 34 bucks.
as GAME COACH.
youre BARELY making RENT,
bob. what are you THINKING?

game COACH?

aaaah,
relax. \ got
it covered.

yeah, this guy SWITCH took up ROLE-PLAYING recently, ya see.


some MODERN ERA thing hes playin over in KOKOMO...*

did you say switch??


anyway, he was STRUGGLING -- so he asks me if \d TUTOR him
once a week. get this -- TWO HUNDRED BUCKS a SESSION!!! now WHY does that
name sound familiar?
lucky bob -- it DROPPED
can you BELIEVE right in his lap.
it?? and he pays sweet. that means
is that the WEIRD GUY who
me in HARD CASH!! you dont have to \ve been trying for
pay TAXES!! runs the COMPUTER LAB
YEARS to get my
over at BALL STATE?
GAMING CONSULTANT
two hundred idea off the ground.
bucks?

* See KODT#84: PAY DIRT While Crutch and Switch are planning a warehouse heist, Bob stumbles in. Thinking the two are prepping for a role-play-
ing game adventure, he offers advice that turns out to be incredibly useful. When Switch informs Crutch he wants to consult with Bob on another job, Crutch
forbids it and orders Switch to stay away from Bob. Apparently his threats went unheeded.

Knights of the Dinner Table Magazine November, 2003 9


no, yer thinking of old man TWITCH. does he PAY ME?? HA!!
this is the SQUIRRELY guy who hangs like a frickin ATM MACHINE!
around CRUTCH. you know who \m talking about...

he looks like the LEATHER MAN from the VILLAGE \m tellin ya, the guy cant LIVE
PEOPLE. you know him -- the BUGBEAR BUDDY with out me. hes ALWAYS
from that night we threw down at HAWG WALLERS. * swinging by the store
for advice and what not.

-firp- THAT GUY??

hes got me
he actually on CALL 24-7
PAYS you? in case he
needs me.

he bought me a PAGER and EVERYTHING --


just so he can get a hold of me on SHORT NOTICE. oh... theres
just ONE thing...
cmon -- how KEWL is that??
this is supposed to be
all HUSH - HUSH.
\ thought it STRANGE
yer MAKING this too -- but he dont want word of
its for REAL, dont
up -- right? apparently this guy our ARRANGEMENT
b.a. bob forget, bob.
takes gaming VERY getting back to his GM.
showed me if you ever
this sounds serious and is
the MONEY. need to
like a joke. EAGER to learn.
FARM out
some work
-- \m
yer man.

\ took the LIBERTY of


attaching a standard
damn. thats a pretty RETURN FORM
SWEET arrangement. and CHECK OUT LIST...
oh, by the way guys...
\ wonder if there
are any MORE \ brought your COPIES of youll need it to
like him out there...? the LEASE AGREEMENTS you signed. SETTLE any WEAR
or CHIPPING prior
to TURN-IN.

* See KODT#17/BOT#6: NITROS REVENGE In an attempt to get revenge on Bob, Nitro lures the Knights to a biker bar (Hawg Wallers) under the
pretext of a special invitation to an underground Live-Action Role-Playing event. B.A. and Bob mistakenly believe Crutch and Switch are in-character and play-
ing the role of an Ogre and a Bugbear with disastrous results.

10 Issue #85: Crutch Cassidy and the Sundice Kid


hey... whats this about SIX DOLLARS being deducted
from my DEPOSIT? RECONDITIONING and RESHELVING fee? hey, \ have to cover
my OUT-OF-POCKET
oh -- thats STANDARD. \ thought \ explained that. its to expenses.
cover minor touch ups and the REAPPLICATION of protective
coatings. these minis werent MEANT to be handled by HUMAN
HANDS or subjected to the RIGORS of play after all. you wouldnt want
to take ADVANTAGE
yeah, but \ paid the FOUR why do \ suddenly of me, would ya?
BUCKS extra for INSUR- feel like \ a two-fifty FILING
ANCE. doesnt my POLICY SIGNED away and COPY fee?
cover TOUCH UPS?? my SOUL??

okay, you stand


okay, folks. \ve heard enough. lets get this ball rolling -- okay?? before a set of
WIDE DOUBLE
\ want a FORMATION with the established DOORS made of
MARCHING ORDER at the main entrance. CAST BRONZE.
\ll be watching his back, b.a. sword
is DRAWN and READIED. \ place our two HUGE handles
EIGHT remaining HIRELING fashioned in the
well... since this is gonna fighters to the BACK of the line. form of DUELING
wholl be be TRAP CENTRAL, \ suppose SNAKES protrude
taking point? the THIEF should go first. prepping HASPARS from the doors.
SPHERE OF
PROTECTION here, b.a.

seconds later...
raised letters in OLD okay, you didnt
HAGAAN script read, detect any TRAPS. kewl beans. this first room appears
KREATINS KRAWL -- to be FREE and CLEAR. \ll CAUTIOUSLY
you OPEN the doors and step inside and have a LOOK SEE.
through these doors they GROAN loudly
awaits your DOOM on RUSTY HINGES.
but \ve got my
\ll now remove the
yeah, yeah, CROSSBOW readied.
first PANEL to
thats NICE.
show you what you see.
okay. as you step
\ check for TRAPS and in the room ....
OPEN the frickin doors.

Knights of the Dinner Table Magazine November, 2003 11


you hear WAAAAA?? what the hells THAT?? why couldnt \ see it BEFORE??

KER-PLUNK!!!
a dull THUD as
the floor beneath hidden by an ILLUSION maybe?
you seems to sink
several INCHES. cripes! dont move
BUDDY. whatever
it is, \ think you this could be BAD. easy everyone...
just ACTIVATED it.
you NOW no sudden
see THIS!!! movements.
activated it?
activated what?

look it -- its got SPRINGS, a HOLY MOLY!!


gear, and a RUBBER BAND...
it looks real. oh my.
b.a. must have picked
GAAAA!!! its some up the MASTERMAZE
is it real? here it comes...
sort of frickin TRAP!! TRAP EXPANSION
SETS as well!! -gulp-
huh? is it??

\ KNEW he had something up


his SLEEVE!! but THIS? lethal? GAAAA!!!! wadda \ do??

\m STANDING right ON the damn thing.


cripes!! \ve READ about these
things. theyre absolutely LETHAL!! and it CLICKED!! right? didnt he say it CLICKED?

theyre REAL working


traps!! they can be set in dont move, dude!! maybe its not
a WIDE VARIETY of modes. teh, heh. it could go off FUNCTIONAL.
thats it. ANY second...
ACTIVE MODE, RED SQUIRM!!
HERRING mode,
time-delayed,
proximity activated...

they really keep


the players
GUESSING.

12 Issue #85: Crutch Cassidy and the Sundice Kid


shes right dude. maybe its a DUD. \m afraid your
you guys are
NOT helping. OPTIONS
on the count of THREE, try JUMPIN off of it!! are limited, bob.
one... two... \ dont need
GUESSES.
shyaright!! good idea, this is probably what if you tried
set on TIME-DELAYED mode. DISARMING it from
easy for YOU to say. \ need where you stand?
something
then again, it MAY
youre not SOLID to
go off when the say, not
STANDING on it. go on here.
PRESSURE on the a bad idea.
PAD is released.
if yer afraid to JUMP, why didnt
\ can PUSH you. | think of that?
hey, \ think
its TICKING.

one roll later... reasonably sure??


b.a., \ EVER SO SLIGHTLY
reach for my THIEVES KIT. okay, bob.
-sputter- thats it??
\m gonna STUDY this damn as far as you
thing and not POSITIVELY, CONFIDENTLY sure?
know you gave it
see if \ can DISARM it. your BEST
shot and are sorry. you did what you THINK
okay. but |M going REASONABLY had to be done to disarm it.
to have to ROLL for convinced you \, ummm,
it. you wont know were successful. but you can \ STEP off.
for sure if you NEVER be sure. now
were SUCCESSFUL. well
what are you going to do? reeeal
that QUICK!
certainly EASY like.
what are
blows. you going to
do next?

TOWARD or AWAY away from the doors!!


from the doors?? yeah, YEAH, thats it -- AWAY. ummm, hoookay.

here goes
h-huh?? doht!! NO!!! scratch that. nothin

it makes -gulp- \m movin TOWARD the doors.


a DIFFERENCE?? DEFINITELY toward the doors.

okay, now \ want you oh man. easy does


ta-ta- to PICK up your it bob!
which way, TOWARD mini and MOVE it \ dont think
bob? \ need the doors. toward the doors. \ can look.
to know.
NO!! WAIT!!

Knights of the Dinner Table Magazine November, 2003 13


AAAKKKK!!!!

WHOMP!!
so far so good, dude. MY MINI!!!!!
\ think youre
gonna be... GAAAA!!!!

uh oh...

spr
oin
g!
KRUNCH!!

relax, bob.
sweet holy mother of gawd!!
your mini should be FINE.
did you SEE that??
what the hell??
the HAMMER had a NERF TIP and
was set on the LOWEST setting.
fri- fri- FRICKIN AWESOME!!! you mean MY mini,
dont you?? firk ding blast!! \ BELIEVE it!!
-spit-
-sputter- unfortunately, your
if its damaged, yer that SOUNDED
RESPONSIBLE. CHARACTER just like 26 points
the gawd damn took 26 points of
its in the LEASE!! of damage.
thing SMASHED cRUSHING DAMAGE.
my MINI!!!

damn!

thank gawd -- looks like my MINI came \ dunno, guys. \ LIKE my you know, if the REST of
through without any damage. WHEW!! mini but \ really NEED my you guys want to SWAP
deposit back. its not out your minis -- you
oh man -- that was HORRID. WORTH risking LUNCH for should do it now.
\ was really sweating BULLETS there. an ENTIRE week.

geeze, these TRAPS \ think \ might


certainly add an element SWAP out and
use my OLD mini. this TRAP was but a
of FEAR to the game.
TASTE of things to come.

14 Issue #85: Crutch Cassidy and the Sundice Kid


ya know what??
hey, thats RIGHT!! \ bought INSURANCE too.
what the HELL do \ care?
we can just FORFEIT our deposits and keep the MINIS.
\ got money. the WORST that can \ dont mind using a mini that has a few DINGS and CHIPS.
happen is \ LOSE my deposit and
get to keep a really KEWL mini. its a NO-LOSE
situation. minis
\ never looked at it
besides, \ might as well get like these -sputter-
that way. wed
some USE out of that INSURANCE would cost
come out ahead.
\ forked over extra for. FIFTY BUCKS HEY!!!!
on HACKBAY.

what the hell are you SAY WHAT??!!!


TALKING about??
why you two-bit CHISELER!!
you better read you mean were taking ALL the risk?
that FINE PRINT again. you get our money AND the figures if
we DAMAGE them? thats not fair.
your deposit goes toward
PAINT and LABOR in the event
of damage. TITLE to hey, \ TOLD you -- these figures are like
the figs remains with ME!! my CHILDREN -- they were NEVER meant to
be touched by HUMAN HANDS. you have
any IDEA of the SACRIFICE \m making?

wadda ya take
me for??

an AMATEUR?

nice try, FAT HEAD!!


okay, THATs it!!
we signed CONTRACTS!!
were putting a STOP to this no problem.
MADNESS right now.
just as soon
you pull yer minis fat WHOOP!!! as you give
everybody PASS before the END of us a FULL
my minis down the adventure and \m TERMINATING our REFUND.
THIS way. youre in BREACH!! deal. cmon -- gimme
back my MINIS!!
\m pulling
the PLUG!!

Knights of the Dinner Table Magazine November, 2003 15


no way -- youve already its FULL
ummm... FULL REFUND??
SUBJECTED my minis to play. REFUND cash in
hand or you
tell ya what \ll do tho... HONOR the
contract and
DAMN!! \ KNEW well just PRO-RATE yer we continue to
\ should have USAGE FEES for time played. RUN yer minis.
WAITED a few days
before ordering
that 200 gig HARD whats it FINE!!!
DRIVE. -gulp- \ll REFUND the balance but going to be?
you FORFEIT your deposits.
ummmm, itll take me a few
days to get you your money.

NO DICE!!

can he do that? maybe we \ tell ya what we do.


you wanna HOLD
me to the CONTRACT?? should check our CONTRACTS.
we play BALLS-TO-THE-WALL!!
no problem -- but \m
screw the minis.
gonna be a BITCH when are you kidding?
it comes to TURN-IN why bother. so wadda our DEPOSITS are as
and rating you KNOW he we do? GOOD as gone anyway.
WEAR-AND-TEAR. COVERED his ass. thats a
you can KISS yer SMOKIN
DEPOSITS good-bye. might as well get idea, dude.
some ENJOYMENT
out of this.

a few moments later...

bob...? what the HELL are you doing??

guys...???
LOW CRAWLING!!!
thats not
oh man -- very nice.
knuckles is SNEAKING frickin HILARIOUS.
into the NEXT room on \m following up
his BELLY -- snicker-- RIGHT behind ya dude.

SCRAP!! SCRATCH!!

skoot!
scratch!

16 Issue #85: Crutch Cassidy and the Sundice Kid


moments later...
oh yeah??

well LAUGH it up, heroes.

you just BELLY CRAWLED right


into the MAW of a
SPIKED-FLINGING
BAMBOO TRAP!! WHACK!!!
bob take off 36 ACCCKKK!!! \
points of PIERCING got SPIKED right
DAMAGE. dave, you on the NECK!!!
were hit for 27 points.

GAAAA!!!
\m HIT!!!

okay guys -- enough CRIPES!! \m HURTIN here.


FUN and GAMES. dude, yer gonna have to take POINT.

were on a MISSION
here and youve both \ cant AFFORD to ME take point?
taken HEAVY DAMAGE. take any more damage. shyaright. \ can lay HANDS and
HEAL some of the dam-
in YER dreams!! age -- but you guys
this is TRAP FRICKIN are going to HAVE to
hey, the RAVS \ must have CITY, man. youre the be more careful
legs are BENT had the THIEF -- you take point.
all FUNNY!! SETTING a bit
HIGH on
that one.

a few rooms later...

okay, NEW RULE --


GAAAAA!!!
WHOMP!!! lets not have the
halfling PACK BEARER
BABU!! hes HIT!!!
kick in any more doors.

mark off 18 points of oh wow!! he


PIERCING DAMAGE from completely BROKE
BABUs sheet bob. off his base.

to be continued...

Knights of the Dinner Table Magazine November, 2003 17


BY READER
REQUEST Second Chances by jolly blackburn

KAREN NILES of charleston, and as MUCH as \ hate


okay, folks. before we call it to say it -- \m gonna
south carolina writes, one of
QUITS for the evening, theres have to HONOR it.
the funniest KODT strips \ve some CLUB BUSINESS to discuss.
ever read was when DAVE the GROUP BY-LAWS are
climbed behind the GM screen. quite clear on the matter.

apparently,
any chance the GROUP
someone slipped request?
will forgive him and give the a FORMAL WRITTEN
poor guy another CHANCE at REQUEST behind what kind of
running a game?? \ have high my SCREEN request?
hopes for the DAVESTER and before the game... from who?
think he can redeem himself.

q
kewl beans.

well, KAREN, after much


prodding and begging, dave
was EVENTUALLY given that
opportunity. read on -- jolly

look guys, before \ make the


ANNOUNCEMENT, \ want you to
keep an OPEN MIND about this.
why are you so NERVOUS?
as you know its the RIGHT of
EVERY player to STRIVE to it cant POSSIBLY be THAT bad.
IMPROVE his GAME and ADVANCE.
uh oh...
can it??
ummm, we have a RESPONSIBILITY here it comes...
to ENCOURAGE and er...
SUPPORT a player in
such ENDEAVORS.

just SPIT it
out, b.a.
whats
going on?

well... to be PERFECTLY
honest with you...
GUEST GM??!!!

ummm... er...

DAVE has REQUESTED GAAAAA!!!!!


to step behind sweet MOTHER
the screen as, ummm... s-s-say WHAT??
of GAWD!!

-gasp-
GUEST
GM

18 Issue #85: Crutch Cassidy and the Sundice Kid


PLEEZE tell me yer JOKING.

DAVE BEHIND THE SCREEN?? \d rather be subjected to


DENTAL SURGERY than to
undergo the AGONY
sorry, guys. of dave as GM.
oh yeah??!! well BURN it!!
my HANDS are tied.
he wrote it up on no way in HELL \m
OFFICIAL HMA form playing under HIM again.
21-alpha and EVERYTHING.

sonuvabitch

for cryin out loud, guys.


you TOO, sara?
\ wasnt THAT bad -- was \?

\ SUCK...??
dude, no offense.
yeah, watchin you tryin to
you REALLY
\ LOVE you as a friend GM is like watchin
feel that sorry dave.
but as a GAMEMASTER?? PAULY SHORE try to act.
way??
bob pretty
you royally SUCK. it makes my
much SUMS up
BRAIN bleed.
my feelings.

oh..., \ see. -sigh- you know what GARY


JACKSON used to say
\ guess \ didnt know you guys really FELT that way... about GAMEMASTERS...

YOU DIDNT KNOW...? yeah, and the TIME before THAT we


made you EAT your ADVENTURE NOTES and many are called --
dude, the LAST time you GMED went after you with the SHEEP SHEARS. FEW are chosen.
we RIPPED up the SCREEN and
THREW you in the COMPOST awwwww, please
HEAP in B.A.S backyard. dont feel bad, dave. yeah...
\ know.

actually you
tore up MY
screen. dave
was only
BORROWING it.

Knights of the Dinner Table Magazine November, 2003 19


\ just thought if \ got in some PRACTICE
\ didnt mean no harm, fellas.
\ might be able pull it off and PROVE myself.
\ just wanted to see how
bobs right. FAR \ could really go.
dude, why the HELL
do you wanna you got REAL talent \ve ALWAYS had this
GM anyway? -- as a PLAYER. BURNING ITCH deep inside to GM.

youre one of the


best damn FIGHTERS let it go, dude. thats just the
\ve ever met. you itd be a SHAME to POWER of the
belong on THIS see it WASTED. just LET it go. SCREEN callin dave.
side of the screen.

you take it from someone who you listen to us, dave. were your friends.
KNOWS -- the GM SCREEN
is a HARSH MISTRESS. just WITHDRAW your request and we put this WHOLE
thing behind us and move on. whatta ya say??

its LONELY on that side. \ suppose yer right.

a cruel bitch who can STRIP a man if \m as HOPELESS as you guys


of his FREE TIME, FRIENDS, say, then whats the point?
and even his very SANITY
if she finds you LACKING. youre doing the
b.a., may \ withdraw RIGHT thing, dave.
my REQUEST? youll THANK
us for this.
its not
oh dear...
for you. sure, but
youll have
to SIGN
off on this.

\ guess \ just thought it would be KEWL to get my \ wont to be able to LIVE with
FORTY HOURS in and go for my GM CREDENTIALS. myself if you sign off on that.

you know -- just to get the CARD so \


could hang out with the REST of the guys in the
GM HOSPITALITY SUITE at HACKCON and stuff. \ dont wanna be
responsible for
BASHING the
DREAMS of a friend.
yeah, yeah,
thats great, dude. ummmm, wait...!!
dammit, sara.
just SIGN off on that hold up, dave. say what...?
thing so we can leave. LEAVE it be.

20 Issue #85: Crutch Cassidy and the Sundice Kid


look dave, \ got really... just
b.a. is right -- its the RIGHT of
nothing going on ME and YOU?
EVERY player to seek to IMPROVE
his GAME and ADVANCE. THIS saturday.
youd DO that?
and its MY responsibility as a friend if you want to
GM a game, \d why of course.
and a FELLOW PLAYER to SUPPORT you.
be GLAD to sit in. youre a FRIEND,
dave. \d consider
it an HONOR.
cmon, sara. youre dont worry guys. that is if you dont
TAMPERING with forces mind just running thanks, sara.
you cant even what \m proposing for ONE player.
BEGIN to CONTROL. wont AFFECT you.

hey, if youll HAVE me, \ DAMMIT!! why do you two have to ENCOURAGE him? huh?
wouldnt mind sittin in
on that game as well, dave. the matter was SETTLED. what the hell are you THINKING?

its not like \ have


anything else to do. it doesnt AFFECT you, bob.

you and BRIAN dont have to show.


and if theres
anything \ can
do to help you the HELL it doesnt affect ME.
prepare, dont you guys played the FRIENDSHIP card. now if yeah --
hesitate to ask. \ dont show up \ look like a SCHMUCK. me too!!

dude, its okay -- really.


great.
you dont hafta come.
looks like \m GUILTED
into coming as well. why do \ feel like
yeah, yeah, the guy who just
whatever. but \ RESERVE bought a SECOND
ummm, \
the right to pack CLASS TICKET on
dunno.
what time do up my dice and the TITANIC?
we roll dice? how about BAIL if it blows.
NOONISH?

fine!

Knights of the Dinner Table Magazine November, 2003 21


A Frolicking Good Time by jolly blackburn

the following SATURDAY...

wow!! \ cant believe it. you ALL showed. gee, thanks


guys -- \ really appreciate the show of support.

dont STOKE the fires cmon, cmon.


\ just want ya to know well, | for one am looking
of FALSE HOPE, dude. lets PLAY --
\ put over TWENTY HOURS VERY forward to what \ left my VAN
into this adventure. youve come up with DAVE.
lets just get running
this over with. just in case.
\ think youll be
PLEASANTLY surprised.

20
hours?
wow!!

okay, sure. we can jump oh....? you brought PRE-GENS??


RIGHT into it if you prefer.
watta ya got as far as THIEF types?

ordinarily \ wont TOUCH a pre-gen, but \d really HATE bringing


now this adventure was one of my REGULAR characters in under a GREEN gm -- no offense.
designed for a PARTY of 3rd
to 5th level characters.
no problem. \ have a
couple of thieves here.
did everybody a GNOME, a DWARF, and a...
bring a
character or
do you wanna
use one of
the PRE-GENS
\ worked up. bingo!
\ll take
the DWARF.

oh, \ DUSTED off one of my FIRST characters.

okay, what oh, geeze -- \ havent run this little guy in YEARS. hey, \ remember ol BINK.
about
YOU, b.a.? his name is BINK GIDREE the STOUT OF HEART. you used to
run him in MY campaign.
bink?? the
\ thought he was DEAD.
HALFLING fighter??
thats
right.

22 Issue #85: Crutch Cassidy and the Sundice Kid


oh.... no. you must be little BINK here is very SPECIAL to me.
thinkin of his twin sister DINK.
hes totally kickin -- took me ALL
she BIT the BIG ONE on the way to FINALS in HACKTOURNEY 92.
that CRAWL you ran up in \ even wrote a POEM about him.
SLITHERING HEIGHTS.
-sigh- one of the FEW characters
thats right. DINK got
\ have who ACTUALLY ran in a
SKEWERED on the END wow -- that game under GARY JACKSON.
of a LIZARDMANS was YEARS ago.
lance as \ recall.

hes so
kewl.

no offense, dude, but BINK was sure it is. he was ALWAYS draggin the PARTY down. he mustve
always considered something of DIPPED into the PARTY RESURRECTION FUND a DOZEN times -- AT LEAST.
an EP-MOOCH and a WUSS by
the REST of the group. yeah, BINK was a bit of a WUSS.
he couldnt
ep-mooch? TURN around
without some remember that time he got killed
what the hell are LOW-LEVEL trying to milk a GOAT?? -snicker-
you talking about? nothing monster
droppin his ass. oh man -- that
STILL kills me.
we never said any- -sputter-
thing to you about it, t-t-thats
but he SUCKED dude.
not true.

HEY!!! that wasnt HIS fault!! \ dont know where the


HELL you get off callin gawd forbid he should
we were camping in a PATROLLED AREA my character a WUSS. DRAG DOWN THE
-- BINK wasnt wearing his armor. PARTY or MOOCH
experience points dont LIE!
any precious E.P.s.
he EARNED every ONE of em.
hey, in the ABSENCE of
dude, he
not that 2d12 any OFFICIAL errata
got KILLED dave, hand me down
points of damage indicating a TYPO, \
milking a goat. one of those
for a stupid ass was HONOR bound to FINE!!
GOAT-KICK ENFORCE the STATS then \ stinkin PRE-GENS.
end of
wasnt EXCESSIVE. for goats as WRITTEN. WONT
ARGUMENT!
run him. oh, cmon b.a.,
you KNOW that. dont be like that.

prove me wrong.
RUN HIM!!

Knights of the Dinner Table Magazine November, 2003 23


\ guess that
okay, its settled. B.A.s running BINK the HALFLING FIGHTER. brings us
to YOU, brian.
how about you sara? what are you running?
you want a naaa, \ got a
\ pulled my cleric SHALEEN KAREESH out of retirement. PRE-GEN? character here.
\ took the LIBERTY of updating her stats to bring her in
line with the NEW edition of HACKMASTER. if you want to
APPROVE the changes \ brought a COPY of her sheet.

kewl. \ was
no, thats fine. this is
hoping wed
a ONE-OFF adventure
have a CLERIC.
so its no big deal.

\m going to be running one of my old magic-users -- HARPER THE BRICK HOGAN

\ thought this
ummmm, not THE
would be a good
harper hogan??
HARPER HOGAN??!!! oooh dear... opportunity
to work out
the KINKS.

ummmm... dave, on SECOND THOUGHT, \ll


DEFINITELY be taking one of those PRE-GENS!!
\ think \ can bring
HARPER under
control this time.
harper hogan...?? \ll be taking
a PRE-GEN too.
damn. theres a
name \ never thought \m not particular.
\d hear MUTTERED ANY of them will do. guys, \ think hes
at the table again. relax!! MANAGEABLE.
gawd
save us...

24 Issue #85: Crutch Cassidy and the Sundice Kid


cmon, brian. you CANT be serious. weve been down this PATH before.
MANAGEABLE??!!
a MAGIC-USER inflicted with LYCANTHROPY
as well as the HACKLUST and HACKFRENZY
QUIRKS?? hes a PC-KILLING MACHINE.
that SICK FREAK
ate ELEVEN good gawd, hes that WERE-GRIZZ guys, itll be okay.
player-characters! a HORRID beast. scares the HELL
out of me, brian. with proper precautions.
\ used to have NIGHT-
he cant MARES about him.
be MANAGED.

will you stop? this is a PERFECT opportunity for HARPER


to FINALLY master his disease and be able to CHANGE at will.
well just have to
use a DOUBLE set of ummm... all \ have to do is make a SUCCESSFUL saving throw
CHAINS this time when when hes CHANGING -- but it has to be done IN-GAME.
its a FULL MOON.
yeah, but \ get to make
thats all. with only a FIVE a check EACH
PRE-GEN percent chance of time he RAMPAGES.
PLEASE!! SUCCESS?? shyaright!
its just a matter
of time before
\ CLINCH it.

look, BRAINIAC!!
get real, brian. \ think its pretty
all they found of clear everyone
KNUCKLES THE THIRD running that is DEAD set
was a freakin character would against it, brian.
RIB CAGE and be BAD NEWS.
some scattered what do you say?
bits of SPLEEN. REAL bad news. alright!

no way \m RELIVING ALRIGHT!!!


those painful memories.
sheesh!! \ll run
a frickin PRE-GEN.

happy now??

Knights of the Dinner Table Magazine November, 2003 25


A WEE BIT LATER...
go back to that part
...as you are walking along the DIRT ROAD, you notice to the left about the COWS.
is a field with a bunch of COWS frolicking about. to the right is
a valley where a small HAMLET is nestled among some PINES. theyre doing
what again??

a sign by the side of the the cows...?


road reads, FIGHT TOWN whoah, whoah, whoah!!!
2 MILES. you notice back up a second, CHIEF.
oh, theyre
the road splits ahead and... FROLICKING.

frolicking?

well, it IS okay, \ll BITE.


do COWS do that? dave gming here.
whats the deal
maybe its just with the COWS.
frolic? \m not sure. \ wonder some BAD flavor text.
\ve certainly never what theyre \ stop and STUDY
seen a cow FROLIC. so HAPPY about? them for
a few moments.
youre asking
who the hell ever B.A.??
good
heard of a HAPPY cow? heh -- he what are they
point.
thinks LLAMAS doing specifically?
have HORNS.
remember?
well....

they appear to be PRANCING about, dude, \ used to work with COWS all
chasing each other and playinG. let me see if \ got
the time at the HOE-AND-HARNESS
this STRAIGHT.
they seem to be OBLIVIOUS \ aint NEVER seen a COW prance.
to your presence. were talking about
COWS here. right?
thats because you were
dealing with DOMESTI-
okay, this CATED cows who were
is just FENCED in and oppressed.
plain
prancing?? the BOVINE
WEIRD. right.
milking
variety. these are WILD wild
cows, dude -- in cows?
their FREE and
NATURAL state.

yep!

26 Issue #85: Crutch Cassidy and the Sundice Kid


dammit. my GOOD SENSE tells me \ should HELLO!!!
CHELSIE??
just keep on WALKING but \ GOTTA know
whats up with these freakin cows. dave and cows??
ring a bell?? anybody? he LOVED
that cow.
\ dunno. they seem so HAPPY. this OBVIOUSLY has you really
and they arent hurting for crying something to with that think theres
anybody. maybe we should out loud!! stupid MAGIC COW a connection?
just leave them alone. he used to have. *
am | the only
but not KNOWING one who SEES
would KILL me. whats going oh trust me --
on here? theres
a CONNECTION
alright.

this is CLASSIC player-turned-gm behavior. new GMs also tend to STEAL


JO JO ZEKE gave a from the only SOURCE of
what does EVERY player do when he finally LECTURE on the inspiration theyve ever had --
gets a chance to sit behind the screen - huh? phenomenon at
GARYCON their OWN Gamemaster.
they ABUSE the power. suddenly all of their a few years ago.
old PLAYER CHARACTERS pop up as absurdly
powerful NPCS such as KINGS and EMPERORS.
\m tellin ya.

their campaign world becomes little more than it was really DAVE is trying to RELIVE
a PLAYGROUND through which they RELIVE QUITE good. his FONDEST moments as
all their favorite moments as a PLAYER. a PLAYER through us.

youre fishing!!

theres GOTTA be more


to these cows than that.
not even DAVE yo!! dave. \ walk toward the COWS.
would be that lame.
when \ get a good TEN YARDS away \ give
out a shrill WHISTLE and yell, HERE CHELSIE!!! HERE GIRL!!
\ still say its just
BAD flavor text --
they probably arent
IMPORTANT at all. heh --this should
prove INTERESTING.
chelsie??!!
okay, okay -- let
me make BELIEVERS
out of ya.

* See KODT#2/BOT#2: The Cows of War After a mental battle of tug-and-war with B.A., Dave obtains a magic cow. which he eventually calls Chelsie.

Knights of the Dinner Table Magazine November, 2003 27


you WHISTLE and suddenly the FROLICKING herd halts. the cows stand
MOTIONLESS in the tall meadow as their eyes study you intently.

HA!! wad
at the mention of the name CHELSIE, one cow \ tell ya!!
in particular PERKS up. its ears TWITCH excit- no way... chelsie?? his GM SCREEN is
edly then SUDDENLY the beast is LEAPING and
BOUNDING through the grass toward you. as TRANSPARENT
as SARAN WRAP!!

oh, \ aint
BELIEVIN this.

yeah, yeah... yer WALKIN away?? really??

-yawn-
as the animal
LUMBERS closer HA!!! loser!! you BLEW it.
\ toss the damn thing a
and closer, you CORN DODGER, pat it on
are IMPRESSED the head, and walk away.
with his great \ throw a HALTER
STRENGTH, poise, and BRIDLE on the hey!! you cant
and STAMINA. \ think damn thing and do that. \m
\ve made call DIBS!!! the one who
my POINT. BEFRIENDED her.

sorry, dude.
-sputter- thats it, you two-bit cow-stealin SLIME!!
\ CALLED.
\m THROWIN down!! fill yer HAND with dice!!

by walking
away you oh yeah?? come GET some!!
CLEARLY
bob??!! wadda ya doing? dave, \m CALLIN for
relinquished
its just a STUPID cow. CHELSIE to come to me.
any CLAIM you
may have had. its not WORTH it.
dont forget \ FED her a TREAT.
shyaright, a stupid that should count for something.
MAGICAL cow.
basic DIBS here girl!!
PROTOCOL, \ always had
cmon girl!!
BA-BEE my EYE on her.

know it!
love it!

read the
book! HAR!

28 Issue #85: Crutch Cassidy and the Sundice Kid


A WEE BIT LATER...
HA!!! \ SHRUG off your CROSSBOW BOLT and make a MAD DASH for that patch of WILLOWS
on the edge of the MEADOW. lets see how you like the sulphuric taste of my fireballs!!

\m droppin and rollin and \m heading down the while HES reloading
ME!! say what...??!!!
loadin another BOLT!! slope to that TOWN \m calling for
among the PINES, dave. CHELSIE, dave. does
\ dont even WANT
then \m SINKIN it into yer stupid cow. she RESPOND??
BINKs cowardly
ass as he RUNS away.

!
oka so you
sho oka!
sho say!!

several bloody rounds later... okay guys, as


you are
CHELSIE SHALL BE MINE!
engaged in
MORTAL COM-
eat COLD STEEL, you,
tyin off that SEVERED BAT, a group of uh oh.
PUNK BASTARDS!! soldiers??
artery with my HAT BAND MOUNTED
here -- then \m preppin SOLDIERS this cant
after BUTT STROKIN you with
another SPELL, dave!! approach be good.
my CROSSBOW \ throw it
on the
down and go TOE-TO-TOE
DIRT ROAD.
with my SHORT SWORD.

!
tle sho
rat le!
t sho oka!
rat oka
!

as they approach, you notice one of them wears the REGAL ARMOR of a
great leader and dons a great helm bearing the plumage of ROYALTY.

he pulls back on the reigns of his warhorse


causing the mighty beast to REAR UP on
its hind legs and hoof-strike at the air.
\ dunno -- but
he seems VERY
YOU THERE!! he barks, who the HELL important. he better not be BUTTIN
this be the KINGS LAND, is THIS clown? in to our business.
and those COWS be
under my PROTECTION!!!

Knights of the Dinner Table Magazine November, 2003 29


the GREAT SOLDIER makes
a MOTION with his hand
hey, BACK OFF, butt-munch!!
and a SQUIRE immediately
gallops up to his side.
this is a PRIVATE FIGHT!!

YES, LORD RAVAGER??!!


ummm, bob.
maybe we
you HEARD
shouldnt... he turns to
me!!
butt-munch?? the squire
and smiles.

fetch your
KING his
HACKMASTER
PLUS 12!!

LORD RAVAGER unsheathes his SWORD and holds it HIGH over his head as he grins a WICKED GRIN.

prepare yourselves for


a LESSON in HUMILITY
oh yeah.

this should be
...ravager?! REALLY interesting.
lord...
-gulp-

roll
for INIT.

a wee bit later still...

so... TWENTY uh huh...


HOURS of sounds
work went more about right...
into that, huh? or less.

-finis-

30 Issue #85: Crutch Cassidy and the Sundice Kid


My Only Friend, The End by steve johansson

now that were done sure. of course,


clowning around, \ dont have it WITH me...
lets back back to why dont you give us a
the matter at hand - -snicker-
WITH THEIR LAST couple of days to go to
namely the our treasure stash and
STALLING TACTIC 70 GRAND youse \ always wanted to use
get it for you?
EXPENDED, guys owe us! that line.
GORDO, STEVIL
AND PETE FACE
THE WRATH OF
THE SHANK AND
HIS GUILD OF
CUTTHROAT
HALFLING THUGS...

and let you guys skip town?


naw, \ dont think so.

hows bout we start with a little DOWN


PAYMENT? \ think everythin youre carrying
ought to be a good starting point.

everything? even my
fairy slippers?

ok. not EVERYTHING.

guido signals for one of his partners


you expecting company to check out the door...
theres a sudden
knock at the guido?
he obediently goes over and is
door... CRUSHED as the iron door is
with our luck its
TORN OFF ITS HINGES!
probably a couple of
jehovahs witnesses...

in bursts a warrior clad in what the hell is


gleaming full plate armor going on?
with gold filigree and a
JEWELED CODPIECE.
thats so tacky.

Knights of the Dinner Table Magazine November, 2003 31


CRIMSON TWILIGHT
to the rescue.
beats me. \ figued he
\m here to SAVE was as broke as his
full plate armor?
you! whered he get mentor.
THAT?

youre kidding, firstly, it was YOU GUYS who got if FOUL RAVEN was
right? yourselves in this situation by sticking the least bit
cuz yer punk ass your nosey noses into a hornets nest responsible, hes
got us in this mess \ had carefully buried. already paid for his
in the first place! infraction.
\ guess youve
and SEVERELY SO \
got a point.
might add.

CRIMSON, on the other hand, had NO KNOWLEDGE of but theres one more thing
these guys. foul raven and crimson kept a lot of \ havent figured out.
secrets from each other if you recall.1 whats your game HERE?

why are you always


\ do. so sad that
youre shrewder so suspicious?
two people could
be SO CLOSE yet than you look.
SO DISTANT.

there was no way \


its simple really. \ figured these
could simply bust in so \ was waiting outside
guys would eventually come after
and take em out on my to let you weaken em a
me once they realized that FOUL
own. \ needed a bit before \ swept in for
RAVEN was my MENTOR.
distraction. your the COUP DE MAIN.
BLUNDERING did just
\ can see your concern. that - quite effectively
these arent nice people. \ might add.

1 see KoDT #79 p. 29 wherein Newt establishes that his characters are an enigma to each other

32 Issue #85: Crutch Cassidy and the Sundice Kid


weaken em? you set us up as \ eventually got so bored that
CANNON FODDER? the trouble is that \ waited
\ just burst in.
AND WAITED and still nothing
happened. \ listened at the door
and heard you engaging in some
call it what you stupid RIDDLE CONTEST!
will, gordo.

so you want my indeed, you three do seem of


help or what? secondary importance right now.

we might. the question is, do guido seems as confused as the rest


YOU want OUR help? of you at the appearance of crimson.
\ guessin that WE
just dropped down a get that guy! he shouts.
notch on guidos
TO DO list.
a stocky thug halfling
whips out a switch-
blade and ADVANCES
MENACINGLY on you
newt.

crimson strikes him down. but theres an old grel saying,


the enemy of my enemy is probably
\ only rolled a 2. but lets see... at my level with still my enemy!
strength, magic, and skill bonuses that still hits ac 2.
cmon, hes part of our
adventuring group. plus you
and pete took a GAWD OATH
good enough. roll he seems not to harm him as part of
damage. serious about so it your loan agreement.
helping. appears.

good point gordo. alright newt, looks like you got us good. \ finally
\ forgot crimson figured out where that LOAN MONEY went.
was covered by that.
you did??

HA HA!
youre so hosed.

Knights of the Dinner Table Magazine November, 2003 33


duh! dont you see? CRIMSONS probably 6th level. and packed and that BACK-END
to the gills with the best equipment money can buy. CLAUSE in our
contract means we
cant touch him!
actually, \m
7TH LEVEL. but thats higher
than \ am!

and to top it off, weve been finally, by coming to the you thinking what \m thinking?
duped into attacking this rescue of fellow party
BROKE-ASS thieves guild that members he gets BUKU
FOUL RAVEN already swindled. HONOR.
\ believe so, dear brother.
at our expense!
\ bet these guys dont have
two coppers left to rub
together. what a little SNEAK!

the room erupts in a SPEC-


\ throw this GLOBE OF HELLACIOUS FIRE TACULAR FLASH. the over- hmmm... \ guess
AND BRIMSTONE in the center of the pressure blows out the those magic
room. towards the halflings, of course, remaining door and hurls items foul raven
so as not to break my gawd oath. your bodies like rag dolls put up for
into the wall. the PUNGENT collateral
REEK of CORDITE stings werent ALL duds
your eyes and throats after all!
before the final darkness
NO
but this is a CONFINED AREA...
closes in on you.

\ warned
the kid to
be careful.


RD
A HE
AST OWW THIS Y
B
U EXP IS AN
YO ENS
SHI IVE
RT

34 Issue #85: Crutch Cassidy and the Sundice Kid


Fuzzy Knights of the Dinner Table by Noah J.D. Chinn

Knights of the Dinner Table Magazine November, 2003 35


Knights of the Dinner Table Magazine November, 2003 41
42 Issue #85: Crutch Cassidy and the Sundice Kid
No sooner does he tell Hawg, than Hawg kicks them out but Crutch
ENCYCLOPEDIA Switch pops up and Crutch is glad to knows someplace private that they can
HACKTANICA see him. But Switch is tossing gasoline
on the fire, and wants to get Crutch in
use to look over the plans for the heist.
K82 - 22, 23 'Settling Up'
on a job. He even went out to Crutch takes Switch over to the
Crutch's doublewide trailer with Games Pit after being kicked out of
Crowbar and talked with Crutch's Ol' Hawg's. He's reluctantly agreed to
Lady, Casey Mae. help Switch with advice over a botched
"You have no idea the damage you've job since it was the only way to get
done." Casey Mae was jus believing back the hundred bucks.
that Crutch had gone straight. This Bob is behind the counter when
time around Crutch isn't getting they arrive and lays down the law: no
sucked back in. He's made promises poker or alcohol till after midnight.
he intends to keep. He invites Switch Besides, the back room is booked spe-
back to the trailer for some steaks and cial for the night. "We just wanna go
later for some poker at Riley's barber- over some notes and such... A few min-
shop. But none of the 'Job' talk from utes of privacy and we're outta here."
Switch around Casey Mae. K80 - 9-13 That's what the War Room's for, dude."
'Old Debts' Crutch has never been down to the
KNIGHTS AND OTHER Crutch and Switch show up at basement of the Games Pit before.
PEOPLE, PART IV Weird Pete's for some poker. The They've come to the right place. Just a
COMPILED BY JASON ZAVODA game was run out early from Riley's two buck minimum purchase to use it.
barbershop and Crutch has invited After buying some pork rings and
CRUTCH [LESLIE HUMPHRIES] (CONT.) both Switch and Bob's Dad (who sodas, Crutch and Switch have the blue
Crutch watches as Ty's character shows up in the last panel) to the game prints spread out in front of them.
violates the Code of the Tooth and Nail at Pete's. K80 - 23, 24 'Full House' Switch is a little nervous since Vance
Society during the Grudge Match Crutch figured that Dad Herzog was Muller's machine shop was raided, but
final. K64 - 58 'Backroom at the a pigeon, but once the game was going Crutch reminds him that ol' Vance was
Games Pit' in Weird Pete's backroom, it was running a meth lab in his paint shack.
Crutch takes a dislike to Chad's Crutch who was taken to the cleaners. "Relax Hoss. Things are cool here."
character when he finds out that After Switch raises the stakes, Crutch Crutch reminds Switch that if any-
Murgain hates his illegitimate brother. loses most of his trailer money and just thing goes wrong, his name stays out of
"I got no use for a man who would turn walks away from the table with his it. Switch probably has other ideas
on his own blood." alimony money still in his pocket. about that. Going over the plans point
Luckily, Crutch took some advice He'd still like to play one more hand by point Crutch can't believe that
down at Weird Pete's and ended up but his ol' lady is gonna have his hide they've brought in Shackles, Big Easy
with an ambidextrous amputee with a as it is. Crutch invites Dad H. back for Shackleford, a piece of blue river-trash
bow bonus. K76 - 26-28 'The another chance to take his money next who fingered his partners Tommy Griff
Accident' week. K81 - 8-13 'All In The Cards' and Wall-Eyed Pedro back in '94.
Eddie tries to explain about male Crutch has returned to Weird Pete's "Aaaaaah what do I care? After all I'm
players running female characters to backroom for another game of poker not even involved."
Crutch during a lesson in gaming at with Bob's Dad. Bob Senior can't Crutch isn't any help. The basics
Hawg's, but it just weirds him out. resist a jab at Crutch's expense, but he won't work and the place is sealed up
K77 - 63 'One-Two Punches' still tries to sell Crutch a policy on his tighter than a drum. He doesn't even
Crutch and some friends start play- bike and an accidental death and dis- recognize the alarm systems. The era
ing a late night game of poker down at memberment policy. Pete warns him of the small time hoodlum is over. He
Weird Pete's and it gives Pete the idea that Crutch and Switch aren't wrapped can't figure why Switch is wasting his
to start a 24-hour game store. K79 - too tight and hang with a rough crowd, time on this bait trap when there are
12 'Ka-Ching' but Bob Senior figures Crutch to be plenty of warehouses without a
Back at Hawg's after a long absence, just a loser punk. K82 - 7-10 'A smidgen of security. He's ready to give
Crutch is there to pay off his bar tab. Friendly Little Wager..." up when Bob pops into the war room.
"Hell, I got enough payola in my pocket Afternoon at Hawg Waller's, proba- K83 - 7-11 'What's the Plan?'
to make good with you, drop a trailer bly a Wednesday, and Crutch is hang- On his break Bob steps into the War
payment and throw a little something at ing around waiting for Switch to show Room while Crutch and Switch are
my ex... I figure, Ill even have enough up with the hundred bucks he owes going over the plans of a heist. Crutch
left over for the poker game tonight" he him. When Switch does show up, tries to get rid of Bob, and tells him
tells Hawg. He's been hanging sheet much to Eli's surprise, he doesn't have that the plans are for a game that
rock on a job in Fort Wayne. Hawg the money but he does manage to drag Switch is playing in. He tells Switch
was a little skeptical about where Crutch back into the land of crime that Bob will get bored and go away if
Crutch got his payola, but with two even though Crutch knows better. they play along, but he soon realizes
strikes against him Crutch isnt making "Look, Hoss. Servin' time for bein' an that Bob really knows his stuff and
it a third and going down for life. accessory is jes as hard as real time." makes sure that Switch is taking notes.

DIS = Disclaimer
ABBREVIATIONS FC = Front Cover IBC = Inside Back Cover
BC = Back Cover IC = Inside Front Cover
HO = Hand Out
BT = Bundles of Trouble TV = Tales from the Vault
K= Knights of the Dinner Table

Knights of the Dinner Table Magazine November, 2003 43


Crutch hasn't even heard of some of Dave's Dad loaned him the money for dropping out of Spivey-Tech. A
the security measures that Bob points to pay back the damage done to Twelve Point By-Line on Abe, Babes,
out, like the dummy safe, and never Hawg's when he tunneled up from the & Rollerblades seems unlikely to
spotted the dog run or kennels on the sewers. BT8 - 28 'Help Wanted change his mind. BT2 - 19 'The
plans. In the end he does agree with BT3 - 71, 83; BT8 - 14, 28; TV1 - Jackson Files'
one thing, something doesn't seem 32
right about this heist and Switch DAD, BOB HERZOGS
should just pass on this job. K83 - 12- DAD, B.A. FELTONS Bob's Dad [aka Big Bob, Bog Senior,
17 'The Consultant' B.A. lends his Dad's beeper to Brian. Captain Fancy Suspenders] sends him
TV1 - 44 'Dragon #234' to the shrink and makes him burn all
Chad is away and in Crutch's words,
the Perp's have "some new meat comin' B.A. borrows his Dad's van to go to his HackMaster books after the
in." He was hoping the temp, who Garycon '94. TV3 - 6 'Shadis #12' dammit Janet affair. He wouldn't let
turns out to be Newt, would be fair B.A.'s Dad needs him to flush out Bob watch his soaps for 3 months and
game since Crutch could use the EPs. the martinizer at his dry cleaning shop. still thinks that Bob is going off to play
After introducing his character Nancy, BT3 - 84 'The Guns of August' poker instead of to game. TV1 - 32
a male half-ogre with a 24-83 strength B.A was delivering Dry Cleaning for 'Shadis #21'
and a +6 maul of head bashing, he his Dad to Bridget. She has a $50 tab. Bob uses his Dad's house and garage
wants to know what Newt is bringing K50 - 50, 53 'Goth to Get Some' as the map and basis of a fantasy sce-
to the table. "...we showed you our B.A.'s Dad and Mom are divorced nario. TV1 - 46 'Dragon #236'
cards. How 'bout you showin' yers." and living separate lives. The dry
But after a couple of pages of back- Bob said he was helping his Dad
cleaning business is gone. K79 - 7
ground notes from Newt that don't check the air in his radiator and help-
'Table Talk'
reveal his name, class or race Patty ing rotate the brakes. All of which was,
Dad Felton used to have Sara work of course, a lie. BT3 - 72
comes back just in time for Crutch to
at his dry cleaning shop. K81 - 2
call down a world of pain. "Roll for 'GameMaster of the Realm'
'Cries From the Attic'
init!! Nancy wants those mouse-skin Bob's Dad saw a piece about
boots!!" KO3 - 13-17 'Well Met' B.A. laments about what he would-
n't give for the opportunity to sling HackMaster on Sixty Minutes and
DAD, DAVE BOZWELLS dice with his dad, just once. B.A.'s freaked out. He searched Bob's room
Dad Bozwell's payday is also Dave's. Dad used to go hunting, fishing, and and found Bob's character sheet for a
TV1 - 32 'Shadis 21' to ball games with Pappy Felton, but female character that was a shock since
Dad Bozwell notices Dave's black he never did much of anything with he thought that Bob had quit playing
lipstick and interferes in Dave's rise to B.A. They never had much in com- HackMaster years ago after the
Darklord of Indiana. BT3 - 71 mon. K82 - 15 'The Dad Factor...' 'Damnit Janet' affair.
'GameMaster of the Realm' BT2 92; BT3 84; BT4 90; "He went ballistic!!!" And told Bob
Dave's Dad owns a BMW Stick BT5 92; BT6 92; BT7 - 57, 89; that as long as Bob was living under his
Shift. BT3 - 83 'The Snack Run' K50 - 50, 53; K79 7; K81 2; K82 roof, Bob could never play HackMaster
Dave grabs a plumb bob from his 15; TV1 44; TV3 - 6 again. He even made Bob get a job and
Dad's workbench. BT8 - 14 'The Lost DAD, EDMUND FINLEY S agree to go to counseling. 
One (s) Edmund's Dad won't forgive him Continued Next Issue...

CROSSED SWORDS by Alan Atkinson


ACROSS
3 A really nasty creature found in dungeons (featured in Rustlers of
the Night) (5,4)
4 The character that (14 across) plays in Heroes & Zeroes; (2
down)
6 An abbreviation of Experience Point (1,1)
8 This humanoid race is known for its lack of height and excessive-
ly hairy feet
10 A good square ____ never goes astray when youre adventuring
11 Nitro Ferguesons gaming group
13 The practice of calling a claim on some item that otherwise
might become group property
14 A nasty, smelly, uncouth type of humanoid
15 The name of the player of various mages of the Lotus clan (5,8)
17 The King of the Wall Climbers
18 Red Gurdy Pickens war cry; ____ (16 down)

DOWN
1 Sturm ____, the dwarven adventurer
2 See 4 across
5 Jolly _________, the man who started it all
7 A really holy type of fighter
8 The team that (4 across) belongs to
9 The Gnome Titan lord treacherously
slain by the Untouchable Trio
12 Barringers rank at the beginning of the Bag Wars *The solution can be
16 See 18 across found at www.kenzerco.com

44 Issue #85: Crutch Cassidy and the Sundice Kid


GAMEMASTERS
The GOOD...
WO R K S H O P

Sumah Jonner
AKA: Cloud Rider
RA: Human CL: Barbarian LV: 1
SX: F AL: CG

STR: 17/67 DEX: 17/99 CON: 15/72


INT: 10/58 WIS: 11/58 CHA: 14/09
COM: 15/60 HON: 17 FAME: 1

+H: 2 +D: 5 HP: 25


DEX BONUS: 4 R/AT ADJ: 4 AC: 2

AGE: 18 APPEARANCE: Young and proud.

Notable Possessions: Light horse lance, short bow,


leather armor, loyal medium war horse, her fathers saddle.

Notable STPs: Animal Lore (55%), Animal Handling (55%),


Animal Training (horses) (90%), Land-based riding (96%), Fire
building (39%), Hunting (59%), Identify animal by tracks (33%),
proficiencies in short bow and light horse lance, Swimming
(dog paddle) (51%), Swimming (32%), Fishing (29%), Singing
(67%).

Motivation: To survive and live in peace.


has gotten her into trouble on occasion and has made some
Weaknesses (including Quirks/Flaws): Armor
of the more militant members of her tribe view her with dis-
Snobbery (leather), Sound Sleeper, Superstitious (thinks being
dain.
near dead things is unlucky), Temper, Gullible, Enmity toward
Orcs, and Truthful. One reason for her attitude toward combat could be the
memory of seeing her father cut nearly in half by a sharp
Background: Sumah is a typical member of her tribe from orkin blade as he rode beside her in battle. She managed to
the Meletian Kingdom. These people are excellent horsefolk, decapitate the orc who slew her father and as he died, he
doing practically everything from horseback, including taking passed his hand-embroidered saddle to his beloved daughter,
meals, courting, and funeral processions. urging her to avenge his death. She promised him she would,
and has done her best to drench her lance blade with orkin
Because of this, even though Sumah is young, her knowledge
blood. She finds such activity somewhat cathartic, but still
of horses is second nature. She was born on the back of a
feels something is missing in her life. Something else stirs
horse and every night she sleeps peacefully on the broad
within her, a wanderlust and a curiosity about the world that
back of her dusty-colored steed Glima. She was given her
battle cannot quench.
warriors horse upon her 14th birthday. This is the age
when the young of her tribe, both male and female, are con- She is generally friendly to non-orkin outsiders who visit her
sidered to have officially entered into adulthood. homeland, even curious. Most members of her tribe tend to
be distrustful of strangers.
Her family and friends have always called her Cloud Rider
because they say her head is in the clouds. She finds it diffi- Sumahs mother is greatly disturbed by her daughters flighty
cult to keep from daydreaming as she goes about her daily nature and gullibility. She is afraid that her daughter will
duties, and often has to be addressed loudly and often before choose to wander off one day in search of adventure, and she
she will answer because her mind is off somewhere else. doesnt think her daughter has the ability to handle the out-
side world. Her older brother Tarkin constantly taunts her
While fully trained in the art of combat from horseback,
about her flights of fancy, and does what he can to keep her
Sumahs dreams are of other things. She is a ferocious fight-
in line with his mothers wishes. He has taken on the role of
er when cornered, and she does have the famous Meleti tem-
the father in Sumahs life, and she resents it. Still, she cant
per when insulted or attacked. But what she really loves is
seem to quench the stirring within her. She dreams of one
to ride free for miles, to eat and sleep wherever her horse
day riding into the horizon and finding whatever might be
may take her, to swim and fish and sing and live free.
there. When she does, she doesnt plan on looking back. 
She hates orcs, like any good Meleti, but she doesnt like to
By Barbara Blackburn
think about them. She doesnt like to remember the battles
and she cares nothing for the glory of the kill. This tendency

46 Issue #85: Crutch Cassidy and the Sundice Kid


the bad...
Sekeleth Pless
AKA: Bloody Fingers
RA: Human CL: Shaman LV: 8
SX: M AL: LE

STR: 13/49 DEX: 11/06 CON: 13/94


INT: 19/77 WIS: 19/99 CHA: 13/73
COM: 10/81 HON: 80 FAME: 20

+H: 1 +D: 1 HP: 54


DEX BONUS: 0 R/AT ADJ: 0 AC: 5

AGE: 60 APPEARANCE: Cruel and bloodthirsty.

Notable Possessions: Obsidian bladed ceremonial dag-


ger, clerical robes, unholy symbol of Grawdyng, ceremonial
headdress and jewelry, obsidian tipped staff, wooden armor.

Notable STPs: Jugular Swipe (100%), Divine Lore (101%),


Basic Leadership (99%), General Religion (89%), Grawdyng
Religion (100%), Opportunist, Ulterior Motive (74%), Glean
Information (87%), proficiencies with staff, dagger.

Motivation: To serve his gawd.

Weaknesses (including Quirks/Flaws): Sadistic, Self Sekeleth gained his nickname, Bloody Fingers, because his
Absorbed, Intolerant, Male Pattern Baldness. delight in killing is so great that he has a habit of burying his
fingers in the blood of his victims as he slices their throats
Background: Deep in the heart of the Zumbran jungle with his hand-made obsidian ceremonial dagger. After suffi-
there is an ambitious bloodthirsty shaman of the Obsidian ciently bathing his fingers in the life ooze of his victims, the
Clan who keeps his temples altar to Grawdyng, the gawd of sadistic shaman has also been known to lick the blood from
death, bathed red with human sacrifices. That shaman is none his fingers.
other than Sekeleth Pless, and he has his sights set as high as
the throne itself. His subordinates dont think he knows what they call him
behind his back, and they would be terrified if they knew that
Such ambition is not at all safe. Shaman-King Smym Fyst is as he was well aware of what they say. Far from being offend-
ruthless as they come, rooting out competition and cutting it ed, Sekeleth is thrilled that his reputation has become so col-
down without mercy. But, Sekeleth is clever. He has kept a orful. He is proud of his bloodlust, just as long as he doesnt
low profile by keeping his base of operations in the more become a target of the jealous and paranoid Smym Fyst.
remote areas and, when things look dicey, moving his com-
mand center until things cool off. Still, it is difficult to escape Sekeleth has been making some inroads with many high-level
the watchful eyes of Fysts zombie spies. They seem to crop Clan leaders and church officials, hoping to expand his influ-
up everywhere. ence without calling too much attention to himself. Lately, his
mind has been filled with thoughts of assassinating the king,
Sekeleth has hopes of catching the eye of Grawdyng himself, but he knows that hiring someone good enough to accom-
and gaining his approval by offering him a high quantity of sac- plish such a feat would cost much more than he can currently
rifices. His contingent of faithful warriors is constantly scour- afford. After all, the shaman king is surrounded by elite
ing the land, looking for bodies to offer in the dark rites that guards and zombies, all of whom are extremely loyal. Any
please the gawd of death. It is said he offers at least five sac- assassination attempt has little chance of success.
rifices a day to the dark gawd.
All Sekeleth can do is bide his time, and that is what he is
Another tactic employed by Sekeleth is to assemble his own doing. He is simply continuing his bloody work with gusto,
zombie legion. He has been studying and praying, honing his serving his gawd and waiting for his big break.
abilities and lately, he has had some success. He has even
been able to turn and control some of Fysts own zombie By Barbara Blackburn
squadron to his own purposes.

LEGEND: STPs= Skills, Talents and Proficiencies RA= Race, SX = Sex, AL= Alignment, CL = Class, LV = Level, HP = Hit points,
AC= Armor Class +H= to hit bonus, +D= Damage Bonus, S.T. Bonus = Saving Throw Bonus, R/AT Adj: = Reaction/Attack Bonus.

Knights of the Dinner Table Magazine November, 2003 47


...AND THE UGLY
Gorikka Genge
AKA: Gnarl KaTogis (King Snatcher)
RA: Hobgoblin CL: Barbarian LV: 6
SX: M AL: NE

STR: 19/43 DEX: 17/21 CON: 14/67


INT: 12/90 WIS: 9/87 CHA: 7/10
COM: 4/03 HON: 69 FAME: 41

+H: +3 +D: +7 HP: 59


DEX BONUS: -3 R/AT ADJ: +3 AC: 2

AGE: 36 APPEARANCE: Fierce, aggressive.

Notable Possessions: Net, chains, cages, leather armor,


whip, spear, hand axe, and knife.

Notable STPs: Tracking (76%), Survival (45%), First Aid


(31%), Running (25%), Snare Building (89%), Animal Handling
(21%), proficiencies with whip, spear, hand axe, and knife, The
Art of Beating (67%)
Motivation: To capture slaves for his kingdoms slave trade.

Weaknesses (including Quirks/Flaws): Temper,


Enmity toward Elves, Alcoholic. Slaves destined for Fawlur come from all of Gnardors neigh-
boring countries, and from almost all races. Gorikka, like all
hobgoblins worthy of the name, hates elves intensely, howev-
Background: Gorikka is one of his kingdoms most suc-
er. No elf or half-elf will ever be taken as a slave. Elves
cessful slave catchers. He is part of the elite KaTogis, or
encountered by Gorikka will be attacked and slain, no ques-
Snatchers of Gnardor, a mountainous jungle kingdom west
tions asked. Half elves will meet the same fate. To Gorikka,
of Kal Dez. The KaTogis job is to capture slaves for use in
they all look the same.
the kingdoms numerous mines, or for sale in the slave mar-
ket in Fawlur on Gnardors northern coast. He keeps his squad in line much the same way he does with
the slaves with harsh discipline and the lash when neces-
Most recently, Gorikka and his squad of slavers have been
sary. His squad of five respect and fear him, but they also hate
making forays into the kingdom of Hazaar, on Gnardors
him. Some have whispered their longing to pay Gorikka back
northeastern border. He has found a wealth of slaves along
for his harsh treatment of them, but none has had the
this kingdoms southern coast.
courage to really go through with any such plans.
Once captured by Gorikka and his goons, slaves are chained
The slave merchants of Gnardor, as well as the top govern-
together and force marched, with little rest, food, or water.
ment officials, however, are thrilled with Gorikkas relentless
The terrain is generally harsh, rocky, and overgrown. The
capture of quality merchandise. This top slaver has provided
journey is so harsh that about 10-30% of his slaves dont
such a great quantity of slaves for the market that he has
make it. Some might say such rigorous treatment is foolish.
come to be known as Gnarl KaTogis (King Snatcher)
Why risk losing merchandise? Gorikka just laughs and snarls,
throughout Gnardor. Several other KaTogis have become
those who die are weak. What better way to weed them
jealous of Gorikkas success. Some of these have simply been
out? Slaves who move too slowly are often prodded with
inspired to work harder to try and show the King Snatcher
the flick of a whip. And, although Gorikka often guides a pair
up, but others have let their jealousy simmer into hatred.
of mules to carry supplies, these animals are never used to
Gorikka knows that he has enemies, but doesnt seem too
carry slaves.
worried. He feels he has been blessed by Maglubiyet, gawd
Gorikka and his crew usually stop for a few hours rest every of hobgoblins, and that no one can touch him.
other night on the journey to the slave market. Slaves are
Gorikkas only major problem seems to be his love of
kept in cages during such times with regular guard shifts to
Orluian Mead. When not hunting slaves, King Snatcher can
prevent escape attempts.
be found with his face in a flagon of his beverage of choice.
Slaves who try to escape are hunted down without mercy. This tendency may be what leads to his undoing. But, for
Gorikka punishes the slaves, but does not kill them unless now, Gorikkas success shows no sign of wavering. Thats
they have been injured so as to be useless, or they make him good news for the slave merchants of Gnardor, but bad news
angry and he loses his temper. Punishment usually consists of for the innocent people hes rattling his chains for. 
beating with a whip or fists. Gorikka has quite a temper. By Barbara Blackburn

48 Issue #85: Crutch Cassidy and the Sundice Kid


GAMEMASTERs

WO R K S H O P

ALL
THINGS

MAGIC
O F F I C I A L M AG I C
ITEMS FOR YOUR
H AC K M A S T E R C A M P A I G N

I NSTA PATCH
EPV: 1,000 GPV: 10,000
his handy substance is just what any adventurer needs. It is

T the perfect answer for any emergency, and is loved by those


who want to be prepared. And, what can be a bigger emer-
gency for an adventurer than a hole? Insta Patch, as it has been
named by the common folk, plugs holes.
Insta Patch is a black, oily substance when stored in glass or con-
tainers made of clay. Once the substance is poured out it begins to
thicken and within 1-6 seconds hardens. This effectively patches
holes when used for that purpose. Each application can patch a
square foot hole or smaller.
Most people who use this wonderful substance use it to patch
holes in boats, claiming that it has saved many lives since its creation.
But, this substance can be used to plug any hole in most natural sub-
stances, from cotton or silk clothing, to wooden boats, leather
armor, backpacks, or boots. Several inventive Insta Patch users have
tried to use the substance in some strange ways, with interesting
results.
For instance, one young cleric, Radja Dadja, tried to use the sub-
stance to patch a hole in the side of his buddy, Fresta the bard. Radja
found that Insta Patch did indeed stopped the bleeding, thereby saving her life, but when the stuff hardened it was impossi-
ble to remove without ripping a bigger hole in Frestas side. So, now Fresta has a big black blob on her side and finds it dif-
ficult to bend into certain positions. Other than that, shes fine. There are even rumors that one black-hearted villain used
Insta Patch to gag a prisoner. The prisoner died a slow, painful death from starvation. No one knows just how many uses
there are for this substance.
Someone once tried to use it to repair plate armor, but the substance apparently does not adhere to metal. The substance
is fairly rare, but can be found in several market places if one knows where to look. The price is high, of course. It emanates
a slightly magical aura when a Detect Magic spell is used on it. 
By Barbara Blackburn

Knights of the Dinner Table Magazine November, 2003 49



RUSTLERS OF THE NIGHT
tact with them. Needless to say, most animals have the
instinct necessary to refrain from trying to eat them, but
not all. Light contact, such as small insect infestation or
rain does not cause explosion.
When these plants explode, between 4-12 seeds are
expelled. Between 1-3 of these seeds will result in the
growth of more Lava Plants. Seeds are not explosive.

HABITAT/SOCIETY: These plants do not grow nat-


urally anywhere but near active volcanoes. However,
there are some shrewd entrepreneurs who have gathered
the seeds and begun selling them on the open market.
Quite a few estate owners have expressed interest in
growing these plants as protection against intruders. The
plants will not grow in deserts, or in cold environments,
where they will freeze.
So far, Lava Plants have been quite effective in deterring
intruders from entering areas where they have been
planted.
A few kingdoms have banned the use of these plants,
citing dangers to children and innocents, but most have
not addressed the issue. Most customers for these exot-
ic specimens are quite wealthy and know how to influence
things in their own favor.

ECOLOGY: As stated above, Lava Plants grow only near


Lava Plants active volcanoes. They thrive in places where the soil is
AKA: Bursting Beauties rich in minerals and the climate is warm. They need plen-
HACKFACTOR: 1 ty of sunshine and heat to grow. These plants will bloom
EP VALUE: 15 all year round in subtropical and tropical climates. In
CLIMATE/TERRAIN: Warm temperate to subtropical warm temperate climates, the blooms will last from early
FREQUENCY: Rare spring (HaarKiev) to early fall (MonzTera). After about
ORGANIZATION: Patches mid-MonzTera, the blossoms will start to dry up and fall
ACTIVITY CYCLE: ANY off in warm temperate climates. Once the first frost
DIET: HERBIVORE appears in these lands, the plants will lie dormant until the
INTELLIGENCE: Non (0) next spring. When Lava Plants blooms are dried or miss-
ALIGNMENT: Neutral ing, the plants are not explosive and are safe to touch.
NO. APPEARING: 5-10 Lava Plant harvesting has started to become a boom-
SIZE: T (5''-6'' tall) ing business in some areas of the wurld. Whenever such
MOVEMENT: None a marketing phenomenon occurs, there are always
PSIONIC ABILITY: Nil unscrupulous merchants who will attempt to cash in by
ATTACK/DEFENSE MODES: Nil/Nil passing off fakes. The Lava Plant business is no exception.
MORALE: N/A There are several unsavory types who have been passing
ARMOR CLASS: 10 off bags of other plant seeds as Lava Plant seeds to unsus-
NO. OF ATTACKS: 1 pecting customers.
DAMAGE/ATTACK: 1d8 Lava Plant harvesting is a dangerous occupation for
SPECIAL ATTACKS: Nil obvious reasons. Several eager business persons have
SPECIAL DEFENSES: Explosion ended up losing noses, fingers, toes and other, more
MAGIC RESISTANCE: None important body parts after handling the plants carelessly.
HIT DICE: 1 hp The largest patches of these plants are found on the isle
Field Researched by Barbara Blackburn

of Parzey near Mount Karamor and Mount Doronar, both


DESCRIPTION: Lava Plants were first discovered near active volcanoes. 
the volcanic Mount Karamor on the island of Parzey, soon
YIELD:
after it had erupted. The blossoms are about four inches
MEDICINAL: Dried Lava Plant blossoms may help clear up
in diameter and the shade of the blooms range from fiery
sinus congestion and other respiratory ailments.
orange to deep red.
SPELL COMPONENTS: Lava Plant seeds may be substituted
for bat guano in basic fireball spells, but may cause mishaps (5%
COMBAT/TACTICS: Lava Plants do not attack, but
chance).
they do have a rather unique defense mechanism they
explode on contact. Walking on them, picking them, or HIDE/TROPHY ITEMS: Nil.
any other contact will cause these volatile flowers to TREASURE: Nil.
explode, causing 1d8 points of damage to anyone in con- EDIBLE: Dried blossoms are edible, but not very tasty.
OTHER: Bags of seeds (5-10) go for about 50 g.p. each.

50 Issue #85: Crutch Cassidy and the Sundice Kid


Game On!
How to Game
Anywhere, Anytime
By Jeff Aldrich
eve all been there Sitting during your lunch RULES AND STIPULATIONS
W hour, bored out of your skull. No dice, no cards,
no vast tomes of gaming lore no game. Well,
buck up my friend, Game On! is going to teach you how to
There are three weapons available in this game: the six-
shooter, the shotgun, and throwing knives. Each one is
detailed separately. The rules for how to set up your weapon
game anywhere, anytime, and with just minimal supplies. and begin your turn are followed by a description of how to
Never be without a game again! use your particular weapon against the others.
SIX PENNIES AND SIX SHOOTERS THE SIX-SHOOTER
A Wild West Free-For-All Ah, the good ol standby of wild west movies. This fine
weapon that offers accuracy and staying power within our
EQUIPMENT game.
Pennies and Nickels How to play:
Toothpicks Place six pennies in front of you and number them from
Some d6s and a d4 1 to 6. Each penny represents a chamber in your gun. To
NUMBER OF PLAYERS start, make sure all pennies are heads-up.
2 or more At the beginning of your turn, roll a d6 to see which
penny is your active "chamber" for that turn. If that penny
BACKGROUND is heads-up, then you may fire a shot at one opponent
As you stroll down the dusty road in the middle of town, (effects described below). Your turn is then over. If that
you notice things have gotten pretty quiet. Windows have penny is tails-up, then you may reload that chamber by flip-
been shuttered and doors have been closed. There is no one ping the coin over. Your turn then ends.
to be seen. A tumbleweed blows across your path. Yup, its Shooting effects:
all about to hit the fan. So loosen your sidearm, partner, cuz
Firing at another six-shooter: Choose one of your
its about to go down and you dont want to get caught
opponents' heads-up pennies and flip it over.
unawares.
This month, Game On! is going to take you back to the Firing at a shotgun: Choose one of your opponents'
good ol days of six shooters and quick and deadly fights. So heads-up nickels and flip it over.
pick your weapon and get ready if you want to make it to the Firing at throwing knives: Roll a d6. If you roll a 1,
saloon in one piece. youve defeated the knife thrower.
SETUP
Each player picks a weapon to use during the game. Use THE SHOTGUN
the tokens indicated for each weapon. There is no game Cant hit the broad side of a barn? What the shotgun lacks
board to worry about, you just need enough space to keep in subtlety, it more than makes up for in sheer loudness.
track of your particular weapon. How to play:
Place 4 nickels in front of you, two in one row and two in
If you chose the six-shooter, place six pennies, heads another row. Number these 1 to 4 and make sure they are
up, in front of you. all heads-up to start. These represent cartridges in your shot-
If you chose the shotgun, place four nickels, heads up, gun.
in front of you. Each turn you may fire one cartridge, which counts as two
shots. When you fire a cartridge, turn that nickel tails-up.
If you chose the throwing knives, place a toothpick in
(See shooting effects below). You may, instead of shooting,
front of you and have a supply of more toothpicks
reload up to two cartridges on your turn by flipping the
handy.
nickels from tails-up to heads-up.
OBJECT Shooting effects:
To be the last man standing. Firing at a six-shooter: Roll a d6 twice (a cartridge
TURN SEQUENCE counts as two shots). The number that is rolled each
At the start of the game, each player rolls a d6 for initia- time corresponds to the number (1 to 6) of the oppos-
tive. The highest number wins, and ties are rerolled. Play ing six-shooters pennies. If you hit one that is heads-
then proceeds clockwise and each player takes a turn in up, flip it over. The shotgun is more random, but you
sequence. get the chance for two hits at one time.
Players can take one action per turn, as described under Firing at another shotgun: Roll a d4 twice. The num-
the details for his weapon. bers rolled correspond to the number (1 to 4) of the

Knights of the Dinner Table Magazine November, 2003 51


opposing shotguns nickels. If you hit a heads-up coin, their ability to reload two cartridges to remove a single
flip it over. toothpick and flip that single coin over.
Firing at throwing knives: Roll a d6 twice, (again, once Throwing at throwing knives: To attack, roll a d6, on
for each shot). If you roll a one on either die, youve a roll of 1 you defeat the knife-wielding opponent.
blasted that knife thrower into next week. OPTIONAL RULES FOR MULTIPLAYER GAMES
THROWING KNIVES Six-Shooters: You may fire off two shots at an opponent
Throwing knives are the gambling mans weapon of (or split the two shots between two different opponents) by
giving up accuracy. Instead of simply choosing a coin to flip
choice. You get to deadly accuracy and plenty of panache.
over, you must roll a d6 vs. a six-shooter and a d4 vs. a shot-
However, even a lucky shot can take you down before you
gun in order to see where the shot hits. If you hit a coin that
have a chance to strike a pose. is already tails, there is no effect. Otherwise, flip the coin
How to play: over to tails. When firing at throwing knives, you get two
Place a single toothpick in front of you to signify your chances to roll a 1 to defeat the knife thrower.
weapon. Have a supply of toothpicks handy for the rest of Shotguns: Son-of-a Boom *pump* Son-of-a Bang
the game. *pump* - You may fire off two shots at the same opponent
Throwing (Shooting) Effects: or at two different opponents using the normal shotgun
Throwing at a six-shooter: Pick one coin belonging to rules. However, you must spend the next turn in a reload
your opponent and flip it to tails-up. Then, place a action.
Throwing Knives: You may toss two knives in a single
toothpick over that coin. Your opponent must use a
turn, but you must roll a d6 vs. six-shooters and a d4 against
reload action to remove the toothpick from that coin. Shotguns to determine the hit location randomly. When
Another reload action must be used to flip that coin throwing at throwing knives, you get two chances to roll a 1
back over. to defeat the opponent.
Throwing at a shotgun: Again, pick one coin belong- Now you can bring Wild West action to life with just
ing to your opponent and flip it to tails-up. Then, minimal equipment and a short amount of time. So next
place a toothpick over that coin. Your opponent must time you are at odds with a friend over rights to the last pizza
use a reload action to remove the toothpick from that slice, just tell em yer callin em out and see who really has
coin. Another reload action must be used to flip that what it takes. Remember, no matter where you are or what
coin back over. An opponent using a shotgun may use you have - Game On! K

52 Issue #85: Crutch Cassidy and the Sundice Kid


Send the
orcs to the
mountains

Additional Rules
for your
Dwarven Dig!
Game
By Rick Moscatello
re you looking for a way to spice up your games of

A Dwarven Dig!? Well Rick Moscatello, one of our


faithful freelancers, has come through for you with a
way to add orcs to your digs.
ORCISH WAR PARTY
Dwarves aren't the only subterranean race eager for treas-
ure; they're just the most skilled. Orcs also quest for gold,
using goblin slaves to make up for lack of technical ability on From L to R: a War Chief, two Grunts, and a Taskmaster
their part. Orcish War Parties are far superior in combat,
but more vulnerable to most hazards, lack Shockwave used in this manner is automatically removed from
attacks or Elders to Commune, and are very susceptible to play, even if the result of the failed luck roll isn't death
water (as anyone familiar with Orcish hygiene can attest). (e.g., the Pit Roach). Goblin slaves have no specializa-
On the other hand, they're Orcs, which means good dirty tions. If the Taskmaster himself is affected by a Water
fun! failed luck roll, his slaves are automatically killed (their
An orcish war party is represented by 4 models, but tech- chains prevent swimming).
nically consists of 6 characters, as follows: ORCISH GRIT
War Chief (represented by the Warrior model). His Orcs feed on success, not failure. They do not gain Grit
fearsome combat of strength 4 and Dueling ability are from failed dig rolls, failed hazard rolls, defeat in battle, or
complemented by specialization in Lava and Gas. failed Event rolls. They gain one Grit for successfully pass-
ing a hazard, winning battle, successfully passing an Event
Grunts (2, use the Miner and Elder models). Each roll, or for succeeding in a Disaster check against a
grunt has a combat strength of 2, with Digging, Lava, Shockwave attack. They also gain one Grit for making a
and Disaster specializations, just like the Dwarven Luck roll. They do not gain Grit for making dig rolls (just
Miner. Grunts do not have the Shockwave ability, not exciting enough for an Orc). They still gain Grit for los-
however. ing models (but not for losing Goblins).
Taskmaster (use the Engineer model). The Taskmaster
has a combat strength of 1, but comes with 2 Goblin ORCISH WAR CRIES
Slaves (represented by pennies, best stacked under the If a party of at least 2 Models does nothing in the Dig! or
model). The Taskmaster specializes in Gas and Traps, Battle Phase, and they are not on a Start tile, they may utter
and has the Forced March ability. Each Goblin Slave the feared Orcish War Cry. Such hooting and hollering
contributes 1 combat strength to any party containing excites the Orcs, causing them to gain extra Grit in the Grit
the Taskmaster; if the Taskmaster is targeted in a duel, phase (much like the Elder's Commune ability), depending
the Goblins still add their strength (and Goblins are too on Die Roll (1,2 = 1 Grit, 3-5 = 2 Grit, 6 = 3 Grit).
insignificant to be the targets of Duels). Whenever a Any general reference to 'dwarf' or 'dwarves' on cards and
luck roll is failed, a party with the Taskmaster may the like should be taken to mean a model (either orcish or
choose to lose a Goblin instead of a model. A Goblin dwarven).

Knights of the Dinner Table Magazine November, 2003 53


BAIT: to lure, tempt or entice.

B
TACKLE: to knock to an opponent to the ground.
ait and Tackle is a new regular feature which presents a series of brief
adventure hooks a GM can take and flesh out on the fly. They can be
BAIT &
useful if the GM finds hes short on ideas when preparing an adventure
or finds his group has outpaced the nights adventure hes running and he sud-
denly finds himself having to improvise.
Each hook is presented in a simple three-part format.
TACKLE
SETTING: This is simply a tag identifying the setting or type of adventure
Adventure Hooks and
hook. i.e. wilderness, city, subterranean, etc. Encounters for
BAIT: Exactly that the situation or carrot used to lure or hook the play- the GM to run with.
ers and prod them in the right direction. Compiled by Jolly R. Blackburn
TACKLE: This is the hammer or twist that makes the situation dangerous,
exciting or challenging. Without the tackle whats the point? better of more gullible PCs. Alternately, imagine the furious plotting
As with other features in the magazine readers are encouraged to submit the players will get up to when they hear that the local sage (who has
B&Ts of their own. Hooks should be generic in nature. The briefer the better. been hired by a high-level NPC to research planar travel) wants to
interview the demon. Or maybe a tough monster is rampaging
through the area, and locals are taking bets on whether the demon
THE GAUNTLET might be able to put a stop to it.
SETTING: Urban By Scott W. Roberts .
AN ARRESTING SITUATION
BAIT: An NPC the party seeks (for whatever reason) is said to hang out SETTING: Tavern By Rick Moscatello
at a notoriously rough tavern called The Gauntlet. The staff consists
of goblinoid halfbloods, and the patrons are worse. BAIT: The party is minding their own business, when in walks a half
dozen men with the bearing of soldiers. They approach the party, and
TACKLE: The NPC in question does not in fact hang out here. He has their leader steps forward to talk. It turns out that one of the party's
spread this rumor as a kind of weeding-out test, to see who is really henchmen is wanted for very serious crimes in a nearby kingdom, com-
determined to meet him. A wench and a patron are on his payroll as mitted some years before he joined the party. The soldiers are here to
spies, each unaware of the other. place him under arrest and take him away for justice. Do the players
The ramshackle building has no doors or windows, only stained and really want to get involved with something like this? The straight up
tattered curtain flaps. A series of curtained alcoves line the walls, hid- solutions are either just kill the soldiers, or give up the henchman.
ing crude stools. The free-standing circular bar, at one end of the sin- TACKLE: The soldiers are really just hired mercenaries of the leader, a
gle-room building, is barricaded. Running the length of the room, notorious bounty hunter, and have no real legal authority to make
forming an "i" with the bar, is a fighting pit. Crude log benches line arrests (this is something only characters with law related skills would
the sides of the pit. know). If the henchman doesn't come peacefully, they'll depart, but
The half-ogre dozing at the far end enforces the house rule: "no brawl- naturally be in the area looking for a convenient time to make a kid-
ing except in the pit." The current pit champion is a Hobgoblin with napping. It turns out the whole thing is a horrible mistake... one of the
double normal maximum hit points, +3 to hit and damage (unarmed bounty hunter's former victims has set him up to think the henchman
combat only), and immunity to stun/knockout from non-lethal com- is actually a criminal (one with the same name, but a different descrip-
bat; he likes jumping on the heads of stunned opponents. tion), hoping the party will end up killing the bounty hunter. If the
hunter takes the henchman back to the neighboring kingdom, there is
Any GM who can't make an adventure out of this should turn in his a 50% chance the legal system there will figure out the mistake (and a
dice, as The Gauntlet was a well-frequented fixture in a long-running much greater chance if the party helps in some way).K
campaign.
whoah! hold on guys. theres something
DEMON FOR SALE FISHY about these GOONS. \ wanna see
some BADGE NUMBERS before letting
SETTING: Urban By Scott W. Roberts them haul us away without a FIGHT.

BAIT: On the noticeboard in the marketplace, adventurers guildhall, or hey, the PUPPET may
be on to something. good call,
wherever the GM places it, the following curious advertisement may be HODGY.
found: "FOR SALE: Type IV Demon, slightly used. Only one careful
owner. Ask at The Gauntlet." The lettering is rather crude. you
think?
TACKLE: Sounds suspicious? It is. A rather unfortunate gnome-goblin
halfblood is trying to run a scam. The poor fool is hoping to lure a wiz-
ard into investigating - after all, demons "know stuff" wizards want to
learn about, right? He's convinced the goblin village bully, an equally
dull-witted ogre, to stop beating on him and help him rob adventurers
blind.
The ogre wears a dark cape and has affixed horns to his head. He lum- Hey Hack-Jockies!!
bers about menacingly, usually at night so his pathetic disguise isn't
seen through, and every now and then the gnome-goblin uses his
Got a Bait & Tackle
"wand of demon control" to steer the ogre away from people. scenario of your own?
While this can best be played for comic relief, curiosity might get the Send it in We pay five cents per word

54 Issue #85: Crutch Cassidy and the Sundice Kid


players
Advantage
The Learned
Bard: A New
Look at an Old
Class for D&D 3.5
By Noah J. D. Chinn

The Learned Bard: A Character Type Variant for the Led Zeppelin Material Plane, and instead have gone the
Dungeons and Dragons 3.5 more difficult but rewarding route of learning magic "the
hard way."
'm not the first person who has a problem with the Bard Alternately, perhaps in your campaign you simply don't

I class in today's D&D, nor will I be the last. The stan-


dard civilized argument goes something like this:
"CHARISMA BASED MAGIC? WHAT THE #@!$?"
want to use Sorcerer-type magic, or perhaps you wish to
retain what you feel is the Bard's "original" flavor.
This is what the "Learned Bard" is for.
Granted, there is a strong case to be made for Charisma
based magic. For one thing, it's very streamlined. All of LEARNED BARD
your primary bardic needs are filled by that one attribute. Adventures: There is no point in doing a complete re-
Magic, special abilities, bardic song, and story telling ability, write of the Bard template, since much of the information
it's all there. However, not everyone likes the idea of a remains the same. Bards of either school (Learned or Gifted)
Charisma based Bard. seek adventure, knowledge, the unknown, and great deeds to
Look back to the Norse Scald, or the Medieval Minstrel. sing or tell others about in epic poetry.
Yes, they entertained, but their primary job was to transmit Characteristics: Unlike a Gifted Bard, the Learned Bard
information, be it history or current events. They were the must learn his magic from a book. Thus he has a much
Wandering News Agency, and had to be hearty enough to wider range of spells available to him, up to 6th level.
travel around the country. It is this concept of a bard that However, he cannot cast as many spells as his Gifted cousin.
attracted me to the character type in the first place. An intel- In addition to spells, the Learned Bard can also use music,
ligent jack of all trades, a learned person who doesn't have ballads, and poetry to great affect, to encourage allies or to
the patience to sit behind a desk. The MacGuyver of D&D. manipulate people. However, the strength of this power dif-
Using Charisma based magic ("bringing forth magic from fers from the Gifted Bard. Of course, the Learned Bard is
his soul") turns him into either a Sorcerer who can't cut the equally adept at gleaning general information as his Gifted
mustard, or a musician who somehow taps into the Led cousin.
Zeppelin Material Plane as a source of power. The very idea Alignment: Like their Gifted cousins, Learned Bards are
of him studying and learning magic has all but been not usually compatible with a Lawful alignment. However,
removed. It kills the academic flavor of the Bard in favor of their diligent study and focused academic nature magically
a flashy jumpsuit with sequins. The Rockerboy of D&D. tends to pull them away from being Chaotic as well. This
This is what I call a "Gifted Bard." means the majority of Learned Bards are of a Neutral
However... let's think about this logically. There are Alignment (Good, Evil, or True).
Wizards who study and learn, and there are Sorcerers to Background: While Gifted Bards pass on their skills to
whom magic comes naturally. Why can't the same thing others who have "the Gift," Learned Bards often struggle for
apply to Bards? It's the same as a talented technical actor their training. They refuse to take "no" for an answer when
who plans and studies and trains to be the best actor he can pursuing knowledge. They pester the local mage until he
be, versus someone to whom acting comes naturally and teaches them a few tricks, follow the local men-at-arms to
requires little, if any, practice. It's the difference between Sir pick up some pointers about fighting, sing and con their way
Lawrence Olivier and Haley Joel Osmont. Logically there in taverns to make ends meet, while sneaking into the local
MUST be some Bards out there who can't simply "tap into" library late at night and reading in the Restricted Section. As

Knights of the Dinner Table Magazine November, 2003 55


THE LEARNED BARD
CLASS BASE ATTACK FORT REF WILL SPELLS PER DAY
LEVEL BONUS SAVE SAVE SAVE SPECIAL 0 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9
1 +0 +0 +2 +2 Bardic Music, 1
Inspire Courage +1
2 +1 +0 +3 +3 Countersong, Fascinate 2
3 +2 +1 +3 +3 3 0
4 +3 +1 +4 +4 Inspire Competence 3 1
5 +3 +1 +4 +4 3 2 0
6 +4 +2 +5 +5 3 3 1
7 +5 +2 +5 +5 Suggestion 3 3 2
8 +6/+1 +2 +6 +6 Inspire Courage +2 3 3 2 0
9 +6/+1 +3 +6 +6 3 3 3 1
10 +7/+2 +3 +7 +7 Inspire Greatness 3 3 3 2 0
11 +8/+3 +3 +7 +7 3 3 3 2 1
12 +9/+4 +4 +8 +8 3 3 3 3 2
13 +9/+4 +4 +8 +8 Song of Freedom 3 3 3 3 2 0
14 +10/+5 +4 +9 +9 Inspire Courage +3 3 3 3 3 3 1
15 +11/+6/+1 +5 +9 +9 3 3 3 3 3 2
16 +12/+7/+2 +5 +10 +10 Inspire Heroics 3 3 3 3 3 2 0
17 +12/+7/+2 +5 +10 +10 3 3 3 3 3 3 1
18 +13/+8/+3 +6 +11 +11 Mass Suggestion 3 3 3 3 3 3 2
19 +14/+9/+4 +6 +11 +11 3 3 3 3 3 3 2
20 +15/+10/+5 +6 +12 +12 Inspire Courage +4 3 3 3 3 3 3 3

a result, Learned Bards tend to look at their Gifted cousins sword, short sword, rapier, short bow, sap and whip.
as snobs who "had it easy." While some Learned Bards have Spells: Unlike the Gifted Bard, which must rely on the
been admitted to the informal Bardic "colleges" and have Bard Spell List, a Learned Bard learns the same kind of spells
gained renown, more often than not they are outsiders, even as a Wizard, up to 6th level. To learn or cast a spell, a
among other Bards. Most Learned Bards are just fine with Learned Bard must have an Intelligence score equal to at
this arrangement. least 10 + the spell level (Int 10 for 0 level spells, Int 16 for
Races: Like the Gifted Bard, this profession primarily 6th level spells). The Difficulty Class for a savings throw
attracts humans, elves and half-elves. Gnomes, with their against a Learned Bard's spell is 10 + the spell level + the
innate magic and more chaotic nature, rarely take up the Intelligence modifier.
Learned path. Though dwarves do not have any Bardic tra- Like all other spell casters, a Learned Bard can cast only a
ditions of the Gifted nature, they do have a number of certain number of spells per day (less than a Wizard), and
Learned Bards. Men and women who can remember dwar- receives bonus spells based on a high Intelligence score. Like
ven ancestors to the fiftieth generation, who pass on ancient a Wizard, the Learned Bard must prepare and memorize
legends from one village to another, as well as adding their their spells beforehand. Unlike the Gifted Bard, they are
own exploits into the mix. limited only by the number of spells they carry in their spell-
Other Classes: Bards of any type work well in a group, book. While the level of their casting progression starts off
and can help fill in any gaps that might be present in an slower than a Gifted Bard, in later levels they do catch up
adventuring team. (though never in regards to the number of spells they can
cast)
GAME RULE INFORMATION Spell limitations: Though they can learn the same kinds
Abilities: Intelligence determines how powerful a spell a of spells, Learned Bards do not have the time or focus to
Learned Bard can cast, how many spells he can cast per day, learn ALL kinds of wizard spells. Thus, they are limited to
and hard those spells are to resist. Charisma is also very four of the eight schools (or spheres) of Wizardry. The
important since it directly influences the Bard Song. As Learned Bard, however, gets to choose from which schools
always, a high Dexterity is useful. he learns his spells. This is reflective of their individual
Alignment: Usually Neutral (Good, Evil, True) nature, and how they usually chose their own course of
Hit Die: d6 instruction rather than being taught by a single master.
CLASS SKILLS These schools are fixed from the onset and do not change.
The Learned Bard uses the Gifted Bard Skill List. In theory you could take two different Learned Bard types
However, it should be noted that the Learned Bard's access and alternate each level (and thus have access to all schools
to Wizard spells means they no long have access to any of the of magic), but this would SEVERELY limit spell casting
Healing spells a Gifted Bard has. Most Learned Bards, abilities (at 10th level you'd still only have 2nd level spells!).
knowing this limit, have spent plenty of time helping out at For example, an Evil Bard might take Necromancy,
the local Healer's Hut, watching them use old fashioned Enchantment, Conjuration, and Transmutation (and raise
remedies. Thus, they have access to Heal as a Class Skill. an army of the dead, turn a crowd into an angry mob to do
Skill Points at 1st Level: (6 + Int modifier) x 4 his bidding, summon monsters and change their shape and
Skill Points at Each Additional Level: 6 + Int modifier form in battle), while a Good Bard might prefer Abjuration,
Divination, Evocation and Illusion (To protect themselves
CLASS FEATURES and others, learn and see more then they normally could,
Weapon And Armor Proficiencies: Learned Bards have and use illusions and pyrotechnics in a show as well as in bat-
the same armor proficiencies as the Gifted Bard. Weapons tle.) Both types of Bards, however, use scrolls from ANY
are the same as a Gifted Bard: simple weapons plus long school.

56 Issue #85: Crutch Cassidy and the Sundice Kid


The starting spellbook of a Learned Bard consist of only Use Magic Device 4 Cha
4 0-level cantrips, chosen from the Sorcerer/Wizard Spells Gather Information 4 Cha
section from among their chosen schools. All others must be Heal 4 Wis
acquired the same way as a Wizard. Listen 4 Wis
Special Feat: As a Feat, the Learned Bard can choose to Decipher Script 4 Int
have the ability to Summon a Familiar as a Wizard. This can Diplomacy 4 Cha
come in quite handy for con games, stealing keys to prison Knowledge (choose any) 4 Int
doors, etc. See the D&D Players Handbook for details. Bluff 4 Cha
Bardic Knowledge: This works exactly the same as for a Sense Motive 4 Wis
Gifted Bard, and is gained at first level. Search 2 Int
Bardic Music: One of the down sides of the Learned Bard
is that they can be called "late bloomers." While they have Feat: If Dex is over 13, Dodge. If Dex is under 13,
access to the same benefits, most of these benefits occur at a Investigator
slower rate. Thus, while at first level a Bard automatically Bonus Feat: Summon Familiar (as Wizard)
has access to Bardic Music and can Inspire Courage, they Spellbook: Acid Splash, Light, Read Magic, Detect Magic
cannot use Countersong or Fascinate until level 2. Such is Spell Schools: Conjuration, Divination, Evocation,
the price of focusing more on academic studies than tuning Illusion
your lute. Gear: Backpack with waterskin, one day's trail rations,
The effects, durations, and minimum Perform require- bedroll, sack, flint and steel. Three torches. Quiver with 20
ments, however, remain the same as for the Gifted Bard. arrows. Musical Instrument of your choice. Spell compo-
nent pouch.
HUMAN LEARNED BARD STARTING PACKAGE
Gold: 2d4 gp
Armor: None
Weapons: Rapier (1d6, crit 18-20/x2, 2 lbs, piercing),
Short Bow (1d6, crit x3, rng 60 ft, 2 lbs, piercing)
Skill Selection: Pick a number of skills equal to 7+Int KODT WANTS YOU!!
modifier.
were looking for good writers to
SKILL RANKS ABILITY ARMOR PENALTY contribute to our magazine.
Perform (choose type) 4 Cha email kodtsubmit@kenzerco.com
Spellcraft 4 Int

Knights of the Dinner Table Magazine November, 2003 57


STRIP O
kay, as a recent KODT LIVE READING was winding down, we opened
it up to the audience to ask questions about the strips. I was a little
stunned to learn that many of those asking questions seemed to have
better recall of the strips than I did.

TEASE
Thats what inspired this new feature. Just how good IS your recall? Think you
know your KODT inside and out? Okay, hero. Lets find out. The following
are one panel excerpts from various strips. Your mission? Figure out the story
urn
by Jolly R. Blackb and issue they came from. Good luck. Jolly.
(By the way Answers can be found at www.kenzerco.com)

dude, \ hate to break the bad news to


cmon, beeg guy -hic- bawingers realm ya, but GORDON SHECKBERRY scarfed up
iz still out dere sum wherez. -hic- those N.B. SETS weeks ago!! PETE cut
him a deal coz he bought ALL of them!!

WHA...WHAT?? how the hell did


besidesth, we stillth
GORDO find them?? \ hid them
kicketh is ASS!! -hic- between the BACK ISSUES of
day cant take DAT away LADIES HACKJOURNAL and the CAP-
oh gawd. 500
from us. -hic- TAIN PLANET: THE RPG modules!!
bars of mithril.
-sniff- nobody ever looks in THAT box!!
g-g-gone.... \ believe GORDO runs a
CAPTAIN PLANET campaign
from time to time.

1. 2.

LATER i prefer to think of it as a MERCY KILLING!! it was


THORINA throws down her fun playing AGAINST YOU GUYS but becoming ONE of
sword and leaps into the you and joining the ranks of HACK-N-SLASHERS????
GAA!! what are its pure TORTURE!!!
path of GILEADS charging you doing?? thats
PHALANX of PIKEMEN!! SUICIDE!!
dont worry guys. i got a
please dont take RING OF REGENERATION
the PIKEMEN skewer you THORINA away from us. with her name on it.
like a suckling pig sara.

3.

okay, my character is named, CLIFF DERRINGER, better known in the


territories as, CROSS-EYED CLIFF. \ took brians advice and took a
FEED ME
PHYSICAL-FLAW during the creation process so \ could earn an
extra fifty building points. thanks brian!!! those extra points
A LINE
allowed me to buy DEAD-EYE SHOT as my shoot-to-hit factor. | W HO SAID IT AND WHERE ?
RULE!!! \ ride a comanche-bred appaloosa pony named BRANDED who
comes to me when \ whistle, unties knots and has find-water ability. 1: QUIT??? did rommel
quit before sacking
what a kewl nice cross-eyed?? the kremlin??
character!!! way to character! uh-oh
go cross-eyed!!
2: im sorry i stood you on your
head and used you like a POGO
STICK. and im sorry i made you
swallow all those FOUR SIDERS.
oh, and im sorry i threw your
moped off the highway overpass.
lets just call it even, okay?
4.

58 Issue #85: Crutch Cassidy and the Sundice Kid


Gamemasters
workshop
Getting the Most
Laughs out of
Your Comedy
Campaign By Erin Mills

omedy role-playing games are nothing new. There ning a comedy game, but I'm really not that great at being

C have been plenty of funny RPGs available on the


market including Steve Jackson Games' Toon, R.
Talsorian Games Teenagers From Outer Space, Avalon Hill's
funny." This is a legitimate concern, but don't worry, I'm
coming to your rescue with my new four CD set "You Too
Can Be A Funny GM!" (retailing for only $119.95 plus tax).
tragically short lived Tales From the Floating Vagabond, and But until I get the legal issues worked out, here's Professor
many, many more, released by major gaming companies and Mills' 8 Simple Rules for Getting Your Players to Suffer
a host of independent publishers. And yet, with so many Tracheal Collapse While Laughing Their Pants Off:
comedy games on the market, many gamers shy away from
comedy-themed campaigns. The major reason I've heard 1. STOCK THE BLENDER
cited for this aversion has been "I prefer realistic games." One of the most important things you can do is deter-
I've thought long and hard about this statement, and I've mine your specific comedy "voice." Odds are you already
come to the conclusion that when someone says they like have one and you just haven't thought about it. Look at
"realistic" games, what they mean is "serious-themed" your taste in comedy movies and TV shows. Are you attract-
games. Let's be honest, the majority of the RPGs on the ed to classic comedians like W.C. Fields, or do you prefer
market could not be considered "realistic" in any shape, way, more modern jesters like Jim Breuer? Monty Python or
or form. What's realistic about playing a 200-year-old elf SNL? The Simpsons or South Park? Physical comedy or dry
mage who can hurl fireballs up to 500 yards? Or a three- wit?
armed, six-eyed leather-bound zipperneck cruising around in Find what you like and use that as your baseline. If you
an armored Winnebago in a post apocalyptic wasteland, don't care for witty banter a la Oscar Wilde, don't try to crib
armed with enough firepower to level Fresno? (For more on the plot of "The Importance of Being Earnest," for your
this subject see Noah Kolman's excellent "The Philosopher's campaign. Likewise, if you don't care for toilet humor, it's
Stone" column in KODT #72). probably best to avoid your idea for that "world domination
Having redefined the term "realistic" to mean "serious- through control of the world's plumbing" plot.
themed," it falls to us to ponder why so many gamers don't Take the time to both review and expand your comedic
like comedy games. horizons. The more stuff you have to throw into that
The main reason is a simple enough to understand. To blender, the better the resulting campaign will be. Always
paraphrase the great Ed Wynn, "...Comedy is Hard." There remember that if you find it funny, odds are your players will
is nothing more sad than a potential gut buster that falls flat. too.
Ever screwed up the delivery of a joke in a large group so that 2. GET THE RIGHT TYPE OF PLAYERS
when you got to the punch line all you got were blank stares? I had an unfortunate experience once while running an
Get a joke right and you're the life of the party; get it wrong comedy adventure for a new group. I had impressed on
and you might as well have just announced to the room at everyone that I ran high energy, cinematic style comedy
large that you enjoy sitting at home on Saturday nights and games. When the game was actually played, everyone had a
meticulously painting entire armies of little lead figurines... good time, except one player. Said player didn't seem to
Er. *ahem* understand that this was a comedy game, and didn't seem to
Anyway, comedy is hard, yes, but it can also be tremen- appreciate the odd antics of his fellow players and the NPCs.
dously rewarding and lead to some of the most fun evenings He never played in that campaign again.
you can have at the gaming table. If done correctly, a cam- Comedy games are not for everyone. Some gamers like
paign to find the Legendary Sacred Cheese Grater of Bovina, their comedy on a screen and not at the gaming table. There
Goddess of Rotted Milk Products and Salt-Free Snacks can is absolutely nothing wrong with this. People have their own
be just as satisfying as the most basic Quest to Save the ideas about what's funny and what isn't, and not everybody
Wurld. is going to "get it." So it's up to you, the GM, to let your
You GMs out there may be saying, "I like the idea of run- players know that you're planning on running a comedy

Knights of the Dinner Table Magazine November, 2003 59


game, whether it's a one-shot adventure or an ongoing cam-
paign. You should make sure that everybody is cool with the
idea and willing to go along with it. All it takes is one killjoy
who agrees to play comedy and then doesn't go along with it
to throw you off your stride, and send the campaign scream-
ing into Dullsville.
3. CRITICAL FAILURES ARE NOT THE END OF THE
WORLD
Remember all those Road Runner cartoons? Remember
what was funny about them? It sure as hell wasn't that bird.
It was Wile E. Coyote and his ongoing series of painful
mishaps as he attempted to catch the Road Runner. The
comic gold came whenever the latest Acme product back-
fired, or malfunctioned, or the Road Runner managed to
trick ol' Wile E. into running into a wall or off a cliff.
With this in mind, pay attention to when your players roll
failures and critical failures. That's your time to shine. Most
comedy themed games on the market realize this, which is
why there is usually a reduced or non existent chance of play-
er character death (Paranoia, of course, is the exception to
this rule, where most of the humor comes from how ludi-
crous a death your PC clone has just suffered). Those car- Monkeys are funny.
toons wouldn't nearly be as funny if the vials of nitroglycerin
tence and says "And he's right behind me, isn't he?"
soaked bird seed scattered Wile E.'s various internal organs
The most common usage of this type of "expected
all over the desert. The same is true if a PC is defusing a
humor" is the running gag. This is a short joke that keeps
bomb and cuts the blue wire instead of the red one, due to a
coming up throughout a given story, usually meant to add
botched demolitions roll.
insult to injury after one character has become the butt of a
Instead of telling the player that his PC is now so much
different joke. Running gags can be used to bring in a big
red goo soaking the rubble of the building, why not tell him
laugh. After the second appearance of the gag, most of your
that cutting the blue wire set off the bomb, but the resulting
players will know that it will probably show up again and
shock blew him out of the building, across town, and into a
again. The trick here is to combine this expectation with an
pet grooming parlor, where his head knocked a toy poodle
unexpected appearance.
off it's perch and the groomer, not noticing this, immediate-
Let's say you have a running gag where one PC repeated-
ly gives the PC a new haircut which makes him look like said
ly finds a snake in his boots. After the first three or four
poodle?
times, the gag starts to get old. This is where new appear-
And then have him picked up by the dog catcher on the
ances can come into play. Maybe, after killing a horde of
street outside. Which leads us to...
goblins, the PC finds a nice pair of boots and decides to
4. DON'T GIVE THEM WHAT THEY EXPECT... claim them for his own. Sure enough, there's a snake in
Reversal of expectation is a comedy basic. Most laughs there the goblin was planning on eating later. Or the party
come from seeing, hearing, or imagining something you defeats a giant, and the hapless PC is startled to find a giant
weren't expecting. Take the blue wire bomb example above. snake living in the giant's boot. And to wrap it up, the party
When you read that paragraph, you probably guessed some- may eventually find out that there's a deranged mage out
thing ludicrous like the hapless PC's unexpected "poodle there selling "pre-snake-filled boots" to hapless monsters
'do" was going to happen. It's an article about running a across the land.
comedy campaign, right? So you laughed, because it's funny And that's the trick with running gags; know when to end
imagery. them. Even a change in appearance doesn't change the basic
But then you read the line about the dog catcher, and you gag, so that too will get old. Before this happens, it's advis-
probably laughed even louder than before. Why? Because able to retire the gag, usually with some sort of bizarre expla-
you weren't expecting it. A PC getting a haircut that makes nation to accompany it, such as the "pre-snake-filled boots"
him look like a poodle is funny on it's own, but having him seller above.
picked up ten seconds after coming out of the store by a dog Then the stage is set to introduce a new running gag dur-
catcher makes it even funnier. ing the next adventure.
Or, using the same bomb defusing example above, what if,
6. LET THE PRESSURE BUILD
instead of exploding, it triggered a spring loaded pie to come
A common mistake made when creating a comedy-
crashing into the face of the hapless PC? Sure, an old gag,
themed campaign is the temptation to pack every minute of
but because it's not a place where you'd expect a pie in the
the adventure with gags and odd events. If one banana peel
face joke to be, you can't help but laugh.
is fun, then a hundred banana peels must be a hundred times
5. ...UNLESS IT'S FUNNIER THAT WAY as fun, right? Wrong.
Sometimes, however, the predictable can be executed in If you try to make your adventures or campaign a "non-
such a way as to make it hilarious. Take the movie City stop laugh riot," you will most likely end up burning your-
Slickers, where Billy Crystal is extolling the opinion that self and your players out. The gags will start to lose their
Jack Palance's character is a lunatic. He goes on and on humor and the entire campaign will start sliding down the
about this, meanwhile the audience sees Jack coming up scale from "Funny" to "Stupid" to "Please, God, Kill Me
behind Billy. Everybody knows what's going to happen... Now."
and the joke here is that so does Billy. He stops mid-sen- Play the game straight. Let your PCs make plans, roll

60 Issue #85: Crutch Cassidy and the Sundice Kid


dice, and all the usual stuff that happens in a gaming session. was the ultimate professional despite the craziness going on
Then, when they don't expect it, hit 'em with the gag. Once around him. Okay, good character type, but if you make
the gag has been played, enjoy the laughs, then go on as nor- him a medical professional, you're just aping the movie.
mal... then hit them with another gag. Repeat as necessary. Make the character a noble, the king, or even a straight faced
Remember, not every minute of a comedy TV show or innkeeper. Next, throw in some sort of unusual comedy bit
movie is non stop jokes. There's always downtime in for him to do, like flogging an overly masochistic servant or
between each punch line. This gives you the opportunity to employee, all while talking to the PCs, totally ignorant of the
set up funnier gags down the line. Also remember that every cries of ecstacy from the flogging victim. Now you have a
gag doesn't have to be a side splitter. There's just as much great set up for the character's main catch phrase, "I am seri-
enjoyment to be gotten out of small chuckles or a smile as ous... and don't call me Shirley."
there is out of a belly laugh. Decide on gags of varying
degrees. If you have a huge physical comedy schtick, follow 8. KEEP THE BALONEY ROLLING
it up with some clever wordplay. Or if you've been leaning Comedy games need to be fast paced and frantic. Most
towards dry, witty humor, drop a cow on somebody in the comedy movies released today rarely go over 90 minutes.
next scene. There are almost no 60 minute comedy TV shows. Why?
Give your NPCs colorful names. There are plenty of Because comedy equals speed. If the pace slows down to a
examples in the pages of this very magazine. B.A. Felton's crawl, so does the humor. And in an RPG, there's plenty of
thuggish Skinny Stiltskin comes to mind. Match the names slowing down in a comedy campaign during combat as it is.
to the character types. If you have a stereotypical 1930s So be prepared to improvise like a madman. I rarely plan
mobster NPC, name him Vito "The Squid" Calimari. If you out a comedy scenario in full. Usually, I come up with the
have a know-it-all professor, give him a name like Professor basic goal for the adventure, sketch out a few exposition
J. Turnbuckle Newhampshire and don't forget the PhD. scenes and important NPCs they may come across, then
If you find yourself stuck for name ideas, pick an ordinary once the players have that information, I let them go nuts.
sounding first name and an unusual noun or group of This has almost always resulted in a good time for everybody,
nouns. Some of my more memorable NPCs include names and some of the funniest moments I've ever had while gam-
such as Gerald Trout, Rob Seltzer, and Francis ing.
Weaseltrousers. An unusual sounding name can add a drop For example, in a recent Illuminati University game I ran
of humor to an otherwise "straight" scene. at a convention, I set the players the task of acquiring three
Another way to incorporate funny moments is in back- items from three members of the IOU faculty so they could
ground "business." More than once has a scene been stolen claim a ten million dollar inheritance. One of these items
by a couple of extras in the background doing something ended up requiring the PCs to consult an old copy of the
hilariously funny while the leads went on unaware of what University's yearbook. The Library archives were a bust, but
was happening behind them. The PCs don't always have to then one of the players said, "Who's the oldest student on cam-
be the butt or the instigators of a joke. You can have funny pus? There's always one guy who's been attending the school for-
things happen to NPCs who are in the background at the ever and has every copy of the yearbook."
time. This was a wrinkle I hadn't anticipated, but I immediate-
Suppose the PCs are in the heart of gnome country, and ly rose to the challenge and created "Spoogy" on the spot.
pouring over a map to determine which way to go. You can Spoogy was indeed the oldest IOU student on campus. In
liven up a scene like this through the use of background fact, he'd been attending IOU for the last 91 years. Spoogy
NPCs. As the PCs try to decide which route to take, there was 109 years old and hard of hearing. And when he wasn't
could be a couple of gnomish engineers nearby attempting to misunderstanding what the PCs wanted, he was mistaking
figure out how to achieve flight without the aid of magic or them for friends of his who'd been dead for 25 years. I had
birds. As the PCs argue, suddenly a gnome in an improvised the table in hysterics with my portrayal of the near senile old
flying machine sails by. As it turns out, the gnomes used coot. And all because I didn't let an idea I hadn't anticipat-
fireworks as a propulsion unit, so as the pilot gnome swerves ed slow me down.
to avoid a tree, the whole thing explodes. Finish out the gag Don't let anything slow your game down beyond what's
by having the gnome parachute to the ground, soot stained necessary. Rules lawyering has no place in a comedy game.
and yelling to his partner "The fuel mixture seems a bit rich I always make it clear to anyone who hasn't played in one of
there, B.A.!" This, of course, leads me to... my comedy games that some rules are going to get tossed by
the wayside in favor of pacing and fun. And I always coun-
7. PLAGIARISM IS YOUR FRIEND... terbalance this by giving the players bonuses if what they do
...but ONLY in the context of your game. Since the only in combat or while role-playing is entertaining and funny.
audience you'll have is your gaming group, the occasional If anybody rules lawyers or does anything that could slow
out of place joke or pop culture reference can be used and down the pace, I usually make them the butt of a joke.
you won't need to worry about copyright lawyers knocking Never a malicious one, just the unfortunate victim of some
down your door. In a comedy campaign, the line between comically appropriate bad luck. They usually get the point,
real world and game world gets blurred quite a bit, so and get into the spirit of the game after that.
anachronistic jokes or lines are more acceptable than in a Failing that, I drop a cow on 'em.
serious-themed campaign. So there you have it, a beginning eight steps to send your
Borrowing characters, places or events is okay too, but to players into giggle fits so intense that they end up with vio-
avoid being accused of being uncreative, it may help to lent stomach cramps. Mix and match these to suit your par-
tweak a few things here and there. Let's say, for example, ticular quirks and those of your gaming group. As I said ear-
you want to use Leslie Neilsen's character from Airplane! in lier, what's funny to one person may not be funny to anoth-
an adventure. (All together now: "For example, you want to er, and a different mix of these elements may be required to
use Leslie Neilsen's character from Airplane! in an adven- achieve the optimum results. Just keep telling yourself that
ture." Good!) comedy may be hard, but it's all worth it if you can get your
Mr. Neilsen's character was a straight faced doctor who players to laugh harder. K

Knights of the Dinner Table Magazine November, 2003 61


Movies
on the
Battlemat
A Gamers Guide
To Exploiting Films
By Wil Upchurch
k, had a little break and now Im back and ready to mate. Russian-American relations take a hit during this time

O watch some movies. Its a tough job, but someones


got to do it. This months movie is a little unconven-
tional, and Im probably going to get hate mail again, but
period, as two rogue Russian generals commit an unautho-
rized atrocity by unleashing a brutal chemical agent in the
middle of the Chechnyan capital. This is tied to the neo-
Im not going to let that deter me. So this months movie is Nazi plot, as is the disappearance of three Russian nuclear
a disaster flick with an espionage twist called The Sum of All scientists who are working to create a portable nuke. Damn,
Fears. the bomb must be coming soon, eh?
Nah, now we get to see Ryan hornswaggled into accom-
THE SUM OF ALL FEARS (2002) panying a special agent in an information gathering mission
This film starts with Affleck getting cozy with the beauti- to an abandoned Russian military facility. Ryan is along as
ful Bridget Moynahan (The Recruit, Coyote Ugly); they are an analyst, but soon gets recruited to be the number two
a new couple, and they are just so playful and cute. You real- man in the action. Luckily for Ryan, they are too late. The
ly dont want her to die in a nuclear explosion... oops, really, worst thing they have to deal with is a pair of bumbling
I didnt give anything away. Anyhow, Affleck is playing a Ukrainian guards, who I was sure were going to break out
young Jack Ryan, the main character in a line of Clancys into a Beavis and Butthead impression.
novels and movies (played by Alec Baldwin and Harrison So now Ryan knows that the bomb is in play, and after a
Ford previously). He is a CIA analyst specializing in Russian bit more investigation he determines that it is not only on
Studies, and he comes off as a bit nave for most of the the east coast of the United States, but that it is in Baltimore,
movie. Moynahan is nothing but a prop throughout the where the President happens to be visiting a football game.
film, making me wonder if her character didnt play a more The bomb is in the stadium, but Ryan is able to alert Cabot
significant role in the book. of the danger in time to whisk the President to safety. Cabot,
At this point Im thinking, "cool, when does the bomb however, is caught in the blast and mortally wounded. This
hit?" Not for a long time, my friend. The "action," and I is what Ive been waiting for!
use that term loosely, begins with the Russian President The aftermath of the explosion is one of confusion,
dying of a heart attack, to be replaced by a moderate deter- although its not focused on the civilian aftermath and gen-
mined to look strong. The President of the United States erally just dismisses the fact that a football stadium full of
dispatches his trusted foreign policy advisor, William Cabot people was just incinerated. Instead its about the U.S.
(played by an understated Morgan Freeman in one of his response to the attack, which is seen as a Russian warning to
better roles) to Moscow to scout out the situation. Cabot stay out of their Chechnya business. Of course we know it
chooses a surprised Ryan to accompany him due to his is really a brilliant neo-Nazi plot that has come off without a
knowledge of the new Russian President, Nemerov. (At this hitch, the magnitude of which I have a hard time believing.
point we learn that Ryan wrote his thesis on Nemerov, who In a frantic rush to save the world from WWIII, Ryan
doesnt like the passages about his youthful indiscretions.) rushes through ground zero in an attempt to find evidence
There is perhaps an hour, hour and a half, of setup that that it wasnt the Russians, although Im not quite sure what
follows. We see the backstory of an Israeli nuclear bomb hes looking for. Conveniently, a neo-Nazi assassin happens
whose carrying fighter was shot down during the Six Days to be lurking around the explosion site. Ryan, a desk jockey
War. Its payload was damaged in the crash but not detonat- analyst no less, manages to defeat the assassin in hand-to-
ed, instead becoming buried in the desert sands for 25 years. hand combat and deliver him to the police. After this Ryan
Fast forward to the early 90s, where a pair of Arab scavengers convinces the Pentagon to allow him to use its secure trans-
comes across the undetonated bomb and take it, believing it mission server to have a chat with the Russian president.
to be a conventional dud. It does not take long for them to This goes well, and just as the U.S. president orders him out
be duped out of the treasure by a neo-Nazi terrorist who of the chatroom, Nemerov orders a stand down. We won!
wants to cause a war between Russia and the US. It is at this
point that the movie diverges from the book, which featured WHAT I THOUGHT
a much more believable scenario involving Arab terrorists. Its probably pretty clear by my synopsis that I found this
During this time Ryan and Mullers relationship grows, movie a bit lame on many levels. First, I really wanted to see
despite him being called away every time they try to get inti- a nuclear bomb explode and explore the aftermath of such an

62 Issue #85: Crutch Cassidy and the Sundice Kid


immense event. What I got instead was a Cold War thriller undergo the procedure once it is completed, believing that
that really wasnt thrilling, considering Ronald Reagan ended their new lives are the only ones they have ever known.
the Cold War well over a decade ago. Without getting too Only trained agents are programmed in this way. As a
deep into the social and political aspects of the filmmakers result, the subject must meet the following prerequisites to
decisions, I will say that the plot change from book to screen be targeted for programming.
really bothered me. It would have been much more timely Skills: Speak Language (any 3), Computer Use 2 ranks,
and interesting to keep the Arab antagonists intact. Films Demolitions 2 ranks, Forgery 2 ranks, Knowledge (tactics) 2
should reflect the times unless they are historical in nature, ranks, Pilot 2 ranks, and Treat Injury 2 ranks.
and this one was not. The changes were jarring, and it Feats: Armor Proficiency (light), Personal Firearms
looked as though the new footage might have been shot after Proficiency, Combat Martial Arts
the rest of the film was completed due to the events of 9-11.
I did not think the film was technically that great either. TEMPLATE TRAITS
For that I think I have to blame the editing more than any- "Programmed Assassin" is an inherited template that can
thing. At times it felt choppy, and the scenes did not flow be added to any humanoid (referred to hereafter as the sub-
together very well. I felt like the story was told in sound ject). A programmed assassin uses all the subjects statistics
bytes rather than narrative, even though the script was clear- except as noted here.
ly written as a narrative piece. Perhaps Spike Jonze could Challenge Rating: Same as the subject +1.
have pulled off the ultimate MTV thriller, but Phil Alden Special Qualities: The programmed assassin keeps all of
Robinson just is not getting it done. Not that I blame him the subjects special qualities, and gains the following.
for everything, but the direction was really lacking as well. I Programmed: The programmed assassin has been brain-
didnt buy a lot of the characters, and the dialogue really fell washed by the agency that created him. He is completely
flat even when the writing was decent and it was delivered by loyal to the agency and will do their bidding upon hearing a
actors capable of much more (not including Affleck in here trigger, which consists of a particular phrase or series of
by any stretch of the imagination). sounds. When the trigger is activated, the programmed
I had heard a lot about the realistic nuke scene, but it real- assassin usually goes to a drop site, where his instructions
ly didnt last very long. It had some neat effects, but all in all and the tools to carry them out can be found. The pro-
was a real letdown. Was my perception of the film colored grammed assassin carries out his orders without question,
by the fact that I was really obsessed with the nuke? Perhaps. and either succeeds or dies trying. A programmed assassin
But they built up my expectations by focusing on that in the will commit suicide rather than be caught and questioned.
ads for the movie. Some programmed assassins are taken in unwillingly and
It took me a while to see this film because I do not like must have their memories either replaced or erased. In this
Ben Affleck. He was ok, but didnt do much to dispel my case, false memories will be implanted into the subjects
dislike of him. Matt Damon is the major talent in that duo. brain. He will remember a life that never existed, which
Come to think of it, Matt Damon would have been much helps to keep him under control as he is introduced to his
better in this role. He is a great action star, as we saw in the new life. If he is confronted by evidence of his former life in
Bourne Identity, a movie that I should have reviewed instead a shocking manner, he can make a Will save (DC 20) to
of this one. In fact, Im going to give you game elements begin recovering his memories. This leads to other prob-
from the Bourne Identity instead. Take that, Ben! lems, however, as the brainwashing he has undergone does
Wils Rating: Will Not Blow You Away! not go away so easily. Once this initial save has been made,
he suffers brain leak, as described below.
GAME ELEMENTS As long as a character is programmed, he can essentially be
Ok, switching over to a way better film in the espionage given any order (even suicidal ones) by his superiors, and he
genre, Im going to give you some game elements from The will carry them out without question.
Bourne Identity. Ill skip the review on this one, but I will Brain Leak: Disease Caused by overwhelmed program-
tell you that if you havent seen this movie then youre really ming; Will save (DC 20); initial damage 1d6 Wis; secondary
missing out! Its a bit different from the book, but it really damage 1d6 Wis. Once a characters Wisdom has been
worked on film and the fight scenes are spectacular! If you reduced to zero, he is irrevocably brain damaged. If he
are interested in realistic martial arts and want to see a well- makes two consecutive saving throws, he is able to recover
choreographed fight, do a frame by frame analysis of one point of Wisdom damage per day, although one point of
Damons fights both in the park and in the embassy. damage is permanent.
Excellent work, Johnathan Eusebio! Allegiances: The programmed assassins primary allegiance
One of the major plot points of the film is that Bourne is is to those who brainwashed him. Others are given him by
part of a secret government project to create ultimate assas- the agency, and usually involve secret operatives assigned to
sinsbrainwashed, mentally enhanced agents who do exact- monitor his behavior.
ly what they are told and would rather die than betray their Abilities: Int +4, Wis 2, Cha +2.
mission. This kind of training could easily be translated into Defense: +1.
a d20 Modern template that could be applied to any charac- Skills: The brainwashing techniques involve the direct
ter who was the subject of such a program, willing or unwill- implantation of certain skills and knowledge directly into the
ing. subjects brain. As a result, he gains a +2 bonus to all of the
following skills: Computer Use, Concentration,
PROGRAMMED ASSASSIN (TEMPLATE) Demolitions, Forgery, Knowledge (tactics), Pilot, and Treat
Programmed assassins are often created by governments Injury. In addition, the character gains fluency in any lan-
and independent espionage agencies to act as perfect guages he previously knew how to speak, as well as the abil-
weapons. Able to lose themselves in a foreign country for ity to read and write them.
months, even years, in order to carry out their duties, these Feats: The programmed assassin gains the following feats:
men and women forgo their lives completely in service to Alertness, Endurance, Improved Initiative.
their superiors. Many do not even remember agreeing to Wealth Bonus: +5.

Knights of the Dinner Table Magazine November, 2003 63


D E A D LY
TRAPPINGS
THE SUICIDE SPHERE
AKA: GLOTIS PLAYGROUND
LETHALITY: High INTENT: Death/Disablement
MECHANISM: Crushing Pressure ENGINEER: Kevin Vance
Suggested Damage: per systems rules for crushing damage
1
eave it to the twisted sense of humor of gnome engineers
L to design a puzzle-trap so wickedly ingenious. Credited 1. Uh oh... what the hell is this, Joe Cocksure?
to the great gnomish trap-builder Gloti Golpep, this partic- Some stupid boulder is blocking the passageway. Now what?
ular trap has been adapted by many architects over the years.
This trap involves a hand-chiseled boulder placed in a
portion of a dungeon where it completely blocks passage
down the corridor. Knowing the intricacies of the adven-
turing mind, Gloti knew that such an obstacle would not
deter the intrepid adventuring party. So he designed his trap
so that once the biggest and burliest of the group steps up to
push that boulder out of the way, the boulder ends up on the
other end of a balanced platform that is virtually unde-
tectable. This platform is balanced on a buried fulcrum
which, when the boulders weight reaches what Gloti calls
the sweet spot, shoots the other end of the platform
toward the ceiling. This platform is where the adventurer
would be standing after having pushed the boulder onto the
sweet spot. Upon being smashed into the ceiling, most
adventurers end up nothing more than a spot of goo. Of
course, this makes retrieving any valuables from the adven-
turers bodies virtually impossible, because most items are
destroyed upon being smashed.
Adjusting the position of the fulcrum can yield various
results, from the deadly crushing damage described above, to
simply disabling the victim. The trap can be easily foiled if 2
you know its secret. If the boulder is pushed midway
between the two platforms, counter weights can be placed 2. Ha!!! Way to put that 18/99 strength to use, Joe.
on the first platform so that the boulder can be safely pushed If you cant go around it, simply push it down the corridor. Brilliant!
past the trigger-platform without setting it off. There is usu-
ally a recessed area further down the corridor where the
boulder can be pushed aside and then bypassed.
Another way of disarming the trap is to erect a strong
wooden beam between the ceiling and the first platform.
Resetting this trap can be somewhat tricky and usually
involves using a hand winch and levers by accessing the
inner-workings of the trap via a secret entry way.
Some kobold variations of this design work both ways,
meaning that whatever end of the platform the boulder is
on, the other end will shoot up. This can make the trap
much more tricky to get around, and much more dangerous
to set.

KILL JOE!!!
Thats right -- we need 3
more traps to do Joe in.
Send us your ideas!! 3. Ouch. Talk about doing yourself in. Thats just plain evil

64 Issue #85: Crutch Cassidy and the Sundice Kid


VECTOR MOVEMENT: I've always fast, but assuming they are going the
liked vector movement, and Hard same direction, it would be about the
Vacuum's got it. If you are moving 12 same as the ships are standing still, rela-
velocity in a particular direction this turn, tive to each other. Hard Vacuum has a
you will continue in that direction at that system whereby not only the ship veloci-
velocity until you spend some of your ties relative to each other are involved,
'thrust maneuver points' to change head- but also more importantly, the direction
ing or velocity. This means that even low relative to each other is determined. Two
maneuverability ships can get up a 'head ships moving in the same direction or
of steam' over time and really start haul- head-on at high velocities yields no target
ing. penalty, whereas the same two ships mov-
In addition, velocity is not limited to 1 ing at right angles relative to one another
of the 6 'cardinal directions', as dictated at high velocities imposes a very heavy
by the hex map-board. You can have targeting penalty.
more than one velocity vectors at work,
HARD VACUUM so your craft can be drifting "6 down"
THE RULES
PUBLISHER: Fat Messiah Games and "2 over" simultaneously. I've never Upon hearing a friend describe some
PRICE: $14.95 seen another system take this into of the more interesting 'bells and
REVIEWED BY: Andrew Carso account, and I've been foiled many times whistles' included in the game, I expected
OVERALL RATING: 4.75/5 in other systems where to have to wade through a several hun-
WRITING: 5 the orientation of the
ART: 3 hexes determined
OVERALL PRODUCTION: 4 where you were able to
REPLAY VALUE: 4.75 move.
ENTERTAINMENT VALUE: 4.75
SPIN: Another
h yes, one of the more recent offer- aspect of the game that
A ings in the ubiquitous 'new gener-
ation' of space combat games con-
stantly being churned out by the gaming
I really like is the abili-
ty to have your craft
facing and velocity
industry. And every one seems to make independent of each
similar promises of 'simple, easy to learn other. This is done by
mechanics' designed to 'streamline play imparting 'spin' to
without compromising realism.' Hard your craft, which, like
Vacuum has truly lived up to this prom- velocity, stays in effect
ise in several ways that no other system until cancelled by
I've ever seen has. spending 'thrust
Here are a few features that really make maneuver points'.
Hard Vacuum stand out over and above Thus, if you have a 2
its contemporaries: hex clockwise spin,
each turn you will
THE SETTING move according to
Instead of a pre-fab, futuristic space your velocity, and at
milieu, Hard Vacuum takes place in an the end of the turn,
alternate time stream, during World War you will spin 2 facings
clockwise. This lets you move and fire in dred page technical documentation to get
II, when breakthroughs have lead to the
totally different directions, which makes up to speed on the system. Traditionally,
development of Flash Gordonesque ships
the game much more flexible, sponta- I've found a give-and-take balance
and weapons. You'll delight to such old-
neous, and exciting. between realism and playability, with any
time pulp standbys as 'heat rays' and
attempt to increase one detracting from
'atomic fireballs', mixed in with some
DEFLECTION: Many systems the other.
conventional WWII classics such as
attempt to make targeting compensations However, Hard Vacuum seems to have
'7.9mm MG 17 machine guns' and
for craft that are moving very fast relative defied the traditional paradigm by offer-
'20mm cannon,' as well as naval mines in
to each other. One of the simplest tech- ing a variety of features I've never seen in
space and radar. Plus you get to scream
niques other systems employ is to impose any other space simulation type game,
"All Space Nazi's Must Die!!" on a regu-
some sort of 'targeting penalty' for each plus critical hits, mines, firing arcs, etc.,
lar basis. The setting alone was enough
point of velocity your opponent has built all explained in a 44-page liberally illus-
to lure me in, but the game system prop-
up. This leads to trouble when you are in trated softcover rulebook with plenty of
er is what got me hooked.
a pursuit situation, say, with one ship examples (set includes two sheets of
pursuing another, moving in the same counters, including ships, and thrust
THE MECHANICS direction, both at 24 velocity. Sure that's markers) for a flat $14.95.. 
Knights of the Dinner Table Magazine November, 2003 65
In this issue we salute the military. Thanks for all you do
to serve your country. We also want to thank all our mil-
KODT
itary readers for their patronage. So, what are you wait-
ing for? Muster up your courage, grab your weapon (pen-
cil), and lock and load on these military words.
WORD
FIND

Compiled by Barbara Blackburn

Stumped??!!! The solution can be found at www.kenzerco.com


 admiral  combat  major  salute you dont know JACK-SQUAT
 air force  commandant  marines  seaman about the MILITARY, b.a.

 amphibious  ensign  medal  sergeant hey, \ was in the CUB SCOUTS


\ know MORE
 army  front line  military  soldier than you -- for four years. \ learned
\ know how to GUT a squirrel.
 barracks  general  national guard
 trail THAT much.
 bravery  honor  navy
 cadet  infantry  petty officer  training
 canteen  insignia  pride  uniform
 captain  integrity  reservists  veteran
 coast guard  lieutenant  rucksack

66 Issue #85: Crutch Cassidy and the Sundice Kid


The party had gone to investigate rumors of Drow stream. I waited, hoping he would come to his

TALES
activity in the ruins of a fortress near the town we senses. Then I rolled for an encounter. Wild Boars
were staying in six of them.
Chad had missed the last two sessions and was Jays character could have kept on riding.
FROm THE back in rare form, began detailing his plan to put up Instead, he dismounted and tried to make a mid-

TA B L E
a dummy of some kind outside the ruins. We could night snack out of the feral swine. Naturally, the
then check the dummy the next day to see if it had opposite occurred. The rest of the party awoke to
been shot OR (and he was really keen on this) hide the sound of screams and squeals in the not-too-dis-
Actual Home-brewed in the forest and watch the dummy and wait to see tant distance. They chose not to investigate, prepar-
if it was attacked. A hush fell over everyone else, ing to defend the camp. After a while, they went
Legends from our readers. and I knew that everyone had already spotted the
back to sleep. The next morning, the party followed
one major flaw in this plan... and I could see that
our GM was growing visibly pissed about the latest Jays trail, retrieved Jay's horse (it had bolted during
attempt to try and take control of the campaign. It the fight), and looted the corpse of Jays character.
was then that I, charged with righteous purpose, Jay was not impressed. Scott W. Roberts 
made the sarcastic exclamation that instantly
became a part of the groups lore and mythology...
Theyre DROW! They have DARKVISION! LET'S HIT THE BEHOLDERS AGAIN
Once the laughter died down, I went on to About a year ago, the paladin of the AD&D 2nd
explain that ignoring the fact they could see us hid- Edition party I was running decided to work a
ing in the forest at night, they were probably smart Renaissance Faire, so I ruled that hed been kid-
enough to watch anyone they spotted for signs of napped by slavers and sold to the drow. Most of the
movement This didnt change Chads mind at all. rest of the party charged off to the rescue (one of the
He was convinced he could create a worthy dummy, mages came down with girlfriend syndrome). After
but he never got the chance. Everyone else voted to smashing the slavers, they proceeded into the
go back to the village rather than risk a confronta- Underdark. This was a potent party, consisting of a
tion at night against who knows what and we voted half elf mage (Gabe), an elven specialty priest/ranger
Chad out of the group later that night. starman- (Kevin), a human dual class ranger/wild mage
"WHEN THIS CARAVAN'S A ROCKIN'..."
matt  (Zach), a dwarven cleric (Marianne), and the pal-
We were playing an AD&D 2nd Edition game,
adins lizardman fighter henchman.
set in the GMs homebrewed world The Realm of
Verulia THE WILD BOAR INCIDENT They found themselves in a beholder lair; the
Now, the main subject of our story is Dakkar orc fireball fodder died easily enough, and they
Way back when I had been GMing for only a killed a few beholders. Then a death ray took out
Ironhammer, a dwarven fighter. And in the course few years, I ran an epic D&D campaign that took a
of the groups adventures, we eventually had to the elf priest/ranger. They calculated teleport loads
good twelve months to play out Halfway
spend some time with a female dwarf NPC. Now, through the quest, the Wild Boar Incident and escaped back to home base. They considered
the player decided this would be a good opportuni- occurred. Having recently lost several characters their options, and decided on a new plan. They
ty to get some romance goin for his character. Over while crossing a monster-infested wasteland, the would teleport back in, encase the ranger/wild mage
the course of 20 game sessions over the course of party camped for the night just within the edge of a in an anti-magic shell off a scroll, and put his armor
roughly a month (in other words, twenty real-time huge forbidding forest. Deciding to go easy on back on him. Then theyd make forays in and out
hours), he charmed the woman, and one night them so they could heal back up, I thought it best of the anti-magic zone to deal with the beholders.
worked up the courage to ask her to spend a night to turn the random encounter I had rolled into They went back in and began using their crystal
in his caravan. She accepted. some colour text. The player with the highest char- balls to locate beholders, then toss fireballs in their
Sadly, it was not to be. That night, as Dakkar acter turnover - lets call him Jay - was too paranoid general direction
and his love interest began to, ahem, entertain each by now to believe it. You hear wolves howling in It didnt work very well, even with the
other, two of our groups fighters happened to walk the distance, I announced as neutrally as I could sidewinders Id made available. They retreated into
by. One of the players asked if the caravan was manage. a different chamber, still in the antimagic zone,
moving, and our GM nodded. The player laughed Oh great, Jay said bitterly, Scotts going to hit when the beholders (planning to hit them from
Hey, wouldnt it be funny if we thought it was a us with werewolves. I get my sword out. (His behind) dropped the roof on them. So there they
thief? character was on watch.) were, surrounded by beholders (and a hive mother)
Our GM got a twisted smile and a downright What are the wolves doing? Jay asked. quite willing to enter the antimagic zone and attack
evil glint in his eye and said roll Intelligence, gen- them with their teeth but stuck in an anti-magic
Still howling in the distance, I replied.
tlemen. Both players failed. The characters, fear-
Shut the firk up, Jay yelled, you stupid firk- zone where they couldnt heal and couldnt employ
ing for their friends life, gave mighty pushes and
knocked over the caravan. The door swung open, ing wolves! Obviously he did not in fact say firk, their artillery. The mage went down. The dwarf
and Dakkar ran out in nothing but his underpants, but some other word we are all too familiar with. At went down. The warriors killed a beholder and
screaming and swearing up a storm. Shortly after the top of his voice. In the back room of a game opened a corridor to safety. Zach ordered the lizard-
the incident the dwarf woman left, and Dakkar store. Within earshot of customers, other gaming man to pick up the dwarf while he grabbed the
never got a love interest again. What was perhaps groups, and separate businesses in the same build- mage; the hive mother then took down the
funniest of all was that for several days afterwards, ing. (Nice one, Jay). At this point, another of the ranger/wild mage. Leaving just the NPC henchman
Dakkars owner could be heard lamenting the loss of players committed one of the best role-playing of a player who wasnt there alive! The lizardman
a full month of work. Dengar000  deeds it has ever been my privilege to witness. Dan pulled the dwarf out, ran down the passage, and
put his head down on the table as if he were asleep, forced a potion down her throat. She healed herself,
"THE FINAL STRAW" moaned as if recently wakened, and blearily said and then they went back in to retrieve the bodies of
We were recently forced to kick Chad out of shut the firk up yourself; some of us are trying to the fallen. Then the lizardman stopped a disinte-
our game group. Chad was the poster-boy for prob- get some sleep. The rest of the group chuckled at gration ray, and it was just the dwarf. She tried to
lem playing. Arrogant and annoying outside of this, and I could not help joining in. Fine," he pull both bodies out but the anti-magic shell was
game-playing, he was a sadistic GM when he ran said. I know when Im not wanted. I pack up, get still active. Her gauntlets of ogre power were use-
sessions. He would only play Asian-themed charac- on my horse, and ride off.
less, and the beholders would move faster than she
ters (assassins and monks a specialty), frequently You pack up and ride off into the night? I could hauling both the mage and the armor-clad
skipped out on sessions at the last minute and tried asked. ranger. So she grabbed Gabe the mage, got out of
to bully the party and the GM into taking the Yes, I ride off into the night.
actions he wanted to take. Still, we put up with him the antimagic shell, and plane shifted.
because he was the ride for one of our better mem- Sure you want to do that? Gabe was revived on the fields of Arcadia, and
bers and because he managed to do just enough He glared at me. Zach's new character joined them. Believe it or not,
good things to make us think maybe he could be Okay. You ride off into the night, following a Gabe wanted to go back in against the beholders--
redeemed. That all flew out the window one night. trail through the forest. After a while you cross a and he still does! Whalethejudge 

68 Issue #85: Crutch Cassidy and the Sundice Kid


E
FIRK DING BLASTIN FAT HEADED SUNUVAGREL MORON CLUELESS FAT COW BETTER TAKE IT

C O F
BACK YOU STUPID RAT HAIRED SCRUFFY FACED IDIOT OR \LL KICK YER ASS FROM NOON TO

A F!
SUNDAY AND THEN ILL RIP OFF YOUR HEAD AND SPIT DOWN YOUR FRICKIN THROAT AND

F
MAKE YOU CALL ME SALLY COULDNT POUR PEE OUT OF A BOOT YOU MUNCHKIN LOOKINBALD
BUTT FACE OF YERS AND MOP THE FLOOR WITH YOUR FACE YOU GOT THAT FIRK DING BLASTIN
FAT HEADED SUNUVAGREL MORON CLUELESS FAT COW BETTER TAKE IT BACK YOU STUPID RAT
HAIRED SCRUFFY F
TAKIN A POSITION
A ND DEFENDING IT
Note: Each month a question is posed to our audience on our discussion forums at www.kenzerco.com.
The replies below represent the views and opinions of readers and are not necessarily shared by
KenzerCo or members of its staff. Our role is merely to instigate and then step out of harms way.

THIS ISSUES DEBATE TOPIC: RULES LAWYERS: HELPFUL OR PAIN IN THE NECK?

HELPFUL PAIN
Rules lawyers serve an important function. Having a rules In general, pain in the NECK. When you are trying to
lawyer at the table keeps a GM on his toes. If a GM has pas- weave a nice plot or story arc, or when you are trying to weave
sive players that accept his rulings without question, he can an interesting series of events and someone pulls a rule out of
become lazy and his mastery of the game will slip. This can his/her rear, it can really throw you off your GM game. AGH!
lead to embarrassment at tournaments. As long as a rules I mean come on! It was true in Risky Business, its true now
lawyer doesnt grind the game to a halt by arguing every minu- ... sometimes you just have to say WTF. If its good for the
tia, they are welcome at my table. YourkusRex  story, roll with the punches. Joe2Old 
 

I tend to agree with the its ok camp. I have two regular Pain in the neck, and I have been known to be one, but its
games (same RPG, different campaigns) each week, three of still true. The first, most important rule in any role-playing
the people including me are at both games. One of those three game is that there are no hard and fast rules, every rule in the
people GMs each session depending on whats going on in game is optional, and up to the GMs discretion. The only real
each campaign. I GM most. One of the two others, and rule is consistency, if you run it one way for the Monsters, you
myself, will happily chime in with rules if the GM de jour is should do the same for the characters, and so on. Other than
obviously looking for particular stuff, and when were GMing that, every single rule in the game can be ignored by the GM
well happily hand over to the others mid game to deal with
as he sees fit to keep his game running the way it is meant to.
whatever their particular speciality in the rules is. It works
well I dont believe any rules system can cover everything, I dont mean the GM should corral the characters down a
and having a couple of rules lawyers in the group can really bottleneck course to his goals, but I do know that the GM is
assist when that happens, to come up with something that never wrong in rules discussion, because its his world, so his
suits the game balance and the sense of fun. But maybe its just rules.
me... Dunklezhan  Rules lawyers are pains in the posterior, and I do realize that
every old school player, especially those who also sling the
 screen fantastic, are RLs. When I GM, the only books the
Its good when it helps for clarification or correction of players are allowed to bring to the table are the Players
mistakes. Handbook, and possible any supplement that contains special
Example: When we first started 3e, well, heck, even to this details for their class or prestige class. NO player may have the
day, one of the guys has a lot of stuff memorized, has gone DMG, or the Monster Manual, I dont care if I have allowed
through the errata and FAQs, etc. them to play a savage species from the MM, or a Prestige class
So when things grind to a halt, its nice when he can state from the DMG, those books are DM only. I also make a point
that well, in such and such a place it's stated that... etc. of altering Monsters, Magic Items, and traps and such from
those books as well.
On the other hand, I recall back in the 2nd ed AD&D days Face it, let the GM run his/her game, and have some fun.
that there was one guy who mostly GMed playing.
That is what the game is about. Seuss 
As a GM, he would accept no corrections, even when

wrong. As a player, he was an extremely one-sided rules
lawyer. The rules were important if it benefitted him, but not Pain in the neck worse than Vlad Dracula drooling down
if it worked against him. your back because his denture cream did not hold.
Working against other players, on the other hand, he Rules lawyers who take a misplaced comma, or use the dic-
MIGHT point out, but only IF it didn't negatively affect him. tionary or not, to argue and argue and argue their point for
The former, good. The latter, bad. King V  four out of five game hours over minor or major points which
are either overruled by the ref or dont know their character is
 on super secret double probation due to a plot hook should be
A good rules lawyer helps the game. whacked on their private parts with all role-playing supplies.
Now a rules guru who can quote chapter and verse to the
How do attacks of opportunity work?
worst at a drop of die and knows when to close the case when
Does you character know about trolls? No? Then you the game master rules is great.
should probably put away the oil. However to get one of these you have to go through the
Does harm allow a saving throw? Ivory soap worth of scum. 99.9% scum to 1 guru

Knights of the Dinner Table Magazine November, 2003 69


THEYRE KEWL RULES LAWYERS ARE PAINS!
If the person is there and usually correct, game goes on Jaspermurr 
quickly Vahktang 


Ive gotten to the point where I ask players not to even go
Heh... in my campaigns, if Im unclear on how something rampaging for errata. And nothing annoys me more than
works, I have even asked one or more of my players if they being cut off with But the rules say... last time I said
know for sure what the rule is, or have a better understanding Either stop interrupting with the pointless rule quoting or
of it. They have even corrected me in such occasions in ways find a new group... and the others said About time! when he
that turned out to their own detriment at times. did. Wil Hostman 
As a player, Ive done this before as well.

Among the people I play with, generally speaking the only
rules lawyering that goes on is when it is requested, or if its Keep the rules lawyers away... it takes away from game
such a glaring oversight that the GM actually is being done a time and almost every time the rules lawyer is trying to bene-
favor. Usually Im the GM in our crew, and I can say that nor- fit himself by confusing the GM by trying to get to the most
mally I appreciate it. advantageous point for himself kinda like a Bob and Brian
But these guys never use or abuse rules to strictly their own
mentality rolled into one... Kile Hannad 
advantage... they do it for game clarity and to help move the

game along Demosthenes 

RIDIN THE FENCE Generally, theyre more trouble than theyre worth. Sure,
it helps if the walking encyclopedia of rules chimes in when
GM Support or Pain in the end, rules lawyers CAN be
Neck? The answer is yes, on helpful, so long as the GM and you cant find something right away, but most of the times its
both counts. It's completely the players agree that the GM when a ruling will make or break a situation, usually ending
context-sensitive. I, as a GM, has the final say in matters of up in the advantage of the rules lawyer. It gets even worse
actually appreciate having play- judging. Teague 
ers around who actually recall when they adamantly argue their case with the GM after hes
the range of a flaming arrow It seems to me that intent made his final ruling, resulting in major slowdown and gener-
shot from a composite longbow is what makes the difference al frustration on all. JustACleric 
by a 10th level ranger atop a in this situation. And it is
crenelated battlement 50 feet usually fairly easy to see 
off the ground. That saves me
intent. Also, in any group,
time. What wastes my time, My personal opinion is that they tend to be an annoyance
any one person who knows
and those of everyone partici- more than appreciated assistance. The reason for this is as fol-
the rules well is known to that
pating, is when a player stops a
combat to argue (once again!) group. As long as he/she isn't lows: typically, the player providing the rule clarification only
why his opponent shouldn't being a nuisance I think I does so if they benefit from this. If there were more instances
have been able to cast a certain have to agree with those who
have already said it... it is when such a player would do so if they didnt benefit, I would
spell or use a specific weapon,
or even deserved a saving throw. important to know when to be inclined to say appreciated assistance. However, human
And let's face it, most of us shut up or even not to open nature being what it is... My advice on rules lawyers: smack
have been both of these types at your mouth in the first place.
em down. Unless you have a bad GM, in which case perhaps
different times helpful on one Lotte 
hand, and just completely the the rules lawyer would like to take on the job? Holmes 
opposite on the other. In the


NEXT ISSUES DEBATE QUESTION:


I think a RL by definition is a pain in the various portions
Q; The D20 Glut of Material of anatomy. A player who knows the rules of the PHB is one
thing, and even a player/GM who knows all the rules, but a
Nice to have variety or Killing the System??
RL seems to be someone who uses those rules in the most
EMAIL YOUR RESPONSE TO MAILBAG@KENZERCO.COM OR POST IT IN annoying ways for the GM rather than trying to be a help
OUR DISCUSSION FORUM AT WWW.KENZERCO.COM
Jasonz 

you should dump the LONG SWORD and go with a


S T R AY S H O T S : T h o s e c o m m e n t s
SHORT SWORD, dave. true it deals out LESS t hat r i c o che t e d o f f t a r ge t .
damage, but the odds of stacking PENETRATION
damage is much greater on a 1d6 than a 1d8. Calling someone a rules lawyer because they are smart is like call-
and going sans shield will and taking a
make you 12 percent harder to
ing an A student a nerd. Its nice to see that JOCKs are taking an
SECOND
hit with the gained dex bonus. language will... interest in the game but name calling is not welcome
GothGuru 

Oh no you dont! The rules dictate that the against:for ratio


should be roughly 50:50 with a equality bonus of err never-
mind! Face777 

70 Issue #85: Crutch Cassidy and the Sundice Kid


LOOKIN AT
COMICS
By Tony DiGerolamo
YOU C AN T M AKE A C OM IC
W ITHOUT C LEAVAG E
kay, so I was browsing the racks inside Atomic City comic." So I did.

O Comics on South Street in Philly (it still says


"Showcase Comics" on the sign, guys when you
gonna get a new sign?) when I spot the cover for...
X-men: Phoenix #2 of 3 from Marvel Comics, $2.99 for
22 pages of color story, story and art are by Ryan Kinnaird.
Demi The Demoness #7 by S.S. Crompton, Seppo
Emma Frost #1 of 6 by Karl Bollers, Randy Green, and Makinen, and Alonzo. Demi is a demon that is supposed to
Rick Ketchman. hold the title of Whore of Babylon. She is always naked,
The cover, by Greg Horn, is a color, photo-realistic painting very friendly, and usually horny. Her friend, a four-breast-
of Emma (AKA: The White Queen) who is dressed in an ed, feline goddess named Kit-ra, attempts to bring her
outfit that Ive seen strippers strip down to. I mean, every- through some kind of portal and she ends up in a weird
thing on Emmas perfect body is skintight miracle fabric, future where demons rule humans. Who cares? She has sex
except for the oh-so-fashionable platform/sneaker/go-go girl with a computer, flashback sex with various people and ani-
boots and the zipper on her panties that would open to her mals and the climax includes a four-way orgy with the com-
goodies. Emmas just amazingly hot and nearly naked on the puter and two friends. The story is not very interesting, but
cover. There is no doubt in my mind I want to do Emma hey, at least I didnt get teased. At least it makes sense why
Frost or at least the model that posed for Greg Horn. Demi runs around naked, the whole comic centers on sex! If
But the story has NOTHING to do with the cover. Its I had any complaint about the comic is that there is proba-
about Emma growing up, so she spends the entire issue as a bly too much story here. Crompton adds himself running
hot schoolgirl in a story thats clich and doesnt, in my around in the future (well, his clone, anyway). I couldve
mind, fit with the character. All I know about Emma from stood for less of that and more girl-on-girl scenes.
previous X-men history is that she grows up to be one of the Demi The Demoness #7 is from Carnal Comics, P.O. Box
X-mens most evil, bitchy villainesses and is eventually 2068, Scottsdale, AZ 85252 and is $3.75 for 32 black and
retooled to teach the X-men (much like Magneto did once). white pages, story by S.S. Crompton, Art by S.S. Crompton,
But in truth, I could care less about this story. There were Seppo Makinen and Alonzo.
no unanswered questions about Emma Frosts past for me Superman in Action Comics #806, by Joe Kelly, Pascual
and I cant, quite frankly, get her incredibly drawn, huge Ferry, and Cam Smith. Yep, even in Superman, a hot chick
knockers out of my head. This comic is a waste of trees and sells. This time its a new character, a hottie sorceress named
the few female readers that might be interested in a story Traci Thirteen. It also features a hot Lois Lane, a hot Lana
about the "girl-who-doesnt-fit-in" will be as appalled by the Lang, and a hot, new, female version of Steel. The story is a
cover as I am mesmerized by it. big convoluted mess and the hot girl cover just cant hide it.
Emma Frost #1 of 6 from Marvel Comics Kelly jumps around with four different threads and ham-
(www.marvel.com), $2.50 for 24 pages of color story, writ- mers them together at the end. He is less than subtle. And,
ten by Karl Bollers, penciled by Randy Green and inked by oh yeah, Superman gets stabbed and hes dying. Could be
Rick Ketchman. the end. Better buy the next issue. (Yeah, right.)
At least I was, until I saw the cover for X-men: Phoenix Attempting to sex fans up in Superman is just wrong.
#2 of 3, also from Marvel Comics, but from its Max line of Superman in Action Comics #806, published by DC
"mature" comics. This comic is $2.99 for 22 pages of color Comics (www.dccomics.com), is $2.25 for a 22-page, color
story. (Uh, how come we pay more for this I wonder.) The story, written by Joe Kelly, penciled by Pascual Ferry and
story and art are by Ryan Kinnaird. Now, the girl on this inked by Cam Smith.
cover looks to be about 15 years old with giant boobs and Dogwitch #6 by Daniel Schaffer. Competently executed,
during the course of the comic book shes actually showing Dogwitch centers on a "punk" witch named Violet. In this
enough butt cheek to get her kicked off the stripper stage in issue, one of Violets spells goes out of control and shes
the state of New Jersey (Im not kidding.) This comic has forced to fight demonic forces from the darkness. The story
nothing, repeat NOTHING, to do with the X-men as far as is more cool than continuity. The main character is sort of
I can tell and even less to do with Jean Grey. Its basically a the punk pin-up version of what Ive reviewed this month.
HackMaster adventure with three hot, underage strippers. Violet wears combat boots, rubber, skirts, and other Goth
(HackMaster fans will find a couple of new interesting mon- stuff. We get to see her panties in half of a dozen panels.
sters here!) But a serious lack of armor will make any self- This comic promises something a little cooler and smarter,
respecting female gamer roll her eyes and say, "Shyeah, but it only marginally delivers on that score. I liked it about
right!" as much as I liked the Phoenix story and the Demi story.
Who is this comic book for? The story and dialogue were There were some cool monsters, some hot girls, but ulti-
passable, but the little-girl-naked look Quesada, if you mately, I want the bar set much higher. Unfortunately, Im
want to publish porn, publish it. Picking up this comic, I going to lower the bar quite far right now for my next
thought, "Jeez, Ive gone this far. I might as well get a porn review.

Knights of the Dinner Table Magazine November, 2003 71


Dogwitch #6 from Sirius (www.dogwitch.com), $2.95 for
22 pages of black & white story by Daniel Schaffer.
Spawn #127 by Todd McFarlane, Brian Holguin, Angel
Medina, Danny Miki, Victor Olazaba, Allen Martinez, and
Crime Lab Studios. The Greg Capullo cover features a
scantily clad woman being saved by Spawn. Shes NOT in
the issue, neither is the scene or the guy Spawn is killing. I
think they mustve put the wrong cover on or something.
Ive read about two-dozen issues of Spawn over the run. I
liked the early issues written by Moore, Gaiman, Miller,
Sim, etc. Todd even had a few interesting issues. I especial-
ly liked the ones about Houdini. This issue is just boring
and the incredibly misleading cover made me wish the comic
story had another issue of Demi the Demoness in stock.
Wheres my skin, Todd? This story is about Terry Fitzgerald
deciding to quit his job and includes a back-story about
what a jerk Al Simmons (later to become Spawn) was. Thats
really the problem that has plagued this comic. Al Simmons
is a jerk. He killed people for the government. Now, as
Spawn, he uses his Hellish powers in an attempt to redeem
himself by righting wrongs and misleading innocent comic
book readers into buying covers that have nothing to do
with the story. I believe that Spawn is played ultimately, I
think its an ego-driven project that can only overcome its
shortcomings if its creator is willing to give up the creative
writing reigns to someone with the chops. If this issue is any
indication, the great downward Spawn spiral will continue.
Spawn #127, published by Image Comics, $2.50 for 22
color pages of story, plotted by Todd McFarlane & Brian
Holguin, story by Brian Holguin, pencils by Angel Medina
and inks by Danny Miki, Victor Olazaba, Allen Martinez
and Crime Lab Studios.
And now some editorializing on the comics medium.
First we had the Golden Age, the Silver Age, the Modern
Age, and the Dark Age. I hereby dub this age of comics as
"THE BOOBY AGE"! Listen, Im not anti-cleavage. Im
very pro-cleavage. Ive done my part to support women in
their 20s with augmented racks across this great land. But
publishers, please! Unless youre going to do porn comics
(because as we saw, Demi delivered, while the others just
teased) youre selling your fans another pyramid scheme.
Sure, Ive done it with Barbara the Barbarian in the Travelers.
But Im doing comedy, parodying a fantasy icon that you
continue to perpetuate. (Besides, characters call Barbara out
on her clothes all the time in the comic.) Only in Demi and
sometimes in Dogwitch did these female characters own
their own sexuality, while in all the others they are exploited
eye candy. You sit and wonder why undersexed, middle-
aged virgin males make up a significant part of your fan
base? Look at what you publish!!! I defy you to show it to
your mother or sister or wife or girlfriend. Its no mystery
while my female friends took one look at these comics and
rolled their eyes and said, "Yeah, big boobs. Naked girls. Why
exactly would I be interested in this?"
Thats it for this month, fanboys and fangirls. See you at
the con. 

Tony DiGerolamo is the writer/creator for The Travelers,
Jersey Devil, and The Fix. He is also the writer for
Everknights. Dont miss his new column on
www.parentheticalnote.com called "Ask the DM". To see
more of his deranged scribblings visit www.thefixsite.com.
Complaints and comments can be sent to Tony DiGerolamo
c/o SJRP, PO Box 839, Hammonton, NJ 08037.
72 Issue #85: Crutch Cassidy and the Sundice Kid
THE PHILOSOPHERS
STONE
By Noah Kolman

W HY D O W E G AM E ?
ey folks. This months column may seem a little too gaming. Its more than just an escape from normal life

H philosophical and self-important, so I thought Id


start off explaining how I got to where we are. To do
that I must explain a little bit about my gaming habits.
(though it is that too), its a way to be a part of something
youd otherwise just see in movies or read in books. I believe
that this is part of everyones motivation, and probably the
I really like games, and I love learning to play new games. main motivation for most people (myself included).
So whenever I hear about a new game that people like, Ill Ultimately, why you play is not as important as whether
jump on the internet and read a few reviews. If it sounds you enjoy playing. And with that in mind, I thought Id
like a game Id like, I usually buy it before Ive ever played share some of the games that are on my wish list for the com-
it. This means that Im the one in the gaming group that ing holidays. Hopefully getting this list in November will
always has the new game, and it means that Im the one who give you enough time to put some things on your own list,
always teaches others how to play games. And it was my or find a good gift for that gamer in your life.
experiences with teaching others games that I began observ- Pitch Car. Originally sold as Carabande, Pitch Car is a
ing certain patterns, which then lead me to thinking about very cool dexterity-based racing game. Players take turns
Why We Game, and thus another column is born. flicking wooden car tokens with their fingers down a race-
Whenever you teach a game to a group of people, there is track. But be careful, for the track has railings on only one
usually one person that grabs for the rulebook when you are side. The track comes in many pieces and can be built with
done. This is partly because when teaching a game, you several configurations. Pitch Car is a little pricey, because
often do not get into the specific rules nuances that come the quality of the components is high and the game is an
from random events or special cards and the like. But most import, but it looks to be well worth it.
likely, this person is a competitive gamer, and they want to Age of Mythology. I played this game right before we
win the game. Competition and winning are two common went to press with the last issue, and wasnt really able to give
reasons for playing games, but rarely are they the sole reason. it the full treatment. This is a really fun game that has some
For traditional games and sports, competition and winning great elements to it. In some ways it is similar to Puerto
are often the main motivator, but not so for adventure gam- Rico, but it has a cool combat system and lots of little pieces.
ing. I believe this is largely the influence of role-playing If you ever wanted your colonists to be able to burn down
games, where winning and competition arent really present your opponents fields, then youll like Age of Mythology.
(but dont tell that to the Knights). Despite this, once the Lots of strategy in this one.
game starts you can usually pick out the competitors, and A Game of Thrones. The boardgame of A Game of
undoubtedly the thrill of winning is part of what brings us Thrones has been getting great reviews. I havent had a
to the table. chance to play it yet, but Fantasy Flight Games makes good
On the other end of the spectrum is the social gamer. products, and I trust that this is one too. An empire build-
This is the person that, when the rules are being explained, ing game with limited movement and resources, it looks to
only pays attention half of the time. Instead, hes talking to be similar to Mare Nostrum but in a fantasy world. Thats
the other players or getting snacks for people. This is quite a combo right there.
because the rules of the game arent that important to his Star Wars: Knights of the Old Republic. This is a bit of
enjoyment; he just wants to hang out with his friends. He a departure for me, as KOTOR is an electronic game, but if
knows that if he messes something up, someone will correct you own an Xbox or a PC, you have to buy this. I rented an
him. If he wins, thats great, but hed rather tell some really Xbox for the sole purpose of playing this game, and it was
good jokes. Despite what people might say about the social worth every penny I spent. Its a Star Wars RPG (based pret-
skills of gamers, I think this is one of the more common rea- ty closely on the d20 system) set long before episode I, right
sons for playing games, especially role-playing games. And after the Mandalorian Wars. The view is third person, but
even thought the competitive gamers are more visible at the the camera angle is low, so you really feel like a part of the
table, Id wager that more people play for social reasons than world. Combat is awesome, and I thought the story was
competitive ones. really, really good. Add to this different endings for dark-
One of my favorite types to be around is the immersion side and light-side players, and youve got a winner. I would-
gamer. When youre explaining the game, he is the one nt feel right if I didnt recommend this game to all of you.
organizing all his troops into ranks or building compounds On a final note, this is my last issue of KODT and my last
with his cities and roads. Immersion gamers add sound Philosophers Stone column. Its been quite a ride these last
effects to their attacks, affect funny voices, or otherwise get two and a half years, and Im glad I got to correspond and
into character regardless of the game. This type of gamer meet so many of you. Hopefully youll be able to read over
plays for the thrill of being someone or something else, my columns when you need solace, but I wont hold my
much like the thrill an actor gets from his profession. Of all breath. Until we meet again, may all your hits be crits, and
the motivations, I think this is the most common reason for let the game go on. 

Knights of the Dinner Table Magazine November, 2003 73


SUMMON
WEBSCRYER
By Kenneth Newquist

C TH U LH U R EVISITE D
y first-ever column for KODT in April 2000 was creating the needed NPCs, and running off on their own

M Call of Cthulhu. More than three years later Ive


returned to it, like a fool-hardy, wizened investiga-
tor who just cant help delving into the dark, twisted back
evil tangents. Scenario ideas fall into a half-dozen different
categories, including "Arcane Artefacts," "Just Plain Weird,"
"Sinister People," "Strange Places," and "Nefarious Plots."
country of New England for one more showdown with the I've written about the Call of Cthulhu portal site Yog-
things that must not be named. Sothoth.com before, but since my last column they've
Every good keeper needs to draw inspiration from some- added a world-spanning Player's Directory. This online
where, and in the case of CoC, where better than from H.P. database should be a real boon to anyone struggling to find
Lovecrafts own work? The H.P. Lovecraft Library collects players. I did a search on Pennsylvania and New Jersey and
all of Lovecrafts public domain stories (which it considers pulled up seven players, most of which were near my home-
everything except for about four stories). All of the old town. The database allows people to search every country in
favorites are there "Call of Cthulhu," "At the Mountains the world for players, though I suspect that most of its 175
of Madness", "The Rats in the Walls" and "Herbert West: entries will be found in its top-listed countries.
Re-Animator" as well as dozens of others. Those wonder- Delta Green: Spectrum is an online sourcebook for Pagan
ing exactly how the stories passed into the public domain Publishing's venerable Delta Green horror/conspiracy cam-
should check out the sites disclaimer, in which its author paign setting for Call of Cthulhu. Its divided into seven sec-
tracks the collections publication and copyright renewal tions, one for each color in the spectrum, and covers subjects
dates. Ill leave the legal debates to the lawyers if you want ranging from Mythos publications to magical artifacts to
to read the stories, check out the site. adventures to Web links. Unfortunately, much of the site is
Published in 2000, The Lurker in the Lobby provided a under construction, but it's definitely a site to watch.
comprehensive look at appearances of the Cthulhu Mythos An excellent site for those looking to mine real-world sto-
in cinema. The Web site for the book does the same, and if ries for the CoC games is BloopWatch. BloopWatch is
Im not mistaken, recreates much of the books content on committed to tracking intersections of the Cthulhu Mythos
the Web. There are two dozen-odd movie reviews, nine TV with real world events, and it takes its name from one such
reviews, and a smattering of write-ups on short films. Its a collision: the "Bloop" sound. Apparently, the U.S. Navy's
good source to turn to when you're hungry for some deep-sea sonar picked up this odd sound originating in the
Lovecraftian terror, and the old standby of "Re-Animator" deep ocean (the articles don't say where) in the late 1990s.
isn't doing it for you any more. No one knows what it is it's not a whale or any other
The rock music of The Darkest of the Hillside Thickets known mammal and the best guess is that it's some sort of
is heavily influenced by Lovecraft, and while its nothing undiscovered deep-sea animal. Of course, that's what they
you'd want to play during a CoC game, it could make for say. Lovecraft fans should know exactly what kind of "deep-
some excellent warm-up tunes or background music dur- sea animal" could be residing at the bottom of the ocean,
ing a game of Pagan Publishing's The Hills Rise Wild. Here specifically the Pacific Ocean
are some lyrics from "One-Gilled Girl": "Though she's a Upcoming Columns: Big Eyes, Small Mouth (as well as
hybrid from above; We fell in love; She's a pale shade of green; other anime RPGs), HarnWorld, and Lord of the Rings. If
She's only got one gill." The site includes numerous lyrics you have any site suggestions for these topics, or have a topic
from their songs, discographies, a few sample tracks, fan idea, send it to me at knewquist@nuketown.com.
club info, and more. THE H.P. LOVECRAFT LIBRARY
Errata & Notes: Call of Cthulhu d20 RPG offers the www.ech-pi-el.com/lovecraft/
corrections and revisions above and beyond those offered in THE LURKER IN THE LOBBY
Chaosium's d20 Call of Cthulhu Game Master's Pack (why www.thelurker.com/
they didn't post that errata to either the Chaosium or THE DARKEST OF THE HILLSIDE THICKETS
Wizards of the Coast Web sites is beyond me). The page cov- www.holycow.com/thickets/
ers such flaws as a surprise round depicting a character who ERRATA & NOTES: CALL OF CTHULHU D20 RPG
takes two move actions (he should only have gotten one), www.geocities.com/thastygliax/d20errata/d20coc.html
contradictions between treatments of temporary and perma- TALES OF TERROR
nent insanity, and confusion over autofiring weapons. Its www.flar.demon.co.uk/terror/
indispensable for anyone playing the d20 version. YOG-SOTHOTH.COM
Tales of Terror presents scenario ideas for Call of www.yog-sothoth.com/
Cthulhu and other horror RPGs. The premise behind the DELTA GREEN SPECTRUM
site is that not all Keepers are looking for full-blown mod- http://www.geocities.com/nash_sw2001/
ules to run. Instead, they want ideas, and when they find BLOOPWATCH
them, they're more than capable of fleshing out the idea, http://www.bloopwatch.org

74 Issue #85: Crutch Cassidy and the Sundice Kid


DISKS OF
WONDROUS POWER
By Rick Moscatello
B EST... C OM PUTE R ... B OARDGAM E ... E VE R ...
G ETS AN E XPANSION
ne year ago, I introduced KODT readers to Age of

O Wonders II; if, by some fluke, you don't have a copy


yet, go out and get one, as there truly is no better
boardgame-style computer game around. It boggles the
mind to consider the sheer scope of this achievement. Think
Divine Right with 40 different countries (and then double
that, since you can fight above and below ground), individ-
ual experience for combat units, heroes that can go up to
30th level, more special abilities for units than there are feats
in D&D D20, and gods more than willing to give quests
and rewards on a map already loaded with dungeons, lairs,
and inns. Think cities with dozens of different possible
buildings, as many sentient races each with many special-
ized combat units as exist in any two typical fantasy selves. Generally their units are better than others, although
worlds, along with more siege units than any game I've even more expensive to build (they should get 'real world sick-
heard of. Think of a half dozen distinct spheres of magic, ness', though!). They even have a few creatures capable of
each with dozens of spells to research, along with a host of 'shadow shifting' (among other new abilities, of course), giv-
specialized skills and drawbacks, and wrap up this gargantu- ing direct access to the normal world, and thus allowing sur-
an package with an excellent and well written campaign that prise, albeit small, invasions. The third new race is Nomads,
will have you playing 50 hours past the point you say "I'll able to make very fast horse archers, elephants, and even
really need to stop playing this." desert djinn. If this were all the expansion had to offer, it
Somehow, they've expanded this colossal effort. would be mediocre, but there's more.
Normally, expansions to great games fall into the 'mediocre' All the races get an additional new unit, at least in cities
category, as per a mathematical principle called 'regression to that build an appropriate building (which naturally grants
the mean'. While Age of Wonders Shadow Magic doesn't other powers). The orcs probably get the best deal of the lot,
exactly double the size of the original, it nevertheless adds a since once they build a blood totem all units in that city get
generous helping of variety to an already varied game. the incredibly useful 'life stealing' ability; their special unit,
As the title almost implies, Shadow Magic adds a whole Doom Bats, are pretty nice, but Life Stealing is good on any-
new level to conquer: the Shadow World. The Shadow thing, really. Other races get cool units, too, such as the
World is a dark and mysterious place, filled with weird plant dwarven Gargoyle (tough and immune to nearly everything)
life (at least, I think they're plants) and echoing noises. or Nomadic Beholder, and even the comical Goblin Troll
More importantly, the Shadow World can link to the above tosses a pretty useful boulder around.
ground lands, essentially providing a third dimension to Another new building in the game is the Item Forge.
warfare. Facilitating this idea is that movement in the Now you can custom create whatever magic item you think
Shadow World is VERY fast, making it much easier to haul your heroes need. Admittedly, the forge is rather slow. By
armies around the board. The overall effect is similar to 'The the time you build the forge (you have many other concerns
Ways' from the Wheel of Time series, but no harm in steal- before you can spare the resources to build the thing), you've
ing a good idea. Naturally, travel here is dangerous while got the game well under control, and building all but the
in the shadow world, most 'normal' units get shadow sick- most modest of items can take ten or more turns, in addition
ness, making them very vulnerable to non-sick units. to a vast quantity of gold. Still, it's a neat touch, and occa-
Many magical creatures and Draconians are immune to sionally you'll quickly build some tiny item with the one
sickness, as are the races native to the Shadow World. Yep, ability your hero needs to get through one part of the quest,
they've somehow managed to add three new races. The and it's fun just seeing how much it takes to create a mighty
Syrons and Shadow Demons are the natives of the Shadow artifact.
World. The former are the good guys, with lightning attacks Oh wait, there's more. There's a massive campaign,
and big blue giants that can knock down walls. The Shadow where you need to align all the races against a genocidal inva-
Demons are not nice folk, with a variety of bug-like crea- sion by the Shadow Demon wizard, All-Devourer. There are
tures at their disposal. Both of these races can build units also a great host of little scenarios, chock full of tiny details
that serve as magic relays. Normally, your wizard can only and little sub-stories worth following. My personal favorite
cast spells into his domain (regions around his towers), and involves a wizard who's running around and kidnapping
any of his heroes create a little mini-domain, so they aren't halflings, making them wear clownish outfits and covering
too vulnerable when on a campaign. The new ability now them with orange face paint. According to the freed slaves,
makes it a bit easier to invade without a hero, as the magic the worst part about it all was being forced to sing that song,
relay creatures create a fairly large domain around them- OOM-pa, LOOM-pa, DOO-bity DEE. Even all the

Knights of the Dinner Table Magazine November, 2003 75


heroes, units, and races have extensive background text this for you, and is perfect every time (well, I think it's per-
easily ignored, but adds loads to the flavor of the game. fect; my head starts to hurt once more than one railroad is
Oh wait, there's still more, in the form of a fully cus- involved).
tomizable random map generator. If, by some weird fluke, As a conversion goes, it's quite good. A number of
you don't like the scenarios, you can create a world to your enhancements to the game have been made, primarily ones
specs, from a tiny magic-loaded pocket of carnage, to, well, that exploit the fact that everything is on the computer. The
anything. Twice now I've played through random scenarios biggest example involves simultaneous purchase, making
set on all possible maximum settings; there are a few little
surprise build-ups a bit easier (hard to do a surprise attack
foibles (such as tunnels to nowhere), but conquering a never
when you must publicly declare war a turn before, but all the
before seen world is as much fun here as in, say, Civilization.
The only possible weak point in the game is multi-player. notice in the world does no good if you didn't build an
A game like this takes a LONG time to play, and while all army), and reducing the importance of turn order at least a
the options for playing with other people are there, a 'real' little, particularly when it comes to inciting natives to rebel-
game, with fully decked out cities, advanced wizard towers, lion. Before, whoever went first had free opportunity to
mighty armies, and several good heroes, takes a long time to westernize his natives, and first dibs on inciting revolts, and
develop. More importantly, nobody likes to lose a hero, and, everyone else had no choice but to just suck it up.
if an enemy hero shows his face near a wizard, it's usually a Simultaneous purchasing means that now revolts tend to be
simple matter to blast him repeatedly with spells until he smaller (at least, if both revolts and westernization are paid
dies. The computer wizards are more polite about such for at the same time), making it a little bit easier to explore
things it's about the only thing they do wrong, in terms of the world without a huge army. Heck, there's even a 'house
AI, and I sure don't mind, not that I reciprocate when it rule' option that completely turns off native revolts, among
comes to blasting computer controlled heroes. However, if other house rules worth trying.
you've got friends with a great deal of time, the option is The other big change to the game is adding North and
available, and this is the worst I can say about a truly incred- South America to the world. This can turn the game into
ible game.
strictly one of economic expansion, since now the various
In short, this is a 'must have' for anyone who doesn't
empires can easily avoid each other if they so choose (and,
require twitch action when it comes to computer play.
Another computer board game I looked at recently was again, there's option to revert back to the old map).
the conversion of War! Age of Imperialism. The boardgame The AI plays a reasonable if unimpressive game, pitiless
itself is fairly good, but marred by a fairly complicated eco- when it comes to setting up multi-front wars, and is fairly
nomic system, making end of turn calculations time con- customizable for anyone who knows enough of the game
suming, with mistakes almost a certainty about 10 times understand how to tweak its decisions. War! is well worth
worse than the victory point calculations of History of the trying for anyone familiar with the boardgame, and doesn't
World. Naturally, the computer is more than happy to do have the time for Age of Wonders.

76 Issue #85: Crutch Cassidy and the Sundice Kid


Industry News, Rumors, and More
able in most hobby shops because dis- Arcana Unearthed. The entries of the
tributors feel that customers have no first-prize winner and the 10 second-
interest in the 100, 24, 16, 7 and 5 prize winners will appear either in an
sided die. These are only available upcoming Malhavoc Press product or
directly from Gamescience. on the company's website,
In a letter to Zocchi, Ann Charles www.montecook.com. Characters will
wrote "We're glad you're making these be judged on both the use of game sta-
unusual dice for people like us who need tistics and the originality and writing
GamingReport.com them for randomization in our research of the character's background. In order
projects." for your character to qualify, it must fit
GAMING FRONTIERS FALLS UNDER the following criteria:
THE GAZE OF THE MYSTIC EYE BROKEN MIRROR PRESS JOINS 1. You must create the character
Following closely on the heels of the FAST FORWARD using the rules races, classes, feats,
announcements regarding Bards Fast Forward Entertainment, Inc. has spells, and so on found in Monte
Production becoming a new family signed an agreement with Broken Cook's Arcana Unearthed. The char-
member of MEG and MEG and Ronin Mirror Press to do sales, marketing, and acter stats must be correct, and your
Arts combining PDF catalogs, Mystic distribution for all Broken Mirror game entry must include all the information
Eye Games announced, effective after product releases. Effective with their on the Arcana Unearthed character
Gaming Frontiers issue #5, that Mystic first release, the aptly named Player's sheet on page 250 of the book.
Eye Games will be revamping the quar- Handbook Reference/Game Master 2. The character's background must
terly digest and releasing their first Guide Reference, Fast Forward will be fit into the setting provided by The
issue in the early part of 2004. the contact for all sales information, Diamond Throne.
The first quarterly digest produced distribution, invoicing, and internet 3. Your entry must be typed in
by Mystic Eye Games will feature a Todd sales. English and fit onto no more than two
Lockwood cover and 144 pages of new Broken Mirror's first release, BM1 single-sided typed pages. At the top of
d20 information from todays biggest 001, Player's Handbook Reference each page, you must include your
and newest upcoming publishers. The Guide/Game Master Reference Guide name, complete mailing address, and
new Gaming Frontiers will be a tribute will be a flipbook style reprinting of the email address. No cover letter is neces-
to Robert Williams work and love and System Reference Document with sary, but incomplete entries will be dis-
hopefully honor him by having many additional space for notes. "With the qualified. Entrants under the age of 18
years of solid, quality, original RPG PHBR on one side, and the GMGR on must include a completed and signed
material. the flip side, you can bring this low-cost parental consent form.
edition to the table and keep your prized Entries must arrive no later than
NEW 5 SIDED DIE USED FOR 3.5 books at home on the shelf in pristine December 31, 2003. All entries
ALZHEIMER RESEARCH mint condition. Use your highlighter, become the property of Malhavoc Press.
Louis Zocchi, President of bend the corners, write notes, use sticky Limit one entry per person. For com-
Gamescience Inc., has invented a true 5- labels, anything you want to do to this plete details and contest rules, visit
sided die, which rolls each of its faces book is okay!" www.montecook.com/contest.html.
20% of the time. To assure that the Set for release this month, this book The Diamond Throne, a 96-page
shape would perform as designed, features the complete SRD for the follow-up to Monte Cook's Arcana
Zocchi made 10 prototypes, each of Player's Handbook and Dungeon Unearthed, details monsters, magic
which was 1mm thicker than the next. Master's Guide with all the tables. No items, and prestige classes that go along
The dice were sent off for testing in full color, no meaningless graphics, no with Arcana Unearthed, and provides
a machine created by Dr. Dan Murray hardcovers, nothing to get in the way an overview of a completely compati-
in Canada. After each die had been of the gaming words! ble setting. All this source material is
given more than 10,000 rolls, Dr. compatible with the d20 rules, so play-
Murray informed Zocchi that the ideal MONTE COOK OFFERS $1,000 ers can use this sourcebook any way
shape had to be 13.85mm thick. Dr. FOR BEST CHARACTER
they like. The book is available now in
Murray had plotted the performance Dive into the new setting for Monte electronic (PDF) format from
changes as one millimeter of thickness Cook's Arcana Unearthed: Your Malhavoc Press and is due out this
was added to each succeeding test die, rewards await! To celebrate the release month in print from Sword & Sorcery.
and predicted that a die that was of The Diamond Throne sourcebook,
13.85mm thick would provide ideal Malhavoc Press is sponsoring a contest UPPER DECK TO BATTLE
performance. available to all fans. To win, all you COUNTERFEITERS
Veterans Administration Medical have to do is to create a character for The Upper Deck Company, LLC has
Center Research Assistant, Ann Monte Cook's Arcana Unearthed taken the first of several steps to protect
Charles, phoned Zocchi to confirm something that's already a lot of fun, its customers and partners from illegal
that the dice were impartial and avail- right? counterfeiters. It has filed a lawsuit
able to assist her with the Alzheimers First prize is a $1,000 writing con- against approximately fifty individuals
research project, on which she was tract for publication of your character. and companies across the United States
working. She also ordered two 7-sided Second prize is publication of your for marketing and distributing coun-
dice for the same project. According to character and an autographed copy of terfeit starter decks, booster packs, and
Gamescience, these dice are not avail- Legacy of the Dragons: A Bestiary for individual cards that illegally copy the

78 Issue #85: Crutch Cassidy and the Sundice Kid


from the Games News source, GamingReport.com
enormously popular Yu-Gi-Oh! trad- the need for beta testers at later stages Games from Decipher as the company
ing card game. The lawsuit seeks an of development. Twin Rose encourages recently announced that it has acquired
injunction as well as damages, includ- and welcomes all feedback and sugges- a license from d-rights Inc. via Corus
ing compensatory and punitive dam- tions at the various stages of the soft- Entertainment's Nelvana to produce a
ages against all defendants. ware development. Twin Rose will be new trading card game based on the
Yu-Gi-Oh!, created by Kazuki opening a forum dedicated to the popular ABC Family cartoon and
Takahashi, is featured in the weekly Rolemaster and HARP software. Also, extreme-sport toy phenomenon,
Japanese magazine Shonen Jump (pub- prior to holding a closed beta test of Beyblade. The Beyblade Trading
lished by Shueisha) and is also featured the products, the two companies will Card Game (TCG) will be introduced
in the monthly publication Shonen announce when they are looking for in stores worldwide for the 2003 holi-
Jump in the United States. Konami beta testers and will describe how you day season.
Corporation is the merchandiser and can become one. You can find out To recreate the suspense and fast
manufacturer of the Yu-Gi-Oh! trad- more about HARP at paced action of a Beyblade battle,
ing card game. www.ironcrown.com. To learn about Decipher's Beyblade TCG combines
The lawsuit represents the first step the Campaign Suite RPG the simple mechanics of a draw-and-
in what will be an aggressive and Management Software, go to play trading card game with revolu-
unyielding offensive by Upper Deck http://www.twinrose .net. tionary new mechanics that actually
against companies and individuals in
BOOK OF EROTIC FANTASY S D20 challenge players to keep their tops
any location, whether domestically or
LICENSE TERMINATED spinning. Each player fields a battling
abroad, that advertise, manufacture, or
sell counterfeit Yu-Gi-Oh! trading card Due to the recent addition of the top and then proceeds to play cards to
games. In addition, Upper Deck the "quality standards" provisions in the hit and knock the opponent's top out
exclusive North American distributor D20 System License, Valar Project, of the battle arena. Card play is fast
plans to name a significant number of Inc.'s D20 license has been revoked for and furious. Famous characters from
additional companies and individuals use with Book of Erotic Fantasy, effec- the hit television show, such as Kai and
as defendants to the lawsuit in the tive immediately. The company Tyson, lend their help in the form of
coming days. Upper Deck also plans on announced in September that the unique character cards that allow their
taking whatever additional actions are Book of Erotic Fantasy will no longer experience and techniques to power
necessary, including pursuing legal be published as a D20 product, instead your blade to victory. Event cards also
action across many countries, to ensure Valar Project, Inc. will be applying the allow you to build a personal deck
that the counterfeit product is removed Open Gaming License (OGL) to the strategy to help score lethal hits more
from all markets and the offending par- game. effectively.
ties are sanctioned accordingly. Book of Erotic Fantasy provides With two different play levels, the
rules for issues of sex, seduction, love, Beyblade TCG is accessible to even the
ICE AND TWIN ROSE SOFTWARE marriage, conception, as well as other youngest TCG players. In its simplest
JOIN FORCES relationship issues, compatible with the form, players as young as seven-years-
Iron Crown Enterprises, creators of world's best-selling fantasy role-playing old can play a simplified color-match-
Rolemaster, and Twin Rose Software, game. The Book of Erotic Fantasy ing version of the game. For the more
creators of Campaign Suite RPG will also feature an exclusive Phil & advanced players, game text and more
Management Software, are joining Dixie cartoon. Originally scheduled complex deck building offer deeper
forces to create officially licensed soft- for an October release, the necessary strategies and a more multifaceted
ware for ICEs Rolemaster and the changes to make the product an OGL game experience.
upcoming High Adventure Role compliant product will move the Book With Decipher's exquisite art and
Playing (HARP) game. This new soft- of Erotic Fantasy's release to this exciting screen shots from the TV
ware will include a character genera- month with a MSRP of $34.95. show, this first set of over 130 cards will
tion utility as well as officially licensed Further, Valar Project, Inc. is obligat- be just as thrilling to collect, as it is to
modules for both systems. ed to request that all distributors and
Campaign Suite is a completely cus- play. An added bonus is the powerful
retailers in possession of the 32-page
tomizable RPG game preparation and foil extra-rare cards found in booster
Gen Con exclusive Book of Erotic
creation tool for dungeon masters, packs. The Beyblade TCG targets
Fantasy preview immediately remove
players, writers, and editors alike. players age 7 and up.
them from distribution. Distributors
Useful at all levels and with most gam- Look for special retail and mass mar-
and retailers should either destroy the
ing systems, it makes game prep more ket cross promotions introducing more
products and certify destruction to
fun and less time consuming. The Valar Project, or return them to Valar unique foil cards and powers for
character generation utility will be Project for destruction. Valar Project Beyblade TCG players. In addition,
available for free download on the Iron will be contacting and working with new expansions will be introduced
Crown Enterprises websites. distributors and retailers to ensure every four months to keep the "Blader
The full CS version made for destruction of the previews. Jam" rocking!
Rolemaster and HARP will be down-
loadable as a free trial and as a pur- DECIPHER TO SPIN UP BEYBLADE For more daily news updates, check
chased download similar to the current CARD GAME out GamingReport.com. Thanks for
version of CS. Feel the Friction... Sense the Spin... reading and well see you next month.
This cooperative effort will include A new "Revolution" in Trading Card 
Knights of the Dinner Table Magazine November, 2003 79
established and my character constantly got bigger acter and that's how everyone acts in the game... but
and stronger. we all know from how we've seen Bob react in many
Now, in 2003, I still am heavily involved in psycho and sociopathic ways to challenges to his
MUDding. I log on everyday and make sure I kill intelligence and manhood that his characters aren't
a few things. There are not as many people who too far off the mark from his real personality. It's
MUD today as there were in 1996, but it is a viable just that his characters can actually back up his
alternative to the munchkin dominated mouth...for the most part ;-), where Bob can't in
MMORPGs out there today. real life. Bob's dad's remark is also a great insight
into why Bob's dad has treated Bob so "shabbily."
I would suggest finding a good MUD client.
This is software that can be downloaded for free to Not only is Bob hopelessly addicted to the game to
enhance game play on a MUD. Some good clients the point of having no life whatsoever, but he's will-
can be found at either www.zuggsoft.com or ing to quit jobs and not pay important bills in order
www.gameaxle.com. I would recommend gameaxle to game or to buy something for the game. His dad
since they have a nice primer to new MUDders. finally at some point forbid him to ever game again
An Opinion There are a few good MUDs out there too. I would under his roof and when he found out Bob was still
recommend www.3k.org or you can go to playing, he kicked Bob out and forced to him to
Arena and
www.mudconnector.com to find a MUD that inter- support himself. Tough Love?
Open Forum
ests you. There are plenty of genres to choose from. You bet... but how old is Bob? Thirty something
My advice is to find a MUD with a lot of active by now? Then Bob refuses to take more menial
players and coders. Enjoy and if you see me at jobs... some that don't actually pay money... in
3k.org, look me (Ghazneth) up. Matthew order to get by and not interrupt his gaming sched-
Karasek  ule. Then Bob by sheer luck gets to have his dad
come play and he sees what Bob and his 'loser
s the subheading indicates, this is a
MORE THAN TWO SCHOOLS... friend' are like in the game. "...gutless turds..."

A sounding board where gamers can give


their two-cents worth on whatever
seems to rile them. So pull back the curtain
N oah Kolman's piece on the "two types of role-
players" claimed that most gamers either want
maximum freedom and minimal rules, or minimal
freedom and lots of rules. But there's a third cate-
No wonder his dad treats Bob the way he does
and no wonder he's so fed up with Bob. He didn't
raise Bob to be such a slacker and he didn't raise
Bob to treat life so casually and callously.
and come on in the Back Room. You can leave gory which he missed those of us who enjoy a
that thin-skin at the door but be sure to bring What's ironic about Bob and Brian, for that
SETTING that is restrictive (to promote good role-
your opinions with you. Note that due to space matter, is the same ironic quality that I've found in
play) but prefer a loose, open game system (because
several gamers. They are both smart. Intelligence-
limitations some letters are edited complex games get in the way of good role-play).
wise they are scary. They can quote chapter and
Got something to say? We wanna hear it. Just My two favorite games are, and for a long time verse on very nearly any topic. In the same issue we
use one of the following options; have been, Call of Cthulhu and Legend of the Five watch Bob chart out for a gang plotting a break-in
: Via ONLINE FORUM Just pop over to Rings. Both have very simple game systems with a how to case a joint, read blueprints, get past guard
www.kenzerco.com and visit our discussion minimum of rules. Both are set in very specific, animals, find a real safe vs. a decoy safe, how to
forums. very detailed world-environments (1920s Earth, defeat the alarms and on and on... and in fact the
: via E-MAIL Send your strip ideas, read- Rokugan) where the player's choices on who and thieves find Bob's advice flawlessly right on target.
what they can play are carefully restricted. Both
er mail, back room fodder and questions to have been adapted disastrously into d20. Yet, instead of Brian and Bob putting their
mailbag@kenzerco.com. information hungry noggins to good use, they basi-
For gamers like me, the d20 system is a disaster,
: via SNAIL MAIL Or write to us at cally are out of work slackers that get by on hand
because it keeps dragging more and more settings outs and con jobs and the skin of their teeth.
KODT c/o KenzerCo, 25667 Hillview Court, (many of them very interesting ones which I would
Mundelein, IL 60060. like to play in) into its rule-lawyering complexities. I've known several gamers like this who are so
--------- Sincerely, Rob Hobart  intensively smart from knowing the measurement
and crafting of foreign ammo casings to the intri-
TEXT BASED GAMING...
ON DAMAGED DICE... cate nuances of geopolitics and warfare to comput-

U pon purchasing Issue 82 of KODT, reading


Jollys editorial at the beginning is the first
thing I do. The editorial is always enlightening and J olly, this issue wrapped up the Bob games with
his Dad storyline and it raised some interesting
ers and engineering, but in real life work part time
on the grave yard shift of a Kwiky-Mart.
points. When does playing a character become a In gaming terms, they have an Intelligence of 18
funny, but this one caught my eye. Jolly made ref-
crutch for you to be a jerk? When does the game or 19 and Wisdom of like a 4.
erence to text based gaming in Kenneth Newquists
Summon Webscryer column. While the article was become an addiction and supplants your own life Not all gamer's are like this, but it in terms of
well written, I do feel it missed the boat so to speak for another one? It's also interesting that a b&w the Knights, this issue (84) was a cool way to be
on text-based gaming going on today. There is a comic about a group of nightmare gamers, featuring able to point a finger at all those gamers that are like
very small population of players still playing text- cut and paste art has lasted so long and the charac- that, (who do use the game for their grudges and
based games. Most of us do it online in an envi- ters have become very real for a lot of people includ- who game 'dirty' just so they get to be a bully in one
ronment similar to MMORPGs. The difference is ing live readings of the comics at most game cons. of their lives), and say Hey, that's what you are,
most text based games are free and most draw upon I've known gamers like each one of the Knights, gutless turds. I've gamed with a lot of people and
an older crowd (20 and 30 somethings). but I've not seen them so detailed as this past issue. now have the occasion to game with several top
At first you think of Bob's dad as a real man's man quality role-players that have risen above a sea of
When I was a student at Penn State in 1996, I
jerk and you agree with Bob about what a night- folk that have had to be told to leave the table due
was drawn into the world of MUDding (Multi-User
mare their relationship has been. Then Bob's dad to their poor life and poor gaming skills. I can say
Dungeon). What fascinated me was how my
deconstructs both Bob and Brian in one encounter that in front of gamers, one is able to do things and
friends would spend hours typing and interacting
in their Cattlepunk game: say things that you'd never say to anyone else and
with other players. They would play until 5 or 6 am
in the computer labs killing monsters and flapping Bob in KODT has given up his real life to feed one is allowed to be free and creative with other
(talking to others) on the MUD. At first, I resisted, his game addiction. He even works for a game store people seeking to do the same thing. Gaming is
but soon, I became a newbie (new player) and for trade on game product. Brian even makes up a good, and I'm glad
found myself in the computer labs until 5 and 6 am. girlfriend from the internet. Bob's dad stood up and finally told those psycho
The MUD for me offered a lot of fun things. I At the game where Bob's dad actually sits in, his types of players what they really are. I just wish Bob
could talk with others across the world, kill mon- dad says to him, "I taught you better than that son!" would have taken a little bit more of it to heart.
sters solo or in parties, take on quests the MUD had to which Bob keeps sputterin' that it's only a char- Eddie Presley  

80 Issue #85: Crutch Cassidy and the Sundice Kid


HOODY HOO!
our adventuring company,
CONTENTS UNDER PRESSURE,
has two openings for dedicat-
ed hackers. we meet every fri-
day night in TURLOCK in cali-
fornias central valley.
you may contact our agent
at bloodymage@msn.com if
interested.

ALARUMS & EXCURSIONS


(Origins Award-winning best amateur magazine,1999-2001)
Welcomes new writers and readers. Contact contributor Spike Y Jones,
spikeyj@crosslink.net, or editor Lee Gold, http://theStarport.com/xeno/aande.html

-- wink wink --

KENZERCO.COM
now featuring
KODT strips
5 times a WEEK!
-- nudge nudge --

Scream of Kachooloo Wants You!


The new & improved Call of Cthulhu
Players Directory
available at:
www.yog-sothoth.com/players/
Remember: it Hastur be Cthulhu...

WEIRD PETES BULLETIN BOARD


is a meeting place where readers may pass along information, barter, trade and gossip. Readers are invited to place classified ads, announce
group meetings, seek out other players, etc. Subscribers of KODT may place classified ads free of charge with a limit of one ad per issue and a
maximum of twenty-five words. Non-Subscribers may place ads at the rate of 50 per word with a limit of 25 words. Companies may place
ads at the following rates: [5.5 x 2 - $160], [2.75 x 2 - $80], [1.5 x 1 - $40]. Non-profit organizations (serving the gaming community)
and Conventions or Seminars may place ads for free. All ads are placed on a first-come first-served basis with subscribers having priority.
BRIANS BATTLEBALL
Milton Bradley www.hasbro.com/battleball

I
SMALL
PICKS
love football and I love games, so when I see a football
board game or card game, I get very excited. For the most
part, however, I have been disappointed with the offerings. In
fact, Blood Bowl from Games Workshop was the only football
game worth noting. But it looks like things are changing.
BattleBall makes a great first impression because the fully painted miniatures that
come with the game are packaged in clear plastic on the outside of the box. But there is
more to the game than the high production values. The game does a good job of cap-
turing the feel of (American) football while keeping the rules simple and the play quick.
Each person controls one of the two football teams and the 11 players that make up the
PRESS team. Each player has a color-coded base that represents their movement rate and their
tackling ability. The color of the base corresponds to a die: either a d6, a d8, a d10, a
d12, or a d20. Thats the die the player rolls when moving and when tackling. Theres
PUBLISHERS! SEND YER are wrinkle, however. When moving, you want a high roll (naturally), but when tackling
REVIEW COPIES TO:
someone, the lower roll wins. Much like real football, the faster players are not as good
KODT: BRIANS PICKS
Kenzer and Company at tackling, and the bigger players are not as fast.
511 W Greenwood Ave Waukegan, IL 60087 The game is played to two touchdowns, and the basic game has only running and
handing off the ball. But the game comes with advanced rules that add passing the ball
and special team abilities (the abilities are different for each team). I also recommend adding the house rule that you can
pass the ball into the endzone (strictly under the rules, its not allowed). There is also plenty of room for other house rules,
including interceptions, fouls, and the like. Overall, a good, simple football game thats a blast to play. I definitely rec-
ommend it.
Brians Rating: A Great Catch!!!

MILLENNIUM WARS SERIES


One Small Step www.ossgames.com

S ince I am a gamer of the new generation, I never had a chance to play any of the classic old-
school wargames. I missed out on the hundreds of little chits, the volumes of rules, and the
endless arguments. But I love wargames, so when I saw the new Millennium Wars series from One
Small Step, my interest was piqued. Here were a set of new wargames with a modern setting but that old-school feel.
Of course, having never played any of the original wargames, I cannot tell you how similar to the original the
Millennium Wars series is. What I can tell you is that they are fun, interesting games that capture the intricacies of bat-
tle very well. And though the chits and maps and tables look complicated, the rules are actually quite straightforward. Each
player controls one nations army or one group of allies. The Millennium Wars series has five individual games, each cov-
ering a recent conflict or potential conflict, like an invasion of Iraq or a fight between India and Pakistan over Kashmir.
The rules of the game are pretty standard for a wargame, but there are some interesting little rules. First off, Id defi-
nitely get the Air War expansion that expands air combat from one table to several cool missions. Though it adds some
complexity and time to each turn, the trade off is a much fuller experience. The political point system is also well designed
and unique. As the game progresses, both sides can gain and lose political points by calling up additional troops, accom-
plishing certain objectives, and agreeing to or breaking cease fires. Political points represent how much public support each
side has. Depending upon your political point level, you might have an easier time or harder time replacing troops, etc.
Each Millennium Wars boxed game contains a different setting, its pieces, and the accompanying scenarios. For two
players, these wargames are quite fun and rewarding.
Brians Rating: A Battle Worth Fighting!!!
Reviews/Recommendations written by Noah Kolman

SOAP
Wingnut Games www.wingnutgames.com

I have to admit, what first prompted me to open up Soap was the ridiculous idea of a soap opera role-
playing game. Expecting to get a few laughs and little else, I was quite surprised to find that Soap was
a real game with a good system behind it. If you can get past your fear of soap operas, you can have a fine
time with this one.
What most surprised and impressed me about Soap was the concreteness of the rules. A soap opera role-playing game
could be a fuzzy, rules-less mess quite easily, but Soap has defined successes and failures. Characters in Soap are supposed
to be as stereotypical as possible, and if you havent spent a lot of time watching soap operas, there are some good and funny
archetypes. Each character has five characteristics, a goal, and a secret. The object of the game is to expose the other play-
ers secrets, so that you can write them out of the series. You see, as long as your characters secret has not been revealed,
he cant die. All those car crashes result in serious but superficial wounds.
As a plus, this game is played without a GM. So if youve got some friends with a sense of humor, break out the Soap.
Brians Rating: They Dont Get Wilder Than This!!

82 Issue #85: Crutch Cassidy and the Sundice Kid


Its finally here...

GWURLD E G
Arweez
A Z E T T E E R
Hope on over to
www.kenzerco.com
09
10 for more information
AR 08
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and a FREE download
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KA-POW!! KA-POW!!
KA-- click! click!
PARTING
damn! \ rolled
a one. GUN JAM!!

SHOTS
T H E B A R D S LA M E N T
To t h e t u n e o f Am e r i c a n Pi e Su b m i t t e d b y Br i a n Pi e rc e
A long long time ago Thisll be the day that I die. Oh, and there we were all in one place,
I can still remember when our party Our certain death about to face,
found the dungeon door Now for ten hours through the halls With no time left to run and hide,
The wizard said This is our chance we roamed, So come on, wiz be nimble, wiz be
Well make those monsters jump and And all the walls and floors we quick,
dance combed, Wizard pull out your magic stick,
And loot their bodies when they hit Searching for the treasure vault, And cast a spell to even up the sides!
the floor! Well, to find the treasure we all were Oh, and as I watched him chant and
But that dark dungeon made me shiv- keen, cast,
er, And we fought some ogres who were I only hoped that hed be fast,
I drew an arrow from my quiver mean, His fireball went Kaboom!
We went past the doorstep Lost some hirelings it was their own And smoke filled up the room,
I couldnt take one more step fault And as the flames climbed high into
Because inside me something cried Oh, and while the fighter hacked and the night,
A warning bout what lurked inside, slew, The trolls were charred to embers
I wished that I could run and hide The halfling robbed him through and bright,
The day my party died. through We didnt even have to fight,
The warrior was peeved, The day the party died,
So bye-bye, Mr. Paladin Guy, The theft left him aggrieved, But I was thinking,
Good bye wizard, good bye ranger, So he turned the runt right upside
And the rest who got fried, down, [Refrain]
Now Im stuck in this hole, I think And then upon that pint-sized clown,
that Im gonna cry, Our doughty fighter went to town,
Twas then our Dwarf, awash with
Surely thisll be the day that I die The day the party died.
booze,
Thisll be the day that I die.
He gave us all the happy news,
The treasure wasnt far away,
Oh, I was just a protege [Refrain]
Until that single, fateful day They all charged right through the
When the party called me in Then once the fighter had his stuff, door,
And did I think that Id had good luck, The wise old wizard cried Enough! But sadly, didnt test the floor
The day my mentor forgot to duck, We have a lot of work to do, For traps and that was where things
And wound up ashes in the bin? The biggest challenge is ahead, went astray,
Well, I knew that I could strut my If were not careful, well wind up And so the Dwarf and Elf got killed,
stuff, dead, The mage and fighters blood were
Id show the party I was tough, So quit it! Work together, now, you spilled,
I had my sword and bow, two! Not a word was spoken,
But what I didnt know And while the wizard gave his speech, My comrades were all broken,
Was that the party was about to go, There came an awful, piercing screech, And I regret one crucial thing,
To a dungeon level way down low, We turned to face the foe, The Wizard lost his teleport ring,
To face a horde of fearsome foes, The Cleric cried Oh, woe! Now all this Bard can do is sing
The day the party died, A horde of trolls came round the Thats how my party died.
I started whinin bend, And so Im singing,
Their claws outstretched to maim and
Bye-bye, Mr. Paladin Guy, rend, Bye-bye, Mr. Paladin Guy,
Good bye wizard, good bye ranger, I thought for sure this was the end, Good bye wizard, good bye ranger,
And the rest who got fried, The day the party died. And the rest who got fried
Now Im stuck in this hole, I think Now Im stuck in this hole, I think
that Im gonna cry, [Refrain] that Im gonna cry,
Thinkin thisll be the day that I die, Surely thisll be the day that I die!

84 Issue #85: Crutch Cassidy and the Sundice Kid



All trademarks are property of Wizards of the Coast, Inc. 2003 Wizards. Illustration by Wayne Reynolds.

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