Category Archives: Amber and RPG

Torling (AD&D stats)

Theodore Beale has been squawking about “Torlings” in his quest to try and get Tor/MacMillan to accede to his demands regarding the continued employment of Irene Gallo, Moshe Federer and Patrick Nielsen Hayden.

So, old AD&D style, I present, The Torling:

Frequency: Uncommon
No. Appearing: 1-12
Armor Class: 8
Move: 12″ (36″ in the direction of Tor books)
Hit Dice: 1+1
% in Lair: 80%
Treasure Type: B
No of Attacks: 1
Damage/attack: 1d6
Special Attacks: Infuriate Beale
Special Defenses: Nil
Magic Resistance: Standard
Intelligence: Average
Alignment: Varies
Size: M
Psionic Ability: Nil

The Exalted Circle, Skiffy and Fanty style

Exalted is a role-playing game published by White Wolf Publishing. The game is classified as high fantasy and it was inspired by a mixture of world mythologies as well as Japanese Anime.

I’ve done this for 5 authors, but today I am going to classify me and my fellow members of Skiffy and Fanty.

The Solar Exalts:

DAWN: The Warriors and Generals: That’s our leader, Shaun Duke!
ZENITH: The zealot, the holy one, the keeper of the faith: Julia Rios. Who better than the “Bechdel Crusher”?
NIGHT: The Spy, the Assassin: Rachael Acks. If you’ve read her movie reviews, you will know why.
TWILIGHT: The Scholar and Sorcerer. David Annandale. He’s an academic and author, and is wicked smart and learned.
ECLIPSE: The Ambassador, Diplomat and Negotiator: Well, I am putting myself in this role.

To fit our other members, I am going to pull in the Lunar Exalted shapeshifters of the setting:

THE FULL MOON: The Warrior, the Combatant, the Leader: Jen Zink, co-creator with Shaun.
The CHANGING MOON: The Trickster, the Changeable one: That would be none other than Stina Leicht.
The NO MOON: The sorcerer, and savant: Mike Underwood, who also has deep academic background, is a writer, AND a marketing professional.

Tengwar ways of writing my name(s)

I’ve mentioned before on this blog and elsewhere my love of the Tengwar. Sure, the Dwarvish runes and the Norse runes on The Hobbit maps are near, but for that real conlanger approach, Tengwar is where its at.

So what does my name look like in Tolkien’s Tengwar? Turns out there are a number of answers.


Paul Weimer, rendered in an English use of Tengwar. Not bad, eh?

Paul is a biblical name meaning small. A Sindarin word for small is Tithen. So, an elf might call me the Tithen Weimar, or…


Similarly, Princejvstin can be converted to its roots of Prince Justin:


But an elf meeting a Just Prince would call him Ernil Fael, Prince Fair.


Or, perhaps the Fair Prince


And there you have it.

Tengwar, like any letter system, can have the characters drawn in different ways too.


Sarah Chorn is awesome. She is Bookworm Blues on the internet. Taking the bookworm and making that “Worm” a Wyrm, a dragon, and you get Book-Dragon. In Sindarin, that’s parflhûg. Sarah Chorn, the Book-Dragon:


You want to do this yourself? (of course you do)

This English to Sindarin dictionary:


oTT : online Tengwar Transcriber. You will want the output to be PNG if you don’t have the fonts yourself. Use English 2002 for english transliteration.

My 2013 Hugo Award Eligibility

My story “Newton’s Method” in TALES OF EVE, from Fox Spirit Press. is eligible for short story, (It is unfortunately the only story I published in 2013)
I am also eligible for Best Fan Writer!
I write reviews (SF Signal, Functional Nerds, Skiffy and Fanty, my own blog), do interviews (on SF Signal and Skiffy and Fanty) write columns (Roll Perception Plus Awareness, Mining the Genre Asteroid) and conduct SF Signal Mind Melds.
The Skiffy and Fanty Podcast, of which I am a part, is eligible for Best Podcast:

The SF Signal Podcast, of which I am an occasional panel member, is also eligible for Best Podcast:

Gumshoe and the Internet

GUMSHOE, and the Internet
Jerry Pournelle, a few decades ago, mentioned that by the year 2000, it would be possible to find out just about anything one wanted to know, with the rise of electronic media and information. He was pretty much on target with that, although I don’t think you can say he predicted the form that would take–the Internet.
This point came to light to me in a Play by Email game turn in my newest game, Return of the Titans. The game is set in the modern day, April 2011. Thus, the player characters have all of the advantages
One of the player characters, having received a mysterious invitation, immediately went to Google to try and figure out more about it. It’s trivial today to google something and get some information. The further you go back in time, the more difficult such research would have been.
And then I started thinking about Gumshoe. Gumshoe is a system created by Pelgrane Press and is used in a number of their games:
Using a “point spend” system, the GUMSHOE rules revolutionize investigative scenarios, by ensuring that players are never deprived of the clues they need to move the story forward.
What does one have to do with the other? Think about it. In a modern game, unless you really run a railroad, player characters are in a modern age with the Internet. General information gathering is now a *given*, just like it is in the GUMSHOE system. It might take time and effort (read: Point spend) to find esoteric and really obscure stuff, but the technology of the Internet is a powerful lever for clues.
If you remember the heyday of “Who Wants to Be a Millionaire”, after a while, people would phone a friend only to have them quickly google a potential answer. I understand that the latest rules of the game actually incorporate an internet search engine into the game.
Thus, my point is, for an investigative game set in the modern day, there is something to be said for using a point buy system a la Gumshoe than having players stumble around because of a failed roll.

Return of the Titans

The Return of the Titans
A modern day mythic PBEM.
Greek and Norse Mythology
Ilium and Olympos, Dan Simmons
Prospero Lost and Prospero in Hell, L Jagi Lamplighter
Mortal Coils and All that Lives Must Die, Eric Nylund
Roleplaying Games:
FATE, in the Dresden Files Role Playing Game
GURPS Technomancer
Trail of Cthulhu
Amber Diceless RPG
Clash of the Titans
Percy Jackson and the Olympians: The Lightning Thief

Now I am become Death, the destroyer of worlds
With those words spoken at the Trinity bomb test on July 16, 1945, Julius Robert Oppenheimer spoke more truthfully than he knew. The power of the Trinity bomb, combined with the ritual words that Oppenheimer spoke, drastically accelerated a process that had been slowly occurring over the last thousand years:
The freedom of the Titans.
Untold Eons ago, before time itself existed, the chthonic, inhuman, ancient forces known as the Titans created the multiverse, or, perhaps, merely emerged from it. In either case, they and theirs were the original rulers of the Earth and worlds beyond, and ruled for an uncounted period of years, until they were overthrown and imprisoned by their children and creations, the Gods and Goddesses of the Mythologies of the World. The Titans and their spawn fought against the Gods and their children, heroes and demigods sired upon the mortals of Earth. Many of the stories of their struggles survive as myths we know today. In the end, the Gods and their children won, and the Titans were imprisoned.
Their victory complete, the Gods and Goddesses for the most part retired to explore and rule the Otherworlds that they won in addition to the Earth. The Titans were safely in their prison of Malfeas, or so the Gods believed. The Age of Gods and Heroes was over.
In Europe and the Middle East, the absence of the deities of the Celtic and Greek pantheons from widespread activity in the world lead to the decline of their faiths, and the rise of the Abrahamic creeds. In other parts of the world, the inattention of the Hindu, Japanese and Chinese pantheons led to the development of faiths such as Buddhism. In the Americas, the pantheons of the Native Americans still received worship until European colonization forcibly ended the practices on any significant scale.
The Gods relative inattention to Earth finally stopped in the twentieth century, as they learned that the Titans were trying to find ways to escape Malfeas. They had been twisted, crippled and neutered, yes, but they were still potent, and worked with force and craftiness against their fate.
They had not escaped in body, yet, but had, for some time, perhaps as long as several hundred years, managed to send out their creations and spawn to Earth, and beyond.
All of these monsters, demons and beings were set toward the task of freeing their masters from their long imprisonment, and so help the Titans revenge themselves on their children and their children’s children.
While the Gods had paid only sometimes fleeting attention to Earth, on their visits to Earth, they had, as in the myths of old, found liaisons with mortals. Their children, the Scions, often found that by their half-divine nature, trouble would find them, whether they wished it or not. This trouble often came from the machinations of the Titans and their spawn, or from rival Gods and their children. With the Trinity test, the seals on Malfeas have weakened to a fatal point, and now the Titans threaten to escape their bondage entirely. Perhaps some of them already have.
In this modern age, with the Titans breaking free of Malfeas, Gods and Goddesses have sought liaisons in a more deliberate manner, to sire or birth children upon the world.
Further, they have sought ties to their children, to both arm them against the Titans spawn and agents, and against their rivals both within and beyond their pantheons
Finally, the Scions are intended to help swell the numbers on the Gods’ side for the long prophesied battle between the Gods and their twisted Titanic parents:
In the PBEM Return of the Titans you will play a child of one of the Gods and Goddesses of mythology in the modern world. Thrust from an ordinary existence into a greater world, what will you do with the power given to you? How will it change you? How will it change those you care about? How will it change the world?
Can you stop the Titans from overthrowing your parents and remaking the world in their own twisted image? Can you become a Goddess yourself?