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Miscellany

I lack a theme today. Everything falls apart.
  • The Rio is officially FULL. 20 GB of music, all of which I like, with cross-fading, the DJ thing, the glowing docking station. How can it be full?
  • I cooked canned pineapple on the grill today. It tasted great. Better than the bratwurst we ate it with. (ok, it might be time to go grocery shopping)
  • Software was all about updates today. IE 7 beta 3, NPCD, WMP11, Semagic version 1 million and twelve.
  • Thoth, the god of writing and wisdom, was also a fan of monkeys. Or rather, baboons were his sacred animals, and I now have a small baboon figurine (made in Egypt) watching over my writing desk. Strangely comforting. Will require additional monkeys soon.
  • Started uncrating game books with an eye toward future projects. I need to run a regular meat-and-potatoes D&D campaign for the rest of the year. Hamunaptra might be fun, with a little less emphasis on actual Egypt and more Howard-style barbarians. Might just be the monkey talking.
  • Reading "Arrows of the Queen" by Lackey. It's perfectly pitched for its audience: sentient horses, nasty families, a bit of Mary Sue, and no one understands. Despite being miles outside the target demographic, it draws me in even when I'm dissecting structure. The exposition in dialogue is mildly painful in the early going, but the story arc and scene transitions are well-paced and the whole thing can't be more than 60,000 words. Reminds me a little of Andre Norton: get in, tell the story, get out. And the setting seems perfect for an RPG.

Comments

( 19 sutras — Your wisdom )
greyjoy
Jul. 28th, 2006 03:20 am (UTC)
Blue Lackey Rose?
Isn't the Blue Rose fantasy RPG setting published by Green Ronin based loosely -- or perhaps inspired by -- the setting of Lackey's novels?

Congratulations, by the way and as long as we're on the topic of RPGs, on Five Fingers. I'm plowing my way through the intrige-y goodness now.
iamnikchick
Jul. 28th, 2006 04:03 am (UTC)
Re: Blue Lackey Rose?
We prefer "inspired by" but yes, Lackey is an icon of the genre that Blue Rose seeks to emulate.
the_monkey_king
Jul. 28th, 2006 04:31 am (UTC)
Re: Blue Lackey Rose?
Yes, I haven't read Blue Rose yet (so behind), but just based on cover art, I sort of guessed they might be reaching for the same audience.
greyjoy
Jul. 28th, 2006 05:07 pm (UTC)
Re: Blue Lackey Rose?
Aha! Thanks for clarifying. Everything I've heard and read about Blue Rose indicates that it does more than yeoman service to its genre, and I'm already a big fan of its True 20 system.
mimerki
Jul. 28th, 2006 03:23 am (UTC)
Try chunk pineapple & banana kabobs sometime (with or without added brown sugar). The first time I made them Sinthrex stared at them in horror... right up until he tasted it. :)

The Arrows series is my least favorite of Lackey's work. I pretty much despise the magic horsies. However, Oathbound and Oathbreakers were the books that drew me in to reading Lackey. Same world, but a slightly darker side to it. You might give them a try. (On the other hand, I haven't read those books since university and then I was reading them as comfort literature -- like comfort food only booky -- so I could be remembering them with a rosy glow they don't deserve.)

Most of my Lackey was purged in a move sometime back, and I've never bothered replacing them. Too many other books I haven't read yet.
the_monkey_king
Jul. 28th, 2006 04:33 am (UTC)
I would never have thought to grill banana. Now I'm eager to try it.

The horses don't actually DO anything in the first half of this book. So, not annoying yet. I can definitely see it as comfort reading. I do the same thing with Eisley and Kay.

Thanks for the tip; I think I'll try Oathbound next. They're just tiny nuggets, really.
peartreealley
Jul. 28th, 2006 03:45 am (UTC)
Ooooh.... Hamunaptra.... *drools*
the_monkey_king
Jul. 28th, 2006 04:38 am (UTC)
I like some of the setting a great deal (PC gnolls!), and other parts make me twitch. I'd run it as a very pulpy sort of thing.

If you are interested, you're in. Shelly's also expressed some interest in playing (for the first time in ages, really). I'm sure a few other folks will turn up.
peartreealley
Jul. 28th, 2006 12:47 pm (UTC)
Weekly? Bi-weekly? Monthly?

Er. I guess I should wait until you announce something, and then I'll decide whether I can swing it or not.

Hee :D
kistha
Jul. 28th, 2006 04:46 am (UTC)
I personally prefer Thoth as an Ibis myself.

Anytime you want to goob about Egyptology feel free to invite me. :)

And, Arrows was the first of her books, and as such, kind of sucks. I have all the Lacky books (though I'm thinking of a purge myself) but I agree that Oathbound and Oathbreakers are much, much better. I also like the Hearld Mage trilogy and the Storm Trilogy - except the ending. Her later books to me, begin to slide...a lot. (Plus she breaks a "me" rule that makes me really, really not so happy at this time.)

Loves
the_monkey_king
Jul. 28th, 2006 05:37 am (UTC)
Yeah, the ibis is the form I remember from, oh, D&D. Which is why the baboon is such a pleasant surprise.

Thanks for the Lackey pointers. The first one is interesting, but I guess I should do the Oath books, as you're the 2nd person to recommend them over the Heralds.

I'll definitely take you up on the Egyptology sometime. I've got cult practices questions, desert myth questions, and Nubia questions. Not to mention, I need to know more about the crocodile god (whose name escapes me right now) and the cow goddess Hathor.
scarlettina
Jul. 28th, 2006 01:35 pm (UTC)
Feel free to use me as a resource on Egypt, too. I've got a library here that's yours for reference if you need it.

And I prefer Thoth as a babboon myself; always have.

Did you know that at Abu Simbel, while Ramses' temple gets all the publicity, Nefertiri's temple is prettier and full of Hathor? So is Hatshepsut's temple. I have piccies. :-)
the_monkey_king
Jul. 28th, 2006 03:27 pm (UTC)
Cool. I don't know how much actual reference work I'll do for this; probably just a dozen focussed questions. I suspect most of what I need is online these days, but maybe not.

The pictures of Abu Simbel, Hatshepsut's temple, and Nefertiri's temple sound awesome. Can you send me copies?
kistha
Jul. 30th, 2006 07:27 pm (UTC)
Hatshepsut!!!! Awesome, awesome temple - they've re-constructed it relatively recently (her stepson destroyed it after she died, and they may have discovered her mummy). Awesome pharaoh too.

I also have a bunch of reference books, and I can goob pretty intelligently about most of ancient Egypt (one of the reasons 1st season Stargate was such an agony) but my best knowledge base is the New Kingdom, 18th Dynasty. And remember Nefertiri and Nefertiti are different people. :)

Sobek is the big crocodile god - that one? Hathor is pretty cool. I personally am a big Yinepu (Anubis) and Bast fan.

So any time. Invite scarlettina along and we can turn it into a dinner party!
mimerki
Jul. 28th, 2006 02:55 pm (UTC)
I and my library (primarily Budge) are also available should you desire for Egyptology stuff.
Also, the working links for Thimblerig contain a bunch of Egyptian stuff and those are on my del.icio.us acct, here: http://del.icio.us/mimerki/archaeology
(There are some other items thrown in there because they are listed as archaeology. Including at least one link where I'm not sure why I labeled it arch to begin with but I'm not going to move it now.)
the_monkey_king
Jul. 28th, 2006 03:29 pm (UTC)
Thanks, the Thimblerig links are just the thing.
mouseferatu
Jul. 28th, 2006 07:37 am (UTC)
Wow. You know, of all the complaints I've heard about Hamunaptra, the notion that it was too close to "actual Egypt" is one I've never come across before. We tried hard to make it "D&D with an Egyptian flavor" (in the same way that Al Qadim is "Arabic D&D"), as opposed to making it "D20 Egypt."

I'm curious where your problems are with it. (While the market won't currently bear it, I still hope some day to work on a similar project for other cultures--Mythic Greece being the one I'd most like to do--so even though Hamunaptra is long written, I'm still interested in feedback.) :-)
the_monkey_king
Jul. 28th, 2006 01:58 pm (UTC)
My distinction isn't really about the book content but with style. I want pulp adventure and tomb raiding. The books do great providing PC options, towns and cities, and pantheon information (though I could do without renaming the core classes in Egyptian names). And things like the chariot rules are obviously very useful.

What I want and didn't see in my admittedly brief skim of the setting is a sense of the setting's overall theme or narrative or a concrete adventure.

Amunites and the Red Hand and so forth are a start, but I want more. Some Hittites, Greeks or Nubians, I want some tomb-raiding templates, a temple map, and LOTS MORE about the Underworld. There's lots of history and culture, which always less useful than it appears but adds important flavor, and there are spells, monsters, items, classes, and prestige classes. All of that crunch is great, but I'm missing an important story element. I want the nugget, the hook that makes it more than "We layered cool Egyptian flavor onto standard D&D".

For instance, in Al Qadim you had Status, Fate, a new magic style, and heavy elementalism. In Birthright, there was monarchy, kingdom-level politicking, and power-ups for rulers. Warhammer does its Chaos taint, and Cthulhu does Sanity. I'm not sure what Hamunaptra gives me that sets it apart in story terms (with mechanical support).

That's the best I can do early in the morning. There's something beyond the traditional RPG setting crunch elements that I want from an Egyptian box set.
tibbles
Aug. 1st, 2006 08:46 am (UTC)
Lackey
So most of the Valdemar Lackey books came out when I was a kid/teenager, so they were just right for my avid, book-a-day reading of the time.

I actually started with The Last Herald-Mage Trilogy, and to this day I fully believe it is her best work. It makes the darkness in the Oathbreaker's duology seem light-hearted, and both the story and the setting are very prone to emotional attachment.

Now, that is being set about a trilogy that I have not read in 10 years, but I did read it several times, so I think I'm remebering it right ;)

By The Sword is also good, and sort of adds on as a last piece to make the Oathbreaker's a trilogy.

As for her later work... *shudder* Everything written after Black Gryphon is really, really bad. And yes, Arrows (and Arrows Flight/Arrows Fall) are weaker than The Last Herald-Mage, Oathbreakers, By The Sword, the Storms, and the first two Black Gryphon books.

Enjoy! ;)
( 19 sutras — Your wisdom )

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