Saturday, April 20, 2024

The Cat Report

Glad to learn that Baseball has gone to his new home and by now is getting to know his new people.

The cat room now has three cats: senior cat Bettie Boop, who tends to toggle between  wanting affection and acting grumpy. She thought about coming out several times but ended up staying in all shift. 

Bonded pair Maverick and Goose couldn’t be more different. The yellow cat (Goose) stayed in the cat-igloo all shift. I reached in and petted him a bit but decided forcing him out wd get everything off on a bad foot

The grey cat (Maverick) had two micro-walks of maybe ten seconds each time. He did pretty good for just-arrived /new place / with people he didn’t know.  He might turn out to be a really good walker once he settles in and becomes comfortable in the new place.

We do have one small puzzle: Goose might be a repeater. Several volunteers remember Goose as having been in our adoption room before, years back. I don’t, but that may be because I was in the Tukwila cat room, not the Renton room. In any case, glad to see Purrfect Pals’ take-them-back policy pays off.

 —John R.


Thursday, April 18, 2024

My Newest Publication: DARK TOWER


So,  one of the things I saw at GaryCon that interested me greatly was the new expanded edition of DARK TOWER, by the late great Jennnell Jaquays.  Not only is this one of the great modules from the early days of D&D, but I'd contributed a short note of appreciation to this new edition.  I won't repeat here what I said there, so I'll just reprint the Table of Contents to give an idea of what the frontmatter is like.

 I got to look at it briefly at the Dealers' Room at GaryCon and am  looking forward to the arrival of my contributor's copy for a longer look. About a year or so ago I had the opportunity to run the original as a short campaign for our regular Saturday night gaming group, who indulged me by letting me run it under the original 1st edition rules. I was quite an experience slipping back into the 1st edition AD&D mindset, and reminded me of just what I liked so much about that version of the game. 

We didn't quite finish it, and I suspect our stopping point where we abandoned the adventure is the same as  many another group: right at the time the lich became aware of our presence and made it clear it was about to enjoy having a new batch of adventurers to let loose his powers and his minions upon. 

So thanks for that moment, Jennell, and thanks for all the quirky NPCs and vivid villains. 

And for those who have never played it, give it a go sometime and get a taste of one of the expressions of oldstyle D&D at its best.

--John R.

Monday, April 15, 2024

This Cat Likes Catnip

So, some cats like catnip and some don't.  Some really, really like it and some can take it or leave it. And then there's some who will abandon all dignity for the chance to really let go.

Witness Boop (Betty Boop), a senior cat currently looking for a new person.

  Others, like Baseball, let you know when the petting session shd end.

Thanks to JC for the photos

--John R.

Friday, April 12, 2024

Writing to Inklings

So, thanks to the Tolkien Society (thanks, Asli), I now have the link to my Oxonmoot paper, recounting my meetings and correspondence with a half dozen or so Inklings or what we may call Inklings-adjacent figures. Included are Humphrey Havard, Owen Barfield, David Cecil, Mrs. Tangye Lean,  J.  I. M. Stewart, and Christopher Wiseman. 

Also, revealed at last is the history behind the notorious 'Nerd Nyren'.

 Included are slides of some previously unpublished photos. Enjoy.

--John R

current reading: uncollected and unfinished ghost stories by M. R. James  (re-reading) 

Thursday, March 28, 2024

The Judges Guild List

Judges Guild list



So, I like to make lists. 


In part this is probably part of my endless, and essentially unsuccessful, efforts to get organized. But for me it's also a way to get to know the material, on a word-by-word level: to spot connections not otherwise apparent. 


Anyway, seeing the new Judges Guild expanded reprints at GaryCon last week* reminded me of the Judges Guild list I put together a few months back, which I thought I'd share.  It differs from the listing on Wikipedia in that those are alphabetical whereas mine is chronological; my list also emphasizes authors. It's a working document, not as complete or polished as one, now lost, that I did back in Lake Geneva days. But I hope some may find it useful, or at the least enjoy a glimpse back into our hobby's sometimes eccentric roots. **


—John D. Rateliff 

March 25th 2024


*More on this one, my most recent publication, in another post.


**If nothing else it shows just how much Judges Guild churned out at the rate of about a module a month over the course of their relatively brief run. The only two other rpg companies to match them on this I think wd be Mongoose in the early days of 3e/d20, and TSR itself in its later Lake Geneva days.




14. Ready Ref Sheets. For Use w. DUNGEONS & DRAGONS. (1978)

            Second Edition: revised, enlarged, in booklet form


#20. The Judges Guild Journal.   Issue 20 (April/May)


48. Wilderlands of High Fantasy—Bill Owen & Bob Bledsaw, 

            w. Marc Summerlott, Debra Bledsaw, & Norma Gledsaw. (1977) 

            six mapsheets.   back cover = City State hex.


52. The Thieves of Fortress Badabaskor—'concepted' by Marc Summerlott. designed by Mike Petrowsky, Craig Fogel, Bob Bledsaw, Mark Summerlott, Bill Owen, & Tony Floren (1981)

            [2 editions]


55. Gen Con IX Dungeon—Bob Blake (?1980).

            Baldemar Castle & Staff of Albalon

            Temple of Diklah & Helm of Valasdum


59. Village Book I: Campaign Hexagon Sub-system. 'guidelines & villages on numbered hex grids'


60. Castle Book I: Campaign Hexagon Sub-system (universal supplement).  n.d.


62. Revised Edition CITY STATE OF THE INVINCIBLE OVERLORD—Bledsaw & Owen. 94p bklet + mapsheets.


#64. The Judges Guild Journal.  issue10 June/July 1978.  [2 copies]


68. War Cry—Dave Petrowsky. new 2nd edition 'Emperor' series


75. Judges Guild Referee Screen.  TRAVELLER.    green screen.


78. The Traveller Logbook—Dave Sering (n.d.).  TRAVELLER


80. Of Skulls and Scrapfaggot Green—Bob Blake (?1977) [GenCon X tournament]


87. Character Codex—Paul Jaquays (1978)


88. DARK TOWER—Paul Jaquays


93. Under the Storm Giant's Castle—ThomasMcCloud (1979)


95. Survival of the Fittest—Michael Mayeau (1979)  solitaire dungeon 


105. Drakne Station—Bill Paley. (1979?)   TRAVELLER.    


107. Broken Tree Inn—Rudy Kraft  RUNEQUEST


113. The Book of Treasure Maps —Paul Jaquays (1979)


[113. The Book of Treasure Maps II—Daniel Hauffe & Rudy Kraft]


114. The Maltese Clue—Paul Karczag (1979)


117. Temple of Ra Accursed by Set—Thomas & Edward McCloud (1979)  


140. Castle Book II. (?1979)


[150] CITY STATE OF THE WORLD EMPEROR. 1980. book  +mapsheet. 

            —Creighton & Bob Bledsaw, w. Rudy Kraft & Clayton Miner.  The City of Spices, 

            • Judges Map (Campaign Map Six, w. Gheu lost Island) 

            • Players Cartogtaphy. (w.Gigabolt Mountains

            • Color City Map

            • SHOPS

            • CITY


160. The Judges Guild Journal. issue #19 (February/March).


180.  The Dungeoneer. issue #16  (March/April 1980).


200. The Judges Guild Journal. issue #20 (April/May).


220. Legendary Duck Tower and other tales. Paul Jaquays & Rudy Kraft. sw.


230. The Dungeoneer. #17 (May/June 1980). interview w. Greg Stafford.  sw.


240. The Fantasy Cartographer's Field Book. 'complete fantasy mapping system'


250. CHIVALRY & SORCERY. Gamesmaster's Shield.  <sw, therefore n.d., no author>


260. Portals of Torsh.  Rudy Kraft. 1980.  lizardmen.  with detached color cover/products list


270. Spies of Lightelf.  Bryan Hinnen.  Wilderness Book Two. 1980. 


280. THE JUDGES GUILD JOURNAL. #21 (June/July 1980).


            ?Mythlogy <boardgame: advertised in DUNGEONEER #17 p 31> 

            ?Witch's Caldron <[Ral Partha set]]: advertised in DUNGEONEER #17 p 34> 


300. Wilderlands of the Fantastic Reaches.  <sw: adv. bk & mapsheet>



            [At about this point, loses TSR License]



310. City of Lei Tabor. Paul Nevins & Bill Faust  [RUNEQUEST]]  (cover credited to 1979


330. Tancred. Dave Sering. [TRAVELLERS, Ley Sector 1232]  (1980)


340. Ley Sector. (maps and booklets). no designer credited, art credited to Ken Simpson.  (1980).


400. The Toughest Dungeon in the World.  Ken St. Andre. (covers 1980). [TUNNELS & TROLLS]


410. The Astrogators Chartbook. 'complete science fiction mapping system'.  1980.


420. The Unknown Gods. by Bob Bledsaw, Mark Holmer, Paul Jaquays, & Mike Petrowsky. 1980


430.  [SUPERHERO 2044]  Hazard. by Robert Bingham (n.d.) [IPSP.ISIS Official Map 7]]


440. Temple Book I  <sw> 


[?470] or [?400]. THE DUNGEONEERS JOURNAL issue #25.(Feb/March 1981


480. Fifty Starbases.  (1981)    TRAVELLER.


490. Glimmerdrift Reaches  [TRAVELLER]  [sw]


500. Doom of the Singing Star  [shrinkwrapped w. Map & Guidebook]   TRAVELLER


530. Ravenscrag — Scott Fulton, assisted by Dave Sering & Steve Crow. 1981. Universal 

            supplement.     [came shrinkwrapped w. map pad (4 maps).]


††540. Nightmare Maze of Jigresh.  EMPIRE OF THE PETAL THRONE.  




• The First Fantasy Campaign. by Dave Arneson. 1977

• City State Campaign Map One. 1977.  

            "Cartography to the Wilderlands about the City State"   (includes Brezal Isle)

• Tegal Manor: Judge's Map 

• Tegal Manor: Players' Map

• Barbarian Altanis: Campaign Map Two  (1977)

   Valley of the Ancients: Campaign Map Three (inid.)  [winedarksea]

• Thunderhold: Castle of the Dwarven King (1976)

• Lenap Campaign: Map Ten (Players' Map)/

            verso = Elphand Lands: Map Nine (Player's Map)  (1978) 

• Mouth of Roglaroon. Brezal Isle.  back blank. 

             City State just below center.  see also 48 

• blank hex sheets.


550. Field Guide to Encounters. by Dragon's Byte. 1982.  two volumes.


560. Portals of Irontooth.  Rudy Kraft. 1981.


570. Lara's Tower.  Kevin Nunn. 1981. 


xxx.  PEGUSUS. Premier Issue.  interview w. Dave Arneson, article on Disease. 


620. PEGUSUS #3. (1981).


630. Dragon's Hall. Jim Simon. 1981. 


640. Marooned on Ghostring. Walter & Dorothy Bledsaw.  nd. [TRAVELLER]


660. Zienteck. Mark Harmon. 1981. 


670. House on Hangman's Hill. Jon Matttson. 1981.


680. The Tower of Indomitable Circumstance.  Corey Cole.  1981


690.  Masters of the Mind. Charles M. Wilson.  1981.


700. Restormel.  Scott Fulton.


710. Amycus Probe. Dave Sering. 1981  [TRAVELLER]


720. Rogue Moon of Spinstorme.  Dave Sering. 1981. [TRAVELLER]


730. Simba Safari. Dave Sering. 1981. [TRAVELLER]


740. Tarkin's Landing.  Dave Sering. nd. unlicensed 'science fiction suppplement'


750. The Illhiedrin Book.  Daniel Hauffe.  <sw>.  1981 


760. Maranantha-Alkahest Sector.  Dave Sering. 1981   [TRAVELLER]


770. Portals of Twilight.  Rudy Kraft.  nd <sw>


790. F'Dech Fo's Tomb. Scott Fulton. 1981 


800. Glory Hole Dwarven Mine.  Edward G. Mortimer. 1981.


820 (1). Heroic Expeditions. Edward R. G. Mortimer. 1981


820 (2). Fantastic Personalities. Bill Paley & Edward R. G. Mortimer.


840. Prey of Darkness. Edward R. G. Mortimer. 1982.


850. Rat on a Stick. George R. Paczolt. 1982. [TUNNELS & TROLLS] 


880. Corsairs of the Turku Waste. Dave Sering


890. Magebird Quest. Dave Sering. [DRAGONQUEST]


900. Heroes and Villians. Edward R. G. Mortimer. [DRAGONQUEST] 


940. Waspwinter. Walter & Dorothy Bledsaw. nd. [TRAVELLER]


960. Darkling Ship. Dave Sering. nd.  [TRAVELLER]


990. The Book of Treasure Maps III. Edward E. G. Mortimer. nd.


1010. Shield Maidens of Sea Rune. Bryan Hinnen & Dan Hauffe.1982. Wilderness Book Three.


1030. Pirates of Hagrost. Bryan Hinnen & Dan Heuffe. nd. Wilderness Book Four.  


1040. Wondrous Weapons. Joseph Weingand. 1982. 


1090. Witches Court Marshes. Bryan Hinnen, Mark Holmer, & Joe Wiengard. 1982.


1100. Caves and Caverns.  John Mortimer.  <circa 1982?>


1130. Druids of Doom. Bill Pixley & Diane Mortimer. 1982. 


1140. Demons of Dundurn. Derek Watson. pt 1 Rood of Parth Series. 


1180. Jungle of Lost Souls—Glenn Rahman (1983).  TUNNELS & TROLLS. solitaire adventure.



            Castle Thrax. Paul Burdick (1985)  [DM-less. Spellbinders Games]


            Tegal Manor. Bill Webb & Thom Wilson, w. Gabor Lux (Frog Gods 2019, 212p hc)


Wednesday, March 27, 2024

My Favorite Story from GaryCon

 So, my favorite story from those I heard at GaryCon, and also the shortest, came from David S. LaForce, a.k.a. DIESEL. Diesel was one of the original three artists who defined TSR's style back in the late seventies and early eighties through their work  on the PLAYER'S HANDBOOK, MONSTER MANUAL, and DUNGEON MASTER'S GUIDE, the other two being David C. Sutherland (DCS)* and Dave Trampier (TRAMP).

Anyway, the story  went like this. 

We were at his booth in the Dealers' room talking about people (designers and artists and editors) from the early days. Most of these I know only as names among the credits but whom he actually knew, and in many cases worked with. One such person, he told me, only worked at TSR for one day. His name was Dave Dorman, who was hired as a staff artist but then had second thoughts. He showed up for his first day of work, a Monday, and told them he'd changed his mind. Then he turned around and drove back to Florida.

I mentioned this story to other ex-TSR folk there at the con, several of whom knew the name, though they'd didn't know of his TSR connection. I did a little checking, and found he went on to a successful career in graphic novels So TSR's loss was comic books' gain I guess.

--John R.

*who I think was TSR employee number six

Thursday, March 21, 2024

GaryCon Begins

So, we're in Lake Geneva and all settled in. Yesterday from 5 to 8 was check in and, while in line, we ran into the first of what shd be many encounters with familiar faces from Lake Geneva days; Ed Stark, Jeff Grubb, Skip Williams, and Michele Carter, plus brief hellos to a half dozen or so. 

I picked up what looks to be an interesting documentary on dvd: THE DREAMS IN GARY'S BASEMENT. And speaking of basements, through a contact of Janice's we got some pictures of what the old TSR building on Sheridan Springs Road looks like inside now.

Today it's a late start, in hopes that starting the con well-rested will make for a better con experience. My first scheduled event, TOWER OF DARK SORCERY, is for the Middle-earth rpg, so it'll be unfamiliar rules along with what shd be v. familiar setting. It's at five o'clock to eleven tonight, so there's plenty of time to see folks and see what the Dealer's Room might be like.

But first, a late breakfast to start things off. 

--John R.

--current reading: M. R. James' THE FIVE JARS (re-reading) and light fare on the Kindle.