Saturday, July 7, 2012

The New Arrivals (1st of 2)

So, got back from the trip to Pennsylvania* to find three new items had arrived in two packages while we were gone.

The two that came together were two of Steve Winter's little Old School adventures he's written for the North Texas PRG Con held in the Dallas/Fort Worth area each year. I found out about last year's too late to get copies (they're released in v. small print runs and apparently sold only on RPG Marketplace, where I didn't have an account**), but thanks to a head's up from Steve was luckier this time around.

The first, THE TOMB OF AMEMNES (a D&D Basic/Expert adventure) we'd played through a few months back, an Egyptian-themed adventure where the characters explore a pyramid complex (Nithian I think in Steve's original, though we pretty much ignored all that Hollow World stuff). It was a good one; when he ran it, Steve had us jumping at shadows and second-guessing ourselves into assuming the things we faced there were much more powerful than they really were, with no doubt amusing (to him) results when we wound up being caught flat-footed by the real menace. I enjoyed it thoroughly, as might have been guessed, given my love for all things Egyptian (did I mention that we swung by the Carnegie while in Pittsburgh in order to see the Egypt exhibit there? Or that we're hoping later this month to see the King Tut travelling exhibit that's here in Seattle? Or to take in the Egyptology rooms in the British Museum and, I hope, Flinders Petrie's collection in Oxford when we're in England this fall?)***

The second, THE DEATH OF TLANGESHAN, is that rarest of rpg things, an EMPIRE OF THE PETAL THRONE adventure. Such are rare indeed: I can only think of one offhand, published by Judges' Guild; company after company keeps re-releasing the setting books for Barker's strange world,**** but adventures to play in it are vanishingly scarce. I have the original boxed set from The Dawn of Time (1975), though I only got a chance to play it a year or two ago -- where we died in droves; we were lucky that one character (mine) was a minor noble, and hence brought along so many minions that we had enough to keep replacing player characters with. Steve has told me it's inspired by a Clark Ashton Smith story (always a good thing); obviously I haven't read through this adventure yet, since I hope to play it first -- though it might be a while, given the D&D Next playtest and ongoing Cthulhu campaigns.

(continued in next post)


*which went fine for us, but seemed cursed for various of our friends we'd gone to see, in that mechanical malfunctions kept befalling them: an airplane that cdn't take off because of a flaw in the cabin door's lock, the so-called 'land hurricane that brought on a total power failure in the DC area (bad news to those on breathing machines with a four-hour battery), and (most dramatic of all) a car catching on fire. While being driven. Makes our oven catching on fire, calling 911, and my using an extinguisher in earnest for the first time seems fairly mild in context.

**which is probably just as well, given the amazing rarities they have up for sale. Things I've only ever read about on you can actually buy here, if you (a) have the money and (b) don't have other things you need to spend it on, like rent or a mortgage.

***"one of the greatest collections of Egyptian . . . archaeology in the world", according to their own website.

****which is odd, when you think about it, since players for the setting are practically non-existent.

****I'd hoped we might be able to make it to Lord Carnarven's house (the place where they film DOWNTON ABBEY), to see the goodies he stole from Tutankhamen's tomb that were quietly salted away for decades (as I hear the story, his secret gallery was rediscovered in the 1970s or 80s), but apparently that country estate is hard to reach via public transportation (which makes sense, being a country house).

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