Haley Starshine

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Erik Mona wrote:

I have books like this completely outlined. We'll see if we get around to doing it. We haven't had tremendous luck with multi-author anthologies to date, but I have some hopes that Before They Were Giants changes the perception a little bit.

It might be a bit of apples n' oranges, though, as the previous (and soon-to-be-released) anthologies have been of modern authors. It seems that most folk around the interwebs are clamoring for anthologies of pulp or out-of-print authors. I know I am. :)

Any chance of publishing all six of the Clifford Ball stories?

I just finished reading "The Goddess Awakes" in Realms of Wizardry and it was quite enjoyable. It seemed a bit of stopgap between Howard and Lieber (but not quite up to par with either, but good enough).

Per Wikipedia, it appears he only published the following:

"Duar the Accursed" (May 1937; reprinted in New Worlds for Old, edited by Lin Carter (1971)
"The Thief of Forthe" (July 1937; reprinted in Savage Heroes, edited by Eric Pendragon (1977) and The Barbarian Swordsmen, edited by Sean Richards (1981)
"The Goddess Awakes" (February 1938; reprinted in Realms of Wizardry, edited by Lin Carter (1976)
"The Swine of Ææa" (March 1939)
"The Little Man" (August 1939)
"The Werewolf Howls" (November 1941; reprinted in 100 Creepy Little Creature Stories, edited by Stefan R. Dziemianowicz, Robert Weinberg and Martin H. Greenberg (1994)

Andrew Turner wrote:
I would like to take this opportunity to conduct my periodic reiteration of the fact that no-one has reprinted the complete Hounds of Tindalos since Jove's very poor-quality Arkham reprint back in 1978...

You may find this of interest:

http://www.hippocampuspress.com/mythos-and-other-authors/fiction/the-tindal os-cycle-edited-by-robert-m.-price

While awaiting the arrival of some Kothar novels I ordered, I decided to go back and read Gardner Fox's tales of Niall the Far Traveler in Dragon Magazine.

As far as I can tell, only one of those stories was ever reprinted elsewhere, and no compilation was ever made.

Any chance for some Niall love in Planet Stories?

I just finished Maza of the Moon, and it was indeed fantastic. Thanks for the recommendation, Douglas!

My only disappointment was how quickly it ended. :)

I hear ya. I'm on a bit of a similar quest myself, which sprang from my larger quest to read all of Appendix N. ;) I've also decided to read as much Sword & Sorcery as possible, too.

I wasn't so much questioning your categorization of the works, as much as Wikipedia's.

I'll have to check out Cummings. I wasn't aware of his work. Thanks!

And thanks for bringing A. Merritt to my attention. Since the Ship of Ishtar was announced for Planet Stories, I've been greedily gobbling up his work. It saddens me that I shall soon reach the end of it. :(

I recently finished Palos of the Dog Star Pack and its first sequel, The Mouthpiece of Zitu. I question lumping them into the Sword & Planet genre, is there is very little derring-do and a much greater focus on firearms then swords.

I found them a bit harder to get into than Burroughs and Kline, as the pacing is a bit slow at times and it suffers from "too many alien word syndrome".

Of course, I read them immediately following Kline's Venus series, so nearly anything would pale in comparison. ;)

BTW, when researching Giesy I noticed next to nothing about him in Wikipedia, so I added entries for the author and the three books in the series. Please expand upon them if you're so inclined (and can tolerate the looming threat of the Deletionist regime).


Here are a few great 3.x ones from Dragon and Dungeon that didn't make into the books (as well as some great ones you created pre-3e).

Draknor (Dungeon #24)
Blackroot Marauder, Murdakus, and Dirtwraith (Dragon #270)
Kurge, Rotripper (Dragon Annual #5)
N'gatispawn (Dragon #305)
Firetounge Frog, Orthlys, Demon-Infused Elemental (Dragon #285)
Grimorian, Raknakle, Skerath, Skittermaw (Dragon #274)
Bonetree, Ragewing, Razortail, Treeleg Strangler (Dragon #280)

...and of course, Kaiju! (Dragon #289)

And didn't you create the ulitharid, which I believe first appeared in Dungeon #24 as well?

Thanks for the kind words, everyone.

Here are the finished versions of Baba Yaga and her hut.

Baba Yaga

Baba Yaga's Hut

1.) Lost (by leaps and bounds)
2.) Buffy
3.) Jericho
4.) Primeval
5.) Stargate: SG-1

Over at the Creature Catalog, we've been converting a bunch of prehistoric beasties lately, and we've found some real gems outside the common dinosaurs.

For instance the gorgonopsians would fit nicely into most D&D campaigns. If you have any doubt, check out a few scenes from the wonderful BBC show, Primeval:

Clip One

Clip Two

The thylacoleonidae are essentially "dire marsupials" from Australia, that are supposedly tougher pound-for-pound than a smilodon.

Shonisaurus, Therizinosaurus, and some of the labrynthodonts (like Mastodonsaurus) would also make worthy adversaries.

I'd like to see a seamless progression from the first 20 levels. I always found it jarring how the ELH suggested that it should be a "world-shaking" event when the 21st level milestone is hit.

I'd like to see epic feats be truly epic, not just another +1 in a chain or a slightly-better metamagic feat.

I've played and DMed epic level campaigns.

What worked great:

-Melee/Ranged Combat: Despite common gripes I've seen, our group found little problem with iterative attacks and higher modifiers.

-Monsters: Monsters scale up nicely, particularly if you bend the rules a bit and scale up spell resistance and caster level for SLAs.

-Skills: Many skill checks seemed to scale nicely, while some of the epic applications of skills were fun. A few checks became a bit too automatic (like Concentration and Tumble), but that happened long before epic levels.

-Epic Prestige Classes: Some of these were quite worthwhile and played well with others, like the arcane lord and soulreaver. Others...not so much.

What worked absolutely horribly:

-Epic Spellcasting...yuk!

-Epic Magic Items...the huge void between the "just slightly better than regular" items and the ones that cost millions of gold pieces was troubling. And artifacts became less interesting, yet all the more coveted solely for their indestructible nature (who wants to lose an item worth over a million gps?)

-Having to reign in "save or die" effects so every combat didn't become a game of rock/paper/scissors.

I've read six of the books, and have already learned quite a bit.

1.) Don't mess with people from Mercury. Ever.
2.) The Far Realm touches all worlds.
3.) Inchoate means "imperfectly formed or developed"
4.) Don't trust practitioners of magic. Ever.
5.) Druids can be badass, even without wild shape.
6.) Hell hath no fury like a woman shamed, but a woman shamed hath no problem using Hell to satisfy her fury.
7.) Satyrs aren't always fun-loving frat boys with beer bongs.
8.) When in Atlantis, good wine is hard to find.
9.) Rapiers and Power Attack aren't mutually exclusive.
10.) The elder races had all the wonderful toys.

Anyone else learn a thing or two from Planet Stories?

Erik Mona wrote:

I have considered putting together an atrociously huge monster book by combining two or three books (and errata) into a giant alphabetized titan limited edition for gamers with more money than sense.

I lack both, but would still covet it. :)

As for preferences:

*Drop the PC races
*Drop the advanced versions of same thing
*More real-world animals, vermin, and dinosaurs
*Needs more yeti

A buddy of mine just loaned me Lyndon Hardy's "Master of the Five Magics". This is a pretty good fantasy read with an interesting take on magic, and it appears to be out of print since 1988. He wrote two follow-ups, "Secret of the Sixth Magic" and "Riddle of the Seven Realms". I haven't read them yet, but they also appear to be out of print for over a decade.

The book reminded me alot of Vance's "Dying Earth".

BillyWitchDoctor.com approves!

Arise, chicken.

Please, no. Make that a separate book.

If the MMIV taught us nothing else, it's that including monsters with class levels in a monster book will alienate many customers.


Smurf me! Is that the smurfingest smurf of smurf you’ve ever smurfed?

Enlarge Person needs to drop the "person" bit, and apply equally to all creature types. Beyond the fact that this limitation makes no sense, it will not require exceptions for monsters that rely on size alteration (like the efreet).

Ditto for its opposite, Reduce Person.


This is a reprinting of the Marvel Comics' Epic comic adaptation.

I'm not sure why the blurb calls Esau Cairn "the warrior, Almuric", though.


Any chance we might see something akin to RPG Superstar to find the next great pulp author?

It sure would be fun to read through the entries. :)

I've only read a few so far, but City of the Beast is my favorite. I can't wait to read Lord of the Spiders. :)

Apparently, others were interested in stats for that creature. The stats were posted in Scale Mail of issue #305. ;)

I just finished it. A nice collection, and the notes and letters were an interesting look into the state of Fantasy literature in the past.

Poul Anderson - Three Hearts and Three Lions: Besides being a good story, it's the blueprint for a number of D&D staples.

Brandon Sanderson - Mistborn: Elantris is great, too, but the magic system in Mistborn alone is worth the price of admission. You get likable characters and an interesting story as a bonus.

3-4, depending on the size of my gaming group at that time.

Any character should be able to reproduce bardic music now by spending a few hundred gp for a device called the "Wii" and a supplemental item called "Guitar Hero".

Kirth Gersen wrote:

How about this:

* Take 3.5 system. Roll together skills with synergy bonuses, as proposed in the Pathfinder system. Synergy bonuses go the way of the dodo.

* Allow retroactive Int bonuses, so you don't have to back-subtract. Geron is dead-on with that suggestion; it'll save a lot of difficulty when statting NPC wizards.

* Ignore class vs. cross-class skills.

* Then all you need to do is pick 'em and max 'em out.

I like this. Alot.

I really like the skills system, as both a player and a DM. However, as a DM, I already simplify my life by simply figuring out how many skill points per level/HD ranks the creature/NPC gets, then figuring out the max ranks, and assign max ranks to the chosen skills. If I need other skills, I simply shave off a few points here or there and assign them to the extra skills. The biggest slowdown is figuring out those skills that are class skills at some levels and non-class skills at other levels (such as by multiclassing or adding prestige classes). Kirth's method would solve this problem nicely.

I'm a big fan of synergy bonuses, but agree that by combining most synergistic skills, they are no longer necessary.

JoelF847 wrote:

In regards to enlarge/reduce, I think these should simply affect any creature type...otherwise you're left asking why can a human get larger through magic, but a dragon, demon, etc. cannot?)

I agree wholeheartedly. I always thought it was ridiculous that other creature types wouldn't have developed similar spells. Add to that the necessity to waste space writing out monster abilities to duplicate these effects (see efreeti, for example).

Having collected/converted/created several thousand monsters, one thing I'd love to see is a more exhaustive abilities section that lists out the commonly used abilities.

For example, how many times have you seen the text for evasion, uncanny dodge, sneak attack, ability drain, all-around vision, etc. repeated in near-entirety in a monster or prestige class writeup? Wouldn't it be nice to simply be able to stick evasion on the SQ line and be done with it, much like scent or darkvision nowadays?

One thing I really liked in later sourcebooks and Dragon Magazine was the increasing use of feat descriptors. For example, Ambush feats, Divine feats, etc. It made for an easy way to reference them in other parts of the game.

For example, I'd like to see [Skill Boost] aplied to Acrobatic and Deceitful. This way, if a class/prestige class comes along that allows one to choose bonus feats from a list of feats that mostly includes skill-boosting feats, you could just say "select any Skill Boost feat".

It also prevents all the redundant text for things like "A fighter can select X as one of her bonus feats" or "A monk may select X as a bonus feat at 6th level, even if she does not meet the prerequisites." A simple [Fighter] or [Monk 6] would save space for better stuff. :)

From http://www.scifi.com/scifiwire/index.php?category=0&id=50552

"SF author S.M. Stirling told SCI FI Wire that his latest novel, In the Courts of the Crimson Kings, was inspired by his feeling that classic pulp writers had an unfair advantage: namely, that they could imagine a much more interesting solar system than the one we actually have."

This could be interesting for Planet Stories fans.

I'd be very disappointed to see iterative attacks go away. :/

Any plans for support past 20th level?

Best. News. Imaginable. :)

I think I'm going to pick up a copy of The Anubis Murders tonight as a small way to honor a man who gave me so much enjoyment over the years.

Truly a sad, sad day for the gaming world.

He will be remembered as someone who gave the world much joy.

Christine, you deserve the internet-equivalent of a standing ovation. :)

Bravo! You've got my vote.

I can't wait to get this adventure. :)

Erik Mona wrote:

The suggestion of marrying some of these stories to game statistics is an intriguing one. How many people would be interested in something like this?

Count me in.

Giants in the Earth and Novel Approach were two of my all-time favorite Dragon series.

I've already used several of the China Mieville monsters from Dragon in my campaign.

After reading Jack Vance's Dying Earth a few months back, I started statting up some of the creatures within.

So yeah, I'd eat that up. :)

Hmmm...my last post disappeared.

I just finished the book last night, and "Hellsgarde" was definitely my favorite. Great atmosphere, nice ending. :)

"Jirel Meets Magic" was probably my second favorite, and I "Black God's Kiss" was great as well. "Quest for the Starstone" was fun, but it felt a bit disconnected from the rest. I'll agree with the others who felt that "Black God's Shadow" felt a bit too much like rehash.

I found it very refreshing that Ms. Moore's writing style barely felt dated, despite being from a much earlier era. She was definitely ahead of her time.

Erik, thanks for bringing these great stories back. I'll add a review to the products section as well. I'm off to gather up the ISBN numbers for "Elak of Atlantis" and "City of the Beast" and see if my local Barnes & Noble will stock them. To date, the only Planet Stories book I've found there is "The Anubis Murders".

I just stumbled across Wikisource, an offshoot of Wikipedia, and found a treasure trove of old Sword & Sorcery and Pulp stories available to read online.

Lovecraft, Howard, and Burroughs are just a few whose works can be found here.

I may be just way slow in discovering this site, but figured I share in case anyone else was trapped under the same rock. ;)

Snorter wrote:
Shade wrote:
waltero wrote:
Has anybody tried out the new edition of Talisman?
Yep. It's alot of fun.

Do you know if any of the rules have been changed?

I've got a first edition copy from the early '80s.
Second edition was just a new box.
Third edition had cool 3D miniatures, but gameplay seemed the same.
If the rules are unchanged, I'll just crack out the old box.

I (unfortunately) never had the opportunity to play the 1st or 2nd editions of the game. The 4th ed is supposed to be an update of those, disregarding the 3rd.

I'd check out BoardGameGeek for a better comparison.

See the link I posted above. JJ Abrams confirmed that the monster is from deep sea, and that the thing hitting the water was a satellite that "woke it up".

waltero wrote:
Has anybody tried out the new edition of Talisman?

Yep. It's alot of fun.

James Jacobs wrote:
I've seen Cloverfield twice so far. Between it, The Host, The Mist, and The Last Winter, the last 12 months have pretty much been the best 12 months for monster movies that I can ever remember. More, please!

I watched the Host for the first time the night before I watched Cloverfield. Monstergasm. :)

If you liked the movie, check out the viral marketing stuff. The following site sums it up nicely:


It almost plays like a prequel.


I pray they don't turn their attention to Greyhawk, Planescape, Spelljammer, and so forth and try to cram it into "Points of Light" like poor Faerun.

Hopefully they'll survive intact until 5e.

This is seriously smurfed up:

Smurfette Show

Note: NSFW/NSFS (Not Safe for Smurf)

For those about to rock, we salute you. :)

I immediately thought of a use for thunderstruck followers of Talos in the Forgotten Realms. I'm with Erik...that was a definite head-slapper. The cloud golems were well-constructed, if not inspiring. The squallherds are fantastic. I'd definitely use them.

Overall, nice work. And you've got me thinking up monsters associated with Back in Black, Highway to Hell, and Mistress for Christmas (OK, not the last one). ;)

I like these monsters alot. Very flavorful, with mechanics to back it up. Nice and old-school, not the one-trick ponies of 4e.

And bonus points for working in The Face in the Frost. :)

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