|Random babblings, not unlike these|
Anyway, I've been seeing some smart stuff by people about demographics that touches on and in many ways improves upon the material I'd been writing here. Rick Stump over at Don't Split The Party started on Wednesday with a really good article titled "Peasants, Nobles, Mages, Normals, and Heroes - How Many NPCs have Levels?", then followed that up with "Just How Big is your Army?" and "Economics of Having Levels". Now, Matt Jackson of msjx has weighed in with a piece titled "Low level characters, and the effects on play" that is pretty much a must-read for anyone playing a D&D-like game, I think.
You're probably aware that there has been some stupidity going on about the new D&D version because some people don't like two names (out of eight!) listed as "Additional Consultation provided by". As time has gone on, too, it's been conclusively shown that the complaints leveled by those people against those two names have been a tissue of lies and fabrication. There are plenty of reasons to dislike one or the other of them, sure - I'm none too fond of one of them as a human being, though I think that the other one is particularly smart and funny, and I read both because they are both of them smart - but to manufacture insane accusations because a person doesn't like them? And then to try to smear WotC with that? Those people doing the manufacturing of calumnies are human waste. And that is the end of my involvement with that topic on this blog.
Does anyone have any good resources (not gaming ones) on the characteristics of sailing ships and galleys? I'm interested to see what actual speeds of travel and cargo capacities were like for those, especially from the era of the 13th to 16th centuries, all the way up to the beginning of the 17th. I wouldn't mind information on the Viking Age Scandinavian vessels, either. Surprisingly, there are few hard numbers in my books on pirates (Rogoziński doesn't have much of anything outside of some scattered information on cargo capacities, for example, and neither does Cordingly; the others tend to focus on personalities or, like Peter Lamborn Wilson, the economics and politics of locations).
I am coming along with the revision/retroclone of Fantasy Wargaming. Part of that process has me looking at source materials, so I've been re-reading old magical Grimoires and examining the various names and functions of demons. Those guys got a lot of that stuff pretty much spot-on, though they abridged their sources quite a lot (perhaps not surprisingly, as they had limited space). Since I'm planning to just dump the background that takes up about half the book (there are plenty of resources on the Middle Ages available, and I'll just point people toward those), I'm going to have a lot of extra space available to fill those abridged gaps. For those interested in such things, I plan on sticking mainly to the Solomonic Grimoires, which seem to be the main source for the original game, plus the Grimoirium Verum and Clm 849 "The Munich Handbook of Necromancy". There are a ton of named spirits in that last, though, many of whom are not given any real information outside of their names, so I will almost certainly abridge that one greatly.
Speaking of that, does anyone know a good listing of Saints that were known in the period 500CE-1500CE or so? Concentrating on the Hundred Years' War period would be really good (so, no Joan of Arc, since she wasn't sanctified until the 20th century). I like the FW list, but I want to check their information and maybe expand it a little.
One plan I have is to add the pantheons of the Welsh/British Celts, the Gaels, and the Slavic peoples. All of those were extant at least during part of FW's nominal period, and so I think that they should be dealt with to some extent. I have useful resources for those already. I wonder how best to approach dvoverie (the Slavic practice of being both Christian and pagan; it means "two faiths") in FW's rules? Probably just like it does for sorcery: invoking non-Christian gods is a Sin of whatever magnitude (probably the same as for invoking demons), and stick with the Christian Virtue/Sin templates for those trying to hold two faiths.
In my ideal game, of course, all of this Piety stuff is simplified down considerably. I'll get around to talking about that soon enough.
I haven't done any work on the Top Secret retroclone in the past couple of weeks. I need to pick that one back up, too.