APPENDIX N: Robert E. Howard’s Conan, Part II

Oak Hill RPG Club

conanunchainedToday marks the 112th anniversary of the birth of my favorite author, the legendary Robert E. Howard, and it’s no secret that Gary Gygax was a huge fan of Robert E. Howard as well.

The influence of Howard’s Conan on Dungeons and Dragons is undeniable. Fantasy roleplaying would simply not exist as it does today if not for the creation of the sword and sorcery genre and we have Robert E. Howard to thank for that.

Gygax first mentioned Conan in IFW Monthly in May of 1969.

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That early Hyborian Wargame Society surely added fuel to the fires of creation in which Dungeons & Dragons was forged. Listed amongst others in the 1979 Dungeon Master’s Guide’s Appendix N, Robert E. Howard’s influence was all over the game. One need look no further than Conan’s last published adventure Red Nails, which featured a wilderness trek and battle with a…

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5 Years Ago Today…

Oak Hill RPG Club

Sometime in September of 2012 I made a somewhat innocuous comment on facebook, something along the line of “getting your old D&D mates back to the table for old time’s sake was the modern equivalent of getting the band back together“.

That sparked a discussion with my old chum Shaun Keenan and we decided to have a go at it. We reached out to the legion of diceslingers who had once battled kobalds, goblins, and worse as a part of the Oak Hill Dungeons & Dragons Club, a group we had formed back in the near prehistoric age of the late 1970s.

So it was that five years ago today, on the 5th of January of 2013, a group of friends came together for a game of Dungeons & Dragons.

Shaun made arrangements for us to use Ali-Caters in Marion, a sort-of abandoned tavern, complete with a dance…

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Days of Wonder, Knights of Valour

Fe20171008_114131w things are more thrilling than our annual trip to the Indiana Renaissance Faire. It’s one of the highlights of October for us.

This year was no different.

We arrived early and got to listen to some fine music before the gates opened, with performances by Drunk & Sailor, Kilted Kings, Red Rum, Lute & Lady Lawson, and my personal favorite, Chaste Treasure, an a cappella trio that harmonized beautifully.

Once inside, we browsed around a bit before taking in the Rogue Blades featuring Dave the Knave, Sir James, and Squire Paul. It was a sword-fighting comedy stage show, family friendly and with plenty of audience participation. Well worth a look, over-all, but that’s not what we were there for.

It never is, at least for Conn and me.

When made our way back into the market, examining swords, capes, hand-crafted journals, and enough fantasy and medieval bric-a-brac to fill a moderately sized man cave.

This is the point when I generally regret the perpetual emptiness of my wallet. That feeling quickly passes though as soon as we make our way to the Lyst.

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Ah yes, the Knights of Valour Joust Troupe, our reason for traveling south. Shane Adams and Company always put on a great show. The warhorses are beautiful, the knights bold and fearless, and the host a charismatic showman.

I would go into more detail, but why when I can just show it to you —

Another amazing Ren Faire. Our fifth or sixth time, I think. Will we journey forth again next year? Possibly. We’ve discussed traveling even further south next year, for the Imaginarium Convention. We shall have to see how the dates align.

kofvI can assure you, however, that should we fail to attend, our hearts will be saddened. It won’t be the same if we are not to hear the Knights of Valour Battle Cry — “Helm Up and Charge On!”

Now, to our next order of business… Connor’s fourteenth birthday.

He arrived on the 9th of October, on Thor’s Day and Leif Eriksson Day, no less.

He is, as they say, a warrior born.

I know he has a future as a storyteller ahead of him, but I often times wonder if some sort of life wielding a sword might be waiting for him as well.

 

Bring me my broadsword…

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I posted the following on Occult Detective. It seems more than appropriate that it be shared here as well…

This morning we travel south, across the beautiful autumn kissed landscape of mythic Indiana, until we reach the sights and sounds of the ancient world reborn for us at Fishers Renaissance Faire.

It will be grand to be surrounded once more by minstrels, merchants and maidens fair, but we most long to hear once more the cacophony of broken lances and the roar of the crowd as the Knights of Valour demonstrate their tournament prowess.

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This has become an annual affair for us, one we so look forward to. That it so closely coincides with Connor’s birthday is an added bonus.

This will be a much needed escape from our daily troubles and the incessant grind of weighty real world matters. Immersing ourselves in the medieval realm of fantasy, our attention will be drawn instead to pomp and spectacle.

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I, for one, look forward to the joust and to perusing the weapon tents. Nothing better than holding a yard of well-crafted steel in one’s hand.

So, huzzah, my friends. Expect a full report when Leif Eriksson Day dawns…

An Update of sorts on Works in Progress

bordermenWe currently have three products in various stages of production. The most high profile of these is Occult Detective: The Roleplaying Game. We have, once again, made several minor changes (and a couple of major ones) to the system. I will give a more thorough accounting of its progress on occultdetective.com at a later date. Suffice to say, we’re still thrilled with where the game’s headed. There are just a lot of eyes to dot.

Our next wave of playtesting begins Saturday, September 9th.

As for Blood & Honour, our card and dice game of swordplay, is, I suspect, 50-75% finished, if you can believe it. We have made a stylistic change, marrying it more closely to what is our third project, but the meat of the game is the same. Basically we’re down to developing the look of the game so that it is in line with our Veroldnar Campaign Setting.

Speaking of which, Drakkarsys: A Veroldnar Chronicles Campaign Setting is the third project of which we speak.

In November we’ll be launching a separate site where we will slowly roll out our 5th Edition Campaign Setting.

It will be free, for all intents and purposes. Donations will be welcome, of course, and there will be tie-in items that will come up for sale now and then (such as Blood & Honour), but for the most part, the Campaign Setting site will be a free to use DM and PC resource.

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The above image is just a ‘place-holding’ mock-up, but you get the idea. Veroldnar is an extension of our evolution in collaborative storytelling. Yes, it’s D&D (though can be adapted for any system), but its also a whole lot more.

But I won’t spoil any of it for you. The new site launches soon, so watch for updates here and on our twitter feed.