One of the funny things about horses is when you find one of the hard to handle horses, they are generally some of the better horses you can find, being stronger, more dynamic, and self confident. An easy riding horse isn't the sort you want to take into battle, or any other strenuous activity say beyond a casual trail ride, or for the kids to play with.
As for flopping around, the best way to see a horse do that is to spend a few hours washing them, shampooing their mane and tail, and generally working your butt off to make the animal smell good and look great (assuming you have a good looking horse to begin with) The first thing they will do, when given a chance is to go roll in either mud, or dirt.
If you have a white horse, this is where it gets fun, they can get grass stains on their white spots / or body. My, what a green horse you have sir knight...where did you rest last? the pasture? Plus, as Murphy's Law dictates, your glistening white steed is going to get as dirty as possible, in as little as time possible. This comes mostly from listening to my wife talk about getting her horses ready to go to competition.
I really like the idea of giving horses attributes, but I wouldn't go into great detail myself. I might stick with a giving them a few attribute points, and maybe some flaws if they need them.
Example: Fritz, a large black warhorse
Adv. - Endurance
Adv. - Doesn't Spook
Flaw - Likes to bite
Flaw - Aggressive
I gues one thing I would have to point out is that horses are first and foremost social animals, they hate to be alone. This comes from the fact that they are prey animals, instead of predators. With this in mind, their instictive reaction to stimulus is to seek out other horses, and run away. Go to Comment
Or when your valiant steed takes a nosedive through a fence.
Being a horse is a dangerous business, if you stay around horses long enough they will let you know just how scary the world really is. As a large grazing animal that relies on flight to avoid predators, horse tend to be on the flighty side. Some of their favorite games include the long time favorite 'Shy at Familiar Objects' which involves a horse being spooked by a very ordinary object, often even an object that they have seen time and time again. In a game this can translate into the horse giving a start and squeal when something about the gate out of the barn seems very scary. It can also be good, albeit safe, way to remind the characters that their mounts are indeed living animals that all to often develop a mind of their own.
Another fun horse game is "Stick My Nose Where It Doesnt Belong." This game is characterized by scuff marks and cuts and scrapes generally on the horse's head and face. They are very curious animals and are capable of removing simple gates, operating simple mechanical levers and the like. While I don't intend for anyone to try to get their horse the Pick Locks skill, a smart horse can take a gate off of its hinges without breaking anything. This is assuming that the gate is sitting freely in an attached hinge, which isnt all that uncommon today.
Its all fun and games until someone gets hurt. Horses generally tend to have thick skin and are fairly tough when it comes to getting bruised up and scraped. but when they get hurt enough to tear through the skin and into the muscle, that's when things get iffy. Such injuries swell and become feverish to the touch, and a horse with a swollen knee or hock is going to make for a slow and uncomfortable ride. Riding an injured horse can easily make certain injuries even worse to the point of laming the horse where it can no longer bear a burden on its back. These wounds are the most severe when they are on the the legs or joints of the horse.
Basic first aid, along with letting the animal walk without a heavy burden, like a rider, is the best course of action. Blood flow is vital in the health of the animal so tightly binding a wound can be as much of a problem as the injury itself. Horses are resilient and can come back from signifigant injury. The racehorse Cigar was caught in a wire fence as a yearling and flayed his shoulder muscle off of his shoulder and down into the chest. He had several pounds of hanging bloody meat and a useless leg. After some excellent veterinary care the leg and shoulder were restored and the thoroughbred went on to win over 1 million dollars racing.
Horses fall down. It can be because of mud, bad footing or the like. When a horse encounters treacherous footing feel free to make a balance check for the horse, modified for the weight of the rider and all of his munchkin crap as well. All of these make the animal more top heavy. Getting pinned under a fallen horse is a heart-stopping event that can frighten even the most accomplished rider. (which I am not) The potential for horse and rider to be injured in such a fall is quite real. Take into account the horse's speed when doing the check, a fully barded warhorse, bearing a valiant knight in armor while trying to cut a turn from a full gallop while running across mud splattered cobblestone can result in a thrown rider and alot of beat up armor, and possible an animal with a broken leg. Keep this in mind during those gritty fight and flight scenes Go to Comment
The Followers of the Book and the Word had a signifigant advantage when they entered the Northern lands and the 100 Tribes. With the animistic totems and little gods gone, the Tribes could not deny the power of the Followers, unlike such real world conversions as the Christianization of Skandanavia and Lithuania. A little on the sparse side as it says that the Followers came, the Tribes assimilated haphazardly, and that was that. I would have liked to have seen some NPC figures to give a face to this, or some descritpion of the north lands and the 100 tribes to make this come alive. Go to Comment
To me, it seems too much like the cosmology of the Werewolf game where the supernal Weaver entity went nuts and tried to weave all of chaos into stasis. As an organization it seems very bare-bones and lacking in character. Why does the Weaver work so hard against chaos? Does he/it expect the same drone like obedience from his followers and priests? Go to Comment
Not bad, but I have to disagree with Kendra. It has a central monotheism, an insistance on good works, angels/avatars like saints, and does witch hunting. Pretty much a version of the Christian church, this isnt bad, everyone does it, and this is better than some. Go to Comment
Once, I tried to run a Wild West game. Quite to my shock, my gaming group made fun of me and my idea. Yeah, they said, we'll get us a posse and go shoot us some injuns. With that most of the gamers adjurned for a cigarette while I surrended the field and returned to survey the Vampire books. Go to Comment
There have been a number of threads about reinventing many of the popular fantasy races. On one hand, we want to change them because everyone knows these basic races inside and out, and there is no wonder or mystery left to them. So we come up with new, innovative and really interesting new races. Except that no one is going to use them. Why not? Aren't they better than the old races?
In a word, no. The four traditional fantasy races, the elf, dwarf, human, and orc all have associations that transcend racial bonuses and abilities. More often that not, one of the first things that is changed is that certain thig, that certain element that links them to the human psyche.
To anyone who has toiled at hard, and seemingly insurmountable work, can you not find a common link to the dwarves? They burrow deep into the mountains, and hew out great works, and they are beset by trolls and giants and dragons. How is this so different that one of us going away to a menial job where the weight of work and responcibility seems like the mass of a great mountain itself. We are beset by challenges from coworkers who want our promotion, or our position, and by outside rivals who want to topple our company to make room for their own. In the end, we labor alone, why alone? Are there dwarven women? Logic says yes, but fantasy says no. There are no comely dwarven lasses, they only have the works of their hands as their prize and comfort.
The elves, is there a race more despized? Immortal, ever young and capable beyond our simple reckoning. They are unmoved by death, untouch by frailty, and illness. Tolkiens elves had a strong religious tone, akin to Angels, even to the point of a great fraction of them revolting against the gods in the name of pride and hubris. We fear sickness, and death, and even fear to defy that which we are not even sure exists, but they do not. They are unbound and unfettered to the material world in which we meager humans are shackled.
The orcs/goblins whatever you want to call them are the great and terrible enemy. They are the shadow of our psyche. They are free from the tillage of the soil, free to rape and pillage and plunder and burn and in this they are the dark reflection of who we really are as a people. Yet all to often they fall under dark sway, and are bent to evil purposes. How often have we been led astray, from fear or cowardice, nationalism or blind simple greed?
And last but not least are the humans. No matter the skin color, they get along, they speak the same language. They hold the gates against the enemy while the elves play and the dwarves delve ever deeper into their mines. Who could we be? We could be these humans, who stand a little taller, and are unbiased by creed and nationality. These mutable creatures able to adapt to any class and set of skills.
Enough of that.
The Common Language
The universal language is mathematics, the common language is money. Everyone understands gold. Right now, the US is the predominant economic and military super power. The world speaks our language, in some countries children are required to learn English. Some countries actively deny anything of our western culture in the same manner that some satanists would invert any and every symbol of Christianity to deny God. In thirty of fifty years, China could very well take our place at the top of the heap, and then the common language is going to be Chinese. Or a garbled mix of english and chinese, like English is a garbled mix of Gaelic, French, and Saxon.
now for the last battle. TSR, and Dungeons and Dragons. Yes, it has lost its roots in the soil of it's birth, now consumed by the megalithic corporations. Yet, despite its many flaws, and its many shortcomings, there is one thing that cannot be denied. It was the first. For many of we gamers, it was what drew us into the world of gaming. Sure, some of us had read the Hobbit, and seen some keen movies, but it was that book that drew us in. Mine was the glossy black 2nd ed. While she (D&D) has fallen on worse days, it seems both moraly wrong and an affront to the hobby in general to make such sport of bashing such a grand old lady who brought so much entertainment and frustration to two generations of gamers, and compared to the cost of movies, cable television, and prostitution...asked so little in return. Go to Comment
Certainly a mythic element for Tarrod and it's aquatic inhabitants. The idea could be fleshed out more, giving the mighty Eshal a reason to look more closely at the Cuada. If the gods must die to feed the great mother, surely their firstborn could make worthy appetizers. Go to Comment
One cannot forget one of the evil Kitchen Gods, the Arch-Demon Lag. Lag infects the computers of those who fail to offer up money at his temples (BestBuy, CircuitCity, computer retail outlet of choice)Anger lag and you will find your computer slowing, windows taking longer to open, games running slower and slower until you weep and gnash your teeth and tear at your breast. Go to Comment
I thought this was a good post even before I got to the cannibalism and the making of long pork sausage. Now I think it is a great post, a man who grinds people up into sausage and smoked hams is squeamish and wont even kill animals, master stroke there. I like the post because it mixes a quality mundane post with a devious spicing of evil. I can just imagine the street urchin from A Christmas Carol looking into the shop at the finely spiced ham shank, and imagining eating it, never knowing it was once the meaty thigh of a local noble who opposed villian X and was also kind to the almshouses. Chilling. Go to Comment
In the modern era it is not uncommon for even massive buildings to be constructed in a short term of months to a few years. Yet back in the dark ages, the construction of a great cathedral could take 20 years or more of labor. A fortress, being more about function that appearance could take about half as long. Well done. Go to Comment