Swordtember Blade #2 – Iomar’s Swiftblade

Dyson's Dodecahedron

This month is Swordtember. I’m going to try to draw a sword every day for the month. If I manage to keep this going for the whole month, I’ll release all 30 sword images (minus the frame and Swordtember logo I drew) as an incidental stock art pack.

This is Iomar’s Swiftblade, the sword said to have slain the demon Zortiodraak – a short sword with a +3 bonus to hit but no bonus to damage, that can cast light on command 3/day.

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Dungeons & Dragons & Dunbar’s Number

The Nerdd

In the 1990s, British anthropologist Robin Dunbar theorized that there is a balance between the size of the human brain, and the number of relationships one person can maintain.

this limit is a direct function of relative neocortex size, and that this, in turn, limits group size… the limit imposed by neocrotical processing capacity is simply on the number of individuals with whom a stable inter-personal relationshipo can be maintained.

Robin Dunbar, Journal of Human Evolution

The idea is broken down into different levels of intimacy, wherein the closer we are in a relationship, the fewer of that relationship we can adequately keep.

Humans, on average, can only maintain about 5 people at the closest level of a relationship, about 15 good friends, 50 friends, 150 meaningful contacts, 500 acquaintances, and about 1500 people we could recognize.

Dunbar's number: 150 - Sketchplanations

Something to note, if you look at the circles in the picture, the…

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Swordtember Blade #1 – Shadowcutter

Dyson's Dodecahedron

This month is Swordtember. I’m going to try to draw a sword every day for the month. If I manage to keep this going for the whole month, I’ll release all 30 sword images (minus the frame and Swordtember logo I drew) as an incidental stock art pack.

Swordtember Blade 1 is obviously based on the movie version of Orcrist but not quite as clean of lines and with a different styled hilt. This is Shadowcutter, a sword +1, +2 against all creatures that live in darkness.

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Sony to Hold PlayStation Showcase on September 9

Sony has announced that they will be broadcasting a “look into the future of PS5” at a PlayStation Showcase event on Thursday September 9, 2021 at 4:00 pm Eastern / 1:00 pm Pacific. The show is said to be approximately forty minutes long and will show off games “releasing this holiday and beyond,” from PlayStation Studios as well as third-party developers. In addition, Sony confirmed there will be no mention of PlayStation VR.

The PlayStation Showcase will be streamed live on YouTube and Twitch.



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AD&D 2e Complete Handbooks (1989-96): A Guide to the Guides

Wayne's Books

In 1989, TSR released the long-awaited Second Edition of Advanced Dungeons & Dragons. It was to be evolutionary, and not revolutionary. But AD&D 2nd ed definitely introduced some new ideas.

For example, the original trinity of hardcover rulebooks (PHB DMG MM) was itself altered, replacing the Monster Manual with a Monstrous Compendium three ring binder.

Also in 1989, TSR released the first of their Complete Handbook series. The Brown Books were surely intended to draw in players as paying customers. These Player splatbooks would each focus on a class, with background and optional additions to the game rules. (There were also Blue and Green Complete Guides for the Dungeon Master. Visit my RPG reference site page for more on the whole series.)

The Handbooks proved to be quite popular, remaining in print for years, until the end of 1996, when the company ran out of operating cash.

They changed…

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People and Monsters

Grumpy Wizard

The way I use and create monsters in my Swords and Wizardry game is different than many game masters. My primary use is as metaphors for the themes I am working into the campaign. They can be used to create emotional responses such as fear, horror, disgust and anxiety.

Monsters are usually a novel tactical puzzle with a veneer of story covering up the mechanisms. This is not a bad thing. Kicking in doors and slaying whatever eldritch horror is occupying the chamber can be a lot of fun.

I take a lot of inspiration from Tolkien. His monsters were metaphors for the worst sins of humanity. Shelob wasn’t merely a giant sentient spider. She was a demon in spider form. She didn’t control insects. She wove death and hated the light. Ungoliant consumed the trees of the Valar, destroying the light of their creation. The spiders of Mirkwood made…

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PlayStation Plus Updates September’s Free Games for Members

It’s that time of month where Sony unveils their monthly free games for their PS Plus members. If you do not already know, PS Plus members gain access to free games monthly, in which they can download and play these games anytime while being subscribed to PS Plus. For this September we see three titles.

PlayStation 4 users will gain access to Hitman 2 and Predator Hunting Grounds.

  • Hitman 2 is a stealth game developed by IO Interactive, published by Warner Bros. Interactive Entertainment, and released in 2018. It has a Metacritic score of 82.
  • Predator Hunting Groundsis a first-person shooter multiplayer developed by IllFonic, published by Sony Interactive Entertainment, and released in 2020. It has a Metacritic score of 56.

For PlayStation 5 users you will receive Overcooked: All You Can Eat.

  • Overcooked: All You Can Eat is a culinary compilation multiplayer developed by Ghost Town…

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Boss Rush Banter: Should Modern RPGs Eschew Grinding?

I spent a lot of time in my childhood playing Final Fantasy IV and Final Fantasy VI on the SNES. I would play these games over and over again–spending hours just wandering around and battling enemies to grind my team up to be super powerful. Although it took a lot of time and effort, when my level 99 characters were crushing bosses, it was all worth it. However, in the current era, many RPG series that had previously used grinding for experience have moved away from the practice. Does grinding still have a place in modern RPGs?

When discussing video games, the term grinding is generally used to mean repetitive actions the player takes to gain items, experience, or cosmetics. While grinding exists in many different genres and can take many different forms, the focus of this piece is on grinding for experience in RPGs, and in particular JRPGs.  


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Syp’s gaming goals for September 2021

Bio Break

August 2021 in review

  • The August that I was hoping to have earlier this summer didn’t end up materializing. We didn’t get either New World or Book of Travels, both of which got delayed. So it didn’t become that “new MMO” month that I was anticipating.
  • Yet it was a satisfying month overall. I did enjoy a couple of days of questing in Ship of Heroes’ mission beta. It still needs a lot more work, but I kind of really liked it and am looking forward to when this becomes a finished product.
  • Lord of the Rings Online got a whole lot of time from me. I bounced around hard between characters trying to figure out on a direction before settling on focusing my efforts on my Captain. I started getting her through Mordor while doing the summer festival and missions to get some levels under her belt.
  • I definitely…

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