Romancing Little China

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Surprised I’ve not posted about this yet.

Two of my favourited films from the ’80s, Romancing the Stone (’84) and Big Trouble in Little China (’86) are great fun to watch at the same time.


There’s quite a bit of synergy in them even though they’re not quite the same length. The weirdest bit of simultaneity though is this:

a woman being kidnapped at high speed in a red sports car driven by young punks.

That is weird, right?

There’s also a really good downpour on both screens at one point, but that’s not so very strange.

I loves me the two Jacks, Colton and Burton. Hell, I’d watch that movie!

Sinister Pane

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I wrote this monster for the Lamentations ref book. But, sad face, it was rejected. So here, it’s yours:

Sinister Pane

Armor 12, Move 0′, 9 Hit Dice, 27hp, see text for attack information, Morale 12.

Brought into being by centuries of religious and political bigotry, scheming and murder, this window from Prague causes all who see through it to view the world with a jaundiced eye that looks askance.

Whenever a person looks from the room at a passerby outside, the Sinister Pane dredges up and projects all of the viewer’s negative thoughts and reactions onto the subject. “Look at that idiot.” “Cheap bastard.” “That is an ugly face.” “I hear he tortures animals.” “Bloody peasant!” Etc., etc. All that disdain, mistrust, envy and rumour – however slight or fleeting – are spewed upon the subject with the effect of a Bestow Curse spell as cast by a 9th Level Cleric. The subject is allowed a saving throw versus Magic.

These curses will be minor hamperings, hindrances and ailments to be sure, but eventually everyone in town will be afflicted with one. And the settlement itself will develop a dark reputation as more and more travelers to and through the area are affected.

And whenever a person outside looks through the window at someone inside, the viewer will be affected by a False Seeing spell as cast by a 9th Level Cleric. The viewer is allowed a saving throw versus Magic. If the saving throw is failed, everything about the person in the room will be seen in the worst possible light. Capable leaders become incompetent schemers, honest priests become depraved manipulators, conscientious merchants become conniving short-changers.

A creeping pall of misfortune and ill will spreads around the Sinister Pane’s aspect. The window is an artist. It relishes the slow twist of corruption it weaves through a community, pouring one person’s poison onto another, and his onto hers, and on and again, never ceasing. It’s willing to perpetrate its torment upon a town for decades if it will lead ultimately to an explosion of chaos, rage and violence. It experiences ecstatic joy the very moment someone is thrown through itself to die in the street below. That is precisely the event it works tirelessly toward.

If somehow the nature of the Sinister Pane is discovered and the window is attacked it will defend itself. Once per round it will lift a handful of minor curses from persons not present and – with this flow of fresh hate – smite one of its attackers with a Bestow Curse spell as cast by a 9th Level Cleric. Madness is a preferred instrument in these moments because bedlam ensues. By inflicting insanities the Sinister Pane can turn its attackers upon themselves. The target of the spell is allowed a saving throw versus Magic. Though it does adore an angry mob, the Pane will never resort to such heavy-handed display unless and until it is physically assaulted; it much prefers the slow-simmer of a subtle years-long game.

The Sinister Pane cannot be harmed by forces of nature. Fire, water, stone, wood, lightning, earthquakes, etc. cause it to no more than shiver in its frame.

It takes half damage from metal weapons but it suffers double damage from unarmoured strikes (i.e., bare-knuckle punches). Anyone hitting the Pane bare-handed takes damage to their fingers equal to what they cause the window.

The Sinister Pane can be destroyed instantly and forever by someone voluntarily and willingly self-defenestrating through it. This act of clear-minded self-sacrifice will also immediately lift all curses and wipe away all false seeings caused by the Pane.

If reduced to zero hit points the Pane will shatter. But unless destroyed by self-defenestration all its curses and false seeings will remain in effect and it will reform and relocate over the next 6d6 years.

[I also posted it here among a number of other people’s entries.]

Cutthroat Mummy

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My latest foray:


There are a number of cool things about watching this pair of flicks at the same time:

1. They’re the negative — role-wise — of each other: Cutthroat Island has a power woman and bookish man, The Mummy has a power man and bookish woman;

2. They’re the same length;

3. The palettes are often similar;

4. Sailing ships and camels, the ships of the desert (my wife groaned at that one);

5. This one I wondered about in advance and was happy when it did occur: both films have the woman rescuing the man from prison at the same time, with nearly identical palettes;

6. Mayhem, mayhem, mayhem;

7. Crazy piles of golden treasure; and, my fave …

8. Both villains die at the same time, traveling backward left to right across the screen to land in water. For reels!

And now, because we truly live in blessed times, I find this on the interweb:


This will inevitably end up happening on my game table, so I should probably get a copy. You know, for “research.”

Song of the Petal Throne

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It’s my ongoing mission to make every figure in my collection from every game in my collection playable in Song of Blades and Heroes and Mutants and Death Ray Guns.

Here I take on Empire of the Petal Throne.

I got my rules here. I’ve looked them over a number of times and find them fascinating.

Despite the fact I’ve never played EPT, I wrote my Song-of conversion doc because I’ve got a dozen or so of these bad boys:


Those aren’t mine. That sweet paint was done by shadowking; you can find more of his four-plexes here.

And you can go and buy some for yourself here (scroll down about two thirds).

Before I could write a tight conversion doc I had to clean up a couple of minor inconsistencies in the basic character creation process. Find that bit of correction here.

And here is the conversion doc in all its Ever-Glorious, well, glory: Song_of_the_Petal_Throne01

P.S.: If you’re looking for some ongoing Tékumel coolness check out The Excellent Travelling Volume.

P.P.S.: Interestingly enough I just got around to reading the latest issue of Heavy Metal — #275 — which I picked up at Rx (love those guys!) last Wednesday.


I was drawn to it by “Cyberpunk meets Magic Realism” — two of my favourite genres of decades past — and the cover illo, both of which say Tékumel to me.

[EDIT: By way of a final test I ran the Patrons from Issue No. 1 of The Excellent Travelling Volume through Song of the Petal Throne. They turned out very well indeed.]