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Stephen Wendell
Paris, France
In 2018, Stephen Wendell followed his great grandfather from Tennessee to the Great War in France a hundred years before. He recounts his ancestor's war stories in A VERY MUDDY PLACE. Stephen is also the author of the Littlelot series of children's books.
Recent Activity
In three issues of The Strategic Review, Gary Gygax describes the spear and its kin: the javelin, lance, and pike, for fantasy adventure gamers (Vol. 1, No. 1, 1975) and details several other pole arms, giving use, length, and a drawing of each (Nos. 2, 4). He revisits the topic... Continue reading
Posted 2 days ago at DONJON LANDS
In his Letter from the Editor (L’avant garde #46, June 1982), Steve Ruskin introduces the following article with a backhanded compliment: “And it looks like our young friends of the Pandemonium Society are progressing (or regressing) into wargaming. This time Phenster & Co. have dug up Gygax’s pole arms treatise... Continue reading
Posted Jun 21, 2022 at DONJON LANDS
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This month makes 40 years I’ve been playing D&D. Last year I wrote down all the stories from my earliest experiences with the game, playing Holmes Basic with my best friend. I am now at work editing the anecdotes together into a short book. Blue Flame, Tiny Stars will be... Continue reading
Posted Jun 14, 2022 at DONJON LANDS
I’m with you, Michael. Target Has Precedence feels more elegant than pounding on the modifiers.
Toggle Commented Jun 13, 2022 on Missile Fire into Melee at DONJON LANDS
1 reply
Are you a military veteran? Are you also a Game Master? Would you like to run role-playing games as a therapeutic tool for fellow veterans suffering from psychological trauma? Game Therapy UK is starting a pilot project you might find interesting. It’s a volunteer project. They are to offer several... Continue reading
Posted Jun 7, 2022 at Stephen Wendell
In “Shooting into a Fight” (L’avant garde #39), Phenster addresses an age-old dilemma in D&D combat. I cover how the problem is handled in early editions and give my own solution in “Firing into Melee.” On first reading, Phenster’s description of the “Friendly Fire Number” may seem complex. I attempt... Continue reading
Posted Jun 7, 2022 at DONJON LANDS
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A friend asked me for my mailing address. He wanted to send me something. Strange how we don’t generally have folks’ mailing addresses anymore. Trans-Atlantic shipping can take a while these days, and, wonder as I might, I couldn’t think of what he might be sending. So I waited. My... Continue reading
Posted Jun 3, 2022 at DONJON LANDS
Are you a military veteran? Are you also a Game Master? Would you like to run role-playing games as a therapeutic tool for fellow veterans suffering from psychological trauma? Game Therapy UK is starting a pilot project you might find interesting. It’s a volunteer project. They are to offer several... Continue reading
Posted May 31, 2022 at DONJON LANDS
Old friends doing new things! My Favorite Character is a literary podcast, in which Jennifer Spirko gets together with creative types to talk about the heroes and anti-heroes they love most. In the first episode, Jennifer interviews one of my own favorite characters, her husband Rob, who is—I’m on record... Continue reading
Posted May 28, 2022 at Stephen Wendell
Shooting Into a Fight by Phenster Sometimes you want to shoot a missile weapon into a melee combat. The rulebook says that you CAN'T do it in one place and that you CAN do it in another place but with a chance you might hit a friendly character. Plus, friendlies... Continue reading
Posted May 24, 2022 at DONJON LANDS
“All our adventures together make a campaign. We all made up campaign names that we use for our heroes and wizards.” —“Welcome to PARADIGM LOST,” Paradigm Lost #1 (April 1980) In the Pandemonium Society, a player usually invents his or her own “campaign name,” which is a nickname used for... Continue reading
Posted May 17, 2022 at DONJON LANDS
These rules are paraphrased from Phenster’s article “Riposte Like Fencing,” L’avant garde #43 (February 1982). Like Hazard says, the parry rule in Holmes (21) is useful if the opponent is invulnerable to your weapon. We might also employ the parry when we have to fill a hole in the skirmish... Continue reading
Posted May 10, 2022 at DONJON LANDS
“Information about the previous culture may require research…. Information that may be learned through this method is noted in each room accompanied by the domain(s) to which it belongs: arcane, history, or religion.” —from “2A. An Unheeded Warning,” heading Common Knowledge and Research Institutions Characters may conduct research at the... Continue reading
Posted May 6, 2022 at DONJON LANDS
Skipping around a bit, I’m thinking to address all Phenster’s articles dealing with combat first, in some kind of order that builds on previous house rules. The following comes from L’avant garde #43 (February 1982). Riposte Like Fencing by Phenster We were talking about how useless it is to parry... Continue reading
Posted May 3, 2022 at DONJON LANDS
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Created by Thawt and revealed to the priesthood by Amon, Sacred Signs constitute a pictographic script. Similar to Egyptian hieroglyphs, each sign or glyph represents a discreet thing, action, or idea or serves to clarify another sign. Sacred Signs are carved or painted on stone, painted on papyrus, and pressed... Continue reading
Posted Apr 29, 2022 at DONJON LANDS
By neglecting some rules in “Rules the Pandemonium Society Doesn’t Use,” Phenster obliges us to clarify. He also adds a house rule for acting later in a melee round. To all that, I add multiple attacks per round, suggested by a L’avant garde reader in response to Phenster’s earlier article.... Continue reading
Posted Apr 26, 2022 at DONJON LANDS
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This one taunts me. It crouches on one knee at the bottom of the “Ideas” drawer. When I open the drawer, it gawks at me. Its protuberant eyes—perfect circles, all whites—fix me with unmoving stare. Dark blue lips, segmented like two worms, rim the inky hole mouth. It has not... Continue reading
Posted Apr 22, 2022 at DONJON LANDS
Following Phenster’s first house-rules article “Pandemonium Society House Rules,” two letters in L’avant garde #33 (September 1980) show a mixed reception. Giving his home address, Keith Menard of Garden City, KS, admonishes, “Munchkins should not play with rules. They might hurt themselves.” Menard then offers to send his old copy... Continue reading
Posted Apr 19, 2022 at DONJON LANDS
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Herein is described a sublevel of the Deep Halls, the site of our dungeon exploration in Dreaming Amon-Gorloth. Numbered encounter areas refer to the keyed map in “Keys to the Deep Halls.” During the war, Menturoc, Ardent Champion1 of the Solar Goddess, and the Nine Companions led an assault on... Continue reading
Posted Apr 15, 2022 at DONJON LANDS
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I hesitate to put into words what I mean by “the Holmes spirit.” Certain qualities of the brief rules booklet set it apart from other D&D editions. Holmes’s simplicity is one. Keeping—or rather reinstating—d6 weapon damage from OD&D is an example. Another example, while some might use the term incomplete,... Continue reading
Posted Apr 12, 2022 at DONJON LANDS
YouTuber Daniel Norton of Bandit’s Keep talks in his latest episode about how Dungeon Masters can use solo play to improve their games. In his affable style, Daniel covers several topics that apply to any D&D edition and probably to most other role-playing games. I haven’t much to add to... Continue reading
Posted Apr 11, 2022 at DONJON LANDS
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Dreaming Amon-Gorloth is a dungeon and wilderness adventure campaign for a party of six to ten characters, levels 1 to 9, intended for use with any old-school edition of the world’s most superlative role-playing game. As Melqart and the Company of the Blind Seer explore the Deep Halls, I make... Continue reading
Posted Apr 8, 2022 at DONJON LANDS
With his first house-rules article (see “Pandemonium Society House Rules”), Phenster attacks the most salient problem in the Holmes edition. In a world where all weapons do the same damage and light weapons attack twice per round, daggers get a lot of use, and we wonder why swords—or indeed any... Continue reading
Posted Apr 5, 2022 at DONJON LANDS
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Herein is described a sublevel of the Deep Halls, the site of our dungeon exploration in Dreaming Amon-Gorloth. Numbered encounter areas refer to the keyed map in “Keys to the Deep Halls.” A century ago, after the war in which the Radiant Host eradicated the dreaming priests, the nomarch ordered... Continue reading
Posted Mar 31, 2022 at DONJON LANDS
In “Pandemonium Society House Rules,” L’avant garde #32, Phenster takes offense at the accusation that the Pandemonium Society plays an unsophisticated children’s game. As proof their D&D game is “plenty sophisticated,” he gives examples of the group’s house rules. Many more house rules follow in later issues of L’avant garde.... Continue reading
Posted Mar 29, 2022 at DONJON LANDS