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Subject:Even cheaper windows etc.
Time:02:38 pm
Software Geeks, who sold me the Windows 10 Pro upgrade a while back, have a sale today and tomorrow with 10% off

http://softwaregeeks.co.uk

USE PROMOTIONAL CODE PRIME20

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Subject:Another RPG Bundle Offer - Savage Heroes
Time:12:48 am
 This is an offer of four game settings for the Savage Worlds RPG:

https://bundleofholding.com/presents/SavageHeroes

Pinnacle Entertainment has run many successful Kickstarter campaigns to fund new settings for its fast-furious-fun Savage Worlds system. Over time Pinnacle has refined these crowdfunding efforts to a fine edge. Each campaign funds a well-conceived package of core setting book, pregen characters, adventure, play aids, and freebies. This offer presents four wide-ranging settings of savage heroism, licensed from three long-running comics series and a Robert E. Howard pulp classic. The space-opera comic Fear Agent™ by Rick Remender and Tony Moore spawned an RPG setting funded in a March 2017 Kickstarter campaign that ran in parallel with another Kickstarter adapting The Goon,™ the zombie-robot-changeling noir comic by Eric Powell. Earlier, Pinnacle ran a May 2015 Kickstarter to fund its RPG adaptation of the Weird West comic The Sixth Gun® by Cullen Bunn & Brian Hurtt. Most venerable of these settings (and predating Kickstarter's rise) is the 2007 The Savage World of Solomon Kane, based on Robert E. Howard's wandering Puritan monster-hunter.

We provide each ebook complete in .PDF (Portable Document Format). Like all Bundle of Holding titles, these books have NO DRM (Digital Restrictions Management), and our customers are entitled to move them freely among all their ereaders.

Ten percent of each purchase (after gateway fees) goes to this offer's designated charity, the National Center for Missing and Exploited Children.

The total retail value of the titles in this offer is US$156. Customers who pay just US$19.99 get all five titles in our Corebook Collection (retail value $75) as DRM-free .PDF ebooks:

  • Fear Agent™: A pulp space odyssey with horror, military action, old-fashioned ass-kicking, and revenge, not necessarily in that order.
  • The Goon™: Zombie-robot-changeling noir with Franky, Doc Alloy, Fishy Pete, Merle the Werewolf, and the rest of the Goon's tough-as-leather crime syndicate.
  • The Sixth Gun®: Cutthroat Weird-West historical fantasy about six otherworldly pistols and the rogues, gadflies, and scoundrels who seek them.
  • The Savage World of Solomon Kane: Robert E. Howard's Puritan wanderer has passed the torch to a new group of holy warriors who fight globe-spanning evil.
  • And as we often do, we include the Savage Worlds Deluxe Explorer's Edition rulebook.

Those who pay more than the threshold (average) price, which is set at $29.99 to start, also get our entire Expanded Collection with fifteen more titles worth an additional $81, including basically all the important supplements for all these games:

Savage worlds is a good system with a lot of fans; it's not my personal choice for the sort of settings mentioned here, that tends to be Call of Cthulhu or my own Forgotten Futures RPG, but that's simply because I have hundreds of hours experience running both games, which makes it a lot easier to keep things running smoothly. I'm happy to recommend this bundle as a very good selection for Savage Worlds, but some of it has appeared in previous bundles - if you already have a lot, it may be an expensive way to fill in the gaps.

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Subject:Great Crom! Two more RPG bundle offers - Conan RPG
Time:08:24 pm
Two bundles for "Conan: Adventures in an Age Undreamed Of", an RPG based on Robert E. Howard's novels:

Conan Essentials

https://bundleofholding.com/presents/ConanEssentials


"This is the first of two offers now in progress featuring Robert E. Howard's Conan: Adventures in an Age Undreamed Of from Modiphius Entertainment, the 2d20 RPG based on the legendary sword-and-sorcery creations of Robert E. Howard. This Conan Essentials Bundle has the core rulebook and essential supplements; if you're new to the game, start here. The companion offer, Conan Hyborian Ways, adds campaign sourcebooks and kingdom guides that let you follow in Conan's footsteps across the Hyborian Age lands.

The Modiphius game was funded in a fabulous February 2016 Kickstarter that was the company's most successful campaign to date (4,352 backers, £436,755). Using the cinematic 2d20 rules system (Infinity, Mutant Chronicles), Conan is based entirely on Howard's canonical stories, vetted by respected Howard authorities, and illustrated by renowned Conan artists.

We provide each ebook complete in .PDF (Portable Document Format). Like all Bundle of Holding titles, these books have NO DRM (Digital Restrictions Management), and our customers are entitled to move them freely among all their ereaders.

Ten percent of each payment (after gateway fees) for these two Conan offers will be donated to the charity chosen by Chris Birch of Modiphius Entertainment, Vision Rescue. "Our goal is to raise US$20,000 for a Vision Rescue Bus, one of the projects the charity uses to help combat child slavery in India."

The total retail value of the titles in this offer is US$96. Customers who pay just US$9.95 get all three titles in this offer's Starter Collection (retail value $38) as DRM-free .PDF ebooks, including the complete 432-page Conan: Adventures in an Age Undreamed Of core rulebook (retail price $25), the Conan GM Screen and Gamemaster Toolkit (retail $10), and the Map Bundle (retail $3).

Those who pay more than this offer's threshold (average) price, which is set at $24.95 to start, also get this offer's entire Bonus Collection with four more supplements worth an additional $58, including the location guide Ancient Ruins & Cursed Cities (retail $15), the sorcery sourcebook The Book of Skelos (retail $13), the bestiary Horrors of the Hyborian Age (retail price $15), and Nameless Cults (retail $15). Together they're everything you need for a complete Hyborian campaign.



Conan Hyborian Ways

https://bundleofholding.com/presents/HyborianWays

This is the second of two offers now in progress featuring Robert E. Howard's Conan: Adventures in an Age Undreamed Of from Modiphius Entertainment, the 2d20 RPG based on the legendary sword-and-sorcery creations of Robert E. Howard. This companion offer, Hyborian Ways, adds location books and campaign frameworks that let you crush Hyborian thrones beneath your sandalled heels.

The total retail value of the titles in this offer is US$84. Customers who pay just US$9.95 get all three supplements and adventures in this offer's Starter Collection (retail value $39) as DRM-free .PDF ebooks, including Conan the Barbarian (retail price $15), Conan the Thief (retail $13), and the adventure collection Jeweled Thrones of the Earth (retail $11).

Those who pay more than this offer's threshold (average) price, which is set at $19.95 to start, also get this offer's entire Bonus Collection with three more supplements worth an additional $45, including Conan the Brigand (retail price $15), Conan the Pirate (retail $15), and Conan the Mercenary (retail $15).


This isn't really something that interests me, since I've never been a big fan of the character, but if you really want to play a barbarian hero and don't mind all the Arnie jokes it's probably a pretty good choice.
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Subject:Another RPG bundle offer - Colonial Gothic
Time:06:09 pm
This is the third annual offering of this system for Independence Day, adding one new supplement that will be available free to anyone who bought the bundle in previous years:

https://bundleofholding.com/presents/Colonial2019

Revived for a second time from July 2017, this offer (a tie-in to the American Independence Day holiday, with Canada Day in recent memory) once again presents the Third Edition of the supernatural flintlock-horror tabletop roleplaying game Colonial Gothic from Rogue Games. Uncover the secret history of America's 18th-Century frontier, where monsters stalk the woods and ghosts haunt every sleepy hollow. This bargain-priced offer presents much of the Colonial Gothic gaming line -- everything you need for a complete campaign of magic and mayhem in the shadows of early America. For this revival, CG designer Richard Iorio has generously added his new, just-published RPG of magical innocence, Fairyland -- and every previous purchaser of this Colonial Gothic Bundle during its two previous runs also receives the new game automatically on their Wizard's Cabinet download page.

We provide each ebook complete in .PDF (Portable Document Format). Like all Bundle of Holding titles, these books have NO DRM (Digital Restrictions Management), and our customers are entitled to move them freely among all their ereaders.

Ten percent of each purchase (after gateway fees) goes to the charity selected by Rogue Games owner Richard Iorio II, the American Foundation for Suicide Prevention. "Over the weekend of June 12-14, 2015, I lost three friends in succession to suicide," Richard writes. "The American Foundation for Suicide Prevention helps you understand why this event happened and, more important, they offer comfort. They cannot take away the pain, but they can help you deal with it." Richard wrote about the AFSP on the Beyond the Bundle blog: "The Colonial Gothic Bundle and the ASFP".

The total retail value of the titles in this offer is US$129. Customers who pay just US$7.95 get all eight titles in our Starter Collection (retail value $52) as DRM-free .PDF ebooks, including the complete Colonial Gothic Third Edition rulebook; three essential supplements (The Player Companion, Gamemaster, and Adventure); the adventures The Landlord's Daughter and The Legend of Sleepy Hollow; the Colonial Gothic Gamemaster Screen; and the 174-page Beginnings adventure that kicks off the Flames of Freedom campaign about the American Revolution.

Those who pay more than this offer's threshold (average) price, which is set at $17.76 to start (hah!), also get this offer's entire Bonus Collection with ten more titles worth an additional $77:


Last time round I said:

I think that the problem here for me is that it's drawing on some very USA-specific tropes that don't have the same resonance for players outside the USA. Repeatedly offering it around Independence Day highlights this even more - it's just not a big deal to me, if I was still working it wouldn't even be a holiday. This is one where a big part of your varying mileage will depend on your country, origin, patriotism, etc., and for fairly obvious reasons I'm really not the target audience.

Having said that, I think that it's pretty good value, and if you're into this sort of thing it may well be something you want.


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Subject:Forgotten Futures web site down
Time:11:24 am
 The server that handles my web site and umpteen thousand others is currently down for technical problems - hopefully back on line soonish. 

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Subject:Fast service
Time:11:36 pm
 The July premium bond results are already visible on the NS&I web site. Which is odd because they don't usually appear until just after midnight on the SECOND working day of the month. Maybe they forgot Daylight Savings or something...

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Subject:Another RPG bundle offer - Tiny Dungeon
Time:09:17 pm
A system I really don't know at all, but aiming to simplify game play by using minimal rules and only six-sided dice, which is possibly a point in its favour:

https://bundleofholding.com/presents/TinyDungeon

This offer presents the stripped-down and streamlined TinyD6 universal rules set from Gallant Knight Games. Funded in a September 2017 Kickstarter campaign, the Tiny Dungeon RPG uses the minimalist TinyD6 mechanics for a fast-playing fantasy game that's easy to learn and teach, and ideal for convention games, one-shots, and novice roleplayers. Player characters -- heroic adventurers, daring treasure hunters, imperious magicians, and more -- have statistics that fit on a 3x5" notecard. Designer Alan Bahr has adapted the TinyD6 rules for standalone games in other genres. This bargain-priced offer gives you the current editions of Tiny Dungeon, Wastelands, Frontiers, and Mecha (tiny, uhhh, giant robots?), along with a tiny boatload of freebies.

We provide each ebook complete in .PDF (Portable Document Format). Like all Bundle of Holding titles, these books have NO DRM (Digital Restrictions Management), and our customers are entitled to move them freely among all their ereaders.

Ten percent of each purchase (after gateway fees) goes to this offer's designated charity, Doctors Without Borders.

The total retail value of the titles in this offer is US$98. Customers who pay a tiny US$9.95 get all five titles in our Dungeon Collection (retail value $37) as DRM-free .PDF ebooks, including the complete Tiny Dungeon 2E core rulebook (previously presented in last year's Indie Cornucopia 6), plus the free quickstart set Mad Magicks of the Turned God and the Quickstart Characters; the Tiny Dungeon Player's Guide; the print-and-cut Bestiary Deck and Treasure Deck; and the GM Screen.

Those who pay more than the threshold (average) price, which is set at $19.95 to start, also get our entire Universe Collection with seven more TinyD6 games and supplements worth an additional $61, including the standalone RPG of streamlined post-apocalypse action Tiny Wastelands Revised Edition (plus its Enclave Deck and GM Screen); Tiny Frontiers Revised Edition (plus its Rules Expansion); the Frontiers supplement Mecha and Monsters (plus its Mecha and Monsters Pregen Cards); and, for summer-season lifeguarding action and bay-watching glamour, Beach Patrol (plus its free set of Quickstart Characters).


My impression, unfortunately, is that for a game that tries to minimalise game mechanics the rules etc. go fairly heavily into game-speak; and as is often the case revolve around combat to an extent that's a little worrying; there are other things that people might want to do in an RPG, and there really isn't a lot of support for them here. Having said that, it's no worse than many other RPGs in this respect, it's supporting one of my favorite charities, and it does have one wonderfully daft supplement, Beach Patrol, which has more emphasis on rescue than fighting. is VERY silly and has rules for things like running in slo-mo, shark-icanes, megalodons, etc. I'm not entirely sure that the rest of the package is worth it just to get this one supplement, so on the whole I'm going to have to say "OK if you really want this sort of thing, but not otherwise."
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Subject:Dialogue thought
Time:10:35 pm
I have to write dialogue for Remiel, former angel of Hope and now co-ruler of Hell.

https://sandman.fandom.com/wiki/Remiel

I'm working on the assumption that he is by now just a little bitter. Does it sound plausible that he might come across as Snape-like? With a touch of Metatron, of course, for the Rickman fans...

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Subject:Fanfic: Harry Potter and the Half-God Prince - part 20
Time:03:13 pm
Continuing my Harry Potter / DC crossover, previous parts on any of these archives:

On Fanfiction.net
On Archive of Our Own
On Twisting the Hellmouth

XX: Forgetting Your Magic WordsCollapse )

All thoughts, corrections, etc. welcome, hopefully before I post to archives.

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Subject:Livejournal?
Time:12:12 am
Anyone know why Livejournal is down?

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Subject:Another RPG bundle offer - Paranoia RED Clearance Bundle
Time:07:58 pm
This is a new version of one of my favorite games - Paranoia, the classic nightmare vision of life in a panopticon society controlled by an insane computer - no, not Facebook...


https://bundleofholding.com/presents/ParanoiaRCE

By far the most popular comedic RPG in tabletop gaming for 35 years, Paranoia has had several editions. Past Bundle offers presented the 2004 "XP" version from Mongoose Publishing (June 2014) and, in March 2016, the original 1980s West End Games adventures that made Paranoia great. In November 2014 Mongoose completed a spectacularly successful PARANOIA Kickstarter campaign that raised £217,517 from 4,380 patrons for a new, streamlined "RED Clearance Edition." This offer presents the RCE rulebooks, forms, play aids, and several adventures, including the updated YELLOW Clearance Black Box Blues, widely considered the funniest RPG scenario ever.

We provide each ebook complete in .PDF (Portable Document Format). Like all Bundle of Holding titles, these books have NO DRM (Digital Restrictions Management), and our customers are entitled to move them freely among all their ereaders.

Ten percent of each purchase (after gateway fees) goes to this offer's designated charity, Human Rights Watch.

The total retail value of the titles in this offer is US$118. Customers who pay just US$19.95 get all three titles in our Starter Collection (retail value $51) as DRM-free .PDF ebooks, including the complete Paranoia RED Clearance Edition (retail price $30); the newest Forms Pack (retail $9); and the Paranoia Interactive GM Screen (retail $12).

Those who pay more than the threshold (average) price, which is set at $32.95 to start, also get our entire Bonus Collection with four more titles worth an additional $67, including the introductory Guide to Alpha Complex (retail $15); Gareth Hanrahan's full-length mission Implausible Deniability (retail price $12) and Martin Dougherty's mission Robots of Unusual Size (retail $10); and the newly revised classic adventure by John M. Ford, The YELLOW Clearance Black Box Blues (Remastered) (retail $30).


This is an interesting one - some real efforts have been made to make the game accessible to new players. Unfortunately my impression, after a fairly short perusal, is that it is reducing actual content, the "look and feel" of the setting, and putting a lot of weight onto rules changes and the use of a lot of cards for things like "actions", "equipment" and so forth, which reduce compatibility with previous releases of the game. Incidentally, the cards come as a 40-page PDF printing as only three coloured cards per page, which will burn through a lot of ink/toner if you print them full sized!

Having said that, the Bonus Collection includes arguably the best Paranoia adventure ever, John M. Ford's The YELLOW Clearance Black Box Blues, and new material by some very good authors including Britain's James Wallis. I think it's well worth a look, especially if you don't own an earlier version of the system - this is a must-have, one of the classic RPGs, and anyone who tells you otherwise is obviously a mutant Commie traitor who deserves to be [REDACTED]
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Subject:City of Angles
Time:08:52 pm
I'm thinking about running a game at Dragonmeet in December (and possibly at the worldcon in August if I can get my act together in time) and think it's going to be a Flatland RPG scenario based loosely on Angel, simply because of the pun potential. As an idea of the levels to which I will happily sink, my stock female characters in this system are plucky girl reporter Lois Line, and femme fatale Lotte Linear...

The Flatland setting is an oppressive theocracy which suppresses evil non-Euclidean geometry (which I can sort of justify as allowing magic etc.) and most adventures tend to involve working around the priesthood, hunting out sinister irregular characters, and so forth. The more sides a character has, the higher their class - the exception is women, since all women are straight lines.

So, I will need names for our intrepid characters. I have names for the easy ones, but would appreciate suggestions for the rest:

Angel will be Angle, who appears to be a perfect equilateral triangle but actually unfolds to an irregular and very dangerous shape - also known as Angleloss, because of his old habit of eating the pointy bits off other flatlanders.

Spike will apparently be a fairly acute triangle (and thus fairly lower class) but also have the unfoldy bits - no need for a name change

Wesley will probably be a pentagon or hexagon, being upper class but not royal etc. It would be nice if the name related to his shape.

Cordelia
has to be a straight line. Again, a name related to geometry etc. would be nice.

Lorne and other demons will be irregular figures.

Fred is easy - she's a straight line, she'll be Thread

I'm not anticipating using any of the Buffy characters (Buffy, Willow, etc.), again they will be straight lines (as will all Slayers), but if anyone thinks of a good name it could be useful.

And I need a name for Wolfram and Hart that relates to geometry. All suggestions gratefully received.

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Subject:WTF?
Time:11:53 am
 WHY did Microsoft decide to make Windows 10 have no default printer unless you choose to change settings? Sure, if someone wants to print something they'll always want to use the same printer as last time, it's obvious... which is why I nearly tried to send a 3-page letter to a 25mm label printer last night. Grrrrrrr......

I can sort of understand this from the point of view of most people only having one printer, but this is Windows 10 pro, aimed at businesses, where there might be dozens of printers on a network. And I'm a home user with three printers; laser, an A3 inkjet, and the label printer.

It's easily fixed, in the end, once you go on line and find out how to do it, but it seems weird that that's the default.
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Subject:Two more RPG bundle offers - Advanced Fighting Fantasy
Time:07:08 pm
Two offers for Fighting Fantasy, the 1980s RPG that started out as a VERY popular "choose your own path" adventure book series - one a repeat, the other all-new.


Advanced Fighting Fantasy

https://bundleofholding.com/presents/2019AFF

This is a revival of the successful March 2017 offer featuring the Arion Games tabletop FRPG based on the phenomenally popular Fighting Fantasy gamebooks by Steve Jackson (the British one) and Ian Livingstone. Originally published in 1989 as Dungeoneer along with several expansions, now available in a handsome 2011 Second Edition, Advanced Fighting Fantasy is a complete RPG set in the classic Fighting Fantasy world, with a fast and adaptable system ideal for beginners and well suited to long-term campaigns. (For more about AFF and the Fighting Fantasy gamebooks, see the links below.)

This is one of two AFF offers now in progress. The all-new companion offer, More Fighting Fantasy, adds recent supplements, three of which debut in that offer.

We provide each ebook complete in .PDF (Portable Document Format). Like all Bundle of Holding titles, these books have NO DRM (Digital Restrictions Management), and our customers are entitled to move them freely among all their ereaders.

Ten percent of each payment (after gateway fees) goes to the charity chosen by Arion Games owner Graham Bottley, CoppaFeel. "My wife has been selected to be part of a team of 100 inspirational people trekking through the Himalayas in October to raise money for the breast cancer awareness charity CoppaFeel," says Graham.

The total retail value of the titles in this revival is US$99. Customers who pay just US$7.95 get all four titles in our Starter Collection (retail value $40) as DRM-free .PDF ebooks:

  • Advanced Fighting Fantasy Second Edition: Graham (Maelstrom) Bottley's completely rewritten RPG (2011) that revises Marc Gascoigne's original 1989 rules and adds lots of new material.
  • Heroes Companion: Mass battle rules, loads of new magical styles, wilderness creation, organizations, hirelings, and more.
  • The Sorcery Spell Book: The AFF version of the grimoire from Steve Jackson's four-book Sorcery! gamebook series (1983-85).
  • Out of the Pit: The original, indispensable monster book with 250 loathsome creatures.

Those who pay more than this revival's threshold (average) price, which is set at $19.95 to start, also get this offer's entire Bonus Collection with seven more titles worth an additional $59:

  • Crown of Kings - The Sorcery Campaign: A full-length campaign based on the Sorcery! series.
  • Beyond the Pit: Another 250 dangerous and intriguing denizens of Titan.
  • Titan: A 128-page sourcebook about the Fighting Fantasy world. Discover Titan's history, kingdoms, and great powers. Includes the Titan Map.
  • Blacksand: The City of Thieves, Port Blacksand, is home to rogues and pirates, and a destination for the bravest Heroes. This sourcebook includes rules for Firepowder weapons, naval sorcery and sailing. Includes the Blacksand Map.
  • The Warlock of Firetop Mountain: A full-length RPG scenario based on the first and most famous Fighting Fantasy gamebook.

More Fighting Fantasy

https://bundleofholding.com/presents/MoreAFF

This is one of two offers now in progress featuring the Advanced Fighting Fantasy RPG from Arion Games based on the bestselling Fighting Fantasy gamebooks by Steve Jackson (UK) and Ian Livingstone. This More Fighting Fantasy offer is a new companion to our revived March 2017 Advanced Fighting Fantasy Bundle now in progress. (If you're new to the game, start there first.) This companion offer presents recent supplements and adventures, three of which debut in this offer.

We provide each ebook complete in .PDF (Portable Document Format). Like all Bundle of Holding titles, these books have NO DRM (Digital Restrictions Management), and our customers are entitled to move them freely among all their ereaders.

Ten percent of each payment (after gateway fees) goes to the charity chosen by Arion Games owner Graham Bottley, CoppaFeel. "My wife has been selected to be part of a team of 100 inspirational people trekking through the Himalayas in October to raise money for the breast cancer awareness charity CoppaFeel," says Graham.

The total retail value of the titles in this offer is US$95. Customers who pay just US$9.95 get all six supplements in this offer's Starter Collection (retail value $38) as DRM-free .PDF ebooks, including Rough Guide to the Pit (retail price $8), Demons of Doom (retail $10), The Titan Herbal (retail $8), and three short AFF adventures (retail $4 apiece): Crooked King's Cup, The Floating Dungeon of Varrak Aslur, and Inn of Lost Hope.

Those who pay more than this offer's threshold (average) price, which is set at $19.95 to start, also get this offer's entire Bonus Collection with seven more titles worth an additional $57, including the brand-new, previously unreleased supplements Return to the Pit (retail price $12) and Travels in Arion (retail $8), plus a high-res Map of Arion (retail $3), The Bonus Collection also includes the complete Stellar Adventures line that takes Fighting Fantasy to the stars: the standalone core rulebook Stellar Adventures (retail $14), the new Weapons and Armor Catalogue (retail $8), the Starship Catalogue (retail $7), and the four-part adventure The Kaladarian Response (retail $5).

 

Fighting Fantasy resources


This is a game that doesn't really interest me much, but it has a good track record and still has fans. It's basically a 30-year-old system but it has simple rules, as befits its origins, and isn't nearly as clunky as many of its rivals from the same period. Having said that, some players may find it over-simplistic, especially when dealing with anything other than combat. If you bought the 2017 offering you'll probably want More Fighting Fantasy, if you don't have either you may want to think about whether you really want another fantasy game...

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Subject:A Remarkable Lack of Crises...
Time:02:03 am
It turns out that there are much cheaper sources of Windows 10, so I bit the bullet and managed to install Windows 10 Pro without any major trauma - for a couple of minutes I thought all my data had gone and would have to be restored from backups, fortunately it turned out I was logged in as admin rather than as me, and my own account was fine. I've updated my antivirus software, which so far has been the only incompatibility, but I expect it will take me a few days to sort out every last glitch.

Anyway, I got Windows 10 pro for £19.99 from Softwaregeeks.co.uk

and I've added a shell program to give it the Windows 7 look and feel - https://github.com/Open-Shell/Open-Shell-Menu/releases

Fingers crossed, so far it's looking good.

I probably will try Linux again too, but not until I've got everything sorted with Windows.

later - also reloaded all the old Windows games from
https://winaero.com/blog/windows-7-games-for-windows-10-anniversary-update-and-above/

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Subject:Another fanfic meme
Time:10:16 am
FzMeme from [personal profile] beer_good_foamy and others

Rules: List the first lines of your last 10 published stories. See if there are any patterns yourself, or have other people say what they notice.

Note, I've omitted sub-headings for e.g. multiple drabble stories and fake newspaper articles. Some of these are chapters from incomplete works, I've put them in the order of their last update date. Others are from multi-author round robins, I've put them in the order of when the chapter was published:

"That's odd," Hermione said their second night in the tent.

Aliens can sometimes see Marcie, and know there's something odd about her.

Vengeance demons cheat, so it isn't hard to find the perfect killer these morons want.

Three years ago I spent a week with Rachel Dawes, a newly-appointed ADA, while researching an article on the work of the DA's office.

While the first Terawatt toys were Barbie figures and initially manufactured without the permission of Driscoll Enterprises, as discussed in the previous chapter, the first range to be officially licensed from the outset was launched by Lego two years later.

I am Uatu, the Watcher for your world and race.

With a "Ho-ho-ho" Santa bought his sleigh down onto a roof in Sunnydale and checked his manifest.

"There are cave paintings that depict Soulmarks, and make it clear that they indicate love," said Harold Finch.

“Captain Harkness,” said the Queen, looking up from a battered red dispatch box as Jack entered her office in Buckingham Palace.

"If people can fly around and move things with their minds," said Adam Klaus, "what the hell am I going to do in the show?"

OK, I appear to like playing in other people's sandboxes - numbers 3,4,5 and 10 are from round robins or set in universes created by other fanfic authors. I appear to like to do a small infodump if possible. Otherwise your guess is as good as mine.


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Subject:Robolinux?
Time:07:34 pm
Does anyone have any experience of RoboLinux? It's a version aimed at Windows users which includes a virtual windows environment and claims to operate Windows software in a sandbox at something like full speed and with a lot of extra security. I've never heard of it before, but given the horrible cost of upgrading Windows before Windows 7 support ends I'm seriously looking at alternatives now.

https://www.robolinux.org/

https://www.robolinux.org/stealth-vm-info/

Any thoughts gratefully received.

later - having delved into it some more, this seems to be run by a one-man band and I get the impression that he's assuming a LOT more knowledge of Linux than I have, or is simply unable to explain how to do basic things like choose the correct version for my machine in a coherent way. I think I'm going to go back to looking at one of the mainstream Linux distros that has better support and documentation.

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Subject:Another RPG Bundle Offer - Tékumel
Time:07:05 pm
 One of the best early fantasy RPGs, an impressive feat of world building and labour of love by its creator, Prof. M.A. Barker

https://bundleofholding.com/presents/Tékumel

In the roleplaying hobby, home to the Forgotten Realms, Glorantha, Jorune, and other detailed settings (to say nothing of Middle-earth), Tékumel has no parallel. Tékumel is the tabletop peer of computer games like Dwarf Fortress and EVE Online -- not so much a pastime as a field of study, a discipline. Its lore beggars comparison. An entire room in the late Professor M.A.R. Barker's house holds the filing cabinets stuffed with setting minutiae he diligently compiled starting at age nine. For 70 years Barker mixed influences from Mesoamerica, Moghul India, Egypt, China, and Arab cultures to create a setting that is exotic, bizarre, intensely flavored, and incomparably intricate.

Though universally respected, Tékumel has always been a tough sell. There have been five different official Tékumel RPGs, all short-lived and rather haphazard. It's hard to communicate the setting's signal virtues. Many of its most devoted fans are the players privileged to participate first-hand in Barker's own long-running Thursday Night Group. And believe it, these fans are devout. They write monographs about Barker's pantheons and constructed languages; they build scale models of Tsolyáni temples; and they've set up the nonprofit Tékumel Foundation to protect Barker's works.

The Foundation kindly approved this offer that gathers .PDF image scans of the Empire of the Petal ThroneRPG (TSR, 1975; reprinted by Different Worlds, 1987), its successor Swords & Glory (Gamescience, 1983-84), plus maps, histories, and treatises for a bargain price. This thorough introduction to Barker's world showcases its attractions. And if you fall in love with Tékumel, as so many already have, a lifetime of exploration awaits you.

We provide each ebook complete in .PDF (Portable Document Format). Like all Bundle of Holding titles, these books have NO DRM (Digital Restrictions Management), and our customers are entitled to move them freely among all their ereaders. Most of these files are .PDF image scans of the original 1970s and '80s hardcopies. (This is most obvious in Empire of the Petal Throne and Swords & Glory, where Barker went through the printed pages and manually added accent marks.) The text is crisp and readable, but no optical character recognition has been applied.

Ten percent of each purchase (after gateway fees) goes to this offer's designated charity, the Wildlife Conservation Society.

The total retail value of the titles in this offer is US$87. Any gathering of published Tékumel material, no matter how comprehensive, is inherently a "starter collection" -- but customers who pay just US$6.95 get all six titles in this particular Starter Collection (retail value $37) as DRM-free .PDF ebooks, including the complete Empire of the Petal Throne rules set originally published by TSR (retail price $18) and its Five Empires maps (retail $8) and Jakálla map (retail $4); two lengthy histories, The Ever-Glorious Empire and Deeds of the Ever-Glorious; and a booklet of vignettes from Barker's own campaign, Notes From the Thursday Night Group.

Those who pay more than the threshold (average) price, which is set at $16.95 to start, also get our entire Bonus Collection with five more titles worth an additional $50:

 

TÉKUMEL RESOURCES

 

This is one that every GM should look at, as a setting it really is head and shoulders above everything else of its era. But I'd recommend adapting it to a rules set you prefer if it can handle the complex background. Recommended! Also posted at https://ffutures.dreamwidth.org/2164071.html, where there are comment count unavailable comments. Please comment here or there using OpenID.
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Subject:Another RPG bundle offer - Mutant Epoch
Time:09:42 pm
Another system I don't know at all; the premise is potentially interesting, but it looks like it's mostly used as a springboard for combat which isn't necessarily everybody's cup of tea.

https://bundleofholding.com/presents/MutantEpoch

"On the "How Gonzo is the Apocalypse?" spectrum from Twilight: 2000 to World of Synnibarr, William McAusland's The Mutant Epoch is wilder than octaNe but stops short of Rifts. In the 24th Century, after prolonged wars, disaster, and chaos, "pure stock" humans struggle amid devastated landscapes against robotic mecha, bioreplica clones, bio-genetically engineered warriors and beasts, and rising nations of mutants. In free towns (Old West-style forts) engineered humans mingle with mutants, free-willed android mercenaries, and self-aware robots to trade food, power cells, scrap material, and relic treasures. "Excavator" characters form dig teams to uncover precious loot in the ruins of the Ancients. Through force of arms these independent factions survive against barbaric skullocks, warmorts, moaners, reptili, and bipedal rats, not to mention the imperial aspirations of androids and Aberrationist mutants.

With its ruined wastelands, its gunbunny free towns and infested malls, its crazed patchwork cyborgs with tentacles and shoulder turrets, its Tyrannosapiens and Walking Mouthers (oh brother, those Mouthers), The Mutant Epoch projects a gleeful B-movie, Heavy Metal brio and, more surprising, a weird optimism. Sure, ya got yer Holy Purist Empire race wars and yer androids bent on extermination; of course ya got yer hordes of mutants with Acid Spit, Bladed Limbs, Crab Pincers, Doom Spheres, Earth Thumps, Foul Flesh, Gaseous Discharge (eww!), and so on; life is cheap and power cells are really expensive; but hey -- there's nowhere to go but up! "For many intelligent beings, especially mutant humans, it is the beginning of the greatest age in history," reads the description on the Outland Arts website. "The former dominance of the pure stocks has faded, and the opportunity to seize power and territory is within reach of the fit, the brave, and the adventurous. 'No guts, no glory,' shout the former slave races, as they make their forays into the ruins to claim their inheritance from careless, arrogant forefathers."

We provide each ebook complete in .PDF (Portable Document Format). Like all Bundle of Holding titles, these books have NO DRM (Digital Restrictions Management), and our customers are entitled to move them freely among all their ereaders.

Ten percent of each purchase (after gateway fees) goes to this offer's designated charity, Doctors Without Borders.

The total retail value of the titles in this offer is US$89. Customers who pay just US$7.95 get all three titles in our Starter Collection (retail value $40) as DRM-free .PDF ebooks, including the complete The Mutant Epoch Hub Rules (core rulebook, retail price $13), Crossroads Region Gazetteer (retail $17), and Mutant Bestiary One (retail $10).

Those who pay more than the threshold (average) price, which is set at $17.95 to start, also get our entire Bonus Collection with five more sourcebooks and scenarios worth an additional $49, including Pitford: Gateway to the Ruins (retail $11), the Creatures of the Apocalypse Codex (retail $10), the adventures The Mall of Doom (retail $8) and Beyond Red Crater (retail price $8), and Excavator Monthly Compendium (retail $12)."


What I was hoping for, when I saw a very brief synopsis, was something like an "archaeologists excavating the ruins of Earth and getting it comically wrong" setting along the lines of books like Motel of the Mysteries and Victorian/Edwardian "Ruins of London" stories. On a closer look it's more about looting, pillaging, and gratuitous violence. I'm afraid I'm going to have to give this one a thumbs down, but if you actually want to play a two-headed mutant with a giant sword replacing one hand this may be just what you're looking for, tastes differ...

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Subject:Two more RPG bundle offers - Fantasy Hero
Time:03:57 am
Two bundles for Fantasy Hero, the fantasy game derived from the Hero System (Champions etc.); one is rules etc., the other campaigns.

Fantasy Hero

https://bundleofholding.com/presents/FH5Essentials


This is the first of two offers now in progress featuring the HERO System Fourth and Fifth Edition Fantasy Hero lines from Hero Games, 1990-2009. This Fantasy Hero Classic Essentials collection has the core rulebook and key supplements. Its companion offer, Fantasy Hero Settings, adds campaign sourcebooks that work with any edition. The HERO System underpins Champions, The Super Roleplaying Game. These endlessly flexible rules work equally well with every kind of fantasy: high, low, urban, sword and sorcery, and everything you can imagine. As the blogger Blacksteel phrased it on Tower of Zenopus, "If you want a world where the Hawkmen from Flash Gordon, Warforged from Eberron, Frost Giants, the talking animals from Narnia, and the Horta from Star Trek are all playable races, then Fantasy Hero is the perfect game."

We provide each ebook complete in .PDF (Portable Document Format). Like all Bundle of Holding titles, these books have NO DRM (Digital Restrictions Management), and our customers are entitled to move them freely among all their ereaders.

Ten percent of each payment (after payment gateway fees) for these two Fantasy Hero offers will be evenly split between the two charities designated by Jason Walters of Hero Games, the Electronic Frontier Foundation and Down Home Ranch.

The total retail value of the titles in this offer is US$97. Customers who pay just US$7.95 get all five titles in this offer's Core Collection (retail value $44) as DRM-free .PDF ebooks, including the complete Fantasy Hero corebook for the HERO System's Fifth Edition; Fantasy Hero Grimoire and Grimoire II: Lost Magic; the bestiary Monsters, Minions, and Marauders; and the stripped-down HERO System Sidekick rules, in case you've misplaced your Fifth Edition rulebook.

Those who pay more than this offer's threshold (average) price, which is set at $17.95 to start, also get this offer's entire Bonus Collection with seven more titles worth an additional $53, including the three FH titles for HERO System Fourth Edition (the "Big Blue Book") -- the Fantasy Hero corebook, Fantasy Hero Companion, and Fantasy Hero Companion II -- plus Asian Bestiary I and Asian Bestiary II, as well as Fantasy Hero Battlegrounds and its associated Map Archive I - Martial Arts and Fantasy, which has floor plans for all the locations in Battlegrounds. (We previously presented the Archive in our original November 2013 HERO System Bundle.)

Fantasy Hero Settings

https://bundleofholding.com/presents/FH5Settings

This companion collection, Fantasy Hero Settings, presents a wide-ranging assortment of supplements and campaign books that adapt the all-encompassing FH system to many kinds of fantasy -- high, low, urban, Celtic, and sword-and-sorcery. Though published for Fifth Edition, these settings work with any edition of the HERO System rules.

We provide each ebook complete in .PDF (Portable Document Format). Like all Bundle of Holding titles, these books have NO DRM (Digital Restrictions Management), and our customers are entitled to move them freely among all their ereaders.

Ten percent of each payment (after payment gateway fees) for these two Fantasy Hero offers will be evenly split between the two charities designated by Jason Walters of Hero Games, the Electronic Frontier Foundation and Down Home Ranch.

The total retail value of the titles in this offer is US$79. Customers who pay just US$7.95 get all four supplements in this offer's Starter Collection (retail value $39) as DRM-free .PDF ebooks, including Urban Fantasy Hero; Nobles, Knights, and Necromancers; The Book of Dragons; and Enchanted Items.

Those who pay more than this offer's threshold (average) price, which is set at $14.95 to start, also get this offer's entire Bonus Collection with four campaign setting sourcebooks worth an additional $40, including The Turakian Age, The Valdorian Age, The Atlantean Age, and Tuala Morn.


Fantasy Hero has never been my favorite fantasy RPG because a lot of the things that make the Hero System good for superhero games make it fairly clunky for fantasy games - most notably, combat is complicated and fairly slow, and it's fairly difficult to do low-power things in it without getting ridiculously unbalanced. But it works, and there's a fair amount of material for it out there - if you're already using the Hero System for other things or want to mine it for ideas it's certainly worth a look, I just don't think it's anything like a good entry level system. But this is a cheap way of getting it if you want it - recommended on value, but it you're simply looking for a playable fantasy system there's much better options out there.
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Subject:UK Euro Election results
Time:09:24 pm
https://www.bbc.co.uk/news/topics/crjeqkdevwvt/the-uks-european-elections-2019

The Brexit party has gone from zero to 29 MEPs
Lib Dems from 1 to 16
Labour from 20 to 10
Greens from 3 to 7
Conservatives from 19 to 4
SNP from 2 to 3
Plaid Cymru, Sinn Féin, and Democratic Unionist Party all stay on 1 each
The Alliance Party from zero to 1
Change UK and the Ulster Unionists stayed on zero.
UKIP dropped from 24 to zero.

However, on the Brexit issue things are a lot less clear-cut - the breakdown on actual number of MEPs vote share is
Anti-Brexit - 40.4%
Pro-Brexit - 34.9%
Conservatives - 9.1%
Labour - 14.1%

I have no idea what any of this suggests about the way ahead in British politics. My guess is that things stay as a total mess...



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Subject:So farewell then...
Time:10:31 am
 Theresa May is apparently resigning on 7th June, another victim of the Curse of Brexit. She might have been a reasonable PM if she hadn't taken on that poisoned chalice, but I suspect not, she probably would have blown it one way or another. She had a lot of Thatcher and Blair's least desirable traits, most notably a total lack of empathy.

Meanwhile the Torygraph is claiming that the Brexit party has scored big-time in the Euro elections. Sincerely hoping they're wrong. Won't know until Sunday at the earliest.
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Subject:And yet another RPG Bundle Offer - Corporation
Time:06:46 pm
The third in less than a week, and a system I don't know at all:

https://bundleofholding.com/presents/CorporationRPG

This new offer features Corporation, the Brutal Games RPG of corporate war in a future dystopia. Centuries from now, five monolithic Corporations dominate the world. From grimy alleys to trading floors to sumptuous hotels, biomechanically augmented Agents travel the world's Spire cities on clandestine missions. Their enemies: rival Agents, war machines, corporate telepaths, Shi Yukiro assassins, and the augmentation addicts of the Cult of Machina. Corporation's simple and versatile rules framework, a straightforward 2D10 Stat+Skill roll-under system, lets superhuman Agents mow down opponents in high-caliber gunfights right out of The Fifth Element, Equilibrium, Ghost in the Shell, and The Matrix.

(Learn more and get free downloads at the Corporation RPG website< and the Corporation blog. Facebook -- Twitter.)

We provide each ebook complete in .PDF (Portable Document Format). Like all Bundle of Holding titles, these books have NO DRM (Digital Restrictions Management), and our customers are entitled to move them freely among all their ereaders.

Ten percent of each purchase (after gateway fees) goes to the charity designated by Corporation designer James Norbury, Cats Protection.

The total retail value of the titles in this offer is US$127.50. Customers who pay just US$9.95 get all five titles in our Starter Collection (retail value $52.50) as DRM-free .PDF ebooks, including the complete Corporation core rulebook (along with the Corporation World Map and the free introductory adventure Grab the Cache); the essential equipment book, Machines of War; The Eastern Bank, about the Asian territory where the five Corporations compete in uneasy peace; and the Corporation GM Screen.

Those who pay more than the threshold (average) price, which is set at $22.95 to start, also get our entire Bonus Collection with eight more titles worth an additional $75:


This seems to be boldly going where a LOT of RPGs have gone before, most notably Cyberpunk, GURPS Cyberpunk, and Shadowrun - in fact it sounds a lot like Shadowrun with the magic elements omitted or replaced by psionics. I've taken a quick look and presentation seems to be good, if you don't mind a lot of white space on some pages (not a big problem for ebooks, of course), but the content largely seems to be heavily into weapon stats and combat skills, so unless you're seriously into combat-heavy RPGs it may not be your best choice. I'm probably not going to bother, but the price isn't too bad if you want something like that.
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Subject:Weird thought
Time:10:30 am
Probably well-known to filkers - you can substitute "Great Cthulhu" for "Hallelujah" in quite a few tunes. E.g. “Hallelujah” by Rufus Wainwright, the song heard at one point in Shrek. You'd need to change the rest of the verses to fit, of course... Also posted at https://ffutures.dreamwidth.org/2162490.html, where there are comment count unavailable comments. Please comment here or there using OpenID.
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Subject:Fanfic: Harry Potter and the Half-God Prince - part 19
Time:11:09 am
Continuing my Harry Potter / DC crossover, previous parts on any of these archives:

On Fanfiction.net
On Archive of Our Own
On Twisting the Hellmouth

XIX: Imperil Your SoulCollapse )

Comments please before I post to archives.

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Subject:Linux recommendations? Making Windows 10 like Windows 7?
Time:05:15 pm
Assuming that plans don't change, Microsoft will stop supporting Windows 7 next year. Since I really don't like the Windows 10 UI, and I'm guessing that most of my elderly software will have problems with Windows 10, I'm thinking again about switching to Linux. I've tried it before and ran into too many problems, but this time I have a 3GHz machine with 8GB RAM and a spare 500gb or so of disk space, which may make things a little simpler, so I was wondering if anyone has recommendations for a Linux that will run well and has a good Windows 7 style UI. Good support for scanners, printers, and cameras would be a plus.

Alternatively, is there a way to set up Windows 10 to be as much like Windows 7 as possible, and is the upgrade program any good?

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Subject:Another short-time RPG bundle offer - Song of Ice and Fire - 4 days only
Time:11:45 pm
This is the same bundle that ran last month, relaunched for a few days in the runup to the last episodes of Game of Thrones.

https://bundleofholding.com/presents/SIFRP2

"This revival launched Friday, May 17, and runs through 10PM Eastern US time (GMT -4) Monday, May 20 -- the day after the Game of Thrones series finale.

With HBO's Game of Thrones series ending, this timely revival brings back (for a brief four-day run) last month's offer featuring A Song of Ice and Fire Roleplaying, the official RPG from Green Ronin Publishing based on the bestselling fantasy epic A Song of Ice and Fire by George RR Martin. Designed by Robert J. Schwalb (Shadow of the Demon Lord), SIFRP (2012) focuses not just on characters but on noble houses that wage war and stage intrigues in the great game where you win or you die.

(If you missed last month's offer, you can learn lots more about SIFRP from the original run's entry on the official Bundle of Holding blog, Beyond the Bundle.)

We provide each ebook complete in .PDF (Portable Document Format). Like all Bundle of Holding titles, these books have NO DRM (Digital Restrictions Management), and our customers are entitled to move them freely among all their ereaders.

Ten percent of each purchase (after gateway fees) goes to the charity designated by Green Ronin Publishing co-owner Chris Pramas, the Union of Concerned Scientists.

The total retail value of the titles in this revival is US$142. Customers who pay just US$14.95 get all five titles in our Starter Collection (retail value $72) as DRM-free .PDF ebooks, including the complete A Song of Ice and Fire Roleplaying core rulebook in both its Game of Thrones Edition (retail price $20) and its Pocket Edition optimized for tablet use (retail $14), as well as the Campaign Guide (retail $20) and Chronicle Starter (retail $13) and the introductory adventure Wedding Knight (retail $5).

Those who pay more than this offer's threshold (average) price, which is set at $19.95 to start, also get this offer's entire Bonus Collection with eight more titles worth an additional $70, including the Night's Watch sourcebook (retail $18); the full-length chronicle Dragon's Hoard (retail $19); three Chronicle System rules supplements -- Out of Strife, Prosperity (new Holdings), Spark to Powder (gunpowder rules), and Chronicle of Sorcery -- and three creature guides: Woodland Creatures, Mountain Terrors, and Desert Threats.


This looked a pretty good deal last month, and I think it still is. But as usual I have to make it clear I don't have to pay for this stuff if I want it, if you do your mileage may vary.
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Subject:Another RPG bundle offer - World's Largest Bundle
Time:10:18 pm
This is a collection of material for old-style dungeon bashing fantasy campaigns, some of which has been in previous offers:

https://bundleofholding.com/presents/AlderacD20

"This new collection has the whimsical name "The World's Largest Bundle" because it includes The World's Largest Dungeon and World's Largest City, A peerless 900-page megadungeon published by Alderac Entertainment, The World's Largest Dungeon (2006) has 1,600 encounters -- a d20 System-based dungeon crawl that can entertain for years. The City (published 2007), with its quarter-million humans, dwarves, elves, humanoids, and (ahem) others, fits smoothly in most fantasy campaign worlds. And this offer adds Alderac's stunning 400-page Ultimate Toolbox, plus comprehensive d20 System treatises like War, Empire, Gods, Relics, Dungeons, and Dragons for a total of over 4,000 pages of fantasy gaming material.

(These are .PDF image scans of the original hardcopy supplements (2001-2007) with OCR (optical character recognition) applied. Text is clear and copiable. The text of World's Largest City is light; the rest have dark, crisp text.)

We provide each ebook complete in .PDF (Portable Document Format). Like all Bundle of Holding titles, these books have NO DRM (Digital Restrictions Management), and our customers are entitled to move them freely among all their ereaders.

Ten percent of each purchase (after gateway fees) goes to this offer's designated charity, the Electronic Frontier Foundation.

The total retail value of the titles in this offer at launch is US$147. Customers who pay just US$12.95 get all nine titles in our Starter Collection (retail value $72) as DRM-free .PDF ebooks, including Ultimate Toolbox (previously in our November 2017 Worldbuilder's Toolkit 5), the d20 sourcebooks Empire, War, Mercenaries, Gods, Magic, and Relics, and the scenario collections Adventure I and Adventure II.

Those who pay more than the threshold (average) price, which is set at $24.95 to start, also get our entire Bonus Collection with four more titles worth an additional $75, including The World's Largest Dungeon (retail price $40), World's Largest City (retail $20), and a catchy pairing of two more d20 sourcebooks: Dungeons and Dragons.


This isn't something I particularly want, but it would have been of great interest in my early years as a GM, and you appear to be getting a hell of a lot for your money. Recommended with all usual caveats.
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Subject:Donations in memorium
Time:04:52 pm
If you want to donate to Cancer Research in memory of Jack Cohen there's a page for it here:

https://www.justgiving.com/Drjackcohen

Gift aid will be added automatically for U.K. Taxpayers.

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Subject:Dr. Jack Cohen (1933-2019)
Time:08:49 pm
Doctor Jack Cohen, biologist and SF author, died yesterday. He's probably best known outside the academic community for the Science of Discworld books, and also gave scientific advice to a lot of other SF authors including Anne McCaffrey, Niven and Pournelle, etc., me (for the Flatland RPG I wrote especially) and many others.He'd been in a hospice for some time, and his death wasn't unexpected.

He'll really be missed from the British SF scene.

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Jack_Cohen_(scientist)
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