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Subject:Another RPG bundle offer - Mythras
Time:09:18 pm
This is a bundle I don't know much about - Mythras, an RPG derived from Runequest (but not using the Gloranthan background of the original game) which covers a wide range of genres:

https://bundleofholding.com/presents/Mythras

"In 2012 Lawrence Whitaker and Pete Nash of The Design Mechanism published their landmark edition of one of the greatest fantasy RPGs ever published, the classic skill-based percentile system RuneQuest. We presented The Design Mechanism edition as RuneQuest 6 in February 2014 and again in December 2014. In July 2016, after the RQ license lapsed, The Design Mechanism rebranded the game as Mythras. The renamed and updated Mythras core rulebook has new interior artwork and layout, along with some new Special Effects, small tweaks to the rules, and Spirit Combat Effects -- though if you bought the original RQ6 rulebook, you don't need this rebranded version.

The company explained the new name on Tapatalk: "Why did we choose 'Mythras' as a name? First, the game has always been about adventuring in mythic landscapes, with characters shaping their own stories, creating their legends and forging their own myths. It comes from the authors' deep love of real world myths and ancient stories and so is the natural starting point for a new name. Next comes Mithra or Mithras, a deity found in Persian, Greek, Roman, and Celtic mythologies. Mithras is a god of warriors, a divine protector of oaths and covenants, a protector of cattle and of waters. In the Zoroastrian Avestas, he is described as Mithra of Wide Pastures, of the Thousand Ears, and of the Myriad Eyes. Bringing these two sources together gives us Mythras, a game concerned with myths, protectors, oaths, great deeds and wonderful stories -- the perfect name for our game system."

Today Mythras enjoys a wide range of supplements and adventures featuring swords and sorcery, history and myth, science fiction and urban horror. For instance, the Mythras system underpins the licensed Luther Arkwright and M-Space science fiction rules. This bargain-priced collection covers everything from classic dungeon-crawling fantasy to mythic history to science fiction.

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$99. Customers who pay just US$14.95 get all five titles in our Starter Collection (retail value $47) as DRM-free .PDF ebooks, including the 304-page Mythras core rulebook, three adventures -- Madness & Other Colours, Xamoxis' Cleansing, and A Gift From Shamash (that last one is even science fiction!) -- and the 336-page Classic Fantasy supplement (Old School dungeon crawls in Mythras!).

Those who pay more than the threshold (average) price, which is set at $24.95 to start, also get our entire Bonus Collection with seven more titles worth an additional $52, including Mythic Britain (and the Mythic Britain Companion), Mythic Rome (plus the Mythic Rome Maps), and three Classic Fantasy adventures: These Violent Delights, The Terror of Ettinmarsh, and Tomb of the Mad Wizard.

At least one more title will be added: "When a title is added after launch, ALL customers who previously purchased the bundle automatically receive the newly added title, REGARDLESS of whether or not they paid more than

Mythras resources


My impression from a relatively swift look is that what we have here is a rehash of the Runequest / Basic Role Playing rules generalised for all settings. There's really nothing wrong with that, except for all of the existing versions of these rules that have loyal adherents out there who may not want to make the change. And without the Gloranthan setting it feels a little unfocused; there isn't anything that screams "I must play in this setting with these rules," which is what gave Chaosium the huge user base that learned to love Call of Cthulhu, Stormbringer, Ringworld, and all of the other variants that kept Chaosium afloat. There are lots of other SF games, old school fantasy games, historical fantasy games, etc. etc. Additionally, it's now a relatively old game mechanic, with features such as the use of a load of different dice types that many recent games have discarded.

Having said that, there's really nothing wrong with it if you want this sort of system, and as usual with these bundle offers you're getting a good few dead tree equivalents pretty cheaply. Recommended, if you need something like this.

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Subject:Fandom meme...
Time:09:22 pm
Gacked from [personal profile] legionseagle 

How about we do that thing where you give me a show/movie/book/fandom and I'll tell you:

my favorite female character
my favorite male character
my favorite book/season/etc.
my favorite episode (if it's a TV show)
my favorite cast member
my favorite ship
a character I'd die for put a reasonable amount of effort into defending
a character I just can't sympathize with
a character I grew to love
my anti-OTP

Limit it to fandoms I actually know about, please...

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Subject:Another RPG bundle offer - Hero Kids Bundle
Time:02:15 am
This is one that definitely isn't aimed at me - it's an introductory system aimed at children aged 4-10!

https://bundleofholding.com/presents/HeroKids

"This Hero Kids Bundle features Hero Kids, the fast and fun introductory RPG perfect for kids ages 4-10 just getting interested in adventure gaming. Published by Hero Forge Games and complete in just 50 pages, Hero Kids gives you male and female heroes including Warriors, Hunters, and Warlocks, as well as unique heroes like the Rogue, Brute, Healer, and Knight. With simple rules that use only six-sided dice, an opposed-dice system that keeps everyone in the game, and play times of an hour or so, Hero Kids pulls kids and parents alike into fantastic adventures.

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, Reading is Fundamental.

The total retail value of the titles in this offer is US$85. Customers who pay just US$5.95 get all eight titles in our Starter Collection (retail value $27) as DRM-free .PDF ebooks, including the complete Hero Kids rulebook, Hero Cards II and Pet Cards I (more heroes and animal companions), the Easy introductory adventure Basement O Rats, five adventures of Normal difficulty (Curse of the Shadow Walkers, Escape from the Ghost Pirates, Wizard's Tower, Fire in Rivenshore, Yuletide Journey), and even the Heroes coloring book.

Those who pay more than the threshold (average) price, which is set at $17.95 to start, also get our entire Bonus Collection with no less than sixteen more titles worth an additional $58, including the Monster Compendium, five Space Expansions for planet-hopping adventures, five more sets of Hero Cards, Pet Cards, and Equipment, and five Hard adventures (Tomb of the Lost King, Mines of Martek, The Lost Village, Glade of the Unicorn, Maze of the Minotaur)."


This is an interesting one if you have some children handy and want to ease them into gaming with a rules-light system, which is supposed to be educationally useful by encouraging kids to count and use other skills, but some of the concessions for a younger audience are at the expense of realism - most notably, unless I'm missing something it's impossible for a character to be killed, at worse you get knocked out for a while. The rules are complicated enough that an adult or older child will have to run the game. Play looks to be reasonably fast, and you get a fair amount for your money, including some fun cutout figures etc. It's a bit childish (for obvious reasons!) but probably worth it if you want to give kids some RPG fun without getting into the complications of a rules-heavy RPG. I don't especially want it, but I think it's a reasonably good deal for anyone who wants this sort of game. As usual your mileage may vary!
 



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Subject:Another RPG bundle offer - Feng Shui
Time:06:06 pm
Another fun Bundle of Holding offer, this time one of the classic action RPGs, Feng Shui, in an all new(ish) second edition:

https://bundleofholding.com/presents/FengShui2

"This offer presents the 2015 Second Edition of Hong Kong movie action RPG Feng Shui from Atlas Games. Designed by Robin D. Laws (Cthulhu Confidential, Hillfolk, GUMSHOE), Feng Shui 2 hits you with ancient sorcerers, transformed animals, control-freak Shaolin monks, and cyborg apes. Armed with the secrets of feng shui, they aim to conquer the past, present, and future. Only you have the guts, guns, and flying feet to stop them.

Leap off buildings, sword-fight across treetops, and have running gun-battles through the Underworld in a desperate race to keep history itself from being rewritten. Discover your sworn enemy is your long-lost sister, swear vengeance for the fallen noodle-boy caught in the crossfire, and kill a lot of kill-worthy dudes to earn one more bounty so you can buy that nightclub singer new corneas. Kick butt! Blow things up! Save the world! Kiii-yaaah!

We presented the first edition of Feng Shui and four of its supplements in a quick five-day offer way back in October 2013. This all-new collection has many 2E books funded in Atlas's triumphant September 2014 Feng Shui 2 Kickstarter campaign, along with half a dozen First Edition supplements not included in the previous 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 purchase (after gateway fees) goes to this offer's designated charity, the National Film Preservation Foundation.

The total retail value of the titles in this offer at launch is US$113. Customers who pay just US$14.95 get all four titles in our Starter Collection (retail value $40) as DRM-free .PDF ebooks, including the complete full-color Feng Shui 2E corebook, Hong Kong Task Force Double Eight, the updated adventure Burning Shaolin Redux, and the First Edition creature collection Glimpse of the Abyss.

Those who pay more than the threshold (average) price, which is set at $24.95 to start, also get our entire Bonus Collection with seven more supplements worth an additional $73, including the 2E Secrets of the Chi War, five 1E Faction sourcebooks (Blood of the Valiant, Elevator to the Netherworld, Seal of the Wheel, Thorns of the Lotus, and Gorilla Warfare), and the Game Master Screen with its 32-page insert book, A Fistful of Fight Scenes.

At least one more title will be added fter launch. "When a title is added after launch, ALL customers who previously purchased the bundle automatically receive the newly added title, REGARDLESS of whether or not they paid more than average. This is their reward for buying early."


This is one I can unreservedly recommend; Feng Shui is one of the classic action RPGs, with some lovely rules to give it the flavour of its source material. Kick mook ass, take names, and save the continuum. It's a weird job but somebody has to do it... It's pretty cheap considering the original paper cost, and if you don't already own a fair chunk of it it's the best way to get it all. As usual your mileage may vary, of course...

Later - forgot to apologise for the delay in mentioning this, which may mean some people don't get the cheapest price - I heard about it yesterday, but I was staying in a hotel and of course the WiFi went wrong overnight and I couldn't post this until I got back to London.

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Subject:Today's random weirdness
Time:04:35 pm
At a car boot sale today I noticed that one of the graphics novels someone was selling was issues 1-6 and 0 of the 'New 52' reboot of DC's Dial 'H' For Hero' . I didn't follow the New 52 DC relaunch because of early reports of the crass reimagining of Clark Kent and everything else I heard about it, so I was surprised for two reasons - firstly, I vaguely remembered the series from my childhood as a brainless fluffy thing about a teenager living in a small town who turned into random superheroes but had assumed that it was long gone, and secondly, the author's name on the cover was China Mieville, not really an author I associate with brainless fluffiness. Since it was only £2 I took a chance and bought it.

As you might have guessed, the central concept of dialling to become a hero is the main point of similarity. Everything else is different, with a grimdark horror overlay that seems to be the hallmark of most comics these days. The hero is a 40-ish overweight man suffering a midlife crisis long before things get weird, and he lives in a squalid city suffering the death of a thousand financial cuts, with litter and crime everywhere. Lots of people die, and the secret history of the dial turns out to be pretty nasty, with a multi-universe body count in the billions. And yet it still manages to be a fun read, especially when it isn't a superhero fight - my favourite episode has to be the one in which the hero and a more experienced user of the dial are discussing some of the less desirable forms the dial has given them, while the hero is temporarily stuck as a racially offensive stereotype who wants to help people but knows that a huge number of people will hate him for it unless there's a really bad emergency.

i'm probably not going to go looking for more, comics are a VERY expensive addiction and I've been going more or less cold turkey for several years now, but if more comes my way cheaply I'll certainly give it a look. Recommended, at least for this particular collection.

In other news I learned today that if a modern bus's electronics crash it can take seven minutes and half a dozen attempts, including coaching over the radio and at least two computer reboots, to get it started again. It makes me wonder how fly by wire aircraft ever get off the ground.


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Subject:Still F all Improvement
Time:09:07 am
I was wondering if there were any developments on the Photobucket front - if there was any sign of them realising just how crassly stupid their new policies are - and couldn't find any improvement. Their business rating is still F, and the only change is a BIG rise in the number of complaints against the company since the last time I checked:

https://www.bbb.org/denver/business-reviews/retail-photo-finishing/photobucket-com-inc-in-denver-co-90107959

There's a form there for complaining, if anyone else feels so inclined...

I've finally bitten the bullet and deleted my account. I really can't see any point leaving my photos there if nobody can access them without the horrible Photobucket advertising experience.

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Subject:Another RPG bundle offer - What's O.L.D. is N.E.W.
Time:08:44 pm
This is one I know very little about:

https://bundleofholding.com/presents/WOIN

"This offer presents EN Publishing's What's O.L.D. is N.E.W., a system of crunchy, tactical tabletop roleplaying game toolkits designed to work together: O.L.D. (medieval fantasy) and N.E.W. (far-future science fiction), along with many supplements and sourcebooks.

Designed by ENworld's Russ "Morrus" Morrissey and funded in an April 2014 Kickstarter campaign, the WOIN games let you play any kind of fantasy or science fiction character. Tweak the system dials to handle low or high fantasy, hard or soft sf, and so on. Using each book's extensive tools,create your own races, lifepath careers, planets, freeform spell-paths, starships, strongholds, martial arts, and monsters.

Not a "universal" system as such, WOIN is designed specifically for medium-low-magic Tolkien-esque medieval fantasy, '80s action, and a Trek-ian to Wars-ian range of sf, with rules systems designed to replicate those genres well. Though characters become more competent and skilled over time, they never end up wade through armies of orcs. The system is a bit grittier than that, with combat tending toward tactical skirmishes, magic toward the subtle, and magical items quite uncommon. The avowed inspirations for O.L.D. ranges from the gritty medieval fantasy of Glen Cook to the works of David Eddings and David Gemmell, Robert E. Howard, Le Guin, Abercrombie, Rothfuss and, of course, Tolkien. N.E.W. is inspired by Star Trek, Star Wars, Battlestar Galactica, Firefly, Babylon 5, the Alien franchise, and other media science fiction, along with the stories of Asimov, Niven, and Clarke.

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 at launch is US$110.50. Customers who pay just US$9.95 get all five titles in our Starter Collection (retail value $43.50) as DRM-free .PDF ebooks:

  • O.L.D. The Fantasy Heroic Roleplaying Game Version 1.1 (retail price $20): The complete fantasy-medieval rulebook with versatile lifepath character creation, innovative freeform spell-point magic, fast but tactical combat, and tools for building any setting from Tolkien to Braveheart. Includes the free adventure The Haunting of Calrow Ruins.
  • Three WOIN guides to contemporary fast-and-furious adventure: Modern Core, Modern Equipment, and Action Careers (retail $7 each).
  • The Ills of Hengistbury (retail $2.50) and the free Holdenshire Primer: An introductory sandbox campaign adapted from the 5E adventure To Slay a Dragon.

Those who pay more than the threshold (average) price, which is set at $24.95 to start, also get our entire Bonus Collection with seven more titles worth an additional $67:

  • N.E.W. The Science Fiction Roleplaying Game Version 1.2 (retail $20): The complete 310-page rulebook for every style of science fiction adventure from Trek to Wars to Firefly and more. Includes the free adventure Death on Ascalaon.
  • Xenomorphs: The Fall of Somerset Landing (retail $15): A N.E.W. sourcebook of sf survival horror on a terraforming colony invaded by predatory aliens.
  • Two N.E.W. starship guides: Starship Construction Manual (retail $10) and Starship Recognition Manual (retail $9)
  • Three N.E.W. articles from the WOIN magazine, EONS: Racebuilding Engine (retail $7), Trappist (retail $4), and Real Solspace (retail $2)

At least one more title will be added later. "When a title is added after launch, ALL customers who previously purchased the bundle automatically receive the newly added title, REGARDLESS of whether or not they paid more than average. This is their reward for buying early."


First thoughts are that it all looks very pretty, but doesn't feel particularly novel or do much that isn't possible with other systems I already own. Having said that, there's nothing obvious to dislike about it, you do get a lot for your money, and it seems to be reasonably versatile. Recommended, with all the usual caveats about mileage varying etc.
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Subject:Foxes
Time:07:02 pm

A family of three foxes visited the garden below my flat at around 4PM tonight, just happened to have my camera handy:







Annoyingly, I didn't manage to get any pictures with all three in the frame simultaneously. Lots more here:

https://www.flickr.com/photos/150868539@N02/albums/72157692935112851

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Subject:A mystery solved
Time:01:57 pm
Yesterday I was in Kensington Gardens and noticed that there was police tape around a big section of the park, and six or seven officers on their knees apparently looking for something. Unfortunately the reason I was there was that I was testing a lens which turned out to be faulty, and none of the pictures I took of this were any good...

It turns out that the reason is that someone apparently found a human bone in the park - allegedly estimated to be about seventy years old, so probably not a recent murder etc., but I suppose they have to investigate. The weird thing is that I can't find anything about this on line apart from one blogger's bit of video, you'd think there'd be a news report or something.

https://www.newsflare.com/video/189404/crime-accidents/police-search-kensington-gardens-after-human-bone-was-found

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Subject:Stephen Hawking, 1942-2018
Time:06:02 am
Just heard that Stephen Hawking has died.

http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/uk-43396008

A hugely significant figure - in physics, in SF, and in helping the public to realise, to some extent, that disability does not necessarily equate to stupidity. He'll be missed.

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Subject:Another RPG bundle offer - Jovian Chronicles
Time:08:19 pm
Jovian Chronicles is an SF RPG I don't know much about.

https://bundleofholding.com/presents/Jovian


"Jovian Chronicles from Dream Pod 9 is set in the 23rd Century, when humanity has established colonies on or around most planets of the Solar System. More than a century earlier, the economy of Earth collapsed, leaving the planet unable to care for its offworld colonies. The colonies became independent settlements. But now the new, militaristic Earth government has aggressive policies that are building tension with the settlements. In this turbulent era, can the players prevent war? Or will they cause it?
Inspired by classic science fiction and giant-robot anime, Jovian Chronicles takes you beyond Earth to a Solar System on the brink of war -- a time of excitement, promise, and danger. Meet a rich cast of characters, employ tons of anime-style weapons and vehicles, visit exotic locales, and possibly alter the destiny of the Jovian Confederation and the human race.
This comprehensive offer features the 1997 Jovian Chronicles Second Edition and most of the support line. 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, Make-A-Wish International.
The total retail value of the titles in this offer at launch is US$118. Customers who pay just US$14.95 get all eight titles in our Starter Collection (retail value $56.50) as DRM-free .PDF ebooks:
  • Silhouette CORE Deluxe Edition (retail price $12): The Dream Pod 9 universal rules set that also underpins Heavy Gear (previously presented in our April 2017 Heavy Gear Bundle).
  • Jovian Chronicles Player's Handbook 2E (retail $12): This complete 258-page rulebook (1997) details the Solar Nations, organizations like SolaPol and ZONet, the pilots and agents of the Jovian Confederation, and daily life in the planetary settlements and Orbitals.
  • Four vital equipment and vehicle guides: Mechanical Catalogs 1 and 2 (total retail $13.50), Spacer's Guide (retail $5), and the Space Equipment Handbook (retail $5).
  • Two Planet Sourcebooks: Earth (retail $5) and CISLunar Space (retail $6).
Those who pay more than the threshold (average) price, which is set at $24.95 to start, also get our entire Bonus Collection with ten more supplements worth an additional $61.50, , including the Jovian Chronicles Companion (retail $7.50); four more Planet Sourcebooks (Mercury, Venus, Mars, and Jupiter, total retail $23); all three Ships of the Fleet volumes (total retail $19) cataloguing spacecraft from the Jovian Confederation and Earth's government, CEGA; the campaign sourcebook The Chaos Principle (retail $6); and the Gamemaster Handbook & Screen (retail $6).
At least one more title will be added later. When a title is added after launch, ALL customers who previously purchased the bundle automatically receive the newly added title, REGARDLESS of whether or not they paid more than average. This is their reward for buying early."

I'm a bit undecided on this one - it looks pretty, especially if you like anime and mecha, and there's a lot of world-building in it, but it belongs to the school of world building that exists largely to give characters reasons to wear combat armour, drive mechas, and blow sh*t up, and I'm not convinced that necessarily goes with the idea of an interplanetary civilization that's capable of colonizing most of the solar system. Opinions differ, of course, and if you like this sort of thing there's definitely a lot here for your money. It isn't really my cup of tea, but I'm recommending it anyway because I know I'm not the intended audience, and I think others will love it. As usual I have to stress that your mileage may vary.
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Subject:Two more RPG Bundle offers - John Wick RPGs
Time:07:39 pm
These are two bundles of games by one of the better designers, John Wick; one is Seventh Sea, probably the best fantasy pirate RPG, the other is an assortment of games he's designed:

7th Sea Bundle


https://bundleofholding.com/presents/7thSea

"This all-new offer presents the 2016 Second Edition of Legend of the Five Rings designer John Wick's swashbuckling fantasy RPG 7th Sea. John's February 2016 7th Sea 2E Kickstarter campaign broke all roleplaying records. Now, for a bargain price, you can get the 2016 7th Sea rulebook and the key supplements you need for daring adventures on land and sea in Theah, a setting of magic and mystery inspired by Europe in the Baroque Era -- and the Golden Age of Piracy.
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 of this offer (after gateway fees) goes to Ocean Conservancy.
The total retail value of the titles in this offer at launch is US$105. Customers who pay just US$14.95 get all six titles in this offer's Starter Collection (retail value $45) as DRM-free .PDF ebooks, including the complete full-color 7th Sea 2E core rulebook (retail price $25), the character supplement Heroes & Villains (retail $20), and four 7th Sea Art Packs.
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 three more supplements worth an additional $60, including Nations of Theah Volumes 1 and 2 (retail $20 apiece) and Pirate Nations (retail $20).


John Wick Presents Bundle

https://bundleofholding.com/presents/JohnWick

"Award-winning RPG designer John Wick created 7th Sea and Legend of the Five Rings. This bargain-priced collection brings you many diverse, startlingly original indie games -- Wicked Fantasy, Houses of the Blooded, Wield and many more -- that John published through his imprint John Wick Presents.

Ten percent of each purchase of this offer (after gateway fees) goes to the charity chosen by John Wick, the American Red Cross. The total retail value of the titles in this offer at launch is US$82. Customers who pay just US$7.95 get all five titles in this offer's Starter Collection (retail value $42) as DRM-free .PDF ebooks:
  • Wicked Fantasy (retail price $10): Brilliant reimaginings of ten traditional fantasy races, from elves and dwarves to kobolds and ratmen.
  • Houses of the Blooded (retail $10): Intrigue, passion, and forbidden delights in a decadent culture obsessed with Romance and Revenge. Includes Josh Roby's expansion Coronets But Never Crowns (retail $6), which adds what you might call "family values."
  • Wield (retail $6): You play an ancient, powerful weapon, and the heroes you wield are disposable hit points.
  • Play Dirty 15th Anniversary Edition (retail $10): The controversial columns of dishonest and dastardly gamemaster advice from Pyramid magazine.
Those who pay more than this offer's threshold (average) price, which is set at $16.95 to start, also get this offer's entire Bonus Collection with six more titles worth an additional $40:
  • The Big Book of Little Games (retail $13): A dozen small gems about everything from spies to soap operas. Includes Cat, where you protect your human owner from menaces only you can see.
  • Wicked Fantasy Companion (retail $8): A massive expansion of the Wicked Fantasy races with conversion advice for Savage Worlds and Dungeon World.
  • Blood & Honor (retail $8): A new way to play Houses of the Blooded -- as samurai in Old Japan.
  • The Wield Companion (retail $5): New settings and domains for your super-weapons to exploit.
  • The Shotgun Diaries (retail $3): John Wick's zombie survival horror RPG -- fast, easy to use, and horrifying.
  • The Aegis Project (retail $8): An epic science fiction game played across three eras that span five centuries.
At least one more title will be added after launch. When a title is added after launch, ALL customers who previously purchased the bundle automatically receive the newly added title, REGARDLESS of whether or not they paid more than average. This is their reward for buying early.



These are some very good games. I'll be honest, I'm more interested in the second offer than the first, because there's some quirky stuff in there that appeals to my evil nature. Play Dirty, for example, was a VERY good column for anyone who runs games, with a wealth of ways to make life... shall we say "interesting"... for your players. I'm not sure I'd want all of these if I was paying for them, but if you want some of the best games design around it's a pretty cheap way of getting it. But as usual I have to emphasise that your mileage and pockets may vary...
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Subject:Cold Canal
Time:05:59 pm
Continuing this week's theme, since it wasn't snowing today I went for a walk and happened to cross a footbridge over the canal, which for I think the first time in several years was partially frozen. Not particularly thick ice, but it wasn't something I expected.

Frozen canal


Frozen canal

Unfortunately I'd forgotten to take a camera with me so this is from my iPhone - if I'd had a camera with a decent optical zoom I would have included pictures of a coot that was wandering around on the ice looking very confused...
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Subject:ugh..
Time:04:27 pm
Fairly heavy snow again. Normally I would have gone to Portobello Road and got some shopping, instead I'm saying to hell with it and taking a day off, reading and (shortly) will be watching Thor: Ragnarok since the blu-ray arrived today. Not the most productive use of my time, but hey, I'm supposed to be retired! Also posted at https://ffutures.dreamwidth.org/2117829.html, where there are comment count unavailable comments. Please comment here or there using OpenID.
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Subject:Snowmageddon Pics...
Time:10:28 pm
I forgot that I took some pictures yesterday. Not as heavy as the snow today - unfortunately I didn't think of taking photos today, with much heavier snow, probably because it was too bloody cold and I wanted to keep moving and keep the camera dry:

snow from my window

snow in my front garden

snow at Shepherds Bush

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Subject:Another RPG bundle offer - Unknown Armies
Time:08:22 pm
This is one that interests me a lot - Unknown Armies is a very quirky game of magic, horror, and weird cosmic conspiracies that I've played a few times, and had a lot of fun doing so, in one adventure stopping Elvis from ascending to godhood then finding out that that was just a cover for something much more sinister.

https://bundleofholding.com/presents/UnknownArmies2018

"Soon the cosmos will die and be reborn. Next time around, the world might turn out terrible -- or a paradise. Someone gets to decide, so it might as well be you. The problem is, lots of others have the same idea: saints and slashers -- mad scientists and gun-toting enforcers -- the Sect of the Naked Goddess, the True Order of Saint-Germain, and Mak Attax. The only people you trust are your friends and yourself, and you're not sure about yourself.

Unknown Armies is the acclaimed Atlas Games RPG of postmodern occult intrigue, transcendental horror, and furious action. In Unknown Armies, players become movers and shakers in the Occult Underground, fighting for ascension to a higher plane and the next incarnation of reality. Created by Greg Stolze (Godlike, Reign) and John Scott Tynes (Delta Green), Unknown Armies presents magick as it might exist in a world informed by crime fiction and secret histories, as twisting wrinkles in reality created by sacrifice and obsession. It's about humanity, and how the most broken among us have the power to align reality with their fevered desires. It's about getting what you want, despite others trying to keep it from you. It's a pulp apocalypse, a metaphysical ass-kicking, the steel-cage death match of all eternity.

Unknown Armies is one of the best-regarded games in roleplaying history. Out of 65,505 entries in the RPG.net Game Index, Unknown Armies currently ranks #6. This revived offer presents the 2002 Second Edition of Unknown Armies (not to be confused with the spectacular March 2016 UA Third Edition Kickstarter campaign).

We provide each ebook complete in .PDF (Portable Document Format). [Greg Stolze's novel Godwalker is also provided in ePub and Kindle (.mobi) formats.] 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 Atlas Games publisher John Nephew, the National Alliance on Mental Illness.

The total retail value of the titles in this offer at launch is US$89. Customers who pay just US$8.95 get all three titles in our Starter Collection (retail value $32) as DRM-free .PDF ebooks:

  • Unknown Armies Second Edition (retail $20): The complete 336-page rulebook of the magickal underground fighting for ascension to a higher plane and the next incarnation of reality.
  • One Shots (retail $9): Five top-notch standalone scenarios.
  • Godwalker (retail $3): The masterful Unknown Armies novel written by the game's co-designer, Greg Stolze.

Those who pay more than this offer's threshold (average) price, which is set at $18.95 to start, also get this offer's entire Bonus Collection with four more titles worth an additional $57, including many highlights of the Unknown Armies line:

  • Break Today (retail $15): The bizarre anarchist occult conspiracy known as Mak Attax wants to upsize your soul, one fast-food burger at a time.
  • Statosphere (retail $12): The higher plane that is home to the Invisible Clergy. New Archetypes, rules for Godwalkers, and much more.
  • To Go (retail $15): The epic occult roadtrip campaign for Break Today that takes you through America's spiritual power centers and beyond.
  • Weep (retail $15): Six scenarios of woe and ruin.
There aren't any surprise extras this time around because they've run this bundle offer before.

As I said, I've played this a few times but I've only ever bought the first edition rules - 2nd edition adds a lot more and is VERY highly regarded by gaming fans. I'm definitely going to be grabbing this one, and I think I'd so so even if I was paying for it - but since I'm not I may be biased, and as usual your mileage may vary.
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Subject:Snowmageddon - the sequel
Time:01:34 pm
Monday was a damp squib. Yesterday and today definitely aren't, heavy snow (for London) from about 3 PM yesterday and flurries continuing today, with a couple of inches depth on the ground and the pavements and roads icy. I know that this is peanuts compared to say Canada, but we've already had warnings of transport chaos etc. - so far the underground here (which is actually a surface line between Paddington and Hammersmith) has been fine though.

I was going to go to the park and take snow photos after I'd been to the post office but it started snowing moderately heavily so that's had to be cancelled. Instead I did the rounds of a few charity shops, got some wooly gloves and general shopping, and came home. which is where I may end up staying for the next few days...
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Subject:oh goody...
Time:08:44 am
 Heavy snow has started. Fortunately I need to stay in for a courier, and apart from that my only necessary outing is to the post office, so it shouldn't cause me too many problems.

Update - an hour later and the sun is shining and the snow doesn't appear to have settled. Hopefully it'll stay like that for now.
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Subject:Does this sound fair?
Time:03:41 pm
Does this message I've just sent to someone sound fair?
 

In November you purchased a [boring lens description] from me, item xxxxxxxxxxx. Today it was returned to me by the post office - I think that the Russian post office must have tried to deliver it and failed, but you did not collect it from them before it was returned to me.

I've checked and the postage, address and other details were correct, as shown in the attached photos, so I can't give a full refund. However, I am willing to refund the original cost of this item, £2.99

If you would prefer me to send this item again I will have to ask you to pay for postage, which would be £7.15 - please note that if there is any further problem I would not be able to give any refund for the postage or the lens itself!

If I don't hear from you by Wednesday I will refund the £2.99

I hope to hear from you soon.

 

I can't refund his postage because I can't claim it back from the post office. Does this seem reasonable and fair?
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Subject:Sunnydale
Time:08:30 pm
Well, we were wondering where the new Hellmouth would be...



From this week's Private Eye, a British satirical magazine.

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Subject:New Toy!
Time:10:10 pm
It's my birthday this week and I treated myself to a used Samyang 8mm f3.8 fisheye for my Nikon, which arrived today. Needless to say the weather was lousy, but I took it to the park and tried it out on some familiar landmarks such as the Italian Gardens and the Albert Memorial.



Sometimes the curving effect is very surreal, a bit like Inception etc.



My camera doesn't meter with it fitted, but I'm used to guesstimating exposure and only had a couple of duds, and on a digital camera a trial photo or two isn't much of a problem. My initial thoughts are that this will be fantastic in areas with interesting architecture etc., and that I really ought to carry another, longer lens when I use it, since it's a very specialised optic and isn't much use for general photography.

The full album is here
https://www.flickr.com/photos/150868539@N02/albums/72157691969641701

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Subject:Another RPG bundle offer - Dragon AGE / Fantasy AGE
Time:10:44 pm
This is a bundle for another fantasy RPG system: Dragon AGE, based on the Bioware computer game, and a more general FRPG derived from it, Fantasy AGE.

https://bundleofholding.com/presents/DragonAge

"This offer features the two Adventure Game Engine (AGE) fantasy RPGs from Green Ronin Publishing. The AGE system debuted in the licensed Dragon Age RPG; designer Chris Pramas later genericized the system as Fantasy AGE. The simple and fast-playing AGE rules make an ideal introduction for newcomers to paper-and-dice roleplaying, as do the campaign settings Thedas (from the BioWare Dragon Age computer game) and Valkana (from the Geek & Sundry video series Titansgrave: The Ashes of Valkana hosted by TableTop star Wil Wheaton).

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. (By publisher request, some of these .PDFs are inobtrusively watermarked on DriveThruRPG.)

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$113. Customers who pay just US$9.95 get all five titles in our Starter Collection (retail value $42) as DRM-free .PDF ebooks, including the complete Fantasy AGE Basic Rulebook (retail price $16) and the Fantasy AGE Bestiary (retail $17), plus three Fantasy AGE Encounters (total retail $9): Children's Crusade, Menace From the Mines, and Drive for Justice.

Those who pay more than the threshold (average) price, which is set at $23.95 to start, also get our entire Bonus Collection with six more titles worth an additional $71:

  • Dragon Age Core Rulebook (retail $30): The comprehensive 440-page full-color rulebook that consolidates all previous Dragon Age RPG rules sets along with new material. Includes the free adventure Duty Unto Death.
  • Titansgrave: The Ashes of Valkana (retail $14): The science-fantasy setting for Fantasy AGE where science and magic are both powerful forces. Includes the ten-page introductory adventure The Hermit's Road (retail $4).
  • Blood in Ferelden (retail $14): Three full-length adventures for Dragon Age, plus seeds for many more scenarios.
  • Dragon Age Game Master's Kit (retail $9): Useful reference charts plus a complete 36-page adventure, "Buried Pasts."

At least one more title will be added after launch: "When a title is added after launch, ALL customers who previously purchased the bundle automatically receive the newly added title, REGARDLESS of whether or not they paid more than average. This is their reward for buying early."


My feelings on this one are that "simple and fast playing" are relative terms; while Fantasy AGE is a lot less complicated than some systems, it still requires a certain amount of messing around with tables to generate characters, and has all of the clutter of player races, character types, etc. etc. that seem to be an inevitable part of fantasy systems. It's as good a game as any for a non-specialised campaign, and it's quite pretty in terms of layout and illustrations, but it doesn't seem to offer anything particularly new. I get the feeling that a lot of Dragon AGE is aimed at players of Bioware's computer game, and since I don't play it that's largely wasted on me - since I don't know the look and feel of the game world I don't visualize it more vividly than any other game setting.

I think it's probably worth buying if you're a fan of the computer game and want to role-play the setting, and you do get a lot for your money, so I'm recommending it on that basis. But as usual YMMV.

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Subject:In the DC universe...
Time:12:22 pm
 ...nobody's version of autocorrect turns Luthor into Author.

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Subject:Buffy fans - You've seen the TV show, now eat...
Time:02:18 pm
Just had an email from Iceland supermarkets - their special offers this week include Willow, a brand of "traditionally churned" cooking margarine I've never heard of, at half price.

Yes, I'm easily amused...

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Subject:Another RPG bundle offer - Traveller New Era
Time:06:38 pm
Traveller New Era is one of several versions of the classic Traveller SF RPG, this time set after an apocalyptic collapse of the interstellar Empire.

https://bundleofholding.com/presents/TravellerNewEra


"The Third Imperium galactic empire provides the setting for Marc W. Miller's classic SFRPG Traveller (1977) and its follow-up MegaTraveller (1986). In 1992 publisher Game Designers' Workshop adapted Traveller to its House System introduced in Twilight: 2000 and Dark Conspiracy. Traveller: The New Era moves the timeline forward to show the Imperium destroyed by civil war and a deadly artificial intelligence, the Virus. Trying to rebuild civilization, explorers venture across the fallen empire, making new contact with worlds cut off for decades from interstellar trade. Most planets are graveyards; the few survivors are low-tech and xenophobic. Many are ruled by TEDs (technologically elevated dictators), elites with access to a small cache of high-tech weaponry with which they control the population. But vigorous survivors are forging a better, more vibrant history across ten thousand worlds. In the New Era, the future starts now.

This offer presents the 1993 Deluxe Edition of the TNE rules along with almost all the key GDW-era supplements. 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 at launch is US$150. Customers who pay just US$14.95 get all six rulebooks and supplements in our Starter Collection (retail value $70) as DRM-free .PDF ebooks:

  • Traveller: The New Era Deluxe Edition (retail price $30): The complete 386-page rulebook plus many maps and play aids. Includes the 160-page technical sourcebook Fire, Fusion, & Steel.
  • Survival Margin, World Tamer's Handbook, and Vampire Fleets (retail $10 apiece): Three essential setting sourcebooks.
  • TNE Players' Forms (retail $10): Fourteen new sheets that let you organize all the stuff in the rising new empire.

Those who pay more than the threshold (average) price, which is set at $24.95 to start, also get our entire Bonus Collection with eight more supplements and adventures worth an additional $80:

  • Two Regency sourcebooks: Keepers of the Flame and the Regency Combat Vehicle Guide (retail $10 apiece).
  • The complete four-book set of Star Vikings (retail $10 apiece): the Path of Tears sourcebook, the adventure collection Smash & Grab, the Reformation Coalition Equipment Guide, and the Star Vikings character collection itself.
  • Aliens of the Rim (retail $10): The manipulative Hivers and their elite shock troops, the Ithklur.
  • TNE Referee's Screen (retail $10): Useful charts and a 16-page reference booklet. Includes, for the first time anywhere, a .PDF version of Lady Elise, an eight-page introductory adventure outline sold with the original hardcopy Referee's Screen in 1994."
At least one more title will be added after launch. "When a title is added after launch, ALL customers who previously purchased the bundle automatically receive the newly added title, REGARDLESS of whether or not they paid more than average. This is their reward for buying early."

I like SFRPGs. I like the original Traveller setting, though it does hand-wave a lot of the problems of gigantic interstellar empires, FTL travel, etc. etc. It's probably the SF system I've played the most. I already own about half of these books in dead tree format. Having said that, I might as well be honest - I don't like Traveller: The New Era at all.

It takes nearly everything that made the Traveller universe distinctive and throws it into the bin to set up a grimdark space travel future that is pretty much indistinguishable from all of the other grimdark space travel futures out there. The reason I own so much of the T:TNE stuff isn't that I was a huge fan back in 1992 - it's because Virgin closed the RPG sections of their Oxford Street store a little later and dumped everything at a tiny fraction of the original price, and I bought quite a lot of stuff while it was available, very little of which I've ever used.

Additionally, I'm not a big fan of the revised Traveller rules (or the other systems they're derived from), since they are so heavily biased towards combat that everything else seems to be an afterthought. Their origin in a post-apocalyptic WW3 setting might have something to do with that. Original Traveller was slightly better in that respect, though far from perfect. It may not be entirely coincidental that GDW (founded in 1973) folded in 1996, having launched several increasingly unsuccessful RPGs based on this rules set, although publication of Gary Gygax's dire Dangerous Journeys fantasy system, also 1992, followed by legal battles with TSR, probably didn't help their cash flow.

I'm not saying that you should avoid this at all costs - Traveller completists will probably want it if they don't already have this material, and it can be cherry-picked for an occasional idea, and you do get a reasonable amount for the money. But it isn't a version of the game I can honestly recommend.

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Subject:Credit Card Capers
Time:09:13 pm
Went into Waitrose today to get a couple of things. I went through the self-checkout process and hit the screen icon for "pay by card" and it instantly said I'd paid. Which was odd because I hadn't even got my wallet out. So I looked at the card reader and realised that someone had left a contactless credit card there, propped in front of the screen.

Being an honest-ish sort of chap (and not actually wanting to begin a life of crime for a £4 supermarket bill) I found one of the shop staff and told her, which is where it started to get weird. Because she took it (and me) round to the customer service desk and explained the circumstances, and she was told to take care of me while the customer service person took the card and receipt to the manager's office for safe-keeping.

Taking care of me consisted of scanning the stuff I'd bought, as you might expect, and asking me to touch my card to the machine. At which point it told me I was being refunded the money. I expressed some surprise and she agreed it did sound odd, but it was what she'd been told to do. She then scanned the stuff again, and this time charged me.

She seemed to think it was how things were supposed to work. I really have no idea, but I will be reading my next credit card bill with great interest. Because I've a suspicion I just got £4 worth of groceries for nothing...



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Subject:It's very odd
Time:11:38 pm
Nobody seems to have pointed out that we are going to need a new Stig now that the old one has been shot off in the general direction of Mars by SpaceX.

Unless Captain Black Stig gets retrometabolized or something...

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Subject:Another RPG bundle offer - Heroes Unlimited
Time:09:51 pm
This is Palladium's superhero RPG, first published in the 1980s; the offer includes most of the Second Edition books publushed in 1999:

https://bundleofholding.com/presents/HeroesUnlimited

"This all-new offer features Heroes Unlimited™, Kevin Siembieda's RPG of superheroic action from Palladium Books. For over 30 years Heroes Unlimited has let Palladium gamers create any type of comic-book hero they can imagine, and the comprehensive 1998 Second Edition, along with its companion Aliens series, expands to galactic scale. It's called "Unlimited" for a reason.

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 at launch is US$117. Customers who pay just US $16.95 get all five titles in our Starter Collection (retail value $56.50) as DRM-free .PDF ebooks, including the complete Heroes Unlimited™ 2E rulebook, along with the first volume in the Powers Unlimited™ series, Villains Unlimited™, the city sourcebook Century Station™, and Mutant Underground.

Those who pay more than the threshold (average) price, which is set at $27.95 to start, also get our entire Bonus Collection with five more titles worth an additional $60.50, including the Game Master's Guide, Gramercy Island (a supervillain prison), Aliens Unlimited™ Revised and its companion Galaxy Guide, and the adventure/sourcebook Armageddon Unlimited.

At least one more title will be added later. When a title is added after launch, ALL customers who previously purchased the bundle automatically receive the newly added title, REGARDLESS of whether or not they paid more than average. This is their reward for buying early.


OK, I might as well be honest, I'm not a big fan of this system - it's a fairly early attempt at a generic superhero game and in my opinion others have done it better, most notably the Champions system and GURPS Supers. Having said that, it's reasonably good value for money, and covers most of the key mechanics and ideas needed for most superhero genres. I personally prefer other systems, and at the moment don't want to run any superhero game anyway, but opinions differ.

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Subject:Picspam - more odds and ends
Time:08:58 pm
More pictures that I've taken around and about my area.

Shepherds Bush flooding - a water main burst early yesterday morning, I happened to be in the area later in the day.



full size https://farm5.staticflickr.com/4656/39996214492_9b288b88ee_o_d.jpg



full size https://farm5.staticflickr.com/4710/39996213702_c0b8680a41_o_d.jpg



full size https://farm5.staticflickr.com/4670/39996212822_d33c38372b_o_d.jpg



full size https://farm5.staticflickr.com/4612/26155040248_46201c8f4e_o_d.jpg

There's an odd little concrete island under the Westway between Royal Oak and Paddington stations that overlooks the railway. It's a bit isolated because it's next to the main road, the route to it from Royal Oak looks VERY non-inviting, and it isn't particularly convenient for getting anywhere. It doesn't even seem to be used by vagrants, presumably because there isn't much shelter there. Anyway, I get along there once in a while, here are some pictures:



full size https://farm5.staticflickr.com/4602/39996217782_58f8e4386a_o_d.jpg



full size https://farm5.staticflickr.com/4670/39996216842_fea1fe8711_o_d.jpg



full size https://farm5.staticflickr.com/4754/39996216022_e76c612970_o_d.jpg



full size https://farm5.staticflickr.com/4628/39996208872_4779977f9d_o_d.jpg

moss growing on the wall overlooking the railway - probably gets its nutrition from bird droppings



full size https://farm5.staticflickr.com/4623/39996210622_f9b1801ab0_o_d.jpg

Canal tunnel between Camden Town and King's Cross



full size https://farm5.staticflickr.com/4657/39996215232_0e3406b79f_o_d.jpg

Smithfield Meat Market, 7 PM (getting ready to open at midnight)



full size https://farm5.staticflickr.com/4762/26155037168_84dc4fd224_o_d.jpg

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Subject:Fanfic - Five Relatives that Peter Parker Knew (And One That He Didn't)
Time:02:08 am
I think this one pretty much speaks for itself - Seven drabbles (including the introduction):

Five Relatives that Peter Parker Knew (And One That He Didn't)Collapse )

Comments please before I post to archives.

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