A Philosopher's Blog

Uncommon Commoners #1: Fish Sticks

Posted in Pathfinder by Michael LaBossiere on May 31, 2014

Fishsticks-Cover

A Pathfinder Role Playing Game compatible adventure for 1st-3rd level characters.

Description

Fish Sticks is the first book (of seven) in The Uncommon Commoners campaign series. In this semi-epic campaign, the uncommon commoners will fulfill their destiny. Or die trying. Or both—if their destiny is to die trying.

Bound by destiny and linked by a secret from the past, the uncommon commoners must face their first semi-great challenge, best explained by the following uncommon poem:

 

Welcome to Pisco, our village.
Which, I hope, you will not pillage.
Though the village smells please do not go!
I beg you to listen to our tale of woe!
Once we were happy and full of weal.
Now the place smells like a dead seal!
As for the cause of our pain
You do not need a giant brain
Nor the diviner’s art
To know that the fish do fart!
I am at my wit’s end!
Help us, or I’ll go around the bend!
That is what I have to say.
If you won’t help us, I bid you good day!

The Uncommon Commoners #1: Fish Sticks is a Pathfinder Role Playing Game compatible adventure. It is intended for a party of 1st-3rd level uncommon commoner characters (included in the adventure). While the adventure is written to be humorous and fairly light, it is also designed to be suitable for serious game play.

Here are some of the features of the adventure:

  • Detailed color maps for the adventure.
  • Fully developed NPCs, complete with detailed descriptions, backstories and motivations. And loot.
  • An actual plot. Really. In at least two senses of the term. Plus combat, of course.
  • Full statistics are included for all encounters—no need to look up monsters.
  • Pre-Generated uncommon commoners with backstories, catch phrases, special abilities and special feats.
  • New NPC classes (the magician and the wilds warrior).
  • New Traits & Feats (resilience, focused healer, heroic resilience, devoted healer, and doorman).
  • New rules for intelligent mounts.
  • New Spells (accompanying performer, amplify instrument, entourage, loud speak, and saltball).
  • New Magic Items & Equipment(boots of underwater walking, dancing sea bird, elixir of dancing, elixir of drunken dancing, necklace of saltballs, sexy tiara, salt bomb, bubble weed and Kelok crossbow).
  • 86 pages of adventure (includes maps)!
  • Donk!

Available  At

DriveThru RPG
P
aizo

Downloads

Hero Lab Files, Maps, Etc.

See paizo.com/pathfinderRPG for more information on the Pathfinder Roleplaying Game.

 

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Cheben at Paizo Store & DriveThruRPG

Posted in Pathfinder by Michael LaBossiere on December 28, 2013

Cheben-Cover

Description

The good folks of Cheben have four problems they need solved.  To start things off, the dead have been walking about in the old graveyard and scouts have reported seeing something else skulking around the old mausoleum. Good Father Rollin would go deal with them himself, but he is busy ministering to the spiritual needs of the community.

Second, goblins have been spotted near the old auxiliary armory and it is feared they might have set up a base of operations on the island. The militia would handle the problem, but the mayor worries that the goblins might be engaged in a ruse to lure away the defenders of the town.

Third, an area of woods near the town is permanently in shadow, no doubt due to magic of some sort. Two hunters have gone missing in the woods and others have reported siting strange creatures in the woods. The town wizard would deal with this, but he is busy with critical research, which leads to the final problem.

Kosven, the town wizard, needs some brave souls to investigate an old and abandoned library. The library has reputation for being haunted and no one in the town wants to face what lurks within its walls.

As usual, it is up to starting adventurers to solve the villagers’ problems. Or die trying.

Cheben is a Pathfinder Role Playing Game compatible adventure. It is intended for a party of 1st-3rd level characters.

Here are some of the features of the adventure:

  • Detailed color maps for the adventure.
  • Full statistics are included for all encounters—no need to look up monsters.
  • New Monsters (Paper Phantom, Silent Guardian (Least), Rage Wolf, and Whip Plant).
  • Retro Art (=Bad Art).
  • A complete campaign starter adventure with four distinct adventure areas.

Available  on Amazon
Available at DriveThruRPG
Available at the Paizo Store

Downloads

Cheben Monsters & Maps

Hero Lab Portfolio Folder

See paizo.com/pathfinderRPG for more information on the Pathfinder Roleplaying Game.

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Merry Christmas!

Posted in Miscellaneous by Michael LaBossiere on December 25, 2013

Husky-HolidaysHamster

Tomb of Kerakos at Paizo & DriveThruRPG

Posted in Pathfinder by Michael LaBossiere on December 4, 2013

A Pathfinder compatible adventure for 3rd-6th level characters.

Description

While most human cities grow with life, the great city of Thetos arose from a devotion to the study of death. Over the centuries, necromancers from around the world (and perhaps other worlds) have been drawn to the secret wisdom hidden within her walls. It is said that even the great necromancer Rils abided for a time within the city.

Tales speak of those who came seeking the knowledge of Rils and most tales end with the final death of the seeker. Some few, such as Kerakos, managed to survive the tests and become great necromancers. When Rils departed from the city his students honored him by creating their own challenges in imitation of those they had faced. Kerakos, reputed to be among the greatest of Rils’ students, reputably created just such a tomb within the desert near Thetos. While the tales of the tomb vary, most of them share a common detail: anyone who can survive the dangers of the tomb can shed the bonds of mortality and gain everlasting existence.

Tomb of Kerakos is a Pathfinder Role Playing Game compatible adventure. It is intended for a party of 3rd-6th level characters. It is written to follow Rils’ Lesser Sanctum, but can be run as a stand-alone adventure.

Here are some of the features of the adventure:

  • Detailed color maps for the adventure.
  • Full statistics are included for all encounters—no need to look up monsters.
  • New Monsters ( Desert Ghast, Desert Zombie, and Kerakos Mummy)
  • New Magic Items (Armor of Kerakos, Scarab of Kerakos).
  • Free Hero Lab portfolio.
  • Giant scorpions.

Available on Amazon
Available at DriveThruRPG
Available at the Paizo Store

Downloads

Tomb of Kerakos Monsters & Maps PDF

Hero Lab Portfolio Folder

See paizo.com/pathfinderRPG for more information on the Pathfinder Roleplaying Game.

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Openly Gamer

Posted in Pathfinder, Philosophy by Michael LaBossiere on November 29, 2013
Dados do sistema d20

(Photo credit: Wikipedia)

I started my gaming lifestyle when my mother got me the basic D&D boxed set over three decades ago. Since I was already solidly classified as a nerd by the other kids, I made no attempt to conceal my gaming ways. I also did track, cross country and debate—which actually resulted in more mockery than my gaming. When I went to college, I continued my openly gamer lifestyle, although I also continued my running ways.

In graduate school, I took my gamer lifestyle to a new level—I began writing professionally and my name appeared in print as solid evidence of my gaming lifestyle. While some people leave gaming behind after college, I stuck with it and still have a regular game, usually Pathfinder or Call of Cthulhu, each week. I also have my own tiny publishing operation and obviously still am open about my gaming ways.

Thanks to the popularity of video games, fantasy and science fiction, gaming now has less stigma than it did in the past. However, I know numerous gamers who are careful to conceal their gaming lifestyle from others. For example, one person tells people that he is playing poker or watching sports when he is, in fact, rolling D20s and pushing around miniatures. He also forbids any photos of him engaged in gaming. Another person is careful to conceal his gamer status from his professional colleagues out of concerns that it will negatively impact his career. Others are less secretive and do not deny being gamers—if directly asked. They do, however, do not usually talk about their gaming around non-gamers and tend to have anecdotes of bad experiences arising from people finding out about the gaming.

Jokingly, I tend to refer to people who actively keep their gaming secret as being in the dungeon. Folks who voluntarily tell people they are gamers come out of the dungeon and those who are involuntarily exposed are outed as gamers.

In my own case, being openly gamer has been a no brainer. First, I was obviously a nerd as a kid and there would have been no point in trying to deny that I gamed—no one would believe that I didn’t have a bag of strange dice. Second, I studied philosophy and became a professional philosopher—in comparison being a gamer is rather down-to-earth and normal. For those who are curious, I am also openly philosophical. Third, because I am socially competent and in good shape, I do not have any fear of the consequences of people finding out I am a gamer.

I also have moral reasons as to why I am openly gamer. The first is my moral principle that if I believe that a way of life needs to be hidden from “normal” people, then it would follow that I should not be engaged in that way of life. Naturally, there are exceptions. For example, if I were in a brutally repressive state, then I could have excellent reasons to conceal a way of life that those in power might oppose. As a less extreme example, some gamers do believe that they will suffer negative consequences if people find out about their gaming ways. For example, someone who knows her boss thinks gaming is for Satanists would have a good reason to stay in the dungeon.

The second is my moral commitment to honesty. Being a gamer is part of what I am, just as is being a runner and being a philosopher. To actively conceal and deny what I am would be to lie by omission and to create in the minds of others a false conception of the person I am. While I do recognize that people can have good reasons to create such false conceptions, that is something that should be avoided when possible—assuming, of course, that deceit is wrong.

I do know some gamers who hide their gaming when they start dating someone—I recall many occasions when one of my fellows went on a date or met someone and others, on learning this, said “you didn’t tell her you are a gamer did you?!” The assumption is, of course, that being a gamer would be a deal-breaker. While I do not advocate being an in-their-face gamer (just as I do not advocate being an in-their-face runner), honesty is the best policy—if the dating leads to a relationship, she will eventually find out and dishonesty tends to be more of a deal breaker than gaming.

Naturally, some gamers have made the reasonable point that they want to win over a person before revealing that they are gamers. After all, a person might have a prejudice against gamers that is based on ignorance. Such a person might unfairly reject a gamer out of hand, but come to accept it once they get to know an actual gamer.  After all, gamers are people, too.

 

My Amazon Author Page

My Paizo Page

My DriveThru RPG Page

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Running with the Pack Review

Posted in Book Review, Ethics, Philosophy, Running by Michael LaBossiere on November 13, 2013

Running with the Pack: Thoughts from the Road on Meaning and Mortality

Mark Rowlands (Author) $25.95 November 2013

Like Mark Rowlands, I am a runner, a known associate of canines, and a philosopher in Florida. This probably makes me either well qualified as a reviewer or hopelessly biased.

While the book centers on the intrinsic value of running, it also addresses the broader topics of moral value and the meaning of life. While Rowlands references current theories of evolutionary biology, he is engaging in philosophy of the oldest school—the profound and difficult struggle to grasp the Good.

Decisively avoiding the punishing style that often infects contemporary philosophy, Rowlands’ well-crafted tale invites the reader into his thoughts and reflections. While Rowlands runs with canines rather than his fellow “big arsed apes” his writing has the pleasant feel of the well-told running story. While the tale covers a span of decades, it is nicely tied together by his account of his first marathon.

Since the book is about running and philosophy, there is the question of whether or not the book is too philosophical for runners and too “runsophical” for philosophers. Fortunately, Rowlands clearly presents the philosophical aspects of the work in a way that steers nicely between the rocks of being too technical for non-philosophers and being too simplistic for philosophers. As such, non-philosophers and philosophers should find the philosophical aspects both comprehensible and interesting.

In regards to the running part, Rowlands takes a similar approach: those who know little of running are provided with the needed context while Rowlands’s skill ensures that he still captures the attention of veteran runners. This approach ensures that those poor souls who are unfamiliar with both running and philosophy will still find the book approachable and comprehensible.

While the narrative centers on running, the book is a run across the fields of value and the hills of meaning. In addition to these broad themes, Rowlands presents what seems to be the inevitable non-American’s critique of American values. However, Rowlands’s critique of American values (especially our specific brand of instrumentalism) is a friend’s critique: someone who really likes us, but is worried about some of our values and choices. Lest anyone think that Rowlands is solely critiquing America, his general concern is with the contemporary view of value as being purely instrumental. Against this view he endeavors to argue for intrinsic value. Not surprisingly, he claims that running has intrinsic value in addition to its obvious instrumental value. While this claim generally seems self-evident to runners, in the context of philosophy it must be proven and Rowlands sets out to do just that.

Interestingly, he begins with a little known paper by Moritz Schlick in which he contends that play has intrinsic value. He then moves to Bernard Suits’s account of what it is to be game and notes that running is a form of play; that is, it involves picking an inefficient means of achieving a goal for the sake of engaging in the activity.  Running is not a efficient way of getting around in an age of cars, but runners often run for the sake of running-thus running can be a game.

As Rowlands tells the reader, his approach is not strictly linear and he takes interesting, but relevant, side trips into such matters as the nature of the self and of love. These side trips are rather like going off the main trail in a run—but, of course, one is really still on the run.

Near the end of this run, Rowlands goes back to the origins of philosophy in ancient Greece. He notes that the gods, such as Zeus, showed us that play is an essential part of what is best. The philosophers showed us that the most important thing is to love the good. The athletes taught us that running is play and therefore has intrinsic value.

He ends his run with a discussion of joy, which is the recognition of things with intrinsic value. As he says, dogs and children understand joy but when we become adults we lose our understanding—but this need not be a permanent loss.

While Rowlands’s case is well reasoned, he does face the serious challenge of establishing intrinsic value within the context of what I call the MEM (mechanistic, evolutionary, and materialist) world. Many ancient (and later) philosophers unashamedly helped themselves to teleological and metaphysical foundations for the Good. While this generated problems, this approach could seemingly ground intrinsic value. While I agree with Rowlands’s conclusion, I am in less agreement with his attempt to establish intrinsic value in his chosen world view. But, it is a good run and I respect that.

Like a long run, Rowlands’ book covers a great deal of ground. Also like a long run, it is well worth finishing.  Plus there are dogs (the most philosophical of animals).

My Amazon Author Page

My Paizo Page

My DriveThru RPG Page

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Rils’ Lesser Sanctum at DriveThruRPG and the Paizo Store

Posted in Pathfinder by Michael LaBossiere on October 29, 2013

A Pathfinder compatible adventure for 3rd-5th level characters.

Description

This adventure is the second in the Rils’ series. It is preceded by the Tomb of Rils.

While scholars of necromancy debate the very existence of Rils, none of them doubt that there are numerous tombs, sanctums and dungeons that are allegedly his handiwork.

The scholars who accept that Rils existed believe that because of his devotion to knowledge, he created numerous repositories holding his scrolls and books.  They also claim that Rils did not wish his knowledge to fall into unworthy hands or to be acquired too easily. As such, these repositories are supposed to be well guarded and thoroughly trapped. Others claim that he created these places as deathtraps to slaughter those who might someday challenge his power. Still others speculate that some of his tombs and sanctums were created to imprison and torment failed students.

Rils’ actual fate and motives (assuming he existed at all) are not recorded in history. Some scholars believe that he was destroyed by adventurers who mistook him for an evil lich. Others contend he was destroyed by adventurers because he was an evil lich. Some say that he still exists and dwells within a vast underground library, penning necromantic tomes. Whatever the truth, from time to time the location of one of Rils’ alleged repositories is discovered and adventurers brave the dangers within. Sometimes, it is said, Rils himself takes a hand in guiding potential necromancers…perhaps to power…perhaps to doom.

Rils’ Lesser Sanctum is a Pathfinder Role Playing Game compatible adventure. It is intended for a party of 3rd-5th level characters. It is written to follow Tomb of Rils, but can be run as a stand-alone adventure.

Here are some of the features of the adventure:

  • Detailed color maps for the adventure.
  • Full statistics are included for all encounters—no need to look up monsters.
  • New spells (Animate Desert Zombies, Animate Burning Skeletons, and Bone Dance).
  • New Monsters (Burning Skeletons, Toothed Fish and Desert Zombie)
  • New Magic Items (Binding Bracers, Mummy Unguent, Lesser Necromantic Mask, and Swarm Stone).
  • Free Hero Lab portfolio.
  • Dream sequences.

Available now on Amazon.

Available at DriveThruRPG.

Available at the Paizo store.

Downloads

Rils’ Lesser Sanctum PDF

Hero Lab Portfolio Folder

See paizo.com/pathfinderRPG for more information on the Pathfinder Roleplaying Game.

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Tomb of Rils at DriveThruRPG & Paizo

Posted in Pathfinder by Michael LaBossiere on October 11, 2013

A Pathfinder compatible adventure for 1st-3rd level characters.

Description

The history of Rils is a matter of considerable debate among the great scholars of necromancy. Some of the learned even assert that Rils never existed. Some claim that stories about different necromancers were combined over the centuries and this fictional composite was named Rils.

While the myths and historical accounts vary, a common point of agreement is that unlike many other necromancers of his caliber, Rils was not interested in spreading undeath across the world. Instead, Rils has been portrayed as devoted to the study of necromancy and the undead as a matter of intellectual curiosity.

The scholars who accept that Rils existed believe that because of his devotion to knowledge, he created numerous repositories holding his scrolls and books.  They also claim that Rils did not wish his knowledge to fall into unworthy hands or to be acquired too easily. As such, these repositories are supposed to be well guarded and thoroughly trapped.

Rils’ actual fate (assuming he existed at all) is not recorded in history. Some scholars believe that he was destroyed by adventurers who mistook him for an evil lich. Others contend he was destroyed by adventurers because he was an evil lich. Some say that he still exists and dwells within a vast underground library, penning necromantic tomes. Whatever the truth, from time to time the location of one of Rils’ alleged repositories is discovered and adventurers brave the dangers within.

Tomb of Rils is a Pathfinder Role Playing Game compatible adventure. It is intended for a party of 1st-3rd    level characters.

Here are some of the features of the adventure:

  • New traps.
  • Detailed color map for the adventure.
  • Full statistics are included for all encounters—no need to look up monsters.
  • New spells (Bone Dance and Glue).
  • New Monster (Bone Dancer)
  • Free Hero Lab portfolio.
  • Zombie fish.

Available now on Amazon.

Available at DriveThruRPG.

Available at the Paizo Store.

Downloads

Tomb of Rils Monsters, Spells & Maps

Hero Lab Portfolio Folder

See paizo.com/pathfinderRPG for more information on the Pathfinder Roleplaying Game.

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Broken Mine at Paizo & DriveThruRPG

Posted in Pathfinder by Michael LaBossiere on October 4, 2013

A Pathfinder compatible adventure for 4th-6th level characters.

Description

Old stories tell of the wizard Kelsun, better known as Kelsun the Mad Prophet, who was driven mad by visions of a world-shaking disaster. Fortunately, his madness proved to be benevolent—he set out, in his odd way, to help ensure that items of power would be available to help rebuild civilization after the disaster. Unfortunately, his benevolent madness was…madness. He created strange dungeons filled with exotic traps and monsters to guard these items. As most dungeon creators do, he left cryptic and even bizarre clues regarding the locations of his caches.

One such clue was entrusted to an order of druids and, after centuries, they finally managed to locate the dungeon in question. However, as is always the case, they will call on the heroic adventurers to recover the item promised to them, a magical vine. In return, the brave survivors will be able to keep all the other treasures of the broken mine.

Broken Mine is a Pathfinder Role Playing Game compatible adventure. It is intended for a party of 4th-6th level characters.

Here are some of the features of the adventure:

  • Random encounters for the area.
  • Detailed color maps for the adventure.
  • Full statistics are included for all encounters—no need to look up monsters.
  • Unusual traps.
  • Hero Lab support.

Available on Amazon.

Available at DriveThruRPG.

Available at Paizo.

Downloads

Broken Mine Monsters & Maps PDF

Hero Lab Portfolio Folder

See paizo.com/pathfinderRPG for more information on the Pathfinder Roleplaying Game.

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Tower of Zakelana at DriveThruRPG & Paizo Store

Posted in Miscellaneous, Pathfinder by Michael LaBossiere on September 19, 2013

Zakelena-Cover

Description

Roughly three centuries ago the young Zakelana began her adventuring career as a wizard. She was well known for her gift for turning foes to allies and for having a rather broad definition of what counted as a legitimate target for adventuring. This approach earned her the anger of many powerful people who sent assassins or monsters to exact their vengeance. Whenever possible, Zakelana attempted to persuade any would be killer to switch sides. The best known example occurred when a rival mage send a creature to torment Zakelana in her dreams. According to the tale, Zakelana was able to win over the creature with the gift of a pony named “Giggles.”

In her later years, she retired from adventuring and one day she simply vanished. Some speculate a final experiment failed and banished her eternally to some other dimension. Another tale relates how one of her many enemies finally killed her. In any case, she vanished but left behind a tower and a magical gateway to the space containing the tower. Some tales claim that the guards of the tower are monsters that Zakelana won over but could not allow to roam freely. The tales also speak of the great wealth and magical secrets within the tower.

Tower of Zakelana is a Pathfinder Role Playing Game compatible adventure. It is intended for a party of 10th-12th   level characters.

Here are some of the features of the adventure:

  • Usable as a side adventure or extended encounter.
  • Detailed color map for the adventure.
  • Full statistics are included for all encounters—no need to look up monsters.
  • New spells (Zakelana’s Dimensional Tunnel and Zakelana’s Dimensional Pit).

Available on Amazon.

Available at DriveThruRPG.

Available at the Paizo store.

Downloads

Tower of Zakelana Monsters & Map PDF

Hero Lab Portfolio Folder

See paizo.com/pathfinderRPG for more information on the Pathfinder Roleplaying Game.

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