Saturday, 28 December 2013

Olidammara – God of Thieves?

 I don't think so.

I've seen him referenced as such. For instance, Edition 3.5's Complete Warrior, page 11. When discussing the Prestige Class Swashbuckler, it says:

“Most swashbucklers pay at least some small amount of homage to Olidammara (god of thieves) since that deity is renowned as being lucky."

I think this is due to the fact that many of today's "younger" people have no idea as to the meaning of words. This shows in their creating a "so-called" Class named "Rogue." I suppose this was done to be "politically correct." Have I ever told you how much I despise "politically correct?" No? Well, we'll save that for another post.

The problem is that Swashbucklers are "Rogues." So are Bards.

In fact, I can testify and bear witness to the fact that Jason Zavoda, Ken Harrison, Skip Twitchell, Allan Grohe, Mike Bridges, Denis Tetreault – heck everyone in my "Readers" section and then some – are all, every one . . . Charming Rogues.

The problem? None of them are Thieves.

Yes, Bards are "rogues," Swashbucklers are "rogues" and I'm sure we can name a couple of other Classes that qualify as "rogues" . . . but they're not Thieves. Bard is a Class, Swashbuckler is a Class and Thief is a Class. Rogue? Rogue is a personality.

Captain Jack Sparrow is a "charming rogue," but he's not a thief. I know you're going to say that pirates are thieves. Well, that's true, but, in The Game, Jack Sparrow is a Swashbuckler, not a Thief and not a Bard. He's a Swashbuckler . . . who happens to be a very "charming rogue."

Also, every Thief that ever trusted to luck is in prison. Successful Thieves trust to skill, not luck. So, I give you . . . Dalt! Yes, Dalt, God of Portals, Doors, Enclosures, Locks and Keys. You're telling me that don't sound like a God of Thieves to you? Of course, Dalt only acknowledges those of Neutral Good or Chaotic Good leanings.

For "neutral" Thieves there's Kurell, God of Theft, amongst other things. Teaching his followers to "take what is rightfully theirs and to seize all their desire." You know, kind of like the way Kurell tried to take his brother's wife! Tsk.

For "evil," well, there's always Nerull, God of Murder, amongst other things, who seems to be favored by Assassins. After all, what is assassination but a form of murder? And what is murder? The theft of someone's life, the most precious thing you can steal! Yeah, "evil" Thieves have Nerull.

But Dalt is "the man." His Clerics are divided between those that "keep things locked and those who seek to open the locks . . . Dalt's clerics work to build locks and traps;" thieving specialties. Dalt's clerics even act "as instructors for . . . thieves, though they will only teach those that have the greater good in mind."

Yeah, Dalt beats Olidammara as the God of Thieves hands down. Olidammara might be the God of Rogues, be it Bards, Swashbucklers or select Thieves, but Dalt is the God of Thieves in particular.

Like I said, I believe the confusion comes from "younger" writers and editors not knowing the difference between a Thief and a Rogue. They're not the same thing.

Tuesday, 24 December 2013

Midwinter's Night

Well, another Needfest is upon us and Midwinter Night is here.

Me? I'll be relaxing, running RPoL games and dodging cats. Yep, still have 17 of them in this house and with Pork roast today and Turkey tomorrow, they do prove themselves a dangerous gauntlet. Yeah, kobolds have nothing on these guys, trust me: Cat Swarm CR 10.

I've been thinking which Greyhawk God best portrays the Needfest "feeling" – given we associate the holiday with the Real World's Christmas. Oldimara easily comes to mind as the God of Music, Revels and Wine. Of course, he also has his own "special" celebration at this time, the "Feast of the Doubling Dare."

 The Suel goddess Lydia is also a Patron of Music, not to mention Daylight, and who doesn't want more "daylight" during this overcast season?

The Gods of Winter are not portrayed as "nice guys," so I wouldn't include them, they like bringing misery to people!

Berei, goddess of Home and Family also comes to mind, as this is a time to be with loved ones.

Berna, goddess of Passion and Forgiveness also seems to fit, which goes hand in hand with Zodal, god of Mercy, Hope and Benevolence.

Rudd, goddess of Chance and Luck seems to be the best "fit" for the "Feast of Fools."

 No, no one god of Greyhawk seems to fit the Real World season perfectly, so I suppose we have to tip our hat to all of them at once.

Best wishes to you and yours this year!

Thursday, 21 November 2013


Who'd have thunk it? A House Rule to adjudicate Condiments. But it's true . . . at least for those of us who like just a little "reality" thrown into our game. For me, that old chestnut – "but it's a fantasy game" – only goes so far. For me, a little "reality" makes it more believable. Of course, I'm talking about . . . Salt.
Yep, that's right, salt!

According to the publication, "Arms and Equipment Guide," page 31, salt sells for 1 copper piece per ounce, or 16 copper pieces per pound. By comparison, coffee sells for 5 gold pieces per pound. I'll be generous and call that a "typo."

Man, not only is that not "right," it's not even close. Google salt and you'll find statements like these:

"Salt may have been used for barter in connection with the obsidian trade in Anatolia in the Neolithic Era. Herodotus described salt trading routes across Libya back in the 5th century BC. In the early years of the Roman Empire, roads such as the Via Salaria were built for the transportation of salt from the salt pans of Ostia to the capital."

Roads were built for the express purpose of transporting salt. And there are even more telling statements about salt, such as this one:

"In Africa, salt was used as currency south of the Sahara, and slabs of rock salt were used as coins in Abyssinia. Moorish merchants in the 6th century traded salt for gold, weight for weight."

Yes, salt was money, literally. Salt was traded "weight for weight." In other words, an ounce of salt cost an ounce of gold . . . not a single copper piece. And how about this statement:

"Wars have been fought over salt. Venice fought and won a war with Genoa over the product, and it played an important part in the American Revolution. Cities on overland trade routes grew rich by levying duties, and towns like Liverpool flourished on the export of salt extracted from the salt mines of Cheshire. Various governments have at different times imposed salt taxes on their peoples. The voyages of Christopher Columbus are said to have been financed from salt production in southern Spain, and the oppressive salt tax in France was one of the causes of the French Revolution."

Salt, the mineral "that launched a thousand ships." Sound familiar?

No such history exists for the Coffee bean. In fact, in the time frame we're dealing with – game wise – the only "expense" associated with coffee is transportation. Unfortunately for "coffee supporters" that exact same expense exists for salt as well. We've already mentioned the building of roads for the express purpose of shipping salt.

Otherwise, coffee is cheap; one man, his wife, teenaged son & daughter can grow 100 acres of the stuff easily. On the other hand, even today, there are three or four hundred workers at the Salt Plant outside of Salt Lake City – as a Truck Driver, I used to pick up salt there – coupled with tons of modern machinery. "Back in the day," there was no machinery, so just how many hundreds of men were needed to mine the salt?

Coffee was once grown only in certain locations – that's true – but no longer. Coffee is now grown in many parts of the earth, despite the fact that "quality" can be argued. The point is that salt is still only found in certain locations and not everywhere. Unlike a plant, mineral deposits cannot be relocated and/or grown in nearly any climate.

My Greyhawk works in the same way: Coffee from the Amedio – or wherever – can be transplanted to the appropriate climatic area. Salt mines – on the other hand – are located where they are located, nothing you can do about it.

No, salt is more expensive than coffee by far. So, a House Rule, because I absolutely hate "but the book says." The writers of the "Arms and Equipment Guide" obviously had/have no idea what they're talking about.