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27 Apr

The County of Weißenstein
a state of the Holy Roman Empire (1540–1604) and earlier of the Livonian Confederation.

Weißenstein contained Paide Castle, which was built by the Livonian Brothers of the Sword, an autonomous Templar Order aligned with the Prussian Teutonic Knights. The town of Paide grew quickly nearby. The region has changed hands many times and political intrigue has been part of that sometimes secretive history. Paide now lies in modern day Estonia. The current population of the city of Paide is around 10,000.

Once in Weißenstein, Paide Castle has been the site of great military use in the past

The castle was built in 1265 or 1266 by Master Konrad von Mandernand as a fortress of the Livonian Order. It was here that the 4 Estonian Kings who led the St. George’s day uprising in 1343 where killed while negotiating with the Livonian Order.

I have an ancestor, Johann Osthoff von Mengede, who was also a Master of the Livonian Brotherhood from 1450-69, only seven years after the St. George’s Day uprising, so this is quite fascinating to me.

The Livonian Confederation was a loosely organized alliance between the Roman Catholic Church, crusading German knights, German merchants, vassals, cities and existing indigenous peoples in the area which is now Latvia and Estonia. In the late 12th century a German monk, Father Meinhard, came to the area with both spiritual and economic ambitions. His goal was to bring Christianity, in the form of Roman Catholicism, to the tribal peoples. Also, the value of the strategic location of the Baltic area between the Roman Catholic world and the Byzantine world, and the possibility for economic exploitation of this region was not lost on the powers of the Roman Catholic Church. Following Father Meinhard, the Confederation existed for almost three and a half centuries. In 1561, as a result of the invasion of Ivan IV and internal political instability, the Confederation came to an end and its lands were divided amongst the surrounding countries. This is when the Principality known as Weißenstein was formed. The Baltic Germans did however, establish themselves as the ruling, elite class which held ramifications for this region even into the twentieth century.

My campaign contains much regarding Templars and a Universal Church, so these real life historical events and persons are useful for me. Weißenstein will figure heavily in it, as it will fit nicely into the Holy Empire of the Universal Church that figures prominently in my game.



Dungeons & Dragons Basic Set (Blue Box)

5 Apr

Dungeons & Dragons Basic Set (Blue Box)

My brother and I slaying the dragon 😉


This is what caused me to get into the hobby.
When it first came out I had no idea what a war game or RPG was, yet. Just like a random encounter or a wandering monster, I stumbled across this mesmerizing beauty   in the strangest place: the old Woolworth’s store that was in downtown St.Paul, MN.

The cover art by David Sutherland drew me in immediately! I quickly spent 2 months worth of my saved allowance get it, because I had to have this new thing!  (I was saddened by his death in 2005 and it was only then that I learned that he had been a Minneapolis native).

The entire experience of opening this box up and finding the treasures inside was an adventure in itself. I pored over the rules and finally shanghaied my little brother to play. He and I both enjoyed D&D and continued to game together in various home brew Holmes campaigns over the years.

I lost my original set in a move 😦
Thankfully, I was able to score a replacement set later, but by that time, AD&D was out and my group had already migrated to it.

As I stated in an earlier post, I found it funny that our earliest characters slew a Red Dragon (at 2nd level! lol) There has to be a dragon in the dungeon, because it’s Dungeons & Dragons, ya know? I probably didn’t know exactly what I was doing then, but Dungeons & Dragons and RPGs in general have been my lifelong hobby ever since those wonderful, whacky days 🙂

The Old School Renaissance has done much to bring back the experience of OD&D, Basic and AD&D to the table again. Whatever flavor you play, Old School or Modern, I wish you happy gaming.

Let the dice roll as they may, forever!


30 Odd Animal Types

27 Mar


Jeff Rients & Sir Larkin’s Order of the d30 idea is both humorous and useful!
It makes me keep thinking of tables that a d30 would come in handy for. So, here is another one I have made. May this table inspire some interesting animal-based Roleplaying experiences 😉


30 Odd Animal Types
(for Random Encounters, Wizard Familiars, Druid Companions, NPCs or People That Like Critters

01 – Raven / Crow
02 – Hawk / Falcon
03 – Owl (Standard/Giant)
04 – Lizard / Snake
05 – Horse / Pegasus / Unicorn
06 – Wolf / Coyote / Fox
07 – Bear (Black/Brown/Grizzly)
08 – Dog (Domestic/Wild)
09 – Parrot / Peacock / other exotic bird
10 – Monkey / Ape
11 – Lion / Tiger
12 – Cougar / Leopard / Cheetah
13 – Weasel / Ferret / Mink
14 – Mole / Shrew
15 – Bat (Standard/Vampire)
16 – Fairy Dragon
17 – Crab (Small/Giant)
18 – Boar (Standard/Mount)
19 – Spider (Small/Giant)
20 – Rat / Mouse / Squirrel
21 – Jackal / Hyena
22 – Toad / Frog / Salamander
23 – Cat (domestic) / Bobcat / Lynx
24 – Deer / Moose / Reindeer
25 – Sloth (Standard/Giant)
26 – Badger (Standard/Giant)
27 – Armadillo (Standard/Giant)
28 – Hare / Rabbit
29 – Skunk / Porcupine
30 – Possum / Raccoon

(Roll a d30. GM can choose from the alternate types of the result, if any. Using the d30 as an Odd-Even or Jumbo d3 is also possible.)

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30 Odd Animal Types by Jeffrey Osthoff is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-ShareAlike 3.0 Unported License.
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