Wassail, traveler, and welcome to The Gable Grey -- a place of retreat, of renewal, and of resistance: a tree-shaded refuge in Dark Times. Now pass the threshold, and rest from journeys! For a cold wind is blowing; and here, if you wish, you may hear tidings of the world without...

Sunday, March 29, 2009

The Year of the Hawk

Got my hawking gauntlet last week! Nice brown calfskin, full-cuff. Northwoods shipped it rather unceremoniously in a plastic bag within the box. I say "unceremoniously" because this strikes me as a rather noble item, symbolic of an ancient art and way of life... but however it got here, it is here now, and I get a small rush every time I put it on, imagining a big red-tail or Harris hawk perched on my gauntleted arm.

It was with that and much else in mind that I cleaned out the shed today, making it ready for the mews. In my head it is no longer "the shed" now, but "the mews." Next I'll need to purchase a bow perch. But the mews, excepting making the small shelf area into an enclosed cabinet, is essentially hawk-worthy.

When I was in my tweens I was often taken by my mom and stepfather to his parents' home near Knoxville, Tennessee. We usually went during spring break, so it was usually on the cool side in those Appalachian foothills, and the land was still mostly somber greys and browns. One morning, beginning our drive east towards Great Smoky Mountain National Park, we passed on one of those twisting country roads a tall man, who carried a huge hawk on one arm. Now I'm sure my mental image of that hawk has increased in size somewhat in the 20+ years since then, making it eagle-sized; but there can be little doubt as I look back that it was a big female RT. I've always dreamed about being a falconer since then. Now, at long last, that dream is slowly coming to fruition.

Wednesday, March 25, 2009

Distractions? I slay them!

I've watched a number of new films this month, and have added and reviewed them below. Frozen River and I Served the King of England were particularly good.

Also added: a new survey for the four of us who regularly vote. I must admit that I have not yet voted. Still thinking about it.

Been working on a new character for MERP: a Dwarf, Guzur the Black. ("Black" refers to his beard, his dwarf-clothing color preference, and to his usual mood.) I must say that I am very fond of him, so far. Two confirmed kills at this point in his life.

Best of all, I managed to actually write a new page or twain for The Woodreeve's Tale, and it is very good, if I do say so myself. A quiet, rainy day works wonders, sometimes... as does a blissfully long nap by the four-year-old.

Wednesday, March 11, 2009

New Lands

I have downloaded other MERP modules to my hard drive: Riders of Rohan, Assassins of Dol Amroth, Havens of Gondor, and Denizens of the Dark Wood. Combined, the Ebay cost of these would have amounted to probably $150-200. Instead, they will only cost the ink and paper to print them out! Marvelous!!!
A couple of the modules I've looked at are predictably of questionable value for role-playing, namely Gates of Mordor (which does have a very good layout of the castle of Durthang, I must admit) and Denizens of the Dark Wood. The most surprising to me is Woses of the Black Wood. By its title alone I had imagined it colossally dull, but I am glad to say it is far otherwise. The relative isolation of the Eryn Vorn and the Black Cape makes localized adventures most feasable, without the worry of outside historical events muddling (or enriching, depending on your point of view) things for the harried GM. Plus there are layouts, layouts, layouts... all in all, a great volume for more traditional PCs, who may prefer stepping into Middle-earth as hobbits, Elves, Dwarves, or the more noble Men.

Sunday, March 8, 2009

Free MERP modules??? Holy broadsword!

My good friend and co-conspirator of old, Mr. A. Brock Chapman (may his beard never wither!), was kind enough to inform me of a most useful website the other day: www.scribd.com. Not only can one download books for free, but said books include not a few old MERP modules! I now have saved to my hard drive, in Adobe Acrobat, copies of Woses of the Black Wood, Gates of Mordor, Calenhad: A Beacon of Gondor, and (incredibly) The Court of Ardor in Southern Middle-earth. There are others also, and I will surely add them, as time goes by.
Thanks, Brock!
Whiles carried o'er the iron road,
We hurry by some fair abode;
The garden bright amidst the hay,
The yellow wain upon the way,
The dining men, the wind that sweeps
Light locks from off the sun-sweet heaps --
The gable grey, the hoary roof,
Here now -- and now so far aloof.
How sorely then we long to stay
And midst its sweetness wear the day,
And 'neath its changing shadows sit,
And feel ourselves a part of it.
Such rest, such stay, I strove to win
With these same leaves that lie herein.

-- William Morris, from
"The Roots of the Mountains"