Favorite Sci-Fi author – Sheri S Tepper


I discovered Sheri S. Tepper as an author when I was in middle school.  My mom had taken me to the Downtown Portland Public Library and in the Young Adult section I found the book Jinian Star-Eye sitting on the display racks.  The cover intrigued me, and the Title and short synopsis cinched it and I took the book home.  I tore through it like crazy and completely fell in love with the character of Jinian as well as the world in which she lived.  I ended up checking out the book several more times during the years in Middle and High School.  Honestly I can’t even remember how many times I read the book before I discovered that it was really book 9 of a 9 book series.

So begin my love affair with all of Sheri S. Tepper’s Sci-Fi/Fantasy books.  I have virtually all of them, though some of her first works are harder to come by these days.  Due to my school schedule over the last couple years, as well as the rest of life, I have fallen behind on reading her latest works though I am starting to get caught up.  Right now I am reading The Fresco, which is proving to be yet another excellent book.  While I love her style of writing and how she tracks the story from several different angles by jumping between characters from chapter to chapter eventually bringing them together as the story unfolds, I also love her underlying themes.  Her themes resonate strongly with me especially those about how we treat each other, what it means to be a creature that is truly part of our world, and even what it means to be human as well as how we treat the planet we call home.  I find that her works really cause me to rethink how we as humans are managing, or not, ourselves and what could be done to fix many of the social ills we suffer from.

If you are looking for a new author to try out in the Sci-Fi/Fantasy genre then I highly recommend Sheri S. Tepper, My favorites are Beauty and Gate to Women’s Country, though The Fresco and The Family Tree might be an easier jump in for some people as they take place on Earth.  I know I am one of her biggest fans, I named my daughter Jinian after the book that started it all for me.

Part – The mishaps continue

So when we left off our ragged group of adventurers had not yet figured out that they were destined through PC aura to be together. The best laid plans of mice and DM’s go astride often I have found.

The draconian, being afflicted by the ratling disease ability, had left an easy to follow trail on his way to the abandoned, abandoned, toy factory (suggested by my PC’s who I think may watch Scooby Doo too much). The remaining group of rag tags followed his there with thoughts of a sizable, forged bounty in their minds. Upon arrival at the factory they gained entrance through a partially opened door. While moving in to the large warehouse with its crate lined walls they were ambushed by a dozen or so life-sized puppets that had come to life. Through the use of fire magic and control spells the walking dolls were quickly dispatched of. During the battle our Ratling Necromancer determined the whereabouts of the owner that the puppets were protecting.

While the Nomad took down the remaining mannequins, the Ratling and Goblin dug up the owner and used their Commune magic to speak with him and determine if he might still have valuables in the land of the living they could relieve from his corpse. They discovered that he had a house on the outskirts of town where his most valued possessions had been safely guarded during his life. The party determined to head there to find the treasure, right after they tracked down the Draconian to get their bounty.

Thankfully for them, but not our Draconian friend, the Wolfling had used this time to track him after he made his escape during the heat of battle. Tracking him down to a small shack the party finally manages to take him down, rendering his unconscious and drags him to the nearest lock up to collect on their doctored wanted poster. The Draconian get locked in the brink for the night, not so bad for him as they healed some of his wounds incurred in the previous two scuffles, and the party collects on the ransom. However their attempt at forgery is easy to see through when compared to a standard copy kept at the jail, so much for the big reward they had hoped for.

Now it is off to the factory owners house to collect his treasure, he sure won’t be needing it anymore…

Legendary Lives 2nd Edition Review

Legendary Lives 2nd Edition is a fantasy based RPG published by Marquee Press in the mid 90s. I discovered it at Powell’s Book store in 1995 and fell in love right away. The system only takes one book and the character sheets have most all of the information a player needs on them.

The system uses percentile dice and all rolls are made against a table on the character sheet. Each roll is giving a rating between Catastrophic and Awesome and that rating is used to determine success or failure and to what degree. When a character rolls one of the two extremes they mark it with a check (one per adventure) and this allows them to perform a skill check later to possibly raise the skill, somewhat like Call of Cthulhu. Another feature of Legendary Lives 2nd Edition that is reminiscent of the much darker Call of Cthulhu is the sanity skill and how you can gain phobias and mental illnesses should you roll badly enough in the wrong situation.

With a choice of 26 different races and about as many non-magical and magical types there is a huge flexibility in the character choices. Also each character roles on tables to determine events that have happened in their character’s past both benevolent and tragic. This not only helps to shape the character but often provides the Game Master with plenty of character hooks to keep things moving along.

The magic system of Legendary Lives 2nd Edition is unlike any other I have ran or played. There are a number of different spell skills each representing a broad area of magic, such as Fire Mastery or Protection. After the player describes how they are going to use the spell skill and the effect they are looking for the Game Master will tell them how many points it will cost in temporary skill reduction (usually between 0 and 5) and the character will roll for success on the reduced skill level. Having such an open system allows for a level of creativity in spell use that is rarely seen in more rigid rpg games and is one feature that really sets this often unheard of game above most others in my mind.

While print copies are hard to come by these days, the author has seen fit to put his Legendary Lives 2nd Edition rulebook up (minus the artwork) online as opensource for all to enjoy. I suggest you not only look at this game, but his others as well. Also there are a number of useful charts and adventures online as well. I hope you enjoy this simple, yet highly creative rpg system.

Update Jan 29, 2017

I have added a few new items on The Halfling that are in support of Legendary Lives 2nd Edition. Here are the links for quick access to these new items:
2nd Edition Legendary Lives Character Sheet – PDF Form that you can fill out on your computer
Automated Class Option Finder – Enter your character’s base stats and get back a list of all available classes

Legendary Lives 2nd Edition

My favorite game to run is Legendary Lives 2nd Edition.  I have been running this fantasy based RPG since the mid 90’s.  In particular I like the open magic system and the ease of game play.  Since Marquee Press went out of business the authors have put the rule book on the web at www.hauntedattic.org.  There are several other RPG books available on the site including Lost Souls which I have always wanted to run but have not yet had a group interested.

I will be using this blog to post an update of my current groups adventures every other week.  Look for the first post telling about how they all met in the next few days.