Thursday, July 18, 2013

Pazoodle's Lexicon: More Words From Wampus Country

(See here for original batch and concept)

slooptippy - noun.  1. Hideous, gape-jawed canids which pass the time by picking up sticks in their mouths and attempting to spank one another from positions of stealth.  2. Drinking game derived from behavior of same.

angafel - noun.  A thematic dictionary of inference, in which words are not defined directly; instead, each word is vaguely referenced in a short story a page or two in length.

pruppadump - noun.  Any of several home-brewed carbonated beverages flavored with garbage.

zarkaruff - noun.  Exceedingly puffy men's pantaloons of legendary warmth, crafted from the fur of giant wolves and typically featuring myriad internal pockets.

blemmis - noun or verb.  1. A word used to signify that the speaker does not know the answer to the question posed, but cannot stand to be so impolite as to say so directly.  2. To awkwardly avoid a difficult situation.

chempovagums - noun.  A book consisting of a sequence of wordless illustrations, intended as a moral lesson for the illiterate or a taunt for the blind.

phoolcom - noun.  A preserved flower in a vacuum-sealed bottle, carried by explorers as a companion.

appoinepidals - noun.  A series of wooden racks which hold paintings horizontally, face-down, over water, so that fish may appreciate them.

quavora - noun.  The option in the middle of other options; a compromise course of action.

shangtmap - noun.  A single blossom sprouting from a discarded shoe; the flower, much coveted by sorcerors, cannot be seen directly and must be observed with peripheral vision.

ektreem - noun.  A soccer-like sport in which a rubber ball is propelled toward a dangling hoop with alternating kicks and swats from a wooden paddle.

condindock - noun.  The oppostive of active, without being inactive; a state of laziness characterized by doing something meaningless while avoiding actual work.

swartful - noun (1) or adjective (2).   1. A powerful martial arts move involving simultaneous headbutt and throat-strike.  Hand over my money, or I'll do you a swartful.   2.  Exceedingly difficult to enact, yet final.  As in "Howling, he struck a swartful blow, and into the pit the beast did go", in the children's rhyme.

gesterammer - noun.  A houseguest who doesn’t actually know anybody, but stays anyway; ie, a party-crasher who somehow spends the night on your sofa.

murdstaked - adjective.  Covered completely in dried dung.  "The savages stepped out of the mist, murdstaked and hungry for blood-glory."

hoofilly - adverb.  Moving as a hoofil does, with elbows bent akimbo and forelimbs flapping wildly.

prodler - noun.  A criminal who dresses and acts as a normal person, but is compelled to reveal himself to be a villain mid-crime.

Wednesday, July 17, 2013

Adventuring Chefs

"So let me get this straight.  This guy wants to not only sponsor the expedition to find the gargoyle lair, he wants to come along?"
"Yep.  He says he prefers to kill his own food..."

The Adventuring Chef seeks out new flavors in the wilderness, searching for exotic flora and fauna which he then kills and uses in his groundbreaking recipes.  He's no snooty school-cook - he'd much prefer to be tooling around with a group of adventurers, living off the land, and hacking at weird beasties with a meat-cleaver.

"An otyugh, you say?  I've never had one of those.  Suppose it might go nice with some saffron."

I watch a lot of cooking shows, so it should come as no surprise that I've been contemplating the idea of an adventuring Chef class for some time.  It's a ridiculous concept, of course, but that's why Wampus Country is probably the best place for it; the Chef is somewhere between Man Vs Wild and Man Vs Food, tromping through unexplored hexes looking for something novel to stab and barbecue.

You can check out the current version here.  It's a cleric variant, essentially.  Will it still look like this by the time it makes it into the Wampus Country Alamanac?  No idea.  Some folks have suggested adding some details on food preservation and storage, or tweaking the way casting works; I'll play with it now and again and see what comes out at the end of the process.  It still needs a "potion-making" power, probably at about level 5, so the Chef can make a certain amount of permanent, transferable items.

"I ain't gonna lie, I swiped a piece of that goblin king and frizzled it up with herb butter."

As a bonus to the Adventuring Chef, here's a random table of types of food preparation (there is a meat bias).  You might be able to use it for...  wow, I have no idea.  The request of a decadent noble?  Means of artifact destruction?  Potion preparation by witches?  You'll come up with something.

1 - grill
2 - pan-fry
3 - roast
4 - deep-fry
5 - boil
6 - bake
7 - broil
8 - ceviche
9 - marinate
10 - steam
11 - simmer
12 - braise
13 - blanche
14 - saute
15 - caramelize
16 - sear
17 - barbecue
18 - spit / rotisserie
19 - poach
20 - infuse
21 - coddle
22 - smother
23 - smoke
24 - salt
25 - bain-marie
26 - stuff
27 - press
28 - grate
29 - grind
30 - raw

Oh, and if you play a Chef, this list of utensils might come in handy.

No snarky caption required.

Tuesday, July 16, 2013

Review: Crumbling Epoch

Andrew over at Fictive Fantasies has released Crumbling Epoch, which takes a stripped-down variant of B/X and does some interesting things with it.  Full disclosure: Andrew included some reskinned spells from the Wampus Country Arcane Abecediary in this bad boy, so I'm less than objective.  The game's pitch follows in italics:

The gods have left, magic has been reinvented when the old powers burned out, and humanity has survived multiple extinction-level events. There are five classes, including humans touched by the divine, and weak-blooded vampires called Thirsters. Fighters can focus on weapons and armor, or reflexes and style. Wizards use their life energy to fuel their potent magic. Anyone can use armor and weapons in this dangerous world.

This simple game has 12 pages of rules, and the rest is support. There are no attributes, one saving throw roll, and damage-reducing armor–a whole new flavor. Here you will find all you need to run a dungeon crawl without a DM, all on a 2 page spread, for 2 settings! Quick-start tools for a campaign world include a region generator, a religion generator, and a unique monster builder. Several examples of play help grasp the new rhythm of the rules. Finally, each class in the book comes with a Pocket Mod character sheet, so a quick-start game has sheets for the players with rule summaries and class-specific information!

Other fine writers contributed to this game. The appendices include three classes to allow play in Jack Shear’s Devilmount, along with his essay explaining Lumpen-Ones. An adapted spellbook from Wampus Country, based on Erik Jensen’s work, expands what spells wizards can find.

Crumbling Epoch is several things at once.  First, it's a game system that resembles B/X but isn't B/X by a long shot.  Andrew has made some fairly major changes in this area - primarily to combat, which feels more like Tunnels & Trolls in some ways by abstracting an exchange into an opposed roll, and armor soaks damage instead of helping you avoid it.  Saving throws always have a roll-under target of your level plus four, but the size of the die changes based on the difficulty of the threat.  There is a basic skill system, and a surprising amount of detail on encumbrance and stealth.  I knew Andrew was working on a "stripped" B/X, and here it looks like he ran with some very different ideas as far as the underlying engines of the game.  However, everything in Crumbling Epoch is set up so you can use it effortlessly with classic D&D adventures without conversion (or at least, anything beyond on-the-fly adjustments).  The entire ruleset is only a dozen pages and covers a lot of ground, including converting D&D monsters to CE.

The book is also an implicit setting - well, two, really.  Crumbling Epoch features a dying-earth type setting, but we don't have pages of prose or history.  Instead, the setting is reflected throughout the rules in the available classes (which include a vampire-type and a martial artist), the language list (which gives us an idea of the kinds of creatures around these parts), and so forth.  Reading the rules for special weapons, we can see that this world has blackpowder firearms.  There is also an appendix which covers using Crumbling Epoch to run Jack Shear's Devilmount megadungeon, complete with CE rules for the races featured in that setting and some new tidbits from Jack.

Hidden gems lie in the appendices to Crumbling Epoch (and I'm not just saying that because that's where the Wampus spells are).  You'll find some nice table-systems for generating a geographic region and the quirks of a religion here, both of which are nonmechanical and system-agnostic.  Then come the adventures, which are difficult to describe.  Andrew fits each into two pages, describing an entire adventure area, its denizens (including their stats and a line of hit points to use if you need to), and more.  The two adventure areas given (Warren of the Murder Diggers, and Death On Ice) are more like cheat-sheets for crafting your own adventure based on the 'zone' Andrew has created; these are followed by an example using the Warren and a map to gin up a night's worth of excitement.  It is specifically suggested that these adventure layouts can be used for solo or GM-less adventuring as well, and they'd make good Mythic Emulator fodder for sure.

Andrew follows this up with a monster generator, an alternate skill system, and the aforementioned redone Wampus spells (all told, there are a lot of spells in this thing - and I should note that this appendix has all the spells reskinned/rethemed to suit the Crumbling Epoch setting).  Then, to put it over the top, the final appendices are a lengthy example of running CE combat, and the entire CE rules in pocketmod format for you to print and fold.  Very cool.

All in all, there's a lot of content in Crumbling Epoch.  Inveterate rules-tinkerers will enjoy the included variants for their own sake; others may like the implicit setting or the supplemental Devilmount material.  For my part, I'm intrigued by the adventure formatting in CE - I think I could grab either of these and riff an entire night's session pretty easily.  And there's more in the works for the game as we speak.

Did I mention it was "pay what you want"?  Yeah, go get it.

Check out Crumbling Epoch and Andrew's other work (there's a ton of it!) over at Fictive Fantasies.

Sunday, July 14, 2013

There Is A Season


Let's talk about turning.  Not the wonky mechanic, but the philosophy behind the whole 'turn undead' shindig.  If we do this right, it'll be essentially edition-agnostic, because we don't care about how turning is done, just where we aim it.

Even without 2nd Edition's specialty priests coming along, the idea of turning something besides undead makes good sense; it's just a question of how to fit it into the game without throwing every other assumption out of whack, or overpowering a cleric, or underpowering a cleric.  It's easy to get behind the idea of the fire-priest turning a water elemental - the question is how to do it without making it, or something else, suck.

Here's the thing we sometimes forget about turn undead: it's not about alignment - not really.  Sure, we associate turning the undead with "good guy priests" and hanging out with (and creating) the undead with "bad guy priests", but that's secondary.  Somewhere in the reams of Forgotten Ravenloft there is a Neutral Good elf-lich whose poise, sheer force of will, and stunning fashion sense allow him to be a "good guy" even though he's undead.  Besides, we're talking primarily about Labyrinth Lord here, so we're looking at turning as super-basic, without all that later kibble.  We'll start simple and go from there.  And by "simple", I mean "D&D cosmology", so if that stuff freaks you out, grab a drink.  A lot of this might elicit a big "duh", but I'm walking through it anyway.

Turning is about opposition.  Life versus death in the classic setup; actually, it's more like Life versus Unlife, really, in the sense that big-D Death is part of the natural cycle, whereas Baron Von Killabride is decidedly out of whack with the way things are Meant To Be.  So when we're talking about opposition, the elements are a natural thing to conjure up (ha!).  Here's a way to do element-turning without too much mechanical weirdness.


An elemental cleric is just like a vanilla cleric, except instead of turning undead (and later infernal stuff in LL), they can turn the opposing element.  Sounds simple, is pretty simple.  Here's a picture!
Forget the Great Wheel; here's the Cosmic Donut.

The classic pic above shows us the classical four elements as well as the para-elements that lurk between them.  If you're not familiar with para-elements, it's pretty self explanatory - magma is earth plus fire, and so on.  But we can arbitrarily make the whole thing more complex, if we like...
click to cast Enlarge.  Dig that Planescape font!
Pretty much the same setup, only they've added the Positive and Negative Energy planes, as well as the quasi-elemental planes (which exist where the Big Four touch either the Positive or Negative).  Let's walk through a hypothetical elemental turning system using this map as a reference.

Suppose you roll up a cleric, decide to name him Pyro and make him a Fire Cleric.  Pyro's deity (or pantheon, or saint, or whatever - it's your campaign) is associated with Fire, so Pyro is as well.  This means he'll probably get along with Fire elemental creatures and might be able to speak to them, but that's not what we don't care about that right now - we care about what Pyro can turn, and that's Water elemental creatures.  Water is the OPPOSING element.  For simplicity's sake, we'll assume Pyro can also turn elemental creatures from areas adjacent to Water (Ice, Ooze, Salt, Steam), but maybe at a minus since those creatures aren't entirely composed of water-energy (or whatever).  Whether that's a minus to his effective turning level or to his die roll is a DM call - I don't want to get into mechanics, just philosophical blahblah.

So at first level Pyro can turn Water element creatures, and by that we mean creatures actually composed of water elemental energy - water elementals, water weirds, that sort of thing.  Not mermaids, not giant crabs - unless they hail from the Plane of Water, in which case maybe he can (and maybe then at a minus if you want).  We're also assuming we're going on a by-Hit-Dice ranking on the turning table at this point, of course.  Pyro's lifelong rival, the Water priest Lord Moist, can turn Fire creatures, probably including efreet, but maybe not salamanders and azer and stuff (unless you want him to, and then at a minus perhaps).  Got it?

There's a problem with this setup.  First, unless you're running a campaign where there are a lot of elementals around, Pyro is a chump for swapping his undead-turning for water-elemental-turning.  You may have to be more liberal with your definitions to make the power feel "right".  Secondly, what about the other elements - in this case Air and Earth?  And the other para-quasi-elements?

How about at a certain character level - I'd say sixth, you might want it higher - Pyro can start turning Air and Earth creatures just like he does Water dudes, albeit at a lower turning level (say five levels lower?).  Okay, now we're starting to get more use out of this elemental stuff - as Pyro gains levels he's a badass against Water stuff, and has an additional, diminished capability against Air and Earth.  I'm still working on the assumption that anything which is Fire or part-Fire is going to be treated more like a "friendly" much of the time (after all, Vanilla Clerics don't get to Turn the Living) so Pyro can't turn them.  We can call them allied or COMPANION elements or whatever.

Here's the breakout for how I'd try it:

REACTION BONUS and/or SPEECH with HOME element and COMPANION elements.
TURN the OPPOSING element (and its COMPANION elements) as a cleric of your level.
TURN all OTHER elements as a cleric of your level minus five.

Obviously, an elemental cleric would need a tweaked spell selection to support the flavor.

This all seems pretty simple, really.  Now comes the fun part - applying it to other things.

Any time you have four things in opposition across a table like the classical elements, you can do the same thing.  You can do it with Derleth-style Cthulhu stuff.  You could do with with fairy stuff (replace the four elements with Winter (Unseelie), Spring, Summer (Seelie), Autumn and you're good to go.  You could even shift the chart around or change turning effectiveness as an adventure hook ("Haven't you heard?  The oracles at the basilica say that the Archduke of Smoke has betrayed the Firelord and thrown his lot in with the Empress of the Air...").

Only have three major powers in your campaign?  Think of Rock, Paper, Scissors.
Imagine these are the three deities or cosmic forces of your campaign setting.  Each one turns in one direction, and is turned by the force behind them.  In your sword-and-sorcery campaign it might be Grogo the Spider King, Zazzagaz the Ooze Queen, and Pho Sho the Faceless Sky-Hawk.  Spider turns Ooze, Ooze turns Hawk, Hawk turns Spider, and thus is the cosmic balance maintained.  (If you need to print out the Lizard-Spock diagram to run your campaign, you may have gone too far).  It's even easier with just two Powers - Light and Dark, or Rainbows and Shadows, or Ahriman and Ahura-Mazda...

Now, what about campaigns where evil priests can use their 'turn' ability to command the undead?  I see that as a function of alignment, not the life/undeath axis, and we can try applying it the same way to the elemental setup.  In other words, Pyro (the good guy) cannot rebuke/command fire elementals, because he's a good guy and they don't do that.  Lord Moist, however, is Chaotic Evil (that's some nasty water, y'all) and has no problem using the turning table to rebuke/command water elementals.  Evil has no problem pushing people around.  Just use whatever rules you're already using and slide it over to the elements.

If you want to go even more campaign-specific, you can adapt the turning tables to apply to completely different stuff.  In a post-apocalyptic setting, maybe the technopriest can turn androids or something.  For example, in Wampus Country, we have the (Lawful) Church of the White Mouse.  Their god is a mouse, they think of themselves as (metaphorically) mice, etc.  By rights they ought to be turning rats and cats, their in-setting enemies.  So let's do that - at first level a Mouse-priest can turn rats instead of undead; at sixth, they can do cats (at a lower level of effectiveness).  Bizarre, but it should work.  Oh, they'll laugh at him until he turns a room full of were-rats...actually, being able to turn rats and giant rats is pretty badass at low levels.

If this all seems too underpowered, treat it like they do the "favored enemies" in 3rd Edition.  At various levels, let the cleric pick up another creature type they can turn (albeit at reduced power).  Note that this can get really weird.

In a forthcoming post we'll explore using the turning mechanic more broadly still, by moving the focus of the turning action from the cleric to the monster, and a marginally-fiddly try-it-out system for applying turning to devils and demons beyond that "Infernal" line on the chart.

Regrets of a Plane-Hopping Mole-Man

FLAILSNAILS Theatre presents...  Bumphrey's Lament

In which a mole-man begins to acknowledge that he has become a murderhobo.

It wasn’t supposed to be like this.

I was a soldier - trained as a sapper. We were at war, and I had no qualms about killing. Give me a rifle and I’ll do my part. Maybe I wasn’t the most effective killer in our outfit - I mostly did the cooking and washing-up - but when push came to shove, I got stuck in with the gang, and I took my share of tangoes.

Then I got lost. Not just time-tossed and shoved back and forth across a dozen worlds, but really and truly lost. Maybe I lost my mind, I’m not sure.

I guess it makes sense that, having grown up in Avalon, idolizing the messenger-knights there, I would start thinking I could be a knight. After all, here I was, bouncing around these different places surrounded by serious adventuring knight-types with their chain mail and their swords. Maybe I could be a knight, too...

But knights don’t do the things they did. The things I did. In the hunger for security, pushed ever-forward by the thrill of the chase, we did some bad things. I don’t mean the killing - I’m still pretty sure I never swung on anyone who didn’t deserve it. I mean the destruction, the not-caring. Kicking over altars of known gods just to see if there’s treasure beneath. Not sticking around after a crisis to help people rebuild.

There have been high points. I think I do better when I stay in one place a while, build relationships, remind myself to care about strangers. I’m proud of some of the work I’ve done on Kalak-Nur, and helping out with things in Barovania was good. Yet there have also been low points. I regret that we fled that vampire’s cave - I didn’t even realize the cleric was down at the time, and we should not have left him there, and giving money to the temple of Apollo there will not bring him back or assuage my guilt for long. I’ve no pride in recalling my time in the company of cutthroats - and that damnable demonologist - that got us trapped on the Purple Planet for a time. I don’t enjoy thinking about the companions I took when delving Castle Tract, or the jobs I worked for the Vory gangsters on the Apollyon. I even have a gang tattoo. We search shit-crusted latrines in case they have pennies in them! I feel like a homeless drug addict. My mother would not recognize the mole I’ve become.

Especially lately, since poking around with ancient sea-magic a few weeks ago got me turned into a woman. Well, not into, exactly - it’s more like my mind in one of my companion’s bodies. And someone else’s mind operating my little mole body. Right now I’m a young girl, and the muscles of this body seem to remember her breaking-and-entering skills. And it’s going to stay that way until the curse is broken - whether I’m there or not. I should’ve stuck around to finish the job, but I think I panicked. Suddenly having bazooms messes with your head.

So now I’m sitting here in a tavern after spending the evening in the company of a reprehensible warrior and his freaky china-doll assistant, both of whom I’m pretty sure worship some kind of devil-thing from Beyond Time or whatever. I watched them coerce a simpleton ogre into destroying an altar to known, licit gods. And I didn’t say a word. I never say a word, because I know they would murder me. I’m an adult mole living a life bounded by the fear of being murdered by people I call my friends.

They are not my friends.

Look, I’ve done some amazing things, really memorable things - those frost titans come to mind. But I’ve also gotten myself Very Nearly Killed two dozen times. What the hell am I doing? Tromping around in black plate mail, charging in headlong? I mean really, black armor? I wouldn’t feel so bad about being the door-kicker if I felt that my companions actually had my back half the time.

I feel like I need to atone for so many things, and I don’t know where to start. I’m not even in my proper body. What if I’m stuck in this body? What if I’m a lady for the rest of my days? This is an untenable situation. I’ve spent weeks trying to bathe and use the bathroom without actually looking at my own body, it’s pretty much impossible. Feels like somebody’s trying to teach me a lesson. And I hope I’m not too stupid to learn it.

If I could just get back into my proper furry little body, I could start over. Give it another shot at being the mole I’m supposed to be. I don’t shy away from battle, but that’s not who I am. I want to help people, and do right by them and Heaven both.

Some problems are only solved by getting drunk and passing out in a church.

Will Bumphrey get his own body back?  Will he change his murderhobo ways, or simply drown his doubts in booze?  Only the chaotic winds of FLAILSNAILS know...tune in next time!

Monday, July 8, 2013

Achieve Mediocrity Today!

Apparently there is filthy lucre to be made not only in the RPG industry, but in the meta-RPG-industry.  Pursuant to this discovery, I hereby offer my own secrets to RPG writing success (cost reduced from $77 to abso-freaking-lutely free).

in just a few simple steps!

1) Learn to embrace the "NFA" principle - Never Finish Anything!  Come up with several good ideas every few weeks.  Blog about one-third of them, and studiously fail to write the rest of them down.  It is imperative that only the ideas you have while sitting in front of the laptop are actually developed or shared - that half-a-kernel of an adventure you somehow manifested while on the crapper at work should never see the light of day, even though it's far superior to your last dozen blogposts.  Bounce from one campaign idea to the next, while you're at it.

2) Neglect to write for weeks at a time.  Ignore your blog completely if possible, and definitely don't write a little bit each day like you're building some kind of skill.  Ridiculous.  Ten thousand hours to become good at something?  Who has that kind of time.  Not this guy.

3) Don't read anything.  Stop reading evocative fiction and inspirational nonfiction.  Definitely do not invest twenty minutes of your precious time to transfer things from a dying RSS reader to a new one; in this manner, you will almost completely stop reading other people's rpg blogs.  Rediscover your ability to watch entire seasons of television shows in one go (thanks, Netflix!).

4) When you're spending time with your family, daydream about writing; when alone with the laptop, make excuses about being tired or needing to spend more time with your family.  At no point should you actually be writing anything on a regular schedule or dedicating time to the task.

5) Market yourself by ignoring rpg forums and limiting your public interaction to leaving snarky comments on other people's G+ posts.  In this way you're sure to build a reputation as a knowledgeable gamer.

6)  Start huge.  Learning skills on a small project first is for sissies.

"You may refer to me as an author, although I prefer the title 'game designer' - or, when I'm feeling cheeky, 'creative'. "

Okay, now the serious stuff - besides the complete opposite of the above, of course.  I do all of those things - sometimes occasionally, often habitually.  And they are horrible habits for someone who wants to be a writer, or wants to pretend to want to be a writer.

Here's the one thing I'm maybe good at when it comes to pursuing rpg fame and fortune.  It's a well-kept secret.  Ready for some wisdom?

Run your damn game, and play in games other people run.

Play, play, play.  Run, run, run.  Fight the excuses you make and run your damn game.  I can't tell you how many Fridays I've stumbled home from work and said to Mrs. Wampus, "I dunno, sweetie, I'm pretty tired.  I wonder if I should cancel game tonight."  And every time she replies, "You don't have game for another five hours.  Eat, relax, and wait for the second wind."  If you don't have a top-notch spouse like I do, learn to give yourself similar good advice.  You will gain more insight from actually running your game than you will from poring over blogposts and old forum navel-gazing.

The thing is, you can talk all you want about being a gamer and loving games, and how you want to design games and maybe publish them and this and that.  But if you aren't actually playing games, it's all meaningless.

Of course I want to get something out the door, in print.  It'll come.  But worrying about it and making excuses isn't going to bring that day any closer.  It's like when I was a kid and used to enjoy fantasizing about running a restaurant.  Then you come to find out "cooking takes real practice and art and incredible discipline" and "running a business is a huge damn deal that involves math".  I no longer want to run a restaurant after coming to realize I just really liked eating.  So I'll never have any Michelin stars or own a restaurant, but you know what?  I like to mess around in the kitchen, and I get a kick out of seeing people's faces when they're enjoying food I made.

Same thing with gaming, I guess.  Now, I'm going to keep screwing around in the kitchen, and some of this stuff may come out weird, or burnt, or underdone.  But one of these days I hope I serve up something that makes some people smile, because that's the whole point.

Bon appetit!

Thursday, July 4, 2013

Happy Independence Day

We stand for freedom. That is our conviction for ourselves; that is our only commitment to others. - John F. Kennedy

Freedom is never more than one generation away from extinction. We didn't pass it to our children in the bloodstream. It must be fought for, protected, and handed on for them to do the same, or one day we will spend our sunset years telling our children and our children's children what it was once like in the United States where men were free. - Ronald Reagan

Liberty means responsibility. That is why most men dread it. - George Bernard Shaw

An Englishman is a person who does things because they have been done before. An American is a person who does things because they haven't been done before. - Mark Twain

People demand freedom of speech as compensation for the freedom of thought they seldom use. - Soren Kierkegaard

The love of liberty is the love of others; the love of power is the love of ourselves. - William Hazlitt

In the United States there is more space where nobody is than where anybody is. That is what makes America what it is. - Gertrude Stein

Real freedom lies in wilderness, not in civilization. - Charles Lindbergh

I see America, not in the setting sun of a black night of despair ahead of us, I see America in the crimson light of a rising sun fresh from the burning, creative hand of God. I see great days ahead, great days possible to men and women of will and vision. - Carl Sandburg