Following is my author's preface to the revised, updated, expanded, and re-illustrated Platinum Edition of Skirmisher Publishing's "City Builder: A Guide to Designing Communities," for which we are currently running a Kickstarter campaign. We hope you will check it out and consider backing it if you have not already! 

One of the most striking features of many villages in the southern Belgium, and the first thing people see as they ride the train into them, are the massive, cone-shaped black hills that rise up around them and which are frequently the highest points in an otherwise flat landscape.

About four years ago, one of the things I was working on was the chapter on monsters for Skirmisher Publishing’s Swords of Kos Fantasy Campaign Setting, and part of that included deciding what categories creatures of various sorts would be organized into. Careful consideration and a number of experiences around that time helped me decide that those categories would include Animals, Chimeras, Hybrids, Undead, Vermin — and Mutants. 

Following are some notes pertaining to the weapons used by various Polynesian and Micronesian peoples. 

For a couple of years a good friend of mine has been telling me about sites in Morocco that have been used as sites for shooting scenes for the HBO fantasy series “Game of Thrones,” particularly ones in desert or exotic settings. It was thus a pleasure for me not just to recently visit the sprawling North African nation and spend 10 days there but to visit the seaside city of Essaouira, which has served as the real-world basis for Slaver’s Bay and the city of Astapor.

Never, perhaps, has such an OK book been so reviled as has Do Androids Dream of Electric Sheep?, Philip K. Dick’s dystopian tale of what it means to be human in a post-apocalyptic world. It is not a great book, certainly, and not even an especially good one, but it is by no means terrible or, one would think, likely to inspire any extreme emotions.

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