The Newsletter of the World of Where Yamara Has To Live





Well, we went to GenCon. God we had fun. We're going to be all over the industry this year, knock wood and barring acts of local gods such as earthquakes and Express Mail glitches. Chris has suddenly learned to do color art, and he's doing cards for Precedence's Gridiron game, maybe Heartbreaker's Super Nova, and maybe possibly Phil Foglio's naughty card game. Barbara's doing a pridebook for Precedence's Immortal game, and we'll both be working on comics for d8 magazine and maybe possibly Shadis, assuming we can come up with something to tickle Jolly's fancy. You may also notice that our profile in Dragon has changed. Many thanks, Larry, for giving our loyal fans their will.

The Headpiece of FriNn debuted in the d8 booth Sunday morning, on Chris' head. He stood there like a complete idiot for ten minutes, then untangled it from his person. It was later enjoyed [in loose-on-the-table format] by our many gracious fans who stopped by the book signing at the SJG booth. Not to be outdone by FriNn himself, Martha of Dexcon fame came by and created her wondrous woven-ribbon pseudodragon pins for us. We kiss the carpet at her feet, and recommend the rich and powerful to kidnap her for her skills.



As promised, here is--


Stress' Sunblocking Hairy Cantrip (Alteration/Reversible?)

Level: 0; Range: 10 feet; Duration: Permanent; Area of Effect: 1 Person; Save: None; Casting Time: 1 segment; Comp: S,M (one of the target's hairs)

Explanation/Description [excerpted from an old interview with Stress in The Journal of Pain From Evil Priestesses  ]: Look, I just learned this in the backroom of a bar that wasn't exactly family-oriented, all right? But it might help in cases where you have to go around outdoors without your uv cream. Or if someone steals your clothes and armor. Like in that bar...

Um, it's +2/+4 vs. Sunlight exposure. I've seen some girls cheat and add 15% to their magic resistance instead, but that's bad for the roots and you'll get split ends. Your hair grows about six to eight feet longer, so if you're really huge or something, cast it twice. It can't be cut by anything less than a +2 weapon, and it reduces your AC by 2. Course, there's the ego rating. Add d4 ego to your hair with each casting. Now, don't panic over it. I've made friends with my hair, and she has some really good advice sometimes. Plus, your hair doesn't fall asleep at the same times you do, so you have this source of gossip and guard duty at ego ratings over 8.

There's a reverse version, but I can't remember what it is. I just go to the Dispell Magic Baths in Rassnfrassn. During the off-season, when they're not being guarded by a celebrity monster.

It's still hard for me to believe this is just a cantrip, and that anyone can cast it. I think it was developed for space travel? But that's what every spellcaster likes to claim.

Wait, wait....

(whispering) She's asleep. My hair, that's who. Listen, she's really a %!&@# . I can never get  to Rassnfrassn because she won't let me! We're always fighting for use of the bathroom mirror! Don't use this cantrip! It'll take over your life and-- sh, she's wak--

Ahem. Let's change the subject, alright? I mean, I like hair as much as anybody, but let's talk about pain.



The Wyhtl Saga: Blag and Rella, Part II


By the time Blag and Rella arrived back at her apartment, the hint of dawn was already beginning to touch the highest clouds in the east. Rella fumbled for her key, as Blag leaned against the doorpost, wheezing. The trip had not been good for him. Rella was torn. She longed to get him into a soft bed and take his temperature, but at the same time she knew that the dwarf had lied to her, seduced her into a life of crime. Because of him, she was now a fugitive. It was not her fault. She had only killed the orderly because she had believed him to be Blag's enemy, a minion of the evil Baron Ralph. Blag coughed, a nasty sound. Rella reacted as she had been trained to do. "Oh," she consoled. "Let's get you inside."

Rella's small apartment was tidy and quiet. Most of the floor was covered with a colorful carpet, a parting gift from her sisters. A small vase of lilies graced the small nightstand, lilies she had picked herself the day before. She turned back the covers on the bed, and helped Blag into it. From a drawer, she withdrew thermometer and stethoscope. "Oh, come on, said Blag. "You're not going to bother with that."

"You're very ill," said Rella.

"All right, I'll play," said Blag, and accepted the thermometer underneath his tongue. Rella moved to her small kitchen, and began to prepare a small meal for them. An apple and some cheese for her, and soup for her patient. She brought it to him and read his temperature. It was up a notch, but hardly as high as she had feared.

Blag drank the soup from the bowl, without touching the spoon she offered. "Be careful," she admonished. "It's hot."

"Hot but good," he agreed. "Now what do we do, nursie?"

Rella thought. He was far too ill to travel. They would have to rest there for a few hours at least. "I suppose we should get some rest," she said.

"Okay," said Blag. He moved over in the bed. "Oh, no," said Rella. "I'll be quite comfortable in my chair."

She pulled the old footstool closer, and rummaged in a chest for an extra blanket. But Blag did not seem pleased by this. "Oh, no you don't, missie," he said. "You've saddled me with a murder charge, and we're in this thing tight. You're counting on me not to tell what I know to the police." His tone became softer, more persuasive. "I'm just suggesting, see, that since we're in this thing together, we might as well be friends. And you might find you liked it here in bed."

Rella felt this was, perhaps, a little brusque for a proper apology, especially considering how vastly he had misled her, but she realized it would be wrong for her to hold a grudge. She changed into her soft flannel nightgown in the bathroom, and climbed into bed beside the dwarf. Although her bed was small, there was plenty of room for them both. The heat of Blag's temperature made the bed nice and warm. She was startled when Blag put his arms around her, but her feelings gave way to concern when his heavy breathing turned to uncontrollable coughing. He sat up in bed, wheezing. "You're sick," she said. "Do you want something to help you sleep?"

Blag laughed bitterly. "Dammit, missie. I didn't think I was that  ill. No, I'd better not take anything. We might have to move quickly, you know."

Rella recognized that although he might have lied to her about some of his exploits, he was certainly used to living in desperate conditions. She lay beside him, worn out with the night's trouble. In a moment, she fell asleep.


Rella was awakened by the sound of the crystalphone. She answered it, carefully turning it so that Blag would be hidden from view. It was Nurse Tharda, her superior at the hospital.

"Rella, you're late! Get here this instant, or you've lost your job!"

Rella was stunned. Could it be they didn't suspect her? It was more likely that the authorities were using Tharda's curt message to lure her into their grasp. The police magician, she knew, would surely have used a spell to divine her participation in the murder. "All right," she told Tharda. "I'll be there right away." She hung up.

Blag was sitting up in bed. "Just an orderly," he mused. "Not worth blowing a commune spell."

Rella was impressed with his technical knowledge. "Perhaps it would look less suspicious if I just went back to work," she suggested.

"No, missie," said Blag. "'Cause if I'm held on circumstantial evidence, then I have a legal right to demand a commune spell. It's the law. We're in this together." He did not look at her. Rella was confused, but this she knew: the police would be looking for someone with medical training, who knew how to use poison, and kill.

In spite of herself, Rella began to cry. She knew of no one who could help her in her desperate plight. The facts were the facts, she had skillfully killed the orderly, and... "Blag?": she asked, her voice quavering. "What is the penalty for murder?"

"Death," Blag intoned. "Death by aging--or by rabid badger."

Rella gasped, and Blag moved to her side. "That's why we've got to get moving, missie. We've got to get moving right away. Now, I've got some friends. Powerful friends, who can hide us, and maybe pull some strings. If we can make it there, we'll be all right."

Rella was soothed. He had a plan. "Where are your friends?" she asked.

"East of here," he said, "in the mountains. We'll need as much money as we can scrape together. It's a long road."

"Are you sure you feel well enough to travel?" asked Rella, hoping her small store of money would be enough for the trip.

"You're the judge of that, aren't you, nursie!" Blag joked, and Rella realized that whatever his physical condition might be, his attitude was surely equal to the ordeal before them. As she scurried around the room, packing together items for the trip, she wondered what kind of friends Blag had in the eastern mountains, and if her life would ever be the same again.


(This is Chapter Two. For Chapter One and Nurse Rella's daring homicide, you have to buy the book. Aren't we sly.)




2nd of the ongoing Great Truth Series

(as recalled by Chris)


Ah, the mid-Seventies. Paul McCartney and Wings. Space: 1999. The motion picture "Mahogany" playing for 40 weeks because Hollywood was being clobbered by ABC's prime time schedule. In the Long Culture Drought (1974-1977*) before Star Wars and Asteroids, there was SNL... and Dungeons & Dragons.


I remember Mark Rose slipping me the Blue Book in History class. Surely this was incendiary knowledge. Surely this is what my uncles saw in controlled substances. But since this is becoming some First Quest lovefest, allow me to reiterate that other oasis: Saturday Night Live.


The only way to remain sane in the mid-seventies was a) have lots of sex-- harder to do than legend tells it, kid-- or b) rule with satire. There was the original SNL, which made Monday mornings tolerable in schools across America. There was Rocky Horror, the na-MST3K and protoLARP of Generation W. And there were Python reruns (they had lots of sex), and God Bless Them-- The Holy Grail. Any sobriety D&D may have attempted was now forever doomed.


D&D sessions with the inestimable Mark Rose were long and enjoyable, but often degenerated into fits of giggles as sillier and sillier events were roleplayed. And when we weren't living large off our characters, we did what any self-respecting teenagers of the 1970s had to do: dis authority figures. In our special world, that meant a beloved rules tycoon by the name of E. Gary Gygax.


Why is the term "Gygaxian" so interchangable with its older form "Draconian"? Many youngsters coming to the 2nd edition have no idea what layers-- excuse me, levels -- of fodder were provided young satirists in Mr. G's original AD&D corpii. There was the section on "Surprise" which began "Surprise is basically self-explanatory," and proceeded to run on for three densely-worded pages. Or the baiting rule: "A character may always pick up a rock." [While tied up? While drowning at sea?** In discos? After rigor mortis sets in? --ALWAYS.]


It was therefore inevitable that we should set our sights on teasing this midwest game company that ruled the happiest days of our lives. A complete satire of the Blue Book was embarked upon, written, completed, copywritten, and shopped around the game and book industries. This work, this undecipherable parody/game, which has never seen print, and from which Yamara has borrowed next to nothing was christened, "Caverns & Chameleons".


Typewriters. Mark and I were literally ROFL by the spelling errors that loomed large as we typed, erased, wited-out, and typed on. "My wizard takes the gold from Harry's elf, and stuffs it in his blet." Blet is still a byword in our households.

And succubux. Mark spent ten minutes pulling the paper around, making the correction, testing the realignment of the page before slamming down the "x" key again. Count your word processing blessings, children, but know that we have had slaphappy joys you shall never share.


The Pennsylvania State Police pulled me over for careening madly through traffic after one of these writing sessions. They studied me closely for drug abuse, but I explained that I was merely punchy from writing comedy all night. Confused, but apparently convinced, they let me go.


Avon Books nearly purchased "Caverns & Chameleons" in 1981. According to the very detailed rejection letter, it had worked its way up to a vice-president, who felt there was no market for such a thing. In the next few years, Dungeons & Dragons had its own section in Waldenbooks. We say: They're loss.


Anyway, Blag was the name of a human thief/dowser character that Mark played a few times in my RPG world. One of his last actions was to assist his m-u friend in killing a housewife and stuffing her body in a barrel. No motive. Just coldblooded thrillseeking. But I don't lose any sleep over Mark. He lives on the other side of the continent now.


One of the character classes in Caverns & Chameleons was "Holy Joe" instead of "cleric". Hence Joe Holy. Not much of an origin story, but the naked truth must be told.


*Traditional dates between Nixon's resignation (Aug '74) and the release of Star Wars (Jan '77). Recently, scholars have rolled back the date to April 1973, the death of John Tolkien.

**Bar notes that if played strictly, a drowning party could speedily amass an island, and thus save themselves.






Dear Dear Manui & Adams:


    I was so stoked to see Bibo in your latest Yamara! Finally, someone else who appreciates the mischevious little god-monster as much as I do... I was surprised and delghted to see Bibo helping Matron Stress with the "colorful smokes" which eminate from his hips... Righteous full page installment, by the way... Yamara has always been my favorite regular feature in Dragon... So, the inevitable question, are you into Archie McPhee or is it just a bizarre coincidence? If you're not, I highly recommend checking out on the Web! Anyway, gotta go, keep up the excellent work, good luck, win awards...


Your loyal fan,


Robert Paloutzian



Robert, as Barbara's "guru" has pointed out, all "coincidence" really means is that two things happen together. It doesn't necessarily imply freedom from guilt. The Archie McPhee Co's number is (206) 782-2344. Their catalog is one of the funniest periodicals in print. Let it grace everyone's bathroom. And thanks for the keen letter.




Where we'll be-- just look for the comment-inducing brunette with the white forelock and the weird guy with the briefcase.


SHORECON [Asbury Park NJ Sep 22-24] With any luck, gamers and industry moguls from across the continent will gather here and make the Berkeley-Carteret their dark kingdom for the weekend. Or else, we'll be kind of by ourselves there, with our Kings' Die Dragon Dice we each got for free at GenCon, rolling them silently at one another. No clue yet what to expect...


DREAMATION 2 [NJ Jan 1996] Prepare now for the sister of all game conventions!!





[Note that the following stuff are real things you can actually possess. If someone comes to your door claiming to sell licensed Aetherco products, ask to see photo ID.]


Yamara the comic strip runs in Dragon  magazine every month. It's a full page RPG chortlefest, and pays the better half of Aetherco's phone bill. [Dragon is a trademark of TSR Inc, and since it's a magazine, you're entitled to subscribe. TSR Inc. 201 Sheriden Springs Rd Lake Geneva WI 53147.]


The Yamara book [called "Yamara"] is available from Steve Jackson Games,1200-A Metcalfe; Austin TX 78741; (512) 447-7866; fax (512) 447-1144; It retails for $9.95, and is also supposed to be in B Daltons, Barnes & Noble, and finer hobby shops. It compiles the first five years of the strip and includes gobs of new images and text, like: "There are certain points of your economic plan which mystify observers. Why, for instance, ban all extraterrestrial imports on camouflage-colored toilet paper?"


Radio Free Wyhtl #0, #0.1, and #0.2 are still available from us, free, online. Just ask. We had a bad node launching #0.2, so if you didn't get it, holler.


HARD FUN SYNOPSIS--[For those of you who have been patiently awaiting your requested synopses, it's a-comin'. Our computer ate the original, so we're having to rewrite it from scratch.] "Hard Fun Plot Arc Exposed": For those of you who want or need a synopsis of the Hard Fun Octadectad saga-- whether you're just missing an issue of Dragon , or can't make head or tail of what we're on about-- this handy online guide is free, too. Just ask us for "that Hard Fun thing"

here at


HEADPIECES OF FriNn-- Yes, we have the power to create our own FriNn knockoffs at a minimal cost to you! No joke, mes amis: for details, see last issue... (Radio Free Wyhtl 0.2...)





The Great Truth about Ogrek, including a partial list of all those wives


A preview of Aetherco Things To Come


and maybe possibly a Feminist Diatribe, if the mood strikes us after Shorecon. We may even name names.



Yamara(tm) is a trademark of Aetherco.

All contents of "Radio Free Wyhtl #0.3" Copyright (c) 1995 Barbara Manui & Chris Adams. Permission granted to copy for personal use only. Yes, you can send it to your friends, but you mayn't sell it.

[Okay, this "you write something, you show it to us, we own it" disclaimer thing is a big hairy turn-off, and we think we have a better way of putting it:]

All letters and email sent to Aetherco are assumed Letters to the Editor, and may be redistributed by Aetherco by any means humanly possible. We'll do our best to respect property rights and requested anonymity, but Aetherco reserves the right to own things sent to it, unless expressly stated otherwise. Please declare ownership whenever you send stuff to people that you intend to keep for yourself. It keeps them honest.


Excerpts from Caverns & Chameleons are Copyright (c) 1978, 1980 Mark Rose & Chris Adams.

Other trademarks and copyrights mentioned in Radio Free Wyhtl are property of their respective owners.