Monday, May 18, 2020

Luxxe (AWaW: 5th World)

A BRAND NEW ACRONYM So like follow-up A World a Week posts are now AWaW. That alone is worth its own blog article. Unfortunately this posting is going to be cluttered up with stuff about the Fifth World campaign I happen to typing up and stringing together. Sorry to be such a boor.

So The Lands of Luxxe
The city-state of Sevven is actually the focus of where the PCs will be starting out, but this regions placement on the map and where I tend to take pictures from while at my work desk, has made it the prominently noticed feature on the drawing. At the same time, Salway's hogboglins figure are apart of the area's dominating cultures, so Luxxe it is
 " The Oldest City of the Fifth World. This is where the civilization began according to the inscriptions around its sixteen city gates. It is also the largest of city-states of Beast Men that still remain on the surface of the planet.
Luxxe came together when the economic benefits of slavery versus just eating the captives started to take hold among progressives...Then during the Splash things changed. While these lands were spared everyone drowning, the world around them would never be the same."

The city-state is ruled by a Council of Elders. These are usually the leaders of the city's different factions that tend fall along species lines and their affinity to one another. 
" ... The Lizard Queen
This crocodile-headed woman is the leader of the Hissers, a coalition of reptilian humanoids that make up over half of the population of lands of the city-state when lumped together...
Armed Contingents:
Amphibian Corps- The main manpower and attack troops of the Luxxe Navy. They are often led by the Lizard Queen in major battle.
Man Bear-Pig
Mannu-Barpigg is from the hogboglins of the swampy lands of Wuldbe to the west of Luxxe. He is the city-boy of these clans as well as the leader of many of the pig-faced humanoids that dwell in the city...
Armed Contingents:
The Rooters- Currently led by General One-Eye Two-Tusks, this is one of the major gangs of the city-state as well as the main enforcers of the Slavers Guild.
The Gnome King
A large footed Hob that is a tenth level Wizard and the accepted chairman of the Gnomes’ Consortium. “Gnomes” is the term for shorter humanoids in Luxxe. This commonly means goblins, hobs, piltdowners, and many others, sometimes including the ratlings and frog folk...For half a century, the Hob has been able to keep profits growing and therefore staying in charge.
Armed Contingents:
Hoard Hordes-The cutest band of little cut-throats ever.
First Wizard of the Wizard’s Guild Lume-Incarnate
The mortal avatar of the Wizard-God Lume. He is a capable Wizard as well, being eleventh level and all. He is the head of the city-state's Wizards Guild. He is often taken to be the king of humans in the lands of Luxxe...
Armed Contingents:
Tower Guardians- These are very much feared soldiers throughout Luxxe. More than a few of the organizations movers and shakers are horned-helmeted Orcs. Those that aren’t orcs are sadists or masochists that really like a lot of discipline.
K-Earth, The Rebel Wizard
Being born...before the Splash, this fourteenth level Wizard is immortal has a storied past. He sought to abolish slavery. The other rulers of his homelands thought that he has gone too far and declared him “the Rebel.”
Armed Contingents:
Swampers- Folks that speak proper Luxxe but do not like slavery. Often persecuted so they stick to more isolated parts of the lands.

And then there are neighboring territories of Lake Glittertop, the Dawn Swamps, and the area of Wuldbe. I'll go into them a later.

Saturday, May 16, 2020

A World A Week: Fifth World, The Delta

So it was a really slow night at work last night. So slow I was chatting up people on my ancient flip phone looking to chat. Of course, Monk, a fellow night-shifter was there. So while talking about things, he found a convention that he wanted to attend as Adventure Gaming bruders. Rich coming from him as he always is "done with gaming" every couple of years, but hey I appreciate the inconsistency as I really like gaming with him. Of course where he wants to go is noted for its "Old School"-ness. I was a bit blank on any response. Monk then said, "We could run TnT which is old school I hear."
So after about fifteen more minutes of discussion, I am running T&T again, but only 7th edition and its as bronze-age as well as gonzo as I want it. Here's my fifth T&T start-up world and about twelfth  campaign source in forty years.
The Three River Delta
Good convention FRPG games come from a mixture of GM-timing, nifty idea (usually meaning title), and thought-out but understated world. Welcome to the last part of that equation, The Fifth World. This world, sometimes called "Sevven," is the fifth out of nine worlds where the lords of light and masters of chaos duke things out.  The city-states of Luxxe and Sevven have been antagonizing each other for about seven hundred years now. A third city-state, Buggle, has arisen in just the last couple of centuries, where the ant-heads have developed a beachhead on the above ground world.

There is a whole lot going on here because I have more than a few notes from many, many years of working on this or that about this RPG setting. If I am going to be running Our Game again, I might as well get it all out there, because I suspect there will be storms and pratfalls ahead so let's make it worth my time. By the way did I ever mention that I like to adventure while I game? Stomp the ticks out of your boots already.

So let's talk indigenous sorts.

Thanx to Jon Salway for getting me a little more in-depth than I usually do. People that have known me for a while will recognize various "critter-folk" while most OSR folks that are on about which gay orcs that they would date or marry will be rather shocked (SHOCKED) to say the least.

Orcs- Humans in the service of Orcus, the Ugly. Early on they decide that they are barbarians and start wearing horned helmets. They work their way up through the ranks of deplorable folks. With enough horrible things done, they get taken to a temple of Orcus and get possessed by a demon. Wallah, thank the PC for the service, pity no one cares.

Goblins and Hobgoblins- "Orks" originally spawned by Orcus when he captured elves and mutated them into these beings. Goblins are short and like to wear spiked-helmets while hobgoblins like to wear NAZI uniforms. They are not fated to be evil, but can really relate to evil ways of doing things. Many overcome their backgrounds and get Real OSR aficionados all worked up with their profile pictures at dating sites in the ethersphere.

The Og- Neanderthals. The males can't speak beyond grunts and whimpers and are called "Og-men." They are noted for their amazing strength. The females can speak and craft magic and are called "She-og". It should be noted that the She-og often speak about the Og-men as if they aren't in the same room when they're standing right there.

Umanity- A mixture of humans and other species that try to work towards being humane. They appreciate the benefits of understanding each other languages almost as much as they appreciate math with its ability to quantify how much grain is available before people start starving.  They also have developed some of the best stuff ever like cotton, fishing nets, metal tools and weapons, plus the sail and wheel. They write a lot of stuff down in languages that other people around them can understand. It is said that because of this "literacy" the Wizards Guild cryptic communications comes easier to them than most.

The Beast Lords- People of their time, this collection of hybrid species helped shaped the cosmos into what it is today. Oddly enough, they are not all that appreciative of change.

The Ogrish- The ogres and the piltdowners. Ogres are male Og that not only speak and have psychic powers, they tend to be giants. No one with og blood within them can refuse an Ogre that is taller than themselves.
Piltdowners are goblin-sized ogres that are as strong as humans or hobgoblins twice their size. 

After the Splash
This is the Fifth World. When the Great Flow separated the cosmos, the struggle between between Light and Chaos formed the Nine Worlds.

The city-state of Luxxe is the oldest city in the world. It is here where the Beast Lords consolidated their holdings when the rest of the world around them changed. They gathered their boats and created navies that would block the cities of the lands when they choose to try venturing out into seas. It is from the vast Wuldbe swamps around them that the Council of Luxxe enslaves its minions.

Sevven a former trading post for Luxxe, has been its own capital for almost 700 hundred years now. Its three cities, Lagash, Girsu, and Nina, have proved themselves to be the new power of the world. Here Unmanity thrives against the forces of regression. Still its challenges are no where near defeated.

Not understanding the struggles of yore, the ant-heads of the Hives, came onto the surface lands from below. There they founded Buggle. Made up of many species, like Sevven, but its insect-like overlords are more than willing to eat its denizens to expand its profitable territories.

Wednesday, May 13, 2020

Scrap Pile Multiverse Mysticism

I played in Iron Curtis's ICONs scenario last night. This period can only be described as a Pointlessly Dark Age in terms of superhero-ish atmosphere in the Scrapiverse. Reminiscent of the 90s where Marvel and then DC had to have anti-heroes and even their new "heroes" were really just jerks given way too much attention and wrapped in plot armor. As well as a lot of women in bikinis without hands and feet, given the PBS-watching crowd making up the ten to four players there's even male frontal nudity.  Luckily it's while the GM cringes that the players are going there. It's not all Bob Liefeld and Frank Miller, it's got Alan Moore! Despite everything, I am really enjoying myself as a PC during his campaign. But that's not what I am here to talk about.

We as a group with rotating GM authors, are really rocking the multiverse sub-genre of comicbookdom. We haven't been exchanging notes or trying to one up each other, we've both been playing in each others games, borrowing the others PCs/NPCs and referring to bits of lore and otherworldly places that the other has brought up. Of course, there are the fundamentals of Peryton's 80s-Verse and Marvel Comics' Micronaut Baron Karza-Verse, but we get rather supernatural more so than umm... science fiction(?)y.

We are really going places. Our serious Vodoun contingent is giving Marvel's Brother Voodoo a run for his money. There's Voodoo-Kachoo(sp?), Momma Midnight, Samedi Sam and Zombira (the Nick and Nora Charles of Veil-Keepers). Then there is the pseudo-Supersrting crowd, Professor Hemm, Karza, and Cico (pronounced "psycho"). On the mythical front, we have our own Asgardian Cloud Goddess, and the being of chaos Goblin (Professor Hemm's alter-ego). The Bible-thumpers get Shazahim and Emudan. Heck Lovecraft is working his in with Cthulhu Boy and Song or Ry'leh (the Nick and Nora Charles of madness). The only things missing so far is a humanoid mass of vegetation and a wizard with a serious cape. I am sure that we're going to get there, but we're busy with a couple of things that I can mention here just yet.

Monday, May 11, 2020

Quick Look at Star Adventurer

John Tarnowski just released his take on sci-fi adventure gaming for the multiple-polyhedronic dice D&D format, or OSR, through his periodic release platform, RPGPundit Presents. In the product line's one hundredth release Star Adventurer. As for one of those releases, it is souped up and even a little fancy which is what anyone expect from the 100th issue of anything. It's also not a bad S-F RPG system framework at all.

Like any good piece of fiction, the title tells you what you need to know up front. In RPGs it works especially well, if it tells the reader what the PC is most-likely going to be doing. So without any ado, Star Adventurer tells the reader where they are going to be, among the stars, and what they are going to be doing, adventuring. The subtitle "Old School Science Fiction Rules" tells the reader what a page to four of introduction would in another work. After some credits, the work gets into things right away. The title works for me better than a lot of s-f works of late.

Characters can be as exotic or humanocentric as the players and GM likes. The Races are listed types not specific species with descriptions and some background notes. If such details are needed, the group at the table if not the scenarios authors can come up with those details. The Classes are the D&D tropes that one can find in sphere fantasies especially since the release of Star Wars back in 1977. The Experience mechanics define not only predilections of Race/Class optimization, but a clever GM can work out a whole universe tone from setting up the narrative for how the advancement takes place.

The work is economical in covering areas that RPGers expect to be reading about. Skills, combat concepts, and technology level setting equipment are done up as one would expect, but in quick single paragraph explanations. Especially succinct is the Starship Combat section, and the "ship as a PC" is handled without any explanation by providing a Character sheet for the vessels. The whole product is about thirty-five that can be read and played in about half an hour, given a quick crowd.

As much as I want to find something wrong with this product, I have my own SFRPG core rules dammit, I can't. It is a Godzilla of science fiction role-playing products, by sticking to the OSR framework and avoiding the temptation to fill in a few blanks here and there. The atmosphere can implied from the artwork and the equipment listed, or it can be worked around. I hope to read at least a couple settings for the RPG in the future that aren't just expansions from the Gonzo campaign.

Sunday, May 3, 2020

Flexing Haunted House Muscles

I haven't been posting chronicles of the game sessions that I have ran since February. For that players, I apologize but I have been frantically working on my Spacers(TM) material. Material that will be published for the eyes of maybe a few dozen people or so, but I don't care. The stuff has been in the making since the 90s and I need to get it out. So the sessions and the project work are coming off a bit like a job. But hey, our sessions provide diversion in a time where folks need to remember how to have imagination and we're doing it together.

Last night though, 4.May.2020, I took a break with Crawlspace. Horror and the TACK system that comes soooo easy to me. The special treat of it was trying out my horrible fates for haunting hunters theme that has been going since the early Aughts anew, with a run of Bumps in the Night. The scenarios where the PCs are the bumps in the night. They're either ghosts or ghost hunters bumping into each other because of all the equipment that they're wearing. Now this was "Bumps Part Two" mostly because as a concept I've ran it before. A couple paranormal investigators come early to the game, look around the house and get dead, becoming ghosts, more ghosts, on the site. The other PCs arrive later and don't know the ghost PCs. As good as that session, with a different name, worked a few years ago, there were some things that needed some work. Specifically getting the ghost PCs to be more than imps or guardian angels, in short giving them a sense of drama beyond stage pranks or being life guards. 
The players that would arrive at last night's session, were the A-List. There's Iron Curtis, who is like the stunt man of role-players in my RPG endeavors these days. His flexibility in crafting a character persona is rather amazing, and just when he is about to outdo even me, he can pull back and swat a co-player on the ass, figuratively speaking, and get everyone involved. Then there was Peryton, my wife, who is like the Milla Jovovitch of Crawlspace as she has a PC that has been in eight different scenarios, and three other recurring PCs in other ones. Then JerryTel showed up. JerryTel, who is a very strong role-player to begin with, doing a reprise of his role as reality TV-host/Ghost hunter, Sven, the Torpedo from Toledo, from the very first The Horrible Fate of the Haunted House Hunters around a  decade and a half ago. Now I am no push over when it comes to narrative role-playing. My main NPC, the Delaney house, was there. And it means business these days.
The Delaney Estate in North Shorelands, MI
Now this work is being developed as a pretty random scenario, where players draw for their roles. It can be quite "ghost heavy" because of the way I did the generation tables. Well then except that JerryTel, showed up fashionably late in the video chatroom. He was there with the same "Actor" as the original paranormal shenanigans. Pery as Techie/Camera and Jerry as the Face? A soft reboot, no less. In any case, the Quick, the living, outweighed the dead. Stuntman Curtis, was ready to be the crash test ghost and he was more than enough.

Throughout the session we worked on rule concepts for the upcoming Crawlspace: 21 and Over concerning ghost hunting, possession, and some axioms for the afterlife. At the same time, I creeped everybody out with a few of my imagery tricks. Neither the Quick nor the Dead rest easy in the Delaney Mansion. At 10:30pm , JerryTel was fading, he had been doing low light camera sitting in his darkened study to get the bump-hunter feel just right, so the intrepid haunted house hunters fled with the footage that they had. Curtis's ghost character was back among his newly acquainted maybe-not-that-dead peers, with a mostly unformed hungry yearning gnawing at his insides drawing him towards homicidal dementia.

Oh they'll be back. 

Thursday, April 9, 2020

Easter Treatise

Sorry guys but Ostarra is bunk
For all the cute and awesome tales around Eostre, Ostre, and whatnot, the pagan traditions around the Spring equinox never knew her. Now if you told me that Bede, the Angle monk from north England around 725 BC, came up with a Mary Magdalene figure for long gone pagans to provide some background material for Saint Jerome's consolidation of the vulgate Bible in the 5th Century (AD), I'd totally be down for. With the changing world since about the 300 AD, intellectual discourse was forming the Christ cycle, and even as late as the 8th century things were a bit amorphous around the edges.
What with Jesus's birthday being officially removed from the Vernal equinox to December 25th, something had to fill the rites of Spring at the time of Saint Jerome's adulthood. This had to signify the gift giving of Saturnalia instead of the lusty nature of Spring Break. Since the skull-bashings of Nicodemia the son of god was the same as the sky god and therefore not to be associated with fertility rights. So the Christ-figure's fall would be moved to be closer to people getting some time to tend to the hay fields, leading to some rolling of hay that was not sanctioned by the parents. But alas for falling, there is redemption in Church-approved marriage licenses. And then the reformed harlot of Mary of Magdella, more often than not accompanied by, if not just conflated with the Virgin Mary (God's Mom), got to play a role.

The Prussian advertising character Borussia has had more "worshipers" than this Eostre. But the goddess and her earlier Christian archetypes have some great fantasy yarns around them, even if they're all probably from the ancient times of the first I-Phone release. Ostarra saw a cold goose in snow, (because geese are hot weather animals?) and changed it to a hare. The hare was much warmer, (because goose down isn't warm?) so it thanked her by laying a colorful egg. Then there is the one where either Mary Magdalene or the Virgin Mary, teleports to Rome from Jerusalem to brag to the pagan emperor about the rebirth of Christ by giving him rotten eggs, which she purifies with her matronly, superpowers derived from not having sex. That last one is a bit too deep for the average pagan of Southern Baptist origins, so in these modernest of times, the story-masters just have the egg turn Easter-eggy with a cross on it without a woman being all witchy. Folklore spun by people that live in apartments and don't know that Pontus Pilot was never a Roman emperor.

While I am at it, there is just no historical evidence of Germanic people's being that big into rabbits as deities, nor rabbits delivering eggs. The animals were and remain so, great punchlines. What there is is surviving Christian works where rabbits and eggs being cited as proof of immaculate conception while flies were proof of less than Holy spontaneous generation. Boiled eggs also were the Happy Meal of the Dark Ages, dunk them in beet juice and have the kids feed their faces with these lunches during extremely long masses on Easter Holy Day. Heck if you get the kids trying to sprinkle water on a rabbit's tale, while looking for hidden eggs, mom and dad can get around to their Spring Break, that means MAKING BABIES, in between the 4th and the 119th worship session of the day. Wallah a pleasant outing out in the fields around the county's church. But remember the Virgin Mary, err Mary Magdelene, err some reformed slut that God approves of is watching so don't have too much fun.

So to my whimsical and more revisionist fantasy friends, Happy Easter. May the most Christian of icons of the Easter Bunny and colored eggs not disrupt any crypto-racist symbolism about pagan Germany.

Wednesday, April 8, 2020

Do We Need New D&D?

Bear with me here. As a guy that plays D&D like an Irish drunk being dragged into church on Easter, I am not the most impartial observer on this matter.  I mean I say this as a guy that spent thirty years of my life absolutely loving the first rip-off of the brand called Tunnels and Trolls, but really is there not enough pseudomedieval to medieval accurate source material among the official brand and the offshoot, schools of thought, err Open Game License advocates to last a bit? Between five different editions of the strict game and dozens, possibly hundreds, of homebrew variations, can adventure gamers not find dungeon delving material that particular way to role-play out  scenario/campaign with or without steampunk gnomes or Tolkien's elves with crowd-funding yet another FRPG system?
Hanging out and meeting the guys from G Plus back in the halcyon days of almost five years ago, it's become more than obvious that are about twenty FRPG systems per single player. Even for nostalgia's sake why doesn't one find a copy of a favorite rip-off of D&D and just run that. Say that you want to play Warhammer why not play it instead of needing to create FleiSwatter Zee Schwanger Vit Minutia ScheisseSpeil. At least since DCC, the field is so broad one does not have to develop a whole game system to work Mad-Libs instead of crunch details into their cavern crawling sessions, why create yet another take on White Wolf's storytelling system but this time for D&D by being about the narrative? You need rules for narrative role-playing? 

Yes I am being a hypocrite as I use my own systems for my horror and science fictions games. For the S-F that's because I like a certain style of game mechanic, the 2D6 and DARO system, but it's not open licensed so a different rules system is required. For the horror, it's because my system is godsbedamned revolutionary, or more accurately, the TACK system lends itself for both LARP and tabletop roleplaying which is helpful for the crowd that plays and runs Crawlspace. Even given my ham-handed double standards, am I wrong? Is there just not enough choice already for yet another fake European Dark Ages tabletop product for anybody?