Sunday, June 29, 2014

Wobble: Gravity Salad Of the Geomi

My strategy to keep mixing up the tone of my campaign varied by having a few too many things going on at once.

Poor JerryTel and Peryton had to deal with even more gravity salad as the weekend's Wobble game turned from "The Tinfoil Man" into "The Repository." So far the sessions have been a pleasant treat for me, as all RPG sessions should but bear with me here. One of the things that I want to avoid with my "multi-genre" games is a set kind of format for the adventures. Sure I have my propensities as a GM as to what I like to do, but I do try to avoid getting bookmarked. And if I am going to do trans-dimensional gag for table-topping, I will do my best to mix things up.

This last story had the Characters playing members of the general public following up on the mystery another Wobble scenario "Corporate Raiders." They were aiding a fellow that a bit lost in this world. Helping him out ended getting them a couple of arrest warrants and pulled onto an alternate Earth. The Characters awoke on this new world with any guide or much information besides some exposition from the NPC that they were helping. He wasn't around. That left the players rather motivated in their portrayal of their Characters as unsettled and rather lost.

Their first friend, well acquaintance was a fellow that was living as a near homeless bum who thirty some odd years ago was a professor of History on our Earth. As with all poor folks who are smart, according to certain movies, he of course is a conspiracy theorist and basically has a bat-cave. What he didn't have was all the answers, well not many of the right ones. This led the protagonists into touch with the Crawlies. Maybe inferring contact is a bit much, this got the Characters captured by the aliens.

It is here Melita Giles and Ben Moss, Pery and Jerry respectively, got to hack into a records repository and to get some more information about the multiverse around them. They also had a chance to meet "the Librarian," an entity known as Geomi, who the Crawleys on Mu-B3 Earth employed as an information processor as an interrogation specialist. Luckily they didn't. They were able to avoid its web, a bit of gravity salad-- always a favorite of mine. Making their escape in a work van they are headed back to find the Tinfoil Man.

Geomi, Quick 4,000
Gravity Displacement
Memory Eater
A demon fabled as a keeper of ancient and the most obscure secrets of the universe. It actually is a beast that likes to consume neural matter and can spew out its meals meal's spoken words, from any point in the food's lifetime. This entity is from the Omicron universes but does not have a form of its own, it must use multiple bodies of the species that summon it to take form in universes outside of its home. It seems to like to form them into the semblance of an arachnid, but with ten legs.

Wednesday, June 25, 2014

Wobble: Babelonian Ashtarakashinutyun

A seed for the Wobble scenario Babel Tower:

Alarms at the International Space Station, Rosaviakosmos, and SpacCom go off when a very large piece of space junk appears suddenly in prime communication satellite orbit zones. Initial reports indicate that is a space craft of an unusual design, but most likely of earth origin, it bears the insignia of the former Soviet Union. Russia is claiming ownership of the mass and are launching an exploratory, err retrieval mission in four days. The American response is to turn to the WOBBLE Laboratories at Baffin Bay Island, with the new prototype wobble-ship The Albatross, which can get there in hours, if it works. Uncle Sam is willing to fully fund the mission as long as they run it, this scenario starts in the meeting between the Wobblers and the USAF leaders.

Monday, June 23, 2014

this And that

Sitting down tonight, and tomorrow, and Wednesday, to format Glow, the Post-Apocalyptic Role-Playing Game. As I do the final touches, I can't help but wonder why did I do a whole game instead of a setting for another system(s)? Or maybe just an amorphous game supplement for an amorphous game system? A couple of the later sorts of products, like the generic products of PaNik Productions a few years ago, or the Arduin books by David Hargrave first written to _not_ (nudge, nudge, wink, wink) expand the AD&D of the mid-70s, are wonderful works. 

Some of David Hargrave's gaming books that were "not" written for AD&D

I really feel myself heading this way. I can write a scenario in about three days, sometimes two, when I set my mind to it. I tend not to like to look up rules while I write them, because I may very well be at work, so sticking to other game systems tends to be hard. My answer to that has been to write up my own systems, this tends to get boring. Anybody who's kept up on my posts on FacetuBe seen me complain that game writing is becoming more like stereo instructions with a couple orks thrown in. I actually had some great shorthand back in the late 90s just before I left the Army. Even if I can't find the notes, it would not be that hard for me to reconstruct into three pages of guidelines from memory.

For now though, I have the TROTT rules written up. I have five people who are promised copies of either the Glow or the upcoming Spacers re-release. Be ready, they're coming.

In other news, the folks behind the Deluxe T&T have announced that not only is the product this close to release, they've decided to release a "Beta" version. This Beta version is available mostly to folks who supported their Kickstarter project, as well for sale to the general public (walking past at bus stations and newspaper stands) in rough print form. I haven't seen it, I can't find the email. I may have lost during some difficulties with my hard drive email program, so I suspect no foul play. I could probably get the email sent, but frankly, but at this time the entrepreneurship of the DT&T makers in their practices to date and posts in private fora make asking anything of them by email unappealing. The feedback that I am reading about the Beta range from the vapid gushing of the less-than-critical fanbase to the actually not very disturbed folks that actually read it. I feel a little blessed, as I really only want to see the end-product. Too much time has passed since this money-making endeavor was forced upon the fans of T&T by folks previously uninterested in Our Game for a couple of decades. Looking at tea leaves, I am not clenching my teeth too much.

That said, I remember swearing T&T 5th edition was the best game ever, then, 10 years after that argument, I read the "7th" edition and loved it. Where will this reading take me, when it finally happens? Pleasantly, I don't know yet.

Thursday, June 19, 2014

Two Ends of Horror

We've just finished watching the series True Detective last night. It was a very pleasant close to a Saturday night spent and the series itself was truly a godshead-send for me. Not because the TV series was great, I already watch a lot of off-center police procedure. This series is a gem of a watch, big money and two of most talented actors that I can think of in my lifetime. The writing quite smart and it utilized the fourth dimension, TIME, to add something that only epic writers seem to understand. What it did for me though wasn't all that moving as a viewer of a TV show. It re-affirmed my faith in low-level horror role-playing.

Now seagulls would've been really scary

I tend to be a two trick pony when it comes to horror RPG. I often go campy, and then I get edgy. But no one ever taught me, as a two-trick pony, how to dance to any song.

When there is an overt supernatural theme involved, I can't help it. A haunted house variation of The Flying Dutchman tale has me making the players a reality TV show with an ex-wrestler as the main protagonist. In my head, Hammer Horror Films artistic decisions are a bit minimalistic when it comes to vampires, werewolves, and mummies for my Crawlspace sessions. I've thrown Frank Sinatra and Sammy Davis Jr against the minions of Cthulhu and Nyarlathotep in CoC games for at least five years in a row over the last ten. It is all that I can do to keep less than a dozen players from sitting at the table.

On the other extreme, I've had many a late night session where things went grim early, and the solution for a puzzle, perhaps a who-dun-it, is the thing that kept the players at the table until 4 to 6 am. They, as you'd expect start later, usually with only four to six players. The results, as in how the audience responds, tend to be a mixed bag. I suppose about 65% "good" to 35% to "unmoved," in the metrics of my mind. I like these games better than the campier ones. Instead of having to juggle so many Characters, I get to keep track of a list of things tat need to be looked for before things go terribly awry. The things tends to be unexpected and, like a bad movie, if the players aren't looking things end quickly, say 3:30am. When they are looking, things still get wry but the tale is completed and the survivors get to reclaim lost sanity in CoC or get a whole lot of Fame in Crawlspace terms.

I am a bit jealous of the writers of the show as they played right into my fanboy susceptibility with gratuitous Robert Chambers and Ambrose Bierce allusions while delivering more of a Jungian psycho-drama than a supernatural event. The closest I've ever come to that was a late-nighter that involved a cursed gem, and the main protagonist, err player was a jewel thief. I didn't have to do anything Lovecraftian besides mention the Plateau of Leng to get everyone creeped out. Anybody waiting for a shuggoth or a ghoul made do with the inexplicable. Some really subtle rationale for Sanity Checks had to be made. I did have to throw a zombie in at the end, which killed three out of five of the Characters. The climax of the show had a hallucination as its big "boo" moment, well that and edged weapons.

Thursday, June 12, 2014

Meandering Monsters

I've been reading Jerry Teleha's release Meandering Monsters since I've been back from Tampa's Salty Bay Con. Now this isn't a review because I would be violating some rules imposed by Peryton upon me,  because I know the guy. Also some jag-off elsewhere has implied that somebody shouldn't talk about something which he receives for free. While publishers would agree, what planet is this dude from? Since I am reading our household's printed copy, which we paid for, because I am afraid to use my Kindle and most likely lose it in obscure folders to get my free download at, I figure I can blog about it. Technically speaking, since I wrote the Forward, well the first one appearing in the work, I think I should be able to review everything but my piece-- it, of course, just happens to be the best forward ever written in the history of language-- as long as I disclose my association with the publisher.

Meandering's take on a tabletop RPG supplement is that it is the journal of a long wandering Player-Character whose name happens to be Lorian Darkshade. I actually know the kid, I'll name him when he's 18, who plays Lorian, I am the best Kraze, one of Lorian's friends, player to date, so reading this is a lot of fun for me. The approach, what I am actually talking about, hasn't been used since the Ravenloft works of the 90s as far as I know, which makes this magazine a pleasant change of pace. I find myself wanting to get to know more about the campaign world that Jerry has been running, as I only get to it once, maybe twice, a year. This alone makes me want to see what comes in following issues.

Teleha's format for the monsters, is one that anyone who is familiar with T&T can use. It might be too detailed for some. It might not be detailed enough for people that claim to play T&T but really don't. The adventures tie into the monsters discussed, which makes for some detailed atmosphere of the world around it. And then there's the forwards, did I mention that I wrote one of them?

Did I mention I wrote the Forward?