Thursday, July 31, 2014

GenCon 2014 Schedule

Reading Pery's blog, it occurs to me that posting the games that I running at my own blog is a good idea. It helps any potential players that happen to read it plan ahead. More importantly, it's a place that I can reference to keep track of stuff I need to get done before the convention starts. I intend on not being stressed by anything during the drive to Indianapolis. So here is my GenCon schedule.

8pm Temple of the Time God (Sword and Sorcery) RPG 1453293

9am Corporate Raiders (TV set Sci-Fi) RPG 1454924
8pm Valley of the Towers (Post Apocalyptic) RPG 1454925
11pm The Book That Dripped Blood (Horror)  RPG 1454977

2pm A Fungus Among Us (Space-based Sci-Fi) RPG 1455755
7pm Here Be Dragons (Robinhoo Sci-Fi) RPG 1455756

I am definitely not going as hard core as I have other years, I've ran up to ten games on multiple occasions, so this feels like I'm half-assing it. 

Sunday, July 27, 2014

Wobble: the Noodle From Out Of Space

Still in the goofy space that the Negbho are from is the dreaded void-dwelling monster that can only be described as "the Space Noodle."

Originally described by the ancient Wobblers, the Ubbans, this creature was thought to be a myth, but has since been confirmed my interstellar travelers of the Mu 14 universe. Fig has encountered him and will warn anybody listening to avoid running into this creature. It is referred to by the Glorp Blort, a Wobbling species from our own universe, as the Passage Maker, but even they avoid its particular stomping grounds.

As for its "stomping grounds" this is very predictable. It dwells where the stars are right, throughout the universe it inhabits. Fig has figured out where a lot of these places are, while other lesser scientists, insane beings most likely, still strive to find them for themselves.

Saturday, July 26, 2014

Wobble: The Wewwers

Sometimes called Spider-Heads, most often called "Sewer Monkeys." This is species that comes from a universe where magic, not physics, rules. One god of magic is attributed with kicking them out, and that god's brother is actively hunting them down. Their own god is not known as much of a protector, so these folk have things rather rough. Whatever the deeper goal of these creatures are, it is not helpful to anybody else but themselves, though the oppression by a little sun god does grant the bystander some grounds for sympathy with them sometimes.

The Wewver are humanoids with arachnid heads. With eight-eyes and mandibles around the mouth. Their bodies are very variable though. As infants, they are born from mothers and not from eggs. Twins are infrequent. More births than that have been recorded, but much rarer. In short this species reproduces much like humans. As a head is a rather large spider-head with an unformed humanoid body stumbling below it. So these aren't wholly an alien species from our own , like arachnids but with a made-to-fit body. It is their outlook and strategies for dealing with life, existence and whatnot that make them abhorrent.

Their societies are very caste based, so caste-based that their individual forms are based upon the first blood sacrifices they eat during their transitional period from toddler to adolescence. The lower castes are fed animals of which they are expected to be of the same IQ and they are endowed with special characteristics of that creature. The body will still be humanoid, but not of the same gait or stature of a human. The elite is fed sentient beings. These individuals do indeed assume the characteristics in their bodies that humans would find appealing– at least from the neck down.

The Wewwer, the Quick starts at 125
Most encountered will have psychic abilities.

Wobble: Fig

Fig, sometimes referred to "The Fig," is a trans-dimensional traveler and basically he looks like a eight foot-tall fig with three eye-sprouts and a fourth sprout, most likely a mouth and airway, at the top of his form. Something of a Dr Who/ Indiana Jones, err action hero with brains in the cross-universal sub-culture. He is something of a psychic and gets into a lot of convoluted plots, sometimes as a good guy and other times as a bad guy. He really dislikes pyramid-heads and often works with Sewer Monkeys for the most obscure reasons.

He likes to travel with humans from Mu-1. Younger women and college-age Italian males tend to be his "companions." These companions stick around for what appears to be two years or so before finding other activities or being dropped off someplace forgotten. These former companions number in the hundreds, even forming trans-dimensional clubs, associations, or organizations. Most are on good terms with Fig, a small number is not. The unhappy ones tend to be loners and not prone to joining with other former companions.

His species is very similar to the Negbho, as similar to that of humans and vulcans, err humanoids with pointy-ears and prone to wearing a lot of eye shadow. That last assumption is based off of conversations with "the Neighbors" not any actual physiological study. He does not need a pressure suit in an Earth-normal atmosphere, nor a few others. This is believed to be because of his immense psychic abilities.

The Fig, Quick 800
Has psychic abilities which correspond to the T&T (7plus) 1st and 2nd level spells.

Thursday, July 17, 2014

A Ravenloft For T&T

I awoke this morning to outrage about almond milk and the evening I've decided is good time to play the Who's Quadrophenia. I digress though.

Back in the late 90s, I entertained a fancy for the Ravenloft setting even while touching base again with the more established T&T gangIt was not a new fancy, TSR's 90s publications were all over Europe and I could get them for cheap from AAFES (The Army's version of K-Mart, with liquor, cigarettes, and Burger King) . So while WOTC was buying TSR for pennies, I had enjoyed a decade of great products even if I did not like the game system.

The Ravenloft setting, when not speaking of the original scenario, is strict D&D (AD&D? 2nd Edition? I am the world's worst observer of D&D trends and factoids) turned on its head into a role-playing setting that wants to be gothic horror. To be clear by "gothic horror" the writers mean the literature that was around at the time of the Gothic architectural movement's revival not its heyday. TSR's setting did a rather good job, at least as this GM that read its rules and notes to the viewing audience, at portraying the feeling of the literary genre that it was writing role-playing scenarios to.

Around this time, there were other horror games around. I'll exclude Call of Cthulhu in the forthcoming assessment, because it was the one of two horror RPGs that can serious claim to be the "first horror RPG" of all time and because Ravenloft worked hard not to be CoC and somewhat succeeded. That last idea enhances the charm of the setting so any sort of pro:con comparison to either games' detriment is silly. Now those other horror games never got over the theatrical device known as "The Gag" (usually a derivative of CoC's "Sanity" roll) or they were more about a comic book reality where its denizens were super-powered heroes and villains. T&T already had that in spades.

 I wanted to develop a setting similar to the expanded Ravenloft but everyone in the little teapot was about "new" things, which meant steam punk.

All things good to the fans of the movie Star Dust and to the scores of war-forged PCs in D&D campaigns for a whole edition, but I still think that the hacks Bram Stoker and Mary Shelley were onto something. That something that has only been the foundation of fantasist literature for a century and a half now. So instead of showing that you a rake can be replaced with coal-burning leaf blower, and how to make a cell phone into two cans and unbelievably stretchy string, I think fantasy likes to speak to emotions.

A quick little treatise on entertainment and emotionality within the scope of role-playing is in order here. It can be argued that when it comes to diversions from reality that any of them should be wholly enjoyed (or as intensely disliked) from the images called to mind within the players' imagination. With that, the participants should be trying to fulfill the parts of their imagination that are stirred by external/visual stimulation without that stimulation being there. Now, since the beginning of Gygaxian role-playing, and maybe a bit before, when it comes to role-playing, this can be striven for by the presentation of a talented GM, or it can be achieved from formulated with clever rules.

Now, these days, that last bit with the "clever rules" and all that _that_ entails, can be used as the premise for a decent Ravenloft campaign. I'd argue that with a very strong writing, the GM doesn't need to know what he, or she, is doing. Of course with a strong GM, nothing else is needed but come on already. Now that last bit,  is the worst excuse ever of any role-playing excursion half-way written, ever.

I am of the mind that T&T would be best framing campaigns to particular moods and atmospheres, rather than falling into the trap of "next edition." Not that anybody in charge or anything is particularly mindful of me. Still it can't hurt trying.

I want realms with dark-lords, and special rules. Given the rules of T&T, at least before the upcoming edition, this should not be too hard of thing to accomplish. In T&T, at least these days it is up to author to make it worthwhile.

So like Ravenloft is based off of a really module, I need to keep bugging Scot Malthouse about his Bloodmoon swamp.

Really, I want this to happen.

Monday, July 14, 2014

The Sound Of Dice From Speakers

I just started another online T&T campaign last Saturday, I think this is my sixth in ten years. This one is going to turn trippy as it is the prequel to "The Falling Sky" campaign from many years ago. This one is called  "Crossed Stars." My current influences are a lot of ancient (as in ancient-ancient) history and Sumerian mythology and Larry Niven. The notes for things are complete. Still I wonder how long is this campaign going to take.

I have noticed over the course of the fifteen years of running these chat rooms (video and typed), not just T&T,  that everything moves really slow and are wearing on the participants. Dice-roller role-playing games are damned hard online. Let's take the last session.

We ran from just before 9pm until 11:30pm. The players got to the first encounter of the introductory adventure and I was wiped out. Now mind you, I was up early. Also I'd had four beers during the afternoon writing on other stuff. I then had three during the course of GMing. As far as I know, I wasn't slowing down nor slurring (well, not enough to be commented upon). At the end of the session, I was exhausted. I was in bed at 11:44 and shutting off my reading lamp in less than five minutes. This was an extreme case of "the tireds," and I enjoyed the mental stimulation of the game which induced restful sleep that lasted for at least four hours straight.

The progress of that session was actually pretty good. I've had sessions where someone's technology wasn't anywhere it needed to be to for coherent video chatting. I've had sessions where a couple of players were repeatedly distracted by TV shows and/or eating dinner though totally oblivious as to how they were ruining the session for the other players and myself. I've had a player that seemed inordinately opposed to any sort of plot moving forward -- when it did, he'd fall asleep. So while Saturday's game was a bit of work, everyone was able to get through the events and stay connected most of the time. SUCCESS.

Chat room (or is it chat-room? Chatroom?) gaming is helpful though. It does carry on campaigns over distance. It helps groups continue to bond and formulate norms. Most helpful is that it helps groups stay in touch before they see each other at conventions or similar gaming events.

Still... It is mentally exhausting.