Wednesday, April 29, 2015

It's Been a Crawlspace mid-Week

Since coming home on Sunday, I've been working on compiling all the notes I have for the Apogee scenarios and melding them into one work. Well, the outline, the abstract for the table of contents, has been wheedled down to four pages. There are some eleven works here, from four-twenty pages in length, and all are in need of rewriting. But looking at them, it's not to homogenize them. While most of the works stick to a tried and true format, which is akin to game scenario meeting a script but really neither of them, the exceptions of it work nicely getting the particular story going.

I think I have W.E.B. , Bricker, on board as the cover artist. It depends on whether he can get through figuring out what a "mushroom-headed eagle-crab" should look like. I am actually not worried about him. I've already had the problems where the artists just can't work my written descriptions. Bill is a couple levels higher than those. Just in case, though, I've offered to show of my personal sketches. Frankly I hope not to have to show him those. His own personal interpretations have always expanded upon my brief descriptions making the viewing, even for me, an amazing event.

Sunday, April 26, 2015

The Big April Hoot... didn't expect to be playtesting.

We just finished the first hoot of the 2015 year. It's been quite the Crawlspace and Red Bat weekend for me. When Peryton cancelled her Friday night Dr. Who session, I was asked to fill in the slot, because none of us were ready to tackle the nine year-old unopened box of The Arkham Horror-- a re-gift, I suppose, to Caed from us. So I ran the Apogee campaign scenario called "The Creep" . As you already know this is part four of my "Castle of the Moth" Cycle of the work. I was going to run it on Saturday night, but just moved it up. On Saturday, once again nobody was ready for the boxed game, I got to do the first session of "The Keys to Christmas Place" ... at least part one of it.

During these sessions some thoughts came to me about the Hedonist Type for the game and still more on death rules for the system:
 The Hedonist has the "Is it the Sequel Yet" Perk, or "resurrection feat" as Caed has dubbed it. But in the course of extended play, it is rather hard to kill in Crawlspace, and to date not a single Hedonist player has had to use it. That is at least when it would do any good in the stories being played, like say, after the Cthulhu-walrus has destroyed the coastal city you were supposed to be saving. My younger sister surprisingly enough playing a Hedonist, (who would've thunk it?) developed a Perk of her own. Basically using her CHARM stat to calm down someone that had failed a NERVE Draw. It was rather like psychotherapy, but do I want to use that name for the PERK (I am open to suggestions).
More and more often, especially later in the scenarios, I am arbitrarily killing Characters as it helps the yarn. That means, I don't allow the All-In Hand. Luckily, to-date, no one has gotten rules-lawyery on me and whined about it. But I need to amend the published rules to state that every so often, the GM will indeed just forgo the  All-In Hand. Peryton also had some thoughts on this, which I think are awesome

Beckett ran his Glow scenario "A Fistful of Hypos" on Saturday. I used the opportunity to quick-learn him on the new Red Bat rules. Once again during the course of play, I needed a highlighter and started making notes on how to clarify things. I even used a regular pencil to make notes in the margin for kewl tweeks to add later. Mind you all, I had nothing to change about the man's writing. The story is based off of the Red Harvest novel/Yojimbo film story that we all love. The dude had ant-chicks even, it was rather spectacular.

Caed has me thinking about some LARP production in 2016. Not rules, but events for GenCon that year. I guess I've gotten over the last scandal already.

Thursday, April 23, 2015

The No News of D&D 5E

Since the much proclaimed release of D&D 5 E last year, I've noticed the energy has shifted from small press groups back to the bigger organs of game publishing. My Google+ feed is full of might-be projects set up by established manufacturers and a few dozen of copycats that want to emulate those houses' ideas.  I am actually disparaged at the number of bloggers that release bits and pieces from the 5E text as opposed to sharing their own creations from it. I suspect there is some paid advertising going on here.

Not that I mind, prepaid advertising if it keeps my Scrabble game at Pogo free is awesome. I can even deal with the dude wanting to pay a few bills and maybe get ahead by getting paid in advance for the game that he is about to make through a Kickstarter deal. I am not exactly looking for it when I read a person's "personal" blog though.

A note to the "old school" authors, what is up with your titles? "The Vast Vats of PHATT QW-QERRYTGNFK- Guff" sucks as a name doesn't it? Guess what. A silly name marks you as a person that isn't thinking about what you are typing in a field that can be called silly and juvenile already. If you're claiming to be "OSRIC," at least look at the original TSR dungeon scenario titles not the parodies for inspiration. If you're edgy, look at what David Hargrave wrote. He was probably better at selling an "old school" dungeon than most. The titles were interesting, not appealing to an audience hoping to be, one day, as large as the FacetuBe page for the illegal toxic waste dumping corporations of Scranton, New Jersey.

Monday, April 20, 2015

Wobble: April 20th

It never occurred to me until today that Hitler's birthday, the Columbine shooting, and the Deepwater Horizon oil spill were all on April 20th. It's also the pot-smoker version of Christmas day or something as well.

Next year expect something special from Wobble.

Copyright 2015 Peryton Publishing and Randy Market.

Tuesday, April 14, 2015

So Much Potential Horribleness, err Horror

I really need to work on some more Crawlspace. Folks that have known about the game are expressing disappointment that I don't do sessions with it, and folks that I haven't met before have told me that they have heard of the game.  Even the excuse that I can't go to far away conventions every weekend isn't buying it anymore. I've found brick and mortar hobby stores (FLAGS) that have late night open gaming as close as Monroe, Michigan, Our House Games being my likely favorite this Spring or Summer.

 It's not even people asking me about what's next. I keep making notes on this or that scenario to be played in the future, like "Flotsam" which was actually was playtested at BASHCon this year. And then there are my tried and true ones like "Horse's Head Run," "Bigger than a Bread Box,"  "The Creep," and "The Keys to Christmas Place" which all need to get published. That list doesn't include "The Horrible Fate of the Famous Haunted House Hunters," yes folks I've been rebelling against Sy-Fy's Ghost Hunters for ten years. Those stories are following the events of "The Book that Dripped Blood" (see Crawlspace Deluxe) but I get so busy typing up other stuff, they haven't yet been completed. Still I have a whole Clive Barker novel worth of RPG material that needs to come out.

Well, all those scenarios are going to fall into something called "Apogee." Along with these, this setting has notes for modern horror role-playing of mine since about 1999. At first it was for Call of Cthulhu, but then I felt a little constrained by that cabal. To help out with the overall quality and freshness, I plan on getting other authors to contribute their own Crawlspace articles or scenarios.

Mind you, the persons that I call upon might or might not be aware that I want to incorporate their talents into this project. Heck they might not even be willing to collaborate. So take this post as me being whimsical, not announcing news.

After knowing Charlie Flemming, AKA Charl, online for probably over a decade, Peryton and I finally met him last Friday at the Cinema Wasteland convention. It's kind of amazing that we haven't done so already. This event is his big event, which happens twice a year just outside of our fair city of Cleveland in Stongsville, Ohio. Well, we just never had the chance until now.

Jim Wynorski, Charlie Flemming, and Peter Spellos at Cinema Wasteland, April '15
Charl is the guy behind Rarr! I'm a Monster Publishing which puts out more works in a month than most small publishers put out in a year. We share a couple things in common, a love of T&T and bouts of insomnia. It was really good having dinner with him and his wife, who I'll leave unnamed. Now while it was great, Peryton especially loved a convention where she could sit back and watch weird movies, there was not enough time to get down to the business of collaborating on horror pieces.

Aspects of his Librarians of Doom will hopefully be notable influences on this work...

(more later)

Thursday, April 9, 2015

Darkshade Publishing's "A Day in Baru-Kesh"

After a couple years of plodding away at this work, Jerry Teleha, or JerryTel as I affectionately call him, "A Day in Baru-Kesh" has been released as a solo and a GM dungeon piece. I've spent the last few days reading it. Now this isn't because I am slow reader, but because this is one big book of tunnel delving. There are 116 pages in my print copy. The first seventy pages, or so, are a solo dungeon, which should make worth while to most folk that like T&T. There are two characters generated for the casual reader to use. Then the latter part of the book is material organized for a GM-ran adventure. Throughout all of the book there is plenty of eye-catching art. This work is definitely a a whole evening's entertainment, not a snippet of a fantasy trip.

One of the more appealing things to me about the adventure here is the sense of scale. JerryTel has designed the scenarios for "low level Rogues or Warriors" meaning "30 or less" in T&T Combat Adds. From my rummaging around the solo with one of the author's pre-gen Characters, Jeremiah Fey, the combats seemed well designed-- heck I even had options where I didn't have to fight everybody I cam across. Definitely not your father's T&T solo here.

The author does a nice job of keeping the atmosphere of his adventure interesting but not overbearing. While influenced by the Arabian Nights, Teleha feels free to not to stick strictly to the tropes established by those tales. This leads to the some great events that mix and match fantasy allusions. Being from Toledo, Ohio, the author will can get some bull-fighting allusions from Spain, which was Moorish for quite a long time. Spain had a whole bunch to do with the Roman world, so some Greco-Roman monsters can't hurt. As a dude that designs my own fantasy realms all the time, I wholly dig this poetic creativity. Hey it worked for Sinbad of movie fame. Of these events more than likely the "Minotaur Run" is going to be most everyone's favorite.

This brings me once again to the understanding of the system and mechanics of the game displayed in the work. I spent some time in the GM section reading through the "Minotaur Run" part and it works nicely. The event delivers in role-playing drama potential. A map is thrown in as a crutch for the miniature dependent GM, but the conventions used can keep the escapades wholly visceral, which is pretty good T&T design in my book.

Baru-Kesh has been one of the better gaming reads that I've had this year to date. It has a lot of material. The writer works to keep the adventure within the grasp of its expected audience. He compliments the field of T&T scenarios with an atmospheric piece, which also doesn't let itself be overly tied to that atmosphere for the sake of freshness for the reader.

It is a King Kong of a book. After reading the whole thing, I want more encounters and more adventures to keep my player-characters around the western shores of the Eerie Sea a little longer.

Wednesday, April 8, 2015

Wobble: the Wid, the Git, and the Big Ugly

Some of you reading this might remember my talking about the title of "the Wid" not too long ago. Well, I came back to my notes today during some quiet time during my shift today. At the same time, my partner started going on about a dream that he had the night before, which was really odd because the last time I mentioned "wids" it was because of a dream that I had. Now I don't talk about my dreams at work, funny because I don't mind mentioning them here or with FacetuBe friends, so this was really a strange moment. I looked down at my Kindle word processing program and thought, 'Definitely gearing towards Wobble.'

So the Wid, because of yet another dream from two nights ago, is definitely something of a druid stylish from D&D fashion. I was a young (inexperienced), skinny(scrawny) native of some area and somebody very ancient and very demigod-like was walking towards my forest. Before I could try to repel the intruder, I had to worry about gators, so I started throwing nearby rocks into the swampy water near my feet. They might've been crocodiles, I don't know, all I remember thinking is 'Gotta be smarter than the gators.' As long and lanky, and glowing, dude, was making his way through my foliage, I started releasing water from its uphill ponds to flow at him. The resulting flood didn't work out in the cinematic route that I expected, and I felt rather defeated. Still, I woke up laughing at the word "git."

In a bit, I fell back to sleep. I had a dream about being somewhere on the Danube watching TV with two stoner friends who were making life decisions based on a TV show. I became sleepy within the dream and woke up at 1536 (CET) that afternoon. I was supposed to be boarding a plane back to...(?) California(wha...?) at 1600 a handful of hundred of kilometers away in Frankfurt. Worse yet, my mother had bought the tickets for me, and I didn't know where I was in... Germany(?). I then realized that I was dreaming. I really woke up to see the clock reading 0701 (EST)-- I haven't needed an alarm clock for two decades.

It was while brushing my teeth, the Wobble title came to me. It's called "The Wid, the Git, and the Big Ugly" in case you hadn't already guessed. Something about an Waffen SS unit and a Kali death cult; a demigod and his horrible parent; and needing to get from Vienna to Santa Monica in a real hurry.

What until you get to play a Wid. You can dive through sand.

Sunday, April 5, 2015

Glowing After Glow

WEB's Design's
The Amazing Bill Bricker
Well now, GLOW is finally capsulized into a manageable RPG setting without some 200 plus pages I had surrounding the ideas that spawned this creation.  While I am not happy with my own work, I am very proud of the folks, like Bill Bricker, Lindsey McCollough, and Michael Hartlieb, that I got to work with me.

I have so enjoyed running Glow scenarios over the past five years, but I have so dreaded the past four versions of the rules system that I have written for the setting. I have been a bit giddy since I released Red Bat to get me over that little demon.

A little controversial thank you here. Shippy, James L. Shipman, was pretty much the inspiration for me writing anything post-apocalyptic. He and I spent hours coming up with this or that rule for a T&T "after the bomb" setting back in '98-'o1. He later put out his own version somewhere around 'o6, luckily not using any of my ideas or forwarded work, before his rather ungracious fall from esteem. This note of appreciation is important to me, regardless of the scores of lost sales it will cause. The reasoning follows:
When I put out New Khazan, around 'o9-'10, he sent me an email suggesting that he deserved some credit in the product's formulation. You see, some ten years after I sent him a massive article for space and T&T entitled "New Khazan" he took that text and had someone re-write about 35% of it, leaving my other material untouched and unedited, to publish a space-fantasy setting for our mutual favorite entitled New Khazan. Well then Shippy's fall from grace occurred. He was called out for using artwork as well as other people's work without permission. During that dramatic period, in an email to me,  he rescinded his claim to all of my works (though he still presumedly sells two, something called "Flow World" and his take on New Khazan). So I reinserted my original material into an official  9KW release, which you know as New Khazan. A planetoid called "New Khazan" is a part of my "9,000 Worlds" space-fantasy campaign). I could not oblige Jim with a thank you back then.

I can oblige him with a thank you now. My "Post-Poc" notes have been cluttering up my desks and files since 1998. There has been so much of them, that it really feels good to get the better parts out there. Jim, if you're reading this, thank you for the discussion. The ideas are all mine, but at the beginning the interest in the subject wasn't.

So with that out of the way, I'd especially like to thank Jack Kirby, Pierre Boulle,William F. Nolan, and the creators of the Gamma World RPG. While I acknowledge popular tastes for the movie Mad Max, I think that my setting is bit more well read on dystopian visions of the future than most post-apocalyptic RPGs.

Wednesday, April 1, 2015

Okay, and now for the world after April Fools.

Kim-Jong-Un weilding weapons look like fun? Try Glow!

Just to let you know, I am reading the proof for Glow that will be formatted into a PDF for sale. Most likely this weekend, in case you were wondering.

Baseball: the RPG


Since not many people get D&D, we've decided to reach out to a wider audience. Do you dream of being a sports hero but don't like to exercise or go outside? Now you can role-play it, instead! Become a great pitcher by rolling percentile dice! Use the power of your imagination to transform that that hot pocket stain on your pants into red clay from sliding into the bases! Fight demons with Babe Ruth and Joe DiMaggio!