Saturday, November 12, 2016

The Games Afoot, err Under Foot (Carnage 16)

Part I

I didn't run anything until Friday evening, which gave me pretty much all morning to go back to swimming pooling. This time I did the hot tub until I about died instead of the sauna. This left the afternoon free to lounge and relax. At least until I noticed that I didn't have my scenario outline print-ups. Rushing to the office area, which happened to be by the Carnage registration desk. Here I ran into Zach, the Carnage son. He was actually getting a room this year instead of hoboing it in his car, crashing with "Carnage Mom and Dad" (Peryton and me), or the Brat Pact (Spacers(TM) kids Heather, Patrick, and Derrick). His was bigger than mine even. He helped me re-print my outlines and brought some beers up to the room from the brewery that he works at.

At 7pm, well 7:20-ish, Patrick, Derrick, and Zach all showed up for my Crawlspace "Spook Story" scenario. I tried to turn the classic gritty spy tale into a version of the Sixth Sense. It worked out okay, but I didn't get my desired gimmick of going from the atmosphere of an espionage-laden detective story to a psychological horror story. Instead I got a pretty decent David Lynch like mind-flik made better with the high quality players around me. Our familiarity with each lead to about 40 minutes of pretty much just hanging out and speaking about their college projects.

My Spacers(TM) "Dune: The Rock Opera" set for the 11pm-until whenever slot lost Patrick, the guy who made me offer to run it this year, and I was able to push Steven Dresser and another fellow over into Petra Jackl's Fiasco "Viva Las Vegas." So I was able to slip over to a newer GM's, Roy Larsen, CoC "Just Another Ghost Adventure," where I got to work on my Trans-Atlantic diction and accent in a 1920s game. Really had a lot of fun in that last one.

Coming back to the room, I was totally not surprised to find Matt and Robin hanging out and little worse for the wear with 2/3's a drained whisky bottle sitting on the table between them. I have no idea what we talked about, but I ended the party, like the old person that I am, a little before 4:00am.

I really must be getting old, because I was awake at 11am, and almost running late for my Saturday 1pm game of Red Bat (whatever, Gonzo?) "Operation Magog: Cave of the Ettin." This had originally been crypto-Biblical fantasy RPG scenario, which due to a typo on the on-line registration it turned into a super-spy versus Nazis story line. I have no idea what my full table that I had expected, but it turned out to quite a enjoyable session to run. The Characters took a left turn when I expected everyone to go right, so to speak, but I had the work sandbox enough I could work with it. It took a while for the "twist" to come into play, but the players were strong enough to work through it. When the session went from technicolor WWII costume and prop festival into full Hammer Horror mode, it got everyone, including me, fully into the game. By the time the group flew away in a flying saucer from the Battle of Mon Casino, I was already thinking of the sequel for next year.

At the 7pm game, one that I really want to run one day, Red Bat "The Wrong Side of History." Steven Dresser came up and pointed out that he had signed up for the game, but played his turned away coin from the night before (the Dune scenario) to let me know that he'd like to run his Pathfinder campaign intro scenario "Hartsford Heroics." Luckily the other player that showed, Sandor Silveman, was willing to jump in as well. I really had a good time. I don't often do D&D, but Steven's hinted at world was very captivating.

After the game I waited around for a meet-n-greet with Scott Legault and Petra Jackl's Dark Phoenix Productions. Since it was Saturday night and they were serving only spicy hummus, I only stuck around long enough to say to Andre Kruppa. Back at the room, Zach and the Absurdist Twins (Matt and Peryton) were tripping out over the arguable existence of a basement in the resort. I am sure that there is one, but the on-going drama was some Jungian-level LARPing that was intoxicating to watch. Later, I actually pulled Zach out of laundry basket, calling him a basket case, and refused to endeavor to his Notes From the Underground basement. Everyone disappeared "for a smoke" at around 3am too long and I wanted to go to bed, it would've been 4am according to the Daylight savings time clock if just left unchanged. So Pery and Matt wnet and found Scott and Petra's real party.

The next morning, I was able to bundle up the hungover Peryton and her bags into the trunk of the car and escape before any bodies were discovered.

Thursday, November 10, 2016

Carnage 16, pt 1

Going to Vermont this year for the Carnage Convention was awesome. I needed the trip. Not because I was overworked or really stressed out, but because I needed to get around the mass of great gamers to get energized. I haven't seen my PeryPubbers since August. While my local gamers are awesome, we've all been too busy to really game. Beckett was just opening his own gaming store (Weird Realms), three have been caught up in the World Series, another was moving, one was way into the election, and Peryton just doesn't often like me. So getting into the car on Wednesday night, was pretty exciting. So exciting that we left all my printed scenario outlines with the shopping list for the trip in a shopping cart outside of our nearby Target store.

That's a floor for gaming!

The trip itself was, as always, a lift. For the night drive Peryton and I were doing Bowie albums because there wasn't much to see. So when we arrived in Syracuse at our special Red Roof Inn, it was very romantic. We even got a ground floor room. The next day while visibility was better, it wasn't much so with all the rain. The route we took was inexplicable due to relying on GPS and having forgotten to bring along even rudimentary maps, but hey we probably saved fifteen meters here and there.

Once we got to the Grande Killington Resort, the Thursday evening pre-show was in full swing. Dr. Nik and I had our obligatory hug in the lobby, where we checked our schedules and realized that we wouldn't see each other for the rest of the convention (as usual). I thought about heading to the pool but Robin made sure that Matt and Steven Dresser were in the room to keep the conversation alive until it was time to start her game "Aliens Love Jazz." T.D showed up not too much later and we were able to pull Ray Hickey into it. Matt disappeared just before Ray showed up.
Everyone is smiling because the pizza showed up.
Thursday night was Pre-Con party night after the game as it always is. TD mumbled something the Game of Growlers being in " 329 or 327. Which ever room is open and loud." He had to go check on something and would meet us there. We stumbled down to room 329 and busted through an unlatched door. I announced our presence with a party gift of New Cleveland Pilsners. from the Platform Brewery, for anyone willing to try and everyone was talking about comic book heroes, Batman in particular. Something strange happened then, I turned into the half-sober, observant person of the assembled group. I noticed that the two groups, the folks sitting at the couches and us newcomers, weren't mixing it up. Every time someone reached for the bottle of Maker's Mark on the counter between, the couch gang would scowl.
I dragged a chair to the couch group and did my best social graces, which is like a 4th grader at a biker bar, at the best of times. Through a couple minutes of dialog I discovered that this was the after-party for the Vermont Educators' Information Systems Conference. After a few minutes of the folks being polite, I slipped back over to the party at the other side of the counter.
"This party is a teachers' conference." I said to Robin, with Steve and Ray close enough to hear.
"It's free booze." Replied the Peryton as she grabbed the whisky bottle, and the stares from the couches ensued.
"I'm going to the pool." I said finally.

Spending the rest of the evening swim pooling, until the staff called the police to get me out of sauna, I would receive texts from Pery like 'Oh the party is in room 327,' 'TD found us, Loce yuo.' After a butt dial on my phone where Robin was saying "My thouffts on religion..." I walked down to room 327 and found her and Steven D hanging out on the balcony. Seeing that it was him and not some creep in a red tee shirt or something, I returned to the room. At about 1:30 am, Matt knocked on the door. Though I was getting ready for bed, I had him come in so I could find the text with the room number. Steve, and Peryton busted into the room for the night cap. And there were Matt and I sitting on the edge of the bed, with me in bath robe. We all had fun with that scene for at least 20 minutes. Steve started telling us about the Pathfinder campaign he and Matt were working on. I asked about the other party. Robin explained to me, "I thought you were speaking metaphorically."

 The nightcap lasted until about 2:45.

(part II)

Friday, September 23, 2016

Wobble: An Incomplete Compendium of Verses

The Verses of Wobble still evolve as I continue to try to catch up with my writing.

Alpha- Currently a theoretical construct. What is it going to called now that the Nu Verse is called the Alpha Verse is a debate for another time.

Beta, Gamma, Delta, Epsilon, Zeta- Currently a theoretical construct.

Eta- Wobblers from XJ state that their grandmothers have traveled to this Verse

Theta- Wobblers from XJ state that their grandmothers have traveled to this Verse

Iota- Outside of contact with Tzadi species Wobblers from a place called XJ, and mentions by visitors from the Lambda Verse, there is not a whole lot known about this Verse.

Kappa- Wobblers from Lambda and XJ state that their grandfathers have traveled to this Verse

Lambda- A Verse where a continuum of universes where people and creatures from Earth's prehistory are still very present. Though the technology tends to be rustic at best, there are accomplished transdimensional travelers that dwell on these “proto-Earths.”

Mu- The collection of universes that we on Earth would find the most familiar. Or own, which we call Mu-Prime, happens to be the easiest universe to get to in this Verse for transdimensional travelers from other Verses.
GM's Note: This is as far to-date as any Wobbler from the Omega Verse has been known to travel to.

Nu- Called “Alpha” by the Wobblers from Omega

Xi- (Access Denied)

Omicron- Infernal

Pi- Where the (Oi-Process) started

Rho- Mahajanapada

Sigma- Ether Bunnies

Tau- Just Wrong

Upsilon- Radio-Ape

Phi-(Access Denied)

Chi- The Aquarius Verse. Hippyhalla

Psi- “Never-Never Worlds”

Omega- Home of the first and, most likely, the most advanced Wobbling civilizations. The Verses as modeled here were discovered by them first.

Saturday, August 13, 2016

Two New Crawlspace Mechanisms

The Stand-In (PERK) - The Actor of this Character will stop a scene where another Character could be seriously affected and dress up like him or her to act out a dangerous action. The "standing in" Character will absorb any Damage or suffer any sort of NERVE effects from the action, also no Fame will awarded. No fame is awarded because the camera can never show the main Character's fame during that sequence.
(Inspired by Beckett Warren)

The Camera Gag - Once in a game when, before the Climax, an action in the scene is important, the Director (the GM) will stop things. Apparently the camera man has stepped away, a Character not involved with the action going on will have to jump in to film the shot. Now the actor(s) in front of the camera as well as the actress behind the camera will have to make successful Draws. If both sides do, everyone gets a FAME Card and there is at least one kewl scene in the flik. If anyone drawing fails, then only the successful Character gets a FAME Card.

Tuesday, August 9, 2016

GENCON 16: New Places Of the Mind

This is Brett (Kal), not me.

Despite efforts by our PeryPubber clique's "Quitter Club" to bring things to halt over the winter, we did it. Kal, Beckett, Jedi Bacon, Saharrah (Sarah), Jess (Kashi), and Caed Phaser all pulled it together and came up with a way to get to stay downtown at the most massive tabletop gaming convention in existence. We also were able to have fun and make the hard work that we had to do a lot of fun.

The LARPS of Dread
We ran five LARP sessions designed for forty people to attend, complete with two mini-scenarios to compliment two of them. Caed had talked me doing some LARPS anyway some fourteen months earlier. My Crawlspace games always turns into some live action by the end of the second act anyway, so why not? The attendance was from nine to just over 30 people (a rough average of 50% planned attendance), but that worked out better in the end.

The Rat-Pack Versus Cthulhu sessions were a gas. "Cthulhu at the Sands," "The Search for Dino," and "the Sword of Sammy" brought in the hardcore LARPers. We as GMs often got to sit back and eat popcorn, or in my case buy drinks, and watch the action. Once in a while I'd insist on injecting scene breaks and closures, often to the dismay of of the folks around me. Kal really shined as a GM/GPC (guided character?) when he took on the role of a Rat-Pack member for all three of them. Kashi mustered up her courage and insisted on playing the role of Lilith for "The Sword of Sammy" scenario that she'd been working on for weeks already. She did great.

The zombie apocalypse scenarios "Outbreak" & "Extraction," including the sequels "Patient Zero" and 'After Action Review," pulled in more RPG players and a smattering of LARPers. Attendance of course was a bit more than the Rat-Pack events as well. All this increased the level of difficulty for the us, but we waded through.

I swear my co-GMs, especially Sarah and Beckett (and Caed jumping in where she could) were working against my plot the entire time. I was running around wondering 'where are my zombies?'. On Saturday when I got my zombies, I got vegetarian zombies that negotiated a peace deal with the zombie-kill squad sent in by the "Extraction" scenario. After a ten minute panic session, I had to start laughing.

There was a convention to go to as well

Most of my free time was spent either really getting along with or arguing with bartenders at Crowne Plaza or Union Station. I did get out a bit on Saturday night. I went to a DCC session where the point of the gig was to interrupt GMs running role-playing scenarios to groups actively participating by adding a gaggle of reluctant role-players from other tables. Once this didn't go well, the original GM was replaced with a very loud GM that's mission was to hammer down anybody that was role-playing and assist the players that had enough sense to be quiet to remain under the radar for the rest of the course of play. Later I heard that I was among the winners. My unimpressive PC with a role that I didn't ask for, was killed and replaced by a skull-headed robot, which had no incentive to do much of anything but not breath. The atmosphere was ripped away from the planet and only the skull-sucks remained. Hurray?

Still there were parties to be had and gamer people to hang with, so I took it upon myself to accept three earlier invitations and a couple of dances and drinks. Free libation, beautiful men and women to hug, I struggled through it. I am rather giving like that. I especially had to check out the "Changeling Kids,"  my own name for them, Katie, Casey, Andrew, and Michael from Chicago who showed me how to really do a LARP-- kidding aside, I got a lot of good tips from these peope.  By the way, Mike had a really great quote which I wrote down and wanted to post, but I can't find it right now. I'll post it later. One day I might tell you of Beckett's very quiet Fear and Loathing in GENCON experience.

I'm in the center.
When Sunday am came, I had only one player show up for my Glow "Robot Jazz" session so I bought his ticket and we talked for about thirty minutes about indie gaming. I hope to attend one of Scott Favre's scenarios next year. I turned in the last envelope for the last event I had. I walked to my car, parked right by Acapulco Joe's, so some enchiladas and beer for breakfast made sense. With that I bid adieu to the Circle City, but not before my host Batman (Jordan) called to see if I could loan his youngest my now long forgotten behind badge-- close friends of both of us will understand the hilarity of this.

Friday, July 29, 2016

Miscellaneous Notes Before GenCon 16

A bit busy these days...

Zombie for Crawlspace (TM)
While a later stage "zombi" is at a minus 3 (-3) for any MENTAL Draw, this characterization is highly dependent on the story going on around it. Not only can the Director (the GM) decide how smart a zombie, but they are are incredibly hard to kill. Rules-wise that means, that it takes as a LUCK Draw at 1 after enough combat damage (5 Damage cards) to kill it.

But when fighting a zombie, if an Actor takes any damage while fighting, if a Damage Card is of the same suit of his PHYSICAL Stat he is infected.


Someone wrote a scenario for my T&T(TM) space opera New Khazan. Dr. Roy Cram, a real life healthcare provider, out of Kansas (I think), mentions a gas giant about four years after I asked for one. to write up a GM's scenario for my specific setting called "the Kliklac Encounter." This scenario is available from the Snollygoster E-Zine available from Rarr I am a Monster Publishing. I might or might not review it later.

Tuesday, July 5, 2016

Wobbling and Nukes Don't Mix

In less than six months, I've had someplace in the Chesapeake Bay area get nuked three times. I actually designed the scenario "Nixon's World" in the vain hope that I get to be preachy about avoiding extremism. While writing I was expecting the place wouldn't get nuked too often. I should've already known, the players I've had, ranging from professors to bar tenders in walks of life, having a nuclear bomb show up in a scenario is just too tempting to wait.

Nixon World: Wewwers (Sewer Monkeys) have taken over an Earth in the Mu Continuum, and since 1973 have kept Richard Nixon alive and in power. Though its astrological date is actually 2016, everyone thinks it's 1979. Everyone on the world has a blindspot where they know the Commander-in-Chief has ruled for over forty, nearly fifty, years, but that he's was elected in 1968. The dwellers of this world have had two generations live through the 70s and remain there, but no one can't quite put a finger on what's wrong. Enter my Wobbling play-testers, here to set the calendar straight in my mind, but I am one of those GMs that only railroads players late at night when everyone is too drunk to think straight.  The Wobble playing has ran a little late, but not quite that bad.

I think I give ample clues that something is amiss, including psychic intuition that the earlier encountered Sewer Monkeys have something to do with the problem in this scenario. The players get roughed up a bit, and ticketed, by the security forces but ultimately kicked loose onto the streets. When the People's Liberation Front of 1976 Onward! (PLF-77!) pulls up in their vans, all the playing groups see Leroy Pole (Shaft) and Tangerine Jones (orange-haired in a big 'fro, political activist really named Ruth Goldstein), they just gotta stick it to the Man. That includes the conservative players at the table in ALL THREE SESSIONS. Sloppy planning aside by my NPCs, show the Player-Characters the yellow van with the Grateful Dead painted on the side with a homemade atomic weapon, folks will volunteer to drive the damn thing. One person, who else but the professor from Indiana U, actually blew up Nixon and Chairman Mao (also sustained by the Wewwers). Two groups have destroyed the city of Annapolis, Maryland and fortified the police state of Emergency Provisional Authority of America. In either case, the heroes have been helping the Wewwer with their "experiment."

In Sociology class, this would be the "Infant with the Hammer" dilemma. In gaming terms, it is the cause for much mirth for the GM. Which of course means that the next scenario in this three-part series has to deal with Palo Alto circa 1944. What could go wrong?

Tuesday, June 21, 2016

Origins 2016

Origins is a gaming convention that I have been familiar with since the 80s. Always a bit clunky, Origins has remained "the second convention" in my mind for most of my adventure gaming life. The last time I was there, I think about seven years ago, there was more headache than joy in the occasion. Inefficient registration, too many territorial-minded cliques, and too few attendees to justify any of that. Too little bang for the buck, to be taken seriously. With growing difficulties at getting a room as regular game-runners at GENCON, I decided around March of this year to re-check out Origins.

I still found the experience to be at a rather middling convention, but with enough attendees and new gaming cliques to still be worth the time. The mishaps which occurred actually filled me with no end of mirth. Sometimes the hilarity was worth the price of admission.

Registration was a Two-headed Ettin with a Laptop in Need of WINDOWS Updates

I should have kicked myself for not "preregistering" for the convention, but seeing that my games were listed on-line and in the printed catalog I figured that a GM badge might be waiting for me. While waiting to check on my status, I was engulfed by an angry horde of folks that had prerigistered and were in line for three hours on average. I know because one cut into the GM line to randomly place a complaint because her boyfriend didn't make it a money-making game on time. The dude at the GM's desk, Ben, I think, was kewl by me, and Paul came by and helped me out-- He seemed happy to have a GM-based problem. When I realized that my free badge came at the price of then standing in the Preregistered line though, I went straight to the Buy Badge Now (I paraphrase) booths and spent 35 minutes in line. Yes, I paid for my admission, but I am not a broke gamer.

Tales from "The Quiet Room" and Elsewhere

While my "daytime" events (one starting at 11am, two starting at 2pm) where all in one conference room, where other RPG games were being ran, for some reason all my Crawlspace events were placed in the GCC Rm 125 T-1, also whispered, and labeled on the room sign, to be THE ORIGINS 2016 QUIET ROOM (dum-dum-dahhhh)!

My "Nixon World" Wobble session for Wednesday 1pm lost two ticketed players because of my time spent in pointless lines at the registration process. I showed up at 1:17pm. Luckily there was Alan from Terra Haute, that stuck around. I spent just over two hours, doing a one-on-one introduction to my setting and having him live out the abbreviated scenario. It did me as much good to hash out the tale as it amused him.

The 6pm Crawlspace session of 'The Dig" on went swimmingly, though everyone was worried about being in a room called the Quiet Room. Sure enough, a couple of people came in and stared at us for making noise-- one just had to slam the door on her way out. Still Bridgett, Michelle, Thomas, Jason, and Ryan made the game a ball. While in game phrases like "Bridgette (French pronunciation) the Humvee" and "the Blair Witch Tsunami," had everyone giggling, "Any kind of mythical creature that I can't use duct tape on?" by Jason won the laughs award. I am now in love with Bridgett, like everyone else in the group, while stepping outside for fresh air and cigarette smoke to wake me up, she told me, "You really can do creepy without us seeing it coming." To complete the night two guys in yellow "Origins Security" shirts came by as things were wrapping up and told us that we weren't being quiet but that they didn't care.

Thursday's 11am SPACERS(TM) session "Vacuum" had only Alex, back from Kentucky currently living in Columbus, as its sole player. Once again, I used this as an opportunity to not only do an abbreviated one-on-one session, but to go into the long backstory about the setting of the Spacers Universe that he was in. When we finally got into the game, Alex was very much into the story in front of him as well. We spun the yarn for almost three hours, and he was frustrated at being repulsed from the Others' "Other-Mother" (mothership) without a chance to fight his way through all of it.

"Flotsam Bay" after the 6pm mark ran into the shoals of "the Quiet Room" so to speak. I kind of knew things were in for a rough patch when I asked the woman making baby bottles with Similac formula, and another woman requiring three chairs to charge a cell phone that she was hammering away on with urgent text messages, "Are you here for the Crawlspace game?" The was reply was both two hateful stares and a "WHAT!?!" shouted almost in unison. Moving to another table, I was still able to rope in three players, but when three breast-feeding parties and an arguing couple (complete with the one charging her phone) filed in, one of them being a very polite couple, I was left with Ken from Pennsylvania. We made it up to 45 minutes before he just threw me his ticket and ran off screaming something about "tasteful side boob" into the night.

The next day, I dropped off my tickets from "Flotsam Bay" and was able to talk to Ben about being scheduled to run games in the Quiet Room. While I was happy that there was a Quiet Room, I wasn't sure if role-playing games needed to be done in the same room. I never mentioned breast-feeding mothers, I didn't get a chance. Apparently, my would-be players from the night before complained about a massive side-breast fest from the evening before. He blurted something about "there already is a 'Family' room for breast-feeding" and dove into one of two very thick Origins program books-- apparently this one was for etiquette. When I reminded him that "quiet rooms" generally are reserved as places for breastfeeding so that the mothers were doing nothing wrong, he discovered that the Quiet Room was indeed "set aside as a family room until 6pm Wednesday thru Saturday." What I heard was, because of my deaf ear, was "the Quiet Room was set aside for families from 6pm, Wednesday, Thursday, and Saturday." It took us ten minutes to wade through that disconnection before I finally suggested just putting times on their official signs when rooms are multi-purposed. He mentioned that I should go to room GCC 130 (an oft-repeated suggestion from many folks wearing Origins shirts this year to folks that they were too busy to deal with)... or maybe writing a note to Paul... maybe... I wasn't being a pain nor annoyed. I figured that he wasn't in charge of anything or just not planning on being at the convention next year, so I dropped it.

My Friday, 2pm game "Robot Jazz" for Glow was full. Paul, from DC, was not a part of the local group of Evan, Graham, Saker, Marce, and Phil (who kept speaking too quietly). The local group was drunk, but their energy was invigorating. I wasn't surprised that my RPG scenario about cutesy robots filled up. I was jealous at everyone except me, and maybe Paul, being high. Still I needed the tickets, so they got their moneys' worth.

Going back to the room for a nap before my late-night game (10pm-2am), I kind of watched ESPN soccer news before turning it off and falling asleep. Robin showed up at 7pm, but I was too sleepy to do much except kiss at air and mumble "See you later love."

Showing up at the now very quiet Quiet Room at 9:57pm, I was not surprised to to find no one there. I would've called child services on anybody bring there kids around my Crawlspace scenario "Detroit Death Metal Audition Apocalypse" for their own goods. A little after 10pm, two people, a newly found each other couple showed up, to my game. "We just had sex 45 minutes ago" she announced. When I asked for names, their badges twisted around, he replied so cleverly "Dick and Gina." I wrapped up my show-and-tell in about thirty minutes.I stopped into the Show HQ GCC130, and found two people eating pizza waiting for somebody that knew what to about anything-- a dude on an electric scooter needed to return it to security, and "somebody" besides him needed to pay for it.

Robin's Three Hour Convention

Bill Bricker texted me to come have a drink at 10:38. I couldn't find him at the bar, but I ran into Nick and Rob from Cleveland. We play in Beckett's DCC "Under a Broken Moon" campaign together. These two invited me to some hobo party outside. I mentioned that I'd look them up after calling them traitors for not showing up before and went to look for Bill again. I ended up drinking with a man named Karma from the Netherlands at a park bench. Neither of us like board games very much. Before going back to the hotel, I drank with Matt from Buffalo, who was working this year at Origins, like me he was comparing it to GENCON.

The next morning, it took Peryton from 8:30 until 11:30am to get out of the hotel room. From there I was able to get her into the Dealers room while I checked on a game that I wanted to play. Sure enough there was Matt, from Buffalo, behind the counter. I caught up with Robin at the Cubical 7 booth and being all giddy about Dr Who books. After a lunch where we watched Hungary vs Iceland soccer-wise, and went back to the hotel room. At 7:30pm, I dragged myself out of bed and started getting ready for some time as a player in a game ran by somebody else. The wife was wrapped up in the sheets and way too interested in the CONCACAF Cup soccer matches to leave the room, yeah right.

So I jumped into Ian Eagle's QUAG "I Psi" game at 8pm and had a great time. Around 9pm, Denny, from Beckett's DCC "Under A Broken Moon" group started messaging me about running a game for the a lot of them at the Convention. Mr. Ian was nice enough to gift me his rough draft of the scenario when we finished.  I showed up at 11pm and had a great time drinking and re-running the "I Psi" scenario using my own Red Bat rules. There really couldn't have been a better top to the show overall. I showed up at the hotel room around 4am.

I still woke up earlier than Pery, who had went to bed at midnight, to check out and head home.

So now, Origins for the Real Role-player

Service-wise, I wouldn't bother being treated as anything other than a paying customer. A customer that doesn't seem to be all that important. The horde of convention managing booths were staffed by people that were over equipped, but under-trained and ill prepared. There were as many kiosk as as any GENCON convention in recent years, and scores less folks to be handled. Those that could provide actual service could either hide too easily to be found or were overwhelmed by tasks elsewhere that should have been taken care of before the convention opened its doors. On Wednesday morning the Exhibitor Hall was still in shambles and not open to the attendees. The attendees were busy standing in line instead of enjoying their first of "5 days of gaming."

If you are into RPGs Origins has enough numbers to get traffic but as an organization it doesn't care. Big organizations were placed in wedding reception-sized halls. "Indy gamers" had better have a large cliques or be set wholly at the whim of the convention organizers, like a room set aside for "quiet time" most of the time.

I did enjoy most of the time that I was able to run games. I was a bit flummoxed as to what it took to get to run those games. One of the most ironic things that I heard from three people that I gamed with was, "You can't get games like this at GENCON!"

To which I only once replied, "Um yeah you can, with more than you and me sitting here."

Saturday, May 28, 2016

It's All Fun and Games

While I might say that I've been busier playing, not just running games, of late to be broadcasting my activities to the world, it's not exactly true.

I have been a lot more open to playing in other people's games as oppose to insisting on looking for groups to run for. I've sat in on others games at BASHCon as well as elsewhere (a D&D one, I don't want to talk about it). JerryTel has been running a Weird Western series, that has been more than enjoyable. Peryton has been running an ICONS campaign for a couple years now, and while I have been the "troubled attendee," I have been consistent enough to help shape the world through my characters' actions. I've started playing with Beckett in his Dungeon Crawl Classics "Under A Broken Moon" (post-holocaust) sessions as well, and I think my "hermit" character has hit his groove, as opposed to the other three that I have had to play.

It still hasn't been a case of "playing instead of writing" though.

I am writing godshead-dammit almost every day off that I have, and often sketching out details on scrap paper while at the job. The LARPs for GenCon is taking up most of my time. I am alternately working between Spacers (TM) finish and the ever-distracting "Wobble" rough. And there are my own superhero stories for ICONS mini-series, namely "Flight of the Wise Owl, " where I've been keeping my GM chops in practice.

The influence of the other GMs, Robin and Beckett, has been very beneficial for me. This is both in new techniques as well as motivation with the highway building that my writing tasks have become.

Peryton did an epilog to the finish of her two year-long campaign, introducing me to the cut away for a tabletop session. Screw epilogues, or even prologues for that matter, I've started thinking of cut-aways for the assembled group in front of me at least two or three times a session. Sure it doesn't hide much from the PCs and it's very TV like, but I get a chance to show my off how developed my NPCs are. I really do get show bits of their personalities before a superhero's punch ever happens. This might be a cheap trick, but as of right now, I am in love with it.

In what I have confirmed is somewhere in the northern hemisphere, probably around Seattle, Beckett's post-apocalyptic world is teaching me a bit about rule usage in gaming. To me it seems that he is in love with the DCC game system and likes the players to build most of the session around the shared experience of what their characters are looking for. While I have found the dramatic plot shifts awesome, I find that the long-time players react with keen interest into trying out things if only to try new rules. I've known this for a while, but seeing this group in action is inspiring to get some more crunchiness into my own games.

Oops. Still have to get the ducks in order for Origins. It's only three weeks away.

Thursday, March 10, 2016

Wobble: My Avoidance Mechanism

It's a good thing that I have promised to release Spacers: Universe soon and have to write some six separate LARP events for some 330 participants for GenCon this Summer, because I am getting some wonderful work done on Wobble. Yes Wobble, the mistake from when Peryton was working on "Dr Who-meets-Original D&D." The role-playing setting of multi-dimensional travel where I have proclaimed that I don't really like, but every small get-together that I have I make my friends endure sessions in. The game which I have pledged never to write. I keep finding my Wobble note so fascinating though.

Why am I telling you this?

Well, a couple of you actually keep up on my Wobble posts here. So I thought I'd announce an official terminology shift in future Wobble posts. What used to be variations in our Universe, there are Universes within a Verse. These universes form a Continuum. Now the differing Verses go from Alpha to Omega, at least according to current collected data, but universes within a Continuum have very random names. This categorical change is needed to work in a lot of stuff, that you might or might not read, that diverges from one particular type of campaign.

Needless to say, the dwellers in the Omega Universe are pretty unhappy.


Sunday, February 21, 2016

BASHCon 16: One Flash of Light

But no smoking pistol

Having been off work since the 16th, this week has been one pleasant little vacation. Got some writing done, mostly for the Wobble setting, and played a bit of Civilization III. When Thursday rolled around, I was a little worried that I had planned to do too much over the BASHCon weekend, with only minimal preparation. Luckily those around around would ensure that I wouldn't.

Still I left Cleveland at 7:30 AM, heading to Toledo by way of Springfield to pick up Jedi. After picking him up around 10:15, we were really en route to the Glass City. We entertained ourselves by talking about gaming and Randy would fill me in on his history among the towns that we passed along the way. Believe me, it made I-75 between Dayton and Detroit much more interesting than it usually is.

A bash turned inwards

Getting into Toledo a little after 1pm, checking into the room was easy and the day was nice and getting nicer-- it was cold but clear and warming up bit by bit. I posted to everyone coming, two others besides myself and Jedi, to the Thursday night "Pre-BASHCon Bash" that the room was ready for the party and went off to lunch. As silly as it may sound, I have always been a fan of Big Boy's soup and salad bar, don't ask me why, and there is one within walking distance of our favorite Red Roof Inn.

I started to worry when despite four "Likes" of my arrival, that Gnoll replied that he was leaving Wisconsin really soon. JerryTel was ominously quiet as well. Paul had a six hour plus drive ahead of him, which meant he'd be showing up around 7pm. Jerry will be quite vocal about problems when things are going well but he goes quiet when things go wrong. Still with a bit of luck, three of us would have a great game session in the evening when the last one showed up to jump in and rock and roll to midnight. I knew Jerry wasn't coming at 8. By 9:15, I was in my bathrobe, while Jedi was reading Crawlspace and texting his wife. Gnoll showed up at 9:45 and we made jokes at the season premier of Vikings for a few minutes. There was a promise to meet up the next morning, but something in his manner told me otherwise.

Friday during the day, Jedi and I were kind of at a retreat for writer/role-players, while the rest of the world moved on without us. Throughout the day JerryTel and Peryton started announcing on-line that they were not running most of their events for BASHCON. A bit at a loss, I actually looked forward to rushing to do my Pre-Gen Characters, but found out that they were already completed. I contented myself with napping, while introducing my companion to Fear of Women parts 1-3. Just after I had found the Dungeon Bastard You-Tube videos, we realized it was almost 4pm and could go and stand in line for the BASHCon convention.

Simply walking into Morodor

Amazingly enough, this year's registration process was very, very simple. Registration was open before 5pm, when the event would open its doors (to the vendors' booths) and allow the waiting world in. Apparently someone learned the trick of closing doors as well as avoiding lines. That didn't stop the clerk at the registration desk from demanding two pieces of photo ID and refusing to not spell out my full name on my name tag.

My "Aboard the Jupiter Moon" Spacers event was ready to start at 5pm. No one showed. It was with some satisfaction that I saw JerryTel and The Boy, also waiting for folks to show up to their game with chariot drivers (Circumference Maximus, Imperius Gluteus, Chariotus Rigor Mortis, or some such) I was beginning to think that board games automatically found players and that only RPGs suffered shunning. I had just spent a day and a half in isolation for wanting to get some role-playing done, after all. Peryton showed up at 7:20pm or so. I am not sure exactly what time because she first went to check in with JerryTel, Jedi, and Gnoll, before bothering to find me. Still it was nice having dinner with her.

Beckett's Crawlspace game, "Gimme Shelter" started at 8pm. He was handling a full house, all the PeryPubbers, and one of the BASHCon staffers by the name of Ian. We had a great time. The most interesting thing about this scenario is that by the end of it, everyone easily agrees with the Character being played the most insanely. It was a treat being a player in it, as at GenCon last Summer I could watch it being played and was usually too busy to pay much attention.

Heading back to the motel, Jedi gave me an excuse to stop at Del Taco a day early. Robin was a bit miffed, as she had her driven herself and couldn't find the room without me, at least until she read the message where I named it inviting everyone there on Thursday. The chicken burrito in my hand complete with all sorts sauces turned her frown upside down.

Flip of the pancake

Getting Peryton and Randy to come with me to breakfast was easier than I thought it would be. I was also pretty rested, my last bouts of sleep were filled with dreams that formed a trilogy of 70s crimi/exploitation movies. We arrived at the convention just after noon.

That afternoon, Robin did run one game.  Her "The Crystal Rifts of Tartarus" was an exploration into Monte Cook's Cypher System. She had a full table but was able to fit me in as well. The other players around me were bedazzled with her universe. I was introduced once again to the Synarchy of her Qalidar setting, but she was definitely having fun with the game rules.

 After a luxurious dinner at the Phoenicia restaurant, right there in the Student Center, my own Crawlspace game "The Wrong Moon" started. All the PeryPubbers had retreated to Beckett's "Scream Bloody Gore" Oh yeah, during the dinner, Peryton and JerryTel high-fived each other for joining "The Quitters Club" when I wasn't in the room-- tell me that there isn't a conspiracy. Any way, thank you to Corey, Skip, Michael, Michelle, Nichole, and the returning Ian for making the game a success.

More specifically about "The Wrong Moon" it was a perfect Crawlspace session for me. It had everything going for it. Just enough players: six, with one needing to leave early (Ian), I had my perfect range. The players were interested in making the rules work, I got to work many more PERKs than usual into the play. All of us were in that weird Saturday night mood where B-horror movies and role-playing horror works magic. Most importantly, the scenario is one of the easier Crawls that I've written.

Round midnight, we (Pery, Jedi and I) ended up at Del Taco. Hey, it's a tradition.

Jupiter Moons Set

Sunday AM, Jedi started hinting that he was really tired. My snoring, the long days at the con, and how tired he was.  Some how my "Incident at Io Station" had not made it into the convention's program list anyway, so we announced to Peryton that we would not be attending the last day of festivities. On the drive home, he started getting into the official history of the places along I-75. By the time we were forty minutes outside of Springfield, he let me know what a great effort it was not falling asleep. I was so moved, I helped carry his bags to the front door of his house.

Then it was time to head home. Robin had stuck around to play in Beckett's Sunday game "The Jupiter Moon Mining Company" which started at noon until four. Around five, he suddenly remembered that he had to work tonight.

Tuesday, February 16, 2016

Vacation in February: Gonna be some Wobbling

As of 7pm Monday night, I have been on vacation. "Vacation in February?" you ask. My reply, of course, is "Who doesn't go to Toledo for the tacos this time of year?" While we're at it, there's this little get-together at the University of Toledo, called BASHCon, which just might be some fun to hang out at for a while.

Now our pre-BASHCon bash, at the Red Roof Inn, off of Secor Rd. looks like it might have just the right amount of people to make it some fun.

I've written the scenario, "First Contact: The Vulcans" as a Wobble adventure. It's not what you think.

Sunday, February 7, 2016

Thinking of Origins this Year

I am planning to run these events at Origins this June.

Wednesday, 1pm
Title: "Nixon World"
Description: August 6, 1979. Commander-in-Chief Nixon is negotiating with Mao Zhedong for the unification of the Korean peninsula. Chancellor Agnew has authorized the use of Emergency Powers to quell anti-Caribbean war protests in LA, NYC, and most of Delaware. The Presidential Legal Militia (the Plumbers) are investigating threats on the Chinese ambassador's life by forces sympathetic to Mekon (The South Indochina Republic).
Guess where the dimension-traveling crew of the Albatross lands this morning.
Event Type: RPG
Game System: Wobble
Maximum Players: 6

Wednesday, 6pm
Title: "The Dig"
Description: The town of Grover's Bend has been abandoned for nearly a century. Come be a part of the archaeological team that wants to find out what happened to the place. Does it have anything to do with the witch trials that took place there in 1790?
Event Type: RPG
Game System: Crawlspace
Maximum Players: 6

Thursday, 11am
Title: "Vacuum"
Description: The largest alien vessel that you've ever seen lies dead in the water, so to speak, just past the orbit of Neptune. This is the opportunity of a life time. The problem is, your ship was hit by the same electromagnetic pulse as well. You are spinning in the void as well. Whoever recovers first could very well win the second Human-Others War before it even begins.
Part Two of "the Goldfish Incident" scenario from last year.
Event Type: RPG
Game System: Spacers
Maximum Players: 6

Thursday, 6pm
Title: "Flotsam Bay"
Description: Like the odd collection of residents, some of the strangest things float up on the shores of this small seaside town. One of those things could prove to be the end of the place.
Event Type: RPG
Game System: Crawlspace
Maximum Players: 6

Friday, 2pm
Title: "Robot Jazz"
Description: Between the Teapot Despot and the scavenging mutants, being a robot in the post-apocalyptic world is a hard thing to be. And then there are those Soapy humans that you are programmed to serve. Will you ever get out of Junk City intact?
Event Type: RPG
Game System: Glow
Maximum Players: 6

Come and get your Glow on

Friday, 10pm
Title: "Detroit Death Metal: Audition Apocalypse"
Description: The iconic metal band DDM needs a new bass-player. More than a few folks are willing to sell their souls to grab the gig. What happens, though, with all those demons being summoned in one old theater hall?
Event Type: RPG
Game System: Crawlspace
Maximum Players: 6

I am getting hyped up about a gaming event that starts on a Wednesday. I am looking forward to doing games from Wednesday afternoon until to Saturday AM, getting my Full-Frontal Laggy on, so to speak. In my experience though Origins has been a disappointing convention for attendance for indy games that don't have "Cthulhu" and old TV shows in the title, but hopefully I will be able to run four out of the six events offered up.

Thursday, January 28, 2016

A Quick GenCon Revision

Unable to secure a room under our own means, the storied "lottery" that seems to favor everyone that just probably booked through GenCon organizers the Summer before, the PeryPubber clique's, Steering Committee (the folks with enough money to pay for a nearby, private room), have opted out of attending the convention this year. But that left me with a dilemma, I had about eight people that had opted to help with the LARPS and we still had a free room for them combined with the Steering Committee's events. So while other get-tegethers are being planned, the GenCon schedule has had to be modified into "OPERATION: LARPs-R-Us." The eight people have become six, which actually works out better for the living arrangement. All this said, PeryPubbers are coming on strong, even if all we're doing is Crawlspace.

Thursday 1pm-5pm
Title: "Cthulhu at the Sands"
Description: The Rat Pack doesn't like to meddle, but something about Liberace's next show just isn't right. An event with four GMs, six different sub-plots, and probably some singing-- oh the horror.
Event Type: LARP
Game System: Crawlspace
Maximum Players: 40

Thursday 8pm-Midnight
"Rat-Pack Versus Cthulhu: The Search for Dino"
Description: Things just haven't been the same since Dean Marten got his head bitten off by Dagon. Jerry Lewis has a plan to get him back. Back from where? The moon, where else? An event with four GMs, six different sub-plots, and probably some singing-- oh the horror.
Event Type: LARP
Game System: Crawlspace
Maximum Players: 30 players

Friday 1pm-5pm
Title: "Outbreak"
Description: Something is going to go wrong at the Hengrove Biomedical Complex.
Everyone remembers where they were when the end of the world started. Would you like to be at Ground Zero of the Zombie Apocalypse? Four GMs and plenty of action. There's going to be a little surprise at the end, the players from a zombie killing event come barging in.
Event Type: LARP
Game System: Crawlspace
Maximum Players: 40

Friday 3:30pm-5pm 
Title: "Extraction"
Description: Something has gone wrong at the Hengrove Biomedical Complex.
The end of the world has started. Your military team does not have time to worry about it. Your job is to get into the zombie-infested research facility and get the survivors from a scenario called "Outbreak" out of its laboratories.
Event Type: LARP
Game System: Crawlspace
Maximum Players: 10

Friday 8pm-Midnight 
"Rat-Pack Versus Cthulhu: The Sword of Sammy"
Description: Sammy Davis Junior has found the sword of Samuel. Can he save Frank Sinatra from Lillit? An event with four GMs, six different sub-plots, and probably some singing-- oh the horror.
Event Type: LARP
Game System: Crawlspace
Maximum Players: 30 players

Saturday 10am-2pm
Title: "Outbreak"
Description: Something is going to go wrong at the Hengrove Biomedical Complex.
Everyone remembers where they were when the end of the world started. Would you like to be at Ground Zero of the Zombie Apocalypse? Four GMs and plenty of action. There's going to be a little surprise at the end, the players from a zombie killing event come barging in.
Event Type: LARP
Game System: Crawlspace
Maximum Players: 40

Saturday 12:30pm-2pm
Title: "Extraction"
Description: Something has gone wrong at the Hengrove Biomedical Complex.
The end of the world has started. Your military team does not have time to worry about it. Your job is to get into the zombie-infested research facility and get the survivors from a scenario called "Outbreak" out of its laboratories.
Event Type: LARP
Game System: Crawlspace
Maximum Players: 10 players

Saturday 3pm-7pm
Title: "Outbreak II: Patient Zero"
Description: Now that the Hensgrove Virus has spread as far as Outer Mongolia, this zombie craze needs to be taken seriously. Let's send in the egg-heads to figure out how to cure it. Just a little problem, zombies are still hanging around.
Event Type: LARP
Game System: Crawlspace
Maximum Players: 20 players

Saturday, 5:30pm-7pm
Title: "Extraction II: After Action Review"
Description: The egg-heads going into Ground Zero, the Hensgrove Biomedical Complex, may have gotten in a little over their heads. Your SWAT team is being sent in to save any survivors from the zombie attacks.
Event Type: LARP
Game System: Crawlspace
Maximum Players: 5 players

As for my single scenarios, those will be ran at Origins and a private Hoot.

Tuesday, January 19, 2016

Launch into Orbit, SPACERS Core is Out

On Sunday, home sick from work, I decided to get "Book 1: Spaced Out" into the electric sphere of publication. My core rules of Spacers has been finished for a while now, but I was fiddling with it. Mainly the ending part wasn't coming to me. It was during my sick day, that I decided that I wouldn't have an ending to this part of the rules. "Spacers Universe" is still being worked on so I be a bit more wordy in that work.

Awake after a fifteen year nap? We've got a little something.

For right now, there needs to be a set of rules that isn't me handing friends rough photocopies. I have BASHCon coming up in February, where the clique and I have ten "Jupiter Moon" events lined up. JerryTel could probably use a couple hints as to his Stay Alive "Sy-Fy" notes--don't email me about "sy-fy", I already asked him to go with "S-F" or "Sci-Fi". Beckett is jazzed and doing up his own dystopian science fiction setting around those moons, he has some thoughts about the SPACERS rules as is.

The reader does not get a well-defined, elaborate setting, these core rules have always been about how does a role-player do space, and its space opera genre, in simple terms. This might not be the norm for most reading this blog when it comes to SFRPGs, but don't let that discourage you. Take a look at the Types and run through the spaceship and other rules. Find a special Star Trek episode that you like and apply the following work into translating that airing into a tabletop session. You will find that this set of rules works out nicely.

For role-players wanting more than quick rules, "Spacers Universe" is just around the corner. In this work, the reader is going to find a lot to work with "hard sci-fi"-wise as well as space fantastic, err space fantasy.