Sunday, December 29, 2019

A World a Week: Blimp World Gazeteer 1

Sky Hippos- The safest means of transportation on the entire world. Native to the Primal Land and faring better for the most part and warmer and wet environments, these animals alternately like to feed on aquatic plants and fish and take to the air to avoid predators. The better-fed and oldest ones can be the size of small-buildings. Gaggles of the oldest wilder one still migrate with the seasonal winds from the marshes south of Sihlt-Awash into the Central continent and the Big Island and then back to the western-most Primal lands every few years.

Lope-Trolls- Believed to be evolved from the trolls that are recorded to have been driven out of the world by humans and their gods back in the mythic ages, not a member of those trollish species. They like cooler weather and mud. Though predatory when they are younger, the older ones are smart enough to work with the humans around them not against them.
Kindred of Blimp World

Human- D6. The player must decide before the GM rolls for them whether they have a "plus 1," a "minus 1", or to have no modifier.
0 Wizard
1 Recognized
2 Learned
3 Criminal
4 Newly Rich
5 Landed
6 Titled 
7 Part of the Aristocracy/Oligarchy/Elite of their background nationality.

Furry- May be any animal the Player chooses. They will be either a animal-headed humanoid (60%), a talking-version of the regular animal (30%) or a shape-shifter. The Player does not get to choose, the GM must roll which kind in front of them. They then must live with the results. Bonus points for roleplaying out any disappointment.
Place at Home (roll D6)
1  Criminal
2 Learned
3 Recognized 
4 Merchant
5 Landed
6 Wizard

Goblin- D6. The Player does not get to choose, the GM must roll which kind in front of them. They then must live with the results. Bonus points for roleplaying out any disappointment.
1-Cute and lucky (plus 2D to CHARM and LUCK stats).
2-4 Ugly but smart (-3 from CHARM, plus 2d3 to MENTAL)
5 Ugly and brave (-4 from CHARM, plus 2d3 NERVE)
6 Hobgoblin (-5 from CHARM, plus 2d6 to PHYSICAL)

Elf-Blood- A "halfling" race. CHARM plus 2D. Born with pointed ears and Glamour ability (Caster's NERVE vs Target's MENTAL).  GM rolls for whether the Player gets to roll on the Human (even) or Furry (odd) social standing chart. 

Trollkin- A "halfling" race. Player rolls D6 or the Player opts to allow the GM to choose for them.
1-4 Hobgoblin (-5 from CHARM, plus 2d6 to PHYSICAL)
5-6 Were-troll (spend 2 NERVE and 3 MENTAL points and PC gains 2D PHYSICAL. Able to recover points when back in human form a single point per day.)

A Personage of Blimp World
Klust's Spy Master
Parsifal Kipt, Vice-General Cloud March West Group. the Quick 125
Cut his teeth in the Horde's second war with the Maroon as an Infantry Leutnant. He would then become a sky-hippo pilot in the Western Wars as an Horde advisor to the Floating Sultanates against the Western Oligarchy. Since the undertaking of Horde Unification he has become one the leaders of the nation's intelligence branches. Working near his native lands in the city of Kluster he has many assets in Havre and the Fields.
He has a knack for finding disaffected halflings within his city's neighbors and coercing them into devious schemes against their compatriots and spies of the Compact.

Friday, December 27, 2019

The End of the World, err Year Post 2019

Here was the game-thing making schedule thing that I did last year. 

Jan 27-Feb 15: Getting ready for BASHCon in Toledo (Feb 15-17)
Sure did.
Though I was ready, I actually didn't run the event I officially submitted. The whole weekend was more of a casual get-together of the PeryPubbers, and the clique grew by a couple people.

FEB 15th (?): The release of Wobble: the RPG
On February 19th, 2019, Wobble: Transdimensional Roleplaying was released onto the world. And it was a critical, as in critique, flop.
It ironically sold enough copies both to friends and strangers to pay for the art expenses after the bad reviews. It still sells though I discourage people that ask me first. Perhaps some people still understand that RPG games should not require office buildings to be something to read for fun.  No way. Who wudda thunk it? Still waiting on the profit though on this one. You know, editing and that stuff.

Feb 18- July 31:Getting ready for GENCon's (Aug 1st-5th?) seven runs and working on Spacers(TM): Universe
Yes and Yes. GENCon 2019 was a success for the group, and I sold about nine copies of the game systems that I ran. This was out of 60 ppl that played. So like 3 in 20. What can I say? I still got it as a GM. As for Spacers(TM)...

July 31st (?): The release of SPACERS(TM): Universe.
The spaceship and spacesuit SF RPG to end all S&SSF RPGs, fell apart about June.
What happened that particular bits have become so detailed that they'd just be better as separate releases to be added to someone's Spacers (TM): Core collection.
You, my seated reader, are going to see more than one of these over the following months. Plenty of material is finished and waiting to be edited after the Holidays of course. A lot of the art is bought. My maps and diagrams are designed waiting to be refined. I just want to spend some time to pay attention to the formatting. Mostly because reviewers don't read crap, they look at production and get glazed eyes over glossy paper. Not that I am doing glossy pages and color pictured interiors, but I do want to avoid the non-reader reviewers' ire at DTRPG. Gads, let's hope they just avoid me and mine all together.

August 6- September 30: Prepare Crawlspace's Halloween special. October 1st(?): Release the Crawlspace Halloween special.
Sure did. Here's the mag.
With an introduction to artist Teresa Guido, the whole Halloween thing started in early Summer and ended up with four other releases. Her perspective on things energized me wanting to get my Count Vulgarr "trilogy" out there. Check them out.

October 1-Nov 15: Work on Red Bat Christmas special. December 1st(?): Release X-Mas Red Bat.
Ayup. Not only did a Red Bat with Yule of the Yeti, I happened to do a Crawlspace one as well, which will be released this weekend-- Operation: Joulupukki is just a not Christmas sort of thing what with Nazis and Commies shooting things out in the Continuation War. Definitely a New Year's Eve sort of thing, at least in Cleveland.
Jay Murphy helped make the Holidays special for Peryton Publishing with his X-Mas gift of Santapocalypsis. It really rocks as wargames go. Easy to turn into a table-topper tradition every Yule Tide season.

 December 1-?: Begin Crawlspace, The Letterbox Edition rule additions
Yeah. About that, the name is going to be Crawlspace: 21 and Over... .

A World a Week: Powderpunk Left to Right-"The West"

I mean the established states and coagulating nations of Scotland, England & Wales, the empire of France, and the islands of Corsica, Sardinia, and Sicily. Yet, I say "the West".  Don't ask me why, but I just don't feel any Catholic empire-nations like Spain or Portugal are truly a Western thing. Spanish-dominated Rome in the later Renaissance was shocked by anyone ten miles east of Cyprus in regards towards central authority. Mind you, the Catholic nations were a lot nicer places to be than "the West." Mostly the weather but then unexpected wealth, as opposed to what was expected, from the "New Indias" suddenly started paying off for the trouble that they had been from when that silly guy Columbus got funded with his "Western Passage" start-up. Sure slavery and indentured servitude, but people didn't get drawn and quartered for being better read than their monarchs as often.

Despite the Treaty of Perpetual Peace the lands of Scotland are still in the thick of the losing fight against the protesting sentiments of Calvinists and the propagating English. But the growth markets in subversion and burning of heretics is at an all time peak. The French agent-provocateurs are stirring up things in the name of  Mary Queen of Scots.

Biggie 8-Mack Henry to the Nth's only son Little Eddie, oh we never knew him, is gone. His estranged sister is in charge. Mary Tudor is proving to all of England & Wales that she is the least Tudor of all her line by rocking the Catholic Church back into the U.K.. The fireworks are provided by all the protestants being burned at the stake, at the very least, for their deviant takes on supernatural affairs. A certain Lizzy, Queen of Protestors, her half-sister, is busy getting her street cred during these most bloody of times.

France can be said to be the most civilized place to be. Henry, not the one you're thinking of (Henry the Second), has been holding BIG FRANCE together for about 9 years now. He's actually doing a good job at not burning too many people at the stake when he can help it . A bunch of hillbilly whiskey producers, the Bourbon, are making things difficult with Spain. Italy just doesn't know when to stop being too Catholic (oh those Spaniards). Still things are banging against the Haspburgs to the northwest even if things in Corsica and the Italian marches are a bit rough. The English cousins are too chaotic to deal with.

Corsica has just freed itself from Franco-Ottoman occupation because Admiral Andrea "Ackbar" Doria and his Genoese Jedi-marines. Well, that and the fact that the Turkish fleet was being wracked with the plague. Henry, the French Guy, knew better than to sink assets like ships in a losing wager so his fleets skedaddled back to France.

Under the dominion of both kinds of Spaniard, the Aragon and the Castille, this collection of small kingdoms were getting introduced to the feudal system about twenty years after everyone else in the world started thinking it was a bad idea.

Despite the long term stability of being ruled by the Spanish Aragon crown, Sicily has been under a cloud of turmoil and just plain bad luck. Always a favorite spot for refugees, the ones at this time from Greek other Mediterranean folk prosecuted by the Ottomans. A massive Earthquake a few years before has not helped out things either. To top things off, the plague is starting to creep around the island.

It's kind of about the give and take in these parts.

Thursday, December 19, 2019

December Docket

Spacers(TM): Time Line and Settings

Fifty years from now Moonfall. The population of the Mars colonies and the moon hit over one thousand colonists each. The Corporate Wars begin.
2110-2240 The Great Anarchy (the Sub-Grunge) begins. My buddy Miles's road warrior/sub-grunge cyber setting from the 1980s.
2114 The first Primrose Experiment takes place in the newly founded Manhattan-New Jersey Republic.
2222 The second Primrose Experiment  ends in disaster for nearly four thousand space colonists.
2260 The official founding date of Earth Central's Space Fleet.
2370-2500 The Near Space era begins. Governments of the Earth, the Moon, Mars, and the Jovian Clans (of both Jupiter and Saturn) form the Terran Federation.
2396 Launch of the first interstellar colony-ship The Slingshot takes place.
2553 The communication between the colony of Radamanthus at Proxima Centauri and the Terran Federation begins the Star Push. From 2500-2725 slower than light speed colony ships are regularly sent towards nearby star systems.
2720- The Belgian Drive and S-T Oscillation Enabler allows humanity to travel at speeds up to .9 the speed of light with only ten percent, or so, time dilation. "FLAT-Space", or faster than light travel with generational-scale relativity, is achieved. Lightyears can be crossed in months. This is the start of the War Star periods. 

Artwork by Randy Market (RandyBacon JediMarket)

Monday, December 16, 2019

Eberron 5ed.

Well a pleasant surprise occurred a couple of weeks ago, a dude that does "Quest Wise" Youtube gaming reviews featured Eberron for 5th Edition D&D. Now, I don't play that Other Game, me being a 2d6 troll. Meanwhile I should profess  a willingness to read any worthwhile roleplaying materiel.  On BTW, I have played T&T 5-7 to work out my visions of narrative fantasy. Do I profess to understand of this or that edition of D&D? It seems to find fans more than ready to argue about or be outraged over, but this setting has a soft spot with me. 

It was a few years back when the first 3/3.5 Ed. copy of anything D&D-wise that was not already published in previous editions. So I asked Peryton to pick up a copy of the latest along with her 35-1,234 pounds of other books that she has shipped into the household every other day. I have spent the last four days reading through the setting.

I don't have the 3+E release around my desk to compare the two. I did talk about the settings " because I was amazed that anyone would buy them. Still I bought every paperback, I think there were eight, involved.

It's still all about "After the Last War" atmosphere, but I don't quite remember it being so full of parallels with Europe of the end of the Great War. The countries from a fallen continental empire of kingdoms can be an allegory of the Austrian-Hungarian Empire or an extrapolation of Europe after "war to end all wars" in 1919. Indeed the newly independent countries have hallmarks like cheese or discipline to define themselves from one another-- speaking of the "old world," they have thrown in newspaper clips as side boxes for the delving reader.

I find that appealing.

It's a flavor of D&D is more of the experimental factions take on a non-Gygaxian humanocentric world. We're talking Monsters! Monsters! level of PC races (that's Kindreds, to my OGs; or species, or folk, or .... ) . Apparently once the player goes goblin, there's no hobbling a half-orc into things ...(but there is). These also some dragon-kin characters, known by their tails. Somethings called a deep-kin, Teifling(sp?), known to be a witchfolk of sort. These chances to play aliens in a D&D rules matrix are added to the regular sorts everyone that is into role-playing is familiar with (elves and cousins). There is a golem race that is for the munchkin but can be a race of androids worried about what movies like Star Wars never goes into.

Technology-wise, the authors steer away from the logical conclusion of steam-punk genres of having overly realistic weapons of mass destruction complete with stupendous magics. Nope, there are trains and blimps (sky-ships) but they're powdered by summoned elemental spirits. Ideologically, necromancy comes to fore as evil before the discussion of autocracy versus growing disenfranchised populations of the less than well-read. The Character is a strong focus of this campaign book. I suspect many middling GMs for D&D can run a romantic tale style campaign and start to earn their wings at letting the drama at the game table-top flow from the Players' take on the setting before them.

From a T&T delver's point of view, there is a lot to work with, I suggest staring out with a certain scenario that will help things along.

Saturday, November 23, 2019

Everytime At a Table: the Scrap Pile Prequel Begins

There are a couple of good things about doing superhero RPG every now and then. Well pulling my head out of Christmas, between the publishing thing's projects and my work partner's insistence on Christmas music, I forget that there's Turkey Day coming up. The writing and constructing the yarn is easy. The acts only requires like a paragraph to explain as to which villains show up somewhere and why are they there. I get fancy and add cut away scenes, after learning the trick from Robin (Peryton), to imply the tone of the scenario/campaign getting the PCs in the mood for the session. All that said, last night's "What Price Buffalo?" was hard starting.

Granting myself a late start time, which does work better, I was still having trouble getting my head into the GM thing as Charlie (Wylie Coyote), Curtis, and Peryton kept things amusing. Mostly talking about comic book TV, while Pery would start with her computer audio problems to not be annoying at all. I would force myself into the game mode by reading through the setting that the PCs should know. It is November 1999, the drug Mut-8, which has been around since WWI, is creating super-villains because of easing  federal pharmaceutical policies since the mid-80s. Costumed heroes have been on the rise over the last decade. They are still vigilantes and not working as Law Enforcement Officers yet, but the Special Abilities Act is before the Senate.  Then I list various known villains, and the most famous hero to date, Liberty Commando.  I'd do the Y2K escape from the FBI as they raided his software company finding out that he was a hacker to close out the verbal montage.

It being the 90s, Pery and Curtis, decided to do the 90s thing of creating baffling characters with vague and amorphous potential. Emudan is a being not of this dimension, but his 3rd dimension form is residing on the Earth for the time being, He might be an angel, might be a demon, might be sliced ham, who knows? And Wisp that instead of fixing a flat tire, she stared at a gibbous moon and her inner powers of supersonic flight and illusion awoke within her. Oh yeah, did I mention that that they are both immortal and don't need air or food or heat or... . It's like Rob Liefeld wrote Lobo teaming up with Azreal, but hey. But I could work with Wylie's Free Star, a one-time sidekick of Liberty Commando, easily enough.


Not Bucky

No goth here
By the end of my world reading and getting to know the players' PCs, because no one can post details to me beforehand anymore, I had burnt off the first hour. The most time-consuming pot of coffee ever was finally ready. So using a random rogues gallery that I set-up to make the scenarios of this campaign fresher to me, mixing up NPCs really does help especially in superhero settings we waded, into the first act of the drama. I decided that the tone of the session would be the Characters first meeting each other. Peryton couldn't get that through her head for another forty minutes or so, but the humor in that was helping me get the kinks out of my head.

So a "military grade" armored vehicle was making its way past the coffee-shop where Emudan's human form was getting a coffee. Right next door above the 1/3 priced bookstore in her loft, Wisp was uploading her updates to her the Cure webpage on a Gateway computer. Overlooking the area from the top of Buffalo Bank and Trust towers, Free Star was on patrol. She spotted the flannel-hoodie clad, Hoodlum (evil Green Arrow) taking aim at the truck and swooped into action, using her amazingly ranged grapple gun. Taking the Robin Hood rip-off by surprise, she'd kick him clean off the building. He'd catch himself on the two-step balcony of Wisp's apartment. The startled woman would form the illusion that the iron work of her balcony had become shackles around Hood's wrists. Emudan (Emu-Man?) would step out of his place in line to come outside and see what all the ruckus was. He'd pull out his wings go help apprehend the man hanging from the balcony next door.

At the same time Hanoi Jane (evil Wonder Woman) would step out from a side alley in front of the truck, and stopping it with her super strength. Free Star would be taken unawares as the Crow (evil Black Canary), Hoodlum's g/f, would use her sonic powers to knock her off the roof with lyrics from Hole songs. Wisp seeing the super-strong woman in a one-piece bathing suit tearing out the bulletproof windshield of the truck and grabbing the driver, that was actively shooting her to minimal effect, pulled a stunt with her quality of (mumble, mumble, computer audio glitch) to provide a mass illusion of blue-helmeted body armor-wearing SWAT troops rappelling from black helicopters attacking her and her fellow bad guys.

Not that the Crow had time to notice. She and Free Star were in a kung-fu fight in the middle of the street, interspersed with weaponized Courtney Love lyrics echoing above the din. Meanwhile Hoodlum and Emudan, the cryptic, were in a wrestling match floating at roof-level above the fray below. The angel(?) would warn the hooded villain once to stop resisting, then the hoodie pulled back to reveal Steven Baldwin with blond dreadlocks, and that was too much. Purifying unholy(?) fire would bathe the two for just a touch too long. Somebody would start shooting shotgun-propelled beanbags at Wisp from a nearby rooftop, increasing her difficulty in maintaining the "freedom platoon"  keeping Hanoi Jane from wiping our heroes noses with their lunch bags.

Done with broiling Hoodlum, Emudan, noticed that the man's struggling had ceased, so he released his hold. Sending an injured man, in a hoodie and carrying a bow and quiver, to the street about 30-55 feet below. The landing stopped the burn victim's screaming at least. The Crow seeing her man now a smoldering pile of flannel shirt and burnt hair, on cold asphalt turned her back Free Star, to wail forlornly and run towards him. Wrong move, the combat boot to the back of her head knocked her out cold.  Emudan would see Hanoi Jane, a challenge worthy of his(?) physical form. The villainous juggernaut would still be fighting the illusion of an army platoon, see the pile of Hoodlum and his squeeze, and the approaching flaming winged man coming at her and decide to hop out of there. Literally, leaping like the Hulk away from the fray.

Wisp was still ducking for cover as the shotgun kept shooting some mean beanbags at her. She would see where the shooting was coming from. Here next illusion would be a fantastic light show of lightning and electricity all over the building she suspected where the sniper was. The shooter would focus on Free Star for a couple of shots, giving the chance for our super-illusionist to make her move.

Hanoi Jane and Emudan would have a race. Her Leap at 5 versus his Flight at 3 ( I think), she was able to shake him long enough to disappear into the wooded areas of a park area. Wisp would discover that her sniper was an automated device using the latest technologies of 1999 and remote control. Almost as if it was a distraction, she look up and see Wise Owl (evil Nightwing becoming Batman) getting into his "owl mobile" after closing the truck and driving away flipping her off.

The truck had been broken into and the guard inside incapacitated with sleep gas during all the action going on at the front of the truck.  Radiation warning signs were on the back of the swinging cargo doors of the vehicle. And there was a dead man and a woman with head trauma in the middle of the street along with three incapacitated armed guards. In true 90s fashion, Wisp and Freedom Star would take this moment to start a mutual-admiration society and pat themselves on the back for a job well done (Jim Lee couldn't have done it better). I had to tell them three times that police sirens were quickly approaching.

Emudan would return to scene just as the police would be responding in force. He'd come face-to-face with FBI agent Alice Hicks, and realize that she was not all that thankful for his efforts at maintaining order on her world's behalf. "I am done here." He'd intone. "Judgement has been fulfilled." He'd fly away despite calls from the beings behind him.

I'd end the session with a cut away to the Doomsday Brigade's Dome of Doom, somewhere on the Canadian side of Niagara Falls. Here Wise Owl would present Ringer (evil Green Lantern) with one of three containers. Ringer would complain of his growing hunger.
Wise Owl would chastise the other saying he needed the other two for "the project." Hanoi Jane would enter the room slightly bruised and definitely weary from the battle earlier. Y2K would speak up, appearing from the shadows, saying "I have a plan to feed you my friend and start clearing the way for our New World Order of Things."

The End of Session 1.

Monday, November 18, 2019

Sneak Peak... for Christmas this year

Peryton Publishing's first wargame, ever. Being written by Jay Murphy as I type.

Rifts: The Brexit Sourcebook

Suddenly the skies opened and all the ministers of the European Union transformed in slug-headed minions of demons. Anybody from Poland transformed in carrion-feeding goblins. All the French turned into frog-headed humanoids. Germans found their heads suddenly becoming more square-shaped. Spain transformed into a Spaghetti-western take on a Mexican vampire movie. Italy and Greece reforms into 1960s Hercules movie sets but with power armored hoplites. The rest of eastern Europe would alternate between Dracula movies and coal-powered steampunk armor suits. Russia found themselves besieged by DBs and demons, but would be saved by were-bears and armor-suited heroes. All the Scandinavian countries become seafaring barbarians wearing horned helmets and chainmail speedos and maybe a cape every now and then, but Odin and Thor appeared wearing power-armor suits. Ireland became a high level Blade Runneresque urban scape in the north and the south became homeland of the transdimensional fairy courts, with evil dwarves in power armor bristling to invade the U.K.

This setting would be better than Rifts European works to date. 

Sunday, November 17, 2019

Everytime at a table: Space-borne Communism

I have been allowed by my Spacers (TM) players to share with you all a secret from on-going campaigns (only one really, but it is trans-generation in PC terms) about communism. Francis, Fritz, Jack, and She-Ra players since 1997 made me spill the bean. As a respite, they'll let me share this part of our 22 year-old game sessions. Since my imaginary dissolution of the Middle East into a quadrant of sci-fi in 1996, I have been both chat-rooming and Troll-hooting with these guys.  No one cares but on top of it all, The Bergers are communists.

Now my War Star campaign is the fourth setting of my Spacers stuff  that has spawned a timeline of campaigns. The first was "Rocketmen Versus the Saucers" where I was forgiven by Disney back in '02 via official mail for using the term "Rocketmen" and the "Saucers" together. The reply said something about "use of language should not be overly guarded" or some such. Then there was the "Star Push" campaign. Unless you're into water recycling, I recommend this campaign during convention sessions. This Berger species shows up in my "War Star" series of scenarios. the War stuff is a universe where the mechanics of faster-than-light travel have been fully worked out, and somehow black holes help.

As a gift for the conclusion, I get to brag about it. Thanks guys and gal.

In a realm that looks like this:

So like take Babylon Five and Star Trek and mash in a whole lot more understanding of solar systems, genetics, marine biology, and the shape of universe in general. Wallah the "K-Quadrant".

The "Terra" part of this map is where humans landed two, maybe three millennia ago. They take racial politics to the "Nth" Degree by their leaders being distinct skin hues, yet being different from any that we'd recognize. The longest lasting dynastic clan has been "The Greens", no literally. And they have the space navies and planet-invading armies to back things up.

Spinward, that means the left side of things, are the major players. "Kale" is actually Kodea, meaning "the Home Shores" for the amphibious reptile people known as the Kodoa. Yes. I created them before I ever submitted anything to T&T publishers. And my Cardasian rip-offs rock. The New Human Commonwealth is like Britain in space, but everyone is purple-skinned. "Humanity III" is a bunch of interplanetary mines and slave colonies that has fought for their independence from Kale and Terra.

Meanwhile, the Triangle is a collection of Glorp Bort (A chatroom joke-inspired species and my favorite sci-fi species)-- imagine sleestaks with varying amount of eyes, fingers, and horns-- is one of the nations. This collection of interstellar principalities sort of sits there, just waning then waxing in power and influence. Their star ships might be highly individualistic, but they can can be the most well equipped ever.

From Coreward, that is to the right side of the page, comes the Berger. The Berger are sapient burrowing rodents that want transform every planet they come across into a suitable world where they can make a private carrot garden for their off-spring. Their Sub-berger Species #17, call them rats, are not idiots nor are their DNA-enslaved Bugg species blind in the Berger scheme of things. Still the Berger Worlds are so far away. They are adopting less than hostile means of establishing themselves.

So as the peace of New Pilo falls across the space ways, it's clear; the Bergers are Communists.

And my "Black Hole" rules proved to some fun. The 90s gaming group has moved on. Long live the 90s gaming spirit.

Thursday, November 7, 2019

Wobble: Ultimate Fascism

Now in the Omega Verse there is the faction known as the Uber-Worlds. Okay while they and their minions are bunch of nazis, they aren't exactly Nazis. They're actually quite the opposite. Now I don't mean that they aren't a bunch of anti-liberal, genocidal assholes, that just like uniformity and a good pair of boots (regardless of species). They are still a bunch of genocidal, anti-liberal assholes that love a good pair of boots (regardless of species), they just aren't efficient. Nor can they be.

In the start of this iteration of recorded history in Wobbling, a few millions of years ago, authoritarians from various species from various Verses and many worlds within them, came together in the Omega Verse. Wingnut dicks from humans, poids, mankee,  ether-bunnies, and more than a few others, decided to stop the liberal slant of reality among realities within any given universe and their continuum and make everyone else pay for their boots (regardless of species). By "stop" I don't mean deal with or surpass, I mean they decided that stifling others through suppression of ideas and violence was easier than proving the worthiness of their own ideologies. The Omega Verse though had other Wobblers from other established mindsets setttling in there as well.

They had to deal with the hippies that were forming the Oracles. Varied Wobblers, hardly noticing the species and their physical, social, and philosophical variations, coming together to enhance the liberal slant to any reality that they were coming across. These self-appointed judges of everyone else would pop up everywhere

 Then there was the structure-driven Capitalists of the Apex Corporate Hegemony. Any "associate" of this ilk was needing cards and up-to-date due payment on membership fees at that, to be considered invested in by the powers that be. Those resources that can be tapped into come from Verses and Universes, meaning incalculably worlds of resources, given the approved cause.

These later mentioned blocs of power in the Omega Verse, are the Uber-Worlds' biggest obstacle towards achieving "Victory Over All" throughout almost any Verse known in the Wobbler's mind. Thay usually are too busy fighting among themselves as to exactly they should hate. Just as the French Soralists weren't keen anti-Semites, their Nazi overlords were, which would bring provincial concerns for whatever right-wing authoritarian ideas that the two shared. In short, the Keygort of the Poid, just don't get along with the Pure Karots of the Ether-Bunnies, and the human fascists just don't trust either of those two species.

This is why the hippies and money-grubbers have the advantage in the Wobble game setting.

Tuesday, November 5, 2019

A World a Week: Powderpunk Left to Right-1

Oops forgot Crimea was a peninsula. Still not bad from memory.
So apparently this is what I was working on Sunday AM (Saturday Night really) from 2 until about 6am. Lotsa typed notes about  Portugal, the Spanish heartlands (the Crown of Castile) of the 16th century, and the semi-autonomous kingdoms of Navarre and Ireland. Whoa. So this is going to take some crashing and mashing to even begin to roll things into an RPG campaign setting for sure.

Okay so Ireland is not a bunch of counties, but as of 1542, it is the Kingdom of Ireland where the autonomous nature of the "Lordship of Ireland" is dissolved and the nation is coming more under the personal governance of Henry the 8th of England. Kildare's rebellion under Silken Thomas twelve years earlier is a distant memory with the establishment of the Royal Irish Army.

In my 15550 time frame in mind, Navarre-Bearn is able to maintain its uneasy independence from the Crown of Castile (Spain). Under the leadership of Queen Joan the 3rd known for popping out the "Good Henry" (Henry the Fourth of France) with her boy toy of Anthony (Hotty Pants Tony), the south of the region could still be considered not under the tutelage of the Hapsburg lords or ladies of Castile and Aragon.

The union of the Castile and the Aragon lines, Spain is becoming even more the major powerhouse Europe. From the low countries in the northwest, to in the Mediterranean, as well as the Iberian peninsula. Phillip the Second is about to start rocking it. Aragon is taking in the Jews and Moors being expelled from Castile and revitalizing its waning vitality while their westward kin are starting to reap the booty of the slave economy now starting in the New World.
Speaking of the New World the Spanish are consolidating their power over the central American isthmus region and the Yucatan peninsula and campaigning into Peru. finally starting to make some money. The new silver mines in central Mexico and the Andes allow all the racists colonialists to breath a sigh of relief in their search for something to be enslaving people for.

The Kingdom of Portugal and the Algraves isn't down and out despite its wars with Spain. Despite being a bit aged John the third is bringing home the groceries, that means pricey spices, from Brazil and the far east, as in Asia. Spanish-born Joanna is about to return to Spain and babysit the throne there while Phil 2 (Spain) is chasing chicks in England for a couple years. Catherine of Austria doesn't trust her son, Joãs Manuel, to take the throne so she's going to babysit the heir Sebastian and the Kingdom.

Saturday, November 2, 2019

Roleplaying Punk

Punk in my roleplaying, like a badly written Rian Johnson Star Wars film, it's not what you think. I have been taking a break today from writing up the Christmas scenario Yule of the Yetis and doing the post-production of the Spacers(TM), to scribble around in what can only be called "historical roleplaying." While being a history major, I know better than to try to accurately portray chronological events as recorded and make interesting table-topping. Nobody except maybe the most basement-dwelling Spawn of Fashan enthusiast wants to see the man-crush that Joseph Stalin had on Adolph Hitler with dice and character sheets. SO punking things up like playing loose with the facts helps.

Ah my "powder punk" setting, I've just given up. And by giving up, it's not what you think. I mean trying to play with accuracy. I want swashbucklers, buccaneers, and musketeers to be able to wander around some high renaissance period somewhere between say 1502 until 1617-- I mean who doesn't mark the period of Peter Henlein's mechanical clock and the forced retirement of Marie De Medici already?-- sheesh. Bumping into Martynas Mažvydas (a big fan of Martin Luther) as well as Ivan the Terrible (a big fan of himself) while doing a secret job for the Bohemian Crown, the characters can enjoy all the highlights that Catholic/Protestant wars have to offer. Now let's throw in a 20 y/o Elizabeth, the First, as the monarch of England, a 30 something Götz of the Iron Hand, and a teenage Cardinal Richelieu. Ooo. What fun. Pity a few billion peasants are dying horribly every Tuesday in the machinations. I shouldn't highlight that last part too much, but is a part of milieu for the personages and the capers being pulled by the heroes and villains of the time.

This world is still a fantasy world. The Europe 1550, where the Dutch-speaking states are still striving against Spain landlords but definitely making the listing, is a good place to start a map. Can't post the map yet as my image-transfer specialist, Peryton, is out of town right now. I might as well work in my New India Seas for some pirate action, but I don't want to get wrapped around the axle there.  Then I stumble across my scenario from a decade ago The Wrong Side of the Fuse and want to rewrite it with my streamlined format. But the Red Bat system is just a little too generic. I suppose it's time for "Red Bat: Swashbuckler". It'll be no more than 13 pages dammit.

I already have illustrations for this. I could make this work... we'll see.

Tuesday, October 29, 2019

On the Eve of All-Saints

Ah. I can rest from a period of doing somethings to make the Halloween month significant in my RPG hobbyist mind. My poor work colleagues have been regaled with tails of traditions of this truly America holiday to the point where they tell me about what they are doing to make the Trick or Treat month special for their own families. I've rekindled the Elder Tunnels franchise with one its better selling events, the "Halloween Special".  Sadly I have to work on All Is Hallowed-Eve, and no kid in a costume comes back to our small house in a back lot anyway; it's hard enough to get pizzas delivered depending on the driver. So I think efforts here are done.

I did promise myself though some Santa Claus stuff at the start of year didn't I?

While I have asked, in a drunken haze, for contributors to a "Christmas Special" for E-Tun (that's Elder Tunnels), I am not expecting much to come of that. Still I have finished "Operation: Joulupukki" my first for publishing war-horror scenario for Crawlspace and have the cover getting worked on. Feeling guilty for that war-porn filled with Nazi/Commie fetishism product, as only an ex-Catholic can, there will be a more kid-friendly Christmas scenario available for the Red Bat system where players can be Santa's elves dealing with abominable snowmen in  "Yule of the Yetis."

I have not forgotten my Spacers(TM) products. Working on getting editors for both the serious and campy products as we speak. But then the illustrations have to follow, so bear with me.

Tuesday, October 22, 2019

Chill Beardos. Chill.

Ever have one of those Christian conversations that purport to being religious in nature when in essence they are just ethnocentrism dosed with an ample amount hypocritical self-righteousness? Finally you say that Christ was a Jew and the Book of Matthew was for Jews and all the New Testament is speaking to Roman rulers and their subjects? And you feel that you're being polite because you didn't point out that it's all make-believe any way?

I am starting to get this vibe in reviewing everyone's take on a certain mass of reactions to a BBC Twitter conversation about D&D. An opinion expressed by a certain Kat, starts out with the phrase "No offense, but Dungeons & Dragons is not just for a bunch of beardy boys in a basement, it's for everybody and anybody..." .  Now I know it's nice to have something to be outraged about my fellow dorks, but frankly, she's not talking to you.
Yes Beardos she said a mean girl joke.  If you apply the rules of English, sometimes I have trouble with them myself, so it's understandable, to the sentence "No offense, but Dungeons & Dragons is not just for a bunch of beardy boys..." It might be argued that she did not cast shade on the bearded grognards of our adventure gaming hobby by insulting their manhood.  I'd argue she's a bit envious. Okay she's probably not from a "nerd" background because she is trying to sell playing D&D as something kewl to "normies" as I heard one of the respondents call people that don't play role-playing or collectable card-games. Truth be told not many people think in terms of "nerds" and "normies" anymore, or at least once they are out of High School that is.
She then goes one to mention a "partner" indicating that she's either a cop or a person that doesn't like to say "husband" or "wife;" she could be both, I don't know. Okay maybe she is "virtue signalling" but is that like a beacon for an alien invasion in the middle of the Los Angeles of your gaming table? She did say "not just" which would indicate, that the beardos involved do not have to leave the room. Heck they don't even have to be at the same table if they are ever in the same room. BTW me not knowing anything about her just from her looks seems to a rarity among the responding. I am listening to. For a community that doesn't like to be judged, calling her fat, discussing her hair and way of speaking just isn't being consistent with its proclaimed views. As for the inferences of her "gate-keeping" I refer you once again the words "not just". I'd go so far, just based upon reactions to her, as to say that there is some projection going on here.

Look my fellow dorks, D&D is actually never going to be cool. Even guys like me that do not need a beard to be weird don't talk about roleplaying while we're playing racket-ball with our friends from the soccer team. If you did not meet your wife at GenCon, you probably shouldn't offer to run Raveloft for Valentines Day this year.  If you're inviting over your kid's friends for D&D play dates, you're not going to win an honorary doctorate in child psychology. Sure it's a part of the culture but so is reality TV. Take a win for once in a while, and get out of your spouse's hair and go paint miniatures in the basement while letting some other people discover the books for sale before she makes you mow the lawn.

Halloween Specials Rock

Available Electronically
So here is Elder Tunnels Halloween 2019. With the help of Ian Engle (forgetting his nickname), JerryTel, Peryton, and Werdna, along with the art of Teresa Guido for each of the scenarios, we got another issue out. Always a good thing that makes the year just right.

Saturday, October 19, 2019

A World a Week: The Vast Jewish Conspiracy World

Two factors have brought about this future Wobble world. A recent bout of bad ankle has given me some time to get into my deeper historical research of a century ago, which mostly means Russian-language TV shows set in the people and reading Wikipedia entries from names scribbled down during history classes in the 80s-90s.  Then there was a slough of posts by Ivan Sorensen, a fellow lefty-liberal, yet Nordic gamer dude (only a few of us are white supremacists despite the interwebs) that goes along the lines of "How Germany Could've Won WWII." His last thought experiment was ""What if the Nazis werent anti-semitic and thus scientists didn't flee Germany?" Remembering the big names of the era of the Tweens slipping into the Twenties and re-reading all the things that actually happened during the time a century ago, a world like this popping up in the MU Continuum was kind of fated to happen.

Let's address some things first:
The title "the Vast Jewish Conspiracy World" is more a provocative eye catcher than actually any sort of model. I frankly don't have the time to be presuming that people of Jewish heredity ever sat around hatching world-shaping schemes of domination while they were busy being subjugated, exploited, and murdered by the peoples around them throughout most of history.  It's like blaming the dweeb for becoming a sought-after scholar while a bully became a hourly labor outside of High School-- all of it being anti-intellectualism in essence and ignoring how the world really works.
Want to discuss how could Germany win WW II? Easy enough, extraterrestrial interference. Between Soviet Russian belligerence and western powers that would not work without it, Germany was always fated to be middle grounds between Western-style democracy and the last vestiges of 19th Century autocracy ( I include the Bolshevik Russia in that category) Short of flying saucers coming down and helping Weimar build inverted pyramids to generate room-temperature fusion with enough energy to support colonies in Antarctica and on the moon, the many fascists movements of the period between the wars in Europe were deconstructed feudal society for a new age of landowners versus their trapped renters, but given sexy boots.  Sorry folks, the 20th Century was about welcome to the Modern Age Bitches, not the "war of ideologies" TV channels have been taught as a shorthand by producers that wanted to talk about the Crusades, pirates, the American Civil War, the Battle of Kursk, the Cold War, and then 9-11.

Now about this What if the Nazis weren't anti-semitic and thus scientists didn't flee Germany? supposition thingy. Let's take "nazi" to mean nationalistic and autocratic, which it means according to their pamphlets was their intent.
First off, it doesn't take a rocket scientist to figure out knowing things is better than willful ignorance. Still using premeditated murder and opportunistic crowd violence to avoid functioning civil society, but not being torn up about their Jewish neighbors. Well, the wars that would become World War Two would not have happened. Not saying that fighting from 1919 until at least 1926 in Eastern Europe would not have happened just the way that it did, I am saying that German foreign agents would have been very effective in countering Soviet forces in places like Hungary, Poland, Czechoslovakia, the Balkans, all of the Baltic States, and Finland. The indigenous Jewish populations did indeed support the nationalists hanging around much more than any fibby-Lib lefty democrat, who were always suspect of being Russian-backed. The new governments of Poland, the dissolved Austrian-Hungarian Empire, Estonia, Lithuania, Latvia, Ukraine, and more than few parts of Russia would have a functional support line directly to the now unofficial yet powerful German imperial apparatus, that had befuddled their local czarists monarchs and ineffectual Bohemian secret agents. This central European national groupings of fascists (let's call them Die Zentrum) would coalesce into a significant sociopolitical force that would rival the American southern States of the times in anti-democratic views and social norms.
But all that brain power of the rocket scientists, mathematicians, psychologists, film-makers, et al that would not emigrate to the West only had so much to work with. Heavy German-speaking populations, even in its Greater Germania literary borders(meaning book sales not literal) are smaller than Montana. The straight-up "Germans" (including Austrians, Yiddish-speakers, Livonians, Sudetens, et al, listed in order of population) had about the population of California of 1920 give or take a few ten thousand. The academic areas are fascinating realm of speculation but what is in their pockets? The industrial base of Germany was technically advanced but still materials like helium, rubber, and hard water were kind of hard to find, as they still are today. In any long term struggle against another continental power by Germany in not-Anti-Semitic still had to deal with more coal than oil and soybean peapods versus rubber plant leaves, and uranium that needed way too much hydrogen to be practical. While the tanks and submarines would become legendary, they would not be anything that special compared their compatriots.
Now these Zentrists would not be warm and fuzzy social-democratics. Any social democrats would be busy toiling away in work camps or getting shot for being themselves. There would evolve into a whole bunch of brown, grey, olive, tan, vermilion, and black-shirted nationalists, all with their own national myths, that distrusted international banks and anyone that lived south of Rome and north of Argentina. 
The world united against Communism from the Soviet would not have needed that much propaganda to get their hypocrisy across as well as their benefits. Germany being slighted by the Entente forces of England and France would not be very colonial any longer. Alternately to our world, they would've sided with Chinese nations versus Japanese. Don't forget that Japan and Soviet Russia got on like step-sisters during the tweens and twenties.  Ironically enough, Britain, the home of the Balfour Document in 1919, would probably just let its ant-Semitic flags fly when seeing that continental nationalistic movements with all sorts of Jews getting social traction and increasing influence. The UK would probably rival the United States in informal racism as well as legally-reinforced "traditional" means versus Jewish European immigrants.
America itself would've been a lot more moderate in its ethnic politics. The "Red Threat" being acknowledged by honored Jewish intellectuals such as Trosky and Rosenberg with their New Democrats from the 20s on. The established sons of slave-owners that made up 70% of banker family prodigy in the U.S. , would rather lend to continental European powers as opposed to those anti-Semitic Brits and the degenerate French with their African-ties. Any of the dissenting worried about such things as equality and human rights, could be easily dismissed as "Reds."

So in this Mu world in 2019?

After the 1924French & English/German War, the nation of Judea would be officially recognized with the Treaty of Athens of 1926. Fostering the Berlin-dominated Baltic Commonwealth 1927 , Germany, Poland, and Sweden became the predecessors to the European United States in 1951, after three wars with the Soviet Union and its vassal nations. It would bolster its former allies in the Turkish-dominated Pan-Islamic States emerging out of Istanbul and Cairo, in 1029 on wards.  In 1959, England and Spain would join the Trans-Atlantic Alliance with America and Brazil. Since 1961, the Irish Wars have spread from northern Ireland into what we'd call Scotland and Wales.
Japan is still seeking independence from its annexation by the USA in 1949 after the American/Asia Wars from 1940-1945.

Saturday, October 12, 2019

Wracked Up

Failure to Thrive at the Tabletop
You know, when you're couch-bound for health reasons, it becomes the hardest thing to do anything but reading or watching TV done. I have a bit of a log-jam worth of RPG projects to get through post-production over the next winter coming up so that isn't bugging me. I did not have the motivation to put the rounding notes on my CoC scenario The Naked Idol for the tabletop session that was supposed to happen last night. I cancelled a couple of hours before. I was flattered that Pery, the woman forced by law to RPG with me, was the most disappointed. I'll take that as a sign that I've still got it and focus on the scenario for the wrap-up of the Call of Kopfy Halloween sessions.

The Cult of Goofy
After doing YouTube videos on the Denisovans, from dry genetics to boring mysticism, in place of Idol last night, the feed went to dudes driving in cars and reviewing Wendy's Feast of Legends so we watched a few. Pery and I talked about Werdna's review a bit after ingesting a couple of them. So far reactions I am seeing are more on the "this is fresh!" side of things than the "this is too much of a commercial." I am curious to see where this event is going to end up.

Will there be a contingent of people running the game at conventions where I attend? Will there be established game groups that post their adventures on-line already giving the campaign a try out on their weekly-to-monthly-to-whenever feed? Are there going to be authors releasing their own explorations into the immersive world of Beef Haven? Is there going to be a big budget fad around Feast (WFoL maybe?) where other fast-food franchises have their FRPGs written up detailing their particular take on Adventure Gaming? Will an OSR-like movement of independent GMs make a defacto OGL around Feast to do their favorite fast-foods? Will I see titles like The Walking Pizza Hut, Highlander: the McDonald Clan, Pirates of Port Silver, Whopper: City-State of the Indomitable Burger King, Panda: No Chopsticks Required, and of course Burrito Borderlands: the Bells of Los Tacos? After writing all of this, I am saddened to think that probably not much of it is going to happen. Still it is fun seeing everyone get a little silly for a bit.

Would you like dice with that?

Friday, October 11, 2019

Strewing About the Stew: Raggi's Saga

I've quipped recently at MeWe "I am not sure which is funnier, James Raggi's Zak-Free proclamation or Erik Tenkar's coping with it?" At first glance I can't help but be amused. Even around third glance, it's still hilarious. Tenkar's growing outrage over the fact that he bought a work I think was entitled Zak Smith Had Nothing To Do With this Book plays out on the man's audio feed better than any Greek drama that I have listened to in like a decade.  But on a deeper note, I feel for the man Raggi. I feel for Tenkar as well, but more because of bemusement of having buyer's regret.

Raggi presents an RPG scenario as an excuse to apologize to a friend in that scenario's introduction. He goes out and even explains that his publication company has been the most successful endeavor of his life to date, and that he is going out on a limb by doing so. By the end of the proclamation, the publisher is vowing to never make that mistake again regardless of the cost. He gets a little preachy and self-righteous by the end of the ramble, but I think that he was having Scarlett O'Hara moment.

Tenkar's continued berating Raggi after Drive Thru RPG removed the product, which was not really announced by Meredith Gerber of that company is a bit over the top even in the realm of hyperbole about our shared hobby. Sure the man made some money on the work as well as the distributor, well that's the business. The guy does like to make his living doing RPG products. And in case nobody has noticed, this whole "alt-right edge lords versus left-wing outrage brigade" thing has given attention to some mediocre works and some half-baked "philosophies" from a few factions of people trying to sell more than a few dozen books to mostly each other. Terms like "gate keeping," "free speech," and "virtue signalling" are only as important as the next interesting RPG product to come along.  Tenkar himself points out the folks actually boycotting anything are those that wouldn't buy the product any way.

A spicy onion in this stew is that Mz. Gerber made a non-statement, away from the DTRPG, but made as someone that is in charge of something at the company. It was something like she is sleepy and needed a nap before answering any questions. She then went on add that anybody with any questions should be pleasant to her staff still awake. Not that I had a question, but, the hell? In what world is anybody that says something like this not being condescending to those that they are speaking to? Glad I don't read her feed. 

So in the continuing saga of I am Rubber and You're Glue in our hobby, by people that should really just leave each other alone, one man admits that he has made mistakes. He's got some problems with how he expresses himself, sure, but which one of us doesn't? He has also said that he isn't going to stop doing what he loves, despite his world being in the back alley right now. In a hobby where people form communities to ban and ostracize each other, it's nice to see somebody remembered that even a blustery apology if it has honesty in it is good for the soul.

Tuesday, October 8, 2019

October 8th: Food Puns and Big Funds

So like the breaking news is that burger, chili, and a "frosty" joint Wendy's has produced an RPG game.This gag item is something of an elaborate gem if you as the player group have been sitting around after finishing The Forgotten Realms, all of them not just a scenario or two, and are looking for something to fill the hankering that you all have. Something with more than a little beef to it and can be as cheesy as a Monty Python quote thrown into a Pendragon game, to keep the GM from thinking the players really care about his penmanship. From the game mechanics, to a rather detailed world of puns, to an entire campaign of adventures set in that world then finally a little bestiary. Some aspiring and motivated adventure gamers can sit down and fill up weekends of a whole season with the Feast of Legends  product.

The whole thing is just under one hundred pages of content with some decent art and thought-through direction. Rather nicely there is some pacing designed into it. I can see High School teens and early college dorks, that have their own cars, making a Friday night festival out of the game. Drive up to a Wendys, grab everyone's dinner, throw the bags onto the table as players and the GM work out last minute problems... then just as the indigestion starts to set in, the first "Beef Bandit" raid occurs. The adventures in the book are just the right size for a semester's worth of adventuring. I wish a few would-be Kickstarter game designers could take a look at it to get the idea of how not to publish yet another 300- plus page dust catcher that 2-7 of them aren't filler. But then I am being unfair. Imagine that a corporation like Wendy's having enough money to spend on a give away that will appeal to a very unique portion in their marketing audience for as long as the product remains up; WOTC had to publish MTG for a decade before they could hire someone to answer the phones.  

Would I play it? Naw. Not these days. I do admire it though. I wrote a campaign called "A Heroes Bowl of Cereal" for T&T during my first college days, where in eight adventures everyone would be 20th level (5th Ed rules) just to fill up our Friday nights before partying on Saturday. Had I stumbled upon Feast around that time, ah hell yeah.

These days , it's just not cheesy or biting enough for me to find relishing. Overall, it's a Robo-Monster of an RPG on the Smurf-to-Godzilla scale. The writing is very proud of its humors subtlety, yet directed at a rival which it is scared to death of. The villains are definitely ugly, yet just unrecognizable enough not to be sued (by McDonald's), so they come off as pun-monsters and not very good ones. More than one fart euphemism is used and repeatedly at that. Most of  the types of adventurers available to play are menu items that won't be around forever, and it is indebted to the biggest rivals inventions of nuggets of yard-dwelling fowl as well as shaking chalices of frozen milk.  It leaves too much of the ashy taste of passive-aggressive backbiting to be the fastfood land of fantasy that will stay fresh for ages, unlike say the Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer New Year's Eve Adventure cycle does for whimsical Santa marketing milieu.

Thursday, October 3, 2019

Start of the Fantasy Months: October '19

Ah October.  People are busy with school work, or their office/teaching jobs start getting serious, and cars start to break down all while a distinct, if a bit distant in this part of Ohio, chill starts creeping in.  The start of what I like to call the Fantasy Season. The fantastical is embedded in our calendars, even more so than those obscure religious holidays for whatever religion; which are a lot of fun to begin with, but everyone gets to play these days. Sure its big marketing keeping the population distracted and still spending money, but we could do worse than Halloween, Thanksgiving, Christmas, and New Years.

October with its Halloween festival has let loose from candy sales spooky movies, to being times where people research the medieval and pagan history around the fall season. Besides the semi-employed finding gigs at haunted houses, the unemployed writer can find something Halloweeny to write about, especially in the RPG field. Over employed non-writer RPG GMs have Ravenloft and dozens of other works to work into their groups. If Charles Brown's pan on big marketing folklore with the Great Pumpkin has halfway become a thing, even the most uninspired RPG writer can work in the Great Pumpkin into the Cthulhu mythos.

For me this year there are a couple things going on. My Call of Cthulhu homage mini-campaign for all of two to three players, "The Call of Kopfy." Why didn't I do my own Crawlspace? I, myself, needed to crack open the book and once again familiarize with the actual text. I also have two players that have never played in a CoC purists style campaign, which I was luckily to have both played in and ran for others in a dozen of from like 1982 until about 1999. I am brushing up on the rules, if not using them exactly (we're doing video chat and everyone is about 20 years beyond need a 1040-A tax return form for a Character sheet), we're sticking to the spirit of the Lovecraftian sub-genre in horror gaming. At the same time for the author/publisher in me, I've rekindled the Elder Tunnels web-magazine with an upcoming Halloween Special '19 . They tend to do well and fans of creepy, like JerryTel, Werdna, and Ajax Talbot (Ian), jump right in to do their thing.

Oh one day though, my Halloween setting (that's Ravenloft in D&D-speak), is going to come to print, or electronic-availability at least. A bunch of realms authored by different writers designed for horror role-playing in varied, yet attached, "realms." As I do more Wobble, I don't even think fluctuation in technology or time frame would matter to the Characters-- Never mind that, CoC and Crawlspace already do that just fine. Okay it'll be in a set period, but the NPCs will rock. The working title for this is "The Blood Moon Campaigns" based off of Scott Malthouse's (Werdna's) Peakville notes from about a decade ago. No I don't give up the ghost when it comes to Halloween. One day, my Gourde Lord, a Pumpkinhead homage, will have other "Blood Masters" to plot against. One day Lake Blood Moon will be where the Irish Sea meets Lake Erie and Lake Okeechobee (and now someplace in Arkansas... Texarkana sounds fun) where only bog lands with whispering cattails separate them. One day my "Halloween Land" collaboration will take the hobby by storm.

Sunday, September 29, 2019

Everytime At a Table: The Call of Kopfy pt. 2

Tale of the Unlucky not-so-Clueless

Last Friday, 27.Sep, Kurt Van Dyke (Curtis) and Becky Fitzgerald (Robin) were back in the creepy world of the Call of Cthulhu. This adventure had Van Dyke, Fitzgerald, and Prof. Judy (NPC) taking a look at two sarcophagi supposedly from the Mongolian steppes circa 720 AD. With an Know roll, both the professors of history as well as art  didn't know the Dulu Turks of the Turgesh Khaganate were ever into doing sarcophagi-- they were there to verify the authenticity as their employer, the Boxer Foundation of Greater Boston, is often contracted to do. Fitzgerald was there because the Thurdson Museum curator for Eurasia and India, Albert Halstead, got a little ahead of himself wanting to get some press for the big hit of next season.

Now while there were a ton of items that were really from central Asia from between 500 AD and 800 AD, the sarcophagi and their mummies just were too new. Some anomalies in the bodies called a more forensic examination. Halstead outraged, just in principle, would make sure he would get one, as well as a second opinion. Van Dyke found some of the script on the outside of coffins that reminded him of Sumerian which he had etched out earlier before the fireworks.

Judy wasn't feeling well after seeing the mummies and artwork on the coffins, so she went home. Becky and Kurt had just begun. With some successful research rolls, they discovered that the language of the script was actually Akklo. A prehistoric language supposedly spoken during mostly unbelievable times (you know, like Atlantis), and only referenced in books that delve into the deep occult. The kind which are in the reference-only parts of the Miskatonic University, where Van Dyke was a Fellow at the Medieval Astronomy Society. Becky went to her offices at the Boston Big News and wrote up a spicy piece on the fraud going on at the Thurdson.

For fun, I randomized, using the CoC 5.6.1 edition, which book they would find that late Friday afternoon. But he missed a Spot Hidden check and missed looking at who else had checked out the book earlier in the week. Kurt was able to obtain some time with Necronomicon itself. And while he was referencing its specific mentions of Akklo writings and what they meant, he couldn't help but letting his eyes wander a bit more. So back at home with his notes, while studying some more, he went a little mad. Big Sanity loss, and a dementia. Having seen ghouls before, sarcophagi as batteries made sense, totally makes sense. One thing he knew, he had to see those mummies again.

He called Halstead to get permission. The other man had read the late edition of the Big News and wasn't having it. The art history man failed a Fast-Talk/Charm roll, so the curator told him to try him on Tuesday. That of course meant that our three investigators broke in on Saturday during the school field trips in the main halls of the museum. They bumped into a security guard who Becky Fast Talked into thinking they were waiting for Halstead to show up.

More examination of the mummies had the trio noticing that the second mummy had been desecrated since the last time they had seen the two. Its heart was missing. Perhaps it was the missing heart, perhaps it was the relatively fresh organs still inside the mummy and then the other one (Kurt had to be thorough), more than likely it was the man's sexual arousal around the cadavers; Judy had had enough. She had to sit down, and that is when she noticed the scratch marks on the inside of the coffins. She melted into what I can only call a semi-catatonic state. She'd do whatever was suggested of her but nothing else. Kurt was quite excited to notice the previously unmolested mummy's box had a small bronze box in it. Just about the right size for say, I dunno, a human heart. He also noted that if the box from smaller mummy's container was missing.  He suggested taking the remaining heart with them.

Becky seeing Judy fading and Kurt deranged was not having it. She manhandled both of her companions to her car. They got Judy home and in bed with a promise to come see her in the morning. By the way it was 4:40pm. She then took Kurt to Sally's Roadhouse where the fried steak was highly spoken of, while the authentic Canadian Mist whiskey was kept mum about. So they spoke a little about theories that the man was developing, but the reporter kept things light and tried have the dinner be a therapeutic experience. Well, it did help her out and the other knew enough not to talk about what was really on his mind.

I pointed out that it was 7:00pm on a Saturday night. The gin joint was starting to get hopping and there was a heart out there in a bronze box. And that Halstead guy had the gall to tell them maybe Tuesday. Noop. Becky wasn't having it. She got Kurt back to his house, the guest house on the Boxer Mansion grounds. Then she tucked herself into bed. It was probably a little after 9pm.

Becky was up early and first checked on Judy. The professor was back to something of herself. Checking on the other professor, Kurt was feeling much better, thanks to a decent roll. I just had throw in that he had photographs of Pickman's works next to his bedside. After a breakfast, the three decided to go and tell Halstead that his mummies were defiled by somebody but definitely not them.

Of course, there was no answer at the door when they got to Halstead's sizeable house out in the farther burbs. His car was in the car port and even his wife, whom Kurt had met, was not coming around. So the Art Historian went to pick the lock. It wasn't locked. Searching through the house the PCs found the study where they noted a letter from Jack Harker, a notorious field archeologist known to be more than little "out there,"  chiding Halstead about showing the sarcophagi to anyone.
They then noticed that the curator had many of the same notes that Van Dyke had made from the Necronomicon no less. His theories though were much more clearer and thought out. The coffins where batteries for "the key" to "the door."

They continued through the house, where they found the master bedroom was a makeshift Satanic alter. It was very cold in the room, but not quite cold enough to cover the smell of Halstead's wife's corpse. She had her chest open and heart pulled out apparently. In the scrawling Akklo glyphs on the floor was the missing bronze box and more notes from Halstead. "Not enough charge. Another to turn the lock." Quiet the scientists that curator.

Everyone made their Sanity checks, but Judy left the room without saying a word. Kurt and Becky made the call to take the box with them. She made her friend dump out the heart still in it.

Becky and Kurt argued about what to do with the box, and then the boxes. Judy chimed in and it was decided to destroy the two boxes. While getting the second box, Judy just waited outside asking the security guard to call Halstead as he had promised to show up this time. The gang destroyed the boxes placing them on railroad tracks.

AnalysisThe players weren't so unlucky after all, I suppose. Heck luck really had nothing to do with it. That except for the rolls where no one saw them pull up to Halstead's house on Sunday.

I had it planned that the PCs would encounter Halstead at his home on Saturday night. He would be over his anger and want to talk as learned colleagues. where he would offer some wine, he is a know Merlot fan. He would engage about the possible origins of the coffins and give them some history about Jack Harker and his dealings with him. He would point out that that he had been studying the Akklo language. AS he showed the characters his take on the notes that they themselves had discovered, the drugs in the wine would kick in.

The PCs would've awakened in Halstead's master bedroom bound at their hands and feet. The man and his wife would perform a Gate spell in front of them. The mummy's heart would not finish ritual so he'd encourage the investigators to help out (with their POW ) or become his next energy source. From there I was going to focus on the combat. Then I was going to give a glimpse into the Mountains of Madness as Halstead's wife was pulled through by a shoggoth.

Well all that didn't happen. I was impressed at the Players not wanting to be insane. Sure they fun doing the book chase. Curtis performed his insanity awesomely. Robin handled Judy expertly and kept her in the adventure when I assumed she was just going to dumped into a hospital.

My traps are going to have to better for these two.

Saturday, September 14, 2019

Everytime at a Table: Call of Kopfy, part 1

Friday the 13th, September 2019: "Return of Pickman"

Well, most of the first hour was taken up by both the players needing to feed themselves and develop their Characters. I pretty much sat back and made the players find where I had posted instructions to develop their Characters before hand and follow them. While I enjoy beverages during a game, I really think meals and snacks should be done away from the session. As a GM I am not up here yapping so I can listen to crunching and watch ppl chew with their mouths open, so food just gets on my nerves. Then as the last bites were consumed, we did the GM-Player thing about filling out the Characters with their backgrounds. Then we took a break because we were at the 55 minute marker and I am 50 minute play-10 minute break enthusiast.

Apologies to my European friends but starting later in the North American evening for a horror game was awesome. Once everyone had full bellies, the lateness of the hour in our collective diurnal cycles helped set the mood. The titillation of the darkness of night only getting darker and deeper, just had everyone in the mood so to speak. Indeed the two players, Peryton and Curtis, are very experienced roleplayers but neither had sat around in CoC groups from 1980 until about 1992, experiencing the 1920s fetishism; they somehow got the vibe quickly. I was answering questions about whether coca-cola still had cocaine in it as late as 1927 and everyone was looking for a speak-easy.

The two Characters had perfect CoC Occupations, a reporter and an art historian as I sexyed up the Pickman story. The art historians were called to an art gallery where an undiscovered Pickamn painting needed to authenticated. I had made notes on the paintings', the new one and two for comparison, subjects and details. I think my descriptions of the paintings along creeped out the players. The experts Curtis, Kurt Van Dyke, and his coworker Judy Penworth would conclude that the found piece was convincing but a forgery because it was too new. Meanwhile, Pery, Becky Fitzgerald, would be a little too curious about the paintings, the Pickman family, and the art house owner Berthold Lancaster, like a good reporter.

At the hotel, Van Dyke would spend some time on the restaurant veranda looking through Pickman's works. Fitzgerald would use her time to get the contact information for the artist's next of kin using the night desk at her newspaper. The night finished off with the art scholar seeing a ghoul in the woods watching him. A Sanity Check had the professor convincing himself that he had a seen a local walking past but had "Pickman on the mind."

In the morning while the Characters breakfasted, the local sheriff stopped by and started asking them questions about themselves and their interview with Lancaster the evening before. When one of them asked, finally, why did he want to know, he informed them that there was a break in at the art gallery and that Lancaster had not gone home to his wife that night. When he heard about the Pickman paintings he asked which of the two were they checking out. Eyebrows raised, the PCs answered. They were asked not to leave town as he "checked a couple of things out."

Becky would spend the morning getting in touch with Pickman's nephew in New York to find out that Lancaster had no permission to do anything near his uncle's work let alone family property. So just after lunch, the group, not able to leave town anyway, decided to some, well, let's call it investigating. Bumping into the Sheriff at the Pickman household, the PC's mentioned that they had spoken with the family member in charge of the property, and he was a little too busy to not assume that they did not have specific permission to be there. He had his notes and left them to their business and left. The PCs found that someone had tried to burn down the garage after doing some graffiti using expensive art school paints on the wall. The inscription read "You Fraud!" and other things. like a pretty drunk and angry owner of an art gallery getting a little out of hand.

Of course the investigators promptly broke into the house and went directly to the basement. They found the artist's work space and a hidden door that lead into a collapsed tunnel. Fitzgerald would lead the party outside and find thr traces of the collapsed tunnel in the lawn and garner the general direction it would have lead. Even when I had Professor Judy try to distract them with exploring the house some more, they decided to explore into the woods.

It is here where they found the abandoned cemetery and a car that they recognized as Lancaster's. And it was only 4pm. They found a mausoleum that was in a fairly decent state of repair compared the rest of the place. And they found what had to be clothes of one of Pickman's models from the now missing third painting.

The party's unease increased when the noise of something like a coffin lid falling onto a floor. They started retreating quickly summarizing that Pickman was indeed still alive and painting. He was an insane psychopath that wasn't above living a graveyard and possibly eating human flesh. Then they found Lancaster's crucified body, and confirmed that eating human flesh wasn't out of bounds. It was late enough in the day to where I had the ghouls start to scamper about in the shadows. The investigators realized that there such things as ghouls and there were a lot of them. Lancaster's car became a quick getaway vessel.

Back in the town proper they got a hold of the Sheriff and related their tale. He detained them as he gathered a few men to investigate their far fetched claims. The PCs cooled in their heels over night. In the morning he would show back up harried and disheveled. About an hour before the 11:13am train to Boston would show up, he'd let them go and them not come back to town ever again. Before they left though, he'd ask Fitzgerald, "You say that you saw green glowing eyes?"

It was then she realized that he had seen them as well.

The players deciding to save the house exploration until later, really threw a kink in my night-attack plan with the ghouls, but it worked out.

As much as I am a fan of the Dreamlands and the ghouls of Lovecraft's writings, I kind of over them being the hobbits of CoC. They are creatures that reject their humanity for cannibalism and they shouldn't be played as nice and the people around them are not balanced sorts. It was kind of nice to ruffle the feathers of the PCs by having them move into the shady world of occultism and its truly brutal nature, while providing just a glimpse of it.

Saturday, September 7, 2019

Rated "R" and Rated "X" Table-Topping

I suppose you, my seated readers, are old enough for the talk about (gulp) sex and D&D. Especially right now that your mother is off at the bulk-buy store obtaining your pizza bagels and Mountain Dew for the month for a couple hours. You see when a man meets a woman, or another man, a weird couple, or a vacuum cleaner, BUT NOT an animal, there is sometimes a physical attraction between the two or more. Often this attraction can even be emulated in an RPG session or two; it's better with someone in a maid costume in the bedroom but its okay to work out things on a table-top, using dice, I mean. Sometimes it may even be better to leave things at Character Sheets and dice, if you take my meaning... nudge, nudge, wink, wink.

My excuse to do this topic John Tarnowski in his RPGPundit Presents series called "F*ck Station Aleph" where he states, I paraphrase, that he is going to do Venger Satanis's Alpha Blue right. Now he's joking, the two are friends. Plus a bit of competition between those never hurts the creative field as long as there is no Trademark or patents invovled. Both are definitely examples of , what I can only call, "Age of Consent Roleplaying" not "Family-Friendly Forever!" which gives me an excuse to go a bit about my current blog fixation with being okay with not pandering to nostalgia or kids.

But first a quick promotion before the rant. "F*ck Station Aleph"  is a part of Tarnowski's Lost Sun gonzo (sphere) fantasy setting featured as a part of weekly(?) releases under the label The RPGPundit Presents. In 30 pages, he sets up a setting that a mini-campaign can take place in an "sky island"/space station. which has devolved into a mega brothel. Keeping OSR conventions in mind, there is new equipment for the adventuring party to do some shopping. The random encounters are designed to move into a plot leaving any sordidness up to how far the players can drag the GM into the details. One definitely gets the feeling of the TV show Lex not the movie Caligula. I rate it a "Nessie" on the Smurf-To-Godzilla scale. For what the work loses in points for using "f*ck" and not just "fuck" in the title, it makes up for in its lack of pretension and not trying to be shocking. Using a DCC-like chart system, a GM can get a lot of use out this piece.

There now... As a convention GM, I keep good old fashion movie ratings in mind. Screw all at "TV Mature L S E V" mumbo-jumbo. I don't say the words "fuck," "asshole," "shit," "cock (not the bird)," or "cunt" before 9:30pm, which means everything before then,  is rated PG. I don't ever recall going PBS by referring to the nouns or verbs above in proper English before the evening either. It's usually not until after 10:15pm, I may start slipping into using "fucking" as an adjective because of tiredness.

But at 9:30, the subject matter may get sexually explicit. Cops start investigating rapes as well as murders. NPCs use phrases like "Blow job alley," "Tranny like them didn't mind the evil eye" "She was a cow" or "Cuckold lay like a cucumber" as well as using the list of swear words from above. Players are expected to be comfortable, if a little chagrined, at the dialog going on. This more often than not gets players feeling comfortable enough to get a dark and blue themselves. A PC will proclaim that they were raped by the villain of the story. PCs make passes at NPCs, sometimes other PCs, luckily only couples to date for the PC-on-PC. Closets are ducked into, and the minds' eyes all move elsewhere, as we keep things R-rated. I did go cable TV, "kind-of" X-rated one time when an investigator Lord Hemmingsway came home from a bar brawl and night in the swamp and his house-keeper, Olga, insisted that he have a bath so she could "scrub all that dirt off." I being the ref, let the cards sort the details out-- I fudged a couple draws to make the cigarette smoking scene more fun. BTW Lord Hemmingsway was played by the wife and Olga was the husband in that situation, making the scene weird yet typical at the same time.

Now while you are blushing about the details, the points here are expectations and the process of consent. Perhaps I as a GM that has experimented with deconstructing film ratings into RPG scenarios have an advantage, but roleplaying is meant to be entertaining on various levels, not just moving pieces around a board. The late evening parlor games can be quite a bit of mental stimulation if presented with openness and looking at the audience. By thinking about the context outside of the session, a GM can do material that is explicit without not focused on the "sleaze" factor. I am serious, it does work at least with horror.

To get back to "sex and D&D," Don't just make it about the visuals. I've done "romantic" RPG scenarios because I've read romance novels (to pick up chicks dammit) and just kept it 19th century. "19th Century" means "no sex scenes" in case you were wondering. The Jane Austen fans ate it up like it was pudding and and had J.D. Rob written on the title. Their daughter thought the whole was dorky and wanted to get on her cellphone, but almost everybody enjoyed the yarn.

You can't please everybody. At the same time, keep in mind what you're doing and you can do what you want.