Saturday, May 25, 2019

Every Second Time in a Week at a Table, May 19

Nobody, including myself, had anything planned to do yesterday night, so around Sunday I started rapping the bushes for Wobble players. Sure enough Peryton and the Purple, Curtis, were down. That was great because both were up to speed enough on the rules and whatnot that I wouldn't have a lot of explaining to do and could work on some exposition explaining elements of multiverse as presented in the book. Around Wednesday, Wylie said that he'd like jump in as well-- three players for laptop RPGing is the perfect number so that just made the session more promising.

At the virtual table, Wylie and I worked through his Character from a Mu Earth very similar to 1931 (Mu-Apple 31?). Arnie Moses was a down on his luck, hard knocks Hobo. His type being a Scrapper (that means "fighter" in D&D), he was more a hands on and learns by doing sort. While hopping a train out of Yuma headed towards California where he heard that they need all sorts of workers, he spied something unusual. Dudes in monkey suits and radios on their heads were chasing a little kid from a ransacked camp just off the railroad. Curious to say the least, he hopped off the train, it was under 30 MPH at that point, so no big deal.  Being the rush in first Scrapper that Arnie is, he and kid were quickly apprehended by a radio-ape scouting party, talk about hands on.


Insurance claim waiting to happen

Meanwhile in the Tau Verse, Daisy Adair (Pery) and Professor Rudolpho "Rudy" Viggo, along with the NPCs Charles Jade and Captain Kal (Captain Canada), had just successfully evaded their pursuing honeycomb ships in the Wobble boat the Albatross. They had done so by slipping into a cluster of asteroids. Adair was busy looking for the rolling rocks that she saw when Professor Rudy downloaded Earth Prime's classic movie War of Stars: The Empire's Counter Strike. Seeing only little specks of light, like stars, she relaxed. She was looking out for caves with teeth though. It took her a minute to notice that the stars were moving in different directions and vectors, and that one of the little specks of light was getting bigger by the second until it became a boulder flying along at about four times the speed of sound.  And BANG. Our beloved starlet, that can Pilot Anything, was able to make an emergency landing on a planetoid not too far away.

While inspecting the damage, the crew of the Albatross would be approached by what had to be a band of goblins not wearing space suits in the vacuum of space. When they got close enough, the Characters could see robotic machines and processing boards. When the G00blins communicated using radio frequencies, they said things like "Subroutine 47147 detects that your identified non-hostile vessel, verification pending, requires assistance." but in a goblin's voice. The band of plastoid machine intelligences would get them and the ship to their base 153NG4RD, where the Characters would meet the Master-Processing Unit 5TR1D3R 54R0M4N (you can call him "Strider" "Saruman"). In the atmosphere of the space station, the vents played the theme of Lord of the Rings constantly.

Arnie Moses would awaken in what had to be a flying banana boat, inside what had to be a banana crate. The smell of bananas permeated the air. Looking out between the crate's boards he saw four other crates strapped down, and what looked like a film set from Buck Rogers with a flat screen TV as its window. His captures, radio-apes, were busy flying the bucket, so he was able to get out of his crate and grab a large torsion bar (a crow bar used for trucks and tanks).

Back at Isengard-base, Strider Saruman would explain to Daisy and Rudy (and the NPCs. Always forgetting them) that they were in what is known as Tau Universe, or Verse. In this universe what might be our solar system, but with two smaller stars at its center, sentient plants, species of intelligent insects, and radio-apes were vying for supremacy. He and his fellow plastoids were parts of a moon-sized computer which had named itself T0LK31N, not T0LK13N because of fears of copyright infringement. They served the Plant Supreme collective as their first encounters were with the system's "Dobbers" which thought that they were organic and tried to do horrible things to them. They didn't work with the radio-apes because, well, no monkey with a TV for a head is up to any good anyway. Just at that point, a radio-ape ship would appear on the station's radar array. So according to protocol, Strider Saruman and his crew (long pause) started firing missiles at them. Daisy and Rudy looked on.

The biggest radio-ape, a gorilla with a TV for a head, was a decent pilot itself. It was able to avoid the first four missiles and blast them with the craft's laser weapon system. Meanwhile in the gravitational confusion of the dogfight, Arnie would take out two of the smaller radio-apes, two chimpanzee bodies with video camera for heads. With the next four missiles to be launched (long pause while Daisy and Rudy ate popcorn), the pilot's luck would not hold out, and the ship's engines were destroyed. The Rilla would start to put on a space-suit before trying to fight the loose human cargo, Arnie's mother did not raise a fool, he found a space-suit for himself, and got it on quicker. As the rilla was about to get its helmet on, the Scrapper smashed the TV head with the torsion bar. And then the sixth missile hit, blowing a hole in the side of vessel. The other missiles did more damage and everything not in a pressure suit was dead.

While Arnie floated end over end on a now dead piece of rocketship, Professor Rudy remembered that the Albatross had long range detectors that could scan for human life, which he had built last game session. He asked Laggy, the wobble boat's AI, to scan for humans aboard the debris. And after an admonishment from the always self-righteous computer, it was discovered that there was indeed one aboard. Arnie's oxygen supply was in the red so to speak, when the Albatross floated towards his chunk of cockpit and Charles Jade and Captain Kal pulled him aboard. And everybody got to know each other. Arnie definitely needed a shower and shave, and Rudy let him know it, but that didn't stop him from hitting on Daisy, who was sure to mention that having so many real men around, including Charlie Jade, she was as safe as, well, daisies in a plum patch.

Rudy then remembered that he wanted to upgrade the Albatross. Now if only he had some spare parts floating around at a convenient vector. And a decent garage crew with a comfortable spot to get the work done. Hey, wait a second! Mz. Daisy got to redeem her piloting abilities by hauling a good portion of the radio-ape vessel back to Isengard-base. The space orks, err the G00blins got to work immediately, the PCs pondered what to do next. Saving Gary Experience from the dobber's honeycomb ship complex came up. Strider Saruman would intone ominously, "Organics in Dobber Posession are most often not worth salvaging.

Next session as per the Players: "Save Jerry X."

Monday, May 20, 2019

Every Time at a Table May, 2019

It didn't look like it was going to happen. JerryTel and JayUSB both had other plans. Silly things like tending to family obligations and flying to Scotland for work-- tshaw. Still, a second right before I hit the "Cancel" button in the event interface, I realized I really wanted to play. So I wrestled through my memory thinking of potential friends that have played in Wobble sessions before, I threw in some that might be interested. The process went something like this:
"They just had kid number 2." "She's prolly a sock-puppet." "He's on WiFi at a coffee shop." "That's their date night." "Dental surgery." "She's actually having to make money these days." "In jail." "He needs miniatures to LARP." "Owes me money." "I owe him money." "She's Canadian." "They're bored of me."
It was that last one, that I held up on. So I asked the ICONS- in-Hiatus group, of Wylie Coyote, Peryton, and Curtis. Well, Wylie was indeed bored of me. His lie was something mumble, mumble, dying ppl, having surgery, or having to work; I dunno I stopped listening after "I can't make it...". But the other two, I enticed with promise of a Saturday afternoon cocktail session of a game. I mean the game is called WOBBLE and I've never been a subtle person. The game was just what the doctor ordered.

Pery has a certain Character that she actually loves to play named Daisy Adair. An actress from the Mu Universe where WWII, Mu Apple-2 per CAMIDA (The Canadian/Multinational Inter-dimensional Agency)nomenclature, is just now starting. One of the last queens of the Transatlantic Accent, the speech style that diminished as Americans would start to like Westerns over Melodramas in Yank cinemas. Not that Mz Adair is around much to watch the speech patterns of her world change. She's been busy dealing with multidimensional spider-demons, a couple pyramid-heads, and the atomic bombing of Baltimore Maryland (on "Nixon World," Mu Apple-3, so probably not that bad). More importantly the PC is a "pilot of anything" and Robin sticks to her Transatlantic accent throughout the play session.

 Curtis developed Rudolpho Viggo where we randomly determined, using a few lists from the Wobble source book but I should really formalize into a new chart and lists, is from Earth Prime, Mu Gamma-2. The Great War was indeed the war to end all wars, at least the big ones, and by 2019 people are on Mars and elsewhere in the solar system. Three major power blocs, the Russian-European Union (the RE-Union), the American States (The Americas), and the Pacific Bloc (the East) are the major players. The South African nation is wholly controlled by the Primrose Corporation, known for its weird and exploratory science. Professor Viggo from Rome works for Primrose's Time Travel Department in Cape City (stretching from Cape Town to Durban).

I started out the adventure with a cut-away detailing Daisy's dilemma since the nuking of Baltimore and the start of this adventure. The group she was with, Beckett's "Man-Witch" (the guy that nuked Baltimore), Kal's "Lieutenant Canada," and JerryTel's first Wobble PC (Um Gary Experience?) wobbled away from Nixon World authorities in the wobble-capable ship The Albatross into a part of the Tau Verse. Here they attacked by by Radio-Apes and beings that fly around in modular ships that are honeycomb-shaped. All three of the other characters were captured in a sticky web repelling unseen boarders and pulled onto a honeycomb ship. Too many other honeycombed ships were attacking the Albatross so our Pilot-of-Anything had to emergency wobble, breaking written rules, but hey she is a PILOT, to Earth-Prime. And she just happened to show up right around the east side of Cape City.

The Primrose security division, Nimrod Inc.,  went into red alert mode as fast as one would think. Hover-jets were scrambled while all experimental "time portals" were unplugged and extra goon-platoons placed around them, while the Corporates decided who should handle making contact. While the fighters made "controlled contact" with Mz. Adair to land in a certain spot of be blasted to bits, it was decided that Professor Viggo would be the man to blame, err supervisor on this one. There was a quick scene where Daisy is hustled out of ship by goons in isolation suits (cool ones because this place is the future) and given an Earpiece Translator, which took Rudolpho a way long time, but I had fun making up future South African and how American English would sound to a world where New York and Hollywood weren't a big deal when telling each of the players what they heard after the other tried to communicate. The two Characters noticed that they got on well despite language barriers.

Viggo had to have a meeting with his Supervisor, (Primrose Corp) Pay-Grade 11, Stephen Ballinger, and the boss of both of them, Pay-Grade 20, Tilde Swinton. No really, the person that is an actress in our world. Mz. Swinton was dressed in an overcoat and a scarf that fans of Dr. Who from our universe would recognize. The deep probing of the Albatross revealed only mid-1950s technology according to Earth Prime standards, yet its axiomatic tachyons indicated some sort of temporal shift. Curtis's professor would venture that the intruder was from alternate Earth, not from the past or future. This was actually impossible according to current Earth Prime theory, though there have been two other security-shrouded cases such as this on record in the States and the RE-Union.  Perhaps the Corporation may garner more information by accompanying the "wobbler" for a time, suggested our protagonist.

Earth Prime being the best and worst of Earths, the Primrose Corp mindset is not one of doubting its own employees hired to use their big brains. Stephen Ballinger would suggest himself and a couple other researchers, all of whom were of a reactionary, militant political leaning known as "The Gray-Shirts." Director Swinton would stick with Professor Rudolpho Viggo and her "nephew," (that means ex-boyfriend) Pay-Grade 7 Charles Jade. Viggo, being Pay Grade 10, would be in-charge of the mission.

What followed next was a rescue mission trying to back to Gary Experience, Lieutenant Canada, and Man-Witch. Professor Viggo would start upgrading the Albatross and its AI program, named "Laggy." The primitive nature of these trans-dimensional travelers would astound him. Meanwhile, Daisy would mostly get into awkward moments trying to sneak peaks of Charlie Jade in the shower. They would find a cluster of the honeycomb ships arranged into what had to be a crescent moon. Using the upgraded sensors, they would identify three human sensor signatures and about 16,000 other ones. Only two of the humans were close to each other.

Daisy Adair would show her piloting abilities as she maneuvered the Albatross  towards the honeycomb where the two human life signs were coming from, with very few of the other honeycombs detecting it. The surprise raid would be responded to quickly but not before they could pull Lieutenant Canada and the Man-Witch (Adair would curse at their luck) from some goopy silk-like mucus and carry them towards the ship. Becket's Character, now an NPC, would fight free and slip into "the infernal realms" but only half-voluntary .Honeycomb ships were breaking free and attacking like angry bees, maybe wasps, and shooting as carefully as they could at the invading wobble-ship.

Dasiy Adair, Professor Rudolpho V., Charlie Jade, and Lt. Canada would wobble away from the intense laser fire.
Our heroes would accelerate away (unable to wobble because of rules constraints and plot convenience) and hide in a nearby asteroid-filled region.

Monday, May 6, 2019

A Long and Winding Road

Roleplaying can get boring.

Not for me mind you, but for the average adventure gamer role-playing can get boring. First one goes from fulfilling the characters from Lord of the Rings, to going all Conan, to end up refining that special PC into Fafhrd or Gray Mouser in somebody's Thieves World campaign.

And then what?

Some might start dating dramatic literature majors and doing community theater before somebody getting pregnant having to spend their weekends working and other spare time getting the kid into college while not wetting the bed.  This absence from the hobby is like skipping a meal, any time one can get back to it, they are at least mildly hungry for whatever fare comes up next. Some get so desperate they start forcing their kids to play with them. Others will double down; giving up sex to move into their mother's basement but then internet porn turns to video games. This can often bloom into spending too much time at internet fora and going bat shit crazy over sexual politics or what it means to be "white" in 21st Century America. More than a few folk, just decide smoking pot and playing board games can fill the gap of not role-playing because who really needs to be creative when they can just consume.

But for those few that avoid the pitfall of ennui and roleplaying, they get serious about escapism. Maybe some ducks on big world of Glorantha to add deep atmosphere. Go vampire to get some sultriness in life. How about going all post-apocalyptic, one gets cars, pistols, and orks w/ four-arms and it's still FRPG. So then they mix it up, instead of watching TV or movies, one starts role-playing them; westerns and even spy movies. And then sci-fi,.. Well okay maybe not sci-fi because the GM doesn't like your brand... STEAMPUNK! Blimps! And then... BLIMPS!

Speaking of brands, remember the joy of the first time someone encountered an Umbering Hulk in that D&D game? No? Well they did, so here's various brands of that product line, most from an official toy maker, a number from edgy artists that know the secret of original D&D. Oh look, here's another brand name from the 80s, who's got the license for it? It is cheap enough? Maybe a Kickstart will help someone pay their mortgage as well as release the new edition of the old brand. Maybe go deep and get into John Carter Warlord of Mars. One gets blimps, pistols, and orks w/ four-arms and it's still FRPG-- one starts swearing that they heard that before? Go deep and atmospheric, Glorantha has ducks.