Tuesday, July 30, 2019

Two Days before Today for GenCon

A load of laundry to hang or pack, some printing, and some items to find. A shift to work, a trip to the bank, a shower, a change of clothes and born free to hit the GenCon. This is my final "pre-trip" posting. I doubt I will do any blog write-ups while attending the event.

Hope to talk to anybody reading this at GenCon, look for me in the football arena or my hotel's bar. I won't be busy at the bar.

If you aren't going to GenCon, make it a fun gaming weekend anyway.

Monday, July 29, 2019

Tri Harder for GenCon

Three days to go before GenCon. The current crisis besides me needing to do my laundry is that all of the gaming clique's events at the event were defaulted towards "electronic ticketing" without any notice. The PeryPubber event manager dutifully posted a YouTub video explaining how easy it is for everyone to download and use their data-mining engine, err app, and how helpful it will be for staff to do even less work err with efficiency. He then noticed that this might be a problem for any of us without smart phones. Guess who doesn't have a personal smart phone? I have one for work, but I don't feel the need for yet another 3x4 (2x3?) screen in my personal life. Nor am I wild about downloading apps onto a device that can tell so much about me to perfect strangers just to have fun at a convention.

I'd love a paperless society. I would, I really would. Of course my bank, grocery store, electrical company, and car dealer does not, nor do my bosses at work. This is even after everything I do with these entities is done electronically already. Considering they all make a great deal more money than me so there is a reason for this. To be fair to GenCon it is about reducing operational costs and increasing organizational efficiency. At the same time it is insulting to put the onus of data-compiling on the GM's (content providers') personal devices. Why is our gaming group having to work so hard for a room while we walk past dozens of desks with three to six people doing four to eight hour slots for free room and board? When they aren't counting tickets, they are taking too long to type at a computer that belongs to GenCon to point down hallways or explain what a bathroom sign looks like. How about opening some more room slots for content providers? 

That said, there isn't another convention that I know of where indy game makers get so much attention, perks, and sales. In the end, I have to deal with it.

Sunday, July 28, 2019

Four Ever Procastinating about GenCon

Now is not the time to start serious rewrites, but while looking at my "Night of the Cryptids" event for this year a lovely terrible thought popped into my head. 'Are creepy clowns a cryptid phenomena?' Well, there went that bit of productivity, as I dove down the Webbit-Hole of clowns in vans, scary movies about clowns, web sites dedicated to urban legends, forums where people argued about what constitutes a crytpid hunting and what is folklore (rich, that little niche), and then the bottom of a glass of scotch.

So like, as you know, sometime in the late 80s, TV cop shows couldn't shock enough people with sex crimes involving blond women in underwear being tortured so the great minds of the media started being all about child abduction. Hearkening back to the Grim fairy tales of gingerbread houses, unattended children being lured into compromising situations using candy from a car or free hugs from a cave has been a thing for like ever. Did a Stephen King novel spark the bonfire of scares of the 90s? It is no coincidence that at the start of the media-hyped pedophilia scare that reports of clowns driving around in white vans trying to abduct kids in Chicago's ghettos started being a mania. After ruining the dreams of the few people that liked to perform as clowns, this boiled away as crime shows and regular news went back to being about blond women being abducted and then violated.
The recurrence of the clown kid-catcher came about again in the new century, but with typical millennial lack of imagination, this time they walked out of the woods. For a generation of new busy bees hovering over single mothers' lives horror from not just not having a life compiled with not having a driver's license. Ones whom their Generation X parents, never lived close enough to a wooded area, to tell them as children to get the hell OUTSIDE already, making every bit of grass or tree bark as scary as kidnapping, wallah, the forest-dwelling clown was birthed unto the world.

The question is, do I want to mix the clown into my scenario or just do a series of scenarios about child-eating clowns somehow being spawned in wooded areas in-between subdivision construction sites? Why not both? No. I need to stop that. One scenario for another year. Back to prep.

Saturday, July 27, 2019

T-Minus Five Until GenCon

Couldn't somebody send a notice? Notice: Bragging Below Alert
While I've been all happy and clapping my hands about the Spacer(TM) Core rules set going "Bronze" at I've had a rash of items attain coinage distinction at the Drive Thru distributor over the year. I suppose it isn't that big of a deal, as long as the pizza and beer keep flowing from the PayPal card with PeryPubbers on the name, I am doing just fine. But since I don't submit my works for awards like the Ennies at GenCon, because I'd lose to some awesome works by others, it's still a nice little bit of recognition. Here's a list I've compiled while I am being self-interested this morning.

Silver Best Sellers
New Khazan

TAG RuinCrawl

Bronze Best Sellers
Crawlspace Deluxe
Spacers(TM) Core
TAG Spacers

Red Bat Generic System
Under the Sundered Moon
Kopfy's Caverns

Most of my Swamp of Doom series: No Fences to Mend, Temple of the Hag, and Hot Nights in Low Hollow falls here as well. Scott Malthouse's Peakvale idea was a lot of fun back in the day.

Team efforts for Bronze goes to three issues of Elder Tunnels magazine for T&T. Specifically, the first issue and the Halloween ones.

Whoever has bought these works, I thank you for the interests and the support provided. Now back to getting ready for GenCon2019.

Tuesday, July 23, 2019

Neun und neunzig Luftballoons Until GenCon

Nine days to go, and what do I know. Well "miniature LARPing" is a term that I use for... pfft right.

Plz figure this out while I think of something to write
List of things to do before travel day:
Pregen Red Bat Character sheets, as in copy and cutting out.
Pregen Characters for Spacers(TM) "The Green-Eyed Monster of Alpha Centauri"
Pregen Characters for Red Bat's "Gotham City: Major Crimes Squad"
Pregen Characters for Wobble's "Here be Dragons"
Get in touch with friends in Indy.
Get in touch with CLE buddy from FLGS coming along.

Monday, July 22, 2019

T-Minus 10 to GenCon

One of the things about working nights is that you start work when the day is over, and your day ends when the next day has begun. And you tend to be bad at keeping track of calendars. I have ten days to go until the big to-do not eleven.

So about miniature-LARPing... Naw... So like Count Vulgarr.

Back around the trip to Scottsdale Arizona for the FBI's BuffaTroll Con around 'o7(?) somebody and I were talking about doing a T&T version of Ravenloft, a person walking by said the idea was vulgar. At that moment, Count Vulgar, the dread lord of Castle Defnel in Blegovia was born. Over the last ten years at GenCon, I've been revamping (see what I did there) the blood-sucker using Crawlspace. Last there was a "Count V" session every day of the convention, and more than a few players came to the games because they remembered the name from other scenarios in previous years. So this year, I'm publishing four of them. Three from past years, and the one that will premier this Summer.

Two have already been already published. The next two will be released after the grand get-together. Check them out.
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Sunday, July 21, 2019

GenCon: On the 12th Day Before GenCon...

12 days to go before I get to do the part-time job which has been the crowning of my hobby/passion for over fifteen years now, GenCon. I'm not there for the new products. I'm not there for the cosplayers. I'm not even just there for the RennFaire with the guy with that hurdy-gurdy, believe it or not. I am there to do nothing but wake-up, roleplay, eat and drink, maybe some more roleplay, drink and maybe eat, and then crash. To wake up again and repeat the cycle for three more days, where I am both honed as a RPG enthusiast and mildly sick of the good life. If I can get some cosplayer chicks/boy toys/somewhere-in-between dancing around a guy with a hurdy-gurdy and then purchase a new Phase World supplement from Palladium Publishing, all the better, but not necessary.

Now all this talk of roleplaying brings me to, well back to, what is "true" roleplaying?
There is the ancient way of drawing a map, filling it with creatures and then the players and their GM hashout some sort of story, meaningful or not, through only interacting with each other by reacting to the situation as determined by rulings and rolled results. Many purists of that other game (TOG) have refined this by randomizing the material on the map. Then there is the "all-about-me" (the player) extreme of roleplaying, where events follow a script with the pretense of drama being all about clarifying a character or characters, like professional wrestling.

As for myself, I am really good at crafting plots around people exploring their characters. I have at times though sat back and played accountant and obstacle director to a group of players that were there to miniatures around a plastic-covered placement paper with a grid on it, so I tend to feel a guilty about the above mentioned propensity that I have. So I've doubled down on the plotting but it is only the vehicle. Well actually it is only the vehicleS. There is the roleplaying and the roll-playing.

The Characters are in a somewhat scripted plot, where the players work on their roleplaying with each other many times more often than with the GM of the events. Using cards instead of dice things often get LARPy, but tabletop enough to where there is a definite beginning, middle, and an end; while players are only slotted a couple minutes here and there as the GM works the table.
But the storytelling aspect is kind of the shallow take on these sessions. Things while noted are not really that scripted. Sessions can go crunchy as well, as players root through the rules book to find that certain thing to make a bigger splash on the screen so to speak. Often the "Acts" of my scenario are only there to list what details the GM has to reference without making things up, not to serve as any sort order of any sequence of events. Like "sand-boxing" of the early Aughts, but with a very strong sense of pacing.
When I am using dice, I stick to the axiom that the rolls make the big deals in the plot. This will lead to scenarios taking on their own dynamic, despite the expectations of the players drawn to the event. This is about as close as I can get to the true "mechanics first" roleplaying, err role-playing should be closer to a wargame style of game (which is beginning to become "miniature-LARPing" in my mind). I can't help but think 'Why else am I playing, if I am not watching a story unravel in my mind's eye as well as for the other participants around me?'. As long as I keep the tone and the ending based on the rolls of the dice in relations to the rules of the game, that is indeed a roleplaying event versus the visceral stimulation of different events like watching a movie, playing with plastic army men, having a tea party with dolls in your mother's dress, or playing Magic: the Gathering.

Maybe I'll talk more about miniature-LARPing tomorrow. Unless I can think of something more interesting to me. Oh I can't wait for the hurdy-gurdy.

Saturday, July 20, 2019

A World a Week: 9KW, the Hoof Then Outwards

I've been rereading, or really reading, Paizo's Starfinder over the last two weeks to keep my eyes from bleeding staring at my own writing. Of course it brought me back my own New Khazan piece done in 2010 and some of my notes for publishing a newer version my setting which I started doodling about three years ago in '15. Going ahead and just mapping out the mentioned systems, at least at how they related to each other, struck me as a good idea.
Starfinder's sphere fantasy known worlds encapsulated in a single solar system is neat. Of course, I need something just a bit bigger. I had just done some sketches after seeing the Firefly RPG which I think has a tripple star system, the memory is a little foggy. Still after years of researching the Centauri solar systems for my own stuff, slipping some of the 9,000 Worlds into it was a fun thing. I can't find the most detailed version of this map, but I will dig it out sooner or later. In this system I was able to slip in the worlds of Bark Island and New Khazan. I'll probably be able to slip in at least four more Imperi worlds listed in the '10 release.

Still the 9KW needs to be a little bigger than even three stars with tens of places to put space fantasy realms.
Hmmm. Okay keeping with it's original game setting simplicity. Still a bit more is needed. Got the Imperi Territories, reptile-kin and elf fiefdoms forming an empire more akin to the Holy Roman Empire than say the Egyptians or Romans. Then there is the Ogrish Horde conquests, where orks, ogres, and a few balrogs make life miserable for the natives on about a thousand worlds. Of course the Trade Alliance where humans, dwarves, and space-hobbits (totally different from hobbits) make up most of the fair-minded and non-enslaved worlds of Known Space. Still a bit of something else is needed.
Hmm. Workable. I am doing fantasy space so I don't need to look too high tech. When the worlds are listed not only will I reverse the black and white, I will roll the layout into a spherical presentation. So what you're looking at is the peel so to speak, and the worlds are going to have X,Y,and Z coordinates to give depth to settings and the Player-Character spell-ship navigator headaches.

Friday, July 19, 2019

GenCon Procastination but Spacers(TM) Progress

Luckily, due to a slower work volume than usual this Summer, all of my events for GenCon are written up to the point that I want them to be. Being roleplaying scenarios there never is any sort of real end to writing them, except maybe when they're published. At least for me, though definitely not most big game producers-- yeah because 30 editions of Brandname(TM): the RPGening never gets old.  So like I figured as my GENCONGenConGENCON itch starts happening, which it has, just ask anyone at work, I'd be doing some pregenerated characters, maps, and whatnot. But as usually, I am not.

I am being productive though. Spacers(TM): the 24th and 1/2 Century AD (working title because I don't want to use the real name publicly yet) has been getting a lot of attention. I am almost done with the final scenario of the last segment of the work. Then things will go into "post-production." That means cobbling together some of the dozens of pages of astronomical notes together with the RPG parts, getting those parts edited. A science checker would be nice, but I doubt I'll find one. The art is about 70% done. And then I plan on making some maps. It really is not that far down the calendar before I release my first Spacers(TM): Universe source book.
Okay. Folks reading the blog here for a while know that I used to talk about the imminent release of Spacers(TM) for over fifteen years. In 2010, I published my T&T-variant home brew rules which I had used for my campaigns and conventions scenarios starting in the late 90s. For whatever reason in '16 I remastered the hits into my Red Bat version. For less than a handful of years, I have been talking about the release of Spacers(TM): Universe. A work where about every type of space-based Science Fiction Roleplaving (SFRPG) I could conceive of would be covered. It would be the SFRPG to end all SFRPGs. Well, my brain is just too big. After the last couple of years or so of trying to get all the parts together into something like 400 pages, before art and graphics and whatnot, it just struck me as.. as not me.
 Mind you, I've noticed that big company SFRPGs dealing with rather specific settings have tonnes of pages and they get lots of attention. That is at least at first. But everyone having bout a ton and a half worth of print or a PDF taking up 2/3s of all the space on their Kindle reader them are not playing them. When I have seen the blockbuster "support material" played, less than six tables have about two to four players at them. Economics tells me that when I can get two to eight players at one to eight games at any convention with about 20 pages in the core rules, sometimes just enough is more. More bang for the buck maybe, but still more. I suppose it is a question of passion.

At the same time, using notes from years past and the newest write-up for this year's GenCon, a series of PDF scenarios for my repeat NPC/PC villain Count Vulgarr from various Crawlspace sitdowns, is coming together as great releases for the Summer season. Do you have your daily dosage of schlock horror role-playing for the beach? I have just the thing for you.

Ah. Summer time. And the living is easy. At least for the written parts that has been worked on forever already that is.

Sunday, July 14, 2019

And Now, About Not Being D&D

While I'm admit that every independent RPG game had a boom market when 4th edition D&D came out and and its producers were a bunch of dicks, I'll not cede to designers of its 5th Edition anything but more sales for me.

Back in 'o6 somebody at Origins decided that people running independent games should share a room with folks of Hackmaster. There was no problem with that for us. PeryPub was used to sharing rooms with other independent game producers since like 'o2 at various other places, and we were friends with most. What we did not know that Kenzer & Company had a strategy. The strategy was to pay for stand-in audiences of up to twelve people at tables with eight chairs and be loud and boisterous for about ten minutes every time slot to scare everyone out of the room. They'd come back around minutes before the end of any slot and pretend to be cheering about a game about to wrap up. There'd be a lot of disorganized noise, a speaker-projected dice-roll sequence, and then forced applause, leading to an artificial standing ovation.

How do I know that? Because my games were in the same room. For one then two slots over two years, I, with three to six players at my assigned table, would be a little too busy with my idiosyncratic games rulings to be offended or, perhaps, scared out of the room. No really, we were busy with Character Sheets and game rule Perks long enough not to notice the ballyhoo. I bet it was because of my voice forged from years of experience with street noise in the real world. The GMs, three in total, would come over after their initial performance and the absence of any of their players to ask me about when could they have the room. I did not know this at the time, but me being me ( wanting to know "what' he was talking about and "who" said he could do this"), would foil their efforts by players remaining during the other GMs' interruption and actually continuing my game.

Failing kicking me out of the room, two out of the three GMs tried to say that the something called "the Hackmaster World Championship" was going to take place in the evening and the room was going to be swarmed with their event. In o6, I complied and noticed that the requesting-GM ended up at a table near me in the "Open Gaming" area begging for players while looking hateful at me for amusing three players. In 'o7, I came back to the room which was empty except for 20 Hackmaster whatever Event cards littered across the room. My game would have five, then seven, players and was pretty good given the quiet room around us.

A little wiser than before in 'o8-'o9, I'd say to other event coordinators at real gaming conventions, "I don't want to be in the same room as Hackmaster events." To which they'd reply, (I paraphrase) "I've heard about Kenzer last year. Lemme give you your own room this year." The key here is that of the peoples I said this to, I had not shared my Origins Game "festival" experiences involving Kenzer & Company with them.

Coming back to Origins, when I submitted games over following years I still did great. Even when, I'd have to share a Quiet Room (that means "Breast-feeding") with my Crawlspace scenarios and then I've done better than my indie friends in room 1,967 on the Arte-Potte' Shack at the 3rd Slope next to the expresso machine and diaper-changing station, at least attendance-wise,  every time. Some slots sucked but that is Origins, I still covered my expenses in sales.

I know about my sales versus others because we irreparable small game makers talk BTW. We just gossip like fiends. Like little old ladies without much else to do. Yeah, we're awful about being professional according to standards imposed on idiots by corporations that would like to make a few worth hours  of wages based off of our years-long worth of works. Why I'd love to complain about the going rate at an average convention for an indie table, but WAIT! There is that one GYN, err GUY that said this or that left (or right)wing  thing about stuff that you cannot fix by playing a role-playing game! Quick repost all of my T&T scenarios links. When I reach 1 million dollars, I'll try to fix things. It's like I talk to people.

I might just need MORE money, but hey... .

Now about roleplaying games being dependent on D&D. Done with fake scandals and fake outlets. Do a CREATIVE product and then complain.

The Politics of Dice-Rolling

As I watch the dynamics of the organizations and people around me in our hobby, I realize that I am kind of growing into my skin so to speak. Snake-like in meta-biology if not personal beliefs. It really should be just a hobby for a better quality of ideas not branding. So let's talk about the branding of roleplaying products these days.  

Some of my best friends are SJWs
While I have had to tell more than a few to get screwed and come back after they've had the cigarette, I am still very close to many people for whom what can be termed "social justice" are very well served. People who are in "transition" are some of my closest intimates. Meanwhile people that prefer same-sex relationships like to talk to me about real-life affairs, sexually and Austin Texas-TV/UK Gaming Convention-acceptable, even after I have mentioned adult subjects around them. I wanted to be crusty instead I got trusted. My head bled.
Some of my best friends are Alt-Right 
More than a few people I know are a bit fed up with everyone that does not agree with Bill Clinton is a Nazi.  They also tend to view Richard Milhous Nixon as the last hope of the Democratic Party of the USA. I suspect that those friends are a bit upset about the election of Barack Obama as a President of these United States as well. About a third of them are family members... the hell? Still I know that the Democratic National Committee  cannot disagree with these guys openly. I'd still be their friend though even if the DNC, after even an on-line mob, said "No. You cannot.".
So does this make me "the Middle"?
Prolly, not. I'm just some guy that is all about socialized healthcare, the enforcement of Federal labor laws, AND an awesome American men's soccer team in the World Cup. While I disagree with co-workers at my place of employment demanding "safe spaces" because people in the day room are watching TV shows that they disagree with, I am that guy the decides 'Free Speech" and "Buck-Up Buttercup" is the best way to go.  I still think Donald Trump is a middling dipshit among privileged dipshits, but between the edges and for all the balance, I'll say "Noop." I'll be "Libertine" these days, at least until my 30 year-old daughter is looking, even then I'll still say "Der Donald is a Dick among Ducks Among Chickens."
Kids on Bikes is about to go BUST
 When the "Young-Minded in Wheelchairs but thinking its Tricycles" crowd finally admits that Stranger Things is for parents overcoming their fear of the weird in their head and not for kids that get called weird, I'll listen to the self-proclaimed knowledgeable RPG marketeers. No one likes this line of reasoning. Okay game fan boy/mother, your kid is going to stop wetting the bed one day, stop putting them in diapers because they are 29 years old already.  Reliving your adolescent years in an FRPG needs to go the way of Furry Versus Diaper conventions-- You've been there. Don't be retarded.

Now about fantasy
Disney really has nothing to say about anything older than 1961. Fight back.