Thursday, March 23, 2023

Under Fuchsia Ska'ai & Gary Con


I'll be heading to Gary Con tomorrow morning!

Today, I'll be making preparations... just like I've been doing for the last few days (crafted an original adventure just for the con).  Creating this blog post has been on my mind for awhile, so let's get to it.

Below is issue #2 of Under Fuchsia Ska'aki, the Cha'alt webcomic I'm making with Jae Tanaka.  Here is issue #1 and a mid-issue insert.

What else?  Well, I'll be running Cha'alt at Gary Con.  I think all my sessions are full, but still say "Hi."  And if you want to buy some hardcover Cha'alt books direct from me, I'll have a few on-hand and ready to sign.

As a fun little bonus, I'm offering Encounter Critcial III for FREE all weekend!  If you liked Crimson Dragon Slayer D20, you'll definitely get a kick out of EC3, it's sister-game.

I'll blog about my experiences when I get back on Sunday (plus, there'll be a new episode of Inappropriate Characters to livestream on YouTube).  I will also be tweeting about the convention and might make a video or two, as well.

Until then, game well, hoss... game well!


p.s.  Here's a link to VENGER CON II: Electric Boogaloo my own RPG convention happening this July in Madison, WI.  And if you want those gorgeous Cha'alt books, but won't be at Gary Con this weekend, prices and ordering info here.

Sunday, March 19, 2023

Crystals of Chaos [session report #6]


Six sessions probably doesn't seem like much of a milestone, but still feels that way to me. 

This campaign is set in the eldritch, gonzo, science-fantasy, post-apocalyptic world of Cha'alt.  And I've been using Crimson Dragon Slayer D20 to run it.

We had a full table of six players at the new space - the game room in my house.  Finally, after the pandemic and cleaning it (I had been using it as a storage room to house Cha'alt books, among other things), my gaming space was back in use.

  • Jackal - dwarf warrior
  • Crandol - half-orc warrior
  • Zagreus - dwarf thief
  • Gath - human priest
  • Ro-Robard - dwarf sorcerer
  • Heighten Chancery Philthrop III - halfling thief

Now, I'm just going to come out and say it... I don't think this session was as successful as previous ones.  I wanted to change things up and go for a different kind of adventure, which I think is a good thing.  

This session also comes after a two-week break due to our family vacation.

Session six was about going to Alpha Blue, the space station brothel, carousing, getting hired for a special mission, and then purchasing high-tech equipment.

Before they had a chance to leave the solar system in their weird tri-crystal artifact sentient starship, the ship detected a barrier that shifted this area of the galaxy out of phase with the rest of space.  The ship had a plan (they need to name that thing, but we know it's approximately the size of the Millennium Falcon and the interior is covered with leopard-print shag carpeting walls) - create a wormhole to break through the phase-shift.

They had to enter weird space... I don't know if this is something I invented or subconsciously latched onto and ripped off from somewhere else.  But this was the description I gave (with slight edit)...

You've just entered weird space... outside the ship you perceive rainbow slime, melting reality, ectoplasm vibrating, the sound of strange primitive drums, the smell of blue jellybeans, time-lapse of fruit decomposing... the bananas becoming sentient just before turning to a primordial soup... a leprechaun sprinkles shamrock gold dust over the primordial banana ooze, so that it now resembles the glowing chartreuse ichor known as zoth.  Llamas sit around a table playing D&D as they sip the ancient zoth from teacups.

Then, everyone blacked-out and entered some kind of dream state where they encountered a humanoid clown-worm with outstretched demon claw - each of seven fingers had a different colored string attached in a bow (according to the colors of the rainbow).  Everyone chose... and then the surgeon from Heighten Chancery Philthrop III's black urn ashes hallucination reappeared and swallowed the halfling into its torso-void.

When the PCs awoke, they each had a crystal the color they chose in the palm of their hand.  The clown worm-thing said something about this determining their destiny, remaking the universe, and extolling a terrible price.

How the crystals fit into the campaign might be revealed next session.  I'll put down what each adventurer chose so there's another record (besides my notes).  Incidentally, I had each player roll a d4 before the clown / string encounter, pairings meant that some PCs were together and others were alone.  That meant two or more PCs could conceivably choose the same color and have the same colored crystal at the end (which actually happened)...

Jackal chose indigo, Crandol also chose indigo (because he asked his demon sword and I rolled randomly), Zagreus chose orange, Gath chose violet, Ro-Robard the Red chose red (duh!), and Heighten Chancery Philthrop III chose yellow.

Ironically, I spent the most time preparing for this adventure than any other of the Crystals of Chaos campaign so far.  Who knows, maybe I'm wrong and everyone thought this session was one of the best.  Looking back, it's hard to pinpoint what did or didn't work.  Maybe the fish-out-of-water vibe I was going for took the players by surprise.  The format of revolving social interactions definitely kept everyone on their toes.  

There was a duel between Ro-Robard and an insect-humanoid that was fun.  Although, how it went was way different than how I anticipated it in my head... which is a good thing, but I switched lanes in my mind while crossing an imaginative intersection, and there was a disconnect.

The party's halfling thief got laid, but it kind of felt forced.  By that I mean, the reptilian prostitute I was roleplaying put in all the work, but maybe that was par for the course (again, I wrongly assumed it was going to go down differently than it did).  I was dimly recalling his liaisons with the tall woman from last session, but I should have laid more groundwork in the roleplaying.  It's possible I was rushing myself because I didn't want to neglect the rest of the group.

There was a bar fight between Zagreus, Crandol, and Gath against this VIP dude that Yogoo (this Yoda-like character with a massive dong) wanted to intimidate.  Even with disadvantage, I rolled a critical-hit with the VIP's bodyguard.  Zagreus nearly bought the moisture farm as he was brought down to -3 HP.

Jackal did some gambling, betting on a droid fight, as well as, placing a wager for some spacer who was banned from betting on such droid battles.  He won some credits.

Eventually, the entire party listened to Astra, a Draconian Princess, and her space-ape companion Graaawl.  Basically, they hired the PCs to transport a rebel leader named Garren Voy out of this prison facility on Frigia (an ice planet) and then transport him to Cha'alt.  Astra offered the PCs 10,000 credits, which they thought was a little low, so she upped it with a 2,500 signing bonus.  They gladly accepeted.

Graaawl was a professional assassin, so he went with the party to make sure the mission goes well and transfer funds when Garren Voy was safely transported to Cha'alt.

On the way out, Ro-Robard gets lured over to an exotic dancer.  A little tentacle squirmed out of her g-string.  The tentacle clutched a data-crystal in its suckers and deposited it in the palm of the crystalline cyborg dwarf sorcerer.

They had it scanned on the way to the high-tech equipment emporium.  Long story short, rescuing the resistance leader might be one big psy-op by the Federation, as the data-crystal revealed Federation plans to release undercover agents posing as resistance leaders on Cha'alt.  Eventually, the destabalization will lead to regime change.  During the civil unrest, the Federation plans to buy up strategic zoth reserves, continuing to drain the planet of its natural resources.

No names were given, but at the end of the hologram transmission, it warned to beware of the banana!

And we just about ran out of time as the PCs shopped for the upcoming mission.  Here's a breakdown of the gear, benefits, and prices I came up with...

  • Power Armor; gets you to 20 AC; 500 credits
  • Slow-Field Armor; gives you a 2 in 6 chance to dodge out of the way as the thing trying to kill you is slowed down as it enters your personal shielding zone; 200 credits
  • Laser Shield; shield made out of pure energy that gives you a +2 to AC; 100 credits
  • Disintegrator; on a successful attack, the target must make a successful saving throw or be disintegrated, but you have to wait at least 10 minutes per shot; 1000 credits.
  • Plasma Cannon; 4d6 damage; 400 credits
  • Thermal detonator; 8d6 damage, save for half; 50 credits
  • Laser-Sword; 3d6 damage and 2 in 6 chance of severing a limb; 250 credits
  • Blaster; 3d6 damage; 200 credits
  • High-Tech Thieves Tools; gives you advantage on doing thief type stuff; 400 credits.
  • Hoverboard; travels up to 20 miles per hour and it's fun / looks cool; 150 credits.
  • Advanced Weapon Systems (starship upgrade); advantage on attacks with your starship; 5000 credits.

Perhaps my ever so slight disappointment with this session has to do with the fact that I haven't run Alpha Blue for a couple years, and that was a convention one-shot.  I'm out of practice.  Or maybe it's just me, and everything went great?  It's honestly hard to tell from this side of the screen.

Since this day was a different format that my wife actually suggested, gaming 2 - 6pm, then pizza, then watch a movie, instead of a movie on Friday night and then gaming noon - 4pm on either Saturday (or occasionally Sunday), I left to go get the pizza immediately after the session ended, so didn't get to hear any feedback.  So, it's possible that's contributing to my unsureness...

Regardless, I'm looking forward to session #7 (in two weeks) where the PCs travel to Frigia, attempt to complete their mission (which might include killing the dude they've been hired to rescue if he turns out to be a Federation agent), and then, presumably, back to Cha'alt.

As it happens, this coming weekend is Gary Con!  Ro-Robard the Red's player and I are traveling to Lake Geneva, WI to attend one of my favorite gaming conventions (2nd place in my affections would have to be Game Hole Con).  I will be running a series of Cha'alt adventures, and have to start preparing for that.

Thanks for reading,


p.s. Want to purchase some gorgeous hardcover Cha'alt books?  They're signed, numbered, and include the PDFs.  Ordering details here!  And of course, there's my own convention happening again this July in Madison, WI.  Of course, I'm referring to VENGER CON II: Electric Boogaloo.  It's exclusively for old-school, OSR, and traditional roleplaying games.  Limited to 100 attendees - grab your ticket today!

Wednesday, March 15, 2023

Thirsty For Cha'alt


I'm back from vacation!  What's up, hoss?

Besides the usual family fun, I spent a few free moments thinking about everything from thirst, dehydration, cosmic horror, hallucinations, mysticism, altered states of consciousness, madness, and all that good stuff.

I made a video about it, but my ideas hadn't fully coalesced into what they are now (and everything here is still subject to change).  So, without further ado...

When you buy provisions, resupply, stock-up on water, then it's assumed you have enough to get by.  After all, this isn't your first foray into the desert.  You live on Cha'alt for fuck's sake!  You take little sips here and there in order to survive.

However, if you want to take a big delicious cool drink of life-giving water (I strongly recommend PCs roleplay this - at least the player has to say that his character is taking a long drink), that PC gets a water die (d6) he can add to any role in the next hour of time in the campaign.

That PC is actually able to acquire as many water dice as he wants, just by guzzling water like it's going out of style.  The water dice can be saved up and used for any roll, keeping in mind the time limit.  The water drank this morning will not sustain you tonight.

However, when that d6 comes up with a 1, it means he got too greedy and/or misjudged the amount of water needed.  No more water, no more water die (any remainder of collected water dice evaporate).  Now, the GM rolls a thirst die (d6) whenever that PC rolls a d20 (other rolls are exempt), and that result is automatically subtracted from the PC's roll.

If the GM rolls a 6 on the thirst die, that PC is suddenly overcome by the terrifying realization that all things irrevocably succumb to the nigrescent, faceless, tentacled devourer and his demonic insects buzzing and howling in the desert as the lavender and violet moons rise in the deep purple sky.  All things are merely ephemeral grains of sand to Ubbo-Sa'athla, The Most Ancient Of All... also known as The Thing That Existed Before The Universe Was Dreamed.

It is a dark night of the soul, a spiritual angst caused by visions of Ubbo-Sa'athla, seemingly on the precipice of wakefulness.  It is said that when Ubbo-Sa'athla wakes, his dreams which have become our reality will no longer hold this universe together and all that is will be as nothing.

The Great Old Ones are prophesied in the Nya'azian scrolls to have manifested from another plane of existence, outside our universe.  They struggle against this existential threat so that his awakening may either be postponed or averted.  

At this point, mechanically speaking, the GM could do a number of things... catatonia followed by a creeping madness, out of body state where the subject goes in and out of reality, random table with various bizarre results, all rolls have a negative-6 modifier, etc.  

All this lasts until the PC takes a short rest and finds meaning again - symbolized by a ceremony invoking the Great Old Ones while the hallucinogenic sorcerous ichor known as zoth is imbibed... allowing the PC to come to grips with this horrifying understanding and overcome the soul-crushing darkness pulling at the frayed outer threads of his unraveling sanity (that should be roleplayed out between the player and GM). 

Having said all that, looking forward to hearing your comments, questions, and hopefully feedback if you use this in your own Cha'alt one-shot or campaign!

This weekend is session 6 of the Crystals of Chaos campaign, and the following weekend I'll be running even more Cha'alt at Gary Con!



p.s. Want a gorgeous hardcover Cha'alt book or maybe the entire trilogy?  Ordering details here.  And don't forget to grab your ticket for VENGER CON II: Electric Boogaloo this July in Madison, WI.  

Friday, March 3, 2023

Fuchsia Ska'ai Insertion


Here's a little something between issues of Under Fuchsia Ska'ai...

See issue #1...

A bunch of us will be hard at work revising the manuscript for Advanced Game Mastering Like A Fucking Boss next week.  Until then, I wish you fantastic gaming!  And hopefully I'll see some of you at Gary Con...



p.s. Don't forget about VENGER CON II: Electric Boogaloo this July in Madison, WI... there's going to be so much old-school, OSR, and traditional roleplaying!  Also, if you want hardcover Cha'alt books, ordering details here

Sunday, February 26, 2023

Crystals of Chaos [session #5]

 Alright, Danielle and the girls are watching the last Twilight movie... let's smash-out this session report!

5 players, the usual gang, more or less.  The party's only sorcerer, Robard the Red is back!  Gath, the prisoner priest returns for his second session, and Jackal made it to 5th level.

So, this session happened the very next week after last week's session.  We had been going every other week, but I won't be able to run the game for the next two weekends, so running a bonus game yesterday was the scheduling compromise.

Because of that, I knew this session had to have some kind of narrative end-point.  I decided to view it like a TV show's season finale.  Even though I have every intention of continuing the Crystals of Chaos campaign (and with the same PCs, no less), you just never know.

Last session, I realized that I hadn't been passing players notes.  That's usually something that I do during campaigns, so picked that up again for this session.  My first note was to Robard's player, letting him know what had been going on since he was zapped by the High Priest at the start of our last game.  Also, if I tell the player privately (via a note), that forces him to describe his experiences to the party, rather than me.  Are you feelin' the PSYCHOCOSM, yet?!? 

He'd been wandering strange-angled purple corridors for what seemed like days, until finally he stumbled upon a swirling portal of energy.  I had imagined it just in front of him, but the player imagined that it might be on the floor so he could just hold his nose and dive-in.  That actually sounded better than what I had stated, and preferring not to ret-con (even when it's only a few seconds), I decided that sorcerers could manipulate the size, shape, angle, and location of portals, as if they were adjusting an object in cyberspace with a mouse.

In he went, appearing between the sand-speeder filled with PCs and NPCs and Jackal, who was about to slash a death-blow to some hippy elf who seemed to be following them - but then the elf fell into nothingness and disappeared.

After getting reacquainted, They all decided to enter the weird space that led to somewhere else - interrupting Glenda the tall woman NPC giving Heighten Chancery Philthrop III a lap massage (I should come up with some bonus for characters who travel with their girlfriend or any sexually active vessel).  Robard felt with his sorcerous senses and realized it was like a dimensional portal, but yet unlike any he'd seen before.

They entered a pocket-universe that managed to avoid the apocalypse that occurred about a century ago.  We decided to call the Cha'alt the PCs were from "Cha'alt classic" and this new world with grasslands, mountains, forests, and blue sky "new Cha'alt." 

There were a bunch of people wearing togas standing around outside a futuristic city, locked-out because some A.I. decided organics couldn't be trusted.  A droid army with lasers also protected the city from humanoids.  Unfortunately, the only way for the PCs to get home (they left all the NPCs on Cha'alt classic to mind the store) was a matrix table inside the city.  That tried and true method of guardrailing adventurers in a certain direction has been used in countless episodes of Doctor Who (and other shows).

However, the toga people informed them of three magical crystals that, when combined, would form a seriously powerful artifact.  And that would assure the A.I.'s defeat, so the city could be opened and the crystal matrix used to find a way home for the PCs.

Finding a guide named Arn with a death-wish and knowledge of A.I. programming (rolled on the spot using Cha'alt: Fuchsia Malaise), they headed to the location of the crystals - The Lost City.  Upon reflection, that's just sloppy writing having a futuristic, but unnamed, city and then the other location is called The Lost City, but I don't have a writer's room at my beck and call.  However, I feel like the players are totally cool with helping me come up with spontaneous details, which just goes to show that the best kind of game, in my humble opinion, leans heavily on improv.

Anyway, the PCs tackled a mechanical scorpion.  Gath went down, getting pinched nearly to death and stung (failed save led to temporary paralysis).  It had damage reduction, so the warriors with magic weapons and the halfling and priest with blasters eventually took it down.  Arn scavenged the cyber-scorpion's motherboard for later, since he graduated (with honors) from A.I. University - totally not made-up (their school motto was E Pluribus Anus).

Also, I just have to say something.  Sorry for another interjection.  A reviewer lambasted Crimson Dragon Slayer D20 for allowing priests to have nearly unlimited access to healing between battles where an hour's rest is available, because, in his words, it not only wasn't old-school but throws off the whole resource management part of the game.  Which, I understand, from a certain point of view, but if critics could put their poisonous pens down for a minute, being able to recharge between difficult battles keeps the game in motion.  I remember playing D&D in the 80s and early 90s where healing wasn't hand-waved.  The 5-minute adventuring day, as it's sometimes known, just doesn't seem to fit with the fiction.  Short stories, comic books, TV shows, and movies don't have the heroes (even anti-heroes) stopping the journey to rest for 8 hours after every medium-strength encounter, let alone hard ones.  So, CDS D20 makes more narrative sense, and feels pretty damn old-school to me.  Ok, rant over.

By the time the PCs managed to venture inside The Lost City, the session was about half-over.  By turning the halfling thief invisible, the party managed to destroy and get past a chrome security sphere that lasered a small lizard moving around just to show what it could do.

Then, they encountered a dozen small humanoids with translucent skin, so you could see all their organs and whatnot through their flesh.  Gross!  The PCs, especially Jackal, really wanted to decimate these guys, but held back.  The little dudes told the PCs that if they were brave enough to claim the crystals, they could go into that slimy tunnel and get them.

Believing it to be some kind of trick, the PCs got into some verbal altercation which soon led to wholesale slaughter.  When they were all dead, Robard crept into the humid, moist tunnel, got about 15' in and noticed the tunnel was tapering down, getting smaller.  He said that he cast shield on himself and had the equivalent of dimension door at the ready.  Which is good, because that tunnel was some kind of worm creature about to crush him.  Thankfully, he got out of there and the PCs moved on.

Soon, they came to a black pylon.  I had planned for the PCs to search the caves for a small black pyramid that could be placed on an engraved triangle above the door to open the thing, but Crandol wanted to use his arm tentacle weapon.  I let him try to manipulate the triangle opener with his tentacles because why not and also... cool!  He rolled a natural 20, so open the door he did.

Inside it was a black void with a crystal matrix table, just like the one Arn described in the futuristic city.  However, traveling through dimensions was no easy task.  Since Robard knew his way around dimensional sorcery, I gave Arn (who'd done this before) Advantage.  Boom, I rolled double-19s!  Within moments, the black pylon dematerialized through folded-space to where their NPCs were back on Cha'alt classic.  They told them not to worry and hang-on, they'd be back soon, right after getting that artifact which the toga people called Vetus Unus.

Back to The Lost City, the PCs encountered a cave with a nearly opaque barrier but decided to bypass it for the moment since they were on a mission and we had just under an hour left to play.  Anyway, they were distracted by three pedestals further down the main path, each holding a large crystal formation... one fuchsia, one chartreuse, and the other tangerine.

The halfling thief scouted ahead, going towards the back of the cave, stepping on and over squishy, rounded "rock formations."  He could see something at the cave wall, something almost discernable but not quite.  So, he threw a rock at it.  Turns out, the crystals were being guarded by a (minor) Great Old One.

This was the big bad.  Crandol, being the most proactive or foolhardy of the bunch, decided to attack it with his usual gusto.  A friend on twitter asked if I'd provide the Old One's stats, which I thought was an excellent notion, giving everyone an idea of what I think is a super tough but still winnable fight with CDS D20 characters (5 of them) at 4th level on average.

I didn't give it a name, so let me whip something up here now that I have time.  How long are those Twilight movies, anyway?  What about... Yezath-Rha'am, Qa'azol-Kemnakai, Hyna'aj-Quva'az?

Hit-Points: 222  AC: 10  #Attacks: 3  Attack: +7  Damage: 1d12 (exploding)  Save: 3+

Special: Treat this as a minor godling.  Should have been immune to non-magical weapons (high-tech is fine, though), but I forgot to mention that. Pretty much everyone at this point either had an enchanted weapon or blasters.

The sorcerer rolled a perfect 6 on his fireball table, doing 60 points of damage off the bat.  Nice!  Gath used his eldritch-beam, the warriors each got several hits with their magical weapons.  The battle was definitely going their way, when I suddenly rolled a crit on Robard.  After our group calculations to make sure we had it right, the sorcerer was down to negative 13 HP.  Parts of Robard flew around the cave as the Old One's tentacles eviscerated him.

A couple more rounds of both sides taking heavy damage and Jackal (I believe) dealt the killing-blow and was doused with chartreuse ichor... zoth, but in its freshest, innocuous form... like virgin zoth.  Incidentally, the idea came to me several days before the game that zoth should age like fine wine, hookers who've been around the block, and wizards who've seen some serious shit go down... increasingly potent the longer it pools and steeps in sunless places.

Heighten, Chancery Philthrop III grasped the crystals and slowly, carefully merged them together.  The crystal formations altered their structure as they coalesced into the artifact known as Vetus Unus.  A gravely, disembodied voice spoke to the halfling, "Choose the form of the destructor."  After some input from a couple of his companions, the halfling chose a starship.

They got in, busted out of The Lost City, made a b-line to the futuristic city, disabled the A.I. and using the toga peoples' technology and parts scooped up by Arn, forged a crystalline cyborg sorcerer out of Robard... or Ro-Robard as he's now called (or until we can think of something better).  Part human, part cyborg, and part crystal... Ro-Robard lives!

And that's where we ended things.  It felt like a solid, satisfying conclusion, so I'm happy with it.  If the next game is episode 1 of season 2, what's that going to be like?  Well, we all have time to consider it and weigh-in.  I'm assuming the players will want to continue the campaign with their same characters, but if they'd prefer to retire that particular story, or keep the story (who wants to know the deal of that gargantuan banana?) and start anew with different characters, I'd be down for that, too.  Whatever they want, fuchsia sky's the limit!

A lot of weird, funny shit was said, so here are the highlights...

  • "Load-bearing pylon."
  • "The purple maze dimension."
  • "He's tall... not in objective height, but culturally tall."
  • "There's always a die for that."
  • "As long as it's gross, fine by me."
  • "As long as it's disgusting, it's all good."
  • "Sorcerers can sense invisible dudes when they made them invisible."
  • "I graduated from Elementary school at A.I. University."
  • "Now, you're thinking with portals."
  • "Cyber-scorpion is not programmed for dick-mode."
  • "Your paradigm has just been shifted."
  • "They should be called Translucites."
  • "Mage-tentacle?  Is that, like, a spell I could cast?"

Thanks for reading, feel free to comment below!  BTW, I'll be running Cha'alt at Gary Con next month.  If there are any seats open, grab 'em.  Or just flag me down to say hi.  I'll also have Cha'alt books on-hand.


p.s. Feel sad you're not in on all this Cha'alt action?  The Cha'alt trilogy is for sale - gorgeous hardcovers (limited edition, signed and numbered) that come with the PDFs!  And why not let me GM Cha'alt for you at VENGER CON II: Electric Boogaloo this July in Madison, WI.

Monday, February 20, 2023

Crystals of Chaos [session report #4]


Ok, let's do this!  Session 4 happened just this past Saturday.  

Two players couldn't make it, but we still had Jackal the dwarf warrior, Heighten Chancery Philthrop III the halfling thief, and Crandal the half-orc warrior from previous sessions, with a new addition to the table - a human priest named Gath (who's starting at 3rd level, everyone else was 4th).

After killing the guards last session, the PCs burst through the door to find the High Priest torturing her gorgeousity Lady Ska'ai.

Immediately, the High Priest zapped Robard the Red and Zagreus into another dimension (since their players weren't in attendance - don't worry, they'll reappear next session).  Robard's black demon sword being thrown into the lock of a prison cell, about 15' behind the High Priest.

That cell (one of four) allowed Gath (the new PC) to free himself and secure his liberty by helping the adventurers vanquish the violet priesthood.

It was a lengthy and bloody battle.  The halfling thief attempted to free the other prisoners (the remaining three cells), but he failed a stealth check - allowing the High Priest to make an attack of opportunity upon him.  My first three rolls of the game were all top numbers.  I rolled a natural 20 on the attack and then box-cars on the 2d6 damage.  The attack was so spectacular that I asked the halfling's player to make a saving throw to determine if he was still conscious.  [Is this a new rule born at the table?  Perhaps...]  Luckily, the save was decent enough to keep the halfling from passing out.

By the time the High Priest was out of hit-points. A tentacled demon abomination from the outer void clawed its way out of his corpse.  Tentacles were lopped off; a lavender beam of divine light scorched its flesh; the halfling, covered in slime and blood narrowly shimmied away; and several PCs took an unhealthy amount of damage.  Another prisoner was freed and given the halfling's spiked corkscrew helmet and ordered to charge the thing.

It was a gory, eldritch mess by the time other guards and priests arrived, using a laser to burn through the door.  As a 10" hole was incinerated and a hand reached in to unlock the door, Heighten Chancery Philthrop III stabbed with his emerald dagger, pinning the poor fool to the door and was also trampled by the guards rushing in.  They were dispatched, too.

Oh yeah, so I wouldn't forget, I had each PC roll to determine if they were charmed by Lady Ska'ai, remained charmed by Varantha, both, or neither.  A variety of results were produced, which caused much cognitive dissonance in the party, especially in the halfling's mind.  To ease his addled brain, Heighten Chancery Philthrop III had sex with one of the prisoners, a tall woman named Glenda.  Meanwhile, the rest of the PCs were healed by Gath.

Lady Ska'ai claimed the empty black jewelry box which the High Priest had held before her eyes while screaming "Where is your magical ring?"  Ska'ai told the PCs that she needed to go to a certain room in the underground temple to find her ring... her ka'alaxian crystal, reality-warping ring.  The PCs escorted her around the temple.

They killed guards, heard zita'ar music, almost interrupted an orgy, slapped a brain against the wall mid-transplant, came upon a basin filled with blue-green syrup (which the halfling drank) found the ring, found some violet-hued pills belonging to a priest - and some weird purple-glass hookah) discovered a secret door that led further underground, checked that out, slapped a new transplanted brain out of the surgeon's hands (Cha'alt also has a 5-second rule), and left to go find Sa'ab who was still waiting by his sand-speeder.

Before I get to that, let me tell you a bit about the subterranean area beneath the temple.  There was some sort of cult leader speaking to a dozen night-clown apostles.  The cult leader was talking about bananas and achieving gnosis and weird crystals.  Since the PCs already hate clowns, they decided to assault them all, starting with laser blasts to the cult leader (who had three burning spheres slowly circling above his crosslegged form).

He went down easily, and then the clowns attacked.  It would have been life or death if my dice hadn't decided to reverse the extreme luck I'd had at the session's start.  Out of five d20 rolls, I rolled four near-consecutive 5s.  However, one clown threw his red rubber nose that exploded like a grenade and another summoned a balloon-wolf to attack, at one point scoring a critical with poorly rolled damage - I assumed because its teeth were made out of balloon material which had a difficult time piercing flesh.

Doing a Darth Vader type foot-feel for the robed cult leader, they didn't find a body.  The halfling felt a presence as he was recovering from his wounds - another stone that easily came lose, revealing an emerald urn filled with green crystal ashes.  As per usual, the halfling snorted them and had bizarre visions involving green gateways to inner voids of another universe.

Before the session ended, the PCs decided to head back to A'agrybah.  They found another marker in the desert (along with some hippy elves that were high on something) and asked Gath if he could translate.  Turns out, he could!  Sa'ab drove them to two other markers he remembered seeing in his many travels crisscrossing S'kbah.  However, the last marker Gath needed to read was next to a sandworm.  

There was a whole scheme to lure the sandworm away, which only made it rampage towards fleeing humanoids not in the sand-speeder.  Before leaving, due to the PCs' excessive laser fire, the sandworm ate one of the hippy elves from an earlier marker and Sardie, the former elf prisoner rescued from the violet priests (which means the tall woman Glenda and a half-demon male named Zarj remained).

Upon reading that third marker, Gath directed Sa'ab to an rocky outcropping that didn't look like anything special.  At that point, we were nearing the session's end and the PCs considered going back home to A'agrybah.  Strangely, another of the elf hippies was there.  By this time, Jackal had had enough of hippy elves and decided to attack.  It would have been a killing blow, but the elf fell into some space that made him vanish, not altogether, but as if there were a certain line and whatever extended past that threshold disappeared into another world.

At that point, I decided to end things, since it was also just a couple minutes before our 4:00 stopping time.

Yeah, another great session.  I was happy to get this 4th one under my belt as that makes it the longest campaign I've run since 2019.  Seems weird to say that since most gamers seem to be engaging in lengthy campaigns nowadays, but as you know, I became the one-shot King since the pandemic and my goal for 2023 was to run a long-term campaign set in Cha'alt.  

Got to use the dice display pedestal thing, and I think that worked pretty well.  There were a couple times when I got lazy or forgetful and just let the dice remain where they were without putting them back in their new rightful spot.  But most of the time, I set them back where they now belong and then I knew exactly where the dice were when I needed them.  So, I call that a success.

I am strongly considering painting it, though.  I like the seafoam / cyan color it currently is, but how cool would it be to paint it fuchsia and chartreuse... for Cha'alt

Also, got a chance to use the giant red d20 that Robard's player gave me to keep track of Crimson Escalation during combat.  That also worked well.

While there was some fun banter and hilarious chitchat, I don't have any red-hot quotes from the session.  What else... oh yeah, that cult leader had a gold bracer with writing that needed to be deciphered.  Still working on that.  The PCs have amassed a decent amount of gold, talons, and jellybeans from their adventuring, too.  

Next time, PCs will get to see what's going on with that gargantuan banana just outside the golden gates of A'agrybah... plus, a half-dozen other surprises that have been subtly hinted at since we began playing.

Thanks for reading.  If you have a question or suggestion, feel free to comment below!


p.s. Need hardcover Cha'alt books?  Want to attend a kickass old-school RPG convention in Madison, WI this July?  That's VENGER CON.  

Thursday, February 16, 2023

Cha'alt Game Jam Participants


Remember the Cha'alt Game Jam (if you don't, check this out)?  Well, these are the products that came out of it...

The Skeevers of Turner Town by Lord Matteus - an adventure supplement for Cha'alt detailing a post-apocalyptic trailer park.  You can get this little baby for $4 at Big Geek Emporium.  Love all the little character portraits!

The Green Ices of Cha'alt from Peryton Publishing - a Cha'alt scenario in and around a gargantuan dragonfly and dormant volcano.  Simon Trantor did the artwork (and I'm using his cover art for this blog post, as well).

Epic! by Silvia Clemente and Miguel Ribiero - is a lengthy mix of the Red Room's wretchedverse along with Alpha Blue and Cha'alt.  [Sadly, I was just informed that the Red Room's account has just been closed due to DriveThru's claims of "hostile marketing."]

The Boy From Mezteha'as by Paddys Parlor Games - a jam-packed Cha'alt adventure filled with monsters, items, and heroics.

Colin Conn created a Crimson Dragon Slayer D20 / Cha'alt character sheet!  This is the color version, and here is the printer-friendly black and white version.

Vault of Cha'alt by Roger C. Jones of Brainstorm Books and Games - this PDF contains short adventures, plot hooks, and other material to spice up your Cha'alt campaigns (you are running multiple Cha'alt campaigns, right?) 

Last but not least is An Intro To Solo RPG With Alpha Blue by Sean Loftiss.  The name pretty much sums it up.  ;)

Thanks to everyone who took the time and energy to make something for the Cha'alt Game Jam.  Should I do another one next year or maybe as soon as this summer (around VENGER CON)?  Let me know!


p.s. Speaking of VENGER CON II: Electric Boogaloo, get your ticket for my old-school, OSR, and traditional RPG convention in Madison, WI this July.

Sunday, February 12, 2023

Under Fuchsia Ska'ai


So, this is the first issue of Under Fuchsia Ska'ai.  A webcomic that takes place in Cha'alt, my eldritch, gonzo, science-fantasy, post-apocalyptic campaign setting.  

Neckbeardia made a video review of both Cha'alt and The Good Syma'arian.  Very entertaining!

Want the Cha'alt trilogy at a reasonable price (remember, these are luxurious, limited edition, signed, and numbered hardcovers, and includes the PDFs)?  Pricelist and ordering details here!

If you like it, let the artist Jae Tanaka (@TanakaOSR on twitter) and I know with a comment below.  Enjoy, hoss...



p.s. God-tier old-school, OSR, and traditional RPG play this July in Madison, WI.  Check out VENGER CON 2: Electric Boogaloo.

Thursday, February 9, 2023

Purchasing Cha'alt Hardcovers


Purchase your gorgeous hardcover Cha'alt books here and now.

Eldritch, gonzo, science-fantasy, post-apocalypse with a side of humor, sleaze, and pop-culture references!

It seems like every day I'm hearing about someone's Cha'alt campaign, how much they love an adventure, random table, or optional rule... one of the Cha'alt books, or the entire trilogy.

Before I forget, have you acquired your FREE gift of Cha'alt Criterion?

Cha'alt is the anti-WotC D&D.  The thing defies conventional everything!  

It's never going to be as popular as what you can find on the shelves of your local game store.  It's never going to have the appeal of authentic medieval whatever.  It's never going to satisfy the gamers who need a thousand pages of rules, nor gamers who prefer slick Scandinavian death-metal graphics and 5 sentences per page.

However, Cha'alt is perfect for mixing, matching, and blending with your favorite OSR thing!  How else are you going to achieve that perfect Carcosa Dark Sun Star Wars Dune ripoff you wish was on late-night skinemax vibe?

Here's the latest YouTube review to whet your appetite!

Cha'alt exists for an exclusive and discerning clientele who want something weird and fun and awesome!  Without further ado, let's get to the 2023 deals, shall we?

Between now and Walpurgisnacht (May eve), I'm selling...

  • The original Cha'alt hardcover for $35 + $5 shipping ($35 shipping outside the USA)
  • Cha'alt: Fuchsia Malaise hardcover for $40 + $5 shipping ($35 shipping outside the USA)
  • Cha'alt: Chartreuse Shadows hardcover for $55 + $5 shipping ($40 shipping outside the USA)
  • The Cha'alt trilogy for $120 + $10 shipping ($65 shipping outside the USA)

How to send funds?  The easiest way is via PayPal (yeah, I know... but still).  My email is:

I would also accept Stripe, check, or well-hidden cash.  Send me an email for those alternatives.  Order today!



p.s. Every gorgeous Cha'alt hardcover is a limited edition, signed and numbered by yours truly (and you get the PDF for FREE).  The production values are second to none - no WotC book has ever come close to these quality tomes!