Thursday, August 25, 2016

It's all about the exploits!


This blog post focuses on Universal Exploits, my latest creation.

Reviews have been favorable.  Some say, it's the best thing Kort'thalis Publishing has ever put out.  Here are reviews onetwo, and three.  Additionally, a fresh review of Alpha Blue herself.

Below is a video walk-thru or visual preview of Universal Exploits.  Even at 9 minutes or so, I feel like I barely scratched the surface...



If you've had a chance to check out the book, I hope you also consider writing a review and telling people what you think about Universal Exploits.  Actual play reports are awesome, too!

Curious about any aspect of the game or its sourcebooks?  Just ask, I'd be happy to provide info or run a short demonstration for you.

Remember, if you purchase UX from Amazon or CreateSpace, email me for the PDF (just send invoice, receipt, proof of purchase, etc.) so you can get those high-resolution files of starships, Grabba the Butt's palace of perversity, and custom character sheets.

Enjoy,

VS

p.s.  This is where to find the previous maps/PDFs.  Oh yeah, and here are the new custom character sheets for Alpha Blue.



Saturday, August 20, 2016

Universal Exploits in Print!


For those who don't know, Universal Exploits is the 2nd sourcebook for my sleazy space opera RPG Alpha Blue.  Yes, I merged R-rated, NC-17, and even XXX stuff with 1970's sci-fi.  You're welcome.  ;)  

It feels old school, even though its system only vaguely resembles D&D, Star Wars, and Traveller.  The vast majority of content is system-neutral, but the engine runs on d6 dice pools (usually the most you'll be rolling is 3 or 4d6 - you won't need 15d6 for anything!)

You've heard the expression - give a man fish and he'll eat for a day, teach him to fish and he can feed himself for a lifetime?  Well, a good random table is like teaching a man to fish.  It'll serve him a hundred times over, maybe even a thousand.

All three books - Alpha Blue, Girls Gone Rogue, and Universal Exploits have more random tables than 3.5 had feats!  This is pure space sandbox roleplaying with adventure hooks galore.  Combine these three books with whatever sci-fi / space opera RPG you're already using.  Make it edgy and dangerous - make it dirty!  Three times the laughter, three times the fun, three times the retro weirdness among the stars!

Universal Exploits is now in print over at CreateSpace - that's Amazon's print-on-demand service.  If possible, get it there.  Otherwise, you can get it at Amazon itself (they take a larger royalty, in that case).

Regardless of how you get it, definitely email me with some kind of confirmation or receipt so I can get you the PDFs that come with it!  There's the book PDF with new custom character sheet, maps of new starships, and a layout of Grabba the Butt's palace of perversity!  All high-resolution for printing out and using in your Alpha Blue game.

Here's my email:  Venger.Satanis@yahoo.com

A print version will also be available on DriveThruRPG soon, but their printer is slower and more finicky.

Even though I've been doing this awhile, I'm still very much the underdog, the outsider, the little guy going door to door asking gamers to take a chance on gonzo space smut.

This is currently the best kept secret of the DIY/OSR scene.  Aside from the Kickstarter backers who originally funded it and are now beginning to enjoy their rewards, almost no one knows about Universal Exploits.  So, please mention it when you can, blog about it, review it, help me get the word out!

Thanks,

Venger As'Nas Satanis
High Priest of Kort'thalis Publishing


Tuesday, August 16, 2016

Universal Exploits PDF is live!


Only three months ago, I launched the Kickstarter for Universal Exploits, the 2nd sourcebook for my sleazy sci-fi RPG Alpha Blue (1st sourcebook was Girls Gone Rogue).

It successfully funded awhile ago.  Now, the first exploitation fruits can be tasted and enjoyed!  Here it is (PDF only, until I can check out the proof) on DriveThruRPG.

As I've mentioned before, the time/energy I have for RPGs (running and writing) is dwindling.  My wife will be giving birth to twins this fall.  I hope to be active again a year from now, but we'll see.

That's why I wanted to go all-out with this book.  107 pages (8.5" x 11") worth of supplementary material, every nook and cranny stuffed to the gills with game-able content and gorgeous artwork (some of it NSFW).

Approximately 90% of Universal Exploits is system neutral.  Use it with your White Star, Machinations of the Space Princess, Traveller, Stars Without Number, Star Wars, Star Trek, Starfinder, Rifts, Thousand Suns, X-plorers, Starships & Spacemen, Encounter Critical, Metamorphosis Alpha, Warhammer 40K, and countless other sci-fi and space opera RPGs that could use a little gonzo grindhouse.

VS


Saturday, August 13, 2016

Alpha Blue: Making a Character


The following are three video tutorials.  Each one goes into detail about Alpha Blue's system, setting, and character creation...







If you have any questions, please ask!

VS


Thursday, August 4, 2016

Progressive Gaming Coalition


I don't know about you, dear blog reader, but I've had enough.  Call them social justice warriors, left-wing fascists, swine, story gamers, the outrage brigade... I don't care what they're called in your neck of the woods.

What I do care about is their interference, their agenda, their attacks, their lies, and most importantly, their attempts to censor and silence creators.

To me, it seems that they hope to stand on the shoulders of giants only to piss all over everyone from their undeserved lofty height.  What they do is definitely easier than actually creating something of substance.

Their latest contribution to the gaming community was to get +James Desborough's Hentacle card game banned from One Book Shelf.  Unfortunately, OBS doesn't plan on re-instating Hentacle after its peer review, unlike Alpha Blue.  I appreciated all the vocal support I and Alpha Blue received after it was temporarily pulled from OBS.  And I want to offer my organized support to similar creative people who are unnecessarily targeted - keep reading.

I suppose that's because "play rape" with tentacles is somehow too close to actual sexual assault in the real world?  I did remind OBS that play rape between consenting adults is an actual, albeit minority, form of sexual expression, preference, and identity.  It's perfectly legal for consenting adults to pretend about rape.  Just because it makes a few individuals uncomfortable shouldn't keep it off the virtual shelves.  To do so would be like banning games involving homosexuality.  Except that gay sex gets an auto-pass because homosexuality is more outspoken and popular.

This next violation is on a much lesser scale.  How to Game Master like a Fucking Boss was given a one-star review on DriveThruRPG in Polish by Andrzej S.  Now, you might be thinking - a bad review, big deal.  While I take feedback and criticism to heart, it was the apparent disingenuous nature of this particular review that got me curious about the motives behind the review.  In this g+ thread he finally admitted that he had a secret agenda for dragging my book through the mud.

because advices like lipstick +1 are not only useless, but also horribly wrong. You shouldn't treat girls playing rpg like some kind of dolls. And that's one of many advices which shoudn't be there.

Yes, it's disgusting, and they won't stop.  I realize this now.  They won't ever stop.  It may seem like a conspiracy to many reading this, but I have seen the evidence, the gradual, subtle influence upon our beloved hobby.

I've decided to organize a new group called the Progressive Gaming Coalition.  There are no memberships cards, dues, code of conduct, laws, tenants, criteria for belonging, or even an overriding belief system.

All the Progressive Gaming Coalition will do is keep watch, looking out for shady behavior, and say something rather than keeping silent.  I'm sure many are afraid to fight, are afraid to voice their concerns as individuals.  Well, the Progressive Gaming Coalition can provide you with backup.  It will bring more eyes, more voices, and more pressure upon those who wish to destroy the RPG community from the inside.

Contact me about becoming involved in the Progressive Gaming Coalition - because we all have the right to make progress within the roleplaying game community and industry.

Sincerely,

Venger As'Nas Satanis
High Priest of Kort'thalis Publishing
Progressive Gaming Coalition

p.s.  From now until H.P. Lovecraft's birthday (August 20th), my guide to GMing will be on sale.

Tuesday, August 2, 2016

It's Harmon's world... we just game in it


I've only recently been introduced to the madness that is the Rick and Morty animated TV show. I've only seen 2 episodes so far, but just purchased both seasons on DVD based on the strength of those two episodes. They should be arriving this week.  


It was that good. It reminded me of Alpha Blue... and then I remembered a recent player mentioning something about a show called Rick and Morty after a session of Alpha Blue.

[Update: I've seen the entire first season]

So, yeah... it's a bit like Alpha Blue. But what else is it like?

It's sort of a cross between Heavy Metal (we're not worthy!) and that Futurama show (not really a fan, though I can see why some find it enjoyable). Plus, Dan Harmon is behind it! I know him from Community and that was pretty much it. Community was a comedy TV show with a lot of hilarious episodes, including a couple that focused on D&D.

Well, I've also now been exposed to a long-running podcast called HarmonTown. The most interesting aspect of HarmonTown is a segment where they started to play D&D. That spawned a partially-animated spin-off show called HarmonQuest where Dan Harmon and friends play a fantasy RPG that feels old school and is Game Mastered by Spencer Crittenden, who was just an average geek and GM living in California who decided to attend a live taping of HarmonTown.

I've now watched the first season (10 half-hour episodes) of HarmonQuest, and it's good. It won't necessarily resemble the games you play at home. About 20% of their adventuring feels ironic, but the remaining 80% is pure nerd bliss! Having an audience makes it seem more important somehow. I think this could catch on...


There's also a documentary on Dan Harmon and company as he takes HarmonTown on the road, appearing in comedy clubs and such. I've watched it since beginning this blog post a week ago. Even though it's about an hour and 40 minutes, it feels short. I definitely wanted more!

Lastly, for the entire month of August, Alpha Blue will be on sale (PDF and softcover). I anticipate the latest AB sourcebook to be available in September. It's called Universal Exploits and will contain so many fucking random tables that it will be virtually impossible to "sandbox fail." #sandboxfail

Keep gaming,

VS


Wednesday, July 27, 2016

Open Letter to OSR & Storygamers


First off, this blog post is an open letter to both RPG communities - the OSR and Storygamers.  It's in response to the +Mark Diaz Truman post here.  And this is the (now closed) g+ comment stream that followed.

There are a number of things that jumped out at me.  The most important being that feuding between gaming communities is a waste of time and energy.

I'm an active and outspoken gamer within the OSR community.  Months ago, you might have heard about my sleazy sci-fi RPG Alpha Blue being pulled from OneBookShelf for about 48 hours.  I write, I publish, I play games, and chat with other gamers.  Regardless of your feelings about one or more individuals, I'm not your enemy... and I'm not the enemy.

To read that these two factions are at war seemed ridiculous to me.  I don't know, like, 90% of Storygamers (come to think of it... I probably only know about 75% of the OSR).  For the most part, I feel like the OSR sees the Storygame community as Canada.  We're vaguely aware that you exist, but we just never really think of you.  You guys are the good neighbors who don't cause us much grief, but on the other hand, you don't go out of your way to interact with us.  Has the US been secretly at war with Canada all these years?  I doubt it.  And if that's true, it's not a productive use of our energies.

Awhile back, I said something online publicly about +Erik Tenkar.  Then he said something about me.  It went back and forth a bit.  At some point during the exchange, Erik mentioned "getting his Irish up," or something to that effect.  I'm Irish.  My mother's maiden name is Murphy.  And I said nothing - at least, I don't recall saying anything.  Thankfully, we eventually got shit off our chests (proverbially, thank Dread Cthulhu), and now I consider him a friend.

I know both +Zak Sabbath and +Kasimir Urbanski (RPGpundit), but I can't speak for them.  Also, they are not in charge.  We don't have leaders or officials or badges of authenticity.  The OSR is filled with a lot of different personalities.  We're not all one thing or another.  I think all gamers are relatively eclectic, actually.  Our one commonality - we enjoy roleplaying games.

If you're going to communicate with the OSR, and I hope Storygamers will, there are some things I should mention.  Though, I personally consider myself progressive and liberal (most of the time), the following are words and phrases that won't mean much to us.  We don't use them.  At least, I can't remember the last time I've seen them used on an OSR blog, forum thread, g+ post, etc. (except for +Kiel Chenier)


  • People have been hurt by this or that - you can talk about your hurt feelings, but that's not going to garner much sympathy.  Life is a contact sport.  If you haven't been badly hurt physically, rub dirt into it and walk it off.
  • Harassment and abuse - similar to the above... if it's not bad enough that you've gotten the authorities involved, then chances are that it's more hurt feelings by people who strongly disagree with you on the internet.  Not worth crying about.
  • We're not being inclusive enough - I don't give a damn what color, gender, sexual preference, religion, or anything else you are.  If we have common interests, let's chat.  If we have a good chemistry, then hopefully we can be friends.  No one in the OSR feels bad because the guy writing his own Labyrinth Lord modules doesn't have enough ethnic diversity on his cover or collaborating on its design.  Focus on the work, what individuals bring to the table.  Don't whine about being this or that... or this or that isn't being represented as well as it should be.
  • Privilege and power - similar to inclusion, I'm not interested in reading words about how straight white males have it easy or that the powerless are cowering in a little dark corner.  Do something you're proud of that a few other people like, too, and then make use of it.  That's what it's all about.  The more power you have, the more your hands are tied.  So, sometimes the least powerful can become the most powerful.
  • Politics - we're not here to talk about Trump versus Hillary, Hillary versus Bernie, or the 2nd amendment versus pro-choice.  Sure, you can mention whatever you want, but don't expect gaming talk to follow suit.  That would be like combining oil and water and assuming it will mix well.
  • Lumping people into stereotypical groups - oh, well, those people have over there have beards (!) or frequent the Dragonsfoot forum, theRPGsite, Tenkar's Tavern, or the Story-Game boards.  So, that means those people are all like X, Y, and Z.  
  • Continually reminding us that we have a problem in the gaming community - the RPG hobby doesn't have a problem - certain individuals have problems (or are problems).  By and large, everything is fine.  Sure, some bad apples exist.  But constantly trying to shame large groups into behaving a certain way is only going to piss people off.  A gaming community is not the place to advocate for social justice or whatever cause you might have.
  • Playing certain RPGs causes brain damage - Fuck off!  That's all I'm going to say about that one.

Obviously, people from both communities have experienced things way before reading this blog post.  I propose we try to move past all that, turn the page, and start anew.  Let's open up a dialog.  But I'd rather not open up old wounds.  They won't heal by re-examining them.  This, here and now, is about moving forward.

If there's a problem, talk about it openly.  Not getting anywhere?  Maybe you need arbitration.  Tag people you know and trust if you are looking for clarification, reassurance, or witnesses.  Perhaps I can be one of those people.  I'm fairly reasonable and unbiased about a lot of things.  I have a lot of friends and tons of acquaintances, but I try not to play favorites.

Of course, first you'd have to get to know me.  Without that first step of communication, there will always be a wall between individuals and communities.  Personally, I could do without that wall because it prevents me from interacting with people I might enjoy getting to know and game with.

Finally, yes, there are ideological differences between the Old School Renaissance and Story Games.  Storygamers go towards the story, while the OSR lets the story come to us.

When it comes down to it, on a fundamental level, I don't really give a shit about that either.  We all love RPGs, and there's a variety of them for a reason.  If you like one type of gaming, that's not going to prevent me from talking with you, appreciating your work ethic, critiquing a piece of artwork, examining a rule/ruling, or even sitting down at a table together in order to try something new out.

Thanks for reading.  Feel free to comment below!

Venger As'Nas Satanis
High Priest of Kort'thalis Publishing

p.s.  I'm tagging a bunch of people who already responded to Mark's post so they'll see this and maybe a dialog will open:  +Sage LaTorra +Avonelle Wing +Jessica Hammer +Brendan S +Elizabeth Chaipraditkul +Fraser Simons +Michael McMullan +Hilary McNaughton +Dan Maruschak +Christian Griffen +Mark Delsing +Lukas Myhan +Nicole Winchester +Andy Hauge +Mick Bradley +Jason Pitre +Ramanan S +Renee Knipe +Angela Craft +James Smith +Jessica Price +Jeffry Crews


Friday, July 22, 2016

Xmas in July Sale!


Yep, DriveThruRPG / RPGnow is doing their annual summer sale.  25% off a lot of PDF titles - including all of mine.  Like something you see on the right sidebar (be sure to scroll down - I've been busy over the last 4 years)?  Click on it and be whisked away to awesome town!

Enjoy,

VS


Thursday, July 21, 2016

Draconic Magazine Article Roundup


This might be Draconic Magazine issue # 4.5555667 and 2/5ths or so, but it's here.

Now, that writing on Universal Exploits and Crimson Dragon Slayer 1.11 is finished, I've had time to post a few more articles.

There's stuff for Alpha Blue, Dungeon Crawl Classics, and my interview with Zak Sabbath where he talks about Maze of the Blue Medusa.

Please check it out and keep coming back, y'all!

VS