Wednesday, August 12, 2020

Cha'alt Play Report

 

I took time off from virtual gaming, like the entire lockdown.  That's 5 months.  

Partly, this was because I was finishing up Cha'alt: Fuchsia Malaise.  The rest was due to my being mentally, emotionally, and physically exhausted... I've been running my very own in-home daycare (ages 3-9).

Flush with excitement from updating my transparent aluminum (so light weight and durable) O5R house-rules / hack of D&D known as Crimson Dragon Slayer (arcade-mode, bitches!), I ran a 90-minute one-shot of Cha'alt on Roll20.

A couple people dropped out because my way of running 5e isn't RAW enough for them, but we still had a decent party of 4 1/2 players (one guy was late and didn't quite get the hang of the chat until the very end).

The reason I like fast and dirty character creation is because I want to get playing.  And if you get killed, go ahead and think of a new guy and jump back in the next scene.  Everyone's time is valuable.  If I know you're playing a chaotic elf fighter named Gera'ald with a penchant for tentacle cow-tipping, that basically tells me all the mechanical and flavor junk I need to know as the GM.

The PCs had been wandering for a few hours before coming to a well-known landmark in the desert wasteland known as S'kbah.  The adventurers stood on the edge of a sarla'ak pit, it's gaping mouth wide and sun-burnt tentacles writhing hungrily.

20' above floated a hover-skiff containing a prisoner, two Federation guards, and a man wearing all-black.  It appeared that the prisoner was going to be executed very soon.

After some chit-chat with the Federation people, a PC (pixie-fairy thief) flew up and helped the prisoner get his hands free.  Fighting soon commenced.  Weirdly, two of the players chose clerics as characters but only a single healing spell was cast the entire game.  Hand-crossbows versus blasters, the PCs were taking heavy losses.  Feeling cocky, the man in black ignited a purple laser-sword and jumped down to engage the party's only fighter - a reptilian named Drak'thiss.

I missed every single attack with the man in black, so he eventually fell after the PCs flanking him both rolled a critical hit.  In the meantime, the prisoner had run off.  

The survivors looted the bodies and started walking as night approached.  Replacement characters met up with the party and shortly after discovered the prisoner crawling on the sand, dehydrated and near death.

One PC helped him up and gave him water.  Everyone listened to the prisoner's promise of wealth and power if they kept him alive long enough to get off-world.  He mentioned the infamous black pyramid...

Two seconds later, another PC attempted to brain him with a mace.  He missed and the other PCs brushed it off with uncomfortable laughter, somehow unable to see the giant red flag being waved in front of their faces.  Next round, that same PC shot him point-blank in the head.  

A couple of the other PCs complained about their comrade's rash action, but they didn't take up arms against him.  And then we were out of time.

While I'm running the game, I try not to judge.  I may slightly nudge adventurers in a certain direction from time to time, but ultimately it's their choice.  

Now, that the game is over... well, let's just say mistakes were made.  Nothing was set in stone.  The scenario could have gone in one of a dozen different directions.  Next time I run the same scenario, it'll go a different way.  Always does.  

If you choose to GM your own introduction to Cha'alt, feel free to use that (completely and utterly original start-point), and ask me for further information on the NPCs, possible future plans, etc.

VS

p.s. I still have 40-something luxury Cha'alt hardcovers left.  Want one before they're gone?  Here ya go, hoss!


Tuesday, August 11, 2020

Infinite Healing


 I considered titling this blog post "Whiny Baby Edition" but then who would be the whiny baby?  Me... or the few reviewers who incessantly complained about Crimson Dragon Slayer D20 having way too much clerical healing?  "Infinite healing" you might say, wrongly, of course, as I've discussed many, many times.

Let me cut to the chase - it's never happened to me in the dozens of games I've run, but it's possible for an adventuring party to abuse the lack of healing limitations imposed on clerics.  Well, I just fixed that.  Yep, re-wrote a whole entire god damned paragraph.  It's all for you, Damien!  Shemhamforash!!!

What's the rule change?  Similar to something I came up with in a prior edition of Crimson Dragon Slayer.  If the healing die comes up 1, the cleric is temporarily exhausted (in the spiritual sense) and unable to heal anyone for the next 10 - 40 minutes (1d4 turns).  That's it.  Not much, but it's enough of a speed-bump to pacify those 2 or 3 dudes still shouting their disapproval.

See?  I do occasionally listen to critics, and happen to think this is a fair compromise for everybody.  Now, I fully expect Crimson Dragon Slayer D20 to soar past D&D 5e in popularity, as it's less crunchy, more old school, and extremely flavorful with a sword & sorcery vibe you don't get with mainstream rule-sets.  It was, after all, made with the Cha'alt campaign setting in mind.

And this change will be carried over into Cha'alt: Fuchsia Malaise... as soon as the layout team have finished making all the other little tweaks I've compiled over the last week (3 or 4 more days?).  

Cha'alt: Fuchsia Malaise became a "Best SILVER Seller" just a couple days ago, so thank you all for continuing to support my warped, pop-culture infused, eldritch, gonzo, science-fantasy, post-apocalyptic vision!

Oh yeah, there are a couple standout reviews I should link to... here and here.

I actually ran a Cha'alt / Crimson Dragon Slayer one-shot on Roll20 last night (first time in about 5 months).  I'll blog a play report in the next day or two.

VS

p.s. I still have about 40 luxurious hardcover Cha'alt books available.  Ordering details here!


Sunday, August 2, 2020

Fuchsia Lives Matter


Want to know who's actually oppressed and faces systemic racism in 2020? 

Look no further than the citizens of Cha'alt.  Yes, real slavery and genocide while their planet's zoth is stolen.

Off-worlders think nothing of shooting a sky-elf in the face.  It's legal, so why not?  The desert is silent, but you don't have to be.

Do your part by posting a fuchsia square on your social media with the hashtag #FuchsiaLivesMatter

We need change now!  Do some good for the people of Cha'alt... even if their skin color is fuchsia.  Their lives matter just as much as citizens of the Federation.

Thank you,

VS

p.s. Download the just released Cha'alt: Fuchsia Malaise PDF.  Eldritch, gonzo, science-fantasy, post-apocalypse campaign setting for any D&D like system.

Dungeon Punks RPG


Full disclosure, I was offered a free PDF of this game for the purposes of review.  It's here on DriveThruRPG.

So, what's it like?  Black and white, lots of artwork ranging from awesome to mildly interesting.  72 pages.  Not the fanciest layout, but definitely serviceable. 

It feels like a semi-professional collection of house-rules, breaking away from traditional D&D just enough so it feels like a different game, while not really being all that different. 

I'll list a few things that stood out to me...


  • Qualities are like skills or some kind of natural affinity.  They give you a +2 when attempting an action relates to one of your character's qualities.  You could just as easily award advantage, instead of the +2 if you wanted to go the O5R route.
  • Scott Malthouse has a short essay called "How To Make Magic Weird Again".  In it, I very much enjoyed the following quote... mechanics are the bane of magic.  Such an OSR concept because it's fundamental to old school gaming.
  • Other OSR essays worth reading, such as "Bigger Swords, Better Sorcery" by James S. George.
  • A fun little introductory adventure titled "Loss of Time".


It seems that people are branching out, away from WotC/Hasbro D&D, so this is as good a place to start (after downloading your free Crimson Dragon Slayer D20 PDF, of course).

Grab it and let me know what you think!

VS

Thursday, July 23, 2020

Cha'alt: Fuchsia Malaise


Yesssss!  It's out.  GET IT HERE.

This isn't the tippy-top final version, mind you.  But it's farther along than a beta.  The bookmarks, hyperlinks, and index is coming soon.  Also, I'll be spotting and fixing typos over the next couple weeks.

What's in it?  So much, dude.  So much.  225 pages of the awesomeness you've gotten to know from Cha'alt.  Some of that page count is previously released PDFs, such as OSR Like A Fucking Boss.  That'll be in the fancy hardcover edition coming out this fall, so I wanted to include it in the PDF, as well.  Everything in one place for convenience. 

It took me almost a year to create Cha'alt: Fuchsia Malaise.  It's jam-packed with gameable content.  Some stuff you're probably expecting... the rest out of left-field.

I'm hoping to get some promotional boost from DriveThru, that's why it's ridiculously priced at $5.  If you'd like to help out, blog about it, mention it on social media, or maybe write a review. 

Thanks,

VS

Tuesday, July 21, 2020

Get Woke Go Broke


Sometimes, that brokeness isn't money, but something intangible... like character, respect, or not being a ridiculous laughingstock.

Kiel "problematic" Chenier may be the latest self-flagellating woke-soldier hip-deep in culture war bullshit, grovelling before the other intolerant leftists, but somehow his failure is more delicious than usual.  Perhaps it's something in the chocolate?

This is Kiel's apologetic post.  It's so cringe that you just have to read it for yourself.  I'm sure the social justice circle-jerk is ready to accept their soiled dove.  "So brave and beautiful."

Kiel appeared on my radar years ago when I asked him to review The Islands of Purple-Haunted Putrescence. He's one of the few gamers who didn't like it.

Then a bit later, he agreed to review Alpha Blue, but then decided not to follow-through because it was too hetero-normative and sexist or some stupid bullshit (yes, hetero-phobia is real).  Yeah, I know.  I'm not allowed to love boobies because I'm a straight white male (actually, za'akier).

This is one of the many reasons why I have zero time for the ENnies.  It's a reflection of the near constant revisionism based on identity politics, virtue signaling, and victim-ology. The ENnies are like the "woke awards", and in my humble opinion, those same radical leftists are trying to ruin this hobby... and the USA.

Privilege does exist.  However, the privilege we have to worry about is entitled first-world busybody saviors and would-be authoritarians with more activism than brains, throwing themselves into perpetual revolution because they're bored, because they are too free, because their lives are too easy.  Deep down, they know they'd actually be more or less satisfied with everything... if not for the gaping void of meaninglessness inside, exposed for all to see.

I desperately hope that November's election is not only a referendum on the Socialist "utopia" ideology ending with the death of freedom and millions of people, but also gamers who believe in being offended on behalf of everybody else, cancel culture, and the destruction of traditional / old-school RPGs.

VS

p.s. That's why I didn't submit Cha'alt for the ENnies.  But you can still get a luxurious hardcover book of your very own.  Ordering details here!

Sunday, July 12, 2020

HPL Statue Coming Down?


"Great men's errors are to be venerated as more fruitful than little men's truths." ~ Friedrich Nietzsche

This shouldn't be a surprise to anyone, but now the Providence Atheneaum is considering taking down a bust of H.P. Lovecraft. 

Here's the video, by Arkham Reporter, detailing the story...



As many of you know, Lovecraft is probably my #1 influence, creatively speaking.  Primarily the Cthulhu Mythos, but I enjoy all his stories, as well as the majority of weird tales by his circle of friends and admirers. 

Yeah, Lovecraft was racist in his younger days.  Some of that might have been due to society in the early 20th century or ignorance or mental disorder... but HPL never killed anyone or threatened to kill anyone - which makes him a thousand times better than the antifa/BLM thugs and terrorists who've been destroying property and taking lives in our cities simply because they feel disenfranchised, when in reality they live in the most prosperous, safe, and free era in the entire world's history.

If this last bit seems unnecessarily harsh, well... I just learned about the white woman, Jessica Doty Whitaker, gunned down in Indianapolis for saying "All lives matter."  Here's the article.  I'm sickened.  And the disgusting leftist media is complicit in this racial and political violence.  They fan the flames of revolution, tearing America's systems down, their one-sided narrative practically begging for another civil war.

While I believe HPL was too quick to judge or prejudge those unlike himself, most likely out of fear than hatred, the madness and degradation and cruelty of today's "peaceful protesters" is so much worse.  Before taking a statue of Lovecraft down, take a long hard look at yourself, your own shortcomings and failures to live up to this country's lofty ideals.

VS

p.s. If they do remove his statue, I'd be happy to give it a good home until this age of insanity is behind us.

Friday, July 10, 2020

WoTC Disclaimer - Sign The Petition


The Petition


Those commenting below, the undersigned, agree to not purchase another Wizards of the Coast product until the legacy content disclaimer is removed entirely.

We believe its removal will remind everyone of the truth - that D&D is not, and has never been, prejudiced in regards to race, ethnicity, or gender.  Furthermore, America is not systemically racist, and does not need to apologize or make excuses for its existence. 

The values of self-reliance, self-determination, and personal responsibility are worth infinitely more than the feelings of social justice warriors, virtue signalers, woke-scolds, and those desperately clinging to their intersectional victim-hood. 

Awake!

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

Thursday, July 9, 2020

Dystopia, Totalitarianism, and O5R


God damn, we're living in some fucked-up times!

Sure, there's the pandemic; lockdown house-arrest with accompanied domestic abuse, boredom, depression, and suicide; racial tensions with riots, looting, arson, shootings, vandalism; the proposed de-funding of police... take your pick.

But right now, I want to focus on social justice warriors taking aim at our beloved hobby.  From orcs and drow to disclaimers disavowing legacy products such as Oriental Adventures. Can anyone guess where they'll strike next?

Ironically, a contingent of SJWs are boycotting WotC and D&D because the company isn't woke enough, not far-left enough for the screeching radicals on twitter.

Well, finally some of the old guard are taking notice and putting their foot down.  For instance, This post from the Greyhawk Grognard.  The top illustration of Daenerys Targaryen is apt.  We're in a cultural war and the opposing side won't accept anything less than total submission.

The far-left fascists won't stop there, either.  Eventually, they'll take everything old school away.  If they had their way, the OSR would be nothing but a reminder of the horrible, oppressive, racist, sexist, homophobic, transphobic, colonial, alt-right, no good past that must be annihilated in order to bring a new age of peace and prosperity.

Never mind the Socialist & Communist horrors of mass death, imprisonment, poverty, starvation, and loss of freedom.  After all, you can't make utopia for the very few who truly deserve it without breaking millions of eggs along the way, right?  That's by design, only we're the eggs.

Here is an interesting article from The Hill.  From a Democrat perspective, Judd Gregg will tell you these new progressives want power.  Their ends justify any means - that means darkness, evil, corruption, oppression, and terror for those unfortunate enough to be under their iron fist.  Think I'm exaggerating?  There's a lot of things the "trained Marxists" never told you... but that's a blog post for another day.

What to do about the SJWs coming for our Isle of Dread?  Well, speak up for one thing.  If the silent majority made their voices heard, we'd be out of this mess, instead of sinking deeper into the quicksand of resistance-is-futile totalitarianism.

Cancel culture is real.  This is the open-letter by celebrities.  I've suffered from its affects in both greater and lesser quantities, everything from censoring crybabies telling me they'll never buy my books to being from certain social media platforms.  Nevertheless, I'm thriving.  As Ben Shapiro recently said, the dirty little secret is they can only cancel you if you allow yourself to be cancelled.

I don't care which side the of the political aisle you're on or who you vote for in November.  That's your business.  But I love this hobby/industry/community and don't want to see it destroyed.

As much as I love being a lone wolf, it may be time to organize.  Is some kind of organization to push back against the takeover of our gaming culture warranted?  If so, I see it as 5th wave OSR.  Years ago, I and a few others started using O5R to mean a combination of OSR and 5th edition, but it never really caught on as I'd hoped.  So it goes...

After due consideration, I think it's time to remodel O5R to mean the 5th wave of the OSR - forces openly and actively opposed to disclaimers, sensitivity readers, consent checklists, tradition shaming, attacking the fandom (remember when they called us straight white male terrorists?), shoehorning racist stereotypes into fantasy humanoids, banning or outright burning their own books, and so forth.

The O5R is dead... long live the O5R!

Venger As'Nas Satanis

High Priest of Kort'thalis Publishing


p.s. Only 74 luxurious hardcover Cha'alt books remaining.  Ordering details here!

p.p.s. Ladies and gentlemen, we have a petition.