Thursday, September 20, 2018

Alpha Blue Boycott


Thanks to a tip from the RPGpundit, I have screen-shots of David Black (of The Black Hack fame) trying to whip up some kind of anti-friend mob against me.

I wouldn't classify it as harassment, cyber bullying, or actual hate, but he's only getting started.  We've interacted before, and now it looks like David Black is trying to escalate things.

Those who know me, know that I'm not homophobic.  Alpha Blue isn't homophobic, either.  It may be from a straight male's point of view, but Alpha Blue can be used for any kind of sexual gratification between consenting adults.

While I was upset with Kiel Chenier for not wanting to review Alpha Blue because it wasn't gay enough, did I go on a boycott or unpersoning rampage, accusing him of heterophobia?  Nope.  He's free to do what he wants, review what he wants.

Zak S. just wrote a new blog post about sexual expression in RPGs, hoping for some kind of consensus via exhaustive argument.  And he assumed anyone coming down on sexual content would be from the right-wing.  Have you met the far-left, Zak?  Policing what everybody says, thinks, believes, votes, friends, likes, dislikes, and how they live their lives is job numero uno for the Ctrl-Left.

Me?  All I wanted to do was join some Facebook Roll20 groups so I could find players who wanted to try something other than D&D.

I'm just a middle of the road guy with a singular agenda - fun!  That's all I want, to have as much fun roleplaying with friends and strangers as possible.  I don't care if they're straight, gay, bisexual, male, woman, non-binary, black, yellow, green, blue, or white.  I don't care if they're communists, Muslims, Christians, Satanists, Jews, Libertarians, white nationalists, far-left, Alt-Right, farmers, programmers, doctors, or pornographers.

As long as they're not a disruptive asshole at the table, I'll put politics and everything else aside so we can game and see what happens.

But my allowing others to have differing points of view is part of the problem, part of my problem, and why I should be shunned by a certain segment of the hobby.  By not being an intolerant asshole, I'm considered "toxic" or whatever by a select few.

It's tragic that conformity is idealized, whereas individuality and freedom are looked down upon.

There's rumor of an Alpha Blue boycott happening, so let me say one thing regarding that - trying to influence the masses away from dangerous or forbidden content goes both ways... just like many of the characters in Alpha Blue.

VS

p.s. I somehow forgot to mention that David Black is either lying or totally misunderstood / took out of context any comment I made about an all-female development team.  Also, I have no idea what "tried to Kickstart DnDgate" means. 

Tuesday, September 18, 2018

Why We Roll


I've been GMing quite a bit lately.  So, I've been thinking about rolling dice... why we do it, what kind of effect or meaning dice rolling has for us.

There's probably a variety of types/reasons, but for this post, I'm going to break it down into two separate camps: 1) want specifics and 2) want vague idea of how things should go.

The first is pretty easy to define.  We roll because we're looking for details.  How many magic missiles is the mage firing?  How much damage?  Where precisely is the randomly-shot fireball going?

Sometimes, we want answers and the dice are a way of getting those answers without too much bias (even if results are controlled or weighted, they're still random).

After all, it's freeing to let the dice decide for us, to let the rules interpret what those dice results mean, and remain unburdened so we can better describe what happens.

The second is probably used less often, but I think it's just as powerful as the first (more traditional) reason for rolling dice.  That dice rolling philosophy is found more often in my own VSd6 engine RPGs like Alpha Blue, Crimson Dragon Slayer, The Outer Presence, and Blood Dark Thirst (see right-hand sidebar for links).  Maybe it's also more of a story-game approach?  I can't be sure since I haven't played those types of RPGs.

If we're already roleplaying a scene, but a player wants to intimidate or get information across subtly or tries to use sexual innuendo to get into a woman's space pants, then I'm not rolling for a specific number.  A "3" or "14" isn't going to reveal exactly what happens.  I'll have to interpret what the dice are trying to tell me and weave that good, bad, or ugly knowledge into the scene. 

There's a couple things I like about this second type.  A) as Game Master, I get to decide (usually with the dice's help) exactly what happens as the scene unfolds.  B) I only have to roll once and that influences the entire interaction.  Until something drastically changes, that "vague idea of how things should go" is the only roll I need to make, and I'm able to focus on how the interaction unfolds.

I can recall several games where I and other GMs employed the first type.  It seemed like every tiny shift in the scene, we were rolling for answers - for specifics, only to roll again a minute later when a bit of new information revealed itself.  Generally, these were non-detail oriented actions/events, and it was only later that I realized the roll-reason wasn't congruent with the roll-type.

For instance, if some alien entity was trying to dominate a PC to do a specific task and I rolled somewhere in the middle, then maybe the PC is able to fend it off... but what about the next round or a couple minutes later?  If I'm rolling for details, maybe I come up with one for that moment, and then roll again in a little bit? 

To me, that doesn't seem satisfying.  What I prefer is rolling once to get an idea of how this domination is going to go down, and then use that information to color the scene.  Instead of multiple rolls in the near future, I can focus my GMing on possible results once the PC takes action against the entity or how nearby NPCs are going to react.

I'm not trying to say one type of rolling is better than another.  I definitely use both in my games.  But I will say that if you hardly ever use the second type, then give it a try and see how you like it.  Sometimes, a vague idea of how things should go is all the result you need.

VS

p.s.  That Doctor Who meme doesn't have much to do with this blog post, but I found it amusing and wanted to break up the text... so, yeah.

Thursday, September 13, 2018

"All About That Sauce" - Alpha Blue play report


Today was my third attempt at getting a one-shot Alpha Blue game going on Roll20.  Must have rolled a 3 because my success was minimal.  A single player...

However, that was actually good news!  Because the scenario I wanted to playtest begins as a solo-adventure.

Below is the transcription from our session (I skipped a few bits).  Not too worried about spoilers because I tailored the game to Tim's character - Bob Forsythe, a pizza delivery boy - and it's a bit different than what will appear in the finished product.

Hope you enjoy it!  Didn't expect this NPC cameo, but crazy, unexpected shit happens during actual play.  ;)

VS:  Just as you're leaving planetary orbit, you remember your wife nagging you about taking out that space cardboard.  Delivering pizzas can wait, you suppose.  You make a u-turn back to your house only to find a rocket-cycle parked in your spot.

Tim:  I have a sneaking suspicion it's not an early birthday present.  I wanna see what's up and head around back, leaving my car parked in front of the rocket-cycle, blocking it from leaving.

VS:  Ok, you head to the back of the house, look into the bedroom window and see a blue alien porking your wife.

Tim:  What the Hell?  Time to burst in and tell her what's on my mind.  "Damn it, Tessa!  You said that was the last time."

VS:  "Sorry, Bob.  Ben-wa was going door to door selling space vacuum cleaners and our sex life isn't what it used to be.  I'm bored and need sparkling things in my life... like diamonds and shiny blue wieners."

You can see that Ben-wa is space French and doesn't stop fucking your wife while she tries to explain.

Tim:  "I don't mind spicing things up, but the point is 'I' really have to be involved."

"Seriously, dude... could you stop for 5 minutes?"

VS:  "You know she's not actually your wife, right?" Ben-wa says.  Tessa elbows him in the ribs and whispers that he wasn't supposed to say anything about that.

Tim:  "Wait... diamonds?"

"Wait, what?!?"  Bob waves the hand with his wedding band on it, as proof that they really are married.

VS:  "I suppose the jig is up, Bob.  I was assigned to spy on you by the Federation.  I'm a Federation agent within the pizza sauce task force.  My real name is Spectra.  Our marriage is a sham - just part of the job.  But now that you know all this... I'll have to terminate you.  Sorry, honey."

She looks for her laser pistol on the nightstand, but it must have gotten misplaced when Ben-wa brought out his dozen bottles of lube.

Tim:  Damn Feds.  They never did really get over the Calzone wars, even though they were on the winning side. 

Well, that pistol should be nearby.  I'm going to dive for the floor to where it probably fell. [rolls poorly, highest is a "3"]

VS:  Ok, you dive.  You grab hold of it, but Ben-wa already finished with your "wife" and has his blaster trained on you.  You notice his blue load dripping out of Tessa... oops, I mean Spectra.

Tim:  Maybe I can distract him for a moment...

"Well, Ben-wa, I have to say that what you lack in technique, you make up for in speed.  Perhaps after another 10 goes she would be done as well."

If he flinches or seems distrated by the comment, I'll blast him.  [rolls poorly again]

VS:  He seems momentarily distracted, so you fired.  Ben-wa was ready for your clever ruse and dodged out of the way.  Now, he fires!

Your shoulder is grazed by his blaster fire as you tuck and roll back onto your feet. 

Tim:  Well, discretion is the better part of valor.  I'll lay down a couple of shots to keep their heads down and beat a hasty retreat through the house to the garage.

VS:  You see her purse sitting on the mudroom counter on the way to the garage.

Tim:  Well, that's just asking to go with me... and so it does.  Maybe this whole secret agent thing is just some elaborate roleplay.  But that laser burn on my shoulder sure doesn't feel fake.

VS:  You grab the purse and go through it as you sit in your flying car.

Tim:  Ok, pull forward to knock the bike over.  I'll make me feel better.  Then back out and get into space.  When I can put it on cruise control, I'll rummage through her purse.

VS:  You see your wife's communicator, her access crystal with 2,300 credits digitally loaded onto it, and a Federation badge.

Tim:  With a heavy heart check the credentials for the badge to confirm the truth I so desperately want to deny.

VS:  Yep, it looks like Spectra was a Federation agent in charge of spying on pizza personnel the whole time she was fake married to you.

Tim:  So, racking my brain... what would the Feds want with me as a connection to the pizza sauce task force?  I'm just a delivery guy, so this has to be bigger than me.

VS:  Just then Spectra's communicator receives a call from someone in the Zero Rez space station, not too far from you.

Tim:  Well, the day can't get any worse.  I'll answer the call.

VS:  "Spectra, are you there?  This is Majess Du Kunth at Zero Rez.  Are you receiving me?"

Tim:  Damn, it can get worse.  What do I know about Zero Rez / Majess Du Kunth?

VS:  Only that it's full of offices, fairly nondescript.  Once while your "wife" was sleeping, she mentioned the name Majess Du Kunth.  You assumed it was an old boyfriend by the way she was moaning.

"I'm having trouble getting your signal.  Are you there, Spectra?"

Tim:  "Sorry, Spectra can't come to the comm right now, she's occupied with being the worse agent you've ever had!"

VS:  "I don't know, I've had a lot of agents over the years.  She can't have been any worse than Gerald... used his teeth far too much."

Tim:  Hmm, it would probably be suicide to go charging straight in.  Anyone I can call on for help?

VS:  You know of one man who might be able to help you.  He eats pizza at the place you deliver for about 6 out of 7 standard days.

Tim:  (Lie)  "This is Tonks Redridge of the Space Rangers.  I was running a deep undercover mission which YOUR agent completely bungled." 

(Drive to pizza place)

VS:  "I can't keep this secret any more... the sauce... it's people!  We've triple-checked the ingredients... the sauce is made out of people, space ranger Redridge.  It's PEEEOOOOPPLLLEEEE!!!"

You arrive at the pizza place.  Your buddy Venger Satanis is there eating his usual 1d4+1 slices of pepperoni pizza and drinking purple prizm.

Tim:  "What you mean like humans, or those 5 legged Alpha Zaronians?  Never thought of them much like people... more like intelligent potatoes. 

VS:  "Human being people!"

Tim:  "Venger... hey.  How good would you say the pie is at this place?"

VS:  "It's my favorite place to eat pizza, hoss!"

Tim:  I sure don't like the idea of serving folks, but I like the idea of getting shot at even less. 

"Someone wants to shut it down.  Shut it all down, man!"

VS:  Venger yells, "Nooo!"

Tim:  I know who's behind it.  The only question is how far would you go to save this sauce?"

VS:  "As far as it takes, hoss."

Tim:  "See this laser burn?  The Feds, man.  They're spouting lies and want to shut it down.  Shut all the pizza places down.  I've got to stop them.  The fate of the galaxy's junk food rests on my, and partly your, shoulders.  Are you with me?"

VS:  "You had me at 'pie', hoss."

Tim:  "We've got to break into Zero Rez and get to Majess Du Kunth's office.  I think our only chance is to destroy all their files.  Feds can't do anything without paperwork."

VS:  "Hop in."  Venger fires up the thrusters on his 18 space wheeler and punches in the coordinates for Zero Rez.  "Ain't no motherfucker going to shut my pizza down."

Tim:  On the way, I want to look up the offices of Majess at Zero Rez.  I expect it to have a cover (Fed investigation office would be a bit obvious, but the gov has done worse.)

VS:  Venger jumps out for a sec in order to get a refill on his purple prizm - then back in and off the two of you go.

You see a block of offices listed as "Sausage Specialists" over at Zero Rez.

Tim:  "So, I've got this badge.  It'll probably get us past a first glance but after that, man, it is really just up to our luck... and this here blaster."

VS:  "Yeehaw!"  Venger attempts to force-dock with the space station...

[I roll poorly, as well]

Large areas of both his truck and the space station's docking area are damaged, but you're safely in.  The office directory says that Sausage Specialists are just down the corridor.  You see a couple of low-level Feds guarding Majess' office. 

Tim:  Bob is going to grab something nearby (a box maybe) and do his best delivery man impression (he's trained for this) to get close to the door.

"Hi, guys.  HDS Delivering a package for Mr... eh, I can't make this out.  I'll just take this inside to have the secretary sign for it."

[actually rolls well this time]

VS:  Finally, luck is with you!  Your delivery training has paid off.  Everyone leaves you alone with your package.  Venger pretends to be your security guard side-kick.

You're inside.  You see a man at his desk with a name-plate that reads Majess Du Kunth.  There's a replica t-rex on his desk, alone with a uterus-shaped glass paperweight [FYI, there are absolutely no pictures of such a thing on the internet] and a box containing a half-eaten cherry pie.

Tim:  I saunter up to the desk, "Nice pie you've got there, Mr... Kunth.  Seems to be missing something though... like sauce?"

VS:  Venger takes a bite out of the cherry pie.

"The sauce," Majess says in horror.  "You know?!?"

Tim:  I throw the box at him and then pistol whip him while he catches the box.

[rolls poorly... again]

VS:  You throw the box, he tries to catch it, misses, and then you slap the barrel of your pistol across his face.  It leaves a mark, but he reaches inside his desk drawer and pulls out a double-edged whoopie cushion... vorpal.

Tim:  Shoot, that's what I get for being a nice guy and not trying to kill him.

VS:  Venger asks, "Is this the asshole trying to kill my pizza urge?"

Tim:  "This is the guy!"

VS:  Venger shoots him in the gut.

[I roll decent and wound Majess]  [I roll to randomly decide who Majess is going to attack - it's Bob.  I roll well.]

VS:  He cuts off Bob's right hand.  Now, he'll have to get proficient with his left.  Luckily, you were holding the gun in your left hand. 

[Since the game's almost over, I double Tim's dice pool but he still gets a shitty result]

You distract him just long enough for Venger to get a clean shot...

[I roll a critical success for my NPC]

Tim:  "Ha, you fell for the old cut off my hand while my friend shoots you trick!"

VS:  Venger puts a hole right through Majess' skull.  "Sauce that, hoss!"

Tim:  Well, let's check the computer to see if the information is true, and then delete all of it regardless of the results.  At least it might make for a good story worth a free beer or hand-job in the future.

VS:  You check the computer and see that the pizza sauce is actually made of peop'ple.  Peop'ple is a rare form of tomato shaped like a vagina. 

Meanwhile, Venger gets a hot nurse to make a house call.  The nurse comes in and bandages Bob's hand... to completion.

Tim:  Not the hand-job I was expecting, but a hand-job nonetheless.

_____________

That was the game.  Stay tuned to this blog so you know when Kobayashi Maroon by Zoltar Khan Delgado drops!


Enjoy,

VS

p.s.  That first picture?  It's what can happen when you google "Venger Satanis" - you've been warned!



Saturday, September 8, 2018

Not Safe For Space


Warning: What you are about to read contains raw, unfiltered awesomeness which some may find inappropriate or objectionable.

While I'm intrigued by next year's release of Your Best Game Ever, it was a pleasant surprise to live out one of my best games ever last night.

Alpha Blue with 5 players, no noobs, everyone was on board with the type of game Alpha Blue can degenerate into.  I mean, this session was fucking NSFS! 

Tying an NPC up during an orgy, finishing all over her face and then leaving her there until later when the PC was ready for seconds. Upon returning, he noticed a line forming in front of the girl.  However, the right to cut in line because his stuff ran down and dried on her face first was invoked.  Sorry, ma'am.  It's Federation law.

It was silly madness and gonzo ridiculous sleazy sci-fi cliche - every time I play that game it seems like we're living a familiar genre while simultaneously creating a new one. 

Yeah, I'm biased, but it was a great time.  Every scene there was something hilariously stupid going on, occasionally the entire session broke down because we were laughing so hard.

I can't give out major spoilers because this was a playtest session, as well as, a tribute to Jacqueline Pearce who played Servalan on Blake's 7.  There's a lot of B7 DNA in Alpha Blue, so it felt right to remember her with last night's one-shot.

Also, I hadn't gotten to use Battle Star: Trek Wars or No One Warps For Free before last night.  So, using those was a trip.  Even though it had only been months since writing them, it seemed as though someone else had written them... yet I still knew where certain tables were squirreled away.

We used the tattoo tables, the orgasm table, the exotic weapon table, and the upcoming table that determines what the NPCs are doing when you barge in on them (that's where the orgy came from).  Plus, a variety of old and familiar tables, such as narcotics, multiple tables for female NPCs (it makes me smile when I happen to roll the "voluptuous" result), and a saving throw at the end - never try to perform first aid using a familiar made of poop!

You know it's good when half the players message you the next day saying what fun they had.

The upcoming Alpha Blue adventure(s) aren't mine, but a trusted friend has taken up the reigns.  Zoltar Khan Delgado knows exactly what kind of slutty, low-brow, bad taste belongs in there.  It's going to drop at the end of September.  When it does, I'll announce the release here on Venger's old school gaming blog.

VS

p.s. Lately, there's been a puritanical vibe rippling through the RPG community, a strict political correctness and cultural over-sensitivity that almost made me re-write this actual play report because it might offend a couple of people.  Well, fuck that!  Alpha Blue is a game for freedom-loving individuals who live by their own rules... and d6 dice pools.


Tuesday, September 4, 2018

Where There's Life, There's Threat


Just one of the many phenomenal quotes from Supreme Commander Servalan.

Jacqueline Pearce played the formidable and relentless Blake's 7 antagonist and leader of the corrupt (dare I say fascist?) Terran Federation during it's 4-year run.

Servalan was an awesome character and Jacqueline Pearce brought her to merciless life!  She died yesterday at the age of 74.  That's all the encouragement I needed to run a special tribute session of Alpha Blue on Friday (had a scheduling conflict during Thursday's game).  Here's the listing on Roll20.

This will be a short 60-90 minute game, text only (cause I'll be at work), and 18+ due to extreme naughtiness.  Noobs are encouraged to join in and play.

Have a favorite outfit, quote, or episode of Blake's 7?  Please, comment below...

VS

p.s.  If there's unprecedented outcry of gamers wanting to join in, then I'll create a second session a bit later in the afternoon for those who wanting to play but weren't lucky enough to get in the first session right away.

p.p.s. Yes, Servalan will be wearing that red dress.  Meow!


Thursday, August 30, 2018

Blood in Translation


Nearly a dozen creators reached out to me about publishing their own Blood Dark Thirst material since announcing the open license last week.  Which is awesome...

But now The Hills is pre-selling their Spanish translation of Blood Dark Thirst right over here!

I've seen their PDF and it's top-notch, just like the original.  And what is Blood Dark Thirst, you ask?  The PCs are vampires... though, more demon than undead.  The system is quasi-neo-OSR and rules-light using the VSd6 engine, just like Crimson Dragon Slayer, Alpha Blue, and The Outer Presence.

So, if you haven't already downloaded the PDF or purchased the full-color softcover on Amazon.com, get on that.  Don't miss out on the other vampire RPG that's taking the night by storm!

VS

Tuesday, August 28, 2018

Save vs Death


While listening to RPGpundit review one of my recent collections in his video (below), I felt compelled to set the record straight on something...




Pure luck is a dyed-in-the-wool old school concept.  You roll the dice and have x% chance of good, bad, or ugly.  Like anything else, relying solely on luck can be overused. 




Do you know why something like Save vs Death is old school?  Because the idea of initiation is ancient. 

Not everyone will make it.  Some things aren't about preparedness, skill, inborn talent, or - they come down to the luck of the draw... in other words, divine favor.  If characters roll well, that means the Gods have given their blessing and certain individuals may continue to prosper.  If a particular roll goes poorly, characters die. 

The world is cruel, Gods capricious, and fate makes its own choices.  That's just the way it goes!

VS

p.s. For comparison's sake, here's Endzeitgeist's review of Player's Handbook like a Fucking Boss and his review of Play Your Character like a Fucking Boss.

p.p.s. For the sake of completeness, here is RPGpundit's review of How to Game Master like a Fucking Boss.



Tuesday, August 21, 2018

What's Dark, Thirsty, and Red All Over?


What's it like being a vampire in your campaign setting?

RPGpundit's review of Blood Dark Thirst (and resulting commentary on g+) has inspired me to announce something I should have done months ago...

I'm officially opening up my neo-quasi O5Rish rules-light vampire RPG to those interested in licensing that shit for FREE!!!

Yes, you can write, publish, and reap all the rewards for your very own Blood Dark Thirst supplement, sourcebook, or scenario from now until January 1st of 2020.  You can even bounce ideas off me and I'll take a look at what you're making and probably give you suggestions.  I've got lots of opinions!  ;)

That game is literally dying for content and I'm committed to a big project in 2019 and won't be able to publish more than a short adventure until next summer.  Too bad, since it's a great little game with lots of potential.

However, I have a feeling that ambitious gamers will gladly pick up the slack.

Any questions?  Feel free to comment below!

VS

p.s. After this licensing term ends, what you previously published in 2018 and 2019 won't be affected by new licensing terms in 2020.

p.p.s. My friend Egg Embry reminded me of something... it would be nice if mention was made that Blood Dark Thirst was created by Venger As'Nas Satanis and is published by Kort'thalis Publishing.


Saturday, August 11, 2018

James Gunn Gone For Good


I think it's safe to say that James Gunn will NOT be re-hired by Disney.

As I predicted in Inappropriate Characters episode #4, where there's smoke, there's usually fire.  You can't be that obsessed with talking (even if it's joking - sometimes, especially if you're joking) about a subject and not have that thing be a part of your life... even if it's a very small part.

And with a subject as abhorrent, taboo, and just plain morally fucking wrong as pedophilia, even dipping your toe in the water is the end of the road for your Disney career.

I'm not going to post the leaked photos of James Gunn attending a pedo-themed costume party because... gross!  However, I will link to the page where they appear.

A year ago, I never thought I'd be saying something about the far-left, rampant SJWs, or the liberal media, but Jesus Christ, what the Hell is going on?  Everything from silence on Jeremy Hambly's assault by some "punch Nazis" asshole to the James Gunn pedo-apologists who seemed a hair away from getting him re-hired.

Yes, I love diversity and inclusivity, too, but stop acting like a hive-mind propaganda machine whose chief objective is identity politics and having fun / playing games is only a secondary consideration... at best.

Thoroughly disenchanted,

VS

p.s.  If you want some tangentially-related Guardians of the Galaxy RPG stuff, here's a FREE adventure for Alpha Blue.  It's sleazy without having anything James Gunn might get off on.