Friday, January 18, 2019

Under Pressure

I was re-reading my unbelievably fantastic interview at the Age of Dusk blog (really, it's so scrumptious that some cultures would probably view it as high-art erotica) while also enjoying the commentary below - then something struck me...

What are the reasons for story-gaming over traditional roleplaying? 

  1. Lack of imagination - People just can't come up with anything creative because they don't have the imagination.  Hey, not everybody's wired that way.  But then why would they gravitate to RPGs at all?  So, I don't think it's lack of imagination.
  2. Pressure to perform - You're expected to come up with something good on-the-spot.  Roleplaying is a performance art.  And I'm not just talking about getting your character's voice right, but tactics, strategy, logistics, persuasion, and all the little details that go into playing an RPG.  We live in an age when the fear of failure is greater than the ambition to succeed.  There are no winners or losers, just the possibility of more PC pseudo-angst.  Here's your participation award.
  3. Laziness - Continually thinking of genre, character, and story appropriate things is difficult.  Wouldn't it just be easier if the rules or some play-book did the work for you?  Sure, it would.  But there goes one of the best parts of roleplaying - creating something tremendous from the humble micro-tools you start with, like profession, ability scores, name, equipment, personality, etc.  This will help without doing all the work for you!
  4. Bad GMs - Sure, there are a lot of piss-poor Game Masters out there.  Sad, but true.  Some GMs are sadistic bastards or failed novelists or egotistical attention hogs.  A few RPG designers try to actively counteract bad GMing by coming up with rules that strip GMs of their power and players their opportunity.
  5. Ignorance - If story-games are all you know, then maybe you're not aware of traditional RPGs.  Perhaps you've never experienced the creative freedom that comes from having a character in a fairly open, lawless sandbox without training wheels, railroad tracks, or "special moves" that hold your hand all the way to the finish line.  I'm talking about RPG sessions where virtually anything is possible!

If I had to pick just one of the five, I'd probably blame story-games on the pressure to perform.  Almost everyone gets some form of performance anxiety (even if it's extraordinarily mild or productive eustress that catapults you to new heights).  

Even though I routinely GM like a fucking boss, I still get nervous occasionally.  But I don't let nerves or anxiety stop me from enjoying an awesome game with both friends and strangers.  I simply do my best, knowing full well that every so often I will fail.  The failure doesn't bother me as much as not living up to my potential.  

Hope you got something out of this... oh yeah and Cha'alt has about 16 days left to fund! Those hardcovers are going fast.  Don't miss out!!!  ;)


Wednesday, January 16, 2019

Cha'alt Kickstarter Struggling

In case you can't watch the video, here's a brief summary (actually, just read it.  I expanded upon some things)...

Yeah, things could be going better.  That's ok.  I'm still plugging away, and so are a few of my fanatical supporters who want to see Venger Satanis and Cha'alt succeed!

I don't make safe, normal, pedestrian, commercial D&D (or any RPG content).  Nor am I trying to out-shock anyone with super edgy, controversial on-purpose stuff. If you think a little T&A on the cover is over-the-top, then I can't help you.  My writing occasionally comes across as weird or uncomfortable because I'm just being me.  Sure, I keep the audience in mind, but at the end of the day, I'm creating content for myself. 

Check out Prince of Nothing's blog post.  It's insightful.  Plus, there was a really nice comment at the end that I want to quote, "Venger Satanis does crazy stuff and when people complain, he doesn't apologize... he fights."

That will stick with me, no matter what.  That is what's important.  Even if Cha'alt is stillborn, I have a feeling it'll live on... Maybe it'll be one of those time-capsule near-misses of history like Jodorowsky's Dune.  Almost got made; unfortunately, the stars just weren't right.  But man, that would have been fucking awesome!

Obviously, I don't have a huge fan-base.  The only crowd I cater to is the one that loves raw, fun, authentic gaming.  Nevertheless, it would be cool to have help getting the word out about Cha'alt - only 19 days before the KS is over!  We have a loooong ways to go.



p.s. Almost finished with maps 2 and 3.  Will blog about that tomorrow.

Monday, January 14, 2019

The First of Many

It's been a long time since I've spent serious time and energy making my own maps. 

For a number of reasons [Cha'alt being one of them], I decided to try my hand at it once more.  Got a couple decent hours of peace and quiet over the weekend and bashed this out. 

The map in question is called Beneath Kra'adumek (City of the Purple Demon-Worm).  It's on 14" x 17" drawing paper, so I'll probably have to go to my local copy shop to scan it.

This dungeon could be something for Cha'alt, the Purple Islands, or possibly both...

Trying to find my own style.  It's fairly simple, didn't want to start with anything too challenging.  I figure after a couple dozen, I'll hit the next plateau.  We'll see.

Let me know if you like it,


p.s. If you haven't yet, please support my latest kickstarter.  Cha'alt needs you!

Saturday, January 12, 2019

Cha'alt Hardcover Option

That's right, there's now a professionally printed hardcover tier for the Cha'alt kickstarter!

It's limited to 1,000... so, get in on that while they're available.  Don't wait for ebay where you might see one for $300 in a couple years.

Thanks again for your support, and please share this news with your gaming friends.  ;)


p.s. Here's a look at yet another Yannick Bouchard masterpiece that will be included in my full-color magnum opus Cha'alt.

p.p.s. Alien dinosaurs fighting in the post-apocalyptic wastes as some dude from the late 21st century hopes to survive!

Sunday, January 6, 2019

Cha'alt Kickstarter Live

I've been talking about Cha'alt since the summer, and now it's finally taking shape enough to Kickstart.  Check out the KS page!

I'm not sure if something in my unconscious picked up on it or it's just an uncanny coincidence, but apparently there was talk of a meta-OSR black ziggurat project way back in 2010 here and mentioned here in 2012. 

I haven't begun to track down all the references, but it's weird and awesome to stumble upon all this after months of thinking about the black pyramid of Cha'alt.

That kind of pedigree only gets my juices flowing faster!  Now, I want to do right by all the OSR bloggers who created their own black ziggurat a decade or two ago.

Well, if you have any questions about the kickstarter, Cha'alt, the black pyramid, or anything else, please feel free to comment below. 

Also, feel free to mention the KS campaign around social media, blog about it, discuss on forums, etc.  I don't have an entire company backing me.  I am the company.  Marketing, promotion, and advertising are jobs all their own.



p.s. Months ago, I was calling the megadungeon The Black Pyramid, but then a few weeks ago I started calling it the Great Pyramid of Cha'alt.  Based on the above information, I'm thinking The Black Pyramid has more... resonance.  Thoughts?

Saturday, January 5, 2019

Hand Drawing Dungeons

This is just a quick proof of concept to see if I can draw a half-decent dungeon.

I had graph paper, one too thick black marker and a regular ball-point black pen.  Did these in 20 minutes.

So far, I'm mildly pleased.  Will keep working on it and read up on all the tutorials swirling around the internet.


p.s.  Guess what?  My new Cha'alt kickstarter is live!!!

Thursday, January 3, 2019

We'll Always Be Alt-Right To Some

I was just reading this article about 2018 and it looks like the OSR has a reputation.

We may as well face it, to both the near and far-left, everyone from the middle to the far-right is just a hop, skip, and a jump away from being a full-blown Nazi (unless they've already crossed over the line).

But they soften it a bit with their own Democrat dog-whistle.  They refer to us as Alt-Right because then we can all be lumped together... conservatives, Republicans, free-speech advocates, moderates, centrists, nationalists, anti-SJWs, and white supremacists. 

And since that last one is repugnant to about 90% of people, we can therefore all be discredited in one fell swoop.  Every one of us painted with the "racist" brush in order to de-platform us (yes, still banned on RPGnet for some reason) by crying "hate-speech" or "toxic straight white male privilege."

I don't know what's going to happen in 2019, but I hope gamers can find some middle ground, move away from politics, and focus on improving our overall gaming experience.


Wednesday, December 26, 2018

A Christmas Miracle

Do you believe in unlikelihoods? 

After explaining the GaryCon situation to my loving wife, she found a way for me to attend GaryCon this March.  I won't be there for the entire weekend, but I'll be there... with tentacles!

And of course, I'll be running games (just got my events approved) and carrying around a few Kort'thalis Publishing titles for anyone who wants to acquire them at "friend prices."

Well, I just got what I really wanted for Christmas this year.  Hope you guys can say the same!

Oh and one last thing... lets do our part (the OSR and every other type of gamer out there) to make GaryCon XI the best, friendliest, accepting, tolerant, respectful, and awesome RPG convention ever! 

Fun is the priority and the most fun will be had when we realize we're all in this together.  However, forging a community has to be done the right way.  Bullying, boycotting, harassing, threatening, terrorizing, and making people feel guilty isn't the way forward.

Love and green slime from your za'akier brother behind the screen,


Monday, December 24, 2018

Live Together or Die Alone

Wasn't that Jack Shepard's mantra on the first season of Lost?

As much as I'd love to blindly follow a string of public shaming and identity politics by someone who's previously disavowed my RPG clique of choice, (Stacy Dellorfano's boycott of GaryCon posts one and two), I just can't bring myself to continually ruin someone's life because of their relatively mild past mistakes.

After all, it's not like Bill Webb threatened to kill someone while repeatedly sucker-punching them at a bar outside the convention center.  Yeah, that's right.  Some of us still remember the GenCon assault on Jeremy Hambly ( of The Quartering and Unsleaved Meda fame), and what little GenCon did to remedy that awful situation - GenCon fucking banned Jeremy Hambly!?!

Regardless, the people surrounding that PaizoCon incident want to put it behind them.  I haven't heard of additional bad behavior from Bill Webb.  However, Stacy Dellorfano joined in the harassment of myself on social media just a couple months ago after I rejoined Facebook.  Also, they and their SJW cohorts have repeatedly called the OSR toxic, full of awful white males who have nothing better to do than harass, sexually or otherwise, everyone who's the least bit different.

Of course that's bullshit.  Take it from me, as a recently identified person of color (green is beautiful, green is za'akier), it's not the fault of white people... or humans, for that matter.  Nothing will every be perfect.  A group will never be ideologically pure.  Not everybody can be saved from the slightest hint of social injustice.  And trying to over-correct nature's chaotic balance will surely throw shit out of wack (case in point, the domestic terrorist group Antifa).

I wished I could go to GaryCon this Spring - before this mess started.  Now, I wish I could be there even more.  Alas, the twins will be two and a half, and I love my wife too much to let her deal with them and our three older children all weekend by herself (even with parents helping, it's a lot of work).  But by 2020, there's a distinct possibility!

So, boycott away, Ctrl-Left assholes!  The OSR will be just fine without you.  BTW, we'll be talking about this topic and a whole lot more during the next installment of our RPG talk-show Inappropriate Characters.



p.s. My latest Alpha Blue release THOT Audit is currently PAY WHAT YOU WANT on DriveThruRPG!