Wednesday, October 19, 2016
Zakero brought this idea to me, I loved it, and so now it's happening. But we want you guys to help.
This is a crowd-sourcing community project for a weird, wild, gonzo, post-apocalyptic race set in the future, possibly on another planet.
Here are the basics: It will be a d100 random table full of crazy/awesome yet appropriate results. The race will be in 3 parts; first racers will roll a d12, then a d30, and finally a d100. If you want a spawn of Cthulhu to have anal sex with a cybernetic neon unicorn, well... that's probably a different table for another time.
Think Mad Max, the Hills Have Eyes, and that Thundarr the Barbarian episode where they have to get the helmet of power - "Challenge of the Wizards" (suck it, Chom!) This is a hellish, science-fantasy, mutant-strewn wasteland. Each entry should be 2 or 3 sentences long and appropriate to the genre. After that, feel free to do as you please, though there are no guarantees of having your entry published.
Things to keep in mind: references to 60s, 70s, and 80s sci-fi, humor, sexiness, gonzo, weird but plausible, flavor text to give us a sense of the race itself. Any kind of world building is a plus!
Whatever you suggest is simply that - a suggestion. There are no guarantees. And your suggestion gives us permission to publish it in the forthcoming PDF, which will be available for FREE.
There's a little bit of cost for layout and art, but I'm going to eat that myself. Especially, since this is going to (possibly) expand the Alpha Blue and Crimson Dragon Slayer lines. Although, since this concept is a random table, it should be usable with any tabletop RPG.
What to call it? Zakero came up with Alpha Blue: Getting Racy, which is good. But the title is still up for grabs. After considerable thought, I liked Death Race: Fury Road, an homage to both Deathrace 2000 and Mad Max: Fury Road. Nothing is set in stone.
Zakero set up a google document here. But I'm also taking submissions in the comment section below and privately via email if individuals prefer: Venger.Satanis@yahoo.com
Just know that once you submit an idea, it can be used for this project. However, you also retain the rights if you want to use it yourself down the road.
The deadline? One week! That's right, on Wednesday morning, October 26th, the document will be finalized and handed off to +MonkeyBlood Design (Glynn Seal) so he can make it look awesome.
Any questions? Just ask below!
Wednesday, October 12, 2016
As of this morning, the Trinity of Awesome PDFs that I funded via Kickstarter are available on DriveThruRPG. But they're not lumped together anymore (although, I'm tempted to eventually bundle them together as a print-on-demand softcover).
No, today they stand on their own two (three?) feet (or virtual tentacles, maybe).
"Slaves of Tsathoggua" is an eldritch fantasy scenario Crimson Dragon Slayer (both versions). It also contains several random tables that can be used in any fantasy RPG.
"A Green Jewel They Must Possess" is an investigative horror scenario set in the 1970s. I made it with The Outer Presence in mind, but any self-respecting GM who appreciates Cthulhuism & Yog-Sothothery can easily convert the adventure for their favorite system.
"Slippery When Wet" is a scenario for the sleazy space opera RPG Alpha Blue. This includes a +MonkeyBlood Design (Glynn Seal) map of underwater vessel The Bearded Clam.
All these scenarios are short and come in both a rich parchment color with blood stains, Kort'thalis sigil echo, and disturbingly lurid tentacle veins, as well as, a printer-friendly black and white version.
The KS backers have theirs, now it's your turn!
Monday, October 10, 2016
There's a spirited review of my very first OSR adventure - Liberation of the Demon Slayer. It was a lot of fun to read as it allowed me to revisit that world, albeit briefly.
There's an awesome actual play report from the guys who took part in a session of Alpha Blue on Roll20 a couple weeks ago. And here's another one with kids(!) that's totally PG-13 (for space drug references).
This was a nice review of Crimson Dragon Slayer edition 1.11.
I've also managed to write a few more things on Draconic Magazine. Please check them out and let me know what you think.
Trinity of Awesome will be available soon. First it goes to Kickstarter backers and then everyone else on DriveThruRPG / RPGnow. If you're an RPG blogger and/or reviewer and want to be put on the list, send me an email at: Venger.Satanis@yahoo.com
Wednesday, October 5, 2016
This blog post is just a minor rant about the latest edition/printing of Swords & Wizardry kickstarter. There's an undercurrent of what I'd call "anti-OSR agenda" which I think the Progressive Gaming Coalition should be made aware of.
We’re starting to run low on our stock of the 2nd printing, and it’s time to print some more. We didn’t just want to do an exact reprint, and the history of the changes here date back a while ago to when we were talking with designer Stacy Dellorfano about the fact that many OSR games have a physical appearance and presentation that really targets the 40 year old guys who’ve been gaming since forever, and doesn’t have nearly as much appeal to younger or female gamers of the generations following that first wave of players from the 1980s. In point of fact, old-school games, with their light-rules aspect and emphasis on a game master’s “common sense” interpretation of situations, are actually a really good tool for anyone who feels like rules-lawyers may be spoiling the game by trying to be over-authoritative or even overbearing with a GM. But if the appearance and presentation make the game look like it’s purely a throwback and not a modern tool for good gaming, then there’s a real obstacle to the game’s push into the mainstream gaming community.
Yeah, why target your actual demographic when you can try to appeal to a wide array of people who have very little interest in your product?
I'll let readers decide for themselves if a pure throwback cover depicts what's really involved with game play or if it's just expected window-dressing. Truth in advertising is not my main point here. No, my main point is where Swords & Wizardry equates old school gaming and the sword and sorcery genre itself as a kind of primordial relic for less evolved cavemen engaging in bad/wrong fun.
Furthermore, that we throwbacks might be an obstacle to "the mainstream gaming community." A community that seems ready to leave us behind.
As a result of this analysis, we engaged Stacy as a designer to produce an edition that’s no less appealing to older male gamers, while being MORE appealing to younger and to female gamers. Stacy put together a team, all women, to address this dual objective. We think her team has done an awesome job, and when you see the design results, we think you’ll agree.
There's been more than a little outcry regarding the cover artwork alone. It evidently is less appealing to older male gamers. However, I've no idea if it's more appealing to younger or female gamers.
Again, why cater to your fanbase when you could go for an entirely different kind of fan - gamers who may only be mildly interested in old school fantasy roleplaying? Why give your audience what it wants when you could alienate them instead?
I just can't understand why Frog God Games is bending their knee to a small but vocal sub-set of gamers who would love nothing more than taking excessive gore, demons and devils, sexuality and eroticism (especially of female flesh), "toxic masculinity," and adult situations out of the game - out of the RPG hobby, if they could! And why not throw out "white male privilege" while we're at it?
Unfortunately, we think there may be some controversy about the fact that the design team here is made up entirely of women. We’ve already heard a couple of comments that generally turn on the idea of “Why restrict the project to women designers? Shouldn’t the objective be to pull the best talent whether male or female? What a gimmick.” We’d like to address that out front, rather than have it turn into a back-channel controversy in the halls of the internet. The missing piece of information is this: there are so many different directions that a project can take that there’s no such thing as “the best talent.” Given our goal of making the game more accessible, we hired – through Stacy – talent that coordinates with the goal. We asked Stacy to put together an all-woman team not as a societal goal, but because she had the chops to assemble the kind of team we wanted. This isn’t a “pink” edition of the rules. It’s the more-accessible next printing that we are targeting toward the mainstream market. It has always been our goal to get the open-ended rules of 1974-78 gaming into the mainstream, and this is our objective here. We think that Stacy’s team has hit this goal out of the ballpark, and we think you’ll agree.
I have no problem with a design team made up entirely of women, just as I don't have a problem with an all-female cast in a movie or clubs that only have women members. But I do take issue with notions that this edition will be "more accessible" or "mainstream." For an RPG book on adventuring in the lands of Georgia O'Keeffe? Yeah, sure... maybe. But an RPG like Swords & Wizardry? Come on!
That cover and this attempt at making the decision less controversial have nothing to do with rules circa 1974 - 78. Nothing to do with old school fantasy. Nothing to do with the mainstream RPG community or market.
So what is it? In my view, it's a sad attempt at divorcing S&W from the OSR niche and the gaming culture we all know and love. If Frog God Games wanted S&W to be more "inclusive," they could have done an homage to Taarna from Heavy Metal or Red Sonja. Of course, in the eyes of the outrage brigade, those icons of sword and sorcery females would have been too exploitative.
So, even though I'm a fan of the prior printings/editions of Swords & Wizardry, I've got to say shame on Frog God Games for coming out with this and not listening to their fans who're appalled by the results. And I have to say that I'm also quite disappointed with +Erik Tenkar for not condemning this aesthetic repudiation of the OSR.
Thank the Gods there are old school sword and sorcery creators within and without the O5R who have not forgotten why we fight, why we bleed, and why we die!
Venger As'Nas Satanis
High Priest of Kort'thalis Publishing
p.s. If you're looking for no holds barred roleplaying, check out the right-hand sidebar.
Wednesday, September 28, 2016
If you didn't know, my final Kickstarter campaign until Summer of 2017 (at least) is winding down.
And guess what? VS, your fucking boss of a hoss, is planning on over-delivering... again.
Yeah, not only are you lucky dogs getting three PDFs for $3, but they'll be double the promised length.
But that's not all!!! Glynn Seal +MonkeyBlood Design (Glynn Seal) and I have a good relationship. I tell him to make something awesome while shouting out random words like "Tentacles," "Veins," and "Vagina Whale!" then he turns around and makes it visually awesome.
Case in point, the eldritch fantasy adventure will have the red, the investigative horror will have the green, and the sleazy space opera will get blue.
Click on them to get the full effect!
Monday, September 19, 2016
Yesterday was probably the last face-to-face roleplaying I'll get to have until sometime in 2017. Impending twins and all that. So, I wanted to go out with a bang. And we did.
The 4 hour game turned into a 2 hour game because of pizza, off-topic discussions, and character creation. Since there was only 2 players, we went all-out, despite the one-shot nature of this particular game. Below are a couple videos that capture the character creation experience that is Alpha Blue...
Steve's character, Azaxyr, was an alien pilot who needed an atmosphere suit to survive (non-oxygen breather). He was a dog-sized amphibian with a strange way of speaking, porcupine quills, hemophilia, and a Necrophilia sexual fetish. Oh yeah, he also had the power (more like a defect in the far future) of disabling any electronic device he came within a few inches of.
Patrick's character was a human pilot and bounty hunter named Gebek wielding a neon-frisbee. It's like a laser-frisbee, except neon doesn't cauterize the wounds, so you keep bleeding.
Since I don't have a chat-log that I can just look back at and retype here, I'm going to bullet-point the crap out of this actual play report.
- The space adventurers were traveling to Alpha Blue when intercepted by a Federation patrol ship who wanted them to submit to a random checkpoint search and seizure. "Fuck that," was the PC's response, naturally.
- It took awhile to destroy the Federation ship. Waterbeds were punctured on both sides of the conflict. We decided that once you take your waterbed off-world, the warranty is invalidated, and that artificial gravity is the leading cause of waterbed death.
- Once everyone was dead, the PCs went aboard and found a criminal in a similar survival suit to Azaxyr. This convict's name was Ettis, a human-sized being made of pure energy who considers the spilling of blood to be a sign of good fortune.
- The reason they were going to Alpha Blue in the first place was a new Ancient Egypt exhibit in the space station's museum - yeah, sex and drugs on Alpha Blue, but there's culture, too. Somewhere in this collection of Egyptology junk was a sarcophagus which contained hieroglyphs. When deciphered, the hieroglyphs gave coordinates to a stable wormhole (Patrick's idea).
- They got to Alpha Blue and Azaxyr disabled the space station's automated welcome wagon with a touch. This is where Azaxyr said, "I just want to watch the world burn... one small display screen at a time." The spacers continued on towards the Egyptian exhibit.
- That led them to the red hologram district where Gebek got knifed and the pair of them were propositioned by a hooker. No takers, as they had a mission to fulfill.
- The PCs entered a cross-section of the space station that was both red hologram district and party/entertainment. So, there was wall-to-wall sex, drugs, alcohol, and weirdness going on.
- They both smoked some pink crystals and enjoyed the benefits, as well as, succumbing to the dark side of alien narcotics.
- While Gebek was out of commission and propped up at a booth a la Weekend at Bernie's, watching a stripper with 5 boobs, Azaxyr took a job - kill 3 Federation officers walking around this section of Alpha Blue.
- Once Gebek woke up, there was a shoot-out. Azaxyr died in the laser fight. Ettis walked up behind the toughest Federation officer and blasted him in the back of the head.
- Luckily, Alpha Blue has one of the best medical care facilities in the galaxy. Although, Azaxyr didn't have space health insurance, so it cost him 1,400 credits to get a new pancreas, spleen, and right arm. I finally got to roll on the spare parts random table in the Alpha Blue book. Yay!
- Not only were pictures of the sarcophagus taken, but a space mummy was destroyed, and the entire sarcophagus was stolen by the PCs.
I wanted to play my CD of Heavy Metal (yeah, I still use CDs - when I can find them - I'm old) but lost it somewhere. Patrick used his phone to play the entire album. But the songs kept getting interrupted by Red Lobster ads. So, I told them that Space Lobster ads were coming over the "air waves" of the PC's starship... even though there isn't a Space Lobster within light years of here!
Anyways, it was a fun game. And the last for awhile. But I'll still run a few one-hour games via Roll20, so at least I've got that to look forward to.
BTW, Thilo reviewed Girls Gone Rogue on his Endzeitgeist website here.
Thanks for reading,
p.s. Almost forgot! I'm still promoting my Trinity of Awesome kickstarter. Check it out, and tell your friends. ;)
Friday, September 16, 2016
Another week, another Alpha Blue game on Roll20.
I both like and dislike (love and hate are too strong of words for the platform) Roll20. It's easy, frustrating, counter-intuitive, and a lot of fun simultaneously.
Case in point: for some reason Roll20 decided to automatically write in big, bold letters, "2 Successes" when a player had rolled a 1 and 4. That's never happened before, so perhaps one of us clicked a box or it's a new setting Roll20 is trying out. Since it was dead wrong (1 on its own would be a crit fail and 4 is a partial success), I found it distracting.
Anyways, I'm here to report the action!
Two new players - Dave and Hawk. Neither had played Alpha Blue before.
Dave wanted his character to be a spacer version of the Monster Magnet frontman, Dave Wyndorf. He's an ice pirate and we never settled on a name (that I can see from the chat log), so I'll just call his character Space Lord.
That's as far as character creation went since we only had an hour to game. Let's get to it...
VS: You stole a fast starship form a crime lord you barely saw at last night's disco. The ship came with a couple droids that are currently wandering around near the cockpit area. The droids are the only thing of value on this ship.
Space Lord: We need guns and mercs now. My region of the galaxy is arid, and I have a more industrialized approach to piracy. Are we on the station or in deep space?
VS: You're flying through space, but you could turn around and head back for Alpha Blue.
Space Lord: Well, we did just steal this starship from the docks there, I presume. I don't really remember the last couple days after I ate that Sarlacc nugget. Probably should look at flipping this thing for a freighter... and find some lizard mercs.
Piney: That sounds like a plan. You know, my hemorrhoids are really bothering me today.
VS: Your ship's scanners find a nearby planet that should provide what you're looking for.
Space Lord: Any Federales or orbital defense picked up on our scanners?
VS: No, this is a backwater planet. The kind that Alpha Blue likes to hang around.
Space Lord: Good deal. Pineapple head, you're the pilot. Take us down for a closer look.
Piney: Roger dodger.
VS: You land the ship in a clearing near a swamp. Visuals indicate there are several reptilian humanoids standing around just outside.
Space Lord: What kind of reptilian - feral or civilized (civilized being loosely applied).
Piney: If these guys aren't here in peace, they're leaving in pieces. Space Lord, this is your specialty. Go talk to them.
Space Lord: We observe for a few moments to see if they communicate.
VS: You hear a few loud clangs. One of the reptilians is knocking on the side of your ship. "Hey, assholes! What do you think you're doing parking here? This is a no parking zone. Can't your pilot read?"
Space Lord: I open the hatch. "Sorry there, my friend. Are you with the planetary authorities?"
Piney: Since I'm still sitting in the cockpit, I'm getting my blaster ready.
Space Lord: "We're with an advanced survey crew from Galactic Redistribution, Inc. We'd like to talk to someone about water samples."
VS: "Ok, let me get S'ssszzslls," he says walking away, then turns his head, "Got any snacks?"
The space adventurers find some snack food for the reptilians and two of the humanoid reptiles agree to join the crew in exchange for a couple hundred credits and a small share of any loot they find. Turns out one of the reptilians is "good with a blaster" and the other is a pimp, naturally.
Space Lord and Piney discover that a Federation cruiser just took off with all the good water (now ice) and so the pirates attempt to intercept the Federation ship.
VS: You've located the them.
Space Lord: How big is their ship? Is it big enough for us to dock inside?
VS: Alongside, yes. The Federation cruiser is larger than yours, but not by that much.
Space Lord: Hail them with a distress call, Piney. Tell them our oxygenator is wack and we're all going to die unless they rescue us. We need to dock if possible.
Piney: Aye, we'll hail their ship.
VS: "We don't talk to spacer scum. Move along. Hail the Federation!"
Space Lord: Hmm... we could try to space jump it, that might leave their ship intact for us. Of course, we could die horribly if we miss. We need that ice!
Piney: Can we force dock it?
VS: You can try. Roll 2d6 if you want to attempt it.
Piney: [He rolls a 5 and 6 for a critical success!]
VS: Ok, you successfully "force dock" your ship to theirs - which has never been done before in the history of space.
Space Lord: Can the droids hack the door or do we need to blast it?
VS: All six of you are at the airlock as one of your droids inputs into the ship's computer. Sparks fly and the Federation ship's door opens.
Space Lord: If there are targets on the other side, we're ready.
VS: You hear a few Federation troops running down the corridor towards you.
Space Lord: No mercy! Unless they surrender.
Piney: Does this blaster have a disintegration option?
VS: No, but you could always try turning it up to "11," but that might have serious consequences.
Piney: Nah, we'll keep it at 9.5.
VS: From what you know, Federation shock troops like these never surrender.
Space Lord: That's how I rationalize their murder. "Not too much damage to the inside of the ship, guys." I hope I didn't forget my vibro-knife.
A lot of laser fire is exchanged. The PCs take down the Federation troops and make their way towards the bridge. On their way, they see a lovely green-skinned female walking down a side corridor. She reminded Piney of his ex-wife.
While the reptilian mercs "take care" of the female, the PCs charge on towards the bridge where they see two Federation officers pushing buttons.
Piney threatens one of them, but rolls a critical failure and is the least intimidating presence currently on the ship, giving one of the officers a chance to pull out his blaster and fire - a line of deadly red light narrowly misses his pineapple-ridged head.
Eventually, both officers are overcome and surrender to the PCs.
The reptilians lazily walk onto the bridge smoking cigarettes after its all over. They obviously had sex with the green-skinned female.
Besides the ice, the PCs discover that the Federation ship is carrying something else of value - something called a gorlax. Piney rolls and gets "mostly success," enough to know that a gorlax is some kind of giant, alien gorilla made of purple slime.
That's all we had time for. Both Dave and Hawk told me the session was awesome and gonzo, then they thanked me for GMing.
Both Space Lord and Piney reached 2nd level, where only their Health changes (going from 25 to 30).
I hope y'all enjoyed reading this Alpha Blue actual play report. BTW, I recently created a new Kickstarter campaign to fund a trio of short PDF scenarios. Only 3$!!! Check it out.
Tuesday, September 13, 2016
Yes, back at it again with a new Kickstarter. Don't hate me because I'm prolific. I only wish I could unleash more weird, filthy darkness upon the world.
Let's take what we can get!
Thursday, September 8, 2016
This post is a report of actual Alpha Blue play that went on earlier today via Roll20.
One GM (me) and two players. One of the players (David) had very little roleplaying experience. Neither of them had ever heard of Alpha Blue before the session started.
David wanted to be something unusual. Those were his only instructions. So, we went with an alien. Strange that Roll20 doesn't have an easy go-to feature for rolling a d30, so I just rolled a d20 instead. Crystalline! Then I rolled size and got "human." Rolling twice for alien features I got these: often uses "the" unnecessarily (think Starfire from Teen Titans Go!) and relates his experiences to The Wizard of Oz... which he believes is real or is based on actual events. He wields a vorpal chainsword.
8BitAndroid already had a concept in mind - a human/wolf hybrid. So, I assumed he'd be a mutant and that would be one of his three mutations. The others being that he had horns and a kangaroo pouch. For a weapon he carried a thermal detonator.
Both wanted to roll for a name. Both rolled the same number and got Terran. 8Bit decided his character wanted to change his name to Akros Sterling, but also mentioned something about the two being blood brothers.
After what seemed like a century of people trying different things in order to get one picture to show - which led to my entire computer freezing/crashing - I gave up and simply described everything. Below are bits of dialog that I'm cherry-picking from the chat archive.
VS: Ok, both of you are cruising around in a stolen starship. You felt as though Grabba the Butt (my go-to intergalactic gangster created by +Fantastic Dimensions) owed it to you. Grabba had other ideas, so you just took off and haven't looked back since. You stopped to refuel on a barren, desert world. While filling your tank full of space gas, you notice a gigantic sandcrawler and a jawa selling a wide variety of robots. Another spacer is present. He's checking out their wares.
Terran: Let's go.
Akros: Junk and sand everywhere. I wonder why Grabba was so upset with us? At least we managed to... recover his ship. It'll do us good.
Terran: Well, we can't do anything about the Grabba. It is what it is.
VS: The jawa walks up to you. "Do you enjoy our little sandcrawler menagerie? Every droid half-price. You can't go wrong with that sexbot, my friends." Akros has 500 credits. Terran has 800 credits.
Akros: [Mutters and inspects the bots] Half price? I wonder if they have any defects. I'd hate to be duped out of hard earned credits if they're just going to fall apart after light use.
VS: The jawa says, "I always include a guarantee in the price - one standard month."
Terran: Only a month?
Akros: [Huffing a bit and kicking a few tires] "Which one is the cheapest?"
VS: You notice one of the prospective buyers is handling a blonde, female android that looks just like Kristen Bell. She's not wearing much clothing. The price tag says 400 credits on her arm.
Akros: [Notices Bell but doesn't want to spend a lot of credits]
VS: The jawa points to some cheap piece of CGI crap from one of the prequels. "This one is only 50 credits, my friend. You want it gift wrapped?"
Terran: I don't think we need that one.
Meanwhile, Akros notices the other customer loosening the velcro strap on his blaster. Akros comes up behind him and puts a blaster to his head. The guy walks away, but then it turns out the jawa wasn't a jawa at all but a little amphibian alien with three eyes. He sucker-blasts Akros in the chest for 11 points of damage. Both the PCs started the game as 1st level characters with 25 Health.
It's a shootout! A few rounds later, the ambushing alien named Meebly has a bloody stump for a leg due to Akros' thermal detonator and blackened/burned hand from Terran's blaster.
VS: Meebly gets down on his hands and knees, "You've beaten me. If you spare my life, I shall be your servant."
Akros: You can serve my crystalline brother, but if you betray us I'll bite your head off.
VS: "By the way, I stole this sandcrawler. So, maybe we should get out of here?
Terran: Let's get aboard the starship.
Akros: I kick the console and get our ship flying.
VS: "Also, my former masters, the klingons, will be here soon. And I expect they'll be furious. I was supposed to kill you both for 3,000 credits."
Terran: That's it?
VS: Just as you're about to leave the solar system, you notice a klingon warhip approaching the desert planet. Meebly: "Whoo boy, I'm beat. Where do you spacers keep the Venusian whisky?"
Akros: Shit! I'm going to activate a cloaking device or something. [rolls a critical success]
VS: You bounce a sub-sonic wave pattern against a nearby moon, effectively camouflaging your escape vector.
Terran: Meebly, get us some beer or something!
VS: Meebly opens up a panel in the lower back region of the Kristen Bell droid. Sparks fly. He closes up the panel. "Bring us some space beers, KB. We're thirsty." She complies, bringing everyone a beer poured into a strange, blue-green rectangular glass.
Akros: Whoa, that piece of junk actually works!
VS: "Heck yes she works! You should see what she can do with her squelch-valve."
That was it. The players told me they had fun. Maybe we'll pick it up again soon. Who knows...
Thanks for reading,
p.s. There's a nice little review of Girls Gone Rogue over here.