Sunday, January 17, 2021

Dead Poet Dungeon Master


Today, I'm blogging about the "sweaty-toothed madman" technique of adventure writing.  

Don't bother googling it, I just made that shit up... but not out of thin air.  

I fondly remember watching the movie Dead Poet Society in 1989.  Very relatable since I was, and still am, an anti-authoritarian creative writer.

So, what's this sweaty-toothed madman technique about?  Sometimes, saying (or writing) the first thing that comes into your mind is a winning strategy.  Game Masters who love coming up with details on the spot do this all the time.  Maybe they filter out the more ridiculous notions, maybe not.

Let's take an example - a black box.  The PCs have it in their hot little hands.  They want to open it, and you (as GM), don't have a clue what's in there.  Now what?

The safe option is to stall for time until you can think of something suitably interesting.  Perhaps, the black box doesn't open right away... or skeevers attack just as the thief pries the lid to have a peek.

However, if you want to come up with something off-the-wall and possibly inspired, say the first thing that comes to your mind.

In the following scene, Keating (Robin Williams at his best) coaxes something from one of his students, Todd.

Keating: A picture of Uncle Walt [Whitman] up there, what does he remind you of, don't think, answer.

Todd: A madman.

Keating: What kind of madman?

Todd: A crazy madman.

Keating: No, you can do better than that, free up your mind, use your imagination, say the first thing that pops into your head, even if it's total gibberish, go on, go on.

Todd: A sweaty-toothed madman.

Keating: Good God boy, there's a poet in you, after all.  There, close your eyes, close your eyes, close 'em, now describe what you see.

Todd: I close my eyes...

Keating: Yes.

Todd: And this image floats beside me.

Keating: A sweaty-toothed madman with a stare that pounds my brain.

Keating: Oh, that's excellent, now give him an action, make him do something.

Todd: His hands reach out and choke me.

Keating: That's excellent, wonderful, wonderful.

Todd: And all the time he's mumbling.

Keating: What's he mumbling?

Todd: Mumbling truth, truth like a blanket that always leaves your feet cold. [laughter]

Keating: Forget them, forget them, stay with the blanket, tell me about the blanket.

Todd: you push it, stretch it, it will never be enough, you kick at it, beat it, it will never cover any of us.  From the moment we enter crying to the moment we leave dying, it will just cover your face, as you wail and cry and scream.

Keating: [Whispering to Todd] Don't you forget this.

[For mobile devices, you may not see a video...Click here, instead]

Indeed, we all have something inside of us worth a great deal.

So, that's it, essentially.  Closing your eyes isn't necessary, but letting your imagination flow is.  The results don't always produce great things; however, the sweaty-toothed madman technique occasionally beats the pants off everything else.  

I don't remember mentioning Dead Poet Society in my book How To Game Master Like A Fucking Boss, but it's possible.  If I have time, I'll take a gander later today.


p.s. I've got luxury hardcovers of Cha'alt: Fuchsia Malaise for sale.  Ordering details right over here!

Tuesday, January 12, 2021

Fuchsia Malaise Contest Results


For Lordmatteus, rolling a one worked out...  

Congratulations on winning, hoss!  Email me your info.  

As a special reward, the others who participated in the contest each get $10 off the purchase price.  

For everyone else, order your luxury hardcover sometime in January and get $5 off.  Better than a kick in the balls, am I right?

Ordering details right over here.



Sunday, January 10, 2021

Favorite Pop-Culture Reference


I've decided to make this into a contest.  

Comment below with your favorite pop-culture reference from either Cha'alt or Cha'alt: Fuchsia Malaise and you'll be in the running to win a free hardcover of the latter (within the USA, otherwise it's $35 if you live outside the USA).

I'll randomly roll for the winner at midnight tomorrow, January 11th.  I'll post the winner's name on the 12th and you'll have 48 hours to email me your info (like mailing address).  

Good luck!

What's Chaultt and the other thing... fautsha mayonnaise?  Details here, my friend.  



Friday, January 8, 2021

Brink of Civil War

TL;DR:  If you thought this bullshit was over with 2020, think again.

Sorry for the lateness of this blog post... I thought it important to wait a bit and let the dust settle before I recklessly shoot my mouth off as many of my colleagues have done.

If you've been on social media the last couple days, you can hear the left cry out with indignant glee!  They're thinking "We've got them now, those bad, lousy, no good, very bad Trump supporters.  We can label them terrorists, just like we've done for years [albeit with softer voices] and be done with Orange Man Bad forever!"

Bad news, leftists.  What happened at the Capitol was your fault.  You did this.  

  • You tried to impeach Trump BEFORE he was even inaugurated in 2016, denying he won in a fair and free election with your Russian hoax - when it was the Clintons who colluded with Russia via the Steele Dossier!
  • You've been insulting and demonizing Republicans, conservatives, and Trump supporters ever since Trump declared he was running for president.
  • You normalized violent protests, demonstrations, rioting, and occupying territory throughout 2020.  The media, politicians, celebrities, Big Tech, corporations, and even some law enforcement agencies gave their approval.
  • You convinced a plurality of Americans that America itself was systemically racist and then tried to fix the imaginary problem with critical race theory, defunding the police, and Green New Deal.
  • You locked everything down so people couldn't do much of anything - extremely limited socialization, entertainment, religious celebration, political organizing, and going back to work.  15 days to slow the spread has turned into 9 months of house arrest.
  • You threw away all the voting norms and safeguards we've had in place until just before the biggest and most contentious election in U.S. history.  And when Americans cried foul, you censored them, discredited them, and continued to insult them while wondering why the other half doesn't want to unify around Biden and his supporters.  

I don't have any proof (aside from the anecdotal evidence one can easily find online) that the election was stolen away from Trump.  And I'm not sure why holding a political rally at that time and place was considered a good idea.  But it's also not surprising.  What did you expect would happen?  

Will there be more political violence in 2021.  I hope not, but it seems likely.

A woman lost her life.  So many more people lost their lives throughout the "mostly peaceful protests" in 2020.  It all seems tragic and needless.  

I don't know where the line between protesting and rioting is, anymore... what's tolerated and what isn't.  And I don't know where we go from here.  But it doesn't take a genius to see that whatever we've got going on right now isn't working.

Eventually, both sides need to come together on something (hopefully, multiple things) in order to successfully move forward into the future as a nation.  Until then, there will be chaos - the new normal.


p.s. If you haven't heard, I now have luxury, signed, limited edition Cha'alt: Fuchsia Malaise hardcovers for sale.  Eldritch, gonzo, science-fantasy, post-apocalypse campaign settings have never looked this good!

Saturday, January 2, 2021

Accomplishments Thus Far

A new year brings chance for reflection.  

Someone on twitter was asking what I've accomplished in my life.  Some accomplishments are personal, subjective, and either unverifiable or ephemeral.  I won't include those... but those times I knew my opponent was bluffing on the river, well, if you add it all up, I saved myself thousands of dollars.  Plus, a lot of final tables.

In no particular order, here we go...

  • 50+ roleplaying game products written and self-published, several of them best-sellers.
  • Married (still).
  • 5 children.
  • My Game Mastering is known far and wide as legen... wait for it... dary.  Legendary!
  • Before wife and kids, I was a successful PUA with a score around 100 in a 5-year timeframe.
  • College degree (probably the least of my accomplishments on this list - the most useful thing I learned in school was how to type - and that was in High School).
  • Business / financial success in my chosen industry.
  • I was the High Priest of a religion and magical order based on H.P. Lovecraft's Cthulhu Cult (still the founder and spiritual leader for the organization - Ipsissimus Venger As'Nas Satanis.  Within that paradigm, my achievements are vast and esoteric.  Feel free to ask me about it privately, though).
  • I limit myself to a dozen or so specialties, but within those parameters, I'm a damn good cook.  And each year, I add to my repertoire.  
  • I've amassed a collection of movies the likes of which would make Blockbuster blush (mostly sci-fi, fantasy, horror, exploitation, comedy, and westerns).

That's it for now.  If I think of something red-hot tonight or tomorrow, I'll add it to the list.  If you know of any accomplishment I didn't mention, comment below.

What's for the future?  That's probably a blog post for another time...

Happy New Year!


p.s. Before I forget, now selling luxury hardcovers of Cha'alt: Fuchsia Malaise.  

Thursday, December 24, 2020

Hawk The Slayer


Simple idea - have a remote movie-watching party.  

This Saturday (the night after Xma'as) at approximately 7:45pm, central standard time, a bunch of us are going to watch Hawk The Slayer together... but from a distance.  And then we'll tweet about it on twitter with the hashtag #HTS

If you want in, you're in.  Follow me on Twitter to get started @VengerSatanis

That's it.


p.s. Don't have your hardcover Cha'alt: Fuchsia Malaise ordered yet?  Now's your chance.  Oh yeah... Merry Fucking Christma'as!

Thursday, December 17, 2020

Cha'alt: Fuchsia Malaise Hardcovers


Yes, they are now for sale!

What am I talking about?  Part 2 of my eldritch, gonzo, science-fantasy, post-apocalyptic O5R (OSR and/or 5e) campaign setting that includes so many random tables, scenarios, seeds, and dungeons with original monsters and magic items that it's literally insane.

This is the original (part 1) Cha'alt.  

And over here is the lurid hued sequel, Cha'alt: Fuchsia Malaise!

And now that I've got 99% of backer books in the mail, I can start selling them direct to those who missed out on the Kickstarter.  Don't bother asking about the Cha'alt hardcovers, they've sold out!

$60 for one book, $100 for two of them (includes shipping within the USA).  That comes with my signature and some personalization.  If this is going out of the country, then add $30 for shipping for one book and $40 for two (yeah, two is a better deal).

Keep in mind these luxury hardcovers (higher production value than anything Wizards has ever put out) are limited to a print run of 1,000 books.  When they're gone, they're gone!

Simply paypal me at

You also get the PDF for free (but I'll need your DTRPG email address for that).  If you already have the PDF, simply request another PDF from Kort'thalis Publishing as a replacement.

Any questions, just email me.  Thanks for your continued support, hoss!


p.s. Want to read some reviews?  Here and there.  Plus this one.  More coming soon!

Tuesday, December 15, 2020

Access To DTRPG Publisher Account Removed


Apparently, the way I've been interacting with my customers via DriveThruRPG's customer email feature is problematic.

People complained, DriveThru issued some kind of email warning (which I didn't receive), I sent out another "inappropriate" email to my customers, and now I don't have access to my publisher's account.

Is it so wrong to engage with my customers in an alternative, outside-the-box fashion?  Is joking around that great a sin?  Am I corrupting the youth?  Do I deserve cancellation, never to be seen again?  Ask yourself, what would Communist China do?  Whatever that is, Americans should probably do the opposite.  

Of course, that's just my opinion.  Who am I?  Just some guy who's written the books over there on the right-hand sidebar.  Yeah, what do I know?

I don't entirely blame DriveThru for their actions.  I wouldn't want customers complaining to me, either.  But just imagine, if you will, a world where gamers take time out of their busy day to complain about a couple of humorous emails to the big corporation, so that... what?  An independent creator gets in trouble, gets temporarily (tentacles crossed) shut down?  

Just another reason why we've fallen so far from grace.  Especially in a year like 2020.  Keep it up, guys.  Another asteroid is surely on its way.


Tuesday, December 8, 2020

Friday Night Cha'alt on Roll20

Last Friday, the PCs encountered a snake-man king wandering the desert wastes of S'kbah.  Badly wounded, Hsss'ss was bleeding from a near mortal wound in his stomach.  

Ready for a trap, the PCs eventually let their guard down, giving the serpentine humanoid water and healing.  In return, Hsss'ss told them of a pile of twisted metal just inside a cave not far from their present location.

The crashed starship was haunted by some luminous green spectre.  After a couple fruitless rounds of combat, one of the party's clerics banished the thing to another dimension.

After investigating and scavenging the ruined starship, the PCs encountered a couple of off-worlders who parked their sand-speeder just outside the cave.  The PCs gave the off-worlders an ass-whooping, stealing their gear and vehicle for their own use.

The next session is this Friday, December 11th @ 7:30pm - 9pm central standard time.  Yeah, 90 minutes!  The wife and kids are watching Mulan on Disney+, so I'm using the extra time for gaming.

This is the link.  First come, first serve.  Bring your A-game!


p.s. Wondering what all this Cha'alt stuff is about?  Look no further...