Tuesday, February 24, 2015

The campaign continues

This is going to be the short and sweet version.  Writing and revising the upcoming Game Mastering book is taking up a lot of my time.  Here is what transpired last session.

  • The alchemist living in the caves, Armitage, has decided to work with Sam.  Now they can tinker away and pour strange-colored liquids in each other's beakers to their hearts' content.
  • Faint whispering is audible when touching the Talisman of Ultimate Evil, also one receives a momentary vision of a black monolith rising out of the desert.
  • Beneath a crude stone altar, they discovered a 10' diameter metallic seal embedded in the ground.  An eye within a triangle within a circle is fashioned into the surface, with a circle, square, and triangle on the seal's side, corresponding to the three points of the greater triangle.  Nothing they did could open or activate it (though they tried dozens of things).
  • Senna calls upon the PCs at their castle.  Arik wanted to kill her outright as he does with every dark elf, but the rest had a somewhat open mind.  Lilah read her surface thoughts, knowing she told the truth as Senna described her cousin's ascension to the throne and Sephir's marriage to Alzahn.  Their nuptials required familial sacrifice which Senna narrowly escaped.  She probably would have been shown the door, except that she knew something about the symbol upon the seal.
  • The PCs sneak back into the dark elf city of Trehallvyn in order to steal a book where Senna remembers seeing that symbol.  Well, most of them sneaked.  Sam decided to fast talk his way into the drow library via the "wizard exchange program".  Arik stole a large, platinum covered tome that was kept under glass.  
  • On the way out, their path was blocked by a trio of Hook Horrors!
  • Reading the book that mentioned the seal, the PCs learned about an ancient form of language that predated everything known today.  The circle represented the letter "O", the square an "N", and the triangle an "A".  Together, the abbreviation pointed towards something called Oneiroid Navigation Assistance... possibly a gateway to the Dream Lands.
  • A company of thieves crept into the PCs' castle, attempting to steal Arik's vicious short sword of Xan.  Leaving two of the thieves alive for interrogation, the adventurers learn of a contract between the thieves and "the shadow".  Also, the short sword of Xan is a famous weapon wielded in the war between Azik and Tarneth, two infamous sorcerers who lived and ruled over a century ago.
  • The PCs go to meet the shadow because he was offering 70,000 gold pieces for it.  Arik ended up selling his short sword to some kind of demon in exchange for 75,000 gold and a +1 rapier.  
  • It wasn't until after the sale that the PCs learned of the sold weapon's true value, that he who returned it would be recognized as King of Xan.
  • Looking through Arik's stolen platinum book, Sam noticed a standing stone on the edge of Xan with the seal's circle, triangle, and eye symbol carved into it.  Also, Osker had a dream about walking the streets of Xan, learning of its arcane secrets.
  • After Arik slit the surviving thieves' throats, the party made their way to Xan via teleportation.

That's it for now.  This Saturday will be the next game.  I'm looking forward to it.


Illustrated review for The Islands of Purple-Haunted Putrescence

Kiel Chenier of Dungeons & Donuts fame graciously reviewed The Islands of Purple-Haunted Putrescence with purple illustrations on his blog.  Up until the very end, I thought his analysis was really cool, interesting, and funny (though, I'm a traditionalist when it comes to the male pronoun as neutral).  His downgrade of two stars notwithstanding, I still enjoyed Kiel's take on the book. Thanks, hoss!

Those interested in acquiring The Purple Islands for their own bizarre purposes should look on the right side (and down a bit) of this blog or check Amazon (that softcover is printed on a slightly higher grade cream-colored paper).


p.s.  Terrible art?  No such thing!

p.p.s.  Looks like the reviewer got some backlash.  Take a look.

Thursday, February 19, 2015

I'm watching Lost again

Last year (2014) was the ten year anniversary of the TV show Lost.  It was a big deal then.  Not sure how revered or reviled it is now.  Probably most people are "meh" about it, hence my coining the phrase "meh majority" in a conversation with Erik Tenkar a few days ago.

Anyway, I didn't start watching it until the show was in its third season.  That's when I started watching it from the beginning on DVD up until the finale.  While, I didn't love the last season at the time, that's neither here nor there.  Point is, I'm re-watching it.

Even though I have my wife as a viewing partner (she's never seen it), it would still be really cool to chat about Lost with people as we go.  Maybe that's you?

So, if you've never seen it, I highly recommend it. Landmark television that got people blogging about shows back in the 2000's.  If you saw it back in the day, I think it's time to revisit a classic series that really had some cool stuff going on (trying not to give away any spoilers).  Basically, I think Lost is super awesome.  I have tons of stuff to watch, believe me.  I wouldn't be re-watching it unless it was my cup of tea.

I'll be embarking on season two towards the end of next week, but more than happy to discuss the first season as well.

Any takers?


p.s.  this Saturday will be the first session of the campaign after taking a three week break.  Can't wait to get back to Game Mastering!

Saturday, February 14, 2015

DM Support Group

Saw this at Tenkar's Tavern yesterday.  Support Dungeon Masters, support D&D, support fantasy tabletop roleplaying, and the gaming hobby itself.  Seems simple enough.  

Reading all the negative comments over there and on youtube kind of surprised me.  Sure, there are bound to be a few haters, cranks, wet blankets, and douche bags in the mix.  Years of being active on the internet (and Taylor Swift) have taught me that.  But there were a lot of mean spirited and/or dickish comments!  

I mean, even if it's not your particular brand of tea or you didn't think it was that entertaining, funny, or whatever, why shit all over it?  Is this some sort of shadow-criticism of 5th edition since it's too popular to trash publicly without serious backlash?  Would it make a difference if a D&D player made this with a couple hundred dollars instead of the thousands spent by D&D's makers?  Or if it was geared towards the OSR instead of 5e?

A better question might be: is tabletop roleplaying at a place in our culture where we can just sit back and play our own little game without any thought to the bigger picture?  There's a gaming community out there somewhere and tabletop roleplaying is just a piece of that geeky pie.  Individually, we have almost no power... just a voice consumed by the internet's darkness.  Together, we have a small amount of influence.  Hopefully, enough players and Game Masters are supportive enough to appreciate the artform that is roleplaying and keep the hobby alive via blogs, forum posts, and videos like DM Support Group: Ep01.

Originally, I was just going to blog about Game Mastering.  Specifically, asking to read people's failures, problems, leaks, sticking points, questions, and so forth.  Why?  Because the KS for How to Game Master like a Fucking Boss is ending in couple days from now, and I'd like it to be as big and comprehensive as possible.  But then I also wanted to touch on the video and its haters.  So, I combined them into a single post.

Last night, I dreamt about playing guitar and singing in front of an audience with only a few notes to go by.  Basically, making a song up on the fly.  Pretty much improvising the entire thing.  I haven't even picked up my guitar in years and my singing was never that awesome.  As I was trying to find my way from scattered notations on a page to an actual song, the dream audience was just staring at me... waiting.  Upon waking this morning, it struck me that that's a little bit like Game Mastering for noobs - maybe even for a few veterans of the screen.  Creating art, performing in front of an audience.  With roleplaying, that audience is also there to help create and expected to perform as well; however, the Game Master is key.  He (or she) is the maestro orchestrating it all or, at least, getting things started.  

The DM Support Group video is a lighthearted signal in the dark, just something amusing to watch, perchance to chuckle over.  It's not there to help flailing Dungeon Masters and I hope no one is thin-skinned enough to take offense by the ridiculous DM portrayed.  If you were offended, then I feel sorry for you and advise that you leave the internet immediately. Cyberspace is no place for you, my delicate flower.

Have an opinion on what I wrote?  Is there an area of Game Mastering you'd like me to mention in the book?  I'm all ears...


Monday, February 2, 2015

Venger's Old School Gaming Blog is on vacation

Yes, I'm taking a 10 day family vacation to Disney World (weather permitting).  The wife and kids deserve some fun in the sun and in the meantime I'll be thinking about all you guys and all those tabletop roleplaying games out there.

The new KS will definitely be on my mind.  It's about 80% complete and I can't wait to finish the little sucker, possibly expanding it to 20 or 30 pages over what I originally predicted!

The latest issue of Draconic Magazine is more or less ready.  By this time, I thought there'd be contributors and a real sense of community surrounding the idea.  Maybe I fucked up somewhere along the way, maybe it's coming down the pike.  I don't know...

The artists I chose to bring The Purple Islands animated series to life have just simply dropped off the face of the earth.  That's not good.  However, I'm not giving up.  Not by a long shot.  It's just taking a bit more time to get off the ground.

Also, no physical fitness progress report of picture for February.  I'll catch up with you all on March 5th.

Ok, that's it for now.  I've got to start getting suitcases in the car and braving the winter weather.