Sunday, May 21, 2017

O5R Player's Guide


It's been awhile since I've posted anything.  Sorry about that, I've been busy finishing up my trio of adventures for the Trinity of Awesome Returns Kickstarter.

Just got to look at the Crimson Dragon Slayer scenario, and I'm quite pleased with it.

Anyways, this post is for posing a question, specifically to the OSR crowd, though I'm more than happy to hear from D&D 5th edition gamers, as well as, those who enjoy fantasy roleplaying games without relying too much on bloated rules, complicated mechanical fiddly-bits, and anything that takes authority away from the Game Master.

While still adhering to the Old School Renaissance aesthetic/philosophy, what sorts of things would you want to see in a player's guide or player's handbook?  I'm talking about options, tools, features, anything that might improve the experience for a player.

Thanks in advance for answering!

VS


Tuesday, May 9, 2017

50 Shades of Vorpal review


"No one knows what offense the Taurian Empire gave to the Lich King, perhaps he was just being a dick."

I was not a part of the 50 sHAdes of VORpal kickstarter by Arthas Soulgazer (cool name), though I checked it after reading Tenkar's non-review last week.

Based on the kickstarter page and free preview on DriveThruRPG, I decided to give it a whirl.  Even if the whole thing is a pile of humorous excrement - at least it's funny!

Last night, I purchased the PDF for $5 and here is my impression...

Comparisons have been made with Encounter Critical.  While both games are comedic pranks on gamers, allowing readers to peek inside the fantasy heartbreaker minds of the authors, there are several differences.  Encounter Critical is a sophisticated, innovative, old school, labor of love by one or more slightly confused yet well-meaning amateurs.  It's meant to be a product of the mid-70's that reaches for the stars.

50 Shades of Vorpal comes from the mind of one or more contemporary dudes who purposefully set out to emulate something like old school Dungeons & Dragons, but way more juvenile, idiotic, and single-minded in its love of hack and slash.  It's like if HackMaster 4th edition were re-imagined by Beavis and Butthead.

While Encounter Critical and 50 Shades of Vorpal have similarities, they are completely different games with night and day approaches to the ultimate goal - making the awesomest parody game possible!  Although, this being 2016/2017, the latter not only wants to set down their idealized dreams of dark magic, deadly swords, and touching boobies in concrete, effectively cementing their glory in the halls of RPG fame and infamy - this is also clearly a way to make some cash.

Is there an actual system here, an actual RPG?  No, not really.  There's a bit of setting, a few monsters, loads of character classes and several races, but combat consists of adding a silly list of bonuses to a couple d30 rolls and comparing that with an opponent's ARMOR RANK.  If you hit, you do damage.  That's the core of the engine... pretty much the entire engine.  The rest is badly spelled window dressing like deth magic, preoccupation with loot, and sexism.

And that's part of the joke.  So many aspects of 50 Shades is phoned in that the game feels incomplete.  Various sections are blank, many earmarked with notations for adding future content - content that never actually made it into the book.  While that, too, is funny, after the first couple times, it loses something.

However, it is the attitude on display that provides the most humor.  Laser-focus on what makes an awesome character class and race shines a light on the worst gamer stereotypes.  But unlike the negative stereotypes which we, hopefully, don't embody, like living in our mom's basement well into our thirties and not showering regularly, 50 Shades brings up traits that are present, albeit in small quantities, in almost every gamer...

Awkward phrasing, typos, and combining tired fantasy cliches with not-well-thought-out flashes of inspiration all in the pursuit of that ever elusive awesomeness.  I've chased that particular crimson dragon myself on a thousand occasions.  The only difference is that my unsightly excretions get edited over and over again, or should I say flushed down the toilet of bad ideas implemented poorly.

Nevertheless, I enjoyed reading these 64 pages - including several blank pages - and got my money's worth.  Before I go, let me showcase a few of my favorite things from 50 Shades of Vorpal...

  • It uses a d30 because that's 10 more than a d20, reminding me of the amp that goes all the way up to 11 in This is Spinal Tap.
  • It has weapon coolness ratings based on how awesome someone looks when wielding a certain weapon.  
  • The illustrations - right out of high school study hall.  Most are decent in a youthful amateur hand-made kind of way, though some are actually fairly badass!
  • The never-solved divide between warriors and wizards.  Both sides feel they need to escalate the cold war and so each struggles to become even more ridiculously awesome.
  • Going further than explaining the rules or giving helpful advice, the text pretty much tells you what to think and occasionally comes up with raw truthisms such as, "Bosses get to boss."
  • Diving into the dark recesses of this male-dominated hobby with both feet.  Here's an over-the-top offering, "Female characters retire after making babies, so don't get pregnant.  This is a fantasy game, so you can't just go making stuff up that you didn't get pregnant when you really did."

Well, that's all for my review.  While neither version of Crimson Dragon Slayer goes anywhere near this level of awesome/awful, I was inspired to create a d30 random table for only the most "deth knight" kind of fantasy roleplaying!  Also, this!!!

VS


Saturday, May 6, 2017

Alpha Blue session report: Don't Take Candy From Spacers


A few sessions have transpired since the last time I blogged about my weekly Alpha Blue campaign on Roll20.

So, this is going to be a quick and dirty, bullet-point wrap-up of everything that's transpired thus far...


  • The PCs, Katya and Miles Artemis, found themselves back on Alpha Blue.  They wandered into a melee combat arena and decided to pass on the guy selling his hot nuts in favor of sitting down and watching a man get beaten by some alien thing with tentacles.
  • Miles was not content to merely watch - there was money being offered to the man who could hold his own versus the best melee combatant in the galaxy - Syresh Vos!
  • A series of lucky rolls, plus the crafty use of his telepathy gave Miles the upper hand.  He knocked Syresh Vos out.  He won a bunch of credits and a sexy, green-skinned arena girl named Kiwi congratulated Miles by fellating him in front of the entire crowd.
  • While all that was going on, Katya was talking to a black-robed human who wanted both the PCs to come with him to see Grabba the butt - the reason was not revealed.
  • On the way out of the arena, a drunk spacer thought it would be a good idea to challenge the exhausted Miles to a laser duel.  Drunk guy got his trigger-hand blasted.
  • The PCs met up with the mysterious employee of Grabba the butt, a human named Fructis New Zaelyn. Miles and Katya were passengers on Fructis' ship as he took them to Grabba's pleasure palace on the desert planet P'oon.
  • When questioned, Fructis New Zaelyn told Miles and Ace VanHendrix, a zedi technician, (this was the start of the next session - lost Katya's player and gained Ricky's) and Fructis told them that Grabba the butt had a long-standing feud with Syresh Vos.
  • Just before reaching planetary orbit, a droid enters the cockpit and offers everyone a drink.  Miles takes a can of Purple Prizm, opens it, and it fizzes all over his space khakis.  A beautiful, blue-skinned female takes Miles' pants so they can be washed.  
  • Upon landing on P'oon, some revolutionary forces attack the ship with lasers.  Fructis gets out with the intention of fighting them off, then realizes there's, like, a dozen of them.  He uses his jetback to get the fuck out of there, leaving the PCs on their own.
  • Miles and Ace surrender rather than face a dozen armed rebels.  The desert revolutionaries take the PCs to their base and offer them a deal - give this blue-colored elixir to Grabba and be free or refuse and die.
  • Obviously, they agree to present Grabba the butt with the elixir. Miles still doesn't have any pants on.
  • A pale, tentacled humanoid comes to the door when Miles and Ace knock on the pleasure palace door.  He shows them to Grabba's secretary who then takes them to Grabba's main audience chamber where a full-scale feast is going on.
  • Grabba the butt is pleased with the PCs.  They made Syresh Vos look the fool and seem capable of handling some illicit jobs that Grabba needs done.  Miles still isn't wearing any pants.
  • Ace pretends to take a swig from the elixir and then offers it to Grabba.  Cliffhanger!
  • New session with Ace VanHendrix, Katya is back, and total Alpha Blue noob Badger who is playing an evangelical robot who can't pass up vice.  The robot's name is Reverend Screw-Loose, but that seems like a lot of work, so I called him Mr. Robot for most of the session.
  • Ace rolled decent in trying to convince Grabba that it was perfectly safe to drink the elixir, so Grabba gave it to his royal taster before taking a drink himself.
  • Suddenly, the entire complex shook with the force of an earthquake - someone was shooting their laser cannons at Grabba's pleasure palace.  Luckily the defensive shields diminished the blast.
  • Syresh Vos came down in an attack ship, attempting to take out his crime lord rival.  It wasn't long before Vos and several of his underlings were inside the palace shooting people and looking for Grabba.
  • One of the PCs looked outside the window to see if there was a way out, but all they could see was a sarlacc moat encircling the entire palace.
  • There was a massive laser-fight between team Vos and team Grabba, since both had similar forces.  The PCs were in the middle - Mr. Robot hid, Ace was determined to take out Grabba, and Katya was shooting at Vos.  It was a glorious clusterfuck!
  • Grabba made his escape in a secret starship at the back of his pleasure palace.  The PCs jumped into the back of that ship just before the door closed.
  • There were two guards and no sign of Grabba (he was moved to a safer section of the ship).  
  • From a window, everyone watched as Grabba's palace went up in a huge explosion!
  • Then a couple of sexy alien girls came in and Ace decided to take out the guards single-handed.  He killed one and the second guard got him, knocking him unconscious and bleeding out.  That last guard was about to throw Ace's body out of the airlock when Mr. Robot intervened - throwing the guard out and saving Ace from certain death.  
  • Katya, being a medic, patched Ace up while Mr. Robot charmed the alien women.
  • The strange women took Mr. Robot to their cabin, offered him a seat on their translucent blue beanbags, and then asked if he wanted to have sex... but that's where we had to end the session.
These bullet-points get the job done of telling the story, but they leave out all the little details like Mr. Robot flirting with Katya and various side-jokes.  Oh well, for the full effect, you've really got to be there - and therein lies the entire point of roleplaying.  It's a personal, deep, intimate kind of game with layers and subtly that board, card, and computer games just can't match.

Before I go, just want to remind everyone that Guarding Galaxy XXX was just released.  This FREE scenario will introduce gamers to my sleazy scifi RPG Alpha Blue.  Just read all the stellar reviews... oh wait, there aren't any.  Hey, review that shit, hoss!  Much obliged.  ;)

VS


Thursday, May 4, 2017

Guarding Galaxy XXX

Mmm mm - look at that sexy cover for Guarding Galaxy XXX!

Remember this?  Seems like only yesterday.  Consider the updated PDF a "volume 2" to what I erringly called Guardians of Galaxy XXX.

Guarding Galaxy XXX is better because this time I won't be locked in a Disney jail cell underneath Space Mountain.  So, buy it... wait, this thing is free.  Free, you say?  What the fuck?!?  And after I paid all that money for artwork... my wife is going to kill me.

Anyway, take a chance on this raunchy scifi adventure for Alpha Blue, though easily adaptable to the RPG system of your choice.

If you've never tried sleazy, 70's scifi that's about as funny as a thermal detonator to the balls (hang about, that doesn't sound funny at all!) this will give you an idea of what it's about.

VS

p.s.  I'd like to take a moment to thank Steve Wieck for his assistance in getting this better and less incarceration-y version of the PDF back onto DriveThruRPG.  If I was too harsh on One Book Shelf and/or Steve Wieck, let this post-script build space bridges and mend star fences.  I appreciate everyone's understanding and professionalism.


Wednesday, May 3, 2017

Guardians of Galaxy XXX

EDIT:  Guardians of Galaxy XXX is no longer available on DriveThruRPG.  Apparently, my faith in One Book Shelf was misplaced.  I emailed Steve Wieck to confirm that everything was OK, only to discover that he has no interest in protecting my rights as an artist, comedian, and peddler of RPG filth.

RE-EDIT:  Steve Wieck and I have worked out a compromise.  I'm drastically altering the cover and slightly changing the name to Guarding Galaxy XXX.  Should be back up on DriveThruRPG tomorrow.  

I wanted to do something special to celebrate the upcoming Guardians of the Galaxy Volume 2 movie while also promoting my independent sleazy scifi RPG Alpha Blue.

Guardians of Galaxy XXX does both!  It's an homage to several established space opera franchises while also being a porn parody.  People have been making art directly inspired by popular media since the beginning of time, so I'm confident with the precedent that has been set.

Having said that, this title is suspiciously difficult to find on DriveThru.  There's nothing on the main page and even typing the full title into the search bar yields no results.  So, just in case I'm wrong - download your FREE Guardians of Galaxy XXX PDF before it gets expunged from the internets!

And here it is on Dropbox... cause you never know.

So, what is Guardians of Galaxy XXX?  It's a 10 page Alpha Blue adventure of high risk and high reward that lampoons quite a few recognizable scifi films - it's funny, dangerous, sexy, weird, and in bad taste.  What's not to love?

This is a freebie, so if you enjoy Guardians of Galaxy XXX, please do one or more of the following... review it, blog about it, chat about it, share it with friends, run games with it, and purchase other books from Kort'thalis Publishing.

Thank you,

Venger As'Nas Satanis
(Space) High Priest of Kort'thalis Publishing