Thursday, October 19, 2017

Frank Mentzer Scapegoat


For those who haven't heard, some woman on twitter called-out Frank "red box" Mentzer because of his politely flirtatious comments, continuing a conversation amidst the threat of being blocked, and because she didn't agree with him about some stuff.

It's easy to examine someone's social media statements and judge them.  It's even easier to single an individual out in an industry plagued by assholes on all sides (but especially the SJW / Ctrl-Left crowd who did their best to blacklist my sleazy space opera RPG Alpha Blue) and make him out to be the Harvey Weinstein of the tabletop roleplaying game industry.

In fact, that would so simple!  All we have to do is point to this one guy whose unorthodox behavior is a bit suspect and project every problem we have (real or imagined) onto him... and then crucify the bastard!  Yeah, why not?  After all, we're not individuals anymore - we're part of the masses now.  Hey, it's almost Halloween - so why not throw out imagery about angry torch and pitchfork-wielding mobs trudging up to Frankenstein's castle?  Plus, the whole Weinstein / Frankenstein thing.  Yeah, it works.

I get that we want to stop predators, sexual harassment, and abuse.  But shouldn't we also be guarding the internet from self-appointed social media police, self-promoting victims, and everyone who jumps on the controversy-of-the-day bandwagon because it gives them a chance to spit-shine their good guy badge?

It's gotten so bad that even I thought twice about sticking up for what I believe in.  I'm sure this post is going to draw some heat, but Venger Satanis doesn't stay silent when innocent people are being destroyed.  Fuck that!

VS

Monday, October 16, 2017

Papa Murphy's Analogy


Actually, this isn't just for writing adventures - this goes for core RPGs, as well...

What I've been doing for the last couple years, and increasingly the last few months, is something I'm calling the Papa Murphy's analogy.  If you're not familiar with Papa Murphy's, this analogy sucks... but by the end of this post you'll understand what I'm getting at.

There are thousands of pizza places where you go in, they make the pizza, and you either sit down and eat it or take it home and eat it.  That's the way it is with the overwhelming majority of RPG products.  Everything is done for you.  There are no decisions left for the GM to make.

Considering all the grocery stores nearby, there are thousands of possible ingredients for you to purchase and make your own pizza at home.  Lots of people do this, but established pizza places are more popular.  You can find many examples of tool-based RPG products on DriveThru where everything is in pieces and it's all GM assembly prior to game time (or rolling and dealing with results in the moment).

What I'm currently into is something that almost no one does.  Like Papa Murphy's, I pre-make your pizza up to a certain degree (no pun intended... well, maybe), then you take it home and put the finishing touches on.

Ok, so the last step with a Papa Murphy's pizza is just cook it in your oven.  I give you practically everything you need to run the game.  All that's missing is your own creative juices and the overall performance.  You see, I purposefully leave gaps for you to fill in.

Not only do I believe in my gaming friends and customers (which means I know they can do it if they try), I don't want to rob them of those opportunities to create at the table... something that used to happen pretty much every session with old school RPGs like early Dungeons & Dragons, but not so much anymore.  Now, it's more popular (read: profitable) to do everything for the GM and his players (even if the designers are doing it wrong) and hold the GM's hands every step of the way.

Many gamers don't have the time, energy, or imagination to create an entire adventure, let alone a campaign, from scratch.  However, if you have the ability to run a scenario for a few hours, you should also have 30 minutes of prep time to put the finishing touches on yourself.  Let's face it, running my stuff might take an extra half-hour (assuming you don't want to improv everything in the moment), but other systems will keep you looking up unnecessary rules or digging for crucial details among endless paragraphs of pointless filler.  So, it's a wash.

Admittedly, my process may not be the best way to do things (while I can't remember the last time I made a pizza from scratch, I certainly order fully pre-made and pre-cooked pizzas far more often than take-and-bake from Papa Murphy's - but still love it when I get the chance); however, I choose to walk the path less traveled.  In a niche hobby/industry like this one, that's probably a wise move - especially since I love providing that 85% and watching gamers make up the remaining 15% on their own.

Just in case anybody thought I was pulling this out of my ass today, here's an old blog post about the 85/15 split.

Speaking of adventure writing, the end is nigh!  However, I believe there's still plenty of time to get cracking on your Adventure Writing Contest submissions!  Having trouble wrapping your head around it?  Let's take a look...

You've got approximately two weeks to write a 5 -7 page scenario...

  • Come up with your idea - hopefully, you already have one - and it's awesome!  If not, spend 24 hours coming up with an idea.
  • Spend a day drafting a workable outline that contains the necessary pieces and makes sense.  
  • Write it out!  This will probably take a full week.
  • Finalizing your adventure over the next few days before submitting it.
  • Rub as many of Dread Cthulhu's tentacles as possible, you know... for luck.

Considering the chance to win $500 and publication, I think it's worth busting your creative ass for the next couple weeks.  Can't wait to read what you guys send me!

VS


Thursday, October 12, 2017

Blood Dark Thirst PDF is live!


Jesus Christ, that took awhile!

Rarely have I felt the need to put down something I was working on (several times, in fact!) in order to clear my head and hopefully glean a different perspective that would allow me to finish.  Blood Dark Thirst was such a project.

It started out as d10 dice pools just like V:tM.  I thought that's how it was going to end, but no - several fans of my work suggested I switch to the d6 dice pools I love so much.  And then there were many versions of the VSd6 version.

Suffice it to say, the shadow of V:tM loomed large over this project.  I was clearly inspired by the original and most popular be-the-vampire RPG, but didn't want to ape what they had done.  I wanted a game that had less meta-plot, less blood-tears because of inner-anguish, and less rule/setting bloat that went so far past their 1st edition, that it was like an entirely different game.

Blood Dark Thirst is my answer to the question:  Venger, if you were making your own vampire RPG in the vein of Alpha Blue, Crimson Dragon Slayer, and The Outer Presence, what would you come up with?

You can put a lot of yourself into the game.  It's pretty wide open in terms of setting and style.  While I furnish many small details, the big picture is only hinted at.  The rest is up to the GM and his players.

Anyway, I got it done by Halloween, and that's all I wanted (besides the fact that it also had to be awesome, or why the fuck publish it?).  +MonkeyBlood Design (Glynn Seal) did his best work yet pimping out the lavish and blood-spattered interior of the PDF.  Along with many pieces of color artwork, the layout is truly amazing!

I'm going to be working on a character sheet and probably another adventure, too.  If Blood Dark Thirst is well-received, I'd love to give this the full-color treatment and get it in peoples' hands sometime in early 2018.

Hope you like it and can't wait to hear your opinions!  Thanks goes out to all those who took a look, tried it out, write their experiences, gave me advice, purchase the final product, and review Blood Dark Thirst.  You guys are awesome!!!

VS


Wednesday, October 11, 2017

Galaxy Laser Team for Alpha Blue


So, a couple weeks ago I stumbled upon a picture of some brightly colored plastic space dudes, circa 1979.

I fondly remember owning a set or two of these as a kid.  Apparently, they're called "Galaxy Laser Team."

I bought a vintage set on ebay after realizing that this team could represent a starting crew of adventurers for my sleazy space opera RPG Alpha Blue.  That is, until we get official miniatures!

My package has already arrived, I'm just waiting for a quiet moment where I can unbox them with my two oldest kids.

I'm going to come up with some basic concepts for each one, such as...


  • Female humanoid technician 
  • Alien bounty hunter
  • Human pilot and smuggler
  • Human mercenary
  • Droid pimp
  • Mutant con artist
  • Humanoid zedi
  • Human scientist and mutant

Does anyone else recall owning these?

VS

p.s.  I'll definitely have these guys on hand during my Alpha Blue demo games at both Game Hole Con and Gary Con.

Thursday, October 5, 2017

An Unholy and Sleazy Alliance


Yesterday, John Popson from Effin Cool Miniatures swung by my office in downtown Madison, WI.

It was a pleasant visit, but we did more than just talk about RPGs and miniatures - the two of us signed a contract so Effin Cool Miniatures could make a line of miniatures for my scifi smut RPG Alpha Blue!

Eventually, there will be a Kickstarter run by John and he expects to have the actual miniatures at Gary Con this Spring.  I'll be there, too, hanging out and running games.

Very cool stuff.  I'm excited, and hope that you guys are, too.  When I have more details, I'll blog about them here.

Thanks,

VS

p.s.  Speaking of Kickstarters - yeah, Gamma Turquoise: Santa Fe Starport is still running!  Let's knock out a few of those stretch goals and make +MonkeyBlood Design (Glynn Seal) earn his wretched keep!