Thursday, May 24, 2018

Banned on Amazon?


Over 48 hours ago, I received an email from some shadowy division of Amazon telling me that Battle Star: Trek Wars was being temporarily suspended (suppressed, they call it) because of confusing or misleading keywords.

When setting up the title for Amazon's print-on-demand service, CreateSpace, I was asked to put in keywords to help customers find my product in searches.  Apparently, whatever I used (we can all guess, I'm sure) went too far.

But instead of merely removing my keywords or getting rid of them for Battle Star: Trek Wars altogether, they took the book off their virtual shelves.  That seems like overkill.  Could there be another motive?

I was told in that email that it would take 24 hours for them to review the matter after I sent in new keywords (which I immediately did).  As I mentioned, more than 48 hours have passed.  I've called CreateSpace's help # twice, but they could do little.  Apparently this Amazon division cannot be directly contacted, they sit in judgement beyond our universe, maneuvering in dark and secret ways...

Since I've never encountered this problem before, all I can do is wait and hope with tentacles crossed.

In the meantime, I'm putting Battle Star: Trek Wars on sale over at DriveThruRPG.  Get it here at 30% off until it's back on Amazon... whenever the fuck that might be.

Thanks,

VS


Tuesday, May 15, 2018

Looking Back at Empire of Satanis


"If you're going to do something that is naughty, do it, and realize that you're doing something naughty and enjoy it."
  Anton Szandor LaVey

It seems like a lifetime ago that I wrote one of the worst RPGs in existence (well, a few people kind of liked it).

Empire of Satanis was my self-publishing origin story. I wrote it over the course of a few months (with some help from The Forge) and put it out there for God and everyone to see (and be ashamed of) in 2005.  Not sure why some of the product information shows a 2011 date - maybe that's when Lulu updated their site?

This being 2005 and 2006 (for the 2nd edition), right around the OSR's genesis, I cobbled together a traditional and what would later be known as a "story game" hybrid.  And with games such as Alpha Blue, I'm still doing that.  Neo-OSR, baby!

This is the free PDF.  That is a link to the Lulu print-on-demand hardcover (why I thought this deserved a hardcover version is fucking beyond me).  Both updated versions are a bit longer than the original.  I doubled-down on the unnecessary quoting of inspirational luminaries such as H.P. Lovecraft, Thomas Ligotti, and Anton Szandor LaVey.  The three L's!!!

I also did all my own layout using Lulu's templates.  Jesus Titty-Fucking Christ!  Now, you know why Glynn Seal of MonkeyBlood Design does everything for Kort'thalis Publishing.  So bad!

Just reading the reviews is a treat.  Empire of Satanis deserves to be mercilessly crushed... and it frequently is.  A lot of reviewers had fun skewering this kaleidoscopic demon turd.  Hopefully, they'll put a smile on your face as they do my own.  :)

You can read this guy's Fatal & Friends detailed analysis of the game right over here!  He updated the F&F EoS autopsy not too long ago.

Yes, it's an uncharitable view, but I can't say he's wrong.  Empire of Satanis is an amateurish mess of terrible cliches and something even worse - running in the opposite direction of cliche... only to hit a brick wall at top speed.  Indeed, the thing is weird for weirdness-sake, and tries too hard in the process.

However, taken from the standpoint of purposefully awful, perhaps... maybe... possibly there's something intriguing deep inside.  I can barely imagine pairing it with Encounter Critical or Crimson Dragon Slayer.  Irony only goes so far...

Is there a moral to this story, High Priest Satanis?  Yes.  Yes, there is.  Even if what you're writing now is so bad it stinks on ice, there's hope for the future.

A couple years from now, you could be getting paid a few thousand dollars a year for writing whimsical exploitation trash.  I did it, and so can you!

VS

p.s. I took the name Satanis as part of my nom de plume to keep myself humble.  Never forget!


Sunday, May 13, 2018

Inappropriate Characters


No, I'm not just talking about barbarian halflings and dark elven monk/assassins!

RPGpundit, "Grim" Jim Desborough, and I decided to create our own RPG talk show.  Three outspoken OSRish libertines who have similar views and experiences throughout the hobby/industry we all know and love (loathe...?).

Here's the first episode of Inappropriate Characters.  It's only #1, so cut us a little slack for the meager production values.  As we continue to produce the show, it'll get slicker.

And here's our Patreon page where the three of us are looking for funding/support.

If you have questions, comments, topics you want us to discuss, feedback, or anything else, let us know!

Thanks,

VS

Friday, May 11, 2018

Adventure Writing softcover!


Both Adventure Writing Like A Fucking Boss and Adventure Writing Like a Fucking Boss II have been combined into a slim softcover over on Amazon...

Here's the link to purchase it.

It's got a lot of great advice for those wanting to design and run their own adventures.  If you aspire to self-publish your own work or want small-press publishers to buy your scenarios, this will also be an invaluable tool.

If you have the time, please post a review!

Enjoy,

VS

Tuesday, May 8, 2018

733 downloads of Alpha Blue


Thanks to Sean Patrick Fannon, Tenkar's Tavern (use his affiliate links - the dwarven ale must flow), and many others, Alpha Blue was downloaded a total of 733 times this month... and it's only the 8th!

That's awesome, and I greatly appreciate the support.  Next, I'd love to see people get really into it - blogging about the game, writing reviews and actual play reports.  Kick the transparent aluminum hover-tires and see what happens...

Perhaps this will open the door to new Alpha Blue games (face-to-face and on Roll20; campaigns and one-shots). More players means more opportunities for sleazy space opera fun. 

Mix and match!  You can always make your Metamorphosis Alpha, Traveller, White Star, Stars Without Number, Star Trek, and Star Wars RPG silly, sleazy, and R-rated.

Want to see the support material for Alpha Blue?  Check the sidebar over on the right - adventures, optional rules, random tables, campaign settings, maps, and even a funky scifi board game (Q'uay-Q'uar).

And possibly a brand new adventure coming in June.  Wait and see...

VS


Thursday, May 3, 2018

Sean Patrick Fannon Sexual Harassment Scandal


I've read the news about allegations regarding Sean Patrick Fannon over at EnWorld.  And I've got something to say about it...

As most people know (or can guess), I'm not part of the woke, SJW, ctrl-left side of politics.  Nor am I a far-right wacko.  I'm in the middle, a moderate.

Similarly, I'm not handing out free passes to every jerk, creep, sleazoid, and sexual harasser that comes down the pike.  Yet, I'm not one to join any kind of mob, demand to see individuals burnt at the stake, or boycott certain products, companies, or whatever.  I call 'em as I see 'em on a case-by-case basis.

And in this particular case, I'm biased.  Like, super biased.  My bias hails from Krypton, is now hanging out on a planet orbiting a yellow sun, and it's on steroids.  Why, you ask?

I couldn't find these interactions myself, only recalled the incident because I mentioned it on Tenkar's Tavern over here.  But I had some help from an EnWorld forum member named [prefers to be anonymous]...

The post was generated in response to this post on your blog, via Google Plus. It was made on March 22, 2016.

I didn't notice it before, but there's some further back-and-forth between you and him there, if you read the comments (I can still see the post, and I don't have a G+ account, so it looks like it's still open for public view). This one is his responding to someone pointing out that Alpha Blue was behind the adult filter:

Quote Originally Posted by Sean Patrick Fannon
For some truly ridiculously offensive products, that isn't enough in my opinion. OBS is a private company that respects, you know, actual decent human beings. I completely support their policy to allow for truly over-the-line misogyny and related horrors to get a second look.

Considering this is only the second time this has come up since the Tournament of Rapists fiasco (that one being the first), I think all the outcry is completely uncalled for.

You don't sell horse manure in a donut shop. Why should a given company be coerced into selling rape fantasy on an RPG site that caters to a much broader audience? The Internet is full of porn - find a site that sells rape porn and have a ball.
Later on, he says this:

Quote Originally Posted by Sean Patrick Fannon
Considering I've been supportive of +James Raggi and his LotFP line in the past (including with the Pick of the Day), I'll admit to being a bit surprised to see he's lining up cast me as the villain of this piece. Guess that shows me.

At any rate, I recognize what I am dealing with here, and I am quite done with it.
More later on:

Quote Originally Posted by Sean Patrick Fannon
Create all the vile and offensive make-believe you want. Knock yourself out.

Just don't be surprised when folks are offended by offensive material. And, yes, it's a testament to your personal character when you think publishing such stuff is OK, as far as I am concerned. You may be comfortable with it, and you may have your fans, but when others see your efforts as perpetuating a harmful culture (and rightfully so), there is righteous blowback from that.

And when you openly put material out to the marketplace that triggers serious trauma for some, you deserve the kick to the special place you get.

This isn't just about my taking pleasure in a hater's misfortune (though, that's definitely a bonus).  Those statements are character witness testimony from Sean Patrick Fannon himself around the time of the alleged sexual harassment incidents.  Well, some of it is alleged.  He admitted to bits and pieces.

As I've mentioned in a couple forum posts, Alpha Blue is openly sleazy.  It doesn't hide what it is.  It's not a hypocritical piece of shit.  And it's a game - a fun RPG played between consenting adults.  The "make-believe" part of it allows one to fly his or her freak flag without making convention attendees or anyone in the gaming community feel uncomfortable, unwanted, or less than a human being.

I've read hearsay of other sexual harassment incidents in various forum threads talking about Sean Patrick Fannon.  What we could really use is more women who've been sexually harassed by Sean Patrick Fannon coming forward to tell their story.

Don't let the douche-bag bros deter you from speaking your truth.  You know, I hear the word "misogyny" thrown around these days as often as the word "the."  However, in this particular case, the apologists, abuse supporters, and armchair lawyers who don't think we should even discuss the issue until there's been a jury trial and guilty verdict do seem like they actually hate and/or fear women.  Fuck you guys! And fuck Sean Patrick Fannon for just being an all-around asshole!

Don't let the bastards wear you down,

Venger As'Nas Satanis
High Priest of Kort'thalis Publishing

p.s. I'm making the core Alpha Blue RPG 100% FREE from now until Sunday evening!!!  Get your sci-fi sleaze on... without ruining your life.  ;)