Saturday, June 3, 2023

Game Hole Con Boycott


Ok, this is yet another blog post I didn't want to write.

To put it simply, the latest LGBTQIAP+ flag, that most recently pushes transgenderism, is a highly political and highly partisan symbol of the radical-left.  It doesn't mean inclusion, in the normal sense of the word.

To many of us who aren't deep-blue progressive Democrats, this flag/symbol is (forgive the redundancy) anti-conservative, anti-Republican, anti-centrist, anti-moderate, anti-Christian, anti-Catholic, anti-science, anti-woman, anti-American, and anti-reality.

It's the symbol that says straight, white men (and everyone who's ok with them) need not apply.  In fact, many who fly that flag hate us and want us to go away... or worse.

Well, I do not condone the indoctrination of weird sex fetishes and proclivities for children.  I do not condone child sex-change operations.  I do not condone the practice of grooming.  I do not condone the terrorism we've seen over the last few years... violent political activism forcing itself on the rest of us.

If Game Hole Con wants to fly their Pride Community flag, that's their right, but I'm not ok with it.  Until things change, I'm not going to attend that gaming convention, or any gaming convention that openly supports and endorses radical-leftism.

I'm out.  Oh yeah, I also made a video.

In the meantime, I do have a substitute.  The 2nd year of VENGER CON is happening next month (July 21st - 23rd) in Madison, WI.  It's much smaller, but we won't push wokeness on you.  The choice is yours!


Venger As'Nas Satanis

High Priest of Kort'thalis Publishing & Arch-Duke of the OSR

p.s. If you can't make it to VENGER CON II: Electric Boogaloo, then I recommend purchasing one or more luxury hardcover Cha'alt books right over here.

Tuesday, May 16, 2023

The Violet-Haunted Crypt


Well, I did it.  

You can't get this at DriveThruRPG, only the following independent webstores.  

It's a free Cha'alt adventure that I'm hoping will drive more traffic to the little PDF retailers who're trying to compete with the behemoth eating up 95% of the marketshare.

So, what is The Violet-Haunted Crypt?  It's 30 pages of full-color gonzo, eldritch, science-fantasy, post-apocalypse!  

You get some Cha'alt lore (including a cat girl race for PCs), start in the city, there's a dungeon, and I highlight this NPC that's a cross between Leisure Suit Larry, Kramer, and Pierce Hawthorne.  Perfect for the GM who wants to get a little wild and crazy with his game's social interaction (without taking anything away from the PCs themselves)!

And the cartography is truly something special - simple, elegant, and covered in violet, radioactive jizz.  ;)

  • The Red Room has it here.
  • Big Geek Emporium over here.
  • Giant Slayer Games (which may not be open yet) right here.

All the artwork (including the cover) was made using Midjourney A.I.  God damn, I love that shit!

Since it's not only free, but totally fucking awesome, I hope many of you run right out and download it.  Be sure to let everyone know what you think... reviews, blog comments, social media, the works!


p.s.  Looking for more players (we honestly have an embarrassment of riches when it comes to GMs) at VENGER CON.  Grab your ticket while it's still available!  Also, don't forget about the Cha'alt webcomic Kickstarter.

Sunday, May 14, 2023

Crystals of Chaos [session report #10]


We made it to X, hoss!  That's an exciting milestone for the 2023 Cha'alt campaign.

Still doing levels every other session.  I'm finally getting to see what 5th, 6th, and 7th level characters can do in Crimson Dragon Slayer D20 for the first fucking time!   I'm happy to say that they're hardier and stronger, but not so much that it breaks the game or makes it incredibly difficult for the GM.  So, mission accomplished, I guess.

I also came to a conclusion just before the session started.  Regarding personality and roleplaying, I want maximum flexibility and autonomy with a minimum of keeping track of shit.  I have enough to remember, juggling at least 16 balls in the air simultaneously, without all the stuff that the players themselves are supposed to be in charge of - roleplaying their character.

So, I'm still going to reward players throughout the session with Divine Favor (if an hour or two has gone by and I've forgotten about it, please remind me), but not going to implement any kind of personality alignment in the form of vices, virtues, obsessions, or character expectations.  That's entirely the player's purview.  I don't want to keep bogging the system down with extra rules or anything that gets in the way of "arcade-mode D&D."

Ok, we were down to 4 players because of vacation and family issues.

I really need to keep all my campaign notes in one spot.  I have about 3 places that I use, ensuring that I'll never have exactly what I need in front of me when it's needed.  For instance, there was a short message carved into the obelisk from last session that no one could remember... and, of course, the notes in front of me were not from that session.  It was irritating, but nothing too horrible.  The players sometimes take notes, too, but no one brought them to the game.  Yeah... 

Anyway, overall good session.  One additional detail before I forget, I got my Mom a big cathedral-style amethyst geode for Mother's Day the next day (Sunday).  Since I needed someplace to store the amethyst, I perched it atop one of my bookshelves in the game room.  That kept it away from the kids while also giving our play space some much needed crystalline awesome-juice.

Ok, let me recap what happened...

The PCs had slept back on their starship Jefferson and then teleported back to Cremza'amirikza'am once they had sufficiently rested.  As we were going through the logistics, I had an idea.  Sorcerers should be able to spend an extra point of vitality to preserve spells in a sort of "background readiness" until they're needed.  So, that's a rule now.  Robard did precisely that in order to keep his portal preserved for when they wanted to exit.  Hmm... maybe this is something that wizards of 5th level or higher can pull off?

So, they got back to the megadungeon saturated with magenta illumination.  They wandered around, finding a cave behind a purple energy barrier.  It was translucent, and could see a bunch of dudes sitting on beanbag chairs with high tech helmets over their head and face with a big sign that read "PornHub" in the background.  They chose to explore elsewhere.  FYI, this isn't in Cremza'amirikza'am as written, but something I pulled from my upcoming free adventure that will be released to several smaller PDF retailers tomorrow (5/15/23).  It's called The Violet-Haunted Crypt.

Speaking of magenta illumination, I used the special magenta lamp in the game room after dimming the lights.  And the lurid, sleazy effect it had on the session was palpable.  So, if you happen to run Cremza'amirikza'am at some point, I HIGHLY recommend including the appropriate ambiance for the first three levels.

The party found a bunch of wasp-men bodies, along with some leftover hexagonal honeycomb currency (that tasted like honey).  They stumbled upon turquoise cacti with orange spines and flowers (that tasted like orange chicken).  While the rest of the party experimented with the unusual flora, Zemit rubbed his detachable penis onto a large magenta crystal embedded in the rock wall.  Why?  Because he wanted to impress Vanessa.  Robard told him he didn't have to go to all that trouble, since the sorcerer could simply cast glamor on him and the magenta resonations would do the rest.

Sure enough, Zemit took a little walk with Vanessa and got the job done.

Then, they fought an adolescent clown-worm that kept nauseously bellowing about pina coladas and vaginas.  The party probably would have moved along if not for the stairs down to level 2 behind it.

The battle was significant because the PCs, being short-handed and all, were afraid they might not be able to best the clown-worm.  It managed to crit on one of the NPC banana-men servants of Vanessa (who inherited a fried chicken and brothel establishment on the 2nd level of the megadungeon), and the sight was glorious.  The clown-worm's tentacles squeezed the mush out of the banana-man, then messily scooped what had been squeezed out into its mouth, and finally proceeded to tongue-rape the empty peel with its infernal appendage.  Before that moment, I started counting how many times Robard's player said "gross."  By the session's end, I managed to rack up 8 times.  All of them well earned.  Yes, that's pride swelling in my pants... pure pride!  ;)

Without Robard's "natural 6" fireball, I'm not sure the PCs would have made it.  He did a whopping 60 points of damage right from the get-go.  Jackal stabbed and the thieves used their blasters to finish the job.

After defeating the clown-worm as it began to liquify, Robard (upon rolling a natural 20 on his "arcane senses" check - which I just made-up on the spot) detected a powerful magic item inside the corpse.  It was the god-slayer trident of legend.  They used it to create a chromatic zoth from the clown-worm's blood enchanted by the trident.

Robard drank the chromatic zoth, experienced visions, got an extra point of Divine Favor as the Old Ones said "What up?," and became extremely paranoid for some time afterwards... which Robard's player portrayed excellently (without needing any meta-game hoohaha).

The clown-worm had been guarding the stairs to level 2.  So, the PCs went down.  Zagreus was the only one who stepped on a landmine (but thankfully he was skilled enough to disengage it before the thing went off).  Then they disturbed a few giant vampire bats and slew them.  Oh yeah, they encountered a banana-man walking his banana-pet who was eating a naturally growing banana from the cave floor.  The banana-man also carried a sign that read "The unknowable banana-Gods are angry.  The end is nigh."  Not wanting to see a prophecy go unfulfilled, Jackal decided to try out his trident.  The banana-man was easily slain as his banana-pet ran off into the magenta darkness.  Will we see it again?

I like to include one or more humanoid tribes living "naturally" within my megadungeons, and Cremza'amirikza'am is no exception.  The PCs interacted with a nudist colony down there led by Ron Jeremy (circa 1983).  They got information about Commander Andrak who had crossed through their asking about a powerful artifact the day before.

They also went into the "smash cave," a name I borrowed from The Jersey Shore.  They had a "smash room" where members of the Jersey Shore house would hook-up, away from the other roommates.  This cave was also filled with crystals... cleansing crystals that gave off healing energy.  

Ron Jeremy (BTW, I had to prompt Midjourney with Rob Jeremy because of their stupid anti-porn restrictions) showed someone, can't remember who, a "dimensional peephole" that allowed remote viewing of the smash cave.  I was told that was actually scrying, but dimensional peephole sounded more appropriate.  Everyone at the table agreed.

Robard wanted to keep going, in part because of his cosmic paranoia.  But the rest of the party convinced him at knife-point to partake in the nudist colony's hospitality.  After an hour or so of fellatio, soothing chimes, and good vibrations, the adventurers felt entirely relaxed and cleansed. 

There was a cave painting there, too.  It depicted some really cool, potentially game-changing Cha'alt lore that I was excited to introduce into the campaign.

As zoth is the Great Old One ichor that spilled out of the dead gods, revitalizing the planet and making sorcery widespread as in Cha'alt's golden age, the essence or soul-energy escaping to another universe was filtered through the very rock, imbuing crystals with power.

The PCs made the connection between their purple labyrinth H.P. Lovecraft visitation and this new discovery - if the spiritual energy of the Old Ones is somehow locked inside Cha'alt's crystals, then maybe they shouldn't be using them to fuel their starship and other various technologies.  Heighten Chancery Philthrop III made the counter-argument that perhaps using the crystals released the rest of the Old Ones' essence into space.  I don't think anyone else in the party was wholly convinced of that.

Something for all of us to ponder in the coming days...

Before long, the PCs (still chilling in the smash cave) heard the distinctive sound of spurs clinking and clanking.  They walked to the cave entrance to see a bounty hunter wearing an even more distinctive deep v-neck poncho with tendril fringe in traditional southwestern hues.  

The bounty hunter was looking for a thief and former bartender named Zemitorius.  If the PCs handed him over, he'd give them 500 gold pieces (about half of what he was worth, but the bounty hunter didn't mention that part).  They asked what he did, and the bounty hunter told them a little story.  

Back when Zemit was a bartender, he fucked a watermelon and then used that watermelon to serve fancy drinks on Korgoth's sail-barge (Korgoth was a retired adventurer who is "better than you in every way" according to Colin who created him for that playtest in Cha'alt he ran last weekend).

For that much gold, the PCs gave him up (since he wasn't exactly a member of the party or that useful).  Robard put him back into the crystal orb where he belongs, but not before relieving Zemit of his detachable penis.

After Zemit was back in the crystal sphere and handed over to the bounty hunter, Zagreus noticed a little orange button on the side of the detachable penis.  He pushed it, emitting a holograph like Princess Leia, except that it was Zemit himself bequeathing his most prized possession to his good pals who must have survived him.  It was his crystal-rimmed jaccard hidden inside the detachable penis.

Everyone had a good laugh because of the call-back to my improvised creation of some fictional thieves' tool that nobody had ever heard of, except for my character Charkuteri in that aforementioned playtest.

The last bit of the session was spent fighting a gigantic mutant crab (technically godlike, so Jackal was able to use the trident's god-killing +5 bonus).  After a small fireball and taking a claw to the leg, Robard was weakened enough to get the fuck out of there, back to the smash cave.  The rest of the party remained to kick its ass.  Zagreus almost went down after the crab scored a critical hit, and then Jackal got one of his own, pulverizing the poor excuse for a crustacean god.

In its fishy lair, there was a magical shield of sandworms attacking starships in the sky.  When anointed with humanoid blood, opponents are at a Disadvantage when targeting the shield bearer (lasts for 20 minutes).

That's it.  Thanks for reading.  In two weeks, we shall continue with yet another session.


p.s. We're running out of time for VENGER CON, so get your tickets while you can!  The Kickstarter is still going for the Cha'alt webcomic Under Fuchsia Ska'ai, with a top backer tier including the Cha'alt hardcover trilogy.

Sunday, May 7, 2023

I Got To Play


Not only was I a player for the first time in forever (damn you for ruining that phrase, Frozen!), but the adventure was set in Cha'alt.  Hot damn, it's like Xma'as and my birthday all rolled into one.

FYI, my reason for virtually never playing is not because I can't find a game.  It's because I prefer being the Game Master.  But once in a blue moon is a real treat, so thanks to my Cha'alt bro (Yog-brother) Colin for GMing.  And he used some kind of Crimson Dragon Slayer D20 / Into The Odd (I think he said) hack he came up with himself.  Very cool.

The hack was interesting.  Legitimately interesting because that's a failing on my part as a game designer.  I use what I like, what comes naturally to me, or that I've gleaned from osmosis by happenstance.  I don't get to see "what's out there" as much as the average gamer.  You get too much yin, you start losing your yang.  Tradeoffs, hoss.  I'm talking about tradeoffs.  So it goes...

I can see why the resource die is popular.  And rolling automatically for damage is also neat.  I get why he ditched it.  On a miss, almost literally nothing happens.  That's usually boring (though advanced GMs find a way around that sort of thing).  But the extra book keeping and immersion breaking (at least as a novice to the system) was jarring.  And the "leveling up" after nearly every combat related encounter was weird.  For a one-shot where you're fast-tracking experience and character growth it could make sense, but I'd probably still stop at one PC "growth spurt" per session.

Oh well.  For those who like that type of thing, now there's a little more - and it's related Crimson Dragon Slayer and Cha'alt.  Cool.  Learn more about Colin's hack here!

I played a warrior demon with a big (but not ridiculously massive, I stipulated) two-handed obsidian sword named Vanessa that makes that Tie-Fighter scream when attacking my foes.  That reminds me, some great GMing advice I heard from Colin's mouth during the game was "Highlight what makes players cool."  Now, I've heard similar stuff spewed here and there on the internet, but it's not the type of thing that ever just pops-up in a game.  Mostly, that kind of stuff sticks to the ivory tower intellectual RPG forums and stays there.  In any case, it's a truism.  Always glad to have a reminder of the truth... in action, no less.

I won't give too much away, except to say that it felt like my Cha'alt mixed with Red Dead Redemption.  Crimson Gulch, Deadwood, weird looking tentacled cows?  Yes, I'm here for it!  So, maybe kind of like a Firefly Gamma World?  The beginning was awesome, the middle dragged simply due to the fact that it was clearly meant to join the first and last part together into a single scenario.  There wasn't much for us to do, except get settled and prepare for exploration of the ruins nearby.  And the end was awesome, but maybe a bit linear and rushed.  I'd simply love to see it expanded.

Basically, a first-class draft.  I don't think Colin will mind me saying these things since it was declared a playtest for some future convention game, and it was the first playtest of that adventure... and that specific rule-set.

Anyways, back to the adventure.  I was joined by a reptilian sorcerer named Izurass (badass name) and an orc thief named Winslow Fivepence (I need backstory on Steve's choice of names for Cha'alt characters).

We got to have some tavern time, wandering the bazar, ambushing some marauders chasing us, have sex with a busty dark-elf prostitute (thanks, hoss!), kill some undead centurions from a ruined civilization millennia ago, tangle with the Mandalorian, pass Gozer's test, drink from "mechanical elf" moon juice or maybe it was finely aged zoth, awaken the kaiju, and we didn't let the guy we were hired to keep alive die.

I especially liked the colorful NPCs (literally and figuratively) and the way Colin GMed them.  Well done, my good sir!

As for my character, Charkuteri (there's a Cha'altian umlaut, which makes a triad, above the "u") the demon warrior, I think I roleplayed him well.  I finally had the chance to take a page out of my book, Play Your Character Like A Fucking Boss.  For example, when this Arabic themed... hang on, let me interject something first. 

Oh yeah, Colin asked me what a fancy, learned historian of the court would wear since this is my world and all.  I thought for a moment and said "Golden embroidery on his robes"... then a few moments later added "and a ridiculously oversized 'flock of seagulls' type collar."  Which, admittedly, is not something GMs ask the typical player.

In the next scene there was a vaguely Arabic merchant of trinkets and baubles, his tent appeared in the bazar as if my magic.  Inside, he sat upon pillows, smoking a hookah, and making smoke images from his exhalations with the colored smoke.  In character, I asked him if he could make a smoke-monkey.  He did, which led the merchant to pass his hookah over to the reptilian sorcerer who inhaled and breathed out a sandworm.  Wild!

After that introduction to the magnificently turbaned merchant, our orc thief inquired about specialized thieves' tools.  In character, I told him that back in Kra'adumek, I knew a thief who's favorite instrument of trade was a crystal rimmed jaccard.  That was just something I made up in the moment, and it helped carry the social interaction forward.  Did it make or break the game?  Of course not, it was just a throw-away line because why not?  Like throwing pebbles into the lake, or in the case of Cha'alt, throwing sand into the wind, you do it just to see what happens.  If something blossoms from that moment, awesome!  And if it doesn't, that's cool.  All those moments, like tears in the rain, hoss!

And then later, we passed by a priest in the near distance performing some ritual, and he gave the "blessings of the great tentacle" hand gesture.  I did the same.  Not for any monetary reward or advantage in the game, it didn't benefit anyone or change anything, but I felt a deeper kinship with Cha'alt... and that's (partly) what it's all about.

Interacting with the details the GM creates is part of what makes a great player.  The world is there to engage with, not just remain a convenient backdrop for the scene's primary goal or reason for being.  The campaign setting lives and breathes independently of scenario concerns.

Anyway, I asked Colin about how it felt to run Cha'alt and this is what he said...

"Surreal experience being able to ask the guy who wrote the thing 'how this or that' might work in the setting.  Pop culture references are 'in genre' for Cha'alt, riffing off of familiar pop culture references made it fun to write content for and create in-the-moment decisions as a GM.  It's like a core tool or principle of the game, you're allowed to just drop in Gozer where appropriate, or add a 'totally not' Boba Fett character in that you didn't expect to need."

Ok, I'll leave you with some interesting thingamabobs and quotes...

  • "All the best neon signs... fast drinks, loose times."
  • The tavern was called The Sullied Unicorn, and the logo was a unicorn getting railed with cartoonishly swirly eyes.
  • Psychedelic elves.
  • "Tuskan orc raiders looking like Cha'altian steampunk."
  • "I shall name this reptilian riding spider Bastian."

Thanks for reading, everyone!  Next session of the Crystals of Chaos campaign is happening next Saturday.


p.s. I've got a new Kickstarter to help pay for this amazing Cha'alt webcomic I've been working on with Jae Tanaka.  July is approaching... will I see some of you in Madison, WI for VENGER CON II: Electric Boogaloo?  I hope so.  Attendance is limited so grab your ticket today!

Monday, May 1, 2023

Crystals of Chaos [session report #9]


So much going on right now... so much!

Not only did Neckbeardia do his video of Cha'alt: Fuchsia Malaise, but RPG Pundit finally got around to reviewing Cha'alt: Chartreuse Shadows here.  I've got a few interesting things to say about the latter (in my own YouTube video), but just super pleased and excited about both.

I just (literally a few minutes ago) launched my 25th Kickstarter to help fund one or more webcomics for Cha'alt, Alpha Blue, and the Purple Islands.  Check it out!!!  And to help boost things along and build an audience for my eldritch, gonzo, science-fantasy, post-apocalypse world, I'm giving away the Cha'alt PDF for free as long as the KS is running.

Last week, I ran another Cha'alt one-shot on Roll20.  This one lasted a bit longer than my usual 90-minutes.  It went almost two hours.  I know that sounds like chump-change to many of you, but since my virtual Cha'alt sessions are 1) text only, 2) "D&D" in arcade-mode via Crimson Dragon Slayer D20, and 3) GMed by a fucking boss, we covered a lot of ground in that time.

I won't go into too many details since parts of this adventure will show up in a brand new scenario I'll be releasing in a couple weeks on smaller retailer platforms - more info on Project Badass here.

This one got into alternative timelines and dimensions in the Cha'alt multiverse - [say it in the voice of Brian Blessed as Vultan from Flash Gordon]  "Kra'adumek's alive?!?"  Yes, the purple or violet, depending on who you ask, alien demon-worm exists in a parallel universe.  The PCs got so drunk last night that they fell through a portal into this similar Cha'alt reality.  More civil unrest as the violet revolution has taken its toll on the purple priests and the city-state itself.  

Lots of fun was had; 4 players (a couple noobs and a couple guys familiar with my campaign setting).  

And of course, there was another session of the face-to-face Crystals of Chaos game that I run out of my house every other weekend.  That was also a great time, let me share it with you...

Two players had family commitments, so there was me and four players - Jackal, Ro-Robard the Red, Crandol, and Heighten Chancery Philthrop III.

Jefferson lost power for a few seconds and then its starship thrusters came back online.  The disruption surprised everyone.  Crandol took a rubix cube to the face, Heighten's extra-long purple glass bong shattered, etc.  Ka'arl came out eating a banana (raw), Sa'ab held Cha'alt: The Board Game under his arm, and Lady Ska'ai walked into the central hub naked (her fuchsia skin glistening with sweat) holding a double-headed zoth-colored dong.

Oh yeah, before the power loss, Ro-Robard was trying to get the thief out of that crystal sphere he picked up way back in either session one or two.  And he managed it - an elf thief who is also a communist conspiracy theorist and wearing a banana costume and fake moustache.  So, obviously he fit right in with the rest of the crew.

The upshot was that Jefferson needed crystals to refuel.  While not having enough energy to reach The Black Skull in his mother's basement, halfway around the planet, the PCs didn't have much choice but to land near where the ship detected lots of crystals.

This led them to the lost city - entrance of Cremza'amirikza'am.  A Federation ornothopter was being guarded by a red-shirt which Heighten interrogated with a knife to his throat then let him go off into the desert.  Apparently, Commander Andrak who got away at the end of last session was searching for an artifact or device that could destroy Cha'alt from the inside out.  He and his crack elite squad of Federation commandos had a 6-hour head-start. 

At the platform covering the 90-minute walk down a dark stone stairway was a three-man film crew including the director Francois, Smek the camera guy, and Shek who carried the boom-mic.  They were looking for a party of adventurers they could follow around and film, documentary style.  The PCs said sure, and away they went.  

Ok, I forgot something else.  Let's back up a bit.  I've been reading more about the Red Room's wretched alignment system, and wanted to give it a try for my Cha'alt game.  So, I asked each player to pick two from the fourteen possible virtues and vices.  When a character roleplayed that, he'd get a point of Divine Favor (for those curious, this is a different way of handling it than the Red Room).  Well, it worked about as well as inspiration in 5e.  Which is to say that it's a lot for the GM to remember during play and players are hesitant to ask for any kind of bonus.  Also, how do you weigh an off-hand comment of three or four words?  Is that enough to warrant Divine Favor?  Do you wait until more has been contributed in the next 30 minutes?  Do you ask the player to provide additional roleplaying?

After the session, I came up with a revised plan for the vice/virtue stuff.  You can read about that at the end of this blog post.  Oh yeah, the PCs also decided to call themselves The Crimson Bastards!

When the vibe is there and I'm on a roll, I have a lot of fun roleplaying NPCs, and I had no shortage of people to impersonate this session... from Zemit the elf thief (who stayed on board Jefferson and got his rocks off with Lady Ska'ai since she was obviously horny and he hadn't seen a woman since being imprisoned in that crystal sphere.  There was a lock-pick hanging from the bedroom doorknob - will they have a pink baby?) to this priest of Kort'thalis who wanted to be mentored by the halfling thief until they finally killed the bastard (it took like 3 attempts).

The biggest and most dramatic scene was a return to the purple labyrinth (this will be featured in a new Cha'alt zine coming out in June).  They met a representative of Yog-Soggoth; this lime-green skinned humanoid looked suspiciously like H.P. Lovecraft.  He reminded the adventurers of the first commandment tentacled down to them aeons ago - Keep to the old ways!  In the ancient tongue, it's Ium koola'ad venriz, which means "reject modernity, embrace tradition."  

Furthermore, he told them to not turn their back on destiny while also easing-up on the technology, spacefaring, and contamination of alien cultures.  To make it even more dramatic, Robard returned as his former self - all flesh, no part of him was cyborg or crystalline (though he might still retain a fetish or two).  For the rest of the session, the PCs went back and forth on just how much they might have strayed from the eye of the needle and justified the occasional use of Jefferson, Alpha Blue, etc.  So, it had a lot of impact.

The rest of this adventure was exploring the Cremza'amirikza'am megadungeon.  I did my best to make it new with a fresh coat of reimagined paint, since at least one player had already explored the first level in a prior adventure. 

The party met a redhead with three banana-men servants looking for a chicken shack and brothel on level two.  "Free sex and a bucket of fried chicken - the sweet life!"

They almost got blown-up by a cultist's thermal detonator (merely sustaining heavy damage and had to make do without their priest).  They looted a cool new magic item in the shape of a chartreuse crystal sphere with fuchsia veins called Occam's anti-razor.  "Nothing like a veiny orb."

And then they encountered a demon who was parading around with a giant slab of pineapple that had little slices of pizza on it.  "Where's your God now?"  They killed the demon, took his talisman, and decided to rest back at their ship as Robard teleported them.

That's pretty much it.  I did technically include a Floridian belt buckle somewhere in that session, but the players didn't find it.  And I'll do my best to keep including the Floridian belt buckle trope into EVERY DAMN CHA'ALT SESSION EVER as long as I remember to, of course.

Funny and/or awesome lines...

  • Once Robard became fully human again, he remembered that he'd need to change his business cards - "Hello, Vistaprint?" oh, and cancel that crystalline lube he ordered, "Hello, Amazon Prime?"
  • "If I know anything about the Gods of Cha'alt, they love whorehouses, fried chicken, and tentacles!"
  • "That commie Zemit is going to try and unionize the ship's workforce."
  • "Refined, fuel-grade crystals."
  • Let's keep Cha'alt for Cha'altians - aliens, get off our world!  #Cha'altFirst
  • "A piece of cosmic coral from the spice reefs." 
  • You'd be amazed what fits on the underside of a sna'aple cap.
  • "I want a chicken wing named after me, and it should be hot and spicy as fuck!"
  • "Unknowable banana Gods."
  • "The tentacle abides, hoss."

Ok, let's get back to vices & virtues.  Here's what I'm going to do next time... 

PCs choose their vices and/or virtues.  If you only pick one, it's a d12 (reroll 1s).  If you pick two, they're at a d6.  Pick three, they're d4s.  You get to add a bonus die to any roll, once per encounter, scene, or combat, once the vice or virtue character trait has been roleplayed.  

So, let's say a PC wants wrath, lust, and diligence.  Obviously, if I gave everyone the same bonus no matter how many vices or virtues they chose, it benefits the person who took more.  However, the more you choose, the less of a bonus you receive.  Taking three means that if the PC roleplays being a hard worker in a scene, then he gets a d4 he can add to any one roll by the end of that scene (maybe it'll carry over if it makes sense).  

Now, if that PC had only taken wrath, then when he goes off on some NPC, stabbing him for spilling soup or whatever, that PC will get a d12 when he wants to use it.  Again, it should be utilized soon after it's been acquired; they don't accumulate - only one bonus die per player per trait.  That means the same PC can have an extra d6 if he roleplayed both chastity and pride in a particular scene, but can't get any more until he's spent what he's got.  Any unused bonus is definitely lost after the session is over.

Ok, let me know what you think.  Does this work better?  Would you use this?  Is there possibly a third set of 7 traits that could supplement the vices and virtues (because that would be interesting)?

Thanks, for reading!  One last thing, it looks like I'll finally get to play in a Cha'alt session this weekend as my buddy Colin gets to playtest his CDS D20 / Into the Odd hack.  


p.s. It's May, so we're fast creeping up on VENGER CON II: Electric Boogaloo.  Grab your ticket here.  And if you want your hardcover Cha'alt trilogy, you can either purchase them here or through the new Cha'alt webcomic Kickstarter.

Thursday, April 27, 2023

Project Badass


We know where to find the 800lb gorilla of RPG retailers... especially when it comes to PDFs.

What I'd like to do is help out the little guys, the independents, the smaller platforms who need traffic to merely stay alive.

Next month, I'm releasing a badass fucking Cha'alt adventure to Big Geek Emporium, Giant Slayer Games (coming online in a couple weeks), Red Room, and any other RPG webstore that wants it.  This PDF adventure will be both FREE and unavailable to larger retailers. 

I'm hoping this gives such little known places a boost, and I hope that other content creators will join with me and create their own PDF exclusively for platforms trying to survive in an algorithmic ecosystem that's doomed to failure unless gamers can come together and support them.

If you're such a PDF platform retailer specializing in RPGs, let me know and I'll include you in this (and other) blog posts, as well as, upload the digital files when the Cha'alt adventure is complete (around May 15th).

Content creators and indie PDF platforms who want to be part of the solution should contact me so we can join up and be badass together in getting this project off the ground. I can't do all of this by myself, and shouldn't have to.  Who's with me?


Thank you for your participation, hoss. Keep tabs on Venger's old school gaming blog for additional details and announcements!


p.s.  Yep, I've got an OSR convention coming up in July.  Join me in Madison, WI for VENGER CON II: Electric Boogaloo!!!  Additionally, I still have hardcover Cha'alt books (signed, numbered, and personalized by me)... get them here.

Wednesday, April 19, 2023

Advanced Game Mastering


Have you ever seen a cover that hideous?  Yeah, it's intentionally awful... I think.  Maybe unconsciously loathsome or parenthetically obscene?  

It's like artwork for an early 90s unlicensed video game tie-in with a badly remembered toy line that jumped the cyber-shark a long, long time ago... or what Toma diarrhea looks like on Cha'alt.  Or title sequence for You Can't Fuck That On Television.  Lol

Grab yourself the Advanced Game Mastering Like A Fucking Boss PDF right now!

Hopefully it kicks ass!  I think there's enough awesome stuff in there to make it worthwhile.  It's 111 pages (the interior looks beautiful, BTW) with an introductory mini-adventure at the back and d100 random table specifically designed for both those attending and not able to attend VENGER CON in Madison, WI during the month of July (the only month in Wisconsin that we're guaranteed warm weather... by law).

The Kickstarter went well, and backers have theirs.  For those curious, I did have to let DriveThru vet the manuscript before uploading it.  I was surprised that nothing needed to be altered or removed.  I did self-censor one paragraph that was disjoined and more of a political rant than anything else before it ever got to DriveThru.  So, yeah... perhaps I've mellowed in my old age?

It's only $10.  You be the judge...

While I've got you here, I plan on launching a Kickstarter to pay for the Cha'alt webcomic I've been doing with Jae Tanaka around May 1st.  And if there's money left over, it will go towards the Cha'alt zine subsidy and perhaps multiple webcomics (you'll have to wait for the KS to read more about that).

One of these days, there's going to be a Cha'alt movie... or at the very least, an off-off-Broadway play of horny cat-people with tentacles scrounging for weird-tech in the desert wasteland of S'kbah.


p.s. Hell yes, I have gorgeous Cha'alt trilogy hardcovers.  Step right up, hoss!

Monday, April 17, 2023

Crystals of Chaos [session report #8]


Before diving right into this session report for the 2023 Cha'alt campaign known as Crystals of Chaos, I have a bonus session report to squeeze-in first.

The day before session #8, I ran a quick 90-minute game on Roll20.  It was in the eldritch, gonzo, science-fantasy, post-apocalyptic world of Cha'alt using the same old Crimson Dragon Slayer D20 for both sessions (fuchsia burn was mentioned, but never used).

During the Roll20 one-shot, the 3 players (started with 4) were gamers I knew from social media.  So, after the game, I got to hear their positive feedback via Twitter...  

  • "Rules light, loads of RP, and action packed."
  • "His game might be the best of the OSR games. He throws out a lot of unnecessary bullshit and gets to playing."
  • "After today's session, I definitely want to pick up a book or two."

After a 3-month break from running virtual games, glad I haven't lost my touch.  ;)

I posted a generic title for the session when advertising for players on Roll20, but now that it's "in the can," I'd call this one A'agrybah Has Fallen.  Basically, the Federation has had it up to here with the people of Cha'alt.  They just decided to invade and take the planet by force, starting with the most populist city - A'agrybah.

Simple set-up... the PCs' mentor is dying and asks the adventurers to take something special (in this case, it was a vial of tangerine zoth) to the mentor's priest friend who's currently holed-up inside the Temple of Yog-Soggoth.

I won't go into further detail as I'll probably run that particular scenario again, but obviously it was a crowd pleaser.  And that goes into something mentioned on Raven Wulfgar's Cha'alt part 2 video here.  It's a 2-hour beast featuring both the Red Room and my friend and Crystals of Chaos player, Colin.  In the video, the co-host (I think) mentions that Cha'alt can be run many different ways.  It doesn't have to be slap-stick sleazy gonzo... unless you want it to be.  You can run it like grim and dirty survival horror or a space opera quest to save the planet and/or galaxy a la Star Wars and Dune.

Anyways, it was loads of fun, and I'm looking forward to more Roll20 one-shots maybe this or next week.  Stay in touch with me via Twitter, the Conservative OSR facebook group(s), and this blog.

Need a recap?  This is session #7.

5 players, the only one missing was Zagreus the dwarven thief.  Everyone is 6th level now, except the latecomer Gath who is now 5th.

So, the PCs burst into the room looking to take out the generators that create the phase-shift around various planets, including Cha'alt, but find out a few unfortunate things... Ro-Robard's invisibility spell has worn off, there's an anti-magic zone in this room, and Commander Andrak is waiting for them with 10 Federation soldiers (the elite kind, not the ordinary stormtrooper scrubs) ready with blasters on stun.

I thought about springing the whole "Hey, relax, you were only stunned." thing after everyone went down (assuming they did), but didn't want to create a TPK panic attack when things went according to likely probability.  Of course, I had a contingency plan, too, in case the PCs somehow got out of that mess.

So, what I did was if the blasters (set to stun) hit, the PC would have to make a saving throw to stay conscious.  If they succeed, no damage is taken and really nothing happens.  But if they fail, they're effectively "stunned" for several turns.

The adventurers find themselves strapped to big circular tables set at a 45-degree angle, naked except for their underwear.  The Commander and a Federation doctor is there to administer a drug.  He injects the PCs in the neck, which makes them more susceptible to some horrible creature contained in this transparent tube.  The creature gives off these vibrational waves that make it more difficult to lie, and when you do, it floods your brain with unwanted thoughts.

There was a lot of funny scatological humor as lies caused a PC to feel like the creature was peeing on his head or shitting on his chest, gross stuff like that.  When I re-use this bit, I might go for less humor and, instead, go into darker nightmare territory.  I'm thinking of that "re-education torture" part of the V-miniseries where the blonde is being terrorized by a huge lizard, but it's only happening in her mind.

Ok, so the enhanced interrogation did a couple of things.  First, it evened the playing field because now the Federation knows more about the PCs and what they're up to, also the resistance, etc.  Second, it refreshed the players on what they'd been doing and how much they've overcome various obstacles. 

Additionally, I had the Commander ask the PCs about a set of three ancient stone tablets that were recovered on Cha'alt awhile ago.  The Federation encased the tablets inside transparent aluminum, which also displaced their weight.  I came up with that on the spot, but think it works well.

The sorcerer could read the tablets' glyphs - they described a defensive artifact buried underground, something that could save Cha'alt in the event of a planet-wide attack, and seemingly connected to the mystical rainbow-hued crystal keys they were given by the nightmare clown in weird space.  The stone tablets also gave the artifact's location - inside the carcass of Cara'akis (a Great Old One renowned for his gargantuan size).

Afterwards, the PCs were imprisoned on the Federation base, behind laser bars.  I had just seen Dude, Where's My Car? the night before, so Andy Dick as a fellow prisoner was firmly in my mind, and I did my best to do an impression of him.  Zik the disheveled prisoner with many, many personal problems.  "Why can't I be your robot cat?"

Long story short, Ro-Robard (being part cyborg) tried to seduce the detention-droid, but that didn't work.  However, the detention-droid (OZ-13) was interested in joining their gang.  He had been a justice-droid before his re-programing, and didn't like his daily life on the Federation base.

They got their stuff - the Federation cleaned everything and re-charged all the energy cells (which was very nice of them).  They sliced and diced some random troopers and I.T. guys, found where the anti-magic technology was being housed, destroyed that, freed, Garren Voy and Graaawl, and then went back to blow those generators.  Ro-Robard, realizing at the beginning of the session that he was practically useless in a fight without his magic or a blaster, had successfully disabled the forcefield around the generators.

So, when the PCs returned, they blasted the shit out of it, then the sorcerer fireballed a second wave of troopers, scorching the crap out of Commander Andrak, as well, who teleported away just as he was in Crandol's tentacled.

They rigged the base to blow before heading for the impound and getting their ship, Jefferson, back.  Once in the air, they destroyed the rest of the base that didn't get blown-up earlier, dropped Ro-Robard down a rope-ladder to retrieve the stone tablets of Cha'alt.  The transparent aluminum made them easy for the cyborg-crystalline-dwarf sorcerer to carry back up to the ship.

The PCs high-tailed it for Cha'alt.  They flew over A'agrybah to see the gigantic banana peeled and a thousand banana-men had taken over the city.  Jefferson was ordered to strafe the city (killing about 80 banana-men), and then the PCs devised a plan while the sorcerer's player had to take an emergency work call.  I decided that Ro-Robard was likely working out the finer details of the stone tablets as his companions plotted their own take-over of A'agrybah.

The others ordered the ship's A.I. to create a short-lived virus deadly to bananas.  Yes, they were prepared to commit fruiticide.  Luckily, only 10% of the population needed to be killed off before the banana-men leader gave up control of the city to the PCs.

Just as the PCs were celebrating, a message came through the palace throne room or wherever the adventurers currently were - the brains behind the banana-men brawn revealed himself.  It was a new antagonist (or is it?!?) calling himself The Black Skull.  After The Black Skull swore revenge, the PCs had Jefferson triangulate his position, far, far to the south.

And, that's where we ended it.  Ro-Robard, and his player, was surprised to learn the PCs took over A'agrybah so quickly.  Below are some funny things that came out of the session.

  • Ludicrous speed - everyone's clothes went plaid (including the halfling's purple cloak).
  • The PCs were grateful for the Federation's OCD, and even logged onto Zelp! after their escape and gave the Federation base and prison colony a 5-ztar review.  "Greatest prison ever!"
  • I wanted to do a cut-scene at the very end of the session where we see a Federation guard / janitor refitting a fresh energy cell onto the PC's confiscated blaster, but I forgot all about it.
  • In the prison cell, everyone got bathrobes - they even had terrycloth sheaths!
  • Heighten Chancery Philthrop III proclaimed "I'm working for the glory of the next zoth hit," as he was asked what his function was on Cha'alt by Commander Andrak.
  • We learned that the crystal part of Ro-Robard might be female.  I blame the current year!
  • Sharp tang somehow goes well with dark taint... but don't ask me how.
  • Lots of banana puns (not really puns, but names for stuff with banana at the beginning) and such, like banana-speeder, banana bones, banana organs, banana brains in their banana skull, banana zombie apocalypse, getting sand in their peels, bananenchmen (banana henchmen), banana-cution, etc.
  • The PCs lured OZ-13 to their side with promises of taking him to Alpha Blue so he can get it on with female droids.  They were going to buy him a space station brothel multi-pass for not only Alpha Blue, but other space station brothels.
  • Oh yeah, and they managed to steal 30 spice capsules of refined zoth (each capsule goes for about a thousand credits).
  • Also, the PCs dropped Garren Voy and Graaawl off in the S'kbah desert and later picked-up both Karl and Sa'ab.

Ok, I think that's it.  Next game in just under two weeks.  I'm looking forward to it because it'll get everyone back to Cha'alt and back to a "normal" type of gameplay... possibly an all new megadungeon?

Thanks for reading!


p.s.  If you want your own Cha'alt campaign toolkit, here you go.  They are signed, numbered, and personalized deluxe hardcovers that are so high-quality and well-built they should last you years and years and years.  Also, don't forget about VENGER CON II: Electric Boogaloo this July in Madison, WI.  It's just going to be me, 20 - 30 gamers and nothing but an entire weekend of old-school, OSR, and traditional roleplaying games (plus, eating, drinking, joking around, and talking about tabletop gaming).

Monday, April 10, 2023

Cha'alt Zine Madness


As this video states, I'm encouraging everyone to make their own Cha'alt zine.  

To put my money where my mouth is, I'm giving every publisher (the individual who actually puts it out, maybe that's the editor-in-chief or publisher, self-publisher, creator, whatever) a $100 subsidy via paypal after they've put out their first issue.

Ok, stipulations follow...

  • The zine's content must be two-thirds Cha'alt related.
  • The zine must come in at least 22 pages (and if I were you, I wouldn't go over 50).
  • Venger Satanis (that's me) have to approve the title.
  • The zine implies a one-year "Cha'alt game jam" license which is subject to Venger Satanis' approval before it may be renewed.
  • Obviously, I'm not in favor of censorship or limiting creative freedom.  Nevertheless, I, Venger Satanis, have the right to disallow any content which goes against the values of Kort'thalis Publishing... mostly vile, illegal stuff you can imagine happening in the White House's basement (current administration) or Epstein Island... Epstein didn't kill himself.
  • The first issue must be available for a reasonable sum (or free) by the first day of VENGER CON, July 21st, 2023.  Convention details here!

Ok, I think that's about it.  While I can't guarantee anything above and beyond the subsidy offered, I will try to be your support system, encouraging you, submitting at least one contribution for inclusion in your Cha'alt zine, providing a sounding-board for your ideas, and perhaps some light editing.  

Your zine could be weird colored cardstock and stapled with hand-made collage art, a fancy prestige quality artsy zine, or something that's totally digital.  It's your zine, do it however you want.  And feel free to create outside the box.  Have a question on whether it's legit or qualifies for whatever reason?  Just ask.

Also, I will announce your Cha'alt zine on my blog and YouTube channel at least once.  Here's my contact email:

Feel free to comment below and we can bounce ideas around, brainstorm, etc.  Thanks!


p.s. I'm running a sale on Cha'alt hardcovers right over here.  Enjoy!  Hey, if I know you and you want to use your $100 subsidy a little early to off-set the cost of the Cha'alt trilogy, just ask.