Saturday, January 28, 2023

Cha'alt WebComic - Under Fuchsia Ska'ai

 

While I would love a feature film, followed by a sequel, prequel, and subsequent blockbuster movie trilogy... or even a TV series (animated or live-action, I'm not picky).  For the moment, I'm happy to be working on a humble, yet supra-awesome webcomic for my beloved Cha'alt.

For those who don't know, Cha'alt is an eldritch, gonzo, science-fantasy, post-apocalyptic campaign setting.  Interested in the gorgeous hardcover trilogy?  It's a reward tier for backing Advanced Game Mastering Like A Fucking Boss.

Anyways, Under Fuchsia Ska'ai is a webcomic drawn by Jae Tanaka (follow him @TanakaOSR and me at @VengerSatanis) and written by yours truly.  On the right is a promo to whet your appetite...

The plan is to create one page (not just a panel) of adventure each month.  To do any more than that requires funds.  I'm not sure where the money will come from... maybe crowdfunding, paywall, or RPG magazine / website that already gets a lot of traffic and is looking for more, perhaps some independent comic-book company will pick it up, or it's entirely possible that Dan Harmon will decide to put his considerable weight (only kidding, hoss) into a post-Rick and Morty spinoff show ensconced in the Cha'alt multiverse?

Yeah, I don't know how we're going to subsidize this thing, let alone monetize it.  All I know is that I want this thing to exist, so I'm going to fund it until a way presents itself.  

The first full-page should drop February 12th.  It's in production right now, and looking cool.  Can't wait for you to read it and see where this all leads...

Thanks,

VS

p.s. Don't forget about VENGER CON II: Electric Boogaloo this July in Madison, WI.  It's going to be a legendary time playing old-school, OSR, and traditional RPGs all weekend long!


Tuesday, January 24, 2023

Crystals of Chaos [episode two]

 

By the end of this blog post, I will come up with a name for the 2023 Cha'alt campaign.  I already have a few ideas, but will reserve final judgement until then.

A fortnight later, session #2 happened.  Two of the first session's (see this post) three players returned.  The third was home sick.  One of my usual players couldn't make the first session, so he was back.  And two new gamers joined the fray - one of which I gamed with way back during 3rd edition about 17 or 18 years ago.

The five players and their characters (the returning players kept their characters), and everyone is currently 3rd level still...

  • Colin playing Robard the Red, dwarf sorcerer
  • Richard playing Ban-Dade (I didn't get the joke until halfway through the scenario), dwarf priest
  • Mike playing Crandell, half-orc warrior
  • Steve playing a halfling thief named Heighten Chancery Philthrop III (don't worry, there's a reason)
  • Patrick playing Jackal, dwarf warrior

After introductions (the new PCs joining the employ of Varantha the exquisite, along with the original PCs), a gnome came to their service quarters (the PCs are called service providers rather than servants or enchanted love slaves, which more accurately describes the situation-ship they're all in).

Varantha wanted to tell them something.  While bathing her loveliness with ivory silt, as is customary of the highborn, she announced her desire for her service providers to travel to Kra'adumek (still in the midst of civil war) and murder a noblewoman named Ska'ai.

"Ska'ai is evil," she said.  And that's all there was to it.  Varantha also stated that the man who dealt the killing stroke would be able to sheath his purple serpent in her love-purse (I write not only adventures but erotic thrillers, as well).

Just as they were leaving (this is kind of a "one more thing" Columbo moment I like to use every now and again), a royal guard from the palace showed up to tell Varantha that King Fahd-Salma'an wishes her to return and be his prime concubine once more.

Varantha told the royal guard no, but then decided it would be better to send a stronger message to the King of A'agrybah.  She ordered her service providers to murder him.  Crandell grabbed the guard and broke his neck, but not before getting stabbed by his victim.

Ban-Dade had the idea of personally sending the severed head over to the palace, so he started cutting while a gnome fetched a decorative box.  Then, they dropped the box off with a royal guard stationed just outside the palace gate.

Before leaving for Kra'adumek, Robard suggested they check-in with the merchant Dookal.  Dookal had already sold the ka'alaxian crystals they found for him in that network of tunnels and caves, and he had a few prospective buyers lined up for more... if the PCs could find some, and the merchant promised to split the profits in half.  On the way out, Heighten Chancery Philthrop III swiped a glass cube containing a splash of yellow (and, indeed, it will look nice upon the thief's mantle... if he ever acquires one).

Being rather poor, the PCs decided to visit the caves again, hoping to find more ka'alaxian crystals.  They had a beeper for the transport driver named Sa'ab, and utilized that.  Before I forget, Karl stayed at Varantha's temple since the adventuring party was sufficiently strong without his presence.

Sa'ab took the scenic route because of sandworm activity.  This led the PCs near a stone marker, like a monolith with a strange symbols carved into it and an eye within a triangle.  Such markers were known across the S'kbah wasteland, but no one knows what they mean or who built them.

Soon enough, they arrived at the cave.  Once inside, they fought the huge skittering tentacled insects, massacred 5 night-clowns who were forcing humans to fight alligators for their amusement.  The party used deception (invisibility, dragging one away, murdering him, and then going after the others) to even the fight and then waded into combat.  Some really good fictionalization of the fight elevated the scene.  Crandell was badly wounded, but thankfully healed by Ban-Dade after the battle.

Then PCs encountered a pool of zoth with three robed humanoids standing over it.  Turns out these were snake-men.  It would be like hikers today in 2023 accidentally stumbling upon Babylonians or Assyrians.  After a bit of amusing chit-chat involving way too many ssssssssssssss's, the PCs moved on.  

Traveling further north, they discovered a medium-small adult sandworm coiled around a ka'alaxian crystal 5 times bigger than anything they've seen.  Realizing they probably couldn't steal it without a fight, the party's thief, Heighten Chancery Philthrop III - he picked up prominent sounding names from people he met and 3 is the number of people the thief had killed at one time - decided to investigate the worm for vulnerabilities.

Usually, I don't have players roll to search things, but this was a special case.  He rolled well enough to discover an area on the sandworm that had been previously hurt.  Believing this was their best chance, the thief stabbed the sandworm there.  And stab he did.

It took several round for them to kill it, but eventually they did... almost losing their sorcerer in the process (Jackal was badly wounded, too). Luckily, he survived, thanks to the priest's healing.  Turquoise blood everywhere, the adventurers snatched the massive ka'alaxian crystal and headed back (along with the humans they saved) to the transport waiting for them just outside the cave.

Almost forgot to add, while Ban-Dade was healing the others, one of the PCs noticed a humanoid skulking in the dark.  One of the warriors crept over to him and decapitated the dude - a scruffy human with scraggly beard, eyepatch, and gold tooth.  One of the rescued humans named him as a servant of the demon who inhabits the northern section of these caves.  The PCs decided not to investigate further.

Returning to A'agrybah, Sa'ab's sand-speeder ran out of fuel.  That actually occurred because I had the idea and then gave it a 2 in 6 chance of happening, then rolled a 2.  After breaking the news, we all realized it made sense that the extra 3 humans rescued weighed the transport down which became a greater drain on the sand-speeder's fuel supply.

Only about a 20 minute walk back to the city, they decided to grab the chartreuse crystal and walk the rest of the way as it was starting to get dark.  They noticed a twinkling light up ahead, but decided to bypass the mysterious illumination, lest it be dangerous.

Once in A'agrybah again, the PCs made a b-line to Dookal.  He asked if they wanted to be paid 750 gold pieces for their share right away or wait several days (perhaps longer) for a buyer, at which point their share might go down.  They chose to take the 750.  The PCs were also given a pyramid-shaped glass bottle filled with prismatic sand.  The merchant had no idea what it was or what it could do.  No one asked, but that was due to it being made out of magic-proof glass.

Back at Varantha's temple, the PCs watched several gnomes pleasuring her exquisiteness with their diminutive tongues before heading down the corridor to their service quarters and awaiting bunkbeds.

As you can see, there are a lot of available threads upon which to pull as the campaign unfurls.  

Below are some amusing phrases uttered around the table...

  • "If it's more than zero, it's too expensive."
  • "Hold that syllable."
  • "Snake you later."
  • "Is it even in?"
  • "Gnome-a-sutra."
  • "When they die, they die smiling."
  • "Stabbed in his prosthetic fat."

As for the campaign's name, I almost went with Ka'alaxian Realities, but eventually decided on the much simpler and open-ended Crystals of Chaos.  Will it catch on and the players actually ever use that?  Perhaps.  Nevertheless, I think it'll help me contextualize what's happening in the campaign.

God willing, the next session will happen in a couple weeks.  Until then, keep checking my blog for posts about this, that, and the other... like the Cha'alt Game Jam!  

Remember, I've still got that Advanced Game Mastering Like A Fucking Boss kickstarter happening.  Back if you like it, and share wherever there are gamers.

Thanks,

VS

Saturday, January 14, 2023

Advanced Game Mastering Like A Fucking Boss

 

A decade ago, I started writing How To Game Master Like A Fucking Boss.  It's a platinum best-seller on DriveThruRPG.  The wisdom contained inside has helped thousands of aspiring Game Masters.

Now, I'm working on a follow-up.  It's shorter, more focused, and goes deeper than any GMing book should ever have to go... punishingly deep.

This book will attempt to crack open the cosmic egg, drenching readers in universal yoke and allowing us to give birth to the inner God that exists as potential within everyone.  

Come, join me on this journey and see what I have to show you.  BTW, the Cha'alt trilogy is one of the backer rewards.  If you don't already own these gorgeous volumes containing my eldritch, gonzo, science-fantasy, post-apocalyptic campaign setting, do yourself a favor.  Get them.  You won't regret it.

Advanced Game Mastering Like A Fucking Boss - see you on the other side, hoss!

If you have any questions, I'd be more than happy to answer them here or on the KS page.

Thanks,

VS

p.s. VENGER CON II: Electric Boogaloo is happening this July in Madison, WI.  Link here.  My convention is for old-school, OSR, and traditional RPGs only.  It's like gaming in the old days, but with gray pubes! 


Monday, January 9, 2023

Cha'alt Session Reports

 

So much news in this blog post - it's insane!

First, let's talk about The Good Syma'arian anti-abortion Cha'alt scenario that I just uploaded onto Big Geek Emporium for FREE.  Here it is!  

Next, we should get into my appearance on Legon of Myth.  I was asked to attend Max's Friday night chill stream to talk about the new release of Encounter Critical IIIPDF available here.  But I thought it would be more instructive and fun to actually game... because why talk about roleplaying when you can just roleplay? 

This is the video, after 5 or so minutes of starting the stream and announcements, I come on.  Then, we proceed to chat about Encounter Critical III before Max and Victor choose characters, and I start running the game.

Hopefully, this gives aspiring gamers and old hands a helpful window into my GMing style.  It's not for everybody, but what I like - and most players I've encountered over the decades have enjoyed it, too.

And the day after that stream, I fulfilled the first tiny step of my 2023 resolution - to run more local face-to-face sessions that eventually become a Cha'alt campaign.  Still thinking of a name for the campaign, but I'm planning on GMing every other week for the rest of this year.

Inspired by Jordan Peterson's admission that he goes into interviews and various discussions with notes but not anything pre-planned, I decided to create mostly original content based on various notes and ideas jotted down (also borrowing bits and pieces from previous sessions these particular players weren't involved in).  Some of this stuff might make it into Book 4 of the Cha'alt trilogy down the road.

Because of scheduling conflicts and a last-minute cancellation, I only had 3 players (one of which was brand-new to Crimson Dragon Slayer D20 and Cha'alt).  It was a social interaction and exploration heavy game, as per usual.

All three played dwarves, and I allowed them to start at 3rd level for survivability during the 4-hour game.  Although, it was really 3 hours when you account for the chatting and eating (the game took place inside a pizza place).

  • Colin's dwarf sorcerer was named Robard the red.  He was a "show mage" specializing in close-up magic, like flaming card tricks.
  • Pat's dwarf warrior was named Jack-Hole or Jackle.  One leg was a little shorter than the other, making him slightly off-balance.  When fighting, his "disability" gave him +1 to damage.
  • Chad's dwarf thief was named Zagreus.  No beard, but he did have a black curly handlebar moustache (and might have looked suspiciously like Mario).

The trio of dwarven adventurers started out in the city of A'agrybah.  A procession wound its way through the streets, a golden platformed, upon which laid a beautiful woman, every inch covered in a tactile magenta glitter, almost like a sensual, skin-tight tree bark.  

Not knowing what the Hell was going on with this woman on parade, they asked various bystanders.  They discovered her name was Varantha, a small cult worships her as the avatar of a God, and that her condition was due to her being cursed by another divine being... although, perhaps it was the King who was actually targeted with that curse because Varantha was a consort of the King before stricken by the toxic magenta film.

Zagreus successfully pick-pocketed someone in the crowd, yielding a pair of lacy red panties.  Score!

Instead of rewarding players with Divine Favor at the end of scenes that had plenty of roleplaying, I ended up handing out 2 points (physical fuchsia stones I got from a gift shop to represent the Divine Favor) each during the 3-hour session.  

If your table is ready to roleplay, you won't have to dangle the carrot of social interaction in front of them.  But if they're new to the concept or shy or whatever, let players know that using something in their background to strike up conversation gets them a possible get-out-of-jail-free point.

Meanwhile, the dwarves ran into a human sorcerer from Earth named Vaughn who racked up considerable gambling debts betting on gladiators.  He knew of a nearby mine containing a type of crystal lost to collective memory.  Before the apocalypse, in ancient times, ka'alaxian crystals (thanks to Pat for the name, and thanks to Rick and Morty for inspiration) were prized by the natives of Cha'alt, especially priests and servants of the Old Ones.  Somehow, Vaughn knew that Ka'alaxian crystals allowed sorcerers to alter reality.

If the dwarves liberated the reality-warping crystals for Vaughn, they'd split them.  Plus, the Earth-born sorcerer would make Varantha's coating less toxic.  I believe the idea was either to kidnap her or give her to the King of A'agrybah as a tribute, allowing them to collect a reward.

They'd meet to finalize the acquisition of the ka'alaxian crystals at the Chartreuse Dragon Cantina in an hour.  That left the trio with enough time to schmooze with Dookal a merchant that gestured for them to enter his tent and see his expensive wares.  The dwarves ended up buying a decorative dwarf helmet and a clear crystal sphere containing a thief who was somehow trapped inside.

The dwarven helm had runes carved into it that read "Don't worry, be happy" when translated.

Eventually, Vaughn got the PCs to the mine with the help of Sa'ab who drove a beaten-up and broken-down sand-speeder.  Wanting to tie the back-to-back scenarios together, the transport slowed down for a hitchhiker waiting next to a black van.  This was wonky-eyed Karl.

Once inside the network of tunnels and caves, the dwarves fought off some tentacled insectoid creatures until they skittered away.  The thief was made invisible by the sorcerer and collected the glowing greenish-yellow crystals (Dune internal monologue: What is the connection between ka'alaxian crystals and zoth?), narrowly avoiding a demon munching on human remains.  

I don't recall if they fought the demon (will have to ask the players - they avoided the demon), but I know Karl did some off-the-cuff healing.  I didn't expect him to have the power of prayer... so, I gave it a couple rolls.  The first was good, something like a 14.  The second, a natural 20.  Thus, the party was healed.

More crystals led the thief to a circus of clowns (is that was a group of them are called?) trading stories around a camp fire.  One of the night clowns had an indigo-glowing magical sword in his lap.

Not wanting to be hasty, the dwarves explored the last remaining area of the mine.  It contained humans, elves, and half-demons performing some kind of ceremony.  There was head shaving and dipping melee weapons in a pool of zoth, perhaps preparing for battle.

Egged on by the sorcerer and warrior, the party's thief was instructed to steal the magic sword, cutting off the night clown's head before running away, as the thief still had a few minutes of invisibility remaining.  And that he did with Advantage and sneak-attack.  The clown was decapitated, his head rolled through the campfire, startling the dead clown's companions like a flaming skull.

As the other clowns exited their cave, they ran into the shaved head humanoids wielding glowing chartreuse weapons.  A battle between the two factions fortuitously occurred as the PCs ran towards the waiting sand-speeder.

The indigo glowing two-handed sword was, indeed, magical.  A +1 weapon with glyphs carved into both sides of its blade.  When translated, they read the following... "Sucks to be you."  

Upon return, they met at the Chartreuse Dragon Cantina and divvied up the ka'alaxian crystals, but not before Vaughn used his sorcery to alter reality... the ka'alaxian crystal vanished in his hand as he concentrated all his mental energy on reprogramming the universal code.

The dwarves went to Varantha's temple within the city, and not far from the palace.  There, they found her merely stained magenta, rather than covered with toxic magenta glitter.  Finding her stunningly gorgeous, they immediately accepted her offer to stay in nearby temple quarters and she became their patron.

Just before bed, a gnome wearing a silly gnome hat came into their quarters to tuck them in.  Jack-Hole wanted some company before sleep, so the gnome brought a few girls around to pleasure whoever was interested.  Jack-Hole and Karl availed themselves of the opportunity, as the rest found other things to do.

And that's where we ended the session.  Next game is scheduled for Sunday, January 22nd.  Now that I'm running a legit campaign, and in-person no less, finally after so many years, so many opportunities will open-up with threads and stories and ideas (recurring characters!) that don't have to be abandoned when I walk away from the table or log-off from Roll20.  One-shots are a ton of fun, but pretty much everyone in the OSR agrees that long-term campaigns (when feasible) are better.

If RPGs are about immersion and the joint creation of pulp sword & sorcery stories, reinforcement of the veiled reality, this other world, via episodic sessions of a long-term campaign, can only strengthen that immersion.  By the end of 2023, I believe we'll achieve PSYCHOCOSM the likes of which even God has never seen!

Thanks for reading,

VS

p.s. Don't forget about the Cha'alt Game Jam (allowing you to create your own content), Cha'alt for the holidays hardcover book sale (only 2 days left), and VENGER CON II (this July in Madison, WI).


Saturday, December 31, 2022

Cha'alt Game Jam

 



Yeah, we have a motherfucking banner!

If you'd like one for your blog or website, just let me know.  I'd love to share it with you.

So, the Cha'alt Game Jam... I pretty much covered everything in my previous blog post, but here are the highlights.


  • The Cha'alt Game Jam 6-week open game license runs from January 1st to February 14th.
  • Whatever you make should be shared on either DriveThruRPG, Big Geek Emporium, or both.
  • As long as it's released within that window, it can be monetized in perpetuity.
  • The Game Jam covers Cha'alt, Alpha Blue, Encounter Critical (original and 3rd edition), Revelry in Torth, Liberation of the Demon Slayer, and The Islands of Purple-Haunted Putrescence.  If you want to create something affiliated with something by Kort'thalis Publishing that's not already listed, feel free to ask me about it.
  • Somewhere in the product, you'll need to include the following text... "Licensed with permission from Venger As'Nas Satanis, High Priest of Kort'thalis Publishing and Archduke of the OSR, in the year of our Dark Lord 2023, whether you like it or not."
  • Use your common sense, have fun, feel free to reach out if you need something, no guarantees in life, good luck, and go with God.


My email is: Venger.Satanis@yahoo.com

Thanks for reading and participating,

VS

p.s. I've got a new Kickstarter launching on January 11th.  So, if you aren't already subscribed to my KS page or whatever, do that.  I'll post an actual link when the thing is ready to go.  Oh yeah, you should seriously consider attending VENGER CON II: Electric Boogaloo this July in Madison, WI.


Tuesday, December 13, 2022

Cha'alt Game Jam in January

 

This announcement is in preparation for when the stars are right... January 1st.

I'm organizing one of those game jam things for Cha'alt

In case you don't know, Cha'alt is my very own eldritch, gonzo, science-fantasy, post-apocalyptic OSR campaign setting that frequently includes humor, grindhouse / exploitation sleaze, and pop-culture references.  It now encompasses three books with a fourth volume of the weird-ass trilogy hopefully coming in 2024.

Not using ichio; only DriveThruRPG and Big Geek Emporium to host releases.  

Between January 1st and February 14th (Valentine's Day), I'm creating a six-week open license window for gamers to create stuff and sell it using my Cha'alt intellectual property, and I'm extending that to include Crimson Dragon Slayer, Alpha Blue, and Encounter Critical (both the original and new edition that'll come out at the end of December).

Everything made within that window will be allowed without a separate license between the two parties, and may continue to be sold or distributed freely by the creator.  Anything made outside of that January 1st 2023 - February 14th 2023 timeframe will require a licensing agreement between the creator and myself.  

Post the following somewhere in the product, "Licensed with permission from Venger As'Nas Satanis, High Priest of Kort'thalis Publishing and Archduke of the OSR, in the year of our Dark Lord 2023, whether you like it or not."

I look forward to seeing what you make of this golden opportunity, hoss.  Share this news, and let your creative juices flow!

If you have questions, or you'd like my advice, suggestions, or feedback on anything, just ask... Venger.Satanis@yahoo.com

Thanks,

VS

p.s. Here's an update blog post now that the Cha'alt Game Jam has officially started! 


Saturday, November 12, 2022

Cha'alt for the Holidays

 

SALE EXTENDED UNTIL JANUARY 11TH

Eldritch, gonzo, science-fantasy, post-apocalypse with a side of humor, sleaze, and pop-culture references!

It seems like every day I'm hearing about someone's Cha'alt campaign, how much they love an adventure, random table, or optional rule... one of the Cha'alt books, or the entire trilogy.

Before I forget, have you acquired your FREE gift of Cha'alt Criterion?

Cha'alt is the anti-WotC D&D.  The thing defies conventional everything!  

It's never going to be as popular as what you can find on the shelves of your local game store.  It's never going to have the appeal of authentic medieval whatever.  It's never going to satisfy the gamers who need a thousand pages of rules, nor gamers who prefer slick Scandinavian death-metal graphics and 5 sentences per page.

However, Cha'alt is perfect for mixing, matching, and blending with your favorite OSR thing!  How else are you going to achieve that perfect Carcosa Dark Sun Star Wars Dune ripoff you wish was on late-night skinemax vibe?

Here's the latest YouTube review to whet your appetite!

Cha'alt exists for an exclusive and discerning clientele who want something weird and fun and awesome!  Without further ado, let's get to the crazy insane holiday deals, shall we?

Between now and Xma'as (December 25th), I'm selling...

  • The original Cha'alt hardcover for $30 + $5 shipping ($35 shipping outside the USA)
  • Cha'alt: Fuchsia Malaise hardcover for $30 + $5 shipping ($35 shipping outside the USA)
  • Cha'alt: Chartreuse Shadows hardcover for $60 + $5 shipping ($35 shipping outside the USA)
  • The Cha'alt trilogy for $110 + $10 shipping ($60 shipping outside the USA)

How to send funds?  The easiest way is via PayPal (yeah, I know... but still).  My email is: Venger.Satanis@yahoo.com

I would also accept Stripe, check, or well-hidden cash.  Send me an email for those alternatives.  Order today!

Thanks,

VS

p.s. Every gorgeous Cha'alt hardcover is a limited edition, signed and numbered by yours truly (and you get the PDF for FREE).  The production values are second to none - no WotC book has ever come close to these quality tomes!

Sunday, October 23, 2022

Never Leaving Cha'alt

 

Take a look at the kind of trash you find in the exhibition hall sewer!  Wow, the things you see when you leave your xxxtra flush porta-potty at home [shaking my tentacle].

Just before leaving Game Hole Con, I chatted a bit with Bad Mike and Jeffery Talanian.  Just catching up after a long weekend of gaming.  Jeffery mentioned a panel with Ed Greenwood and how he's been working on his Forgotten Realms campaign setting since he was 5 or something.

The strong desire, bordering on need, came to me awhile ago, but hearing that only solidified another layer... I'm never leaving Cha'altCha'alt is my RPG home, and I want to keep creating in that eldritch, gonzo, science-fantasy, post-apocalypse sandbox for the rest of my days.  

If 5 years of running games in the same world gets you this far [pretend I'm showing you a tentacle and measuring about halfway up], just imagine what 20 years would be like?  Now, I'm imagining it [no, I don't actually have a tentacle in front of me... nor do I know what it's like to GM in the same campaign setting for more than 5 years].

My guess is that the answer would be... awesomeness that's commensurate with the wild, untamed joy of PSYCHOCOSM !!!  That's what I intend to do, and if you'll stick with me, you can both share in the strange and wonderful awesomeness that is Cha'a'lt, as well as, discover whatever insights I might glean from that particular struggle.

Because make no mistake, it's not all fun and games.  Well, yeah, it is... but also no.  It is fun, and we are talking about games, but there's work that goes into it, too.  And discipline.  The mind wanders, attention wavers, we get pulled here and there, sidetracked, distracted; always something fresh to pursue.  It takes a certain amount of dedication and focus to stay put and work within the boundaries set out for you, that you set out for yourself years (perhaps decades) ago.

I want to use the phrase "conscious suffering", but again, it's not suffering in the usual sense of the word.  If you add up all the hours of imagining, planning, writing, revising, proofreading, finding artwork, and running games, we're talking about a thousand hours of work.  And it hasn't all been a cakewalk.  Hence the suffering.  But I do it intentionally, consciously.  In fact, I welcome it.

A man has to have a special plan, a calling, something that gives his life meaning (aside from the usual suspects, of course... family, survival, religion, etc.)  If you run from every kind of suffering, you won't be inconvenienced as much, but what will you have to show for yourself when it's all said and done?

Alright, enough philosophizing, how was the Game Hole convention, hoss?

Pretty fucking awesome!  Yeah, no real complaints.  I gave myself an ideal schedule... a 4-hour game Friday at 10 - 2pm, two 3-hour games on Saturday with a couple hours for lunch in-between, and a 4-hour game to close things off on Sunday, same time slot as Friday.

And what were the games like?  Pretty magical... spectacular, you might say!  In fact, I was surprised how "game" everyone was.  I couldn't be sure if it was me or Cha'alt or the players themselves (probably a combination of all three), but there was humor, pop-culture references, sleaze, and the kind of scary, gross-out horror movie exploitation shit that you don't get to see very often.

Some highlights...

  • The racial stereotyping of dark-elves having poison on them at all times.  Collaboratively, we decided that one dark-elf PC regularly imbibed poison so that he would be immune, while also having poisonous saliva.  As ingenious as it is fucked up!
  • Taking "murder hobo" to the furthest reaches of sorcerous insanity!  The party's wizard: "Is the skinned man eviscerated?"  [me: no]  Him: "Then let's correct that oversight.  I cut him open to see if I can discover signs and portents with his entrails."  Along with a pixie-fairy warrior who could be summoned by saying "Tinker-Stab" three times, and loved to skewer eyeballs and drink their juices.
  • Care bear and mogwai doxies seducing NPCs at the Palace gala.
  • My friend Jacob who has been a player in a number of my games, played in two of my sessions this con.  But since it was the same basic scenario (with a number of changes), we decided he was having Groundhog's day visions that led him to believe that he was living the same day over and over again. The analogy was even more layered because a central plot-point was this Shadow Void ceremony where the King's sorcerer stood in front of a yawing black void to see if he could see his shadow.  If he did, that meant the next 3 years of Cha'alt would be filled with suffering and doom.
  • The demon priestess who single-handedly instigated an insurrection.
  • The old fart who used ritual magic to "internal organ implode" the King of A'agrybah (no one respects a weak King).
  • Got to try Obsidian Escalation twice.  The first time, it didn't come up because no one rolled a crit.  The second time, it worked almost too well.  Combat was over in 2 rounds, and the results were described in epic gory detail by the player!
  • My Friday morning game only had 2 players, so I played an NPC to round out the party.  I played a dark-elf (not the one mentioned above) and got to have sex with a damsel about to be devoured by a slimy tentacled abomination (I waited until after the battle was over, obviously... I'm not a monster).  Inserting myself into the game like that hasn't happened in awhile.  
  • BEST WISCONSIN WEATHER EVER!!!!!!!  Seriously, it was sunny and warm the entire weekend.  This almost never happens here.

I'm leaving out a dozen other moments that will hopefully be with me forever.  Just know that it was a blast, and I can't wait to come back and GM the shit out of Game Hole Con next year.  

Of course, VENGER CON II: Electric Boogaloo will come first in July (also in Madison, WI).  Grab your ticket here.

Usually, I run at least one of my megadungeons for the sake of variety and never running out of content... but this time I ran the introductory adventure for Encounter Critical III (also playtested the upcoming EC3 classes and races).  Those sessions included this little gem, which was a big hit... and I got to reconceptualize and tweak the fuchsia and chartreuse tentacled entities organically during play, which is the best way of doing it.

I have a post-con video, as well.  I'll include it here so there's little to no overlap in my con report.

Thanks to everyone who helped put this convention together, and everyone who played in my games!

VS

p.s. Gorgeous hardcover Cha'alt books for sale?  Why, yes... knock yourself out, hoss!