Sunday, May 9, 2021

Cha'alt After Dark

 

Happy Mother's Day!

I'm not sure if it had always been in the back of my mind or some gamer suggested it, but Cha'alt + Alpha Blue eventually needed to happen.  Last night was the first one-shot...

What's the difference?  Well, I started with Cha'alt and just included more scifi and sleaze.  That's pretty much it.

I ran the game on Roll20 with 9 players.  Since I run these virtual one-shot sessions so rarely, I didn't want to turn anyone away.  It was a little hard to keep track of everyone, but that didn't deter me from GMing like a fucking boss.

Some notable characters were... Vrek, a chaotic vore wizard, an elven cleric named Muldraen who was the party prude (until he wasn't anymore), not wanting to spend much time in the desert oasis sex club... but I'm getting ahead of myself.  Who else? Gabbak Notha the demon cleric, Hanz Frazen the swole & shirtless human wizard.  Tan'ndoor Starblade, a moon-elf thief, and several reptilian PCs.

One player in particular renamed his reptoid Whitesnake to honor the memory of Tawny Kitaen.

I simply focused on what was happening and how the adventurers responded, letting everything else fall into the background.  The PCs talked amongst themselves, and I had to ignore most of that to keep all my balls in the air.  

The session started in a normal non-sleazy way.  Mysterious humanoids pulling strings, making the adventurers dance.  It all started with a game. This magic ring thrown down a well, and the PCs had to go fetch it.

I was expecting more in-fighting, but that was my fault.  Next time I run it, I need to incentivize betrayal.  No one turned on each other, sadly.  However, there was a decent combat encounter to get the blood flowing (though, not everyone participated).  The rest of the party had already climbed out of the well.  They missed the fight, but found out what was going on via drones circling the air.  The gold they were expected to get for surviving was being held at the desert destination sex club - Pervert's Paradise.

The majority of the session took place in the club.  I had a random table for what they encountered upon entering, a random table for what happened to each of them while they were hanging out, and then a third for the inevitable bar fight.

It's important to let PCs off the leash when it comes to sandbox social interaction scenes.  I want them to roleplay, to gravitate towards whatever kind of play experience they're interested in.  That's an important part of Alpha Blue, and any RPG, in my opinion.

For example, one player started gambling away, using a friendly drunk elf as the "table stakes".  Another asked the bartender if he could make a pan-galactic gargleblaster.  As everyone knows, my games are very pop-culture friendly.

By the time the bar fight happened, we were close to the end of our 2-hour session.  I had a variety of plot hooks in my notes, but it was too late in the night to make good use of that.  So, we simply roleplayed the after-effects of the bar fight.

The Federation broke up the fight and sent everyone home. A couple PCs sauntered into the Federation starship that was parked just outside Pervert's Paradise.  They stole the ship and flew it to Alpha Blue.

The rest went to an afterparty thrown by one of the hot bimbos from the club (possibly the woman asking if anyone wanted to take a pussy shot).  At the very beginning of the scenario, it took them 2 hours to walk from A'agrybah to the well.  At the end, it took them about 15 minutes to get back to her apartment via shuttle.

I almost forgot... one of the PCs, Muldraen, stayed behind, sneaking into an upstairs bedroom with 3 elf maidens while the Federation troopers weren't looking.  BTW, that was the one and only skill-check of the night.  

After getting with the girls, he asked if any of them were holding.  One elf-girl presented a handful of glowing purple crystals they could smoke.  And smoke them they did.  What were the effects?  While I did have both Cha'alt and Cha'alt: Fuchsia Malaise (as well as the Saving Cha'alt PDF) sitting right next to me for reference, an idea sprang to mind... an out-of-body experience that makes you feel like you're Nicholas Cage for a few hours.  Yes, that's the dream!

And, of course, the best part was reading all the enthusiastically supportive comments post-game.  Thanks, guys.

All in all, a very satisfying one-shot.  Yes, there will be more!  ;)

VS

p.s. If you still want hardcovers of both Cha'alt and Cha'alt: Fuchsia Malaiseordering details here.  Thank you for supporting independent RPG content creators like yours truly!


Friday, April 30, 2021

Negative Character Traits

 

This is something I've thought about after initially making a short video about it.

You either choose or randomly roll on the list of negative character traits.  That's just part of your personality.  You can choose to indulge your nature or fight against it.

If you choose to succumb to your flaw (via roleplaying), you get a point of Divine Favor (it's like 5e's inspiration, but you can re-roll anything if you don't like how the original roll turned out).   The advantage of avoiding one's shortcomings means you're not put into dangerous situations.  

It's the kind of risk vs reward mechanic I like. Plus, I think it'll juice-up the roleplaying while giving players something else to think about... other than "should I touch the tentacle or leave it be?"

This needs some kind of cap, as well.  Can't have PCs going down the rabbit hole of vice to keep themselves insulated with re-rolls.  Across the board, I'm limiting divine favor to 3 per session.  Doesn't matter if it comes from flaws, culture, or sheer awesomeness.  

Like my post about cultural backgrounds, this should be considered a workshop zone.  Things may change, as I'll be refining stuff every few days.  Check back to see its progress.

Negative Traits

  1. Vengeance
  2. Alcoholic
  3. Drug addict
  4. Curious
  5. Sex fiend
  6. Deceitful
  7. Violent temper
  8. Disloyal
  9. Jealous
  10. Obsessive
  11. Fanatical
  12. Lazy
  13. Hubris
  14. Disgusting
  15. Bigoted
  16. Selfless
  17. Cowardly
  18. Rebellious
  19. Megalomania
  20. Vain

There are many more I could have chosen, but my thinking here is two-fold.  First, the flaw should be something the player can roleplay.  Second, it's got to be gameable, as in, will this occasionally get PCs into trouble without being a total drag?  Finicky might be an interesting negative trait, but if a character is going to spend his time cleaning his nails or looking for higher quality ale, that's just boring.

Feel free to try it out, and let me know what happens!  Many other RPGs have mechanics similar to this, but I'm specifically designing something that'll work really well with Crimson Dragon Slayer D20.

VS

Wednesday, April 28, 2021

Saving Cha'alt

 

The PDF is up on DriveThru.  Click right here and I will take you there, hoss!

What can I say about this release?  It's OSR (but I'd also feel comfortable using 5e).  It took me about 6 months from start to finish.  It contains 7 scenarios, some tips for running Cha'alt, and a 1-page appendix at the end.  Lots of random tables, as well.

It looks great!  Saving Cha'alt follows the same basic layout as Cha'alt and Cha'alt: Fuchsia Malaise.  I'm hoping to run a KS for the 3rd book in the trilogy around January of 2022.  Until then, grab this PDF.  The vast majority of money received goes into future projects.

I still have hardcovers of the first two books Ordering details here.

If you like my stuff, write a review or just talk about it on social media.  

Enjoy,

VS


Thursday, April 22, 2021

Cultural Paradigm

 

Ok, this blog post is going to be a "workshop area" for a while.  I'm going to be tinkering around with ideas involving Conan-esque sword & sorcery cultures.  This awesome blog post was brought to my attention recently, and I'm inspired to incorporate it into my own D&D.  

What Thulsa has done is terrific, so do check out his Xoth blog and show him some love.  FYI, his blog post is meant for Pathfinder.  This right here is meant for 5e.

However, I also want to make it my own.  So, it'll be a process taking it from rip-off to homage.  Check back for alteration updates!


Cultural Backgrounds of Cha’alt

Cha’alt has hundreds of isolated settlements.  Due to technology, magic, and the cultural contamination of both off-worlders and those steeped in the ancient ways, the cultural development varies greatly.

Players should choose one cultural background for their character.  Roll on the following random table to determine where an NPC falls on the scale…

  • 1     Savage – They live in the wild, untamed... their culture is barbaric and uncompromising.  Feats of strength, agility, and sheer survival are prized above all else.  This cultural paradigm is wary of technology and the false promises of civilization.  Drug use can dull certain senses, and is therefore rarely seen in savage cultures.  However, weird sexual fetishes are encouraged, believed to benefit the individual or entire tribe, as superstition dictates.  Humanoids from conquered tribes are sometimes taken as slaves, but are generally freed after years of proving themselves through hard work.
  • 2.       Nomadic – Outsiders in regards to cities, they are always moving across S'kbah.  Nomadic tribes are insular and self-contained, preferring their own company, keeping tribal knowledge secret and the oral history of the tribe in living memory - especially since it involves blood oaths to tentacled monstrosities who dwell beyond the outer dark.  Drugs are only used to commune with ultra-telluric entities... with whom they occasionally copulate.  Retaining one's own cultural identity in the face of new experiences and adversaries is paramount.
  • 3.       Civilized – Such humanoids generally live in cities.  They generally have an appreciation for, or may be wholly dependent upon, technology.  Civilized cultures understand the value of diversity of backgrounds and views.  Tolerance, compromise, and moderation are highly regarded traits.  Drugs, deviant sex, and slavery are frowned upon, but can still be had where the dregs of society congregate.
  • 4.       Enlightened – Cultures that have withstood the test of time, neither seeking to build empires nor scatter themselves to the desert wastes.  Humanoids belonging to an enlightened culture have evolved further than those around them via self-mastery.  Their ways seem strange, respecting the Old Gods from a distance while resisting the temptations of demons and pleasure for its own sake.  Drug use is reserved for achieving altered states of consciousness.  Enlightened cultures are detached from the world, priding themselves on sacrificing oneself in favor of higher pursuits of esoteric understanding.
  • 5.       Decadent – When cultures have it too easy for too long, they go soft, indulgent; corruption invariably sets in.  Such humanoids are more interested in aesthetics and individual appetites than the foundations of civilization, such as truth, law and order, or morality.  Decadent humanoids may indulge in recreational drug use as a means of temporary escapism.  For decadents, serving oneself is better than lofty, high-minded ideals.
  • 6.       Degenerate – Cultures that have fallen past the point of decadence seize the fruits of wickedness and degradation.  Subjugation of the weak has turned into a thriving slave trade.  Civilization has declined to the point where the malign, unnatural influence of demons has taken hold.  Cultists worshiping the Dark Gods keep their power by abusing worshipers and demanding daily human sacrifice.  Degenerate cultures use hallucinogens and narcotics to lose themselves entirely, making it easier for them to live with the horrific choices they've made.  The motto of degenerates is "Take what you can, when you can... leaving remorse for those who still retain a conscience."


At this point, and I could very well change my mind, I want to keep the mechanics super rules-light.  One thing I liked about 5e was inspiration (or my interpretation of it).  

Roleplaying choices are made by and incumbent upon the player.  When the GM recognizes player efforts, they are rewarded with a sort of "universal gift card" such as a re-roll that can be used anytime the player chooses.  In my own games (Crimson Dragon Slayer D20, for instance) I call this "Divine Favor".  

There should be a limitation to prevent accidental or purposeful abuse.  So, I'll say no more than 3 points of Divine Favor per session, for each PC.

So, when the decadent thief indulgences in some vermilion-lotus to pass the time (decadent), the fighter shoves court intrigue aside in favor of slicing the demon's head off (savage), the cleric sells humanoids into slavery in exchange for forbidden secrets (degenerate), or the sorcerer reads his scrolls in a tent outside the city while his companions sleep in comfortable beds (nomadic)... each should receive Divine Favor.  

Feel free to comment below!

VS

p.s. I still have Cha'alt and Cha'alt: Fuchsia Malaise hardcover books for sale.  Ordering details here.


Saturday, April 17, 2021

Alien Lover (1975)

 

For the longest time... so long, I can't even tell you, I've been searching for this movie.  

Something about a guy that's trapped in a TV, maybe he's an alien, demon, pure energy, or just some unexplained entity.  He was talking to people or a person in this house.  And it was vaguely unsettling, like a Twilight Zone episode.  

Through the grace of obscure, underground weird media hounds, I found someone on Twitter who asked someone who knew someone else that had the answer.  It's a made-for-TV movie called Alien Lover.

And the craziest part... it premiered exactly one year after my birth.  So bizarre!

I have to wait a little over 24 hours to watch it on YouTube, but I've waited at least 25 or 30 years, I can wait another day.

The pic is b/w, but the movie is color and just over an hour long.  If you want to watch, just go to YouTube and search for "Alien Lover 1975".  Will post again after I've seen it.

Hope this finds you well and if there's something you've been dying to see or even find out if it's real or just something you imagined decades ago, go out there and make it happen!

VS

p.s. I still have Cha'alt and Cha'alt: Fuchsia Malaise hardcovers.  Order yours today!


Tuesday, April 13, 2021

Rules of Engagement

 

I'll make this brief.  As conservatives, moderates, and old-school liberals, we've got to engage with the tragic woke SJW fools who want to ruin gaming.

Yes, there are many reasons for staying away, not engaging, and burying our head in the sand.  Wouldn't it be nice if it just died off?  Newsflash, I don't think it's going to go away on its own.

Once per day (that you're online) engage in some fashion.  Doesn't have to be in the lion's den with 240 frothing leftists on a twitter thread (although, that's what I routinely do).  Maybe a variety of views are being expressed on Facebook or some garbage "straight white male terrorist" opinion is being spouted in a forum.  Doesn't matter.  Confront it!

Post a comment, suggestion, hashtag, meme, emoji, question, insult, random gif.  Engage and keep engaging because if there's no resistance to crappy ideas, that worldview will multiply... and then we'll have a real fight on our hands.  

It's not only fun to troll radical leftists, it actually works.  I've seen it happen.  Sure, the most unhinged people in a thread will try crapping on you, but those on the fence will either back down or realize there are real folks on the other side of an issue.  

Want to talk about it?  Talk to me.  Or talk about it on my newish conservative FB group - info right over here!

VS

p.s. Want to buy a fancy hardcover book of either Cha'alt or Cha'alt: Fuchsia Malaise?  Ordering details here.


Wednesday, March 31, 2021

Conservative OSR & RPG Facebook Group

 

You know, a place for us... those who don't want to be bothered by politics BUT are not afraid to speak our minds when some political topic arises.  

In fact, I'm of the opinion that politics MUST be discussed if we're going to survive the radical-left takeover of RPGs.

I don't care what political views you have or share, but I will not allow the intolerance of the SJW woke mob to silence or drown out voices of normal, regular, ordinary folks who just want to game... not have to worry about politics.

Our hobby has been under siege for awhile now, the creation of this FB group is one small step in the fight to take back what's ours.  This is an act of preservation.  If you want to conserve our gaming culture, I invite you to join us.

This is the link right here!

If you have a question or suggestion, feel free to comment here or on the Conservative OSR & RPG Group.  

Enjoy,

VS

p.s. Do I still have luxury hardcover Cha'alt and Cha'alt: Fuchsia Malaise books for sale?  Yes, I do.


Saturday, March 27, 2021

Perfect Outcome?

 

As you might have already heard, Luke Crane has been forced to resign over the stupidest weak-sauce bullshit you could imagine.

Similar to what's been happening to Governor Cuomo in NY, Cuomo should be getting his ass handed to him over killing all those elderly people in nursing homes and then trying to cover it up.  But instead, the left wants to beat him over the head for sexually crude comments and trying to kiss a secretary or two.

What can I say, the progressive, radical-left are fucking insane... and they're ruining this hobby.

Luke Crane got in trouble for having Adam Koebel as a contributor to his KS project when the real reason he should (or should not, depending on your view) be scrutinized is that Luke Crane was head of the RPG division of Kickstarter, creating conflict of interest red flags.

I, and many others, have discussed the Adam Koebel nothing burger until we're blue in the face.  From now on, EVERY SINGLE SESSION I RUN FOR THE REST OF THIS YEAR will include the pushing of a button to simulate at least one (probably multiple) non-consensual robot orgasm.  Jesus tentacled Christ, who the fuck cares?!?

Getting back on track, the social justice warriors seem to think this hobby is theirs, that "the community" is so important, so evolved, so much better than the OSR and regular gamers who don't want politics in their RPGs.  

Yes, the collective can be as seductive as an angry mob to certain people.  If you join, you get perks!  But don't be fooled.  It robs you of your identity (ironic when you think of identity politics), controls you, and eventually leads to the death of freedom.  Hello, cancelation! 

And to all the people who've said that either cancel culture doesn't exist or "it's just fine," let me remind you - ignoring the problem won't make it go away.  You guys are just as guilty of poisoning elf-games as those vilifying individuals just trying to live and make a living irrespective of the woke authoritarian regime.

Makes you wonder what would happen if Koebel, Crane, and the rest of the SJW gamers just refused to apologize, refused to recede into the shadows.  Can you be canceled if you don't let it happen?

Well, it worked for Gina Carano but didn't work for Zak (though, he's still blogging and putting content out there).  Both are talented, but the former seems like a sweetheart (confirmed by Bill Burr) while the latter... well, yeah.  He'll probably always be a hyper-argumentative asshole demanding his version of objective truth and unequivocal apologies.  

Anyway, goodbye to Luke Crane, a continued farewell to Adam Koebel, and adios to every other SJW who crosses the ever-encroaching and self-imposed line of what's "socially acceptable".  You guys are spineless, easily offended, back-stabbing, cry-bully collectivists.  Fuck all y'all!

VS

p.s. Want the best in eldritch, gonzo, science-fantasy, post-apocalyptic gaming?  Luxurious, signed, limited edition Cha'alt and Cha'alt: Fuchsia Malaise hardcovers... ordering details here.


Friday, March 19, 2021

Psycho Goreman

 

The kids have off today, so I'm going to make this review short and sweet.

Aaron the Pedantic and I have been talking about science-fantasy and Krull in particular on our new podcast Gonzo Up Your Ass!

Well, if you take the awesome and epic worldbuilding of sci-fi, fantasy, and horror and put it on contemporary Earth, but make it funny - like badass demons getting interrupted by uppity children, then you have Psycho Goreman.

There are literally dozens of cool bits and pieces to steal from this and put it in your RPG or campaign setting of choice... D&D, Rifts, Cha'alt, Carcosa, LotFP, DCC, Arduin, etc.

Just like you can tell that Mork Borg was created by graphic designers, Psycho Goreman must have been created by special FX guys because there are more creature costumes than you can can count.  Every time you turn around, there's a weird, over-the-top, cringe on purpose which makes it ironically awesome humanoid (mostly) entity that reminds you of those silly sci-fi monsters from Power Rangers.  

But it's the unrelenting dark atmosphere mixed with the laughs that sets it apart and makes it seven-fold better than just another kid's show or movie.  The language reminds me of Prince of Nothing, his pleasingly overwrought and legendary way of speaking and naming things.  

Some of my favorite things... the look and sound of the "protagonist" Psycho Goreman, along with that glowing magenta/fuchsia magic stone, a different kind of laser-sword than I've ever seen before, the backstory of Psycho Goreman involving the planet Gigax (yes, pronounced like Gygax), the humorous board of directors that have an interest in seeing Psycho Goreman defeated, the cool deaths as PG dishes the pain on both pesky humans and alien demon creatures more like himself.

It's the kind of movie I'm glad I bought on blu-ray because I'll be seeing this many more times over the years.  The fact that I was able to watch this with my wife and two older girls was an unexpected bonus!

This movie gets my highest recommendation 5 out of 5 stars.  If you're at all into stuff like D&D while not taking yourself too seriously, watch it and prepare to re-watch soon after.  It's just that awesome.  If they don't make a sequel next year, I'm going to be really disappointed.

VS

p.s. Yes, I have the luxury hardcover Cha'alt and Cha'alt: Fuchsia Malaise books for sale, direct through me.  Ordering details here!