Wednesday, September 28, 2016

Last call for Awesome!

If you didn't know, my final Kickstarter campaign until Summer of 2017 (at least) is winding down.

And guess what?  VS, your fucking boss of a hoss, is planning on over-delivering... again.

Yeah, not only are you lucky dogs getting three PDFs for $3, but they'll be double the promised length.

But that's not all!!!  Glynn Seal +MonkeyBlood Design (Glynn Seal) and I have a good relationship.  I tell him to make something awesome while shouting out random words like "Tentacles," "Veins," and "Vagina Whale!" then he turns around and makes it visually awesome.

Case in point, the eldritch fantasy adventure will have the red, the investigative horror will have the green, and the sleazy space opera will get blue.

Click on them to get the full effect!

So, thanks for backing.  Keep telling your gaming friends about this wondrous deal of insanity on acid meth!  Let's see if we can hit $2,000 in four days.


Monday, September 19, 2016

Alien Hieroglyphs - Alpha Blue actual play report

Yesterday was probably the last face-to-face roleplaying I'll get to have until sometime in 2017.  Impending twins and all that.  So, I wanted to go out with a bang.  And we did.

The 4 hour game turned into a 2 hour game because of pizza, off-topic discussions, and character creation.  Since there was only 2 players, we went all-out, despite the one-shot nature of this particular game.  Below are a couple videos that capture the character creation experience that is Alpha Blue...

Steve's character, Azaxyr, was an alien pilot who needed an atmosphere suit to survive (non-oxygen breather).  He was a dog-sized amphibian with a strange way of speaking, porcupine quills, hemophilia, and a Necrophilia sexual fetish.  Oh yeah, he also had the power (more like a defect in the far future) of disabling any electronic device he came within a few inches of.

Patrick's character was a human pilot and bounty hunter named Gebek wielding a neon-frisbee.  It's like a laser-frisbee, except neon doesn't cauterize the wounds, so you keep bleeding.

Since I don't have a chat-log that I can just look back at and retype here, I'm going to bullet-point the crap out of this actual play report.

  • The space adventurers were traveling to Alpha Blue when intercepted by a Federation patrol ship who wanted them to submit to a random checkpoint search and seizure.  "Fuck that," was the PC's response, naturally.
  • It took awhile to destroy the Federation ship.  Waterbeds were punctured on both sides of the conflict.  We decided that once you take your waterbed off-world, the warranty is invalidated, and that artificial gravity is the leading cause of waterbed death.
  • Once everyone was dead, the PCs went aboard and found a criminal in a similar survival suit to Azaxyr.  This convict's name was Ettis, a human-sized being made of pure energy who considers the spilling of blood to be a sign of good fortune.
  • The reason they were going to Alpha Blue in the first place was a new Ancient Egypt exhibit in the space station's museum - yeah, sex and drugs on Alpha Blue, but there's culture, too.  Somewhere in this collection of Egyptology junk was a sarcophagus which contained hieroglyphs.  When deciphered, the hieroglyphs gave coordinates to a stable wormhole (Patrick's idea).
  • They got to Alpha Blue and Azaxyr disabled the space station's automated welcome wagon with a touch.  This is where Azaxyr said, "I just want to watch the world burn... one small display screen at a time."  The spacers continued on towards the Egyptian exhibit.
  • That led them to the red hologram district where Gebek got knifed and the pair of them were propositioned by a hooker.  No takers, as they had a mission to fulfill.
  • The PCs entered a cross-section of the space station that was both red hologram district and party/entertainment.  So, there was wall-to-wall sex, drugs, alcohol, and weirdness going on. 
  • They both smoked some pink crystals and enjoyed the benefits, as well as, succumbing to the dark side of alien narcotics.  
  • While Gebek was out of commission and propped up at a booth a la Weekend at Bernie's, watching a stripper with 5 boobs, Azaxyr took a job - kill 3 Federation officers walking around this section of Alpha Blue.
  • Once Gebek woke up, there was a shoot-out.  Azaxyr died in the laser fight.  Ettis walked up behind the toughest Federation officer and blasted him in the back of the head.  
  • Luckily, Alpha Blue has one of the best medical care facilities in the galaxy.  Although, Azaxyr didn't have space health insurance, so it cost him 1,400 credits to get a new pancreas, spleen, and right arm.  I finally got to roll on the spare parts random table in the Alpha Blue book. Yay!  
  • Not only were pictures of the sarcophagus taken, but a space mummy was destroyed, and the entire sarcophagus was stolen by the PCs. 

I wanted to play my CD of Heavy Metal (yeah, I still use CDs - when I can find them - I'm old) but lost it somewhere.  Patrick used his phone to play the entire album.  But the songs kept getting interrupted by Red Lobster ads.  So, I told them that Space Lobster ads were coming over the "air waves" of the PC's starship... even though there isn't a Space Lobster within light years of here!

Anyways, it was a fun game.  And the last for awhile.  But I'll still run a few one-hour games via Roll20, so at least I've got that to look forward to.

BTW, Thilo reviewed Girls Gone Rogue on his Endzeitgeist website here.

Thanks for reading,


p.s.  Almost forgot!  I'm still promoting my Trinity of Awesome kickstarter.  Check it out, and tell your friends.  ;)

Friday, September 16, 2016

FORCE DOCK - Alpha Blue actual play report

Another week, another Alpha Blue game on Roll20.

I both like and dislike (love and hate are too strong of words for the platform) Roll20.  It's easy, frustrating, counter-intuitive, and a lot of fun simultaneously.

Case in point: for some reason Roll20 decided to automatically write in big, bold letters, "2 Successes" when a player had rolled a 1 and 4.  That's never happened before, so perhaps one of us clicked a box or it's a new setting Roll20 is trying out.  Since it was dead wrong (1 on its own would be a crit fail and 4 is a partial success), I found it distracting.

Anyways, I'm here to report the action!

Two new players - Dave and Hawk.  Neither had played Alpha Blue before.

Dave wanted his character to be a spacer version of the Monster Magnet frontman, Dave Wyndorf.  He's an ice pirate and we never settled on a name (that I can see from the chat log), so I'll just call his character Space Lord.

Hawk wanted something weird (I usually have 2 players each time I run one of these and 50% of the party invariably wants to make an unusual character.  An alien is the weirdest, so we rolled some dice and came up with a human-sized being made of pure energy with pineapple texture on his head.  For his alienism quirks - he says random, personal things at inappropriate times and never lies or obscures the truth in order to protect himself.  For a career, he rolled pilot.  We ended up calling his character Piney.

That's as far as character creation went since we only had an hour to game.  Let's get to it...

VS:  You stole a fast starship form a crime lord you barely saw at last night's disco.  The ship came with a couple droids that are currently wandering around near the cockpit area.  The droids are the only thing of value on this ship.

Space Lord:  We need guns and mercs now.  My region of the galaxy is arid, and I have a more industrialized approach to piracy.  Are we on the station or in deep space?

VS:  You're flying through space, but you could turn around and head back for Alpha Blue.

Piney:  What do you think, Space Lord?  Should we try to pirate some ice or go back to the space station for supplies?

Space Lord:  Well, we did just steal this starship from the docks there, I presume.  I don't really remember the last couple days after I ate that Sarlacc nugget.  Probably should look at flipping this thing for a freighter... and find some lizard mercs.

Piney:  That sounds like a plan.  You know, my hemorrhoids are really bothering me today.

VS:  Your ship's scanners find a nearby planet that should provide what you're looking for.

Space Lord:  Any Federales or orbital defense picked up on our scanners?

VS:  No, this is a backwater planet.  The kind that Alpha Blue likes to hang around.

Space Lord:  Good deal.  Pineapple head, you're the pilot.  Take us down for a closer look.

Piney:  Roger dodger.

VS:  You land the ship in a clearing near a swamp.  Visuals indicate there are several reptilian humanoids standing around just outside.

Space Lord:  What kind of reptilian - feral or civilized (civilized being loosely applied).

VS:  They look like Silurians from Doctor Who.  So, apparently civilized... more or less.

Piney:  If these guys aren't here in peace, they're leaving in pieces.  Space Lord, this is your specialty.  Go talk to them.

Space Lord:  We observe for a few moments to see if they communicate.

VS:  You hear a few loud clangs.  One of the reptilians is knocking on the side of your ship.  "Hey, assholes!  What do you think you're doing parking here?  This is a no parking zone.  Can't your pilot read?"

Space Lord:  I open the hatch.  "Sorry there, my friend.  Are you with the planetary authorities?"

VS:  "No."

Piney:  Since I'm still sitting in the cockpit, I'm getting my blaster ready.

Space Lord:  "We're with an advanced survey crew from Galactic Redistribution, Inc.  We'd like to talk to someone about water samples."

VS:  "Ok, let me get S'ssszzslls," he says walking away, then turns his head, "Got any snacks?"


The space adventurers find some snack food for the reptilians and two of the humanoid reptiles agree to join the crew in exchange for a couple hundred credits and a small share of any loot they find.  Turns out one of the reptilians is "good with a blaster" and the other is a pimp, naturally.

Space Lord and Piney discover that a Federation cruiser just took off with all the good water (now ice) and so the pirates attempt to intercept the Federation ship.


VS:  You've located the them.

Space Lord:  How big is their ship?  Is it big enough for us to dock inside?

VS:  Alongside, yes.  The Federation cruiser is larger than yours, but not by that much.

Space Lord:  Hail them with a distress call, Piney.  Tell them our oxygenator is wack and we're all going to die unless they rescue us.  We need to dock if possible.

Piney:  Aye, we'll hail their ship.

VS:  "We don't talk to spacer scum.  Move along.  Hail the Federation!"

Space Lord:  Hmm... we could try to space jump it, that might leave their ship intact for us.  Of course, we could die horribly if we miss.  We need that ice!

Piney:  Can we force dock it?

VS:  You can try.  Roll 2d6 if you want to attempt it.

Piney:  [He rolls a 5 and 6 for a critical success!]

VS:  Ok, you successfully "force dock" your ship to theirs - which has never been done before in the history of space.

Piney:  Hail to the King, baby!  These lizards better be able to shoot straight.  Round up the droids.

Space Lord:  Can the droids hack the door or do we need to blast it?

VS:  All six of you are at the airlock as one of your droids inputs into the ship's computer.  Sparks fly and the Federation ship's door opens.

Space Lord:  If there are targets on the other side, we're ready.

VS:  You hear a few Federation troops running down the corridor towards you.

Space Lord:  No mercy!  Unless they surrender.

Piney:  Does this blaster have a disintegration option?

VS:  No, but you could always try turning it up to "11," but that might have serious consequences.

Piney:  Nah, we'll keep it at 9.5.

VS:  From what you know, Federation shock troops like these never surrender.

Space Lord:  That's how I rationalize their murder.  "Not too much damage to the inside of the ship, guys."  I hope I didn't forget my vibro-knife.


A lot of laser fire is exchanged.  The PCs take down the Federation troops and make their way towards the bridge.  On their way, they see a lovely green-skinned female walking down a side corridor.  She reminded Piney of his ex-wife.

While the reptilian mercs "take care" of the female, the PCs charge on towards the bridge where they see two Federation officers pushing buttons.

Piney threatens one of them, but rolls a critical failure and is the least intimidating presence currently on the ship, giving one of the officers a chance to pull out his blaster and fire - a line of deadly red light narrowly misses his pineapple-ridged head.

Eventually, both officers are overcome and surrender to the PCs.

The reptilians lazily walk onto the bridge smoking cigarettes after its all over.  They obviously had sex with the green-skinned female.

Besides the ice, the PCs discover that the Federation ship is carrying something else of value - something called a gorlax.  Piney rolls and gets "mostly success," enough to know that a gorlax is some kind of giant, alien gorilla made of purple slime.


That's all we had time for.  Both Dave and Hawk told me the session was awesome and gonzo, then they thanked me for GMing.

Both Space Lord and Piney reached 2nd level, where only their Health changes (going from 25 to 30).

I hope y'all enjoyed reading this Alpha Blue actual play report.  BTW, I recently created a new Kickstarter campaign to fund a trio of short PDF scenarios.  Only 3$!!!  Check it out.


Tuesday, September 13, 2016

[KS] Trinity of Awesome!

Yes, back at it again with a new Kickstarter.  Don't hate me because I'm prolific.  I only wish I could unleash more weird, filthy darkness upon the world.

Let's take what we can get!


Thursday, September 8, 2016

Sandcrawler Menagerie - Alpha Blue actual play report

This post is a report of actual Alpha Blue play that went on earlier today via Roll20.

One GM (me) and two players.  One of the players (David) had very little roleplaying experience.  Neither of them had ever heard of Alpha Blue before the session started.

David wanted to be something unusual.  Those were his only instructions.  So, we went with an alien.  Strange that Roll20 doesn't have an easy go-to feature for rolling a d30, so I just rolled a d20 instead.  Crystalline!  Then I rolled size and got "human."  Rolling twice for alien features I got these: often uses "the" unnecessarily (think Starfire from Teen Titans Go!) and relates his experiences to The Wizard of Oz... which he believes is real or is based on actual events.  He wields a vorpal chainsword.

8BitAndroid already had a concept in mind - a human/wolf hybrid.  So, I assumed he'd be a mutant and that would be one of his three mutations.  The others being that he had horns and a kangaroo pouch.  For a weapon he carried a thermal detonator.

Both wanted to roll for a name.  Both rolled the same number and got Terran.  8Bit decided his character wanted to change his name to Akros Sterling, but also mentioned something about the two being blood brothers.

Next, I rolled for their occupation and got "bounty hunter" for both.  Haha!  They were blood brothers.

After what seemed like a century of people trying different things in order to get one picture to show - which led to my entire computer freezing/crashing - I gave up and simply described everything.  Below are bits of dialog that I'm cherry-picking from the chat archive.

VS:  Ok, both of you are cruising around in a stolen starship.  You felt as though Grabba the Butt (my go-to intergalactic gangster created by +Fantastic Dimensions) owed it to you.  Grabba had other ideas, so you just took off and haven't looked back since.  You stopped to refuel on a barren, desert world.  While filling your tank full of space gas, you notice a gigantic sandcrawler and a jawa selling a wide variety of robots.  Another spacer is present.  He's checking out their wares.

Terran:  Let's go.

Akros:  Junk and sand everywhere.  I wonder why Grabba was so upset with us?  At least we managed to... recover his ship.  It'll do us good.

Terran:  Well, we can't do anything about the Grabba.  It is what it is.

VS:  The jawa walks up to you.  "Do you enjoy our little sandcrawler menagerie?  Every droid half-price.  You can't go wrong with that sexbot, my friends."  Akros has 500 credits.  Terran has 800 credits.

Akros: [Mutters and inspects the bots]  Half price?  I wonder if they have any defects.  I'd hate to be duped out of hard earned credits if they're just going to fall apart after light use.

VS:  The jawa says, "I always include a guarantee in the price - one standard month."

Terran:  Only a month?

VS:  "Or buy the warranty - three standard years.  Only 100 credits!"

Akros: [Huffing a bit and kicking a few tires]  "Which one is the cheapest?"

VS:  You notice one of the prospective buyers is handling a blonde, female android that looks just like Kristen Bell.  She's not wearing much clothing.  The price tag says 400 credits on her arm.

Akros:  [Notices Bell but doesn't want to spend a lot of credits]

VS:  The jawa points to some cheap piece of CGI crap from one of the prequels.  "This one is only 50 credits, my friend.  You want it gift wrapped?"

Terran:  I don't think we need that one.


Meanwhile, Akros notices the other customer loosening the velcro strap on his blaster.  Akros comes up behind him and puts a blaster to his head.  The guy walks away, but then it turns out the jawa wasn't a jawa at all but a little amphibian alien with three eyes.  He sucker-blasts Akros in the chest for 11 points of damage.  Both the PCs started the game as 1st level characters with 25 Health.

It's a shootout!  A few rounds later, the ambushing alien named Meebly has a bloody stump for a leg due to Akros' thermal detonator and blackened/burned hand from Terran's blaster.


VS:  Meebly gets down on his hands and knees, "You've beaten me.  If you spare my life, I shall be your servant."

Akros:  You can serve my crystalline brother, but if you betray us I'll bite your head off.

VS:  "By the way, I stole this sandcrawler.  So, maybe we should get out of here?

Terran:  Let's get aboard the starship.

VS:  "Bring the sexbot.  KB will make a fine companion for the three of us.  She's the only one I didn't rig with explosives."

Akros:  I kick the console and get our ship flying.

VS:  "Also, my former masters, the klingons, will be here soon.  And I expect they'll be furious.  I was supposed to kill you both for 3,000 credits."

Terran:  That's it?

VS:  Just as you're about to leave the solar system, you notice a klingon warhip approaching the desert planet.  Meebly:  "Whoo boy, I'm beat.  Where do you spacers keep the Venusian whisky?"

Akros:  Shit!  I'm going to activate a cloaking device or something.  [rolls a critical success]

VS:  You bounce a sub-sonic wave pattern against a nearby moon, effectively camouflaging your escape vector.

Terran:  Meebly, get us some beer or something!

VS:  Meebly opens up a panel in the lower back region of the Kristen Bell droid.  Sparks fly.  He closes up the panel.  "Bring us some space beers, KB.  We're thirsty."  She complies, bringing everyone a beer poured into a strange, blue-green rectangular glass.

Akros:  Whoa, that piece of junk actually works!

VS:  "Heck yes she works!  You should see what she can do with her squelch-valve."


That was it.  The players told me they had fun.  Maybe we'll pick it up again soon.  Who knows...

Thanks for reading,


p.s.  There's a nice little review of Girls Gone Rogue over here.

Tuesday, September 6, 2016

Should ENworld keep stroking itself?

The little picture at the top right was the icing on the cake... or perhaps the straw that broke the camel's back.

There's a small chance that Russ Morrissey was referring to +Kasimir Urbanski (RPGpundit) and this post.  However, it's far more likely that Russ Morrissey was talking about +Erik Tenkar of Tenkar's Tavern fame.  Last week, Tenkar posted thisthis, and this.

If I'm right and Russ was referring to Erik as the "abusive personality" than things are even more dire than I feared.  Erik is a lot of things, but he is not abusive.  Oh, the thieves, scoundrels, malcontents, and idiots occasionally consider him abusive - that's because he pops the balloons of delusion those people cling to.

Here's what this is all about: ENworld posts a lot of RPG news on its front page, big splashy, colorful press releases - news and advertisements all rolled into one.  ENworld also has a few people on the payroll who either create or vet these puff pieces for gamers to look at and discuss in comments below.  They must not vet them very hard because I can't remember seeing any criticism or negative commentary anywhere on ENworld's front page.  Unless you count the user comments who are not being paid by RPG companies and/or ENworld.

I'm a little biased.  I'll admit that upfront.  +Sean Patrick Fannon had some shitty things to say about me and my sleazy space opera RPG Alpha Blue when it got temporarily removed from the virtual shelves of DriveThrRPG/RPGNow.  And I've exchanged words with Morrus on many occasions, and pretty much every time he's been either dismissive or condescending.

So, now that Russel Morrissey is expanding his RPG line with O.L.D., N.O.W., and the latest N.E.W. (Really?  And they sell even with those titles?), ENworld is suddenly inundated with in-depth analysis and several people chiming in about how awesome it is - including Russ Morrissey himself.

It's also been one of Sean's Picks of the Week.  Sean Patrick Fannon is a staff writer, reviewer, press release sifter for ENworld.  And even he admits that there's "...a fine, fuzzy line between news, promotion, and outright advertising."  Though, it looks like ENworld has crossed the line.

You might think that such false advertising (by that I mean - no disclaimer) has a negligible effect on sales; however, I just looked at DriveThruRPG and N.E.W. was uploaded on August 19th and is already a Best GOLD Seller.  Compare that to a fairly successful but small independent self-publisher like myself.  Alpha Blue was uploaded onto DriveThru on December 18th of 2015 and is currently sitting pretty (well, I think she's pretty) at Best ELECTRUM Seller.  For those of you who've never played AD&D, gold is better than electrum.

Basically, this blog post is boosting the signal for RPGpundit and Erik Tenkar, as well as, a chance to ask the gaming community some hard-hitting, philosophical questions.  Real big picture stuff.  Here goes nothing...

  • Does this kind of thing (payola) bother you?
  • How susceptible are you to hype, advertising, promotion, and the like?
  • Do you prefer to only hear about games from big companies with lots of advertising dollars behind them? 
  • Why are labels, brands, and officially authorized/licensed take-your-pick important to the average RPG consumer?
  • Would you agree that creating a sense of immersion is a high priority in RPGs?
  • Would you also agree that rules-light RPGs are more immersive because they present less obstacles, procedures, and time devoted to looking things up?
  • Since crunchy and rules-heavy games are three times less likely to bring in new roleplaying blood than simple and rules-light games (yeah, I just made that statistic up - but it seems legit to me), why continue to support the former over the latter?
  • Is authority more important or valuable than autonomy?  

Thanks for reading,


Sunday, September 4, 2016

Adventures in the Forbidden Zone

Holden:  Describe in single words only the good things that come into your mind about... your childhood movie watching habits.

I must have been about 10 when Spacehunter: Adventures in the Forbidden Zone reached premium cable.

I remember seeing it a lot - probably 20 or even 30 times once it hit HBO, even though before today, I couldn't give you any more than scant details.  Maybe not even that much.  It was borderline scary at times and even though it could never match the awesomeness that was Star Wars, I enjoyed it immensely.

I watched it over and over again just as I did with The Beastmaster, Ice Pirates, Flash Gordon, Conan the Barbarian, and Blade Runner.  But not necessarily from beginning to end.  The majority of viewings must have come in just before or after the sail barge train battle scene.

Because seeing it again today after 33 years, I didn't recall anything of the first 10 minutes.  You know, the part that kind of sets up the rest of the movie.

This review does a good job of summing up the plot while noticing the sleazy aspects that make it a weird time-warp kind of anomaly that could only exist right around 1983.

There's a Mad Max kind of feel to it, as well.  Not so much cyberpunk as I envision it, unlike the linked review above, but definitely a high-tech / low-life aesthetic.  Not too long ago, Cyborg was screened at one of my monthly pizza/movie nights.  Spacehunter reminded me of Cyborg, too.  Especially, the brunette android.  But there was more to it than that - a world gone to seed.  A post-apocalypse of trash, a wasteland of dirty nomads looking for flesh.

The whole thing seems to have a bigger budget than I would have guessed.  The alien planet looks kind of like an alien planet.  Not sure whey they filmed those outdoor scenes, but it's realistic while also being unfamiliar.  Likewise, the "garbage chic" costumes and "rust tech" machines are equally impressive.

The pacing is also excellent.  It feels like a long journey even though the audience never grows bored.  Interesting things are happening all the time and in between, we get the emotional journey of the good guys.

Which brings me to my favorite aspect - because it's a rare commodity these days, like some kind of mineral used for making particle beam weapons that can only be found on planet SK-9 in Terra Quadrant.  Sleaze!

Like Starchaser: the Legend of Orin, there was a sexist kind of masculine vibe that I enjoy, that feels right to me, even though in today's culture of twitter wars and social issue outrage would surely be described as "toxic."

The protagonist, Wolff, obviously uses his pretty android engineer for sex.

When the three human women are captured by the antagonist's henchmen, they're obviously going to be used for sex or to satisfy some carnal appetite.

When Wolff meets the girl tracker, Nikki, who helps him find the captured women, there's definitely some adult expectation subtext going on.  Later, when Wolff gives her a bath and finds out she's about 16, he takes on a fatherly role, leaving behind a possible romantic relationship which Nikki assumed would happen.

Mid-way through the movie, Wolff and Nikki encounter a tribe of underwater amazons.  The amazons voice their interest in Wolff as breeding stock.  That doesn't sound like a bad idea to Wolff, however, when they put Nikki in danger, he decides to get out of there rather than have sex with many strange and beautiful (and probably dangerous) women.

You don't get stuff like that in a "kid's movie" these days.  1983 is long behind us, and so when a forgotten cult classic like this emerges from our distant cinematic past, I feel we should embrace it.

Obviously, there are a few problems or missed opportunities with the movie.  The antagonist goes by the name Overdog?  Yeah, it's no Star Wars.  But then neither is Ice Pirates, and that also deserves a 2nd or even 3rd viewing if it's been over a decade since you've seen it.

The standalone Spacehunter DVD seems to be out of print and therefore more expensive than it should be; however, after a little searching, I discovered that Walmart sells a Krull / Spacehunter combo DVD for around $5.  Doesn't get any better than that.  Well, neither film has any extras - not even the ability to select chapters.  But the movies are the main event, so yeah... buy it.

It should go without saying that Alpha Blue is the perfect vehicle for a kind of Starhunter RPG experience.  Pick up the bundle if you want both sourcebooks included in one low price.