Saturday, August 11, 2018

James Gunn Gone For Good


I think it's safe to say that James Gunn will NOT be re-hired by Disney.

As I predicted in Inappropriate Characters episode #4, where there's smoke, there's usually fire.  You can't be that obsessed with talking (even if it's joking - sometimes, especially if you're joking) about a subject and not have that thing be a part of your life... even if it's a very small part.

And with a subject as abhorrent, taboo, and just plain morally fucking wrong as pedophilia, even dipping your toe in the water is the end of the road for your Disney career.

I'm not going to post the leaked photos of James Gunn attending a pedo-themed costume party because... gross!  However, I will link to the page where they appear.

A year ago, I never thought I'd be saying something about the far-left, rampant SJWs, or the liberal media, but Jesus Christ, what the Hell is going on?  Everything from silence on Jeremy Hambly's assault by some "punch Nazis" asshole to the James Gunn pedo-apologists who seemed a hair away from getting him re-hired.

Yes, I love diversity and inclusivity, too, but stop acting like a hive-mind propaganda machine whose chief objective is identity politics and having fun / playing games is only a secondary consideration... at best.

Thoroughly disenchanted,

VS

p.s.  If you want some tangentially-related Guardians of the Galaxy RPG stuff, here's a FREE adventure for Alpha Blue.  It's sleazy without having anything James Gunn might get off on.


Inappropriate Characters - episode #5




Are social justice warriors slowly but surely ruining the hobby?

Whole lot of good stuff in this episode of our RPG talk show Inappropriate Characters.  Join the RPGpundit, Grim Jim Desboroughs, and I as we hash out the RPG related topics of the day! 

Let us know what you think about our show, and if you're enjoying these episodes, consider checking out our Patreon - I definitely need a decent microphone!

Enjoy,

VS

p.s.  4d6 drop the lowest and place the scores wherever you want is for children.  ;)


Thursday, August 9, 2018

More Cha'alt on Roll20


I've since GMed two more sessions of 5e D&D on Roll20. 

This is my Cha'alt campaign which is slowly and organically (which is how I like it) taking shape. 

The first session was mostly about exploring the caves and tunnels beneath the desert wasteland.  The second started right at the entrance (one of the many entrances) to the Black Pyramid of Cha'alt.

I had a lot of peripheral information, such as brainstorm notes and odd bits/pieces on my phone.  Sadly, my phone was viciously dropped onto the wood floor by our 21 month old.  I lost all my contacts and text conversations where those notes were stored.  Luckily, I had transferred most of the good stuff into a word doc before the phone's destruction.

When online, a big group is like 5 or 6 players.  For me, a big group face-to-face is double that.  There's a lot of herding cats going on.  These sessions only being about 90 minutes long, I had to prompt them and move things along at regular intervals.  Not a problem if you know what's required and don't mind putting some stick about...

"Oh, you want to hang out by the pyramid's entrance (and waste 10 precious minutes looking for stalagmites that could be used as a door-jam or teaching the party's wizard how to make a trap with no supplies)?  Well, those hungry cannibals are closing in on you."

The second playtest featured factions.  Well... it was going to feature them.  The PCs kind of just started attacking the first big group they came across.  It ended in 3 NPCs being knocked unconscious and half the PCs getting fairly hurt, but no one died.  Disappointing, considering I spent a couple hours preparing for lots of interaction, but sometimes that's how D&D goes.

Maybe the next group will want to talk to everybody, you never can tell.  It's always different, which is part of the fun. 

I'll keep doing these weekly sessions as long as possible.  The next 4 hour face-to-face game will be a week from tomorrow.  Looking forward to it!

VS


Wednesday, August 8, 2018

Justice for Jeremy!


You've probably seen text and/or videos I've posted about the man who was assaulted at GenCon this year, Jeremy Hambly aka The Quartering.

I've never met him.  In fact, I just started watching his YouTube channel when Jessica Price hit the fan about a month ago.  But he seems like a cool guy, maybe kind of an outspoken instigator at times and bit edgy, but a good dude, nonetheless.  He actually lives relatively nearby, too.  Maybe one day we'll grab a beer?

Here is the Go Fund Me that one of his supporters set up for him in order to cover legal fees and other expenses incurred because of the unwarranted "punch Nazis" SJW attack on his person when he was at a bar with friends after hours just a block or two away from the convention center.

There have been calls for political-motivated violence from the far-left since the attack, so my repeated mentioning of the situation was warranted. 

We really need to calm the fuck down, people, and realize that criticizing others, saying mean things, and having opposing view points does not make you Hitler, Satan (although in my case... perhaps), a member of the Nazi party, Trump, or the Boogie-Man.

Stay safe out there,

VS

Tuesday, August 7, 2018

GenCon Dumpster Fire



When a man can assault someone at GenCon and then go about his business like nothing happened... as a gaming culture, I think we have to draw a line. 

The historically disenfranchised shouldn't have more rights than anyone else living in America.  If the roles had been reversed, you can safely bet all your money that GenCon would have responded swiftly and with zero tolerance.  As it was, Matt Loter was allowed to roam the convention halls like nothing ever happened. 

As I've said before, I'm not part of either the Alt-Right or Ctrl-Left.  I think Trump is a terrible President.  I voted for Hillary Clinton in 2016 and plan on voting for Joe Biden in 2020.  I'm a political moderate and centrist who doesn't want either extreme strangling this great country.

First, some male feminist "nazi punching" antifa SJW gets away with assault and battery.  Then you have right-wing escalation.  Finally, domestic terrorist threats start happening more and more frequently until the United States looks like fucking Baghdad. 

Let's see the same accountability as if a female cosplayer was cat-called or transgendered person was told they couldn't use the restroom of their choice.  A GenCon attendee got sucker-punched just a few blocks from the convention center by a GenCon exhibitor! 

This is fucking news... and I really don't think ENworld or RPG.net care enough to cover or even discuss the matter.  So disappointing...

VS

p.s. You have my support, Jeremy.  Stay strong, hoss.  Get Woke - Go Broke!


Monday, August 6, 2018

Glynn Seal Wins ENnie Gold


Just wanted to publicly congratulate my friend and layout / graphic design partner who's been helping make Kort'thalis Publishing stuff awesome for about the last 3 years. 

Want to see a little bit of what Glynn's been up to?  Most of this shit is his fault!

If anyone needs help with their gaming project, definitely seek Glynn Seal out.  Here's his MonkeyBlood Design website.

So thrilled with your victory and looking forward to what we create together in the future, hoss!

VS

The Other N-Word


I'll be brief.

Throwing the word "Nazi" around has become rather fashionable these days.  And that's bad for a variety of reasons...

1)  It's inaccurate.  The Alt-Right, if that's what we're calling that huge swath of people from present-day conservatives to Trump supporters to counter-cultural independent thinkers to anti-left/SJWs to white nationalists, are not equivalent to the German war machine in World War II.  When you describe someone with alternative views a Nazi - same goes for calling people fascists - you devalue what real Nazis did in the 1940's.  Pretty soon, actual Nazis may start to look like the good guys because of our twisting and turning linguistics.  We don't want that.

2)  It's dehumanizing.  Calling someone a Nazi immediately paints them as the enemy, the other, non-human, unworthy as the same rights as the rest of us.  Before you call someone a "Nazi," think about how that would sound coming out of your mouth if you called that person a "n@gger."  Because, to me, they're both not ok to casually throw around.

3)  Eventually, we're going to have to come together, find some sort of middle ground, and make peace.  The polarization and politicization of everything and everyone in this country - maybe this world - is frightening to behold.  We should all take a step back and look at ourselves, look at what kind of country - or world - we want to live in

That's all I'm going to say for now. 

VS


Sunday, August 5, 2018

WTF GenCon?!?


First, Anita Sarkeesian is invited to GenCon as a guest of honor.  This upset a lot of people because, as I've researched, she's not at all a gamer or game fan, but a professional feminist... and not even a very good one, from what I've heard.

Second, GenCon mismanages the way people get their tickets in order to participate in the games they signed up for.  I know it's super crowded, but no one on God's slimy green earth should have to wait three hours in a line to do anything.  Someone needs to be fired and hopefully GenCon runs more smoothly next year (there's a slight chance I might be able to attend).

Third, this youtube vlogger Jeremy Hambly from The Quartering gets assaulted by some SJW dude believing he was a Nazi and that alone seemed to give him the right to do so.  Jeremy is a fan of Magic the Gathering.  I've played MtG, and it's a lame reflection of actual roleplaying games, but hey, he's still a gamer and a human being.

Fourth, GenCon seems determined to hush up the attack by banning/blocking people on twitch who bring it up or talk about it on their channel.  And some jackass from The Nerdist (and many others, I presume) is happy the assault happened on social media.

What in the actual fuck is going on?

I remember the whole "punch a Nazi" thing after the Charleston protest over Confederate statues, memorials, and such.  The aftermath was increasingly polarized sides and anyone Alt-Right being deemed a Nazi, racist, fascist, etc.  And claiming someone was a Nazi became provocation to behave violently towards others of an opposing viewpoint.

Disagreement over politics should never devolve into physical harm to people.  So, I hope that Jeremy Hambly is alright, that GenCon addresses the incident instead of cowering from it like Matt Loter (who ran off with a bunch of Kickstarter money, I'm told).  And I sincerely hope this shit doesn't happen again anytime soon.

The Ctrl-Left doesn't get to feel self-righteous about fighting their ideological enemies in the streets.  That's some bullshit.  What's next... terrorist bombings?  That whole "punch a Nazi" meme, Antifa, and extreme politicization of the RPG hobby/industry has to stop now!

VS

p.s. Despite this unfortunate business, Liberation of the Demon Slayer is still FREE for the next couple weeks!  If your adult filter is on, turn it off!


Saturday, August 4, 2018

Almost Like Being There


Sadly, I'm missing yet another non-Milwaukee GenCon, just like I've missed all the previous ones. 

However, I just found out that some guys were playing through Liberation of the Demon Slayer using AS&SH.  And that's awesome because now I get to feel like I'm part of the magic!

Details: the guy drinking diet Mountain Dew fell in a blue slime pit and died.  The dude drinking Irish whiskey lived to tell the tale.  Haha.  Good times!

To celebrate such awesomeness, LotDS shall be ZERO dollars until after H.P. Lovecraft's birthday (August 20th, if you didn't know).

Looking forward to hearing more fun gaming news - especially if it relates to me or anything Kort'thalis Publishing has put out!

VS


Sunday, July 29, 2018

Building a Better Dungeon


Since my last post, I've run the Cha'alt campaign twice, once on Roll20 and once in my face-to-face home game. 

The sessions have been fun, and it's been a learning experience (playtests always are, which is why we should do them whenever possible).  However, there have been times when I feel my creation is less than inspired.  That's not surprising since this is all a rough draft of sorts.  It's got all the quality and refinement of a Roger Corman picture.

As neat as that is, I've done the B-movie version of dungeons (and many other things) to death.  I've come to realize that there's a lot of stuff I don't know or haven't thought of when it comes to a fully realized dungeon.

Since I want this one to be the best it can be, I'm pulling out all the stops!

I'm not too awesome nor fucking boss to admit when I need help.  So, upon Endzeitgeist's recommendation right over here, I'm reading up on the subject.  Sure, I'm probably more or less aware of 85% of the material covered, but sometimes you've got to dig deep in order to reach that last 15%. 

And that's what I'm after!  So, while I digest that book, if anyone has a suggestion to make, I'm in the mood to buy and read PDFs on dungeon design.  Please feel free to comment with your own recommendation. 

VS


Tuesday, July 24, 2018

Cha'alt on Roll20: session 2


So, here's the listing if you want to play in session 2.

What happened in session 1?  Some exploration of a cave-system near the crimson rock of sacrifice, and the PCs were attacked by raiders and taken as slaves.

Dragged to the capstone of a shiny black pyramid, the PCs are forced to explore and loot the pyramid for their new masters.  The pyramid hasn't been seen in the wasteland for over a hundred years.  Does its reappearance bode well for the dome-city exiles and wasteland wanderers?  Hell no!

This is Cha'alt, campaign of sun-bleached death under magenta sky!!!

Elsewhere, I posted a little something about character classes.  Below, I'm providing information on available races... (BTW, this is a work-in-progress and subject to change.  A lot stuff I'm just throwing against the wall because I need to have something to show people.  Eventually, all will be integrated smoothly... but we're a long way off.)

Human The majority of city populations include humans.  Humans are ambitious, deceptive, and always seeking power.  Additional Hit-Points: 1d4

1st level... once per day, humans gain advantage on any roll they choose.

3rd level... once per day, humans can fight until they die - even if they'd normally be unconscious.

7th level... once per day, humans can take a secondary class that raises in level at the same time and rate as their original class.


Cockroach Men:  Also known as roach-men, these are smaller humanoid insects with impervious shells.  Unfortunately, they are frequently hunted for the natural shields growing out of their back. Additional Hit-Points: 2d4

1st level... roach-men are able to curl up into a defensive ball (roach-men cannot attack while in a defensive ball), which gives every opponent targeting them disadvantage on their attacks.

3rd level... roach-men get advantage on their saving throws where failure would lead to serious physical harm or death.

7th level... roach-men shells have matured to the point where they have damage resistance of 1d6 per attack.


V'symm:  Demons with dark red skin, an ancient race native to the desert.  They were tribal and sinister even before the apocalypse, splitting off from civilization to worship the Great Demons That Dwell Inside Cha'alt.  Additional Hit-Points: 1d6

1st level... once per day, v'symm are able to beguile one or more humanoids using their devilish charm.

3rd level... once per day, v'symm are able to cast a spell as if they were a sorcerer.  If they're already a sorcerer, this is an additional spell the character is able to cast per day.

7th level... once per day, v'symm gain advantage on a roll after they've shown favor or respect to the Great Demons That Dwell Inside Cha'alt.


Elf:  The majority of elves flocked to the cities after the Industrial Revolution hundreds of years ago.  However, pockets of feral and wild elves have always remained in the wilderness.  Now that everything beyond the dome-cities is wasteland, they survive by banding together in tribal communities.  Elves determine rank by pea-cocking around the tribe in an increasingly outlandish manner.  Additional Hit-Points: 1d6

1st level... once per day, elves can impress others with their garish appearance, brash demeanor, and outrageous behavior.

3rd level... once per day, elves gain advantage against an opponent when initiating ritual combat.

7th level...at this level, elves may call upon their tribe (or tribal ancestors if no other tribesman is around) to give assistance.


Dark Elf:  Exiled from their surface cousins for worshiping slimy tentacled gods instead of the dragons.  For a time, they were hunted by various humanoid races who saw their nonconformity as proof of degeneracy.  While not inherently evil, dark elves are naturally sneaky and have learned to disguise their presence whenever possible.

Their skin color is violet-black.  Additionally, dark elf skin contains more water than any other race because of their subterranean existence... and also not being reptilian or insectoid.  Unfortunately, that means dark elves are sometimes hunted purely for hydration (Mmm... flesh water).

1st level... in near or total darkness, you become invisible to the naked eye.

3rd level... dark elves can creep about with unnatural quiet.

7th level... in dim light, you become invisible to the naked eye.



Lizard-Men:  These humanoid reptiles arose out of the apocalypse, but claim to have always been here... underground.  The apocalypse forced them out of their subterranean home, deep inside Cha'alt.  Now, they live in the desert, generally keeping to themselves, occasionally joining elf, human, and halfling tribes.  Additional Hit-Points: 1d10

1st level... once per day, lizard-men have advantage on traveling the wasteland survival roll.

3rd level... once per day, lizard-men get advantage on hazards encountered while exploring.

7th level... once per day, lizard-men are able to fight in total or near darkness with advantage.


Sand-Grog Brutish and muscular desert constructs created via sorcery, sand-grogs are both savage and intelligent beings of intelligence and culture.  While most often found in the desert, the occasionally live in cities, using their massive strength to do the job of 7 men.  Additional Hit-Points: 2d6

1st level... for as many times per day as their level, sand-grogs can perform a feat of amazing strength (if used in combat, this is the equivalent of double damage).

3rd level... once per day, sand-grogs are able to "melt" into a pillar of sand for as many minutes as their level.

7th level... once per day, sand-grogs can decide to "sand" part of their bodies just before a successful attack lands, effectively negating damage.

_________

Enjoy,

VS

Friday, July 20, 2018

No One Warps For Free - PDF live!!!


Yes, at long fucking last... Alien Ass, Hydrogen Gas, or Cosmic Grass... No One Warps For Free! is finally available (softcover will take another couple weeks).

I'm excited about this release because ENnie-nominated Glynn Seal and I worked hard on this book and it turned out superb.  The production values are the highest Kort'thalis Publishing has ever attempted.  It really looks amazing!

What's in it?  A whole bunch of stuff.  I know it's only 74 pages, but the thing is dense with random tables, optional rules (like PC careers), and scenarios.  I'm waiting for the first few reviews to filter in, but I'm going out on a space limb right now to say that No One Warps For Free is one impressive sonofabitch!

Thanks to all my Kickstarter backers, supporters, contributors, artists, and everyone who paved the way.

VS

p.s. Incidentally, the RPGpundit just reviewed the previous Alpha Blue supplement Battle Star: Trek Wars right over here.


Tuesday, July 17, 2018

Cha'alt on Roll20


I'm opening up Cha'alt to the world, at least those who frequent Roll20.

So, if you're interested in a 5e D&D game that's part cyberpunk, part mutant wasteland, part dungeoncrawl, here's the link.

These weekly sessions will only be about an hour long (Thursdays, 11:30 - 12:30pm central standard time) and text only (I'll be sitting at my desk in a fairly public space).  So, we'll dive in ASAP. 

Come with a character concept ahead of time.  check out these character classes!  Races can be any standard fantasy thing you want to come up with... as long as it's not too immersion-breaking, I'm fine with it.  Half centaur, half stalk of celery, and half nuclear bomb?  Umm... no.

If this turns out well, I will most likely blog about it... perhaps even self-publish the campaign as an adventure or setting book down the road.  So, signing up to play means you're cool with that.

VS


Monday, July 16, 2018

MotBM an OSR Dead-End?


Ok, this deserves a blog post all its own...

So, I and many others read this review of Maze of the Blue Medusa right over here.  There's been a lot of feedback, as well as, quite a bit of push-back from the OSR.

Now, if the reviewer was railing against commonly accepted OSR staples, I would wholeheartedly agree with their rebuttal.  However, I got the sense that the reviewer is himself an OSR gamer and was judging MotBM on its own self-proclaimed old school merits... and found it lacking.

Maybe I'm wrong, but I don't see the reviewer advocating for adventure paths.  He simply wants a megadungeon to have some logical cohesion along with something going on that relates to the PCs.  You know, an adventure!  That's not some newfangled modern 4th edition story-game nonsense.  On the contrary, it's the foundational bread and butter of RPG scenarios: there's something going on that draws the PCs in and makes some kind of sense as they involve themselves.

I don't know if this is quite right, not having read MotBM (though this is probably the 13th review I've read over the last year), but from the reviewer's perspective, it seems like a deconstructed megadungeon.  All the parts are there, but it tricks you into thinking it's fully assembled.

Just because an adventure (any adventure) says, "You can do what you want with it - make it your own!" that doesn't mean it's useful, what the customer wants, or is worth paying for.  Now, I think MotBM is worth buying and I intend on purchasing the 2nd edition yonder.  But my acquisition is not why the ordinary gamer wants it.  

I'm looking for inspiration, what worked, what didn't work, why it captured the 2017 imagination as hard as it did.  Why?  So I can surpass it, of course.  Hoping to publish my own megadungeon in 2019!

Anyways, when it comes down to it a gaming product should be gameable - especially when it's expensive, talked up to the nth degree, and was a work-in-progress by two accomplished gaming authors for 4 friggin' years (trying to verify that, but not finding a source - will keep trying)!

If the reviewer, and he's not alone - I've seen lots of feedback over the last 12 months - thinks it stops short of providing satisfactory gameable content, that's a flaw.  Thankfully, I don't believe MotBM's flaw is shared by the OSR.  If anything, MotBM strayed too far away from old school principles - and that's what bit it in the ass.  

But I'd love to read your thoughts, will gladly engage in discussion and hope to have my beliefs either verified or reduced to ash after I've read the damn thing (probably end of August).

VS

p.s.  Ever since I realized my interview with Patrick Stuart pictured not Patrick Stuart, I've felt a little bit bad about it (but not so bad that I actually did anything).  So, here he is pictured!  Also, here's a link to that post-MotBM interview.  For completion's sake, here's my post-MotBM interview with Zak S.

Saturday, July 14, 2018

Cha'alt: Session One


Last night was the official start of my new post-apocalyptic D&D campaign Cha'alt: Sun-Bleached Death Under Magenta Sky.

4 players, specific classes I came up with last week, a few house-rules, handful of scenario notes, and... that's it.  Nothing else.  I didn't have any rulebooks, charts, screens, supplements, or full-fledged adventure.  No music, weird lighting, artwork, or any theatrics, pyrotechnics, special effects, etc.

I was, admittedly, a little apprehensive about going that route, but it felt very refreshing.

The only thing I'm going to say about the session as of now is that three PCs came from the wasteland (wasters) and one came from the dome-city (domer).  After conducting their initial business, they were attacked by raiders and ran for their lives.  While being pursued, they found a place to hide... and explore.

Oh yeah, I can also tell you the party's dragon priest was almost swallowed by a giant sandworm.

I want to keep the rest under wraps because I intend to open the Cha'alt campaign world up to everyone - details coming soon!

However, I also want to share some system / game mechanics that I came up with to make my O5R game feel like D&D without sacrificing the range I've cultivated with VSd6.

Difficulty


Easy:  10
Moderate: 15
Hard: 20
Near Impossible: 25
_____

For simplicity's sake, assume the difficulty is Moderate unless the GM says otherwise.

In addition to a d20 roll, players add their character's level if the attempted action is relevant to his class.  If the GM is using ability scores (personally, I find them too fiddly for online games), relevant ability modifiers give a bonus of +1 for 15 and above; -1 for 7 and below.

For example, Harold's techno-mancer tried to imbue a disused subway car with power and force it to run over his enemies.  He rolled his d20 and got a 14, then added his level (they all started at 1st level) +1, and finally his intelligence (let's say his Int was a 16) modifier of +1 for a total of 16.  That means he was able to get the subway car up and running and moving in the right direction, but couldn't put as much force or direction into it as he wanted.

Result: it struck and wounded one or two of the oncoming attackers (it was dark).

I'm using this for pretty much everything, except standard combat maneuvers.  So... spells, special attacks, perception checks, saving throws, initiative, etc.  However, all rolling comes after the all-important roleplaying.  You can't just roll to check for traps without describing what you're doing first.

VS

p.s. Almost forget to mention, if a player gets 5 or more points above the target, he generally gets a little bonus, like a critical success.  If he gets 5 or more points below the target number, he's bound to get some kind of penalty or further loss, like a critical failure.

Wednesday, July 11, 2018

Shades of Amber


Patrick Stuart's False Machine review of Amber: Diceless Role-Playing brought up a lot of great memories.  I haven't played Amber since High School in the early 90's, and haven't read the core rulebook in over a decade, yet Wujcik's wisdom seems burned into my psyche.

I just re-read his review, and while I can't pinpoint the exact sentence getting to the heart of this blog post, it's in there somewhere.  Allow me to plunge my warlock hands into the primordial soup and see what I can yank out...

As a designer of RPGs myself, my foundation seems to be context.  In any interaction, there are a number of variables, each having their own weight, pushing and pulling the odds of success, failure, or something in-between hither and yon. 

For me personally, needing to hit a target number of 14, rolling a 15, and saying, "Yeah, you hit," or rolling a 13 and saying, "Nope, you miss," just doesn't satisfy me like it did when I started out playing Basic D&D in grade school. 

After years of gaming, I realized how much I preferred subtlety, nuance, interpretation, the dice as oracle and I, Game Master, as the one who speaks for them.  I want the dice to give me a range, a degree of good, bad, and ugly where I'm able to refine the raw material... shades of gray, rather than just rolling to see if the outcome is either black or white.

That's why I came up with VSd6, a system using d6 dice pools.  The result allowing GMs to know which way the wind is blowing so they can narrate the actual outcome... their outcome, rather than something hypothetical and polarized.  In this way, the dice results are like potential energy, awaiting the GM's ultimate determination.

Where Amber expects the GM to do all the factoring in his head, the RPGs of Kort'thalis Publishing (Alpha Blue, Crimson Dragon Slayer, The Outer Presence, and Blood Dark Thirst) provide tools cutting out much of the guesswork. 

The GM as final arbiter; rules merely a framework for GM and players to immerse themselves in virtual reality - is the very definition of old school.  That's why I believe both Amber: Diceless and my own RPGs are essentially OSR.

VS


Tuesday, July 10, 2018

Cha'alt: Character Classes


So, a couple weeks ago was session -1, and yesterday we finally got to session zero.  Although, to be completely honest, it's more about having lunch with friends than pre-planning D&D.

Regardless, some campaign discussion happened.  For instance, here are the available character classes in Cha'alt: Sun-bleached death!

Basically, it's Shadowrun within the domed cities and Mad Max / Gamma World / Dark Sun everywhere else.

  • Dragon Priest: Dragons rule the world of Cha'alt and they are perceived as Gods by the inhabitance.  However, there are priests who worship other god-like beings too... such as, worm priests (yes, giant sandworms burrowing in the wasteland).  Focus: non-offensive spells, such as healing, protection, divination, flight, creating water, etc.  HD: 1d6 [max HP at 1st level]
  • Sorcerer: They wield the magic; this was a land of fantasy and technology before the apocalypse.  Focus: offensive spells; destructive sorcery such as fireball, lightning, acid arrow, magic missiles, etc.  HD: 1d4 [max HP at 1st level]
  • Urban Ranger: They live in the domed cities, detectives, investigators, blade-runners, and bounty hunters.  Metropolitan killers in nice slacks.  Focus: tracking, locating weaknesses of their prey, and surviving in city environments.  HD: 1d8 [max HP at 1st level]
  • Brutalizer: If you're going to live in the wastes, you either have to be a hunter or gatherer.  These are the hunters - they tussle with big game out in the radioactive ruins.  Focus: killing!  HD: 1d12 [max HP at 1st level]
  • Scavenger: Thieves of the wasteland, scavengers who search for necessities, tech, magic, and anything that can be used to survive.  They know how to get in and out of the ruins and sewers beneath the domed cities.  Focus: detecting and disarming traps, skulking around silently, getting into hard-to-reach places, hiding in what little shadow there is and striking death-blows.  HD: 1d10 [max HP at 1st level]
  • Techno-mancer: They plug into cyberspace in order to access the network, repository for all the available knowledge.  Focus: creating, repairing, operating, and maintaining machines, electronic equipment, and any kind of high-tech gear.  HD: 1d4 [max HP at 1st level]

For the dragon priest, sorcerer, and techno-mancer, magic (even techno-magic) is rather free form -player describes what he wants his character's spell to do and rolls a d20 (adjusted by modifiers).  The GM describes what happens.

Spells / day = character's level.  For example, a 3rd level character can cast 3 spells per day).  Additional spells may be cast at a cost of 1d4 HP per spell.

Next time I blog about Cha'alt, I'll talk about PC races!

VS


Tuesday, July 3, 2018

It's The Adventures, Stupid


I've had this blog post on my mind for a while now...  It all started with a discussion on g+ about Labyrinth Lord.

How one of the first big retro-clones has been virtually eclipsed, why, and if it's possible for Labyrinth Lord to reclaim its former glory.

Well, what makes for a successful RPG?  I'm sure there are many factors that could and should be discussed by those interested in the answer.  But today, I'm going to focus on the primary reason: SUPPORT!!!

Support for that RPG keeps it going, makes it feel alive, engages players, and provides material for using that game now and in the future.  The ideal kind of support is adventures, the backbone of roleplaying.  Various supplements can't hurt, but a large number of scenarios is probably the best gauge for success when it comes to new RPGs.

Just look at your DCC, LotFP, and S&W.  They come out with adventures all the damn time.  If Labyrinth Lord wants to compete, it's got to have just as many high-profile scenarios coming out under the Labyrinth Lord name.  That's why it's so hard for the little guys to compete... any one-man shop is going to be hard-pressed to generate one adventure a month or more.  You need a team!

On that LL thread, I made the boastful statement that I could turn LL around if put on the payroll as brand manager, scenario connoisseur, or whatever to the tune of $50K a year.  Yeah, that seems like a lot, but the juice has to be worth the squeeze.

What's funny is that it's all compatible!  There's no earthly reason why you can't swap one system's adventure for another.  But perception matters with these kinds of things.  Brand awareness affects the market.  We're only human, after all.

I've tried to maintain a regular flow of adventures myself with the several RPGs for Kort'thalis Publishing, but in the end I only succeeded with Alpha Blue.  Crimson Dragon Slayer almost kept pace, but I think sci-fi more lenient than the over-saturated genre of fantasy.  Alas, I realized the full extent of this lesson too late.

Having said that, I'm going to make an announcement regarding Kort'thalis Publishing's RPG lines.  But first, I want to finish Alien Ass, Hydrogen Gas, or Cosmic Grass... No One Warps For Free!  It'll be released before the end of July.

I've already mentioned elsewhere that I'm taking a break from RPG publishing once this last adventure is completed.  There are juicier fruits out there that I have to find.

VS


Thursday, June 28, 2018

Return of the Blue Baron


Since I made a small contribution, just wanted to mention Return of the Blue Baron, volume 2.

It's a collaborative dungeon full of all kinds of crazy stuff!  It was a fun, easy experience and I think the OSR should do more of that kind of thing.

Cooperation makes this hobby possible. I'm always happy to share little tidbits with my fellow creators.  Just ask!

The PDF is free, so definitely check it out.

VS

p.s. Also, be sure to post feedback and reviews.


Tuesday, June 26, 2018

Describe Stuff


Originally, I had a different introduction for this blog post (see below).  But reading this post on Raging Owlbear, I'm just going to say that providing descriptions is, like, the GM's #1 job.  Take that away and why even bother having a GM.  Just do some wargaming skirmishes with miniatures, instead.

It is fortuitous that I was thinking about Clash of the Titans this past weekend - specifically the character Thallo. Because without those stray thoughts, you wouldn't have this blog post and I wouldn't have found out that Tim Pigott-Smith just died.  He played Captain of the Guard Thallo.

So, I was walking the twins and thinking about descriptions.  Going the extra mile, taking it to the next level, and just how important that is in RPGs.  Of course, keep in mind there's a world of difference between fully describing something the PCs experience in their virtual reality type of environment and the adventure writer's crappy novella about the town the PCs are visiting, all the townsfolk, and 1,000 years of history that nobody gives two shits about - just get on with it!

Anyway, it struck me that Thallo's description of flies when he's talking to Perseus is the perfect example!

Even back then, when I was about 8 and watching Clash of the Titans seemingly every day, I knew that Thallo's words were beyond mere mortal description.  As a wordsmith, he was like the Gods, and probably would have made a fucking boss GM, too.

Let's take a look at what he said...

Accursed, hell-sent swarms of blood-gutted marsh flies.

Any adventure writer or GM can come up with "marsh flies."  That's nothing.  Describing them as "blood-gutted marsh flies" is better, we can both see them clearer and get a better sense of their feeding habits.  It's visceral.  But "accursed, hell-sent swarms of blood-gutted marsh flies"?  Damn, that's awesome!  The players now know where they're from or where they seem to be from, that their evil, possibly demonic, that they come in swarms, probably plaguing that entire marshland area.

Great descriptions do more than convey information - they're symbolic, the programming language that literally makes the game.  Words are the tools we gamers use to create and interact with that virtual world.

Sure, you can go overboard.  After all, Lovecraft did that all the time and no one remembers him or his creations. That was sarcasm, yes.  When it's called for, go off the rails - describe stuff like there's no tomorrow.

So, be like Thallo and Lovecraft - do your job as either an adventure writer, GM, or both!

VS

p.s. Want more advice like this?  You can get Adventure Writing Like A Fucking Boss and Adventure Writing Like A Fucking Boss II.


Wednesday, June 20, 2018

Imagining Cha'alt


This blog post serves as a record for "session -1"... basically talking about the stuff there is to talk about before session zero.

Yes, I'm launching a new D&D campaign next month.  Why D&D?  Well, it's awesome and... you've got to go where the fish are.  Tons of people play D&D.  Comparatively, 5 people play any of the lesser known, old school, retro-clones or OSR off-shoots like Crimson Dragon Slayer (even though d6 dice pools are way cooler than d20).

Three guys talking about D&D, movies, concepts, influences, and the kind of campaign we'd like to see - nay, live in!  It went well; let's dive into the juicy stuff.

I've always had at least an inkling of science-fantasy post-apocalypse in my D&D games.  However, this time I wanted to go all-in.  Mutant Crawl Classics has been ordered from my FLGS (just found out the 1st printing is sold out, but the game store's distributors had a couple extra copies).

In creating the campaign setting/world called Cha'alt, I'm planning on drawing quite a bit of influence from MCC and Dark Sun, but also the following movies...

Mad Max: doesn't get any more post-apocalyptic inspired than that.  I also want to use Cyborg and Water World as inspirations.  A totally ruined civilization where survivors must scavenge to survive in a chaotic, untamed world!

Blade Runner and Split Second: not so easy to find the latter on DVD or blu-ray, but I keep trying.  Anyways, Shadowrun has always been mildly fascinating as a concept.  Fantasy + cyberpunk, so Cha'alt is going to incorporate that, too.

But how?  Well...

Zardoz:  A trippy, 70's favorite of mine.  Just like in Zardoz, there's two lands - one populated by the brutals where it's all savage and low-tech and the second populated by eternals - young and beautiful degenerate intellectuals who want for nothing and have elaborate social rituals.  The eternals use the brutals by way of the vortex (seriously, if you're dying to see Sean Connery's chest hair - just go see Zardoz).

Why not have two main realms?  One was shielded from the apocalypse, more or less, and is the dark near-future cyberpunk world we're familiar with.  Possibly a domed city or one of several, like in Logan's Run.  The other land (pretty much the rest of the world) got the full brunt of the apocalypse and are living in the devastated aftermath.

The PCs are opportunists, mercenaries, thrill-seekers, or one of the dregs of society who agree to travel between the two lands, carrying out various missions and/or independently seeking fame, glory, and treasure (gold, credits, magic, and tech).

How did the apocalypse occur?  Instead of going the usual route of nuclear war, why not dive into the sword & sorcery lore of Thundarr the Barbarian?  Yes, a mysterious comet passed too close to our moon, broke it in half, and shit went crazy!  Ok, it's not really "our" moon.  This is all happening on some fantasy world, which explains the elves, dwarves, magic, etc.

What about Gods?  Dragons.  Dragons?  Yes.  Dragons!!!

I was looking up my kids' Chinese zodiac signs last night and early this morning.  There was something in the description for Year of the Dragon that caught my eye.

In ancient times, people thought that dragons could control everything in the world with their character traits of dominance and ambition.

That sparked something in my imagination!  I started thinking about dragons as gods in Cha'alt.  All-powerful monstrous beings who influenced the people of that world.  Priests would pray to and worship dragons - fire dragons, water dragons, gold dragons, steel dragons, and so on.  As dragons fought amongst themselves, so would great armies - leading to the Dragon Wars.

Yeah, you could just keep going with that idea, from religions and cults to empires and customs - dragons are a huge part of everyday life in Cha'alt.  In fact, I'll most likely take another crack at writing a novel, one based on Cha'alt.

System-wise, I'm leaning towards the Basic Starter version of D&D 5e and adding bits and pieces from there, instead of saying everything in the Player's Handbook is legit and then having to go through it and take bits and pieces out.

It'll be old school.  O5R, to be exact.  And while the 1st session starts up in July, there's going to be an online version of the game people can play, too, via Roll20.  At least, that's the hope.  We'll see.  I still have to complete my latest Alpha Blue kickstarter!

Have an opinion, let me know.

VS


Wednesday, June 13, 2018

Alpha Blue merchandise


Yes, you can now buy Alpha Blue merch right over here!

I'm trying to promote my Kickstarter (only 11 days left to back) Alien Ass, Hydrogen Gas, or Cosmic Grass... No One Warps For Free!  Please check it out, support my dirty hobby, and tell your friends / RPG acquaintances.

Glynn Seal of MonkeyBlood Design (hire this glorious bastard, you fool!) did an outstanding job creating the pink tentacles and slime details, font, etc. I mean, is there anything worse than a t-shirt with rectangular image just hanging in space?

A couple more items may be added in the next few days, we'll see. The sad part is that I'm only making about 10% per item sold - should be able to pay Glynn back for his magnificent work in 2021.  But at least Zazzle takes care of all the heavy lifting, of which I have neither the time nor energy to do.

Zazzle also does frequent sales.  Sometimes site-wide sales (25% off right now), certain items, etc.  They also have some interesting options.  For instance, the posters come in a range of sizes and if you wanted a canvas print, you can also choose the thickness, as well as, the size.  Be sure to play around with options before ordering to make sure you'll love it.

Any questions, just let me know!

VS

p.s. Glynn just alerted me that you need to switch the content filter to "OFF" in order to see the images (I set them to PG-13).  Thanks, hoss!


Sunday, June 10, 2018

What's Most Important


I've been having an interesting conversation online about XP, leveling, and new mechanics / dice rolling conventions.

What I proposed a few days ago right over here, basically took the place of the math heavy calculations that went into doling out XP per character.  I remember playing in the 80's and sometimes it would take the DM up to an hour after a session to get the final numbers (we were all about 12 at the time).

That seems like a lot - and it was - but that was the way it was, and I do not believe that's an exaggeration.

Anyways, the old school purist I was engaging with said something about all these newfangled rules and ways of doing things diluted the purity of the game, making it harder to find a game or made the available gaming pool for old school D&D more shallow.

To that, I suggested that game mechanics will always play second fiddle to the really important factors that go into an RPG campaign...

  • The GM (is he GMing like a fucking boss or is he just an asshole who doesn't care and loves his precious NPCs way too much?)
  • The Players (I want to game with people who love the game - they don't have to know a lot about it, just be enthusiastic and willing to immerse themselves in the fantasy world we're collectively making).
  • The food/drink available (Sure, I can eat before and after the game, but sharing delicious food and beverages makes the experience that much better).
  • Comfortable and quiet place to play (if your cat's dingle-berries are "x" amount of inches from my dice and I'm sitting in a metal grade school cafeteria chair, I'm out). 
  • Close to home
  • Convenient day/time 
  • The game's setting, flavor, theme, mood, aesthetic, etc. (Several days ago, some awesome dude was talking about mixing Planet of the Apes with Carcosa... hell yeah!)
  • Style of play (don't play my character for me and don't railroad me.  I want some agency, bitch!)

I could think of others, I'm sure, if I sat here for another hour or two.  But that's enough to get the idea across - who you play with and where is so much more important than 90% of the game's overall functionality.  

Yes, I maintain that all of those things, individually, are more important than playing Moldvay vs. Holmes, or Mentzer vs. AD&D, or 2nd edition vs. 5th edition, or S&W vs. LL, or Crimson Dragon Slayer vs. DCC.

If I had the time, liked the people involved, and what the game was about, I wouldn't care if the GM used ascending AC, descending, or some weird random d12 mechanic he pulled out of his ass.  Bring on the pizza, mountain dew, and let the good times roll!

VS

p.s.  Please check out and back my latest Alpha Blue kickstarter - Alien Ass, Hydrogen Gas, or Cosmic Grass... No One Warps For Free!

Sunday, June 3, 2018

Inappropriate Characters episode 2



This is the 2nd episode of our RPG talk show Inappropriate Characters, comprised of RPGpundit, James Desborough, and myself.

In this episode, we talk about Kickstarters, Anita Sarkeesian coming to GENCON, gaming as adults, and more!  Thanks for tuning in.  Be sure to subscribe, like, and comment.  If you enjoy that kind of irreverent programming, consider supporting us through our Inappropriate Characters Patreon.

VS

p.s.  The Alpha Blue supplement Alien Ass, Hydrogen Gas, or Cosmic Grass... No One Warps For Free! is being Kickstarted right fucking now - go check out the sexy girls if nothing else.


Friday, June 1, 2018

More inappropriate characters!


Tonight is our second episode of the Inappropriate Characters RPG talk show.  Please subscribe to our channel and get notified when there's something new to watch!

Also, here's our Patreon account.  It'll help us keep the good times rolling!

One of the topics I'll be discussing tonight is RPG kickstarters.  Specifically, tips to succeed at running your own.  As it happens, I launched my 15th KS earlier today.

Check out Alien Ass, Hydrogen Gas, and Cosmic Ass... No One Warps For Free!

If you have questions about running an RPG kickstarter, let me know what they are so I can answer them on the show.

VS

Monday, May 28, 2018

No Politics, Please



Today, we're talking about Armor Class... but first, let's discuss the lack of diversity among the straight, white, male, rape-culture, terrorist roleplayers.

Why?!?  Why does this always fucking happen these days?

I'm referring to the interjection of racism, sexism, inclusiveness, forced community welcoming, protection from the threat of possible harassment, and a bunch of other stuff.

It's politics.  Why are politics always worming their filthy way into our gaming?  I want to be free of it.

A few years ago, "No politics" meant not overly praising or bashing the President or talking about gun control or immigration.  Now, it's everywhere, affecting everything, and there seems to be no escape.

This seemingly innocuous post by James Raggi started off good and then got bogged down in the same bullshit that happens when more than 3 people are together.

At this point, I equally blame the Alt-Right (stop egging the SJWs on, baiting them, and calling them totalitarians) and Ctrl-Left for their mutual failure to leave their politics at the fucking door!  It's gotten so bad that, like, 20% of all RPG discussion needs to be removed like a cancerous tumor.

From now on, unless I'm taking part in a political discussion, I'm going to ignore the stuff I can safely and easily ignore; everything else I'll respond with NP,P.  Even if that's questioning why so many OSR people harass minorities or wear a Nazi armband or prefer ascending armor class.

Those who've seen the inaugural episode of our RPG talk show, Inappropriate Characters, know that I'm a centrist who prefers to keep gaming talk about gaming, when possible (new episode taping later this week)...



Thanks for listening and hope you all had a good Memorial Day,

VS

Saturday, May 26, 2018

The Division


There's a divide between what most gamers consider "old school" and "modern" approaches to RPGs, specifically D&D, but those categories are general enough to be somewhat universal.

It's not just traditional versus story game or experienced veteran versus youthful noob.  It's a matter of approach and perspective.  Designing adventures seems to be one of those areas where those things matter now more than they ever have.

The latest conflict is around a scenario entitled Mines, Claws & Princesses.  It's by some dude I've never heard of named Oswald.

While I'm not wild about the title and don't care at all for the cover art, renowned D&D adventure reviewer Bryce Lynch has said amazing things about it.  Even though I haven't read the module in question, I trust his judgement and plan on purchasing it soon.

And that would be the end of it (and hardly worth a blog post) if not for a counter-point review from some guy named Chris Kelly over at Wizard's Laboratory.  Chris takes points off for the adventure's unfinished nature, its mature themes (gratuitous violence, apparently), and lack of compelling story.

Pretty much everything that's wrong with scenarios put out from the 90's up to today's "adventure path" is placed on a pedestal by some of these gamers who see old school as a detriment and OSR as something that passed the RPG hobby by or a niche relegated to the back of the bus (standing room only).  I'm talking about overly-long, tedious, hand-holding, uninspired railroad drivel that keeps diamonds in the rough from getting noticed.

As an aside, I glanced at this preview over at ENworld today. The author is talking about the upcoming Solar Blades & Cosmic Spells RPG.  Angus seems to be explaining the nuts and bolts of old school roleplaying to an audience that's possibly unaware of gaming culture from the 70's and 80's.

I mean, it's just sad that so many people don't know what good Game Mastering is about, that so many players have to experience all those campaign worlds with blinders on... with fun on mute.

Personally, I view old school as the future of this hobby.  There wouldn't be a 5th edition without the OSR.  Those noob-friendly "training wheels" are actually GM straitjackets, preventing the proper flow.  And what is the proper flow, you ask?

The adventure designer inspires the GM with awesome ideas.  The GM takes those ideas, interprets them based on his own desires, adds in what seems appropriate at the time, and presents his version... his vision to the players.  The players respond as if they actually were the characters themselves.  The GM reacts to PC actions (or inaction).  

That's it.  That's what's supposed to happen.  Interrupting that sacred pattern with failed novelist backstory, tedious read-aloud text, and predetermined outcomes is ruining D&D!!!

Besides continuing to educate people, I'm not sure what else we can do.  Sure, we can keep running games from an old school perspective, initiate new blood into the OSR fold.  But what else?  Hmm...  write reviews?

VS

Thursday, May 24, 2018

Banned on Amazon?


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

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

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

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

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

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

Thanks,

VS


Tuesday, May 15, 2018

Looking Back at Empire of Satanis


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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

VS

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


Sunday, May 13, 2018

Inappropriate Characters


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

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

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

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

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

Thanks,

VS

Friday, May 11, 2018

Adventure Writing softcover!


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

Here's the link to purchase it.

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

If you have the time, please post a review!

Enjoy,

VS

Tuesday, May 8, 2018

733 downloads of Alpha Blue


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

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

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

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

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

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

VS


Thursday, May 3, 2018

Sean Patrick Fannon Sexual Harassment Scandal


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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Don't let the bastards wear you down,

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

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