Wednesday, October 17, 2018

The Last Alpha Blue Supplement


I'm Kickstarting yet another Alpha Blue project so I can afford to put in tons of original full-color artwork and have dynamite layout and cartography by none other than Gold ENnie winner Glynn Seal of MonkeyBlood Design.

The first PDF is already out - that's Kobayashi Maroon (the one that includes the Blue Balls Tracker).  The second PDF I'm working on now, that's going to be called Sexual Predators.  Combined they will eventually be published as a single softcover called The Last Alpha Blue Supplement.

There's a discount for ordering the softcover if you back the PDFs.

What's it going to have?  All the usual suspects - prose, advice, optional rules, campaign setting, scenarios, random tables, and fantastic artwork (maps too, if we hit the stretch goal).

This is the final supplement I'm releasing, so I'm pulling out all the stops.  Check out the Kickstarter and be sure to tell your friends about it.

VS

p.s. That's a work-in-progress of the cover for Sexual Predators.

Tuesday, October 16, 2018

Are You An NPC?


I guess you could call it a meme... something's going around the internet and it's all at once appropriate, offensive, funny, and if you dig deeper, kind of interesting.

Here's a source just in case you think I'm making this up.  This is another.

Yeah, I'm talking about NPCs or non-player characters (in video game terminology NPC refers to non-playable character).  But not NPCs in our beloved games.  No, NPCs who digitally walk among us in real life. 

You're basically an NPC if you don't have any agency of your own.  If there's no independent thought, you're an NPC.  If you follow whatever has been scripted for you, you're an NPC.  If you obey your programming without question, you're an NPC.  If you want to limit the freedom, individuality, and agency of others, you're an NPC.

Some have equated the NPC moniker to SJWs, but I don't think it fits to a 1 : 1 ratio.  Being an NPC is something even more foundational. 

I believe the vast majority of people are asleep, and that it takes a special kind of person going through special circumstances that creates the possibility for awakening.

Yes, exactly like initiation - the trials that forge heroes... while also leaving many, many corpses.  Not everyone makes it.  In fact, most don't.  Most can't cut it, or get unlucky.  The adventurer is superior.  That's why PCs are worth playing. 

That's what the Cult of Cthulhu was about - it used Fourth Way teaching mixed with Lovecraft's Cthulhu Mythos, and various occult lore.  In the Church of the Sub-Genius, pink boys were basically NPCs.  Obviously, in The Matrix everyone was part of some giant systemic virtual reality nearly impossible to escape

These days, my focus is on roleplaying games.  The cultural landscape that occasionally intersects the world of gaming seems like a minefield to some and a playground to others.  Either way, don't be an NPC.  Or... well, go ahead and be an NPC, but just know that you're choosing to be an empty vessel for someone else's agenda.

What are your thoughts?

VS

p.s. If no actual thoughts come to mind, try rolling on the random table below...

Friday, October 12, 2018

Where did the OSR come from?


There's been an OSR resurgence, it seems. 

Zak S. is talking about it on his blog.  Everyone is jumping ship from g+ to MeWe (that's a link to my own account... so friend me, please!)  Erik Tenkar is doing his thing, expanding in all ways, always.  And so many people are continually making so many great RPG things.  It's awesome.

The OSR has been defined many times by many gamers.  Even by me! 

But what made the OSR happen in the first place... where did the impetus for an old school renaissance come from? 

For me, it's one simple thing - realizing that my gaming present just wasn't as awesome as my gaming past. 

Now, some might point to nostalgia or role-colored glasses.  Perhaps I'm only seeing the good things in the past and putting them on a pedestal.  Sure, there may be some of that, but I can assure you, I wasn't thinking about quitting roleplaying altogether in the 80's and early 90's.  Yet, that's almost what I did back in 2011.

Having got that out of the way, the vast majority of OSR gamers probably wondered, is it me?  Did I change or was there something about the rules, system, approach to running games that changed? 

In 2012, after hearing about the OSR and invigorated by some new old school-ish RPG called Dungeon Crawl Classics, I hoped that it wasn't just me, that I was pretty much the same guy, but mainstream gaming had gone in a different direction and we were no longer sympatico. 

Sure enough, that was it.  I realized that the old ways were better (from my point of view), and stopped playing RPGs like D&D 4th edition in favor of a melting pot of B/X, DCC, S&W, and AD&D.  Then going back to other games from that time period like Call of Cthulhu, Paranoia, Vampire: the Masquerade, and others.

From there, I began developing my own old school D&D content and then my own RPGs with a decidedly old school feel.

When it came down to it, that's why the OSR became a thing.  Enough of us reached a point where decades old gaming was noticeably more awesome than gaming now.

VS

p.s.  Artwork by Glad27 over here.

Wednesday, October 10, 2018

Updated Softcovers for Kort'thalis Publishing


All three of these have had a face-lift over the last couple weeks...

Trilogy of Awesome +1 includes Slippery When Wet (Alpha Blue), A Green Jewel They Must Possess (The Outer Presence), and Slaves of Tsathoggua (Crimson Dragon Slayer)... plus the bonus Death Race: Fury Road.

Trilogy of Awesome Returns +1 includes High-Stakes Q'uay-Q'uar (Alpha Blue), His Flesh Becomes My Key (The Outer Presence), and Stairway of V'dreen (Crimson Dragon Slayer)... plus the bonus scenario Guarding Galaxy XXX (Alpha Blue).

Dead God Excavation includes the scenario Dead God Excavation (Crimson Dragon Slayer), La Bas Chartreuse (The Outer Presence), and the brand new Totally Random Tables.  Usually, I release the PDF and weeks or months later the content appears in softcover - not so this time!

What's new?  A few things have been cleaned up and corrected, and Dead God Excavation should be much easier to read now... 

But most of all, they're on fancy, heavier paper and full-color.  Many of the illustrations are still in black and white, but these books are now higher quality - befitting the fine-ass, weird, gonzo sleaze you've come to expect from Kort'thalis Publishing.

Enjoy,

VS

Monday, October 8, 2018

Totally Random Tables


How many d6 tables does it take to get to the center of a gonzo campaign?  Thirty.  The answer is most definitely 30.  And I can prove it...

Yes, I've got a new PDF for GMs looking for something a little different.  As the title hopefully indicates, these tables are filled with results that are unique and purely stream-of-consciousness.  There's no overall theme, genre, or any other guiding principle - except that it all came from my diseased mind.

Check out Totally Random Tables right here!  2018 Gold ENnie award winning layout and graphic designer Glynn Seal of MonkeyBlood Design did the interior.  It's retro-futuristic funky and I love it!

And if you use it in one of your games, please let me know.  I want to read about all the gory details.  ;)

VS

Friday, September 28, 2018

Blue Balls Tracker


Admittedly, these are not the best pictures. I took them quickly before running out of the house on my way to work.

But, as you can see - they allow Alpha Blue players to track their characters' blue balls - females, too!  How horny are they?  How desperate?  What kind of bonus (carrot) or penalty (stick) is in store for them?

Like keeping track of a vampire's blood supply, this creates a sense of urgency - it's an incentive to bone!  Sure, there was bonus Health before... but this is better.  At least, I think so.  I've playtested it a few times, and it seems to be a hit with players.

If you're not sure, try it in a demo game and see what happens.  I think you'll be pleasantly surprised.  Timid players especially will appreciate something in-hand that they can point to and say, "This right here!  This is why my character is chatting up the three-breasted green-skinned babe at the bar.  It's not because I'm a colossal pervert, OK?"

So, if you purchase the Kobayashi Maroon PDF, the Blue Balls Tracker comes with it. 

Both a colored version you can print off and use, as well as, a black and white version that you can color in yourself.  I literally have hundreds of random markers, colored pencils, and crayons all over my house.

Let me know your thoughts.  And happy tracking!

VS

Roll20 Woke All Over Themselves


So, now Roll20 is dicking over gamers (their own customers, actually) because that's the woke thing to do. 

I mean, it just makes good business sense to shit on the people who support you, who make up your audience so that you can instead cater to a tiny but extremely vocal group of political extremists who want things done the SJW way.  Duh!




Personally, I think the CEO / co-founder / managing partner of Roll20, Nolan T. Jones, should step down from his position.  I don't think changing the reddit moderating staff is going to cut it.

Not just for banning that guy, but for being a racist piece of shit.  Apparently, white guys needn't apply regarding helping to promote or grow roleplaying games online.  I mean, it's similar to the Papa Johns thing, right? 

Thanks to Jeremy Hambly for the video and altering me to this unfortunate news. 

VS

Thursday, September 27, 2018

Trinity Going Bye-Bye


In a couple days, I'm taking down both Trinity of Awesome +1 and Trinity of Awesome Returns +1 from Amazon.

In a few weeks, they'll be replaced with a new title (in the case for ToA+1) and new title and altered cover (in the case of ToAR+1).  Plus, the interior will be color.  While the illustrations are all black and white, the blood-spattered parchment color of the internal layout will be present.  I'm sure there will be other little colorful touches in there, as well.

Why the change?  Well, one of my daughters is named Trinity, and my wife believes that anything Alpha Blue is too inappropriate to have her name on it.  At the time, I didn't consciously make the connection, but can see her point.  Changing the titles and that cover art of the 2nd book were concessions I had to make in order to keep my gigantic Alpha Blue canvas print.

Those changes would've had to been made sooner or later, so might as well do it now.  I'll be consulting with Glynn Seal of MonkeyBlood Design on the details.

So, if you want to get one or more books on Amazon before they're gone, do so today or tomorrow.  By Saturday, they'll be gone forever... only to be reborn like a phoenix.  Gaaa!  That's another one of my kids' names.  Damn it.

VS

p.s.  Are you loving Kobayashi Maroon?  If so, please write a review!

Wednesday, September 26, 2018

Kobayashi Maroon & Alpha Blue Open License


The latest supplement for Alpha Blue is out now!  Grab it here!!!

I hope you show Zoltar Khan Delgado the same love and support you've shown me over the years.  Also, keep the appreciation going for Gold ENnie Winner Glynn Seal of MonkeyBlood Design.  He laid the shit out of this PDF.

Here's the very first review!

But that's not all... I'm officially opening up the license for your very own Alpha Blue scenario, supplement, setting, or sourcebook (the 4 s's)...

From now until the end of 2019, anyone can publish their own work that uses Alpha Blue's name, rules, intellectual property (yes, feel free to borrow Grabba the Butt, Zervalan, filthy klorians, etc.), and logo.

And if you'd like to hit me up for a review or critique at any point in the creation/publishing process, please do so.  I'd love to be a part of your vision!

VS

Tuesday, September 25, 2018

Jeremy Hambly Banned from GenCon


Apparently, GenCon isn't done shitting on Jeremy Hambly.  It shouldn't matter, but I'll remind everyone that Jeremy of The Quartering and Unsleeved Media fame (infamy?) is a politically moderate guy who calls corporations and individuals on their shit, but has never called for violence.

Here is my first post about it.  This is the second.  And the third.

So, I'm currently watching Jeremy's latest video...



So, basically Jeremy Hambly has been indefinitely banned from GenCon.  He got beat-up just outside the convention walls last August, and now GenCon is punishing him for no reason other than he's not a far-left SJW who punches Nazis.

This bullshit is so fucked up, I'm actually still in shock and still processing.  One hundred and eleven percent NOT attending GenCon if this is how they're going to treat attendees!!!

There are so many awesome smaller gaming cons that aren't motivated by disgusting politics.  Let's consider those next year.  Get Woke Go Broke!

VS

Even Better Than A Survey


Mike Mearls sent off some tweets, and the rest is history... or argument.  Yeah, probably just a bunch of geeks arguing about D&D.  Good times!

This ENworld thread has just exploded with cutting barbs, jabs, thrusts, edition warring cloaked in design preferences, ignorance, nerd rage, ruining the hobby, and the OSR.  All the hits!

Basically, 5e is the modern equivalent of old school D&D.  Well, as much as they could get away with and still appease the masses (O5R).  Regardless of modern concessions, a few people still don't like it.  And of course, many grognards believe 5e didn't go far enough (into the past).

Reading that behemoth of a thread should give WotC all the understanding it needs to go forward and continue the legacy of Dungeons & Dragons.

It almost seems as if we're headed for a paradigm shift - gamers realizing that endless character optimization choices and rules for everything under the sun isn't real roleplaying, and those preferring endless crunch, micro-balance, and systems protecting players from GM decisions (right or wrong) is objectively less fun... and also not D&D.

So, how do you feel about this great 5e debate and what does it mean for D&D specifically and RPGs in general?

VS

p.s.  If readers want me to pull up specific posts/arguments and talk about them, say so in the comments!

Monday, September 24, 2018

The Predator Kicks Ass


Don't have a lot of time for this review, but here goes nothing...

I think I've only seen 2 movies so far this year.  Solo and The Predator.  Comparatively, I enjoyed The Predator more than both Solo and The Last Jedi.  This new Predator movie also beat out Predator 2 and Predators... as well as, all the Alien vs. Predator movies.

In fact, 2018's Predator is almost better than the original.  Yeah, that feels sacrilegious to say (or type, rather) but is nonetheless true.

Why is it so good?  Why are critics hating on it?  Where are the big box office numbers? All excellent questions... that I'm not going to answer.

Well, I'll briefly tell you why I thought it was good - straight-up 80's action, humor (I literally laughed more than most comedies), character development, and special effects. 

Sure, I would have loved to see more practical effects than CGI.  And, yes, I'm always disappointed when a movie this awesome has everything except female nudity.  But regardless of those two things, The Predator had what I was looking for.

See it!  Because if Predator fans don't see this movie, they might not make a sequel, and that would be a real shame.

VS

p.s. And if you think this has my juices flowing for some Alpha Blue treatment... you'd be right!

Saturday, September 22, 2018

She Said Yes!!!


Last week, I noticed a message from zazzle about a 50% off sale on their canvas prints. Canvas prints such as the Alpha Blue design I uploaded a couple months ago. 

The sale was ending at midnight, so I quickly ordered one - a big one (it's 36" x 48"), knowing that my wife definitely wouldn't approve and I might have to get rid of it.

No way!  That's basically what she said at first.  So, I resigned myself to giving it to a longtime friend and Alpha Blue player.  But just this morning, she said yes - that I could keep it as long as I put a blanket over it and turned the thing towards the wall when not in the game room.

So, the next time I run Alpha Blue at home, I'll be staring at that.  Nice!

VS

p.s.  Next time there's a really good sale on zazzle, I'll send out a message on g+.  To make sure you see it, join the Kort'thalis Publishing g+ community... it's a real good time!

Thursday, September 20, 2018

Alpha Blue Boycott


Thanks to a tip from the RPGpundit, I have screen-shots of David Black (of The Black Hack fame) trying to whip up some kind of anti-friend mob against me.

I wouldn't classify it as harassment, cyber bullying, or actual hate, but he's only getting started.  We've interacted before, and now it looks like David Black is trying to escalate things.

Those who know me, know that I'm not homophobic.  Alpha Blue isn't homophobic, either.  It may be from a straight male's point of view, but Alpha Blue can be used for any kind of sexual gratification between consenting adults.

While I was upset with Kiel Chenier for not wanting to review Alpha Blue because it wasn't gay enough, did I go on a boycott or unpersoning rampage, accusing him of heterophobia?  Nope.  He's free to do what he wants, review what he wants.

Zak S. just wrote a new blog post about sexual expression in RPGs, hoping for some kind of consensus via exhaustive argument.  And he assumed anyone coming down on sexual content would be from the right-wing.  Have you met the far-left, Zak?  Policing what everybody says, thinks, believes, votes, friends, likes, dislikes, and how they live their lives is job numero uno for the Ctrl-Left.

Me?  All I wanted to do was join some Facebook Roll20 groups so I could find players who wanted to try something other than D&D.

I'm just a middle of the road guy with a singular agenda - fun!  That's all I want, to have as much fun roleplaying with friends and strangers as possible.  I don't care if they're straight, gay, bisexual, male, woman, non-binary, black, yellow, green, blue, or white.  I don't care if they're communists, Muslims, Christians, Satanists, Jews, Libertarians, white nationalists, far-left, Alt-Right, farmers, programmers, doctors, or pornographers.

As long as they're not a disruptive asshole at the table, I'll put politics and everything else aside so we can game and see what happens.

But my allowing others to have differing points of view is part of the problem, part of my problem, and why I should be shunned by a certain segment of the hobby.  By not being an intolerant asshole, I'm considered "toxic" or whatever by a select few.

It's tragic that conformity is idealized, whereas individuality and freedom are looked down upon.

There's rumor of an Alpha Blue boycott happening, so let me say one thing regarding that - trying to influence the masses away from dangerous or forbidden content goes both ways... just like many of the characters in Alpha Blue.

VS

p.s. I somehow forgot to mention that David Black is either lying or totally misunderstood / took out of context any comment I made about an all-female development team.  Also, I have no idea what "tried to Kickstart DnDgate" means. 

Tuesday, September 18, 2018

Why We Roll


I've been GMing quite a bit lately.  So, I've been thinking about rolling dice... why we do it, what kind of effect or meaning dice rolling has for us.

There's probably a variety of types/reasons, but for this post, I'm going to break it down into two separate camps: 1) want specifics and 2) want vague idea of how things should go.

The first is pretty easy to define.  We roll because we're looking for details.  How many magic missiles is the mage firing?  How much damage?  Where precisely is the randomly-shot fireball going?

Sometimes, we want answers and the dice are a way of getting those answers without too much bias (even if results are controlled or weighted, they're still random).

After all, it's freeing to let the dice decide for us, to let the rules interpret what those dice results mean, and remain unburdened so we can better describe what happens.

The second is probably used less often, but I think it's just as powerful as the first (more traditional) reason for rolling dice.  That dice rolling philosophy is found more often in my own VSd6 engine RPGs like Alpha Blue, Crimson Dragon Slayer, The Outer Presence, and Blood Dark Thirst (see right-hand sidebar for links).  Maybe it's also more of a story-game approach?  I can't be sure since I haven't played those types of RPGs.

If we're already roleplaying a scene, but a player wants to intimidate or get information across subtly or tries to use sexual innuendo to get into a woman's space pants, then I'm not rolling for a specific number.  A "3" or "14" isn't going to reveal exactly what happens.  I'll have to interpret what the dice are trying to tell me and weave that good, bad, or ugly knowledge into the scene. 

There's a couple things I like about this second type.  A) as Game Master, I get to decide (usually with the dice's help) exactly what happens as the scene unfolds.  B) I only have to roll once and that influences the entire interaction.  Until something drastically changes, that "vague idea of how things should go" is the only roll I need to make, and I'm able to focus on how the interaction unfolds.

I can recall several games where I and other GMs employed the first type.  It seemed like every tiny shift in the scene, we were rolling for answers - for specifics, only to roll again a minute later when a bit of new information revealed itself.  Generally, these were non-detail oriented actions/events, and it was only later that I realized the roll-reason wasn't congruent with the roll-type.

For instance, if some alien entity was trying to dominate a PC to do a specific task and I rolled somewhere in the middle, then maybe the PC is able to fend it off... but what about the next round or a couple minutes later?  If I'm rolling for details, maybe I come up with one for that moment, and then roll again in a little bit? 

To me, that doesn't seem satisfying.  What I prefer is rolling once to get an idea of how this domination is going to go down, and then use that information to color the scene.  Instead of multiple rolls in the near future, I can focus my GMing on possible results once the PC takes action against the entity or how nearby NPCs are going to react.

I'm not trying to say one type of rolling is better than another.  I definitely use both in my games.  But I will say that if you hardly ever use the second type, then give it a try and see how you like it.  Sometimes, a vague idea of how things should go is all the result you need.

VS

p.s.  That Doctor Who meme doesn't have much to do with this blog post, but I found it amusing and wanted to break up the text... so, yeah.

Thursday, September 13, 2018

"All About That Sauce" - Alpha Blue play report


Today was my third attempt at getting a one-shot Alpha Blue game going on Roll20.  Must have rolled a 3 because my success was minimal.  A single player...

However, that was actually good news!  Because the scenario I wanted to playtest begins as a solo-adventure.

Below is the transcription from our session (I skipped a few bits).  Not too worried about spoilers because I tailored the game to Tim's character - Bob Forsythe, a pizza delivery boy - and it's a bit different than what will appear in the finished product.

Hope you enjoy it!  Didn't expect this NPC cameo, but crazy, unexpected shit happens during actual play.  ;)

VS:  Just as you're leaving planetary orbit, you remember your wife nagging you about taking out that space cardboard.  Delivering pizzas can wait, you suppose.  You make a u-turn back to your house only to find a rocket-cycle parked in your spot.

Tim:  I have a sneaking suspicion it's not an early birthday present.  I wanna see what's up and head around back, leaving my car parked in front of the rocket-cycle, blocking it from leaving.

VS:  Ok, you head to the back of the house, look into the bedroom window and see a blue alien porking your wife.

Tim:  What the Hell?  Time to burst in and tell her what's on my mind.  "Damn it, Tessa!  You said that was the last time."

VS:  "Sorry, Bob.  Ben-wa was going door to door selling space vacuum cleaners and our sex life isn't what it used to be.  I'm bored and need sparkling things in my life... like diamonds and shiny blue wieners."

You can see that Ben-wa is space French and doesn't stop fucking your wife while she tries to explain.

Tim:  "I don't mind spicing things up, but the point is 'I' really have to be involved."

"Seriously, dude... could you stop for 5 minutes?"

VS:  "You know she's not actually your wife, right?" Ben-wa says.  Tessa elbows him in the ribs and whispers that he wasn't supposed to say anything about that.

Tim:  "Wait... diamonds?"

"Wait, what?!?"  Bob waves the hand with his wedding band on it, as proof that they really are married.

VS:  "I suppose the jig is up, Bob.  I was assigned to spy on you by the Federation.  I'm a Federation agent within the pizza sauce task force.  My real name is Spectra.  Our marriage is a sham - just part of the job.  But now that you know all this... I'll have to terminate you.  Sorry, honey."

She looks for her laser pistol on the nightstand, but it must have gotten misplaced when Ben-wa brought out his dozen bottles of lube.

Tim:  Damn Feds.  They never did really get over the Calzone wars, even though they were on the winning side. 

Well, that pistol should be nearby.  I'm going to dive for the floor to where it probably fell. [rolls poorly, highest is a "3"]

VS:  Ok, you dive.  You grab hold of it, but Ben-wa already finished with your "wife" and has his blaster trained on you.  You notice his blue load dripping out of Tessa... oops, I mean Spectra.

Tim:  Maybe I can distract him for a moment...

"Well, Ben-wa, I have to say that what you lack in technique, you make up for in speed.  Perhaps after another 10 goes she would be done as well."

If he flinches or seems distrated by the comment, I'll blast him.  [rolls poorly again]

VS:  He seems momentarily distracted, so you fired.  Ben-wa was ready for your clever ruse and dodged out of the way.  Now, he fires!

Your shoulder is grazed by his blaster fire as you tuck and roll back onto your feet. 

Tim:  Well, discretion is the better part of valor.  I'll lay down a couple of shots to keep their heads down and beat a hasty retreat through the house to the garage.

VS:  You see her purse sitting on the mudroom counter on the way to the garage.

Tim:  Well, that's just asking to go with me... and so it does.  Maybe this whole secret agent thing is just some elaborate roleplay.  But that laser burn on my shoulder sure doesn't feel fake.

VS:  You grab the purse and go through it as you sit in your flying car.

Tim:  Ok, pull forward to knock the bike over.  I'll make me feel better.  Then back out and get into space.  When I can put it on cruise control, I'll rummage through her purse.

VS:  You see your wife's communicator, her access crystal with 2,300 credits digitally loaded onto it, and a Federation badge.

Tim:  With a heavy heart check the credentials for the badge to confirm the truth I so desperately want to deny.

VS:  Yep, it looks like Spectra was a Federation agent in charge of spying on pizza personnel the whole time she was fake married to you.

Tim:  So, racking my brain... what would the Feds want with me as a connection to the pizza sauce task force?  I'm just a delivery guy, so this has to be bigger than me.

VS:  Just then Spectra's communicator receives a call from someone in the Zero Rez space station, not too far from you.

Tim:  Well, the day can't get any worse.  I'll answer the call.

VS:  "Spectra, are you there?  This is Majess Du Kunth at Zero Rez.  Are you receiving me?"

Tim:  Damn, it can get worse.  What do I know about Zero Rez / Majess Du Kunth?

VS:  Only that it's full of offices, fairly nondescript.  Once while your "wife" was sleeping, she mentioned the name Majess Du Kunth.  You assumed it was an old boyfriend by the way she was moaning.

"I'm having trouble getting your signal.  Are you there, Spectra?"

Tim:  "Sorry, Spectra can't come to the comm right now, she's occupied with being the worse agent you've ever had!"

VS:  "I don't know, I've had a lot of agents over the years.  She can't have been any worse than Gerald... used his teeth far too much."

Tim:  Hmm, it would probably be suicide to go charging straight in.  Anyone I can call on for help?

VS:  You know of one man who might be able to help you.  He eats pizza at the place you deliver for about 6 out of 7 standard days.

Tim:  (Lie)  "This is Tonks Redridge of the Space Rangers.  I was running a deep undercover mission which YOUR agent completely bungled." 

(Drive to pizza place)

VS:  "I can't keep this secret any more... the sauce... it's people!  We've triple-checked the ingredients... the sauce is made out of people, space ranger Redridge.  It's PEEEOOOOPPLLLEEEE!!!"

You arrive at the pizza place.  Your buddy Venger Satanis is there eating his usual 1d4+1 slices of pepperoni pizza and drinking purple prizm.

Tim:  "What you mean like humans, or those 5 legged Alpha Zaronians?  Never thought of them much like people... more like intelligent potatoes. 

VS:  "Human being people!"

Tim:  "Venger... hey.  How good would you say the pie is at this place?"

VS:  "It's my favorite place to eat pizza, hoss!"

Tim:  I sure don't like the idea of serving folks, but I like the idea of getting shot at even less. 

"Someone wants to shut it down.  Shut it all down, man!"

VS:  Venger yells, "Nooo!"

Tim:  I know who's behind it.  The only question is how far would you go to save this sauce?"

VS:  "As far as it takes, hoss."

Tim:  "See this laser burn?  The Feds, man.  They're spouting lies and want to shut it down.  Shut all the pizza places down.  I've got to stop them.  The fate of the galaxy's junk food rests on my, and partly your, shoulders.  Are you with me?"

VS:  "You had me at 'pie', hoss."

Tim:  "We've got to break into Zero Rez and get to Majess Du Kunth's office.  I think our only chance is to destroy all their files.  Feds can't do anything without paperwork."

VS:  "Hop in."  Venger fires up the thrusters on his 18 space wheeler and punches in the coordinates for Zero Rez.  "Ain't no motherfucker going to shut my pizza down."

Tim:  On the way, I want to look up the offices of Majess at Zero Rez.  I expect it to have a cover (Fed investigation office would be a bit obvious, but the gov has done worse.)

VS:  Venger jumps out for a sec in order to get a refill on his purple prizm - then back in and off the two of you go.

You see a block of offices listed as "Sausage Specialists" over at Zero Rez.

Tim:  "So, I've got this badge.  It'll probably get us past a first glance but after that, man, it is really just up to our luck... and this here blaster."

VS:  "Yeehaw!"  Venger attempts to force-dock with the space station...

[I roll poorly, as well]

Large areas of both his truck and the space station's docking area are damaged, but you're safely in.  The office directory says that Sausage Specialists are just down the corridor.  You see a couple of low-level Feds guarding Majess' office. 

Tim:  Bob is going to grab something nearby (a box maybe) and do his best delivery man impression (he's trained for this) to get close to the door.

"Hi, guys.  HDS Delivering a package for Mr... eh, I can't make this out.  I'll just take this inside to have the secretary sign for it."

[actually rolls well this time]

VS:  Finally, luck is with you!  Your delivery training has paid off.  Everyone leaves you alone with your package.  Venger pretends to be your security guard side-kick.

You're inside.  You see a man at his desk with a name-plate that reads Majess Du Kunth.  There's a replica t-rex on his desk, alone with a uterus-shaped glass paperweight [FYI, there are absolutely no pictures of such a thing on the internet] and a box containing a half-eaten cherry pie.

Tim:  I saunter up to the desk, "Nice pie you've got there, Mr... Kunth.  Seems to be missing something though... like sauce?"

VS:  Venger takes a bite out of the cherry pie.

"The sauce," Majess says in horror.  "You know?!?"

Tim:  I throw the box at him and then pistol whip him while he catches the box.

[rolls poorly... again]

VS:  You throw the box, he tries to catch it, misses, and then you slap the barrel of your pistol across his face.  It leaves a mark, but he reaches inside his desk drawer and pulls out a double-edged whoopie cushion... vorpal.

Tim:  Shoot, that's what I get for being a nice guy and not trying to kill him.

VS:  Venger asks, "Is this the asshole trying to kill my pizza urge?"

Tim:  "This is the guy!"

VS:  Venger shoots him in the gut.

[I roll decent and wound Majess]  [I roll to randomly decide who Majess is going to attack - it's Bob.  I roll well.]

VS:  He cuts off Bob's right hand.  Now, he'll have to get proficient with his left.  Luckily, you were holding the gun in your left hand. 

[Since the game's almost over, I double Tim's dice pool but he still gets a shitty result]

You distract him just long enough for Venger to get a clean shot...

[I roll a critical success for my NPC]

Tim:  "Ha, you fell for the old cut off my hand while my friend shoots you trick!"

VS:  Venger puts a hole right through Majess' skull.  "Sauce that, hoss!"

Tim:  Well, let's check the computer to see if the information is true, and then delete all of it regardless of the results.  At least it might make for a good story worth a free beer or hand-job in the future.

VS:  You check the computer and see that the pizza sauce is actually made of peop'ple.  Peop'ple is a rare form of tomato shaped like a vagina. 

Meanwhile, Venger gets a hot nurse to make a house call.  The nurse comes in and bandages Bob's hand... to completion.

Tim:  Not the hand-job I was expecting, but a hand-job nonetheless.

_____________

That was the game.  Stay tuned to this blog so you know when Kobayashi Maroon by Zoltar Khan Delgado drops!


Enjoy,

VS

p.s.  That first picture?  It's what can happen when you google "Venger Satanis" - you've been warned!



Saturday, September 8, 2018

Not Safe For Space


Warning: What you are about to read contains raw, unfiltered awesomeness which some may find inappropriate or objectionable.

While I'm intrigued by next year's release of Your Best Game Ever, it was a pleasant surprise to live out one of my best games ever last night.

Alpha Blue with 5 players, no noobs, everyone was on board with the type of game Alpha Blue can degenerate into.  I mean, this session was fucking NSFS! 

Tying an NPC up during an orgy, finishing all over her face and then leaving her there until later when the PC was ready for seconds. Upon returning, he noticed a line forming in front of the girl.  However, the right to cut in line because his stuff ran down and dried on her face first was invoked.  Sorry, ma'am.  It's Federation law.

It was silly madness and gonzo ridiculous sleazy sci-fi cliche - every time I play that game it seems like we're living a familiar genre while simultaneously creating a new one. 

Yeah, I'm biased, but it was a great time.  Every scene there was something hilariously stupid going on, occasionally the entire session broke down because we were laughing so hard.

I can't give out major spoilers because this was a playtest session, as well as, a tribute to Jacqueline Pearce who played Servalan on Blake's 7.  There's a lot of B7 DNA in Alpha Blue, so it felt right to remember her with last night's one-shot.

Also, I hadn't gotten to use Battle Star: Trek Wars or No One Warps For Free before last night.  So, using those was a trip.  Even though it had only been months since writing them, it seemed as though someone else had written them... yet I still knew where certain tables were squirreled away.

We used the tattoo tables, the orgasm table, the exotic weapon table, and the upcoming table that determines what the NPCs are doing when you barge in on them (that's where the orgy came from).  Plus, a variety of old and familiar tables, such as narcotics, multiple tables for female NPCs (it makes me smile when I happen to roll the "voluptuous" result), and a saving throw at the end - never try to perform first aid using a familiar made of poop!

You know it's good when half the players message you the next day saying what fun they had.

The upcoming Alpha Blue adventure(s) aren't mine, but a trusted friend has taken up the reigns.  Zoltar Khan Delgado knows exactly what kind of slutty, low-brow, bad taste belongs in there.  It's going to drop at the end of September.  When it does, I'll announce the release here on Venger's old school gaming blog.

VS

p.s. Lately, there's been a puritanical vibe rippling through the RPG community, a strict political correctness and cultural over-sensitivity that almost made me re-write this actual play report because it might offend a couple of people.  Well, fuck that!  Alpha Blue is a game for freedom-loving individuals who live by their own rules... and d6 dice pools.


Tuesday, September 4, 2018

Where There's Life, There's Threat


Just one of the many phenomenal quotes from Supreme Commander Servalan.

Jacqueline Pearce played the formidable and relentless Blake's 7 antagonist and leader of the corrupt (dare I say fascist?) Terran Federation during it's 4-year run.

Servalan was an awesome character and Jacqueline Pearce brought her to merciless life!  She died yesterday at the age of 74.  That's all the encouragement I needed to run a special tribute session of Alpha Blue on Friday (had a scheduling conflict during Thursday's game).  Here's the listing on Roll20.

This will be a short 60-90 minute game, text only (cause I'll be at work), and 18+ due to extreme naughtiness.  Noobs are encouraged to join in and play.

Have a favorite outfit, quote, or episode of Blake's 7?  Please, comment below...

VS

p.s.  If there's unprecedented outcry of gamers wanting to join in, then I'll create a second session a bit later in the afternoon for those who wanting to play but weren't lucky enough to get in the first session right away.

p.p.s. Yes, Servalan will be wearing that red dress.  Meow!


Thursday, August 30, 2018

Blood in Translation


Nearly a dozen creators reached out to me about publishing their own Blood Dark Thirst material since announcing the open license last week.  Which is awesome...

But now The Hills is pre-selling their Spanish translation of Blood Dark Thirst right over here!

I've seen their PDF and it's top-notch, just like the original.  And what is Blood Dark Thirst, you ask?  The PCs are vampires... though, more demon than undead.  The system is quasi-neo-OSR and rules-light using the VSd6 engine, just like Crimson Dragon Slayer, Alpha Blue, and The Outer Presence.

So, if you haven't already downloaded the PDF or purchased the full-color softcover on Amazon.com, get on that.  Don't miss out on the other vampire RPG that's taking the night by storm!

VS

Tuesday, August 28, 2018

Save vs Death


While listening to RPGpundit review one of my recent collections in his video (below), I felt compelled to set the record straight on something...




Pure luck is a dyed-in-the-wool old school concept.  You roll the dice and have x% chance of good, bad, or ugly.  Like anything else, relying solely on luck can be overused. 




Do you know why something like Save vs Death is old school?  Because the idea of initiation is ancient. 

Not everyone will make it.  Some things aren't about preparedness, skill, inborn talent, or - they come down to the luck of the draw... in other words, divine favor.  If characters roll well, that means the Gods have given their blessing and certain individuals may continue to prosper.  If a particular roll goes poorly, characters die. 

The world is cruel, Gods capricious, and fate makes its own choices.  That's just the way it goes!

VS

p.s. For comparison's sake, here's Endzeitgeist's review of Player's Handbook like a Fucking Boss and his review of Play Your Character like a Fucking Boss.

p.p.s. For the sake of completeness, here is RPGpundit's review of How to Game Master like a Fucking Boss.



Tuesday, August 21, 2018

What's Dark, Thirsty, and Red All Over?


What's it like being a vampire in your campaign setting?

RPGpundit's review of Blood Dark Thirst (and resulting commentary on g+) has inspired me to announce something I should have done months ago...

I'm officially opening up my neo-quasi O5Rish rules-light vampire RPG to those interested in licensing that shit for FREE!!!

Yes, you can write, publish, and reap all the rewards for your very own Blood Dark Thirst supplement, sourcebook, or scenario from now until January 1st of 2020.  You can even bounce ideas off me and I'll take a look at what you're making and probably give you suggestions.  I've got lots of opinions!  ;)

That game is literally dying for content and I'm committed to a big project in 2019 and won't be able to publish more than a short adventure until next summer.  Too bad, since it's a great little game with lots of potential.

However, I have a feeling that ambitious gamers will gladly pick up the slack.

Any questions?  Feel free to comment below!

VS

p.s. After this licensing term ends, what you previously published in 2018 and 2019 won't be affected by new licensing terms in 2020.

p.p.s. My friend Egg Embry reminded me of something... it would be nice if mention was made that Blood Dark Thirst was created by Venger As'Nas Satanis and is published by Kort'thalis Publishing.


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.