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