Saturday, December 28, 2019

Retro-Stupid Is The New Purple

Before the featured video, I'd like to share this blog post from Jeff's Gameblog.  It's his three-fold model of RPGs.  Essentially, there are only 3 categories - retro, pretentious, and stupid.  And he's right, of course. 

Coincidentally, purple is the stupidest (veering towards retro) color in Jeff's model.  ;)

Without further ado, here's the RPG Pundit reviewing Cha'alt...

If you enjoyed that, there's my current Kickstarter campaign to fund Cha'alt: Fuchsia Malaise

If you want to order the fancy hardcover Cha'alt direct from me, this link has details.


Wednesday, December 25, 2019

My Identity

I've clarified it on individual terms, but have so far avoided a secondary (or would that be tertiary?) public statement.  And that's probably hurt me in social media because a lot of times people assume the worst.  Especially in this day and age when it seems like half the population are abusers, scumbags, terrorists, intolerant religious zealots, sociopaths, hardened criminals, political extremists, and so on and so forth.

For a quick refresher, here is my original blog post, from over a year ago, where I came out as za'akier, a green-skinned, tentacled humanoid... biologically human*, but still extraterrestrial regarding identity.  And that's what it all comes down to.  How I see myself is different than how others probably view me.  And that's ok... expected, even.

I'm an outsider.  That's one of the reasons why I gravitate towards the writing of H.P. Lovecraft, and why I find a kinship with him and other writers in the Lovecraft Circle, other creators using the Cthulhu Mythos to push something forward, an agenda that goes beyond time and space.

But that's a blog post for another time, I think.

Right now, I want to reassure those who already know and support me, and those I haven't gotten the chance to meet (lot of angry people on reddit), that I'm not against anyone based on skin color, ethnicity, sexual preferences (unless you're a pedophile), identity, gender, politics, creed, etc.

My opening up to the internet about being za'akier wasn't about tearing anyone down or mocking those who are different, marginalized, etc.  On the contrary, I was identifying as an outsider, specifically the kind of alien identification previously mentioned.

To me, the term "trans" means more to me than a penis, vagina, beard, shaved legs, or any of the superficial trappings of biological sex and what we conceptualize as gender.  Transformation is rooted in how we see ourselves, and the cognitive dissonance that might evolve between our own self-perspective and that of the world at large.

To those who've hurt me, whether intentional or not, this past year, I forgive you.  But let's get over our differences sooner than later, yeah?

It's Christmas today.  If I could have one wish for the entire world, it would be for everyone to breathe deeply, try to relax, be themselves (leave the "hivemind" at the door), and get along with as many people as humanly possible.

Merry Christma'as!


* There's some interesting information on "otherkin" which may or may not muddy the waters.  I'm not saying that I'm part of that group, and I'm not saying I'm not.  It's complicated.

Friday, December 20, 2019

OSR Like A Fucking Boss

I decided to go ahead and fucking do it!  ;)

This is the link.

Hope you enjoy this quick and dirty foray into the OSR, from my perspective, that is.

Definitely spread the news around social media.  Thanks!


Thursday, December 19, 2019

Crimson Dragon Slayer D20 Review

Here is Endzeitgeist's review of Crimson Dragon Slayer D20.

It's a solid review, but there's something I'd like to address - the "broken" cleric class.  Before getting into details, all 4 classes are kind of broken in their own way.  Which means that each one is "the best" in its own way, assuming you stick to class abilities.

I'm copy/pasting my comment, just in case it disappears from the internet.  Not because of anything the reviewer is doing, but software glitches, etc...


Thanks for the review, hoss!

Regarding the cleric, in play I've found that his unlimited healing works rather well. Let's say an adventuring party of 5 PCs has 2 clerics (something you might actually see, if playing Crimson Dragon Slayer D20).

This last round was brutal on the PCs. 1 guy down and unconscious (a fighter), and 2 others badly wounded (a cleric and sorcerer). There are still a couple monsters remaining. Does one cleric heal the unconscious fighter? Would that even make him conscious again? What about the wounded members of the party? Is 1d6 healing going to prevent the sorcerer from dropping if hit next round? Wouldn't it make just as much sense for the clerics to attack rather than heal, in this instance? I feel like it's a toss-up, and an interesting dilemma for those playing a cleric.

As for the thief's backstab, I see what you mean. Personally, I like things kind of nebulous so the player is forced to come up with some sort of cunning plan or sneaky maneuver to get that bonus. If he's willing to put in the creative work every single round, there's a possibility (depending on the circumstances) of continual backstabbing. A lot depends on the GM, player, and environment.



So, I've already gone into detail re: the cleric (his lack of spell list is another drawback) and touched on the thief.  The review mentioned how over-powered the wizard can be (any spell, as long as he has enough HP to cast it).  And, if you take a good, hard look at the fighter, he obviously owns the battlefield - the most damage, the most HP, adds +1 to both to-hit and damage every level.

Incidentally, if the cleric wants to aid the wizard (allowing him to cast higher level spells) by healing him right away, that's a very doable and legal "cheat".  However, the cleric is then focusing on the wizard, and not those on the front lines.

The fantasy worlds I run are so deadly that even in a one-hour game with only 1-3 combats, PC deaths happen frequently.

On the other hand, compared to old D&D, the cleric, along with his other 3 pals, probably seem super-powered.  If I remember correctly, the old school cleric didn't even get a spell, prayer, or whatever until 2nd level.  And I'm sure that was usable once per day.  And he probably started with 3 HP.  And the party had to walk uphill to get to the dungeon... both ways!

And that's precisely why I love the OSR.  It's not necessarily shackled to however they played in 1979.  It's a mix and match of everything from the last 45 years!  Of course, a few traditional tenets must be followed, but those are also malleable and hard to pin down.

In any case, CDS D20 works great for quick and dirty online games containing one or more noobs.  I've been using this system / hack / house-rules for almost a year now.  That's not a ton of playtesting, but it's held up remarkably well so far.

You can download the FREE PDF here.  They're also included as an appendix in Cha'alt.  Speaking of which, check out the latest Kickstarter campaign for Cha'alt: Fuchsia Malaise.


Thursday, December 5, 2019

Cha'alt: Fuchsia Malaise Kickstarter

Yes, the creative batteries have been recharged and I'm ready to scribble my little eldritch-green heart out!

Right over here is the Kickstarter campaign.  Yesterday was a soft opening... today is the full-scale launch.  And it's already nearly funded. 

I'm excited and encouraged by the projected numbers.  Several individuals whose opinion I trust believe this will top out around $28,000. 

Numbers like that mean we can go all-out with the book, just like our gorgeous Cha'alt hardcover!  I intend to add as much value as I possibly can.  Backers are like family to me - better, actually, because I don't want to kick backers out of my house an hour after the Thanksgiving meal.

Have any questions?  Please ask.  Have suggestions?  Yes, indeed.  Want to share this KS on social media?  May you live to be a thousand years old, and the seven purple moons of Cha'alt shine their shadowy tentacles upon the fabulous wealth of your intrepid adventuring party!

Thanks for your support,


p.s. I'll be making frequent updates to the KS.  Additionally, keep an eye on those stretch goals.  Regardless of how far we get, the list will grow.  ;)

Monday, December 2, 2019

Cyber Monday Cha'alt

"If you're really into over-the-top gonzo dungeons full of weird and interesting encounters, then Cha'alt is a must-have." ~ Shyberkryst

Order a fancy hardcover of Cha'alt and get either $5 off the price (that's good worldwide) or a second Cha'alt hardcover for only an additional $10 (domestic USA shipping only, sorry).

This amazing offer is good until Wednesday at midnight (12/4/19).

Ordering information here

Remember, you get the PDF FREE after purchasing the gorgeous, full-color print version.  Check it out!


p.s. Some high-profile reviews and media coverage coming soon, along with a brand-new Cha'alt-themed Kickstarter launching Friday.

Wednesday, November 27, 2019

Cha'alt Play Report on Roll20

Earlier today, I ran yet another one-hour session of Cha'alt using my own O5R hack / houserules Crimson Dragon Slayer.

More and more I enjoy the quick start, fast paced action and reliance on old school techniques like actually describing what you're character is doing, rather than rolling a die to determine ordinary things, such as exploring a room or talking your way past a guard.

Let me introduce the PCs...

  • Ta Daar; half-orc fighter, chaos, goofball.
  • Axel; half-orc fighter, chaos, tall and intimidating.
  • Flint Deadlock; human, thief, neutral, he didn't really have a backstory or noteworthy detail, but this was a one-shot, so no big deal.
  • Nanof Stylen; elf, sorcerer, chaos, obsessed with the dead.
  • Q'ira; sky-elf, sorceress, chaos, sold into slavery but then killed her evil master.

Incidentally, Q'ira was the only returning character.  She started the session at level 2 (the rest at 1st level) because of her previous exploits - hey, she survived The Black Pyramid once... that's a feat few can call their own.

Due to her past, I had Q'ira working under the warlord Ka'an Dar.  The rest of the PCs were slaves.  Q'ira was to lead the other adventurers into The Black Pyramid in order to find valuables and split them with Ka'an Dar.

As the party approached the nigrescent shard rising from the sand like a beacon of dread, they realized another party was already waiting.  The Very Powerful Wizard, a rival of Ka'an Dar, had 4 mercenaries with him.  The VPW had a similar plan - send in the mercs to retrieve artifacts and relics.

There was some inter-party talk of attacking the warlord and VPW, but they soon thought better of it.  I squashed their metagaming out-of-character chatter by saying that they can do anything that's physically possible - no railroad!

I've been noticing that new players are hesitant to act or make the first move.  This is understandable for a variety of reasons.  No one knows each other (for the most part), and also noobs don't want to do something stupid.  Similarly, veterans don't want to die right away.

Since this was a one-hour game, I let the mercs make the first move in order to speed things along.  

After entering and exploring the first room of The Black Pyramid, the PCs followed one of the mercs into an adjacent room.  

Having run this introduction to the pyramid countless times, I decided ahead of time to assign rooms randomly.  That way I can actually see what deeper rooms are like when explored by those outside my home group.

The PCs entered a large facility full of technicians working on computers, 3 gigantic vats full of bright-green stuff, and a yellow robed priest looking on, watchfully.  

The mercs pulled out automatic weapons, but the PCs wanted to get in a surprise attack, which I allowed.  After all, they are the protagonists.

They killed one outright.  Q'ira wanted to cast a fireball spell.  Which allowed for another opportunity to use this handy little table.  Perfect for theater of the mind scenarios such as this.

She rolled a 5 and the sky-elf's opponents burned to a crisp... moments before the yellow robed priest called a tentacled abomination from the depths of Hell!

The players kept asking what the mercs were doing, aside from ignoring the PCs... so, I eventually slipped in something juicy.  One of them muttered "B-team rejects" under his breath.  Well, that was enough to get the PCs into a murderhobo kind of mood.  They immediately turned on the mercs, using clever tactics to get the upper hand.

But then one merc ran up ahead and surprised Axel.  Luckily, he took minor damage before rolling a critical hit - skewering the mercenary.  

One of the mercs had stayed behind in the first room, so Flint Deadlock went back to sneak attack the poor bastard.  After a poor roll (even with advantage), the merc fired and wounded the thief.  A second attack by Flint landed and he rolled max damage, killing his heavily armed foe.

So, a 100% survival rate has maybe happened once in all the times I've run Cha'alt.  Kudos to this group for their skill and luck!

Here are some comments discovered after I exited the chat (but still recorded by Roll20).  I fought hard against my natural inclination to edit punctuation and the like...

"I want to play more of this"

"That was amazing"

"I have never felt that epic playing D&D"

"Thanks Venger Satanis"

"I might buy Cha'alt and run it / very simple system to DM"

It was gratifying to read such praise.  If you're available, join me sometime!

If you're interested in grabbing the PDF of Cha'alt for yourself, it's currently on sale due to DriveThru's Thanksgiving sale.  But if you really want to Cha'alt like a fucking boss, you'll pick up the fancy hardcover and get the PDF for free!



Monday, November 25, 2019

Back From Vacation

It feels good to be home again.  Also, I turned 45 today.  Seems kind of crazy, but then most people probably get that feeling on their birthday.

I know the first thing you may be thinking... what can I get Venger for his birthday this year? 

Well, it's the same thing I want every year - reviews!  Although, technically doesn't have to be a review.  All the following would be acceptable: blog post analysis, play report, fan art, Q&A, or just your thoughts posted on an RPG forum somewhere.  I take what I can get.  ;)

What else?  Well, I'm wrapping up Kickstarter fulfillment and post-KS orders that have been coming in.  Want your hardcover Cha'alt?  Look no further.

Speaking of Kickstarter, I'm starting to think about the next one - the first official Cha'alt adventure.  Still groggy from 10 days away, so nothing is set in stone, except that it'll be just as awesome as Cha'alt itself... if that's even possible.  Maybe I can do one of those wild "break Kickstarter" ideas?

What content do you want to see?  I'm sure you have suggestions.  Let me hear 'em!


p.s. Yes, in all seriousness, please post a review or something today, November 25th.  And let me know so I can gaze at your generosity whilst basking in the chartreuse glow of our Lord drowning in the radioactive wasteland of S'kbah's desert.

Thursday, November 14, 2019

50% off Cha'alt

I'm going on vacation in a bit, and my birthday is coming up (November 25th)... so, why not give a little to get a little?

Slashing prices while thrusting deep into the bowels of magenta slimed terrors from beyond time and space.  Who wouldn't want to adventure in a mutant wasteland of alien weirdness and ultra-telluric monstrosities?

Yes, my eldritch, gonzo, science-fantasy, post-apocalyptic campaign setting + megadungeon Cha'alt is only $10, now through 11/25!!!

Or, if you prefer to buy the hardcover and get the PDF for free... that's also a wise choice.

If I don't get back to you right away, it's because I'm on vacation.

Cha'alt is 218 pages of O5R sandbox lollipop-flavored doom and irreverent exploitation gloom.  You'll love it, especially The Black Pyramid.  ;)

This just in - Grim Jim Desborough just uploaded a review of Cha'alt.  I haven't watched it yet, but will later this afternoon.  Here it is...

Let him know you enjoyed his video with a like, comment, and subscription!


p.s. Please leave a review and talk about Cha'alt on social media if you want to keep seeing more from Kort'thalis Publishing.

Tuesday, November 12, 2019

Why OSR Leans Conservative

Now, this is, of course, a generalization.  Old school D&D play-styles tend towards a more conservative perspective. 

But why, some of you are asking?  Well, I've had trouble putting my finger on it... always dancing around the issue and never quite getting to the core, the essence.  That is, until today when I watched Ben Shapiro's Sunday Special with George Will. 

It's around the 6:45 mark that things became clear to me: either the exhilaration of an open world or planning things from above.  Those are the two options, or perhaps a mix of both.

Those who prefer old school D&D (and other games) like the inherent uncontrolled chaos, spontaneity, and vast opportunity available with a sandbox style campaign.  It's exciting because anything could happen.  You could get killed in the first encounter... or eventually wind up as King!

Those preferring newer RPGs and play-styles want everything decided ahead of time, equitable, balanced, fair, and more or less predictable.  It's safe, but everyone should get more or less what they expect. 

As in games, so in life.  No wonder there's a culture war going on within the RPG hobby, industry, and community. 

Later, Mr. Will talks about some of the founding fathers of America and framers of he U.S. Constitution, describing them as deists.  I haven't thought about deism for some time, but have always seen the wisdom in that concept. 

"The Deist God is like a rich aunt in Australia... benevolent, but rarely heard from."

Who thinks that GMing is a bit like Deism?  He sets the scene and then just floats away until maybe towards the end, adjudicating from afar.

It's The Dungeon Master style of GMing that I talked about here.

Anyway, I found the entire discussion to be worth listening to.  Perhaps you will, too.


p.s. I still have Cha'alt hardcovers.  Click this link for details!

Monday, November 11, 2019

The Cha'alt Event (part II)

If you want to start at the beginning, this is part 1.

Five players was a decent turnout.  I was hoping for something ridiculous, like 12... with spectators standing nearby, hoping someone would unceremoniously die so they could jump in, taking the dead PC's place.  Alas, I'm not there yet.  Soon!

The PCs

  • Kalovi: female blood-elf fighter, quick to draw first blood.
  • Dome Clo-Kar: human fighter, sturdy and tough, his right arm blackened and cursed.
  • Ultimus Van Huka'a: moon-elf, thief, came to Cha'alt for the rich zoth deposits.
  • Sasha: female sun-elf cleric whose family lost their name because of some disgrace, but still carries herself with pride.  Also, has a demon that she must appease.
  • Bandalorr: midnight-elf wizard.  Absorbed in the dark arts, he shocked his own people and was captured by slavers.

The Setup

I wanted something really simple, direct, and flavorful to begin with as the PCs were ushered into The Black Pyramid, which was the meat and potatoes of this session.

Marched through the desert wastes for a couple hours by slave master Kell, the PC slaves finally reach the shining black capstone to the pyramid of wondrous mysteries and unutterable doom.

In three days, Tyra'ak the prolonged of life will turn one-hundred-and-eleven.  Kell took the 5 most able-bodied slaves to The Black Pyramid in order to obtain a magic item for the birth-festival of Tyra'ak.

If a magic item is retrieved from the weird depths of that nigrescent sepulcher, a slave shall win his freedom.  

Incidentally, the players interpreted this as 'they find one magic item and bring it out, then all the survivors go free'.  What Kell had in mind was that freedom must be bought with one magic item per slave.  As you'll read, in the end, it didn't matter.

As per usual, the PCs entered the pyramid and began to explore.  I'll present the highlights as bullet-points to keep things moving and to avoid spoilers.

The Highlights

  • Dome Clo-Kar did something which no one else has tried, and I didn't really anticipate (that's just one of the many things I love about roleplaying games).  He exited the conduit between rooms and was able to walk upon the outside surface of a room.  The hardened fighter stood there, surrounded by the inky void of blackness... before coming back inside.
  • Exploring the movie theater playing Escape From New York, I feel the players really got a sense of The Black Pyramid.  It's not just a tomb of horrors waiting to crush PC bones into dust.  Rather, it's a strange environment with people looking for not just survival but entertainment, power, and looting the room that contains god's shadow.
  • There were a number of great lines heard from the in-character banter back and forth between PCs.  My favorites were, "All men are free when the slave masters aren't around," from Dome Clo-Kar.  And the gloomy Bandalorr, "We'll be free when we're dead."
  • Bandalorr acquired himself a magic item via Logan's Run.  After he identified and attuned it, he went up a level.  I decided that for this one-shot, it made sense to incentivize the acquisition of magic items above all else.  
  • It's not a dungeoncrawl until a PC goes all murderhobo on some poor unsuspecting NPC.  Kalovi decided to slit a priest's throat for no reason in particular.  That led to interrogation of the dead priest's companions and eventually bartering with amicable psionicists.  
  • The last room explored contained a gigantic devil-toad slumbering next to a pile of treasure.  Amongst the treasure was a magical sword.  Dome Clo-Kar really, really wanted that sword.  So, he stole it, waking the devil-toad, failing to correctly answer a riddle, and then the rest of the party tried to kill the infernal, tentacled godling because... it's D&D, I guess.  Well, that proved to be a fatal mistake for all but one party member.  Bandalorr used his fireball spell (thanks to my little fireball hack d6 table) and rolled a 1.  He used divine favor to re-roll... and got another 1.  Then no one made their saving throw and all the PCs were either burned to a crisp right then and there or died in the next round of combat against the devil-toad.
  • Using his newfound magic item to escape harm, Bandalorr walked, between universes, out of The Black Pyramid and back to slave master Kell.  In exchange for the sanctuary medallion of renewal, Kell rewarded the sorcerer with not only freedom, but a spot in the highly coveted sorcerer's training program that Tyra'ak instituted not long ago.

The Aftermath

While I was routing for the players and their characters to not only survive but flourish, I realized that glory was not to be there's as they willfully engaged in battle with such a creature.  

There were many chances to avoid the fight, but apparently that was not the adventuring party's destiny.  

Still, a sole survivor is pretty badass and the legendary lethality of The Black Pyramid remains.

Any questions?  Feel free to ask!  I really wish I had the time to run Cha'alt 5 days a week because it's both very much like, as well as distinctly unlike, anything I've ever created.  Cha'alt has a life of its own.  

If you're looking for the Cha'alt PDF, it's here.  If you prefer the fancy hardcover (the PDF is a FREE bonus), it's there.


p.s. I also want to thank Misty Mountain Games for allowing me to hold the Cha'alt book release party at their store.  Also, the Dominos pizza was pretty good!

The Cha'alt Event (part I)

I realized I could make videos with my phone, rather than the crappy flip camcorder I've had for years.  Probably with better quality.

Anyway, I ran Cha'alt for the first time since receiving the hardcovers (face-to-face, that is).  Had the interior map of The Black Pyramid printed out and laminated.  That was cool.  Also gave away some Kraken dice I had laying around.  Plus, pizza and mountain dew... and of course, books on hand to sell, sign, and draw tentacles upon.

Part II includes the actual play report.  This post contains the videos I made right before and just after the session.

Some wisdom for those who traffic in such things...

  • Nothing about a campaign setting (including Cha'alt) is so precious that it can't be altered to conform with the GM's desires.  
  • While I, as GM, and Crimson Dragon Slayer D20, my O5R hack/house-rules, may be forgiving... Cha'alt is not.  Cha'alt is a merciless son of a bitch that'll kill your character in the blink of an eye.  PC death is the norm.
  • Cha'alt is not deadly because I'm a dick.  Yes, there is that, of course, but that's not the whole story.  Decades of "modern" D&D design and play have either softened us or forced us into linear thinking.  How do I win in this encounter?  Attack!

Check out the PDF before you buy the hardcover.



Monday, November 4, 2019

Alpha Blue 50% Off

This week, for no reason whatsoever, I'm offering the original and core Alpha Blue roleplaying game PDF at 50% off!!!

The impetus was to create a rules-light space opera kind of game that delved into sleaze and smut, just like the vintage sci-fi movies of my youth - but willing to go even further, if necessary.  After all, there's no ratings board in space.

It was a bold move (many would say foolhardy or just downright idiotic) to pair cheesy sci-fi camp with sex.  But the risk was worth the reward - a new and different kind of game that I really wanted to play with my like-minded pervy friends.  Your star-mileage will vary...

The Alpha Blue line has more supplementary support than any of my other RPGs.  Take a peek!  That's probably because it's my favorite.  Also, there isn't much like it.  Machinations of the Space Princess comes close, but the two are quite different.

Yes, I borrowed the title from 1980 porno The Satisfiers of Alpha Blue. 

Yes, I consider Alpha Blue to be OSR.  Not because it uses a d20 mechanic (d6 dice pools, actually) but it's a traditional RPG that champions rulings over rules, immersion over PC optimization, and the very real possibility of death.  So, watch your ass!

Any other questions?  Please ask, I'd love to chat about it.


p.s. If you want the softcover (and why wouldn't you?), I recommend purchasing it from Amazon.

Sunday, November 3, 2019

Seven Little Wonders

I was thinking about my newly acquired dice.  Not just the sets I picked up at Game Hole Con, but the ultra cool polyhedrons I use for Cha'alt.

And one thing kept coming back to me... the fancier and more exclusive these boutique dice are, the less chance you get more than the standard 7.

Over the years, gamers have been spoiled with additional d6s, sometimes an extra d20, and similar "bonus dice".  But alas, my favorite dice don't have that.

I think the extra d6s add the most value.  Mostly for character creation and fireball spells.  Well, there's no rolling for ability scores in Crimson Dragon Slayer D20.  That's the former solved.  The latter I've sussed with the following random table.  Simply roll 1d6...

D6 Fireball Hack
  1. Uncontrolled Blaze: Sorcerer's fireball spreads to both friend and foe.  Everyone within 50' of the sorcerer takes 10 damage (save for half).
  2. Burn Out: Sorcerer's spell fizzles; no one takes damage.
  3. Flurry of Flame:  Minimal damage to enemies - 10 damage (save for half).
  4. Scorching Blast:  Moderate damage to enemies - 20 damage (save for half).
  5. Raging Inferno:  Max damage to enemies - 40 damage (save for half).
  6. Incinerated:  All enemies incinerated (no save)... however, if this targets a godlike being, then it does 12d6 or 60 points of damage, instead of outright killing him.

Not only is it a damn sight better than rolling a single d6 several times and adding the numbers up in your head, but I think the table presents a fun spectrum of the good, bad, and ugly that can happen when using area-of-effect magic.



p.s. The 2,000 print-run of Cha'alt hardcovers is still available - order yours today!

Friday, November 1, 2019

The Game That Never Was

Ah, yes [sigh]... another missed opportunity.  But at least I tried.

A surprising hole (no pun intended) in my schedule at work allowed me to run Cha'alt at Game Hole Con this year. 

Unfortunately, only a week out meant that everyone had already scheduled games, events, and whatnot.  Although, I did promote the shit out of it.

Ordinarily, I would have scheduled games far in advance with the hope that I'd be able to make it.  I did that two years ago, but had to cancel my entire run of games last minute because our twins were about to be born prematurely and I couldn't leave my extremely pregnant wife who was ready to burst at any moment.

So, it was just me at the table surrounded by 8 empty chairs.  This was going to be the first time I ran Cha'alt at a non-virtual table, face-to-face with players since obtaining the book.  I had the giant triptych map of The Black Pyramid all printed-out and laminated, as well.  I'll put a description of the session in the post-script for the sake of posterity.

The very first in-person session of Cha'alt will have to be next Saturday at Misty Mountain Games.  Details over here.

I did drop some books off at booth #13 in the Dealer's Room of the convention, though.  Seven signed copies of Cha'alt that will hopefully sell out before Sunday afternoon.  Want your own fancy hardcover? Look no further!

On my way out of the Dealer's Room, I spied RPG veteran, legend, and creator of Traveller Marc Miller.  We talked a bit about Kickstarter, printing, shipping, self-publishing, and the rest.  I gave him a copy of Cha'alt for his long service in the industry after getting a picture with him. 

I also chatted with a cool dude named Andy Hand at the Limitless Adventures booth.  He was nice enough to listen to my sob story and commiserate as I mentioned my lack of players.

Lastly, I have a little gaming convention tradition.  Even though I don't need any more dice, I always try to pick up at least one new set. 

These two (pictured) tickled my fancy.  If I was going to play a dark elf, these are the dice I would want to roll.

I traded them for my last copy of Cha'alt.  The couple tending that booth needed a present for their friend (niece?) who was getting married and she loved both D&D and eldritch, gonzo, science-fantasy, and post-apocalypse type stuff.

On the way back to the office, I drowned my sorrows in an obscene amount of Chinese food and mountain dew. 

Hopefully, next year will be better. 

Game on!


Cha'alt is an eldritch, gonzo, science-fantasy, post-apocalyptic world.  Adventurers will be exploring The Black Pyramid - a bizarre, trans-dimensional, lunatic asylum of a megadungeon containing both malign entities and wondrous treasure.  I'll be running it with my own basic, minimalist, old school O5R (OSR + 5e) house-rules called Crimson Dragon Slayer D20. 
Venger Satanis is the best-selling author of not only Cha'alt and Crimson Dragon Slayer, but such titles as Alpha Blue, The Islands of Purple-Haunted Putrescence, and How To Game Master Like A F#@king Boss.

Thursday, October 31, 2019

Night Shift

This game looks cool, and Tim is a friend of mine... so, definitely back it!  Only 7 hours left and about $100 shy of their funding goal.

If you're into Buffy and Angel (like I am), Stephen King, or one of the many CW shows and its ilk... Vampire Diaries, The Originals, Legacies, Charmed, and Supernatural - this will be an old school RPG catering to your needs.

Here is the link!

Happy Halloween,


Wednesday, October 30, 2019

Ideas for upcoming games

So, there a couple things I want to try for my upcoming sessions of Cha'alt (the first at Game Hole Con, the second at the book release party for Cha'alt).

As an ice breaker, to get things going, incentivizing awesome creativity, I have a little program for awarding Divine Favor (inspiration).  It's as follows...

Point of Divine Favor Awarded at Character Creation

  • Best PC name.
  • Best PC one-sentence background.
  • Best PC one-sentence description.

That should keep winning PCs alive for at least another 3 or 4 minutes.

Since these sessions are both one-shots, I want the possibility of leveling during the actual adventure.  This goes especially for old school games, XP is doled out a little at a time and it's almost impossible to gain a level mid-way through the initial adventure.  

Well, this gives players a goal, something to shoot for, if they're focused on improvement.  What's the worst that can happen... after risking life and limb, they reach 2nd level an hour before the game ends?

Gaining a Level
  • Possessing a magic item (must be attuned to you - so, you've had it for at least 20 minutes of in-game time).
  • Possessing at least 1,000 gold pieces worth of treasure (excluding magic items).
  • The party kills at least 10 HD worth of monsters/NPCs (those who take no part in the battle receive zero credit).
  • Successfully using the Epic Deed of Awesomeness three times (must be during combat, tense interactive scene, or be otherwise significant).
  • Successfully rolling a saving throw three times.

Open to suggestions.  Let me know what you think.  I've got the rest of today and tomorrow to think about this concept.


p.s. If it wasn't obvious, I'll be using my own O5R hack Crimson Dragon Slayer D20.

p.p.s. Yep, someone's face is probably going to be melted off.  See you in Hell, sucka PCs!  ;)

Friday, October 25, 2019

Cha'alt at Game Hole Con

Looks like I'll be going to Game Hole Con, after all.  ;)

As it happens, something opened up at work and I have free time Friday, November 1st.  So, I'll be running Cha'alt from 10am - 2pm.

That four-hour window is all the time I'll have at the convention, so if you want to shake my slimy tentacle, sign something, ask me questions, or just check out a hardcover copy of Cha'alt, you know where to find me.

The event link is here.  It's called "The Black Pyramid of Cha'alt".  Hope to see you there!


p.s. The Cha'alt book release party will be held at Misty Mountain Games on Saturday, November 9th.  Details right here.

Wednesday, October 23, 2019

What's Your Cha'alt Hack?

"Basically, Venger is a crazy person... everything in Cha'alt really feels connected, even though it's kind of manic and bizarre."

One reviewer in particular, I'll paste his video flip-through down below, mentioned the hackability of Cha'alt.  It's both big and small, sketchy (in both senses of the word) and detailed.  The campaign setting gives you a lot to go on, but pulls back a little in order for the GM to make Cha'alt his own.

I'd like to read about your own personal Cha'alt hack!  If you're in the planning stage, gearing up for session zero, or already running it... what sort of things are you doing differently?  Some things I intended for GMs to alter and fully expect, other things I'm sure will blow my mind because I didn't even consider that possibility.

Please, satisfy my curiosity!  Everyone who posts their own Cha'alt hack in the comments (or on your own blog - provide a link!) will be eligible to win the grand prize - one FREE PDF from Kort'thalis Publishing.  Your choice!

Thanks for watching!  Feel free to leave a comment on Aaron's video, too, and subscribe to his channel.



Where can you find this wondrous book?  RIGHT OVER HERE!!!

Thursday, October 17, 2019

Cha'alt Ascended

Like many of you, I'm comfortable with OSR.  Not just because I'll be turning 45 next month.  Rather, early D&D seemed to have a magic that 3rd and 4th editions forgot. 

I don't want PCs running around like super heroes or demigods, optimized up the wazoo.  Things should be fairly simple, one might even say basic.  And yet... tiny details from those apostate editions creep in. 

As much as I've tried to fight it, I think something additional for PCs is a good idea, whether that's the occasional feat, set of skills, class options, or merely special abilities.  So, after putting it off for years, I finally came up with a list of 63 "old school feats" that I'll be using in my own Crimson Dragon Slayer D20 games while running Cha'alt

Crimson Dragon Slayer D20 [FREE PDF] is my own hack (that's what the kids call self-published house-rules now, right?) of old school 5th edition D&D.

What else is in Cha'alt Ascended?  A short optional rule for sorcerers and, my favorite, a d20 random table of prior events that are both memorable and life changing... well, perspective changing might be more accurate for some of them. 

A number of these feats and backgrounds are tied to the eldritch, gonzo, science-fantasy, post-apocalyptic world of Cha'alt.  They'll go hand-in-tentacle with my FREE PDF of pre-gens, Cha'alt Pre-Generated.  But everything in Cha'alt Ascended is fairly system and campaign neutral for maximum usability. 

If you enjoy it, please rate and/or review it on DriveThruRPG... or elsewhere! 


p.s. I still have plenty of limited edition, gorgeous full-color, off-set printed, hardcover Cha'alt books.  Get yours today!!!

Saturday, October 12, 2019

Cha'alt Hardcovers Arrive

Cha'alt: Fuchsia Malaise kickstarter!!!

The day long awaited finally came!  Yesterday, 10/11 (do you see the significance!?!) over 2,000 hardcover books were delivered to my house.

Apparently, with off-set printing it's common to get a few more than your original order.  So, I have a lot.  And they're amazing!

Yesterday was also a super-busy day at work, and some of the time our internet was down.  That's why the announcement is coming this morning.

What is Cha'alt?  An eldritch, gonzo, science-fantasy, post-apocalyptic campaign setting and megadungeon for pretty much any version of D&D, including its many OSR offspring.

Many gamers have come out of the woodwork to praise the Cha'alt PDF.  Soon, they'll have a chance to hold the hardcover in their hands... or tentacles.  All 216 pages.

I've got a lot of packages to stuff in order to fulfill my Kickstarter obligations, but if you want to get on the list for one of these babies, you can order now.  I take paypal.  My address is:

At the moment, it's $60 if you order one book; $110 for two; and $140 for three.

If you live in the United States, I'm not going to charge extra for shipping.  But if you live outside the U.S., I'm charging an additional $30 (plus $20 per additional book. Thankfully, saved my ass).

All books will be signed and numbered by me.

Send me an email with your street address after sending payment.

Last but not least, a gargantuan and slimy purple "Thank You" to everyone who helped make Cha'alt possible.  From the backers who took a chance on it to gold ENnie award winning layout and cartographer Glynn Seal of MonkeyBlood Design to Prince of Nothing who consulted to all the guys who helped edit and proofread the damned thing.

Tremendous work went into making this book, and we should all be proud of it.  Cha'alt!



p.s. Oops, forgot a key note... if you've purchased the PDF already, then deduct that amount from the purchase price.  Additionally, if you purchase a hardcover, you get the PDF for free.

Tuesday, October 1, 2019

Cha'alt Stream Reflections

If you need a refresher, this is the blog post about our Cha'alt live-stream.

The feedback has been overwhelmingly positive, so we'll be back!  I think we're aiming for every other month.  Depends on how our schedules align. 

However, I'm still interested in a side-gig stream of all things Venger.  More info about that here

Below are some questions I received along with my answers...

1.  What (if anything) was ad-libbed or spontaneously created?

I didn't think of anyone climbing to the top of the waterfall, so that was a total blank canvas moment. But knowing the campaign world as I do, I improvised.  In my mind, I was thinking of that crystal cave scene from the old movie Journey To The Center Of The Earth (a classic and favorite of mine).  I suppose that was the inspiration.

2.  Was this scenario included in Cha'alt?

Nope, I wrote it earlier in the day.  Totally new content.

3.  What did you roll for morale?

Well, since I've been using my Crimson Dragon Slayer D20 house-rules, I didn't have anything else in front of me, such as a table or chart for morale.  In my head, I determined that if I rolled high on a d20, the blind, albino cannibals would stand fast.  I ended up rolling a 5, I think.  So, they ran away.


That's all, folks!


p.s. Want to know where I bought my chartreuse and magenta Cha'altian dice?  Over yonder.  Tell them Venger Satanis sent you!

Monday, September 30, 2019

D&D Stream Cherry Popped

You know what color Venger is today?  Cherry-red, y'all...

Last night was my very first live-streamed D&D session.  Technically, we were using Crimson Dragon Slayer D20, which is my own OSR and 5e house-rule hybrid.

It's something I've wanted to try for a long time, and feels like the preface to Purple Slime, Demons, & Radiation.

I was a little bit nervous.  While I've GMed thousands of times before, doing it "on camera" and in front of an audience was totally new.  But from what I've seen of other streamed sessions, we didn't do half bad.

If you have any feedback or constructive criticism, definitely let me know.  Keep in mind there's only so much I can do (cosmetic surgery, vocal lessons from Rob Halford, etc), but incremental improvement is my jam.

Also, if you have any questions about the session, Game Mastering, Cha'altCrimson Dragon Slayer D20, or Cha'alt Pre-Generated (that's where the pre-gens came from), feel free to ask.

Big thanks to Grim Jim and Cha'alt kickstarter backer Joab for playing!  They did awesome and made my job easier.  We also appreciate the people who watched, commented, laughed, and trolled us at every opportunity (Hi, RPG Pundit!). 



Thursday, September 26, 2019

Cha'alt Pre-Gens PDF

Yes, the FREE PDF is now live!  Get your Cha'alt Pre-Generated and get playing...

If you're anything like me, you love to game but don't have a lot of time to roll ability scores, figure out modifiers, possibly skills, and come up with a suitable name.

Well, the work has been done for you.  27 pre-generated characters ready for your players to inhabit.

While you don't need Cha'alt to enjoy Cha'alt Pre-Generated, you'll want to grab the also FREE Crimson Dragon Slayer D20.  It's fast and easy, minimalist, basic D&D - combining my favorite parts of the OSR with 5th edition.

Please share the link and let me know how much you like it.  Thanks!


Wednesday, September 25, 2019

Purple Slime, Demons, & Radiation

A couple weeks ago, yours truly was
interviewed over at 3 Toadstools blog where I was asked if I'd considered doing some kind of live stream D&D show.

After giving it some thought and realizing that I already bought a webcam and decent microphone in order to make the Inappropriate Characters show possible, this is something I want to do.

In honor of Shane's prophetic question, I'm going to call it Purple Slime, Demons, & Radiation.

Well, I'm putting out feelers to see who'd be interested in helping me create a monthly one-hour session that people can watch on youtube, twitch or wherever.  I'd be running my Cha'alt campaign using Crimson Dragon Slayer D20 because it's overly simplistic with a minimum of fiddly bits, perfect for shorter online games... essentially OSR but with a nod to 5th edition.

I don't know tech stuff, so if that kind of thing is your jam and you're excited to participate, then get in touch with me!



Sunday, September 22, 2019

One Of Many

There are many reasons to reject the use of that RPG consent form that's been talked about a lot on social media.

But there's one reason that I haven't heard discussed yet...

How many gamers will either consciously or unconsciously fill in yellow and red boxes because they don't want others to assume they're cynical, jaded, immoral edgelords? 

With forms in general, there's an expectation.  Remembering all the many forms I've filled out in my life, have I ever checked only one box / answer for every question asked?  No, probably not. 

There's an unspoken assumption that one has peculiarities and depth.  One is not a machine.  In fact, just to relieve the monotony, I would probably check a few non-green boxes... even though I'm perfectly fine running across any subject matter the GM describes.

When expectations influence honest answers, then forms become a sham.

If you're truly worried about going too far in your GMing, simply ask (this, too, can be a written form handed out before play begins)... "Is there any subject matter that is off limits to you?"

Nine times out of ten, you'll get a negative response.  But that one time will get you an accurate idea of what is too far for that particular player.

I remember years ago asking players before an upcoming campaign the following two questions..

1. What do you want in this campaign?

2. What don't you want in this campaign?

Not everyone answered the questions, which was fine.  But for those who did, I got an idea for their expectations.  No one ever mentioned rape, genocide, or gaslighting.  However, I did get "rules lawyering" and such.

Hope your games go well!


p.s. Cha'alt hardcovers will be coming mid-October.  Will make an announcement when they arrive.  Until then, reviews keep pouring in regarding the PDF.

Wednesday, September 18, 2019

Getting Fit

Last night, someone asked about my workout and diet regimen. 

Since I've been trying to make positive changes in my health, I wrote out what I've been doing lately. 

Just makes sense to copy/paste that right here.

Over the years, I've developed a workout routine that works for me. I have no idea if it'll work for anyone else, but here goes...

I go to the gym about 4 times per week, but only spend about 10-15 minutes there each time. This is what it looks like.

Day 1: one or two warm-up sets of bench press or dumbbell press and then a single set with enough weight to max out between 5-10 reps.

Day 2: warm-up of squats and then single set with enough weight to max out between 7-12 reps.

Day 3: general warm-up of the muscles (like stretching), then do as many chins as you possible can. Then do one set each of stomach crunches and reverse stomach crunches.

Day 4: one or two warm-up sets of deadlifts, then max it out for 5-15 reps.

That's pretty much it. I usually take a day off between day 3 and 4, then take the weekend off. Every other week, I usually do a set or two of military press with a bar or dumbbells, as well.

Because you're putting maximum effort into each non-warm-up set, you're muscles are getting a workout. It may not seem like much, but over time it pays off and you won't have to worry about over-training. Plus, how hard is it to spend 15 minutes at the gym?

Diet is also really important. I guess you're going to ask me about that next...


1) focus on protein... steak, chicken, eggs, fish, shrimp, hamburger, turkey, ham, protein powder, etc. Don't eat too many carbs. But if you are going to eat carbs, it should be the first meal after your workout.

2) try to eat just below your calorie maintenance. If I feel a bit hungry here and there throughout the day but not starving, then I know I'm somewhere in that zone.

3) Intermittent fasting is one of the best things I discovered. I eat as many "meals" as I want within an 8-hour window. The rest of the time, I drink water. It both helps cut calories (skipping breakfast is the way to go) and helps you deal with hunger. Takes a couple weeks to get used to it, but then your body learns, adapts, and helps you out.

My biggest lifestyle change, when I go from non-diet to diet, is giving up both soda and desserts. Maybe you'll have to give up snacks, like chips... or excessive amounts of bread. Give yourself a cheat day once a week if you need it to stay sane. I love pizza, so limit myself to pizza just once a week... and then I'll have a non-addictive soda (without caffeine) like Ginger Ale, rather than my precious... the cold master... Mountain Dew.

If you combine the workout regimen with the diet, your body fat will slowly go down, while your strength and muscles will slowly go up. Don't expect to see significant progress for at least 6 weeks.


Sunday, September 8, 2019

Platinum Like A Fucking Boss

I'm not sure when it happened, but Adventure Writing Like A Fucking Boss has gone Platinum on DriveThruRPG.

That's awesome!

As a thank you, I'm practically giving it away at $1 for the next few days.  If you don't already have it, now's your chance to pick it up.  If you do, let a friend know it's out there.

I wonder which title will become a Platinum best seller next?  Hmm...


p.s. If you loved it, please let me know.  Why not post a short review?  ;)

Wednesday, September 4, 2019

Goodbye to Roll20?

So, I've been getting a few questions about how or why I deleted my Roll20 account.  here goes...

This morning, I went to look at my listing to see how many people wanted to join today's game.  All I found was a comment from someone quoting Roll20's rules against advertising. 

I did have a link to Cha'alt... praise be its name, in the thread about my game.  The subject line was "What is Cha'alt?" and it directed people to the DriveThruRPG page where Cha'alt... praise be its name, is available (including the 32 full-page preview).

I also had a link to my own Crimson Dragon Slayer D20 house-rules (free PDF), so players would know what to expect.  I created it specifically to get Roll20 players up to speed on how my D&D is different than all the other versions out there. 

I didn't have a lot of time before the kids got up for school, and I wrongly assumed this guy was some kind of Roll20 admin or staff.  Since I'd had a few negative experiences with Roll20 in the past, I decided to simply delete my entire account in a fit of pique.

After getting the kids to school, I looked up the person who posted Roll20 rules on my thread.  Turns out, he was just a "member" who'd joined Roll20 six months ago.  WTF, who does that?

9 times out of 10, when I delete my account from a website, there's some kind of backdoor to reverse it.  Not so with Roll20.  So, that account is gone. 

I created another one because I really wanted to GM today.  When I get some free time, I'll look for an alternative virtual RPG platform.  But for now, it was easy enough to simply create a new account and make another listing for today's game.

That's it.  Looking forward to introducing new players to Cha'alt... praise be its name.  See you at the imaginary table!


Monday, September 2, 2019

The City of Vermilion

"No, no, no.  Veng-baby, you've got it all wrong.  The karneblaspha'aks must be chartreuse with magenta and tan stripes.  It's the propelveenz that wear their azgoba'ats with chartreuse and fuchsia polka-dots.  Quit snorting that crystallized Purple Prizm and get it fucking right, you za'akier glip-glop!"

That direct and very literal quote from Prince of Nothing is exactly what it was like to work under my Cha'alt consultant's iron heel.  Muy brutales!

But... in the end, he guided my errant hand in fashioning what is the greatest RPG book of all time and space - Cha'alt!!!  Praise be its name!

So, in gratitude, I shall initiate the pimpage of his Kickstarter called The City of Vermilion.  Well, that's another color gone, but no matter - Prince of Nothing and the Merciless Merchants are awesome at writing, old school to the core, and not afraid of doing things their own way.

Like you, I'm sure, I probably have enough gaming material at my house, if I'm being honest.  But think of it this way, there are lots of creative individuals out there working their asses off to raise the bar of adventure writing. 

If we don't collectively encourage them, all those dudes will simply go away... off to write their crappy novels that remind you of the golden years of gaming you had once upon a time, but refused to financially assist. 

I guess what I'm really trying to say is, "Back that shit up, yo."


p.s. Look at that kickass artwork on the KS page!  Damn, hoss.

Tuesday, August 27, 2019

Interviewing VS

Just wanted to let the maximum number of people know that I'm open to interviews.  After all, absolutely everyone reads my blog, right?

Cha'alt is possibly the greatest DnD product on the market today.  Possibly?  Haha, why am I being so modest?  Of course it's the greatest!!!

I have no doubt that gamers will want to know what THE CREATOR thinks about this, that, and everything under the tentacled sun.

Still haven't checked it out?  Get the Cha'alt PDF here!

Reach out to me via email: