Wednesday, January 30, 2019

Beneath Kra'adumek

TL;DR: There's something awesome waiting for you at the end of this post.  Ok, cue the violins...

The Cha'alt kickstarter was doing pretty well up until about 4 days ago. It's seriously stalled.  Though, I'm hopeful for a big push here at the end!

Besides wanting to see the campaign world, megadungeon, etc. manifest in the world, I have a looming shadow of a reason for wanting the KS to fund.

I'm sure my wife isn't going to let me take another pass at Cha'alt... and this failure may convince her that my niche within a niche hobby-business isn't worth the time, energy, aggravation, etc.  She's been making that argument for awhile now.

I'll always continue to roleplay and perhaps Zoltar Khan Delgado won't fade away, either.  But the Venger you know and love will most likely no longer exist.  Sad, I know.  So, let's, you know, not let that shit happen.  Ok?  Cool, cool, cool.

In the midst of this polar vortex (yep, that's going to be incorporated somewhere along the way), I'm doing what I can to try and promote Cha'alt.  But it's not easy when I'm at home with 5 kids all day (schools shut down + weekends).

Anyway, Glynn came up with an idea for raising awareness and generating interest in the kickstarter - release the one-shot scenario Beneath Kra'adumek into the wild.  This gives everyone a taste of what Cha'alt will be like.

As it happens, DriveThruRPG is down for routine maintenance.  Great timing, guys!  So, here are the files...

Color version

Black & White version

Map (numbered)

Map (unnumbered - player friendly)

Well, that's it.  Please consider backing the Cha'alt kickstarter which only has a few days left to go!



p.s. I was going to upload Beneath Kra'adumek onto DriveThru in order to reach more people, but I keep getting an error.  So, that's awesome!  Will try again later today.

Tuesday, January 22, 2019

Cha'alt session report 2.1

Now, that I've been writing Cha'alt in earnest, one of the introductory dungeons is ready to go... and I just got done playtesting it with some gamers on Roll20.

Backers will get their hands on the playtest packet next week!

The session went well.  Things moved along nicely, with exploration, combat, and interaction all showcased.  Some treasure was found.  Bits and pieces of world-building occurred.  The wizard almost died, the fighter fought with a tentacle that game him a nasty disease, and at one point everyone thought death was definitely a strong possibility. 

But the players only scratched the surface of the complex beneath the City of the Purple Demon-Worm!  I look forward to next week... and GMing for the rest of you.

Only 12 days left to fund Cha'alt!



Friday, January 18, 2019

Under Pressure

I was re-reading my unbelievably fantastic interview at the Age of Dusk blog (really, it's so scrumptious that some cultures would probably view it as high-art erotica) while also enjoying the commentary below - then something struck me...

What are the reasons for story-gaming over traditional roleplaying? 

  1. Lack of imagination - People just can't come up with anything creative because they don't have the imagination.  Hey, not everybody's wired that way.  But then why would they gravitate to RPGs at all?  So, I don't think it's lack of imagination.
  2. Pressure to perform - You're expected to come up with something good on-the-spot.  Roleplaying is a performance art.  And I'm not just talking about getting your character's voice right, but tactics, strategy, logistics, persuasion, and all the little details that go into playing an RPG.  We live in an age when the fear of failure is greater than the ambition to succeed.  There are no winners or losers, just the possibility of more PC pseudo-angst.  Here's your participation award.
  3. Laziness - Continually thinking of genre, character, and story appropriate things is difficult.  Wouldn't it just be easier if the rules or some play-book did the work for you?  Sure, it would.  But there goes one of the best parts of roleplaying - creating something tremendous from the humble micro-tools you start with, like profession, ability scores, name, equipment, personality, etc.  This will help without doing all the work for you!
  4. Bad GMs - Sure, there are a lot of piss-poor Game Masters out there.  Sad, but true.  Some GMs are sadistic bastards or failed novelists or egotistical attention hogs.  A few RPG designers try to actively counteract bad GMing by coming up with rules that strip GMs of their power and players their opportunity.
  5. Ignorance - If story-games are all you know, then maybe you're not aware of traditional RPGs.  Perhaps you've never experienced the creative freedom that comes from having a character in a fairly open, lawless sandbox without training wheels, railroad tracks, or "special moves" that hold your hand all the way to the finish line.  I'm talking about RPG sessions where virtually anything is possible!

If I had to pick just one of the five, I'd probably blame story-games on the pressure to perform.  Almost everyone gets some form of performance anxiety (even if it's extraordinarily mild or productive eustress that catapults you to new heights).  

Even though I routinely GM like a fucking boss, I still get nervous occasionally.  But I don't let nerves or anxiety stop me from enjoying an awesome game with both friends and strangers.  I simply do my best, knowing full well that every so often I will fail.  The failure doesn't bother me as much as not living up to my potential.  

Hope you got something out of this... oh yeah and Cha'alt has about 16 days left to fund! Those hardcovers are going fast.  Don't miss out!!!  ;)


Wednesday, January 16, 2019

Cha'alt Kickstarter Struggling

In case you can't watch the video, here's a brief summary (actually, just read it.  I expanded upon some things)...

Yeah, things could be going better.  That's ok.  I'm still plugging away, and so are a few of my fanatical supporters who want to see Venger Satanis and Cha'alt succeed!

I don't make safe, normal, pedestrian, commercial D&D (or any RPG content).  Nor am I trying to out-shock anyone with super edgy, controversial on-purpose stuff. If you think a little T&A on the cover is over-the-top, then I can't help you.  My writing occasionally comes across as weird or uncomfortable because I'm just being me.  Sure, I keep the audience in mind, but at the end of the day, I'm creating content for myself. 

Check out Prince of Nothing's blog post.  It's insightful.  Plus, there was a really nice comment at the end that I want to quote, "Venger Satanis does crazy stuff and when people complain, he doesn't apologize... he fights."

That will stick with me, no matter what.  That is what's important.  Even if Cha'alt is stillborn, I have a feeling it'll live on... Maybe it'll be one of those time-capsule near-misses of history like Jodorowsky's Dune.  Almost got made; unfortunately, the stars just weren't right.  But man, that would have been fucking awesome!

Obviously, I don't have a huge fan-base.  The only crowd I cater to is the one that loves raw, fun, authentic gaming.  Nevertheless, it would be cool to have help getting the word out about Cha'alt - only 19 days before the KS is over!  We have a loooong ways to go.



p.s. Almost finished with maps 2 and 3.  Will blog about that tomorrow.

Monday, January 14, 2019

The First of Many

It's been a long time since I've spent serious time and energy making my own maps. 

For a number of reasons [Cha'alt being one of them], I decided to try my hand at it once more.  Got a couple decent hours of peace and quiet over the weekend and bashed this out. 

The map in question is called Beneath Kra'adumek (City of the Purple Demon-Worm).  It's on 14" x 17" drawing paper, so I'll probably have to go to my local copy shop to scan it.

This dungeon could be something for Cha'alt, the Purple Islands, or possibly both...

Trying to find my own style.  It's fairly simple, didn't want to start with anything too challenging.  I figure after a couple dozen, I'll hit the next plateau.  We'll see.

Let me know if you like it,


p.s. If you haven't yet, please support my latest kickstarter.  Cha'alt needs you!

Saturday, January 12, 2019

Cha'alt Hardcover Option

That's right, there's now a professionally printed hardcover tier for the Cha'alt kickstarter!

It's limited to 1,000... so, get in on that while they're available.  Don't wait for ebay where you might see one for $300 in a couple years.

Thanks again for your support, and please share this news with your gaming friends.  ;)


p.s. Here's a look at yet another Yannick Bouchard masterpiece that will be included in my full-color magnum opus Cha'alt.

p.p.s. Alien dinosaurs fighting in the post-apocalyptic wastes as some dude from the late 21st century hopes to survive!

Sunday, January 6, 2019

Cha'alt Kickstarter Live

I've been talking about Cha'alt since the summer, and now it's finally taking shape enough to Kickstart.  Check out the KS page!

I'm not sure if something in my unconscious picked up on it or it's just an uncanny coincidence, but apparently there was talk of a meta-OSR black ziggurat project way back in 2010 here and mentioned here in 2012. 

I haven't begun to track down all the references, but it's weird and awesome to stumble upon all this after months of thinking about the black pyramid of Cha'alt.

That kind of pedigree only gets my juices flowing faster!  Now, I want to do right by all the OSR bloggers who created their own black ziggurat a decade or two ago.

Well, if you have any questions about the kickstarter, Cha'alt, the black pyramid, or anything else, please feel free to comment below. 

Also, feel free to mention the KS campaign around social media, blog about it, discuss on forums, etc.  I don't have an entire company backing me.  I am the company.  Marketing, promotion, and advertising are jobs all their own.



p.s. Months ago, I was calling the megadungeon The Black Pyramid, but then a few weeks ago I started calling it the Great Pyramid of Cha'alt.  Based on the above information, I'm thinking The Black Pyramid has more... resonance.  Thoughts?

Saturday, January 5, 2019

Hand Drawing Dungeons

This is just a quick proof of concept to see if I can draw a half-decent dungeon.

I had graph paper, one too thick black marker and a regular ball-point black pen.  Did these in 20 minutes.

So far, I'm mildly pleased.  Will keep working on it and read up on all the tutorials swirling around the internet.


p.s.  Guess what?  My new Cha'alt kickstarter is live!!!

Thursday, January 3, 2019

We'll Always Be Alt-Right To Some

I was just reading this article about 2018 and it looks like the OSR has a reputation.

We may as well face it, to both the near and far-left, everyone from the middle to the far-right is just a hop, skip, and a jump away from being a full-blown Nazi (unless they've already crossed over the line).

But they soften it a bit with their own Democrat dog-whistle.  They refer to us as Alt-Right because then we can all be lumped together... conservatives, Republicans, free-speech advocates, moderates, centrists, nationalists, anti-SJWs, and white supremacists. 

And since that last one is repugnant to about 90% of people, we can therefore all be discredited in one fell swoop.  Every one of us painted with the "racist" brush in order to de-platform us (yes, still banned on RPGnet for some reason) by crying "hate-speech" or "toxic straight white male privilege."

I don't know what's going to happen in 2019, but I hope gamers can find some middle ground, move away from politics, and focus on improving our overall gaming experience.