Sunday, December 31, 2023

Mysterious Qada'ath [Cha'alt campaign, session 4]


This session was managed with a skeleton crew.  Myself and 3 players did what we had to do in order to keep the campaign going through this God forsaken holiday season.

A lot happened but I'm still going to try and keep this short because every 20 minutes or so one or more of my kids yell for me to come and deal with something.

We had a brand-new player who decided to play a grog (sand construct) priest of the Great Old Ones named Gorra (male).  The other two were Ha'agly Morningwood the pixie-fairy sorcerer and TX-1139 aka Uppgrade the droid warrior.

Before I continue, let me remind everyone that I have a new Kickstarter for The Cha'alt Experience: Designing Worlds Like A Fucking Boss.  Check it out and back if you can, hoss!  It's a great way to get the Cha'alt trilogy in hardcover, as well!

The usual adventurous activities which I had prepared shortly after our last session wouldn't do since most of the party was MIA, so I improvised.

The PCs were at the Quick Stop, spontaneously buying some supplies from the two black-robed drug dealers hanging outside the convenience store (Jack and Heat-vision Bob), and then snacks, oil, and information from Dante the clerk and Quick Stop manager.  

Morningwood got himself a little "squirt gun" sized blaster that was powered with this little crystal that turned it into something almost like a disintegrator (but after use it takes an hour to recharge).  

Once inside, Gorra asked where the party was at, and Dante told him to go to a cantina called Casa Zoth around 9:30.  It didn't take Gonzo too long before he sauntered in and asked when the PCs could get their black van and Ark of the Covenant out of his garage.  They took Jack and Heat-vision Bob along with.

The Federation had a transport check-point and the PCs wanted to risk going through, knowing that if the shit really hit the fan, they could take care of those Federation soldiers themselves.  

The sorcerer used a glamor spell and Gorra decided to give an impromptu sermon.  At the start of the session, I had explained the new game mechanic we were playtesting (first time we tried it was last session), the Gilded Die of Satanis (product releasing on DTRPG later this week).

He rolled a standard d20 along with a gilded d6.  The gilded die came up cringe (2 in 6 chance), but he also rolled a natural 20 - that meant Satanis Gold!  He managed to be such a zealot that his religious oratory got their black van waved through.  Additionally, his Yog-Soggothothery ended with a Howard Dean "yeehaw-scream" that embarrassed himself and everyone in the vehicle. And for his trouble, earned a point of Divine Favor.

They got through, went inside Gonzo's garage, and looked at the weird writing engraved on the Ark.  Turns out, they're primordial glyphs, an older and darker form of language which eventually developed into the eldritch-infernal glyphs which every sorcerer worth his zoth already knows.

Luckily, Jack knows a demon who can read primordial glyphs.  So, the pixie-fairy writes it all down on a scroll and they take it to the demon, while also taking the van, along with the Ark of the Covenant (it has an aura of gravitas) out of Gonzo's garage.

They come up to a cafe where the demon was sitting on the patio.  He asked TX-1138 to get him a drink while he translated what was written on the scroll.  Also, Gorra played a game of 17-dimensional chess with another cafe patron while the demon prepared the translation (Gorra won - I'll include the rules for 17-dimensional chess in another blog post next year).  

Here's the translation...

"This Ark contains a power so terrible and fearsome that the Old Ones' servants hid it away - Do Not Open!  Ever!!!  Furthermore, those in possession of the Ark of the Covenant are assumed to be its protectors, and must guard the Ark from revealing its secrets."

So, they stash the Ark away in another dude's garage, and decide to head to Casa Zoth.  The PCs got to the cantina early and saw that hardly anyone was there.  To kill time, they went across the street to a gun store.  A strip club was also in the vicinity.

After perusing, buying, and special ordering various weaponry and ammo, the adventures heard a commotion outside.  Three Federation soldiers were behind a barricade, shooting at a couple of civilians just inside the door to the strip club.

Quickly deciding to get involved and help the strip club patrons, TX-1138 waded near the Federation, believing that his former Federation droid body would allay their suspicions.  And he was right.  The soldiers didn't suspect he was a danger until TX-1138 open fired on them, wounding one.

Morningwood used magic missile, Gorra used his new hot-pink blaster (it was cheaper), and TX pulled out his bazookoid and rolled a crit.  Basically, that finished them off.  

The two guys in the strip club were grateful and bought the PCs a round, including TX's little cyber-demon companion growing out of his magical wound, named Downgrade.  "Tequila, por favor."  I still don't know why this little kuato guy is Mexican, but he is.

Once inside the strip club, they heard about a legendary stripper named Sausage Candy.  She's known far and wide as "the good luck lap dance" stripper.  They all got a lap dance, but only Gorra paid extra for the Champaign Room.  When he came out, there was a post-coital bonus waiting for him, and Sausage Candy had glittery sand all over her face.

As the PCs were leaving, they eavesdropped on two low-lifes and a tall fancy man wearing expensive robes and an impressive hat.  They were talking about a shipment coming in.  The fancy man paid the low-lifes with an ornate box, and both parties departed.  The scum went to Casa Zoth (TX and Morningwood followed) where they opened the box to find a sticky, organic, pink, fleshy thing.  The PCs had no idea what it was, but the low-lifes were pleased.

Meanwhile, Gorra shadowed the man with the fancy hat.  He went to a disused star-port (a nicer, newer, and much bigger star-port was recently built several months ago just a few streets away) and received a shuttle containing strange cargo - it looked like blue crystal.  

The blue crystal went into a truck which the fancy hat man and his little humonculous sidekick eventually (after some car trouble created by Gorra when he turned into sand and screwed with the power-coupling) drove outside The Settlements and to the Federation Wall about 10 miles away.

They know this because the PCs stole the shuttle after putting the dock workers to sleep.  Getting close enough for a visual, they saw the truck unload its cargo by Federation soldiers and then load it onto a hover-tank on the other side of the wall.  Then, the hover-tank went away from the wall, north... possibly to A'agrybah.  

Perplexed, the PCs considered what was happening and then their options.  Finally deciding to take the stolen shuttle over the orange labyrinth and into mysterious Qada'ath.

They landed safely and went out to explore.  The PCs were astounded to see that it looked like Shadowrun. 

Choosing to head downtown, they walked - eventually coming to a nighclub that was next door to someplace that manufactured that same blue crystal.  Although, in Qada'ath, they call it blue glass.  

Turns out, it's a drug [hey, it's 4:20 as I type this... the prophecy!].  What you do, and the PCs watched it happen, is break off a piece of blue glass from a glass sheet, melt it down, use a little creature (kind of like a leech), to suck it up, then you put the elongated creature on your skin and it secretes the drug right into your bloodstream.  And it gets you fucked up, like, tripping balls!

Gorra was brave enough to try it (curious to see how it affected a grog or sand-construct), so I had him roll.  He decided to roll his d20 along with a gilded die, and the gilded die came up a 1 (or possibly a 2).  The grog started to feel something, then foul smelling clay gushed out of his bottom - clearing the dancefloor.  Yeah, that was cringe, but hilarious!

By then it was almost 6pm and my GMing muscle felt like a wet noodle.  So, we ended the session there.

Thanks for reading, hoss!  There's a 1% chance I'll be staying up until midnight tonight.  It's now 4:34pm and I'm already yawning.  See ya on the flip side...

Happy New Year!


p.s. If you don't yet have your weekend badge for Venger Con III: Revenge of the OSRGrab it now!  You won't want to miss an entire weekend of old-school, OSR, and traditional RPGs in Madison, WI this July.

Friday, December 22, 2023

The Cha'alt Experience [Kickstarter]


It's been a little while since I've launched a Kickstarter campaign.  Well, now's the time to fund The Cha'alt Experience: Designing Worlds Like A Fucking Boss.

Here's the link.  It's already doing pretty well, but I hear that a bigger first day helps with the algorithm.  So, do what you can to pledge early, raise awareness, and spread that url around like manure.

So, what is it?  I've had such an amazing time creating Cha'alt (first as a world, then as a living, breathing, undulating campaign setting) that I wanted to share my experience, showing you what worked, what didn't, and how you can create your very own world... or simply adapt an existing world to you and your unique preferences.  

This is a subject I know well, so help me unleash my dark wisdom upon an unsuspecting universe and watch it tremble, quivering with involuntary glee!

If you have a question or comment, post something down below...



p.s. Cha'alt hardcover books are part of the backer rewards, but now's the time to start thinking about VENGER CON III: Revenge of the OSR - info and weekend badges

Sunday, December 17, 2023

Mysterious Qada'ath [Cha'alt campaign, session 3]


We're back again with another session report because our normally scheduled gaming would have put us too close to Christma'as...

Regardless, the holidays (and other unfortunate events) reduced our player pool to only three.  We had Nix the demon thief, Ha'agly Morningwood the pixie-fairy sorcerer, and TX-1138 the droid warrior.

After sounding the gong, which opened the way, we resolved downtime pursuits.  Ha'agly had fetched the spider-droid guy with his brain in the jar, Gerald, from that cave in the Vault of Tahqeez.  TX-1138 was fine-tuning his targeting computer, for which I gave him a point of Divine Favor so he could use that during combat.  And Nix had been trying to find out more about Tyrian Purple.  I didn't have a ton of news on that front, other than the hue symbolized a connection to the divine, which meant the Great Old Ones, in most peoples' eyes.

I wrote down what the pixie-fairy's crystal scepter could do.  It had one charge per day (again, we've instituted a new rule that will be forthcoming in the next Advanced Crimson Dragon Slayer update - Divine Favor can also be spent to get another use out of a limited or temporary special ability that one would normally have access to under more favorable circumstances).

The Gift

I informed the adventurers that Dante's Quick Stop had become a frequent hang-out of theirs, when they weren't laying low at their base of operations / whore house.  And the manager handed them a gift that had been left there, a black box with gold ribbon, bow, and letter attached.  The letter was from Lord Ada'alo, saying how much he appreciated the PCs' effort, that they were welcome in A'agrybah as his guests anytime they wished, and Ada'alo's tailor was able to turn the trimmings of that Tyrian Purple death-shroud into sexkerchiefs embroidered with the phrase "Eenta A'agrybah veelo den Cha'alt," which means... as A'agrybah goes, Cha'alt follows suit.

What is a sexkerchief, you ask?  A sartorial article, traditional to Cha'alt, for cleaning oneself, partner, possessions, toys, clothes, sheets, etc. after sex.  And being Tyrian Purple, they look really snazzy, regal, and in fact, holy.

Pleased with the appreciation and lavished with a present, the PCs got caught up to speed on what else had been happening in the region since their last adventure.  Apparently, a 3-mile section of the Federation's border wall was blown-up by a terrorist group (Cha'alt natives would call them freedom fighters).  This meant that Federation soldiers were picking people up, stop & frisk, interrogations, detainments, etc.  Speculation pointed to the Federation having a secret military base nearby.

Back at the PCs' quarters, Keke, an aqua-skinned elf prostitute, just got back from that secret Federation base where she'd been servicing the troops.  She came back to the whore house to get more instructions from her pimp.  The PCs informed her that they were now in charge of the house and prostitutes, but decided to make Keke the madame, who's really like a hooker manager that takes care of all the details.

TX-1138 and Keke went out to that secret base to get an idea of what was in store.  2 guards, remote controlled platform lowering into the base, shift change every 6 hours or so.  

After being reunited with the group, they went back to the Quick Stop and sought information from Dante on that alternative route into Qada'ath, allowing them to avoid the orange labyrinth.  He revealed that months ago, a man staggered into his convenience store, clutching in his bloody hand a key-card.  Before dying right there on the tile floor by the chilled spider-milk, the man said that this [indicating the key-card] got him into the undercity of Dha'arma.

The Undercity

Since Nix had found that locked entrance some time ago, the PCs decided to pounce on this idea.  They took the black van they confiscated from that failed robbery / execution to the site.  Unfortunately, the door was blocked by two sandworms having a territorial dispute.  It had been going on awhile, drawing a small crowd.  

Oh yeah, while they were driving, Ha'agly stared out the window at the endless dunes and had some kind of vision where he was moving through this black space giving way to fuchsia sinew and oozing tissue, an organic realm that felt endless, but also finite... even claustrophobic.  Eventually, he opened his eyes, realizing he was floating in a bacta-tank.  Seeing inside the tank's reflective surface and then looking down, it became clear that he was in Kra'ang's little pink, tendrily body.  A doctor looked at him, wrote something down on her clipboard, called for another doctor to look at him... then he was startled into wakefulness by the ululation of sandworms.

This was a continuation of the 1st session where Ha'agly's player rolled a critical-success on his lavender moon die of infernal destiny.  Somehow, his consciousness is connected to that of Kra'ang.

Up until now, we had neglected TH-1138's little Kua'ato dude that manifested from his wound last session in the vault.  "I would like a cerveza," he said.  I don't know why that popped in my head, but we went with it.  One of the spectators had a red and white cooler filled with beer, so the droid went over to ask if he could have one.  The guy said sure, and the little guy (who I think we were calling Downgrade at this point) guzzled that beer.

There was another bystander wearing rags, barefoot, and covered with eldritch glyph tattoos.  He told the PCs that they didn't belong here, that their consciousness didn't belong in those bodies, that they were parasites, of a sort, inhabiting these flesh vessels.  This harkened back to the start of the campaign when the PCs were actually members of the Two Jacks Detective Agency in 1929 Chicago, and went down into that tunnel below the mausoleum and into the cave with that massive device where each sat as the technology launched them into another dimension.

After chatting some more, and Downgrade volunteering nuggets of wisdom such as, "I was there... a thousand years ago, when the sandworms sucked the Great Old Ones' dicks," the tattooed guy (who had been a scribe for some prophet who died years ago in a rebellion against the Federation) offered to distract the sandworms for a price.  

5 gold pieces was paid and the guy ran off some distance jumping up and down while yelling.  I wrote-up a little d4 random table right there to determine the effectiveness of his plan...

  1. Gets eaten
  2. Sandworms don't budge
  3. Sandworms move, but they attack him
  4. Sandworms move; success

I rolled a 4.  It worked, and no one was harmed.  Then, the PCs went through.  Beyond the door was a long, dimly lit corridor.  It looked like the inside of some kind of factory, warehouse, or 3rd world prison.  Wasn't long before they were shot at.  TH-1138's blaster ran out of juice (he rolled a 1 on his attack), and they weren't getting any farther without taking some hits.  Most being 2nd level, they realized they wouldn't stand a chance and so retreated.  

Ha'agly, being so small and able to fly, stayed behind to surveil the area.  A guard put a couple of steel bars across the door, so even with a key-card, intruders would have a tough time getting in.  Several corridors each led to a locked door and more guards.  Eventually, Ha'agly slipped out through a tiny ventilation hole, reuniting with his companions.  

Disheartened, the party went back to their own base and saw that it had been ransacked!  Keke hid in a closet and told them that only an hour ago, Federation soldiers came in and turned the place over.

Pissed at the violation, the PCs went back to the Quick Stop where a player stimulated the GONZO Cha'alt X-Card.  I think that same player suggested that maybe Gonzo himself (from the Muppets) could be there.  I loved the idea and ran with it.  Gonzo was talking to Dante about the logistics of shooting himself out of a cannon in order to get into Qada'ath.  Dante was reminding him of airspeed ratios and that he'd probably never make it.

Nix interjected that the Great Old One hovering over the city would probably just grab him with a tentacle and eat Gonzo.  This got them talking more about the Federation and overheard plans.  Something big was coming!  So, the PCs asked Gonzo to come along, but not before the fuzzy purple whatever was able to find Gerald a new body [cue another player stimulating the POST-APOCALYPSE Cha'alt X-Card] the large, animatronic ferret from Willy's Wonderland that had been recovered after the bombs fell.  Yes, Nic Cage!

After outfitting Gerald and loading up on weapons, they went back to the secret Federation base.

Secret Federation Base

Nix used a lavender demon-moon die after failing his surprise rolls on the two guards, eventually killing them both and electing to level-up right then and there (the extra HP would definitely come in handy).

They went in and I'll montage this to save time... 
  • They released the prisoners (two of which were aquaintances of the PCs - Zara magenta skinned tentacled woman and Ninsk the elf with gold geometric patterns all over his skin).
  • Morningwood accidentally ricocheted onto a urinal cake and skidded around the room like he was in a pinball machine.
  • Rescued a woman who the Federation suspected was part of the terrorist / freedom fighter group Scarlet Dawn.
  • TH-1138 used his own lavender moon die of infernal destiny but rolled a failure, so he "borrowed" another player's Divine Favor fuchsia stone while that player had gotten up to get a beer from the fridge, and thankfully rolled a success, killing all but one of the guards - a guard who was about to take an experimental weapon off the wall and use it on the adventurers until the party's sorcerer blew him to smithereens with missile command.  
  • They took a bunch of weapons as firefights were breaking out all over the subterranean complex.  Eventually, everyone got out, but not before Nix took blaster fire to the chest, saved by his extra HP, and a few other NPCs were minorly damaged by stray lasers... but no one was killed.  
  • Finally, they got back in their van which the pixie-fairy had brought up to the platform that got stuck halfway (Federation soldiers had killed the power), and took off.

They put their black van (with artifact - see below) in Gonzo's garage.  Oh yeah, so the R&D experimental weapons armory contained the following things which the PCs took... a bazookoid (4d6 damage - armor piercing shells), hand-held photon detonators, and (at this point I stimulated... in my mind... a POP-CULTURE Cha'alt X-Card) revealed they had the Arc of the Covenant.  It was heavy, but the droid and another NPC were able to lug it up to their van.

They didn't have time to investigate beyond noticing that the Arc was hermetically sealed shut.  The rest went back to their base of operations which they decided to call The Chicken Coop, and hope Federation soldiers wouldn't track them down.

At that point, we only had 5 or so minutes to spare before the session's end-time.  We talked about what the PCs would do for their next bout of between-session downtime... Nix wanted to make contact with that Scarlet Dawn group, Ha'agly wanted to find a nearby property where they could hide if The Chicken Coop got exposed, and the blank section next to TH-1138 tells me that whatever he said wasn't clear, he forgot to tell me, or the Gods of Cha'alt just don't want me to know.

Aside from the continued playtesting of the Cha'alt X-Cards, which were back to being awesome as Hell - there's another mechanic that I was really psyched to try out.  As you can watch right over here it relates to the gilded dice of Candela Obscura, but I've deconstructed it and remade it into something different and 7-fold more awesome!  I can't say too much more about it because the big reveal will be tied to my next Kickstarter happening in a week or two, but I got some extremely valuable insight that's helped me tweak my design.  I'm really happy with it and in a few months from now, it will work itself into an Advanced Crimson Dragon Slayer update.

Well, thanks for reading!


p.s. If you don't already own the Cha'alt hardcover trilogy, now's your chance!  Also, get your VENGER CON III: Revenge of the OSR weekend badge hither and yon (I'll be asking for GM and player gaming wishlists next month, so don't delay).

Saturday, December 16, 2023

CHA'ALT Webcomic - Under Fuchsia Ska'ai


Yes, it's out!  You can get it here.

Going into this project, I never could have guessed all the time and energy that went into this thing.  Specifically, I'm talking about the phenomenal artwork of Jae Tanaka.  He did a masterful job!

This thing is broken into (for the most part) 13 "issues" that are each about one page.  Like adventures in a campaign, each issue is meant to be self-contained and also part of a greater story.

Thanks to the Kickstarter backers who helped make this thing possible!

Additionally, I released Cha'alt-GPT: Purple Islands Majesty (right over here).  It's scripted dialog between 3 players and a GM in the vein of something like Chat-GPT.  It's funny and weird and awesome!  The first Cha'alt-GPT title is a free PDF.

I've got another little gem on the way, but the upload hasn't yet been OKed by DTRPG yet (and I need to send it to backers this weekend).  Soon...



p.s. I've got Cha'alt hardcover books for sale - get 'em while they're gonzo!  And you'll be kicking yourself with your own tentacle if you miss gaming with us at VENGER CON III: Revenge of the OSR this July in Madison, WI.  Weekend badges on sale NOW!!!

Monday, December 11, 2023

Mysterious Qada'ath [Cha'alt campaign, session 2]


There's so much to talk about regarding yesterday's game [two days ago, now, because it took me awhile to find all the art + editing the blog post] - session two of the Mysterious Qada'ath campaign set in the eldritch, gonzo, science-fantasy, post-apocalyptic world of Cha'alt.

5 players, so we had one of our recurring players return for this session, but that still leaves 1 player unavailable due to family commitments.

The incoming player had his choice of classes since all of the 4 core were spoken for.  He decided another warrior would come in handy, and the current droid warrior convinced him to also be a droid... so now the adventuring party looks like this:  two droid warriors (Talis and TX-1138), a demon thief (Nix), pixie-fairy sorcerer (Ha'agly Morningwood), and half-orc priest (Drogan).

An important detail is that TX-1138 was an old Federation droid who'd been reprogramed and broke away from his former masters, eager to start a new life on Cha'alt.

Next, I talked about a small rule modification.  When a lavender moon die of infernal destiny has been rolled, that player may choose to level-up early.  If they do, they get max hit-points instead of rolling their hit-dice.  

Since the pixie-fairy sorcerer, Ha'agly, had used one of his lavender moon dice at the end of last session, he got to jump to level 2 ahead of the others (who would all level up at the end of this session because I just do every other session advancement... no XP, no milestones).

Then, I had everyone roll for their downtime pursuits as per this random table.  Drogan wanted to figure out high-tech healing so he could apply that Federation salve to non-organic lifeforms, like the party's two droid warriors.  Nix wanted to find an alternative way into Qada'ath, other than traversing the orange labyrinth, Talis and Ha'agly wanted to keep tabs on the Federation.  Everyone succeeded.  I took a couple minutes to describe what they'd accomplished since last time we met.

Now, onto the actual game!

The players were in the section of outer settlements where they made Tyrian Purple.  They saw a noble, surrounded by his men and droids sit cross-legged, watching the city... as if he were meditating.  Meanwhile, a midnight-elf woman and her pale female concubine were seductively dancing in the streets.

It turns out that Mistress Midnight and her female friend had sex with the makers of Tyrian Purple, jumping the line when it came to getting what she wanted dyed that particular shade, rather than the noble, Lord Ada'alo.  

The noble invited the PCs to his hover-skiff to discuss business.  He explained his need - his brother would be at the Annunciation where a new King of A'agrybah shall be chosen.  His brother intends to nominate a Federation oligarch.  There's a saying on Cha'alt, "Where A'agrybah goes, so goes Cha'alt."  Lord Ada'alo requires a sash of nobility dyed with Tyrian Purple in order to replace his brother and make his royal nomination.

This is definitely a thread I want to come back to before long.  In fact, it would be hilarious if the whole campaign was geared towards exploring and interacting with the city of Qada'ath... and then the PCs never actually set foot inside it.  Lol.

A couple plans were suggested.  Either get rid of the midnight-elf who wanted her pallid concubine dyed Tyrian Purple, or loot the vault of a dead sorcerer named Tahqeez who was rumored to possess another sash of nobility, just the like the one Lord Ada'alo was trying to have made.

Ada'alo knows the whereabouts and password that will present the vault of Tahqeez, so he planned to take the PCs to the location the next night.  As it happens, this night the assassination droid Talis agreed to work the nightshift at the outer settlement's Quick Stop.  The manager needed someone to find out who was stealing the porn off his magazine rack, and he offered all the Thirst Mutilator 2-liters he and his friends could drink as payment/reward.

Talis and Nix hung out at the Quick Stop while the others went to look for a base of operations in the outer settlements.  They found an abandoned house that was home to a pimp and three of his whores.  Colin stimulated the SLEAZE Cha'alt X-Card, so it was decided that a particular John (bald out-of-town merchant resembling Die Hard 3 era Bruce Willis named France Bacon) was going to be driving by the house very soon, looking for female entertainment.

Eventually, TX-1138 barged in and started blasting.  After trading blows, the pimp ran out of the house.  Texas Instruments followed, trying to shoot him in the back.  He rolled a 1, and a stray shot hit a Federation soldier out on patrol.  The Federation guy shot back, disabling TX-1138.  

Since TX-1138 looked like a Federation droid (and the droid claimed his targeting computer was malfunctioning), they repaired him, fitted him with a restraining bolt, and released him back onto the street.  

Meanwhile, several annoying customers came into the Quick Stop buying random stuff and asking stupid questions.  One interesting fellow came out of nowhere and didn't have any idea where he was... even the planet Cha'alt didn't ring a bell.  His name was Surge Danger Montgomery... and he will appear again sometime soon.

A mantis-folk was skulking back by the magazine rack, so Talis kept a watchful eye on him.  Suddenly, 4 hoodlums jumped out of a black van wearing ski masks and held the convenience store up.  The same player stimulated the GRINDHOUSE EXPLOITATION Cha'alt X-Card, so I described how one of the robbers had a suitcase that opened when it hit the ground after Talis' head-shot.  Inside the suitcase were gold coins, a thermal detonator, and a wallet belonging to Dweezil Jackson with Bad Motherfucker embroidered onto the front.  

Why was one of the robbers carrying such a suitcase?  One of the players asked that, and I didn't have a great answer... but I'm working on something.  Honestly, of all the sessions where we've playtested the Cha'alt X-Cards, this one was the least fruitful, but that's ok.  Not every mechanic (any mechanic?) works beautifully 100% of the time.  Hey, I'll take 90% any day of the week!

Once everything had died down that night, I did a screen-wipe that got us to the hover-skiff of Lord Ada'alo at dusk the next evening.  He took the PCs to one of those stone markers with the eye in the triangle that the PCs had encountered the previous Cha'alt campaign.  

From there, the PCs took the appropriate number and direction of steps and spoke aloud the 3rd moon of Cha'alt.  There appeared the entrance to Tahqeez' vault.  The stone double-doors were etched with a curious seal.  Glyphs on the outer edge spelled out the following (which only the sorcerer could read)...

"The Old Ones, in their infinite wisdom, have blessed us with many wonders, but the greatest of these is zoth."

Eventually, they decided to try splashing some zoth on the seal and it opened.  Inside, the caves and tunnels were dimly lit by tiny crystals covering the walls, floor, and ceiling of this subterranean vault.

From there, the PCs fought a few skeletons, giant scorpions, Nix got some alone time with a demon girl bathing in a pool of black liquid (securing for himself the high-five bonus), and they encountered an almost identical seal, but instead of the final glyph being zoth, it was "vyzvra'akna" which means unutterable darkness, frequently translated as cosmic horror.  Wisely, they decided against activating this seal.

The PCs found a brain in a jar attached to a spider droid.  This was Gerald whose body had been burned away by the sorcerer whom he served.  Gerald explained that the dead sorcerer Tahqeez had become a lich.  In exchange for the promise to help him find a new body, Gerald told them the lich's weakness.  

Finally, the adventurers bypassed a trap and ignored some strange shadows before reaching the jeweled sarcophagus of Tahqeez the sorcerer.  They opened the lid and saw the dead sorcerer.  Nix tried to yank its Tyrian Purple death-shroud, but the lich held on and then swung his magical sword wreathed in black flame.

I really should have made that last room either a bit deadlier (with additional monsters and such) or prepared with gizmos to deactivate high-technology.  A few shots of laser (I think both warrior droids had a critical hit) and Drago using one of his lavender moon dice to really spectral-blast the shit out of Tahqeez, the lich didn't last more than 2 rounds.

Once vanquished, the PCs recovered the loot that was there and even found a hidden compartment that contained a scroll - it was an explanation of that other seal with an invoice paperclipped to it for 1,000 gold pieces that was never paid.  Colin joked that the lich probably intended to "outlive" the seal maker and so he didn't have to pay.

That other seal, the "cosmic horror" one would have triggered a TPK if they'd splashed zoth upon it, shadow tentacles erupting throughout the vault, tearing everything alive to bloody shreds.  So, good thing the PCs avoided it.

The PCs really searched all over the place for that sash of nobility dyed Tyrian Purple, but all there was in that hue was the lich's death-shroud.  So, they gave their patron, Lord Ada'alo that, and kept the rest for themselves (in addition to each earning 36 zuleks from Ada'alo himself.  He acquired them from some recent off-world adventure)...

  • The lich's magical sword named Zorvra'an, which means black flame.  It does 2d6+1 damage (on a crit the sword does an additional 1d6 damage of obsidian fire that can only be put out by some sort of dispel magic or anti-magic field.
  • A Ring of Power +1 that grants the wearer a +1 to all their rolls (assuming the character wants it).
  • Elsewhere in the vault, the pixie-fairy scored a prismatic crystalline scepter (I've got a general idea about what it can do, but will save that for next game).  
  • 7 Lich sarcophagus gems 
  • The aforementioned 36 x 5 zuleks
  • TX-1138 started using an ivory demon's horn javelin +1 that had skewered him during the skeleton warrior attack.  If it wounds someone who survives, that wound becomes a little demon.  Since TX-1138 is a droid, I thought it appropriate to turn his wound into a little mechanical demon - will have to feature that next session as it'll be fully grown by then.

The hover-skiff took the PCs back to their whore house headquarters and they made plans before trying to find their way into Qada'ath next session...

Drogan wanted to talk to the Gods about his new power ring, Nix wants to find out more about Tyrian Purple, Talis wants to establish/remodel their "whore base," Morningwood is going to sweet talk Dante (manager of the Quick Stop) so he spills the beans about getting into the city, and TX-1138 was hoping to do some diagnostics on his targeting computer (I should have asked him about that since I'm not sure what he meant... we had just wrapped everything else up and I got distracted by parting words, blowing out the ceremonial candle, scribbling the last of my notes for that session, etc.

Oh yeah, the pixie-fairy's player texted me after the game to say they'd forgotten about Gerald, but he wanted to go back and recover the brain in the jar.  They never ended up using the lich's weakness since they had enough raw (and enhanced) firepower.

Colin prefers non-dungeon adventures, and he'll get his wish soon.  The intrepid adventures (they're still working out a group name for themselves) should reach Qada'ath by the 2nd half of next session... probably.  From then on, it'll be a series of urban-crawl sandbox shenanigans and Shadowrun type scenarios.  But I'll still adhere to the three pillars of exploration, social interaction, and combat. 

Because of the impending Christmas holiday, the next session will actually be this Saturday, December 16th... and then we'll be back again on Saturday, December 30th.

Thanks for reading, hoss!


p.s. I've got hardcover Cha'alt books for sale - details here!  And now's the time to get your weekend badge for VENGER CON III: Revenge of the OSRcheck out the convention page!

Monday, November 27, 2023

Mysterious Qada'ath [Second Cha'alt Campaign]: The Pilot


We're finally back in campaign mode.  It's weird, I thought that after the first Cha'alt campaign ended that I'd be relieved to go back to one-shots and mini-campaigns involving other RPGs... but nope.  Turns out I really missed both Cha'alt and the joys of campaign-style play.

So, back we are.  I really want to invest in this new campaign and use the material gathered during Mysterious Qada'ath in book 4 of the Cha'alt trilogy (which is why I've postponed kickstarting the 4th book until December of NEXT year).  

I spent the last 3 weeks compiling my thoughts, notes, random tables, lists, sub-systems, crude drawings, and mechanics into a fancy spiral-bound sketchbook that I got cheap at either Michael's or Hobby Lobby.  I'll be honest, I felt a little bit silly at the start, when I only had 3 pages of this giant blank book completed.  Like, why on earth would I need 160 pages?  That's so overkill.

But now, I've got about 20 - 25 pages filled and one session in, it makes sense.  If this sketchbook is going to be my campaign bible, I'm probably going to need at least 100 pages of it so I have everything all in one place.  The disparate in-game notes, adventure summaries, random tables, explanatory lore, and just all of it spread out over several notebooks, loose pieces of paper, and written on the back of envelopes was insane.  Everything pertaining to the Mysterious Qada'ath campaign is going in this sketchbook.

Anyway, where were we?  Oh yeah, session one, which Colin and I almost immediately started referring to as "the pilot."  

Even though I invited all 6 players, two last-minute cancelations got us down to 4... which I feel a little bad about only because another guy from my gaming past (and he played in exactly 2 of the previous campaign's 17 sessions) asked if he could join us for yesterday's game (with the caveat that he probably couldn't make it most Saturdays - I think because he has his kid(s) on the weekend) but I told him the table was full.  Which it was, until... yeah.  

Call it self-indulgence of the Game Mastering variety, but for whatever reason I wanted to tie the previous investigative horror two-shot into this new Cha'alt campaign.  So, there was a strange and possibly awkward segue from 1929 Chicago detectives to Cha'alt natives.  I'm actually going to incorporate that into the campaign later, so there's a method to the madness.  But from the players' perspective, it probably just seemed like a long way to go for the veneer of showy transitional competence.  

While the Two Jacks Detective Agency employees were enjoying a nice dinner at their favorite Chinese restaurant, the Golden Palace or something like that, they got a phone call telling them they'd been accepted into a coveted spot of this enigmatic game.  Meet at Swan Point Cemetery that very night.

The PC investigators went and saw a chartreuse effulgence [Venger reluctantly puts the thesaurus down] in a crumbling mausoleum.  They go in and see masked diggers breaking through the floor into a subterranean tunnel.  A masked overseer urges them down through the tunnel to an attendant maintaining some giant machine with built-in chairs in the middle of this cave.  The attendant serves them each a vial of glowing chartreuse liquid.  He hooks them up to the machine and then weird lights and sounds go off until everything went black and the PCs wake up in the desert under a fuchsia sky with twin suns.  Not as themselves, but other people... individuals who the players generated before we actually started playing.

So, 4 players and the 4 basic classes in Advanced Crimson Dragon Slayer.  Groups don't always take one of each when faced with such a choice, but they usually do.  And this case was no exception...

  • Drogan - half-orc priest
  • Nix - demon thief
  • Talis - droid warrior
  • Ha'agly Morningwood - pixie-fairy sorcerer

This session report is already running long, so I'm going to get right to it.

The new PCs are wandering the desert and soon come to a barrier, something like the Great Wall of China, except more high-tech.  I didn't actually plan for that, that just sort of came to me during play.  But I like it.  I mean, how else would the Federation get to have checkpoints where they could ask for your papers, frisk you, question, hassle, and insult you, and probably solicit a bribe?

I needed a pejorative slang word or phrase that the Federation would have for Cha'alt natives and didn't have anything at the tip of my mind, so I asked around the table.  Drogan's player came up with "sandies" which I really liked, so we went with it.  I'll need more before too long and was considering possibilities earlier today while shoveling snow off our driveway.  I was thinking about Police Academy and Mahoney being called "dirt-bag" by one or more assholes.  Then I came up with "silt-bag."  Sand-bag didn't seem to work, plus I'm already using sand for sandies.  So, now I've got two good ones for when Federation soldiers want to be offensive.

I assume woke SJW GMs and players don't spend time coming up with in-game offensive terms, but they should.  They really, really should.  Being purposefully offensive is part of the human experience.

Anyway, the Federation checkpoint was nearby.  The party's pixie sorcerer flew over the wall to survey the area.  Just a couple of workers on a lunchbreak, two Federation guards and a third in a sand-speeder about 100' away.

Two other NPCs were in front of the party, being subjected to Federation scrutiny.  Eventually, they went through, after one of the soldiers took the NPC's crystal-rimmed jaccard (everyone laughed at the in-joke because such a weird device surfaced multiple times in the previous Cha'alt campaign).

Next, it was the PCs, minus the pixie-fairy who was still flying out of sight.  The Federation were about to confiscate the assassin-droid's retractable vibro-blade when the droid instinctively decided to blast the shit out of him, instead.  After seeing that violence was the way to go, Nix took his twin-daggers and stabbed the other Federation soldier in the back, killing him.  

The third was in their sand-speeder, but the droid aimed and took his shot at Disadvantage because of distance.  He managed to hit and did quite a bit of damage, so all three were dead before the second round.  They gathered up blasters and valuables, got in the sand-speeder, asked the two NPCs if they wanted to come along for the ride (they did), and started heading south to the mysterious city of Qada'ath.

Before reaching Qada'ath, they arrived at a settlement filled with tents and adobe-like structures.  They parked and searched around for answers, local intel, and a cool drink.  I believe one of the NPCs mentioned that getting inside the city would be tricky since it was surrounded by something called the orange labyrinth.

The PCs found a cantina and put the word out that they were looking for work.  The bartender put them in touch with someone at the outer settlement's Quick Stop convenience store who had a job for the adventurers.  Assassinate a politico from Qada'ath who was making life hard for the outer settlements and who was only going to be here for a limited time.

While Talis did the lion's share of finding gainful employment, Nix eavesdropped on cantina patrons to see what was happening.  Turns out that a swanky caravan had just slithered into town in order to pick up some purple.  "Purple... what's that?" Nix inquired.  He found out that the outer settlements was famous for it's manufacture of something called Tyrian purple - a unique shade of purple fiercely desired by lords, ladies, aristocrats, nobles, sorcerers, royalty, and priests.  For many, Tyrian purple was worth more than gold!

Meanwhile, more Federation troops moved into the outer settlements area where the PCs parked their sand-speeder.  Some thief had taken the communicator belonging to one of the dead Federation soldiers.  So, Feds were questioning people, getting leads, rounding up the usual suspects, putting up wanted posters, etc.

At the Quick Stop, the two NPCs thanked the adventurers for their help and hoped they'd all eventually meet up again in Qada'ath but decided they couldn't follow them down this path of assassination-for-hire.  They were going to find their own way into the city.

Nix already used his natural demon ability of persuading people to do things in his best interest for the day, but I ruled (and this is going to carry forward henceforth in the campaign... and beyond) that a point of Divine Favor can also be spent to (re)use a limited special ability that had already been expended.

So, the PCs are between going in and blasting this little pink squidgy guy named Kra'ang or convince him to hire the PCs to be his new bodyguard / entourage, thus getting them into the city and living on easy street.  

Nix uses his persuasion to get past the guard and into the administrative building, which they do.  They barge in and start talking to Kra'ang who rides around in a "convertible dalek" surrounded by bodyguards.  Talis does his best to convince Kra'ang that he's the best assassin droid this side of the galaxy.  And Kra'ang says, "Prove it."  So, Talis shoots Kra'ang in the face, nearly killing him.

It was such a perfect set-up that no one, even Kra'ang looking back on the situation, could hate on the assassin droid for taking the shot.

As the PCs dealt with the bodyguards, they heard a flushing sound (wondering aloud if someone had been in the restroom the entire time).  Talis distracted one of Kra'ang's goons to get a free shot, but missed.  All three other PCs killed a bodyguard, and the last one left was on Drogan, but he missed, and had already used his Divine Favor.  So, he had a choice (assuming he didn't want to just wait another round)... he could Fuchsia Burn or stimulate a Cha'alt X-Card.

He chose the "HUMOR" Cha'alt X-Card and stimulated it, suggesting something with the toilet flushing since that had already been established and would be ripe for additional humor.

I could have said, "Ok, let's put that on the back burner while I deal with the combat at hand."  As you can see, the GM isn't forced to create something in that specific moment when a Cha'alt X-Card is stimulated... he's well within his rights to take his bloody time and let the Cha'altian trope inspire him on his own terms - something which many critics don't take into consideration.

However, whenever possible, I like to combine the various story strings together, tying them into a narrative knot of interconnection.

So, Drogan uppercuts the last bodyguard who slipped on the neon-pink toilet water where Kra'ang was sitting in his convertible dalek.  Boom, cracked skull!  But that flushing sound had been Kra'ang escaping somewhere.  Only one person in the party was small enough to fit down there - Morningwood the pixie-fairy.  So, he went down on the urging of the PCs.  I had him roll to not drown in the neon-pink toilet water, but the rolls were not kind.  After exhausting the last Divine Favor, the other players convinced Morningwood's player to roll a die corresponding to the lavender moons of destiny.  

"This is exactly why the infernal destiny dice were invented," Colin stated.  And I could not disagree.  So he rolled with one of my specialty custom-painted dice that I had on hand for such occasions, and rolled a motherfucking SIX!  He made it through, landing inside a low-ceilinged smooth black pod; Kra'ang at the miniature controls.  Being a pixie-fairy sorcerer, his bow and arrow only did one point of damage, so I had him roll a d4 to determine how many times he shot him before Kra'ang managed to press the eject button and send Morningwood flying out of the ship.  FOUR!

After being ejected, Kra'ang's black ship went over the orange labyrinth and into the city, just below the hovering Great Old One that covered Qada'ath.  Now, because those moments in a character's life are meant to reverberate (creating outward ripples that keep going), I have something special planned between Kra'ang and Morningwood, based on that critical-success of the destiny die.  But that won't be revealed until next session.

Before the end, the other PCs ransacked the administrative building and then went into hiding among the outer settlements.

Now, there was one last thing to do.  I came up with something for downtime between sessions over here, and wanted to give it a go.  Below is what each PC chose...

  • Nix wanted to find a secret way into the city, which he had overheard was a possibility.
  • Drogan sought understanding of high-tech medicine used my the Federation [after the last fight and Talis was wounded, we learned/decided that priests using their supernatural gifts can't heal droids].
  • Talis wants to hunt the hunters, taking the seek-and-destroy to the Federation, instead of waiting for the Federation to get the PCs.
  • Ha'agly Morningwood also wanted to keep an eye on the Federation and find an alternative into the city... so, basically assisting Nix.

At the beginning of next session in 2 weeks, I'll roll to see how well everyone did, which will push the story forward.  As Roger suggested in a comment on that blog post, it's a way of making narrative sense why a certain PC isn't around if that player can't show up for whatever reason.  Let's say that Nix's player can't make it.  Well, his search for that hidden way into Qada'ath is a perfect reason why he's not with the rest of the group for the subsequent adventure.

At the end of the day, we should ask ourselves... was PSYCHOCOSM achieved?  And if the answer is yes, the game was demonstrably successful because immersion is key to roleplaying games and PSYCHOCOSM, the willed blurring of lines between fantasy and reality, is key to immersion.  It's a process you can plan for, hope for, set yourself up for success, but first and foremost, it's about you.  PSYCHOCOSM is in your tender hands... or tentacles; manifested by your willpower.

That's all, folks!  It did feel like the pilot episode for a new TV show - airing now on skin-a-maxxx!  So, I'm looking forward to seeing how everything develops.  So far, all the groundwork put into the ruleset (Advanced Crimson Dragon Slayer) and world (all 3 Cha'alt books + the previous campaign) and new stuff (all my sketchbook stuff, downtime thing, etc.).

I do want to take the time right now to WARN MYSELF OF POTENTIAL IMPENDING DOOM if I have too many wild threads loose and going all over the place.  I have a tendency to do that, I've noticed, so want to consciously reduce the amount of threads and tie up some loose ends (at least to the point where I know where they are, where they're going, and closure is within reach) before introducing a whole new bundle of open-ended, anything goes story threads.  It's fun to pile on more (like buying new miniatures before you've painted the ones you already own), but I won't allow myself to be reckless about it.

Now, we put it all together and see what works.  We're running this campaign on a session by session basis, but also per campaign-length stride.  It's not about anything as abstract and unattainable as "perfection" but what kind of remarkable juice we can get out of each momentary squeeze. 

Thanks for reading,


p.s. Still a few more days to take advantage of our BLACK FRIDAY SALE - details here.  Don't have your weekend badge for VENGER CON III: Revenge of the OSR yet?  What are you waiting for, hoss?  Game with the best!  info and badge acquisition here.

Friday, November 24, 2023

Downtime, Between Adventures


This is a topic that many game designers and GMs have tackled before, but I had a few ideas and wanted to get them down to see how they looked from a distance greater than inside my own head.

Since I'm about to embark upon the second Cha'alt campaign, mysterious Qada'ath, I'm trying to push myself to even greater heights!

At the close of a session (assuming it's not a cliff-hanger where we pick-up right where we left off last session), PCs tell me what they intend to pursue.  If anyone wants to spend their downtime helping another PC, that pursuit will get Advantage (you'll see what I mean later).  

If what they're trying to accomplish is feasible, I write it down and wait until next session... probably giving each pursuit a little think in the meantime.

Next session, we start by addressing whatever the PCs were pursuing.  They each roll on the following random table to see if they were successful or not.  As mentioned, if a PC was attempting to do something and another PC helped that come to fruition during his own downtime, the roll gets Advantage (roll twice, take the higher result).

After the rolls, we talk about what happened, briefly weaving a collective story that makes sense based on the circumstances.  This will undoubtedly affect individual sessions and the overall campaign.

Downtime Pursuits

  1. Failure + complication, setback, or reversal
  2. Failure
  3. Partial success
  4. Success
  5. Success
  6. Success + fringe benefit

My hope is this will be a good opportunity to move the campaign forward, allowing PCs to get small things done between sessions, while also providing additional characterization and background color for the world of Cha'alt.

Thanks in advance for any comments, critiques, and feedback!


p.s. For the next few days, the Cha'alt hardcover book is enjoying a BLACK FRIDAY SALE.  Details here.  Also, get your badge for the best independent OSR, old-school, and traditional RPG convention in the Midwest.  Yeah, I'm talking about VENGER CON III: Revenge of the OSR.

Tuesday, November 21, 2023

Black Friday CHA'ALT Hardcover Sale!!!


$25 Cha'alt hardcovers... WTF?!?

Cha'alt?  Yes, it's my own eldritch, gonzo, science-fantasy, post-apocalypse campaign setting with humor, sleaze, pop-culture, and grindhouse exploitation!  Fully compatible with any RPG resembling D&D, but definitely of the old school renaissance.

Basically, if you combine bits and pieces of Dark Sun, Carcosa, Tatooine, Dune, Mad Max, Beastmaster, and Blake's 7, you'll have some idea what Cha'alt is like.

I still have a significant number of Cha'alt hardcover books (I originally ordered two-fucking-thousand of them after seeing how well that blue maze book sold just the year before Cha'alt came out).

Incidentally, I've heard from dozens of people over the years that Cha'alt and its Black Pyramid are superior to Maze of the Blue Medusa.

So, without further ado, the lowest price Cha'alt ever!  This deal is only good until the last day of November...

$20 + $5 shipping/handling (within the United States).  If you live outside the USA, the shipping is going to be $30.  Sorry, but it's super expensive and I can't just eat that cost.

You get a signed and numbered book along with the PDF (if you don't already own it).

Paypal me the funds at

Got a question, just ask!


p.s.  Have summer gaming plans?  Want to game with Venger Satanis, High Priest of Kort'thalis Publishing and Archduke of the OSR?  Attend VENGER CON III: Revenge of the OSR this July in Madison, WI.  A whole weekend of nothing but old school, OSR, and traditional RPGs.

Thursday, November 9, 2023

Cha'alt Primer


Sure, I've drilled-down the aesthetics of Cha'alt, the tropes that make the campaign setting what it is, thanks to my latest (free PDF) product Cha'alt X-Cards, but what about general knowledge about the world for noobs?

I was inspired by a Twitter post of this Hyperborea Primer, basically a bullet-point outline of what the native PCs would already know about where they lived.

This is one of those simple, useful RPG things that most people (including myself) just don't do.  I'm now kicking myself for having neglected it.  So, without further ado...

Cha'alt Primer

All player-characters who've lived on Cha'alt for at least several months will have general knowledge about the world they inhabit.  Consider the following general knowledge.

  • The word Cha'alt means triumph by way of suffering; the kind of victory that is only achieved after long periods of struggle and hardship.
  • Cha'alt's terrain is predominantly radioactive, inhospitable desert dotted with many small, tribal settlements and a few major cities, the largest of which is A'agrybah, closely followed by Kra'adumek... city of the purple, alien, demon-worm (both located in the northern hemisphere).
  • Currency in urban areas is predominantly the talon, a triangular metallic coin.  Three talons equal one gold piece, which is the standard currency outside of cities (the Dome City uses colorful plastic shapes).
  • The sky is fuchsia, turning deep-purple at midnight.  Cha'alt has twin suns and seven lavender moons, each having its own lunar cycle and are said to influence the destiny of men.
  • The most valuable substance on Cha'alt is a viscous, glowing, chartreuse ichor known as zoth, and is the actual blood of Great Old Ones who've died - many perishing in the apocalypse that occurred 80+ years ago.
  • The humanoid culture of today has been built upon millennia of demon civilizations that existed before humanoids "evolved" from primitive creatures, raised by tentacles of the Great Old Ones.  Self-interest, for example, is not just a commonplace notion or "necessary evil," but something to take pride in or celebrate, just as Cha'alt natives take pleasure in the cruel treatment of those different than themselves.
  • Zoth is the ultimate substance, a super-science liqueur of transcendence.  It fuels magic, heals the sick, those afflicted with curses, and supernatural alterations.  It is raw, primal energy.  When refined, zoth is key to travel amongst the stars by folding space and granting access to the multiverse.  It's a religious sacrament, allowing brief communication with one or more Gods.  Drinking it is both an aphrodisiac for women and "power potion" for men.
  • Crystals can be found all over subterranean tunnels and caves of Cha'alt, as well as, inside dimension-hopping pylons.  They are said to have collected the soul-energy of departed Old Ones, giving them spiritual properties.  However, the Federation uses these crystals to power their starships and high-tech weaponry.
  • The Federation have repeatedly tried to colonize Cha'alt, but the natives have always proved resistant, forcing the Federation out when too many off-worlders try to steal the planet's natural resources.
  • Even though Cha'alt has never been fully colonized, due to weakness, greed, and moral corruption, shadow politicians have instituted enough Federation-backed puppet regimes in order to change societal norms, culture, and living conditions.  Various aspects of the Federation cannot be questioned or criticized.  Mandatory vaccines allegedly preventing the outbreak of extraterrestrial contagions are disseminated quarterly.  On certain days, water is rationed, people are forbidden from worshiping the Old Ones, trafficking with demons, gambling, eating meat, or imbibing worm-wine and other hallucinogenic drugs.  In their place, State-sanctioned orgies of unrestrained sexual freedom and drugs specifically engineered for their effects of apathy on Cha'altian nervous systems (such as Fuchsia malaise) have pacified the masses.  
  • A plurality of humanoids worship the Great Old Ones (Yog-Soggoth being the most prominent), though each God has his own unique vision for Cha'alt, if and when he should awaken.  But nearly as many people worship the New Gods, eschewing the ancient ways of infernal individualism and familial bloodlines for collectivist revolution subservient to The State who prefer alien culture (lots of weird sex stuff) and technology over sorcery and esotericism. 
  • A lot of strange things happen on Cha'alt, which has led to various paradigms attempting to describe reality on this particular world - what is reality and how does it functions?  Leaving many to speculate that perhaps Cha'alt isn't real at all but some kind of holographic super-simulation or dream within the collective imagination of a Demon-God pantheon?
  • The city of Qada'ath, known as the tangerine veil under fuchsia sky, is a rising metropolis built upon the secret of organic, arcane flesh-technology or flesh-tech known only to the civil authority of Qada'ath.  The tangerine veil is currently the fastest-growing city in Cha'alt's southern hemisphere.

Thanks for reading and sharing.  If you'd like to comment, I value your feedback.


p.s. Attend VENGER CON III: Revenge of the OSR this July in Madison, WI.  Details about the basest RPG convention and grabbing your weekend badge is here.  Want your own Cha'alt trilogy in luxurious hardcover?  There you go.  

Friday, November 3, 2023

Divine Fallacy [random table]


As the video shows [the video], I've decided to make a random table that better replicates actual creation.  When human beings attempt to play God, it usually goes awry.

We tend to think of things logically and from a top-down perspective.  What's the shortest route between two points?  But human beings, emblematic of creation, doesn't work like that.  We are not machines to be programed, hacked, and placed within the greater whole, nor are we beasts of flesh driven by desire, chemical reactions, and hormones.  

Not only would this go great with my eldritch, gonzo, science-fantasy, post-apocalypse, humor, sleaze, pop-culture, and grindhouse exploitation campaign setting CHA'ALT, but similar RPGs and settings.

Roll on the following table to determine just how things have gone pear-shaped...

Substitute Gods

  1. Bureaucracy!  Whatever it is needs an extra layer of complication to circumvent.  
  2. As it stands, the thing lacks a true connection to the divine.  It's missing God.
  3. Too religious; it's just overly preachy or self-flagellating or superstitious.
  4. Byzantine to the point where obscurity and labyrinthine misdirection become the point.
  5. Humanoids are not islands, we are social creatures, as well.  It lacks any sense of community.
  6. It's driven by social contagion.  Rather than performing its primary function, it has become merely a social outlet.
  7. This thing fails to account for self-sabotage.  It's become an exercise in repeatedly kicking oneself in the nuts.
  8. Three steps forward, one step back.  Constant progress is impossible.  If things are always "getting better" that usually means that somewhere, somehow things (big, important things) are actually getting worse.
  9. Self-loathing.  It's easy to forget that we are sometimes our own worst enemy.  Most people fail to see that we hate ourselves and it shows.
  10.  The Gods secretly hate us.  They never grant a benefit without taking something else away from us.
  11. Everything comes down to sex.  If it can be used to fuel our lust and degeneracy, it will be.
  12. Nature curves - eventually, ideas, concepts, and principles in favor of "A" will, one day, be ferociously against "A."
  13. People are motivated by fear - whatever they're most afraid of will soon become their master.
  14. High levels of intelligence and wisdom are rare.  It's more likely that a calculation error was made at the very beginning... making the entire thing erroneous. 
  15. Betrayal!  Just as Jesus had Judas and Caesar had Brutus, so too will someone towards the top come along and betray the group or just the leader.  Either way, one person's actions will be the thing's undoing.
  16. Progress moves too quickly creating a slippery slope... what seemed impossible at the beginning is now all too real.
  17. It goes too far - the initial concept was good, but it managed to throw the baby out with the bathwater.
  18. The old ways are best - but not always!  Sometimes, actual progress is at hand, yet conventional wisdom and/or conservative values simply get in the way.
  19. Humanoids like to put their faith in false Gods; the idols of high-tech, science, artificial intelligence, or anything that tries to prove something one way or the other turns out to also be a bad idea more often than not.
  20. Roll twice!

Well, there you have it, folks.  A random table that both replicates the divine and human attempts to mirror the divine.  Basically, it's a miracle the human race has survived at all.

Thanks for reading,


Tuesday, October 31, 2023

Cha'alt X-Cards


Cha'alt X-Cards have arrived!!!

The idea happened, we playtested it, and now it's a thing on DriveThru (for FREE)...

Here's the PDF on DriveThruRPG.

As a friend on Facebook said, instead of "No spiders," it's more like "More sleaze, please!"

Imagine empowering players to make the game more awesome just by holding up a card - without disempowering the Game Master.  

This is a way of creating Cha'altian sessions that could all too easily revert back to vanilla D&D.  I know... I created Cha'alt and even my imagination sometimes falls back into the comfortable rut of standard fantasy tropes.

And remember, you don't have to use Cha'alt itself to benefit from those Cha'altian vibes.  Use Cha'alt X-Cards with Lamentations of the Flame Princess, Dungeon Crawl Classics, Neon Lords of the Toxic Wasteland, or any game that values eldritch, gonzo, science-fantasy, post-apocalypse, humor, sleaze, pop-culture, and grindhouse exploitation!

In my estimation, this is even bigger than forever improving D&D combat with Crimson Escalation... this is a concept that takes the hobby of roleplaying games in exciting and new directions.  

Fiction first... for real!

It's a free PDF, so I hope you give it a try.  I'm currently busy custom-making Cha'alt X-Cards for friends, fans, and supporters of my work.



p.s. Cha'alt hardcovers are here.  Details and weekend badges for VENGER CON III: Revenge of the OSR are here.  And if you want a tentacle-made set of Cha'alt X-Cards by yours truly, paper is $15 and wood is $20 + $5 for shipping for one or multiple sets: