This Blog 2019, Goals and Grommets

Inspired by the 2019 goals post over at Charles's Dragons Never Forget Blog, I figured I would do the same thing. 2018 right around ...

Friday, April 24, 2015

Creating New things, The closest a person can get to the roots of our hobby.

Lets talk about role playing games, or not.
There has been a lot of ground covered about RPG's in the past 40 some years. This subject has spawned millions of words , and an untold number of ideas viable and otherwise. And it continues.

I read some blogs regularly, every day I check in on Dyver's,The Tao of D&D, Jeff's and a few others, every day I get an injection of ideas. Sure we go over the same ground a lot but much of the time we try at least to put a new slant on things. (links are in my blog roll on the left margin of this page.)

So why? Is the real game that Arneson / Gygax birthed to us all those years ago the game of constantly reinterpreting the idea of “role playing?”

We have people still playing white box D&D, under the same hobby umbrella as folks doing free form small group larps. Then there is everything between.
Yet the hobby is not satisfied.

I wrote a post the other day about my current projects, all of which are RPG's. Why?
I Could happily play AD&D 2nd ed, forever and not bother with all this writing blogging game design crap.

This goes deep into the history of the games, the roots of the form.
No matter what Wizards along the Coast want us to think, there are zero reasons to buy their stuff, other than to have the new stuff. Which I admit has it's own kind of appeal. I like new books and new art and all that just like a lot of other people. At the end of the day however I could throw all of my 5th ed books in the trash and go back to whatever I was playing in Jr high school. No offense to the rock-solid fans of 5th ed but it's nothing special. Nothing that hasn't been done before.

This is the ultimate do it yourself hobby because it started as a do it your self hobby. If you get a chance look over PDF copies of the of “Strategic review.” That forefather of Dragon mag looks and reads like some guys publishing a zine out of a garage, because it basically was. The only thing that sets those progenitors of this hobby apart from us is 40 years of self publishing technology and that their company was eventually as success, in other words eventually made money. Things do change when an idea becomes a money making idea, then a big business.

It wasn't talent, it wasn't some unfathomable foresight or Genius. Those publishers were doing-then exactly what we are doing now. Taking the games they were playing (war-games) and experimenting with the form. (What if the hero’s went off into dungeons on their own?)

Being born from experimentation is what makes role-playing games so infinitely malleable, breakable and hack-able. The form is from it's roots open to interpretation. When someone (like me) or hopefully a person more talented than me sits down at a computer and says, “I want to write my own RPG to do this Role playing thing exactly the way I want it.” 

That person is acting exactly in the spirit of the original game creators. There is nothing more “Old school*” than writing original material for a game or writing a whole new game which the author and the players will love.
I do it, a lot of other people on the internet do it, and heck even Wizards OtC do it. ( I mean D&D ed 6 will out when? 2019?)

Strategic Review issue 1.1 c.1975

So if you want to be an old school gamer, like really want to? 
"send in any brief items you have -- either news or articles or material for the other columns. Thanks!"

Leave questions and comments in the  fetid trunk of the El-Camino below.
Thank you for reading

* I don't pretend to know what old school means in today's context. It seems to be a point of debate, a debate I don't want to get involved in. It's not really the point of this piece.

Thursday, April 23, 2015

Started to play a game:

Then it turned into a 2 hour discussion of cars we used to own and how we destroyed them.
It was a win.
Yeah I had that........once upon a time

Monday, April 20, 2015

Current projects & time passing:

In no particular order here are the RPG things I have on my plate right now.

  • The  Article for Dyvers "Can't we all just get along" project:
    • I have an idea what I want to write and a few notes now I need to write it. Then read it and write it again. I may be the only one doing game system type stuff for this project though I'm not sure of that, either way it has to be good, cause everyone else will be doing great stuff.
  • Aleria The RPG: 
    • I have not talked about this here yet, but for the record I am in the middle of building a system exclusively for my campaign. Based off My AAEE game only  taken a bit more seriously, I have quite a bit written, with  quite a bit more to go. I guess the reason I have not talked all that much about it here is because I don' think some of the ideas in the game are quite ready for prime time yet. To be honest this is and has been for a while my primary project.
  • Nova 74:
    • The game of 70's crime cinema is still thing, I need to keep play testing it. My goal is that it will show up here as a free pdf someday.
    • Nice thing is the  play test group is about to get embroiled in a turf war involving drug dealers, the mob, bartenders, and a pimp with a heart of gold.
  • AAEE:
    • Is essentially done. I printed 5 copies off lulu gave them to the players, its a wrap. While It needs to be laid out, needs to be edited, and all that stuff that makes a product a real product, that's beyond the scope of what I wanted to do with AAEE. The  PDF you can download from here is as good as it will ever get.
    • AAEE (the town): Is a second part of the game that allows players to build a town with the money they pull out of the  various dungeons they  die in. It is a fun Idea that I need to  work on more. Right now its only in it's infant stages.
  • Aleria the campaign:
    • I'm running my  AD&D 2nd ed campaign on Friday nights over roll 20. It will stay as a 2nd ed game until I can get my own game done.  I do prep on Thursday nights.. so it kind of works out for me.
  • A Corpse Requires no Space in the Void:
    •  I decided to stat working on a strange Sci-Fi game. This will be a side thing, I literally only have that title and this picture. I honestly don't know where this will go if anywhere. I do know I like the idea of creating a kind of smash-mouth, pulp adventures style sci-fi game, more "Thunder the Barbarian" than "2001." 
    • I'm also thinking of "galactic hex crawl" ala star-trek style exploration. move into a new sector roll some stuff adventure...
  • I'm playing in my friend Jay's 5th ed game.
    • Orin is a level 15 fighter and is about to get killed at the gates to Phandalen which we have been running like bosses for the past couple months.
  • I'm playing in my friend Otto's the 5th ed game.
    • Teolis the bard is brand new and still finding his footing in the  party. I'm not sure how long he can last but he plays a fucking magic drum and  a flute. If that's not a bad ass I don't know what is. True story, he was making "death saves" in his first game. Also a true story the  5th ed bard is basically flimsy a wizard with a flute. 

Finally about time passing:
On the  21st  I turn 40. This was the month by which when I started this blog in April of 2013 I wanted to have a game book, written, edited, art purchased, laid out, and out there in the wild.
It was a lofty goal, I knew that at the time, the tight scheduled has never bothered me, I know how to work with  time.

My goal was never to make money, in fact I planned on loosing  money, I had that set aside. Nor was my goal to have a hit game out there, I simply wanted something with my name on it out in the community that I could say..look I did that!
No excuses. I took my eye of shards and focused on AAEE which is a very fun game but in my mind inferior, It was my decision to do so.

That was my goal 2 years to make, "Shards of Thimbral" happen. It did not happen. Which is to say I have failed to achieve my goal.
An actual published game by me is never going to happen, I'm simply not going to  pursue it anymore. I have a wife, family, friends, job, and a home that require that time and energy. I have personal reasons to believe the next 10 years are going to be the busiest of my life. Unfortunately there is going to be progressively less room or this kind of thing.

I have met and talked to a large number of interesting and smart people. Conversation I would not  trade back for anything. I have seen the past 2 years of community upheavals and controversies come and go. I have in fact learned a lot about the online RPG community I never knew, some of which is positive, a lot of which was not. I have written a bunch of stuff that had nothing to do with my original goal. I guess that's how it goes.

So where does that leave this blog?
I'm not sure.
I was prepared yesterday to close the doors here. Say thank you and move on.
Today I'm not. I have all that stuff listed above going on in my head I would like to share it, and share it I will.

I'm not going anywhere.

If you are a regular reader and I think there might be like three of you now, (I thank you.) I don't plan on closing this blog but I also don't plan on posting as much RPG design stuff moving forward.
Lets see what this becomes over the next few months then I will make a final decision on the Dust Pan.

I don't want to leave on a down note, because down notes suck fat donkey nuts.
This week I have off, I'm going to try (try) to get NOVA 74 cleaned up enough to offer a free play test PDF by the weekend for any one who wants to grab it.

-Thank you for reading:
Please leave any questions or comments in the basket of angry vipers below.

Thursday, April 16, 2015

The demonic contagion... (a mini quest in 7 charts)

"The demon started the  contagion whose cure can only be found in the book which you will gain access to only once the demon has been banished."

If you are reading here it's a safe assumption you have been here.
If not you should.
Anyone who does a blog that has some random charts for RPG's is bound to run into very high standard set by "The Dungeon Dozen." For all the right reasons to, that blog is awesome, so go check them out.

The only thing I have never seen there and, I may have missed something are charts linked to become something other what they are individually.. so...

Here for you today I offer seven quick 1d12 charts that could if you were a desperate misanthrope (much like myself) be strung into the mini quest from the title of this blog.

Use the  charts to Fill out a mad lib:

The demon started a contagion of ______________________________. Which can only be cured by __________________. Behind the door that __________________________, You may find the book ___________ which holds ____________________________, and the knowledge you seek. This will only occur once the demon _________________________, is banished by ________________.

So if for example I rolled this:
3, 6, 5, 2, 10, 8 , 3

The demon started a contagion of Distended stomachs ripe with maggots.
Which can only be cured by the  sacrifice of lambs.
Behind the door that is crafted from one giant slab of coiled terracotta, embossed with  fake
Wood grain. You may find the book whose cover is made of living worms,which holds the obscure recipes for a nectar of unparalleled flavor and temptation, and the knowledge you seek. 
This will only occur once the demon who is An obese human with a large gibbering mouth in its stomach, is banished by an arrow tipped with quartz.

As a Gm you have every thing you need to run this goofy side quest of book finding and demon banishing.

A bunch of quick 1d12 charts for strange things.
Symptom of contagion
Cure for Contagion
puffy red itching eyes
Must be rubbed with  pure quartz
Hands and feet swell painfully
Wormwood beverage
Distended stomach  ripe with maggots
Tincture of snail mucus and shell
Rash, itching rash
Bath in mud from holy spring
Loosing fingernails
Cured by flame
One horridly swollen eye.
The sacrifice of a lamb
Extreme fever  & Hallucinations
Venom of an asp.
Giant Bee honey
Black Welts all over body
Ground balisk scales.
The  shakes and tremors             
Squid ink and opium tea
Horrid odor, attracts insects
Blessing with lavender
Partial paralysis
Electric shock
You examine the  Door:
It is coated in a sheet of unnatural ice.
The doors wood grain swirls merge into the shape of runes and arcane markings.
A long  blood stained blade hangs in front of this  door, it appears the blade was once
Part of a deadly trap which had been tripped sometime in the past.
The metal hinges and handle feel very warm to the touch.
The door is crafted from one giant slab of coiled terracotta, embossed with  fake
Wood grain.
The door is actually a giant book, stood up in an open passage.
A skeleton is chained spread eagle to the door.
The Door is made of hundreds of swords, spear heads, and daggers smelted together.
The door knocker is an iron bear head; the door release lies in its gaping maw.
The door is Carved from a giant scapula and covered in intricate scrimshaw.
The door is made of two panes of glass with a liquid between them.
The door is covered in strange orange fungus.

The Book:
Reads it’s self aloud when opened
Each page (1d10) contains a picture of a place. The pictures may be entered once and the person entering is transported to that place. The picture will then forever contain the traveler’s image and is ruined.
Cover is made of living worms.
Each page contains a portrait of a log dead lord or lady (1d10) A reader may have one conversation with each portrait after which the portrait changes to what the person looks like at present, and becomes useless.
Has pages whose edges are sharp as blades.
Chants  that will drive a man insane.
The book is locked and sealed with chains.
Each page holds the location of a ghost.
Hovers in the air supported by a jelly fish
like creature.
Each page carved on hinged copper plates.

Cover reacts to touch by changing colors
Each contains the sketch of a mad invention, some of which could never be built in just three dimensions.
Is covered in tiny poison spikes that wave a quiver in the presence of heat.
The pages always feel wet, in fact your fingers “dip” into them when touched, the words are blurry and obfuscated.
Has a cover of deep brown leather that
Sweats and grows hair.
Contains everything you have said in the past day and always will, every day.
Has been half dipped in blue wax
Each page contains the picture of one useful craft item, the page may be ripped out, folded and when re flattened the actual item will be present. This only works once per page (1d10)
Is as large as a door, and very heavy.
Contains the obscure recipes for a nectar of unparalleled flavor and temptation.
Has an hour glass built into the cover?
The book contains 1d10 pages that appear blank, if a view attempts to read then tomorrows news will slowly appear, this only happens once per page.
Is spiral bound in copper?
If a person reads the book, the book also reads the person.

The  demon is
And Can be banished by / with
House sized, square and covered in eyes.
The tears of a clown. (or bard)
A 2O foot square carpet of tiny man-lings each with a torso arms and leering head.
Splashing with fresh human milk.
A massive animate pile of wine jugs.
An arrow tipped with quartz.
A 1200 pound boar, with a human face
A gold piece dipped in holy water and blood.
A giant 6 foot long arm, moving on its own, snake like.
Being bound with a golden thread.
A massive 30 foot long serpent.
The single finest poem the demon has ever heard.
A mouse like creature with a monkey face and red burning eyes.
A poisoned melon which the demon must consume.
An obese human with a large gibbering mouth in its stomach.
It’s one true name.
An amalgam of 1d100 grapefruit sized pods, each with a strange embryo clearly visible inside
The dust from a king’s crypt.
A hulking warrior resplendent in its power.
The smoke from a virgins funeral pyre.
A spineless  many legged ape
A sling stone mage from the hip joint of a martyr.
That guy next door
Being Submerged in running water.

As always thank you for reading.
I hope that even if this example is of no use at all, because lets face it , its a bit loose and silly then at then perhaps some one expands on the idea and makes it  awesome.

Please leave Questions and comments in the  contagion rife headscarf below.

*(Better yet hand the mad lib section to your  players and have them fill it out then combine all their answers into a quest that they all had a hand in making. This idea will get a blog all it's own at some point.)