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Preview: I Waste The Buddha With My Crossbow

I Waste The Buddha With My Crossbow



The Gamemaster Re-Rolls Himself. No, really, I DO post now and again.



Updated: 2018-03-13T07:57:03.662-04:00

 



Agents of D.O.F.I.E.

2017-07-15T20:47:28.586-04:00

Now and then, I make notes for some game-thing-or-other, then forget about it. Then I'll find it again, and laugh at my own jokes, then forget about it again. Then, I'll find it again.


I started writing a scenario called "Smell the Breath of Dracula", in which the players are some of the above agents of the thing and stuff. They're on a mission to Dracula's house to --

Oh, hell. Here's as far as I got. Read it if you wannoo.



I Made A Custom Cover for "Far Trek"

2017-07-14T13:39:01.140-04:00

It's inspired by the one on C. R. Brandon's blog, but I tweakified the layoutification and assembulated some images from 'round the computernets.

Came out OK?



Results of Attacking The Darkness in Various Role-Playing Games

2017-07-13T12:43:04.327-04:00


Just kidding about Traveller. I loves me some Trav.




Mind Maps!

2017-01-04T16:32:52.362-05:00

Part of my creative process looks like this:


You saw what I did there. I know you did.



WYC 2017:Stars On Fire!

2017-01-03T12:43:32.380-05:00

Hey! It's 2017 (surely you noticed). Who's Yer Con, my local gaming convention hoedown, is coming up at the beginning of April. It's currently January.

That means it's time for me to start pondering what events to run this year.

My current short list includes
  • Spirit of '77
  • Fear Itself
  • Risus (probably a goofy space opera)

...but one of the above is gonna hafta move, probably, because I had a bit of inspiration today. Dig it:

From the original Streets Of Firetrailer:

“You are about to enter a world unlike any you have seen before, where rock and roll is king, the only law is a loaded gun, where the beautiful, the brutal, and the brave all meet in streets of fire...”

My variation on the above, pitching a game for Who's Yer Con:

“You are about to enter a universe where retrowave is king, the only law is a charged blaster, where the alluring, the alien, and the adventurous all meet -- in Stars Of Fire!
What does any of this even mean? Well, figure it's retrofuturistic space adventure shenanigans with an 80's vibe. 'Cause, you know, it's me.

That's all I know for now. I'm gonna go monkey with it some more. In the meantime, enjoy this here Lazerhawk jam. Oh! And this!

(image)
Huh huh huh. Ellen AIM.




"They're For My Girlfriend in Hollywood."

2016-12-27T13:34:46.356-05:00

I was probably 4 or 5 years old, and in the front yard of my Granny's house, when my cousin asked me why I was stuffing some flowers into an envelope. I told her why.

"What girlfriend?" Still poking little flowers into the envelope, I answered as if it were the most obvious fact in the world.


Goodbye, first crush.



I'm Not Here To Talk About 2016.

2016-12-27T02:15:01.877-05:00

You already know it was total, unfiltered suck for the world at large. I'm not gonna go into how sucky it was for me on a personal level, because who cares. I could talk about how kick-awesome Stranger Things is, but you already know that; it's not inconceivable that I could mention the ongoing game of The Strange that I'm in, which is being run by Scott Kellogg of Hall of Blue Illumination fame (you know, the Tékumel podcast, where they talk to Jeff Dee and James Maliszewski!). That's worth talking about, as is the fact that I'm trying to get off my ass and write a book already. And I'm certainly not here to talk about how this blog is ten years old, but I haven't posted to it in over a year, and the posting frequency has dropped off since ---- aw, crap. I talked about it. BUT no no nonononononononono. Noooooooooooooooo. Those things, no, no, I'm not gonna -- nooooooooooo.I'm gonna talk about how, in the new year, I'm gonna run a Star Wars campaign.This one.Is it because I saw Rogue One? Maybe. Maybe it's because I saw Rogue One and I enjoyed it but I didn't exactly like it, and I'm compelled to do better. Maybe it's because I just kinda felt like it. Maybe it's because Star Wars turns 40 next year, but no, it's not because of that, actually.[HINT: IT'S BECAUSE I FELT LIKE IT]Tell ya th' trooth, I vacillated between using WEG's venerable game (pictured above) and Fate Core, which has nestled itself riiiight next to D6 as one of my favorite games ever. As (hypotherical) long-time readers may (hypothetically) know, Star Wars gaming is MY THANG; virtually every time I look at a game system, I'm judging it in terms of its suitability for Lucasian shenanigans. I've no doubt that Fate Core is more than equal to the task -- in fact, it's one of only two other systems that I've seriously considered using.In the end, I just felt the D6ness a touch moreso than the Fatetitude, and so here we are."Here", of course, means "opening up a new TreeSheets document, making a cell labeled "Names", and inserting a sub-grid full of, you know, names. For, for, for people and places in my Star Wars universe. (It also involves yanking my collection of Star Wars Adventure Journals from the shelf, and ripping names and NPCs and everything else out of 'em for inclusion in said TS doc, but I digress.) And, yeah, you read that correctly: MY Star Wars universe.My Star Wars universe is one where the words "midichlorians" and "gungans" have no meaning whatsoever, because I WILL NOT RECOGNIZE THE PREQUEL TRILOGY IN ANY WAY. The Clone Wars will be A Thing That Happened, but it won't have spit to do with, you know, the cartoon and stuff. (The cartoon is OK, but it's connected to the prequels, so out it goes.)My Star Wars universe recognizes the events of Rogue One, but they really won't matter that much -- see, 'cause my game will take place in the classic RPG era known as "After the Battle of Yavin, before the Battle of Hoth". And considering how Rogue One went down, well, it's a foregone conclusion that......anyway. No spoilers, but if you're reading this...c'mon, man.My Star Wars universe will include selected bits of what we're now calling the Legends, i.e. the EU stuff that Disney/Lucasfilm jettisoned from canon. If it's in a WEG book, it's probably OK to go; the exception being the Zahn stuff becauseIt hasn't happened yet; and Noghri and hot chocolate? Ehhhhhhh...I trust my point is made. So anyway, it's 2:13 am EST as I write this, and I'm listening to the Stranger Things soundtrack, and getting kind of tired, but not so tired that I can't start leafing through my Adventure Journals and get busy cribbing stuff for, you know, later.For the game.When I'm running it.Star Wars.Hi! How are you?[...]



So I Picked Up Cypher System

2015-09-28T22:11:01.448-04:00

You know, I really do ♥ The Strange. I mentioned that, right? Yeah, I think I did. So now there's a toolkit version of the rules, and it's called Cypher System, and I'm not telling you anything you didn't already know because COME ON, DOC, THAT WAS LIKE GENCON AGO.
(image)
Yeah, this...this one.
Anyway. I immediately wanted to use the system to run an adventure or two in my Radical Space setting, the one best described as "What if Star Wars and Indiana Jones had a baby, and its fairy godmothers were Fading Suns, a humanist rant, and 'Grand Theft Auto: Vice City'?" And I think it'd be fun to do this, but I just got the book yesterday and only today finished skimming enough of it to create an NPC for it.

And here he is: Kobayashi Flynn (that's a PDF you can download). Part Belloq, part Doyle Blackwell from The Secret Saturdays (look it up), and a bit Boba Fett, back before the prequels ruined him up.

Okay, so I'll monkey with it a bit more, and maybe I'll remember to tell you what happens. HEY LOOK SOME MUSIC!

allowfullscreen="" class="YOUTUBE-iframe-video" data-thumbnail-src="https://i.ytimg.com/vi/TKImuHvtxAE/0.jpg" frameborder="0" height="266" src="https://www.youtube.com/embed/TKImuHvtxAE?feature=player_embedded" width="320">




What Does Rotwang!'s Cyberpunk Game Sound Like?

2015-03-23T00:37:33.878-04:00


...as of right now, anyway. There are some gaps.



You Have Waited Far Too Long For This Moment To Arrive

2015-02-09T22:09:06.151-05:00

Hey, guys and gals! Guess what I'm doin'?...well, yeah. I mean, that's all the time. But, uh, no, no no no..guess again.Close! I'm not doin' that exactly, buuuut...you're on the right track. Hey, why don't you have another go at---- yeah, I'd be tired of guessing too. So maybe I just will tellya that I'm (very, very slowly) working on a Recursion (you know, for The Strange?) based on--No one is surprised. Okay, so dig this:The Breakin'verse (quit lookin' at me like that) is a world of graffiti-scrawled underpasses, scrappy community centers, sharply-pitched neighborhoods and occasionally a fancy mansion, where all major conflicts are resolved via acrobatic dance battles with vaguely-defined victory conditions -- a utopian wonderland where hospital staff can do the worm, and a single man and his nameless Mexican girlfriend can, with nothing less than some pizza boxes and a couple of dance steps, not only stop a fleet of bulldozers cold in its tracks, but then immediately HEAL HIS BROKEN LEG and PUT ON A SHOW. Until a few seconds ago, I was driving a backhoe.Now...when I had the idea, I had no illusions* that it'll be good for anything other than a one-shot novelty scenario. Maybe your PCs track down a bad guy who hides out in the Breakin'verse because he or she is aware that physical altercations cannot occur there -- the moment you get froggy with someone, a bunch of people grab you and hold you both back. Ergo, no harm can come to him or her; it's reality-armor.But the PCs translate in, dressed in parachute pants and weird-ass hair and mismatching earrings and bright, bold colors...and discover that they can suddenly Pop And Lock (a draggable focus, of course)...the Vectors in the group are suddenly trained in Dancing, and the Paradoxes can walk up walls and the Spinners can totally oh my god look at them go......yeah, not a lot of replay value. But it'll be fun, I think, and it's my game and I DO WHAT I WANT.There's no stoppin' us.Um.Me.*...That I'd ever find a glimpse of Summer's heatwaves in your eyes. THIS IS HOW MY BRAIN WORKS[...]



Versus That One Game

2015-01-18T19:06:22.589-05:00

Don't talk to me about that one game, man. I don't wanna hear it. Makes me mad, so don't even.And it's not like I hate it, or somethin'; it's a thing with me that I don't hate anything. Hating's not my style. I don't wanna play it, and it's the opposite of what I want out of a game. Anybody else likes it, that's fine. I like Xanadu, after all -- I'm not gonna dog on anyone just 'cause of how they wanna get down. But that's the problem -- it's like everyone seems to like that game, and only that game. It's that game, or nothing."Hey, ev'rybody!" I will often say, "I'm running a demo of this other game, here! All kinds of different games, in fact! Come on over to the games store, let's have some fun, it's free! Supposedly I don't even suck at it!" Yet no one shows up, because it's not that game. "Okay, I dig that you like that game. I have lots of favorites, too. There are lots of games! This is a crazy bigass hobby! Here's more of it to enjoy!"Deaf ears, brick walls. "What am I doin' wrong, fellas? What's -- am I stinky? I shower before these things, I swear...what can I do to get you guys to try out this game?"Now I get answers: I'm too invested in my game. I can't afford a new one. I only have so much time. "Um...the demos are free. No one's trying to take your game away, just share a new one with you. And the demos are all one-shots, just so you can see if you li-"My game is what I want! They get defensive, here; close ranks, put signs on the clubhouse door."..."So, yeah. I suppose it's not really the game's fault for being popular, no matter how much I think it's an overcomplicated, pandering exercise in excess. Other folks dig it and that's aces. I suppose, then, that it's the players who treat it like it's a cult, who perceive (or seem to perceive) offers of other games as an attack against them, or...some...thing, I dunno. The net result is that what should be a game I can simply ignore has become a foe to me. Beyond an annoyance, it's a symbol of my frustration."Well, okay. Thanks for your time," I say, and go back to the drawing board......and all the locals go back to finding a path, or whatever.[...]



I ♥ "The Strange" (and Lazerhawk)

2015-01-15T13:04:07.745-05:00

And in fact, it was ♥ at first sight. BAM. Like that.As you know (because you're not a lazy mofo who never updates his or her blog and is thus always late to the party), The Strange is Monte Cook Games' newest entry in the Cypher System line, and it's by Bruce Cordell and Monte Cook, edited by Shanna Germain and illustrated by Matt Stawicki. It can be described (neither unfairly nor unkindly) as "Planescape Modern". The book looks like this -- --on the outside, like this--Image totally pinched from Automatonera.com. -- on the inside, and has illustrations like this one---- and this one----right? I mean, those are things you knew already. Because of the not-a-lazy-mofo etc. etc. etc. thing.Okay, good. So I saw it at my FLGS and heard a few mentions of it and stuff and then a buddy of mine picked up a copy and he said it was kind of cool so I looked through the book a little and it did indeed look really cool and --Let me slow down here, a minute, and tell you why it looked cool.The notion of moving back and forth between realities made out of fiction? That hit something deeeeeeeeeeep inside Doc Rotwang!. It's probably the same for you -- that the worlds and places you create, in your head, are so, so real to you...just not real enough. They're just beyond tactile, just this side of material, such that your senses can but brush against them, that tingle on your skin when something hovers close but does not touch it.Of course you'd want to see them made real. Of course you want to pass through that membrane. That's what you daydream of. One of your greatest regrets, and one that you'll take to your grave, is knowing that you'll never really be able to do that, to go there, to the places in your mind.PCs in The Strange, though -- that's what they DO.Maybe they don't go to the places that they've dreamed up (though that can happen), but -- man, it's something, right?I was intrigued. I had to know more about this game. And then my FLGS scheduled a demo of it run by Ryan Chaddock who is a licensed third-party publisher for Cypher System stuff and I went to the demo and I was sold on the thing in like the first five minutes because not only is the concept totally aces but the system is all easy and unobtrusive and holy crap ♥♥♥♥♥♥♥oifoiqowi oweoqwioersafdsafdjsfdDUDE LOOK AT THAT PLACE JUST LOOK AT ITThe game is crazy bananas, and I think you can tell by now that I kinda dig it....so my buddy who'd bought the game decided that, although he liked it, he didn't like it as much as I obviously do, so he gave me his copy. He's a swell, that Chris.So let's call this my official endorsement of the game, and Bob's your uncle.Speaking of Bob, Ryan Chaddock is not named Bob but he is the author of The Translation Codex, which is not only the first third-party supp for this thing but also, in my estimation, muhfuggin' essential. It presents some character options which, and I am not kidding, really ought to have been in the core book. That's not a slam on its authors -- that's a high-five for Ryan, and my official endorsement of it. Got The Strange? Getting The Strange? Getchoo The Translation Codex. Easy. I just said so. Also, I ♥ Lazerhawk. Play me out, Lazerhawk!...thanks, Lazerhawk.[...]



WHAT'S NEW? - With Doc R! and...ummm...

2015-01-14T21:12:16.747-05:00

...

...huh. Dusty, in here.

Let's pretend I never left. OK? OK! Great.

So here's what I'm into these days:

I scored (i.e. 'purchased with legal tender) a copy of Night's Black Agents a while back, and boy howdy, I gotta tellya: this is some good stuff.

I read a review of it on io9.com, and was sold pretty much instantly--here was a game about being a badass and slapping the gunk outta vampires, and so what's a better thing to do with them than that? NOTHING IS, THAT'S WHAT. I'm glad you agree with me, because it'd be pretty awkward having to explain it to you. I love that we're friends!

Aaaaaaaany-old-way, as you likely know by now because the game ain't 'xactly new, Night's Black Agents uses the GUMSHOE system, designed by Robin Laws. GUMSHOE is tuned for investigative-type scenarios, and thus operates on the crazy-ass notion that rolling to see if you notice important clues, and potentially boinking that roll, is no fun; you should just get that clue, GUMSHOE says, as long as your character has the necessary skill and is in the same location as the clue. There's more to it, but that's the main thing. Right?

I like that.

I dug the game, I dug it right away. And before you know it, I'm all, like, Dude. I wonder if I'd dig Trail of Cthulhu as well? So I checked it out, and picked up a copy, and -- what do ya know? I DID! I DID dug it! Um! Dig it!

And of course, Ashen Stars came next. Because SPACE OPERA.

Okay, I'm gonna bail before this starts to feel forced. While we wait for me to come back, here:

(object) (embed)


...your turn to dig somethin'.





On March 14th, Everybody Draw RoboCop!

2014-03-10T20:31:04.445-04:00

Hey! You! You think that, come March 14th, you won't know how to #DrawRoboCop?


WELL YOU'RE WRONG!




Put The Moves On Me; or, Dungeon World And Why I Think I Like It

2014-03-04T01:27:02.766-05:00

Hey, kids. Long time, huh?Okay, so...Dungeon World. Hipster D&D. Amirite? Eh? Eh? Amirite?......yeah, probably. I guess. I mean that's the rep it's got. Maybe. Does it? Have that rep? I don't know. But I know that I don't care. I don't care hard. Matter of fact I'm so far past caring, I can barely see caring in the rear-view mirror of my speeding Nofucksmobile.No, 'cause, you see, I'd barely heard of the game when I rolled into Common Room Games last Saturday night. I knew only what I'd read about it over on Mike Lindsey's Station 53, and I knew that it had both the words "World" and "Dungeon" in its title, only probably not in that order. And in fact they were in the opposite order, as my wife, my daughter and I could plainly see, because the book was right there on the shelf and we could all read its cover. So I picked it up to look at it, and Frau Codename and I kinda skimmed it, and then I whipped out my datapad and scrolled through a review over on A Game Of Whit's and we were like "New take on old school? OK, sold why not." So she got some Fate dice and Kid Cheesepants (long story) got a Magic booster and I've been reading the book off and on in the two days since.And what I've read...I've liked."That's great, Rotwang!," say those of you who haven't closed this tab. "Truly, honest. But WHY do you like it?" To you I say, "Dude, you've read this far? You're braver than I thought!" and then I say "Oh, yeah, um -- I like it because I recognize almost everything in it."No, I'm not saying it's derivative, or that it's a ripoff or whatever. I'm saying that the way it does things makes all kinds of sense to me, in crazy, twisty, almost stupid ways."A-HA!" you say now, "this is why I came to this stupid blog in the first place: disjointed ramblings!" Your dedication and strange predilections are to be rewarded, sucka, for here are the reasons why Dungeon World makes sense to me:IT'S TOTALLY GOT SOME TRAVELLER IN ITDon't tell me it's not so, you dirty liar.I'm not kidding. No, I -- STOP LOOKING AT ME LIKE THAT. I say this for two reasons: because of the task resolution algorithm, and because it's explicitly about making shit up like your life depends on it.Right away I noticed that the success thresholds for Dungeon World task rolls map straight to Rule 68A. That is to say, Dungeon World's success rolls are on 2d6, and that the significant thresholds are at 6 and below (for failing), 7-9 (for, you know, a partial success) and 10 or above (for being badass). Over in Trav, an easy success is on a 6+, an average success is on an 8+ and hard stuff is 10+.  Granted -- this is a function of the bell curve you get on 2d6, and math has more to do with that than does, you know, Marc Miller. But the point is that I recognized it immediately, and I went, "This is Six-Eight-Ay!" and that was all it took. It's clean and it's simple and I got it right quick.As I read further, I found that the game is almost fanatically devoted to the idea that nothing in the game is set in stone until you're ready for it to be, and that, furthermore, nothing even really exists in the game world until you, the GM and players, put it there. Character creation, in fact, is an exercise in generating game content; it's all questions and answers and wiiiiide open spaces that you, the GM and players, fill in as you go. This may only sound a little like Traveller, but -again- it clicked for me right away: behold a big empty canvas, and spontaneity is your brush. This dovetails strrrrraight into one of the next thing I grokked, and which suits me just fine:IT CARES NOT FOR YOUR PREP"Not settin' up the game next time!"Preparation f[...]



SARGENT SAUSAGE'S SUICIDE SOWS!

2013-10-16T13:01:19.586-04:00

SGT. SAUSAGE’S SUICIDE SOWSA Squad for Fate Core mass combat!ASPECTSSgt. Sausage’s Suicide SowsEverybody Wants A Piece“That’ll Do, Pigs.”SKILLSGood (+3)FightFair (+2)ProvokeAthleticsAverage (+1)ShootWillNoticeCONSEQUENCESMild (2)Moderate (4)SGT. SAUSAGEASPECTSGrizzled Old Bastard“After So Much Action, I’m Nearly Fried”Never Gonna Give You UpWell-Funded Via Pork Barrel ProjectsTwo Degrees of Kevin BaconCybernetic HamhockSKILLSGreat (+4)WillGood (+3)FightShootFair (+2)ProvokeAthleticsPhysiqueAverage (+1)RapportDeceiveNoticeStealthSTUNTSSAVING EVERYBODY’S BACON: When in the same zone as an ally, spend a fate point to create a defensive advantage that all allies can invoke immediately.STIHL P.I.G. 900X: Your cybernetic hamhock has a retractable chainsaw which counts as Weapon:1.WATCH THE STYS: Gain a +2 bonus when using Notice to create an advantage related to terrain on the field of battle....I like Fate Core.[...]



"D&D Is Terrible For Anything But Combat": The Myth Asploded

2013-06-10T07:36:07.947-04:00

THESIS:A lot of people will argue until they're blue in the face that the D&D rules, as written, offer so much emphasis on combat and so little on any other activity that the game is ineffective at incentivizing or even facilitating any activity other than combat. This position is totally and demonstrably horsefeathers, and I can prove it using no more than a copy of the Dungeons & Dragons Rules Cyclopedia (published by TSR in 1991), basic reading comprehension skills and some words in English, because that's a good language to use given the circumstances. In addition, I will employ an overused internet meme as my abstract, because it'll be funny.ABSTRACT:METHOD: I used GIMP. I mean, for the picture. But for the real bitchslap in the face of my enemies I used mostly my eyes (to read) and my fingers (to type). I kept the latter out of the former because I ain't that stupid.FINDINGS: Oh, I found stuff, all right...Okay, so no. If you think that Dungeons & Dragons offers no incentive for anything but killing monsters and taking their stuff, you have a head full of poo gas. Why? Because here's this from Chapter 10 of the Dungeons & Dragons Rules Cyclopedia, on p.127:In the game, there are five normal ways for player characters to acquire experience: By Role-Playing Well By Achieving Party Goals By Defeating Monsters and Opponents By Acquiring Treasure  By Performing Exceptional Actions.Note that gaining XP "By Defeating Monsters and Opponents" is given THIRD PRIORITY here, while awards for "Role-Playing Well", that activity at which D&D is supposedly a "terrible"...um...thing, is first on the list. At the top. Of the list. Of ways to get XP.XP-worthy role-playing is defined as playing one's alignment well, heroic actions and sacrifices, and other stuff such as --...an emotional encounter with an NPC, reacting to the loss of a loved one, spontaneously composing a speech that motivates the army of NPCs and improves their morale, and so forth. If the demonstration of role-playing enlivens the game, impresses the DM, or makes for a very memorable scene, the DM may decide to give the player a bonus. XP gain by role-playing is at a suggested rate of 1/20 the amount needed by the character to advance by one level. The DM is advised to only award XP for this activity once per game session. This means that, to increase in level, the other 80% 95% of the character's XP must come from the other 4 methods. So how easy is that? And of the remaining 80% 95% of XP needed, what percentages come from these other methods? Let's look at methods #2, #3 and #4 together, because they are related."When the characters achieve a major goal," says the RC,"award them experience equal to the XP Value of monsters defeated in reaching that goal." That's method #2 on the list above. Method #3 goes on to say, "Add XP Value of all monsters defeated; divide by number of characters who participated in their defeat; award the result in XP to each character who participated." As to XP gain via the collection of treasure, "Each 1 gp value of treasure won by a character = 1 XP earned by the character."So it looks like defeating monsters, as an activity in D&D, ends up awarding XP twice...PLUS you get XP for grabbing all the candy that falls out. This suggests then that D&D is, after all, all about killing things and taking their stuff......until one reads the definition of 'defeat' in the context of the game rules (emphasis mine):Characters earn experience points by defeating monsters and other opponents. Defeating a monster doesn't necessarily mea[...]



Miscellanea Rotwang!ica

2013-06-05T23:52:07.384-04:00

ITEM! -- I was totally gonna lay down a clinIc over on Reddit, but meh. Instead I spent tonight typing up notes from Saturday's playtest. That was time better spent; also, I discovered this:

(object) (embed)

A  New Wave song from a Spanish children's educational TV show, from the Movida Madrileña period...about the fall and influence of the Spanish Empire.

I...I can't...even...

(image)
THEY SHOULD HAVE SENT A POET

ITEM! -- My downtime wasn't all down -- I had to stay alive somehow. And so, hey, look --I just found some stupid comics I made last year. You like my stupid comics, right? Here:





ITEM! -- Good golly, I can't wait until I can announce this thing. SO. JAZZED. UP. RAAAAAAWWWWWUUUGHGHGHGHHGHG!

POST OVER!




OH NO I HAVE BEEN PLAYING D&D WRONG FOR TWO DECADES

2013-06-04T20:42:44.892-04:00

Holy...! MAN! Have you heard about this?! I just did! Hear about it! I heard that"D&D is designed around combat and its really poor for motivating role playing"!It's all so, so clear now -- if you want to avoid combat and focus on story, "Don't play D&D. Seriously. D&D's mechanics point you so hard at killing things, you will end up killing things 95% of the time."! And plus also -and I never, ever, in over 38 years of being a human with social skills and roughly 25 years of having played various RPGs, noticed this- but it turns out that --"Most people....aren't [smart, capable, and able to do a lot of the things that make for a fun roleplaying game]. ... They need the rules, story, choices, to support them and their less creative, dynamic friends, into actually having the roleplaying experience you can pull out of anything. ...Players who are extremely capable can do anything. Those who are not, they need, crave and appreciate rulesets that match their desired game."!  ...wow! I am so, so, so glad that someone is willing to show me the light--to point out to me that ---- hang on, I just thought of something. Waaaaait a second...here it comes --THIS IS BULLSHIT...yeah, that's what I just thought of.  I'll defend my position in a future post. Right now, my rage must be contained, and I must seek serenity at the bottom of a can of Vanilla Coke.  [...]



Advanced Dungeons & Dragons 2nd Edition Does Not Suck.

2013-06-02T22:17:33.978-04:00

Foreword: In reviewing this thing, it is painfully obvious that it's a rambling mess. Still, I'm in no mood to edit it, and I spent too long writing it to ditch now. If you find yourself struggling too much, please let me know in the comments and I'll do my best to straighten it out in a revised post. Thank you.Remember way back when, when I blogged a little more often, and I wrote this one post where I was all, like, "Hey, I bet I could make AD&D 2nd Ed rock again"?No?Hmm. Well, click this link and make some memories, then come back and continue reading. Back? OK, great! While you were out reading, I made some tacos, but I ate them all. Next time read faster, eh?Aaaaaaanyway, part of getting my life more organized so that I can actually enjoy the damned thing, I've been running games at my locals (I'm spoiled, man, I got two FLGSes and I'm not banned from either one). I'd set up a game of Diaspora at Hall of Heroes, and wanted to run something different at Common Room Games. Something I'd wanted to do for a long time -- take a chance, aim high, go for the gusto.So I made this poster and sent it to Phil and Oz:I used Scribus and Inksascape. You can get some nice results outta those two, huh?And they were, like, "Okay, just don't set stuff on fire."'Cause you see, here's the thing. There's this one FRPG that all the kids are playing these days, and although I don't resent it (except for that one time, but that's not a story I want to tell), I do resent that the old games don't appear to get the love that they deserve.Furthermore, there's a stigma attached to some of the older editions of D&D, and to this one in particular. Hell, I hated on it, too, in the day; I used to say that when I discovered Rolemaster, I "dropped second edition like a greasy fingernail taco"; in the late 90s, when AD&D 2nd Ed was at its bloatiest, I once described it as "a chimp in a diaper which no one is bothering to change".Yeah, I can be cruel. I don't do it, because I know I can. I digress. But that was the thing -- I knew what was wrong with the game toward the end of its run: Bloat. Bloat, bloat, bloat. Too much cruft overlying the basics. So I thought to myself, "Well, hell, why don't I just go back to the basics?" That's why, if you look at the fine print on the bottom of that poster, you'll see this:Fonzitude: Fundamental to ALL THINGS.So that's a step in the right direction, I thought...but there was another monkey I could wrench....Ever notice how many optional rules there are in 2nd Ed? Ever notice how all those optional rules are all optional? Ever notice how the real, core, central rules for getting your AD&D on are actually not that many, and that if you know what you're doing (which ain't that hard, really) you don't even have to use most of them most of the time?I did. Or at least, such was the bold, mouthy thesis that I stated to myself, and so on Saturday May 11 I showed up at Common Room Games to defend it. I had three players. There was a fourth, I was told, who wanted to show but couldn't make it. No problem. I had a guy who'd played a lot of 2nd Ed, a guy who played it a long time ago, and a guy who had never played it at all. PERFECT. I put operation "Keep It Simple, Sucka" into motion by handing out character sheets and saying, "Don't fill these out all the way. SERIOUSLY. Roll your stats, choose a race and a class, take full HP for first level and only look up mods necessary for combat or spellcasting, whichever. Grab a weapon and some armor. The rest ca[...]



Q: How Is The Playtesting Going, Doc Rotwang!?

2013-06-02T19:11:25.505-04:00

A: Pretty well. I've only done two playtest sessions so far, and they've focused on a specific character creation notion, but both times it went well and the players have given me some great feedback. Plus also, at the last one, they really liked this:

(image)
Muy ochentas, ¿no?

It's just the one that I made up for playtesting, but you never know. It might have legs, so to speak.

That reminds me. I gotta bug Chris again soon.



Better Living Through Chemistry, Part III -- Control Has Enabled The Abandoned Wires Again, But The Copper Cables All Rust In The Acid Rain

2013-05-21T09:07:54.854-04:00

WAIT! Didja read Part II first? How 'bout Part I?More drama! Admit it, this is like gamer Honey Boo-Boo. Click through, ya Lookie-Lous. When I went to see my doctor, I got a well-deserved scolding for not keeping in touch with her and tacking my blood pressure. I also got some good news, though, which eased my mind.I was afraid I'd become addicted to the drug.My doc waved that off, though, and assured me that the dose I'd been prescribed was nowhere near enough to cause any such thing. It was a low dose, just to see if the stuff worked for me to begin with.Needless to say, it had, and my wife and I made a very strong case for it. I wasn't the only one who noticed an improvement in my life; according to my wife, I was actually really pleasant to be around and just a better guy all around. I told my doctor that I should be the posterboy for Adderall, it worked so well.She agreed. It was obvious that it was of great benefit to me, and made me a deal: get my BP down and she's work with her partner to figure out how to get me back on it.That was in September, October, thereabouts. You know, the beginning of fall? That thing that I hate?"Hate". That's a word that people use lightly in our culture, but I don't. Hate is a nasty-ass emotion; it seems rarely to result in anything positive, it can stress you out like no one's business and it's just plain shitty. Humans, though, we're stuck with it, and one of our challenges -when we bother to accept it- is to overcome that hardwired emotion and avoid having it. That's my view, anyway, so I treat the entire concept of hate with utmost caution.That said, I hate fall.I won't go into it because you're already snoozing as it is and you just want this damn pity party to end, don't you? Yeah, I know. We're getting there. There's a happy ending, I promise.Anyhow. In the interest of blah blah blah what I just said, I'll just say that last fall, and the winter after it, were weird, painful, difficult and numbing to me. My marriage was on the brink, even; it's none of your damn business but I'm including it because it's part of the story and it's significant.What's relevant to the theme of this blog, though, is the ---- well, you know what this blog was all about from the start, right? Yeah, I mean, sure, besides all the rambling about gaming stuff and making fun of ballet and bitching about stuff and flinging around New Wave and Synthpop music like panties at an Elvis concert, "I Waste The Buddha With My Crossbow" was originally meant to be an exploration of the joy of creativity, of making shit up for fun and not castigating oneself for not being perfect at it and son on. "I Waste The Buddha With My Crossbow" is all about how cool it is to be a sentient being with the ability to create.And so last fall, and the winter that followed it, were a time when, although I did not stop being creative...I stopped enjoying it. It all seemed pointless. I had known my potential, I had seen it with my eyes and touched it with my hands and infused it into what passes for my soul and my potential was gone. I had been made better, then lost it all.I'd never be able to do anything with my ideas again. I knew that I lacked focus, so I didn't even try. Because, you know, I couldn't even go to see a goddamned concert.On Halloween, I landed in the emergency room, dizzy, short of breath, exhausted and having some very damn scary heart palpitations and chest pains. My EKG came up OK, but still, what the fuck? I wore a heart monitor for a while to[...]



Better Living Through Chemistry, Part II - Duty Now For The Future

2013-05-20T20:46:02.037-04:00

Okay, so -- here's why "254.13.26" got pulled. I'll try to be brief.And I will fail.Right about the time that the story (I think it's novella length) was wrapping up, I started to realize what was happening with my cyberpunk stuff, and how I was suddenly in control of it...and in control of my writing discipline. It didn't take long for me to see potentials and, now that I could actually DO such a thing, to set a goal:The Lightstrip Role-Playing Game."The Lightstrip" is the name of my cyberpunk setting, and it's made stupidly unique not only by the stupid amount of influence exerted upon it by 1980s New Wave and Synthpop music but also by the stupid abstractions that color it and which I couldn't tease out and explain to my stupid self, let alone to anyone else, which makes the whole thing kinda stupid. Only it's not stupid, and in fact it's really cerebral at times -- and that, me old Chinas, was the main problem in gaming it. How do you take all of those ideas of mood and philosophy and other such non-bang-bang stuff and interface it with a gaming genre that is primarily, you know, bang-bang stuff?My new-found superpowers weren't done thumping rump, though, because I finally figured out the solution to that problem while I was gearing up to run some demos of Starblazer Adventures at one of my FLGSes: FATE.The system was really clicking for me, and I was grokking it. I started to see how I could use the system to finally stick all of that crazy abstract stuff to the crazy adventure stuff, and I decided, with my improved focus and stuff, to just stop jacking around and DO IT. But first, I had to finish up "254.13.26" and create a poster to promote my SB game at the store.I didn't want to re-invent the wheel for that, so I reached out to Chris Birch, co-author of Starblazer Adventures. He'd approached me some time ago and asked if he could use The Adventure Funnel in the game, and I said yes, because duh. Anyway, I dug up his e-mail addy and asked him for some canned Starblazer promo copy.Chris told me he wasn't with Cubicle 7 anymore, but he'd see if he had anything.I told him I hadn't heard about his departure.He said that he had his own imprint, and that he'd love it if I were to contribute something.I congratulated him on the new endeavor and asked what he was working on.He gave me a quick idea of some projects, and told me he'd love to have me contribute."Well," I told him, "I'm finishing up this story I'm writing for fun, and then I want to write a game based on it. Maybe in between I can do something for you...what are you looking for?"He told me some games that he's licensed to support, and suggested that maybe I could do something for one of those projects..."...or maybe we could publish your game."...then he asked to see "254.13.26", and I sent him what I had (which was 6 chapters out of 7 plus a coda), and I explained to him what I felt made it different from most published cyberpunk games and the next thing you know we're looking around for artists and I'm writing an outline and starting to lay down a rough draft and he's thinking that "254" should be released as a promo for the game and I'm pulling it down from the web and he's sending me a contract right before he goes off to get married and I'm finally nailing this sucker and getting the damned thing on paper and showing it to friends who read it and go "wow!" and Chris is digging it too but he has to go start work on Acthung Cthulhu and then I'm calling my doc to ren[...]



Better Living Through Chemistry; or, What The Hell Happened Last Fall

2013-05-20T13:02:27.978-04:00

NOTE: The following blog post is long;serves only as the first part of a longer thing;assumes that someone cares enough, or is at least curious enough, about Dr Rotwang! and his life-stuff to know that anything even HAPPENED last fall; andbelieve it or not, actually does have to do with gaming.You've been disclaimed. Disclaimed. Er, it's been disclo--YOU'VE BEEN WARNED....Damn, Brethren and Sistren. I don't even know where to begin, so I'll just pick it up at the prologue.I am a creative badass. I'm hilarious, I'm wise, I'm charming and I'm good at re-interpreting things to give them a new life or at least a new way to use them. These aspects describe a whole metric donkton of people on Earth, and are very common amongst the people I consider kin -- you guys, fellow gamers, nerds, dreamers, awesome folks. I do not think this makes me better than anybody else, but I do know that it makes me happy.Over the last few years all of that slowed down, dimming gradually, and in the fall of 2012 flared, exploded and blew away.Maybe you saw it coming. Some of you, I think, did just that -- considerate and kind people who said things like "I worry about you, Doc". I did not, do not and never will expect anyone to give much of a damn because I'm not that kind of egotist. But if you did see it coming, then at least you can say, "Called it. Toldja so."I dropped off the gaming radar for a long time, didn't I? I was blogging even less than usual, and when I did post something it was angry, sad, frustrated stuff. Then, however, there was a burst of energy -- you may recall it or you may not, but all of a sudden I was pumping stuff out like a machine made for pumping stuff out and seemed really, really excited about something. And then...-- poofSo what happened?Here's what happened, mates:That's Adderall. I got blue ones, though.Now...just in case you think this is going where you think this is going, let me tell you straight up that it's not. In fact, and I can say this with full confidence, being given a prescription for Adderall was one of the best things that ever happened to me. And the key word is prescription, as in not fucking around with potent medicine because I am not some kind of goddamned idiot. Are we clear? Of course we are, you guys are smart.Look, it's obvious I have ADD or something, but I finally bit the bullet last year and asked my doc about the possibility of treatment with a drug. Back in March she said yes, but because my former health insurance company didn't have their shit together, I didn't get my first fill until, like, September. At first, I couldn't tell that anything was happening. I felt a little bit jittery, and my mouth was dry; just little things. Then one day...I WAS THE MAN I WAS BORN TO BE.I was organized. I was doing chores. I was focused and increasingly competent at things that mattered to me. I was happy. I loved life.Then I tried something, and that something was writing a cyberpunk story.Some of you know me from a while back, and some of you know that I've always had, like, this cyberpunk...thing up in my noggin, and that I could never quite get hold of it and that it remained nebulous, formless, a pulsating haze of neon and sweat and New Wave music swirling around some crazy-ass notions about whatever the fuck it is that humans are. Goes back about 18 years, that stuff.I started to write a story in my setting, with my ideas, with that feel, and it [...]



Star Wars character sheet for Starbalzer? YES, YOU CAN!

2013-04-06T10:29:25.282-04:00

Kinda clever, you ask me. Download it!