The new and improved defender of RPGs!

Tuesday 31 January 2017

Wild West Campaign Update: Four stories

Our game this week was something of a slice-of-life in Dodge City. It featured events surrounding the arrival, on the same day, of four different NPCs to the town.

First, there was the only one people were expecting: Kid Taylor had sent money for his kid sister, Lily, to come to live with him in Dodge.  Lily arrived hand in hand with her new friend who she'd met on the train, Sarah Lang.  Sarah was, at 17, a year older than Lily, and from the south.  During their trip she had convinced Lily that her older brother's idea of Lily working at John Miller's new restaurant was ridiculously boring. Instead, she should do what Sarah had a mind to do: find herself a handsome and rich husband in the woman-starved wild west.

Kid Taylor immediately realized he was in trouble.

The third newcomer was a man named Nate Springer. He was known many years back as a shootist, a professional killer, one of the best.  He'd gone to prison, however, and had only just been set free after 7 years. Now, Springer calmly told Sheriff Bassett to his face in the Long Branch Saloon that he'd arrived in Dodge on a job, to kill a lawman. He wouldn't say which.

Finally, it turned out that Sarah was running away from home because her family had tried to force her into marriage with a young farmer named Andy.  When he learned that Sarah had run off to Dodge City, the furious young southerner came after her, considering it an insult to his honor and manhood.

The two girls ran off on Kid Taylor the moment he took his eyes off them, and he was forced to skip his work at the Alhambra Saloon to go looking for them.  
Eventually, he found his sister, separated from Sarah. Lily had become momentarily lovestruck by the handsome (though slightly stupid and extremely impoverished) young jailer of the Marshall's office, Billy Houston. Kid and Billy almost exchanged blows, but not actually over Lily. It turns out that while Kid was angered about Billy kissing his sister, it was really Lily who had all but forced herself on Billy. Meanwhile, Billy didn't want to fight until Kid Taylor insulted his champion mule, Josephine. When Lily realized Billy cared more about his stupid mule than her confessions of undying love for him, she slapped him, and the fight was averted.

Meanwhile, the lawmen started looking into Nate Springer.  Wyatt Earp realized something didn't seem quite right. Springer was 'hired' right out of prison. And he hadn't had almost any time between leaving the jail and making his way to Dodge. The lawmen concluded that it was very likely Springer was lying about having been hired. The question was why: was he looking to die? Was he trying to recover his business reputation by killing a lawman? Or was it something else?

Andy had arrived hot on Sarah's trail. He found out she'd been seen with Kid Taylor and went to confront him. Only Lily's word assured him that Kid Taylor hadn't "soiled" his fiancee's chastity. He looked ready to kill someone. But while he was furious with Kid for having lost Sarah and not knowing where she was, he didn't want to kill someone without Sarah there to see him. So off he ran.

Eventually, it turned out that Sarah had been with Bat Masterson, the new county Sheriff.  And right as the lawmen were trying to find Nate Springer (who had vanished) and decide what to do with him when they did, along comes Andy demanding a duel with Bat Masterson. He'd found out that Masterson had bought Sarah a room in the Dodge House Hotel, and presumed Masterson had slept with her. And Masterson, always enjoying his reputation as a scoundrel of sorts, refused to deny it. But Masterson gave the farm boy a talking down that intimidated him too much to act at that moment, telling him that he'd gladly fill him with lead tomorrow but that today they were hunting a real threat; and that if Andy wasn't willing to wait a day, he would just beat him to a pulp.

Andy skulked off, even more furious and even more frustrated, insisting that he would avenge his dishonor.

The lawmen were too busy worrying about Springer to keep thinking about Andy, and eventually Springer was sighted outside town, drinking heavily and shooting his gun. The latter made sense, but the former would be very out of keeping with his character (or that of any truly professional killer). Charlie Bassett and Jeff Young go to face him down.

When they find him, Bassett figures it all out. Springer wasn't hired. And he wasn't doing it just to regain his fame or reputation. He was doing it because his 7 years imprisonment had shatered him, and now he'd lost his 'nerve'. Bassett's threat to Springer mirrored that of Masterson's to Andy: come tomorrow and duel, or leave town forever.

But while all this was happening, a more horrible event was unfolding: Andy the farmboy went into the dodge house, knocked on the door of the room where his beau Sarah was staying, and when she opened it he shot her dead through the head. Then he went downstairs to the lobby of hotel, gun in hand, and shouted half-insane for Bat Masterson to come kill him or die.

But it was John Miller and Tom Martin who went through the door first, to try to talk Andy down. There was some confusion, things got tense, and although it didn't quite seem to be his intent, a sudden motion by Miller led Andy to draw his gun on him.  Miller proved to be faster, however, he drew and shot Andy through the chest. Only the fact that the town Doc was already on the scene allowed the farmboy to survive (of course, it would only be to face the noose for what he'd done to the girl he claimed to love).

As for Springer, he did show up the next day, in front of the Sheriff's office. But not to duel. He unstrapped his holster and tossed it and his gun in front of the Sheriff's door.  "You got me right, Bassett", he said, "I'm broken."
Bassett advised him to put his old life behind him and try to start again somewhere far away from shooting; but as he walked away Springer only said that those would be fine words for some other kind of man.

Martin, the telegraph operator and part-time (for now) reporter, was too slow on the draw to have participated in the shootout with Andy.  But afterwards he wrote a story about the four people who came to Dodge on the same day, and got it published by the paper back home in Philadelphia, who expressed they were very interested in more stories from him about the 'Gomorrah of the West'.

Lily, for her part, was terribly distraught over the death of her friend, and briefly considered leaving town. But then, she seemed to come up with a better idea. She didn't want to work in Miller's restaurant. Apparently, she wants to seduce him and end up marrying the handsome, rich, and courageous man. Of course, this is bound to cause problems for Miller, not only with and for Kid Taylor, but also with the widow McKnee, Miller's considerably older but wealthy, influential, and indomitable beau of several years.

Those repercussions, however, will only be played out in our next session.


Currently Smoking: Neerup Egg + Image Virginia

Monday 30 January 2017

Break Monday: Real Medieval Spells Edition

A few weeks back I did an article with real spells from the Roman world.

This time, I'm looking at the middle-ages.  Taken from an authentic grimoire, here's some curious and amusing real medieval magical spells for you to read.

If you like it, please reshare!


Currently Smoking: Lorenzetti Oversize + H&H's chestnut

Sunday 29 January 2017

Classic Rant: On the Difference Between Gonzo and Stupid

So the Guy who Wrote "Isle of the Unknown" (and Carcosa) is Pissed Off at Me
Over on the ODD boards, a message board dedicated to original edition D&D (quite a decent board, but where a few hardline old-schoolers hang out, understandably), Geoffrey McKinney took umbrage with my recent review of "Isle of the Unknown", which I most certainly slagged.

In the now-closed thread, he claimed that I just didn't get Isle, ridiculously trying to gain brownie points with the ODD crowd by claiming I "must" be one of those terrible late-80s gamers. In his opinion, I must be one of those 2e-style fans of story-heavy Dragonlance and post-greybox Forgotten Realms. Likewise, I obviously don't understand "Gonzo".

The thing is, according to him, that Isle is really a "70s gonzo hexcrawl" in the style of Bob Bledsaw's Wilderlands of High Fantasy. And I just didn't get that. You know, because I'm not truly 'old school' like he is.

So let's clear a few things up:

Dude, I fucking love Judges Guild's stuff. City State is a masterpiece.

Putting it simply, Geoffrey McKinney: I'm very familiar with Bob Bledsaw. You, sir, are no Bob Bledsaw. And your arguments are patently absurd.

And the ludicrous idea that "Isle" was just too "gonzo" for me? Motherfucker. I wrote FtA!GN!, you ass. And have you seen my play reports for my DCC campaign? I fucking OWN gonzo.

But Isle isn't so much "gonzo" as it is "stupid". There's a difference, though some people just can't seem to figure that out. There are no "hidden layers of sophistication" in Isle. Its just a badly-written product. The monsters are shit, not because they're too weird, but because they're just not good; they're too fucking pointless. Its like a version of an OSR sandbox written by an imbecile, someone with some severe disorder, who caught the most shallow and superficial notions of what constitutes "sandbox" design, and utterly failed to even consider the most basic practices of good design. Anyone who's ever bothered to read anything I've written (including the stunningly positive reviews I gave products like DCC, Vornheim, or ADD) knows that I'm a fucking fanatic for random tables. But random rolls are where you START, not where you end, in creating something coherent.

Anyone who knows me knows that I can't stand dragonlance, and your attempts to garner sympathy here by painting me as a late-2e "not a real old schooler" is cheap bullshit. As for gonzo? I OWN Gonzo. Again, a cursory glance at my blog and at what I've published would confirm that.

As for your argument trying to compare your entries to the ones in Wilderlands, there's a crucial difference: Wilderlands' deals in archetypal creatures and environs. You're absolutely right that his one-liners are evocative, because we all ALREADY KNOW what Dire Wolves and owlbears are about. We can already figure out what the point of giant snakes are. And we are left to fill in with our own imagination the reason why a LE guy would be in charge of a town of LG elves (because alignment already means something).

All of these things do not require further elaboration.

Your garbage, on the other hand, was just an island full of one-time mutations that make no sense and have no point. Bledsaw's one-liners cover everything that's needed. Your three sentence entries are woefully inadequate, on the other hand, because there's no coherence to any of what you've done. Incoherent monsters in an incoherent environment that have no coherent verisimilitude.

I didn't dislike your product because it was "too old school", a cursory glance at any of my stirring reviews of a plethora of other old-school books (just go to theRPGsite and check out the Reviews section!) would prove that. I gave your book a bad review because it IS BAD. It is badly written. Its not drivel because I'm a mean old dragonlance fan who doesn't understand gonzo (a quick glance at my blog and the various DCC campaign updates would show what a crock of bull that is), your book is drivel BECAUSE IT IS DRIVEL.

You did a shit job, sir. Your book is garbage. And the thought that you imagine yourself standing on the shoulders of Gygax or Bledsaw when all you've done is fundamentally miss the point, and created a Potemkin Village of a Sandbox (just a shallow facade while missing absolutely everything that's important about making a sandbox work) just makes you laughable. Or pitiable. I'm not sure which.

Seriously, I never thought I'd look at something the author of motherfucking Carcosa wrote, and say to myself "fuck, he should have stuck to writing about pre-pubescent necrophiliac rape-magic".


(Originally posted April 30, 2014)

Saturday 28 January 2017

DCC Campaign Update: Their Ziploc Technology is Ultra-Advanced

We left off with the deplorable PCs only about two days away from the place known as the Sphincter, the center of the Shithole.  They were camped out in an area of badlands, worse than any they'd seen so far, where literally nothing grew.


-At night, Muu the Mud Mutant murders the Sadistic Hunter in his sleep, for his armor. That's where we're at now.

-Morris suddenly returns to the group, walking in from the badlands.
"What a lovely day!"
"It's night-time, Morris."

-"Hey, do I get xp for killing the Sadist?"
"Well, you killed a fellow PC, in his sleep. So... sure, 1xp"

-"The mission is to go to the Conclave of Wizards to 'talk'.. but you guys can do all the killing you want"

-"Morris, you've survived 2 Total Party Bills!"

-"Why is there blood in the sand??"
"Hey, who wants to go back to sleep?"

-"OK, guys, no more killing tonight!"

-The next day, the gang proceed through the badlands, and along the way they spot a strange black viscuous pool.
"Morris, go throw a rock in it!"

-Morris is a bit reluctant to approach it.
"Come guys, let's all go with him for backup. Where's your fighting spirit?"
"I'm a Pacifist. Not having fighting spirit is why I'm the last survivor of my tribe."

-"There's a 60% chance its just a pool of sludge, 30% it's some kind of slime monster, 10% it's some truly weird shit."

-It turns out it was a slime monster after all. It starts chasing the gang who run when they realize that regular weapons do nothing. Bill casts magic missile (and disappears into the Neutral Zone as he always does after casting magic missile) but it wasn't enough to destroy the slime. The slime catches up to the halfling chicken-rider, the slowest in the group, and the halfling dies.

-Bill comes back and finishes nuking the slime.
The newbie PCs level up, with the remaining 1st level PCs now being Heidi the Pacifist, and Muu the Mud-man Psyhic, who is now a Mud-man Psychic Wizard.

-The PCs, who are dying of thirst, find a small muddy creek. They spend a long time very worried that it might be another slime creature somehow. Morris finally heads down there, finding it to be safe.

-"I, Muu, am now your apprentice, Bill!"
"You know his apprentices haven't historically fared well, don't you?"

-"You should drink a bit more, Morris.."
"It's water. I already drank some. It's not poisonous."
"You should drink more water just in case, it might take a bit more to kill you is all..."

-Figuring the water and the creek are safe, the PCs head down to drink. The pacifist is almost immediately attacked by a Sand Monstrosity! Fortunately, Bill scares the monstrosity away before it can do any harm.

-The next day, the PCs finally get to the edge of a massive smelly canyon. They have found the Sphincter! All around it there's a large chain-link fence with barbed wire, and very old signs warning people away in almost every language imaginable. Some of these shrines have had primitive markings drawn on them in blood, and offerings of bones placed at its base.  The PCs are considering what to do, when they spot a tunnel dug some distance away; it has a more primitive basic sign that says "Coyote a Tijuana".

-They walk single-file into the tunnel. Bill goes first, because the others guilted him into it. For added security, he casts a huge cloudkill in front of and behind the party, murdering everything in his path for quite a great distance.
"You hear various screams"

-"Up ahead, you guys smell a flowery scent"
"Oh shit, not flowers!!"

-Before entering the large cavern with a flowery scent, Mu uses his psychic power to make himself invisible; but it only works on people his own level or lower.
"What the hell are you doing?"
"wooo!! I'm invisible!!"

-The cavern is full strange large plants with pale white flowers. Also, a dozen or so guys which at first the party assumes (from their shambling and disheveled condition) to be zombies.
"They're zombies!"
"No, I'm pretty sure they're alive. I think they're just drugged or something."
"They drug zombies!"

-After murdering all the drug zombies, they move on past the white lotus flowers (which Morris thinks is what made them 'zombified' in the first place), they move on to a cavern which features a huge pool of green slime.
"Let's throw a rock in it!"
"That did not go well the last time."

-They move on to another cavern, where they encounter a Giant Slug! Bill hits it with magic missile, but it's not enough to kill it, and of course he vanishes to the Neutral Zone, leaving the rest badly outgunned.
Muu runs away from it into the next cavern which is filled with huge mushrooms. And while the others are fighting the Slug, Muu explores, only to run into a guard-robot.

-While Heidi chases the now-fleeing Slug, Morris sneaks into the mushroom-forest and backstabs the robot-guard with his rifle. The guard gets knocked over, and since it was on tracks, it can't right itself.

-"Does anyone have a Container of Mushroom Holding?"

-"Is there anything in the remains of the robot that could be used to carry mushrooms?"
"Not after the Magic Missile and Muu stabbing the remains for several minutes, no."

-Heidi climbs to the top of a large mushroom and kills the Slug.

-"Remind me to get some bags the next time I'm in civilization."
"In Highbay!"
"Highbay's tech level is mostly medieval, but their ziploc technology is ultra-advanced."

-The PCs carry on into a cave where they finally encounter a couple of drug-runners. Unfortunately, they start shooting.
"The DEA!"
"No, no we're not the DEA!"
"The Thetas!"
"we're not the Thetas!"
"We have Bill with us!"
"Wait, yu have Bill the Elf??"
"Huh. Normally when we mention Bill they start shooting MORE.."

-It turns out one of the two drug-runners is a Sloth. Apparently, Bill is known around here, but he has some 'splainin to do.
"Did yu run into El Jefe?"
"Could be. Did he look all acid-burned and melted, like as if someone had cast a really powerful Choking Cloud on him?"

-"ok, yu must be Bill the Elf, only Bill the Elf would be so crazy to go into the Sphincter!"

-Since Bill is well known in Tijuana, so the narcos decide to take him to see 'El Capo', who will decide Bill's fate. They lead the PCs through the tunnels and into the city. Tijuana, the Shittiest Place on Earth.

-Bill is much admired, and immediately invited to several drinks of tequila. He introduces his fans to his 'crew'.  There's even narco-style songs sung about him.

-"why is this place the 'shittiest'?"
"Because it is the Shithole"
"Not because it's covered in shit?"
"Well, yes, there is a lot of shit, as yu probably smelled."

-A limo arrives, with a well-dressed yellow mutant. He is not El Capo, just the chief assistant to El Capo. He takes the whole crew through the city, which is built on a plateau in the mid-point of the canyon leading down into the Sphincter. Along the way he explains: the Dark Ones came through into the surface of the world at the Sphincter. There was a terrible war between their spawn and the High Elves and their Pythian Knights.  Finally, the High Elves were able to seal the Sphincter, with some kind of 'plug'. But the whole area now known as the Shithole was riddled with mutations and spawn of the Dark Ones, so they Elves sealed the whole area off. They used powerful magic to make teleportation in or out impossible, and then raised up a huge wall of near-impenetrable mountains that surrounded the entire zone.
"That still doesn't explain why there's shit everywhere in Tijuana."
"Oh, that is just because of really bad sanitation."

-They go to a high point in the plateau, to a remarkably large gaudy gated mansion with a style that could only be described as "Trump-esque". The area is crawling with armed bodyguards, and presumably-attractive female sloths in tight dresses and bikinis.

-They meet "El Capo", an aged sloth in a mobster-like business suit. He interrogates Bill about the events surrounding the death of Slothy Rodriguez, who was like a son to him.  Satisfied that Bill was not responsible for his death, he makes a deal: he will help the party with supplies to get them to the Sphincter, and they will owe him and his organization a favor.

-Bill is concerned when he hears that spawn of the Dark Ones are often drawn to the Sphincter, possibly including Shoggoths. So he asks El Capo to supply him with some large bags of weed.

-Muu had been injured from a bullet wound in the firefight with El Capo's men in the tunnels. He gets sent to the clinic to be treated by El Capo's obese unlicensed doctor, who they assure Muu is excellent.

-The rest of the PCs were to be given the run of the place.
"All I ask is that yu do not try to have your way with my pretty daughters!"
Bill agrees and immediately knocks Morris out with the Sleep-stone.
"Please lock him in a room and don't let him out."

-The pacifist goes to stock up on armor and weapons courtesy of the Sloths. He lies to Bill about the fact there's grenades in the Sloth mafia's armory.

-That night, there is a huge party in Bill's honor, where the PCs meet the King of Tijuana."

-"Wait... is the King of Tijuana Keith Richards?"
"Sure looks like it."

-"I guess if one person alive today would survive the heat death of the universe, it would be Keith Richards."

-"I couldn't tell from the accent if he was drunk, or British. Then I realized he was drunk AND British, and I realized who it was."

-King Keith I is VERY interested in Bill's Primo Staff. He makes Bill promise to bring it with him back to Tijuana someday if he should recover it.

-Bill and King Keith I become fast friends.

-After that, it's time talk business. El Capo gives bill two large garbage bags full of weed, which Bill hopes will have an effect on any shoggoths, as he'd noted in prior experiences. He also gives him a small pouch of a Blue Orchid Poison and a vial of Black Orchid Poison.

-"now yu should rest and gather your strength while you can my friend, unless yu want sleep with whores first.."
"No, the guy in the party that used to sleep with horse is dead."

-Muu wakes up the next morning in the clinic, fully healed of his injury.  The unkempt obese 'doctor' seems to know his stuff after all.
"does Muu still have both of his kidneys?"
"Strangely, yes."

-Morris also wakes up, in the bedroom he'd been locked into this whole time, and asks to be released. The guard sends word to Bill who comes to see him.
"Why did you do this to me? You could have just asked me to behave."
"No, I know all about your urges."
" I only want it more."

-Bill decides to keep Morris in the room.
"I'll be back in 10 minutes, alright? NO funny business!"
"Sure... I don't even like women!"

-"is he gone?"
"Yes, Bill left."
"Ok, I check out the window to see if I can climb to some other room where there's people to creep at."

-"Dude, El Capo's daughters are all sloths!"
"It's not about the zoophilia, it's about Bill not letting him."

-El Capo's consigliere (the handsome well-dressed yellow mutant from the limousine earlier) comes into Morris' room just before he can climb a window.
"So...I hear from my guard yu do not like the women..."

-Morris has to explain to the consigliere that he just meant he doesn't like SLOTH women, and lets him down gently.
"I trust yu will not repeat what has been said in this room to anyone..."
"Huh? OH! No, don't worry, I won't tell anyone that you're gay."
"I am NOT a puto!! I simply like to have sex with other men!"

-The consigliere leaves Morris and immediately heads to where Bill, Muu and Heidi are lounging having breakfast on the patio.
"So this Morris, he is strange, yes? I would not believe anything he say!"

-For his part, Morris had swore to the consigliere that he wouldn't say a word. Bill comes to check on him.
"Hey Bill, guess what? The consigliere is gay!!"
"Eat your breakfast and don't cause trouble."
"No! You can't tell me what to do. I don't want any breakfast."
"Fine, then don't eat it."
"No, now I want it!"

-"Dealing with Morris is like dealing with a fucking child!"
"More like a defiant teen."

-The party is almost ready to go. They finally release Morris, and after he gets some new weapons from El Capo's armory, they're ready to go.
"So, you didn't get to ruin everything by sleeping with one of El Capo's daughters, huh?"
"It's OK, I don't care. El Capo's daughters are sloths, and I'm not into sloths."

-At this point, El Capo comes down to see them off, accompanied by 2 modestly dressed sloth girls and one modestly-dressed extremely hot yellow-mutant girl.
"These are my lovely daughters: Luisa, Andrea, and of course my adopted daughter Maria... Morris, her bedroom was right above where yu were sleeping."

-Heavily stocked up on guns, rifles, grenades, armor, poison, and a ridiculous amount of drugs, the party begins to head down the canyon-side toward the Sphincter, and hopefully the conclusion of their quest in the Shithole.

Stay tuned next time for more DCC action!


Currently Smoking: Missouri Meerschaum + Stockebbye's Bull's Eye Flake

Friday 27 January 2017

Break Friday: McFlurry Inequality Index Edition

Today: you get to discover an article that explains my blog entry yesterday featuring the pictures from Uruguayan McDonalds.

You see, it was part of an investigative report on a great social injustice perpetrated by an evil multinational corporation!  You've heard of the 'big mac index', predicated on how Big Macs all over the world are basically the same.

Today, I propose a different standard: the McFlurry Inequality Index!  Because you see, McFlurries are NOT the same all over the world.  In some countries, they come in much better forms and sizes than others.  And McDonalds treats McFlurries here in South America worse than almost anywhere else in the world.

So, if you like the article, please feel free to share it!


Currently Smoking: Raleigh Hawkbill + Image Virginia

Thursday 26 January 2017

Pictures from Uruguay: The Old City, and McDonald's

So, today I post some pictures that aren't from my own neighbourhood, but rather from the old city core of Montevideo.

Here are old streets of the old city. As you can see, many of them date to pre-automobile times. Large sections of the old city have been converted into pedestrian areas, which have a number of restaurants and shops.

This is the plaza Matriz, which is the core of old city's pedestrian areas. It's quite nice. Every Saturday there's a big antique fair there.  Note the ornate fountain in the background: it's full of masonic symbols.

Besides shops and restaurants, the old city is also the big center for banks and commercial activities in Montevideo.  It's also right next to the port, so there's a lot of customs houses and brokers and such.

In various places you'll see buskers and streetside-vendors of trinkets and souvenirs.  Almost any tourist to Montevideo ends up here, and cruise ships stop off at the port.  Recently, there were so many of them (and none of the regulation loved by the socialists in government) that the authorities engaged in some sweeping clearing-out of the vendors, though I imagine they'll be back soon.

For a story I'm working on for Break, I also had cause to take some pictures of the local McDonald's:

As you can see, it doesn't look too different from a 1st-world McDonald's.

It also has a "McCafe":

For the most part, Uruguay's McDonalds are basically the same as one you might find in north america. Since the meat and produce they use is from Uruguay, it's slightly tastier. But their McFlurries have a serious problem:

They don't actually blend them. They just dump everything on top of the ice cream and give it to you like that.

And as you can see in the pics above, it's not like this is such a third-world hellhole that they couldn't have the blending technology if they fucking wanted to!  They even have these:

So seriously, McDonalds, what the fuck?

Anyways, that's it for today.


Currently smoking: Lorenzetti Solitario Egg + Gawith's Navy Flake

Wednesday 25 January 2017

When They Think You Aren't Watching, Storygamers Declare: "D&D is Fascist"/"Gygax was Fascist"

Storygamers have, for as long as they've existed, maintained a careful double-discourse on D&D and regular RPGs.  Whenever it's convenient for them, they'll pretend they have no problem with D&D, pretend they're fans, etc.

But whenever it's convenient for them, they have been all too happy to claim that D&D is incoherent, that regular RPGs cause brain damage, that the masses of the 'great unwashed' who like normal RPGs are morons.

And of course, as the discourse of identity-politics began to try to worm its way into the RPG hobby, the Storygamers (being predisposed to all elitist bullshit) adopted it wholeheartedly.  This is how we get something like this:

This is from a thread in the Storygames forum called "How Does Your Game Fight Fascism"? It begins with the presumption that RPGs are 'fascist' in nature, and that it is therefore a duty of 'woke' gamers to actively run and presumably write games that work to oppose that 'fascism'.

Naturally, by the 3rd post in the thread D&D is explicitly named as a "pro-fascist RPG". And that killing orcs is an example of "cruel, discriminatory thinking" (pity the poor orc!).  And then the statement that "My sense of Gygax is that he probably was a little bit fascist", because he "yearned for heroic adventuring".

So there you have it. Do you like killing orcs? Do you yearn for something heroic? YOU'RE A FASCIST, according the Storygames crowd. Because they define anything heroic as inherently at least "a little bit fascist", just like Gary "Adolph" Gygax. 

There's a lot that could be said about all this, and we're chatting about it on theRPGsite, but fundamentally, there's three things I want to point out here:

a) it shows the two-tongued nature of the Storygaming crowd.  Anytime they pretend that they have 'no problem with D&D', remember how they said D&D and Gygax/Arneson was 'fascist'.

b) It shows their own moral bankruptcy that they equate the ideas of heroism and the struggle against evil with 'fascism'.  

c) And here's the most important point: they're just WRONG.

I explained exactly how this argument is wrong in an earlier post. But for the sake of 'tl;dr', here's the summary of it.  The narrative the storygamers want to push is basically this: "D&D players are crypto-fascists that make orcs a substitute for dark-skinned people and the D&D game is a fascist exercise in the extermination of 'lesser races', imperialism, colonialism, misogyny and everything we don't like. Heroism is wrong, and fighting evil is not virtuous. Civilization and rule of law are horrible and oppressive, and D&D promotes those things so it is evil too."

But that's not how almost anyone who plays D&D views it.

Here's the REAL 'narrative' of the typical D&D experience:
"a multiracial group of courageous individuals from different backgrounds, genders, social classes, and levels of education putting aside all their differences, religious and non-religious, lily-white defenders of the law and those with a somewhat shady criminal past, country-folk and city-folk, all coming together in unity and collaborating in an autonomous (and usually non-hierarchical) collective, a fraternity with a common cause, often run by consensus, to save helpless innocents from the orcs. And it is the orcs, not the PCs or their players, who are greedy vicious racists that hate everything that isn't them and would destroy any chance for peaceful co-existence and the rule of law (that can only be brought about by civilization)."

Yet somehow, that's never how the Storygamer-Swine want to see it. Because they don't just fail to understand D&D, they want to despise it, and anyone who likes it. 


Currently Smoking: Lorenzetti Oversize + H&H's Chestnut 

Tuesday 24 January 2017

Break Tuesday: Who Killed Harambe's Family?

This is investigative journalism taken to a whole new level! Was Harambe's dad killed for what he knew as well? Is it just a coincidence that three famous Gorillas/activists, including Harambe's Grandma, died only days before Obama left office?? find out the shocking story: Who killed Harambe, his dad, his grandma, and other important Gorilla/Activists?

As always, please share if you liked it!


Currently Smoking: Lorenzetti Poker + Solani Aged Burley Flake

(Late) Break Monday: Terrorist Edition!

Today on, I take a look at Terrorism.

BUT, not modern terrorist groups. Oh no. This is an investigation of several of the most dangerous terrorist groups from history, dating back from the Roman times all the way to 1911.

This is Terrorism: Old School.

If you like it, please share!


Currently Smoking: Lorenzetti Poker + H&H's Beverwyck

Sunday 22 January 2017

Classic Rant: Running 'Arrows of Indra' in the First Age

First, my inspiration was this: the Harappa or Early Indus civilization.  This fairly awesome website led me to think of what it would take to run Arrows of Indra way earlier in time than the Mahabharata-era, the very dawn of the human age.

So if you have AoI, here's what you'd have to change:

1) there are no Bharata Kingdoms.  The only human territories that already exist are the area known as the Bahlika kingdoms.  Most of these consist only tribal nomads and very small and extremely primitive villages, not yet in the Bronze age.
Pushkalavati is already a city, and old by human standards, currently at its peak.
The Naga cities of Anantanaga and Takshasila would already exist, but even the Nagas would be relatively more primitive in this time.  On the other hand, the Pishacha kingdom in the north would be less degenerate than it is at the dawn of the Heroic Age.
 The Island of Dwaraka would also already have a very small community of humans.
There would also be a few cities in this region which would not even exist by the time of the heroic age, being completely abandoned (and even the ruins long since having been devoured by the dust) by the time of the heroic age thousands of years in the future.  Cities like Harappa, and Mohenjo Daro, which are both on the Sindhu river (the river's course being different at this time than thousands of years later), rival Pushkalavati for significance among the free humans. Likewise, on the Anarta peninsula, the ancient city of Lothal, which at this this time eclipses the Dwaraka community in prominence (as indeed Dwaraka is only a colony of Lothal).   It too would later be completely abandoned as its inhabitants move to the safer island in the second age, leaving the peninsular city to be entirely reclaimed by the swamp.  But in this time, Lothal is one of the most sophisticated human cities in existence; being the first humans to master the sea, and engaging in trade for beads, rice, cotton and gems with the human tribes to the north and the demonic Asura Empires to the south.  They had developed canals and baths, the oldest dockyards ever built by human hands, a market, an area, a sewer system, and an industrial area with forges and production centers for trade goods.
Here's Lothal:

2)  The free human kingdoms are technically vassals of the mighty Flying Cities of the Asura Demon Emperors.  All the world is ruled by this Empire, including a number of allied Vassal provinces of Asura demons on land.  The empire has ruled over the world for ten thousand years, and the efforts of the Gods to oppose them have met with limited success. The Asura Emperor is named Tarakasura, and his sons Tarakaksha, Vidyunmali, and Kamalashka each rule one of these floating cities.  They are among the most powerful Asura demons who existed (the Demon King Ravana, for comparison, is only one of their vassals).  The floating cities are marvels of magical technology and architecture, and were built by the Demon-Architect Mayasura.  He used powerful magic to ensure that the cities were completely indestructible, unless a single arrow could somehow pierce all three.  The cities float in separate patterns, rarely coming close to each other; all over the lands of Jagat, where these Demon Princes oversee all the kingdoms of the world as literal overlords, collecting tribute and slaves from the helpless beings below.

3) None of the other cities of the Bharata Kingdoms exist.  All the lands of Kuru, Panchala, Kosala, Matsya, Kunti, etc. are populated by stone-age human tribes. All of the major northern forests and jungles are larger and thicker than in the heroic age: the Khandava jungle has a bronze-age Naga kingdom; the Madhu forest features a small but important Asura Kingdom.  The Dwaita Jungle features a Gandharvan Kingdom (Gandharva Teertha, which is larger in scope than in the heroic age), where the gods themselves frequently reside on earth; it is the battle-front for the war against the Asura Empire.  The area where the Maghadan empire would be is in this time a patchwork quilt of Asura Kingdoms; and the whole of the Dandaka Jungle is ruled by very powerful Asura Kingdoms, including the territories of the powerful Ravana in the island of Lanka, to the south.
The area now known as the Desert of Thar is in this time a fertile land surrounding an inland sea (the sea of Lavanasagara); it is the home of a very powerful vassal kingdom of the Asura Empire, run by Asuras and populated by Rakshasa and Asura-worshiping humans.

4) The technological level is generally lower than in the heroic age.  There are no steel weapons; and in human lands bronze weapons and armor can only be obtained in the largest cities.  In the non-human kingdoms (Naga, Asura, Gandharva, etc.) the technological level varies considerably; steel does not exist anywhere, but bronze is common to the Naga and iron to most Asura lands.  The human lands have relatively little in terms of magic items, but all the non-human lands are loaded with magic (in comparison to the heroic age); its not uncommon at all for even lower-status Asura or Rakshasa of the important vassal states to have magic weapons or armor, and much magic is used as a substitute for 'high-tech'.  The armies of the Asuran Empire come and go from the flying cities using Vimana flying chariots, for example.

5) Religion:  many of the gods listed in Arrows of Indra don't exist yet.  Only the "old gods", the river goddesses, Vishnu and Laxshmi currently exist.  Vishnu has replaced Indra as chief among the gods, only recently by divine standards (about 1000 years), by intervening to defeat an important invasion from the Asuran Empire onto the divine realms themselves.  This was an important victory for the gods, who had been fighting a losing war with the Asuras for the last ten millennia.  They had managed now to push the threat back down to Jagat (the world), but the war has since been stuck in stalemate once again.  Now the Gods have decided on a new strategy by which to triumph: through the most powerful of divine magics, the supreme creator-god Brahma will transform the age by placing a shard of his pure divine essence into human form, the first Avatara: Shiva.  It is he who will be destined to form a rag-tag army of wild men and monstrous gunas, make war against all the demon kingdoms, and shoot down the three demon cities on the one minute in a millennium that the orbit of the three cities aligns in the sky (making such a shot possible, however incredible).
Most humans of this age live as either slaves or willing citizens in Asura kingdoms; and worship the Asuras.  The free humans worship the old gods, and the river goddesses.  In particular, Indra is still venerated by Kings and Chiefs as well as by barbarian tribes.  In Lothal, the principle deities are Agni (there are fire-shrines all over the city), as well as Varuna the sea-god (sea trade being the source of their prosperity) and his consort Vanuvati (venerated as a great mother-goddess).

I'm sure there'd be other stuff to cover, but I hope that gives you a glimpse of how you could run a game set tens of thousands of years earlier than Arrows of Indra's default setting.


Currently Smoking: Lorenzetti Solitario Volcano + H&H's Beverwyck

(Originally posted March 18, 2014

Saturday 21 January 2017

DCC Campaign Backstage Chatlog: Volume 25, part 3

Pundit: Well, once again almost everyone died. But now there's a Bazooka-guy.
Sunrise, Sunset.

Morris: HAHAHA

Bill: It's still your fault.

Muu: Yeah, not being here is kinda your fault : o

Morris: Can you tell me what happened?

Pundit: Sabre-toothed Giant Weasels.

Bazooka Arnok: The deadliest predator of the Shithole.
At least until Bazooka Arnok appeared.

Heidi: now that Bazooka Arnok appeared, once the weasels kill him we will have Bazooka Weasels
since he is green and has tusk, I guess the sadistic hunter would be something like this:

And Morris is now a sinless baby compared to the new guys

Pundit: This party became a gang of insane psychopaths so gradually that it seemed totally natural.But the latest jump is jarring. It's like a group of mobsters, getting into bigger crimes, making themselves more imposing bit by bit, taking over the underworld...and then the Joker shows up.

Bill: It gets so bad that Bill becomes the voice of reason
But then says he will have to up his game to keep up with these new guys

Muu: The real question is will Bill be able to make the shithole worse, or the shithole characters will make it worse all by themselves.
Or will it be the otherway making Bill someone worse.

Bill: All can be at the same time, add hemorrhoids to the shithole, make it a worse place, make bill worse and make the new guys horrible
The shithole is a place of opportunities

Muu: You don't get to the shithole, the shithole gets to you.

Bazooka Arnok: Remember when we were the good guys?
Yeah, me neither.
But I'm pretty sure every time we die, we come back worse.

Muu: We come back worse or incompetent

Bill: That would explain bill

Bazooka Arnok: Nothing would explain Bill.
Bill defies explanation.

Bill: Bill is on a spirit walk through the shithole, being an asshole, travelling to the sphincter

Bazooka Arnok: A walkabout.
Basically you want to find yourself, and what better place than the Shithole for it?

Bill: That

Muu: One mistake on the DCC recap, It was Heidi who is a pacifist who wanted to escape the party.

Pundit: Heidi is the pacifist?? So wait, who's the barbarian?
the red mutant
And was it heidi and not the halfling who used the teleporter? Or did they both?

Muu: I only remember that Heidi was the one with the red wizard, I do think that both of them used it too.

Heidi: both used the teleporter
the hunter is the only one who stayed out
I don't remember the name of the hunter

Pundit: Ah, OK. I'll try to edit it.
It would have been way more funny if the sadistic hunter guy was named "heidi".
So, is everyone missing DCC already?

Heidi: It doesnt matter if we miss it or not. There is no escape

Bill: We all are.

Bazooka Arnok: D..CC? What is that?
I have...memories...
Suppressed ones...
No...NO NO!

Pundit: Hope you're having a good time over in Europe with all the Euro-trash!

Bill: So far so good.

Pundit: Oh man!

Bill: Akbasha must have poisoned those dished, I feel like death is slowly taking hold of my guts

Pundit: dubious shellfish! sounds more like the sort of thing Jal'udin would do.

Bazooka Arnok:
Be careful. That's how Chu died.
By eating some bad fish.

Muu: Bullshit demon poison, never eat demon fish.

Pundit: You better be careful, Bill. Did you hear about that Italian chef who died??
He pasta way.

Muu: I believe that you need to be a father to tell terrible dad jokes.

Bill: I guess I have good fortitude, I'm back at full HP

Pundit: Good! We need you in good health if you're to come join us this Sunday.

Bazooka Arnok: Bill can't handle his way out of a wet paper bag without murdering the bag's family.

I don't see what that has to do with knowing and going bananas
Look a Nikos, he is just fine

Bazooka Arnok: Bill and Handling Things are antonyms.
Last time Bill tried to handle something, everything and everyone went to shit.

Bill: Bill just need to buy a handle and put it on or in things
Well, your previous dead PC were, the new ones are natives
So technically not Bill's fault

Bazooka Arnok:
I can't wait to see how that fails in the most spectacular and destructive fashion possible.

Bill: Morris can never blame anyone, he likes it here
We are in the SH, things can only get worse if I mess up a control fire

Bazooka Arnok: There's a whole body of laws forbidding the things Morris likes.
Which you will. Soon

Bill: Add a creature of the void to the shithole and it's like a crapper with additional hemorroids
It's only a question of when, not if

Bazooka Arnok: Thank you for the lovely mental image.

Bill: Muajajajaja

Heidi: Plot twist. Time dinosaura took bill back to before the dark ones attacked. He tried to cast control fire for something and opened a portal that allowed the dark ones into this world.

Bill: DUN DUN DUN!! Mark shamilalamamamalalalalan plot

Heidi: Bill is the beginning of the end

Bazooka Arnok: I personally blame Ackbasha.

Muu: I blame Chu. Only because.

Bazooka Arnok: Nah. Chu wasn't that relevant.

Bill: Bill is a paradox?

Bazooka Arnok: Depends.
Are paradoxes assholes?
If so, then yes

Pundit: Is this the Equestrian?

Heidi: yesterday in my job I received a call and after introducing myself the girl on the other side said: "Hello, may I speak to Morris?"

It's one of my fans...

Heidi: and normally I would think "I don't know who the fuck morris is, there are thousands of people working here", but since she said Morris and not other name I thought "Why would someone want to speak to Morris?"

Morris: HAHAHAHA That's a valid question

Bill: You see, it's permeating into this realm

Bazooka Arnok: Does that mean that anytime now minotaurs will start appearing?
Because considering the price of beef, I'd be really ok with that happening.

Heidi: we are out of the spell range, they have to teleport all the way from Minotauria

Bazooka Arnok: We're in the shithole then

Bill: If we were in Venezuela, that would apply.


That's it for now, stay tuned for the long-awaited new DCC Campaign Update very soon! 


Currently Smoking: Missouri Meerschaum + Stockebbye's Bull's Eye Flake

Friday 20 January 2017

Trump's Wailing Protesters Gave Me SchadenWood

The day has come, in spite of Rosie O'Donnell calling for martial law and CNN expressing open fantasies about an assassin murdering Trump and Pence so that Obama or someone from his administration could stay instead.

Attention American ctrl-left cunts: DONALD TRUMP IS YOUR PRESIDENT NOW.
There is no escape.
He is what you get for a decade of being totalitarian motherfuckers who treated our civilization with contempt, ordinary people with disdain, and freedom of speech as the enemy.

To quote my friend Allum Bokhari: Donald Trump is president now. And to think, all this could have been avoided with a bit more ethics in game journalism.

So naturally, today is the peak day of Schadenfreude.

You've lost everything now. You don't get to be in charge anymore. People like ME are in charge. Yes, that's right, be scared. Because I'm going to do the most terrible thing you could imagine to you: I'm going to laugh at you and belittle you and say mean things to you, and I'm going to make other people more free.

Donald Trump's victory is more than anything a massive Fuck You to the ctrl-left. The same gang of shitsucking meatsacks who were calling for the extinction of white people, or how Hillary should use executive power to arrest anyone who disagreed with feminists on the internet, or how government should force private businesses to hire 50% minorities, right up to the day of the Election.
And also the same gang of shitsucking meatsacks who wanted to control language, censor games, and blacklist game designers who dared to defy them in the tabletop RPG hobby.

You're done now, cunts.

The Age of Political Incorrectness is here now. Your bleating about triggers and micro-aggressions are irrelevant now, you gang of fucking pussies.

But I promise, you can still cry all you like about how offended you feel. Please cry. It gives me wood every time you cry.

Please make our memes come to life like this. I swear I got so hard on Schadenfreude alone when I saw this. This retarded imbecile of a woman wailing like a savage animal in her despair at not getting to control our lives.

I want to see you all wail with tears at how you don't get your way, like the moral toddlers you are. Please wail and scream and shout at our victory, because now you can't threaten us or make us afraid if we defy you anymore. We've taken away all your toys. You don't get to control what others do or what others say or what others can read or play or how others think.

We won. And we set everyone free.

So go fuck yourselves.

Thursday 19 January 2017

Cam Banks: Stop Pussyfooting and Implement the Final Solution

So over in this post, Cam Banks has stated that he will not hire straight white men for his next RPG project.

You might not be able to read that link, it's ok. I can't either. If you can't read it, it proves you're sufficiently public in your freethinking to be dangerous enough for the Ctrl-Left to want to stop you from seeing what they're doing.

Luckily, I have people everywhere. Here's a part of what he wrote:

"So if you are or you know women, PoC, LGBTQ/NB folk, designers and writers who have loved or still love Marvel Heroic, Leverage, Smallville, or Firefly, and you think they or you can handle my laid-back Kiwi management style and produce rock-solid shit-hot awesome work for me on a not-terrible schedule, let me know.

Drop me an email at with your enthusiastic vision. I want to help you help me make it happen.

He said we should feel free to share it, so I'm sure he'd have no problem with the information being reposted here. 

Cam Banks' ideological vision, in that article titled "Aggressive Inclusivity", is very clear.  But he's also a massive pussy. 
If the point of "Aggressive Inclusivity" is "get all the white straight males out of the industry", then why is the BOSS still a straight white male, Cam??

I challenge you, Cam: If you really believe the Ctrl-left attitude about how straight white males need to become extinct, because "straight white men are a big problem", then why the fuck do you still get to be in the RPG hobby? Worse still, why do you, the Straight White Man, get to be the one who is still IN CHARGE?

Do you believe that all those poor women/PoC/LGBTQIAN-BC are incapable of doing what you did and building up a business for themselves and becoming successful game designers on their own? If so, then surely you don't think it's because they're inherently inferior in some way, do you? Because really, that would mean you're a massive sick piece of shit, if that's what you believed.

I'll be kind and assume you do not just believe yourself superior to helpless minorities who you imagine would starve to death and creatively flounder without your guidance. If so, then if you believe these minorities are incapable of building up a business and becoming successful game designers on their own, it is surely because of the systemic injustice of Straight White Men LIKE YOU being the BOSS, being at the top, not giving room for anyone else to get into positions of real authority.

And here you are, asking women, people of color, and sexual minorities to be your wage slaves. You're pretending to pander to them without giving them any of the real power!  Jeez, Lena Dunham was right! What a SWM piece of shit you are.

If you really believe in the cause, rather than just wanting to profit off it like far too many evil white men do, and if you want to prove you're not a massive fucking hypocrite who's only in this to satisfy a smug liberal sense of self-superiority while patronizing and taking advantage of people you are only pretending you feel are equal to you, there's only one answer: you must step out of the fucking way. If you really believe in The Revolution, you must purify yourself and Quit The Hobby FOREVER. 

If not, you're just a cunt.

And hey, once you do quit the hobby forever, you should probably, if you REALLY REALLY believe in the claims of the ctrl-left version of 'social justice', go ahead and likewise resign from being alive. You know, because "straight white men are a huge problem" and they need to go and all that. 

Show us you're serious. Do it. Be a shining example to us all.  Make me eat my words and prove you're not just a smarmy self-serving hypocritical little cunt using race/gender/sexuality-baiting for cheap propagandistic purposes. Eliminate yourself for the cause, and I will apologize for calling you the hypocrite I clearly think you are right now, and you will be praised as a hero of the movement. 

Do it. 


Currently Smoking: Lorenzetti Volcano + H&H's Chestnut 

Wednesday 18 January 2017

Classic Rant: How Complicated is DCC?

So I had recently reposted, to theRPGsite, the review I did of the Dungeon Crawl Classics RPG. At the time of writing the review I had not yet played the game; but I had prophetically stated that I had no doubt I would. Since that time these past 9 months or so we've been running an English-language DCC game that has been very successful, and that frequent readers get some updates about.

I've heard some people comment, both in these recent conversations and in general, that DCC is very "Complicated". But I have to say that if anything, from the time of my original review to now, my opinion after actually playing is that the game is far less complicated than I expected. The various mechanics present in DCC but absent in regular D&D (eg. spell checks, criticals, fumbles, a few other things) do not excessively slow down play. The funny dice (ie. d5, d7, d14, d16, d24) are actually much less intrusive or even essential than they appear.

The two most typical complaints I've seen have been about needing to get the dice, and about having to look up tables. I would respond by saying that technically, you could play DCC without the fancy dice; I know this because I ran DCC for several sessions before I got my special gamescience dice and about 95% of the time there was no significant disruption. When there was some situation that demanded a non-standard-D&D die, there were many possible quick fixes.

As for tables, this is perhaps slightly more legitimate, but really there are only a few tables one looks up more often than in D&D. I mean first of all, let's be honest here: I'm also running Lamentations of the Flame Princess, and I have to pause to look up stuff there too (mostly spell info my players were too lazy to write down). The same goes for standard D&D, the same goes for most games. Unless you're playing some utterly insanely-ultralight game, there will be times you have to stop and look up shit in the books. 
It may be a little more frequent than in D&D, but its not a terrible lot; at least not if your players have access to the tables for their own spells.

But if this still doesn't convince you, I have another answer for you: There's an app for that. The Crawler's Companion is an absolutely awesome, free resource, that you can put into a laptop, tablet, and I don't know what else, that revolutionizes game play. 
It has a dice roller, a really great one, so you don't need to worry about the "funky dice" anymore.
It has all the spell lists. It can roll for you, or you can do the roll and look up the results.
It has all the crit charts, it has the fumbles, it has deity disapproval, it has corruption; all of them available to be rolled or in lookup mode.

And it has quick rules-references.

So even without this app, I think there was little cause for the kind of alarmism we hear about how "complicated" DCC is. I think that almost anyone making such a claim hasn't actually played it.
But if you have the Crawler's Companion; your game will run faster than it would with any other edition of D&D. Its that simple.


(originally posted March 6, 2014)