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Monday, 24 September 2018

Wild West Campaign Update: The Mule Thieves

So our latest adventure started out when Bat Masterson approached Crazy Miller about the two of them taking a trip back to Dodge City.

(dodge city)

Turns out that Jim, Bat's brother, had asked him to come immediately as he was in a fight with the co-owners of the Lady Gay Saloon; a fight that had escalated to death threats.

While Crazy and Bat headed back to Dodge (the players again noting the astounding difference the existence of the train had made in the west, with a trip that would previously have taken ages being manageable in just five day, and that including two by stagecoach), the other PCs stayed in Tombstone. A couple of days later, they were surprised to see a couple of US Cavalry lieutenants riding into town (from Camp Rucker, it would turn out). They had come on account of the theft of 6 mules destined for service at the camp; their Colonel wanted them to hire Wyatt Earp to find them and the thieves who stole them (he's a huge Wyatt Earp fan). When they offered Wyatt $600 up front, he reluctantly agreed, and he convinced Kid Taylor, Other Miller, and Jeff Young to come along. He didn't invited Doc Holliday because he knew Doc would never agree to doing work for the army, and because Doc had been busy having vicious fights with Big Nose Kate lately.

(Tombstone around 1881)

Wyatt asked himself just where would there be a market for mules? And the answer was clear: The Tombstone Mines. As they rode out to the mines, they crossed paths with their friend Frenchie the prospector. When they explained what they were looking for, he told them to go check out a guy named "Muley" Smith, who was the owner of the mule pens at the mining camp.

(the Tombstone Mines)

When they got to the camp, finding the mule pens was easy enough.  Muley stated that he certainly didn't have six mules with Army brands, and while the two Lieutenants (who, it turns out, were both named Thompson, though like the Millers they weren't related, and one didn't have a "p" in his last name) clarified that they hadn't been given an army brand yet and had a double-twig brand, Muley didn't have those either.  Initially, Muley claimed that he never bought anything but mules with all their proof of ownership; but after being intimidated by Other Miller and threatened by Wyatt, he broke down and admitted that in fact he bought mules from two suspicious customers. One was a Mexican bandito named Angel Suarez, the other was Frank Patterson, a member of the Cowboy gang.

Meanwhile, Bat and Crazy had come to Dodge, and Jim Masterson was waiting for them at the train station.

(James Masterson)

It turns out that Dodge City's glory days as a buffalo and later cattle-drive boomtown were done. Of the nearly 40 saloons that once graced Front Street, only four remain operating. One of them is the Lady Gay, which was owned by Bat and Jim, but when Bat lost his election as Ford County Sheriff he left town, selling his share to Jim.  The Lady Gay wasn't doing well and Jim wasn't a great money manager, so he soon found himself selling part of the bar to his bartender Al Undergraff. Then a second part. Then Undergraff sold part of his share to prominent Dodge businessman and "Better People" member AJ Peacock. Suddenly, Jim found himself holding only a minority stake in the bar, with Peacock (who was not a friend of the Mastersons) wanting to buy him out and Undergraff taking Peacock's side.

Bat and Crazy Miller both realized that it would actually be much better for Jim to sell out, and Peacock had offered him $2000 for his remaining share, which was not a bad sum, but for Jim this was a matter of pride. They spent some time trying to convince Jim, and he finally agreed if Bat could make it $3000, and of course Bat being a silver-tongued devil, he was sure he could.

They decided that before heading to the Lady Gay to negotiate with Peacock, they'd go visit the Long Branch and the Alhambra, two of the other remaining saloons, to catch up with their friends Luke Short and Frank Harris (owners at the Long Branch), and Dog Kelley and his bear Paddy (owners of the Alhambra). As they were headed to the Long Branch, Crazy Miller suddenly spotted a couple of shadowy figures in the alley on the other side of the street, pointing guns in their direction!

There was a quick firefight, and while Bat and Jim were both shooting, it turned out to be Crazy Miller who hit his shots. He shot the gun out of one assailant's hand, causing him to run away. Then the other one was turning to flee so Crazy shot him in the foot. Several shots from the assailants hit the Long Branch saloon, and several shots from Crazy and the Mastersons hit the new jailhouse. Soon Bill Tilghman, who was now the city Marshall, came out and discovered that the man shot in the foot was Al Undergraff! What's more, Al immediately claimed that the Mastersons and Crazy Miller shot first, and were trying to kill him.  Unable to find any witnesses of who fired first, Tilghman was forced to arrest them all.

(Bill Tilghman)

Over in the Tombstone Mining camp, the PCs, the Thompsons and Wyatt Earp were keeping watch on the mule pens, waiting to see if one or the other mule-smuggler would show up. Finally, Angel Suarez made his way into camp, with 10 mules and 3 other Mexicans. When he had arrived at Muley's, the team ambushed them calling for them to surrender. But the Mexicans fought, and fought hard! It took several shots to finally take Suarez down.

Unfortunately it turned out that the mules were not the ones from Camp Rucker. At this point Wyatt Earp decided to say 'fuck it' and led the team toward the Clanton ranch, sure he'd find the mules there.

In Dodge City, Crazy, Bat and Jim were all in jail but were at least enjoying the wonders of Cooter's coffee for the first time in ages. Al Undergraff was there too, at least until his foot was tended to, but he was released by morning on his own recognizance (by the highly biased Mayor's office). Not, however, before Bat and Crazy managed to plant the seeds of doubt in him as to whether his senior partner (AJ Peacock) hadn't really intended for Al to be killed by the Mastersons so the Mastersons would in turn go to jail, leaving the Lady Gay all to himself. They also told Undergraff to tell Peacock to come and see them, as they were ready to deal.

So Peacock comes down to the jailhouse, and there's a tense negotiation between him and Bat with help from Crazy. As usual, the two best negotiators in the entire campaign get their way, and Peacock gives Jim Masterson a good payout for the Lady Gay. They're freed from their jail cell as soon as they sign the papers.
Then they stop off for drinks in the Long Branch and the Alhambra, but when they step out they're confronted by County Sheriff George Hinkel (the man who beat Bat in the Ford County election), his deputy, and Marshall Tilghman. They've been ordered by Dodge Mayor Webster to use the same law that was enacted in the cattle-drive era to empower the lawmen to kick anyone out of Dodge without any required justification. The three men were escorted right to the train station and made to leave.  Jim Masterson decided not to go with Bat and Crazy back to Tombstone; instead he was taking his money and going to Colorado, where he was hoping to find work as a Lawman and get out under the shadow of his older brother.

Back in Tombstone, Wyatt, Other Miller, Kid Taylor, Jeff Young and the two Lieutenants ride up to the Clanton ranch. They find a welcoming committee armed and waiting for them, including Pa Clanton, the Clanton brothers, the McLauries, alleged  mule-smuggler Frank Patterson, and Sherman McMaster.

(you just couldn't make up a better evil boss than Pa Clanton)

 The Earp party was seriously outnumbered. Wyatt told Pa Clanton they were looking for the mules, and Pa Clanton responded that they didn't have any US Army Mules. The officers stated that the mules didn't have the army brand, but the double twig. Then Pa Clanton made a claim that they did receive some mules, by someone who claimed to be from that ranch, but instead of returning the mules to the men, he said he needed to verify the story and the authenticity of the mules (and the officers) and if it all checked out he promised to return the mules in two days. It was nothing more than a blatant display of power, of showing they didn't even fear the authority of government. But the Earp party had little choice, other than a shootout, so they agreed.

The mules would never be returned; instead Pa Clanton used his connections with the Arizona Democrats to get the army to look the other way and in the following days Cowboys would be mocking the lawmen on the street.

The PCs learned several important lessons in this session. They also discovered one important fact I didn't mention above: the Cowboys' criminal business previously relied considerably on rustling and other robberies across the border in Mexico. But in the last few months the Mexican government has significantly increased its Federales forces all across the border (yes, in the 19th century it was Mexico that was frantic about border security and criminal cartels). So part of the reason why they'd noticed the Cowboys resorting to more criminal activity nearer to Tombstone is because they had no other choice if they wanted to keep their profits up.

All this made it clear to the PCs that some big conflict is coming up very soon.  Of course, they all know about the shootout at the OK Corral, and that this is going to happen (well, unless the PCs do some really really freaking weird stuff to change the historical timeline), but what they don't know is how things in Tombstone as they were lead up to the eventual confrontation, and how the hell things after the OK Corral turn out like they did. And they're quite excited to find out.


Currently Smoking: Neerup Egg + Elizabethan Mixture

Sunday, 23 September 2018

Saturday, 22 September 2018

Why I Can't Just Ignore (or be Civil) With Venger's Attackers

It would not be unfair to describe Venger Satanis as a "smut peddler". Not quite the Larry Flynt of RPGs, but probably our closest equivalent. And some people could have legitimate complaints against him for that (legitimate, in the sense that it would be fair for some people to be offended by him). 
It would be more hard to imagine anyone being really 'offended' by his wuss-liberal Hillary-voting centrist policies, except maybe by their inherent wussiness. But hey, I guess if you really don't like that the guy voted for Hillary (and there's certainly great criticisms to be had of the very notion of voting for Hillary) you could complain about that and it would be legitimate too.

But shitbags like David Black and the other cunts who attacked him this week? No, they're not legitimate.

Nor can my response to them be "civil". The incivility of both their methods (lies, smear campaigns, and calls for mass censure) and their motives (Stalinist-style totalitarianism) are such that they demand an extremely uncivil response.

None of us can ignore them, because they cannot just ignore us.

You see, Totalitarians can never "just ignore" you. It's the difference between totalitarianism and authoritarianism.

With Authoritarians, they need you to not say "no". You can't defy their authority. You need to either say yes or keep silent.

With Totalitarians, that's not enough. Every moment of your life must be actively engaged in Agreeing with them. You must not just say Yes, you must say Yes to everything they demand, and you must say it ALL THE TIME, in every action you take.  If you are just keeping silent, you are Refusing to Agree, and that is enough for them to need to make you agree or completely destroy you.

Which is why we also can't just ignore them. Totalitarians must be fought, actively, at every moment.  Not for  one moment can you imply that it's OK for them to push their agenda that would (if they had the power) deprive every human being on earth of either their life or their essential liberty.


Currently Smoking: Ashton Old Church Rhodesian + C&D's Delta Days

Friday, 21 September 2018

Classic Rant: "Real" Magic in RPGs, Redux

So I'm trying this again, as the last time I attempted to write on the subject I met with the wrath of The Wench for being "too mean". This time, the focus will be less on savage mockery of silly people and more on the "magick" itself and what it should look like if you're trying to run a modern campaign where the occult rules are meant to effectively emulate real life.

Occult Posers

Again, the first thing to note is that 99.9% of people in the "occult scene" are posers, from the point of view of practicing magic. That is to say, they don't really do magic at all; they may talk about it or read about it, pretend they have great powers or like to collect crystals, but they've never had an actual experience of magic. Note that this includes, aside from the most absolute basic practices, 99% of "ceremonial magicians" who, for the purposes of this series, we'll be focusing on (not that there aren't other kinds of modern occultism that could have real "magical power" in your games, certainly tantrism and those rare shamanic practitioners that are actually doing it right, for just two examples, but we have to focus on something, at least to start). The people interested in hardcore magic, most of them, have read a couple of Crowley books, own a tarot deck or two, and may have tried some of the basic exercises (like the "lesser banishing ritual of the pentagram"), performed them badly, and then quit when nothing happened right away. Instead, they want to talk a lot about spirits and angels and demons and the Kabbalah and satan and how the man is putting them down, and how many books they own (whether or not they've read them), and how "dark" or "hardcore" they really are. You know, wankery.

A few of these guys even start their own magical orders.

But there is a smaller group of people who actually do the practices. Before I get into those, we should address how those people get to do it; are they secret initiates of a great magical order? Did they find lost tomes hidden away in some library?

No, fuckers! They just got what's readily available everywhere, and actually did it.

That brings us to the first rule of modern "authentic thaumaturgy":

RULE 1: it's not hard to find occult secrets, it's hard to understand them.

Remember that. Do not make it hard for someone to find real magic; it was all laid out 100 years ago, and even before the advent of the internet pretty much everything you needed to do "real" magic was readily available for purchase. And today, on the internet, where you can quickly and easily download pretty much every medieval grimoire, everything the Golden Dawn ever wrote, and absolutely everything Aleister Crowley ever did, including his personal diaries and ALL of the "secret rituals of the O.T.O.", there is really no information that is kept away from you. 
In a lot of "occult RPGs", that's one of the first things that strikes me as being utterly unrealistic; the authors make it that real occult knowledge is really difficult to obtain. It isn't, at all.

What's difficult is the ability to comprehend that knowledge; because you have study a lot of fundamentals, and you HAVE TO actually practice. So you have to read and read for years and years, and even if you do that you won't have an ounce of magical power unless you've also been exercising and exercising for years and years.

Go find a copy of Aleister Crowley's "The Book of Thoth", that's his book on the Tarot. Try to read it. Assuming no (significant) prior knowledge of the occult, you'll understand maybe 10% of it. The rest will seem like gobbledygook. 
So faced with that, most people either just quit in disgust assuming it is all gobbledygook, or they just pretend that they understood more of it when they did, beginning their long careers as occult frauds.

And the Book of Thoth really contains huge and powerful magical secrets. Within that book alone are secrets that contain significant magical gravitas. But to understand what its saying, after that first reading, you'd need to spend about six months working with the Tarot cards, reading the basics of astrology, reading the basics of kabbalah, reading the basics of alchemy. And then reading the Book of Thoth again. And after all that, you'll understand maybe 20% of it, but what new insight you got spurs you on to do new kinds of work, that gives you new kinds of insights, which leads you to new areas of study, which leads you to new areas of work, which leads you to new insights...etc etc.

So there's a huge cycle of learning involved. You could end up reading the just the Book of Thoth over and over again once every 6 months for 15 years, and IF you've actually been studying and practicing magick, then EACH time you read it, the book seems to be totally different than the last; like it's been re-written. Because magick has been busy re-writing you.

After the first two or three re-readings, where you figure out that's what's happening, that's where things start to get fucked up.

So yeah, if you want the availability of magical power to reflect real life, make it super-easy to get the information, but very difficult to be able to actually turn it into something useful. The difficulty to obtain the book is low, the study time it takes to master it is high; and brings risks of your giving up, lying to yourself that you get it, becoming obsessed, or starting to have weird reality-questioning shit happen.

Finally (for today) a note on "magical orders": if they don't contain the secrets, what the fuck are they good for?
The biting answer? Mostly nothing. For the most part, again, 90% of "magical orders", "lodges", "secret temples", "working groups", "covens", "rosicrucians", etc. are just places full of Occult Wankers where they can get together and show off their wankery to each other. The one conceivable benefit is that you might find one or two other frustrated newbies who want to get something real out of it, and just haven't figured out yet that this is not the place to get it. 
If you want your "magical order" to seem authentic, it needs to be full of seriously marginal people, who can't hold good day jobs, claiming to be wizards of grand power. It needs to have endless internal power struggles over who gets to be the "master of the circle" and in bigger societies who gets to be the "outer head of the order ad vitam". There's HUGE levels of megalomania involved here, and desperate power-mongering over nothing. Unlike freemasonry, which these "serious" occult wankers tend to mock, most magical orders are not democratic; that's because, in theory, the person who is most magically advanced should be the one in charge. But in practice, this works out to being an excuse for power-trips, because none of the guys involved are really all that advanced enough to warrant the pitfalls that come with having only one guy in charge forever. 
In any case, most "orders" of this sort don't teach magic at all, and those that do tend to do it poorly.

Seriously, I've found Freemasonry, which can only barely be called a "magical order", to be a much more valuable tool to occult practice than any of these OTOs or Golden Dawns or Rosicrucian Orders or Temples of Set, or any of the other supposedly "hardcore" groups that make so much fun of freemasonry for "not getting it". Not only do Freemasons tend to get it better than most pretentious occultists do, but they have actual stability, which is really one of the hardest things to keep and most important things to have, if you're going to study the occult. Masons are people who can hold down regular jobs and have families and social lives, and work in lodges that in many cases have been around and meeting regularly for 150 years or more; neither of those are true for most members of the "serious" orders; where the people involved have allowed their obsession with the occult to destabilize their regular lives (or, in some cases, have failed to be able to use the occult to bring stability into their already fucked-up lives), and where powermongers and megalomaniacs and the lack of a large network of infrastructure means that the order itself is chronically unstable.

If you think I'm exaggerating about this, go and read about the history of the original Golden Dawn. Or read about Agape Lodge in California. Or take a look at the current problems and struggles of the various "OTO" groups of the past couple of decades.

There is of course that 10% of orders that are of some good. Usually, these are very small groups, where the emphasis is on individual teachers and individual students working together. There will be little importance placed on fancy titles and ranks, and a lot placed on daily work; and the group will tend to be private but not exclusive (the opposite of the shit groups, which tend to be very public (trying to show off to everyone), but elitist (trying to make out that they have special powerful secrets no one else has, and that not just anyone can join)).
Even in the case of these good groups, except in those rare cases where they're being led by someone who's really attained some serious illumination, the most they are useful for is to have members keeping tabs on each other, keeping each other honest. They will focus on sincerity and experimentation, and on trying to have good discipline in the work. So mostly, you'd join a magical order for the same reason you'd join a pilates class rather than just do pilates by yourself out at home; in the hopes that it'll help you to keep up the hard part of the work and give you some structure, plus the occasional tip. Only in this case, half the time, you end up having your class-mates either want to have sex with you or rob you blind, half of the members can't hold a job because they can't ever actually talk about anything other than pilates, and the three guys who took some other class once before are beating the shit out of each other over who gets to be "Supreme Master of the Pilates Class For All Eternity". 

Welcome to the wonderful world of the occult.


(Originally Posted July 29, 2011)

Thursday, 20 September 2018

Psychotic Stalinist Prude David Black Stalking Venger on Facebook

I've got a very busy weekend coming up (high-level Masonry stuff) so I'm going to direct you all to go check out Venger's blog.  He's got some interesting screencaps there...

David Black, a mostly uninteresting mentally ill individual who thinks he writes OSR games (he actually wrote a garbage-tier game of 5e For Mental Defectives and called it the black hack), has been stalking Venger on Facebook and is now trying to drum up a harassment campaign against him and his games.

The reason? Hillary-voting wuss-leftist Venger is apparently a "Nazi" now, and keep in mind Stalinist Piece of Shit David Black has previously advocated violence against people who he thinks are "Nazis" (which is EVERYONE who isn't a Stalinist like himself) so by default, this pussy is calling for violence against Venger.  So he sees Nazis everywhere, but the reason why he thinks Venger is a "Nazi"? Venger has sexual content in his games. And of course those Nazis were famous for how sexually libertine they were.

Go check out the rest of the story at Venger's blog, and remember: if you don't believe in Stalinism, don't financially support people who despise you, don't buy David Black's unbelievably shitty half-written RPG products.

Quit buying games from people who hate you.


Currently Smoking: Blatter Diplomat  + C&D's Delta Days

Wednesday, 19 September 2018

Tuesday, 18 September 2018

New Classes for Lion & Dragon!

The latest issue of RPGPundit Presents is giving you some new classes for Lion & Dragon (or any other OSR game with a bit of adjusting).  But while there's no reason why a PC couldn't play one if they really wanted to, RPGPundit Presents #46: Courtiers, Priests, Sages and Craftsmen is mainly for NPCs.

I've had a few fans of Lion & Dragon (and Dark Albion) telling me that though they understand and like the low level-distribution of the default setting of the game, and that it makes sense that to keep the game credibly medieval-authentic (and kind of gritty) the vast majority of people in the world should be 0-level, they didn't think it made sense that the only people who would have any levels at all would be people in the 'adventuring classes'.  And they're right of course. Fans of L&D wanted a way to have some important non-adventuring people be more competent or able, but NOT by just making them 'retired fighters' or something like that. They also wanted these classes to be largely focused on the abilities or training of these professionals, and not physical or combat stats.

So Courtiers, Priests, Sages and Craftsmen is a book with these four new Medieval-Authentic Character Classes that let you make more competent "professionals" in the area of the noble/royal court, the institutional Church, Academics, and the Guild crafts.
While I assume they're going to mainly be used to make NPCs, they're set up identical to any PC class and there's no reason a player can't play one if he really likes, or that a DM could use this supplement to run a Medieval-Authentic campaign based entirely in one of these professions or environments!

So be sure to check out RPGPundit Presents #46: Courtiers, Priests, Sages and Craftsmen on DTRPG or over at the Precis Intermedia Webstore for just $1.99. That's less than 50 cents per class!

And while you're at it, be sure to pick up the rest of the great supplements in the RPGPundit Presents series:

RPGPundit Presents #1: DungeonChef!

RPGPundit Presents #2: The Goetia  (usable for Lion & Dragon!)

RPGPundit Presents #3: High-Tech Weapons

RPGPundit Presents #5: The Child-Eaters (an adventure scenario for Lion & Dragon!)

RPGPundit Presents #17: The Hunters (an adventure for Lion & Dragon!)

RPGPundit Presents #21: Hecate's Tomb (an adventure for Lion & Dragon!)

Stay tuned for more next week!


Currently smoking: Brigham Anniversary + Image Latakia

Monday, 17 September 2018

DCC Campaign Update: The Hippomagus Goes Commando

In the last session, the PCs were abandoning Fuck Station Aleph, with the general plan to get back to the Sun and finally proceed to the Crown of Creation and face off with Sezrekhan. When they got back to the Superfly II, they found a trio of stowaways.


-"OK, let's kill Sezrekhan!"
"That's super-optimistic of you."

-"It's probably more like 'let's get Sezrekhan angry'."
"Let's send Sezrekhan an angry letter."
"Let's send Sezrekhan a respectfully-worded letter strongly suggested he change his policy."
"Let's send him a critical review!"

-"Dear Sezrekhan, just to let you know, we think what you're doing is not the best thing, unless you really think it is."

-"Why don't we just escape to another Sun?"
"What part of 'LAST Sun' is hard for you to understand?"

-"Really it shows the lack of forethought on the part of the Ancients, that they waited until there was only one Sun left to get the hell out of the dead universe."

-"So the Crown of Creation is like the OS of the universe?"
"It's like Linux."
"Given the state of things, it's more like Windows Vista."

-"This campaign is super with it, making jokes about Vista."

-The three stowaways are led by the Posh Elf Pilot, Theodore; they are trying to get out of Fuck Station Aleph because Theodore owes a ton of credits to a loan shark named Borgo the Decapitator.

-"You look like the guy in charge."
"Sami's a woman."
"Sorry I'm an elf, you all look alike."
"No, it's just you. Posh Elves can tell the difference between male and female humans."
"They can tell the difference, but I hear a lot of Posh Elves don't really care."

-"Get out of here."
"No, wait! We could use them. We're about to an incredibly dangero-- um, FUN place, and they could come with us!"

-"Heidi, you do feel better now, but the Superfly II's toilets have been totally destroyed."

-Deciding to avoid having to confront Blitzkrieg, Laquanda and Space Bear over the destroyed latrine, the party teleports up to the Sun, taking the three newbies with them.
"Hey, where's Republican Jesus?"
"In the Hydroponics lab. He's really gotten dedicated to that place."

-"How high are you right now, RJ?"
"Man, I'm so high right now that I think I'm on the Sun!"

-"I'm going to get the three newbies some supplies from RJ's armory."
"Because if there's one thing we need, it's a heavily-armed hobo."

-Catboy heads to Anema's room, where she's been sleeping with Bort. He's trying to act extra-pathetic to win her back. But Bort is super-pathetic too, so it's quite the contest.
"I lie down on my back and show her my belly."
"That.. I think that's just too pathetic, Catboy. Man, I need to re-assess my life. Get out, both of you!"

-Sami tries to use Divine Aid to de-program Lady Halcon to free her from the power of the Halconlords, but the tablet says "Upgrading to All Is Sezrekhan in 30, 29, 28..."
"Damn it! I break the tablet."

-The Hippomagus' corpse was being kept in a cryo-tube in the Resurrection Room. Sami puts the Magic Wafer in the Hippomagus' mouth, and for a moment it looks like nothing's going to happen, until suddenly he bolts up, vigorously alive!
"..can I have my clothes back please?"

-"How's my young apprentice?"
"Well... um..."

-Vizi and RJ are making a huge bong out of a trash can, and the hobo is helping. The Scottish Mutant Sky-sailor and the Posh Elf Pilot sneak away trying to escape wherever they are, suspecting (Correctly) that their lives are in dire peril. They wander into Korean Jesus' office, but he's not there because he went to get spare tablets for Sami. Catboy spots them there.
"What is this place?"
"It's Korean Jesus' office."
"Where's he?"
"He probably had Korean stuff to do."

-Sami and the Hippomagus arrive.
"Is the Hippomagus still naked?"
"I take a picture to add to my Cringe Compilation."

-Catboy gives the Hippomagus back his robes.
"No underwear... the Hippomagus goes commando!"
"I like how he rolls!"

-"The Vegomagus is dead."
"I thought you said he was stable?!"
"Well, he's very stable now."
"I have failed him as a teacher."
"No! Don't think that. You failed him in a lot of ways!"

-Catboy had made the mistake of talking about Roman being a daemon and their plan to thwart him while he was in Bort's presence. Bort goes and squeals to Roman.
"Damn it, Catboy, I told you to kill Bort!"

-With her new Tablet, Sami succeeds in deprogramming Lady Halcon, turning her back into Sandy.
"What... the... fuck?!"
"Heidi runs away from her down the corridor, and then asks if she's OK?"

-Sandy confronts Roman.
"I'm going to tear you to pieces, Daemon!"
"Now hold on... you remember what we have to do, right?"
"I'm thinking of just killing everyone!"

-"Heidi can you put me on speaker phone with Sandy?!"
"No, Sami, that would require getting dangerously close to her."

-"Fuck it, I'm Zargon."

-Vizi and Replublican Jesus have completed their garbage-can-bong when they hear Sami and Roman/Zargon's arguments over the speaker.
"Shit's going down!"
"Do we have to go?"
"Yeah, I think so?"
"Can we carry the can?"
"You carry it, I'll carry this rocket launcher."
"Wait, the hobo can carry the bong."
"The hobo has flashbacks from the war."

-"There's a mexican stand-of between Roman, Sandy and Republican Jesus."
"The hell it is! This is an AMERICAN stand off!"

-"Where's Mongo?"
"Korean Jesus put him in Korean Daycare.."
"You know that 'Korean Daycare' is just a storage container and a pot of kimchi, right?"

-"Grandad, you have to listen to me. I'm really your grandson, and I'm really from the future. And in my future, the world is a utopia compared to this. Zargon wins, and he starts to set the whole world right. People like you and me rule over the people and have brought order back to the world. Well, people like me; you're long dead."

-"You're a dead man too, Harry!"
"You know he's your grandson, right?"
"He's WHAT?"

-"We're only making Sandy more furious! Everyone stop talking, especially the Catboy!"

-"You really are Zargon?"
"And you're really the Hippomagus?"
"Yes I am."
"And I'm Catboy."
"I don't know who that is."

-Anema arrives and stops the Mexican/American Standoff, on the condition that Zargon is leaving to the Crown of Creation. Sandy is convinced to first go with the whole group to stop Sezrekhan and later she can decide if she kills everyone in the party. They head to the teleportation room.
"Well guys, good luck!"
"You're coming with us, Bort."
"Huh? Oh, no I.. I have to stay here, to protect Anema."
"The hell with that, grab him!"

-"OK, Hippomagus, activate the teleporter."
"OK! Planar Step!!...hang on, I'll try again."
"Oh for fuck's sake."
"I missed that!"

-"You guys are flying at incredible speed in astral form through a tunnel of light!"
"For most of us, it's the trip of a lifetime; for Vizi it's Tuesday."

-They fly out of the tunnel, across what looks like a snowy wasteland, and materialize in the basement of a little house in a little town. There's an old bearded guy there at a table, working on what looks like some cartography on squared paper.
"Is this the Crown of Creation?"
"It can't be. We must be at the halfway point, the center of creation."
"Hello folks! My name's Gary and I'm... *rolls dice* glad to meet you!"
"We're in the Plane of Wisconsin."

-After explaining their mission to Gary, he confirms their authorization from the Sun, and beams then on their way. At long last, they arrive at the Crown of Creation!
"Finally.. the Crown!"
"Everyone avoid looking at Zargon's massive erection."

-"Good. We're here. Now let's go kill everything."
"Is it just me, or is Sandy even MORE violent now that she's not a Halcon Lord anymore?"
"I think I made a huge mistake."

-The part of the Crown where they materialize is a place full of ambient light, holy music, and they seem to be walking on misty clouds. They walk in the direction of a pair of Pearly Gates, and there's a strange man guarding the gate. He's got a thick mustache, small wire-rimmed glasses, a sort of cowboy-hat, and riding breeches.
"Hey, I recognize that guy, there's a mountain with his giant head carved on it back in the Shithole."
"It's Teddy Roosevelt, isn't it?"
"Of course it is."

-"My name is Catboy."
"No, Catboy."
"He sounds disappointed."

-"We need to get to the Throne of Creation, to stop Sezrekhan, he's taken over G.O.D."
"Sezrekhan? So that's why everyone has been acting so strange around here lately!"
"Will you help us?"
"You look like a ragtag bunch of lunatics!  You remind me of my Roughriders; so let's go!"
"You're coming with us?"
"Why not? Bully!"
"Do you have weapons?"
"I don't need any weapons; I've got my two fists... and this gun! Let's go!"

-They get past the Pearly Gates, and see a vast field with at least hundreds of Angels, all of them entranced, chanting "All is Sezrekhan"!
"See? Something peculiar is happening here!"
"And you're figuring this out just now?"

-"Are the spirits of the dead here too?"
"No. Most of the spirits of the dead go to the Nether Regions, while the heroic dead go to Wisconsin."
"I'd like to go to Wisconsin."
"We were just there!"
"Yeah, where we met Gary Gygax, remember?"
"That was Gary Gygax?"
"really, Catboy?!"

-They get to a wall with a golden gate, which leads to the Throne of Creation; there's also a cage, in which Nikos is trapped. Sezrekhan is there, on the Throne, surrounded by six Archangels all chanting 'All is Sezrekhan'. There's a pillar of light inside which is a trapped humanoid figure.
"That's the Libram of the Ten Spheres he has resting on the Throne!"
"We could sell that!"

-Sezrekhan attacks first, starting with a massive spell of conversion to sezrekhan zombies.
"ALL is Sezrekhan!"

-Incredibly, most of the PCs save. He also fires off a couple of other big spells but doesn't do enough damage to drop anyone, in what is an immense stroke of luck for the PCs.
After that, Heidi attacks, making an incredible maneuver to dive past the protective Archangels and straight at Sezrekhan, where he criticals, doing massive battle-rage extra damage in his attack with the special Daemon-killing Sword that they'd found inside the monolith in the floating Island of Geb.
"I do 496 points of damage."
"Well fuck me, you decapitate Sezrekhan in one round."

-Heidi then flies for Nikos' cage, trying to stab Nikos through it, but instead the sword hits some kind of force field, but with enough force to cause the field and the cage to shatter.
"Hey, you free me! Thanks to you very much!!"

-Seeing this, Sandi immediately charges at Zargon, but he evades the same fate as Sezrekhan, and on his turn lets out massive volleys of Magic Missiles that drops both Heidi and Sandi, leaving both potentially dead.
"Your turn Catboy."
"I'm still invisible, and I sneak attack Zargon. I do 27 points of damage."
"Ok, you barely scratch him."

-It's Bort's turn.
"This is the moment that heroes are made of!"
"Bort runs away."

-Captain Harry runs over to Sandi, but she's dead.
"Oh shit, he's starting to fade away."
"Bollocks, I don't feel so good..."

-"Save my future, Zargon!!..."
"I will."
"This is funny.. ahahahahaa...."

-Harry vanishes, and Sami starts to pray to get Zargon off the Crown of Creation.
"Almighty G.O.D. we're really trying to help you here so teleport Zargon to some other plane!!"
"Your tablet crashes in a Blue Screen of Death."
"What the hell?"
"Is the tablet Korean Jesus gave you a Korean knock-off?"
"It's a Somsung."
"Or a FONY."

-Teddy explains things.
"Your tablet won't work little lady! The Throne of Creation is vacant!"
"Damn. Wait, can I sit on it?"
"You could, but you'd explode after a few seconds, it's more than any mortal vessel can bear."
"In that case I won't sit there."

-Just when things are looking grim, the door to the Throne room gets kicked open, and a guy with a bad mullet and a big gun covered in holy sigils walks in.
"Hello. My name is Zeke Bodean.  I'm here to do Scriptural Archeology and kill Daemons. And I'm all out of Scripture."

-Zeke fires his Holy Plasma Gun and almost takes out Zargon in one shot!

-The six Archangels have snapped out of their Sezrekhan-chance now that he's been decapitated.
"Oh shit, anyone who's not human, run!"

-Zargon takes out a couple of the Archangels, and then fires a magical blast at Nikos.
"Hey, I will counterspell you!"

-Roman also fires a blast at Zeke but his blast is stopped by a magical force field.
"Amulet of Jehosafat, bitch!"

-After Nikos' counterspell, he casts spells at random, bringing Sandy back to life (which in turn brings Harry back into reality), and repairing his former cage for no particular reason.

-Teddy Roosevelt has had enough of Zargon, so he beats Zargon into unconsciousness and then shoots him through the head.

-"You guys have to run, or the Celestials will kill you!"
"Um, Sami, remember there's hundreds of Celestials outside too?"
"Oh shit..."

-Lenny stands in front of the Archangels.
"STOP! Don't hurt my friends!"
They run right past him, ignoring him completely.
"Heidi's down and probably dead, so I'm sorry but I'm going to have to be the one to say this: you're useless Lenny!"

-"Run, Hippomagus!"
"No, wait, I have to free G.O.D., he must be in that column! Dispel Magic!!... hold on, I'll try again!"

-Nikos teleports himself onto the Throne of Creation!
"OK, now thank you very much for saving Nikos and for the kill of those two assholes!"

-"I think we should probably just let Nikos stay on the Throne of Creation."
"But... I have come all this way to restore G.0.D. to his glory."
"The last time someone tried that he tried to wipe out all life on the material plane."
"Yes, but, you're a great and wise cleric, ma'am, surely you can supplicate him to ease his wrath?"
"Let me try to explain some things to you, Zeke..."
"OK, ma'am, I'm listening, but I should note that your arm over my shoulder is causing sinful thoughts in my heart."

-"You are a good and holy cleric, and I have always trusted good and holy clerics."
"Um... sure..."

-Bort has survived, spending most of the fight hiding on the floor.
"I can't believe I defeated Sezrekhan!!"
"Catboy backstabs Bort."
"Everyone sees it, and none of us do anything to stop that."

-With some help from the three newbies (who are doing it for the XP), Catboy murders Bort after a short bitchfight.
"You very heroically killed Bort."
"Don't tell Anema!"
"I absolutely will."

-"I feel terrible for being so useless in this fight. Also, I wonder what would happen if I ate a daemon?"
"I was wondering the same thing!"
"Whatever you do, don't eat his dick!"
"What the fuck is wrong with you, Vizi?"
"I think that's obvious."

-Harry is alive, but not happy.
"My future was a utopia compared to this, and you destroyed it!"
"Eh, Law is overrated."

-The party leaves Nikos on the Throne of Creation to keep the status quo as it is. They head back to the Sun after saying goodbye to Teddy Roosevelt.
"Good luck youngsters, Bully!"

-Back on the Sun, the crew starts to make plans.
"Well, Sandy, are you going to kill us all?"
"No. I'm going to go back to my former territories and kill all the Halconlords I find, and once more become Queen Sandy the Destroyer."

-"Hey, what happened to Pertinax?"
"He's here in the Sun, but he's completely insane."
"They probably put him in Korean Daycare."

-Sami uses Divine Aid to heal Pertinax, sort of. He's still deranged but just barely functional at least.
"What will we do with him now?"
"I will take him with me, to Highbay. The wizard may prove useful to me in reconquering my territory."
"OK. Good luck! Maybe we'll visit you sometime."
"I hope I never see any of you again."

-Once Sandy and Pertinax are gone, there's the question of what to do with Captain Harry.
"I have no purpose anymore. My future is gone."
"We'll give you a gun with 1 bullet and you do the rest."

-The Hippomagus is going back to Lol, to try to set things right there.
"Captain Harry you could come with me! You want to make the world better, and Lol was a good place once... maybe you can try to make this world better."
"Alright, I'll go with you Hippomagus."
"I might call on the rest of you for help sometime."
"And we might not answer, Hippomagus!"

-"Zeke, where are you going to go?"
"Sezrekhan probably still has a phylactery. I am going to try to destroy it. And, I'm going to kill Bill the Elf."
"Oh, well, then you may want to stick around, because we're going to try to find Bill and maybe use him to get to Sezrekhan's Plane."
"Alright then, I'll stay with you, and put off killing Bill if he's useful to us."

-"Well... I guess it's time for you guys to send me away now, huh?"
"Never, Lenny! You're part of our permanent group!"
"Really? Oh gee, that's great, thanks!"
"Besides, who else would want you?"

-Anema wants the PCs to leave the sun immediately, but Sami compromises all of her own values by hooking her back up with Catboy, so they can stay on the Sun and heal for a week.
"This is why I don't have any female friends..."

-Meanwhile, in some unknown location, Bill the Elf regains his senses, completely restrained inside a dark jail cell.  A figure approaches him through the shadows.
"Bill the Elf..."
"Yes. We have much to talk about..."

And on that bombshell, we conclude this session. Stay tuned next time to see what happens, what the PCs will do now that the quest that has consumed almost the last two years of the campaign is concluded, and whether Bill the Elf will really return. Stay tuned!


Currently Smoking: Lorenzetti Poker + Gawith's St.Jame's Flake

Sunday, 16 September 2018

Classic Rant: A Response to G+ Censors

Recently, a certain G+ RPG group (I'm not going to say which, but suffice it to say one of the big ones) sent me a message letting me know that they'd erased my post there of my review of Venger Satanis' "Girls Gone Rogue".

The lead moderator there, who is a storygamer celebrity with a history of having reason to dislike me, informed me that the act of censorship was not, in fact, because of anything to do with Venger's work. But rather, with the text of my review blurb, where I said: "I could also really understand how even women on this side of the insanity spectrum from Tracey Hurley would still find some of this material offensive."

Their problem, apparently was that (according to them) I put into question Tracey Hurley's mental health.
The moderators claimed that they "will not allow personal attacks on any game designer rather(sic) it be Venger Satanis or Tracy Hurley or whomever".

He also, incredibly, said "we cannot have that neutrality if we do not moderate".

So here's my response to this asshole:

Well, that's ironic. On several levels.
I concede that people could justifiably have reasons to feel offended by this product on the grounds of misogyny, and that ends up being the post that does me in.
I nevertheless assert the author's right to be criticized but not silenced, only to have the post silenced.

Anyways, I'll take your claims of neutrality at your word. Of course, I believe in free speech, and you don't seem to. But it is your ballgame. I just hope to see your claims of neutrality hold up the next time Hurley or someone else from the Ctrl-Left Outrage Brigade post something about how D&D players are Toxic White Male Terrorists or some OSR writer is an aberration that must be expunged from the hobby and have his books wiped from human memory in the name of social justice.

I really didn't feel I was 'attacking' Tracey Hurley, or Venger Satanis for that matter (of course, I'd bet my right testicle, which happens to be my favorite one, that if I just insulted Venger Satanis then not one fuck would have been given by any of you).
Regardless, I was just being factual, in both cases. Tracy Hurley believes a fully-dressed classic D&D image of a beloved and heroic female cleric is proof of Rape Culture. I wasn't meaning to question the sanity of her mental health per se, I'm not a psychologist. I was questioning the "sanity" only of her claims, of her ideas. And contextually, I was saying that even people who do not believe such an insane set of ideas could still find Venger's book offensive in its treatment of women.

But well, lesson learned. Some ideas are not to be questioned here.

Also "we cannot have neutrality if we do not moderate" is an insane oxymoron.

See what I did there?

I'm not trying to start some kind of Jihad, just share my response because we need regular reminders of the way censors think, in our hobby.
Also, I'm sparing these assholes because they have not banned me yet. You can believe me the next time I see a post on their group about "D&D gamers are white male terrorists", I'll be calling them on it, and letting all of you know. But for now, they're at least trying to maintain a pretense of 'neutrality'.

Not like the groups that piece of shit "Claytonian JP" runs. He co-opted the largest groups for two of the most popular OSR games: Lamentations of the Flame Princess and DCC. And he has banned me from both of them for no reason other than not liking me.

He has done this and continues to do this against the explicitly-stated desires of Goodman Games, who own DCC, but he doesn't seem to care, even though he's stolen control of their presence on G+.

I have no idea what James Raggi feels about it, but maybe some people might want to ask what he feels about the owner of the biggest LotFP G+ group playing god with who he allows to post there or not based on nothing other than petty personal vendettas?

So yeah, feel free to go let people know what you think of Claytonian there.


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

(Currently Smoking January 12, 2017)