Pulpy Goodness

I’ve finally added a link to the Pulp Adventures! website on the linkbar to the left. (The only reason I hadn’t up to this point was technical complications that would have come up with certain search engines.)
At any rate, this thing has been taking up a big chunk of my time lately, especially at cons, and I’m really excited about what we’re working on — in a few more months, we should have all the requirements completely in place to become an official member-run “Living” campaign for the RPGA. This means that people will be able to download and play the available scenarios anywhere the RPGA is active, using characters that gain benefits and experience as the storylines progress (yeah, just like in a normal campaign, but participating in the storyline with hundreds of other gamers). The fact that this could be a very popular and fun thing to be working on is a benefit — the fact that the whole thing is set in the Pulp genre of the 30’s makes the whole thing a blast.
After an abortive attempt at creating some gaming products last year, Rey and I have sort of fallen backwards into this and already accomplished even more than we’d originally planned for the other project.
It’s been easy (except for all the ass-busting labor). Go check it out.


I’m really smart about being Stupid

This weekend, I play-tested Rey’s Pulp Adventures module that we’re debuting at Tacticon next month. Good stuff.
I was playing Tony Vincetti, “Professional Driver” (read: New York cabbie). Tony’s quick on his feet, and quite personable when you get to know him, but in the words of one of the other players at the table “not the sharpest knife in the drawer.” Here’s a sample:
Interpol agent: “The Doctor has escaped a prison for the criminally insane in Rouen.”
Tony: “Well Jeez, put him in a place that ain’t fallin’ down, for starters.”
On encountering french food:
Tony: “What’s this?”
French PC: “Quiche.”
Tony: “Excuse me?”
French PC: “Quiche.”
Tony: “Hey, that reminds me of somethin’ I heard about you French girls, c’mere a second…”
French PC: “No no, eet is Quiche.”
Tony: “Oh, that’s what you call eatin’. You french guys gotta different word for everything.”
Talking to French guard
Tony: “You like doing guard work? My cousin does that and he likes it.”
Guard: “Eet is veree good.”
Tony: “You guys get holidays off, like the Fourth of July?”
Guard: “No, we do not celebrate the Fourth of July.”
Tony: “… what?”
Guard: “We do not celebrate the Fourth of July. [Short pause, then he adds, trying to be helpful.] We celebrate the Fourteenth of July instead.”
Tony: “[thinking] Oh, sure, cuz of the international date line. That makes sense.”



Now that I’m done ranting about Diceless stuff, I’ll say this: Mike’s rules for New Mutiny are smart, elegant, clean, and probably the best SFSP Amber rules I’ve ever seen.
If I ever run an Amber game again, it’ll be with those rules or some version thereof. (Hell, it’s almost enough to make me want to run again, which is a hell of a feat, let me tell you.)


Obviously, I should not…

1.) Play while tired.
2.) Design warfare-characters for a game system whose combat system I despise (a word I chose very carefully).
3.) Promise to start a campaign when I honestly have no interest in doing so.
4.) Continue to run games I no longer care about.
5.) Get involved in any more games until I’ve finished up at least one that I’m involved in.


Amber Page updates

I’ve finally posted the log of the last TiHE session (the 91st) after thinking I’d lost it. You can read 83 to 91 right here.
In related news, The Hall of Mirrors, as a blog, has ceased to be (I’d had it up for over a year with only 18 posts, so I didn’t really see the point). Diceless-related posts will of course still happen, they’ll just happen here.
The page itself, of course, is still there.


Just when you thought was safe to go back in the Scheduler…

Okay folks, this looks like what I’ve got on the upcoming game schedule, both from Friday night stuff and what I’ll simply label “other”.
June 14 (Friday): Star Wars
June 15 (Saturday): JSquad & Cry Havoc
June 21 (Friday): DnD
June 22 (Saturday): Living Force catch-up at the house
June 28 (Friday): Star Wars
June 29 (Saturday): Weekend in Greyhawk thing (up at Red Rocks?) & Cry Havoc
June 29 (Sunday): More Weekend in Greyhawk 😛
July 5 (Friday): Very Likely Out of Town 🙁
July 6 (Saturday): Ditto that. 😛
July 12 (Friday): DnD
July 13 (Saturday): Living Greyhawk catchup at the house
Pity those of you who are so mired in this that more than 50% affects your schedule, but before you chuckle, let’s not forget the Oriental Adventures game 🙂


“I got to kill the [insert spoiler here].”

We ran the slot 0 for part of the RPGA Living Force Almas trilogy last night.
Because she’s a backup GM for the gameday and because the author of the modules was GMing the slot 0 for us, the only way for Jackie to ‘get’ the module was to play it.
This meant I FINALLY got her into a Star Wars game.
And she liked it. 🙂 She was 3 levels lower than the average at the table, but we put together a character who was really good at a few things that Jackie personally likes her characters to be good at — good enough to match the higher level characters.
Good enough to drop the main bad guy when the other ‘shooters’ couldn’t hit, and tough enough to survive a really REALLY nasty “throat crush” thing.
And she liked it. I lucked out and her first Star Wars game was fun. Very cool.



It stands for Total Party Kill.
I’ve never perpetrated such a thing on any of my tables.
Until Saturday.
Long story short: in a lighthouse, someone (okay, it was Rey) cast a wall of fire in a room containing six 250-gallon copper tuns full of lamp oil.
In the next room were sixty-five five gallon clay jars full of more oil.
I’d mentioned that they were passing through rooms full of buckets of sand, and that the sand was there to control fires, because of the risk involved in having all the lamp oil….
…then I mentioned the big copper casks. The fact that they were full of oil was not specifically stated, but no one at the table claimed that the clues hadn’t been there. Mostly, there was a lot of rueful head-shaking.
It was a playtest, so it didn’t ‘count’, but it was still sort of fun.
Me: “You take… as near as I can figure… you take about 500d6 fire, plus the same amount of explosion damage.”
Them: “Wow.”
Me: “Then the lighthouse falls on you.”
~Another funny bit.~
Me: So… four months later, you wake up in the nearby village…
Rey: …where we’ve just landed.

Diceless Links & Resources

Techie Tricks

Dave has used MT (and mad design skillz 🙂 to come up with a great page for a character he’s running for the Ill Met in Amber PBeM. Truly Excellent.
I wish I was playing in a game, so I could do something this cool.
Oh, wait. There’s DAVE’S game. And RANDY’S game (except I sort of already have a page for that).

*wanders off to design a comic-book-style blog.*

They like me, they really like me

Putting it mildly, my review of Legend of the Five Rings Magic of Rokugan (for d20) was well-received by the staff. I’ll post up a link when they publish it to the site.
I enjoyed doing the review quite a bit (would have liked more time, but the situation demanded a quick turn around), and I hope I get a chance to do some work with that site in the future.
That was fast: You can see the review here (although they stripped the formatting… c’est la vie).



Not many. I’m writing a review for an online Gamer Magazine, on a d20 sourcebook. I’ll link to that that when it’s up.
I purchased Spycraft for d20, which I hope to incorporate some ideas from into the Living Pulp endeavor. Star Wars this weekend, and I believe I owe this site an update on what’s happened in the last few sessions, so expect those soon. (Yay, something else I need to do.)


Merging Technology and Geekdom

I worked out something very interesting for Randy Trimmer’s cry havoc :: amber drpg game. I’ll explain it here, and you can go see the application of it at the link above.
Randy had hit upon the idea of using a blog tool (blogger, in his original conception) as a sort of posting board for player diaries and whatnot. While I applaud the use of the technology (especially when it’s one of my less-techie friends), I’m no longer much of a friend of Blogger.
So, while we played last night, I set up a blog using Movable Type, and as it came into being, I found myself incorporating some features from some of my other blogs in such as way as to make a “one-stop campaign site”.
The trick? Categories. I use them on this page (on the left, under the dated archives), and on Cry Havoc I inserted them automatically — it makes sense to categorize all the entries that could be made — background, NPCs, logs, quotes, journals, etc.
Well, look what I suddently realized — by giving all the players and the GM appropriate access, setting up the categories correctly, and letting them type away, we’ve got a single blog page whose archives will automatically grow, via categories, into a clean, slick campaign source-site of the type I built for TiHE, complete with authorship tracking and date stamps.
Bonus: I don’t have to get email, copy/paste, htmlize, ftp, save, edit and maintain. Neither does anyone else.
Once the templates are in there, ‘maintenance’ is done and we’re ready to go. A great way to build a dynamic, group-grown campaign page.
(Of course, you have to use something like Movable Type, but that’s the price you pay. 🙂


More grist for the OA game…

Ghosts, Demons and Spirits in Japanese Lore on

(via Quiddity)

OA Atmosphere

Tales of Virtue and Treachery — A bunch of fiction from Rokugan, for whoever’s interested.

Actual Play Table Top

Up up and away

So we started playing the Justice Squad campaign this weekend. Lots of fun. Here’s my personal good/bad/ugly list.
– I’ve never been in a game GM’d by Dave, whom I’ve heard only good things of. No surprise, his style is different than mine, but great fun for everyone, and I always enjoy watching other people work and taking mental notes.
– Supers. It’s just fun. Maybe it’s not Star Wars, but I’m not PLAYING Star Wars, am I? One of the really long-running and fun games I played in in college was a Champions supers game, and I just love the feel of calculating knockback on a hex map. Whee.
– Rules. I’m pissy about BESM most of the time, but I worked my ass off on figuring out a workable version until SAS (supers from goo) comes out, and it seems to be working.

– I can’t min/max a character they way I could in Champions (nor to I want to anymore), but I know the rules better than probably anyone else playing (for now). While the characters themselves are all very cool concepts and built on the same points, there was a certain feeling disparity between them, simply because of design efficiency. This isn’t to say we don’t all have a few points ‘wasted’ on things like Painting or Horseback riding, but after the play-test and redesign, I felt like the character’s I designed were a little overwhelming.
(Offside of this: I’m also helping Dave by statting out some bad guy NPC’s — so I guess I’ll reap what I’ve sown in the long run.)
All in all, really fun though, and I’m looking forward to the next installment a great deal.

D20 Links & Resources


Since it came up last game, here’s a very well-illustrated page on Movement and Attacks of Opportunity.



– Oriental Adventures
– Farscape RPG (or even frigging info on when it comes out)
– Tome and Blood sourcebook
– Silence and Song sourcebook
All of the WEG modules converted to d20.

Conventions Diceless


I haven’t put an entry in here for so long that MT has removed all my other entries — too old. So here’s the Halloween update.
I’m leaving for Portland tomorrow for Amber Con North West (ACNW). The con runs 3.5 days, and while I participate in a con or gameday almost every month, this will be my first AmberCon. I’m fairly excited.
Jackie has been wondering why I haven’t been more psyched. Here’s a few reasons why most people might get excited and why I’m not.
– I’m going to be staying with Jon. This should be fun. Should. I haven’t seen Jon in 5 years, however, so who knows. Maybe it’ll be awkward as hell. On the right hand, I’m really glad not to be shelling out another couple hundred bucks on a hotel room, on the left, I sort of feel as though I’m missing out on some of the ambiance of the con by not rooming where everyone else is. The coordinator is local to Portland, and even she is staying out there.
– I’m going to be going to Con. Big Deal. I go to Cons all the time. I GM weekly, and when I’m not running something, I’m thinking about running something, so I don’t fit the profile for the typical Amber Gamer — most of these guys are not in regular games, and this con is one of thier big chances to hang out with people who share thier interests, and like the same game they do — ADRPG is a fringe community within a Fringe community, as such… not a big following. In Denver, with the active RPGA membership, Cons are monthy, normal, dare-I-say boring events. At least boring in the fact that they are happening. So I’m not psyched just because of the con.
– Meeting new people. That’s great, unless I don’t gel with the group of people out there. Might happen, might not. I’m not short of friends, and unlike some, I don’t think that adding to the list is something one needs to work on day in and day out for your whole likfe. I’m comfortable with my current list of friends, and I’m not counting on AmberCon to help me out in this regard.
– Get to Travel. BFD. I do that all the time. It’s not exciting, it’s just work. Ditto staying in a strange bed, eating strange food, in a strange town — all these are things that I associate with work, not play.
All that said, I am excited as much as possible, and I’m sure I’ll be even more psyched once I get there and start meeting people and playing. Here’s my schedule:
Arrive Portland, 2:40pm PCT, Thursday.
Reception — Thursday, 5:30 p.m. – 7 p.m.
Slot 1 — Thursday, 7 p.m. – midnight (Castle of Crossed Destinies)
Slot 2 — Friday, 9 a.m. – 1 p.m. (Christmas in Amber)
Slot 3 — Friday, 2 p.m. – 6:30 p.m. (All Cats Are Kings (Meera is using Swift to run this!))
Slot 4 — Friday, 8 p.m. – midnight (A Comfy Nights Stay at the Happy Crossroads Inn)
Saturday: nothing going on until…
Slot 6 — Saturday, 7 p.m. – midnight (Skeletons in the Closet)
Slot 7 — Sunday, 10 a.m. – 4:30 p.m. (eXcessive Force: The Tentacle Files — this is supposed to end at around 2pm instead — I need to make a character up for this one, still)
Depart Portland, 6:30am (!!) PCT, Monday
These are the times when Jackie is glad to have the 85 lbs. Great Dane/Lab roaming the house. I’ve seen him pick out intruders… it’s imposing.
The main slot on Saturday was going to be where I would run a game, but I signed up late, so I didn’t get enough people signed up, so I’m open. There’s a guy I know in Portland who wanted to get together for lunch, but other than that, I’ve got nothing going on (other than needing to write some stuff for NaNoWriMo.)
The Sunday slot usually breaks up and ends up dissolving into a socialization event at the Inn’s bar — I’m down with that, since my flight doesn’t leave til the next day.

D20 Game Design


Added a new Shapeshifter class to the d20 Amber Basic Character Classes. I really like how that guy turned out. Also, tweaked ranger and got rid of Druid.
Things still to do:

  • I figured out the rules for making Trumps (needs more detail), but not the rules on how to use them. Extension of this: mental combat.
  • I need to fiddle with the age brackets for chargen. Realized it’s not quite right yet (following some testing).

Addendum: Just doubled the size of the Feats section, adding a bunch of “Background” feats, as well as things like Improved Familiar and Heroic Recovery (A.K.A. “Cockroach”).

D20 Game Design


Updates to the Amber d20 pages. Specifically, did some work on the character classes, notably Ranger. Started the painful process of eliminating non-genre spells from the Magic section. Finished the Feats and skills for Logrus (Probably won’t do the non-canon powers for a long while, especially since my favorite power (Twilight) can be done more easily with the Prestige class Shadowdancer).
Did a bunch of reformatting in the skills, feats, and power skills section, and reeditted the equipment section.
Also, slowly replacing the term Gold Piece with Game Point (thus abstracting money).

D20 Game Design

d20 Amber

Yeah, you read that right. I finished up the rules for running Amber using the d20 system.

Conventions Diceless


I just found my free round-trip flight voucher that expires at the end of the year, and tonight is the last official deadline day to register for AmberCon Northwest.
I need to rattle Simone’s cage and see if there’s still room.