Sunday, October 14, 2018

Lords of the Playground

Twelve years ago today, I got married.  It was a day full of (allegedly) misogynistic sermons, hyperventilating wives-to-be, drunk DJs, and a rocking polka-fueled reception at Fred's Lobster Garden (which I recently discovered turned into a strip club sometime over the last dozen years).  Somewhere in the house is our photo album and CD of all the pictures.

My favorite photo that's not of my beloved and I, is this one....
Ives Run Recreation Center, Hammond Lake, Tioga, PA
It's took a bit of thinking, but I believe I've gamed with everyone in this picture.

Sage -  George's step-son, I still have his first D&D character "Dark Sage" somewhere in my office.
Wooly - My Battletech guru and Legions of Steel companion.  I wrote a little ditty about him here. 
Scott - Another life-long gaming buddy. His ode was just this past August.
George - The Best Man at my wedding, and I his at two out of his four.  From the Busty Mage in D&D to Talisman to Rifts to late night fine-tuning Khabal Ghoul and Kird Ape decks for Magic. 
Kenny -  Apples to Apples and some Murder Mysteries.... He's more a stoner than a gamer.
Don -  Don was one of my non-gaming friends throughout middle and high school, but he found one thing that piqued his interest: OGRE
G-3 -  George's son.  First to try to teach him D&D.  Definitely a learning experience I applied towards my girls.
and me... thinner, younger, and a little less awesome than I am now....

Saturday, October 13, 2018

The End of the Campaign Podcast

Yes, the Campaign Podcast isn't going away.  Their new Skyjacks Campaign is set to drop shortly, and it should be a hoot, but for the vast majority of the podcast's subscribers, Campaign is the the crew of the Mynock loosely using Fantasy Flight's Star Wars Edge of the Empire RPG. 

And earlier this week, the last two regular episodes of that campaign were uploaded for the world to enjoy.  They weren't the best episodes, storywise (heck one was all Dear Mynocks) but they properly expressed the fun and joy that the participants felt with each recording they made. 

I honestly had avoided the entire podcast (and the WotC d20 prequel version over on One Shot) before a lull in my library made me give it a chance.  I've since gone through the catalog three times, and while I know of few tables able to the mix the experienced improv with a rules-light approach to the game, it was the deciding factor when picking up the Edge of the Empire  rulebook cheap at auction (but the dice at full price).

I'll miss Bacta, Tryst, Leenik, L'yntel, and Tamlin.  One hundred five well-editied one hour episodes (plus all the other bonus material) created a vibrant world that I would love to borrow bits from and drop my own crew of misfits and ragamuffins. 

"Make brave and heroic decisions...."

Friday, October 12, 2018

Greg Stafford (1948-2018)

The last month has not been good for gaming legends. First "Uncle Duke" Seifried passes at the end of September, and now Greg Stafford, the founder and later, beloved savior of Chaosium has passed away.

I am reposting the announcement that appeared directly from Chaosium's website.

Vale Greg Stafford (1948 - 2018)

Posted by Michael O'Brien on on 
Greg Stafford Gen Con
The shock and grief the Chaosium family felt at the news of the passing of our beloved and revered company founder, Greg Stafford, cannot be measured. Greg died yesterday in his sweat lodge at his home in Arcata, CA. Mercifully, his passing was painless and quick. He died as he lived, on a spiritual quest of enlightenment.

As one of the greatest game designers of all time; winner of too many awards to count; and a friend, mentor, guide, and inspiration to generations of gamers, “the Grand Shaman of Gaming” influenced the universe of tabletop gaming beyond measure.

Greg founded The Chaosium in 1975, and from the outset (to quote his own words) “was never content to imitate, but instead published games that were original in their style of play, content and design”. Under his leadership, the company quickly became renowned for its originality and creativity, and was responsible for introducing numerous things to the hobby that are standards today. As John Wick (7th Sea, Legend of the Five Rings) memorably said, “The older I get, the more I hear young RPG designers say ‘Never been done before!’ And then I just point at something Greg Stafford did a few decades ago.”

Greg’s work in roleplaying games, board games, and fiction have been acclaimed as some of the most engaging and innovative of all time. There will doubtless be many valedictory messages over the coming days from the countless many that Greg inspired and enthused across his many interests and passions - Glorantha, Oaxaca, King Arthur, shamanism, mythology and more.

For now, we leave you with the words of the Myth maker himself, speaking at the 2018 ENnies Awards ceremony, his last public engagement. Greg was immensely proud of the work Chaosium had done in recent years, particularly since his return as chair of the board in 2015. Ultimately, on reflection, he recognized that everyone’s success in the gaming industry was down to the enthusiasm and support of the fans. We at Chaosium recognize that countless RPG fans are fans (including us!) because of Greg Stafford and what he achieved.

Our heartfelt condolences to Greg’s wife Suzanne, and his children Noah, Alisha, Jason, and their families.

Vale Greg - the team at Chaosium

The Holy Warrior of Shenanigans

Not even two weeks into my new gaming year, and I need to put down a progress report of all the things I need done before my games at Fall-In! and Mepacon.

Fall-In! - Samoa
  • Register Maja for the convention (Deadline October 26th)
  • Find a hotel room for Friday night
  • Buy new Zap-a-Gap
  • Find my copy of Contemptible Little Armies
  • Touch-Up/Repair the figures
  • See if the Battle in a Box rules are plausible with this scenario.  Otherwise I'm using two boxes, one for everything but the terrain.
  • Touch-Up/Repair Terrain, if needed.
  • Stat-Out scenario
  • Dropcloth for scenario (Jo-Ann Fabrics)
  • Inventory materials for game.
  • Play-test at least one time (Daughters are ok).
No new figures to paint, just a lot of touch-up and weapons to reglue.  

Mepacon -  My Little Pony RPG
  • Order My Little Pony: Tails of Equestria Movie Sourcebook
  • Rory Story Cubes Ocean Theme Set?
  • Photocopy enough character sheets (SeaPony is possible) for 32 players.
  • Review plot points
  • Super Secret non-Pony Cartoon Research
Mepacon - Octonauts
  • Pull out copy of Scavengers, review rules
  • Format Character sheet, make pre-gens. short backgrounds.
  • Outline story premise.  Stat out a few key players. 
If you come back here over the next month and find lines though the items, I actually accomplished something! Here's hoping....

Other than that, I'm cleaning the basement to prep for winter (and possibly another hurricane).  Painting will resume after the cons (and probably the busy season at work).  

After that, those infernal Pulp campaign games that I actually want to play through need to find a spot on the dining room table before the kids' basketball season steals them away... then the holidays... then the dance recital.... etc...

Thursday, October 11, 2018

Gnomes and Fungus

Even though different gnomish cultures are developing around the globe, there are still a few constants among gnome-kind: the cycle of Wanderlust, the penchant for commoners to relegate to the traditional "gnome hat" when relaxing, and the reliance every culture has on the mushroom.  

Mushrooms as Food
No matter where the location, if there's a chance for moisture and the smallest amount ripe growing material, and dominant shade, mushrooms can grow, and with a little tending to, thrive.  
While not a main course in modern society, various types of mushrooms can be used as delicious and nutritious sides and garnishes.  

Most other races do not understand the delicate palette of a gnome and the wide array of fungus.  As a general rule, the larger the edible mushroom, the blander they are.  Generally these larger stools are harvested after years of tending and become the long-term stores for the village, similar to grain with other beings.  A well-harvested specimen can not only last for years in the stores to bolster other foodstuffs, but if kept in the right environment, can continue to grow and certain spores and cuttings can help expand future crops. 

Certain mushrooms are picked for their alchemical reactions and are highly sought after. While certain types of fungus can be poisonous to other creatures, the average gnome has built up generations of tolerance to any toxins.

Mushrooms as Building Materials:
Of course, one of the classic stereotypes of the gnome is that they all live in mushroom homes.  As we all know, gnomes are just as happy in a giant tree hollow or a house of modern construction.  In fact most areas don't offer the environment to grow gargantuan stools capable of being hollowed out and inhabited. 

For the average gnome, a mushroom house is a sign of attainable status.  It does last slightly longer, with less maintenance than your average thatch or branch hovel, and some can hold multiple families with some sense of privacy. 
Let us not forget that the stalks of most mushrooms make a sturdy, yet somewhat malleable construction material, to fill in holes or general damage.  They are quite sturdy so long as you avoid an area that's dry and sunny. 

The Dangers of Mushrooms
Something as spectacular to the gnomekind as fungus is not without its risks.  Wild animals, faerie-kin, and other outrageous creatures stake claim to specific types of mushrooms as a den, for subsistence, or simply a comfortable spot to lay in the mid-afternoon shade.  Certain select groves of mushrooms have remain unharvested for generations due to certain mundane or magical phenomenon.

Be it magical tampering, highly selective breeding, or an instinctive will to survive, some mushrooms have achieved a level of sentience rivaling the anthropomorphic mice and other lesser being.  

Call them Mykelings, Mushimen, or simply Mushroom Men, these beings can vary greatly based on what type of Mushroom first evolved into that form.  The are crude, violent, and have only the basest of ideas as to what civilized thought is.
A word to the non-martial of the gnomes: they are not fun guys to be around.  Be wary of them always. 

Wednesday, October 10, 2018

(Kickstarter) Illuminati Coins from Steve Jackson Games

Despite my love for Steve Jackson Games books, the small quantity of "accessories" they've offered put them over the top for me.  I swear upon my that I still have my Illuminati cloisonne pin from year's ago (I may or may not have been associated with catering).  

On the wings of Conspiracy Theory and the latest edition of  Illuminati, SJG has launched a quick, one-week Kickstarter for Illuminati Coins.

What was once twelve coins for $15 has grown to fifteen , thanks to stretch goals set by the Secret Masters.  In addition to multiple coin sets, add-ons include copies of Conspiracy Theory, Illuminati, print-on-demand versions of GURPS Illuminati and GURPS IOU, and finally, Pyramid Dice!

(IOU) Huge Yakman - Himalayan Bardbarian

Large anthropomorphic barbarian (4)
Axe-Wielding Rage Machine with a deft step (3)
Himalayan Thespian (2)
Furry Bovine Storyteller (1)