Things I Am Thankful For Besides Sex, Beer, My Wife, My Dogs and Chocolate

…umm…bacon!

And my PATREON BACKERS!

Patreon Backer Shoutout!

Carol Robinson, Mark A Schmidt, Loyd Blankenship and Derek Pearcy have all backed this blog. Thank you all!

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The Doclopedia #1,347

Alt. TV: The Mysterious Adventures of Sherlock Holmes

On Earth 2-B, the television series “The Wild Wild West” was even more popular than it was on our Earth. It also ran 3 years longer, from 1965 to 1972. During that time, the writers and producers turned up the steampunk elements and had Agents West & Gordon encounter several well known characters from late 19th and early 20th century fiction. Fu Manchu made three appearances, and Count Dracula made two. Jekyll & Hyde, Frankenstein’s Monster (who was portrayed as a decent fellow) and Captain Nemo all got episodes.

But the biggest ratings went to the five episodes featuring Sherlock Holmes as a young man. Played by a young British actor named Steven Drake, this Holmes was still learning and not quite the man he would become. He also had a keen interest in the supernatural. After his first 3 appearances on the show hit ratings gold, the producers decided to make a backdoor pilot for a Holmes series. They did this via the only two part episode in The Wild Wild West’s run. Titled “The Night Of The Howling Horror” and “The Night Of The Hunting Wolf”, the episodes found West, Gordon, Holmes and Holmes friend Ian Winters investigating a series of murders in Denver. Sure enough, a werewolf was the culprit and at the end of episode one, West kills him with a silver bullet…just before another werewolf causes all of their horses to bolt, leaving them in the woods on foot. The next episode was pretty much survival horror, albeit tamed way down for television. In the end, the second werewolf turned out to be the wife of the first one.

The ratings were huge, so CBS commissioned a series, which premiered in 1971. Each episode featured a beginning in which an older Holmes, played by Vincent Price, related a story from his younger days to either Dr. Watson, Inspector Lestrade or Mycroft Holmes, although in one episode he told the story to Mrs. Hudson. At the end of each episode, the person who heard the story would often accuse Holmes of having them on.

The stories followed Homes and Winters around the British Isles, Europe, North America and, in three episodes, India. They encountered real supernatural events, from a family of fairies to the Loch Ness Monster, and a few hoaxes. The strangeness was not limited to the supernatural, either. One episode featured aliens, another had a clockwork robot, and a third was about a young woman with strange dietary needs (fresh human hearts). Almost all of the episodes featured a good bit of action and a few steampunk gadgets.

The series was a big hit and ran for 5 years and 150 episodes, ending in May of 1976. Thirty years later, a series of four feature length motion pictures would be made based upon the series most popular episodes.

 

 

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The Wildly Comedic, Yet Somewhat Restrained, Story Of Mostly Purple Patty And Auntie Rosie’s Birthday

…featuring Auntie Rosie, of course!

Some Thoughts On Favorite Roleplaying Genres

So I was recently thinking about the fact that I am both playing in and GMing D&D 5E fantasy games. I’m enjoying them both immensely, but I did realize that, outside of the odd game at conventions, I have not GMed anything but fantasy for several years.

This can, of course, be explained by the fact that D&D style fantasy games are by far the most popular and common types of rpgs out there. If you don’t believe me, check out the D&D Adventurers League or the Pathfinder Society.

Anyway, I was thinking about the genres of games that I have run since becoming a GM about just about 40 years ago. They cover a whole lot of ground and many rules systems, so I thought I’d do up a list. My memory not being what it used to be, I’m sure I left a couple out, but here are the ones I remember, along with the rules systems I used.

Fantasy

Around 500 individual sessions spread out among 7-8 lengthy campaigns and many short ones & one shots, mostly using D&D/AD&D, but with sidetrips into Tunnels & Trolls, Runequest, GURPS Fantasy, Talislanta, and a few homebrew systems.

Science Fiction, mostly Space Opera

Around 50 sessions, mostly in 3 campaigns. Traveller, GURPS Space and a modification of D&D (for a short Star Trek campaign) were the systems of choice.

Horror

Around 60 sessions, pretty much evenly split between Ravenloft for AD&D and straight up Call of Cthulhu.

Hero/Weird Menace Pulp

Around 150 sessions, including 4 campaigns. I used the Justice Inc. rules for Hero System at first, but then moved to Chaosiums Basic Roleplaying, GURPS Cliffhangers, D&D, Fudge and Over The Edge.

Modern Strangeness

At least 60 sessions, almost all using Over The Edge, but a few using Fudge.

 

Old West

Only about 10 sessions, with 6 of those using Boot Hill and the remainder using Basic Roleplaying.

Comedy

200 sessions, mostly using Toon, but with a good bit of Paranoia and a couple of others I can’t recall.

 

Time Travel/Dimension Hopping

About 10 sessions, all using Fudge

 

Historical

Only 2 sessions, since I am nobody’s historian. Used Call of Cthulhu rules.

Modern Espionage

About 5 sessions, using the James Bond rules.

Science Fiction, Post Apocalypse

Around a dozen sessions, mostly using GURPS mixed with Car Wars, but a few using Over The Edge.

Science Fiction, Other

Around 8 sessions. Includes everything from a robot uprising to 1950’s giant bugs. Call of Cthulhu rules and Over The Edge.

 

Steampunk

2 sessions, using Basic Roleplaying.


Assorted Other Genres

10 sessions. Everything from Bunnies & Burrows to Planet of the Apes, using a bunch of systems.

Hmm, that works out to 1,069 gaming sessions. Let’s round it up to 1,700. That comes to a bit over 42 sessions a year over 40 years. Considering that in 1982 and 1983 I ran 2 sessions of AD&D a week for about 48 weeks each year, that takes care of 192. Add in a few one shots and we’ll call that 200. Still comes to an average of 39.4 sessions a year, although several of those years had over 50 sessions a year and some had less than a dozen.

Next time, I might write about genres I’d like to GM more often.

The Early October, But Still Planning The Halloween Party, Story Of Mostly Purple Patty And The Farting Cow

…co-starring her pet chipmunk, Penelope

 

Sasha Explains It All

Reader Mail

Hi, folks! I’m back with another edition of Reader Mail, mostly because I’ve been too busy to think up a proper rant. I asked for serious questions this time and here is what I got.

Carol Robinson asks: “Given that human Terrans have not been acceptable stewards of the planet we share, what is the Non-Human Terran Alliance doing to counteract the destruction?”

Great question, Carol! The first thing you have to understand is that the NHTA has to work in secret, because if the human governments (to say nothing of the vast human herd) ever found out about us and our ultra-tech, they would wage war on us and things would go to shit really fast. Note that I’m not saying humans would win.

Anyway, we have teams out neuralizing humans who see anything suspicious, so we are pretty okay vis a vis security.

What the NHTA is doing, mostly, is making sure that as many species as possible are going to survive. We do this by setting up preserves and such in the one place that humans won’t find us anytime soon: the past. 1,000 BCE, to be exact. We have enclosed preserves that are miles across and placed all over North & South America. They are fully automated, but we keep a staff on hand just in case. We transport species there using the bus, which has a cargo bay large enough for 6 Galaxy Class starships, to use a Star Trek reference.

The preserves have full breeding populations of many species, including the ones who have gone extinct over the last century or so. We also have a preserve for humans that we stocked with missing people from all over the world. This was not a unanimously loved decision, since some species have a really good reason to have you humans die off. Still, we dogs, especially Silky and I, have control of the NHTA and we love you guys, so about 3 million of your species (a good diverse breeding population) will be safe when things go to hell.

And they WILL go to hell. Earth has passed the climate tipping point and while we could use technology to mitigate much of it, study of alternate Earths that went through the same thing tells us that you hairless apes only really learn the hard way. Sad, but true.

So while the downside is pretty bleak, the upside it that the Earth will survive, along with the vast majority of species on it, including humans.

Cupcake Walters, a Doberman Pinscher from Austin, Texas, asks: “Why Mad Science?”

An excellent question, brother! Sorry about your name. Humans are just nutty sometimes.

To answer, I need to explain why there even are Mad Scientists on the so called “hard science” worlds like ours. Please bear with me.

As we have hopefully described over the last few years, there are other universes out there where the laws of physics and other sciences are not the same as ours, the classics being those where the speed of light is faster or slower and those where gravity can vary wildly on a single planet.

After that, you get into worlds where only a few “laws” of science can be broken or, on the other end of the spectrum, the laws of science go right out the window because magic or superheroes exist. There are even universes where the laws of physics change with astounding regularity. You never want to visit one of those.

Despite all of these varied universes, one rules guides them all: Clarke’s Third Law. Any sufficiently advanced technology is indistinguishable from magic”.

Yes, even the Potterverses and, even more amazingly, the various fantasy realities, are using an advanced form of science. Now, it is VERY rare for folks on these world’s to realize or understand that, but somewhere in their past, somebody found a loophole in physics and exploited it. Same with superhero worlds, horror worlds, etc. Yes, even fucking Cthulhu and his gang are the result of somebody (not necessarily a human) fucking around with highly advanced science.

Now, I need to mention here that by “science”, I also mean certain philosophical and religious disciplines. For more info on that, I suggest you contact Stephen Strange, a wonderful man whose elaborations on the roots of magic make my eyes cross.

Note: Every time I have explained this to hard scientists, they have gone a bit goofy in the head and required neuralization. Carl Sagan was the exception, but he died a few days later. I’m not entirely convinced Carl wasn’t a bit Mad himself. By the way, if you think scientists go goofy from that, you ought to see how truly religious believers react when you show them what the real universe is like. Again, you’ve gotta neuralize the shit out of them.

So, having taken up WAY too many words on that, let me sum up how one becomes a mad scientist like me.

1: Universes have weak spots and sometimes a bit of one leaks into another.

2: Receptive brains like mine tap into this leaking, never consciously.

3: Said brains are usually, but not always, possessed of a very high intellect and a rather fluid moral outlook.

4: Affected being can tap into a bit of hyperscience. (for Victor Frankenstein, it was of a biological bent.)

5: Mad Scientist, baby!

As with the case of Victor, the bit of hyperscience is often pretty limited. In some cases, it might include another branch of science (See: The Invisible Man). In my case, due to dimension hopping with my family along with my getting sapient, it pretty much meant I tapped into most branches of science, although biology/genetics and physics/engineering are my strong suits.

As to “Why Mad Science?”, the answer is always the same: Because I can. Because it is fun. Because it made me a fucking billionaire, allows me to travel through space & time & realities with my family, gave me my pet giant spider, allows millions of non-humans to be sapient, allows them to speak to damned near anyone in any language, and because it will one day ALLOW ME TO CONQUER THE WORLD! BWAHAHAHAHA!

Sorry. Got carried away there. Anyway, thanks for the questions!

Until my next rant,

Dr. Sasha Jane Cross, PhD (X3)

The Happy Go Lucky, But Still Somewhat Creepy, Story of Mostly Purple Patty And The Road Trip To Saugus To Visit Uncle Ferd.

…co-starring her little brother, Very Green Gary

 

Random Stuff

1: Besides being hotter than 14 motherfuckers here in Northern California, the air is totally shitty with smoke from several fires.

2: The heat waves we have had off and on played hell with my garden. The squash and watermelons would not set fruit and my green bean vines just burnt to a crisp. Half of my tomato plants shut down, altho the cherry tomatoes slowly set fruit and 3-4 ripen each week. I’ll try again, next year with more afternoon shade.

3: I am considering going to Origins next year. GenCon is both too expensive and too much of a hotel room clusterfuck. Origins would not be cheap and I would not see as many friends, but it might be doable.

5: Alternatively, I could hit as many as 5 NorCal cons for the price of going to Origins. The two Sacramento Conquest cons cost me pretty much nothing, since I run games and they are about 4 miles from my house. KublaCon is getting big and is a great con I have not been to in years. DunDraCon, of course, is a given after 30+ years. Big Bad Con is also one I’d like to hit up.

6: Going further afield, but still on the West Coast, OrcaCon is another I’d like to get to.

7: Finally, it has been 13 years since Grace & I took a long driving trip. While having 4 dogs does make such a trip problematic (we do not board our dogs and we need to REALLY REALLY trust a dog/housesitter), it does not entirely rule it out, especially since we will have another car by next spring, something much larger than our current tiny Mazda 3.

That’s it for now. More bloggage soon!

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The Rare And Beautiful Red Spotted Toad Eater Of Potawango Island

…they eat toads

 

Patreon Backer Shoutout!

Carol Robinson, Mark A Schmidt, Loyd Blankenship and Derek Pearcy have all backed this blog. Thank you all!

If YOU would like to back me on this blog, just go here…

Support this blog on Patreon: https://www.patreon.com/DocCross

 

 

CritterCon 10

Day Eleven, Con Day Four


Quick recap again, folks, because we are zipping down the interstate at roughly 175 miles per hour, avoiding both accidents and cops due to very small outside size (a Smart Car), a cloaking device, off road capability and ultra tech computer navigation. And we are all sitting around chatting.

After breakfast at Mistress Diana’s Dungeon Diner, I ran my last Toon game (The House That Jerks Built), then ran one of four final battles in the 24/7 D&D game, went to lunch at the recently opened Killerburger and then met Grace and the Fabulous four to have one last go ’round of the Dealer’s room.

After buying a few things, I left to be on the “We Loves It/We Hates It” panel. As always, it was equal parts geek hate and geek love. No sooner was it over than I ran down the hall to hear what had been decided after reviewing last year’s big questionnaire.

Unsurprisingly, the #1 request was taken care of this year: Not being on the same days as GenCon. We were told that next year, the con will be two weeks before GenCon.

Other requests were not so major: more activities for kids, expansion of the waterpark, earlier starts to some of the big parties, try to get a couple more donut shops, etc.

One big request that they are still mulling over is to add a movie room next to the anime room and to have not just Old Time Radio, but CritterCon exclusive television shows. We’ll know how this shakes out sometime in October.

Once that was over, our band of merry pranksters just hung out and chatted with the great number of other folks waiting the last few minutes of the con out, then the 30 minute gap until the Post Con Cool Down/Pie Feed.

Stuffed with several types of delicious pie, we left the con and Critter City about 7:15. At our current rate of speed, we will be in Baltimore to drop off Spike and Mary in the early morning, then in New Hampshire to drop off Avis, Ginie and the cats a few hours later. From there, we’ll go airborne and kick the bus up to about Mach 4 to get Gabriel home in Los Angeles. After that, out little family will be home about 30 minutes later.

All told, this was the usual swell fictional convention and trip. I know I could have written more, but I’m not the young 53 year old I was when we went to DogCon 1.

Anyway, thanks for sticking with us again this year.

 


CritterCon 10

is over.


But we will all be back next year for…

CritterCon 11

And The Beef Goes On

…wait, wrong lyrics

 

OOPS! Forgot to post this last night. I blame the partying.

CritterCon 10

Day Ten, Con Day Three


My day so far…

1: Woke up…no hangover…ate breakfast at Pancakeville.

2: 9 am panel on Pulp Games with 5 other folks, one of whom was Brian Misiaszek…went very well, lots of good questions.

3: Went for our annual spa session at Spa La La…soaked in hot mud, then washed off and got a great massage…might have fallen asleep and drooled during massage.

4: Lunch at Pizza My Heart, which has a killer lunch buffet now.

5: Ran my second 3 hour Toon game (The Perilous Predicament of Petey Penguin) for 10 players…Everybody had big fun, including the wife who played Psycho Petey and her husband who played Sweetie Petey and their 12 year old daughter who played Neaty Petey.

6: Just finished a 90 minute session of running the 24/7 D&D game. Spike took over from me…all the players during my time were human females, female dogs and a female goat…they kicked ass on a Goblin horde.

7: Next up is a seminar on What’s New In Gaming, then a quick dinner, then putting on two Old Time Radio shows back to back: The Adventures of Doc Mystery and Life With Bucky & Squint.

8: Starting at 9:00 is the Bigass Party, which features 5 bands, an open bar and geekery as far as the eye can see.

More bloggage tomorrow.

Simple Salamanders

…great starter amphibians

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CritterCon 10

Day Eight, Con Day One

Quick recap of last night: Dungeon Diner for dinner. Great food, spanky leather ambiance, about 40 people in our group.

The ice cream social was great. Delicious ice cream, plenty of folks there. Then those damned Texans brought out about 50 kinds of bourbon and next thing you know I’m being tucked into bed at 1:30 in the morning by Grace & Silky.

Okay, on to today’s action packed schedule.

Breakfast: I skipped it to sleep in an extra 45 minutes before heading off to the Dealer’s Room. Later, just before my Toon game, I ate a large carne asada breakfast burrito.

Games: Hoo boy! Ran a Toon game (A Foogleproof Plan) for 8 people, played in a game of GURPS Reign of Steel, ran a very short (20 minutes) portion of the D&D 5E game that is running 24/7 during the con and played a game of Pirate Fluxx.

Lunch: Same taco truck. Fish tacos.

Seminars: Participated in the Building A Village seminar. Ended up with a pretty good village.

Dinner: Meatloaf at Chez Mom’s with a bunch of folks.

The Drag’n Age Party: While there were indeed several men who looked good in drag, the vast majority of us did not. Maybe it was all the facial/body hair. On the other hand, almost all of the women present looked good in drag, be they wearing tuxedos or workingman clothes.

In all other ways, the party was great. The band played covers of music from the 50’s through the 2000’s. And yes, they were in drag too. The party ended at 2 am. I was back in the room asleep by 2:15.

CritterCon 10

Day Nine, Con Day Two


It was a LARPy day for most of us. All the critters, plus Grace, Mary, Avis, Ginie & I were in the Star Trek LARP. Max & I played Klingons, Sasha and our friend Brian Misiaszek played Romulans and in the end the Klingon Empire gained control of the planet we were all fighting over. Qap maH!

After that LARP ended, Daisy, Max & Roxy headed off to a Critters Only D&D LARP, Avis & Ginie went to play in a steampunk LARP, everbody else ran off to play other games and I went to join Spike in the “Forgotten Games” panel.

After that panel, we grabbed lunch at Waffles From Outer Space! (BACON AND BUTTER FLAVORED SYRUP, Y’ALL!), then went to our next seminar, “Yes, Tell Us About Your Character…In Three Minutes”. Some folks had great characters to talk about, but many others made us glad for the three minute limit.

At that point, Spike and I parted ways and I was off to a “Dads & Daughters” game of Mutants & Masterminds with Silky. The plot of the game had father & daughter super heroes trying to stop Captain Calamity and his daughter Miss Chaotic from taking over Bigge City. It was a hell of a knock down/drag out fight with some hilarious moments.

My character was a speedster named Warpspeed and Silky was my daughter, Tsunami. She got her name because beside having my speed, she had inherited the ability to control water from her mother. She would basically run fast at her target while pushing a couple thousand gallons of water in front of her.

There were ten players in the game and the only other Human/NHT pair was a fellow from Tulsa and his four year old pit/coonhound mix, Belle.

Around then, it was dinner time and we all gathered with many of our friends to eat at Thai One On. Much Thai curry was consumed.

There was no one big party tonight, but there were about two dozen smaller ones, so several of us made the rounds. By about one in the morning, we were all back in our rooms.

Tomorrow’s high points wil be our annual Mud Spa Day and, later on, our annual Old Time Radio broadcast.

More blogging later.