The Bluebird Of Sappyness

…not as well known as his famous brother

So, I’ve got a couple of ideas for Cheapass Games level card/board games. My question to you, Dear Readers, is: What is the best way to go about making prototypes to send out to playtesters? What about making the final product? I am quite clueless as to these processes.

Go Fast, Then Slow, Then Really Fast

…driving instructions from Christopher, 1989

In my recent post about Game Day, I forgot to mention that I told my players about one of the upcoming segments of our ongoing series: they’ll be students at Hogwarts.

Now, to explain that. See, right now, the world that they live in is at about the average magical level of your typical D&D 2nd edition setting. But the mana level of the entire planet has been rising…and will continue for awhile longer, until pretty much everyone is a high powered wizard. In fact, the highest powered wizards will be almost godlike.

And then wizard wars breaks out and it all goes to shit.

I won’t be running any games set in that time period, because I did it once, many years ago and it was as close to a sublime gaming experience as I’ve ever had.

Anyway, the “wizards as gods” segment will come about 500 years after the present segment, and about 500 years before the “Hogwarts” segment.

Things will be very much like they are in the Harry Potter books, only with a sort of mid-18th century Muggle society. There will not be any sort of Lord Voldemort story arc and they will not be playing characters from the books. In fact, the whole segment will focus on just one year at school. Not yet sure which year it’ll be.

As I said many moons ago, this entire series is meant to trace the Return, Rise and Decline of magic in the world. The “wizards as gods” era is the high point. After that, magic is fading from the world.

I reckon that, after the Hogwarts segment, there will be 3-4 more segments left. The final segment will, of course, find Our Heroes attempting to hide the Soul of Magic away until, a couple of thousand years in the future, it can be released again. Which is what started all of this in the first place.

And now, I must have tea.

The Ice Cream Dwarves Build A Fortress

…with sprinkles

Walter, Working Class Superhero

And lo, the people spoke and Walter did wear thrift shop clothing as his heroic garb. And in truth, he did wear different items each time he set forth to smite evil in the face. Hard.

And the people saw this and said it was good.

Twelve Miles To The Nearest Fruit Stand

…and we were really needing some fruit

El Stuffo

1: We had Game Day yesterday and my players had tons of fun, as did I. They managed not only to get their characters all the way to the ruined city of Barchan, but also helped return a Knight and his Lady to life so they could banish a demon. Admittedly, the demon was released from his imprisonment by the parties thief, who just had to see what that magical key did when inserted into the magical lock, but it all worked out in the end. The adventure also contained zombie children, amazing Luck rolls, hidden treasures, a Lesser Demon, lots of friendly dogs, phat loot, possession by evil bitches, hungry and/or pissed off giants, dungeons, a very reasonable troll, magical armor, Coolest. Sword. Evar., a bountiful harvest of useful herbs, copper treasure maps of Freeport, hidden cubbyholes and a bigass serpentine water elemental.

2: Yet another meme…Ten Desert Island RPGs…listed in no particular order…
(oh, yeah, you get the basic rules plus all supplements…AND 6-8 other people to game with)

Over The Edge
AD&D 2nd edition
Castle Falkenstein
Mutants & Masterminds
Call of Cthulhu
Runequest 2nd edition

3: I am beginning to think that I may have to take a part time job on weekends, IF I can find one. We are being badly hammered by the economy and need to get caught up on at least a few bills. *SIGH* Working 7 days a week…plus doing mystery shops…is gonna seriously kick my ass.

And now, I must take miss Lucy Lou on a walk. More blogtasticness later.

My Other Dog Is a Werewolf

…it’s a joke, Lucy

I must be gettin’ old, since in my recent DogCon post, I referred to this years fictional event as “DogCon 2”. In fact, this being an alternate year, the con will be called CatCon 2.

And speaking of the bigass fictional alternative to GenCon, I shall once again be running a total of 16 hours of gaming, so as to qualify for a “Featured GM” badge. Also, and I’m not 100% sure how this works, it appears that Winker will be a “featured NPC” in one of this years pets only LARPs, “Hairy Pupper and the Deathly Howls”.

I’ve also heard that both Grace and I may be recruited for a real live old timey radio theatre event. Apparently, the rich guys behind the con have bought a controlling interest in Wilted Springs radio station. I expect there will be a webcast, too, since that’s what all the kids are into nowadays.

And now, I’m off to play Puzzle Pirates

A Beer Mug Full Of Dimes

…I haz it

And now…STUFF!

1: On the canine front, Lucy continues to adapt to our household. Although she is still a very timid dog and does not play with Winker, she is a very loving girl towards her mom & dad.

2: I am formulating an idea for a fantasy setting where nobody actually can cast spells because magic can only be done through potions and enchanted items like wands and rings and such.

3: In August, since I will NOT be going to GenCon (curse you, fucked economy!), I WILL again be going to the entirely fictional, but no less fun, DogCon2 convention in beautiful Wilted Springs, Texas. As with last year, those of you not going to GenCon are invited to attend.

Gotta go…mystery shops awaits.

This Just In: Michael Jackson Is Still Deader Than Interstate Roadkill

…just heading off the inevitable “he still lives” conspiracy theory

Walter: Working Class Superhero

By overwhelming vote, Walter works at the cities main water treatment plant. He is, in fact, a water testing chemist at the newly constructed green bio-treatment unit, which uses natural methods (such as soil filtration and water hyacinth) to produce clean weater.

So, here is a new poll question:

We shall assume that Walter’s super outfit can change shape along with the rest of him.

It’s All Fun & Games Until Vegetable Oil Goes Sticky

…don’t ask

Last night, I took My Sweet Little Chocolate Frog Of Love to see Harry Potter And The Half Blood Prince. We both enjoyed it, despite the fact that they had to compress and cut parts of the original story in order to avoid a 5 hour movie. They did capture most of the feel of the book and the alternating between ominous and funny worked pretty well. Not my favorite of the movies, but still quite worth seeing.

We saw several trailers before the movie. The best of all was the one for the new Sherlock Holmes, starring Robert Downey Jr as the Great Detective. Looks very interesting and action packed. I told Grace that it should be titled Sherlock Homes, Consulting Asskicker due to the fight scenes.

There was also a trailer for 2012, the new end of the world flick from the same guy who directed The Day After Tomorrow. It lost me when it began, talking about the Mayans as the “world’s first great civilization”. Yeah, cos the Chinese, the Romans, the Greeks, the Egyptians and about 100 others just didn’t do anything great. Also, I’m pretty much done with end of the world movies, especially those based on mystic shit.

Now, Uncle Doc must be hitting the road for several mystery shopping adventures. More blogging later.

Doc & Spike Versus The Zombie Ninjas

…mostly, we talked them to death

People who know Spike Y Jones and myself are laughing and nodding over that one:)

It’s The DEEAATTHHH Of Roleplaying!!!

I’ve been a player of tabeletop RPGs for coming up on 33 years now (insert “HOLY SHIT!” here) and almost from day one, I’ve heard people talk about the imminent collapse and death of the industry/hobby. Everything from gamers growing older to increased prices for gaming books to computer games (especially computer RPGs) has been listed as the final nail in the coffin. Several times, the industry has done a really good impression of heading into the dumpster, but the much discussed death has never happened.

But that has never stopped gamers from writing/talking about it. Some present their argument in great detail, some just give a pissy rant based on the fact that the new RPG hotness that they just bought cost $50.00 and some just love talking about gloom & doom. I’ve read reasonable discussions on the subject in print fanzines and long drawn out name calling bitchfests on about a hundred websites. I’ve had people look me in the face and say World of Warcraft would destroy RPGing in a couple of years. That, by the way, was about 5 years ago.

So here are my newly revised thoughts on the death of the roleplaying hobby/industry.

It won’t happen soon. The roleplaying hobby will continue to lose ground to CRPGs and whatever new techno coolness comes along, but it won’t die out. Even when all of us old timers have gone the way of Norwegian Blue Parrots, there will still be some people out there getting together to bulllshit, hang out and kill things so they can loot the bodies. Even when the inevitable killer computer RPG comes along, allowing a group to explore a computer generated world that the GM can have full control of, the hobby will not die. We’ll just all be sitting around wearing out VR outfits, bullshitting and hanging out and killing and looting online.

Now, the RPG industry as we currently know it might die off. To be honest though, I think it will mutate just like the hobby will. Once some slick computer game company develops the basic algorythms for a real online version of tabletop RPGs, I can see all of the popular game settings porting over and taking the best of the game designers with them. Would you pay to play in a CRPG setting designed by Robin Laws or Steve Kenson or Ken Hite? I sure as hell would.

What will suffer badly, but not die off, will be the creation of new gaming rules systems. If the computer handles all of the details, allowing you to build whatever character you want and the GM allows, the need for you or the GM to know a shitload of rules pretty much vanishes. The design of new rules will become a very limited profession. Also, the dice companies will all go belly up.

So no, I don’t see the hobby or the industry dying off. Getting older to the point of looking like one of those folks that lives to 110, yes. Mutating into a computer/online based lifeform, certainly. Tabletop play becoming an even more obscure pastime, absolutely. But dying off completely, nope.

And that’s my two cents on the matter. Until next time:)

Walter News

Barring some astounding influx of votes for another profession, Walter is on track to work at a water treatment plant. A new poll will appear tonight or tomorrow.

Dehydrated Spatial/Temporal Anomalies

…just add water for an instant Star Trek plot

Walter, The Working Class Superhero

Ok…so only two people responded to the last Walter question…here’s what we determined:

Walter has a longtime girlfriend. Her name is Debby. Walter owns three male cats named Larry, Moe & Curly. Walter collects marine invertebrates, mostly tiny jellyfish, tho he does own a couple of octopi.

And so we move on to the next question, in the popular poll format.

The Rare And Deadly Poisonous Turtle Of Potawango Island

..fortunately, it takes them about 2 minutes to strike

My Favorite Piece Of Poetry

This will be read at my memorial service, sometime in the far future.

The Walrus and The Carpenter

Lewis Carroll (from Through the Looking-Glass and What Alice Found There, 1872)

The sun was shining on the sea,
Shining with all his might:
He did his very best to make
The billows smooth and bright–
And this was odd, because it was
The middle of the night.

The moon was shining sulkily,
Because she thought the sun
Had got no business to be there
After the day was done–
“It’s very rude of him,” she said,
“To come and spoil the fun!”

The sea was wet as wet could be,
The sands were dry as dry.
You could not see a cloud, because
No cloud was in the sky:
No birds were flying overhead–
There were no birds to fly.

The Walrus and the Carpenter
Were walking close at hand;
They wept like anything to see
Such quantities of sand:
“If this were only cleared away,”
They said, “it would be grand!”

“If seven maids with seven mops
Swept it for half a year.
Do you suppose,” the Walrus said,
“That they could get it clear?”
“I doubt it,” said the Carpenter,
And shed a bitter tear.

“O Oysters, come and walk with us!”
The Walrus did beseech.
“A pleasant walk, a pleasant talk,
Along the briny beach:
We cannot do with more than four,
To give a hand to each.”

The eldest Oyster looked at him,
But never a word he said:
The eldest Oyster winked his eye,
And shook his heavy head–
Meaning to say he did not choose
To leave the oyster-bed.

But four young Oysters hurried up,
All eager for the treat:
Their coats were brushed, their faces washed,
Their shoes were clean and neat–
And this was odd, because, you know,
They hadn’t any feet.

Four other Oysters followed them,
And yet another four;
And thick and fast they came at last,
And more, and more, and more–
All hopping through the frothy waves,
And scrambling to the shore.

The Walrus and the Carpenter
Walked on a mile or so,
And then they rested on a rock
Conveniently low:
And all the little Oysters stood
And waited in a row.

“The time has come,” the Walrus said,
“To talk of many things:
Of shoes–and ships–and sealing-wax–
Of cabbages–and kings–
And why the sea is boiling hot–
And whether pigs have wings.”

“But wait a bit,” the Oysters cried,
“Before we have our chat;
For some of us are out of breath,
And all of us are fat!”
“No hurry!” said the Carpenter.
They thanked him much for that.

“A loaf of bread,” the Walrus said,
“Is what we chiefly need:
Pepper and vinegar besides
Are very good indeed–
Now if you’re ready, Oysters dear,
We can begin to feed.”

“But not on us!” the Oysters cried,
Turning a little blue.
“After such kindness, that would be
A dismal thing to do!”
“The night is fine,” the Walrus said.
“Do you admire the view?

“It was so kind of you to come!
And you are very nice!”
The Carpenter said nothing but
“Cut us another slice:
I wish you were not quite so deaf–
I’ve had to ask you twice!”

“It seems a shame,” the Walrus said,
“To play them such a trick,
After we’ve brought them out so far,
And made them trot so quick!”
The Carpenter said nothing but
“The butter’s spread too thick!”

“I weep for you,” the Walrus said:
“I deeply sympathize.”
With sobs and tears he sorted out
Those of the largest size,
Holding his pocket-handkerchief
Before his streaming eyes.

“O Oysters,” said the Carpenter,
“You’ve had a pleasant run!
Shall we be trotting home again?’
But answer came there none–
And this was scarcely odd, because
They’d eaten every one.

Bad Tommy Crosses The Wrong Damned Dame

…not all of him was there when they found him

Yet Another “10 Things Meme”

This one is easy…

Ten Things You Want To Do Before You Die

10: Piss on the graves of several ex-presidents of the United States
9: See a family of African elephants in the wilds of Africa
8: Visit Australia and New Zealand
7: Drink Guinness in a pub in Ireland
6: Witness the collapse of worldwide civilization as we know it
5: Walk across the USA
4: Watch a really good Doc Savage movie or television series (animated would be ok)
3: Welcome friendly aliens to Earth
2: Have hot jungle monkey sex with Charlize Theron and Scarlett Johanssen
1: Celebrate my 500th birthday

Tree Kangaroo Adventures

…featuring real tree kangaroos

Here is my entry in the Island Game Experiment.

Grass Island

Grass Island was so named because the windward side of the island is a low, flat plain. The native grasses grow waist high to a tall man and wild horses and cattle run free.

This temperate island measures just about 25 miles long by 20 miles wide. The aforementioned plains make up a 20 mile long, 10 mile wide strip on the western side of the island. The eastern half of the island is dominated by a 20 mile long range of forested volcanic mountains, with the dormant volcano, Mount Kikomo, rising to a height of just over 3,000 feet.

The people of the island, the Eami, came here about 1,500 years ago after a long migration across a distant continent. They are a tall, lean dark skinned people who capture and train the wild horses and hunt the rather aggressive wild cattle. Additionally, they fish in the river & sea and farm on the mountain slopes. The Eami worship a Mother Goddess who, according to their holy women, lives in all things.

The Eami primarily live in three large towns (pop. 10,000) and several small villages. They are, by and large, a peaceful people, but have been known to repel invading raiders with a truly devastating show of force.

The Night We Saved Earth From The Killer Crawdads

…with garlic butter, cajun rice and plenty of beer

A New, Semi Regular Gaming Experiment

This will be a GMless experiment in running an LJ game based upon each player representing an island nation and the people who live on it. The rules will be as simple as I can make them. You can play or just watch as frequently as you like. No pressure on anything.

The rest is behind the cut

Friends With Benefits And Pie

…it doesn’t get any better than that

Fresh 100% Organic Stuff

1: Just in case anyone was in doubt, Sarah Palin is still Conservative America’s Halfwitted Hillbilly Sweetheart…now with added mental problems.

2: My Sweet Little Parasauralophus Of Sweetness and I had a fine little 4th of July dinner last night: lamb breast (actually lamb ribs…the butcher had no idea why they call it a breast), barbecue roasted potatoes, salad and chocolate eclairs. MmmmmMmmmm, good!

3: It is with no little shame that I admit to enjoying “So You Think You Can Dance”…with the exception of listening to that screeching idiot, Judge Mary. I’d pay good money to see the requisite snotty British Judge pimpslap her.

4: Understanding that the whole thing this year is one big experiment, my “square foot garden in boxes” is not doing very well. Could be overheating…could be inadequate fertilizer. I shall be tackling the problem today.

5: As much as I enjoyed the flawed and cancelled too soon Dresden Files tv series, I’d really like to see a Dresden Files movie. But who would play Harry? The actor would need to be at least 6’2″ or better and capable of being funny and serious in equal doses. Also, it wouldn’t hurt if he could do his own stunts.

6: Is it possible to remain pissed off about anything after listening to a few minutes of reggae? I think not.

7: Speaking of the music of Jamaica, mon, I love this collection of musical doodads: Dub Selector

More blogotronic goodness later.

The Enchanted Underwear

…a story of magic and comfort

Gaming News From The House Of Hounds

Last Sunday, my group got together for the first time in at least a month. More importantly, we were back up to 5 players again. In light of this, I scrapped the “Antropomorphic Otter Secret Agents” fantasy series and, as is the ongoing long term plan, moved things ahead about 250 years in the game world history.

Now, Our Heroes are playing dual classed characters in a pretty standard D&D style dungeon looting series. The rules (which I pretty much pulled outta my ass on the fly) are a highly modified bastard child of Basic D&D and several other systems. Base rolls are on a D10 with me rolling various types of dice in opposition. It seems to be working.

Anyway, we have a fighter/ranger, ranger/fighter, healer/mage, fighter/mage and a thief/fighter. Pretty much all bases covered to some degree.

We established that these folks (three human males, an elf female and a halfling female) grew up together and now want to go out and seek fortune and glory. Mostly fortune.

Where have I heard that character goal before? :)

Since we know that they have been working for an old mage/herbalist/healer/alchemist since they were kids (he’d send them out to gether roots, berries and other plant materials), I had the guy hire them to go off to the ruins of an old fort/town to look for rare spell components and such. He gave them a long list. They also have an even longer list made up of requests from other mages and such who live in the Big City to the southwest.

In the first session, they met a gnome, avoided hill goblins and a bear, pissed off and then attempted to fight a Cape Buffalo and saved one of the party from being parasytized by a giant amoeba thing.

Next session, they should get to the ruins. Then the real fun will begin:)

The Screwball Funny, Yet Also Erotic, Story Of Mostly Purple Patty And The 5 Robots Named Gus

…co-starring her new boyfriend, Blinky Swerdlow

I took The Girls to the park just a bit ago. We do this every weekday, since the park is only about 2 blocks away and they both need exercise. Winker, who needs to work off some of her chubbiness, is not a great fan of such walks, since the outside world is not air conditioned or carpeted. Lucy likes to walk, which is good because it burns off energy and it helps her gain confidence about…well, everything.

Also, the park has children and squirrels.

Now, Winker loves people, but she really loves kids. She could probably spend hours being petted and told how cute she is.

Lucy, she’s a chasin’ kinda gal. If she sees a cat or a squirrel, she is off like a floppy eared rocket. That’s why she gets the 16′ retractable leash.

Today, fate worked out to have both hounds see their chosen prey at the same time…in opposite directions. While the Winkerdog zoomed off at a much slower pace than Lucy, she still weighs 45 pounds and was very determined to go love her some kids. Lucy, seeing the arrogant (and possibly communist) rodent casually digging among some leaves, took off to make the world safe from bushy tailed terrorists. Lucy weighs about 55 pounds.

A less well constructed person than myself might have had both arms torn off, but I just let out a dignified “Wha? Hey! Ughuff! Shit!”.

Once I got my composure back (and they both reached the ends of their respective leashes), I reeled them in. Both of them gave me the stink eye, and in Winker’s case, that’s pretty bad since she just has the one eye to use.

I told Lucy that she had done an excellent job of kicking the squirrel’s ass, then lead them both over to the kids, where much oohing and aahing was bestowed upon both of them.

After awhile, we left for home and the glory of air conditioning, no squirrels and Fooood Foorrrr Dooggggssss.

Also: naps for dogs.