A Few Words About Cozy Socks In Bright Colors

…no, not really

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The Doclopedia #1,556

Not What I Expected: The Love Potion

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What the hell, man? You told me this was a love potion. You said it would make me the man of Cheryl’s dreams and she’d fall in love with me. But look at me! I’m 6′ 6” tall, white, blonde haired and blue eyed! I was 5′ 6”, Chinese, balding and chubby! Do I look like a fucking Jeffery Chiang to you? What the fuck will I tell my family and friends?

What? Well, yeah, she fell for me right away. She was all over me like a cheap suit, but that’s not the…huh? Well, yeah, it did exactly what you said it would do, but I wasn’t expecting it to LITERALLY do it.

Antidote? I’ll take it! FIVE HUNDRED DOLLARS? You motherfu…aw, shit, okay. Do you know where the closest ATM is?
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The Doclopedia #1,557

Not What I Expected: The Donuts

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Hold the door, Joe! I’m looking for a weapon, goddamn it! Oh shit, oh shit! Did you see them? They had little faces and mouths full of sharp teeth, Joe! They were motherfucking ALIVE! If you hadn’t tripped and spilled that box, those fucking things would be in here right now!

CHEWING THROUGH THE DOOR? Oh, Jesusjesusjesus! I found the shotgun, but we only have 4 shells. Oh shit, they’re almost in! Here, take this 9 iron and beat them as they come through the hole. After you cill a couple, throw open the door and I’ll blast them!

Fuck, man, I’m never again gonna ask a goth chick to tell me where to buy some killer donuts.

Pieboy And The Ice Cold Swimming Pool

…we almost had to chip ice off of him
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The Doclopedia #1,554

Alt. Roleplaying Reviews: Last Chance Incorporated

All ratings based upon a 1-5 scale

Substance: 3
Originality: 3
Looks: 3
Playability: 3

Synopsis: An average science fiction RPG with a few new ideas.

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Let’s get right to the heart of the matter: This is a perfectly good, but absolutely average science fiction RPG. There is very little here that you can’t find elsewhere.

The setting is about 500 years in the future. Humanity has been accepted into the Alliance of Planets, which consists of 9 star systems, 14 planets and the Frontier. That latter is where most of the action takes place as you go where…well, you know the rest.

Of course you need at least one “bad guy” group to cause trouble, and this game gives you three. There are warrior lizard people, sneaky underhanded humanoids and a whole star system of space pirates.

As I said in the beginning, this is all average stuff. The writing, the art, layout, adventures, alien monsters…everything is neither really bad or exceptionally good. However, there are a couple of interesting and not really well developed nuggets in this game.

First is what gives the game it’s name. Last Chance Incorporated is a multi-planetary business that explores and exploits planets. They use humans and other races to do the exploring, but they only hire people who are dying, either from old age or disease. They offer these people a last chance at life, giving them temporary young & healthy bodies with the promise that they can keep the body once X number of jobs are finished.

The other interesting idea is that there is some nebulous secret thing going on in the Alliance and the characters will only find out about it very slowly over many sessions. As to what the nebulous thing is, well, that is slowly revealed to the GM via rolls on random tables. These tables are set up to lead to more and more info, which the DM eventually turns into a threat of some sort. It’s pretty cool, really.

In closing, I’d say that Last Chance Incorporated is a decent sci fi game and if you don’t already own one, it’s as good as most others.
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The Doclopedia #1,555

Alt. Roleplaying Reviews: World Of Monsters

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All ratings based upon a 1-5 scale

Substance: 4
Originality: 5
Looks: 4
Playability: 4

Synopsis: Imagine if all the monsters from movies were real.

In World of Monsters, all the monsters from movies have come alive and are terrorizing the world. Vampires, mad slashers, aliens, kaiju…all of them are out there and you are hunting them. Of course, many of them are hunting you, too.

This is a fun game. You never know what the GM will throw at you next and if you are packing the wrong weaponry, you will get your ass handed to you. Teamwork is absolutely essential to get the job done.

The rules are pretty comprehensive without being overly crunchy. Characters are mostly skill based. You can learn new skills when you get precious downtime. There are only a few character archetypes (Warrior, Scientist, Medic, Psychic, Engineer), but with skills, quirks, advantages and disadvantages, you can build a pretty unique character.

The entire book is above average in all respects. Tables and lists are all put in one place in the back of the book to make looking things up very easy. The are is almost entirely black and white, but is very good in most cases.

And the monsters? They take up half the book and I doubt you’ll find a movie monster not represented, even if you are a fan of cheap low budget flicks or foreign monster movies.

This game is a Best Buy, for sure.

Elf On A Shelf, Troll In A Hole, Fairy In A Dairy

…pixie going to Dixie?
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The Doclopedia #1,552

Alt. Roleplaying Reviews: MEGA-LARP!

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All ratings based upon a 1-5 scale

Substance: 3
Originality: 4
Looks: 3
Playability: ?

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Synopsis: It’s a LARP, but a HUGE LARP. Or maybe a convention.

Explaining MEGA-LARP! To somebody is easy. Just imagine a few hundred or a few thousand prople getting together for a game convention, then deciding “forget having a con, let’s do some Live Action Role Playing”. Costumes and identifying badges (which have GPS trackers built in) go on, info packs are distributed, everyone gets 30 minutes to disperse across a few square miles of city, and the 2 to 4 day long game starts. Note that in order to play this LARP, besides ponying up anywhere from 50 to 200 bucks for a badge, you must present proof of medical insurance and sign a hefty waiver.

That’s really all there are to the basics. It’s not that much different from smaller LARPs. The well written and nicely laid out PDF rules, which are free online, cover all the basics like combat, resolving skills, interacting and safety. That last one is absolutely key in LARPing in a city where most of the folks you meet are not involved in the game.

Most MEGA-LARP! Games are suited to urban play. Plotlines range from spy stories to alien invasions to a pretty hilarious comedy of errors. There were 7 plotlines available when I played and 3 more have been published since then. All of them are well written and show a lot of originality.

Getting to the actual playability of the LARP, the answer is: it depends. If the city is not too big or crime ridden, if the number of LARPers is right, if the weather is good, if the local police are informed (an absolute must), if all the players are experienced LARPers, well then, you have a good chance of having a great time.

But remove any one of those ifs and things can go south fast. Bad MEGA-LARPs have seen arrests, robberies and assaults, fistfights among players, blizzards, lost players and, to date, 3 deaths due to accidents. I’ll point out that none of those ever happened at the MEGA-LARPS held in conjunctions with big game cons.

So if you want to be part of one of these big events, my suggestion is to look for one held in a smaller city or larger town where everyone knows what’s going on, the weather is nice and you have hopefully very few bad players. If not, just play in one at a big convention.

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The Doclopedia #1,553

Alt. Roleplaying Reviews: Dungeons & Dogs DM’s Guide

All ratings based upon a 1-5 scale

Substance: 5
Originality: 3
Looks: 5
Playability: 5

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Synopsis: It’s D&D adapted for canine Non-Human Terrans.

Make no mistake about it, the other sapient species on our planet love playing games, including RPGs. They play many human-centric RPGs and plenty that were written by and for NHT. Dungeons & Dogs is sort of a halfway point between those two.

Basically, D&Dogs is first edition AD&D rewritten for dogs and other canid NHT. Very few of the rules have been outright changed, but many have been rewritten to account for the players and characters being sapient canines who all wear ottopuses. One rule, stated right up front is that only two tentacles are to be used for arms, with the other two being used to hold your backpack in place, or barring that, not being used at all.

Rules for high level senses of smell, hearing and sight (for sight hounds and others) have been included and are very clearly written. In fact, the whole book reads like what AD&D might have looked like if a whole squad of editors ruthlessly went over Gary’s final draft. It’s a pleasure to read and the table of contents and index are quite comprehensive.

Layout on this book (which actually combines the DMG and Monster Manual) is just great. It’s easy to read and the fonts used are nice. All of the illustrations are full color and every monster in the Monsters & Foes section get a half page picture. The various artists, some of whom were humans, all did excellent work.

The book uses good quality paper and that’s part of why it runs to a hefty 450 pages. The Player’s Guide, which will get it’s own review, is just as nice, but runs a mere 120 pages.

In summation, this book is an excellent piece of work and actually makes AD&D better, if you are an NHT canid. If you are a human, it might be worth buying just for the clarified rules or those great monster pix. All told, I rate this book a Best Buy.

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Thrift Store Battle: Naked Barbies VS Stuffed Poo Emojis!

…my money is on Barbie
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The Doclopedia #1,550

Alt. Roleplaying Reviews: Dungeon Musical

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All ratings based upon a 1-5 scale

Substance: 3
Originality: 5
Looks: 3
Playability: 2

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Synopsis: Heck of an idea, if you have the time, effort and group.

A dungeon crawl RPG with musical and dance numbers? After 40 years of playing RPGs, truly original game ideas are getting thin, but I put this one at the top of the heap. Think of it as D&D&Glee.

The idea is pretty simple, you get your group together, they create characters using a pretty straightforward class & level system, then you DON’T have them meet in a tavern and go adventuring. Instead, they all meet in an Adventurer’s Guild training academy, where the book suggests they spend 3-4 sessions hammering out skills, personalities, goals and relationships.

Then, they go out in the world to loot a dungeon so they can pay back their “student loans” to the Guild. And throughout all of this, there are musical numbers that the GM and players must sing and dance to. If you are into that, or if you are/were a Theater major, you will love this game.

But let’s face it, most of us weren’t/aren’t Theater majors. We may not want to go to all the extra work involved in rehearsing…yes, rehearsing…for each game session. If you use the game’s suggested two rehearsals per session, that means you have to hold three sessions, only one of which will actually involve playing the game. Oh, and you have to learn alternate words and sometimes entire songs to account for things happening differently, like when you kill/don’t kill a dragon.

If you think that’s too much work, pity the poor GM. They have to actually write songs, because the book only contains songs for your academy time and half of the first level. After that, the GM is on their own, although the book does include many famous songs that can be filked for use in the game.

On the rules side of the equation, nothing is new here. The rules are not bad, there just isn’t much new here. You’ll recognize everything, despite some filing off of serial numbers.

The look of the book is pretty pedestrian, too. The layout is functional and the art is uniformly okay. The fonts are nice and they do give you both a table of contents and an index. The cover is somewhat better than okay, but still not in the big leagues.

In summation, if you are or were either a Theater major or a huge fan of musicals, and you don’t mind doing tons of work to play a dungeon crawl, this might be the game for you. For everyone else, it’s an interesting read only.

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The Doclopedia #1,551

Alt. Roleplaying Reviews: Teenage Wasteland

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All ratings based upon a 1-5 scale

Substance: 4
Originality: 4
Looks: 2
Playability: 4

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Synopsis: An interesting and humorous take on post-apocalypse RPGs

There are quite a few post-apocalypse RPGs out there and even a couple that focus on younger characters. All of them are pretty gritty and serious, with survival being at the forefront and possibly rebuilding society as a secondary goal.

In Teenage Wasteland there’s less grit, a whole lot less seriousness and mere survival is actually not so hard. What is hard, and sometimes hilarious, is the fact that the PCs are trying to build a new civilization in a Mall of America sized shopping mall.

The game is set just a couple of years after the “Fast Flu” pretty much wiped out almost everyone over 20 and under 11. This left most of the world’s population as teens and, as the book states right up front, “you are way more clueless than you think”.

From there, it’s all about getting that mall up and running as a little city state. Characters will be dealing with everything necessary to do that, while also dealing with no internet, spotty electricity, no fast food and the general lack of all things teens live for, except sex.

The rules system is percentile based and skill driven. The twist is, there are some skills that most teenagers completely lack, although that should not stop PCs from trying to use them. In fact, a great deal of the humor here is a result of that.

Another source of humor is that without the media telling them how to look or act, girls are beginning to flex their muscles. Naturally, this causes teenaged bots to become confused. Hilarity ensues.

The book is well written and an easy read. Somebody actually paid editors and proofreaders. There are sections on Survival (go raid stores, try raising livestock), Relationships (hilarious now to us former teens), Combat (usually a comedy of errors) and Encounters (crazed old people, feral kids, wild animals, renegade robots). You’ll laugh out loud reading this stuff.

You get 3 different malls to choose from, each with four levels and at least one basement. All are mapped out with pretty good looking maps, easily the best art in the book.

That brings us to the looks of this product, which are below average across the board. Credit where it’s due, the authors explain that most of their money went to paying editors & proofreaders, leaving them little for art and layout. They do promise a better second edition, if they make enough money off the first edition.

Despite the amateurish look of the game, it is definitely worth buying and playing, especially as a one off at conventions or during a break from your regular game.

Video Actually Helped Fake The Killing Of The Radio Star

…the radio star needed to avoid paying alimony

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The Doclopedia #1,548

My Evil Twin: Malace K. Rhynnrats (thanks to Mark Schynert)

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Mark Schynert has an evil twin who is evil in a very specific way. You see, Mark handles scheduling games for a game convention, and his evil twin Malace K. Rhynnrats does everything he can to make that job as difficult as possible.

He will send in fake GM requests to run games then later cancel them just before the con, cause GMs to miss the con, mess with Mark’s computer, and a host of other things. Mark is pretty good at spotting most of these annoying sabotages, but Malace keeps on trying. One of these days, Mark is just going to find him and clock him upside the head with a 9 pound bag of dice.

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The Doclopedia #1,549

My Evil Twin: Alphonse Gilberto Rafilio (thanks to Peter Hildreth)

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Alphonse Gilberto Rafilio is a rogue, a cad, a scalawag and a seducer of wealthy women whom he later abandons. He has done this all across North America and Europe. His trail of broken hearts is long and his trail of women that want to kill him is almost as long.

Which is why poor Peter Hildreth, a nice married guy and grandfather, keeps having to calm down angry women who assault him by showing them the one thing that shows the difference between him and Alphonse: The fact that Peter does NOT have a winking fox tattooed on his left breast.

This also explains why peter has taken to not wearing undershirts ans wears shirts with snaps, not buttons.
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Monster Baby Defense Force A

…more fake anime
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The Doclopedia #1,546

My Evil Twin: Caitlyn Cooper (thanks to Catherine Ford)

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Cathy Ford is a hard working woman living in Sacramento with her two dogs and her husband. She is a fine, law abiding citizen.

Her evil twin, Caitlyn Cooper is a whole different item. She’s an international jewel thief who has pulled off some of the boldest heists in history. She’s the one who stole 1.5 billion dollars worth of uncut diamonds from 7 different diamond dealers in Amsterdam in a single night. That ruby the size of a goose egg that was on it’s way to an auction in London? Stolen in mid-air over the Atlantic Ocean! She’s good at her job, Caitlyn is.

Of course, every time she steals anything, she makes sure to get her face recorded on a security camera, which causes the authorities to bring Cathy in for questioning. Nothing ever comes of it, but causing Cathy trouble makes Caitlyn happy.

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The Doclopedia #1,547

My Evil Twin: Ian Michael Patrick Finnerty (thanks to Mark Ford)

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Mark Ford is a hard working man living in Sacramento with his two dogs and his wife. He is a fine, law abiding citizen.

But Mark has an evil twin! Well, maybe not full on evil, but Ian Michael Patrick Finnerty is certainly a first class asshole. Known to his friends, what few he has, as “Mickey Finn”, Ian is a drunk, a lecher, a petty thief, a bully and a mooch. He owes money to more people than he can count and that’s not counting the child support he owes on 9 children by 5 wives. There are at least 7 more children out there, but those women haven’t gone after him. Yet.

Every once in a while Ian tries to borrow money from Mark. Mark says no, Ian gets up in his face and Mark knocks him on his ass. That tends to keep Ian away for a year or two.

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An Unexpected Ernie

…Ernie Boldfoot, a fine hobbit
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The Doclopedia #1,544

My Evil Twin: Jack Tempest (thanks to William Reger)

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William Reger isn’t really sure who Jack Tempest is or why he looks so much like him, but he really wishes he’s stop sending him snakes…LIVE snakes…in the mail.

It’s gotten so bad that William had a special pick up box installed on his porch so Animal Control can just come and pick up the weekly box full of snakes. So far, they’ve picked up 378 snakes.

But here’s the really strange thing: None of the snakes Jack mails are poisonous. Some aren’t even big enough to give much of a bite at all. This has lead law enforcement to conclude that Jack Tempest is either dumb as hell or crazy.

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The Doclopedia #1,545

My Evil Twin: Mots Skifalra (thanks to Tom Rafalski)

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If you ask Tom Rafalski about his evil twin, he can tell you all about him. He’ll tell you how Mots Skifalra is a cunning madman, handsome and debonair, but evil through and through. He can show you the threatening letters, the photos of Tom full of stab holes, even the bottle of poisoned soda that Mots once set him. Tom can tell you that his life is in danger every day from his evil twin.

The very tragic truth is that Mots killed Tom years ago on his first try, then assumed his identity. His joy turned to sadness when he realized that with Tom gone, he had nobody to plot against and that Mots Skifalra was now dead. It pushed him over the brink and he started this whole “Mots is out to get me” thing.

A very sad story, I’m sure you’ll agree.