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.

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Please Don’t Feed The Zombies

…we have them on a strict diet of politicians

The Doclopedia #1,204

Alt. Roleplaying: Trollhunters International


The year is 1980 and a doomed archaeological mission has opened up an ancient prison that held the last of the trolls. Now, trolls have spread across the planet, causing all sorts of trouble.

Player characters are trollhunters who get paid a bounty on each troll they collect. Live trolls are worth much more than dead ones, so using various traps is important. Not getting killed and/or eaten by a troll is much more important.

Character creation uses a ten sided die for the seven characteristics and percentile dice for skills. Character types include Scientist, Big Game Hunter, Cryptid Expert and several more. You start with 1d20 X 1,000 dollars for equipment, then buy more as you earn more money.

24 types of troll are covered in the basic rules. These range from the 3 foot tall Tropical Cannibal Troll to the 12 foot tall Fire Troll to the 90 foot tall Northern Mountain Troll. As if that weren’t enough to keep you busy, there are also some trolls who can infect humans and other animals with a mutagenic virus.

The Rare And Beautiful Red Nippled Tree Dogs Of Potawango Island

…they climb trees to catch tree chickens

 

The Doclopedia #1,096

The Alphabet: F is for…

Fog Monsters

…are a magical beast that likes to hunt humans and humanoids for food. These creatures are not actually made of fog, but can create it magically so as to hide their presence. The fact that Fog Monsters range in color from white to medium gray only serves to hide them better. Many a traveler, camped out on a foggy evening, has fallen prey to one or more of these fast moving and silent brutes.

There are three types of Fog Monster that we know of. The humanoid type is roughly 7 feet tall and man shaped. The feline type have the form of a large cat, not unlike a tiger. The form is that of a very large bird, perhaps owlish or maybe eagle like. All of these Fog Monsters are fast and make almost no sound, Few who encounter them live to give a description.


Fwiz

…is the new drink that everybody is gulping down! Fwiz is what the cool young Martians take with them to the the Goodarin Sea, the slopes of Mount Heek or anywhere they meet up for adolescent mating rituals! Fwiz contains essential moisture and many needed minerals, but it also tastes great! Purchase Fwiz and you will enjoy it!

The Doclopedia #1,096

The Alphabet: F is for…

Game Of The Week

…is a very popular program on several networks worldwide. It features top ranked roleplayers sending their characters into adventures created by the world’s best gamemasters. Each episode runs three hours long and is shown in split screen so viewers can watch both the real world table and the computer generated adventures of the characters. Big cash prizes are awarded based upon experience points gained and how much of the adventure was completed. In the second half of the season, groups square off against one another in a megadungeon.

This program draws very good ratings year after year and the world championship games (shown over 5 consecutive nights) often tops the ratings. The show has been on for 35 years and is sponsored mostly by snack food companies.

Ghastly Ben

…is a children’s show in the New British Empire. It features a REALLY naughty little boy named Ben and the very nice children who stop him from doing things that might tarnish the image of the Empire or upset the course of daily life. For example, in episode #678, Ghastly Ben tried to sabotage a cricket match. In episode #900, he was trying to sell military secrets to the United States of North & South America. In episode #1,396, he knocked a great big hole into the wall between England and Scotland.

Ben is always stopped before he causes too much trouble, but each episode ends with him saying he’ll be back soon.

The Seriously Delayed, But Still Quite Holiday Oriented, Story of Mostly Purple Patty And The Stolen Roast Beast

…featuring her pet pig, Antonio 

So I almost wrote a novel, with commentary on how it came to this.

This year, I plunged headlong into NaNoWriMo and, by virtue of determination, lack of sleep and madness, cranked out 50,551 words that added up to about 95% of a first draft for a novel that might not suck after a few more rewrites.

Since I passed the 50K mark (on the 28th day), NaNoWriMo says I won, even though the story stops abruptly (see lack of sleep above) in the middle of the final climactic battle. Maybe they ought to change their name to National Write Fifty Thousand Words In 30 Days And If You Get A Complete Story Told, Cool! Month. Or not, because the shortened version of that would still be way too long.

I will certainly finish “The Endless Mother Road”, possibly even this weekend. I just can’t leave Seyan Sandrel, Dree Brunfelder and the rest hanging. However, once I finish it, the novel will go on the back burner until about early March. I want to get back to blogging and doing 107 more Doclopedia entries so as to bring my total up to 1,000. Then there’s getting my Dungeons & Toons game ready for Dundracon, plus getting the stuff ready for the seminar I’m doing…and I want to start another novel, this one to be written at a much less frantic pace.

But enough of that stuff, let’s get on with the subject of how I finally got to the point of writing out one of the gazillion stories that have been slow cooking in my brain for the last 5 decades or so. It wasn’t until recently that I saw how I’ve been building up to this for a few years.

2006: I decide to put some roleplaying useful stuff on my blog, so I do daily entries entitled “365 Days, 365 Characters”. Later, the title morphs to “365 People, Places & Things”. I got up to 121 entries, then missed a day and called it quits.

2010: The “365” idea never really left my head, so on August 18, 2010, I started it up again. On January 30, 2011, I changed the title to “The Doclopedia”. I finished with the 365th entry on August 17, 2011. I think this was an important point in my getting in the habit of writing something creative every day. It was now truly a habit, if not an obsession.

2011: In fact, I was so used to posting Doclopedia entries, that on September 5, 2011, I started writing them again, although this time there were interruptions due to Grace having broken her arm and me having torn my left bicep muscle. I attempted to do NaNoWriMo in 2011, but the fucked up shoulder ended it early on.

2012: On my birthday in January, I began “366 Days, 500 Doclopedia Posts” AKA “366 Days Of Blogging Hell”, the biggest writing self challenge yet. Despite my mother and our dog Winker dying, shoulder surgery, job woes, health woes and other Real Life shit happening, I finished the challenge with just about 90 days to spare. And then I immediately (as in, NEXT DAY!) started up the NaNoWriMo thing.

Oh, and during the 2010-2012 stretch, I also posted fiction of various sorts, did yearly fake con reports (those started in 2008), posted other stuff on the blog, posted on Facebook and tweeted on Twitter.

So, what have I learned from all of this? I’m not sure. A slightly less cavalier attitude towards punctuation and grammar? The correct number of times to use “motherfucker” in a 300 word piece?

How have I changed after all of this? I’ve gotten well and fully into the habit of writing pretty much every day. I’ve also become more confident in my talent as a writer. I’ve learned to just start writing and see where it goes. I envy those writers who can do a detailed outline and then follow it, but that’s not me. Have I become a better writer? That’s up to you to decide, Gentle Readers.

Do I feel like getting out there and writing more roleplaying stuff for various companies? Probably not. The RPG stuff I like is a rather narrow slice of the new world of RPGs. In all honesty, most of the RPG products on the market today are nothing I’d spend my money on, even if I had money to spend. That’s not a statement about the quality of said products, just that most have either rules systems or basic concepts that I don’t care about. The RPG market has become very nichey in recent years and I don’t fit into most of those niches.

Will I write RPG stuff to self publish? Maybe, but only if I really feel like going through the hassle.

Will I try dipping my toe into writing fiction? Maybe. I’ll have to check out the market a bit. Yes, I know anybody can crank out fiction and sell it on Amazon or whatever, and that may become an option, but I’d kinda like to get a short story or two on an established website or in a real magazine or something first.

So, there it is, my journey so far as a writer. I guess the biggest takeaway from the past few years has been this, which is paraphrased from a famous Frank Zappa quote about his musical philosophy.

I write what pleases me. If other people like it, that’s ok. If they don’t like it, that’s ok, too.”

So, Doc, what’s up next?

Well, not in any particular order…

Another 107 Doclopedia posts, so as to bring the total up to 1,000

More fiction for the “After The Change Came” series

Another novel, this one mostly of a humorous slant, about college students earning money as thieves

Yet another (the 6th) CatCon report

My most masochistic Writing Death March yet: 365 Days Of Building & Populating A Fictional Setting. Genre possibly decided by Reader Vote.

A possible paid RPG writing gig. Will know more in January.

The ubiquitous “Other Stuff”

A good chunk of the above will pop up right here on the this blog, but some may only appear on my website and some may just be ransomed at Reasonable Rates before I let anybody see it.

And now, if you’ll excuse me, I have writing to do.

Big Worms In Compost Pile D24-Gamma

…code name: Fuzzy Porcupine

Ok, so I’ve submitted two games for ConquestSac in March. Here they are.

Over The Pulp Edge
It’s 1933 and the Insane Mastermind, Dr. Miguelito Loveless, has released an army of beast men on the city of San Francisco. As part of Team Tempest, it’s up to you to figure out his evil plan, destroy his savage minions, storm his secret headquarters and bring him to justice. Fast paced action and adventure using the rules light Over The Edge system.

Kill or Die, Your Choice
Part Roleplaying, part minis battle! You have been sentenced to a run through the Emperor’s Arena of Death. The idea is simple: Be the sole survivor and win both your freedom and a hefty purse of gold. However, you might have other plans once you get inside. This game is rules light, fast paced and full of roleplaying. The arena will be 3D.

The 26 Things You Should Do Before Wrestling An Elk

…#14 is to warm up by wrestling a large goat

Another rainy day here, so I didn’t do a hell of a lot. Fortunately, my S.A.D. has not kicked in yet, so I’m still a pretty cheery fellow.

So far, I’ve done 17 maps for the game world of our “Magic Returns” series. Each map measures 400 X 500 miles. Most of them are coastal maps, but a few are interiors of continents and some are islands (including Freeport). I’ll be doing more as time goes by, so as to have them ready for next years adventures.

I am still on the fence about going to ConQuest Sac next March, but I’m beginning to lean towards going. I may even attempt to run a couple of official RPGs.

I am SO glad the election is tomorrow. I think that in 2012, I’ll spend most of the year out of the country and vote absentee, just to avoid all the bullshit and ads.

And now, I’m off to bed. More blogging tomorrow.

It’s All Fun And Games Until Somebody Gets Buggered By A Mutant Echidna

…like, OW!

Just A Big Ol’ Bunch O’ Stuff

1: Watched the debate…decided that, besides being an out of touch old motherfucker, McCain has something wrong with him, possibly of a neurological order.

2: I’ve been thinking a lot about the basic premise of City of Ember and I’m damned if it couldn’t be ported over to a post apocalyptic steampunk setting (which C of E is, kinda) and make a wicked cool RPG series. Possibly for my alternate RPG group, the Cannibal Pygmies. Let’s see…a huge dome instead of an underground lair…lots of steampunkery, but resources are running out…and the dome is starting to decay…hmmm.

3: My plan for dealing with the coming economic depression and the collapse of Civilization As We Know It (don’t I wish), assuming I can find a fucking job, is to get Grace and I out from under a couple of crushing debts, then do what I can gardenwise to lower our food costs. And yes, that includes a couple of chickens and ducks. As for money making, I have some small options (all legal, Ms. C:)that won’t bring in a lot of $$, but will help out. Fortunately, Grace and I no longer have credit cards, so that blight on society is not something that can bite us.

4: I’m about 10 stories in on The World of Jeeves and I’m really enjoying me some Wodehouse. I first read some of these stories (along with a couple about Psmith) at my Aunt Pearl’s house when I was about 12 or 13. I liked them back then, but I’m understanding the nuances and lingo much more than I did as a young chappie.

5: The Brewerton Village Poll #3 is going along nicely and I urge y’all who have not taken it to do so. I’m pretty sure smuggling of one sort or another will be running rampant in our village after this poll. And is it just me, or does robin_d_laws name for the town drunk sound like something George Lucas would create for Star Wars?

6: Today is, after I walk my Faithful Hounds to the park, “Mr. Fix It Day” for me. I’m going to putter about the old homestead fixing small, inexpensive, problems. Later, I’ll morph into “Doc Cross, Househusband” and wash up some dishes, do some laundry and cook up some dinner. After that, I’m gonna watch my latest Netflix offering The Giant Behemoth. No doubt with a certain one eyed dog on my lap.

And now, I’m off to entertain my canine kids.