Tuesday, November 21, 2017

Gamma Turquoise PDF live!


I've said it a dozen times already, but will say it again to those awesome folks who backed the Gamma Turquoise: Santa Fe Starport Kickstarter - Thank you!!!

So, what's it all about?  Earth barely survived nuclear bombardment decades ago.  The southwest is one of the few areas that wasn't totally decimated, but it's still a weird and dangerous place.  There's trouble at the Santa Fe Starport... and this trouble is a many-headed beast!

Well, the scenario with a side-order of campaign setting turned out much longer and even more gorgeous than I originally intended.  +MonkeyBlood Design (Glynn Seal) had everything to do with the latter.  Regarding the former, so much went into this fucker that I'm 111 shades of exhausted.  Wanted to get it out there before my birthday on November 25th.  So, now I can rest for a few days before starting new stuff.

The PDF is right over here. 

Enjoy and have a turquoise turkey day from all of us at Kort'thalis Publishing,

VS


Thursday, November 16, 2017

Sexual Misconduct Jumped the Shark


FYI, this is a personal rant, as well as, an open letter to Leeann Tweeden and Al Franken.

While I think it's productive, even healing, to get all the sexual misconduct allegations out into the internet aether, there comes a point where "me too" degenerates into "might as well pile on because... not trending."

That low point sadly came today when Leeann Tweeden alleged that Senator Al Franken forcibly kissed her and groped her breasts.  The following are random thoughts I had about this news story...

  • Tweeden mentioned that seeing the picture of her and Franken (just after it was taken, presumably) brought up new feelings of shame.  I wonder how she feels now that potentially millions of new people (like myself) are seeing it for the first time?
  • You can clearly see space between Franken's hands and her breasts.  He's obviously pretending to touch her boobs - and the face he's making, looking back at the person taking the photo - is the obvious giveaway.  Plus, actually groping her would have woken her up.  And she admitted to not realizing what had happened until she saw the photo after the fact.
  • A colleague kissing you (or attempting to kiss you) is not assault, and I'm not even sure it falls into misconduct territory.  The way she describes it, "forcing his tongue in my mouth" makes it seem scandalously sinister... as opposed to letting his tongue just lie there and waiting for the grace of Dread Cthulhu to move it around for him?  Human beings take action.  We do things.  Force is exerted so we can walk and talk.  That's how the universe works.
  • If you don't like something, say so at the time.  I realize that people freeze up, get confused, or don't know how to react in the moment.  Then make your thoughts known the next day or the day after that.  Waiting 11 years to publicly denounce a fellow entertainer for hitting on you and taking a humorous photo is petty, attention whore, butt hurt, weak sauce.  Yes, it's at your expense - you're a human who fell asleep not in your bed and someone took a picture that playfully ridiculed you - get over it.  No one is above being made fun of.
  • Obviously, our fellow human beings should be treated with respect.  Yet, everyone has to acknowledge that those same human beings are also potential sex partners.  We all have naked bodies, genitals, boobs, butts, etc. underneath our work attire.  I guarantee you that if men suddenly regarded the women around them as purely non-sexual beings, women would complain even more than they do now (if that's even possible).  Not to mention that the human race would eventually die out from lack of boning.  
  • Leeann, your non-story actually detracts from the real stories of men and women who are coming forward with serious allegations.  What's next?  Some guy on the other side of the TV leered at your breasts while you were hosting Poker After Dark?  Yes, that was me.  And millions of other men.  But today... today, I don't want to see your beasts in a revealing outfit.  Today, I don't want to even think about your breasts.  Today, I don't want to imagine Al Franken almost doing something that I've thought about doing a thousand times in my 42 years on this planet (squeeze your breasts).  Today, I just want to finish writing this stupid blog post and forget about the day that sexual misconduct jumped the shark.
  • I remember two or three weeks of muted outrage just before the 2016 Presidential election with women coming out alleging sexual misconduct by Donald Trump, but WHERE THE FUCK WAS ALL THIS OUTRAGE BACK WHEN WE REALLY FUCKING NEEDED IT?!?  Because every day that Trump is still in office, America is only half the country it should be.
  • Satirical versions of both Leeann Tweeden and Al Franken will appear in my upcoming location-based, post-apocalyptic RPG adventure Gamma Turquoise: Santa Fe Starport (available sometime next week).  Besides blogging, writing social commentary science-fiction is a way for me to work through all the bullshit and injustice in this world.

Thanks for listening.  If you'd like to add to the discussion, please feel free to do so here.

VS

p.s.  Just a few seconds ago, I read that Leeann Tweeden is a Republican who once said in the men's magazine FHM that she wants to make Democrats pay.  Hmm...

Thursday, November 9, 2017

Game Hole Con, part II of II


I sought out the Frog God Games booth in the dealer's room so I could catch up with the legendary dwarven barkeep and blogger +Erik Tenkar.  He generously gave me the new Swords & Wizardry Light folder containing lots of goodies.  We caught up on some of the latest OSR gossip and drama, his lovely wife snapped a photo, and then I was off to explore the rest of that cavernous chamber...

While purchasing the 2nd edition of Astonishing Swordsmen & Sorcerers of Hyperborea, I chatted with +Jeff Talanian, as I often do at Gary Con.  Browsing the new rulebook literally took me 10 minutes of turning pages, several pages at a time.  It's that fucking big!  $60 seemed a fair price.

Got some new dice (not that I needed any) because I'm a helpless dice addict just like many gamers.  Hey, it's an affliction with benefits - I get to roll the plastic bones while pretending I'm a fairy princess sorceress (violet-pink kind of a mist within clear dice), a loathsome Cthulhu cultist biding my time until the Great Old Ones return (who's pretending?) on account of them being several awesome shades of green, and a member of Team America:  America... Fuck yeah!  Three sets for $25.

Probably the best deal was the $20 Broodmother Skyfortress which I've been meaning to get for ages.  Will let you know what I think after I dive in, +Jeff Rients.  If you're coming to Gary Con in March, maybe you could sign it for me?

Had dinner with some friends at one of the outdoor food trucks.  It was some BBQ pork Asian dish, pretty good but the pork was so fatty that I could only enjoy half of it.

So, the Alpha Blue game!

Instead of scrambling for players like my 1st session (read about that near-epic fail here), I had a full table of 6 players.  A few knew of me and my RPG stuff, a few did not.

It was a satisfying adventure; although, 6 players is a lot when it comes to the non-combat pillar of roleplaying, namely interaction and exploration.  Everyone started out at a familiar club on the Alpha Blue space station brothel, being regaled by their mentor Spock-bacca.  Each PC got a little bit of "screen time" until the hook and then everyone journeyed to the desert planet of P'oon in order to meet their contact, Obi Wan'k, who told them about a shipment of blue crystal located at the local starport.

I got to break out +MonkeyBlood Design (Glynn Seal)'s latest map - the Gamma Turquoise: Santa Fe Starport.  It looked great!  I planned on using his Sidewinder desert transport map, as well, but the PCs went in a different direction.

There are so many details and highlights that I don't know where to begin - my favorite might be the player who was laughing so hard while describing his pimp negotiating a drug deal just before blowing them up with a thermal detonator that he felt the need to apologize to everyone.

The session ended a little early because the main boss at the end was struck with 3d6 and the dice came up all sixes.  And then he turned in a little blue token in order to double his dice pool.  So, 5d6 damage turned into 10d6 damage and he rolled a few sixes for damage (which explodes).  So, on the first round, the zith lord died.  What happened to his apprentices?  I was sort of in shock, but thought it made sense for them to basically surrender. This is a random table I came up with for just that situation (which also came up earlier in the Crimson Dragon Slayer scenario earlier in the day).

I find that con games include at least one GM.  I'm talking about gamers who GM most of the time in their home games.  This Alpha Blue session was no exception.  He was outspoken, proactive, playful, and respectful of the other players' "screen time," character motivations, agency, etc.  Since he GMs his own games, he knows what I know.  For those who don't regularly GM, I recommend Play Your Character Like A Fucking Boss.

I'm looking forward to next year.  Those I didn't get a chance to chat with, I'll be at Gary Con X this March!

VS

p.s.  Looking for part I?  Here it is.


Monday, November 6, 2017

Game Hole Con, part I of II


I had one day for this year's Game Hole Con because my wife's parents only had so much time to donate for childcare, and I have a thousand kids.

Signed up to run two games.  The first was Crimson Dragon Slayer exploring The Islands of Purple-Haunted Putrescence.  The second was Alpha Blue.

Due to lack of players - a Game Hole Con email earlier in the week assured GMs that even if their games weren't full, convention goers will fill in the gaps with same-day registration and such.  Unfortunately, that was not the case for me...

Despite the great location I was given and full tables for my games at all but the very 1st year of Game Hole, I had only one player.  Before I forget, nice job on the curtained sections in Hall A, they did a lot regarding noise reduction!

So, +Tim Virnig and I hustled for a solid 20 minutes.  We separately went out and looked for gamers without anything to do.  I must have approached 30 or so people asking, "Hey, looking for a game?"  I got a half-dozen positive responses ranging from "Maybe" to "Yeah, I'll swing by after I'm done with ______."

I never saw any of those people again.  However, on my way to the bathroom, I ran into one of my fans who I chatted with earlier in the day and earlier in the year at Gary Con.  Running into him again, he was waiting in line for some 5e thing and told me he'd be over when he was done.

10 minutes later, it was the three of us.  5 minutes after that, a friend of Tim's sat down to play, as well.  And then 10 minute from that point, another guy I regularly game with dropped by the table to see how we were doing.  Since he and his friend were between games, they stayed to play until their next event.

So, narrowly avoiding that epic fail, we had a good time with the purple islands.  I asked each player if they wanted to create a character that was more fantasy or scifi since this was equal parts of both. I believe there was a single fantasy option.  The Alpha Blue characters (such as the aliens) were a lot more colorful than the reptilian warrior.

A few catchphrases were in the early development stage by the time we got to the end - which was the surviving natives of the islands (who had been blue crystal miners for the Mi-Go) escaping into a starship and taking off to the nearest planet.  No big boss battle.  Should have had the Purple Putrescence attack their ship at the end - that's my only regret of the day.  Well, that and ordering the BBQ pork asian meal from the food cart just outside the convention center.  The pork was decent, but extremely fatty.

Thus concludes part I.  Here is part II with more pictures!

VS

p.s.  Before the con started, I was inspired to create this little beauty!

Friday, November 3, 2017

Full Color Softcover Blood Dark Thirst


I just received and approved the "proof" copy of Blood Dark Thirst.  Not only is it softcover (which I've offered on most of my titles), but the interior is color.  Review of the PDF!!!

The thing is gorgeous, and now I'm kicking myself for not taking pictures when I had the chance this morning.  But to be fair, I was in a rush - these days I'm always in a rush what with a 6-year old, 4-year old, 2-year old, and twins who are almost a year old.  Plus, we're trying to build a house... yeah, the list goes on.  [See pics I just added below]

Anyways, CreateSpace discontinued their direct selling options - so this baby is available here from Amazon.com only.  However, I'm going to be ordering a lot of these very soon in anticipation of Gary Con in March.  So, there's an opportunity to get what I call the "gaming group bundles" so everyone can have the character creation info, rules, and whatnot in front of them while they play.

Small Gaming Group - you get 3 books, all signed with PDFs included* @ $40 (includes domestic, contiguous USA, media mail shipping)

Medium Gaming Group - you get 5 books, all signed with PDFs included* @ $60 (includes domestic, contiguous USA, media mail shipping)

Large Gaming Group - you get 7 books, all signed with PDFs included* @ $80 (includes domestic, contiguous USA, media mail shipping)

* If you've already purchased the PDF, you may choose a single (that means just one) non-Blood Dark Thirst PDF as a replacement

Payment via paypal.  Offer good until November 10th (I'll be ordering books on the 11th).  Delivery by Christmas.  Email me to get the ball rolling:  Venger.Satanis@yahoo.com

Thanks,

VS

p.s.  I'll be at Game Hole Con all day tomorrow (Saturday 11/4/17).  Will have my proof copy of Blood Dark Thirst with me if you want to check it out in person.  You will drool over it - but don't drool blood... appropriate, but gross.



Tuesday, October 31, 2017

Adventure Writing Contest Submissions!


This was an exhausting Halloween, but then what holiday isn't exhausting when you have 5 little devils to take care of? 

Even though I'm dead tired, the announcement must be made...

It's time to submit your adventure!  I'm ready (you can tell because of the picture accompanying this post).  Ok, I'm not ready, but tomorrow I will be.  Hopefully. 

Here's my email address:  Venger.Satanis@yahoo.com

Put "AWC: Submission" in the subject line or else I might miss it. 

That's all, folks.  Oh yeah, good luck!

VS


Monday, October 23, 2017

Blood Dark Thirst Character Sheet


Yep, we've got an official character sheet.

Hindsight being what it is, I should have included the character sheet from the get-go.  Anyways, it's here and Glynn Seal of MonkeyBlood Design did an amazing job as usual.

All DriveThruRPG / RPGnow PDFs have been updated and if you bought the PDF prior to last night's change, the latest version should be available for you to download on their site.

But if you just want to snag it now, here is the bloody parchment version.  For the b/w version, you'll have to purchase the PDF.

Enjoy,

VS

p.s.  Yes, Glynn and I are currently working on a print version of Blood Dark Thirst... soft cover and full color!  Soon...


Thursday, October 19, 2017

Frank Mentzer Scapegoat


For those who haven't heard, some woman on twitter called-out Frank "red box" Mentzer because of his politely flirtatious comments, continuing a conversation amidst the threat of being blocked, and because she didn't agree with him about some stuff.

It's easy to examine someone's social media statements and judge them.  It's even easier to single an individual out in an industry plagued by assholes on all sides (but especially the SJW / Ctrl-Left crowd who did their best to blacklist my sleazy space opera RPG Alpha Blue) and make him out to be the Harvey Weinstein of the tabletop roleplaying game industry.

In fact, that would so simple!  All we have to do is point to this one guy whose unorthodox behavior is a bit suspect and project every problem we have (real or imagined) onto him... and then crucify the bastard!  Yeah, why not?  After all, we're not individuals anymore - we're part of the masses now.  Hey, it's almost Halloween - so why not throw out imagery about angry torch and pitchfork-wielding mobs trudging up to Frankenstein's castle?  Plus, the whole Weinstein / Frankenstein thing.  Yeah, it works.

I get that we want to stop predators, sexual harassment, and abuse.  But shouldn't we also be guarding the internet from self-appointed social media police, self-promoting victims, and everyone who jumps on the controversy-of-the-day bandwagon because it gives them a chance to spit-shine their good guy badge?

It's gotten so bad that even I thought twice about sticking up for what I believe in.  I'm sure this post is going to draw some heat, but Venger Satanis doesn't stay silent when innocent people are being destroyed.  Fuck that!

VS

Monday, October 16, 2017

Papa Murphy's Analogy


Actually, this isn't just for writing adventures - this goes for core RPGs, as well...

What I've been doing for the last couple years, and increasingly the last few months, is something I'm calling the Papa Murphy's analogy.  If you're not familiar with Papa Murphy's, this analogy sucks... but by the end of this post you'll understand what I'm getting at.

There are thousands of pizza places where you go in, they make the pizza, and you either sit down and eat it or take it home and eat it.  That's the way it is with the overwhelming majority of RPG products.  Everything is done for you.  There are no decisions left for the GM to make.

Considering all the grocery stores nearby, there are thousands of possible ingredients for you to purchase and make your own pizza at home.  Lots of people do this, but established pizza places are more popular.  You can find many examples of tool-based RPG products on DriveThru where everything is in pieces and it's all GM assembly prior to game time (or rolling and dealing with results in the moment).

What I'm currently into is something that almost no one does.  Like Papa Murphy's, I pre-make your pizza up to a certain degree (no pun intended... well, maybe), then you take it home and put the finishing touches on.

Ok, so the last step with a Papa Murphy's pizza is just cook it in your oven.  I give you practically everything you need to run the game.  All that's missing is your own creative juices and the overall performance.  You see, I purposefully leave gaps for you to fill in.

Not only do I believe in my gaming friends and customers (which means I know they can do it if they try), I don't want to rob them of those opportunities to create at the table... something that used to happen pretty much every session with old school RPGs like early Dungeons & Dragons, but not so much anymore.  Now, it's more popular (read: profitable) to do everything for the GM and his players (even if the designers are doing it wrong) and hold the GM's hands every step of the way.

Many gamers don't have the time, energy, or imagination to create an entire adventure, let alone a campaign, from scratch.  However, if you have the ability to run a scenario for a few hours, you should also have 30 minutes of prep time to put the finishing touches on yourself.  Let's face it, running my stuff might take an extra half-hour (assuming you don't want to improv everything in the moment), but other systems will keep you looking up unnecessary rules or digging for crucial details among endless paragraphs of pointless filler.  So, it's a wash.

Admittedly, my process may not be the best way to do things (while I can't remember the last time I made a pizza from scratch, I certainly order fully pre-made and pre-cooked pizzas far more often than take-and-bake from Papa Murphy's - but still love it when I get the chance); however, I choose to walk the path less traveled.  In a niche hobby/industry like this one, that's probably a wise move - especially since I love providing that 85% and watching gamers make up the remaining 15% on their own.

Just in case anybody thought I was pulling this out of my ass today, here's an old blog post about the 85/15 split.

Speaking of adventure writing, the end is nigh!  However, I believe there's still plenty of time to get cracking on your Adventure Writing Contest submissions!  Having trouble wrapping your head around it?  Let's take a look...

You've got approximately two weeks to write a 5 -7 page scenario...

  • Come up with your idea - hopefully, you already have one - and it's awesome!  If not, spend 24 hours coming up with an idea.
  • Spend a day drafting a workable outline that contains the necessary pieces and makes sense.  
  • Write it out!  This will probably take a full week.
  • Finalizing your adventure over the next few days before submitting it.
  • Rub as many of Dread Cthulhu's tentacles as possible, you know... for luck.

Considering the chance to win $500 and publication, I think it's worth busting your creative ass for the next couple weeks.  Can't wait to read what you guys send me!

VS