Saturday, January 30, 2010

Shatnerday


I have no idea what this is about, other than some genius on the internet figured out that picking on emo kids is easy.

Friday, January 29, 2010

Thursday, January 28, 2010

obligatory Avatar post

Forget James Cameron. Forget the Last Airbender. Here's the Avatar I dig on.

Wednesday, January 27, 2010

quick non-update

Hey, all! I'm getting ready this weekend's Winter War gaming convention, so I have been unable to bring you my usual amount of nonsense. So instead, here's some artifically generated nonsense:

The cleavage for another dilettante falls in love with a curse over a snow, or a stalactite related to an espadrille plays pinochle with the rascally looking glass. A wily necromancer, a slovenly cup, and a guardian angel beyond a philosopher are what got Jespera into trouble. A piroshki ridiculously dances with a labyrinth defined by the menagé à trois.

The looking glass over a ruffian finds subtle faults with a self-actualized tenor. If the irreconcilable cream puff amorously takes a peek at a sublime cigar, then another ribbon around some starlet rejoices. Kafka, the friend of the Interloper and Lila, goes to sleep with some girl. He called her Timosha (or was it Toscanini?).

Monday, January 25, 2010

The Wilderlands of Blitzkrieg

The original D&D rules instruct referees to use the mapboard for the old Avalon Hill game Outdoor Survival when you want to go on spur-of-the-moment exploration adventures. There's nothing particularly special about the Outdoor Survival board, other than it's got some varied terrain and not a lot of other stuff junking up the display.


This here graphic is a small piece of the gameboard for the classic Avalon Hill wargame Blitzkrieg. The crisscrossed hexes are urban areas, the graphic effect used meant to suggest intersecting city streets. I happen to own a copy of the Blitzkrieg board but not the game itself. A couple of days ago I was looking at this map and it occurred to me that I should be looking at the white squares on those hexes instead of the black lines. As a series of crowded white squares those hexes look kinda like a patchwork of cultivated farmland. In other words, imagine those hexes are where farms are clustered around villages or castles. Bam! Instant D&D campaign map.

I've never been completely satisfied with the results of my original World of Cinder sandbox map. I can't draw for anything and as much as I like the paper I used (an original Judges Guild blank wilderness hexmap), the hexes are just a smidgeon too small to comfortably fit counters. So maybe this old board could be drafted into use as another part of my campaign setting.

Saturday, January 23, 2010

creepy crawly Shatnerday



Thanks to my buddy Stuart here are some clips from 1977's Kingdom of the Spiders, which just came out on DVD.

Thursday, January 21, 2010

alternatives to Lulu

In one of yesterday's reviews I mentioned MagCloud as a viable alternative to Lulu for print-on-demand gamebooks. Caveats include that they only do 8.5" x 11" books in the 4 to 100 page range, they may only offer staple-bound (I'm not sure on that point) and it costs 20 cents a page. On the plus side that 20 cents gets you full color.

My buddy Pat sent me a link to Ka-Blam as another possibility. They're set up to do POD comics and manga. Their 5" x 7.5" manga format is mighty close to the booklet formats of which I am so enamoured. Publishing my Miscellaneum of Cinder through them would cost less than half as much as Lulu, allowing me to lower the price and/or increase the profits dramatically. Ka-Blam offers an option where they will lower the unit cost if you agree to them inserting a full page ad into the work, either on one of the inside covers or the back. Which also bring up another point: Lulu doesn't let you print anything on the inside covers as far as I can tell. That's two blank surfaces the customers are paying for that could be filled with content.

Wednesday, January 20, 2010

Two From Tejas

One of the weird side effects if operating this blog is that people occasionally send me stuff in the mail. Whatever they send is usually completely awesome, so I end up passing that info on to all you nice folks. Here's two items I've gotten recently, both originating out of the Lone Star State.

Imagine if D&D starred hillbilly anthropomorphic swine. That's Hawgbilly! in a nutshell. Stephen Colbert recently noted that the only people left in America you can make fun of are the hillbillies. Transforming the stereotypical Appalachian provincals into furries adds enough distance that you can hoot n' holler without guilt. Whether that's a good thing I will leave as an exercise to the reader.

The mechanics of Hawgbilly! are straightforward, but nothing to write home about. You assign some dice to the pools Brawn, Pep, Purty, Lit and Smarts. When you do things you roll your pool and the Damn Pinkerton (that's the GM) rolls 3d6 against you. Combat is slightly more complicated, as with most role playing games I care about. Character classes include the Ornry Scrapper, Witch, Moonshiner, Yokel and Goomer Doctor. A lot of the fun in this game comes from the cheesy spells, wonk magic items and goofball monsters, all written in faux hill-speak.

For 32 digest sized pages, Hawgbilly is a hoot. Any bigger and the running joke would get tiresome, but as it is I dig it a lot. If I ran this puppy I'd probably start out with a quest to get the moonshine still back from a cave full of creepy-crawlies. You can get Hawgbilly! from Noble Knight or direct from author Clem Hoofer.

Verdict: Recommended for anyone who wants to yell "Tarnation!" or something like that while seated at their game table.

How big of an S. John Ross fanboy am I?  Get this: I immediately recognized his Dirty Headline font on the front cover.If you had asked me a couple of days ago I probably would've told you the hobby doesn't need another zombie apocalypse survival horror RPG. But I was wrong. The Dead is an awesome addition to the field. The mechanics are a roll dice pools for successes sort of affair, which I normally don't dig. But the rest of the game is so good I don't care. The task system whereby players narrate their successes may annoy some GMs, but that rule is easily ignored and the rest of the game holds together. Other slightly hippy-dippy mechanics involves getting the players involved in fleshing out the campaign map ("Over here is the gun shop my crazy survivalist uncle owns.") and getting bonus dice by defining relationships among the players (My PC and Bob's PC are beer buddies, so we get extra dice when trying to save each other. That sort of thing.). The simple rules for being scared and going psycho are just enough mechanical oomph for the horrors of zombie apocalypse without trumping player volition.

All in all, I'd rank The Dead right up there with Zombi or Dead Meat as a great rules-light approach to zombie horror action. And the production values are top notch. Seriously, designer Kreg Mosier managed to do something that many much bigger companies have totally choked on: he put his text in front of various gray graphical elements and I can still read the rules! Also, it's neat to see someone using MagCloud for their print publishing. The Dead proves beyond a shadow of a doubt that MagCloud is a viable alternative to Lulu for print-on-demand gamebooks.

Verdict: Recommended for anybody interested in the zombie horror genre.

Tuesday, January 19, 2010

Gunslingers and Percentile Throws

Boot Hill was TSR's wilden west skirmish/role-playing game. Back when we were kids my crew played a few shoot-outs with it, at least before we discovered BattleTech. One of the neat touches in the rulebook is that each gun has a listed year it first becomes available. For a long time I wanted to put together random starting weapon charts sorted by the year the gunfight was taking place, mainly for two-bit NPCs. A few months ago I did just that, but only this morning did it occur to me that someone else might be interested in my charts. I don't know how many people play Boot Hill nowadays, but I went ahead and typed my charts up. They're now uploaded onto scribd.

Saturday, January 16, 2010

Shatnerday



Still from Incubus, a horror movie with all dialogue in Esperanto.

Friday, January 15, 2010

The Dungeon Alphabet

At Wednesday night's game I was able to pick up my copy of Mike Curtis's The Dungeon Alphabet.


Let me run down the basic facts:
  • A 26 point guide for pimping out your dungeons
  • Kickass random die charts on damn near every page
  • Chock full of awesome art by Otus, Roslof, Holloway, Mullen and others
  • Only $9.99!
  • In distribution, so you can get it from your local game store.
This book is very nearly perfect. I only have two nitpicks. 1) Not every page is numbered, to allow full bleed on the larger illos. 2) Too much white space on pages 40 and 43. A couple more chart entries could've been squeezed in there.

Even with those two gripes I still feel confident saying that every GM fond of random die charts and dungeon adventures should own The Dungeon Alphabet, no matter what system you use. Get in contact with your local store owner to order a copy. If you don't have a local store you can get it from Paizo, Amazon or straight from Goodman Games.

Thursday, January 14, 2010

Mutant Future session #11

It's been a while since I updated all y'all on my Mutant Future campaign. Last night the faithful gathered at the Armored Gopher for their third session attempting to loot Dave Hargrave's Howling Tower. The player roster included campaign stalwarts Carl, Dane and Joe and relative newcomers Austin and Charles. It was the second session for the latter gentlemen.

Austin hadn't been to the campaign in several sessions (which is totally okay, it's meant to be a 'drop in when you please' sort of affair) and wanted to make a new character. Like any right-thinking non-communist he opted to play a mutant, affording him the opportunity to roll on my Mutation Compilation. I don't think I've told you nice people about this little house rule I've developed. One of the hazards of random mutation charts is that they are finite in scope. At some point a player will throw the dice and end up with nothing but mutations we've already seen in play. This can be quite disappointing, even when the mutations are powerful. In short, no game I've seen ever has enough mutations. The Mutation Compilation is my response to this issue. I simply dug up every mutation type chart I could and made each such chart a subchart of a d20 table. This is how Austin's mutant panda bear ended up with poison excretions from some online post-apoc RPG, batwings off the Hordlings charts in the 1st edition Monster Manual II, and squid tentacles coming from out his head from I don't even remember what game.

The Mutation Compilation proved very handy last night because the everybody else ended up rolling up new PCs as well. While looting level one they stumbled across a door that everyone in the party failed to open. Carl couldn't stand the fact that this door refused to yield, so he got out his crowbar and pickaxe and went to work. Two turns later the door was utterly demolished. The room beyond was sunken 4 feet below the floor level of the rest of the dungeon and filled with greenish, swampy water. Just peeking above the water line is the lid of an enormous stone chest or sarcophagus. Dane's character, an android centaur, teleports onto the top of the lid. That's when the Vroats attack. The insectoid Phraint is fighting a Vroat in this Erol Otus illo:

A Vroat's basic deal is that that it hops at you like a frog but eats your face like an alligator. And three of these things want to destroy Dane's PC. Dane immediately gives one of the Vroats a face full of shotgun, but it doesn't go down. Carl lights up another with a plasma pistol blast and Charles fires his crossbow wildly as Austin takes to the air and Joe dives into the water.

That's when the wandering monster showed up. I had rolled a wandering monster during the door demolition project. But I thought to myself "Hmmm, this could get pretty hairy what with three Vroats in the next room. How bad will the wandering monster's timing be?" I decided to roll a d6, the closer to six I got the less favorable the monsters arrival on the scene. Of course I got a six.

The monster's first attack was to breathe a cone of acid on Carl and Charles, who are still standing in the ex-doorway. They both blow their save. The damage is minor, but I make them roll item saves for all their gear, with a 1 on a d6 destroying the item. That's when someone at the table inquires if Carl is still carrying the mysterious metal egg (roughly football sized) found two sessions or so back. He is and unfortunately it is a bomb. I give Carl a fifty/fifty chance the bomb is destroyed without detonating but the dice go the wrong way. This particular device does 75 points of damage to everyone in 150', no save.

Initially I declare everyone dead, but Dane goes to work. Dane is in law school. He doesn't rule lawyer but by God he is great at arguing to his maximum benefit in ill-defined imaginary scenarios. He's always polite, often quite imaginative and usually entertaining when he gets on a roll, so he gets away with a lot of shenanigans in my game. Sometimes I have to stop him with a stone cold "No" but this time I let him plead his case. After arguing that Austin's cthulhu panda was out of the direct blast by virtue of being in flight near the ceiling, I allow a die roll to save the critter and he makes it. I give Dane a slimmer chance on his 'hiding behind the Vroat and letting it absorb the blast' plan, and the dice do not go his way. So Austin end ups being the lone survivor of third expedition to the Howling Tower.

Let me tell you about how great these players are. They start rolling dice for new characters before I even finish digging up new charsheets for them. No whining or complaining, they all roll with the punches and are eager to get right back in the game. Hell, this is Carl's third party slaughter since I started running games at the store a year ago. So here's the new party members:

Carl - a Labyrinth Lord dwarf with a few mutations, most notable extremely large purple feet with orange toenails, looks like a midget Fidel Castro

Joe - Joe said "I want to be a demon" and rolled up a mutant humanoid with a prehensile tail, a prehensile tongue 6 meters long, and a face on each knee. I don't know how he does that.

Dane - three armed freak with an eagle's beak for a mouth and the ability to devolve opponents

Charles - a skeleton man (all his organs, muscles, etc. exist in another dimension) with a 10' diameter neon green afro and the ability to regenerate like a troll

There first order of business was to dash back to the dungeon and get the loot out of that damn chest! Austin had fled in a panic and left it behind. The haul was quite rich, which they used to buy armor and stuff. They also traded a bunch of clocks found in another room for some guns. I can't wait to see what damage these weirdos do in two weeks!

Wednesday, January 13, 2010

your humble author

This tie is even more awesome in real life.
My daughter snapped this picture of me. She's still working on the whole "focusing the camera" concept.

Design A Dungeon Room contest

I've told you all about my Easy Peasy EC PC Contest, but I should probably mention that I'm also a judge for the Design A Dungeon Room Contest over at Robertson Games. You can follow that link to get all the rules. It's pretty much what it says on the tin: design a cool room suitable for an old school dungeon. The sponsors Stuart's lined up should be providing some pretty sweet prizes.

PS: Maybe I need to post a new pic of myself online. The list of judges shows me back when I was coiffed cueball style.

PPS: Hey! One of the ladies from Dungeon Majesty is also a judge! That's pretty cool!

Tuesday, January 12, 2010

the EPT character names

As requested, here are all the names of my Empire of the Petal Throne pregens:

Agunassaril the Amazing
Beauteous Beyyani
Blessed Bilumanya
Changuu the Bearded
Chirandu the Chanter
Clumsy Kerbello
Doruunal the Distracted
Hideous Hnakal
Huunu the Holy
Merunan the Moronic
Mrang the Mighty
Panyor the Pathetic
Pious Pureep
Sabinal of the Seventeen Sneezes
Sorcerous Sridekellu
The Inscrutable One (the token non-human)
Urthalek the Unimpressive
Uuglava the Undefeated
Vazilo the Vanquisher
Verqa of the Veil

My taste in PC names is probably most influenced by the sample characters in the modules Against the Giants and In Search of the Unknown.

Monday, January 11, 2010

pregeneration

I thought today I'd talk a little about my pregens for my upcoming Empire of the Petal Throne con game. When I first started running con games I would make six or eight PCs using the same methods any player uses for making their personal character. At some point I decided that making pregens that way was procedurally inefficient and artistically myopic. So nowadays I usually do some variant of the following method.

First I decide how many pregens I'll need. Usually I'll take the number of players at the event and add two to get my total. The extras allows me to give some choices for eveyone to pick from or add a couple of people who show up wanted to play even though the event's full or kill a couple people without making them sit out the rest of the game. For my Big Dumb Tekumel Game I decided that I would need 20 pregens. The event is open to twelve players and I want to be able to kill a whole bunch of people. It's that kind of game.

So then I open up a new spreadsheet. I have a column for pretty much every stat that would appear on the front page of a charsheet. For some games I have strong ideas what kind of PCs I want. By having everyone in the spreadsheet I can think about things like "which one of these mofos is the smartest? which one is the dumbest?" That way I can holistically design the party rather than individually design the characters. For the EPT game I wanted the kind of freaks you'd see in an actual campaign, so I generated a bunch of stats randomly by using the random number generator in the spreadsheet. This resulted in a couple kickass PCs, some decent ones, several mediocre characters and quite a few complete losers. This is completely acceptable to me, as every campaign that uses random chargen will show a similar distribution.

Next I think about the race, class and level spreads. When using random chargen like this case I usually just assign the best class to each set of available stats, but with an eye towards making sure all classes are represented. That was easy for EPT since there are only three canonical classes: magician, warrior and priest. There's a jack-of-trades in an old Dragon article and Jamie Mal has a nifty Shaman class in Fight On! #7, but I decided to keep it simple. For race I decided to focus on humans, so I only made on PC a non-human. I chose an ahoggya, which is sort of a cross between a wookie and a xorn. By the way, I chose that particular race so I could make a charsheet that says "you're sorta like a cross between a wookie and a xorn." I wanted an intro adventure, but I didn't want everyone to be first level. So I assigned PC #1 to first level, PC #2 to second level and PC #3 to level three. I just repeated that pattern down the spreadsheet, resulting in 7 first level PCs, 7 second level characters and 6 third levelers.

Each character got an equipment budget equal to normal stating gold times their level, resulting in most 2nd and 3rd level characters being able to afford a big pile of dungeoneering gear and some decent armor. A few first level characters are nearly naked. I gave a couple characters some special equipment based upon their skills. The net-maker gets a big net suitable for dropping onto monsters, the bird-trainer has a pet Kyni, a hawk-like creature, etc. Then I used the NPC treasure charts to roll some magic items. One character got a magic sword, one got a shield. One magician got five different Eyes, the Tekumel equivalent to a magic wand. That would normally be horribly unbalancing, but to be honest, that particular magician pretty much sucked on toast before the Eyes showed up.

Every EPT character needs to pick an alignment, good or evil, and a patron god. In EPT the rules suggest that opposite alignments will not cooperate on missions, so I did the only sensible thing and made the whole party evil. Whether anyone will use this as an excuse to be a dick at the table remains to be seen, but hopefully if someone acts up the rest of the party will realize they need to slap 'em down themselves. I'm the referee, not their friggin' nannie. For patron gods I used a semi-random method. I rolled dice but if I didn't like the results (like a big dumb warrior ending up with Ksarul, a sorcerer-god) then I picked something else.

Finally, I named everyone. When I decided to run Empire of the Petal Throne I made a promise to myself to take it just as seriously as any other game. In that spirit, I totally ignored any rules for constructing proper Tekumellian names. Most player's wouldn't know what to do with the accent marks and apostrophes anyway. Instead, I shot for names that were odd but easy to pronounce. I also strove to be as gender-neutral as possible. In this last regard I failed utterly with Changuu the Bearded. Though a warrior woman who could moonlight in the circus freak show would be a hoot to see in play.

Saturday, January 09, 2010

Shatnerday Bonus!

Did anybody else think the Ape, White in D&D was one of these guys back when they were a kid?  Or was that just me?This one goes out to Brutzor Bill, who is celebrating Simian Saturday over at his blog. Honestly, I'm not even absolutely sure that's Shatner in that shot. If someone told me it was a stunt double I wouldn't be surprised.

Shatnerday...?


Thanks to Chris Hogan for pointing me to this mind-boggling clip!

Friday, January 08, 2010

prize upgrade!

The first entries in the Easy Peasy EC PC Contest have started rolling in and boy are they awesome so far! I can't wait to share them all with you when this thing is done! There's still plenty of time to participate and today I can sweeten the deal a little for anyone holding back. An anonymous benefactor has decided to donate a copy of Mutant Future. If you don't own MF already get off your butt and get in on this contest!

Wednesday, January 06, 2010

draft EPT adventure intro

Tekumel is a planet where the human soul rots in fetters. Daily life groans under the myriad restrictions of tyrannical rulers, harsh laws, ossified caste systems and entrenched clan relationships. Each of you has emigrated to Jakalla, one of the jeweled cities of the Empire of the Petal Throne, in order to escape wretched conditions back home. The Empire’s strictures are no better and perhaps worse than those of your various homelands, but as foreigners you stand outside the local class structure, affording you a possibility of upward mobility otherwise denied to you by your native societies. Through a combination of bravery, luck and skullduggery, you each plan to carve out your own place in Jakallan society. Each night your dreams are haunted by glittering palaces with resplendent gardens and bounteous feasts served by gorgeous slaves.

At least those are your dreams on the nights when sleep is possible. Your humble bedchambers in the Tower of the Red Dome were sufficient when you first arrived in Jakalla penniless and unable to speak the local tongue. But after months of acclimatizing to life in Jakalla’s foreign quarter and a few profitable adventures, you are quite ready to vacate that slimy, vermin-invested flophouse. Each of you deposited a small fortune with Birruku the Allaqiyani to reserve a room in his more amicable hostel. Your meager belongings were packed. All that remained to move to comfortable new rooms was to obtain the necessary transfer permits from the Jakallan bureaucracy. That of course, is where things went wrong.

A minor functionary in the Palace of the Realm, one Gulanqi the Fetid, has blocked each of your applications for permission to relocate. Through an underling he has made it known that the only way to secure less wretched lodgings is to perform a small service for him. It seems Gulanqi’s mistress, Ch’rea of the Lethal Curves, is a member of the Cult of Hyashra, a minor religious group devoted to a goddess who was ejected centuries ago from the state pantheon in favor of Hrihyal, the Dancing Maiden. The local temple devoted to Hyashra has been little more than a heap of monster-infested ruins for nearly as long. The Fetid One will approve your transfer permit only if you venture into the catacombs below the ruined temple and bring him the golden idol of Hyashra, legendary for its craftsmanship and glowing gem-eyes. Success in this mission would no doubt increase your standing with this powerful government official, which may prove useful in future endeavors.

Gulanqi has put at your disposal three slave-boys who have led you to the ruins. They will serve as torchbearers for your expedition to the underworld of Jakalla. The adventure begins outside the temple a few hours after sundown.

Saturday, January 02, 2010

The Easy Peasy EC PC Contest!

So here's the deal. One of the very few things I don't like about Encounter Critical is the amount of time needed to make a new PC. After rolling stats it takes a fair bit of time to get all your percentile abilities looked up, added together and recorded. The process is not as painfully drawn out as many other games, but lengthy chargen is one of the reasons I don't play many of those games any more. I much prefer to dice up a quick freak and hit the ground running. And when I'm behind the screen that's what I like my players to be able to do. I run the kind of rock 'em sock 'em games where death lurks 'round every corner. Slow chargen puts players in the penalty box for longer than I am comfortable with. I want that player back in the game as soon as possible.

So to deal with this problem in Encounter Critical I see three basic strategies to speed up chargen: streamline the percentile skill system, look up percentiles only as the player needs them or have a bunch of pregens ready. I reject the first option since a big part of the fun of EC is the crazy mechanics. I'm totally open to the second option but not every player will dig on running a half-baked PC. I'm hoping the readers of the Gameblog will be able to help me out with the third option.

So the challenge of this here contest is to make the awesomest starting character for EC that you can. If you don't have a copy of the rules you can get a free PDF by joining the official mailing list and going to the Files section (recommended) or nabbing one from scribd.com. If you've never read Encounter Critical before do yourself a favor and find somewhere quiet to sit down and carefully read it from cover to cover. Do not skim, as you will miss half the jokes. Then dice up a first level character. Here are the details:

1) Roll 3d6 nine times in order for your stats. I can't have the Dice Gestapo monitor your rolls, so we're on the honor system for this part. Note that I like awesome sucky characters at least as much as awesome uberpowered characters, so cheating won't do you much good anyway.

2) You can either pick a race or roll on the Racial Determination table on page 5. If you opt for the latter and end up with a Monster or Were-Monster it's up to you to work out the details.

3) All the Optional Features on page 6 are available, singly or in whatever sick combinations your perverted little heart desires.

4) You may use races or professions outside the main rules as long as you provide either a link to where you found it on the internet or a write-up in the same format as the rulebook.

5) Hit points and starting gold credits should be rolled with dice or other random number generators.

6) Purchase initial equipment. Non-Warriors should limit their weapons to items that do no more than 6 points of damage, 12 points for gunpowder and hi-tech weapons. Don't forget to buy reloads for weapons that require ammunition at 1% of weapon cost per battle's worth of ammo. No armor is available for initial purchase; the Lord of Unheroic Decay did something unspeakable to the armor table.

7) Warlocks begin play with a grimoire, staff, wand or other item containing a single spell, either drawn from the list on pages 20-21 or made up by you. If you create your own spell please provide a one or two sentence write-up of how it works.

8) At the end of this post is the template that you must use when submitting the character. When filling in the percentage skills remember that some skills are generated by adding numbers from multiple stats (e.g. To determine the PC's Logic score you need look in the Logic column for Intellect, Robot Nature and Strength and add all three together).

9) The Background section of the charsheet should only be a paragraph or two. Try to keep in mind that the point here is to inspire another player to want to play your character, not to write a freakin' novel.

10) When submitting your character you may attach a picture of the PC in jpg, gif or png format. This could be a character sketch you did yourself, something you put together using Heromachine, or a still from a cheesy old movie or TV show. Don't borrow other people's drawings. Note that a picture is not required, but non-artistic types should definitely consider sharing their crappy PC sketches. I don't care the you "can't draw". Check out some of the art in the rulebook to get an idea how low the standards are here. For a project like this sincerity and an earnest devotion to awesomosity trump mere technical ability.

12) The character sheet should be emailed to me at jrients@gmail.com as a txt file, rtf file or simply in the body of the email itself. Please include the tag [EC PC] in the header of the email. Attached the picture (if any) to this email, please don't send them separately.

13) All submissions must be received by me by whenever I first open my email on February 3rd, 2010, so you probably ought to send it to me no later than the day before.

14) I am sole judge for purposes of awarding the prize for the best starting character. I reserve the right to be completely arbitrary. If I can't pick between two excellent entries, I may very well flip a coin. Deal with it.

15) The prize, as mentioned yesterday, is Jeff's Crazy Gaming Grab-Bag, the fancy pants name I am giving to this stack of game crap sitting next to my night stand. The contents of the Grab-Bag will remain a secret until it is in the winner's possession, with one exception. The winner will receive one of the following items: a lulu-produced copy of the Miscellaneum of Cinder, one of the super-rare Cumberland Games print copies of my full-length EC module Asteroid 1618, or my personal Kinko's-made copy of my OD&D module Under Xylarthen's Tower, whichever of the three the winner wants.

16) By submitting a character to the Easy Peasy EC PC contest you are granting me perpetual permission to use your creation in a free PDF that will be made available for download on the EC mailing list or wherever else on the internet that might be convenient. It would be awful selfish of me to keep any submissions to myself.

17) Multiple entries per person are totally allowed, so get cracking already!

------BEGIN CHARSHEET------

Character Name:
Character Race:
Character Class:
Level : 1
Experience Points: 0
XP to Qualify for next level:

Hit Points:

Adaptation:
Dexterity:
ESP:
Intellect:
Leadership:
Luck:
Magic Power:
Robot Nature:
Strength:

Alchemist:
Appease:
Argue:
Berserk Chances:
Camping:
Clue:
Command:
Command Energy:
Command Matter:
Conjure:
Consume Alien:
Crowd Manipulate:
Enrich:
Ensorcel:
Experience Bonus:
Great Feat:
Guard:
Happenstance:
Invisibility:
Labor:
Lesser Feat:
Logic:
Machine Friend:
Magical Attack:
Melee Attack:
Melee Damage:
Missile Damage:
Mistaken Identity:
Monster Friend:
PSI Resist:
Psychic Implant:
Ranged Attack:
Restore Courage:
Read Minds:
Saving Throw:
Scholarship:
Seduce:
See The Future:
Sneak:
Sneak Attack:
Steal:
Survival:
Unpleas. Oder:

Mutations & Class Abilities:

Equipment:

Cash:

Background:

Created by:

------END CHARSHEET------

Shatnerday



Above are stills from The Intruder, the first film Shatner starred in. Shatner plays a race-baiting son of a bitch who goes to a small southern town during desegregation and whips the local populace into a frenzy. Directed by B-movie king Roger Corman (Death Race 2000, Battle Beyond the Stars, countless others), this film is noted as being the only Corman-directed project he lost money on. I really ought to watch this flick sometime, as I've seen multiple critics online claim The Intruder is the best work of both men.

Friday, January 01, 2010

an announcement

By the power invested in me by no one in particular I am declaring anno two thousand and ten to be

The International Encounter Critical Year

I'm not dropping my current Labyrinth Lord/Mutant Future mash-up campaign and the ol' Gameblog will continue to feature posts about other games, but I've made plans to shoot for the moon with Encounter Critical. The biggest gaming goal I have for 2010 is to finally start an ongoing EC campaign. I also hope to reignite some old projects, particularly the fanmade EC Sparks set, the Lexicon of Vanth wiki, and Phasic, my EC micro-fanzine. If you're an EC fan and not registered with the official mailing list, please hop on board to join the fun, as a lot of these schemes will hatch there.

Another big piece of my Encounter Critical year is to be a new booklet. Tentatively titled The Journey Master's Oracle, the basic idea is a manual of crazy random die charts similar to the Miscellaneum of Cinder but with a little more structure: a JM should be able to sit down at the table stone cold and whip up an Encounter Critical adventure on the fly by reading the book and rolling some dice. This baby'll be a free PDF download with a very small homemade print run. I don't plan on making any money on this one, but I'll probably ask people wanting the print version to cover postage.

The first big event of the Encounter Critical 2010 project will be a contest in which any and all Gameblog readers can participate! First (and only) prize will be Jeff's Crazy Gaming Grab-Bag, a mysterious box full of stuff from my game collection, some of which you may even like. Details tomorrow.