Wednesday, September 25, 2019

Weird shit in tents in the desert

1.  Taxidermied flock of crows hanging from the ceiling 
2.  Large golden Pegasus golem. 
3.  A set of expensive nail clippers 
4. Twelve foot rug, rolled up in the corner.  Appears to glow 
5.  Head of a chieftain with a spear through it. 
6.  Two sleeping giant turtles. 
7.  A collection of tomes detailing various types of chickens 
8.  A throne made of small pebbles

Monday, September 23, 2019

D10 rumours

A few rumours 
1.  There's a swamp close by, for some reason most of the frogs that live there float in the air. 
2.  One in every three Graves have been dug up. 
3.  The water in the local well has turned purple, it tastes fine. 
4.  A orc is napping near a local bridge, his arm is in a sling and he has a pet donkey. 
5.  A Ouija board has appeared on a tree. Its not carved. 
6.  The local kids howl at night. 
7.  Gravity near any chimney seems reversed 
8.  A local dog gave birth to something ungodly. 
9.  A bag filled with intestines was left at the doorstep of the local church. 
10.  Weird lights have been seen near an abandoned barn.

Thursday, September 19, 2019

Isle Of dread session three

Last night was super fun! I do however need to get my gm chops up to snuff. The PC's were about two days away from the island, when I massive storm hit. It slowly pulled them off course and beat up the boat a lot. They were smart enough to tie themselves off, except one rope broke and a pc fell overboard. Thankfully the God's were on their side and the pc was rescued.

(note it was about a two hour session with no actual combat).

Finally they made it to the bay where the village of tanora was located.

The PC's got off the boat, throwing their weapons down to ease the vibe the villagers were giving off.

The nervous warriors spread apart, revealing a young girl. She introduced herself as meeka. When she spoke she would always repeat her first
few words.

"it has been a long time since we had visitors, it has"

She proceeded to give them a tour of the village. Stopping at the wall, which showed signs of having been battered by something inhuman.

She talked of her ancestors and the great city, the large black pearl that had a connection to their gods. And that it had been lost in time.

The PC's noticed the zombies ancestors, and asked about them.

And that's where we canned it for the night.

Thursday, September 12, 2019

Take me down to ramble city, where the dice roll 20s and the...... GAMER ADD POST

My new job is going so well. It's a lot of fun. The other day was a Monday and it didn't feel like a typical Monday. Sold a guitar to a kid, and he skipped out of the store super happy.

As soon as I learn the job better I'll probably try and get back to gaming. I am hoping to get back into the isle of dread sessions.  I intend on setting up a game for hopefully next week sometime.  Although I'm having the "Maybe I should run this adventure or system" A.D.D. thing that I typically get.  Trying to run a long term campaign is not easy!  Mostly because some new shiny thing shows up and I'm like "YAAS!!!!"

Looks like I'll be getting Wednesdays off for the foreseeable future.  Which is going to be writing day for me.  I have a crimhuck adventure I want to finish, and an old one that I need to layout (and do a wholesale rewrite).  As well I have to finish my layout work on "Mythical Journey's", which is going to be pretty cool!

I just created a Mewe group for people looking for games.  It came about for a few reasons.

There used to be a great group on facebook called "OSG - One Shot Group", where lots of people would post games and get them going.

In the regular OSR group on mewe, there's so much promo that a lot of things like "wanting to run a game posts" get lost.

There's a lot of cats out there that want to game, but can't find players for their specific time zones.  I am hoping that people can meet new people and play games!

As for me and my schedule, I am really hoping to try and get something going on a Wednesday if possible.  Maybe the afternoon, if some peoples are up for it.  I know that's a total shot in the dark.  Currently I'm playing in Tim's monday night game (sounds like we are going to be kicking ass and taking names next week).  Unfortunately I really can only set aside nights once a week for games, other than the ones that my wife isn't home.  With the new job/schedule time is at a premium.  That and I have band practice on thursdays, so that eats up a bunch of the week. 

I suppose I'm trying to do too many things at once.  But hey you only live once right!

After receiving an awesome package from Steve in the mail, I'm devling back into 2nd edition and loving it! He sent me the "city of greyhawk" boxed set and Legends and lore.  So as usual I'm so friggin torn! 

Here's the silliness that has pervaded my head in the last few months:

Mystara campaign with b/x, lots of Basic fantasy adventures.  Starting in the small town of Luln.

Greyhawk with 2nd Ed, in the duchy of geoff and the vale of the mage (or whatever it's called). 

Now a campaign set in the city of Greyhawk.

Despite the fact that I'm not a Forgotten Realms fan, I started looking at the 2nd Ed FR campaign setting, and fell in love with the adventure and the Dales again.  Ugh. 

Alternatively I've been considering fleshing out my 10 Monster Setting and running a game there.

oh and a whole bunch of other random ideas.


I think I should just write a random table, and then roll on it and that'll be the campaign I'll run.  It might just be easier!

So obviously I'm leaning towards second ed and some Epic fantasy.

Part of the problem is there's always something new that catches my eye.  I question how some people can just stick with one thing and go.  I remember when I was a kid looking at the 2nd Ed books and I started building this world (because of course I didn't have any actual campaign book and no one to bounce ideas off of).  I hate to say I long for those days, but sometimes..... hahah.

Part of the problem is I want to have fun creating and I want to make sure the players are always having fun.  If that means jumping ship from a scenario to another one, so be it. 

So many ideas, and so little time. 

Monday, September 2, 2019

Interview with the purple tentacled mega dungeon writer

It's been a minute since I sat down over some bubbling slime and had a discussion with Venger Satanis. 

And since the tentacled one just put out a new RPG setting called Cha'alt, I figured now was a good time to catch up with him.

1.  So I hear that you released Cha'alt! Give me the elevator pitch.  

Cha'alt is eldritch, gonzo, science-fantasy, post-apocalypse adventuring for the OSR, but also with 5e D&D in mind.  It's 2 normal sized dungeons, a sleazy space bar, and a megadungeon surrounded by a radioactive wasteland.  The campaign setting is an ultra-light "kitchen sink" and is mostly there to support play in and around The Black Pyramid - that's the megadungeon.  
Note:  Get Cha'alt here.  

2.  I really like that you included Crimson Dragon slayer in the back on the book.  Was that always the plan?  

There's almost never a plan!  Actually, how that came about was I needed to playtest Cha'alt on Roll20 and needed a rule-set that was both old school and Basic 5th edition D&D.  My online games are all short and text only.  So, there's no time for complicated backstory, figuring out feats, determining ability scores, etc.  If we only have 60-90 minutes to play, we have to move things along or else nothing gets accomplished.  I created Crimson Dragon Slayer D20 and gave the free PDF to players so they could get up to speed without too many surprises.  Once the entire book was finished, it seemed like a good idea to include the 5 or 6 pages of rules in case anyone wanted to have them in a printed form, rather than just PDF.

3.  Prince of Nothing helped you out during the process of creating Cha'alt, what role did the Prince play? (he?) 

Yes, he's a dude.  Prince of Nothing looked at everything and gave me advice, both general and specific, on various encounters, the setting, and whatnot.  What I value him most for was pushing me harder when my energy waned; it kept me from slacking off when I needed to be vibrant and awesome.

NOTE: Prince of nothing blog here. 

4.  Reading thru the preview I really dig all the stat blocks, it’s pretty straight forward D&D, and should be relatively easy to pick up and run.  Was this a design goal? 

Yes, one of the few pearls of wisdom I've gleaned from reviewers such as Bryce of Ten Foot Pole is that the text should help the GM run the adventure.  If it's not easy to pick up and run, that's yet another obstacle in the way of a satisfying game.  Some gamers are young with lots of time on their hands.  I'm not.  I'm 44 with 5 kids, a wife, career, and this hobby.  I need things to be quick and easy or else it probably doesn't get done.

5.  What has the response been so far? 

Really positive. I've heard it compared to The Temple of Elemental Evil mixed with Expedition to Barrier Peak and Tomb of Horrors.  I think that's a justified comparison.  
Unlike everything I've created up to this point, it's super long (218 pages) and deep.  There's lots of stuff going on, layers and layers that most people won't see just by reading it.  Unfortunately, to really know the full measure of Cha'alt, it really needs to be played... and then I think it'll be considered one of the greatest RPG books ever made.  

6.  Did you run a kickstarter campaign for this? 

Yes, I did.  I wanted to give it the premium hardcover treatment, so I raised over $10,000 to help pay for the art, layout, cartography, and off-set printing of 2,000 books.  Believe me, 10k wasn't enough.  But, thank Cthulhu, I was able to borrow money in order to see the project through.  

7.  I gotta say as per usual, the art is fucking amazing!  Was there any one piece you found that kicked the whole thing off? 

I think the one with the black pyramid sticking out of the desert, the alien sandworm in the background, and adventurers in the foreground getting ready to either fight that worm or flee into the pyramid.  Once I saw that, Cha'alt really started to solidify into reality.

8.  So tell me about this black pyramid? (also why isn't it purple dude?) 

I needed a new schtick, or color, rather.  Cha'alt ain't the purple islands, hoss!  
The Black Pyramid is a megadungeon half-sunk into the desert.  Numerous rumors and legends have been passed down for generations about it. The thing was built with stone from some nightmare plane of existence.  And it's big enough to have both civilized communities and grotesque monstrosities living almost side-by-side with each other.  The size and shape is trans-dimensional, like the Tardis.  
There's lots more, but I'll leave the rest up to your imagination.  Suffice it to say, you could run a robust campaign for months just using The Black Pyramid.  

If gamers do like The Islands of Purple-Haunted Putrescence, they'll love Cha'alt.  Feel free to mix and match, as well, since both have a similar vibe.

9.  I read that your printing the book with Friesens, when will that be due?  
(Note: I live very close to them.)  

Well, there's a slight delay on the printing because I upped my order to meet demand, and the interior paper is higher end than usual.  So, I should have the books in early October, tentacles crossed.

10.  What are you playing at home? What system? 

Are you running any published adventures or your own home brew playtesting? 
Putting the finishing touches on Cha'alt and dealing with everything at work and home has stressed me out beyond belief.  I haven't done any gaming for a couple months.  Instead, I've been watching movies with friends and painting miniatures.  Actually, later this afternoon will be my first Roll20 game since the playtesting ended last Spring.

Flashing forward a day, that session was great.  I came up some new ideas and ways of presenting the world.  My hope is that Cha’alt, it’s essence, sticks in the GM’s imagination enough that he can spontaneously riff and adlib as much as he wants because the weird pulp sword, sorcery, and starship fundamentals are so strong.

Also, The Black Pyramid claimed another PC’s life.  So, now the count has grown to 14 [see below].

11.  When you were writing Cha'alt, what were you listening to/watching/reading etc? 

I tried to re-watch a number of inspirational works in order to get me in the mood.  Land of the Lost, Dune, Star Wars, Heavy Metal, Logan’s Run, Zardoz, etc.

The world of Cha’alt has an Arabian Nights feel crossed with the American southwest, like New Mexico… except reskinned to resemble Mos Eisley by way of Arrakeen.  

When at home, working late at night, I’d usually have some dark ambient “music” playing in the background.  Especially when I was working on The Black Pyramid.  I wanted to get the fun to disturbing ratio just right.  It’s kind of like a horror movie, but an enjoyable one that occasionally goes to “11” like Evil Dead II or something. 

12.  Since we last spoke in 2015, you've released a pile of stuff!  Where does all that inspiration come from? 

All the great fantasy, sci-fi, horror, exploitation, and comedy that I’ve absorbed in my 44 years on this Earth.  Clearly, H.P. Lovecraft is a huge inspiration to me.  Pretty much everything I create has one or more tentacles attached.  

13.  How many characters have been killed during the playtesting of Cha'alt? 

Hmm, good question.  I’d say… maybe a Devil’s dozen, 13 or so.

14.  Ever think of writing a vanilla high fantasy adventure?   

I’ve thought about it, but if you’ve played in one campaign with elves, humans, and dwarves braving a haunted forest to get to the dark tower of an evil wizard… then you’ve probably played hundreds.

15.  Have you managed to get out to any cons in the last few years? What were you running? Any con tips for someone like me whose never been?  

The only convention I’ve been to in the last couple years has been Gary Con, and just before that Game Hole Con.  Wish I could do more but with 5 kids, it’s too much for my wife to handle all on her own.  My wife just went to brunch with some of her friends for part of the day and it was fucking nuts – so much screaming and chaos!

At Gary Con earlier this year, I playtested Cha’alt to get a sense of how it would be perceived by random gamers I’ve never met before.  Obviously, my home game is full of people who like my style and aesthetics.  But what about “normal” gamers?

The old school version (Swords & Wizardry, I think) went very well.  However, the 5th edition gamers didn’t like the minimalist Basic version of 5e that I used.  In the end, they enjoyed themselves, and it was a lot of fun.  5e gamers have a lot of preconceived notions.  They’re not as flexible and forgiving as the old school, generally speaking.

16.  How long did it take to complete the writing for Cha'alt?   

 From the first inkling to the finished product, about a year.  That would be July 2018 to July 2019.  I really buckled down in January when the Kickstarter began.

17.  How many levels is the black pyramid? 

I agonized over the pyramid’s interior for quite a while.  For the longest time, I conceived of it as a standard pyramid buried in the sand.  The top part, entrance, would be small levels and they’d get bigger the further down the adventurers traveled.

But then I just said fuck it, and decided to make the pyramid’s interior one big sprawling level of weird shaped rooms connected with mesh corridors surrounded by an unquiet void.

18.  Just looking at Drivethru, and Alpha Blue is super popular, what do you think makes it so fucking awesome? 

 I’d like to think it’s the VSd6 system, but that’s not it.  Alpha Blue’s strength comes from its vintage sleazy sci-fi essence.  In a massive field of fantasy RPGs, sci-fi RPGs, superheroes, horror, westerns, spies, and everything else under the sun, only a select few focus on trying to get laid in zero gravity.  Sex makes Alpha Blue popular.  Sex is fucking awesome.  I should know.  I watch people doing it on the internet all the time!

Grab Alpha Blue Here.

19.  Any plans for more "how to like a fucking boss" books? Perhaps Volume 2 of both?   

 Yeah, one day there will be more “like a fucking boss” books.  I don’t know exactly what they’ll be about, but a subject that needs to be grabbed by the horns. 

20.  I watch Inappropriate Characters once in a while, how did that all start?

RPG Pundit wanted to do a regular video series and was looking for a co-host.  He narrowed it down to me and Grim Jim Desborough.  I said, “Why not all three of us.”  That was it.

Inappropriate Characters Youtube Channel:

21.  Another question about Inappropriate Characters, I am aware of the RPG Pundit's books, has Grim Jim released any books? 

 Yes, he wrote Machinations of the Space Princess, which helped pave the way for Alpha Blue, actually.  He created an RPG based on John Norman’s Gor series of novels.  Grim Jim has done a bunch of stuff.  He’s a very creative guy.

RPG Pundit stuff:
Grim Jim Stuff:

22.  Ever think about doing a live Venger D&D show (ala Critical role, but you know with purple slime, demons and radiation)?  

Now that you say it like that, it sounds kind of awesome.  Yeah!  Sure, I’ve thought about it.  I’m not good with tech stuff, but now that Cha’alt is finished, maybe I’ll explore that.  

23.  What are you excited about in the scene right now? 

 The OSR’s “death” is kind of interesting.  It’s like the band’s broken up and every individual or extremely tiny faction is off doing their own thing.  That’s good, but also bad.  I blame politics as much as I blame natural cycles of human organizing principles.  Nothing lasts forever.
One day, I think the best people, meaning the most creative, in the OSR might get back together to accomplish something tremendous.  But that’ll have to wait for a time when people can take a joke and get off their high horse.  My advice: focus on the actual work, rather than the community.

24.  We all know that G+ blew the fuck up, and everyone is on all different platforms.  Do you think it was a good thing in the long run? 

I’m still sad about G+. I invested a lot in that platform and had to re-start my social media presence after it blew up.  I think G+’s demise contributed to the OSR’s fracturing.  It separated us, forcing various people to grow in unexpected ways.  So, good and bad, like most things.

25.  Where do you get your RPG news from?

 I still read blogs and check the major RPG sites, even though I’m not a fan of their rules, policies, culture, and what they go on and on about.  It helps to know what other people in the hobby/industry are talking about.

26.  Ever get to be a player in D&D games? 

Rarely, but that’s something I’d like to get back into.  The next convention I go to, I’ll have to make that a priority.  Maybe I’ll wear a disguise and join an OSR game that’s using Cha’alt… just to see how it’s being used, step into that world as a fellow traveler, instead of the creator. 

27.  Other than traditional D&D, what other games do you like playing (tabletop or board games)? 

I enjoy the classics. Awhile back, I ran some Call of Cthulhu, Paranoia, and recall a couple years before that GMing Encounter Critical, 1st edition Vampire: The Masquerade. It’s one of my goals to run Toon again, just like I did back in High School.  Amber: Diceless Roleplaying, too.
Someone on the internet keeps asking me to try out one of those new wave RPGs, either powered by the apocalypse or Fate.  I can’t remember which.  I’m not opposed to trying that, since I want to keep growing as an RPG designer.

28.  What's next for Kort’thalis? 

I’m still on break.  Making Cha’alt, for me, was like Merlin changing that dude’s appearance so he could bang that girl and take the castle.  I have to rest in order to recover.  While I keep scribbling ideas, I’m not ready to actually create anything at the moment.  The act of creation takes a lot more than a good idea and getting started.  There’s an act of will required to continue on ‘till the finish line.  That’s something a lot of would-be writers lack.  At the moment, I’m lacking it, too, because I’m just creatively exhausted from the year-long process that Cha’alt took.
However, once I’m ready again… I really need to do more for The Outer Presence and Blood Dark Thirst.  I’ve neglected them, and want to support those RPGs – for both myself and the fans.
Stay tuned by checking on my old school RPG blog: