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Wednesday, 28 September 2016

DCC Campaign: Backstage: The Backstagening Pt. 3

So here's yet another log from the backstage conversation thread my DCC Gamers write in, slowly, over the course of the two weeks between adventures.

This covers the times just before and just after the session I reported on most recently in this blog entry.

Without further ado:

(TRIGGER WARNING: super offensive gang of ordinary human beings daring to have fun. Do not read if you are a hysterical regressive. Or, yeah actually read it, because I really want you to feel all offended because Fuck You):

Backstage: The Backstagening, Book III

Morris: I will take this opportunity... to bring chaos to Tolia. Tolia will be set on fire, and so all of their minotaurs, burning to the ashes...

Bill: We can live with that, we can certainly hire a cleric in high bay. Hire or Charm, or make addicted to something.

Morris: kidnap... or whatever

Chu: Kidnapping is such a strong word, I prefer unofficial commandeer of an autonomous healbot.

Bill: That is also a good idea. Let's see if Anthraz has one of those.

Chu: Well, killing a halfling and throwing him through the window, not one of my proudest moments.

Bill: I have seen/done worse.

Chu: Yep, not gonna question that. Haven't even done a genocide yet.

Morris: Well, allowing chaos and destruction take over the world in some early future, not one of my proudest moments.

Bill: Chaos is another type of order.

Fishman: What. No, it's not. It's like saying "Black is another type of white".

Drunken Master: it is, when you turn lights off.

Morris: Whooooooooooo *Mind = blown*

(Cut: lengthy political debate about Trump based on my "Deplorables" blog entry.
I should note our Player party is politically diverse: the Drunken Master (formerly Ackbasha) is a literal hardcore Trotskyite in real life and pretty much opposes the whole structure of western governments, the Fishman is a center-leftist and very not into Trump, I am (as you all know) a Trump-supporting Libertarian, Chu is an Alt-Right Shitlord, Bill is a general shit-disturber, and I have no idea what Morris is)

Bill: I thought "The Deplorables" is quite good as a description of the party.

Fishman: Also known as "Shit, not them again".

Bill: That

Drunken Master: Actually, "Shit, not them again... and who are you fishman?"

Bill: His name is Losha. The fishman has a name

Pundit: Bill has White Guilt.

Fishman: The guy who killed several minotaurs and giants with one single lvl 1 spell.

Bill: Radiant white elf privilege.

Fishman: One.

Drunken Master: Ekim Mystical Mask?

Bill: Chill touch? Spider climb ?


Bill: Enlarge while "chill touching"?

Fishman: Screw  you guys.

Bill: We still love you, fishman, you are like Yahoo's Babel fish for us And you are good too, when there are no cold beverages around

Drunken Master: and you are rich on omega-3

Bill: LOL

Chu: Top kek

Fishman: I have an omega-3 dispenser right here for you! *grabs crotch*

Bill: Oh me god!

Drunken Master: that's the hole you use to fertilize eggs.

Bill: You see, this is much more interesting than to contaminate this haven with partisan chat

Chu: Yep I have always wanted a chat about the implications of fishman and the nature of his genitalia

Pundit: Could a halfling critical a fishman?

Bill: *wags finger*

Fishman: If you gaze too long into the fishman's genitalia, the fishman's genitalia will gaze into you.

Bill: Unless the fishman's genitalia have a codpiece with Ekims Mystical Mask, that protect them against gaze attacks

Fishman: It does.

Drunken Master: 1:00, those are the fishman's genitals:

Bill: What's going on? Why would bbc 3 produce that?

Morris: Today I'll be a little late, I'm waiting for delicious sea food for lunch, no offence Fish-man, I'm sure they are not your relatives.

Bill: Late like what?

Morris: Like half an hour, maybe

Fishman: Yeah, I'm gonna be there closer than 4 than to 3 too...

Bill: Sharing a meal with Morris and your fish relatives, you sick cannibal

Fishman: Losha is a fishman FISHERMAN. What did you thought he ate?

Drunken Master: Dick. He eats dick.

Morris:  OMW!

Fishman: Meat is meat.

Drunken Master:

Bill: *?*


Drunken Master: before zach gallifianakis turns into the official face of the drunkard, I want to let you know this is the one I had in mind.

Bill: Plus the half-plate

Drunken Master: that was in Tholia, before joining the party

Bill: *wine bottle warrior*

Chu:  Wait... What was the name of the Half-elven queen?

Bill: Loretta - identified as woman before it was cool

That's all for this time. If you're amused by seeing a glimpse of the banter between my players and between their adventures, let me know, and I might post some more of these.


Currently Smoking: Lorenzetti Poker + H&H's Beverwyck

Tuesday, 27 September 2016

Break.Com Bonus Article: Is "Boobomancy" a Real Kind of Fortune-Telling?

The answer is yes, yes it is.

And in my latest Break article, you can find out the real life history that explains (at least in theory) the justification behind that Chinese video of the old fortune-teller trying to 'read the future' in an annoyed-looking girl's breast.

PLUS, find out about the Western version of the same type of boob-focused fortune telling, and what a woman's boob shape can tell you about her character and future!

That's the Pundit, always fun and informative! If you like the article, please feel free to share it everywhere, especially to those special women in your life so they can see if the boobomancy matches up for them!


Currently Smoking: Lorenzetti Solitario Oversize + H&H's Beverwyck

Monday, 26 September 2016

Break Monday: 13 Horrible Ways to Die in the Middle Ages

The middle ages really sucked. There were a ton of nasty ways to die back then, even without getting yourself into trouble. But if you had the misfortune of being up for execution, you have to admit that our medieval ancestors sure were creative at figuring out unbelievably gruesome ways to kill you.

You know about hanging and beheading, but those are just the normal ways to go.  Do you know what being 'drawn and quartered' really means?  What about the "breaking wheel"?  And then there was being sawed in half... the hard way.

Check out a bunch of execution methods that were really used, in my latest article: 13 Horrible Ways to Die in the Middle Ages!

As always, if you like it, please share it. Thanks!


Currently Smoking: Mastro De Paja + Stockebbye's Bull's Eye Flake

Sunday, 25 September 2016

Wild West Campaign Update

In this weekend's session, the PCs found Dodge to be at the peak of the Cattle Drive, and also a peak of violence, particularly as two rival groups of cowboys from two major Oklahoma ranchers have slowly built up resentment for each other into a blood feud on the streets of Dodge.

At the same time, a reporter and photographer from Boston arrived in Dodge, looking to chronicle the terrible violence that had made Dodge famous. Unfortunately he didn't find Dodge quite violent enough for his tastes, expecting it to fit much closer to the dime-novels so popular back east.  And when he couldn't naturally get a shot of a classic 'shoot-out' he decided to see if he could manipulate some of the good citizens of Dodge to create one.

Not only did the classic 'wild-west' shootout (you know, the one at high noon in the middle of the street with two men 20 feet away from each other, with no cover, drawing on three) hardly ever actually happen, they are also pretty tough to artificially engineer.

First, he tried to get "Kid" Taylor to do a shoot-out with David the Mexican, figuring he could play on the current Mexican-American tensions (the US was on the brink of war with Mexico in '77), even trying to argue that David might be a spy.  This in spite of the fact that David is probably the meekest and nicest human being in the entire city, and didn't even own a firearm. Even so, Taylor got visions of his name in print, and tried to engineer a totally fake shoot-out.  But that all got screwed up when Smith realized that this scheme was likely to get someone killed.

After that, the reporter took some words he had with Taylor and exaggerated them slightly, to suggest that Taylor was claiming that Morgan Earp was a poor shot. This time he almost got himself a real shootout between Morgan and Taylor, but at the last minute Deputy Young defused the situation by suggesting they have a shooting contest instead.  Kid Taylor won, hitting 3 cans out of 3 with 6 shots in 7.5 seconds (to Morgan's 0 cans out of 3 with 6 shots in 8 seconds); but then, just to show off, Young showed them how a real shootist does it, taking out 3 out of 3 cans with 3 shots in 5 seconds.

Feeling totally thwarted, the reporter eventually decided to hire himself a tracker and some unemployed cowboys as hired guns, and go into the Indian territory to try to get some shots of "vicious savages".  About a week later the survivors of the expedition brought back the reporters corpse; apparently the Indians hadn't liked his antics any more than the people of Dodge did (though they took a more direct route to expressing their displeasure).

Meanwhile, one thing the reporter did manage was to accidentally get James "Dog" Kelley, owner of the Alhambra Saloon and local eccentric, to declare his candidacy for the upcoming mayoral election. He'd really only done it because he really wanted to get his name in print, but then it was too late to take it back.

This caused some troubles between Kelley and his partner (and present mayor) Peter Beatty; even though Beatty had no intention of running for re-election, but because he had a plan to set up Sheriff Bassett as a candidate.  But this is where newcomer to town Bat Masterson chose to intervene.  He reconciled the two men by reminding them that what they really want is to make sure that Larry Deger and his group of friends (the "better class" or legitimate businessmen of Dodge, opposed to the saloon-owners, gamblers, drunks and associated lunatics of the town) don't end up in charge of city hall. And he promises them that he has a master plan which will get Kelley elected mayor, keep Bassett happy, thwart Deger, and win Masterson the country sheriff's seat. He predicted that in five month's time, he'd be Dodge's chief lawman.

Masterson was quite a character.  He was a gunslinger, a politician, and a rogue, all in equal measure; and screwed over a ton of people, and yet he seemed to be enormously liked by almost everyone (including some of the people he clearly played).  He was also remarkably connected. He's pretty much the model of an 18-charisma character.

Anyways, the PCs got to see the early origins of the group, the counterparts to the "Better Class", who would come to be known as "The Gang": the coalition between Beatty, Kelley, Masterson, and Charlie Bassett, who would be opposed to Deger and his businessman allies.   One of the PCs, Miller (who was heavily speculating on properties in town, bought the Palace saloon and was co-owner with Smith, another PC, of the Fort Saloon; and was courting the aged widow and town matriarch Doris McKnee), even seems to have gotten on the ground floor of membership in "the Gang".   It looks like the next few months will prove interesting to the political side of the campaign in Dodge.


Currently Smoking: Lorenzetti Poker + Solani Aged Burley Flake

Saturday, 24 September 2016

Classic Rant: Arrows of Indra: Understanding Clan

We’ve talked here before about Caste, and people make a big deal about it, but in a way, in the Arrows of Indra setting, I think that Clan may be at least as important, and maybe more difficult to get one’s head around.

The Clan is not just your “family”, you can have people from the same Clan as yours who live in entirely different kingdoms and may even have less in common with you in terms of bloodline than your next door neighbour (who is nonetheless from a different clan). It's also not quite a tribe either. In European terms, the closest comparisons may be to the Scottish Clans, or, even more so, to the Polish herbu of the aristocracy, where polish nobles with different last names and from different regions nevertheless shared the same heraldic shield (rather than the more typical European system where every noble family had its own shield).

In Arrows of Indra, Clan affects a great deal of the background elements of your character. The clan served as a kind of social network and welfare system, it handled many (though not all) of the things that we’re used to government handling. Local disputes, marriage, trade, and many other everyday affairs. If you wanted to get married, you needed the approval of your clan chief (and your potential spouses’, of course) and often these chiefs would actually handle everything for you (up to and including picking your bride/husband). If you were traveling and wanted a place to stay, the clan would provide it. Need a loan? Your clan was good for that too, only make sure you paid, because they could also sell you into slavery!

They could also expel you; and being clanless is a bad thing because it means basically that you are outside of society. It may not be quite as bad as being casteless (though the two often go hand in hand) but it makes for huge dishonor and a complete inability to participate in some of the most basic aspects of Bharata society.

In an AoI campaign, the GM can decide whether to pick his player’s clan or to let them pick one; its recommended that clan be chosen only after background skills are determined, since some clans tend to be tied to certain specific professions. After that, the GM needs to figure out just how he wants to go about using Clans. He has a few options:

1. He could just ignore the whole thing. Make clan unimportant; if all you want to do with AoI is wilderness and dungeon crawling, then you don’t need to worry too much about clan politics and you probably don’t want to busy your players with clan affairs.

2. He could take an intermediate position; and decide that in his version of Jagat, clan matters, just not a lot. The clan can help the PCs, provide support, places to stay, loans, etc. but it doesn’t get to run their lives. PCs can choose to help their clan or interact with it a lot, or very little, to their tastes, without major consequences.

3. The most accurate position, from the historical point of view: Clan is hugely important in your game. Here, the PCs would need to understand that they are bound to obey the elders of their clan. If the PCs want to go out and adventure, they’ll need to have the blessings of their clan. If the clan wants them to do something, they need to go do it. And if the PCs start to become well known as heroic adventurers, the local clan heads will probably want to use that fame for their advantage; possibly, if they have any sense in their heads, trying to offer the PC more influence in the clan, maybe even by marriage (dare I say cousin-marriage to the clan-chief’s daughter?) or other situations of responsibility that the PC might not actually want (but will then have to figure out how to wriggle out of without offending their clan head).

In other words, if you want it to, the clan system can offer an astounding wealth of RP opportunities. And if you don’t want it, then by all means just gloss it over. Its your game.


Currently Smoking: Neerup Egg + Image Virginia

(Originally Posted July 5, 2013)

Friday, 23 September 2016

What Trump Has REALLY Done to the Republican Party

Today I had a brief exchange on Twitter, where some poor innocent (you can't blame her, she's only a journalist) commented to Reason editor Robby Soave's comment about how when he was 3 his mom dressed him up as the wicked witch of the west. She claimed that Robby's "right wing fans will become uneasy". I couldn't help myself, I responded to her (the link is above) asking her if she's familiar with a guy named Milo. Her response, some time later?
"Dear Jesus."

The Right isn't what it used to be.

And yet leftists keep wanting to imagine that the Right keeps right on being the shitty, hideous, prudish Theocons that Rick Santorum ran for.  I have a hint for you: Santorum didn't get to be nominee. Nor did Ted Cruz, for that matter. Or Rick Perry, who gets to be a reality show loser instead of a Presidential candidate.  Why? Because the Theocratic Right is slowly but surely going extinct on the Right, and they have already lost all relevance and real power.  

Donald "Two Corinthians" Trump was not the choice of the true Theocrats.

The Left also imagines that the Right are full of hideous racists, possibly motivated by evil frog-cartoons.
What they don't want to recognize, and refuse to report, is how Trump has really brought diversity back to the American Right.

Do you want to know how Trump is REALLY changing the face of the GOP and the American Right?

The latest USC (University of Southern California) poll shows that Donald Trump has almost 20% support among African Americans. Just so you get what that means, Mitt Romney got 6%, and McCain got 4%. In fact, you have to go back to 1960, when half the Democrats were still KKK Grand Wizards, to get a higher level of African American support for a GOP Presidential candidate. The highest since 1960 was Gerald Ford, with 15%. The highest in the last 20 years was Bob Dole, with 12%. 

There haven't been this many black people wanting to vote for the GOP candidate in fifty-six years

So while the media and leftists are trying to pretend that Trump will turn the right into an all-white neo-nazi party or something, what Trump has actually done is bring in LITERALLY MILLIONS of black voters to change from voting Democrat (or not voting at all) to voting Republican. 

Oh yeah, he also has 20-30% of the Latino voters, depending on which poll you believe.

I remember back in the early part of this year when analysts were saying, and I'll admit it sounded really reasonable to me at the time, that if Trump became the GOP candidate he could have a very hard time with the changing demographics of the country. But it was pointed out (I think in the Atlantic, but I may be recalling wrong) that Trump had so much support among White Males that if he could somehow get just 5-10% support among blacks and Latinos, it would be enough for him to win various swing states and have a real shot at the presidency. Then they all laughed because of course it seemed IMPOSSIBLE that would happen, right? I mean, Latinos 'hate' Trump, right? And black people voting GOP?? Especially for a 'racist' like Trump?? No way!

And now here we are. THAT is the real change Trump has brought about. Almost twice as many black people are voting for Trump than have voted for any GOP candidate in most of our lifetimes.

Here's what some of Trump's Deplorables look like: 

While the Left remains in their little bubble, protected by the mainstream Establishment Media and distracted by their fantasies about Hillary being off a respirator for more than 30 minutes a day, the Right has become the party of Gay Drag Queens, anarchists, voting Latinos, and one in every five African Americans. 

Oh, and Hillary? Having Obama very half-heartedly tell black voters that if they don't vote for you, it will "take it as a personal insult"?  That's only going to make it worse. 


Currently Smoking: Ashton Old Church Rhodesian + Stockebbye's Bull's Eye Flake

Thursday, 22 September 2016

RPGPundit Reviews: The Monster Alphabet

This is a review of the supplement "The Monster Alphabet", written by Jobe Bittman and Michael Curtis, published by Goodman Games.  It is a review of the print edition, which is a moderately slim hardcover, with a full color cover of some hapless-looking adventurers facing a freakishly mutant minotaur.  The interior is black and white, and bristling with a considerable amount of the sort of gonzo fantasy art Goodman is by now famous for. The book is roughly 80 pages long.

The Monster Alphabet is quite an interesting product.  I figured, at first glance at the cover, that it was going to be some kind of monster-manual type supplement, but that's not it at all. Instead, what we get, in gimmicky ABC-primer style, is a whole bunch of random table and options for modifying monsters and monster encounters and making things interesting. Obviously, the purpose is to enrich your old-school D&D play (though you could certainly use it with modern editions like 3.x or 5e, if what you want is to add some old-school flavor to those).

There's a foreword by Frank Mentzer (at least, I assume so, and that it's only a typo that declares the foreword to be by "Frank Menzer"), a drop-down table for monster features, and another foreword by Michael Curtis. None of these are all that interesting to read (no offense to Mr.Mentzer, or indeed to Mr.Menzer).  But after that, we get into a bunch of very weird very awesome material.

So in brief, I'm going to give you the whole alphabet right here: A is for aquatic, armor, and android; B is for blood and breath weapon; C is for celestial, construct and crossbreed; D is for dragon; E for eyeball and extraplanar; F for flame; G for geas and giant; H for hoard; I for infernal and insectoid; J for jurassic; K for kryptonite; L for lair, lycanthrope, and lore; M for mimic and minions; N for noxious; O for ongoing damage, ooze lords and ordinary; P for psionic, plant and possessions; Q for quill; R for reaction, revenge and resistance; S for sorcery and sonic; T for tail; U for unexpected; V for vampire; W for weird and wings; X for xenotransplantation; Y for yuck; and Z for zombie and zoomorphic.

Each entry is one or two pages long, and usually features at least one random table. They present the reader with options along the theme of that entry.  So for example, 'aquatic' gives you a table of aquatic attributes by which you can individualize your sea montster.  "Blood" gives you a random table of special properties of monster blood (for eldritch purposes), another table with transmutations caused by exposure to monster blood, another with methods by which monster blood can be made to have a special effect, and yet another of 20 creature-types to which unusual blood-effects can be assigned.

"Eyes" gives you a table of weird qualities of effects a monster's eyes might have. "Hoard" gives you an unusual table for rolling up random magic items; while later on "Sorcery" includes tables for random weird book effects and random wands/rods/charms (as well as a random table for descriptive kooky appearances of wizards). "Lair" gives you a table of lair locations and a table of 'bases and bunkers'.

"Ordinary" acts as a kind of master design-key for the book. It has a table of regular monsters (the types you will find in a D&D monster manual), and then a table to determine which other section of the book to look at for how to modify them.  "reaction" gives you a significantly expanded version of the classic D&D reaction table.

"Weird" is a section written by James Raggi (of Lamentations of the Flame Princess), and we're treated to one of his regular dull diatribes of his usual complaints about how 'mundane' D&D is when played by most people, and elaborating on his particular vision of 'weird fantasy'. True to Raggi form, his actual material is way way better than his blather, and he provides a d100 table of weird effects for monsters that has some very creative entries (the only thing to note about it is that unlike most of the other tables, this one has several entries that only make sense for Goodman's DCC system, and not other OSR/D&D games). Mind you, if ALL the monsters you encounter had one of these qualities (like Raggi advocates) then all the weird qualities would become boring and mundane. If every monster is 'weird', then none of them are, Raggi.

There are definitely some entries more interesting and useful than others.  Some entries are little more than tables of descriptive detail with no real effects, while other entries are full of really interesting material with actual effects that changes a monster encounter beyond the purely aesthetic (for example, some new variations of breath weapons, types of geases, or flame-based powers).

In any case, on the whole, the Monster Alphabet is a fantastically useful product to spice up any OSR or D&D game, particularly if you want to move a little bit (or a lot, depending on how often you use the book) toward the Gonzo.  There's already tons and tons of Monster Manuals out there, and frankly more of those are the last thing we need now. Instead, this lets you use the monster entries you undoubtedly already have access to, and inject them with a dose of novelty.


Currently Smoking: Dunhill Shell Diplomat + C&D's Crowley's Best