Wednesday, September 23, 2009

Beethoven, Zombies, coupled with Qalidar and the Microization of Media.

Has anyone else noticed that Beethoven's even sympathies are always upbeat and the odd sympathies are wistful? Well it doesn't take a PHD to notice for sure. The reason that I mention this little observation is because the guy seems to have had a plan, or scheme, or something beyond straight creativity in the back of his mind as the composer went about his works. Maybe I am projecting, because I am proving what a technical writer that I can be these days. Something that I am mildly proud of, enough so that I would place myself up there with Beethoven in practice, though definitely not talent.

I have once said that "a little bit of pirates and zombies goes a long way," if not here, then at a breakfast table with an illustrator. Guess what I am working on like a job these days? Luckily, I haven't been delving into the life of the high seas nor researching the knickknacks that make up a swashbuckling aquatic bandit. But on the other hand, I have been shambling through tales of those who live beyond the rest of the grave. Writing, re-writing another, as well as producing others tales of the reanimated, both in fiction and game pieces. And I only have myself to blame. Well maybe not... .

Monk sent me a TAG scenario that he'd pieced together, necromantic pun intended, called "Six Degrees of Zombification" about eighteen months ago. Following that, Matt Franks, Dino, wrote up the short story "A King's Ransom" last September, I think. And then around last October I asked Darryl Nichols, King Rat (not used as a derogatory term here, folks) for a scenario to compliment Monk's work, and lo and behold around December he produced "Camp WTF?". Full of myself, around the Holiday season, I got the term 'The October Offensive' in the back of my head. I then outlined a zombie yarn of sorts loosely based on my viewing of the great flik White Zombie. From there I determined that in October 2009, right around time for Andy Hopp's Con on the Cob, TAG's first horror release would come out.

Around the New Years, talking with Lucius, we came up with the working title "CrawlSpace," which was supposed to combine RuinCrawl and Spacers (also called Freefall in PDF form) rules for Sphere Fantasy gaming. At the same time, Monk and I started talking about special TAG horror rules. Then around February, Peryton teased me for being blind about not being able to find a title for the developing TAG horror rules, though it was staring me in the face, literally on a Post-It note at my desk.

"But that's for my Sphere Fantasy!" I demurely said.

"You've been working on that 'Marsoom' thing (you hopeless hack) since I've known you." Was the reply. "You seem to have something more pressing in front of you. Think about it, no one thinks Flash Gordon when they hear the word 'crawlspace.' "

Sometimes, even I get the obvious. So from there, TAG's Crawlspace set of rules has been underway. The first printed product planned being Zombie Zig-Zag, most likely released released around October 15th, coming up very soon. The Rat King has been so kind as to paint a cover for us, and Widowmaker has been working on interior illustrations. And I have been plugging along, revelling in the zombie-ness of it all. Poor Peryton and OBoy are going to have some editing challenges here in about a week so we can get it out in time.

Working against this progress has been Peryton's up-coming projects for her award-nominated product Qalidar and other D20 products. It is just too much fun brainstorming with that chick. I can't resist a god fantasy trip with the old woman.

At the same time TV has become interesting again. Not sure if I mentioned this before, but Peryton and I cancelled cable TV last year. Not for finances but the collosal waste of time that it was becoming. We had to schedule time away from our creative process to indulge in basic cable shows, classics all of them I am sure, with their keen dialog, striking performers and nail-biting plot twists. And when in doubt, there was always cable news filling up sixteen hours of air time, to stay tuned. All at about $100 a month. I have had a problem with this since 2003. I have railed on this subject elsewhere on-line, stating that I'd consider the cable providers immensely intelligent if they'd allow me to pay for the shows that I want at what time that I want to watch them.

Since quitting cable, we've discovered Netflix has a special device called Roku, with which one can watch movies available on-line on their TV. And there were plenty of movies available to view on demand. Later Amazon started selling movies and TV series episodes through the Netflix platform, including all of cable's latest and greatest shows. On-line I have discovered my hard to find soccer games, as well as on-line exclusive shows like Gold the Series. Talk about niche markets, and it's what I want to watch, not what's available at a certain time, nor cataloged in my cable account for $15 more for a pre-set package that I must maintain a large percentage of my monthly income with. News and whatnot, thanks to the main outlets has been as readily available on-line as well. So for about $200 a year, I am getting the best entertainment options that I have ever had, for what would run me $150 plus a month. Wow, isn't life great these days?

All this said, I still have to get out Zombie Zig-Zag, because hopefully; no one ever can get enough zombies nor pirates. Someday remind me to talk the 'New India Sea' idea that I have clanking around in my brain box. Just not right now... .

Tuesday, August 18, 2009

Working for the Dream, GenCon 'o9

One of the truths of this year's GenCon trip can be summarized this way, "I wish all the hard times that I have in life were half this much fun." As of June, I knew getting to GenCon and doing things "my way," as in expensively done, was going to be difficult. My savings were shot from May on, and Peryton's big sales were more of an expense than a profit for many, many months. Plans did get a little easier when some overtime made its way into my schedule, and Peryton's payments started arriving. And the release of my and Monk's WHAP Deluxe on PDF has done well enough that its artwork might be paid for in a month or two.

But I couldn't let things get easier. I had been insisting that Michael Schwartz, one of the best BRP (Runequest and Call of Cthulhu) GM's in the known universe show up. Michael, now known as "Fish," as we have plenty of "Mikes" in the gang these days, needed just a little help with finding a place to stay. Which of course had me pawning him off on my sister-child Caed, though the two didn't know each other and had no point of contact. Always a good way to handle having friends meet, I insist. Monk called us a couple of days before the pilgrimage and told Pery and me that his room reservations at another hotel had not gone through. The three of us had to formulate a way that he could stay in the Stone Soup Inn, the world's best bed and breakfast. That weekend before we left was an average workload, but every call had so many little details, mostly unnecessary in my view of things, that I was about to go crazy. I decided to grow a bit of beard starting that Sunday, out of jealousy of all the true Bohemians I know, to externalize my plights. When I finally got Indianapolis, I would at least be Indiana Jones and swoon all the women.

Tuesday finally arrived, and Pery finally got packed and we were underway driving to Indianapolis. Still the clouds weren't clearing overhead. Pery and I worked out arranging for Monk to get a room at the B&B as well. Still we had some fun, though our jokes were about Fish sitting at the bus station in Indianapolis playing chess with homeless guys while waiting for us to pick him up. I was a bit nervous but still giggling. When we arrived in Indy, Fish finally started answering his phone to let me know that he was already in the hotel room with Caed and others-- basically sitting pretty. So we had dinner at the Ram with Caed, Fish, and Dave (Chopper) before the crowds would turn the place inaccessible to me. Being around Caed and Peryton together had me as intoxicated as the decent pilsner that the ram serves. The two together are funny and amazing, especially when they haven't seen each other in a while.

Wednesday's tasks included getting Peryton's Peryton RPG, 2nd Edition, from a pre-arranged address, checking in to the Stone Soup, getting Monk from the airport, and prep for the CoC session "Two Tales from Cthulhu Mansion" with Paul 1.0, or Yoggy as I love to call him. Found the Tex-Mex restaurant Acapulco Joe's so my stress level wasn't too bad. But as we went to Caed's room for change for the parking meter, I started socializing (absolutely no Killians was involved) and came back to a car with a parking ticket. Well at least the checking in and getting Monk from the airport went easy. "Two Tales of Cthulhu Mansion" went off great, "Wayne" and kid showed up as well. And I met with Dave Campbell and PublicCitizen from the GenCon forums. From 8pm until 3am Yoggy and I kept CoC rocking the house, with a couple quirky takes on all things Lovecraftian. I think Caed showed up to doze off for the last part of the session after harassing about scheduling it so that she could play.

Thursday was the T&T "mega-event" which started at 9am and ran until 7pm, started out with two players and built up to over six throughout the day. I basically asked for a generic ticket every for every hour played. Things basically turned into a round-robin of T&T GM's, when Scott, Sligo, asked to run a small adventure, which lasted from 3pm to closing time, most of that in the first room. I am exaggerating, but the first annual "Tunnels of Doom" took on the form of a T&T GM workshop or support group. James from previous years was there, and he is a players' player which kept life wonderful. Next year, we'll have some more organization and know better how to be flexible with schedules and fluctuation in attendance. sdas Afterward, we had a small pizza party at a far walk away, but still worth the hike.

Friday, I only ran Spacers and played in Monk's WHAP scenario "the Library of Morbita." Monk then slipped off with Ryan, a Southern Gentleman from now on, to play SpellJammer. That evening I spent having dinner with Rook, Dr. Brent, Wayne, and Peryton at our favorite, Bourbon Street Pub and Grub. After dinner I met with John D K-, or Myth. Myth is now a contributor to WHAP and the superhero fiction that we're doing, so we face-to-faced for a bit. That is before a group of arteests started crowding the couches of the public lobby of a hotel for their private party. Met some guy from Munich and a short friend of his. The little guy was funny, while he looked like he might work at a tatoo parlor, he was 20 pounds lighter than me at the shoulders and had a pretty face. He was trying to intimidate me off the couch. I laughed at him with my old hockey player face and made fun of him, which really got his gander up. When Munich man explained that they would really appreciate the space, I bought "Tatoo" a beer and waited for my next socializing event elsewhere. After midnight, Fish had not showed up. he was supposed to run a RQ game, but when I called him he explained that it was the players' responsibility to call him up to ensure that he arrived to the event. I heard on Sunday that he was hanging with some people in the hotel across the street. I had had enough pretense and foible, so I jumped into some locals' CoC game. Great kids, but I was too drunk to remember the names. Pery, Wayne, dr. Brent, and Rook left a couple hours early so I walked back to the Stone Soup at 4am. The local kids offered me a ride home, but truth be told, the exercise is its own reward. Besides, Tatoo had me kind of feeling invulnerable as well as the hootch.
Needless to say, Saturday came earlier. Luckily, the AM Spacer's game was empty so Monk and I checked out the Dealers' Hall. We did lunch at Champion's (FINALLY!!!), then I walked back to our cubby hole at the Hyatt for the playtest of RocknRole-Playing: the 50's, which did well attendance-wise. Monk ran "the Great Pumpkin Smash-Up" and was surprised at how he had family's with kids playing, which surprised me. Caed had to leave town as she ran out of cash to pay her roomfare or somesuch. Afterwards I met a woman who looked familiar, it was Peryton whom I thought I was somehow attached to but hadn't seen awake in about a decade since the convention started. Her, I, Monk, and Myth had diner at Claddagh, or "the Klingon Pub" as I like to call it. Our waiter was dressed for a death match at 9pm so we tipped him extra. Peryton ran her True 20 scenario "Stormport" and I ran "UXB" for WHAP that evening. Wayne and son swung by, and talked me into not staying as late as I had been. I still insisted on walking back, but didn't have to carry the bags, while Monk kept me company. Almost back at the B&B, a group accosted us to help lift a 400 pound kitchen counter to an upstairs' loft apartment-- See what I mean about this weekend?

Sunday morning was spent chilling with other Stone Soup guests then grabbing booty from the Dealer's Room. The CoC event, an installment of my 'the Rat Pack versus Cthulhu' series, had two players from the initial Spacers games about three years ago. Luckily they were Dean Martin and Frank Sinatra, as a lot of the overfilled room were too young to even know who they were playing. "Who is this Jerry Lewis guy?" Was actually asked. One more Herculean challange made bearable only by the great role-players around me and the fact that it was at GenCon.

Afterwards had to get Monk to the airport, which of course lead to Keystone Cop moments all by itself. But with him at the airport, Peryton and I made it back for the now traditional 'Victory Supper' at Champions, by 5pm. We thought no one else was going to be around, but Wayne showed up, and Yoggy with two publishing friends Todd (Bizarro Man) and Will of Fantasy Enterprises filled out our lonely table for six. We then parted ways, and Pery and I started the drive home. Peryton went to put our new copy of Shadows over Innsmouth into our car's CD player, but we discovered right then that the piece is on the fritz. Instead we laughed about the one-liners at my "Skitskat Over Innsmouth" CoC session earlier, and the wife drove for a couple hours while I napped.

I wish all the hard times that I have in life were half this much fun. Oh yeah, and now I have to turn in those tickets for my events...

Sunday, May 31, 2009

The Tale of Blue Foot

Oh gather around children and others, fore I will tell you the ghastly yarn of the ghost of a pirate named "Blue Foot." You see, the pirate, who actually wasn't a pirate, but a paramedic, but they both start with a "P" so it's okay, was cleaning and stocking his ambulance at the start of shift, when he stepped out of the side-door and landed wrong on his right foot. The whole world went purple for a second; and various homeless sorts, having heard a yell, came to investigate, to see this man getting up and and looking rather dismayed. An oxygen canister that he'd been carrying lay rolling back and forth at the bottom of the hill. Waving off any assistance, the man limped his way to retrieve the O2, as pirates, err paramedics are apt to call them things, with a really serious limp. Many hours later, it would be discovered that the man had broken his foot, and was cursed to spend eternity, or at least what feels like an eternity, with a blue foot.

Blue Foot could be heard at all hours of the night, hopping on his left leg into the kitchen for beers, or up the stairs to the townhouse's bathroom. And sometime just before the first light of dawn would appear, the "thumping" drag the blue foot would enter the young maiden, Peryton's bed chambers, and be heard plopping more so than falling, onto the other side of the mattress that she lay on. I am sure the neighbors were most annoyed, if not frightened, as all the floors are hard wood.

Blue Foot then altered his shape to where he limp along with a cane, and be seen in more than one dimension. Appearing as far away as Columbus, at something called the Multiple Alternate Realities Convention, or MARCon more appropriately. May 22nd through the 24th. Where he hung with all other sorts of strange paranormal abberations.

Monday, April 27, 2009

It's been quiet. Maybe too quiet...

Well the Winter months are moving into Spring, and I am finally stirred to write something at my "official" blog. Not that I haven't been active on-line, but there are some many sites anymore to blog stuff, this area gets neglected. My internet presence is in a state of satiation from the semi-private Trollhalla, to the "gamer social network" of the RPGBomb, and our own Peryton forums, I rarely have any great promo-blurb or manifesto that must be written here. What with this abundance of creative "blurbing" (maybe "burbling" could actually work here) outlets, one has to compartmentalize things to not the same things everywhere-- I am sure that we've all met those types. In any case, if I wasn't stuck on the couch right now with a broken foot I might not even be writing this.

Working with Lucius, from our Games Day in Milwauke pretty much as Peryton Publishing's senior editor these days. Lad Hannes (OhBoy), has decided to move into formatting, when he's not too busy to even say "hi." The man is great to work with and wait until you see some of his fiction.

Speaking of which, Peryton Publishing will be coming out with a "Quarterly," with fiction and other fantasists material called the Chimaera probably by this fall. It will be including the various fictional works that we have been receiving but haven't exactly had the right project for it to come out in. Currently including the writing of Peryton, Lucious, Matt Franks (Angle), and hopefully a guy who writes about the 30th Century where dogs have taken over everything, I don't have his contact info handy right now. I really am not kidding about the last guy, for some reason I like his stuff, besides the fact that he is a pretty good writer.

Peryton and I went to BASHCon last Febuary and had a very great time. We met a few great guys and here's some pictures for you. Definitely are headed back there next year.
Well that's it for now. I'll stop getting so topical and get a couple manifestos out over the Summer.