Tuesday, December 23, 2014

For your Christmas: Aquaman

I'll have you know, I am not an Aquaman fan. 

The only Aquaman comic books that I ever read were the 12 cent ones from the Silver Age during Summers in Texas during the 70s. Later I'd watch Super Friends on German TV. Aquaman rode a whale and had fish telepathy, though I knew whales were not fish. The show was meant for kids after all. He wasn't boring though, Black Manta rocked as well. I saw him again in the early Aughts, he was like a gay pirate with a hook hand (...a beard, and a kid...), and trying to invoke some sort of LotR vibe ranting and raving about Atlantis over and over again. Now in the Jump (the teens of the big 2-1), writers at both DC and WB movie makers seem a little at a loss as how to make him interesting. I suspect they're trying to get him to be the Scorpion King. 



What's Aquaman got already?

Aquaman is a good place to start some science exposition, not just social science, in the middle of comic books. I suppose one of the reasons the king of Atlantis doesn't get much readership is because the folks that spend a lot of time around or in water don't have much time to read comic books. Couldn't one or a couple all these college educated comic writers read a SCUBA magazine or weather alarmist's blog for a week or two. Arthur Curry can be a PHD Marine Biologist, a former Navy Seal that worked as an underwater welder for B.P., before he matures/reawakens into Orin Atlan-Son. Want to talk about, say, Global Warming or just basic facts about drinkable water, got a better platform? Aquatic industries can be explored and kids a little younger than those still awake for National Geographic specials can get a little two panel primer.

Let's not forget the Atlanteans. According to Plato, they predate Hellenic cultures by a couple millennia. These old souls can be said to pre-date the Amazons.These beings don't have to be demigods like Princess Dianna, but have a rich history and mystical ties to the most obscure Greek myths, as well as other early civilizations. 

New Twists.

Looking at Dwayne McDuffy's story for the animated JLA series "backward homage" to Marvel's Defenders, even the most casual fan could be pulled in using unique memes for our times. This tale wove Solomon Grundy, Dr. Fate, and the gay pirate Aquaman into a mishmash re-telling of the first time Dr. Strange, the Submariner, and the Hulk saved the world against not-so-disguised Lovecraftian creatures. Tell me a decent comic scripter couldn't take Aesop's Fables to get Aquaman and the Black Manta punching it out in LA's harbor while Zantana and Constantine battle were-sharks prowling the city as a straight up tribute to SNL's "Land Shark" skits.

One should not stop there. Atlantis and Atlanteans do not have to be crafted from the same yarn as Superman's City in a Bottle. Mix in some New Age axioms and go trippy. They could be more akin to a few hundred humans reincarnated from ancient times. These amphibious folks wouldn't have any idea that they were so until they were "awakened."Would Aquaman's telepathy vary from aquatic species to species? Just think about the possibilities. Take bit from a novel from Brin's Uplift series and work in some aquatic mammal characters, with an evil military for a high tech plot. How many earth-like worlds would have hydro-dwelling sentient species, that the 17 (or was it 2,134) Green Lanterns from Earth these days can use a bit of help with?

Shilling science, again.

Back on the science horse again, it was a given when I was growing up that 8th grade Science textbooks could solve any problem ever encountered. Maybe that was naive, but my math skills as a "C" student in 10th grade are light-years ahead of most of the kids I meet these days. Outside of End-of-the-Multiverse 52 plots every year, these days, the "science" characters at DC haven't had any sort of context for their unique scientific characters to talk to one another. 

While Aquaman isn't the only, nor maybe the best, he'd be a great place to start. Sure there's Firestorm, the Flash, the Atom, and maybe, Captain Atom, but the hydrosphere is a lot easier to get into on the page with say the Metal Men. There'd be a nice time travel take with Aquaman dealing with the Atomic Knights and their buddy Hercules (see the science and mythic work together there?). 



Why would I care?

I see what they, the movie makers, are doing here. I remember one day posting a picture from the 60s where a bunch of water-skiers were dressed up as members of the Justice League of America. I posted, "Zach Snyder needed a way to work Aquaman into the Batman V. Superman film." This is indeed coming to fruition. Perhaps this could be a starting point.



asd

Thursday, December 18, 2014

Why I hate Seth Rogan

Every since I first saw this guy around 1999, I there was something that really bugged me about this guy. The "comedies" he was involved with always struck me with how little performance skill or professionalism were involved. The more the budget to it, the worse the navel gazing by the writers. Everything this man has ever been in, directed, produced, or even thought about doing would be best presented as a 10 minute short after 11pm on a Sunday night on a cable channel for wholly entertainment-deprived. He might be very talented, but I've never noticed him to feel the need to try and be anything else but himself. Good trait as a funny friend, not as a comedian.

I almost cried after I excitedly clicked on a trailer for The Green Hornet and found that he'd somehow gotten himself into the lead role. Yeah, because when I, a fan of the Green Hornet, think of Britt Reid, I picture of pudgy, red-headed dorks who are supposed to be decent comic writers. That was the type of actor that was cast for the TV series right?

I can forgive Michael Keaton as Batman. I can try to like Alec Baldwin in the role of the Shadow. They were hot stuff when the movie execs wanted to do schmaltzy takes on those franchises. But what exactly qualified Rogen for his "superhero crime fighter" movie? Apparently they needed a pudgy, red-headed dork who had lots of money backing him already. Well they got the spoiled millionaire, just without the looks and presence, and plenty of box office floppiness.

The movies he's been involved in since are all fomrulated to show that they aren't comedies. After the ten minutes of a skit with a punchline, they are pedantic scriptwriting with cliche female casting to very weak male leads. In fact the weakness, as in the shallowness and placidity, in the main characters seems to be his artistic statement.

Now I should be siding with Seth Rogen in the current First Amendment crisis of North Korea claiming to have hacked the movie, The Interview, and then threatening violence against movie theater that releases it. I don't. Why because, all I hear is how Sony is dealing with it. To be fair to Sony, it's a corporation, it is not about anything but making a butt-load of money. But where is the writer/director/star of the movie? He's not throwing down any money into having a movie premier at a local theater to stand up to "the terrorists," he's probably getting stoned and being an emotional bother to everyone nearby.


Seth Rogen and North Korea were made for each other. By the way, I still don't believe North Korea "techies" hacked Sony pictures.


Tuesday, December 09, 2014

A Red and Pleasant Land reviewed

Last Thursday morning while I was at my PC, I kept getting little notifications in the lower right corner of my screen. The first was that "_A Red and Pleasant Land_ is available in (whatever "cloud" thingy we use)."  Then about five minutes later, it was removed. A few minutes later it appeared again just to disappear again a few more minutes later. Finally I shot a message to Peryton to find out what the heck was she doing. She didn't know I was awake and wasn't sure if I wanted to read Zak S.'s campaign setting A Red and Pleasant Land-- for some reason a simple text message wouldn't have worked. As I am game for anything off-kilter (that means fantastic and weird) a C.S. Lewis allusion and an RPG book sounded just fine. Thus it appeared again. The overall experience was like a like a very, very slow-motion Blue Light Special at Kmart.

I continued on my merry way writing about zombies, mapping Cleveland for a game scenario, and trying to research the number of police shootings of unarmed people for the past five years. There was more than a little beer involved, so this process was taking a while. Around 10pm that night, Peryton walked up from behind to say "You've been mentioned in the 'Special Thanks' section of Red' Land." More than a bit surprised, I stopped what I was doing to look at my Kindle, and wallah "Tom K" was being thanked by Zak S, amid roughly two score of others. My surprise isn't so much at that a superstar in Indy gaming would notice the time I mentioned him, it's the fact that anybody thanks anybody anymore in this "hobby" that isn't falling out of his, or her, bed, err sandbox or giving him money this day and age. Good to see. 

So I spent this last weekend reading the product during the slower parts of my work shifts.

Always an "Alice" to me.


The Part You're Actually Looking For

Sure, we all know that Alice went down the rabbit hole, but how often do we decide to do the same ourselves and game there? In this little ditty, the creator of Vornheim crafts an homage to the works of Lewis Carroll, and other fantasists of the same ilk. He also gives it Adventure Gaming nuggets of context and creatures.

A Red and Pleasant Land is the latest game supplement by Zak S for Lamentations of the Flame Princess Games. It is available in PDF and print, about $15 for the PDF and $35 for print version. With more than 175 pages of content (closer to 200 pages) including illustrations and maps by the author and Jez Gordon. In this work, the reader is invited into the Place of Unreason.

When I say "crafted" I mean crafted. Now as a guy that crafts my own game items, I have to say that this product is definitely wrought together by a creator that has a vision in mind as to the treasure that the audience is going to receive. From the cover to the "psychotropic*" maps at the end of the work, the overall effort is a complete experience for the artistic eye. While being economical in energy, the author himself paints his illustrations in an unapologetic fashion that can be quite alluring at times. The graphics and "maps" that tie the project's themes into its whole bring together the wide range of options and ideas arrayed.

 The literary styling and rules matrix is where the energy is spent. Zak S does a fine job of capturing the atmosphere of the writings of Charles Lutwidge Dodgson. There is plenty of red meat for the gamer that doesn't care about reading and all that, what with vampire courts and fiefdoms, with new critters to encounter! I believe it's D20 driven. There is also a card play aspect, as in regular playing cards, with PC and NPC interaction based off of the suits that I, myself, find more than a bit alluring. I need to look a bit deeper into the text and see if there is something there that I do all the time with playing cards in RPG sessions. If this last inkling is indeed occurring, that is an added plus to the game.

 The author, Zak S, just in case you've forgotten, is somewhat self-aware of the role we game authors (not designers!) play in the industry, has a section called "How To Use This Book." In this section he has four options. I paraphrase them here: 1.) Use It As It Was Written. 2.) Use The Parts You Like, Wherever You Like. 3.) Sigh and Put It Down. 4.) Dump It into very instinct-driven animals.  To turn things on their head, as the author likes to; it's not often I, in the role of product reviewer, get so much help from the reviewed as to a rating system. 

My choice is to use this product where I think it fits into my game sessions. I also have started recommending its usage to family and friends. I mentioned to Peryton, already a fan of Zak S, "I'd use this in my Qalidar campaign.", two days later she announced to me, "Hey I think I'll do Red'Land as a scenario at BASHCon." There actually is no mind control there, she, the author of Qalidar, read the book days before I did-- I just wanted to show blocs of folks will like it.

Using my own personal rating system, I'll rate this a King Kong on a scale of Smurf to Godzilla. The lacking part is a color cover. The art work on the cover should've set the standards for the inside while a professional cover would've increased the viewing potential.

Still a good work. A nice literally homage, done with gamer-mindedness in mind.


   .

Wednesday, November 19, 2014

Character or Story: a Quick Perspective

Quick bit of advice for the serious GM, counting on a good role-player to make a decent game is not a decent strategy towards successful gaming sessions. Of course, you as a GM, have to know when throw the script out the window and just let the players do what they want. "Character building" should never take the place a story to be told. If you're sitting down to a table with only an inkling of a premise and waiting for the folks to provide you with a plot, you're most likely not in the mood for a game, as well as about to be very disappointed.

Even the most narcissistic role-player gets over the joy of being catered to in about 20-40 minutes, depending on the size of the ego. Dealing with, say, four players's whimsical cravings for about 20-40 minutes _each_ only increases the length of the overall task, not the enjoyment of the session for anybody. Doubt that last bit, watch a bunch of kids play Cowboys and Indians (TM Hasbiro, 2015), or Tea Party (TM White Wolf 2015). Use a stopwatch and time how long before swear words, fisticuffs, or playing with matches replace the role-playing. For those over the age of 13, twenty minutes of daydream fulfillment is about all the person can indulge in before getting sleepy. Hopefully you've got some reason for the players to use swear words, engage in fisticuffs, and light fires. If not I hope you brought along a kewl board game.

Where does the GM get his story from? It can be as simple as a random table with a whole bunch of mentions from the players, but it can't be from totally "winging it." If you ever watch people enjoying a RPG session, besides the Monty Python quotes, people really enjoy picturing something in their heads that they hadn't thought of before. That last bit includes the GMs, but that should be from surprise Character moves or randomizer results, not the story being told to him.

Tuesday, November 18, 2014

Making It More Fun than What It Is

Over the last weekend I drove to Fort Wayne, IN to attend the region's (Northeast Indiana, I guess) gaming groups premier event PentaCon. I heard about this convention from JerryTel, as it is a tradition for him, which is why he hasn't been able to do any other events this time of year. This was mostly because I've been trying to get to different small conventions in an effort to advertise PeryPub. Monk from AZ flew in as well, we haven't spent anytime together in over a year, and he could spare four days making it basically a long weekend in his work schedule. I did not go in expecting much; small cons are notoriously cliquey, with crowds that just aren't into trying new things. Still Monk and JerryTel had not ever gamed together, so what's a few hundred bucks for that opportunity itself?

PentaCon is even a bit notorious. For a few years now, closer to the last decade, according to mentions on-line, there has been a lack of timely preparation and really any sort opportunity for those who'd like to use the event as promotion. JerryTel himself told me that he wouldn't be showing up until Saturday AM. Still there is always the exception to rules like that. There is the a guy who runs it, and there are scores of people that attend it.

I left Cleveland on Thursday night. Monk was flying into town early Friday, I wanted to there early and have an idea of the city and its layout. I expected to stay at a motel by the airport. Well, there are no motels by the airport I discovered at 2am, and the airport isn't that near the city or main travel routes. Downtown itself has signs directing the visitor towards it from the airport. Despite the distance, it's not hard to navigate the mildly populated metro area. I had forgotten my credit card at home and had to rely on my checking card, which  would only become affluent later in the morning, meaning I could not check in early at my fancy hotel. I found the southwest block store and hotel area another eight miles away.

The next day I got the inside view of the Fort Wayne International Airport. It's so cute. I counted eleven people heading through the check-point in the 90 minutes as I was waiting. The bar area is just beyond it's lobby-sized "secure area" with about nine security personnel and three cops. I ordered a beer from an attached coffee shop, and it had to be delivered to through a bullet-proof, blast-resistant round-about requiring no less than three people in the process. Most entertaining $3 I ever spent. When Monk arrived, I think there were less staff throwing the luggage onto the conveyor belt than that which handled me my beverage earlier.  
Secura-Beer System 20 KLX 4000
Checking into the Hilton was pretty simple, and the parking not difficult at all. The convention center is like a 1/20 scale replica of the Indianapolis convention center, complete with a Champions restaurant just across the street along the north exit. The convention itself was in the closest ballroom. We met the guy running PentaCon as we signed up and paid our registration. About two dozen people were clumped together at about four tables full of miniature battle-maps, while single GMs sprinkled another handful of tables hoping to attract players. By the evening, the situation had not improved. Monk had a single player show up, twenty minutes late, to ask "What is this supposed to be again?" Monk and I spent the rest of the evening hanging out at the bar with the young and comely staff who were genuinely friendly. Later, we were watching the Sci-Fi Channel in our luxurious "king Suite." We were speaking of plans for the TACK version of Zombie Zigzag, which Paul 2.o has become a moving force behind over the last couple of months. 
Friday Rush Hour

Anna Mae, Jody, and Grant
Monk A Bunk

Saturday came around, the two of us didn't rush out of bed or off the couch. I wanted to nap through a hangover, though my body wanted to wake up at 4am. We showed up at the convention a little before 1pm and found JerryTel and the Boy, and went over to Champions for lunch. Also met one of Jerry's friends, Harper, and his daughter over the meal. 
The Malthouse Gang

Afterwards, we all jumped into Scott Malthouse's (Werdna) Apocalypse in Your Hometown submission for the T&T: Stay Alive rules variation. The session was awesome, JerryTel wove the author's narrative into the tabletop antics, the Boy was playing with a French accent. Monk was taking in the new gaming gang's dynamics and adding a lot of humor to the table talk. I had a character with an awesome Dex so was pretty bad-ass. When we broke for dinner, JerryTel and the Boy suddenly became worried about where the closest Wendy's could be found, so Monk and I headed out to spend time with our friends at the Hilton again.



The evening slots for Saturday had about twenty people more than Friday. The two people at my table were there to eat Chinese food and try to explain to me on how I could make a "butt-load" of money on Kickstarter. He was the designer of a horror-meets-gangster RPG. She seemed interested in the Crawlspace booklet in front of them, so I gave them a free copy, I brought four to give out as awards anyway. Finally noticing the item, He asked if I was a "real" game designer or some such. When I replied "I made that." things got a little dicey for them. I gave them a business card and was rewarded with made-up names thought of not too smoothly on the quick. I asked if there were copies of their product available, I was given a business card with a web address and no names or email. Monk, who had wandered over since no one was at his table, must've gotten a kick out of them, he threw in his session's award as well. I pointed out that the game that they wanted to play was filling up, two people were now sitting at that table, and we headed back to the Hilton.

http://perytonpublishing.com/crawlspace.htm#Gothic

"Totally legit." Monk said as we walked, listening to some awesome live jazz coming from the event next to the gaming convention.
"I need a 'Con Name.' " I replied. "How's 'Bone' sound?"
"Only if you're French. " He laughed.

Back at the Hilton, we talked with our buds about the Fort Wayne jazz scene for about an hour or two. Back in the suite, we talked about Monk's upcoming steam-punk "WORLD." He does the scenario, I wrap a world around them based off of the year that he decides upon. I also made up a zombie map game using a deck of cards, might or might not be part of the Zigzag. There was absolutely nothing on TV. 

 

Monk didn't fly out until Monday AM, so we spent Sunday exploring the northern parts of Fort Wayne and the whole of New Haven, its suburb. Before leaving the con, I spent some money at a couple of the vendors' booths. It was snowing by the evening, so we found a hotel back at the shopping mall area I had discovered Friday AM. I drank too much beer, though I behaved myself. Wracked up my ankle without noticing it upon making my way back to the night's lodging. Monk kept himself busy starting a plan for a Hoot. He misses traveling, I think. 

Monday, October 20, 2014

This Halloweeny season

Halloweeny Season is a part of the Portal Clique's Merry Thanksgivoween Celebrations that start around August 18th and last until sometime in February. Halloweeny is part of the High Celebrations because it includes Pery's birthday as well as All's Hallowed Eve, more popularly known as Halloween. Also because more than a handful of my friends make the month of October as much a celebration as I do.

Map by Rustbelt Cartography

This year, I reckoned to do the following:
 15. Read "Batman: Haunted Gotham." It's a little tough, the comic is really hammy.
  14. Play along with whatever in the World Ben Lathrop's werewolf thing is. over at his blog
  13. Watch some Casper, the Friendly Ghost, Wendy, the Witch, and Hotstuff cartoons.
  12. Re-watch the Scooby Doo movies from the early Aughts.
  11. Play Betrayal At the House On the Hill.
  10. Write a major Crawlspace event specially for the season.
  9. Check out Troll 2. 
  8. Finally visit one of the big haunted houses that own abandoned strip malls these days.
 7. Find the movie about Count Down, Dracula's son, the one with Ringo Starr as Merlin in it.
 6. Read "The Devil And Daniel Webster."  
5. Watch any new IFC "After Midnight" or of the new Hammer Horror flicks that I come across.
4. Re-watch The Fearless Vampire Killers. It'll be nice to see how it sounds in English finally.  
3. Listen to a radio theater episode of the Shadow.
2. Watch an old Hammer Horror flick with Peter Cushing and Christoper Lee in it.

Here's what I've done to date.

#2-#5 were easy ones for me. Peryton has helped me find more than six Hammer Horror flix featuring Peter Cushing, if only one with Christopher Lee. An old pulp fan, like me, can listen to the Shadow any time that he wants, I have cassette tapes as well as internet based programming. Netflix was more than obliging at providing both The Fearless Vampire Killers and plenty of IFC horror movies-- A person should watch European horror flix because they're the way horror should be, just a little more than a little campy.
Crawlspace Gothic
#10 had been being worked on since mid-September. The "rough" final was released last Friday, Oct 18 just before midnight locally. Please check it out and share the news with friends.

#14 Ooops, I forgot one. I had better get on that. 

Well back to Halloweenying.

Saturday, October 04, 2014

Oct 3rd: Weird Science

As part of my Halloween checklist, I listed "Watching a Hammer Horror flik with Christopher Lee and Peter Cushing in it." Well, I can't say that I've done that just yet, but what we have watched is Worldwide Pictures's "The Creeping Flesh." While for Pery it was her first time watching the movie, it was like my third time watching a totally different film that I had seen before. It was still a good time, despite the release having edited out of the more disturbing parts (I'd call them insightful) of the work and some post-production scenes added, prolly tens years after it really released. 


I could go on about how Lovecraftian the flik is, or how it is a smartly written Gothic tragedy, but I won't. It's a decent horror and Peter Cushing and Christopher is at the top of their game. The writers get a grip on the crux of sex for women without exploiting the lead actress, while having fun with the shallower tropes of the scientific-minded in film since about 1906

But what is so much fun about the film, is the fact that stereotypes are not dated.

Thursday, September 25, 2014

One Hundred Miles of Lesson

when it comes to Halloween, one needs to be flexible.

16. I will listen to David Bowie's Outside.
    Not a hard task for me to do for me

This Upcoming Halloween.

The thirty-one days of October is really my second favorite time of year. Talk about a communal event. No one gets the day off of work. The pretense of having to go to church is totally not there. Kids even get to be in on the joke wearing costumes of their own. Folks get a vague premonition that a holiday really makes no sense outside of being a party. It's people deciding to do what they want when they want. 
Yes it's dark and moody, but at least folks don't have to carry their own crosses to preset places of death or celebrate child birth in barns. And the costumes aren't as creepy as a dude in red velvet wanting kids to sit on his lap for prizes or a walking rabbit hiding discolored eggs in shrubbery. Despite Charles Schultz's best effort, not one single para-religious entity must be appeased to make Halloween and the days leading to it a time of fun.




Last year I was concerned about all the movies that I wanted to watch. This year I am mixing things up a bit. Here's my list of celebratory activities:

15. Read "Batman: Haunted Gotham." It's a little tough, the comic is really hammy.

14. Play along with whatever in the World Ben Lathrop's werewolf thing is. over at his blog
13. Watch some Casper, the Friendly Ghost, Wendy, the Witch, and Hotstuff cartoons.
12. Re-watch the Scooby Doo movies from the early Aughts.
11. Play Betrayal At the House On the Hill.
10. Write a major Crawlspace event specially for the season.
9. Check out Troll 2.
8. Finally visit one of the big haunted houses that own abandoned strip malls these days.
7. Find the movie about Count Down, Dracula's son, the one with Ringo Starr as Merlin in it.
6. Read "The Devil And Daniel Webster."
5. Watch any new IFC "After Midnight" or of the new Hammer Horror flicks that I come across.
4. Re-watch The Fearless Vampire Killers. It'll be nice to see how it sounds in English finally.
3. Listen to a radio theater episode of the Shadow.
2. Watch an old Hammer Horror flick with Peter Cushing and Christoper Lee in it.

and...
Hand out candy on Halloween night, after I get home from work.




Monday, September 15, 2014

Time Travelers, Familiar Strange New Worlds, And Zombies

Magic: the Gathering and Pokimon players have learned how to make their own sandwiches or just order out. I think the Buffy The Vampire Slayer die-hards are about on their third kid right about now. Babylon Five and Deep Space Nine deep ones have had to start teaching remedial math instead of working towards their professorship in IT at various colleges throughout the modern world.  And they're all just about to ready to meet me at the bar to speak of olden times and the "Classics" of fantastic culture, err media. 

Mostly listening to Dr Who in its eighth season since the 2005 comeback, the format and messaging is killing the franchise. Plainly put Peter Garibaldi could be a wonderful Doctor. Instead of the fresh start that was promised at the end of the ump-teenth Matt Smith farewell, what we're getting is tepid rehash of plots done much better decades before, with some daleks voice modulation and Tardis sounds thrown in. The supporting characters are not new, designed for Moffet/Davies-induced coma victims, that think only people below 42 can be sexual unless it's a police procedure TV show.  Leads me to a riddle,
Q: When does future technology masquerading as the paranormal get old?
A: When do we get Shaun Dexter?

Really is this BBC show really just neo-Victorian social retardation conditioning these days?

Dusk To Dawn has been re-written as something more akin to a García Márquez novel than a Quentin Tarantino indulgence. Whenever Netflix notices that episode four or five is messed up, I speak more on it.

Z Nation re-affirms why like I like The Asylum studios, err production company. While I haven't watched movies like Sharknado and its sequel, I am happy they are out there and still being made. This not only funds unheard of movies, like say, AE Apocalypse Earth, it brings in enough interest to fund a show about zombies that isn't about bad southern accents from classically trained actors. For all of its promises to be about just shooting zombies, I found the pilot full of little post-apocalyptic infra-structure tidbits to merit the tag word "sci-fi" not "soap." AND the show was fun to watch (ZOMBIE TODDLER!!!), not moving nor contemplative.

Maybe one day, I should talk about the "classic" stuff that I like.

Sunday, August 24, 2014

GenCon '14 Pt3: Pieces Schmeises

After the burglary, I decided to drive home while Peryton would stay behind and run the booth. Once again JerryTel would swing in to assist us, would be providing the woman with transportation from Indy to Toledo the following day after the convention. TimS and Darrenn Canton would help out as well by manning the booth. This allowed us to continue business as usual while taking care of the emergency affecting our real world lives. I was still worried about the sales, because, you know, like I wasn't there.

So while I was at home awaiting a beleaguered cop to show up and bother to write a report, the house-sitter called at 11pm and I was still waiting for until noon (though I saw a cop car guarding our neighborhood Stop sign driving in around 5am), Peryton was sending me texts throughout the morning. Drew from the Spacers game was also texting me throughout the day with his after-GenCon goings-on bringing more vicarious joy. Sales were actually as good on Sunday as they had been all three previous days combined. On-line sales were as steady as they get around the Big Convention time of year. 

The Trollgod Sub-Plot
To get away from a crowd gathering and something of a ceremony at the FBI booth as Loomis's Poker Game wrapped up, Ken showed up at the PeryPub booth. He not only hard sold various items in our stock, giving Pery high praise for her Qalidar so that any passer-by could hear. He even shared T&T tinpot gossip with her. All the while he never asked where I was.

I picked up Pery in Toledo around 8pm, and while I had started to return the house to something of a normal state already, I was dreading her reaction coming home. It was not nearly as bad as I thought it would be. Over Monday and Tuesday, we re-modeled the rooms with loads more space than we were used. The insurance check didn't hurt and by Wednesday, the new house had us inviting over old friends for a game on Saturday night. Piss off, whoever tries to keep us down. We needed to clean house and up-grade our computers anyway.

As for the projects in the production line of Perton Publishing, there shouldn't be too much delay. We have the work backed-up on file drives and on-line. It will only be a matter of re-organizing the work a bit here and there. 

So all in all, my Big Vacation was great for both its luxuriating decadence and its reaffirmation of my inner verve. Peryton has some new digs and books, and a new PC. I did miss out on buying new Phase World books from Palladium for yet another year. Oh well there will be next year. And there will be a new house-sitter... .

Robin with her new stuff.


Saturday, August 23, 2014

GenCon '14 Part 2: Let's Not Count Days

I awoke each morning in Indy with the sun was howling to me, though we had an enclosed suite overlooking an indoor swimming pool with only skylights . For mysterious reasons, I felt fair-haired again, which I haven't since being airborne in straight leg units back in the early 90s. I got to practice mental skills that I don't get to often in the world that is not filled with Gamer Dorks. The gathering is a small city of such beings for at least three days each year, like Brigadoon.This year's convention was everything that the GenCon convention is supposed to be on hyper-drive. 

Quick Notes:
My post-apocalyptic game Glow sessions, ran by TimS and myself, help get some concepts down a bit more solidly for the final product, whenever that comes out. I am not sure if the world needs another set of world holocaust game rules, but my setting might just be going places.

Spacers (TM) is doing just fine. I've been experimenting the the genre for ten years. When I sit down to get "Spacers: Universes" together, things are going to come together nicely. Mind you, it won't be Traveller. No, it'll be Spacers.

I took a baby-step with my card-driven RPG Crawlspace  proved that there is a market for the "horror at midnight" that isn't CoC. Next year, I'll make more of the events just to test that it wasn't just the return of a couple friends and a couple interested purchasers that made the session worth while. GenCon will be the perfect spot to try out a different sub-genre of horror, up to three a year. I get a tingly feeling thinking about it.

Tunnels and Trolls games are going strongly, without me as a main driver, and I can still get a table full, a goal for the last last eleven years.

The Trollgod Sub-Plot
While Ken and I would see each other at certain points, but either of us were on the way to running our games. Then on Saturday night, Peryton started sharing little tales of her last conversation with the man. 
My main man! MY woman! Should I be jealous?  Something told me to hold on. 

Booth Monkeys On a Chain
Thanks to JerryTel and Peryton, I became a pretty good manager. Jerry for his enthusiasm and Robin for her reluctance but wherewithal. He jumped in feet first, organizing everybody who would earn badges with "Peryton Publishing" on the face. She is always like acting that she was being fed spinach, until it matters. No seriously, one time she didn't have chair to sit down, she tried to hide behind Exile Games backdrop to not have to talk to strangers. I felt I had to be the kingpin, which both of the mentioned will say to me, "NO DUH" after reading this.
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And the other other personages, need to be mentioned:

Sligo and WEB, they are not men to be triffled with.
 TimS while being an diligent and conscientious new-person-to-GenCon,refused to be daunted, if a little disoriented. He actually wanted to volunteer to be a convention volunteer as well as PeryPubber next year. I told him to go with the convention, he'll always be welcomed  as a PeryPubber anyway.
Sligo, made sure he ran games to "pay" for his badge. When one of his tables came up empty, he worked of my slots, and found a GMless group afterwards just for kicks. 

Just listening to Cramm run an awesome swords and sorcery game, what can I say about him? This man is a better GM than I am. I disagree with his T&T, but I have to love his style. He'll still have to be burnt at the stake.
Darrenn Canton finally hung for a whole night, and even jumped in to help out at the booth when I wasn't around.

For some reason LinZ still comes around, despite the fact that I am such a terrible writer. At least her and Joe, her hubby, bring their own drunks around so I have some company.
Bill Bricker, WEB, is almost as crazy as I am. I found out that I am his project. I am pretty okay with that, he brings out good writing in me.


Tim and Curtis who ran the best Cards Against Humanity game that I've ever seen. But they helped Pery slink off whenever they could.

Paul 2.0 because he finally re-surfaced after a few years, and has yet to not provide helpful feedback.
Randy Market, Markt (from now on), got pulled around a bit, but he's tough enough to be a PeryPubber. And he's an awesome scenario designer.
And Batman, who turned his attention onto me on Thursday to help me despite his busy schedule. 
But I am not including Caed. One because she's my virtual kid sister, and a man's gotta be a man. Mostly, I didn't get to meet her son and his wife. Glow is beckoning the couple to the wastelands of the future.

I Loves Me Some Batman (Cosplayers)
While Tim (of Curtis and Tim) and I had to laugh at a couple of public meltdowns by some amateur cosplayers, I have to say that I found some very talented impromtu performers of the Kabuki theater that costume-wearers perform each year at the more up-scale of cons. Nice thing about GenCon is that they stay approachable. That's mostly because everyone walking around the place is already high on the opioid of their own minds. But here are some pictures.
















So going to be incorporated into the print version of Kopfy's Swamp Of Doom.
And I loves me some DC and Fantasy.

The Artistic Box

A nice thing about the Crowne Plaza hotel is the fact that exhibitors, authors, and artists that have bought space at the convention get to reside there. And the place kind of makes you feel like like you're living in a toy boy to begin with. Besides having rooms set into old train cars, there are 5/6 size sculptures of folks from 1875-1900 placed along major walkways.  The employees themselves were happy to have TSR-spawn there and not just for the tips, a number were gamers themselves.

I felt like I was in the Free-City of Frankfort in 1865 as I spoke with Scott Glancy of Pagan Publishing about the more obscure points of WWI, German Unification and Call of Cthulhu. Of course, I was ever the Bavarian. 

And then around 11pm on Saturday night, our house-sitter phoned us to tell Peryton and me that our townhouse in Cleveland had been burglarized...

Wednesday, August 20, 2014

GenCon '14 Part 1: Up-Hill But Loving It

Everything this last week has been scintillating, either good or bad. First IRL had been working against my vacation mindset from get go. And it would continue to do so throughout everything great going on around me.

Let's start with a three car, multi-casualty, incident ten before I was supposed to punch out...

We headed out on Tuesday night after I finished work.  We stopped of in Anderson, IN. because it seemed like a easy strip to pick up items left at home.
The out-of-box breakfast at the hotel where we stayed was awful though, and I like me some canned b-fasteses. But ultimately, we were not disappointed at all. I strongly recommend the city for purchases at Lowes or Office Max anyday.  Setting up on Wednesday was almost too easy. At around noon I was standing out by the car and read about Hittites while Pery made three trips (with our newly purchased dolly from Anderson Indiana!), and our "Exhibitor Badges" magically appeared.



Old Home Eve, our little name for the PeryPubbers' get-together each year, was one for the books. We set up at the Tilted Kilt, having been turned away from our first choice by the Diana Jones folks. Not only did we have the fourteen people expected, we had Randy Market's horde show up at first. Luckily, the Horde decided pizza would be better. Then suddenly a table appeared.

And the woman acting as our server had a seizure bringing out appetizers...



So like Randy, Caed, LinZ, Bill Briker (WEB, from now on), Cramm, Sligo, JerryTel, Paul 2.0,  Tim S., Batman, and everybody's guests showed up. Despite Jerry's efforts, I was able to have a ceremony as I presented him with his Peryton Publishing/Darkshade Chronicles' " Event Uber-Overlord" tee shirt. I made everyone sing "For He's a Jolly Good Fellow" for three verses. As the party winded down, WEB, Cramm, and myself headed over to the Libertine bar, picking up local partying talent along the way, I think the dude's name was Antony. We closed down that bar, and Bill had to bail. Cramm and I continued the glorious drunk until about 4am. Cramm met some hot chick and had to go really quick.


Peryton spoke my name at 8:45am, and I was still-drunk, up and moving, teeth brushed and cleaned-clothed, and out the door even before I knew it. I made it booth with time to spare for the VIG early opening. Batman's youngest son helped me out at the booth, until his father could come help at 10am. The rest of the day Batman, TimS, Sligo, Cramm, and Caed would be helping me out. Sales were better than expected. Sometime after 3pm or so, Peryton, Curtis and Tim (friends from the Pery Homeland) showed up so I went to take a nap.

The Trollgod Sub-Plot

Ken stopped by just before 10am on Thursday. we greeted each other warmly, as we always do. Broad smiles crossed both of our visages. I could only say, "I am a son-of-a-bitch, aren't I?"
"You sure are." He replied. 
With that we promised to meet up later.

The T&T games for Thursday were cranking. Sligos did well. Cramm was running one (good to see him alive), as I ran "Temple of the Time God." Ended up at a late dinner with Michelangelo's David (David from Toronto) and Cramm. Curtis and Tim, and Peryton were back in the room when I showed up to pass out. Apparently WEB had been looking for me earlier and no expected me back until sunrise. 

Sunday, August 10, 2014

Scandalous!

Whatever edition of D&D came out this weekend, and the same red book cover is appearing on my social media sources about ten thousand times. Alas when in China one has to love Chairman Mao's Little Red Books, and in adventure gaming, one has to deal with D&D-heads, and their red books as well as boxes. While  we were driving home from one of Soccer and Gaming events in Columbus, Peryton turned to this page. I almost drove off the road after a glance, and a horrified double-take.


Okay now the brainwashed D&D-head will of course see a Wizard casting a Prismatic Spray spell against some shambling Chools (or is it Chuuls). The 50-something fellow will bang on the pipes of the basement, the signal for his mother to microwave her homemade velveeta and cheerios pizza, his favorite brain food, and he will design a campaign setting for his Dungeon Of the Unforgiving Gods world just for the 5th Edition.

What the rest of the world, those that live six miles south of any place that anybody wants to really live, will see is proof of the Gay Agenda that has taken over Wizards Of the Coast! Obviously that is a Transvestite (most likely a member of the Rachel Madow Adventure Gaming Society) summoning Crab People to emasculate any heterosexual males that stumble upon the D&D game.

Oh there'll be a rumble between the attention-seeking... err Gaymer and the semi-employed... err Christians Against Gaming factions on the streets of Indy this year.

Saturday, August 09, 2014

Heirs To the Padisha Throne

Just like HG Wells, writing some hundred years ago from today, foretelling (luckily only with marginal success) the shape of the rest of the 20th Century, Frank Herbert comes up again and again in mind when trying to understand the zeitgeist of the present.

In my middling-to-higher schools, I hung out with the not-exactly misfits. There were baseball playing nerds and Shop class women, as well as jingoistic dorks that loved Boy George and the Culture Club. One common thread that ran through these assorted groups was a love of Frank Herbert's Dune. So while I was busy wading through "The Council of Elrond" chapter of FOtR, Hans Hellmut Kirst, Samuel Delaney, and Walt Whitman, I made some time to read Herbert's classic sci-fi novel. Coming from a family that was always somewhat outside any group that we were hanging with, it became a secret key to the life around me. In this sweeping panorama, I not only saw a good sphere fantasy but a very easy primer to basic philosophies that American people have throughout their lives.


Still I also learned not to be too mind-blown when reading futurists. In the original Dune itself, Herbert was a practical author trying use his work to speak to a "blind spot" that he saw in the S-F literature of the time. He created the Padisha Empire to represent the Industrialized powers of the world, while House Atreides and Harkonnen to represent monarchism and totalitarianism respectively. On the fringes he took Femininity and Geekdom to their logical literary extremes with the Bene Gesserit and the Spacers Guild. The universal oppressed, the Fremen, was a barely disguised Arabic culture. Basically,  he deconstructed oil, (plastics and hydrocarbons) into spice, and our shrinking world into a bunch of space fiefdoms. In 1983, I had no idea how prescient, if allegorical, this novel would be .

What I didn't know, is that Paul Atreides was siding with the bad guys. Hey I learned bad Arabic in '91, how did I know I was an oppressor? Oh yeah... .


 In 1998, I griped to an Army buddy about Muslim Ivy-League sorts that were bent on our, Western, cultural norms (individuality, dissent, atheism, and androgyny) dissolution before we left the porch to have Thanksgiving dinner with his Chinese/Portuguese/Jewish family. I had everyone in stitches with my panning on Saving Private Ryan when the pumpkin pie was being dished out. In 2002, I glibly, it seems these days, railed against the up-coming invasion of Iraq at Delphi Forums, with one particular statement "We'll see jihad so big that Frank Herbert could ride a sand-worm through it." In 2009, I was agreeing with John McCain about how we should not be removing troops from Iraq until 2020 (or so).  In 2010, I was openly complaining on-line that folks shouldn't be so quick to replace Syria's King Assad, despite the BBC's enthusiastic announcing of the "Syrian Free Army" (A total fiction made up by hopeful British and CIA trouble-makers). As always, since '92, I've thought it's been time for Israel to end its apartheid-cum-genocide of the Palestinians living on land that they want.

These days, I am all about getting troops on the ground in Iraq again. I am also for making anybody who supported the invasion of Iraq in 2003 get out of politics and onto their own shows on the Fox News channel. This is because I can't get them thrown in jail.


 But I don't subscribe to Herbert's following novels, at least Dune Messiah, Children of Dune, and God Emperor of Dune (the ones that I read, the rest can wait) as being much more than showing how that there is nothing new in artistic endeavor. Neither the insight, nor intelligence, are applied to these sequels that the original book had. Instead these works flop back and forth between soap opera and mechanical paperback formatting, much like the CNN news process. With that, we Westerners (especially the democratic-minded), do not need to feel doomed. Women are people, and religion is propaganda. Striving for truth, as well as equality in electricity production are the keys to survival of us. That's "Us" as in the U.S. and the universe as we know it.



Tuesday, August 05, 2014

Sci-Fi Of Late: the Good, the Bad, And the Ugly


Last couple of weeks it's been some varied science fiction viewing for me. First off, Space Rangers has finally come out on DVD, which means I don't have to sweat about the aging VHS tape every time I get a hankering to watch an episode-- I do love the show. There's been the release of the Guardians Of the Galaxy last Friday or so. Robin found a post-apocalypse flik named the Colony for my work weekend Saturday night viewing sort of the opposite of "date night" but with KFC. I've also been able to watch Lockout a second time and pay attention to a bit more detail some time over the last couple of weeks as well.

Guardians Of the Galaxy was very good, and luckily for my tastes, more along the lines of a zany space swashbuckler adventure, like say the Ice Pirates,  than a superhero movie. While the comic book series must be big enough to merit a "Marvel Movie" (YEAH cliche plots already dreamed up and artistically directed by dudes studios don't have to hire), I've never been that impressed with the comic line's space opera compared to DC. This movie re-writes the characters of the series into somewhat more down-to-Earth (irony not intended) personalities than the ones in the books. Not a lot of time is spent going into detail of the Marvel space opera universe other than to establish that red and blue-skinned folk dwell there as well as well Earthlings, or earthling-like people. The spaceship battle scenes were not as blurry as fans of the Avengers and the later Star Wars flix seem to like, which I appreciated. The Nova Corp homeworld will remind the astute fan of 70s and 80s sci-fi of Flash Gordon's Mongo or Starcrash. Overall, a Bigfoot, on a scale of "Godzilla to Smurf," of a film, if only for the inclusion of Bowie's "Moonage Daydream" in the soundtrack.

Definitely a Smurf of a flik is The Colony. This is some sort of post-apocalyptic film where anti-Global Warming fanatics have frozen the world. I could tell that this was a Mad Max-meets-zombies flik about to happen in about ten minutes. Filmed mostly because Laurence Fishburne needed money and the Canadians use tax-payer money to keep their prettiest young kids employed, it goes no where slowly. The writing is confused about basic immunology, snowfall accumulation, as well as being clueless about human behavior. The visuals are as dull as doing a chore if not cliche. Things boil down to a fist fight, because North American films need fist fights to wake up all the folks who were snoring at the bad science (TLDR anybody on the writing staff?). It's one of those movies where characters only answer one out of five questions posed to them in the script so that the cameraman can focus on pained expressions instead, because articulation is bad or something. When one of the characters states, in a wise voice, "I've seen this before, but I didn't want to mention it" I wanted to go check my email. I really should've.

More fun than the movie mentioned
 Re-watching Lockout was a bit more fun than I thought it would be. Very ugly indeed, as most movies involving prison riots tend to be, but not a bad Who-Dun-It overall in a shallow, sugary sweet sort of way. Set in a world that fans of Blade Runner or Johnny Mnemonic like, but really (really) gritty. The cast is either really talented or had a lot of fun during the shooting, maybe both. I am sure this flik was written by someone who role-played Shadowrun if not Cyperpunk back in the 80s. I am on the fence whether it's a Bigfoot or a Robo-Monster. I'll say Bigfoot because I enjoyed it.


Thursday, July 31, 2014

Zak S And the RPG Pundit Have Become Heroes

Zak Smith (of D&D With Porn Stars fame) and John Tarnowski (AKA Kasimir Urbanski, AKA the RPG Pundit, AKA... who really cares) have become larger than life figures in my world of gaming as of this morning. I have really only been peripherally been keeping up with either of them over the past few years, Pery watched the "I Hit It With My Axe" show a couple of times and The RPG Pundit makes a point to put out articles at his blogs that I find informative. They both mix in with a gritty, more adult role-playing milieu that I find comfortable despite all the 14-17 year-olds that keep popping up at my tables at conventions and game days. Zak is a little sensationalistic and the 'Pundit is oatmealy D&D, which get only marginal scans at the best of times by me.

Because a dude picks this as his illustration, it does not make you Len Di Caprio
  
This morning though, I've learned that they are _bad_ people. How I learned is that Peryton is on a D&D high of late, so the trappings of that game's latest release are infiltrating the environment that is our house. A certain blog, a "Fail Forward," presciently named for the new reader apparently, popped up on my newsfeed as I drank coffee. While wading through the blog, I wade through so many these golden days, I learned that certain folk who were too afraid of speaking were being spoken out for by a collective group of people, some of whom were most-likely one or more of the authors of this blog--apparently the blog only likes to name individuals when it is insulting them. The unspoken victims were antagonized folks that both Zak S and the RPG Pundit have argued with before, the entire viewing audience of cable TV's MSNBC, and the card-carrying population of the Adventure Gaming  arm of Lesbian,Gay, Bisexual, and Trans-Gendered community.

Just in case the allegations aren't complete dung, let me speak first to the MSNBC and LGBT factions first. Knock it off. Why am I reading about your victimization by unidentifiable benefactors in gaming blogs?  Especially why in gaming blogs? Not sure if you've noticed that any reactionary jackass to the 13th amendment, let alone gay marriage, will never lose money publishing a role-playing game, and your holier-than-thou notice of these sorts only sell more of their games.Speaking for myself, I've never seen Smith nor Tarnowski trying to win favor among the reactionary sorts. Of course, I've never drank with them. When I do I'll tell you what I think about them. Even if I disagree with them though, they are entitled to their own opinions as is the people that work with them. I ,as a liberal sort, don't like black-listing people.

A quick point about those that hide in groups, which leader is more popular today; Lenin or Bakunin? 

That little aside brings me to my opinion just in case this scandal is actually a big pile of crap. Now I shouldn't be lumping everything together, but looking at the intellectually-challenged lumping together of insinuation and insubstantially trivial gossip that the Avant Fail blog achieves, I feel entitled (much like the Failure to Advance group apparently does).

I really wish the "professional game fan" would disappear. By professional game fan, I mean those that fill up our hobby with what they think others like.  Not meaning games crafted by them but their opinions. My biggest example a blog where the author, probably a Tom Hatfield, must hide behind a "group" of fellows to state how he feels about something. Specifically this version of D&D has references to LGBT issues, which if you think about it, makes no sense away from the individual gaming group. This further cheapens the role-playing hobby by overly qualified folks trying to turn a sub-culture of a very small press market into their rent. While he's busy pissing in the well, he and his ilk think of a couple that he doesn't like to be included, forgetting what it feels like to not having been included elsewhere, if that was indeed ever the case for him, or them. More than likely, this person who hides in associations with others wants the rest of us collectively to suffer his falsely-collective judgement without taking responsibility. 


Who will play Mark Twain to Di Caprio's Nietzsche?

 Adventure gaming does best when is a hobby. Stop allowing it to be a cult of personality, collective or otherwise.


Wednesday, June 11, 2014

Family, Gaming, and Family: the Three Tampa Trips

The Mom Trip

I flew out of Cleveland last Wednesday, June 4th, and with a stop in Atlanta to arrive in Tampa. There wasn't much to do, except get to and from airline gates at various terminals. Boy, not a way I enjoy traveling anymore, but the results were worth it. From Wednesday night until Friday afternoon, spent time with my parents, "Mom and Don" in the parlance of my family. On Thursday, we had a little birthday party for my oldest sister. Of course that get-together ended up at the House of Beer tavern, where tee-shirts were bought along with other things... like beers, maybe. It was at the tavern that I saw once again how much cooler my parents were than I was.


The following afternoon, my parents dropped me off at a Holiday Inn Express by, not far from the Tampa sports stadium where Eloy Lasanta's Salty Bay Con (salty bacon theme to a gaming convention) was taking place.  It was then the misadventure of this vacation started. Don, my step-dad, coaxed by my mother, walked into the hotel with me to make sure I was safely checked in before my parental units would leave.

A delay in checking in might cause a 14 y/o a bit of grief, but I am like 50 these days. Not sure if many of you know this, but I've slept on couches in lobbies in Budapest while making my way from somewhere by the Black Sea to Atlanta, GA with an expired American passport and an US military ID card. I've missed trains in Saarbrucken, De. and made my way back to Kusel, De. by foot with no money in my pocket nor a ticket to redeem thanks to my ex-wife. I've lived outside in Norway and South Korea for weeks on end. I've driven to Minsk, Belarus from Dresden, De.  on a long weekend. I wasn't feeling very 50 y/o or cool when my step-dad made the front desk manager promise that I had a room reserved. He of course got an answer quicker than I ever would've. Sigh. Poor me, I'll never be kewl.

The Meat Of the Trip

John Kennedy, no really, he goes by Myth flew in from Indianapolis. We said "hi" and caught up a bit. Eloy and his crew were still setting up the festivities when I arrived, so I headed out to pool and small lake behind the hotel. The Tampa stadium was host to some international soccer "friendlies." The big game was Zambia Vs Japan, and most of the Zambian supporters were staying at the same hotel. The pool was full of the most beautiful folk of Zambian descent the world has ever seen, with a few Japanese hipsters thrown in as well. Since I speak "Soccer" I made friends quickly. I am serious, I was struck at I how many movie star-like gorgeous people were walking around. A walk around the lake had me followed by "red-faced" ducks that about mugged me for any possible food that I might be carrying. Despite the large motel suites around the hotel, the place felt like a remote resort, similar to a places I encountered during trip that I took to eastern Italy and northern Greece.


When the convention was up and running, I jumped into a game of The Kingdoms of Solomon. A game of resource allotment with ancient Hebrew culture making things a bit whack, I think CCrabb would love it. I started to get to know the folks around me.

After that game, I dipped in the pool. I had to take a dip because my solitary room was so godheadsdamned big I just had to do something luxurious. If Pery doesn't come with me next time, perhaps it'll be prostitutes.

 That night's Crawlspace session, "Worst Day At the Beach Ever" was perfect, and I don't use that word lightly.  Four players, my favorite density for a session. Though one was only like 11 or 12, they all were really good role-players. I had enough notes where I didn't have to create anything on the fly. The players moved the plot along, and I got to explore some game mechanics. Oh yeah, that 12 y/o, got the first poker Straight ever in the game, and it was his All-In hand. Do you have any idea how statistically hard that is using the TACK system? I figure about 1:64,000 but I am not a decent mathematician, so it's probably like 1:6.4 million. I ended up the night having some split-pea soup, my favorite, with real ham chunks in it at a deli about a block away from the hotel with some pleasant locals. I took home a tuna sandwich, I have cats at home, for lunch the next day.


Besides Salty Bay Con potentially being one of the better venues for gaming that I know of there isn't much else to say. My TROTT games were both a wash. That's okay because I got to play in That Other Game with Ben and Marma(sp?) who were in my game the night before and made a couple more firends. But while I had mixed results others were heavy gaming. There were panels and a live comedian to break up the dice rolling. It really was a good time. Still could use a few more people, and the venue for role-playing can be tweaked up a bit.


Party Orphans

My sister picked me up on Sunday a little afternoon. Somehow, I got it into my head that it was Father's Day. We decided that the two of us would hijack our parents and take them out for lunch. The misadventure now gets meaty. Because of our northern European roots, gift acceptance is an admission of weakness or something and gift givers are only allowed to be kewl kids. My niece Tiffany, or the Tiffer, as she is known among my brood, happened to be swinging by her grandparents house to deliver some carrot cake. The Tiffer somehow had not learned this from her 30 some odd years being alive, so she just happened to mention what the Sis and I were planning.


Now I can't say what happened, because I wasn't there, but it sure sounds like Mon and the Don got packed in hurry and rushed out. The Sis and I drove all over the smallish, suburban town going to the known haunts-- believe me the parental units are well known pub haunters. We ended up leaving a bottle of wine at the door. Failing to find them, we were all glum as we put on our bathing suits, lounged in the swimming pool, and drank our wine or beer until a little after midnight. I met the Tiffer's husband. Saw another niece, Brandy, let's call her B-Gal, who was looking all awesome and established. A couple of dudes, maybe another couple, and some other woman, all friends of the family showed up as well. Luckily nobody was driving, it was a damn block party. Okay maybe we were in the pool well past midnight. I didn't have a watch on. Who knows?

Monday AM came, a little too early for some, as I was the only awake before noon. I had to web search how to turn on the coffee maker in my Sister's house. Once both awake, we daring young adventurers were up and at it again. On the way to breakfast, well fish and chips at a well recommended provider, we had this idea to go halfsies on one of those new compu-tablets for the Don. As Sis wanted a good price for whatever we bought, she called the Tiffer, as her hubby is a computer-whiz or something, to get quotes on the best price. We actually just ignored the tips when looking at the products and thinking of the uses that would be most appropriate. I can't help thinking that somehow the parental units got wind of our strategy. By the time we showed up at the door, no one was home. I had to express some suspicion that we had a tattle-tale in our midst.

The Sis and I were hyenas now. We used our youth and cleverness to decide to go to an Irish pub and wait an hour or two. Sure enough, after two New Castle ales, alas, the prey came home and had to return our calls on their voice mail. Yipping and Yapping, we struck...

It was a pleasant evening. The Don was as excited as he was bewildered with the Nook that we bought him. Mom shared her gifted wine with all of us. We laughed and smiled in the darkening house, electricity costs money or something. Around 8pm, the Tiffer started calling with proclamations that dinner was ready. I insisted that she make her famous lasagna for the unspoken offense that we both knew that she had committed, two times in a row.  The Sis and I were cool. Hugs and kisses were had, and promises made that no one would open the Father's Day cards would be opened until next Sunday.

Tuesday

The flights home went quicker than scheduled. The weather more to my liking, and Pery was happy to have me home. We ordered out and started watching HBO's True Detective, thanks to my Sis's DVR library.