Friday, September 24, 2021

[ Kinship ] The Shadow Riders

 I float above what is called by many the Road, some call it the Highway,  some call it something worse.  Highway to Hell is a favorite.  And if you end up on the Road you can go from nowhere to nowhere, or if you are lucky to someplace somewhat safe.

The Road meanders along through a variety of landscapes, strange places, and downright surreal vistas.  There are no off ramps, no side roads, and only the occasional road side attraction, or resting place.  There is no escape.

I float above the road, following some of it's denizens.  They call themselves the Shadow Riders.  From what I have observed they have called themselves many names.  The Dark Riders, Bone Crushers, Blood Thorns,  a biker gang doomed to ride the road forever,  if not for one thing....

One of the members of this group can create access to the off ramps that do exist.  The Shadow Riders can take these side roads, pathways, and toll ramps to different places.  They can access any place that exists in the multiverse; every alternate Earth, strange dimensions, and on occasion; other planets.  I do not know how long they have been riding the Road, but I think it has been a very long time.

I float above the road.  I follow the Shadow Riders, and watch as they take an exit to a vast junkyard.  I cannot follow them.  I wish them luck; because sometimes their antics amuse me.  I am doomed to float above, travelling the Road, merely observing what happens.  Recording for all of Eternity the history of the Road.


Dust billowed as the Shadow Riders came to halt in front of a small. rusty, corrugated steel building.  Parked off to the side of the building is a dirty white panel van.   A frail, old man sits in a lawn chair; asleep in front of the building.

Reginald J. Farnsworth gets off his Harley, and stretches.  Reggy, as most call him, walks over to the old man.  Everyone else but Paul Stone, otherwise known as Pipsqeak; stays on their bikes/  They all have weapons out, and at the ready.  They are always cautious to the dangers of the Road.

Reggy, being a huge man; looms over the sitting figure.  "WAKE UP!"  No response.

Pipsqeak walks over to the side of the man, and taps him on the shoulder.  Then shakes him.  "He might be dead...."

Sniffing, Reggy shakes his head no.  "Nope, he's still alive."

The old man's eyes shoot open and he gasps.  "WHAT THE...  oh you're back."  The old man stands, he's wearing a tattered and dingy grey bathrobe.  "What do you want?"

"Where's Gator?"  Gator the gangs mechanic; drove the support van.

"Dunno.... haven't seen him in a couple of days.  Mebbe he's dead?"

"I doubt it.  Gator can take care of himself."

Pipsqeak turns his head towards the van.  "Reggy, he's asleep in the van. Dreaming of the girl he met in ancient Rome...."

The old man leaps up; out of the lawn chair.  Taking a step back; Reggy pulls his Bowie knife out of it's sheath.  They all watch as the old man's eyes turn white, and opens his mouth.  A strange glow emanates from within, and he begins speaking in a strange, melodic voice.

"When all is well, the Darkness falls.  The Evil that comes will destroy it all.  It's at this time that Kinship calls."  The old man collapses back into the chair unconscious.

Pipsqeak scratches his head.  "That's never happened before.  Strange..."

There was muttering among the rest of the gang.  Reggy walked up and slapped the old man back to consciousness.  "WAKE UP!"

The old man's eyes opened, and he he rubbed his cheek.  "That was too hard you son of a .... wait what happened?"

"Sorry.  Your eyes turned white, and you spoke in a strange voice."  Reggy sheathed his knife.

"Oh.  I have these episodes.  Sometimes I remember what I say, most often times not...."

"No.... not an episode; a message.  Someone or something was using you as a channel to communicate with us."  Pipsqeak shrugged.  "I could sense it...."

"Whatever it was, if evil is coming, we need to be ready.  And it sounds like Kinship is going to need our help.  Somebody wake up Gator, we're heading to Kinship."

As the motorcycles and van roar off, the dust billowing behind the Shadow Riders, the old man heard them all yell in unison....


Monday, September 20, 2021

Flavor Fiction

 I have always liked "flavor fiction" in RPG rulebooks.  It helps me get a feel for the setting I guess, and of course I like to read.  Now I understand the publishing business a little, and know word count can't get to high, otherwise you end up with a couple of hundred pages or more, and end up with a price that may be a deal breaker for buyers.

My current focus is Gamma World 1E, and there's not what I consider flavor fiction in the rulebook,  Now there is an "example of play" section, but it's not quite the same.  I'm really wondering if the writers were told to keep the rulebook under a certain word count or page length?

When I create an character or NPC I like to write a little something about them, a back story, or a minor adventure.  It helps me develop the character.  Sometimes even just a list of places they have been, likes, and dislikes, their goals, etc.  Things that might nor normally be on a character sheet. Of course I know a lot of times gamemasters make up stuff on the fly, but this requires a little extra record keeping.

Well I'm just rambling out some thoughts.  Have a good week, and stay safe and healthy.

Saturday, September 18, 2021

Long Lost Sketchbook

I found an old spiral bound sketchbook from when I was in high school.  I'm surprised it survived all the moves and flooded apartments.  I'm sure I drew these for gaming sessions, but probably never used them.  I need to get back to drawing.  I have a few more drawings in this sketchbook which I may post some other time.

Let's get ready to rumble!

I also found this drawing.  I believe this is older than the sketchbook.  In fact it may be over 50 years old.  I kind of want to redo this drawing.  See what I can do now that I am older and a little more skilled.  The drawing definitely has Gamma World vibes to it.  However, I'm not sure I owned the game when I drew this.  I was always drawing weird stuff.

Well, I hope everyone is having a great weekend.  Stay safe and healthy.

Wednesday, September 15, 2021

[ O.R.B. ] New Assignment

 Jeff stood outside the office door.  He nervously fidgeted with his tie.  The Director had ever summoned him before.  Knocking on the door, he began sweating bullets.  He thought he heard something, and summoning all his courage; he opened the door, peaking in.  "Sir?"

"COME IN!  Didn't you hear me?"  Stepping in and looking about; he thought the director's office would be larger.  It was sparsely furnished with a desk, a couple of chairs, a side table with what looked to be a crystal ball.

"Just barely sir... I uh..."

"Sit down.  We have things to discuss.  A very important case has been plaguing the bureau for a very long time, and I think you may be able to help out.  It would require a great sacrifice on your part...."  Jeff jumped out of the chair.  "A SACRIFICE?"

Chuckling the Director, shook his head.  "No.  Not THAT kind of sacrifice.  This case I want you to work on, may last a very long time, and in a well, very far away place.  In fact it may be a permanent relocation.  We know you no longer have any family, and not many friends.  You are perfect for this assignment."

"But sir, I am not a field agent.  I'm a researcher.  I'm better in a dusty library, not out fighting monsters...."

"Well.... we have  been having trouble recruiting field agents of late.  A competitor is paying well, and we can't currently match what they are paying, and all our other agents are on assignment.  And to be honest you might not be fighting that many monsters, if any at all.  Consider this... field research.  We will be giving you some training as well, so you won't be completely unprepared.  Oh and you will be getting a substantial raise."

"Director, where would I be relocating to?  Fidgeting nervously in his seat, Jeff had an uneasy feeling.

"Oh it's a quaint little town called Kinship...."  The Director braced himself for the next question.

"Oh sounds nice.  What state is it in?"  Smiling Jeff thought this might not be so bad.

"Uuumm..... well, that's not important just now.  You need to report to the training facilities.  There's no rush, but we have put this off for far too long now.  So get going, and pack up your desk.  Well transfer you projects to other researchers."

Jeff stood and moved to the door.  "So when do I leave?"


Jeff half ran out the door, thinking he should perhaps resign.  This assignment seemed a little sketchy, but he did feel a little excited. It would beat flipping burgers.

Tuesday, September 14, 2021

[ MISC ] Gamma World

 I have been busy cleaning and organizing things, mainly because I was looking for a something.  That something being my Gamma World 1st Edition map.  However, I still have a few places to look.  I haven't had any luck, and haven't found just the map on eBay yet.  The prices of the original boxed sets are just crazy; most being priced over $200.  I don't want to pay that price just to get the map.

I would have gotten a post up earlier but I was bust creating a Gamma World 1E  character for a the mutagenic zone post.  It was fun, and plan on doing it every Mutant Monday.  I have no idea if people still play Gamma World 1E, but if I get the chance to run a campaign then I will have plenty of NPCs!

I also found my AD&D Monster Manuel  that I had purchased a couple of years ago, and it gave me an idea for the next Mutant Monday.  I'm going to mutate a monster for Gamma World.  I may do two from the book,.one of the intelligent races, and a regular monster; which should be interesting.

Anyway, enough rambling for now.   Stay safe and healthy, and keep those dice rolling!

Saturday, September 11, 2021

[ KINSHIP ] Eye of the Storm

Sherriff Rasputin walked out of his office and into the warm Spring weather.  He took a deep breath and adjusted his gun belt.  Life in Kinship had been quiet of late; for a very long time.   He should be grateful but it left him with an uneasy feeling and it left him with an uneasy feeling.  It was.... well, strange that nothing weird, bizarre, unnatural, or dangerous had occurred for.... what?  How long had it been since any walking corpses, destructive robots, giant monsters, or anything  had attacked the town?   There hadn't been many new arrivals of late either.  The last arrival had been that lady reporter, Suzan.  She had quite the tale to tell when she showed up.

Chuckling to himself he turned to head to the diner, his stomach was growling, and he was craving chili. He took a step and stopped when he heard someone calling his name from behind him.  Turning around he saw Pendleton walking quickly towards him.   He was probably trying to get in on the weekly poker game again.

Pendleton seemed happy, whihc was abnormal as he was usually morose, grumpy, and at times downright unpleasant.

"Sheriff, good to see you..."  The sheriff noticed he was carrying a stack of papers  Pendleton handed him one of them.  Quickly reading what turned out to be a flyer, he grunted.

"There's going to be a town fair?  Who's running it?  There's hasn't been one since I arrived in town.  Sure there are the fairgrounds but it's never used...."

"Well I've been talking to a few of the old timers, and there used to be one every year.  It was a big deal apparently.  People from all over attended..."

"WHAT?"  People from all over?  What people?  From where?"  Shrugging Pendleton seemed startled at the sheriff's reaction to the news. 

"I don't know sheriff.  You know as much as I do."  Walking onwards, Pendleton  called someone else's name.  The sheriff didn't notice him leaving, as he was lost in thought.  A town fair?  He was going to find out what was going on.  It may be harmless, but this was the town of Kinship, and... He lost his train of thought as sudden chill ran though his body.

Stepping off the curb he looked around, and glanced up in the sky.  A few puffy clouds, and a strange looking bird circled high above.  He looked in the direction of the fairgrounds, and saw dark storm clouds quickly rolling towards town.

"Humph...  sheesh...."He jumped at a flash of lightning and the boom of thunder.  The he heard screaming from down the street.  He started running towards the screaming as a million things ran through his mind; the main one being that the quiet times were over, and that he would have to postpone eating a bowl of chili.


It feels good to be writing again.  Writing stories about the town of Kinship is one of my favorite things to do, and despite not writing or blogging for over a decade; the Kinship characters and stories always churned away in my mind.

I need to revamp the graphic of the blog, do something new and different.  I need to check links, and other blog maintainence type things.  I'm having to relearn most of this.

My plan is still to write a novel, and hopefully a game setting based on Kinship.

Anyway, I'm glad I got this post done.  Everyone have a good one, and stay safe and healthy.


Friday, September 10, 2021

10 Years Gone.... or Back In The Saddle Again

It's been said that a journey of a thousand miles begins with one step. Writing a blog again starts with one word, one sentence, one paragraph and so on....  It's been over 10 and a half years since a made a post on this blog.  Over a freaking decade.... Where did the time go? Into the past I guess....

It's late and I'm getting a little tired, but I wanted to post something, anything.  I'm glad to see blogging is still somewhat of a thing, and I have been reading some of my favorites again. I've really been into watching youtube channels.  There's so much great content, that I spend way too much time watching.  I don't even watch much real television.  A couple of shows online but that's about it.

What have I been doing for 10 years?  Just living my life.  It's been good, it's been bad,  it's even been a little crazy.  I've lost a few relatives and friends, and I'm sure many of you well.  My dice are dusty, and when times got difficult I sold all my game books.  I regret it, but it was a survival thing.  I can rebuild my collection.  It's not going to be easy, but nothing worth doing is rarely easy.

I'm 58 years young, and despite possibly catching Covid a couple of months ago I feel great.  It actually didn't seem that bad, but my mom ended up in the hospital but I stayed home.  I kicked it's ass.  I just slept a lot.  Heck, I've had worse flu.

Anyway, time for some sleep.  Stay safe, and be well.