Thursday, September 29, 2011

Breaking It Down

I was reading a post over at B/X Blackrazor about the inherent objectives, or lack-thereof, in role-playing games.  I'm not really sure if games/rule-sets need over all, "meta-objectives", but  it got me thinking about Kinship.  Of course Kinship is a setting, and not a game/rule set, but I've really have been doing a lot of thinking about this very thing.  I've also worried about the fact that I've deviated from my initial design concept, and it's kind of slowed down Kinship's development.

The town of Kinship, and it's surroundings are a setting.  Once a character is there, there really is no quantifiable objective, aside from day to day survival.  It really is up to the player to define their character, and their personal objectives, missions, or goals.  That's the way it should be.  The player can seek assistance from the game master for ideas, but in the end they have to make their own choices.  Of course the GM will throw some missions their way in the form of  conflict and adventures.  We all know there are character goals/objectives, and the game's goals/objectives.  Sometimes they coincide and sometimes they don't.

My initial design concept for Kinship was a cursed town.  A town where it's inhabitants are cursed never to leave, and forever cut off from the rest of the world.  Sometimes people end up there by accident or design, and they can also occasionally escape.

However, it has now kind of morphed into not only a cursed town, but a town that's "somewhere else".  Kinship is now only accessed via the "Road".  An inter-dimensional  highway of sorts.   Which concept is better?  Both ideas have merit, and their pros and cons.  I could run it either way, and have fun with it.

This being said, I think Kinship could have a "meta-objective".  That being returning the town to normal.  This could be done by breaking the gypsy's curse, or?  In, The Town of Kinship book, I may very well cover both ideas.  I want the book to be a bolt of cloth that GMs cut up to make their campaign quilt.

the Kinship Klan
Once I get the first rough draft of the book done, I will want some proofreaders/play-testers.  If you are interested please send me a message via email to zanazaz at yahoo dot com.  The Kinship Klan is going to be limited to about ten people ( or maybe more... ), and these ten people will get a limited edition proofreaders/play-testers copy of the book.  Actually, you will get two copies; one to mark up with corrections, criticisms, etc., and one to keep.  As of now, I  have NO deadline for finishing the rough draft, but I am aiming for the first of the year.  Of course it will also be available as a PDF.  I've got a lot of work to do, but as of now this is my main project.

Tuesday, September 27, 2011

[ Kinship ] The Snooze Motel

The crunch of gravel under her tires signaled her arrival at the Snooze Motel.  She parked in front of the office, and sat for a few minutes.  She elected to leave the pistol and file in the car.

The motel office was separate building from the rest of the motel.  She walked in, and glanced around.  No one was at the counter, and she saw an opening right behind it covered in  beads.  There were a few things sitting on the counter, one of them being a toy monkey.  She remembered one of her friends had one when she was a kid.  It was animated and would bang it's cymbals together, and shriek.  Even as an adult the thing sort of gave her the creeps.

As she took another step closer the monkey started up, banging and shrieking.  It startled her, and then she realized it must be a modern version that was motion activated.  She then heard a voice that came from behind the beads...

"Be right there in a few minutes..."

Looking around, her natural and reporter driven curiosity  took over, and she walked into the small lobby area.  It had a shabby looking couch and one of those big wooden spools as a table.  On the spool was a bushel basket filled with snack cakes.  It had a sign taped to it that read, Continental Breakfast.

Above the couch was a velvet painting.  Looking closer, it looked like some kind of warrior fighting zombies.  Then she noticed the warrior had a distinct resemblance to Elvis.  To her left there was a paper poster tacked to the dingy wall.  It showed a kitten hanging by it's claws from a tree limb, and the phrase. 'Hang In There, Baby.' was underneath it.

On the wall opposite the dangling kitty poster were, after closer inspection, what looked like pages straight out of daVinci's notebook.  These were also pinned to the wall.  She ran her fingers gently across the paper's surface?  Parchment?  It felt old.

She heard someone walk through the beads, and turned around.  The monkey was still banging it's cymbals and shrieking, and the man tossed it under the counter.

"So miss, how can I help you?"

The man was wearing denim overalls, and a t-shirt.  She took the six steps back to the counter, and noticed the cork bulletin board covered in Polaroids right by the opening.  One was a photo of a triceratops with a very large man riding it.  Another was a group of zombies?

"Miss?"  She turned her head back toward the man.  "I need a room for the night, and I need to know where I am..."

"Well... might be better if you kept on till you get to Kinship.  It's not much further..."

She shook her head. "No, I'm exhausted..."  She steadied herself on the counter feeling faint.

'Well I guess you'll be safe for one night."  He pulled a key out of a drawer.  "Here yah go miss.  Room four.  Once it gets dark, bolt the door, and don't open it till daylight.  The phone don't work, and even if it does ring don't answer it. There's no television in the room.  If you got a gun keep it close..."

"Wait... what?  Don't answer the phone that doesn't work?"

The man shrugged.  "The more I talk the more questions you'll have.  I wish you would just drive on...  just be sure you don't take the exit to Shadowvale... that would be bad."

It was too much.  She took the key from the man.  "How much for the night?"

"Uuuummm... I don't suppose you have a bottle of Jack, or mebbe..."  The man scratched the stubble on his chin.  She heard the monkey still banging and shrieking under the counter.

"No in fact I need some food myself.  Anywhere I can eat?"

"Not anywhere close.  Well, in Kinship... okay it'll be twenty five for the room.  There are vending machines beside the ice machine between rooms three and four."

She looked at the photos again, and pointed at them.  "What about those?  Those from a movie set or something?"  Despite being exhausted, her reporter's curiosity was in overdrive.  She had to know.

The man chuckled.  "Or something..."  He pulled one down, and handed it to her.  She looked at it, and then at the velvet painting, and then back at the Polaroid.  It was a photo of Elvis in the same outfit, some kind of armor, and carrying a sword.  But he was in front of a building, and there were other people beside him. One of the other people only had one large eye.  At the bottom was a signature.  Elvis.  "This can't be real?  No way..."

The man looked hurt.  He took back the photo, and sniffed, and shrugged.  "Believe what you want...  you'll find out soon enough.  Remember what I said... I probably won't be around in the morning.  So just head on out."  Then he walked back through the beads.  She hadn't even gotten his name.

As she left the office the monkey was still banging and shrieking...

To be continued...

Sunday, September 25, 2011

Have Computer, Will Blog...

I spent all day Friday working on computers.  I tried to fix the computer my brother brought over, but I had no luck.  I eventually decided to try to fix my "newest" old computer.  Well, I was going to document what happened when I booted it up, so I could research the problem.  Well, lo and behold it booted up.  So I was happy until it shut itself off.  It did this several times, and I thought it must be a heat problem.  So I got online and, it was indeed a heat problem with this particular computer model.  It has a CPU fan, and a power supply fan, but no case fan.

I did a bit a research, and eventually found a bios update that speeds up the CPU fan.  HUZZAH!  That solved the problem.  Eventually, I plan on adding a new fan to the computer to help with the heat, but that's a future project.  So good bye Frankenstein machine, you're going back to the minor league, i.e. being a back-up machine.  Of course I can't recover any of my old files, but that's okay.  No big deal, I'll just rewrite what I can remember.

The techs at Best Buy said the machine probably wasn't worth trying to fix.  So that's a big thumbs down to them.  That's where I bought the machine, and they should know about issues with any machine they've sold in the past.  My next computer is going to be one I've built myself.  This way I will know it frontwards and backwards, from the hardware to the software, and it will be cool.  ( Pun intended... )

I've installed firefox, and that seems to have solved my blogger problems.  Much happiness ensues!

I'm trying a new ISP, and I was hoping I would have a little better bandwidth, but the supposed "high speed", isn't so high.  Oh well.  I've been using AOL, I know...meh, but it's a budget consideration.  Unfortunately, I spent most of yesterday trying to get AOL installed with NO LUCK.  So I decided to try Netzero.  At first it seemed SLOWER, but now it seems to be okay.  I may see if I can get a reasonably priced DSL service with the phone company.

Al in all, it's been a fairly productive couple of days.  My best computer is fixed, and blogging issues are no longer issues.  Plus, when I'm REALLY BORED I can play browser games.  The next thing is to climb a bit higher on the bandwidth ladder.

I think I've gained a few points in my Computer Tech skill.

Tuesday, September 20, 2011

[ blogging ] Problems Leaving Comments and Other Topics!

For a week or so now, I can't seem to leave comments.  I get the, "You can't access this page, with this account." message.  I try to sign out and back in, but that doesn't help.  I can't even leave comments on my own blogs!!!  It's becoming very frustrating.  So please understand I am not ignoring your comments.

I've got a somewhat new computer, ( newer than this one ), but I get the accursed, boot drive error, or something to that effect, when I turn it on.  I can access Bios, but that's about it.  I'm going to do a bit of research, and hopefully get it up and running.  Hopefully, at the vary least I can reformat the HD.

When my brother brought over the computer this evening, he also brought over the rest of the Mage Knight Miniatures.  Good grief.  There's a gazillion.  He said sort them out...  Well, I hope I've over estimated how many there are.  I don't relish the ponderous task of inventorying a few thousand minis.

Some of the sculpts of the Mage Knight figures are awesome, others not so much.  The scale can be a bit wonky, but it isn't too bad.  Some of the golems seem a bit steam punkish, so I would have to come up with appropriate rules for use with Rolemaster, but that shouldn't be too difficult.  I want a mechanical failure critical chart.  After a mechanical golem receives a certain amount of damage, a roll is made.  The result could be anything from the golems movement rate is decreased, to a catastrophic explosion, with shrapnel flying everywhere!

If you're following my Kinship Project, you ( hopefully ) read yesterday's post.  I was really tired when I wrote it, and I'm not too happy with it.  I plan on reworking it.  Also, spellcheck wasn't working, at least for me on this computer, and it still isn't.

All for now!  Happy gaming!

[ Kinship ] the Snooze

Driving and driving.  She felt like she had been driving forever.  Lost.  She felt so lost.  Literally and figuratively.  Looking in the rear view mirror she knew there wasn't anyone... or anything following her.  Well she hoped that was the case.   She barely recognized herself.  No sleep in at least two days was starting to wear her down.  She needed rest.

The GPS wasn't working, and neither was the radio.  All that came over the speakers was static, but was it just static?  It was really grating on her nerves.  She turned off the radio.

She had left New York City with a Thermos of coffee, a dozen glazed donuts, the "file", and a bag of clothes.  Oh and the pistol, a parting gift from her father.  It was sitting on the "file" right beside her as if it would protect her and the "file".

Not sure of her whereabouts, she shook her head groggily.  An hour ago she had passed through a desert.  A desert?  She knew any desert should be hundreds, if not thousands of miles away.  She must be losing her mind.  She needed coffee, but had long since finished it off along with the glazed donuts.

Odd, she hadn't seen any other cars on the highway in a long time.  She really hadn't seen anything else either.  No gas stations, convenience stores, or even signs.  No signs of civilization, and right now she needed civilization.  She needed sleep, and it was getting late.

She was regretting that she started the "file".  As a crime reporter, she had discovered a series of disappearances that were being covered up.  At first she thought it was some kind of conspiracy, but the more she investigated the stranger things became.  However, she was tenacious in pursuing the story, and kept meticulous notes.  Taped interviews with the people who would talk.  People, who after talking to her, ended up disappearing as well.  She had hundreds of photographs, and the negatives.  She was old school.  No fancy digital cameras for her.  She didn't really trust them.

When she first submitted her story, her editor rejected the story.  She tried again, and then went over his head.  Then she was fired.  Her apartment had been broken into.  Her friends started avoiding her.

She knew she was being followed.  Watched at all hours of the day.  She went to the police but they wouldn't listen.  Then she went into hiding, but she still felt watched.  Finally, desperate, she went to her father, and showed him the "file".

An hour later, he closed one of the may folders, and set it back in the box.  He picked up his phone, and dialed a number.  She heard it ring three times, and someone answered.

"Mister Jones,  my daughter has a problem...  okay..."  He handed the phone to her.  She listened as Mister Jones gave her instructions.  Apparently, he worked for some group called Orb?   The Occult Research Bureau.  He told her to go to Dallas, and she would be contacted after she arrived.  Well, he actually said, "if you arrive..."

Her father then gave her the pistol, a .45 caliber automatic pistol, and an extra clip, and a box of ammo.  He also gave her a wad of cash he pulled out of a safe.  His last words to her were, "Good luck...".

It had only been a few hours since she left her father's house, but it seemed like a lifetime.

She nodded off and swerved into the other lane.  Jerking awake, she slowed down, and pulled off onto the side of the highway.  Getting out of the car to stretch she wondered where she was?  The landscape seemed strange.  The plants looked odd, like some kind of bizarre cactus.  There was also a weird smell.  A very weird smell.

Then there was the lizard.  A large lizard... with six legs, coming towards her.  Oh great, now she was going nuts.  She was hallucinating.  Then the ground started to shake.  She quickly got back in her car, and drove off.  A few miles later she saw a sign.  A sign for a motel.  The Snooze Motel.  Finally, she could get some rest...

To be continued...

Thursday, September 15, 2011

Selling Stuff

If you haven't seen my trading blog, the Scavenger's Depot, you should check it out. I'm experimenting with PayPal buttons, and I've got a great package deal posted.  It's got three options, for three different prices.  Normally, I would use eBay, but I'm in a bit of a rush.  Also, while I intended the blog to be for trading, sometimes I need the cash to buy stuff, ( not everybody likes to trade ), so I feel there's nothing wrong in selling items at the Depot.

If you know a Star War's fan/collector, then show them the way to the Depot.  I'm selling a really nice  lightsaber replica.

Monday, September 12, 2011

the Dragonbone

Mage Knight figure added for scale.

I'm surprised this ancient gaming artifact has survived, and is in working condition.  I bought it in the mid-1980s.  Well, as near as I can remember, that's when I bought it.  My brain cells aren't good at making their saving throws, and thus my memory suffers...

Anyway, if you don't know, or weren't even alive when these came out, the Dragonbone is an electronic dice roller.  It's got eight settings on a sliding switch, i.e. you can set it to "roll" a three, four, six, eight, ten, twelve, twenty, a percentile dice.  It uses light-emitting diodes, that light up by the numbers printed on the case.  The photo above is not that great, and the details can't be seen.

I used it quite a bit when gaming, whether I was playing in a game, or running one.  I liked it because, it was silent.  I could hit the button behind the screen, and the players wouldn't know I was making a roll.  If they heard dice rolling they would get more alert, or paranoid ( take your pick ), and start scaning their character sheet, or whatever.  I liked being sneaky about rolling dice.  Sometimes I would roll dice just to keep them on their toes.

Now, I didn't use it exclusively.  There's something intrinsic to roleplaying about rolling dice.  It just feels right. I'm a gamer.  I like dice.

I don' think I would use the Dragonbone anymore.  I don't actually think it is all that random.  I've thought about making some "rolls" with it and entering them in a spread sheet, and do the same with analog dice, and make some kind of statistical comparison.  However, I think watching grass grow would be more exciting. Plus, I know nothing, or well, very, very little about statistics.  So... don't hold your breath.

What's Next?
I think I can finally get back on track concerning this blog.  I lost focus the past few weeks, mainly because I was kind of busy, and the heat just sucks the life right out of you.  I'm going to start working on the Kinship project again.  It's one thing I really want to concentrate on, and get completed.

Another thing I want to work on is creating stat blocks for Mage Knight miniatures, in the Rolemaster Standard System.  Now, don't get me wrong, Mage Knight is fun, but it lacks the chaos that RMSS would have at a skirmish level battle.  I literally have access to hundreds, if not over a thousand Mage Knight figures.  Some were mine, and the rest are my brothers.

I'm also getting this itch to create a superhero game using Rolemaster rules.  Why?  I just think it would be fun, but I'm not sure it would work.  It's just an idea, and also I'm not sure if I will work on it.  If I do I would call it Powermaster!

So that's all for today.  I hope most of you are still reading this old gaming blog of mine.  Now, I really want to go see Captain America today, or maybe Conan... or Rise of the Planet of the Apes?  There are too many movie choices!  I hope everyone has a great day!

Sunday, September 11, 2011


I've decided against posting my original 911 "essay".  It was a rant of sorts, and while I felt I made valid points, I felt it was unneccessary.  Why did I write it?  Well, it's been a rough year, and some things really piss me off.

So in rememberance of 911, do something good for someone, make them smile, make them laugh, make the world a better place.  Lift someone up, instead of pushing then down.  It's really rather simple, I don't know why so many people make it so difficult.

So breathe in, and breathe out, and start with those around you.  Be the pebble tossed in the pond, whose ripples of kindness spread far.  Better yet, be the rock tossed in that causes a tidal wave of kindness. 

If someone treats you harshly, try not to let it effect you.  Let it be like water off a duck's back.

Once again, SMILE, hold a door open for someone.  If they only have a few items, let them in front of you in the line at the grocery store.  A few minutes won't kill you.

Finally, in the words of Bill from Bill & Ted's Excellent Adventure, "Be excellent to each other."

And of course Ted has an excellent point as well.... "Party on dudes!"

Sunday, September 4, 2011

[ Kinship ] They Call It Matt

Jiosh watched as tentacles were slithering out of storm drains, and out from under manhole covers.  Earlier in the evening there had been a huge infestation of zombies, probably close to 50.  Most of the remains of the zeds were littering Main Street and the Town Square.  The Kinship Defense Force had made short work of them.  Jiosh had killed 10 himself, giving him the number one spot on the zombie killing leader board.  However, he was only two ahead of the Sheriff.

Pulling out a clove cigarette, he lit it with his "new" Zippo lighter.  A wonder of technology!  Jiosh was amazed at how well it worked, well, as long as the flint was good, and it still had lighter fluid.  He sat down at his usual perch on ledge around the clock tower, and watched the tentacles work.

Some were similar to octopus tentacles complete with suckers that pulled zombie parts down under the street.  Others seems to have sharp, crab-like claws that chopped apart the larger parts.  Some seemed to have "mouths" that punctured the zombie bodies, and sucked out the insides.  Matt, as the children of Kinship had named it, was good at cleaning up zombies.  It really saved the townsfolk a lot of work.  There usually wasn't a drop of goo or a bit of gore left.

Jiosh laughed out loud at it's name, Matt, which stood for, Many Awesomely Tentacled Thing.  Upon the initial discovery of Matt, many of the people in Kinship were worried it was a threat.  However, they soon discovered that Matt rarely ate living things, aside from the occasional rat.  So it was left alone.

As Jiosh watched the tentacles work, he was startled when a large tentacle rose in front of him.  It ended in a large eye.  Shocked at the appearance of the tentacle, he started to draw his sword, but another tentacle came up beside the other, and it held something.

Jiosh gasped.  It was an amulet he had lost months ago.  How had Matt known it was his?  He held out his hand, and the tentacle placed it in his grasp.  The eye did sort of a nodding movement, and lowered back down.  Jiosh looked down and yelled, "THANKS!", wondering if hearing was one of it's senses.  He also wondered if it was intelligent?  He would tell the Sheriff what had happened tomorrow.  Jiosh looked up at the star filled sky, and pondered the mystery that was Kinship.