Monday, October 29, 2012

Reflecting On Life

This isn't a post about gaming. I wish it was. If you want to read a post about gaming then move a long.

If you are a regular reader to my blog, then you probably know I lost my sister and my dad in the last couple of years. And for some reason, tonight, I miss them both more than usual, and it just hurts. 

Sometimes I think if I hadn't been there when my sister died at the hospital, that it wouldn't be so bad.  I don't know.  I also think that if I hadn't been the one to find my dad?  Again, I don't know.  Some images never, ever go away.  Ever.

The thing is, everybody loses people they care about. I know that. If you haven't, you will. And you know what? It just plain sucks. Nothing good about it.

The thing is, I try to think about the good things. I'm not sure what I've mentioned about my sister, but she had Cerebral Palsy, among other things. Despite what the PC crowd would say, she was handicapped. She couldn't walk, and was in a wheel chair. She was also blind. She couldn't take care of herself. Her vocabulary was limited.  I spent a lot of my time taking care of her.

And to tell you the truth she was amazing. If we were out in a store, and someone who she didn't know would say hello to her? I heard her response more than once. And you know what it usually was?

She would say... "I love you."

The first time I heard her say that? I was stunned. In fact, I was so surprised the first time, and said, "Melanie?" She rebuked me, and said... "Bubba, don't you do that!" She knew what she was doing. I am still in awe of her.   If everyone had her outlook on life?  Man, wouldn't the world be a great place?  Yeah, I miss her, and my dad, and I just have to go on.

Sunday, October 28, 2012

[ Kinship ] The Dromedary Part One

The big draw on Saturday night in Kinship is usually the movie theatre.  The Dromedary is a one screen affair from days of old.  No Dolby Sound, nothing high tech about it at all.  Just a plain, old fashioned movie theatre.

On this particular Saturday night, a small crowd had gather near the theatre looking up at the sign.  On the part of the sign that covers the sidewalk there's a life sized statue of a one-humped camel, a dromedary.

"I could have sworn yesterday the camel was looking to it's right."   Fred the Nerd scratched his head.  " I know it was..."

Verna chuckled.  "Of course it moved, it does that sometimes.  It's looking for it's rider.  The camel used to have a rider.  There's even an old photo in the library that shows him on the camel."

"So what happened to the rider?"  Larry, a newcomer to Kinship, gestured towards the camel.  "Statues just don't just get up and leave!"

"Well... it happened before I came here, but I heard about it.  One day the rider just hopped off, and jumped down to the street, and walked out of town."  Verna shrugged, "Believe me or not.  I don't care.  Stranger things have happened in Kinship."

Larry shook his head in disbelief.  "Well, what's showing tonight?"

"Ah... I believe it's, It Happened at the World's Fair."  Verna smiled.  "I like it."

Fred slumped his shoulders, "Again?"

Giggling, Verna opened the door.  "Don't worry, it's different every time.  Sometimes a little different, and sometimes A LOT DIFFERENT!"

The Dromedary Movie Theatre provides a nice respite from the boring, and sometimes terrifying daily grind that is life in Kinship.  There's no admission charge, and the snack bar is always stocked, and everything's free.  Sometimes the selection appears a bit odd, but there's always popcorn.

Friday, October 26, 2012

[ Kinship ] Corn A Plenty

Jeff and Jenny walked down the gravel road towards town.  When they reached the old oak that grew at the edge of the cornfield they turned towards the corn field.  Jenny stopped under the oak, and started picking up acorns.

"Come on Jenny!  We don't want to be late!"  Jeff jumped up and down.  "H U DOUBLE R WHY  HURRY!!!"

"I'm getting Mr. Wrinkles some acorns.  He likes them..."

A loud hiss interrupted them.  Both kids looked back towards the road, and saw the large six legged lizard.  It started running towards them.

Without a word spoken, both Jenny and Jeff ran into the cornfield.  The stalks seemed to move out of their way, and closing up when they passed.  When the lizard reached the edge of the cornfield, it hesitated and then entered.

The corn stalks slashed at the lizard, and slowed it down.

Jeff stopped when he heard the commotion behind them.  "I think were safe, the corn is taking care of the lizard."

Jenny patted one of the corn stalks.  "Thanks Mr. Corn."  The stalk seemed to quiver in pleasure.

"How do you know it's a mister?"  Jeff eyed his sister quizzically.

"I just know.  Let's hurry, we don't want to be late."  Jenny skipped ahead of her brother.  The lizard all but forgotten.


There's one thing that there's no shortage of in Kinship, and that's corn.  It grows year round, and the stalks never seem to die of natural causes.  There are many fields of corn around Kinship.   Miles and miles of corn...

In some of the fields the corn stalks grow so close together that it's almost impossible to walk through the field.  In other fields the corn grows in neat rows with plenty of room to walk down the rows.

Those that harvest the corn find the quiet of the fields pleasant.  They feel safe.  A few feel a little disturbed when they are in the fields.  Others have a feeling of being watched...

Thursday, October 25, 2012

[ Kinship ] Unlucky Lizardman

Slacmere, High Lord of the Blood Talon Clan, and Chief Research Scientist of the Vlakod Federation, carefully reviewed his research files.  He opened the last file and a error message appeared on the Holoscreen. 

**File Corrupted**

Double checking the back-up file, Slacmere discovered that it was also corrupted.  Hissing in anger, Slacmere raked his claws across the console.  Hours of work gone.  A corrupted file was supposed to be impossible.

The last research file was the scans of the strange life form they had collected from the lone planet in Sector 78-1-999.  It had proven extremely resilient to all forms of damage.  Shortly after collection, the specimen had escaped his constraints, and it took a full security team to recapture it.

After all the testing had been completed, the specimen was disposed of via the Transmission Beam.  Set to complete disruption over a wide area, the creature was now nothing more than molecules floating in space.  Slacmere then remembered there was a copy of the Transbeam scan of the creature, that at the very least will provide some data for research.  Slacmere left his research suite and headed down the corridor to the Transbeam Suite.

Empty of personnel, Slacmere moved to the main console, and activated it.  He scanned the files, until he found the correct one, and activated it.  To his surprise it was corrupted as well.  Slacmere would have to request a review of the computer techs.  Something was wrong.

Looking at the corrupted file, Slacmere noticed that the specimen hadn't been disrupted.  The only data not corrupted was the file name, and destination.  He entered the coordinates of the destination into the Transbeam's computer.  It was a planet.

Suddenly, a warning siren went off., and Slacmere was knocked out of his seat.

"The ship is under attack by unknown forces... prepare for a battle..."  Slacmere noticed the desperation in the Captain's voice.  The lights then dimmed, and there was an explosion near the Transbeam Suite.

Slacmere quickly made his decision.  Grabbing some gear out of a locker, he activated the Transbeam.  He would escape to the same planet that the specimen had ended up on.


The Sheriff looked at what remained of what could be only described as a lizardman in some sort of high tech outfit.  The odd thing was that it fell out of the sky, and landed in the same spot as Mr. Wrinkles.

Dr. Velasko leaned over the remains of the lizardman.  "You think this is going to happen every week?  Creatures falling out of the sky?"

The Sheriff shrugged.  "Good grief, I hope not...  say I wonder if Mr. Wrinkles knows about this guy?"

"Well if he does, we still can't talk to him.  Anyway, I'll get it back to my lab.  We certainly don't want a zombie lizardman wandering around.  Look at it's claws!"

Dr. Velasko stood up, and scanned the crowd that had gathered.  "I'll recruit a couple of guys to help.  You think it's weapon still works?  It looks really complicated..."

"Dunno... I'll be by later to pick up the gear."  Turning to the crowd, the Sheriff addressed the crowd.  "Show's over people, move along, and for the time being be wary of walking in the street.  Especially at this spot.  It keeps raining aliens."

Wednesday, October 24, 2012

the early morning report

HUZZAH!  I finally reached and exceeded 20,000 page views.  There was much rejoicing!  However, last night I lost a follower... oh well.  You win some, and you lose some.  This also happens to be the 231 published post.  I had no idea my blogging "career" would last so long!
I've finally managed to get my sleep schedule back to normal.  No more staying up all night, and sleeping the day away.

I know the whole 2000 copper piece meme has played out, but I found a cool spreadsheet.  It's over on the ICE Forums, and it really is a nice utility.  You can download it here.   Here's what it does...
An Excel spreadsheet that will calculate the weight of coins of a certain metal when given the radius and thickness of the coin. This is a tool I have been using for some time. It is helpful for those who truly wish to define the coins of their world/empires. Addenda: This is an improved version of the previous upload. This one includes a worksheet for ingots/bars, creating a specific alloy, and a listing of known densities of all the elements.
I've almost finished my character spreadsheet for GURPS 4E.  My major hurdle now is skill purchasing.  As it is now, I have to manually enter the skill and cost.  I want it to be a little more automated.  It is useable as it is now, but a little clunky.

Enough for now, I need some breakfast.

Tuesday, October 23, 2012

[ Kinship ] the Kinship Bed & Breakfast

Once newcomers to Kinship discover that it's ill-advised that they try to find their way home, most end up staying at the Kinship Bed and Breakfast for at least one night, and most times two or three nights. It usually takes the Sheriff that long to find a safe place for the newcomer to live. It wouldn't be good for the newcomer to move into an apartment or home that ends up scaring them, driving them insane, or even eating them. And sometimes there are worse fates than those, but best not to discuss them...

The bed and breakfast is operated by the kindly, Ms. Verna Lockmeir. She keeps the rooms neat and tidy, and prepares meals for the newcomers. Verna does all this for free. It's her contribution to the welfare of Kinship's citizens. When she's not busy at the bed and breakfast, Verna likes to help teach the town's children. Although she's not too enthusiastic about it, she will help fight zombies, but prefers to play a supporting role.

Over a delicious meal, she tells newcomers about her encounters with zombies and vampires, and warns them to avoid the giant mutant spiders, the Skraknids. If they haven't already seen Matt ( Many Awesome Tentacle'd Thing ) she tells them Matt is harmless, and a great help to the town. It's nothing to worry about. Verna has many stories, and is all too eager to tell them to the newcomers.

Verna also has a secret. It's one story she doesn't tell to anybody. One day she had gotten lost picking corn, and came upon a ghastly scene. In a clearing, a man was chained to an upright slab of stone. His throat had been slit, and a strange symbol carved into his chest. Fortunately, Verna was used to the strange, due to her years of living in Kinship, and was mostly unfazed. She checked the man's pulse. He was indeed dead.

As she turned to leave, Verna noticed a book leaning up against the slab. It was large, covered in what she thought was leather. She felt the urge to pick it up, and when her fingers touched it, her arms tingled all the way up to her shoulder. Verna, clutching the book, ran through the corn, and away from the scene. She told no one.

Verna knows it's a magical book she found. Late at night she will flip through the pages, staring at the odd writing. So close to understanding, so close to unlocking mystical secrets. One day, Verna will be able to use magic. She's sure of it! 

Sunday, October 21, 2012

[ Magic Item ] Helmet of the Ridiculous

"Get rid of that ridiculous helmet Verngrath!"  Voleng the cleric, looked back at Verngrath, barely dodging the blow of the zombie.  "NOW!"

With a swing of his sword, Verngrath lopped off the zombie's arm that he was fighting.  "Why?"

Praying to his god, Voleng extended his hands, a brilliant light bathing the zombie, which soon was shrieking in pain, and retreating.  "Because you buffoon, it causes us no end of troubles!"

The Helmet of the Ridiculous is a rather normal looking helmet. Dented, pinged, scratched, and covered in odd decorations, this magical helmet provides a +2 to a character's armor class.  Unfortunately, it's also... ridiculous.  Legend says that the helmet was once in a notorious dragon's treasure horde.  Once the dragon learned of it's nature, it was dropped into a nearby ocean.  How it made it back to land is unknown. Only one Helmet of the Ridiculous is known to exist.

Once an hour ( game time ) not real time, the gamemaster should roll on the following chart.  This happens every hour on the hour.  Whether it's being worn or not...

1. The helmet emits a loud shriek, and likely attracts wandering monsters.

2. Fireworks start shooting at the top of the helmet and continues for five minutes.

3. The helmet causes the character wearing it to dance a jig for 10 minutes unless the character makes a saving throw versus magic.  If successful the character instead has a headache for five minutes, and is at -1 to all activities.

4. A thick, black smoke starts spewing out of two small holes on the side of the helmet.  This continues for five minutes.  In close quarters this causes plenty of problems.

5. For the next eight hours whenever the character is near a piece of metal larger in volume than two cubic inches, a lightning bolt arcs from the top of the helmet to the nearest metal ( not the character wearing the helmet ).  Ouch for a nearby friend wearing armor or wielding a metal weapon.

6. The helmet starts spraying spider webbing out of hole that appears on the back of the helmet.  Woe to any character behind the helmet.  Sticky mess...

7. A small crystal appears on the top of the helmet and starts flashing in several bright colors.

8. The helmet teleports to a different person, monster, or animal that is within 30' of it.  Once it teleports, another roll is made on this chart.

Gamemasters are encouraged to create their own tables for the helmet.

For some odd reason, most characters want to keep the magic helmet. It must be forcible taken from them, and a savings throw versus magic must be made.  Once this is done, the character realizes that the helmet was indeed... ridiculous.

Saturday, October 20, 2012

Thank You Mr. Chaos

So today I was supposed to sell stuff at a flea market/sidewalk sale at an antique mall that my mom has a space in.  Well, I spent most of Friday, opening boxes, sorting, cleaning, pricing, and then loading up the truck.  I was good to go in the morning.

I'm up early to finish up some minor things, when it's discovered the truck keys have disappeared.  They are GONE.  So... pffffft... no sidewalk sale for me.  Instead I have a yard sale, although I wasn't too excited at the idea.  I thought I would have better sales at the mini-flea market.  Oh well.

As I was trying to set up, I got very busy.  It was so busy I had several people leave.  I can't talk to all of them at the same time.  I hadn't even put up a sign at the street corner.  Then I noticed someone else had one up.  There was a good, steady flow of customers all day.

Later my mom returns, and she said it was slow at the sidewalk sale.  So slow, the other merchants were complaining, and the wind was bad.  It was windy here, but nothing I couldn't handle.  So it was a good thing I had a sale here at the house.  And to think I almost didn't do it.

I almost cleared $100!  I'll probably have the sale again tomorrow for a few hours.  So thank you Mr. Chaos, if you hadn't arranged for the disappearance of the keys, my sales would probably have been lousy.

Most of the things I was selling had been my dad's.  Sometimes I considered putting something back, several items in fact, but I knew I couldn't keep it all.  It was just stuff that my dad had owned, nothing even remotely sentimental, aside from the fact he had owned it.  If I start keeping things because of some vague emotional attachment, then soon I'm keeping everything, and hoarding things is bad.  Unless it's gold, and you're a dragon, then I guess it would be okay. 

Of course if I was a dragon, I would probably be one with OCD, and my coins would be neatly stacked and counted.  All the diamonds in one chest, rubies in another, and so on.  All the magic items would have a section, sorted by type, and properly stored.  None of this lying about in piles.  That would just be wrong.  If even one coin is missing, I would know.

Friday, October 19, 2012

Busy Day

I've had a busy day getting ready to go sell stuff at a flea market tomorrow.  Most of the stuff was my dad's, and there were boxes I hadn't gone through yet.  It was a difficult thing to do.  So I don't have any gaming content.  Way too many other things on mind.

Big news here in Texas!  If you've ever been to the State Fair of Texas, you know about Big Tex.  Poor guy caught on fire today, and the only thing that didn't burn was his sleeves, and belt buckle.  Sad.  Big Tex will be back next year!  It wouldn't be the same without the giant Texan belting out his greetings!  "Howdy folks!  Welcome to the great state fair of Texas!"  Fair officials say he will be bigger and better.

Also if that wasn't enough, a ride at the fair lost power, and 24 people are stuck at the top of the ride.  The ride called Stratosphere is about 200 feet tall.  Not a fun way to spend your Friday night!  Oh, news update, looks like the ride is slowly coming down.  Good thing, it would have been a difficult rescue for the firefighters.

Anyway, I hope everyone has a great weekend.  Not sure if I'll be posting tomorrow or not,  I might be too tired.

Thursday, October 18, 2012

Zine Progress & Arms Law Playtest

Progress on the zine is coming along better than I thought it would, and I'm way ahead of schedule.  However, I've been working on a map, and hit a road bump in trying to decide what scale to make the map in.  It's an area map of part of a continent, and I've reworked it several times.  What do you consider a good scale for area maps?  I imagine it to be about a quarter the size of the continental USA.

ICE has released the playtest book of Arms Law, and things look to be coming along nicely.  There a few major changes,  one of which is that there are no longer 20 different armor classes.  There are 10.  In fact you can mix and match them, i.e. wear plate breast armor, and leather greaves on the arms.  This of course also affects the kind of crits you receive in those areas, unlike previous editions. 

Something new is how size affects damage and crits.  A halfling stabbing a dragon, isn't going to inflict as much damage as say a human attacking the dragon.  If a giant decides to smite the halfling later, assuming the halfling survives his encounter with the dragon, then OUCH.

The writers/developers of Rolemaster Unified do seem to be listening to the people on their forum, which I think is a good thing.  Upon looking at the weapon charts, I noticed there wasn't a weapon chart for throwing darts, or a morningstar. I posted about that, and received several responses.  Now further research, and some discussion on the thread lead to the conclusion that there's a lot of confusion as to what a morningstar actually is!  Is it a spiked mace?  A spiked flail?  Morningstar probably won't make the final cut.  However, my suggestion for a throwing dart or throwing spikes just might make it in!  And I think that's a good thing.

Wednesday, October 17, 2012

[ Magic Item ] Gerd's Lucky Charm

Gerd's Lucky Charm is a 2" diameter ivory circle, with a simple leather cord running through a hole in the charm.  It's magic effect only works when worn around the neck.  On one side, the name Gerd is carved into the surface, on the opposite side, Lucky.  It appears to be written in the character's main language.  If the character can't read, then they know it's Gerd's Lucky Charm, but not how to activate the effect.

If the charm is touched, and the character says, "I need some luck.", or something similar, a modifier of 1 is applied to their next roll.  If they need to roll higher than a target number, then it's added.  If they need to roll lower than the target number, then it's subtracted.  Any damage inflicted is increased by one.  There is no limit to the number of times a day this ability can be used.

However, if the character doesn't use Gerd's Lucky Charm for an entire day, then the next day is a cursed one.  For every roll the character has to make, a modifier of 2 is applied.  If they need to roll higher than the target number, then it's subtracted.  If they need to roll lower than the target number, then it's added.  Any damage inflicted is reduced by 2.  It doesn't matter if the player tries to activate it's normal luck bonus, the day will be an unlucky one.

If a character dies due to an unlucky roll, the charm will disappear.  It has teleported to a random location.

The next day, after a cursed, unlucky day, the charm's effect returns to normal.  If the luck isn't used that day, then the next unlucky day, the modifier is raised to 3.  This will continue until the unlucky modifier reaches 6.  If it isn't used the day after reaching the modifier of six, it teleports away.  Gerd's Lucky Charm wants to be used for luck.

Only one Gerd's Lucky Charm exists.

NOTE:  The modifiers can be changed to fit into whatever rule set you use.

Tuesday, October 16, 2012

Rip Van Zanazaz

After I returned from the hospital yesterday I took a nap after have been awake for almost 24 hours.  So after 3 and a half hours I got up, deciding it was best to try and get back to a normal sleep cycle.

So last night I went to bed around 11 PM, and luckily I went to sleep, well I guess it wasn't luck, I was exhausted.  So I awake a few times, once at 4:30ish AM, and thought about getting up, but decided I needed a couple more hours of sleep.  And so it went... until slightly after 3 PM.  So I slept 16 hours?  UGH.  Not exactly what I had in mind.  Sure it's not 20 years, but I've got things to do.

Hopefully, I'll be able to fall asleep tonight at a decent hour, and get my sleep schedule back to normal.  For now, I've got some mundane things to do, but later I'm going to either work on my zine, or get up a blog post with cooler content.  Maybe both.

Anyone else have screwed up sleeping schedules?  What did you do to get back to normal?

Monday, October 15, 2012

Monday = Meh...

A quick post about nothing much.  After a sleepless night, and doing a little work on the zine, I know it's going to be a long morning.  I have a follow up appointment at the hospital  at 9 AM, where I'm sure all the doctors are going to do is look at me, and say, "Your doing fine...".  Hopefully, it will be the last follow up.

When I get home, my plan is to stay up, so I can try to get my schedule back to normal.  Hopefully, that will work, if not I'll try again tomorrow.

On a gaming note I read a post on Propnomicon, about a faux clay tablet that he made for a Halloween game.  I think something similar would make a great prop for a RPG session.

I'm looking for an artist or two for my zine.  If you're an aspiring gaming artist please contact me.  The pay won't be great, but it is experience, and you do get a couple of free copies of the zine.  Right now I need a cover, and probably a couple of illustrations, once I decide on the subject of the articles.

Also, I may sell ad space, and have classifieds.  So if you're a blogger, publisher, whatever, please contact me.  I haven't worked out all the details, but something like the back page will probably be $8 an issue, but that includes a copy of the zine the as appears in, so not that bad.  Classifieds will probably be really inexpensive.  Again this is all tentative and subject to change.

I hope everyone has a great week.

Sunday, October 14, 2012

All Your Pageview Belong to US!

So I was checking my stats, when all of the sudden they all disappeared.  Except for the ones from today.  They're all gone.  Now, it's not that big a deal, but in a way it meant something.  I was on my way to 20,000 page views.  Now I have... 22.  Oh well...

Did this happen to anyone else?

UPDATE:  The correct stats came back.  I should have known that would happen.

A Simple Sunday

Not much going on today, just been reading blogs.  Thinking about gaming, and what's next.  I'm really at a crossroads in my life, and it's time to move on with things.

Writing posts set in what I call the Kinship Universe is a lot of fun. I have yet to run any sort of game set in Kinship, but eventually I will. The trick was deciding what game system to use. For now, I've decided on GURPS 4E, because it seems the best suited to the task. I'm sure Hero System would work as well, and maybe it's even a little more flexible than GURPS in creating certain kinds of characters, but I'll probably stick with GURPS.

Now if I run something online, I might need to choose a different rule set. I've been thinking about one of the OGL games, like d6, or something in the public domain, but more research is needed. If I pick an OGL system, I would definitely customize it for Kinship. It would be a rule system with a real Kinship flavor.

I was reading a blog post lapsus calumni, and Matt Jackson discusses The Descriptive System. You can download it from RPGNow. I haven't read it yet, but to me it would seem a little too simple for what I want. Even for a PbP game on a blog. Yes, It's interesting, and something I'm interested in, but for some games and settings, you want a little more UMPH!

Now if I publish a Kinship book, I'm leaning towards making it a generic campaign setting. Why? I really don't want to have to worry about legal issues. I'm still thinking about this, and of course things may change. Also, while I want it to be a gaming resource, a campaign setting, I want it to be entertaining. Basically, something a gamer would enjoy reading, even if they never use it for a game.

Since I'm brainstorming right now, for some reason play by mail popped into my head. Back in the day, I did a bit, but it was always frustrating waiting for turn results to come in. I wonder if anyone is interested in it anymore? Probably not... Computers are so much faster.

Also, I'm starting to work on a digest sized zine. I co-published a fanzine back in the day, and Christian of destination unknown has inspired me to throw my hat into the zine ring once again. If you haven't checked it out, I strongly recommend you pick up an issue of Loviatar.  I forgot, Christian is taking a hiatus from Loviatar, but you can still purchase back issues.

For now my gaming zine will be published quarterly, with the first issue out in January. More on this later...

Enough rambling for now, I hope everyone had a great weekend!

Saturday, October 13, 2012

[ Kinship ] Mr. Wrinkles

It was a normal day, or at least what passes for normal in Kinship, when Mr. Wrinkles fell from the sky, and landed on Main Street.  Almost everyone who saw what had happened had thought that the creature was dead.  He was oozing some kind of substance, and although several people tried to move it, the creature was too slippery.  In fact, one touch was more than enough for most people.  Even gloves didn't help get a grip on the strange creature.

Whatever it was, it was small,  had a vague human shape, was gray and very wrinkled. Hence the name, Mr. Wrinkles.  As far as anyone could tell, Mr. Wrinkles was also naked.  There was what appeared to be some sort of white purse or pouch that hangs by a strap around his neck, but no visible way to open it was seen.

Mr. Wrinkles had no eyes, no ears, and something vaguely resembling a mouth that ran vertically up half it's misshapen head.  Instead of arms, Mr. Wrinkles had tentacles.  Not like an octopus, or squid, there are no suckers.  The legs were sort of like an elephant's, and not as wrinkled as the rest of the body.  A very odd creature indeed.

A few hours after it "landed" it sat up, and appeared to be looking around, even though it had no eyes.  Standing up, it began walking around aimlessly, and a few townsfolk tried to talk to it.  Apparently it can't talk, or didn't understand anyone.  All attempts at communication have so far failed.

Some of the townsfolk thought that it should be captured, but the Sheriff vetoed that idea.  Mr. Wrinkles wasn't causing any trouble, and was to be left alone.  Soon after awakening, Mr. Wrinkles walked out of town.  There's still a stain at the landing spot.

Mr. Wrinkles occasionally walks back into town, and it's behavior is at times very odd.  It will sit on a curb for hours on end, come rain or shine.  Extreme weather doesn't seem to bother Mr. Wrinkles.  Sometimes Mr. Wrinkles will pull something out of the pouch to look at.  People have seen him with a corncob pipe, a small metal disc, and a mess of what looks like tangled wires.

Mr. Wrinkles doesn't appear to be hostile.  It's appetite is strange, and can eat just about any plant or animal matter.  Mr. Wrinkles seems to enjoy corn, even the cob!  Which is a good thing, we have plenty of corn around here.  At times Mr. Wrinkles seems sad...

I would attempt to communicate with Mr. Wrinkles with my telepathy, but...

Excerpt from Number Five's Journal

Mr. Wrinkles ( GURPS 4E NPC )
[ 278 Points ] 
Age: Unknown 2' 100 lbs. SM -3

ST 15 [ 50 ], DX 11 [20], IQ 8 [ -40 ], HT 20 [ 100 ]
HP 20, Will 8, Per 8, FP 20

Basic Lift 45 lbs., Damage: Thrust 1d+1/Swing 2d+1
Basic Speed 7.75, Basic Move 7;
Dodge 10, Parry 11 ( club ), Block -;
DR 10.

Advantages & Perks  Cost: 207
360° Vision [ 25 ], Ambidexterity [ 5 ], Damage Resistance/ +10  [ 50 ],
Doesn't Breathe/Oxygen Absorption [ 15 ], Flexible Arms [10 ],
Hard to Kill/ 10 Levels [ 20 ], Hyperspectral Vision [ 25 ],
Injury Tolerance/ No Eyes [ 5 ],
Regeneration/ Slow 1 HP per 12 Hours  [10 ], 
Slippery/ 5 Levels [ 10 ], Stretching ( arms only )/ 5 Levels [ 24 ],
Temperature Tolerance/ 8 Levels [ 8 ], Universal Digestion [ 5 ] 

Disadvantages & Quirks Cost: 91

Appearance/Hideous [ -16 ], Cannot Speak/Mute [ -25 ]
Colorblindness [ -10 ], Increased Consumption/ 1 level [ -10 ],
Innumerate [ -5 ], No Sense of Humor [ -10 ],
No Sense of Smell or Taste [ -5 ], Unusual Biochemistry [ -5 ],
Broad Minded [ -1 ],  Sexless [ -1 ], Odd Behavior [ -1 ],
Eats Odd Things  [ -1 ], Wanders Aimlessly [ -1 ]

Skills Cost: 32

Brawling – 14  [ 8 ], Gesture – 10 [ 4 ],
Melee Weapon/ Axe/Mace – 15 [ 16 ],
Stealth -12 [ 4 ]

White Pouch:  Corn cob pipe, metal disc 3" in diameter, tangled ball of wire, one square foot of burlap, and several small stones

Ognritle, Og for short, was a simple laborer on it's home world.  One day while working in the Vlaph Field ( Vlaph is a vegetable plant ), a strange vehicle flew down from the sky, and attacked.  Knocked unconcious, Og was abducted, and taken offworld.  What happened next is a mystery.  Og awoke on a strange world.

Life on this world is strange.  The creatures are huge, and some are very strange and hostile.  Some desire to eat him.  Some seem concerned about him.  No matter how hard Og tries, communicating with the creatures is very difficult, and mostly impossible.

It's not all bad here.  Og doesn't have to work. Og enjoys the food here, it's texture is wonderful, especially the elongated, bumpy vegetable.  Og sometimes fights the hostile creatures when the good creatures need help.  But mostly Og wants to go home.

Friday, October 12, 2012

On Reading Blogs & More...

As I was writing my post yesterday, I got off topic. I wanted to write about how certain television shows influence or inspire your gaming, but I got so wrapped up discussing Supernatural I forgot all about that topic, and... well, hopefully it wasn't too boring. I would have kept the hammer...

Porky mentioned in a comment on a previous post about some sort of online gaming in Kinship. Until I get better bandwidth, I can't do anything on Google+.  A PbP game on a blog might work, but last time I put forth the idea, no one really seemed interested, which is okay. It didn't bother me at all. I'm still thinking about this, and need to work on the idea some more. So stay tuned...

I continue discussing Rolemaster Unified on the ICE Forums. At times this has become frustrating, but hopefully something good will come of it. I like the rules, which aren't perfect, but most rule sets aren't, otherwise people wouldn't write their own house rules.

I've really enjoyed getting back to reading all the gaming blogs. To save time, I've become a bit more selective in my reading, but I try to skim almost all of the ones I follow, and a few I don't follow.

Usually, I like to have some kind of graphic element to my blog posts, but I can't seem to upload anything.  I'm not sure what's changed, but even if it took a while, I could still get things uploaded.  Not anymore...

Finally, I leave you with another magic item...

[ Magic Item ] A Delightful Mug

This clay mug appears ordinary, and somewhat used. At first glance, if this mug is found in a dungeon it might be overlooked, but if some sort of detect magic spell is used on it, it's magical nature is revealed.

When a liquid is put in the mug, it is changed into the user's favorite beverage. This beverage will be the best the user has ever tasted! Unfortunately, if the liquid is poured out, and not consumed, then it reverts to the original liquid.

However, the mug is cursed. Whenever a drink is taken, the character must make a saving throw versus magic, or fall victim to the curse. If they fail the saving throw they will become enamored of the mug, and will take it with them everywhere. The character will think that the mug is the best thing ever, and when not doing anything else, will hold the mug, caressing it, and talk to it, as they drink from it. They will display it proudly in their home, and show it off to people. Eventually, it's all the character can think about, and they will even stop eating, and only drink from the mug.

If one person is cursed by the mug, and another person drinks from the mug, and is cursed as well, then they will fight over the ownership of the mug. The fight will continue until the mug is destroyed, the curse removed from one of the characters, or one of the characters is dead.

Only some sort of dispel magic or remove curse spell will get rid of the curse. If the mug is smashed the character will become depressed for 1d10 days, and not want to do anything. They will try to repair the mug, but after the period of depression they will forget about the mug.

An unknown number of these delightful mugs were produced, and it's unknown exactly why they were produced.

Thursday, October 11, 2012

Television Shows and Gamers

There's really not a lot of television programming that I like right now.  I'm sick of reality shows.  I tried watching the new Survivor, but after about two episodes I gave up.  Same old thing, different people.

Arrow looks like it's going to be good.  I enjoyed the pilot.   A different take on the old DC character.  It makes me want to play a superhero RPG!  Heh....

Last season I didn't watch much of Supernatural.  I don't know why, something else must have been on at the same time.  I, for the most part, enjoy the show.  I decided to watch it last night, and really enjoyed it.  The thing is I was approaching it from a gamer's point of view, and that's not always a good thing.  If you haven't  seen this episode yet, and might want to, what follows is a spoiler.

The plot was that the brothers, Dean and Sam were trying to acquire a stone tablet, supposedly inscribed with some sort of invocation to banish all the demons and lock them in Hell.  So they track it down, and find out it's going to be auctioned off.  The auction is being held by Plutus, Greek God of wealth, and apparently he wants more wealth. Actually, I think a character called him the God of Greed. So they go to the auction, and soon determine they can't afford to bid on it.

There are several interest artifacts up for bid, one of which is Mjölnir, Thor's hammer!  At the beginning of the episode, a small, old man was getting something out of his safe deposit box at a bank.  Turns out to be a finger bone of Frost Giant.  Weird.  The old man then kills the bank employee.  Of course this really doesn't have much to do with the plot, until later.

Anyway, lets cut to the chase, the old man bids the finger bone of the Frost Giant for Mjölnir, but Plutus  isn't interested.  Then the old man holds up a bag, and offers 1/5 of a virgin as well.  Eeewww.  I was wondering what he did with the rest of the bank employee?  For some reason, Plutus accepts the bid.  The old man, happily clutches the hammer.  He's happy.  He's heard muttering, "How I've missed you..."

Then the stone tablet comes up for bidding.  A bidding war starts, and the mom of the prophet, who's the only one who can use the tablet, bids her own soul.  Plutus agrees.  Then later, after the auction, they start to make the transaction and things go to heck.  Plutus is killed, and one of his henchmen.  Big trouble for the brothers.

To even the odds, Sam borrows Mjölnir, and smites Plutus's right hand "man", who had betrayed Plutus.  The old man wants his hammer back, and Sam looks reluctant to give it up.  I know I sure wouldn't!  Then Sam asks the old man, where he got 1/5 of a virgin.  The old man, who at this point I'm thinking is either a very under-powered Thor or Odin, due to a lack of worshippers, get's this sheepish look on his face.  Oops.  Sam smites the old man, and he disappears.  Nothing left but the old man's clothes.  Back to Asgard I guess.  The hammer is left next to clothes.  Whaaaaaaaat?

At this point something comes up, and I miss a bit, so I don't know if the hammer is retrieved or was left lying on the warehouse floor?  All I know is the gamer in me is screaming.  Keep the hammer!  If you spend your life hunting  and fighting supernatural evil, Thor's hammer would come in handy.  At least in my opinion.

For those wondering, and didn't watch the show,  the bad guy got the tablet, but not the prophet.  The prophet and his mom no longer trust the Winchester's, and go into hiding.  The brothers go on their way, without Mjölnir, as far as I know...

This is how I would have ended the episode.

Sam puts Mjölnir in the trunk of the car.

Dean: So you're keeping the hammer?
Sam: Yeah...
Dean: Okaaaaaaaay.

I have a feeling if gamers wrote television shows they would be much, much different.

[ Magic Item ] Sylvan Jar

A Sylvan Jar is a minor magic item used to store medicinal and magical herbs, as well as potions, salves, ointments, etc.  Anything stored in a Sylvan Jar will stay fresh, and retain it's potency for an indefinite amount of time.  They can be clear or colored, and are usually etched with vines, or plants, as a decoration.  Some are labeled with Elvish glyphs to indicate it's contents.  The jars can come in all shapes and sizes, but large ones are rare.  A jar will have either a cork, or glass stopper, and the effect will not work if the stopper is missing, or left off the jar too long.  Although the jars are extremely durable, they can be broken.

The secret to the creation of a Sylvan Jar has long been lost, and many glassblowers would pay dearly to learn the secret of creating them.  Rumors abound of a long, lost tome that describes how they are made.

These are highly prized by alchemists and herbalists, and most will pay a good price to acquire a Sylvan Jar.

Wednesday, October 10, 2012

Same Flavor, Less Crunch, and Hopefully with the Same Amount of PUNCH!

No, I'm not talking about a breakfast cereal or snack chips.  I'm talking about Rolemaster Unified.

I downloaded the playtest PDFs of Character Law, and Spell Law, and so far I like what I'm reading.  RMU is not nearly as crunchy as RMSS ( Rolemaster Standard System. ), and is looking to be very playable.

I've been participating in the Official ICE Forums, and discussing the new version of Rolemaster in the playtest forums.  It's been interesting, and fun for the most part.

I'm hoping things don't get changed too much.  There's a lot of different ideas being put forth in the playtest forums, and some I don't like at all.  No levels?!?!?  Anyway, it's still early in the process, and I'm looking forward to seeing the final versions.  The Arms Law PDF hasn't been released yet, I guess it's still in beta playtesting.

One cool thing is that I managed to get the spreadsheet to work.  All I had to do was load it into OpenOffice, but now they have versions for both Excel and OpenOffice!  Man, does this make chargen easy in RM!  It's still being designed, but once it's finished it's going to be wonderous.  The trick is formating it, so a print out doesn't look too "junky".  I've been trying to work on that, but I've had very little success.

Anyway, I alway had a great time playing and running Rolemaster.  Hopefully, RMU will be good, if not a great game.

I'm also working on a spreadsheet for GURPS 4E.  My spreadsheet design skills are poor at best, and I've got a long way to go.  I know Steve Jackson Games has a program to do that, but I'm cheap.  Maybe I'll get it in the future, but for now, a spreadsheet will work just fine.

Tuesday, October 9, 2012

[ Kinship ] The Arrival of Fred the Nerd

Fred clutched his backpack close to his chest. Riding the subway late Saturday night, after spending the day at the NYC Comicon, he was still feeling the high of the con. It had been a great day. He managed to fill some holes in his comic book collection, got a couple of autographed photos, and picked up a copy of an out of print RPG he had been looking for. The only other person on the subway car was a scruffy looking man, who was asleep.

Then the lights went out, and suddenly Fred knew someone was standing before him.

It became cold, and Fred shivered. Then the lights came back on, and standing before him was a person in black robes. A very tall person. At first Fred thought the person was in costume, and had been at the con. However, Fred suddenly knew that wasn't the case.

The robed figure lowered his head toward the seated Fred. The face was pale, bony to the point of looking almost completely skeletal. Inches from his own face, Fred saw the glowing eyes, and then the face grinned.  As the lips curled back, Fred saw teeth as black as obsidian, and pointed as a sharks.  Ironically it's breath smelled of grass after a Spring rain.

Then in a voice raspy as sandpaper on rusted metal, the figure spoke...

"You are now free..."

Raising an arm, the monstrous figure grasped Fred's shoulder, a cold shock shuddering through out Fred's body. Peace came with the darkness, and the last thing Fred heard was a melodical laugh.

An indeterminate amount of time later, Fred woke up. Looking around he appeared to be in an alley, but it was daytime. Sitting up, he sees graffiti on a brick wall...

Spray painted in red it read: Kinship NO WAY OUT!

Fred the Nerd knew he wasn't in New York City anymore...

Fred the Nerd  ( GURPS 4E NPC )

Fred the Nerd [ 55 Points ] 45 Unspent Points

Age: 19  5'1" 110 lbs.  Skinny [ -5 ]

ST 9 [-10], DX 11 [20], IQ 12 [40], HT 10
HP 9, Will 12, Per 12, FP 10

Basic Lift 16, Damage: Thr 1d-2/Sw 1d-1;
Basic Speed 5, Basic Move 5;
Dodge 7, Parry 8 ( unarmed ), Block -;
DR 0.

Advantages and Perks
Common Sense [ 10 ], Eidetic Memory [ 5 ], Luck [ 15 ]

Disadvantages and Quirks
Combat Paralysis [ -15 ], Collects Comic Books [ -1 ], Collects Action Figures [ -1 ], Curious [ -5 ], Gullibility [ -10 ], Imaginative [ -1 ], Loner [ -5 ],
Minor Addiction/Caffeine [ -1 ], Trekkie [ -1 ] Weirdness Magnet [ -15 ]

Area Knowledge/New York City - 13 [ 2 ],
Artist/Drawing - 13 [ 8 ],
Biology - 10 [ 1 ], Chemistry - 11 [ 2 ],
Computer Operation/TL8 - 16 [ 8 ],
Games/RPGs - 14 [ 4 ], Hobby Skill/Comic Books - 14 [ 4 ],
Hobby Skill/Science Fiction - 14 [ 4 ],
Writing -12 [ 2 ]

Backpack: laptop computer, digital camera, jar of peanut butter, spoon, 3 issues of Uncanny X-Men 101, 102, 103 ( all near mint ), sketch pad, small box of drawing pencils and pens, GURPS Basic Set 3E softcover, bag of dice, cell phone

He's wearing faded jeans, and a Captain America t-shirt.  The con badge is still hanging around his neck.  He has a wallet with about $10, some loose change, keys, and a pack of gum in his pockets.  He's wearing some inexpensive atheltic shoes.

Poor Fred the Nerd is now in Kinship due to the manifestation of his Weirdness Magnet.  He's not a combat orientated character, and it will remain to be seen if he becomes zombie chow or worse.  He does have unspent points ( I decided he was a 100 point character ) so once the Sheriff assigns Fred a weapon he can begin training.  His combat paralysis may very will be his doom however...

Fred the Nerd is the first GURPS 4E character I have made.  It was fun, and not that different than GURPS 3E. I'm a bit rusty so hopefully there are no mistakes.

Monday, October 8, 2012

Rolemaster Unified

Once I read that Rolemaster was being "reworked" for publication I had to find out what was going on. So I went to the Iron Crown Enterprises website, and sure enough, a revised version of Rolemaster is coming out. ICE has also undergone a change in ownership.

Now I like the Rolemaster Standard System, but from what I've read so far, this new version looks good.

They're calling it Rolemaster Unified. Two of the core books are in public playtest, and you can download the PDF's. The two PDF's available are, Spell Law, and Character Law. There's also a Excel spreadsheet to help in creating characters, but since I can't use Excel, it doesn't do me any good. Oh well.

I've skimmed both, and plan on an in depth reading later this week. As I mentioned before, I like what I'm reading. Character creation is somewhat different, and gives two options for stats. You can generate the ten stats randomly, or spend points on them. It's been done both ways in past editions, but I like the option of picking which method. In RMSS you generated your stats by assigning points.  In earlier versions I believe it was always random. I plan on creating a character later this week in both RMSS and RMU and comparing the two rule sets.

It really looks like they are streamlining things somewhat, and this could be a good thing. RMU could be more "playable" than RMSS, and this is also a good thing!

One drawback to this "new" Rolemaster is that I'm spending far too much time in the Official ICE forums...

This was kind of a quickly written post, but I will have more on what was always one of my favorite RPG's later this week.

Sunday, October 7, 2012

I Trudge Onward in the Blogging World

First of all, I want to thank those bloggers that kept me on their blogrolls. So, "Thank you!". I've decided to continue blogging, and hopefully coming up with some stuff worth blogging about.

The Sandbox Dilemma

I'm sure this topic has been discussed ad nauseam in blogs and elsewhere, but it's something I have been thinking about. How much is enough when it comes to a sandbox setting? ( I think I may have written about this before? I didn't go back and check... ) Unless, you are using published material, who has the time to fully flesh out a fantasy campaign? Much less a star-spanning science fiction campaign?

I've thought one solution would be to use a patchwork method. Using a variety of sources, I could patch together a fantasy sandbox world. There's plenty of free material on the web. An almost endless variety of dungeons, and other adventures that could be used without any or very little preparation.

The only problem I could see is that it wouldn't feel... cohesive. Well, it would feel that way to me, maybe not the players. I guess that's not really a problem, just my opinion. With a little work, I'm sure it could be made to feel cohesive.

In fact, in the early days of role playing, I think a lot of players used the patchwork method. I can imagine most DM's used the TSR modules set in their own worlds, along with some of their own creations. It worked for the most part, and was enjoyable. In fact, I think I probably had more fun in the early days of role playing, than later in life. Maybe because it was all so new, and exciting?

I guess, in the long run, it doesn't really matter, unless it's going to be a multi-year, long running campaign? I don't see that happening for me anytime soon, and I'm not getting any younger. So I think I can get away with just getting enough together for a few gaming sessions, and feel good about it. In fact I think I've got a good idea to base a few game sessions around. I'll have more on this idea later this week.

Rolemaster Gets a New Edition?

Okay. Fine. This happens after I've reacquired many of the Rolemaster Standard books I want. I guess I need to go check their website. UGH. Oh well, who am I kidding? If the books are priced right then I will be buying them. In fact I will probably buy more than one copy. I've been a Rolemaster aficionado since the beginning.

Until next time, Happy Gaming!

Saturday, October 6, 2012

Where Have I Been?

Wow. It's been almost seven months since I made a blog entry. I've been trying to decide if I want to continue or not, and to whomever's still reading, I still haven't decided. Over the past couple of days I've been reading gaming blogs, which I haven't done much of in a long while. ( I used to read many blogs just about every day. ) I stopped reading them about the same time I stopped blogging. I've also been looking at my sad, neglected blog, and the declining number of views, and wonder if there was any point?

I like gaming, I like reading and writing about gaming, but after two, close, personal losses, my sister and dad, I just lost interest. I was getting fairly gung ho there for a while. The blogging community does that to a person, or at least to me. I find it inspiring and synergistic, and I'm trying to get back into the groove. It's just been difficult.

I'm not sure how much I've missed in the last seven months in the gaming sphere of blogs. I know I missed one great kick starter thing by Reaper Miniatures, which, ironically, I'm kicking myself over. I'm also wondering who's still blogging, and who's not? What's the latest "thing" or meme? I don't think I have the energy to go read seven months worth of gaming blogs to find out...

I also missed an entire summer of local conventions. I haven't gamed, not even any computer games. I haven't done much writing, no drawing, last week I did start designing a dungeon, but I lost interest. The little writing I did was for an idea for a GURPS 4E campaign I was going to run for a couple of friends, but it looks like that may not happen now. I haven't touched a single miniature, or made any terrain. So it's been a nonproductive seven months, but I needed the time. I've been a bit reclusive, and to tell you the truth I'm not looking forward to the upcoming holiday season.

Oh yeah! I did purchase three GURPS 4E books! I The Basic Set Characters, Campaigns, and Powers. So I'm really excited about working on a new GURPS campaign, or maybe work on my Kinship Campaign for GURPS.

The good news is I finally had surgery. When I went in for the pre-surgical evaluation the day before, the doctors looked at my nose, and said that I had rhinophyma. They seemed more concerned with that than the cyst. The surgeon said he could do both on the same day, so I said fine, just do it. They ended doing one more thing, so three procedures in two and a half hours, and I'm glad that it's finally done. I've spent the last couple of weeks recovering, and I'm now feeling much better. Still have a couple of more things to deal with, but then I should be golden, at least in the health department.  Emotionally and socially, things have been the pits, but I'm going to work on those as well.

Writing wise, it's difficult to shake off the dust and cobwebs, but I think the old juice is coming back.