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Monday, 25 September 2017

Wild West Campaign Update: Uncle Fancy

The session began with a couple of PCs absent: the Mormon Gambler was off doing some errands for Beattie in Kansas City, while Kid Taylor was off doing some patrolling work in the countryside.

Cooter was in a panic, on account that he'd gotten news that his Uncle Fancy was arriving in town for a visit.  The PCs already knew that Cooter had been very creative in his stories sent back to Cooter County, and his entire family had the impression that he was actually the Sheriff around here.  Last time, when his Aunt Henry had come to visit, then-Sheriff Bassett had helped Cooter out by playing along.  But this time the Sheriff is Bat Masterson, and he's not interested in playing make-believe that Cooter is the boss while his uncle is in Dodge.

When Marhsal Jeff Young doesn't prove to be any help, Cooter goes to talk to Crazy Miller, who concocts a plan: the local townspeople willing to help will create the illusion for Uncle Fancy that Cooter is the chief lawman, and then as soon as possible Cooter will take his uncle out of town on a 'routine patrol' where they'll do some sight-seeing and fishing until it's time for him to get home.

This seems like a good plan, and when Cooter's uncle shows up in the noon train, it initially works. There were enough people calling Cooter sheriff that it all seemed credible, and Crazy Miller didn't even flinch when it turned out that this wasn't the only fib Cooter had told; he had also claimed that him and Miller were partners and Cooter was a half-owner of the Palace Saloon.  So things were going well.
But then it turns out that Uncle Fancy brought several jugs of "the Recipe" (the infamous moonshine that the ladies of the Cooter clan concoct), and things go somewhat askew when a good part of the participants as well as the Cooters themselves get considerably drunk in the Alhambra Saloon.

Things get even crazier when the alarm comes through the town that Doc Baker has been shot!  The town doctor is still alive, the shot hit his shoulder and the bullet is still in; unfortunately, with the doc himself being the victim of the shooting and with Kid Taylor being out of town, the only two people in town with any kind of medical qualifications at all are Crazy Miller (who learned a tiny bit of medical training in the army) and Doc Holliday.  Deciding that he doesn't want to trade removing a bullet for catching consumption, Doc Baker decides to have Crazy Miller remove the bullet under his instructions while Baker is still conscious.  Fortunately, it works, though not without considerable agony for Doc Baker.  It turns out that the doctor has a strong suspicion about who took a shot at him: a few days ago he tried to treat the wife of a farmer named Henry Calhoon. Calhoon already hated doctors after his brother had died on a surgeon's operating table during the Civil War, and when his wife had got an infection he refused to call on the Doc, but when he went out for a couple of days on a job to raise money for his struggling farmstead, the farmer's son went and got Doc. But it was too late, Calhoon's wife died, and Doc is sure that it was the grief-stricken enraged farmer who tried to murder him, blaming him for his wife's death.

During the whole ordeal, Cooter has just barely managed to skillfully maintain the illusion that he's the town lawman. When the real lawmen agree to go looking for Calhoon, he acts as though he approved of their suggestions and that he and his uncle would stay at the Doctor's office to stand guard.

The lawmen (helped by the two Millers) don't find anything in town. When they find Wyatt Earp (who had been off in the Red Light District when the shooting took place), Earp suggested that the farmer probably rushed back to his farm right after shooting the sawbones.

They decided to go look for Calhoon on his farm, but needed to go ask Doc Baker exactly where the farm was (the only lawman currently in Dodge with a very intimate knowledge of the rest of Ford County is Bill Tilghman, and he had gone out with Kid Taylor).

When they got to Doc's office, they found that the Cooters were gone; they'd left Baxter (the manager of the Wells-fargo office) keeping guard, and had apparently already figured the same idea, having left with almost an hour's advantage to the Calhoon farm.  Wyatt and Jeff Young took Crazy Miller and Other Miller to head off after the Cooters. Wyatt tried to get Doc Holliday to come along, but he was decidedly uninterested.

When they got to the Calhoon farmstead it was already dark. Earp and Crazy Miller went around the back of the farmhouse, which was lit, while Jeff Young and Other Miller headed to the front door. But before they could get to the door, one of the farmhouse windows was broken and someone was threatening them with a rifle!

They assumed it was Calhoon, but as they started to draw Young noticed that the wielder's frame was way too slight; and they heard Cooter shout from inside the farmhouse that it was Calhoon's 13-year old son about to fire on them.

Wyatt started running to the front, telling Crazy Miller to break the window and get in from behind. Other Miller rushed to try to grab the rifle and pull it out of the kid's hands. He missed his grab, though, and the kid shot. He missed Miller, but then Jeff Young tried to shoot the rifle and accidentally ended up hitting Other Miller in the leg.

Other Miller wasn't seriously injured and he tried to pin the rifle against the window frame. The kid shot again but missed as the rifle was pinned. Wyatt Earp got to the front, bashed the door down and drew on the kid just as Other Miller finally managed to pull knock the rifle out of the boy's hands. The kid surrendered, he'd just been doing what his Pa had told him to do. Cooter and Uncle Fancy were both tied up in the farmhouse and Cooter frantically told the PCs that Calhoon was headed back to Dodge; when they'd gotten the jump on the Cooter, Calhoon realized that Doc Baker was still alive, and (still enraged by grief and thoughts of revenge) went back to town to finish what he started.

Other Miller and the Cooters stayed to keep an eye on the boy, while Crazy Miller, Jeff Young, and Wyatt Earp rushed back toward Dodge. Crazy Miller was the best horsemen of the three and quickly left the others in the dust.

He got to Dodge and galloped up to the Doc's office, only to find Baxter unconscious and the door ajar. He rushed up the stairs to the door and heard a shot, but from a derringer. Then just before he got into the exam room he heard a second shot, this time from a rifle. As he got through the door, he saw that Doc was bleeding on the floor and Calhoon was also bleeding, re-cocking his rifle and getting ready to fire. It turns out that Calhoon had come into the doc's office intent on killing him, but had words with him first. He didn't realize that Doc Baker, always prepared, was resting on his sickbed with a derringer under his pillow. He got his shot off but only injured Calhoon, who then shot him in the other shoulder.  Calhoon spun around when he saw Crazy Miller rushing in, intent on firing on him, but Crazy Miller was faster, and dropped Calhoon with a shot to the head.

Miller then treated the ever-complaining Doc Baker, who once again lucked out with the shot not having hit anything too serious.

As for Uncle Fancy, he had such a great time with his adventure in Dodge that he considered bringing over his whole branch of the Cooter clan to live in the city where Cooter had obviously done so well. Cooter only managed to convince him otherwise by pointing out that Dodge city is no fit place for Cooter-clan women-folk, and that the life Cooter had chosen as a lawman and rich saloon owner had to be a solitary one.


Currently Smoking: Neerup Crown Cutty + C&D's Crowley's Best

Sunday, 24 September 2017

Classic Rant: A Quick Note on Social Skills Vs. Actual Roleplaying

In any game that has social skills, rather than roleplaying, you can run a game without roleplaying more easily than one that has no social skills, unless you run the latter purely as a miniatures skirmish.

That's because in any situation that demands roleplay, in the game with social skills, you can just say "i try to charm/seduce/enchant/intimidate/impress/honor person x" and then roll a die and the die roll can tell you whether you did it or not.
In a game with no social skills, you actually have to roleplay.

The great rebuttal people try to offer to this point is that if you have explicit social-skill rules in a game, that means that it's somehow encouraging people to do more social scenes, whereas D&D with no social skills is just encouraging combat somehow. This is a bit like saying that giving people a ton of tofu will encourage them to eat more meat, while not having tofu on the table means people will forget all about bacon.

In my experience most of the time "the system encourages it" mentality actually causes LESS reliance on roleplaying (and more reliance on 'story points' or having "five dots in diplomacy" or whatever). That's not the sort of encouragement you need or want. Any "encouragement" that makes how well you roleplay the character irrelevant if you roll the wrong die result is not actually encouragement, it's discouragement. It's telling you "don't worry about trying to portray the character, just put your points in the right skills".


(Originally Posted 21 September, 2015)

Saturday, 23 September 2017

Pictures From Uruguay: Tristan Narvaja Street Market

Tristan Narvaja is, allegedly, the largest open-air street market in the world. I'm not sure if that's really true, but I've heard the claim frequently and it certainly could be. It runs the gamut of Tristan Narvaja street, which is 7 blocks long, and spills out on all the sides streets for those blocks, often two or three blocks out.  It is open every Sunday, all year.

There's a big mix of farmer-market-style foodstuffs, arts and crafts, antiques, and all kinds of other things.

There's a very haphazard sort of vibe to it, and a lot of Uruguayan eccentricity.

Like that guy in the pic above, who's doing a type of fortune-telling from Afro-origin Umbanda (the local version of Voodoo), called Ifa Divination.

The various stores on the street are open (most retail stores outside of malls are usually closed on Sundays), and include tons of Bookstores, antique-stores, record stores and more.

As with other parts of the city, you can find interesting street art here.

There's lots of clothes too; hats, shoes, underwear and socks, dresses, pretty much everything.

And one of the very best things about it are the olives.

Anyways, that's it for today. I have more pics of the market of course, so maybe I'll post some more later.


Currently Smoking: Blatter Diplomat + C&D's Crowley's Best

Friday, 22 September 2017

My Interview with Greg Gorgonmilk About the Ctrl-Left Attempt to Subvert the OSR

So, some of you may have heard by now that the Ctrl-Left has hounded out another prominent member of the OSR: Greg Gorgonmilk.  Greg had a popular OSR blog and was a prominent G+ gaming poster.  But he was also known for posting against political-correctness (sorry for using such an old-fashioned term there for what is actually "SJW propaganda shit"; but Greg's an old-fashioned guy) and in favor of free speech.

The moment he was critically assaulted on multiple social media platforms came, however, when he decided to speak against political violence.  For context, it had to do with something that happened in Seattle this week, where a man with a nazi armband  was spotted wandering around the Seattle transit by someone who posted a picture online. Antifa immediately sprang into action searching for the guy all over the downtown of that city, and when they found him one of them punched him unconscious.  The claim is that he was shouting racist insults at people and that he hurled a banana at a black man; none of that somehow ended up on film even though the punch did (so people were clearly filming; why didn't they film the guy doing the threatening things they claim he was?).  But in any case, it's sort of irrelevant; the core of the story is the guy was a visible Nazi, and Antifa hunted him down and beat him unconscious (admittedly, with a single punch; it looks like Antifa finally found someone with upper arm strength! Or a target with a very weak jaw).

On a post about this incident on Google+, Greg suggested that it was a bad thing to have searched for, hunted, and punched the guy with the Nazi armband. For that, he suffered a massive campaign of harassment, doxxing threats, intimidation against his friends, etc. until he decided to vanish from the hobby.

It should be shocking, but in this day and age a significant part of this hobby seems to believe this is perfectly OK, because some totalitarian fucks decided to claim that objecting to political violence or defending freedom of expression means YOU are a Nazi, and after that literally anything can be done to you. That's the world we live in today.

So in any case, Greg Gorgonmilk got in touch with me after I defended him on G+, and answered a few questions for me. Along the way, he confirmed something I had been hearing from a few people on G+ about a secret group (like a literal one, on G+ or Facebook) that was composed of left-wing OSR people who were targeting Greg.

P: So, are you a nazi?

Gorgonmilk: First let me say that I don't fit into the Right/Left political dichotomy. I'm one of those lingering Centrists. I might even be a Diagonal because I choose to associate with people from both ends, including Libertarians. The takeaway here is that I do not have extreme political beliefs/values. No, I'm not a nazi.

P: Second question: why are you such a fucking pussy? You don't run and hide from the Ctrl-Left Swine-Totalitarians, that's how they win.

Gorgonmilk: I have killed off the Gorgonmilk identity publicly because I am involved in a publishing venture. I have seen the way these Far Left people operate, and I know it would only be a matter of time before my partner is targeted. He's not nearly as "controversial" as me, and I would be pissed to see all the work we have done together repudiated as the work of "white supremacists". If I am a white supremacist, then I am failing at it badly in the real world.

P: That is understandable, and I acknowledge that some people have it harder than others to stand up to Ctrl-Left persecution because of just how dirty they fight, and how they go after friends and family and try to destroy your career in and out of the RPG field. It's why I've made a point of having jobs I know I won't be virtue-signal-fired from and friends who know just what I think and write. But not everyone can have that luxury.
But you have not really left the OSR is what you're saying? You will be coming back, just in another identity?

Gorgonmilk: Yeah that's the plan. Somewhat older and slightly wiser.

P: Ok. So I've heard that there was more behind this story than just what the public got to see. Namely, that there was a connection between the dogpiling and harassment you were the target of, and a secret group calling themselves the Mongrel Banquet Club. Want to explain that?

Gorgonmilk: I was invited to the Mongrel Banquet Club under the pretense that it was a no-holds-barred, post whatever filth you like kind of place. It was started by Beloch Shrike, btw, but nearly everyone there is a moderator. I was chastised for posting an image by Masamune Shirow that showed a semi-naked woman being groped above the waist by demon monsters. I thought it was amusing, but I was told that I could potentially trigger many people there. My response to this was very sarcastic, but I capitulated and took it down. The real salt in their eyes is the fact that I refused to be "taken aside" and talked down to by the group's "moral authorities" (wtf there are pictures of actual poop there!) So even though I did as asked I apparently ruffled their feathers by not toeing the lines of their ideology.

P: So how did this connect to the whole Seattle-Nazi-Punch thing?

Gorgonmilk: Fast forward to me making a post stating that I didn't agree with Antifa's violent tactics. Gus L chimed into that thread to call me a scumbag-racist-misogynist, claiming that I am anti-BLM (I have no fucking idea what he's talking about -- I have never talked about BLM) and so _clearly_ I am a white supremacist. Gus L is also a member of the Mongrel group btw. My position throughout that thread never changed, which I think was very frustrating to the social justice crowd because it painted them in a bad light.

P: And that's when a group of them escalated into larger attacks?

Gorgonmilk:  Their whole schtick is that they are unerringly fighting for goodness, as you realize, so my pointing out that they were supporting assholes was serious cognitive dissonance. The final nail in the coffin was supplied by Courtney Campbell of Hack & Slash, who reiterated the whole "Gorgonmilk is Nazi-Sympathizer because he is showing sympathy for a man with a swastika on his arm." 

P: So what was your exact position on the Nazi-armband guy though?

Gorgonmilk: My position on the Nazi guy was that he's an idiot and he was looking for trouble, but he also has the right to free speech. The Far Left only values free speech when the speech is something it wants to hear.

P: So are most of these "Mongrels" actual OSR people, or are they non-OSR gamers in the majority?

Gorgonmilk:  Everyone in the Mongrel group are OSR to my knowledge.

P: Beloch, who you mentioned and who outed himself as one of the founders of the Mongrels claimed to me that the club was just for fun and games, a place where people posted politically incorrect comedy. This immediately raised my doubts; because if you're trying to convince me that a secret Leftist infiltration group organizing attacks against OSR people they politically despise is really something else, you might want to try a different cover than "politically incorrect comedy group". That's as credible as Nazis trying to disguise themselves as a Yiddish Klezmer band.
So would you say that Beloch is being honest? Or are the Mongrels more about political virtue signalling or the like? Have they talked about going after people or done any other sort of conspiring, especially about people who aren't on the group? Is there an agenda to try to take out (by mockery or whatever else) prominent OSR people who don't follow the leftist agenda?

Gorgonmilk: I think they were having fun amongst each other, but their idea of politically incorrect is vastly different than mine. I was born in '78. We traded dead baby jokes when I was in high school. None of my friends then or now would blink at the Shirow image I posted. I think they're a bunch of virtue-signalling pussies who _think_ they're edgy honestly.

P: There were different tiers to the group though, wasn't there? And from what I understand you were intentionally excluded from the inner circle (it sounds to me like they brought you into it by complete mistake in the first place anyhow), so there was clearly another level of conversation going on there that you weren't privy to.

Gorgonmilk: I was not allowed into any private convos they were having.

P: Do you think there was a conscious and intentional effort to control or take down the OSR and specifically to try to 'take down' RPG authors who don't follow their lead and make the OSR not good and not fun?  Or is it just unconscious? And are there any Extra Special Dogfuckers we should all be looking out for?

Gorgonmilk: I don't think it's a conscious effort, no. Not yet anyway. Give it a few years. I think I was a target because I stuck out like a sore thumb. I had friends on the Left and on the Right and they didn't like that. I didn't censor my comments or tailor them to people who believe in triggers and safe spaces. I openly mocked Taylor Swift and insinuated that she was a giant whore! So while there was not likely a conspiracy, I was pushing all their buttons. I don't think Courtney Campbell is even in the Mongrel group -- he's just a lone douche who shares their ideology. Really my most vocal detractors are the ones I've already mentioned. The rest of them did not attack me, but neither did they come forward to say, "Hey, I've known this guy for years and he's always treated me fairly."

P: Well, I was targeted, already years ago. But the difference is that I thought the OSR was free of that kind of shit, and now you're telling me almost everyone in this secret group that attacks OSR-writers is from the OSR itself. That suggests we're a lot worse off in the OSR than we'd thought. 
The ones who didn't come forward, whether it was out of agreement or fear, are still a part of the problem. What do you think we can do to stop this bullshit? 

Gorgonmilk: Man, I am open to suggestions. I've been watching what's been going on with Marvel Comics for a few months now. There are two conservative comic critics on YouTube (Diversity & Comics and Nerkish) who have been doing a fantastic job of critiquing the shitty writing that Marvel's current SJW staff has been turning in. Just mercilessly breaking down what utter bullshit Marvel has become. Marvel staff has doxxed one of them and attempted to contact his workplace in order to make trouble for him (they had the wrong place). On Twitter Marvel staffers claim harassment and are believed despite no evidence being brought forward. 

I believe strongly in everybody's Constitutional rights. Everybody should be treated fairly. Bigotry is fucking awful. But social justice has moved beyond these values. It is becoming the ascendant social concern. When it starts showing signs of weakness is when it should be taken down and exposed for the absurdity that it has become. Right now people are working from incomplete definitions of what these people stand for. Liberals from the 90s who are 40+ now LOVE the term "social justice" because it means something entirely different to them than what it has become. It's no longer about equality. It's about controlling the content. And for us that love to play around in the entertainment-hobbyist field that is a dire concern. As an individual and a creator I want my autonomy. Unless I'm making I LOVE HITLER THE RPG, I don't want to be called a fucking white supremacist because these idiots don't like what I have to say.

P: But you will be. They're going to do it anyways. No level of appeasement will placate them. So they must be fought. Agreed?

Gorgonmilk: It has to be done in a savvy manner. We're talking about fighting professional victims. Don't even get me started on the white knighting, man.

P: In my experience, the method that works is not being "savvy". It's being intentionally outrageous. It's worked for me. Whereas everyone I've seen who's tried being 'subtle' or acting like the 'better person' or bullshit like that has ended up being overwhelmed anyways. As soon as you buy into their threat, even if you're still trying to oppose their argument, you've accepted their premise (that there's something wrong with what you're saying), and you lose.  You don't win by saying "I think that we have to consider in feminism the value of men and how you might lose some men and women by making statements that are intentionally aggressive about exterminating all white males". You win by saying "Fuck you, Feminism is Cancer".  And then, if they express outrage, you respond by calling some male feminist a little bitch. That's how you win. Because they have only one weapon in their arsenal: the threat of accusing you of some kind of thought crime. If you reject the entire notion that thought crimes exist, if you reject the whole argument that you somehow should not be allowed to offend them, then sooner or later they lose.  That, and you mock them, relentlessly and ruthlessly. Point out how ridiculous they are. Point out the ironies of a fat piece of shit like Bruce Baugh lecturing us on how the evils of capitalism will ruin our environment, while he ruined Gamma World. Point out the ludicrousness of Tracey Hurley claiming that Aleena the Cleric, dressed head to toe in armor, is suggestive with a 'come hither look' and part of "rape culture", and then remind people she didn't know what a tabard was.  Fuck subtlety.

Gorgonmilk: While I totally agree with your sentiments here, it's just more flame wars that go nowhere. Like I would have loved to call Courtney a giant fucking cunt who is purposely contorting what I'm saying -- which is the truth -- it goes nowhere. He looks good for calling me out and making me lose my temper. These battles are being fought throughout fandoms. Look at Gamer Gate. People who have bought into the "reality" of things like triggers, safe spaces, rape culture, toxic masculinity -- none of them will looks stupid for championing their causes because they're part of the culturally ascendant movement right now. Conservatives have been demonized. What would really damage them is proof that they're giant cunts. I think you were onto at the end of that last message -- showing them to be ignorant. That's easier in a fandom like Marvel where the writers have no fucking clue about the superhero genre. More difficult in the OSR where everyone is pretty keyed in to the major tropes.

P: Ok. I don't agree; and I think that explains the difference of why you've decided to move into a new identity (good luck with that) rather than fight it out.  You say "look at Gamer Gate": Gamer Gate got Donald Trump elected. Pushing the Ctrl-Left to the increasing hysterics and outrage is the best way to make them ridiculous and expose their true agenda; which will cause them to lose the people. Because my true agenda is for everyone to get to do whatever the fuck they like and be free. Their agenda is to criminalize anything they don't like, destroy western civilization and democracy, and control everything about EVERYONE'S life. Force them to call normal people "deplorable", and they lose. 
So before I get to my publishing deadline, any final thoughts?

Gorgonmilk: But isn't that exactly what happened to me? They called me deplorable in so many words. And from what I understand some people came to my defense and defended my position, but what do I have to gain by jumping back into that fray? Trump got elected and the SJW element is more lively than ever.

To which I say, they're more lively because they're losing. And the more 'lively' they become, the more they'll lose. And you don't yet know how much you have to gain.

But thank you very much, Greg, for your time!

So here's my final thoughts:

As someone with relatives who died in Nazi death camps I have to admit I really don't have a problem with actual nazis being punched. Actual REAL nazis. And if you go around wearing a swastika armband, you're almost certainly a REAL Nazi.

You know how you can tell if someone is a real Nazi?  Ask them "Are you a nazi?"
They'll say yes.

Nazis aren't embarrassed of their beliefs. They want to show them off. They'll tell you. Shit, they can't fucking shut up about it.

The problem is, we have people attacking, going after, trying to physically or economically or socially destroy people THEY JUST DECLARE are Nazis who obviously aren't Nazis.

So the dude who got beaten for wearing a swastika? As much as I don't believe in the abstract sense in political violence and as much as I believe in the right to even the most odious hate speech, I can't quite muster up a fuck to give about him.

But now, we just had a noted OSR writer get *hounded out of the hobby* with accusations of nazism, doxxing threats, vicious harassment, physically threatened, being called a white supremacist because he supported his free speech.

THAT is the problem. The problem is the Left also doesn't give a fuck about Nazis. It's using that word, and diluting it into eventual tragic meaninglessness in the process, to excuse the most abominable and previously unthinkable Maoist-Youth or even Khmer-Rouge style attacks on people it KNOWS are not nazis but that just do not agree with their agenda and represent a threat to them.

So when you talk to me about how Nazi dickwad on the subway is bad, given that we all know he's bad, all I hear is "we should let a tiny group of Ctrl-Left psychopaths who despise gaming and our entire civilization purge this hobby of anyone to the right of Antifa, with violence if necessary. Because I mean, they're nazis too right? Everyone who disagrees with my world view the slightest little bit is a Nazi and now that means I can do _anything I want_ to them!! Hooray!"

Fuck that. And fuck anyone who thinks they'll be able to achieve a political purge of the OSR. This isn't Storygames, no one is going to lick your pussy in awe because you threaten to call us 'racists'. We all know you already despise us and nothing we do or say will make you not despise us, because it's not about anything we've ever said or done. It's about the fact we are here at all. You don't want to change us, you want us eliminated because we're in the way of your deluded fantasy of how a world without Regular RPGs, regular video games, regular comics, regular sci-fi shows, and regular fun in general will somehow be a post-Western utopia and not an utter totalitarian shithole.

So we're not just not going to listen to you. We're going to promise to do everything we possibly can to be even MORE offensive to you. To make you even more hysterical. To make it clear that you don't get to decide what happens, we do. Because fuck you, that's why. YOU are the fascists I'm actually worried about stopping, not pathetic asshole with the armband. YOU are the ones who are the real and present danger, and who must be taken down. And you will be.


Currently Smoking: Lorenzetti Oversize + H&H's Chestnut

Thursday, 21 September 2017

RPGPundit Reviews: Trinity of Awesome +1

This is a review of the RPG supplement-anthology "Trinity of Awesome +1", written by Venger Satanis, published by Kort'thalis Publishing.
The book is a 56 page softcover book. The cover is full color, featuring a crazy quasi-Lovecraftian monster reminiscent of a giant toad. The back cover, also full-color, features what looks like some kind of pulp scene with a guy in a trench-coat and a slightly slutty broad in the middle of what looks like a Lovecraftian Tentacle-Apocalypse.

The interior is black and white, moderately illustrated ('moderate' in quantity, not character) with a variety of images, including some maps, but mainly bizarre, Lovecraftian, and/or smutty art.  The art is certainly R-17 rating, including a few images with visible female nipples and some suggestive mermaids, among others.

The Trinity of Awesome is a trio of supplements in a single book. What's more, it appears that each supplement is for a different Venger game: one is for Alpha Blue, another for Crimson Dragon Slayer, and a third for The Outer Presence. Plus there's a fourth (smaller) bonus supplement, which is playable for either Crimson Dragon Slayer or Alpha Blue.

The first part of the book is "The Slaves of Tsathoggua". It starts off with a random table to determine "how much of a peasant are you", supposing that this is a party's first adventure. Then it jumps into plot, with the PCs travelling for some time before arriving in an isolated village. It turns out that the local priest has just died, and there's a mystery related to a cave.

This being an adventure, I won't go into full details so as to avoid spoilers. I will say that there's quite a lot of exposition. But it does get to a cave-crawl adventure with a twist. The caves have random tables to determine what type of caves there might be; and also a random table for what's inside random creatures. There's also a set of preset encounters with weird rooms full of different ranges of very weird creatures, including humanoid fruit-monsters. The cave-complex itself is easy to get into but very difficult to get out of.  If the PCs survive (and that's a big IF) there's a totally random table at the end to reflect how the caves have changed them, which range from serious PTSD to beneficial qualities.

The adventure is made for Crimson Dragon Slayer, one of Venger's house-system games. It isn't as such compatible with OSR play. However, the only details that are tied to the system are the basic statblocks of the monsters, and so an OSR GM could theoretically run the caves by improvising a conversion of those monsters.

The next section is called "A Green Jewel They Must Possess". It's a detective story adventure, and the section starts with a random table for determining character sub-plots (things like "just got out of rehab", "knows his brother is a serial killer", "in love with the wrong woman", etc.).
The adventure is set in Chicago in the 1970s. The PCs are investigators and they're contacted by a guy needing their services. There's an optional table for determining the contact's connections to given PCs.

He reveals that he's interested in an occult artifact (a crystal orb of unknown material) that is connected to the Outer Gods. He wants the PCs to help him steal the sphere from the Chicago Museum of Antiquities.

There are options for the PCs to look for more information, and of course details on the break-in if the PCs pursue that venue (there's an option available if the PCs turn down their would-be employer).

Again, to avoid spoilers I won't go into more details, but there's a secret society involved, and other details.
It's a pretty decent occult-modern adventure.

These first two sections both have a little of that quality most of Venger's products have, this line somewhere between quirkiness and goofiness, useful creativity and nonsensical silliness. Neither have any significant amount of the sort of smuttiness that some of Venger's products feature.

But then we get to "Slippery When Wet". It starts with an essay that, well, is basically about how to sound seductive when playing NPCs engaging in sexual propositions to player characters. Obviously, this is in relation to Alpha Blue.

What follows is a series of disconnected sections. You get a random table of "futuristic exclamations" (stuff like "curse your third eye" or "well, color my hole black"). A set of rules about bringing in an alternate-universe replacement for a dead PC, and includes a "multiverse malfunctions" table.

After this, there's a rambling sort of Alpha Blue adventure which, I guess, is called The Mentad (I say I guess, because that's the header of where this adventure very suddenly starts, without any indication that we've moved out of 'random rules tidbits' section and into an actual adventure).
The adventure involves a human computer, some evil insect-aliens, a world at war (with a random table for things that can happen to you on a battlefield, and another for looting the battlefield), details on a seafaring vessel (including floorplans), the aforementioned sexy mermaids, a city called "Aqua Vulva", and a villain named "Darth Facepalm".
There's gonzo, and then there's absurd. I know my own DCC campaign sometime crosses that line too, but never at the "darth facepalm" level.

In some ways, the adventure is OK, if a bit of a jumble (for some reason, Venger always gets more jumbled when he's writing Alpha Blue stuff). But you'd have to be willing to enjoy a very high level of Silly to consider running it.

The final section is "Death Race: Fury Road". It's described as a "post-apocalyptic gonzo competition to see who's best and who can survive". The races are organized by a "collective of evil wizards who rule from the comfort of their base known as the Hive".  It's taking place on an alien world whose "environment was raped by the mega-corporations" (seriously?). It's meant to be used with either Crimson Dragon Slayer or Alpha Blue.

The section opens with some random tables: first there's a "Why race?" table, a wager table (to see what someone is betting on your odds of winning, dying or surviving the race), and a random table to determine the effects of traps/ambushes during the race.

There's a mechanic for resolving the racing. It involves a series of d100 encounter table events. There's a separate mechanic for resolving who wins the race; this is totally random, which I find unsatisfying, it means that, as far as I can see, there's nothing the players can do to make their character fare better or worse in the race.

There's also mechanics for governing whether you get laid during the race, for no good reason other than Venger is the guy writing this.

There's also a totally random saving throw table. Which, again, for the same reasons as the race results mechanic, seems unsatisfying to me.

Honestly, Fury Road seems to me to be a good idea executed poorly. You could say made in haste, perhaps.

Anyways, in conclusion, I'd say that Trinity of Awesome (besides being technically incorrectly named) is a bit of a mixed bag. If you are already familiar with Venger's stuff, and you like it, you're probably going to be able to use at least two or three of the four separate parts of this book. If you don't and you are looking for a mixed bag of mostly-gonzo stuff in different genres, you might find some utility here.


Currently Smoking: Ashton Old Church Rhodesian + C&D's Crowley's Best

Wednesday, 20 September 2017

Looking for a New Publisher for My Short-products Series!

So, I've been writing to you all the last little while about how I've been working with a publisher on creating a line of short products. Tentatively called "Pundit Presents", these are all works under 10 pages long that will be sold for a nominal cost as PDFs.

Unfortunately, the publisher I'd currently been working with has, due to personal reasons, been forced to back out.  I'm not going to say who it was because this wasn't about anything other than something to do with their lives.  Some work had already been done, including a cover format and some templates for the material.

I was already set back by the delays that the above caused. So now, I'm not wanting any bullshit. I just want to get straight to business: I want to find a new publisher.

Here's what you'd have to be:
-A publisher who's done at least one product before!

-Ideally, an OSR publisher; as in that you may have published other stuff but you've published at least one OSR thing.

-Who's ready to put up with the Pundit! Not so much me personally, ask any publisher I've ever worked with, I'm really a wonderful co-worker. I mean not being afraid of what Swine will say about you for being associated with me.

Here's what you would have to do:

-My products are all going to have the same basic cover (apart from the title) and format, so all you really need to do is have the time to take what I write (again, products that will usually be 2-6 pages), make it fit the template, proofread, and then put it up for sale.
The plan is to have one product coming out each week, and later potentially making anthologies.

-Be able to do this without interruptions (within reason) and starting QUICKLY (this project is already months behind).

So, if YOU want to publish me in this project that will be relatively easy, fun, and hopefully profitable, please get in touch with me as soon as possible!


Currently Smoking: Lorenzetti A-Grade Rhodesian + Image Latakia

Tuesday, 19 September 2017

Classic Rant: To All Would-Be Censors Out There

Look, I get that it is really inconvenient for you to be called censors by people like me. 
You know that word, even now in our society's extreme decadence, still has the capacity to turn people against you, and so you want to lie, manipulate, or use weasel-words to explain that even though you want to ban things and silence people you're somehow technically not a censor. 

Or maybe it bothers you because there is still some vestige of principles hidden deep within a lot of you, that makes you understand that you're actually monsters in terms of what you are doing when you are trying to silence other people. And that this in turn makes you desperately want to try to find some excuse to justify yourselves. 
Because you know that you're actually the bad guys; that our whole culture has for the last couple of hundred years at least considered the people that want to FORCE others to think like them to be pretty much monsters because history has generally proved this true. And ALL of those other assholes who used to do it always claimed they had the very best of reasons. Pol Pot claimed he was doing his thing for social justice, and the guys who invented the Comics Code Authority felt they were just "showing the door" to all those terrible homosexuals, communists, and minorities who were "trying to corrupt America's youth". 
In exactly the same way, you are trying to tell yourself that it's for everyone else's benefit (especially the vulnerable), and not just your own, that YOU personally get to decide what is best for everyone else.

But the thing is, I don't give a twopenny fuck about your moral conundrum. 
If you really think that you know better than the rest of us as to what we should be allowed to read, buy or think, if you really believe that you somehow have that authority because of your education or class or just your totally unearned feelings of social superiority, then not only can you go fuck yourself with a spoon, you ABSOLUTELY DESERVE to be called out as a censoring totalitarian piece of shit over and over again at every opportunity.

And you can count on me to deliver, you gang of shitsacks.


(Originally Posted September 11, 2015)