Monday, January 31, 2011

Basic Hand-held Kirbytech Weapon Generator + Random Techroom Feature

Roll 3d10

1 megaplasmic (heat damage?)
2 gravitonic (increases or decreases mass of target?)
3 tachyon (time effects?)
4 neutronic
5 negadimensional (teleportation effects?)
6 antimatter
7 negasonic (sonic damage?)
8 ionic
9 protonic
10 photon (blinds target?)

1 disruption
2 dispersion (splits target in two?)
3 inhibitor (shuts off/reduces powers/abilities?)
4 neutralizer
5 distortion
6 inversion
7 displacement
8 destructor
9 disintegration
10 annihilation (most powerful weapon?)

1 pistol
2 rifle
3 ray
4 beam
5 mine
6 disc
7 glove
8 grenade
9 gun
10 blaster

All weapons just do energy damage unless the name of the weapon suggests something else. Range (if applicable) is proportional to number shown in 1st d10 roll, damage is proportional to 2nd d10 roll.

In superhero games, weapons have barely any ammo and will run out shortly after the villains drop them.

Random Techroom Feature
1 Water line
2 Door controls
3 Electrical/power conduit
4 Plasma conduit
5 Remote viewer/window to other room
6 Computer terminal
7 Lights
8 Power conduit for other room
9 Ventilation shaft
10 Controls for nearest device in this room or elsewhere
11 Radioactive waste conduit
12 Roll again but feature is huge/major--i.e. a big fat water pipe, conduits for all power in area, etc.

Secret Wars Marathon

Ahh, has there ever been a comic finer than Secret Wars? Ok, so yeah, there has. Many times.

But I will maintain that there has never been a finer idea for a comic than Secret Wars. In the Speak, Memory-esque words of its creator:

"Fans, especially young fans often suggested to me 'one big story with all the heroes and all the villains in it', so I proposed that. It flew."

That, my friends, is what democracy is all about. Any political system which results in The Lizard playing pattycake with Klaw, Mad Master of sound, is clearly the finest on All Possible Infinite Earths. Aaaanyway...

Relevant point for this particular here blog is that Secret Wars was indeed popular and so got very efficiently turned into an adventure by TSR in short order and this adventure is actually kind of good. (If you don't believe me, you can take a look at it and nearly everything else ever created officially or otherwise for the old Marvel FASERIP system here.)

It's actually not surprising that Secret Wars survived the transition from comic to adventure intact since the plot pretty much could've been one of those framing paragraphs you see in ads for con wargames "A spastastically powerful and poorly dressed god has teleported a ton of A-list villains and heroes to a planet full of random trouble and forced them to do battle. There are some bases for each side to hide out in and, also, Galactus." Or, as finer minds than mine might put it: : "ON THE PLANET ARE VILLAINS, FIGHT!"

The adventure, like the FASERIP system itself, is elegant as fuck: an opening exposition spiel (roughly the same one the heroes from a disembodied voice in the comic), a map of part of the planet (a hexmap, even) and maps of some bases, a timeline of what the villains will do if left unmolested, and a handful of random possible other events to be rolled at regular intervals...and reams of superhuman stats--natch.

Now I could probably write a whole blog entry about how this is a great Archetypal Old School Adventure Format that should be in every publisher's arsenal right next to the Site-Based Adventure and that it could readily be used for any kind of war story or megacrossover emulator and that if you just substitute, say, the Wilderlands of High Fantasy for battleworld you've got a whole factional-warfare-plus-sandbox railroad-free campaign right there but that's not where I'm going with this today.

Where I'm going is: we're definitely playing this. I have never ever ever run anything where people play characters other than ones they themselves have created, but the monopoly-with-squatters-effect possibilities of seeing McCormick play The Mighty Thor is just too fucking good to pass up.

The emails have gone out, and it's on the calendar. So far The Thing, The Hulk, Spider-Man, Thor, Captain America, Nightcrawler, Rogue, and Storm have all written back and I'm waiting for a handful more.

I have scheduled it several months in advance, to be sure everyone has the entire weekend clear. Another nice thing about scheduling it for late spring is: I have several months to think of how to make it more fucked up and complicated.

So: suggestions?

Have you read this comic?* Have you played this module? (Big Fella, Barking Alien and Delta I am looking at you.)

Things I am currently considering:

-Adding random tables for found Kirbytech and room features (convenient water pipes, electrical lines, etc.) (maybe could be repurposed for Gigacrawler, too.)
-Fucking with the Hulk at intervals, Peter David style.
-Making Kang do some stupid time-warp tricks.
-Having my Mac do Ultron's voice for me.
-Giving battleworld slightly more personality.
-Going nuts with the over-the-top karma-awards for hamming-it-up a-la whoever you're playing. Like if you're the Thing and manage to say "Whatta revoltin' development", hey, 5 Karma points there, young sportsman!
-Along the same lines, since "... only FOURTEEN sentences of dialogue in the entirety of the Secret Wars series ended with a period. Every other sentence ended with either a question mark or an exclamation point!!"...Karma points will be subtracted for every time a PC says something in character that is NOT confused or excited!!!??!!
-Adding MODOK

And, hey, if it all goes well, I may run it at a con.

*If not, you should. It is divine nectar from the comic book gods.

Saturday, January 29, 2011

Saturday Night, Bruised Ribs, Gameblogging

-Read Dread yesterday, the horror RPG where you use Jenga blocks instead of dice. Looks good for a one-shot. Others have also commented on how you might use the Jenga mechanic for Cthulhu or other games.

What I'm wondering is: would it be worth it to build the system out so it has a little more crunch? Possibility: like build a skill system where if you're good at something it requires you to pull one block off the tower to do it, but if you're bad it requires like 5 pulls. Ability scores generated with a d6 and low is good...or do you just end up with characters that are detailed for no reason since at least one is going to die by the end of the night anyway?

(For the uninitiated, knocking over the tower means you die, so more pulls=more danger.)

-Has anyone ever made a setting based on 2112?

I lie awake, staring out at the bleakness of Megadon. City and sky become one, merging
Into a single plane, a vast sea of unbroken grey. The Twin Moons, just two pale orbs as
They trace their way across the steely sky.

If not, why not? Get on that shit. I would play a cleric of Syrinx.

Oh wait, looks like some Randroid kinda did...

-sigh- Yes, I know, without Ayn Rand we wouldn't have Rush. And without Andy Warhol we wouldn't have the Velvet Underground. But then the question is would I trade Rush away if we could have the economy back? I should probably move on before Alan Greenspan gets dragged into this and I really get angry. Isn't this blog supposed to be about D&D?

-Yesterday Mandy ran another game. We fought a thought eater which is an ethereal skeleton platypus. We ran away from it because it was immune to all of our weapons and spells and was trying to eat our brains. She cackled. Now she is in our room where strangers are paying her to masturbate and I am on the couch in the living room writing about it.

-Marvel's Fantastic Four Supplement has this, if you're having one of those too-lazy-to-generate-your-own-spaceport days...

-Looking at Mayfair's old DC Heroes supplements... Ladies and gentlemen, I now present the least useful diagram in the history of role-playing games, (click to enlarge into full hideousness):

And it's not small, either. It's like most of a page.

No I did not just whip that up in MacPaint in 8 seconds. This is actually in the game. Someone at Mayfair just whipped this up in MacPaint in 8 seconds.

Then they invoiced someone for it.

Then someone paid this person.

Question for any Mayfair employees who may be reading: how many of the people involved in this process were high, and on what? What is the drug that makes you crave boring diagrams? Dudes, avoid the (Elliot R) Brown Acid.*

Or was it a dare?

And does that make it any better?

I mean, it doesn't even have scale indicated, so assuming someone didn't know what a wand was, you'd still..oh fuck it, I have so many better things to do.

-That was so lame I have to find an unimaginably awesome picture just to balance it out...ok...

Why is the Juggernaut of Khorne standing on a stage painted to blend in with a Hawkwind lightshow? Because that was the most awesome of all possible places for it to be standing.

*Speaking of whom....I went over to Elliot R Brown's page and found's a spreadsheet the DC editors used to keep track of a Batman crossover, interesting maybe sort of...

Wednesday, January 26, 2011

The Girls' Answers To the Hot Guy Quiz

So here' what the girls said when asked to rate the sex appeal of guys on my hard drive...
Arnim Zola got no love. As is right and proper: he is a mad geneticist and a Nazi and he has a TV with his face on it where his stomach should be.
The Kraken scored very high and remained in the running pretty much the whole time. did Blix The Goblin. Why? I have seriously no idea. Mandy seems to subscribe to the (dubious but beneficial to me) Big Nose Theory, but that doesn't really explain all of it. My guess is that both Viv and Mandy were assuming Blix was bigger than them, but I think if he was, like, 4 feet, they'd change their mind because Goblin Crawling Up You is somehow much worse I think.
The Mod Gorilla Boss, sad to say, scored poorly. Although Mandy did say Galactus wearing the Mod Boss' suit would be a nice package.
This Makoto Kobayashi Robot scored astoundingly well. Perhaps because it looks like 5 or 6 sex toys welded together.
Insane Kid Cosplaying As Cobra Commander scored high as well, though he came late in the game. The deranged antigleam in his eye definitely counted in his favor with the panel. I believe the goblin, robot, or Kraken defeated him eventually.
Galactus. The ladies loved Galactus. Why? "He eats planets!" Power is a big deal. Apparently feeding Class 3000 power levels into the Kissinger Equation results in numbers high enough to overcome a purple costume, having giant tuning fork things coming out of your head, and multiple genocide.
Steve Martin, the only actual human male offered up for review, was rejected with startling ferocity.
The snake thing scored well, but was quickly buried in the ratings since it came up in the same round as Galactus and...
The Silt Shark from Dark Sun...This was the bone of contention. While both agreed that the shark was sexy (even after I pointed out that it would inevitably be covered in sand) Mandy was unwilling to go as far as to say sexier than Galactus but Viv maintained the thing was you'd be able to say you got fucked by a shark.

Which, judging from the expression on his face for most of last night, would put you in a very small club with John McCain as its charter member.


P.S. Gigacrawler still appreciates your attention.

This Kept The Girls Busy For An Hour Last Night, Give Or Take

Creepy wizard

2 attacks per round

2 spells (unlimited uses):

-Save or target sticks to everything they touch (even through shoes or gloves). Unknown to anybody, stickiness is permanent but it can be dissolved by some common substance, depending on kind of wizard. (Mine was undead, so I figured it'd be dissolved by holy water.) 50 foot range.
-Automatically switch places with target. Line of sight range.

Hit Dice: Average party member X 2

Tuesday, January 25, 2011

Hot Guys?

So I asked Mandy and Viv... go through all the pictures of guys on my hard drive and rank them in terms of sex appeal. Their decisions were surprisingly unanimous. Here are a few of the contestants. Some of these guys ranked very high, some ranked very low, and one of them was a bone of contention between the panellists. See if you can guess how everyone ranked--and why...
Arnim Zola
Blix The Goblin
The Mod Gorilla Boss
Some Makoto Kobayashi Robot
Insane Kid Cosplaying As Cobra Commander
Galactus. He is saying "Jim Smash" because I was too lazy to edit the picture I grabbed. This phrase was not considered an element of his appeal or lack thereof by the panel.
Steve Martin
A snake thing
A Silt Shark from Dark Sun

Saturday, January 22, 2011

Gigacrawler: How Did This Happen?

Here we have a Gigacrawler PC or possibly more than one stumbling into some kind of situation. (Click to enlarge the situation, click twice to enlarge twice). This situation is the direct result of 4 spells being cast and one martial arts technique having been employed.

Your task: say what those spells were and what that technique was.

The spells and kung fu moves must be new. If you're a real pal, spells need failure results and difficulty levels.

All this stuff will be added to the finished game, of course.

Friday, January 21, 2011

Question For Straight Female Gamers, Gay Guys, & People Who Are Bi

What constitutes a sexualized male character?

Not 'sexualized' in some ridiculous way that you don't actually find attractive, (like if you don't actually think Han Solo wearing Leia's gold bikini would be hot, don't put that) but in a way that you do find attractive. You can give an example of a character, point to a picture, describe an action. Whatever you want.

Remember: not merely "desirable" but 'sexualized'--like how a chick can be hot no matter what she's wearing, but if she's in a chainmail bikini and bending at the waist for no apparent reason, that's sexualized.

Comments from anybody not fitting the target demographic will be deleted. This page is just for collecting data.

Wednesday, January 19, 2011

Gruntwork for Gigacrawler

So here are the things that should probably happen to Gigacrawler before anyone goes around calling it a game. If you're feeling creative, here's what we need...

-Alterations. We have plenty of mutations/cyborg stuff/etc. though some industrious soul(s) should take a look at them and think: can I pretty much build most of the "playable" aliens and mutants I can think of using these rules? Like: Wookie, blob guy, animal-people (if you've got one of those animal encyclopedias at home that'd be good, any given Green Lantern (except Mogo or Dkrtzy RRR--though if you can rig a sentient mathematical progression as a playable PC race, you rock), any miniature you own (etc.). Claws, teeth and extra limbs will cover 9o% of it but is there, say a chameleon-like ability in there?

-At least half again as many martial arts. Go crazy.

-Devices. We got lots of devices. While covering every possible sci-fi device is not necessary (we need something left over for treasure) someone could look through the list and make sure that all the basic modern adventuring gear is represented: a plausible range of low-level weapons, life-support devices, ten-foot pole, flashlight, etc. Look through a modern RPG and your camping/hiking/mountain climbing shopping list and make sure it's mostly covered.

-More spells. You might wanna take a look at the extant spells and make sure there's a decent spread of low, medium, and high-level stuff. And you can never have enough madness and weirdness. There's like 45 so far.

-Setting features. Looking good here--especially on the tech end. Maybe a few more esoteric/magical ideas. Also, we could arguably use more monsters, so if there's any beastie you want in there before the game goes "official", there you go.

Tuesday, January 18, 2011

Almost Derailing Patton Oswalt's Q&A

So I went to Patton Oswalt's reading for his new book. Patton read his book. It was funny. Then there was a Q&A. Questions were asked, answers were given.

Patton Oswalt:
Any other questions...?

When was the last time you played Dungeons & Dragons, and who with?

It was about a year ago with..(and then he points to the friends in the corner of the bookstore that he has been giving shout-outs to all night, only this time they look a little embarrassed)...we had a little mid-life crisis, we started playing old school, Monster Manual, Deities & Demigods Dungeons (points to friend) you were an elf, right? And I was a drunken dwarf. And I played a drunken dwarf. There's an epic poem about the character I played in high school on my book. Or several characters. They kept dying. Do you guys play?


Who are your players?

They're in porn.

Oh of course. "Oh my god I need to escape this afternoon. Take me away green slime." Who's the DM?

He is, but I just started DMing.

What do you play? Like what's your character?

I'm the cleric!

(now he makes the joke about how does everybody have a high charisma but it does it in an ironic self-mocking I-know-this-is-dumb way so it's ok.)

Yeah, sometimes, the girls don't seem to grasp the idea that charisma is a dump stat.

I have a low charisma but I just said it's because I'm obnoxious but really hot.

So it's like a Kardashian thing, right? Like I wish she didn't talk. Yeah, it's weird people don't realize charisma is totally a dump stat because it's like...

(to audience) I'm sorry I ruined this for everyone.

Oh yeah, I was about to disappear down a K-hole there. Alright, are there any other questions?

Addendum: This is what we call an anecdote. The point of it is not to seriously discuss the use of the charisma stat or any other game mechanic. Those attempting to go that way should be aware that they run a severe risk of sounding like Comic Book Guy.

Monday, January 17, 2011

Gigacrawler: What's Going On In This Picture?

What's going on in this picture? (click twice to enlarge twice.)
New ideas included in the explanations will become part of Gigacrawler.

If your explanation includes a new character option--
Martial Arts
Devices & Equipment
Mutations, species adaptations, cyborg/robot parts, etc.
then you could be a champ and click over to the appropriate page and put it in there.

Sunday, January 16, 2011

A Suggestion For Folks Thinking Of Publishing Game Stuff

Here's the ideal for me ("the ideal"--not what I expect or demand, but--hey, we're DIYing this Old School Gaming thing so why not start doing things a different way?)...

Rather than a writer going "Hey, I'm gonna write an adventure about Giant Worms From Space, then once it's done I'll send it to this artist that I think would draw awesome worms and see if I can get him/her to illustrate it."

Maybe try..."Hey I'm gonna write an adventure about Giant Worms from Space. I'm gonna tell this artist who I think would draw awesome worms -right now- and commission him/her to send me a picture of some Giant Worms From Space doing something right now and then maybe I'll get some ideas, and I'll use the picture in the adventure. Then wherever I get with writing on that, I show the artist, and then I'll ask for another picture, and then maybe I'll get some ideas from that, and we'll go back and forth and make an awesome adventure."

All OSR writers are DMs, most artists are, too. If their work seems interesting and it seems like they would be right for your project, it probably means they have ideas about that thing. You can't actually draw a Giant Worm From Space without thinking about one at least a little.

And yeah, that's maybe harder, you have to commission the picture before you're even sure the thing's written, but we should be trying new crazy ways of doing things. For the DIY D&D artists, who--let's face it--are not getting paid a lot, being involved in the project at this level makes it much more fun and exciting, and may make them more willing to get involved and put work in. It's their baby too.

If an artist is working for you, chances are s/he would like to one day hold up whatever s/he makes as a portfolio piece to attract future clients. That means s/he'd really like to do something s/he thinks is interesting and is engaged in.

For further reading on the subject of artists having good ideas to contribute to media involving both words and pictures, see:
Paul Jacquays
Kevin Siembieda
Elektra: Assassin
Stan Lee and Jack Kirby

Saturday, January 15, 2011

Gigacrawler: What Are These Things?

Here are some more things tucked away in the Gigastructure. Tell us what they are, and they'll be added to Gigacrawler. (And if you know what they really are--forget it--make up something new...)

Blogger's being insane so I can't put letters next to them so you'll just have to describe what you're describing.