Thursday, February 25, 2016

BASHCon 2016 Wrap Up

BASHCon was a lot of fun, though the RPG component was pretty sparse. I think the only RPG event that wasn't Pathfinder or Peryton Affiliate game was a Marvel Supers game. I saw a pick up Paranoia in progress, but didn't get to play it. When I walked up to it I was like "Wow dude awesome, Paranoia. It's like one of my favorite, one of the best..." And the guy I said it to was like "Yeah, whatever, we're on break, beat it. You're annoying." So I slunked off.

I only played in one game, Robin's Crystal Rifts of Tartarus. This was a cool trip out to Pluto to fuck up a renegade faction of a MegaCorp's science outpost that was working with extra dimensional beings and Pluto's anti-living natives. She ran it using the Cypher system which I thought was pretty solid. Somewhere I had read that it was no great shakes, and sorta expected a D20 with extra stuff, but instead I found a neat little package. The spending ability scores at varying costs turned out to work fairly well. I think when I had read about the levels of difficulty shifting based on paying points that are also your hit-points my mind started to glaze over and I might've made a jerk off motion at the computer. I was wrong about that, it was easy and neat. Also liked the rolling dodges instead of the GM rolling hits. I'm not sure I'd ever run it, or even buy the book, but I'd definitely play it again. Still haven't decided on the "Blankety Blank who Blanks" character descriptor aspect. I was a "curious explorer who moves  like a cat." I can't figure out if it's cutesy and dumb, or just as good as any other way of giving a class combo. The adventure itself was a  nice combination of fighting and discovery with weird aliens.

I ran three games: Gimme Shelter using Tom's Crawlspace rules, Scream Bloody Gore with DCC, and Jupiter Mining Corp Disaster on Ganymede using a bastard Savage Worlds. Gimme Shelter went well, and I still haven't gotten sick of running it. Tom's UFOlogist ran behind a bus and turned invisible, stole squad car keys and an unmarked car, hit and ran some alien henchmen and staged a getaway in the most heroic action of the night. Jerry's Case Worker crawled to the bottom of the bottle but came out long enough to pick up all the other characters since he at least had a car. I don't know if Liam got that his character wasn't actually the mayor in a political sense, but Mayor of Edgewater Beach was just an honorific. But the character was supposed to be deeply delusional, so I guess this is what people mean when they talk about immersion. I didn't find out until days later that the alien ship summoned at the Rock Hall was a Boston Space Guitar, but, Randy, I'm glad it was.

Scream Bloody Gore I've written about here before. This game was made up entirely of Perytonians (Gimme Shelter on the other hand had one stranger) and was a blast. I had some second level pregens, the party ended up being a cleric, Dunston, Huggin the warrior, Decklin the Slick thief and Wizard Myria. Under cover of darkness the band arrived at a village plagued by maggot zombies. Their introduction to the situation was given by a priest tending to the funeral pyres of afflicted villagers, some who still were not dead at the time of their death. They stopped Priest Luckey from burning a baby, and demanded to know who was in charge. Dunston and Luckey shared the same god, Monolopopia, but Dunston was not familiar with this particular practice. The thief stayed with the baby while Jerry ran out for a minute and the rest of the party was taken to see Haskins, the head priest of the town. En route they were attacked by zombies and Liam got some maggots in his arm. Randy's quick witted cleric reacted with swiftness and amputated the infected limb. Liam's limbless warrior was maybe not as grateful as he could have been for the quick save, but the band played on. Around this time Jerry came back and we caught up with the thief and baby. The thief noticed maggots crawling under the skin of the swaddled lad, so he decided to leave it on the ground and make haste back to the group. This was good because you should never shake a baby. All in together, the band confronted Haskins in his shrine. Had they taken a more circuitous route, Haskins would have been like this guy:

And had killed himself to wield awesome power in undeath. But they caught him while we has making last minute preparations desecrations at the shrine to Monolopopia. The band thought Haskins was behind the maggot zombies though he was not. Still he was uncooperative because he was planning on committing ritual suicide to become an undead menace and gain unimaginable power. Soon a fight broke out and the band took charge. Once Haskins figured he was done for, he began chanting hoping Death by Cop counted as much as Hanging Oneself from a Tree in the many thousand eyes of the dark mad gods. Robin's Myria blasted him with a color spray and stopped the winging it ritual in its tracks. Soon villagers started creeping around, and perhaps somewhat surprisingly if you believe social behavior is rational, did not take well to being told their spiritual leader did not have their best interests at heart. At this point just more than an altar boy Luckey got killed, and the burning of the shrine really pissed off the town, and the villagers attacked. They then were slaughtered. At this point Haskins came to and continued his chant. Myria Charmed Haskins and a villager, and defused the situation. Here began an investigation into what was causing the zombie infestation. A few dead villagers and a not grateful enough populace later the band decided to just get the hell out of Dodge. As they left the village they came to a burning field filled with demons, and that's where we ended.

Sunday wrapped up with Jupiter Mining Company Disaster (on Ganymede). I ran this using the goofy Saveage Worlds Funnel random character generation I tlaked about here. They attribute rolling was unwieldy, unituitive and stupid. Afterwards Robin came up with what I think is a much better solution:
For each ability score roll a d4, d6, d8, d10 and d12. Record which die has the lowest result.
That should work much better and I plan on trying that out soon.
Once we got rolling the adventure went alright, but I sorta fucked up the pacing. I think for the most part people liked the tone, that of Paranoia/Red Dwarf/Black Mirror being about how work sucks. Unfortunately I didn't kill off enough people quick enough, and had two maybe villains which is too much for an under four hour con game.

I'm going to be coming back to Scream Bloody Gore and Ganymede. I think Scream Bloody Gore could work nicely as a funnel. Will report back when I have more.

Here's a photo Tom took of the Crawlspace game. I'm the tubby guy in the white shirt.

Thursday, February 18, 2016

1d12 Table: Office Small Talk for a Stultifying Corporate Future on Water Outpost

I saw an image macro today about 1984 being Totalitarianism, Blade Runner being Capitalism, and Star Trek being Democratic Socialism. This table could work in any of those futures! So long as there are jobs, there will be soulsucking small talk. This works well with the 100 Occupations from a few weeks ago, and will be getting a test run at BASHCon on Sunday.

Use thes as a starting point for fascinating conversations with NPCs!

Small Talk Table
        1. I just got the New Valued Employee Badge, I think I’m going to make it my profile default.
        2. Did you hear Hooks found some bacteria in the line up in desalination? They think it's Life. Like Discovered!
        3. Word is some college research team is gonna be coming out here.
        4. Have you seen the “mew” clean bot? It looks just like Agit-Cat! It’s the best.
        5. I chatted with my dad yesterday. He said the consciousness upload is awesome. Like better than being alive even.
        6. I’m at 67% achievement completion for consciousness upload priority! And I’ve only worked here for 43 years!
        7. Have you talked to Mike in accounting since he went digital? I always liked him. Now he’s even more helpful and fun!
        8. Did you hear about Mike in accounting? He was only at 95% completion for consciousness upload. But they traded the rest of his achievements in exchange for his Passing Benefit. They treat us so good, it makes me want to cry sometimes.
        9. Did you hear about that, pardon my language; asshole on Io? That… Oh, he makes me so mad.... But that A-hole, he had an illegal Consciousness Assistant!
        10. Dude! They read my comment first on Civil Commons: Review Cast! I said that we have to consider both sides before deciding, if we want to be an engaged citizen.
        11. Ohemji! Did you see the Real Heroes of Regular Everyday that just posted? Ho man! Kinderman was paragliding above sharks and he went one handed and sang at the same time. It was CRAZY. I had to comment like eight times, and then reply to my replies. It took a while but that was so awesome. And I made headway towards getting an achievement that will put me closer to getting on the show!
        12. Did you see the Unistat Amber Alert post! It’s so so so scary. How can POENAH Purity of Essence Nihilist Anarchist Horde Hobbysheet #4 even exist? Why would anyone even want to think like that?

Friday, February 5, 2016

BASHCon 2016 Events

BASHCon is coming up in a few weeks, February 19-21 at the University of Toledo, and I'll be running a few games.

BASHCon 1988 was the first D&D convention I ever went to. I had just turned 9 and the trip to Toledo from Cleveland was my Birthday present. I bought a Potion of Paper Aging and got sold on a space exploration game called Expendables. After a couple of hours poking around in the dealer's room my dad came back from the university library and we headed back. The next year we got a to stay in a hotel room that had adult shit my dad had to keep off the TV and adult shit going on in the neighboring rooms.

This turned into a yearly thing until I turned 15 when I hit my low point of D&D playing and stopped doing stuff with my dad. Sometime in my early 20s I came back, and found Yu Gi Oh and heroclix and not much on the RPG front. Still there was fun to be had. My dad was pretty amused when I told him I was first going back and maybe somewhat satisfied our old activity stuck, and that I had found a something in which I can find joy. This will be the first one since the old man died, there is a lot of memory and nostalgia tied up in this thing.

BASHCon is also where I met my now good gaming buddies Tom and Robin. And it's where a woman told late 20s me that her 14ish year old daughter ought be very desirable because she was a female gamer. And she kept pushing it, like Walder Frey. It was the Times of a Dying Pancreas, and i had been puking in the parking lot earlier, so there was an onedge haze to the day already. That is one of the weirdest things to ever have happened to me, game related or not. I'd entertain it being a deranged figment of my imagination if my buddy Nick wasn't there giving me what the fuck is going on looks. Whodini told me the freaks come out at night, not at D&D conventions.

This will be the first year in many that I run events at BASHCon. When I was 11 I registered to run a game. When my players arrived and saw it was a kid refereeing, they suddenly remembered they were gonna be late for work and had to bail. A bit later my friend Justin and I saw them playing D&D in a lounge area on the way out. Justin called them out on faking work, I just wanted to climb into the Catacombs of Doom. This experience now presents me with a potential dilemma. If I ever show up to a con game and it's a kid sitting there running it, do I stay or cut? On the one hand I remember the humiliation I felt, on the other hand I kinda hate kids...

What I'm running:

Gimme Shelter for Crawlspace. I've written about his one here, its a mad camp romp often fueled by drugs (real and roleplayed) to get to a homeless shelter while avoiding cops and cultists.

Jupiter Mining Company Disaster using the DCC-ified Savage Worlds rules from last week. Disaster will strike the paper pushers of the future who do the busy work on a Ganymede water extraction outpost in order to maintain fictions about labor and human endeavour. And there will be robots that have grumpy cat heads.

Scream Bloody Gore DCC-RPG. Based of the death metal record by Death (Florida). My first and second posts on here were on this idea. Dark fantasy, undead, deranged priests. Each song of the ten songs corresponding to a point on this point crawl, and also serve as the clock/timeline of events. Was gonna run it with second level characters so there's some mercurial magic hyjinks, but maybe I'll do zero level with a suspicious number of dark grimoires available to the bakers and swineherds.