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Monday, 16 January 2017

Break Monday: The Mysteries of Belief Edition

This is just a crazy trippy exploration into how devotion works.

What happens if you pray to the wrong thing by accident?
Can you just make up a god?
If a guru is fake can the students be real?
And what do Archetypes have to do with all this?

All this and more gets... well, maybe not "answered" but discussed in an interesting way in my latest: Is There Such a Thing as "Belief-Fail"?

Check it out, and as always please share it!

Sunday, 15 January 2017

Wild West Campaign Update: The Train Robbery

The new year starts out with a bang in Dodge city.  Newcomer to town Tom Martin (a PC) arrives with the goal of finding himself some kind of job in town other than his old job as a telegraph operator. However, immediate needs supersede the rest, and he almost immediately gets work.. as a telegraph operator. The town was managing with only one, a Russian named Kerensky, and he was desperate for an assistant.

Martin's first task is to take an urgent telegram to the Sheriff's office. It turns out that Dirty Dave Rudabaugh is up to his old tricks. Only months after getting out of prison, Rudabaugh formed up a new gang and proceeded to steal a Pacific Railway train.  The gang had apparently made their way back to Ford county and then split up into two or three groups.

Bat Masterson is Ford county sheriff, but he has no interest in actually doing any sheriffing outside of Dodge City unless he really has to. So instead he gets his deputy, Bassett, and Jeff Young (a PC) and Wyatt Earp (who are deputy town marshals under his brother Ed Masterson), to lead the posse in his place.
Young will be in charge of the group heading north toward Hays city, and takes a very motley crew with him, arranged by Bat Masterson.  Dirty Dave is Masterson's friend and part of the gang of ruffians who hang out at the Alhambra saloon. He figures that he can probably get Dirty Dave to surrender himself if most of the posse consists of friends of his. So he makes Young take Kid Taylor (a PC), Dave "prarie dog" Morrow, Kinch Riley, and John Joshua Webb.  Young for his part also decides to take Miller (a PC), and Tom Martin ends up tagging along as well (secretly, Martin's real ambition is to end up working as a journalist like Mark Twain, one of his main motives in joining the posse is in the hope that he can make a good story out of it to sell to his hometown paper in Philadelphia).

(Mark Twain, 1878)

Meanwhile, Wyatt Earp picks his team: Hale the Mormon Gambler (a PC).  That's it. Earp prefers to travel fast; he takes Hale with him because he knows that while Hale is no great shootist or outdoors-man he's reliable and loyal. And also because Earp hasn't got Doc Holliday for a partner yet.  The two men set out that night for Wichita, where the other group of robbers are said to have gone.

Both parties head in their respective directions, largely encounter-free for most of their trips. Along the way, the Young team try to check out some buffalo-hunter shacks that they knew Dirty Dave was aware of, to see if he was hiding out there, but there was no sign of habitation. They should have known better; someone like Dirty Dave, full of freshly-stolen loot, was not going to go hide in a hole in the ground.
They later made their way to the small town of Larned.  The sheriff there was an old friend of Deputy Bassett and he told the team that apparently Dirty Dave's group had broken into two parts again, and they were somewhere in the area but he had no idea where.

("Prairie Dog" Dave Morrow)

Prairie Dog Morrow and Kinch Riley knew an old friend in the area, a gold-prospector named Frenchie. Along with Kid Taylor they went to visit the crazy coot, and all of them got drunk on Frenchie's "recipe" of moonshine.  At some point, Prairie Dog recalled that there was a town full of french-canadian descendants nearby, called Lacrosse, which had a secret brothel with a prostitute Dirty Dave had once been sweet on.


That same night, Miller, Martin and Young ask around town to see if there's any locals who know anything.  They find out there's a young ruffian in town by the name of Tom Daley, and go looking for him in case he's heard anything.  He turns out to be a teenager, the disgruntled son of the local blacksmith. Miller finds him first and fakes being an outlaw, claiming he'd followed the deputies into town. He gets the name of one of the outlaws from Daley, and learns that the Dirty Dave gang had in fact passed through here briefly on their way to the train robbery, but had not come back this way. He then warns the boy that Jeff Young is looking for him (much to the pleasure of the PC portraying him, Young's Fame score is now high enough that Tom has actually heard of and fears him).
Daley finds his way to Young, asks for a reward in exchange for information. Young threatens him with a brutal beating if he doesn't talk and the boy folds like a bad hand of poker. He names Ed Morrison as the outlaw he knows, and tells him Morrison had told him to go find him in Wichita after the train robbery.  Young gives the boy $5 and a warning never to find himself on the wrong side of the law.

The next day Young's group get to Lacrosse, and send in Martin (the only person in the whole posse that Dirty Dave wouldn't be able to identify on sight) into the secret brothel.  Once inside Martin confirms that Dirty Dave and one of the other outlaws are in the building, but that two of the other outlaws are also in town in some unknown location. Martin retreats back to the posse to pass on this info, and Young and Bassett decide they'll try to go in alone to apprehend these two outlaws, while the rest of the group stays out on the street keeping watch.  Dave and the other outlaw are in separate adjoining rooms. Bassett and Young break through the doors at the same time.  Young had burst into the room which had Dirty Dave, and was surprised to see John Joshua Webb (who had snuck away from the rest of the posse) in there with him. For a second he thought Webb had betrayed the group, as Dirty Dave was standing, dressed and armed. But as soon as Young burst in, Webb sucker punches Dirty Dave and knocks him to the ground, disarming him.  It turns out Webb snuck in and tricked Dave, in order to save his life.

Bassett shot the other man, but not fatally. They leave Kid Taylor there to treat the wounded man, while Dirty Dave quickly expresses a willingness to help the posse catch the rest of his gang as long as he gets immunity.
They make their way to a shack at the edge of town where the other two bandits were hiding. One of them is a man named Edgar West, who won't turn himself in without a fight (according to Dirty Dave).  Bassett and Young approach from the front door (with Kinch Riley on ready on the other side of the street with his hunting rifle), while the rest of the group guards the back entrance in case the outlaws try to flee.
Edgar West comes rushing out the door before the lawmen even reach it, firing like mad at Bassett, but after a failed shot from Young (he got his gun stuck on his sleeve), Bassett hits Edgar, and then Young drops him with his second shot. Kinch Riley, having been promised blood, shoots Edgar dead when he's down.

The other outlaw dashes out the back. Miller had been hiding by the exit and tries to pistol-whip him, but the bastard is too fast.  Then John Joshua Webb shows up again, having been hiding behind some bushes. He shoots the outlaw through the head, and then for good measure absolutely unnecessarily cuts open the man's throat with his bowie knife.

At this point, Dirty Dave wants a guarantee of immunity. The deputies send a telegram to Dodge, and Bat Masterson agrees (unsurprisingly, given that Dirty Dave is a friend of his). It turns out there's two men in Wichita (Ed Morrison and Tobe Driskoll), and two others who'd headed right for Dodge.  The Masterson brothers apprehend the latter two.

Wyatt and the Mormon Gambler get to Wichita and find out (via telegram) the names of the men they were after. Wyatt had been Sheriff here once, before the town got too tame for him, so he tracks down a local ne'er-do-well and beats him until the man confesses the location of the two outlaws. Turns out they're with Large Marge, a local prostitute who was apparently of Wyatt's acquaintance.

They head over there and trick Marge into opening the door for them, usher her out and sneak into the back room. Ed and Tobe had been hiding out there and when Earp bursts in telling them to get their hands up Tobe does so immediately, but Ed reaches for his gun.  Earp shoots him, though not fatally, and Ed quickly surrenders too.

In the end, Dirty Dave ends up free and clear and back on the streets of Dodge. Two of his gang died, but the other five were caught and sentenced to prison.

As for Tom Martin, he managed to write his article, and got it published in the papers in both Philadelphia and Topeka, starting his career as a journalist.  In the process, he generated Fame points for everyone he named in the piece.  Suddenly, the other players realized the benefit of having a journalist in the party! He's like an Aces & Eights version of a cleric, only instead of giving healing he generates fame for everyone.

That's it for this time, stay tuned in a couple of weeks for more wild-west action.


Currently Smoking: Missouri Meerschaum corncob + Stockebbye's Bull's Eye Flake

Saturday, 14 January 2017

Everyjoe Special: Merkel's Germany Justifies Jihadi Synagogue Burning

Today on Everyjoe:

The court in Germany claimed Jewish 'wrongdoing' was "justification" for three men firebombing the synagogue.
No, not Germany in 1938, but rather Germany in 2016.

The Muslim perpetrators were let off with suspended sentences.

The German government also said it was "justified", for the same reason, when the city's synagogue was burned to the ground in 1938.

Check out the article to see how Merkel isn't the 'last hope of liberal values in Europe', she's the last representative of a cancer that has destroyed Europe and sent it's moral values right back to the era of Krystallnacht.

Please share the article if you think it's important!


Currently Smoking: Neerup Poker + C&D's Bailey's Front Porch

Friday, 13 January 2017

Proposing Some Stuff Worth Going For!

So in my last post I lambasted three different G+ communities, two by name along with their little weasel-shit of an owner, Claytonian.

But lest it all be thought of as doom and gloom, I'm going to present some places and things where gamers (especially old-school gamers) can go and engage in free and productive discussion on the relevant topics!

First, of course, I'd be remiss if I didn't mention my own RPGsite.

As for Google, we have the G+ OSR community, which is great.

Second, while I sadly know of no community with any decent number of members on G+ for Lamentations of the Flame Princess, if it's DCC you want without a shit-face of a mod, there's actually TWO great options.
First you have Venger Satanis' great DCC & Related Sci-Fantasy community.

Second, there's Goodman Games' own OFFICIAL community, run by my friend Harley Stroh.

If you have any kind of a conscience, given that the above is the officially approved site, and that Goodman requested that Claytonian change his moderation practices on his 'dcc' group and he refused, you would quit his group and go over to both of those great communities!

Spread the word!


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

Added: While I'm at it, even though this is mostly unrelated it is still an opportunity to plug something good, check out the ACKS Bundle of Holding! You get a shitload of great stuff for just $9.95, and a percentage of the profits go to a truly worthy cause: the United Mitochondrial Disease Foundation. Please spread the word!

Thursday, 12 January 2017

A response to G+ Censors

Recently, a certain G+ RPG group (I'm not going to say which, but suffice it to say one of the big ones) sent me a message letting me know that they'd erased my post there of my review of Venger Satanis' "Girls Gone Rogue".

The lead moderator there, who is a storygamer celebrity with a history of having reason to dislike me, informed me that the act of censorship was not, in fact, because of anything to do with Venger's work. But rather, with the text of my review blurb, where I said: "I could also really understand how even women on this side of the insanity spectrum from Tracey Hurley would still find some of this material offensive."

Their problem, apparently was that (according to them) I put into question Tracey Hurley's mental health.
The moderators claimed that they "will not allow personal attacks on any game designer rather(sic) it be Venger Satanis or Tracy Hurley or whomever".

He also, incredibly, said "we cannot have that neutrality if we do not moderate".

So here's my response to this asshole:

Well, that's ironic. On several levels. 
I concede that people could justifiably have reasons to feel offended by this product on the grounds of misogyny, and that ends up being the post that does me in.
I nevertheless assert the author's right to be criticized but not silenced, only to have the post silenced.

Anyways, I'll take your claims of neutrality at your word. Of course, I believe in free speech, and you don't seem to. But it is your ballgame. I just hope to see your claims of neutrality hold up the next time Hurley or someone else from the Ctrl-Left Outrage Brigade post something about how D&D players are Toxic White Male Terrorists or some OSR writer is an aberration that must be expunged from the hobby and have his books wiped from human memory in the name of social justice. 

I really didn't feel I was 'attacking' Tracey Hurley, or Venger Satanis for that matter (of course, I'd bet my right testicle, which happens to be my favorite one, that if I just insulted Venger Satanis then not one fuck would have been given by any of you). 
Regardless, I was just being factual, in both cases. Tracy Hurley believes a fully-dressed classic D&D image of a beloved and heroic female cleric is proof of Rape Culture. I wasn't meaning to question the sanity of her mental health per se, I'm not a psychologist. I was questioning the "sanity" only of her claims, of her ideas.  And contextually, I was saying that even people who do not believe such an insane set of ideas could still find Venger's book offensive in its treatment of women. 

But well, lesson learned. Some ideas are not to be questioned here. 

Also "we cannot have neutrality if we do not moderate" is an insane oxymoron. 

See what I did there?

I'm not trying to start some kind of Jihad, just share my response because we need regular reminders of the way censors think, in our hobby.
Also, I'm sparing these assholes because they have not banned me yet. You can believe me the next time I see a post on their group about "D&D gamers are white male terrorists", I'll be calling them on it, and letting all of you know. But for now, they're at least trying to maintain a pretense of 'neutrality'.

Not like the groups that piece of shit "Claytonian JP" runs.  He co-opted the largest groups for two of the most popular OSR games: Lamentations of the Flame Princess and DCC. And he has banned me from both of them for no reason other than not liking me.

He has done this and continues to do this against the explicitly-stated desires of Goodman Games, who own DCC, but he doesn't seem to care, even though he's stolen control of their presence on G+.

I have no idea what James Raggi feels about it, but maybe some people might want to ask what he feels about the owner of the biggest LotFP G+ group playing god with who he allows to post there or not based on nothing other than petty personal vendettas?

So yeah, feel free to go let people know what you think of Claytonian there.


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

Wednesday, 11 January 2017

Break Wednesday: Killed by Ants and Socialism Edition

You might have seen this news around. But trust me, you don't have the whole story until you read this.

Ancient Inca religion + shitty Bolivian Socialism led to a woman being murdered by ants. And it's happened before!

As always, please share if you like it!


Currently Smoking: Lorenzetti half-volcano + C&D's Bailey's Front Porch

Tuesday, 10 January 2017

Classic Rant: Did 'Game of Thrones' Start as a GURPS campaign?

Gentlemen, I present you the evidence:  first of all, we know for an absolute fact that George R.R. Martin is a gamer, and that his favorite game in the world is GURPS.    We know that some of his other novels began as direct inspiration/play-report from one of his campaigns.

Now, I haven't actually seen any direct confirmation from Martin (or a reliable source of some kind) that "A Game of Thrones" started out as a GURPS campaign.  One person I discussed the matter with recently decried the notion that GoT might have started as an RPG game as "wishful thinking".

We do know for a fact that Martin was influenced by the War of the Roses. And we know you can make the War of the Roses into an RPG setting: I've done it, with my "Dark Albion" campaign/ free setting.  But its true that it might be too much to hope for that one of the most popular franchises of recent years has direct RPG-roots.

Maybe so, but at the same time as an historian I'm trained to study text for historical clues. And I think I've discovered something everyone else has missed.

First, presume that IF Martin had started Game of Thrones as a campaign, it would have been with GURPS. Second, we know that characters created with different systems sometimes have a different look.   In GURPS' case, it is heavily affected by its being a point-buy system for people that love radical "character optimization".  Random-roll old-school it ain't.

With those two points in mind, something fascinating reveals itself:  pretty much with every character in Thrones you can see them as GURPS Fantasy guys complete with having seriously minmaxed on their disadvantages.  Consider:

"I want to be the best fucking swordsman in the world.. shit.. better take 'incestuous relationship with sister' and 'murdered the last king'"

"I want to be even better at swordplay than that other guy! Damn.. i better take "excessively tall", "social disadvantage: female", and "flaw: falls in love with idiots""

"I want to be crazy smart and really socially competent... ah well, 'midget' here I come"

"I want my character to be King! Damn.. I'll have to take the 'complete asshole' disadvantage"

"I want to have 'contender for the throne' and be the only player who didn't pay it off with 'complete moron'.  Yeah, I know I'll need to pay it off somehow.. how about 'sold his soul to a religious cult'?"

"I'm the badass strong mean knight.. fuck, well, "facial burns" and 'phobia: fire' it is.."

"I want dragons!! You're saying I'll have to take what?? And that's still not enough? I'd also need to.. shit.  Oh.. well.. ok!"

"I want to be the most awesome character in this or any other campaign ever. I'll have to take 'little girl'?? But I did that exact same thing already in the 'Kick-Ass Supers' campaign! Well, whatever..."

...And then the guy playing Littlefinger doesn't char-op at all and ends up running circles around everyone else anyways by sheer Roleplay, because he's used to playing Amber instead of GURPS. Which is why the char-opers all despise him.


Currently Smoking: Ben Wade Canadian + Image Latakia

(Originally posted January 31, 2014)