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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)

Monday, 18 September 2017

DCC Campaign Update: Fuck Station Aleph

Last time, the PCs had found an old rocket (being slowly repaired by a bear with a dream of going into the sky), that might just be able to get them back up to somewhere near where they have to go to complete their complicated quest to get the Sunstaff, get to the Crown of Creation, and somehow rescue G.O.D.

In the process, they discovered the rocket had (long ago) belonged to the Archemaster, and they sent out his secret to the whole world, that his obsession with attractive young human girls was a product of his having been dumped by one over a century ago.


-"Remember, eating apples and bananas doesn't make you a vegan. Eating bananas and apples while acting smug about it makes you a vegan!"

-Mu's player is disappointed by the Archemaster.
"I thought he wanted a human girl for some dark ritual, and it turns out he's just pathetic."
"I'm amazed you're surprised by this, by now."

-"We have to do two things to get back up there: we need two days of good no-distraction work to fix the rocket, and careful watches to stop anyone from destroying the rocket."
"Someone is going to trash the rocket."

-PCs are discussing whether to go to Lol or the Geb asteroid, and end up planning to steal a better skyship from the Posh Elves.

-The orc newbie is directed to go empty the rocket's septic tank, and he gets attacked by a giant snake!
"There's motherfucking snakes in this motherfucking rocket!"

-"Mongo, no! Stay back, you don't know where that thing has been!"
"We know where it's been, it's been in the septic tank!"
"Oh, right, the snake is probably filthy too."

-The snake is on its last legs after Sami hits it with a well-placed dagger... well, you know what I mean. The Vegan kills it.
"I'm not retrieving that dagger, it's lost to me."
"It's covered in shit!"
"I'll take it!"

-The party gets back to work on the rocket, but didn't actually clean up the spillage from the septic tank, or the dead shit-covered snake.
This ends up attracting a pair of Shit-Eaters, hideous slime-monsters that feed on... well, you  know.

-"Are they made of shit?"
"A certain percentage of them is made of shit."

-"They were drawn by the septic runoff."
"So can't we just back away from them and let them eat it all?"
"The problem is we all have tastier shit. You know, inside us."

-"I have a plan! Quick, shit on my hands!"
"You already owe me too much money, dude."
"What the fuck is happening here?! When the fuck did this get so weird?"
"You didn't see things thus far as weird?"
"Maybe Heidi is secretly Dutch?"

-They manage to wipe out the Shit-Eaters, and the Vegan Mutant levels up into a Wizard. In following with most wizards in the campaign he gets several mostly-useless spells, but he also gets Animal Summoning, which is a potentially decent spell.
"I collect bear hairs."
"So, if he gets hair from space-bear, does that mean he'll summon sentient bears?"
"We all know why you're really asking that, Sami."

-The Vegan Wizard's only good spell (animal summoning) has the mercurial effect that he randomly corrodes a nearby metallic object every time he casts it. So he picks up several dozen chunks of scrap metal from the rocket repairs.
"OK, that's a good plan, but where are you going to carry all that?"
"I have this sack full of weed, I could use the sack.."
"We'll need to empty that out.. let's get to work!"

-The rocket is ready but the party is undecided where to go (the plan being to go somewhere to probably steal a better ship than this piece of crap they're on); so they decide to check the comments on the video of the Archemaster's humiliation to see if it gives them any ideas. The video got 400000 hits, and over 2500 comments!
"There's tons of comments from the Kekistani Air Force; they keep calling him a 'cuck' for some reason."

-"Hmmm... there's also a lot of comments coming from Fuck Station Aleph."

-Fuck Station Aleph was originally created as an orbital space station with a mega-cannon, meant to be used against the Dark Ones. The weapon failed, and the place was abandoned for centuries until squatters moved in, and eventually the whole place got turned into an enormous red-light-district of the skies. Obviously, the party decides to go there.

-The rocket takes off and it's a very shaky ride. But eventually the station is in sight.
"No, Space Bear, that's no moon.. that's Fuck Station Aleph."

-Fuck Station Aleph looks like a pimped-out Death Star with 'Get It Here' written on one side in giant letters a mile wide.

-The Rocket's landing thrusters are unstable, and it's going to crash into the outer-hull of Fuck Station Aleph.
"Attention, Fuck Station Aleph, we are out of control. We're going to be coming down hard on you."
"Ha ha!"

-The rocket's crash is not terrible, but it does damage the outer hull of the station, and renders the rocket inoperable. The PCs are greeted by a rescue-crew of large humanoid space-gerbils, and a hot tree-woman.
"The Vegan is turned on."

-The Station is gigantic, and has a lot more than just prostitutes. There's an enormous bazaar, and tons of other services. After trading out some gems for credits, the bulk of the PCs want to get high-tech weapons and armor, while Mu wants very badly to check out the magic shops. A passer-by informs him the magic alley is near "the Orgasmotron". They find Tech City first, and Mu decides to ask one of the sales reps for directions.
"Excuse me, sir... do you know where the Orgasmotron is?"
"Oh, you're one of THOSE people.."
"What? No! I didn't mean that!"
"Oh let me guess, you're 'just asking for a friend'."

-The party doesn't just buy high-tech weapons and armor, they also buy healing nanobot hypo-sprays, much to the chagrin of Sami the cleric.
"Hey, don't be offended! This is just in case you die... wait, let me rephrase that: this is for when you die."

-"You always stock up when you get to any high-tech area, because you know that most of the time you'll be stuck in some shit-hole where you're lucky if you can get a pointed stick."

-The Magic Alley of Fuck Station Aleph is not as promising as Tech City was. It's got lots of places selling dubious fortune-telling, Reiki To Full Completion, and Crystal Bead Therapy.

-They find a magic bookstore, mainly filled with useless junk and new-age books. But the Vegan Wizard casts Detect Magic and takes note that there are a few scrolls behind the counter and one book in the "antique books" section that are actually magical. The book is a sinister-looking thing called The Red Grimoire.
"Does it have an index?"
"Does it have a bookmark?"
"No, but it does have one page with a blood-soaked fingerprint mark on it."

-The owner is an obese middle-aged hippie named Grizelda.
"Excuse me, I'm looking for a specific scroll and I'm wondering if you have it?"
"What is it?"
"You know, I don't recall if I have that!"

-The Vegan Mutant is caught trying to tear a page off the Red Grimoire!
"Please don't call the security force! He's just an idiot"
"Yeah, he can work for you!"
"I don't need anyone to work here!"
"Well, maybe you could think of something?"
"Hmm... well, he is frail and sickly.. that's just my type!"
"Oh no..."

-The party leaves the Vegan Wizard behind for a night of what will no doubt be extreme discomfort. Mu makes himself invisible and hides in the store when Grizelda closes it, deciding he might as well make use of the Vegan's temporary status as harem-boy to steal all the scrolls and the Red Grimoire.  Everyone else keeps checking out Magic Alley, and they find that Fuck Station Aleph has a Curiosity Shoppe!

-While stuck in the Magic bookstore, Mu starts to read the Red Grimoire.
"OK, make a Will save."
"You don't have a bonus?"
"Oh, right... 8."

-The weirdo running the curiosity shoppe only accepts barter. He ends up trading some of the PCs' junk for Ekim's Facial Surgery Mask, and a +1 Ring of Strength.
"These aren't cursed, right?"
"Nooo! However, if you use the Mask you should steer clear of high temperature areas."

-"How does this guy stay in business?!"
"Don't question it."

-Vizi also trades some useless items, but instead of a magic item, he gets some sunglasses shaped like stars.

-After leaving the Curiosity Shoppe and while heading to a bar to find a pilot (they decided they might as well hire a ship, rather than steal it), they pass by the magic bookstore and see Mu there. Mu's got the scrolls and the Red Grimoire, but he can't figure out the code to unlock the store's front door to get out before Grizelda is done with the Vegan.  He looks pleadingly at them for help through the shop window.
"Should we let him out?"

-"You could use your sonic tool, Sami.."
"I traded it at the Curiosity Shoppe, remember?"

-Roman still has his Sonic, however. He signs to Mu that he'll let Mu out in exchange for the Red Grimoire.  At first Mu is reluctant but when the party threatens to just keep going he agrees quickly and is set free.

-"Wait, what will we do when Grizelda gets up and sees we stole the scrolls and the book?"
"We have plausible deniability... wait, let me disable that camera. There! Now we have plausible deniability."

-The pilots' bar is a typical 'hive of scum and villainy', complete with funky space-music and a crazy mix of non-human weirdos.

-"Ugh, Cyborg-Knights. I hate those guys."
"What are they?"
"They're cyborgs who are also knights."

-The bar also has a dog-man, someone in a "Sky Police" uniform, and a black guy with an afro and a kind of sci-fi pimp outfit with a cape.
"That guy has a cape, so you know he's cool"

-The cape-guy also has sunglasses shaped like triangles, so Vizi instantly heads to talk to him. Heidi goes to check out the Sky Policeman instead.

-The Sky Policeman is the last survivor of the Sky Police, who were wiped out a few years back by the Sky-Nazis.  He's a deeply traumatized law & order square. He's willing to take on the PCs' mission if it's for the sake of "law and order", and to do it for free, but gives off a clear sense that he could have problems all his own.
"You're not going to engage in any unlawful behavior, right?"
"Oh, yeah, we're totally in it for the Law & Order."

-"I mean, of course, sometimes we break a few of the rules; you know, for the sake of getting things done."
"Well... that's probably fine. I mean, I was a bit of a rules-breaker myself. I was the first man in the Sky Police to break regulations and grow a mustache! But I shaved it off two days later."

-Vizi and the other guy spend a few moments congratulating each other on their cool shades, before they're joined by Roman who wants to get actual facts.
"So what's your name?"
"Blitzkrieg Sakomano!"
"Are you a great pilot?"
"Man, I did the Kossuth Run in 42 minutes!"
"Wow. That's like, 12 parsecs!"

-"Look, we need to stay under the radar."
"That's cool, 'under the radar' is my middle name."
"So wait.. your name is Blitzkrieg Under The Radar Sakomano?"
"That's a rad name!"

-"Would you accept part of your payment in 'medicinal herbs'?"
"Shit, yeah!"
"I can see we're going to get along just fine."

-The PCs are divided as to whether to go with the Sky Policeman or Sakomano. Heidi, Sami, and Mu want to go with the Sky-cop, while Roman, Vizi and Space-Bear want to go with Sakomano.
"Dude, the Sky-cop wants law & order. We were on Fuck Station Aleph for less than two hours and we already committed grand robbery."
"Well, let's agree not to do it again, OK?"
"Oh, please. We all know we suck at not being horrible people, Heidi."

-The vote is still tied.
"We could ask the Vegan?"
"No, lets just flip a coin."
"Yeah, that sounds better."
"I have a fake Smithplium coin. I think it's symbolic of everything this group stands for."
-The coin-flip comes up for Sakomano.
"Ok, but he wants money, unlike the other guy. How do we pay him?"
"I still have the 4900 you gave me, that's almost half of what he's asking up-front."
"Yeah, but what he wants up front is only half of what he's asking in total!"
"That's a problem for Future-Us."

-Meanwhile, Grizelda was finally done with the Vegan Wizard. As soon as she stepped out front into her shop, she realized she'd been robbed. As soon as she stepped back into the back room, the Vegan mutant brutally murders her by summoning several snakes to surprise-attack her.  Then he robs the till and high-tails it out of there, since she'd managed to call for security before he killed her.
"Holy shit! What did you just do?!"
"So much for 'under the radar'."

-Trying to find his companions, the Vegan Wizard gets to the Curiosity Shoppe.
"Do you know where the adventurers who were here earlier went?"
"Are you asking 'do you have information on where the adventurers who were here earlier went'?"
"I DO!"

-"OK, so we'll meet up with you in hangar bay 6 in a couple of hours after I've completed the ship's safety checks."
"Guys? I just saw an alert. The Vegan just murdered someone. Should we leave earlier?"
"Sure we can. Shit, how many security checks do we need, really?"

-"The bear will be my co-pilot!"
"Didn't you say 'Blitzkrieg Sakomano flies alone' like five minutes ago?"
"Blitzkrieg changed his mind!"

-"That's my ship over there.. the Superfly-1!"

-Heidi, Sami and Mongo had gone to get some final supplies. Only Mongo makes his perception check and notices the "wanted" alert for the Vegan wizard, but the others ignore him.

-The station security guards spot the Vegan at the cargo bay and start to chase him.
"Man, I'm glad we didn't go with the Space-cop!"

-"If the shit hits the fan, I'll fly Mongo to the ship, you save the Vegan."
"If we're in trouble.."
"No, I mean why save the vegan?"
"He has the money."

-Mu had just bought a jet-pack. He uses it to try to fly straight to the Superfly-1. But having never flown it before, he fails spectacularly and slams into the side of a Kekistani Meme-Transport Ship.
-"I turn invisible."
"Why didn't you do that before crashing your jetpack?"
"I was nervous, mistakes were made!"

-Blitzkrieg gets Space Bear to start up the ship, while he fires on the guards to cover the PCs still making their way over.

-There's a crazy firefight, with several party members still all but hanging off the gangplank when the ship takes off and escapes from the hangar of Fuck Station Aleph.  It looks like no one actually died, but Blitzkrieg is eager to fly them out of there as quickly as possible, as they might be pursued.
"Next stop, Geb! Punch it, Space-Bear."

-"Great. That's one more locale on our list of 'places we can never go back to again'."

That's it for today. The PCs have a cool new pilot and a cool new ship and they're finally on the way to Geb. That is, assuming they can avoid pursuit from Fuck Station Aleph's Valkyrie fighters.


Currently Smoking: Ben Wade Canadian + Image Latakia

Sunday, 17 September 2017

Post-Apocalypse Wuxia Campaign Update

Our latest adventure in this series went very well. The characters went into the northern tribelands, into a forest in search of a 'forbidden temple'.

They fought a group of yeti-men.

They found the 'temple' which was actually a ruined Ancients' power plant.

 They had to fight some crazed Qi-empowered soldiers, which led the party to suspect that there's some kind of conspiracy  happening in the Northern Guardians Clan.

They also fought a tentacled blob-monster, and a Fire Ogre.

Now you know, I've had some readers asking me if my DCC campaign is as Gonzo as the updates sound. And the answer is yes. It absolutely is. It's Gonzo to "11".

But this campaign, when I read it above, sounds a lot more gonzo than it really is.  It's mostly about low-key adventuring and political intrigue in a highly unstable empire full of rival clans.

It's a little Gonzo. But not as much as it looks.

Anyways, that's it for now.


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

Saturday, 16 September 2017

The Real Class-Warfare and Relativism

Recently, someone on theRPGsite challenged me to read an article that's gone somewhat viral, from the Atlantic.  It was about the way, allegedly, that America (but especially the Right) has "lost touch with reality".  The person who challenged me on it claimed I would probably not read it, because it was 'critical of Trump'.

But it's the Atlantic. You don't need to bother saying it'll be highly critical of Trump; that's repetitive.

And the assumption was fundamentally wrong; telling me that something doesn't agree with my views makes me MORE likely to read something, rather than less. I'm much more interesting in seeing what the enemy thinks than in reading gushing cheerleading from my own side. It's why I read or watch surprisingly few right-wing media sources, usually the informative ones (Breitbart, The Rebel, The Thinkery -though Sargon would object to being called right-wing) and almost never the ones that are just about how awesome we are.

Now, as to the article itself: my overall analysis is that it is too clever to even be wrong, and thus creates the illusion of a coherent argument when it is in fact championing something else entirely.

The way author conflates the rise of the idiotic new-age "Green Meme" (as Ken Wilber puts it) with the methodical and intentional Anti-Western position of the academic relativists and deconstructionists is either naive or intentionally deceptive.
The notion that the Right was opposed to relativism because it was "threatening to their white privilege" is insulting. They objected to relativism because it denied the reality of Objective Truth, and people on the Right (be it for religious reasons, or philosophical reasons) understood the consequences of spreading that lie that 'nothing is true'.

Also, it was ultimately not the 'elite left and the populist right' who were on the same side. It was the Establishment Elite, on both sides. The Neocons betrayed the right-wing intelligentsia when they decided that 'we can create our own reality' was a great excuse for their empire-building fantasies. The Leftist elites created this myth that America was the worst country in the world and Western Civilization the worst civilization in the world, and needed to make up for it. Both of these lies seem opposed, but in fact both of them served a single goal: Establishment Statist-Corporate Globalism. In practice, that was the purpose of it, to destabilize and destroy our Civilization to create a civilizationless void-state run by Public Employees and large Multinationals, free of all those pesky barriers to their power like nationalism, democracy, or free speech.

Their problem is: it isn't working. Not just because of the opposition of people like me. But fundamentally, because these people are all a gang of nepotistic inbred incompetents. The further they get in their goals the less they can make things actually function, so we've had a collapse of economic success and a collapse of military/police stability, and all those foreign workers that they needed to import are turning out to be causing more problems than they're fixing and all of this is just generating much more pushback from the hoi poloi than any of them had expected.

Well, sort of. Almost anyone. Because if you look at the pre-marxist model of Class Warfare, this is obvious. There are really only two classes, which were elaborated on (before Marx ever came up with his nonsense) by the Enlightenment Philosophers as the "productive class" and the "political class", but would now be better put as "producers" and "parasites".
These people who have pushed for the erosion of our civilization and (to that end) the elimination of the idea of absolute values are every one of them to a man (or woman, or miscellaneous) part of the Parasite Class. The Rich Rockefeller Republicans, the Hippie bullshit-selling academics, the Celebrities, the Lobbyists and 'career Activists', and the people who work that very special type of corporate job that involves making money without creating anything and often without even selling anything.

It is inevitable that the Parasite Class, achieving their goals, will bring down whatever polity they've managed to subvert to the level of harm that there will be a revolution against them from the people of the productive class: actual workers, actual farmers, actual businessmen, actual artists, actual intellectuals, actual aristocrats, etc.

All of these groups have ultimately got more in common with each other than with anyone (even someone closer to their own income level, whichever it is) from the Parasite Class; and the more the Parasite Class fucks everything up the more the varied members of the productive Class from such different backgrounds realize that. That's why today you have the alliances of Atheist Biologists and Gay Dilettantes and Game-designing Shitlords and Christian Factory Workers and Computer Engineers into Meditation and Jewish writers that aren't self-hating and Black Cops and Anthropology Professors who actually did their work and crazy half-Latino wizards and Lesbian Feminists who don't want little girls' clits cut off even if they're not white little girls.

You know, "deplorables".

It's not about Republican or Democrat, because the Republican Establishment is as completely a part of the Parasite Class as the Democrat Establishment are. It's not about Rich vs. Poor, which is what leftists don't get when they ask why it is that the working poor feel like the multi-millionaire Clintons don't represent them but somehow feel that multi-millionaire Trump does. It's not even about religious vs secular, except in the sense that those religious people and communities that actually believe in something will stand against the Parasite Class (unless what they believe in can be defined as "the destruction of western civilization", a belief strongly-shared by faith communities of Gaia-cults and Salafist Islamism alike), even if they don't get all they want from it and even if some of their fellow spokespeople in the opposition seem like 'sinners' to them.

The idea in the article that "the Right became more unhinged than the Left" is absurd. The left has become SO unhinged that it has essentially abandoned the Productive Class altogether. That's why in some ways the Democrats (in spite of their massive losses last year) seem stronger or more-united than the GOP, and at the same time why they can't win an election outside of massive urban megalopolises disproportionately populated by the Parasite Class.

It's because what had come to emerge gradually after WWII, in almost all the West, was a situation where the elites of the mainstream political parties of all Western Democracies had been taken over by the Parasite Class (who had always had a strong, but not a virtually absolute showing among the Political Elite like they do now) while they continued to use smoke & mirrors to fool the rubes in the Productive Class into following along with them.

But the inevitable result of the mass-embracing of relativism the way it was done on the Left was that by the end of the 1990s the Left has, almost everywhere in the West, just decided to slowly and then quickly purge its ranks of the Productive Class altogether. They are so Unhinged that Hillary Clinton thought she could shit all over the actual working citizens of the country, call over half the nation "Deplorables" and applaud feminists who were making videos for her about the Extermination of White Males, and still win.

By the time the article gets to the part about the internet, its argument is laid bare as having the agenda of someone who is very clearly a member of the Parasite Class resenting the loss of their ability to Invent THEIR Own Reality, and how the democratization of information on the internet has meant that the Establishment is no longer able to decide for you what information you will or won't see. Has that led to all kinds of people believing all kinds of idiotic things? Sure. It's also led to Wikipedia. And to Wikileaks. It's also led to the mass exposing and laying bare of the Parasite Class and all their teams: showing the bad behavior of leftist academia, showing the corruption and criminality of the DNC and the Clintons, exposing the control-freak nature of the Big State and the Deep State alike.

And part of why they despise Trump so, so badly and madly is that he is anti-Establishment (as the article correctly suggests, but not for the reasons they suggest) but moreso because he is just so much better than they are at using their own weapons, and turns it against them; and at mastering that free-flowing democratized-information Internet to bring together everyone who fucking hates the goddamn fucking Parasite Class.

The author here (who if you're familiar with him, is a longstanding member of the Establishment Left) is not actually trying to condemn relativism. He's bemoaning the loss of control of the failing Parasite Class, too incompetent and useless to even put on an effective Totalitarian State. Of course, that doesn't mean they won't just keep trying harder, becoming more repressive, and trying even more to use propaganda like this to get tighter and tighter grips on control.


Currently Smoking: Lorenzetti Poker + Solani Aged Burley Flake

Friday, 15 September 2017

What I'm Working On!

So, as I've been assured that the Pundit Presents series of short products should be starting to come out sometime very soon, so I decided that this week I would get off my lazy ass and start making some new material.

This week, I'm working on a product called "Last Sun: Gazetteer of the Middle-Northern Wilderlands".

It is a bare-bones guide to the original starting region of my Last Sun gonzo campaign.  The bulk of it will be a totally different Occupation table for starting characters, with some information about certain items they have.

So anyways, stay tuned! I'm really really hoping that you'll be able to start getting the Pundit Presents series sometime real soon.


Currently Smoking: Neerup Billiard + Image Latakia

Thursday, 14 September 2017

Classic Rant: The Americanism of D&D and the Gonzo Aesthetic

It isn't a new subject, in fact I've brought it up a few times in the past, but a recent essay that is really quite good addresses the issue of how D&D, in terms of its setting and ambiance, is fundamentally an American invention (written by a gamer who started to understand D&D better after visiting America for the first time in 30 years of being a gamer). The default "world" of D&D is full of Americanisms. It isn't really, in that default state, "European fantasy"; it is rather very much 'American Fantasy'. It is only Europe as Hollywood imagined it.

There's another important point: D&D in its origins is Gonzo. It was in fact invented around the same time that this very particularly American version of magical realism came to exist as a literary form of its own. 
Fear and Loathing in Las Vegas, the seminal Gonzo novel, was published in 1971. D&D came into being in '74, after a process of many years of protodevelopment. Whether or not Gygax, Arneson and co. had ever read Hunter S. Thompson, the vibe of Gonzo was everywhere at that time, and had created big effects on the general culture (while today, Gonzo has become so normalized in American popular culture that we pretty much no longer distinguish it except for in its most blatantly exaggerated forms).

One big part of why D&D is so American is because it is so Gonzo. The weirdness of Gonzo is a thoroughly American weirdness, very different from the weirdness of, say, Alejandro Jodorowsky and what the latter did to comics and scifi aesthetics in Europe and Latin America.

What this means, however, is that it is relatively easy to De-Americanize D&D, by shifting out of the gonzo aesthetic (plus by adding a bit more historical and cultural rigor).

In the linked essay, the author suggests that maybe D&D is better when it's not trying to be more "historical" (rather than American pseudo-historical). Obviously, I disagree. Dark Albion lets you recreate D&D in a new and exciting way. The shifting out of Gonzo and into a grittier and more factual kind of historical reality let's you explore all kinds of worlds in D&D that the Americanized version does not. Consider, for example, the very big significance of Social Class in the Dark Albion setting, and it's almost apparently meaninglessness in most (Americanized) D&D settings. That total sense of ignorance of Class is a very American feature in general (dating back long before gonzo, of course); and putting class consciousness back into the game changes the dynamics of setting completely.

I think what all this does mean is that within the confines of the OSR boundary markers alone, we have only just barely begun to scratch the surface of what you can really do with D&D. So much of the game so far has been looking at it from a strictly American lens. Far from just assuming that will be the best way to do it, I think now we can really start to explore how the game becomes new and exciting in totally unexpected ways when you have designers creating worlds that shift out of that cultural context and are informed by different ones than the game's creators could have envisioned.


Currently Smoking: Neerup Poker & Brebbia no.7

(Originally Posted August 21, 2015)

Wednesday, 13 September 2017

Frank Mentzer Was Hanging Around With the Wrong OSR

So, famous old-school D&D creator Frank Mentzer has apparently been banned from the Dragonfoot forums.  I don't bother hanging around there, so I can't speak to the particulars of what happened.  How did a situation get so fucked up that one of the remaining living legends of D&D ended up being thrown out of a forum exclusively dedicated to old-school D&D play?  I could take a few guesses, but that's not what this short blog entry is about.

If you want more information about what happened, you can check out Tenkar's Tavern where he's been writing about this.

What I want to talk about is a quote from Mentzer, originally on the Tavern, that I was initially surprised and later less-surprised to read.

How could we get to a situation where Frank Mentzer believes that the OSR is "irrelevant to the current market" because they buy "the fewest new products"?!

The OSR is a huge section of the modern RPG hobby. Obviously not the biggest part, that would be D&D 5e, but the OSR has formed so much of a vanguard in the hobby and is so utterly relevant to the current market that more than one OSR personality (myself being one of them) was paid stupid amounts of money by Wizards of the Coast to make their latest edition of D&D successful by making it more like the OSR.

And the old-school crowd on theRPGsite, which is one of the biggest membership-groups in the forum, are big-time purchasers of RPG products (and not just OSR stuff, for that matter).

But the reality of what might have caused Mr. Mentzer to think this way is pretty basic, really: he's been hanging around with the Wrong OSR.  While not the worst of the worst, the df forums are still one of the areas where the old "OSR Taliban" had serious prevalence. I'm sure even there, a lot of the members purchase RPG books, and not just old ones. But the overall attitude of those forums is still one of "newer stuff is crap compared to the older stuff".

That's very, very different from the attitude of the OSR at theRPGsite (and other places, like the G+ OSR communities).  Of course they love old-school material, but they don't obsess over old-school purity at all. They recognize that the time we live in today is the best of times: all the old-stuff has become accessible again thanks to the wonders of the interwebs, and at the same time there's AMAZING new material being created for old-school gaming through the OSR.  There's more genius and more creativity in old-school gaming today than there ever was before.

These are the Big Picture OSR people. They want to see what the limits are of what you can create within the landmarks of the Old-School rules, and those limits are constantly being pushed in fascinating and weird and marvelous directions.
And when great new material for old-school rules, settings, supplements and adventures come up, they buy them. They buy them in droves. As one RPG-designer to another, Mr.Mentzer, I can assure you of this, and the huge success I've had with Dark Albion is my proof.

So, Mr.Mentzer, I'm sorry for whatever has brought about this perspective for you. My advice to you is this: come check out theRPGsite! Besides our main forum, we have news & advertising forums where you can promote your stuff, and we even have a design and development forum where if you like you can go into detail about what you're working on and get advice or playtesting from fans and future customers.

Don't count the OSR out because you've had bad experiences with the Old-School Absolutists out there.


Currently Smoking: Ben Wade Canadian + Image Latakia

Tuesday, 12 September 2017

RPGPundit Reviews: Starcluster Magazine 3: Time & Money

This is a review of the RPG supplement "Starcluster 4, Magazine 3: Time & Money", which is a kind of supplementary journal to the Starcluster series of game products.  It is written by Clash Bowley, Albert Bailey, and Klaxon Bowley, and published by Flying Mice Games.

I should mention that, long ago and far away, Flying Mice published my "Forward to Adventure!" RPG (and its FtA!GN! supplement). I don't think that this will affect the quality of my review, but it's important to be transparent about these things.

The magazine is a 54 page product, presented in a softcover with a full-color cover, featuring some kind of female adventurer in fancy old-fashioned garb. The interior is black and white, and almost entirely unillustrated (apart from a few pages of floorplans).

The product gets right to business; and that business consists of a series of essays or articles. We start with a "Guide to Commuting", which gives details of just what a commute consists of in a high-tech society.  There's a warning not to go super-sonic in a populated area, guidelines for how long it takes to do an orbital flight, orbital transfer stations, travelling in a personal pod, air cars (with details like the distance involved in a hypersonic turning radius), hauling mass, camping out, anti-gravity parking, living in your vehicle, and more.

Next we get an article about Time Reckoning in the StarCluster. That is to say, here on Earth a day is 24 hours, and a year is 365 days or so. Even hours and minutes are dependent on Earth calculations. So as soon as we go to other worlds, you have to figure out other ways to calculate time. This became even more complicated when humanity left the solar system and went to all kinds of new solar systems, each with their own time-keeping complexities. The article provides some suggestions as to how that all might be worked out.

After this, there's an article on Starship Economics. It deals with work and trade in the context of a starship-economy, covering such wide subjects as handicrafts, credits, reference currency, interstellar trade (varying from, say, Traveller by pointing out that actually interstellar trade in physical goods is relatively rare because it's just too expensive to be worthwhile, excepting highly specialized items), relative prices and wealth, shipping times and costs, time factors, passengers, intellectual property, interplanetary mail, and more.

Then there's an article entitled StarCluster-The Voyage Out. It details the period in the history of the setting where a disaster obliged humanity to abandon the solar system and make a slow grand exodus out to distant stars. One interesting detail of the StarCluster setting is that the arrival times of the exodus happened in reverse. The earliest ships to leave were the most primitive and thus the slowest. The last ships to get out were the most advanced, and ended up arriving centuries before the first ships did. The article details the different stages of the trip, and the societal changes that took place on the voyage. There are some very basic diagrams showing rough plans of what the colony ships looked like.

The next entry in the magazine is a piece of game fiction, which frequent readers know is one of my least-liked features of RPG books ever, called "time away". It consists of a 9-page long travel-log of a couple going on a tour of their system.

Then we get to the article on "Time Travel". This is a speculative sort of article suggesting the different ways time travel could theoretically work.  Stuff like "time as fate", "time as a river" or "time as a tree". Plus a few other speculations.

So what to make of this Magazine?  For starters, anyone who is a fan of Starcluster and is looking for system-wank won't find it here. There's pretty much nothing at all here, system-wise. No stats for items, no actual new rules, nothing.

There's setting stuff, but not in the form of new adventures, or new locations, or NPCs, or any of that sort of thing.

What you get is a lot of very speculative stuff, and purely peripheral fluff material.

So what is that good for? It may give you some ideas for things to cover in your game.  For Starcluster fans, there's at least a little specific stuff relevant to the history of the setting. If you're not specifically looking at it from the point of view of Starcluster, there's also some stuff that could apply to any sci-fi setting, and there's no rules to get in the way.

But is it enough?  My judgment is "maybe not".  It's very secondary stuff.  Some of it is, granted, quite interesting. Some of it isn't, at least to me. It left me feeling like it was a bit lacking. But if the topics listed above are of special specific interest to you, it might just be worthwhile for the price, I guess. Otherwise, no.


Currently smoking: Lorenzetti Quiete + Old Dog

Monday, 11 September 2017

Update On My Current Project

So, as has happened before in the past, I find myself at this moment in the unenviable position of having a considerable amount of writing work done that is stuck waiting for my publisher (publishers, in this case) to finish the preparations for publication.

There is some good news, however.  My Lion & Dragon RPG is more than halfway done in the publishing process. And my "RPGPundit Presents" series of short supplements is likely to get started publishing very soon.

On the topic of the latter, I've already completed a significant number of these, and they'll largely consist of a couple of different broad topics: on the one hand, Medieval-Authentic material of the kind you would be able to use in Lion & Dragon, Dark Albion or any other RPG that is focused on trying to be relatively gritty and with an emphasis on historical and occult authenticity. There'll be a number of publications describing magical grimoires and their properties, some NPC cults and villains, and guides to things like weaponry.

On the other hand, highly Gonzo material inspired by my DCC campaign in all its craziness. It will be the type of thing you could use for DCC, or any other OSR (or potentially even non-osr) game with a sufficient level of zaniness.

But, while I'm waiting I figure I'll start writing up another batch of material, and I was wondering what sort of "Pundit Presents" products you might be interested in. Particularly in either of those two broad categories, but there could also be other material.

If you have something to recommend, something you'd like to see me write about, please let me know!


Currently Smoking: Neerup Acorn + Image Virginia

Sunday, 10 September 2017

Wild West Campaign Update: Exodusters!

In this week's session, the PCs were stunned to learn of a mass migration happening in Kansas.  About 20000 poor black farmers abandoned the south, coming mainly from Mississippi and Tennessee to farmstead in the west.

They were called the "exodusters" a portmanteau of "exodus" and "sodbuster" (the nickname for homestead farmers).  

The Exodusters were fleeing the south after the results of the last presidential election's compromise resulted in the ending of post-war Reconstruction. This meant that the Federal government's protection of the rights of former slaves was over, and southern Democrat state governments moved quickly to strip away the rights and the land of blacks. With the promise of land, the Exodusters traveled en masse to the west, going to Oklahoma, Colorado, and other places but especially to Kansas (the land of John Brown and probably the least racist state of the union in 1879), looking for new lives.

Unfortunately, most of the Exodusters were woefully low on resources and unprepared for the challenges they would face. And while Kansas may have been far more egalitarian than most parts, it wasn't free of racism.  When the citizens of Dodge city heard of tens of thousands of black settlers heading their way, their reactions were mixed at best.  It was generally agreed that measures needed to be taken to direct the newcomers away from town. Although, to be fair, it was at least as much of a logistical concern than a racial one (Dodge City already had a small black population which included at least a few prominent people, including John Tyler, who owned a well-regarded barber shop right on Front Street).  And the way the city fathers chose to go about this encouragement was not by threats or aggression but by charity aid and directing the newcomers to areas that still had plentiful homesteading plots.

It wasn't just Dodge that had a problem with the Exodusters, however.  The PCs were quite surprised when the county Sheriff (Bat Masterson) got a request for help from Nicodemus, a town founded and populated entirely by blacks.

Nicodemus had been founded about two years BEFORE the Exodusters came along, and was the first all-black town in the great plains. The settlers of Nicodemus were people with relatively good education and resources compared to the standard for blacks in the 19th century, including various successful businessmen and free men from Northern states with expertise in farming the type of land found in west Kansas.   And they did not want the Exodusters.  When Nicodemus had been first founded, they got help from the Ford County Sheriff (at that time Bat Masterson, with some help from Virgil and Wyatt Earp) to protect that town from hostile night-riders.  So they called on Bat Masterson to help them to stop the impoverished and unskilled Exodusters, some of whom had heard of Nicodemus, from coming in and overwhelming the community.

Masterson found himself in a bit of situation: on the one hand, he sympathized with the townsfolk's problem, and they were voters after all. On the other hand, there could be political consequences for him in Dodge. And on the other other hand, at least some of the 20000 Exodusters were going to end up being potential voters too.

So he did what he does best: passed the buck. He sent Crazy Miller and Jake Hale (the Mormon ex-gambler) to go negotiate the situation. They would be accompanied by Miller's employees, Other Miller and Ben Johnson, and by Kid Taylor, Jeff Young and Wyatt Earp in case there was trouble.

Shortly after their arrival, the town was threatened by the approach of 300 wagons full of Exodusters.  The townsfolk were adamant that they didn't want any of them there, but there were a large number of vacant homestead plots in the area, and technically, it would be in the Exoduster's legal right to stay.

Hale tried to negotiate with the settlers, hoping to direct them toward the hill country, which had been until recently Indian territory but was now available for settlement (even if the land wasn't nearly as good for farming as the Kansas plains). But the settlers were not willing to accept being rejected, particularly incensed at the notion of being turned away by what they considered their own people.   The lawmen found themselves in a very problematic situation, and with both sides armed and ill-tempered, it could have turned into a bloodbath.

What's more, the law was potentially on the Exoduster's side. If there were homestead plots available, and the Exodusters got there and made their claim on it, the lawmen would at least officially be required to defend their right against the people of Nicodemus, even though Masterson had sent them there to help the town.

Then Kid Taylor came up with an idea: he convinced Nicodemus' mayor to send anyone he could get to claim every available homestead plot. Thus, technically, they would have the right to the land and the Exodusters would be shut out of the area. The mayor quickly enacted the plan, making Kid Taylor very popular in town, which was uncomfortable for the notoriously racist Kid.

Miller and Hale, with a bit of help from Wyatt Earp, came up with a slightly more productive plan. They figured that if they could give an incentive for the Exodusters to go elsewhere, that might just avoid violence. And they remembered that Bat Masterson had just recently (thanks to the Royal Gorge rail war) made close connections to the local rail barons. They figured they could get Bat to set up potential jobs for the Exodusters working for the railway in Colorado. They telegraphed Bat, and he agreed (anything for a chance to show off).  The Exodusters were interested in this opportunity, having sure work waiting for them in Colorado, but they were so low on food and money that they didn't think they could make it from there to where the jobs were waiting for them.

The party remembered that on the way to Nicodemus they'd rode past a herd of wild cattle, probably strays from a previous cattle-drive that had managed to survive and thrive on the plains.  They figured if they could catch this herd it would at least partially solve the food problem. None of the PCs had any idea how to round up cattle, as none of them had worked as cowhands. But Ben Johnson had. He rounded up a few men in Nicodemus who had a bit of experience at ranches, and rode off to look for the herd.

Kid Taylor inadvertently helped too. The people of Nicodemus had been so grateful for his clever idea to cheat the Exodusters out of the local homesteads that they plied him with bourbon in celebration that night, and when he woke up (with a splitting hangover) the next morning, he discovered that in his drunken stupor he'd given away $100 to help the impoverished Exodusters. Needless to say, he was not happy about it, and became the butt of a great deal of mockery from the rest of the party.

A couple of days later, Johnson came back, with about 30 head of cattle for the Exodusters. Between that and Kid Taylor's generous donation, the settlers had what they needed (and then some) to go the rest of the way to Colorado and their waiting railway jobs.

The PCs left Nicodemus with the locals' sincere gratitude, having managed in the end to make everybody happy. And Ben Johnson decided to stay behind in Nicodemus and take up a vacant position as the town sheriff. Even Kid Taylor managed to get something for his trouble, he let the mayor of Nicodemus know that in the next election for Ford County Sheriff it was his plan to run against Bat Masterson, and the mayor promised he'd sweep the votes in Nicodemus.

In the end, between 4000-5000 of that first wave of Exodusters would end up settling in Kansas, many to great hardship, but with quite a few managing to succeed at this version of the American Dream. They would only be the first of many; between 1879 and 1889, Kansas would see a total of 29000 black settlers migrating (mostly) from the south to take up farmsteads and becoming a prominent population of this part of the West.


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

Saturday, 9 September 2017

When Did I Choose to Leave the Left? I Didn't!

Someone asked me the other day what made me abandon the Left and join the Right. That's a tricky question, because frankly, I never did.

My own political positions haven't really changed almost at all since I reached adulthood. I have pretty consistently been: pro free-speech, anti-war, anti-drug-war, pro-LGBT, against large government interference in the form of social engineering, distrustful of large corporations, hugely distrustful of the deep state (anti-CIA, etc), a strong believer in personal liberty, and the equality of all people (and a big admirer of Dr.King's exhortation that we should judge people by content of character, not color of skin). I've been pro-western-values, against the oppression of women, anti-female-genital-mutilation, pro-Israel, deeply opposed to theocratic overtures in politics, and a believer in the power of rational thinking, technological innovation and science as the ways to solve the world's health/environmental/hunger/poverty problems.

For a long time, the vast majority of these positions put me pretty squarely on the Left. Somewhere midway between the center and the far left. For the 20 year old me, it was obvious that opposing censorship (for example) was something that made me somewhere left of center, because the Left strongly opposed censorship while the Right (at that time largely run, in north america at least, by theocrats or authoritarian social conservatives) was quite happy to censor anything it thought of as 'degenerate' or 'decadent' or 'dangerous to our children' (notwithstanding that Tipper Gore was technically a democrat, but she was a Southern Democrat and the push to ban rock-music and RPGs was otherwise largely coming from the right).

But over the course of the last 10 years, at first slowly and then very quickly, it became obvious that most of that list of very same unchanged values put me very squarely on the new Right, while to the left many of those things they previously would have cherished as their own values (anti-censorship, pro-Israel, anti-deep-state, rationality over feelings/faith/dogma, no mollycoddling religious extremists, everyone is equal, even Dr.King's rule - "That son of a bitch believes people should be judged for character, and not for skin color! He's a fucking racist monster!") were now things that defined me as a dangerous 'nazi' who needs to be stopped, certainly in terms of denying me a 'platform', if not in terms of beating me to death with metal pipes like Antifa would like to do.

The left has been taken over by people who have completely rejected not just the fundamental Western values, but the very foundations of western philosophical thinking. Logic itself is "problematic" to them, and everything must go.

I didn't change. I didn't quit the Left. The Left changed; it quit me.


Currently Smoking: Lorenzetti Quiete + Old Dog

Friday, 8 September 2017

Classic Rant: Dark Albion:The Church

So I thought I'd take a much-needed break from the OBS Censorship scandal, and get back to talking about Dark Albion!

So over at theRPGsite Q&A, someone has asked about just how much religion might have changed in Albion compared to real history, particularly given how significant the spiritual and political power of the Church was in this time.

Good question! Even though I've changed the religion from Catholicism to the "Church of the Unconquered Sun", the structure of said church is pretty much identical to that of medieval catholic church, with the exception of the existence of the Clerical Order (a militant order who are blessed with miraculous powers, and are answerable to the Pontifex but do not fit into the rest of the church hierarchy and instead have their own parallel hierarchy; this was created so that all PC clerics are Clerics and not priests, and so that priests, bishops, Pontifexes, etc. do not get clerical magic).

The rest of the hierarchy and influence of the Church is pretty much the same as it was in politics and society in the real world 15th century. The majority of the important religious NPCs in Albion are "Albionized" versions of the real world historical figures that were around at that time. The list of Pontifexes that reigned in that period (and their various actions, some pious and many many corrupt and sinful ones) were taken directly from the Popes of the 15th century.

Shall we take a look at some of these?

Eugene IV: Bribed his way to the papacy. Murdered two hundred associates of the previous pope. Issued a papal bull declaring Portuguese slave-raids on the African coastline as a "crusade".

Pius II: famous writer of erotic stories/poetry in his spare time.

Paul II: made a jewel-encrusted tiara for himself on his ascension. Created 'secret cardinals' to thwart his political enemies. Imprisoned and tortured the same. Forced city Jews to run naked through the streets during carnival. Died of a heart attack while engaging in sodomy with a page boy.

Sixtus IV: Embezzled the church to enrich his own family. Opened a papal whorehouse in Rome. Was infamous for nepotism at a time when papal nepotism was considered the norm. Gave attractive young men bishophrics in exchange for sexual favors. Re-affirmed the Portuguese right to enslave Africans.

Innocent VIII: Had sixteen illegitimate children. Took bribes from the Turkish Sultan. Issued a papal bull against witchcraft endorsing the beginning of the Witch Craze in europe that ultimately led to the death of thousands of innocents. Made de Torquemada Grand Inquisitor setting off the terrors of the Spanish Inquisition. Banned Pico della Mirandola's 900 theses and tried to have him executed as a heretic. Officially institutionalized Simony in the vatican bureaucracy to fund the construction of his summer house and hunting lodge.

So there you go; that was the qualities of the papacy of the 15th Century.

And finally for today, check out this great review of Dominique Crouzet's awesome Dark Albion adventure, "The Ghost of Jack Cade on London Bridge"!


Currently Smoking: Neerup Egg & Longbottom Leaf

(september 9, 2015)

Thursday, 7 September 2017

Looking for a Consultant?

So, I've got time on my hands these days as I wait for my writing projects to get published.

If you've got an RPG project going and think you could benefit from a consultant with a lot of experience (both as an RPG designer, and having consulted on various previous projects, including 5e), feel free to get in touch!


Currently Smoking: Neerup Acorn + Image Virginia

Wednesday, 6 September 2017

Censorship is Defined by Intent, not Effectiveness

Over on theRPGsite, the Pundit's forum is the odd bird. Its purpose is to archive my old blog posts, and to discuss threads about my works, about me, or about things that interest me.  This also makes it the only place on the entire RPGsite where political discussion is allowed, if it falls into one of those contexts.  It's also been clearly stated that if a thread is not about me or my works and doesn't interest me, it gets closed. If a thread eventually stops interesting me, it gets closed, to avoid endless threads that I no longer have an interest in reading.  This is the only part of theRPGsite where that is done (though threads can sometimes be closed in other parts of theRPGsite, if for example they become so badly derailed with off-topic material that they are unsalvageable).

In the last few months, possibly because of the super-heated political atmosphere, I've had a couple of people claim that this policy means I'm not practicing Free Speech on my own forum, or that by closing threads once they bore me, that's "Censorship". Most recently, someone claimed that this was like "rpgnet bullshit" because I was "censoring talk about RPGs".

Here's why they're wrong on all counts: first, Censorship depends on intent.

For example, people try to counter-argue the exposing of censorship by the Ctrl-Left on social media (or in the gaming hobby) by claiming "what they're doing isn't censorship because there are other places where the banned products/speakers can promote themselves!"

The error in this is that if those people had the power to do so, they would ban those products in those other places too. They're not "allowing" Free Speech, they're just lacking the power or competence to drive their urge to Censorship to complete success. They still WANT products to cease to exist and speakers to cease to speak altogether. It's still censorship, and the fact that the people perpetrating it can't get all the censorship they'd wish to have doesn't change that fact.

On the other hand, closing a thread because it's off-topic, or in this case closing threads because they've gone on long enough to no longer be of interest to the forum owner has nothing to do with Free Speech, and is not Censorship. That is, so long as the reason those threads are being closed have nothing to do with being opposed to what the person writing in the thread has to say.

If I were closing threads because someone was making an argument on that thread that offended me (and I somehow lacked the capability to offer a rebuttal, something which rarely if ever happens with me), then that would be a free speech issue. But closing a thread because it does not fit the clearly-stated rules of the forum, regardless of who is saying what, is not censorship because there is no intent to censor.

Also, no "talk about RPGs" is ever censored on theRPGsite (unless a thread deviates into violating the very very few rules theRPGsite has, none of which have anything to do with gaming). If you are posting a thread about RPGs in the Pundit's forum, and for some reason it holds no interest to me at all, I'll just move it to the main forum.

So theRPGsite is still very much the place for "non-censored talk about RPGs", and always will be as long as I'm alive and own it.


Currently Smoking: Lorenzetti Half-Volcano + Blue Boar

Tuesday, 5 September 2017

DCC Campaign Update: Don't Judge me, I Needed the Money

When we left off, our intrepid anti-heroes had made it to the fortress of the Dark Elves.  They had been told of the Witch-Queen, which looks like their only chance of getting back to Lol (given that the city isn't responding to their calls, and they suspect Jaludin has betrayed them).  For the moment, though, the party is resting for a week or so to try to recover.


-The Pundit's cat caught a bird.

"It's still alive!"
"Yeah, she's playing with it. She likes to torture her captures a bit and watch them suffer before killing them off."
"So, much like her master, huh?"
"Does your cat also GM DCC?"

-Mu is planning to cast "Find familiar" and he wants some help from the Dark Elf King's summoner. So he goes up to his tower, which is of course very black, and filled with skull motifs.
"The summoner even has little tiny skulls on his pointed shoes. They might be halfling-baby skulls or something."

-"What can you give me to help you?"
"I have this brain-eater body-part-mash. You could use it to summon a brain-eater!"
"Servants of the Dark Ones?! That way lies madness! Are you crazy? It'll be the ruination of us all! I'm all dark and sinister, but this is just completely fucked up! Get out of here!"

-Mu begins his slow process of turning into a supervillain.
"I'll find a great use for this brain-eater; then you'll see! You'll ALL see!!"

-Vizi and Roman spend most of the week using 'medicinal herbs'.  Publio is not impressed.
"I'm from Highbay; back there we give kids that stuff for breakfast."

-"So, what is Roman, again?"
"We don't know."
"I'm Tonut's uncle!"
"Oh... sorry for your loss."
"Huh? Oh yeah, he's dead... yeah, so sad."
"And for Sami too, you adopted her."
"I did? Oh shit, I forgot... I guess I should have suggested we dig her out from that cave in...oh, well."
"You're the one who said we should leave her behind!"
"I did?"
"You totally did. I think you said 'always leave hookers buried'."

-"No! No one is taking Mongo around the city with them, and no one is sparring with him! This guy is our ticket to the Crown of Creation! For fuck's sake, he's a musclebound retard; he couldn't be more at risk of dying if he was sexually attracted to fire!"
"How do you know he isn't?"

-Publio & Vizi go to the market.  Publio buys himself a pet monkey, for reasons only understandable to his adolescent mind.

-"I'm going to spend the week training my monkey!"
"The monkey flings shit at you."
"That's ok, it's all part of the training."

-Vizi goes to a healer; but he only caters to dark elves. Vizi offers him psychic services in exchange; and receives a vision of when the healer was frantically trying (and failed) to save the life of a dark elf officer with a big spike run right through him.

"You are a true psychic! It is true, but you have now reminded me of my greatest failure. To this day I have not been able to devise the correct herbal treatment for curing someone who's been impaled by a huge spike."

-Mu summons his familiar: it turns out to be a chimpanzee in a little wizard costume.

-The Chimpanzee can't talk, but can communicate telepathically with Mu. It turns out his name is Gilbert, and he (mentally) has a british accent.

-When Gilbert sees Publio's monkey, he's immediately attracted.
"I'm going to sniff her arse sooo much!"

-Heidi makes it clear that he thinks Publio is not mature enough to take care of a monkey.
"Who's going to end up walking it, huh? And cleaning up after it? And now with the wizard-chimp we're going to have to worry about them having monkey-puppies."

-The party heads out across the Shadowlands to see the Witch-Shaman.  Along the way, they end up being ambushed by orcs! Publio throws a rock at one, misses, and gets cut down!

-Roman once again blows up the brains of about a dozen orcs.

-The orcs are driven off, but it turns out Publio is dead!
"It's ok. He had 7 Luck. It's a miracle he lasted this long."

-The wizard-chimp had hidden for safety, with Publio's monkey, behind some rocks. Now the wizard chimp comes out behind the rocks with a satisfied look, smoking a cigarette.

-"Gilbert, with Publio dead you'll have to take care of the she-monkey."
"Now hang about, old chap! It's one thing to get a bit of totty for fun, but quite another to be tied down with her! We should just leave her here in the oasis."
"Won't that hurt her feelings?"
"I really don't think she's clever enough to understand or care. I mean, she's peeing on the corpse of her former master as we speak.."

-The party reaches the cave of the Witch-Shaman. She makes some dubious prophecies about how someone's goal is to conquer all of Creation, and how Heidi is going to die very soon, when he's up in the sky. To prove her power, she summons up "the rest of your party", which is Sami (who had been slowly dying all this time inside the ruined skyship following the cave-in), and three newbies no one had ever heard of.  They are an orc, an annoying bard with a recorder-flute, and a vegan-mutant.

-"You left me for dead, you fucks!"
"To be fair, it would have taken us several hours to dig you out."

-Heidi is quite concerned about his death-prophecy.
"What did you mean, about me dying, Witch-Shaman?"
"Ye will die, when you go up high into the sky!"
"Whoa, she must be a really good prophetess..she rhymed!"
"She's're doomed, man."

-"Who's the chimp in the wizard outfit?"
"That's my familiar, Gilbert."
"Well, good! We finally have a wizard in the party."

-The Dark Elf who had been accompanying the party since the Ancients' ruin had only agreed to guide them to the Witch-Queen because his honor had been besmirched by Vizi, and he said that when they arrived at their destination he and Vizi would have a duel.  The time has come.
"So, to first blood, right?"
"I decapitate him."

-Looting the dark elf's body, they find a book of dubious pornographic sketches that seem to feature Sami in her previous profession as a strap-on wielding sex worker.
"Hey, it's Sami!"
"Give me that!! Don't judge me, I needed the money!"

-The Witch-Shaman gives the party 3 questions. They utterly waste two of them, but the third is actually relevant to their interest, as they ask what would be the next step to fulfill their mision.
"You must go into the hills and find... a bear!"

-"Maybe its a metaphorical bear?"

-"Will you heal me?"
"I hate you the most, Roman, you left me to die!"
"Hey, I adopted you!"
"Well... anything for family."

-That night, after going in search of a bear in the hills, the party gets attacked by hippogriffs!  Vizi, the party's second-best warrior, hides behind some bushes, again.
"Why does vizi keep on hiding?"
"I want to take them by surprise!"
"God damn it, you're a warrior, we need you on the front line."
"I rolled a 20."
"Wow... that's surprisingly good hiding for a warrior."

-The hippogriffs are driven off, but not before the flute-playing minstrel died. There was much rejoicing.

-"Now I have to come up with a personality for the vegan."
"I would suggest 'annoying'."

-Heidi is now 1xp from leveling up.
"I'm so dead!"

-"Maybe your death-prophecy is a metaphor too; like you get really high and die of an overdose?"
"That's very possible, Heidi, you should leave the medicinal herbs to us!"

-The vegan survived but had one of his arms shattered.
"I'll heal the vegan's arm, but only because it's too gross."
"Are you going to apply some kind of herbal ointment?"
"No, she does Reiki."
"Don't encourage him!"

-"You don't need to worry about healing me, I'll be fine!"
"You're a vegan; you barely have any antibodies! If I don't heal you you're going to die of infection!"

-It takes Sami multiple tries to repair the vegan mutant's broken arm.
"Finally! I healed you."
"I don't know, it might have been that kale he ate."
"I hate you all.."

-A couple of days later, the PCs spot a rocket in the middle of the woods. Incredibly, the rocket appears to be in the process of being slowly repaired by a bear. There are some serious communications issues at first and it looks like the bear will be hostile, until Mu remembers he has the psychic power to talk to animals.

-It turns out the bear has always dreamed of getting to fly. His ancestors had seen the rocket in the air before it crashed, so he spent his life trying to figure out how to fix it. Roman takes a quick look and figures that the PCs could jury-rig it into a (barely) flyable state with a few days of work. Cue the A-Team Montage!

-Vizi has a psychic vision of the rocket when it crashed; of a wizard sobbing uncontrollably while encrypting some media files and then declaring that 'no one must ever know'.

-"So the previous owner of the rocket had some terrible secret no one must ever know? I bet it's inter-species porno!"
"Why did you go straight to interspecies porno?!"
"I don't know. Maybe it's because that bear is so rugged and handsome..."

-Sami has the hots for the bear, particularly after he violently drives off a Giant Badger (the bear later psychically explains to Mu that the badger is "a total asshole").
"So, is there a Mrs.Bear?"

-Unfortunately for Sami, the bear is very not interested in her.
"His only love is the sky!"

-"My Vegan-Mutant people all died in the mountains. We had to leave our village because Bill the Elf was coming."
"Yeah, well, actually there was some confusion about that. It wasn't quite accurate."
"So my people died for nothing?"

-That night, Heidi gets his 1xp by avoiding combat with a pair of giant wasps while standing guard.
"Great! Now the party is immune to Morris being Leader!"
"But we're not immune to his ASS."

-Ever since he heard about the wizard and the media files, Roman has been useless in helping with the repairs. He's been trying to spend all his time decrypting the files. Unfortunately, they have "64-level encryption", which makes them almost impossible to crack.
Sami, who has money riding on whether it's interspecies porno, even tries to use Divine Aid to crack the files, but it doesn't work.

-Heidi is sick of his own fear, and decides to fly up into the air and confront his mortality. He flies up and... nothing happens. He starts to happily soar through the air.
Everyone else is busy watching him go and cheering him on, so no one notices the two Sand-Elemental Ninja-Cows who come in and surprise attack!
"Shit, maybe the prophecy was actually that all the rest of us are going to die while Heidi is high in the sky!"

-The Sand Cows are impossible to hit except by magic or magic-weapons. The PCs are on the ropes but the real target is the rocket, which the Cows try to knock down!

-Finally, Vizi manages to psychically dominate one of the cows, to make it attack the other. Roman blows the other one up, and Vizi sends the one he controlled into the bear's cave and orders it to explode.

-"What the fuck were those things?"
"Elemental Sand-Cows. Created by the fucking Archemaster!"

-"Does this mean the Archemaster got out of the Forever Pit?"
"Probably. And that might explain why Lol isn't answering us."
"And how did he know where to find us?"
"Because I've been transmitting messages to Lol?"

-Heidi returns from his joyflight a few minutes after the battle ends.
"You absolute bastard."
"Hey, I didn't die!"
"You'll probably die in the rocket flight..."
"That would be OK because I'd be taking you all with me."

-Roman finally decripts the media files. It's not porno, inter-species or otherwise. It's actually a break-up message from an attractive human girl named Lysa, who is dumping the former owner of the rocket, a wizard named Timoteus. She's dumping him because he was so nerdy he stood her up for a date in order to make it to a Posh Elf stamp-collecting convention. Roman reveals that Timoteus was the name of the wizard who eventually went mad, and became The Archemaster!
"So that explains why he's always trying to get a fair human maiden!!"

-"What should we do with this video?"
"The Archemaster tried to kill us to avoid it being discovered."
"Then obviously, we need to transmit it on all channels so that everyone can know his secret shame!"
"Now he'll really want to kill us!"
"Yeah, but fuck him."

-Fortunately, the sand cows were dispatched before they could do any permanent damage to the rocket. But now that the PCs suspect Lol has falled into the Archemaster's hands, they decide that instead of flying to Lol, they're going to go straight to Geb, where the Sunstaff is said to be found.

Will the PCs manage to save the universe before the Archemaster murders them for revealing his humiliating secret?  Check back in our next installment to find out!


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