Saturday 28 July 2012

The AntiRaggi

So calm, so good. You'd leave your children with him if you went to the shops. If he stayed the night over you'd find him doing the washing up in the morning.

Whenever I hear Vincent Baker in a podcast or see him explain something in one of these videos I always get the impression that if you asked him if he wanted Brown sauce or Tomato he would purse his lips, look down and to the right for a second, nod, and say 

"That.. that's a really interesting question. Thanks. Thanks for bringing that up. You've really shown me a new side to this. I'm going to think about that."

Then a week later he releases a hyper-focused pdf-only rpg where Genghis Khan has to choose between brown or red sauce and the decision changes the future of the whole world and you play the sauce but you are also in the future betting on the outcome. It would be called Sauceoscope. The Forge would love it. Knowing the rules would get you laid at Gencon.

I really really liked Apocalypse World, which he made, and I really really like LOTFP, which it's for, so if anyone out there feels the same and you have $20.00 to spare go and fund his Wizard Tower thing here-

I want to play in that goddammn wizards tower so bad!! Even I spent 20.00 on it and I am a fucking prole with a part time job.

ITS BASED ON JACK VANCE! YOU ALL LIKE JACK VANCE DON'T YOU NERDS? Come on, some of you have real jobs and lives and stuff. You can afford this.

Wednesday 18 July 2012

Fake Being Gay to Kill Thieves

Lessons learnt from tonights session.

There is nothing wrong with flirting with teenage boys through an imaginary male character in an imaginary bar if that is what the reaction die says.

If this makes you incredibly awkward you can just say "ok ok, he flirts with you."

Fake being gay to kill thieves.

If an invulnerable monster comes out of a jar you just smashed open and tries to eat your leg, the answer will be found by smashing open all of the identical jars.

'Guy-With-The-Falcata' sounds cooler than 'Axe guy'

One of my players actually knows what a Falcata is.

Psionic snails make everything easier.

Players are happier with random tattoos from a carousing roll than they are with actual treasure.

A player who will not surrender his platemail in an agonising cross country walk, or when it gets bent out of shape in a pit-trap, or in a massive argument with his actual real-life friends about the consequences of encumbrance, will do so immediately "to get it enameled with like a serpent-rope design to match my tattoo".

If you get a neck tattoo, you can never go back to being an accountant.

Somone playing a thieving, mass-murdering, Goat-Skull-Worshiping former accountant will refuse to throw an arm wrestling match for money because he considers his character 'Chaotic Good.'

If you murder someone, and they come back from the dead with the evil use of a Jade Monkey amulet. And you kill them again. You can just mess up their stuff and leave the body hoping the authorities take it for a "jade monkey hate crime."
A cleric called 'Hirgen the Fondler' should get a thicker skin, or not go out drinking.

A Deadly Foe Indeed

And one I do not wish to face again.


The hour between night and day.
The hour between toss and turn.
The hour of thirty year olds.

The hour swept clean for roosters crowing.
The hour when the earth takes back its warm embrace.
The hour of cool drafts from extinguished stars.
The hour of do-we-vanish-too-without-a-trace.

Empty hour.
Hollow. Vain.
Rock bottom of all the other hours.

No one feels fine at four a.m.
If ants feel fine at four a.m.,
we're happy for the ants. And let five a.m. come
if we've got to go on living. 

No watch rolls encounter dice but the last, and they roll two.

Thursday 12 July 2012

Ill Deeds

I did a bad thing in a game once and I thought about it for a long time.

I was a corporate fixer for Gazprom in an alternate version of Liverpool run by the Militant. There was a girl working for an escort agency and my bosses told me that there would be a significant payoff if we delivered her. We were told she was involved in espionage. Which we believed to be the case.

I and some friends carefully planned the perfect abduction and carried it out. It took two or three sessions, so six to nine hours of my life were spent committing this imaginary crime.

In all the schemes our Cyberpunk characters had tried, this is the only one that went off perfectly. Its also the only one that was really very very immoral in an immediate sense.

All of the things we did were somewhat dodgy, we tried smuggling drugs, we got into gunfights with priests and went gambling. At one point my character had a security guy tied up in a basement and executed him in cold blood. He also betrayed numerous friends, including real people who were right there at the table in front of me.

But I never went home and thought about it much afterwards. It was only the imaginary girl. We did it without thinking about it. Only later, lying in bed in the dark did I start to wonder if I did a bad thing.

I decided that I was going to play my character as a fractured good guy from that point, which I failed to do, and he decided to rip off some gamblers, which he failed to do. He was shot by police. Which he deserved.

Maybe it's because it was a woman, or because we never really knew why they wanted her, or because we only met her once so she didn't really have any personality, she was just a cipher really. A blank space to read into.

I was reading a Zak S post on G+ and thinking about morality in games and if the things in games have any relation to the real world. I think they do, but the translation between the two is long, distant, inconstant and strange.

I imaging holding a long loop of very pure silk in my hands, it's evening and the silk is grey so it just reaches off into the gloom, you don't really see any particular point where it disappears, only endless fine gradations of darkness. And the silk is being pulled through my hands, sometimes fast, sometimes slow. It's so smooth that I can barely tell its moving at all. I have to concentrate on the sensation in my fingertips but I can never be certain. I could clamp down at any point and the silk would be still, but I don't.

I banned rape in my D&D games. And child abuse, and child endangerment. It's never actually come up with anyone I play with, so it's only a tacit rule, invisible and untested. But it's there.

The murders and thefts go ahead as normal, they don't leave any particular stain on my memory. I don't think about them while I walk home or before I fall asleep.

Wednesday 11 July 2012

Telepathic Snails

"O.K the guy has a bag full of snails. About 900 of them."


"Yes, and they have shells of solid silver."

"How much per shell?"

"About one silver piece per shell."

"Can I get XP for that?"

"Yes, if you sell them. But.. You hear a tiny piping voice in your head. It's screaming, 'don't hurt us pleeeease'."

"Are the snails telepathic?"

"And intelligent. And they are begging you for help. So. Will you sell the innoc.."

"Can we make a deal with the snails so that we put them in a shed or wherever they need to go but some come with us and we can carry one each and talk to them and they can communicate with each other so we have like telepathic radio?"

"...... I can't see any reason why not."

Sunday 8 July 2012

Dragonraid Deities


The Names of Christ from bonkers evangelical christian D&D clone Dragonraid sound exactly like the titles from the village/cult leaders from Carcosa.

As of now every single one of these is now a separate god in my setting. They all hate each other. New clerics will be asked to choose one to worship.

The Offspring of the Woman Who Crushes the Serpent
Shiloh, the Great Rest
Star of Brilliant Leader Who Came Out of Judah
The Sceptre of Ruling Authority from out of Israel
Rose of Sharon
Lily of the Valley
Wonderful Councillor
The Mighty God
The Everlasting Father
Prince of Peace
Branch That bears Fruit from the Root of Jesse
Banner for the Peoples
The Arm of the Lord
Man of Sorrows
Leader and Commander
Lord of Righteousness
Ancient of Days
Anointed One
Desire of All Nations
Messenger of the Covenant
Sun of Righteousness
Son of David
Immanuel, God with Us
Son of Man
Holy One
Our Brother
Horn of Salvation
Dayspring (Sunrise)
The Great Physician
The Word
Lamb of God
The Christ, Son of the Living God
Only Begotten Son
The Messiah
Living Water
Saviour of the World
Bread of Life
Light of the World
The “I Am”
The Door
The Good Shepherd
The Resurrection and the Life
The Way
The Truth
The Life
The True Vine
Our Passover
The Spiritual Rock the Quenches Thirst
The Last Adam
The Indescribable Gift
The Beloved of God in Whom We are Accepted
Chief Cornerstone
Head of the Church
Image of the Invisible God
Firstborn over All Creation
Creator and Sustainer of the Universe
Firstborn from Among the Dead
The Supreme in Everything
All in All
Our Hope
Our Ransom
Blessed and Only Potentate
The King of Kings
Lord of Lords
Heir of All Things
The Radiance of Gods Glory
Exact Representation of Gods Glory
Exact Representation of Gods Being
Pioneer of Salvation
Apostle of Our Profession
High Priest
Guarantee of a Better Covenant
Pioneer of Our Faith
Shepherd and Overseer of Our Souls
Our Advocate with The Father
The Atoning Sacrifice
The Almighty
The Living One
The Amen
Faithful and True Witness
Lion of the Tribe of Judah
Alpha and Omega
The Root and The Offspring of David
The Bright Morning Star

Next I'm going to the Demonicpedia for the alternative list.

Saturday 7 July 2012

"Some numbers are better than no numbers"

"I'm not going to listen to you. I know about you. You are a powerful advocate for your province and you have your reasons for wanting money in your province. Maybe the man in Samawah is less good as an advocate. So I am just going to have to rely on my numbers. Some numbers are better than no numbers."

I told him that was nonsense.

"How do you propose I allocate money then?"

I suggested he gather us all at a table, ask tough questions, let us justify our requests, listen to us argue, get to know our personalities, correct for those who seemed more forceful, and come to a decision. I said, "You can't get around problems with numbers. It doesn't matter how many people died; it matters how they died and why and who killed them, and for that you need political officers. There is no exact relationship between your indexes and policy. You may want to put more money into a richer place if it is about to collapse into civil war; you may-"

"What you suggest is very messy, imprecise and imperfect," he interrupted. "There will be biases. That is why we use metrics."

Friday 6 July 2012

Riddle me this..

I am the sightless eye
blinded by time.
I welcomed in the sun
and sent back the rest.
My masters left me.
boys killed me.
all pass freely.
none care.

I lead you to love
and drum-beat at death.
In my white-walled city I am the strongest.
Yet I will never rule.
You can break me with a glance.
But if my music stops
the city falls.

A mighty hoard I guard
that glimmers
in the wooden paths
of a bright dungeon.

My round roof spins fast - graven metal glints.
My house walls hollow - the tick tock of a clock.
Trust me too much I will kill you
but you wont survive a day without me.
You beg me questions but
throw my idols down.

I am like no other art
my brush marks red wherever it goes
and always leaves less behind than was.
I am a great sculptor of flesh
but my figures fail, missing some part.
I made them so.
Know me and know sorrow,
ignore me and know more.

I can take anything from your hands
Though I hold nothing.
I have seen secrets you friends have not.
But you barely see me at all.
My betrayal can lock every door against you.
But command me once more, make me loyal
with cord, and a spear of steel.

I have held your face,
You turned away.
I looked into your eyes,
You cursed me.
I took your cloak and hat,
You did not thank me.
I make bread,
and play with the grain.

My mother in the wood loves the sky.
I fear it.
my hundred grey daughters kiss the earth.
I spurn it.
I hunger for the company of close crowds.
They hate me.
I will dance for you like no other
but only
when all else is still.

Wednesday 4 July 2012


That has to be the most emotional game of D&D I've ever played. half way through I was pretty sure that Teen1 and Teen2 were going to stop being friends. They conspired against each other, let each other down and spent most of their time trying to get their characters as far away from each other as possible. Even in the dungeon.

Half way through I had to give them 3 minutes of Republican Dad, a lengthy speech which begin with 'O.K, fuck your freedom of agency' and ended with 'you will work together as a team or I swear to god I will fucking kill you.'. I honestly thought his might be the last game as they wouldn't turn up again.

The whole thing ended with the teens finally learning to check for traps by throwing rocks, discovering a secret door, rescuing the family of a local farmer and  tricking some skeletons out of treasure. Teen1 volunteered to stay behind and hold of the monsters while the other two escaped. They chose to stay as well and Teen2 ended up sacrificing himself to save Teen1, who had been reduced to Zero HP while Teen3 saved them all by setting his Vornheim Hexenhund on the remaining skeletons.

And everyone went home happy.