Welcome to the oceans in a labeled can,
Welcome to the dehydrated lands,
Welcome to the self police parade,
Welcome to the neo-golden age,
Welcome to the days you’ve made.

– Welcome (to the future), by Hawkwind

If some smart bugger can’t make a game setting out of this in 24 hours then I don’t know what the world is coming to.

Separated Dad at Christmas

The arrangement today is that I’m getting my kids at around 8 pm and having them for the next 4 days. After a morning of catering for my nephew and being excited for others as they regale me with tales of delight on the faces of their little ones, I can’t help but feel a little sore.

Going to avoid this morning and time-shift Christmas morning by 24 hours. And wait for updates from the ex on how much the kids like the presents I got them.

Frantic….a week to Christmas..

I’ve been writing a lot on the WIKI recently and quite a bit in prepared posts for sending out later this week maybe. Most of it is is WotW: Earth stuff with one little diversion into game design theory.

I’m writing alone at the moment, real life having intruded with my co-writers. I’m not sure if they’ll be back but that’s cool. I’m just sorry there’s not much content on here while I get my own articles written.

It kinda coincides with a dry period in gaming too. Still haven’t managed to finish off things with either kinnygraham’s game or with my own Zombi game. Hopefully the new year will be slightly less frantic.

Gaming and the Real World

It’s definitely a little crap when both of your gaming groups have to cancel due to the Real World encroaching. It does leave me with a slightly deflated outlook for the rest of the week. Especially as I was really looking forward to it today, having had a visit to the dentist and 3 work-related exams earlier.

Leaves me wondering about other methods of gaming. Do I start searching for a good MUSH again? I’ve not been able to find one in my most recent forays into the world of online gaming. Do I get myself embroiled in World of Warcraft? Or City of Heroes (now available to us Mac Users through the wonders of BootCamp)? Do I try and recruit an online gaming group via Skype? Or Second Life?

But then what if the two gaming groups did manage one week? I’d potentially end up with 3 gaming sessions a week and I know I just couldn’t cope with that. I’m no longer a young man.

My weekends, traditionally the source of morning, afternoon, evening and night (ahem, late) gaming are now completely sacrosanct and to be spent entirely with the kids. I only have the nights of the rest of the week to fill and not only do we tend to start a bit later (as the group manage to weave their way across Belfast to wherever the game is held) and we tend to finish a bit earlier (because, you know, work in the morning and all that…plus the long journey home.) It was very different when everyone in the gaming group lived within 2 miles of the house we were gaming in and half the group lived in that very house!

I guess this is why I have memories of older gamers turning up to conventions with boxes and boxes of games and selling them off. It may not have been that they were done and dusted with those games, it may have been that their adult life just couldn’t support the dedication needed to be a game addict. I have boxes and boxes of games, some even unread, scattered across the province wherever I can store them. I still live in some small hope of finding somewhere where the many boxes can be re-united under one roof and that I might even find time to organise them, you know…. Do I do it alphabetically? Or by genre? Or by game? And then within the genre? Alphabetically or Chronologically? It will take a lot of thinking to be sure. (and some may note that I may be painting myself as a bit of a Rob Gordon character here, and who wouldn’t…and many will tell you I am the most vain man in the world.)

My gaming life, my Hyde is unfulfilled. As the doctor says,

“…and it was as an ordinary secret sinner that I at last fell before the assaults of temptation.”

WotW: Earth – Progress

I don’t know if anyone is even reading this 🙂 Certainly doesn’t look like it in the comments.
I’ve got two more WotW articles on the back-burner. About the actual technology, machines of war, recovery of civilisation and what we were left with afterwards.

I’ve not written a jot on system yet. Will likely re-use one of the myriad systems I’ve already published in some form or another.

WotW: Earth – The Red Men

The tragic story of a face-eating fungus on Youtube and another about mind-controlling fungi has pushed me to write a little about the Red Men.

“The church bells were ringing for evensong, and a squad of Salvation Army lassies came singing down Waterloo Road. On the bridge a number of loafers were watching a curious brown scum that came drifting down the stream in patches.”

The War of the Worlds, by H. G. Wells

Of all things, a man’s home is his castle and such was our affrontery at being attacked by distant alien intelligences in our own homes. That they had travelled millions of miles in order to exterminate our way of life was taken by some to be a sign of extreme malevolence. I, on the other hand, presume their opinion of us to be quite different. Indifferent to our plight they came to destroy and plunder, treading roughly on the ant-hills of our civilisation.

In hearing the scope and magnitude of their plan, we must recognise they have come to disrupt everything – planning all but the most meticulous details and it is in those details that we eventually found our salvation. The plans they saw through to fruition go far beyond jets of black smoke, the unstoppable heat ray and the red weed which still stymies our agriculture.

If reports are to be believed, it was in Shepperton where the first of the Red Men appeared. He attacked two women who were walking along the canal and could only be subdued by two men from a passing barge who claimed his skin was dark and oily and he took “a lot of hammering” to break his grip on the women. When the civil defence militia arrived, there was a large crowd around what seemed to be a heavily waterlogged and extremely rotten corpse. Though there was much damage to the head, the body was identified as one Albert Hargreaves, a part-time labourer in the village who often operated Shepperton Lock when the Lock-keeper wasn’t about.

The body was shipped to London and reports were few and far between but one alleged witness reported that “even though old Bertie was dead, you could see things wriggling under his skin”.

Advanced examinations brought forth a dread warning for everyone to steer clear of any sign of brown scum upon the water and report it immediately. The scum was the spore clump of a fungal fruiting body which had infected poor Bertie. With their alien hyphae forcing themselves through his flesh and interfering with his mind, Bertie must have been driven insane. Weeks later, when the women who were attacked came forth with their story, one was adamant that the thng which had once been Bertie Hargreaves was pleading with them to help him and not attacking them as previously thought. One can only imagine his horror as his attempts to find help were met with violence, swift and deadly.

Shepperton spent weeks under quarantine but no other cases were reported there. What is known is that the Brown Fungus invades the human body and spreads quickly, attaching hyphae threads to nerves and through muscles. This process is extremely painful as the hyphae eat the protective myelin from the nerve sheaths causing jerking, threatening-looking spasms. Eventually the threads reach the torso where they start to build their fruiting body for spore production and the threads then travel north to the brain and drive the victim to water, for this is where the terrible spores will break free. The hyphal elongation of limbs is common, dissolving bone and leaving a flesh-wrapped fungal tentacle and as the fruiting body grows, the torse swells to enormous proportions, as does the skin surrounding the skull.

What I do know is that the Ministry of Science and War have samples of the fungus and they have been testing them on animals and humans to see what remedy can be found. The spores could be anywhere, or indeed everywhere by now.


In a newish blog, 10 by 10, they opine about the potential lack of balance in superhero games. I mean – Superman and Batman teamups? How does that work out? One can chew through steel, the other can…um…buy hotels with spare change…

All said, having either as an enemy would be A BAD THING®.

Anyway, on 10by 10 they have a video from a couple of very funny British comedians. So go look on this blog post and give 10 by 10 some trafficy goodness.

Of course, in my superhero games there’s plenty of opportunity to equalise power but if one guy wants to forego all of his points and just have “a BMX” and skill in riding it when everyone else is a son of Krypton, then you gotta give him what he wants and then TELL him that he can’t really be involved in the fight against Galactus’ heralds becaurse, frankly, tere isn’t a BMX jump that high.

Are you compelled to make allowances though? I say yes – because the time to make objections was during the character generation process. You should have spotted it then.

spam apam soam saom?

I get a lot of SPAM. Never mind the amount that gets grabbed by my ISPs filters (which are raised one level of strength every year or so), I commonly have 300 or so that make it past the ISP and into the Junk Mail filter of Mail. There’s 50 or so that make it past the filter too.

This is one that made it through. It’s advertising something….I don’t know what, but the filler text below it (designed to defeat filters) read as follows:

Suddenly I was daunted! After the first turn, the group will have found shelter from the zombies – and one of you will be dead.
Please, give me some feedback! Single zombies will go down with one or two shots, but there are rules for entire hordes as well. You are the captain of a squadron of Regs, Regulators that regularly patrol the city to keep order, eliminate Dreg criminals, and destroy Zombie invaders.
Any amount is appreciated. Even worse, the city is infested with the living dead, the Zombies, who have somehow found a second life due to the radiation of the nuclear-devastated wastelands which surround Anakron. Thanks to everyone for all their help making our site what it is today.
Among many, a young Squire came to the King’s aid. One of you, perhaps more then one of you, is a psychic with devastating and terrifying powers. In the meantime I hope that you enjoy Phantasy Star: Ragol’s Curse.
A timer such as a stopwatch or hourglass is also needed to play.
well only if you don’t die. Your characters are normal people, caught up in an abnormal struggle for survival.
Wires and pipes crisscross the sky, the only evidence of a futuristic setting, they hold up the city like the strings of a marionette.
The game’s set wherever you’re playing the game – and whatever you can see around you right now is allowed to be described as being in the game. After crashing to Earth, the UFO is transported away by sneaky FBI agents. You can design your own guns, cars are free form, and a number of optional rules are provided.
A timer such as a stopwatch or hourglass is also needed to play. The Master of Orion rpg includes material from all three Master of Orion games.
So, they asked me to run a game for them. This should prove useful to RPG designers by allowing them to split their mechanics up into bits.
The game supports GM-centered play and heavy Force usage, but without the black curtain.
I purposed the Adapt A Computer Game Into A Tabletop RPG challenge as an attempt to bridge this divide.
In Grey World, you will find both.
Quarters and pennies may be used as tokens in the RPG, or a pen and paper can be used to keep track of the various game components.
Combinations of directions and buttons appear on the screen in time to the music.
The Chosen, undead servants of a dark god, have walked the Earth for nearly a hundred years. United they can retake the Cabal that serves that god by force and regain their former position of power as the Cabal’s supreme leaders. It uses a dice pool system of resolution, a wound chart tracking how quickly you can run, and lets you push yourself to the limit – at the risk of turning on the other survivors.
Just select the ingredients you like and discard the ones you don’t. If anyone buys the infant bodysuit, please take a picture of your kid wearing it and post it to the forums. Its my hope to do this professionally sometime in the near future, so its your chance to help an aspiring author.
Things are always easier to do if you can split them up. There is no setting per say, but there are a few suggestions in the added work.
Exactly who is this criminal the guardsmen keep mistaking you for? but it might consume a lot of your time to play!
Never in here will specific RPGs be discussed at length; this is a column about RPG mechanics as a whole.
Roll the dice, make a choice.

I’ve read some of it before. Some of it is from here and a quick Google will turn up the rest.

Taken as a whole, as a genre mashup, it seems like this random spammer might have hit on something…

WotW: Earth – Here is the News

“At the corner of the bridge, too, I saw one of the common contrasts of that grotesque time–a sheet of paper flaunting against a thicket of the red weed, transfixed by a stick that kept it in place. It was the placard of the first newspaper to resume publication–the Daily Mail. I bought a copy for a blackened shilling I found in my pocket. Most of it was in blank, but the solitary compositor who did the thing had amused himself by making a grotesque scheme of advertisement stereo on the back page.”

In the weeks following invasion, the news organisations of the world were quick to find their feet. Not only are stalwarts like The Times, The Daily Telegraph or the Daily Mail recovering but there are a plethora of independent news-sheets making their rounds in London. Most of them carry sensationalist headlines and in many cases can be obtained for free from their various hawkers.

Telegrams, of course, provide our international news. While the Martians had decimated the telegraphic communication infrastructure in England, they had not seriously damaged the links across the Channel or the Irish Sea. News from Paris flooded in about their own invasion and soon after we heard reports from Dublin, Berlin, Geneva. It seems odd now to think that it was easier to get news to Paris than it was to get news from Manchester or Edinburgh, but that was the way it was until the lines were again restored, a process which would take months and not weeks.

In every town and district, you will find notice boards with entreaties, offers, wishes and promises. Everyone needs some sort of help, be it help to find someone, needing help to rebuild, not wanting to travel alone in these dark days. There is certainly no reason to be idle and perhaps even less so now than before – I wonder at the actual worth of my savings considering the world came so close to ruin. How much is this paper worth?

All said, a good wage can be had for a fast runner in these times. Better still if he had a bicycle, can handle a horse or has an encylcopaedic knowledge of the train timetables. Information now, much more than before the invasion, is a valuable commodity and with millions of people worldwide displaced or missing family members, News has become the new currency.

Writing elsewhere…

A few days ago, a d20 supplement author had a little kvetch about getting bad ratings on RPGnow. One of his reviews was very constructive, the second was written by someone new to Earth Languages. He was a little down and claims it almost made him quit writing.

As you can see by the thread, some of us volunteered to help Colin realise his setting idea (which wasn’t more than a page of background and 10 d20 D&D classes) into something that could be called a supplement. We’ve started working constructively on the product, tentatively titled Permafrost 2.

I don’t do d20-based stuff as a rule but I’m happy to be writing some fluff for it. You can see my current contributions on the thread (or leap to them directly here, here, here and here.

I’m enjoying writing prose for the sake of it. I’m still doing stuff for the other books on my menu (though I do need to do a bit more on Viride and WotW: Earth) and for stuff on the wiki. I finally found a game that I wanted to invent on my Faust book (a velum-coloured notebook with a cover that looks like an old edition of Goethe’s Faust). Reception has been pretty good so I’m going to continue to write while it’s still fun 🙂