Dungeon Fantasy Episode 01

Mike realized his mistake too late. He volunteered to run Dungeon Fantasy powered by GURPS with the normal group. Yes, he regretted his decision shortly after he tried for the fourth time in rage first hour, saying yet again “Welcome Dungeon Delvers to the Dice Age Tavern and food emporium “.

Another hour later, 2 hours into the gaming session, the party is almost, kind of close to the bottom of the staircase. Almost. Kinda sorta slightly close.

They allowed Argua, the half ogre Barbarian the mapmaking task. She did her best.

She produced beauties like:

And

 

Quotes of Mike, the DM

”I encourage role play, but jeez”

”You could go to eat a meal and come on back and we would still be on the stairs“

”Do you have any DR?”

”Oh My,” turns away in shock, “I specifically did not say that because I thought I would cross a line!”

”This wasn’t supposed to happen, not on the staircase!”

Shari “How much is that in store credit.”  Mike “What? A night with a dead school girl?”

”that would have been epic, but it didn’t happen.”

Rob “It is kind of like the roof of the van.”, Mike, reaction like visibly ill

and then there is always the constant threat of the curse.

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Then more mapmaking adventure by the half ogre Barbarian

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The party went down the stairs into the basement, Sue’s rogue gets caught in the spider web and the Barbarian yanks her back by grabbing her by the hair and using her 21 strength.  We are attacked by spiders and the mage lights the spider web on fire.  Shari’s Kung fu mistress is dead by spider bite.

Here is what the map looks like with minis.

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As you can easily see, the half ogre Barbarian is a better mapmaker than the DM

Sue’s rogue finds another friendly spider, who wants to say hi.  Unfortunately no one speaks spider and assume the friendly spider actually is attacking.  They kill Mr Spider before anyone can stop the madness

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After the spider was murdered, we found a door which opened into a smaller room that had a loose stone in the doorway. Almost all of us make our Dex roll except Brian and Bill who took some minor slashing damage from blades swishing out of the wall, cutting legs.

Inside the room is a chest.  Argua smacks the lock off the chest, opens it and spies a fine silver flask.  Argua picks up the flask and shakes it, it sounds like liquid.  She unstoppers the flask and tries to drink it.  Instead, a fiery skull pops out and attacks.  The skull bites Argua and does a few HP damage

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The battle is starting and Brian uses magic to put out the skull’s flame.  Eric makes a detect evil roll, and determines that the flaming skull is very evil.  Eric casts protection from evil.  The skull keeps biting and the party kills it, dead.

The party finds five valuable bags of pipe weed, and the silver flask that formerly held the flaming skull.  The party decides to hot box and get high from the pipe weed.

 

We all get the following disadvantages…

short attention span

absent mindedness

laziness

gluttony

willpower is lowered by 1

For some reason, Collin assumes his stoned character must do macrame.

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And then the adventure officially went off the rails.

the ogre takes a nap as something comes down the hall.  0C4C7B80-865B-4274-BCE2-F24AD595FA42

The gellatinous cube enters and Collin says “I got this”. This is when characters usually start becoming dead.

Brian used fire magic and hurts it.  Collin attacks with a sword, and finds out that gelatinous cubes are cruel to bladed weapons.  Collin hit with his sword, did 14 damage, which had a DR of 2 and the resulting damage was divided by 3. Which was few hp done.

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Gamma World, 7th Edition, Episode 05

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It was a TPK.  And it wasn’t pretty.  We played Gamma World 7th Ed again yesterday.  Everyone was chuffed, since everyone was now 3rd level.  Woot, new things to do, new ways to cause mayhem.

Not so much.

Maybe not at all.

Well, to be fair, it was not a good thing for the party.  They lurched into the adventure and got glicked.  Badly.  There were some high parts, and there were a lot of parts where the party wished they were high, just to take the edge off the pain.

So what happened?  Once again, with this group, it is kind of hard to explain.  Strategy?  Nope.  Tactics?  Nope.  Bull running into the danger, not really.  More of a whimpering death to be honest.

It all started out with Mike bringing Dungeon Fantasy (powered by GURPS) characters to the game.

Now, being called Dungeon Fantasy powered by GURPS reminds of Idiocracy, brought to you by Carl’s Jr.

By the way, if you haven’t seen Idiocracy, go see it now.  It is one of the best distopian future movies, ever.  If you haven’t figured out my politics by now, I firmly believe that this is where we are headed.

Every great society only lasts for so long.  After some point, great societies collapse for a variety of reasons.  The USA has been a great society for some time.  It could be argued that we have been great since the dawn of the 20th century, or since sometime after the Japanese bombed Pearl Harbor.  In any event, we are now political bogged down, and being run by a failed business man, who seems happy in his role of acting as a loose cannon while destroying our relationships with the other countries in the world.

At least when President Reagan pushed his Star Wars agenda and his saber rattling, there was a pretty obvious reason behind it.  With President Trump, it seems that all he wants to do is be chaotic and change things, no matter how well or badly they were working before he became president.  It also doesn’t’ seem to matter to President Trump how many people are affected by his decisions, good or bad.

Wait… I am getting away from gaming, and into politics.  I need to keep focused.  This is extremely hard when I see news clips like this…

Let’s not pay attention to his callous comparison of the loss of life and terrible conditions in Puerto Rico, to Hurricane Katrina.  Let’s not pay attention to the fact that while the three previous presidents showed empathy to the survivors and victims of other natural disasters, President Trump is doing three point shots with paper towels.  Jesus fucking Christ, how is it that this country elected this dildo?

and while I am watching the news clip above, I can’t help but see this:

and I keep waiting for the press conference where Trump does the Philly Phanatic dance like this with one of the reporters from Fox news:

So, will I get back on track about gaming, or will I continue to show you disturbing possible futures?  Probably both.

Calling President Trump a dildo is not right.  You see, a dildo has some purpose, albeit one that probably should remain in the privacy of a home.  I am amazed that Donald Trump is the best that the Republican Party provided for the election.

Now, they didn’t really have a dream team to start with.  I mean, look at some of the others that the Republican party also ran.

  • Ted Cruz
  • Ben Carson
  • Chris Christie
  • Rick Santorum
  • Mike Huckabee
  • Rick Perry
  • Scott Walker

Woo!  There is a bunch of not so greats also.

Now Mike is going to run a Dungeon Fantasy powered by GURPS campaign next week.  I have chosen a half ogre character.  She is not very smart.  I think that I will need to troll the Internet and find some really great quotes and fantasies that one of these candidates believed in and use it as some taglines for my character.

If I select Ben Carson, then I could say things like:

  • “My own personal theory is that Joseph built the pyramids to store grain. Now all the archaeologists think that they were made for the pharaohs’ graves. But, you know, it would have to be something awfully big if you stop and think about it. And I don’t think it’d just disappear over the course of time to store that much grain,”
  • “I think the likelihood of Hitler being able to accomplish his goals would have been greatly diminished if the people had been armed, I’m telling you, there is a reason these dictatorial people take the guns first.”
  • “This is a general pattern that you see before tyranny occurs. There are many countries where that has occurred where they disarm the populace before they impose their tyrannical rule. That’s not a rare situation and that’s something that we don’t want to ever even think about”

If I model the character off of Ted Cruz, I can say things like:

  • “Last I checked, we don’t have a rubber shortage in America. Look, when I was in college, we had a machine in the bathroom, you put 50 cents in and voila.”
  • “The world is on fire! Yes! Your world is on fire!”
  • “Always be sexy, I salute that message.”
  • “When Americans tried it, they discovered they did not like green eggs and ham and they did not like Obamacare either. They did not like Obamacare in a box with a fox, in a house or with a mouse.”
  • “If standing for liberty and standing for the Constitution make you a wacko bird, then you can count me a very proud wacko bird.”

and then if I model the character off Rick Perry… I can say things like:

  • “I may have the genetic coding that I’m inclined to be an alcoholic, but I have the desire not to do that – and I look at the homosexual issue the same way,”
  • “I will tell you: It’s three agencies of government, when I get there, that are gone: Commerce, Education and the — what’s the third one there? Let’s see. … OK. So Commerce, Education and the — … The third agency of government I would — I would do away with the Education, the … Commerce and — let’s see — I can’t.  The third one, I can’t. Sorry. Oops.”

     

  • “The reason that we fought the [American] Revolution in the 16th century — was to get away from that kind of onerous crown, if you will.”
  • “You can always follow me on Tweeter.”
  • “I am a firm believer in intelligent design as a matter of faith and intellect, and I believe it should be presented in schools alongside the theories of evolution.”

Now, you might say “Why, Rob, would you model your low IQ half ogre character off of a Republican presidential candidate?  Why not?  What better source of moronic quotes could I use?

I know, you are going to point at the Democratic candidates, and say “But they say stupid things too.”  Yes, you are right.  All people are capable of being stupid.  It doesn’t matter what your background is, you all have the opportunity to say or do something stupid, or be filmed doing something stupid.

Then there is this.

michele-bachmann-corndog

and, not to be outdone in the corndog fellatio contest, Rick Perry had to also stand up and be counted when it mattered.

rick-perry

Yup… Consider his quotes on the issue…

“Even if an alcoholic is powerless over alcohol once it enters his body, he still makes a choice to drink. And, even if someone is attracted to a person of the same sex, he or she still makes a choice to engage in sexual activity with someone of the same gender.”

Evidently, (P)Rick (with the silent P), has decided that he will not engage in sexual activity with the gender he really wants, but has been practicing on corndogs in case he ever changes his mind.

Now, I have nothing against homosexuality.  Really.  What I have a problem with is self important twats making decisions for millions of people who think that they are right because they have deluded themselves.

Jeez, All this because of Mike wanting to run Dungeon Fantasy, powered by GURPS. Thanks Mike.

So you might be wondering… OK, I get the politics thing.  After all, but what is with the corndog thing?

Glad you asked.

You see, for the last couple of weeks, Collin has been bringing corndogs to the gaming table.  This week, he had corndogs and summer rolls.  That caused some conversation about phallic shaped food.  It got very immature very quickly, not surprisingly.

We also showed this video to Jirimiah.

I haven’t mentioned Jirimiah much in the last few weeks.  He has been really busy at work.  Generally, he doesn’t have a lot of time to deal with our antics. And, I figure that I want to lull him into a sense of control over the group before we go batshit insane on him again.

But until then, we plan.

I am taking the next week off of work.  Nothing big is going on, I just wanted to get some recharge time.  I have minis to paint, books to read, dogs to hang out with.  Molly is working, kids are in school.  I would have preferred to take some time off when they were all here, but the summer was insane at work.

I have been looking into taking some Dungeon Fantasy books to Office Depot and having them printed out.  It looks like I can get the 32 page PDF files printed out in a black and white printed saddle stitch binding, with a heavy cardboard cover and 24 pound paper for about $5 apiece.  Likewise, it looks like I can have five of the 32 page books bound together into a hardbound book for about $30.  I am not sure which is better.  I will probably do the individual saddle stitch files, since binding a bunch of files together may be a bit of a pain.

I like having the PDF files, but I like paper copies better.  The PDF files are good for doing word searches on, especially for books like the Gamma World 7th Edition, where the index sucks eggs.  If you have the PDF files, you can do a keyword search and hopefully find the thing you are looking for better.

However, I like paper copies to play with.  I can put markers into the book and flip back and forth between pages as necessary.

I looked at Lulu, and that had promise, but they really want you to print a bunch of copies of the same book.  I am doing this to print out copies of PDF files that I own, and am not looking to create a copyright problem.  I just want to have a physical copy for the table play.

So where was I?  Oh yes… TPK

callofcthulu

Well, we weren’t playing Call of Cthulhu, but it was not too far from this.

The party had a pretty hard thing to do.  They entered a chamber about 100-ft across, and about 80-ft wide.

At the entry door, there was a 2 square by 2 square flat area, everything else sloped down towards the center of the room.  In the center of the room was a complete “wall” of laser lights, the entire width of the room, and 15-ft deep, going from floor to ceiling.

Wow, another kill box.  That is so surprising for Gamma World 7th Edition.

Eric goes first.  He picks one of the mechanical rats from Mikes rat swarm, and throws it down towards the center of the room, into the laser beams.  With a huge flash, the rat is cooked, and Mike takes some serious damage.

Hmmm.  What to do, what to do?

Collin and Brian enter the room.  They stay on the 10-ft X 10-ft flat area by the door.  They try to pop off some attacks, and miss the bad guys.

By this time, they realize that there are three floating robots, and three rabbit looking things across the room.  There is also a console on the far side of the room.  The rabbit looking things have guns.

RACE_Hoop

Now, Shari is all excited, since she likes rabbits.  But these guys are pretty nasty.

The robots go, and all three shoot rockets at Brian and Collin.  They hit, and Brian is dead.  Down.  Not dead / dead, just below 0 hit points.  Collin isn’t doing so well either.  Brian looks stunned.  He got to move into the room, and then die.  One freaking turn.

In all fairness, he got to raise his character to third level, then enter the room, then die.

Well, it is Gamma World, and shit happens badly a lot.

Eric came into the room, and tried to do something that would help the party.  It didn’t go well.  When the party members stepped onto the slippery downsloped floor, they had to make an acrobatics check (not an athletics check), and in many cases, they failed the check.  Now in many cases in Gamma World, the players have paired statistics, so they can choose the better of them for the player at that time.  For example, in many cases, the character can choose to take the better of athletics or acrobatics.  Acrobatics is dex based.  Athletics is str based.  This means that a player usually can either muscle through (using str) the task, or try to finesse their way through (using dex)

However, in this case, it was only acrobatics.  Were you dexterous enough to keep from falling prone and sliding downhill?  That didn’t work well for several of the players.

Everyone moved into the room, and Shari had an idea.  She was going to slide down the slippery floor to the center and start working her way up the other side.

Two things happened that screwed the party with this.

First, Shari slid into the 15-ft deep laser zone which triggered the lasers going off and blasting everything within a 5-square area of Shari with laser beams.  Several players made their saves, but people got hammered.

Then, since Shari was going to start her turn in the laser trigger area, she was going to continue to harm everyone nearby.  Well, to be fair, she wasn’t going to harm everyone nearby.  Her inability to roll a decent d20 roll to get out of the slippery area was going to do that.

The battle went on.  The hoops fired guns.  The robots flew around and fired rockets, and shocked the players.  One by one, the players went down.

Then one of the players had a moment of inspiration.  I don’t remember if it was Collin, Eric or Sue, but it definitely wan’t Mike / Sarah.  At least I hope it wasn’t Mike / Sarah.

One of the players had the ability to dominate creatures, and managed to convince one of the robots that the robot should go to the console and turn off the laser beams.  Great idea.

Then Mike / Sarah decided to kill one of the robots.  They chose the one with the pretty grey / purple swirly dice on it as a marker.  It happened to be the one that was dominated to try to turn off the lasers at the console.  Oops.

That was when things really started going bad.  The party had a chance at this point.  They were getting soaked, but except for Brian, no one was dead dead.  Over the next few rounds, Sue went through the laser zone, and managed to get across without killing herself, but some of the players, and some of the bad guys.  She went up to try to work on the console, and didn’t make good science rolls.  It was kind of sad.  Really, I want the adventures to be hard for the party, but not TPK’s.

In the end, things got worse and worse.  It was down to an attrition war, but the party kept hitting the center zone, triggering the lasers.  Too many party members were within the 5 squares of the trigger area of the lasers, so they kept getting hammered.

It also didn’t help Eric out, when I counted from the trigger zone out, and figured that Eric was outside of the five square area, then Collin, just to be fair, counted the squares in a different way, and found that Eric was fully inside the five square area.  To be fair, that was Collin’s doing, not the DM’s doing.

Then one of the party decided to use their Omega power, and pull the remaining robot into the laser zone.  Not sure why.  When the robot was pulled by Sue, she got an attack of opportunity, which hit, but then the robot went into the laser zone and did more nasty damage to everyone when the lasers shot at everything in the room.  The lasers really sucked corndogs for the party.  After all, you aren’t “dead dead” until you have been reduced to negative bloodied hit points.

In essence, you may start out with 40 HP, and your bloodied value is half that, 20 HP.  You go unconscious if you are reduced to 0 or fewer HP, but you are still “alive”.  You don’t die die until you go to -20 HP in this example.

Your mileage may vary, depending on your total HP.

Because the damn lasers kept going off, the characters under 0 hit points who were laying around hoping to come back and be revived, were killed dead dead.

It was really a TPK.  No resurrection allowed.

In the end, the hoops killed off Sue before she could activate the console to turn off the lasers.  Then the two surviving hoops went all stormtrooper on Collin, the last “surviving” member of the party.  Collin was holding out on the entry platform of the adventure, trying to figure out how to get across and save the day.  The hoops were terrible shots, but they eventually plinked him down.

It was horrible, but fun.  People laughed, carried on, and made very inappropriate comments.

Next week, we get to play Dungeon Fantasy, powered by GURPS, with Mike running the game.  He may regret that.

Mike is having us play the pregens in the box.  I selected a female half ogre.  The female half ogre has a base INT of 9.  I asked Mike if I could lower that to 7, since it is a half ogre barbarian, who will probably be modeled after Rick Perry or maybe Michelle Bachman.  I mean, if I model her after Michelle Bachman, I can say things like:

  • “I don’t know how much God has to do to get the attention of the politicians. We’ve had an earthquake; we’ve had a hurricane. He said, ‘Are you going to start listening to me here?’ Listen to the American people because the American people are roaring right now. They know government is on a morbid obesity diet and we’ve got to rein in the spending.”
  • “Our movement at its core is an intellectual movement.”
    • Which I would probably change to:
    • “Our bowel movement at its core is an intellectual movement.”
  • “Why should I go and do something like that? But the Lord says, ‘Be submissive wives; you are to be submissive to your husbands.”
  • “If we took away the minimum wage — if conceivably it was gone — we could potentially virtually wipe out unemployment completely because we would be able to offer jobs at whatever level.”
  • “I wish the American media would take a great look at the views of the people in Congress and find out: Are they pro-America or anti-America?”
  • “I find it interesting that it was back in the 1970s that the swine flu broke out under another, then under another Democrat president, Jimmy Carter. I’m not blaming this on President Obama, I just think it’s an interesting coincidence.”
  • “Carbon dioxide is portrayed as harmful. But there isn’t even one study that can be produced that shows that carbon dioxide is a harmful gas.”
  • “I will tell you that I had a mother last night come up to me here in Tampa, Florida, after the debate. She told me that her little daughter took that vaccine, that injection, and she suffered from mental retardation thereafter.”
  • “But we also know that the very founders that wrote those documents worked tirelessly until slavery was no more in the United States. … I think it is high time that we recognize the contribution of our forbearers who worked tirelessly — men like John Quincy Adams, who would not rest until slavery was extinguished in the country.”
  • “I was very proud of the fact that I didn’t get anything wrong that I said during the course of the debates.”

I mean, with gold like this, I can have some serious fun.  And most importantly of all, no one can accuse me of playing the character so stupidly that it is unrealistic.

I remember when I was a kid, Boris S Wort was on the J P Patches show.

BORISWORTSMLE

Boris was a mean, bad guy.  He did horrible things to J P like steal his Esmeralda doll, and slam J P into the door.

Being a kid who grew up in Seattle in the 1970’s, I loved the J P Patches show.

Anyhow, Boris S Wort was the second worst man in the world.  This is because he realized that someone was always trying to be the 1st meanest man in the world.  Boris was happy being the 2nd meanest man in the world, since no one wanted to compete to be the 2nd meanest man, and all of the competition was to be the actual meanest man in the world.

Then there is one of my absolute favorite musicians, John Doe, from X and other bands, singing about the actual meanest man in the world.

So what does all of this have to do with being a half ogre barbarian?

Well, I don’t have to play her as the dumbest moron in the world.  Given what Michelle Bachman, Ted Cruz, Donald Trump, Pat Robertson and a whole host of others say regularly, I can play her as about the 1,000’s dumbest morons in the world.  There is so much competition for dragging the lowest of the low, and worst of the worst, and evidently the dumbest of the dumb, I can safely play her at least a standard deviation above the lowest point, and still appear to be suitably low IQ.

Gamma World, 7th Edition, Episode 04

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We played yesterday again some more Gamma World.  The players continued on with the ongoing adventure of trying to figure out why robots were being produced that would come down to the walls of the village and explode, or try to shot a rocket at the village wall, then explode.

Sara, Mike and Sue’s daughter came by to give this game a shot.  Maybe she was placating her parents.  Maybe she was desperate for some human interaction after her long stint in Inbredland.  I am not sure.  When I teased her that she was “from Inbredland”, she became very defensive, giving mixed messages.  Her face was full of rage and hatred, due to the comment, but her hands were telling me I was number one.  There is something going on in that family, with needing to reinforce other people by telling them that they are number one.  By chance, I pull up Facebook this morning, and find that I posted a picture of Mike last year to the day where he was telling me that I was number one.

Mike

So given this start of the Blog, I am going to discuss some things that happened in the last week.  I had a kind of a shitty week.  I am going to spend some time venting.

I play Pathfinder on Thursdays.  The DM, Daron is a pretty good DM, however, he wants to run a linear campaign, and doesn’t deal well with someone thinking off his rails.  If your character doesn’t fall in line with his linear campaign, bad things happen, or ridiculous things happen.

The fish bone lock story is an example.  The first few sessions of that game were a railroad.  We had to follow his railroad, so that we could get from where we started to where he wanted us to end up.  As a group of first level characters, we were captured and put into a boat to be sold into a life of slavery.  Now we got our asses handed to us in the combat.  That makes sense.  If a group of slavers were going to capture a half dozen first level characters, they wouldn’t throw a few goblins at us.  We went against a much more capable group of bad guys and were captured.  Well, knocked unconscious and then captured and put into cells in a slaving ship.  While on the ship, sailing to who knows where, I found a fish bone.  My character was a rogue.  I tried to use the fish bone to pick the lock on the cell.  I rolled a natural 20, and had a +10 on my lockpick skills, but a -2 because of improvised tools.  So on a normal lock, I rolled an effective 28, but Daron decided that the DC on the check was 30.  Now, my guess at the time was that he didn’t want to deal with a character exploring the ship, so he just raised the DC too high for me to achieve.  Meh.  It would have been a more satisfying substory if he would have allowed me to make the check, explore the bowels of the ship then get discovered, clonked on the head and put back into the cell, tied up, gagged etc.

This has been a pretty consistent thing.  My characters in the campaign are not built for combat.  They are built to be interesting to play.  My current character is a gnome witch with an attitude (me, playing a character with attitude?)  The gnome witch is not built to buff the party.  He is a necromancer, neutral evil, and debuffs the enemy.

During one of the first combats with the gnome witch, I was debuffing the enemy such that Daron wasn’t getting the combat advantages he wanted as the DM.    I wasn’t doing any damage, but I was causing his characters to roll at disadvantage (roll 2 d20’s and take the lower result of the two), or lowering their AC, or lowering their to hit scores through using hexes.  Daron was getting really frustrated.  He decided to take as many of the bad guys as he needed to knock me out of combat.  Other player characters were doing damage, I was simply making it easier for the PC’s to do that damage.  I could tell that he was getting frustrated, because the fight was not going the way that he wanted it to.

A few weeks ago, we have a combat where we are fighting against a group of bad guys, and the prime bad guy doesn’t take any damage at all from my fifth level spell, nor my fourth level spell.  However, when the Paladin moves in, the Paladin manages to kill her quickly.

Much of the role play is centered around intrigue for two or three of the players, with little for the rest of the party to be involved in.  There is little or no intrigue for the monk, fighter, witch etc.  This means during the sessions with intrigue, I can spend my time on the ship working on alchemy and rolling an occasional D20 to see if I can make some sort of finding for something, or be involved with the intrigue which is not centered or involved at all with the present character that I am playing.  This means that if I want to be any part of the intrigue, I need to sit around while Daron interacts with the wizard or the paladin.  This gets pretty boring.  As a player (and as a player with ADHD), and as a character with a witch who is a gnome and neutral evil, I start looking for something to do that I find interesting.  That frustrates Daron as the DM.  I can tell.  It is not that I don’t care, he is biasing the adventure towards a couple of the players, and that gets old pretty fast.  Especially when a player like me wants to do something other than just sit around while the intrigue plays out for most of an entire session.

Now, I am ok with role playing, but the role playing needs to involve the entire party, not just a couple of the members of the party.  I am also OK with an entire session of combat, but when the DM has shown that when you piss him off because you are doing something he doesn’t have the ability to deal with (debuffing his characters, as opposed to buffing your party), and when the opposing force is stupidly overpowered, waiting for one particular player to do something to resolve the combat, this can get boring for the players who are not anointed.

At one point in the adventure, we were attacked by people with guns, and they did some serious damage to us.    I secured a gun from one of the dead bad guys, and took it to an armorer, to see if he could replicate them, and spend a lot of gold with the armorer.  The local government came and confiscated the gun.  Now technically, the local government didn’t “confiscate” the gun.  They demanded that I turn it over, with no recompense.  I objected.  We fought for the guns, we took serious damage from the guys using the guns, and the government just wanted me to turn them over.  I said no, so Daron had the government take the gun from the armorer, effectively stealing it from the party.  He said that the government didn’t want us to have the type of power associated with the gun.

Last week, we had a mystery of some missing magical armor in a museum.  Daron likes antimagic fields.  He uses them somewhat regularly.  They are powerful, and in some cases can cover miles across.

In last week’s session, we were stumped trying to figure out what had to be done.  I think that Daron wanted the party to gain an understanding over time of what happened.  We hung around the museum, until someone realized that the armor was gone, then the keeper of the museum got all bothered because nothing like that had ever happened.  The gnome was bored.  I was bored.  So I started poking at the museum keeper.  After all, what is a gnome witch to do, when standing around in an antimagic field?  I start lipping off at the guards, who are not doing a good job.  At one point, one of the characters rolls an insanely high roll on perception, and notices something odd about the wall where the armor used to be.  So I go over and start stabbing the wall with my dagger, looking for a hidden passage.  Am I successful, no, I don’t find a hidden passage.  Then I start using gunpowder on the wall to see if I could explode the wall to get more clues.

Once again, intrigue, involving two players, everyone else sitting around twiddling their thumbs.  Daron decided that I was going to be hauled off by two guards.  They gave me a choice, but I didn’t make it any easier for the guards.  As I was being hauled off by the two guards, I exited the antimagic field with them, and then I used cause moderate wounds on the guy who was holding my hands.  He dropped me, and suddenly there were three guards.  I backed away, and put up my fourth level spell, wall of Blindness / Deafness around the three attackers.  As long as they didn’t move through the wall, they would be OK,  If they moved through the wall to attack me, they would become permanently blind.  I then turned and walked towards the museum.  It would last about 9 rounds.  That would let me get away, and nothing bad should have happened to the bad guys.  I told Daron that.

Now Daron rolled to see if the guys would become damaged by the wall, and two failed, meaning that they would be permanently blinded when they walked through the wall.  Seeing that the *armored* guards (yes, that is important here) were going to be permanently blinded, he decided to have all of them blast me with scorching ray for a bucket full of d6 damage.  So two things are out of sorts here.  First, after rolling the save and failing two of the three saves, Daron decided that if the characters were to walk through the all of blindness / deafness, two characters would be permanently blinded, so he decided not to walk through the wall, then used magic spells on armored characters.  There was no roll for spell failure, he just hammered me with the spells.  Now this is pretty much bullshit.

So I hit the three bad guys in the area with my fifth level spell, suffocation.  Now suffocation only affects one character, not three, but I figured that if Daron was going to cheat, I was going to respond in kind.  When the DM throws the rules out because the rules are inconvenient, then the rules go out for the players also.  Besides, two of his characters rolled for permanent blindness, which would have removed them from the combat, or at least seriously lowered their ability to work.

The blinded character has the following attributes:

Blinded

The creature cannot see. It takes a –2 penalty to Armor Class, loses its Dexterity bonus to AC (if any), and takes a –4 penalty on most Strength– and Dexterity-based skill checks and on opposed Perception skill checks. All checks and activities that rely on vision (such as reading and Perception checks based on sight) automatically fail. All opponents are considered to have total concealment (50% miss chance) against the blinded character. Blind creatures must make a DC 10 Acrobatics skill check to move faster than half speed. Creatures that fail this check fall prone. Characters who remain blinded for a long time grow accustomed to these drawbacks and can overcome some of them.

So Daron has to make fortitude checks on both the suffocation and stepping through the wall of blindness / deafness.  I am watching his die rolls.  I watched them on the first roll he mad against becoming blinded, when he realized two characters would be blinded, he rolled some 12’s and a 17.  So whatever the fort bonus was for the three guards, a roll of 12 did not make it.  Then he rolls to save against suffocation and rolls against the fort checks twice, and magically, I mean supermagically, all three characters make their rolls, while rolling 10’s, 12’s and some 15’s.  Wow!  I mean totally fucking amazing!  There is some serious cheating going on here.  Sorry, I shouldn’t jump to conclusions, it isn’t cheating.  After all, he only:

  • Decided upon an action – to move through the wall of deafness / blindness, made rolls, and upon realizing that he would have had something bad happen changed his decision, and then used magic
  • Used magic with armored characters, without making any sort of failure roll for wearing armor while casting magic
  • When I questioned this, he clearly said that the guards were magic users, not that the guards were using some form of ring or amulet.
  • After failing the check, he rerolled the checks, and rolled just as badly as the first checks, which would have failed the check again, but somehow the fort saves were better the second time he rolled poorly on the failed check.

This is because the DM doesn’t want to deal with a character doing something different than the script calls for.

Then, they step through and all hit me with their swords.  My AC isn’t very high and I accept that I can be hit pretty easilly, but all three hit (which isn’t too hard), and proceed to kill me using adamantium swords, which cut through my 5 DR on all of my amulet.

Uh huh.  Right.  Guards, are multiclassed, fighter and magic user.  They are able to use armor and magic.  They are able to cast magic while wearing armor.  They have variable fortitude saves.  Two guards magically become three when combat ensues.  And normal guards carry adamantine swords.

I call bullshit on this.

Now the guards performed a coupe de grace on me and threw the body into the water.  I was resurrected by the party, and lost 4 strength permanently.

The key here is what Daron told me while I was being resurrected.  I heard a voice say “you need to stop doing this”

Doing this?  what is “this?”  I should stop being bored because the DM wants to roll us down a railroaded path, and then use intrigue for two of the six or eight people sitting around the table, while the other five or six people just sit on our thumbs for one or more hours during the session?  Really?

So because I am not involved in the intrigue for an hour or more, possibly the entire session, I should just sit back and let stuff happen around me?  Really, I should “stop doing this?”  Doing what?  Trying to become engaged in the adventure?  Trying to find some way to have some fun, while the DM and one or two players are having extended interactions with nothing else going on for the rest of the party?

Mumph, grumble.

And then yesterday, during our weekly Gamma World session, Brian didn’t like one of the results of his combat decision.  He decided to use his toxic spores on two of the robots that were attacking him.  He made his roll, and determined his hit, and damage.  Then I asked what type of damage the spores were.  The robots are immune to poison, after all.  This had been discovered earlier in the same game session by another player.  We looked through the book, and determined that toxic spores were poison damage, so the robots took no damage.

Brian said “well, if I had known that, I wouldn’t have done that… I am going to do this instead”.  I respond something to the effect of “no, you made your call, you rolled your dice, and it had no effect, there is no do over”.  Brian was upset at me for this, and started arguing.  I interrupted him, and “you are an experienced player, you don’t get a do over, if you were a new player I probably would allow it, but you have been playing RPG’s for decades.”

Brian was not happy.  He didn’t argue the point too much more, but he was unhappy.  I need to explain some things here.  I have been playing with Brian for several years.  In the past, he has gotten very upset when I called something against what he wanted to do.  We were playing Call of Cthulhu several years ago, and he was trying to do something.  If I remember right, a large 2X4 was animated by a ethereal being and was whacking the shit out of everyone on the room.   He wanted to grab the 2X4, and nail it to the wall.   I figured that you had to make three successive rolls to control it  These would be:

  • Grab the 2X4
  • Wrestle it to the wall
  • Nail it into the wall

Brian was able to grab the 2X4, and thought he was done.  I told him that over the next few rounds, he would need to make two more successful checks to control it, and nail it to the wall.

Something happened in Brian’s mind, where he got very upset, and he packed up and walked out.  I didn’t see him for several weeks, and ran into him at a convention.  When I ran into him at a convention, he pulled me aside, and said that he wouldn’t be playing with me any more.  I asked why, and he told me that I was too nitpicky, and he didn’t want to play in my games because of the way I DM’d.  OK, I can accept that.

After a year or so, Brian came back, and started playing again.

Brian continued to play over the last few years, but he doesn’t like it when I miss something and then try to come back to it.  Brian can get very vocal.  I have tried to explain to him that when you are a player, you are focused on your character.  When you are the DM, you are focused on everything.  And it is very complicated as you are being shotgunned questions and providing answers, while keeping things straight.  There are times that you miss stuff, and realize a few seconds later that you should have had one more attack, or the damage should be different, or the result of the lock pick would have been…

Being a DM is exhausting.  I love doing it, but what I object to is having someone get butt hurt because the DM figures out something slightly after their turn, and tries to rectify it.  Usually, I will lump it into the next turn around, but sometimes it is important to rectify it at that time.  Brian can get very vocal when I try to do this.  I am not cheating, just realizing that with all of the things going on, sometimes something important has to happen, which may ultimately hurt, or benefit the party.

I have a challenge for any player who wants to complain about a DM.  You should try it.  It is a lot of work.  It can also be a lot of fun.  If you complain to me about what I am doing, I will ask you to DM.  I like to play also.

Now, I did DM the Thursday games for a while.  We played Call of Cthulhu for about 3 months.  I think people had fun, but it was not the same game as Pathfinder.  I get the feeling that most of the people on Thursday like a more high fantasy game than something like Call of Cthulhu.

I will admit it, I am sensitive to criticism.  I have spent my working career in a position where I have to be polite and professional, while people accuse me of murdering their children, and in all too many cases, people try to shift or transfer the guilt that they feel for causing a fatal accident onto me.  It wears on me.  Molly has had to learn over the years how to interact with me, since I am very quick to go into professional mode, and shut down emotionally when she doesn’t say things the “right way”.  25 years of dealing with extremely angry people has caused me to have a very thick shell which I can turn on in a drop of a hat.

I was in Safeway on Friday, and saw a person I dealt with about 12 years ago.  He recognized me and wanted to tell me what he knew.  12 years ago, he was angry because he wanted speed bumps on his road.  I met him in front of his house, and he proceeded to berate me, call me names, told me that I would be responsible for the deaths of his children, since they could not play in the street safely.  I told him what we could and could not do.  He was a nasty piece of work.

Flash forward about 5 years, and I was coaching a Lego Robotics league, and he brought his son to the league.  He didn’t remember me, but I remembered him.  He was an engineer, I was an engineer… both of our kids were in Lego Robotics, he wanted to get to know me, and be friends.  I finally looked him in the eye and recounted the experience we had five years prior, and told him that I was on my own time, and I chose who I wanted to interact with on my time.  He had shown me that he had no respect for me, and I would be polite and professional with him, but no, I did not want to spend time with him because of how he treated me five years prior.

He was shocked.  I don’t think that he had ever had anyone tell him something like that.  I have seen him around the neighborhood several times since then.  I have seen him at public meetings.  He is always polite, but seeing him draws up a bile and feeling of dread.  I am polite in return, but that is as far as it goes.  He probably is a really nice person, who was frightened for the safety of his family.  In my mind, when you step over a line and try to transfer responsibility for the safety of your family, or accuse someone else of being responsible for acts that haven’t occurred or accuse me of murdering your children, or deciding you know more than I do about how things work, I don’t need to be around you.

This is complicated for me, since I run into people who I deal with at meetings regularly.  I live and work in the same community.  Most people don’t cross the line where they are so nasty that I decide that I won’t deal with them at all outside the work environment.  Also, people who I game with know what I do, so they do ask me questions about what is going on.  For the most part, I am OK with talking about what is going on, as long as no one starts telling me that I am wrong, tries to transfer guilt or responsibility onto me, or starts telling me that they know more about what I do than I do.  I am actually OK with dealing with upset people even on my own time, as long as they don’t cross those lines.

In my job, I spend a lot of time dealing with angry people.  Some are scared, some are angry, some are really angry.  I am pretty good at dealing with them.  I can usually defuse the situation and get them from anger to having  a more productive conversation.  One of the best pieces of advice I have been given in my career was from the City Engineer from Issaquah.  I went from consulting to working as their traffic engineer, and found that I was getting bogged down trying to solve people’s problems.  The City Engineer told me “your job as a government employee is not to solve people’s problems.  Your job is to make people feel that their concern has been heard”.

Just because I am good at dealing with angry people doesn’t mean that I like it, or that it hasn’t taken a toll on me.  In a professional environment, I can deal with it, but on my own time, I have no desire to deal with it.  When I have a player get angry during the game, I usually let it go for a while, but at some point, I have had enough.

So what does all of this have to with gaming?  Not much, but also a lot.

I had a crummy week at work.  Not horrible, but it has been ebbing and flowing, and is currently more ebbing with angry people.  After 25 years of being chewed on, it becomes hard to not let it get to you.  When I go to have some fun on Saturday, and I get an interaction like I had with Brian, that puts a large blot on the fun for the day.

It is funny.  I can take shit from Sue and Mike, all flipping middle fingers at me.  Most of the time, I can take whatever people flip at me.  I know none of it is personal.  but sometimes, I get frustrated.  I think it is because of the history of Brian and his interactions over the years that I have less tolerance for when he and I both have a bad day.  I actually really like Brian.  He is interesting to talk with.  He is a lot of fun to sit and chat with about a lot of things.  But sometimes he gets but hurt about something, and his way of reacting gets me riled up.

I also really like Daron, and the entire group that we play with on Thursday’s.  Most of the time, we have a good adventure.  Sometimes, I feel left out.

It probably doesn’t help that I have had a crappy week.

So what happened in the Gamma World adventure?  Well, lots.

The party went through two more encounters.  They are getting more and more deadly.  The first encounter involved the party going into a room that was (Surprise!) a kill box.  They had to figure out what to to do.  The room had three glowing craters, complete with radiation, along with three crystal pillars, a console in the center of the room and a wire mesh on the floor around the console.  The party entered, and were met by four robots that were flying, and four Porkers.

The party took a while to figure out that they could use science checks on the console to open up the door to the next room. No one ended up dead dead.  Damage was given, bots were killed.  Porkers were killed.

The party rested for five minutes and went into the next room.  In here, they found a bunch of sentry bots and guard bots.  They also found two large machines which were humming.  The android and robotic characters found some pretty good vibes coming from the machines.  Eric wanted to kill one of the machines.

It turned out to be a slaughter.  Almost a TPK.  One by one, the party died.  It took them one turn to figure out that every turn, new robots may come into the scenario.  However, it took them a little while longer to figure out that they needed to turn off the three consoles that were potentially generating new robots.  Shari successfully turned off one console which reduced the number of irises that were generating robots, but she was killed before she could turn off another one.  Collin tried all sorts of fancy things, then ended up dead trying to turn off another console while being attacked by two bots.  Bill tried to convince the bots that he was a repairman, and only convinced one type of bot, while the other type of bot killed him.  Eric tried to kill the machines, which did not work.

In the end, everyone died but Brian.  Brian managed to move into a long hallway, so only one bot could attack him at a time, and with his armor and high AC, he was a good holdout.  More and more bots kept coming into the kill zone, but only one could attack at a time.

Odds are that eventually, Brian would have died.  He was going to run out of luck eventually, but we decided that if he played dead, the bots would go back to their stations, and then he could revive the party again.

Long story short, it was a successful time playing Gamma World.  I got to write about 4,500 words of blather about how I felt.  Things are good.

Gamma World, 7th Edition, Episode 03

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We gathered again yesterday at Dice Age to play some more Gamma World.  It was brutal.  It wasn’t a TPK, but there was a lot of player character death.  I am always wary of killing off player characters.  I want the players to have a good time, but at the same time, I want to make the players work, and realize that there are risks.

The game was a full house.  We had eight players, along with me.  Dice Age was packed also.  We had a completely new player from work, Teague.  Bill also showed up again.  With eight people plus me at the table, we had many parallel and crossing conversations going on.  Since Dice Age was packed, we had a lot of noise from people playing other games at nearby tables.  We didn’t have much time or ability to mess with Jirimiah, which was OK.  He was pretty busy with customers, so it was probably a good thing that we left him alone.

We played Gamma World again.  Mike showed up with his new Dungeon Fantasy powered by GURPS box.  I got mine earlier in the week.  It is a piece of awesome.  Mike is stoked.  both Mike and I emailed the same comment to Steve Jackson Games…  When will there be a Post Apocalyptic box set powered by GURPS?  We both know that there is already a lot of PA stuff for GURPS in the basic GURPS 4th Ed and 3rd Ed stuff.  However, the Dungeon Fantasy is already covered by a lot of stuff, like the basic set, and the expansion books for Fantasy, Magic, Thaumatology, Low Tech…  But having one concise set of books for Dungeon Fantasy is pretty sweet.

I am a horror fan in general.  The horror can range from anything from ghosts, zombies, vampires, space, genetics gone wrong, and just about anything between.  I prefer more thinking horror rather than splatter horror.  I prefer a little bit of jump scare, and leaving the movie thinking “damn, that is messed up.”

For example, one of the movies that I keep coming back to is The Rapture, starring Mimi Rodgers and David Duchovny.  The story is about a swinger who lives a life of hedonism until she discovers Christ and is saved.  However, due to a series of horrible events, she loses her faith.  In the end, the rapture occurs, and she must reaffirm her love for Christ, or be damned to hell.  OK, not ghosts, goblins, psychotic jump scare horror, but the movie was effective in making you sit there and think “damn, that is messed up”.  And for several days later, I was still thinking “damn, that is messed up”.

Another subtle horror movie that is a favorite of mine is Mister Frost, starring Jeff Goldblum.  In this movie, he is a murderer who is arrested and put into a psychiatric ward for murdering people and burying them in his back yard.  But he may be more than just a murderer.  There is this ongoing thing with baking and prepping fancy cakes and then throwing them out that adds an odd touch to the mystery of the movie.  There is no gore.  It is all psychological.  But creepy at the same time.

Now, with all of that, I also truly enjoy a good straight up horror film.  I will watch every movie in the Underworld series.  I will also watch most any zombie move or TV show made.  Molly likes vampire stuff.  She doesn’t like the zombie stuff.  She dislikes the zombie movies for the same reasons that I like the zombie movies.

In a vampire movie, there is one protagonist.  Maybe a coven of protagonists.  And there usually is no overt breakdown of society.  In general, the vampires try to hide their depraved acts from the overall society, since their weakness would be if people got smart and started hunting them effectively.  While a vampire is strong, it still can be defeated.

Zombies on the other hand, represent the complete breakdown of society.  There are multiple threats in the complete breakdown of society.  The first one is the overt threat of the horde of zombies coming for you.  The other threats include what the human race will do to each other to try to survive.  Then there is the issue of quickly dwindling resources.  Where are you going to find food, water, ammunition, medical supplies, fuel…?

This triple threat is fascinating to me.  Not fascinating to me in the way that I want to live it, but fascinating to me in a clinical way.  In some ways the zombie threat is almost a lens at looking at ethnic cleansing in certain parts of Africa, or the Balkans.

I believe that the primary reason why we are “nice” to each other is because we have a rule of law that keeps enough people from stealing, murdering or other horrible acts on each other.  The reason for this is that the results of getting caught are worse than what their position would be if they keep in line.  Religion adds to that.  Do what the Good Book says, or you will be banished to an eternity of pain and suffering.  Some people do bad things regardless of the consequences.  They are driven by madness, hate, intolerance, or a lack of general empathy.  I believe that most people are generally weak, and all need some form of crutch to do the right thing.  I am not excluding myself from this list.  Most people have one or more of the following that they use as a crutch to do the right thing…. religion, drugs, fear of what happens if they don’t do the right thing (go to jail instead of living their lives)… the list goes on and on.

People have some level of empathy, but many people are weak, and given the right conditions, such as basic survival, or being brainwashed into thinking that all of their problems are created by person of <X skin color, X religion, X ethnic background, X belief system>, they can compartmentalize them as undesirable to their own self.

So where am I going with all of this?  I don’t really know.  I am just typing out what I am thinking at the time.  That is what a blog is for, isn’t it?

So I love zombie shows and movies.  I started watching Z Nation last week on Netflix.  Molly is not impressed.  I like it.  It has the right combination of desperation, snark and gore to appeal to me.  It deals with the issue of lack of equipment via a deas ex machina method.  Oh, the truck ran out of fuel, we walk until we find another vehicle just before the zombie horde comes…  In one episode, they were in a town in the mid west when a zombie horde came through.  The people ended up hiding in a mortuary, in the corpse refrigerators while the horde passed.

I also appreciate that most of the show was filmed in the Spokane area, and they try to pass the terrain in Spokane off as though it is upstate New York, or the midwest.  Ok, maybe that isn’t a real selling point, but I still enjoy that aspect.

So far, Z Nation is holding my interest.  Many times, a show like that holds my interest for a while, then I get tired of it.  I followed Walking Dead for about 4 seasons, then got tired of it.  It is a good show, but I realized that they were just building up in each episode to the uber gore scene.  Then, there was the gratuitous zombie kill scene, or every fourth episode, one of the main characters would get glicked.  I read the comics for about 7 years.  Then I got tired of it too.

This probably is due to my ADHD.  I just get bored, and need something new.  Even if I am enjoying the show, I move on.  For instance, I really like some of the Netflix shows from the Marvel universe.  Luke Cage is pretty awesome, so is Daredevil.  I was able to get through about a half dozen episodes of Daredevil (which is so much better than the movie), and even got to the point where Vincent D’Onofrio was introduced as Wilson Fisk (Kingpin), and went AWESOME!.  Then, I stopped watching it.  I love Vincent D’Onofrio.  I love Kingpin.  The show is really good.  I just lost interest.

I initially watched about 4 episodes of Luke Cage, and really liked it.  Then… I stopped watching it.  It was really good.  I just lost interest.  The characters are compelling, the plot is good.  The show is edited well.  I just stopped wanting to watch it.

It is kind of odd.  I can read an 800 page book, and stay engaged in it.  I can read a series of books, and stay engaged.  But when I watch something on the TV, I get bored.  It may be that when I watch things on TV, I am consuming another person’s vision of what the world is, what the actors look like, how they sound…  When I read a book, I am allowed to use my own imagination to fill in the voices, background, colors…  Reading a book is not a passive thing for me.  I am actively engaged in the story (assuming the story is halfway good).  That is the same thing for roleplaying games for me.  The book, or module provides some portion of the story, and I need to fill in the rest of the world with my imagination, and that is done as part of a combined storytelling effort with friends at a table.  This is probably why I don’t care for video games.  The same reason as I get bored with TV and movies.  My mind is consuming, as opposed to being creative.  Well, video games are also a problem for me because my hand to eye coordination sucks.  I mean really sucks.  Really really really sucks.

So what does all of this have to do with zombies or post apocalyptic role playing games?  Not much.  I was writing the blog for a while this morning while Molly and Kitty were asleep.  Just me and the dogs.  Gavin was working.  Then Molly came in about four or five paragraphs back and we chatted for about an hour.  Then Kitty came in and added to the conversation while the dogs were lounging.  My mind was in a different place after the conversation than before…  hence, the blog blather changed.

So I was talking about zombies.  I am fascinated by the possibility of total societal breakdown.  I have been fascinated by the concept of anarchy since I first heard about the concept.  Not that I want to live in a broken society, in a state of anarchy.  I happen to really like the fact that my house has power, which allows me to have hot coffee (with the grounds purchased from Safeway), and the heat and AC work, along with the Internet where I can purchase books on Amazon, along with knowing that my Kia Soul has a full gas tank, and I can drive around town without having someone attack me.

With all of that, the concept of anarchy is clinically fascinating to me.  Once again, I am not interested in living in a state of anarchy.  The possibility of the human condition existing in a state of anarchy creates many possible futures.  These could be after the bomb, a zombie apocalypse, a Red Dawn situation where Cuba attacks Spokane, or some other thing where our world is consumed by chaos.

I spent six years as a nuclear, biological, chemical warfare expert in the Army.  I learned about how things worked when you did nasty things to people.  I also grew up during the cold war.  The possibility of a nuclear attack was very real.  Still is.  We are now in a time when the Russians have lost track of their fissionable material, rogue groups are trying to do horrible things to each other, and the leaders of North Korea are rattling sabers with the rest of the world, and specifically the USA.  The possibility of a dirty bomb or an actual fissionable device blowing up via shipborne or airborne attack is very real.  It doesn’t help that the current US President is acting like a petulant fool, and is willing to play double dog dare with North Korea.  This is like a sick version of sticking a tongue on the frozen flag pole from a Christmas Story.

The sad thing is that this is funny when the kid is sticking his tongue to the frozen pole, but it is not funny at all when we have two highly immature world leaders who are calling each other names on the world stage.  I mean really, what the hell good can come from President Trump calling Kim Jong Un “Rocket Man”.  What possible good can come from that?

Will North Korea be able to nuke enough of the US to destroy us?  Probably not.  They could do something like a targeted shot against a western port, like Seattle, Portland, Los Angeles, San Francisco.  They could also release an EMP pulse which could do huge damage to the electronic and electrical infrastructure.  We retaliate, as President Trump has said we would to “destroy North Korea”

“The United States has great strength and patience, but if it is forced to defend itself or its allies, we will have no choice but to totally destroy North Korea.”

Which he stated in his UN Speech last week…  So where does this all get us?  Closer to anarchy.  It could be through nuclear combat.  It could be through more people emboldened by a president who has little diplomatic skills, with the emboldened people thinking that they should show off their Nazi beliefs…

I long for a time when Yoda sat with King Faisal as the king signed documents entering Saudi Arabia into the UN Charter.  We need more times of contemplation and deep thought that will help us use clearer heads.

First Phase Digital

I don’t think that this is too much to ask for.

It is certainly better than when Darth Vader worked with the British and French governments in 1919 to divide up the Ottoman Empire to create the current day middle east countries via the Sykes–Picot Agreement.  We all know how that ended up.

Capture

So, you say… “Rob, we have suffered through almost 2,500 words of blather, and still know nothing about what happened in yesterday’s game.”

Well, that is not completely true.  I did mention at the beginning that to loosely quote Julius Caesar, “Venimus, vidimus, et mortuus est” which means “we came, we saw we died”  This is not as good as the term “Veni, Vidi Velcro”, which loosely translated means “we came, we saw, we stuck around.”

Last week, it was more like “Sanctus cacas nos nimis eruditionis habes” which translates to the English equivalent of “Holy shit, we are fucked”

Now, you ask, do I know Latin?  No.  But I do love the movie Life of Brian, and I found an English to Latin translator on google.

I barely speak English competently.

So the players met, all eight of them, plus me.  We sat around a table and started in the first kill box.  This encounter involved moving down the steps from the last encounter, and attacking several badders.  They found the same type of sniper badders as the last game, and they found a new type of badder, this one can hit them with a psychic wave of damage.  They also found that the overall dungeon was crowded, and difficult to get around.

Shari helped out by triggering her ability to cause radiation damage to any character within 3 squares of her… but that was problematic since she placed herself in a place which was very hard to get around that space and still attack the bad guys.  The cluttered area was good for the bad guys, since they were already set up.  Shari made it challenging.

The party came rolling into the first room, and were able to do some damage, however, the new type of badders released several psychic blasts which really hurt the players.  Teague went down.  Hard.  Her character was the first to go down.  Dead dead.  Not an auspicious way to get back into roleplaying games.  Die in the first few minutes of the encounter.

The combat was horrible and nasty.  In the end, Teague, Sue and Shari all died.  The male players all lived.  I am not sure what to read into this, as I was trying to randomize who would attack whom.  The problem for the players was that the psychic blast badders would recharge their psychic blast if they rolled a 5 or 6 on their turn, and they kept rolling 5’s and 6’s.

In the end, to be fair, I asked Sue if the badders should be mean or not.  She would roll a dice and say “evens mean, odds not mean”.  If the evens came up on the die roll, then they would pop off their psychic blast if they could, and most of the time they would.  Now, I didn’t tell Sue what to do to make them mean.  After all, Sue could have said “mean only if I roll a 1 on a d20”, but she rolled the d6 for evens / odds.

The party did figure out how to stop the carnage.  This is where the roleplaying comes in. Someone, I think it was Bill decided to try to use his power to stun the badders in one group, then have the m fight each other instead of the party.  This worked well.  Then the party tried another RP, where they gave temporary amnesia to two of the nasty badders with the psy attack and then convinced the remaining badders to leave.  They did.  The party lost three characters before they figured out to do this.

The living party members rested for five minutes while Sue, Teague and Shari picked out new characters, rolled for equipment, and we started the second encounter.

This one seemed to go pretty well.  The chamber included glowing blue moss all over the place, along with a spiraling pit path leading down to a lower level. There were two dog sized moths (not moth sided dogs) flying around in the room along with three blood red birds.  The dog sized moths looked like this:

Blaash gamma world moth

This went poorly for the party also.  They thought it was going to be a cakewalk, until the moth hit the party with radiation burns from the eyes.  The attack was pretty nasty.  The other thing that surprised the party was that with the Yexil, it could do some nasty radiation damage with its eyes, but that was a one-shot, and the Yexil couldn’t to it a second time.

The moth, AKA Blaash, could use their radiation eyes over and over again.  The birds also were nasty.  If they pecked at you with their beaks they did  both physical damage, and they also burned you with radiation if you started your turn next to their square.

The party ended up killing off most of these critters, and were feeling pretty confident, until the reinforcements arrived.  Two psychic badders, and two normal badders.  These guys did some real damage to the party, killing off several members including Bill, Eric and Shari.

Brian bravely moved to a spot far away from the party and the bad guys and proceeded to attack from the far side of the cavern.  Teague tried to fly to the last remaining moth to kill it, and was hurt pretty badly.

Mike survived because I forgot to pop off a dying strike from one of the badders.  If that had occurred, Mike’s Verminator would have been killed too.

All in all, everyone had fun.  Even in death, the party enjoyed itself.  At least, they made eye contact with the game master, and said “we will be back for more next week”, except Teague, who said something like “I may be back next week… ”

 

 

Gamma World, 7th Edition, Episode 02

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We met yesterday to continue on with our Gamma World adventures.  Everyone had a good time.  Monsters died, characters died.  Everyone laughed, no one got bent out of shape.  We annoyed the people at the table next to us who were trying to have a serious Warhammer game.  It may have been 40K, or some other bucket of d6 die rolling game.  In general, it was a really good time where we laughed, kibittzed, and tried as hard as possible to annoy Jirimiah.

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Shari did not make it, however Collin was fresh back from the Portland Comicon, and Brian also showed up.  Things were interesting to say the least.  I explained that everyone needed to keep in mind that this was a game where the players were to be in a kill box, and fight their way out.  The only real “role playing” in the game was how their unique combination of character attributes gave them advantages in their combat.  My job as the game master was to slaughter the players.  Their job as the players was to kill the bad guys before they got slaughtered.  In this way, Gamma World is much more like Descent 2nd Ed, Mansions of Madness or other tactical role playing games than a standard RPG like (normal) D&D, Mathfinder, GURPS etc.

Starting point

We played the same two adventures as last week.  This was to get the players more aligned with the specific game play.

I also went to Guardian Games and bought some more used components.  This ended up as a purchase of about $40, to get the complete base game along with a complete set of both expansions.  This gave me all of the cards, pogs, maps, and some extra books.  Having the extra books helped, since we now had three base books for the table, along with two copies of each expansion book for the table.  I could keep one of each of the books, and the table players could share the others.  It also all fits nicely into the base box.

The first scenario involved a kill box, where the players were trying to get to the door of the building.  Immediately upon entering the map, they were pelted with arrows from three giant bipedal badgers (with crossbows) and two Porkers, the Gamma World version of Orks.  The Porkers have a nice little special attack, where they can belch a horrific cloud of noxious gas.  If the player’s character doesn’t make a fortitude saving throw, then they take damage, and are stunned from the horrific stench.  This helped with character builds which had amazingly high armor classes, or armor which made them almost untouchable.  The character builds, and the monsters for that matter, always have one very high attribute (like Armor Class, or Fortitude, or Willpower…) and the rest are usually more reasonable.  Some characters may also have damage resistance to some types of attacks.  This means that even if you can’t whack at it with a sword and do damage, you can likely pierce them with arrows

For example, Mike’s character was a robotic rat swarm, the Verminator.

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His character started out with a 5 damage resistance to melee attacks.  This meant from the start of the game, anytime a monster hit him with a sword, club, fist, etc, they may hit, but the character could “absorb” the first five hit points of damage without doing any real damage to the character.  He drew a card which gave him an additional 10 damage resistance to melee attacks, which meant that there was no way that any monster hitting him with melee could do any damage at all to his swarm of rats.

This worked out in his favor just “to be fair”, so that when he was fighting a monster that could hit him with a flail or step back and hit him with a bow, the badger was dumb enough that he would hit the rat swarm with a flail or club instead of stepping back and using a ranged weapon.  It made sense and “to be fair”, that the monster would try to hit the swarm of rats with a bludgeoning weapon instead of a ranged weapon.

I have talked about the Alpha and Omega cards a few times.  These cards may not make sense to someone who has not played the game.

Here are some of the rules from the core book about the Alpha mutation cards:

From the Core Book Pg.66:

“All D&D Gamma World heroes have access to wild, unpredictable abilities known as Alpha powers. IN effect, you’re able to manifest special powers by drawing on alternate world lines in which you naturally possess them. Some heroes do this through exercises of logic and concentration. Others do it by intuition or feel, or even by accident. A moment of panic or rage trips a switch and suddenly, you’re not exactly the person you used to be.

Alpha Mutations are derived from three distinct sources of energy: bio, dark and psi.

Bio Energy: You alter your physical nature, possibly activating pieces of junk DNA or making all your mitochondria do something new and different.
Dark Energy: Dark energy is a force that pervades every bit of matter in the universe. You can unlock it and shape it into usable forms.
Psi Energy: You focus your mind to do impossible things.”

At the beginning of each session, you’ll draw an Alpha Mutation power card from my deck (until anyone gets cards and puts their own together). As you level up you will draw two and eventually three cards.

Keep the cards readied next to your character sheet.

While it’s out, you gain any effect listed on the card’s Benefit section. If the card has a power listed on it and you choose to use it, you do so and then turn the card (tap it) to indicate that you have used the power.

At the end of an encounter you will discard all of your Alpha Mutation cards and draw new cards to replace them.

Alpha Flux: Whenever you roll a 1 on a d20 die during an encounter, you’re hero experiences a fluctuation of possible worldliness and must discard one of their Alpha Mutation cards, either tapped or untapped. You may then draw a new Alpha Mutation card that comes in untapped and ready to go.

From the core book Pg.67:

“Overcharging Alpha Powers:

When an Alpha power has an overcharge entry, you can try to boost its effectiveness at the risk of the power going awry. The overcharge entry indicates when you can overcharge; unless otherwise stated on the card, overcharging an Alpha power is a free action you can declare at the indicated time. You can overcharge a power only once. To overcharge, roll a d20. The Alpha Mutation card indicates the effect that occurs as a result of the d20 roll. Usually, a result of 10 or higher is a successful overcharge (and an increased effect), and a result of 9 or lower incurs a penalty or condition that is applied to you. If you attempt to overcharge an attack power and fail, the power still works normally, and then you suffer the negative effect. Your origin might give you a bonus to overcharge certain Alpha powers.”

In essence, the Alpha cards are mutations, which allow for you to do something weird, and fun in the game.  It may be good for you, but it may also be bad for you.  Here is an Alpha mutation card as an example.

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This seems a little innocuous.  However, if the player were to use this and overcharge it and roll a 9 or less (a 45% chance of occurring), you may bring a storm of robots from lower levels of the dungeon right onto you, when you are still a lower level.

That isn’t the best example of an Alpha (mutation) card.  It could be used in role play within an encounter, but it isn’t particularly clear how it would benefit the combat in the game.

Here is another example of an Alpha (mutation) card that is more descriptive of something useful.

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That may help a lot in a combat situation.  The Alpha and Omega cards are always a one-shot card.  You use it, you tap it (it is a WOTC game, so we can say “tap” as opposed to some other word which is not copy written or legally protected in some way).

Notice that you can overcharge the mutation card.  This adds some flavor and some chance.  A -5 penalty to the saving throw is pretty cool, and may be very useful, but… there is a 45% chance of rolling a 9 or less, which could mess things up badly.

Here is another useful Alpha (mutation) card that is pretty straight forward.

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Once again, you have some good stuff, and possibly some bad stuff that will happen with this card.

Here are some of the rules from the core book about the Omega cards:

 

From the Core Book Pg.68:
Over the course of your explorations in Gamma Terra, you frequently acquire artifacts of advanced technology. Omega Tech represents exotic super-science devices that litter the irradiated wastelands of Gamma Terra. While thousands of varieties of Omega Tech items exist, most fall into one of three broad origins:

Area 52: And you thought Area 51 was secret! Area 52 tech is derived from the Greys – extraterrestrials who mastered dark energy millennia ago.
Ishtar: The Empire of Ishtar is a highly advanced human civilization that arose in a number of worldlikes. The Ishtarans sent spies, advisors, and even armies of conquerors to many of the alternate Earths. Their technology is photonic in nature.
Xi: Xi tech is the product of machine intelligence and is built on nanotech and neural interfaces. Like the Ishtarans, machine civilizations are common in many worldlines. (It’s pronounced Zee, by the way.)”

Omega Tech cards work much like Alpha Mutation cards, but you get them as loot and roll to see if you can keep them running after you use them.

The Omega cards are superweapons or something that may be specifically useful in game play.  Sometimes it isn’t particularly obvious about how to use it.  Sometimes, you look at it and go “aha!”.  Here are some examples of the Omega cards:

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Armor is always good.

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Hmmm.  being able to see in the dark or through things may be helpful, but not as helpful as something that will kill stuff.  However, this may also be very helpful in the game, depending on the player, the scenario and any number of other random things.

Now the following is more like it.  Something that kicks butt.

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The key with the Omega cards is that they are only guaranteed to exist for the specific encounter that you are in.  At the end of each encounter, you roll a D20, and on a 10 or more, the device survives with a charge.  If you roll a 9 or less (45% chance), the device loses it charge, and is useless for the remainder of the game.  If you roll consistently lucky, you may have two, three or four (maybe more) Omega items.

As you increase in levels, you also start each encounter with two, or three randomly drawn mutations.  When you roll a 1, you chose the mutation that you will replace with a new mutation.  This allows the characters to become more powerful over time.

There are a lot of cards for Gamma World.  The base set has 120 cards.  The booster packs have another 160 cards.  There are also some special cards you could have gotten from special events or other ways.  All in all, there are about 300 cards available, which I believe break out to about 40% omega cards, and about 60% alpha cards.  I did a quick search on the Interwebs, and this seemed about right.

If you want more accuracy, please do some research on that yourself, and add the correct answer in the comments section.

I am an engineer.  We are not trained to be “accurate”  We calculate a reasonable value, then add a factor of safety to help insure that what we design doesn’t fall down.  If you want accuracy, go ask a pure scientist, like a physicist, or a mathematician.  I spent about 5 minutes looking online, and added up the 120 unique cards in the base box, plus the 160 unique cards in the booster packs, and I knew that there were about 15 or so special cards.. which added up to about 295 (120+160+15=295), then I rounded up to “about 300”

Now since there is only one significant digit in 300 (3X10^2 yields one significant digit), the accuracy in that “about 300” can have a wide variance and still be considered accurate.  This means that the estimate would still be somewhat “accurate” if there were between 201 and 399 cards.

If I had said there were “about 310″ cards, then there would be two significant digits (3.1X10^2”) which would mean that I would need to be within 9 cards to be “somewhat accurate” as opposed to being within 99 cards to be somewhat accurate.

If I had said that there were “about 301” cards then I would need to be highly accurate, as there are 3 significant digits, 3.01X10^2, which means that if I was off by more than about 9/10ths of a card, I would be inaccurate.

Hence, I said “about 300” cards.  This means that with the extremely poor quality control of my interwebs search, I am still sufficiently accurate to make the point.

If I were a mathematician, or a physicist, this would not do.  This type of precision would be unconscionable.

I have a similar conversation with my wife regularly.  She asks “what time is it?”.  I reply “it is about 4:10 PM”, knowing that it is actually 4:07 PM.  She looks at her phone, and says, “not it is not, it is 4:07 PM”  Since I told her the time to 2 significant digits, it is close enough, when she wants 3 significant digits.  The argument of significant digits is not relevant to her.  Being “about 4:10” when it is actually 4:07 is confusing to her.  Her need for level of accuracy is greater than my need for accuracy.

If my explanation of significant digits is not detailed enough for you, or if you differ with my recollection of significant digits then remember, I am an engineer, and we like to say “close enough when you add the factor of safety”.  In our case, we can calculate that with the factor of safety the pipe needs to be 5.2 inches in diameter.  But we can only order the pipe in 5 inch diameter, or 6 inch diameter, guess what, we go with the standard off the shelf 6-inch diameter pipe instead of asking the manufacturer to retool their entire production line to create the 5.2 inch diameter pipe.

Also, remember that I graduated from college “about 20” years ago.  Note that this means that I graduated sometime between 11 and 29 years ago, still accurately described.  I could also say that I graduated “about 30” years ago, which with one significant digit, would mean that I graduated between 21 and 39 years ago.

My recollection of the significant digits concept may not be completely accurate.  I can tell you that my recollection is actually “about 100%” accurate, since that is only one significant digit.  My accuracy would be true, even if the true value of my accuracy was really only 21% correct in interpretation of the concept, since I am still accurate to within 1 significant digit.

You see, it is tricks of math that got President Trump elected by the Electoral College, even though he lost the popular vote.  You knew it all along, math is truly evil.

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So “what happened yesterday?” you ask.

Well, lots of bad stuff.

The party spent about an hour going through the books to get their perfect character, or to modify the pregens that I created.  Then we started the adventure.

So what happened…  It was all a big blur.  The party moved into the kill box in the first encounter, and were hacked a lot from the two Porkers and the three Badders.  The party ended up killing off all of the bad guys.

Here are some images of the bad guys that the players had fun with:

Porkers:

gw-porker

You can see the badders hiding behind the porker, here is another picture of a badder for some more detail:

Badder

The highlights included the Porkers belching on several party members, Sue snaring almost the entire party in a toxic radioactive web (well she also snared the bad guys), Brian having a ridiculous Armor Class, Mike getting pushed off a cliff, then he wasn’t, Collin trying desperately not to be killed and Eric changing from one mini to another while making dick jokes.

The party survived the first encounter.  Several of them managed to keep their Omega weapons to the 2nd encounter, which was good for them.

This adventure included badders, along with a new friendly monster, the Yexil

Yexil

The second encounter was tougher.  There were two badders on ledges and a yexil on a roost at the back of the room.  In front of the door was a 10-ft X 10-ft patch of grass, which no one wanted to step in for some reason.  There was also a well, a stairway down, along with two columns.  On the left side of the room was a door, which had several more badders sleeping inside a dormitory.  These three badders were reinforcements.

The party waltzed in and did some pretty heinous damage to one of the badders.  However, the badders and the Yexil got some good damage in.

Brian probably saved the day.  He used his uber weapon on the Yexil, and phased it out of this dimension for 1d6 rounds while doing some pretty amazing damage to the critter.  Unfortunately for the party, Brian rolled a 1 on his 1d6, which meant that the Yexil came back one round after the megadamage was done, and the Yexil was pissed.  Really pissed.  Brian wasn’t worried, since he had a massive armor class.  He didn’t realize that the Yexil attacked with a wing bash, and that was against fortitude, not AC.  Brian was knocked down a couple of times, but the biting attack by the Yexil wasn’t high enough to get through Brian’s AC.  That is good.  Since if you are prone and the Yexil attacks, the Yexil gets to do lots of extra damage.  Lots of extra damage.

Badders hit the party with arrows, and then maces.  Sue, once again netted the entire party in a toxic web.  Sue also died.  Dead dead.  She was knocked to less than her constitution and became a slick gooey spot on the floor of the dungeon.

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OK, Sue was an arachnid, not a cockroach, but she was using a plastic cockroach as her mini.

Collin’s character was killed, but really only knocking it to less than 0 hit points, but more than minus bloodied hitpoints.

In Gamma World, you are incapacitated if you go to less than 0 hitpoints.  You”die” if you go to less than the negative value of your bloodied hitpoint value.  In other words, if you have 20 hitpoints, you are bloodied if you drop to 1/2 or less (rounded down) of your hitpoints (10 in this case).  You are dead if you are knocked to the negative value of your bloodied hitpoint value (-10 hitpoints in this case).

This is different than other games, where you are dead dead if you go to less than negative constitution (if you con is 16, and you are dropped below -16, you would be dead dead, needing resurrection or some other major thing).

When you are negative hitpoints, but not negative more than your negative bloodied value, you still need to make death saving throws.  Collin was on the countdown, missing two saving throws…  Luckily, the combat ended right as he was at his final saving throw, and Mike rushed over with his mechanical rat swarm and saved him.

I talked earlier about how Mike did, with his uber damage reduction.

Eric killed lots of stuff.  He also was pivotal in getting into flanking position, to help kill several of the Badders and the Yexil.

Overall, it was a lot of fun, and everyone wants to continue playing the game.

That is a good result.  Everyone has fun.

Gamma World, 7th Edition, Episode 01

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So one of my main problems in running games is that I have a short attention span.  I have serious ADHD, and have had it all my life.  I should have been on Ritalin when I was a kid, in the 1970’s.  My mother chose not to medicate me.  She had several friends who had kids who were medicated for ADHD, or simply being “hyperactive”, and when her friends kids were taken off the high doses of Ritalin that they were given, several of them switched to drinking large amounts of alcohol or other drugs.

I don’t know what the facts really were, but this was my mother’s concern, so she decided that I would not take medication to affect my ADHD.  I am not being critical, but the lack of medication during grade school, middle school and high school was problematic for me at best.  I am not complaining.  It all worked out for me.

The long and the short of it is that I can only stay focused on a project for so long.  My brain goes left, right, center, up and down all the time.  I have learned how to live with this, and most people don’t realize that I am bouncing all over the place.

I am a civil engineer.  I spent several years working as a road designer, and found that coming to work at 8 AM and grinding on a problem all day, until 5 PM was torture.  Somewhere along the line, I got into traffic operations, and it was perfect for me.  I didn’t need to focus on anything for more than 5 minutes, because the job requires a lot of fast decisions.  This is perfect for whatever is going on in my brain.  It isn’t that I am a genius, but since my brain whirls around, and the job requires me to whirl around making decisions, everything syncs up well.

What does that have to do with RPG’s?  Well, a lot for me.  When I start running an RPG, I get bored if we keep constantly leveling up from first level to the 20th level over a long series of 4 hour sessions.  After 4 or 5 sessions with one game system, I get bored with it, and need to change stuff up.  That is why I drag the RPG group through all sorts of different game systems.

I am not bored with the story line.  I am not bored with the specific game play.  I am not bored with the RPG system.  None of that.  I just need to swap stuff out to keep my mind active.  I am OK with coming back to a story line.  That is one of the reasons why I started writing this blog.

I probably need a forum to spew off about nazi’s, build a bear Spock dolls and the pure evil of marshmallow based treats.  The blog allows me to do that also.

But the primary reason why I started writing the blog is to keep story line placeholders for the gaming group.  What did we do last fall on the Savage Worlds game where we were all in the Zombie Apocalypse.  I fully intend to roll back on that story line.  But there are so many shiny objects out there.

I have two six foot tall bookshelves full of RPG books. Just RPG books.  I will never play all of them, but what I have found in the gaming world is that if you see something that is interesting, it will probably be gone unless you snatch it up.

Now that doesn’t fit for every game.  After all, you can get the D&D 5th Edition books from WOTC no matter what.  Or, the Mathfinder books from Paizo.  But, there are third party books that are awesome that come and go.  For instance, how long will the 6th Edition Runequest books be available?  Now 6th Edition Runequest was a pretty OK system, not fantastic.  Nowhere near as good as 2nd Edition Runequest.  But the thing about 6th Edition Runequest was that they broke out of Glorthana, and put Runequest in another world.  They also added a lot of details to the runes, and cults, compared to the in-print stuff for other Runequest settings.  Also, they created a book called Mythic Britain, which provided for some amazing background on druids and other ancient information that could be used in other games.

Same with World of Darkness.  I probably won’t run WOD.  I like the multi D10 system.  I like the concept of the storytelling system.  What I don’t care for is the layer of lore that you have to slavishly keep to when running the game.  OK, some gaming groups may not need that layer of lore, but when I have tried to run it, if you try to bootstrap the concept of a vampire kingdom to something other than the lore, someone gets pissy about it.  After all, they want to play a specific subcharacter type of vampire that is deep into the intrigue of the factional lore blah blah blah.  This is where the ADHD stuff comes in.  The WOD lore is amazing.  But it is so dense and complex that I would have to study this exclusively to the detriment to all of the other things I am interested in to be competent at the game.

When I ran Middle Earth Role Playing when I was younger, I needed to be deep into the lore for that game.  That wasn’t so bad.  I needed to know how things related.  But in that case, I was already reading every Tolkien book I could find.  I understood the basis of the world because I had been consuming the lore since I was about 7 years old, and read the Hobbit.

There seems to be about 1,000 WOD books, and they are divided up into werewolves, vampires, mages, psi’s, and maybe even Brony’s.  There are different editions, and subeditions.  I don’t have the time to become competent at the world.

But.

I can take the WOD books that I have, and weave ideas from the detailed world that is in those books into other campaigns.  I need some form of background information about a vampire lord in a D&D game, or a Savage Worlds setting…  WOD lore yields amazing background to weave into the other games.

I have a few of the books.  Since I don’t play the game, I don’t want to purchase the books as new books, or pay top dollar for used books at Powells or Guardian Games in Portland.  I do however, keep an eye out for them at swapmeets or where someone is getting rid of their “unused” stuff, and occasionally get them for a couple of dollars for a used book.  I also keep an eye out for what is running in the current Bundle of Holding.  Sometimes, BoH will sell a bunch of PDF books for $20 or so.

Where was I?  Let’s see, I had the obligatory reference to nazi’s, marshmallows and build a bear Spock dolls.

Oh yes, what were we playing?

We played Gamma World, 7th Edition yesterday.

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Now there is not a lot of love for this game.  I originally skipped it, based on the reviews I saw online, saying that it was silly, wasn’t consistent with the feel of the older editions, and was 4th Edition D&D light.

I played Gamma World way back in the 1980’s.  I loved the game, but TSR never really figured out how to make it something beyond a niche game.  No matter which version you played, there were only a few modules available.  There wasn’t the depth of neat stuff from TSR that you got with D&D, or any of their other lines for that matter.  You could get more stuff for Boot Hill,  Top Secret, Star Frontiers, or even the Indiana Jones RPG.  Trust me, I bought that piece of crap… and bought a bunch of modules hoping at some point my investment in crap would pan out into something fun.  Nope.  As much as I loved the Indiana Jones world, the RPG sucked eggs.

The Indiana Jones crapsicle is really important to understand for me, as a high schooler looking for fun.  I purchased that piece of crap, and then followed the shit turd through the module series, while I was working part time earning minimum wage.  Between saving for college, having money to go on dates (yes, I was a gamer who was able to get dates in high school) and having snack money, when you purchased a piece of crap base game that cost the equivalent of a couple of night’s work at minimum wage, you wanted it to be pretty OK.  It didn’t need to be awesome, just pretty OK.  TSR hosed their customers pretty badly with this.  I was stupid enough that I hoped that it would get better if you kept going on with purchasing the content.

This pretty much summed up my mindset.  About the same time, I was reading “novels” in the Gor series by John Norman.  I had friends who read them and said “these books are awesome”.  I started reading them, and found them to be pretty crappy.  My friends kept telling me how awesome they were, so I consumed them, looking for some gem of a plot twist, or something that would make them worthwhile to read.  Eventually, I realized that they weren’t going to get better.  They were pretty crappy books.  Then the same friends told me “you need to read the Dragonriders of Pern series by Anne McCaffrey, those books are awesome!”  I tried those too.  They were nowhere near as bad as the Gor books, but they didn’t grab me.

I was happier reading books by Robert Heinlein, Ben Bova, PK Dick, Poul Anderson, Margaret Atwood, Ray Bradbury, Stanislaw Lem, and others.  Good science fiction (hard SCIFI) was easier to come by than good swords and sorcery.  The science fiction seemed to deal with ethical and moral issues, where the swords and sorcery seemed to deal with how does the protagonist kill the bad guys, then bed the beautiful helpless large breasted female(s) that he rescues.

Now, this is a gross oversimplification  There was good swords and sorcery, and there was misogynistic science fiction.  But it seemed that I had found a core of authors in science fiction novels who were good storytellers, and it was a lot harder to find good storytellers with S&S novels.

What does this have to do with Gamma World, you ask.  Probably nothing, and possibly everything.

I had been burned by TSR a bunch of times.  Well, in all fairness, I have bought some crappy games from a bunch of companies over the years.  TSR did not have the corner on the market for selling expensive crap spewed out to unsuspecting yet naive consumers.

But I had been burned by TSR Stuff.  I loved the Gamma World stuff in the 1980’s.  But TSR only released a small amount of stuff for each version of the game.

WOTC also proudly explained that it was D&D Gamma World, based on 4th Edition D&D.  That made me hold off buying the game when it came out.  I loved Gamma World, but I had ran and played D&D 4th Edition.  Now I don’t hate 4th Edition D&D.  I don’t even dislike it too much.  But there are about a gazillion books for it, and the system is dead now.  I think that 4th Edition was killed because (a) it was overly complex, (b) WOTC made the mistake of thinking that they were going to make a killing by selling the books as PDF’s, and (c) the only way to really create a character was to pay $100 annually to WOTC to get access to their character generator software.

WOTC seemed to think that D&D 3 and 3.5 needed a facelift, so they remodded the game, to make it a tactical boardgame.  I bought several of the books, and ran it.  I also played it.  There wasn’t the love for the story.  It was essentially a very complex boardgame trying to emulate a first person shooter video game.  Now, I have other “RPG” games which do a very similar thing.  Descent, Imperial Assault, Mansions of Madness, Doom to name a few.  I love these games.  They are a lot of fun to play.  But the key difference is that when you play these games, you have a very simplified character sheet (as in it is already created for you), and you follow a small set of rules to understand how to work the dice mechanics along with the special cards you have for powers.

WOTC rolled this all up in D&D 4th Edition to allow for every possible combination of characters, and a very specific set of rules as to how you could get encounter based powers.  Most of the powers were once per encounter, some were once per day.  The encounter powers were very complex to understand, and the only effective way to play it was to have all three players handbooks, along with all of the Adventurer’s Vault books, the various Players Handbooks for specific races, and a lot of other books.  There were two problems with this approach.  The first one was that you had to have a bunch of books to be able to understand all of the bits and pieces necessary to create your complex character, and two you really needed to use the (expensive) WOTC online software to be able to build and manage you character.  WOTC sold the physical books, and also sold the books as PDF’s.  The PDF market is an interesting one.  Once you sell one PDF, they get onto several sites in other countries, and those sites allow you to obtain the PDF’s for no charge.  Also, one person in a group will buy the PDF, and then share it via Dropbox, One Drive or Google Docs to everyone they know.

This means that when you sell the physical book at $40, and try to sell the PDF for $20, you won’t get a lot of buyers.  Ideally, you would sell the PDF at a price point which will make people say “yeah, that is a good deal”, as opposed to saying “Wow, I can fill my gas tank for the same amount of money as that one PDF”.  I am a believer that selling the PDF at a deep discount will result in more income from sales than selling at a higher price, and hoping that people will be honest and buy them at a high price instead of pirating them.

It isn’t hard to find pirated PDF’s for free of most games online.  Google helps with that… a lot.

Besides that, 4th Edition D&D suffered because a better system rose out of he ashes of D&D 3.5, Mathfinder.  The Mathfinder system had much better support, was way better in game play, and Paizo allowed third party developers like Kobald Press, Frog God Games, Legendary Games and others plug into their basic system.

Meanwhile, WOTC kept a tight leash on their creative content with 4th Ed.

So where was I…

Ah yes, I was complaining about 4th Edition D&D.

Given my ambivalence with the 4th Edition rules, I decided to skip by Gamma World 7th Edition when it came out.  There weren’t a lot of other post apocalyptic games in the arena, but after reading the reviews, I decided to skip this one.

I shouldn’t have.  The game is a lot of fun.

Last Monday, Guardian Games had their big parking lot sale.  This is where they put out a bunch of stuff that isn’t moving on a huge sale, and allow people to bring in their own stuff and purchase a table, kind of like a huge swap meet.

I purchased the original Middle Earth Role Playing Game box set for $10.  Score!!!  I also got the original Elfquest game for $10.  I wasn’t a huge fan of Elfquest, but I played it, and enjoyed it a lot.  I also got an unpunched “Captains Edition” of Star Fleet Battles including a module for $10.  Another pretty nice score.  I got 10 Paladium RPG books for Robotech for $6 apiece.

The two things that I got that were WOTC related was I grabbed the 4th Edition DM Guide (the first of three DM guides, mind you).  It was $5.  I figured that was about what the DM guide was worth.

The score for me that I am blathering about in this post is the box from 7th Edition Gamma World for $5.

Now, looking in the box, there were two core books, and one book from each of the expansions in the box.  It was missing most of the pogs, and several of the maps.  I didn’t care about the pogs.  After all, I have lots of markers and counters which can be used.  There were 2 of the six maps which should have been included given the base books plus two expansions.  However, the books included detailed maps which I could transfer onto a large play mat for the tactical side of the game.

There were a lot of cards.  The two core boxes and the boosters that came in the boxes were all there.  Well, pretty much all there.  I went through the cards when I got it home, and found that a couple of the cards which should have been included with two cards only had one, but there were some special cards also.

All of the cards were in nice sleeves.  I figured if nothing else, I had about $15 worth of nice  card sleeves.

I also figured that if the game sucked eggs, there were a lot of good ideas in the game system and the published scenarios that I could incorporate into other games.

So I got the game home, and it sat on the shelf for several days.  I had minis to paint, I had other games I payed…  Then Friday afternoon, I got home from work, and took the dogs out side to water the back lawn, and I grabbed a soda and the core book, and sat down in the nice September evening and started reading the core book.   I was impressed.

WOTC took the basic game mechanics of 4th Edition and stripped it down so it was pretty easy to digest.  Your character was a mix of two things, like a rat swarm – cockroach, or a cockroach-android…  You could roll the two tributes randomly or select the two attributes.

Then the character rolled the stats, and adjusted them based on their character types, then selected one novice attribute from one of their character types, and did some more fiddly type things.

Instead of having the 4th Edition decision tree, where you had to figure out how to pull your character together, this was pretty tightly run.  Leveling up caused some pretty predictable things to happen.

None of this was well described.  I had to read the sections several times, and move back and forth in the rules book to pull it together, but that is pretty standard with gaming.  The rulebooks are written by goblins intending on providing just enough information so that you can each interpret the rules in a way that will lead to players screaming at each other with their passionate interpretations of the rules, hopefully resulting in a table flip by one of the less stable players.  If the goblins write the rules “correctly”, and the gaming session ends with people yelling at each other, and then a huge mess of books, pogs, dice and other detritus littering the room, then the goblins win their game.  They win more often than they should.

The game includes a fun mechanic, where you have a card that is your mutation, and another card which is your uber weapon.  You can use the mutation or uber weapon once per encounter.  Same as some of your abilities based on your character specifics.

If at any time you roll a natural 1 on a d20, your mutation automatically swaps out for a new random mutation.  There are specific situations, such as monsters with auras, or other game mechanics which can modify that natural 1 to something higher, like a natural 5 or less on the roll.  When the mutation swaps out, you get a new mutation, which is able to be used.  So if you use your mutation (which is usually pretty awesome), you tap the card (it is a WOTC game, so you can actually call it “tap” as opposed to whatever Fantasy Flight, or other gaming systems call it when you turn your card 90-degrees to show that the power has been consumed.

If you use your uber weapon during the session, then you roll your D20, and if you roll a 9 or less, then the uber weapon dies.  Rolling a 10 or higher means that the uber weapon still has a charge, so you can use the uber weapon in the next encounter.  Searching at the end of the encounter likely will give you a new uber weapon.  So you may have more than one uber weapon on subsequent encounters.

I am not doing the game system justice in this description.  After you get the swing of things, it is a pretty clean system that has some randomness build in that is actually pretty fun.

The character generation is pretty straightforward, but it is still a little hard to pull together for a bunch at a time.  I figured that if I was running this game for the first time, I would want to have some pregens ready for the players.  I found a pretty good character generator online at:

http://gmh.xocomp.net/GWCharacterGenerator/default.aspx

If you follow the process through, you end up getting a pretty PDF which has the character on it that you can play.  This simplifies the character generation, as it pretty much makes the entire character for you.  Here is an example of the character sheet generated by the webpage above:

Capture

A few pointers about game play.  I kept a copy of the rule book, since I was running the game.  The other copy of the base rulebook was passed around between the four players.  We needed more rulebooks.  There is a lot of things where you need to check what a particular power does, or what a particular ability is, or weapons do.  One book per four players is not enough.  The book is available as a PDF on Drivethru RPG for a nominal cost.

So how was the play?

Brutal.

I mean it was a lot of fun with this group.  But it was a meat grinder.

It took a few tries to get it across to the party that this game was an encounter driven game.  The role play wasn’t really very heavy.  It was about getting into the combat and kicking some butt.

The other thing that everyone had to get used to was I draw the map, and the players start at the entry point, and we grind through the kill zone on initiative order.  And as the DM, I am trying to kill the party.

Now “killing” isn’t really “killing” except for when it is actually killing.

The mechanics of the game are set up like a video game.  You start out with a specific number of hitpoints, and when you are reduced to half the maximum level of hitpoints, you become “bloodied”.  Special stuff can happen when a monster or PC are bloodied.  More on that later.  When a PC or monster is reduced to 0 or fewer hit points, it is knocked out, for the rest of the encounter, unless someone has healing powers.  Most of the PC’s have something called “second wind”, which allows them to regenerate half their hitpoints once per encounter as a “minor action”.

The players have three things that they can do.  They have one move action, one full action and one minor action.

Move action is moving up to their entire movement.  If the character has a movement of 5, that means that they can move up to 5 squares per move action (each square is five feet).  They can also run, where they add 2 extra squares, but they the character takes a penalty to a bunch of stuff until the beginning of the next round.

An action would be like an attack, or to interact with a computer console or the such.  Actions also include using their powers, or their mutation, or such thing.

A minor action would be to drop a weapon and pull out another one, or perform something that is listed as a “minor action”  Minor actions might include continuing to maintain something, or performing their second wind.

For example, Shari’s character had a mutation which allowed her to create a psychic wall that was 20-ft high, and 10 squares long.  she could essentially shape an impenetrable clear wall to help the party.  In the second encounter, she used this to box in a rather nasty critter who was half lion, half bat, with insect mandibles.  It was the boss monster that was really nasty, while the other minion human sized man-badger monsters would keep the party busy catching arrows and getting bonked on the head with flails.  As her action in one turn, she boxed in the lion/bat nasty with her psychic wall.  Luckily, the 20-ft tall wall went all the way to the ceiling of the room they were in.

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It looks like the big bat thing at the top of the picture.  And it can shoot laser beams out of its eyes.

Needless to say, the players have some resource management.  For example, the lion/bat thing can do some really major damage if it hits.  If the player expects that they will need to use their second wind as a minor action, they need to think about how best to do this.

So Shari put up the psy wall, which requires her to use a minor action to keep it up every turn after it is first put in place.  However, she doesn’t just get to keep it up for free.  She must roll a d20, and get at least a 10 on the roll to keep the wall up as a minor action.  In this case, the nasty was acting like a bad mime

The critter was really angry, at Shari.  He wanted to do some killing, and Shari was keeping him in a box.  Shari knew that she was down on hit points, and needed to use her second wind.  She decided to use her minor action to get her second wind.  Then we decided that we would allow the PC’s to substitute a minor action for a standard action, Shari rolled to try to keep the box (err, wall) up, and failed, rolling a 1 instead of the needed 9.  Immediately, the wall fails, and she gets a new mutation card, which she can use, however, since she substituted a standard action for a minor action, she was unable to fight, or use the new mutation card this round.  The nasty flew onto Shari, doing a combo attack of whipping his wings at her to damage her, then knock her prone, followed by another attack.  Between the two attacks, the monster did well over 35 hitpoints damage, which took Shari well below -10 hitpoints, so she died.  As in dead dead.

The arbitrary “dead” as opposed to “knocked out” is knocked out is when you reach 0 hit points.  Dead is when you reach negative hit points equal to your bloodied value.

The bloodied value is half your initial hit points.  When bloodied, some players and some monsters get additional attributes.

For example, in the first encounter we played, the party was up against two human size badgers and two porkers, essentially orcs.  The porkers had a once per encounter ability to belch a horrible belch which would cause hitpoint damage to the PC’s, along with stunning them.  When the porkers are bloodied, they can do this a second time, unless you kill them without them being able to reuse the ability.

We ran two encounters with the same characters.  The first encounter was pretty brutal.  No one died, but two characters did go below zero hitpoints.  The second encounter was a real meat grinder, which resulted in a total party kill.  It was brutal.

However, everyone seemed to enjoy the game, even with the TPK.

We will be playing this again!

 

 

 

Random ramblings from Georgia

I really don’t have anything game like to post to you I’m just sitting in a hotel room in Atlanta Georgia waiting until I can go to a conference tomorrow morning.

I got on an airplane this morning and flew from Portland to Atlanta Georgia. I flew on Delta Airlines, it was interesting because the travel agent for the federal  highway administration didn’t book me a seat. So I sat and waited because Delta overbooked the flight by three seats. They like to overbook flights in case somebody doesn’t show up so they can still fly with a full plane.

Delta ended up having three more people booked than seats availableand to offset that Delta had offered 3 people  each A $1500 Voucher that the people could redeem anytime in the next year. I was tempted but the next flight was the next day which was not going to work with my speaking engagement.

it was interesting because it started out with $100 voucher, and over the course of about an hour they ended up making it a $1500 voucher for each person. In the end I got on the plane, and I had a really crappy seat. I was jammed innext to a guy it’s seem to want to pretend that you didn’t speak English when I sat down or rather when I  motioned to him  that I was going to sit next to him near the window. He seem to be liking the double seat that he had the benefit of until I sat down.

I’m a pretty big guy, and I was trying to get to seat in the aisle, or the seat that is next to the emergency exit. Usually the seat near the emergency exit is a little wider, has a little more leg room, and usually there are only two seats in that particular aisle compared tothree seats that are in a normal aisle.

So what am I doing in Atlanta you ask?  It is work stuff. The Federal Highway administration likes some of the things that were doing where I work.   They have a big program called every day counts and they show off cutting edge technology that some agencies are doing that other agencies could also benefit from. We’re doing something called automated traffic signal performance measures. This is the big buzzword right now In traffic signals.

The stuff was research projects at universities 5 to 7 years ago, and we incorporated it into our signals three or four years ago.

It involves high-resolution data collection in the controller, where we log every single thing with the traffic signal controllers doing every 1/10 of one second. This allows us to go and do a lot of really high-resolution graphics to understand what the traffic is doing and be able to tell things like what what percent of the vehicles are arriving on the green as opposed to a red.  There are a bunch of other performance measures that are built into the data set.  We’re also doing Bluetooth tracking where we take a fragment of the MAC address of the Bluetooth device that has being voluntarily broadcast by peoples Bluetooth devices. When in promiscuous mode, but Bluetooth device provides this MAC address to anyone who’s listening.  We use a Bluetooth radio system to poll those broadcasts, then the system chops off the first five and the last digit of the MAC address, and applies it randomizer so that we’re not actually tracking any specific person instead we are tracking a fragment of data that has a timestamp on it. From that up we can track that fragment of data from one intersection to the next intersection and develop the travel time profile of the road. This allows us to make changes to the signal operations, and then determine if we made the travel times better or more consistent along a corridor.

There are a handful of public agencies around the country that are doing things like this. We’re kind of ahead of some of the others  because we have the systems in place along with the servers to be able to manage the data, and now are asking the question of what performance metric is appropriate for what location. We are also asking questions like what is normal how much data should we be looking at how do we make sure that what we’re seeing is normal as opposed to an anomaly.  We’ve kind of gone one step further  them the few agencies that I actually have these systems in place. Since were asking what should the performance metric be as opposed to how do we get performance metrics.

So two weeks ago the federal highway administration paid for me to go to San Francisco for a couple of days and talk to agencies and engineers who the traffic operations about what we’re doing. Now they’re paying me to go to Atlanta to do the same thing for Georgia DOT and Atlanta  DOT.

The whole idea here is how did you manage your traffic system in the most efficient way possible with the budget to you have.

This is all cool stuff. And I’m happy to help out

In other news we had an almost full eclipse yesterday. That was kind of cool. Vancouver had 99.4% eclipse I don’t know what the real technical term for it is, but we were not100%. Some of my coworkers went to Salem and watch the Full eclipse. Everyone was protecting terrible horrible traffic, but it ended up being not too bad from what I heard. There were some segments of interstate five and other roads that were pretty congested. President Trump showed that he doesn’t need special sunglasses to observe the eclipse, which of course got some people excited, and other people excited, for different reasons.

A bunch of us coworkers that were at work  did go out with special pinhole paper and the eclipse sunglasses, and were pretty wowed by what we saw. I have to say that even with 99.4% eclipse it was still quite bright out.  Ee watched the sun become consumed by the moon and once it is complete we all went back to work not really wanting to watch it go the other way. We were kind of done with going out and standing in looking at the sun.

Our dog Frida  has been wearing the cone of shame.

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She poked her eye on something. We think maybe she was trying to play with the cat and the cat didn’t want to play. So about $600 later, she is had become a shame for two weeks along with lots and lots of eyedrops .  She’s a sweet dog and she’s putting up with it all very well. The other two dogs don’t seem to care that she’s wearing the cone of shame. We’re looking forward to Frida making for recovery  and no longer having to wear the cone of shame.

I have been painting minis.  I got some Kromlech orks in greatcoats and Afrika Corps orks.

They are turning out nicely.  Here are some work in progress photos.

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IMG_1979IMG_1978IMG_1977IMG_1976

Overall I’m pretty pleased with these. I still have some work to do on them and I need to base them.  I went through and assembled all of my minis that I have all the metal ones all the plastic ones all the resin ones, and made sure that they were all primed now I have a huge backlog of minis.

I have several more games coming that have more minis.  A group of friends decided to buy the whole box set of cool mini or not Rising Sun for me as thanks for running so many games for them. This is pretty awesome. Also I went in all the way for backing Zombicide Green Horde.

I know I can paint zombies. I need to really think about how to paint Japanese historical shogun And mythological type minis.

And with that I’m gonna sign off. It’s been a long day and it’s almost 10 o’clock here in Atlanta, which means I’m trying to go to sleep at 6 o’clock Pacific time. But I need to get up at 6 AM Eastern standard time tomorrow morning so that makes it 3 o’clock In the morning Pacific standard time.

Bleh

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

GURPS – Goblins Episode 05

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So it has been a tremendous week.  The best week.  A tremendously best week.  The best week every.  The biggliest tremendous best week.  A week of biggly proportions.

Not really.  It has just been another week of our President leading this country… somewhere.  Probably somewhere where Nazis and KKK members are treated with respect, and love by the highest elected official of the USA.  Biggly.

Now, I am probably going to rant a while about Nazis, the KKK and other inbred fucking clowns… No, clowns isn’t the right word, as that insults the graduates of the Clown College.

 

800px-Clown_College_Class_of_'87.jpg

and while the class of 1987 Ringling Brothers Clown College have gone forth and caused fear and anxiety in many children and adults, the inbred fucknuggets who are KKK, white supremacists and Nazis do not deserve the term clown.

Let me be very clear here.  If I say something that offends you in this post, fuck you.  If you think that Nazis and the KKK and White Power are a good thing, please take the time to be insulted.  I don’t care if you disagree with me on this.  No, I do care if you disagree with me on this.  If you think that the KKK and Nazis belong in this country, you are a monstrosity and do not belong breathing the same air that I do.

In case that is not clear enough.  I believe that racist inclinations that manifest themselves into hatred and violence are the result of lack of intelligence, empathy and general human values.  So I will make it clear.

  • If you believe in the KKK.  Fuck you.
  • If you believe in the Nazi movement.  Fuck you
  • If you believe in White Power.  Fuck you.

Now, I have read that certain people, including the President of the United States have problems with too many words.  So I will summarize.

  • If you believe in the:
    • KKK
    • Nazis
    • White Power
  • Fuck You

You see what I did there?  I removed a bunch of words to make it shorter and more to the point.

Now, let’s say that you disagree with me on these points, or possibly are insulted.  Fuck you.  Well, that is assuming that you have the intelligence to do something other than read Nazi propaganda.

Now, I am blurring the line here.  I do understand that the Nazi movement is distinct from the KKK, and all of those are specifically part or not part of the greater White Power movement.  It really doesn’t matter.  The same inbred shit that resides in their skulls basically believes the same shit.

Take for instance, the American Nazi’ Party.  I looked this crap up on the Internet, so you would not have to.

Even if you dislike the Nazi’s, you should read this, because it states what their goals are.  This is sick shit.

As far at the Aryan Community, they say:

We demand the organization of society into a racial community which will embrace all Aryans, regardless of wealth or social background. We further demand that the state fight to eliminate every recognizable social evil and ensure social justice for every member of the racial community, including the right to decent housing, proper medical care and generous provision for old age.

We believe that a true community can function successfully only as a unified, organic whole in which all members of society join together in a great common cause and in turn are accorded personal respect as well as equality of opportunity. We also believe that every honest, hardworking citizen deserves to live decently, with full protection against all foreseeable material disasters beyond his control. Finally, we believe than an enlightened community must make the health and well-being of all its members a matter of prior concern, and that anything which interferes with the smooth and harmonious functioning of society must be ruthlessly suppressed – whether it be poverty, social injustice, class warfare, crime, sexual perversion, drug peddling, or any form of antisocial activity.

 

They then go on and talk about their “culture and science”

We demand that the State encourage and promote every genuine form of Aryan cultural expression. We also demand that the State subsidize pure scientific research. We further demand the removal of all alien influences from the cultural life of the Aryan community, and the elimination of the cult of ugliness and insanity known as “modern art” and “modern music” (For example “rap”).

We believe that the highest freedom is the freedom of the Aryan soul to express and manifest itself without interference through works of creative genius. Toward this end, we believe that the whole community must lend its enthusiastic and unstinting support. We also believe that the State bears a special responsibility to protect the racial soul from the harmful effects of distorting alien influences – in art, literature, music, drama, entertainment, education, and scientific inquiry – and to establish those standards by which true Aryan character and ideals can be reflected, and the questing spirit of our race expressed. We must encourage and promote every form of genuine White cultural endeavor and we must instill in our youth the appreciation for beauty and order that characterize a genuine White man’s culture. We must awaken a new understanding of our racial and cultural heritage, so that the creative instincts of our people can once again find expression in a direction which will continually renew and enrich that heritage instead of degrading and debasing it.

 

Just knowing that they want to remove “alien influences” such as rap makes me need to post this as a “fuck you” to the Nazi’s.

Now, in all fairness, I don’t care for a lot of rap music either.  But then, I realize that rap music isn’t for me.  It is intended for other audiences, similar to polka, opera and Enya.  I mean if we wanted to prohibit music that sucked because it was horrible to the culture, we should start with most, if not all of the songs that Sting has forced on us in his solo career.

And if this diddy doesn’t make you convulse, nothing will.  Be thankful that I didn’t find an easy link to the dreaming of blue turtles shit.  Sting has an ego pretty much the same size as Bono, whose ego is only surpassed in the entertainment industry by The Donald.

Then there is “what the hell is this new shit” from Grace Slick and company.  Really?  If you want to get rid of shit that destroys our society, why start with rap music?  You should be trying to burn all copies of this horrific shitpile.

I mean, talk about undercutting the entire nation with pap and mayonnaise.  How did Grace Slick go from White Rabbit to this?

Then there is what the American Nazi Party says about “white self defense”.

We must have an America in which White men and women can live and work, in their homes and in the streets of our cities, without fear. We must have a government which is not only a guarantor of public order and safety and which preserves the right of White citizens to keep and to bear arms, which is the ancient hallmark of a truly free people, but we must have government which maintains an eternal vigilance against the enemies, both internal and external, of a White America. Every tendency towards degeneracy and subversion, every threat to our racial integrity, every form of organized crime and vice, every element which threatens public terror or chaos must be weeded out and utterly destroyed.

Now if that doesn’t curl your toes and make you angry, nothing will.

It would be easy to laugh at the comedy value of the American Nazi Party, but they are real.

The KKK has an online manifesto that is much more polished than the American Nazi Party.  Part of it says:

As we state many times, We are not a hate group! We have been betrayed by the politicians – namely the Republican and Democratic parties. Of course those who engage in or support interracial or homosexual relationships aren’t being oppressed, but those who do – whether black or white – ARE being oppressed. We believe as shown by the writings of our forefathers that America was founded by white Christians for white Christians. This was their intent and was also proven by the laws of the United States for over two hundred years.

For example:
1. Black people had to post a bond usually for about $5,000 (a lot of money back then) in the Northern states to even live there. And in many counties of the North they weren’t even allowed to be there unless in travel.
2. Non whites were not allowed to vote – voting privileges for non-whites weren’t even considered during the founding of America.
3. A person had to profess a belief in Jesus Christ and the 10 Commandments to even hold any type of public office – from sheriff to President – to governor.
4. Interracial marriage was illegal
5. Homosexuality was illegal

It’s evident to any one with common sense that America was founded as a white Christian nation. This doesn’t mean we support the oppression of non-whites. It doesn’t mean we want to scare or hurt non-whites. It means simply that America was to be governed according to the tenets of Christianity. This would be a benefit to all who lived within her boundaries whether a white citizen or a non white resident.
Yes, if you look at a picture of the House or Senate either nationally or in a particular state, usually the majority of members are white. They are the people who have betrayed us. They are pawns of the special interest groups. They care more about the people of Mexico than the people of the United States. They care more about the rights of a sodomizer than a white Christian child. They care more about pleasing the giant corporations of the world than middle class Americans and their businesses. They care more about not offending homosexuals and integrationists than they do our elderly people. The politicians of today are the messed up kids of the 60’s. They came from the homosexual, race mixing, Communist, anti-law and order, revolution. Some may claim the Republicans aren’t that bad, but not one single Republican leader would proclaim their opposition to race mixing. Some might even seem like good church going people, but they would still refuse to make a stand against the horrible plague of race mixing. There just aren’t any Republicans or Democrats who have their act together. They might be white, but they have betrayed their own people and are traitors. They can’t support the anti-white and anti-Christian special interest groups and be a patriot, too.

The diatribes by these groups are a tough read for me.  They make me angry.  They make me very sad and upset.  But, it is something which we should all be aware of, knowing that there are people out there who are sympathetic to this type of crap.

I mean look at these shitheads.

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They look like they are trying to be all scary and stuff.  Maybe they ran out of sheets, and needed to get some sweet satin draperies to complete their outfit.  I don’t know.  They just look like a bunch of people who don’t believe in what I believe in, and should be mocked mercilessly.

Then there are these guys.

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They look like a bunch of fucking moron lawn gnomes who need a severely palsied nurse to administer an enema to them using a blunt rubber hose.

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But then, I would hope that the palsied nurse applying the enema to these lawn gnomes would not be using water, preferably something that would inflame their Nazi rectums.

But they may be morons, but look at who is in the bottom right portion of the picture below.

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Yes, there is a confederate flag, and several of the signs state “the white majority STANDS WITH TRUMP”.

In fact, if you look closely as The Donald is signing one red hat with a sharpie, immediately in front of him is one of the white majority signs.  Should we read anything into this?   Maybe during the campaign, we could have dismissed it.  But given President Trump’s recent inability to distance himself from the Nazis, white supremacists and KKK, I am saying there is something to read into this.  The Donald, THE PRESIDENT of the United States may not be an overt racists, but he is willing to align himself with them – at least when it is convenient, and when they praise him, at best, he is unable to shift his ego to denounce the words of evil people.

So what does this have to do with GURPS?  Nothing.

You might say “Rob, you are being very unbalanced in your discussion here, I mean, it sounds like all you want to do is vilify some portion of the population who are only standing up for their Constitutional rights.”  Well, you are right.  This is a blog.  As such, it is not expected to be balanced.  I am not a reporter.  I am a human being who is deeply bothered, even horrified, that for some reason, these hate groups are feel that they can come out of the cesspool that they reside in and show themselves.  I believe that the current President is creating a situation where these hateful people are emboldened and feel that they have some form of protection and blessing from the White House.

This worries me.

It should worry you also.

If I have written something here which offends you, too bad.  It is not that I don’t care, but I really believe that if for any reason you agree with the Nazi’s, KKK or white supremacy, then there is something fundamentally wrong with you.

You can disagree with how the federal and state government are approaching taxes, health care, road construction, etc.  We don’t have to agree on a political party or even whether we like a particular person who has been elected or appointed to office.  That is an American right.  The point where we start aligning our thoughts with a group like the KKK, Nazi party or such is where I will vehemently disagree with you.  I will be perfectly happy to call you out in public.

Please, please, please don’t hide your affiliation.  If you believe something, you should let people know.  If you are a white supremacist, then wear it on your sleeve.  If you believe that <insert group here> people should be <insert punishment here>, let people know.   Be vocal.   Then you can find out how many true friends you have, and whether or not the people around you will isolate you for your horrible thoughts.

And don’t be unhappy if people take exception to your belief system.

I have made it clear about how I feel about people feeling superior to others, and believing that they should be treated poorly, or differently.  I am wearing that on my sleeve.  There is no question about how I feel about this.

OK.  I have that off my chest.  For a while anyway.

So you may ask yourself… “Rob, where do you get your diatribes from, after all, we came here to read about your gaming, and instead, we read about marshmallows, nazi’s, build-a-bear spock dolls..”

I really don’t have an answer.  It is probably something like this.

I am not sure why I can associate with this, but it works.

I spend the week working as a manager.  As such, I have to focus on keeping people happy, finding solutions that are the best possible given the conditions, and most of all, keeping my smart ass self contained.  I like to address things through humor, and find that I need to keep myself in check for the 45 to 50 hours a week that I work.  Outside of that, I need to have a vent.  My wife, kids, and dogs are a good audience.  However, they hear it all the time.  Gaming is my favorite way to be myself.

Gaming is really a foil for me to enjoy friends company.  The Thursday game night is a different crowd than the Saturday game.  Eric is in both groups, but other than Eric, the entire group is different.

The Thursday group is more serious, and wants to progress the story.  The Saturday group is more open to sitting around and chatting.  When I was running games on Thursday night, I found that people wanted to chat, but it appeared that some of the players wanted to play more than sit and chat.  So I let Daron run the Thursday game.  Daron wants to keep the story moving.

Saturday games are more open and we tend to make nuisances of our selves at the game store.

I love bringing Jirimiah into any game I can, even if it is just to get him to come over and threaten us with bodily harm.  Jirimiah seems to almost want to put up with us.  I ring the bell lots for him.  I make sure that he is sitting down and involved in something before I buy something, just so I can ring the bell loudly and repeatedly.  I also help out by explaining to other customers that Jirirmiah has some hearing loss, and so he needs to have multiple rings to get his attention, and keep his attention focused on the front counter.  Sometimes, I even wait until another customer is at the front counter, and Jirimiah is at the front counter also, and I go up and ring the bell loudly and repeatedly.

Jirimiah responds lovingly to me by saying things like “you are going to die”, and “why?” and other things like that.  Jirimiah doesn’t threaten my life in a loud angry voice, instead he uses the same kind of voice that Khan Noonien Sing uses to address Captain Kirk.

I know that Jirimiah is responding lovingly at me, since Molly, my wife gives me the same look and response regularly.

We also try to get Jirimiah into our conversations.  He may be sitting across the store from us, but we all start catcalling like a pack of howler monkeys at him until he responds with a smile and wave of his hand.

Jirimiah asked me this weekend… “why do I end up in your blog?”  Well it is simple.  When you are an epic character, you need to be featured somewhere.  My blog includes the occasional guest representation of a larger than life hero, Jirimiah.  Now, that is not truly meant as a tongue in cheek answer.  Jirimiah is awesome.  He has a great sense of humor, and isn’t shy about anything.  Also, very little, if nothing at all, is off limits for him.  Hence, the epic character thing.  I kind of think of Jirimiah as our personal Bruce Campbell.  He has a presence that is awesome to be around.  I just hope that we get some sort of response like “Give me some sugar, baby” or maybe even a “This is my BOOMSTICK!”

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So what did happen on Saturday?  Well, it was pretty simple.  The goblins ended up getting all captured, and forced into a clean room.  Now what should have taken a short period of time in game, actually took an extended period of time in game.

The gaming session started out with people admiring Mike’s new mini.

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After all, the goblin did have a dog grafted onto his arm.  This was a really nice way to show his character.

Then of course, there was the highly questionable interaction between Mike’s Necronomicon and poor Scrotus.

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If you look carefully at Eric, he has a GoPro camera on the blue box, next to the diet Mountain Dew can.  There are a couple of important things going on here, besides the abusing of Scrotus…. of which will be discussed later…  But Eric wanted to bring his GoPro camera to record some of the hijinks that the group does.  He started out by hiding it on a stand / shelf with games, hoping it would remain unnoticed.  No such luck.  Immediately upon entry, Collin saw the camera, and was wary.  Eric then spent most of the rest of the session pretending that the camera was “off”, or that it “had run out of batteries”.  I am pretty sure that Eric got some really good video even though it was “off” or had “run out of batteries.”

Now Eric was so distracted in his glee at using his GoPro at the session, he didn’t realize that he bought a diet Mountain Dew instead of the normal sugar filled one.  He drank the entire can before someone pointed it out to him.

The session started with all the goblins in a cage, except for Sue and Eric.  The rest of the goblins were happy in a cage.  The cage included cat food kibbles, a small sand box, a soft blanket and a water bowl.  The room was warm, and slightly humid.  It was pretty darned comfortable.  The goblin party did realize that there were lots of cages with goblins inside, and the other goblins appeared to be listless and sleepy.

Mike was pretty happy.  He had food, and all of his basic needs taken care of.

Sheri was not happy.  A bored goblin is not a happy goblin.  She proceeded to slurp the water into her mouth, then spit it into the sand box, to create a mud like mixture that she could mold into things in her small cage.  The sand box kept refilling, the water kept refilling.

Bill was not happy.  Once again, bored goblins…  So he started working sand into the mechanism of the self screening sand box in his cage.  He almost lost a couple of fingers, but he was bound and determined that he was going to break the sandbox.

Collin was distracted by the GoPro camera, and was not sure what he should do.  What if someone he knew could link him to this group of gamers?   Sue repeatedly used her Iphone to gather more video of Mike and Collin.  For future reference, if you want to accomplish anything that is actually useful in a group, do not have Collin and Mike sit next to each other at a table.  There appears to be a symbiotic relationship similar to Newton’s Law of gravity.

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Where instead of the Force due to gravity, being proportional to the sum of the mass of the two objects divided by the distance squared… the silliness quotient is related to the sum of Mike and Collin divided by the square of the distance.  It doesn’t seem to matter if they are on the other side of the table from each other, they still work off each other, but putting them close to each other appears to almost create a runaway chain reaction.  I am not complaining… It is quite entertaining.

So Collin and Mike tried very hard to fight against the distance between them, given the GoPro camera, and Sue’s Iphone.  In the end, they lost the struggle, and didn’t seem to care that they were being filmed.

Sue and Eric went over to the stone buildings.  The stone buildings were smooth and clearly crafted by advanced species.  While they were looking at the stone, four monsters popped out and attacked.  The monsters were tall, humanlike, with pale skin and they were holding sticks, that had an X in front, with four heavy weights on them, with a mesh connecting the four heavy weights.  The monsters pointed the sticks directly at the goblins.  This was odd, since most of the time when you attacked with a stick, you would whack someone, or stick them like a spear.  These monsters were cradling the sticks.  In quick succession, the monsters with the sticks shot the nets with weights at the goblins.  One grabbed Eric, who was immediately wrapped up in a sticky net.  The other two missed Sue.  They reloaded, and shot again, this time hitting Sue, capturing her.

The monsters pulled the nets along the ground and brought the goblins into a stone building.  Soon the monsters had pulled the goblins into the same room as the rest of the goblins.

It was at this point where Brian decided to try to mass sleep the monsters.  After all, it worked so well the other times that Brian tried to do this.  One monster went down,  the rest of the monsters got pointy sticks and jabbed them through the grates on the cage door and shocked Brian.  His teeth chattered, his skin felt like it was on fire.  He relieved his bowels and bladder.  It was all very entertaining for the humans, who were cheering on the process.  Apparently, monsters enjoy electrocuting the goblins… a lot.

After that bit of fun, the monsters came back to the two goblins who were lying in the sticky net.  Two monsters stood over them with the stun sticks.  The other two went somewhere else for a while, out of sight.  The stun sticks were close to the goblins.  Simultaneously, two bound goblins did something very similar.  Eric used his mage hand to force one monster to stun the other human, while Sue used her mind power to do the same.  Whatever happened, the monsters started fighting among themselves, and Shari took credit.

Both Eric and Sue missed their perception roll, and found that they were stuck by a monster with a large stinging object which pumped liquid into their arms.  Things went dark.

All the goblins were now in a cage.  Whew.  Part one of this railroad to get the party to the next area of the adventure is over.

Did the party make it easy to continue on?  Nope.

So the monsters decide that it is time to move the goblins to another area.  This is part of the eradication of the goblins from their village.

One by one, the cages with the goblins in the party are moved onto a cart and wheeled to another room by four of the monsters.  One by one, the goblin cages are attached to a strange looking stoop / shelf, and the cages are tipped over, and the door opened, dumping the goblins out into a chute, like a laundry chute.

Most of the goblins fall harmlessly into a 30-ft by 10-ft by 10-ft room.  Some have to fight it.  Sue was the only successful one, as she turned incorporeal, and slipped back into the room, behind the monsters.  She then tried to “filch” something from one of the monsters.

Now it is important to note that Mike was pretty happy about explaining that he and Sue had worked out this “filching” thing.

This is where the howler monkey thing comes back… again.  I respond to Mike… “at least it wasn’t felching”

Mike looks at me… not understanding, and says “The skill is filching”.  I responded “yeah, at least the skill isn’t felching”, or something like that.  I don’t know what actually happened, because over the next half hour or so, Mike looked up “felching”  in the urban dictionary and said “uhhh that is not what we have as a skill”  Sue then responded realizing that “felching” was very different than “filching”, with the rest of the howler monkeys at the table (myself included) hooting and hollering in general amusement clearly representing the decay of values in western society.”

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We literally derailed for an extended period of time about felching.  We were all laughing and carrying on like a bunch of pre adolescent kids who were listening to George Carlin records in the 1970’s.  You know, when George Carlin said “shit, piss, fuck, cunt, cocksucker, motherfucker and tits”, and we wore that section of the record out by picking up the needle on the record player and played it over and over and over.  Then we changed the speed of the record to 45 RPM to hear them like a chipmunk would say… then put our fingers on the side of the turntable to get it to sloooooowwwwwww dooowwwwwnnn and sound really funny?  Everyone was having a great time, saying Felch, felch, felch felching felch felcher felchist… well, not everyone.  Bill was hiding his face in shame as everyone else at the table were carrying on. Somehow, Bill realized that while being the youngest person at the table, he was indeed the most mature.  Young age is wasted on youth.

So after a long, long period of time where we were having a great time laughing and carrying on (while the other serious wargamers were staring at us, trying to figure out why the booze had been allowed in the store before 5 PM).  I mean, there are some serious wargamers who show up.  They huddle over in a corner moving their Warhammer and 40K minis around, and try to read the codexes while we are carrying on.  I almost feel sorry for them.  They are so damn serious, and we are carrying on like bunch of newly minted pledges at a drunken frat party, desperate to top each other’s last comment while hoping it will ingratiate us to the leadership.

Eventually, the monsters use sleeping gas on Sue, and then push her down the chute.

Once all of the monsters are down the chute, in the immaculately clean when all of the goblins are inside this amazingly clean room, the walls sprout spinning disks that start spraying out hot water that includes soap.  Soon, there is a terrifying pots and pans cycle going on in this large room.

Mike’s goblin faints in terror.  Everything smells like a combination of pine and lemon.  It is truly horrific.

Brian decides to conjure up some earth, then form it into a protective wall and ceiling, then turned the earth into stone to protect him.  But not the others.  Nice guy.

After thirty minutes of alternating hot soapy water and hot clean water being sprayed on the goblins from all directions, the goblins are clean in a way that is beyond unnatural.  They smell lemony / piney.  It is awful.

The party notices that the room is getting smaller, the length of the room is going from 30-ft to 29-ft, to 28-ft etc.  This kind of unnerves the goblins, and they decide that they need to get on top of the stone box that Brian made.

Brian then decided to poop in the corner of his stone box, unbeknownst to the other goblins.  The room got larger and wash cycle started again, which included a new twist, just for Brian.  Several tubes pushed through the bottom of his stone box and started the wash cycle inside the stone box.  It was horrific.  There was no place to go.

Then after another half hour, the wash cycle stopped, and the room started getting shorter again.  Then Shari, who decided being clean was not a good thing.  She threw some poo, and immediately upon throwing poo, the room grew back to the 30-ft length and entire wash cycle started again, with another 30 minute pots and pans cycle.

When this was done, some of the characters found that they could walk through the formerly solid wall at one end of the building.  They found themselves in another completely clean room, but as they stepped through the wall, it turned solid behind them again, not allowing them to return to the wash cycle room.

Then Shari wanted to show Brian how to get out, so… you guessed it… took some poo and started writing an arrow pointing towards the wall to escape from.  Not to be outdone, as the poo was formed into an arrow, the wash cycle started again.  Brian shaped his stone to get out of the internal prison he created, and everyone in the washer got clean… again.

This time, Shari and the rest of the goblins decided to exit from the door instead of using poo as an art form.  They walked through the door / wall and ended up in the same large room that the other goblins found.

The room was about 30-ft by 20-ft by 10-ft high.  There were no visible doors.  On two walls were a series of beds with clean sheets and blankets.  On top of each bed, on the blankets was a soft terry cloth towel.

It didn’t take long for things to go out of control.  I am not sure exactly what happened in what order, as the end result was pretty much all the same.

At one point, Sue started her mattress on fire.  Two large monster robots came out of the wall and extinguished the fire.  One robot shredded her mattress and consumed each part of the mattress, while the other grabbed her with three of the flexible arms and the fourth proceeded to take out a large cotton buffing wheel, and at a high rate of rotation, proceeded to exfoliate Sue and remove all of her hair, even her eyebrows and the hair inside her nose…  All of her hair.  Her clothes were shredded.

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Upon completion of the ritual, the robot produced a new terry cloth robe, and Sue, now completely hairless, and with her entire body a nice shade of exfoliated lime green, was allowed to go back to her now mattressless bunk.  She was sore everywhere.

The robots proceeded to sweep and vacuum up all of the hair, strips of clothing and exfoliated skin, and put it into their chests, where there was a brief puff of smoke and some bright light of a fire, and then nothing.  The robots then went towards a wall, and melted back into the wall that they originally came out of.

Over the next few minutes, the other goblins got the same deal.  Shari played with poo.  There was some spitting…  There were other things done which are probably best not talked about in polite company

At one point, Brian decided to test the robot monsters, by creating a stone wall in the area where the monsters would have to go through to go back into the wall they melted out of.  The monsters were unimpressed with the stone wall, and took out a rotating probe that quickly demolished his stone wall.  There was something odd.  All of the 2 cubic yards of stone went into the monsters, but they were nowhere large enough to store that much stone.

I don’t remember what Brian did to deserve it, but he needed two cleanings.  The second cleaning wasn’t as nice as the first one. The robots used wire brushes instead of buffing wheels.  The robots also held him with two of the pincers on the flexible arms on his shoulders, and a third with the “you don’t want to know what this is for” probe strategically placed, inserted into a specific orifice of his body to allow easy manipulation and rotation as he was thoroughly cleaned with the wire brushes.

The party was allowed to rest at this location for an undisclosed amount of time until they were at full health.

And with that, we stop for this week.

GURPS – Goblins Episode 04

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We took a week off from GURPS.  Sue was sick, or so she said.  Well, actually, Mike said that Sue was sick.  We had no specific information from Sue herself, but, it was a good chance for Mike to show off his painted minis for Zombicide Black Plague.  We played that instead of GURPS.

Lots happened over the last two weeks.

First, I went to a half day of training to have a FEMA ICS 200 and 700 certification.  What does that mean, you ask…  Well, I was hoping that you would ask that question.

The FEMA ICS certifications are a bunch of process training and tests to make sure that in the event that an emergency occurs, of a large nature, that the people who are responding are able to understand the general nature of the FEMA and other federal responses.  The certifications mean that if a major event occurs, I will be certified in knowing how to navigate the federal bureaucracy of the federal response.

Hopefully, with the certification, I can avoid having the President talk to me.

The FEMA certifications start out making sure that you will understand the nature of the FEMA and Federal beast.

You remember in college, when you took classes, and the freshman classes were 100 level, and when you were ready, you took the sophomore classes, which were 200 level… all the way to a senior classes, and they were 400 level?

Not that way in the FEMA method.

You do start out at ICS 100. That makes sense. Then you jump to ICS 700, then ICS 200 then ICS 800.  Now you would think that they would have some method to graduate from the lowest number to the highest number?  nope.

But, when you start taking the course, the graphics make you want to stand up and salute.

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I mean if that graphic doesn’t explain the seriousness of becoming an expert in this, nothing will.  You got the bird with the statue of liberty over one wing, the view from East St. Louis, looking to the west at the St. Louis Arch (oh, god, I need to get the fuck out of East St. Louis, please FEMA help me!), there are some people who are being monitored by a Sheriff, probably a jail release work crew… and someone getting ready to cause pain to a sweet child.  All with the Department of Homeland Security amblazoned on it.

This is serious shit!  We need to pay attention so that we can get those poor unfortunate fuckers out of East St. Louis to St. Louis.   What sort of important messages are in this amazing training?

Stuff like:

Response

Depending on the size, scope, and magnitude of an incident, communities, States, and, in some cases, the Federal Government will respond.

and

Situational Awareness Priorities

When developing protocols that promote situational awareness, priority should be given to:

  • Providing the right information at the right time.
  • Improving and integrating national reporting.
  • Linking operations centers and tapping subject-matter experts.
  • Standardizing reporting.

This is really important to make sure that when the big one hits, we have the ability get food and water, along with medical equipment and other things like medicine to the people that need it.  The framework is not very exciting, but it is intended to make sure that when the State and Federal bureaucracy arrives to help, it can be used as efficiently as possible, and most importantly, when it comes time to write checks to pay for stuff, the entire process being worked by the locals is done with the proper paperwork for the federal government to repay the local agencies.

OK, not very exciting.  We didn’t fly around in helicopters.  We didn’t kick in doors and yell out “CLEAR!”, but we did help navigate through the federal process to make sure that if the big one hits, we can hopefully get as much of it right the first time through as possible.

Also, last week, I went to San Francisco for two days.  I was invited by the Federal Highway Administration (which somehow is the FHWA, not FHA) to talk to engineers with the different traffic signal agencies about what we are doing with Automated Traffic Signal Performance Measures (ATSPM’s)

I love acronyms.  When I was in the Washington Army National Guard (WANG), they made it the Washington ARmy National Guard (which was of course WARNG, instead of WANG).  Our patch was the screaming stapler, for those of you who are interested in that type of thing.

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One of the guys in my WARNG unit enlisted in the WARNG right out of high school and decided he would enter basic training with a tattoo of the WARNG screaming stapler on his arm.  Let’s just say that none of the drill sergeants were impressed.  Many soldiers do get tattoos of their units on their shoulders.  Some will get tattoos of their Airborne or Ranger tabs.  It is a right of passage.  It shows that you are part of an elite unit, or have done some bad ass training.

There are some questions that you should ask yourself when you are getting a military tattoo.  The first one is… will anyone be impressed by this tattoo.  The drill sergeants tend to be from impressive military backgrounds.  When I was going through basic training, several of them had been in Ranger battalions, most of them had Airborne and Air Assault tabs.  It is hard to impress these people.  They have done some really cool stuff in their careers.  They are unlikely to be impressed by a Private E-1 who has a tattoo of their National Guard unit on their shoulder… The wrong shoulder at that.

Occasionally, you read a post on the Internet where someone has a tattoo of “Peace and Tranquility” in Mandarin on their arm?  But when you really know what Mandarin says… it says something like “Stupid American Douchebag” instead…  The tattoo artist had some fun at the expense of the client.

Well Private Snuffy was kind of like that.  You wear your current unit’s patch on your left shoulder (left, as in not right).  You can wear a unit patch on your right shoulder if… and only if… you served in that unit during combat.  Private Snuffy got the tattoo on his… wait for it… yes, you guessed it… his right shoulder.  I heard that Private Snuffy got treated very poorly for having a National Guard tattoo on his combat shoulder.

I am sure that it had some deeper meaning than a screaming stapler, but that is what we called it.  At one point when I was in the WARNG, we were the roundout brigade for the 9th Infantry Division, so we got to swap out our patches on our shoulders with this:

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The 9th ID patch is basically a cookie.  We loved wearing the cookie patches.  We felt like we were pretty hot shit with  those patches.  We could go onto a post, and were not immediately recognizable as National Guard.  This meant that when we drilled at Fort Lewis and Yakima Firing Center, it took the regular army guys a little while to realize we were National Guard, instead of realizing we were from the screaming stapler patch.

Now, the National Guard had its share of people who were really capable of showing off that they were not of the caliber that the regular Army guys were at Fort Lewis.  That being said, there were regular Army guys who the Army would have liked to be somewhere else.  Neither side had a complete lock on incompetence.

I was on a field exercise where the regular army Command Sergeant Major came up to us at about 9 AM, and said “We do more before 9 AM than most people do all day”.  That was the catch phrase for the Army at that time.  Before it was that, it was “Fun, Travel, Adventure”, which meant that writing and saying “FTA” was in vogue at recruitment centers.  It didn’t take a rocket scientist to realize that the letters FTA could be used to say “Fun, Travel, Adventure”, but many of the soldiers realized that it also stood for “Fuck The Army”.  There was never so many uniformed troops that were happily chanting “FTA! FTA!”

Anyhow, the CSM came into our area saying “We do more before 9 AM than most people do all day”, and me, being the smart ass E-4 Specialist I was replied “Yeah Command Sergeant Major, we need the rest of the day to unfuck what we did wrong before 9 AM”.  For some reason, that point of honesty was not what the Sergeant Major was looking for.

I found out in the Army, everyone that is, oh, well, about E-8 Sergeants or above (Master Sergeants, First Sergeants, Sergeant Majors and Command Sergeant Majors) only have a sense of humor if they make the joke.  If someone else makes a joke, and they are not an approved toady, then bad things happen.

Now, that being said, I spent a lot of time with Lt. Colonels, Full Bird Colonels, and a few dudes with stars on their shoulders, and in those cases, if you were good at your job, you could get away with lots of smart ass comments, as long as you remembered your place, and didn’t make the officer look bad.

Senior enlisted men, not so much.  They worked hard to get where they were, and they didn’t want to take any shit from any lower enlisted people.  After all, they had to keep sucking up to the brass, which made them proportionately grumpy related to how hard they had to suck up.

I think a lot of the senior enlisted grumpiness also had to do with how little sleep these guys got on a regular basis.  I swear that everyone E-6 and above got little or no sleep when we were on maneuvers.  It seems like E-6’s and E-7’s sleep the least.

We also have been dealing with Frida, our dog who poked her eye, and has an ulcer which is slowly healing.  Frida is healing, but we are going to lots of vet visits.  She went to a dog ophthalmologist today (Sunday).  Frida is on the mend, her ulcer is healing.  She still needs to wear the cone of shame.  She is being very good about the cone of shame.

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So what does all of this have to do with GURPS?  I don’t know.  I am just rambling on.

We did meet to play Gurps yesterday.

The game really started out last week.  We met to play Zombicide, but Eric was not going to be able to attend this week.  We had to resolve how Eric’s character was able to attach the Pomeranian dog half to Mike’s arm.  Yes, you have entered that dimension again, goblins and GURPS.

So last week, before we started playing Zombicide Black Plague, Eric makes a skill roll, and rolls a 4.  A critical success.  This was pretty awesome, since the Pomeranian will be a good fit for the group, and with a critical success, things will go swimmingly well.

So we got together, and I was having a bad day.  My allergies were kicking in, and I took some killer medicine.  I couldn’t hear much of what was going on, and was always about 3 beats behind everyone else at the table.

For some reason, Shari approached me on Thursday at work, and asked if she could borrow $40.  I gave her two twenties, and she told me that her husband would take care of me on Saturday.  I still don’t know what happened, but I left with four $10 bills.

We chatted about things.  Shit is happening all over the country which people at the table find disturbing or disagreeable.    There was a horrible situation going on with white supremacists, neo nazi’s, and other dumbfucks who want to make America White Again.

Make no mistake.  I may kid about people from around the country, but for the most part, I have no problem with people from any corner of this nation, but white supremacists and other nazi’s ounks need to fuck off.

Now, I don’t necessarily agree with Jello Biafra on everything, but I think he was just about right on this.

Even with all of the hate spewing from Charleston South Carolina, there was also this.

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It did make me smile.

So where was I?  Oh yeah, I was talking about playing GURPS yesterday.

We spent quite a bit of time talking, and generally making a general nuisance of ourselves to the rest of the people at Dice Age.  Jirimiah came over and told me that he had been reading the blog, and I should be ready to die, since he was featured prominently.  I rang the bell at the front counter several times to try to get his deaf ears to hear what was going on.  Jirimiah (Still trying to figure out where the silent 7’s are in his name) tried talking to me in some babble language.  You see, Jirimiah claims that he speaks like 67 different languages and understands about 335 more.  I personally don’t know what the hell he is saying most of the time, so I figure that he is making all of this shit up.  He could be making up everything he says that isn’t in his unique version of English, and I would never know.  He talks to his Bosnian friends, and they spew some form of talk between them.  I am pretty sure that he and his friends are just making all this shit up.  I don’t know for sure, but in this new ‘Mericabygod, I can make up any shit I want to, and as long as I am willing or able to say it with conviction, it must be true.  If I really want to be emphatic, I will simply quote a Trump tweet.  That will make it even more believable.

I mean, who doesn’t feel an amazing amount of ‘Merican pride when reading this?

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Or this?

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Kind of makes me all teary eyed, and proud to be ‘Merican!

This song may be more proper for how I feel:

I really don’t know.

Anyhow, we all started playing GURPS at some point.  When the party finally started playing, we were back at the forest, outside the town.  The party finished up getting Mike’s assasin / dog mix ready to fight, and they met Splorgorth, who is actually a human sized locust, but everyone wanted to make him into a cockroach.  Splorgorth takes a claw and snaps the lock that is holding Mike’s ninja in the garbage can.  Mike spills out with the refuse, and is happy to be out.

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Splorgorth wants to hire the goblins.  It takes a while for the communication to work, but essentially, the goblins find out that all the other goblins in the area are treated as “pets”, and are kept in cages somewhere in town.

Splorgorth offers the goblins protection, and work to do.  Splorgorth likes the high quality food that the goblins have brought back from the town, in the large bin.  Splorgorth tells the goblins to bring back five glowing bulbs from the town.  Pretty easy, right?  Not with this group.

The party goes into town, and finds a glowing orb within the larger container.  The outside of the container has a clear, hard shell, which protects the glowing orb.

Mike decides to ninja kick it.  He misses once, then after Sue tries to kick it, manages to kick it out a little bit, then kicks it again and the clear hard shell goes ‘click’ and is seated again.

Bill takes out his knife and tries to pry the clear shell off.  He realizes that the goblin ginsu swords are not meant for this type of work, as he comes close to cutting off his hand as his hand moves forward of the pommel of the ginsu short sword and onto the blade which can cut through a knife, then cut a tomato.

Not deterred, Bill takes out his serving fork from the Ginsu block and pries into the clear shell, and gets a nice jolt.

the jolt makes him do the St. Vitus dance…

Bill’s goblin jerks, spasms, wets himself, and drools a lot.  His heart feels like it is going to explode, and everything tingles.  It was awesome!

As all of this is going on, kicking, punching, chattering…  Only Sue and Collin see that a new light has appeared in the alleyway.  It is coming from a door, and in the door is a massive monster, in a terry cloth bathrobe and she is wearing fuzzy pink slippers.  To complete the look, she has a complicated woven hat covering most of her head, a puce colored goo smothering her face.  In her right hand is a lit cigarette, in her left hand is a funny clear glass.  The glass looks like it has a flat bottom, a long stem, then a triangular top.  Inside the glass within the clear fluid is a green dot.

Sue takes a step back and flambe’s the monster.  Well, actually, as Sue steps back, the monster says something like “wah wah wah?”, trips on the door step, and falls, spilling her clear liquid from the cup onto her, then accidentally drops her lit cigarette onto her wet bathrobe.

The conflagration is complete.  She is fully engulfed by flames.  She screams like a banshee, wailing, crying, in horrific pain, like a neo nazi forced to listen to Kanye West.  do the goblins care?  No.  They find that the open door next to the flaming monster presents an opportunity that can’t be passed up.

The goblins pour into the house.  The first thing that they notice is that the house is disgustingly clean. There is no filth anywhere.  These monsters are horrific beyond belief.  The room smells of a combination of fake lemon and fake pine with some fake cinnamon bun mixed in.  It is nauseating.  The goblins soldier on.  They know that they need to bring something back for Splorgorth.

This is where the goblins seem to question what exactly Splorgorth promised them.  Splorgorth promised them protection.  When the goblins asked how that was going to work, Splorgorth pointed at Sue, and said “You will protect you”, and Splorgorth pointed at Mike.  Then he pointed at Mike and said “you will protect you”, and Splorgorth then pointed at Sheri.. and so on.  No one seemed to pick up on the fact that everyone was protecting everyone else, but there was little that Splorgorth would do, except for eat the best food that the goblins brought back in the large bin.

The goblins thought about this for a few seconds, were distracted by the lack of filth, and then went through the house like a bunch of sugar hyped 2 year olds at Ikea.

As the goblins enter the monster’s lair, they see too much all at the same time.  Bill sees a curio stand with lots of glass, and glass ornaments.

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There are dozens of little glass ornaments in a large collectors case.  Glass everywhere.  Bill stands, transfixed, and is unable to look away from the awesome, amazing kitsch here.

Sue is amazed at the wide variety of things which could burn in this house.

Sheri looks at a lamp on the table, and realizes that the lamp could be taken to Splorgorth as one of the glowing orbs.

Mike drops to the carpet, and is amazed at the velvety soft, tan-ness.  He wipes his greasy goblin paw on the carpet and sees that he can wipe it one way or the other, and he can make patterns in the carpet with the light.

Sue takes another lamp off a table and walks off , finding it tethered to the wall.  She pulls, hard, and the tether comes undone, but the lamp stops glowing.  Sheri follows suit.

Collin spies the prize.  He sees that there is a large throw on the couch which has a goat on it.  There are also three throw pillows with goat heads stitched onto the pillows.  He carefully grabs all three pillows, and wraps them up in the throw, and gets the hell out.  He has his prize.  He nonchalantly walks by the burned corpse of the monster and heads back to the trees.  Bill snaps out of his amazement, grabs a king sized bottom fitted sheet and tries to place as many of the glass curios into the sheet, wrapping them up as he goes.  Bill then ties the king sized fitted sheet around his body, like a bandoleer sash.  As he finishes up, he spies a glowing orb at the top of the curio cabinet.  Bill climbs the glass shelves of the curio cabinet, and then bad things happen.  The glass breaks, and Bill lands in a pile of shattered glass.  Luckily, he isn’t hurt, but he now has a problem getting to the glowing orb at the top of the curio shelves.   Bill picks himself up and dusts himself off and gets out of there by walking by the smoking corpse.

Sue and Mike decide it is time to leave, but by the time they go to the back door, they find three other monsters at the back door.  One of the monsters kicks the door open, and Mike falls to the ground, unconscious.

Sue turns to a ghost, and trots on by the monsters.

Mike wakes up in a cage, near Brian’s character.  Mike is initially unhappy with the situation, but finds that he has a supply of water, cat kibbles (and damn good ones at that), a soft blanket and a small sand box to play in.

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Mike figures that this is a pretty good place to be. Brian, on the other hand is not pleased with being captured, and tries several times to escape using lockpicking magic.  He is not successful.

Brian does cast mass sleep on the monsters who are bringing in Mike, and two of them drop to the floor, asleep.  The other two monsters finish putting Mike into a cage, and then get a long stick and touch it to Brian’s exposed skin.  The pain is excruciating. They jab him over and over again, each touch causing a horrible shock.

So now, Brian and Mike were captured.  Sue, Shari, Collin and Bill were back at the forest, and Splorgorth came and was shown the “goods”.  Splorgorth was not impressed.  He wanted something very specific, and was not provided what he wanted.  Furthermore, he observed that a group of monsters were walking with handheld torches and scanning the ground on the approach to the woods.  Sporgorth lept into the air, and was not seen anymore.

Things happened pretty quickly.  Multiple monsters attacked everyone but Sue, who was happily hiding in the underbrush.

Three monsters attacked Bill and Shari.  Bill stabbed the monster in the nutsack, and the nutsack and recoiled in pain.  Now Collin was bravely hiding under the goat print throw.  The monster then tripped and fell onto Collin, who had held out his dagger, and killed the monster when it fell on him.  The monster almost crushed the life out of Collin, but Collin.  Collin was saved by the goat throw pillows, as the life blood of the monster stained the goat throw blanket.  It was very sad.

As the monsters fought against the goblins, eventually all three goblins, except Sue, were captured and brought to the cages.

With that, we stopped for the day.

 

GURPS – Goblins Episode 03

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So yesterday was my birthday.  I am now 49.  To date, I have not received any letters from AARP, although I suspect that they are coming.

I had a good birthday.  It involved hanging out with the dogs in the back yard, reading.  It also involved a good time with friends playing GURPS at Dice Age.  I then went to dinner with my family at a local Indian restaurant, Namaste, and coming home to enjoy watching Mechagodzilla vs. Godzilla II.

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Now, any movie with Godzilla is worth watching.  Even ones with Matthew Broderick in them.  Well, maybe that DVD doesn’t get watched as much as the others…  Even when you put Jean Reno and Hank Azaria in the movie, it still… well is bad.  It really says something when Jean Reno can’t save a film.  Double that up with Hank Azaria… and wow.  I personally think that Matthew Broderick was assigned Inspector Gadget as punishment for the horrible shit pile that he gave us in Godzilla.

Now, I like Broderick.  He was great in Glory as the fish out of water officer.  I enjoyed Ferris Bueller’s Day Off.  He was present in Wargames and Ladyhawke.  Same with Max Dugan Returns, Biloxi Blues,  and was given high praise in the Producers.  I still prefer Gene Wilder and Zero Moestel in the earlier version of that.  I guess I view Matthew Broderick in the same lens as Nicolas Cage.  Both had some good movies, then they were given roles which were wrong for them.  OK, I will admit, no one was right for any role in Godzilla in New York.  It was just bad.  I love schlock movies, but this was just plain bad.  I will probably rant about Nicolas Cage in a future post.

Mechagodzilla is one of my favorite things.  The idea of a mechanical kaiju just sits well with me.  It takes the ridiculous concept of a giant irradiated lizard who spews fire, and adds a modern construct monster to it.

Now this movie included baby Godzilla.  I don’t understand the Japanese need to chibi everything.

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Maybe this is something that describes the difference between cultures.  Japanese movie makers keep trying to insert a plot into their Kaiju movies.  Americans seen to just want to see a guy in a rubber lizard suit stomp on a movie set model of a city.  From our perspective, adding a plot to the Kaiju movie is the same as trying to add a plot and dialog to a porno.  We don’t care why the guy with the pizza is ringing the doorbell.  We don’t care that he got in  a fight with his boss at the pizza shop for cutting a 2-inch diameter hole in the center of the pizza box on his way to make the delivery.  We want the movie to start with the guy ringing the doorbell and when the door opens, that he says with a knowing smile “Pizza Delivery, with extra sausage” boom chicka wow, cut to the standard couch scene with pizza delivery guy and box.  Now, we have all seen this scene before.  The only differences are the hair color of the actors, the dimensions of the actors and which bass driven riff is playing.

Godzilla movies are like that.  We only want to see which combination of the 40 or so rubber suits Toho brings together for the boss fights.  We all know how it is going to end.  There will be an orgasmic glory scene where Godzilla triumphs.

The question is, why does Toho Studios continue to try to give us plot?

Where was I?  Oh yeah, my love for Mechagodzilla.  I have a Mechagodzilla on my desk.  This guy is cool.  In the movie they harvest tech from another mecha Kaiju, mecha King Ghidora to build Mechagodzilla.  I mean, how much better could this get?  Oh, yeah, Toho Studios had to reduce the awesomeness by introducing Baby Godzilla, who happens to get all agro when music is played.

But you have stuff like this:

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Dinner was amazing also.  Namaste is a local Indian restaurant that we found a few months after we moved to Vancouver.  We keep going back, and it never fails to provide amazing food.  I had the buffet, which allows me to try all sorts of things.  They had chicken Vindaloo and also a mix of lentils and kidney beans in sauce.  Both are my favorites.  I stuffed myself on those.  The Vindaloo is good there.  It isn’t super spicy, but it has a good base, and the spice is very present.

While I was at Dice Age Games, I picked up some Kromlech Orc minis.

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I love Kromlech minis.  They are really nice.  I have had to limit my purchase of these, since they are even more expensive than Games Workshop stuff.  Yes, there are minis which are even more expensive than GW stuff.

But they are really awesome.  They are resin, instead of the hard plastic, so their detail is nicer.  Now, all of the ones shown here are painted, and mine have a long way to go, but they have awesome stuff.

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I have way too many minis.  I will probably never paint all of them.  I work hard on them for a while, then I go for several weeks and do something else.  But that being said, when I want to paint, I want to paint.  The Kromlech minis are some of the best minis out there, assuming that you like their style.  Their goblins and orcs are just about right.  I wish that they had more that were set up for a fantasy campaign, but, they will do for what I need and want.  The downside is that the Kromlech minis are expensive.  The Orcs tend to come with 10 in a pack for about $60.  Compared to GW, that is pretty expensive.  Compared to other minis like Reaper Bones, that is really expensive.  But, you have some really awesome minis. As long as you don’t make a habit out of it, it shouldn’t be too bad, right?

So what happened during the GURPS game, you ask.  Damn it, I have suffered through almost 1,000 words of blather to get caught up on the game, and all you have done is tell us about delicious Indian food, Godzilla, porn and minis.  Well, I am almost there.  This is the beauty of me having a blog.  I can carry on about what I want to, and hopefully, it will translate into what you care about.

We all met at Dice Age, and got ready to play GURPS with goblins again.  Shortly after we all met, Collin disappears, and we sit and chat for quite a while.  It turns out that Collin was on a secret mission to bring me a birthday present.

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It says “Make Forgotten Realms Great Again”  Freaking awesome.Sue also brought mini cupcakes.  Now the thought was nice, I think.  They had the nasty shortening based frosting on them.  Sue was smiling, but I am not sure if it was a smile of “Fuck you very much”, or what.  I am going to go with the management concept of “always assume positive intent”, and leave it there.

You see they teach us things like that in management school. You go to classes, and they give you examples of how a minion may tank your project and try to get you fired because he doesn’t like the fact that you don’t go to the same church as he does… but you are always supposed to assume positive intent.  There is probably a rational reason why a person would do this to you, but you just aren’t aware of it.  So you should always deal with the situation that the little vindictive fucking pain in the ass actually sees something that you don’t, and his intent to undermine and psychically assassinate you is actually for a good reason.  Not that I am making any comparison to Sue and a vindictive fucking pain in the ass.  I was not intending that at all.  Sue, please assume positive intent.  I just used your wonderful expression of delight for my birthday as a segway into some managementspeak.

So we all had a good laugh, the group sung happy birthday to me.  Hopefully, someone paid the royalties for that song, since it was sung in a business establishment.  Jerimiah informed me that his name is spelled with an I, not an E.  Maybe he was telling me that his name was spelled with an E, not an I.  It could have been that he was telling me that there were some silent number 7’s in his name.  I don’t remember.  I am not sure if that meant Jiremiah, Jirimiah, or Jerimiah.  The only one that doesn’t end up with the squiggly red line under it is when I spell it Jeremiah.  See below:

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Anyhow, Jirimmiah ( I assume it is all I’s, with no E’s since he called me out on it) told me that he is reading my blog.  and he didn’t realize that he was going to be called out specifically, and that I wrote whatever actually happened in the store as though I was not the ringleader, and everyone else takes the fall for any questionable things.  You see, Jirimiah, I don’t want to have a squad of Spanish Foreign Legion knocking at my door, saying “What do you mean, we look like a pride parade gone bad”  You see, I need plausible deniability.  These dudes are bad ass.  They are awesome.  Their military record is on par with other elite forces.  Their uniforms look (as someone without any E’s in there name said) like Gefaggedah.  I preferred to question if the unique cut of the uniform and interesting colors had some deeper meaning, and maybe I was color blind.

You see, Jirimiah, if the Spanish Foreign Legion come and demand retribution against the big, tall, shaved head, bearded, Jewish, Marine with extensive training in psychology who works at Dice Age… who is named Jirimiah (no E’s), you also have plausible deniability.  “Nope, can’t be me, I have an E in my name somewhere.” I got your back, buddy.  We Army guys look out for the other branches any time we can.

So we started playing GURPS at some point.  Now the GURPS game seems to be a free form game, which really should be using the TOON rules instead.  I brought my Metamorphosis Alpha Mutation Manual, since what do goblins need more than just goblin traits… you guessed it, mutations.

The party decides to leave the goblin cave and go to the big city, to try to find their goblin tribes who live in the dwarf hole in a well within the city.  Now Googling “Dwarf hole” gives you some really odd results.

In this case, the “dwarf hole” is where a village takes one or more wells in the town, and excavates a tunnel to the side of the well, normally above the high water mark.  This hole is then excavated to create some chambers.  In the event of an attack, then merchants and other wealthy people would take their money and go to the hole to hopefully survive the attack.  If there is room, then the women and children would be included.  It was a good idea to be able to include the women and children, since otherwise, when the invaders go into the town, the survivors would point to the well and say “the rich people are down there… Go down 10 feet, then turn left.”  You had to include some reason why the normal townspeople wanted to keep mute about the hiding people.

There are probably other names for the hidden chambers, but I picked up the term “dwarf hole” from the book “The Hangman’s Daughter” which was a really good book, for no fantasy medieval story.  The dwarf hole was pivotal to the plot of the book.  Now, this was not a tremendous, biggly, amazing book.  It was, of course about Germans, so it couldn’t have the amazing, tremendous biggly status.  But it was very enjoyable, even though the title “Hangman’s Daughter” was misleading, since the Hangman’s Daughter was one character, not the main character in the story.  It may not have been Biggly, but it was still worth the read.

And, no, Loren, there were no wizards, no flying carpets, and no invisibility or fireball spells.  There were also no gnome witches available to make sure that you drew the area of effect so that it went around the gnome witch several times.

So the party of goblins decides to go in the direction of the town that the goat hoof prints went.  After a while, they got out of the previously scorched earth that they created in the previous session(s), and got back into a beautiful forested area.  That would not do.

They are tromping along, and I ask for everyone to make a perception roll.  Only the mute goblin makes it.  Good stuff.  He sees a very large critter on four paws.  It is over 6-ft long.

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I show the picture above, and everyone says “Ah, a honey badger”.  Damn it, it isn’t a honey badger, it is a freaking SPACE HONEY BADGER who is like 4 times the normal length of a normal nastyass honey badger.

What to do?  What to do?  Well, a normal party would realize that they are outclassed.  Not this party.  They impulsively attack.  Well, some impulsively try to sneak around it.

The party moves forward, intent on smacking this nasty critter.  They run up on it, and either miss, or because of DR, hit and do no damage.  The honey badger turns around and sprays skunk like spew out of its anal glands onto Bill’s goblin.  It is horrifically nasty.  Now this is where the good part comes in.  The honey badger creates mutations with its anal glands, and bite.  So Bill now has a new and improved ability to change reality.  Three times per session, Bill can decide to roll one extra d6 on any roll.  If he rolls a 2, 4 or 6, then he subtracts that number from his 3d6 roll.  If he rolls a 1, 3 or 5, then he adds that number to his roll.  It could be better, or it could be worse.  Messing with time and space has potential drawbacks.

Mike moves behind the critter, and the critter sprays at Mike’s goblin.  The spray misses Mike’s goblin.  I ask him if he wants to dodge into the spray?  Of course.  The goblin makes his dodge, and dodges into the spray.

Now, Collin is not going to be outdone.  Undone?  I don’t know which it is.  Collin decides that the best thing to do is to approach the critter, and stick Mike’s detached arm up the anal gland spout to plug up the toxic goo that is coming out.  We have had many discussions at the table which are probably not appropriate for the family friendly game story, but Collin’s character was the Queen’s love slave.  We made lots of jokes about fisting, and the racoon who got his hand caught in the cookie jar, because he reached in, and grabbed the cookie, and couldn’t pull his hand out again…

You know…

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OK, so we really don’t want to know what exactly Collin’s goblin was doing with, or to the Queen.  Well, maybe some of the players want more detail, but not me.

So Collin pulls out the extra arm from his backpack, and sneaks up to the honey badger.  Now, Mike goes to his phone and does a quick Google search, and returns this picture.

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I am not sure what exact search terms Mike used, since when I tried this morning to search for “hand up skunk ass” and “arm up skunk ass” did not return anything like this.  Maybe I  have safe search turned on?

Collin tries to plug the honey badger’s anal glands with Mike’s severed arm (remember when I said this should be Toon rules instead of GURPS rules?) and Collin misses.  Now even with all the practice he had with pleasing and servicing the queen, he was not prepared for this.

Now I will take a quick second to point out that this is not coming from my imagination.  I put a honey badger in the forest, who upon biting (saliva transfer) or spraying upon (which is a feature of the GURPS giant honey badger beastiary listing), the party member would get a mutation.  Now the GURPS book with the giant honey badger is the “fantasy” beastiary.  I am not sure if that explains this, or if there is something deeper going on.  it might be shallower instead of deeper.

The people at the table turned this into some form of furry sex crazed animalistic freak fest.  There is ample hooting and hollering going on at the table.  I am sure that the serious people playing Warhammer and Magic The Gathering are convinced that there is a mental health crisis going on at our table.

It is also important to quote the GURPS core book.  This is what it says on the cover.

Capture

Some people would look at that and say “Wow, what a great idea.  I can use this system for anything”  Other people (I am looking at you, Collin) say “… Challenge accepted.”

So Collin tried several times to stick the severed arm from Mike’s ninja assassin goblin into the anal gland of the honey badger.  Given the called shot along with the improvised weapon, he was not successful.

Meanwhile, the honey badger chomped Eric’s goblin and got a good bite on his midriff.  Eric was able to escape, but not before he got some mutations.  Eric now has the ability to do the GURPS equivalent of Mage Hand at will, three times per session.

While Eric was getting chomped, Bill and Collin were trying to escape.  They were sneaking around, trying not to be seen by anyone, especially this nasty honey badger.

Sue tries to light the critter on fire.  It doesn’t work as well as she thought it should.  The honey badger bites her on the leg as she lights the grass on fire below the critter.  When the honey badger bites her on the leg, the badger then tries to run away from the fire, with Sue’s leg in the badger’s mouth.

After several rounds of running, Sue finds out that she has a new mutation that allows her to become incorporeal three times per session for 1d6 seconds.  She turns into a ghost, the honey badger seems confused, and then runs off.

Whew.  Lots of interesting stuff.

So then Brian comes in and says “Hey guys!  What is up?”

The party continues on.  They are seriously hurt.  Few hit points are left.  Very few.  So they decide to go and find the goblin village in the dwarf hole in the town.  As the party approaches the town, they find that it is nothing like they would have expected.  There are no palisades, no walls, no defenses of any type.  The path continues right up to dwellings at the edge of the forest.  The buildings are blocky, and have large openings that allow the goblins to see inside.  The building materials are completely foreign to the goblins.  nothing makes sense.

While everyone is standing around trying to figure out what to do, Collin’s goblin moves forward into the alleyway and spies a 3-ft high square bin made of material that he has never seen before.  Inside the bin is the most delectable smorgasbord of delicious food he has ever seen.  The green mold is the perfect piquant of deliciousness.  The bin is full of this goulash of delight.

He eats some, then goes back and has to pantomime to the others about the delights he has found.  Sue, Mike and Collin go forward.  They find amazing delights.  Bill comes and fills up a bag.  Sue finds that there are furry critters with large yellow eyes who are making grinding sounds and bumping her hip with their heads.

Time moves forward.  The goblins eat their fill.  The goblins decide to take one of the large canisters of delight with them to the forest.  They try to tip it onto its side so they can carry it or roll it, but fail miserably.  It falls over and a light turns on in the abode nearby.  The goblins scurry away, except Mike, who goes into the bin and covers himself with the refuse.

A very tall pale skinned monster comes out, and exclaims loudly in disgust.  The goblins don’t have to speak this monster’s language.  They know what it means.  The monster then rights the bin with Mike in it while Mike is burring himself in the garbage.  The monster picks up more garbage from the alley and stuffs more garbage on top then closes the lid and locks it tight. and goes back into the abode.

Brian decides he is going to use magical abilities to unlock the bin.  The bin is several tech levels above his abilities, and Brian does not succeed.

The other goblins top over the bin again, and try to wheel it out to the forest, this time to both get food and to hopefully release Mike from his prison.  Knocking over the bin causes the monster to come out of the abode again.  Everyone scurries, but Brian doesn’t scurry fast enough.  The monster chases him.  Brian tries to cast sleep, then confusion on the monster.  Neither work.  Brian is now down to FP0, and sits down as the monster grabs him and yells for “Martha, bring the cage… I got something weird here”.

While this is going on, Bill sneaks inside the open door of the abode while the monster leaves.  The door closes with a swoosh.  He hears the terrifying sound of a dozen feet pounding towards him with the high scream of three dogs.  While horrified, he is not terrified, as the three dogs jump on him and try to lick him to death.

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The rabid dogs also pee on him.  Their soft fur hiding the natural killing machines.  As the horrible animals are trying to knock him back down and chew holes in his armor Bill desperately tries to open the door so he can escape.  This horror is too much.  There is no latch, knob or anything that makes the door look proper.  He sees that there are raised portions of the wall, and tries desperately to push anything to see if he can open the door.  The door slides open, then as one of the monster dogs tries to run out, yipping in fury, the door slams shut on the horrible inbred nightmare, chopping it in two.  The evil creature continues to live beyond death, as the back half of the monster seems to still be alive as the small claw filled feet are twitching.

Martha goes out through another door, and Bill follows, hoping to escape this horrible place.  Everything gleams, and shines.  There is no dirt or filth anywhere.  As Bill moves out, he sees a block of carved wood that has handles sticking out of it.  He pulls a handle, and a goblin sized sword  comes out.

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Bill grabs the entire block of swords, and scurries to follow Martha desperate to find a way to escape this charnel house.  Martha left a couple of doors open, and Bill follows, with the two remaining dog monsters barking, snapping and yapping, trying to infect Bill with saliva and pee.  On his way out, Bill manages to grab the front half of the half monster dog.  He realizes that Mike needs another arm, and this may be the best arm possible.

Brian is caged.  Bill escapes with the goblin sword block, and 2 and a half monster dogs.  After everything gets quiet, Eric comes back and uses his mage hand to lift the bin that Mike is stuck in and pulls it into the forest.

As the session ends, no one notices that there is an evil lurking in the forest, watching all of this.  Waiting for the proper time to engage this new goblin enemy.

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