Friday, December 3, 2021

I'm done with blogger

It's official, google has killed yet another platform that I loved using.
I'm going to look around for a new place to blog on, but I'm not going to delete this blog. I still get lots of hits on the playbook page I set up for Apocalypse World, and I want this final entry here to be a reminder for myself that google fucking sucks and nobody should use a platform that google controls.

However, I would not be surprised if google kills blogspot in the future and forces anyone who used to be here to archive their writings elsewhere.

I'm looking for a new place to blog, but it's not a high priority for me right now.

Instead, follow me on twitter and

update: until I get my own website and redirect all traffic there, this blog will have to stay. I am incredibly picky and fussy in my old age and I don't like any of the other options I have tried.

Friday, October 15, 2021

Apocalypse World: new Threat type: Horrors

A horror is an unnatural creature - something inherently inhuman or inhumane. It either exists on the periphery of reality, barely understood, or its presence suggests profane and aberrant mutation, and more horrors to come.
- Beast (impulse: to hunt and feed)
- Progenitor (impulse: to breed)
- Butcher (impulse: to slaughter)
- Mockery (impulse: to sow turmoil/bedlam)
- Magpie (impulse: to steal and hoard valuables)
- Flood (impulse: to spread and claim territory)

Threat moves for horrors:
- push opening your brain
- display evidence of its inhuman nature
- attack suddenly, during a moment of calm or rest
- attack silently and/or without emotion
- leave behind evidence of brutality/savagery
- defy someone’s expectations
- snatch someone into it’s clutches
- seize space/something/someone and hold it
- maim or cripple someone
- destroy someone, transforming their nature

A horror threat should always be foreshadowed. Foreshadowing should be simple and easy to follow, but doesn't have to be believable.
"They're coming to get you Barbara!"

Sunday, February 14, 2021

Luck, it's useless

Every game I've ever played that had a Luck mechanic, a spendable resource used to modify rolls or situations, it's been useless. Primarily because players forget they have it, and even with constant reminders that it exists they grow scared of using a resource they think they may not recover. Even if the Luck mechanic replenishes quickly, I've seen players avoid using it for fear of "wasting" it on the wrong things. The players end up not receiving rewards because they don't use their Luck, it just sits there.

In Dungeon Crawl Classics, Luck is so difficult to recover that players are always reluctant to use it, even when they remember it's there. Playing a halfling can help recover Luck faster, but I've seen players refuse to spend Luck past certain levels, usually just enough that they know they'll recover it all before the next session.

art by Andrew Porter

The boldest use of Luck I've seen, and the most egregious, was in a 1st-level adventure. The PCs were sneaking through a cave where a giant was sleeping, there were several traps and enemies meant to increase the risk of waking the giant, and when one player missed a roll and woke the giant another player decided to spend all of their Luck to cast a spell, ensuring that it would be cast at maximum effect.


Similar to Luck, but basically just Luck...

In the many World of Darkness games, Willpower is often used as a boost for rolls. I would argue this is just the same mechanic with a different name and explanation for it's use and recovery. And again, I've played and run a lot of World of Darkness games and players just straight up forget that it's a resource they can use, unless you remind them. 

I once built a character in Mage who relied upon using Willpower for a lot of his spellcasting, and the first time I used it the GM informed me that he changed how it worked. It's already an unreliable mechanic and this guy changed it to work almost exactly like Mana. Had he even read the rulebook? Who knows, I left that game after one session because he also introduced Doctor Who as a helpful NPC.

I don't have a resolution for this, I'm just saying Luck is dumb and designers shouldn't include it in their games because it gets neglected, abused, and modified into unrecognizable house rules.

Thursday, February 11, 2021

AW Psionics

...with apologies to velexiraptor, this is my take on their elegant OSR psionics system as applied to Apocalypse World.

When you wield psionic powers, speak a brief sentence to a subject - the sentence must have a Verb as the principle action of the sentence, and roll+weird. 

On a 10+, your subject acts out the sentence, making your intentions manifest, for as long as you are within sight of them or you decide to end the effect

On a 7-9, the effect occurs but choose 1:

- the MC can change any 1 word of your sentence

- others hear you and know something odd originated from you, they might come after you now, or later

- something from the unfettered realms sees you and moves closer, maybe it arrives!

On a miss, the MC rewrites the sentence using the same Verb.

Possible Verbs are: accept, adopt, approach, become, bring, build, change, continue, describe, distribute, ensure, explain, fail, fight, forget, get, give, go, hide, hold, ignore, introduce, lead, leave, lose, mention, neglect, offer, open, prepare, prevent, pursue, recommend, reveal, say, stop, take, tend, wait

Saturday, January 9, 2021

no comments allowed

I have had to restrict commenting because I've been getting too many spam comments originating from this blog in my mailbox. Right now, you can only comment here if you have subscribed to the blog - I think that's how it works, though I don't know how you would subscribe on blogspot. However, I am sharing links to any blog posts I publish on my twitter and as public posts on my facebook. Comment in one of those two places please.

More of my game writing is happening in notebooks, longhand. Transcribing will take a little bit of work, and that's only if I decide to share it. And this will be the last time I write about the state of this blog (until I eventually migrate away). As google operates blogspot I just assume they will eventually shut it down. They have already changed blogspot enough over the last two years that I don't enjoy writing here anymore.

Monday, January 4, 2021

Original Dungeons & Dragons booklets reproductions

My first project for 2021 was a little more work intensive than I first expected it to be. 

I created facsimiles of the original D&D white box booklets, using the pdf files sold by WotC as a source for the pages. I had been curious about tracking down an original set of the white box rules, but even poor condition books run for $500 or more. This was a rather cheap way of reproducing the booklets.

I did this because I wanted to feel the actual booklets in my hands and read through the rules. The tactile nature of being able to flip through the pages of a book lends a different weight to the words than a pdf can supply. This will now give me some sense of what it might have been like to own the original booklets in the 1970s. 

I started collecting Classic Traveller books for the same reason, the pdfs just felt like raw information and didn't carry the same gravitas that holding a book does. The rules finally had weight, pardon the pun.

I only ran into one hiccup with the OD&D booklets. There was one picture that was completely black, and I was already running out of ink, as you can see in my first image the red is muted and a magenta color is more prominent on booklets 1 and 2 (printed in reverse order). For this picture I had to make some adjustments, so I tried muting the black and I didn't like how it looked. I experimented with a simple white ink fill tool expecting to get a horrid a white blob inside of a rough black outline of what the picture was, and I was pleasantly surprised to see that the tool worked as designed and left only an outline of the original image. I used this for the final printed page.

I believe it only took me about 4 hours of total time to put everything together and get it printed off, but with the ink on some pages faded and reddish instead of black I now want to buy some fresh ink and reprint second copies. Still, I shall be spending the next few days poring over these booklets as if they were brand new, to feel some echo of the excitement and curiosity that gamers felt when they were first published.