Monday, October 30, 2006

Motivational Monday

Thanks to RPGNET.

Friday, October 27, 2006

And still another pulp post...

One of the things I do in my PBP games is give each character a sort of “Mini-adventure before the actual game starts. Nothing fancy just an encounter so that the player and I can get a handle on the character. It can also help to establish a little background outside of the usual dry character background write ups. The scene below is from a “Lost Worlds” Pulp game I’m currently running, It’s a series of back and forth posts edited together. This is an encounter set several days before the actual adventure begins. The character is globe-trotting Geologist / Adventurer- Archibald “Archie” Armstrong.

Honolulu, Hawaii-1936

Three days till the ship leaves for San Francisco. Three days in paradise. Beats the hell out of West Virginia. Archie thought to himself.

Sitting back in his rattan chair enjoying some Filipino egg rolls that Lita had called “Lumpia”- good stuff, At the moment life was good... Archie sat up as Lita returned to his table with a tray holding a bottle of whiskey and two glasses.
“Did you miss me?” she said with a twinkle in her eye.
Lita was Filipino / Hawaiian with golden skin, long, silky black hair, and a body that would put Venus De Milo to shame.
“You know,” she said as she nuzzled close to him and proceeded to pour the drinks, “I don’t get off for another two hours. But if you want to pay my “bar fine” we could go to Waikiki, my cousin plays in the band at the Royal Hawaiian hotel. It’s a real high-class place.”

Archie’s attention turns from the beauty at his side to the bar where a group of Merchant sailors are loudly announcing their arrival. One of the larger sailors turns as he lifts a mug of beer, and spies Archie’s table.
“Lita baby!” he exclaims. “C’mere and give me some luvvin baby doll!”
“Just ignore him honey.” Lita says as she takes a swig of her drink.
“Hey, HEY!” the sailor exclaims. “What the hell? Are you ignoring me?”
Another sailor attempts to restrain him, “C’mon Nick, lets get a drink.”
“Naw” Nick says, pushing his friend away. “I ain’t letting no damn Chink Bargirl, give me the blow off.”
The sailor stalks over to Archie’s table. “Who do you think you are huh? You two-bit floozy, playing it up all innocent for this Mook?” he says as he points to Archie.

Armstrong stood up, positioning himself between Lita and the bellicose sailor, he did so while maintaining enough distance that he wouldn't be sucker punched in the process.
Archie had been down this road before, many times and in many countries.. But at least this time he actually had the luxury of understanding the language of the goon in front of him.
"That's "Mr. Mook" to you swabbie, ya better put dat finger away if you wanna keep it!! I gots ten damn good reasons why youse should apologize to the lady and go sit down with your buddies"

Archie then gave the merchant seaman his "steely eyed glare". Unblinking and without emotion, most men would wither under Armstrong's intense stare. Those who encountered it called it the “dead face". More often then not this would settle a fracas before it would happen. If that wasn't the case even though he appeared relaxed, Archie was ready for the "Oh so familiar” pugilistic dance.

The whole bar went quiet except the sound of the angry sailor's breathing.

Nick meets Archie’s stare.
No one will ever accuse Nick of being the sharpest tool in the shed, but the sailor knows a bruiser when he sees one. Nicks a bully and a loudmouth and when he looks into Archie’s eyes he sees neither.
Looking down at Lita who is sitting at the table, Nick mumbles an apology and backs off.
“That was close” Lita says as she daintily closes the butterfly knife she was holding under the table and secures it in her garter. “I need this job.”
Looking at Archie again “So what do you say Guapo? Wanna go buy a girl a steak?”

Archie silently remains standing as he watches Nick humbly go sit back down at the table of merchant seaman.
There is a sigh of relief from the bartender and the rest of the bar resumes it's usual drunken jovial hub-bub.

Armstrong nod's at the fellow who tried to restrain Nick, the sailor raises his mug of beer as a salute in return. Archie turn's and grins down at Lita.
"Ya want's steak does ya baby!?.. I just can't say no to those honey brown eyes of yours darlin'..So let's blow this Popsicle stand and you take me to this fancy hotel you wuz talking about and, Archie winks. "We can watch your cousin play his ukulele"

Giggling, Lita lithfully rises and the bar looks on in envy as Archie hands the Mama-san a twenty and escorts Lita out of the bar into the warm Hawaiian night.

An incessant knock finally rouses Archie from his pillow. Running his fingers through his hair, his eyes slowly adjust to the daylight streaming from his Hotel window. Taking a deep breath he stands and locates his skivvies. Sliding them on, he glances at the beautiful naked form of Lita as she lay sleeping.
*more knocking...*
Archie mumbles something incoherent as he covers Lita's lower half with the bed sheet and heads for the door.

Distractedly scratching his rear, Archie grumpily stomps towards the banging door while muttering to himself. " Rassin' Frassin'...*grumble*...don't ya know a fella needs his beauty sleep..."

In one very swift action Archie hurls the door open.

"What part of DO NO DISTURB do you not understand!!!!?” He bellows.

In the hallway are two serious looking men in grey suits. Suits, in Hawaii.
Suit #1 speaks first “Mr. Armstrong.” A statement rather than a question. “I'm Mister Smith and this is Mister Jones.” Smith deftly presents his credentials-they’re legit (Archie also notices that “Smith” has a heater in a shoulder rig, which means “Jones” is probably packing as well).
Smith continues “We’re with the War Department and we’ve been sent to escort you to Hickam Airfield where a plane is waiting for you. Your presence is requested in Washington at the highest level.”
Mr. Jones finally breaks his silence. “We’ll wait out here Sir, while you get ready and uh…say yer goodbyes.”

Archie quickly soaked in the situation and grinned at the stern proper clean-cut men.
"Sure fella's..I guess I'm back in the saddle huh? See ya PDQ!!!" He whispered as he quietly closed the door.

Armstrong silently dressed and quickly packed his valise; his years living abroad meant he knew how to travel light and just pack the essentials. His mind raced as to what could be so important that two of J. Edger's finest would be escorting a mug like him to the big ol' Washington DC? And by plane no less. This was something big..

He strode over to the sultry sleeping form on the bed..
"What was her name again?" he wondered? He felt a little sad, so many ports, so many open arms but the connection always fleeting. At the very least a gentleman remembers the name of his dalliance.

"Lita!...right...Wow..Wotta gal!" he thought to himself while trying to remember the previous night.

He gently nudged her shoulder, as she was beginning to awake Archie spoke in a low voice.
"Lita baby, sorry honey but I gotta go, I just got word I have to go work for my uncle. Next time I am on the island I'll look you up"
Archie turned and walked towards the door to leave, grinning while thinking about the world famous Hawaiian hospitality.

Thursday, October 26, 2006

Riding a wave of pulp

Man I love this cover.

Anyone who reads this Blog regularly knows what a fan I am of the Pulp genre. I often whine about not getting to play in my favorite genre mostly because Pulp heads like me are few and far between. But for some reason at the moment I’m riding a wave of pulp.

Mutants and Masterminds-Golden Age
My buddy Ed W. his son Eddie and my boy Anthony had a rousing game of Mutants and Masterminds this last Saturday, Ed ran the game and is using the Golden Age setting. It was our first foray into the M&M system. Ed and his son are old hands at the D20 system so the there was at least familiarity, though M&M is not straight D20 it’s more like D20 with modifications. I ran a “Rocketeer” type character; Anthony had a character who was one part Captain America, and three parts Sgt. Fury. Eddie had a mystery man type claw guy and Ed. Ran an NPC tracker/sharpshooter. We had a jungle adventure featuring killer apes, Nazis, lava caves and a huge earth/fire elemental creature. Our team dynamic was spot on, with each character having a chance to shine using their special powers and abilities. The game was really just a way for us to get used to the mechanics and run through some combats, but it was fun for its own sake as well. I really like the one dice roll thing what a concept! We had a great time and I hope that we make it a regular thing.

Swords of Skartaris
I’m also running an online Lost Worlds Pulp game, nominally using the Savage Worlds system and the Skartaris setting from the DC comics Warlord series.
After a bit of character creation and preparation the players have just crash landed in Skartaris and the fun stuff is about to begin. I’m even kit bashing some figures of the group; I’ll be posting those soon.

Lands of Mystery
As it happens I won an EBay auction for “Lands of Mystery” Aaron Allston’s classic gaming supplement for the Justice Inc. RPG. In my opinion this book is one of the best gaming supplements ever written. I have a copy in storage in Hawaii, but that was doing me no good here in Sacramento. Hence the EBay purchase. And what a timely arrival it’s been. Flipping through Lands of Mystery is like visiting an old friend. Usually when I get inspired by a book or movie, I’m usually playing in some other type of genre- but this time the planets were in complete alignment- my PBP game is getting a head of steam and here I have Lands of Mystery to keep me on course with great advice and inspiration.

The Sand Pebbles and Blue world
In the casual reading arena I’m reading Richard McKenna’s novel “The Sand Pebbles”
It deals with the adventures of a sailor serving in a navy gunboat on patrol on the Yangtze River in 1920’s China. Steve McQueen starred in the movie version.

I’m also reading a short story collection by horror author Robert R. McCammon, called “Blue World”. In particular a short story titled “Night calls the Green Falcon”, in this story an old and destitute former Saturday matinee movie star from the 40’s goes on a quixotic quest to bring a serial killer to justice in modern day Hollywood.

It’s all Pulp and it’s all good!

Tuesday, October 24, 2006

Constant Payne - 2001 Pilot

This is one cool Toon. Action-Pulp flavor in the vein of Jonny Quest. Too bad it never got past the pilot.

Here is the website with more info.

Monday, October 23, 2006

Motivational Monday

Thanks to RPGNet.

Sunday, October 22, 2006

The day Blogger died

I’ve been doing this Blog for a couple of years now, and I was thinking the other day that this is really the closest I’ve ever come to a journal or diary in my life. As I started going over my past entries I realize that certain posts sparked memories of where I was and in what frame of mind I was at that time, which for me was kind of neat. One post in particular dealt with the day that Yahoo (May they rot in fucking cyber-hell) yanked my membership and deleted not only my yahoo groups membership but deleted all of my Yahoo email addresses and files. For a “term of service violation”, they had every right to do it, but Damn them for it. The lesson learned that day besides back up all yer stuff, is that nothing lasts forever, which is why I started thinking –what if I woke up one morning and Google decides to discontinue Blogger? My mind began working on a safeguard for my posts. What I came up with was Snag it. Snag it is a screen capture program that allows auto scrolling of a webpage and then can save it as a jpeg. This way I can go back over my monthly entries and save them month to month as jpegs. I can then burn them on a CD and I have a set of archives of all my witty posts and photos. There may be better ways, and if you know of any let me know as well, but for now this is at least something-which is better than doing nothing at all.

Thursday, October 19, 2006

A Gamer's Mantra

Yesterday over at the Treasure Table Forums, the question was posed “What is the best way that we, as RPG consumers, can help revitalize the industry?” One of the members, Telus, gave a most eloquent summary of what we all as gamers should strive for in relation to the hobby. Reprinted here, with his permission is the list of To Do’s.

•Don't be a closet gamer. Admit it freely, and ask your interlocutors if they play fantasy football, and to explain the difference.

•Buy the good stuff, and tell people about it. Hell, buy the bad stuff, and warn people about it.

•Get your friends to game, even if it's a simple-rules one-shot.

•DM if you don't already. There are a TON of players out there looking for DM’s.

•Go to cons, buy stuff, and give feedback.

•Don't be a stereotypical gamer. Bathe regularly, learn some manners, and get a haircut and a job that lets you move out on your own. You'll find a better group of gamers and maybe even "get some".

Tuesday, October 17, 2006

Solomon Kane Indy film

You Gotta admire the guys who actually go out and do the cool stuff. I have a hundred projects on my plate and maybe ten of them will ever get done. Which is why I love seeing projects like this one come to fruition.
the REH poem "The Return of Sir Richard Grenville" put to film. Great fun!

Special thanks to T. Allen of the REH Comics Group (an excellent resource, by the way) for the "heads up".

Monday, October 16, 2006

Motivational Monday

thanks to RPGNET.

Sunday, October 15, 2006

Stop the Presses!

This just in...

"DUNGEONS & DRAGONS" The complete series
All 27 episodes to be released on a 5 disc DVD set on December 5th.

Press release

Amazon has it on pre-order.

Saturday, October 14, 2006

Gamer Networking

I started A RPG group over at
Mainly to have a place where Sac area gamers can network and hopefully get some gaming going on.
I’m on several boards where they have “players looking for games” threads but I haven’t seen much in the Sacramento area. There is a great Meetup Group for D&D players that meets once a month. But they are for the most part a solid 3.5 ed D&D group. I enjoy D&D and I have recently started to play 3rd edition but there are a lot of other systems and Genres I would like to try my hand at such as Savage Worlds and Mutants and Masterminds. Being a gamer for over 25 years I’ve also amassed a collection of
“ Old School” games like AD&D, GURPS, Star Frontiers, Chill, CoC, etc. so I wouldn’t mind running some of the older stuff from time to time. So rather than play the Grog nard over at the D&D Meetup group, I decided to try and start a group that would have a bit more of a universal outlook, of course D&D is THE roleplaying game and it will have a place here as well. My intention is not to try and compete with any existing local groups out there it’s merely to offer a few more options.

A couple of the ideas I’ve had bubbling in my brain are:
Setting up a meeting place for a monthly gathering where we could do some actual gaming rather than just posting about gaming.
I’d like to get something going where we could highlight a different system from time to time, maybe one month The Savage Worlds system, the next month the GURPS system, and so on.
Another thing we might try is a genre theme. Maybe one month we do western games, the next Pulp, and then Horror and so on. Of course there would still be open play for folks who would rather play their own on-going campaign.

Anyway those are just some thoughts. Of course in order for any of this to get off the ground we need folks to join, so spread the word.

Thursday, October 12, 2006

BROADSWORD cover art by Jeff Hebert

What is it?

Its called BROADSWORD. Its a soon to be released Sword & Sorcery RPG Written by yours truly.

When is It coming out?

Very soon, the final stages of layout are being done.

Tuesday, October 10, 2006

Van Damme does pulp

I ran across a movie this weekend that really surprised me. It was called “The Quest”, It starred Jean-Claude Van Damme a B-list movie star who had a string of successful action movies in the 90’s. The Quest absolutely drips with pulpy goodness. Van Damme plays a pick-pocket in depression-era New York who somehow finds his way to representing the United states in a secret martial arts tournament in Asia.

It’s billed as a martial arts film but don’t be fooled, the movie is a pulp masterpiece worthy of any of the magazines of the era.
This movie has:
• Chinese Pirates
• Exotic locales
• A heavyweight boxing champ named “Maxie” Devine
• A Feisty girl-reporter
• A Zeppelin
• Hidden temples in the mountains
• Travel by elephant
• Prussians Aristocrats with dueling scars
• A priceless treasure
• British Expatriate Con men
• Supporting characters succumbing to an honorable yet futile death against a brutal villain.

Now you put all that together, and add a contest with every Martial Art style from Monkey-Style Kung Fu to Savate to Turkish Wrestling, and you have one Whiz–bang of an adventure story.

Monday, October 09, 2006

Motivational Monday

Thanks to

Thursday, October 05, 2006

Amazing Triple Action

Adamant Entertainment just released a new PDF E-Zine for Mutants and Masterminds. I picked up a copy over at RPGNow.
Here are some of my thoughts on it.

At first I was kind of put off by the first 12 pages being characters. Personally I don’t need more characters. There are plenty of books, Blogs, and websites full of characters for M&M. and if characters are going to be in every issue then maybe devote 2-4 pages to them not 12. What I did like is that the characters presented were useful in the storyline that followed in the other articles presented, at least it was a thoughtful process and served a purpose as a whole rather than just sticking some random characters in there for filler.
Next came a section on Archetypes. To me archetypes are just another name for prestige classes, character kits, hero packages, and so on (eventually I'm sure I’ll see an “Anti-Paladin Archetype”). Here again, there are so many of these “Archetypes” floating around in cyberspace do I really need three more?
The insider Info section was good. It gave a rundown on a hero who used the Internet to set up “workshops” globally so that when he fought evil far from home he always had a nearby place to repair his equipment. I enjoyed that article; it was inventive and showed some real “out of the box” thinking.
The fight scenery section gave a too brief overview of a south pacific island, it’s people, origins, and it’s spiritual guardian. I would rather have seen the extra effort and pages go towards fleshing this island out more, instead of towards 12 pages of new heroes.
Following the island section is a three-page adventure using the various preceding articles. As I stated earlier I admire the fact that most of the preceding information fed into the adventure, but again the material could have been fleshed out better.
The issue rounds out with a pair of articles on different types of teams and setting up a group. While the team types article was interesting the setting up a group was nothing that many publishers already add to their rulebooks in the “how to run a game” section.
Overall it wasn’t a bad read, but it didn’t rock my world either. I applaud the effort and I’ll probably plunk down the cash for another issue or two, just to see how it goes, but right now for almost $6.00 you’re not really getting too much. I would suggest maybe adding more articles on gaming techniques and novel uses for powers already in print. Another thing that might be nifty is to add some cardboard cutouts to end pages. Maybe each issue could have a building of some type, which one could print up on cardstock and use during actual play. And after several issues of collecting these buildings and sceneries you could have a city center or galactic outpost.
One of the things I always hear about super’s games is that beating up bad guys gets boring after a while. That may be because GM’s are having a hard time thinking of original material for a sustained supers campaign. This is where ATA could help. The wheel has already been invented; the thing to do now is to show people different things they can do with M&M rather than just foiling the super crooks at the First National Bank.

Tuesday, October 03, 2006

What were they thinking?

There’s a new game out there called Hollow Earth Expeditions. It’s a pulp RPG from what I believe is a new company called Exile studios. I happen to be a big fan of the genre so naturally I want this product to do well. I don’t run a business and I know nothing about having a game company, but the guys at Exile Studios seem do be making some fundamental mistakes that even a neophyte like me can’t help but shake his head.
I first heard of hollow earth adventures on one of the many gaming boards I frequent. I went to the website to see what all they had. There was a game but it wasn’t ready yet. The game was going to be unveiled at GenCon. I waited a few weeks and checked back after Gen Con. According to all the sources I could find the game was visually very appealing and well put together. However they ran out of copies almost immediately. Their website has an online store but no game to sell. They either decided not to offer the game in PDF format it just didn’t occur to them in the first place.
So here’s a brand new company trying to break into a small competitive market. They have a visually appealing product which they unveil at the premier event in the business. However, they quickly run out of the product and have no means to sustain any buzz they may have generated with the grand unveiling. There is no option for obtaining a PDF copy, and a wait of several weeks before another run of print copies are ready for distribution, In the meantime though, the consumer is told that if they want to reserve a copy it’s $39.99. I looked at the website a few seconds ago and they are promising more copies arriving the second week of September, today is October 2nd ( it’s hard to put a lot of faith in a company that cant even keep their website up to date this early in the game). I’m not sure about most people but 40 bucks for a new game in an untried system is a bit steep for me especially if I’ve never even held a copy in my hand. For half that price I can go to RPGnow and get a couple of pulp games, supplements and even some cardstock buildings and miniatures. Yes it’s easy being an armchair quarterback, and I’m sure there are probably good reasons for why they did or did not do certain things, but I can’t help but feel they are losing a great opportunity. Like the saying goes “You never get a second chance to make a first impression.” I wish them luck.

Monday, October 02, 2006

Motivational Monday

Thanks to