Friday, December 31, 2010

Political Wrongness

I have gone on the record by saying the the "4e" game is not D&D, but in a way it is D&D. By "D&D", I don't mean this, but I mean this! You see, back in the 2nd years, T$R was so concerned about the opinions of whores, pinkos, and dogs, they make their line dry and soulless do to strict content control. They even had the nerve to tell players how play their own games with an online document over content control. Folks might say that it was only suggestions for DMs, but folks forget that T$R took to the internet with extreme control and prejudice!

Now, how is WotC like T$R? Simple, part 6 of the Game System License:
Quality and Content Standards: The nature and quality of all Licensed Products will conform to the quality standards set by Wizards, as may be provided from time to time. At a minimum, the Licensed Products will conform to community standards of decency and appropriateness as determined by Wizards in its discretion. Without limiting the foregoing, no Licensed Products will depict in any text, graphical or other manner:
(a) excessively graphic violence or gore;
(b) sexual situations, sexual abuse, pornography, gratuitous nudity of human or humanoid forms, genitalia, or sexual activity; or
(c) existing real-world minorities, nationalities, social castes, religious groups or practices, political preferences, genders, lifestyle preferences, or people with disabilities, as a group inferior to any other group or in a way that promotes disrespect for those groups or practices, or that endorses those groups or practices over another.
On other words, if you what to make a third source book using the 4e rules, then you'll be working with a short leash, because if it seems right for the Hyborian Age (or even the goddamn Bible for that matter. Read it - it has all the sex and violence most "right-mind" Christians scorn when used in other works), then you cant put it into your 4e splatbook! The first two are obvious (and the fan parts), but the last one is the most restrictive, as you cant even put in the normal tropes found in pulp fiction: African bushmen, savage Indians, "yellow peals", Nazis, mongoloids, Bible-thumpers, or any sort of slave or slave-owning people! Hell, you can't even portray bigots, feminists or homosexuals! OK, so no blood-porn and kinky eye-candy art, and no negative portrayals of anyone - w00t, sounds like fun...

FUCK THAT SHIT!!! I am sick of candy-ass settings as much as I hate gratuitous magic-heavy worlds! You might be thinking, how is it good to produce a setting like F.A.T.A.L. that encourages immorality, promiscuity, wanton violence, bigotry, slavery, and negative cultural stereotypes? But the answer is simple: that is D&D at its core!!! Its a game about murderous hobos who brake into the homes of one-sided degenerate folk, so they can butcher them - even their babies - and steal their shit, so they can spend it all on booze, bitches, and magical bling-bling. When you try to downplay these facts, it becomes an awful mess like Conan the Destroyer when it downplayed all the gratuitous aspects that is intrinsic to its own genre. I don't mind the new games being cartoon versions of themselves, but why the hell should they push their diluted world views on independent publishers who what to make a unique and interesting setting under their fancy-ass system? It may seem odd to some that these things are important, or just selfish ideas, but some of the most rich and unique settings in RPG history would have never been able to be published under 2nd edition, or 4e rules. Not just the Hyborian Age, but also Tékumel, Carcosa, and a few others (far too few, in my opinion). Darksun for example, is a world that should never be bound by political correctness, as its a dark world, with morality as broken as their shattered world. For those who believe settings should be child-friendly fairs for their own sake, can all go to Hell!!!

In my games, slavery is not avoided, nor demonized - its just a way of life.
By the way, the old-school RPG blogosphere has been debating the subject of nudity and female portrayals in RPG art. I find this to be a really good thing, as this don't come up much beyond the insipid rambling from the "Pussy Parlor" on the WotC forums, and its good to see people go beyond the "naked slave-girls and chainmail-bikini clad warrior-women are sexiest and stupid" attitude and judge the taste and significances of such art on their own merits. On that note, I would like to take my hat off to Otherworld Miniatures for not just making good minis that look like they have been ripped right out of the old Monster Manual book, but for having the balls to show male genitalia on their miniatures. Don't get me wrong, I don't have an obsession with male genitalia - or monsterus ones for that matter - but its go to see someone present them in a mature and non-obscene way.

Technically, this is "National Geographic nudity".

Friday, December 24, 2010

Marry Krampus!

Santa maybe checking his list, and checking it twice, but the worst he gives is a lump of coal! Krampus don't need a list to find the bad girls and boys!

For all the naughty boys, he gives a night they would never forget - no mater how hard they try!

If you have been a bad girl, well he knows how to deal with them - he is such a naughty boy.

Damn he is nasty, but that is why we love him! :D

So be good, or you'll have the devil to pay! >:D~

Sunday, December 19, 2010

Purist vs Workable Conversions

Being a child of the 80's, I can tell you that cartoons make for some great sources of inspiration for role-playing games. Such shows are full of strange characters, weird worlds, high adventures, and it don't delude itself with a lot of realism or continuity (not to mention all the cool toy tie-ins). Although when converting these shows to an RPG, the unusual nature of these cartoons tend to be a hurtle with most players who opt to run it a pure way. This is because most role-players are grown people with mature notions, while cartoons are really awesome concepts that have been dumb-down to make them "kid-friendly" (well, more like "media-watchdog group friendly"). As a result, fights are nerfed with stun-weapons and robotic henchmen, characters and plots are dumb-down, and morality plays are forced into place. When video games - especially the older ones - are converted this way, items and monsters tend to act in the same way as they do on-screen, and for it, it all comes out all really goofy. That is, all bows magically eat money in Hyrule, and Moblins wander around until they see someone to throw a spear at, then wander off.

Consider He-Man. The concept for this is a Conan-like sword & sorcery with a lot of science fantasy elements, in a post-apocalyptic setting no less! Basically, the world of Eternia was torn by a long, protracted war that left behind a lot of strange magical and scientific relics from a bygone era. He-Man was a barbarian from the frozen north (sound familiar?) who received a number of powerful artifacts from a Sorceress after he saved her life. Skeletor was a powerful warlord-sorcerer from another dimension, who was trying to unlock the secrets of Grayskull, so he could continue to takeover one world after another. When it became a cartoon, He-Man became a soft-spoken superman, who has the alter-ego that plays-out like a gay pool boy. Filmation was notorious for bland character interaction, and deluding their programs with blunt morality plays, politically correct messages, and sappy PSAs (or creepy if you remember He-Man & She-ra talking about "getting touched in that special place"). In all the politically correct action, all the Sword & Sorcery elements got lost. The 2002 reboot did much to redeem the older show, but there is something nice about the untouched sandbox that was the original mini-comics.

When making such a fiction into a tabletop game, the Purist Method would to keep the sappy elements of its own sake, while a Working Model would retool the fiction like the '02 reboot did in order to make it more palatable for a more mature audience. On the other hand, I notice Grognards like to take the the original (forgotten) premise of something, ignore everything that came after, and making something unique and interesting from it. For example, I have seen a debate at an old-school D&D forum about how awesome Battlestar Galactica could have been if they had stuck with the original concept art that made it look more like a sword & sorcery version of Star Wars. I call this Retroactive Foundation-Work, and I consider this a lot more creative then copying a fiction verbatim. With He-Man, it would be like making something unique out of the old mini-comics.

I have seen folks make source materials for cartoons (comicbooks, videogames, and such), but they usually go with the Purist Method with little regard to making a good Working Model. To me, a good cartoon (or equivalent) sourcebook looks at a show for what it has, then consider how it would have been without a bunch of meddling executives and broadcast standards breathing down the necks of the writers and producers, and to present the ideas of these changes on sidebars if they seem relevant. So if you like a show and you what to make game materials for it then by all means, do it! Don't be afraid to make the good guys less goody-two-shoe (or a little more anti-heroic), the bad guys smarter or less monolithic, the action more raw & bloody, add more sensuality (you need not to make things perverted to do so), the world less forgiving, and so on, so the setting can be more palatable to fellow gamers of reasonable maturity.

Monday, December 6, 2010

Retcon or Retarded Continuity

I was watching E.T. the other day and I noticed that all the cops had walkie-talkies in-placed in their hands in an awkward fashion, then I remembered that they originally had guns. My mind could not fathom why Steven Spielberg would make such an edit, then I remembered what George Lucas did with Han Solo on the classic Star Wars movie.

Really, was any of that needed? What is so objectionable about gun-toting cops chasing down a kid smuggling an illegal alien on a bike? (he was obviously a lawbreaker, running from the law) The Solo shoot-out retcon was pure sacrilege, plain and simple! >:(

Then it hit me! What else could they make a shameless edit to? What else...

My thinking is that a gun would appear on the swordsman. The swordsman fires, then Indiana Jones side-steps in an awkward and unnatural fashion. Then Indi takes his shot! :P

There should be a law ageist old-farts reworking their grand opus from their younger, starving days! Lets seen them try to edit-out the police guns, when they dare to brake that law! Muhahahahahahahahah!!! >:D

Saturday, October 30, 2010

End of an Era

One of the first online communities I joined was the Conan group on the Mongooses Publishing forums. Because the licensing ended with Conan LLC, Mongoose has ended the Conan line and will absorb the Conan post into "Other Roleplaying Games" by the end of October. If it gets thrown to the gaming mixing-pot, the community would just get diluted. This was a great place to talk about Conan with a lot of friendly people, and it even goes off-topic with other sword & sorcery systems and settings from time to time.

For sometimes now, I have been thinking about making a new off-site forum to not just to preserve the Conan gaming community, but to have a community that focuses pulp fantasy in general. This community would have topics on supernatural horrors akin to Lovecraft, planetary romance akin to A Princess of Mars (each with sub-pages for settings, and gaming regardless of system), and sub-topics on books and movies and such on pulp fiction. I have been playing with the phpBB demo features, and I have the hang of it. The only thing I'm stumped on is a good name. I what the name to be evocative to the over-all theme. If anyone has any suggestions, I'm all ears!

Tuesday, October 5, 2010

The Basement of the Crosseyed Cyclops

I just spent a good part of the morning uploading 32 issues of Epic Illustrated at a site called Beware ,There's A Crosseyed Cyclops In My Basement!!! This comic book magazine is a lot like Heavy Metal magazine, with it's pulp-like selection of stories, and mature content. The Crosseyed Cyclops blog is a great place for back issues of old comics, magazines, and videos. I used it to load the complete collection of Komandi: the Last Boy on Earth, and Mighty Samson, so I can provide more info in the Mutant Future Wiki I have been working on. I really enjoy finding and reading the strange and obscure fiction found at that site. The only downside it having to deal with all the damn pop-ups and countdowns that crops up on Rapidshare and Magaload - if you are not careful, they might give your PC the AIDS or something from those pop-ups! But all-and-all, its worth it to find all those fantastic files.

Now if you don't mind, I got some reading to to. =D

Thursday, July 22, 2010

One Who Walked Alone

Well, I just saw The Whole Wide World with Renée Zellweger as Novalyne Price and Vincent D'Onofrio as Robert E. Howard. It was adapted from the memoirs of Novalyne Price Ellis, called One Who Walked Alone: Robert E. Howard, The Final Years. To anyone who is a REH fan, this is a must see! Buy it, rent it, steal it - anything!!! Its a good mix of humor and tragedy, but for the most part, it was quite amusing. One part I really enjoyed was when Bob took some lady's quote "A man without a mustache, is like a hard boiled egg without salt" to heart, and started to sport one.

For the Conan fans, this is what "Two-Guns Bob" thought about the character he calls the "damnedest bastard there ever was" (enjoy):

Friday, April 30, 2010

I have been thinking about making a MotU-styled RPG setting. I haven been running across a number of

Tuesday, March 9, 2010

Comicbooks + Heavy Metal = Epic Win!

I recently discovered a heavy metal band called Bal-Sagoth, that based their songs off the yarns of Robert E. Howard, H.P. Lovecraft, and others. Being a Conan fan, I wanted to get strait to the Hyborian Metal, but I get sidetracked. While searching I discovered something quite unique. They made a song about a Silver Surfer story by Jack Kerby, where Silver Surfer has to deal with the Fourth Celestial Host (basically, space gods with the power to kick Galactus' ass!). I'm not a big fan of superhero comics beyond the 70's and 80's X-Men, and the song has a lot of narrative, but their is something epic about the song! Maybe its the way Silver Surfer is up against the all-powerful Celestials. Maybe is the way the lyrics ties in with the comicbook mythology. Maybe its the way it mashes with Jack Kerby's art. Well see it for yourself:

I cant really put thoughts to words, but this somehow inspires me!

Monday, March 1, 2010

Big Star Wars Haul

Well, I just had a big score over the weekend! I use an internet service called Freecycle. Its an exchange site for folks to get rid of old stuff, so it wont take up a landfill. I found a lot of good second-hand stuff from it – books, games, movies, furniture, electronics, clothing, my last two pets, and even friends. And all for free!

My huge score is a large collection of Star Wars books. It range from the earliest books, to the newer prequel-based books. I have the Rogue Squadron series, the New Jedi Order, and dozens of others. What I have been really looking forwards to, is Han Solo at Stars' End, and the two books that follows it. Long before Han's unblinking head side-step of Gredo's blast fire fiasco or the introduction of Malcolm “Mal” Reynolds, Han Solo was the unquestioned rogue-scoundrel of the universe!

Well before I was born, my family have been Star Wars fans since the movies' development – it seems that the casting of teen sex-symbol Mark Hamill attracted a lot of young female fans. Growing up, I hear a lot about the Star Wars Mythology – stuff not mentioned in the movies. I grew up hearing snippets of Han's past, learning about how Anakin Skywaker became Darth-Vader (I was told that he shot down by Obi-wan, and his fighter crashed into a volcano), and other stuff. I also seen a lot of Star Wars movies growing up, so then I got older, I lost interest. Now that I'm even older, I'm reminiscing over thing from my past (old shows, comics, and so on). I been remembering all the things about Han Solo's past, so now I have the chance to read about it. I hops its good!

Monday, February 22, 2010

Sunday, February 21, 2010

Symbiotic Brain Jelly

[I made this mutant based on a picture I found, made by Philippe “Caza” Cazaumayou. For folks that don't know, Caza did work for Métal Hurlant (Heavy Metal magazine), and he worked with film producer René Laloux, for the French movie Gandahar (aka Light Years). Gandahar has is own unique “transformes” (mutants)]

The mutation can makes for an interesting complications. If you can keep them from taking over you PC, then they can boost mutant's mental abilities.

Symbiotic Brain Jelly
No. Enc.: 1 (2d4)
Alignment: Neutral
Swim: 90' (30')
Armor Class: 7
Hit Dice: 3
Attack: 1
Damage: (special)
Save: L2
Morale: 8
Hoard Class: None

These mutant scyphozoa* dwell near bodies of water – both fresh and salt. They usually wait for some random creature to make their way to the water (to drink from it), so they can attach themselves to the creature, in order to find new sources of water. A successful attack results in the Brain Jelly attaching itself to the creature's head. The Brain Jelly may choke the creature (use what rules applies), or perch itself on the creatures skull in order to takeover the creature's mind (a mental attack is needed to resist). Mindless animals generally gives up without a fight, while intelligent creatures usually fight their control. Taking over a human (or some other civilized being) might make for so unusual situations, as Symbiotic Brain Jelly are usually ignorant of even the most basic of human customs. They generally rely on an animal's instincts to survive, and they suppress higher-order intelligence to keep the creature subjugated. So, a human might get controlled while bathing in the river, just to wander around naked (no sense of modesty), and eventually die of exposure after nightfall (ignorant to the fact that humans are not naturally insulated to cold weather). Some Brain Jellies learn to cooperate with intelligent beings, while some beings enjoy the powers that comes from these hosts. With such mutual control, the subjected being benefits from both creature's mutations, plus the Quickness mutation (the synergy of both minds) and the Defective Dual Cerebellum defect (the Brain Jelly being the “Hyde” brain). Androids and Mutant Plants cannot be controlled by these creatures.

Brain Jellies can see in all directions do to their many eyes, are invisible while underwater, and their skin is vulnerable to weak acids – like acetic acid (wine & vinegar) and citrus acid (lemon juice). Such acids are treated as acid attacks. MLs might consider giving them an extra (random) mental mutation, if it seems right, but how that stand, they can really enhance a mutant with offensive mental mutations.

Aberrant Form: extra parts (eyes), chameleon epidermis (only in water), dwarfism (1'), metaconcert, neural telepathy, possession (contact only), epidermal susceptibility (weak acids).

The topless chick is for display purposes only – the boobs are just a plus. ;P

*yes, I know it the technical term for jellyfish (Latin for bowl), but it sounds like a cool name for a giant kaiju monster, that is not necessarily a giant monster jellyfish. Godzilla vs Scyphozoa! How cool is that?