Sunday, November 13, 2016

Two Party ⚁ 🎉

I believe in free speech. And I try not to limit my reading and learning to materials "acceptable" to certain bubbles. So I read a lot of shit from pundits on both sides of the Libs vs Cons dichotomy (which in a way is its own bubble). And I find myself questioning my understanding of what it is to be a liberal or conservative. So I look it up. Today I find myself disagreeing with 60% of the positions of "most" liberals and about 70% of those of "most" conservatives. Is it me, or are their principles constantly changing? I'll assume that their corresponding political parties are pretty much the same, essentially a ® or (tm) of those beliefs. Why, people? Why do you allow yourselves to be simply framed by those constructs?

I noticed that for the first time since 1992, there are more people registered as Independent than whatever. That must mean something.

Tuesday, July 21, 2015


If, for some reason you happen to be in Los Angeles this Saturday afternoon (11-4pm), I'll be here:

7522 W Sunset Blvd. 90046

I'll be peddling all the RPG zines I got. I might try and run a demo or two for the uninitiated. Not sure what I'll run. But thinking either a mini-OSR/DCC compatible thing, or straight up DCC RPG. We'll see. Come on by and check out RPG zines!

Wednesday, July 1, 2015

1 – Make a Top 10 list of reasons why your love zines

I will give this a fair try, but don't expect anything amazing. (That typo is annoying.)

  1. Three letters, DIY.
  2. No middle man.
  3. Safety
  4. Compact
  5. Fun
  6. Fast
  7. Dangerous
  8. Efficient
  9. Easy
  10. Material

Tuesday, June 9, 2015

Too Old For Numbers

Today is my forty-sumtin'th birthday. If you're in Los Angeles, and you have a minute. Come find me +Dak Ultimak [@reverend_dak on twitter] to catch up. As a birthday wish all I ask is you take a few moments to read and understand the TPP, and why it's bad for your freedoms, health, and the Internets: for details, and learn what you can do to fight this bullshit.
Or for something lighter, check out the song premier of our neighbors from the past year and for the next few: . It's on NPR, and we listened to them work on this song for several months, and I'm really excited for them. Congratulations dudes.

Rough Itinerary:
11AM - TW Stronghold @reverend_dak for details.
12-6 - a healthy combination of beer, bikes and Tonk. Lunch & Dinner...
7PM - TW Stronghold
8-12 - a healthy combination of beer, bars, parks and beer.

Wednesday, May 13, 2015

Deck of Cards and Pair of Dice

A while ago I was trying to come up with an RPG that used simple playing cards (and naturally a fancy deck of tarot cards) instead of dice. Simply, a set of cards can be found anywhere (I've seen them in gas stations and novelty stores), and with minor work, tarot cards can easily be used too (and since they come in tons of "themes", lots of flavor can enhance the game-o-sphere). Recently I've seen a few attempts at using these readily available game tools for RPGing, it piqued my interest. But the other day, while fiddling with a deck of cards (I think we were playing Tonk) I came to realize that if you remove the face cards (and Major Arcana, if using Tarot), you have a simple 1d10 and 1d20 generator. Add a pair of dice (also readily available in the same places, or stolen from American family games) you have all you need to play OD&D or Swords & Wizardry Whitebox (and naturally White Star!). Why re-invent the wheel when you have perfectly fine games that only use d20s and d6s! 

[I see this being handy in the prison system...]

Rolling a d20 with a deck of cards is simple, remove the face cards (and Major Arcana) and designate red cards as either high or low, and draw a card. Add 10 if the color indicates "high", then you got a random number from 1-20. Done. Technically, to retain "true" randomness, you should re-shuffle the deck after each draw, but I'd argue that it'd be fine to reshuffle after every 2-4 draws (or whatever). Obviously d10 and d% can be "rolled" by ignoring the colors/suits. Using suits, I guess, you could go 1-40, and 1d4 with just the suits... (but that might be too fiddly...)

Not sure what to do with the face cards or Major Arcana cards (though I guess the Major Arcana cards can double as a Deck of Many Things...) 

Tuesday, December 23, 2014

My Holiday Gift for the Gamers out there

In 2013 I did a D&D themed bicycle ride. I attempted it originally 6 years ago, but the concept wasn't there. So I scraped it for a Discordian Ride instead.

5 years later I decided to try it again. This time it worked out, and I was able to give a bunch of people a good taste of my favorite game in the universe. These are the rules I used to DM about 60 or so players with 5 or 6 assistant DMs:

Print out the cards on cardstock, make a booklet for each DM, and give each DM a d6 and a d20, and you can run a mini version of D&D for a bunch of people in about 30 minutes. Let me know if you have any questions. I may refine some of the ideas in the future for something else...

Thursday, April 24, 2014

Beer Money for Brawls

The other night we were short players for our weekly DCC RPG session, and we played Zombies!!! and a game of Beer Money. It occured to me that Beer Money (and Lunch Money, I guess, but I don't own that) can be used for rules in a bar-room brawl. In a standard game, everyone starts with 15 tokens that represent money or life, but this easily could represent hit points or constitution (stamina). A Beer Money attack can do anywhere between 1 and 7 points of damage, but typically between 1 and 3! Which is very much the standard damage of an unarmed attack in most D&D games (and their derivatives). Without going into the details of the game, there are attacks, defences and special maneuvers available, all are randomly determined by card draws. One player initiates an attack that can be avoided if a defensive card is available, if not the target takes damage as indicated by the card. There are special moves and combinations--most of those are initiated by a "grab". Example moves are kicks, sucker punches, piledrivers and Fists of Fury. Rounds are quick and simple, though some of the special cards can get confusing when first played. But after a couple rounds, it becomes fast and furious.

Here are some preliminary rules, let me know what you think:

Beer Money Brawling Rules

The judge plays any NPCs and also gets 5 cards. A player that joins the brawl gets 5 cards per standard Beer Money rules. On their turn, as determined by standard RPG initiative rules, they can attack a target with a Beer Money card or do anything their character can do normally on their turn (these actions are determined normally per RPG rules). The target of a Beer Money attack may counter or defend themselves with an appropriate Beer Money card (using standard Beer Money rules), if they can't, they take damage in hit points as indicated by the card. No attack or damage rolls are made. All characters use their standard hit points, but any points lost to Beer Money attacks are considered non-lethal.

Beer Money Weapon Cards can be blocked and dodged as usual per Beer Money rules, but regular RPG weapons use standard RPG rules to resolve hits and damage. Basically Beer Money cards can only be played and countered by Beer Money defense cards. RPG actions are determined normally.

All characters may add their strength modifiers to this Beer Money damage (minimum damage of 1, for those with negative mods.) In the case of Fists of Fury, this is added to the total damage.

Redemption and Self Help cards can be played normally, healing 2 or 4 hp as indicated by the card.

Class rule exceptions: 

Fighters can add any strength and class damage modifiers to the damage. (DCC RPG Warriors have a huge advantage here.)
Magic-users and clerics can use magic. They have to play a Dodge card to cast a spell, or risk free attacks. If a magic-user attempts to cast a spell without playing a Dodge card first, any nearby characters can play a Basic Attack Card (or make a free attack per standard RPG rules if they exist, e.g. Opportunity Attacks, etc.).
Clerics can play Redemption or Self Help to freely heal themselves or others, they can also use their magical healing in place of restoring only 2 or 4.
Thieves and other sneaky types can sneak or hide per usual RPG rules, if successful they can play a Beer Money card that can't be avoided with a Dodge or Block! (or sneak-attack/back-stab per RPG rules.)

Optional Rules:

Fisticuffs - Upon agreement, all brawlers can use their Constitution (or Stamina) scores in place of hit points. This will make the fight resolve faster, especially if characters have lots of hit dice.

Fight Club - (Some classes are just better at fighting)
Fighters (Warriors) get an additional card (6 instead of 5).
Thieves and Clerics get the standard 5.
Magic-users (Wizards) get only 4 cards.

Monday, March 31, 2014

47 Ronin: A quick review from a D&D gamer's point of view

I have to say, I really enjoyed 47 Ronin. It's a samurai adventure movie set in a mythical fantasy version of Japan, and based on the Japanese legend Chushingura.

It wasn't Kurosawa, but it was 100 times better looking, directed and presented than anything Zack Snyder has ever done. It had fantastic colors without looking stupid and over-processed like 300 (which I see it being compared to). Although Kan't-act Reeves was his classic stiff and emotionless self, his face isn't as stupid looking at as other 2x4 pieces of wood like Ryan Gosling. What helps is that, even though Reeves is top-billed, his character really felt like a plot device to the overall story--The revenge story of 47 outcast, former samurai warriors, that expressed the ultimate show of loyalty and honor to their former lord. Being a fantasy, and an American movie, they took liberties with the "true story" to make it a comic-book like action adventure set in a fantastic medieval Japan. The movie was almost two hours long, but it felt a lot shorter. I think this can be attributed to the film's pacing, directing or editing. The action scenes were satisfying, a ton of fun without being way-too-long. The monster designs were great, yes there are monsters, along with giants, demons and witches--I had a few "oh shit" moments to some of the details of these monsters. (I did wonder what the first "beast" did to deserve the wrath of Ako's samurai, Ako being the home city of the 47.) The costumes were stylized and color coded, which I like in fantasy movies between warring factions. This movie could easily be redressed as a European medieval fantasy, and it would be very much what a D&D movie could be. (There were several quests and adventure moments that played out like standard D&D adventures.) What it succeeded most was making "Asian-flavored" campaign settings like Red Tide appealing.

Tuesday, January 28, 2014

Secret Santicore submission...

Secret Santicore has been going on for a few years in the OSR blogosphere, and last year was my first time participating. In case you missed it, goes like this: You submit a Secret Santicore request, and you get assigned someone else's request. Make it and wait excitedly! (Official 2013 FAQ link).

Well Volume 1 is out and it's AWESOME! My assignment was as follows: 

A D20 table of creep stuff you could find in an abandoned space station. 

And here's my submission:

Creep stuff you could find in an abandoned space station: (d20)

1. The mummified remains of crewmembers.
2. The mummified remains of crewmembers, they’re missing something (see below).
3. The skeletal remains of crewmembers.
4. The skeletal remains of crewmembers, they’re missing something (see below).
5. Full sets of uniform and boots scattered throughout the station, no bodies.
6. Mutilated remains of crewmembers, and they’re missing something (see below).
7. Piles of ash in hallways and on random furniture.
8. Blood-stained hallways and air-locks.
9. All escape pods and standard shuttle-craft remain aboard.
10. All escape pods and standard shuttle-craft missing.
11. The exuviae (remains of exoskeletons) of a really large creature.
12. The moult of hundreds of vermin.
13. All rooms and quarters are stocked with period inappropriate furniture and equipment.
14. The community dining table set for a formal dinner.
15. The PA system is playing inappropriate holiday music.
16. The central computer or station AI knows the investigating party.
17. Ghostly images can be seen in the static of all monitors and CCTVs.
18. (Random Station Component, see below) doors are welded shut from the outside.
19. (Random Station Component, see below) are welded shut from the inside.
20. (Random Station Component, see below) is crawling with maggots.

Missing something: (d4)

1. Missing Limbs
2. Missing Heads
3. Missing Digits
4. Missing Uniforms

Random Station Component: (d8)

1. Control Room
2. Medical Bay
3. Storage Bay
4. Docking Bay
5. Power Station
6. Crew Quarters
7. Science Lab
8. Mess Hall

Tuesday, December 17, 2013

On the 6th Day of Christmas... Crawl!

Win copies of my fanzine for DCC RPG! Visit Tenkar's Tavern and enter to win. Yes, 8 issues shipped anywhere a mailman goes. More copies to those that can read a PDF.

It's my honor to participate and donate a bunch of zines to Tenkar's 12 Days of Old School RPG Goodness! Do it!

12 Days of OSR Christmas

Saturday, November 2, 2013

I want to publish your book or zine.

Have an idea that you want to get published? It doesn't even have to be for RPGs. It doesn't even have to be a "zine". I've gotten pretty good at this the past few couple years and I want to step it up a bunch. The manic pace that I've been working on Crawl! and Hack! the past 2 weeks is kind of addictive. I like working, as long as it's working for something I want to do. People that know me personally know how hard I work, when I work. I'm also very detailed orientated, so it's got to be good.