Thursday, October 26, 2017

O! The Places You'll Delve!

Reading in bed: very bad for eyes. Staying up until 4 working on layout: same
As the dad of a kid who loves bedtime stories and is learning to read, I read a little bit of Dr. Seuss almost every day. Frog and Toad, also (Frog and Toad are better stories, IMHO, and my Frog and Toad voices are SWEEEET). There is something a little bit comforting and sinister about all of them, no matter that they are excellent ways to teach a kid to read. The rythym and memorability is the thing. Right now, we've got

  1. HOP ON POP
  2. THE CAT IN THE HAT (metaphor for some weird perp shit, IMHO, by the way Sally and Nick you should tell your mom.)
  3. THE CAT IN THE HAT COMES BACK
  4. DR SEUSS'S ABCs
  5. I CAN LICK 30 TIGERS TODAY
  6. ONE FISH TWO FISH RED FISH BLUE FISH
  7. TO THINK THAT I SAW IT ON MULBERRY STREET
We also got The 50 Hats of Bartholomew Cubbins and I Had Some Trouble Coming to Sollaw Sollew from the library. These are my current favorites. In the first, a kid faces the prospect of beheading owing to a no-fault-of-his magical curse in the form of a reproducing hat, and in the second a youngster travels many miles through adverse conditions to find the object of his quest shut tight (the fabled city of Sollaw Sollew where they have no troubles, or at least very few). Nothing makes much sense, but then - that's not totally the point. It got me thinking, that these books could be nicely approximated by a board-game board, and that got me thinking about that thing that +Wayne Snyder did with his kid, and also (more importantly for our purposes) the way that +Kabuki Kaiser did his linear/procedural thing in Castle Gargantua. Lots of complexity from fairly simple rules, and (if you don't know it) then each specific square on the Chutes and Ladders-style play track has a more or less random theme, in addition to the golden squares representing terrific set pieces.

I believe more in not-railroading, but this could make/has made for a fun night's entertainment


This would be easy to set up for a Dr. Seuss story approximation, say for kids, with nice pastel colors, little threat of violence (but some feeling of danger to wrap up nicely at the end), and simple rules. The Seussian monsters are, for the most part, somewhat silly but sometimes really and truly spooky. Fu Fu the Snoo seems to even make a Young Cat uneasy, for example.

I think I like those OZ rules that I always harp on about, or maybe something easy like I ROLL FOR SHOES (which seems to be going around my circles these days on G+)

Make it fun and distinctive: add a die to your roll if you explain your action in rhyme.

Make it awful and terrifying: Use DCC, and add corruptions and XP for critically failed Action rolls. Nobody can die but it can Always Get Worse

A Little Fuzzy Guy DCC Microclass: like a hobbit, but people can always spend Luck and burn stats for the little guy/gal. Hirsute and Cute, plucky and Lucky.

If you wanted to really do a brain bender, it could all take place in the Dreamlands. Grinches, Skrinks, Whos, Star-Belly Sneetches, and all the monsters (there's the Gak and the Gox, for example) from Dr. Seuss's The ABCs, and Hop and Pop. Once your SAN is down to 0, you switch into Seussian mode (or maybe even a temporary insanity). Everything is in 4 colors, and everything Rhymes - you have to speak clearly and rhyme at all times

I'm particularly terrified by Skrinks and the other various monsters from IHSTIGTSS. Perfect 0-level irritants. Seems to me that the Seuss books eschew acquisition of material wealth, and focus on cleverness and resourcefulness, and The Cat in the Hat makes for a terrific example of Picaresque hero/antihero

Speaking of which, check out The Archzenopus' +Zach H's OD&D resources - in particular his 1 HP monster thing for things you could use in a Seussian game


What's this? Funnel, did you say? I love to grind low-levels through funnels!







Thursday, October 5, 2017

The Jeeves and The Skeeves

I keep seeing this boardgame that i didn't back mentioned.  Dungeon Degenerates.  I love the art and the feel of the thing.

The Skeeves are a bunch of klartesh-smoking, nubile, attractive, totally sexless and seriously dangerous elf-like things that hang out in ancient wood groves and dungeon rooms-of-a-certain-size.  As the party approaches, a smell of sex and resinous smoke is detected, but a male elf will smell the smells a long ways off if the party doesn't approach directly.  A sentient creature with keen hearing can make out sighing, moaning, giggling, and slurping.

On arrival, a gaggle of pink and luscious forms can be discerned through a pall of what is evidently klartesh smoke, and a single representative will approach the party and welcome them in. Everybody, no matter their orientation, must make a DC 16 (i.e. fairly difficult, I mean these are adventurers, after all) Personality/Wisdom/Save vs. Charm analog. Failing means they come under the sway of the Skeeves and lose time. Roll 1d8 for the group.  This is how many days those who failed their saves will lose to slurping/moaning/smoking. The direct result is lost time, but the indirect result is loss of a random point (1d8) of (1-2) Intelligence (3-4) Constitution/Stamina, (5-6) Luck, (7) 1d4 Hit Points (8) Divine Favor/Patron Bond or equivalent per day. Sentient creatures who die as a result will be rolled off the cushions and hidden or taken away by servants. When the effects wear off, provided the victim is still alive, then they become disillusioned and irritable and harsh the whole mellow of the thing, and are promptly uninvited.

In the meantime, party members who did save have the odious task of dispelling the charm effect, by whatever means necessary. The most efficacious way is high wind, rain, flooding, or ice since these will undo the conditions that make the things so attractive (warm, smoky, cuddly, fleshy). In truth, the Skeeves are an elf-like race that preys upon the desires of adventurers and other sordid types. Bags of Doritos litter their lairs.




The Jeeves are a race of clockwork/steam/electric/organic/demonic/necormantic butlers. They secretly hate their masters, but will obey dutifully and to the letter of requests, especially if it will put masters in harm's way or transfer ownership/servitude of the Jeeve in question to a more powerful master. The never tire, never sleep, and need no food or water. The speed and cleverness of the Jeeve will depend upon their components: i.e. clockwork Jeeves are somewhat slow, uncreative, and wimpy. Organic and demonic Jeeves will be quite clever, malicious, and innocent looking but their beating hearts and sadistic eyes may give their intentions away. A Jeeve will follow any request it is given as long as the request will not effectively cause its own death, and it will obey gleefully if it will cause the death of its current master, and doubly so if the request is from the master in question.

Sometimes whole dungeons can be over-run with a nicely harmonic ecosystem of Jeeves serving Skeeves and their victims, and when equilibrium is threatened the homeostasis breaks and bonuses can be had to the Skeeves charm-effect saving throws and Jeeves will peel off to serve adventurers and redirect them to more imminently dangerous zones.

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