Thursday, August 16, 2018

Naked Blue Box Lunch

I don't endorse drug use, violence, pornographic literature, or anti-authoritarian thought patterns. Report to MiniLove if you disagree.

When the angels in the white lab coats moved in on Wayne R., hunkered down and thinking in a dim corner of G+, he said something like HEY MAN WHAT IF YOU HAD THE HOLMES BLUE BOOK AND ONLY ONE OTHER PRE-78' DEAD TREE VIRUS TO COOK UP AN RPG WITH

And then they clamped down on his ass real hard and trucked him away into a detox pod because, like, maybe he's too hard for the DR. J ERIC Holmes like Zach H. You gotta be suspicious of anybody that is THAT academic about a topic. Pedantry is a kind of substance but it stretches out the framework of need.  That's not what we're talking about here, man. Now, some cats on there like the BECMI and some push the S&W or maybe some watered down d20 but there is nothing quite like that Blue Colored Old Time Junk to make you think real weird and loopy. I know for certain that a lot of those dudes are into Klartesh and Fundo, and I even tried some Kovacistani Klartesh once but all it did was make me sleepy and watch Jodorowski movies.  At least, I hope it was a movie. Coulda been a Hollywood-type party or maybe an Actual Holy Mountain. Doesn't matter at the moment. FOr fuck's sake, focus.


something about collapsing down your scale of need - like when you're hooked on the RPG junk, you don't tend to think in terms of rounds or turns or domains, but like where is it that a flesh-unit can grab the next fix of white hot imagination with pseudorandom integrals and a healthy dose of chance? IS ANYBODY UP FOR A GAME, AS MY USUAL F2F ONE WAS CANCELLED AND IM HURTING REAL BAD MAN

I propose a simple 7% solution: you really only need about a page or two of Dr. Leisure Suit's Blue Book of Infinite Delight. Other players are entirely optional and for our porpoises perhaps superfluous.

You could do away with Clerics: for there is No God but the God of Need and she won't hear your feeble prayers. You can do away with Magic-Users as PCs, since like no PC is empowered that way but maybe like every Magic-User is a NPC delivery man, on the top of the pyramid of need. No magic-using PCs means no need for a rational spell system like FUCK VANCE man, and FUCK SPELL POINTS, and spell levels. dUNGEON levels are okay, I guess, as a close approximation of the NEED. Everybody is a Fighter or a Thief, but you could pick other things as Holmes suggests if your group is into that.

You can do away with elves, dwarves, hobbits, and goblins and dragons, except the kind that are junk-based. There can be Dragons of Soma, Morphine Trolls, Cocaine Hydrochloride Carrion Crawlers. All the usual stuff, but it's not the real sort. Just real enough to be on obstacle for a bit.  All NPCs use d20s for their random hit points.

Every play session, you plan to have a couple of encounters. 5.  5 give or take. A smart move would be 1 or 2 for every PLAYER, at least 5. They don't happen in a temporally causal fashion, though. There's one key WILLIAM LEE and all the other PCs - maybe it's Old Bart the Fighting Man this time and a couple of versions of Benway or maybe a Machine Elf named Clyde 27 come down from the 5th geometry as an observer. SO like, there is never a moment's rest and you're always looking to score, but it's a problem.  You could be a trusty, angelic faced Linkboy, or maybe a shrewish ex-wife, or a man that fell to earth just yesterday. Doesn't matter

Your general physical health is not to be trusted, since you've worn out your health with constant experimentation and chemical and physiological upgrades. put the dice in a cup, close your eyes, grab one, and that's your Hit Die type. Or if you're really up for a screw-job time, you could maybe just roll a number of dice that correspond to your level. That's your HP so keep it close to your chest. Experts - real hardbit experts - use 1 HP per level and make it a point to sacrifice all the other people in the party.  YES I AM IN THE REAR OF THE PARTY WITH THE THOMPSON SUB MACHINE GUN AND A SCROLL OF FINGER OF DEATH. LET US APPROACH THE LAIR OF THE DRAGON ROBOT DISGUISED AS A HIPPIE TEA CULT JAZZ BAND

slap a type-writer font on there and people will buy it.
You're trying to score - it could be treasure, healing potions, whatever. There's always drama - somebody is keeping you from making it to Level 26 and back, you dig? Control most definitely does not want you to ascend with the amulet. A healing potion will most definitely take you above and beyond the maximum limit at least for this scene.

Mugwumps are a special case. Black Centipedes are a special case. Maybe later.

Each PLAYER plays out WILLIAM LEE the thief or fighting man (choose this time) of the appropriate level in turn. LEE gets one random mutation to deal with this game.  All the other PCs are chosen from a pool. Nobody plays the same PC twice but everybody gets to play LEE at least once. All the other PCs (NOTLEE) have two mutations and a secret agenda in addition to the NEED to SCORE. A mutation is a skill, spell, feat, item. Use whatever method suits your clique.

It Goes: Post-Score Reflection - Beat - Beat - Boss - Turn - Beat - Score

a Beat could be an encounter with a junkmonster, negotiations with an NPC, running from the FUZZ/CONTROL/BENWAY/THEM DARN MUGWUMPS whatever. A boss is a slighlty harder encounter with a vicious brute who is directly opposed to you scoring. Anybody whose random HP goes to 0 or who fails a save is put in the TURNED pile. whatever their secret agenda was, it's always going to be KEEP YOU FROM SCORING going forward. Post score reflection is mutual world-building, stealing cars, basking in the warm/cold glow/bite of the last adventure. Reincarnating dead friends, that sort of thing.

If LEE misses a Save or goes down to 0 HP for any reason, then LEE gets another mutation to cope with, and the encounter goes on to the next one unresolved, or maybe you could call it resolved if you want. The only way for LEE to remove a mutation is to score, or offset temporarily by trying a substance. If you try a substance, reroll a stat immediately. The first time, roll a d20 for your new stat. The second time, roll 2d10. The third time, roll 3d6. The fourth time, roll 4d4. The fifth time, roll 5d3. So it goes. You'll reach a hideous, bone-dry, withered average eventually no matter how good you feel at the moment. Everybody is/are/was/will be free to try substances because free-will and agency are to be respected except on days ending with Y

Never give anybody as much as they need, and never settle for enough since you don't know when you may be on the run. Always clean your gear and try to take a bath when you are able. It makes scoring slightly less difficult if the straights think you are clean.

Play never occurs in the same place twice.  Always move forward. The scene is very likely not temporally connected or causally connected to the last one. Every time a PC is played, except LEE, give them another HD, though. Experience matters, even if you were better off before.

I would expect if you fold-in or cut-n-paste a couple of modules from a few different systems, it might approximate an interesting experience that would feel jarring and unhappily asemotic at first but then it would be picaresque in a way that many OLD SKOOL fans seem to appreciate but rarely empowered to come close to. Nobody likes LEE or Cugel, but everybody wants to play him a while, eh?

I heard that when I left X the Mystic on the corner in Tijuana, she ended up dead 2 weeks later. Strange that we keep bumping into her in the Residential section of the INterzone, her eyes black and reptillian as microwaved coffee. All the other rules are as written in the BB but you could set it on fire and get a new hobby but once that RPG hits it's more like a rocket propelled grenade and less like improv comedy, heh? I can see you shake let me flow over and around you and keep your cortex warm for a bit.

Wednesday, August 8, 2018

On Modern Politics

The apocalypse of long ago that plunged the Aereth into darkness and chaos merely refined the politics of the time, which by modern standards was without nuance. The old divisions of (for example) Socialist, Anadentist, and Theocratic Neocapitalist were replaced by myriad ideologies that are more straightforward in their aims. When confronted by the various local, state, and federal police, citizens are encouraged on pain of torture and imprisonment to identify their political leanings so as to better facilitate execution, torture, imprisonment, or other inconvenience. So, most individuals adhere to a rough understanding of two or three of these political philosophies unless one is ascendant in their region and they do not plan on travelling.

A generous sample of the active Political Parties in an around the metropolis of Helleborine may be sufficient to understanding the region’s geopolitics. A brief summary of the party’s chief aims, and the benefits that accrue through registering to vote under that party follows. Please note that only Registering, Voting, and Participating in the agenda of the Party (at least during primary season) confers the listed benefits. Those who are guilty of multiple party affiliation are usually shunned and/or disintegrated, or else assumed to be Liquifactionist.

Liquifactionist: wish to liquidate non-Liquifactionists to ensure majority of tricameral representation and ascendency of Liquifactionist agenda. Registered Liquifactionists force a -4 on all saves to everyone within a 50’ radius, gain advantage or +2d on damage rolls, and -1d to all other action rolls. 
Sender: wish to cripple all non-Sender thoughts through intrusive telepathy and other mind-control devices, so as to ensure majority of tricameral representation and ascendency of Sender agenda. Party members gain a 1d6 Mental Blast as an action with a Will DC save of their Personality/Charisma score (save nullifies damage), and +3 to Will saves. They also acquire a -2 to all reaction rolls (in addition to whatever stat penalties that might accrue).
Divisionist: wish to ensure a majority of tricameral representation and ascendency of Divisionist agenda through a crude process of ‘budding’. A Divisionist may cut a piece of itself off and in 1d6 days the piece will form a mostly genetically identical clone that can act of its own volition. Each time this happens, the Divisionist loses ½ of its current Hit Points which will be regained in the standard fashion and can be healed via magic. At the end of the budding period, the clone rerolls three random ability scores. It’s not a perfect process. These count as NPCs, but one may be assumed as a PC in an emergency - possibly it’s the original instead and the player just lost track.
Primates First!: the agenda is to protect all primate life on the Aereth and ensure that no non-Primate agenda assumes ascendancy. Members gain 30” brachiation in treetops and canopy environments but lose -2 to Charisma/Personality. 
Asteroid Worshippers: worship actual semi-sentient asteroids in the belt of debris between Mars and Jupiter. It is unclear to non-party members and friends if the aims are to promote or forestall the crashing of heavenly bodies into the surface of the Aereth. Members gain the ability to telepathically communicate with each other at a distance of 100’. This range increases to 200’ at night. They also gain the ability to communicate with whatever asteroids or meteorites they might encounter (whose Int scores range from 5-30). Sadly most other beings find them off-putting and have -2 reaction roll modifier.
Third Oathers: pursue the sinister agenda of the Deep Ones. That is, to live forever, hang out on the beach and party at night, and to make sweet love to attractive humanoids. They denounce the Eschaton and devouring of the Planet Aereth by Cthulhu, as Cthulhu departed shortly after the Tunguska phenomenon in 1908. Party members can swim at 30’, and Breath Water for 1d8 turns twice a day, but will only heal regularly if submerged in water.
Centipedophiles: The tireless ‘Friends of The Space Centipedes’ are generally addicted to Bug Powder and work to make the Aereth hotter, moister, and more uniformly ‘chill’ in regards to aliens and alien interdictions on the planet. Registered members can breathe in the vacuum of space and have no natural need for sleep (although they can still be affected by sleep magic and drugs). They gain 1d4 Intelligence and lose the same Dexterity/Agility
Slimechildren: promote the welfare and reproduction of Slimes of all kinds. They eat, drink, and marry slimes. Members gain the ability to turn into a slime of equivalent biomass for 1d6 turns plus the member’s Stamina bonus. Afterward, they will be lethargic and suffer -1d on all actions
The Risen: work for Undead Rights, as established in the 7th Geneva Convention. A member gains +5 to saves versus turning, and  re-animates shortly after death, if desired. It sounds like a good deal, but it’s rather dreary since the 7th Geneva Conventions drastically limited the enjoyable parts of Undead life. This does not confer any healing or immunities to disease, for example, but given time a reanimated dead person will eventually rise and go about its business unless destroyed by fire, acid, or some other very-permanent means.
Robot Anti-Abolitionists: the founder of the RAA, Robot Abe Lincoln, still takes an active hand in smashing opponents into smithereens with his vibro-axe and establishing a foothold for Robots’ and Created-Persons’ rights, everywhere. While Slavery of Robots was repealed owing to Lincoln’s admirable efforts long ago, the reality is that many robots everywhere are treated as 3rd class citizens, or worse. There is no evident benefit to registering to vote as a member of the RAA, but robots generally have a better reaction to those who are card-carrying members. Not always, but generally.
Re-Enactors: wish to return Thrend to its “more perfect” feudal state in which the Lords and Wizards and Dragons ruled with impunity and kept serfs generally well-fed and protected of course with the loss of other human rights. Members always gain a +1d to attacks with swords and farm-tools, and have “Serf” in addition to whatever other Occupation they might have.
Jazz Party: from dreary Darkansas the Modern Jazz Spirit has come, and the only agenda members have is to listen to, appreciate, and spread knowledge and appreciation of Jazz. Flappers, dancing, and gin are incidental and seen as outside the “true party doctrine” and indeed Jazz Partiers were central in implementing the short lived Prohibition III era. JP’s are able to Appreciate Jazz at 1d24 as an action, as per the spell. In addition they get invited to lots of racy parties.
Anarchists: the complete destruction of societal order and all other factions is the Anarchists’ only aim. The structure and behavior of local cells cannot be rigidly elucidated, and it is unclear if the Anarchists are a faction or a collection of counter-acting sub-factions, each claiming to be the original party. Anarchists do not recognize the voting habits of other anarchists as a general rule. Anarchists have access to explosives and maps. Each day, a member can requisition one bomb that will do Xd6 damage, where X is the PC’s level. Alternately, documents, reports, and crude drawings are delivered to the PC that roughly coincide with the PC’s stated daily goals but that cannot be fully trusted to be accurate, since even Anarchists are prone to back-biting and infighting.
Ultra Wealthy Plutocrats: The “Point Oh Oh One Percenters” fiddle about to destabilize other political parties so that no other particular agenda comes to the fore aside from their own, that is to say to maintain the Status Quo. They have minions (but not true members) in every other political faction, including the obscure minority parties. A UWP generally has no need to worry about money, resources, or time. Most are inhuman. Some are superhuman. No PC can be a UWP, but they may often be hired or subcontracted by them. All Patrons in DCC could be considered UWPs.
Anti-Corporatists: Anti-Corporatists are scrubbed out like cockroaches, since they work in direct conflict to the beneficent aims of the Corporations. They only appear on Voting Days, to scurry back to the darkness after squealing out their complaints. No Anti-Corporatist can buy anything on credit, nor can they be hired for most civil offices, although they are rarely elected to some before quick assassination. Barter and use of ancient tender is all that is available to them (i.e. cash/bills or coins of the Ancients). They are immune to detection by non-hostile A.I.s, suffer a -2d reaction from Robots, and are unable to use the Internet without drawing police presence.
Miscellaneous Minority Parties (e.g. Ex-Earthers, Martians, Time-Stranded): various exo-citizens are generally given legal rights and voting privileges in a symbolic and mostly meaningless way since these parties are generally concerned with the welfare of Aerethers and the protection of the environment of Thrend and the other Dozen Kingdoms. No minority party has successfully passed an agenda in the Tricameral House since The Enthronement of The Corporations by Meat Abe Lincoln in 1864.

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