Friday, May 29, 2015

This Innsmouth Building Is

As you sneak through the ruinous Wharf District of fog-shrouded Innsmouth, you will come across buildings on every dank street which the unwise might investigate.

Take up a handful of the standard polyhedra, and find the building is:

The building is: 1d4 – 1) ruined, burned 2) ruined, collapsed 3) poor shape, occupied (next roll) 4) inhabitable, occupied (next roll)

This lives there: 1d6 – 1) Human couple, grieving 2) Human couple, complicit 3) Human family, insurgent 4) Mixed family, mostly transformed 5) Mixed family, mostly human 6) Monstrous entity (next roll)

The monster is: 1d8 – 1) Small Shoggoth 2) Massive Deep One 3) Pirahnoid 4) Froghemoth 5) Toadopus 6) Star Spawn 7) Mi-Go Vivimancer 8) Minor Floating Polyp

Inside, there is: 1d10 – 1) Trash 2) Furniture, destroyed 3) Furniture, intact 4) Bootlegger cache 5) Gun Runner cache 6) Strange machines 7) Egg cases 8) Valuable artwork 9) Working vehicle 10) Occult Texts

The family is afflicted with: 1d12 – 1) Normality 2) Hallucinations 3) Benign Delusions 4) Innsmouth Taint 5) Leprosy 6) Malaria 7) Cholera 8) Strange Pets 9) Horrible Curse 10) Vengeful Spirit 11) Paranoia 12) Great Wealth

The house is connected to: 1d20 – 1) nothing 2) a mostly flooded basement 3) a nearby house via tunnels 4) a nearby house via rooftops 5) a distant house via tunnels 6) The Esoteric Order of Dagon 7) The Innsmouth Jail 8) the Manuxent River, via tunnels 9) Coastal sea-caves, via natural tunnels 10) Coastal sea-caves, via worked tunnels 11) Yhan’thlei via a gate spell 12) The Dreamlands, after midnight and before dawn 13) the Waite Mansion, via a private phone line 14) an underground complex via a basement hatch 15) a Federal Agent hideout 16) a forgotten charnel pit wherein ghouls meander 17) a secret cache of Civil War weapons 18) a hidden Christian Chapel 19) a trove of Deep One treasures 20) R’Yleh, through a time-warp gate

XSOLO1 - Lathan's Gold

You may have guessed that I am a fan of solo games and gamebooks.  My mom and dad started me off on this with Choose Your Own Adventure Books and the various knock-offs, since like a lot of kids back then I was into fantasy and sci-fi because of Star Wars.

Flash forward a couple of cartoon- and comic-soaked years later, add a dash of Moldvay and AD&D and stir it in a crummy neighborhood in Miami and you get me, bored and needing a game. What I got were the BSOLO and XSOLO modules - the former I've raved about and the latter I'd like to rave about, now, despite some of its flaws.

XSOLO1 - titled Lathan's Gold, is the Expert Set answer to The Ghost of Lion Castle. Of the two, BSOLO is my preference, but upon digesting the thing for 30 years I find Lathan's Gold to be a masterwork of solo gameplay. It has a couple of flaws - it's somewhat dry and spare but I imagine this is owing to the format. It's a standard TSR module with 3 columns and it needed to house rules for encounters and movement.  the scope of it is fairly broad (the Sea of Dread!) and although Lathan's story is foremost it is replayable via use of pregenerated PCs (each has a quest of their own) and random PCs the player might bring to the "table".  It's put together so that time pressure and resource management are serious concerns, which is something I found I liked when I encountered Barbarian Prince only a short time after.

You can sail around, get lost, encounter pirates and monsters, get sucked into a vast whirlpool. Experience a mutiny.  Trade with locals, hire sailors and marines and other NPCs. Dig up buried treasure, fight a bandit leader to the death over a woman. Climb a gold-spewing volcano.  The sheer number of things that can happen is very impressive given the space constraints and I wonder what might have been left on the cutting room floor.  It could even be used as a basis for a Sea of Dread campaign if the DM used it as the guide (culminated with the exploration of the Isle of Dread, naturally!)

I've given some thought to making an alternative quest list for the thing, since the 6 main quests can be rather played out in a rainy afternoon. But you know what?  That would maybe appeal to me and like 2 other people on the planet (not a good reason not to do it, I know).

It is frankly the basis of my next DCC solo module, in which an adventure for thieves is wrapped up in a high-seas hijinks kind of thing.  The focus will be on complex emergent solo play, of which XSOLO1 and Barbarian Prince are my favorite classical examples, and I think maybe the Kabuki Kaiser stuff is the best free-wheeling recent example.  This may sound weird but I always sort of enjoyed the desperate, charts and maps thing that Lathan's Gold offered. I may try to get ahold of Midnight on Dagger Alley and Thunderdelve Mountain, also.

alright, back to the workaday world.

Friday, May 22, 2015

Thursday, May 14, 2015

New DCC/RPG Projects

A one trick pony am I:  I announce another DCC Solo Gamebook in the works right now.  I know, I know.

The other thing (probably first) is a multiplayer follow-up to HHSOLO 1, with some satirical Black Humor for good measure.  Political commentary.  Since it seems the way of things, I think my layout will go easier if going forward I just shoot for 6x9 format for everything - this presents both freedoms and constraints, but at least I won't need to retrofit a book down from 8.5x11, again.  I think since the demand was high, everything going forward will be paper first, and digital as a bonus or freebie.

The second thing is HHSOLO2, a solo DCC book just for Thieves.  Of course, now I know what works and what don't, I won't necessarily limit it to just Thieves, but thieving may be the focus of it.  Sure, there'll be a little bit for everybody but you'll not get deep down to the Heart of the Thing unless you're a Thief.

ominous foreshadowing?
This isn't going to be just hard in the way that HHSOLO1 is, it'll also TEST your Thieving Skills, and similar to a couple of other old-timey gamebooks there'll be a system of memory (maybe just a check-list) and I'm saying I don't mind bragging about stealing liberally from some of the concepts laid out in Mad Monks of Kwantoom by +Kabuki Kaiser.  Which, really, is maybe the most curry-filled and exotic thing I think I've ever played around with in bits and snippets.  And, I point out, I haven't looked at a single Secret without being directed to do so directly.

I will work on my 40K table and the Genestealer Cult here and there, as I am able.  And I'm running a Purple Planet game biweekly starting a month ago or so, and it appears to be taking of (at least on paper).

Friday, May 8, 2015

After the Mower, Larval Stage

I finished a thing for WayneCon next week, but maybe I think even the folks that don't get to go there might roll this around in the spirit in which it's conceived.  WayneCon will be one of those times when pictures will be insufficient to communicate the awesomeness of the brain waves engendered, so I offer the wavelength I'm at at the moment.  Payment to the community for just being fun people to interact with, bat things around with, create and explore with.  Like a mystical journey, dig?

For my part, I was in contact with some of the folks that will be at WayneCon when I had this game fall out of the sky into my head while I was mowing/thrashing the patches of weeds and roots that symbolized a lawn outside the trailer in the woods in which I lived with my wife and Very Tiny Baby.  Doug K.'s taken an interest an' this may suffice to whet our appetites, for a spell.  It's late - late means many prepositions and nested ones

That particular mowing, I turned about half way through and I noticed that the Bees were all hovering there, looking at me, as if to say ARE YOU GOING TO MOW THIS PATCH OF GROUND, MAN?  And I was struck by their patience and simple Stoicism and my time there was somewhat trying but almost always interesting in that way.  The game tumbled out of those bees into my ear and I laughed and I fleshed it out later, and it was better at one point but this is what I have, now.

The fox that attacked me, we had come across each other a couple of times in broad daylight when I was jogging in the woods - I didn't know then that each time we crossed paths it was getting more ominous and unsafe, and I was struck by wonder that an animal like that could be so flagrantly fearless.  Not a good sign.  And rabbits!  So many rabbits.  I learned that the woods kind of depends on large numbers of rabbits NOT making it, or else there would simply be too many rabbits, and hungry, ill, and desperate foxes.  Like after the tenth dying baby rabbit, it's not that your heart hardens, but Ants and Buzzards gotta eat same as Rabbits.

Here you go. Simple target numbers, modified maybe by 1 or 2 tops in either direction, 2d6 - you only need one die to signify a success.  2 1's is a critical success, etc. etc.  I think doubles of any kind ought to have some magic in it, so there.

Let me know what you think, or not.  A premise of the game is that Death comes for critters the same as anybody, and it's okay.  Life in the woods goes and goes and they don't tend to complain too much.

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