Sunday, July 30, 2006

Follow-up on "bad" gamers.

Here's a post from Levi Kornelsen's LJ. Levi's about the only theoretical person that I've encountered who I feel has anything worthwhile to contribute to the conversation.

He has some interesting things to say in this post. Makes me wonder where he's going with things.

Follow-up on "bad" gamers.
Okay, following up on 'The 'bad' gamers', a couple of posts back, I've got my own opinion. For those pointing to 'catpissmen', I left those out on purpose. Don't worry, we'll get to them later.

It's my opinion, based on my own experience, that people stick around in gaming and as gamers for a number of reasons that are not actually tied to playing RPGs. Some of these are neither good nor bad for the hobby - people that collect and read RPGs, people that just like tinkering with stuff, people with kids that just don't have time, and so on. I have no problem with these people; they've got a hobby that's strapped to mine at the hip. I also believe that we do have a few outright cranks; not so many as people like to say we do, but some.

Women put on disguises, pack pistols

If you can't use this as a hook for an adventure, you just aren't trying hard enough.

Women put on disguises, pack pistols
Gun-slinging females, some sporting fake beards, have conducted four stickups in Jasper County in the past 11 weeks in what investigators are calling an unusual, baffling crime spree.

The robberies started May 5 when a white woman wearing sunglasses, a cowboy hat and fake facial hair held up the Conoco gas station in the Brookshire Brothers' parking lot in Jasper, detectives said.

Jasper Police Detective Gerald Hall said the woman took $3,500 after she raised her shirt and flashed a handgun stuffed in the waistline of her pants.

'She was trying to look like a man,' Hall said.

Perhaps the robberies are raising the money for a laboratory in which to create an Alchymical Wedding, an ultimate union of man and woman into one form, one shape.

Or perhaps some new supervillain is on the scene...and this is the manner in which he or she forces their henchmen to dress...

Saturday, July 29, 2006

Kerouac's original 'On the Road' will be published

As long as we're on the subject of the Beats, this is really good news to hear. The publication of something this will really put a lot of tools in the hands of scholars and provide the capability to really critically open up Kerouac's seminal work. From a literary viewpoint, I think that this is as important an event as when the expanded and unexpurgated version of Joyce's Ulysses was released about twenty years ago.

This is going to be a must have for me on its release, and it will go right next to my copy of the restored edition of William Burroughs' Naked Lunch. Great, great news for those interested in American literature and the Beats.

Kerouac's original 'On the Road' will be published
It's literary legend, how Jack Kerouac wrote his breakthrough novel On the Road in a three-week frenzy of creativity in spring 1951, typing the story without paragraphs or page breaks onto a 119-foot scroll of nearly translucent paper.

In fact, the Lowell native revised the book many times before it was published six years later, and while the scroll came to symbolize the spontaneity of the Beat Generation, the early, unedited version of the novel never reached the public.

Now, in time to coincide with the 50th anniversary of the novel's publication, the version of On the Road that Kerouac wrote on the scroll will be published next year in book form for the first time, said John Sampas of Lowell, the executor of the writer's literary estate and the brother of his third wife, Stella. It will include some sections that had been cut from the novel because of references to sex or drugs.
[via Boing Boing]

Guardians of Order - Closed

Well, I don't think that it is a surprise but it is still sad that it has come to pass. This is from George R.R. Martin's website. I think its a shame that the news didn't come from Mark officially, but it shouldn't be a big shock at this point.

I know that Mongoose has long been interested in Tri-Stat/BESM and that they have been talking to some of the Magnum Opus publishers. Only time will tell. For fans of BESM and the Tri-Stat systems, I hope that this will mean a happy ending.

News -- George R.R. Martin
I regret to announce that Guardians of Order, the Canadian games company that issued the GAME OF THRONES role-playing game last fall, is closing its doors and going out of business.

Although the GoO website remains open and there is some fan activity on the message boards there, it would appear that orders are no longer being fulfilled and emails to Guardians itself are going unaswered. The company's office has been vacated, and the company phone has been disconnected, When I finally reached GoO's owner and president Mark MacKinnon last week, he confirmed what many had come to suspect -- that he is shutting down operations. MacKinnon is presently attempting to place some of GoO's games with other companies.

I am not privy to all of the details of how and why Guardians is going under, but I do know the company's finances were very badly affected by the decline in the value of the American dollar against the Canadian dollar. Most of GoO's sales were in the United States, so a weaker dollar meant less money coming in. The massive and gorgeous GAME OF THRONES role-playing book, four years in the making, was finally released last November (for details, see the news stories in my archives) and appears to have sold quite well, but its success proved too little and too late to save Guardians of Order.

I am presently attempting to work out some sort of settlement with Guardians that would allow the RPG to continue with another company, but at this writing the future of the game (if any) remains unresolved.

Ironically, this announcement comes just as the GAME OF THRONES RPG has been nominated for four 'ENie' awards as one of the best games of 2005. The game has been nominated in the categories of Best Production Values, Best d20/ OGL Product, Best Product, and Best Game. If you're a fan of the game and would like to cast a ballot, voting is open until July 30 at

Blogs really aren't supposed to be edited (well, if you are in the Rebecca Blood school of blogging) but I decided to link to this thread on the Mongoose Publishing forums which may cast some light on who might end up with some of the pieces of Guardians of Order. Although if you haven't figured out who I'm talking about by now I would be greatly shocked and surprised.

I return you now to your regularly scheduled Dorkland!

Windmills of My Mind

Another windmill
Originally uploaded by Dylan Reece.
I saw this picture on Flickr and it reminded me of the time machine windmill from the Arcadia storyline in Grant Morrison's The Invisibles. This picture makes me want to construct an adventure around a windmill time machine. I don't think that I would go to the French Revolution to recruit DeSade though, but I'm not sure where I would take the story.

I loved The Invisibles. I admit that it got off to a bit of a rocky start. The original storyline with Dane being recruited into the group just didn't get it started for me, but the Arcadia story rocked on toast. If you haven't read it, you should really pick up the early trade collections and get an idea for the story. In hind sight, it was pretty ahead of its time, which is why I think that it almost was cancelled. It is also head and shoulders above The Filth. As great as Morrison's writing can be when its can be just as bad sometimes when he's off.

But then I don't expect creators to be one hundred percent consistent in their creativity. Its a bit naive to think otherwise.

Meanwhile, back at gaming. As much as I loved The Invisibles, I just don't see it an RPG. The very things that made the comic cool would fall apart when subjected to the overly anal scrutiny of a licensed RPG. That's not to say that elements of the comic and its stories can not be utilized, far from it. I think that the metafictional elements of the story in particular could really enliven an RPG (with the right group for it, of course). This is the thing that tripped up R. Talsorian's Dreampark RPG for a lot of people, at least through my experiences with groups and running the game for a few slots at a con, they couldn't grok the metafictional elements of the game. Sure, they could handle playing a character but a lot of them tripped over playing a character who was playing a character. Maybe it was just too many layers involved.

Perhaps a game where the players have characters who are aware of their being players would be the way to go. I think that something like this would be easy enough to implement in pretty much any system. It would pretty much just be a matter of bringing the table talk down to the character level, and I think that there are a number of gamers out ther already doing the handful of D&D games that I have experienced have evidenced.

But, there you go. A picture of a windmill on flickr send me thinking of The Invisibles, which takes me down to thinking of what I can implement in my games. This might be an interesting experiment to bring into my Tri-Stat super-heroes game. I'll have to bring it up to the players tomorrow.

Oh, I Am Wounded!!

From here:
Comment by Meister Cockstrike — July 29, 2006 @ 1:00 am

Oh yeah, "cjh". Cute, even better.

"Hey, this one guy’s blog post reminds me of X. I really hate X. All participants of X are pretentious whiny gasbags. F***ing makes me sick, that X. X folks are always putting us down, the way they say "we don’t get it". X totally pisses me off"
(psssst: This Blog is Not X, Doesn’t Say X, has NOTHING to do with X, so nice f***ing tangent that has nothing to do with f***ing anything)

I am tired of the preening. I am tired of the self-aggrandizing attacks against those who "Don’t get it."

Nice, gasbag. Keep banging that drum about X. When you come to your senses after you’re done jerking off, might want to read this journal post again, and how like he says nothing that you’re implying. No "don’t get it's", no "you’re deluding yourselves", none of that s***.

Way to build a strawman out of his own baggage.

BTW, this is the same guy who keeps jamming up craft threads on RPGNet, saying "I’m a *great* GM. I don’t need advice or rules to help me run my games, and therefore nobody else should either". Whatever.

There’s nothing to read over there; If I want to watch people see s***, then go off on that sh** because it "reminds them of X, and I f***ing hate X", I’ll go to f****ing Stormfront and read the real retards do it with style.

Yeah, I guess that I did misunderstand the comparison to one of the most important literary movements of American literature. You are so right, "Meister Cockstrike," I should have just realized that it was something humbly submitted. Nice and classy way to "refute" a comment by the way do the words ad hominem mean anything at all to you? Probably not. Not a big shock that the "method" used by this "movement" that prides itself on its intellect would be profanity and dick jokes. If you can't refute the claims then attack the person making them. Of course, in this country at least, it is a method that has been institutionalized into people by our political leadership. Its still pretty sad to see something like this coming from a "grown up." It must be that brain damage that gamers are suffering from.

Well, like I said in my comments to the post that started all of this, I have the IPs of people who have commented (whether they left a name or not) so I'm pretty sure that I know who posted this. Personally, between the pointless profanity (which I edited because I really don't think that there is a point behind it) and the adolecsent "humor" of someone posting as "Meister Cockstrike," I don't really think that I have to even attempt to discredit this "commentator." Thank you for showing how your great revolutionary and intellectual movement responds to others.

Again the strawman comes up and once again I will comment on it. I will say that I do love the fact that he uses the fallacy that because the post that ignited all of thi doesn't say the things that I never claimed it said that the rest of what I said must therefore be wrong. Wow. If that's the best that you guys can do, I am really not impressed. Of course when a movement's vanguard operative hides behind a name like "Meister Cockstrike" I guess that I shouldn't be surprised.

As to the personal attack regarding [Craft] threads on, I call BS on that. Demonstrate where I have said a single thing like that in one of those threads. Unlike some I never presume to push what I need or want in a game onto others, and I would never make a comment to the effect of "I don't need rules for X so they shouldn't be in games." What? I don't even understand a viewpoint like that, let alone attempt to enforce one. Of course I put a comment like the one that "Meister Cockstrike" has attempted to attribute to me in the same category as those who say "This game devotes more pages to combat than to social activities, so it is a combat game." Um, what? But regardless, this is just the sort of thing to be expect from these people and they wonder why people lose interest in a "movement" that is defended by people with as mature of name as "Meister Cockstrike." Indeed, quiet lame and really quite sad for that person. I pity the person who thinks that they have to act like a 14-year old in order to get the attention that they so desperately crave. It must be a sad life to be so dependant upon the attentions of others.

Regretfully, I find myself agreeing with the RPGPundit about the wounded personalities in this "movement." Again, though, the only word that I can come up with to sum this up is sad. It is sad that people invest so much of their identity in a game that they feel that they have to act this way over them. Ironically, these same people look with disdain upon the brain damaged and those whom they call the socially inept in our hobby. Ironic and more than slightly amusing.

Look, if you feel so invested that you have to mindlessly attack...have at it. It is obviously that important to you, and I wouldn't want to take away from you anything that defines who you are so strongly. If you think that I am losing sleep over these comments, or indeed even spending the time when I am away from this blog in contemplation of them...well you're wrong on that account. Keep in mind that your "opinions," such as they are, have no impact upon me. I just don't care. Of course now one of the amateur psychologists will be saying, "Of course he cares...look at all of the time and effort he has expended." Thinking that just means that you don't get it, do you? I don't care because I know that your "opinions" are wrong and are coming from some sort of weird, broken perspective and because of that they don't really matter. When people can create a discussion that doesn't have to do with resorting to name-calling, using puerile names like "Meister Cockstrike" (which sounds like something out of Beavis and Butthead or one of the lamer moments of one of Kevin Smith's movies), or ridiculous claims like those silly brain damage ones then perhaps your opinions can matter. Up until then, no dice.

Of course this isn't some battle between the traditional and those who think they are "revolutionary." I can sum up my feelings fairly simply: whatever.

Oh, and by the owe me a drink for all of this.

Friday, July 28, 2006

Fantasy writer Gemmell dies at 57

While I've never actually read his books, I know that he has a big following. I figured someone reading the blog might be interested in his passing. Besides, its a pleasant diversion from the evils of indie gaming.

Fantasy writer Gemmell dies at 57
Fantasy novelist David Gemmell, best known for stories such as Legend and Waylander, has died at the age of 57.

Gemmell had heart bypass surgery two weeks ago and appeared to be making a good recovery, according to his publisher Transworld.

Regardless of whether or not you are a fan, he will be missed.

Listen Up You Primitive Screwheads! (a rant)

I thought that this was a pretty good post of Jeff's and it seems to me to be in theme with my posting of yesterday. This might be a topic that I'm going to be stuck on in my blogging for a bit.

If you haven't already, you really need to check out Jeff's blog. He's got the good stuff.

Listen Up You Primitive Screwheads! (a rant)
Then what on earth makes you think that roleplaying games will ever be as popular as they were in the 80's?!?

Let's get this out on the table: D&D was a fad in the mid-eighties. Nothing more, nothing less. Like any other fad a handful of social misfits continued to hold it near and dear to their hearts long after the rest of the world stopped caring. You and I are those rejects. And our beloved hobby will almost assuredly never reach the heights it did back in the day. Just get over it, please! Don't attempt to position RPGs in the mainstream. They were already there and the mainstream world moved on.

Thursday, July 27, 2006

Monkey Do, Monkey See

Probably the most aptly named blog in the entire world.

Monkey Do, Monkey See
We’re making something good, you dig? It’s like the fucking Beats (with less serious drug problems) or Parisian Bohemians circa 1890. We’re making something new, something that changes the way people see. We’re making art and the art is good.

Ok. This is going to piss people off but I don't care. This has to be the most retarded comment about gaming that I have ever read or heard. Frankly I would feel that way regardless of whether or not it was about game designers and games that I like or not.

Comments like this make me weep for the educational system in our country, the state of ignorance of literature and the arts that makes people think that comments like this one are cool. Like I said, this is going to piss people off but I don't care. See, the cool thing about this is the fact that this is my playground and I can talk however I want.

This is similar to my encounter with some art school students at a local art festival. It turns out that they said they were doing Outsider Art.

Wikipedia on "Outsider Art"

Here's a relevant passage:
While Dubuffet's term is quite specific, the English term "Outsider Art" is often applied more broadly, to include certain self-taught or Naïve art makers who were never institutionalized. Typically, those labeled as Outsider Artists have little or no contact with the institutions of the mainstream art world and they often employ unique materials or fabrication techniques. Much Outsider Art illustrates extreme mental states, unconventional ideas, or elaborate fantasy worlds. Since 2000 the EUWARD, the European Award for painting and graphic arts by mentally handicapped artists, is providing this art with an international forum.

Outsider Art has emerged as a successful art marketing category (an annual Outsider Art Fair has taken place in New York since 1992); thus the term is sometimes misapplied as a catch-all marketing label for art created by people outside the "art world" mainstream, regardless of their circumstances or the content of their work.

The bolded part was emphasized by me. See, Outsider Art isn't something that one does it is something that one is. In my mind, one of the foremost Outsider Artists would have been Harvey Darger.

Wikipedia on Harvey Darger

See, kind of like being an outsider being revolutionary isn't something that one wakes up in the morning and decides to do. Sure, if you're Picasso or Tristan Tzara or Dali or a handful of those people who were the true Geniuses (deserving of being capitalized) of our world. Did those people talk about how they were revoltionizing the art world? Well, Picasso might have but then despite the Jonathan Richman song he was a pretty big asshole.

So, yeah, this sort of attitude pisses me off. It has pretty much always pissed me off and it will always piss me off. I am sure that if this little rant gets out into the big bad world (which I seriously doubt because I have no delusions about the limits of my audience...although from the sales figures that I have seen this blog has had more unique visitors than many of those revolutionary games have sold copies of) I will be besieged by the holy warriors and proslytizers who will seek to defend the faith from barbarian insurgents. I don't care.

I am tired of the preening. I am tired of the self-aggrandizing attacks against those who "Don't get it." I am tired of the charges of brain damage and being unable to do something as simple as tell a story. You know what? The last time that I tried I was able to tell challenging and engaging stories during my games sessions without the aid of mechanical "innovations" that actually take a gamer by the hand and force them to tell the kinds of "stories" that their designers think are cool. I am tired of people being told that the way that they game is "a myth" or that they are somehow "deluding themselves." I am tired of the whole bloody thing.

It is truly sad that people think that the only way that they can make themselves "cool" is to deride others and/or puff themselves up and prance about like silly little fops, or children who have touched their genitals for the first time and thought that they are doing something revolutionary...something that no has every done before.

I think that is all, that that is enough on the topic for now. Comment at your own risk.

Sunday, July 23, 2006

The 95 Theses of Geek Activism

I think that this is a very important thing to read. Now, more I think than ever, you really can't isolate yourself and do nothing about what is happening in the world around you. It is that attitude by the majorities that has gotten this world into so much trouble.

The 95 Theses of Geek Activism
Geek activism has not taken off yet, but it should. With the gamers recognizing the need for a louder voice, EFF gaining momentum and Linux taking on the mainstream on the one hand and recent severe losses in privacy, freedom of speech and intellectual property rights on the other, now seems to be the best time to rally around the cause.

Geeks are not known to be political or highly vocal (outside of our own circles)- this must change if we want things to improve. So here is my list of things people of all shapes, sizes and sides of the debate need to know. Some of these are obvious, others may not be meant for you. But hopefully, some of these will inspire you to do the right thing and others will help you frame the next discussion, debate or argument you have on these topics.

  1. Reclaim the term ‘hacker’. If you tinker with electronics, you are a hacker. If you use things in more ways than intended by the manufacturer, you are a hacker. If you build things out of strange, unexpected parts, you are a hacker. Reclaim the term.
  2. Violating a license agreement is not theft.
  3. All corporations are not on your side.
  4. Keep in touch with everyone you can vote for and make sure you know where they stand on the issues you care about.
  5. More importantly, make sure they know where you stand on the issues you care about.
  6. Everything will enter the public domain some day- even Mickey Mouse.

[via Boing Boing]

Yunyu - Lenore's Song

After Seeing this on Warren Ellis' website, I decided to post it here. There's some interesting imagery that may be useful for Urban Horror games.

Here's a link to the artist's website.


This is just screaming out to be used in someone's Urban Fantasy campaign. Come on, you know that you want to use it. Share your stories if you do.

A strip club's anatomically correct gargoyle flusters county officials
An anatomically correct gargoyle outside a suburban West Palm Beach strip club has been a moving target of intrigue for county officials who've been snapping photos, debating the creature's artistic merits and commenting on its proportionality.

"Harold," a 1,200-pound, 7-foot-tall statue made of hardened clay, is a fanged, winged creature with a long tail.

T's Lounge owner Gary Odle has moved his 7-foot statue, called Harold, to different spots to allay county concerns.

But they're not the anatomical features getting all the attention and causing T's Lounge owner Gary Odle to move the gargoyle again and again around his property to allay the concerns of county oglers.

Sunday, July 16, 2006

Seanbaby's Super Friends Page

Just a random link to Seanbaby's Super Friends page, a website that makes "Superman Is A Dick" look like a Russian Drama.

Seanbaby's Super Friends Page

"For example, people like you can see an oven and grunt outloud, 'oven is hot. hot things hurt. hurt is bad. it is bad to touch oven.' The Super Friends see an oven and shout, 'oven... heat... lava... Great Gotham! The Legion of Doom's headquarters is in the heart of a volcano! Let's roll!' But the most insane part is that they're usually right. After they're done spitting out nonsense, they jump into the volcano (sometimes in protective lavaproof jumpsuits), rescue Aquaman, stop the bad guys without punching them, make a joke about how it was a 'HOT TIME!' and the only thing you did was sit in a room next to an oven and not touch it. You suck."

Fawlty Towers gets a 4-star facelift

Like Monty Python, Fawlty Towers holds a special place in the hearts of geeks everywhere.

Fawlty Towers gets a 4-star facelift

"Check into the Hotel Gleneagles in Torbay these days and you will no longer be confronted with out-of-date kippers or senile Majors. For despite inspiring cult TV comedy series Fawlty Towers, the property has undergone a £1m refurbishment and plans to relaunch as a four-star boutique hotel.

"Under new ownership since February, the hotel's luxury facelift has ushered in a new ground-floor swimming pool and al fresco dining area, a luxurious lounge and a conservatory. Ceilings have been raised and Italian chandeliers installed, while over 40 skip-loads of rubbish have been removed.

"The character of Basil Fawlty was inspired by a former manager at the hotel; he gave John Cleese and the Monty Python team a frosty welcome when they booked in 1971. The ferocious host berated them for not holding their knives and forks correctly and threw one of their briefcases over a wall believing it could be a time bomb."

Tuesday, July 11, 2006

The Original Flatland Role Playing Game

After hearing about this on a mailing list, I thought that it was a really good idea to pass it along to as many people as possible. If you haven't checked out one of Marcus Rowland's RPGs already, you really should and because of the charity element this is a really good place to start.

I did see an early version of Marcus' Flatland game and it was really intriguing. The guy comes up with some really cool concepts.

The Flatland Page

Imagine a world of two dimensions and plane geometry, in which the very idea of height is considered insanity and the darkest heresy. Where the only thing that matters is the straightness of your sides and the regularity of your angles. Where the slightest deviation from the norm can lead to arrest, imprisonment, execution (and consumption by your peers) or a lingering death by starvation.

Welcome to Flatland. Enjoy your stay…

Action and adventure in a world where characters are supposed to be two-dimensional!

Whether your adventures take you to the criminal classes of The State and an encounter with legendary gang leader “Scarside” Al Gebra, across the border to Polygonia and an attempt to rescue Mad King Euclid, or into the glamorous world of politics and diplomacy with the multi-faceted polygons of the aristocracy, there’s something here for you. Best of all, by buying this game you’re supporting charity: All of the author’s income from this game will be donated to Médecins Sans Frontières (Doctors Without Borders)!

The Original Flatland Role Playing Game expands material originally published as part of the Forgotten Futures CD-ROM, completely rewritten and updated. It includes the novel, complete rules for the setting, three adventures and four adventure outlines, a complete wargame by Matthew Hartley (Tusk, Aeronef, etc.), full-colour cut out character figures, extensive background material, and much more.

You can buy a copy of the Flatland RPG PDF here.

Monday, July 10, 2006

Filk Inflicted Horrors

Filk Inflicted Horrors
Originally uploaded by cjh_cleveland.
From my pictures from Origins (finally getting posted). If you look to the far left you might make out "The Great Luke Ski." Consider yourself lucky that "see" is all you get. I hate filking with a passion and this performance did nothing to get rid of those feelings. Perhaps if GAMA hadn't felt the urge to inflict this filking onto a captive audience...

If you click on the name under the photo it will take you to the photos that I took and uploaded onto