Monday, December 28, 2009

Just Wrong: The Asylum's Princess of Mars (2009) Trailer

I, like many, am waiting for the John Carter of Mars movie to come out. Well, the fine folks at the masters of ripping off the blockbusters known as the Asylum have you in mind. Ladies and gentleman, I give you...

I like Antonio Sabato Jr. and Traci Lords, but--my god.

I did like the "Inspiration for James Cameron's Avatar" bit, though. I can apprecciate the chutzpah.

Sunday, December 20, 2009

Christmas Eve with Full Moon Entertainment!

With Christmas rapidly approaching, I turn now to one of my Christmas Eve traditions, after the eating of pizza or crab cakes. It's the wrapping of presents set to the velvet tones of the Full Moon Films Trailer Reel on DVD running in the background.

Yeah, I admit it's not watching It's a Wonderful Life or Prancer. But I love the B-Movies of the 80s and 90s, and Full Moon Films were a great part of my VCR viewing. They were definitely cheap and roughshod, but Charlie Band could make a fun bad movie most of the time. Full Moon had several long series of movies : Puppet Master (8 films), Trancers (6 films), and Subspecies (4 films).

Below are some of my favorite Full Moon Entertainment trailers. Most of them are from 1990 to 1995, when Full Moon had ties to Paramount Pictures. I (like many Full Moon fans) consider this the Golden Age of Full Moon Entertainment.

First is a promo that has clips from almost all of the Full Moon movies...

Trancers was released by Charlie Band's previous movie company Empire Pictures. I included it here beacuse the movie is really cool and Full Moon did five sequels to the film.

Doctor Mordrid is one of my favorite movies, and I really don't know why.

For more on Full Moon films:

Full Moon Direct the website for the most recent incarnation of Full Moon Films.
Full Moon Features on Wikipedia a decent history of Full Moon.
Full Moon Underground a message beard dedicated to Full Moon Films.
Full Moon Reviews is a blog/review site dedicated to Full Moon Films with great links.

Since I probably won't be on a computer until Christmas Day, today I'd like to wish everybody in the RPG blogosphere a Merry Christmas. It's been fun having this little RPG and More Blog, and I appreciate everybody who glances at it. So to you and yours, Merry Christmas. Now, the Angels' Carol by John Rutters.

Friday, December 18, 2009

Mini Six and BASH! Ultimate Edition: Some RPG Fun

So much for posting more on my blog. The weeks between Thanksgiving and Christmas are the busiest time in the grocery business. So time that could be spent writing up game stats and posting YouTube videos was time spent doing stuff like sleeping. I never understood how easily Pa could fall asleep in his chair until I got in my 30s. It's real easy.

Due to several good reviews and recommendations (especially by the legendary Dr. Rotwang), I downloaded the D6 Clone Mini Six by the fine folks at Anti Paladin Games. It's seven pages of pure role playing power. I think I have the engine for my Sci-Fi Original Movie-esque role playing game.

I also got a copy of the BASH! Basic Action Super Heroes Ultimate Edition by Basic Action Games. This is a simple superhero system with an immense amount of flexibility. There are rules for playing superheroes ranging in power from pulp heroes from the 30s to superbeings grabbing comets and beating the bejeezus out of each other. Check out the Basic Action Games RPG home page here for samples and order info.

Right now I'm trying to get some writing done, so I'll see you later!

Friday, December 4, 2009

RIP Paul Naschy

To the uninformed, horror actor Paul Naschy (real name Jacinto Molina) died on December 1. (I found about this on the Groove Age of Horror blog (link in my blogroll). This is a shame because he was a familiar face I always like in my horror movie journeys. My exposure to Mr. Naschy were mainly the dubbed versions of his Waldemar Daninsky werewolf movies (a great list is here). I saw plenty of these in the day, and I enjoyed them for the fun grindhouse they were. You think that Terminator continuity is confusing? Try figuring out the Waldemar Daninsky timeline. Great b-movie fun.

The other films of his I really liked were Horror Rises from the Tomb, Vengeance of the Zombies, and Return of the Zombies, all watched during my misguided youth.

Here are some Paul Naschy trailers:

Here is a two fights from the movie Assignment Terror (aka Los montruos del terror):

For some good reading (and viewing) I recommend:

Paul Naschy wikipedia entry
The Mark of Naschy: a website about the actor
Paul Naschy movies on YouTube

Friday, November 13, 2009

Happy Friday the 13th: The Series!

For your entertainment, on this Friday the 13th I have a treat. The first episode of one of my favorite guilty pleasures from the Golden Age of Syndicated Cult TV. It's The Inheritance, the first episode of Friday the 13th: The Series (or Friday's Curse in Canada and Europe)! Join Micki, Ryan, and Jack on their first adventure!

For More about the series and the cursed antiques check out the Wiki entry below.


Saturday, October 31, 2009

HF2009] A Nightmare on Elm Street 3: Dream Warriors: The RPG Part 2

Here’s a continuation of some notes on a Dream Warriors RPG. The first part is here.

The Setting

An RPG spun off from A Nightmare on Elm Street 3: Dream Warriors would need to have a more expansive world to game in than the movies provide. Of course, an RPG would have to determine if the sequels would affect the setting, but that is beyond this discussion. For now we are spinning off from Dream Warriors.

There are two realms that the PCs will adventure in: the Dream World and the Waking World. The Worlds are reflections of each other in many ways. What happens in one World can affect the other. A battlefield in the Waking World may be a spawning ground of demons in the Dream World. A person killed in the Dream World will die in the Waking World as well.

The Dream World

Most of the action of the game will take place in the Dream World. In this game it is the collected Dreamscapes of mankind. Most of the time, the Dreams of mankind play out quickly and fade away. Memories, fantasies and fears all infuse the dreamscapes that most people wander through in their sleep. Powerful minds and traumatic events can scar the Dream World, leaving permanent areas that do not fade. Examples of this are Freddy’s boiler room and the Dream Elm Street itself. When no one is dreaming in a certain area, the Dream World appears to be a warped reflection of the Waking World.

No one knows exactly what lives in the Dream World when no one is dreaming. What is known is that there are creatures born of fear, pain and death. Such beings are called the Nightmares. It is these creatures that the Dream Warriors battle in the shifting dreamscapes of the Dream World. These deadly creatures can come in all manner of shapes, sizes, and abilites, but they have several things in common.
  • They feed on fear, whether they have to kill or not.
  • They can manipulate the Dream World and themselves with an enhanced ability. These manipulations include shapeshifting, possession, dream warping, or pulling victims into the Nightmare’s personal dreamscape.
  • They can enter the dreams of their victims and stalk them there.
  • They are bound by rules and boundaries that define their strengths and weaknesses. Each Nightmare is different.
  • Their predations can affect the real world.

Not every Nightmare is a Stalker like Freddy Krueger. Some Nightmares are Bezerkers, hiding their killings on battlegrounds and killing fields. Others are Possessors who ride an unwilling victim playing deadly games until everyone around them is dead. Some are the personifications of stories told to frighten children, others are men driven beyond the point of madness who find dark power in dreams. All are deadly, and the possibilities are endless.

The Waking World

The Waking World may seem safer to the Dream Warriors, but it has dangers of its own. Most authorities don’t believe stories about a burnt man with razor claws killing your girlfriend. A string of suicides in a small town may lead to therapy and church going, but police wouldn’t expect a Nightmare feed off of the town. Pressing these issue can lead to commitment to an asylum, imprisonment or worse.

Many of the Dream Warriors are considered sick or crazy by societies’ standards. This can affect investigations in the Waking World, as many people won’t talk about that strange dream of a man trying to kill them. And most people will not be happy if you’re found with their son who has just been killed messily in a dream.

On the other hand, those in the Waking World who know about Dream Warriors and Nightmares may not have the PCs best interests at heart. Some in the Government knows about the Nightmares and is trying to capture or control them. Occultists and misguided dabblers tap in the Dream World to unleash “magical beasts” and “demons” into the Waking World. Some Vigilantes consider the Dream Warriors as bad or worse than Nightmares, and hunt them accordingly.

And then there are stories of Dream Warriors who are corrupted by unknown forces, preying on those they were created to protect. These are considered just stories…

System Ideas

Baring the development of a new system for a Dream Warriors game, I would consider some of these systems for roleplaying:

The generic systems: GURPS, Hero, Basic Roleplaying, True20, Savage Worlds, etc all have tools for this type of campaign.

World of Darkness: Give it a Dream Control stat and some cool powers, crib the Spirit rules for Nightmares. Or go classic WoD and steal from Mage, Werewolf, and Wraith.

Over the Edge: Freeform gaming in one of the weirdest settings in RPG History. Dream Warriors would be great in Al Amajra.

Sorcerer (Yes, that Sorcerer.) There is a great thread on the Indie RPGs board about using this game for an A Nightmare on Elm Street-style campaign. I may not agree with all of the pretentious game theory pap in the book, but I really like the system as a modern horror RPG.

Risus, PDQ, QAGS: These rules-lite games share the flexibility of Over the Edge, with their own flavors.

Slasher Flick
: Spectrum Games’ new slasher movie RPG can do a Dream Warriors game with a little tweaking.


A Nightmare on Elm Street 3: Dream Warriors
A Nightmare on Elm Street 4: The Dream Master

A Nightmare on Elm Street 5: The Dream Child
The other A Nightmare on Elm Street movies.
Dreamscape (1982)
Multiple Elm Street rip-offs
Sandman by Neil Gaiman
The Night Warriors series by Graham Masterton

Monday, October 26, 2009

[HF2009] Yellow Rhapsody, A Tale of Terror

This is yet more game material written when I was a member of All of the Above, the GURPS APA. Yellow Rhapsody is an adventure seed featuring The King In Yellow. It was written in the systemless style of Steve Hatherley's Tales of Terror. I first saw this format in Pagan Publishing's legendary Call of Cthulhu zine The Unspeakable Oath. Written in 1997, I consider Yellow Rhapsody one the best things I have ever created. The only changes made here are spelling and formatting. Enjoy.

Yellow Rhapsody
A Film by "Alan Smithee"


Man in the Mask:
To what do you hold dear?
Life, love, happiness, what all men hold dear.
M in M:
They mean nothing in the Tremors of the dance.
Then why do you dance if you have no pleasure?
M in M:
There is no question in the dance, no why, no how. We dance for the king. That is enough.
Who is the King?
M in M:
The name is all around you.
I see nothing.
M in M:
That is his name.

The packaging is deceptive. It is a video box decorated by colorful computer generated art with the title Tales of the Weird set in garish red. The back has text that promises terrors from these three college films. The only film company mentioned on the cover in "Weird Press Films".

The first and second films are normal horror films. "Early for Dinner" is an EC Comics-style fable involving a grifter who attempts to con a beautiful gourmet cook. He gets his comeuppance when she makes him the meal for a family of ghouls. "Last Call" is a bizarre black and white blending of German Expressionistic film and Italian zombie films. Two couples spend a night in a deserted Midwest farm and stumble onto a devilish device that alters their reality.

"Yellow Rhapsody" is the highlight. It is an animated film done in a minimalist, Alex Toth-like style. The plot involves a young man named Robert Chambers who gets a strange book from his grandfather—The King in Yellow. As he reads the play, characters inspired by it begin to haunt him day and night. Helped by the mysterious Man in the Mask and the lovely Cassilda, he pierces the veil and walks the halls of Carcosa. After a surrealistic journey he meets the King, who envelopes him in voluminous cloaks of yellow. The film ends with Robert dancing with Cassilda in the King in Yellow's court. The Man in the Mask looks to the screen and pulls of his mask, revealing nothing but a starry field and a yellow rune where his left eye should be.

Tales of the Weird
has become a cult classic due to the amount of disappearances connected to it. According to the legend that has grown up around it. The legend claims that "Yellow Rhapsody" was animated by a recluse who slit his own throat over the original cells of animation. It is a challenge, they say, to watch the film the whole way through. Something about the colors and the sound has a tendency to lull the viewer asleep or blur his vision. The ones that do claim that the camera plunges in the starry field and the credits begin to roll. An evil looking little boy with milky white eyes grins insanely as the credits begin to blur and break up, becoming unreadable.

Police are starting to take this case seriously. The suicides and disappearances on college campuses are starting to mount. Most of the original print run of the film has been seized and/or destroyed. Weird Press Films cannot be reached for comment.


1. The film itself is not the problem. It is the spirit of the animator that is the cause of the disappearances. The Mythos references were unintentional; he simply liked the King in Yellow. "Alan Smithee" lives within the original print of Yellow Rhapsody. He can perceive anyone who watches the entire film. After each viewing he attempts to take over the watcher. If he succeeds, Smithee drains life force or implants commands to watch the movie again. The disappearances are caused by the eventual destruction Smithee can visit upon a victim by draining them until they turn to dust.

2. The film is actually nested with subliminal messages put in by cultists at Weird Press Films. Throughout the video the Yellow Sign and other Mythos sigils and symbols are present. The other two short films also have references to the Mythos hidden within their narrative. The subliminals are a tool used by the cultists to recruit and identify. The curious ones are drawn to join the cult, while those who investigate the Mythos can by drawn out and eliminated. If innocents are driven to harm, that is not their concern.

3. "Yellow Rhapsody" is a cleverly disguised gate to Carcosa. If a person watches the film in its entirety (up to the grinning child), they become touched by the film. The viewer begins to watch the film over and over again and begins to see more detailed backgrounds. The sky forms into strange runes, the details in the clothes, and the characters' lines not heard before all become apparent. As the viewer becomes more drawn into the animation, the film becomes more nightmarish and surreal. The landscapes beyond the window become strange and alien, their inhabitants staring back. Screams of torture can be heard beneath the etherial music. Hallucinations begin to set in as the victim sees the characters come to life around him.

When sanity finally slips away, the Man in the Mask comes to snatch away the viewer, while Robert and Cassilda hold open the way to the city of Carcosa. The victim becomes one of the dancers whirling away to the dance of the Yellow King. A friend who watches the video might be lucky enough to see an old friend dancing for eternity in wild abandon as the Man in the Mask laughs mockingly.

Friday, October 23, 2009

[HF2009] Random Halloween YouTube Trailers and More

Here are some spooky, strange, and funny YouTube trailers for you:

The Inhumanoids intro--the best kiddie Lovecraft on Television!

The 13 Ghosts of Scooby Doo intro--Vincent Price on Saturday morning. I loved that show, even with Scrappy and the annoying con artist kid.

The Masque of the Red Death--the trailer to my favorite Poe/Corman/Price film

A short horror film from the guys and gals at FEWDIO called Viral. As the descrption on YouTube says: "There were supposed to be no photos of Albert "The Carnivore" Carneghy, and for good reason."

These FEWDIO guys have put out some really good horror short films. Check out their YouTube page or their website.

Finally, I got to end with some Italian Zombie films! Here are the trailers for Lucio Fulci's Zombie (Zombie 2 in Europe) and Dr. Butcher, MD (the cut-up American version of Marino Girolami's Zombie Holocaust).


Sunday, October 18, 2009

The Obelisk of Kronos Redux--In d30!

In the spirit of the really fun science fantasy material that is appearing in several blogs throughout the RPG Blogosphere, I present this random table. Set in the mighty world of Vanth from Encounter Critical, this table originally appeared in the world famous Encounter Critical Mailing List Files section using a d20. I’ve dropped some of the reference notes, but added 10 more possibilities, ‘cause daddy’s using a d30!

The Obelisk of Kronos

An Encounter Critical Adventure Starter

The Players touch a strange obelisk and are swept away to a strange new place.

The Obelisk of Kronos: An indestructible 6-foot tall crystal carved in the shaped of an obelisk. References in the Dimensionomicon tie these artifacts to the mysterious Kronosians. An Obelisk of Kronos not bound to a Table of Thoth is prone to cause a lot of chaos.

When a character touches the obelisk they must make roll against the Saving Throw skill. Success leaves the victim shaken but not hurt. Failure results in a multiversal shift.

Roll a 1d30 and Check the table below.

1 Alternate Vanth—Roll a d6
1 Reverse Alignment Vanth: Evil guys are good, good guys are evil.
2 High Tech Vanth: No magic, just psionics and technology.
3 One Race Vanth: One intelligent race on Vanth, with many variants.
4 Robodroid/Lizardman War Vanth: terminators vs. serpent men for control of the world.
5 Super Vanth: Vanth with superpowers and comic book tropes.
6 GMs Choice. Go nuts.
2 Throneworld of Price Dax, Protector of the Insector Alliance

3 The home of the gods. Pick a pantheon and run with it.

4 The World of Mythika

5 Asteroid 1618

6 The Bridge of the Starcruiser Durandal

7 Victorian England Roll a d6
1-4 Historical
Steampunk stuf
8 Megatheira: Gargantuan monsters rampage this world

9 The Planet Klor, rotating around the star Betalguese

10 One of the Elemental Planes: Earth, Air, Fire, Water, Others

11 The Prison Dimension of Lord Dire Killblade, Thanatosian Overlord

12 Camelot Roll a d6
1-2 Classic Arthur
3-4 Twist on the Legend
5-6 Alternate Arthur
13 The plane of Limbo. Roll again or make up something REALLY weird.

14 The jungle realm of the Animal Lords

15 Post Apocalyptic America during the Neo-Luddite/Cyclor Empire War.

16 The Citadel of Honor, New Liberty during the Megaforce/Allied Battalion reunion

17 The Realm of Shatterstone, Crystal Warrior sector

18 The castle of Baron Bramm von Vulkav, country of Vulkavia

19 The Known Lands

20 Neo Chicago, 2255. You land in the middle of a battle between the Defender and Conqueror factions of the Transchangors.

21 Carcosa. One of them (Biercian, Chambersian, Tynesian, or McKinneyian)

22 Harlem, 1970s. Prince Mamuwalde is gathering monsters to his noble cause to fight inhuman creatures worse than he is.

23 Atlantis. Pick one of the thousands of version of Atlantis.

24 The Gothic Empire of Terra during the Andromedan Crusade against the NecroOrks of Antares.

25 The Keep on the Borderlands

26 New Georgia Megastracture, Mecha Police Squad

27 Modern day Earth, Illuminated.

28 The middle of an active wormhole. The players get stuck wherever the wormhole leads, and with whoever was going through it.

29 Somewhere in the history of Vanth.

30 GMs Choice: Anyway from TV, movies, books, other games or anything else.

Some Notes:

Multiversal Shift: The act of traveling through the multiverse at random.

The Dimensionomicon: A tome containing vast amounts of information on the multiverse and the omniverse. There are many different editions and versions of the Dimensionomicon, so not all of the information is valid, honest or up to date….

Kronosians: A morphic race of mutiversal travelers who observe (or try to protect) the omniverse. They can incarnate 9 times before their energies fade into the omniverse. All Kronosians have a tendency towards overconfidence and curiosity.
Thanatosians: The opposition of the Kronosians, the Thantosians are a morphic race that feed of the death and destruction of the omniverse. Whiles they do not Incarnate like the Kronosians, they can take over bodies and make them their own.

Tuesday, October 13, 2009

[HF2009] Local Horror: The Spade County Massacre

I went to ZombieCon X on Sunday. This was a local horror movie convention I heard about by luck. I had a blast, watching movies, talking horror movies and getting some autographs. My camera took a puke, so I don't have any visuals. I got Sid Haig and Dee Wallace's autographs, and both of them were really cool.

There were also some independent film makers there. The movies were good, but the one that intrigues me the most was the New film by local Milwaukee filmmakers Sixth Street Entertainment:

The movie isn't out yet, but check out the trailer:

And check out the Spade County Massacre website. It's full of great background material about the movie.

I love the fact that people are making horror movies in my neck of the woods, and I'll throw some love their way for doing it.

Monday, October 12, 2009

Blackest Breakfast

I got this from The Groovy Age of Horror blog. The image has been surfing around the web today. It's based on DC Comics latest mega-crossover Blackest Night. I thought it was funny.

Friday, October 9, 2009

[HF2009] A Nightmare on Elm Street 3: Dream Warriors: The RPG

One of the better sequels of the Nightmare on Elm Street series was A Nightmare on Elm Street 3: Dream Warriors. The dreamers fighting against the Nightmare Freddy Krueger with enhanced abilities was a concept I’m surprised no one ever “borrowed” for a roleplaying game. For fun, here are some system-less notes on making a campaign based of the movie. So in honor of Halloween, I give you:

A Nightmare on Elm Street 3: Dream Warriors the RPG


Freddy Krueger is dead.

Freddy Krueger was not the only Nightmare stalking the Dreamworld. There are other predators that can kill you in your dreams. Twisted beings that can affect the Waking World by guile and brute murderous force.

But there are guardians of humanity that can fight the Nightmares in their dreams. Forged by trauma, fear and will they may be the last hope against an onslaught of terror.

They are the Dream Warriors.

The Players

The Players in the Dream Warrior RPG portray Dream Warriors, people who are able to wield strange powers in the Dreamworld to battle the deadly Nightmares. Characters can come for all sorts of backgrounds. Some may even be in comas or institutions. What they all have in common is that they have amazing abilities when they go to sleep. Some Dream Warriors have enhanced strength or amazing combat abilites. Others can change shape or wield “magical” powers. Beyond Dream Warriors are the rare and hunted people who can manipulate the fabric of the Dream World itself. These few are called the Dream Masters.

Character creation involves creating a character with two aspects: a Waking Self and a Dream Self. The Waking Self is the character in the Waking World, which is similar to our world (or the movie version thereof). The Waking Self will have little access to Dream Powers in the Waking World. A central concept of the Dream Warriors RPG is conflict, both within and without. In addition to stats, skills, etc, the characters each have a trauma, a secret, and a goal. These are not only role playing notes, they are anchors for the character, and why they fight.

The Dream Self is an idealized image of the Dream Warrior. In the Dream World the mute can speak and the paraplegic can walk. The Dream Powers that Dream Warriors wield are what set them apart from other Dreamers. This is not a superhero RPG, though. A character will manifest powers that tie into the goals, personality and traumas of their past. Examples include Joey’s (the mute kid’s) sonic scream, Kincaid's super strength, and Kristen’s ability to draw people into her dreams. Dream Powers could work as various powers or tied to a Dreaming stat or skill.

Coming next week: A Nightmare on Elm Street 3: Dream Warriors the RPG setting ideas and thoughts on different systems. Ciao!

Monday, October 5, 2009

[Halloween Fun 2009] Why Peter Cushing Is A BAD Man!

From the classic Hammer Film Brides of Dracula:


[Halloween Fun 2009] Trailers From Hell

It been over two weeks since I last posted. I've been busy working at a new Pick 'N Save, and been a little worn out. But now until the end of the year, I plan to post more.

October 31 is, of course, Halloween. The rest of the month I'll be posting videos, game ideas, and fun RPG stuff.

First up is Trailers from Hell!

This awesome site is full of B-Movie trailers spanning years and genres . The twist to Trailers from Hell is that each trailer has commentaries from B-Movie Luminaries like John Landis, Joe Dante, and Larry Cohen. It a fun site to waste a couple of hours tooling around the over 300 reviews. Plus, you can view or download the trailers with or without commentary.

On the RPG front, Trailers from Hell is a great site to get adventure ideas. Pick a couple of trailers, steal--I mean, borrow some ideas, and run an adventure based off of them.

Big Mike David says check it out!

Tuesday, September 15, 2009

RIP Patrick Swayze

We lost a decent actor yesterday. He was in some good movies.

Rest in peace, Patrick.

And remember,

Thursday, September 10, 2009

Labor Day Eve Zombie Marathon

A tradition in the David household is the customary viewing of cheesy B-Movies the Sunday before Labor Day instead of the Jerry Lewis Telethon.

Okay, it's just a Mike David Jr tradition, but it's still a great one.

The movies for this year were determined by a great find at Half Price Books' 20% Off Sale. It was the Zombie Pack (Zombie 3/Zombie 4 - After Death/Zombie 5 - Killing Birds) by Shriek Show for about $10! Add to that Lucio Fulci's Zombie (aka Zombie 2 in Europe), and you have a Zombie festival you can bite into.

Presented for you now are the trailers to the movies I watched. Some of these may not be safe for work. You know zombie films.

That was some cheesy fun. Makes me want to play some All Flesh Must Be Eaten.

Friday, August 28, 2009

Gen Con in My Back Yard 2: 17 Years of Memories

In a previous blog, I related a small bit of my life with Gen Con being based in my hometown Milwaukee, Wisconsin from 1985 to 2002. This was the first part of my entry into the RPG Blog Carnival for August 2009, hosted by Chgowiz. Below in no particular order is a Baker’s Dozen of reminisces of my 17 years going to Gen Con.

  • Having my 1988 Gen Con/Origins program signed by Gary Gygax. That complete story is here.
  • Getting in my first auction battle over a Chill RPG boxed set with some extra goodies. It ended up costing me $30, but it was an exhilarating victory.
  • When I was Entertainment Arts Editor for the MATC Times (a college paper), some of my fellow editors and I went down to Mecca the Wednesday before the Con. Long story short, I got a Press Pass good for the entire Con as long as I wrote an article. My friend Phil said my eyes were glazing over. TSR did have a nice pressroom, and the press liaisons were swell. That was a great Con.
  • Going to Gen Con for the entire weekend on an Exhibitors Pass. I was friends with the owners of one of Milwaukee’s FLGS and they were getting a table at Gen Con. As long as everybody ponied up the price of the pass, it seemed TSR didn’t care how many “employees” the store had. My friends had almost 30 "employees" that year.
  • That same year I got one of Pagan Publishing T-shirts along with the latest issue of The Unspeakable Oath. I wore it on Saturday. Several people asked me if I worked for Pagan Publishing due to the Exhibitors Pass. When I told the guys at Pagan what had happened, they laughed. One of them piped up that I should say I worked for Pagan Publishing and make up new products coming out.
  • Meeting up with friends that I made while writing for All of the Above, the GURPS APA. People from across the nation (and several foreign countries) had a little get together on several Saturday afternoons. I still have the APA issues with the pictures.
  • Sitting at my friends’ booth, and helping keep an eye on the table. (It also was a nice place to crash for a few minutes.) My favorite year was when my friends’ booth was across from a booth that played The Story of Ricky almost non-stop. Next to us was a booth for Billy Bob Teeth and some new company hawking their new game. The company was Pinnacle and their game was a Horror/Western/Steampunk RPG was called Deadlands. Nice fellows, I talked to them a couple of times. I wonder whatever happened to those guys?
  • Walking around the convention, I saw June Lockhart signing autographs. I wasn’t going to get one, but a sloppily dressed gamer stood right in front of her. I won’t go into details, but there was asscrack. I felt so sorry for Mrs. Lockhart, that I spent $15 for an autographed picture from Troll.
  • Talking with Claudia Christian for a minute about The Hidden. If I’m getting autographs, I have found that sometimes you’ll get a minute or two more if you pick something a little more obscure. Everybody was going for the Babylon 5 picture, but I really like her scene in The Hidden. Some brought her Playboy appearance. I didn't have that issue...
  • Pointing out some resin pieces to Adrian Paul. He seemed like a nice guy.
  • Pimping my friends’ miniature game Wehrmacht, a diceless giant robot miniatures game by Tyrant Games. And having Mira Furlan ask me why I was wearing something that promoting Wehrmacht because she knew what that meant. She still gave me an autograph.
  • People like Paul and Cheryl Lidberg from Crunchy Frog Enterprises and Phil and Kaja Foglio who remembered me from year to year. I made it a point of buying something from them every year.
  • Eating at the local Hooters at the Grand Avenue and having the waitresses come a sit with me. One of my best friends worked there at the time, and I had gotten to know several of the waitresses. They started to go through my bag and rifle through my purchases. Good thing that I put my issues of XXXenophile in my car…

This list could be endless. I could talk about going to the Safehouse, and having Lou Zocchi explain to me why his dice are the best in the world for the umpteenth time. The hidden treasures hidden in the boxes at Crazy Egor’s and having person after person tell me why their game in the NEXT REVOLUTION IN GAMING!


Maybe I should go to Gen Con next year.

Happy 92nd Birthday , Jack!

Today would have been Jack "the King" Kirby's 92nd birthday.

Do yourself a favor. Go read some comic books, and bask in the creativity Jack Kirby help build.

Thursday, August 27, 2009

Gen Con in My Back Yard 1 (RPG Blog Carnival August ‘09)

This blog is in response to the RPG Blog Carnival topic for August of 09. This month Chgowiz is hosting it over on his blog Chgowiz's Old Guy RPG Blog.

Milwaukee is many things. It’s the City of Festivals and a Great Place by a Great Lake. It’s been talked about in classic movies and classic television. It's the home of the Racing Sausages and the Bubbler. I’ve lived there all my life.

And for over 15 years it was the home of Gen Con.

It was the Saturday of Gen Con in 1986 that my dad dropped my friend Sean and me in front of Mecca Arena. My dad had given me $20 for the day. That was enough for a $5 visitors pass, some money for food, and 10 bucks for buying some gaming stuff.

I had never been to a gaming convention before. My knowledge of the gaming community was playing D&D and Marvel Super Heroes with my friends and reading gaming magazines. The games I had gotten were from places like Waldenbooks and B Dalton, or game stores like Napoleons in Milwaukee. Pa had heard that Gen Con was in town and asked me if I wanted to go. Of course I said yes.

Sean and I waited to get into the hall with everybody else until the magic 10 AM opening of the Exhibit Hall. When they opened the doors I was in Gamer Heaven. I played in Gaming demos. I got to see RPG and board games that I had only seen in advertisements in Dragon. I got to meet people who's work I had read and enjoyed. When Pa pulled up at 6 PM, we carted our grab bags full of catalogues, freebies and purchases and put them in the car.

“Did you have a good time?” Pa asked me when we got home.

“I’m going back next year,” I said.

So I kept my promise, finding some way to get to Downtown Milwaukee every year Gen Con was in town until it left in 2002. It became part of my summer tradition, getting up early in the morning on Con day to get an early start on the convention. Saving up the money to by up all of my small press favorites. I went at least 1 day to Gen Con every year from 1986 to 2002. That was some good times.

When it was announced that Gen Con was leaving Milwaukee, I was saddened but I understood. The city had never treated Gen Con with the respect that one of the biggest moneymaking conventions in the city deserved. Promised hotel building never took place, and other local decisions made the move to Indy inevitable. Late July 2003 was the first Gen Con I had missed in 17 years.

I finally made to Indy for Gen Con 2008 last year. I had a blast, and it was great wandering around the Con again. It felt like visiting a favorite cousin that lived around you for a long time, but moved away. I know I can always go to Indianapolis to attend Gen Con.

But I will always have the early Milwaukee Saturday mornings in August eating breakfast and getting all my Con gear together. Then I get in my car, driving about five miles to attend the Biggest Gaming Convention in the World, right in my backyard.

In the next blog, I tell some of my favorite memories of 17 years attending Gen Con.

Saturday, August 22, 2009

The Moldvay-esque Adventure Helper!

Everybody has his or her favorite authors and game designers. For me, Tom Moldvay is one of those game designers who influenced my role playing and my writing. Gary Gygax and Dave Arneson may have opened up the dungeon for me, and I started playing the Red Box Basic D&D edited by Frank Mentzer. But for lost cities, islands of dinosaurs and Clark Ashton Smith in my Dungeons and Dragons, that was Tom Moldvay .

And then there was Lords of Creation.

Every gamer has their guilty favorites. Lords of Creation is one of mine. I bought it for $10 at a long gone toy store at a lone gone shopping mall. This was the deep immersion to the zany world of Tom Moldvay. This game awoke my appreciation for the weird and bizarre in RPGs. One of the best descriptions of the game is here.

Submitted for your approval is a table designed to add a little Moldvay feel to any scenario. Roll a couple times on the table and let the fur fly!

The Moldvay-esque Adventure Helper!

Roll a d20

1 A portal opens to a random elemental plane: Roll a d6:
  1. Earth
  2. Air
  3. Fire
  4. Water
  5. Elemental Blend
  6. GM created elemental plane.

2 The Wild Hunt attacks! 1d3 Hounds and assorted beasties per player.

3 Anachronistic devices added to treasure-troves.

4 Strange prophetic dreams begin for the most intelligent player in the party. They can be useful, terrifying or both.

5 The vehicle the characters are traveling in is intelligent or a transforming robot.

6 A portal to the Plane of Shadow opens! Roll a d6:
  1. Terrifying visions
  2. Players take cold damage per GM choice
  3. 1d6 Shadows attack
  4. Shadow maelstrom! Everyone sucked into the Plane of Shadows
  5. A random player becomes haunted by an Schattendoppleganger
  6. Nothing, just some trippy descriptive passages

7 Ghouls attack! 1d6 Ghouls attack the party.

8 Random famous historical or fictional character interacts with the PCs.

9 Different versions of a creature or character meet and fight!

10 Genre mash. Add an unusual genre scene in the scenario. Think gun slinging orcs, cyborg elves, biotech dungeons, and haunted graveyard in a post apocalyptic city.

11 A portal to a parallel earth opens! GM Choice where it leads. Nazis are probably involved. Fricking Nazis.

12 A mysterious benefactor and/or their adversary choose to use the PCs are their representative in a grand conflict.

13 Random gates are littered through the campaign world.

14 A portal to the Realms of the Gods opens. Roll 1d12 for Mythos:
  1. Greco Roman
  2. Egyptian
  3. Chinese
  4. Japanese
  5. Babylonian/Sumerian
  6. Celtic
  7. American (North, Central, and/or South)
  8. Vodoun (The Loas)
  9. Pick a lesser known Earth Pantheon
  10. Animal, Plant, or Elemental Lords
  11. Lovecraftian Entities. This is not of the good.
  12. GM Created Pantheon or Neutral Ground
15 A portal opens that leads to a planet across the galaxy

16 Suddenly, dinosaurs attack! I got nothing. Throw a bunch of them at the PCs.

17 Have a sense or section of the scenario that is a tribute/homage to a popular book, movie or TV show.

18 Take every monster book in your RPG collection. Pick 5-15 monsters and sprinkle them throughout the scenario however you can.

19 A portal to a world based on a fictional setting opens. This can be an exact simulation of the setting, or one that is darker or lighter than the actual setting.

20 GMs Choice. Get as weird as you want. Some of my favorite moments in the Lords of Creation are scenes in the modules that make you say "WTF?"

Saturday, August 1, 2009

Encounter Critical Theatre #2: Starcrash (1978) Highlights

Submitted for your Encounter Critical/Star Wars ripoff approval, three YouTube videos celebrating Luigi Cozzi's masterpiece of space opera cheese: Starcrash!

And now my favorite scene in Starcrash:

My reaction when I first saw this scene:

a) Dead Silence. Then...

b) "That's F***ing Awesome!"

Monday, July 27, 2009

Vote for Swords & Wizardry in the Ennies

For the first time in several years I have voted in the Ennies, due to the great arguments by several of the blogs I check out regularly.

I voted for Swords & Wizardry by Mythmere Games because I really like how they did the game. I voted for publishers like Goblinoid Games, Green Ronin, Rogue Games, and other companies I really like. Other things I voted for were several Pathfinder modules (I like the setting), the massive Starblazer Adventures by Cubicle 7, and the Worlds of Dungeons and Dragons, Vol. 2 by Devil's Due Publishing (my friend Jim Lowder worked on it).

I also want to join the call for everyone to vote for Swords & Wizardry in the Ennies. It's games like this that will be the future of fantasy roleplaying.

And vote for Worlds of Dungeons and Dragons, Vol. 2 by Devil's Due Publishing, because my friend Jim worked on it and he's a pretty cool guy.

Sunday, July 19, 2009

GURPS IOU Available On e23!

One of my favorite GURPS Third Edition books was GURPS IOU, written by Elizabeth McCoy and Walter Milliken and illustrated by Phil and Kaja Foglio. It's a humorous setting (with darker options available), where the players go to Illuminati University an institute of higher and very weird learning.

I still have my copy signed by the artists. For a long time it was out of print, but Steve Jackson Games has finally put it out on PDF on e23. If you love a good comedic setting I say check it out.

Oh. You may ask what the O stands for in IOU.

You're Not Cleared For That!


Friday, July 10, 2009

Reports From Random City and Beyond

There have been a lot of sandbox settings showing up on the blogosphere lately, and I love them all. Here’s part of mine. It’s a supers/urban fantasy/conspiracy/action cartoons/pulp/B-Movie/whatever-else-I-can-think-of setting I like to call Random City.

Strange Happenings in the News...

In Random City, the crime rate has gone down in part to the controversial deputisation of several nonhuman clans. The clans, including the Ravenscar Gargoyle clan, and the Ironfist Forge Dwarves, have helped crush several drug rings and cult activities.

In Las Vegas, a small group of paranormals called the High Rollers stopped the latest plans of the Mad Pharaoh Elvis III. The crazed reincarnated Egyptian was trying to capture the Luxor to use as his base of operations. The incident did not reawaken Robert and his Seven Hoods, who will only return in Las Vegas’ darkest hour.

In Boston, the Phantom Fighters of Manhattan and hometown heroes The Scheimer Agency reluctantly teamed up again this week. Both ectoplasmic elimination agencies had to join forces to banish the latest manifestation of the Ghost Lord Benthor Gomax.

In San Diego, the recent upsurge in supernatural activity on the West Coast lead to the formation of the Summers Foundation. This organization, born under protest from both anti-paranormal and human rights groups, bills itself as clearing house for occult knowledge. Some say it equips monster slayers from around the globe.

In Washington DC, the original five Protectobots, joined by creator Dr. Richard Lionheart were honored for saving the President in 2004. They are the first Constructs to be so honored since the Alpha-9 robots were honored for saving Florida from Deep One attacks in 1995.

In Roswell, the Explorers of the Unusual unearthed a metal plate etched with pictograms similar to those found in Glozel, France. Unfortunately forces unknown stole the plate before in could be taken to Explorer Mesa.

In Indianapolis, the first annual Artifact Hunter conventions began on Thursday. Amid the usual protest whenever these intrepid archaeologists gather, the weekend is full of seminars, contests, and exhibits. Panels included in the convention include “Finding that Deathtrap”, “Betrayal as Part of the Business”, and “Love and Relics: Romance in the Field”.

In Omaha, authorities are dealing a rash of involuntary cybernetic enhancements that has developed in the past week. Victims of the “Cybering” incidents often awoke in their own beds, with the enhanced parts plainly visible. Said enhancements seem to be made of a flexible ceramic and resilient to damage. Calls are going out to the paranormal community for assistance.

More news as it develops!

Saturday, July 4, 2009

Happy 4th of July!

Happy 4th of July--Robot Chicken style!

Have a good one, folks!

Sunday, June 28, 2009

Visions of Vanth

A rare daguerreotype of the Zombie Princess

A clan of mutated dwarves use Deronic Psychic Enhancer to cause chaos

The Inquisitors of the Iron Dwarf King confront the latest scourge to come from the Path of Death

A battle of Dinowarriors rages near the lands of the Ape Sultans

A Handyman Lord and his mate rest in one of the more dimensionally unstable areas of the Waepeta Sorceror Palesade

Wednesday, June 24, 2009

Saturday Night in Edo: My First “Official” Game Fiction

Like many gamers, my friends Tim Beyersdorf and Jim Burzelic wanted to create their own games. They were working on two miniature skirmish games: one fantasy, one near future sci-fi. As they began working in the fantasy game, Tim and Jim, knowing I liked to write, asked me to write some setting vignettes for their games. I got paid $20 for four stories. The games are still in limbo.

The following vignette was written for Tim and Jim’s near future game. The game setting is a future Japan, where a rebuilt Tokyo returns to the name Edo. Corporations, criminals and concerned citizens all battled for survival in the urban jungle. Tim gave me the basic scenario for the vignette, and I ran with it. I’m pretty proud of this fiction, so I hope you enjoy it.

The story below uses characters and settings created by Tim Beyersdorf and Jim Burzelic, and are used with their permission.

A Typical Saturday Night in Edo, 2075

“Red Noodle” Tony dived behind the overturned truck, firing back at his attackers. It was at this point Tony decided that there were many things in his life that he hated.

Tony hated his nickname. He hated spending a good Saturday night looking for some corporate secret someone just had to have. He hated having an oyabun who seemed to be more interested in pleasure than the business of the yakuza. He hated whoever gave the gang than plans to the warehouse where he and his men were pinned down by gunfire. He hated the guards who fought better than the average security grunt. He pretty much hated it all.

Looking over past his cover, Tony spied a middle-aged Japanese man clad in a bright white suit marred only slightly by spurts of blood. No concern creased the man’s brow and he commanded his allotment of men with a mere gesture. The Man in White was a smiling assassin machine who preferred his swords and hands before guns. He had only ever spoken more than two words at one time to Tony. Some said he wore white because the man believed he was an agent of death.

Tony hated him. At this point hate overwhelmed the usual fear.

The thoughts of hatred were interrupted by the sudden punctuation of the truck’s roof by successive shotgun blasts. Tony took this time to curse loudly and retreat the opposite way of the gunfire. Seeking more cover to attack the source of this latest inconvenience, he heard a blood curdling “Yeeee Haaah!!” that made him stop in his tracks.

Tony realized that he was in much more trouble than he thought. Only one group would make such a blatant entrance to a running gunfight. Four beautiful women clad in a mix of modern armor and 19th century cowgirl wear, complete with cowboys hats. That group was the Tokyo Rangers.

He hated the Tokyo Rangers most of all.

Some people in Edo said that they were a secret cyborg unit created by an American corporation during the Franco-American War that obliterated the Euro. Others said they were avenging angels sent to Neo-Tokyo to bring justice to the corporations. The one that made the most sense went that the Rangers were three beautiful Texan sisters, their father a former Texas Ranger that moved to Edo after the War and took his young daughters there with him. The father died, or was killed by X, depending on who was telling the story. The sisters, three of them, and their half sister formed the Tokyo Rangers, to continue that tradition of the Texas Rangers in their adopted home city.

Whatever the truth was, there was no doubting their effectiveness. Tony had too many scars that reminded him of the skills of the Rangers. All four of them were now in the warehouse, engaging both the security guards and the yakuza.

The bulk of the security guards were fighting with the leader of the Tokyo Rangers, Wyld Storm. The beautiful redhead was the tallest of her sisters and was the best all around fighter of the group. One guard swung a nightstick towards her head with a frightening speed. Wyld caught the hand in midair and snapped it back with a sickening crunch. Using the force of the guard’s own movement, she swung the guard around to catch the bullets that raced towards her.

Advancing towards the warehouse office with her trademark shotgun was Melody Storm, the blonde sharpshooter of the sisters. With a wave of his hand, Tony sent some of his men to intercept her. Two of his men fired at her but she ducked behind a pallet jack near the office door. As soon as the yakuza thugs thought it was safe they advanced toward their goal. A shotgun butt to their unwitting heads allowed Melody to show them the error of their ways. Tony swore and tried to find a better place to plan.

The middle sister Constance Storm confronted the Man in White, drawing out the katana she always kept by her side. The slender brunette was the best martial artist of the Rangers, and had learned much from her stepmother. As the pairs’ swords struck each other, the sparks leapt to the warehouse floor. Each combatant circled the other, looking for an opening to strike, beginning a dance they had performed many times before.

Bounding through the combatants with the exuberance of youth was the youngest of the Rangers, their half-sister Temperance Storm. Her name was a misnomer, for the pink haired Eurasian beauty flew into the fight not with restraint, but with abandon, her knives cutting a path to be by her sister Melody’s side. Her blue eyes twinkled as she laughed at the chaos she caused.

Temperance’s path put her in range of Tony’s 9mm, so he decided that taking out one of the Rangers might make up for not being able to get the prize that his oyabun had sought. With his left eye closed he squinted his right eye to aim at that beautiful head to send the youngest Ranger onto the cycle of reincarnation. As his finger applied pressure to the trigger, Tony’s thoughts were stopped by the feel of cold steel pressing against the left side of his head. His grip on the gun loosened as a whisper filled his ears.

“You weren’t about to shoot my little sister Temperance, were you Noodles?” the voice asked.

Tony twirled around slowly and looked at his guest. The handsome Japanese man who held the pistol to his head smiled as Tony recognized him. The smile did not go to the man’s eyes. They were full of anger.

“Jimmy Yak!” Tony stammered. “Fancy meeting you here.”

Jimmy Yakamura, the wheelman of the Tokyo Rangers and man about town, dropped his smile and kept the gun steady. “Since when did the Yakuza have an interest in this dumpy warehouse, Noodles? Usually your boss deals in higher class fair than this,” Jimmy asked Tony.

“Just an ordinary retrieval until you and your girls showed up, Jimmy. This whole thing was a lot harder than it should have been. Hell, I shouldn’t even be telling you this but…”

Tony’s explanation was interrupted by Melody shouting to the Rangers from the warehouse office.

“This ain’t what we were told,” she yelled. “This here is Monataki property. And you know what those psychos usually have in places like this.”

Jimmy swore and started to shove his captive towards the rest of the Rangers loosing his grip on the Yakuza hood. Tony used this to elbow Jimmy in the gut and draw his gun on the fallen man. Before he could pull the trigger, a sharp whistle filled the air in the warehouse.

Suddenly the walls burst in and a stench filled the air that made everybody gag. Shambling through holes in the walls was decaying ambling mounds of flesh. Monataki Corp referred to them with a complex code of chemicals and serial numbers. Most Edo folks called them zombies.

The slower guards and yakuza agents were easy fodder for the zombies, being caught and eaten as the rest raced for the door. The moans both the Rangers and the Yakuza could hear on the other side indicated that the danger was not just on the inside of the warehouse.

As the zombies began to surround the Tokyo Rangers, the Man in White, and Tony, one person had enough voice to make a suggestion.

“Considering the situation, esteemed opponents,” the Man in White said, “I suggest a truce for now.”

That was the most that Tony had ever heard the Man in White say in one breath.

He definitely hated working on Saturdays.