Saturday, April 24, 2010

Friday, April 23, 2010

Friday, April 16, 2010

Doodles, Part 6 -- Marginally Better Than A Punch In The Face


Hitting Rotwang! in the face = COMEDY PLUTONIUM.



I like how this one came out. I used my Rapidographs.

Thursday, April 15, 2010

Doodles, Part 5 -- Return of the Awful Comics

Hey, guess what my wife found today? No, not that. She found my SD card! The one where I'd saved all those cartoons! 'Member?

...no?

You know, the ones I was posting a little over a year ago. You can get reacquainted by clicking here for Parts 1, 2, 3 and 4. They were silly comics that I was drawing at work, starring people from work, which I made up as I went along and passed out at work to keep spirits up.

At work.

They sucked, but people liked 'em anyway. No one complained when I posted them here; in fact they asked for more.

I guess that means I can continue the series...



There. I got more, but I'm gonna stretch 'em out.

Tuesday, April 13, 2010

WHOA, -HOA-HOA-HOAAAAAAH -- Paging Eldrad Wolfsbane!

WAAAAAIT, waitwaitwaitwait. I just -- hang on, now, I just read this comment from Eldrad Wolfsbane on 10 January of this year and I was like, WHAAAA--?!


Having played the 1st, 2nd, snd revised version, and having one of the very rare 3rd edition Star Wars RPG I played em all.


WAAAAAit, waitwait, go back. Say that again.

Having played the 1st, 2nd, snd revi --


NONONO, the end part.

-- I played em all.


NONONO, BEFORE THAT.

having one of the very rare 3rd edition Star Wars RP--


What third one? Where? From WEG? No offense, me old China. but about this, I gotta know.

Do tell, chief!

Behold -- Why I Am Not A Professional Writer!

I wrote this thing that I'm about to post, see. It's not bad, really, if I may say so myself; I mean, it's no Eye of Argon. But there is one major flaw in it -- here, you tell me:

CHAPTER 1: DIRTY DEALINGS IN ROBOT CITY


Cornelia had a rep as something of a slut.

More than her activities and promiscuities (which really weren't many, except for that one time with Aldo Graves in the YMCA parking lot), it had to do with the way she walked and the way she dressed: Those skin-tight potato-sack dresses, the stocking tops peeking out from under the hems, that boomba-boomba-boomba hip-sway when she walked down the street. That, and she was friendly to men -- but that was because she liked them, not because she wanted to...well, maybe just a little. No more than anyone else who was as healthy and young and vibrant and 23 years old as Cornelia was.

Really she was just a social creature. She liked to see and be seen; she liked to speak and be spoken to. A little wink, a little laugh, a party here, a phone number there. Cornelia hit the town a lot; people who knew her could count on seeing her anywhere, from the video arcades of Rasterville to the glittering glass domes of Little Mars.

As to why she was wandering around in Soroyamatown that night, well...that was kind of unusual.

"Hi!" she said brightly to a sleek, shapely and half-dressed femroid, "Can you help me? I'm kind of lost."

The femroid scanned her quickly, shooting a horizontal laser line from her slitted optical panel and passing it over Cornelia top-to-bottom, as though the human girl were a UPC at the grocery store. "I'll say you are," the femroid replied in a husky vocoder. But the sexy robot girl didn't shoot her, or even walk away from her, and neither did her femroid companions hanging out in front of The Input/Output.

"Yeah." Cornelia said, and reached into her purse for a piece of paper, which she uncrinkled with overlong, overpainted fingernails. "Can you tell me how to get to, uh..." she squinted at the paper, turned it upside down, then sideways; she tilted it this way and that to better catch the neon light of the robobar's sign. Finally everything was just right, and Cornelia continued. "...to Five-and-a-quarter-Inch Floppy Joe's?"

"Why you lookin' for Floppy Joe's?" demanded one of the other femroids, leaning forward with her metal hands on her metal hips and nearly popping a metal nipple out of her flimsy yellow top. "That's not a place for meat!"

Cornelia shrank away but held her ground. "Look, I'm just doing someone a fav-"

"Well, we ain't do you no favors, skin-slut," the other spat back (well, buzzed, really), "so why don't you engage your steppin' off subroutine and--"

"Mute yourself, Troniqua," said the first femroid, and the other made a clicking sound but otherwise went silent. The first femroid leaned against a light post and crossed her high-heeled foot extensions at the ankle. "Why do you want to go to Five-and-a-quarter Floppy's?"

Cornelia looked at the paper as if the answer were written there, but it wasn't; so she shrugged and replied, "Um -- well -- see, this guy, he's my friend and he, um --"

"End," said the femroid, holding up a sleek, shiny hand. "I can calculate the rest." She pointed down the street and gave Cornelia directions.

"Okay," said Cornelia, "thanks." She smiled, and held up her hand close to her face and wiggled her fingertips. "Bye." Boomba-boomba-boomba, down the street she went, high heels clicking.

Troniqua made a rasping, grating sound, like a cup full of gravel being spilled on a shopping cart -- the robot equivalent of a derisive huff. "Floppy Joe's."

"That girl's gonna be news," said the first femroid. "But it won't be good."
* * *
Maybe the femroid had lied to her, Cornelia thought; otherwise, why would she have been walking for ten minutes and still not gotten to where she was going?

"Okay, wait," she muttered to herself, and stopped on the sidewalk and looked around. The trouble was, not only was she not familiar with Soroyamatown (she'd only been here once, months ago, and that was to buy some meatwhistles from Gordy the Fly) but also every street looked the same: A jumble of neon, of impossibly sexy chrome-covered robots, of excited tourists bussed in from Tanjookistan, of blinking signs that screamed LUBE LUBE LUBE and those weasel guys that sell stock on the weekends and--

"Hey. Cornelia."

She heard the voice; better, she recognized it...maybe. She looked around, over the sea of neon-splashed silver arms and heads. She didn't see anyone...

"Over here."

She took two steps to the left and peered around a mule in a sombrero.

She saw someone, and sighed.

"Heyyyyyy...!" she laughed, and made her way along the sidewalk. "I am SO. HAPPY. To run into you," she smiled.

* * *

"...recovered thirty thousand dollars in black-market tofu," a man was saying on TV, and his eyes moved back and forth because he sucked at reading teleprompters but the station manager couldn't fire him because he was the owner's nephew. He continued, "four semi-automatic flashlights and a late-model LeSabre. No one was hurt."

The image on the screen cut suddenly from the man to a woman in a red jacket and a huge, cream-colored lace cravat at her throat. She took an imperceptible breath and said, "Police today are reporting the disappearance of Cornelia VonPablo, daughter of wealthy magnet magnate Pablo VonPablo." The screen changed to show file video of Cornelia dancing on a multi-tiered dance floor, then going boomba-boomba-boomba past Mother Theresa, and finally waving at the camera from inside a cherry-red Lamborghini. Text at the bottom of the screen read Cornelia VonPablo -- Probably a Slut. The anchorwoman's voice continued, "VonPablo was last seen last Saturday at La Dolce Pita in Ogilvie, around six thirty pee-emm. VonPablo was expected home by ten but never showed. Her family reported her missing on Monday morning; authorities say they have no leads.

"Coming up next," the anchorwoman said as music swelled behind her, "The results of the landmark Wayne Newton/T-Rex fight, and why chicken prices are projected to skyrocket this winter -- right after this."

The TV picture changed to an ad for cleaning fluids, and the jingle filled Lance Manley's living room.

He didn't hear it, though, nor did he see it -- not any of it. For at the moment, you see, he was being punched at by a Martian.


Okay, so -- that main flaw?

I NEVER WROTE ANY MORE OF IT, BECAUSE I NEVER FINISH THINGS I START.

Monday, April 12, 2010

D6: They Shaved Rotwang!'s Brane!

UPDATE: I wrote this in a hurry at work. Therefore, it's even MORE stream-of-consciousness than my normal posts.

Yes, more D6 stuff. Specifically, that Spycraft thing and the cyberpunk thing. Yes, Erin Palette -- THE CYBERPUNK THING.

Okay. Car chases first.

Converting Spycraft's chase mechanics to D6 will, after some reflection, be easy but not as cut-and-dried as I originally thought. Reason being this: In Spycraft, the effects of a maneuver are often influenced by the results of an opposed roll (e.g. "Lead is increased by a number of length's equal to the prey's margin of success" and such). Now, in d20 games, your rolls are only gonna go so high; but in D6, that Wild Die can push totals up pretty far.

Trust me, I've seen it.

So I have two options, here: One, implement a rule that caps Wild Die results (inspired by Spycraft, incidentally); the other, to remove the "effects depending on margin" thing, in which case I'd need to rethink the effects of the maneuvers themselves.

Thing is -- I'm not a rules-monkey. In other words, I never really dream up alternate rules and stuff; my geni--uh, I really think more in terms of the presentation and the story and the shooting at pirates and the swooning and stuff.

I'm an artist, not a draftsman. Dig?

Still...what if...? So! Let's watch as I muse about this stuff out loud. Shall we? C'mon, it'll be fun. All the cool kids are doin' it!

  1. WILD DIE CAP: This is simple. With this rule in place, your first re-roll of a 6 on the Wild is free; however, if you roll another 6, it ain't gonna re-roll unless you pony up a Character Point. PROBLEM: Under the normal rules, a Character Point already gives you another Wild Die to roll. So this idea...I dunno. I mean, it sounds clever and stuff but...naaaah. Let's put this back in the oven.
  2. CHANGING HOW MANEUVER EFFECTS ARE IMPACTED BY BLAH BLAH: This might be the better way to proceed. It's possible that the range of rolls won't be THAT different, and at any rate, no driver/pilot/rider/etc. is ever going to make his car/plane/battlechicken move any faster than it possibly can go.
Hm. Playtesting...?

Now...the cyberpunk thing.

I have been struggling with my personal idea of a cyberpunk campaign for about...oh...ten, twelve years? I can never settle on a system, I keep waffling back and forth on the goals and activities for PCs...it's a mess. It's in my head, but it's more of an atmosphere than a place.

Hrrrrg.

Long story made short, Erin Palette talked me into not sucking and just saying OKAY DAMMIT I'LL USE D6 AS MY SYSTEM DAMMIT THAT'S IT DAMMIT DAMN DAMN DAMN (I added the second "damn") , so that's kinda taken care of -- kinda.

I say "kinda" 'cause -- look. Cyberspace, okay? Hacking. I want hacking rules. I want cyberspace cowboys to have neat, fun rules that are kind of a game in themselves; I want the 'deck to matter, I want the programs to matter. I want said cowboys to have options -- do I take a worm up against this data fortress, or do I want to smash at it with a jackhammer -- and how do these work in game terms?

That kind of thing.

I thought about a simple opposed roll mechanic with circumstantial bonuses being applied based on what programs are involved -- like, say, database so-and-so has a weakness that is easily exploitable by cypher jammers (whatever those are), so a hacker using one such might get a +2 or something. The idea is to make the activity of netrunning a kind of battle between the cowboy and the database, or AI, or other cowboy -- the better combatant wins, but everybody wants to have the edge when it comes to gear.

Very cyberpunk.

Luckily,
Peter Schweighofer kind of already did a lot of my work for me when he wrote up Dueling Blades, which is on that page I linked to just now. Dueling Blades works like this: Two fighters make opposed rolls, and the winner gets to have an effect on the loser. That effect varies by the margin of success, and the winner can choose any effect lower than the one he got, if that's what he wants. So is it just a matter of introducing a sub-mechanic in the form of those circumstantial mods that I mentioned before -- maybe expanding the chart a bit to make other things it in, too?

Pfffffffffffwwwwwwww. Man...how do you designy guys do this?!

Meanwhile, I have a little bit more of an anchor on my cyberpunk thing as a setting, and I owe it all to Walter Hill. Look:



See, Streets Of Fire doesn't take place in "The Real World" -- it's a rock-and-roll fable, set in another place, another time. To me, cyberpunk is the same: Where people say it's dated, I say it's its own thing. I say it's like rockets & rayguns -- a flavor.

And here's a bit of that flavor, the way it tastes on my tongue (not in visual terms but in emotional ones):

Friday, April 09, 2010

D6 Stuff: Tales Of Why-Did-It-Take-Me-So-Long

...I swear, man. When I say I'm dense...

*sigh* Okay. So. In a nutshell: I have this thing about chase rules in an RPG. I want a mechanically-sound but highly-playable set of chase rules. It's like an obsession, a niggling desire. Why? I don't know why. I can't explain it. I just DO, OKAY?!

And, oh em gee, you know what? There's a pretty darn good set of just exactly that in Alderac Entertainment's Spycraft RPG.

You know, the silver one.

Only it's a d20-based game, and I don't like d20 games really*. So I'm not likely to play it, and therefore not likely to use the chase ru--GAAAAH! WHY DON'T I JUST CONVERT THOSE RULES TO A GAME THAT I DO LIKE?!

He musta had the chili.


I mean, really, it's just a matter of
  1. Cribbing the basic parameters of Spycraft's chase rules;
  2. Assigning D6 difficulty numbers to the maneuvers; and
  3. Going VROOM VROOM!


That's easy, right? That's not hard. That's easy! That's totally easy.

Easy like...

...pie.


So why didn't I think of it earlier?!




*With the exception of Microlite20 and its offspring -- including SpyLite. Zing! See that?

Wednesday, April 07, 2010

MISTER ARNESON!

That one time at GenCon Indy, when the dude in the pink tie walked up to you, shook your hand, and said,

"Thank you. For everything."

That was me.

I still mean it, sir.

Friday, April 02, 2010

Gamer's Lament

...a Classic Traveller game where the PCs are a mixed group of Ex-Scouts on detached duty and their friends, tooling around in a Scout/Courier, doing odd jobs for the Imperial Interstellar Scout Service.

...S John Ross's Warp Space, run with TLG's StarSIEGE rules.

...a Knights of Torque & Recoil/The Adventures Of Buckaroo Banzai-inspired contemporary pulp adventure game, using D6 Adventure.

...For that matter, a series of Indiana Jones-esque 1930s archaeological pulp adventures, also using D6 or HEX (testimony of the bullwhip!).

...that cyberpunk game that I keep thinking about, which is slowly but surely solidifying in my mind.

...a C&C/D&D RC/LL/&c. mash-up Bog Standard Fantasy Role-Playing sandbox.

...Mutant Future.

...Encounter Critical, with heavy doses of Heavy Metal and cheap, sleazy 1970s SF cinema.

...Over The Edge, which I purchased in 1993 and STILL haven't run.

...that Savage Worlds Art Nouveau Spelljammer game that I started back in January, and which hasn't been run more than once.

TEN GAMES ON MY MIND! AN 11.5-HOUR WORKDAY, INCLUDING PREP- AND DRIVE TIME, FIVE DAYS A WEEK, PLUS 45.5 HOURS A WEEK SO I DON'T GO CLINICALLY INSANE! PLUS, I HAFTA STOP AND EAT FROM TIME TO TIME!

HOW, I ASK YOU? HOW CAN I MAKE IT HAPPEN?!

Thursday, April 01, 2010

Indiana Jones D6 (For Andrew)

Ahoy! Zany blog reader Andrew sez to me in some comments, he sez,

As a fan of the good Dr. Jones and of West End Games, do you have any thoughts on the MasterBook Indiana Jones game? Or the D6 conversion that eventually came out for it?


Thanks for reading the blog, Andrew! And, YES! Funny you should ask, dude! I DO HAVE SOME THOUGHTS! Wanna hea- uh, read 'em?

  • "Hmm. MasterBook. Not my cuppa, but OK."
  • "Wait. Indy sourcebook for MasterBook instead of for D6?! That's like saying, 'Dude! I got skates and a roller rink...! I KNOW! I'LL PUT ON SOME WOODY GUTHRIE!' "
  • "...that...uh...made less sense than I thought it would. Huh."
  • "One time I picked up an Indy RPG book and there was a D6 conversion in it and I was, like, 'Well, duh. What took so long...?' "
  • "Damn, I wish I had that sourcebook."
  • "Country-fried steak!"
...from there, my thoughts stray towards iced tea and a napkin. Oh -- and GURPS Black Ops, because I want that, too.

UPDATE: The Schweig tells it straight.