Tales of Tadeusz

Sunday, October 30, 2005

Gaming News: My Hallowcon

I've returned from my stint as a guest and gamemaster at Chattanooga's Hallowcon. The hotel was nice, although rambling, as its a huge hotel. They sold out the convention block, and were willing to get me their one cancelled room for just one night for $83 bucks--so we went next door to Ramada Ltd. which was far more reasonable, even if they only had a continental b'fast (which did not mean doughnuts and orange juice, but was respectable, if limited--which fits the name of the hotel we stayed at.)

The first night I got there we played Savage Worlds rpg, set in the Fallout video game universe. And I got to play a religious visionary who believed the Vault Dweller was the Chosen One, which was fun, even though I was a fairly poor shot. And the dog was the best dice roller of the game. This system uses "exploding sixes", and the player kept getting them, one after the other.

This heightens my thought that SW is a quick, light system designed for universal as long as universal means "Pulp".

Helping out, the GM was dressed up as the Vault Dweller.

After that, still visiting with JS, we joined in a just starting game of Betrayal at the House on the Hill, which despite the confusing name (I'm still not sure thats the right name) was very good. The other players also helped to make it fun. The basic idea is a tile discovery game set in a haunted house, where one of the players eventually turns evil. It has a very nice set-up, and I loved the character tiles with the side counters with sliding scales for Sanity, Knowledge, Speed, and Might.

I've seen a lot of recent Southern Plantation horror, which includes one of my soon to be published settings...Plantations Present, Past, and Perilous. MJ Young, one of the Multiverser game designers, has also started using a Haunted House in his demoing.

The ending was a bit lame, and anticlimatic with the House game tho'. JS turned evil, and lost all his cool items, with that ending (others are more dangerous), and we stopped the evil even before it got in one attack.

I got home to my hotel at one, and found the Mr. C still awake watching cartoons while the others were asleep. This was a vacation for all of us of course, so that was fine. Not at all the usual practise, but once in a while it doesn't hurt a little guy to stay up late. The others got to go to the Aquarium, and watch SF and cartoons and hang out with each other while I gamed and gabbed. All of us enjoyed it, even though the some sort of sickness seemed to work through the boys from youngest to oldest with me getting a fever on Saturday night as I tried to sleep.

The next day, I got up terribly early, wandered over, wandered back. Ate some sausages btw at the con. And another BTW, the food was very good. Except for one visit to Blimpie's with JS, I ate hamburgers provided by the con. Its not your usual consuite, which isn't bad in itself, but more an actual line up and get a meal on a plate thing, which was nice indeed.

There was a scheduling mixup with my first Multiverser game skedded during my speech on Quick World Creation. Since the gaming space was so limited (although they said the gaming was four-fold larger than last year) they could not reschedule.

But JS was able to playtest more of his upcoming to be published version of Countercoup d20, the Epic Version, by High Forest Games which was enjoyed by the players, I thought. Something to be said for healing 150 hp each to the players for the cleric character, in one round...

But it was rough, the barbarian, despite his 700 plus!!!!! hp was killed. Naturally the situation was fixed since the high priestess of the land was one of the pc's...

I'm glad it was rough because thats my preference for D20. Tough but fair. No instant death traps, but no waltzing through the scenario either.

I went about this time and talked with Lawrence Barker and his cover artist Katherine, of uncertan by me last name (sorry), for an hour. He's written Renfield, about Dracula's henchman, and Victorian madhouses, and a "Southern Reconstructionist" era fantasy...He thinks the only one of its kind, rather like I think Death of a Blogger is the world's first blogger thriller. Both looked interesting, and I wish I could have spared the cash.

We discussed ideas for horror stories, and at one point, he wanted my permission to use an idea created by moi and his cover artist to use for a story. I, of course, gave it, not being a believer in the ownership of ideas. Text is a different thing. I hope he comes out with something for it.

Then it was my turn to speak. I gave my talk to an interested group at the bar after someone suggested moving over there. For this inspired suggestion--thank you. I think, judging by the enthused faces, and comments at the end, that they all enjoyed Quick World Creation. I tried to keep in informative, fast-moving, and humorous.

I'll be adding the speech to the second edition of Placeholder Worlds.

We ended up using the advice to create three separate, and interesting worlds at the end. One a Victorina post-apoc world where nuclear weapons end the Civil War, and poison the land, drawing out mutations, and the weakened state allows the forces of Europe and Asia to stick their fingers in. Another was a possibly feudalistic society where an Ice Age forces vampires to protect their herds of people, and it could actually be a symbiosis as Lawrence Barker pointed out... and then what happens when an extradimensional visitor comes who sees vamps as all evil, all the time? And then I added a comment about we could also have Polar Bear Ghouls. And there was a third world, but it slips me by this time.

One guy apologized afterwards for interrupting too much, but he hadn't, and besides, that shows the host that you're paying attention...its called audience participation. So that was good by me. Perhaps I don't mind because I'm the type of person to do just that.

Then I went off to join JS's game which I've already detailed.

Further on, I demo'd for the first time the introductory world from Placeholders, and for the Multiverser system, Green Glass Monument. Its a world where the problem of nuclear terrorist was resolved in a very few minutes as most of the Middle East was plastered. This was part of one of my concepts of Grim Futures, as well.

We played another game of House, which ended by mutual consent since the Beastmaster bad guy (the game has variable endings) was almost certain to win, if we wanted to waste enough time. That was Franklin Cain, I believe, who won that time.

Later, I played in Axis and Allies, and the Axis triumphed rather strongly. But it was a good game, even for me being on the losing side.

A game of Time's Up, an interesting variant on Charades, and while JS stayed up for Are You a Werewolf, I staggered back to my ladywife and kids, and into a fevered sleep.

The next morning did not see much gaming although I did have my RR game ready if needed.

We talked to a couple friends, and some new acquaintances, shopped in the dealer's room (and I got Serenity the RPG as a birthday present---woo hooo!), Mr. C got given a pirate pistol by an older girl and had a great time playing with some other kids, and the beautiful ladyfaire drove us home.

Now, that was my Hallowcon. They had some other speakers I would have enjoyed listening too, and they had a lot of party events along with a bar for drinking, but thats not my thing so I'm glad a party and media con was able to do a good job providing gaming, food, and an opportunity for me to play the part of guest.

It was a lot of fun, and I will seriously consider going again next year.

Monday, October 24, 2005

Gaming News: Jihadi

In the Heroscape miniature figurine game, you can have warriors from all possible times.

I'd like to suggest one warrior group that I'm quite sure Milton Bradley is never going to come out with.


Thats right, the bearded bigots in caves.

We need movement, life, defense dice, attack dice, special abilities, and cost for each class of these nuts.

Movement: Compared to Roman soldiers, slow...but they do have modern transport...hmm...3 spaces.
Life: They are punks...I'd give them less than one, but you can't....1
Defense dice: Here the punks aspect gets put in...0. That's right, no defense dice. If you hit them with an attack, they die.
Attack dice: Still punks...1
Special Ability: This requires changing some of the tile rules. Any tile that is a Defense tile, if a Jihadi stands on it, registers as an "innocent civilian hostage". If the attacker has at least three successes, the jihadi is killed. However, if the attacker has two successes, then the jihadi is slain, but his pschyo brother joins in at the furthest edge of the board. If the jihadi is attacked with one success, then he is fine.

Also, Jihadi lose one on a mass heal, and gain one on a mass curse.

Cost for a unit of four Jihadi: 30

Other more expensive types in this group: Suicide Bombers; Mini-truck with Machine-gun; Omars; Recruiters (even more punk than Jihadi, but able to turn any Jihadi in sight into SB's); Ayatollahs of Terror--able to issue fatwas which may freeze opponents.

Gaming News: Heroscape

I played Heroscape by Milton Bradley last weekend. I'm an eccletic gamer...I love tabletop roleplaying games most, but I love board, and war, and crayon rail, and some computer games, and online text rpg-ing, and all that. Cards are fun too.

But Heroscape was a blast. Just great fun. Put aside your story worries, and your moral concerns, and kill, kill, kill...

The board is easily used, sturdy, and beautiful...and customizable. The set owner had created a very nice and well balanced terrain for us to play with.

I had the Romans, and the lady across from me had a Valkryrie, a T-rex (who fed hearty on Roman legionairres until I got the beast! Yay!), and some Agents. It was a bloody war with cheerfully unflinching grins.

And I, the player who had never played before, and the guy who had been knocked out, but revived by a clever trick in the rules design, ended up tying. So it made for a very seesaw game.

Very nice.

Political Analysis: Support Science?

I like fiscal conservatism. Its a good idea. Its not my top priority however...avoiding Nashville becoming the center of a million degree fireball ranks higher on my list of things to do.

But I'm glad to see fiscal conservatives come out with this Porkbusters idea. Bravo. Well done. It only took them a couple of years of whining to finally demonstrate some positive leadership...the Dems have had far more time, and they're doing worse than whining, and demonstrating zero leadership.

However, this Instapundit led crusade hits a sour note in its trumpet charge when Insty comes out with all sorts of "lets use government to boost science!" Um, no. No way.

Government tends to corrupt what is is associated with. This is why we mostly separate church and state. Lets have a similiar level of separation.

Otherwise, I'm going to be justified in my suspicion that the Libertarian Party is not a principle founded group, but a pressure society for the interests of white, male geeks. Of which I am one, but still, I believe in something nobler than "Lets get mine!"

Friday, October 14, 2005

More Spam Please! I Need Material to Post on my Blog

I just got this email, marked in the letter CONFIDENTIAL. Oh well. I'm sure Mike Charles won't be shot, but I wouldn't object much if the spam-mailer got shot, in the leg, or better yet his single typing finger...

Attn, Greeting,I solicit your confidence in this transaction that I propose to you. This is by virtue of its nature as being utterly CONFIDENTIAL. Though I know that a transaction of this magnitude will make any one apprehensive and worried but I am assuring you that all will be well at the end of the day. I have decided to contact you due to the urgency of this transaction.Your discreteness and ability to handle a transaction of this nature is of the uttermost importance. Let me start by introducing myself properly to you.My name is Mr Mike Charles Kobi, I'm the Son of late COL. JOHNSON KOBI (The assistant chief of general staff of sierra Leone’s revolutionary united front R.U.F) and at the crown Prince of kuloma village in the south – west district of sierra Leone; who died on the 29th of august 2000 with some of his colleagues during the war in my Country. I came to know of you in my “private” search on the Internet for a reliable and reputable person to handle this confidential transaction which involves the transfer of a huge sum of money to a foreign account. In brief, I have the sum of Nine million, two hundred thousands US dollars (9,200,000:00 U.S. dollars). This money was deposited by my late father in a high secured security company here in Dakar - Senegal, of which I was made the sole beneficiary along side with my aged mother.Because of the present situation in my country sierra Leone, I decided to leave the country immediately because of some security reasons and also to look for a trust worthy and reliable person(s) who can assist us to transfer this money out of Dakar Senegal based on the agreement that was signed by my late father and the security company before his death.As a Young Man, I pray that you being a kind hearted person(s)
--Nope, I'm an evil, cold-hearted conservative, or so the mass media keeps telling me, and they would never lie, right?
will surely help me to transfer this money to your country and also to assist in investing it in a profitable business which will yield more money. I feel that I can confide in you , hoping that you will not betray me.
--too late, you've been betrayed.
I have proposed twenty per cent (30%) of this money to you, so as for you to give all necessary assistance and protections we need in your country, 60% for us and 10% for the expenses which both will incurred as a result of this transaction. Please treat as highly confidential because our future depends on this money being the only thing that we have after running away from our country. All the vital documents covering this deposit in the security company are with me here in Dakar Senegal and will be faxed to you on demand after I certify that you are worthy to do business with. The reason I searched for you importantly is because, based on the agreement made by my late father and the security company that simply stipulates that in case of his death, his money should be transferred out of Africa. I would like to secure my money in your care as I have decided to order a command to the security company to transfer the money to you depending on your urgent reply to my request and my assessment of your person. Note that this transaction demands the highest trust and confidence between the two of us. Moreover, it is risk free in the sense that I have taken proper care of all formalities regarding this transaction.If this proposal is acceptable by you,

--Its not, why don't you just send me a check with a bunch of zeros on it, and I promise to give you your cut afterwards. After all, we're both trustworthy gentlemen aren't we?

please do not hesitate to contact me Mike Charles Kobi by writing to the above mail address.You can reach me with my aternative mail at(macdani500@hotmail.com) You will have to send your most confidential Telephone/Fax numbers so that I can relay confidential information - as they will come in directly to you.Thanking you in advance for your anticipated cooperation.
Expecting a reply.
--And this is my reply, m'kay?

.Yours Faithfully,
Mike Charles Kobi.

--Well now I have a name for a villain in a story, I suppose...

Wednesday, October 12, 2005

Tennessee Writer: Storyblogging Carnival

The next Storyblogging Carnival is now up at Tales by Sheya at the following link. Some interesting stories there for the discerning reader. Go and enjoy.

Its been a while since I posted, so much so that I dropped from Adorable Rodent to my current rank, a total of two ranks. Oh well, I've been busy. More on that later.

Got to write a speech today (in part--its nearly fourty minutes long I kinda hope), and clean the house.