Monthly Archives: February 2016

I’ve not really been doing much blogging with this thing, but that changes today. A discussion broke out on a page on Facebook that touches on something I am very passionate about, and I’ve decided my ultimate response on that page will be my first blog on here. I hope to do more as time permits and ideas flow.

Why Punish Your Friends?

Seriously, I want to challenge all of you who are in the “You don’t play, you get no XP” camp to consider these questions:
What is the real, tangible benefit of denying one of the players XP for missing a game?

What do you, the GM, gain from it?

What do your players gain from it?

What does the player who missed gain from it?

I am not talking about people who blow the game off for something else they’d rather do. I am not talking about players who don’t show and never bother to let you know and never really explain why. I am not talking about players who simply won’t commit to the campaign when everyone else has.
Those folks are rude and either need to be disinvited (if it really matters to you and your group) or, sure, dock them XPs. Negative reinforcement for negative behavior. I can live with that.
The people I am talking about have children who need them to talk to their teachers. They have parents with medical conditions that cause emergencies to crop up. They have jobs that demand overtime hours at the worst moments. They get sick from any number of things and don’t want to make their friends sick.
These are good people with lives that cause issues, and they are your friends and fellow gamers who want to be there – would have way more fun being there than whatever else it is they are dealing with – and it sucks that they had to miss while you and everyone else had a good time.
So what do you gain – seriously, what is the tangible or emotional GAIN – from letting their characters fall behind in XP and growth? If it’s a cooperative game where the abilities of all the characters contributes to the group’s dynamics and success, what is the reward for the GM and the other players that comes from punishing the one who had to miss?

My effort to support the Happiness, Peace, and Dreams of others starts full time this week, and we open with a Patreon for the efforts of Robin D. Laws and Kenneth Hite to continue sharing their unique insight and powerful chemistry via podcast and other media.

We’re writers and game designers Robin D. Laws and Kenneth Hite. Since 2012 we’ve been releasing weekly episodes of our two-time ENnie award winning podcast, Ken and Robin Talk About Stuff. We’ve always taken donations to support the show. Or rather, to prevent us from ever doing the math that shows how much time we spend on it compared to the many other items on our respective pressing schedules. We love doing the show and want it to go on for as long as you want to keep listening. So now in response to popular demand we’ve brought our donation bucket over here to Patreon.

Should you rain your estimable patronage upon us in sufficient numbers, we’ll be able to do some other cool stuff, too.

Dark Heresy rolls on through the vastness of the Emperor’s unending galactic rule as enemies threaten humanity at every turn. This is a rules supplement that serves both players and GMs, adding to the whole play experience for anyone into the Warhammer 40k universe.

The Imperium fights in a time of constant war: there are countless threats to humanity’s continued survival, and more arise every day. Heretics and mutants infest the most populous hive planets, spreading their evil in dark places far from the Emperor’s light. Xenos races attack from every edge of the galaxy, expanding their foul empires and mocking the order and justice that flows from the Emperor’s throne. Yet perhaps the greatest war is the war that must be fought in secret, against the Daemons and the powers of Chaos that live within the Warp. Mankind uses the Warp daily for both travel and communication; if the true nature of the Warp and the beings that dwell within were to become known, civilization would surely descend into anarchy. 

In the Enemies Beyond rules supplement for Dark Heresy Second Edition, you can become an Acolyte serving with the Ordo Malleus—those tasked with protecting the Imperium from the daemons of the Warp. Here, you’ll find new Acolyte options allowing you to play as an Exorcised character or a powerful Astropath. Gazetteers offer information on the Daemonic threats to the Askellon sectors, introducing new types of worlds such as Penal Colonies and Daemon Worlds. The GM will even find rules for creating his own Daemon Princes, details on the rites of possession and exorcism, and guidance for crafting the Acolyte’s adventures with the Ordo Malleus!

Yes, this is one I have a personal involvement with – Evil Beagle Games is partnered with High Rock Press to bring this very important book to RPG fans worldwide. As of this posting, there are only 14 hours left, so if you want to help us get to that hardcover option, now would be a great time to up your pledge or get in on it if you haven’t already.

In 1988, Aaron Allston released Strike Force, a supplement detailing the first eight years of his superhero campaign. Noted for its extensive and highly-influential advice to gamemasters on how to run a long-term campaign, Strike Force was a landmark RPG publication.

We are now working to release an updated version of this classic book for the 21st Century. Aaron himself was designing this new edition of Strike Force before his untimely death, and we want to bring his work to life as a monument to Aaron’s lasting influence on the RPG hobby. This  updated Strike Force sourcebook includes never-before-seen material detailing Aaron’s multiversal superhero setting, compelling characters and villains, and updated and expanded advice from Superhero RPG veterans like Steve Kenson and Sean Patrick Fannon for how to run a campaign using “the Strike Force method.”

WHY YOU NEED THIS BOOK: Strike Force was the first superhero campaign guide. It provided game masters with information on how to run a memorable and long-lasting campaign using all the great themes and tropes of comic book’s best and most classic storylines. This new edition builds on that success, including advice from superhero RPG guru Steve Kenson! Aaron Allston’s Strike Force is the resource to create unforgettable stories in your own superhero RPG campaign.

Another dear friend, Monica Valentinelli, is a co-editor for this special collection of stories that insistently turns classic storytelling tropes right onto their heads.

Upside Down is a collection of short fiction. Each story examines a tired trope or common cliche and twists it into something new!

This anthology, which is edited by Monica Valentinelli and Jaym Gates, collects dozens of contributions from Apex authors such as Maurice Broaddus, Haralambi Markov, and Sara Harvey in addition to writers like Anton Strout, John Hornor Jacobs, Delilah Dawson, Rahul Kanakia, Sunil Patel, Kat Richardson, Nisi Shawl, Michael Underwood, Alyssa Wong, and many other fine storytellers.

Each author was asked to identify which unique trope they wished to smash, bend, and flip upside down as the theme for their story. The specifics of how these tropes were flipped was left to the discretion of the author. For example, some writers used humor to tell their stories, while others took a more serious approach. The tropes were also addressed in various ways. Some authors decided to literally turn their tropes upside down, while a few pursued a subtler means of introducing them.

Tropes and cliches our authors examined for Upside Down: Inverted Tropes in Storytelling include:

  • Chainmaille Bikini 
  • The Magical Negro 
  • The Super Soldier 
  • The Chosen One 
  • Guys Smash, Girls Shoot 
  • Love at First Sight 
  • Damsels in Distress 
  • Heroine Loves a Bad Man 
  • Yellow Peril 
  • The Black Man Dies First 
  • The Villain Had a Crappy Childhood 
  • The City Planet 
  • Prostitute with a Heart of Gold 
  • The Singularity Will Cause the Apocalypse 
  • First Period Panic 
  • Girlfriend in the Refrigerator 
  • Retired Pro’s “Last” Job
  • …and many more!

My buddy Chaz Kemp is a fantastic artist with a highly compelling steampunk world expressed through his powerful, unique vision. His current Patreon project brings this world to life via a tarot deck that has to be seen to be believed. We’re looking forward to finding many other ways to bring this world to life for you in the future.

Dream on, Brother Chaz!

I’m Chaz Kemp, a Bram Stoker nominated sci-fi, steampunk and fantasy artist. Welcome to my Patreon page!

The Ashelon Tarot Deck Project!

My current, long-term project is to create a tarot deck featuring my art! I will be working my booty off each and every month to create one-of-a-kind tarot cards based on my Steampunk/Fantasy World called “Ashelon”. In addition, you’ll be able to purchase each card as a large art print that you can hang on your wall. How cool is that?

Lamentations of the Flame Princess remains one of the leaders on the Old School Gaming Front, with no signs of slowing down. For those who rock their d20s like it’s 1979 (yet really dig some deep story with their hack-and-slash), here’s another massive and intriguing adventure.

Quicksand, Jungle Rot, and Psychotic Robots

Each year, the citizens of Khirima offer a massive tribute of silver to the demons which dwell within the Temple of Ages That Are Not. To acquire the silver for themselves, the adventurers must face bellowing dinosaurs, plague demons, the horrors which dwell within the Abscess, and a dungeon where memory is an illusion and time is a weapon.

World of the Lost is an adventure for characters levels 1-4, featuring a 200-encounter wilderness hexcrawl, a city sourcebook, a dungeon, quests, diseases, new spells, and new magic items. 

I’ve recently started a new thing called “Happiness, Peace, and Dreams,” where I am going to also try and Pick something every day that helps someone achieve Happiness, Peace, and/or a Dream. This is my way of paying it forward for all the times others have helped me get where I am today.

Today’s HPD Pick is YASS Design, a speciality t-shirt company by Phil DiGiacomo, who is also a fellow “Journeyer” with me on the path to weight loss and improved health. His pitch –

My geek-oriented t-shirt site needs help becoming known. I also need artists who are willing to work for 50% of the profits of all of their designs, so—-the designs get approved, the designer helps promote their own art, we pay for the production and fulfillment, and every month the artist gets a breakdown of all their designs that sold that month, and we pay them via PayPal.

I’ve got over 300 designs now, and another 150-200 on the works, but I can’t keep up!

I am trying to get back to using this to Pick out cool Kickstarters again, and here’s today’s Kickstarter Pick –

The RPG of mecha steam engines, smoke stacks, shoulder mounted cannons and cavalry sabers bigger than barns!

MechaWest is full of clockwork and steampunk mecha fighting it out in the Weird West, an alternate history of gunslingers, lawmen, tribal nations and mecha engineers of every color and creed. With MechaWest, you can duel mecha pistols at dawn, rob banks in transforming trains, and battle clockwork dragons or town eating robots.

Even better, this is a standalone Core Rule book. Mecha is not needed to play.

This book is the brain child of acclaimed authors Ed Erdelac and Jeff C. Carter.  They approached Heroic Journey Publishing with this amazing idea and we have spent the last 3 years developing it into MechaWest. The writing is done.  All it needs is art and layout.

Were you looking for a cyberpunk approach to Apocalypse World Engine (AKA Dungeon World for many of you)?

Here you go.

Glide through the most secure corporate computer networks. Crack the ICE that stands between you and that big score.

Drop your cyberlinked autoshotgun to the floor empty. Flick chrome blades from your fingers. Dive into the midst of that corporate response team to secure your team’s exit.

Turn up your synth-leather jacket against the rain. Watch the back-alley entrance of the club for your target. Tail the armoured limo through the neon-bathed streets.

Cut power to the alarms. Drop over the wall into the compound. Slip past the auto-sentries. Locate and secure the prototype. Escape under the eyes of the rotor-drones.

Whatever your story, you are the extended assets of vast multinational corporations, operating in the criminal underground, and performing the tasks that those multinationals can’t do… or can’t be seen to do. You are deniable, professional and disposable.

The Sprawl is a game of mission-based action in a gritty neon-and-chrome Cyberpunk future for an MC and 2-4 players.

  • Create your own Sprawl at the nexus of bleeding-edge technology and fragile humanity
  • Play hardbitten professionals caught between ruthless corporate interests
  • Win sometimes, lose sometimes and be double-crossed a lot

There are a thousand stories in The Sprawl. What’s yours?