Tuesday, February 28, 2017


I am taking a [not so] brief intermission between installments of my Pokemon RPG campaign idea to talk about a few other things that are on my mind.

I am bummed that while my Pokemon ideas seem to be going over well on the blog (viewership is high, comments are numerous and positive), only one person out of the three groups I game with has mentioned it at all. That's 1 person out of 13. 

Sure, I've gotten one, or two other responses to it from players I know (mostly a comment, or two on my one group's Facebook page), but no where near the kind of reaction that would indicate it was likely to be embraced as an ongoing campaign. 

The one gamer friend who did mention it asked it I was interested in running it with his group, and I have to thank him for that. Unfortunately it was my online group, and the nature of the system I'm using would make it a tad problematic over the internet. Perhaps there is a way. We'll see.

The situation reminded me once again that while I am among friends and fellow gamers I enjoy gaming with, I am not among 'my people'. I haven't achieved full synchronization. Gendo Ikari would be so disappointed in me.

I wonder, as an example, how many of my current players would get that reference. 

Anyway, as the days of this year pass, and I become more, and more aware of my approaching 40 year gaming anniversary, I also become more aware that I am not 100% happy with my 'State of Gaming' status.

Don't get me wrong. I am very grateful for what I have and how often I do get to partake in my hobby. I am in three groups! Two in person groups, and one online. One of the in person groups, and the online group, meet weekly. The other group is once a month. I am having fun, and feel really lucky.



Yeah. I just feel like I am not gaming to my full potential. I feel like a Bugatti Veyron, the world's fastest road legal automobile, with a speed of 258 mph, forced to drive through one 25 mph school zone after another. 

Once in a while I turn onto a street that's free and clear, only to make a right straight into yet another 25 mph speed limit area.

Not content to do less then my best, I have taken the liberty of contacting some old friends I haven't gamed with in a very long time in hopes of catching extended lightening in a bottle once more. I'm also checking inroads into adding brand new people.

My personal motto is, 'There is always way'. Nothing is impossible. The answer to a problem may be hidden, but it exists, and can be found. The only thing preventing me from running a truly fantastic game again is that I simply don't have all the particulars in place yet.

And really, that's all I am looking for. The particulars in synchronization. 

Barking Alien

Before I forget...

I do believe I almost let February pass me by without noting that it is/was/always will be Black History Month. This year I was particularly fascinated to look into the contributions African Americans have made to our collective pop culture. 

Check out Gerald 'Jerry' Lawson, the salesman, and electronics engineer who invented the Video Game Cartridge. 

Fill yourself in on Lonnie Johnson, the US Air Force engineer who invented the Super Soaker Water Gun. 

Snacking wouldn't have been the same if not for George Speck (aka George Crum), to whom the creation of the Potato Chip is attributed.

These are just some of the interesting day-to-day items many do not realize where invented by African Americans. Do a little research, learn something, and appreciate diversity. 

I am very sad to report the passing of Bill Paxton, who left us this past Saturday at the age of 61 due to complications from heart surgery. 

Paxton, a great guy and an amazing character actor, was a key component of many of fandom's favorite films. While he became known to a larger audience with 'Big Love', 'Tombstone', and 'Titanic', our lot know him best as Hudson in 'Aliens', as well as roles in 'Weird Science', 'Predator 2', and 'Marvel's Agents of SHIELD'.

His talent, dedication, and passion will be greatly missed.

Game over man. Game over.


  1. Shame about Paxton. He was a Fort Worth guy and turned up here occasionally even recently. I never met him but always hoped I would run into him one day.

    As far your main point of the post, I feel you. Pokemon, though, is a pretty far into "acquired taste" territory. First, it's thought of as a kids show even among a lot of anime fans. Second it's a very different kind of campaign than most RPG's. There's a lot that's not really on the menu in a Pokemon game I would think. You're not going to fight personally, your pet is. There's not much in the way of loot or power other than the narrow scope of the Pokemon tournament/crowd and your standing within it. Is there an evil dictator to fight and save the world from? Probably not. Are we out to get rich? Probably not. Is exploring a new Pokemon region really all that exciting? Compared to say, 1889 Mars? The streets of Coruscant? Yet another fantasy realm full of wizards, knights, and assassins?

    I think you could run it as a tournament game and get some interest, but as a long term ongoing open-ended campaign? I think that's a tough sell. Speaking for myself it would ran pretty low on the "what shall we play just choosing from games BA has come up with". I'd be a lot more interested in Galaxyquest, Star Wars Traveller, Muppets, etc., let alone one of your Trek or Champions games.

    I'd say to really get anywhere you're going to have to start with some Pokemon fans and bring them around on a game, rather than bringing game fans around on Pokemon.

    1. Once again my friend you have cut through the rhetoric to the heart of the matter.

      I've been so excited about sharing my idea for this game that I haven't really explained my vision for the 'meat and potatoes' part of it - What do the PCs do? How do they interact with the campaign setting? What makes it fun for them?

      You are right, absolutely right in pointing out that I haven't properly addressed that. I've been too focused on why this concept is fun for me. Look at all the cool things I get to do to make this game happen! Yet, as I myself often say, a campaign is meaningless if the players are engaged, and involved.

      My full response to this is too big to write down here. This is worth a whole post. Expect it soon.

      There is one bit you mentioned that I feel I would be remiss not to answer right away however...

      "[Second] it's a very different kind of campaign than most RPG's."

      Have we met? Hi, my name is Adam Dickstein, and this is the Barking Alien Blog. It's all about...well...what you just said.


  2. The only downside of the "different kind of campaign" is getting people to play it!

    I think the "what do we do in a session when we're playing this game" gets left out a lot. If it's a D&D clone I pretty much know what the plan is. If it's a Trek clone I have some idea too. If it's something else though, I might need some explanation. Spirit of 77 was one example - it sounds cool, but what are my players doing after they make characters? Took me a while to work through that one.

    Also, what's the long term goal of a campaign, if it has one? Exploration? Conquest? For Pokemon, for example, is there more to it than getting more and different creatures? When I hit 9th level and become a master can I build a gym and attract 3d6 followers and pokemon of different types? That kind of thing.

    1. I totally get what you're saying and where you're coming from. I tend to forget that not everyone is me, and my old groups. We are not the norm.

      See it from my perspective though; it like some from England moving to the US, and everyone think its strange that he prefers tea to coffee, calls french fries chips, and finds our traffic laws confusing.

      Where he grew up, and lived for most of his life those things were normal.

      That's me. I often feel the greater RPG community is Terra Incognito. I am a stranger in a strange land.

      More of the specifics of a Pokemon are coming soon however. Stay tuned.

    2. I would point out that when I heard about Spirit of '77 I was like, "Great Groovy Galaxies! What I could do with THAT!"

      Meanwhile, I am hard pressed to come up with an interesting D&D adventure. "So there's a forest, like there always is, with a castle in the distance. A bunch of goblins pop out of the bushes, and is anyone else as bored as I am already?"