Monday, August 31, 2020

RPGaDay Challenge 2020 - EXPERIENCE


Experience is the last of the prompts. 

As in, how was the experience of doing the RPGaDay Challenge this year? Kind of meh honestly.

I was really looking forward to the RPGaDay Challenge this time out because of how dreary and otherwise frustrating the real world has been. Unfortunately, the prompts this year were rather lackluster in my opinion. They simply didn't inspire me or instill me with excitement. With a few exceptions, they sparked neither memories nor creativity, feeling either too meta, too mundane, or both. 

I am hoping for a better next more ways than one.

See you in September,

Barking Alien

Lastly for the month of August

I've been wanting to come up with a tribute to Chadwick Boseman, the late actor who passed away recently at the age of 43 after an ongoing battle with colon cancer. Boseman was an extremely talented and prolific individual best known to us in the geek fandom community in the role of T'Challa, The Black Panther of the Marvel Cinematic Universe. 

Words can not easily convey the sadness I felt at the new of his death, nor can they sum up what he was able to stand for and achieve professionally, personally, and as an iconic representation of our species at its best.

I would hope that you, my dear readers, friends, and fellow fans, will excuse my lack of a larger tribute in favor of this simple entry and share with me a moment of quiet contemplation and reflection for a life lived well but too shortly. 

Chadwick Boseman

Rest in Peace

RPGaDay Challenge 2020 - PORTAL


Good grief! Can I organize your prompts next year? Why oh why wasn't this one of the first words? A portal is something that can lead to infinite possibilities. Wouldn't that be a great way to lead us into the RPGaDay event? Through a PORTAL maybe? 

*Seethes internally*

Portals are rarely a thing in and of themselves. It's where the portal leads that is the interesting bit. What can we do to make the portal itself interesting?

Here are some quick, off the cuff ideas: 

A Stargate-like archway consisting of two interlocking 'rings' that each have different symbols on them. The destination of the portal relies on which symbols line up together. Neat. Now what happens if you turn the dial so one of the rings comes up blank? Basically, a part of the ring between two symbols falls into place with the other rings showing symbols. What if two of them are 'betweens'? Does this send you outside of normal space-time? 

Picture a similar device but smaller, perhaps hand-held, with each individual holding what amounts to an old school telephone dial. 

In the novel series The Long Earth by Terry Pratchett and Stephen Baxter, travel to parallel Earths is possible by use of a relatively simple device known as a 'Stepper'; essentially a wooden box with copper wiring, a potato as a power source, and a single lever. One end of the top of the box is marked 'East' and the other end 'West'. Switching the lever to one of these two 'directions' sends you to another Earth.

A conceit in the books is that we in America tend to push and travel 'West', while those in Asia tend to go 'East'. It isn't until much later that someone considers the possibility of 'North' and 'South' directions. After completing the five book series I wondered about going North-East, South-West, and the like. 

What about Warp Gates or Jump Gates (the Tannhauser Gates of Blade Runner fame), massive structures that open artificial wormholes enabling ships to travel faster-than-light from one such portal to another. The Mass Relays of Mass Effect function this way.

Imagine if the sending relay or the receiving one is damaged due to a malfunction or exterior attack while your ship is in between gates. What happens? Are you lost, barreling forward through a hyper-luminal otherspace for all eternity? Perhaps instead you drop out of 'Gate Space' between your previous location and your target and must limp along to the nearest star system using conventional thrust or lesser FTL engines. Who built the Gates? Was it Humanity or some ancient, precursor species? How does such a technology, which might be far beyond our complete understanding, even suffer a malfunction? If it does, can anyone alive at this time repair it?

In my Winghorn Guard / D&D-But-Not universe, Circle Magic - the mystic art of drawing or etching magic circles and symbols for various effects - can be used to create portals of both the travel and summoning variety.

Like many aspects of magic on the Winghorn Guard world of Aerth, altering any portion of the mystic rotes or patterns can change the results of your magical endeavor, from helpful to surprising to absolutely catastrophic. What if you made the circle with sand, water, or some other element of the location you mean to travel to? That should make it easier or faster, no? What if you make the circle in the dirt with a stick (wand, staff, or rod) but then pour the blood, venom, or melted fat of a creature able to teleport into the grooves? The possibilities are endless!

That's it for now.

Last one coming up next...

Barking Alien

Saturday, August 29, 2020

RPGaDay Challenge 2020 - RIDE


Here is another example of a prompt that should have appeared much, much earlier. I had an idea for it right away but my overall excitement for this year's challenge is way down at this point. I think my entry is pretty fun, yet I wonder how much better it would have been if I were really jazzed the whole month long. 

One of the often overlooked and unappreciated elements of PC equipment is the vehicle. I am excluding starships from this, although they would certainly qualify as 'rides'. I have written about such interstellar craft separately on a number of occasions, so I would prefer to open this up to other forms of travel. Here I am addressing more terrestrial, if sometimes unconventional, means of character conveyance.

Planes, trains, automobiles, and the like that are special both to the PCs and to their campaigns do not seem to be brought up as often as they once were. Have we lost our love affair with the super-car? I certainly hope not. I have fond memories as both a player and a Gamemaster of some very cool forms of PC transportation that have appeared in our games over the years.

The Crescent Moon (aka The Moon Flyer), from Champions: The Age of Chaos 

The personal vehicle of Night Force, the field leader of the New York City chapter of UNTIL's Project: UNITY, the Crescent Moon is one of the most advanced aerospace craft on Earth. Designed by Night Force himself using cutting edge technology both native and extraterrestrial, the 'Moon Flyer' (as it has been nicknamed) soars swiftly and absolutely silently on contra-gravity thrusters and specialty turbines. 

Painted with a unique material that enables the craft to absorb and manipulate light. The Moon Flyer can, for example, turn invisible or reflect light in a bright white, nearly blinding flash. From the ground below, the vehicle's underside can easily be mistaken for the actual moon in the night sky. 

The ship is largely automated and only requires a single pilot. It has room for perhaps one or two other people as the interior space of the craft is very limited. There is a small cargo area in the rear and a hatch on the bottom from which Night Force can descend [by ladder or leap]. 

The Crescent Moon has a number of weapons, defenses, and other gadgets, most of which are modular, enabling Night Force to switch them out for mission specific gear. 

Ecto-Plus (aka Ecto-1+), from Ghostbusters: The Home Office

With the original Ecto-1 used more for public appearances and PR, our team used a modern ambulance that had been heavily customized by the PCs. It included a Proton Particle Throwing Cannon mounted on a roof turret and operated from a gunner's seat in the back section of the vehicle.

Ghostbuster employee David Nelson kept advocating for an Ecto-Tank but Dr. Alex Thornton kept insisting the budget couldn't afford it. Apart from Dr. Ray Stantz's enthusiasm for the idea ("Just to see it happen!", he was quoted as saying), the team never got a clear Yea or Nay from Ghostbusters Central. 

Additional vehicles used by the team included a motorcycle with a detachable side car (Ecto-1c) and a converted Ice Cream truck (Ecto-1d) that had a miniature Containment Unit in place of it's refrigerator. These were only used on special occasions when the main vehicle was 'in the shop'. Additionally, the Ecto-1d was kind of experimental. 

The Metroliner, from Deeds Not Words: The Gods Wear Long Underwear 

One of my all time favorite RPG vehicles, the Metroliner was an independantly powered and operated subway train car owned by the street level superhero known as The Metropolitan. The Metroliner is highly modified and customized, capable of traveling through the New York City subway system at speeds far exceeding standard trains. It had a small control cabin, but as the rest of the car was of standard size, there was easily enough room for the rest of The Metropolitan's team and extra gear. 

Thanks to a specially designed navigation and override system, The Metropolitan can manipulate subway traffic to clear tracks and tunnels for a smoother, faster trip. He also has several secret stations and lengths of track that allow The Metroliner to disappear to make quick repairs. 

The engine of the Metroliner is extremely powerful and with the help of advanced magnetic cables, the vehicle can tow other forms of underground transportation up to and including a fully loaded subway train of a dozen cars or so. Other devices that the Metroliner is equipped with include fire extinguishers, mobile medical equipment, arc-welder/blowtorch, and a smoke screen ejector. A subway station headquarters/garage serves as the vehicle's housing and The Metropolitan's main base of operations. 

Blood, from The Legend of Boot Hill

While I have mentioned my Legend of Boot Hill game in the past, I can't seem to find a single post that references it in a way that would give this entry context. As such, if you're really interested in off beat Westerns, please feel free to search the blog using the Boot Hill or Wild West tags. That said...

There is a tall tale told by rancher, wrangler, and gunslinger alike, usually by a nighttime campfire and backed by the howling of unseen critters of the otherwise deserted regions of Texas, New Mexico, and Nevada, of an entity called The Red Rider and his horse, known simply as Blood.

It's body the color of cinnamon, covered from hoof to hind-quarters in brick-hued dust, with a mane and tail tinted a deep, dark rust, Blood is a horse like no other. Accounts of his size, speed, and strength vary and are probably exaggerated more with each telling.

All agree there is something unnatural about the beast and every description shares a nearly identical mention of the animal's eyes; large, glassy, black as pitch but surrounded by a red ring that almost seems to glow in the dark. Steam spews forth from its nose and mouth regardless of the temperature. Its hooves beat like thunder as it gallops but despite its size and weight, it can just as easily trot out of the shadows without even the slightest sound. 

The most disturbing thing about this creature is that, like its rider, it doesn't seem to die. Ever. For any reason. Witnesses have seen it shot by rifles, buried in a rockslide, and even gallop off a cliff as the Red Rider tried to get control of a runaway stage coach. Each time, the Red Rider and Blood reappear at some later place and time, appearing a bit worse for wear but alive and well...or whatever unholy state they're in that passes for such. 

In the decades that followed, as the locomotive, car, and other modern conveyances replaced the horse as our standard means of getting from one place to another, there were still stories told of a scarlet cowboy and his crimson steed that could be seen keeping pace with the great ironhorses of the Western rails.

Blood will always run.

Barking Alien

Friday, August 28, 2020

RPGaDay Challenge 2020 - CLOSE


As an adjective it means being near to someone or something. 

As a verb it is the act of shutting something, such as a door or lid. 

So...we are close to closing the book on this year's RPGaDay Challenge.

Heh. I am so clever.


Barking Alien

Thursday, August 27, 2020

RPGaDay Challenge 2020 - FAVOR


Remember how in the the beginning of this year's RPGaDay event I mentioned that the early word prompts should be interesting and inspiring in order to get one motivated to continue on? This is a perfect example. Favor would have been a great week one or two word. A hundred times more intriguing and evocative than Thread, Couple, or Rest. 

Unfortunately we're now only a few days away from the end of August and I am so bored with this month's prompts I can barely generate any enthusiasm for this entry. Still, the show must go on...

I looked up the meaning of the word and found something curious; though it has multiple definitions, the numerous sources lead with what amounts to "a preference or partiality towards something." As in, you might be in favor of a particular idea or said idea might find favor with you and your friends. 

I immediately began to think of games I favor or which I am in favor of. My next thought was, 'Why do I favor these games?' I also wondered, 'Why am I using the word favor so much all of a sudden? Ah yes, the RPGaDay prompt."

Generally speaking, though there are certainly exceptions, my preference is for genres or settings I enjoy beyond gaming (meaning I also enjoy them in books, comics, films, TV shows, and other media), rules that don't get in the way of storytelling, and some element(s) of the game that feel right for what I am using it for. 

For example, the ALIEN RPG is relatively simple and to the point, with an interesting action economy and Panic system that reflects the combat in the ALIEN films and provides and effective mechanic for horror genre freak outs. 

All these elements also fit Red Dwarf perfectly, and as such the existence of the ALIEN game inspired me to run a Red Dwarf game, in spite of one being horror and one being comedy. Many of the concerns of those two types of stories overlap in ways I've discussed in the past. The main connection is that failure is the key to excitement, not success. At least, not initially. The threat of failure, especially catastrophic failure, it was enhances the successes when they are finally achieved. 

I also favor games where there aren't too many sub-systems branching off from or entangled with the main die mechanic. Basically, I like sub-systems I can drop. If something isn't working or slows the game down, I favor games that make modifying or dropping such systems a fairly easy task. As I have stated before, most games are over-written. Some of my favorite RPGs are only 50-75 pages in length and they're buried in books that are 250+ pages. 

I wish I had more to say but I think that is all for now. 

Luckily this challenge is almost at an end.

Have a great weekend if I don't see you!

Barking Alien

Wednesday, August 26, 2020

RPGaDay Challenge 2020 - STRANGE


Strange is defined as, 'Unusual or surprising in a way that is unsettling or hard to understand.' Another take is 'Not previously visited, seen, or encountered; unfamiliar or alien.'

I like to think that I, or more specifically my areas of interest and the games they inspire, fall into the former category, with settings and locations that are firmly in the latter. 

While I do not claim Star Trek, Star Wars, Superheroes, or Medieval Folklore to be all that strange in and of themselves (all but the last of these appearing in mass media and as elements of pop culture), I would like to believe that my individual takes on them are often a little off-center and odd. This is certainly more evident in Supers and Folklore than the big the IP franchises however. 

At the same time, that's not all I run and when push comes to shove, I wonder how many other people are Gamemastering sessions of The Muppet Show, a Smurfs game set in Medieval Flanders, and a rather creepy and occasionally tear-jerking campaign of Ghostbusters. 

Let's not forget time travel games run in reverse order, a UFO/aliens-in-disguise two-parter set in America's Dust Bowl period of the 1930s, and my ongoing 'Unfinished Business' project - an RPG in which you portray ghosts trying to move on to the afterlife (essentially attempting to remove your PC from play). 

I love the strange. I eat it up. I would rather encounter and engage with the strange over the tactical, the reasonable, the grotesque, or the violent any day. I want to meet living things that make me question the nature of life, picture vistas that redefine terrain, and phenomena that don't quite match our understanding of established physics. 

Sure, in many ways my love of IP gaming belies this interest; I run many licensed franchises because fan familiarity with them is an advantage when explaining the premise of an RPG set in that universe. The key is, once you understand where you are and why, I can more easily get you to wonder about the weird and wild parts I've injected into the setting you feel you know. 

“Not only is the Universe stranger than we think, it is stranger than we can think.”
-Werner Heisenberg, Theoretical Physicist

Barking Alien

Two Notes: 

First, I failed to recognize what a very special day yesterday was. August 25th, marks my Gaming Anniversary; 43 years in the hobby beginning in 1977. Yay me!

Second, today is National Dog Day, which is very important to me both personally and professionally. Hurray for Dogs! We do not deserve them. I am spending it hanging out, playing, walking, and chilling with my best friend, Sketch, who turns 3 years old on Friday. 


Tuesday, August 25, 2020

RPGaDay Challenge 2020 - LEVER


Clockwork contraptions, trap doors in front of the villains chair, yadda yadda yadda. The lever is evocative enough I suppose, generating visions of pulp style masterminds and ancient tombs but what about it? What can I say that will elevate or innovate our understanding of them?

Nothing comes to mind. *Sigh*

I will say this, touch screen interfaces and holographic controls are not nearly as satisfying. Imaginary or not, nothing beats the tactile, physical concept of moving a lever. 


Barking Alien

Monday, August 24, 2020

RPGaDay Challenge 2020 - HUMOR


Now here's a prompt I can get behind.

Humor is a subject very near and dear to me and one I've covered on this blog fairly often. Given our current state of 'global crapfest', humor is something we can all use more of and we should never take for granted.

Humor is, in many ways, one of the great defining elements of the Human condition (and the condition of those of us trying to hide among you.). With a world wide pandemic presently hindered in many places by social un-wellness and the diseases of political corruption, indifference, and flat out stupidity, comedy and laughter are among our most powerful survival tools. It is time to embrace 'the best medicine'. 

Humor is no cure all, nor is it always appropriate to combat the problems at hand. That said, I personally feel it is vital in seeing the bigger picture without that picture overwhelming us. 

Now I come from a long line of funny people. My mother is funny, as was her father. My father was funny, though his humor was often dry and sometimes even a tad dark (especially towards the end of his life). 

I was raised on Mel Brooks movies, Monty Python, the Muppet Show, and a veritable cavalcade of sitcoms, far too numerous and varied to list here. Comedy, especially 'genre comedy' remains my favorite film and television category. 

I also love, Love, LOVE, humor in RPGs. 

At this very moment I am kind of obsessed with a campaign idea that I know I could turn into one of the best campaigns I've run in a long time, if only I could assemble a group that would be willing to give it a try. 

I know exactly who I'd want to be in it, but I am also acutely aware that some of would be a hard sell. I don't know if I could get all the players I'd like to have participate buy in to the idea. Thing is, if you read post 22, 'Rare', you'd know that if I don't have the people I'm thinking of, it might be impossible to pull it off at all. 

Still and all, thinking about my concept and its potential puts a smile on my face. I see how great it could be because I see the humor in it and really, that's the same reason I know the world will be OK in the long run. 

I see the humor in us all. 

Barking Alien

Sunday, August 23, 2020

RPGaDay Challenge 2020 - EDGE


I don't really have much to say about edge. 

I could talk about the 'edge of the map' and what's lies beyond it, but my maps don't really have edges. I've also addressed this before and I'm sure it will be the subject of someone else's entry.

I could discuss characters that have an edge to them but such characters aren't especially interesting to me (with a few, rare exceptions) so I am not sure what I could say about them. 

I feel like I should have something to say about edgey games in general but...I just don't. Nothing worth saying at any rate. I don't feel enough passion for them or against them to be creative or snarky in any meaningful way. 

So that's edge. 

Another winner for the RPGaDay 2020 event. 

This is getting frustrating. I want to write.

Inspire me damn it. 

Barking Alien

Saturday, August 22, 2020

RPGaDay Challenge 2020 - RARE


I like rare things. 

Small press RPGs, limited edition action figures, comic books with very small print runs, original copies of books that fell into public domain; the forgotten, the lesser known, and the rarely seen hold a very special place in my...I believe you call it a heart.

What I'd like to talk about today is something a little bit different however. I'd like to thank the rare gamers.

I have long since come to the realization that my players are a rare breed and I count myself very lucky to have them. I have had the pleasure of playing with a lot of really great players and Gamemasters. 

That said...I've also played with and continue to play with gamers who are fine people, good friends, but average gamers. There is nothing wrong with being an average gamer. Most gamers are the average gamer (that's kind of the definition of the term). The average gamer is necessary, vital even, for the hobby's continued function and growth. 

What I am thankful for, what am I honestly and truly appreciative of, is the exceptional gamer. The deep buy-in, emoting, story driven, work-as-a-team, world building gamers. The special gamer. The Rare gamer. 

While they may be rare, I seem to have collected a large number of them.

For this, I am endlessly grateful.

Barking Alien

Friday, August 21, 2020

RPGaDay Challenge 2020 - PUSH


I find I am pushing myself to finish this year. It's hard. I haven't been feeling especially inspired by these prompts but I really want to complete this 'challenge'. It really does feel like I need to push through to make it happen.

I am definitely pushing to do this one. 

Barking Alien

Thursday, August 20, 2020

RPGaDay Challenge 2020 - INVESTIGATE


Investigation and the mysteries they solve are a major part of the games I run. That said, I have covered this subject many times already in previous posts and have little to add at this time in a direct fashion. See the Label/Tag 'Mystery' at the bottom of this post to view my past entries. 

I will say this; one of the most disappointing things I hear regularly from gamers, especially fellow Gamemasters, is how difficult running mysteries and investigations are. The phrase, 'Mysteries in RPGs are very hard to do', really grinds my gears. 

It's a lazy platitude that immediately says to me, 'I don't know how to do it and I am not willing to put in the effort to figure it out.' Either that or the person tried, failed or couldn't figure it out and quit trying. At least be honest and say, 'I've tried it many times and just can't get it to work out well.' Own it. That I can respect.

Personally I find it fairly easy to run mysteries at this point, but only because I have thought long and hard about how to do so, did quite a bit of experimentation and research, and I was willing to put in the work. 

Before giving up on RPG investigations, or simply running crappy ones, investigate how to set them up and execute them. That is a mystery worth solving.

Barking Alien

Wednesday, August 19, 2020

RPGaDay Challenge 2020 - TOWER

Viewership for the month is incredibly low, something I haven't seen in a while and never during the RPGaDay event. Usually, the sheer number of posts I am putting up ensure a certain amount of views. Is it the Challenge itself, what with the prompts being fairly mundane this year? Is it my attitude towards them, which I will admit has not been particularly enthusiastic? Only time will tell. There are twelves more to go...


Hmmm. OK, this word prompt is definitely better than most of the others, being something you come across while playing RPGs and having a bit of a mystique to it.

Towers are a common feature in games, ranging from the haunted spires of Medieval Fantasy, to the communications outposts of Science Fiction, and even the secret, volcano bases of costumed criminals in Superhero scenarios. 

What makes towers cool?

For me, environment is cool. Staging adventures in different sorts of terrain with different conditions and appearances is a big draw for me as both a player and a GM. One of the reasons the traditional Dungeon Crawl doesn't interest me is because they tend to focus on very similar settings, most commonly an underground maze of stone walls and wooden doors with very little variation from one to the next.

IMHO, if you've seen one catacomb filled with treasure and monsters you've seen them all. Changing that format up even a little instantly gets me more excited. A tower does this by being a vertical ascent instead of a descent from one horizontal plane to another. Additionally, the 'exterior' of a dungeon is often acres of dirt and rock, where as a tower often stands alone or with other of its kind in an otherwise open expanse. 

This last point is particularly interesting to me as it gives way to alternative ideas reqarding the entering or exiting of the edifice. One could enter or leap out of a window. One can land on or leave from the roof. In Modern and Science Fiction games where there is easier access to vehicles and equipment capable of allowing PCs to scale structures or move around and above them, the options open to dealing with the tower are vastly expanded. 

I mentioned the mystique of the tower in my opening paragraph and let me not forget to give that element its due. Towers can evoke a feel of majesty, loneliness, and of course foreboding. They have a very distinct presence and personality, whether they are single, ominous stone obelisks jutting upward from a high, sheer cliff, or a series of slick, glass and steel buildings coated in chrome and neon that form the edges of the concrete canyons of a futuristic, cyberpunk cityscape. 

Think of all the myriad ways the tower can be depicted. 

Now think...what else can I depict...

Barking Alien

Tuesday, August 18, 2020

RPGaDay Challenge 2020 - MEET


Meet makes me think of all the people I've met because of gaming. 

I've met most of my friends through gaming or shared gaming with friends which resulted in spending more time together sharing the fun.

I met my ex-wife through Anime but introducing her to gaming was like letting a bird know they could fly past the edge of a cliff and now a whole, new world was open to it. 

I met my current girlfriend thanks to gaming and even though she isn't as into it as I am, I wouldn't know her without it. Thank you gaming!

I've met pros and gotten jobs, met people of all sorts by doing demos, and running and playing at conventions. 

That's it. Honestly, I feel like I've stretched meet as far as I can. 

I don't think I've really had anything worthwhile to say about any of the prompts so far besides Forest and Light. That two out of 18. Wow. That kind of sucks. Maybe it's me, as I've noted previously, but I don't think it's just me. I've checked in with posts on other blogs, youtube videos, and the like and it seems a number of people are having difficulty this year.

We're passed the half-way point, so let's cross our fingers...

Barking Alien

Monday, August 17, 2020

RPGaDay Challenge 2020 - COMFORT


Comfort makes me think of comfort food. That's basically food that provides one with a nostalgic or sentimental feeling. It's often characterized by being high in calories and carbohydrates and/or simple preparation. The nostalgic feeling can be specific to a culture, a time, a place, or just an individual. 

I find it curious that when I think about my own, personal comfort foods, they probably aren't what most people would think they'd be unless they knew me very well. I am a 51 year old white male, of Prussian decent and Jewish heritage, who was born and raised in Brooklyn, New York to a lower-middle class family. 

My comfort foods include ramen and udon noodles, pork dumpling and buns, congee, and small, soft tortilla tacos. I make Chinese, Japanese, and Korean food - particularly noodle soups - fairly often for dinner, especially during Winter months.

Much like my taste in comfort food, my taste in 'comfort gaming' is probably a bit atypical of the majority of gamers my age. I started with Basic D&D in 1977 at the age of eight, but my preferences these days are very different. 

Comfort gaming for me is Star Trek, Star Wars, and to a lesser extent Superheroes, specifically Champions. 

When it comes to Star Trek my current go-to is Modiphius' Star Trek Adventures and I've been going to it fairly often lately. I also love going back to the classic FASA version and Last Unicorn Games' Icon System, which remains one of my all time favorite RPGs. 

Star Wars begins and ends with West End Games' D6 system. I've always loved it and always will. 

As for Champions, I like the 4th Edition 'Big Blue Book' the best and though I've looked into the other variations but always go back to 4E. 

Other comfort games that come to mind are classic Traveller, the new ALIEN RPG, and maybe Ars Magica is coming close to that status as well. 

Well, that's about that. Hmmm. I could really go for some yakisoba now.

Barking Alien

RPGaDay Challenge 2020 - DRAMATIC


I will come back to this one.

Barking Alien

Saturday, August 15, 2020

RPGaDay Challenge 2020 - FRAME

Frame, huh?

Let me see...

Barking Alien

Friday, August 14, 2020

RPGaDay Challenge 2020 - BANNER


It's going to be hilarious reading all the posts relating The Hulk. 

Unless...unless...wait, what if no does that? Could that happen? Could I be the only one whose first thought was Bruce Banner? What if, oh lord, what if no one writes about the Hulk? No one! 

What a waste.

Yeah...I got nothing for this prompt really. I figure flags are a kind of Banner so here are some flags I've designed for various RPG campaigns. 

United America Flag for Series III of my Red Dwarf / Yellow Sun campaign. 

Union of Federated Planets (Top) and Mercantile League (Bottom) Flags from our old Space Opera campaigns. 

The (unofficial) official Flag of The Star Patrol for the RPG of the same name. 

What's next? I really hope it's something I can write a post about...

Barking Alien

Thursday, August 13, 2020

RPGaDay Challenge 2020 - REST

I can just see it now...several dozen posts on what constitutes 'Rest' in Dungeons and Dragons. Ruminations on how many Hit Points one gets back from resting, how long a rest period is, and so forth. 

Rest is rarely a mechanic I concern myself with in any of the RPGs I run or play. It is a thing handled by hand wave and role playing dialogue. Sometimes PCs will be well rested, sometimes they'll be fatigued. If there is a specific reason or a neat mechanic that plays into the setting or genre I'll give it a look but usually it depends more on the context of the events in the game. 

I think I'll rest by largely sitting this one out. 

Barking Alien

Wednesday, August 12, 2020

RPGaDay Challenge 2020 - MESSAGE

Should RPGs send a message? Should your campaign have one?

'Should' is a word one must treat with the upmost of care, or to put it another way...don't say 'should'. 'Could' is much preferred and considerably more interesting.

Could an RPG game or campaign have a message? Absolutely, though that needn't always be the case.

Like films, television shows, and numerous other forms of entertainment, sometimes a fun and exciting tale is just that and needs no deeper meaning of any kind. Most forms of entertainment are, on average, just an escape from the everyday and not designed to explore the big intellectual, moral, or philosophical questions that challenge Humanity's understanding of itself and it's place in the universe. 

On the other hand, if you are so inclined, why not 'elevate the medium' as it were and try to put a message into your game from time to time. Here's the only caveat...

Unless you know your group really well, your message runs the risk of being ignored, challenged, disagreed with, or people just not getting it. If everyone is on the same page (or at least philosophically compatible ones) and shares a similar viewpoint, your sending your message to people who already know it. If you have varying viewpoints on a subject, is your message going to go over well or, as I stated before, is it going to cause turmoil in the group?

Generally speaking, I don't have a particular message in mind when I run my 'high brow', more thought provoking campaigns. My goal is to provoke thought, so I will pose a question rather than send a message. I like presenting ideas, usually several, and seeing how the players and their PCs react to the ideas. What do they think the right answer is and why? I love hearing the discussions as differences of opinion on what is happening and why are offered up, questioned, and reasoned out. 

In the end, perhaps a message forms when the questions are answered. If we confront each other, and ourselves, with social and moral quandaries, we will be forced to come to terms with those quandaries at some point (or points) in the narrative of the game. 

In fact, if there is any one message I would want to send all my players it is this; don't hesitate to wonder and ask questions. Don't be afraid to be wrong, right, or a little of the two. Use any and all opportunities to think wisely and embrace the infinite possibilities in seeing a different point of view. 

Barking Alien