Friday, September 23, 2016

Wobble: An Incomplete Compendium of Verses

The Verses of Wobble still evolve as I continue to try to catch up with my writing.

Alpha- Currently a theoretical construct. What is it going to called now that the Nu Verse is called the Alpha Verse is a debate for another time.

Beta, Gamma, Delta, Epsilon, Zeta- Currently a theoretical construct.

Eta- Wobblers from XJ state that their grandmothers have traveled to this Verse

Theta- Wobblers from XJ state that their grandmothers have traveled to this Verse

Iota- Outside of contact with Tzadi species Wobblers from a place called XJ, and mentions by visitors from the Lambda Verse, there is not a whole lot known about this Verse.

Kappa- Wobblers from Lambda and XJ state that their grandfathers have traveled to this Verse

Lambda- A Verse where a continuum of universes where people and creatures from Earth's prehistory are still very present. Though the technology tends to be rustic at best, there are accomplished transdimensional travelers that dwell on these “proto-Earths.”

Mu- The collection of universes that we on Earth would find the most familiar. Or own, which we call Mu-Prime, happens to be the easiest universe to get to in this Verse for transdimensional travelers from other Verses.
GM's Note: This is as far to-date as any Wobbler from the Omega Verse has been known to travel to.

Nu- Called “Alpha” by the Wobblers from Omega

Xi- (Access Denied)

Omicron- Infernal

Pi- Where the (Oi-Process) started

Rho- Mahajanapada

Sigma- Ether Bunnies

Tau- Just Wrong

Upsilon- Radio-Ape

Phi-(Access Denied)

Chi- The Aquarius Verse. Hippyhalla

Psi- “Never-Never Worlds”

Omega- Home of the first and, most likely, the most advanced Wobbling civilizations. The Verses as modeled here were discovered by them first.

Saturday, August 13, 2016

Two New Crawlspace Mechanisms

The Stand-In (PERK) - The Actor of this Character will stop a scene where another Character could be seriously affected and dress up like him or her to act out a dangerous action. The "standing in" Character will absorb any Damage or suffer any sort of NERVE effects from the action, also no Fame will awarded. No fame is awarded because the camera can never show the main Character's fame during that sequence.
(Inspired by Beckett Warren)

The Camera Gag - Once in a game when, before the Climax, an action in the scene is important, the Director (the GM) will stop things. Apparently the camera man has stepped away, a Character not involved with the action going on will have to jump in to film the shot. Now the actor(s) in front of the camera as well as the actress behind the camera will have to make successful Draws. If both sides do, everyone gets a FAME Card and there is at least one kewl scene in the flik. If anyone drawing fails, then only the successful Character gets a FAME Card.

Tuesday, August 9, 2016

GENCON 16: New Places Of the Mind

This is Brett (Kal), not me.

Despite efforts by our PeryPubber clique's "Quitter Club" to bring things to halt over the winter, we did it. Kal, Beckett, Jedi Bacon, Saharrah (Sarah), Jess (Kashi), and Caed Phaser all pulled it together and came up with a way to get to stay downtown at the most massive tabletop gaming convention in existence. We also were able to have fun and make the hard work that we had to do a lot of fun.

The LARPS of Dread
We ran five LARP sessions designed for forty people to attend, complete with two mini-scenarios to compliment two of them. Caed had talked me doing some LARPS anyway some fourteen months earlier. My Crawlspace games always turns into some live action by the end of the second act anyway, so why not? The attendance was from nine to just over 30 people (a rough average of 50% planned attendance), but that worked out better in the end.

The Rat-Pack Versus Cthulhu sessions were a gas. "Cthulhu at the Sands," "The Search for Dino," and "the Sword of Sammy" brought in the hardcore LARPers. We as GMs often got to sit back and eat popcorn, or in my case buy drinks, and watch the action. Once in a while I'd insist on injecting scene breaks and closures, often to the dismay of of the folks around me. Kal really shined as a GM/GPC (guided character?) when he took on the role of a Rat-Pack member for all three of them. Kashi mustered up her courage and insisted on playing the role of Lilith for "The Sword of Sammy" scenario that she'd been working on for weeks already. She did great.

The zombie apocalypse scenarios "Outbreak" & "Extraction," including the sequels "Patient Zero" and 'After Action Review," pulled in more RPG players and a smattering of LARPers. Attendance of course was a bit more than the Rat-Pack events as well. All this increased the level of difficulty for the us, but we waded through.

I swear my co-GMs, especially Sarah and Beckett (and Caed jumping in where she could) were working against my plot the entire time. I was running around wondering 'where are my zombies?'. On Saturday when I got my zombies, I got vegetarian zombies that negotiated a peace deal with the zombie-kill squad sent in by the "Extraction" scenario. After a ten minute panic session, I had to start laughing.

There was a convention to go to as well

Most of my free time was spent either really getting along with or arguing with bartenders at Crowne Plaza or Union Station. I did get out a bit on Saturday night. I went to a DCC session where the point of the gig was to interrupt GMs running role-playing scenarios to groups actively participating by adding a gaggle of reluctant role-players from other tables. Once this didn't go well, the original GM was replaced with a very loud GM that's mission was to hammer down anybody that was role-playing and assist the players that had enough sense to be quiet to remain under the radar for the rest of the course of play. Later I heard that I was among the winners. My unimpressive PC with a role that I didn't ask for, was killed and replaced by a skull-headed robot, which had no incentive to do much of anything but not breath. The atmosphere was ripped away from the planet and only the skull-sucks remained. Hurray?

Still there were parties to be had and gamer people to hang with, so I took it upon myself to accept three earlier invitations and a couple of dances and drinks. Free libation, beautiful men and women to hug, I struggled through it. I am rather giving like that. I especially had to check out the "Changeling Kids,"  my own name for them, Katie, Casey, Andrew, and Michael from Chicago who showed me how to really do a LARP-- kidding aside, I got a lot of good tips from these peope.  By the way, Mike had a really great quote which I wrote down and wanted to post, but I can't find it right now. I'll post it later. One day I might tell you of Beckett's very quiet Fear and Loathing in GENCON experience.

I'm in the center.
When Sunday am came, I had only one player show up for my Glow "Robot Jazz" session so I bought his ticket and we talked for about thirty minutes about indie gaming. I hope to attend one of Scott Favre's scenarios next year. I turned in the last envelope for the last event I had. I walked to my car, parked right by Acapulco Joe's, so some enchiladas and beer for breakfast made sense. With that I bid adieu to the Circle City, but not before my host Batman (Jordan) called to see if I could loan his youngest my now long forgotten behind badge-- close friends of both of us will understand the hilarity of this.

Friday, July 29, 2016

Miscellaneous Notes Before GenCon 16

A bit busy these days...

Zombie for Crawlspace (TM)
While a later stage "zombi" is at a minus 3 (-3) for any MENTAL Draw, this characterization is highly dependent on the story going on around it. Not only can the Director (the GM) decide how smart a zombie, but they are are incredibly hard to kill. Rules-wise that means, that it takes as a LUCK Draw at 1 after enough combat damage (5 Damage cards) to kill it.

But when fighting a zombie, if an Actor takes any damage while fighting, if a Damage Card is of the same suit of his PHYSICAL Stat he is infected.


Someone wrote a scenario for my T&T(TM) space opera New Khazan. Dr. Roy Cram, a real life healthcare provider, out of Kansas (I think), mentions a gas giant about four years after I asked for one. to write up a GM's scenario for my specific setting called "the Kliklac Encounter." This scenario is available from the Snollygoster E-Zine available from Rarr I am a Monster Publishing. I might or might not review it later.

Tuesday, July 5, 2016

Wobbling and Nukes Don't Mix

In less than six months, I've had someplace in the Chesapeake Bay area get nuked three times. I actually designed the scenario "Nixon's World" in the vain hope that I get to be preachy about avoiding extremism. While writing I was expecting the place wouldn't get nuked too often. I should've already known, the players I've had, ranging from professors to bar tenders in walks of life, having a nuclear bomb show up in a scenario is just too tempting to wait.

Nixon World: Wewwers (Sewer Monkeys) have taken over an Earth in the Mu Continuum, and since 1973 have kept Richard Nixon alive and in power. Though its astrological date is actually 2016, everyone thinks it's 1979. Everyone on the world has a blindspot where they know the Commander-in-Chief has ruled for over forty, nearly fifty, years, but that he's was elected in 1968. The dwellers of this world have had two generations live through the 70s and remain there, but no one can't quite put a finger on what's wrong. Enter my Wobbling play-testers, here to set the calendar straight in my mind, but I am one of those GMs that only railroads players late at night when everyone is too drunk to think straight.  The Wobble playing has ran a little late, but not quite that bad.

I think I give ample clues that something is amiss, including psychic intuition that the earlier encountered Sewer Monkeys have something to do with the problem in this scenario. The players get roughed up a bit, and ticketed, by the security forces but ultimately kicked loose onto the streets. When the People's Liberation Front of 1976 Onward! (PLF-77!) pulls up in their vans, all the playing groups see Leroy Pole (Shaft) and Tangerine Jones (orange-haired in a big 'fro, political activist really named Ruth Goldstein), they just gotta stick it to the Man. That includes the conservative players at the table in ALL THREE SESSIONS. Sloppy planning aside by my NPCs, show the Player-Characters the yellow van with the Grateful Dead painted on the side with a homemade atomic weapon, folks will volunteer to drive the damn thing. One person, who else but the professor from Indiana U, actually blew up Nixon and Chairman Mao (also sustained by the Wewwers). Two groups have destroyed the city of Annapolis, Maryland and fortified the police state of Emergency Provisional Authority of America. In either case, the heroes have been helping the Wewwer with their "experiment."

In Sociology class, this would be the "Infant with the Hammer" dilemma. In gaming terms, it is the cause for much mirth for the GM. Which of course means that the next scenario in this three-part series has to deal with Palo Alto circa 1944. What could go wrong?

Tuesday, June 21, 2016

Origins 2016

Origins is a gaming convention that I have been familiar with since the 80s. Always a bit clunky, Origins has remained "the second convention" in my mind for most of my adventure gaming life. The last time I was there, I think about seven years ago, there was more headache than joy in the occasion. Inefficient registration, too many territorial-minded cliques, and too few attendees to justify any of that. Too little bang for the buck, to be taken seriously. With growing difficulties at getting a room as regular game-runners at GENCON, I decided around March of this year to re-check out Origins.

I still found the experience to be at a rather middling convention, but with enough attendees and new gaming cliques to still be worth the time. The mishaps which occurred actually filled me with no end of mirth. Sometimes the hilarity was worth the price of admission.

Registration was a Two-headed Ettin with a Laptop in Need of WINDOWS Updates

I should have kicked myself for not "preregistering" for the convention, but seeing that my games were listed on-line and in the printed catalog I figured that a GM badge might be waiting for me. While waiting to check on my status, I was engulfed by an angry horde of folks that had prerigistered and were in line for three hours on average. I know because one cut into the GM line to randomly place a complaint because her boyfriend didn't make it a money-making game on time. The dude at the GM's desk, Ben, I think, was kewl by me, and Paul came by and helped me out-- He seemed happy to have a GM-based problem. When I realized that my free badge came at the price of then standing in the Preregistered line though, I went straight to the Buy Badge Now (I paraphrase) booths and spent 35 minutes in line. Yes, I paid for my admission, but I am not a broke gamer.

Tales from "The Quiet Room" and Elsewhere

While my "daytime" events (one starting at 11am, two starting at 2pm) where all in one conference room, where other RPG games were being ran, for some reason all my Crawlspace events were placed in the GCC Rm 125 T-1, also whispered, and labeled on the room sign, to be THE ORIGINS 2016 QUIET ROOM (dum-dum-dahhhh)!

My "Nixon World" Wobble session for Wednesday 1pm lost two ticketed players because of my time spent in pointless lines at the registration process. I showed up at 1:17pm. Luckily there was Alan from Terra Haute, that stuck around. I spent just over two hours, doing a one-on-one introduction to my setting and having him live out the abbreviated scenario. It did me as much good to hash out the tale as it amused him.

The 6pm Crawlspace session of 'The Dig" on went swimmingly, though everyone was worried about being in a room called the Quiet Room. Sure enough, a couple of people came in and stared at us for making noise-- one just had to slam the door on her way out. Still Bridgett, Michelle, Thomas, Jason, and Ryan made the game a ball. While in game phrases like "Bridgette (French pronunciation) the Humvee" and "the Blair Witch Tsunami," had everyone giggling, "Any kind of mythical creature that I can't use duct tape on?" by Jason won the laughs award. I am now in love with Bridgett, like everyone else in the group, while stepping outside for fresh air and cigarette smoke to wake me up, she told me, "You really can do creepy without us seeing it coming." To complete the night two guys in yellow "Origins Security" shirts came by as things were wrapping up and told us that we weren't being quiet but that they didn't care.

Thursday's 11am SPACERS(TM) session "Vacuum" had only Alex, back from Kentucky currently living in Columbus, as its sole player. Once again, I used this as an opportunity to not only do an abbreviated one-on-one session, but to go into the long backstory about the setting of the Spacers Universe that he was in. When we finally got into the game, Alex was very much into the story in front of him as well. We spun the yarn for almost three hours, and he was frustrated at being repulsed from the Others' "Other-Mother" (mothership) without a chance to fight his way through all of it.

"Flotsam Bay" after the 6pm mark ran into the shoals of "the Quiet Room" so to speak. I kind of knew things were in for a rough patch when I asked the woman making baby bottles with Similac formula, and another woman requiring three chairs to charge a cell phone that she was hammering away on with urgent text messages, "Are you here for the Crawlspace game?" The was reply was both two hateful stares and a "WHAT!?!" shouted almost in unison. Moving to another table, I was still able to rope in three players, but when three breast-feeding parties and an arguing couple (complete with the one charging her phone) filed in, one of them being a very polite couple, I was left with Ken from Pennsylvania. We made it up to 45 minutes before he just threw me his ticket and ran off screaming something about "tasteful side boob" into the night.

The next day, I dropped off my tickets from "Flotsam Bay" and was able to talk to Ben about being scheduled to run games in the Quiet Room. While I was happy that there was a Quiet Room, I wasn't sure if role-playing games needed to be done in the same room. I never mentioned breast-feeding mothers, I didn't get a chance. Apparently, my would-be players from the night before complained about a massive side-breast fest from the evening before. He blurted something about "there already is a 'Family' room for breast-feeding" and dove into one of two very thick Origins program books-- apparently this one was for etiquette. When I reminded him that "quiet rooms" generally are reserved as places for breastfeeding so that the mothers were doing nothing wrong, he discovered that the Quiet Room was indeed "set aside as a family room until 6pm Wednesday thru Saturday." What I heard was, because of my deaf ear, was "the Quiet Room was set aside for families from 6pm, Wednesday, Thursday, and Saturday." It took us ten minutes to wade through that disconnection before I finally suggested just putting times on their official signs when rooms are multi-purposed. He mentioned that I should go to room GCC 130 (an oft-repeated suggestion from many folks wearing Origins shirts this year to folks that they were too busy to deal with)... or maybe writing a note to Paul... maybe... I wasn't being a pain nor annoyed. I figured that he wasn't in charge of anything or just not planning on being at the convention next year, so I dropped it.

My Friday, 2pm game "Robot Jazz" for Glow was full. Paul, from DC, was not a part of the local group of Evan, Graham, Saker, Marce, and Phil (who kept speaking too quietly). The local group was drunk, but their energy was invigorating. I wasn't surprised that my RPG scenario about cutesy robots filled up. I was jealous at everyone except me, and maybe Paul, being high. Still I needed the tickets, so they got their moneys' worth.

Going back to the room for a nap before my late-night game (10pm-2am), I kind of watched ESPN soccer news before turning it off and falling asleep. Robin showed up at 7pm, but I was too sleepy to do much except kiss at air and mumble "See you later love."

Showing up at the now very quiet Quiet Room at 9:57pm, I was not surprised to to find no one there. I would've called child services on anybody bring there kids around my Crawlspace scenario "Detroit Death Metal Audition Apocalypse" for their own goods. A little after 10pm, two people, a newly found each other couple showed up, to my game. "We just had sex 45 minutes ago" she announced. When I asked for names, their badges twisted around, he replied so cleverly "Dick and Gina." I wrapped up my show-and-tell in about thirty minutes.I stopped into the Show HQ GCC130, and found two people eating pizza waiting for somebody that knew what to about anything-- a dude on an electric scooter needed to return it to security, and "somebody" besides him needed to pay for it.

Robin's Three Hour Convention

Bill Bricker texted me to come have a drink at 10:38. I couldn't find him at the bar, but I ran into Nick and Rob from Cleveland. We play in Beckett's DCC "Under a Broken Moon" campaign together. These two invited me to some hobo party outside. I mentioned that I'd look them up after calling them traitors for not showing up before and went to look for Bill again. I ended up drinking with a man named Karma from the Netherlands at a park bench. Neither of us like board games very much. Before going back to the hotel, I drank with Matt from Buffalo, who was working this year at Origins, like me he was comparing it to GENCON.

The next morning, it took Peryton from 8:30 until 11:30am to get out of the hotel room. From there I was able to get her into the Dealers room while I checked on a game that I wanted to play. Sure enough there was Matt, from Buffalo, behind the counter. I caught up with Robin at the Cubical 7 booth and being all giddy about Dr Who books. After a lunch where we watched Hungary vs Iceland soccer-wise, and went back to the hotel room. At 7:30pm, I dragged myself out of bed and started getting ready for some time as a player in a game ran by somebody else. The wife was wrapped up in the sheets and way too interested in the CONCACAF Cup soccer matches to leave the room, yeah right.

So I jumped into Ian Eagle's QUAG "I Psi" game at 8pm and had a great time. Around 9pm, Denny, from Beckett's DCC "Under A Broken Moon" group started messaging me about running a game for the a lot of them at the Convention. Mr. Ian was nice enough to gift me his rough draft of the scenario when we finished.  I showed up at 11pm and had a great time drinking and re-running the "I Psi" scenario using my own Red Bat rules. There really couldn't have been a better top to the show overall. I showed up at the hotel room around 4am.

I still woke up earlier than Pery, who had went to bed at midnight, to check out and head home.

So now, Origins for the Real Role-player

Service-wise, I wouldn't bother being treated as anything other than a paying customer. A customer that doesn't seem to be all that important. The horde of convention managing booths were staffed by people that were over equipped, but under-trained and ill prepared. There were as many kiosk as as any GENCON convention in recent years, and scores less folks to be handled. Those that could provide actual service could either hide too easily to be found or were overwhelmed by tasks elsewhere that should have been taken care of before the convention opened its doors. On Wednesday morning the Exhibitor Hall was still in shambles and not open to the attendees. The attendees were busy standing in line instead of enjoying their first of "5 days of gaming."

If you are into RPGs Origins has enough numbers to get traffic but as an organization it doesn't care. Big organizations were placed in wedding reception-sized halls. "Indy gamers" had better have a large cliques or be set wholly at the whim of the convention organizers, like a room set aside for "quiet time" most of the time.

I did enjoy most of the time that I was able to run games. I was a bit flummoxed as to what it took to get to run those games. One of the most ironic things that I heard from three people that I gamed with was, "You can't get games like this at GENCON!"

To which I only once replied, "Um yeah you can, with more than you and me sitting here."