Sunday, June 28, 2020

Big Motherfuckin' Crab Truckers come to Landshut




Have I written about Big Motherfuckin' Crab Truckers, the one-page rpg written by Gregor Hutton, tha author of 3:16 Carnage among the Stars, and others?

No? About time, then.

So, BMFCT is a game where you play… exactly that, big motherfuckin' crab truckers. You pick a class (Driver, Fighter, Lifter or Something else), and there you go. Classes in BMFCT are a cluster of four traits, with one trait being predefined: The Driver has a trait called, you might have guessed it, 'Drive!', the Fighter has one called 'Fight!', and so on. Fill the rest of the slots with your own traits.

Whenever you want to do something risky, AND someone at the table says 'no fuckin way!', roll 2d8, and add 1d8 for every relevant advantage or ttait you might have. Pick the two highest dice, and add them together. The referee does the same, but he always only gets 2d8. Higher roll wins.

Those are the rules in a nutshell.

This is extremely interesting: You have (usually) 2d8+bonus (dice), and an opposed roll.

Guess what system works the same? Yes. My Landshut rules. The only difference is that we're using 2d6 and add a bonus number instead of rolling with advantage, but that's marginal. Fact is, it almost looks like BMFCT and Landshut are twins, separated at birth.

I'm thinking to include that character class descriptions in the Landshut rules because they make it easier for people who have never played an rpg to get into the groove.

Like so:

Paladin: You are a fighter for the Side of Light. You are one of the Good guys. You possess a divine determination to eliminate evil. You get Smite Evil!, and three other traits.

Hobbit Chef: Aaaaah! Isn't this delicious? Come, try some of my new chocolate-rum pudding, it'll seduce you like one of the ladies down at the Hairy Feet Inn. You get Turn Everything Into A Good Meal!, and three other traits.

Wild Hog Rider: Your clan has been on this land forever. You may be only half as tall as them hoomins, but by the Gods!, your hog can be a fierce bloodthirsty beast on the battlefield. You get Warhog!, and three other traits.

Thursday, June 18, 2020

Oh good Lord, please stop it: Woke D&D

But, but…he has wife and kids at home



The Wizards continue to ruin D&D with wokeness.

Just read this: 

  • "orcs and drow are just as morally and culturally complex as other peoples"
  • "In recent reprintings of Tomb of Annihilation and Curse of Strahd, for example, we changed text that was racially insensitive"
  • "Curse of Strahd included a people known as the Vistani and featured the Vistani heroine Ezmerelda. Regrettably, their depiction echoes some stereotypes associated with the Romani people in the real world"
  • "And we will continue to listen to you all"
Okay. So orcs and the spawn of hell are suddenly people, too. You know, so it's BAD if you kill them and take their stuff, shame on you! I also wonder what the hell they're talking about, "racially insensitive"? In a fantasy game that takes place on an imaginary world? 

Oh, and now it's obviously a no-go to take aspects of really existing people and things here on earth and use them in a game of imagination? I know a couple of Romani folks, and they give a flying fuck if anyone uses symbols or "looks" of their culture in a game. In a game!

By de-monstering monsters, everything becomes morally ambiguous, as someone on MeWe mentioned correctly. Everything is potentially "problematic" because they remove the important difference between good and evil. This has been a part of human thinking since the dawn of humankind: There's good, and there's evil. And there are heroes, however flawed, fighting against evil. Now, in their fervor to be politically correct and inclusive, Wizards is, basically, disregarding what it means to be human, what it means to play, what it means to be a hero.

They're turning a fantasy game into politics.
Shame.




Freeform Shadowrun First Edition: The Detective.

Man! I just love that character! It speaks to me, and it's a shining example of how different the first edition Shadowrun really is. The Detective is just so… normal, so down-to-earth, compared to the other classes. All the other archetypes have something special. Magic or cyberware.

Not the Detective. This here is a hardworking P.I., and he looks like straight out of a hardboiled flick. So good.

So, I hear you want to play that beautiful character. I get it. I'm just as attracted to playing him, becoming him in the game, as you are.

Alright.

This is his introduction:

“They told me you were looking for me. Well, you found me. So turn on the sob story. I got the time. But first tickle my comp with your credstick. I may have the time, but | haven't got the interest ‘until | know you've got the nuyen. Time takes money, chummer. Just flick he stick into the slot. The box will dump my rates and sheet onto your stick.
The sheet will give you the highlights of my illustrious career: maidens rescued (extra charge for preserving original status), the lost found, the necessary lost, but I don't do erasures. No point in
going on. | see by your eyes you've already scanned the sheet. Charlie at the  precinct, or did Stevie the Snitch pass It on? Don't really matter. If somebody hadn’t given you my name, you wouldn't
be looking for me. Now before we go any futher, let me check the cred balance. Whew! You got my interest, all right. What's the job?"

And the commentary reads:

The detective leads a hard life, balanced between the shadows of crime and the harsh glare of corporate and city life. To keep his own code of honor and Justice intact, he makes constant compromises to get through the day, or the night. He won't touch magic, though his cases often involve it, and he won't augment his body, though sometimes his resolve puts him at a disadvantage. He'll tell you that a man has to stand on his own feet.

This tells us a lot about the character. And it's all usable. On to the stats.

In Shadowrun 1e, a 3 is the human average, and a 6 is the max for humans without body augmentation. The Detective has average strength and charisma. His body (think constitution), quickness (dexterity) and willpower are slightly above average, but what's really outstanding is his Intelligence: a 6.

Now, THIS is something I'll write down: "extremely intelligent"

On to his skills:
Car, Street Etiquette and Computer skills are slightly above average. So he can find his way around in the neighborhood. He knows a little Biotech. But his Firearms skill, his Negotiation skill and his Unarmed Skill are really, really good: a 6 in all three cases. His stealth skill is almost as good.

So, I write down: "OK car, street etiquette and computer skills. Very, very good shooter, negotiator and brawler. Very good at stealth".

The Detective has a long list of contacts, and I dig that. A P.I. just knows a bunch of people.

So, this is the ready-to-play Shadowrun 1e Detective:
(for freeform games or The Landshut Rules)

____________________________________________________________
Doug Kraskovsky
Detective

extremely intelligent
robust, dextrous and strong-willed

Skills: OK car, street etiquette and computer skills. Very, very good shooter, negotiator and brawler. Very good at stealth"

Contacts:
Bartender, Bouncer, City Official, Fixer, Gang Member, Gang Boss, Media Producer, Any Street Type, Another Street Type, +3 extra contacts

Gear:
Ares Predator, Armor Vest, Investigator's License, Mcro-Recorder, Sony Pocket Secretary, Walther Palm Pistol
____________________________________________________________








Wednesday, June 17, 2020

Amost diceless gaming

This is the Landshut Rules, redux.

Write down a couple of things that are advantageous for you. Skills. Abilities. Special powers. These things are called Good Things.

Write down a couple of things that are disadvantageous for you. These things are called Bad Things.

Roll dice when the referee tells you so. Most of the times, the ref will simply assess the situation and make a definite ruling. But when the outcome might be catastrophic and/or dramatically interesting, the ref might tell you to roll dice.

What dice? Any. Just roll a die or two or whatever. The ref will tell you a number to roll over or under. Or s/he might roll dice against you. If you beat the number or the ref's roll, your character's action is successful.

Hits? Can't be bothered, really. Just apply what's common sense in the game world. Three solid hits in the gut with a combat dagger should drop any cyberpunk hero, but might make Conan and his twin brother Konnan just really angry.

Just in case you need it:


Have fun! 




Tuesday, June 16, 2020

Endless facepalmery: When… special people just seem to hate peace

Sorry for venting, folks. But I have to get this off my chest.
You know I used to call my Landshut rules "Arnesonian" because I clearly see them in the tradition of Dave Arneson and the Twin City gamers.
You also know that I don't want any money for my Landshut game, I offer it online for free.

And still, there are… very… special… people who take offense. Of course, feeling offended is fashionable, but it's ridiculous nonetheless, at least in this case. So this happened: Someone online asked me, not very politely, if I had evidence that Dave Arneson played "diceless and ruleless". Funnily enough, that person had read my posts about playing diceless and/or freeform rpgs, and he knew I called my rules "Arnesonian", and so he concluded that I had claimed Dave Arneson played "diceless and ruleless". Well. Sometimes it helps to really read what is written, but that is a skill that has to be learned, or applied.

So I replied Dave Arneson, to my knowledge, had played free kriegsspiel, and THAT is diceless – so, yes, Dave Arneson had played diceless games. Again: I hadn't claimed anything like that, but me calling our way of gaming "Arnesonian" seems to be enough to have triggered him.

When he answered, the kid gloves were off. Now, he wrote, and I'm not quoting here, that he could imagine some people wouldn't like that and that maybe lawyers would be interested in that, too. And he closed this charming post with the question whom I wanted to convince, others or myself.

That BULLSHIT came out of the blue. And obviously he isn't aware of the fact that I'm not making any money off the game because it is for free. Plus, someone I call my friend was a long-time player in Dave Arneson's group, and he wrote me an email, saying my rules were very similar to their way of playing, back in the days. So what gives?

But you know, I'm so fed up with online "discussions" and barely veiled threats and ego-strokings, I just want to live in peace and share my stuff with people.

So I decided to remove "Arnesonian" from the description of my game. At first, I considered calling them "Braunstein", but I know Major Wesely would not approve. "Braunstein" as a generic term is okay, but as title of a new game? Nope. The solution is the call them either "free kriegsspiel", freeform or ancient school gaming, or variations thereof.

Well, well, well. Here we go. Thank you for reading.

Sunday, June 14, 2020

Blast from the Past: TWERPS Golf



Pineapple Leader is a guy who wrote some good TWERPS material. For instance this classic here:
TWERPS Golf. Yep, correct.

Friday, June 12, 2020

Beating THE dead horse again

I know, I'm writing about that again and again and again. I know I'm repeating that stuff so often, it might bore some of y'all to tears.

I know.

But playing like the earliest roleplayers did, BEFORE D&D was published, BEFORE RULES were the be-all and end-all of gaming: That's right up my alley, that's what I do. It's what I love doing. Take my Landshut Rules: a love letter to "pre-school gaming". And still, people keep asking me for specific rules, for specific situations. And I keep replying, "whatever works for you, dude", and this is the truth. At my table, with my people, things work that might fail abysmally in other groups.

Just keep the game going. Drop the rules. Go with the flow. Fly with the moment, and make it as complex or as simple as you as a group want it. This is your game. Your friends. Your time. Your creativity. Rulebooks are always just a suggestion, giving you ideas or hints.

That said, I'm beating THE dead horse again today: I'm quoting a five year old forum post (not written by yours truly):

Your descriptions sound very similar to the sort of gaming I've "discovered/fallen into" in the last few years. I also have very little interest in a lot of new RPGs and find myself more and more distanced from the hobby as its represented online/in rpg forums. The focus on rules minutia holds little interest for me, as does the strict division of gaming styles. For years I GMed a very lose historical occult investigation style game, where I pretty much abandoned any rulebooks in favour of a very quick and intuitive framework of a system I stole from a game from the early 80s, and generally just made rulings on the fly as they fit the situation. 
I heavily experimented with different forms of play (one game took place on a submarine, and I ended up separating the players into different rooms with the lights off, only able to communicate via walkie-talkies), one game was nothing more than a dinner party where everyone remained "in-character" for the proceedings. But the breaking point for me was getting back into miniature wargames a few years back, wherein I rediscovered my love, not just of painting minis, but also building scenery and creating elaborate gameboards. 
As simple PvP wargames bored me quickly, I began coming up with more and more elaborate narrative scenarios, and elements of RPGs began bleeding in. I became fascinated with that gray area where wargames and rpgs meet, and the different manner games could be combined into an overall experience. I brought in elements from Diplomacy, constructed overarching campaign rules that dealt with things like resources and troop training/replenishment, and came across some great naval battle rules that led to several months of high seas adventures, switching between ship to ship combat and regular combat rules for boarding parties. 
As time goes on, the term "gaming" for me has started to become an all-encompassing creative thing that doesn't really match any singular modern definitions of rpgs/larps/wargames etc. I for one would love to hear more about how the old Tekumel games were run, particularly more specifics on what you looked for in players and what it meant to "get" Tekumel, or more specifically, the style of gaming you're describing. I find it hard these days to get new players who are on board with this sort of free-wheeling creative approach, especially those indoctrinated by the last 20 years of very specific ideas of what an RPG is and the "importance of rules".

Tristram Evans, 06-18-2015

This. So much this.


Wednesday, June 10, 2020

Old School Shadowrun art



This is what Shadowrun should still look like.





Jeff Laubenstein.



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Rick Harris.


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Janet Aulisio.


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Timothy Bradstreet.


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Larry MacDougall. One of my favorites.


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Joel Biske.


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Jim Nelson.


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Alex Ross.


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Peter Bergting.


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Earl Geier.