My Nethercity Secrets

It finally, appropriately enough, came.  The long awaited and much anticipated Secrets of the Netherworld in all its glorious full color majesty arrived just in time for me to read it over my traditional Christmas dinner of Spam and powdered eggs with a blued-steel and gun oil desert. Flipping through the book helped distract me from how much I miss my three kids during the holidays, and gave me something better to do than drink heavy, listen to old country western songs, and ponder the emptiness of existence.

It’s a good looking book.  Here’s a bunch of purely random shots of the interior artwork.

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With art this good, I’ve been up reading it all night.

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Sometimes twice in the same night.

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It’s going to take me longer than expected to run this thing. I have been running a weekly pickup game down to the local friendly – the one that I can still play at without wearing a fake moustache and dark glasses – and that means mostly level ones and twos. There is a local convention coming up in early March, though. As a mid-level adventure, and one that looks to work best over multiple delves, old E. Reagan might just have to take a swing at a marathon multi-event legacy game with pre-gens.

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This here module is decisively old school in feel. There are a lot of keyed locations, but the place is factional. A party could easily turn the denizens against each other, and wait for a lot of the problems to take care of themselves. The little bit of role-play available consists of dealing with strange and inhuman nasties, so I’m guessing grunts and gestures and a bit of the old charades are the best players will manage.

Which is a good thing.

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Forget a mommyGF, who’s ready for a mummyGF, raise your hand!

The map does not adhere to B/X standards, which might be a problem. It’s crowded. Like, really crowded.  With wandering monsters thrown in, a team might have some trouble sneaking and peaking.  It might be worth logging wandering monster encounters, and as the players wipe out the natives, reducing the chances of encounters or reducing the numbers of creatures encountered each time.  I don’t know, it might even say to do that in the rules, and I’m just not remembering it right now.

It surely does look like the kind of living dungeon that will keep a party and a thinking DM on his toes.

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Signs of Six

Bank on it, we’re getting a sixth edition in 2022. You know how I can tell? Because of this mess:

Dungeons & Dragons Movie to Focus on the Eye of Vecna, Will Feature a Forgotten Realms Character

Dungeons & Dragons will feature a group of adventurers led by Raven Hightower, a warrior with a magic flamesword that’s haunted by his sister’s death. Other characters include the “half-dragon” Hack Karroway, the gnome thief Olivan Trickfoot, and a masked warrior named Alyssa Steelsong who is set to take over Palarandusk’s role when the dragon dies. Additionally, the main villain of the movie is a male drow named Razer Horlbar who once kept Raven and his sister as slaves, along with a female tiefling named Damala and a brutish warrior known only as “The Beast.”

All those characters, and the only actual character description we get is “brutish”.  It’ll be a whole diaper full of fun watching how casting and the studio’s Trust and Safety council jiggle the casting to get the demographics of Faerun juuuust right

The film is set in Faerun, and it will feature a Forgotten Realms character.  Um, shouldn’t they all be FR characters?  Chasing the Hand of Vecna which is no longer associated with Oerth for reasons too boring to go into here.  It involves RavenLoft.

At any rate, you can bet this movie will hit six months too late to be relevant – anyone remember the Angry Birds movie?  Garbage Pail Kids?  You know, I know it, the American people know it.  WotC will have to release a new edition just to wash the taste of this out of our mouths.

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Chosen Few – Not That Chosen, the other ones

Ever since he went full storygamer and sold his name to WotC to wear as a merkin over their version of NotD&D, the RPGpundit has fallen on hard times. He can’t abide by two things: 1. holding SJWs to their own rules, and 2. standing by while people make good points about D&D that diminish his syrup-sucking approach to the game.

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Ok Perumer.

He’s old news and full brokeness. The #ChosenFew are the new hotness.

The DudeBros over at Jack’s Happy Ban Land who have been hammering away at the #EliteLevel and #WinningSecrets hashamatags are the best thing to happen to D&D since the OSR.  They bring an energy and casual disregard for the normal rules of engagement, a hilarious brand, and a toxically patriarchal approach to ye olden golden rule systems even when they disagree on which is the Real Elite edition. I’ve staked my claim to B/X, but the Firstest AD&D bros make a hard sell for their muscular version of the One Game to Rule Them All and In My Basement Bind Them.

Sure, you get quality shilling on a tag. Like this:

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But you have to admit, this is funny enough that I could have come up with it.

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The oily muscleman aesthetic is kryptonite to the unwashed leftwing fatties, and the refusal to take themselves too seriously provides an armor against the usual charges. You can tell they are feared by the way the only real opposition they face comes from limp noodles and pipe smokers from places that rhyme with You Are Gay. The usual Woke Brigade won’t go near these muscleheads because they know all too well what the inside of a locker looks like, and they know all too well that they’d just wind up stuffed into the internet’s locker if they tried anything.

Keep up the solid work, #ChosenFew, you’re doing the E.G.G. Man’s work.

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Shower Up, Rorshach

Kinda like this mop-style merch.  A subtle way to remind your players that cleanliness is next to Dear God, You’re Not Playing This Game Again If You Continue to Smell Like a Feminist’s Bong.soap.png

Because, you see, smelly gamer jokes never go out of style.  Gotta be honest, those are solid prices for a dice set, and for soap.  (I exclusively shop with my Fellow Whites at Whole Foods and Trader Joe’s.  I also have tender skin that requires the moisturizing care of artisanal cleaners.  And conditions.  So many rashes thanks to my stint in the Navy you wouldn’t believe it.)  To get both in one package is pretty sweet, and not just the smell.

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Alt Queero Drops a Deuce

And just like that, post a review of a not-Alt-Star-Hero book, and one drops into my lap like a full plate of Moons Over My Hammy when the Denny’s waitress is as drunk as the rest of the people in here at 3AM.  It’s time for another comickal book review while we wait for the hard copy of Nethercity to finally get into my greasy mitts.

Roland Dane returns for the not-quite-dead in the second issue of Alt(Q)Hero, and this time he’s got a lot of help from the Boomers.  Now listen up fellow coots and codgers, I may be of your cohort, but I don’t think like your cohort.  I don’t follow Q.  I’m literally not even cool enough to understand the controversy that surrounds Q.  I only know that there is some discussion about whether it’s a Boomer cope or a chan op, and that most of the people who naysay Q are the same people who naysayed a host of observably true things like MKULTRA , objections to fluoridated water, the CIA selling crack to hoodrats, Operation Northwoods, Trump colluding with Russia against Ukraine and viceversa, and that my svelt BMI of 30 is technically unhealthy.  With this book I don’t really care who’s right.

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Eye candy check: weak

Much like that remake of the sitcom Taxi, the one that stars The Joker that came out in theaters recently, I’ve found the related memeology to be far more interesting than the original source material.

This second issue of Al(Q)Hero delivers the goods, and just in time for the recent hullabaaall…who-do-I-lynch revelations about The Finders.  Roland Dane crawls back into the shadows of American society, that place in which we live, with support from a random assortment of Boomers who have all signed on to help the shadowy text messenger who saved Roland’s life in the last issue.  There are two amazing set-pieces including a nice chase, but everything hinges around Roland stumbling around wondering what they hell is going on here.  We do see that the man going after Roland are really powerful – as in, make Billionaires jump when they say, “Would you like a slice of pizza,” powerful – and follow the trail of bread crumbs a little further along.  So it’s not like nothing happens.  A lot does.

It’s just that the lack of agency, that feeling of being led around by the nose, burnishes the chrome from our shiny new action hero a bit.  But hey, like the second film of a trilogy, it’s okay.  We’re being set up for the next big conclusion, the next astonishing chapter.  So AM ALLOW.

Particularly given the little cameo the artist, Helix Haze, throws in there for our beloved Grand Pere Le Guerre, Mister Gygax.  Well played, son.  Well played.

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You tell him, EGG!

It’s not fair to judge the issue as light, given that we already saw the real twig and berries of the issue back during the Kickstarter campaign.  The central scene, Roland having his eyes forced open by a filthy Hollywood degenerate, is old news to backers – it’s effective, but absent that already revealed reveal, what’s left in the New column is mostly the slow revelation that Roland isn’t alone.  He has a team of old randos watching his back, Nick Fuentes style, ready to step up to the mic and guide him along the path.  In lesser hands, that could prove to be a whole lot of Boomer Ex Machina moving forward, but I ain’t even worried, bro.  In the hands of The Legend, that won’t happen.

Fast, fun, the feeling of you against the world as you live vicariously through Roland, it’s all good.  More so given my need for reading material following my annual post-Halloween diabetic fits and seizures.  You wouldn’t believe how many bags of candy I snatched from the kids this year – those little bastards never see me coming, and never catch me going.

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On Nick Foo Hentais

Go get ’em, big guy.

charlieAnd the sorts of smarty-pants who worry about Nick still sporting that blue check mark can take a gander at Roosh “Legalize Rape” V’s account and get wrecked.  Predicting the Nicker is a Lauran Southern tier CIA asset even as he publicly pantses TinyFace is Black Pill loser talk.

The Groyp Right is the most dynamic, energetic, and funny subculture going right now, and they can’t be stopped.  In the event of a concerted effort that manage to quash the Nicker Nation, this intellectual insurgency will just scatter, learn, adapt, and regroup under a different banner.  Pepe ran its course.  The Groypers will do the same.  And then they’ll come back in what is certain to still not be their final form.

This isn’t a victory lap.  It’s a harbinger.

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Flying Spanx: The Comickal Book

spanxBeen a while since your friendly neighborhood basement dweller did his duty as a low-rent comickal book expert reader and recommender.  The Alt(Star)Hero line has been quiet, so let’s look at Jon Dealy Rose’s “Flying Sparklegirl“.

It starts off with a Chris Brown approved beatdown of the tit-ular character – a nice touch for adding the drama you don’t see in normie-comickal books.  This is a broad that, despite how well she already fills out that sporting bra, has room for growth.  You can only find that kind of honest creativity among the ranks of the independent comickal-book creative community, and even then it’s still pretty rare.

I’ve only read the first volume so far, but I like where it’s headed.  There’s a real conflict being set up because Meat-uh-Girl there, the beatdown specialist, is in love IRL with the alter ego of her super-villain antagonist.  It’s done well, and done well enough for me to be excited about the next couple of volumes dropping on Amazon soon.  Good action, likable and believable characters, a flawed hero who struggles to be the hero we want her boobs to be.  It’s got it all.

spanx2And I’m not just saying that because Del Aryeezy put a pic of me in the first volume, either.  That was nice, but we’ve never met or talked, so I’m not sure how he knew I wanted this, but that’s just another part of what makes the Rice Man so special, and not in the short-bus way.

Volume Two is already out, but I think I’ll wait for the third one, grab them both, and then settle into a hot steaming bath for a little me time complete soft Chris Brown tunes on the iPod, plenty of rose petals floating on the water, and a whole gallon of oil-based lubricant in case I just can’t keep my hands off of me.

It happens.

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The 3d6 Grease Trap

tall.pngBig fan of The Funnel here.  It’s a great way to weed out the unlucky 3d6ers to find the poor sod pigfarmer with enough fortune to survive a real dungeon delve but without enough fortune to not have to delve in the first place.  Where the game rubber meets the real world road, though, I’m an even bigger fan of The One True Way of chargen, 3d6 In Order, because it serves as a nice and tidy player filter.  If you balk at the doorstep of Big Boy D&D then you can put on your little girl underpants and hook up with Team Critical Roll.

Some poor misguided souls might tell you that DMs who use this one weird trick to keep the weird tricky bastards away from their table are Basic Bitches.  They seem to think that Big Boy D&D is a means of making life easier for the DM, as though how the character stats come out makes any difference to the DM’s job.

Le hah!

Guys who run Big Boy D&D understand that how a character is rolled has no impact on the way the game runs.  The best DMs do not craft worlds and challenges for characters, but for players.  The sandbox gets stocked with high challenge areas and low challenge areas.  The wheels of the campaign churn away with neutral efficiency.  It is up to the players to determine which is which by throwing bodies at the campaign with the same reckless abandon as a Soviet lieutenant yeeting prisoner units at German machine gun emplacements.  They roll the dice and move their mice until they get the cheese or get the net.

Neither straight 3s nor straight 18s won’t make that process any more nor less challenging for the DM.  The chargen process isn’t about the DM at all.  If you think it is, you’ve got to recalibrate your assumptions.  The DM faces only two challenges:

  1. The challenge of keeping the challenges, monster treasure and trap, interesting and engaging enough for the players to want to keep poking at his campaign world to find the loot and save the princess
  2. The challenge of remaining impartial even when the players are acting like the bunch of window licking short bussers that gravitate toward playerhood in the first place

Master those, and you’ve mastered the game, and earned your title of master of the dungeon.

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OmniGamists Rise Up

Words mean things.

Shyeah, most of the world has been so steeped in modrenist thinking that they struggle to understand why we normal-sized brianed people insist on clear lines of communication.  They are enormous midwits who read Lewis Carroll and completely sympathized with the egg man when he said, “When I use a word it means just what I choose it to mean—neither more nor less.”

That’s deep stuff for people who aren’t as smart as they think they are.  “Dat’s how words be workin’, dey like changez because we be usin’ dem different now.”  They don’t understand that the Humpty-Dumperino was written to mock them, not to encourage them.

Untitled.jpgBut what’s this got to do with D&D, I imagine you are thinking right now.

Simple.

The people who use “D&D” to mean the 264 page abortions that bear the official and legal logo are using the word wrong.  That’s not D&D, it is a D&D skinsuit wrapped around a lesser game.

Now we need to back up a step because we’re about to get to the hot, white, ropy money shot all over Little Miss Daddy Issue’s face, and you need a little more fluffing before the release and the inevitable tears of guilt.

That storytelling game that guys like Pundy play is a fine game.  Go play it.  Have fun.  With my blessing.  I don’t begrudge people for their weird hobbies.  Apparently some people use sticks to knock balls into holes 200 yards away.  Some people kill animals and eat them.  Some people dress up as animals and call people that kill animals and eat them names because they don’t think people should kill animals and eat them.  Some people write mean jokes about people who dress up as animals and call people that kill animals and eat them names because they don’t think people should kill animals and eat them because they don’t think people should dress up as animals and call people that kill animals and eat them names because they don’t think people should kill animals and eat them.

The point here is that nobody is mad at anyone for not playing D&D.  Technically, we’re not even mad at people who play D&D wrong for playing D&D wrong so much as we’re helpfully pointing out that people who play D&D wrong aren’t actually playing D&D at all, and we are generously offering them help.

You see the difference here?

If you really like pretending to be an elf, you’re not playing D&D.  You are playing a storygame.  Or you are LARPing.  Or you are crazy.  But you are not playing D&D.  People who play D&D don’t lose site of the fact that they are pushing a pawn around a tabletop.  That pawn might have ‘elf’ as a label, but it’s still just a pawn. They might think “What would my pawn do here?  What’s best for my pawn?  How can my pawn avoid combat because he only has 2HP and an AC of 7?”

They understand that ‘theater of the mind’ is trash hoity-toity puttin’ on airs talk for midwits who cannot appreciate the beauty of Real D&D.  It is tactical, but not in the way checkers or miniature wargames or 4th Edition is.  It’s tactical in a pure sense.  It’s tactical in that smart players know how to navigate the game space to make the dice work for them, or to ensure that when the tactical combat starts, they have placed themselves in a winning position even before the surprise check and reaction check get rolled.

Untitled2.jpgAnd here we come back to the appellation of “Lesser” D&D.  If it was a solid game in its own right, it wouldn’t have to trade on the success of the Big Damn Grandaddy of the them all.  If it had the courage of its convictions, it wouldn’t need to hide behind Gygax’s apron strings.

If it was as good as D&D, it wouldn’t need to call itself D&D.

And that’s what all the fuss from the grognards is all about.

What you do at the table is up to you.  All we ask is that when you use the word D&D, you don’t use it to mean whatever you want it to mean.  It should mean what D&D has meant since the glorious dawn of this new age of tabletop gaming.  And whatever that is…no edition since Gygax dropped the reins has been it, chief.

 

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The Old School #Resistance

Hopalong Bradford makes a good point here:

That’s right. The SJW Death Cult wants tabletop RPGs to be a reflection of r-selected psychology, with all the stupidity and degeneracy that entails, and manipulating how the normies see D&D is meant to change the narrative of D&D. Control of the narrative is control of the culture, and culture is downstream from politics.

sks.pngGreat guy.  Great writer.  Go buy his book.

We’ve talked about it here at length and bracketed by gross-out humor, but he neatly sums everything up in two sentences.  Playing D&D the way Saint Gygax handed it down to us in the sacred texts isn’t just a better way to play the Greatest Game, it’s a better way to save indoor toilets.

Lose the game, lose the culture.  Lose the culture, lose western civilization.  Lose the civilization, lose the ability to take a dump without putting on your galoshes and a coat.  The Left knows this, but they’d rather rule over a cholera choked wasteland than serve in a toilet paper paradise.

It really is that simple.

Strike a blow for Christendom.  Run any version of D&D published before 1989.

 

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