Monday, January 15, 2018

Alpha Blue session report - Ta'andor Rising


I ran another one-shot (actually part 1 of 3) of Alpha Blue last Friday night.  This was a playtest session for my current Kickstarter campaign Battle Star Trilogy: Trek Wars.

We started things off with character creation, but unlike every other session... things went a little differently.

Five players, three hours, and fast times at Ta'andor galaxy...


  • Alpha Blue has its own "what's going on?" info-crawl at the bottom of every display screen (including ships refueling in the space station brothel's hangar), allowing patrons to hear about events, news, promotions, specials, sales, and hooker availability at a moment's notice.
  • The crew of The Stargazer decided to crash the Miss Ta'andor Bikini Contest.  Bribing the humanoid shark doorman.
  • On the way, drugs were purchased, imbibed, and bought in bulk!  Also, spare starship parts were ordered.
  • After choosing three teal-colored women (who were all half-sisters to each other), their pimp required extra payment.  He was poisoned and the PCs got out of there quick - but not before grabbing the pimp's room key.
  • They robbed the pimp's room and grabbed a blu-ber that was waiting for them.  Two lifeforms were having sex in the backseat.  Hung-Solo joined in.  He wanted to "wash of this stank."  Luckily, there's an app for that.  The blu-ber's driver hosed his mega-penis off before they stopped at a checkpoint.
  • They bribed the security officer to let them into the hangar, even though they looked just like the suspects' descriptions.
  • The pimp had a cache of supplies and information on Ta'andor Prime - a planet at the center of the galaxy that was rich in blue crystal.  Many factions poised to exploit the planet, but so many that it's turned into a deadly competition.
  • The PCs were allowed to enter the Pleasure Seekers of Ta'andor faction and hired to collect arms from the Mutant Death Squad faction and bring it back to them.
  • I learned what "ruggedized" means... as in, that pleasure droid should be ruggedized if she's going to hold up on a deep space voyage with these spacers.
  • They set off for a planet in that sector of the galaxy, but had to get through Krylon space first - and they were attacked by two Krylon raiders.  The PCs evaded the enemy ships instead of being destroyed.
  • After the arms deal, they landed on Ta'andor Prime and grabbed the dead pimp's loot.  

While this session was low on sexual activity (Samuel Jones had some off-camera stuff with the teal "ship's entertainment" who had nice hands) and non-starship laser battles were noticeably absent (I'm pretty sure that's never happened before), it was awesome. 

I got to break out the new map of Ta'andor galaxy!  Oh yes, and my wife bought me LED candles for Christmas, so I got to use those.  About a dozen different colors to choose from and they work on remote control.  I used them during the session, but could have used them more... pink for when the sex happens and red during ship-to-ship combat.

Session #2 won't happen for another month.  Though, I'm interested in running some quick demo games on Roll20...

VS


Friday, January 12, 2018

Ta'andor Galaxy


I've got +MonkeyBlood Design (Glynn Seal)'s map(s) in hand!

A laminated one for me (my players spill a lot of soda and the occasional cocktail or beer) and three vinyl "outdoor banner" maps (that can be easily rolled up and shipped) for Kickstarter backers.

Yes, Battle Star Trilogy: Trek Wars is ongoing... support your local independent space opera smut-peddler!

The maps are 44" x 34" and represent the greater part of the Ta'andor galaxy.  There's humor, well-worn sci-fi cliches and homages, as well as, good old fashioned sleaze.  This hex-map will be accompanied by pages of random tables.  The Bold Dungeon Space Master (BDSM for short) can whip up an entire night's gaming - or even a campaign - with nothing but the map and a few rolls.

The adventures will be equally awesome!  Now that we're nearing another stretch goal, there will be 4 short scenarios - each an engaging and wild ride through contested Ta'andor.  Why is it so valuable?  What makes Ta'andor Prime the most precious and dangerous planet in this quadrant of the universe?  Together, all this forms a unique setting.  Apart, these scenarios and random tables are great for idea mining, one-shots, convention games, or stringing loose sessions together just to see what happens next... sandbox style.

Alpha Blue doesn't get the mainstream press like a lot of other sci-fi RPGs.  That's ok.  I'm well acquainted with the dark alleys and gutters, the red-lit flop houses and dens of iniquity.

I ask you, my fellow libertine gamer, to help spread the word.  Our sleazy shadow is growing.  Soon, you'll be joining us in the space champagne room.  A couple bounty hunters and a pleasure droid assassin are playing pink-pong over in the corner.  I'm talking to a scaly stripper who knows an ace pilot down on his luck.

Party's just getting started, spacer.  Bring a friend or two.  Normally, it's 10 credits at the door... but the first time's always free.

VS


Thursday, January 11, 2018

It's Kort'thalis Publishing Day!


Not only is 111 my favorite number (for a variety of reasons), but Kort'thalis Publishing was founded on 1/11 about 5 years ago. 

As many of you already know, it's not easy being an independent publisher in the tabletop RPG market.  And yet, I feel enormously successful and gratified that we have so many awesome fans eagerly awaiting MOAR CONTENT!!!

So, all this weekend we're celebrating with some outrageous sales...

The Outer Presence is 50% off!

Blood Dark Thirst is 50% off!

Crimson Dragon Slayer is 50% off!

Also, don't forget about the Kickstarter currently funded and trying to reach those lofty stretch goals.  Check out and please share Battle Star Trilogy: Trek Wars.  I would love to see new gamers back my project!

Thanks,

VS

Monday, January 8, 2018

Kort'thalis Publishing Testimonial


[First, a quick reminder that my latest Kickstarter Battle Star Trilogy: Trek Wars is still going.]

It's always nice to hear that you've made a positive impact on someone's gaming life. 

The following was posted by +Brian Courtemanche on the Kort'thalis Publishing g+ community (please join us!)...

I am fast becoming a fan of Kort’thalis Publishing. It started a couple of weeks ago with my purchase of The Outer Presence rpg and then having a great time running/playing it with friends this weekend. I’ve just now downloaded the Crimson Dragon Slayer bundle (CDS, Candy Crypts, and No Escape from New York) from DriveThruRPG.


The combination of simple, playable rules plus utterly gonzo situations is glorious. I’ve been on the rpg scene a long time (started with AD&D a loooong time ago) and this stuff is a breath of pure FUN. I’d sorta forgotten about fun. Somewhere down that line I became more concerned with rules systems, simulationist vs. narrative play styles, balanced encounters, and a whole bunch of Not Fun stuff that somehow crept into my skull. And in the midst of all that, I’ve spent a ton of money on crappy games (or games that used to be cool but have ‘upgraded’ to crappier editions), and wasted a lot of time. And must have had a blind spot to Kort’thalis Publishing somewhere in the middle of all that. Well I’m correcting all that now...rather like a blind man learning to see again. More like finding the FUN again!

Venger, man, thanks. Really, thanks. Your stuff rocks. I took a look at CDS 1.11 - the whole less gonzo, more dark science-sorcery stuff - and went ‘ugh! No! I want my crazy!’ And promptly purchased/downloaded the original CDS (bundled with Candy Crypts and No Escape from New York). I’ll buy a few more of the modules and such when my credit card has had a few weeks to lick its wounds.


Venger - speaking as a customer and consumer of the glorious products of your fevered imagination - I implore you to please keep these two things as your guiding stars as you forge more material:


1. Keep the rules simple. Please, please, please. I’ll take a simple, well-wrought system that handles the basics cleanly and leaves room for GM and player ingenuity any day over the plethora of overly-complex, pain-in-the-butt, multi-chapter mega-tomes that take forever to learn and shoehorn one’s gameplay to fit within a matrix of Byzantine rules. The simplicity and robustness of your game rules are a huge breath of fresh air, Venger. When we played The Outer Presence this weekend, explaining the rules to the players was a snap and we just got on with it. That ease of play and level of comfort with simple, robust rules that let us just get on with things can not be undervalued or overstated.


2. Keep it gonzo! When running The Outer Presence this weekend, my group had a blast partly because it was so ‘oh wow. Huh.’ Meepie atrocities, Dr. Steiner’s whole attitude, the weird thing floating thing flitting about the mountain (don’t want to get too specific and give anything away). One of my players rolled randomly for his background and got that he was an, um, ‘body double’ (say no more) for 1970s adult films. Well he took that and ran with it for the entire session. It was great. And now I’m skimming Crimson Dragon Slayer (just bought it, must now eagerly give it a proper read) and there’s the gonzo...well written gonzo! To me, the new, more somber approach of CDS 1.11 feels...meh.


Give me adventures that feel like a 1980s Conan rip-off made in the back half of a Spencer’s gift shop! Adventures that feel like a 1970s black velvet fluorescent poster lit by black light. I can get ‘somber, serious’ (aka: more muted and dull) stuff in a pile of other rpg offerings. Your stuff pops off the page because: a) it’s gonzo and b) you write it very well. A lot of people try for gonzo but they really don’t have the imagination and wordsmithing skills to pull it off. It just comes off as cheap and immature. But your stuff - well you hit the mark!

The potent combination of simple, rugged rules and unchained, un-politically-correct, refreshingly original craziness has made me a fan. Keep up the great work, man! Thanks, Venger! - Brian C.

_________



Thursday, January 4, 2018

Battle Star Trilogy: Trek Wars


I've got a new Kickstarter.  Here's the link!

Basically, I'm trying to fund three Alpha Blue adventures.  Each will focus on a slightly different aspect of the game - sleaze, laser sword-wielding action/adventure, and deep space exploration.

To go along with these scenarios, +MonkeyBlood Design (Glynn Seal) and I are working on a galactic map full of territories/factions, planets, stars, and all kinds of craziness.  The map will correspond to a plethora of random tables revealing what's going on in each sector of the Ta'andor galaxy.

I'm excited about this project, and I hope you'll help make Battle Star Trilogy: Trek Wars a reality!  ;)

Thanks for climbing aboard,

VS


Friday, December 22, 2017

Player's Handbook like a Fucking Boss


Yes, I've been busy (again)!

Just a few moments ago, I completed the upload process for my latest fantasy roleplaying game aid.  It's called Player's Handbook like a Fucking Boss, a 32 page PDF that's got everything from the defining moment that forged you into an adventurer to badass names for your magic items.

This book is for all the various iterations of D&D, including retro-clones and 4th wave OSR weirdness like Crimson Dragon Slayer.  It's strong enough for a GM, but PH-balanced for all you struggling players out there who keep dying all the fucking time.  Aren't you a little sick and tired of not surviving the first level of the dungeon or a raucous tavern brawl?  Yeah, I thought so.

Do yourself a favor and check out Player's Handbook like a Fucking Boss!

As usual, lots of fantastic artwork and +MonkeyBlood Design (Glynn Seal) made it that much more awesome because of his mad layout skillz.

Venger As'Nas Satanis
High Priest of Kort'thalis Publishing


Monday, November 27, 2017

Close, but no Cigar


FYI, this blog post is kind of a bummer - sorry in advance.

Remember that Adventure Writing Contest I kept posting about?  Well, it came and went.

I offered the sun, moon, and stars... but only received 5 entries.  After reading them, I've determined they're all equally "pretty good."

Unfortunately, nothing came close to rocking my world.  Since there was no clear winner, I'm offering the following gamers who submitted their adventure my thanks and either $20 via paypal or 4 Kort'thalis Publishing PDFs of their choice...

  • Tim Edmonson
  • Herman Klang
  • Mark Nolan
  • Gage Berry
  • Andrew "Zakero" Moore

In November 2018, I intend to hold this contest again, except this time the prize pool will be $750. I encourage all prior entrants to submit brand new scenarios for consideration, as well as, everyone who's picked up Adventure Writing Like A Fucking Boss.  With reviews like that, how can you go wrong?

Meanwhile, I'll be working on a part 2.  Clearly, there's lots more to say on the subject.  

Thank you,

VS

p.s.  If I receive at least 10 qualified submissions next year, I promise to name a winning entry.  If I find myself in the same quandary, I'll pass the buck to a neutral 3-person panel in order to determine the victor. 

p.p.s. The Kermit / girl almost showing her boobs but flicking him off GIF isn't meant to crap on anyone.  It merely attempts to encapsulate the disappointment which I'm sure many of us feel (myself included).

Tuesday, November 21, 2017

Gamma Turquoise PDF live!


I've said it a dozen times already, but will say it again to those awesome folks who backed the Gamma Turquoise: Santa Fe Starport Kickstarter - Thank you!!!

So, what's it all about?  Earth barely survived nuclear bombardment decades ago.  The southwest is one of the few areas that wasn't totally decimated, but it's still a weird and dangerous place.  There's trouble at the Santa Fe Starport... and this trouble is a many-headed beast!

Well, the scenario with a side-order of campaign setting turned out much longer and even more gorgeous than I originally intended.  +MonkeyBlood Design (Glynn Seal) had everything to do with the latter.  Regarding the former, so much went into this fucker that I'm 111 shades of exhausted.  Wanted to get it out there before my birthday on November 25th.  So, now I can rest for a few days before starting new stuff.

The PDF is right over here. 

Enjoy and have a turquoise turkey day from all of us at Kort'thalis Publishing,

VS


Thursday, November 16, 2017

Sexual Misconduct Jumped the Shark


FYI, this is a personal rant, as well as, an open letter to Leeann Tweeden and Al Franken.

While I think it's productive, even healing, to get all the sexual misconduct allegations out into the internet aether, there comes a point where "me too" degenerates into "might as well pile on because... not trending."

That low point sadly came today when Leeann Tweeden alleged that Senator Al Franken forcibly kissed her and groped her breasts.  The following are random thoughts I had about this news story...

  • Tweeden mentioned that seeing the picture of her and Franken (just after it was taken, presumably) brought up new feelings of shame.  I wonder how she feels now that potentially millions of new people (like myself) are seeing it for the first time?
  • You can clearly see space between Franken's hands and her breasts.  He's obviously pretending to touch her boobs - and the face he's making, looking back at the person taking the photo - is the obvious giveaway.  Plus, actually groping her would have woken her up.  And she admitted to not realizing what had happened until she saw the photo after the fact.
  • A colleague kissing you (or attempting to kiss you) is not assault, and I'm not even sure it falls into misconduct territory.  The way she describes it, "forcing his tongue in my mouth" makes it seem scandalously sinister... as opposed to letting his tongue just lie there and waiting for the grace of Dread Cthulhu to move it around for him?  Human beings take action.  We do things.  Force is exerted so we can walk and talk.  That's how the universe works.
  • If you don't like something, say so at the time.  I realize that people freeze up, get confused, or don't know how to react in the moment.  Then make your thoughts known the next day or the day after that.  Waiting 11 years to publicly denounce a fellow entertainer for hitting on you and taking a humorous photo is petty, attention whore, butt hurt, weak sauce.  Yes, it's at your expense - you're a human who fell asleep not in your bed and someone took a picture that playfully ridiculed you - get over it.  No one is above being made fun of.
  • Obviously, our fellow human beings should be treated with respect.  Yet, everyone has to acknowledge that those same human beings are also potential sex partners.  We all have naked bodies, genitals, boobs, butts, etc. underneath our work attire.  I guarantee you that if men suddenly regarded the women around them as purely non-sexual beings, women would complain even more than they do now (if that's even possible).  Not to mention that the human race would eventually die out from lack of boning.  
  • Leeann, your non-story actually detracts from the real stories of men and women who are coming forward with serious allegations.  What's next?  Some guy on the other side of the TV leered at your breasts while you were hosting Poker After Dark?  Yes, that was me.  And millions of other men.  But today... today, I don't want to see your beasts in a revealing outfit.  Today, I don't want to even think about your breasts.  Today, I don't want to imagine Al Franken almost doing something that I've thought about doing a thousand times in my 42 years on this planet (squeeze your breasts).  Today, I just want to finish writing this stupid blog post and forget about the day that sexual misconduct jumped the shark.
  • I remember two or three weeks of muted outrage just before the 2016 Presidential election with women coming out alleging sexual misconduct by Donald Trump, but WHERE THE FUCK WAS ALL THIS OUTRAGE BACK WHEN WE REALLY FUCKING NEEDED IT?!?  Because every day that Trump is still in office, America is only half the country it should be.
  • Satirical versions of both Leeann Tweeden and Al Franken will appear in my upcoming location-based, post-apocalyptic RPG adventure Gamma Turquoise: Santa Fe Starport (available sometime next week).  Besides blogging, writing social commentary science-fiction is a way for me to work through all the bullshit and injustice in this world.

Thanks for listening.  If you'd like to add to the discussion, please feel free to do so here.

VS

p.s.  Just a few seconds ago, I read that Leeann Tweeden is a Republican who once said in the men's magazine FHM that she wants to make Democrats pay.  Hmm...