Tuesday, August 29, 2017

The Complete Blorgamorg [DCC Patron]

A year ago I started working on a new Patron for Dungeon Crawl Classics--Blorgamorg, the Chthonic Snail. I got the Invoke Patron effects and the first spell written out, then I got distracted by various things and let the project sit for many, many months. But, thanks largely to Gencon, I had a burst of creative energy, and now Blorgamorg and all his spells are complete!  Hooray!

Below I've linked the PDFs that describe the Chthonic Snail and the spells he grants. I have plans to put these together with a funnel dungeon and some other things for a 'zine in the near future. But for now, enjoy!

"Behold, ye, my snaily majesty!"

(Redacted! Blorgamorg now appears in Crepuscular #1, on sale now!)

Blorgamorg, the Chthonic Snail
The Chthonic Snail patiently crawls through the hidden places below the earth, always chewing, always listening, always feeding on the secret wisdom of the world. Blorgamorg is a patient and wise entity, who eschews the petty conflicts of law and chaos. He prizes knowledge for the sake of knowledge. Lore sustains him. All secrets are known to him. Blorgamorg values servants who show tenacity, fortitude, and foresight. Rash and hasty minions displease him. Blorgamorg bitterly hates Bobububilz, and followers of the Chthonic Snail must always guard against the machinations of the Demon Lord of Amphibians.

Snail Mail (Level 1 spell)
The wizard summons minor servitors of the Chthonic Snail to deliver messages using the secret snail trails that run beneath the universe. 

Shell Shelter (Level 2 spell)
This spell creates a hyperspace pinch-point that manifests in our local space as a man-portable calcification shaped as a Fibonacci spiral. Or to put it more simply, it makes snail shell that’s larger on the inside that you can wear on your back. 

Love Dart (Level 3 spell)
The wizard launches a large, calcified projectile from their body towards a target. This projectile carries xeno-molluscoid genetic material that infects the target with various sluggy parasites. 

Thursday, August 24, 2017

Anthropic Manifestation of Shattered Time [QAGS and Hobomancer]

The Sneaky Snakes bound VLHRG the Time Wyrm in an attempt to rewrite history so their antediluvian empire never fell and the word remained under the thrall of those Valusian reptiles. 

Thankfully, a plucky band of Hobomancers gathered the Cosmic Tchotchkes and brought them to the Infinite Switchyard, where they were able to banish VLHRG back to the Outer Dark.

One of the final threats the Sneaky Snakes brought against the Hobomancers was the Anthropic Manifestation of Shattered Time.  This creature is appears as an eight-foot-tall, vaguely-simian energy form made of shards of light, like stained glass swirling around a liquid silver core.

Anthropic Manifestation of Shattered Time

Body: 16
Brain: 8
Nerve: 18
HP: 32
YY: 10

Job: Time killer (16)
Gimmick: Time made manifest (14)
Weakness: Weak against structural magic (12)

WWPHITM?: Undefinable.
Tagline: “Become unmade…”
Dumb Fact: He remembers you. You. The player. Everything about you.

Game Notes
•The Manifestation’s melee attacks have a Damage Bonus of +4. Targets of its attacks grow older or younger. If damage suffered by the target is an even number, it grows older. If brought to 0hp by even damage, the victim falls to ash and dust. If the damage suffered is an odd number, it grows younger. If brought to 0hp by odd damage, the target collapses into a pile of nonviable stem cells.

•The Anthropic Manifestation of Shattered Time has no solid form. Attacks from non-magical sources inflict only 1 point of damage on the Manifestation and cannot be increased with Yum Yums.

•As a “boss-monster” GMC, the creature’s “Time made manifest” Gimmick is broadly defined. It allows the Manifestation to manipulate time in weird and unpredictable ways. When used against another character, it can be resisted with Nerve or a magical-type job (Like “Hobomancer”). Example uses of the power include “Time Locking” a character to prevent them from acting until they can break free; forcing a creature to reroll a die or take a different action; or summoning temporal doppelgangers to help it in battle.

•As a magical creature of shattered reality, the Manifestation is weak against magic that builds, creates, or binds. When subjected to such magics, the Manifestation must make a Weakness roll. If the Weakness takes effect, it is not allowed to make any roll to resist the incoming spell.

Monday, August 21, 2017

Gencon 2017--It Happened!

Despite some plot-twists at the beginning, this year was one of the better Gencons I’ve had. One Tuesday, the alternator on my truck went out, turned to a carbonized chunk. This is the third Gencon in a row where I’ve had car problems for Gencon. Last year, our break line broke as we were pulling out the driveway. The year before that, the sidewall on my tire went out somewhere near Ft. Wayne. Frankly, I’m starting to take it personally. Thankfully, a friend of mine came over Tuesday night, and we (meaning him) swapped out the alternator—a five-hour process that saved me $500 and, indeed, the day. Helluva’ guy!

It’s notable that this Gencon I decided not to worry about networking or self-promotion, and I wound up meeting more people than ever before. Who’d’a’thunk? Instead, I took a lot of pictures of Hex Games mascot Happy D20 in interesting situations. It was goofy but I had fun with it.
So here’s how the rest of the week shook out:


My wife, our son, and I piled into the truck around noon and drove the 4 hours to Indianapolis with no troubles, listening to podcasts the entire way. Like last year, we stayed at the Motel 6 in Franklin, about 20 minutes away from the con. It’s a Motel 6, but it was clean and comfortable, the staff was friendly, and I paid less for four nights that I’d pay for one night in Indy. I’d do it again.

After settling in, we went to the Convention Center, picked up our tickets and got dinner at Steak and Shake. I certainly deserved a strawberry milkshake. Afterward we walked around downtown a bit while Ivy hunted pokemon and I actually took the time to look at the sites for once.


My wife and son are cosplayers. Today Ivy dressed up as Marceline the Vampire Queen from Adventure Time while Erik dressed up as Dr. Carlos from Welcome to Nightvale.

At the con, I went to the JW Marriot where all the Hex Games events were. The JW feels like a second home at this point. I met up with Ian “Dynateens: Surf Force” Engle to chat and catch up on things before he had to run his “Candyland Has Fallen” game.

Ivy and I made out first foray into the Dealer’s Room where I met up with my friend Brad “Nightlife”McDevitt at the Goodman Games booth. We chatted, caught up, and I bought some of his art originals. I also bought some prints from Doug Kovaks and some DCC books. Overall, Goodman Games got more money than anyone else this year.

I played Tunnels & Trolls “The Great Fairy Hunt” later that afternoon. I own, like, four editions of T&T, but this was the first time I had a chance to play it. Damn fun.

Finally, I ran my first session of Hobomancers in Time.” My players were all repeat players from last year and the game went very, very well. Using the Fantastical Time Spinner, they went to 1,000,000 BC, Sherwoood Forest, and Ape City to collect the Cosmic Tchotchkes and defeat VLHRG the Time Wyrm. One of the characters ascended to the Godhead. That was neat!

"Can I punch the Time Wyrm?"
"You can sure try!"


Today Ivy dressed as Dr. Girlfriend from Venture Brothers and Erik dressed as some guy from the dressed as a guy from the Yakuza video game I don’t play.

Sadly, my 9am Hobomancers in Time didn’t go off. Only one player showed up, and I assume the other five got stuck in traffic or something. Ian and I chatted with the one guy for an hour while we waited and had a pleasant discussion at least. Wish I could recall the dude’s name.

Steve “Death Cookie” Johnson rolled into Gencon today, and I talked with him for a good bit, having not seen him for a few years. He was running “Wet Hot American Monsters” today, using the Cinemechanix system. Cinemechanix, is the new system Steve’s writing and fans of Hex Games and QAGS should be super excited for its imminent production.

Since I had some free time, I went back to the dealer’s room, which wasn’t a great idea financially speaking. I bought more stuff and, more importantly, met Phil Foglio! Now anyone who’s seen my art can tell that Foglio was a HUGE influence on my style (especially the older stuff). I didn’t even know he was at Gencon until I was six feet away from him. I embarrassingly fanboyed all over him, but he was super polite and pleasant and patient.  I bought a collection of his Myth-Adventures comics as well as really cool print that Ivy liked.

My third and final Hobomancers in Time game was in the afternoon. I got a different group of repeat players for this session—the same crew that went to hell last year to fight Stagger Lee. This year they travelled to Camelot, the distant retro-future of the year 2000, and ancient Greece to collect Excalibur, the Spider from Mars, and the Golden Fleece to defeat VLHRG the Time Wyrm.

At night, Ivy and I went to the Embassy to play Inferno Road with the Dungeon Crawl Classics crew. Like last year’s Punjar 50k game, this was a multi-group/multi-table event of high-octane energy organized by Doug "Darkest Chaos Shadow Master" Kovaks. Inferno Road is like Mad Max in Hieronymus Bosch’s Hell. We drank beer, we rolled some funny dice, and had a blast.


Fatigue begins to set in on Saturday, but all my games are done, and I’m on my own schedule now, free to hang out and take things casual. Today was the big cosplay day, and Ivy busted out her Lapis Lazuli (from Steven Universe) while Erik dressed up as Nepeta from Homestuck.

I walked around for a couple of hours to look at the cosplayers and I ran into my cousin Kerwin, who was dressed up as Captain Hammer. We don’t get to see each other much, so we chatted for an hour or so in the concourse while people-watching.

Leighton “Laser Ponies” Connor showed up for his one and only day at Gencon 50. He ran a Laser Ponies game as well as a QAGS game based on his webcomic The Electric Team.

Pickle Rick!
Google Plus isn’t the best platform for direct messages, but luckily I checked my notifications at the right time to hook up with Jim “Jim—Yes That Jim” Ryan and Brian “Play on Target” Cooksey at the JW Starbucks. Gentlemen both of them.

After our games were over, Steve, Leighton, Ian, Ian’s brother Chris, and I went to dinner at High Velocity, a bar in the JW Marriot right below our game floor (decent food, and no waiting for seats!). After dinner Ian had a “Beau Hexed” game to run (French Foreign Legion vs Cthulhu). Steve, Leighton and I sat outside High Velocity for five hours talking about superheroes, movies, games, and brainstorming creative ideas. It was a good Saturday night and time well-spent.


The fatigue has totally set in, and Starbucks is out of cold brew. Still I soldier on. Erik has no costume today, but Ivy is dressed in her Original Series Star Trek science officer uniform with sensible boots.
I start my morning by playing in the “Sky ov Crimson Flame” Dungeon Crawl Classics game run by Thorin “Son ov Thrain” Thompson. It’s just the adrenaline rush I need, as all my zero-level heroes die one by-one in heavy metal Sam Rami horror-action. Damn good time.

After I say goodbye to Steve and Ian (Leighton left Saturday night) Ivy and I spend the rest of the afternoon walking around the Dealer’s room with a couple of her cosplay buddies, avoiding the temptation to abuse our wallets further. Out of pure luck, I run into Skaught “Pathfinder Dad” Bowden and we get to talk for a bit before we all have to leave.

Eventually we leave to make the four-hour trip back. Despite the onset of exhaustion and visual hallucinations, we arrived safely back in Toledo. Now, today, I rest and recover.

Tuesday, August 15, 2017

Gencon and Hobomancers in Time

Happy D20 is also totally stoked for Gencon!
The family and I leave for Gencon tomorrow. I've spent today packing and finishing the last bits of preparation for the trip. I am very much looking forward to seeing my friends and my tribe again.

Along with several other people from Hex Games, I am running games again this year. Specifically, I am running three sessions of Hobomancers in Time. Most of the Hobomancer games I've run center around a small town where an evil man summons some kind of monster. I wanted something different this year, so I decided to go a little cosmic. This time the Hobomancers have to hop around time and space collecting cosmic tchotchkes to defeat VLHRG the Time Wyrm. This game was largely inspired by the improved time-traveling Hobomancer game Leighton Connor and I ran last year. I've built upon it significantly.

I crafted a Fantastical Time Spinner from an old Twister spinner. In each session, the hobomancers will have to travel to three different time eras. I have nine eras prepared, but I won't know which ones they'll travel to until the players spin the spinner. Nine different periods of history, nine different tchotchkes. There are some they might never go to. I'm excited by this random element.
Behold, the Fantastical Time Spinner!
Of course, with time travel there;s always the danger of Chrono-Distortion. In the case of distortion, the Hobomancer crew will have to roll on the table that I am going to share with you now:

Game Effect
The crushing ennui of the nonlinear traveler
All dice rolls made with 1d30.
The sublime competence of mediocrity
All dice rolls made with 1d16.
Behold! The Bell-Curve!
All dice rolls made with 3d6.
Mirror universe incursion
All players give their character sheet to the player on their left.
Now I am become the Song!
All Yum-Yums spends are twice as effective.
Windfall of Synchronicity
All players get 4 Yum-Yums!
This is the darkest timeline
+3 to all PCs’ Weakness scores.
Fluctuating visions of the future
PCs use a predetermined number array instead of rolling dice.
Reflection of choices unmade
PCs switch Job and Gimmick scores.
Memetic reconditioning
PCs rearrange Skill scores.
I sing the song of the Songlines
+2 to PCs’ Hobomancer Jobs.
The Song is silenced
-2 to PCs’ Hobomancer Jobs.

Fun right?

We're supposed to pull into Indianapolis on Wednesday, and we'll be there until Sunday. If you're going to Gencon too, feel free to hit me up on G+ or Twitter.

All set? You bet!