All posts by Adam Sink

Gamma World Part Deux

We rejoined our intrepid heroes as they went ice skating at the Polar Ice. After a brief intermission, they reached level 2. Hooray!

They were rejoined by Sports Authority, the Mind Breaker/Telekinetic they had abandoned at The Junction.  The reunited party moved further into the ruins of Meesa, following along the US-60 by way of the canals running alongside it.

The trip ran afoul of a group of dragonflies and some mutated jumping cholla. A long and savage combat ensued. Much healing was spent. Powers were used.  Eventually the group triumphed over their foes, searching the area and finding a lighter and a ceiling fan, which they surmised was some manner of shield. Into the wagon the new junk went.

They reached an agreement to head to Ookmans, where they had heard the settlers there were having problems with a warlord named Baby Eater. They decided to skip Golfland/Sunsplash, as it was rumored a race of frog men ruled that blighted place.

Meeting the representative of the Ookmans settlers, a young lad named Aragorn, they began to bargain. Aragorn told them a tale of woe. How Baby Eater and his raiders had attacked their village, and the defenders sacrificed their lives to protect the walls made of comic book long boxes and stacks of books. He offered them many replica weapons to aid their quest, none of which seemed like they would withstand any real use. Eventually he offered a key to Ostco, we he promised many treasures awaited. Sports Authority grew annoyed dealing with Aragorn, but refrained from killing him.

The group left for Ostco, visions of treasures in their heads. Entering, they were beset by a pair of Pig men and their radioactive lizard mounts. Throwing caution to the wind, Sports Authority charged into battle. For his trouble, he was tag teamed by the pig men, who dropped him with startling efficiency. Mae Lin rushed to his aid, dropping one of the pig men in one blow, in a graphic and unsettling fashion. She saved Sports Authority from certain death, while Krunk Mayhem sent his doppleganger in to run interference. They bested their foes and searched the ruins of Ostco, finding Omega tech. Krunk Mayhem at last found a pair of binoculars, which he had been searching for. Then Sports Authority rolled a 1 on his search, dropping the binoculars on the floor and shattering them. The dice giveth, and the dice taketh away.

In this session we got a lot more use out of Alpha mutations, and saw some interesting critical rolls and critical fumbles. The game is really bizarre and out there, which is exactly what I had hoped for. We even had someone from another table come over and ask us about the game, and he was interested and amused by our antics. All in all, Gamma World is running exactly how I had hoped it would. It is weird and wonderful.

The first real session of Gamma World

Session recap:

The players met with Mayor Cluck Cluck, his robot assistant, EVA, and the people of Junction. Simple farmers. People of the land. The common clay of the west. You know. Morons. They learned people were disappearing, and everyone suspects the Carrion Feeders, a raider gang, and Baws Hawg. Krunk Mayhem mostly kept it together in the face of the giant chicken,

From there they went out to investigate the scene of Steve’s disappearance. They fought a couple of blood birds. Krunk Mayhem got pecked. Mae Lin was mostly immune to their attacks. Searching the area, Mae Lin accidentally caused an explosion and Krunk accidentally triggered a trap. They were rewarded for their efforts with Twinkies, which the apocalypse cannot stop.

Moving on, they headed off into GLBT, enticed by a sign for Vertuccio Farms. They made a brief stop at the ME DEPOT (Home Depot), fought some coyote men, and Krunk Mayhem was captured by a Raider named The Ronald. The Ronald bragged about how smart he was, and how he was building a wall and making other people pay for it, and how as a Raider chief he was able to impress women and grab them by the pussy. He took Krunk to Superstition Springs Mall, his base of operations.

Forced to fight a displacer beast along with some other unfortunate captured denizens of the wasteland, Krunk Mayhem slipped away into the ventilation system. Mae Lin infiltrated the base, tried to start a slave rebellion, and disguised herself as a raider. The Ronald tried to impress her with his title and authority. The party was reunited and slipped away.

Moving on to the farm, they found sentient foodstuff who were trying to convince the party to eat them. They escaped to the farmhouse, were they learned the terrible truth. The corpses of the previous owners were lashed to chairs, where they had been force fed by the creatures, who reproduce by being eaten and having their seeds spread. The food became a lot more demanding about being eaten at this point. Mae Lin got a combine working and mowed them down.  The party left and headed toward Polar Ice.

At Polar Ice, they met Doctor Frozen, who wants to turn all of Phoenix into a frozen tundra using his nuclear powered Zamboni. The party offered to find him fissile materials at ASU. Many ice puns were had. He showed off his gallery of frozen corpses.

A couple things I dig

Wanted to drop a couple links to some web comics I really like:

http://falsepositivecomic.com/

Something like the Twilight Zone meets modern horror. Individual stories are told and wrapped up, leading into the next. Some solid artwork and grim story telling.

http://oglaf.com/

A weird romp through a land of fantasy and sex. Lots of sex. All kinds of sex. Strangely comic. It starts as the tale of an apprentice mage in service to an evil queen, but eventually becomes individual comics and shorter stories that feature an occasionally recurring cast of characters. I miss the earlier version of this comic, but it is still great. The art is really top notch and services the dialogue very well.

Emails from a Madman

Sometimes I get bored at work and I send out replies to the mass mailings that are routinely exchanged across our department. Here is one such message:

Congratulations, <NAME> and <NAME>! With your new roles come increased responsibilities. Tasks, if you will. Toils, like the heroes in some Homeric epic. Deep within the confines of the earth, the hidden things sleep. Impossible beings that should not exist. Things that by our current understanding of the sciences cannot exist. The great weeping sores that line their bodies weep sweet lacrima. When ingested, this cloudy fluid opens our minds to strange new vistas and terrifying cosmic truths that unwind human sanity and send us into a spiral of madness from whence there is no return. To sup from their wounds is to blow open the doors of perception and wrench your third eye open in blood and pain. To light your every nerve with electric current and burn away any pretense you maintain about your place in this world. You cannot call yourself fully human once you have tasted their alien fruit.

Of course, such things must be made to slumber. They are fang and claw and multitudes of limbs and mouths that will surely seek to consume all that lies before them. They hunger, and they sleep fitfully. You must descend beneath the earth, into the lightless subterranean caverns and sing them a siren song of screams of pain and terror. All that soothes these monsters are the sounds of strife and the scent of bloodshed. The taste of fear. Conflict is, to them, a sweet lullaby that gently lulls them back into complacency. Dreamless sleep.

In time you shall grow accustomed to your new home. Your eyes will fog and go dark in the depths. You will no longer need sight. You will navigate by the scent of the sleeping ones and the sound of their vast mass shifting, signaling the need for your ministrations. Eventually, as you continue to subsist on the fungus found in their caverns, a fungus fed by the secretions of the sleepers, you will begin your transformation. Finally, one day you will take your place among them, joining their ranks as we send new acolytes into that hellish chamber of lament.

Congratulations again!

How to Petition Brilzug the Lord of Flaying When It is Wearing Headphones

How to Petition Brilzug the Lord of Flaying When It is Wearing Headphones Over the Sensory Organs We Might Crudely Refer to as Ears

These days, many entities who exist on the frayed edges of of our reality are cruel and capricious monsters who have turned their multitudinous eyes elsewhere in the cosmos.

That does not mean you cannot petition their favor.

Not all entities are receptive to entreaties from pitiful creatures they consider beneath their notice, and will gladly consume the minds of any who dare to speak their name, leaving an empty, soulless husk. A drooling shell of what was once a man.

However, some things from beyond the realms of humanity are eager for supplicants and vassals who will work their dark will upon the face of our world, turning it into a hellish landscape of ceaseless suffering and torment. These blighted overlords will be happy to hear your pleas and invest you with a portion of their power, blackening your soul and damning you to an eternity in their thrall in exchange for power over your own kind. The ability to subjugate your fellow humans in the dark bondage of your new master.

Of course, their willingness to hear your mewling does not mean they will not crush your flesh, leaving a ruined mass of shattered bones and bleeding tissues, your organs sent to the far flung nine corners of their domain to be gnawed on by things that cannot exist in our universe. This is the risk you take when you dare to traverse where your brethren rightly fear to tread.

Approaching and Talking to Brilzug the Lord of Flaying When It is Wearing Headpohnes

First, you must find an ancient grimoire bound in human flesh, stained with blood and the passing of ages. Within the yellowed, cracking pages, you must find a ritual called The Black Sacrament. Beware corrupted versions of this incantation, as they will surely call the unwanted notice of far fouler beasts.

The seller will likely make many demands of you. Fulfill them to your utmost, and be willing to offer anything. Have no fear, this unfortunate degenerate shall be the first to be annihilated when you assume your new form. Your promises mean nothing.

Pour out a circle of salt and stand within. As you begin chanting the blasphemous words that dance before your eyes, you will feel your sanity begin to strain and slip. At this point you may go insane, forever lost to the terrible truths to which you have opened your mind. Persist in your efforts.

Next you must produce a sacrificial dagger forced from the black ore found only in the Mines of Gibbering Madness and tempered in the blood of goats. It must be goat blood. Rams’ blood will not work. Cow blood will cause you to be atomized and scattered into the realms of pain, where you will be tortured eternally by the howling winds.

With the dagger, slice into the flesh of your forearm, peeling your skin back from the muscle. Continue until you are able to hold your flayed arm aloft, proclaiming you have done so in the name of Brilzug, the Lord of Flaying. It is important you not allow any blood to fall outside the salt circle. Doing so will result in you being consumed in a pillar of flame.

Summoned by the scent of your blood on the wind, you should now have its full attention. At this point, its many lidless eyes will likely have turned to gaze upon you balefully, the full weight of his terrible majesty made manifest through the rent you have opened into its world. It will slowly remove the headphones that It might listen to your pitiful words. All will stand revealed as you stand on the precipice of dark apotheosis.

The rest is up to you. Speak plainly and clearly, making your desires known. Bargain wisely, as you are weak and easily destroyed by this terrible thing that should not exist. your new life begins now, your will lashed to that of your hideous master.

Common Mistakes that Mortals Make When Approaching Brilzug the Lord of Flaying When It is Wearing Headphones

1. Approaching in a nervous manner

Only the mighty are worth of serving Brilzug. The weak are to be fodder for the strong. All shall suffer in the coming world, and the weak will be the first to fall.

2. Giving up too easily

Headphones are a great barrier between a vile thing of darkness and the world, but not as great as the void keeping our realities from commingling.

Some of these creatures are more than capable of manifesting on their own, but they want supplicants with strength and confidence, and they like to test their followers with arcane rituals and difficult acts of faith.

Those who give up too easily or feel shame at their actions are marked as cowards and will be forced to watch as they love is brought to ruin before their flesh is twisted and they are made to spend eternity writhing in endless pain.

3. Not leading the conversation

Brilzug has no need of you, human. You are weak and pathetic. You approached It. You must make you entreaties and show you are worth of Its vile caress.

4. Sticking to polite or reserved conversation

Brilzug is the lord of Flaying. Politeness and reservation went out the window long ago. Get to the point and do it quickly, meat sack, lest it grow weary of your prattling and devour you whole.

5. Not including sacrifices

Lords of Flaying love gifts. The bloodier, the better. You will be called on for frequent sacrifice while in Its thrall. You will be made to offer up that which you hold most dear. This is the price of power. These are the wages that must be paid. You shall know strength, but only at the cost of suffering. You shall be made again in its terrible image.

How much money have I wasted on this bullshit

As a thought exercise, I thought it might be fun/harrowing to take a stab at how much money I’ve thrown down the bottomless, money hungry pit of the gaming industry. I need to break it out by type for any real accounting:

Board Games – I fancied myself a board gamer for a good while. I was regularly dropping $50-100 on the things. I still have probably twenty or so I’ve never even played. I told myself I could play them with the kids when they get older, but if I’m being honest that will never happen. I’m a compulsive hoarder. Rough guess? $2500 dropped here.

Card Games:

  • Magic the Gathering – Like everyone else in the nineties I got sucked into the vortex that is Magic. It was like heroin. It was worse than heroin. At least heroin  has the decency to be the sort of thing you lie to people about. I told people I played Magic. Hell, I was kind of proud of it. Honestly, I probably would have ended up sucking just as much dick if I had known that was an option. $2500 easily. The only thing that kept me from spending more was being a broke ass high school student. Luckily I punched out at the right time and recouped some of my losses. Hahahahahaha just kidding. I sold my cards for next to nothing and counted myself luckily to get out without sucking a dick.
  • Vampire: The Eternal Struggle – When I wasn’t wasting time on Magic, it was Jyhad/Eternal Struggle. II was more practical here, buying complete boxes on ebay instead of feeding my addiction a booster at a time. I’ll call it $1000, though I think it was higher.
  • Rage – Yes, I played Rage. Both versions. Shut up. I got into Rage when it was cheap. I could get boxes for under $50. Consequently I bought a lot of them, because it was a such a deal! I’ll say another $500 here.

Dice and Junk – Everyone needs peripherals. $500.

RPG Books

  • Dungeons & Dragons – Look, I don’t even know. $1000? More? It feel like more. I compulsively collected 3, 3.5, and 4. I’m starting 5th edition because I can’t control myself. Don’t cry for me. I know I’m already lost.
  • Star Wars – $500 or so. Fortunately Star Wars was never super popular. I got most of the books at a discount thanks to Amazon, and the Saga Edition was no where near as comprehensive with books as it could have been. I have thus far managed to avoid the latest iteration with multiple core books. Hooray for small victories.
  • Classic World of Darkness – I don’t want to talk about. I don’t. Whatever it all cost, it was worth it. I have dozens of these books, and this is after getting rid of a bunch of them.  $2000? $3000? I don’t care. I’d do it again. I’ll probably re buy some of the books I no longer have. I’ll get the 20th anniversary editions. I’ll suck a dick. I’ll suck twenty. Fifty. Line them up. It doesn’t matter.
  • Chronicle of Darkness – I mostly stuck with CoD, Requiem, and Changeling here. It was still a lot of books. And now the second editions are coming it. I’ll call it $1500 and be done with it.
  • Misc (Shadowrun, Cyperpunk, Eclipse Phase, CthulhuTech, one offs) – Lets say $750.

Wargamming:

  • Warhammer Fantasy – I managed to limit myself to one army in this game. One big, expensive army. The core box alone with a couple hundred, Factor in multiple editions. $750 conservatively.
  • Warhammer 40,000 – Look, I did things. Things I’m not proud of. Things I don’t want to talk about. $2500, even though I know that is a lie. A damn lie. Because the truth is too hard to fathom. Games Workshop pimped my ass with this game, and at the time I loved it. I couldn’t get enough. I look back with shame. Yet I know the only thing that stopped me was not having enough time for it anymore.
  • Warmachine – For a while I thought Warmachine was the antidote to the Games Workshop poison. Oh ho, how naive. It is a different flavored fruit from the same twisted vine. I spent $1000 on my Menoth army, and I never really got around to playing it.
  • Misc (Anima, Starship Troopers, Reaper minis) – $500 probably. I don’t know. I still have most of these. Somewhere.
  • Paints – $500. Modeling paint is damn expensive. I swear they make it from mermaid blood or something.
  • Brushes – During my forays into miniature painting, I decided what was holding me back was brushes. Namely that I was using overpriced Games Workshop brushes, and not ludicrously expensive sable hair brushes with fucking unicorn horn handles or whatever bullshit they claimed. I dropped some cash on brushes and brush holders and brush conditioner and yak semen to give them sheen. My painting still sucks. Go figure. $1000.

If I’m being realistic it is probably close to $20,000. The price of a car. Not even a shitty a car. A decent car. The kind where the AC works and it doesn’t make that weird noise when you hit 60 miles per hour. A legit car.

I really shouldn’t have done this.

Days of yore

I first got started with table top gaming in the fifth grade. We started with Dungeons & Dragons. The blue box. A grade school chum of mine, whom I shall Dan because that was his name, introduced me to this strange world. Dan had two older brothers, and by older I mean we were 10 and they were 16 and 18. They had a good collection of rule books and games and we had nothing, because we were 10 and no one gives a shit about 10 year olds, especially in the 80s. Even a 10 year old scotch got pissed all over during that period. Hooray for the excesses of that era. I digress.

Dan’s brothers had a wonderful assortment of games. We spent hours digging through their collections and trying things out. The one thing I remember most from this time is the importance of rules. Dan and his siblings would drill into you how imperative it was that you played by the rules. That the rules were there for a reason and you were not to contradict them. The written word was sacrosanct. The intention of the game devs was as good as the word of God himself, handed down through the prophets and transcribed for us lowly mortals scratching in the dust and filth. As a Catholic, this resonated on deep level with me.

Dan’s brothers also used these games and rules to punish and torture our characters. Again, as a Catholic this resonated deeply with me. The scenarios they ran for us were brutal death traps for our low level characters. The world was naught but suffering and pain. Of course, their insanely leveled and richly rewarded characters breezed right through them. When it came time to dole out experience, they often passed our characters over because “they didn’t even do anything in that fight.” This capricious and arbitrary system of justice became a pattern during this time.

They also had Warhammer 40,000 and Battletech. When they allowed us to play those games with them, they became hilariously lopsided scenarios where their side was a wall of armor and I was commanding a handful of Space Marines trying to take out a Predator tank with a bolter. Battletech was a row of Atlas clan mechs against a similar number of light mechs with no modifications.

Interestingly, they refused to lay board games with us, I suspect because it would have forced a level playing field. It was months before I spent enough time with their books to figure out they had rigged the world against us. That while the rules were important, they also existed to ensure fairness, and they had been twisted to run counter to that intention. I recall a cold sort of anger at that realization, as the wheels turned in my tiny head. I would like to say I got my revenge on them. That I write this from a room in which their polished skulls gaze mournfully down upon me. The truth is less exciting. I simply stopped playing with them. For a gamer, not having people to play with can be the worst fate of all. Looking back, I really should have been asking the question why the fuck a 16 and an 18 year old wanted to hang out with a bunch of ten year olds. That is… really weird. Like… super weird.