Friday, June 5, 2020

Project 5.5 - System finalists

After going over options in my head for...well, months now...I have finally narrowed the choice for a set of rules to serve as the basis for Project 5.5 (a wargame using bulky MOTU-style action figures) down to two.

The first option builds from my last contender post, which was...wow, way back in 2019...taking the game in an OSR direction using Swords & Six-Siders as a model (although I'll probably end up going with a more freeform "OSR but only using d6s" style).  The lean toward this choice comes from the free and open nature of various OSR products produced under the OGL, the quantity of OSR resources to draw from, and the fact that I can pair this effort with work I have done and will do on Light City, which I really need to spend a little time on at some point.

In addition, as James from James Mishler Games and Adventures in Gaming v2 was kind enough to point out when I asked for info on the origin of 1d6 skill rolls in D&D, d6-only resolution was there from the very start, on page 9 of OD&D's third booklet (The Underworld & Wilderness Adventures).  There's something very clean and simple about taking the approach originally used for dealing with doors and applying it to all rolls in the game.

However, there's another great option that I just can't quite shake.  Starting with the fact that this might be my favorite RPG of all time...


...and that it was used to later create this game, another great one...


...and then the fact that there is already a miniatures system based upon those rules, which I very handily have a copy of...


...AND the fact that even the minis system has been released under the OGL (you can find it HERE)...

...and, well, that's a tempting way to go.  Also, the next RPG I plan to run (hopefully starting next week!) is a semi-homebrew setting using semi-homebrew rules based upon Ghostbusters and its descendant Mini Six...which means that going this route could synthesize a couple of my gaming projects much like Light City and Project 5.5 could mix in an OSR approach.

At the moment, I'm leaning OSR.  But that could change at any time.

I'm thinking.

Saturday, May 30, 2020

Geeky SKAturday: Pokémon Liberation Army

I kinda hate that I've gone so long without knowing this band exists.  Described as Poké-conscious skacore/punk rock, the Pokémon Liberation Army is obviously gimmicky, but they're mostly gimmicks I can get behind.  A pop culture-based theme band?  Cool.  Crusading for Pokémon rights?  Awesome.  The quirkiness of third wave ska to accompany the offbeat message?  I can get behind that.

I should also maybe get one of these shirts:


At any rate here's their first EP, TM101:


There's more music at their Bandcamp page.  If you wanna keep breathing, release your Pokémon!

I really dig the melodica, btw.

Wednesday, May 27, 2020

Scrye Magazine

Here's another post where I talk about other random stuff I've done over the years.  You might not care about it.  That's okay.  There's also the chance you might!  Today's topic...

Scrye magazine


The first game-related writing I ever had published was in the old magazine Scrye, a publication dedicated to collectible card games that would go on to cover other genres of collectible games.  (For those too young to remember, a magazine was kind of like a website, but you kept it in your bathroom and didn't need your phone to read it.)

Anyway, I got a foot in the door there with an article on the ultra-obscure card game Calorie Kids but ended up contributing material for a fairly wide variety of titles, including the ones that dominated my gaming time during that era (Magic: The Gathering and Pokémon).  If memory serves, I also wrote articles for the following games:

Harry Potter
Survivor
Cardcaptor Sakura
DragonElves

Um...maybe Gundam M.S.War...?  I know I contributed to a slightly different project for it (see below)...

That might be all...I'll add to this if I think of more.  I was definitely willing to play and analyze whatever CCGs came my way!


Scrye's publisher, Krause Publications, also made at least two versions of the Scrye Collectible Card Game Checklist & Price Guide.  While I missed out on contributing to the first edition, for the second, I got to write pieces for SurvivorGundam M.S.War, and the long-running Christian CCG Redemption.  I still pull out my copy of this from time to time just to browse through all the interesting games that were made during the first decade of the hobby.  It really is a nice look at the history of the game genre!

While I can't put my hands on most of my Scrye work, I did manage to pick up a back issue (#54, October 2002) for a pretty good price off of eBay a little while back; thanks to the site Scrye Notes, which catalogs covers and tables of contents for the publication, I was pretty sure I had a couple of articles in it.  Turns out there were three of 'em!  For your reading pleasure way to pass the time:

PDF can be found here.


PDF is here.


And...a PDF is here.


I do like that I have a couple of my favorite articles I wrote for the magazine, on the Slowpoke family and Magic's 15-card Highlander format.

Also...a tiny little thing that I find very interesting to look back on...if you do actually read the Slowpoke article, you may notice that I use the word "wrecker" to describe Slowking in Pokémon's Unlimited format.  That is not a word I've always used.  Wanna know where I picked it up?

Well, the 15-card Highlander article was based largely on what I learned about the format from former pro Magic player David Sutcliffe, with whom I interacted some at the Casual Players Alliance.  Here is an archived version of an article he wrote on the format long ago, and more importantly, here is the CPA thread where we discuss it.  In it, David (aka Gizmo) says, "Anything that mills is very strong - Vision Charm is a wrecker" (emphasis mine).

So...thank you, David Sutcliffe, for apparently adding a word to my CCG vocabulary!

Tuesday, May 26, 2020

2 Tone Tuesday: A Message to You Rudy


One of the most iconic songs of the 2 Tone era (although a cover of a much older Jamaican song)...


Friday, May 22, 2020

More free stuff for you while you're in your bunker...

I've posted a few times about stuff related to my friend and...seriously, if I haven't stressed it enough...one of the nicest human beings you could ever hope to meet, J.R. Mounts.  I mentioned him when he was nominated for a Dragon Award, when I posted my OSR Card-caster class, when I've shown off some fun beasts that he created for me...


...also when he illustrated my little Christmas adventure...


...and when I posted about the Lego war game I worked on a long time ago that he was also kind enough to do art for...


...and, well, probably a number of other times.  He has a tag here on Monstrous Matters, and when I list things like this, it makes me wonder if I've asked him to do too much free work for me...!

Several years ago, J.R. took the plunge and started working full time as an indie cartoonist, which...while I know it hasn't been easy for him...I would argue has made the world a better place thanks to the rest of us getting to see more of the unique perspectives of J.R.  He has some TMNT-level ideas in his work that we'd all hear about if they were given exposure at the right time and place.  I even got to design a couple of card games for his properties and help him show them at Gen Con, which was a dream come true in itself.  (More on these games to come on here as I continue to talk about all of the half-worthwhile things I've ever managed to accomplish...!)


J.R. has recently put out a couple of highly regarded graphic novels and has a really fun comic strip called Scairy Tales, but I would say that the thing he is probably best known for is being "the pickle guy."  Here's the hard-boiled protagonist of his Fried Pickle Noir series, Q. Cumbersome.


J.R. describes FPN as "Sin City Meets Veggie Tales," and it is not to be ignored.  Especially if you like puns.  And the great thing is, during the COVID-19 quarantine, J.R. has made a bunch of his work free for all in .pdf!

If you're looking for something a bit off the beaten path...whatever your beaten path is, honestly...you can simply find J.R. Mounts (by that full name) on Facebook and shoot him a message for access to a folder filled with wacky stuff he's worked on (full disclosure...and even some stuff that I've worked on).

Also, if you'd just like to see more of what J.R. is all about, you can check out his DeviantArt page here.

Saturday, May 16, 2020

Geeky SKAturday: Check out my band, y'all.

Continuing the theme I ventured into earlier this week, in which I make myself feel good by sharing stuff I've done over the years...although this one is a little more timely, because...well, I'm not sure if I've mentioned it on the blog here, but strange things happen during a quarantine.

So around 20 years ago, I played in a ska band in middle Georgia. We were called the Macon Blue Beat Combo, and we were pretty darn low profile, but our shows were somewhat successful in bringing in a fair number of students from a local college (where we met, where pretty much all of our friends were, and where our singer was and is a professor...so, the math added up).  In 1999, we scraped together the money to quickly record what was essentially a demo.  It's always had some big flaws (mostly in my drumming) that have often made it tough for me to listen to.  However, we did make some CDs out of it that we sold at shows and were EXTREMELY lucky for the Toasters' Bucket Hingley to actually put one of the songs on his and DJ Chuck Wren's Still Standing ska compilation in 2003.



Fast forward to the COVID-19 quarantine...a friend of ours who is now a news producer in Chicago is enjoying some comforting tunes from her past and decides to work one onto the air:



A few weeks later, and Liz is nice enough to do it again with another song she felt fit the day...



Somewhat hilariously, the members of the band all realized that, other than maybe the song on the comp, none of us could put our hands on any of the music that we recorded.  Luckily, our other organized friend Amanda came through with 20-year-old MP3s she could still locate.  So, I went ahead and put most of 'em up on YouTube such that they won't be completely lost to history.

If you're so inclined, you can click here to be taken to the band's YouTube page.  And if you're not, here's what I think is the song that probably came out the best in our approach to recording (the second song above):



If you do check 'em out, thank you(!), and please be honest but kind...with time and money, there's a lot we'd do differently...!