Saturday, February 25, 2017

I love this...

...and I'm not posting much of value right now anyway, y'know?  So why not...

(from an NPR interview)

We do pass on pain to the people around us, but I think another way of looking at that is that the people who hurt us are rarely evil. Most people are trying their best with the pain that they've been given.
                                                                      -- Rowan Hisayo Buchanan

Monday, February 20, 2017

Monstrous Monday: Bro Country Elemental

First, I'll just get to the monster.  Then I'll elaborate a bit in case you want to know what the hell I'm talking about.

The truck picture that I desecrated here is Red 1961 Chevy Truck Face View by tonythemisfit (Tony Fischer), licensed under CC BY 2.0.

Bro Country Elemental
HD 8d10 (44 HP)
Defense 15

Attacks:  Bite +8 (1d8 damage) and Tailgate +8 (1d10 damage)
(Can use both attacks in a round, but must attack different enemies.)

This is how it rolls:  A bro country elemental can achieve speeds up to 90 mph but prefers to cruise with the windows down.  Characters caught in its path while cruising must save or take 1d10 mud tire damage.

Special:  Immune to all sleep effects 'til the sun comes up.

Drawn to girls that are lookin' so good, especially those in cut-off jeans and T-shirts.  Gets +2 to all rolls with a girl up in its cab.

Will also seek out all drinkable ethanol within a range of 1/2 mile.  Gets +1 temporary HD (with both HP and attack bonuses) for one hour after consuming a gallon of ethanol.  This bonus is doubled if the ethanol is in the form of Jack Daniels, 'shine, homemade wine, or Fireball whiskey.

Bro country elementals are formed when trucks gain sentience while cruising back roads.  Unlike traditional country elementals, this may not be an old truck.  No one knows the precise magical accident that leads to their creation, although examination of their remains has led some to believe that key components may be sleeveless shirts, gaudy male jewelry, shot glasses, tanning spray, and clothing and decorations featuring American flags.

They're basically lawful elementals, they just like to get a little chaotic on the weekend.


Okay, so, "bro country" is the term given to a subgenre of American country music that rose to extreme popularity a few years back (it even has a Wikipedia page).  Songs in the category often feature a distinguishing set of musical tropes, including a notable hip-hop influence.  And the songs are pretty much about three things: girls, trucks, and drinking.

So, some of you are thinking, other than the hip-hop thing, what makes that any different from all other country music?  Well, some would say that, in addition to turning the sexy up to 10, it turns cookie-cutter song production up to 11.  In 2014, a songwriter "exposed" the formula by mashing six bro country hits together into what could almost be a single song.  Seriously, check this out, or at least the part at the end where he has all six songs going at the same time...

Bro country has taken some heat from the industry establishment for its formulaic nature and vapid lyrics.  And yeah, it's ridiculous.  Images like this don't help:

From Brantley Gilbert's video for "Bottoms Up," by the way.

But man, there's something about the unapologetic rejection of any sort of complexity that I just can't help but appreciate.  I'm a little obsessed at the's like a truck crash that I just can't turn away from.

And in defense of the artists, MOST musical subgenres...or, really, subgenres of any form of art...are going to have some tropes that get repeated over and over.  Hell...that's pretty much what OSR roleplaying is built on, right?  And to the credit of the songwriters and performers, all the swagger, backbeats, and hard rock solos seem to be carried out unironically.

And then there's the fact that some artists who bleed bro country are still able to pull off some legitimately good songs.

At the very least, it makes for a nice monster.

Friday, February 17, 2017

Thinking about an OSR blogging challenge...

So, I've been thinking a bit about April's A to Z blogging challenge and what I might want to take on this year.  One of the ideas that I hit on, and that I think I'd like to pursue, is to take an RPG setting idea (I think I'll go with the Paleolithic Adventures that I mused about in one of my first posts on this blog) and map out its components to the alphabet, so that by the time the month is over, I have something that can be compiled into a form that others might like to see.  It kind of fits an idea I've thought about trying on here, that I call "Filling up a White Box," in which I'd take the OGL skeleton of the Swords & Wizardry WhiteBox Rules and systematically reskin them into a different game.  So, maybe it'd be called "Filling up a White Box with Rocks."  Heh.

Anyway, the more I thought about it, the more I realized how much I'd like to see what other people would do with a similar task.  Ever since the monster known as the d20 system brought us "D&D" for every genre imaginable, I've loved seeing people take the basics of the class+level+icosahedral-combat rules system and expand it into new realms.  Like those old Dungeon magazine microgames...those were awesome, right?  Some people are clearly quite gifted at this (I'm looking at +James Spahn and +Simon Washbourne here, among others), but we could all probably do a decent job with a little structure, eh?

Then I realized that this might be even better as its own "challenge," since it could be ordered based on the needs of the task itself rather than...the alphabet.  Like the challenge goes something like:  (1) Theme, (2) Races and classes, (3) Equipment...etc., with questions for each one that would encourage fleshing out the game.  I just think it'd be awesome to see people pick a topic they've always wanted to explore, or maybe have explored in their games, and bring it to life.  Like someone's game is about juvenile magic-users at a wizard's school, and another one is Matrix-style gnostic cyberpunk, and someone does Super Sentai, and there's a Vampire clone, and...and...maybe someone hits upon something amazing...!

Well, I have about one good idea a week, and I thought I used that up a few hours ago when I decided tonight should be taco night, but I really like thinking about what this could be if others were interested.  So, does anyone have any thoughts on how I could get the most mileage out of this?  What would encourage others to participate?  Or am I just a bit loopy on a Friday afternoon?

Another theft from the Halls...

As long as +Justin Isaac keeps posting cool public domain creatures over at Halls of the Nephilim, I'm going to keep stealing them for the monsterfighting pits.  Here's my mod of the monster he recently presented with the awesome '50s horror story "Demons of Docar"...

(And now I see that the demons also got an excellent and extensive treatment a while back on the Swords & Stitchery blog.  You can check that out here!)

I'm a little tempted to treat "Demon" as a worthy enough subtype to get recognition on these cards...kind of like how they're treated in Hearthstone:

There are only a few "creature types" that get specific mention in Hearthstone:  Demon, Murloc, Beast, Dragon, Mech, Pirate...that might be it.  I could see taking a similar approach.  For now, though, it seems sufficient to let demonic entities deal damage of the Void/Aether type.

Wednesday, February 15, 2017

Wasteland Wednesday: Prepping for Apes Victorious

No, not prepping for a session of Goblinoid Games' Apes Victorious, but for the real thing.

Sort of.

You may have seen this video that hit the web recently, showing an escaped animal drill at a Tokyo zoo.  Apparently, it's a yearly thing that always involves someone dressed up like an animal.  This year's is especially poignant, though, since we know how things are going to eventually play out...

Oh, and a note:  I have a love/hate relationship with zoos.  On the one hand, it's awesome that people get to see wild animals.  On the other hand, they're essentially prisons, which makes them pretty miserable places by nature.  I avoid them, but I've never let go of the hope that zoos can be done "the right way" (whatever that would be, exactly), and there may even be some out there doing it the right way as I type this.  With that said, I have no idea if this zoo does it anywhere close to the right way.  But hey, the monkey suit caught my eye.

Tuesday, February 14, 2017

Oh yeah...Happy Valentine's Day!

(I made some of these last year with more traditional RPG monsters.  You can see them here if you want to.  I can honestly say that in a year's time, I think I've gotten better at making valentines.  My education has paid off!)

Monday, February 13, 2017

Monstrous Monday: Brain-Bats revisited!

About a month ago, I posted the classic Basil Wolverton story "The Brain-Bats of Venus" for #MonsterMonday.  +Justin Isaac suggested that some stats for the Brain-Bats would make for a good follow-up, and I had to agree.  (In fact, they probably should have been there in the first place...!)

Today, I finally make good on that suggestion!

Venusian Brain-Bat

HD 2d6 (7 HP)
Defense 10

Venusian Brain-Bats are flying creatures with a width of around 6 feet and a pair of hooks at the tip of each of their fleshy wings.  They are vulnerable to Psychic and Electrical damage (taking double).

Attack:  Brainsmother +2 (1d6-1 psychic damage)

Sentient beings hit by a brainsmother attack must save or come under the control of the Brain-Bat.  While under this control, a creature finds that its thoughts and impulses are affected in addition to its actions.  Each time the Brain-Bat compels the being to perform an action, it may resist with a save, and it may perform actions of its own desire if succeeding at a saving throw.  After 1d4 hours, no more saving throws are allowed, and the effect ends only if the Brain-Bat is killed or removed from its victim (or leaves voluntarily).


And favorite part for some ridiculous it is as an underground elemental beast.  Remember to collect 'em all to see who rules the monsterfighting pits...!

Thursday, February 9, 2017

The Green Horror for elemental beastfighting

I warned +Justin Isaac of Halls of the Nephilim that I'd be stealing some of his monsters throw into the pits of my favorite pet monster bloodsport.  His post on the Green Horror was just calling my name for the first such theft.  So here it is, in trading card form.  Collect 'em all!

(I had to take some liberties in converting it to match my monsterfighting vision.  Definitely check out Justin's LotFP stats for a superior gaming version...!)

Wednesday, February 8, 2017

Wasteland Wednesday: Jack Kirby's proto-Kamandi

I think the topics I hit on this blog probably make it clear that I'm a fan of ridiculous anthro characters and settings, so I was pretty darned happy when I found this old SF anthology comic story.  (I had probably read about it, as it's even referenced on the Kamandi Wikipedia page, but I didn't realize it was in the public domain until I happened upon it here.)  Here's a Kirby story from way back in 1957 (15 years before Kamandi's debut!) that shows some clear roots for the later series.  Interestingly, this story also predates the novel upon which the film version of Planet of the Apes was based, so it's very cool to see that the basics of The Last Boy on Earth were laid out with no Apes influence.

The full story is below, and you should really check out all of Alarming Tales #1 (lots of free Kirby!)...but I don't think I'll give too much away by sharing a bit of opinion before continuing.  (But please feel free to skip to the good stuff below!)

The "resolution" to this story is kind of weird.  And I know that "weird" is a silly observation when the story is about time-traveling to the future to find a world of interspecific warfare among anthropomorphic animals, but I can't help but feel that this is one of those story seeds that would have really benefited from expansion beyond the short-story anthology setup of so many of these '50s SF/horror/monster/etc. comic series.  This panel toward the end of the story seems like it should have a lot of weight...

...but, just six pages into the world, it just seems silly.

Not that I mind all that's still pretty awesome overall!  And in this future world of 2017, we get the benefit of Kamandi to expand the scope of the story.

Side note: This Wasteland Wednesday is also an appropriate time to return to "real" blogging on here, as I've left Monstrous Matters to be a bit of a wasteland lately as my life undergoes a soft reboot.  I hope to be back in the blogosphere to visit for a spell, now!

Saturday, February 4, 2017

Saturday Evening Cartoon: I'm with Moe!

Tomorrow is about as close to Good vs. Evil as we're ever gonna get in the Super Bowl.  Join me in cheering for the Good, won't you?!