Saturday, February 20, 2021

Zinequest 3 is upon us! Here Are Some Recommendations!

 Hey, Y'all, I know you're already aware of #Zinequest3 because I've been talking about it non-stop for a few weeks now. Well, Gobsmack! is live and has only a week to go, and it has not funded yet. I know that it's because of the Game of Thrones White Walker Invasion that hit Texas last week, so I'm making a plea for you to check it out and see if it's something you'd be interested in. If you already backed Monty Haul from Zinequest 2 and you liked the content therein, I am confident you're going to dig Gobsmack! as well. Here's the pitch, and the link, in brief:

Gobsmack! is a toolkit to help you re-imagine goblins into an urban setting, right alongside your elves, your dwarfs, and your gnomes as denizens of your grand capital city.  Use them as random NPCs, contacts, rivals, or enemies! Gobsmack! gives you all of the tables, the tools, and the options to create urban goblin NPCs on the fly, with goblin names, goblin jobs, goblin quirks, and goblin motivations, along with plot hooks, story ideas, and suggestions for integrating these funny, ubiquitous little jerks into your urban campaign setting to bedevil, befuddle and delight your players. It's a one-shot zine with artwork by John "Joltin' Johnny" Lucas!

Right now, there are a bunch of young and hungry (metaphorically speaking) content creators and they are doing the same thing as me; creating interesting and original content for rpgs. There's so many, in fact, that you may feel a bit overwhelmed. Not to fear. This is going around right now, and it's pretty brilliant:

But what do you back? Please take a minute and click through to these excellent projects. Any of us would be grateful for even just a buck. It really does help!
The Journal of Fantastic Linguistics - A system neutral Zine presenting a variety of tools, inspirations, and guides for Linguistics and language related content in RPGs. Everything from learning how Dragonborn speak, to how slang and Class-specific jargon can work, to monsters that affect language - all of these and more can be found in the Zine. It’s completely layman friendly, so you can pick up an issue, read an article, and apply what you learned in your games. 

In the Light of a Faded World - a rules-light post-apocalyptic setting about small animals exploring spaces reclaimed by nature in a future where humankind has gone extinct. Illustrated by Amanda Lee Franck (Vampire Cruise), with prose by Zedeck Siew (A Thousand Thousand Islands). (notes: the included rules are an adaptation of Nate Treme’s In the Light of a Ghost Star, with a splash of Tunnel Goons; the setting at your table is a future version of wherever you live in the world.

Cephalopod: Ocean Home - A short Form RPG about escape, alien landscapes and risk. It's also a game about things being funny as hell and having no particular reason behind them beyond that. The aim of the game is to make it to the ocean and be free. The players take the role of different species of Cephalopods who are trapped against their will and need to escape. The game ends when the cephalopods either escape the world they find themselves in or die trying.
Hinterland: Peoples and Perils is a system neutral resource for generating locations and encounters for wilderness exploration in fantasy roleplaying games. Each of the 19 encounter and location types is made up of two or three random tables that combine to create a hundred or more unique and flavorful possibilities! Many of them link to other entries, creating a network of people and places across the landscape. All of them leave gaps for you to fill in with your own interpretations and ideas.

Raccoon Sky Pirates is a story-focused, GM-less tabletop RPG for 3 to 6 players that takes about three hours to play. You and your friends play raccoons in a flying ship made of junkyard scraps. Together, you do your best to keep it together so you can fly to the suburbs, loot a house of all the high-end trash you can carry, and escape into the night. If possible, you want to avoid waking the human residents, evade the Neighborhood Watch, and try to keep your ship from exploding. Flying a ship takes coordination and discipline. Unfortunately, you’re a bunch of raccoons.

Errant is a fantasy RPG in the classic style, where you play ne’er-do-wells in search of treasure by any means you can. The game focuses on providing a robust suite of procedures aimed at making gameplay experiences like exploration, downtime activities, and domain management simple, meaningful, and fun.

The Lights of Winthrop Manor is an immersive level-0, self-contained adventure experience for 5e. Inside you'll find everything you need to thoroughly terrorize your party and give your players a night that they'll not soon forget.

This zine kicks off our new setting while, at the same time, acting as an ideal 1-shot for those groups interested in delving into the darker elements of fantasy. More reminiscent of Call of Cthulhu than typical D&D, Winthrop Manor relies heavily on themes of madness and horror. Players will assume the role of 1 or more of the 9 pre-generated characters, each based on new backgrounds and lineages from our upcoming Dreadlands: The Horrors of Glynn campaign setting. The player characters will need to use a special puzzle box to rotate the rooms of the house in order to try and avoid the Keeper and escape with their lives, if not their sanity. 

Cryptid (Mis)Communication is a role playing game to be played outdoors, at a blurry distorted distance. In this game, you and your friend both pretend to be cryptids who just want to catch up. The problem is, if you get too close, you won't be all that mysterious anymore, so you have to keep your distance. To communicate, you need to shout! It is specifically designed with the current circumstances of the world in mind, and will be good silly fun for all ages and friend groups! It is also unequivocally queer ;-)

Cryptid (Mis)Communication is a fun venture that will make you laugh with your friends... from at least 200 feet away.

SUBTLE FLUID is the first print offering from the new sci-fi RPG Stillfleet. After years of work to bring the game and world to life, the team behind this innovative and highly playable RPG is moving into the world of print with an immaculately designed zine about nantotechnology. SUBTLE FLUID offers 24+ pages of rules, art, and hooks that will add dangerous spice to your games of Stillfleet, or any other sci-fi RPG.

Tuesday, January 19, 2021

In Search of a Unified Field Theory for Geek-Movie Evaluation

I want to state up front that this is a working theory and this blog post should not be misconstrued as me signing off on it, or even putting it into practice. I'm asking for field research, here. Okay, to business.

Everyone online is wrong about everything, okay? One of the things they are wrong about is the subjectivity of reviews, doesn't matter for what: their premise, the wisdom of the crowd, if you will, is to say that the things that a person does or doesn't like about a film are deeply personal, and so any critical comments regarding the film are, by the associative property, a criticism on the deeply personal things that a person feels or believes.

For the record, I do think that legitimate criticism is subjective, owing as much to the reviewer's depth of knowledge as much as the creative work being criticised, but that's not quite the issue at hand. We're talking about being able to praise or trash a movie, without regard to anyone's feelings, and also not hurting them intentionally or otherwise with collateral criticism. 

This used to not be a problem. Back in the 90's, before the Internets, I could trash Star Trek: the Next Generation and still be called a Trek fan (I never was a Trekkie, but I was always a fan). Back in the early aughts, Rick Klaw and I were on a panel talking about Sci-Fi television and how bad most of it was, and the audience, hostile and flabbergasted in equal parts, kept throwing out suggestions to us, and we'd swat them down like Crash Davis at the batting cage. Afterward, people still bought our books. 

Nowadays, you can't throw shade on any franchise for any reason without someone sending you a "Let People Enjoy Things" meme. 

Zinequest 3 is upon us! Here Are Some Recommendations!

 Hey, Y'all, I know you're already aware of #Zinequest3 because I've been talking about it non-stop for a few weeks now. Well, G...