Thursday, July 11, 2019

Translating a Solo CoC-scenario from Japanese

This is just one of the "something-limit" series
these guys put out. There is one on one,
one on two, city scenarios, and more.
Japan is really, super, unbelievably into Call of Cthulhu. It's the tentacled, 800-pound gorilla of the J-TRPG scene.

So I recently purchased the xanthic product pictured to the right at ye olde Yellow Submarine (a chain of gaming stores in Japan). It was just so unique a product I was intrigued. But my chances of actually playing one of the scenarios in Nipponese are pretty slim. That would be a lot of pressure! And I'm too lazy to read a whole scenario before hand. Play by post to the rescue!

Through Discord, I (Claytonian) ran the first scenario, Smoking-room, with Coalhada (Tom of Fear of a Black Dragon fame--hey, they talked about a thing I did) as I translated need bits of it at a leisurely pace--mostly during my commuting times. I didn't tell Tom, but the scenario is actually a comedy one. He took it like a champ though.

There is a cut-off point in this post (fingers crossed it works), so you will have to click through. It's only a seven page adventure, and Tom managed to find one of a few possible endings. A sexy dice-bot helped us.

I will say that, in retrospect, I probably should have located the smoking room more concretely on the side of a larger structure, separate, yet not separated, contrary to how I started the scenario imaging it. I also didn't get part of the translation of the clock mechanism quite right, but to catch what I screwed up, I guess you'll have to get fluent at the ol' moon-speak yourself.
This is an actual image used to
advertise this line of
horror-gaming products.
Bless Japan!

Without further ado, I give you your smoke break!


coalhada06/17/2019
What's the most generic modern Japanese name possible? Male or female, either way

Claytonian06/17/2019
Akira (both genders)

coalhada06/17/2019
Akira, slightly portly OL, 30 years old, amateur boxer. STR 15, CON 9, SIZ 16, INT 11, POW 7, DEX 8, APP 10, EDU 12 // SAN 35 / Luck 35 / Know 60 / Idea 55 / HP 13 / MP 7 / Damage bonus +1d4
180pts for Occupation skills (I'll use the Lawyer template), 60 for general skills
Occupation Skills (points spent/total with starting score): Accounting +40/50; Credit Rating +20/35; Fast Talk +40/45; Library Use +40/65; Psychology +40/45.
General skills: Punch +10/60 (damage = 1d3+1d4); Electrical Repair +10/20; Mechanical Repair +10/30; Read/Write Japanese +10/70; Spot Hidden +20/45
.. and that's all, I think.

Claytonian06/18/2019
Okay, office lady Akira. You've been out on some business, and are now looking for a designated smoking area so you can take a break. You've managed to find a nice, new one in an urban area where many of the buildings are new too. It has frosted-over glass, and as you slip in you note there are benches, ash-trays, and vending machines. The usual. A couple of guys have been in here for a little while it seems. As you start to sit, you overhear a curious conversation:

Claytonian06/18/2019
"Hey, it's probably about time we head out.."

Claytonian06/18/2019
"Oh. Yeah! It's time! If that magic circle becomes active, we all will be able to take our place at the side of our god."
"Well, we can't be late. Let's get back"
Perhaps this peaks your curiosity. Before you can say or do much, these guys rush out the door.What do you do?

Tuesday, July 9, 2019

The Gonzo Brilliance of "She"

If you want to get that DCC or 0D&D vibe, I think "She" works pretty well. I mean, it feels a lot like a science-fantasy campaign, with murder hobos and odd situations in every hex. It's bad, but MST3K-level good-bad. You, you just gotta see it for yourself. NSFW.



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Sunday, July 7, 2019

Sandy Peterson in Hell

Holy fork-balls, I just found out that Sandy Peterson of Call of Cthulu the RPG and d6 Ghostbusters fame designed The Chasm, which is one of the most loathed challenging levels in Doom history.

For a hot second, I was also confusing him with the Hickmans, because of the Mormon thing, but I got that figured out. Also, reminds me of how Paul (now Jennell) Jaquays went on to become a video game industry person too. Jaquays came back to our fold, but I don't know if Sandy has done RPGs recently... Fill me in on this in the comments.

Read up on Sandy here. And, since I mentioned them, read up on a fun campaign idea that uses the Mormon Columbia at Rient's blog here.
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Wednesday, July 3, 2019

Arduinian Room Dressing tables and Thoughts on Caliban

this map is not accurate, but you could use it if you want to
So we've been playing Arduin using a custom system that I'll release when it's a little more done. Ah, heck, you can view it now if you want.  We tried out Caliban because it's one of Uncle Davey's famous dungeons, but the thing about Caliban is it really only has keyed rooms described. And it's huge. That's a lot of space that the DM should find a way to make interesting. Any hints, Dave? Well, yes, he made very gonzo rooms descriptions for the actual keyed areas. It would be real obvious that these rooms have treasure if you didn't expand on the "empty" rooms everywhere else, so take Hargravian descriptions and table-ify them! Don't forget to scour Arduin grimoires and All The World's Monsters for wandering beasts to help obfuscate those treasure guardians' purpose.
Obviously, lots of the ideas for these tables came from reading Arduin dungeons. I can't separate Jeff Rient's DNA from this (I don't know if he actually added his own stuff into his tables, which I consulted). 

Each room has a base structure. There is a 1d4th chance that they have some sort of of extra material paneled on, specked in, scratched in, etc. Consult the Other Features table below the first for that.
Base Composition (usually just the walls) [d12]:
  1. Igneous rock: 1) basalt, 2) granite, 3) foidolite, 4) obsidian, 5) porphyry, 6) tachylyte, 7) living stone (tough, but can bleed), 8) carved into statuary, which can be pushed to open secret doors.
  2. Sedimentary rock: 1) sandstone, 2) limestone, 3) shale, 4) dolomite, 5) silt-stone, 6) fossils, 7) coal, 8) stardust-silt.
  3. A prismatic wall or walls: 1) half-way from the PCs' entrance, 2) making a tunnel, 3) bisecting the area vertically from a height of 1d6 feet, 4) running perpendicular or parallel to another prismatic wall, 5) filling the room as a mist or sparkly motes, 6) that forms a few rounds after a PC has entered the space, 7) in front of each exit, including secret ones, 8) making a maze.
  4. Meteoric rocks: 1) stacked, 2) built into stonework and radioactive, 3) in a crater this room was built around, 4) as flagstones that may glow.
  5. Stonework: 1) dry stone, 2) mortared, 3) simulated by cutting into natural rock, 4) relief-carvings, 5) stacked as to conceal any secret doors 6) just stacked, 7) flagstones that conceal a pit or secret tunnel .
  6. Earthen works (prone to cave-ins if ill-built or damaged enough).
  7. Metal (may be burnished or rusted): 1) brass, 2) copper, 3) iron, 4) bronze, 5) tin.
  8. Jade: 1) blood-red, 2) green, 3) random color.
  9. Crystals (random color): 1) giant, 2) 1cm nodules, 3) tiny and sparkly, 4) thick  and flat enough to act as transparent panels.
  10. Chalcedony (random color of): 1) agate, 2) aventurine, 3) carnelian, 4) chrysoprase, 5) heliotrope, 6) moss agate, 7) chrome, 8) onyx.
  11. Futuristic material: 1) plastic (random color, might give off weird gas if burnt), 2) carbon fiber, 3) tension sheets, 4) pykrete, 5) circuit boards, 6) asbestos, 7) red tape.
  12. Void: 1) cosmic (if you jump too high, you will float away), 2) darkness left over from the before times, 3) a bottomless pit lies beyond the confines of the floor.
Other Features [d20]:
  1. Paneling: 1)Cherry-wood 2), amber, 3) mirrors, 4) wrought metal, 5) pine, 6) plaster.
  2. Arrases, Tapestries, or Hanging scroll-paintings: 1) pastoral, 2) apocalyptic, 3) demons, 4)  götterdämmerung, 5) creation myth, 6) dungeon history, 7) dungeon clue, 8) faded beyond recognition.
  3. Bones on floor or embedded in walls: 1) elves, 2) men, 3) demihumans, 4) monsters, 5) animals, 6) cryptids.
  4. Graffiti: 1) prophecies, 2) faction banter, 3) obscene 4) murder-hobo pictograms.
  5. Abandoned attempt by someone to break through wall or uncover a secret door.
  6. Fur: 1) animal hides, 2) [insert animal here]-skin rug, 3) strange (blue fur carpeting everywhere, etc.
  7. Filled with: 1) mist, 2) steam, 3) gas, 4) trash, 5) jungle, 6) shadows, 7) holograms, 8) diminutive monsters.
  8. Lots of fungus: 1) giant, 2) psychedelic, 3) ambulatory, 4) screamers, 5) sleep-spores, 6) culinary, 7) on ceiling only, 7) squeak when stepped on, 8) glow for d6 hours after plucking
  9. Covered in lichens, moss, and slime.
  10. Pillars: 1) doric columns, 2) caryatids, 3) standing stones, 4) a menhir, 5) ionic columns, 6) columns with relief carvings, 7) a monolith with clues or mystical powers.
  11. Something up with the ceiling or floor or both: 1) same as the walls, 2) covered in glass, 3) covered in 1 exploding d6'' of liquid, 4) blood pool or stain, 5) spiked, 7) a catch for a secret door, 8) rocks, ready to fall.
  12. Supernatural fire (random color and effect, much as prismatic walls).
  13. Traps: 1) trap triggered, 2) trap obvious but un-triggered, 3) hidden, 4) hoax-trap or illusion.
  14. Dusty, cracked, or both.
  15. Swirls, speckles, or veins (random color or material or both from the top table).
  16. Drapes (random material and color) large enough to conceal things behind.
  17. Ancient civilization junk: 1) mummies stacked up all about 2) teracotta soldiers, 3) scrolls, 4) litters (paliquins), 5) boat or boats, 6) sarcophagi, 7) pottery, 8) musical instruments.
  18. Everything polished or transparent (even if transparency is usually impossible.
  19. Site of a battle: 1) recent, 2) old, 3) ancient, 4) haunted.
  20. Gilt: 1) vermeil, 2) silver-leaf, 3) gold-leaf, 4) gold-flecks, 5) silver-flecks, 6) electroplated with copper.
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Monday, July 1, 2019

Slam Beeftabs and other fighters I have named

Roll d12×d12×d12
Roll 3d12 to make a legendary bromancer
  1. Brock
  2. Slim
  3. Crug
  4. Flint
  5. Barb
  6. Flog
  7. Bulit
  8. Hand
  9. Spud
  10. Shiv
  11. Hardy
  12. Beef
  1. Deþ-
  2. Slab-
  3. Crud-
  4. Stab-
  5. Fud-
  6. Fire-
  7. Kril-
  8. Vile-
  9. Blast-
  10. Kil-
  11. Blud-
  12. Slam-
  1. -monger
  2. -steak
  3. -critter
  4. -cob
  5. -donker
  6. -nahker
  7. -shlocker
  8. -stud
  9. -creek
  10. -rock
  11. -fists
  12. -sword


















This is not the first time I've made a tough guys table. Use my old one, or just choose a name from:


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Dragon Quest III Guide and other cool illustrated books and gaming stuff

This is a vid I made a while back, but a friend recently reminded me of it. When I DM, I like to have things like the Dragonquest III strategy guide by my side. One of my constant go-tos is a MeMoA guide. Lots of artifacts and curious to stock your dungeon with there. Can be used for NPCs too. I thumb through until I find something. Pretty much as fast as a random table.
Nobody puts barbarian baby on her knees in the corner.

Howard and Nester drawn by Shuji Imai.
The true title of the DQ show was Yuusha Yoshihiko to Maou no Shiro (Hero Yoshihiko and the Devil King's Castle) http://www.tv-tokyo.co.jp/yoshihiko/
Here is a vid from that series:

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Sunday, June 30, 2019

Torches, Candles, and Lanterns: a Couple Illuminating Opinions

I've actually been called the worst DM ever based on a torch incident (I asked how they made them when the PCs were shuffled by evil woods to the middle of nowhere, which is apparently so heinous an action that to this day I am stalked on social media by a disgruntled player--I wish this was a joke). But I can't seem to be with Hollywood on this one and am not fond of ever-burning, easily had light sources. I like resource management too much. 

These days, I actually prefer fantasy lighting sources, such as the glowworm solution one of my players, Josh, thought up. You break the back of the worm and it glows like a glow-stick for a few hours. In the future, I'd suggest to players that they might forage for natural light sources like these in the "we didn't bring a light of out own" incident recounted above. Keeps it interesting, gives the PCs a chance to take the responsibility if the players don't know how to make a torch with natural materials, and world-builds (glowing bugs, fungi, and so on). 

Some of the following videos are what I lay the blame on for changing me views on lighting sources. They go as follows: Lindy on indoors use, followed by outdoors use, followed by Shadiversity's take.