Sunday, February 5, 2017

Flynn Rider? Whozzat?

Blades in the Dark has landed!  In PDF mode, at least--the hardcopy stage should be happening in April, if the schedule holds up.  Now that I've had about a week to read and digest the changes and apply them to Koneko House Blend, I can honestly say that I'm quite pleased with the adjustments made, particularly in the way that the initial relationships to other factions are set up.

Now to see how this changes all those lovely, lovely hacks and additional playsets that are in the pipeline!  Also gotta budget the Floofy One's alter egos through Hero Forge, even though Blades is not the sort of tabletop RPG that needs a scale map and minis to go with it.

With this outfit on her garment grid, she can set up a score to snatch her own dang tiaras whenever she likes...engagement roll permitting.  That oughta keep her somewhat distracted.  Not that Darryl counts as one of the Stabbington brothers...

Sunday, January 29, 2017

You Can Tell Mister Harry I'm Nearly There...

Blades in the Dark is coming.  Coming soon.  Sooooooooooooon.  Like, tomorrow soon.  As in the backerkit is like unto to launch while I am stuck and work and unable to do much about it until I return home.  I admit that this is a good thing, because if I could get to it at work, I might not do anything else for a bit but read and chuckle maniacally.

So I'm off to re-watch a few good heist movies (Ocean's Eleven, Snatch, Lock Stock and Two Smoking Barrels) for the one-liners.  And maybe that new BBC show that's just about perfect for this.

Anyway, this means that the Koneko House Blend game (my, uhm, all-catgirl version) will be going through some officially mandated adjustments, particularly where Tier and Hold are concerned.  Since we've only just gotten started, and haven't done much more that char-and-crew-gen and set the opening scene with ol' Bazzer* and his sales pitch, it won't be too much of an imposition.  I hope.

So if you see any of the following little scoundrels lurking about, you know who to blame.

Tuesday, January 24, 2017

Pretty Dress! Tiara! Miauw!

As is my wont, I'm fooling around on the Hero Forge website trying out more possible builds for future use and abuse (finances permitting). I admit that I have more fun doodling than finalizing, but that's what the Hero Forge engine is for! And yes, I'm indulging in my own little tribute to our resident Bast worshiper. One of Ed's games is a Weird West shoot-em-up and since everything's better when done by equal-opportunity butt-kicking catgirls...

"Hey, Pops!"

I pause in my typing. The voice is familiar, high-pitched, possibly young...

"Down here!"

I look down. Katana is sitting beside me, glaring up at me and looking very much as if any second now she is going to put the smackdown on my toes. If she weren't so darn cute, I'd be scared for my toes. Oh, wait. Given how she likes to pounce on anything that moves, I should be! To make sure she has my full attention, she bats at my instep.

"How come you never put me in a pretty dress or something when you do these miniature designs? You've done me as a biker chick and a crazy archaeologist and two kinds of piratical weirdos and a sneak thief and a sci-fantasy battlequeen. Stop that! Stop that right now! I am a pretty, floofy princess and I demand a pretty ballgown. With a tiara!"

This is not the sort of conversation I expect to have with either of the cats.  There's no mention of food, for one thing.  But I've gotten used to the weird ways of feline persons over the past twenty years.  So instead of freaking out I simply smile and reach down to give her a head skritch and speak calmly.

I explain Sensei's First Rule of Combat Fashion to her ("never wear anything you can't fight in"). I talk about the difficulties of athletic exertion in a corset, hoop skirt, and heels. I point out that given how roughly she plays (and how exuberantly active her namesakes are likely to be) a pretty dress would be all tattered and stained and messy in very short order.

It works about as well as pointing and saying "get off the table, Katana!"  Which is to say, not at all.  She swipes at my knee and repeats her demand.

"Pretty dress! With a tiara!"

Okay, fine. I can be taught. The line of least resistance will be the fastest way to convince her to go somewhere else. I go back to the drawing board and a few more minutes of tinkering produces Lady MacJones, who speaks softly and carries a magic sword. Then I pick her up so that she can get a better look at my handiwork.

Are you happy now, I ask.

"Not bad. Not great, but it's better than a flashlight or something."

Shouldn't you be bothering Darryl, I ask dryly, remembering too late that Katana tends to take everything you say literally and at face value. Her little eyes grow really big and then she scampers off downstairs to rectify her big brother's lack of pestering. And as the ghost of Waylon Jennings would put it, you all know that ain't gonna end well.

(picture courtesy of my friend Lanzlo who just happened to catch the two fuzzballs while they were actually enjoying one another's presence.)

Sunday, January 22, 2017

Well, Nuts.

It is with some regret that I must share the news that a brief discussion with Mr. Roby has left me enlightened as to the fate of Renegade Jennys and Boilerplate Jacks.  Specifically, it ain't happenin'.  The current beta-test version, sans art, is all there is ever likely to be.  This is unfortunate, especially since the other game I was gleefully awaiting for my Cub (Far West) is looking more and more like a mirage.

It is my profound hope that at some point in the future, perhaps a successful crowdfunding campaign might be in the works so that this particular take on steampunk is allowed to see the light of day.  I'd try to organize this myself, but I have all the business sense of a pithed frog.

Saturday, November 12, 2016

Katana Jones and the Pocatello Kid, Part One

Hey, remember I threatened you with fan-fiction?  Here we go--generated by Ed's sci fi pulptastic Future Tales and starring this pretty little grrl in all her ferocious predatory glory.

Unfortunately, Hero Forge does not have appropriately "Buck Rogers" options for their miniatures, so she's still more Apocalypse World / the Sprawl than she is Forbidden Planet.  Them's the breaks.

Katana Jones
Rep 5 SS3 Scavenger Star (Humanoid Alien) (Power 5)
Brawler +1d6 in Melee
Quick Reflexes +1d6 on In Sight tests (Racial)
Laser Pistol
Solid Melee Weapon
(Up to 5 items)
Home: Rural/Salvage

Rep 4 SS3 Exotic Grunt (Humanoid Alien) (Power 2)
Pilot (Counts as Rep 5 when piloting Starcraft)
Stunning (+2d6 when taking Talk the Talk test vs. affected parties)(Racial)

Opening Scene generates thusly: 1d6+5 on the Person or Thing Table is a 9 Find/Rescue Person...5 clues needed to unlock the final scene.  1d6 for specific sort of case...5 means the Victim is to be hunted down!  Right up the real Katana's alley.  2d6 on the Rural column of the "Who Is It?" table generates an Exotic target...and a further d6 generates a Gambler (Male, Rep 4, armed with a Laser Pistol) who was last seen in Urban Area 1...the Undercity!  And this is where the investigation will officially begin after a quick Travel Scene to get to the Big City which results in no confrontation as the pair use Myrna's ship to make a brief domestic flight.

I was busy separating a primary drive coil from the thruster housing with the old fashioned standby of a crowbar, my full body weight, and a lot of cussing when Myrna buzzed my workshop by way of saying hello.  That inspired a few more variations on copulatory impossibilities, since she knows full well I'd rather she comm me first instead of just zipping overhead before touching down on the improvised landing pad by my humble abode.  By the time I'd gotten my tail to stop frizzing out with alarm and schooled my face into something less ferocious than she deserved, the blue-skinned beauty was almost dancing out of her cockpit with an ear to ear grin that told me maybe, just maybe, she had an excuse this time.

"D'you mind," I called out, sounding annoyed.  "Almost skinned my knuckles when you flew over."

"Sorry, K," she answered, rubbing the back of her neck.  "Only I got you a job offer.  Guy back in New Kuna has a bounty and you were saying the other week how you were getting bored and..."

"Hold up."  I narrowed my eyes.  "What sort of job?"

"Nothing major.  Sounded like a grab-and-secure.  No wetwork, I promise!  I remember you don't like that stuff."  Her grin grew a bit wider, as if she thought this was some sort of joke.  Which it was, for her, but then she's not a felinoid life form descended from apex predators.  Me?  I have a rep to protect, and getting caught playing with the perp is not a helpful thing.

"And the client?"

"The Horseshoe Club."

Oh.  Oh, great.  New Kuna had three main economic points of interest.  The spaceport, which was more of what you might call a truck stop for intersystem haulers.  The hospitality district, which catered to other needs of lonely freighter crew.  Then there was the Horseshoe Club, which was first and foremost a casino and secondarily a saloon, hotel, and restaurant...and also the unofficial second city hall.  If they wanted someone caught...I ran one hand through my mane and grumbled.

"Okay, gimme a minute to secure everything and we'll go see what the Horseshoe gang wants."

"No hurry.  It's an exclusive sort of contract."  Myrna stretched and let her grin fade to a mere smile.  "I convinced them to leave it in your capable hands."

Translation: I flashed my breasts at the guy with the offer and he agreed to delay posting the task until after you got a chance to review and refuse.  That was Myrna for you.  Flirtation was her primary weapon in the same way that a replica Japanese katana was mine.  Not that I was about to complain, since her silver tongue had gotten the both of us out of a few tight spots over the years.  Ducking into my bunker, I hastily groomed and put on a cleaner shirt, then shrugged into my armored jacket and grabbed both sword and blaster pistol.  Might as well look the part.

With Myrna flying, it was less than half an hour from my burn-flat workshop on the edge of a scavenger's dream to the bustling metropolis of New Kuna.  Like most spaceport towns, it was a sprawling mess.  You could tell the upper class areas from the air, since they were neatly laid out and looked much more carefully planned than the broad band of high-tech shantytown that marked the poorer areas.  But we didn't have to go very far to meet our contact, since he was waiting for us when we touched down in the 'local traffic' section of the port.  He was tall, reedy, thinning sandy blond hair, and a well-tailored suit that made him stand out in the working-stiff atmosphere of the landing zone.

"Katana Jones, I presume?  Horatio Harrison, at your service."  He held out a hand, which I shook, and glanced at Myrna.  "The partners have agreed to let you take this one without any competition, if you're interested."

"Who's the target?"

That seemed to stump him, as if he'd expected me to ask about payment or cynically demand to know which partners were behind this.  I could have grinned, but Basics seem to find my show of teeth unnerving.

"Ah...uhm..."  He fumbled with his briefcase, dug out an old-fashioned hardcopy dossier, handed it over.  "Boris Dillard Grumman, also known as the Pocatello Kid.  Why he's called that, I have no idea."

I flipped it open and immediately understood--the man in the holo was old enough to be my grandfather.  Wrinkly, white-haired, fully bearded, and honestly demands I add that the look in his eyes was distubingly jolly.  A quick glance at his particulars read like a week at the sheriff's office: con-man and gambler, possibly also a thief.

"Probably the same reason people call small dogs Goliath," Myrna quipped.

"Yes, well, anyway...payment will be Guild standard rate."  I narrowed my eyes, but he raised a hand to cut me off.  "Yes, I know you aren't a member.  They've agreed to overlook the peculiarity since this is considered a private matter between Mister Grumman and the Horseshoe Club.  This time."

Okay, that set off all sorts of alarm bells in my head.  I looked at the jolly old fellow again.  There was something in that face that made me want to hit it with a shovel.  Shutting the dossier with a snap, I met Horatio's eyes.

"A quarter payment up front."

"Yes, of course.  And we'll pay for your ship's restock before you depart should off-world travel become necessary."  Myrna's eyebrows went up at that.  This was way too generous!  I nodded, slowly.  Whatever this Pocatello Kid had done, it wasn't just a simple unwanted visit.  I wondered who he'd ripped off, what  he'd stolen, who he'd angered.

"Then you've got yourself a hunter.  I don't suppose you have any leads?"

Horatio swallowed, tugged at his collar, tried to smile reassuringly.

"As it turns out, we do.  Mister Grumman was using an alias to skirt the edges of a previous agreement with the Club, and someone tweaked the biometric security to allow him entry.  A local accomplice, already in custody.  Quite the talkative fellow, too, once he realized that Grumman was going to skip out without paying him.  He says the man mentioned a bolt hole in the Downunder, so unless he's already slipped offworld you should probably start there."

I nodded, glanced at Myrna.  When she nodded back, I smiled...yes, I admit, I let my teeth show, and was gratified to see Horatio squirm a bit at that.

"We're on the job."

Not that finding a sticky-fingered con-man in the Downunder was going to be easy, but if it was easy they wouldn't have asked me to do it.  Myrna stayed behind to, ah, secure the ship and confirm the initial payment.  I'm pretty sure she was also going to be spending a little quality time with our Mister Johnson while I got down to business.

A good solo hunt was just what I needed to cure my blues.  This was gonna be fun...

Saturday, October 15, 2016

More Fun With HeroForge

Not Avalon, honest!  This is Katana's namesake.  I'm still playing around with the options...but she's aiming to be more of a 5150 / Uncharted Worlds / Scum and Villainy lass.

These three are the 'official' build.  The obvious signature weapon is obvious.

Here's alternate pose and with the weapons switched out and a different expression, because while she plays a LOT more roughly than Avalon ever did, she doesn't seem to be an Angry Grrl.  Just sort of kittenishly predatory with great enthusiasm.  Katana of the Burn Flats, maybe.  She'd fit into the Kawaii Konekoclypse nicely.

And here's a variant for Future Tales--Katana, Princess of Planet X!  I'd have used an energy sword or something but Hero Forge doesn't have one as an option.  Cutoffs would probably be better than the studded jeans, too.

"You call me PRINCESS Cheesecake, you goob!"

A closeup of the 'mischievous me' expression, as opposed to the 'RAWR' one.  I actually think this suits her far better, but the ferocious face is sort of traditional.

And finally, Katana Jones, Tomb Raider...

If I do this one, I'll probably put the holster on her other hip and add a whip.  Because tradition.  And maybe a fedora.  Because tradition.  But the katana stays.

In the meantime, I'm seriously playing around with 'borrowing' Ed's setting of New Hope City for both Uncharted Worlds and a certain Blades in the Dark hack called Scum and Villainy.  I may even try a little bit of fanfic in here.

Friday, September 30, 2016

A Couple of (Longwinded) Thoughts

Apropos of nothing and in no particular order...

= = = = =

Of all the kerfuffles in the hobby right now, there are two that make less than no sense to me.  There's the rather curious bulldada about inclusion (read: having people of color in illustrations and women wearing something that isn't bikini battle armor) that leaves me scratching my noggin, touched on in earlier posts now and again.  Of late, this has been joined by some odd feud between OSR and 'story' gaming, which is really odd...and over which I have ceased following certain people simply because the rhetoric employed got a bit too excessive.

Let me sum up.  I am very fond of OSR.  It's part nostalgia, since if you tell me that a game has 6 stats generated by rolling 3d6 for each, uses a d20 to hit, and has Armor Class involved, I have a fair idea of how this is gonna play out.  There's something comforting in knowing that I can enjoy this without having to dedicate what free time I have to learning Yet Another Darn Game System. If you will, OSR is the five card draw poker of role-playing.  This is my main reason for supporting Kevin Crawford's line of excellent games, by the by, as well as Basic Fantasy.  I'm greatly looking forward to Stars Without Number 2nd Edition, which I hope will take some of the further refinements he's developed over the course of Other Dust, Spears of the Dawn, and Silent Legions and apply it to SWN.  I'm really rusty with the whole dungeon-crawl thing, but it's a bit like riding a bicycle.

But.  OSR is rooted in fantasy miniature wargaming.  It is, at core, a combat system with other stuff bolted on.  That is perfectly okay--it is what it says on the box, and it does not pretend to be anything else.  It isn't good for everything.  It doesn't fit all tastes, nor should it.  If you want a good slog through a minion-filled dungeon where death is your constant companion and you can look back after hacking the boss monster to kibble with a sense of achievement, it's pretty much perfect.

So on the other side of things, we have 'story' games which are a whole 'nother ball of wax.  I'm not even going to summarize the diversity available here, but these tend to favor shared creative input, a less complicated set of rules (when one is not trying to model reality to the nth decimal place, one can get away without heavy crunch), and usually a setting that is more evocative than comprehensive.  Your distance may vary.  And I tend to like these very much because they cater to my general preferences.  I am, at core, someone who got into the hobby for the storytelling, not the body count.

But.  These games are also pretty 'squishy' and fluid, and someone used to the overarching legalism that is D&D 3.x or (shudder) RoleMaster or GURPS may be forgiven their confusion and difficulty in adjusting from a well-defined, clearly outlined world to a sandbox with less clearly marked parameters.  One of my favorite RPGs of all time is Over the Edge, and I lost count of people who got hung up on char-gen because being given so much creative freedom induced mental paralysis.  I have good friends who recoil at the level of abstraction used in, say, any PbtA game because they LIKE tracking every last coin and bullet.

Thus and so, we have this...argument?  Mutual temper tantrum?  Debate?  Something's going around, and the people involved all seem to be really mad about it, and in all candor I am at my closest on the fringes.  What I hear reminds me of the Star Trek/Star Wars thing...rather like listening to a couple of die hard sports fans arguing over whether baseball or football is the 'true' American sport.  Or whether Coke or Pepsi is the one true cola.  Or whether Advanced Squad Leader or World in Flames is the one true WWII board wargame system.

I get that this is very, very important to some people.  I get that there have been harsh words thrown hither and yon.  I understand that feelings have been hurt, lines in the sand have been crossed, and much agonizing has been passed around the table a few times.  I don't really feel like I have a dog in this fight except insofar as people I know and respect have caught some of the shrapnel.

= = = = =

So I'm watching a couple of youtube video walkthroughs of newer Assassin's Creed games (because I don't have anything newer than ACIII), and it suddenly strikes me that there's something odd going on.  Now, don't get me wrong.  I really like AC.  The music is just plain eight kinds of awesome (my favorite OST hands down, is AC Unity followed shortly by ACIV, ACIII, and the delightful rearrangement for AC Chronicles China).  Start to finish, this is just plain cool stuff.  Yes, it kind of falls down in places, and every so often the promise doesn't quite deliver to spec, but that's okay.  Perfect being the enemy of good and all that, failure to properly exploit certain potential happens, yadda yadda yadda.

So.  AC Syndicate and the equal opportunity asskicking that is Evie Frye.  Much fun.  So neat.  Woman parkour and lethal application of a gentleman's walking stick for the win.  (cough)  Anyway, leaving aside the surprisingly high percentage of female NPCs wandering around Victorian London in trousers...

I may be remembering this incorrectly, but in earlier variations it was a good idea not to just haul off and sputch someone in broad daylight because bystanders would respond with shock and alarm.  Panic.  Screaming.  A hue and cry for the watch or equivalent.  That, at any rate, is what's in my noggin.  This is a game that's supposed to be stealthy, isn't it?

And then Jacob drops down on a heavy right in front of a couple of factory workers, kills the baddie, leaves him bleeding out...right in front of a couple of factory workers.  And just walks off.  No attempt at all to hide.  Said workers, who have just seen a mystery man drop out of the sky and ruthlessly murder one of the factory's security personnel?  Do nothing.  Just another day on the job, man.  Dead guard?  Groovy, baby.  Blood?  What blood?  Never liked that bloke anyway.

I gotta be misremembering.  I just gotta be.

I can understand why innocent bystanders might have been converted to a less responsive mobile terrain type (don't wanna know how complicated it'd be to actually program all that and the processors only have so many cycles to go 'round) but it does sort of break immersion a little bit.

= = = = =

Okay, now I'm off to convert Aledys to 7th Sea 2nd Edition.  Huzzah.