Thursday, August 30, 2012

Attending PAX? If So, Wanna Do Me A Favor?

I'm tossing this out to the blogosphere in hopes that someone out there can help me out. Because I was wrapped up in my own little word while at Gen Con, I completely missed the limited advance release of a board game I've been waiting MONTHS for. I dropped the company a line and the game will not be available for commercial release until October. However, they DID tell me that they would have several dozen copies available at PAX Prime this weekend.

Anyone who will be attending that can 1. grab a copy of this game and 2. mail it to me will be handsomely rewarded for the effort. If you'll be there and want to discuss the details of my offer, please drop me a line at the email posted to the right. Thanks!

EDITED TO ADD: And many thanks goes out to Joel Sparks and Shelley Harlan of Faster Monkey Games who were able to help me out and hook me up! Thanks so much!

Sunday, August 26, 2012

Sneak Peek Inside!

Knock on wood, the first Mutant Future supplemental release from The Savage AfterWorld will be ready the first week of September. Stay tuned!

Friday, August 24, 2012

Three More Con-Run Mutant Future Adventures Available For Download

I've run Mutant Future games at a few conventions now and, in fact, I appear to be the only guy running Mutant Future at events. To encourage other Mutant Lords to run their own games at conventions, and thus drumming up more post-apocalyptic interest, I'm sharing three of my convention-run games with you today. One -- "Gimme Shelter" -- has previously been made available. But I've placed it and two others run at Gen Con 2012 available here for your use. (Plus, don't forget that Thundarr the Barbarian: Across the Dimensional Divide is also available!)

Pre-gens were given to players, but are not available here. I figured you could handle that. These games are designed for 3 to 6 players and should run about 3 to 4 hours from start to finish. Keep in mind that these are not fully fleshed-out modules, but rather railroad-y "Point A to Point B to Point C to Big Bad Boss" convention one shots. Even still, you should be able to run your home PCs through them for a quicky evening's entertainment or, even better, run one of them at your local convention. I won't mind!
Gimme Shelter - Run at Gen Con 2011


Weed World - Run at Gary Con 2012 and Gen Con 2012 

Some of the more observant amongst you may notice one game is missing from this library: Dead in the Water, run at Gen Con 2011. Well, I have special plans for that adventure, so it isn't available for public eyes.

Not yet anyway...

How To Host A Mutant Future Dinner Party

"JF" runs the Solo Nexus blog which is dedicated to solo tabletop gaming in all its forms: card games, board games, miniatures, and even RPGs. Taking his cue from an earlier-played solo gaming adventure, he recently hosted a dinner party at his house based on Mutant Future called "All Pigmen Must Die!" A special mutated menu was provided to his guests (I must try the Deconstructed Gazpacho!) prior to the game they played. I won't run through the details of the adventure, as I encourage you to go over and report of his game for yourself. Pigmen versus mutant plants? Sign me up! And with characters like "Colonel Kernel" and a Marilyn Monroe robot (not to mention Goldface and The Cactus With No Name), you know some Mutant Future madness ensued!

Thursday, August 23, 2012

[Thundarr Thursday] Gen Con's "Thundarr the Barbarian: Across The Dimensional Divide" Available For Download

There were many folks who wanted to play in my "Thundarr the Barbarian" game at Gen Con. Sadly, I only had room for the six players who signed up, and I didn't have time to run it more than once. However, if you'd like to see what the game was all about, or if you'd like to run your own home group through it, I have made the adventure and pre-gens available for download.

A few notes:

  • The adventure is hardly a polished effort, as it's my rough notes for use during a con game. So please excuse spelling errors, formatting issues, and general unattractiveness. Originally, it was just for my eyes only.
  • The script should be easy enough to follow, but it is a 3-4 hour "railroad" convention one-shot. There's not much "depth" to it. Point A to Point B to Point C to Big Bad Boss at the end.
  • I played the opening credits on a tablet for the players as we started. And when we were done, I played the end credits. This really helped the atmosphere and set the mood.
  • There are pre-gens for Thundarr, Ookla, and Ariel. You'll need to make two copies of each. (You'll see why when you read the text.) Encourage the players to play the characters straight as it really helps make the game a success.
  • Be sure to play it like the cartoon. Play up the voices and the exaggerated action sequences. If your players want to do it, let it happen! In my game, Ookla landed on the hood of a moving car, driving the engine block into the ground, and sending the car flying. Thundarr jumped onto the back of the Dimensional Worm and rodeo-rode it to submission. One Ariel cast a light-bridge to reach the foe while the other Ariel ran along it to deliver the final blow. The other Ookla grabbed a set of car tires and threw them over the wizard, effectively trapping him within. Cartoon action, my friends!
  • If you'd like to run your home PCs through the adventure, you should be able to "ramp up" the encounters and the lethality of Yin/Yan. However, this game takes place in a post-apocalyptic future where magic exists. If magic doesn't exist in your campaign, have Yin/Yan's merging/dimension breaches be the result of "Ancient technology in the wrong hands."

Click on the cover or this link to go download the adventure.
Lords of Light!

Wednesday, August 22, 2012

Everybody Likes Free Dice! (Don't You?)


Good morning! This offer is for the folks who are either up early or on the other side of the planet. I still have several Savage AfterWorld promo dice left over from Gen Con. I'm going to give away 10 this morning. Want one? Send me an email with your mailing address. That's it! (What's my email address? It's here somewhere. Go look for it. I'm not just gonna HAND these dice to you.)

Anyway, this offer is good worldwide, as I don't mind shipping to any Mutant Minions in other countries. Once I get 10 replies, I'll update this message letting everyone else know the giveaway has ended. (Also, if you've gotten one of these in the past, I'd appreciate it if you'd step aside and let someone new grab one.)


Annnnnnnnnd...STOP! All 10 dice have been claimed. Thanks for playing along, gang!

Monday, August 20, 2012

Gen Con Wrap-Up: Steampunk Pirates, Useless Shoe Inserts, And Breaking Up Is Hard To Do

I'm home now after "The Best Four Days in Gaming." I'm also popping everything in the medicine cabinet as I try to shake a dreaded case of Con Crud. I'm going over some random thoughts about the event that I jotted down here and there as well as some photos I meant to post earlier. I also took pictures of what I came home with (slightly less of a haul than last year), and I'll close with a personal announcement about next year's Gen Con:

  • If I could summarize the overall theme of the costuming this year by what I saw most of, for the men it would be "Steampunk pirate." For the women, it would be "Slutty fill-in-the-blank."
  • On the way home, I passed a cargo truck that was COVERED in Radioactive/Biohazard/Poison placards. Whatever he was hauling must've been super-scary. I idly wondered: "If I run him off the road and release those toxins, would I jump-start the Mutant Future apocalypse?" But he took the next exit, so the world is safe.
  • I got some of those Dr. Scholl's "gellin'" shoe inserts to prep my feet for 4 days of walkin'. It was like slogging through Jello everyday. My feet were still tired and, as a bonus, I got a blister across the tops of my toes from where they rubbed against the insides of my shoes due to the extra "lift" under my feet.
  • I plan to post my three Con-run modules in the next few days (Gimme Shelter 1 and 2, and Weed World). I'll also post the Thundarr the Barbarian script and pre-gens for those who want to run their groups through it. Speaking of which...
  • If I can find time, I'm going to write up the Thundarr game as played by the Gen Con players as a fictionalized "lost episode" of the cartoon. They stayed in character so well and played it so straight, it was like watching an episode unfold. I gotta share it with you all, but it's going to require a bit of work on my part. I may run it as a three-part series.

And now for some remaining random pictures taken here and there:

At the Dead Games Society cocktail party, "Vincent" the mascot polishes off a bottle of gin.

That giant dragon balloon sculpture is finished. Wings, fire breath, 7+ feet tall. It was an amazing piece of work that took 3 days to complete.

Let's see, starting from the top left, I brought home Skull Mountain, James Ward's Dark Outpost, a hardback copy of Zak's Vorheim, my own copy of Are You A Werewolf?, the D&D CD from Midnight Syndicate (I have every other CD they've released), Dungeon Run, two "new-old stock" Task Force Games - Intruder and Valkenberg Castle, and Gloom and expansion deck.

My messenger bag wasn't cutting it, so I broke down and purchased a Bag of Holding backpack from Offworld Designs. How big is it? It held everything pictured above PLUS the books I brought with me PLUS my laptop and tablet WITH room to spare. It's a canvas beast. The DCC RPG rulebook was purchased through Goodman Games, but I placed it there so you'd understand why I purchased a set of  DCC-compatible polyhedrals (and skull dice bag). The only one they didn't have on-hand was a d14, but I got a matching one from eBay the second I got home.

OK, wrapping up with that personal announcement: This will probably be my last Gen Con for the foreseeable future. I did enjoy myself and it was great running games, playing games, and meeting pals. However, Gen Con is just too big of an event for my tastes. Every game I played in or ran was held in the hotel furthest from my own, requiring a hike of several blocks for each one. The crowds are overwhelming -- worse so in the Dealer's Hall. My ears are still ringing due to the din. The prices are high and the distance is great to get there. The same experience can be had much cheaper and closer, in my experience. Although I do love Gen Con, I always feel beaten and ill when I get home rather than refreshed, inspired, and rejuvenated.

Therefore, I'm taking my leave of Gen Con next year and rather refocusing on the smaller con circuit in my own backyard (Ohio). Con on the Cob is coming up this fall, and Origins is held less than an hour's drive from here. I could attend U-Con if I wanted to head up north. And, of course, I **WILL** attend Gary Con next March, as it's become my favorite convention to attend by far. If I'm gonna roadtrip next year for only one convention next year, this is the one I'll go to, no doubt about it.

So thanks for the great times and memories, Indy. I'm gonna miss you next year. But we're not breaking up! I'm just suggesting that we see other conventions for a while.

Saturday, August 18, 2012

Gen Con Day 3: A Stack Of Pancakes, Con Crud, And A 42-Hit-Point Phlegm Ball

As the sun rises on Day 3 of The Best Four Days in Gaming, Sniderman is feeling what little youth and vitality he had slip away under the relentlessness of the event. (Translation: Sniderman celebrated his 46th birthday last week and he's reeeeeeally feelin' it this morning.) Last night's DGS cocktail party was a blast, but this morning I had to shave my tongue, drink a gallon of water, and pop Tylenol like they were Pez. But after shaking the cobwebs from the ol' braincase, here is today's post:
  • To treat myself, rather than munching on the granola bars I brought for breakfast, I went down to the hotel restaurant and had an honest-to-God stack of pancakes, a few strips of bacon, and coffee served in a china cup. The silent morning respite did me some good. Breakfast was $25 (with tip) and worth every penny.
  • Mild morning hangover aside, my throat is really feeling it today. I'm hoping my Mutant Future game at 10 a.m. does't suffer. Last year, I had to cancel a game of TOON I was going to run when I came up with laryngitis. I brought a bag of cough drops to try to get me through this, but it's gonna be tough.
  • I swear, if another person in the Dealer's Hall stops dead in front of me, I'm gonna wack 'em with my backpack. And if I come across another group of gamers stopped in the dead-center of a crowded Dealer's Hall intersection yakkin' it up, I'm bodychecking them all into the nearest display of minis. Move your collective asses out of traffic before you socialize, folks!
  • The 10 a.m. Mutant Future game went well, with the d30 coming into play at the end for awesomeness. Here's are some choice scenes: plant life is growing amok and the players' village is nearly destroyed by giant Mummy vines plants bludgeoning the huts; a trek to visit Zhonie Kharsin; a mutant raccoon spies a blue glow coming from nearby and gets face-to-face with a Taser Thistle (ZAP); the PCs find that Splinterthorn is responsible for the mutant enzyme entering the water table; one acid-spitting mutant rolls the d30 to hit, rolls a  NAT 30 for QUADRUPLE DAMAGE, and an acid loogie-ball he spits goes THROUGH the villain's head. Like I said, awesome.
  • Swung by the Dungeon Crawl Classics game at 4 p.m. in hopes of using a few generics to squeeze in. Sadly, 5 other generic-holders had the same idea. Even more sad was all of the original players showed up, so there wasn't even a no-show to replace anyway! The DM graciously offered to run a late-night pick-up game for the generic holders, but that's just not in the cards for me tonight as I have world-conquest plans with an evening Illuminati game. Heading back to the room for lunch and rest.
  • .....annnnd I woke from my nap with Con Crud, apparently. Voice is gone, body hurts, I'm sneezing a lot, and generally feel like warmed-over Crap-on-a-Stick (pat. pend.) I'm gonna gargle, pop more aspirin, and go back to bed. Fortunately, I leave in the morning and it's a 3-hour drive home, which is comparatively short. Unfortunately, I'm gonna be a no-show for the one event I've been looking forward to since I signed up in January. Fnord, indeed dammit. Sorry Justin. Give the Gnomes of Zurich Hell for me! And if I shook your hand today, you might want to slather sanitizer on it.
  • Back to bed. New post after I'm home, unpacked, and rested. So this is Sniderman, live from Gen Con, and signing off.
  • ---couch cough wheeze---

Friday, August 17, 2012

Gen Con Day 2: Mystery Doors, Barrel Beasts, And A Pissed-Off National Monument

Good morning folks. As is The Custom, this daily Gen Con missive is started in the morning and updated throughout the day. so let's get to it:
  • Sniderman's Travel Tips: Hey folks. This your first time in a hotel? It is? OK, here's some friendly advice. You see that mysterious Door to Nowhere over against the far wall? The one that's deadbolted for some reason? Did you open it only to find ANOTHER door? Well, that's not a utility closet, nor is it the entrance to a secret underground bunker. That's a door to the other room next to yours. The cleaning staff may use it to move back and forth from room to room while straightening up, or friends rooming next to each other may open it up to allow free access back and forth. If you do not know the person in that next room though, DO NOT TRY TO OPEN THE MYSTERY DOOR AND FOR GOD'S SAKE DO NOT KNOCK. The guy in the next room who's trying to catch a power nap may have a heart attack waking up to "Intruder Noises" occurring within his room. And if it happens again, I'll explain this to you in person at 3 a.m. while I pound on that same door as hard as my fists will allow. Thank you. (Now that I got THAT Public Service Announcement out of the way...)
  • Stopped by a Starbucks for a quick pick-me-up and saw a product called Blue Machine. It has pureed berries and other healthy stuff, so I gave it a go. It was like drinking a sweat sock, both in flavor and texture. Nasty.
  • A chick in a leotard wearing cat ears and cat tail is sexycute. Conversely, a DUDE wearing a leotard and cat ears and cat tail is creepyweird.
  • Am I the only one here NOT wearing a black T-shirt?
  • Ok, just finished up my Mutant Future game "Gimme Shelter II: The Rushmore Salvage Job" and, although it seemed to start slowly, it picked up speed until it collided with the mother of all epic endings. Some scenes that occurred: Barter John the mutant bear merchant tasks the team with finding  his scout Joey Gills who hasn't returned from Black Hill where an Ancient monument is located; the team needs to retrieve a large sculptor's model of the Mount Rushmore monument; rock guys exploding up from underground, overturning their truck; Morty the Moose bull-charging a rock-guy, missing, and continuing to run; Burger King the gravity-manipulator dropping a truck on another rock-guy; Apollo the mutant chipmunk missing with FOUR grenades; Morty also drops a grenade, destroying the gift shop the model was housed in; Mount Rushmore comes to life and pulls itself out of the ground to give chase to Our Heroes; "The Brain" creates an illusion that Joey Gills destroyed the model, pissing off the Living Monument and causing the 400-foot-tall granite colossus to smash Joey Gills into a fine red paste. Next year? Barter John has a little mission to the ISS...
  • Got a chance to play in a Labyrinth Lord game hosted by none other than Dylan, the Digital Orc. He ran the party through his Blasphemous Brewery of Pilz. I got to play my preferred class of "cleric," and we were sent to the northern hills to investigate why the favored beer brewed by the monks was "off." I'll be vague in this entry as the adventure is available for sale (so no spoilers here for future players!), but I'll just say that, if you decide to stab a Burpee, you should totally rethink that strategy! I had to leave the game at the appointed ending hour as I had other commitments, so I'd love to find out how the rest of the party fared against the "Barrel Beast"!
  • I arrived later that evening at the Dead Games Society cocktail party. In fact, as I hammer out this final entry, I've only just gotten back to my room with 2 or 3 or perhaps 7 gin-and-tonics in my system. (I kinda lost count.) It was a great time hanging out with Michael and Colin and the rest of the gang in the hotel's Presidential Suite. Mike makes a mean Tom Collins, even if he has to occasionally make substitutions, like olive juice for the sour mix. I have about 9 hours before I need to run tomorrow's Mutant Future games, so I'm gonna go to bed and try to detox a bit. And here are some random pix taken during the day...
This amazing dragon balloon sculpture was about 7 feet tall. The photo really doesn't do it justice.

Cardhalla is yet again in full swing. Card houses (towers and villages actually) are built and, on the final day, loose change is thrown to bring it all down. All change is then donated to charity.

Thursday, August 16, 2012

Gen Con Day 1 Addendum: My Visit With Wil

So, as I mentioned in my earlier day's post, Wil Wheaton was the Guest of Honor when I stopped by the Dealer's Hall this afternoon. I'll keep the slathering fanboy praise to a minimum, but suffice to say that I really like Wil's professional work, and his embrace of gaming culture is damn cool. So I was really looking forward to meeting him and letting him know I was a fan. He engaged each person in turn; talking, joking, and genuinely giving everyone his undivided attention. Very cool of him to make that connection with each well-wisher.

It's funny, but while I stood in line and worked my way up to the front, I found myself getting a bit lightheaded and short of breath. No, not in a "OMG I'MMA GONNA FAINT"-type swoon. That'd be weak. No, this was the same feeling you get when you're 5 years old and waiting to meet Santa at the Mall (to stretch an analogy). The months of anticipation have built up to this one short "dear God, don't let me do or say anything stupid" moment. And then I was next.

"Wil, it's a genuine pleasure to meet you," I said. Wil smiled and said thanks. I slid my copy of Mutant Future over to him.

"I'd appreciate it if you could inscribe Wheaton's Law on the title page. Having it in your hand would be very cool. And take your time. I'm trying to absorb some of your residual awesome." Wil laughed at this and graciously inscribed Wheaton's Law on the title page, followed with his signature.

I reached into my pocket and handed him one of my Savage AfterWorld dice as well as a Thundarr the Barbarian button I had given out at my game earlier. Wil's face lit up.

"Aw, no way! I loved Thundarr the Barbarian!" Wil said, turning the button over in his hand. "The other cartoons of the 80s were all trying to sell you something: GI Joe, Transformers, He-Man... But Thundarr was just awesome. The way it mixed up genres and settings. Thundarr was a gateway to heavy metal to me."

Taken aback that I had apparently hit a "nerd nerve," I told him that my blog hosts Thundarr Thursday, and that I've actually created a Mutant Future supplement based on the Thundarr the Barbarian universe. He looked at the dice.

"Is this your blog? The Savage AfterWorld?" When I said yup, Wil took out his Smartphone and said "savage afterworld" into it. My blog popped up.

"You're in my browser history now," Wil said. "When I get a chance, I'm totally downloading that Thundarr supplement. And Mutant Future, did you say? Too cool."

As one final request, I asked Wil if he could pop that ever-famous eyebrow arch of his while I did the same with my own bemused eyebrow arch. Pictures were snapped, thanks and goodbyes shared, and I wandered off, totally elated by the encounter. Thanks Wil. Your appreciation for All Things Thundarr and seeing you check out this lil' piece of the Internet did me a world of good. Appreciated, man! Hope you enjoy thumbing through the supplement. And I'll be happy to set aside a seat at next year's Thundarr game for you if you feel like swinging a Sun Sword.
Wil and I engage in an "Eyebrow Arch-off." Wil won handily with the Ming the Merciless scowl, whereas I can only muster a bemused smirk.

 And Wheaton's Law in the author's own hand now graces my Mutant Future rulebook. Awesome-sauce.

Gen Con Day 1: Demon Dogs, The Wrong Room, And Meeting Wil

Good morning! (As I begin today's post, it's 6:51 a.m.) Getting ready to head to breakfast then over to the ICC for the traditional Opening Ceremonies. Later today, it's the inaugural run of my "Thundarr the Barbarian" Mutant Future game. So here are today's thoughts:

  • Gen Con Plus: I like it when random folks start up a friendly conversation with you about their interests, hobbies, and whatever. Gen Con Minus: I don't like it when they continue to follow you around and talk about their interests, hobbies, and whatever after you've excused yourself and walked away.
  • Want to have 30,000 geeks and nerds razz you? Have your computer crash on you while setting up your "Welcome to Gen Con" video presentation/ Nothing like watching the Blue Screen of Death pop up on a 30-foot screen overhead.
  • At the Opening Ceremony, it was proclaimed by the Indy Mayor that Gen Con is officially "the four best days in gaming." The traditional Throwing Out of the First Dice was done by Mike Carr, designer of Dawn Patrol, which he has run at every Gen Con since Gen Con 0 in 1968. Couldn't get a picture due to the crowds.
  • This year, rather than checking badges individually upon entry, they opened up the door to the Dealer's Hall and stepped aside. Ever see 30,000 gamers break into a mass sprint?
  • My Thundarr the Barbarian game was AWESOME. All of the players were very familiar with the TV show, so many '80s action cartoon cliches were tossed about. The twist to this game was that a wizard had opened a dimensional door, creating TWO Thundarrs, Ooklas, and Ariels! Yup, all of the players got to play one of the main characters. And everyone got a chance to be a star, as every player performed some miraculous feat of derring-do. Here are some highlights: Thundarr racing up and cleaving a Possuman's club in two; Possuman cringes and toadies up to the gang and becomes their new lacky "Nathan the Possuman"; while riding a runaway fire truck being chased by laser-firing Possumen in Indy cars, the two Ariels cast simultaneous Sleep spells on the drivers, causing them to crash spectacularly; at the final showdown at the Indy Speedway, Ookla picks up a VW Bug and swats a giant purple worm with it; Thundarr leaps onto its back and rodeo-rides the worm; meanwhile OTHER Thundarr and Ookla pull a Fastball Special, bringing the wizard down from his high perch; Ariel creates a bridge to reach the wizard while OTHER Ariel races along it to drop the magical MacGuffin in the Bad Guy's lap. I could go on, but the game ran beautifully, although quite fast. (We finished in only 2 hours due to some awesome rolls by the teams.) Everyone seemed to enjoy the game as well and the teamwork amongst everyone was awesome-sauce.
  • Having some time before my 5 p.m. Labyrinth Lord game, I decided to stop by the Dealer's Hall to see if I could meet Wil Wheaton, who was the Guest of Honor at that time. Big fan of Wil's, and his embrace of nerdom and geekery is awe-inspiring. The line was fairly short (it was the end of the day), so I was able to meet him and exchange some pleasantries. The visit merits its own post, so stay tuned!
  • Sadly, I screwed up and missed my Labyrinth Lord game. I went to the wrong room, hung around for 10 minutes past time (at which point I decided I was lost). When I did find the game, it was well underway and it appeared someone with generic tix had taken my place. Glad to see it had a full house, but chagrined that I missed it.
  • I'm heading to a game of Are You A Werewolf? in about an hour, so I'll close this with some photos of today's events:
The crowds are gathered outside of the Dealer's Hall, waiting for the stampede to begin.

Wizards had this awesome full-sized display of Lolth. The underlying blue light made it super-creepy.

Lords of Light! Our Thundarr  the Barbarian game rocked! (Much "thwarting" was had.)

And Wil Wheaton was pretty much the cool guy you'd expect him to be. We talked at length about...well...regular readers of this blog KNOW what we talked about. Stay tuned for more!

Wednesday, August 15, 2012

Gen Con Day 0: The Ram, The Stink, And Lucy Van Pelt Is EVIL

As I did last year, I'll be posting a daily "Live from Gen Con!" update with what I've seen, what I've done, and what I should have avoided... Because Gen Con doesn't really get started until tomorrow, tonight's update is all about the prelim games and events leading up to tomorrow's Big Show. I started this blog post at 10 a.m. upon arrival, and I'll be adding to it as the day goes on:

  • As I traveled down 70 West out of Ohio, I passed a white Ford Focus with four younger-ish guys in it. They were kicking up and joking and laughing as they headed west. Later, this same car passed me. Then I passed them. For 160+ miles up to the Gen Con exit (which they also took). So, although I didn't technically travel with anyone, I had four "friends" with me from Columbus, Ohio, all the way to the ICC. Good to tag along with you, "unnamed dudes in other car"!
  • While unpacking, I found a mechanical pencil I had lost. And by that, I mean I "found" it embedded in my hand as I emptied out my messenger bag. I have a huge gouge in my right hand and it hurts like the dickens.
  • Zipped over to the ICC around noon to pick up the program guide. Wasn't expecting a lot of activity, but the Will Call lines are already up and running. They were also surprisingly long again this year, but since they're going to run them overnight, I think the backlog of early arrivers will get through pretty fast. But anyone who arrives tomorrow morning and expects to walk right through may be surprised by all of the OTHER folks who expected to do the same. Will report on how it turned out tomorrow.
  • Took the camera to grab the usual shots of Big Damn Displays, but nothing is out and on display yet! I'm wondering if there's going to be anything this year, as the full-sized Drizzt, Ogre, Dragon, etc. statues are usually already out and being photographed. Was told at the KFG meet-up (see next post), that they were there, just hadn't been put out yet. Photos to come...
  • Stopped by The Ram for my traditional noontime "Just got to Gen Con lunch". Had a Slaughterhouse Cheddar burger (ham, bacon, BBQ sauce on a think juicy cheeseburger) with a side of onion rings and a TALL mug of Indy Blonde Ale. Was feelin' fine, until my Cthulhu game in the backroom.
  • At 1 p.m., I played in "It's the Great Cthulhu, Charlie Brown!" hosted by Kentucky Fried Gamers and run by "Rbree". I played Linus -- the philosophical intellectual who taught at Miskotonic. Also in our group was Charlie Brown (a war vet who was suffering from blackouts and was still pining over the Red-Haired Girl), Snoopy (now the nickname of an ace WWI pilot in our group), and Lucy (who was still practicing psychiatry). We had all been called together for a reading of the will of my recently deceased grandfather. To summarize: we all got bizarre inheritances; a mass of burning "darkness" invaded the mansion; we escaped just in time to encounter The Dreaded Kite-Eating Tree; did I mention the Deep Ones?; and we ended up at a lighthouse basement where Sally was about to be sacrificed by Marcie, Woodstock, and the Red-Haired Girl. We stopped the sacrifice and Lucy retrieved the moonstone, giving her dominion over the Deep Ones. And what happened next? Well, guess who the Mastermind was behind it all...
  • Great game. None of us saw it coming. The stunned "You do WHAT now?" moment was priceless. (And the Quote of the Game: "OK, roll against me to see if you're a virgin.")
  • The Gen Con Stink was fun and much swag was collected by all. I also hosted the Labyrinth Lord Society Meet-n-Greet which had a handful of folks stopping by to grab some dice, tuck a few LL bookmarks into their tomes, and generally hang out for a bit. Not as many people visited as I had expected, but it was nice to meet the few who did make the effort to drop by.
  • I'll be gaming until midnight every night this week, so I'm going to turn in early tonight while I have the chance. 

Hitting That "Holiday Road" (To Gen Con)

It's 4:30 a.m. here in The Savage AfterWorld. I've got the Landmaster packed up and fueled, and I'm heading out to Gen Con right now. Stay tuned for semi-regular Gen Con updates for the next few days!

And, as is a tradition in the Sniderman household, all of our vacations begin with this Lyndsay Buckingham song blaring from the CD player. I'm queueing it as this post goes live, so it's only fair you enjoy it too...


UPDATE: The Landmaster has landed! I'll have a "Day 0" post later this evening.

Tuesday, August 14, 2012

"Goliath Awaits" As A Mutant Future Setting

In 1939, a German U-boat sank the luxury passenger ship, USS Goliath. More than 40 years later, the rusting hulk is discovered 1,000 feet below on the ocean floor, teetering on an active volcanic fault. Oceanographers are sent down to assess the wreck, and they are stunned to discover more than 300 survivors and their descendants still alive, living in an air bubble trapped by the ship’s hull! And thus begins Goliath Awaits, a 1981 made-for-TV movie starring Mark Harmon, Christopher Lee, Emma Samms, and Frank Gorshin.

After sinking and discovering they hadn’t perished, the underwater survivors harnessed the power of the volcano, giving them heat and energy. They were also able to create an air and water filtration system and, over the years, established an underwater utopian society based on the 1930’s European societal class system, ruled by the ship’s captain and policed by his crew. However, the captain enjoys ruling his own underwater kingdom and has no interest in allowing a rescue of the passengers.

Ignoring the preposterous science that allows 300+ people to live and thrive in an underwater shipwreck for 40 years, Goliath Awaits posits a very interesting scenario: What kind of society would develop if a group of people were to suddenly find themselves cut off from the outside world? But the gonzo science that makes this movie possible also makes it an interesting setting for Mutant Future.

Picture it: A group of adventuring mutants somehow discovers an Ancient shipwreck resting on the ocean floor. Upon investigating, they find descendants of the original survivors who have managed to live and thrive in this “bubble community” for thousands of years. What kind of society would have developed? What kind of gonzo science would have made this possible? Would the survivors be untouched by mutation (a “pocket Ancient civilization), or would this community be even more mutated than “normal”? What gods would they worship? Would they demand rescue to the surface? Or would they attack the PCs as “unclean outsiders”?

The movie is an interesting concept that, as you can see, leads to an intriguing thought experiment for Mutant Future. How would an isolated pocket of Ancient society deal with the sudden introduction of “What The World Is Now?” And how would the PCs react to the discovery of a technology-rich Ancient society?

Goliath Awaits in not commercially available, but you should be able to find copies if you have “unofficial channels.” I believe the film is also available on YouTube.

Wednesday, August 8, 2012

My Fairly-Well-Packed Gen Con Schedule

My 2012 Gen Con adventure begins one week from today. Looks like I have a full schedule planned too. Some folks who wanted to meet were asking me what my schedule looked like. Well, here's where I'll be, when I'll be there, and what I'm doing when I get there:

  • Noon or earlier - Check-in at The Canterbury Hotel.
  • 1 to 5 p.m. - (playing) "It's the Great Cthulhu, Charlie Brown!" (Call of Cthulhu) @ The Ram as part of the Kentucky Fried Gamers' Wednesday Night Gaming.
  • 6 to 8 p.m. - (running) The Labyrinth Lord Society Meet-n-Greet at the Gen Con Stink @ Union Station Grand Ballroom. Come on out, meet other Goblinoid Games/Pacesetter fans, and get some swell swag!

  • Noon to 4 p.m. - (running) "Thundarr the Barbarian: Across the Dimensional Divide" (Mutant Future) @ Marriott, Indiana Ballroom C. That's right! Thundarr Thursday is finally LIVE!
  • 5 to 9 p.m. - (playing) "Lair of the Lizardfolk God" (Labyrinth Lord) @ ICC, Hall C, Red, 25-27.
  • 10 p.m. to midnight - (playing) "Are You A Werewolf?" @ ICC, Hall C, Boffer Combat Arena. I've wanted to play this massive game of "find the werewolf in our midst" for quite a while.

  • 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. - (running) "Gimme Shelter II: The Rushmore Salvage Job" (Mutant Future) @ Marriott, Indiana Ballroom C. The sequel to last year's Gimme Shelter. (Available for download!)
  • 5 to 8 p.m. - (playing) "The Blasphemous Brewery of Pilz!" (Labyrinth Lord) @ JW, room 311. I get to play in Digital Orc's sandbox, run by the man himself!
  • 8 p.m. to midnight - (drinking) 'The Dead Games Society Cocktail Party" @ a mystery location. I'm running my games this year under the DGS banner. This night, they're holding an invitation-only get together filled with drinkin', gamin', and drinkin'. I may run a pick-up game of Ghostbusters there, or run another party through my Thundarr adventure.

  • 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. - (running) "Weed World" (Mutant Future) @ Marriott, Indiana Ballroom C. This went over quite well at Gary Con in March, so I thought I'd give it another run at Gen Con.
  • 4 to 8 p.m. - (playing, I hope) "Fate's Fell Hand" (Dungeon Crawl Classics) @ JW, room 301. I got closed out of this event when registering, but I'm hoping I can squeeze in with some generic tickets.
  • 9 p.m. to midnight - (playing) "Illuminati" @ ICC, Hall C. I'm a big fan of this classic Steve Jackson game. I have a near-monthly local group that plays, in fact. Let's see how I do against some of the brightest conspirators worldwide. Fnord.

  • Guest of Honor, Uber-blogger, and all-around good guy Wil Wheaton will be signing autographs in the Dealer's Hall each morning. Would really like to meet him and have him sign something for me.
  • Games-on-Demand across from the Dealer's Hall in ICC238 offers demos and pick-up games of some of the hottest indie RPGs. Hope to try out Fiasco, Life With Master, Dungeon World, Apocalypse World, and other unusual RPGs.
  • Digital Orc sent out the clarion call for an OSR Blogger Meet-up. Not sure if this is gonna happen or not, but would like to try to cross paths with a few fellow blog-meisters during the four days.
  • I have an advance playtest copy of a not-yet-released-or-announced RPG that I'm dying to run folks through. (Yes, I'm being deliberately vague due to a non-disclosure agreement I signed.) The creator was also kind enough to send me a playtest adventure as well. Gen Con would be the perfect place for a quick dry run of this exciting new setting for a classic system. (Ooooh! Spoilers!)
  • I also need to attend some of the auction, the "throwing out of the first die" to open the show, trolling the Dealer's Hall, visiting the OSR booth, and maybe shoehorning in a pick-up game at some point.
  • Sleeping. yes, I somehow plan to try to get some sleep.
And, as always, I'll be posting a daily Live From Gen Con blog post just like last year. Stay tuned!

Tuesday, August 7, 2012

"They've Killed Fritz! Those Lousy Stinking Yellow Fairies!"

One of my favorite movies of all time is Ralph Bakshi's Wizards. The imagry, the story, the setting, the animation -- all of it adds up to a film I can watch over and over again. (And I have.) And best of all, it's a decidedly gonzo post-apocalyptic film. The rise of magic versus the evils of Ancient technology. The evil blasted landscape of Scortch against the good magical realm of Montagar. Good stuff here, and lots of fodder for your post-apocalyptic campaigns.

However, in spite of my fandom, I somehow missed the fact that there was a Wizards RPG released back in the '90s! Once I found out, I made it my goal to collect every item released for the game. My full collection completed today is pictured above. The Scortch and Montagar sourcebooks are filled with interesting lands to explore and bizarre mutants and creatures to battle. (Plus several adventure plot hooks as well as fleshed-out adventures!) Anyway, because of the post-apocalyptic setting, just wanted to show it off. I'm reading up on the system now -- point-buy-in based character generation, it seems -- and should be ready to actually run a game or two at Gary Con next March.

(I'd love to try to run a pick-up game at Gen Con next week, but there's no way in Hell I'd be able to learn a new system and hammer together a simple adventure in 7 days -- not when I'm prepping my games already on the docket!)

Saturday, August 4, 2012

Wizards, Mutants, Laser Pistols Issue 2 Now Out

The newest issue of that old-school fanzine newcomer Wizards, Mutants, Laser Pistols is now out and ready to melt your brain with more gonzo fantasy RPG ideas. In Issue 2 of WMLP, you'll find:

  • The Warden -- a new Ranger-inspired character class for Labyrinth Lord
  • The Symbiote -- one word comes to mind: "Kuato"
  • Beneath the Ruins: Level 2 -- the next level of the fanzine's fantasy/sci fi megadungeon
  • Myron the Magician -- an adventure specifically designed to introduce young children to role-playing
  • And other crap that will melt your face! (According to the cover blurb.)

WMLP is steeped in fantasy tropes, but offers enough science fantasy to satisfy fans of Mutant Future as well. (Just look at the cover! Need I say more?) An issue is $3.50 shipped in the U.S.; $4.50 shipped to Canada; and $5.50 shipped Overseas. You can order an issue by visiting the WMLP site. Issue 1 is also available at the same price.

Friday, August 3, 2012

Gary Con V Announced - March 14-17, 2013

It's official! Gary Con V has been announced for March 14-17, 2013. I'm not exaggerating when I say this is my favorite convention to attend, and I'm super-pumped about the announcement. (FYI: I'm heading to Gen Con in 11 more days. For me to be excited about Gary Con when Gen Con should be foremost on my mind, well, you KNOW there must be special about it!)

Anyone who is a fan of old school gaming -- or ANY kind of gaming -- should make a pilgrimage to get there. Anyone interested in casually meeting many, many, many of the people who designed the games we play and who very well may run one for you should make a pilgrimage to get there. Want to visit the town where role-playing started? Want to see where TSR once stood? Want to remember Gary Gygax in the most appropriate of venues? Want to have 4 days of mind-melting fun chucking dice? I can't stress this enough: Make plans to attend now or be prepared to "kick yourself ass-less" 7 months from now!

Oh, and click **HERE** to read about my adventures at Gary Con IV earlier this year!