I Run Starfinder!

For those of you who missed the Starfinder stream premiere game yesterday, you can watch the video here!
I had a great time, and once again want to thank everyone involved in making this happen. 🙂

Top Ten Signs You Are In A Horror Movie

Be on the lookout for these common signs of impending disaster.

10. There’s a creepy doll that always follows you. It’s got a ruined eye that’s always open.

9. You live in a neighborhood that is described as sleepy, untouched by time, or Castle Rock, Maine.

8. Someone went outside to take care of what should have been a minor issue, and has been gone for longer than you’d expect, but it seems perfectly reasonable for another single, solitary person to go outside to see what happened to the first person.

7. There is a persistent stain you can;t get rid of, no matter how you try. this is less about the stain than with the fact you are obsessing over it. Look, things get stained. We’re all adults. Deal with it. Bonus warning points if the stain is the color of dried blood and seems to spell something in ancient Sumerian.

6. You were mean to a old woman who tells fortunes.

5. Children are singing indistinctly in the background. Bonus warning if the sound seems to be coming from an abandoned child’s sanatorium from the 1930s.

4. Somehow, someone convinced you to stay one or more nights in an otherwise abandoned structure they inherited from a distant relative. I know housing prices are out of control, but that just means if Cousin Ida’s Quaint Cabin is empty, it’s because there’s a copy of the Splatternomicon in the basement.

3. You realize you and your four companion each represent one discrete, different archetype of annoying person audiences would enjoy seeing get killed.

2. The cat just sits in the corner, staring at you with might be pity, or might be disdain. Note that you do not have a cat.

1. There’s a local legend of a madman in the woods with unusual headgear (Halloween mask, hockey mask, welder’s mask, and a brown fedora are popular but not mandatory choices) who killed with a bladed melee weapon (axe and machete most common — bladed glove is overdone, and why can’t maniac killers ever go for a glaive-guisarme?). Bonus warning if you are part of a group researching said legend.

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Top Ten BAD Ideas for Science-Fantasy Weapons

When you mix high tech and high fantasy, all sorts of new options open up! BUT… not all those options turn out to be good ideas!

10. Atomic Grenades. A classic, and easier when you can use magical extradimensional spaces to neatly cut atoms. BUT – atomic explosions have a minimum amount of force possible: less than that and you didn’t create it through fission or fusion (magically enhanced or not). That minimum is still WAY more than you want for anything you need to throw. Minimum safe distances in miles do not go well with grenades.

.9 Underslung Spell Launchers. Oh sure, the idea of a wand or rod bolted to the bottom of a fully automatic laser rifle sounds cool at first… but who the heck ahs the skills to both lay down suppressing fire and know when to petrify the enemy? How much does it cost to reload that thing? And isn’t Gandalf dangerous enough without heavy ordinance?

8. Holy Weapons. I mean, they aren’t a bad idea for a few, specific users. But in general, you want your sci-fi weapons to be mass produced, and you don’t want that to change just because you’re adding magic to them. And does anyone *really* think there are enough holy soldier in the armies of the world to justify mass-producing these? Plus, eventually someone makes a holy hand grenade, and then the Monty Python jokes begin…

7. Earththrowers. No, not a sling, a genuine earth-thrower, that sprays a huge cone of earth, the way a flamethrower sprays a huge cone of fire. Neat huh? Well…. Not really. First, the reload tanks would make you sink like lead, and secondly once fire burns up everything, it’s gone. Earth just sits there, in huge mounds, making post-battle clean-up MUCH more expensive. And that’s not even considering the impact of creating hills around your primary target – WHY are you creating cover for the enemy? Best avoided.

6. Sonic Disruptor Axes. No sonic versions of axes. Because inevitably, someone will turn them up to “11.” Shrieking hammers are fine, however… as long as you are not prone to migraines.

5. Dancing Machine Guns. Having a sword that fights on its own is cool, so why not add that magic ability to heavy ranged weapons? Well, because machine guns already have “runaway” as an issue, and with no wielder to help take the recoil, the dance of the machine gun is too likely to involve 360-degree spins… and then everyone is a target.

4. Singularity Cannons. Yes, with enough science and magic you can create a singularity slug. But if it’s got enough gravitational pull to harm your enemies, you probably don’t want it anywhere near you, even in unfired-shell form.

3. Ghoulpikes. Oh sure, it SOUNDS like a good idea. Get an energized force pike, and mount a paralyzing ghoul hand on the end. But you know what happens when you energize a severed ghoul hand? You get charred-dead-cannibal smell, and NO ONE wants to be carrying that smell around. Also, it turns out most everyone is in armor anyway, so it’s hard to get the hand in to touch their flesh unless you shove it in a feeding port or something. Too difficult, and too disturbing if you succeed. Hard pass.

2. Vorpal Laser Pistols. So if I shoot him in the hand… his head falls off?

1. Plasma-Chuks. Look, we’re not saying laser swords make sense, exactly, but they sure seem safer than two glowing rods of death connected by a flexible joint, especially if you are expected to be able to hold those plasma-rods as part of wielding the weapon. Even if you have plasma-proof gloves (and if you do, why don’t you make ALL your clothes out of that material), it’s not a great idea to swing burning hot severing lines around your body.

Honorable Mentions: Monomolecular whip (a “finger-severing-device’), grenade of wonder, bazooka of the magi, and baleful transformation rounds (or “bunny bullets”).

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Top Ten Signs You’re in a Dungeon Designed by a Guy in his Mom’s Basement in the 1980s

Continuing the theme for the week!

10. One of the orcs has the “glaive” from Krull, another the “caber” from beastmaster, and a third has the bladed boomerang from The Road Warrior. And they all glow like the discs from TRON.

9. There’s a maze, which you have to map out every t-intersection, dead-end, and L-junction to escape. For bonus points, David Bowie is in it.

8. While there are shadows, there’s nothing else to hide in. And no real use for any other skills, of which you have 2.

7. When you’re not killing them, the monsters just hang around and talk shop or discuss the most recent episode of The Great Mordor Bake-Off.

6. If you score a critical hit, there’s a chance you remove your foe’s spleen. Even if you’re using a staff.

5. Treasure troves include an elfin mindstone, a clockwork owl, the 3-bladed sword from The Sword and the Sorcerer, a stringless bow that shoots energy arrows, the wishstones of Shannara, a sliver of the Dark Crystal, a lightsaber, an acorn of petrification, the Loc-Nar, and a map of the holes in creation that let you travel through time.

4. The entire dungeon is painted in non-photocopy blue.

3. There’s nothing for you, or anything else living here, to eat. And that seems perfectly normal and reasonable, and unlikely to cause an ecological disaster.

2. Grimtooth

1. The most dangerous monster is the Dragon… from Dragonslayer. Riding an AT-AT.

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Starfinder Twitch, June 13th!

So, this is happening.

Starfinder Twitch

Top Ten RPG Genre Mashups

Summer often means new game systems are released, and new major campaigns are begun. So as a nod to the new games I know people will be playing in the coming months, here is the Top Ten RPG genre Mashups!

(And the systems they should be run in)

10. Champions of Cthulu (Hero) “With great power comes great responsibility. And great madness…”

9. Greyhawk Down (1st Ed D&D and 1st Ed Top Secret) “Barony troops serving in Bright Desert announced today a MX-14 Magic Carpet was shot down by City of Brass militia forces. A rescue mission is being assembled now at the Allied Command Inn.”

8. TOON 40k (FUDGE) “It’s Rabbit Season, marine Fudd. Heretical-mad-psyker-rabbit Season.”

7. World of Spycraft (a AAA MMORPG) “Your quest, Paladin Bond, is to stop the mad orc Platinumfinger before he starts a war that could absorb all of Azeroth.”

6. ForceGhostBusters (d6 System) “What you have here is a type 6 free roaming Jedi Spirit. A real nasty one, too…”

5. Gamma World of Darkness (Storyteller) “In the Old Cities, the irradiated servants of the Wyrm seek new, untainted blood.”

4. Werewolves in the Vineyards by Gaslight (True 20) “You are a Baskerville, a holy warrior lycanthrope detective, secretly fighting to bring about the Second Reformation of England…”

3. Shadowrun 1889 (Shadowrun 4th edition with lots of house rules) “Yes, gang-colonel, the Martian Guard took your hand clean off. But no worries. We have a gearhack here who can fit you for a new phlogstronetic in no time…”

2. Car Fleet Battles (GURPS… I guess) “But we don’t… have to turn… into a vicious motorcycle gang…. TODAY!”

1. Prisiones y Dragones (Pathfinder with lots of 3pp and other d20 System bolt-ons) “¡Santos el Luchador, un lagarto del fuego ha robado el dinero del orphanage y lo ha llevado los picos de la barrera!!”

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Top Ten Things I Learned from the movie “Krull”

(And for the record, I LOVE this movie!)

10. Despite what it says in the encyclopedia, a glaive is not a single-edged, bladed polearm but instead a 5-sided throwing boomerang that not only returns when you throw it, but also makes multiple passes as a gesture-guided weapon.

9. Death and power are close cousins. And they’re from Arkansas, so sometimes they make out.

8. Moving a giant rock castle across the galaxy with no obvious propulsion? Easy. Designing reloads for three-shot blaster lances? Beyond the means of most evil tyrants.

7. Johnny Cash makes a kick-ass, if odd-looking, cyclopes.

6. There are kingly virtues other than bravery. Courtesy is one of them.

5. If you’re running across a bridge with no railing while invading an enemy castle, and foes from above start shooting at you, and you have no cover, and one of your friends is shot and falls off, the polite thing to do is come to a full stop, watch him fall and die, and then keep running. (See point 6.)

4. Some marriage rites culminate in smearing cake on your spouse, and some turn him into a flamethrower. Don’t get the two confused.

3. An ex-con killer who can only keep a single member of his small-unit army alive is a prime choice as Lord Marshal, even if he’s decided to wear manacles for the rest of his life.

2. Although the hill people “lack the power to do harm,” apparently becoming a frakking tiger and ripping things apart gets in through some sort of loop-hole.

1. It doesn’t matter how long it takes you to get out the word “Slayers!” when being ambushed. If you notice them first, just keep sputtering and pointing until you choke out their name. No one is going to pay any attention until you actually say something, and the slayers will wait for you to be done before they attack. (See point 5.)

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Setting Sketch; Wild, Wild East

In 1863, the Lost Continent of Mu rises from the Pacific Ocean, taking up a vast section of what was once open water. Despite being submerged for millennia and being covered in numerous ruins, some of its native white Nacaal people still exist in a degenerate form. Rather than the source of ancient wisdom and the origin of people from the Aztecs to the Egyptians, the Nacaal are revealed to have been traders and culture thieves, who spread ideas they encountered among one people to far-off partners while claiming original authorship.

With the Civil War raging, America is barely able to send any expeditions to Mu, though some naval forces are sent. The Second Mexican Empire, established by France and supported by Roman Catholic clergy, is suffering its own fighting and lacks the will or resource to make more than token expeditions into Mu. Other great powers, including much of Europe, the Ottoman Empire, and Russia have great interest in a new continent, but are hard-pressed to gain access needed to explore it.

Some nations make immediate pushes into the new land. Japanese Emperor Kōmei and the Shogonate, locked in a power struggle over the fate of Japan and its dealings with the west, both send expeditions immediately, both public and secret, to secure this new land that vastly reduces their fishing territories. The British Empire, especially elements with ties and resources in Australia, also rush to declare the new land terra nullius (“land belonging to no one”). Peru, economically dependent on guano exports that cannot last forever, also makes a major push to colonize Mu, followed quickly (though less successfully) by Chile.

New resources discovered on the continent include the liquid metal “vril,” which can expand the mind of some people (suggested to be most likely to work on those with bloodlines dating back to the people who traded with, and were betrayed by, the original Nacaal), gravity-neutralizing cavorite, and the industrially-crucial vulcanium, which has the highest tensile strength of any known metal, despite a relatively low compressive strength and typical shear strength. Control of the “New East” is seen as crucial for any nation or company. The Singer Corporation is the first of a few enormous multinational companies to take a huge gamble to invest in this newest world, and the technology it could lead to.

The year is now 1868. Less than 1/5th of Mu has been thoroughly explored. Explorers from japan and Australia have established significant stronghold, but begin to question if they want to continue to take orders from their homelands. The United States, in a desperate bid to catch up in the race for Mu, pays the way of thousands of potential explorers, settlers, miners, and ranchers to sail from nearly any American port to New Houston, the only major US city on Mu, as long as they swear to support a US claim to any lands they settle. Samurai, cowboys, drovers, explorers, inventors, vaqueros, theosophists, spies, settlers, and traders all flock to a nearly lawless land, where any may develop odd powers from exposure to vril, or just pick up expert skills in an attempt to survive in…

The Wild, Wild East.
Samurai. Sixguns. Steam. Psychics. Adventure.

Surefire Speculative Fiction Show Ideas

  1. “SPOOKED” When the randomly-selected patsy of a deep cover spy mission turns out to have an honest-to-magic necromancer as a sister, spies and ghosts face off in a world that runs from honeypots to ceramic urns and pits undercover against undead.
  2. “BLACK SPOT” For centuries the Order of the Black Spot have been hunting and killing pirates, working outside of government and outside the law. Now the King, Queen, and Jack of Spades, the royal family ruling the order, have mysteriously turned to the FBI to give information about bringing down both the remaining pirate organizations of the world, and their own Order.
  3. “CRIME AND CHAOS” When the government becomes the problem, who can the people turn to? A mastermind thief, greedy con, addicted stage magician, reformed pacifist ex-assassin, gray hat hacker, and disillusioned counterfeiter form the ultimate crime league, with their only targets the corrupted forces who now control law and order.
  4. “PLAN Z” Dozens of corporations and more than a few terrorist groups have access to a weaponized virus that creates undead, and the governments of the world are endlessly dealing with breakouts and pandemics in a desperate bid to prevent the zombie apocalypse. When a zone is too hot for any human to be sent in, the trained, international, experimental squad of soldiers who are immune carries to the zombie virus are sent in as Plan Z.
  5. “GOTHIC JUSTICE” When Lady Penanggalan went to sleep in 1800, she expected her monstrous partners to wake her in a century, as agreed. Now it’s 2017, and she’s discovered not only did the other Gothic Scions betray her, most have turned to run organized crime. She is pissed, and ready to work with human law if that’s what it takes to gain her revenge. But the most powerful of those scions, the dreaded Akephaloi or “Headless Man” knows more about Lady Pen’s sleep and why her allies betrayed her than she could ever guess.

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Top 10 Signs Your Game Group is Looking Forward to Starfinder!

  1. The players all suggest maybe they can add just a few very modest adjustments to the current Pathfinder game. Like allowing androids, lashunta, and ratfolk PCs. And playing Iron Gods. And adding psychic powers. And lasers. And a spaceship.
  2. Mondays and Fridays now include a “blog break” to look for more previews on paizo.com. And to debate what alignment each of the newly-revealed gods is most likely to e, since THAT is a great use of everyone’s time!
  3. The Star Wars vs Star Trek debate has morphed into which one has MORE fantasy elements, since Star Wars has laser swords and space wizards, but Star Trek has multiple pantheons of actual gods, half-elves, and bat’leths.
  4. The wizard tapes his wand of lightning bolt to the top of a flintlock, and insists on calling it a “blaster.”
  5. Any NPC that threatens a PC is told he can’t take the sky from them. No further explanation is forthcoming.
  6. The miniature-focused members of the group are gluing plasma cannons onto lizardfolk, Hellknights, and dragons. … Especially dragon.
  7. There’s a lot of talk of running. In shadows. And the Emperor. Or Heresy. Or both.
  8. Everyone picks up a repeating crossbow, and the ranger and magus work together to invent “hollow point” quarrels.
  9. Your friends are part of why the first offerings of Starfinder games at Gen Con sold out in 30 minutes.
  10. The inquisitor wants to know if studying mass combat in the Dragon Empires allows him to add “Han” as a descriptor for a class features, and then begins referring to “Han Solo Tactics.”

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I’m not saying funding my patreon will get you more Starfinder previews… because it won’t, it totally won’t.