RPG Blog Carnival: Weapons of Legend: Ahab’s Crosshairs

The Logo of the RPG Blog Carnival.Hi! I’m Canageek’s girlfriend DialMforMara. I write for the I Like Homestuck Project on Tumblr; this entry in the RPG Blog Carnival is an adaptation of a post that will appear there next Saturday, on the theme of Legendary Weapons. Come check us out if you’re interested in Homestuck, or just want to find out what all the fuss is about. Warning: spoilers abound.


Ahab’s Crosshairs is a powerful laser rifle from the webcomic Homestuck. It was created by the trolls of Alternia and used by the Orphaner Dualscar, a notorious highblood (noble) pirate. Centuries after the Orphaner’s death, it was found in the wreckage of his ship by his aristocratic descendant Eridan Ampora, who used it to murder countless lowbloods (commoners) and their animal guardians, as was his birthright. When Eridan left Alternia to play the universe-building game SGRUB, he took Ahab’s Crosshairs with him and used it on anything that stood in his way, up to and including the angels that inhabited his base planet, which took at least a minute of sustained fire to kill (possibly because he wasn’t supposed to kill them, as other players point out. [Canageek’s note: Sounds like a player character me me])
whale 1whale 2

The strength of Ahab’s Crosshairs may vary with its wielder’s belief that it works. The structure of SGRUB (and the human version, SBURB) gives each player powers based on the role the game has assigned them. Eridan is a Prince of Hope, which to make a long story short means that he uses belief in destructive ways–like, maybe, to power his weapons. Other Homestuck characters don’t think Ahab’s Crosshairs is nearly so powerful: SBURB player Jade Harley, who has extensive experience with rifles, takes one look at the gun and calls it a “legendary piece of shit.” She can’t believe it’s as powerful as Eridan claims it is. And maybe, for her, it isn’t.Screenshot 2015-07-25 14.47.44

Adding belief-based weaponry like the Crosshairs to a campaign opens up a couple of interesting mechanics. A DM can track which player characters believe the legends about a weapon, and then make the weapon more powerful for them–or less powerful for those who don’t believe. Dividing up loot becomes much easier if half your players believe some of it is worthless. They open up new narrative possibilities as well: a quest-giving NPC can hype up a belief-based weapon to make it stronger and worth more, or downplay its importance to trick the players into handing it over, or even claim they have a defense against it, to make the players think it won’t work on them. Belief-based legendary weapons give their players exciting new ways to mess with their players.

RPG Blog Carnival: Weapons of Legend: Gretzky’s Staff

The Logo of the RPG Blog Carnival.When Gretzky was a child his parents discovered that he had a natural aptitude for magic that often manifested in destructive ways. To avoid having their chesterfield lit on fire (again) they enrolled him in a magic academy. As the years went by, he learned that while he loved magic, he had little in common with his fellow classmates who tended to be bookish and nonathletic. While of reasonable intelligence, Gretzky preferred more athletic and violent pursuits in his spare time, often enrolling in the extracurricular activities of the fighters’ school across town. His favourite sport was hockey, for its combination of speed, skill and violence.

When it was time to craft his staff, he refused a traditional oaken or ebony rod, instead using a hockey stick that he had outgrown. He kept this staff for many years, and added to its original enchantments over time. In addition to storing several spells and the traditional enchantments for durability he placed an unusual level of enchantment on it enhancing its melee combat ability, figuring that few people expected a wizard to run up and cross-check them. At one point he even added a flaming enchantment more commonly found on warriors swords to the stick’s blade. One enchantment he did not place on the staff is cold resistance; it was commonly thought that the staff bore such a dweomer due to Gretzky’s habit of going coatless in the winter. This habit came from Gretzky’s growing up in the north and simply being much more used to cold then the natives of the southerly region he eventually built his abode in.

While Gretzky’s Staff is usually thought to be a single item, usually as described above, over the course of his career he made a number of staves as he grew more skilled, or as he needed sets of spells or protections for specific tasks. This has confused descriptions of the staff and its powers over the years, as his later ones were often made from full-length hockey sticks, rather then the child’s stick he used originally.

This is a post for this month’s RPG Blog Carnival, hosted at of Dice and Dragons. I’m not a rules guy so I’m not going to try and stat this up. I got the idea as I am thinking of running a play-by-post game in an X-Crawl-like world. I know, I know, I’m finally giving the setting I’ve been talking about since the start of the blog a try. I’m  hoping not to let this blog sit idle for years and years this time. Anyway, until next time, stay geeky.


Have some true cyberpunk

A while back I ranted about punk and how it should be darker and more nihilistic, but didn’t really give any modern examples of the genre. Well, here you go. Some nudity, drugs, totally not depressing, dark and horrible. Trigger warnings? Lets just go with ‘all of them’.

Well, how was that? Get what I’m saying now? Remember: High tech, low life or your genre’s equivalent.

Until I find some more things worth saying or sharing, Stay Geeky and burn the world.

Published in: on September 23, 2013 at 8:43 am  Comments (7)  
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I’m going to start this post off with a disclaimer: This is about a roleplaying setting, and I do not categorically endorse real world violent rebellion against the police. This would generally be a bad idea and get you arrested, and there are probably a small number of bad apples giving the rest of the police a bad name.

Right, now, take all that real world restraint and lock it away. Put on some angry music; punk would be best, but anything will work; some old NWA (911 is a Joke, for example) would also work if you are into rap, or Hammers in my Head by A Miracle of Sound if you want something more modern, if a bit less angry then would be ideal.

You’ve got your music on? Good, now lets do some inspirational reading. Lets start with something I got off Reddit’s News of the Weird. Now look up some things on Adam Nobody. Heck, just go on youtube and watch police brutality videos for a bit. Then imagine this was Standard Operating Procedure; if you have trouble with this Transmetropolitan is a great comic series. Now take all of these bad, horrible things and turn them up to 11, at least in the cities; place a Bradburian dystopia in the suburbs. Now that we’ve set the stage, I give you:

Occupypunk, (Alternate Title: Yippiepunk)

They killed my Charlotte. Sweet innocent girl, just trying to make the world a better place, protesting and going to sit-ins and crap. Then the pigs beat her to death, and left me for dead. Too bad for them I didn’t die, and remembered their faces. I waited outside police stations for days, waited until I saw one I recognized, followed him home, out to the nice, safe, surveillance-free suburbs. Then I beat him to death, just like he did my Charlotte. The next one I just shot; after the first they were more careful. I had to get help with the next few; they knew my face by then, but luckily with all the shootings and beatings the pigs do, it wasn’t hard to find help. Once the government let them off their leashes, they’ve been running rampant, and there are a lot of people who’ve lost loved ones, limbs, friends, and bedmates to them. Only deal I had to promise them was that once we finish the ones who killed Charlotte, I’d help them with the ones who hurt them. You know, if I’m still alive. It isn’t like pighunting is conductive to a long and healthy life. One day they’ll catch me, like they caught Joe. Sent an entire SWAT team after him. Too bad for them someone got word to Joe that they were coming, and he had time to take so many uppers and dreck that he forgot how to die, for a little while anyway. Jumped them with a couple hatchets. They had to take him and a whole buncha the cops out in a bag, cus they couldn’t figure out what bits belonged to who. They’ll never get the blood out of that apartment, I live there now. Rent is really cheap, and the splatter is kinda artistic, if you’re into that kinda thing. Anyway, I don’t expect to have a long life, but hell, the courts ain’t administering justice, so someone has to.

I can’t think of much to add to this: It is probably the most straightforward of my settings, just channelling that helpless rage we feel when we watch the news these days into something constructive. Also, ripping off part of Steal This Book.

Anyway, I have some ideas on how you could do this setting in a game, to reward self-destructive punk gameplay. I’ll try and write them up later, until then, stay geeky.


Edit: I forgot to link the original RPG.net thread.


Over on RPG.net there is a very inserting thread about ideas for -punk settings. Now, punk in this context is descended both from the musical/social movement, and cyberpunk. Steampunk also, but only true steampunk, none of that atheistic top-hat foppery. Therefore it should be dark, gritty, ugly, and the characters should be self-destructive and nihilistic. Not something I’d like to play in or even read, but great fun to muse about and design.

wapa created a setting called Anebellumpunk:

In the South they’re breedin’ men like they was animals. Worse than animals; they’re treatin’ them like they was tools – breedin’ them up, strappin’ them into moulds and feedin’ them up on quack formulae from birth so you’d barely know they was men, and what them rich folk are doin’ to their own kids only looks prettier on the outside. North ain’t much better – they’re fixin’ to replace men with clocks and steam engines, where they ain’t just ruled by ’em. Ain’t none of it Godly. But some folk, decent, churchgoing folk are out to abolish all that in the name of the Lord – and in the meantime just get on by. We’re all God’s children, whether we got a clock for a heart or grown eight times the proper size, and God’s children gotta look out for each other.

I like the idea, but thought it was too clean and optimistic, and thus I created Abolitionpunk:

A man can only see so much, you know? For me, I broke when I saw an innocent young, slip of a girl being torn apart by dogs. I just couldn’t take it anymore. So I set the dogs on her asshole of a master, and shot the overseers. Then me an’ some buddies, and a couple of the now-free slaves armed up, and decided to take out all the goddamn slavers in one go. We waited till Sunday, rolled a big carriage up to the doors of the church, then burned all them bastards inside, womenfolk and all. Not like they don’t order slaves beaten even more then the men. Then we headed out of town, pointing the way north to the slaves, and taking off before the army shows up. Now we live like bandits, killing and murdering slavers all across the south, staying one step ahead of the law. Sure, they’ll catch us eventually, but damn if we haven’t brought justice to a hell of a lot of bad, bad men on our way. Sides, you ever seen one of those big plantation houses burn down? Its a pretty, pretty sight. Even better when we get our hands on some dynamite and can blow it up.

Yeah, that would be a hell of a dark campaign. Characters would include abolitionists sick of a lack of action, washed up cowboys, defrocked priests, brutal norther agents, ex-slaves and so on.

Next time I’ll show you my even more violent setting: Occupypunk. Until then, Stay Geeky

Edit: Kris Newton, (@FeedRPG on twitter) liked my concept enough to create a spin off of it, adding vampires, and making it even darker (YouTube). I wouldn’t necessarily play in that game, but it is a really cool take on it and I encourage people to check it out.

A Tangential Universe

The universe is composed of many dimensions. The simplest view of these is as cables in a bundle. At the centre of the bundle is baseline, (0,0), the parties’s home. Each universe out from that diverges slightly at some point in the past.

First come historical changes: Japan invades Russia during WWII, preventing them from using Siberian troops against the Germans; WWII never happens as Hitler died in 1929, The Roman Republic managed civic reforms that prevented it from becoming an Imperial state; China discovered America and gains access to its natural resources during the middle ages; The Egyptian Empire avoids cultural and technological stagnation and still stands in the 22nd century. In a cable this is the thin strands of copper at the center.

Further out from that in the bundle metaphor lie worlds that diverged far enough back in time so as to have biological changes: Empires of Cat-people, dog-people, Civilizations of dolphins, lands where dinosaurs roam the earth. While there are many more of these dimensions then there are of the Historical dimensions there is much less known about them due to the fact they have been far less heavily explored.  This would be the strands of rubber insulation around the copper.

Then you have the rubber coating of the cable: These are realms where things diverged back when the solar system or universe was forming. Earths locked in ice ages; earths backing in the sun; earths with CO2 atmospheres and whatnot all exist here. Very little is known about this region as exploring it is very dangerous for obvious reasons.

Beyond that lies Terra Incognita, the land unknown. This is the strange region that no one really understands. Almost no travellers have returned from here, and those that do report wildly varying laws of physics, worlds full of magic, worlds with psionic and stranger things. Most expeditions to this region have not returned, and it is thought this is because they traveled into areas in which dimensional travelling technology does not work, or areas where the laws of physics do not support the existence of human life. This is normally described as the area beyond the cable.

This is the basic outline of the universe my next campaign will take place in. I’ve given some of the ideas I am working off of before, but what with running this campaign very soon I thought it would help with the adventure to set things down on digital paper. I will freely admit that most of this is taken directly from Tangents, which is the backdrop of my campaign, but with my own ideas mixed in. I’ve started out with tangents as the base, which I’ve posted a summary of below, and then will spend latter posts documenting my divergence from this idea, including  the problems with the cable model, the fuzzy nature of individual strands, tears in the universe and how to travel using them and what the Z-coordinate means.

Until Next TIme, Stay Geeky


Update on my online summer game

So as you may have guessed from my review of Dungeonslayers, I will not be running a game of it this summer. I’ve gotten into a GURPS game on Wednesdays, but well, I have weekends free. However, I forgot how much 1.5 hours in transit and 8 hours of work a day took out of you, even if you have free time, so I’m going to have to limit what and when I’m capable of running.

1) I have been looking at what system to use. So far I’ve looked at FUDGE, ‘Warrior, Rogue & Mage’ and both Red Box Hack and Old School Hack. None of them have seemed to be quite what I am looking for, though I would like to place some FATE & FUDGE. The current front runner for my summer game is GORE. GORE was designed to be an eldrich horror game, in the sprite of another game I play a lot. However, it uses a more D&D like magic system and is freely available, so I think with some house rules it could make a good, if high danger, dungeon crawling game. Additionally, it is simple enough that I think I could convert old D&D monsters to it- Since it is % based I could just make a D&D character of the appropriate level and see what that monsters chance to hit would be, then use that.

2) I’m still interested in the following ideas from my planning post– I’m having less energy after work then I thought, so some of them are not as feasible. Basically I don’t know if I have the energy to run the Dimensional Hopper game and Tangents is definitely out- I don’t have the energy for the planning either of these would take. I’m also less sure of the Megandungeon based ones until I get my feet under me- I’m thinking I could start a standard game with smaller dungeons, and if it goes well move it into a megadungeon. On the plus side, if we use GORE then we could include guns in the X-Crawl based settings if we wanted.

I know what times I can do this at now: Friday night post 7pm, any time Saturday, or Sunday night, ending no later then 9pm, all Pacific Time. I don’t get hope from work until 6 most days, later on many, and that leaves me just enough time to shop, eat and relax a bit before I have to go to bed.  This allows me to move things along a bit, as I have narrowed down the times to the point I feel fine taking applications to join in and suggestions on what to run.

3) I think Google Wave, Maptools, IRC or similar is more my speed right now. I don’t have a webcam or a decent mic, so yeah, voice seems like a bad choice.

So yeah, there are my current plans for an online game. I’m willing to look at other free gaming systems, and if I do use GORE it will be with some houserules (Probably more skills, might use pointbuy. It has rules for gaining HP already, but I will have to look at the system more. I also might tack on a simple XP system, as ‘when you finish the adventure’ doesn’t work in megadungeons.

So, is anyone interested in playing? Leave a comment! Ask questions! Please!


Ideas for my online game

As you all probably know, I am planning on running an online game this summer. I am not officially recruiting yet, as I am unsure of my schedule once I start my job, and that seems like an important thing to know. However, I love writing out game ideas, so I thought I would set some down here.

Idea #1: “XSlayers” (Ie Dungeonslayers meets X-Crawl) I’ve blogged about this one a lot before, specifically when I first mentioned my summer game. To recap: The players are sports starts who descend into short, premade dungeons before a live and televised audience. A Master of Ceremonies runs the show,  providing live commentary, flavour and possibly altering the dungeon as the players move through it.

Idea #2: “Megaslayers” This is very similar to idea #1, except that the players move through a large megadungeon. A megadungeon is one of those giant, many levelled complexes with perhaps hundreds of rooms in it, where the players will never truly “clear” it: New monsters will move in, old ones will leave, and monsters may well migrate as the players kill others and create vacuums within the dungeon. This is set in the same world as number 1, but instead of being a short sports event this is a weekly show. Players still are in a modern setting, but instead of being in a small dungeon 1-page dungeon style affair they are in a long megadungeon, and thus can play monsters off against one another, retreat to the surface, will have to rest in the dungeon and conserve resources.

Idea #3: “XSlayers Classic”  This would be like idea #1 except that instead of going through an adaptation of a one-page dungeon or something short that I cook up the part will go through an adaption of a classic adventure. Probably an old TSR adventure, but I can take suggestions provided players promise not to use out of game knowledge to their advantage. This could very well branch into “Megaslayers Classic” if a longer adventure like the Temple of Elemental Evil is chosen to.

Idea #4: Straight up Dungeonslayers: If the modern-reality TV dungeon idea is not popular then I could go with running a traditonal fantasy version of Dungeonslayers.

Idea #5: “Dungeonslayers Classic”: If people like the idea of mixing Dungeonslayers and classic D&D adventures, but do not like the idea of the modern-dungeon crawling then I could do that to.

Idea #6: “Megadungeonslayers” Again, Megadungeon+Dungeonslayers but no modern.

Idea #7: Dimensional Hoppers: Another idea that I have blogged about before, this game would involve the players travelling across dimensions in search of a way home. Each dimension will be part of a slightly different genre and tech level for a highly episodic feel, but with (hopefully) continuing characters. I would be using a variant BRP system.

Idea #8: Dungeonworld/The Sargasso of Dungeons: Really I can’t think of much to add to this, except that I’d probably use Dungeonslayers, or if I can’t get support for that something like Warrior, Rouge & Mage or a retroclone. This one could be modern, fantasy or some combination of the above.

Idea #9: Tangents. I recently found the Tangents book for Alternity and discovered that it has a really cool adventure series in it. I would be willing to run this with the caveat that players either have to make their own characters or use a premade one from the adventure, as I don’t have enough experience to help them with it as I do the other systems.

I think I’m the most interested in running #1,#3 and #7, followed by #4, #5, #8 and #9, but if I get a bunch of enthusiastic players for any of them I think I’d catch the enthusiasm myself pretty quickly. Also it should be noted that while I listed a bunch of megadungeon ideas they all rated pretty low on my list: This is likely because I’ve not run enough dungeons yet to create a good atmosphere in most of them, and have them react organically to events in the dungeon. The Sargasso would be an inherently random place, so I think it might work more easily… That isn’t to say I wouldn’t try, which is why I listed them. Ideas which I really like, but am unsure I could run, like this idea I have for a game set on a Spacehulk/Sargasso of Death setting I haven’t listed, as I am sure I could run it, but can’t think of a system I am comfortable enough with and that has enough creatures for me to stock it with.

So, does anyone have any feedback on these ideas? Would anyone be interested in playing in one of them? Questions on bits of the setting that seem unclear? Just want more details on one or more of them? Please leave a comment!

Until then, or next time, Stay Geeky!


Blog Recommendation: From the Sorcerer’s Skull

I planned to write this post months and months ago, however universities came along and tackled me, held me down and beat me with knowledge and group projects. On the plus side I now have a totally awesome summer job (nuclear chemistry, including monitoring radiation levels reaching the west coast from Japan), an undergraduate thesis position for next year (NMR studies on protein-small molecule interactions), a working knowledge of polymer chemistry, some useful tidbits about analytical chemistry and some interesting tidbits about physical chemistry and some really useful lab experience.

However, I did not set pen to paper (or bits to memory) to bore you about my academic studies! I came to recommend unto you a most awesome blog: From The Sorcerer’s Skull.

The single best thing about this blog is the amazing setting known as The City and its Strange New
. It is really hard to describe what the city is, and no one post really describes it very well as it has mutated and evolved since the first post on it. I think I shall describe it as thus: Take a large amount of well aged noir, the good stuff with lots of hard shadows and harder men and blend that into a homogeneous mixture with a slight excess of pulp action. Add just a touch of steampunk, the origional politically motivated stuff, not the off-brand ‘aesthetics only’  lite dreck. Now mix this all heavily with traditional D&D tropes as a binder to give it structure, and ice with mythology and nonfiction as desired. Add nuggets of horror and sprinkle liberally with weird fiction. Enjoy. Here are some early example posts: Weird Weapons, Weird War; This post shows the much more modern technological level of The City and a lot of the weird adventure. Dungeon, American Style: City Lost, Canyon Grand has an interesting take on the Grand Canyon, which in the world of the City is filled with monsters. Oh, did I forget to mention that The City’s geography mirrors our own in many ways? Except sprinkled with the fantastic, and often is closer to how people several hundred years ago thought the world was like, not how it actually is. For this reason I strongly suspect that the world of The City is hollow, though I don’t think this has been stated yet.

There are also other sections of the blog: An old setting from before The City, Warlord Wednesdays which talk about an old comic (I will admit to skipping those ones), and a number of other posts on various and interesting topics. Which brings us to the next most impressive part after Trey’s creativity: The sheer number of posts he churns out. I mean, often over 25 posts per month! Almost one a day! It is nuts. I can sometimes manage one a week, but Trey? Trey is a machine! A creative, good post writing machine!

My final point is less tangible: Trey seems like a nice guy. When I posted about my friend who was having some trouble, he and a couple of other readers went and offered her best wishes, and I know he posted at least once after that. From what I can tell she is doing a fair bit better now, though things are still very rocky, and I really appreciate him doing that. Anyway, why are you still here? From The Sorcerer’s Skull is about a thosand times better then my blog! Go read that!

And until next time, Stay Geeky!


My New Campagin: Modern Dungeon Crawling with Dungeonslayers

I’ve been thinking of running an online game of Dungeonslayers this summer if I can find enough interested players. I’m going to start putting more work into this once I am done exams (end of the week), but am starting to put thought into it during my study breaks.

I’ve been a fan of modern dungeon crawling ideas since I heard about XCrawl, though I was reasonably disappointed in the book and setting when I read them (Great ideas, poor implementation –though latter books improved it a fair bit) and have done some writing on the topic.

I was looking at the dungeons posted and was thinking that it might be fun to mix things up by adding in a modern twist.

I’ve started writing up a bit of background. I’ve used some ideas from X-Crawl, some of my own and random bits from a couple of other places.

Gladiatorial matches have long been a staple of the Empire. For years gladiatorial matches have been popular on television. Recently a small arena owner, bored of traditional events set up an obstacle course filled with lethal traps and several monsters in mini-arenas. The event was huge, and the sport of Dungeonslayers was born. The mazes quickly evolved into full blown dungeons, more monsters were added, each slayer has dozens of statistics tabulated and compiled after each dungeon and managers, bookies and fans pay pour over these numbers. Slayers start in simple dungeons made of plywood, scrap metal and concrete slaying rats and spiders, and if they live eventually face demons and dragons in recreation dungeons in front of live audiences of half a million. Guns are not allowed in the dungeons as it makes it far to hard to have a live audience, but a fair amount of other things are allowed.

Dungeons would be similar to normal, but the traps may use modern mechanisms and there is of course live commentary and occasional anachronisms. Guns are not allowed in dungeons as it makes it too hard to have live audiences. I am also thinking that a a late 80s-early 90s level of technology would work quite well- TV is big, possibly some BBSes, but less gadgets and whatnot for players to want me to rule on, while at the same time being familiar enough to me to be comfortable with it. Magic replaces technology in some instances, however due to black boxing no one really cares about which is which.

Any suggestions on using Dungeonslayers for this? Ideas for me to put in my dungeons? What about converting traditional fantasy dungeons to have a live-sports feel? Heck, would anyone be interested in playing? I’ve not worked out times or medium or whatnot yet, but I can start work on that once I have preliminary expressions of interest.

Well, sorry for the long gap between posts, school distracted me for a while. I’ll try to post more regularly after exams. I’ve got my first ever blog recommendation coming up, which I meant to write up oh, a few months ago and got busy. Anyway, until next time, Stay Geeky.