Wednesday, June 08, 2016

Realizations...

Okay... This is going to be written a little off the cuff, but that's how I typically do things anyway.

First, this is about game stuff, so if you're looking for life/music/anything else, feel free to move on.

Second, this came about from a conversation that I had with my love wife, MrsGopher, with me lamenting about some things. The spouse stated that she misses me working on something creative, and the passion that I pour into something when I am excited, but she also stated something that I have long known, but never really admitted to myself until the last few days...

I am not a setting guy in regard to creation. I have ideas, and love to try to flesh them out, but I always get stuck on some facet of the setting that is not quite how I want it. Then when I attempt to refine that facet, it all seems to go invariably awry, and I lose interest in the project. I can create very limited settings, as long as the scope is small. The players and their most immediate surroundings. Trying to do anything larger just doesn't work with me.

No... not a setting guy. What I am is a system tinkerer with a more than fair ability to meld cool ideas to game mechanics. Be it making something work for an existing game, or coming up with new game systems whole-cloth to make the idea flow right... that... that I can do.

So, if you have a setting you need help "mechanizing" that isn't High Fantasy or Hard Science-Fiction, hit me up. I'm most comfortable using Savage Worlds and HERO System, but I can also create full game engines from aether to fit ideas if wanted. =)

peace... GopherDave

Tuesday, May 17, 2016

Thursday, March 24, 2016

Back to the Capes...

One of my frequent (and frequently broken) new years' resolutions is to become a published author in the medium of pen-and-paper RPGs. I've started a myriad of projects with the intent of finishing, and I never do. This year is no different.

After blowing up all the games I was running (though I hope to revisit one sometime soon), I started running a number of Savage Worlds campaigns (I'm up to three now) for various reasons over the last couple of months. In those three games I am visiting Modern-Day Horror, Post-Apocalyptic Horror, and Science-Fiction. The itch I am not scratching is my love of the Superhero genre.

I adore the modern myths of superhero comics, and the current media flood of genre movies and television just has me giddy. I am truly digging all the movies and TV shows coming down the pipe (though I am miffed that I have to wait until 2019 for an Inhumans movie). In regard to RPGs, if I am offered the chance to play a game, and have to choose between D&D, Shadowrun, or *ANY* superhero themed game, I'm running for the capes and cowls. I have acquired (and sold) at least three collections of comic books in my lifetime. In fact I am currently building another small comic collection that I may have to tone down due to lack of storage space in our current house (the comics have to compete with two other sizable collections (RPG books/Board Games and music CDs)).

Back to the games... Like stated above, I am not currently scratching my superhero itch. Typically, when I run a game in that genre, I reach for Champions/HERO System. It simulates the genre better than anything else on the market. The last two editions of the game, however, are not newbie-friendly, and the books for the 6th Edition (the latest) are thick enough to scare off most veteran gamers. Also, as much as I like Champions, running a game of it can be *VERY* prep-intensive with regard to time involved. I had that time when I was younger, but no longer in my later adult life. The Hero Designer software helps, but not by as much as it really needs to at this point in life. This lack of "prep time" is the main reason why I am running three "canned" (read, pre-written) campaigns in Savage Worlds. The work is pretty much done, and doing anything else I might need on the fly is ridiculously easy.

So, I set aside my stock "National Guard" background for Champions, and began to think about writing another superhero background, one that doesn't have 20+ years of history and baggage. As I jot down ideas for this setting, I began to think about what game system I would run campaigns of it in. I was trying to avoid Savage Worlds, as I am already running three games in that system. However, as I write things down for the "Shiftverse", I figure I might as well embrace the system for a fourth game.

Hence, I am writing and creating this current project as a Plot Point campaign for Savage Worlds... and ICONS... and SUPERS... and possibly a couple of other systems... if I can get the licenses for them. I currently have about four whole pages of notes written, with the basic structure planned out. I have started filling in small gaps as time and creativity allow. I have gotten in touch with a graphic designer/artist friend with regard to art and layout for the project. Things are very much in the preliminary stages with this,but I'm liking where it's going at the moment...

peace... GopherDave

Sunday, March 13, 2016

From the Journal of Rick Wallaby, Day 1...

Wednesday, August 19th

            When I woke up this morning, I was dreading today. The three-hour drive combined with move-in, and finally some lame freshman orientation thing this place called “Sweat Lodge” just did not seem like it had the makings for a good time. I mean, I’ve been to a couple of freshman orientations already. Don’t they count for something? Turns out that I was wrong.
            I was right that the drive sucked (too long). Plus, move-in sucked. It didn’t take that long as Dad made me leave a LOT of stuff at home. Important stuff like my gaming laptop, my movie collection, and anything he called “a distraction”. I mean, I understand where he’s coming from, but jeez. I’m an adult. I can handle it. Sort of.
            Anyway, near the end of my moving in, I met my roommate, Jason. Jason’s a great guy. He’s really smart and he didn’t tell me to “fuck off” with the first hour. We’re going to be the best of friends!
            Once we got settled in, and got an idea of where we were supposed to go, we head over for the “Sweat Lodge”. I was expecting this to be some mind-numbingly boring thing, and the first part of it was. Droning on and on, some old fart sang us a bad fight song, and I was sure that I would not leave there with my sanity intact. Turns out, I almost didn’t leave with my life! It was great!
            Once the droning ceased, we were all directed to rooms in small groups where we to get a “sage advice” from a senior here. Ours was some cool dude named Robby. Well, he started out cool, but then turned lame once he offered up his “advice”. Of all the things he could have told us, what was the one thing he stressed most? “Be a zebra”. I shit you not. Be a fucking zebra. Really? Five years of this place and that’s the best you got? We’re fucked.
            Speaking of we, I suppose I should talk about the other freshman in the room. First, there’s Jason, my roommate. Like I said before, he’s a great guy. He’s gotta work on his cardio, though. Next is Tommy. Tommy’s a dick! At first he seemed cool, acting like my friend and handing out advice on how to get girls. His advice sucks and he sucks, too! Next there’s Dylan. He’s here on a football scholarship or some such. He’s okay. Can’t fight worth a damn though. The one girl in the group is some chick named Mina. She’s hot. She’s also a soul crushing harpy. I’ll probably hang around her because, well, she’s hot. And boobs. Can’t forget boobs. Lastly are two are other guys named David and Stevie. David’s kind of squirrely, but he’s pre-med, and knows a bit about first aid, which is good because this group is going to need it! Stevie is a pretty basic dude. ROTC cadet. Kind of has a jarhead army mentality (be a zebra, anyone?), but he’s cool, and nice. Stevie’s also the only one who seemed to care after Mina shot me down hard while using Tommy’s shitty advice. If I haven’t said it already, Tommy’s a dick!
            Going back to the rest of the night, after the useless be a sheep-goat-mongoose-zebra-whothefuckcares piece of wisdom got handed to us, we heard noises from back upstairs that the band they had brought in started playing. They were okay for a local act. The university also sprung for free pizza from a local place called the “Pizza Barn”. Yeah, I don’t know what you folks were thinking there. I cook my pizza in an oven. Most barns don’t have ovens, last I checked. Business name fail.
            So I’m drowning my sorrow in some diluted rat piss they call punch and chewing on my third piece of sauced cardboard from this place when weird things start happening. First, some of the security guards got sick. REALLY SICK. Like, head for the toilet and don’t leave for three days type sick. Must’ve had the pizza. It was around now that Jason or Stevie, I’m not sure which, noticed that someone had painted on the walls with red paint. The folks in charge blamed it on senior pranks, and never seemed to care about it, taking it all in stride like this happens every year. Then my man, David, catches the eye of some other hot chick and takes off with her. SCORE! That’s when I tried to get to know Mina a little better only to find out that Tommy is not my friend and that I’m not sure I want to get to know Mina any better.
            So I’m sulking in the bathroom, and it turns out that David’s hot girl was a REALLY hot girl and tried to set him on fire. He said something about a ghost, but I wasn’t paying much attention. That was right about the time the red paint started setting the gym on fire. Everyone freaked out about that like they had never been in a fire before. It’s a big concrete building, we have time… besides, I noticed a bunch of fire extinguishers in another room downstairs. I was about to go get them when some dickhead security guy showed up and tazed me. Prick.
            I laid there for a bit, trying to get my head around me, when the others notice and get David. The pre-med thing is going to work out for him. Really. He gets me up on my feet and I’m stumbling around for a bit gathering my wits and trying to figure out what to do as all the other sheeple are freaking out over the fire that’s happening. I stumble downstairs to find Dylan and David fighting with the same dick security tool that tazed me earlier. Fucking zap me and attack my friends? I don’t think so Hillbilly Bob! I ran over there and clock the guy a good one, and this jackass goes and hits me again with the tazer. Son of a bitch! So after some more twitching, I get up with more help from David, and find my main man, Jason, just pepper spraying the hell out of that fool. Yeah! Take that, Rent-A-Flop!!!
            Then some other stuff happened that you’re just going to say was a side effect of the meds, Dr.Grafmeyer, so we’ll leave it at that. Oh yeah… We put out the damn fire. And I **TOTALLY** kicked that guy’s ass!!!


Best. Day. Ever.

the Birth of Rick Wallaby...

A few weeks back, I started running a Savage Worlds campaign for the East Texas University setting using the "Degrees of Horror" plot point campaign. It's a cool setting that is pretty much described as Buffy-Goes-To-College, but there's no "chosen one", and the stuff that happens at ETU is wierder.

During character creation, one of the players took the "Annoying Roommate" hinderance. Drawing a card on the appropriate table indicated that the source of the annoyance was said roommate's ADHD condition. I kind of ran with it from there. One order of annoying, highly distracted motormouth coming right up! Thus, Rick was born...

While we played the beginning of the first plot point for the game ("Sweat Lodge"), it turns out that Rick began to flesh himself out quite quickly. At the end of the night, I had determined that Rick was going to have a journal of sorts, kind of detailing the groups adventures from his point of view. The in-game reason for this journal is as an assignment from his therapist, which Rick sees twice-a-week in an effort to control his ADHD condition, instead of letting the condition control him. The first game ran long, so we had to pick up the rest of it two weeks later. That happened Saturday night...

A good time was had...

Friday, March 11, 2016

Five Month Check In...

Hmmm... Where to begin?

A lot has happened over the last five months, and most of it is not good, though some of it is pretty okay...

In a nutshell, and in no particular order...

  • A good friend (and chairman/coordinator of the local game convention) passed away about seven weeks before the most recent convention. The convention went on with a few hiccups, and looks like it will continue on for a bit as a number of folks figure out and pick up the work that this man did. I am not as involved as I would like due to all of us trying to avoid the apperance of a conflict of interest (My wife and I own a local game store, and there were problems in the past when a local store owner (not us) had a sizable finger in the convention set-up/management), but it looks like it will continue for at least a few more years...
  • My father has recently had a combination stroke/seizure that has left him unable to walk without a walker (and poorly at that) and has dampened his faculties to the point where he doesn't know where he is most of the time. This has caused some stress in the family as I see where this is going (my father moving into a nursing home equipped to deal with Alzheimer sufferers) and had had the temerity to voice this. My mother, nor my older brother like this concept, nor do they agree with me. For my brother, our father is his hero and my brother is having more than a difficult time coming to grips that the man he knows and loves is effectively no longer with us. My sibling is of the opinion that "dad will be fine once we get him home". My mother was of this opinion, as well... initially. The more she deals with the problem, the more she understands that her husband may never come home, or if he does, it won't be for long as he will require more care than she can give him. Normally, I take a bit of pride in being correct about many situations. This one? I honestly wish I am completely wrong and that my father makes a full recovery. Barring divine intervention, I don't see that happening...
  • I been told to lose pretty much half of myself in weight or die...
  • I've been diagnosed as "pre-diabetic", which is apparently a danger zone where one is not diabetic yet, but if they keep going down the path that they are on, they will be soon. As a result, I've been put on a low-carb diet that pretty much rules out anything I really like (pizza and Mexican food) in favor of yogurt, salad, vegetables, and meat. Okay... meat's not so bad...
  • My pacemaker, after having been confirmed as working in December of 2015, apparently died in January of 2016, so that has to be replaced...
  • My Feng Shui 2 game has been set aside due to rapid and frequent player turnover. Hard to run a serial game if characters and players change almost every session...
  • My Champions game has been placed on hiatus for a variation of the same reason. Six players... Three consistent... One bailed due to health (he contracted cancer). He's forgiven. Another insisted on staying in the game even though his employment was screwing around with him hard enough that his attendence was consistently *VERY* late, if at all... A third one showed up more often than not, but never could be bothered to actually show any real interest in the game... I know some of these players read this blog when I infrequently post, and if what I have typed here upsets you, I apologize to a certain extent, but realize that some of what was happening was also causing me some undue frustration.
  • I recently began a Deadlands: Hell on Earth Reloaded campaign (the Worms' Turn) that was going *REALLY* well for three runs... ...and then it wasn't. Part of it is my fault for the scenario of the evening, but part of it has to do with some of the rules (and my implementation of such, as written). That will get rectified soon...
  • I also began a game of East Texas Univeristy in order to fulfill a promise I had made to a few people to run them through it once my schedule cleared up. One run down, thus far, and it is mostly good. A couple of snags here and there, but overall not bad. I'm sort of waiting for session number four to see if the other shoe drops...
  • I will be starting a campaign of the Last Parsec (Eres Beta-V) this upcoming Sunday. We'll see how that goes as we have one player who has a dislike of Savage Worlds as a game system, but after a bit of badgering, he gave in and is willing to try..

On top of all of this, I still have the desire to run a superhero game. It just cannot be with my go-to game system for the genre (Hero System/Champions). As much as I love the system for superhero gaming, it requires far too much prep-time to be useful to me. I want to concentrate on story... not making NPCs. Unfortnately, I have a *DEEP* love of tactical combat for superhero games, and nothing does that better than Hero System. I don't really have time to create a system of my own, but I do want something that fits a few requirements...


  • Tactical combat...
  • A die-rolling mechanic that is related more to a bell curve rather than a single-die system that lends itself to a linear probability...
  • A character system that lends itself to comic-book tropes without feeling too cartoony...


The setting for this game will have to be all-new. I have a background that I have used for a number of games, and it is good and solid, but it also tends toward the darker side of the genre, and I am trying to break away from that. Thus, I am planning a new background/setting for this as yet unrealized superhero game. I have a few ideas in my head. I just have to put them on paper. Here goes nothing...

peace... GopherDave

Thursday, October 22, 2015

A Cry From The Dark...

Still alive... I haven't written much for the blog as I have not had a great deal of time to do so. I have noticed something, though. When I stop writing things here, I pretty much stop writing anything and my games suffer. As it stands, I am struggling with my creative juices with regard to both my Champions and my Feng Shui 2 games, but for some reason, my brain is trying to force another game out of me... sigh...

On top of that, Winter War is coming up and I have games to prep. I have one game sketch plotted, and the characters converted from the old edition of the rules to the new edition of the rules that came out earlier this year. The NPCs need to be put together and the plot needs to be fleshed out a bit for that one to be considered done. I have another game that doesn't even have a title, but the overarching plot for the series of eight is jotted down in note form. Both of the games I am discussing are the next installments in a couple of series that I ran last year. I'd like to do one more game, but I have no idea what that would be...

Beyond that, I've been running the store, listening to music, reading some comics, and trying to spend some time with my wife, kids and dogs...

Sleep is that thing that other people do...

peace... GopherDave