Why I’m not Supporting Contessa (But you can)

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Much fun has been had at the expense of some people choosing not to support Contessa, which is allegedly having problems filling its games, panels and so on this year (though the organiser has said this is not the case).

  • Online conventions face a lot of problems. People view the commitment to any kind of online gaming scenario with less seriousness than they do a physical meet up.
  • Technical issues, despite ubiquitous internet, webcam and microphone access, can throw everything off in an instant.
  • People drop in and out constantly.
  • Everything runs more slowly.

Contessa has some additional problems over and above other online cons in addition to this.

  • Games are played and recorded over hangouts and posted to Youtube.
  • The organisational and game-running parts of the event are explicitly exclusionary. Men are not permitted.

The video thing tweaks a lot of people’s sense of security and safety, inhibits RP (much as playing at cons can, but tenfold) and makes people very self conscious, especially of their appearance. I find it likely that SomethingAwful, YourDungeonIsSuck and others will succumb to the temptation of ‘video mining’ as they have forum mining, in an attempt to bully and ridicule people.

The second part here is what has put me off and has meant I won’t support the con. When the event was conceived this was my objection and it remains my objection. I would not tolerate or support an event where women, people of colour, LGBT or others were specifically excluded and so just as I cannot tolerate prejudice against those groups – in any form – nor can I tolerate prejudice against men.

You’re free to disagree, but my conscience and principles will not allow me to do so. I will not try to stop you attending, I will not try to ban or silence the event. I think Stacey (the organiser) is a great person and not your typical Social Justice Warrior type and I don’t think she did this with any malice. It’s just not something I will support. There’s no reason men’s expertise and opinions should be absent from a con about women in gaming any more than women’s voices should be absent in any other con. There’s no reason men can’t offer their perspectives on women’s contributions and no reason men can’t run games by women or for women.

If you want to attend, go right ahead, I won’t be.

That’s it! Quite why it’s such a horrible position to hold or so hard to grasp, I don’t know.

Outreach in a Deflating Market

Taken from a comment by Fred Hicks (Fricks?) posted on RPGnet, which I’m not going to link to, because RPGnet are wankers. That aside, I think he makes some good and bad points and Evil Hat are successful enough to be worth paying attention to, even considering their poor choice of forums to post on. It’s a forum post, so I’m not going to consider it ‘gospel’, just as a jumping off point for comment and consideration from my PoV.

So yeah, this’ll be a boring technical/gaming business post. Deal with it.

But why does the state of the RPG market at least seem poor? Lots of reasons.

I think the ‘seems’ part is important here. I don’t think the state of the market is poor, it’s just different. With so much shifting to electronic consumption and trading the true state of things is nearly invisible outside of the convention environment and that’s not so representative either when it comes to it. It’s an elite ‘alpha geek’ environment but it does put on show the sheer scale and breadth of material out there.

Retail stores are struggling. The shift to online shopping for specialty needs certainly plays into this. Without an easy ability to browse RPG product offerings, folks don’t necessarily get exposed to the options that are out there, so most RPG products get stuck at a small audience reach.

OK, I’ll say it. As far as our hobby is concerned, regular retail is on life support. Book shops are struggling as it is and their staff are terribly ill-informed about what to stock. Outside of D&D and – maybe – the Warhammer 40,000 RPGs you’re don’t see RPGs in book stores and they always understock the corebooks and overstock the supplements.

When it comes to hobby stores, they make more money from card games, board games, miniatures, supplies (like dice) than they do from RPGs which take up shelf space and don’t shift fast enough to be worth it. Only stores like Amazon can shift enough for it to be worth it, as well as a few legacy stores that managed to carve out a name for themselves and retain/gain a direct internet ordering business niche of their own. Leisuregames being the best example of that I can think of.

There’s more and better money in other things. We can do a few things to keep things going a while longer but I think we need to reconcile ourselves to the loss of RPG hobby stores and the loss of play spaces. Honestly, the second is probably the more important side.

Exposure to product is probably the bigger issue here. We have an advantage over the ebook market in that we’ve already gone through what they’re experiencing, a glut of crap, and the fall-back to a more sane position with some modicum of gatekeeping.

Speciality retail stores like game stores need to get very smart and very efficient about capturing their local-market dollars, and honestly RPGs aren’t particularly efficient ways of doing that. They require a lot of on-staff expertise to sell well, and given their price point and volume sold, developing that expertise is not necessarily a high return on investment. You can learn about the board game or card game offerings out there a lot faster, so those tend to get the attention. That’s why a lot of game stores have shrunk the floorspace and variety of their RPGs. They need RPGs that carry and communicate intrinsic value without putting a heavy burden on the staff to know each and every offering’s key selling features (which most RPG publishers don’t really know how to communicate; and those that do have a hard time getting those communications TO the retailers who’d care enough to read them).

Yep.

Steadily lowering barriers to publication (yay!) have supported an explosion of diversity in the hobby (double yay!). This is great! It also means that there are a LOT of options out there for a slowly shrinking audience, though. This is the fragmentation effect some folks have talked about in this thread. When you’ve got 6 great RP games and hundreds of thousands of geeks interested in them, that divides pretty attractively. When you’ve got hundreds of great RPGs, even if you still have hundreds of thousands of geeks out there interested in them (arguable), it divides a bit less attractively. This in particular can really contribute to the appearance of a poor market when instead it’s a very diverse market, way more varied than at any other point in the hobby. Those lowered barriers to publication also haven’t necessarily come with lowered barriers to distribution, so while you can get your game out really cheap and in small quantities today, the opportunities to take it beyond small quantities are a lot harder to come by.

Yep again.

We’re in a relatively golden age, made ‘better’ by the current absence of D&D. Last time that happened the gap in the market – and tapping into a resurgent goth subculture – helped White Wolf carve out a winning position. This time things are different. That space has not been occupied by a singular game explosion but – rather – a huge variety of independent games long on ideas and short on print runs.

This isn’t a bad thing, it’s a good thing. The problem is standing out, getting exposure, getting people playing and not having shelf or demo spaces is a problem. Having a vibrant, creative and experimental market isn’t.

The RPG market is ageing and isn’t doing much (at least not much that’s successful) to bring in new blood, in part because the old blood sneers at the validity of new blood vectors. It’s not a case of “we’ll teach the kids about the games the way we used to play them!” It’s a case of a lot of continuation to do things the way they used to be done instead of, I dunno, figuring out how to get folks who are big into fan fiction or reality TV or romance novels or [insert your topic of choice that folks don't think of as "gamer" or "geeky"] into the hobby.

Here I disagree. I used to think this way but recent experiences are changing my mind.

What I am noticing is that RPG gaming seems to be skipping a generation. It seems like people born in the 70s and 80s form the bulk of the traditional base, there’s a gap, and then there’s that older generation’s kids. Rather than rejecting their parent’s hobby a lot of them seem to be intrigued by it, interested in it and end up getting into it. There’s a strong presence of tweens and teens at the cons and events I’ve been to over the last few years and I find that very encouraging.

What that tells me is that exposure to enthusiastic gamers and the games themselves is the key (and possibly not being allowed to join in while too small, making it forbidden fruit). That’s probably the best outreach possible and that’s why the loss of play space, rather than stores is the bigger of the two concerns in my opinion.

Tribalism in an aging hobby hurts the hobby. The tent needs to be defined as a much bigger thing and there need to be many more ambassadors for the hobby who buy into the big-tent vision. A friend of mine likes to say that there are a ton of RPG fans out there who don’t know they’re fans yet. And he’s right. And we’re not talking to them. And we’re not making the hobby and its occupants un-scary to them. Nor are we always making it seem like the hobby is a potential home for folks who aren’t white dudes. All of this is a multi-facet problem that needs to get a lot of attention in the coming decade.

Enthusiasm, which is what fuels tribalism, is fine. It just needs to be about the RPG hobby (and we could have a massive argument about what an RPG even is) as a whole, rather than a particular game. At least when dealing with ‘outsiders’.

I think it’s naive to think there’s a huge number of people out there just waiting to become gamers. Mass media exposure for gaming has rarely been as high as it is at this point. Geek culture is acceptable in a way it wasn’t when we were growing up. Something that’s hard to grasp for a lot of old-timers. What we do have, though, is increased competition and more time/money pressure. People have a shitload of other entertainment options, many of which are more accessible, can be picked up and played, don’t need you to get friends together and so forth.

RPG gaming still has a lot to offer and strengths that other interactive entertainment lacks, but we need to acknowledge that it’s not for everyone and that there are barriers to getting into it.

Hobbyists are not scary and never really have been, sure there’s horror stories but there’s horror stories in everything. We dwell on them because we’re sensitive and scarred and because we want people to like the hobby.

The ‘white dudes’ comment is eye-rollingly irritating to see, as though it’s somehow inherently threatening or terrible to be such or that it should put anyone off. There are plenty of understandable reasons why the hobby is dominated by white dudes, just the same as – say – model trains are. They’re not anybody’s fault really, nor is it something to be ashamed of, you’re also going to have a very hard time appealing to the other demographic groups and racially diverse images in books and abrogating genre/historical conventions isn’t going to do it. The problems exist at a far more fundamental level than our hobby and aren’t going to be undone by well-meaning but naive and misguided social-justice types pissing off the existing audience by trying to shame them and tell them everything they like is bad.

There is a huge risk in diverting funds and attention from your core market to pursue others that you end up losing your core market. Attempts have been made in the past to reach out, even in a modest fashion to card gamers, board gamers and MMORPG gamers to no good effect. What it did succeed in doing was fracturing the existing fanbase, most obviously in the case of 4e D&D, leading to a rapid move to a new edition and no appreciable new gamers to the hobby.

There’s precious little money and man hours as it is to go around and one foolish venture could sink a company with the resources to try and lesser companies and individuals don’t have the resources even to try.

Should we try and expand our audience? Surely. At the cost of our ‘soul’ and appeal? No.

What’s the solution? I don’t really know but judging from what I see, the best way to get new gamers is to get them to take part in a game – at least once. The best way to do that is to have spaces in which games can take place and ways to introduce people to them. That takes us back to the breeding grounds of games in the past – schools, colleges and universities.

That, at least, is a start.

Review: GTA Online

GTA-Online

I already reviews GTAV, but it’s worth treating GTA Online as its own, separate entity. I’ll keep this brief though, since much of the commentary would be the same. The online version uses the same graphics, same setting, has the same living feel and buildings and so on.

The Good Things

  • You can create and customise your own character and even (le gasp!) play a girl.
  • You can customise and tune your vehicles (though this has a downside, see later).
  • People who are persistent shitheads become ‘bad sports’ and are banished to ‘bad sport’ servers.
  • There’s a huge amount of missions and almost as much fun to be had in the free-roaming section.
  • All the good things, minus the story praise, from the GTAV review.

The Bad Things

  • It is overflowing with shitheads. Even with the ‘bad sport’ system the chat is full of racist bullshit (though so far not sexist bullshit) homophobia and swearing. I was wary about playing online again and it’s not as bad as I expected, but it’s still pretty bad.
  • Aside from the voice chat idiocy there’s plenty of morons that screw the game up in other ways. Tank-trolls, glitch exploiters (huge amounts of free money, invulnerability, even invisibility a couple of times).
  • So. Many. Kids. I don’t mean teens, I mean… well, they sound really, really young. Should they even be playing this game?!? Not exactly easy to shock and pretty easygoing but wow…
  • The aforementioned glitches. A guy virtually ruined the game for me by throwing me 100 million dollars, unrequested. Rockstar support weren’t much help (they wanted evidence/screenshots which are hard to provide on a console).
  • People with bounties on them can hide in their apartments indefinitely, which ruins the point and is no fun.

Observations

  • Anyone spawning a tank in freeroaming is an idiot. Avoid.
  • Anyone with a pink gun is an idiot. Avoid.
  • Anyone whose car has a clown horn is an idiot. Avoid.
  • There’s always one motherfucker who thinks it’s funny to drive the wrong way around a race track crashing into everyone.

Conclusion

It’s still fun, but the exploiters are completely out of control and ruining the game for a lot of people. This should be the priority to fix, not new content. It’s still fun, and it’s free, and the idea of free-roaming plus instanced missions/races done in this way could be a good model for MMORPGs on a smaller, more intimate basis. Something people should consider IMO.

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Luck of the Draw

0176615_23929_MC_Tx360Is it gauche to love one’s own game?

I love IRREPRESSIBLE!

Specifically I love the system in it and I think it could be used for other things.

For those of you who don’t have the game (yet), here’s how it works.

The group has a pool of points represented by beads in a bag. One of these beads is black (a bad bead) and represents failure. If you draw the black bead you fail and the group gets a setback. Two black beads on the same task (you put it back in when you draw it) and you’re in serious trouble.

The Games Master sets a difficulty which is the number of beads that needs to be drawn. Your skill, traits etc reduce the number of beads you have to draw, but you always have to draw at least one.

It’s pretty simple and in IRREPRESSIBLE! you share a pool but the system has a lot going for it.

There’s tension when you draw beads from the bag. There’s dread when you see the black bead. It’s adaptable to different difficulties and has the dramatic draw of your luck – inevitably – running out.

flashgordonThere must be a way to use this in other ways, in other settings. Maybe each player could have their own bag and the system could be extended to incorporate more traditional elements like damage, magic and so on. If you wanted to complicate matters different coloured beads or chips could have different meanings. Spells and other effects could add or take away beads. A communal pool could be drawn upon – or not, an optional addition from earned deeds.

There’s lots of possibilities to this way of doing things that preserves chance but also feeds narrative, a diceless game with the heart of a dice game.

It bears thinking about for future projects.

Lupus Phallus Redux

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While I work on a reply to the Wired article, this may as well have another airing.

Growling and whimpering the deformed beast makes its way – very delicately – towards you, as though it were treading upon broken glass. It’s lips are drawn back in a snarl of pain and frustration and its eyes burn with… insane lust?

Lupus Phallus Level 3 Lurker
Medium Natural Magical Beast
Initiative +6
Senses: Perception +8, Low-light vision
HP 38; Bloodied 19
AC 17, Fortitude 17, Reflexes 15, Will 15
Speed 3
Bite +8 (Standard, At-will)
1d6+4, 2d6+4 against a prone target.

Trip +8 (Standard, recharge 5,6)
1d6+4 damage, +6 Vs Reflexes or target is knocked prone.

Infuriate (Standard, recharge 6)
Close blast 6; +6 Vs Will. Anyone affected attacks the Lupus Phallus with a -2 penalty to hit and a +2 bonus to damage doing so. Attacking any other enemy retains the -2 penalty to hit but not the bonus to damage.

Surprise Sex (Standard, Encounter)
1d6+4 damage, can only be used against prone targets at +6 Vs Fortitude. Affected targets are unable to act while engaged by the Lupus Phallus and the attack automatically continues on the following turn and every turn after that until it fails.

Alignment: Unaligned

Ability Scores
Str 14 +4 Dex 15 +4 Wis 14 +4
Con 14 +4 Int 2 -2 Cha 10 +2

The Lupus Phallus – also known as the ‘dickwolf’ in the vulgar common tongue – is a creation of magic and not a natural beast at all. It is created using complex transformation magics upon the still developing pups within the belly of a normal female wolf changing them into these strange and pitiable creatures with a phallus for every limb.

Why anyone would initially want to create such a beast is unsettling to speculate about but they have come to serve a purpose in humiliating and disciplining slaves, prisoners and criminals in the mines, dungeons and stocks of lands and settlements that have access to powerful magic and which aren’t so concerned with matters of ‘good’.

The origin of the Lupus Phallus is lost to time immemorial but was first documented in the apocrypha of Onestrum Fiddler, the notorious ‘blue’ mage in the third age. The less permissive fourth age of the world has made things difficult for practitioners of blue magic, limiting their works to the more obscure corners of the published world but, during the third age it briefly flowered into serious academic debate and record and it is here, in these now-forgotten tomes that we find them first described.

The Lupus Phallus is the target of a great deal of hate and resentment, especially from those who have suffered its sticky attentions but the beast is actually as much a pitiable victim as anyone who has had to endure its lusty advances.

When a Lupus Phallus is born it cannot walk. It’s loose and floppy limbs are more like useless, uncontrollable tentacles. Each Lupus Phallus must be hand-reared until they hit adolescence and it is only then that they can – gingerly – make their way slowly around on their limbs. Even after this point they are unable to hunt and must, instead, be fed. It is also at this time that their trademark behaviour of trying to mount anything and everything kicks in and their trainers must harshly discipline them so that they only try it on that which they are supposed to.

The results may be unpleasant, but the Lupus Phallus is only acting on its natural instincts. An unfixed male puppy or dog with the loveliest temprement will still try to hump someone’s leg due to sexual frustration. Imagine that puppy with not one, but five phalloi, pumping hormones and reacting to the slightest daydream or pleasant sensation with powerful urges. The poor Lupus Phallus is driven insane, every day, with beatings and sexual frustration, little wonder then that it unleashes those urges with such enthusiasm when it is permitted.

Even then the poor beast’s suffering does not end. A quintuple orgasm not only drains the beasts vital bodily fluids but causes such strain on the creature’s heart that many die the first time they’re allowed relief.

Subject to a recent witchhunt the poor Lupus Phallus is now more endangered than ever and this majestic and misunderstood beast may soon be extinct. Adopt one today and protect the Lupus Phallus from exploitation and hatred until specialist mages can complete their work on the Coochcoyote and allow for the Lupus Phallus species to become self-perpetuating.

DUST Tactics: Zverograd Rat Swarm

Rat-Swarm-smallerBiological experiments in the SSU – and preceding it the Soviet Union – were largely abject failures. Thanks to the terrible cost of Lysenkoism and the effect of its adherents on soviet science. Stalin’s demands have been unrealistic – the creation of hybridised ape soldiers for example – and many leading scientists have been purged or exiled.

Access to VK and the living example of the German gorilla soldiers has, however, galvanised research in many fields and the terrible toll of violence in Zverograd upon SSU forces has leant even more impetus to the research. Academician Ilya Ivanov, son of the late Doctor Ilya Ivanovich Ivanov, has been placed in charge of these new programs and between vivisection of captured German undead and ape soldiers and experimental applications of VK he has had numerous successes.

Rat Swarms

Rats breed in large numbers and are eminently expendable, plus they are the only creatures still in ready supply in Zverograd after the long siege. Ivanov’s experiments have produced a number of ‘intelligent’ rat swarms, controlled via a modulated VK signal, which can be sent crawling through gaps and rubble to reach enemy soldiers and overcome them through sheer numbers.

Move: 2
Type: Soldier 1
Special Abilities: Agile, Charge, Squirm*.
Health: 6
Bite: Close Combat only Troop 1: 6/1, Troop 2: 5/1, Troop 3, 2/1, Troop 4: 1/1
Bite: Close Combat only Tank 1-7: 1/1
Cost: 15AP
Cover Save: Blank
NB: The bite-line is for the whole swarm and remains the same until the whole unit is eliminated.

*Squirm: Troops with the Squirm ability can pass through cover, friendly troops and enemy troops as though they were not there. they can co-occupy a space with friendly or enemy troops and can make close combat attacks from that same space. While occupying the same space as a group of soldiers or a vehicle, if they come under attack from outside that space the attack dice are halved (rounding up) and are then rolled as normal for damage against both the rat swarm and the troops or vehicle they share a space with.

Mini

Anti-Tank Dogs

Move: 2
Type: Soldier 1
Special Abilities: Agile, Charge.
Health: 1 (3 dogs per unit)
Bite: Close Combat only Troop 1: 3/1, Troop 2: 2/1, Troop 3, 1/1, Troop 4: 1/1
Bomb: Close Combat only (3) Troop 1-4: 2/1, Tank 1-7: 2/2 (Each bomb blast eliminates one dog)
Cost: 15AP
Cover Save: Blank

Minis

Half-Breeds

Rumour has it that the half-breed experiments have been restarted using samples taken from German enhanced apes. With a maturation period of at least fifteen years it is unlike this will bear battlefield fruit for some time…

(Knock-off planet of the apes figures would work well for this and you could always retcon that the original experiments worked. I’d make them troop 2 with some special abilities or enhanced cover abilities to reflect toughness, bolster their hand-to-hand a little and use themas anti-infantry troops with – maybe – some very weak anti-tank capabilities).

Machinations of the Space Princess: Tarot Preview

MOTSPTarot_empress

 

The Empress represent rule, legitimacy, tradition, motherhood and strength of character.

Her presence indicates tradition, prosperity, continuity and security while her inversion indicates poverty, conflict and directionless disorder. Inverted, though, her presence indicates novelty and a chance for things to change.

In games, drawing The Empress for inspiration might prompt you to bring in a leadership figure, an older woman or imperial (or similar) forces.

 

Review: FATE Core

This is a review of the current version of FATE, recently finished on its Kickstarter, by Evil Hat.

FateCoreBookCoverI’ve had a lot of time for the FATE system, writing a fair bit for it (Agents of SWING) and playing it even more in the forms of Starblazer, Dresden Files, Legends of Anglerre and some others. I couldn’t really not back the game and have – as a consequence – gotten a copy of the book.

At 300 digest pages it’s still a hefty tome for a game sold on its ‘lite’ system, especially in hardback. About half that is actual, core rules and much of the rest of it are options, introduction and the expansive explanations for which FATE was already known.  Those 150 pages of core content could probably be slimmed down to half that again – or even less. This is a much lighter version of the game than previously published and a large part of that is down to the fact that characters’ stunts are now much more generic, making it much easier to make up your own and doing away with much of the need of writing down a whole bunch of them in any sourcebooks.

It’s hard to quite put one’s finger on what exactly it is that has changed but the whole character of the game has been shifted further away from traditional roleplaying than FATE already was. Conflicts and exchanges end much more quickly (leaving less room for tactics, showboating and creating scene aspects). Things are much more freeform and characters are weaker in one sense (Stress) while being stronger in other ways (skills seem much more effective than they have been.

We played a modern crime game idea I’ve been working on for a while, using the rules pretty much ‘straight’ from the book to see how it worked out. Not especially well when it came to street-fighting and physical opposition, great everywhere else. I can see how it’s fixable but that feels a bit like I’d be working backwards and it might work better to simply use the older versions of the rules set.

Other Comments

It’s laid out well, the explanations are clear. The skills are, perhaps, a little too broad and some areas seem to be missing (healing) – though it’s also possible I’m being a bit blind. It’s a solid game and easily adaptable. It does have a few issues in its default incarnation, especially if you want to do something a bit more gritty or where fights are more than a couple of quick exchanges. You can work around these by adapting it but substantial modification runs the risk of undoing all the changes in the current edition – for better or worse.

The major disappointment for me was the art. It’s competent, but it’s not exciting or engaging. The best art in the book was on the bookmark. The rest just felt a bit dull and didn’t seem to fit the spirit of the game either as an Indie darling or as a fun, freewheeling, heroic rules set.

Conclusion

A solid core game that provides the basis of a toolkit that you can adapt to your own purposes. The downside is that you’ll need to. The book is great for reference but not for inspiration. It’s an engine, but it’s an engine for a car that will need spoilers, airdams and a catalytic converter before it’s really usable. It has lost an ineffable ‘something’ from other incarnations of the game.

  • Style: 2
  • Substance: 4
  • Overall: 3

Misery Loves Company? Kickstarter Project

So a couple of guys have decided to create what should – in theory – be an Indie Darling. This is a set of one-shot story-game type scenarios that are each centred on difficult and controversial topics from rape and abuse to views of welfare claimants and all things in between. There’s shades of the ‘New Style’ games of old there as well as various other games that try to address controversial topics. My own Little Grey Book would seem to be the type of thing they’re angling for here, but with more structured play.

These kind of one-shot ideas aren’t really the kind of thing that I like to play myself, though it might be fun to write one-shot, hyper-specific game scenarios, but it was brought to my attention in a blatant attempt to use my controversial reputation to aid the project. It’s controversial topics that interest me, more than the controversy itself, but there does seem to be an interesting level of hypocrisy and panic going on here.

People associated with the project have been bullied because of their association and threatened with loss of work. The predictable and usual suspects have gotten their panties in a bunch. At this point it’s a familiar dance. What makes this odd is that these games are not, even remotely, interpretable as glorifying any of these topics (though a fictional setting that did could be interesting to explore). They’re Indie games – which are usually given more latitude – and, though I hesitate to mention it, one of the chaps involved is a Person of Colour.

Given that hysteria about game content has reached such stupid heights that the inclusion of a succubus-like monster in Numenara is enough to set RPGnet off, maybe I shouldn’t be quite so surprised that they’re now eating their own.

Anyway, it’s not tempting enough for me to back as I’d get no use out of it whatsoever, but I admire the attempt, the goals of the project and the attempt to stay reasonable with critics. Unflinchingly tackling difficult concepts is a worthy thing to try to do.

LINK

Machinations of the Space Princess: CarcharoTek Novelty Byte-Gun

53583552.SharkHologramatSentosaUnderwaterWorldCarcharoTek makes hopelessly over-engineered guns for armchair soldiers and would-be bounty hunters across the tri-galactic area. Every weapon has a tendency to have a flaw, too much recoil, leaking batteries, something that makes them the laughing stock of serious mercenaries and soldiers everywhere. After a trend emerged for more serious buyers to purchase CarcharoTek weapons as a joke a novelty division was created in order to cash in on this trend by making deliberately weird and stupid weapons.

Ironically, the novelty division appears to have, entirely by accident, come up with a weapon that actually works.

The Byte-Gun uses a high-powered laser to trigger and energise a complex set of force-fields with the shape of a Gleisean Mondo-Shark which then ‘bites’ the target.

This is obviously ostentatious and utterly ludicrous but has, nonetheless, found a place with genuine assassins who use the gun to fake animals attacks.

futuristic_laser_pistol_prop_4_by_enguerrand-d2yhpxuByte-Gun MkI
Type: High Calibre Pistol
Damage: d10
Range: Medium
Ammo Save: 10
Cost: 625 gp
Features: Armour Defeating 1, Damage Type: Bite, Inaccurate -1, Reduced Capacity, Vicious.