#TTRPG – On Satine Phoenix and Jamison Stone

There’s yet another kerfuffle in the RPG Twitterverse, but when isn’t there? This time it’s around various alleged behaviour and unprofessionalism from Satine Phoenix and Jamison Stone. Now, I don’t know Jamison from Adam, but Satine I do know – at least a bit – and these allegations do not sound like her.

Of course, finding professionalism in the RPG industry is like finding stripes on a leopard. It’s a hobby industry and runs on goodwill and handshakes, for the most part. It’s low pay, low appreciation and – increasingly – a very hostile place to work. You do it for the love and, like many creative industries, you’re lucky to be paid at all, let alone on time.

The initial issue seems to have been over tattoos, and the intellectual property involved, along with the related contract. Having been boned by contracts in the past (Munchkin) and having seen how people freak out over the wording of Facebook’s terms of service: “THEY’RE GOING TO STEAL YOUR CONTENT!” it’s hard to get worked up about this one.

A lot of the rest seems to be down to mismatched expectations between the RPG industry and the rest of the entertainment industry. Someone involved seems to have higher expectations of the hobby in terms of celebrity treatment and someone else seems to have lowered expectations.

Some of the behaviour seems to be truly assholish, but a lot of these claims are coming from people who I know to be proven arseholes. The kinds of people purity-spiralling the RPG industry into oblivion and finding any excuse to ‘cancel’, berate and be horrible to anyone – yours truly included. None of them have ever cared about what’s true in the past, so I find that I ‘haz a suspicious’ whenever they turn on anyone.

Like I said, I don’t really know Jamison at all, but Satine I do.

Back during the ‘I Hit it With My Axe’ days, Satine – and the others involved – were frequently attacked by both social conservative types and so-called progressives due to their involvement in adult/sex work. This always struck me as obviously wrong and regressive and I felt that the whole group were doing a lot of positive things for the image of RPGs and the creativity involved.

Later, in 2013, I offered Satine work on Machinations of the Space Princess, doing the cover and much of the interior art. I couldn’t pay very much (being an indie creator) but Satine was nothing but professional, grateful and accommodating throughout the process of doing the work. Her celebrity and brand took off after that and we didn’t really get the opportunity to work together again, but I would have had no hesitation in doing so and would do so again.

Some years later we had the opportunity to meet up when Satine travelled to London on a whistle-stop your while working for Wizards of the Coast as their community liaison. I felt a little like a tag-along through the whole thing, but people weren’t coming to the meet-ups to see me and during the whole visit, Satine was nothing but gracious, thankful and compassionate with me and her many fans who turned up to meet her. Satine and her companions covered my lunch, seemed glad of the company and I was made to feel welcome and wanted – even if it was just to hang out.

The only fly in the ointment of our friendship was following the UK Games Expo controversy a couple of years back when I stood up for someone else being spuriously accused of various terrible things. For the awful crime of giving an accused man a platform to defend himself I was – again – subjected to attack, and amongst those attacks was a concerted effort to get various friends to disown me. Satine was amongst those targeted by the mob and she, sadly, gave in to the pressure.

I can understand why. It is a lot of pressure to be put under, but the people doing that were many of the same people going after her now. It doesn’t seem like they can ever be appeased, and trying to do so seems like a fool’s errand. Little wonder then, that I’m suspicious of these accusations now, though they do seem to be undeniably consistent and profligate, so I’m beginning to wonder.

Whatever the case, in this feeding frenzy that’s going on it’s worth noting that Satine was never anything but professional, grateful and compassionate with me – or anyone else I saw her interact with. If anything has changed, it’s recent. Everyone deserves a chance, and I’d rather be trusting and forgiving than the alternative.

Whatever anyone has done or hasn’t done, it’s not acceptable to drag them for their past or their tattoos. Be better.

Zang.

#TTRPG – Postcards from Avalidad – As Above So Below

As Above, So Below is now available at the Postmortem Studios store and at Lulu.com if you’re looking for hardcopy.

In Avalidad there are urban legends about Agartha, an underground town inhabited by mutants and other outcasts.

It is not a myth.

As Above so Below is an adventure for the psipunk, Burroughsian Postcards from Avalidad game setting. 

Includes statistics for AFM and *Punk, but usable with any system.

#TTRPG – Does anyone know anything about this game? IMPERIL?

Does anyone recognise this cover, or anything like it?

Apparently it’s an old game, perhaps an early RPG or RPG-like boardgame from 1980 that only had a very limited release.

I found the image in some of my old zip archives, but can’t remember where I got it. There doesn’t seem to be any other material in that archive (just some very old ‘zine content from the mid 70s) and any help, or even speculation, would be appreciated in tracking down more information in Imperil or ‘WISS’.

Cheers,

G

#TTRPG – A Bestiary of Sundry Creatures for OSR and Mörk Borg RELEASED!

PRINT VERSION HERE

PDF VERSION HERE

Bees emerge as blind worms from the flesh of rotting cows. The cockatrice is hatched from the eggs of black hens that have been corrupted by sorcerers. Kittens born in the month of May should be killed immediately since they will surely bring misfortune to the household. The caladarius bird dwells in the palaces of the great and by its gaze reveals whether an invalid will live or die. The Bestiary of Sundry Creatures sets out pre-modern people’s beliefs about many of the creatures that populated their world and their imagination. In addition to providing OSR (and Mork Borg) compatible statistics for these animals, it includes scholarly opinions and rustic folklore about the temperament, behaviour and medicinal and magical qualities of these creatures. GMs can use this material to make their medieval and early modern fantasy worlds richer, weirder and more immersive.

#TTRPG – Wightchester Preview – Enosh Square

You can preview the full article on my Patreon

Enosh Square

Ramshackle buildings of wood dominate the space of the square, skeletal and blackened, ripe for demolition and rebuilding even before the dead rose. It is like a hangover from the early half of the century, before the great fires turned people to the favour of stone and brick. It is a choked tangle of alleys, loose cobbles and filth-strangled gutters. Even if you were amongst the rotting dead, you do not think you would choose this place to spend your days. The rookeries that were once crowded with workers are now home to true rooks and crows, that put up a squawing clatter at sight of you, which brings a returning moan from the dead.

The Shambles

The whole of the square is dominated by the great wooden buildings that once housed the destitute and the poor. They are crumbling, broken and rotting wood littering the streets, the oiled paper windows of most of these verminous rookeries have long fallen away, admitting the elements to the interior and washing the detritis of people’s lives out into the gutter. A pair of rusted scissors here, a faggot of twigs there, a crudely carved doll with a mop of soggy wool for her hair, tugged by a rat along the dirty cobbles.

Rome House

Two floors high, this house seems to be amongst the smallest dwellings here, though it is squat and broad – like a trunk or crate. At some point the wood was whitewashed, but this is now stained brown and grey and peeling away in great flakes that flutter in the slightest breeze. The door hangs open, mouldering wicker and rotting scraps of leather scattered down the bowing wooden steps.

A simple hall, with steps running up one side to the upper floor, drives through the house from one end to the other. Four doors mark it, two sets of two opposite each other down its length. All their doors open. Black mould climbs the walls and the floorboards creak ominously, soft, damp and pliable under your feet.

The woodden steps are on the brink of collapse, anyone entering by the steps at the front or rear of the house must make a Dexterity Save against a DC of 10 or have them splinter and break, suffering 1d4 piercing damage.

The floorboards throughout the building are also rotten, and will give way under heavy weight or vigorous action one time out of six (Roll 1d6, it collapses under the people fighting or very heavy individuals, with a 3/6 chance of breaking through the floor below as well, suffering 1d4 damage for each floor – since the sodden wood breaks their fall).

Ground Floor: Reception

This room seems to have been a place for taking off and leaving one’s outer clothing, and the muck of hard work. The floor is board, but it could be mistaken for a dirt floor, so caked in the mix of plaster, paint and mud. A half dozen pairs of shoes – curling from damp and flowering with blue mould – are lined up in front of two wooden benches, and there are hooks on the walls as well, hanging with smocks and tunics. A rusty iron heating stove stands in the middle of the room, the dirt around it stained orange and red.

Loot:

  • [ ]One day’s worth of coal.
  • [ ] None of the clothing or leather is recoverable, lost to mould and rot.

Ground Floor: Parlour

The wet wooden door is hanging off its hinges and crawling with woodlice. Past it you see a simple room, clean but soaking floorboards, two tables – a card table and a larger, square table set with bowls and spoons of wood. The parchment windows are long torn away and the damp has dissolved the deck of cards on the table into wet, swollen pieces. They’re only recognisible from the disembodied heads of the paper royalty.

A stone-lined fireplace hasn’t protected its ashes from being washed out into the room – a thin grey muck that stretches halfway across the room. The firewood teems with insects, like the door, broken down into wet splinters.

Loot:

  • Inside the bend of the flue is a missing brick, wherein is stashed a small bag of 5 silver pieces and 9 copper coins. A tiny key also nestles amongst the coins.

Ground Floor: Room 1 (Force the door DC10)

The next door is open but a crack, the wood has swollen with the damp, tight into the frame, though it was already open, giving plenty or purchase. A nest of twigs is tangled against the door, fragments and pieces of wickerwork.

Once you make your way inside there isn’t that much to see. A small bench with rusted tools, bundles of wet wicker, a few unfinished baskets. It seems that the person who lived here – sleeping on a rotten pallet of straw and blankets – used it as their workshop as well as their living space. Many of the people here may have been doing the same.

You can preview the full article on my Patreon

#TTRPG – Mork Borg – The Ignoble

You are caught between the peasantry and the nobility, neither one nor the other. Arrogant and cruel to those lower on the social ladder, bitter and resentful to those who are higher. You have carved out a place for yourself in running estates, as an advisor or majordomo, but acceptance into the higher echelons is always beyond you. With the social order upturned, you have a chance for true greatness.

Begins With: 3d6 x 10s and d2 Omens, HP: Toughness + d6

Soft Living: Roll 3d6-1 for Strength
Eaten-Up with Bitterness: Roll 3d6-1 for Toughness
Wormtongue: Roll 3d6+2

Abilities

You start with a single ability.

Slippery Customer: All your Defence rolls are made at +1
Cloak of Office: All your Presence rolls to interact with people are made at +1
Penny Pincher: Anything you buy costs one less silver piece.
Oaf Henchman: A loyal retainer of limited intelligence but great strength. Agility -2, Presence -2, Strength +2, Toughness +2, random armour and weapon. 8 hp.
Blade Henchman: A loyal retainer of great skill but also great vices. Agility +2, Presence +1, Strength -1, Toughness -2, random armour and weapon. 3 hp.
Conniving Henchman: A disloyal and clever retainer, egotistical and treacherous. Agility +0, Presence +3, Strength -1, Toughness -2, random armour and weapon, 2 hp.

Previous Role (Choose or roll 1d20)

1-2 Advisor
3 Bailif
4 Chamberlain
5 Chancellor
6 Courtier
7-8 Estate Manager
9 Head Servant
10 Herald
11 Keeper of the Wardrobe
12 Magistrate
13 Marshal
14 Moneylender
15 Reeve
16 Scribe
17-18 Steward
19 Treasurer
20 Valet

A Note on the Smearing of the ‘Unwoke’ in #TTRPG Spaces

(Just said to Skip Williams, RE: The Woke Vs Slept war in TTRPGs, worth saying more widely I think.)

I feel that you are mischaracterising a lot of the concerns by giving them an easy label and smear. This post also whiffs of implicit bigotry, just going the opposite direction to usual.

There’s a significant portion of people concerned bout the way things are going, for the same reason we were concerned about Pat Pulling, or the Vampire Panic, or Jack Thompson, or Anita Sarkeesian.

There’s a significant number of people smearing the inventors of the games, and the games of the past – from a position of ignorance and perversely, and wilfully distorted perception.

D&D wasn’t Satanic, Heavy Metal didn’t make people suicidal, and games (as a whole) weren’t murder simulators. The ceaseless accusations of racism/sexism/homophobia/transphobia etc are spurious and having a negative effect on the craft, far more than BADD ever did.

We need diversity in design, topic, genre, rules, approaches, emphasis. Turning every game into Captain Planet doesn’t increase diversity, it diminishes it. We’re also sacrificing simulationism, verisimilitude, suspension of disbelief, historicity, consistency and hyperreality for no real gain.

IIRC a lot of this outreach doesn’t seem to be working. The gender etc proportions are (again, IIRC) worse than they were around the 3rd Edition era, but that was probably the tail-end of the Vampire effect. Expanding the audience makes sense, doing so by cannibalizing and sacrificing your existing audience does not. Let’s try to steelman both sides of this debate, shall we?

#TTRPG – Wightchester Preview – Cathedral Park

You can preview the full article on my Patreon

Whitchester Cathedral dominates the skyline of the city, like a great grey spike, reaching drunkenly into the sky. Up close it seems cyclopean, dizzying in its height. The area around the cathedral is open ground, grass and mud, punctuated by grave markers and sarcophogi of the great and good. This, in turn is bounded by skeletal trees and the attendant buildings that service the grand church, alleys and gates granting access to the profane, from this domain of the sacred.

The Cathedral was where many sought safety and assistance when the city began to fall, overwhelming the otherwise defensible building and causing its downfall. Religious faith was no protection from the dead. What was once the holiest of places is now amongst the unholiest.

Without upkeep and repair it is slowly crumbling, crumbling and flooding as it sinks into the wet ground beneath it under its own weight, but it is also one of the few more open areas in the city, where you can see the enemy from a safe distance.

Encounters: There should always be some wandering dead, scattered throughout the open area of Cathedral Park. Perhaps 2d6 walking dead.

Whitchester Cathedral

The Cathedral is an enormous slab of a building, built of grey-blue stone, adorned with statuary, crenelations and stained glass. Half of the leaning spire is clad in crumbling scaffold, wood and rope creaking and swaying with each gust of wind. Crows and pigeons perch on the high walls and statues, cooing and croaking as they stare down at you.

The ground here is damp, the floor of the cathedral – and its surrounding paving – a good foot lower than the surrounding soil and covered in puddles of filthy water. Defiant ivy has begun its relentless creep up the walls, with the greenest, brightest shoots beginning to spread across the lower windows and choking the drainage.

The enormous, iron-bound doors of the entrance are partially open, the bar splintered. Saints and bishops stand impasive and powerful, graven in stone while the sound of unearthly moaning echoes out from the nave.

The building is, perhaps, 500 feet long by one-hundred feet wide, with the transepts extending another fifty feet out from the main body of the cathedral. The tower is 150 feet high, with the pointed spire extending another 100 feet into the air above that.

The building is largely constructed of blue-grey limestone, brought from the Southern coast. Much of the exterior wall is filled in with great patchwork constructions of mortar and flint, creating a riot of blues, grey, white and black – when the walls are wet. This provides a great many hand and footholds, though they are shallow, slippery and frequently sharp.

The building is surrounded by paving slabs of the same grey material, creating a walkway around the outside of the entire cathedrals, and between it and the chapter house. Many of these slabs are sinking into the earth and are at wonky angles, the gutters and troughs for draining water are similarly disjointed, creating puddles and soggy earth all year round.

Statuary

The statuary that adorns the cathedral depicts, primarily, gargoyles and angels. It can be hard to tell which is which, as many of the angels are more accurate depictions of how they are described, than merely winged humans. Many have multiple pairs of wings, multiple faces, many eyes or other manifestations that can look monstrous to those without a proper biblical understanding.

The main door is flanked by the statues of two previous bishops, Bishop Beckyngham and Bishop Tyndall, depicted in their robes and with dour, pious expressions. Above them, wings spread over the top of the door, is a more conventional depiction of an angel, with a halo of radiating spikes – like spear-tips.

The Gate

The gate is some twelve feet high, split in half. It is made of thick, English oak and bound and studded with iron. The wooden panels have been painted a dark blue, but are encrusted with bloodstains and dented by some great, external pressure. The wooden bar that secures the gate – from the inside – is splintered, again as though sundered by some great external force. If replaced, the door could be secured against the dead.

The Nave

Sickly, coloured light penetrates the irriguous interior of the cathedral through its stained glass windows that run down either side of the nave. From here you can see almost all the way to the presbytery, past the high altar. A gallery runs around the building, up above the nave and the vertiginous, vaulted roof yawns above you, echoing every sound you make over and over again. Here and there water drips through broken roofing, to echo around the cathedrail. Crows and pigeons flap and sport amongst the arches, blaspheming the house of god with their droppings and raucous cries. Scattered and fallen pews fill the centre of the hall, covered in dried blood and torn shreds of cloth.

The nave is the broad, main hall of the church that runs from the entrance to the transepts and the high altar. Two rows of columns run along either side of the nave, helping to support the upper gallery and its wooden panels. The central area is open to the high arched and vaulted roof above, dizzying in its spiraling patterns and arcs.

There are twenty-two stained glass windows, eleven in the northern wall, eleven in the southern wall, each depicting a scene of martyrdom. Each also has a second, round window above it, admitting more light onto the gallery.

Northern Wall (West to East)

1. The Massacre of the Innocents – Babies and children impaled on spears.

2. John the Baptist – His severed, bloody head, surrounded by a halo.

3. Saint Stephen – Bloodied, with a stone balanced on each shoulder and atop his head.

4. Saint James the Greater – Bloodied, driven through with a sword.

5. Saint James the Just – Bloodied, carrying a club in his hands.

6. Saint Peter – Crucified upside-down.

7. Saint Paul – Decaptitated, holding his own head.

8. Saint Andrew – Crucified on an ‘X’-shaped cross.

9. Saint Matthew – Impaled by spears.

10. Saint Philip – Crucified on a tall cross.

11. Saint Thomas – Bloodied, driven through with a spear.

Southern Wall (West to East)
1. Saint Potninus – Surrounded and torn at by wild beasts.

2. Perpetua and Felicity – A woman and her servant, pierced by swords while a cherub looks on.

3. The Scillitan Martyers – Twelve faces looking up at a bloodied sword.

4. Saint Justin Martyr – Decaptiated, with an axe close by.

5. Saint Polycarp – Burned at the stake.

6. Saint Timothy – Blooded and battered on a pile of stones.

7. Saint Mark – Depicted hanging from a rope.

8. Saint Simon the Zealot – Depicted severed in half at the waist.

9. Saint Barnabas – Being burnt at the stake.

10. Saint Bartholomew – Stripped to the waist and covered in bleeding whip marks.

11. Saint Jude – Bloodied, decapitated, bearing an axe.

Encounters: It is easy for the dead to enter the Cathedral and to mill around inside, but less easy for them to get out – the other entrances and exits being locked and blocked. The dead seem drawn to this place, as though still considering it to be a place of refuge. There should be 2d6 random undead within the area. Note that zombies from other areas of the cathedral will be attracted by noise, and may join in any attack.

Loot:

  • [ ] Beeswax Candles (Long): 1,500 in stores, chests and cupboards, (several hundred in candlesticks and candalabra).
    [ ]Beeswax Candles (Votive): 500 (stored near and set in racks to the north and south sides of the nave).
  • [ ]Tallow Candles (Beef/Mutton): 500 (cheaper candles, set in candlesticks and sconces in the nave, many nibbled on by mice and rats).
  • [ ]Multi-Wick Oil Lamps: 12, hanging from the ceiling, six on each side of the nave.
  • [ ]Kegs of Lamp Oil: 24, in stores and chests.
  • [ ]Brass Candlesticks: 100.
  • [ ]Brass Candalabra: 12, hanging from the ceiling, six on each side of the nave.
  • [ ]The Poor Box: 485 copper pieces, 15 silver pieces, 4 gold pieces.

Choir & Presbytery

The benches for the choir stand two deep on the north and south of the junction between the nave and and transepts. Before them are the pews for the great and good, the gentry from before the city fell, closer to the altar, and to God. It is dark here, shielded from the windows, the candles burnt all the way down into rippling overflows that spill onto the floor. Gilt and brass glitters in the patchy light, reflecting off the geometrically carved choir screens. Before the high altar, and to its side, up a short set of stairs is the pulpit, graven in the shape of a boar and picked out in gold, behind both a stone screen, silver and gold on light grey stone, carved with stars, sun and arches.

The choir stands at the junction of the nave and transcept, in the westernmost part of the crossing. This is the area in which the choir sings, and the wealthy elite of the city would attend services. A once-rich rug of mouldering red, lays across the centre of the area, soggy with damp.

Encounters: 2d10 child zombie choirboys, others may have wandered away. 1 zombie priest and 1d4 other random zombies.

#TTRPG – Mork Borg – The Adulterous Baker

ADULTEROUS BAKER
You were a baker, of repute before the world turned to shit. Pride in your produce couldn’t continue after the sources of flour, clean water and other ingredients began to dry up. You learned how to adulterate your bread, to substitute things for flour, to turn out something edible – or at least not poisonous – out of almost nothing. You’ve learned to survive, even to thrive, but at the cost of those who rely on you for sustenance.

Begins With: 2d6 x 5s, d2 Omens, Rolling Pin: d4+1 damage, HP: Toughness + d8.

Big Arms: Roll 3d6+1 for Strength.
Suspiciously Well Fed: Roll 3d6+1 for Toughness.
Self-Loathing: Roll 3d6-2 for Presence.
Begin with 2 bread-related abilities.

Fresh Bread: When people partake of your bread during a rest they bump up the amount of Hit Points recovered by one die type (d6/d8).

Adulterated Bread: You know how to make food stretch by using wood-shavings, chalk and other filler. You don’t boost healing, but meals only use half rations.

Unconventional Flour: You can gather ingredients which, while they may not taste good, can be used to make usable flour. Mushroom spores, bonemeal, insects ground and dried into a high-protein powder, it may not be delicious, but it is nutritious. You can gather Ingredients for 1d4-2 days of food at each opportunity – determined by the Games Master.

Poisoned Loaf: You can make a poisoned bread. If eaten the target suffers 1 damage per turn for d6 turns.

Black Bread: You can make a thick, dense loaf of black bread, which will not go off.

Working Baker: Whenever you spend an uninterruped day in a settlement you can earn 1d6s working there and turning out loaves.

Speciality: Roll 1d8

  1. Flatbread
  2. Yeast Bread
  3. Sweet Bread
  4. Cornbread
  5. Waffles and Pancakes
  6. Dry Bread
  7. Soda Bread
  8. Sourdough

#TTRPG – *Punk RELEASED!

A Retroclone RPG system for you to make your own *Punk games – typically modern, alt history or near future.

Atompunk, Biopunk, Clockpunk, Cyber noir, Cyberprep, Cyberpunk, Decopunk, Dieselpunk, Dungeonpunk, Elfpunk, Islandpunk, Lunarpunk, Mythpunk, Nanopunk, Necropunk, Nowpunk, Postcyberpunk, Raypunk, Retrofuture, Rococopunk, Solarpunk, Steampunk, Steelpunk, Stonepunk, Transhuman.

PURCHASE THE PDF

PURCHASE THE HARDCOPY

*Punk will NOT be available through Amazon due to affordability and shipping issues.