Omnium Gatherum: May 9, 2019

An irregular hodgepodge of links gathered together … Omnium Gatherum for May 9, 2019

  • TTRPG Achievement Badges. Patches to help mark your achievements as a PC or DM in D&D 5e. A crowdfunding effort by Samantha Darcy, with 28 days to go.


    Darcy TTRPG Achievement Badges

    “Are you prepared?

    Roleplaying games and Scouting both tremendously impact many lives. Unfortunately, RPGs lack patch-covered fashion-statements showing everyone exactly how awesome you are…

    Until now!

    Introducing Tabletop Roleplaying Game (TTRPG) Achievement Badges! From the crazed minds of Samantha Darcy and Stephen Rowe, these patches allow you to forever memorialize pivotal moments from your games!

    TTRPG Achievement Patches

    Produced by Pin Game Strong, each badge is a 2-inch, sew-on, 100% embroidered patch, with unique art, and an accompanying PDF. Included for each are requirements to earn the badge, and optional reward mechanics compatible with 5th Edition Dungeons and Dragons!

    With your help, we plan to initially release EIGHT (8) Common and EIGHT (8) Rare achievement patches, plus TWO (2) extremely exclusive and super secret Legendary patches! And that’s only the beginning. We can all work together to make this project a success, and there’s a LOT more we can’t wait to share!”

  • Lancer. Lancer is a mud-and-lasers RPG about mechs and the pilots who crew them. Narrative play, gritty tactical combat and deep customization. A crowdfunding effort by Massif Press, with 42 hours to go.

    Massif Press Lancer

    “Lancer is a mud-and-lasers tabletop roleplaying game centered on modular mechs and the pilots who crew them.
    Ten thousand years after the climate crash that ended the Anthropocene, a survivor humanity rebuilt itself and spread to the stars. Numbering now in the trillions, they are a polyglot, cosmopolitan people, organized under a central hegemon: Union. The galaxy is vast before them, and humanity is its mirror. For some, it is a golden age of post-scarcity utopia. For the rest, that golden age remains a dream to be attained.

    Into this roiling galaxy you take your role as a mech pilot — from cold-blooded mercenaries to honor-bound Baronic cuirassiers, hardscrabble Union regulars to professional Constellar Midnights, Far Field teams at the uncanny edge of known space to the ever-wandering Albatross. Operating with a wealth of licenses from one of the galaxy’s Big Five fabricators, you and your friends play a tight-knit squad of pilots on campaign — comrades together in a galaxy of danger and hope. Will you fight for Union, working to rectify the crimes of previous administrations? Will you run contracts for a corpro-state, working to advance private interests while lining your pockets? Will you fight to liberate your people from all masters, human or otherwise? Or will you fight only for yourself?

    Lancer features a mix of military science fiction and mythic science fantasy. In the setting, conscript pilots mix ranks with flying aces, mercenary guns-for-hire brawl with secretive corpostate agents, and relativistic paladins cross thermal lances with causality-breaking entities.

    In Lancer, there is promise in the potential, but the hard-won gains of humanity are under serious threat. From the internal: ruthless corpro-states, bitter anthrochauvinist reactionaries, and ponderous oligarchs, to the external: MONIST 1, or RA, an anoriginary being with unfathomable power and unknowable goals; the Aunic Ascendancy, the unbroken heirs of Old Humanity; and more.

    Having only begun the project of recovering from its own internal political revolutions, Union now scrambles to reassert its control over a galaxy that would fall to chaos otherwise.

    Who will you fight for, pilot? “

  • Sundown. A rules-light tabletop roleplaying game set in a pre-industrial transhumanist frontier. Think Cyberpunk goes Wild West. A crowdfunding effort from Grasswatch Games, with 39 hours to go.

    “We’re Grasswatch Games, a partnership of two queer disabled folk.

    We’re making our debut with Sundown, a low tech science-fantasy set in a transhumanist frontier. Think cyberpunk goes wild west. It’s an episodic game that focuses on otherism, class, and colonialism.

    Sundown is a dyslexia-friendly, campaign-length rules-light tabletop roleplaying game for 2-6 players, one of whom is the lorekeeper, with a suggested session length of 3-4 hours.

    Sundown tells political stories of a small and intimate scope. You play multiple campaigns and characters in the same world, your next one inheriting the world from your last. Your actions, though small, will ripple across history.

    You play a drifter: a queer, punk outcast taking work wherever you can from folk that hate you.

    Fiends, the monsters of this world, linger at the edges of civilization. There’s always someone who wants some fiend dead.

    Autocrats and Lords point their fingers at each other while Syndicates and Revolutions rot their thrones beneath them. Drifters who don’t slay fiends oft find themselves slaying folk instead.

    But maybe you prefer to keep your hands clean. You’re a spy, stealing secrets from one corporatist for another, or you’re a thief, liberating the hoarded wealth of lords and bankers.

    Maybe you’re lucky. One of the few of ‘legitimate’ employ. You work for the Merchant Protections Guild, a diplomat and ambassador to the townships of Sundown, struggling to keep the highroad from crumbling… and Sundown’s delicate peace with it.”

  • Astrologaster. [also] A Comedy Written in the Stars. A game by Nyamyam. [HT The Guardian]

    “London, 1592. A great plague sweeps through the capital. When doctors flee the city in fear, a hero rises. His name is Simon Forman, “Doctor” of Astrology, Astronomy and Physick. Not only does he have the power to cure the sick, he can find their lost pets and predict their futures! All by reading the movements of the stars.

    But when the plague ends, Forman’s problems begin. The real doctors return to London and they will stop at nothing to bring him down…

    Astrologaster is a story-driven astrological comedy game set in Shakespeare’s London. Based on a true – and truly ridiculous – story.

    • Solve Hilarious Problems: Consult on problems ranging from Elizabethan terror plots and foul diseases, to romantic entanglements and stolen pies!
    • Change Lives: Win your patients’ favour or ruin their lives. Advise 14 characters who return 5-7 times. Patients have their own ongoing stories which often overlap with each other.
    • Win A Medical Licence: Convince patients to write letters of recommendations. Collect enough letters to exchange them for a medical licence.
    • Fully Voiced Character Dialogue: Sitcom-style comedy brought to life by a cast of over a dozen actors.
    • Sing Along – Enjoy Renaissance-era music and sing along to each character’s theme song.
    • Casebooks Come Alive: Simon Forman’s cases are presented as a beautiful pop-up book. Turn pages to delve deeper into your patients’ stories.

    Simon Forman was considered a sage by some and a charlatan by others. What will your legacy be? Will you put your faith in the stars?”

Omnium Gatherum: May 5, 2019

An irregular hodgepodge of links gathered together … Omnium Gatherum for May 5, 2019

  • Paths: World of Adia tabletop RPG. Paths: World of Adia is a tabletop RPG that supports both classic Game Master group play and Solo Gameplay. A crowdfunding effort by Smunchy Games with only 17 days left to reach their modest funding goal; with in development print-n-play available that you can check out right now

    “Join us in Adia, a young living world whose political landscape shifts as drastically as its physical growth. This planet of extremes is in constant flux as its three moons influence the magical Spirit that flows between Adia and all of her living creatures. In Paths: World of Adia, players adopt the role of a denizen in a rich, multicultural world, a denizen who has decided to embrace and pursue their goals to become more than just another face in the crowd. Our lush, developed environments and evolving story are designed with immersion and interactivity in mind as players move and grow with a unique blend of both new and familiar game systems.”

  • Vorpal Board. The platform for playing your favorite tabletop games with friends online using the actual pieces. A crowdfunding effort by Vorpal Enterprises with 29 days left to meet their funding goal; and check out their demo site for an idea of how it works to provide a kind of “augmented reality” for board games.

    “Vorpal Board is the platform that enables you to play your favorite tabletop games with friends online using the actual pieces. Whether you live halfway around the world or two doors over, we know how hard it can be to get your gaming group together. With Vorpal Board never let life or distance get in the way of playing the games you love.”

  • The Ghosts Betwixt. Dungeon Crawling in the Haunted Heartland. A tabletop funny horror drawl board game in development by Dustin Freund at Innocent Traveler Games. Available in Print-n-Play now and coming to crowdfunding this year.

    Freund Innocent Traveller The Ghosts Betwixt

    “Dungeon Crawling in the Haunted Heartland

    Young Richie has been kidnapped! He was last seen taken into the Bennert family’s farmhouse, which transforms into the Worlds of Terror haunted house during the Halloween season.

    The Bennerts’ haunted attraction has fallen on hard times, as thrill-seeking audiences begin opting for more impressive haunted houses found in the city. However, the Bennerts own the ultimate wild card – and they will play it tonight to resurrect the family business.

    Join Richie’s family Bill, Joan, Avelynn and Maddox as they battle the Bennert family in this campaign-driven dungeon crawler!

    KICKSTARTER UPDATE SOON – SIGN UP TO OUR EMAIL LIST TO BE THE FIRST TO KNOW!”

  • Xeno Dead Zone by Runehammer Games; though as I write this there’s two broken images and a typo in the description, so the inside probably still not well edited either. But, might still be fun as both a stand-alone Aliens / Space Hulk pastiche and an expansion of the rules and extra components for Index Card RPG. Or, as a play aid for a sci-fi bug hunt crawl scenario in your own game using whatever system you prefer.

    Runhammer Xeno Dead Zone

    “XENO DEAD ZONE is a one-stop solution to scratch your itch for a night of great gaming in the world of deadly space predators and the badasses who fight them.

    This package is power packed with rules and resources for ICRPG players and GM’s.

    -Play in XDZ mode: a GM-less board game ruleset

    -Play in classic ICRPG mode: 9 new classes, Xeno and vehicle stats

    -Dynamic Mission Objectives and Ecalations[sic] in any mode

    -A huge collection of print-and-cut standees

    -Tokens for use in your favorite VTT

    -32 map building cards and door standees to assemble your game map with flair

    Expand your ICRPG multiverse to include the deadliest creatures in the spaceways! “

Nazi propaganda with elf ears

You may be playing the wrong game, at the wrong table, with the wrong group if …

That one player, who you’ve already had a side conversation about with the DM due to fear they seem to hint they’re close to going full real-world racist any time Vistani are mentioned and misogynist about half the planet any time women are mentioned at the table, thinks it is funny to post to the group’s chat an image of actual racist Nazi propaganda with elf ears drawn on and they think that’s “fine because it’s about D&D”.

Summary for the month of April 2019

Here’s a summary of activity for the month of April 2019.

I don’t feel like I have a lot to say in a summary of this last month, after I said a lot about the previous summary. Ironically, I streamed more this last month than I did in the previous month, even after, essentially, saying that I’d given up on being a streamer. Like I said, I no longer think of myself as a streamer, but I’ll probably still stream. I’ve just given up on the idea it’s going anywhere or that I’m trying to build something bigger. But, for example, it’s been two months since my last Gloomhaven stream, and that’s a long damn time. After my Invisible Sun unboxing, one of the books, only read through once, fell apart, and it took over a month for the replacement to even be sent, so I cooled on my excitement about that whilst waiting. I don’t know. I’ll just keep doing things as I do them, and not trying to do it is the way I end up doing them, apparently. Whatever. It is what it is. I hadn’t planned on posting summaries any more either, mostly because I didn’t think I’d have anything to summarize, but here it is anyway.

I also ended up supporting several crowdfunding campaigns, though I really can’t justify supporting any more unless I am going to absolutely, positively do something actively with them when, if, they deliver.

I have three tabletop games that are supposedly on their way, but are in limbo, without an actual ETA, and really surprising lack of updates on them from their creators. Though I did finally get Weave, which I unboxed and played this month. And, I picked up a few video games in bundles, a few of which I played this month on stream. So, there are new games, actual and digital and roleplaying, that I might get to over this coming month, but who knows?

I’ve also found myself thinking about my ICRPG games, which went on hiatus after I kind of soured on ICRPG. But, I kinda miss the characters and their stories. I feel like Take is in a good place, and doesn’t necessarily need more; though there’s plenty that could be told. But what about the Mecha crew? They’re in transit to alternate Gamma World, and had many adventures ahead. There’s also the posse headed toward the Weird West. Or the companions in alternate Erehwon. But, I don’t know if I’ll ever get back to those stories. If I do, I probably won’t be using ICRPG anymore, per se. There were other things, like the additional scenario for SWRPG TFA or AoR (which I only ever unboxed) and even the unfinished Iris: Adventure Game, which has actually been redesigned since I last played, that I’ve thought about as well. I don’t know if I’ll ever get back to those either.

I guess I had some stuff to say about this last month after all. There was probably other stuff to talk about that I didn’t remember. We’ll see what the next month brings. Maybe something, maybe nothing. IDEK.

Posts on the blog this last month

Here’s videos and archived streams

Omnium Gatherum: April 4, 2019

An irregular hodgepodge of links gathered together … Omnium Gatherum for April 4, 2019

  • Top 10 Games You Can Play In Your Head, By Yourself: Second Edition by J. Theophrastus Bartholomew, Sam Gorski, D. F. Lovett; from the I-Feel-Attacked dept.

    Gorski Lovett Top Ten Games You Can Play In Your Head By Yourself

    “YOUR MIND IS NOW THE ULTIMATE GAMING ENGINE. Top 10 Games You Can Play In Your Head, By Yourself, is a collection of visionary author J. Theophrastus Bartholomew’s most cherished mind-games, edited and updated by filmmaker and storyteller Sam Gorski and author D.F. Lovett. No peripherals needed. No controllers. No pens. No dice or boards. Everything you need to experience the forefront of game design is right here between these pages. What will happen in your game? It’s up to you to find out!”

  • Wrestlenomicon! A card game of the Great Old Ones fighting over the end of the world. Cthulhu! Hastur! Only ONE can rule the apocalypse! A crowdfunding effort by Arc Dream Publishing.

    “Wrestlenomicon!

    A card game of the Great Old Ones fighting over the end of the world. Cthulhu! Hastur! Only ONE can rule the apocalypse!

    Fire Opal Games and Arc Dream Publishing bring you the grudge match to end them all!

    Become a Great Old One and slam, smash, and obliterate your opponent. Wrestlenomicon is a throw-down to the doom. This furious card game of squicky battles sets up in seconds and plays in minutes—or longer, if tactics are your thing. This is the definition of brainy beer-and-pretzels fun, with plenty of tentacles.

    The Brawl of Cthulhu!

    Each deck of cards represents a unique Great Old One. The core game includes a deck for CTHULHU—the Ageless Abomination! the South Seas Smasher!—and another for HASTUR, the insane and unspeakable force behind the King in Yellow. More Great Old Ones are coming.”

  • Witch+Craft, a 5e Supplemental. A tabletop supplemental of crafting and magic for Fifth Edition games. A crowdfunding effort by Astrolago Press.

    “Witch+Craft, a beautifully-illustrated supplemental for 5e games, brings a new crafting system to your table. Designed to be fun to use and simple to implement, the domestic magic crafting system can be easily inserted into ongoing games without the need for rerolling characters or reinventing entire campaigns—perfect for the ragtag crew who want to repair an enemy’s shipwrecked boat, the cunning ensemble looking to build themselves an impromptu grappling hook, or the friendly bard wanting to spend their downtime baking a pie for their party. Whether you’re a butcher, a baker, or a candlestick maker, Witch+Craft has you covered.

    But that’s not all: this new system also includes trade classes, a new character customization option that goes hand-in-hand with your characters’ pre-existing combat class and background. Trade classes allow you to define what makes your skills unique as you level up and make your mark in the world.

    We call this system domestic magic because it emphasizes the miracle of making. Even non-spellcasters can tap into the power of creation, forging beautiful and useful items with their hands and their heart.

    This content, and the crafting system we’ve designed, took inspiration from Studio Ghibli films like Kiki’s Delivery Service, where the acts of painting, baking, and inventing have a power as beautiful and unique as Kiki’s witchcraft. While many crafting systems are based around concepts like “stress” or “endurance”, we wanted a crafting system that encouraged rest, self care, inspiration, motivation, and collaboration.

    Make something, because the act of making brings you joy.”

  • Humblewood Campaign Setting for 5e DND. Humblewood is a campaign setting for 5e DND that includes new birdfolk player races, new monsters, compelling adventure and more! A crowdfunding effort by Hit Point Press / Deck of Many

    “Humblewood is an exciting new Campaign Setting for 5e DND that includes original birdfolk player races, new monsters, magic items, and a compelling adventure for 1st to 5th level characters.”

  • Welcome to Tikor | The Swordsfall RPG Setting and Art Book. An Afropunk Sci-Fantasy world brimming with ancient magic and future tech. A crowdfunding effort by Brandon Dixon.

    “Swordsfall isn’t just a story, it’s a world. It’s a dive into pre-colonial Africa for all the rich lore you’ve never heard of. It’s an exploration into a world where the majority of the faces are dark, yet isn’t constrained to one corner. It’s a world where women hold power equal to men and the merit of ones soul is what propels them through life. It’s a world where spirits aren’t to be feared, they are to be embraced. In a time where we know that representation matters, this project is an effort to add to that spirit in the way I know best. Narrative fiction in the nerdiest of flavors.

    Swordsfall is made up of three key parts; World Anvil, Tabletop RPG and Stories/Novels. Each of them telling a different part in the lore that is the world of Tikor. This Setting and Artbook is part of that synergy and the first step toward realizing the Tabletop RPG.”

  • Hidden Oddities: A Witch’s Primer. A Witch Class for Dungeons and Dragons 5th Edition with worldbuilding, 50+ spells, 2 backgrounds, and 7 Archetypes for the class. A crowdfunding effort by Eva Brown.

    “Hidden Oddities: A Witch’s Primer contains 100+ pages of new game material and world-building content for 5th edition Dungeons and Dragons. In this book you’ll find the brand new Witch Class, 11 new Archetypes called Sacred Secrets, 2 new backgrounds, 100+ new spells, new items that any spellcaster could benefit from, and advice how to place witches into your world. This supplement is designed to work inside the system and to expand the options for Dungeon Masters and Players.

    The Witch is a full caster without spell slots and instead uses Curios as minor magical items that can be filled with either spell slots or wondrous effects. These Curios can be kept all to the Witch or be handed out to party members to help increase their effectiveness. Improved Ritual Casting lets you cast any spell inside your spellbook as long as you have enough time and people to perform a Greater Ritual. Instead of preparing spells after every long rest you get to choose which Curios to recharge after any rest,

    The content itself is built around the concepts of making a Grim and Strange world. The spells that are currently in the book help expand spell selection options for Arcane and Divine spellcasters alike.”

  • Arcana of the Ancients, a 5E science-fantasy sourcebook. A sourcebook that brings the science-fantasy stylings of Numenera to 5E, written by designers very experienced with both games. A crowdfunding effort by Monte Cook Games.

    “Arcana of the Ancients is a sourcebook for 5th edition players and GMs to bring the wonders of mysterious technology and weird science-fantasy elements to their traditional fantasy campaigns. Designed by Monte Cook, Bruce R. Cordell, and Sean K. Reynolds, all of whom have years of professional design experience working on the world’s most popular roleplaying game, this gorgeously illustrated hardcover sourcebook gives you everything you need to add a whole new element to your 5E game.”

  • The Seas of Vodari – 5th Edition Swashbuckling & Sorcery. Everything you need to run exciting seafaring campaigns full of swashbuckling action and magical adventure for Fifth Edition. A crowdfunding effort by Tribality Publishing.

    “The Seas of Vodari is a full-color book that we are offering in hardcover and PDF. This book provides 200+ pages of material for gamemasters to run exciting seafaring campaigns for 5th Edition. Your players will get tons of options for creating characters and you’ll get support to run a world full of swashbuckling action and magical adventure. “

  • Calico: Magical Girls Running Cat Cafés~. Calico is a calm and cozy cat cafe simulator where you pet cats, decorate your cafe, and hang out with witches and magical girls! A crowdfunding effort by Kells.

    “Calico is a day-in-the-life community sim game where you are given an important and adorable task: rebuild the town’s cat café and fill it with cute and cuddly creatures! You will journey to a small village filled with magical girls and other fantastical friends, where you are placed in charge of a run down cat café. Build up your café by filling it with cute furniture, fun decorations, yummy pastries, and get it bustling with animals again!

    In Calico, you play as a sweet magical cutie. There are two playable characters to choose from: Heartgirl and Flowergirl!”

  • The Ultraviolet Grasslands. The Ultraviolet Grasslands (UVG) trpg is a rules-light psychedelic metal trip to the Black City on the edge of space and time. A crowdfunding effort by Exalted Funeral.

    “The Ultraviolet Grasslands and the Black City is a tabletop role-playing game book, half setting, half adventure, and half epic trip; inspired by psychedelic heavy metal, the Dying Earth genre, and classic Oregon Trail games. It leads a group of ‘heroes’ into the depths of a vast and mythic steppe filled with the detritus of time and space and fuzzy riffs.”

  • Critical Role: The Legend of Vox Machina Animated Special. Critical Role’s The Legend of Vox Machina reunites your favorite heroes for a professional-quality animated special! A crowdfunding effort by Critical Role.

    “Vox Machina is back, baby — but this time they’re cartoons! Here’s the amazing creative team that’s gonna take our tale from imagination to animation… “

ICRPG Magic

ICRPG Magic is a new supplement for Index Card RPG has just been released by Runehammer Games.

Runehammer Games ICRPG Magic

The third book in the INDEX CARD RPG series, MAGIC gives you an entire multiverse of SPELLS, MONSTERS, character creation options, full adventures and LOOT! This book is a must have for any true ICRPG fan, and includes a print-cut-play set of assets that will be updated free for life.

Summary for the month of March 2019

Here’s a summary of activity for the month of March 2019.

I’ve been having a crisis of faith lately. I have sat down at my computer, thinking I’d stream something, and haven’t. I feel like there’s no point. I’ve been streaming, and trying to build something here on the blog, and had a Patron campaign at Patreon, and a Subscribe option on Bandcamp, a voice and chat server on Discord, and some other things … and I’ve been streaming for years now, off and on.

In the last month, and I’m not sure really how to talk about this, but when the Critical Role crowdfunding effort went off like epic fireworks, I started to feel even more depressed and discouraged than normal. It’s not jealousy, per se, as I think it’s awesome for them, and their success is deservedly phenomenal; but, I look at what I’ve been trying to do, without success, and have just felt like I’ve been wasting my time all this time, time time time.

Then another thing. I suppose everyone has their Star Trek captain, or Doctor Who, right? The one they think of first, and is probably the one they started to watch originally. Well, some day, maybe already, people will probably start talking about their first Streamer in the same way, maybe?

For the record, “my” captain is probably Janeway or Cisco, “my” Doctor used to be Peter Davidson, and remained so by just a hair for a very long time, out of nostalgia over how I liked his acting so much, though Tom Baker was both delightful and my “first”, until his comments about a female Doctor finally tipped it to David Tennant.

My first streamer was Ara_gaming. Ara_gaming was the reason I started to watch Twitch. I followed her to Twitch from the Sony Landmark actual play through videos. Ara_gaming is the reason I started streaming on Twitch. Her advice was “just start!” and I did. So, tongue-in-cheek, I blame Ara_gaming for everything.

The other day, Ara showed up in Echoics’ stream, another of the first couple of streamers I watched, after years of absence from Twitch, as a guest. That was cool to see, and definitely cool after so long. I’m happy that things ending for her own stream career was for the best, and that she and Echoics are still in contact. It was nifty to see her again, and remember those early days.

But, I started to think about how little has changed for me as a streamer over the years since I started. I’m a Twitch Affiliate, but I never gained any ongoing patronage or subscribers or even a regular audience in any of these or related places. I’ve met people online and in person, I’ve had people get to know me and hang out irregularly, and all that’s super cool. But, still, most of the time, I’ve streamed with no one watching. And, as I watch my own archived videos, I’ve never gotten to the point where my own views are not significantly the majority.

My attempts to stream games, and whatnot, is a kind of art project. There’s also the annual music anthology I put together as well … and so forth. It’s good to have something to be busy with that’s fun and creative, even silly. Part of my streaming is about this idea I got, kinda modified from something someone I know said about writing book reviews. There’s a guy I know that reads, no, really, a shit ton, and he writes some kind of review for every one of them. Even if it is just a few lines. He said his rule is that if it is worth the time to read the thing, it’s worth writing some kind of review about it. He’s a damned machine, but it’s an idea that I’ve tried to use. So streaming, for me, is about how if I’m going to play games, I need to have some kind of creative output about that. Playing and grinding in a game, video or tabletop, without something to say or show for it is something I try to avoid by making streams or something at least.

But, at what point does it not make sense to put out the energy to plan and do and post these things publicly anymore if there’s no audience?

When I was in high school theatre, the teacher used to talk about how sports can be played without an audience, because the scores still matter and get recorded and have an effect on the season. But, for theatre, if there’s no audience, it’s not still a thing. I suppose theatre without an audience is just a rehearsal, really. And, in essence, I’ve been in open rehearsals as a streamer for years now. Maybe I should accept that there’s no audience and the show will never open.

Adam Koebel, in a recent stream, said something that kinda struck me hard. He said, “Content is a magical thing. As long as people will watch it, it’s worth doing.”

So, I’ve been okay with not having an audience, because it was part of an overall project. I had a reason to stream even if no one was watching. I had a reason to tweet, even if no one was listening. I had a reason to blog, even if no one was reading.

But, maybe I’ve been wrong about that. Maybe I should accept that whatever I’m doing is simply not of interest to other people, and doing it publicly is just wasted effort. I … think I’ve found the core problem with my streaming strategy. Actually, to be honest, this equally calls into question all of my strategies for anything and, moreover, my life choices. But, maybe that’s a little much to fully contemplate at the moment, all at once. And, it’s pretty much way too late in the game for me to change my entire life now, though I can mix things up and rearrange the deck chairs …

So, I’ve realized this month that I’ve lost the faith. I’ve given up each time I’ve sat down to start streaming. I’ve just not done it, though I could have, again, and once more, tried to keep to the project. I’ve got ideas I meant to do for streams, including continuing with video games, Illimat, and Gloomhaven, and starting up new series of Invisible Sun and Weave, and maybe other stuff. But, again, I’ve sat down to do them and ended up not doing them.

Welp. Okay then. I don’t know that I’m done streaming, but I think I’m done thinking of myself as a streamer. My first stream was back in September 2014, and my latest stream was almost a month ago. I’ve had ups and downs, and periods of streaming every day and periods of not being able to stream for various reasons. I don’t know that I won’t stream again, but I think I’m done with the project. Any bits or subs I had never reached over or near $75, so Twitch will end up keeping all of it; and eventually I’d imagine they might remove me from the Affiliate program, but who knows? (Their ways are mysterious!) I’ve shut down my patronage campaign. I’ve removed the option to subscribe to the anthology. I temporarily killed my social media accounts, but ended up keeping them active-ish. I’m going to stop posting, as I’ve been wont to do, monthly calls for submissions, or the other monthly reminders about my overall project. I don’t know if I’ll downgrade my Internet connectivity, but if I’m not streaming I sure don’t need all that bandwidth anymore.

I’m sad, tired, and disappointed, to be honest. But, okay, after this month, I guess I can accept now that the overall project is at least dormant, if not dead. The project is dead, long live the project! Nah, if it still moves, it’s probably just undead, trying to eat my brain.

Thanks to anyone that has read, watched, or soever, over the years. Thanks, if you’re not just me re-reading this for any mistakes, to you for reading this. I hate the “I’m leaving” trope, but this is, in fact, the summary of my last month. And, there it is.

Posts on the blog this last month

Here’s videos and streams

That player starts talking

You may be playing the wrong game, at the wrong table, with the wrong group if …

Everyone rolls initiative, starts taking turns in order, and you’re next. The DM turns to you, saying your character’s name, to put the focus on your chance to play … and then that other player starts talking, asking questions about their character’s equipment or spells, and begins to tell the DM what their character is doing … again.

Letter from Dr Marhaba to Tom Ovenbird, &al.

Greetings Mr Ovenbird, Greetings!

Please convey my regards to Misters Turner and Glizzard, and thank you for the story of their recent adventures. I’m sorry to hear they have suffered wounds, but am greatly gratified they are in recovery with good prospects for full recovery.

Dangerous as the our worlds are, they are made safer and better by our mutual support of each other becoming our better selves. Do let me know if there’s something I can help with using my resources to aid their progress; but I have arranged for a case of supplies to be sent as soon as possible with items that may be useful in that regard.

I read your notes about the music Turner and Glizzard discovered to a colleague who suggested something interesting. Apparently, my colleague was reminded of some ancient materials recovered from research on the long lost Serpent Kingdoms. There were recovered several examples of musical notation from those ancient days, which have been reconstructed as best as we are able. I’m of course not suggesting that the music you found was from that ancient period, but we were reminded of these reconstructions. I have included a sample being sent by my colleague, which you may enjoy and consider.

Who knows what layers of ancient past might be hiding under the surface of the estuary, just waiting to be discovered. We know that the ancient Serpent Kingdoms covered much of our world, and maybe farther, so finds both of direct artifacts and also lingering influence on subsequent eras are to be found everywhere.

When you mention the broken urn, I wanted to share two practices I’ve used to repair similar artifacts to some success. The first practice has proven useful for preserving the original appearance while displaying the historical damage, but in a way that conserves the efficacy of any effect of magic within, often allowing me to not only preserve the item but to engage in a process of repairing the magical function of those artifacts as well. In this technique, use pure gold to fill and repair crack and defects in the object, which is highly malleable and also allows magic to function. Another property of pure gold is to mellow ill effects from any maleficent magics in the original, possibly creating a much more useful artifact than the original even.

The second, as is true of so many broken things, contemplates that breaks are never fully healed, even in hearts as in urns, but that we can grow larger than our breaks. One can sometimes create surprising new artifacts using the materials from older objects by embedding the older material in new, when the older artifacts are not repairable or to be preserved as examples as they are for research.

I will send some material we’ve used successfully at the University to do this. You’ll be interested to know that this material is actually derived from mud! You may be able to create new supplies from the mud in your own estuary, so I’ll also include instructions on the preparation of more.

News of your Ms Frembas will be welcome when there is some to share.

I have recently received a crate, which I have not had a chance to investigate, from another new correspondent, Take, a small fellow who appears to have recently taken up with a newly unified tribal cohort of Goblins and is seeking out ancient forgotten places with the help of their rather amazingly well preserved oral histories, that stretch far beyond what history even those at this University know. I understand there is, as I write this, a remarkable Goblin Market being built to traffic in the arts, crafts and artifacts from those adventures and more. Sounds like a place of wondrous surprises.

Truly, much amazing news and discoveries are being made by all in many quarters, and I am honored and delighted to be able to play a part in those, applying what resources I have available to me, even if only remotely, whilst I make my own progress here.

Signed & sealed,
Hujambo Marhaba

OOC

(This is an in-character letter sent, with an OOC post-script, back in 2017, to someone playing a solitaire game using the Index Card RPG (ICRPG) rules, as a kind of meta-game correspondence play. Unfortunately, there was only one previous letter exchanged and no others, though I did come up with a draft idea of ICRPG Field Research activity, and so this didn’t develop much further, but there’s a lot about this kind of meta-game play, especially for solitaire, that appeals to me. Adding a series of correspondence to an existing game, that links different tables and players across time and space seems pretty awesome, and potentially wildly interesting.)

I know the work of Bach is not the same, and separated by much time, but as I listened to the music you linked, I was reminded of and ended up listening again to several reconstructions of ancient music, including the Hurrian Hymn to Nikkal and Ensemble De Organographia, who I got to hear in person a few years ago, playing at Marylhurst in PDX.

Thinking of that in ICRPG terms, I thought there might be threads of musical magic patterns that survive in subsequent compositions that are preserved from even more ancient works from the Serpent Kingdoms.

Consider what a reasonable but not awkwardly extravagant care package from Marhaba, a well funded adventurer at a magical University might include, and that might be send to Turner and Glizzard; perhaps roll a few times on the ICRPG loot tables, or just grab a few ideas; but something no doubt useful to them will arrive shortly or along with this letter. Something like this care package might be similar to one of many supply crates Marhaba would have on hand, prepared to take on an extended dig, for example, with health and wellness supplies, but perhaps with one or two additional gifts added to it, that may prove useful.

When talking about using gold to fill cracks, I’m of course thinking of Kintsugi, an exemplar from Japan of Wabi Sabi.

Also, when talking about creating something bigger than the original, I’m reminded of the Japanese art Dorodango, of making “shiny dumpling” mud balls, a kind of magical process!

That last, shiny mud balls, I can really imagine being a high art in Grung (from D&D) or Torton (ICRPG) / Tortle (D&D) cultures, and may be something of interest for filling out the culture of some non human settlements in the estuary area. Like finding glass balls from old fishing nets on the beach …

I’ve been on a kick thinking about Myconids, Grung, Torton/Tortle as fun “bioforms” for a swampy/wetlands area of play. I can’t shake ideas of Frog and Toad and Wind in the Willows when I think of adventures in a estuary. And, I’ve gone way off on a tangent now. But, I’ve always been very interested in non-human, even non-humanoid, characters, for a game. Lately, I’ve been dreaming of something set in a place similar to the D&D Chult, in the Snout of Omgar, with Tortle, Grung, and idek Kobolds, Myconids and Vegepygmies?!

Welp. I finally managed to record a bit of a new series for the forthcoming ICRPG Ghost Mountain setting, in Runehammer’s ICRPG Worlds, or rather, inspired by what I imagine that setting will be like. The first moments of that posted just now on youtube!

I spent way more time pulling together preparations for that than I thought I would need, but I think it turned out okay. I wanted to do something leading up to an actual Ghost Mountain adventure, as soon as the ICRPG Worlds book is out, whenever it is finished.

It has been getting darker and drearier here as the cold creeps in and the rain begins lasting weeks at a time, and I’ve not been keeping up with regular game streaming lately. I’ve been struggling a bit with that, but I do what I can.

This weekend is PAX Unplugged in Philly, so I’ve been watching streams from there. Last night was Dice Camera Action, a fun series, and tonight is Acquisitions Incorporated. Then tomorrow is The C Team. Those are all D&D live shows. Don’t know if you’ve ever watched any of that kind of thing, but I watch a few of them. Some day, I think it would be fun to be part of a live stream roleplaying game like those!

Anyhow, hope all is well with you and yours!

Thanks!

How to play ICRPG Field Research

Here is a draft from back in 2017 for a little experimental adventure using the Index Card RPG (ICRPG) effort system to do field research, especially for a solitaire adventure but, really, there’s nothing that couldn’t be used in general at your table.

This is the “brief discussion of proper sampling techniques and methods of recording observations” mentioned in Dr Marhaba’s previous letter. I’ve only really worked up structure here, and left most of the details free for your imagination in play. Let me know if you’ve comments, questions, or suggestions, if you use this.

ICRPG Field Research

Determine the maximum number of days in the season
– For example, 2d10+9 days total.

Target for each day is equal to the day number, modified by any momentum you’d like to apply, as below. In part, this represents the increasing difficulty of finding something not yet observed through the season.

Maximum effort that can be applied to tasks each day is equal to the day number x 10.

Work together, with equipment and technique, to gain effort faster; possible equipment or techniques might be things like magnifying glass, spyglass, tent blind, camouflaged clothing, sneaking to a new vantage point, having someone flush the area, trying to observe something that got away last time (as in Easy on repeat attempts), &c.

Locate

Beat target to locate a specimen or observation
– bank tokens equal to the difference above the target
– banked tokens can be used to boost other rolls as desired throughout the trial, an indicator of momentum

d6 which element is the specimen or observation found related to
– earth, air, fire, water, spirit, magic

d4 what is the specimen or observation rarity
– common, uncommon, rare, unique

Observe

d4 timer to indicate how long one has to observe the specimen or observation to get something significant

Rolls on basic effort against target to gather effort against rarity x 10 until the timer runs out
– bank tokens equal to the difference above the target
– banked tokens can be used to boost other rolls as desired throughout the trial, an indicator of momentum

Sample

d4 timer to indicate how long one has to gather a specimen to get something significant

Rolls on basic effort against target to gather effort against rarity x 10 until the timer runs out
– bank tokens equal to the difference above the target
– banked tokens can be used to boost other rolls as desired throughout the trial, an indicator of momentum

Field Notes

On successful observation create field notes

1 Description
– Facts
– Impressions
2 Illustration
3 Store sample for transport, if gathered
4 Reflection

Conclusion

Repeat until your season is complete. How many and how rare were your observations and samples for the season? What leads did you find for future research from those observations and samples? Who do you communicate your findings to and what do they do with them or say in reply?