Campaign idea I’ll never use – Vehement

The party are part of a secret US government agency tasked with studying / protecting a cache of alien weapons and technology discovered in a cave in the New Mexico badlands. Thanks to a rosetta stone of sorts found in the Roswell crash, some of the text accompanying the find is translated. Phrases such as "extinction" and "the infestation" and "designed to exterminate the horrible creatures" and "protect the colonies" lead the group the belief that the alien weapons were designed to fight off some sort of invading horde.


They'll have to fight off other black ops agencies from other countries, and even some in the US government, that have also made similar discoveries and either want to be the only ones controlling the weapons or to force public disclosure. Eventually, they're authorized to use the weapons against other enemy agencies, to viciously deadly effect.


And then a hologram is unlocked. Even without understanding the aliens' spoken language, the images displayed are enough to explain that the infestation ... is man.

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Dynamo for download

I've updated my games download page to include Dynamo. I haven't updated the artwork yet, but the game is playable, and I'm proud of it, so there you go.

One thing - in updating the site today, I added as a sub domain, and then added I'll be using SuburbanRobot as my game name since I already have the business license and I'll eventually convert the main page to reflect that.

Anyway, I noticed that GCI was super fast in updating the domain, but as of this writing (several hours after creating the domain) it still hasn't updated, although that was made first.

So if you're on GCI, use

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AARG is here! (Mostly)

So I've been on a sort of radio silence lately here on the blog for a few reasons -

1. My regular gaming group broke up. I won't go into details, but "I'm an asshole, that's just how I am" doesn't make it OK that you're an asshole.

2. My regular gaming group got back together - minus the asshole. And we're moving forward with the American Auror campaign.

3. Because American Auror is actually going to get played this century, I needed to finish the AARG magic rules ...

And I did! The AARG Pre-Flight Edition is here!

What's the difference between Pre-Flight and the "real" edition? Functionally, nothing. My plan is to have everything AARG be free. However, free doesn't pay hosting fees, so AARG will be split into Pre-Flight and Universal editions. The rules content will be the same in both versions, but the Universal Edition will have skill indexes to quickly find skills based on name, cost, and related stat, will include an expanded Narrator's guide with advice on running AARG games written with new GM's in mind, and will be designed with an eye for printing the books instead of the digital-only expectation for the Pre-Flight edition.

Anyway, you can now download the Pre-Flight edition which is a completely playable version of the rules.

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Robocop (2014) <3 Robocop (1987)

Read any of the critical reviews of the new Robocop movie, and the complains will mostly boil down to one of three angles -

1. This is not how I would have done it.
2. It's not how I wanted them to do it.
3. All sequels suck.

All three are valid reasons for not liking a film. However, none of them is a reflection on the quality of the film, just as the hatred for the new Robocop stems more from our inherent distaste for "reboots" than any actual critique of the film itself.

The new Robocop film is not an attempt to tell a new version of the same story, it's actually a pretty different story from the original. But it does understand its cinematic DNA, and, unlike other remakes, actually makes an attempt to honor that ancestry while still trying to be something different.

In short, the new Robocop is just as much a popcorn action flick as the original and equally worth your time.

A few light spoilers ahead, but nothing you couldn't get from the trailers.


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Intrigue, Part 1

One of the hardest things I've had to deal with so far in plotting out American Auror is in keeping the individual adventures intriguing. I've got plenty of story ideas at the campaign level, but I realized quickly that my normal adventure style of starting a bad event in motion and then letting the party investigate and deal with the event as they see fit wouldn't work here. I have to keep the pace moving, keep things tense, and most importantly make the party feel like they were constantly behind the bad guys. I have to provide a constant stream of villains and plots operating outside of the "normal" world's view - to quote Tommy Lee Jones in MIB - "There's always an Aquillian battle cruiser. Or a Corillian death ray. Or an intergalactic plague that is about to wipe out all life on this miserable little planet. And the only way these people can got on with their happy lives is that they. do not. know about it." In short, if I want to keep the party from charging in guns blazing and confronting problems in public, head on the way they normally do, then I need to ramp up the intrigue and make each adventure a guessing game.


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Dynamo Updated


I've been distracted lately in working on Dynamo, which is the system I developed for NaGaDeMon. Like GENERALA before it, it's kind of taken on a life of it's own once people started playing it. Originally, the Dynamo rules document was a two-page slapdash thing that introduced character creation and the basics of game play. Unfortunately, while that was fun to put together, unless your game consists almost entirely of players telling each other stories that short of a document doesn't cover enough. There were a few topics that people who played with the brief rules wanted clarification on.

What were my thoughts on just punching someone without using a power? How many points should GM's spend on villains and minions? When do defeated characters get to rejoin the game?

Unfortunately, these are important questions for the kind of game I've written.

So I've gone back to the drawing board and, returning to the golden age inspirations I called on before, I redesigned and expanded the rules document. I've padded out the text to get away from the vague hand-waving and include some actual rulings on different behaviors. It's still a pretty lite system, but I think it's more solid and playable now.

I'll move the document over to my games page when I find the time to do the artwork up proper.


In the meantime, you can download the post-Beta Dynamo PDF here.


Be sure to drop me a note here or on G+ if you dig the system.

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Uncle Dungeoning Ma’att – #13 The City of the Dead


Being dead twice in as many hours can have an affect on a person. As I said before, nephew, the first experience had a profound impact on me, one which I wish to process further before commenting on.

My second experience, which I had as I was pulled down under the mountain, bouncing along the caves with the rushing waters, was far more prosaic. I dreamt, as a floated through the darkness, that I was being carried along by many hands. Then, for a moment, I was flying, to be caught by a beautiful mermaid. She kissed me deeply, and I could feel the fire of her kiss spreading down into my chest.

Again, one need not stretch one’s imagination too far to discern the imagery my mind placed on the events my body was undoubtedly going through. Still, it was a beautiful dream.

It’s a shame then that the first face I saw upon my return to the land of the living was that of Baleban.


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Campaign idea I’ll never use – Mystery Sentai

The characters are local civil servants of various types who work in an office building on the edge of town. It's ancient, few people work there, and there's constant wonder that it hasn't been closed down to save money. Then, one day, they're in a garage area that nobody goes to and suddenly a door opens that they didn't see there before.



Campaign idea I’ll never use – Elementary, Dear Data

The players are asked to restat one of their favorite previous characters and email the GM with a small bio and a bit about where the character was when last they left them. At the start of game play, all players hand their character sheet and bio to the person to their left.


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Campaign idea I’ll never use – Praying to the wrong gods

The gods are back, and they're wrecking shit.


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