Tuesday, February 14, 2017

This Game is Ugly

A few nights ago while wrapping up a game, I realized something...my drawings are ugly. Misshapen, lump ridden, fluid oozing, splotchy, wall-eyed. At their best simply just visually maladjusted. My technique is both amateurish and unpleasant. This is not entirely through lack of skill.

These drawings, the ombudsmen of my DIY RPG has been online for a while now. I do not get comments on my drawings. (I used to drive a Charger painted camouflage. No one ever commented on that either. Par for the course).

My illustrations are purposeful, they are faithful representations of my game reality. I like them the same way that rust blossoms from underneath a protective coating. It brings to mind something my mom once said about my artwork, that it “glorified war and objectified women”.

I read a lot. In between books two and three of the Dune sextilogy, I read a Zine called Rocket Queen. It’s authored by a stripper who writes about her vocation. In the second issue she talks about “The Whore of Babylon” and I quote “The whore as a symbol is a shortcut. A lack of imagination supplemented with an easy metaphor.” This struck a chord with me and partially clarified why I make everything in my game ugly. 

Ugliness is a great leveler. In this world we allow ourselves to be conditioned by the trope of beauty.  In the world of RPG’s beautiful imagery becomes an “easy metaphor” which encourage “a lack of imagination”. Beauty = Power. So shortsighted and dull. Why can’t Galadriel have buck teeth? Wonder Woman with a huge proboscis and a uni-brow? If anyone deserves a hump, it’s Maleficent. Alas, I am truly beating a dead horse.

Everything in my game is riddled with a flaws. One table might inform you that you have a “head shaped like rotted fruit”.  You can elect to take the skill “Nervous Tick” and throw opponents off by twitching. Arcanists can cast a spell called “Big Long Tongue”. A “Fighting Scroatt” has an attack in which you are grabbed by its mouth so that your “head goes down into stomach acids that melts facial features”.

Non-beautification bonds everyone together. I find that people interact within the game differently, they ask questions more, want to know, spend time on actions and details. One reason may be that the “Beauty = Power” formula erases creativity. When a player sees the “Beautiful (fill in the blank)”, they don’t ask any more questions.

I don’t think I’ll be trying to draw anything beautiful soon.

You can find all two issues of the Rocket Queen Zine at: https://microcosmpublishing.com/

Sunday, February 5, 2017

Amazing Crypt Lord Screen

Many moons ago I posted a new ref screen, designed for more referee/player visibility. It's a great design, except that it's not very portable. Well, not any more...


Typically I carry all my stuff to some location to play. The goal it to have everything fit into two small portable files, designed to hold 8 1/2 x 11 paper. This screen has many features: 1) I made it as short as possible so everyone could see my face clearly at all times (this also works in reverse). 2) The front acts as an angled display base for illustrations, maps and notes. 3) The top edge holds dice and pencils. And now it fits into my portable file. Gaming infrastructure gets a bad rap, but when the detrimental elements of the physical process of gaming is eliminated, you are left with a better experience. 

I am still slaving away on my events for Gary Con IX. After that, there will be a more svelte version of the above screen. Eagle eyed viewers may have spotted the other big innovation in the video, it will be revealed soon!

Here is link to the ref screen post: http://crypts-n-creepies.blogspot.com/2016/01/coolest-gamemaster-screen-ever.html

Wednesday, February 1, 2017

You Break It...You Bought It!

Real crypt openers give the tourist infested White Market a wide berth. But a few days of climbing out of pits and listening at doors wears down even the most veteran plunderers. Ah! The market awaits. You have a few sodiums jingling in your pocket and those sun dried meat strips sure look good. Never mind the whole place is awash in the cheapest trash this side of Mordor. What harm is there in laughing at the “Big Svensen” t-shirts, sand-globes and mustache steins? Live a little! Why look here’s a replica of Eve L. Hay Ed’s Cursed Crystal Skull. Look at the detail of the mystic runes and the simulated anti-life glow. It even seems to radiate pure evil and the tag says it’s only 1 mercury piece...

Crypt openers will have literally 240 minutes of non-stop fun in this adventure I like to call…”You Break It...You Bought It!”. The event is scheduled for 8 am on Saturday. Your chair awaits!

One of the many interesting characters in C-N-C

Sunday, January 29, 2017

Matchbook Adventure Awaits!

Within Adventurers Row it's dark. This transition means less that there is a lack of light, but more of the coming shift change. False prophets exchange places with scantily clad Enticers. The aroma of glandular exertion is smothered by the acrid smell of unpolished metal. Make no mistake: the bright sunlight has never stopped a blade from stealing a persona’s PHP, but night seems to throw a few more negatives into the mix. It is said that all trails of blood start and end at the entrance of the Gran Roach. Never mind the devils head facade of cracked azure tile, or the zig zag patterns around the door which are cleverly placed to lead your eye away from multiple closed circuit crystal balls. A robed figure approaches you, stops close enough so that you can hear her whisper “pssst...wanna get small?”. You look down to see a slim hand holding a partially open matchbook. You don’t have to look inside, you know the law regarding these matters. The knot in your back from sleeping on the ground connects directly with your neck and you nod without thinking. Before you can entertain second thoughts you’re already shrinking and being sucked into the deadly labyrinth that awaits you in the Arcanists palm...

This 4 hour romp pits tiny versions of yourselves against the terror of a palm sized crypt. I'll be your Crypt Lord and run suckers contestants through this tiny abattoir at Gary Con Friday the 24th at 12 noon. Two have already signed up, There are slots for 6 more. Don't make me grab people at random, like last year...

BTW, I'll put up info on the other C-N-C adventure in a few days. No takers on this or BLIND, yet...

Sunday, January 1, 2017

Vascular Stalker, Poprockazoid, Other Worldly Lard Ass, Snareoid and Hornettes

Vascular Stalker

Size: 12 feet tall
Number: 1
Movement: 50 feet per Na-nuta
Disposition: Looking for pure organs
Heat vision: Yes and can sense a heart most pure like a compass up to 10 miles.
Surprise: +2
CHP: 12d12 (2d12)
Muscle Power: 12 + 1d12 (Ave 19) (+1)
Cerebral Energy: 6 + 3d6  (Ave 16)
Nimbality: 2d6 (Ave 7)
Armor: Fat: +1
Blind Panic: 60%

Description: No one knows what foul temple laboratory these things spawn from. These creatures are mystically drawn to beings of pure heart and live only to rip them from their living host and feast upon them. Each mouthful adds the bonuses listed in parentheses, above. Vascular Stalkers are clever hunters, they will follow their victims for months or even years at a time.

x2 leg scythes: inflicts 2d8 PHP +MPB each.

x2 tubular suckers: range of 25 feet can suck objects as large as a gargo-goat or rip off 2d6 PHP section of flesh. When attacking a creature with a pure heart, tubular suckers inflict double damage.

x1 bite: victim must be within 10 feet, inflicts 4d6 PHP loss.

These creatures have the abilities of a 1d4th grid sneak.

Live Action Rule: Upon meeting this creepie, each player secretly writes down which among their group is most foul. The Crypt Lord collects the votes and the Vascular Stalker will ignore the winning persona during combat. (Note, the results are kept secret).


Size: 1-2 feet tall
Number: 1, 1d6, 3d6
Movement: 0
Disposition: Restful and/or alert (I'm watching you miss Robinson...)
Heat vision: Yes
Surprise: +12
CHP: 1d6
Muscle Power: 1d6
Cerebral Energy: 1d4
Nimbality: 1d4
Armor: Rock shell, +2
Blind Panic: 10%

Description: These creatures typically are found in rock piles within underground caves. Anytime a warm creature gets within 10 feet of one of these they instantly pop open revealing a large watchful eye that emits a soft yellowish beam of light. The beam is 30 feet long and 10 feet wide. The eye is connected to a leathery stalk and will only go back to sleep once there is no warmth or motion within 30 feet for 3 Deca-nutas.


Live Action Rule: It is said, if you stare into the eye of a Poprockazoid long enough, you can see what they have seen. To simulate have a staring contest with the Crypt Lord. If you win, he/she/it must tell you something useful that the Poprockazoid has seen. If you lose...you have a permanent yellow spot in your vision for the rest of the PEOG that has a -10%/-2 effect on any action using your eyes.

Other Worldly Lard Ass

Size: 8 foot cube
Number: 1
Movement: 60 feet per Na-nuta and spiritual manifestation
Disposition: “Yawn”
Heat vision: Yes
Surprise: +6
CHP: 1d6
Muscle Power: n/a
Cerebral Energy: 2d10 (10)
Nimbality: 12 + 1d12 (19)
Armor: Slack +8
Blind Panic: 80%

Description: Spiritual beings of pure slack, they are drawn to this dimension during periods of great activity to restore balance. There is a 1% chance during any stressful or vigorous activity (such as a pitched battle) that one of these spiritual beings will appear to restore balance. 

These creatures may never be harmed on purpose. The only things that affect them must be accidental.

When this being appears, all creatures within the area (usually 100 foot radius, or as defined by the Crypt Lord) must make successful blind panic rolls each Na-nuta or fall asleep. The OWLA will remain for 1 + 1d4 Na-nutas or until all the creatures in the area are asleep. Sleep lasts 1d7 days and restores all lost PHP.

Live Action Rule: Any player who can keep their head down for 5 minutes and not be bothered or make any sounds will appease the Other Worldly Lard Ass and it will be satisfied and leave immediately.


Size: 4 feet fern with 2d20 foot long snare vines
Number: 1, or clump of 2d6
Movement: 0
Disposition: Devious
Heat vision: No
Surprise: +15
CHP: 1d6
Muscle Power: Vines have 2d10 (11)
Cerebral Energy: 1d4
Nimbality: 1d4
Armor: Thorns +1
Blind Panic: 15%

Description: Thorny ferns with long vines that snake around the ground waiting for the unwary. Sure, they love little meaty tidbits. Shoes...blehhh! Note, some beings have been able to train these plants as guardians and spray various toxins on their thorns….

x1, or 2, or 3 snare attacks: If a persona is surprised, the snare grabs around a leg (or other support appendage) and reels the victim 1d20 feet towards the main body of the plant which is covered in thorns that inflict 1d8 PHP loss per Na-nuta.

Live Action Rule: Anyone caught touching a non-worn, non-furniture plant is instantly grabbed by a snare from the nearest Snareoid and attacked.


Size: 30 foot fadial mass
Number: Thousands
Movement: 100 feet per Na-nuta
Disposition: Perturbed
Heat vision: No
Surprise: 0
CHP: Special
Muscle Power: n/a
Cerebral Energy: 2d8 (9)
Nimbality: n/a
Armor: n/a
Blind Panic: 25%

Description: Hgp sized winged insectoids that live in mud nests. If the nest is disturbed, they will form a defensive swarm to drive away intruders.

Anyone in the 30 foot radial footprint is affected by the maddening tooting of the thousands of insect tongues. All individuals must make a successful insanity factor check each Na-nuta. Failure means they must stop the dreadful sound. This means doing everything in their power, up to ripping their ears off to make it stop. Once affected, the sound never stops, it lives inside the head of the victim until the swarm peacefully retreats back into the nest.

Live Action Rule: Anyone who can spot a live insect can make an insanity factor check to throw off the effects of the Hornettes. This can also be passed to another player.

Tuesday, December 27, 2016

Merchandising Juggernaut

Happy Festivus
to all the
Swordinga Swinging Rubbernecks
of the world!

Look for these bee-yoot-afull designs...and more!

Tuesday, December 20, 2016

Shameless Promotion: Blind RPG

Its official. Blind debuts at Gary Con IX.

Information at: http://blindrpg.blogspot.com/

The print version available spring 2017. Includes rules and 3 experiences.