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Sunday, 25 February 2018

Wild West Campaign: The Law of the West

In this weekend's game, most of the PCs were heading into Tombstone; Crazy Miller and Doc Thomas by train and stagecoach, Other Miller traveling on his own on the old Cimmaron Trail.

Meanwhile, Kid Taylor and his wife and infant daughter went back to Dodge City, to visit with his wife's mother, and her father Judge Wright. Kid Taylor was feeling quite bored with the visit when all of a sudden who came knocking at his door but the irascible and irredeemable Bat Masterson!

Bat, you'll recall, was Dodge County Sheriff when the PCs lived there, but had since lost re-election against the Better People (mainly because he'd lost most of his important allies when the PCs left town for East Vegas). But he'd stayed in Dodge because Bat and his brother Jim were owners of the very successful Lady Gay Saloon.

This time, though, Bat had come to see Kid over a mutual companion of theirs from their famous adventure in the Royal Gorge Rail War, Ben Thompson.  Ben's brother Billy was in deep trouble, facing hanging in the town of Oglalia, Nebraska, and of course Ben was heading to break him out. Bat and Kid both agreed immediately to help Ben, without so much as a consideration as to whether Ben's kid brother really committed the crime or not.

Crazy Miller, meanwhile, had run into an old friend on the stagecoach from Tuscon to Tombstone: Morgan Earp.

Morgan was Deputy Marshal for Pima County (his older brother Virgil being the US Marshal for the county), and he was guarding the stagecoach on account of a rich Texan and a Countess being on board. Morgan was optimistic as ever; the Earp Brothers (Virgil, Morgan, and Wyatt - who was not currently a lawman but was working private security for Wells Fargo) had bought into a large stake in the silver mines, which looked like it could be the second biggest silver strike in US history to date.  He explained how Tombstone itself was booming beyond belief, slightly disappointing Doc Thomas by explaining how in fact Tombstone already had three other Doctor's offices. It also had a huge number of saloons, whorehouses, its own Chinatown and Mexican neighborhood, butcher shop, bank, two different french restaurants, a great hotel and another in the works, all in a city that had grown ten times it's former size in the last 18 months.

It made the PCs wonder if they hadn't chosen to show up too late.

As for Other Miller, he'd been going through the desert, and found his way to a small village of Mexican-Americans, where a massacre had only just happened.  A group of local Banditos, who had taken over the town after crossing over from Sonora, had started a small gang war with the Cowboys. The Cowboys fell upon them and massacred the lot, and then had a party right in front of the corpses, while having their way with the banditos' women.  Other Miller met Curly Bill Brocius, leader of the Cowboys, and some of his men (including Sherman McMaster and Indian Charlie Cruz).

He also met the stone cold killer, Johnny Ringo, just as Johnny was murdering a priest.

At that moment, Other Miller decided that he hated the Cowboys, and would end up opposing them.

Not so much Doc Thomas; when he got to town (this being a few days later, when both the Cowboys and the PCs were back in Tombstone), Thomas went to see his boyfriend Billy Breakenridge. Billy had decided he was going to purchase the Tombstone Nugget, the local paper, rather than start up his own; and Curly Bill and the cowboys were helping him to do it. They'd taken a shine to Billy and were friendly to Doc Thomas too, promising both that if they ever had any problem with anyone in town they could just talk to them and the Cowboys would take care of it.

In the end, Doc Thomas leased an office to go into practice (with Kid Taylor, once he arrives) above the Crystal Palace saloon, for a fairly good bargain. Crazy Miller and Other Miller ended up buying no less than four lots: two to make a huge saloon and gambling hall, one for a general store, and one for Miller's platonic lady-friend and madam, Miss Scarlet, who would open a truly classy whorehouse.

As for Bat and Kid Taylor, they got to Oglalia, along with Ben Thompson and Jim Masterson, who had followed them along. They'd also kidnapped the Mormon Gambler, planning to get into the Sheriff's office in Oglalia passing themselves off as bounty hunters, and the Mormon Gambler as the infamous outlaw Derek McClue (who was his doppelganger). Unfortunately, in the process of kidnapping him the Gambler suffered a very bad concussion; so they had to come up with an alternative plan, and Kid Taylor went with one that once worked to get Doc Holliday out of jail in Fort Griffin: Jim would set fire to the lumberyard and in the chaos they'd break Billy out. It worked like a charm, but the party soon had a posse of more than 20 men riding hard behind them.

It looked grim for the gang, but then Bat remembered something: not far from where they were was a ranch belonging to someone who he thought might be willing to help them.  He got there, met the ranch's owner for the first time, shook his hand, and the ranch-owner was immediately willing to do whatever he could to help.  His name?

Buffalo Bill Cody. Though they'd never met before, Buffalo Bill knew Bat and considered him a brother. So he gave them sanctuary in his ranch, and then spirited them away from the posse in the middle of the night, helping them get back across the border to Kansas, and safety.

The interesting thing was that at this point, in 1880, a lot of the youngsters in the Wild West considered Buffalo Bill something of a joke. A sell-out, who'd gone back east and made a fortune with a totally fake "wild west show". They didn't know, the way Bat did, that Buffalo Bill was a western legend. Once upon a time, in another, earlier, wilder "wild west", he was the greatest Buffalo Hunter who ever lived. He was close friends with the likes of Wild Bill, and countless other hunters, Indian scouts, and desperados, almost all of whom were dead by then.

When they parted ways, Kid Taylor said that maybe someday, when the "wild west was over", he'd go join his show. Buffalo Bill answered that he thought it was funny, that Kid Taylor thought the Wild West wasn't over yet.  "I guess the wild west is a different thing for different people; kid. My Wild West ended a long time ago."

That's it for this session.  Kid Taylor and his family ended the session heading out toward Tombstone, and Jackson should be there too next time, so we'll be back to full complement and with all the PCs together again in one place.


Currently Smoking: Lorenzetti half-volcano + Country Doctor

Saturday, 24 February 2018

Jordan Peterson vs. "So You're Saying", pt2

Man, it's hilarious seeing someone who actually knows how to tear apart the post-modernist paradigm and use their own weapons against them as masterfully as Jordan Peterson does get confronted by these intellectual midgets like Cathy Newman, and now this VICE interviewer.
Notice how almost all of their power, and what little ability they had, goes away as soon as you:

a) Don't care about 'getting in trouble' by saying something they claim you should not be allowed to say.
b) Refuse to accept any of their double-standards and the notion of malleable truth.


Currently Smoking: Lorenzetti Poker + H&H's Chestnut

Friday, 23 February 2018

Fantastic New Video Review of Lion & Dragon!

Well, today I'll just leave you with this; if you somehow still weren't sure about buying Lion & Dragon, maybe this guy will convince you!


Currently Smoking: Moretti Rhodesian + Country Doctor

Thursday, 22 February 2018

Lion & Dragon Character Sheet Now Available FREE!

Over in the G+ Dark Albion + Lion & Dragon community, someone who just bought Lion & Dragon was asking about how they could get a quality copy of the character sheet in PDF so they could print it out.

And it really is a nice character sheet!

So, I sent word up to DOM (my publisher) and they made a free-download PDF of the character sheet over on RPGnow!

Be sure to check it out!  And check out Lion & Dragon while you're at it, of course, if you haven't done so already.  There's a reason why it's been on the bestselling top-15 of rpgnow for three months now!


Currently Smoking: Lorenzetti Oversize + H&H's Chestnut

Wednesday, 21 February 2018

Classic Rant: Real Magick in RPGs: Thelema

In a modern occult game, the PCs might run into some new-age goofballs, or some neo-pagan eclectics, while they're looking for someone who can provide them some kind of information or real magical assistance. Chances are, those people will be useless. But sooner or later, someone is going to point them to some guy or some group that they think of as "dark", or even more often as "assholes", but that may actually have the information or skills they seek; odds are, those will be the Thelemites.

Don't get me wrong: chances are most of the Thelemites will be useless too!

Thelema is in many ways the 20th century's greatest magical tradition, born out of the Golden Dawn (which was the 19th's greatest tradition), and it was directly or semi-directly the source of so much of what we think of as Occultism today, including Wicca, most Neo-Paganism, Chaos Magick, and it was even peripherally involved in the rise of Scientology. Not to mention being a big influence on a lot of the big movers of the hippie era: Timothy Leary, William S. Burroughs, the Beatles, Led Zeppelin, David Bowie, discordianism, Robert Anton Wilson... from both the artistic and the 'philosophical' side (using that term loosely), Thelema was the well from which they all drank.

So what's the deal with it? That might be too much to express in just one blog entry, so you may need to do some extra research if you really give a damn. But putting it in brief, Thelema was a radical new expression of everything that had come before in western magick, and set up as a truly complete and coherent system of rigorous esoteric/spiritual practice for the first time in at least 1500 years in the west.

It was founded on a series of Holy Books that were received by Aleister Crowley in 1904 (at which time he had already been an ex-magician, having worked in the Golden Dawn, become disillusioned, and taken up Buddhism instead), through a vision his wife had on their honeymoon while they were spending the night inside the Great Pyramid of Giza (because back then you could just do that, if you had money). The vision led him into communication with the solar-god Ra-Hoor-Khuit through a being called Aiwass, who was Crowley's own Augoeides (guiding spirit, or the reflection of his higher self, if you want to simplify it somewhat).

These workings led Crowley to re-invent the magical system already developed by the Golden Dawn into a new system, a mixture of magical practice with a new pagan-inspired (but not inherently pagan) philosophy, centered around the core teaching of the Book of the Law: "Do what thou wilt shall be the whole of the Law; Love is the law, love under will". The system was a kind of western Tantra, involving the overcoming of one's self through rigorous yogic practice, ceremonial magick, meditation, and initiations.

Again, that's all the theory. In practice, what happened is that like anything else in occultism, the vast majority of people involved decided that it's a lot easier to be a poser than to be legit. Crowley was a transgressive figure, and his reputation for breaking all the rules caused him to make relatively little ground in his own lifetime; by the time he died in 1947, in spite of some initial gains, there were probably only a few dozen Thelemites in the entire world. But later, in the 1960s, Crowley's philosophy took off among the hippies and the post-hippies and later among the punks and the heavy-metal fans and the goths, so that there are now probably tens of thousands of Thelemites world-wide, and a lot more people who are peripherally connected to his work (whether they know it or not).

But most of these people were really drawn to the idea of "Do what thou wilt" just meaning "do what you like", or they were drawn to the sex-magic stuff (which was really only one small, though important, part of Thelema, and not for beginners), or to the idea that it might be "satanic" (a claim mostly made by its detractors). So just like you have a lot of neo-pagans who are really mistaking their religion for a D&D-Larp or a Ren Faire, today you have a lot of Thelemites who are really mistaking their religion for playing at being Azrael Abyss.

(future "thelemites")

That is, again, one of the main things to remember in running a genuine modern-occult games. Real magical teachings are NOT hard to find, you don't need to go to old libraries and look for difficult texts for months; you can get it all on the internet these days. But its really really hard to find people who have actually worked the work, regardless of the tradition. 
For a lot of Thelemites, their work consists in having occasionally read some of Crowley's work, having maybe done a Banishing Ritual once or twice in their lives, maybe having joined the O.T.O. (the most popular Thelemic group), which is a bit like Freemasonry but less stable and more lame, or just hanging around wiccan/pagan groups freaking them out and telling them that their whole 'ancient religion' is just ripped off Crowley...

It doesn't help that by definition, Thelema is one of the ultimate Individualist philosophies. "Every man and every woman is a star", says the Book of the Law; which is to say every person is unique and must find their will (their true Will, the guidance of their higher self, again really simplifying it there). This means a lot of Thelemites don't generally play well in groups. Thelemites are a crazy mix of radical lefties, total libertarians, anarchists, quasi-fascists, drop-out stoners, off-the-grid nutsos, and general whackos. As always, the ones who are really good at it, who do the work and have gotten somewhere, are often not very interested in spending a lot of time around all the other guys, or if they do they keep what they've done relatively quiet.

Even so, if you can find one of those guys, they're the ones most likely, in all the western traditions, of having something worth telling you or showing you. Ironically, for a system that says "do what thou wilt" and for a movement that is so full of people who are often about style (usually 'sinister' style) over substance, the actual PRACTICE of Thelema requires an insane amount of discipline. The payoff is that it is the most coherent magical system for systematically gaining the skills necessary for magical work. Once again, none of the teaching is secret, but the art of how to apply it in the right order is just really hard, and thus usually ignored or skipped over. It sure does bring results, if you follow through though.


Currently Smoking: Masonic Meerschaum + Image Perique

(Originally posted April 10th, 2015)

Tuesday, 20 February 2018

RPGPundit Presents #20: Arkhome II

Wow. Seriously, I can't believe we're already at the 20th issue of RPGPundit Presents! I have to say it's been doing quite well these few months, and a big thank-you to everyone who's ever bought one. And if you haven't, check out the whole list below at the bottom of this blog entry, because you'll be bound to find something you'll find interesting, and all for only a couple of bucks.

That is, if you don't find Arkhome II interesting, which you should. For just $2.99, you get a 21 page continuation of our previous issue, RPGPundit Presents #16: The Great City of Arkhome. Technically, you can use Arkhome II in your gonzo/weird-fantasy OSR gaming without having to own the first Arkhome, but seriously, why not?
If you buy them both, you get a 39 page city book that has everything you could want for under $6! 

So Arkhome I had the introduction to the city, one of the last refuges of pure-strain humanity in the world of the Last Sun, in the middle of a huge desert, inside of a canyon, made from the shells of great rocket ships. You got the background of the different power groups and vicious gangs that run the city, including the Assassin King and the Snake Witch, locked in a war for dominance, as well as other groups like the old families, the thieves guild, and Queen BooBoo and her halfling savages that live on the canyon floor. You got a set of tables for generating random tower levels, and some big tables of random adventure seeds for the different tower levels.

So what do you get in Arkhome II?  Here's where things get even weirder! You get:

-The mysterious interdimensional trading post known as The Curiosity Shoppe

-The Giant Snail farms of Arkhome, chief resource of the city, and details on this precious source of power

-Information about the Dwarves of Arkhome, and the not-very-secret plans of Prince Flarb son of Marb to enact the 12,445th great expedition!

-The Evil Parrot, possibly the single most dangerous creature in Arkhome (well, second most dangerous, after the mad wizard Nikos).

-The new bird-mask-wearing cult/gang of violent lunatics known as the Halconlords, and why they might just conquer the entire city. Learn the secret of the Ribond, and who is the master behind the weirdest badass gangsters ever

-A whole new table of DCC-style 0-level Occupations, specifically tailored for creating 0-level characters or NPCs for the city of Arkhome! Featuring over 80 unique professions! 

-Lotus Powder, the drug of choice on Arkhome's streets

-Find out if the "imported pork" can be trusted!

-Cave-scorpion poison!

-And last but definitely not least, some very big detailed random tables for random events and encounters covering the surrounding Desert, the Canyon cliffside and its caves, and the Subsurface Catacombs below Arkhome.

The city of Arkhome is one of the most important areas of the World of the Last Sun, but assuming you're not running your game there (and don't want to visit), you can put Arkhome into just about any Weird Fantasy setting, isolated as it is, or use the material in their for your own grubby weird-fantasy city full of gangs and strange goings-on.

So be sure to check out Arkhome II on DTRPG, or at the Precis Intermedia webstore!

And while you're at it, be sure to pick up the rest of the great supplements in the RPGPundit Presents series:

RPGPundit Presents #1: DungeonChef!

RPGPundit Presents #2: The Goetia  (usable for Lion & Dragon!)

RPGPundit Presents #3: High-Tech Weapons

RPGPundit Presents #5: The Child-Eaters (an adventure scenario for Lion & Dragon!)

RPGPundit Presents #17: The Hunters (an adventure for Lion & Dragon!)

Stay tuned for more next week!


Currently smoking: Brigham Anniversary + Image Latakia 

Monday, 19 February 2018

The Frantabulous Gonzo Robot Generator (now Multilingual)!

So, I already posted here last week about my RPGpundit Presents #19: the Frantabulous Gonzo Robot Generator. It's an awesome little product if I say so myself, letting you create random robots with a gonzo flavor for your OSR Gonzo Fantasy or Gonzo Sci-Fi needs!

(it also has the stats for BOLT-0, the legendary Robot NPC from my DCC Last Sun campaign)

Anyways, you get all kinds of tables, not just for generating robot stats and special abilities, but also name, purpose, desires and hobbies.

And now, you can get it in Spanish!

El Fantabuloso Generador Gonzo De Robots  is now available from DTRPG, or here from the Precis website.

"Crea robots, androides, cíborgs y otras entidades artificiales para juegos OSR de temática gonzo (u otro tipo de fantasía). Ya sea máquinas sin conciencia o robots inteligentes, esta colección de tablas aleatorias pueden generar una gran variedad de modelos, nombres, formas y otros rasgos."

So, check it out in either language!


Currently Smoking: Neerup Egg + Image Virginia