Jeffro's Space Gaming Blog

Microgames, Monster Games, and Role Playing Games

Blog Watch: Old Man Henderson, Black Geeks, Room for Whimsey, and the OSR’s Third Wave

Call of Cthulhu (1d4chan) Old Man Henderson — “One Molotov And about 20 rounds later, the Shoggoth is dead, as is the cult leader, the Professor (he made the mistake of trying to make peace-maker mid murderous rampage) and about 10 assorted cultists. Old Man Henderson then pissed on the Shoggoth’s corpse, got back in his battered ’92 Buick Century, and went home. The whole event was over in about ten minutes game time and nobody thought to get the Buick’s plates. The building burned down shortly, along with about half the written plot, and every lead either of the other surviving players had. The GM called a break then to figure out how to fix and/or work around what I just did. It only got crazier from there.”

What He Said (Declination) Amazing Stories: Run by an Amazing Asshole — “These are all the people you insulted over the years. These are the people that Worldcon jeered at when they were No Awarded. These are the people the SFWA has repeatedly maligned, that Patrick Nielsen Hayden has publicly insulted. Did you really think there would be no reaction from decades of this behavior? And, when that reaction came, are you surprised that it was comprised largely of individuals of the political philosophy you were maligning?”

D&D (Searching for Magic) First Session Report: Journey to the Keep — “They took the two books even though they discussed the option of just leaving them there. Both books now link them back to Specularum and I’m hoping I can use them to pull the party into B6 The Veiled Society or some other kind of shenanigans in the big city. They are hoping to sell the books since the receipt they found says they are so valuable.”

Tropes (Bloomberg Review) Hollywood Gives Its Black Geek a Promotion — “The black geek is never the protagonist. He may be brilliant, but he’s essentially part of the equipment. Rich Purnell (Donald Glover) is the ideal type: He appears, ingeniously solves a technical problem, and disappears. He’s the perfect nerd, a brainiac with no back story and no personal life. It’s casting that could pass muster in 1966, respectful but other. It’s casting as set decoration.”

Appendix N (From the Comments) OSR Tropes and Implied Settings — “There’s definitely zeitgeist involved. People playing in the 90s reading the fantasy fiction of their day were playing different games than people playing in the 70s reading the fiction of their day.”

Appendix N (The Tome Show) The Appendix N Podcast – Episode 23 – The Legion of Space by Jack Williamson — “One of the things that I’m learning as we go through Appendix N is just how little I actually know about 20th century science fiction. It’s a little bit like trying to get across the Untied States with a map that just has Los Angeles, New York, Chicago, and Dallas on it.”

Traveller (Tales to Astound!) TRAVELLER: Out of the Box – Subsector Basic Assumptions — “I get the feeling people writing about The Third Imperium saw nobility as meritocracy-worthy bureaucrats with cool titles. I don’t have much patience for that. The Traveller rules assume a feudal social structure. I want all the mess and social and political crisis and tension that offers. Blood lines matter, power is passed down through children and family members, and Royal Families work hard to keep their pride and power through both hard and harsh methods. And when things fall apart they fall apart badly. All the Official Traveller Universe always downplays this. And I assume it is in an effort to keep the politics and social structure stable and static at all costs. As a strategy for building a constant setting to sell to consumers this makes perfect sense. As a strategy for building a setting ripe for adventure it makes no sense at all.”

Comics (Dr. Xaos Comics Madness) Jackpot, Tiger — “MJ is completely up-front and cheerful about her chosen life-style which includes coming-on to anyone she happens to like and doing whatever she wants with them, but completely free of any games or lies. There is no, absolutely no hint that she’s unhappy about it or would be better off with (‘needs’) a standard relationship, no disclosure panel of her sobbing when alone, or looking mournfully off to the side as she says something superficial. And as far as I can tell, there is not even the hint that this life is going to come crashing down on her or result in anything tragic for her at all … this, in 1970. It might be the single most subversive depiction of a female character in the whole of comics, relative to its publishing date.”

Comics (Comics, old time radio and other cool stuff) There Should Always be Room for a Little Whimsey — “The existence of characters such as Bizarro and Mr. Mxyzptkl in the Silver Age DC Universe was, in the end, one of its strengths. It was, after all, a multi-faceted universe with countless diverse elements. It’s nice to know that Mort Weisinger and his writers remembered that there was room for some occasional whimsey along with the constant barrage of Earth-threatening evil plots.”

Rpg Design (Department V) Clomping Feet, Part 3: Settings and the 3rd Wave — “Settings should be written from a GM-player perspective; too many are written from an author-reader perspective, and do not acknowledge the need for these mechanisms, and are incomplete products as a consequence.”

OSR (RpgPundit) RPGPundit Reviews: Yoon-Suin – The Purple Land — “The setting of the book is not presented in a static way; instead the regions have general information, and then tables which are used to randomly (or by selection) generate details about the area where the game will be taking place. There are also tables for creating connections and groups linked to the PCs, and rumor/hook tables for providing adventure seeds. There’s other tables too: random encounter tables, and tables for fleshing out smaller areas. So a GM would, at the start of a campaign, create a unique interpretation of the setting.”

OSR (What a horrible night to have a curse) Is it time for the Third Wave of the OSR? —  “Will this be the next phase of the OSR? Supplemental rulebooks that bolt onto your favorite rule set to change the flavor/setting a bit, but otherwise follow the rules of the parent game? Some publishers would actually create both a full version and a cut down ‘stage three’ version. Maybe give away the Stage Three supplement for free, and sell the whole rulebook for those who like to consult a single volume when they play?”

TV (SuperversiveSF) “Daredevil” is Superversive — “This, my friend is wonder: It is awe. It is a lone man, human, broken, nevertheless willing to fight for the weak and downtrodden, and despite all his failings and faults, to come out victorious. And THIS is how you display such a thing, make it convincing, make the audience believe that you have just witnessed a victory won only after a monumental struggle. You see how he needs to brace himself before he enters that restaurant. You know the pain he is in well before he walks in the door.”

2 responses to “Blog Watch: Old Man Henderson, Black Geeks, Room for Whimsey, and the OSR’s Third Wave

  1. Cambias November 13, 2015 at 9:32 pm

    In an old Call of Cthulhu campaign I played in, the group’s slogan was “If burning down a warehouse isn’t the answer, you haven’t phrased the question properly.”

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