Blog

Write Your First Adventure | Call of Cthulhu, part one

This is the main reason for my Creative November, Storytelling Collective‘s Write Your First Adventure – Call of Cthulhu path.

It’s another creative thing I’ve always wanted to have done. Write a Call of Cthulhu roleplaying adventure to a professional standard and have it for sale through DriveThruRPG or similar. It doesn’t even need to be available for sale, but if I’m putting some real effort into something then what’s a bit of financial renumeration?

Anyway, there’s a handy workbook to work through (and who doesn’t like a workbook to work through?)

The first so many days are all prep work with the actual writing commencing around day 7 or 8.

But I’d like to post some of the progress here too.

The first activity is a bit of personal reflection.

Activity One

How do you currently feel as you embark on this workshop?

I’m nervous. But excited.

What is one thing you hope to get out of it?

A completed Call of Cthulhu adventure of a reasonable quality, that other folks can enjoy too.

Also, to have another completed project under my belt. I’m not good at finishing things.

What do you feel nervous/anxious about?

Just the uncertainty of a project I’ve not done before. I’ve written wee scenarios and adventures for RPG gaming in my teens but nothing coherent.

Write a positive affirmation for yourself.

I can do this. Others can and I’m not an idiot. I’m a creative person. And I can finish this if I apply myself.

I’ll post the next one later.

Links:
Call of Cthulhu
DrivethruRPG
Storytelling Collective

Creative November, Part One

First things first, I’m not doing NaNoWriMo this year. But I am doing a Creative November.

What does that mean?

Well, a bit of writing everyday.

It doesn’t have to be main story stuff. Could just be a bit of worldbuilding, some character work or expanding on some in-world terminology.

I’m using a new notebook I treated myself to a week or so ago. I’m a whore for a new notebook. 🙂

So, yesterday I put the first few hundred words down on a new story. It has no proposed length but I have an end(of sorts) in mind.

There’s no pressure, just committing some mental resourses to something I used to enjoy. Also, it’s good for the mental health to have something to do that isn’t just the mundane housework.

What’s the story?

It’s starting as a police procedural type on a distant, recently settled world. I have some mad ideas to add to it. No wizards or giant robots though. I don’t think it’s that kind of tale. 🙂

Links:
NaNoWriMo

Giving Prometheus a Second Try

When I first saw Prometheus I was massively annoyed by it. Just lots of small nitpicking issues. (Of course, I realise this now. Ha!)

The finger in the drink from David to Charlie is the big one that everyone who has a problem with the film seems to have. But last night, watching it for the second time, I was a lot more forgiving. Charlie is drunk and bitter in the scene. His Engineer gods are nothing of the sort, and he’s drunk and taking it out on David. So David passes him a drink with his finger in it for just a bit longer than being sneaky or an accident.

See this here though, Charlie doesn’t like David, and the android is being as confrontational as perhaps his programming allows. In his manner, at least. So, a finger in his booze is much of a middle finger to Charlie.

It seems to make sense on a second viewing.

At the time of seeing the film in the cinema I remember having other issues but none were evident watching it last night. I really enjoyed it. Well acted, with a good cast. The visuals were incredible. And the story is solid.

There is one thing. The xenomorph reveal at the end. I don’t know it that was a late addition to the film because it looks goofy and I think you’d have a better effect with the Engineer on the ground, convulsing, with his chest bursting open and a brief glimpse of a crazy looking chestburster, then the screen goes black.

Just an idea.

I’m on to Alien Covenant this evening, watching it for the first time. Hopefully I’ll enjoy it.

There’s Stompin’ and There’s STOMPIN’

Although I’ve not played any Warhammer at all this year, my mini painting has continued in fits and starts.

A wee while ago I sucummbed to the voice in my head – one of the good ones – and picked up this guy.

The Ork Stompa.

I don’t have an Ork army, and have no intention of working on one, but ever since the Stompa was released I had an eye on it. It’s just so cool.

The is the work in progress as it stands, with a tentative name of The Great Pumpkin, but so far it is coming together nicely. And that’s despite the instructions being the worst of any model kit I’ve ever bought.

A guy here has made annotations to the current instructions. These were a big help.

The Stompa isn’t finished yet. There are banners to go on its back, a shoulder panel for the Big Choppa arm, some hatches, other decorations and some Gretchin (the Warhammer 40K equivalent of goblins).

I’ll put it on the shelf for a week or so while I crack on with finishing the hungry, hungry Tyranids. Then I’ll go back and work on the Stompa some more.

Here are some photos:

Links:
Ork Stompa – Games Workshop
Better Instructions – Imgur

Beyond the Mountains of Madness, part one – Planning a New Campaign

Years back, in 1988, Chaosium released one of their biggest campaign books for their Call of Cthulhu rpg. I bought it, read it, and was overwhelmed by the sheer volume of content. It was incredible.

But I never got around to running it in a game.

The other month Chaosium announced a reprint of that same campaign, but in a nice hardcover with some light reformatting. So, with my original copy looking a bit dog-eared, I decided to treat myself… and it’s a joy to read again.

And it’s got me thinking.

With me hitting 46 next month and with the idea of wanting to do more next year than this (which is a whole discussion of its own), Beyond the Mountains of Madness is a game that is long past time to do.

I have a Discord account, so it makes sense that I set up a BTMOM server there and organise it by chapter. I’m really looking forward to this. And running it online means I don’t have to worry about any further COVID-related lockdowns.

Links:
Chaosium
Beyond the Mountains of Madness
Beyond the Mountains of Madness pdf

The Adventures of Inquisitor Smashface

There’s a game available on Steam (and, presumably, most modern consoles) called Warhammer 40K: Inquisitor – Martyr. As you can guess it’s linked to the ever popular tabletop wargame, Warhammer 40K, a game where you move little soldiers about your friends Mum’s dining table, rolling dice and listening to W.A.S.P., while casually keeping an eye on his mum and her friend who are obviously trying to pretend that they can’t make out the lyrics to the live version of Animal (Fuck Like A Beast), which starts with a rising chant of “Fuck like a beast, fuck like a beast”.

Allen Johnston, I’m looking at your here. I’m still amazed that you never got pulled up for that.

Anyway, Warhammer has come a long way since the heady days of my teens. And while I have a reborn love of moving expensive tokens about a make-believe battlefield, the electronic gaming part of the hobby is yet another channel to pour the precious seconds of my life into.

I’ve played Inquisitor – Martyr before, initially on the Playstation, but I could never get into it. An almost perfect storm has caused me to get into it again now.

  1. My daughter has all but commandeered the Playstation. It was inevitable.
  2. I got a new pc at the start of the year, a shiny laptop to replace the aging Frankencomputer I had before.
  3. The game was really cheap on Steam.

A. Perfect. Storm.

It’s a game in the style of Diablo. You play as one of four character types, each with their own playstyle, you gain experience points for killing baddies and completing missions. All the usual stuff.

So, Inquisitor Smashface. He runs about with a heavy flamer (a bigger than big flamethrower) and a thunder hammer (a two-handed hammer that has electricity running through it). And it’s great fun. Smashface has reached level 20 now, which means I can take the hammer. Before this, using the flamer was like running the game in easy mode. But now that i’ve unlocked the Thunder Hammer? Bloody hell, it’s fun.

As long as I keep moving, and don’t get tied up in fighting mobs, i bash the heads of heretics in. It’s great fun. As I unlock more skills, i’ll try other weapon combinations but, for now, it’s all about burning the enemy and flattening them with a big hammer.

EVE – Yet Another Enjoyable Time Sink

At the start of the year, with lock down being a thing and my daughter hogging the Playstation, I installed Eve Online on my shiny new laptop. Eve had transitioned to a Free-To-Play model with two states of being, Alpha – which had a limit to the skills and ships you could use – and Omega – the paid-for account which opened everything up to use. I had played Eve before so I was already aware of the game – a vast space MMORPG.

Oh, it’s not Pay-To-Win, like some MMORPGs. The ships available to an Alpha account are perfectly playable.

So, having spent a few months here and there in the vast galaxy of EVE, just logging on for a hour at a time, tonight felt like my first proper game,

A few weeks ago I joined a player-run corporation, the equivalent of a guild in Warcraft or Guild Wars, and a few days ago I decided to fly from system to system to where the Corp is largely based. Tonight I logged on to put my new ship though her paces and was joined by a Corp member who just turned up to help me destroy an enemy space station. We shared some chat after and went our our seperate ways.

And this is what I had been missing: the social element.

I’ll probably log on every day this week for a bit, and see if anyone wants to fly about and blow stuff up.

Al’s shiny new Confessor

And the Corp even have their own Discord server, which is even better. I wonder if I can get any of them to play Guild Wars? 😉

A Brief Update

Hello peeps,

I hope you’ve been behaving yourselves. This is the time of year when I pay for my annual webhosting and think “I really should do something on DesertOfZin to justify the cost”. Ha!

Is everyone well?

I hope so.

I had my first of my Covid-19 jabs at the beginning of March. That is exciting. And the schools are back, which is great for the daughter (although they’re off for the Easter holidays right now.)

It is weird that my wife, the Computing Science teacher, hasn’t yet had her first vaccination. You’d think, with the rush to get the children back to school, the teachers would be high on the list of essential workers. Obviously not.

And here in Scotland our Tier 4 lock down is slowly coming to an end. On Monday past more shops and businesses opened with the rest, hopefully, seeeing another positive change come April 26th. As with everything, time will tell.

Anyway, stay safe.

A Few Bad Poems

My daughter is home/remote schooling at the moment due to the Covid-19 situation here in Bonnie Scotland and part of her school work today is to write a poem, as it’s Burn’s Day. I’m not much for Robert Burns or poetry but, in an attenpt to encourage the child who isn’t either, I’ve written a few bad poems for you.

A Mean Old Man

I’m a mean old man
so my daughter says.
I make her eat her greens but only
every other, other, other, other day.

Her room she will clean
when her feet can’t be seen
from standing down below
under her first floor window.

Washing? Behind her ears?
One of her deepest fears,
to disturb the potatoes growing there
that are handy snacks. (For when her dinner isn’t on time.)

Attention!
There’s never enough.
Dad! is the cry.
There’s nowhere good in the house to hide.
(It’s not that big and I think she knows all the better hiding places.)

and there’s this masterpiece:

Little Froggy (or desperation in story-telling)

Oh, the little froggy,
croak, croak, croak.

Down to the shops
to get some smoke.

That doesn’t make sense
but at least it rhymes.

Poor little froggy,
Crimes, times, chimes.

No, YOU’RE welcome.

Links:
Robert Burns – Wikipedia
Burns Supper – Wikipedia

Rammstein – Deutschland

I’m not much for metal anymore but I have a few favourites still, mostly a holdover from years back. Rammstein is certainly one of these holdovers. There’s nothing quite like metal sung in German. It’s almost like it was made for the music.

So, I find this:

It’s from back in the golden, care-free, pre-covid days of 2018. As I said, I’m not into metal as much now so it totally flew under my radar. But it’s just marvelous.

Take a listen. I’ll be going down the Rammstein YouTube rabbit-hole…

Be seeing you…

Links:
Rammstein – Deutschland