Saturday, September 22, 2018

d100 city encounters

still from 1978's "Jubilee"

if necessary roll 2d6x10' for encounter distance.
  1. saxophone music is coming from somewhere
  2. man publically selling eggs, cutting hair
  3. a mouse election?
  4. 3 card monte but the shill won't stop winning or let anyone else play
  5. something the players would really want is on sale
  6. a closed store that never opens
  7. competing funeral processions
  8. whatever building the players are trying to get to, a horde of golems are dissembling it for complex bureaucratic reasons, all the building's staff have their possessions in their hands or in piles at their feet (original, similar idea by d. sell I think -ed)
  9. fat, gross cat to accompany party
  10. man selling trained bats
  11. graffiti is obviously a url, if you follow it leads to clues (let's see you improvise THAT -ed)
  12. quality brothel
  13. street-side liposuction & other cosmetic surgeries... tummy tuck... bone reduction
  14. abandoned death ray
  15. folks burning a library
  16. lynching
  17. brick thieves tearing up a street
  18. coal truck leaking coal, urchins follow
  19. 3 card monte but dumbass dealer
  20. herd of pigs playing flutes guided by pigherd
  21. ugly and territorial goose terrorizing schoolchildren
  22. superhero makes appearance, saves someone
  23. leaping suicide
  24. leaping suicide but there's still time to save them
  25. nearby bombing
  26. violent protest + suppression by
    1. police
    2. soldiers
    3. rival faction
    4. mysterious hooded beings
  27. red neighborhood of gushing communists
  28. chase + cliche
    1. fruit cart
    2. workers carrying glass
    3. "kiss me!"
    4. banana peel
  29. evil plan they were wondering about clearly reported in blown-by newspaper
  30. bicycles recently invented
  31. demon inviting you into its well, inside:
    1. needs people to try its demon candy, effects: (will give you a package of the candy if you try one, and will let you go)
      1. horrible lust for the worst possible person
      2. eyeballs permanently switch to reverse side of head, uncurable
      3. genitals yell extremely loud next time used
      4. snake pills make snakes grow inside your body, they never leave, somewhat friendly
    2. "care for a game of chess"? willing to bet metaphysical stakes
    3. you find yourself leaving the well as soon as you climb in, and some time has passed
    4. needs someone to scratch its back, but only with their big toe... rewards demon jewlery:
      1. stinky bone attached to rope of beads, wards against good ideas
      2. toe ring that doubles your aging
      3. fat bracelet, makes you unconsciously always do rude gestures
      4. choker that completely removes the desire to do good from your brain when worn
  32. random PC has STD flare-up
  33. russian roulette street preacher (from "el topo" -ed)
  34. a bunch of kids all coming this way playing russian roulette each with a gun. they all keep winning but there's some incidental fire
  35. shore leave sailors en masse harass, cajole, befriend, fight, entertain, won't let you leave
  36. flock of schoolkids running with scissors
  37. firefighters dousing melting piano + burned pianist, another victim of the mysterious "piano killer..."
  38. fancy duel
  39. megalomaniac archer trying to find a kid to shoot an apple off the head of
  40. public execution by strangling taking really long and exhausting stranglers, officiant wants to know if PCs can help out
  41. weed-whacker style invention on the loose, pursued by inventor
  42. persistent singing merchants, as if leading up to a musical number
  43. speakeasy raid
  44. cheap crabcakes
  45. the mayor is making a speech...
    1. and an evil clown is standing behind him & to the left
    2. ...banning:
      1. knives
      2. open sale of furniture
      3. all dogs
      4. -- establishing a curfew due to the "piano killer"
    3. presenting a medal to a heretofore unknown but somehow still popularly known superhero 
    4. he's at the part of the speech where he's taking questions
  46. team of horses transporting giant stone head (from: "fellini satyricon" -ed)
  47. mass suicide
  48. man beating wife in street
  49. man beating domestic partner in street
  50. panhandler is persistent to the point of archvillainry
  51. giant scoby everyone ignores
  52. loose, wild horse is really destructive
  53. girl-watching crowd assembled and in wait
  54. the emperor is visiting
  55. public theatre performance features a real punitive amputation and then an incidental, real drama about a slave (also from satyricon -ed)
  56. old men in quantity trying to win the favors of noblewoman who is obligated to do public tryouts, she can't leave till they all go
  57. hideous, racist memorial unveiling
  58. the olympics are here
  59. fresh-faced youth recruiting for suicidal adventure
  60. near-perfect-quality fakes being painted and sold on street; these have obvious value, there's a growing crowd
  61. gang sawing off head of feminist hero statue
  62. it's one of the days where a nearby factory, or the equivalent, releases so much pollution that activity has to be limited and people with trouble breathing nearly die. 
  63. gang of artists stalking and assassinating cops
  64. street gang with rocks really trying to hurt you
  65. large and terrible fire
  66. adults egging on a child protester to stall carriages and throw rocks
  67. spies making contact but they're loud enough that it's obvious
  68. extremely powerful rare earth magnets on travelling display and for a high price
  69. accurate fortune telling from nomads
  70. feast
  71. you overhear a demonic ritual taking place in a building, they mean to cast Summon
  72. mass shooting, one shooter many victims, underway in nearby basement
  73. conmen attempting the "pigeon drop" on y'all
  74. eating contest, presumably bizarre
  75. people are chasing a feral cats to bag and burn
  76. fan of your exploits wants to join your party, has law trouble secretly
  77. crowd of your fans going "beatles"-level crazy and tearing at your clothes
  78. stand selling hemlock at steep discount + a feverish rush to buy
  79. rich and jealous lover burning effigy of copulating rivals... semiritual... 
  80. ventriloquist + dummy have stolen crown jewels and are openly wearing them (and mocking the crown). highly powerful ppl
  81. community college is offering some appealing classes
  82. band playing songs with subject matter distantly about the player characters
  83. dispute over plagiarized poetry about 10 seconds away from becoming a gunfight
  84. drug dealers offering regional variants on meth
  85. quality hand grenades for sale
  86. people are looting a gun store in advance of the cops. a battle has already killed the original perps and almost all of the staff 
  87. dedicated & doomed advance on the capital building, will result in a hours-long siege
  88. Guru CAN teach you the secret to levitation
  89. Tourists in quantity also curious about you
  90. Large public dance
  91. abandoned & spilled mailbag
  92. posters everywhere advertise a play, tickets are expensive, going gives you 1 skill point in Art Appreciation
  93. Black cat keeps crossing your path
  94. Alley tank is damaged, seeping much:
    1. Powerful glue
    2. Lantern oil
    3. Jellied Goldschl├Ąger (delicious!)
    4. Plasma (can be used to refill plasmic cores or inhaled as plasmic cores, is quite dangerous)
  95.  Economic boom! All characters offered reliable jobs.
  96.  Economic bust! All characters with reliable jobs are fired.
  97. One random character with a reliable job is fired with little cause.
  98. Chance encounter with a previous villain, now reformed.
  99. Uncanny doppleganger adventuring group encountered
  100. Police brutality.

Saturday, September 15, 2018

essay from last year

Foreward: I wrote this last year after seeing 2017's "It". I'm still a politically searching person and my ideas have shifted if not completely changed since writing this essay. Nonetheless I think it deserves to see the light of day especially if I don't need to edit it or be held strictly accountable for these ideas.  

 a potentially copyrighted image.

The reason we can condemn "It" is because Beverly's depiction isn't good revolutionary material-- despite having agency, she's still
>written by a cis white male
>sexualized as a child
>sexually abused and the sexual attention of all her male friends
>reaches apotheosis through weird, plausibly unhealthy sewer "orgy"

But actually it's probably arch and stupid to pretend that specific books meet some revolutionary standard over others when the practical actions of even just making life better for oppressed people hardly depend on the contents of "It", exactly, except by moving the standard of what children and women should be doing and with what sensitivities they are depicted in mass media, which arguably this standard has purchase on the way people in general behave ?

Like the argument is, if it's just a piece of fiction, not an instructional text that is going to be followed, how does it make life for anyone worse? By influencing people who will be influenced by the {bad way that Bev is written, + the actions she undertakes}?

The movie I can condemn because the way it sexualizes Bev is standard hollywood National Lampoon fare like slow mo shots, maybe appropriate for calling up a standard teenage reaction to: a girl, but unfair for not putting Bev in a box about what she should do with her teenage body??

The movie I can condemn for showing unconsensual kissing as a good thing?? Although, situationally, within the fiction, it worked out? Should movies follow a standard logic that fits within our shared values of what should happen and also what probably would happen, esp. considering the legacy of thousands of years of patriarchy?

Maybe it's that the movie seemed clueless to the issues it raised, while also depicting Bev's individual struggle with school and her father, on that basis I can condemn it:; if you're gonna depict a girl sexually oppressed at her home and by her classmates but if you don't touch on how the sexual attention of her male friends can also be a huge problem then it probably does seem naive, and a disservice to the struggle of women, if and only if the service/disservice to the struggle of women thing is actually in question.

I feel like I'm operating under the assumption that I can know what is, at a reasonable expectation, something that meets the standards of ?a generalized feminist? albeit not everyone at all I can consider a feminist (and I try to get away from that term(

well why do that?
Porpentine talked about how everyone doesn't have to put themselves under the same label, it's a marketing scam, and also how she didn't want to adopt the label of the people who severely abused her and Ill add, caused her nothing less brain damage
Also I've seen tweets that are like, it should be some larger decolonial project, not just "feminism"
Which is like enough. Maybe the struggle to have everyone agree that they are a feminist is sort of past, or passe, considering that even such huge global terms are also subject to what I call in seriousness and in huge abstraction "fashion"
>Suffice to say, if you're not a feminist, it's become the norm that you are the one who has some specific front to describe yourself, i.e. the alternative now is the Alt-Right dude, like everyone I know north and south of the train tracks is a communist by default
>That being said the actual baseses of power are conservative cocklords as much as ever.

...Which is the point I bounced off of, maybe a universal means of address politically is not what's needed, from me at least, Fuck Theory also claiming that the center is a misnomer as most people occupy a place of unknowing, not a specific political band between left and right. And not knowing, a taoist position (what isn't?), is or isn't encouraged by a break from the dichotomy of feminist/not feminist which is already built to be one-sided in Peter Webb's mysterious but sure political response?

Mass line work seems an applicable and more ideal, less "manager of poverty"-style means of activism, like as much as something can "pop off" there is the Serve The People programs, one of which even recommends as a salve to Gentrification they physically exclude and discourage hipsters/ and hipster spaces (with violence). Quaker tenets, "violence is not the answer" absolutely occupies a place of total dogmatic authority which is contraindicated by the need to not tell oppressed people what to believe in. "Violence is not the answer" as: non-proselytizing personal piece of information.

Although-- prostelytizing to march against war? Not exactly "telling oppressed people what to believe in". I believe in never committing violence, demanding nonviolence from those in authority, and never offering oppressed people unsolicited advice. To that end Quakers should organize an a large-scale alternative to the police force, tax revolt, single-issuing themselves out of sociery, or doing the most they can in such a society, attempting to change it from within? Knowledge that this will work/ won't work?

Where does the movie "It" come in? The purpose is, to point out, that the movie reinforced some old tropes that I know at least influenced my youth, like, this picture of abused people, how "love can save" etc., that despite not having a universal take on the lives of abused people, are still pretty bad advice. If you can consider the movie advice, which I sort of see a lot of these tales as in some ways being?

Like, in the original book, there's some ingrown logic of defeating the monster by standing up to your fear (which the movie largely but not totally abandons), and bc the monster exacerbates real social issues like Bev's abusive father, the book kinda functions as a fictional casebook for how people get out of these situations. So there's an implicit instructional aspect to the book, because it depicts a series of cases of real social issues wherein the protagonists follow a common logic (don't be afraid!) to solve, or at least avoid. Also the universiality of that message...

Maybe the book isn't instructional but is rather relying on the apparent and probably universally accepted practicality of the message Don't Be Afraid! to make the protagonists's victories also universally acceptable and even practical, supernatural that they may be. The trick is not to see the books as instructional but to see the common logic of our lives as making the action in a book, if so logical, meaningful. Then you could say, there's also some things that happen in the book which follow shitty logics like at least in the movie the unconsensual kiss, but they aren't instructional, they'r more evidence that the creators of the film were willing to employ shitty logic and maybe use that logic themselves.

Like kissing the unconcious girl to magically and happily wake her up follows a logic which is shitty because the logic fails to take into account that kissing unconcious people is unconsensual, and moreover, fails to take into account the worldwide history-spanning history of women's consent being trampled. Ben was, although we can assume because the moment is obviously a trope (can we assume?) actually forgoeing Bev's consent, taking a risk that he was hurting Bev, violating her boundaries (yes, even when magically unconcious).

Wednesday, September 12, 2018

spidergoat magic item market

purchasing a magic item requires paying 5,000 coins and d4 days of research simply to view d3 items for purchase. Each of these items can be bought for an additional 5,000 coins upon viewing. to find other items for sale an additional 5.000 coins and d4 days must be spent for d3 more items.

benefits: roll 1

  1. stronger: +2  armor
  2. reflecting: magic deflects off item
  3. if used to strike opponent will deal d4 extra lighting/acid/fire
  4. item has personality, knows shit
  5. opponent's weapons stick to item
  6. softens blows to wielder/wearer: attacks use next lower damage die
  7. doesn't interfere with spellcasting (if applicable)
  8. casts magic missle 1/day
  9. grants nightvision, 35'
  10. has large "A" on it; reflects spears only
additional attributes (roll 1):
  1. loved ones think you smell bad
  2. eyeballs
  3. item bruises, will die if overused
  4. can self-destruct as time bomb, 5d6 10'
  5. item is so large that it cannot fit in house, perfectly usable, does normal damage (think buster sword -ed)
  6. has many cracks in it
  7. seems very old ans cannot be cleaned, trails dust, makes things around it seem old
  8. throwing this item in a pit will "hurt" the pit
  9. feather falls - just the item, tho
  10. item occasionally goes and has its own adventures
  11. attracts mice
  12. user feels time slower, no benefit
  13. peripheral vision has clowns
  14. item poops and needs to be changed
  15. ~
additional benefits (roll on this table half of the time):
  1. sticky
  2. shitty
  3. shiny
  4. bloodlust
  5. x2 damage, x2 price
  6. destroys armor
  7. accurate +1 skill etc.
  8. vomits
  9. glows
  10. causes lust
  11. sings
  12. sticky
  13. hands attached
  14. reverse time for those struck
  15. rusty
curses (roll as needed):
  1. gets very hot
  2. half of the time, not "real", 
  3. random targets
  4. opponents occasionally get bonuses
  5. screams in pain
  6. super heavy
  7. damns you to hell
  8. eyes bleed when using
  9. occasionally hits monster with you!
  10. converts life force into more {item}

Tuesday, September 4, 2018

troika! review

what's good about troika!? it's a fresh retroclone. it has lethal combat, but everyone starts at 14+ hp. the promise of levelling (a somewhat false promise in many retroclones) has been done away with mostly. there is the initiative system that is oft-touted and I really love it for some surprising reasons*. but there's also the fairly ridiculous damage system, which although it seems awkward (you have to cross reference a roll to a table to determine damage, a modifiable roll even), it gives us what we've always wanted; sorta realistic damage values. like, a knife probably doesn't do much but it can fuck you up! it's not just a puny d4.

that being said not having a levelling system hurts my heart a little bit. I mean, there is a system for progression: you improve your skills, which means you do better on rolls, but there's no d&d/WoW classic rpg dripfeed of new cool class abilities... that appeal is near and dear to me, but we must make sacrifices...

...the argument against such a dripfeed is of course, an emphasis on picaresque fantasy "strange people meeting in strange places" which is what troika! says it's about. your characters are not starting from the bottom, they are starting as wanderers, and of the two I think being a fully-formed picaresque wanderer is preferable to an endless series of 1st level eggs.

...finally, troika! encourages planar prep, as at the drop of a hat you must be able to invent or at least remember new spheres for your friend's toons to be whisked off to in the case of a particularly bad whoops! table roll, if not for some other reason. it has that delectable rpg vibe where the rules contain in just a few places campaign-breaking levers. this is something LOTFP does that I always talk about-- that "summon" spell.

also there's a little monster manual in the back of the book bc its so concise; to paraphrase my friend, "they had the room to just squeeze a little monster manual in the back!"

*initiative system being good: the way troika! initiative works is that everyone places initiative chits in a bag along with a end-of-round chit, and chits are drawn randomly; if your chit is drawn, you take an action, if the end of round chit is drawn, all chits are placed back in the bag. this makes chases in particular easy to run; you may simply draw more chits than your opponent does, so you may get away; therefore no tedious comparison of movement speeds in order to draw an equation are necessary. many tedious elements such as these may be folded into the randomness.

....also everyone talks about how good the backgrounds are so it's a well-tread point, but the backgrounds are very good; all of the players love rolling up