Archive for April, 2005

April 19, 2005: 10:26 pm: Miscellaneous

I’ve realized that the locations of the RSS feeds for this blog have also changed during the MT -> WP switch. Doh. If you’ve been reading this site via RSS, please change the address to:

There’s also a straight RSS feed for those RSS readers that can’t handle Feedburner feeds:

I’d prefer that people use the Feedburner feed when possible though.

The flaming_monkey feed on LJ is also currently down because of the change, and I’ll post when I get that working again. How long it will take depends on how quickly LJ support gets around to changing the feed URL.

Update: The flaming_monkey LJ feed is working again.

: 10:05 pm: Miscellaneous

As you can see, I’ve made some changes to Flaming Monkey, the most important of which is that I’ve switched from Moveable Type 2.661 to WordPress 1.5.

Unfortunately, the way MT saved posts among the multiple MT-hosted blogs here means that the links to individual posts on Flaming Monkey are no longer the same as they were before. I apologize if that breaks any links.

The appearance of this page is likely to continue to change as I play around with the theme, but I hope that will cause a minimal amount of disruption to the actual content.

April 11, 2005: 7:35 pm: Cons

Here are a few more ACUS 2005 reports that have shown up:


April 10, 2005: 10:17 pm: Cons

For those who haven’t seen it, Nuadha (aka James Arnoldi) started a thread on The Forge about making Ambercons more indie game friendly.

As someone who has run kpfs at both TBR and ACUS, run the Success system at TBR, plans to run The Mountain Witch this year at TBR, and played in both My Life With Master and Cat at Ambercons, this is definitely an idea that appeals to me, and as one of the members of the TBR con committee, I’m curious about how well it might work out. I don’t want to see the hardcore Amber crowd get driven off by other indie games, but at the same time I don’t want to see Ambercons not change for so long that they die off. I guess it comes down to a question of balance.

: 9:36 pm: Game systems

Unfortunately, I wasn’t the one doing the playing.

While I was travelling to ACUS, Vincent Baker posted to The Forge about the latest episode of his Primetime Adventures campaign, Epidemonology. Lots of useful insight into how necessary one of the rules turned out to be.

Oh, and I never noted something cool from Vincent’s previous post about the game, which is the use of cards.

We play with cards instead of dice. Red cards are successes, high card has buck-stoppage. This is going to be hard to explain, I think, but playing the game with cards is more fun than playing it with dice. I expected it to be just as much fun, but nope! It’s more fun. I think it’s because the interaction is streamlined. With dice, we count up how many dice everybody gets, then we roll them, then we count successes etc. With cards, dealing them out takes the place of both the counting up and the rolling. I’m like, “how many cards, three? Four? Okay, fwap fwap fwap fwap.” It’s a good little interaction. So I’d recommend playing with cards to anybody.

It looks like Matt Wilson is considering making cards the main way to play in the next edition, and they seem to still be working out well for Vincent’s group, so if I ever get the chance to play/run PTA, I think I’ll suggest cards over dice.

: 4:50 pm: Cons, GMing

I just submitted my first game for this year’s The Black Road.

The Mountain of the Sorcerer-King

Players: 3-6

Even at the best of times, the life of a mercenary has been a hard one. You have traveled from shadow to shadow, looking for whatever jobs you could find. Often hungry and lonely, you have seen some of the few you’ve counted as friends die on the field of battle. You’ve known that one day you too would bleed out the last of your life’s blood in some foreign land, dying for a cause you cared nothing about, for a payment that you would never collect.

Perhaps that is why you so were so quick to accept this latest offer, not taking the time to really understand what you were getting into. The payment would be enough to buy a chance at a normal life; that was all that truly mattered. Now you find yourself far from help near the top of this cold mountain, preparing for an assault on the Sorcerer-King himself. At your side are men and women you neither know nor want to know. Men and women who all carry a story similar to your own.

Who knows what the dawn of this day will bring? How will desperate warriors incapable of trust react when their only means of survival is to rely on each other?

The Mountain of the Sorcerer-King uses the rules from Timothy Kleinert’s forthcoming game The Mountain Witch ( Rules will be taught, and dice will be used. Part of character creation will take place via email before the con.

Now I just need to figure out a description for Nine Losers in Tijuana (the sequel to Nine Losers in Akron).

April 6, 2005: 9:11 pm: Cons

This was my fifth ACUS, and pretty much every aspect of it went well. The driving to and from Livonia was pretty much trouble free, the games were fun, and it was, as always, great to see friends old and new.

Slot 1: “Le Cygne: The Oracle’s Light”

I played in the first installment of Ginger & Michael’s Le Cygne series at last year’s TBR, and managed to get my character killed by the ship’s doctor (though not until after some nice swashbuckling occurred). That got me the first pick of the new pregens this time around, since I was a returning player without a character, and I chose Skate, the ship’s bosun. I don’t think that ended up being the best choice for this particular scenario, but I’m hoping I’ll be able to see a way to better involve him in any future adventures. This time around though, I ended up….well, the fact that less than a week after the game I can’t actually recall anything my character did makes me think I didn’t do very much. I had a pretty good time despite that though, watching the other players take some creative approaches to trying to deal with the issues presented. I know my lack of involvement caused a bit of worry for the GMs, so I apologize for that.

Oh, and Chime, the ship’s owner, is crazy. In case anyone wasn’t sure.

This was actually the first time since I started going to ACUS that I played in the Thursday night slot though, and I’m thinking that I’ll plan on skipping it next year. After spending most of Wednesday and then a chunk of Thursday travelling, I think I may just not be up for a Slot 1 game.

Slot 2: “Nine Lives in Amber”

This was Jack Gulick’s cross of the Amber setting and John Wick’s Cat, with the characters taking on the role of cats trying to protect Amber from bogguns while most of the Elder Amberites were off fighting the Patternfall War. It was lots of fun, and there were plenty of interesting cat concepts and nice RP. If you’re going to be at TBR 2005, and Jack actually runs this game again, I highly recommend it.

Slot 3: “Nine Losers in Akron” (GM)

This was my second try at running a kill puppies for satan game using recast Amber Elders, and, much like the first time, lots of sick fun was had. This time around the game more closely resembled the loosely organized “plot” that I had planned out, but still with much wandering and sick behavior. I still have no idea why the best way to dispose of a zombie is to bring it to the mall food court, but it seemed to work. Judging by the comments I’ve heard since the game (like the ones here and here), most everyone had a pretty good time, so I’ll count this as a success. My thanks to all of the players, who were a bunch of sick fucks. I’ll end up sending the quotes off to Kris once I’ve got them all compiled.

Slot 4: “Ill Met in Amber”

There was a very nice party on Friday evening during which some people apparently roleplayed to varying extents. Oh, and Jenn and I brought a bottle of Bowmore Darkest which was well received by the single-malt drinkers in the room.

As someone later pointed out to me, IMiA has apparently become an email game with a con element (rather than it being the other way around). It’s hard to complain too much though, even if I did almost nothing in-character all evening, because both the scotch and the company of friends were very enjoyable. I might have to look into increasing my efforts on the email side of things though, to get Captain Wesley Hobart more involved.

Slot 5: “The Mysterious Affair” (GM)

This was an attempt at what was basically a Victorian police procedural set in Amber City. Jenn and I had tried to come up with a mystery that didn’t need to be solved in a linear fashion, and we told the players that all their characters needed to do was arrest someone for the crime by the end of the slot. In other words, they didn’t have to arrest the person who’d actually committed the murder.

We ended up with three intelligent and motivated players, who worked their way through the various bits of evidence and managed, by the end of things, to arrest the actual killer (and with enough proof in hand to likely get him convicted). Frankly, it all worked out better than the GMs had thought it might, though whether that was due to the cleverness of the scenario design or the skills of the players is debatable. This game may end up getting run again at TBR 2005, but at the moment we’re not sure how it would go with more players (or with players who chose not to be so actively involved).

Slot 6: “Equalizer”

My second Ginger & Michael game of the con, and this one ended up going better for me. I played Conrad, who had, during his time in Shadow, been what was effectively a pulp-era superhero (think The Phantom or The Shadow). Things went pretty well, though Conrad’s decision to ignore a wounded teammate in order to assure the capture of one of the bad guys may not have been particularly well received. In the end, Conrad was able to avoid the need to messily throw himself on a grenade in order to save several of the other team members, which was certainly a relief to him. It was a fun game overall.

Slot 7: “Blaze of Glory: The Shadows Attack”

The insanity continued, with the Elite Guard getting to fight invasion forces from another world led by the evil twins of current and past members of the Guard. There were many strange devices and plenty of swashbuckling action, all at the usual BoG breakneck pace. My character, Amir bin Muhammad bin Ibrahim bin Nasir bin Safwan Al-Majid (aka The Mad Arab) fired himself from a catapult to intercept an incoming glider, and ended up proposing to its pilot just before she died. He also made another attempt to fall to his death, this time in order to bomb an enemy airship, but his life was saved by the skilled piloting of Ewan. All of this after his very lovely (and useful) wives arrived from back in his homeland. I’m definitely looking forward to the next installment of Blaze, which continues to be a very fun way to wrap up the con (since I don’t play in Slot eight).

It was, overall, a very good con indeed, though it definitely felt weird not to see Sarah there. I’m looking forward to next year’s ACUS, and to this year’s TBR (and hopefully ACN too).

Here are some of the other con summaries that I’ve run across so far: