Let’s get Vin Diesel Down Below the Fold, Shall We?


We’re just about ready to get rockin’ on the first ever Mechaton campaign. It takes place in the Republic of Tarkut, just after the Democratically Elected Peoples’ Government That Was Totally Democratic has collapsed. Into the power vacuum come three factions. I’m playing the Paktaliya, a group of guerrillas of an ethnic minority called the Mukun. We’re tired of being pushed around by everybody and we have some nonsense legend about how “we” pushed out the iniquitous Red Circle a thousand years ago, who we think Emily’s faction, the Rasili Empire, resemble. Vincent’s sort of taken the Battle for Algiers route; his people are the people of Tarkut who have a network more than a capital. They’re the real government of the people of this country.

Here’s my army as it now stands. Continue reading “Let’s get Vin Diesel Down Below the Fold, Shall We?”

Shock: a Hit with both Albino Emperors and Intergalactic Beefcake

Vin Diesel

A fellow I don’t know (who is probably Paul Alexander Williams, whom I still don’t know) has written an excellent review of Shock: over on his Livejournal. He uses The Chronicles of Riddick as a running example, which is great. I thought I was the only person who liked it.

An Addendum to the Previous Post

Joe Loves Crappy Movies

A List of Things I Like, Arrayed Before My Eyes for 128 Minutes

Here are some things I love, in no particular order:
  • David Bowie
  • Nikola Tesla
  • Illusion
  • Late 19th – early 20th Century stage magicians and escape artists.
  • Really twisty stories about people who get themselves in over their heads.
Here are some things that I like, also in no particular order;
  • Hugh Jackman
  • Christian Bale
  • Scarlett Johannson
  • Andy Sirkis
So Carrie and I went to see The Prestige. I really enjoyed it. It’s a really good time watching characters screw themselves over because they can screw someone else over in the process. They’re not bad people, but they do bad things, and the goodness of their souls is like a flashlight in the harsh and burning sunlight of their deeds. They wind up at the very edge of reality by the end, where still they are trying to extract from each other what none have to give, and if they’d only stop and breathe and have some compassion, they could have all they needed. And they don’t.
It would be fun to play something like this in Sorcerer, and indeed I may propose such a thing at the end of our current arc.

Under the Pyramid

There's something in my all seeing eye.

Steve Jackson’s (of GURPS, Munchkin, and Car Wars fame) Pyramid Magazine has posted a review of Under the Bed by Matthew Pook. It’s a very factual review and tells it like it is, warts and all. Pook is ambivalent about the amount of constant player input the game requires, which is totally understandable — I often think about that aspect of the game, as well — and he properly sees that it’s a serious challenge, but also a strength of the game.

Ben Lehman loves the game and he’s totally the target market for the game, so I’m satisfied with it. Pook is less forgiving but in all the right places. He correctly perceives that the game is hard to play but rewarding when it works out.

I do wish that I’d written more examples, but the manual was an experiment in purely procedural writing. That lesson’s already been applied elsewhere, though.
Shock: applies a lot of what I learned from Under the Bed in new ways: authority is very strictly assigned and subdivided into many types (Minutiæ, Protagonist, Antagonist, Shocks, and Issues) to guide the players in ways that Under the Bed doesn’t. It also reinforces its thematic direction more strongly than UtB. I happen to know that Pook owns a copy of Shock: so I’m hoping to see a review of that, too.

shock: the rocket boots compendium volumes 1 and 2


Well, the interview went great. I embarrassed myself to a bare minimum despite difficulties hearing each other. The Gamestas are great fun and you should listen to their podcasts.

They tell me that it’ll be episode 14, up in a couple of weeks. I hope they edit the shit out of it.

I Need to Know Quick: Does Saying “Fart” Count as Wit?

For reasons unclear to me, the rockin’ podcast The Gamestas wants to interview me. Last week, they had Keith Senkowski, so I’m kinda hoping he’s still around to throw the fucking totem at.
They’ve had Jared Sorensen, Luke Crane, and Ron Edwards on. I don’t know how I got on this guest list, but I’ll take it!
The show’s recording tomorrow eve. I don’t know when it’ll hit the streets, but I’ll let you know. My guess is, you won’t want to. It’ll just be 25 minutes of me making armpit fart noises*.

* Actually, I can’t make armpit fart noises.

A Tribute to My Readers

Monkeys Fucking

Every so often, I go check my web user logs. It tells me when someone’s written an article about one of my games, or when someone’s asking around RPGnet or the Forge with rules questions, “Sell Me” threads, or whatever.

It also tells me what Google searches people are doing. I get a lot for “glyphpress joshua” and “under the bed glyphpress” and “science fiction game joshua”. These are obviously people looking for my games.

But then, then there are the other searches. The accidental hits. And you’d think they’d be all over the place. But they’re not. They fall into two categories.

The first category is simple enough: people looking for a variety of things that contain the word “monkey”. Fair enough. Lots of “Monkey See, Monkey Do”. The occasional “Monkey Wedding”.

The second category — really, a subcategory — is Monkey Fucking. I don’t even see where I’m linked on that page. But every day someone clicks through from MSN doing a search for Monkey Fucking. Sometimes, several people. And they’re different people. Ohio, South Africa, Germany…

Now, what’s not strange to me is that people are looking for pictures of monkey fucking. It is, by virtue of its “perfect storm” of elements, the funniest possible thing to see.

What boggles me is that they click through. They set off in search of pictures of copulating tailed primates and wind up here at this humble weblog. It’s a marvel.

We truly live in the future.

This is not funny.

Constitution, revised

When I was in school, there were two things that I was told made America the best country in the world: we’d never waged a war on anyone aggressively (which was already easily debatable at the time, but still actually debatable and not a transparent lie) and you couldn’t be imprisoned without the due process of arrest, accusation, speedy trial, and conviction.

We were told that this is because the Constitution of the United States is a flexible but inviolable document subject to representative review and judicial interpretation that stemmed from that due process.

So, let’s take count:

  • Unjust, unprovoked, and morally bankrupt war? You betcha.
  • Lack of due process? Holy shit.

So, this is designed to get terrorists, right? And does it define what a terrorist is, and how we can make sure that we’ve got one when we do?

Well, we’re not allowed to know.

Be Boba Fett. Don’t Be Dengar.

Boba Fett Pwning Dengar

You know how cool Boba Fett is? And while we’re at it, Bossk? And, well, maybe IG-88 and Zuckuss? And you know how not cool Dengar and Greedo are?

Well, in the interest of my fans being the awesomest (and not the shot-in-the-cantinaest), I’m offering a bounty. Some, like Thor and Eric, have already turned in some heads and will be suitably rewarded.

Here’s what you can do.

Find me errors in Shock: that no one’s found before. You can track the found errors in the Shock: Errata thread on Xenoglyph and over on the glyphpress forum on The Forge. You have to own the book to gain your bounty hunter certification.

If I use your error report in the next version of Shock: you will be sent a copy of the next version of the game signed with thanks for the valuable service you have provided.

Errors that are valid for hunting and execution:

  • Typos (good lord, I don’t think there are any)
  • Rules inconsistencies and artifacts from early drafts
  • Inclarity
  • Incorrect references

These are all subject to my judgement, particularly the “rules inconsistencies” bit. But you’ll get gold for your head if it’s what I’m after.

No disintegrations.