Posts Tagged ‘good works

09
Jun
11

Third Annual Dave Arneson Memorial Gameday: October 1, 2011

This year’s Dave Arneson Memorial Gameday will be the third to be held in New York City, and the first to be celebrated on the day of Arneson’s birth, October 1. I don’t have much more to say about this yet – I just want to get the word out well ahead of time, instead of waiting for the last minute like I usually do.

Lushomon Canal. OMG that's a triceratops pulling a wagon.

An important advantage of the new time is that our event happens after the one the Aethervox Gamers organize, which lets me share some stuff from their game. As posted at Chirine ba Kael’s blog chirine’s workbench:
Scenery we got; “Saving Serqu’s Sisters” will be the two drop cloths from the old ‘Islands of Death’ game from 2004, with all the jungle I can cram onto the table. Lots of bridges for movement, and we have to use the Mayan bookends I got from Dave Arneson; they’ll be the Lost Temple of the Nameless Ones, which is a joke based on Prof. Barker’s SF fanclub in the 1940’s. (Memo to self; buy some FFG Cthullus for the temple; it’ll look nicer, and they’ll be happy.)
The second table will be the Lushomon Canal game from the first DLA MMM event three years ago; use some of the blank drop cloths from stock, and the 30 yards of light blue vinyl table cloth for the canal – we can eat our pizzas on it, as it wipes off and we have some very sloppy eaters. Use the ‘temperate’ scenery sets, and use the Sakbe road from the Battle of Anch’ke terrain set as a backdrop; it plays no part in the game itself, but looks cool as all get-out and will help get people interested. (It did.)
Forces:
“Sisters” gets all the Hlutrgu and their nasty little coracles. The humans get two larger galleys from the collection with larger contingents of troops, and we add the pirate fleet of three ships and a longboat for Harchar’s four henchpersons. Total, seven players minimum. Each boat or ship gets as many figures as it’ll hold, and we learned last time that the humans barely held their own so we add archers to the troops. We also add the two sisters as a player, because I have twin sister figures (the two Pathfinder “Seoni” figures) and giving the rest of the players a mobile objective with hidden movement will add to the challenge. The sisters get three chits, only one of which is actually them; the other two will give the rest of the players fits as they chase noises in the jungle.
Total forces, spread amongst eight players:
Sisters [one player] – derelict boat, two figures; goal, get saved by the Tsolyani and not killed.
Tsolyani [one player] – medium galley with 10 pikemen, 10 pikemen with bows, eight officers, one standard-bearer, one trumpeter; goal, save the sisters and arrest Harchar.
Salarvyani [one player] – medium galley, 10 infantry, 10 archers, five officers, one standard-bearer, one trumpeter; goal, rescue sisters (ransom money!) and arrest Harchar (reward money!)
Pirate Fleet [four players] – three small ships, one longboat; 20 marines, 20 sailors, four mates, one captain; goal, rescue sisters (ransom money!), keep Harchar out of the hands of law and order.
Hlutrgu – [one player, expanded to three to get late arrivals into the game] – eight coracles, 80 Hlutrgu; goal, kill all the humans that they can, sacrifice the sisters to the Nameless Ones at their Lost Temple.
“Canal” gets all the boats we have left, with a mix of mercenaries, pirates, and possible targets for piracy. And the River Police, who never seem to do much but always seem to get a lot of money in the course of the game.
Total forces, spread amongst six or seven players:
River Police – [one player] – small galley, six officers of the law; goal, get rich.
Vriddi Pleasure Barge [one player] – towed barge, rich folks; goal, don’t get kidnapped for ransom.
Temple of Dilinala – [one player] – medium merchant ship, ten Temple Guards disguised as dancing girls; goal, get off board with their valuable treasure.
Mercenaries – [two separate players] – two small galleys, each with ten warriors; goal, get rich.
Carolyn, the Pirate Queen of Butrus – [one player] – small galliot, ten warriors; goal, get rich.
Malia, the Pirate Princess – [one player] – small merchant ship, twelve warriors cleverly disguised as dancing girls; goal, get rich.
Now, the intelligent reader will note that an Opportunity for Considerable Confusion exists here; you’d be right, and that’s part of the charm of doing a game like this. It keeps things fun for the players when a) they board the ship full of helpless dancing girls, who pull out weapons and cut them to ribbons, and b) it’s the wrong ship full of helpless dancing girls who pull out weapons and cut them to ribbons.
(And yes, this kind of thing does take a lot of miniatures to pull off. We happen to have some 4,600 little lead people in the Aethervox collection, so we can do two boatloads of helpless dancing girls who happen to be fanatical warriors all armed to the teeth.)
That’s the set up. Pick a card at random, roll for move-counter-move, and we’re off on game turn one. Please feel free to ask more questions about all this; it’s what I’m here for…
All of this, and especially those gorgeous pictures, makes for great inspiration. It’s unlikely that we can do any of this ourselves here in NYC – we lack 4,600 lead people, for one thing – but I for one plan to try out some of these kind of Braunstein-like scenarios, for which Chirine lays out the design specs here. And it’s fantastic to see the maritime miniatures milieu in which Dave’s former gaming group believes he is best honored; Charlatan’s saltbox inherits the oldest of traditions. Even if what we do here is totally dissimilar, though, I think the universe of people who owe a debt to Arneson’s work – a set which most of its members are unaware of belonging to – benefit greatly from having two events: Minnesota’s with a unique and specific focus and a direct link to the original, and NYC’s that’s open to all the diversity of everything that Dave’s work has made possible, and admires it through the unearthed lens of distant time and space.
Another great thing about having these two memorial gaming events happen on different days is that it makes it possible for me to attend them both! Here’s Chirine again:
Planning for the next one, the Fourth Annual, is already starting; several of the folks at this year’s event have very kindly offered to do the spadework for next year, and I think it’ll be something Dave would be proud of. More on that, too, as we get things put together!
I join him in promising more details on our plans for the NYC gameday soon – I can say now that it’s unlikely to be at the Complete Strategist, like last year’s, because their basement is usually booked for the first Saturday in each month – and also in hoping it will make Dave proud.
07
Jun
11

The Tower of Gygax Will Make You a Better DM

As I was saying around this time last year, the Tower of Gygax needs DMs to volunteer to run slots during Gen Con. If you are interested in any of the same things I am…

    • having a good time
    • celebrating Gary Gygax’s legacy
    • furthering the old-school reformation
    • making RPGs immediately accessible to those who have never played before, or haven’t in decades
    • promoting what we see as the truest spirit of RPGs to those who may previously only have encountered its dim reflections
    • trying out ideas for how DMs could engage and entertain audiences beyond those  who are participating as players in the traditional sense
    • exploring ways that the RPG industry could provide services and experiences rather than goods and products
    • becoming a better DM

Here I am, earning that remaining one experience point running my Tower of Gygax room at JaysonCon. Unfortunately, my new level title - Courser - is lamer than the one before.

… then I guarantee you will find that stepping up to do this yields enough experience points to level up, and be one experience point away from the next level, in whatever your chosen class may be. You can earn that one missing experience point by running a Tower of Gygax event in your hometown. This is easy if you contribute your own room to the Tower, which is to say that you design an enjoyable deathtrap that will thrill and delight players and spectators, while killing the former at a flexible rate according to the number of the latter who are currently lined up to take their place. Doing so is not required: a big black book of rooms designed by previous DMs, who include luminaries ranging from Frank Mentzer and Tim Kask to Lizard and Mike Mearls, awaits your perusal when you sign up. Also, Tim and I are working on putting together a DIY Tower of Gygax kit, full of rooms and the kind of hard-won expertise that you could other wise only acquire as a ToG volunteer DM. This kit will enable you to not only amaze your friends who couldn’t make it to Gen Con and earn that remaining XP in the process, but also raise money for a good cause – whether that is the Gygax Memorial Fund or your own fundraising project.

If some of the above apply to you, but not the part about becoming a better DM, you should take a couple of generic tickets and come play in the Tower. Those seeking the extra XP that come from participation beyond the pale will find many opportunities to serve in non-GMing capacities like collecting tickets, organizing crowd flow, helping coordinate, and so forth.

Although the Tower vitally needs your DMing or other services, in proper Gygaxian dungeon-design fashion it has not made it easy for you to enter its halls. You may or may not be able to get hooked up via the Tower’s website, which has been inactive for over a year, but why leave it to chance and what seem like entrances but will cave in upon the count of ten? Leave a comment or send an email, and the Mule will ferry you and your belongings to those who can provide you with your quest.

06
Jun
11

Help Recreate Gygax’s Heraldry!

I’ve been doing some volunteer work with the Gygax Memorial Fund, a worthy cause that’s devoted to building a statue in his honor in Lake Geneva. One of the things I’m hoping to put together is some items for the fund to give to donors that would have the Gygax heraldry on them – famously seen on the shield of the fighter in the DMG cover, and also featured in the logo of Gygax Games and the Memorial Fund.

Could someone with expertise in such things help me create a simple four-color version of just the shield heraldry, in a graphic format that would scale well to sizes from mini-keychain to T-shirt? We might also want to try some out that have a linked GG – Tim Kask told me that he’d used this form of his initials as a kind of logo, although I haven’t found any examples – or each of those initials in either lower diagonal of the shield.

Less immediately useful, but by no means are these contributions to be despised: how would you describe this shield in fancy heraldic speak? What is its lineage? What are all the ways Gary worked it into things he worked on?




Past Adventures of the Mule

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