Monday, October 24, 2016


The nun’s letter intercepted Juan Miguel Quintero Rios on the road to Port Bolivar. Her handwriting was small and precise, and easy to read—even in the back of a bouncing cart on a rough-paved road made rougher by the lunging wind. No natural-born American, that one. Irish, the padre guessed by her name and her habit. What she was doing on the Gulf was anyone’s guess, and how she’d learned of him, he did not know; it was the only question she left unanswered in her carefully composed response.

He did not care, but he was curious.

Despite that one omission, her small bundle of papers contained a wealth of new information. At first she’d told him only that the hotel hated, and it hungered. Now, in this most recent message, she told him the rest.

Jacaranda is a short novel that would work 100% as a Deadlands oneshot. It has the same mix of Western and supernatural, there even is a Texas Ranger. It's set in the Clockwork Century alternative universe, a steampunk-heavy zombie apocalypse that I like very much. But Jacaranda has no zombies and a lot more straight up supernatural horror than the rest of the Clockwork Century novels.

It also works just fine if you have never read any of the other novels and are just in the market for a really good ghost story.

Tuesday, October 18, 2016

Saturday, October 15, 2016

Wasteland Weekend 2016

Wasteland Weekend ... it truly is in the middle of nowhere, outside of California City

our camp - we are the Clan of the Boltcutters, a group of post-REVolution Vuvalini, warboys and -girls and various nomads and people identifying with the new goals of the Citadel

people drawing smut for each other

a wanderer from the Wastelands and I (on the right, history person known as the Brain Picker)

some of the Wasteland vehicles ... people really put a LOT of work into their cars/bikes, costumes and their camps

the Jugger competition ... those people are insane...

Wasteland City main street, bike and camp on the left belong to Warspawn (who have this amazing The Ace, he was perfect in every way)

the camp of the Rain Dogs

I forgot to ask their name, but they were cool

I was delighted to find a library. I bartered a Kurt Vonnegut book for some candy there.

Wasteland Weekend was awesome. I really want to go again in a couple of years, if I can swing it financially at all. I had a blast there and I miss the other Boltcutters a lot, meeting them was the best thing about the whole weekend!

Saturday, October 8, 2016

Wasteland Weekend!

boltcutter tribe

This time I have a good excuse for my silence - I was on vacation to the US. Apart from seeing the Mojave Desert, Bryce Canyon and Valley of Fire, I was at Wasteland Weekend, as a member of the Clan of the Boltcutters . Here we are in front of the Thunderdome! I'll post some more once I sorted through my photos and once I am over the jetlag...

Tuesday, September 6, 2016

Life is Strange, part 2


I'm on episode 2 of Life is Strange by now and I'm getting to know Chloe. She can be manipulative and she will get me in so much trouble, but I like her a lot anyway. I'm still chewing over my decision to tell Kate to go to the police, but really, not going wouldn't have made things any better. None of the options were good there.


The game really does a great job of capturing the feeling of being between teenager and adult. Adult maybe on paper and maybe to anyone who asks, but inside you're still trying to figure out how stuff works and wonder when you will just KNOW how to do all the things adults are supposed to do.



Saturday, September 3, 2016

Shadowrun: On Co-GMing

I GM a Shadowrun group for a campaign that is the baby of one of the current players. He and I GM together, but right now I run all the sessions and he's playing and doing some of the planning with me. He also has stories that run in the background, so to speak, that I don't know about, which is usually fine with me. But the other day I got blindsided by one.

We were doing a Play by Skype with another player, between Fog and Kiki, who are in a relationship that is a bit rocky to say the least. Fog is a full PC, Kiki is an NPC/sometimes PC. They fought and Fog took off for some time to think. Kiki went back home and then just disappeared. Nowhere to be found.

And I was like: WHAT? I had no idea this was coming and my brain went into overdrive, trying to calculate how this would impact the stories I had planned. Since Fog is a fairly central character to the group and his freaking girlfriend had just dropped off the face of the earth, the impact would potentially be huge. I asked, as the GM, what had happened to Kiki in a private chat and got a glib 'I don't know' as an answer, which I know to read as: 'I know, but I'm not telling you'. And I lost it, I was so incredibly pissed.

I mean, I'm totally okay with not knowing the reasons behind this. But I am NOT okay with having such a bomb dropped on me out of the blue when I do a lot of work of planning how the campaign is going to go in the long run as a GM. This had the potential to mess up my plans big time and it came from my co-GM. I seriously don't know why he didn't just tell me before. We usually do that for stuff we have planned, even if it's just: 'yo, this thing might happen, just a heads up'. In the end, we talked it out and we're good. The way this plays out is that the group won't be able to find Kiki anyway and I can just handwave her disappearance and the search for now. It will come up again, of course, but it's not derailing everything.

The reason why I was so angry was not that this might have overthrown all my planning. That's basically in the job description for any GM: plans won't survive contact with players. I like this about GMing. But if you have a co-GM, do not drop something like this on their head without warning. It's not necessary and disrespectful of the work they do. Much better to share and come up with a way to fit the story into the campaign together.

Tuesday, August 30, 2016

Shadowrun Hong Kong
art by CeruleanRaven, click photo for their Artstation site

I really enjoy the Shadowrun games by Harebrained Schemes and they get better every time they publish another one. Hong Kong is by far the best and the main reason for this, as far as I am concerned, is the story and the characters. You can talk to so many people in this game and you should. You will get information necessary to playing the game, of course, but you will also get interesting stories and background on all the NPCs, not just your team. Really, do take the time to talk to everyone. They all have led interesting lives and it's fun to explore their stories. Ten-Armed Ambrose in particular has a lot to say, just keep poking at him.

The detailed environments and the excellent music are more reasons to play the game. Steam now has the deluxe upgrade for sale that gets you not only the game but also the soundtrack and a PDF copy of the artbook and I think it's well worth the money.

I'm on my second playthrough because the first time round, I couldn't save Raymond and that bothered me enough that I want to give it another try. The game really makes you care for your team and for Raymond, your foster father.

The bonus mission is worth playing, too, but will ask you to make a decision that I found very hard to make and I was unhappy with both outcomes. Not because they were badly written, quite the opposite. If you tick anything like me, be prepared to swallow a very bitter pill.

The game basically asks you to decide between Duncan (or Duncan and Raymond if you saved him) and your team. You can either go back to Seattle with Duncan and Raymond and never see your team again or you can stay with your team and really fuck up Duncan's life in the process. He will be so angry at you (and with good reason) that he takes off and you never see him again. This was the solution I picked because I did not want to make things a mess for my team just for Duncan and I still feel it's the best choice. But it really, really hurt. When I started this game, I did not expect for it to make me cry, but this is exactly what it did. Well done, Harebrained Schemes, well done.

As a tip: if you happen to have Gaichu on your team and do the run to discredit Neville Ma, by all means do take Gaichu with you because it will be hilarious.