Thursday, January 22, 2015

the Window

The Window that provides little light
As we make love to each other
Moans of pleasure and kisses of passion
The small window agrees of our love

Our love that is so often of laughs and smiles
Hiding a battle for hard-bred warriors
We are warriors, partners, lovers-in-arms
Battles fought, battles won

The war knows the impending victor

We are victorious Sunstarer
We walk among the corpses of our foe
We make love and kiss on our opponents' death throes
Time is our opponent

The Window knows this,
we look to the Window for time
Yet the Window will not tell us
The Window knows the impending victor

Arms are our untamed energies
We are willful and young
Arms are our unconventional experiences
We are warlords

The small Window sees all this
Our love, our love
A testament of bliss

Tuesday, January 20, 2015

KURIPOT GAMER: Hari Ragat Review (Joke, I suck at reviews)

Unarmored and half-naked, he dances around his enemies with unmatched speed, the barong wildly spinning in a controlled flurry. Like his namesake, Kidlat strikes fast and hard.

The raider is unperturbed by the display of such skill but what would commoner know of such skill? The raider moves forward with his spear, Kidlat ducks, only his hair is what the spear stabs.

This time the raider is shocked, Kidlat has successfully entered his defense, he now stands face to face with the Kidlat.

The raider then fully comprehends the inscriptions on Kidlat's chest, the marking of a true warrior. The telltale sign of a Pintado. 

He is caught off guard for just a split second but Kidlat sees all the opportunity he needs to see and suddenly brings the whirl of sword sideways, decapitating the raider.

He picks up the raider's spear, shouts: "MGA ANITO! Gabayan ang aking pagpukol!" and throws the spear with the strength of a hundred men.

The spear flies through the battlefield...


This is a game I'm lucky enough to get a playtest copy of, this is a game I don't want to run: this is a game I want to play. You can expect that this review is not a comprehensive, detail-by-detail review but how I look at it. And with what I'm looking at, I really like it.

This is Hari Ragat.

Back to Bahags

I can now be what I truly want to be:
a half-naked badass with long hair
One of Hari Ragat's boasting point, and frankly one of the two reasons why I like it (the other is because of the system), is that it draws inspiration from pre-Hispanic Filipino culture to build a world with parallels to what the Philippines once was.

Don't get me wrong, this isn't historical fantasy (unless you're gullible enough to believe the Code of Kalantiaw), but a fantasy inspired by history and culture. Dariel Quiogue has painstakingly researched epics and warfare of our tattooed ancestors and applied them in-game. So expect the usual 'tribal' fanfare with bahags and all that but with a heavy dose of adrenaline and power.

Hari ng Karagatan

Hari Ragat's metaplot is obvious and straightforward and not annoying like other metaplots. If you know Tagalog or Bisaya, you've probably guessed it by now (Oha!).

Hari Ragat means King of the Seas, and the game is... well, about finding the King of the Sea. How you find the king is entirely up to you, whether you want to find the king is actually the question.

Why is the King of the Seas so important? Because he, and only he (can most probably be a she, but history says that the women ruled the priestly caste while men bothered with politics), can unite the scattered islander tribes of Janggalan and form (once again) a great empire of half-naked, tattooed, sword & axe-wielding badasses, and maybe go at the Rakshasas while they're on that.

Don't even think this is simple business, or you can 'roll' with this thing like in other RPGs. This requires heavy roleplaying because: 1) You have to convince the tribal elders, 2) You have to contact the anitos, 3) You have to convince the anitos, 4) You have to go back down and convince everyone else. Did I mention you need to get some sort of power-stone first? It's called the Diwang Lahi and while it grants you power, it also grants you tons of enemies. Like some Talagbusao freak. Ha!

The System: Vivid is as vivid gets

And with how the system is laid out, you really can't just 'roll for it'. There's no attributes. There are traits, and you're free to BS the GM whether this trait gives you advantage or maximum advantage. And advantage is a one way thing, if you have advantage because you're a descendant of Apolaki and your foe is also a descendant of Apolaki then neither of you gets advantage. Finding advantages is one of the fun parts of the game really, and get this: MINIMAL NUMBERS.

The game uses dice pools so while you maybe rolling 10d6 when you're more Renowned, you don't need to add any of them. Just get the highest number(s), so if you rolled 10d6 and got 3 sixes, you scored 3VPs. Your foe rolls his/her dice pool for the number of dice he can draw upon and if he/she gets more than 3 sixes than you, you lose. If no one rolls six, get the highest number (say four) and you have 1VP- it doesn't matter if you got 4 fours. Then pray to the Anitos your foe doesn't get any dice higher than 4.

That's just it. I just explained how to play the whole damn game. Haha. Seriously, everything goes like that. You build your dice pool from the number of traits and roles you have that are relevant to the situation, your foe does the same and then you roll. Hope you get more than one sixes because that's always cool, but you can settle for a single five as long as your foe doesn't get anything higher than five. If you lose, you pay the Victory Points your foe scored against you: you can pay from multiple resources; your shield, armor or sheer willpower(because they're numbered. So if you have an Armor 3, you can pay up to 3 VPs if it's that bad. Or pay 1 VP from your armor if your foe scored 1) and if you win over your foe, then vice versa.

Because the system is simple, you are left to 'fluff' the game up, leaving tons of space for narrative and some epic storytelling like: I catch the spear, do a spin and throw it back! Or; I do a backflip, grab the arrow midair and use it to stab the mooks standing behind me. Of course, you need tons of this for dice. If you want an earlier version of the system, check out the awesome Gods of Gondwane- which I have a lot of homebrew stuff on, I'm just to lazy to type them in a computer. Alternatively, a FATE version will be released so if you don't really like chucking 10d6, you can work with that.
The Red ones I use for combat, blue for bullsh*tting NPCs, white for bullsh*tting diwatas, and black when calling upon the anitos. No you don't need colored dice, I just want to.

Character Creation is Easy. Tell me what your job is, what you're good at, and what tattoos/ vows/ diwata connections you have. Done. Or check out Jay's TL;DR version of it. It's the same thing, but with more words.
Joke, refer to Jay's version of Chargen because I'm lazy like that. Haha

Beasts of Lore, Beasts of Yore

The Philippines has one of the weirdest bestiary ever and it's reflected in Hari Ragat, so you can expect a fair share of six-headed giants, weird eel-like sea dragons, a dragon the size of the moon that you can't kill, a dragon that looks like the dragon-the-size-of-the-moon-that-you-can't-kill but smaller and you can kill it but it's really hard to, intelligent apes, giants snakes and other fantastic creatures than can most likely talk and spin tales that may or may not confuse you (hint: it's the GM's fault. Attack the GM. Joke lang).

And the monster stats is an interesting thing: they're composed of three numbers (sometimes two)! Monster stat is basically three things: Threat, how dangerous a foe is (or how many dice the Foe will roll, without advantages), Resistance, how tough the foe is (also known as the VPs you need to get), and sometimes (because not everyone has mooks) Followers, which is just that- 1 Die, 1 VP mooks you can kill easily.

This  isn't for monster stats only, since anything that needs resolution in-game is treated as the same thing (Minus Followers of course). So a Raging River 3/3 has 3 Threat and 3 Resistance, opposing you with three dice and requiring 3 VPs. Or Fair Maiden 4/1, a pakipot that opposes you with 4 dice but once you win against her once, she's yours (please Gabriela don't sue me). Simplicity is the key.

CR: Don't even bother. Descending Armor Class: -0.

And Other Badass Stuff That Involves Being a Badass- a Social Badass at that.
From the Hari Ragat blog. We seriously get to ride this! Asteeeg.
There's also naval combat which I won't go into because I haven't really sat down to understand it, but I know it's still simple, just giving the normal stats to warships and then the usual fists of dice throwing. Hahaha.

It's like being a tropical Viking. You go around, pillage-village, get their women and be famous for doing so. Of course it isn't as one sided as that, there's actually a lot of depth to it, Dariel has different takes on many things and it's evident in his games: Hari Ragat can be a political feud, a hardcore wilderness trek and cavern crawl, a plane-crossing journey to Sulad (or the Underworld for all you non-bahag wearing folks), a grand search for the Diwang Lahi or all of the above to find the one and true Hari Ragat.

Hari Ragat offers many things, of course you have your standard adventuring but it also pits you in a communal and social position: you want your barangay to succeed. Part of that is by adventuring and bringing glory to your tribe but a part of it is also maintaining good relations with other tribes; so no random killing for XP, no character that suddenly popped out of nowhere and immediately becomes a wandering murderhobo, and establishing friends in other places is a must. For all it's adventuring fanfare Hari Ragat is deeper than what it seems. It's a kingdom building game where you start out as adventurers and can possibly end as Rajahs- or even the Hari Ragat himself.

The game will definitely appeal not just to Filipinos but everyone who likes to have a fun way to take on serious matters (or a serious way to take on fun matters), for world-builders and failed tyrants, for the aspiring soldier who wants to be a general someday. I'm really excited for this game, largely because I'm a sucker for all things pre-Hispanic Filipino but also because from experience, it's a great game.

Wednesday, January 14, 2015

KURIPOT GAMER: FREE DUNGEONS & DRAGONS!!!

Parang matutumba na yung Halfling Paladin o,
buti nakakalakad pa siya
Okay, so joke lang. Free talaga, pero hindi Dungeons & Dragons. Dahil sa OGL at other legalese na kahit basahin ko ay hindi ko naman maiintindihan (puwede ko sabihin na; 'ayon sa OGL' at magtutunog astig na ako!), mayroon tayong sandamukal na Dungeons & Dragons clones! Anekla ang D&D (Retro)Clone? Mga larong parang D&D nth Version ang tabas, binago lang ang ibang salita, skills, feats at kung ano-ano pa. Parang D&D lang din talaga.

Note: Ang Retro-clones ay ginagaya ang D&D ruleset bago mag D&D3e, mga panahong descending armor class pa ang gamit (T*NG*NA KAILANGAN NG ALGEBRA PARA SA THAC0), ang race at class ay magkasama (kasi nga naman mahirap maging Halfling Paladin) at iba pang mga ka-hardcoreness ng nakalipas an henerasyon. May mga free non-retro clones din naman, kaya kung masyado hardcore and Descending AC for you, may softcore versions sila.
Kala mo madali matamaan Descending AC pala.
Huhuhu Y U DO DIS TU MI?
Then again, that's what 3e's OGL is for ;)

Kung tutuusin, support at production quality lang ang pinagkaiba ng Dungeons and Dragons 555th edition at ng kung anong clone. Pero dahil sikat at kilala, mas maraming pumipili ng D&D. Wag mag-alala! Hindi ibig sabihin na naglaro ka ng D&D clone eh traydor ka na! At kung marunong ka mag D&D, marunong ka na rin mag D&D clone, mga feats at skills lang kadalasan ang pinagkaiba (at attribute modifiers, kasi yung iba AD&D ang gamit).

Kahit na medyo naiiilang ako na parang D&D lang ang TRPG sa mundo ng ibang mga tao, kailangan pa rin itong suportahan kasi... kasi... aspeto ito ng hobby natin eh! Hahahehehe. Basta, heto ang koleksyon ng mga D&D clones na libre at well-supported:

Tombs & Terrors
Eto na siguro ang pinaka-simple na D&D clone (wag na tayong magaway kung clone or retroclone ito) as lahat na mararamdamang D&D pa rin ang nilalaro mo. 99 pages lamang ang core rulebook (at yung lang naman kadalasan ang kailangan eh)- isipin mo na lang kung gaano ito kagaan kumpara sa 250+ pages ng iba.

Ang isa sa magandang aspeto ng T&T ay inimumungkahi nitong kumuha ka sa laman ng ibang free D&D clones (tulad ng nasa baba) para gamitin ito sa T&T game mo: dahil simple at maliit ang mga numero madali ito gawin. Kakaunti lang ang spells ng mga magic-users dito pero puwede ka kumuha sa OSR supplement na Theorems & Thaumaturgy, o puwede mo gamitin ang bestiary at treasure list ng Swords & Wizardry etc etc. Ito ang paborito kong D&D clone, subukan mo rin, less than 99 pages ang kailangan basahin para matuto ito laruin ;)

Heroes Against Darkness
Sa taas ng production quality ng HAD, magugulat ka na libre lang 'to. Kung sabagay, kadalasan mabait ang mga TRPG'er at naiintindihan nila ang kalikasan ng hobby na ito: imahinasyon lang ang kailangan, kung kaya't handa sila magrelease ng libre.

Ang HAD ay MABIGAT. Madali matutunan ang mga rules, pero maraming paraan ng pag gamit ng rules. Ang combat system ay komprehensibo (sa panahon ngayon, halos lahat na ata ng laro ay may malaking combat system), medyo nakakalito sa simula (lalo na kung hindi mo binasa ng maayos ang How-To ng bestiary) pero pag matutunan mo na, yung simpleng roll-higher pa rin ang sinusunod.

Parang 3.5e o 4e ang laro niya, minus yung halos impossibleng presyo. Libre lang, sobrang taas ng production quality at ang laki pa ng options. Kung gusto mo ng D&D na pinakamalapit sa newer editions (3e-4e) ito ang laruin mo.

Microlite20
Kinalahati ng Microlite20 ang anim na attributes ng D&D, at hindi lang iyon: compatible pa rin and D&D 3/3.5/Pathfinder dito! Ibig sabihin kung may nabili kang D&D3/3.5 supplement sa booksale (kasi minsan meron) ay maaari mo itong gamitin dito! Asteeeeg! Ang Microlite Purest Essence ay magandang panimula dahil sa angkin dali nito (17 pages lang! BOOKLET NA YAN!).

Basic Fantasy Roleplaying
Ang pinakapunto ng BFRP ay makuha ang pakiramdam ng mga naunang D&D (yung sandamukal na table para sa Percentage of Success ng Thief skills at iba pa- WHOOO!) at lalo itong pasimplehin gamit ang mga innovations ng 21st century.

At eto pa ang mga laro na hindi pa ako ganun ka-pamilyar pero LIBREEE WHOOOO:

Swords & Wizardry
Labyrinth Lord
OSRIC
Dark Dungeons

Ang mga nilagay ko dito ay ang mga pinaka-pulido na Free RPG na nakita ko. Madadagdagan pa ito sa paghahanap ko ng iba pa.

Sa dinadami ng mga clones na libre, di na kailangan magtorrent pa ;)


Thursday, January 8, 2015

From the Eyes of Y-Z: Star Frontiers Alpha Dawn

Look at that thing. Beautiful.
Even the butt is beautiful

First up is Star Frontiers! This is one of my first legit RPG buy, and I'm lucky enough that Jay of Phil Gamer (Yeah, I know I keep mentioning him, Tobie, & Marc- they're one of the most active GMs locally. Kudos to them [what the hell does kudos mean?]) is willing to let go of these (and Castle Falkenstein- which will be reviewed soon) for a bargain. He gave me price that really works up to my kuripot-ness and, me seeing a bargain when I know one, sealed the deal. Re-read the sentence before this. HA! Did you get it? Anyway, we met in a really fancy coffee shop, did an interview and talked about stuff. Really cool guy right there.

But more about Star Frontiers, reading Rob Lang's free RPG blog, I came across this little gem. Because of some quirk of agreement with TSR and the fans that WotC decided to honor, the fans were able to remaster the game and release it for free. I posted it in the PTRPG FB page, thinking that the peeps there would appreciate the nostalgia- and they did (I got couple of commenters there nostalgic. Haha). One thing led to another and found that Jay still has his box set and lo and behold. I scampered for money to get this. Totally worth the spending though, check it out:

I already popped the rest of them :3 More than 200 tokens! So tiny! So cute! SO DEADLY WITH MY NEEDLER PISTOL!

80s hair is forgivable:
the badassery of this thing more than makes up for it
WEAPONS! Guns goodness!
 Different guns, same damage, different effect
The box set has two rulebooks, the Basic Rules (the one above) and the Expanded Rules (the one below). The game is easy-to-understand enough that it fits my style of playing and GM'ing. Also fits my most consistent player (read: my girlfriend), she can't be bothered by minutia and while this game is teeming with details, we found out that if we just skipped the minute parts and look at the big picture (GM: There's a wall there, -10. Player: I have good eyesight, +5 and a smoking gun, +15 2d10 damage... etc) to see what will work and won't, it's fast. Really fast.

Also since we're going retro, it's roll-under-your-skill, which is very convenient for a GM like me. I don't need to think of Target Numbers or whatnot. This allows my players to just do whatever they want (I let my players do what they want anyway. I suck at story GMing :| ), from front flipping over a barricade, guns a-blazing to sliding on their knees (I GOT KNEEPADS YO!) and slipping under a speeding truck.

Larry Elmore got lazy and just switched the character's positions. Haha. And background. The Yazirian didn't change.
OOOOHHH! TABLES! I DON'T UNDERSTAND EEET.
I HATE YOU DISCALCULIA
Basic campaign for 'referees' and 'players'. Why not just GM?
They even have this basic campaign thingy, with all the sections and things. I haven't really read through it, just looking at the pictures :/ Hehehe. Though I am getting the impression that it's easy to run. Will probably still wing half of it though. Then again, I rarely follow anything from the book- give me a Rules-Med game it's gonna turn out Rules-Lite.

Oooh. Improv scenarios inside your ship: SATHAR INFESTATION! KILL THE SATHAR SOLDIER AND LEAVE HIS FAMILY FATHER-LESS
Such beauty. I can even use this for games that
doesn't have anything to do with Sci Fi.
I'm thinking of using this for Gods of Gondwane. Ha!

CITY MAP! IMPROV SCENARIO: SATHAR INFESTATION!
USE CIVILIANS AS MEAT SHIELDS!
I hung out at Marc's crib last December and we talked about Star Frontiers. One of the things he really digs in this is the maps and counters. And having this right now: I couldn't agree more.

First, the size of it is staggering and there's a degree of generic-ness to it that I can probably (NOTHING'S GONNA STOP MEEEH!!!) use it in other games, heck even in other settings. The city map alone is worth gold nuggets for me, and can think of multiple uses for it already.

TERRAINS! IMPROVE SCENARIO: SATHAR INFESTATION!
Let the Sathar die in unfamiliar terrain!
Not to mention that they have TERRAIN MAPS! HOW COOL IS THAT! I'm big with 'wilderness crawl', not cramped in a dungeon (hey, maybe I should make a 'Skwater's Area Crawl' hehe. I live in one BTW). They even have deserts, swamps, forests, heck they even have parks.

The box has more stuff than I orginally thought it has, and that came as a really pleasant surprise. As Jay mentioned when I bought this 'the companies back then were more generous'. They seem to put in as much as they can, something that newer publishers should still follow (or probably I'm not buying enough). 

And thus my incoherent blabbering about a game older than me and the beautiful pictures I forced my girlfriend to take ends here. Star Frontiers is one of my best buys and while others have memories with this game, I'm still going to make mine ;)

Tuesday, January 6, 2015

Opener

We're all forced to follow
a governing rule so shallow
kneel upon an unseen god
offer our lives and our children's blood

we are the black against white,
rebellion in pictures
you can never touch me anymore,
you can never rape my mind anymore

We are servants to a lord
born to be enslaved
Be saved but be slaved
Be free but hide from thee

we cry into the night
let the monsters fright
we continue to divide
and kneel upon redemption's light

we are given free will,
so we can choose to obey
we are given freedom,
the freedom to obey

slavery isn't salvation
arrogance is your reason
for our defiance
to your canine rules

how can you ever say we're free
we're slaved to Religiosity

Drift through the years and life seems tame

Drift through the years and life seems tame,
then a stranger appears and love is her name
You play with love, but it's not a game
There's no one else at fault, there's no one to blame

But onwards and onwards, time passes by
You never forget that heart-breaking lie,
Three simple words, if you hear, you'll die
You look back weeping, asking; why? why?

Everything fades through time
But what is to fade through
when it's been that since time
Everything goes through a poetic rhyme

Done to you, will happen to her
Pain to you, defeat to him
Don't worry, don't worry,
Stand up and don't be sorry

Let time erase your burdens away
Let fate control your every way
Lie down and succumb to predestination,
Go with the flow of your every sensation

Everything fades through time
But what is to fade through
when it's been that since time
Everything goes through a poetic rhyme

Fickle

Like a rock thrown forth
Rage soars through the skies
Of wind sailing north
It is me, the one who cries

You pull me to despair, Sunstarer
You pull me down, not any fairer
You erase my smile,
Your smirk I revile.

Our moods oft swing
Our sadness oft sing
What happens then
when the Sun and Fool clash?

Woe to the lovers
With arguments in balderdash
The Fool loves you, yes
The Fool reviles catching the stress

Thus 'tis the job of a lover
And lovers we are,
Lovers we be

As lovers we try
To avoid each other's melancholy

This is not the end
For our love so persists
Hurdle is our fickle emotion
But none affect our love devotion

Monday, January 5, 2015

From the Eyes of Y-Z

I have a 'generation gap' with my own generation. I've always been out of time, anachronistic. Simply put, I don't fit in.

Though, I appreciate retro RPGs and fantasy art so I got that going and it's definitely nice. For the past few months, I've been running around, spending & bargaining (heavily bargaining) for the peeps at PTRPG's old games. Mostly pre-2000s. My first purchase was Star Frontiers and Castle Falkenstein, and that would be reviewed soon. I love the psychic trace, the notion that in this box set are memories of young kids having the time of their lives.

It's like I'm siphoning their astral energy (if you're into that sort of stuff. I'm not)

With that said, I'm launching a new series in my blog: From the Eyes of Y-Z. I'll be giving my two cents (not really review because I suck at that) on retro RPGs. There's going to be lots of pictures for the unboxing, and what I think about it: and that would be the theme of 'From the Eyes of Y-Z'.

A anachronistic kid raised in the 21st century's look on games created long before he was born (and how it fits in with his 21st century friends). Feel free to feel nostalgia while I experience wonder at something old but new.

A completely unrelated picture. Oh wait, no, half of these are from the City of Mysteries AD&D accessory!

Sunday, January 4, 2015

KURIPOT GAMER: Pocketmod Para sa Palaging Pagala-gala

Kasya sa bulsa! Kaya nga pocketmod eh. Hahahehe :(
Lately ko lang na-realize eh. Slow.

Ako yung tipo ng taong mahilig maglakad-lakad at mahilig tumambay sa sariling bahay. Tuwing Sabado at Linggo, naglalakad-lakad ako sa UP Diliman. Trip lang. Nakaka-relax eh.

Nakakatakot 'tong p*tang*nang to eh
Minsan nagdadala ako ng pocketmod RPG para pag tinopak kami ni Mira maglaro, eh may malalaro kaming
madali lang gamitin. Ang pinaka-punto ng Pocketmod games ay dapat madali ito laruin at hindi mahirap matutunan. Kadalasan interesante pa ang mga konsepto ng mga laro.

Kasya sa isang page ang print, kung kaya't madalas sa bahay ko na lang ipiniprint.

Heto ang isang halimbawa ng pocketmod, may picture lahat ng sides para makita mo, pati na rin yung laman (Para sa mga nagdududa kung mababasa ba o hindi).

Cover. Ang ganda! Bright colors!
Rules cheorva
Mukha siyang mini-Bible, actually.


Anobayan walang pictures!

Cheesecake art! Isang pre-teen sidekick in isang
possibly hebephile superhero! Asteeg!

Fun in four pages. Actually eight.


























Kung interesado ka sumubok ng mga Pocketmod RPGs (o mas madalas 'story games' daw- ano ba pinagkaiba? Hahah. Story vs Roleplaying?), heto ang mga links para sa LIBREEENG Pocketmod RPGS:

Listahan ni Dr. Rob Lang

Kung nakakabagot ang Sabado mo at gusto gumala ang iyong isipan, subukan makipaglaro ng pocketmod games kasama ng mga tropa mo ;) Masaya yan! Parang drugs pero organic.

PS Mga bata huwag mag droga.

Thursday, January 1, 2015

KURIPOT GAMER: Interviewing the PhilGamer Jay Anyong

Manigong bagong taon sa lahaaat! Para sa first post, we go English muna ;)

My 19 year old brain still can't
comprehend this, but I will soon ;)
A few weeks back (at this point, I can refer to it as 'last year' already. haha), I bought Jay Anyong's (of Life & Times of Philippine Gamer) Star Frontiers: Alpha Dawn & Knight Hawks and Castle Falkenstein. He was nice enough to let go of it for a really low price (because I'm kuripot and poor and all that) and I interviewed him because he's really cool. Hahaha.

This MILF isn't mine, but I got something like this.
Will post about it soon.
We talked about cool stuff in a really fancy coffee shop (added that experience to my 'Things I Never Though I'll Do') and he spewed some badass words about game design. Here's the what of what we talked about, in all its badass glory. Enjoy.

Kuripot Gamer: You’re known as the guy behind the Life & Times of the Philippine Gamer, which has a pretty considerable following. Everyone knows you as Jay, but that’s it, just Jay?

PhilGamer: Yep. Just Jay.

KG: When did you start gaming?

PG: My gaming career officially started with Star Frontiers, I picked that up when I was nine. If you notice the box it says… I think, from age 13 and up. And at that age I thought you had to wait until I was 13 to start playing! So, I read the rules, kept reading them until I finally figured out what they actually meant. I tried to get my brother into it, didn’t quite work out. He didn’t end up GM’ing for me, I ended up GM’ing for my older brother instead.  (Smiling in nostalgia) And I’ve lost the notes, my old box used to have the notes, it was horrible! They were very very simple adventures. That was my first experience with it. When I finally regularly started GM’ing was already in college. That’s when I started running Legend of the Five Rings 1st edition, back then. Then a friend got me hooked on Mage: the Ascension 2nd Edition.

KG: Since you have a really long and broad gaming experience what’s your most memorable gaming experience?

PG: My most memorable gaming… in a good way or a bad way?

KG: Just think of the funkiest ones, things you won’t probably do in real life- given that we don’t the stuff we do in games in real life, what’s too far out even in games?

PG: The weirdest thing a character I’ve ever played has ever done would probably be… in a game of Exalted. I was playing what was essentially a mashup of the Scorpion King, the Rock, the Scorpion King and Moses. So the idea was basically I was a former slave that broke free and now wants to destroy slavery.

KG: And is jacked as hell. Haha.

PG: And is jacked as hell, and is Polynesian. And one of the things that I had to do was to get this giant tortoise sea god to help me out. So I jump into the water, start swimming, meet the sea god and realize: I can’t talk underwater. So I can’t negotiate! Instead, I looked at my skills, okay, so I have perform. So I negotiated through interpretative swimming. And it worked! I rolled phenomenally high, the GM allowed me. If you allow yourself a mental image of the Rock twirling underwater… that’s probably the weirdest thing I’ve done.

KG: Wow! Actually that’s not even weird, that’s cool!  So let’s go to your gaming endeavors, because you also design games right? Let’s talk about Badass, how did you come up with Badass?

PG: Badass was a product of boredom and a chatroom. I was actually talking with Michael Wolf, Stargazer. He had a small chatroom where few bloggers were talking on. And in a fit of boredom we started talking: ‘hey why don’t we come up with something that plays on badass action movie tropes of the 80s and 90s’. Like Jean Paul van Damme, Michael Dudikoff, the really badass, legit B-movies, action movies. It’s really about how do you make a game that runs a b-action movie and it started off with just random banter and I started taking notes. And started building, and after like about, 2-3 weeks of refinement, I finally said OK this is probably as good as it gets and then I asked Michael for a favor and he went ahead laid it out and posted on his Stargazer Games blog.

KG: And then it boomed. Everybody loved it. It’s really fun; I mean c’mon, a game that encourages you to do what GMs hope you won’t do.

PG: The idea is you have to be stupidly brave as possible because the moment you start slowing down and think things through you get penalized. And that’s really the dynamic I want to do, these guys are really too stupid to stop so they’ll just keep powering through every scene, every action. Everything they do will probably be over the top, just building off one ordeal until it becomes absurd.

KG: There’s this guy in Pathfinder FB page, he asked ‘what do I need to do, what character do I need to build so I can use a person as my weapon? I’m going to hit a person with another person’.  And I think there’s no question, you can definitely do that in badass.

PG:  The thing is you’re not supposed to think too much about the physics of it, as long as you’re ready to do it, it sounds cool, the GM will let you do it. The only problem I had with the original Badass which I hope to rectify since I’m working on a second edition of the game is to finally include the missing contacts rules. ‘Cause I kept mentioning about contact rules in the initial draft, and I’d forgotten it by the time we published it so I was like ‘where’s the contact rules?!’

KG: You talked about the future of Badass, what’s in the future of Badass?

PG: Future of Badass right now is really just a refinement of the original Badass, I don’t really want to make it more complicated because it’s already simple to begin with, I just want to make sure to include all the missing rules from the first one and add a bunch of Flavas. The new edition of Badass is basically called, right now, it’s called Son of Badass, SOB for short. And I’m still on the thought of whether releasing it for free or if I’ll be charging for a minimal fee once I have it laid out. The initial manuscript is already in the lay out with Dax Tee who is the illustrator for the first badass.

KG: For the first edition of Badass, everyone’s saying ‘why is this free?’ It’s specially laid out, the game is really good, everyone was willing to pay for Badass. So I guess SOB deserves that. Also, you’re making another game right?

PG: Right

KG: Cool, so tell me about it.

PG: FightClass is still currently in pre-production, I have the initial manuscript ready, most of the rules are there, there’s only one subsystem that I’m still wrestling with right now. The artwork for it has already been commissioned and I have a couple of proofs for cover image already. Fight Class is all about rival schools. If you’re familiar with old video games, you have bunch of schools competing against one another in any absurd possible contest they can think of. So it doesn’t have to be all punchy-punchy stuff, you can technically have a Zoolander-style dance off or something or style walk. It can be a cook off, it doesn’t matter as long as it’s extreme and horrendously melodramatic competition between two students of different or similar skillsets. And that’s essentially what Fight Class is about.

KG: Fight Class is anime-inspired, yes?

PG: Yes

KG: With that who’s your target market in mind?

PG: Basically my target for this is one is if Badass is for the 80s action guy, we’re looking at the 90s-2000s action guys. We’re talking about the ones which grew up with anime, the ones who are used to the standard tropes of Dragonball Z, like this is not my final form, it all makes sense for that particular demographic. So we’re looking at that as the staging point for Fight Class. I’m hoping it’s separate enough from Badass that it’ll not sound like old hack but it’ll be interesting enough to get people trying.

KG: About the system for Fight Class, will it have the same system with Badass or are you making a new one?

PG: For Fight Class, it’ll be slightly different. It will be as simple as I can make it. It will still, from my last draft at least- again this isn’t final yet, it’ll still be using d6s because I want to make it as accessible as possible. And for this one you’ll have the option to create your own skills. You define your student, you define what club they came from, what skills those clubs give you. So it’s really about customizing the student body of the school you’re representing and what that school is popular for. I have seven different schools stated out already. Each one with a different focus on what they can do, so you have something like the Overman Institute, which is for the physical oriented guys, you have a slightly emo, Edgar Allan Poe-inspired Victorian type,  you have another school full of mad scientists, martial artist, so on and so forth. So basically, I try to grab as many stereotypes as possible and I have them smash up against each other.

KG: That’s a really fun concept, right now we live in a world of multiculturalism and there are subcultures within cultures, also countercultures.  It’s really fun if you have a game that can make them meet. I mean, I’m a martial artist. The idea of having schools fight is already appealing to me.

PG: It’s really an excuse to play a bad Kung Fu movie, my school is better than your school, let’s face off somewhere, doing whatever thing.

KG: I’m excited for this game, and I guess everyone reading this will also be excited. But what about your blog, what do you have in store for 2015?

PG: More frequent posting, haha. I haven’t been blogging as often as I used to. Back when I had more time for it, I was able to blog at least once a day for weekdays. I’m hoping to get back up to three posts a week. I’ll still have the usual, I’ll still have the standard reviews, I’ll still be doing the Let’s Study series which a lot of people seem to like, and I might be branching to more game design articles, eventually. Once I have more time to sit down and think through about what’s going on in my head.

So that's what we can expect for the PhilGamer blog for 2015. 2015 seems to be a good year for the local gaming community, with continuous traffic and people itching for a convention. Hopefully it works :D Stay updated, and stay astig.

P.S. Jay gave me some game designing advice after the interview, which I really think is insightful. Here's what he had to say:

"I feel like building games isn’t something that’s reserved to an elite few. RPGs are technically let’s pretend. Just adding a little bit of structure. It’s really thinking about ‘why this certain rules exist’ and if you go back to Badass, you have the entire concept of your badass points being both your fuel for doing Badass things as well as your hit points to make sure you stay in the fight. So what that does do is basically it encourages you to gain more badass points, do more badass things, you get tougher, you get stronger, you can pull off more things. Likewise if you start slowing down, you get deducted Badass points and you’re so much less able. So how does that change play? How does that influence the player to take action, so these are things would probably be interesting to think about."

I look like I wait tables in a fancy European restaurant.
Ha! At least it's a fancy restaurant