Go Action Fun Time’s Strange Convention Time-loop

This will be the last GAFT-centric post for a while. I really do have other things going on with my life. But we are in the middle of a run, here, and I have a few notes.

A quick announcement:

GAFT cover image

This is from the “Pilot Episode”

I will be running Go Action Fun Time – The Dinosaurs of St Louis (The “Pilot”) at the RPG West gathering at Scale and Feather Meadery in Avondale next Saturday, August 31, 2019 at 1:00pm.

{An image from the meadery website would go here, but someone worked really hard to make that impossible. Copyright is the enemy of marketing.}

 

I went 0-3 at MaricopaCon. None of the adventures actually happened. One was just a bad time slot, one I had one player who made a character just to test the system and give me some feedback, but didn’t actually play, and one that was about to start, but parents came and pulled 3 out of 4 of my players.

My biggest problem with running Go Action Fun Time for kids (assuming they are old enough to read and add up dice) is keeping them at the table. And this is not because of the kids. Honestly, once I get them into it, they will stay around. They won’t stay in their chairs, but they will stay at the table.

The trouble is the parents.

I schedule 4 hours for this game when I have any control over such things. That is, so you know, fairly typical for table-top RPG’s at conventions. (At someone’s house they can go 6-8 hours). So this is not something you can send the kids down to do just to get them out of your hair for half an hour.

If I force some quick decisions with pre-made characters, simplify the combat, and cut the plot in half or more, I can get the game over in around two hours. But that is my minimum. If you can’t spare your darlings for at least that long, do us all a favor and tell them no in the first place.

Relatedly, I am once again trying to run Sparkle and Bleed and The Whole They Crawled Out of at a Convention, this time CoKoCon. 

This is becoming a time-loop. Let me paste from last entry:

Sparkle and Bleed

FRIDAY AUGUST 30 6:00 PM

In a small town in 1958 Nebraska, your teen-age time-traveling super-heroes have been given a task that will chill them to their very marrows: find a date to the Homecoming Dance. Also of interest: murder, mayhem, the living dead and the town’s unsteady relationship with time and space.

 

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The Whole They Crawled Out Of

SUNDAY SEPT 1 6:00 PM

The village is surrounded by mutant zombies. You are here to help. Of course it’s worse than that. Because the only thing more terrifying than constant war with your neighbors is being forced to agree with them about every little thing. A cross-over adventure with Sage and Sand.

YES – you need to be a member of the con to attend the games.

This will be the last organized con at which I plan to run games for this year.

Over-all,  about 1 in 3 scheduled games of GAFT actually happen at membership conventions. I’ll take that chance in Phoenix, where I can control the expenses, just for the little bit of outreach I manage.  But those are poor odds to take out of town, with all the expense that entails.

I will be organizing a Meet-up specifically to run this game in town, at my house or any other venue that will have me, to get some playtest hours underneath this thing. But, this blog is a poor spot to announce such things. We have other business. I will announce and organize those events by Meet-up and Facebook. If you are not a part of either platform, and you want to play, make sure I have your e-mail.

Now we know.

 

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The Regular (Sample) Cast of Go Action Fun Time and Where and When They will appear next.

I have, at long last, finalized the “Cast Members” for Go Action Fun Time, my table-top role-playing game about a reality TV show where teenage superheroes travel randomly through time.  I have concocted 30 Cast Members, heroes all drawn from the fantastic past or the speculative future or more modern origins.  Before I go into details one them, some announcements:

I will be at MaricopaCon this weekend. We will play Sparkle and Bleed on Saturday Night, and The Whole They Crawled out of Sunday  morning (whether the organizers realize this or not.). Yes- these were both on the schedule at Crit Hit, but Sparkle could use another round of play-testing, and Whole didn’t get enough players to go.

Yes- you need to have a membership at the Con in order to play.

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Sparkle and Bleed

In a small town in 1958 Nebraska, your teen-age time-traveling super-heroes have been given a task that will chill them to their very marrows: find a date to the Homecoming Dance. Also of interest: murder, mayhem, the living dead and the town’s unsteady relationship with time and space.

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Some Parts and Portions that crawled out of The Whole.

The Whole They Crawled Out Of

The village is surrounded by mutant zombies. You are here to help. Of course it’s worse than that. Because the only thing more terrifying than constant war with your neighbors is being forced to agree with them about every little thing. A cross-over adventure with Sage and Sand.

 

The Sample Cast

GAFT cover image

Left to Right: Cypher, Gideon Gunn, Rose Red, Cosmic Kid, Brass, and an early concept for Xinji.

These characters were mostly derived from tropes I have seen in the source material from which Go Action Fun Time was drawn: Saturday morning cartoons, the anime and late night cartoons that succeeded them, and the books and serials that preceded them. This may or may not have been filled out by characters rescued from other RPG games.

I have 30 Cast Members, six each of five general types:

  • Fighter A – combat specialists who have actually trained for combat.
  • Fighter B – Solid combatnts who are ot specifically trained for combat, but whose abilities make them tactically formidable anyway.
  • Rouges – Thieves and spies and detectives.
  • Wizards – primary spell-casters, but also includes scientists, mad or otherwise.
  • Other – Either support types (healers) or those who defy any of the four categories above.

THE CAST:

[Alphetically, by type.] Characters in italics are planned, but have not been written yet.

Fighters – Type A

BRASS the HUNTRESS – A daughter of Zeus. Brass hunts monsters.

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“Keep pointing that spear at me and there will be some loud noise.”

GALAHAD – A knight of the Round Table. Almost but not quite exactly who you think he is.

GIDEON GUNN – An indestructible wanna-be Texas Ranger.

OKUNINUSHI – Cyber-samurai with a magic sword.

RUBIA LaROUCHE – Pirate Princess.

SABRE – Genetically modified super-soldier who really just likes flowers and puppies and K-pop dance music.

Fighters – Type B

BARKLEY “BEAR” DICKSON – Just a good ol’ redneck wear-bear.

CAPTAIN VICTORY – Cloned super-athlete created for marketing.

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110% effort 110% of the time!

COSMIC KID – A normal, average modern teen filled with the Power Cosmic.

KROMAG – A caveman with super-strength.

LUNK – An actor/singer/dancer, but one who has been genetically modified to survive on a high gravity planet with an acidic atmosphere.

XINJI – A young girl kept alive in a military grade cybernetic body.

Rouges

ALEX KITT – a modern teenager who is also a super-spy. You are not authorized to know why this would make any sense at all.

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Not his (it’s?) true form.

ARIA – Entertainment superstar from the near future with superhuman charisma.

DOPPLE –  A young footpad from the mean streets of 19th Century London, who also happens to be a shape-shifting alien.

SHADOW-CAT – Genetically and cybernetically enhanced cat-burglar

SPARROW – Former sidekick to the 1930’s millionaire costumed vigilante Gangbuster.

VALORIE KEENE – Girl Detective.

Wizards

CYPHER – A historian from the far, far future.

DOCTOR JUNIOR –  A wheel-chair bound super-genius.

FELICITY MOORE – A sitcom witch. Don’t tell anyone – it’s a secret.

DR. OPPERNOCKITTY – A Victorian techno-wizard who may be the last gnome.

OPENER-OF-WAYS – A lost daughter of Thoth to whom every word is readable and no door is closed. Cannot keep secrets or tell lies.

THE WIZARD TIMM – A young Atlantean Enchanter who may or may not be a younger version of a certain Monty Python character.

Timm RCM

The reason behind the explosions

Others

ABLE – An exploration android.

BROTHER MU – An initiate of the Brotherhood of the Over-mind, who trained him how to use his psychic powers.

GREYCLOAK – Elven Fighter/Magic-user/Thief. You’ve played this sort before.

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Worship my precious adorableness – or else!

PRINCESS MOONFIRE: – Every magical princess trope rolled into one.

RIGEL WATSON – A promising space cadet attending space academy.

ROSE RED – A lost princess with the power of Kindness. The sister of Snow White.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Routine vs Actual Progress

Rey is back at college, and I have the house to myself again. I could settle back into the old routine that got me here. Or I could reflect on how that got me here, and make some changes.

Before we get to all of that, some brief announcements, pending more formal (louder) announcements to come:

mcon2019-gold-413x413I will be running Go Action Fun Time at MaricopaCon on August 24 & 25.

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I will be running even more Go Action Fun Time at CoKoCon August 30th to September 1

 

I will be speaking at a couple of panels at KABAM Fri-Sat, Sept 20-21, 2019.

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I  hope to be at the Phoenix Library Local Author Fair on November 2nd. That is pending application, and the link below, while no secret, is for my reference.

https://www.phoenixpubliclibrary.org/ServicesForYou/Pages/Just-Read-Local-Author-Fair-application.aspx

I have always viewed routines as a potentially dangerous addiction. Some of this is the autism – which loooves routines – but most of this come from a life in show business where routines, as most people would understand them, are well-nigh impossible.

I have a day job, and a house to myself. I can have routines, and I do. I can go from stopping the alarm to starting the car in 45 minutes, with breakfast and coffee and lunch in a cooler. That this routine exists and is reliable brings me more pride and joy than I am comfortable admitting to.

You will be relieved to know that I am not about to describe said routine. Also worth noting: this is basically the only routine I follow with any consistency.  The laundry is a process rather than a routine, in that it is not time-sensitive. I can do it in a long afternoon, or I can spread it out over three nights. If I do it in an afternoon, though, it is a routine.

Similarly, I have a process for cleaning the house, and even a process for writing, but these are steps-in-order, they are not a choreographed ritual that is my  workday morning routine.

I should be more systematic about the writing routine: reflection, warm-ups, that sort of thing. There really are creative best-practices (but stay away from “Creativity exercises” business trot out when trying to “brainstorm” or whatever word they use for it now. You can’t force creativity out in a scheduled meeting.)  But I am often surprised by opportunities to get creative work done (“I know they said 9am, but they actually meant 1 pm”) and have learned to summon the magic without a great deal of preparation.

Routines are time consuming, though. It is within my autism to schedule every minute of my day doing plausibly useful things that wold maintain and enjoy the quality of life I have right now perpetually. Instead, I rather imagine progress. I am not unhappy with my life as it is now, but that is largely because I see it as a process rather than a routine.  If the last few years have taught me anything, there are precious few constants we can rely upon in life.  Even my precious morning routine is quite different than it would have been four years ago.

Other views on routine:

Fast Company says they are essential.

Jonah Mailin on Medium disagrees.

Productivity Blogger (this is a thing, I suppose) Dean Yeong has a best routine listicle.

I am up much later than I planned to be. I am drinking whiskey. Those are also solid routines.

Now we know.

 

Pantsing a post

I’m really kinda alarmed at how much of a pantser I actually am. Ok, let me back that up for the non-writers. I’m really surprised at how much I make up as I go along.

Before we get to all that, a few quick plugs for things we learned on other topics:

Over at Curious Continuity, we have concluded our survey of FTL methods.

And at Fantastical History we recap some things we learned (including the pantsing thing) at Leprecon 45 last weekend. 

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Some people make and use plans.

In truth, I like to know what I’m going to write before I sit down, but the realities of time and life mean that sometimes I just have to sit down and tap away and see what happens. My problem is that I’m good enough at spouting out nonsense off the top of my skull that I charge into the void with unwarranted optimism.

And a lot of typos.

And then I tie myself up in a not when I actually have to pull the plot together.

My whole life goes like that. I have a bit of a plan, it fall apart from errant assumptions, I make a new plan? – no I just make stuff up until I’m out of it all somehow.

I abandoned a carefully researched plan to buy a car to snap up a car I assumed to be beyond my reach. (Ruby Vroom). I seem to be getting away with that.

Not really related, but something I learned: open both side of the dead swamp cooler before deciding to replace it. Sometimes the previous tenant had just disassembled the belt for some reason. Put it back together and – cool-ish swamp air until late July.

Back to things I make up as I go along – WORD COUNT:

I wrote 1000 new words on Taliesin’s New Apprentice (the working title for the sequel to Beanstalk and Beyond), and transcribed 1500 into the thinking machine. Add the writer’s group I read it for critique in, and that’s 3000 words.

GAFtdicemonster

As I hinted at a bit in my last post, I edited and ran two episodes of Go Action Fun Time at Leprecon 45. That’s a thousand word worth each.

So At the Monday cut-off I made my 5000. And at the end of this blog, I’m already at 3000. But I got more to transcribe for Jack to read in 22 hours.

So now we know.

Go Action Fun Time at Leprecon 45

This weekend!

I will be running two episodes of Go Action Fun time at the local ASF/F convention.

Leprcon 45 – Double-tree Metrocenter. Bottle-brush conference room – 2nd floor.

10220 N Metro Parkway E, Phoenix, AZ 85051. It’s by the Metrocenter Mall off I-17 at Peoria Ave.

GAFtdicemonster

Dice Monster will also be in attendance

9:00 am Saturday [April 20]

Ravenna’s Tower

Rescue Snow White’s daughter from the dragon  whether she wants you to, or not.

1:00pm Sunday [April 21]

We Are All Sam

Confronting the terrible secret beneath a besieged a city full of clones

 

Does this all seem thrown together at the last minute? That’s kinda the theme of the whole con. Come play if you are inclined.

Go Action Fun Time is designed as a drop-in role playing game. You do not need to have participated in any of the previous episodes to be included in the next. I will have pre-generated characters available.

 

A jumbled history that never was

That’s how I describe Steampunk. I spent the last weekend at WildWestCon 8 at Old Tucson Studios. Yeah- I should’ve publicized it more, but it’s basically a costume convention with just a dash of literature and almost no gaming. I moderated some panels to earn my keep.

I’ve never been much for wearing costumes at cons. The few times I’ve tried it, years ago,  they were all thrown together last minute, and consequently more troublesome than impressive. I wear loud tropical shirts and tell people I’m a time traveler – but one that’s completely burned out.

Then I started dating the costumer I met at a Con.

Before we get to that, though, I have an announcement. You might want to stand back a bit there….

Go Action Fun Time is LIVE at Drive-Thru RPG!!!

https://www.drivethrurpg.com/product/268196/Go-Action-Fun-Time-Basic-Rules

GAFT basic rules cover

Go Action Fun Time is an open-ended, rules-lite role-playing game invoking action/adventure cartoons. You can play basically any character you want and have them run amok through any setting. Adventures can be played in one session. Characters can pop in and out without affecting continuity. And sometimes … dinosaurs.

Teen-age superheroes from the past, present or future – real or imagined – have been thrown together to compete (as a team) (in theory) in a reality game show produced by chaotic and perhaps insane gods called the Executive Producers. These heroes now travel randomly through time, pursuing the strange and crazy challenges given to them by the Producers, and perhaps righting wrongs along the way.

It’s just $4.99 – because I want people to have a copy of the rules. These are very basic: no fancy typeset or watermarks, a few illustrations, all by my hand, some just pencil over graph paper. But this is all you need to start playing.

Where and when were we?

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Crank Hazard and friend.

I discovered recently – with some coaching, that I can put together a reasonable cowboy outfit out of means at hand. Not totally period ( I cannot abide actual cowboy boots) but it doesn’t have to be. Steampunk is forgiving like that.

I found myself inventing Crank Hazard, a cowboy, of sorts, who repairs time machines by way of trade. That’s fun and all, I can blather on command about the imaginary machinations of time travel, but Crank’s name is not on the cover of any of the books I am trying to promote at these events.

So I’m still trying to find that line.

More on the Steampunk genre here:

The term “Steampunk” originated in the late 1980s with a cheeky letter to Locus Magazine from science fiction author K. W. Jeter. Jeter was trying to find an accurate description of works by himself (Morlock Night), Tim Powers (The Anubis Gates), and James Blaylock (Homunculus). While Jeter coined the word, it was William Gibson and Bruce Sterling that brought the genre attention with the book The Difference Engine (1992). Best known for their offerings in cyberpunk, Gibson and Sterling took their intimate integration of man and machine back to 1885. In this alternative Industrial Revolution, Charles Babbage’s Difference Engine is not merely a curiosity but the norm, and now his Analytical Engine comes to fruition. The book centres around the struggle between the working class Luddites (who fear technology) and the upper-class “enhanced” elite.

Moderating panels, I learned:

  • Steampunk actually began with the dime novels of the day, where authors, desperate for new angles, would occasionally insert fantastic and rarely scientific elements.
  • BUT the TV show Wild Wild West was the first recognizable entry into the genre to gain any popular traction. And it predated the term “Steampunk” by several decades.
  • Technology does not let you make costumes and props any better necessarily, but it does let you make them faster.
  • The resource triangle: Good, Cheap, Fast. Pick 2.

 

Over at Curious Continuity, we talk about Warped Drives.

That’s all I have for word-count.

Non-linear time does not enable productivity.

Now we know.

Vet Bill exposes the limits of generosity.

I haven’t paid the vet bill yet, but that day is certainly coming. First some housekeeping.

There’s been a bit of hiatus, I know, but most of what I have learned involved things off-limits to this blog: romance, finances, and the details of my day job.

Updates from the most recent posts: My back is healed. But I have long experience with these things, and was never worried – just annoyed.

I sold zero books at either KABAM or the Las Vegas Book Festival. But we have already learned that is not the point.

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Hualapai Mountain trail.

I did get a hike in around Kingman, and a bit of an adventure coming back from Flagstaff for day-job reasons. Those are at Are We Lost Yet.

Brazen Wonk has election endorsements, in case you are relying upon my opinion to inform your vote.

In the last few days, though, I have had  a lesson in the limits of generosity.

Earl brought home a cat he found on the highway. (Earl is my “room-mate”).

And this would be fine and even noble if:

  • He actually lived here or
  • He had the means to support a pet.

Since neither is true, has has brought me a cat to live indefinitely in my home at my expense.

I have named the cat Vet Bill. She’s about 7 months old, black/white/grey/and generally adorable. She comes (inexplicably for a street rescue) with a carrier, a litter box, and food bowl.

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Vet Bill meeting condition #1

You can have her right now if you want. I’ll even split the cost of spaying her.

See, I have two iron rules about creatures living in my house at my expense:

  1. Pee where you are supposed to
  2. Get along with the other residents. All of them.

Vet Bill sees Daphne, my daughter’s rabbit, as her lawful prey, and stalks the aging bunny relentlessly when she is free to do so. True, the other cats will torment the rabbit from time to time, but these episodes are occasional and short-lived.

Vet Bill has made stalking that poor rodent the focus of her life, and I do not have the time or skill to mitigate that. So she basically lives in the closet when either Earl of I aren’t around to police the living room. And she is on pace to live outside when (if) Earl goes off to Louisiana, as he plans to do by the end of the week.

I will not add chasing the cat into her closet to my morning or bedtime chores. She will live outside (or rather, in the garage) before I put either one of us through that.

Or – ideally – someone can come get her, and save her from my cruel tyranny. Seriously, I’ll split the vet bill with you. I know a very reasonable place.

Two things before anyone lectures me on kitty-whispering:

  1. I have never gone out and gotten a pet in my adult life. Every animal I have ever lived with has either squatted at my residence until I gave in and started feeding them, or has been abandoned on my doorstep by previous caretakers.
  2. All I hear is “I’ll come take the kitten off your hands…”

Actually, I will cheerfully deliver her.

Now we know.

 

WORD COUNT:

Two drafts of a chapter revision for Taliesin’s Last Apprentice = 2000

AWLY? Post about FR237 – The Bumpy Back Way into Sedona = 1000

Thursday night writer’s group = 500

Submitting One of 64 to a publisher = 500

Creating a video about my hike to Point Reyes National Seashore =1000

Writing the accompanying AWLY? blog (which goes online Thursday) = 1000