Search This Blog

Saturday, March 24, 2012

On "Strange" settings

Some settings are just difficult to to grasp by your average gamer. Tekumel and Glorantha are probably near the top of the list. Both have exotic worlds, with lots of really strange, non-Western, aspects to them. It's very likely why neither is a huge commercial success. People get offended if you say this, though. Many hint at the player being "racist" or something, because he can't be bothered to learn about a proto-Aztec culture (or Mayan or whatever) that he's not interested in.

Yet both have large fan bases. Many of the followers of these settings own every single supplement for it, and often multiple copies of many of those supplements.

However, it's not just strange settings that get this treatment. Look at Harn. Just from glancing at it, it's a very Western setting. However, if you go onto the Harn forum or the various mailing lists, there are long flamewars about whether potatoes are natural to the world. Not to mention all of the various flavors of Agrikan chapters and how they get along with each other and the general populace. And the arguments about whether the population figures are a scale too low from a realistic setting.

For whatever reason, certain settings attract obsessive fans who really love to dig into the small details. Sometimes, I think they lose track of the big picture, forgetting that the setting is a game and not a real world.

Sunday, March 18, 2012

Friday, March 16, 2012

M.A.R. Barker passed away

If you're a Tekumel fan, you know who he is. RIP, Professor Barker. You created an amazing world.

Thursday, March 15, 2012


(click for larger image)

My character in Skyrim (using mods for Witcher 2 knight armor). This is what a good D&D fighter should look like. No meatheads in a loincloth with a big sword and helmet.  :)

Wednesday, March 14, 2012

Manhattan-86 (southern Manhattan neighborhoods)

Southern Tip
A number of piers are here, and ships dock and unload supplies daily. There are a lot of warehouses, and limited residential areas. The neighborhood tends to busy all day, and relatively quiet at night. 

Tribeca stands for “Triangle Below Canal Street”. This is the area between Canal Street, West Street, Broadway, and Chambers Street. 

This neighborhood is a mix of textile and cotton factories, combined with an artsy, yet poor neighborhood. It contains a large number of restaurants and coffee shops. There are some wild night clubs, but the population is relatively well behaved, with little violent crime.

Holland Tunnel, which connects New York to Jersey City, is located in Tribeca.

Wall Street
Wall Street is sometimes called Lower Manhattan or the Financial District. This is the hub of most financial activity of NYC – it contains offices of almost all major financial institutions, as well as the world famous New York Stock Exchange.
The neighborhood is quiet and generally safe. Police patrols are heavy. There isn’t much neighborhood life; it can feel abandoned at night.

White Hall
The Staten Island Ferry and Battery Park are located here. It’s a nice neighborhood, with little crime. During the day, the place is flooded with tourists.

Monday, March 12, 2012

Saturday, March 10, 2012

Moebius passed away

Moebius, aka Jean Giraud, passed away. He was an amazing artist. He was in both mainstream comics and Heavy Metal. I'm sure his influence has been huge with modern artists. RIP.

Thursday, March 8, 2012

Manhattan Neighborhoods

Just a list of all the neighborhoods. I'll be expanding on them later.

Alphabet City
Central Park
Civic Center
East Harlem (El Barrio)
East Village
Fort George
Garment District
Gramercy Park
Greenwich Village
Hamilton Heights
Hell’s Kitchen/Clinton
Kips Bay
Lennox Hill
Lincoln Square West
Little Italy
Lower East Side
Meat Packing District
Medical City
Midtown South
Morningside Heights
Murray Hill
Southern Tip
Theater District
Turtle Bay
Two Bridges
Upper East Side
Upper West Side
Wall Street
Washington Heights
West Village

Monday, March 5, 2012

(eBay) Call of Cthulhu monographs

HERE is the auction. I ship only to the continental USA. Thanks for looking!

Officials and Newspapers of Manhattan-86


Mayor John Holz – Mayor Holz grew up in Brooklyn. He’s an Ivy-Leaguer, and loves to schmooze with the New York upper crust. He is fairly honest, and is trying to clean up the city (especially the rich neighborhoods). 

Governor Anthony Giordano – The governor is actually from Buffalo. He visits the city often, but is trying to cut its influence in upstate politics. He and the Mayor don’t get along.

Police Commissioner Michael O’Brien – Commissioner O’Brien tries to go a good job, but he’s a bit too much of a pragmatist. In his view, having crime controlled by the Kingpin is much better for the city than trying to take the Kingpin down. He figures that if the Kingpin is removed, there will be a big turf war between the crime families. He wants to prevent that at all costs.


New York Times – Editor Jen Murray is running a tight ship. Newspaper sales have been declining, and she is doing her best to bring in new sources of funding. She has been forced to lay off almost 25% of the staff, and is unpopular because of it. Various wealthy individuals in the city have been supplying funds to her, and some of them are trying to get her to change her news coverage to favor them.

New York Post – Editor Calvin Murphy is a hard-nosed reporter who came up through the trenches. He tends to have articles slant towards a conservative viewpoint. While this has alienated him from the wealthy elite, his papers are selling well, and the Post has surpassed the Times in sales. Murphy loves rubbing this in the face of his opponents.

Wall Street Journal – Editor George Fulton keeps this paper focused on Wall Street. He has no interest in expanding into general news, only stories that are related to business. Sales have been steady, and he’s very happy with them. 

New York Daily News – Editor Jen Meyers runs this sensationalist rag. Most of the stories are about celebrities or superheroes and supervillains. She pays good money for pictures of supers, whether they are in battle or doing something that looks bad on camera (especially these). 
Her biggest story last year included a series of pictures of Catwoman wrestling with Aye Candy on the docks. Many of the pictures were rather racy and even censored, especially when Aye Candy’s shirt was ripped open partway through the fight. The unedited versions were made available online to paying adult subscribers of the paper.

amNew York – Editor Anya Belyakov runs this free newspaper. It’s mostly headlines pulled off the Associated Press. The news boxes are located at every subway terminal.

Sunday, March 4, 2012

It's been four years already

Gary Gygax passed away four years ago today. I hope he's gaming in heaven!

Heroes and Villains of Manhattan-86

Heroes and Villains 
Absolution – Absolution operates in the Lower East Side and surrounding neighborhoods. She has had several clashes with Batgirl and Sandman, but has managed to escape each time.

Aquaman – Aquaman can be found in any of the waters surrounding Manhattan. He often ends up chasing down Black Manta.

Aye Candy – Aye Candy operates in the waterways around Manhattan, occasionally attacking waterfront areas. She annoyed Kingpin when she robbed one of his warehouses, but isn't aware that he is looking for her.

Batgirl – Batgirl mainly operates in the southeastern neighborhoods. She has clashed with most of the nearby supervillains, and has thrashed most of them. Unfortunately, they always seem to get out of jail not long after she turns them in.

Black Manta – Black Manta sticks to the northern half of Manhattan, particularly the coastline. He owns several warehouses, which he uses for smuggling.

Bokor – Bokor lives and works out of Harlem in the Le Petit Senegal area. She generally keeps a low profile, but the locals are all scared of her.

Bronze Gear – Bronze Gear works in both the Upper East and West Sides. She targets wealthy brokers and other businessmen, whom she figures can afford to lose their valuables. She actually lives in Kips Bay.

Catwoman – Catwoman lives in the Upper East Side, and generally operates in the Financial District or the Upper East and West Sides. She knows Bronze Gear, and has both helped her and fought her, depending upon the situation. She has also had a couple run-ins with Batgirl, and they are wary adversaries.

Cheetah – Cheetah lives in the Upper East Side, and works at the Metropolitan Museum. She has pulled off a few heists, but tries  to keep a low profile. Her work as at the museum allows her access to many antiquities she'd otherwise not see.

Crash Test Debbie – Debbie is Kingpin’s bodyguard and lives in the Upper East Side in a neighboring apartment. She wants out, but the Kingpin saved her life and got her cybernetics installed, so she owes him.

Daredevil – Daredevil operates in Hell’s Kitchen. He does his best to keep crime under control, and has had multiple run-ins with Kingpin and other local villains.

Deathstroke – Deathstroke can be found anywhere in Manhattan, depending on who his target is.

Doctor Doom – Doom can appear anywhere in Manhattan, depending upon the scheme he is working on.  He occasionally shows up at the UN Building as part of his rulership duties.

Doctor Octopus – Doc Ock usually sticks to Greenwich Village and the surrounding neighborhoods. When he does commit crimes, he tries to suck Spider Man into a trap so that he can defeat him.

Electro – Electro lives in SoHo, but is active throughout southern Manhattan. He's a loose cannon, but has done a few jobs for Kingpin.

Elektra – Elektra operates throughout Manhattan. She has an apartment in the West Village.

Foxbat – Foxbat lives in Tribeca. He sticks to southern Manhattan. He usually pulls elaborate pranks, aimed at getting himself on TV. He loves challenging local superheroes to a fight, as long as there is a news crew nearby to film it.

Ghost Widow – Ghost Widow has her base of operations hidden in Inwood. Undercover Arachnos terrorists patrol the blocks immediately surrounding it. She rarely goes on missions herself, preferring to let her lackeys do the dirty work.

Green Goblin – Green Goblin lives in the Upper East Side as Norman Osborne, and operates throughout southern Manhattan. He has tangled with Spider Man numerous times.

Harley Quinn – Harley tags along with the Joker or Poison Ivy. She usually sticks to bank robberies and similar jobs.

Johnny Sorrow – Johnny Sorrow usually sticks to the neighborhoods surrounding SoHo when he is in town. He only rarely visits, and has taken on Kingpin several times. The other local villains are scared of him, as he will force them to work for him when he's in town.

Joker – The Joker can show up anywhere. He moves around a lot, and has numerous hidden bases throughout the city. He favors big, melodramatic crimes. His goons have tangled with Kingpin's men a few times, and they do not like each other.

Kingpin – The Kingpin operates out of a penthouse in the Upper East Side. He is the major crime boss of the whole city. He has tangled with many of the resident superheroes, and several of the villains. He hires mercenaries such as Elektra as needed.

Mad Hatter – The Mad Hatter lives in the East Village. He usually works there or Alphabet City. A string of missing girls has occurred over the last year, though none of them have been tracked back to the Hatter yet.

Mr. Freeze – Mr. Freeze operates in NoHo and the East Village, staying near NYU. Several NYU professors are helping him research molecular biology, as he attempts to find a cure for his wife.

Poison Ivy – Poison Ivy has a home in Turtle Bay. Harley often stays with her. Ivy is often found in Central Park. While she may perform the occasional robbery, she is far more likely to attack people she feels are damaging the park.

Punisher – The Punisher operates throughout Manhattan. Pretty much everyone else would love to capture him, both hero and villain. So far, he has eluded them.

Red Skull – The Red Skull rarely appears in the city, and usually is trying to blow it up. He can appear anywhere, though he usually targets Wall Street or the major city government buildings in the Civic Center.

Riddler – The Riddler lives in The Bowery, and operates in the surrounding neighborhoods. He has run afoul of Batgirl on multiple occasions.

Sandman – The Sandman lives in Yorkville. He operates mainly in the Harlems and the southeast part of the island. The local street gangs and low level thugs would love to capture him.

Scarecrow – Scarecrow operates throughout southern Manhattan. He likes to target large gatherings of people, causing them to panic and hurt each other.

Silver Scream – Silver Scream can be found at any theater on the island.

Spider Man – Spider Man lives in West Village, and patrols throughout Manhattan. He has tangled with most of the villains in the area.

White Knight – The White Knight targets northern Manhattan, particularly Harlem and Washington Heights. Sandman beat him up really badly, but he escaped, and is seeking revenge.

Saturday, March 3, 2012

Manhattan Neighborhoods Map

(Pulled this off Google. I'll be using it.) Click to enlarge.

Alternate World Manhattan

I'm going to start up a series of blog posts on an alternate Earth's Manhattan. It should be readily usable for supers or urban fantasy. You will see references to popular comics characters. I will change the Mayor and other people, so that I can make them corrupt as needed, without a real-life lawyer suing me. (It should be obvious, but I am in no way claiming ownership of any DC, Marvel, etc. properties). 

Manhattan-86 (Earth-86)

What’s Different?

Many things are the same, yet there are a number of changes. The year is 2012. The Towers still fell. However, the city has not gone through gentrification and many neighborhoods are similar to how they were in the 1970’s and 1980’s. The nice areas are very nice, but the bad areas are still bad. The rich whites have not pushed the locals out of most of southern Manhattan.

Another big difference is that camera phones have not caught on. Some people have them, but most don’t. This prevents vigilantes and criminals from getting caught as easily as they might. In addition, New York has not installed thousands of street cameras. They tried, but the idea was shot down in court as an invasion of privacy.

RICO was shot down by Congress, so organized crime is much stronger than it would be, otherwise. A lot of the big Dons are pretty much untouchable by the police. Kingpin runs all of New York City, as well as the surrounding cities. The various Families work for him.

There are still a lot of mom-and-pop shops, and the big chain stores have not taken over the shopping and restaurant businesses.