Opportunity

I came across this poem today in a book of poetry my grandfather gave me. It’s worth sharing.

“Opportunity” by Edward Rowland Sill (1841-1887)

This I beheld, or dreamed it in a dream:–
There spread a cloud of dust along a plain;
And underneath the cloud, or in it, raged
A furious battle, and men yelled, and swords
Shocked upon swords and shields. A prince’s banner
Wavered, then staggered backward, hemmed by foes.
A craven hung along the battle’s edge,
And thought, “Had I a sword of keener steel–
That blue blade that the king’s son bears, — but this
Blunt thing–!” he snapped and flung it from his hand,
And lowering crept away and left the field.
Then came the king’s son, wounded, sore bestead,
And weaponless, and saw the broken sword,
Hilt-buried in the dry and trodden sand,
And ran and snatched it, and with battle shout
Lifted afresh he hewed his enemy down,
And saved a great cause that heroic day.

Episode 5 Josh T Jordan

Welcome back for our fifth episode of Versed.  On this episode, Josh reads one of his own poems for a change.

I understand that people can find poetry intimidating or strange, so during each episode, I read a poem and talk about why I like it for a minute or two. That’s it. No pressure. I’m making Versed to make you feel more comfortable reading poetry and to introduce you to passionate, talented poets that I didn’t discover until after college.

If you like the show, you can support Versed on Patreon.

When Leaders Fail

Let’s look behind the door when leaders fail.
What will we find once we have pierced the veil,
And we’ve divined their sins behind their tale?
That they have whined with privileges male,
They kept us blind and hollered “Her email!”
The tyrants grind and hope our hope grows stale.
They act unkind, expecting us to pale.

I have a mind that will not quickly quail
When fetters bind or freedoms fly and fail.
When they were fined and banned and put in jail,
My fathers signed and fought by pen and nail
Till freedom shined where once injustice hailed.
What will we find once we have pierced the veil?
Let’s look behind the door when leaders fail.

Photograph by Alyssa Kibilosky.

 

The Notebook of John Silence, PI Vol 1.5

Thomas Novosel and I put out an illustrated weird detective zine called The
Notebook of John Silence, PI
. I write. He does art and layout. It’s a fun creative project based on the Algernon Blackwood stories about Dr. John Silence, the psychic physician. Our John Silence is his great-grandson, a private investigator who specializes in crimes psychical and cosmic.

Today, Volume 1.5 is now available. This is a free mini-issue, a foldable pocket zine featuring a trancelarp illustrated by Thomas and designed by me. We even playtested it! You probably won’t poke your eye out playing the game. It is a solo game designed to mimic one of the rituals that John Silence uses to solve his weird cases.

You can buy Volume 1: Daydreams on Thomas’ website. This full issue contains fiction, art, and poetry that will prepare you for the forthcoming Volume 2, tentatively subtitled “Whereabouts,” which features a one-act play.

Episode 4 Kamala Das

Welcome back for our fourth episode of Versed. 

I understand that people can find poetry intimidating or strange, so during each episode, I read a poem and talk about why I like it for a minute or two. That’s it. No pressure. I’m making Versed to make you feel more comfortable reading poetry and to introduce you to passionate, talented poets that I didn’t discover until after college.

If you like the show, you can support Versed on Patreon.

{{Blanks}} & [[Spaces]]

{{Blanks}} & [[Spaces]]

(A hack of John Harper’s Lasers & Feelings)

I am a big fan of John’s little two-page game Lasers & Feelings. I think it is especially good for hacking to fit with different adventure game styles and settings. So I’ve created this fill-in-the-blank version to encourage other people to create their own versions. This game, {{Blanks}} & [[Spaces]], like the original Lasers & Feelings is released under a CC BY-NC-SA license.

You are _________. Your mission is to explore _________, deal with _________, and defend _________ against _________. Your boss _________ has been overcome by _________, leaving you to fend for yourselves while your boss _________.

 

Players: Create Characters

  1. Choose a style for your character: _________, _________, _________, _________, _________, _________, or _________.
  2. Choose a role for your character: _________, _________, _________, _________, _________, _________, or _________.
  3. Choose your number, from 2 to 5. A high number means you are better at {{_________}} (described here _________.) A low number means you’re better at [[_________]] (described here _________.)
  4. Give your character a cool _________ adventure name. Like _________ or something.

Clothing and Equipment: _________, _________, _________, or _________.

Player goal: Get your character involved in crazy _________  genre adventures and try to make the best of them.

Character goal: Choose one or create your own: _________, _________, _________, _________, _________, _________, or _________.

 

Players: Create the _________ Location

As a group, pick Two Strengths for _________ Location: _________, _________, _________, _________, _________, _________, or _________.

Also, pick One Problem: _________ (described here _________,) _________ (described here _________,) _________ (described here _________,) or _________ (described here _________.)

 

Rolling the Dice

When you do something risky, roll 1d6 to find out how it goes. Roll +1d if you’re prepared and +1d if you’re an expert. (The GM tells you how many dice to rol, based on your character and the situation.) Roll your dice and compare each die result to your number.

If you’re using {{_________}}  (described here __________,) you want to roll under your number

If you’re using [[_________]]  (described here __________,) you want to roll over your number.

0 If none of your dice succeed, it goes wrong. The GM says how things get worse somehow.

1 If one die succeeds, it you barely manage it. The GM inflicts a complication, harm, or cost.

2 If two dice succeed, you do it well. Good job!

3 If three dice succeed, you get a critical success! The GM tells you some extra effect you get.

! If you roll your number exactly, you have {{Blank}} [[Spaces]]! You get a special insight into what’s going on. Ask the GM a question and they’ll answer you honestly. Some good questions:

What are they really feeling? Who’s behind this? How could I get them to do what I want? What should I be on the lookout for? What’s the best way to do this thing? What’s really going on here?

You can change your action if you want to, then roll again.

Helping: If you want to help someone else who’s rolling, say how you try to help and make a roll. If you succeed, give them +1d.

 

GM: Create a _________ Adventure

Roll or choose on the tables below.

A Threat

1. 4.
2. 5.
3. 6.

Wants to

1. 4.
2. 5.
3. 6.

The

1. 4.
2. 5.
3. 6.

Which will

1. 4.
2. 5.
3. 6.

 

GM: Run the Game

Play to find out how they defeat the threat. Introduce the threat by showing evidence of its recent badness. Before a threat does something to the characters, show signs that it’s about to happen, then ask what they do.

Call for a roll when the situation is uncertain. Don’t pre-plan outcomes. Let the chips fall where they may. Use failures to push the action forward. The situation always changes after a roll, for good or ill.

Ask questions and build on the answers.

Episode 3 Rabindranath Tagore

Welcome back for our third episode of Versed. 

I understand that people can find poetry intimidating or strange, so during each episode, I read a poem and talk about why I like it for a minute or two. That’s it. No pressure. I’m making Versed to make you feel more comfortable reading poetry and to introduce you to passionate, talented poets that I didn’t discover until after college.

If you like the show, you can support Versed on Patreon.

7 Ways to Reuse Abandoned Games

7 Ways to Reuse Abandoned Games

What do you do with abandoned tabletop games? Think of card, board, or roleplaying games that you own that you no longer play. Maybe the rules don’t interest you anymore. Maybe they interest you, but you no longer have someone to play with. They are missing pieces. They are too expensive. For whatever reason, you have abandoned the games you used to play. But is there a way you can still use them?
Let’s talk about a few ways to repurpose those games so that you can still get some use out of them, or at least have fun with their components. Now, I don’t know what kinds of games you have lying around, so I’ve decided to phrase these ideas as questions. We’re relying on your creativity to figure out how they apply to your specific situation.

1. Physical Components: Can you use the art, cards or board pieces in another game? Maybe the art would make a good inspiration for another rpg. The board pieces could be replacements for another game.

2. Rules Hack: Can you change the rules to skip the part of the game that doesn’t work for  you? There’s no game police telling you that you have to play a whole game of Monopoly. You can skip to the end, if you like.

3. Spiritual Sequel: Can you write your own game that uses this game as inspiration? Our hobby has a long tradition of fantasy heartbreakers, that are essentially someone’s attempt to use D&D as inspiration for a new game. Though not all of these are great, some of them are. Can you make a “heartbreaker” based off of a card or board game you abandoned?

4. Swap: Can you trade this game away to one of your friends for another game? This may feel like cheating. You aren’t hacking the game. You are literally reusing it by giving it to someone who wants to play it. In return, they probably have a game that you’ve never tried that they are willing to give you.

5. Update: Are there alternate rules for this game available on the Internet? Playing with revised or updated rules may help renew your passion for the game. Are there errata that have been breaking the game? Nerfing those can make a world of difference.

6. Doing It Wrong: The French poet Paul Valery wrote “That which has always been accepted by everyone, everywhere, is almost certain to be false.” What can you do to break this game, to use it incorrectly, or to play it backwards? How can you make a new game by using the old game wrong?

7. Steps: What section of the original gameplay was the most fun? What did you love to do in the game? How can you borrow just that part of the gameplay and do it in a different game?

Here are seven ways to squeeze a little more fun out of tabletop games you’ve abandoned. But I’m sure there are more methods. What other ways can you think of to reuse, repurpose, or recycle tabletop games that you used to love? Send your tips or examples to gingergoatpress@gmail.com

(This post originally appeared on my Ginger Goat blog April 2016.)