Tuesday, 17 May 2011

If I Ruled the World

Speaking of escapism, what about a campaign based around winning the lottery?

I'm not talking about a group of people sitting around masturbating while imagining the wonderful things they could do with millions of pounds, nor a horrible emo-trip in which people imagine how being filthy rich wouldn't make you happy. I'm imagining something like an Unknown Armies campaign in which a group of friends who acted as a euromillions syndicate decide to use their £185 million jackpot as seed money for discovering what really happened at Area 51. Or to build a submarine to find the lost city of Atlantis. Or to buy a ship for exploring and exploiting shipwreck sites. Or to try to find out who Jack the Ripper really was....

Monday, 16 May 2011

Ass Goblins of Auschwitz

In a land where black snow falls in the shape of swastikas, there exists a nightmarish prison camp known as Auschwitz. It is run by a fascist, flatulent race of aliens called the Ass Goblins, who travel in apple-shaped spaceships to abduct children from the neighboring world of Kidland. Prisoners 999 and 1001 are conjoined twin brothers forced to endure the sadistic tortures of these ass-shaped monsters. To survive, they must eat kid skin and work all day constructing bicycles and sex dolls out of dead children.

While the Ass Goblins become drunk on cider made from fermented children, the twins plot their escape. But it won't be easy. They must overcome toilet toads, cockrats, ass dolls, and the surgical experiments that are slowly mutating them into goblin-child hybrids.

Forget everything you know about Auschwitz...you're about to be Shit Slaughtered.

Do I want to download this for my kindle or not? I'm torn in two minds as to whether or not I admire the ingenuity or despise the obvious flirtation with controversy. (Perhaps "slutting up to controversy" would be more apt...)

Sunday, 15 May 2011

d100 FTW!

I went to see China Mieville do a reading from his new book, Embassytown, along with a Q&A session, at a local bookshop on Friday evening. And a nice and interesting guy he was too. I was particularly impressed that he openly and merrily sang the praises of roleplaying games; even though I should have been expecting this, as it is something he is wont to do, it bears repeating just how rare and precious a thing this is: a respected writer on his way to becoming a giant in the field, and a genuine crossover success, who has absolutely no shame saying he likes D&D and RuneQuest.

Anyway, I duly queued up with the herd (which also included local fantasy/horror luminary Ramsay Campbell) and got my copy of Embassytown signed. I think this just about says it all:

Monday, 9 May 2011

The Great Escape

I've written before about escapism on more than one occasion. Suffice to say (for those who can't be bothered clicking links or opening new tabs) I'm one of those people who thinks that escapism is one of the most noble of human pursuits, perhaps the noblest of all, and it should be trumpeted to the heavens as one of the finest features of the hobby which you and I enjoy. The fact that 'escapism' is treated as a dirty word by the intellectual elites in our societies is rather a sad indictment of prevailing sentiments of the age.

This is why, generally speaking, I think that fantasy and SF are the genres which gamers tend to love. At the moment I'm running a quasi-historical gonzo-horror affair and it's nice - nothing to complain about - but I've found a certain sense of malaise setting in when I sit down to plan the next session. The real world is a wonderful place, but there is something lacking when using it as the basis for an RPG campaign; the creativity that goes into that process feels impure somehow, and pales in comparison to the flights of fancy the imagination can go on when unrestrained by "reality".

I believe this is the real reason for the prevailing popularity of familiar brands such as D&D, Traveller, and the like. Escaping to Timbuktu is all well and good, but escaping to Waterdeep or the Planet Zong is better; why have cotton when you can have silk?