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Help I can’t decide

THE BURDEN OF CHOICE IS JUST TOO MUCH

Right, I’m going to start up an online TTRPG. I’ve had the GM’s itch for too long, and I need some soothing ointment. Uh, figuratively speaking. Funny thing about online RPGs during a pandemic lockdown, people are, some crazy how, EVEN HARDER to find to play your game. You’d think with no pubs or cinemas or even the middle aisle for dads in Lidl there’d be a mass of people sitting around looking for something to do, but no, suddenly everyone’s just that popular or found another habit or hobby. Bah.

Anyway that’s not my problem. My problem is deciding on a game to run. That’s where you come in. I have literally and figuratively scoured WordPress for the laziest way to get a poll plugin so that you can take whatever control is left of my dreadful existence and have a say in what particular flavour of horrible adventures I get to inflict on other players. So Ka-POLL, motherfuckers!

This poll is no longer accepting votes

Which Game?

In case anyone is unfamiliar with the games in question, I feel the below is enough to give you a good idea of what each is about.

Warhammer Fantasy Role Play:

God, I love this game. Been playing it for years. Not a huge fan of tabletop wargames with their expensive fiddly models and such, but this is a gem of a setting jam-packed full of adventure, grim peril and Small But Vicious Dogs. Players are hapless adventurers drawn together by cruel fate to witness and battle plots and threats to the Empire of Sigmar. It’s like the Holy Roman Empire but more deep dark woods, grotesque beasts, monsters, mutants and insane cultists, if such is possible.

Coriolis: The Third Horizon:

God, I love this game. The general premise is “Arabian Nights in Space”, so players can expect a great many bazaars, opium dens, magnificent architecture, and advanced technology living uneasily beside a variety of philosophical, mystical and sometimes downright occult threats from The Darkness Between The Stars, from mad doomsday cults to starships possessed by electric djinni.

Elite: Dangerous RPG:

God, I love this game. Based off the videogame series which has been going since the 1980s, which means there’s a tonne of lore, factions, politics and perhaps most importantly, space ships. It has a short punchy rule system for players, with rather more complicated options for spaceship combat, because each player begins with their own little ship capable of FTL travel. Combat is brutally dangerous. It is possible to just play by randomly generating encounter after encounter, as they went to great lengths to make it playable without a GM if you really want.

Alien: The RPG:

God I love this game. It is perfect for capturing the mood of the first two films depending on how you want to play it. Space is cold, dark, vast, and not your friend. You might not even like the crew you were assigned to work with. But you have to depend on each other because all it takes is on fried circuitboard and everyone dies. And of course if corporate brinkmanship and interstellar cold war between the United Americas and the Union of Progressive Peoples wasn’t enough, there are murderous alien killing machines out there in the black. And I’m not even talking about the xenomorphs themselves, who are just absolutely fucking horrifying.

Four beautiful choices, four fantastic RPGs that I would dearly love to run, was I capable of running four completely different games a week like I was before my spirit was crushed and sucked dry by the lumbering uncaring behemoth of scientific academia. Please, for the love of gods help me make a choice, I can barely function as a human being right now beyond hugging my dog and hoping that this hellish plague will finally come under the control of vaccines some time next year.

Do it for Duilleog.

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3am Musings

Going to bed (very) early is good for you right?

3am, despite my best efforts, is a time I encounter far too regularly of late. Of course, time itself has lost all meaning thanks to the lockdowns we keep having to undergo because the government decided it was more important for pubs to open than for citizens to not fucking die. The isolation-based depression now has a chance to interact with seasonal depression, and the results are going to be very interesting. Fucking blueshirts. Not nearly enough of them died fighting for Franco…

My little WFRP publication is still in the charts at DriveThruRPG, which is simply astounding. Granted, it’s dropped to #4 on the under $5 list, and #15 overall, but that’s still quite respectable, and way better than I’d expected for a first time attempt at doing this stuff professionally.

I sent off invoices for another small project this afternoon, which I hope will see the light of day in another month or two. I might have gotten in on a slightly larger project happening in January, I’ll know more about that in the next week or so. That’s a good start for a freelance TTRPG writer, I think.

All work and no play however, does… something, I forget exactly how that one goes. I’m currently playing in a friend’s campaign of Forbidden Lands, another Free League game, but this one has a retro pulp adventure feel to it, like Indiana Jones meets Conan the Barbarian, crossed with the survival/crafting mechanics of Minecraft. For centuries, the Ravenlands were too dangerous to travel, the Blood Mist of Zygofer the Spellbinder would take anyone not hiding indoors at night. Five years ago, the Blood Mist vanished, and travel beyond one’s village is suddenly viable. The lands are still horrendously dangerous; Zygofer was said to deal with demons, and to create all manner of abhorrent combinations of man and beast. The religious order that served him, the Rust Brothers, still go about their grisly business. But for those brave or foolish enough there is opportunity aplenty in the abandoned ruins and deep forests.

I would love to get a campaign of my own going in the near future while I’m at it. For obvious reasons I’ve been reading a lot of Warhammer Fantasy, and Cubicle 7 gave me the Age of Sigmar core book as payment for running a few convention games for them. While I don’t particularly care for the AoS tabletop wargame, the RPG looks to be fascinating and I’d love to give it a try.

There’s also Coriolis of course. I have read a few more adventures since I wrote that blog, and god damn but I love the setting. I must try and get something together there. If I get the chance to stream a campaign again, it’ll almost certainly be Coriolis. I just get a great feeling from how the writing and setting inform the mechanics and vice versa.

Buuuuut that’s not going to happen straight away. I should probably go to bed.

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Holy Shit, I’m Published

Am I a real writer now?

Seriously. Not only did the editors approve every single terrible joke I wrote, they even ADDED some!

One Shots of the Reikland was a long time coming, due in good part to the fucking death plague we’ve all been trying to hide from for almost a year. I have been a fan of Warhammer Fantasy Role Play for Quite Some Time, becoming instantly hooked when the 2nd edition made it into my local game shop. Oh, I couldn’t begin to tell you how many introductory sessions at college I ran, or full-on campaigns myself and friends ran for each other. The game was a classic. The rules were so simple, the mechanics so clever, and everything so lovingly written and illustrated. It took the vast wealth of the setting that surrounded the tabletop wargames, and added depth and complexity to that world that you just can’t get with the wargame (and arguably shouldn’t try, it’s a good wargame). Now I could see what the common folks of the Empire get up to when the grand armies aren’t on the march, I could take a look at the secret plots and cults that worked behind the scenes, where an army couldn’t go.

One of my favourite memories of 2nd Edition is a lengthy campaign with a proper conclusion (an almost unheard of occurrence in those days of playing until one or more players ran out of interest) that a friend ran for me and some friends. It followed the fortunes of a lesser noble family down on their luck and with no real allies to turn to, who ended up combing the ruins of the cursed city of Mordheim not long after it was destroyed.

My character was… several steps removed from any hope of an inheritance, would be the politest way to say it, and had become a priest of Sigmar. He insisted from day one on having a two-handed warhammer which he could not wield until much later on, and developed a worrying habit of leaping into battle without armour, screaming “MY FAITH IS MY SHIELD!” which was even more hilarious to us for the fact that more often than not an enemy would genuinely miss, or fail to do any damage at all, when I screamed that just before the dice rolled. Of course when it didn’t work it REALLY didn’t work, and the poor lad took more than his fair share of insanity points from critical wounds. A good time was had by all at that table.

I’m saying all this so that when I tell you that I’m not just praising the game because I made a little money writing some adventures for it, you know I mean it. Not in my wildest dreams did I think I’d ever get asked to write a little bit of WFRP action. This is a Big Deal for me.

It also helps that it jumped to #1 on the DriveThruRPG under $5 list and #4 overall (Beaten by Cyberpunk, Vampire, and another WFRP book). TTRPG players like them some Warhammer.

excuse me HOW is something I wrote rubbing shoulders with these huge names!?

So. That’s a nice thing that happened recently.

Yes, I am busy on other projects.

No, I can’t say whomst or what.

But I can say I’m excited about it. >_>

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Leo Varadkar Reviews

A neoliberal shit plays some video games

Dungeon Keeper:

I couldn’t give it a more brand-friendly name like “Welfare Office” so I turned it into a prison. And still nobody came! Apparently the game doesn’t think criminals sprout out of the ground fully formed. Poor realism IMO.

I like how you can slap imps to make them work faster. I assume the same is true of other minions, but I have yet to see a single one of them so I can’t confirm. I don’t understand why there are no minions in my dungeon; I’ve found several portals, which I’m told are where the minions all come from, but despite turning every single tile of my dungeon into a casino, I am alone, the imps I create through magic my only friends.

The Batman Arkham series:

I think there’s a plot to these but honestly I’m just so busy slamming the head of what I think are dirty welfare cheats into concrete walls, the story doesn’t matter so much tbh

Oh, I like this. You start off as a billionaire, for a start, and things only get better. You get to spend the entire game beating up criminals while the police just let you, it’s just like in Eoin O’Duffy’s time! Well, I assume they’re criminals. They’re definitely poor, and that’s basically the same thing. BAM!! Just broke that dole scounger’s nose. KAPOW!! That illness benefit leech won’t walk again, haha! SPLAFF!! I hope you like soup pal, because you definitely can’t afford the dentist now! It’s just the feelgood game of the year, every year.

Frostpunk:

Ahhh, the smoke of industry, making me wealthy, while sapping the strength of the children working the furnaces so they can’t overth- WAIT WHAT NO

This game starts off great. You’re in charge of everything, and you get to make the big decisions about where society goes and how it should be governed, all in some freezing post-apocalyptic world where something bad happened, but I quickly lost interest in the plot, the important thing is I’m the leader right now. There are some really appealing options, like fascism and capital punishment, but the game quickly loses points for attaching consequences to everything you do. I don’t see why the game has to ruin the fun I have from making society run on child labour by suddenly ending because the children are dead and people revolted.

Untitled Goose Game:

HAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHA YOU STUPID POOR CHILD I’M GOING TO RUIN YOUR PARENTS HOUSE AND GET YOU EVICTED TOO

Ahahaha you can upset the poors by stealing their things and then steal the child’s plane and make him pay for it again and again and again and again and again and

Tonight We Riot:

Why can’t you play this cop? I WANT A STRONG MARKET DAMN IT

Oh I don’t like this. You start off poor, and then the police come and beat you. I tried to tell them I wasn’t a filthy prole and that I could point out some real working class people for them oppress but the developers seem to have forgotten to add that as an option. I’ve emailed them about it several times, but they haven’t replied.

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Sleep is for the Week

Not so much update as... side-date?

To this day I’m not sure whether I slept badly, or didn’t take my meds at the right time, or still suffer fatigue from the mononucleosis I caught at the end of 2006. It’s a fun guessing game the whole family can enjoy.

Anyway. Work is slow for various reasons, some of which are even legitimate. The fatigue, the death plague and its daily dose of existential horror as the government keeps telling us it’s about personal responsibility when they’re the ones packing total strangers into schools, colleges, Direct Provision internment camps and meat packing plants. They’re still clinging to some farcical notion that a highly contagious virus just… magically refuses to jump hosts as long as they’re all listening to a teacher, or that the millionaire owners of factories can be trusted to treat their workers safely instead of demanding more work for less time and ignoring any and all safety measures that get in the way of profits. Sooner or later socioeconomic groups the public actually gives a shit about are going to start dying, and I just want it on record that you were all fucking warned and the people who COULD have done something actively decided not to.

tfw you’re daydreaming about killing all the filthy Poors

Existential horror notwithstanding, some things ARE happening work-wise. If all goes well I’ll be able to brag about it as early as next week. Suffice to say that freelance writing for TTRPG publishers is certainly less *regular* work than slaving in a lab from 8am-9pm every day including holidays for less than 18k a year, but by all the gods it’s a HELL of a lot more satisfying. And even if it is an incredibly niche geek hobby, orders of magnitude more people will still actually read the fucking thing. Impact factor only seems like a big deal to scientists because they’re fucking thrilled if the paper they spent 5 years writing gets read by a dozen other scientists.

Why yes, I *am* still angry, thank you for asking.

Gaelcon is just around the corner, and honestly I could get used to attending in an online capacity instead of the monumental hassle of finding affordable accommodation in Dublin on a bank holiday weekend with a literal marathon happening too.

I’ll be helping out the lovely folks of Cubicle 7, who are running a few Warhammer Fantasy tables to entice people to buy the 4th Ed. books (you should by the way, it’s very much like they took all the 2nd Ed. books and distilled one massive core book out of them. There’s loads of fluff and lore, the magic system is greatly expanded and very distinct from priests and their miraculous abilities, and it’s topped off with some REALLY good artwork).

I’m also writing an Alien scenario. I prefer running campaigns for Alien instead of one-shot sessions, it’s better for pacing the rise and fall of tension and players can manage their character’s Stress/panic better, but the “cinematic” scenario definitely has its place. Because I’m a very *lazy* writer, I’m taking the recently published multi-session “Destroyer of Worlds” scenario that I ran for some friends, and building an unofficial sequel off that. I already have the Kruger 60 system and the (now mostly destroyed) colony of Ariarcus mapped out on Roll20 as a result, so I’ve been able to focus on just writing some plot that wakes a hapless crew of space-truckers from hypersleep light years away from their destination because of a distress signal from what should be a lifeless icy rock after a major war with deadly chemical weapons happened on and above it.

Curious, that.

Right, I’ve just realised I wrote all this as procrastination; I should finish writing that Alien game. Bye.

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Some manner of progress

The place is starting to come together. There’s still plenty of work to do, I’m continually messing with the colour scheme to find something nice and easy on the eyes. Of course the theme I went with is set up to automatically change text colour to maximum contrast, which makes for clear text in all situations I’ll admit but ends up being rather harsh after a while. I’ll delve into the CSS at some point to see if I can soften it a little without entirely breaking the site and having to start from scratch.

There’s a Downloads section now, where I’m putting up bits and pieces. Some are freebies from my Patreon, others are TTRPGs I ran for one convention or another down through the years. It’ll definitely undergo more tweaking as I add more things, to avoid an endlessly-lengthening page as well as offer some manner of sorting/grouping, so when I finally upload a voice recording you won’t have to hunt through a list of TTRPGs to find it.

That’s enough for now. I leave you with a picture of me enjoying a beer in response to Minister for the State Patrick O’Donovan calling for off-licenses to be punished for selling reasonably priced beer while COVID is preventing pubs cramming as many people into their venues as they can. “When you see slabs of cans being taken home you know that they are not being taken home for an after-dinner aperitif”, he said, proving himself to be a shit-eating fuckhead pretending to be high-class, who doesn’t know that an aperitif comes before dinner and after dinner one has a digestif. I suppose if Fine Gael can’t be classy, they’ll settle for classIST.

The raised pinky is crucial
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Hello world

Boop!

Right, so. I went and got myself a website, obviously. They’ve been getting popular since the 90s so I suppose it’s about time I got in on that sweet dot com lucre, which surely hasn’t collapsed since I last checked around the time Netscape was the most popular browser.

I’m still finding my feet around all the new gadgets and menus and domain management bits and bobs, so I wouldn’t be expecting great things just yet. But I’m sure this place will come in handy at some point. At the very least it’ll be a place for dumping pictures and videos of Duilleog instead of being restricted to everyone’s favourite Nazi-riddled social media platform Twitter.

Blatant filler content

Right, that’s about it for now. Stay safe and wash your damn hands, everyone.