Loving the Love Letters

Loving the Love Letters

I don’t see folks mention Love Letters enough out there in the online wasteland. They are such a sweet piece of RPG-tech. Maybe it is because they are stuck in the Advanced Fuckery section of Apocalypse World.

Here are the letters I wrote up for our game later this afternoon:

Pic: Low earth orbit pic with green borealis light glowing

Text: LOVE LETTERS

Dear Lup,
You've done violence all over the L.E.O. Are there any consequences waiting for you in Luna City? Roll +Aggro:
On 10+ Your violence benefited those in power.
On 7-9, Someone is pissed but they are in a compromised position; they still might take their shot if the opportunity presents itself.
On a miss, hoo-boy, someone is pissed and they are in a position of power.
.
Love,
The M.C.

I considered digging in to the fact that Lup stepped directly INTO the Psychic Maelstom during their time on Olde Earth but I’m going to be patient and let that Weird marinate a bit.

LOVE LETTERS

Dear Bastet,
You solved the jetpack pirate problem with jingle and no violence. How'd that feel?

It felt pretty good: Cool, take +1Forward when you try to solve a problem by using your words but take +1Damage if you get into a tussle because your guilt is going to put you in the line of fire.

Felt weak and dumb: Cool, take +1Forward when you do violence but take -1 when you try to Read a Sitch because all you see is RED.
.Love,
The M.C.

Low Earth Orbit

PIC: Earth from orbit with green borealis light glowing

Bastet made a decision that was not only interesting but a bit out of character. The surly operator who in the first session fired a weapon from her spaceship into a tea room on a satellite paid some jetpack pirates to stand down and hired them as muscle while she’s in Luna City.

So good.

Moves don’t need die rolls; I forget that sometimes.

We’re playing this game later this afternoon, 1pm EST. Join us in the chat if you’d like. Link under the image below.

Apocalypse World: Burned Over
Low Earth Orbit Index
https://githyankidiaspora.com/apocalypse-world-burned-over-l-e-o-index/

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A couple Youtube AP Playlists.

A couple Youtube AP Playlists.

Thank you, Sean, for migrating our VOD’s from twitch to youtube. Below are the playlists.

Into the Borgenwold is us playing an idea from this blog post, using an Into the Odd-like game to play The Beast of Borgenwold. I’ve got the playlist on my Into the Odd: Play, Creation, Hacks, etc page.

Thrilled that the screenshot was my coughing into my elbowpit.
Psychic Tiger Fodder logo with a blue tiger with red eyes and a blue and red lightning bolts and red and blue fire as a subject divider.

Made an index page for our Apocalypse World: Burned Over Low Earth Orbit game.

Tune in for the talk of maple syrup and dogs, stay for the amazing play.

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Choose Your Apocalypse

Choose Your Apocalypse

Preparing to play Apocalypse World: Burned Over with Jay and Aaron. Their playbook choices are kind of rootless, so I’m offering up some setting choices.

PIC: Skull with flaming top of head icon

TEXT: APOCALYPSE WORLD: BURNED OVER

make the post-apocalypse seem real
make the PCs’ lives interesting to you 
and play to find out what the PCs make of their world

Red and Yellow gradient in text, crumpled poster texture over it all
https://lumpley.games/burnedover/

Here are a few ideas:

The Simple Desert: There are a few places where people dwell but it is all highway and desert in all directions. Where are you on an olde world map? Who knows? Who cares? Where are you getting your next drink of water?

Empirepocalypse: Eastern Seaboard, raise the sea level by 30 feet or so. Start in NYC, where people are surviving in skyscrapers, boats, remaining bridges and that ole decommissioned aircraft carrier/museum parked there.

Too close?

The Underground: Whatever happened on the surface, only people who retreated underground survived. The world is a series of tunnels and underground highways linking old mines to old missile silos to old government vaults.

Low Earth Orbit: There are enough space stations in orbit that the last of humanity is clinging to life while orbiting the tombworld called Earth. Moon-base, space elevator and a few space stations put up by the last of the space-capable powers before the apocalypse 50 years ago (India, China, Russia and the Vatican). Motorcycle gangs = jet pack gangs. Semi-truck = space shuttle. Interceptor Car = Orbital Fighter Jet.

We made a choice. An Operator and a Weaponized in Low Earth Orbit. Excited!

Apocalypse World: Burned Over title

Low Earth Orbit with funky, gritty, scifi fonts and cool green glow over a pic of the earth from orbit.

The Hard Zones are as follows:

The Olde Station – the piece of crap first floated into space. Often called The Tomb.

The Last Elevator – the last tether to Earth, used to grow food and transport those with the resources and the bravery to set foot on the ruined planet that birthed our species.

The Moon – our species’ first stop in space, now home to the closest thing to a city that remains and the defiled historical site of the First Landing.

The Highest Cathedral – the Vatican’s first orbital platform, an ambitious half-completed cross floating in space. The Jesuits produce some of the finest scientific minds left.

The Zhenbao-Damanski Station – Where Chinese and Russian clans play out the last pathetic breaths of earthbound political rivalries with Indian families trying to broker peace. The original name for the station is lost, now it is named after an island Russia and China fought over back on Earth.

I can’t WAIT to see their playbook decisions. They will say so much about the setting.

If you’d like to see more Apocalypse World: Burned Over Low Earth Orbit stuff, please check out the link to the Low Earth Orbit Index below.

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Questions to ask each D&D Class

Questions to ask each D&D Class

As Apocalypse World made plain – ask provocative questions and use the answers, my friends.

Spears Subject Divider 
From: https://www.clevelandart.org/art/1916.1789

Barbarian

What piece of your homeland do you carry with you?

What do you miss most from your homeland?

What would others first notice when you Rage? What were you taught about this state by your elders?

Spears Subject Divider 
From: https://www.clevelandart.org/art/1916.1789

Bard

What was the first song you can remember performing?

When did you realize the power in art, poetry and music?

When was the first time you used your art to manipulate someone?

Spears Subject Divider 
From: https://www.clevelandart.org/art/1916.1789

Cleric

When did you first hear the Call from your deity?

What lessons are there to be learned from a rival deity?

When you heal someone, what do they feel when your holy power prolongs their life?

Spears Subject Divider 
From: https://www.clevelandart.org/art/1916.1789

Druid

What was the first species you learned something valuable from other than your own?

What shape are you most comfortable in?

What do you fear in nature?

Spears Subject Divider 
From: https://www.clevelandart.org/art/1916.1789

Fighter

Who was the first person you killed?

Who was the first person to defeat you in combat?

What childhood games were you taught that you learned were tools for teaching war later? Did that change how you felt about the game?

Spears Subject Divider 
From: https://www.clevelandart.org/art/1916.1789

Monk

Who was the first shmuck you punched in the mouth?

What do you miss about monastic life?

What earthly attachment do you fear you will never be able to set aside in order to become ascend this mortal flesh?

Spears Subject Divider 
From: https://www.clevelandart.org/art/1916.1789

Paladin

What line of scripture is written on your soul?

When did you have a moment of doubt about your faith?

Do you feel closer to your calling when you are healing those who are harmed or when you are shedding the blood of tyrants? What do you think that says about your own spiritual growth?

Spears Subject Divider 
From: https://www.clevelandart.org/art/1916.1789

Ranger

Where were you first lost in the wilds and how did you find your way back?

What part of the natural world fills you with awe and a bit of fear?

What was the most beautiful natural phenomenon that you have ever seen?

Spears Subject Divider 
From: https://www.clevelandart.org/art/1916.1789

Rogue

What was the first time you were caught stealing?

When did you sneak into a place and regret it?

Who was the first person you killed by stabbing them when they weren’t looking? How did you feel about the deed as their blood coated your blade, hands and legs?

Spears Subject Divider 
From: https://www.clevelandart.org/art/1916.1789

Sorcerer

When did you first know you had arcane power in your very blood?

What part of yourself is in every spell you cast?

How did you learn to control this power?

Spears Subject Divider 
From: https://www.clevelandart.org/art/1916.1789

Warlock

What powerful figure ruled your life before you swore oaths of soul and spell to your Patron?

If you were a Patron, what kind of Warlocks would you gather around you?

If you could set aside all tradition and consequences in order to offer your Patron one bit of advice, what would it be?

Spears Subject Divider 
From: https://www.clevelandart.org/art/1916.1789

Wizard

When did you first realize the power and glory to be found in tomes and scrolls?

If you ascend to Arch-Magery and leave a tome of your own for future generations to learn from, what do you hope the title will be? What do you fear the title will be?

Who taught you magic and what do you remember most of their methods?

Spears Subject Divider 
From: https://www.clevelandart.org/art/1916.1789

Now with handy-dandy PDF under the images.

Barbarian

What piece of your homeland do you carry with you?


What do you miss most from your homeland?


What would others first notice when you Rage? What were you taught about this state by your elders?

Bard

What was the first song you can remember performing?


When did you realize the power in art, poetry and music?


When was the first time you used your art to manipulate someone?

Cleric

When did you first hear the Call from your deity?


What lessons are there to be learned from a rival deity?


When you heal someone, what do they feel when your holy power prolongs their life?

Druid

What was the first species you learned something valuable from other than your own?


What shape are you most comfortable in?


What do you fear in nature?

Fighter

Who was the first person you killed?


Who was the first person to defeat you in combat?


What childhood games were you taught that you learned were tools for teaching war later? Did that change how you felt about the game?

Monk

Who was the first shmuck you punched in the mouth?


What do you miss about monastic life?


What earthly attachment do you fear you will never be able to set aside in order to become ascend this mortal flesh?
Paladin

What line of scripture is written on your soul?


When did you have a moment of doubt about your faith?


Do you feel closer to your calling when you are healing those who are harmed or when you are shedding the blood of tyrants? What do you think that says about your own spiritual growth?

Ranger

Where were you first lost in the wilds and how did you find your way back?


What part of the natural world fills you with awe and a bit of fear?


What was the most beautiful natural phenomenon that you have ever seen?

Rogue

What was the first time you were caught stealing?


When did you sneak into a place and regret it?


Who was the first person you killed by stabbing them when they weren’t looking? How did you feel about the deed as their blood coated your blade, hands and legs?

Sorcerer

When did you first know you had arcane power in your very blood?


What part of yourself is in every spell you cast?


How did you learn to control this power?

Warlock

What powerful figure ruled your life before you swore oaths of soul and spell to your Patron?


If you were a Patron, what kind of Warlocks would you gather around you?


If you could set aside all tradition and consequences in order to offer your Patron one bit of advice, what would it be?

Wizard

When did you first realize the power and glory to be found in tomes and scrolls?


If you ascend to Arch-Magery and leave a tome of your own for future generations to learn from, what do you hope the title will be? What do you fear the title will be?


Who taught you magic and what do you remember most of their methods?

Blog of Judd Karlman from Daydreaming about Dragons

Support Independent Role-Playing Games on Itch.io Creator Day

Support Independent Role-Playing Games on Itch.io Creator Day

itch.io Creator Day

itch.io isn’t taking any portion of sales from its creators today.

There are lots of people doing lots of amazing work to support independent role-playing games. If you aren’t sure what to do to support a role-playing game creator, here’s an option. Buy a game. Play that game. Talk earnestly and passionately about what playing that game was like in public.

I’ve got lists below if you need to narrow it down.

Spear Subject Divider

Solo Journaling. Buy a strange solo game. Write something that you otherwise wouldn’t have and share it with your friends because they need more strange shit in their social media feeds.

Spear Subject Divider

Forged in the Dark. Want to see some Position and Effect outside of Doskvol or some other points of view on the haunted city on the North Hook?

Spear Subject Divider

I’ve got a few Trophy lists. Even if you don’t like Trophy, the way it organizes its adventures makes it very easy to run an adventure, filled with bullet-points of cool shit to say during awkward lulls. I wish more published adventures were this useful.

Trophy Dark
Trophy Gold
Rooted in Trophy

Spear Subject Divider

Mothership is a scifi horror game that has a vibrant indie community creating cool zines, trifold adventures that you can print at home, fitting on 8.5 x 11 and more.

Spear Subject Divider

RPG’s, my category or games that didn’t quite fit anywhere else. Buy one, play it, talk about it in public.

Spear Subject Divider

Powered by the Apocalypse. Games inspired by the amazing work of the Baker family. Play to find out.

Spear Subject Divider

Science Fiction TTRPG’s. Pew pew pew!

Spear Subject Divider

Paragon, games built on the Agon chassis.

Spear Subject Divider

D&Dish. Games inspired by Dungeons Ampersand Dragons, supplements that support your Dungeoning and your Dragoning. Check ’em out.

Do you have an itch.io game that fits on one of these lists? Let me know and I’ll throw it on. Do you have a list you’d like to share? Feel free to drop it in the comments.

These designs and more in my Threadless shop – t-shirts of all kinds, mugs, stickers and even shower curtains…

Blog of Judd Karlman from Daydreaming about Dragons

Making Magic Items Inspired by Apocalypse World

Making Magic Items Inspired by Apocalypse World

D&D Ideas
https://githyankidiaspora.wordpress.com/dd-ideas/

When I read Apocalypse World I can see that (like me) Meguey and Vincent spent their college years playing Ars Magica. I can feel seasonal arcane lab work in the ole Savvyhead. Inspired by their Tinkering move in their Burned Over ruleset and a question on an RPG slack I frequent, here’s a move for making magic items in D&D:

So you want to make a magic item?
When you want to improve upon an item, enchant a mundane item or repair an item, tell your friends at the table what you want it to do. Is there something else that does it already? Let’s keep an eye on that for inspiration.
Is making this going to change the world forever? Let’s keep on eye on that and discuss it as a group because that’s cool but let’s make sure we’re not changing the world in a way that won’t make it fun to play or making a character useless.
Someone will take up the role as the DM for this process. They’ll say, “sure, no problem but…” and suggest 1 to 4 of the following.
• It is going to take time.
• First you are going to have to X
• You are going to need X to make this happen.
• It is going to cost a dragon’s hoard of gold.
• It is going to mean exposing yourself to dangerous arcane forces that could change the character forever.
• The best you’ll be able to do will be less than optimal, it’ll have limited charges or slow or weak or unreliable.
• You are going to need a wizard’s sanctum with X.
• It is going to take many attempts to get it just right.
• You are going to have to do an arcane ritual with X to get it done.
X should be attainable through a dangerous adventure or series of adventures.

by Judd Karlman
Inspired by Apocalypse World by D. Vincent Baker, Meguey Baker

I’ve been inspired by the Bakers many times. More recently, when I made a checklist to make a space station inspired by the Lawmaker playbook.

Forgive me as I imitate AW’s examples of play, my favorite examples from any RPG:

Silver Sword/Astral Queen Subject Divider

Bugwump the Frog-kin Wizard wants to add charges to Kuru’s Wand of Lightning. Poor Kuru, the Hobbit Thief, has been moping ever since the wand lost its oomph. “Clearly you need to go to a mountaintop and get this thing hit by lightning,” I say.

“Oooh, it should be a special mountain, holy to the Storm Giants,” Kuru’s player says.

Bugwump’s player says, “You aren’t making this easy.”

“It’ll be fun! What is the worst that could happen?”

“Lightning from a Storm Giant’s holy mountaintop. Sounds awesome. There is one you’ve heard about not too far away, the Sky’s Anvil…”

Silver Sword/Astral Queen Subject Divider

Jusko’s player wants to keep his ancestral blade but it isn’t magical.

“Maybe you could unlock its secret powers by vanquishing an ancestor who is making a nuisance of themselves as an undead menace…” Helewynn’s player says.

“That is amazing. Do you want to run that adventure?” I ask.

“Nah, I have some ideas about it that’ll email you, though,” Helewynn’s player says.

I nod, keeping an eye out for opportunities for new DM’s to take the reigns.

“My friends, could you help me vanquish my wraith great-uncle who is causing problems for the countryside?” Jusko asks his comrades.

Silver Sword/Astral Queen Subject Divider

After another lightning wand goes dead in the middle of Strahd’s family tombs, Kuru throws the dead stick to the ground. “Bugwump! This is nonsense!”

Bugwump says, “I’m not just adding more charges to the wand this time.”

“That Storm Giant jarl nearly killed me!” Kuru says.

“I’m making a lightning pistol,” Bugwump says.

Kuru’s player becomes the living embodiment of the heart-eyes emoji.

“We have been rocking a western vibe. Are we okay with pistols that spit lightning in-game?” I say.

A long discussion about fantasy fiction and westerns and blending genres ensues. We agree that it is okay but don’t want pistols to become ubiquitous. I’ve got ideas on how to make certain that doesn’t happen.

“First, you are going to have to get a smith to make a pistol that can hold lightning,” I say.

“My sister is a smith. I could write her a letter,” Trundle’s player says.

“She might want a favor or a huge pile of gold to make a weapon like this – even for family, ” I say.

“Once it is completed you’ll have to get it hit by six different arcane lightning bolts from six different sources,” I say.

“I can throw a lightning bolt,” Bugwump says.

The group starts brainstorming where to get the other five lightning bolts – the local blue dragon who hit that merchant caravan last year, that monk who has a lightning fist, the Storm Giant who seemed ready to rebel against her father’s rule during a previous adventure…

Silver Sword/Astral Queen Subject Divider

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Lich Collection
https://shopofjudd.threadless.com/collections/the-lich-collection

Moons of Leviathan: Space Drugs

Inspired by the Visions of Death move in Apocalypse World: Burned Over in the Volatile playbook and in Apocalypse World 2nd Edition in the Battlebabe Playbook.

Moves are gained through using technology.

When you take Trance before battle, roll your approporiate training:
On a 10+, name one person who will die and one who will live.
On a 7-9, name one person who will die or one who will live.
On a miss you see a vision of the monster you become as a result of this battle and the fell havoc your hand brings to the universe, take -1 for this battle and hold 3 moving forward after the battle is done.
[ ] +1 to a roll that brings this vision to reality.
[ ] +1 to to a roll that brings this vision to reality.
[ ] Roll this move again as if you were entering battle. Either retire this character as the destiny is made real or prove you have free will by changing the course of destiny.
True Sword, a networked blade with an AI embedded in its core.

“I live in an apocalyptic dream. My steps fit into it so precisely that I fear most of all I will grow bored reliving the thing so exactly.”
― Frank Herbert, Dune Messiah

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Dune Collection
Scifi Dune Font by Hydro74 / Joshua M. Smith over a sand dune
https://shopofjudd.threadless.com/collections/dune-collection
Science Fiction Collection
scifi Truesword
https://shopofjudd.threadless.com/collections/science-fiction

Training and Moves in Moons of Leviathan

Riding a wave of inspiration from Morgan, we’re playing Traveller(ish). We’re using the skills as a way to resolve conflicts using Apocalypse World moves. So far it is working

What about skill improvement?

In Book 2: Starships of the Traveller Little Black Box, it talks a bit about getting education and training. Easy enough to Apocalypse it up a bit. Here’s a different way to say something similar, drawing inspiration from ( or ruthlessly pillaging, depending on your POV) Apocalypse World and Burned Over:

“Muad'Dib learned rapidly because his first training was in how to learn. And the first lesson of all was the basic trust that he could learn. It's shocking to find how many people do not believe they can learn, and how many more believe learning to be difficult.”
Frank Herbert, Dune
When your character wants to train, either gaining a new expertise or improving an established skill, talk to the Referee about the people who offer such training.
Then the Referee will tell you 1 to 4 of the following:
[ ] It is going to take X weeks/months/years of consistent training
[ ] First, you will have to hire a tutor through [an in-game faction]
[ ] You will need X to help you with it.
[ ] It is going to cost dearly.
[ ] There is ancient tech that is said to condition the brain in this manner.
[ ] You’re already the best in the sub-sector; you’ll have to venture deep into the void or take on a massive under-taking in order to improve.
[ ] It is illegal to train the brain in such a manner; you will be risking imprisonment, excommunication or worse.
[ ] Those who safeguard these training methods are rigid in their orthodoxy and will guard them dearly but there are always rebels and heretics at the fringe of the worlds…
Once your training is complete you can add the skill to your sheet or increase the skill you already have. The Referee will tell you what you will need to do to keep this skill sharp so that this expertise does not become covered in rust and decay.

But, Judd, you ask, what about stats?

I like that we’re saying that the limits of the human body aren’t interesting to us. What you use to change the world is your training and in order to gain training you have to go out and interact with the world.

What about non-basic moves?

Non-basic moves are all tech. Maybe the True Sword, a networked blade with an embedded AI, gives you a move like the Gunlugger’s Not to be Fucked With, where you fight as a gang. Certain drugs give you access to psychic powers.

A science-fantasy True Sword and a cool way to show the end of the blog post
A True Sword and a cool way to show the end of the blog post

Dune Collection
Scifi Dune Font by Hydro74 / Joshua M. Smith over a sand dune
https://shopofjudd.threadless.com/collections/dune-collection
Science Fiction Collection
scifi Truesword
https://shopofjudd.threadless.com/collections/science-fiction

Moons of Leviathan, Session 1, Remembering Morgan

That game was special and strange. Thank you, Sean and the Actual Play team. Thank you to everyone in chat.

Thank you, Morgan, for the cool character and cool everything. Thank you for continuing to inspire us.

Ithaca Station’s True Sword

That is exactly what we did, Morgan. There was a duel out on the ship’s hull, in the void of space under the baleful glare of the Leviathan’s eye.

I think you would’ve loved it. What you made and you inspired us to make was too cool for one session. We’re going back.