Where to find me at Gen Con Online 2021

15 Aug

It’s convention season again, and once again I’ll be attending Gen Con Online via Twitch! I don’t have any games scheduled, but you can find me on two Pelgrane Press seminars. Once again I’ll join Rob Heinsoo to design a new monster for 13th Age using input from the audience, this time along with the talented Liz Argall and J-M DeFoggi (who developed my adventure Crown of Axis.) Also, last year’s Dramatic Interaction in RPGs Masterclass was one of my favorite parts of Gen Con Online 2020 and I’m incredibly honored to be invited onto this year’s panel!

13th Age logo

How to Design a Monster for 13th Age

Register Now

Saturday, 11:00 AM PT / 2:00 PM ET

Duration: 1 hour

Location: Twitch

We’ve all run battles where the Completely New Monster The Group’s Never Encountered is actually a reskinned bugbear! But if you want to create a cool new enemy from scratch, join Rob Heinsoo, Liz Argall, J-M DeFoggi, and Wade Rockett as they go through the process of designing a brand-new monster for the 13th Age Roleplaying Game.

Dramatic Interaction in RPGs Masterclass

Register Now

Saturday, 1:00 PM PT / 4:00 PM ET

Duration: 1 hour

Location: Twitch

Learn the structures and techniques that turn emotional confrontations between PCs from frustrating roadblocks into rich, surprising moments of human drama. Join Wade Rockett, Cat Tobin and a surprise guest (or two!) as they dispense precious interpersonal wisdom. Whether you’re experienced in Pelgrane Press’ Hillfolk / DramaSystem or looking to infuse play in other systems with satisfying conflict, they’re here to grant your most fervent petitions.

Dramatic Interaction in RPGs Masterclass

Register Now

Sunday, 11:00 AM PT / 2:00 PM ET

Duration: 1 hour

Location: Twitch

Yep, we’re doing two of them! One on Saturday, another on Sunday.

“You play Russian Roulette this way.”

7 Sep

Every so often since the mid-1980s, a piece of spoken dialogue has surfaced in my thoughts: a man with a heavy Russian accent saying, “You play Russian roulette this way.”

It popped into my head again today. I knew it was a sample used in a song, but I couldn’t’ remember what song it was. Instead of dismissing the thought, this time I started hunting for the source.

A search brought me to a forum where, in 2006, someone posted the entire scene and asked forum members where it was from. No one knew.

“Only way to settle this argument is to play Russian roulette. Do you know how to play Russian roulette?”
“No, I don’t.”
“You play Russian roulette this way. I have this pistol. One bullet in chamber. Spin cylinder. Cock the gun. Hold the gun to your head, and pull the trigger. I go first. Good luck.”
“Now you go. Here is the pistol”
“Aha, you lose!”

Searching using additional keywords from that post led me to the 1999 Junkie XL song “Love Like a Razorblade”, which samples the scene.

Of course, that wasn’t where I first heard it! But I could then create a new search string: love like a razorblade sample russian roulette.

That search led me to the site Who Sampled it. There, I learned that the sample came from a 1963 track titled “Russian Roulette” by a company called Audio Fidelity Records. Between 1954 and 1984, they produced thousands of stereophonic tracks for audiophiles. Here’s the track:

From there, it was easy to find the list of artists who sampled the track—and the answer to my question. In 1987, Bomb the Bass used it in their absolute banger of a song, 1987’s “Beat Dis”.

As much fun as it was to track this sample and song down, I’m hoping this blog post will make the search much simpler for other people with this earworm in their heads.

Where to Find me at Gen Con Online 2020

26 Jul

Online tabletop gaming is booming as people look for new ways to connect and socialize while weathering the global COVID-19 pandemic in lockdown. I’ve already run many roleplaying games using platforms such as Zoom, Discord, Slack, Google Meet, and the ultra-simple whiteboarding tool Jamboard.

And now the mighty Gen Con itself is going virtual! I’ll be participating in two online seminars this year—here’s where you can find me:

DramaSystem RPG: Darke and Stormy Nights

Game ID: RPG20187084
Event Type: Role-Playing Game
Start Date & Time: Friday, July 31, 2:00 p.m. EDT
Length: 4 hours
Company: Pelgrane Press
Description: DramaSystem is a game of emotional conflict and interpersonal drama between player characters. In this episode, inspired by the Gothic soap opera Dark Shadows, two conniving families of American aristocrats—the Storms and the Darkes—seek to control the fortunes of the coastal New England town of Storm Cove. But a terrible, centuries-old curse is about to once again make its presence felt…

Dramatic Interaction in RPGs Masterclass

Event ID: SEM20184248
Event Type: Seminar
Start Date & Time: Sunday, August 2, 11:00 a.m. EDT
Length: 1 hour
Company: Pelgrane Press
Description: Robin D. Laws and guests teach RPG structures & techniques to turn emotional confrontations between PCs from frustrating roadblocks into rich moments of human drama.

13th Age Monster Workshop

Event ID: WKS20184253
Event Type: Seminar
Start Date & Time: Sunday, August 2, 2:00 p.m. EDT
Length: 1 hour
Company: Pelgrane Press
Description: Join seasoned 13th Age designers to build a brand-new monster that takes advantage of the game’s mechanics to deliver some nasty surprises at the table.

I’ll also be at the ENnie Awards and the Black Book v2 Launch Party (w/ Lovecraft Virtual Tour). The Black Book is a phenomenal GUMSHOE roleplaying system character creation tool and I strongly recommend it if you GM or play Night’s Black Agents, Trail of Cthulhu, Fall of DELTA GREEN, and other GUMSHOE games.

See you at Gen Con!

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