Spring 2019 Update

Hello gamefans! Getting straight to the point: yes the lack of updates has been criminal at best. Thank you to everyone who has reached out through various methods. Know that I appreciate it, and my shame at falling so behind is astronomical.


The explanation is simple: this year at work has been insane, but rewarding. I got selected as department chair at the start of the year (quite a feat for a neonate teacher) and the resulting meetings and paperwork have been overwhelming, on top of teaching a lot of new material and trying to get a new AP science course off the ground for the coming year. Overall, though, while my writing has fallen behind, I am pleased at the new skills I have been developing to further my IRL career.

And I’m not gonna lie, years of playing vampire-politics has helped me in no small way as well. 😉

As for where the game currently stands in real-time, believe it or not we are actually approaching its end. It’s been delayed somewhat due to work stresses on everyone’s part; over the past season we’ve only been meeting on average about once a month. But it’s still alive and we are looking forward to a final conclusion to all the story arcs we’ve had so far.

For the writeups, well, I did pull a dick-move by leaving everyone hanging at the height of the action, so my goal is by the start of my summer break get out the posts which conclude the current chapter of action, then see about condensing the next major threads to speed the process along as best I can. It’s gonna be hard, though, since over the last year we’ve had a couple technical mistakes and lost at least two full recordings, so some of it will have to be pieced together based on notes, memory, and hope.

Thank you everyone who continues to go on this journey with us!

PS Edit: Also, for those who are Patreon-supporters, in case you didn’t notice, note that I turned off monthly-support payments last fall so you won’t be charged again until I post an actual post of content.

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5th Dot in Professionalism

Over the last year, I’ve dropped some pieces of news here and there about an actual professional tabletop RPG project I was contracted to do for Evil Hat Games, developing a small module in their Fate Worlds of Adventure Line. Well this week I am proud to finally announce its formal release.

And holy shit you guys, just look at that cover art. Holy. Shit.


Yeah my full name is on here but fuck it everyone knows who I am anyway

The basic premise is a near-future world of rampant human genetic engineering as well as the societal upheavals that arise with such transhumanist technology. My basic pitch was “Shadowrun meets GATTACA,” and the interior art by William Tempest adds an extra layer of Akira-style cyberpunk that absolutely blows my mind.


I’m not gonna lie, the whole process was kind of terrifying. I applied to an open call for game designers on a lark and was shocked when they actually took an interest in me, some rando science teacher who mostly only ever talks about vampires. On top of that, I had only ever seen the Fate Core system once and hadn’t even played it when I did. Fortunately, though, all the editors at Evil Hat Games were incredibly easy to work with. They also have a super strong community of other writers and developers who peer review each others’ projects. Fitting, perhaps, that a community built around a hobby of collaborative storytelling would also have such a collaborative creation process as well.


The PDF of the game module is available from DriveThruRPG as PayWhatYouWant. This means you can download it, check it out, and if you like it you can chip in a few bucks later. I should note that I was paid a flat commission fee so I don’t get any royalties or anything, but financially supporting their games does help them get the capital they need to develop more Worlds of Adventure projects which specifically try to bring in new and diverse voices into the gaming industry. You can also support Evil Hat directly through Patreon.

If you actually want to play the game, fantastic! If you’re not familiar with the Fate Core system, don’t worry, neither was I! 😉 For those of us primarily enamored with World of Darkness, Fate is right up our alley. It’s a very light-crunch, story- and character-driven system that moves plot along rapidly. I might do a post in the future offering a “translation guide” helping one understand the Fate system from the background of WoD since that’s literally what I had to do in order to learn it.  You can download the Fate corebook from DriveThru (also listed as PayWhatYouWant). Another great resource for questions is /r/FateRPG. Or you can ask me, I’ll do my best to help!

As a final note, thank you everyone here who has hung around with our Vampire project for so many years. I literally never would have considered exploring the world of game development further if not for your continued support and enthusiasm!

(PS: If you do check out the module, keep an eye out for a very subtle shout-out to one of everyone’s favorite NPCs from our game in there 😉 )

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Jason: “Marcus looks confused.”
Me: “What, because Tom is actually thinking before acting?”
Jason: “Yes.”
Me: “Haha, fuck you.”

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10/13/16 & 10/18/16

Jim: “He certainly doesn’t belong in Monterey!”
Me: *flips Jim off*
Jim: “I love that all the heat fell onto Tom for that one, considering Anstis was equally responsible.”
Me: “Yes! I know!!”
Jason: “And you wanna know what else? Same thing at the San Leandro reservoir. Everyone blamed Tom, even though Anstis was a little bit responsible.”
Me: “YES!!! I KNOW!!!!”
Jason: “But Tom was too.”
Jason: “You were ‘just standing there’ after kidnapping the primog–”
Me: “I!!! 👏 WAS GOING!!!! 👏 TO BRING!!!! 👏 HIM BACK!!!!!”

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9/29/16 & 10/06/16

Jason: “What do you do?”
Jim: “Vicissitude.”
Jason: “Yes, but what do you do?
Jim: “The box will tear him open and climb inside!”
Everyone: “…”
Me: “…The most horrifying thing about this is the glee with which Jim says it….”

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8/23/16 & 9/16/16

Chris: “Yeah, this hasn’t really been an ecologically-sound move.”
Jason: “This whole mountain is going to be a superfund site when we’re done with it.”
Chris: “But on the other hand, Rabenholz more than anyone probably follows the adage, ‘When you play the game of thrones, you win or you die.’”

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Jason: “So, Jim. You’ve been a vampire for awhile now. The concept of ‘a couple dozen’ werewolves should fill you with mortal terror.”
Jim: “Yeah, it’s not the most comforting of thoughts.”

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Everyone: “…”
Me: “Is…Paul trying to fix the werewolves through…?”
Jason: “…Synergistic Management Solutions, yes.”

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Chris: “I will hold Glitch to the side and wait for it to cool.”
Jason: “Ironically, there is a command to turn Glitch back to normal–”
Jason: “–But no one has figured it out yet.”
Me: “Is it ‘FLAME OFF’?”
Jason: “No.”
Me: “How the hell are we supposed to figure it out?”
Jason: “Well, one person knew it.”
Me: “Who??”
Jason: “Max.”
Me: “Awwww! Dammit!! Cause yeah that’s the worst part about Glitch, not being able to turn it off when you need to.”
Jim: “You want me to commune with Max in the afterlife and ask?”
Me: “No!!! Fuck that guy. Not worth it.”

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Spring Update

Hello gamefans! Yes we are still alive out here. I wanted to post a quick update to apologize for the delay and give some explanation why. First, I’ve had trouble bouncing back after the flu, what with my regular teaching workload and all. Secondly, what I’ve been working on with the game currently looks like this:


Don’t read too closely if you don’t want spoilers, but basically I have almost a dozen game sessions to untangle and partly rewrite. See back when these game sessions were played, for months we kinda got stuck in loops. Plot beats were accidentally repeated, a couple things were forgotten about and other details dragged on far too long. So what I’m doing is my most massive restructuring yet, trying to condense and build solid narrative arcs from the base material. I have transcribed notes for all those sessions and am going to start moving stuff around to make more sense before I go in for the full-draft version. So thank you for staying tuned, good things are coming I promise!

It’s like this project is teaching me a lot about the mechanics of epic-scale storytelling or something, what….

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