That’s No Ent!

Yesterday I gave the Bookmark Cthulhu draft rules a run around the block via a Call of Cthulhu solo adventure in Protodimension Magazine issue #9 (a zine that used to cover mainly my old Dark Conspiracy RPG, but was open to horror RPGs of all stripes).

Timothy Boeser, a saxophone player driving to Arkham in driving rain, on his way to a jazz band tryout, encountered a Dark Young of Shub-Niggurath blocking the road in a woods.

I rolled incredibly well, so he kept control of the car. And not only did the shocking sight not crack his sanity, he actually gained a Boon from it (which I’ll call “Intro to Monstrosities”). Escaping into the woods, he fell into a river, managed to not drown, and was eventually picked up at daybreak by an old farmer and his wife on a bridge across the torrent.

A note about using Bookmark HP RPG with published solo adventures for other games: Few RPGs have a built-in system of damage degrading abilities as BNHP does. In most you just lose Hit Points until you die.

To compensate, I recommend beginning the programmed adventure character with at least a couple of Boons, and as damage accrues, look for a rationale to treat some encounters as Rest, and to treat significant items or discoveries as free Boons if needed. Basically, give your character the same fighting chance they’d have in the original game. Don’t make it a cake walk, but don’t let the adventure punish them too severely.

In this case, I treated Timothy’s car and saxophone as starting Boons, and when he had to abandon the car, but hadn’t lost that Boon, I considered it the car keys instead. Something that might be lost in the forest or river, but if kept meant a tow truck could recover the car later, in the light of day.

All those lucky rolls meant my adventure ended quickly, with a lot of the text unexplored, so I’ll try again with a new character, while Timothy goes on to face Chaosium’s official Alone Against the Tide. And I’ll generate a new character to explore this one further. Maybe Claudie Bambeck, a singer on her way to audition for the same band. 🙂

(The character names I’m generating with the census-based randomizer you can find on the site.)

Bookmark Cyberpunk & the GMA KS

You may be aware of my love for Nathan Rockwood’s GameMaster’s Apprentice deck for GM-less role-play. Of all the oracle systems I’ve used, GMA is my hands-down favorite, with Cut-Up Solo an unusual second.

You can see in the image here all the information available on each randomly drawn GMA card, which makes it “one-stop shopping” for storytelling details.

Unrelatedly, my old college buddy Tim Ryan and I have been playing a cyberpunk role-playing campaign for nearly a year now, using the GMA core deck as game master, and my Bookmark HP RPG as the game rules. So when I discovered that Nathan was Kickstarting a brand-new themed GMA deck, for cyberpunk, I just had to back it!

Serendipitously, I’d already begun working on a Bookmark Cyberpunk Sourcebookmark. So I asked Nathan about including that as an add-on to his Kickstarter, and he agreed, enthusiastically.

Check it out. There’s also an add-on bundle available of the Bookmark HP RPG card, the Player’s Handbookmark, and the Game Host’s Guidebookmark. (D&D fans should appreciate the nostalgic nod of those titles.)

Footnote: When I designed the D6xD6 RPG back in 2014, though I’d included rules for character growth through experience, I sort of assumed that wouldn’t hold up to long-term play, just mini campaigns of a half dozen sessions or so. But as an experiment a couple of years ago, I decided to see how far it could go, and after a two-year campaign, the experience system was still working smoothly!

Still, surely the tiny BNHP experience rules couldn’t support a campaign, right? But I figured that, silly as the idea sounded, it couldn’t hurt to give it a try. And as noted, a year into a cyberpunk campaign, character growth is still working! One more reason to be proud of this little RPG, designed on a whim one weekend, as an experiment in HP/XP-less role-play.


Okay. Sales pitch. But I think it worth noting.

First, there’s a 74% discount bundle deal for the GameMaster’s Apprentice and the Bookmark No HP RPG. Print and PDF included. That’s 1/4 the normal price. Link included on the DriveThruRPG HandiQuest page.

What’s HandiQuest? It’s a 99 cent system for using those two items as a deck in one hand, with a pen or pencil in the other. Nothing else needed for solo role-play adventure. Carry it in a pocket, play wherever, it’ll save your place if you need to pause.

So, for under $10 you can own the GMA oracle deck, one of the best RPGs of my career, and an ultra-portable way to use them together. I hope you’ll take a look-see. Thanks!

Here’s a Pinapple

Photo by Kobby Mendez on Unsplash

I’m grateful to report that each of the bookmark titles received another 5-star rating on DriveThruRPG yesterday. My one-person operation may be small, with relatively small exposure, but its ratings remain encouragingly high, which, thankfully, keeps me motivated and focused.

Because maybe it’s the heat disrupting our normal sleep habits at Chez Smith, or maybe it’s time to reevaluate my meds. Whichever, it’s been tough of late, encephalopathically speaking. Something like Frodo’s “thin, sort of stretched, like butter scraped over too much bread.” But more accurately, diffuse, like fog on a window, vaguely aware that the things inside are concrete and real, but so disconnected from them. Sometimes mustering the energy to even want to coalesce can be exhausting.

Not complaining; just reporting. (Jennifer says that’s become my catchphrase.)

In any case, I’m grateful for a family who know when too much too fast becomes overwhelming, and who send me to my room.

For friends who accept my sometimes cancelling events day of, when it becomes evident I just can’t deal.

And for fans who keep me feeling relevant and accomplished. My particular religious upbringing makes it difficult to accept praise. But every rating, review, comment, message, Facebook chat or group page interaction, every thumbs up on a YouTube video, every photo from a convention, all that stuff feels like an ongoing conversation. And as an extrovert, I feed on that interaction.

It gives me purpose to write, and the writing brings focus. It’s why my MD concludes every visit with, “So, are you still writing, still publishing?”

Please don’t get me wrong. I’m not looking for sympathy. Not fishing for compliments. Not making a sales pitch.

I’m just saying thank you. You know who you are.

The pineapple was just to get your attention.