Thursday, August 29, 2019

No More Unknown Armies Posts

This is most likely the last post you'll see about the campaign I've been running. The main reason for that is because I will not be recording and posting future sessions. If you're one of the handful of people who enjoyed this, I apologize.

For those who are wondering why, it's because one of my players told me that being recorded makes them very uncomfortable and less likely to say anything, which results in decreased participation. While I wish I'd been told earlier about this, the simplest and kindest thing to do is to simply stop recording the sessions altogether. Which is a pity for me, because given that there's at least a week between each session, listening to the recording is a perfect way to refresh my memory.

If I'm being honest, I don't think this campaign will survive much longer anyway. As I referenced last week, my GM style and what the group wants appear to be two different things. This leaves me with the following choices:

  1. My GM style doesn't suit what kind of game the PCs want to play and I'll have to re-tool the adventure and how I run this game. 
  2. I'm the wrong GM for this group and I need to bow out. 
  3. This is the wrong game for this group and I need to run something else. 

Which unfortunately boil down to "Quit or do a lot more work." Thing is, I only started running this game because the GM of my Wednesday Pathfinder game became overwhelmed with Real Life Issues and needed time to get things in order. I volunteered so that we'd have something to do on the off-weeks, and I
specifically picked UA because it's a game that's easy for me to run. I know from personal experience how much effort it takes to set up and balance a Pathfinder session -- I run one every Saturday night, after all, and a good bit of the Saturday afternoon before and Sunday afternoon after are used in preparation. I simply couldn't do the same for another game, so I went with a game which is rules-light and more about story and setting and role-playing than about mechanics and combat.

But people aren't having fun, and frustrated players mean a frustrated GM and that means no one is happy. So right now, UA is on hiatus as I try to figure out if I have the energy and desire to re-do the entire campaign.

If I decide to end it, I'll write up a synopsis of what was going on and how the plot could have unfolded for my Patreon patrons so that they can have their questions answered.

Thanks and goodnight.

Monday, August 26, 2019

The Genteel Curse

I'm not certain, but I think I've devised the most genteel curse ever:

"I hope that I'm in a position to help you one day."

Much like Bless Your Heart, its vagueness is its versatility. Said nicely, they won't even know it's a curse; said with verbal stink, it's obviously a curse but multi-layered:

  • Does it mean they are so screwed up that their dysfunction outstrips your ability to provide aid to them?
  • Does it mean that you sincerely hope that in the future they will ask for help from you, giving you the pleasure of telling them "No, I won't help you" ?
  • Does it mean that you look forward to the day when they come to you on their knees, apologizing and begging for help?

The answer, of course, is that it could mean any or all of them, depending on the speaker's mood, or it could mean just what was said: a sincere desire to help in the future. Context is the only clue.

Assorted Calibers Podcast Ep 066: Return of the Weer’d

In This Episode:
  • Weer'd is back from vacation! Hear where he went and what he did, and the various problems Erin had with editing the podcast in his absence;
  • Egghead explains why financial prepping is necessary despite being unsexy;
  • David tells us how to cast your own bullets;
  • and guest Sean Sorrentino details why you're making the wrong argument against red flag laws.

Did you know that we have a Patreon? Join now for the low, low cost of $4/month (that’s $1/podcast) and you’ll get to listen to our podcast on Friday instead of Mondays, as well as patron-only content like mag dump episodes and our hilarious blooper reels and film tracks.

Show Notes

Gun Lovers and Other Strangers

Thursday, August 22, 2019

Unknown Armies Episode 11

So... that didn't go as I expected.


Let me tell you a story. Back in 1995, I was asked to GM a game of Vampire: the Masquerade at the local engineering college. They were all members of a local RPG group who really wanted to play this hot new game but didn't have anyone to run it for them. I was active on the various World of Darkness mailing lists at the time (ah, mailing lists. How 90s) and someone saw I was in their area, said "Would you like to run for us?" and I was all "Sure!"

So I showed up and saw that most of them had made their characters. OK, cool. I get an idea of who they are and what kind of characters they're running. I start an introductory scenario where they, newly made vampires, present themselves to the head vampire of the city (the "Prince" in V:tM lingo) and meet the local clan heads (movers and shakers of power). Then I say to them, "OK, what do you do next?"

I was met with blank stares. Apparently the idea that they, as player characters, should have goals and motivations was foreign to them. They wanted to be told what to do. They wanted to given a quest, go do it, then come back and get a reward and another quest.

They were D&D players in a very NOT D&D game. I was frustrated by this and tried to make it work, but I failed. I was told by one of them (who was a good friend of mine for many years after) that I was expecting a "very advanced form of roleplay" from them.

I feel like that's what is happening in this game. I put the players in a strange place, and instead of trying to blend in, lie low and figure out why they are there, they fight it and do their best to opt out of the scenario. I think you can hear it in my voice as I die a little bit inside in what is supposed to be the climax of the scenario.

Honestly, the only thing I thought was successful was when they (probably unwittingly) crafted an ad-hoc ritual to pull them back to Texas. They technically shouldn't have been able to do that without a magickal charge, but at this point I was basically "Oh thank goodness, they're actually working together and engaging in ritual symbolism" and I decided it was better to reward them for desirable behavior rather than drag out an obviously unfun and unhappy scenario for purposes of rules.

I don't really know what to do. These are D&D players in a very not-D&D game, and I don't know if I can change this game to suit their playstyle without eliminating the elements that make it fun for me to run.

Thanks for letting me vent.

Monday, August 19, 2019

Assorted Calibers Podcast Ep 065: Strange Flexes

In This Episode:
Weer'd is on vacation again, this time in New England, so Erin is once again in charge of the episode, this time with co-host Oddball. Erin also cut all the audio to make it sound pretty despite some significant hurdles, so please tell her what a good job she did.
  • Erin and Oddball contemplate why the media overplays tragedies to the point of dancing in the blood of the dead;
  • Weer'd fisks David Hogg's attempts to increase gun control laws in Maine, of all places;
  • In Gun Lovers and Other Strangers, our David (no relation) details the etiquette for selling a gun from his perspective as a gun shop employee;
  • and Oddball talks about a pet peeve of his: when gun owners "flex on the poors."

Did you know that we have a Patreon? Join now for the low, low cost of $4/month (that’s $1/podcast) and you’ll get to listen to our podcast on Friday instead of Mondays, as well as patron-only content like mag dump episodes and our hilarious blooper reels and film tracks.

Show Notes

Main Topic
Weer'd Audio Fisk
Gun Lovers and Other Strangers

Monday, August 12, 2019

Assorted Calibers Podcast Ep 064: Erin is Captain Now

In This Episode:
Weer'd is on vacation in Ireland, so Erin takes over the ship ("Look at me. LOOK AT ME. I'm the Captain now.") and enlists ACP contributor Egghead to be her Cabin Boy for the show.
  • Erin and Egghead discuss two very surprising Tweets that address mass shootings in unexpected ways;
  • David tells us what gear we need to avoid doing the Hot Brass Dance;
  • Egghead reviews the CountyComm GP-5 General Purpose Radio for both Ham operators and preppers;
  • and Trunk Monkey Steve tells us how he keeps his Ninja Wagon up and running in Tales from the Trunk.

Did you know that we have a Patreon? Join now for the low, low cost of $4/month (that’s $1/podcast) and you’ll get to listen to our podcast on Friday instead of Mondays, as well as patron-only content like mag dump episodes and our hilarious blooper reels and film tracks.

Show Notes

Main Topic
Gun Lovers and Other Strangers
General Purpose Egghead

    Thursday, August 8, 2019

    Unknown Armies Episode 10

    I want to assure my listeners of a few things:
    • I didn't suddenly decide to run a Star Trek game instead of Unknown Armies. 
    • There's a reason why this happened. However, like all good UA stuff, it's never initially apparent. The PCs might find out why it happened, or they might not. 
    • There's actually reasoning and a pattern going on here, although it's difficult for my players to see. 

    Monday, August 5, 2019

    Assorted Calibers Podcast Ep 063: Circuses and Monkeys

    In This Episode:
    • Erin and Weer’d discuss the return of Cam & Company and some of the recent developments at the NRA, specifically the consolidation of power by Wayne La Pierre;
    • Egghead reviews the Niteforce P12 flashlight;
    • Oddball explains the pros and cons of different knife handle materials;
    • and Weer'd brings us an interview with Jake Skillett of VonBernd K-9 Training.

    Did you know that we have a Patreon? Join now for the low, low cost of $4/month (that’s $1/podcast) and you’ll get to listen to our podcast on Friday instead of Mondays, as well as patron-only content like mag dump episodes and our hilarious blooper reels and film tracks.

    Show Notes

    Main Topic
    General Purpose Egghead
    Oddball's Corner Pocket
    Jake Skillett

      Sunday, August 4, 2019

      Pink Pistols article in Crosscut Magazine

      Dorothy Edwards of Crosscut magazine was introduced to me by the head of the Portland, OR chapter of the Pink Pistols. Dorothy had been observing and interviewing members of that chapter for an article she was writing.

      She was also at the March for Our Rights in Olympia, WA at the end of April (an event I was sadly unable to attend because it happened on the same day as the NRA Annual Meeting), and was surprised by how many people came up to the Pink Pistols booth giving support, thanking them for being there, and obtaining information for family and friends. Dorothy, as most in news media, had the belief that the 2A community was not welcoming.

      She asked me many good questions when we spoke, not just the usual "Tell me about how Pink Pistols/Operation Blazing Sword started." Unfortunately our entire conversation is not in the article (it never is), but it's a good depiction of of who we are, what we do, and why the Pink Pistols needs to exist.

      Please take the time to read it.

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