Monday, April 14, 2014

Hello there neighbors, I've put up a short video demonstrating one way you can use Roll20's Token Actions, which I didn't understand the nature of until very recently. This video covers the free browser-based virtual tabletop (VTT) roleplaying game application's Token Actions macro feature as implemented for the Solomon Kane/Savage Worlds campaign I run online.

The video involved things like a player choosing one or more targets for a certain type of attack, and rolling Fighting against the target('s) Parry, which the program references from the enemy's Character Sheet in the Journal tab. I'm very impressed with Roll20's progress and features and am pleased the Token Actions are so much easier than I thought they were at first. The techniques I use in the video can easily be applied to any other game system, even board or card games, so if this sounds intriguing, I urge you to please check out my video and Roll20. Thanks for reading and watching! -JP

Friday, March 21, 2014

Lots More Random Toys and Generators Added!

Check out the Toys Page here for a summary of all the different things available or go straight to the main Toys and Generators site for all kinds of fun and generators, from gems and items to animals, potions, wrestling moves, monsters, locations and more!

Please feel free to drop me a line or comment on any of these. Got a suggestion for a type of generator? Tell us what you'd like to see - who knows what could happen! Have fun!

Thursday, February 27, 2014

Intellectual Property/Domain Name Case: RPGLife Site Dispute

So, this isn't terribly interesting or relevant to RPGs overall, but I came across this somewhat novel example of copyright/intellectual property and internet domain names. Essentially, a medical site established as having "distinct" intellectual property terms including "RPG" and "RPG Life" had filed a complaint that the website had registered a domain name "in bad faith", to simply squat on the name.

An international arbitration found otherwise, and RPGLife, owned by an American, dealt with the more universally "generic" abbreviation for "role playing game". Apparently the Indian claimant did essentially NO homework on the term and believed "RPG" to be their own distinct term. How the company's legal team missed this rather common usage is perhaps explained in that the Swiss arbitration also noted that this was not the first claim the Indian company had made in this manner, and found that company itself, to have a history of making such claims of intellectual property violation "in bad faith". Interesting.

Amusingly, the current owner of RPGLife offered then to sell their domain name to the Indian company, who in the article was said to be considering the purchase. Currently, redirects to, an online retailer for role-playing game materials, so apparently the Indian company RPGLIfe decided the asking price was too high, though the value wasn't revealed. The article was published in Times of India in Feb of 2014, however, so it is possible there are still negotiations over the domain name.

On a personal note, I was a member of the now apparently defunct roleplaying game site RPGLife, as well as RPGBomb and RPGArchive, all of which are now redirecting to other things, indicating perhaps a lessening or at least increasingly focused avenue or venue for role playing game interaction, which to me is probably not overall a positive sign, as it probably means less variety - plus rpgarchive had a ton of free adventures people wrote and submitted (myself included) for a variety of systems and genres, and that is all apparently gone now.

Wednesday, February 26, 2014

Free West End Games (WEG) Ghostbusters  Adventure - Forever Halloween

This is an episode of the Real Ghostbusters cartoon/animated series that I adapted into a Halloween adventure for the original West End Games Ghostbusters RPG.

The Lord of Night, Samhain, has been brought to the USA and your fair city, by accident, and unleashed upon the nice folks by a pair of hench-goblins. His plan is to bring about eternal night – eternal Halloween! Based on “When Halloween Was Forever” by Michael J. Straczynski 

Wednesday, February 5, 2014

Interview: FATAL RPG Primary Contributor, Part One (audio)

Hi all, I just wanted to share this link to an interview with James Hausler, who is all but in name a co-author of the second edition of Byron Hall's FATAL RPG. The audio is scratchy because I'm an idiot, but it's interesting to hear different takes and some surprisingly reasonable answers to some questions. This is part one of a nearly four hour interview, so I'll probably have to break it up into 6-10 "episodes". Thanks for your time.

MP3 Audio Files of the Interview (Twelve Parts Total):
Part One
Part Two
Part Three
Part Four
Part Five
Part Six
Parts Seven-Nine (one file, 38 MB, 41 minutes, added Feb 21, 2014)
Parts Ten-Twelve (one file, 48 MB, 51 minutes, added Feb 21, 2014)

More Info:

I originally did a 14 part video review of FATAL, and THAT plan is probably what needed the most questioning. My plan was just to go through the entire book and thoroughly examine it to see if it was completely without merit.

Mr. Hausler watched at least some of those videos and contacted me on Youtube/Facebook and just basically wanted to clarify a few things - it quickly became apparent that what he had to say was potentially much longer than a couple of comments, so we both decided to just do an interview so it was done. He obviously had a lot he wanted to vent, I more suffered from track-wreck syndrome, though also was curious to see, again, if there could possibly be any actually valid points or reasons for how things were done.

Basically, Mr. Hausler wanted to set things straight that FATAL 1e was NOT 2e, which he felt was more significantly influenced by him and is far and away the superior product, and should be considered two entirely different games. Your mileage may vary on whether or not there is any validity in that idea. The interview was done in two days/parts of roughly 3 hours each - the first 3 hour interview was really crappy audio, but luckily (well, if you consider anything about FATAL positive) I learned from that and the second 3 hours is quite clear, and I managed to trim out 2 hours worth of "um..." from both of us.

Saturday, January 18, 2014

JP's Gem Generator 1.0

Do you need a completely random gemstone for your tabletop role playing game (fantasy or any other setting), including cut, quality and carat? Or just guides on those elements to come up with your own? Download the totally free Gem Generator PDF, which just requires a few six-sided dice rolls!

[Download JP's Gem Generator 1.0]

Wednesday, January 8, 2014

Abstruse Decapod Toys Updated for 2014!

Hi everybody, from 2014! The Abstruse Decapod Toys section has been updated and is now one central site with the various Toys being component parts of the main page, and a few things have been added as well. So if you're looking for a Wrestling Move Name Generator, a Wrestler Name Generator, a Sci-Fi Technobabble Generator, an Historic Event Date Generator or a Useless Item Generator, check it out!

Abstruse Decapod Toys

Wednesday, November 27, 2013

Table Scraps RPG Video Review 28: Panty Explosion

This is our official review for the RPG called Panty Explosion. Is it pantylicious? Find out!

I did not know, at the time I made this video, there is a newer version called Panty Explosion Perfect, which is said to have a different ... "flavor", if you'll pardon the possible distasteful pun.

Friday, November 1, 2013

Fate/Plot Points - Pay First?

First, I am in more general agreement that I prefer to be able to use my "plot manipulation" resources, such as Fate Points or whatever, to bring a sub-par roll up to at least a minimal success, rather than be forced to make a "dramatic" decision to spend points beforehand and possibly only roll a 1 which doesn't help me.

However, probably the best read on this question, is that it matters just how much is "on the line", for the real answer. If it's an over the top game where it's expected that lots of action or big gestures (physical or metaphorical) are made and it is generally easy or fairly routine for players to earn back the resources they spend, so they can do it again, then the pay-first mechanic is doable, especially if it's unlikely that even a bad failure is going to just outright kill someone or permanently remove an important option. But in more adversarial gaming (not my cup of tea), players do have enough that they are mentally working on and laudably keeping straight in their heads, to see things work out, that making even a game's possible "equalizer" resources merely a roulette spin, rather than a significant way to insure at least some part of their efforts pays off solidly, could seem honestly just spiteful. I guess it could work if you were going for an extremely gritty, nihilistic atmosphere with brief glimpses of hope.

To me, I still tend to fall into the camp that views gaming as a relative analog of novels or movies, not video games. If my players take the time to read and play by the rules, make characters, invest time and thought and flesh out an avatar and entertain me and the other players, then that makes them the MAIN characters, that will be challenged and have bad things befall them from time to time, and they'll be punished for stupid moves, but mere random chance won't decimate their heroic goals, anymore than a main character in a novel or movie will fail his roll randomly and fall off a ledge he's crossing, without that being intended to be a major plot or turning point. Similarly, main characters that have these Plot Point resources should be able to use this above-normal power, unavailable to most NPCs, to affect real change.