Mental Access to MTKuszek

Mental Access to MTKuszek
A Window of Opportunity

Sunday, August 28, 2011

08-28-2011 Buncha Stuff

day 460

lots to cover today.

so, at work my ears were raped and my delicate nasal passages were assaulted. long story short, a co-worker and his friend were nearby and they spoke with vulgarity and obscenity. now normally i'm pretty resilient about such things, but the fact that they didn't let up for over 15 minutes actually pushed my limits. the audacious banality!!!
my poor ears!!!

i realized that the more some people speak, the less i like them. i absolutely hate it when my ears are unwillingly filled with crap.

so i leave the establishment and head out towards the guard shack. now, there is a large outside space between the main building and the guard shack. i managed to pass an incoming woman with about 10 feet of clearance, and after i passed her. i literally stumbled backwards. Perfume Cloud!

i stumbled towards the guard shack, a little light headed, and as i opened the door, another blast of the perfume assaulted my nasal passages. Damn, that's terrible.

i'm all for cleanliness, but come on! in some cases, less is more.

yesterday, i bid a fond farewell to Saturday work. good riddance after nearly two years of the stuff. i also begin my last week of BAX operations. it's going to be a hard one, for sure, and i really hope that i am strong enough for it.

i returned to the game tables of my friends this week officially, for the most part, having hit 3 of the 4 weeks previously. we scheduled out the next several weeks of gaming, reaching into the first few weeks of october. i hate the sensation of not knowing what lies ahead of me whenever i look at a calender. hopefully i will be working somewhere, even if seasonal.

today, family time with the girls. i do need to stop and get a new set of boots, which demands a trip across town.

i've been lacking motivation to workout and write, a direct result of the mild depression that seems to be setting in with the loss of my job. i've also tried to refrain from drinking, because i know that isn't a coping mechanism i want to deal with, and that's a dark path i refuse to tread. it's all about the will power.
i plan on working out all this week, every day. i have several writing projects that i'm officially and unofficially working on, and reading stuff daily. trying to stay sharp mentally will help me out with the lethargy.

so i buckle up for another week of family and work, and i see the finish line directly ahead. i wish i had brakes for time, but i also wish i'm strong enough to cross the finish line like a man.

that's all for now. peace.


Thursday, August 25, 2011

08-25-2011 The Ultimate Answer

day 457

today i bring you something special. something that has boggled the mind since the dawn of man. i have the answer to the meaning of life. and it all came to me like most things usually do; a moment of the convergence of the cosmos and karma. in other words, i stumbled upon it.

let's start with the obvious starting point: "The Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy" by Douglas Adams.

in this novel, there is a large computer called Deep Thought, and it was built for the sole purpose to ascertain the Ultimate Answer to the Ultimate Question about life, the Universe and Everything.

after computing every scenario for 7 1/2 million years, Deep Thought spits out the Ultimate Answer...which is the very bland answer of 42.

so, the answer to the meaning of life is 42. Great.

now there has been years of speculation about how Douglas Adams came about with that answer and why he wrote it. some think it's a math joke, some think it's a pun, some just think it's a random occurrence.

i tell you now, i know the secret.

last night, i was in need of a bathroom book [you know what i mean :]] for a quick but non-committed read. i happen to find a book that my daughter has called "you can't scare me: a guide to the strange and supernatural" i peruse the large picture paperback, which talks about everything from vampires, werewolves, magic, aliens and everything in between.

so, i read for a bit, and i come across this one passage:

"Car 42, Where Are you?

the first Grand Prix to be held in Japan after World War II was in 1963 at the Suzuka Circuit in Nagoya. The favorite was Masao Asano driving a can emblazoned with the number 42. During the race, Asano's car went out of control and he suffered a fatal crash. In Japanese, the number 42 translates as Shi Ni , which means "to die". Racing officials afterward banned the use of the number 42, but in the following year's Grand Prix event, marshals checking the cars as they passed notices that a car bearing the number 42 was seen in eight of the 25 laps."

now, that's a really neat story, but the key phrase that is important to take out of that is this:

In Japanese, the number 42 translates as Shi Ni , which means "to die".

so if the meaning of life is 42, and 42 means "to die", then the meaning of life is to die.

wow, that's pretty bleak. no wonder they kept it a secret for that long.

a little levity for you today. stay awesome.


Wednesday, August 17, 2011

08-17-2011 Qags-in-a-Bag: The Gencon Game

day 449

the following is a transcript that i wrote out for my Gencon event. it's not 100% specific, but there is a lot to cover in a four hour game. this is real lengthy, so please bear with me, but it is about as fantastic as it gets. welcome to my mind.

Qags-in-a-Bag “QiB” Gencon 2011

the initial pulls: (6) these are shown to the players. Additional pulls during play are kept hidden until they are revealed.

odd angles and arrows/ surreal
gunned down
mutant league style
personal orbiting energy ball
PC changes Weakness
Doppler Effect

the initial setup (sci-fi mega-city cyberpunk judge dread)
location: New Detroit

the characters:
(each character is given an opening scene to introduce their character to the rest of the group.)

Elton Joel Tribute Man: his real name is lost because he has been an out of work impersonator of Elton John and Billy Joel. He is hired by his agent to be the entertainment for a High Society Event

Joe-Bob: a cyborg mall cop with built in GPS and Segway. He is hired to fill out the security detail for a high society event

Slick Shepard: Everyone's favorite arrogant TV show host. His main gig is a sports announcer on “MegaForceBall” a futuristic death sport. He is the main Interviewer of Big Bad Damocles; the sports largest star. Together they are supposed to attend the high society event.

Cranky old Man: an old man who lives above the venue where the high society is to be held. His joy in life is sitting outside on his balcony and telling the young to get off of his grass, even though he has no yard. His cane-jutsu is strong.

Super Jane Doe: a stunt woman who is clearly insane, thinks she is a superhero at times. She is hired to pull off a spectacular stunt at the Social Event.

Arthur (AKA Shithawk): master custodian at the venue of the social event. As he puts it, he doesn't give a shit unless its about shit.

The setup: note that [bracket entries] denote direct pulls from the bag and correlation to the overall plot:

Big Bad Damocles, famous MegaForceBall player, a [mutant league style] sport, has to go to a sports related high society event. He arrives with “Slick” in a limo. While entering, the entertainment and stunts go off without a hitch as the custodial and security details handle their jobs.
The old man above the venue decided to heckle Damocles, which throws him into a rage. Damocles begins to scale the side of the building and reaches the balcony of the old man.
As this is going on, a large semi barrels down the street, taking cars and vehicles out left and right, a shot rings out in the open air, and Damocles is [gunned down] and falls from the building and dies.
Local law enforcement descends on the scene and take the players into interrogations for statements. After several interesting statements, it is decided by the police that the players can clear their names by finding the real perps of the crime and bringing them to justice. The team returns to the scene of the crime and manage to find a clue of significant importance; a shard from the license plate of the semi.
The cyborg mall cop hacks into the mall database to see if he can get a match of the license plate. Amazingly, he does, and finds that the truck is owned by Michael Lablanc; heir to the Lablanc Shoes empire. He works at the mall, so it is justified that they would find the info there. They also find out that he likes to hang out at a local club called [the Doppler Effect].
The team goes to the Doppler Effect club, while several players schmooze with the ladies and alcohol is consumed, Shithawk goes to find the facilities. Shithawk happens to find Mr Lablanc in a stall performing some ritual with a [personal orbiting energy ball] and has manages to produce a swirling vortex just behind the toilet. One by one, everyone in the club is dragged into the vortex, though some are strong enough to resist the pull and walk into the vortex of their own free will.
The Players find themselves on a large square island, where all of the buildings and trees are bent at [odd angles and arrows/surreal]. The party continues on strong for a while, bu the players try to find a way around the island. Instead of finding a bus pass, they manage to find a sub pass. They go down into the subway, and find that there is literally small personal subs that can take you to anywhere on the island. During this time, the stunt woman superhero has failed to take a dose of her medication in a while. Though she fails her weakness roll, the weakness does not grip her, and she appears to be cured of her dependency here in this strange world. She is rewarded the option of [PC changes weakness], which she swaps out eagerly.
The sub ride goes uneventful, and drops off the players on the docks near the far end of the island. Again, the trees are bent inward towards the center of the island. The players move forward into the dense jungle, to find that they are attacked by [marionettes]. They are made to look like natives or some other tribal group. One is blown to bits by the mall cop with a built in rocket launcher, but then put together again by Elton Joel. He is dubbed “junkie” and after communication is established with the natives, the group is led to the camp of the marionette natives...

now comes one of the best highlights of the game. A player (out of character) throws out the comment that : “a native village like this might worship something strange, like an unexploded nuclear bomb. I smile at the player, then flip the [Doomsday Device] I pulled a few minutes before and exclaim “Oh My God! They have an unexploded nuclear bomb in the middle on their village!”

Back to the game: now that there is a bomb in the center of the village, all hell breaks loose. The old man beats on the bomb with his cane, while the stunt woman begins to crush the homes of the marionettes. During the time, the tribe shaman makes his way to the group, telling them to stop. He looks like he's very old and battle-worn, for he bears the [bite marks] of some animal on his wooden body. He manages to stop the attacks for now.
Meanwhile, Shithawk and Slick make their way back to the sub dock. It's about this time they realize that the reason the buildings and trees are bent is because the leakage of radiation from the bomb. As they frantically look for a way off the island they see several dots on the horizon flying towards them. As the dots get closer, they can tell that the dots are black ops helicopters. They hover over the island a heavily armed soldiers rappel down ropes. The soldiers perform as [strategic insertion] to recover the bomb and do so without incident. They leave as quickly as they arrived, and leave the players alone again with the marionettes.
One of the players notices that there is a [talisman] embedded in the ground where the bomb was resting. He hands it to the stunt woman/superhero, simply because it is in her same color scheme. Upon doing so, it actually gives her superpowers, and grants her [boots of immaculate speed]. She speeds around the poor village destroying more and more huts, fully convinced that they are evil. Several other attempts are made to stop her, but finally she is talked down and stops the attack. It is a little too late, however, as junkie is the last marionette to survive.
The players decide to leave, since there is nothing to do anymore at the island. They manage to pick up another sub and make their way to a second island, which seems to be a thriving old world town. There are all sorts of shops for food and goods.
Slick decided that his outfit isn’t working for this scene, so he plans on having a new suit made. He goes to find a unique bolt of cloth to make his suit stand apart from all the others. Something loud and gaudy, flashy but not overstated. He manages to get a truly unique patterned cloth that seems to shimmer and shift. Slick loves it, and pays top dollar for it. Then he finds a tailor to make the suit. Against all good taste, the tailor agrees to make the suit, but it will take a lot of money about an hour of time.
So, with time to kill, the players go to look for Lablanc, and manage to find the fiend incognito as a sombrero wearing old man. He is apprehended by the superhero and mall cop. He says he killed Damocles so that he could get his personal orbiting energy ball for a ritual to awaken the [crabmen]. It seems to be more of a lie than the truth, since they have seen no crabmen, so they take Lablanc into custody and lead him back into town, where a local [cooking contest] has broken out. Elton decides to try and win the contest by swiping key ingredients from other tables and making his own pie. Surprisingly, he wins, but just barely.
As the Players get close to the tailor's place, so that slick can pick up his new suit, Lablanc gets away, takes the newly made suit and puts it on. In doing so, the fabric grants [special effects/ SFX] and disappears in a flash of smoke.
Slick is seriously bummed at this point, but tries to get another suit made of the same fabric. The quality is not as high as the first suit, but it does work.
As the players look for clues, they see that a bit of fabric leads away from the scene and a single thread is leading them all over town. It is at this point that Shithawk finds his calling; the museum of fecal history, and the worlds largest collection of toilets anywhere in the universe. Shithawk achieves that perfect moment of balance and zen, and enters the last place that he will ever work. (in other words, the player had to leave, so this was the most opportune time to send Shithawk “down the toilet”)
the players bid a find farewell to Shithawk, and continue tracking down Lablanc via the thread. At this point, Slick is really angry because Lablanc is destroying the suit that Slick paid for with a gratuitous amount of money. Finally, they come across a large door with a sliding eye-port. It looks to be an old entrance to what might have been a speakeasy at one time or another. The large man behind the door lets the players in, though he has a ridiculously high voice for a man of his size. Slick tells the man to get a hold of “his people” because the goon might have a future in the Mega ForceBall universe.
The thread leads the players up a staircase and find themselves in an ornately decorated office building. The whole place is decked out in a feudal Japan theme, and there are two ornate doors in from of them. One is slightly ajar, so they venture forth into the inner office.
Lablanc stands there, a Katana slung over his shoulder. He smiles, then mockingly speaks to the players, and it occurs to the players that his speaking and his lips are completely out of sync, just like bad dubbing. As it turns out, Lablanc is the head of the Toho [Ninja Clan], and within seconds the room is filled with 40 ninjas, all with [great reflexes].
Slick tries to reason with Lablanc, telling him that he is outclassed, then tries to get the ninjas to turn on their master. Enrages, Lablanc throws a shuriken at Slick. Slick's player, spends tons of yum yums at this point to make the most spectacular catch by clenching the chinese star in his teeth, then pulls it out and flashes a glinting smile.
Instantly, the ninjas know who the true rules of the dreaded Toho Ninja Clan should be. They capture Lablanc and make Slick the new leader of the Toho. They award him a big gaudy medallion that show his new found status with uncharacteristically unnecessary bling.

The wrap up

With the baddie caught, they return to the main dock, then make Lablanc reverse the ritual that sent them here in the first place. In doing so, there is a large flash of light that blots out everything. Beyond that they see that a black door opens in the distance. The realize that they are dressed in normal everyday clothes, and all personal effects are gone.
They go through the black door to find that they are on a stage, in which there are pytotechnics flaming up, fake smoke generators, and curvy cuties showing them the correct way to go. There is a huge crowd cheering them, but then they find that Lablanc is standing on the other side of the stage, dressed like a gaudy gameshow host. He lets the players know that they have won fabulous prizes, though no one expected them to complete the tasks that they had been given. The players now realize that this has all been some sort of VR game show. Slick is disappointed to find out that his own personality had been overwritten by the game show Lablanc, because the ratings cant get enough of him.
As the players come to grasps with what just happened, Lablanc signs off saying the show's catch phrase:
“Remember, [Life's a game] on everybody's favorite game show, [99 ways to die!].

Obviously the end credits roll with the song of the same name by Megadeth. The feedback I received from this specific game session has been absolutely awesome. I thank all my players for making this one so memorable.


Tuesday, August 16, 2011

08-16-2011 Qags-in-a-bag: The Setup

day 448

tomorrow, (i hope) i should have the write up for one of the best games that i have ever run in my signature convention game, Qags-in-a-bag.

and what, pray tell, is Qags-in-a-bag? allow me to explain... gear up kiddies, this is the long version of the origins of the fabled and mysterious bag.

let's travel back in time to late June 2006. exactly one week before Origins '06

Saturday evening, i'm in Point Place, at the annual Summerfest and Fireworks extravaganza. hanging out with family. for some strange reason, my father asks me if they are to expect anymore grandchildren. i reply, "No, it hasn't happened at this point. I'm pretty sure it's not going to happen."

Sunday, my wife informs me that she is pregnant with our second child. Karma's a bitch, right?

so, she tells me that i should go to the con and have a good time, and not really worry about the pregnancy situation. so i go. it is this weekend that i discover the Qags 2nd Edition rulebook, and it's also the first time i get into a qags event at a convention. i fell in love with the system and wanted to run something for my friends as soon as i could.

and i did, my group manages to do a game that we wanted to for a long time; a superhero game in which you pull your name from a hat and design your character around that name. it was mad fun.

so, after that, Qags became my default system for quick adventure. but i wanted a faster delivery system. from my previous experience, i know that gaming while having a child happens at a premium. i began to kick around an idea of creating a true random adventure generator, something that i could just pull out and in a matter of seconds i could get a game going. kinda like mad libs for RPGs.

so i looked at how i did the character creation for our superhero game. small pieces of paper. nothing special. i began to write other things down on the paper. game mechanics, places, persons, things, sayings, concepts, fully realized ideas, etc. after a while i had a bit of a pile of small papers. i began to throw it into a brown paper lunch bag to hold them all. i wrote "Qags Lunch" on the bag, just to make sure that it wouldn't get lost in the mix of other bags.

the bag slowly filled with ideas, but it was a long process, and after a while, i decided to try it out. i pulled out three or four pieces of paper at once, took a look at them, then began to put together some semblance of a theme. strangely, it worked. i pulled out three more, then made a second theme. i thought i was on to something.

so i tried it out on friends, and it seemed to work, though i really didn't have any specific rules for the game at this point, since i considered it free-form.

i debuted "Qags-in-a-bag" in 2008, since "Qags Lunch" didn't cover the concept very well, and "making $#!+ up off the top of my head" is a little lengthy. it's first public event was at BashCon in my home town. this was also the time that i inadvertently ran into two of the Hex Games staffers, those who write Qags and Qags related products.

so for 4 1/2 years now , i've been running this event, and i've still never had a duplicate game. fascinating.

I say that the "Qags-in-a-bag" game that i ran at Gencon this year was by far the best thing that i ever ran using this technique. again, i hope to have the full write up posted tomorrow.

Qags-in-a-bag: Invented By Necessity...Designed By Insanity...


Tuesday, August 9, 2011

08-09-2011 Gencon Indy Wrap-up

day 441

Gencon: For gamers, it is the Mecca of the gaming universe, and a pilgrimage that any gamer should make at least once in his or her lifetime.

And I did it last weekend...

first off, Indianapolis is an awesome city, full of things to do downtown. It's really clean and the sights are amazing. Plenty of things to do it the large city.

Now, we arrived on site on Wednesday. I had a game that evening, while my other friends got together to play L5R, I went to meet up with Mr. Engle who was the GM for “Bloodbath and Beyond: Monstertown Vice” it was a great way to start off the convention. A lot of fun an shenanigans were had. Here's the rub: I didn't realize that Gencon does not just exist in the ICC, but rather in several nearby sites as well. This game was going to be held in union station, an old train station, turned into a fantastic conference plaza. An eye opening experience for sure, but I found my way around after a while.

Thursday: Dressed in my “Have you seen my Zombie?” T-shirt, which I had about 50 comments about it that day, I explored the dealer room with a few good friends, and initially didn't buy much. I did pick up the three CD's by Midnight Syndicate and Gavin that I really wanted. The rest would come later.
That night I played in Josh's “Sword and Sorcery: Curse of the Alchemist” which was wonderfully cool. I was amazed by the caliber of player that come to play at Gencon. We seemed to all be on the same page for that game. It was nice.

Friday: didn't really do any significant gaming, but I did peek in on some of my friends games, and played a few board games, taking pictures here and there. More and more people.

Saturday: my game day, I reached that moment of zen a few moments before my event began. I had some exceptional players who were on board at the first moment. My Qags-in-a-Bag is probably one of the most interesting and strange games out there, and it fits my personality perfectly. I told them that the ship could go down at any moment, and to expect the unexpected. They loved it, and together we crafted a story unlike any other that I have ever done. It was my best work to date. Stay tuned here for a blow by blow play of the game.
Later in the afternoon, the Hexgames staff, and myself, all went to a microbrew house called the ram, which was really cool. Drinking a few beers with that group is awesome.

Sunday: the wind down: tired, exhausted and a little homesick, we wrapped up, said our goodbyes, and headed home. I was really excited to see that my kids and wife were excited to see me.

A Phenomenal time. EPIC on all levels.