1. fighting the Kraken should be like fighting a pack of wild dogs. A couple of tentacles keep you attention, and then when you’re occupied with them, another one will dart in from the back and pick off a straggler. If you all go back to back and hold fast it’ll step up to an overwhelming 4 tentacles on one person, so at least part of your group has to turn to face the massive threat, and then it’s back to seizing people from behind.
8 attacks a round will piss off even quite patient Old Schoolers. Also the DnD books are insane when it comes to animal combat and this just might be the way in to understanding the deep veins of insanity elsewhere. But it’s still a fun game.
2. to keep Scrap Princess happy, allow longer weapons to get initiative until the opponent gets a successful attack in. Actually I’m thinking of allowing a contested roll system for someone with a polearm or similar to hold of a daggeriste – you both roll, if the polearmer gets the higher result (modded) then they hold the other off, and maybe they get +2 or summat for using the scenery (narrow corridor, sofas, flames, lava).
3. don’t have one player’s failure nobble another. Or, rather, if you’re going to have collective success/failure, let everyone at least try to influence the result. And point out to them that they can do so if they’re being quiet.
4. “don’t put any treasure in you don’t want the party to be able to get.” Roger Giner-Sorolla. This is so true. I accidentally put a bunch of enormous bombs in my players’ path and now they have enormous bombs to use on any obstacle. Well, not quite bombs. Luckily I’m OK with any part of the setting getting blown up. Except for that total Mary Sue pit boss ruling over the Dangerous Gas Mine. D’oh! Bombs and gas mine!
5. How to succeed in my games: STOP, LOOK, LISTEN rather than rushing in – observe what’s going on. TRY TALKING RATHER THAN STARTING WITH VIOLENCE combat is always a good way to get killed: if you must approach with violence, do it from cover, with mines and/or sniping – but if you’re going to talk, starting from cover/a distance isn’t a bad idea because you don’t know if they’re friendly. IMAGINE THE SITUATION IS HAPPENING IN REAL LIFE not in a game. I am imagining that your PC is a fairly ordinary person trying to climb that wall, not a badass leaping climbing machine or a Lost Vikings type game piece with the maneuver climb anything. If the situation seems dangerous, that’s not a signal that we’ve entered the exciting music scene and it’s time to start with the whirling kung fu moves. It’s a signal that you’re in danger and you’ll have to think to minimize your chance of dying.
6. LIFE IMITATES ART: Meteors strike Chelyabinsk, on the Russia/Kazakhstan border. Captured (partly) on video. Ahem: Carcosa Wacky Races opening, April 2012 –
A small figure in baggy robes stands atop it all. He gestures and great sails unfurl, showing the form of a luminescent bird with the figure at its head. He touches his throat and his voice booms out across the desert:
“…erm, yes. Hello. Um, you have been summoned! From… afar! because I – that is, the Seers of Otrar – have seen a Fall! A farishta of the Overworld will fall tonight, probably in the mountains just to the north over there. Your task is to collect its Black Casket. Your reward – the Prize! The Grand Prize! Is the rest of the farishta – its body, its, um, raiment! Never before has such a Prize been offered!”
He looks up at the sky, then at his hand. “And-”
Abruptly the sky is split by a brilliant streak of light and a deafening crack. In eerie silence a bright orange flash blooms on the northern horizon, followed by a dull red mushroom cloud. Then the bone-shaking boom of a shockwave knocks you all flat and hurls the scaffold away across the desert to the south. When the dust settles the little man is standing among the vehicles, jumping up and down, shouting “I was right! I was right!”
“Well what are you all waiting for? Go! Before those bastards up in Ulaanbatur get it!”
…so what’s so special about Chelyabinsk? Well, it’s about the most Tartary location imaginable – secret nuclear research facility, site of the worst nuclear powerplant accident before Chernobyl, on the Kazakh border, decidedly Cold War sounding official response from Russia Times:
Police in the Chelyabinsk region are reportedly on high alert, and have begun ‘Operation Fortress’ in order to protect vital infrastructure…
“Do not panic, this is an ordinary situation we can manage in a couple of days,” the governor said in and address to city residents.
Background radiation levels in Chelyabinsk remain unchanged, the Emergency Ministry reported.
Reward for getting this far, and via Jez Gordon of Giblet Blizzard: the amazing, varied, mysterious art of Kay Nielsen – an artist whose work I have seen from time to time and I’ve been tormented that I didn’t know who it was and therefore couldn’t find more. Now fixed.