Per +Zak Smith

I'm currently running (at home):

I'm currently running (online):
Aspirations to run episodic, drop-in urban thieves campaign. 

I would especially like to run:
Episodic, drop-in urban thieves campaign.

...but would also try:
Time is too precious right now. But in an alternate universe I'd love playing some 40k run by +Edgar Johnson or +Wayne Snyder .

I live in:
Colorado Rocky Mountains. 

2 or 3 well-known RPG products other people made that I like:
R. Talsorian's Cyberpunk. 

2 or 3 novels I like:
The Book the New Sun, Gene Wolfe. 
Neuromancer, Gibson. 

2 or 3 movies I like:
Ninja Scroll

Best place to find me on-line:

I will read almost anything on tabletop RPGs if it's:

I think dead orc babies are ( circle one: funny / problematic / ....well, ok, it's complicated because....)
Of the same consequence as cops and robbers in cops and robbers. 

Game I'm in are like 

Free RPG Content I made for DCC RPG is collected here.

You can buy RPG stuff I made about 
Call of Cthulhu 
D&D 1e /3e / 3.5 / 4e here

If you know anything about ancient cities it'd help me with a project I'm working on.

I talk about RPGs on G+ (social media site and/or RPG forum name) under the name Harley Stroh.


Harley Wins D&D

It gets lost in the hubbub ever since Gen Con moved to Indianapolis, but each year the folks of TSR get together in a bar in Lake Geneva to decide the year's "Game Wizard," aka the coveted "I Won D&D" award. The last few years I've been slighted (the 2012 award went to +Jon Marr for the video where his giggling daughter was crushed to death beneath the DCC corebook; the year before went to +Erik Jensen for when he DM'd the game where his son turned a town of ghosts into giraffes). 

But this year, I think I'm in the running. 

Submitted on my behalf by a fifth grader in one of my playtest groups: 

You should be able to click to enlarge. Here's the translation from the caption:

"The sad moment when you realize you wasted all your ammunition on the first monster."

So what might the judges infer about my game?  
-D&D is largely interchangeable with DCC. 
-Ammunition is finite. When you get a chance, flaming ammo is better. 
-It looks like orcs have roughly 12 hp.  
-Orcs have weak swords. 
-It's okay to kill PCs with hordes of enemies.

I may accomplish nothing else of note, but I helped a 5th grader get excited about D&D. I win. 


'cause gamers are awesome

I attended GenghisCon this weekend as a special guest of the Denver Gamers Association. The event doubled as the kickoff to the Goodman Games convention season, aka the 2013 World Tour. Huge shout out to +Justin Suzuki , +Andy Collier and the rest of the DGA crew for throwing a seriously awesome event. 

I ran three DCC games (playtests for future releases) Saturday and Sunday. Players got clever, I flipped them off (this is turning into a "thing") and intelligent play trumped devious design nearly every time. But that's par for the course; it wasn't until Sunday game that things got memorable.

Sunday morning games are usually your drop slot – when it is a 3-in-6 chance that no one shows and you get to go back to bed. But this morning's DCC gamers proved more determined than most and we sat 7 at a game intended for 6.

And guided by the light of Brother Leo and the twisted machinations of Manse the Black, the PCs dominated some DCC: 

Wendy kicking ass. She's playing a bar bar bar bar bear eee ann 

Child-demon-witches were slain; a universe egg was accidentally cracked opened; Mary the Barbarian killed the party's own wizard (later resurrected as a nascent god); a wicked army was routed by an incredibly determined barbarian, her lover and a thief; and the world's largest thaumaturgic circle succeeded in suckering away the PCs long enough for the bad guys to kidnap the slain-wizard-turned-godling. 

BUT, just as victory was in the PCs' grasp, fate's fell hand played its trump card: the gaming convention fire alarm ...

Fire trucks showed up, guys with hoses ushered us out. Game over. 

But this is where the smaller local con got to shine. Had we been at GenCon, it would have been lights out, thank you for your $5, please go to the next hotel. But not GenghisCon. No effing way. Instead we all grab our PCs, a fistful of dice and a battlemap and finish the game here:

Wendy's PC has now become a pillar of flame. She died.

... on the frickin' lawn cause gamers are just that awesome. Game on. 

+Doug Keester 's wizard, turned nascent god / blank moral slate takes the opportunity to indulge in the philosophy of "do what thou wilt", and decides that that is the whole of the law.  The Wizard transformes Mary the Barbarian into a screaming pillar of fire, deep freezes Merrick the Gambler, scorches someone else (Brother Leo, maybe?) and was well on his way to becoming Master of the Universe, until he was tackled off the top of the ziggurat by Bob the Unknown Warrior, landing at the bottom with ONE HIT POINT, only to be felled by a well-placed dart, hurled by Brother Leo. 

Cause yeah, we do this shit in our heads. And because gamers are awesome.

#DCCRPG #Genghiscon #DGA


First, let 'em Die

Repost, cause I'm an idiot:

This weekend I ran a DCC RPG game for two fourth graders and one dad. As mentioned on G+, my original thought was to not kill any of the PCs. Instead, at 0 HP they'd fall unconscious. Later, they'd be recovered by their comrades, and continue on.

After all, I wanted them to have "fun" right? I'm trying to create life-long gamers, here. 

Well meaning, but very, VERY ass-backwards. 

Fortunately the players' actions forced my hand:

  • Beset by a veritable tide of bristling black spiders, Zero the Dwarf leaped into their midst. The tide washed over him, the rest of the PCs bolted, and Zero was never seen again. 
  • Parlaying with brigands atop a cliff, Zero Mk II decided to break off negotiations with a magic missile cast at melee range. Zero lost initiative and the brigands charged, pitching Zero to his rocky doom some 50' below.
  • Deep beneath the brigand's ruined tower, Jazee the Slave opted to take a stand against a horde of oncoming brigands, with predictable results. 
Each time, the group took a five minute break and had a slice of pizza while I helped the player roll up a new character. (By the end of the session, he could do it solo.) 

The same player lost three characters during our session. Not once did his interest flag. The deaths weren't arbitrary or due to DM fiat – the player made his own decisions and they went poorly. As a result, he grew more focused and (slowly) more cautious with each new PC.

But what if, per my original plan, he had only blacked out, to be revived by his companions at the end of the scene? 

What a boring, trivial game – utterly devoid of player agency, consequence, or reward – that would have been. 

Instead, death was the great motivator. Remove death and what would we have had? Why even act at all? The results would all be the same. 

So, yeah. Thank you Zero, Zero Mk II, Jazee, and finally, Golgoth*. Lesson learned.

Want to convert kids into lifelong gamers? Kill them (rather, let them die) early and often. 


(*Even his names got better.) 


Rev. Dwayne Love

This weekend I'm leading a ceremony celebrating the union of two human lives. 

I'd be lying if I said I wasn't scared.

'course everything we've done up to this point has prepared us for this next moment. 

And there will be sweet pretty country acid house music all night long. 


... more thoughts when I get my shit together. 



I'd have to say it was a good day –

Today's schedule:

  • 6:30 Wake up, take Rusty "Demon Dog of Hirot" Jones out for coffee and a walk.
  •  9:00 Hit the skate park before the dark plague of unsupervised children on razor scooters show up. (Parents: Do yourself a favor and teach your children where it is okay to chill at a skatepark. Otherwise, two of us are coming home hurt.)
  • 11:00 Home for breakfast. 
  • Noon - 5pm. Work on development rewrites for the adventure with the giant brain.
  • 5:00 Take Rusty for another walk. 
  • 7:00 Walk downtown and take Ms. Handy out for my birthday dinner. 
All said, not too shabby. In fairness, minus dinner out, most Sundays will look like this. Some people might be bored with the routine, but for myself there is a great deal of contentment that comes when your plans for a "special" day matches up cleanly with what you do on average days.

Figure out what you want to do. Try your best to do it. 

So, my plan for tomorrow? 
  • 6:30 Wake up, take Rusty "Demon Dog of Hirot" Jones out for coffee and a walk.
  •  9:00 Hit the skate park before .......
And I didn't even have to use the AK, 


Secret to a good life: Knowing when you're through.

Guess all my friends are doomed to live hard lives. 

I need to listen to more ska-punk prior to skating. I ride my bike over to the park, so if I can find a small boom box to strap to the handbars I could really get this thing amped. 

(Fort the record, the best boom box skating I've ever done was to C&C music factory, courtesy of Rotwag.)

The latest project is vert skating this monster:

Mostly I stick to the street and the channel on the left. My vert skills are finally starting to emerge. I'm working on popping out of 8' bowl, and ever so slowly working my way up to the coping. I'll post video at some point.

There was a contest at the park this AM, so my usual morning skate was cut a little short. But, the upside was that the presence of other skaters gets me to throw down. I hate physical competition, but tend to excel when it is presented to me. I usually charge the bowl pretty hard, but this morning I was going at it.

Next Up: Heather and I are rolling out to Montana, via Wyoming, tomorrow. We'll be gone for two weeks, backpacking, camping and seeing the family. Don't die while I'm away, because I'd hate to miss it!



Obi, once he finishes his doctorate

I have hopes it will be something like that. 


I'm hoping Rotwag will weigh in, but there is a part of me these days that looks for "good" art to enliven (or humanize) shared spaces. Formal or informal, I'm asking art to elicit a positive response in the viewer / participant. 

(Off topic, it's pretty easy to elicit a negative emotional response. We're passed the days when pooping on a gallery threshold is satisfying in any meaningful way.)

Anyhow. Enlivening shared spaces. 

The Carbondale skatepark abuts a set of new tennis courts. Tattooed gutter punks and over-40, overweight citizens of Dog Town are separated from attractive tennis players in white shorts and skirts by a mere 12' chain link fence. No joke. On one side kids are shouting, "Fuck yeah!" and smacking their boards on the ramps when you land a trick. I'm not sure what tennis players shout to show their approval. 

The other weekend I broke two boards the same day, trying to land a nose slide down the mini-hubba. With broken decks to spare, I climbed to the top of the fence and wired my broken deck to the skatepark side of the fence. Like a concrete wall hit with graffiti, the inhuman, chainlink border was transformed into a canvas.

Hence my joy when I headed over to this park the other day for my morning skate only to find a second deck wired to the fence. Suddenly it was participatory. There was a viewer and they "got" it. 

Which is a long way to say I'm proud of wiring trash to a chain link fence, but there you have it. I have two more broken decks in the trunk and they are going up tomorrow. 


Halloween, check

Before the shave: 

In  retrospect, I should have been leaning back, not forward, and wearing a light colored shirt, so that the beard would stand out. 

But alas, to Heather's dismay, I've shaved. 



Oh hell yeah

The Maxies are coming to town. What? You haven't heard of them? Why then, here's their bio:

Americans...get preparation. THE MAXIES ARE HERE!!! We illegally relocated to your sunny South California to show how make best SUPER PUNK ROCK PARTY and the spread MAXIE MANIA!!! We are biggest band in GREENLAND and shitty North Western Europe. We bring CHAOTIC POWER POP PUNK ROCK to make dancing for one and all. We punch American punk rockers and American rude boys right in the cocksucker. GREENLAND punk rockers and rude boys much more dangerous. We lose many Maxies to immigration. But THE MAXIES are like disease transmitted sexual, we comeback in smuggled package smelling like fish. We hope to our loving to see many cute American girls and very sexy American boys at our SUPER PUNK ROCK PARTIES!!! This brings much warmth to our ice cold hearts. 
Always has the top 10 on Greenland radio and G-MTV. We have two songs in the top 40 in Finland, Denmark and Sweden. In GREENLAND, we SUPER PUNK ROCK PARTY with your bands that beg to join (Coldplay, Green Day, Slipknot, U2, Alkaline Trio, Muse, Kid Rock, 30 Seconds to Mars, Blink 182, Madonna, Nickleback, Sum 41, NIN, The Killers, Rammstein, The Who, etc.). These bands sucks next to us. In U.S. and A., we throw SUPER PUNK ROCK PARTIES with many queercore bands (Reel Big Fish, Narcoleptic Youth, Adolescents, Voodoo Glow Skulls, Adicts, Re-Volts, Knock-Out, D.I., The Exploited, The Dopamines, Super Nova, Sham 69, Angry Samoans, Agent Orange, Dead Kennedys, etc.). THE MAXIES are more famous then these. We are true kings of ROCK. More PUNK than ROCK. More ROCK than PUNK! If you don't like us, then your taste is only in your mouth! We will be in U.S. and A. until we are deported. We are soon to be in your top 10 radio. We will be bigger and better than your famous Black Flag, Bad Religion or shitty REM. Get ready for the best thing you have ever heard! WE RULE!!!!!


MCA, Rest in Peace

Or, "I mix business and pleasure, way too much"  

Kale and I lived a summer to this soundtrack. Built my first skate ramp, couch-surfed in the Springs, looked for lost Ren Faire girls, and spent a lot of time falling down on concrete.

If I was still living in a dorm down in the Fort we'd burn our top 10 Beastie tracks onto 50 CDs and skate town, dropping off music in random places to be discovered by random people. Maybe that still needs to be done. At the least, we should bleed for the love we've received.

So be it: Skating + Bleeding for MCA, coming soon to a pavement near you. Fortunately we are old and slow, so the blood will flow readily.