Tuesday, January 30, 2018

Our Gamma World GM is Blogging Wrong (or so I read)

I'm not sure how many of you follow Black Ray Gun aka postapocalypticflimflam.tumblr.com. It's the blog of andi jones, former SJG illustrator (if you see a picture signed with a fish, it's his) and our Gamma World GM. He pretty much finds images from all over the web, especially other Tumblrs, and re-posts them as a way of collecting them into a visual archive of his Gamma World game.

But recently he posted up an "Ask" someone did criticizing his blog. Well, not his blog's images, but his blogging and commenting and contextualizing of the images as part of his Gamma World game.

First off, he just had a very funny gif of Rocket Raccoon as a response.

But it's a larger issue.

The idea of basically "blogging wrong" is a really strange one. It's a non-commercial blog with the stated purpose of pulling together images and contextualizing them into a single, oddball (yet self-consistently oddball) game world. It's andi's blog, much like how Dungeon Fantastic is my blog about gaming. What he puts there is up to him, and it's his wordview and his spin on those image. Further, Tumblr specifically encourages that, and makes it part of the basic use of the platform. He really can't "blog wrong" because you're just seeing what he wants to post. If it's not for you, it's not for you - the only person who needs to be really satisfied with the blog is andi. If it pleases lots of other people, great. But it's essentially impossible for him to do it wrong if it's doing it for his own purposes and accomplishing them.

I check this tumblr all of the time. I keep waiting for images of things we'll encounter or have encountered. I get an idea of what's in our GMs head when he says "Gamma World" that might be different from mine when I hear "Gamma World." It's a blog done exactly right. It's laser-focused on a topic and a purpose and serves them well.

So I wanted take some time to highlight that and link to his blog. Not everyone likes the commentary - but it's essential to what Black Ray Gun is, and what it's for. I just hope this post attracts some more people to his blog and sees into the world we're exploring a handful of Sundays a year.


  1. Tumblr makes Twitter look like a friendly, welcoming space.
    I love andi's blog.

  2. The people whinging about his blog aren't even the worst elements of Tumblr. His blog is fine, he always attributes art to the proper artists, even as he said, 'going above and beyond' to hunt down who made the art.

  3. Coming soon my rant on why you GM wrong :)

    Actually I routinely discuss your games with one of my players. He thinks you (and I) are too nasty to PCs.

    1. That may be totally true, but I had nine players at my last session, so I'm pretty content with how my game is going. :)

    2. It ain't that you're nasty to the Players... it's that you're "too Switzerland" (Peter, I have no idea how Unachimba runs his game).

      You don't weight things in the PC's favor, you don't fudge to save them, you don't 'just let them have a win' every so often. You made the dungeon and left it to them to deal with it.

      Hard or easy, you aren't changing it either way (not exactly true. Threats left unchecked have grown, but once dealt with they also weren't immediately replaced with bigger threats. It's organic and unweighted in my opinion).

    3. Nasty to my players? Not usually. In fact, I really try to make my players happy. I'm just ruthlessly neutral, perhaps a little on the harsh side, towards their characters. My players are my friends, and I value their opinions and enjoyment highly. Their characters are just prized playing pieces in a deliberately "let's see what happens" game. They generally enjoy it, if the usual complaint of "we don't play often enough" is any gauge.

    4. The player/GM thinks you were too nasty killing PCs with the Baron (because their ring of wishes didnt work). He was surprised your players didnt walk out on you.

      Clearly that didnt happen.

    5. Really? The ring did work - it's why most of the dead are back among the living. It just didn't work like they expected it to - as a "Get out of here with everything we want, and no consequences" device. And there were perfectly sensible in-game reasons why it failed - it was a divinely-sealed prison, specifically meant to stop the Baron from just getting Wished out of there. If it wasn't that way, logic would tell you, his followers would have just Wished him out of it long ago. That he was still there was a subtle but real sign that you can't leave by Wishing to leave.

      There was some discussion of this behind the scenes, but eventually someone realized their limited but potent wish ring might let them get too-long-dead PCs a second chance at Resurrection.

      And honestly, I'm a stubborn person. If my players had walked out on me, I'd just have ended the campaign game and moved on. After all, they had the tools to recover from that TPK, and they eventually realized this and used them. Had they walked out with their characters possessing those tools, I'd have been disappointed but let everyone walk. Part of what I like about my game - me personally - is the integrity and risk factor. I'd rather not play Felltower than play Felltower where I have to bail out the characters when the players make a terrible mistake yet have the in-game power to undo it, if they'd only come up with how to do it.

      And I'd still have been friends with those guys, and played Gamma Terra with them, and all of that. It probably seems more harsh and unpleasant from the outside.

  4. "And honestly, I'm a stubborn person. If my players had walked out on me, I'd just have ended the campaign game and moved on"

    I pretty much agree with you.

    I sacrifice a considerable amount to run my game. I could just paint minis, play Gloomhaven and go to the beach. All things where no one gets angry and tells me I am doing it wrong.

    I aways say if you're not happy with the game don't tell me. Just don't come. Find the game you want to play.

    I think roleplaying in Sydney is in a less healthy place than where you are.

  5. "I aways say if you're not happy with the game don't tell me."

    Inversely I want my Players to say "Hey, I'm not happy about this". Sometimes I do err, maybe I didn't communicate something well, or maybe the P{layer misunderstood how something would work. With a bit of discussion, these things can be ironed out.

    Also I don't run OSR style games, so I like to know if the challenges feel too easy, too hard, or just right. Or what-have-you.

    1. Yeah... nah

      People seem happy to winge. I believe this is a Sydney specific thing.

      I run games for people that enjoy them. If you're not enjoying it then why are you here.


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