Whenever I start working on a new project, be it a redesign of the Hex web page or a new game book, I start with a spiral notebook. When the big box stores have their back to school sales every year, I buy a big stack of them for 17 cents or so each. While a lot of people may prefer computers for this sort of thing, I prefer the spiral notebook because it’s easy to use and extremely portable. I keep one in my car at all times, plus one in my gaming bag and one beside the bed (for those ideas that hit me as I’m drifting off to sleep).
As the inhabitants of Hazzard County (where everything from property disputes to custody battles can be settled with a car race) know, it’s often handy to have an experienced driver on your side. The wheelman is the guy you want in the driver’s seat when you’re making a fast getaway from your latest bank job, chasing a hundred-foot-tall atomic monster through downtown Baltimore, or trying to outrun every cop in the greater Chicago area. While the term “wheelman” is often associated with criminal types, there are a handful of legitimate occupations available to people with lead feet and a blatant disregard for traffic laws.
When most people hear the phrase “mad scientist,” they think of villains like Frankenstein, Lex Luthor, and other depraved madmen who want to show them, SHOW THEM ALL! While it is true that most mad scientists are in fact dangerously maladjusted sociopaths, it must be remembered that “mad” can mean “eccentric and unorthodox” as well “batshit crazy.” While this kinder, gentler version of the mad scientist is not quite as common as his evil counterpart, he is a popular archetype in certain types of fiction.
This year’s GenCon, which most Death Cookie readers know is the world’s biggest (non-computer) gaming convention, was held August 13-17 in downtown Indianapolis. As you’d probably expect, a few members of the Hex staff made our way to the land of Johnny Cougar for a few days of game demos and shameless self-promotion. In addition to Hex staffers Ian Engle, Leighton Connor, and myself, we were once again joined by last year’s Knome of the Year (and author of the upcoming Sex, Lies, and Ultraspies supplement) Robert “Ruckusmanager” McCabe.
I ran this session of Fort High: Monkey Trouble at Origins in 2007. If I’m not mistaken, it was the first successful playtest of the Weird Times at Charles Fort High setting. While I have tried to be as faithful to the actual game we played as possible, a number of details have been left out to keep the actual play report from reaching novel length and a few minor details have been changed for dramatic purposes (or because of faulty memory on my part). Many thanks to the players and my co-GM, Leighton Connor for making the game a resounding success. Thanks also to Roderick Thorp, John McTiernan, and Bruce Willis. While I'm far from the first to steal the Nothing Lasts Forever/Die Hard concept, at least I'm willing to admit it.