Monday, March 9, 2020

Return of the APA

The mid-20th Century saw a revolution in communications with a small circulation, a very personal form of expression called "the fanzine." The fan-generated magazine with between 20 and 1,000 copies. A second wave brought APA - Amateur Press Association where individuals produced their micro-zines (usually 4-16 pages), which they reproduced with Mimeograph, ditto, xerox, multi-lith, and/or photo-offset printing.

It occurred to me that we could do the same thing where someone produces their own document, exported it to PDF format, and send that to a central mailer, who either emailed or set up a download link the collection of everyone's personal PDF (say, from 4 to 10 pages) into an "issue." Make this APA stand for Amateur PDF Association.

People contributing zines get them at a ration of 2:3 - two actives personal zines for every three issues (so you could miss an issue when necessary). Non-contributors could "subscriber" for $10 a year and get the zines, just for the fun of it.

I'm in the middle of some long-
form idea molding notes for a
Pulp Era game setting. Think
pulp magazines, serials, comics.
The nebula of individual writers, artists, and editors who create and develop worlds for RPG seem a likely community to benefit from such a thing. My own work on Jorune is the kind of creation and development I'm talking about. PDF gives a lot of flexibility to include forms programming, links to media or downloads, and similar options. I have guidelines to protect your intellectual properties with copyright, Creative Commons, and public domain statements.

I'm thinking NEW WORLD BUILDERS NEWS, but also think the group mind could come up with a better, more appropriate title, descriptive of itself. Something that ends with an L, like APA-L.

I have an Issue #0 put together as an example of a basic personal zine. Send me a private email (not a group posting) and I'll share that with you.

It would be nice to have five or six people committed to a zine in April to see if we can get a group conversation going new ideas, products, games, or personal ruminations (love that cud). Two to ten pages, maybe? By April 15. You choose how complex your zine will be, content (within some handy guidelines), and appearance.

Just like the old APAs. but with modern folk.

Thursday, February 27, 2020

This was posted to my More Damn Joe Stuff blog, where is where I do most of my online pronouncements these days. Thiought it might find a reception crew here, too.

I've been having obsessive thoughts of late. The are about winding down my Jorune involvement within a very narrow range of final products.

But there is a possible defect in my brain that is part Boston Terrior that will not let go of a slipper it has bitten until the last tatter is gone.

These "final products" include the "Collected" anthologies, Gomo Guide: Tan Iricid, ORFA: Jorune, and Children of Bomoveris.

The "Collected" series, including the Cofllected Danstead Traveller (ready to go except for a cover), Collected Borkelby's Folly (about 80% there, but not even in layout yet), the Collected Sho Copra Joe (all of my work from the various zines), and I'm still trying to get permission to do the Collected Sholari James. Maybe when he sees how the other Collected antholgoies come out, he'll relent or, better, collaborate with me.

There there is the ORFA:Jorune conversion, which will include a Sholari's source book to move players to our shared world.

Children of Bomoveris, the campaign I ran for many years in the SF Bay Area, is the other big farewell -- going out with a bang.Gloriously, I hope.

But my Jorunish thoughts will not stop. And i have decided to channel them into ORFA: Jorune. ORFA itself will be an open-source system allowed four stats and a fifth game-specific "special effect." ORFA: Jorune has has the most development with Isho as a special effect. ORFA: Pulp is the channel that I've spent the most time developing and it will have several volumes - Heroes for Hard Times, The Hangchow Flight, Three Suitcases, The World Congress of Justice, and a fun thing involving a detective agency in Hollywood (1937 Hollywood) where all of the members of the agency "graduated" from a mail order detective school. Advertised in the back of pulp magazines. Just for fun.

One of the things I can finally get back to is the roster of NPCs for ORFA: Jorune, which will take on a very old project structure called "What the (blank) Knows. The blank might include a city, or  race, or a culture, or an occupation. What the Trarch Know, What the Tauther Know, What the Vologiri Know, What the Klade Members Know, etc. Things like that. Each one would have 2-4 pages of group knowledge, plus a couple of NPCs for that area in ORFA to illustrate game play for the different races, cultures, and occupations.

Joruni's will be sure to think that is awful. Particularly since the fully generated NPCs will be from the previous publications - All of the characters from the Slam Desti, Scars of Far Temauntro, and Somar cycle;

So I get to be involved in my Jorune addiciton without changing the last few restrictions on my involvement. Maybe 18 months to complete instead of the original six month projection.

The conversion for inflation between 1937 and 2020.
10c for a pulp in, converted.
For the pulp grouping they will be released as The 10-Cent Crew for different groupings and priced as to what the 10-cents of 1937 is worth now (about $1.78 the last time I looked). The price of a pulp in the day will get those who are interested in the characters from that era - now. The crews will include a good variety of nations, groups and associated individuals from my whole ORFA: Pulp scenarios. The Hollywood Crew, the Hangchow Crew, The Weapon X Crew, The Radio City Crew, etc. Dreadful.

I'm thinking of a few other ORFA styles - hard core science fiction, expanded Children of Lost Earth (with Jorune as Colony One - I know of two more lost colonies, so far), a calcolithic pre-bronze age setting from the Indus River Valley, and more. Each would have a free ORFA core book and the settings-du-jour. Nothing huge, no big campaign books, referrals out to other books (from other publishers who will probably not object to being the target of new sales), and my usual scads of free downloads for those so inclined.

My Patreon supporters will have free access to all of it, but"Civilians" will have access to the core rule books for free, but all the color and flavors they will hve to pay. Possibly through their noses.

All of this is just one of my six creative channels - fiction, non-fiction, RPG, 12-Step, media, and promotion.

And on the 7th day I rest.

Saturday, January 11, 2020

Earth-Tec Beaten into Submission

Apple goes for blood.
I have been a victim of Earth-tec rampantly out of control because of the greed of the lab Iscins of Apple tech, who have decided that convenience or functionality for the consumer is second to the lupine idea of management. Wolf management - piss on it so it smells like you and you like it better. Kind of like Julie Schwartz putting a yellow circle around the emblem on Batman's chest to mark his time on that landmark title. Peeing on things to make them yours. Driving others away, like Mac has driven me away.

After being a loyal Macintosh user since 1985, I have left the platform because - I only use a computer to do my work. Writing, pre-press layout, correspondence. I don't use it to show off to friends, to be fashionable, to ensure the corporate quarterly report.

My Mac became a major problem with the release of Mojave (10.14). The spinning beachball of death dominated my day. Hours - literally hours - on the phone with Apple tech support resulted in such magnificent comments as "It shouldn't be doing that," or "I've never seen that happen before." Followed by "You should buy a new Mac. That's the problem. The operating system is designed to work on the new hardware.

Then why do you force the upgrade to the new system on an old machine?

In the 1950s people became outraged at the idea of "planned obsolescence" in automobiles. Why make the same solid car that ran for 20 years? People should have to buy a new car every three years - and if they were buying a new car every three years, why make cars that will last for four years? It carried over into household appliances and began to lower the quality of American made products across the board. We began to depend on overseas for our products - Japan (now other countries) for cheap crap that would die in a couple of years, Europe for high-priced, longer-lasting products (I'm thinking specifically of German electronics for audio products).

America's industrial capability declined, the world looked elsewhere and we whined because it was somehow our right to retain the customers we were no longer serving.

With the rise of the microcomputer industries - they went from the size of a building to smaller than the size of a wrist-watch. (We can make them even smaller, but then they are too easy to lose, and they are already easy to lose.)

I got involved with home computers with the Radio Shack TRS 80 Model 1, followed by two CPM computers I really liked - Kaypro // and Kaypro 10 (with a 10-megabyte internal hard disk - who would ever fill up ten whole megs!). I went to a demonstration for the IBM Spellbinder system and was looking at getting the buggy version of PageMaker when circumstances caused me to borrow a friend's little 512KE Macintosh (the Fat Mac) to get some documents ready for a conference (with very short notice). My Kaypro had died and I needed to get things done NOW!

It took him 10 minutes to teach me how to use the Mac, and maybe 5 minutes to show me how to use the page layout program (Ready, Set, Go! version 1). And then I spent two hours getting all of my emergency documents ready to go to the photocopier. I immediately made an arrangement to rent some time on his machine while I made a deal to get my first Mac. A guy had been after me to write a screenplay for a dubious project, so I told him "Buy me a Mac and I do the first draft of your script and one additional draft for changes.) He was getting a sweetheart deal, I got my hands on a Mac of my own - Summer of 1985.

I've been on Macs ever since. When I moved to Berkeley (1989) I stumbled into the BMUG and got more life-changing connections with some of the most incredible people I've known in my life. Apple had a few people who got NDA's (Non-Disclosure Agreements) to preview hardware and software for beta testing and regular presentations by members to present cool things they were working. My first exposure to MP3 music files was in a BMUG presentation, my first ride in an electric sedan was in a BMUG presentation. My first exposure to the Internet was through Ben Adoba, pushing a new browser called Netscape, intended to replace the text-based computer navigator called Lynx (Ideal for an old CPM user). I did a Rosetta Stone review for the newsletter, and other articles - and the newsletter was some little 16 or 24 page set of notes. They were 200-page VOLUMES of cool information on Macs, Software, Hardware, and computer-related topics. I did some substitute teaching for BMUG instructors who couldn't make a session - my favorite was the introduction to computers for computer-phobes.

Mac Mac Mac. The job I miss the most was with GBN ( where I go to work as support for globe-trotting political scenario planners and such forward thinkers as Peter Schwartz, Peter Gabriel, Stewart Brand, Newt Gingrich, and projects like The Long Now. I was the Macintosh network support guy, plus audio-visual geek in residence for a weekly live presentation (which introduced me to my historian idol - J. S. Holliday).

Macs shaped and supported my life. I got iBooks, starting with Model 100 (130 was a good portable computer), and had the Luggable. I've had Mac II, Mac SE, SE30, 540, 630, Pismo, iMac (I still have one), iBook, MacBook, MacBook Pro (still have one), and MacMini.

Until System 10.14, Mojave and my love for Mac ended with System 10.15, Catalina.

After decades of reliability, flexibility, and functionality, my Mac began getting lost in registrations and authorization. The spinning beach ball of death was taking from 15 to 45-sections to respond to a single keystroke or mouse-click when starting working from a window. Freezing. Rebooting unexpectedly and losing my documents. Backups backed up the defects. The restoring system didn't work. Erasing the disk and installed fresh didn't work. Adobe and Apple constantly pissed on each other to see who was more important (lupine management) and I couldn't get my work done. I lost my work constantly.

That's where frustration drove me to end the Jorune commitment to SEGMENT: SHO-CAUDAL after issue 13. The remainings can actually get done on my new system, but I am so far behind on everything I can't commit to when those will appear.

And I love what happened with SSC. A bit of CPR for a dying love. But I have to move on.

From Jorune. From Mac. Thanks to a friend who has turned into a major cheerleader for me, I have a fresh box - an old HP  box in which a new 4-Core processor has been installed, a 400Gig SSD, 6 USB 3 ports and four USB 2 ports. Bluetooth and wireless. Three open PCIe slots for upgrades to come, and Ubuntu Studio 19.10, with all the programs that operating system includes. For free.

I'm writing on it now.

The keyboard is crappy, so I need to replace that. I am losing time while I learn how to tame the new monster through the command line. I'm setting up a working system and the speed is fabulous. I tell it to do something, it does it. Fast. The 4-Core and SSD are a dream.

And, as you can tell, even with the crappy keyboard I can write again.

I'm getting a few things done. Satisfying. My box is obedient and does not prevent me getting work done. I might be able to meet deadlines after I've reached the happy side of the learning curve.

My own Return o Jorune
So - after being almost silent for six months, I hope people are encouraged with the chance of me finishing some Jorune projects in the next few months - THE COLLECTED DANSTEAD TRAVELLER, THE COLLECTED BORKELBY'S FOLLY, GOMO GUIDE: TAN IRICID, and THE CHILDREN OF BOMOVERIS. ORFA is back on track, but I will have to do a dual boot Windows 10 to access the Adobe CC suite to use the programming features of Acrobat for the ORFA character sheet (and to get the dozens of fully generated NPCs together for the ORFA Jorune package. But that is forthcoming.

In my ongoing juggle, I am also back at work on LIGHT, the most political of my science fiction stories. There are other books in the offing - non-fiction for Propaganda (protection against), making your first kitchen homey, and how to GTFU. And I have fresh editions of my other books - RECOVERY READER, CLIMBING THE SPIRAL MOUNTAIN, SONG OF ORPHANS, THE TASTE OF FIRE, and others... all progressing.

Yay, Ubuntu!

It may not be at the speed I hoped to attain, but the progress, however glacial, is still progress.

Friday, January 3, 2020

After almost two years of problems with Apple - both Mojave (10.14) and Catalina (10.15) - I have migrated to Linux to get things done. It means I will have to spend time learning how to learn the new software after 35 years using Mac. I'm and old dog and learning new tricks takes some time.

But that is primarily with them document layout with Scribus. The shift from Pages to LibreOffice is not all that dynamic. From Photoshop to Kritta may take a bit. But I'm doing all that now.

I'm on Ubuntu Studio 19.10, which should last for a minute.

And I can get back into Jorune and my other projects.

2020 should be a good year.

Thursday, December 12, 2019

Another Tongue Heard From

A Spanish Joruni contacted me to share his Jorune page. I keep my Chrome browser on Translate and, while rough, it is nice to hear another view of Jorune - and his passion for the 2nd Edition, which is the high water mark for the world we once shared.

I'm coming back up - several months try to keep a leg (I did), fall at home (bleh), and car accident (nobody hurt, except pride and future, since I don't drive now). Back on the NPC project for ORFA. I may send out ORFA: Jorune, real final, without the NPCs, but they could come later. A couple dozen pre-gens.

Sunday, December 1, 2019

New Jorune Channel

I got a notice for a Jorune group on

Anybody know anything about it?

So far they seem to know their way around Second Edition Boxed Set, but little of what has happened with Jorune since then, including Third Edition.

I try to educate where I can, but it would be better to get the similarly afflicted to tell them about Jorune in reality. So to speak.

Tuesday, November 26, 2019

Checking In

I haven't forgotten anybody. Just distracted by reality.

Three of the last four months were spent dealing with fighting off an amputation. Two weeks ago I had a fall and damaged my feet. One the way to a follow-up doctor's appointments for the foot wounds last Friday, I had a car accident. Spasm in my leg sent my foot down on the gas and backed over a sidewalk, through some bushes, over a retaining wall and down into a tree.

I cannot fly.

So - I keep trudging.

I'd move to Ponteer if I could.

Wednesday, October 16, 2019

Life on Planet Joe

The weekly breakdown that
gives Planet Joe focus.
Reduced stress is a good thing. I'm working on the Patreon project for long term support to do things I will give away on the web, with a couple of exceptions. But it requires time and effort.

For Jorune, the polish is going onto ORFA and a programmed character sheet for creating some nice pages for gameplay. And fully generated NPCs, including the characters that appeared in Sholari v1n3 - Slam Desti, and v2n1 - Scars of Far Temauntro and The Somar. I have about 30 of these, including player characters from old games. It makes for a good variety of races and occupations. It will make a nice bundle.

I'm trying to put together a MySQL database for the Lexicon projects - it will be about 3,000 words including the content from all three editions of Skyrealms of Jorune, plus Sholari James, plus Sholari, plus Borkelby's Folly, plus the White Wolf articles, plus the original Skyrealms Inc. essays, plus Annals of the Tan Soor Historical Society, plus the Gomo Guides (Thoneport and Tan Iricid), plus Segment: Sho-Caudal... and if we can get a full copy of Sarceen's Knowledge (or someone who does the input from their copy), we can include that, too.

Those two should fulfill my hope to go out with a splash. At least out of 2019. I'm hoping for four releases in the next four months. Not too bad.

I think I'll use some of the next Day Joe (Monday to you blokes) to work on the art for Danstead Traveller. That's all it needs to get done, but artists just artn't coming through.

Saturdays are Day RPG, so I'll worry about more Jorune then.

Wednesday, September 18, 2019

Memories of Jorune Past

I don't know. Found it on the web. Cerberus? Hypno-dog?
I have no pressure on me to produce the newest material, so Jorune is relaxing back to the point where I can get nostalgic about the games we had. It occurs to me that other people might have similar memories to share.

One of my favorite scenes came with a player who ran with my games for many years in California.

The character was a Woffen who got things wrong - a lot. Extreme die rolls.

Hot Air Balloon Fail

This is the Woffen who was amazed at a Thriddle balloon that cold fly with no Ebba Isho. As told in an issue of Segment: Sho-Caudal, the balloon flew because it was a big bag filled with hot air from a little brazier with fire to feed hot air into the skyrealm shaped silk bag.

He had dice that tried to kill him, but was loyal to his dice and wouldn't use any other.

He did a critical failure on his Learn ... so we decided he got it so wrong that he believed that the reason the balloon could fly was that they set it on fire. Several times in later games he set things of fire to get them to fly.

The Power Hold Sword Fight Fail

This same character had Power Hold as his allowed dysha through every iteration of the system that would eventually bear the name "ORFA." He was in a running fight while on a thombo with another character riding a thombo. Terrible roll - fell off his thombo. His opponent turned and charged to swipe down at him.

Our Hero and a buddy who watched it all.
Our hero threw excellent advantage roll - 2 actions. He chose to do one now and hold one for after his opponent could swipe down at him with his sword. (Good move.) He was already in his dodge, which gave his opponent a penalty on connecting with a downswing. The second move was to throw his Power Hold. Excellent roll and grabbed his opponent, pinning his arms to his side... and his thombo ran on. His opponent was suspended four feet above the ground, arms pinned to his side.

This time our hero decided to give a little speech on his revenge on this helpless foe, and went into a backswing to deliver pure justice to this bad guy.

And rolled the worst he could roll. Tragic 20. 20 on a 20. The only way we could see that as happening is he went into his backswing and lost his grip on the sword.

We used a mechanic to give the Player some control - he permanently spent one of these points. The last one he had (thanks to previous tragedies). He used that last Oracle die to go back and say that 20-roll never happened. We re-narrated it to he just lost his balance on the uneven footing, so he still had his sword. So he re-prepared to strike the "blow of justice" at his foe, gave his speech ...

And rolled a 20 again! We agreed it was a duplicate of the previous scene.

The whole team was rolling with his bad rolls. No one believed he could role that badly that many time (there were episodes prior to the balloon and the power hold disaster). Players were offering him replacement dice. Begging him not to roll it again.

We were all having a grand time, including the guy with the cursed dice.

He picked his own doom and decided the double failure dictated he broke his weapon. I have to say he was very ethical in his fairness in balancing gameplay and bad die rolls, etc.

George Barr's version of dharmey.
The tails make great steaks. Yum.
Since we are dealing with non-metal weapons (Jorune is a low metal world), that made sense. So he was unable to succeed in the original swordfight on thombo-back, unable to strike an opponent being held in mid-air by a super success with Power Hold (four feet off the ground), spend his last Oracle point to buy away the failure, and failed with the same roll again... and broke his weapon

The Death Scene

Another time a Player was going to have to leave the game and we were just into the East Trinnu Jungles at a village where the Dharmey were mutating to get really big (we think it was because of all the ancient curses - the yellow circles with black triangles on them) and our heroes where hunting them down to exterminate as pests.

In a big confrontation fighting the monster mama dharmey protecting her eggs, one of the players wound up horribly wounded (I think a leg was torn off) and with a savage war cry, dove into the monster's mouth to stab at her from the inside, and her jaws were almost biting him in half. Quite a memorable scene, which is what the player wanted.

An Invitation

We had fun. Sometimes we had some solid action, but we had fun. I'm going to ask some of my players to post their own memories.


I'll post some more favorite moments. Do you have a memory from Jorune that still makes you think gaming was the second-best fun you had? (I hope it was second-best.)

Tuesday, September 10, 2019

ORFA Tweak and Danstead

A Jorune in France helped with some good edits on the ORFA Jorune, and while going through to do edits I discovered a complete SNAFU.

Sigh. All of the derived skills or the Social Characteristic vanished. Poof. Regular and Isho-related. It was there once upon a time, but - a puff of smoke.

No one mentioned it, so it would lead me to believe people either have not read it or think I meant to send it out that way.

But... better to find it than not find it.

And the cover for Danstead will be a rework from Teves art to include the lothern Kym said she wanted on the cover. And a bit more.

Progress, but definitely not perfection. Is it ever.

Tuesday, August 13, 2019

It Keeps Growing

Working on SEGMENT: SHO-CAUDAL #13 the intent is to wrap things up. There are a couple of other projects to be completed, but they are all stand-alone.

An unpublished Jorune, where Miles plays homage
to underground cartoonist virtuoso, Richard Coben.
This is a collection of notes and detail from my notes over the past quarter-century and - there is a lot! But I'm over 50 pages for this toodle—ooh, bye, y'all. Some pages at the moment and at least a dozen more pages, probably twenty.

The most expanded glossary is the one taking up most of the energy. But I hope it proves useful for some sholari yet unknown.

One person responded with notes for ORFA: JORUNE. Not from the US, of course, but someone. I'll be doing corrections and considering his suggestion to rephrase.

The fat lady is in the back, Lacing up her corset and getting her warm-up exercises out of the way. I just wonder who will be in the theater to hear her performance.

Wednesday, July 31, 2019

Trudging to Kithaq

Experimental animation based on George Barr's art.
Even while fighting with a new opening on the leg and fighting to keep it, Jorune figures into my energies. Every time I turn around there is another piece I want to add to SEGMENT: SHO-CAUDAL #13.

But I've found a way to fold in these last references into an exiting project and closing the books on SSC. The things I have wanted to do is an expanded, if not full, a glossary for the determined Sholari. That would be the words, in various languages. But the full glossary would include the language from which the word is taken and suggested pronunciation. Locations in said glossary would be entered in ALL CAPS to make them stand out from the simple sounds.

At this point, there are approximately 3,000 words in the lexicon, without all of the casual mentions of districts, streets, business names, and other details with which writers have peppered the lore over the past 27 years - since the publication of the Third Edition.

I am currently going through the Fanzines since that is the only lore there is. It is clearly unofficial because after fighting for almost three decades, I have accepted that there will never be a fourth, official, corrected edition. It is like watching a parent strangle their child, but... not up to me.

I have taken the most recently expanded glossary and started the slow trudge through the Fanzines. So far I have included all four issues of Sholari, Annals of the Tan Soor Historical Society, and have started into Danstead traveler (I have all four issues in one document, but Kym has put surprisingly few new words into her travelogues, other than possible NPC names). After that will come to Borkelby's Folly, and the whole of Segment: Sho-caudal. I am debating going through Sholari James' work, but he pulled his work from my attempt to combine them into a "Collected" edition, as did the editors for Danstead and Borkelby. I don't have a full copy of Sarceen's Knowledge to go through.

Second and Third Edition Jorune,. I don' tknow from who.
Obviously, that project creates a lot of work ... all the meat and no potatoes. So I will fold this last work for a full lexicon into a commercial version of ORFA: JORUNE. Not that I expect a stampede for such a product through I will also make a free version of ORFA available for gamemasters to use in whatever setting they find appropriate. And my notes for a pulp setting, my main Earth-based fascination, will also be released through the same channel.

On the side, I am programming a PDF to allow me to generate ORFA: JORUNE characters and export them to graphic sheets so that with the DriveThruRPG release there will be a collection of races and occupations, mixed up to create some interesting characters as starting points for whatever new sessions fresh sholari can put together.

I will finish the Jornne introduction video that will take the ALIEN LOGIC introduction as a jumping-off point to introduce more of the world to a new population.

When I step away from Jorune, I really want to leave behind something that next poor fool who gets the addiction will be able to pick up and run with to whatever goal he/she can envision.

Things seldom wind up the way they began.


Google has been juggling it's coding and today I discovered that two posts I thought had been made to the Jorune blog were, indeed, made to other blogs I maintain. No one there mentioned it and I don't think there ws enough to worry about transferring everything. I'll have to watch my loggings in the future.

Tuesday, July 16, 2019

The Magilla of Jorune

The PDF for ORFA: JORUNE has been sent out to SEGMENT SHO-CAUDAL subscribers. 44 pages, of which about 35 are Jorune specific - only 10 pages of system and character generation. That's all that is needed.

This was played in California, Colorado, North Carolina, and at several conventions around the country. It is intended to allow newcomers to Jorune and/or role-playing to get into the world and play. Experienced players can get a game going, and there are races that can be chosen. And get a game going.

I think getting a game going is - key.

I will be posting fully generated NPCs to view the system and see how you might like a new game. 

It can be found on by searching "SOJ RPG" and the whole batch of free files will pop up. About 800 pages. 

(Or if you ask me nicely in a private message, or - not as a response here.)

That is all.