• Random Movie Quote

    Joe Gillis: Audiences don’t know somebody sits down and writes a picture; they think the actors make it up as they go along.

    — Sunset Blvd. (1950)

The Last Dream Palace

Madison Theater Peoria IL

One thing that I can thank my mother for, besides giving birth to and raising me, was introducing me to the Dream Palaces of Peoria. TV was our main form of entertainment in the Sears household, but every once in a while, Mom would take us kids to downtown Peoria and treat us to a movie.

Our movie trips took place during the 1960s and 70s. During this time, the old movie theaters, the Rialto, the Palace, and the Madison were still actively in use. Higher up on the bluffs, there were also the Varsity and the Beverly. They were all mere shadows of what they once were, but I used to delight in the remaining workmanship that went into their interiors. The concession stand would be a tiny plastic thing compared to the huge lobby. While we would wait for the movie to begin, I would stare up at the high ceiling and lose myself in its detailed designs.

During the 80s, those Dream Palaces came down to make way for new buildings. The Rialto came down first. The last movie shown in it was The Jerk starring Steve Martin. The Palace joined the Rialto soon after. The Varsity and Beverly came down after struggling for a few years. At one point, the Varsity had been split in two, with the balcony turned into a separate theater. The large theaters were only useful when there was a huge blockbuster movie. Otherwise, people were happy to visit the smaller metroplex theaters.

The Madison stayed up, however. They added it to the National Register for Historic Places on November 1, 1980. It went unused until 1996, when Jay Goldberg Events & Entertainment reworked it into a venue for live concerts. The theater closed in 2003, and this last surviving Dream Palace lays waiting to be used once more.

Cinema Treasures

Madison Theatre on Facebook

Landmarks.org

Peoria Journal Star

A Real Dream Palace – Brooklyn’s King Theater

After nearly 40 years of neglect, Brooklyn’s King Theater reopens. Watch the video to see a jewel restored to its former glory.

Universalis

Universalis ColumnThe next alternative roleplaying system is up on the Feylands website! Check out what I have to say about Universalis from Ramshead Publishing!

Also new on Feylands are updates to the Luna System’s Character Creation. Completion is still am ways away, but definitely getting closer to completion to an alpha version of the game.

WaRP

WaRPOne of the things I’ve wanted to do with the Feylands project is to open it up to roleplaying systems other than Luna. So, I have selected a system that I would highly recommend because it follows my own game design philosophy. The first recommended alternate system is.. . (insert drum roll).. WaRP, by Atlas Games!

I fell in love with WaRP back in 1992 when Atlas had released it as Over the Edge. Character generation was clean and simple, and the setting was weird enough to get my attention. WaRP has been a major inspiration for the Luna System. You can download the WaRP SRD for free from Atlas Games’ website.

Dream Palace Playtesting

DP LogoI have created the new Dream Palace Playtesting Group on Facebook. It is an open group and if you wish to participate in the testing of this tabletop game, please feel free to join.

Kung Fury

It’s the 80’s all over again, but this time with a heaping bowl of cheese. Mmmm… cheese.

When I saw this trailer, it was so over the top that it had to be a joke. Then I found out it’s a real thing and the 30 minute movie will be available on YouTube for free by the end of March. So, support the Arts. If you can’s support the Arts, support things like this.., they can be much more fun!

The Clock Won

Dream PalaceFor those of you that were anticipating the world’s first taste of the Luna System, I have some bad news. I won’t be able to make the March 14th deadline. Since I made the announcement, I came down with gout one weekend and I’ve been suffering from some kind of lung crud for the last few days. The antibiotics and prednisone are taking care of it, but my urge to design was overwritten by searing pain and the need to breathe. By my estimate, there is no way at this point that I can have the session come together in a way that the players will enjoy.

I am a great believer in snatching victory from the jaws of defeat, however. Instead of an Alpha Playtest of Luna System, I will instead be conducting a Beta Playtest of Dream Palace. The files for the session I had originally planned back in December are almost finished and I believe I have figured out a solution to something about the game that’s been bugging me for a while now.

So, those of you that would like to meet me in Peoria at Just for Fun for a session or maybe two of Dream Palace, consider yourself invited! I haven’t established a time that I will be there, though. Please check back later for additional information.

 

Racing the Clock

Swirly ClockMarch 14, 2015

I have a deadline. Simultaneously the most dreadful and wonderful thing for me, Mike at Just for Fun Games informed me there would be an RPG day at his shop.n I decided that I wanted to run one of the adventures I am developing for my London by Moonlight setting for the Luna System.

London by Moonlight is something that I’ve been holding close to my chest before now. The elevator description is “Supernatural Secret Agents with a British TV Twist.”

The players get to portray agents of a mysterious international organization called Round Table that investigates and neutralizes supernatural threats to humanity. They want all this done out of the public eye so as to prevent a panic.

The part about the British TV may require a little explanation about what I mean. I thoroughly enjoy the BBC when I can get it. Because they don’t normally have a big budget, they rely heavily on the writing of their shows, and they aren’t afraid to include elements that American TV may consider “too cerebral.” London by Moonlight should feel like a smart British TV show… with a big budget.

So, now I am racing the clock to complete an Alpha version of the Luna System and write the first episode/adventure for London by Moonlight. You can track my progress at LondonByMoonlight.com.

Diceless???

lunaMy Crazy Brain is trying to make me die a pauper. First, it led me to try a Fudge dice mechanic for Luna. Then it brought up a mechanic based on Yahtzee. I bought a slew of dice in anticipation of using these new systems, worked out some of the problems that popped up. . . and now it wants me to design Luna so that it doesn’t use dice.

DICELESS!!! For Heaven’s Sake!

So, the challenge is to build a mechanic that doesn’t make use of a randomizer, but will still be fun to play. For those of you not in the know when it comes to game design, there is a general prejudice against non-random games. This has mostly to do with the expectation that there won’t be any surprises. I can understand this. There is a thrill to gambling with the life of your character.

So how do I justify making use of diceless mechanics in Luna? The random element can also lead to a behavior called “turtling.” The player makes certain that their character only performs the safest moves and has as much protection as possible. Or they may put together some unbeatable attack that they use over and over. The risk the players say that they want is almost completely nullified by their actions in-game. This goes against the principle of Being Awesome that I want to encourage.

A non-randomized system would also be a step closer to “Games That Play Like Fiction.” How hard the player works for something should be the determining factor on whether they succeed or fail.

Well, back to work on this. I will keep you informed with further updates. Be sure to leave comments!