Sunday, November 29, 2009

Harold & Kumar Go To GenCon


On a Deadhead board recently, I read a post detailing what kind of erm, chemical help, the band was availing themselves of during the recording sessions for each album. Not sure how true it was, but it was funny as hell. Similarly, I've always wondered about rpgs...what kind of drugs were the designers doing when they wrote that stuff? Here are my tongue-in-cheek guesses:

OD&D - Coffee, beer & red wine, nicotine
1e AD&D - Sensimilla, coffee, nicotine, fruit wine
2e AD&D - coffee, nicotine, wine coolers
3e AD&D - Starbucks coffee, microbrews
4e AD&D - AA badges
OSRIC/LL/S&W - Viagra, coffee, nitroglycerin
Empire of the Petal Throne - Nepalese temple-balls, Persian H, mescaline, chai
Runequest - shrooms, sensimilla, herbal tea
WFRP 1e - blow, Lebanese black hash, Newcastle brown
CoC - pcp, nitrous, opium
Sorceror - Red Bull, paint stripper
RIFTS - roids, Gatorade
T&T - coffee, sensi, beer
Gamma World - acid, sensi, mescaline
d20 Gamma World - Xanax, diet pills
Traveller - coffee, truckstop speed, tequila
Vampire: The Masquerade - Xanax, ritalin
Talislanta - more of everything with a needle & a spoon
GURPS - valium, coffee
Forward to Adventure! - pipe tobacco, coffee
Exalted - fruit juice masquerading as a 'smart drug'

And feel free to add you own favorite hopped-up games to the list.

Friday, October 30, 2009

Knockspell #3

Knockspell magazine's latest issue is on the shelves and I'm happy to have the cover article this time. Peter Mullen has done a very evocative cover, and inside is packed full with solid gaming goodness. This also marks the first issue to be published by Black Blade Publishing, who will also be releasing Swords & Wizardry in bookstores. Grab a copy, support old school gaming, and let me know what you think of the Anti-paladin. As editor and friend Matt Finch says: It's the highest-level Knockspell magazine ever created, the Wondrous Can of Whoopass, the plate mail of armor classes, and indeed the one thing you MUST NOT DO WITHOUT if you are a serious gamer from the editions that never had decimal points! 1E, 0E, OSRIC, and Labyrinth Lord -- it's all here.

Wednesday, September 16, 2009

OSRIC Supplemental: Open Call for Contributors


Preliminary work is getting under way on the Knights & Knaves Alehouse for a new book tentatively entitled the OSRIC Supplemental. Discussion right now is centered on what material will & should be covered - including wilderness travel & hazards, planar cosmology, magic item & spell creation, mass combat, strongholds, aerial combat, sample dungeon maps and more.

In keeping with the spirit of OSRIC, this will be entirely an open collaborative project by and for fans of Gygaxian 1e AD&D. If you've always wanted to write for your favorite game, have a talent for creating old school maps and artwork, or just want to give us your two cents worth now is your chance. Come on over and dive in!

Thursday, September 10, 2009

Burn, Baby, Burn!



The old school been leaving you cold lately? Bored with playing? Getting irritated about something you read about online - but you just can't put your finger on what it is? Dying to get something off your chest that will increase your blog's readership? I hear you! Sometimes, no matter how hard you try, you just can't or won't say 'It's just a game' anymore. Sometimes, you don't even need a reason. Sometimes, you just wanna spark your lighter and start a fire. This is for those times.

Kellri's Old School Random Tinder Box
- Compatible with Old School Gamers and their Modern Simulacra -
RULES: Get some polyhedral dice. Roll on the Big Beef Table for the initial spark. Add fuel to the fire by getting specifics from the appropriate subtable. Fan the flames on an online forum. Take it to Gencon and inflame some old wounds. Forward a copy to your nerdy arch-nemesis and laugh as they immolate themselves. Just make sure to take the time to sit back and enjoy the warm glow of the fire. It's just a game, after all.

d% BEEF
01-03 [GAME] is nothing like [GAME]. [PERSON] would know that if he wasn’t such a [EXPLETIVE].
04-06 [PERSON] plays [GAME]. That proves he’s nothing but a [DESCRIPTOR] [EXPLETIVE]
07-08 [PERSON] & [PERSON] bow to Victorian societal values.
09-10 [PERSON] is so [DESCRPTOR]! He’s the Idi Amin of gaming.
11-13 [PERSON] is dead. Long live [PERSON]!
14-16 [GAME] is the one true way. Now piss off you [DESCRIPTOR] [EXPLETIVE]s!!
17-19 [PERSON] is only a shill for [COMPANY]. Don’t believe a word that [DESCRIPTOR] [EXPLETIVE] says.
20-22 [GROUP] are nothing but another elitist clique, a pox on them!
23-25 [GAME] is nothing but a plagiarized hatchet job.
26-28 Real men play [GAME]. That makes [PERSON] a [DESCRIPTOR] [EXPLETIVE].
29-31 I’m sick and tired of [PERSON]’s whisper campaign against [GAME]
32-34 [WEBSITE] is the REAL home of [GAME] on the web.
35-37 Only [EXPLETIVE]s hang out on [WEBSITE], plotting their one-true way campaign.
38-40 [PERSON] is a [EXPLETIVE] but nevertheless, entertaining..
41-43 [GAME] is not an rpg because of [RULE]
44-46 Only [EXPLETIVE]s play [GAME] and use the [RULE]
47-49 [PERSON] said [GAME]’s [RULE] is [DESCRIPTOR].
50-52 Stop picking on [PERSON], he’s the most level-headed [EXPLETIVE], after all.
53-55 Try to imagine how [PERSON] would play [GAME] and do the opposite.
56-58 [COMPANY] ruined [GAME] with the [RULE]
59-61 [COMPANY] saved [GAME] with the new [RULE]
62-64 [PERSON] worked for [COMPANY]. What a [DESCRIPTOR] [EXPLETIVE].
65-67 If I could, I’d kick [PERSON] right in his [DESCRIPTOR] [EXPLETIVE] ass!
68-70 [PERSON] is the most intelligent guy in gaming and he likes the [RULE]
71-73 [PERSON] only plays [GAME] because they’re nostalgic.
74-76 [GAME] is completely broken because of the [RULE]
77-79 [PERSON] says [COMPANY] is going to get sued because of [GAME] and he’s a lawyer.
80-82 [PERSON] vs. [PERSON] – nerdrage battle royale!
83-85 [GAME] is better than [GAME] because it ditches the pointless [RULE]
86-88 [WEBSITE] is just a bunker full of [DESCRIPTOR] [EXPLETIVE]s.
89-91 [PERSON] has been banned from [WEBSITE] after being warned for starting an edition war.
92-94 [COMPANY] is almost bankrupt. Or so I heard….
95-97 [WEBSITE] members are the Taliban of gaming!
98-00 [WEBSITE] is talking about [GAME] again. Let’s start a flamewar!


d% PERSON or GROUP (Roll 1d4 members)
1 Chris Gonnerman
2 Rob Kuntz
3 James Boney
4 Axe Mental
5 Clark Peterson
6 Daniel Proctor
7 Dave Arneson
8 Dave Kenzer
9 Ed Greenwood
10 Frank Mentzer
11 Allan Grohe
12 Gene Weigel
13 Geoffrey McKinney
14 Gnarley Bones
15 Trent Foster
16 James Maliszewski
17 James Mishler
18 James Raggi
19 Lorraine Williams
20 Jeff Rients
21 Jim Ward
22 Kellri
23 Matt Finch
24 Melan
25 Mike Mearls
26 Peter Bradley
27 Robert Conley
28 Ron Edwards
29 RPGPundit
30 Ryan Dancey
31 Sean K. Reynolds
32 Settimbrini
33 Thorkhammer
34 Stuart Marshall
35 Tim Kask
36 Joe Goodman
37-50 You
51-52 Grognards
53-54 Bloggers
55 Female Gamers
56-57 Conservatives
58-59 Expat Gamers
60 Gay Gamers
61-63 Liberals
64-65 Monte Cook
66-68 Forge-ites
69-70 Swine
71-73 ex-TSR hirelings
74-75 Vin Diesel
76-77 LARPers
78 WARLOCKers
79-84 Gary Gygax
85 Gail Gygax
86 TARGA
87 Dungeondelver
88-90 Fight On! Magazine
91-93 Knockspell Magazine
94-95 Computer Games
96-97 Dragon Magazine
98-99 GenCon
100 Dave Trampier


1d20 GAME
1 White Box D&D
2 Storygames
3 1e AD&D
4 OSRIC
5 2e AD&D
6 Swords & Wizardry
7 3/3.5e AD&D
8 Labyrinth Lord
9 4e D&D
10 Microlite 74
11 D20
12 Castles & Crusades
13 Hackmaster
14 BFRPG
15 Chainmail
16 Tekumel
17 Classic Traveller
18 Forward! To Adventure
19 Moldvay Basic
20 Holmes Basic

1d20 RULE
1 Initiative Rules
2 Descending Armor Classes
3 Nudity & Graphic Violence
4 Demi-human Level Limits
5 Skills & Feats
6 Abstract Combat Rules
7 Vancian Magic
8 Clerics
9 Gygax-isms
10 The SIEGE Engine
11 Storytelling
12 Thieves as a PC Class
13 Mass-Combat Rules
14 Monks & Bards
15 Artwork
16 Tournament Rules
17 Inept Editing
18 Adventure Paths
19 PDF Sales
20 Restrictive Licensing

1d20 DESCRIPTOR
1 Stupid
2 Fat
3 Perverted
4 Ignorant
5 Moronic
6 Greedy
7 Communist
8 Fascist
9 Hardcore
10 Wishy-washy
11 Foul-mouthed
12 Backstabbing
13 Happy-slappy
14 Sick
15 Shameless
16 Butthurt
17 Basement Dwelling
18 Dogmatic
19 Incompetent
20 Racist

1d20 EXPLETIVE
1 Troll
2 Fucktard
3 C-tard
4 Grognard
5 4on
6 3-tard
7 Blowhard
8 Mormon
9 European
10 American
11 Canadian
12 Dick
13 Englishman
14 Madman
15 Clown
16 Self-Promoter
17 Swine
18 Child Molester
19 Narrativist
20 Fanboy

5d4 COMPANY/GROUP
5 WOTC/Hasbro
6 TSR
7 Mythmere Games
8 Troll Lord Games
9 RPGNow
10 Necromancer Games
11 Goblinoid Games
12 Lulu
13 Brave Halfling Publishing
14 Free netbooks
15 Kenzer & Company
16 Games Workshop
17 Judges Guild
18 Goodman Games
19 Arduin
20 Flying Buffalo

1d8 WEBSITE
1 RPGSite
2 Knights & Knaves Alehouse
3 Grognardia
4 Dragonsfoot
5 ENWorld
6 RPG.net
7 The Forge
8 Jeff’s Gameblog

Monday, August 3, 2009

Songs for Scenarios - Isis



Songs for Scenarios is hopefully an ongoing series of posts featuring a song & video pregnant with gaming possibilities. For my first entry, I present Bob Dylan's Isis, from his 1975 album Desire. Written with lyricist and stage director Jacques Levy, Isis tells the tale of an adventurer in search of a pyramid full of treasure. Give it a listen - Bob would have made one hell of an evil DM!

Isis

I married Isis on the fifth day of May,
But I could not hold on to her very long.
So I cut off my hair and I rode straight away
For the wild unknown country where I could not go wrong.

I came to a high place of darkness and light.
The dividing line ran through the center of town.
I hitched up my pony to a post on the rise,
Went in to a laundry to wash my clothes down.

A man in the corner approached me for a match.
I knew right away he was not ordinary.
He said, "Are you lookin' for somethin' easy to catch?"
I said, "I got no money." He said, "That ain't necessary."

We set out that night for the cold in the North.
I gave him my blanket, he gave me his word.
I said, "Where are we goin'?" He said we'd be back by the fourth.
I said, "That's the best news that I've ever heard."

I was thinkin' about turquoise, I was thinkin' about gold,
I was thinkin' about diamonds and the world's biggest necklace.
As we rode through the canyons, through the devilish cold,
I was thinkin' about Isis, how she thought I was so reckless.

How she told me that one day we would meet up again,
And things would be different the next time we wed,
If I only could hang on and just be her friend.
I still can't remember all the best things she said.

We came to the pyramids all embedded in ice.
He said, "There's a body I'm tryin' to find.
If I carry it out it'll bring a good price."
'Twas then that I knew what he had on his mind.

The wind it was howlin' and the snow was outrageous.
We chopped through the night and we chopped through the dawn.
When he died I was hopin' that it wasn't contagious,
But I made up my mind that I had to go on.

I broke into the tomb, but the casket was empty.
There was no jewels, no nothin', I felt I'd been had.
When I saw that my partner was just bein' friendly,
When I took up his offer I must-a been mad.

I picked up his body and I dragged him inside,
Threw him down in the hole and I put back the cover.
I said a quick prayer and I felt satisfied.
Then I rode back to find Isis just to tell her I love her.

She was there in the meadow where the creek used to rise.
Blinded by sleep and in need of a bed,
I came in from the East with the sun in my eyes.
I cursed her one time then I rode on ahead.

She said, "Where ya been?" I said, "No place special."
She said, "You look different." I said, "Well, I guess."
She said, "You been gone." I said, "That's only natural."
She said, "You gonna stay." I said, "If you want me to, yes."

Isis, oh, Isis, you mystical child.
What drives me to you is what drives me insane.
I still can remember the way that you smiled
On the fifth day of May in the drizzlin' rain.

Sunday, August 2, 2009

Breault's +1 Panty Wad



So it seems we desperately need more humor in the old-school scene if that last post was any indication. C'mon guys. Maliszewski? Raggi? JRients? Wheggi? I'm calling you out by name because I know you've got it in you. Make me laugh!!

Now, on the other hand...for a sample of just how intense the heat flying off geek back can get, check out this thread on the Knights & Knave Alehouse. Mike Breault, former editor at TSR during the 2nd Edition days has stepped up to the plate with his burning question - 'What's with all the Zeb Cook hatred?'. Target #1? Gene Weigel. The man who makes a Mind Flayer look like a reasonable conversationalist. The waters warm and getting warmer, so why not jump on in - just remember to bring the flaming oil and NO SPEEDOS!

Saturday, August 1, 2009

Old School Sociology



The old school gaming movement wouldn't be, well, a school, without a whole bunch of cliques. Some of whom really don't much care for each other. As with any up-and-coming scene, everyone wants to claim to be the first, or if not that, they want to at least influence the direction things take in the future. I won't name names (I might like to work with some of those people one day) but I can run down the 'salient groups' as I see them...

(1) Grognards. These guys never stopped playing the same game they started with in the 70s. They don't need or like anything that they couldn't pay $200 bucks for on EBay.
Habitat: Often seen blogging about their 30 year old Greyhawk campaign and offering intermittent and esoteric rules advice on Dragonsfoot.
Typical Quote: Why do I need (insert retro-clone here) when I still have Gary's handwritten pre-OD&D notes in my wallet?
Natural Enemy: None. He'd need Viagra to get that worked up, and besides, he just doesn't really understand online communities.

(2) The Boys in the Pub. Not quite as old as the grognards, but with more than a healthy respect for the Great Gone Gygax. Can't afford the investment needed to go-old school, so they managed to whip up their own retro-clone.
Habitat: Often seen posting definitive stylistic manifestos on message forums and selling product on Lulu.
Typical Quote: Go eat a bowl of cocks, 3tard!
Natural Enemy: The heretical, and artistically challenged Trolls Den.

(3) The Troll's Den. Pot-smokin' hippy lawyers with printing presses. Feted the Great Gone Gygax with ghostwritten glory before his untimely demise and their untimely loss of license. Their dreams of a back-engineered AD&D crumble along with their revenue.
Habitat: On the fringes of ENWorld, Dragonsfoot and the Big Purple.
Typical Quote: That's an illegal copyright violation. Why? Because I'm a lawyer, and I said so. Play my game instead. Why? Because I wrote it.
Natural Enemy: The crude and amateurish Boys in the Pub.

(4) The Northern Fringe. Outsider gamers who've jumped on the bandwagon too late to gain acceptance into one of the cliques. Can't support any retro-clone largely because they weren't involved in writing one, and they hate those people anyways.
Habitat: Cranking out 3-staple 12 page booklets on their HP printer at home while extolling their own eccentric virtues on their blog.
Typical Quote: I'll ship it to all 6 of you as soon as I can afford another ream of A4 paper.
Natural Enemy: Another blogger or internet blowhard, often a Boy in the Pub or maybe a Troll, who's chewed him a new ass online.

(5) The Celebrity Blogger. Hipsters who couldn't care less what game they or anyone else plays as long as they dig that retro-cool thing.
Habitat: On their blog, replying to comments on their own or other hip blogs. rarely seen on forums as they just don't have that much chance of personal exposure.
Typical Quote: I like Elmore AND Otus. So there!
Natural Enemy: None. Too self-possessed to think for a minute anyone doesn't like him - well, except for the Grognard that keeps sending email death threats.

(6) The Naive Gamer. Regular Joe-the-Plumber types casually scoping out the old-school scene online.
Habitat: Big gaming forums, asking innocent questions that turn into brutal 50-page flamewars.
Typical Quote: I don't understand these Edition Wars. We all roll dice, right?
Natural Enemy: Hapless prey to all of the above.

(7) The Master Bakers. Ex-employees of Strategy Game Regulations before it went belly up. Personal friends, or enemies, of the Great Gone Gygax.
Habitat: Dragonsfoot, holding court in their own personal Q&A thread.
Typical Quote: My good buddy Gary once said to me....
Natural Enemy: Mortality

(8) The Terrible Twos. Fervent proponents of SGR's 2nd Edition. Consider older editions primitive because they lack a skill system.
Habitat: Dragonsfoot, looking for people to help 'update' {insert retro-clone here} to 2nd edition.
Typical Quote: 'Stop calling Ed Greenwood a pretentious pervert you guys!'
Natural Enemy: The Boys in the Pub, who flame them at will.

P.S. If you can't find yourself in one of these cliques - that's a good thing. It means you're probably doing too much gaming to care.

Tuesday, July 28, 2009

Vote Mythmere in 2009



Matt Finch's Mythmere Games and his 0e retro-clone Swords & Wizardry have been nominated for an ENnie Award for Best Free Product and Best Company at this year's GenCon. If you're a supporter of old school D&D, independent games, or open gaming, I'd encourage you to go over to their site and cast your vote now.

Monday, June 22, 2009

A Mild Rebuttal

Inspired by Clark Peterson of Necromancer Games from this thread on ENWorld.

Something or someone's gotta give.

For years, mainstream gaming has followed a top-down corporate profit-inspired model, that produced product first and then attracted consumer gamers through spin marketing. Not necessarily giving people what they wanted, but what the gaming industry wanted to sell them. 3E Rules with a 1E feel.

Now, for perhaps the first time since this hobby's inception, we've got a genuine grassroots movement in direct opposition to, and in spite of, the industry. And, get this, it's largely not for profit. That just baffles the business guys like Peterson. What's gaming without a profit margin?? Answer: Just a hobby. 1E Rules & more 1E feel than you can shake a 10' pole at.

Like I said, someone or something's gotta give.

Monday, June 15, 2009

Group Activities Table



Here's a quick d% table for determining the current activities & possible motivations of an encountered individual or group. The table is suitable for use with almost all reasonably intelligent monster groups as well as human NPC groups, such as those detailed in CDD#4: Encounters. As always, the DM must determine the precise details of the encounter, including the particulars noted below. In all cases, the DM should feel free to alter or ignore any results which don't work in the context of their game.

01-03,on a raid
04-05,resting & recuperating after a recent battle (25% injury rate - roll for each level 1+ NPC or each 10 0-lvl NPCs, failed roll take 1d8 hp of damage + roll again)
06,burying their dead (25% casualty rate - roll for each level 1+ NPC or each 10 0-lvl NPCs)
07-09,on patrol
10-11,on a quest
12,on a slave raid
13-15,marauding & pillaging
16-17,fleeing another group/individual
18-19,hunting another group/individual
20,at war
21-22,a trading caravan/mission
23-24,returning home from a mission
25-27,foraging for food
28-30,surveying the land
31,building a small homestead/lair
32-33,mining or excavating
34-35,fortifying or digging in
36-38,on a pilgrimage
39-40,on a crusade
41,sick or diseased
42-43,renegades on the lam
44-45,training
46-47,farming
48,poaching
49-51,hunting for food
52-53,stealing livestock
54-55,hauling their booty back home
56,on the prowl for men/womenfolk
57,lesser undead (skeletons, zombies, etc.)
58-59,scouting the countryside
60,following a treasure map
61-62,migrating to a new home
63-64,celebrating a religious festival
65-66,drunk & disorderly
67-68,mating
69-70,arguing amongst themselves
71-73,praying
74-75,singing & dancing
76-77,cooking & eating
78-79,logging
80,gathering herbs
81-83,dead (DM should determine cause & time of death)
84,charmed or ensorcelled (DM should determine exact details)
85-87,fishing (hunting if no body of water is nearby)
88-89,escorting prisoners (DM should determine appropriate types & numbers)
90-91,negotiating with an opposing force
92-94,repairing weapons/armor/ships etc.
95-96,runaway slaves (unarmed & unarmored)
97-98,greater undead (ghosts/spectres/vampires, etc.)
99-100,DM's Choice

Monday, June 8, 2009

First Edition Society Open for Business



After nearly a six month wait, I'm happy to help announce the opening of the new First Edition Society storefront on lulu.com. Old school gamers and collectors alike are encouraged to check out the variety of options available for the latest version of OSRIC - including a pricey but quite swank hardcover.

Monsters of Myth is also available, and complements old school gaming quite nicely with a huge collection of new monsters from the same folks that brought you OSRIC.

If you're unfamiliar with the FES or OSRIC, you can download free full-version pdfs and preview before you buy, or print at your own expense. You can't go wrong.

Saturday, May 23, 2009

Down in the Groove



Sometimes good things happen when you're away from your online life for a spell. In my case, I've had two extremely positive reviews of my CDD#4: Old School Encounters Reference. Matt Finch (Mythmere) on Dragonsfoot and James Maliszewski on his blog Grognardia. As a result, my free file server has exceeded its bandwidth and the old links are down for the month of May. Luckily for me, Brad Everman has stepped up to help me out in a big way with my own ftp space called kellri.truculent.org - fairly fitting wouldn't you say?

Sunday, February 22, 2009

Knockspell #1



Just as gaming-related activity seems to have slowed to a crawl on my end, I'm happy to see the new Knockspell #1 just published. It is edited and produced by friends Matt Finch and James Maliszewski, and features plenty of recognizable names from around the old school gaming community. The writing is straightforward and literate, the artwork is inspiring and diverse. If any of the recent online 'edition-wars' skirmishing over Kask's editorial is any indication, we might just have a new The Dragon Magazine for the New Old School. Can't wait to see Letters to the Editor in #2!

P.S. I'm still languishing in the Kingdom of Cambodia until March - haven't failed a system shock roll yet!

Saturday, January 24, 2009

Khmer Chameleon



I'm going to depart from my usual hard nosing the gaming highway and share a slightly more stylish update on my latest whereabouts...vacationing in Phnom Penh now, a refugee from an impending and overdue divorce settlement and lately taking a break from billiards in the girly bar next door.

Y'see, Kell's got his stubby Dwarvish hands full keeping things balanced between the Pure Land of the rpg old school and the punishing regimen of the Hell of the 10,000 Bargirls. Just trying to keep my yin going and my yang coming, so to speak, is either going to gain me a lot of XPs or shock me like an undead badass and drain a few levels. Here's a few gaming related anecdotes and annotations from the jungle -

Last week, well into my cups, I let slip to the other expat boozers at the table that I play alot of D&D and write some too. The kind of geek statement of faith you immediately regret. This big Canadian blurts out he used to work for SSI on the Gold Box games in the 80s. Before long, we're all (American, Brit, Aussie and Canadian) talking fantasy gaming while watching a gaggle of bored Khmer chicks shooting pool. So, primed with an idea...

I went shopping in the big, shabby Art Deco central market and manage to find a copy of JENGA. Now, that game along with Connect 4, are wildly popular with the Thai demimondes, but seemingly it hasn't quite caught on with the Cambodian scene. I've even read with some interest the indie rpg Dread, which claims Jenga infuses drama into roleplaying. Gorram, but them's two things I love - drama and roleplaying. So, you see why I couldn't wipe the shit-eating grin off my mug as I brought that baby into the bar. I'll cut to the chase and just say groups of Khmer girls get VERY excited pulling wooden blocks. Watching them, I thought, goddamn...wish I had Mousetrap. I love that little blue diving man, don't you??

Anyways, that's when I'm feeling social. In the evenings, I like to sit and watch people in this other, much more dimly lit expat dive with a long curvy bar and $1 Angkhors. It attracts those long-term (s)expat punters and MILFy Khmer ladies (and the French, but you can safely ignore them). It's not so much a fun place as it is a prime spot to observe the extremes of indelicate human behavior. with some pretty decent fish and chips. This one night, I'm sitting way down on the end of the bar when this old mama-san looking gal hits me up for a cigarette. We don't speak, and she buys a drink and sits like she's waiting for somebody. About 1/2 hour later the spitting image of Gary Gygax sits down on the other side of her, orders a lemon soda, and they have this conversation:

Gary: You ok?
Lady: Ok. You? You what time go here?
Gary: Uh (looking at watch). 10:30
Lady: You go home tonight?
Gary: Later. I'm looking for Tam. Did you see her?
Lady: No. Tam go home Battambang I think. You call mobile phone her?
Gary: No.

Both sit in silence for 45 minutes, while I consider the possibility this is really some posthumous Elvis -type sighting of Gygax. I want to ask this guy his name, just to check, but don't.

Lady: After I go home. See you later.
Gary: Yes. I'm going home now too. You want to share a tuk-tuk? It can stop at your home on the way? You want a ride home?
Lady: You want go boom-boom with me?
Gary: No, no. You can take the tuk-tuk with me. Tell the driver where to stop. After he will take me home.
Lady: After boom-boom?
Gary: No, not after boom boom. I'm going home. Do you want to ride on the way with me?
Lady: No. I'm going home with the moto.
Gary: Ok. Take care. I'll see you later.
Lady: Bye. Mr Gary...I will see Tam tell her Mr Gary look for her!

I sat for another hour flabbergasted wondering about coincidences and synchronicity and other heavy Robert Anton Wilson shit before settling on Jaegermeister for my nightcap. That only made me more curious (after I threw up).

I've also been doing the rounds at a place called the Zeppelin Cafe, with this huge collection of old vinyl rock and roll. God only knows how this stuff survived the Khmer Rouge. The owner's a long haired Cambodian hepcat, and like all Asian hippies he loves his Santana. After a couple rounds of beer, he pulls out the Ros Sereysothea albums. I'll let you check out the mp3's available online at the Aquarium Drunkard. You can also read up about Ros on KhmerMusic.com

You'll find a sweet collection of late 60's/early 70's Khmer rock and roll. Sorta Booker T & the MGs meets Santana over a spiked mai tai. If nothing else, check out Yol Aulorong's Cyclo Ride, Ros Sereysothea's Old Pot, Tasty Rice and Old Sour and Sweet or Pan Ron's Sralanh Srey Chn...this is the genuine "Apocalypse Now" soundtrack and rocks hard and real. Predictably, all of these musicians disappeared during the Khmer Rouge years, so this is literally rocking into doomsday.

Now enough of this internet cafe hoo-hah, I've got a fatty in my pocket and a hankering to watch a sunset. As they say in Pakistan, time to chello.

Photo: The late, great Phnom Penh dive 'Broken Bricks'. Closed after the meth-fuelled innkeeper provoked one too many beatings from his Khmer neighbors. Irony just doesn't play well in the Orient.

Next Time: Lin Carter & Amateur Cryptozoology on the Angkhor Trail