Monthly Archives: July 2016

Emerald Specter 17: RPGs, The Greatest Show, and More!

IMG_1372

How do you like the new Emerald Specter? I love it.

It’s time to do a little bit of a round up of everything that needs to be discussed here at the Emerald Specter.com. This will include, but not be limited to role playing games, writing, the Greatest Show, and more. Strap in and hang on.

As was discussed among the only 3 hosts present on the latest Greatest Show (Metal Jesus and DJ), the impending idea of actually running an actual play game on the show is being bandied about more heavily than before. I am familiar with Vampire, thus I’m working on a Vampire mesh of Requiem and Masquerade, which I hope can also be turned into a longer campaign if that is what the players want (Tricia, Kevin, Metal Jesus, and Bob). “Metal Jesus” Kevin Lama wants to run him some Burning Wheel, which I will be interested in giving a shot (despite my lack of love of fantasy genre stuff). Bob had previously mentioned Fate, and I’m hoping he goes with that, and “Soft Rock Messiah” Kevin Couick hasn’t really emphatically stated what he’d run. If this turns out to be popular, maybe we’ll migrate to “once a month” actual play, “every third week,” “every other week,” or maybe just turn the show into an actual play. Who knows?

If you haven’t noticed, the Greatest Show cast has grown over the years. Bob and I were running strong, with the occasional appearance of my wife before she started coming in every single show. Kevin Couick got invited on and just sort of hung around (not that we mind that at all). Kevin Lama popping in also added him to the regular rotation, so much so that he’s on almost every show now… good job, Metal Jesus! Saurabh will become a more frequent visitor and Kevin Couick will make a return in the near future as he’s experiencing the same sort of thing I am with my job: an inability to commit to every show.

In the past, we’ve had Morgan Imperial and her fianc√©, Carl, grace us. I’m hoping that we can resurrect the “Lime Lords” on the Greatest Show (a Doctor Who review) with the original trio of us by getting Morgan back on more often. This type of addition to the Greatest Show would allow us to rotate a Doctor Who episode, maybe an RPG episode, a random episode, and maybe a “special edition” type episode that we’ve been doing more of lately. In any case, making the show focus more on an anchor topic has been successful in bringing in the fans, so the “Lime Lords” return would be a good thing.

The last thing I’ll say about the Greatest Show specifically is that we are going to be bringing back the cooking. We had stable, steady viewership when we were having food being made (and eaten) on the show, so we’re going to start collecting us (or inventing) some recipes to be making on the show. While I was thinking of having a meal made every episode, maybe we want to rotate that, too… which wouldn’t be a terrible thing.

My job is shifting to something different again and when that happens I will be releasing a new podcast (audio only) called the Specter Show. I’ve had the link as the show being “coming soon” since January and I want to actually have the show. It’ll just be me having a topic (or maybe a couple) to discuss, and I’ll start that out as a weekly show and maybe work up to multiple times per week. I’d like to be on the radio (or at lest one time I did), so having a podcast that has a steady (and frequent) release schedule could be the next best thing.

I don’t often finish what I start when it comes to writing. I’ve started lots of writing projects, and I’ve completed a few, but those that I have completed have been really short in length. If I was to call what I’ve finished a “novel,” it would be comparable to the Ian Fleming James Bond novels from the 60s in that the books normally run about 50,000 words (which is small for a modern day novel). Trying to compete with this “structure” that I feel things need to fit into has brought me frustration, so I’m going to be releasing written fiction in whatever lengths I feel I can do at the time that I want to release them. No structured release (like an HBO or Showtime “13 part run” of specific lengths), no cliffhanger endings (unless that part happens to have a cliffhanger) and I’ll be writing multiple stories at the same time. For example, if on Monday I feel like writing a portion of a science fiction space opera, that’s what I’ll write. If on Tuesday I feel like writing a post-apocalyptic world of zombie survival, that’s what I’ll write. No specific lengths, no in depth editing, and I’ll release them as often as I feel I can. So if I need to take a three month break from writing because I’m in the Bahamas, then there will be no releases.

In the writing mode, I’ve also mentioned I want to write comics. I just cannot draw in the detail or the style that I want my finished work to look, so I’m stalling on that. My determination is still solid but I’m really needing an artist that is willing to want to create with me so I can concentrate on the script portion of the project.

Moving on to SpecterFit, I’m calling it right now: SpecterFit events are not going to launch in 2017, if at all. The lack of interest I’ve experienced with the announcements and the columns (the readership has dropped to almost nothing compared to the high numbers I was experiencing before) I am suspending the events portion of the SpecterFit brand. I will be writing more columns in the near future, because one of the facets of my job shift is that I will be walking a LOT more than I currently do, so I want to get back into the habit of writing healthy things as well as doing those healthy things.

Let me get back to the awesome image that I mentioned at the beginning of the column. I wanted to move away from the recolored Space Ghost and more towards something that actually looks closer to what my image of the Emerald Specter should look like. The jacket is super elaborate but it’s closer to the look that I have in my head… and this new image gives me the desire to want to tell the story of the Emerald Specter. Yes, it’s a character that I created after I bought this domain and I’m hoping the story of the Emerald Specter interests you as much as it interests me.

At least I have you interested in the concept… I hope.

The last Emerald Specter column was a random history column about my involvement with fantasy wrestling (or eFedding as the new Internet age has termed it). I also mentioned I may try to branch out from the ESPL only to include another “sporting event” simulation, that being professional wrestling. I’m not sure that I want to go with professional wrestling at this time, but I won’t discard the idea entirely for the future. I’m developing the possibility of a “digital MMA league” that would do what I used to do with a dead property I had many moons ago: IPRACE.

What the fuck is IPRACE? I’m glad you asked.

IPRACE stood for Internet Professional Racing Association for Computer Enthusiasts, and was an “digital racing” version of, for example, NASCAR. Instead of a car, you raced “pods.” Your pod was made by a computer manufacturer (when this was out, it was companies like HP, Apple, Asus, and Gateway to name a few) and your “engine” was a brand of hard drive (Seagate, Hitachi, and Western Digital… for example). You’d have sponsors, normally of a brand related to computing, gaming, or food, and there was a spreadsheet that simulated the races. If I were to resurrect this idea for Emerald Specter.com, I’d change “computers” to “cellphones” and alter some of the parameters to make the races operate a little differently.

I say all that to go back to “digital MMA,” meaning weight classes wouldn’t be heavyweight, middleweight, lightweight, and the like but would be based on bytes (or bits, or hertz, etc) and the names would be limited to six characters, or something like the old school RPG video games used to do. There is a spreadsheet simulator mostly built (as I love working with spreadsheets) and I would hold “events” like the UFC does, just solely on this website. If someone wants to have their own fighter, I’d be open to working on some sort of “development path” to allow them to start as a n00b and work their way up to see if they could capture “digital gold.” If you asked me to choose the next sport I would be bringing to the site right now, I’d default to this idea.

I am a sumo buff, though, and I do like the idea of having my own sumo league pyramid (allowing others to bring in their characters to compete, too).

So, I’ve talked about the Greatest Show, actual play RPGs on the Greatest Show, the expansion of the Greatest Show to include the Doctor Who review show High Council of Lime Lords, rotating the programming of the Greatest Show, releasing my fiction, wanting to focus on writing comic scripts, cancelling the SpecterFit events facet but wanting to keep writing the SpecterFit column, discussed the defunct IPRACE, talked about digital MMA, and mentioned briefly my love of sumo. You’d think that would be all I could cram into this column before I move to do something else, right? Well, you’d be wrong.

About once a year I get an itch to participate in a email sim. The most popular type on the Internet today is the fleets and fleets of Star Trek sims that are out there (like the ones at Obsidian Fleet). The problem with this is that I get the itch because I get a snippet of free time to ponder a character, I make said character, and I start simming… only to flake out and stop posting a couple of months later because the snippet of free time was fleeting and wasn’t really anything more than a short breather. Now, I don’t want to sim in the Star Trek universe, but I’m getting into the idea of simming as an option more in the direction of what the YouTube Vampire the Masquerade Experiment (also known as New Sarum) has become… a living RPG.

Now, New Sarum allows players to (basically) run their character’s life through posting YouTube videos in character and interacting with other players. While I don’t know if I like the video aspect of the idea, I do like the idea of the same basic premise being used in a text (email or forum) format a lot better. While there was “technically” a game master, everyone was really interested in the living nature of the game, so a game master isn’t technically necessary… except for the trolls and crybabies.

I’m looking at how such a thing would work, as the old Sanguinus Curae website had run via email with only two central storytellers, and just allow most of the vampire characters do the stuff they want and if they come across a “metaplot” element created for something bigger to do, then they can either jump in on that or choose to ignore it. This is how people work, for example, with Pokemon Go. Lots of people are doing it but there are some that just don’t care to participate. Just floating that idea out there.

Lastly, I’d like to mention all the games that those of us who are on Emerald Specter.com participate in. We play Star Wars Galaxy of Heroes, Ingress, and Pokemon Go and we invite you to join us. SWGoH has a guild which is those of us at Emerald Specter with some random folks who have joined us, Ingress and Pokemon Go are teams that you can just sort of be part of a larger group. We want you to play with us and enjoy the games we enjoy because, as you may notice, we talk a lot about these on the Greatest Show. Why not jump in on that conversation.

Thanks for reading!

The Greatest Show 87: The Search for Bob

GreatestShowGreen

Internet. The current frontier. These are the audio voyages of the Greatest Show crew. Their continuing mission, to seek out new fun and new ways to talk about the same crap over and over again… to boldly go where a couple of thousand others have gone before.

The Event Page. The YouTube Page. A naked surprise.

Emerald Specter 16: Random History Column

Image

Welcome to one of those columns where I write about the history of something. Some of you may not know I do this from time to time because I have blasted my sites so often that some of them get wiped out. This wonderful column will be about the history of the fantasy wrestling/eFeds I’ve been part of… because I don’t know how others operate but I’ve evolved my characters over time and that has allowed me to progress them as if they were real. On to the history!

In 1980-something, I discovered professional wrestling. Hulk Hogan was the WWE World Champion at the time and we were in the full throws of Hulkamania at the time. What better way to delve deeper into the love for wrestling than to create a fantasy federation? Why isn’t this an eFed? Well, in 1980-something we didn’t have the “e” for electronic running the way the Internet runs today.

Yes, kids, the Internet really didn’t pop up until the 90s.

There were a couple of “federations” that friends and I formed, none that really lasted because no one was willing to be the “runner,” they all wanted to compete. That’s when I created the concept of the “federation character” that was there, but wasn’t really anything more than a base to build from for the others… and I founded FURTHER Entertainment and the FURTHER Wrestling Federation. This ran about six years in real life before some of the participants started bowing out, moved away, or simply decided they weren’t into wrestling anymore.

These federation characters were originally just stepping stones for the “handler” characters. A handler is the real person who created the characters they controlled. My federation characters were something of a staple, because they did get “injured” or decide to lay low for a time but they were almost always there. In about year five of the FWF, the federation characters (at the behest of some of the players) started being productive members of the federation. They were winning titles, they were beating handler characters, and they were involved in angles just like everyone else… without any handlers involved. This happened because I’d had a track record to showing I wasn’t favoring them, but I was interested in developing the stories in a certain direction and that enticed the handlers to let the federation characters help elevate their own characters by being more than just jobbers.

Now, I say the FWF lasted “about six years” because I know for certain that it ran without a break for at least six years, but of course my memory has it running way longer. Nostalgic look backs tend to extend or glorify things that really kind of sucked… there was a point, though, where I was the only one left in the FWF… I let it fold and sort of kept the concept of the fantasy federation on the back burner until someone else came along that enjoyed the idea.

I should point out that I was really, really into pro wrestling for a long time… and though I’ve moved on, it still holds a tidbit of interest for me.

There were a few “rebirths” of the FWF, though they were named other things. The one that really went somewhere, though, was the DWO (Dark Wrestling Organization) that I formed in April 1998. I know that month and year because of a particular job I’d started and the other interested parties at that job wanted an eFed. From April until about August, the DWO was “internal” only (meaning only those I worked with where players). In August, I opened that up to the Internet and really learned what eFedding was all about. The DWO was a big hit and lasted two full years (plus some change) and some of the characters I’d run in the FWF were in the DWO, only far developed (and “aged”) from where they were “back in the day.”

What some others didn’t realize that were in the DWO was that I was also running the DCW (Dark Championship Wrestling), where all my federation characters went to play with some of the internal die hards that wanted the “old fed” back. The DCW ran for about two years on it’s own and eventually folded, shortly after the DWO. There was another lapse and when I caught the bug again I created the VWM (Virtual Wrestling Matrix).

The VWM has since been stolen by someone else, along with MANY of the graphics I created, but the VWM I ran did several things that players flocked to because of the effort I was putting in. The VWM had audio of PPV events, we were being hosted by NBCi (the NBC owned version of Geocities, for all intents and purposes) and thus I played things like we were ON the NBC programming line up. That, my friends, was ¬†huge hit. The only reason the VWM collapsed was that NBCi had a server issue and my site (along with many others) were completely wiped out… and I didn’t feel like I wanted to bring that back from scratch again, so I just let the VWM die.

This is where the “dark times” come in. I ran several attempts to revive eFedding and I just didn’t have the time to run things the way I used to… other eFeds were bringing in people left and right and I ended up joining a couple of other eFeds but nothing was quite as good as what I’d been running, so I ended up bowing out of several of them. I joined the IRWC (Internet Rage Wrestling Corporation), the EHCWF (Extreme Hardcore Wrestling Federation), SCW (Supreme Championship Wrestling), and eventually decided to just remain “out”.

I was writing a wrestling column for TWNPNews.com from 1999 until about 2003, then I made a quick comeback for 2004. During this first run, the WWE Brand Extension happened and I’d seen the potential in the concept of what the Brand Extension could be, so I ran an experiment that I didn’t realize was going to be the big hit it was…

I invented the SEO (Sports Entertainment Organization) and filled it with all of my federation characters from the past. I split the organization immediately into two “brands,” then ran a simulation of those brands for four months. I detailed what happened in the shows, the promos, held three PPVs, and just developed the stories I had to tell. I never received more views than I did for that experiment in anything else wrestling that I did.

The SEO experiment was more a play on “how would I do the WWE Brand Extension” and I think I was moderately successful. Since my characters had had the history that they did, the storylines I ran mirrored what I would have done using the actual WWE would have done… just with original characters.

When I ended the experiment, I was asked when I would continue it and whether or not I’d open the option to participate up to the general public. Alas, I wasn’t going to continue the experiment and I didn’t open that up to the public.

I’ve attempted to build up another “experiment” or create a new eFed, but I didn’t have the time. My job changed, to a career, and things just never seemed to get back on track again. I came really close twice, and each of those would be a rebirth of the “experiment” in a way, but I ended up running out of steam due to increased work hours on both counts. I’m going to tell you about both attempts and what they were going to be, with a little added nugget at the end of the column explaining what’s happening right now before I end this long-ass column.

The first attempt was PHASE, or the Professional Haven for Athletes of Sports Entertainment. PHASE was the “swan song,” last stand of the original group of federation characters that I had way back in the FWF days. The characters had evolved and aged, because I’d evolved them into realistic characters. The oldest competitor was in his late 50s and he was going to do the “Hulk Hogan thing” and just wrestle in the big events. I’d have let the others up there in age also have limited engagements, there would have been a “new generation” of characters coming up and being built up. Alas, PHASE died on the grill.

The second attempt was RISE, or Revolution Internet Sports Entertainment. This attempt was the bran child of the four friends in wrestling who would have just retired (or were about to retire) and they were going to be building up, almost exclusively, the next generation. The old characters, the ones that would be too old to compete, were still involved but in other ways. Some of them were referees, some of them were commentators (what better way to keep the legacy aspect than by plugging in characters that have a history), and some of them would make “one off” style interactions… providing that much needed rub to give some prestige to the next generation. This was stewed a bit, it came the furthest along, and then died on the vine… keep RISE in mind, though, as I explain something else (my nugget).

At the end of 2015, I was enthralled by a work of awesome that was created on a logo forum in a way to show progressive logos of a fictional football league through history. As I write this column, that thread is now in the 1980 season and there is no sign of the thread stopping anytime soon. I did something similar in nature (but different) by starting the Emerald Specter Premier League, which will be running in “real time” and has just finished it’s first season (and will be expanding for the second season). Don’t stop reading yet.

I intend to run the ESPL for as long as I can, as I have tentatively made my mind up to run the thing for at least a decade and hopefully find a young upstart to take it over from me and I’ll hand it over to go into the future with that. As I am simulating soccer, I have started toying with simulating other sports (just as possibilities: sumo, chess, bowling, American football, stock car racing, MMA) and you might see where this is going now… I’ve also considered bringing sports entertainment back.

The best ideas I had started with the RISE premise to work from, building on the history I had with the characters and going into the future. Then I considered something, as I was coming up with the list of characters I was tossing around I thought of something as a possibility. There are very few people that would know the history of all these characters I’ve been developing over the years and I could just build up this “new RISE” with the old characters presented for the first time to anyone in this Internet age to enjoy (who would be fully fleshed out). Would that be called RISE? PHASE? Something else? Who knows, I’m still kicking around the idea. I’ve proven I can work things long term with the ESPL, how much more activity can I add to this site?

Additional bits that I’m inspired by to include, if I do decide to return to this little “experiment” style venture: the WWE “second” Brand Extension makes me want to try the two separate shows theory again, Chikara Pro is running “seasons” and I like this idea because I can cut a couple months out of the annual experience and theme the season like they do, including the characters of others and eventually turning the federation over to someone else to run wouldn’t be a terrible thing, and finally I think that utilizing the old school guys to bring you all them for the first time gives me hope that a legacy can be written down and readable long term.

So, I am considering all options. I would love to hear your ideas and you can place them in the general discussion forum on this website. Interesting?

ESPL Off Season 1 – The Wrap Up

ESPL_Featured

Welcome back to the ESPL! It’s been a little over a month since Gothica claimed the first ESPL Championship and now we come to the thick and thin of the off season action. There is a lot to report, too.

On the managerial side of things, several clubs solidified their faith in their managerial staff. Gothica kept Peter Stark, Emerald United kept Arthur Franklin, Shamrock Celtic kept Ephraim Colton, Naval Armada kept Horatio Antonelli, Shazam CM kept Locke Carson, Vulcan FC kept Nathan Bristol, Allen FC kept Roberto Ruiz, and Sporting Black Cats kept Javier Gerrardo. While all the clubs failed to give reasons, some clubs didn’t need to give any reasons. The two clubs that did offer something were the two most in need of explanation.

Sporting Black Cats released a statement ensuring that a single season wasn’t enough to judge Javier Gerrardo, so they retained him to help set up for the upcoming season. Allen FC stated that Roberto Ruiz had surpassed their expectation for season one but they held him on because they felt he was the best chance for expanding their horizons for season two.

Some surprising changes weren’t necessarily the fault of the manager. Halo lost the services of Otto Borden, who stated that Halo’s plans for the upcoming season didn’t match his vision for the club. Borden was shortly thereafter signed by Knightsquare in the hopes he can repair and elevate the club from the bottom of the table, where they spent the entire season.

“I’m confident with my hand,” said Otto Borden, new Manager for Knightsquare. “That we can get more than a couple of wins in season two, building up the club, and actually preparing for a serious run at the top of the table for season three. I’m confident we can make the moves necessary to accomplish this goal.”

The temporary services group of Jason Druid (Knightsquare), Lee Watterson (Wordsmiths), and Yuri Gurkov (Real Olympia) all had interesting moves. Jason Druid was signed by Tardis, citing his experience in the league would be a good basis to start for the club. Lee Watterson was signed by Real Olympia, citing that his managerial style fit the club’s expectations for the coming season. Gurkov was signed by Queensdaisy after Real Olympia failed to make an offer in time, so he packed up and left to take charge of one of the new clubs for the coming season.

Citrus LF signed Matthew Albright, former manager of Wordsmiths. The club stated that they felt that Wordsmiths hadn’t provided adequate resources and thus set Albright up for failure.

Halo signed Vince Pratchett, former manager of Real Olympia. Halo saw what Pratchett was attempting to accomplish but the former club wouldn’t allow him to make the moves that needed to be made in order to succeed, so Halo snagged his services for at least the next season.

Octagon, one of the new clubs coming, hired Drago Visilli as their manager. Visilli was a defensive specialist for Halo and was interested in moving up. With the change in managerial staff at Halo, Visilli was left without employment and thus available.

Finally, Zeke Pike was signed by Wordsmiths. Pike, former manager of Knightsquare, lobbied to be considered for the position and brought an interesting plan to the interview. The plan was of some interest because Pike was hired, hoping the club will allow him to make some big purchases to elevate them for the upcoming season.

Along with the managers, there were releases and walkouts for players as well. Since the volume of those are higher than the managers, we will simply list the free agents that hit the market recently.

Allen FC parted ways with Jack Doyle, Alvin Marques, and Wade Wonder. Emerald United parted ways with Francois Liguere (GK), David Janson, Kelvin Bradley, and Bart Hathaway. Gothica parted ways with Renan Silva (GK), Hiro Takahashi, Juan Avilaperez, and Yuri Petrikoff. Halo parted ways with Hector Lopez, Ravi Garcon, and James Tracer. Knightsquare parted ways with HL Wagner (GK), Ryad Al Sayad, Theron Wildhorse, Darin Van Pelt, and Alan Marquardt. Naval Armada parted ways with Jesse Davis, Pedro Cruz, Piotr Khrush, William Tavern, and Xavier Masters. Real Olympia parted ways with RJ Thane (GK), Michael Bradfords, Walter Amos, David Lopez, and Gregoric Probst. Shamrock Celtic parted ways with Don Thomas, Zane Faulken, Luis Suarez, Tom Johnson, and Patrick Barnes. Shazam CM parted ways with Corey Carson, Drago Petroff, and Russell Mantrell. Sporting Black Cats parted ways with Nate Havram, Jean-Louis Pepon, Luigi Antonelli, Jose Lopez, and Gene Blankenship. Vulcan FC parted ways with Boris Putin, Fuji Takei, Muleaki A’anhi, and Dzung Tran. Finally, Wordsmiths parted ways with Dorian Parker (GK), Tendo Hiroshima, Shu Liang, Samuel Brankoff, Josh Franklin, Donald Blake, and Kerwin Katzer.

The biggest surprises in here are the ones we’ll concentrate on. Patrick Barnes opted to leave Shamrock Celtic after their offer was undesirable to him, so he left the contract lying on the table. Dzung Tran decided to leave Vulcan FC, citing opportunities weren’t in Vulcan and he left his options open. Francois Liguere was released by Emerald United, in a stunning move, so he’s available to try his luck not the market. Renan Silva was released by Gothica, which stunned many. Otherwise, the names may raise eyebrows but those were the big moves.

Signings were rampant. In the below graphic, all the signings are completed. The blue represents the new players in the league and the light green represents players on their new clubs. Click on the graphic to get the full size version.

Rosters_2017

The interesting points here are Gothica and Shamrock Celtic only replacing players with brand new players. This will turn out to be a big deal if they continue to dominate the top of the table in 2017. The signing of the year goes to Naval Armada obtaining Patrick Barnes. The deal is only a single year deal but Naval Armada is making their intentions known that they want the next championship.

See you for the schedule announcement later this year.

There WILL be a Greatest Show Tonight

TGS_Sketched

We will be broadcasting tonight, though the time may be shifted a little later due to uncontrollable circumstances. Don’t worry, though, Metal Jesus, Tricia, DJ, and possibly Kevin will be joining us, plus we may even have the return of Carl for a second episode. Who knows?