My Games

Monday, November 30, 2020

Maximum Recursion Depth: Scrap Princess (1) Stretch Goal!

The Maximum Recursion Depth Kickstarter has met the second stretch goal! This means that Scrap Princess will produce an original piece of art for this issue! Scrap Princess's piece should be a nice accompaniment to Vallinin, who has done amazing work for the game so far and will continue to be the primary artist on this issue. We've nearly completed the fourth Poltergeist Form and it is possibly the best yet (I happen to know it's his favorite...).

Scrap Princess and I have not decided on what exactly her contribution will be yet, but for reference, included below are three pieces of art she's produced for one of my other campaign settings, Phantasmos.

Tuesday, November 24, 2020

Maximum Recursion Depth: Fiona Maeve Geist Stretch Goal!

The Maximum Recursion Depth Kickstarter has met the first stretch goal! This means that Fiona Maeve Geist will produce a Poltergeist Form for this issue, bringing the total number up to 7! This will also be the first official Poltergeist Form not created by me.

I would generally encourage people to consider creating their own Poltergeist Forms if they feel so inclined, but admittedly, I do not have a specific framework for doing so at the moment. Likely, while discussing with Fiona, I will end up having to create that framework or inadvertently creating it in the process. That may or may not make it into the book in any formalized way, but at least it will be one more interesting Poltergeist Form, with a unique perspective, which hopefully people will appreciate. Maybe I'll share a formal framework for creating new poltergeist forms on my blog, or in a future issue.

In any case, I'm really excited to see what she creates!

Mothership Dead Planet, by Fiona Maeve Geist, Donn Stroud, and Sean McCoy. In my headcanon (and in absolutely no official or authorized sense...) this makes Maximum Recursion Depth the black sheep stepchild to Mothership.

Thursday, November 19, 2020

Maximum Recursion Depth Kickstarter Funding Goal Met!!!!

The funding goal for the Maximum Recursion Depth Kickstarter has been met!!!!! Still hoping to get the stretch goals, would love to have Fiona Geist as a guest writer of a Poltergeist Form and a couple pieces of Scrap Princess art, but anyway, this is very exciting, to have gotten fully funded in under a week!

Also, I was interviewed about Maximum Recursion Depth last night on The Hardboiled GMshoe's Office! I think it was a good discussion about the game, and they asked some good questions. I hope people give it a look.

EDIT: I had meant to write some other stuff in here and then completely forgot. Anyway, I have to actually do my job, but this weekend I'll have a follow-up post about some stuff now that the goal for the MRD Kickstarter has been met.

Wednesday, November 18, 2020

Maximum Recursion Depth Interview!

Quick Update, a bit last minute, but I will be interviewed later this evening about my Kickstarter for Maximum Recursion Depth! Details below:

[Q&A] The Randomworlds RPG chatroom welcomes Max Cantor (Maximum Recursion Depth: The Karmapunk RPG) 11/18/2020 7:30 p.m. CDT!

To join:

Log to be posted at:

EDIT: Here it is! Here's my interview with The Hardboiled GMshoe's Office

Friday, November 13, 2020

Maximum Recursion Depth Kickstarter!!!!!

I just launched a Kickstarter for Maximum Recursion Depth! It's going to include a ton of new content and revised content, awesome original art by an amazing artist, awesome stylistic layout. This is a preview of MRD becoming what I had always intended for it to be. I've scoped the project so that I'm prepared to fund it entirely out of pocket if necessary, but a successful kickstarter will allow me to do more, more quickly, and will make it more feasible for me to continue to produce more content in the future of this level of quality and with these and other partners. I have a lot of doubts that this will succeed, and it's scary and depressing and a little embarrassing thinking about how poorly this is likely to go, and frustrating to believe this despite how much work I've put into this. But, it was a good learning experience, it forced me to think about certain things more thoroughly, to be prepared to really commit myself to doing this. So it's happening, one way or another, even if the KS fails. But I really hope it doesn't...

Here it is!

Wednesday, November 11, 2020

Maximum Recursion Depth Group 2 Play Report

I've been running a game of Maximum Recursion Depth with a different group while my main group is (hopefully just temporarily) on hold. In trying to prep a new player to join the second session, I wrote for them what was basically a play report, so I figured I'd share it here since I think it broadly reflects the kinds of ideas one should expect for this setting. I'm terrible at writing play reports and there are a lot of details that are probably getting glossed over, but hopefully, it's something. I hope to have more "somethings" for Maximum Recursion Depth very soon.


Pauling Linus (played by Lukas, from my "home" group): An academic with the Poltergeist Form Afterbirth of the Broken Machine Dragon. 

Leon (played by Elias Stretch): Works in arts and entertainment, with the Poltergeist Form Pyramid Shining Brightly.

Nykr (played by Zubin, who will be dropping out for personal reasons): An actor with the Poltergeist Form Ghost in the Mirror.

??? (Fiona Geist will be joining the next session, as a continuation of these events)

NPC index

Rat Jack: An illegal Poltergeist, part of Polterzeitgeist / Council of Jacks. Also, a drug dealer who works for Chester, the Cheetah Nature Spirit. Hired the party to investigate Goblin Jack.

Goblin Jack: Short, ropey/gangly dense muscles, scruffy, rugged, and kind of ugly. An illegal Poltergeist who is accruing too much Karma and is on the verge of becoming an Ashura. Has gotten involved with the drag performer Pro-Fane, and has a personal connection with the drag performer Doctor Lovesmenot. Has gone to war with the Deseret Avengers, a trans-national hate group within the US, Uruguay, and Ruritania.

Pro-Fane: Popular African American Drag Queen. Rumored to be Seneca Tiger. Her style is like if a Japanese horror girl became a ganguro TikTok influencer. Friends with Doctor Lovesmenot and involved with Goblin Jack. Has a TikTok feud with Moon Marine, who alleges she's the culprit of "The Platypussy Leak".

Moon Marine: Famous superhero with a secret identity. Attractive blonde zoomer TikTok star. Costume like a Marine Dress Uniform except colorful, mostly in shades of blue, tastefully revealing, and platypus themed (the hat looks like a platypus bill). Is actually a white nationalist, part of the Deseret Avengers, and she uses her fame to coerce her fans into joining DA and other internet hate groups. The "Platypussy Leak" is the name of her recent sex tape leak, which may have been intended for an onlyfans campaign.

Chester: A humanoid cheetah-like Nature Spirit and drug dealer. His main drug is Dharmafodil aka "Chedder"

Udo Kier: A famous character actor who died in late 2018. Goblin Jack was hired to smuggle him out of the Numberless Courts of Hell bureaucracy, and it is not publicly known that Udo Kier is a Poltergeist. While IRL he is German, in this setting he is Ruritanian, and has a begrudging connection to the Deseret Avengers. He will play Dracula, the lead villain in Marvel's upcoming Blade movie. (I'm pretty sure he is still alive IRL)

Doctor Lovesmenot: Wealthy drag/burlesque performer, the lead performer of Doctor Lovesmenot's Hectic Eclectic Erect-ic Freak Show. Has a long-standing Karmic Attachment with Goblin Jack, and is friends with Pro-Fane. Genderqueer. Is like a cross between Jareth the Goblin King, Ziggy Stardust, and Snake Plisskin.

Soft Mother: A cartoon humanoid in the form of a voluptuous woman, like a cross between Jessica Rabbit and Betty Boop. Has some kind of relationship with Doctor Lovesmenot.

Rob Santos: An Uruguayan immigrant who used to work for Mateo Silva, who is connected to the Deseret Avengers. Was murdered at the party.

Play Report

The PCs were hired by Rat Jack, an illegal Poltergeist Mobster-type, to find his "brother" Goblin Jack, a rogue illegal Poltergeist who has gone to war against the Deseret Avengers, a trans-national hate group, and he is on the verge of accruing too much Karma and turning into an Ashura, a Karma devil.

They learned that Goblin Jack was friends with Pro-Fane, a drag performer in the Bushwick-area who is associated with the Seneca Collective, a BLM-related organization in the setting, and is rumored to be the vigilante Seneca Tiger. They also learned he had some kind of connection to the drag/burlesque performer Doctor Lovesmenot.

They went to one of Pro-Fane's shows at a bar in Bushwick (which exists IRL), where they encountered Deseret Avengers protestors, in part protesting the performers because they are assholes, and in part specifically protesting Pro-Fane, who is in a TikTok / Twitter war with the vigilante Moon Marine, over her sex tape "The Platypussy Leak" (her costume is somewhat platypus themed). Moon Marine blames the leak on Pro-Fane. They convinced a Deseret Avenger who had intended to shoot up the bar to drop his gun and reevaluate his life, befriended Pro-Fane, and got invited to Doctor Lovesmenot's Halloween party.

At the party, they learned that Doctor Lovesmenot and Goblin Jack were "brothers" from even before Goblin Jack became part of Polterzeitgeist and part of the Council of Jacks, who also re-confirmed that Goblin Jack has been going off the deep end. They also met Soft Mother who seems to be tied up in that relationship.

They investigate the non-Euclidean penthouse and find a bunch of weird rooms like a drug den room where they met the cheetah-like Nature Spirit drug dealer Chester who Rat Jack works for, and they also met the illegal Poltergeist Udo Kier, and a room for virgin fuck boys who like Lovecraft too much, and eventually, they bump into Moon Marine. She snuck into the party to try to get dirt on Pro-Fane.

The PCs find a dead body in one of the rooms and believe Goblin Jack killed him. They were going to chase after the culprit but the monster got away from them.

They convinced Moon Marine to watch over the body; saying she can try to frame Pro-Fane, but really they're just trying to stall so they can get to the bottom of all this.

They go into the air ducts to spy on the rooms and find Doctor Lovesmenot talking to someone who seems to match the description of Goblin Jack. They briefly turned off the power and surrounded them, and we left things on that cliffhanger.

Monday, November 2, 2020

The Indigo Saint's Cathedral: There is No Sundown Here (Ch. 1)

Quite a while back, I wrote an article for high level games, a "Halloween special", nominally about making monsters that are substantive, where the monster is designed so as to be an adventure unto itself. It was also about building an adventure that fit the underlying themes of Halloween, without the usual Halloween tropes such as pumpkins, vampires, and ghosts.

I want to do something like that here, as well. I haven't felt very much in the Halloween spirit this year, I think for obvious reasons. I want to build something that is a different kind of horror, something decidedly unthematic to Halloween, like an anti-Halloween.

As much as I was not really a fan of the movie Midsommar, I appreciated the way it attempted to do horror in a superficially different way- in mid-summer, in the sun. This idea has that in common, and hopefully not much else.

I had wanted to finish this before Halloween and that didn't happen, and I realize I haven't posted in a while. I have some stuff I'm working on, and also I've just been busy with work stuff. Let's call this Chapter 1, hopefully I get back to it and get to the juicy parts. But anyway, hopefully, I'll be posting some more substantive stuff soon!


The seasons have been getting shorter, haven't they? Or most of them, anyway. Here we are, late into the Fall, and it still feels like Summer. I walk along the beach, my light jacket awkwardly wedged up my armpit, phone in hand and carrying a bag of sundries in the other. I feel my skin burning in real-time. I am aware that my body is in quarantine, killing itself from the outside to protect what's within. A nagging itch.

From where I stand, I can see the cathedral around the bend and up the hill. It looks like the science fantasy genetically engineered super-baby of Michelangelo and Steve Jobs. I'm more of an android guy. But I have to admit, it's a compelling look. It does this thing- I don't really know how to describe it, it's like, a rainbow shadow, in three dimensions. Not like a hologram, it's like a four-dimensional light shines down on it. The software is open-source, but it's a bit beyond me. And I can't exactly afford the hardware anyway.

I'm only walking along the beach because I was laid off. I should be looking for a job right now. Or working on some personal project, or developing my skills. But it's so nice out, and it's only a matter of time before it starts to get cold. It's the Fall. It'll be cold any day now.

I'm always surprised how many other people walk around during the day like this, just enjoying the weather; the warmth, and the sun shining brightly. Are they all unemployed too? They look happy though. Maybe that's what they've resigned themselves to. Maybe they think it'll just work itself out.

I'm not exactly a church guy, but the cathedral is different. I don't think they're even associated with any church. Maybe they're Mormon. Anyway, they have AC, and I heard The Indigo Saint was giving a talk. He's an interesting guy. Really changed how I look at things. Guy used to be a software engineer, had a near-death experience, came back with some really out-there ideas. I know it sounds like a cliche, but, well, just look at that "shadow".

By the time I get there I'm drenched in sweat, and I'm pink and red like a pig. I smell like one too. And I've got that itch, no, not that friendly smack on the back of my neck from Mr. Sunshine, the other one. The salts in my sweat building up, scraping inside my ass cheeks with each stride, moist and chafed at the same time. I never understood why people call it swamp butt, it's more like wet sand. Or is that just me?

All the women who work at the cathedral are gorgeous and friendly. Genuinely friendly. You'd think you're at a strip club. I know you're not supposed to say those kinds of things anymore, but ever since I started listening to The Indigo Saint, I've learned to be a little more honest with myself, even the uncomfortable parts. So it is what it is, I'm unemployed, I'm anxious, I'm hot and sweaty, and here they've got AC and everything here is beautiful. Besides me and the other schlubs. Gotta be honest, right?

You'd think with a name like The Indigo Saint he'd look all hipster, avant-garde, artiste, or something like that. He wears pastels and metallics, but really, he looks more like an Abercrombie and Fitch model, like the sleeker new version of Dolph Lundgren for the modern era. Even with the rosegold five o'clock shadow over his wide jawline, you can see the definition of his perfect, high cheekbones.

He's got one of those smiles. Light, warm. Confident, purposeful. Like the first man to wield fire and he's just waiting to show you. So when he rises to the podium, we all shut the fuck up, immediately. And he just goes. Like spitfire. He enunciates- it's like synesthesia, like the words beam out of his mouth, different colors for different purposes, like a rainbow. Amateurs talk about reality being a simulation, but this guy's writing a holographic neural network that's going to simulate reality more efficiently and with higher resolution than reality itself. He's designing a new kind of metaphysics just to describe what his model is doing.

So I come out of the talk feeling like I can walk on water if I will myself to do it. But on my way down the hill I trip on a rock that must be invisible because I don't fucking see it, and anyway, then I remember that I never finished his tutorial repo, and I somehow got myself tangled up in a git commit knot that I can't get myself out of, and I decide, well, at least someone out there knows what he's doing. Maybe he'll figure it all out.

The sunburn is only getting worse, I should probably go home. My skin pulses, like it's laughing. Keep laughing while the sun warps you like an eldritch god, mutating you into some dumb unthinking, self-replicating fucking monster, while the immune system goes to town on you like a SWAT raid. You'd think evolution would have come up with a better solution than to just let half the body bumble around laughing while its world burns down around it because some trigger happy psychos would rather burn it down than try to fix it.

I've worked myself up over nothing, again, and decide to turn around. I've never stuck around after the talk. The crowd disperses, people go back into the sunshine, it's just what you do. So I figure, I dunno, what's it like there when they're just going about their normal business. Maybe I can see if they're hiring. I mean, I am a software engineer, and The Indigo Saint can't be doing all of this alone. I don't really want to go home yet, and... I just can't deal with the sun anymore.

I head back in, trying my best to feel confident, like I'm supposed to be here. I'm not not supposed to be here. Anyway, I just sit back in my seat and pull out my phone, and put on that sort of look, like I'm waiting for something, like this is just some plan gone awry and that's why I'm back and just sitting here, and please leave me the fuck alone. I hear some music in the background, you'd think it would be church organs, gregorian chants, or maybe, this place being what it is, something more like muzak or lounge, or some basic pop. But it's more like an ice cream truck or carnival jingle. One of those ones that's nostalgic, but also kind of depressing. There's probably a German word for what I'm talking about. Both unassuming and deeply moving. So I should probably go before I get swept up in whatever this is that I'm feeling now, I can feel myself spiraling down, I need to go home.