Thursday, August 13, 2015

Velour Thursdays: How We Came to Be Here

I am dusting off this dormant blog in the hopes of using it to promote my latest pie-in-the-sky venture.  That venture is Velour and Go-Go Boots, my science-fiction role-playing game that is inspired by Star Trek.  To be completely accurate, you can replace, "is inspired by" with "completely rips off (please don't sue me, Paramount)."  In the spirit of additional accuracy, I will now tell you that the game is based mostly on the original series, though there are frequent nods to Next Gen.

I'm going to try to post things about Velour and Go-Go Boots every Thursday for the foreseeable future, possibly up until the game's release sometime in 2016.  I'll probably use this space to talk about design decisions, game features, and examples of play.  I will also probably talk up my good friend Bob Dunham, who helped me to tear down and rebuild the game when it really needed it, and to plug my wonderful artist, Vanessa Walsh.

Seriously, take a moment to look at her body of work.  It is amazing.

While I'm telling you about all of those things, I will also be kicking myself for not having the necessary prescience to come up with a game name that shares a letter with one of the days of the week. Because having alliterative titles for things is fun, and also because it assuages my OCD.  The closest I could manage was Velour Wednesdays, but a) that name made it seem like I was trying too hard and b) I was tired yesterday and didn't write anything.

Anyway, now that the preamble is out of the way, we can proceed to the meat of this post.


When I was a young lad of nine or so, I was laid low for a week by some disease or other.  I don't remember all that much about it, because I was sick, but I do distinctly recall my parents bringing one of our chaise lawn chairs into the living room so that I could sit in it and comfortably watch TV.  My illness just happened to coincide with a Star Trek marathon, so I wound up sitting there for hours and hours watching the amazing adventures of Kirk, Spock, Bones, and the gang.

For this reason, Star Trek has always had a warm spot in my heart, but I didn't consider myself a "fan" in the completely obsessed, fully-devoted sense until recently.  I watched episodes when they were on TV and I was in the room.  I was conversant enough to talk about tribbles and transporters and the whole bit, but I've only seen a tiny percentage of the shows (though I am slowly rectifying that), I've never read any of the books, and I don't speak Klingon.

I believe the gamer term for what I am is "filthy casual."

Anyway, all that started to change when the Fire Nation attacked when I wound up becoming unhealthily obsessed with Red Letter Media's oeuvre in general and with the Plinkett reviews in specific. For those who don't know, Harry Plinkett (a character voiced by Mike Stoklasa) is a dangerously insane old man who dissects popular movies (most famously the Star Wars prequels) with the incisive analysis of a film scholar.  While portions of his reviews are extremely dark and can be problematic, Mike's/Plinkett's insights into film are top notch.

I burned through all three of the Star Wars prequel reviews in rapid succession and found myself hungering for more.  Luckily, there was more!  I discovered that Plinkett had done reviews for all of the Next Gen movies.  They weren't as in-depth as the prequel reviews, but they were still really good and offered a lot of insights from a guy who (despite playing a violent, murderous sociopath for the purposes of making an entertaining review series) deeply loves Star Trek.

While Plinkett panned all of the Next Gen movies, his enthusiasm for all things Star Trek kindled a tiny spark of nerdiness deep inside my breast.  "I remember watching Star Trek," I said to myself.  "The episodes that I saw were pretty good.  Oh, and I have Netflix now!  And Star Trek is on Netflix.  That means I can watch all the Star Trek I want.  Forever!"

I started with The Man Trap and went on from there.  Yes, some of the stories are hokey, and some of them are downright dire (not that you care, but despite all of the faults of Spock's Brain, I find it to be a more enjoyable watch than The Alternative Factor), but there was something charming about them that kept me watching.

And while I was watching, the part of my brain that likes to make things (let's call him Hindbrain) was already whirling away.  I think it was right around the time that I finished The Devil in the Dark that my Hindbrain and my Forebrain had this conversation:

HB:  Hey!  Hey!  You know what would be a cool idea?
FB:  What?
HB:  A Star Trek role-playing game! That's my idea!  Isn't it great?
FB:  Wow, that's extremely clever.  No one's ever thought of that before.
HB:  I know, right?
FB:  Yeah, no one other than FASA, Last Unicorn, Decipher, or the publishers of Starfleet Universe.
HB:  Oh, come on!  Stop being such a killjoy.
FB:  Fine.  What did you have in mind?
HB:  Well... (furtive whispering)
FB:  Actually...That is pretty good.
HB:  See?
FB:  All right, all right.  I stand corrected.  Maybe this is an idea that has legs. Not that Paramount would ever give us the license for it.
HB:  Oh, I know. That's why I want to call it Velour and Go-Go Boots.
FB:  What?!

Thanks for making it all the way to the end of my ramble, Faceless-Yet-Extremely-Patient Internet Person!  Next week, I'll talk about some of the initial ideas I had for the game and how some of them even worked.


  1. Tell them about that time I was awesome!

  2. *grumble* I had a long comment about little boy sniffling chaise wisps aether consciousness, and the sparklebox ate it. I'm not going to retype it right now, but you get the gist.