Thursday, 29 September 2011

V20 trailer

On Youtube to mark the general release of the PDF.

Compare the Requiem trailer I made last year and you can see I'm using the same DVD library. I could have gone more different, but I likes it.

(Indeed, thanks to the "vampire" episode I could probably cut a Vampire trailer together entirely from Alias. Cities at night, dark streets, boardrooms and ballrooms. There's a fair amount of imagery overlap between vampires and spies, especially superspies mingling with high society. It would lack Nosferatu, though...)
V20 Companion open development has kicked off.

Saturday, 24 September 2011

Jim Henson

Today's Google Doodle marking Jim Henson's 75th birthday with digital puppets created by the Henson Company.

I talked a bit about how you might reflect his ideas over in t'Whoblog, but I thought I'd talk a bit more here as well. His "will this work, try it and see" attitude ran through his work, from seeing The Muppet Show when I was a kid, learning with Sesame Street, seeing films like The Dark Crystal and Labyrinth when they came out.

I've been involved with puppetry here and there, and it's definitely affected my storytelling, writing, and of course my GMing. Everything from reinterpreting mythologies to a bit of Brian Froud in some character art.

And above all the desire to entertain. Because...

"When people told themselves their past with stories, explained their present with stories, foretold the future with stories, the best place by the fire was kept for... the storyteller."

There will always be a place by the fire for you, sir.

Thursday, 22 September 2011

This year's theoretical games

Adventure! (or Hollow Earth Expedition) in World War II... or now.

Vampire: The Requiem - or V20 in theory but I'd rather have the two-standard-books version of the latter to actually take to a gaming table, though. My Masquerade always looked fairly Requiem-y anyway.

Supers, probably Icons.

Emergency fallback Doctor Who like the last two years.

That's about it, plan-wise, really. Depends on players.

Wednesday, 21 September 2011

The Grand Masquerade

That longer post I promised ya.

V20 is heavy. Really heavy. Really pretty too. And a nice minor update, a "Revised, Second Edition" with things like the Tremere being more susceptible to Blood Bonds and the Gangrel animal features normally being temporary and the Toreador weakness making them obsessed by beauty rather than frozen in awe by it.

The print-on-demand or Now In Print version will be two books, which might well be more handy session-to-session, certainly more than the limited edition super-shiny version signed by about twenty people which I don't want most gamers getting their grubby paws on. So hopefully that'll get into FLGSes and I can buy it there.

No Big Huge Announcement this year - Onyx Path and Mummy The ? were both known about already, and the big presentation at the Succubus Club was about the fashion styles being planned for the MMO, rather than something like a gameplay demo. It was cool though, and you should have heard the collective groan when the Brujah guy jabbed himself in the cheek. And it did slyly reveal that the seven classic clans would be the only ones available to begin with.

Tim Bradstreet was very cool all round after sitting by him on the flight from Atlanta to New Orleans (which was the flight after the one I was supposed to be on, so I lucked out there). I'll have to let him know how much the original VTM portfolio he gave me goes for at the Conpulsion auction. In like seven months time.

I bought one for myself too, naturally.

I played a tabletop Requiem game, then went to the MMO Q&A, where I got my question answered... How are they dealing with night? Since it's Vampire and Mortal in the main, it'll be night all the time.

The chat panels got me all nostalgic about New Bremen. There'll never be one that big again, as it was The Official Moderated Chat, and eight years after it closed all the others seem to live in its shadow to some extent.

I stopped myself prodding Russell about Requiem too much, instead chatting quite a bit about Buffy and Doctor Who and Cavaliers Of Mars. A bit about Never Let Go, and of course some direct Requiem talk, about Strange, Dead Love and how Mirrors and Dance Macabre go to make Requiem Second Edition in suitably toolkit-y form.

And, Dracula bodypopping.

Sunday, 18 September 2011

The Grand Masquerade

A lengthier report to follow, but for now...

Hello Russell!

Hello Ian!

Winning the "it's a small world" category, the Spanish couple who organised the V20 Europe collection campaign made a trailer with people from... Embraced in Edinburgh.

With any luck I will soon have a new facey-book photo.

V20 is enormous.

The Gangrel animal features weakness is now temporary.

Tim Bradstreet is made of win as well as the widely-known awesome.

At 3.51 this morning I saw Dracula bodypopping to a song I know from glee.

... Life is strange sometimes.

Saturday, 17 September 2011

Hello from the Grand Masquerade

I will have more to say next time I post, I imagine.

In the meantime, Matt M McElroy is compiling a book of essays on Vampire: The Masquerade and held this page up to me specifically. :) So expect to see some early ramblings here and then a sharpened up version there.

Saturday, 10 September 2011

Miracle Days and when everything changes

101 Different Miracle Days. It hasn't reached 101 yet, but we'll see.

SF premises that would be wonderful in some ways but could totally mangle the world.

Of course, you have to consider the effects on the players' characters. Does the miracle tie in to the special powers of a PC?

For example, how would it alter play as well as the world in general if everyone affected suddenly developed telepathy? Including the PCs, so now you have to deal with near-total knowledge on the part of the PCs? Or excluding them?

This is definitely something to think about before starting a plot along these lines. As well as the world, changes to humanity as a whole would affect the PCs, changing them from what the players originally envisioned. Reassuring them that this is temporary will help in most cases, but not all. Imagine something like The Midwich Cuckoos - "Immaculate conception. For every woman able to bear children. All at once." Then consider the players of female PCs. That could have effects far beyond not being able to die for a few months. The more deeply it affects the characters, the more problematic it may be.

Army Of Ghosts doesn't touch anyone physically until the Cybermen arrive, but we see how it affects society, in some cases deeply affecting people. That one step away might make it less troubling, although it could still hit raw nerves.

When something changes the setting profoundly, and doubly when something alters the PCs themselves, you have to make sure the players will want to take this on board.

Critical Miss 11

After five years, Critical Miss returns. With features on James Wallis's almost legendary Cop Show RPG, convention reports from back in the day, absentee players, and an improvised board game called Yes I Sank Your Fucking Barge after one of the great legends of Warhammer.

Thursday, 8 September 2011

Star Trek

Star Trek is 45 today.

It's been sequelled, prequelled, rebooted, cartooned, ripped off, referenced, RPGed rather a lot. Not least by me ol' mate Dave, who has been GMing the Decipher version (a game that was in dire need of a playtest) for my Friday group on and off for almost two years.

But with so much of it out there, in different series and styles and universes - Siskoid's running review count stands at 1419 for episodes, movies, comic issues et al - what people mean when they say Star Trek is pretty variable.

Dave's current game is very much inspired by his favourite series Deep Space Nine - that era, practical issues on a frontier, a tough little ship, a crew heavy with war veterans, a new section of space opened up after the fall of an empire in the Dominion War with a smallish number of major races and a lot of war secrets, religious fanaticism and opportunistic use of religion as Big Bads. But we've still had time for a Q episode and the one where we found the wreck of our own ship from a few hours in the future.

Conversely, the idea I had to GM was in the style of the new movie, a rollicking space opera with a lot of fighting and arguing and snogging and colourful uniforms and gigantic explosions. And that's Star Trek too.

Who wants what was the core of Federal Space by Shadowjack.

I won't ask you to wade through all 433 replies to, but I'll just show you this, explaining why we keep going back there.

Gosh I had no idea.

Saturday, 3 September 2011

Nationals 2012, Day -222

Apparently they have 25 GMs for the Nationals so far. And need twice as many.


I do wonder if it will be as busy in Cardiff as this year's Sheffield event. How many GMs did that have in the end?

Pretty much every Nationals adds some categories. Some run, some don't. Some that do are never seen again. Next year, they have several ideas. I believe Pirates! has already been kicked into touch, with a reminder that apparently there used to be a Swashbuckling category. Naturally that was the one I liked most of these changes. Of course I'd happily run Doctor Who, but I'm not convinced about giving it a category of its own.

Of course, I'm looking at this from a perspective of not getting eight (eight!) people to run my "Film & TV" category in 2007, having Urban Fantasy only start in 2011 and fill up immediately, and wanting to do it again. Possibly fitting Doctor Who in there as I considered well before giving it a category was suggested. But not if that category's going, naturally. (Grrr.)

I get a bit obsessive about categories. This is because having been to the Nationals almost a dozen times, I know it can be all players have to go on when they get to the table. And if I sign up for Category X, I don't want something that really belongs in Category Y. It might be fun, but...

Not that any of this really matters, ultimately it's the wargames categories where the points are. But hey, I want to give the people something like what they want.