Friday, 28 September 2012

Where No One Has Gone Before

This one from Ian Watson:

Happy 25th anniversary, Star Trek: The Next Generation.

Thursday, 27 September 2012

Indiana Jones And The Buddhist Meteor

An 11th-century carving from Mongolia of the Buddhist god Vaiśravana was fashioned from a meteorite fragment... It was apparently brought to Germany in 1939 by a Nazi-backed archaeological expedition to search for the roots of Aryanism.” 

Giving it more than a second’s thought, “Indiana Jones And The Stone Of Heaven” is probably a better title...

Vaiśravana is one of the Four Heavenly Kings. So what are the other three in a set made of, who has them now, and what happens if you bring them together?

"Big shiny hole in the universe. Spits out dinosaurs."

A succinct description of Primeval from the trailer for new spinoff New World.

Lessons of a variable adaptation

The Mary Sue’s advice for the future of the X-Men franchise makes interesting reading for a superhero GM, an adapter of source material, or anyone looking at any setting’s Weird Level.

“Use your badasses sparingly” is largely up to the players, but can also apply to NPCs. Obviously, a big superhero story with no action would be strange (but doable) but there’s definitely such a thing as too much.

“Stop making everyone into teenagers” relates to adaptation in particular, but also to the setup of Xavier’s as a Wizard School for mutants and how that relates to a wider world.

“Not everyone wants to be an X-Man” concerns NPCs, mostly, assuming the PCs have chosen a side in the main conflict, if your setting has a defined conflict. If not, they may well want to make their own way. In either case, having more options for allegiances, shifting alliances, betrayals and places to run to when things go wrong can add a lot to a setting.

“Crack-A-Lackin': How Realistic is Your Universe?” - set a Weird Level and pretty much stay there. Something this series has failed to do.

“Stupid Human Tricks” is about the stakes in the setting’s conflicts. What’s the point of fighting for humanity when humanity doesn’t just hate and fear you but is also nothing but trouble? What have the Rebel Alliance done for me lately? Why bother saving Arkham when all the police do is arrest us? Personalising a larger conflict (or a big organisation like the PCs’ patrons or enemies) can make everything count more, and making the NPCs involved interesting - and the allied ones actually helpful - can help too.

“Build inward, not outward a.k.a. Less really is more” is about NPC bloat, something I’ve been guilty of in the past. Who is vital, who can fill multiple roles, who is there because they’re there?

 “Use the metaphors in the material” is targeted at the X-Men movies in particular, but can also apply to any adaptation. What do people love about a setting, what is key to it, what is interesting but nonessential and what can go?

Wednesday, 26 September 2012

Vampires can see in the dark, right?

Seeing In The Dark says that yes, they can in the Requiem revision The Strix Chronicles.

Playtest! Go!

Having had games (particularly Dark Ages games) where I had to handwave this, its nice to see it in rules form.

And they can smell blood better than anything else, as well...

Nothing Can Possibly Go Wrong

A new graphic novel by Faith Erin Hicks, adapted from a YA novel by Prudence Shen.

Readable online free until the book comes out.

Nothing genre-y at the moment, really - by the end of the initial preview of Hickss previous book Friends With Boys we had met the ghost - but it may get there. And even if not, high school politics is horrible and amusing from a safe distance enough to check out. Also I said free, right?

Dragonmeet tickets on sale

In London December 1st, or able to get there? It’s worth the trip.

And check out that new logo by Paul Bourne too.

3D Printing Guns

That's a bit more cyberpunk than I like my reality.

Tuesday, 25 September 2012


Happy 25th anniversary to The Princess Bride.

Also, little-known facts.

Vampire: The Ma(scratched out)de

What happens when the masquerade breaks? A lot of vampires are in a lot of trouble, obviously.

Although as noted, it depends how and why the omnibreach happens, and how all-encompassing it is. “We know vampires exist because it was on the news!” is different from “We know vampires exist because every human can now sense them!”

Smashing a fundamental of a setting should be a big deal, the game before and after should feel very different. After Darth Vader dropped the Emperor down that vent, what was there to do in Star Wars? See the Expanded Universe for various answers, none of them very satisfactory. Better to move to another part of the universe, like Knights Of The Old Republic.

And do you (can you) leave a reset button? Hard to do in this case, which is why the idea was only really discussed in Gehenna and Mirrors. A smaller change that still affects the PCs heavily can change the game as much but be more reversible.

Stranding the Doctor on Earth with his TARDIS broken altered the format of Doctor Who for a couple of seasons, but then it was off again through time and space. Of course, a series all about time travel makes retconning very easy to excuse anyway.

Monday, 24 September 2012

Six-Gun Gorilla!

Thanks to Kickstarter bonus success, Jess Nevins puts pulp legend and Remake/Remodel star SIX-GUN GORILLA online.

Sunday, 23 September 2012

Rite Of Passage 2012

Well, that’s Stand In Front Of Society Pitching Game Ideas Day over for another year.

I cheated by collaring a few folk for the afternoon session in advance - had to, as I hadn’t actually gotten to the point of preparing an actually ready-to-start game. Going with Space Opera NOW! and provisionally using Adventure!

Dunno about the evening. I have some maybes for V20. Not ready to start right away either, as my hardback has yet to arrive. No, I’m not trusting gamers with my deluxe edition...

I am a nerd with photo editing software. Fear me.

There's now an Onyx Path tumblr. So I redid my Gehenna cover manip to put on it. EDIT: People on RPGnet said nice things about it too. And then Mr Teapot posted about Dan Cetorelli's custom leather RPG bookbindings and whoa.

It's a... memorable title, certainly.

James Hutchings, of the New Death And Others, has started a superhero crime prose series with The Case of the Syphilitic Sister. First chapter up, free.

Thursday, 20 September 2012

Hang on, travelers!

Happy tenth anniversary, Firefly!

I was there soon after the start - just after the end.

I was there for the world premiere of Serenity. Yes, I am still bragging about this seven years later.

 May we one day see yer like again.

Wednesday, 19 September 2012

"Home is now behind you. The world is ahead."

The Hobbit 1 trailer 2

"What the Black Pearl means... is freedom."

It be International Talk Like A Pirate Day, one of them memes that runs a bit longer’n most, because talkin’ like a pirate be something geeks like to do anyways. Savvy?

(And to celebrate, DriveThru are giving away PDFs of the deeply strange Classic WOD book Blood-Dimmed Tides and Exalted's Savage Seas!)

As recently discussed in an epic thread/shouting match on t’RPGnet, pirates get romanticised in a way many other murderhobo types from history don’t. There were civil pirates as well as vicious pirates, so there’s at least some room for the romantic view to be accurate. And they all went for a life of freedom, living by their wits and skill, rather than working for someone else. And of course they looked really cool.

Mythos Tomes, from a Mythos tome

The Case Of Mark Edward Morrison from The Unspeakable Oath issue 3. That's before the print copies made it to my then FLGS.

They Fight Crime! We'll work out why later.

SteveD asks Where do stories in different genres begin?

Tuesday, 18 September 2012

Paul Cornell on SF and the future

(From his Twitter account)

Exam changes: pandering to a UK who can't believe its children are getting smarter, that things could get better.

SF shouldn't be a genre. It's a moral imperative. A way of looking. To look to the future, not the past.

But these days, SF is a genre, and often deals with old visions, with what the future was.

SF seems to have given up on the future at the same point the mainstream did.

These things are connected in the UK: a country that can imagine a better future for its children would have real SF.

Monday, 17 September 2012

I have returned! Which is nice.

And I might run Vampire. See who I get...

Sunday, 16 September 2012

Primeval is out!

The physical books for the Primeval RPG are making their way out into the world. And I’m not just saying this because of who’s in the Special Thanks section.

Thursday, 13 September 2012

Dispatches from the front

Greetings from the land of no internet. (Well, greetings from work, where there is internet, obviously.)

Still not 100% sure what to run this academic year, as an evening slot on the regular day is the best option. That, and the time of year and recent arrival of two sourcebooks, has me thinking of Vampire again...

Friday, 7 September 2012

Your GMing: a retrospective

Starting tonight, one of our local art cinemas is doing a full Tim Burton retrospective. As they put it in the listings, “yes, Planet Of The Apes as well!”

How would your games stack up to such scrutiny? Which are worth revisiting? What themes and styles recur? How much is the “auteur theory” applicable to GMing? (In my style, not much.) And could Tim Burton blame his players for how Dark Shadows went?

Poor Ensign E

Whoa. Google went all out for the 46th anniversary of Star Trek. I wonder if they saw the 45th go by and thought “oops”?

Chibi Game Of Thrones Toys

Um... no?

Thursday, 6 September 2012

Wednesday, 5 September 2012

Want to feel old?

It was twenty years ago today
Timm and Dini taught the Bat to play -

Happy 20th birthday, Batman: The Animated Series!

Sunday, 2 September 2012

Worldcon London is go

Loncon3 - the science fiction and fantasy Worldcon is coming to London in 2014. Not a gaming event, but at the AussieCon in Melbourne there were a few gaming bits and bobs and a games room. Something for the UK games types to consider in the almost two years we have to go.