Sunday, 31 March 2013

Hugo Nominees 2013

The Avengers, Cabin In The Woods, 3 Doctor Who Episodes, Chuck Wendig up for best new writer, Saucer Country for graphic story, and a novel I have actually read!

As usual, the best encouragement to have random ideas is in the Novella, Novelette and Short Story nominee titles. (“The Boy Who Cast No Shadow”, “Fade To White” and “The Girl-Thing Who Went Out for Sushi” sound like they might be part of the same story...)

Saturday, 30 March 2013

Thursday, 28 March 2013

Tabletop Day

With downloads including a half-price Doctor Who RPG PDF and a bundle of free stuff including the complete Scion: Hero, FirstFable and Little Fears Nightmare Edition rulebook PDFs and the previously-not-free Leverage quickstart.

And Wil Wheaton talks Tabletop Day to SFX's Alasdair Stuart.

Wednesday, 27 March 2013

I Am Zombie

Mark Rein-Hagen brings playable intelligent zombies to RPGs. It sounds a bit like a scruffier, grosser and from the intro funnier version of Vampire, but I for one want to see for myself. Based on cards, like Succubus.
Your government has been lying to you for years. Outbreaks happen, but they are then covered up. Flesh eating bacteria? That was us. Chemical spills? You guessed it, that was us too. The Black Death? That was a big one, but guilty as charged. Mad Cow disease? Yeah... that’s not us.
 Open playtesting, also nice...

Sunday, 24 March 2013

Collective imagining with a shared narrative

Author Mohsin Hamad, author of The Reluctant Fundamentalist, reveals himself as former DM, writes his new book in second person.

Saturday, 23 March 2013

TNG Season Eight

Looked at again because of this thread in the Whoblog: TNG S8, a mix of A and B plots from an imagined eighth season of Star Trek: The Next Generation.

Built for parody, notably in the portrayal of Geordi and Data as sitcom teenagers, but maybe every third one would work seriously:

Picard must debate a copy of himself... to the death.

Riker infiltrates a saboteur cult in the Neutral Zone.

Beverly solves a medical mystery that stains her mentor's legacy.

Worf unwillingly participates in his niece's coming-of-age human hunt.

Ghosts of long-dead crewmen harass Troi.

Picard must pacify a moon-sized Borg drone as he and it drift towards a Federation colony.

Data protects a luddite priest during a robot uprising.

Picard must rescue solar miners trapped on a plasma rig.

Worf struggles to recall his past after being brainwashed by a Klingon terrorist cell.

A world with a terminal plague tries to attract the Borg as a cure.

A team of elite space thieves deactivate the Enterprise's artificial gravity and steal the warp core.

Worf refuses to enjoy the pleasure-planet Risa. (Okay, maybe not that one, but you can just imagine it, can't you?)

Monday, 18 March 2013

The Future (of RPG rulebooks)

Via Rose: The Nova Praxis augmented PDF with the linking and the menus and the general feel of an in-the-future thing.

The Kitten That Spoke With Goats

Hello internet, I’m back after a weekend away...

And this happened...

Not the biggest sign of the End Times ever, compared to NO CAT for example, but it would definitely make Buffy go “...huh”.

So how would animals learning the speech of other animals (rather than our language) be a thing? Good for fairytale-ish or High Weird fantasy?

Succubus: The Reborn

Now live on Kickstarter

Mark Rein-Hagen, creator of Vampire: The Masquerade, returns to vampires with a “massively multiplayer party game” which can apparently work as a variation on poker or as the mechanics and setting for a live action roleplaying game.

I must admit, the descriptions of the game itself have me scratching my head about how it would really work, but it certainly looks interesting, and I think if anyone can get away with creating a game about feuding lines of vampires with different strengths and weaknesses, he can...

Wednesday, 13 March 2013

Monday, 11 March 2013

UK Games Expo Needs YOU!

To GM! Birmingham, May 24-26th.

What does this title suggest?

I give you the title, you give me the elevator pitch for the game

So far, Bruce Baugh has fairytale wolves secretly ruling the world, there are three different games called The Vortex and none of them involve time travel, and I just created a dystopian future where WUBWUBWUB is the rebellious heroes’ ultimate weapon, not to be used lightly due to the risk of collateral damage.

Being Human

So, that was Being Human. It had some great moments in its run.

... And apparently there’s an epilogue to be released on the DVD which changes the meaning of the ending. (SPOILERS!)

That’s pretty annoying...

Saturday, 9 March 2013

Firefly: Out To The Black card game

From Toy Vault, a cooperative card game.

I particularly like the three major traits - Fightin’, Flyin’, and Thinkin’.

Keep Calm And Avoid The Undead

A rather lovely animated government safety warning from In The Flesh, BBC Three’s new recovering zombie drama.

Same basic gag as I used in The Watch House: Everybody Knows here providing the background for a series. My interest level in the show has definitely spiked.

Dungeoneering NOW

This thread on what to do in modern games raised some interesting points. The OP was looking for the best equivalent to dungeoneering in a pseudo-modern setting, thinking on urban exploration of abandoned buildings.

As I say in my response, I think the closest apart from deliberately retro Indy-style dungeons in the present is actually Shadowrun-style heists, with the corporate facility mapped out by the GM, Mission: Impossible-style traps based on cameras and laser tripwires, security guards defending important rooms, items to be stolen and the option to still have a wizard or a dragon in the final room.

Which leads me to think... dungeoneering is actually more like Mission: Impossible than the Mines of Moria.


Student press at me dad’s ol’ work, Napier University, crowdfunding a reprint of a forgotten Robert Louis Stevenson vampire story that predates Dracula.

Thursday, 7 March 2013

Bundle Of Holding

Novels, tie-in or otherwise, by RPG authors, for two great charities.


Ends this weekend.

The state of the Whedon nation

Joss Whedon’s Much Ado About Nothing trailer and a Whedonesque post on it and the nightmarish trip to SXSW. Stealing at least one line for Buffy pregen character writeups.

(See? Relevant to gaming! Shut up!)

Games Are Good For You

So says Ian Livingstone CBE in the Independent. And he should know.


UZAY: Turkish bootleg Star Wars figures gone charmingly wrong.

I particularly like the blister cards with photos of the actual toys in improvised dioramas, like the Death Star Gunner working at a console which is actually a pocket calculator. Because that’s absolutely how to play with them.

Thanks to Morgue.

And now I have to have a villain called Kara Lider in my next Star Wars game.

In which I make an obscure joke about games by friends

DUST 3:16

(Well, they do both feature orbital bombardment as a power-up...)

My hate of Monopoly know no limit

Six popular board games that turn people against board games.

Not sure Connect Four counts as a board, but never mind.
Sam Lipsyte, author and satirist, revealed as frustrated D&D DM.

Wednesday, 6 March 2013

Werewolf: The Apocalypse cancelled action figures

Following W20, I wanted to look for pictures of the prototypes for the Werewolf: The Apocalypse action figures that nearly followed Diamond Select’s Vampire: The Masquerade line in 2002, and might well have sold better, since huge half-wolf monsters with medieval weapons seem more inherently toyetic than people wearing sunglasses.

It took a trip to the Wayback Machine, but I found them here and here. Mari, Albrecht and the Margrave, in Crinos form, looking pretty darn cool.

They also apparently planned variants of the Vampire figures, showing off their fangs a lot more and Lucita having (purple) Obtenebration shadow blades.

Do the prototypes still exist? Who has them? Kickstarter does action figures... ;)

If you only had three figures to represent your game, who would you make?

Tuesday, 5 March 2013

When Will You Rage?

Werewolf The Apocalypse 20th Anniversary Edition is out in PDF to Kickstarter backers.

555 pages of colour. Rules for the White Howlers. A new comic with Mari, Albrecht and Evan trying to stop (a) the Apocalypse and (b) fracking upstate. The old comic with Mari and Albrecht ripping the black ink out of each other through the combat section. No art by SCAR Studios. An afterword by Stew Wilson, written on Arthur’s Seat, like the original Stone Mountain afterword by Mark Rein-Hagen.

My name on page 524.

I resisted the temptation to give my credit to a character, in this case well-remembered NPC (deep breath) Ronan Honigsman, Clenched Jaw Of The North, Sounder Of Mjolnir’s Thunder, Modi Of The Get Of Fenris And Warder Of The Sept Of Warrior’s Blood.

I’m feeling a wee bit nostalgic.
At The Mountains Of Madness from BBC Radio, read by John Strange The Nth Doctor Richard Coyle. Thanks to Ian Muir for pointing me to it.

(Complete with the last line of the previous show. Which is a Terry Pratchett Guards book...)

Los Angeles By Night

You’ve read the book, now attend the convention.

This year’s Grand Masquerade equivalent, taking place aboard a haunted cruise ship moored in Los Angeles. Hmm. Tempting.
Warren Ellis and Ian Rankin in conversation.

The 1970s Soviet future

Wild concepts, futuristic vehicles that wouldn’t look out of place in Thunderbirds, and a Polish StanisÅ‚aw Lem adaptation which you can watch here albeit with no subtitles...

Monday, 4 March 2013

GM's Day

Apparently it’s GM’s Day. Worship us. Or something.

Seriously, that’s a whacking great pdf sale at DriveThru, definitely worth a look.

Pretty much all of Mage The Ascension and Mage The Awakening, Scion, Doctor Who, Dark Harvest, Primeval, 3:16...

And congratulate me on 600 posts while you’re at it. Give me self-worth! SELF WOOOOOORTH!

Saturday, 2 March 2013

How much setting info is enough? And how much is too much?

Of course, this depends on the setting, the players, the characters and more. Horror often relies on ignorance, fantasy on discovery, acting like the Tenth Doctor on knowing it all.

Example: I saw the original short film of Mama (warning: creepy as heck) and imagined a completely different backstory than the one the feature-length version presents - I thought she was meant to be possessed rather than a ghost, that this was clearly a new development, and (due to the ending now chopped off) that it was part of a possession-based spin on a zombie apocalypse. Based on a very small amount of information, I went haring off in apparently a completely unintended direction.

I think a possession apocalypse is a pretty cool idea, but that’s by the by.

Comics news

More than a year on from my last post about Pandora, the new DC’s Mysterious Observer, she is to get her own series. Which doesn’t sound at all like the one I envisaged, but never mind.

Gail Simone is writing Red Sonja. I’d say there’s a fair chance that might be awesome.

Mass Effect writer Mac Walters to write Mass Effect ongoing series. The promo art of two humans having a knife fight is... an interesting choice.

Star Wars: Episodes Without Number

Star Wars elevator pitches, aka adventure hooks, on RPGnet.

Friday, 1 March 2013

Brain To Brain Interfaces in rats.

For all your future cyber-telepathy needs.

And your current cyber-Rat-King needs to.