Friday, 31 October 2014

Thursday, 30 October 2014


Another week, another genre show, here showing in double bills despite being only eight episodes long. Intruders (adapted by Glen Morgan from The X Files from a novel by Michael Marshall Smith) is probably helped by the double bill, pairing the deeply unrevealing first episode with a second episode that appears to explain the main plot in tell-not-show format. Hrm.

Monday, 27 October 2014


Gotham leads the way in DC Comics big push into live-action TV, following the solid success of Arrow leading to a spinoff for The Flash and to Hellblazer Constantine getting a show as well. Unlike the other three its on primetime on a free channel. And... it’s a mess.

It’s mostly a police procedural about crimes slightly too weird even for CSI Miami. And partially a somewhat OTT gangster saga. And a bit of a “hey look, a thing from Batman!” show.

Sometimes the former works reasonably well. The child-snatchers in episode two were pretty creepy. And then sometimes it does Balloonman. Not sure it was a good call to have the first major vigilante to emerge after the Wayne murders, in the third episode of the show, be so... hilarious.

The overall effect is a bit like a splicing of Batman Begins with Batman Returns, where the grim down-to-earth stuff is suddenly interrupted by ninjas and circuses. It reasonably reflects what Gotham is like in the comics, but the shifts seem less jarring there.

The design work to make it look like 70s-80s hellhole New York never cleaned up is great (and could provide fodder for loads of World Of Darkness visuals).

And it’s making its own continuity, separate from (a) the other DC shows and (b) the DC movies. So the built-in possibilities for crossovers have been deliberately cut. (And apparently Arrow and The Flash will be separate to the movies as well, with a movie version of The Flash announced several years in advance complete with casting a week after the first episode came on TV, which is... not the direction I would have gone.)

Ultimately, Gotham is a backdrop for Batman. Does the city need him or not?

Hallowe'en Treats from DTRPG

All on one page this time... it seems.

So far includes the totally-not-Firefly Cinematic Unisystem issue of Eden Studios Presents, a zombie apocalypse for Ravenloft... and the first edition of Wraith: The Oblivion.

Edit: Add a Kaiju Kardgame, a Dungeon Crawl Classic and a Penny Dreadful for Victoriana.

Saturday, 25 October 2014

Agents Of S.H.I.E.L.D. season two

And we’re off! 2.01 Shadows gives us a new status quo, establishes the new base and parameters of the team and series, plays a classic Marvel villain pretty much straight complete with gimmick as well as power, delivers an old-school Whedony emotional gutpunch, and on top of all that it starts with Agent Carter and the Howling Commandos stopping some Nazi Hydra officers in 1945.

So let’s see. What can we take from it for a S.H.I.E.L.D. style game?

Wednesday, 22 October 2014

Rebooting one character: Batgirl goes to college

Despite comics loving to restart series at issue 1, Batgirl gets a big reworking with a new creative team, base of operations (Burnside, the none-more-cool part of Gotham for college kids) and costume in issue 35.

This is coming after the previous reset to being able to walk (after almost as many years in a wheelchair as out) and generally moved her towards young while keeping the super-capable genius bit. Since things tend to remind me of Buffy, it reminded me of issue 1 (see?) of Season Nine, in which our hero also gets a new apartment, new roommates and overdoes it somewhat at a party.

In a sense, it’s a reboot without going back to origins. Character X Goes To College always is, it’s just a reboot that a lot of us actually go through. Add the new look and new creative team, and the emphasis on modern issues (she uses her smartphone more than Sherlock and fights Web 2.0 crime with it) and this is really a new book. How much it will involve ongoing Bat-continuity is unknown, but I hear fairly low.

Which is where roleplayer rambling comes in. Ever had a player shake up a character like this, due to in-game events or otherwise? I’ve mostly seen it in supers games, and then mostly with one character who went up and down the power curve from needing power armour to extinction-level event. But a heavy-duty modernisation could also come from a new edition or sourcebook. And a new player taking over an existing character can have a similar effect as well.

Tuesday, 7 October 2014

Vampire: The Requiem - Actual Play - Nobody Wants You


The complete series.

Vampire: The Requiem - Actual Play End Notes

Nobody Wants You was, as noted, a pre-release game of Vampire: The Requiem second edition, aka Blood And Smoke: The Strix Chronicle. As such, the players had not had a chance to see the chapter on the Strix, so it was kind of natural to make them the primary antagonists. I didn’t cheat on what they could do, except maybe keeping a dusted vampire as a vessel. Being the result of a summoning ritual, the mass of them were vulnerable to being expelled in turn. Lang, on the other hand, was already possessed when he guided the ritual. So who knows where he might turn up next...

One last thing... I made this. (Original plan was to set the game in New Orleans, but that section did not make the final cut.)

Vampire: The Requiem - Actual Play chapter 24