Monday, 30 November 2015

Sunday, 29 November 2015

A city much like London

Unmade London landmarks. The arched early prototype Tower Bridge would be a good first clue that you’re in a parallel world. The gigantic Metropolis thing that could have been the new Grosvenor Park hotel would suggest Airstrip One...

Saturday, 28 November 2015

One small action

Today I joined a global climate march. The showing in Edinburgh was a mile long, not a big deal compared to the sixty thousand or so in Melbourne, but enough to be seen. It went off peacefully, so you may not have heard about it in the news.

Have you ever included something like that in a game? A peaceful protest, a march, a sit-in? Maybe as background detail for an in-game issue, like mutant rights in the Marvel universe? Or just an obstacle in a chase? And did it achieve something?

Friday, 27 November 2015

Black Friday

The Spirit Of Black Friday Past can only show you three years ago.

But the Spirit Of Black Friday Yet To Come has such sights to show you...

Your savings will be legendary. Even in Hell.

Terror is Tales From Black Friday.

The gods are hangry.

Thursday, 26 November 2015


Happy Thanksgiving, to those for whom it is appropriate.

Thanksgiving has its roots in recorded history, but it’s still picking up odd sidebars. I’ve talked about weird holiday traditions and how they accrue before, like Hallowe’en for example. We’re seeing one being actively pushed at the moment with Thanksgiving, with Black Friday - it’s happening here and we don’t even have Thanksgiving to attach it to!

Which is a shame because a holiday all about communities coming together to help each other and looking at what you’re glad of in your life sounds nice.

Here in the UK, apparently we have National Cake Day. Which is nice, but...

Game-wise, does your setting have any major holidays specific to one nation? Something that visitors would find surprising, and travellers going the other way would celebrate in small ways.

Wednesday, 25 November 2015

Your Game: Civil War

The trailer for Captain America: Civil War came out last night (distracting Marvel fans from talking about Jessica Jones for a while) and revealed the basics of why MCU Cap and Iron Man are going to fall out. Empire talked to the directors the Russo brothers and they dropped some biggish hints here.

Two of the major players in the setting (PCs, if you will) disagree and it escalates to combat. As long as it’s PC v. PC and not player v. player, this can make for pretty interesting developments.

Hence not one but two seasons of The Watch House ending with PC heel turns - with the heel PCs set up by their players to provide a good fight and lose.

Monday, 23 November 2015

Overthrowing the setting

The Hunger Games: Mockingjay Part II is now in cinemas, the conclusion of a YA SF trilogy/quadrilogy about revolution against injustice and overthrowing a dictatorship.

The setting has enough detail to be gameable, before and during Katniss’s revolt, with worldbuilding to spare in the little-seen Districts and the world beyond the redrawn borders.

(The 100 is I think the most game-friendly work to appear in its wake as it’s been adapted to TV with an expandable scope and a higher Weird Level.)

Have your characters ever toppled the system? And what, if anything, did they do afterwards?

CyberGeneration is an early example of YA dystopia and revolution in gaming, with the disenfranchised youth suddenly having the power literally in their hands to cause real change, and a run of adventures designed with this in mind - it starts with Bastille Day, dropping the PCs into a prison camp to rescue someone and, ideally, start a full-on breakout.

Vampire: The Masquerade started with the assumption that the PCs would be or become anarchs, the angry young vampires railing against the establishment with the storytelling advantage that the establishment was right there in the form of the Prince. Later editions focused more on the cold-ish war between the Camarilla and the Sabbat, but anarch play has seen more support in V20.

Midnight is a dystopian spin on Middle-Earth where the Dark Lord of the setting won, and a small resistance struggles against the forces of the Shadow.

And of course in Star Wars you are probably part of the Rebel Alliance.

There are also games about utopian settings in somewhat hostile worlds, like King Arthur Pendragon, where PCs are expected to support and defend the dream of Camelot, promote its ideals, and salvage what hope they can when it all comes crashing down.

Wraith: The Oblivion video interview

Ian Watson sits down to discuss Wraith: The Oblivion.

Sunday, 22 November 2015

You can't pick your clan...

An idea I’ve seen a few times - a Vampire game where players generate mortal characters and then have clan assigned randomly or by the Storyteller. It can work, as long as the choice doesn’t invalidate what the player wants to do. My example is a highly social character becoming a Nosferatu - which can happen in the Vampire: The Masquerade setting but probably isn’t what the player wanted when they filled in those Appearance dots. Most concepts can fit into most clans with work, but some are definitely more work than others.

Saturday, 21 November 2015

Knights of a rusted future

What is the story behind the headline piece from concept artist Blake Rottinger? I don’t know, but I want to...

Friday, 20 November 2015

A comics anthology about and by women in gaming

Chainmail Bikini, launched on Kickstarter, is out now to all.

A Star Trek Wishlist

From SFX, these ten points are, I think, pretty good. Especially making it mainstream and non-fan-friendly. As noted, if Doctor Who can do it, so can Star Trek.

Thursday, 19 November 2015

Should I rectify this...?

I realise, as I look back on Hallowe’en adventures and forward to Christmas adventures, that I’ve never run an adventure themed around St. Andrew’s Day...

Wednesday, 18 November 2015

Write it down when it comes.

Woke up with a head full of small-time con artists in Vegas being snarky as they plan One Big Score. ‪#‎amwriting‬ apparently.

Monday, 16 November 2015

Where have my videos gone?

Following a copyright claim by BBC Worldwide, which is entirely fair for the video in question, I have deleted my TWH YouTube channel for fake trailers and the like. I will put some up elsewhere as and when. :/

Sunday, 15 November 2015

Deconstructing your own work

Last night I went to see Garbage at the end of their twentieth anniversary tour. (The show was dedicated to friends on the gig circuit who were with Eagles Of Death Metal the night before.) Anyway, the tour has been revisiting their first album and associated B-sides, playing some tracks pretty straight, accelerating and loudening others, significantly deconstructing others.

What was I running five, ten, twenty years ago? What would I do differently with the same plot today?

Saturday, 14 November 2015

Do some good

Tonight is Children In Need here, the BBC’s annual fundraiser for good causes across the country. (See also Comic Relief and Sport Relief in the spring. Common highlights include Doctor Who scenes - CiN was the source of Ten convincing Rose who he was, and later of Time Crash.)

The most I ever raised for charity in one action was £450 to get my head shaved and an additional £150 for Liam of Black Lion to shave off his beard at Conpulsion 2004. Three weeks later, his beard had recovered...

Tuesday, 10 November 2015

It's nothing personal...

SPECTRE is always beautiful, often thrilling, occasionally funny, frequently uneven and forever a continuity nightmare for those viewing the James Bond films as a single timeline, just as the Daniel Craig subset always has been. It also brings back SPECTRE, the villainous organisation from the books and the Connery (and Lazenby) films - and makes it personal. This raises the emotional stakes in some ways, but sometimes an international terrorist organisation is just an international terrorist organisation and that’s okay.

What makes personal connections work, and not? I’d say hitting it too often is a major problem, as with any idea. It might also mess with a character concept - James Bond is a professional agent, after all.

Retconning it in also tends to bother audiences (or this audience member, at least) - making the Joker the guy who killed Batman’s parents has bothered me since 1989, and I’m glad it didn’t stick in further adaptations. The Dark Knight presents a Joker who simply finds Batman... entertaining.

And it really has to bring something to the table. If the audience, or worse the players, shrug at the big reveal, was it worth it?

Monday, 9 November 2015

Must find a use for Elephant TIE Fighter Pilot

An art project by Blank William, Imperial Stormtrooper helmets for African wildlife. Also available in black. The hippo one might be a bit too cute and the rhino one suggests the Judoon from Doctor Who, but that elephant...

Sunday, 8 November 2015

Adjustment for vampires 101

And since we’re sharing short vampire films, as it popped up in an RPGnet thread about the morality of the Vampire family of games and Rose mentioned it, The Night Life is fairly light. Until the end.

Taking one adventure out of context

The Intruder is a short film inspired by a minor stealth side quest in Vampire: The Masquerade - Bloodlines which doesn’t actually reference the intruder in question being a vampire.


Running a spectrum from preschool to 18-cert, this year’s Amazon Pilot Season (UK link) includes Becky Tinker’s Everstar, executive produced by John Rogers, a kid-friendly animated space adventure featuring an eleven-year-old accidental space captain, her friend and two unhelpful AIs.

(Also of relevance: Eddie Of The Realms Eternal by Bill Motz and Bob Roth, portal fantasy played for laughs.)

Saturday, 7 November 2015

Friday, 6 November 2015

Adventure Time RPG on the way!

... From Nosolorol, the Spanish company famous for Aquelarre.

I would assume an English-language version will get here faster than the translation of Aquelarre which is currently in Kickstarter twenty-five years after the original Spanish release.

Adventure Time is the creation of confessed D&D-ers and its not-so-cheerful-all-the-time posthuman future takes some cues from Gamma World so an RPG coming out is no surprise.

Thursday, 5 November 2015

Remember, Remember...

Tonight is Guy Fawkes Night in the UK, aka Bonfire Night, aka an excuse for fireworks with a vague connection to a failed regicide four hundred years ago and the execution of the conspirators. As reasons for celebration go it’s pretty strange - gruesome, tied up in political and religious conflicts that aren’t settled centuries later. Like Christmas its meaning and symbols have changed wildly over the years. These days a certain Guy Fawkes mask is the symbol of an international hacker movement.

Have you ever had a bit of deep background like this - history halfway forgotten and imagery repurposed more than once?

Wednesday, 4 November 2015

An elegant weapon, for a more civilised age...

I don’t really LARP. I certainly don’t boffer LARP. I definitely don’t boffer Star Wars LARP. And yet... a light-and-sound LARP-friendly lightsaber... (Thanks to Artenen on RPGnet for the link.)

Tuesday, 3 November 2015

Imagine if they teamed up...

Quite a day for reboots and restarts all round, with announcements for The Greatest American Hero, Mark Wahlberg on the big screen as The Six MBillion Dollar Man, and a legacy hero on SyFy called Vanessa Helsing... (And Constantine appears in Arrow in a few days, for a slightly late Hallowe’en episode.)

Monday, 2 November 2015

Star Trek coming back to TV!

A new Star Trek series starts in January 2017, in time to be... four months late for the 50th anniversary on September 8th 2016, but never mind.

Alex Kurtzman, one of the main writers of the new films, is on board as executive producer, along with Heather Kadin, fellow producer from some of his current TV series. It will launch on CBS and their streaming service. And this is about all we know. Time to explore strange new worlds.

Sunday, 1 November 2015