Thursday, 31 March 2016


Person Of Interest 4.11 If-Then-Else shows that some thought can sneak a genre classic into a show where the setup doesn’t really work for it.

Monday, 28 March 2016


For Easter... ever had a character resurrected?

Since my games are fairly low on death as previously noted, they tend to be lower still on coming back from it.

Sunday, 27 March 2016

The Librarians

The Librarians is a fun show.

(Though the UK DVD shows the episodes out of order while listing them in order on the menu, which did not help. At least they managed to get the opening two-parter and the season finale in the right place, just not the other seven episodes...)

It’s kind of a home team game for us, being a modern fantasy adventure show adapted by John Rogers and, as he has admitted, describing the characters with FATE Aspects and borrowing some structure from Cortex+ relationship maps in the writers’ room. It does at times feel like watching an Actual Play.

It cranks up the Weird Level from the original The Librarian TV movies, where the incidental weird (which included a giant TARDIS-y library and Excalibur as a recurring character) was generally light relief in fairly straight pulp adventure stories with a mystical artefact or two, but never to the point of Santa being a guest star.

Saturday, 26 March 2016

On the subject of traditions diverging...

Let me show you the chocolate Easter Bilby in Australia, as enjoyed by my nieces and nephew soon.

I sometimes think that the best way to replicate how traditions develop would be a random tradition drift table...

Friday, 25 March 2016

A question for Good Friday...

Ever had a character executed as an example to others? Bonus point if it wasn’t in a Vampire LARP or chat game with a large player base and PVP elements.

Monday, 21 March 2016


My post count here just hit 1914...

Compared to the second World War, the Great War has provided relatively little gaming fodder. The comparatively undramatic enemies may well be a factor - there are few stories compared to the rush of superheroes of the Golden Age and beyond. Wraith: The Great War is one example, emphasising the bloody mess it was.

Sunday, 20 March 2016

My Little Pony: RPG is Magic

Coming soon from River Horse. Probably less hefty than their miniatures games. I would hope it’s entry level and kid friendly...

When Wizards of The Coast suggested a My Little Pony RPG as an April Fool announcement ten years ago, quite a few of us thought it was a good idea, and the new series Friendship Is Magic has really boosted that. So this is a completely different company striking a couple years after the iron was hot, but hey.

(And apparently The Hunger Games is getting a board game from them too.)

Friday, 18 March 2016

West End's Star Wars style guide

After the previous look at the West End Games Star Wars style guide, a more in-depth look at io9.

Gaming for charity, charity in gaming

Today is Sport Relief, the spinoff from Comic Relief whose title isn’t even a pun. It’s all for good causes, anyway.

There are lots of charity events involving gaming (I’ve helped run one) - do you see many in-game? The last time I featured one it was organised by the Giovanni in Vampire: The Masquerade... Charity events can introduce contacts and patrons, honest or otherwise, costumed parades and dances are perfect places for secret action, and PCs usually love to rob from the rich and give to the poor...

Thursday, 17 March 2016

National holidays

Happy St. Patrick’s Day to Irish and Irish-descent friends. Not so much to people using is an excuse to get drunk while wearing a green hat.

Here in Scotland, St. Andrew’s Day hasn’t been co-opted as much, perhaps because Americans who might do so are still recovering from Thanksgiving a few days earlier. This doesn’t stop the Scottish government trying with Tartan Week...

Have you featured a holiday that has wandered that far from its roots in a setting?

Wednesday, 16 March 2016

"No signal"

Some ideas about how to shut down modern communications, followed by ideas on how to roll with it.

The “no signal” setup is a groaner trope in modern horror - one thing I haven’t seen anywhere is the simple idea of checking again later in the movie! But then of course they’d have to address it like they dropped it in the first place. And there are plenty of ways to not make it that helpful, as this thread shows.

Tuesday, 15 March 2016

Indiana Jones And The Fifth Film

Coming in 2019 from Harrison Ford, Steven Spielberg, Kathleen Kennedy, Frank Marshall, and Disney Lucasfilm. George Lucas may or may not take part.

No word yet what it will be about, when it will be set, or anything like that. 2019 seems like a long way off.

(In related news, the list of potential stars for the young Han Solo movie has shortened, and they all look like they would work, I guess, but are not Anthony Ingruber.)

Sunday, 13 March 2016

Your recurring antagonist is dead. What now?

Your PCs have finally gotten the drop on their recurring antagonist and taken him down permanently. What now?

Other than “we party”?

Spoilers for Agents Of S.H.I.E.L.D. mid season three:

Friday, 11 March 2016

End Of The Line reports

We’ve seen a few reports back from End Of The Line, the first official event for the new White Wolf’s World Of Darkness. A simple prototype system, reliance on player trust (and player choice about character death) as well as an emphasis on certain themes and moods through timed actions and designated locations. Sounds like an interesting evening...

Thursday, 10 March 2016

Wednesday, 9 March 2016

Scum And Villainy

“You will never find a more wretched hive of scum and villainy... most of them are way better than this one.”

This year Conpulsion’s theme is Underworld, chosen for having three gamer-friendly meanings - demons, deep places like dungeons and crime. And demons doing crime. Possibly in dungeons.

Scream Team provide a lot of my Buffy character pictures...
PCs tend not to be on the side of the law, so some of this is liable to happen...

Tuesday, 8 March 2016

Vengeance, Incorporated is a great name for a comics company

The name was Atlas Comics, but it came to be known as Vengeance, Incorporated. The brainchild of Marvel Comics founder and one-time owner Martin Goodman, Atlas was created with the sole purpose of running Goodman’s former company into the ground.

I had never heard of this before seeing the above article. I had seen references to Planet Of Vampires and Demon Hunter going to Marvel itself as Devil-Slayer before because that’s how I roll, but didn’t know their publishing origins.

It started due to a ruthless bastard business move by Stan Lee, returned in truly spectacular fashion.

That is... all kinds of messed up. Headhunting some of Marvel’s biggest names? Publishing direct expies of their best sellers? Calling yourself “The New House Of Ideas?” All three.

So naturally now I want to see at least some of these. :D

Although maybe skip the two Hulk knockoffs that both feature their protagonists eating children. Or the Spider-Man knockoff who eats some of his enemies. :/

With all the talent involved some of the comics must have worked. Did they build a workable superhero universe out of borrowed parts? (Someone has of course brought some of them back...)

Also, they missed a trick with the naming. I would totally keep a paycheque from Vengeance, Incorporated.

The various contradictory genre versions of your setting

Cross over with another version of the same setting and shift genre as well as details.

For the example I thought of first, go from the Star Trek TV universe to the Abrams timeline and go quick-cut and lens-flare. Or collide with the strange Star Fleet Battles variant where there are more enemy alien empires and special teams in jackets go on ground missions and see what the PCs make of this. Why did the timeline change to shift the genre to Military SF? Did Kirk die again, it’s usually his fault...

Also, this. This can be the party.
The legendary Vampire: The Requiem chronicle Never Let Go nearly had a Christmas special featuring a very very Vampire: The Masquerade version of the stars. I presume that it would not have been canon...

International Women's Day

Happy International Women’s Day. Be good to one another.

Monday, 7 March 2016

A Star Trek adventure idea thread I was very glad to contribute to, sharing an idea from Matt.


Among other side effects of being ill this weekend, spending all Saturday sitting meant I watched five back-to-back episodes of NCIS New Orleans. I wasn’t really in the mood, so here I am picking holes in it.

Two of them had NCIS brought in on mysteries involving family members of Navy staff, which seem a stretch of their jurisdiction.

A wider remit than a single city’s office of the Navy’s detectives would probably make this handwaving less regularly necessary.

Jurisdiction is one of those tricky real-world things that can impact investigative series and games, so often gets skipped over or dodged around. PCs who aren’t out for themselves are often members of covert or not-strictly-existing agencies, or ones that can roll over jurisdictions like superhero ACRONYM Agents.

It gets more vague the further away from the present, so I would say the era I’ve seen most interest in playing regular law enforcement is the Wild West, and the most PCs I have seen carry badges have been with Starfleet.

For modern police types, I’d work out how much the game and group in question worries about this kind of thing. A specific remit including jurisdiction can probably be summarised in a shorter post than this if necessary.

Coming up with local and neighbouring representatives of various services and agencies can add to the campaign, as well. Friends, rivals, friendly rivals, outright enemies... I admit that I tend to throw a lot of NPCs into a game.

(Another of these five episodes had the team as the target of a bombing attack, which really seems like a case they should not work on themselves. Most law agencies have rules about that kind of thing, which in this case wasn’t even mentioned by a superior officer yelling “you’re off the case!” and being ignored, as is traditional in such situations. So I’d say this show is not really worried about this kind of thing.)

Citadel Star Wars? Nearly...

Something I discovered today quite by accident: Citadel Miniatures took a pass on the Star Wars licence in the 80s, after producing one example figure in their then house style, a Stormtrooper. It looks to me to be at the extreme end of their style, maybe to make a point? Since this would be around the time they started with their own wargame set among the stars I can understand their not being interested.

(Not so sure with the provenance of the Perry Twins version also shown here. A run of Citadel big-25mm-not-yet-28mm miniatures in the more realistic style of the Perrys could have been fantastic...)

I am now less sick.

I think I’m okay.

Not feeling like going out or anything crazy like that, but.

Always nice to be reminded of how easily an easily overlooked error or a crazy random happenstance can completely screw up a lot of work.

Sunday, 6 March 2016

Swords Of The South: Estalia for WFRP 2

Swords Of The South, the Estalia fan sourcebook for WFRP 2nd edition, is now online after seven years’ work, steered home by Steve D. I had a hand in the setting chapter, and am thus responsible for some of the worst puns because this is a glorious Warhammer tradition which must be maintained. See if you can spot the blatant TWH and Black Lion in-jokes. Also features the almost-legendary random moustache table.

Saturday, 5 March 2016

I am sick

Possibly food poisoning, possibly the Winter Vomiting Virus. I do not recommend it.

Not sure how I got it. Being sick always makes me think of random cold and flu tables, which is a level of verisimilitude nobody really wants...

Friday, 4 March 2016

Thursday, 3 March 2016



Plot sounds like it should work. Liking the blue underlit ghosts. Love the “Let’s go!” moment.

Also, hidden website found via whiteboard.

Wednesday, 2 March 2016

The Black 22s

A new show from, among others, John Rogers and Kung Fu Monkey, David Oyelowo, and National Geographic, The Black 22s is “the true story of a brilliant African-American detective and one of America’s first all-black police squads in St. Louis, Missouri. Battling the gangland killers of Prohibition and set up to fail by their own bosses...” Will watch.

How to write Star Wars the WEG way

Lucasfilm Story Group Creative Executive Pablo Hidalgo has shared some choice sections from the Star Wars RPG Style Guide, August 1994.

“It is a universe of neat gadgets, cool aliens, mystery and a hint of magic...”

Obviously some of these things have happened since... The guide was for freelancers to stop them all proposing the same ideas repeatedly.

Tuesday, 1 March 2016

Happy 75th Anniversary, Captain America!

Captain America set the bar for the patriotic superhero, he exemplifies the good in the genre, and the nation. A pulp hero in a supers world, an everyman despite having all those maxed-out stats.

Politics: freaky

On Super Tuesday, an article from the Smithsonian about ten items of election memorabilia in their collection, featuring the origin of the elephant and donkey mascots, torchlight processions and a Clinton cheesehead hat. Ever had an election get so... odd in your games?
Happy birthday to Gar Hanrahan!