Friday, 30 September 2016

Rogue Force Friday

The Force Friday launch of new Star Wars toys and publicity in advance of Rogue One is upon us.

I myself have seen some of the classic scale figures, though the only main character in the assortment I saw was K-2SO - I will try Forbidden Planet tomorrow and hopefully get Jyn Erso, preferably in 6” scale.

Fantasy Flight haven’t revealed any Rogue One tie-ins for their games yet. Fingers crossed - it would seem the perfect subject for the Imperial Assault skirmish minis / boardgame or the Age Of Rebellion RPG, and it took them almost nine months to get The Force Awakens RPG intro box set out, and they just previewed the TFA Millennium Falcon for the X-Wing minis game recently. Still, faster would be better...

Thursday, 29 September 2016

Wynonna Earp

Wynonna Earp is.... well, it’s basically Buffy with a gun. A young woman chosen to fight evil in a small town, a small support network, a mysterious handsome stranger with his own agenda...

It looks a lot more like Buffy than the original comics, the name and calling being about all they really have in common.

Note that this is not a complaint. As Buffy knockoffs go it’s pretty functional give or take some logic wobbles.

It doesn’t aspire to the heights of humour or weirdness of Buffy, but hey, early days.

Character-wise, Wynonna is a bit closer to Faith, a notorious local wild child with a liking for booze and motorbikes, having to grow up due to her unwanted legacy. She isn’t slayer-level powerful but agile, tough, heals pretty fast and has a magic gun that only works for her.

Her Scooby Gang is mostly her sister Waverly, all read up on the legacy for the early Willow helpful nerdy role. There’s also Dolls, who is not a creepy puppet but instead a government agent with secrets of his own, and the aforementioned mysterious stranger Doc.

Her mission is to re-kill seventy-seven revenants originally killed by her ancestor Wyatt with that same gun, made easier by them all being stuck in a mystic triangle centring on her home town, and more difficult by sheer numbers. This leads to a cold war, though she keeps killing them off one by one, because their leader is too busy with another agenda to just take her down...

To run as a game, stat up the legacy, the gun and what Doc is, and go.

Wednesday, 28 September 2016

The Grand Masquerade 2016 keynote speech

The official video of the Grand Masquerade 2016 keynote speech with Jason Carl, Bob Ellis, Shane deFreest, Tobias Sjögren and Martin Ericsson.

And the White Wolf Q&A that followed.

2000 A.D. Prog 2000

2000 A.D. hits its 2000th issue, reminding us of its influence in UK geek culture. Judge Dredd has his own games as well as films and other adaptations, while Nemesis The Warlock might have had a slight influence on Warhammer 40,000 here and there too...

Life moves pretty fast...

Elon Musk plans to send people to Mars within a decade.

A baby with three parents has been born.

This is the future.

Tuesday, 27 September 2016

Monday, 26 September 2016

New academic year, new games...

Star Wars... eh, maybe. I have some interest. But can I keep that up? Modern fantasy and horror flow more easily for me. The intro day game going better might have helped.

I aim to see what’s on Wednesdays this year as well. That slot might be a better fit for something with more player-facing rules like Leverage.

Saturday, 24 September 2016


Hollywood chews people up and spits them back out. In new comic series Glitterbomb, an out of work actress learns to literally bite back. My first thought was it could work in Beast: The Primordial although this is someone being contacted by a monster at a low point.

Friday, 23 September 2016

D Is For Destiny

Destiny has a new spinoff book. An RPG? No, a children’s ABC book. Originally created by Bungie artists for the children of development staff, it seems like a sweet, if odd, idea. And it could be a fun handout...

Thursday, 22 September 2016

Scion Second Edition

Scion Second Edition Kickstarter is live, already almost double funded with over 500 backers (I was 501) and aiming to get the Origins rulebook and Hero book printed and into shops. Since this is the first outing of the Storypath System, I am also caring about that.

Wednesday, 21 September 2016


Talk Like A Pirate Day may have gotten too commercial, but we can keep its spirit in me hearties.

Tuesday, 20 September 2016

Dance Magic Dance

Have we ever seen Doctor Strange dance? Because he throws some serious shapes.

The definitive 80s goth club was the Batcave, but really should have been the Sanctum Sanctorum.
Okay, this is apparently Random Idea Week on my blog.

Hand gestures are a classic magic thing. D&D has many spells with somatic components. I once read a review of a system with such customisable magic that you could adjust so you could cast spells with just an arched eyebrow.

So how about a totally somatic powered magician...?

Monday, 19 September 2016

The Undead-Ish

I just spotted this joke at Lead Adventure, and it got me thinking...

A zombie style outbreak where the infection is temporary. Not undead, but crazy or ravenous or mind-controlled or whatever, but it passes in a few days like a bad cold.

Sunday, 18 September 2016

Saturday, 17 September 2016

Some things never change...

Star Wars D6 RPG taster for freshers was reasonably successful, I think, if a bit short due to overestimating just how short the session actually was.

Player: Is there a garbage chute?
Me: Of course there is!
Player: Who wants to go first?
All The Players: ...

Carmilla S3

Carmilla Season Three, ‘act’ one of three, seventeen episodes for binge purposes.

Friday, 16 September 2016

Warhammer 40000 returns to comics

Launching a few weeks after FFG gives up the RPG licence, the comics come from Titan, the first in decades.

A Beaky Marine! Old school!

Blair Witch

How would you run The Blair Witch Project... if not as a LARP, as the original film was essentially made?

Do you keep the supernatural offscreen and uncertain, leaving it possible that there’s a mundane explanation? Do you show it, maybe just quickly? Do you use visuals, like handouts? Maybe a map... and trade it for a subtly different map?

Thursday, 15 September 2016

Star Wars concept art contest

ILM and ArtStation held a competition for Star Wars concept art, reimagining the story or illustrating unseen scenes based on various levels of brief. The result is hundreds of images worth checking out from a variety of professional and amateur artists and designers.

Redesigns, new designs, jokes, Ralph McQuarrie style evocative paintings...

Several pieces following a specific prompt showing R2 and 3PO on important diplomatic missions... which in one case goes so well (or badly) that Han is actually glad to see 3PO!

I’ve grabbed a lot as inspiration for intro Star Wars adventures at the games society. If I were FFG I’d be contacting a few of these people ASAP...

Link via Kotaku.

Star Trek: Timelines

Star Trek Discovery is set in the original timeline, while the Kelvin timeline continues in films, comics and games. The Modiphius game and Attack Wing stick to the prime timeline too - odd in the case of Attack Wing as it shares models with Star Trek HeroClix which includes a 28mm miniatures set of the Kelvin timeline Enterprise crew.

Oh, and the last pre-Beyond issues of the Kelvin timeline IDW comic (to be followed by a new series) had the two timelines bump into each other.

So where to next? Make your own...?

Wednesday, 14 September 2016

Star Trek Unmade

I’ve talked about Star Trek Phase II and the unused Federation pitch before, but there are more Treks untaken beyond those. Looking this up, I found there was at least one I hadn’t even heard of, to make a CG animated movie about Enterprise B fighting the Kzinti. The fact that there isn’t a CG animated Star Trek spinoff feels quite odd, actually - there have been a number of attempts, most notably Final Frontier, which I discovered after my own attempt to come up with a “generation after next” setting.

As well as providing looks behind the scenes, many of these have easily borrowed adventure hooks.

Which ones would you like to see?

Tuesday, 13 September 2016

Star Trek without the serial numbers

Besides Star Trek, I have played in and GMed other “ship show” RPGs that show the influence of Star Trek and react to it in different ways.

I was the captain in Distant Stars, a not-Trek exploration RPG that I hope to see published by its creator. I used some of my ideas for a no-budget-limits Trek setting as suggestions for taking some of the usual alien types further, so the wise psychic elders are insubstantial and the proud warrior race are seven feet tall with four arms.

In 2009-10 I ran The Stars On Fire, post Battlestar Galactica Military SF with a loose confederation of human colonies, some still in a cold war, united by first contact with an alien intelligence. The diplomacy and culture clashes were the clearest Trek-ish influence. (The creator of Distant Stars played in it.)

In both cases, we kept some features and dropped others. Both dispensed with transporters and universal translators, for example, and ran with different codes of conduct.

They both worked for players who weren’t fans of the series too.

Monday, 12 September 2016

Star Trek campaign advice

As noted, I have played a fair few Star Trek games over the years. They’ve all been about Starfleet - the FASA game supported playing traders, Klingons and Romulans, LUG at least partially did, and I did once plan a Klingon game, but Starfleet is the heart of Star Trek and we always came back to it.

I recommend the following:

Players who are cool playing Star Trek in general and the kind of Star Trek you want to do in particular. Best not to combine two-fisted space adventurers, cerebral diplomats, wannabe Klingon murderhoboes and anti-fans trying to destroy the premise from within.

Some room for somewhat oddball characters.

A ship. You could go with a base that will get a lot of visiting traffic like Deep Space Nine, but generally a ship.

A cool name for your ship, as this will probably double as the name of your series. I’ve had characters served on the Odyssey, the Valiant and the Victory, and been captain of the Horizon. Uhura didn’t want to fly on the USS Farragut and chances are neither do the players.

Some expert and other NPCs. Not too many expert NPCs. Names and looks for extra NPCs in case you need a redshirt to kill to demonstrate an alien invader’s power or an obscure expert to call up and/or kidnap.

A premise. This can be as simple as “boldly go” or as involved as “maintain the delicate peace between rival alien powers in a key strategic location after the Dominion withdraws, as a threat from before the occupation resurfaces, and keep an eye on the Klingon border...”

Sunday, 11 September 2016

Star Trek Systems

As noted before, I started Star Trek gaming with the FASA set when a fellow gamer came to high school with a keenness for the setting. It’s a basic statline and percentage skills system - its standout section is using the separate starship combat game, which is great if you have a couple hours spare.

I was the captain of our first ship, but it never went to campaign due to a folder getting lost. We played a fair number of the FASA adventures though, cementing my opinion that a three to four hour session can cover about as much plot as a forty-five minute TV episode, and that adventures designed for a session or two are a good deal but hard to do.

We advanced through to The Next Generation era despite FASA losing the licence after just a couple books, with the odd game of a term or an academic year on into college and past. The GM being mostly a Deep Space Nine fan showed through in adventures in that era highlighting political complexities, and one campaign set around overseeing an area of space annexed and then abandoned by the Dominion-backed Cardassians. So naturally I played a Bajoran with a chip on his shoulder...

Then the Last Unicorn version came out, and I think we had one campaign of that. I liked the slight variation of focus for each series getting a rulebook, with technobabble tables and the like, but the core system didn’t work for us.

It wasn’t until some years after it was published that we tried the Decipher version. Even using a cheat sheet, character generation made one of the group cry. After that, it was okay...

There are of course various unofficial RPGs reflecting the setting in various ways. Starships & Spacemen was the first, and its recent second edition features a percentile weird forehead table. These run the gamut from hundreds of pages like Far Trek to one page like Lasers And Feelings.

The biggest not-Trek-honest gaming setting is Star Fleet Battles, the result of some careless licensing in the 70s allowing a games company to put out its own wargames and RPGs in a variant of the classic universe. It has resulted in oddities like a RPG about Prime Teams who go on away missions instead of the command crew (one of those more sensible but less TV-friendly changes fans come up with) which also has d20 and GURPS versions, and Klingons who have member species including what appear to be gorillas.

Personally, as of 2009 I wanted to run it with Cinematic Unisystem. Half of the short skill list I made up was department titles...

Saturday, 10 September 2016

A masterclass in villains from Clancy Brown

Asked to list his favourite movie villains by Empire, Clancy Brown went above and beyond, producing a top twenty list that makes me want to see him do a documentary or lecture on the subject.

Star Trek Adventure Ideas

Star Trek adventure hooks for the fiftieth anniversary, starting with me, featuring some famous names.

Friday, 9 September 2016

Star Trek At 50 And Beyond

As of now, it is fifty years since the first US broadcast. So where to next?

Star Trek Discovery comes out early 2017. This feels like a missed opportunity but I appreciate not rushing a TV series by several months to hit a deadline. A special would have still been nice, of course, but hey.

A fourth film in the Kelvin timeline is on its way as well.

Star Trek Adventures, the new RPG, is also due next summer. Before that, those with the appropriate platforms and VR rigs can try Star Trek Bridge Crew. In the meantime, board and miniatures gamers are well served with Star Trek Attack Wing and more.

Thursday, 8 September 2016

Star Trek at 50

Today is the 50th anniversary of Star Trek - specifically the first US broadcast of The Man Trap at 8.30, rather than the original pilot The Cage two years earlier, or the first Canadian broadcast two days earlier.

Starting with The Man Trap means dropping the audience into a “routine” mission with no real introduction of anyone - we even see Spock in the captain’s chair before we see Kirk! (And you might expect the hand puppet plant to be a recurring character!)

Want to celebrate with a new episode? Star Trek Continues just released one, about a ghost ship and the glass ceiling.

While I wasn’t around when the series first aired I’ve been around for most of that time. I grew up with the original series on heavy repeats, the movies - and the often bonkers comics of the first film more than the film itself, reprinted here in weekly chunks in Marvel anthology Future Tense alongside Trek-alike Seeker 3000 - and some of the Mego style figures and a Dinky Enterprise that shot discs and lost its warp engines. I also had a plastic cigarette case (or something) that played the role of a communicator.

I’ve also played the official RPGs from the big FASA game onwards, the post-FASA ones usually soon after they were released - the big Trek fan in my gaming circle believes in getting value out of new rulebook purchases. I haven’t loved any of the official systems but I’ve generally tolerated them in order to get on with playing in a very game-friendly setting.

I’ve hardly ever run it (I last tried in 2009 - here, have fifteen adventure ideas) but have run various “spaceship show” style RPGs over the years. This goes right back to my earliest RPG experiences, with Starship Traveller being the fourth Fighting Fantasy book.

A small group of people heading out into space, meeting adventure on strange new worlds, bringing hope and optimism as they boldly go where no one has gone before...

Tuesday, 6 September 2016

When in doubt, vampires.

With nothing more concrete to do, sketching out another Vampire game. Just in case. Because they take more sketching out than the other likely options.

Monday, 5 September 2016

The disaster movie of your setting

Having mentioned the 350th anniversary of the start of the Great Fire of London on ye WhoBlog, I thought I would mention the end of it here, three days later.

How would a disaster like that affect your setting? If it wasn’t the PCs’ fault, or the work of a villain?

Because sometimes a city made of wood and thatch held together with pitch just goes on fire.

The PCs would hopefully have the courage and moral fibre to go in and help loved ones at least if not total strangers. Rescue adventures have plenty of hazards and chances for players to show off what their characters can do.

Equally, a disaster is a great time to cover up all kinds of illicit activity from looting to murder.

And if a natural disaster turns out not to be natural, what then?

Sunday, 4 September 2016

Star Trek Online ship 3D prints

Via Ian Watson: Following the 3D printing of World of Warcraft avatar models, Star Trek Online ship printing is on the way. Starting with rather large foot-long models, which I imagine will cost quite a bit. I wonder if smaller more tabletop-friendly versions might follow?

Dungeon Fantasy (Powered By GURPS)

A Kickstarter for a big shiny Dungeon Fantasy box set, the first of its kind using the Powered By GURPS streamlined version of the SJG house system. If this is a success, more may follow for other genres.

Saturday, 3 September 2016

Vampire: The Masquerade V - 2018

From the keynote speech at The Grand Masquerade (as relayed by the Twitter account for Berlin By Night, a newly announced convention happening in May) some things confirmed, some news (like the 2018 date) and one announcement I had not been expecting, Earplay doing interactive audio fiction for Wraith: The Oblivion and Orpheus.

Carmilla season three


I like how this trailer has gone full on epic urban fantasy with just a button joke at the end.

Friday, 2 September 2016

King Arthur, NYPD

And in our time of greatest need comes another TV series called Camelot... but a somewhat different one...

“When an ancient magic reawakens in modern-day Manhattan, a graffiti artist named Art must team with his best friend Lance and his ex, Gwen - an idealistic cop - in order to realize his destiny and fight back against the evil forces that threaten the city.”

I hope it swings towards the fantasy side of the description rather than being a cute gimmick for a cop show. Either way, can it be any worse than King Arthur appearing in the next Transformers movie?

Thursday, 1 September 2016

Time to start planning a new campaign... of some kind...

The academic year starts later this month, and with it come the university RPG society pitch sessions. Still not entirely sure what to do.

Likely-ish contenders as mentioned here include Star Wars d6 and about Rebels, something with Buffy, and if another GM doesn’t go with her Vampire idea then more (but different) Vampire.

I’d like to do Leverage but the amount of moving parts and the low Weird Level don’t make it a good fit for a walk-in society game.