Monday, 30 January 2017

Saturday, 28 January 2017

Sir John Hurt

When people told themselves their past with stories, explained the present with stories, foretold the future with stories, the best place by the fire was kept for the Storyteller.

Friday, 27 January 2017


Looks like Cubicle 7 have the Warhammer Fantasy Roleplay licence. No word yet on what they plan to do with it.

Important safety tip for vampires

From American Horror Story: Hotel:

Thursday, 26 January 2017

The horror... the horror...

Apocalypse Now: The Video Game.

Okay, sure, if it’s by the people that made The Last of Us or Gone Home or something. It isn’t.

Though one of the writers attached worked on the Far Cry series, which at least has the crazy picaresque angle going for it. As well as Gears Of War. Which does not.

Wednesday, 25 January 2017

Humanity spreads into the stars

With a new season on the way and, yes, it being available on Netflix, caught up on The Expanse. There’s a lot to like, although I also started an SF game about conflicting human colonial nations by borrowing the same subplot from Alien. ;)

And the title sequence feels way too epic and upbeat.

And the Mars uniforms gave me a real “are we the baddies?” moment.

Tuesday, 24 January 2017

Borrowing from borrowers

When Law Abiding Citizen came out in 2009, I jokingly observed that it was the Punisher. And to an extent, yeah, a vigilante targeting specific people for vengeance over the murder of his family and the failings of the system in dealing with it, just using drones and other traps instead of straight-up violence, and told from an outside POV.

So now rewatching it after Daredevil season two... the MCU take on the Punisher narrows his scope from an all-out war on crime to a specific vendetta against those who killed his family, and tries to justify himself to the viewpoint character. It’s a nice tightening-up of a serial character for a miniseries and potential later use rather than ongoing adventures - which ends up a bit like Law Abiding Citizen.

There’s probably talk online comparing and contrasting the two, but it’s hard to find because Googling both names together mostly turns up... that Law Abiding Citizen comes in a double bill DVD set with the Thomas Jane version of The Punisher.

Monday, 23 January 2017

Sunday result...

I managed to avoid Emergency Backup GMing, and am now playing The Comics Code and Vampire: The Masquerade.


Sunday, 22 January 2017

Stranger Things

Netflix, caught up, etc. Maybe the hype killed it for me but...

Stranger Things, well, kind of worked for me. I was there for the actual early 80s so I appreciated the effort (and winced when the agents picked up MP5s from a locker in the future - seriously, nothing says early 80s like the Uzi 9mm) but I’m not sure a hybrid Spielberg / King homage (with music riffing on John Carpenter for added tonal dissonance) really worked.

And it was really three shows that met in episode seven.

Saturday, 21 January 2017

The rich and powerful take what they want.

We steal it back for you.

Back from marching, back to game prep. And Emergency Backup GM game prep for tomorrow just in case. Tomorrow, if necessary, Leverage,

Thursday, 19 January 2017

Buffy The Vampire Slayer: Loud As Hell

We have a Slayer playing drums (played by Judith, who played at the Nationals last year but not as the Slayer) and a Frankenstein monster guitarist and an occultist keyboard/tech as Heroes, and a meathead bass player, snobby pianist and disinterested singer as White Hats.

So that’s action, mystery, band squabbles and a few healthy opportunities for angst - “I’m a monster!

We’ll see how it goes.

Wednesday, 18 January 2017

Back at it

Tonight, the local gaming society returns...

Sundays are more my day, but I was there as Emergency Backup GM... so am now running a Buffy game about a college band again. Wish me luck!

Tuesday, 17 January 2017

Frightening Futures

We just came third out of twelve teams (38 out of 43) in the Cameo film quiz on this topic. Somewhat better than tenth (of ten) for the Christmas special last month...

The only picture question none of us got was a still from a 1998 Canadian end-of-the-world film called Last Night. So now obviously I have to watch it.

Looks fun...
On this topic gaming-wise I’ve run a fair number of pessimistic SF games, cyberpunk dystopia and post-apocalypse wasteland. Never for very long, though. My longest is probably The Stars On Fire, one academic year of military SF with warring human nations more or less coming together against an alien threat, and that still had humanity surviving the 21st century and colonising space in the 22nd.

I’ve dropped PCs into their own potential futures (not counting games where time travel is standard) in The Watch House, with a psychic PC getting a vision that went full-contact Days Of Future Past style. One hero was dead (best absent player excuse ever!), another was mad, another had a character-building scar, and the receiver of the vision found her future self was a leading vampire. It’s a spin on The One Where Everyone Acts Out Of Character, not playing for laughs for a change.

Monday, 16 January 2017

Blue Monday

Today is supposedly Blue Monday, the spuriously theorised “most depressing day of the year”. It’s already the target of groups organising upbeat fun activities in some areas, aiming to take it back from the advertisers who created it to sell holidays. I approve of this development.

Sunday, 15 January 2017

Going sane with the power

From frequent poster Entropic Angel:

Fellow gaming types (most of my friends list, I guess) I have a question. If your players play characters with quite a high amount of power and influence do their characters act with more restraint, morality and thought than they would do otherwise?

My answer would be “sometimes”. It would discourage the lashing out that players sometimes entertain with “nobody” PCs, and it gives them a connection to the setting and something to lose. Of course, sometimes players given power will want to simply use it...

Thursday, 12 January 2017

Print The Legend

A new Tarzan movie seemed like an odd choice last summer, and it kind of is. One which contains the origin in a few flashbacks and then sends him on a new adventure mixed up with late 19th century European imperialism in the Congo definitely is.

Samuel L. Jackson plays George Washington Williams as a somewhat badass comedy sidekick, and Léon Rom dies a lot younger in the Tarzan universe than in ours. Its history is as revisionist as Inglourious Basterds, it’s just that the history it’s revising isn’t as well known. I guess the title being The Legend Of Tarzan evokes the quote I named this post for...

Wednesday, 11 January 2017

Harlem Unbound

Last day of the Kickstarter for Harlem Unbound, a Call Of Cthulhu and GUMSHOE sourcebook about the Harlem Renaissance in the 1920s.

Tuesday, 10 January 2017

Weta Workshop's Wargame

Giant Killer Robots, figures by Weta Workshop (the design studio behind Lord Of The Rings, District 9, Planet Of The Apes, and more) and game design by Cryptozoic. Unsurprisingly, the figures look great. On the D9 side of things - industrial, clunky, with sample paint schemes favouring heavy plant and graffiti.

Who you gonna call? Airstrikes!

Originally to be released in cinemas last summer, Spectral premiered on Netflix a month ago. Described as Black Hawk Down Vs. Ghostbusters, and yeah... with a smidge of Doctor Who in there too as equipment is jury-rigged at great speed and at one point the Hero Scientist actually explains one of his tricks as reversing the polarity of a camera. The ghosts and the gear are clearly the stars here, in what could make a pretty good one-shot... maybe for Orpheus.

Monday, 9 January 2017

Sunday, 8 January 2017

King Mordred Of Camelot

Rose Bailey proposes a setting riff with Mordred taking and keeping the throne, sending the land into a dark age as he clings to power.

Saturday, 7 January 2017


Taboo, a new series on BBC One, from the creator of Peaky Blinders and its star Tom Hardy, about a man returning from a decade supposed dead to claim a politically problematic inheritance in 1814 London, setting him on a collision course with the East India Trading Company.

He may also have come back from the dead, or he may just be traumatised and seeing things. From the atmosphere so far, could go either way.

He’s bad news for all concerned either way, not just the villainous Company, having abandoned his own son and having some ominous secret with his sister, and stalking around the city in a Bill The Butcher hat and Nosferatu coat...

Friday, 6 January 2017

Twelfth Night

Twelfth Night marks the traditional end of the Christmas period, but by now most things are back to whatever constitutes normal so it is mostly time to take the decorations down. I feel it should be more... another excuse for a big meal at least.

Thursday, 5 January 2017


Also all caught up in iZombie. (Expect a few “all caught up” posts in the next month because of the free Netflix.)

Verrrrry loosely adapted from a Vertigo comic, it keeps the main character’s look and the hook but that’s about it. The comic is a pop culture monster rally, while the show has two grades of zombie and that’s basically it. Functioning zombies are more like vampires with brains instead of blood, and zombies who starve and rot are your basic Romero style.

Most of the episodes are a mix of funny-horrible procedural, interpersonal drama and ongoing plot with recurring threats. Our hero receives memories and (usually funny) personality quirks from the brains she eats, getting them by working as a medical examiner for the police and using them to solve their previous owner’s murders. All pretty doable in Bubblegumshoe probably, like series showrunner Rob Thomas’s non-fantastical previous series Veronica Mars. The interpersonal stuff is perhaps more Cortex +-y, and the ongoing Big Bads and Liv’s occasional use of zombie strength and rage swing more to Buffy.

Wednesday, 4 January 2017

Suddenly, Ninjas!

I got a free month of Netflix and so am all caught up with Daredevil season two.

There’s a lot of good stuff, a scary yet sympathetic take on the Punisher, Foggy and Karen have a lot to do...

And yeah... ninjas. Do they really make everything better?

Tuesday, 3 January 2017

J.R.R. Tolkien at 125

Today marks J.R.R. Tolkien’s 125th birthday. There had been fantasy fiction set on imagined words before, but the genre can easily be divided into pre- and post-Tolkien, and the RPG industry is post-Tolkien from its roots.

I am post-Tolkien from my roots as well, with early memories of having The Hobbit read to me and my brother. Along with Star Wars in the cinema, Doctor Who and Star Trek on TV, The Lord Of The Rings is one of my foundational myths. You’ll find his adaptations of Arthur and Beowulf on my bookshelves. And a I fondly remember the year we received a letter from Father Christmas in his style.

The first map of Middle-Earth, from a selection in Wired on The Art Of The Lord Of The Rings.

His influence is everywhere in gaming. My first choice of boxed game was for Middle-Earth, Citadel Halflings were even trickier to paint than human-sized characters, I had a hand in playtesting The One Ring for Cubicle 7, and even in Scotland you will sometimes hear terrible Scottish accents when people play Dwarves.

Despite this, as I have said before I’ve hardly ever run any Middle-Earth games or directly reflecting it since my formative gaming years, because it has a much stronger authorial voice than even something like Star Wars when George Lucas owned it completely, it always had authorised spinoffs and the like. And with it being literary I’d want to catch the authorial voice and I doubt I could sustain it. I think he would have made a great GM.

Monday, 2 January 2017

First idea of the year...

Rewatching Mission Impossible: Ghost Protocol made me want to run a spy-fi game again.

Sunday, 1 January 2017

New Year

Happy New Year! Let’s make it a good one.

Gaming-publication-wise I’m hoping to see Trinity Continuum, Scion 2, Wraith 20, Cthulhu Confidential hardcopy, The Fall Of Delta Green, the Vampire: The Masquerade 5 playtest at World Of Darkness: Berlin, Secrets Of The Covenants, Deviant...