Sunday, 30 April 2017

Bringing in the summer

The Beltane Fire Festival reaches its thirtieth anniversary tonight. By dawn it will be May, and some folk I know will be spending the night up a hill setting things on fire and making noise.

What kinds of cyclical rituals do your settings have? And do they work?

Saturday, 29 April 2017

How to get hundreds of people to pay to be stranded

So the big internet trainwreck news of the day was Fyre Festival, an extravagantly expensive music and art festival in the Bahamas ($450 for a day pass that would mean leaving before dark and missing the day’s headline act, up to $3,995 for a full pass with “curated tented accommodation”) which delivered on none of its wild or even reasonable promises, was clearly doomed ahead of time, and now has people sheltering in the FEMA emergency tents supplied instead of those luxury tent-cabins, all flights cancelled, one of the organisers apparently under arrest and governments stepping in to retrieve those stranded.

Twitter, of all things, is describing it as “the luxury party that turned into the Hunger Games.” This is something of an exaggeration, as nobody has been killed with a bow and arrow. As far as I know.

A disaster like this sounds like the perfect setup for a Fiasco playset, the perfect end to a con caper, or the perfect start to a horror story about mass human sacrifice. I can’t decide which I prefer.

Friday, 28 April 2017

Enlightenment In Blood character creation

I just made my character for the big LARP at World Of Darkness Berlin, picking a group that let me (a) explore solo and (b) not have a smartphone. Being an outsider who was staked in the heart and left for a couple years excuses a lot...

The process was quite interesting - take a faction, then an archetype, then a character type, then an agenda, then answer some questions about what you want to see.

In my case it wasn’t helped by leaving it a couple weeks, so a number of the twenty available factions were already full. (And it seemed there was one faction with unlimited slots, but all the character archetypes in it were taken.) This left me with a dramatic intro, though it limited some of my options like an agenda I probably won’t play too much. I’ll share some more details after the event.

Light a flamethrower

Today is Sir Terry Pratchett’s 69th birthday. A toast!

Thursday, 27 April 2017

But whichever Demon game happens...

Either the sessions or the supernatural characters the PCs meet will be named after VNV Nation songs.

“To the darkened skies once more - and ever onward!”

Wednesday, 26 April 2017

Demon: The Something

Currently debating with myself and talking with potential players about a summer game of either Demon: The Fallen or Demon: The Descent.

Fallen is more straightforward in both setting and rules, and I’ve never had a chance to do anything with it in almost fifteen years. But Descent is more complicated in interesting ways, and lets me do spies...

The Venn diagram of material likely to feature in both is really pretty small despite both being games about demons passing for human in the present, and I could swipe a few ideas from one for the other. They both favour differing approaches above all. Fallen PCs have much less reason to be subtle than Descent ones, for one obvious example. For instance, both Unchained and Fallen have an option to drop the mask and Hulk out, but it’s much more of a last resort for the Unchained, because it (a) sets off every demon-detector the Angels have and (b) destroys that cover. Various other decisions encourages sneakiness rather than might.

I’m probably dwelling on the differences. The Fallen can be subtle, as future Descent creator and co-developer Rose Bailey’s Fallen game Strange As Angels demonstrates, and there’s a Translation Guide for switching or merging the two. A version of Descent without the biotech wouldn’t even need it, for instance - call the God-Machine the Demiurge and you’re halfway there.

Tuesday, 25 April 2017

Monday, 24 April 2017

Scheduling issues

I was not at the Nationals this weekend, I was at Dead By Dawn instead. I hope to find out a bit about the games played in the former and write about the films shown in the latter, so more on both later.

Saturday, 22 April 2017


For Earth Day, a March For Science. Resisting the temptation to go with a Proton Pack.

Friday, 21 April 2017

Footage Assemble!

Finally saw some Avengers filming. Not that I actually saw anything more than a lighting rig, but hey...

Thursday, 20 April 2017

Dark Signal

Dark Signal, out this summer, looks at what happens when a haunting goes public...

Wednesday, 19 April 2017

Cloak And Dagger trailer

Since the series is about a year out, a trailer for Marvel’s Cloak And Dagger this early is surprising. As a potential flagship show for a teen drama network, it looks like it’s going to balance angst and romance with issues in a grounded way, especially considering the duo’s pretty weird powers.

“I’m afraid that if you do everything right, I’ll still lose you!”

Tuesday, 18 April 2017

Uncertain Times

Another election? What is this, a Vampire LARP?

When I run games where political situations change, the PCs are in the middle of it and have a significant effect on the outcome. I’ve never had a new Prince take over without warning, for example. Might be interesting, but likely frustrating. I’m happy to be unrealistic here.

Space Opera Comics

As James Gunn announces Guardians Of The Galaxy Vol. 3 before 2 has even come out, I remain amazed that the holders of the X-Men movie licence haven’t tried to make Starjammers yet.

And that nobody’s tried to make Star Slammers either, which is not the same thing. Or Six From Sirius.

Alien Legion, Dreadstar and Strikeforce: Morituri have all been optioned at various times.

And that’s just Marvel.

DC integrated space opera a bit deeper with Krypton and Green Lantern, but still has non-super-universe outliers like Atari Force.

French comic Valerian is getting a movie decades after Star Wars took, er, some influence from it.

What I’m saying is there are a lot of spaceships in trouble in comics. (Especially from 1977 to the early 80s for some reason. Ahem.) Superhero universes pull in space opera pretty casually, as well as there being dedicated SF comics.

After all, Star Wars started with George Lucas not getting the rights to Flash Gordon...

Monday, 17 April 2017

Knights And Castles

For Easter, my mum got me a Chocolate Orange egg. My first taste of Chocolate Orange was also an Easter egg, which had a box design showing a castle with cut-out knights and other characters. The kind of thing that sticks with you. And which I may still have somewhere in mum’s attic.

Knights and castles are among the archetypal images in the UK, and in fantasy. I’ve often avoided the classic fantasy style because of its familiarity, but sometimes I want to run with it...

Saturday, 15 April 2017

Easter Adventures

A currently rather short thread of Easter adventure ideas with a request that they not stomp on beliefs. I included a tournament in Camelot, and an Adventure!-friendly hook about an Imperial Fabergé egg in 1920s Paris that could prove or disprove the claims of various Anastasias.

Steve D made The Easter Bunny kinda terrifying in Buffy. What do they need such good eyesight for anyway?

Also currently active, Easter Eggs in gaming is a current example of the most common use of Easter in thread titles. The Twister reference I put in my Trinity Continuum artefacts is pretty easy to spot, I think...

Friday, 14 April 2017

The Last Jedi: The First Teaser


In other Star Wars Celebration news, we have a new series of animated shorts focusing on female characters, a tribute to Carrie Fisher, a Battlefront II trailer introducing an Imperial single player campaign (eww) and space battles and Rey vs. Ren, a non-Marvel all ages anthology comic, the end of Rebels, and a possible replacement for a joke placeholder name Iain Lowson created for an extra in Return Of The Jedi...

Thursday, 13 April 2017

The Sad Pop Cover Of Your Trailer

Something else to take away from Ghost In The Shell: of six trailers in front of it, four had Sad Pop Covers. And one of them was over Trans-flippin-formers!

And Ghost In The Shell had one for its trailer!

Truly, Sad Pop Cover is the new Inception BRRRMMMM.

But at least it lets GMs come up with jokey suggestions for trailers for game.

(The one that had a regular cheery pop song was, of course, Guardians Of The Galaxy Vol. 2. Wonder Woman had normal score music.)

Wednesday, 12 April 2017

Ghost In The Shell (2017)

Ghost In The Shell (2017) is marred by casting, though addressing it in the story was an, er, interesting decision.

Other than that, it looks fantastic and riffs heavily on specific images from the original film as well as plot points from Innocence and Stand Alone Complex, while coming to a different conclusion in a central debate and bringing in a standard-issue villain.

I was also distracted by trying to remember which real-world cyberpunk futurescape uses those black Jason Voorhees masks for its armed police. It’s Taiwan.

Does it leave me wanting to run cyberpunk? Not really. If I did, it would have to have a Big Idea... hmm...

Tuesday, 11 April 2017

The Conpulsion Battleground Quiz Answers

Because you would probably demand these too...

The Conpulsion Battlegrounds Quiz

Because you demanded it! (Well, because Stew requested it!)

First, the Picture Round. Which apparently I did wrong because Mantic recycled a figure. Damn it.

Monday, 10 April 2017

Ragnarok And (Inevitably) Roll

The teaser trailer for Thor: Ragnarok looks huge fun. They went there with Hela’s crown. And there’s a moment at 1.03 that will make some Thor comics fans gulp...

Sunday, 9 April 2017

The Conpulsion 2017 Quiz

Question and answer sheets printed, one typo corrected, I think the Conpulsion 2017 quiz is ready to go.

There are questions about Buffy, Galavant, Fiends Of The Eastern Front, Shakespeare, cooking and nearby pubs.

I am unashamed.

And now: 

Friday, 7 April 2017

The Rousing Speech

The Rousing Speech is not as easy for most people as heroes tend to make it look, as this comedy short demonstrates.

Public speaking is a common fear at the best of times, and improv public speaking doesn’t make it any easier.

I could have actually gone further than I did with my Banquo Award speech in 2013, but I figured a quick joke and running away was a safe bet.

In gaming, a player who would rather not be put on the spot despite playing an eloquent character has some options. They can describe the gist of the speech, make notes ahead of time, plagiarise like crazy...

Prompts for something like this are available, such as Adventure! giving the option to script lines and responses in advance for characters with high Wits.

The best example I’ve seen in a video game is near the end of Mass Effect, which uses the existing gist-based dialogue wheel so that the player picks from a series of dialogue options about the point they want the speech to make and the writing, voice acting, reactions shots and music sell it.

Thursday, 6 April 2017

Mr. Higgins Comes Home, Mr. Mignola Comes Back To Comics

Mike Mignola. Vampires. Comedy. Out in time for Hallowe’en.

How many of the 100 are left? Not many.

The 100 is back, and everything is terrible again. Yay!

After the mind-controlly chips last year, looks like we’re going back to basics with horrible broken technology potentially painfully killing everyone, which is how the series started so it feels right to do so.

And we have the awkward aftermath of mind control, crucifixions and some well-deserved murders to deal with too.

And a bit of spear-to-the-face action too!

(Bonus yay: Lindsay Morgan, Raven, is the rumoured frontrunner for Joss Whedon’s Batgirl movie. If that happens.)

(Partial yay: Hey, has anyone made figures for this? Apparently a fan did but seems to have gone no further than Clarke. And, of course, there are those Funko Pops things. Un-yay.)

Wednesday, 5 April 2017

"You would have my soul... if I had a soul..."

We may have accidentally illustrated a The Silver Kiss Of The Magical Twilight Of The Full Moon LARP. It was a glorious thing.

I did not technically play a role, but my hat did. A vital role. VITAL.
I also provided rain for people looking out of windows.

(Hashtag One Crush)

Tuesday, 4 April 2017

Sunday, 2 April 2017

Morgue Is Pretty Awesome

Happy birthday to sometime Ruminator and original Banquo Award winner Morgan Davie, without whom TWH might be a very different thing.

Saturday, 1 April 2017

When pages fall off the web

I was sorry to hear about ComicsAlliance going under. I’ve linked to it a few times here with news, interviews and other articles about RPG-related or otherwise interesting geek news.

I recently helped someone find a video interview from an education site that was since merged using the Wayback Machine. It doesn’t have everything in internet history, of course, but it’s always worth checking.