Friday, 30 June 2017

Marvel's Inhumans trailer

The classic royal Inhumans as opposed to the general Agents Of S.H.I.E.L.D. earthly Inhumans.

Sticking to an effectively mute main character is the most interesting choice here.

Apart from keeping Lockjaw, the giant teleporting bulldog.

Anson Mount looks kind of strange without a beard.

The Marvel universe has a lot of alien / unearthly royal families.

Thursday, 29 June 2017

2500 posts!

And the most common tag, the only one to break 500, is... RPGs.

The Magicians

The Magicians - Wizard School now with swearing!

The tone of the series is kind of all over the place, with urban high fantasy and addiction drama and, er, books in love. The Beast with a face obscured by moths is a striking image.

The most intriguing part for me is the renegade witch group off to the side and resenting the Wizard School that rejected them.
Lev “Grossman successfully captured the idea that we never truly loosen our grip on our childhood fantasies, even in the midst of the most glaringly adult moments of our lives. (Like when we’re screwing or cheating or failing at our jobs.) Adulthood is another fantasy, he implies, and once we recognize that we can free ourselves from the limitations it imposes.”
Hillary Kelly at on the original novels

Wednesday, 28 June 2017

The Flatshare At The End Of Time

An idea I never quite got to running:

Mei moved in to this flat last week, she still hasn’t finished unpacking... and a woman just stumbled out of the closet, claiming to be on the run from an arranged marriage in 1871. And a deserter from Napoleon’s Egyptian campaign is in the shower. And an escapee from the Salem witch trials in the loop. And they all recognise the guest on the TV news as Mei makes them tea...

Tuesday, 27 June 2017

Top Secret NWO

A new edition of the Top Secret cinematic-ish espionage RPG is coming after a small gap of thirty years, on Kickstarter.

It appears to have turned into a Savage Worlds or Cortex variant while nobody was looking.

And most of the reward tiers as US-only. At least you can get the actual New World Order game worldwide...

Waaaaay back in the day I played Top Secret / S.I. in high school, in the FREElancers variant setting of slightly cyberpunk special ops, where my berserker ex-military sniper may have been somewhat influenced by a recent film called Lethal Weapon. I almost ran the standard superspy agencies setting as well, but never quite got to it. It still informed some of my espionage games down the years, and I considered running it instead of an Adventure! hack for modern superspies.

Monday, 26 June 2017

Birthday hauntings

And as is now sorta-traditional-which-is-partly-my-fault, an birthday idea thread.


43 isn’t the answer to life, the universe, or anything.

Now reading Beren And Luthien. Next, The Adventures Of Superhero Girl. Then The Long Utopia. Then Person Of Interest season three and Rogue One on disc. Then cake.

I share my birthday with Nick Offerman and the first printing of Harry Potter And The Philosopher’s Stone.

Sunday, 25 June 2017

A source for Mage ideas?

Does anyone have a list of 20-30 random titles that I can use as a starting point for Mage: The Ascension story hooks?

Edit: I asked the book of faces, and the first specific suggestion I got was from Bruce Baugh, so he wins. (And not just because he worked on the Revised rulebook and wrote the last novel for the setting!)
Song titles by Karnataka, or Birthday Massacre, or Barock Project would do nicely. Or Hugo/Nebula-nominated and -winning short fiction. Or Rhysling Award winners and nominees.
The Birthday Massacre were seconded, so go with them. Coming soon as I can get them done!

Also suggested: Houses Of The Holy (by Crian), Discworld novels (by Karen) and Elric stories (by my brother).

Saturday, 24 June 2017

Stewart Wieck

Stewart Wieck has died, just 49. One of the founders of White Wolf Magazine with his brother Steve and White Wolf Games, he worked on Vampire: The Masquerade and Werewolf: The Apocalypse before leading the creation of Mage: The Ascension. More recently, he founded Nocturnal Media, publishing Scarred Lands with Onyx Path and a new edition of Pendragon, as well as Darkling Plain, a boardgame with characters that animate when viewed through smartphones. Phil Brucato explains his legacy far better than I could.

My sympathies to his family and friends as well as my fellow fans.

Friday, 23 June 2017

Thursday, 22 June 2017

Band On The Run

Going to a big gig (srsly, about 2200 people, queues out the door, across the square and round the corner, guest appearance by Lauren from Chvrches) got me thinking about the logistics of something like that. I’ve played and run games about bands before, but like most PC groups they’ve been rinky-dink bands playing rinky-dink spaces, maybe with one adventure about a big show, because a non-famous band having adventures seems more feasible. It’s like plotting for low-level adventurers versus royalty.

I’m kinda-sorta considering writing a sourcebook about music venues, possibly separate from my kinda-sorta considering a sourcebook about visual art venues, and I’m largely thinking low-end there too.

Star Trek: Discovery - coming in September

Star Trek: Discovery starts on September 24th in the USA and the 25th here, and Jason Isaacs joins the glorious tradition of looking uncomfortable in Starfleet uniforms.

Wednesday, 21 June 2017

Mark Gatiss and Steven Moffat to adapt Dracula

Some strangely apt news for midsummer... Moffat created the TV sequel Jekyll, but Gatiss is the known horror buff, having written and presented series on the topic as well as horror and horror-comedy fiction, and indeed done an audio version of Dracula with Big Finish.

Tuesday, 20 June 2017

Netflix Interactive "Gamebooks"

Kids Interactive Adventure uses the streaming service to support a branching story, Choose Your Own Adventure style. I’ve seen this done with DVD and YouTube (NSFW language there) as well as Earplay audio, but Netflix trying it gives it a big platform.

Stranger Things retro figures

Not a fan of retro action figures in general, but I suppose it fits Stranger Things being made entirely out of 80s. They’re also less bobble-headed than most of the style, which helps. Demogorgon cuts quite the dash, though presumably with the retro articulation it won’t have hinged jaws.

Monday, 19 June 2017

Wynonna Earp season two

Wynonna Earp is back, and there are more monsters around. And the cliffhanger was sorta-kinda resolved but appears to be an ongoing issue. And Black Badge use blood on contracts instead of signatures, suggesting they’re a different kind of occult monster-hunting conspiracy than they appeared last year. And Doc lost his hat.

Sunday, 18 June 2017

Pass on some of what you have learned

Happy Fathers’ Day to all fathers, parents, father figures, and other mentors.

Friday, 16 June 2017

Gary Gygax's FBI File

For reals.

“He is known to carry a weapon and was proud of his record of personally answering any letter coming from a prison.” Because encouraging literacy, numeracy and cooperative play in prison is a scary thing, I guess...?

Thursday, 15 June 2017

VtM 5 playtest

The Vampire: The Masquerade 5 pre-alpha playtest rules and scenario are now online. Also available at DriveThruRPG. They look to be much the same as the Berlin playtest, including the hand-drawn maps.

Edit: I didn’t play Amelina, or see the other character sheets. The player who picked Amelina read and played her as liking to hang out with younger vampires rather than young people, possibly missing the feeding restriction. (We also didn’t get as far as the Spartans, or any of the ways the PCs could die very suddenly.) It still played as fairly absurdist and ultraviolent, with various horrible characters.

Yogi Bear Vs. Dracula

Poenari Castle, stronghold of Dracula, has become such a tourist site that their leftover food has attracted a family of bears.

Thanks to Sean for the link.

Wednesday, 14 June 2017

The Wickiverse?

The creators of John Wick (the film not the RPG designer) are planning a TV spin-off, The Continental, about the hotel/Elysium chain for international assassins.

Tuesday, 13 June 2017

How to run ongoing horror... into the ground

Daniel Dockery at Cracked on horror TV, the problems of recurring antagonists and how to kill off someone we’ve seen take on all comers for six years already. The first point about off-topic subplots applies to all genres, but there’s useful advice here for this genre among others.

Monday, 12 June 2017

The problem with a public domain movie universe

Marvel are probably too nice to make a movie about their Mummy, Dracula, Frankenstein monster and Werewolf By Night just to mess with Universal.

Hammer, meanwhile, recently finished a comic of The Mummy with a young woman with mummy powers running from a conspiracy in modern London. Shame the collection won’t be out for another month.

Sunday, 11 June 2017

Black Canary

Happy 70th anniversary, Black Canary! A pulp hero in a world of supers. You rock.

Saturday, 10 June 2017

Adam West

Adam West was the Batman of my childhood, and his perfect deadpan delivery was the centre of that glorious madhouse. Good night, and thank you for all the fun.

The Mummy

It is a Universe... of DARKNESS.

The DARK UNIVERSE globe appears to be behind and to the left of Universal Earth, at a right angle.

The Mummy was in places quite fun, and in places quite strange. The two overlapped pretty heavily. It was flattest when being a normal action-adventure summer movie.

Also, arachnophobes will not have fun with some scenes.

Enlightenment In Blood war stories

From Darker Days. I can attest to the truth of the first story...

The Mummy... as the hero?

An Egyptology professor is secretly a mummy! A plot idea from comments on The Mary Sue which is very much not what happens in the new film. Teaching the history you’ve lived through is more of a Highlander thing.

Alan Moore and Steve Bissette's not-Thor comic Horus was a professor who became the eponymous god... the original World Of Darkness: Mummy went pretty Highlander with the showing off historical knowledge... and this image from D20 Modern always hinted at that kind of story, perhaps in a more villainous way.

Friday, 9 June 2017

Gaming at the Fringe

The 2017 Edinburgh Festival Fringe programme is out.

(Macbeth 1, Hamlet nil! A shocking win for Julius Caesar and The Tempest at two each!)

Also, a Lovecraft adaptation, a Stoker adaptation that isn’t Dracula, the return of The Dark Room...

And an interactive game of Werewolves Of Miller’s Hollow!

And a physical theatre piece about the emotional meaning of Dungeons & Dragons.

No zombie run this year, and no obvious examples of interactive theatre that is really LARP...

Wednesday, 7 June 2017

Betrayal At Baldur's Gate

I hadn’t guessed from the name that Betrayal At Baldur’s Gate was a D&D variation on House On The Hill.

I suspect Drizzt.

Monday, 5 June 2017

I was there, I swear!

Warning: obscure RPG injoke. Even by the standards of this page.

A gallery of photos from the big World Of Darkness Berlin LARP is out for review.

And although I was playing a Vampire: The Masquerade character, I was apparently a bit Vampire: The Requiem... in the sense that my face doesn’t appear clearly in any of them.

Sunday, 4 June 2017

UK Games Expo

Apparently this year UK Games Expo expanded to the world’s third largest tabletop games convention. The programme hints at how much bigger it is than just a few years ago. (And they seem to have done away with the pay-to-play RPGs, which I wasn’t keen on.)

Saturday, 3 June 2017

A ragtag fleet of timeships

A ragtag fleet of timeships landing across history, fleeing an enemy from beyond time. Sounds like the start of a game to me!

From the generally great 101 Time-Manipulating Villains! thread on

Primaris Marines

Warhammer 40,000 eighth edition is doing something like a smaller-scale version of my plan to smash the setting to pieces, having the Ultramarine Primarch awake and be rather put out by the state of the Imperium rather than the Emperor, as a way to introduce true-scale Space Marines.

Friday, 2 June 2017

D&D: Stream Of Annihilation

A livestreaming weekend for D&D, featuring Wizards Of The Coast creators and staff, fans, voice actors and more.

Unlike most RPG livestreams I’ve seen they’re all in the same room - and indeed in a purpose-built “living room” set - rather than playing via webcam from their homes.

Naturally I start thinking about what other RPG events could be shown like this. Livestreaming started with video games, and there are boardgame and wargame streams out there too.

My first thought would be LARP, which may be hypocritical of me as I complain about how much coverage it gets because it’s more visually interesting than tabletop, but hey, it might be lingering positivity after World Of Darkness Berlin. I could imagine someone bringing a camera in-character to something like Enlightenment In Blood or End Of The Line resulting in an improvised found-footage movie.

All the world is waiting for you...

I would guess if Wonder Woman had come out before Captain America it would have been set in World War II. That said, it would have looked very different in a bunch of other ways, if it had happened at all. She has a lot of the same heroic guardian qualities, and a bit of the fish-out-of-water element, though not as much as Thor. It’s also a better superhero film than DC have managed this decade.

I may also be overreading the Buffy influence in the moment with the sword. Or maybe not.

Thursday, 1 June 2017