Monday, 31 July 2017

#RPGaDay 2017

And here... we... go.

RPGaDay will last all month, which is three times longer than the political career of Anthony Scaramucci. (Weeks from now, people will have to look that up.)

The Next Generation and the next and the next

Bryan Fuller spoke to EW about his plans for Star Trek, for an anthology, essentially a new show every season, advancing from the pre-Kirk basis for Discovery to a new future setting.

There are a few generational campaign games like Pendragon, but I’ve never run something like this. Hmm...


Today marks the 100th anniversary of the beginning of the battle of Passchendaele, one of the bloodiest of the First World War. It inspired remembrance, protest and art at the time, and still does to this day.

Sunday, 30 July 2017

When Related But Incompatible Genres Clash

From Within made a small splash at Tribeca ten years ago and is mostly known as a footnote in the history of The Secret Circle as it features Thomas Dekker and Britt Robertson in a small town magic fantasy story.

But it’s a pretty interesting setup, with a girl falling for a brooding mysterious outsider a year before Twilight came out in cinemas, and a silent metamorphic killer hopping from victim to victim a few years before It Follows. So that’s a teen paranormal romance colliding with a teen horror...

Saturday, 29 July 2017

Encounters on the edge of space

Matthew Knighton, creator of Distant Stars, has written a series of systemless SF creatures, monsters and encounters for Shades Of Vengeance, and the first is now free on their Patreon, starting a monthly feature. I could see the Memory, the first example, as a monster/puzzle of the week in something like DS, Star Trek or Doctor Who.

Thursday, 27 July 2017

Wednesday, 26 July 2017

More Vampire: The Requiem goodness

Well, my copies of Secrets Of The Covenants and the revised Reap The Whirlwind are on their way, taking advantage of the Christmas In July sale to basically get the shorter book free.

Tuesday, 25 July 2017

Disenchantment from Matt Groening

Matt Groening is to follow Futurama with Disenchantment on Netflix, about a hard-drinking princess, a demon, and an elf called Elfo trying to save a collapsing fantasy kingdom.

Monday, 24 July 2017

Firefly Adventures

Firefly Adventures: Brigands & Browncoats nudges us ever closer to there being as many Firefly games as there are episodes. Reckon one more and we’ll draw level with the number originally aired.

I sure hope it ain’t an omen that it’s got miniatures for the same five of the nine main characters as the Funko Legacy figures... that never got the other four.

Darker Days V5 pre-alpha playtest

Darker Days Radio’s Vampire: The Masquerade 5 pre-alpha playtest is now in cleaned-up version with intro and such at their main site.

Sunday, 23 July 2017

RPGaDay 2017

RPGaDay 2017 launches August 1st, but you can see the prompts already!

Our geeky future

Entirely too much exciting geeky stuff is happening at Comic-Con, so focusing on RPG things happening elsewhere.

Until I get some good trailer links anyway.

Like The Defenders.

Friday, including (the rather dinky fifty-minute web series) Stargate: Origins.

Saturday bringing extended trailers for Justice League, Star Trek: Discovery and Thor: Ragnarok.

Sunday featuring Doctor Who and The Ray.

Friday, 21 July 2017

Sabbat: The Apocalypse

Sabbat games of Vampire: The Masquerade have a lot in common with Werewolf: The Apocalypse in terms of pack structure and rituals, an overarching supernatural enemy and so on - all the things that make them harder to explain than Camarilla or Anarch games - so it occurs to me that this could also solve the other common problem I have with Sabbat games, that they focus on attacking Camarilla vampires and general chaotic rampages.

Give the Antediluvians servants to oppose, cults like the Black Hand and weird not-quite vampire things, as well as Noddist secrets to pursue and night-to-night vampire problems to approach in a different way.

One tricky part is that the creepy body-warping horrors of the setting are on the Sabbat side, which would make the enemy different from the Wyrmspawn. (The Tzimisce, providers of most of the weird monsters in the VTM computer games. I’d happily drop them or nudge them onto the NPC side, but hey... Of course, I could follow some of the setting secrets and have Tzimisce active and working against the Sabbat’s supposed purpose.)

So... hmm... ancient revenants, so old that they can make ghouls themselves?

Thursday, 20 July 2017

D&D Beyond beta review

D&D Beyond is in beta before a late August release - can we finally get the paperless office into the game room?

Star Trek: Discovery news

Ahead of San Diego Comic-Con, quite a bit of news about Star Trek: Discovery, with looks at props, Doug Jones talking about his character, and this poster.

Can we boldly go yet?

Wednesday, 19 July 2017

How to adapt Blade Runner

There have been two computer games based on Blade Runner, an arcade shooter licensing the soundtrack so the player chased and shot anonymised ‘replidroids’ (in the back, so it’s very true to what happens to Zora) and the all-in virtual movie with some of the cast, designs by Syd Mead, playing around with the Voight-Kampff analyser and a bunch of leftover Philip K. Dick references. (And giant rats.)

Do you try to imitate everything, or focus on a single aspect? The big game felt too close at times - a different group of replicants led by a different guy with a penchant for poetry also sneaking around Los Angeles in that same week in November 2019, pursued by a different Blade Runner in a different brown raincoat...

Tuesday, 18 July 2017

Anno Dracula miniatures sculpting contest

Frothers United sponsor a charity miniatures sculpting contest for Anno Dracula, Kim Newman’s Victorian vampire mashup, judged by various sculptors and Mr. Newman himself. The winning entries will then be cast and sold with proceeds going to Cancer Research or the MS Society.

Even if it sticks to just Anno Dracula itself and not the other novels set in the Great War, the 1950s and the 1980s, the short stories, or the currently running comic series set in 1895, it still allows just about every vampire from fiction of the era, lots of other fictional characters as well as real people drawn from history, and Newman’s own characters. With a good turnout, it could be a great range.

Game history note: series hero Genevieve first appeared (as a parallel universe version) in Newman’s Jack Yeovil fiction for Warhammer.

Monday, 17 July 2017

Night Of The Living Dead

Night Of The Living Dead is the Dracula of the modern zombie - there were walking corpses before, and the name comes from mythology, but it became a genre here and everything that follows reacts to it. The Walking Dead is basically “what if a Romero movie didn’t end?”

Most zombie apocalypse media since follows its example of this being a new phenomenon, so the world of The Walking Dead was like ours before the outbreak except for the lack of zombie movies. Characters referring to it are usually genre savvy stars of comedies like Shaun of The Dead, or sometimes using it to label something a bit different, as in World War Z.

Ordinary people trapped together. Matter-of-fact filming. Not exactly happy endings. A black lead is still uncommon, but Ben is especially remarkable in 1968 - George Romero mentioned hearing about the assassination of Martin Luther King on the way to sell the film in New York. And Barbra is one of the most realistic portrayals of someone in shock I’ve ever seen.

(It’s also interesting to see the aspects that didn’t become standard for the genre, like the term “ghouls” and zombies’ aversion to light, a hope for the night that would not continue into Dawn Of The Dead and beyond.)

There are plenty of zombies in gaming, but of course the real monsters in Night Of The Living Dead are people. Games often encourage this with limited resources, so only one person can get to the chopper in Zombies!!!! It’s also often overdone, to the point that the survivors in The Walking Dead should really shoot first and ask questions later. But done sparingly, it can still pack a punch. And Night Of The Living Dead packs a hell of a punch.

Sunday, 16 July 2017

Martin Landau

Martin Landau has died. Winning an Oscar as Bela Lugosi in Ed Wood, he was also known for Space:1999 and Mission: Impossible, worked with Hitchcock in North By Northwest, and much more. His daughter Juliet Landau plays Drusilla in Buffy and Angel, and also appeared in Ed Wood as Loretta King.

George A. Romero

George A. Romero has died, at 77. Among many other things, he created a genuinely new monster.

The Children Of Thanos!

The D23 con teaser of Avengers: Infinity War is not yet online... but we do have photos of the Children of Thanos.

Cool to see a full-on supervillain team. I for one am already cutting together a fake Shadowrun TV title sequence starring them.

The Last Jedi behind the scenes teaser

Contains Carrie Fisher feels.

Saturday, 15 July 2017

Darker Days tackle the V5 pre-alpha

Darker Days audio

Among other things, their Nicholas suggested the same hideout as ours when I ran it here, as it’s listed in his character background.

Garbage - No Horses

No Horses

All profits until the end of next year to the International Red Cross Committee.

And the song’s a dystopia in music that ends with a refrain of “This is the apocalypse...” so worth adding to the list of Garbage Songs To Get Ideas From.

Friday, 14 July 2017

Star Wars Galaxy's Edge

Star Wars Land, now in model diorama form, ahead of full-sized park form in two years.

I want to go to there.

And stay at the in-character hotel.

Now, if I could just do it without all the other people getting in the way...

Michael Jackson, Prince Of Darkness?

Michael Jackson is now someone we get Hallowe’en specials about. Like Dracula.

Power Rangers 1969

Go Go Boots Power Rangers?

I love this kind of thing, even for settings I don’t know.

Thursday, 13 July 2017

Games for 2017-18?

It’s just two months to go before GEAS starts again. Freshers’ Week is September 11-17th. Time for the inevitable pause to think about what to run...

Something relatively straightforward, both in rules and setting.

Star Wars? 40th anniversary, approaching The Last Jedi, that kind of thing. But I don’t particularly want to be the old fart complaining about the new game.

Buffy? Always up for running Buffy. The trick is finding people up for playing Buffy.

Superheroes? Hrm, maybe. Avengers style Earth’s Mightiest Heroes? With Icons, or something a bit heavier?

Something Darkness-y?

Thanks to Matt I have a vague interest in a Western...

Wednesday, 12 July 2017

Net Neutrality


Two Hundred A Day

Nathan Paoletta (Annalise) and Epidiah Ravachol (Dread) talking about The Rockford Files.

Discovered backwards through Twitter comments relating to Emily Care Boss noting how Rockford frontloads character besides that required for action - like when he has a ham in his fridge.

Tuesday, 11 July 2017

S. John Ross has a blog!

S. John Ross has a blog!

For those new to him, S. John Ross created Risus, makes RPG fonts, character standups in fonts, created a piece of canon in a Star Trek RPG book, and wrote The Big List Of RPG Plots. His blog looks to be worth reading.

Monday, 10 July 2017

Dracula's America pre-release

It is 1875, and Count Dracula is President of the United States of America...”

Dracula’s America: Shadows Of The West looks to be a rather odd little wargame.

(I am curious about the scale, as they include Artizan Western miniatures for mundane types, and those are on the short end of 28mm - I used one as a Dwarf when I made a set of Owl Hoot Trail characters.)

Sunday, 9 July 2017

Saturday, 8 July 2017

Nelsan Ellis

Nelsan Ellis, most famous as Lafayette in True Blood, has died aged just 39. During the show’s run, he spoke about the value of diversity in representation after another actor allegedly left the show to avoid playing a gay affair.

Demon: The Descent - Of Faith, Power And Glory

In May I grabbed a chance to run Demon: The Descent, with a mix of players familiar with the World and Chronicles Of Darkness and entirely new ones, but none of us had had a chance to try Descent before. The plan was for a shortish game over the summer, which got shorter than intended for external reasons, so the initial adventure became rather more high-stakes than it might have otherwise...

With four players, I suggested going with one each of the four demonic Incarnations, while having the same political Agenda, suggesting Inquisitor because I had a game of pursuing mysteries in mind. As such they have some concepts that would fit a longer chronicle better than a miniseries. So there may be more to come...

Each has a single human Cover identity. (The ability to maintain extra Covers is attached to the “power stat” Primum.)

Demonic powers are a mix of Embeds, which let them do things super-spies can do with gadgets (one of the characters can bug people by touching them, another can knock people out with a single strike) and Exploits, which are more mystical reality hacking. There was some delighted “whaaaaat?!” at what some of the Exploit powers could do. We left Demonic Form for the second session so that we could get started, and there was another round of delighted “whaaaaat?!” when we got there. “Do I want Long Limbs or a Plasma Drive? Hmm. Thing is, though, the mechanics are balanced!”

Argos, Psychopomp, once a many-eyed angel observer and now the owner and bartender of the Four Seasons in Chicago, someone that people can’t help sharing their secrets with. He fell when he received impossible orders, and came to believe that the God-Machine is fundamentally flawed.
Notable powers: Living Recorder (Embed, allows him to ‘bug’ someone’s senses and play them back later), Clairvoyant Sight (Demonic Form), Advanced Optics (Demonic Form)

Magnus/Opus, Messenger, a taxi driver with an uncanny knack of being in the right place at the right time - and the ability to manifest his cab around him and turn it into a tank. He fell after talking too long to those who rode his cab and seeing too much of their lives.
Notable powers: Soup Up (Embed, allows altering vehicle stats), Demon Car (Exploit, allows him to possess his car), Electrical Sight (Demonic Form), Electrical Resistance (Demonic Form)

The Undermining Whisper, Destroyer, a debunker of fraudulent psychic phenomena with a particular skill at having useful sources back him up by the time people go to look. He fell after discovering something he was meant to debunk was real and dangerous to the people he was lying to.
Notable powers: Eavesdrop (Embed, listening in on any conversation he can see), Left or Right? (Embed, influences binary decisions), Everybody Knows (Embed, spread rumours virally), Find The Leak (Embed, detects disloyal behaviours)

---- (Arne), Guardian, a bouncer with various frightening combat abilities including armour and fangs in demonic form, and a Knockout Punch all the time. He’s also the only one with a healing power. He fell after saw angels working at cross purposes, and stepped in to protect a target against a fellow angel.
Notable powers: Knockout Punch (Embed, does exactly what it says on the tin), Break To Heal (Exploit, symbolically destroy an object to heal an injury), Claws And Fangs (Demonic Form), Tough As Stone (Demonic Form)

All episode titles, and two character names, borrowed from VNV Nation. This tradition goes back to the tagline for Rose Bailey’s Strange As Angels, because about three quarters of their song titles sound like adventure titles for games about heroic demons and/or spies.

Friday, 7 July 2017

Spider-Man: Homecoming

Spider-Man: Homecoming doesn’t have the best action of a Spider-Man movie (the train in Spider-Man 2 is still the winner for me) or the best emotional kick (for me that’s the moment when New Yorkers start throwing things at the Green Goblin in Spider-Man) but it’s easily the funniest, and a whole lot of fun.

Unlike the previous films it’s part of the Marvel Cinematic Universe and this very much makes Peter Parker a junior member, with Tony Stark as his (somewhat inept) mentor. So it might annoy people who just want a Spider-Man movie, but not nearly as much as, say, Captain America: Civil War.

Like the first run of Ultimate Spider-Man it stays in high school. Hence the Buffy tag on this post, USM is a great Buffy series. It also borrows a character from its second run.

It assumes you know the origin, too. (While including a run of questions about it to cover the basics just in case.)

Thursday, 6 July 2017

Chronicles Of Darkness: Dark Eras 2

Now on Kickstarter. I am not biased in favour of any of these eras in particular, after getting The Year Without A Summer for Promethean: The Created in the add-on Companion last time. Someone else on has already brought up my other suggestion for Innocents in the Blitz again!

Wednesday, 5 July 2017

Not all my song-based story ideas are RPG-friendly.

Now I want to make a retro 80s painful breakup movie so I can use Fake Happy by Paramore as the end credits theme.

(An 80s John Hughes high school Buffy game would be too easy really.)

Tuesday, 4 July 2017

Independence Day

... still works pretty well.

The sequel is interesting in running with the world-changing events of the original but the world-building distances it from the real-world setting of the original, and then the plot doesn’t capitalise on it as much of the reverse-engineered tech is disrupted by the new alien invasion fleet and a lot of the same story beats recur.

Er, anyway, happy 4th of July, USA type readers!

Monday, 3 July 2017

The 100 Season 4

The 100 Season 4 was on the whole less nuts than Season 3. The show finally went full Hunger Games with just weeks to spare, and had one more crazy twist left after that. And it kept to its point of being about how awful Making Hard Decisions would be.

Sunday, 2 July 2017

Older content?

Once upon a time, I used LiveJournal. For reasons explained by Frank the Goat, you should be able to find it on Dreamwidth instead.

Saturday, 1 July 2017

Canada Day 150!

Happy Canada Day, celebrating the 1st July 1867 enactment of the Constitution Act.

Four years back I looked at popular culture using Canada as a setting, including notes from Derek about city-based scenarios. (I never got a chance to do that Primeval crossover adventure, sadly.)

I often link to Superhero Girl vs. Canadian-ness as an example of how to avoid making regional characters stereotypes. So here we are again. :)