Thursday, 30 November 2017

WFRP IV cover

Return to a grim world of perilous adventure. And for a starter set too. Coming 2018.

Update: The Enemy Within 30th Anniversary Director’s Cut announced, with Graeme Davis back to oversee it and update for the new edition.

St. Andrew's Day

It’s St. Andrew’s Day, for the patron saint of Scotland.

As I noted last year, I rarely use Scotland as a setting, because I like having the option to be flexible with geography and that’s more difficult when it’s right outside.

Some local feel will still seep into my games all the same - I have to actively stop myself using Scottish names in games set elsewhere, and I was glad when I visited Cambridge and found that it does have its share of Edinburgh-style narrow streets, pedestrian-only through-routes and other places suitable for fighting monsters in relative seclusion.

Wednesday, 29 November 2017

Avengers: Infinity War trailer


The characters sharing the speech about the idea is a lovely touch.

The Vision and Scarlet Witch moment is apparently from the Edinburgh shoot. The bit with the spear might be in Waverley Station...

Weekend plans

This time on Friday, I will be on the train to That London for Dragonmeet. (And the Harry Potter exhibition right next to the station.) There, I will probably spend most of the day at the panel talks, and then take aim at the charity auction. With luck, I will get most of my Christmas shopping done too.

Tuesday, 28 November 2017

Crisis On Earth-X

While I have had a number of parallel universes in games, and a number of opportunities to punch Nazis, I have never done both at once.

Hm. Have I even done evil mirror versions of the PCs at all? Not that I recall. (Evil possible future versions, yes, in a few cases...)

Sunday, 26 November 2017

A result of this afternoon's Star Trek Adventures session

The Emergency Engineering Hologram activates and groans “What have you done this time?” in a Dublin accent.

Saturday, 25 November 2017

Working title still Cold Dark Christmas

Almost 3000 words into Vampire: The Masquerade Christmas Special article, which is really helping fend off the traditional Christmas overdose because I can use it. Currently swithering about whether to include shot adventure hook version of my totally horrible V20 Christmas Special or run the existing writeup through the template and give it away separately.

Friday, 24 November 2017

Tales From Black Friday

It’s Black Friday. And you know what that means...

“Savings?” Don’t be silly.
“That we’ve picked up a marketing ploy connected to a U.S. holiday we don’t celebrate?” Pshaw.
“Wailing and gnashing of teeth?” Now you’re talking.

Another year, another reminder that shop staff working holidays are people.

But I’m sure these reminders used to say they’re people too...

Thursday, 23 November 2017

Behind You

A one-panel comic series by artist Brian Coldrick, some animated, with a book on the way. Most are creepy wee moments, but some have me thinking of stories before and after.

The creator has also worked on Doctor Who as a concept artist, coming up with designs for the likes of toothy Cybermats and the Half-Faced Man, so he may have given you or your kids nightmares already. :)

Thanks to K for the link.

Wednesday, 22 November 2017

Justice League

Justice League was alright, about second-tier X-Men movie level. Some great big-screen moments, some wonky green-screen, a nice solution to a big problem, fun versions of most of the League against a meh villain.

Also nice to see the DCEU in colour.

I’d cheerfully watch more of The Flash Irks Batman though.

Tuesday, 21 November 2017

Hurrah for Steve Buscemi

Just managed to get exactly half points in the first seven rounds of the Character Actors themed Cameo Film Quiz (which is particularly strange as the running total was 31!) before a final 12-point round was to name Steve Buscemi films. Took a while, but I made it. Lots of other teams did too, but hey.

Now obviously I have to base an NPC on Steve Buscemi next week. I don’t think he’s ever played a vampire...

Monday, 20 November 2017

The Once And Future Queen

The Once And Future Queen by Adam P. Knave and D.J. Kirkbride, illustrated by Nick Brokenshire and lettered by Frank Cvetkovic, is a nice spin on the idea of Arthur returning when needed. (Not unlike a spin I wrote a book about but hey.) And hey, first hit’s free.

Cyberpunk 2077

They nudged the timeline forward just a bit for the new CRPG in the Cyberpunk setting.

Understandable as we blew past the original twenty-five-years-ahead date 2013 four years ago and are more than halfway to the 2020 update, and I still don’t have those new polycarbon knees I’ve been hoping for.

Sunday, 19 November 2017

The Incredibles 2 teaser

The Incredibles 2 teaser

The Incredibles is the best Fantastic Four movie ever made. Disney own both The Incredibles and the Marvel Cinematic Universe. Marvel are having trouble getting the Fantastic Four film rights back.

Now, we would need to recast Frozone...

Saturday, 18 November 2017

The Thing

There are now tabletop games based on The Thing (From Another World) and its source novella as well as others showing its influence rather clearly.

It’s a natural fit for “traitor” style mostly-cooperative games with its smallish isolated cast and clear stakes - and the option to infect more people as it goes along.

For the same reasons it could make a good basis for a one-shot RPG session. Handing over notes, and maybe texts and so on to keep them even more hidden, tends to encourage suspicion and paranoia even when there isn’t a murderous doppelganger in the area.

(Also, what is up with Copper’s nose ring?)

If you wanted more than a one-shot, look at the prequel which both sets up the Norwegian base and basically functions as a different playthrough of the same adventure, or the comics, or the sequel the then SciFi Channel tried to make in 2005, which is... interesting. (The scene where they use electric shocks to make a captured Thing revert to previous forms, all the way back to a “dark whirlpool of seething flesh and blood”, does kinda work. And... wow, the theme from Aliens is way more, ah, referential than I knew.) Or to series like Helix where the danger spreads more slowly and the moral question of whether victims can be helped arises.

But ultimately I think sustaining the fear and distrust would be a tall order, and it makes a better one-shot.

Friday, 17 November 2017

The Punisher

Netflix’s The Punisher sure sounds like a Western if you close your eyes. The theme playing over the title’s shots of guns sounds, to me, a whole lot like God’s Gonna Cut You Down by Johnny Cash.

(And then the first fight scene choreographed to Hell Broke Luce, a song about military PTSD by Tom Waits.)

And yes, there’s a corridor fight. With guns.

Interesting that in some ways they humanise Frank (compared to both the comics, the films and even his appearance in Daredevil) giving him a sense of humour and actual friendships including an Odd Couple pairing, and nudge him towards the MCU hero ideal with a willingness to risk his life to save others and even try to resolve a paticularly volatile situation peacefully. It also makes him astonishingly brutal in the final episodes, showing his desire for vengeance as a monstrous thing.

Tell TMS about your character

In what may be a fit of lunacy, The Mary Sue wants to know about your favourite tabletop RPG characters.

And yeah, shouting at werewolves, good times.

Sunday, 12 November 2017

Agents Of S.H.I.E.L.D. In Spaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaace

Looks like fun. I would say the overall Weird Level has definitely gone up a little, even after the Ghost Rider and Killer Androids and VR Hydra World season four. The big grumpy Kree aren’t the only bit giving it a Guardians Of The Galaxy vibe.

(Also, one of the guest stars in the episode of The Inhumans it plays over the credits for is called Wolf Lee Counsel. I just thought I’d mention that because that’s fantastic.)

Friday, 10 November 2017

Hope. Sacrifice. Unity.

Today is the 20th anniversary of the original Trinity Universe. Nearly ready to Kickstart the Continuum. In the meantime, that preview.

Some time soon in a galaxy far, far away...

And while I was out, Disney announced SO MUCH STAR WARS. Rian Johnson spearheading a new trilogy unconnected from anything filmed before, and a live-action TV series on their streaming service launching in 2019. (As well as one from Marvel, among other things like a Monsters Inc. series.)

Thursday, 9 November 2017


Just back from a 30th anniversary screening of Predator, and the only things that really date it some wobbly animation and some very 80s civilian clothes, but mostly some coarse language and tree-smashing explosions they probably wouldn’t get away with today.

And the plot is timeless as well - The Most Dangerous Game with an unknown opponent.

Wednesday, 8 November 2017

The Dark Universe Goes Dark

In not a huge surprise, the Universal monster Dark Universe is on pause with its executive producers off doing other things like Star Trek: Discovery and The Fast And The Furious. A shame, as the slate includes (included?) a new version of The Bride Of Frankenstein to be directed by Bill Condon. I also found the swimming Templar zombies in The Mummy great fun. Maybe we’ll see the sketched out plans for less blockbuster-necessary films from Blumhouse move forward anyway?

Tuesday, 7 November 2017

The "Kids On Bikes" genre

An RPG just called Kids On Bikes is on its way, so yes, it’s definitely a genre now. It was around in the actual 1980s, but Stranger Things really codified it as a specific subgenre, with the new film of IT being proof of concept.

If I were to run an 80s game, quite possibly for players born after 1989, it might reflect my experiences as a middle-class geeky horror/fantasy kid in Britain, as well as my year (1982-3) in small town USA so getting to see some of this stuff up close.

I’d also have to come up with a more realistic monster than Mrs. Thatcher.

Gareth Ryder-Hanrahan, novelist

Congratulations to Gar on his book deal!

The Black Ops Gig Economoy

An thread on Shadowrun and other mercenary-centric RPGs having other teams out there, featuring posts by SR writer Wakshaani on how this affects the patron economy among other things.

Monday, 6 November 2017

15 monsters without movies

Via Cracked podcast.

Except one (the Monkey Man of Delhi) apparently has, a Bollywood romcom.

Mostly ghosts, including the Washington D.C. prophetic ghost cat and hauntings in the White House, and the Japanese ghost that haunts the end stall of toilets.

But also the Bonnacon, the killer poop cow.

And the Winchester Mystery House. Which as they note is being done, with Dame Helen Mirren.

Also, one possible film suggested is “like The Hangover meets Dracula.”

Something about this route map...

Roman roads of Britain in the style of a subway map. The perfect thing to sneak into a parallel universe game to see who notices.

GMing update

I will probably switch to a different game on Sunday evening after Christmas.

So I may have just set Elysium on fire and started an anarch revolt in V20.

Well, it was the fifth of November.

Saturday, 4 November 2017

The Great Pyramid Void

So, news from the Great Pyramid reveals a secret chamber... which Assassin’s Creed Origins already had.

Friday, 3 November 2017

The Art Of Assassin's Creed Origins

Probably spoilers:

Personal Shopper

Personal Shopper is a film of two halves. One is about a personal shopper who envies her employer and feels her life is in a rut until she starts receiving mysterious texts. The other is about a medium trying to contact the ghost of her twin brother. They’re both the same character. However, the two stories really only brush past each other. The first part, which gets the title, is actually the second strand to come in and the first to resolve, feeling a bit underdeveloped, a mystery with one suspect. The second feels more involving, a low-key ghost story about loss and what it can make you do.

It works as a character study of someone waiting for something more, though.

And, since you’re here on my blog where I tend to talk about horror and modern fantasy...

Thursday, 2 November 2017

The Street Fighter RPG

A look back at one of White Wolf’s odder moments. The move-based combat at its heart was a good idea, and the undeveloped setting let them run with it. I also recall the article in White Wolf Magazine that addressed questions of the What The Hell? variety.

It’s a shame that, like so many licensed games, it may never be seen again after the licence ends.