Saturday, 28 July 2018

Time Bandits the TV series?

Time Bandits is great, but I can’t help but think a TV version would look a lot like Doctor Who with a bit more falling. Not that that’s necessarily a bad thing, I for one could watch more rickety time travel adventures.

Friday, 27 July 2018

Wynonna Earp is back

Wynonna Earp season three has begun here, in an unhelpful Friday 10 p.m. timeslot. So I’ll talk about the premiere after the 1.35 on Thursday morning repeat.

Tabletop and desktop

The Onyx Pathcast talks about video games - including Vampire: The Masquerade - Bloodlines, with Eddy mentioning that the World Of Darkness MMO including conversations about how it would be compared to Bloodlines, as well as other effects and uses for video games, and Miserable Secrets.

Thursday, 26 July 2018

The Time Of Judgment

Today sees reviews and news free for V5, and as Ian Watson just pointed out it’s also the fifteenth anniversary of the GenCon announcement of Time Of Judgment, the end times series for the classic World Of Darkness.

Two days later, the News Ticker started. (In-character it came from WTOJ. The entry notes that there’s a real WTOJ... in Carthage, New York. And I just clicked on it and saw a headline banner saying “The Monsters are coming!” ... about monster trucks.) It’s a classic example of escalating Weird Level, and plot hooks dangling all over.

Time to meet a new slayer

For some genre writers it’s Star Wars.
Buffy the Vampire Slayer is my Star Wars.
Before I became a writer, I was a fan. For seven seasons, I watched Buffy Summers grow up, find love, kill that love. I watched her fight, and struggle and slay.
There is only one Buffy. One Xander, one Willow, Giles, Cordelia, Oz, Tara, Kendra, Faith, Spike, Angel... They can’t be replaced. Joss Whedon’s brilliant and beautiful series can’t be replicated. I wouldn’t try to.
But here we are, twenty years later...
And the world seems a lot scarier.
So maybe, it could be time to meet a new Slayer...
And that’s all I can say.
So it seems we’re looking at a new slayer called something other than Buffy, which is an obvious continuation option. I’ve run and played that game more than once myself.

Still no idea how much continuity to keep (twelve seasons of TV, and comics, and books, and hey, RPG stuff) and how much to refresh.

The Festival is upon us once more

Specifically the Edinburgh Art Festival, the one where I work, getting a jump on the International and Fringe. And the Fringe brings with it various game-related shows.

Wednesday, 25 July 2018

A big look at VtM 5

Darker Days Radio talk to Karim Muammar and Matthew Dawkins, for over an hour and fifty minutes.

Various notes:

Banu Haqim rather than Assamites and a multi-faith Ministry which includes the Followers of Set rather than them being the entire clan.

Also the Church of Caine, those lovely people first seen in Enlightenment In Blood.

Hunger Dice, Messy Criticals - and avoiding them if you have enough dice to take half for a basic success. And ways to scale them depending how often your table rolls.

Blood Potency as well as Generation, with Generation being a cap on Potency.

The Second Inquisition took down every vampire in London... except one big faction... and some they missed... which sounds like a big deal but consider that every vampire in London is about 100. For now, London is closed, but will it always be?

Edit: the preview playthrough is up.

Monday, 23 July 2018

Breaking The Tremere Pyramid

A reveal for Vampire: The Masquerade Fifth Edition, following Beckett’s Jyhad Diary: The Clan Is Fractured.

The Tremere was traditionally one of the most organised clans in the game, so this is an interesting move. From a Doylist perspective, it looks like it will let people play anarch and Sabbat Tremere with as much support as the usual Camarilla.

I suppose now the Giovanni is the most organised clan, since the Assamites split in their Revised Clanbook.

That said, “most organised clan” is like “fastest sloth”.

My view of this has always been affected by Chicago By Night first edition where the Tremere was one of the most dysfunctional clans in town. The three in Milwaukee By Night seemed to reflect the organised clan idea better, a coterie deliberately put together with a social expert and a physical expert protecting the mission of the mental expert, but even then they were divisive and scheming. (And now the social expert is leading the anarch faction in V5.)

Miserable Secrets is loose!


The Expanse RPG

The Expanse, an RPG based on books (and TV show) based on an RPG.

Sunday, 22 July 2018

Agents Of S.H.I.E.L.D. season five

And a while after the US, that’s a wrap on season five of Marvel’s Agents Of S.H.I.E.L.D.

Feels like a series finale more than a season...

Saturday, 21 July 2018

What would I do with a new Buffy series?

Let’s say I had the same brief - keep the name, make a reboot rather than a spinoff.

Seemingly nice high school in a seemingly nice college town.

Buffy is, initially, not very secure about the whole slayer deal.

I’d have her come in to her power in the pilot. It doesn’t have to be a full-on origin story, it could be a quick flashback bit, but I’d show the Chosen One being chosen. By the end of the pilot, she’s ready for the battles ahead, though she still has concerns.

A few friends - we can call them Xander, Willow, and Giles, or not, depending on how close they are. Maybe give possibly-Sunnydale High more recurring characters as well.

The slayer and vampire starcrossed forbidden love thing is so perfect the show did it twice, so I’d need to find a way to spin it. Girl meets boy, boy becomes vamp? But I also wouldn’t want to muddy the waters of let’s kill these soulless monsters on a weekly basis. Hrm. Some unique mystical whatsit to explain his uniqueness, maybe it’s the result of an attack by an ancient proto-vampire, or she tried to stem it off with a transfusion of her blood, which obviously she won’t be wiling or able to for every vamp around.

Decide just how helpful and useful the Watchers are - stick it at not very and keep it there. I say this as someone who ran with the Watchers having a good education programme, alchemists, demonic contacts, a black ops team and more. The slayer getting assigned one whole Watcher should be a big deal for them. (And see what the Charmed reboot is doing with its tweedy mentor guy who is, I kid you not, William from The Watch House. Because I swiped him from Hellboy as I know how to typecast.)

Friday, 20 July 2018

In every generation there is a Chosen One.

Joss Whedon is working with Monica Owusu-Breen on a new version of Buffy The Vampire Slayer.

This is a story worth telling and retelling - in every generation.

I love the series that we got from 1997 onwards. It helped me and mine so often, and I hope the new series finds its voice to delight, comfort and inspire a whole new audience.

Sure, part of me would prefer an in-continuity spinoff about Someone Else The Vampire Slayer (or, hey, college age Watchers in training or something) but I also get that sticking to twelve TV seasons of continuity and the canon comics and Slayer books and more would be a pain, as well as losing the name recognition of Buffy in the title.

And remember, the show is a reboot.

The Devil Rides Out

Fifty years ago today, Hammer released The Devil Rides Out, with Christopher Lee in a rare heroic role as Dennis Wheatley’s modern occult expert the Duke De Richleau, adapted by Richard Matheson and directed by Terence Fisher. An experiment that didn’t go to a series, like Captain Kronos: Vampire Hunter, giving us one pretty wild urban fantasy adventure.

Gaming-relevance-wise, check out this miniature...

Thursday, 19 July 2018

The Black Sarcophagus

I have examined
the three mummies
that were in
the black sarcophagus
and which
you were probably
for study
Forgive me
they were contaminated
so rotten
and so not cursed

(News article, gross picture.)

The Clone Wars will end

The Clone Wars returns for a proper final run, twelve episodes about the siege of Mandalore. Coming 2019.

SDCC news

The San Diego Comic-Con news avalanche is already begun, with Anne Rice’s The Vampire Chronicles TV series going to Hulu, Gail Simone as “chief architect” of the Catalyst Prime superhero comics universe, as well as the Tales From The Loop TV series news...

Edit: io9’s news roundup.

Monday, 16 July 2018

The Incredibles 2

The Incredibles 2 is a lot of fun, possibly an improvement on the original, not least in the less muddy villain motivation based moral. It runs more with the forcibly secret supers issue from the original, rather than just being a Fantastic Four movie that has the advantage of freedom from the source.

Sunday, 15 July 2018

Die Hard at thirty

Despite the Christmas setting, Die Hard was a summer blockbuster.

3:16 is 10

To celebrate the tenth anniversary of 3:16 - Carnage Amongst The Stars, Gregor Hutton has put it and all his other games on sale at $3.16!

Dr. Horrible's Sing-Along Blog

Today sees the tenth anniversary of Dr. Horrible’s Sing-Along Blog, the supervillain musical Joss Whedon created during the writers’ strike. The setup of wannabe villains could make an entertaining game premise.

Saturday, 14 July 2018

On the march

While marching, I saw heartening and amusing things. Laughing at monsters gives you power. Showing your support for others strengthens them.

Friday, 13 July 2018

The Nevers

The Nevers, a new TV series created by Joss Whedon, coming soon to HBO. About “Victorian women who find themselves with unusual abilities, relentless enemies, and a mission that might change the world”, it sounds like a possible descendant of his unreleased comic series Twist.

Miserable Secrets

New from Fantasy Heartbreaker, Miserable Secrets, the game of investigating strange events in a post-apocalypse ruled by vampire aristocrats.

Do you feel lucky?

It’s Friday The 13th.

And my 3113th post!

Ever had an unfounded superstition in a game?

Thursday, 12 July 2018

Retconning a franchise

On the subject of unusual things in films - RoboCop Returns from Neill Blomkamp, a sequel to a movie series that has had a reboot in the meantime. This is a rare move, the forthcoming Halloween which ignores the remake and the sequels being one example.

And in related news (because Blomkamp once planned a sequel to Aliens that ignored the following films) one of the myriad unmade versions of Alien 3, the William Gibson screenplay is to be adapted by Dark Horse Comics.

Wednesday, 11 July 2018

Thor: Ragnarok, again

Watching Thor: Ragnarok again due to getting the Blu-Ray for my birthday, I realised something.

A major change in tone and visual style and a shift in location and supporting cast is an unusual move in film sequels rather than reboots (offhand I can think of Aliens and Star Trek II: The Wrath Of Khan) but in comics it’s pretty common.

It’s issue 1 with a new creative team.

Tuesday, 10 July 2018

Transformers TCG

Coming soon from Wizards Of The Coast, the Transformers trading card game. Featuring double-sided cards for the characters with different abilities for robot and disguise.

RAF 100

Today marks the centenary of the Royal Air Force. Formed near the end of the First World War from Army and Navy pilots, and known for Their Finest Hour during the Battle of Britain.

I’ve run games where fighter pilots featured, notably my nBSG-inspired military SF series The Stars On Fire, but never quite centrally. I’ve never run Night Witches, for example.

This is partially because I’m just not that good at tactical combat, let alone when you add a third dimension to it. I’m like Khan in that respect. That one respect.

I’ve also played pilots, often in Star Wars but those usually controlling bigger ships. I’ve never played an X-Wing pilot, which is a childhood dream! The problem is getting someone in a solo fighter to take part in group adventures sensibly. Note how much time Luke, Anakin or Poe spend in their fighters compared to on the ground.

I also played fictional pre-RAF fighter pilot Biggles in an Adventure! series - though again I controlled a plane for two whole scenes of the game.
Rich Thomas at Onyx Path on recent claims.

Monday, 9 July 2018

Delta Green: The Labyrinth

Coming soon, a collection of threats for Delta Green. As in the original books, the worst threats are human. Ish.

Saturday, 7 July 2018


Considering how many Fantômas and Les Vampires references I put into one of the Allegiances I created for the Trinity Continuum, I should really watch Judex, the follow-up serial the same team made about a hero rather than a villain.

Friday, 6 July 2018

Steve Ditko

Steve Ditko, co-creator of Spider-Man and Doctor Strange, creator of the Question and Squirrel Girl, and so much more, has died, aged 90.

On TV, no-one can hear you scream

I’m not sure how an Alien TV series would work. I suppose it depends where you put it on the timeline. After Aliens, like the Dark Horse Comics series spanning thirty years, where the threat is known but still dangerous? In with the recent prequels keeping it secret? Or are we talking reboot?

I’ve run and played a few Alien(s) one-shots (never using the official Aliens RPG) and they’ve all been one-shots, though they didn’t all end with everybody dead.

Thursday, 5 July 2018

NHS at 70

I owe the National Health Service my life, as do some of those closest to me.

Wednesday, 4 July 2018

Happy 100th birthday, Captain America!

Also, apparently Marvel really did decide that MCU Captain America was born on the Fourth of July. Oh well, in for a penny...

Happy centenary, Cap!

And I hope you enjoyed your visit to Edinburgh.

... Doesn’t really look like you did.

Happy Fourth Of July!

I’ve never run anything set around the Revolutionary War. Hmm.

Monday, 2 July 2018

Geist: The Sin-Eaters Second Edition

Now on Kickstarter and two-thirds funded this afternoon.

(As an amusing side point, the poster who made a thread to publicise it is... Second Chances.)

A reminder that we are in a cyberpunk madhouse

Clown paint can defeat facial recognition. As tested extensively when Insane Clown Posse fans marched through DC.