Archive for the ‘Rants –’ Category

I was a hipster RPGer before it was cool.

Thursday, March 28th, 2013

oteSo I may have mentioned Baron Munchausen a time or two. I don’t think I’ve mentioned Over The Edge. Back In The Day™ two of my favorite games, Role Playing wise, were Paranoia and Over The Edge. And now I have a confession to make, I was never a very good diplomat for the style of gaming I love. Half a year back or so the 20th anniversary special edition reissue of OTE came out and I got a copy because it was a thing I’d loved, and I knew that it was a limited print run. Here’s the second half of the confession, as much as I loved the game, I got it, flipped through it momentarily and then stuck it prominently on my RPG shelf in my living room where there was any chance someone would notice it and go “Oh wow,what a great game!” and then it’d be true love or something. Of course reality is that practically no one knows about a game from 1992.

Then last week I came across a blog post from Vincent Baker talking about how he’d borrowed some mechanics from OTE for Apocalypse World. And it clicked. What did I love about OTE? Story. It wasn’t about the mechanics, I mean really, they basically fit on a single page. However Al Amarja overflows with setting, and story. Conspiracies and weirdness abound. Dark and disturbing things, black humor, wacky silliness. Drugs, Sex, Rock & Roll. Magic and Murder. Mutants, semi-feral baboons, aliens, more criminal organizations than you’d want to shake a stick at.

So anyways, a year or so back Dave reminded me what I like in Role-Playing which is basically What It Says On The Tin™. That is to say, I’m no stranger to tactical combat, and I love board games, but really, when I sit around a table with some friends, I want to do whatever it is that we’re going to do. If we’re going to play board games, let’s do that, and really do it. If we’re going to Role-Play, let’s do that. I’ve long griped the tired and clichèd gripe that I want to Role-play not ROLL-play … but it’s only clichèd because it’s so damn true. D&D isn’t about Role-Playing. I mean… it can be. If you’ve got a great session you might barely engage the rules at all. Oh wait. Just because it’s the progenitor of a genre doesn’t grant it any special status besides that of actually being the progenitor of Role-playing. D&D is a series of tactical encounters loosely wrapped in a story. Often though, the story is almost entirely the creation of the DM. The players should be able to play too right?

I’ve played basically edition of D&D excepting AD&D1st Ed. That is D&D, AD&D 2nd, 3rd, 3.5, Pathfinder, and 4th. Actually no, I lie. Though I have downloaded the D&D Next files, and was in the Beta, I haven’t actually played it yet, or read the rules. And I enjoy it. Obviously I have fun, or I wouldn’t be doing it anymore. That said, there’s better stuff out there.

Back on topic we’ve been playing Monsterhearts, Apocalypse World, Dungeon World, Monster of the Week, and a bunch of one offs of other story and indie games, like Dread or Fiasco or Don’t Rest Your Head or Vesna Thaw and much more. And they’re great. Some are better than others, but they all attempt to do that thing that OTE did back before there was really an internet. Many of them have learned a thing in the intervening two decades, and in fact where the 1st edition of OTE had a section on how you could use the setting and convert it to other games, the latest edition has a section on how you can steal the latest tech from Indie/Story gaming to make your OTE game better.

Who knows how soon it will be, but I need to drag some people over the edge. I think maybe I know enough now to convert the world to one of the best games ever published.

 

The Lazy-Man’s Route

Friday, March 22nd, 2013

98263So when I started blogging regularly the deal (that I secretly made with myself) was that I would post every day. I did this great for a few months and then decided that I needed to do it on a platform where I had a little more control. I already know sixty billion things about WordPress so I installed it on one of my domains, imported my tumbler blog-back-log and decided to reduce frequency and increase structure. Since then I’ve been making 5 posts a week, and I’ve done a pretty damn find job of staying on top of things (only a couple have been late).

At the start I’d get a few weeks ahead on my movie and game reviews. Rants where never too big of a deal and such. However I think I’m going to switch to three posts a week, with “rants” to fill in space whenever I feel like it. I’ll keep the Let’s Play on Mondays, CYOA on Friday’s and lump all the reviews together for Wednesday. However knowing I won’t always have a great review, or might be behind on my Let’s Play game or whatever, I”ll take the liberty to put in a rant whenever I’m behind. 3 posts a week is still respectable. You’ll still respect me in the morning right?!

So yeah, I hope you’ll keep reading.

Too much fun

Thursday, March 21st, 2013

Something’s got to give. I work 35-40 hours a week between my two jobs. I run or play in 3.5 RPGs per week. That’s about 6 hours apiece, so another 18 hours (24 every other week). 4 hours or so for darts.  6-7 hours for board games on Thursdays. That’s 75 hours. And theoretically I spend 56 hours sleeping each week. A week has what, 168 hours? Assuming I spend 25 hours a week on meals, chores and hygiene, 3 hours a week on this blog and 4 hours getting from place to place… that leaves me 5  hours each week to watch movies, read books, play video games, surf the net, and all the other fun relaxing things I’d like to do.

And I already multitask like a champ. I read books or play videogames while I walk. I watch movies/tv and play videogames. I watch Doctor Who while I paint miniatures. I need more spare time, and until I’ve got ready access to a pill that makes sleep unnecessary I’m going to have to give something else up. Right now the solution seems like it’s going to have to be one of my several Role-Playing games. The question then becomes which one.

On Fridays I host I Podcast Magic Missile’s weekly game, which is usually some kind of story or indie game. Right now I’m running Monsterhearts. There is lots of story, drama and Roleplaying. I’m not giving that up.

On Tuesdays I run or play Pathfinder Society at Fun-N-Games. This is fun, crunch heavy, RP light. Still there is some RP, and I do like a nice bit of tactics every now and again. And hell, I’m playing a half blind (can’t see past 30 feet) oracle with my new favorite Pathfinder spell, Murderous Command. Last time I played I never even drew my sword, instead sowing strife amongst our enemies and letting them do the work for us.

On Mondays I host Billy’s campaign. Which was All Flesh Must Be Eaten, and then we took a brief stint into  Apocalypse World (for two sessions) and then switched to Big Eyes Small Mouth. We’ve only had one session of BESM so far, and I’m playing a 16yo girl who dabbles in Poetry, Manners, and Witchcraft but largely has no useful skills. The most exciting thing I did was go shopping for new clothes … but then if we’re doing an “anime” game, might as well go whole hog.

Finally every other Sunday Dave is running a Dungeon World game at the store. Again, we’ve only had one session, but it was a LOT of fun. And it is Powered By Apocalypse World so kind of hard to go wrong, even when you’ve got an 8 player party. That’s right, we had 9 people at the table and it was still pretty damn sweet.

I suppose I could ditch the Darts League… however I’d feel pretty bad. Besides our captain Joanna, I’m pretty much the only person who reliably shows up. And we really need 4 people. We’ve already got 2 make up matches to do, which will probably end up happening early saturday or sunday afternoon sometime.

So, most of you who read this know me. What should I drop? What do I give up? Or do I just suck it up and deal with having less than a dozen hours each week that aren’t completely spoken for.

RIP Google Reader

Thursday, March 14th, 2013

If there is one service I use to access the internet more than any other it’s Google Reader. Google Reader tracks for me 131 websites. Some of them update three times a week (or more) like Penny Arcade. Some of them update once every 1-3 months (like Lackadaisy). Most are somewhere in between, but when I discover a new website, with periodical updates, that seems interesting the first thing I do is find the RSS feed, and plug it into my reader. That way I never miss anything. And yeah… I’m usually behind, right now having nearly 200 unread posts, but they’ll wait for me. Maybe today I can only read 2-3 comics, and a blog post.

I’ve tried a couple alternatives, but only just barely. Do you use an RSS feed reader of some kind? What is it? Keep in mind a lot of people are looking for alternatives, so probably a lot of potential services are going to be having problems for the next couple of days.

Ahh, that was much better.

Thursday, March 7th, 2013

So I gave up on the 40k campaign. As much as I wanted to like it, the main problem is that the game is terribly balanced. I was kind of looking forwards to Fantasy Fight Club (or whatever it’s called) which is a kind of minimalist hero fight multi-match. It looks like it won’t be happening Saturday though as the organizer is going to be missing the first one.

However without having to worry about the 40k campaign, I was able to get a few board games in (a little King of Tokyo, some Great Heartland Trucking Company (review coming soon), and a game of Puzzle Strike (review coming soon)). I even got a minuscule bit of painting done. Good enough.

You leave no alternative but Peace

Thursday, February 28th, 2013

So I got to, nay had to, shout this today, in my most enraged voice, during the 40k Campaign meeting. You may already know this, but the “motto” of Warhammer 40k is In the Grim Darkness of the Far Future there is only WAR. We are playing a 40k campaign at the store, and I’m playing Tau. Every race has a special rule, and my rule is each turn I can “diplomacize” one opponent, who then can not attack me or otherwise wreck my shit. Of course, I’m not allowed to do this to the same person twice in a row. I really only have one opponent to worry about, “The Northern Alliance”, a vile collaboration between Necrons and Grey Knights. Space is tight, and planets grow scarce. We were discussing the possibility of them breaking their alliance, or other changes to the political situation, and complaining about not being able to attack me. I offered several possible, mutually beneficial outcomes, to Ryan, but none were deemed acceptable, so I roared, “Then you leave no alternative but Peace!” It’s was pretty epic.

 

I Podcast Magic Missile

Thursday, February 21st, 2013

 

ipcmm

So, we’ve only just started, but my Friday Gaming group has just gone live w/ our Podcast and Actual Play website: PodCastMagicMissile.com

There is a small amount of stuff up already, but here’s the deal: We’ve got two main kinds of content for now, both of which are in podcast format. Some of the shorter ones are just general gaming discussion, and we cover a broad range of topics, mostly related to gaming in one format or another. The second, longer type of post is Actual Plays from games. We’ve done two seasons of Apocalypse World, but sadly the first couple of sessions did not get recorded. We’ve also done quite a few “one-offs”, things like Vesna Thaw, Baron Munchausen, Fiasco (several times!), and much more. We’ve also just started a Monsterhearts campaign (which I’m running) which some of the APs from that will surely go up soon like.

Be warned there is cursing, and some adult content in the actual plays and discussion podcasts.

40k takes too long

Thursday, February 14th, 2013

 

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

I like games. You might have noticed. Actually, let’s be fair, I love games. Another thing that I like doing is assembling models. Papercraft, or plastic, metal, glue and modelling clay. Yet another thing I like doing is painting models. So one might think (and I fall into this trap repeatedly) that Warhammer 40k or Warhammer Fantasy would be the perfect game for me. The problem is that when I’m spending literally one third of my waking hours playing a game that’s probably, usually too long. I mean sure, the occasional game of Axis and Allies or Civilization the Board Game or Diplomacy.

However something I’m putting this much time and money into, just to get to the point where I’m able to play a game, shouldn’t cost nearly this much of a time investment to play.  A couple hours for a game, sure that’s reasonable. I’m going to try and do some 1000 point “quick games” and we’ll see how that works out. Maybe with a bit more experience I can get the game times down.

Telepathy isn’t all it’s cracked up to be

Thursday, February 7th, 2013

Right, so I’m not actually telepathic, but I suspect that if i had a super power that us the one that would leave me most happy. If we are just talking useful then teleportation would probably be the most powerful, or possibly invisibility.

Let’s assume for the sake of argument that what ever power we are talking about is not crippled with side effects or granted by an evil genie. You don’t have to disrobe to turn invisible, what you are wearing and carrying disappears with you. Teleporting wouldn’t leave you dead in a mountain or all of your possessions behind. Similarly telepathy wouldn’t be always on, or only one way.

There are many uses to which you could put teleportation, both humanitarian and self aggrandizing . Where I able to teleport, setting up a permanent base on the Moon and/or Mars would probably be my top priority. Which of course is excellent because it fits the bill for altruism and greed at the same time… Saving the human race from global catastrophe would certainly qualify as altruistic, and being in three baskets instead of one would certainly be a worthwhile goal, and the opportunities for profiting from such a venture are basically limitless.

Invisibility doesn’t have as obvious uses for good, but certainly could allow you to steal anything and everything you could carry. You could be rich, maybe steal back precious art, save hostages but the altruistic possibilities are a bit limited and contrived.

Telepathy could certainly be used for nefarious or beneficent  purposes, stealing secrets or interrogation good guys or bad guys for fun and profit. That said, altruism nor wealth directly lead to happiness. On the other hand, I feel like being able to directly, and unambiguously communicate with other people could. So often I’ll talk to someone, and maybe, probably, kind of I think I know what they mean. And even if I act in a way that shows I the way I interpreted what they said obviously there is a high probability that either they’ll misunderstand me in return, or they’ll realize I misunderstood them but are too embarrassed to correct my misapprehension. On the third hand (which is an entirely different super power) maybe telepathy would only reveal the awful truth. If the majority of what people say is polite lies, would knowing, really knowing, that lead to happiness or would it instead cause sadness and depression?

Anyway, I’d be interested to hear what you think the most useful super powers would be for Greed, Altruism and Happiness… Which would you pick? Me I’d probably go for Teleportation, even though I doubt it would make me as happy as Telepathy, I would use it for the benefit of mankind, and hopefully find a measure of happiness in so doing. Or maybe I’d just steal everything (though I’m not sure where I’d put it).

Why I would like to go to Mars.

Thursday, January 31st, 2013
If I could actually be a colonist! OMG, nothing I'd rather do!

If I could be a Martian colonist! Honestly there is nothing I would rather do than help make this kind of book a reality!

So Mars One looks to be one (if not the) first opportunity to get humans on another planet in permanent habitation. They’ve asked for volunteers to go, and while I doubt I’ll actually make the cut (do they really need a web-developer/librarian?) I can think of little I would rather do. I just got an email asking why, and I’m going to go ahead and answer that here (in addition to responding).

I would love to go to Mars. Since I was a teenager I’ve been reading Science Fiction about amazing adventures in space. I know reality will likely be far more tame then most of those old Analog magazines, but I can still think of almost nothing I would rather do.

There’s probably no sentient life on Mars, but it is super important for humanity to spread out to other planets before something terrible happens on this one. It really is only a matter of time before either something beyond our control like a rogue asteroid wipes us out. And failing that there’s more and more ways  we could destroy ourselves whether it’s a WWIII or a Zombie Apocalypse or more likely something else totally unexpected. The sooner we have a viable colony on Mars, the safer the human race’s survival will be.

Then of course there’s the science! We stand to learn so much by living in a different environment, even if the one we would be living in would be mostly artificial, Mars’ environs would be accessible. So many fields could benefit too, whether it’s comparative Geology, to collaborating on Astronomy projects, and a multitude of other possibilities ripe for discovery.

Personally the chance to walk on another planet, and see the Sun set (and rise) on a Mars would be totally worth all the isolation and hardship that would be entailed with this kind of project.