Sunday, 1 March 2015

Dark Eras approach...

The Kickstarter has ended, the votes are in. Feeling quite chuffed about Year Without A Summer for Promethean becoming a thing, although I haven’t actually had a chance to play or run the game, just read it and some of the line. My other suggestion of the Blitz for Innocents might well be easier for me to do, and of the other runners up I’ve actively considered some of the Vampire suggestions before. I was already looking forward to the book, and that bit more now of course.

Saturday, 28 February 2015

Spock and Vulcans

Thanks to Leonard Nimoy’s presence as Spock, and his care in developing the role and working with the writing staff to keep him consistent, Vulcans were the first alien race to develop defining cultures in the Star Trek universe. This kind of thought helped create both a believable alien culture and an individual character standing apart from it, a race well worth studying as an example when creating a setting and a character to look at when choosing to play something you will define.

Vulcans have a well-developed philosophy, a sense of history and glimpses of a rich culture, as well as a reason to befriend humanity and join them in their adventures. The individual role of Spock goes a long way to define Vulcan culture, but also stands in contrast to much of it. Other Vulcan characters, like his father Sarek, Xon in the abortive Phase II, Saavik in the films and T’Pol on Enterprise, defined themselves partially by difference as well as his example. Playing a Vulcan without making it a caricature can be a challenge, but the depth of the society and portrayals to follow can really help. Some features created for the sake of drama fit awkwardly (see Amok Time for an obvious example) but all in all Vulcans presented a culture and an ethos I could believe, and Spock himself contrasted with it as he did with humanity, bringing the wisdom of the outsider to both sides.

Friday, 27 February 2015

Leonard Nimoy

Leonard Nimoy, who defined the outsider looking in for generations as Spock in Star Trek, has died. His last message to followers on Twitter, just four days ago, read “A life is like a garden. Perfect moments can be had, but not preserved, except in memory. LLAP.” Live Long And Prosper.

The Year Without A Summer

To my surprise, another one-line idea for Dark Eras is up for voting - Promethean in the year Frankenstein was conceived. Along with six other appealing ideas. Drat.

Edit: It won! That feels strange.

Thursday, 26 February 2015

Innocents in the Blitz

I was (possibly) the first to suggest the Blitz as an Innocents setting for World Of Darkness: Dark Eras. It has now lost two polls, so, okay, I get the hint.

The hint being do it myself. :)

Conpulsion games are coming in (though more be needed!) including, oddly enough, an Innocents game set in the Blitz, by someone other than me.

Plan Nine From Red Square

When a Russian bio-bomb turns most of the men in America into flesh-eating zombies, women and children have to fight to survive using any available means. A Romero-style zombie apocalypse hits city centres in the 1950s in Dead Scare so most of the survivors are out in the suburbs - women, children and the elderly or disabled.

Wednesday, 25 February 2015

Congratulations to The Watch House producer Cat Tobin, now Managing Director at Pelgrane Press!

Tuesday, 24 February 2015

Secret identities?

You know that bit at the end of Iron Man where Tony Stark has been briefed with a secret identity cover story and then just says “I am Iron Man.” It was a pretty big surprise at the time, as secret identities are pretty standard operating procedure for superheroes and this had carried over into previous movies. The Marvel Cinematic Universe has largely followed Tony’s example and gone for public identities, apart from those actively working covertly and the Hulk. Note all the unmasked faces.

In the modern age of surveillance a secret identity would be hard to maintain without some hacking and trickery. This is how Finch and Reese operate in Person Of Interest.

Or would Batman just post his work on Facebook?

For modern melee armour, see also these guys who look like obscure 90s Marvel Night Thrasher.

(For my 1337th post, ninjas seem appropriate.)

The Owls are not what they seem

Cocktail bar with live owl entertainment to open in London. (Via Steve D)

The Strix openly revel in mortal worship!

... Actually, that’s a pretty good plot hook for them. Monsters who don’t care about the Masquerade are certain to clash with those who strive to stay hidden.

Police issue APB for the Snow Queen

Okay, as Kit Kindred notes, there has to be a plot hook here. (Besides other supernatural cold characters being annoyed about Elsa getting the blame.)

Monday, 23 February 2015

Most heroic things your PCs have done?

I started this RPGnet thread in late 2007, apparently. It was in response to a thread about the most evil things PCs had done, which got kind of scary. The “most” in the title led to a lot of stories about heroic sacrifices, as those are hard to top.

What about you, O readers?

Oscar Game Night, Part II

Another alternative:

What would a session of your game centred around an awards ceremony or similar event be like?

This is easy enough if your PCs are entertainers or other public figures likely to given awards - the medals at the end of Star Wars provide one model of how to end a big adventure, one rarely played that straight since.

But what else?

“And the winner is... urk!”
Murder At The Awards
Perhaps an obvious suggestion, also available as a murder mystery party, but a big high society event would be the perfect setting for a murder mystery. Some similar crime, like the theft of the big award (or the main picture at an exhibition opening) could work too. In any case, there’s plenty of room for backbiting, gossip, shocking secret revelations, and possibly a killer disguised by Oscar-quality effects makeup!

“Me? Oh, uh, I’m here for... Adapted Screenplay...?”
Undercover On The Red Carpet
Even without a murder or some similar crime to focus attention, PCs from outside high society having to mingle with it can always find ways to get in trouble. Forced by circumstance, escorting a celeb, hunting a lead... spies have to do this a lot, and so do vampires... And of course, one of the PCs has to end up on stage (see below) at some point.

“Let’s go steal an awards ceremony.”
Leverage: The Statuette Job
In Leverage S1 the crew steal a movie to get an aspiring actress to wreck a fake adoption scam, and in S2 they use a fraudulent scoop to bring down a tabloid TV anchor and a borrowed fashion show to close a sweatshop. So let’s say the heroes of a heist game want to ruin a studio head who stole a script? Making up an awards ceremony of their own would be the easiest way, but why go easy? He’d love a shot at prestige - maybe an award that isn’t totally tied up, like Best Short Film, could be stolen... And Neil Patrick Harris would totally help.

“And the prize for Villain of the Year goes to...”
The Monster’s Choice Awards
The idea of a secret awards ceremony for supervillains or monsters would work for a suitably weird superhero or urban fantasy setting. It’s a slightly more insane spin on the classic villain auction setup, with a bunch of high-end bad guys in a single room all vying for the same thing, just a rather trivial prize. (Although it could be a world-threatening artefact or gadget...) It would fit the LA setting of Angel perfectly.

Sunday, 22 February 2015

Oscar Game Night

Not about playing Oscar bingo or drinking games or anything... looking at the Best Picture nominee stories for plot hooks.

The tricky part here is looking at all the real-life stories and not just going with Doctor Who. I will admit I have once. (Best Animated Picture is so much easier there...)

Saturday, 21 February 2015

Warhammer 30,000?

Games Workshop is apparently bringing the End Times to Warhammer Fantasy Battle, and bringing back much-loved early ideas (like Genestealer cults and Eldar Harlequins!) and plastics for the ancient Horus Heresy to 40K. Appealing to old-school fans is a pretty sound policy - those Harlequins are the first non-third-party 40K figures to tempt me in over a decade...

Winter Keeps Coming

It’s been a long but not-too-snowy winter here, but in the USA and Canada it’s been crazy. You can’t quite walk across the frozen Hudson River, but it’s not far off it.

Weather control is a fairly low Weird Level, so that if this kind of thing happened it would be someone’s fault and you could go and punch them until they stopped. That would be nice right now, if climate change had a face you could punch.