Friday, October 31, 2008

Stay In, Fall Out

In a little over eight hours, I will be outside Game waiting to pick up Fallout 3 for the X-Box 360. Ten minutes later I'll be home and firing it up.

See you all on Monday.

Wednesday, October 29, 2008

Convention Scenario Writing

In my last post I mentioned the two adventure scenarios I had worked out on the journey home from Dublin. It seems that post caught the attention of a few people, and I've been requested, much to my surprise and joy, to write a Spirit of the Century scenario for LepreCon XXX. How could I say no?

I haven't really come up with a plot yet, but discovering that the coming LepreCon is their 30th anniversary, I was suddenly hit with a lot of inspiration. Thus, so far, while I know little about the guts of the scenario as yet, I now know that it will feature the XXX Investigations (Triple-X Investigations) private detective agency, Trinity College, possibly the Library, most likely hidden demonology within the Book of Kells (have a close look at the above image) and all sorts of wacky shenanigans in 1927 Dublin.

I think it's coming along nicely, don't you...?

As well as that, I've spent a little time on the other two scenarios, and have come up with the final blurb for each of them.

Murder On The Cambrian Coast Express
Welcome aboard the 10:00 train from Aberystwyth, stopping at Borth, Dovey Junction, Machynlleth, Welshpool, Wolverhampton Low Level using the Shrewsbury Abbey Foregate curve, then on to Birmingham Snow Hill, and finally Leamington Spa, arriving at Paddington at 15:50. Sit back, relax, enjoy the company of the other passengers and prepare for a peaceful trip through pleasant English country-side, stress-free and without any incidences of ritual murder... Oh, who are we kidding. The title is a dead give-away!

The Mechanauts
The battle cruiser Space Defence Force Omega is the last line of defence against a possible attack against the planet Earth. As crew members of the S.D.F. Ω, you are invaluable to its continued smooth operation. Unfortunately, not many people understand the importance of your work as a D.O.O.S.E.R. (Daily Ordinary Operational Service Equipment Repair). Thankfully, you have Hyper TONK Simulator eX 2, the latest installment in the TONK Simulator game series for ViaSofts home console, the Z-1080G to pass the boring hours between boring shifts, blasting enemy clans with your Friends List in Clan Mechanauts. And tonight, you have a grudge match scheduled. Bring it on!

Now all I have to do is create characters, add NPCs, draw up maps where appropriate, read up on key subjects, plot a bullet point, step-by-step list of the scenarios for ease of reference by willing GMs, and put everything about the actual plots that is in my head onto an easy-to-read PDF!

Simple.

Monday, October 27, 2008

Renewed Enthusiasm

Last year I mentioned how my trip to GaelCon XIX had greatly renewed my interest in gaming in general, but particularly in RPGs. Having just returned from GaelCon XX this evening, I find myself in a similar situation.

Since this time last year, I have ran a very successful campaign that lasted an astonishing 14 sessions, I've bought a lot more card games and board games, and I continue to look for ways to increase my time spent at this hobby, enjoying Monday Night Gaming, and trying to play board games with friends more often.

Now, I find myself contemplating the idea of maybe, possibly giving LARPing a chance, and stranger still, giving Vampire LARPing a chance!! That is not something I would have written, spoken or even thought three days ago, but GaelCon changes me, in ways that frighten and disgust me some times...

However, not everything is bad. On the drive home from Dublin to Cork, I wrote not one, but one-and-a-half once-off, convention-friendly RPG scenarios! How did I manage to write one-and-a-half? Simple. While the first one I came up with was entirely new, the second was a development on one of the sessions from my own Spirit of the Century campaign, so I already had that one worked out. I just spent some time tweaking it. Both are potentially for WarpCon 19, in January 2009. And both will be written using FATE 3.0, the Spirit of the Century system. Here are the blurbs, in reverse order, so the second one is my brand-new idea (subject to change):

Murder On The Orient Express
Welcome aboard the luxury trans-Europe train, the Orient Express. Sit back, relax, enjoy the company of the other passengers and prepare for a peaceful trip across Europe, stress-free and without any incidences of ritual murder... Oh, who are we kidding. The title is a dead give-away!

The Robo-Techs
The Space Defence Force Omega is the last line of defence against a possible attack by the evil alien forces of the (Insert name here) on the planet Earth.
As crew members of the S.D.F. Ω, you are invaluable to the continued defence of Earth.
After all, without you, who would fix the 32 coffee machines in the canteen, or ensure hot showers for the 3,200 ship's company.
Who would unblock any of the 237 toilets on board, or crawl through miles of air vents to find a loose wire?
Yes, as S.D.F. Ω engineers, you're pretty important crew...
Luckily, you and your friends have clocked up over 1,000 hours of combat apiece in TONKs, the 12 meter tall elite combat mechs of the S.D.F.
But only through Hyper TONK Simulator eX 2, the latest installment in the TONK Simulator game series for ViaSofts home console, the Z-1080G.
But your clan, The Robo-Techs, is one of the top 10 in the game. And you have a game scheduled against your biggest rivals, Xentraidee, tonight.
Five
✔'s against three ✘'s. Life isn't all bad, right?

The first blurb is a proper, convention brochure style blurb. The second is far too long, but I just started having too much fun writing it. Sorry. And I know it's full of terrible, terrible gags, but I'll probably change all of them before the final draft. Probably.

Gaming, Friends & Madness

I'm just back in Cork after a long and mostly enjoyable weekend in Dublin, at the 20th anniversary of GaelCon. Like last year, Claire and I decided to stay in Clontarf Castle for the weekend, saving us from nightly travel, and adding greatly to the sense of relaxation and time we could spend with friends. Also, we got to enjoy kick-ass all-you-can-eat breakfasts with everyone else that was staying.

As with last year, we played lots of card games and board games, but far less RPGs. I don't think any caught my attention, even enough to read beyond the title. Even Claire, who played in something for every slot last year, spent most of the Con just hanging out with friends, playing table-top, non-RPG games. That said, it was a heck of a lot of fun! Not only did we get to play games we know and love, but also lots that were new to us!

Both nights had us up late into the morning hours, chatting to the others that were staying in the castle. And there were a lot. About ten others from Cork alone, and then a bunch of gamers from all over that would be very good friends. Sunday night in particular found around 20 of us in the lobby until 3:30am, howling with laughter over some incredible stories and general shenanigans!

All in all, it was a good convention. Not as good as last year, possibly, but then, that was an extraordinarily good year! I'd say that while last year was my favourite convention so far, this year was my second favourite. We had to make our own fun a lot more this year, and that's a sentiment I've heard echoed quite a bit over the last hour before we left this afternoon. Everyone seemed to have fun, but only because they made their own.

There was one huge disappointment, though. Last year, I missed the table-quiz, which seemed like a blast, and this year, I was determined to stay for it and join in. Except this year, the GealCon Charity Table-Quiz was an unbelievable disgrace, with clear bias towards the Dublin crowd, an utterly unfair and non-sensical "bonus round" system, ridiculous rounds, an annoyingly ambivalent "odd-one-out round", and just a general lack of entertainment, apart from two, possibly three rounds.

But, you know what? We had fun. We bought some new stuff, played some new games, made some new friends, played some old games, hung out with some old friends and enjoyed every bit of that. We're definitely going next year, and definitely staying at the castle again. Far too much fun to miss!

Friday, October 17, 2008

Cinema Vrs Flu

I really, really want to go to the cinema tonight. I haven't been to anything here in Cork since before the Epic Holiday (TM)! That's a long time now. I really want to see Burn After Reading, a Coen Brothers movie that looks like classic Coen Brothers stuff, staring Brad Pitt, George Clooney and John Malkovich. I'm interested in Mutant Chronicles, even if only for the fact that it stars Thomas Jane, Ron Pearlman and, amazingly, John Malkovich! He's in two new releases in the same week!

But I also really, really don't want to die. And I am. And if I go out, I'll die faster.

You see, dear reader, I have a nasty, nasty head cold that I picked up from the lovely little kiddies I teach. My nose feels like a tap, my eyes are sore on the inside, my hearing is muffled, and my throat is sore from a constant, annoying cough I've developed. I sneeze without notice, and this has lead to several goo-filled hands. I cough and hack until I've broken the horrible sticky stuff lining my throat away, and then just keep on coughing some more.

So instead, I'm wrapped in my dressing gown, curled up with a warm cup of tea with honey, contemplating cooking a steaming hot pot of soup, checking to see if the heating is still on every ten minutes, and thinking warm thoughts.

Friday, October 10, 2008

Assembling The Greatest Avenger

This is going back a bit, but while we were in San Francisco on our Epic Holiday(TM) this summer, Claire, Karen and I discussed who should play Captain America on the way to the cinema one evening. Names got thrown around, and dream picks were made. Karen has the whole story over at her blog, so you should go read it there.

I bring it up again, as I spotted just now on a site called Major Spoilers that they have a poll running with the same question, and a number of very interesting choices! As the poll itself doesn't appear to have a dedicated page, and given time will most likely disappear from that link, here's a rundown on their choices:
From left to right:
Top Row: Adam Baldwin, Brad Pitt, Channing Tatum, Fred Savage, Hayden Christensen
Bottom Row: Leonardo Dicaprio, Matt Damon, Mike O'Hearn, Nathan Fillion, Thomas Jane

An interesting selection, and while there are a number there that we had mentioned in our conversation in San Francisco, such as Matt Damon, Brad Pitt and Hayden Christensen, there are a few odd choices as well.

Nathan Fillion? Erm... no. Sorry. I love him to bits, but not as Captain America. I adore Mal in Firefly, he's fantastic in Slither and Captain Hammer in Dr. Horrible was, simply put, out of this world! But he's not Captain America.

Fred Savage!?! Seriously? The kid from the Princess Bride? Kevin Arnold from The Wonder Years? Ok, sure, he's gone on to do lots more, including directing, and has developed a successful and prolific career beyond his years as a child actor. He is fantastic, and I have great respect for him, but he's not Captain America.

Thomas Jane would be cool, but he's already the Punisher. Mike O'Hearn certainly looks the part. No need for clever costume design to artificially bulk up that chest. Channing Tatum would be great, except for the small fact that he's already playing essentially the exact same character, without the Super-Soldier serum or the block of Arctic ice. Tatum has been busy filming one of my most anticipated movies of next year, GI Joe: Rise of Cobra, where he will be the all America hero soldier, Conrad S. Hauser, codename: Duke. (Aw, dammit. While getting those links I just learned that the damned release date is August!! I have to wait all bloody summer!) So he's out.

And that doesn't leave us with very many others. Personally, I would love to see Matt Damon in the roll. Brad Pitt could do it as well, and would certainly draw in a crowd of non-comic readers. But I think my number one choice to play Captain America would be...

A relative nobody. A fresh face. A young actor, suited to the roll, with the skills needed for the part. Blond hair, blue eyes, six foot plus, just like the Captain, the perfect Aryan. He wouldn't break the budget when they want to get everyone together for the Avengers movie either. Perfect!

It's worked in the past. Who knew Hugh Jackman before X-Men? While he had done lots of other things before it, how many people knew Eric Banas name before The Hulk? Superman Returns may be far from perfect, but Brandon Routh was incredible in the roll. And now that I've mentioned Superman, what about Christopher Reeve, whose IMDB.com listing starts and ends with the Man of Steel (Ok, technically Superman is fifth into the start of his career, but hands up who has seen the other four?). Or Tom Welling as Clark Kent in Smallville?

Go on Marvel. Create another superstar. Surprise all the gossipers and rumour mills. Assemble an Avenger from an actor whose name no-one knows, and make him a name the world loves.

The greatest Avenger ever.

Tuesday, October 07, 2008

Mea Culpa

I was wrong. So very, very wrong. One quiet week does not a death knell make.

This week there were two tables of RPGs, one large table of non-collectible card games, one board-game table, and one small CCG table, way off in the corner, away from everyone else...

On top of all of this, I was doing nothing, as there were no free tables left, and two other people turned up with a bag of board games and fast card games, but left due to lack of space! I'm not complaining here, I'm just illustrating the fact that it was so busy, we didn't have room for everyone! Monday Night Gaming is not on the way out, just moving up! So I was wrong. I feared for the worst, and needed something to write about!

Last night, at rough guesstimate, there were:

  • 8 non-collectible card gamers - Bang and Gloom
  • 6 roleplayers - Dark Heresy
  • 6 board gamers - AEGs Tomb
  • 5 more roleplayers - something New World of Darkness
  • 4 that arrived, hung around and wandered off
  • 3 CCG players (Upper Decks Vrs System)
  • 2 arrived to game, but too late to grab tables
  • 2 GM's running RPGs
  • 1 catching up with a lot of people he hadn't seen in a while - me
  • Total: 38
Nice.