Monday, July 16, 2012

The What Have You Been Doing Lately Post

It's been a while since I did one of these, and I kind of like the moment in time feel of them.

Last (non-RPG) Book I've Read...

The Third Secret by Steve Berry.

Treading much the same ground as Dan Brown's terrible novel turned into a mediocre movie, Angels & Demons.  This one treads much the same ground.  In this case, the camerlengo is the hero, the Pope is murdered (and anticipates it), and the newly elected Pope pretty seems like he modeled his life after the Borgia Family.  It's a better read just because the characters involved in a lot of instances have conflicting agendas and loyalties.  Worth a read if you enjoyed either of Dan Brown's novels that tread the same territory, as I consider Berry to be a better writer.

This would make a great d20 Modern Blood & Relics game, if I ever found the time or the group.

Last Music Listened To...

Black Rain, Original Soundtrack, Hans Zimmer

I've been on a soundtracks kick again recently, and I've been collecting a lot of Hans Zimmer's early work.  While his later stuff is a lot more orchestral, and enters the same bombastic territory occupied by John Williams, a lot of his earlier stuff is more synth/light orchestra/chorale heavy, and trades the same ground as some of Vangelis's early stuff.  Most recently, I picked up a copy of the Black Rain soundtrack.  The movie was eh...but the soundtrack just screams cyberpunk to me...without being quite as familiar as the Blade Runner soundtrack, but treading some of the same ground.  It may wind up at the gaming table some day for a cyberpunk or neo-noir game.

Last Movie Watched...


Rewatched Inception a couple of days ago.  I tend to watch more TV series than movies these days.  I don't go to many movies and I tend to occasionally go on DVD/Blu Ray buying binges.  I'm about due for another one.  Anybody got any suggestions?  I'll certainly be picking up John Carter (I'm a Burroughs fan) and a few others.

Last Television Watched...

Buffy the Vampire Slayer, Heroes, Supernatural, Fringe, every Sunday night.

I don't have cable, and I don't have Netflix (though the later should be rectified soon), as I read a lot more than I watch, but the family and I got in a habit of watching television series on DVD a few years back on Sunday nights, starting with Firefly and the reimagined Battlestar Galactica.  Since that time, we've worked our way through X-Files, seasons 1-9, and are currently working our way through Heroes, Buffy, Supernatural, and Fringe.

Supernatural is brilliant.  If you haven't been watching it, you're making a big mistake.  We're about halfway through Season 5, and loving it.

Buffy I saw bits of this series on the WB back in the day, but frankly I worked a lot of nights during its run, and I missed a lot more of it than I remembered.  It's been fun, though frankly, I thought the series may have jumped the shark in Season 4 a bit, and I'm hoping Season 5 (which we started just a few weeks ago) tries to restart some of the momentum.

Heroes we just finished Season 1, which was brilliant.  I understand the remaining three seasons represent a huge drop in quality.  But the complete series was $8 a season on a Black Friday special at Target last Christmas, and I'm figuring I'll get $24 of enjoyment out of the last three seasons at some point.

Fringe we just started with Season 1.  Looks like early X-Files with fewer supernatural terrors and more alien weirdness.  I understand it got better with later seasons, but so far, I could take it or leave it.

I'm also collecting True Blood and Game of Thrones as they come out.  Both television series are amazing.

Last RPG Book Purchased...

Physical Books:
Hollow Earth Expedition, Exile Game Studios
Wild Talents Essentials Edition, Arc Dream Publishing

d20 Deadlands Hell on Earth & d20 Deadlands Hell on Earth Horrors of the Weird West
Thrilling Hero Adventures (Hero System)

I'll talk about these in order.  Both were purchased from Darren from Imperial Outpost Games at Conflagration.

Hollow Earth Expedition (HEX) scratches my pulp itch.  For those who know me, pulp, horror, and noir are basically the main themes that run through my games.  Even when I run other systems, they wind up with noir or pulp elements, depending on the mood appropriate for the game.  Although I'm still learning this one, the Ubiquity System looks like it would fairly easy to run, and most of the obvious pulp archetypes can be created readily.

One of the things I like about HEX in particular is that unlike a lot of pulp RPG games and settings, its very tightly focused.  Most pulp games try to cover the gamut from boxing stories, to westerns, to car racing to space, to 1930's adventure yarns, and so on.  HEX's emphasis and inspiration, is based on things like Edgar Rice Burroughs' Pellucidar novels, and other novels using a Hollow Earth or Lost Island style adventures.  The setting is pretty tightly focused on that style of fiction, and doesn't try to be all things to all people.  If somebody's looking to dip their toes in the water with classic 1920-1940 style pulp gaming, you could do worse than HEX.

Wild Talents scratches my One Roll Engine itch.  I've come to admire A Dirty World and Nemesis, and the simplicity of One Roll Engine, so I picked this up for a song.  It's strictly the rules, but I'd probably roll my own as far as setting if and when I ran it anyway.  I mainly just picked it up ($9.99 sticker price, but I got a bit of a deal) to check out the mechanics.  One of these days I'll get around to picking up Reign as well...not enough money, too many games.

The d20 Deadlands stuff is a bit peculiar for me.  I love the Deadlands settings (including Lost Colony and Hell on Earth), not so fond of Deadlands system (or its successor, Savage Worlds, for that matter, which I know puts me in something of a minority).  Thought this might be fun in case I ever try to do a d20 version.  Besides, RPGNow was selling them for $5 apiece as part of their promotion for the recent release of the Savage Worlds compatible Hell on Earth Reloaded.  If nothing else, I've got some more creatures to throw in a Darwin's World game, so it's all good.

Thrilling Hero Adventures is more pulp.  Although I'm great at math, I don't run Hero System, as I prefer not to be that rules heavy these days, but this was a $10 volume, has a number of great pulp adventures, a lot more great pulp ideas, and heck, I'll convert some of it to d20 Modern Thrilling Tales or maybe even Hollow Earth Expedition one of these days.  I usually buy pregen adventures to steal ideas from, rather than run them whole cloth anyway.

What I'm working on currently...

I'm a bit of a gaming floozy.  Even when I've got campaigns running, I like to tinker around with campaign ideas for other genres.

As far as games I'm running, I'm running a Pathfinder game based on RPPR's New World Campaign.  It was originally written for 4E, but I'd rather rip my toenails out than play 4E, so I retrofitted it to Pathfinder.

For Basic Roleplaying (Chaosium's house system), I'm running my take on S M Stirling's Emberverse novel series.  The grittiness of BRP seemed to fit Dies the Fire rather nicely, and its an easy system to adapt to new settings and genres, and an even easier one to teach.

Stuff being worked on, but not run at the moment...

I'm working on another one shot for A Dirty World...going to be setting this during the Cold War, but still toying around with ideas.  No big rush, as con season is about over for Phoenix this year.

We're about to return to our Star Wars Saga Edition campaign, but I'll leave that for another post.  Needless to say I've been working on that.

I'm tinkering with adapting the first scenario from Thrilling Hero Adventures to d20 Modern Thrilling Tales for use as a one shot the next time the mood strikes me.

I'm also working on the beginnings of a cyberpunk setting.  Probably d20 Modern/Future, but I may try it with BRP...I'm not sure which direction I'll go.  It won't be run for a while yet.

I've also been asked to run a Supers game.  I'm actually thinking I may combine this with the Cyberpunk feel, and create sort of a Neo Postmodern/Iron Age in the near future sort of game.  Not sure yet.  At this point I'm just bouncing around ideas in my head, and haven't put pen to paper yet.

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