Thursday, January 29, 2015

Kickstarter Shoutout: Nefertiti Overdrive

I'm boosting the signal on another rpg Kickstarter.  This one is called Nefertiti Overdrive and it is a high action game that takes place in Ancient Egypt.  I would call it Cleopatra: Warrior Princess the RPG,  I'll go ahead and list 4 reasons why I am excited about this project and why I think you should check it out.

1.  I think that the theme is awesome.  Ancient Egypt is a great place to have adventures and it is a setting that has always captured my imagination.

2.  The art by Kieron O'Gorman looks great.  It is evocative of the setting and screams action.  I would buy this project if it was a comic.

3.  The rules seem an interesting mix of the Cortex system and the Wushu system.  Players are rewarded for being as descriptive as possible with their actions.

4.  The game is inexpensive.  Seven Canadian dollars will get you a pdf while 20 Canadian dollars will get you the print version as well.

Ronald Fraser, the author, has a few other completed Kickstarters under his belt.  The project has already funded so right now they are looking for stretch goals.  I'm hoping that they reach the goal for the Fate Accelerated adaptation.  Check it out and when the game comes out we can run a session via Google Hangouts!

Saturday, January 17, 2015

Dead Witch Walking Book Review

Dead Witch Walking: My first review for the 2015 Witches and Witchcraft Reading Challenge

Dead Witch Walking by Kim Harrison is an urban fantasy story that is full of action and humor.  The story takes place on an alternate Earth; one where a genetic engineering mishap wiped out a good chunk of the human population.  This led to supernatural beings being able to come out and live openly among humanity.  Things are not all brotherly love, as in the book’s setting most supernatural beings live in a supernatural ghetto across the river from Cincinnati called the Hollows.

The main character is Rachel Morgan, a witch and bounty hunter.  She leaves her career with the I.S., a law enforcement agency run by supernatural beings charged with policing supernatural beings, in order to go solo.  This causes her many problems, such as her old boss seeks revenge, she becomes caught up in criminal intrigue, and has to deal with roommate issues with her living vampire friend.

Dead Witch Walking starts a little slow but soon turns into a rollicking pulp adventure.  The depiction of magic is detailed and adds to the verisimilitude of the story.  The characters are fun and believable.  They all have quirks and flaws that make them relatable.  For example, Rachel’s vampire roommate is not just some uber-powered vamp, she is also an OCD control freak.

My favorite part of the book is that it was plain fun to read. The action and humor kept me turning the pages. Since this is the first book of a series, the author sets up many mysteries and issues to be dealt with later.  There is just enough to whet the appetite of the reader, and this volume still stands along as a satisfying solo story.  I would recommend this to urban fantasy fans who like pulp-style action.

Gaming the Book:

Harrison’s universe has a Shadowrun feel to it, as paranormal creatures and magic users have come out of hiding to co-exist with the normals.  If I were to run a game in this setting, I would probably use something like GURPS or Fate.  For further information I will direct you to Timothy Brannan’s blog, The Other Side (of which I am a fan).  He has done some great character write-ups for Rachel Morgan in various rpg systems.  My favorite is for the Amazing Adventures rpg, which is perfect for pulp-style play.

Sunday, January 11, 2015

The Invisible Man: a Condense Book Review with Gaming Material

I recently read The Invisible Man by H.G. Wells.  I was surprised by the story.  I was expecting a straight horror story, as The Invisible Man made it into Universal’s iconic movie monster crew.  The main character is invisible, a mad scientist who received more than he bargained for with his discovery.  

I was surprised by the humor in the book, whether this was intentional or not.  There are scenes in which characters bumble around like Keystone Cops trying to capture the Invisible Man.  Where the story shines is when it explores the psychology of the Invisible Man.  The title character is a total asshole throughout the book.  His hubris and sociopathic nature are as visible as his flesh is transparent.  The story does end as a horror tale, as Wells postulates what a madman would do with the power of invisibility.

The book is in the public domain and a short read.  I enjoyed reading it on my kindle, so I could look up all of the outdated vocabulary in the middle of my perusal.  I would recommend this story to fans of horror and of Victorian era literature.  

Game-able Material

The Invisible Man would make an excellent antagonist for a role playing campaign.  He could be dropped in any Victorian or Steampunk setting as is, and could be used in other settings with mild changes.  There are some things to remember when using the Invisible Man as a villain (or as a hero).

The Invisible Man is a scientific genius.  He create the process that turned himself invisible.  What if he turned his endeavors to other scientific pursuits. Would he try to create an invisible army, or would he try to harness the power of light into a new power source or weapon? He is the archetypal mad scientist.

The Invisible Man needs others to help him, and uses others as resources.  In his own words, “I must have a confederate.”  The Invisible Man needs minions and helpers.  He draws a crowd when he walks around covered in bandages and goggles, and to be fully invisible he must be naked and vulnerable.  Therefore, the Invisible Man would have a minion or group of goons to do his bidding.
The Invisible Man is a jerk.  In his words, “I felt amazingly confident,—it’s not particularly pleasant recalling that I was an ass.”  He uses and abuses people.  He will be callous and cruel.  If a minion fails in his duty, he will suffer.  If the Invisible Man captures the player characters or confronts them, he will not show mercy. 

Keeps these ideas in mind when using him as a character in your campaign.

Using the Invisible Man in Other Settings

Pulp - The Invisible Man would make a great pulp villain.  An axis power is trying to buy the formula from him and the heroes have to stop him.  How about a showdown between the Invisible Man and the Shadow?

Fantasy - The Invisible Man could be an alchemist who has gone crazy due to his experiments on himself.  He is terrorizing villages throughout the kingdom.  The party is hired to root him out.  If and when they find him, do they also find that he has some ulterior motive behind his attacks?

Science Fiction/Cyberpunk - The Invisible Man is a former corporate scientist who has been cursed by his own invention (that is the original premise of the story!).  He is now an underground criminal mastermind who commits terrorist attacks on those he deems his "enemies".  The characters are contracted to take him out.

The Invisible Man as a Player Character

Can the Invisible Man be a viable character?  He is not a likable fellow, and if he were a D&D character his behavior would push him towards chaotic evil.  However, it would be fun to play a tortured, cursed mad scientist as long as he didn't back-stab the party.

Here is my take on the Invisible Man for the FATE Accelerated game system.  This is my first time making a character for FATE, so feel free to comment with suggestions.

Name:  Mr. Griffin aka The Invisible Man

High Concept:  Experimental investigator specializing in the refraction and reflection of light
Trouble:  “It’s not particularly pleasant recalling that I was an ass.”
Others: I am invisibly … permanently, Alumni of University College, You will be my confederate

Careful +1
Clever +2
Flashy +0
Forceful +2
Quick +1
Sneaky +3

Because I am invisible, I get +2 when I sneakily overcome an obstacle when I remove all of my clothes.

Because I am a brilliant experimental investigator, once per game I can automatically solve a problem of a scientific nature.

Works Cited

Wells, H.G. (2014-11-18). The Invisible Man (Kindle Locations 1755-1756). Atria Books. Kindle Edition.

Wednesday, January 7, 2015

2015 Witches & Witchcraft Reading Challenge!

I love to read and any excuse to read a book is welcome in my house.  I'm signing up for the 2015 Witches & Witchcraft reading challenge.
2015 Witches &a Witchcraft Reading Challenge

I think I will start with the Initiate level. I bought a copy of Dead Witch Walking by Kim Harrison a couple of years ago and this will give me an excuse to finally read it.
I'm looking forward to reading it and hopefully this challenge will lead to some more witchy goodness.

Thursday, January 1, 2015

Happy Gaming in 2015!

Happy New Year!

A new year brings new opportunities, and this post is about my gaming goals for 2015.

1.  Play More - I plan to be a player rather than a DM in 2015.  I will still DM as there is a controlling part of my personality that gravitates me towards the DM chair.  However, I need to have my creative batteries charged and to do that I need to sit in the player's seat.

2.  Create More - My goal is to write more adventures, game reviews, blog posts, stories, and whatever else I can come up with.  Gaming is a creative hobby and that is the biggest thing that I enjoy about it.  Rather than buying up every game and supplement there is I should create my own.

3.  Play More Sci-Fi Games - Fantasy is the go-to genre for so many tabletop gamers.  I like fantasy, but I prefer science fiction.  Sci-fi has its challenges as a gaming genre.  The varieties of sci-fi tropes are more various than fantasy and the genre is more fluid in people's collective consciousness.  Everyone knows what an elf looks like, but everybody's conception of an alien will be different.  However, there are many great sci-fi games out there and I plan to play some of them.

4.  Play FATE - I backed the Kickstarter.  I have Fudge dice, tons of material, and an open mind.  The system interests me and also confuses me.  I look at the rules and think, "This is really cool, how does this work in a session?"  I also think, "This game has so much potential!"  By the end of 2015 I want to have played in a session of a game powered by the FATE rules.

There are my modest gaming goals for 2015.  What are yours?