Over a year?

Wow… where does time fly? I came here looking for a scenario I wrote some time ago, and saw it’s been over a year since I last blogged. I’ve had plenty of gaming going on, so here is a brief run down.

Games I’m loving:

  • Monster of the Week – written by Wellington local Mike Sands, this is a hack of the Apocalypse World engine and captures monster hunting TV shows like Buffy and Supernatural really well. It’s my go to game right now.
  • Dungeon World – another Apocalypse World hack, though this time it’s all about the old school dungeon crawl with a modern twist. I played it for the first time recently and just loved it. I got to play the Druid in a conversion of an AD&D (I think) module. It was awesome fun and I can’t wait to play my elven Druid again.


There have been a pile of Cons on in Wellington this year. As always there was the grand daddy, KapCon, in January. Then I ran Day of Games again in May, and it was the most number of attendees so far. Then in June a few of us hired a house up the Kapiti Coast for Not D&D Con, which was a loving poke at fantasy gaming tropes using any system but D&D. In a few weeks Confusion rolls round again and in October we’ll have Fright Night.


Larp continues to play a rather large place in my gaming life, but I haven’t made it to a lot of games for various reasons. Highlight so far this year was Boffo’s Birthday Bash, in which I played an honorable member of the Drones Club caught up in a case of misplaced affections. I got to wear a tux. It was great.

So that’s a brief outline of gaming in my neck of the woods. Anyone up to much?

Inspirational Art

io9.com has a cool Friday Gallery this week with all sorts of fairytales and stories reimagined.

I rather liked this one, and thought there would be a cool game in there somewhere…

The Twisted World of Oz

The Twisted World of Oz

All superheroes, all the time

2011 is certainly the year of the superhero movie. So far the few I’ve seen have been good fun, and not quite as cookie cutter as I was worried they’d be.

Thoughts on Thor, X-men: First Class and Super 8 below.

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Real life RPG inspirations – Mass murder on the railway

I often say that you hardly need to make stuff up, just look at history for ideas. Boing Boing linked to an article recently on a mass grave of 57 migrant Irish workers who were meant to have all died from cholera in 1832, while working on a few miles of the Philadelphia to Pittsburgh line.

In June of 1832, the 57 Irish migrant workers arrived at the docks of Philadelphia. Their job was to lance a flat path for the track through steep, hilly terrain. In railroad parlance, this is known as a ‘cut’ and thereafter that stretch of track would be known as Duffy’s Cut. Six weeks later, they would all be dead. History would blame cholera for their deaths, but history is always written by the winners, and the winners—in this case the railroad company and the landed gentry of Chester County—would be best served by such an explanation. But in fact there is a lot about the historical record that doesn’t add up.

It’s a really interesting article of cover up, death, big business exploiting the workers and people doing each other over for profit. Not to mention ghosts. Lots and lots of ghosts.

A nice atmospheric quote from the full article.

A dark shadow looms over the valley at Duffy’s Cut, dubbed Dead Horse Hollow because the carcasses of dead horses were allegedly dumped there back in the day. Some say it’s cursed, other say it’s haunted. But for the 178 years since the 57 Irishmen died there, the valley has remained untouched by development or, for that matter, any manifestation of modernity.

Something tells me I’ll be using this in a one off at some point.

Read the full article over at the Philadelphia Weekly.

Felicia Day does Dragon Age

So for the last little while Felicia Day (aka Queen of the Geeks) has been tweeting about a “mystery project” she’s been working on. Day is most famous in geek circles for writing, producing and acting in a web series called The Guild, as well as being Penny from Dr Horrible’s Sing-a-long Blog. Not to mention acting in two other Joss Whedon shows, Buffy: the Vampire Slayer and Dollhouse.

Last night the mystery project was revealedto be a new web series called Dragon Age: Redemption. That’s right, EA/Bioware have asked her to do to Dragon Age what she’s unofficially done to World of War craft. Make it cool and bring it to a different kind of audience. Details are a little thin on the ground but USA Today had the scoop and also did a nice little Gamer Profile on Day.

She has also blogged a little about the project, but no doubt the best place to get more info as it happens is to follow @FeliciaDay on twitter. She tweets a lot.

So info dump aside, what do I think? I think this is super cool. I’m not a huge Guild fan, but think that it’s pretty impressive that it’s been going for 4 whole seasons, and was bank rolled for the first season by fan donations. Day also then managed to keep total creative control when she signed a distribution deal with Microsoft. Also Felicia Day is a real gamer, she plays games, loves games and understands why the rest of us do. A quick quote from the USA Today article:

A life-long game player, Day is fully aware they have a poor track record when it comes to adaptation. “I am an organic gamer and I love games, and I particularly love this franchise,” she says. “I put every single effort into making this something that gamers will be proud of. Even though we were constrained a lot as a Web series, none of the people who were involved took that as a constraint. They took that as a challenge.”

So yeah, I look forward to seeing this when it comes out. I doubt it will be at the same time as Dragon Age 2, but hopefully not too long after.

New Scenario – Slayage by Gaslight

I’ve added a new adventure to the Scenario section. It’s another Unisystem, 3 hour game that I wrote for my Buffy group a couple of years ago. I streamlined it and ran it at KapCon 19 and 20, so I reckon there might be a few people out there interested in it.

It was meant to be part of a series, The Slayer Chronicles, but I haven’t quite got round to writing the others yet.

No editors cast their eyes over this one, and it’s basically the spruced up game notes so if you see any glaring errors please let me know!


The Silver Kiss of the Magical Twilight of the Full Moon – Review

Silver Kiss of the Magical Twilight of the Full Moon (Silver Kiss or SKMTFM for short) is a roleplaying game poking gentle fun at the myriad of young adult supernatural romance novels that have gained a lot of popularity in recent years.

It’s set up is pretty simple. You get 5 people in a room (sense of humor and ability to poke fun essential). One person will GM the other 4 will be two groups of best friends, one supernatural and the other human. Add a large dash of angsty teenage romance, shake vigorously and serve.

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The place of speculative fiction in literature

The Guardian has a very interesting article on the place of speculative fiction in the world of literary prizes such as the Man Booker Prize.

This quote from the article sums up a number of feelings I have on the matter quite well.

Over the same period, the fashion of literary fiction writers borrowing ideas from SF has continued. Putting aside concerns that novels such as Margaret Atwood’s Oryx and Crake, and Kazuo Ishiguro’s Never Let Me Go lag more than two decades behind in their treatment of cloning and genetics, for the Booker judges to consider SF ideas when recycled by literary authors, but to ignore the source of those ideas, only highlights the narrowness of the award’s perspective.

Well worth a read if you have a few minutes, not to mention that it has a very good list of forward thinking speculative fiction books that people should read.

Is speculative fiction poised to break into the literary canon? – The Guardian, Wednesday February 2nd 2011

The end of my year of LARP

2010 was an odd year for me, but most of the reason why isn’t really what this blog is about. However part of it was that in March last year, I somewhat rashly agreed to write a LARP for 60 odd people to be run at KaCon XX – Unnatural 20.

I say rashly because at the time I had played in exactly 3 LARPs, one of which was an experience I really didn’t enjoy. However it seemed like a challange and I liked the theme, so I said what the hell!

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Feeding nostalgia

It seems that there is a bit of a wave of nostalgia going on at the moment. An article over on joystiq.com pointed me to this interview with one of the original Quest for Glory designers.

As soon as I have a computer which isn’t a netbook running Ubuntu I’ll be heading to GoG and spending way too much money on games almost 20 years old.