Thursday, July 31, 2008

Replies, Replies For Everyone!

It's exciting to see the responses I got for my last post. I feel like replying to them all.

You cannot stop me. I do as I will.

Catdragon sez, "I've always wondered how other game master decide what and how to run their games/campaigns. And now you've given me a peek."

That's always been an interest of mine, as well: How do creative people do what they do? I can comfortably admit to being a creative people, but I have always looked to see how others tame their ideas, for lack of a better term. In fact, I have been known to worry too much about how it should be done; that's the mentality, in fact, that led to the establishment of this blog*.

I used to feel so...powerless next to my creativity. Not that it was greater than me or something, but rather that I had no idea how to actually use it. I'd have ideas and then get discouraged because they weren't perfect, or because they lacked definition, or whatever. So I felt that they weren't good enough. So I figured I was lacking training, I went, looking for some well-researched process or formula or magic spell or psychological blah, blah, blah or something to help me become a fully-capable creative individual.

Huh huh huh. Man, was I being dense.

Somewhere along the line, I hit a piece of advice: Just do it. So I did. It turns out that the best, most effective way to organize and develop my ideas was simply to throw shit on a piece of paper and see what it looks like. So that's what I do, and that's what you're looking at.

Well. When you click on the pictures, I mean.

David Dorward sez, "Have you considered Traveller for the system?" Will Douglas, for his own part, suggests helpfully, "I would go for either Savage Worlds or Big Eyes, Small Mouth (especially since they have a supplement dedicated to space opera!)".

Yes, fellas; I've considered all three. I eliminated Trav right off because I purposefully wanted to play something a little different. I loves me some Traveller, there's not doubt of that, and I think that once you read Rule 68A, Classic Traveller magically becomes like 200% jawsomer than it was before. But I was aiming for different, so here we are.

Savage Worlds, now...I can't tell if I like it or not. I might need to just try running it, I guess. I have the Explorer's Edition and I like how it reads, but I need some experience. As for using BESM, I actually feel kind of stupid for not writing it down in my notes, because I'd actually considered it. I have the robust 2nd edition and it might be just what I'm looking for; we'll see.

So. Does system matter? Well...I think it kind of does. I haven't thought about it as much as some theorist-types almost certainly have, but I treat the question the way I treat anything related to this hobby: with my gut. I can't tell you why but sometimes one system just feels better than another one. *shrug* I dunno, man. IT'S ART, OKAY?!

While at Gencon, I may pick up a copy of the BESM space opera book, if I can find one. I know there's a SW SF toolkit, but although I'm OK with .pdfs, I'd like to have something I can sit down with and read. Okay, I know, I could print out the .pdf, but...oh, you know what I mean.

Still. Thanks for reminding me, fellas!

BeRKA has one of the first Traveller websites I ever found, back when I fell in love with the game, so I actually take him seriously when he says, "Nono... The #1 item should be: Shotguns!"

I'm going to disagree, however. This game, unformed and swirly in my head, does not feel shotgunny. That said -- his comment gave me an idea, and it is this: One of the Bad Guy Groups ought to develop an energy weapon that fires little beads of force (or whatever), and they start wreaking havoc all over the place with these particular boomsticks. But OMG! that technology totally does not make sense to the Good Guys, so they kind of want to know...where did the Crabulons (or whatever) get those wonderful toys? And can THEY get one, too? Enter the PCs, sent to capture a few samples for study. Hijinks develop, and there's probably a building that gets blown up. Yeeehaw!

Geek's Dream Girl opines, "Seriously, what's a space opera without LASERS? :)"

Totally, sister. Although you could run a space opera without lasers, it'd be kind of like a fish without a corncob pipe and a Vegas showgirl outfit: conceivable, but lesser.

On a related note:

Well, Jeff, I think that our shared...psychological peculiarities are well-documented.

Okay, done.

*Pffffft. Listen to me. "The establishment of this blog". It's enough to make you hoity in your toity.

Wednesday, July 30, 2008

Gaze Past The Veil And Behold -- THE INNER WORKINGS OF GENIUS!

...well, umn...actually, it's...just...some pages from my notebook.

Sunday, July 27, 2008

Sidewalk Chalk

This morning, my daughter asked me if we could go outside and draw with her sidewalk chalk. It sounded like fun to me, too, so we were out there pretty soon thereafter.

Naturally, Daddy had more fun than Lily did. Dig:

Thursday, July 24, 2008

Rip Van Rotwang!

No, I'm OK. Really. Sorry. We're good.

I'm gonna drop a few items on ya here, just to play catch-up. Ready? Lemme tell you about...

It rocks. There. The sky is blue, Vesuvius is a volcano, tacos are good and Mutant Future rocks. Oh, I know, I'm late to the MF love-in, but that's not gonna affect the fact that this is a solid game. I finally got my book, and although I haven't read it cover-to-cover, I've looked at the real meaty parts already and that is some fine, fine meat. Now all I need is a free afternoon with some of my buddies, and we'll have ourselves a cookout.

The new one, from Mongoose. Fellow RPG Site dude Jeff Hopper (aka jeff37923) was kind enough to put some copies of the book into the hands of Doubting Thomases like myself, he likes the new game so much. I'm gonna tell you what I told him:

So my wife and I sat down to make a Traveller (as opposed to CT, I guess) character tonight. She liked it OK -- not as much as she likes doing it with MT, but she was pleased. I like it OK, too, with a very few quibbles and reservations -- VERY few.

I've looked over the rest of the book and theres' stuff I like, stuff I REALLY like, and stuff that I'm just alright with. Nothing offends my CT-lovin' heart, so we're good.

That said, I'm NOT sold on the presentation. Some of the art is disappointing and the cover is, in my opinion, a pale imitation of a classic, elegant cover, but...IT'S JUST A COVER.

I would like to review the game later on, in full, on my blog. For now, though, I want to thank you again for your kind and generous gift, and to assure you that I do like the dang thing after all. It's not gonna replace CT in my heart, but it's certainly welcome next to it as much as MT is.

There. You done been tole'.

...has me bummed, but excited at the same time. If you've not followed all the hoopla, here's the pill: Eric Gibson, current owner and publisher of West End Games and the D6 System, is calling it quits and selling off the properties, following a spectacular burn-out of dramatic proportions. I hate to see the dude's life ruined when all he was trying to do was to keep alive a game he loved. I love it too and I don't know that I could've done any better.

What has me excited, though, is the prospect of the D6 system ending up in other hands and seeing it go Open -- or, better yet (as this RPG Site thread, warts and all, describes) that it could go public domain, so anyone can do stuff with it, period. I've said my piece in the aforementioned thread, but I gotta say this here, now, again: Bill and Levi, I'm totally down with you; and Bill, I'm game if you are, despite my...

Max has it, too. Can I finish Wilderlands of High Dumbness in...what, is it 6 days, now? Yikes.

One word: Slamtastic. To elaborate: Gorgeous, funny, touching, breathless, engaging and Selma Blair is in it. Del Toro WIN -- Nerdtality.

Okay, you're caught up. Sorta.

Thursday, July 17, 2008

Okay, it's here.

It arrived yesterday. The book is aces. I still feel like I waited a long time to get it, though...

Tuesday, July 15, 2008

Lulu Update

Okay! Here's what happened.

I ordered the book. I was charged on 6/25. It shipped from Lulu on 7/7; it shipped from Ohio on 7/12. So hopefully I'll have my copy of Mutant Future today when I get home from work.

6/25...7/7. Hmm. 12 days?

Monday, July 14, 2008

Dear Lul, Pt. 2

You told me it shipped on 7/7 but USPS says it shipped on 7/12.

I was charged on 6/25.

Is this kind of delay common? I hope it's not. I'd like to be able to, you know, purchase things.

Dear Lulu,

Remember how I paid you for a hardcover copy of Mutant Future a few weeks ago?

Why did it only ship last Monday?

Monday, July 07, 2008

Oh, My, Metropolis!

Let's talk for a moment, you and I, about a movie that I love. Can we?

I first saw Metropolis when I was just out of high school, and fell in love with it immediately. It was Giorgio Moroder's 1984 reconstruction with the pop music in it; that edition makes it plain that lots of footage had gone missing, but a few stills had survived -- and here they were, integrated into the film along with songs by Bonnie Tyler and Cycle V.


I wanted that footage so bad. It was an unattainable treasure, I knew; a kind of Holy Grail. It lay beyond the horizon, a gauzy temptation, impossible -- but it had once been real, and that made a difference.

A couple of years back, I got a definitive, As-Restored-As-Restored-Gets DVD copy of the film. I sat on my mother's couch that Christmas Eve and read the liner notes. They told the tale of how the film, brought across the Atlantic in '27, was trimmed, cut, sliced and hacked and --

I knew that day what it means "to see red". I wanted to hurl myself bak in time and leap upon the editor's hand, tearing the scissors from his fingers and dashing them to the ground.

Time. A gulf, yawning, widening between us.

Sadly, I resigned myself to the knowledge that that footage was gone forever and, at least, I owned as complete a DVD copy of the film as ever I could.

Guess what?

Special thanks to Natebot.

Whales On Stilts!

Look, I have a lot of catching up o do, here in Blogsvania. But I want to lead off with this little treasure that I got for two bucks at Ye Olde Half-Price Bookes: a kids' adventure/comedy called "Whales On Stilts".

My friends, this book rocks.

It's a gentle riff on pulp adventure novels, told with an absolutely absurd sense of humor -- in fact, I'm jealous that I didn't write it. The characters are charming and endearing, the writing is sharp and incisive and it's genuinely laugh-out-loud funny, even to grumpy old grown-ups like you and me. (Of course, we tend to be the type of grown-ups who would enjoy brief, humorous asides explaining why someone would NOT feel the jolt of a laser striking a mirror, but I think you get my point.)

The best thing about this book, though -- the thing that really hit me where I live, is that it's shot through with a deep, serious feeling of longing. Longing for youth, for endless Summers, for those hazy, gauzy things that make friends friends. Trying to explain what I mean wuld require more time than I have at the moment, so...just go read the book.

Doc Rotwang! sez "Check it out."