Concept Ships & Sci-Fi in general

Monday, 16. August 2010

Looking around last night, I found a great collection of sci-fi ships, aircraft vessels and the like at Concept Ships.  Definetely check it out, very cool collection of art.  From what I can see a lot of it is Japanese and Anime inspired in terms of design, but the layouts for nearly all of them are excellent. The added bonus of this is that old school fantasy is already somewhat defined in the audiences head.. where as science fiction really needs some added illustration to picture everything clearly. The defineable gap of what each individual person pictures is even wider in that particular case.

The other thing I was thinking of was the very limited amount of actual Sci-Fi RPGs out there in general. Don’t get me wrong they are out there, but for the most part, the main stream market of is seemingly dominated by fantasy.

For fantasy, there is of course the various iterations of D&D, Pathfinder, Exalted, Reaper, Palladium and Tolkien now. There is Warhammer fantasy. I’ll throw World of Darkness in there as well because even though it’s a modern setting it really backtracks and has very good support through medieval times. Most stores carry at least some of these titles, where as the following seem to be very niche. You really have to ask for them.

On the Sci-Fi side, you have Warhammer 40k, Battletech (And associated mechwarrior if you like role playing), Heavy Gear (Dreampod 9 games in general for that matter.) There is also Star Trek and Star wars, both of which are cults within themselves. There is also the equally ancient pair to D&D.. Traveller. WoTC made a brief attempt into generic fantasy with Alternity but from what I can see it didn’t make it particularly far. I think it’s due to the utter genericness of it in general, without attempting to put any particular spin in Sci-Fi. It’s as if it was expected it would succeed just on the companies laurels itself.

The science fiction type systems that did seem to be prevelant in the minds have a good dose of fantasy crossed in. Rifts, GURPS and the like. Perhaps its just clever advertising on part of the sellers, or just that there is enough overlap that you can do nearly anything with them.

I suppose my question then is modern culture simply hooked on fantasy lately, or has sci-fi always been sort of in the backfield at least when it comes to gaming?

Technorati Tags: , , ,

Gunsmith Cats

Saturday, 14. August 2010

Pedro has a fabulous piece up here from the old Gunsmith Cats anime. Excellently done piece as always. I agree with his general sentiments on the release of it. Older detective style, with lots of guns, old cars and villains. The only thing one might ask for is to have this standard of work on anime going forward.

Technorati Tags: ,

Insidious? Definetely

Thursday, 12. August 2010

Grognardia has brought to my attention essentially a direct copy for Die Cast Gamesof TSR’s “Advanced Dungeons & Dragons” for their new Insidious adventure module. Needless to say, there is a lot of controversy on the subject. I would argue that Insidious is the perfect title to it in any case.  I have my grievances with WoTC as do a lot of gamers, but whether I agree or not with what they are doing with their gaming line, they do still happen to own the title and system for Dungeons and Dragons. In my eyes, it’s simply theft unless die cast is has some arrangements or is planning on sending some proceeds to WoTC for use of their title.

OSR and spin offs have brought a lot of life back into the hobby and have made it into a business for some.  Any sort of positive attention that can be garnered is a step forward for the hobby and getting people to play in general.  People being able to make a buck for their time and selling products that are well built is inspiring assuming its from their own efforts.  D&D for all that it does getting people together for gaming, is generic fantasy with it’s own little twist on jumping into dungeons and digging up treasure.  That can be done with any title and system, D&D is just a particular packaging to put it together.

More thoughts later.

Technorati Tags: , ,

Thematic Music, Dragon Rider

Wednesday, 11. August 2010

Dragon Rider
By: Two Steps from Hell

Some more thematic battle music for the day

Technorati Tags: ,

Tabletop Gaming Etiquette

Monday, 9. August 2010

As with any activity there are proper rules of behavior that other players, storytellers and hosts expect people to follow.  Such behavior isn’t really that much different than what would be expected in a normal situation, so there isn’t much stretching to do.  Of course following them can prevent a lot of hostility and arguments in the long run and enable the game to be run for what its intended for: personal enjoyment.  So, as follows - Gaming Etiquette

1- Make certain your date and time for gaming is set unless the you just randomly show up at your hosts house which most of us don’t.  Consider this your RSVP.  Your host needs time to prepare and have everything in order for guests to show up to present a good face.  Following this, If you say you’re going to show up, then show up.  Some hosts put a considerable amount of work together getting ready for guests.

2- Show up on time.  Most people like to get started when they’re supposed to, and pushing it considerably later is rude as it wastes everyone’s time in question.

3)-If for some reason you have to flake (which you shouldn’t be, you RSVP’d essentially.) make sure your host and GM in question are informed.

4- Bring food and drink to go around if you’re not hosting or storytelling.  The latter 2 take a considerable amount of work, the least that can be done as a guest is bringing some snacks and refreshments.  Don’t stick it all to your host to provide.

5- Be familiar with the rule set you are playing with and most specifically: additional house rules.   This doesn’t apply if you are new, but if you’ve been playing a while you should have something of a clue as to how everything works.

6- Get your own dice.  Again, does not apply if you are new.  Players and storytellers are a superstitious lot, arguably as bad as athletes and fortune tellers.  They’re not going to be happy if you get your bad mojo on their dice for gaming session.

7- Show up in a state of unaltered mind unless your group plays otherwise.  Nobody enjoys dealing with a drunk or similar.~

8- Turn the cell phone to silent, and put it away or turn it off.  Likewise you’ve given your attention to gaming so do it.  It slows everything down and ruins the mood quickly when cells are constantly answered.

9- Bring your required gaming materials.  Character sheet, pen & paper, so on and so forth.  The first is really the most important, but the others are helpful as well.

10- Be presentable.  This encompasses a lot of topics into one.

Any major rules that I missed?

Technorati Tags: , ,

Norse Funeral

Sunday, 8. August 2010

If you haven’t looked at GoGo Pedro’s Blog anytime recently, I’d suggest doing so. He’s got a beautiful piece of artwork there similar to a Norse funeral.

Gets me thinking of the scene from the 13th Warrior (Or, Eaters of the Dead if you prefer the non-movie title.)  I think it would be neat to do a similar affair minus the burning of the wife with the deceased that is.

Technorati Tags:

Starcraft 2

Saturday, 7. August 2010

I’m not really a huge RTS player, mostly because I have a hard time keeping up with a computer managing large number of units. Games that take smaller number of units to manage such as Dawn of war and especially DoW 2 are far more manageable. Command and conquer is unbearable, and the original Starcraft was close to it with trying to keep track of some of the Zerg for missions. So that said, I mostly play because I enjoy the storyline that some of them have, they’re well written.

SC 2 does a good job of being able to manage larger numbers of units and even on normal you can get by with a few handfuls of regular. Due to that I still have all my hair and about a week later I finally managed to finish this up the other night.  The first campaign follows the Terran forces of Jim Raynor specifically.  There are a few surprises, so you get the opportunity to try out some of the other forces as well.  They seem to retain most of the feel of the original game with a few changes to the units spread on each side.

The campaign mode for this game is extremely good. It has a large variety of units to play with, and a high degree of customization of each of your units. You can purchase specific upgrades to make them better that stick with them throughout the campaign. There is also research to make more generalized improvements to your forces depending on what artifacts you manage to recover. In addition, there is a very good order to unit selection and a number of specific missions you can choose to take sides in that have an effect throughout the game. Cut scenes are well placed, well done and not too numerous as to make you believe you’re just playing one long cut scene (I’m looking at you, final fantasy.)

Multi player I haven’t done too much of yet due to the fact of not really wanting to learn build orders and the fact that I don’t overly enjoy them.   Looking at it however, the unit selection is considerably more limited than the campaign.   Units tend to be anti air or anti ground with not too much crossover between the 2 of them with weak generalists anymore.  Build orders definitely seem to be slower than the original game, so it takes a bit longer to get a standing force built up.  I could of course just be imagining this, as it’s been a while since I’ve played the original.

As for the downsides, it’s pricey ($60).  The game seems to be pretty stable but when I originally picked it up it definitely had some issues of restarting when I was finished with it, rebooting was necessary.  Some of the missions are a little frustrating if you don’t enjoy much chaos management.

All in all I would say even if you’re not really a fan of RTS, this is worth picking up just to play around with the storyline and all the gorgeous cut scenes.  It has a lot of RP or at least good strategic and tactical elements built into it, so it doesn’t stray too far from the beaten path of a good Rpg despite not actually being one.

Technorati Tags: , ,

Thematic Music, The Great Empress

Friday, 6. August 2010

Guilty Gear – The Great Empress, (Milia’s Theme)
Daisuke Ishiwatari

Guilty gear was definetely an oddball although well put together fighter. As a bonus the rocking soundtracks are also excellent.

Technorati Tags: , ,

Beginners and teaching the RPG game

Thursday, 5. August 2010

Jade over at Evil Machinations is doing a fine follow up to Madbrews Growing the Hobby carnival. The topic this time is obviously, how do you teach the game and bring new people in. The new players portion is a bit interesting to me because… we have no real game shops in the area. (Sad but true.) Any Case, with out further aidu.

How do you find new players?
This is an issue in my (Detroit) area.  Best bet to start is probably to feel around and see who might be interested.  You can usually pick up a few people this way but it can be difficult if you’ve got a smaller friends circle.  Hobby shops that have gaming or message boards of some sort (Colleges come to mind if you’re a student) are probably the next best best, followed up by looking to see what you can come up with online.  There are a number of gamer location type services I’ve come across Obsidian Portal is One, and Pen and Paper Games has another nice service as well.

How do you help them learn the mechanics of a system (and how much of the system do you require them to learn?)
Initially you don’t. They player needs to know what their role in the group is, and a general idea of what they should be doing. That’s all that’s needed. The problem breaks down to be that rules are a hindrance in this case to good free action, and as a storyteller or other player you need to be assisting with intelligent choices and inserting the rules as need be. Eventually they’ll figure it out if they’re interested… via osmosis, questions or picking the books up themselves. If they’re not, you haven’t spent a bunch of time teaching someone rules who really doesn’t need to know them. More importantly, you’re not intimidating them with what they can, or cannot do.
Read more

Technorati Tags: , , ,

Armor in Games

Wednesday, 4. August 2010

One of the things always amused me somewhat about old school D&D was that armor prevented damage rather than mitigating it. I assume that it worked this way simply because reducing damage by a % basis would be a nightmare to figure out in the long run, and open a whole new section of rules lawyering that nobody wants or needs.

There are typically 2 ways of handing incoming damage in games. You either avoid it completely (Armor prevents damage.) Or you can take hits just as easily, and use armor to mitigate damage (Armor reduces the amount of incoming damage by dispersing and absorbing it.)

Most MMO’s use a variety of the 2 methods above, commonly adding in block and parry dodges as well. Something of course that computers can handle well, but might be very irritating trying to track from on a pure pen and paper basis.

The reality of armor is that it works somewhat in both of the manners depending on how it’s designed. Armor is designed to prevent a blow from striking, skidding off or redirecting it into a more heavily armoured area. In the case that a blow does solidly connect, armor disperses the impact from the blow, slash or stab into a wider area. In some cases this is the majority of what it does (think chain mail.) On a solid hit, it might not do much at all as the weapon in question cleaves right through the protection.

In effect, we can add partial hits to hits as well for armor in addition to misses. How do you handle armor in a clean fashion? As written?

Technorati Tags: , ,