Speak Out With Your Geek Out! A geek timeline.

So, Monica Valentinelli started bu the Speak Out With Your Geek Out, which you can find here and the internet has blown up! In a good way, which with all of the drama of the last several week, is a nice change. So, just about everyone is posting some form of post about what how much they love been geeks. 

So, I just thought I would post examples of things I would have missed out if I were not a geek myself: It is a bit long, but this is why I am, who I am.
  • Dec 1970 a geek was born.
  • May 1977. A six year boy had his mind blown away by Star Wars: A New Hope! X-wings are awesome!
  • 1978. I beg and pleaded and got an Atari 2600.
  • 1978. Watched the Fellowship of the Ring animated movie. Scared the hell out of me.
  • 1978. Battlestar Galatctica!
  • Spring 1980. At age nine, had I not sprained my ankle and walked into the library, I would have not discovered a little known series known as the Lord or the Rings..
  • May 1980. My mind was blow even further by The Empire Strikes back. Best movie EVER.
  • 1981 started writing. Mostly godzilla, choose your own adventure, and hardy boy stories.
  • June 1982. Saw Bladerunner and convinced Harrison Ford was a GOD.
  • 1984. At age 13, I found another other named of Terry Brooks. I was introduced to the world of Shannara.
  • June 1984 watched Ghostbusters with my father, my best memory of us together.
  • July 1985 watched Back to the Future and wished I had a DeLorean
  • 1989 Was introduced to another long time favorite, David Eddings and the Belgariad
  • Got on the internet for the first time and joined my first bbs known only as Operation Mindcrime
  • 1990. Got a Sega Genesis and was introduced to video game rpg's with Golden Axe, Phantasy Star 2, and Dragon Warrior IV. My life was changed.
  • 1990 was also the year I was introduced to table-top rpg's by playing Dungeons and Dragons, Champions, and Cyberpunk
  • September 1993 was mesmerized by the X-files
  • 1994 I Played Call of Cthulhu for the first time. Joy.
  • 1994 Discovered the Wheel of Time series by Robert Jordan
  • 1997 brought the release of  Final Fantasy Vii, Final Fantasy Tactics, and Resident Evil came out on the Playstation.
  • May 1999 proved to be an omen of things to come with The Phantom Menace. I started to hate Geroge Lucas a little this day.
  • November 2001 I saw Harry Potter and the Sorcerer's Stone and was hooked. I had avoided the books because they were kid novels, but soon read them with a passion.
  • Dec 2001 The premier of the Fellowship of the Ring. Which I saw eight times in just over two weeks. Including once, back to back.
  • December 2003 Battlestar Galactica again!
  • September 2004 was introduced to Lost.
  • December 2004 I started a sci-fi/fantasy book club that has lasted 7 years.
  • May 2005 was the day I walked out of a Star Wars movie. Revenge of the Sith. Part of me died that day.
  • 2006. My friends Amy and Chris got me hooked on the Dresden Files. I am somewhat of a fan.
  • September 2006 The first season of Heroes was the best season of tv I have ever seen.
  • 2007 (I think) was introduced to Firefly. 
  • February 2008 Played Spirit of the Century and everything I thought about tabletop rpg's changed.
  • July 2008 joined playtest group for Dresden Files Rpg. Burning Alphas!
  • 2009 brought a few great Rpg's Elder Scroll IV, Oblivion, Dragon Age, Fallout 3. No, not all of the games came out this year, but this is when I played them. 
  • June 2010 Dresden Files Rpg came out.
  • July 2011 I discovered Google+ and have met a lot of new people.
I know that was a lot to read, but I had fun with it. :)


Fate Part 2. The games of Fate

So, I thought the next thing I would talk about is the actual games that use the Fate system. I myself have only read three of them, but that will be changed as soon as I can.

So, I will start from the order I have came across them. This is only listing the Fate games, not the ones that are motivated by the system.

Be warned, this is a long one.

Spirit of the Century by Evil Hat
The deadly Doctor Methuselah seeks to unravel time itself with his solution to the Eternity Equation… Gorilla Khan stalks darkest Africa from conquered Atlantis… Mad scientists, strange sorcerers, and power-hungry dictators all seek to undo the fate of humanity. It’s the final century of the second millennium – and you are our last hope!

Ah, where it all began. This is such a fun game, and if you like pulp, even a little, you will have so much fun playing this game. The nice thing about SotC is that it is actually set up for you to win, it is up to you to determine how well. I say that not as a slight to the game, because you can still get your ass handed to you in it, but let’s face it...you are in the Century Club. You are the best of the best. You SHOULD win. Besides, getting to fly across the room using a chandelier, or save they day with a jet pack? Awesome.

The Dresden Files Rpg by Evil Hat
The world is getting weirder. Darker every single day. Things are spinning around faster and faster, and threatening to go completely awry. Falcons and falconers. The center cannot hold. But in my corner of the country, I’m trying to nail things down. … I don’t want to live in a world where the strong rule and the weak cower. I’d rather make a place where things are a little quieter. 

My name is Harry Blackstone Copperfield Dresden. Conjure by it at your own risk. When things get strange, when what goes bump in the night flicks on the lights, when no one else can help you, give me a call. 

I’m in the book.” 

Where to even start here? I am such a huge Jim Butcher fan; it is a bit sick at times. So when I found out Evil Hat was making this game, I immediately tried to get on the playtest.  Which I did. :) That was one of the more rewarding experiences I have ever had gaming.

But the thing about DFRPG is that it is just the opposite of SotC, in the fact that the world in this game is brutal. I still believe you are supposed to succeed in Sotc; there are not such guarantees in DFRPG. You can make a badass character in that game that does some impressive things. Yet, there is still always something hiding in the darkness that can take you out. If you have read the books, you will love the game. If you have not, there is enough that you would recognize to be able to catch on quick.

Diaspora by Vsca
Humans have been in space tens of thousands of years, and societies have risen and fallen so many times that no one remembers where we came from.

Colonies huddle together in clusters of a few star systems connected by slipstreams — artifacts of the cosmos, or perhaps a forgotten technology. Only the slipstreams allow travel faster than light. Apart from that, spacecraft make do with reaction drives, dumping heat as best they can.
Lost technologies of a fallen civilization thrum beneath your feet. Just the other side of the slipstream live the last dozen members of a post-Singularity culture bent on raiding your system for the raw construction material of its moons. It’s dangerous out there — and where there’s danger, there’s the possibility of profit, if you’re brave or crazy enough to seek it out.

I am currently reading this on PDF. It is slow going, but that is only due to the fact that I don't read anything on the computer too quickly. Typically, I am not a sci-fi guy, especially the hard kind. But after reading some of this, I am blown away with how well written it is, and how much it makes me want to create my own systems and play it. That says a lot. I will eventually have a review of this once I read it all.

Other Fate games

Bulldogs by Galileo Games
Who could be desperate enough to sign his life away for five long years? Desperate enough to take a job hauling volatile and hazardous cargo to the most dangerous places in the galaxy? Planets where the very air is a corrosive acid. Planets where the locals might cut your throat just so they can turn you into a nice steak. Planets where petty thugs and warlords are engaged in constant running gun battles and you’re just as likely to catch a blaster shot in the skull as get a signed delivery manifest.

You are, that’s who. Welcome to Bulldogs!

I am probably more excited about this game than I have ever been for any sci-fi game (except for the disaster that was the Serenity Rpg). First of all, the comparisons I am hearing are that of Firefly. I get giddy just hearing that since Firefly is one of my favorite things ever. So, I hope to get this one sooner rather than later. 

Legends of Anglerre by Cubicle 7
Legends of Anglerre shoves a massive battle-axe in the hands of the characters. Play action-packed fantasy using gritty adventurers on paths to greatness; epic heroes leading mighty armies and noble kingdoms; mythic questers traversing the many planes and battling the gods themselves.

The fate of the world hangs in the balance. Danger is everywhere - and great adventure. Will the flickering lights of civilization grow stronger, or be extinguished forever by darkness? In these perilous days, the world cries out for heroes.

This is the next Fate game I am really excited about. Mostly to see how well an epic fantasy game works with fate. Especially since I want to make one at some point.

Starblazer Adventures by Cubicle 7
Starblazer Adventures is based on the classic British comic series, Starblazer, from the 1970’s and 80’s. Each of Starblazer's 281 issues explored a whole adventure set within the vast galactic empires of the far future. 

Choose from 8 alien races or play whole star empires! There’s over 100 worlds, 70 heroes, alien races, monsters & starships. There’s an introductory adventure & tons of support for Story Tellers including adventure seeds, several plot & planet generators and over 400 pieces of inspirational art! Watch out for online adventures, supplements and adventure tools.

I know nothing at all about the comic book series, and I am not really into sci-fi all that much.  It is also over 600 pages long and that intimidates me. :) I will get to it however.

The Kerberos Club by Arc Dream Publishing
The Kerberos Club is a complete roleplaying game for thrilling superheroic and steampunk action in Victorian London. It includes a treatment of Victorian society in its every particular, especially the incredible and sometimes awful changes that "the Strangeness" comes to wreak upon Queen and Country alike. 

Play the heroes and villains of a Strange century!  
"Stony" Joe Smithson, the honest London boxer transformed into living rock.
Doctor Archibald Monroe, the erudite chemist and physician-chimpanzee. 
Maeve O'Connel, Queen of the Mudlarks, the eternal child touched by Faerie.
The Lady Mirabel, who by darkness defends Whitechapel as the terrifying Night Hag.

When the victims and enthusiasts of magic and bizarre science meet in an infamous club for "the Strange," thrilling action is sure to follow!

I honestly don't know what to think about this setting. It is the one I have concerns with only because I am not that much into the Victorian Setting. Or steampunk. Saying that, I am still intrigued to see how well the setting plays out, and to see if it can hook me into wanting to play it. It is one of those things were the more I hear about it, the more I want to read it.

Strands of Fate by Void Star Games
Strands of Fate contains everything you need to tell stories of adventure, action, horror, and intrigue set in any genre. Whether it’s classic fantasy, urban mystery, dashing super heroes, or far future action, this book is your guide. Strands

utilizes the FATE roleplaying game system and provides the Game Master with all the tools he needs to get any campaign, of any genre or power level, off the ground and running in minutes

This is the Fate game I have the least interest in.  I find it interesting that they are creating a game for any genre. I normally don't like that much and would rather have people concentrate on one specific genre, but I have heard some good things about this title. Only time will tell and there is still some interest.

I think that is all of them, if it isn't let me know what I have missed.


Fate Part 1. Why Fate?

I will be blogging about different parts of Fate over the next months. I will try to do about one a week (if possible).  Over the next months, I also plan to try to get as many of the fate games as possible. There are a few of them out there now, and I look forward reviewing all of them.

So, I guess the way to start this off is to ask the question, why Fate? Actually, someone else had sent me an email on Google+ asking that question, so it seemed like a great place to start.

My friends and I had been gaming for a while. But the only game we ever seemed to play was Dungeons and Dragons, which was ok for a while. We played 2nd edition, and it has always had a soft spot in my heart, because it was the first game that I ever played and you never truly forget your first, right? But one of the problems with 2nd edition is when we brought new gamers into our group via our book club; it was a very difficult game to explain how to play. Just start with Thac0 and watch their eyes glaze over.

So, over time, I started getting burned out of the game. Tired of just running around killing everything. I had not ever played an “Indie” game before, and we even tried to mix it up a little by playing Vampire: Dark Ages and then later Shadowrun. Which I am not a huge fan of either of those games, especially the later.

Then I joined a group in NYC called www.nerdnyc.com an online community where people meet others that like the same things and you get together and actually do them. Shocking, I know. Now a lot the people on there are D&D fans (which is fine), but it is a very diverse group of people.

So, through them, I found out about a small gaming convention taking place in NYC, and I went. At the con, I stumbled into a game called Spirit of the Century. I had never heard of the game before, and sat down to play it. It was so much different from what I was used too, and it took a bit fore me to get used to the fact that I wasn’t really combat oriented. The use of aspects, instead of your typical attributes was confusing at first. But after playing it for a few minutes, I loved it. It didn’t hurt that SotC is a pulp game, and I love pulp.

So after that, I immediately went online, found their webpage, and learned about other games they had made. Then something crazy happened. I found out they were making a Dresden Files Rpg.  What? At this time, my friends Chris and Amy had already gotten me addicted to Jim Butchers Dresden Files, and I was really excited about this.

The first thing I did was sign up to be one of their play testers and was approved. I cannot even explain how excited I was to hear back from Fred Hicks on this. I created a group on Livejournal so people could talk about the playtest experience and even got my own group to help with it.

At this point, I was hooked on the Fate system. I loved how simple it is for new gamers to actually pick up and play, and there is something awesome about when a player actually gets how the aspects work. You can see the light bulb go off when they truly get it. But the system allows you so much control as a player, which is nice to be able to push the game in the direction you actually want it to go. Not to mention, it is more about role-playing than combat.

The funny part of all this is as much of a fan as I am of the system, I have played SotC four times, and I have yet to play Dfrpg. I am hoping that will change cuz when I start our Dfrpg game up again, someone is going to rotate in, so I can actually play.  I have also recently started reading Diaspora and it is very interesting and very well written.


A positive vibe on Google+

So, last night, two things happened that are connected. Jess Hartley typed up a version of something she called her Google+ Manifesto. The second thing is that Tony Love forwarded a post by Ardith Goodwin talking about having a Google+ welcoming committee for new members that are still trying to figure things out.

They are both connected because of how positive they are. One of the things I have learned over the last 4 years, as I dove head first into game design, is how cool the gaming community is (with a few small exceptions). I know that sounds simple, but not all communities are like that, and they can be very cutthroat. Especially in a community where it can be perceived that people could be rivals. A lot of them are making games and trying to sell them.

I knew nothing about this, and was just starting (along with my friends) at thinking about making a game. Playing around with idea on Rpg.net, I met Eloy Lasanta and had some great conversations about game design. He was not the game making rockstar he is now, but a guy making his first game. It was really cool for someone that was trying to do his own creation to stop and talk to me about mechanics and game design for my own game.

Then I was lucky enough to find a game called Spirit of the Century by Evil Hat. I found out they were making a Dresden Files rpg and I was lucky enough to playtest the game. Through that I got introduced to Fred Hicks. Whomhas always been someone that will honestly answer questions about the industry and game design in general.

I use these two as an example, because they are two different type of game designers, but both of them have always tried to be as helpful as they could be. I think that is too easy to overlook in the dog eat dog world we are in.

But back to the original thought of positivity and Google+. The two posts I mentioned at the top both his me in different ways. The Google Manifesto by Jess Hartley was very well written. I joked last night that I was too tired to write something that well and was going to steal hers. We all want to say something was "written" by us, but if someone can manage to convey the though you are trying to express  by all means use it instead. I know this, cuz I tried to write my own this morning, and it never seemed to "pop" like the one she wrote. That is fine, it isn't a contest and I have no problem with using her manifesto. :)

Then the welcoming committee idea I found fascinating. An example was given of how someone can be going to a con and there is someone there to greet them and to direct that person to things he or she wants to see or do. Part of the reason why Google+ is so successful, is it introduces people to others they DON'T know. I know that sounds like the way any social site is. But I don't think so (at least not for me). Facebook has people that I have known for a while and that is pretty much it. I have a few gamers I met over the years, but nothing like this.

So having a welcoming committee is an interesting thought. Meeting people is the goal, right? Whether people want to admit it or not most of us want to be liked by others. Oh it varies from one person to another and it doesn't have to be someone's whole point of existence. I am not talking about a popularity contest where people are just trying to see how many people they can add (saw that too much on FB), but trying to meet people that share their interests. 

So, I applaud the thought behind this. The wanting to help others enjoy this new medium that we all love. In a world where we can get just a bit caught up in our own lives and thoughts, it is nice to see people want to help. 


Star Wars Blu-Ray. Or why people hate George Lucas so much.

Over on Google+, there have been a lot people bashing George Lucas lately.  Don’t get me wrong, I am not going to be the one defending his honor.  I would like to kick him in the nuts for being such a greedy, arrogant, and short-minded douchebag.  

I am discussing the up and coming Star Wars blu-ray that is coming out.  For the purpose of this discussion, I will mostly be talking about the ORIGINAL trilogy, since I refuse to even the discuss the suckhole that the prequels were.   But the movies are coming out on blu-ray soon.  Yes, I know.  Star Wars on blu-ray, that is going to be awesome, right?  Or is it?  I guess it depends on your personal level of nerd rage you are going to have with changes Lucas is making to the movies.

First of all, understand, I am a huge Star Wars fan.  I watched the A New Hope when I was si.  Yes, I am that old…get over it.  I recall going to Empire when I was 9 and dressing up as Han Solo.  Then off to JedI, dressed as Luke.  I was rocking the outfits I must say.  But that love increased as I became and adult and met others that also loved Star Wars. I remember playing trivial SW trivial pursuit.  Oh, toughest question in that game?  If I can remember it quickly.

How many rats were in the cellar window in Return of the Jedi?  3.  I got that damn question, and was stunned.

I have read most (all but the one’s after the New JedI Order) books, some of the comics, played the rpg, been to a Star Wars themed wedding, and played most of the video games. Still pissed off that the Old Republic is not going to be on the PS3.  So, I am a fan.  Even though I did walk out of Revenge of the Sith, cuz it made me so mad.  I don’t own any light sabers anymore, since the last one I had was stolen by a girl back in Oklahoma.  Beware a woman scorned and all that.

Back to the point.  As mentioned, there were two articles.  Article 1 discusses a hands on look by the people from Ign.  Article 2 talks about changes Lucas is making to the movies for the release.

Take a few minutes to go check them out.  I will wait here.  Especially check out the videos concerning changes made.

Ok, done?  Let’s get back to the rant.

Article 1.  Ign got a first look at the blu-ray.  After reading the article, the biggest thing that I saw that proves to me why people hate George Lucas so much is this.  “Lucas has altered the film to be what he originally intended, so he's not about to go back to the previous version (even if fans remember it more fondly).”  To me, that pretty much sums up Lucas in a nutshell.  He doesn’t give a rat’s ass at what the fans want in this.  He only wants to tweak it so he can continue putting his mark on it.  Yes, Greedo still shoot first.  I am not even going into that, since that is one of the things that really pisses people off.

Now on the plus side, it sounds like they look phenomenal.  So, regardless of everything else, getting to see the Star Wars movies in HD, it something that I truly am looking forward too.

Article 2.  Ign talks about some of the changes Lucas is making to the movies.  A list of the changes are as follows.

  • In the Phantom Menace they are replacing puppet Yoda, with a cgi Yoda.
  • Blinking Ewoks.  I can only assume they didn’t before, and now they do.  Not sure about that one, but it is an odd thing to look at.
  • Obi-Wan’s Krayt dragon call in A New Hope.  Not sure why this needed to be changed.  It sounds just odd now.
  • Last and the lamest in my opinion.  When the Emperor was chain-lightening Luke, as if he was his bitch, Lucas decided to add some dialogue.  Cuz that is what that scene needed.  The dialogue you say?  Vader going “No. Nooooooooooo”, just before tossing the Emperor to his death.  Ok, really?  Do we really need to hear Vader do something that obviously lame?  Or worse, cliché?  I think him tossing the Emperor over the side pretty much shows how he felt about it.  

They spoke with Skywalker’s Sound’s, Matthew Wood.  This is what he said about the changes.  “Every time we watch the movies, he’s got something he wants to change, Wood said.  And so there’s obviously changes done to the films, visually as well as audio-wise.  So there are some changes in the Blu-Ray version you will find.  (laughs) That’s always fun.  It’s funny, because we meticulously put it all together like ‘here’s what it was’, and he’ll update it”.

Does it not sound like he is trying to convince himself it is a horrible things Lucas is doing?  I love the use of meticulous.

Overall, will the changes do much to how we watch the movies?  That is hard to say, it depends on how much more he is planning on changing.  Or if he does another “greedo” like change.  The Vader thing just looked dumb, who knows how it will turn out.

What do you think?


Setting is everything...

I did a post talking about mechanics a few weeks ago, and how problematic they can be.  Mechanics are an important part of the game, but it is never what hooks me into one.  Don't get me wrong, there are mechanics in a game that I really like, but that is never why I want to play the game.  

But that is never what actually hooks me into a game.  First thing is always the setting.  I look at the games I have loved in my life, and the first thing that usually sticks out is the setting the game uses.

  • Call of Cthulhu.  Dark, gothic setting based on H.P. Lovecraft stories.
  • The Dresden Files Rpg.  Urban fantasy setting, based on The Dresden Files by Jim Butcher
  • Dogs in the Vineyard.  Set in the Old west, tumbleweeds going by, rough land and people.  
  • Dungeons and Dragons.  We played in the Forgotten Realms setting, which I love
And others that I may not have liked (or haven't playe)
  • Vampire: Dark Ages
  • Shadowrun
  • Dread
  • 3:16

So, to me, setting is one of the most important aspects of the game.  But there are a few types.  

There is a physical setting the is created from the ground up.  The Forgotten realms setting is like that.  They created people, places, gods, maps, etc.  So much information that you as the GM just have to find a place to start your adventure.  I am a big fan of this type of setting.  I love information about the world and it was the first rpg I ever played.

Then you have something similar, but a little different.  The Dresden Files RPG has a world of canon that if you have read the books, you are very familiar with.  Yet, you also get to create the city it takes place in, along with places, npcs, aspects, and characters.  Amazing stuff.  I love both of those, because they have so much information about the world.  I am an information junkie.

Then you have games where the setting could be entirely based on a time period or genre.  Spirit of the Century based on the 1920's, where you characters are pulpy.  Again the location of the game can be wherever you wish, but the setting itself is based on the pulp aspect of it.    

Then you have a game like Hollowpoint, where the setting can be whatever you wish.  But no matter what, you are a badass that has a job to do.  Kicking someone elses ass.  You can do all kinds of actual settings for this.  You can be renegade cops, starship troopers, assassins, knights of the crusade, or the seven samauri. The setting is inter-changable

The bottom line is this.  I love settings, and that is how I get hooked.  This is why when talking about our own game, I want to nail the setting.  We are creating a game from the ground up, which is a daunting task.  But one that I am excited for and I think it will be awesome.


I just want these dice...

So, at some point this fall, I plan on running our Dresden Files Rpg again.   I have been working on it for a few months (even though I haven't lately), and I think it will be a lot of fun.

None of that matters, cuz I am hoping my life is in a bit more order than it is now, and then I am going to buy THESE dice!

There is a guy on my google+ page, and he creates different dice.  He made these for his up and coming DFRPG he is going to play.  I MUST have them.  :)

That is all.


A name change...

So, after thinking about it for a month, I decided to change the name of my blog.  It was Stacey's Rpg World, which I could not stand.  I don't really know why.  For whatever reason, I did not want my name in the blog.  Some people have told me that you should have your name in it, so you can gain familiarity with those in the industry.  

Why does it matter?
In the long run, it probably won't.  The only person it will matter to is me.  Also, I just like the way it sounds.  I love the Fate system, and definitely want to talk about that, and the fact that I will eventually make a game using the system.  So it is a comfort thing if nothing else.  It makes me happy, so get over it.  :)

How did it happen?
Well, I was talking about it on Google+, and I started asking what people thought.  Well, people started giving me some suggestions.  Some serious, others silly. :)  What else can you expect from people?  Here is a list of them:
Stacey's Fate, Stace-o's The Hand of Fate, Fate's Chancellor, The Chancellor's Office, A simple twist of Fate, Fudging the dice of Fate, Just Fudge it, Fate Plus, Fateful companion, A Fistful of Fate, Fate and a dash of salt, This is your Fate, Fate of Darkness, Fatethulhu, and my personal favorite Chronicles of Fate.

I did a poll on G+, and a few other places, and Chronicles of Fate one.  Here is an important lesson, boys and girls.  Always check to see if the domain name you like IS free, otherwise you just wasted your time.  So, I changed it The Fate Archives instead.  Which is still awesome.  

Will anything change?
Not really. I am still going to talk about games I play.  I am still going to review the books and the actual play.  I am still going to talk about the game we are making.  I will definitely talk more about the Fate system as a whole, but I was probably going to do that anyways.  Now, my blog just has a constant link with it.


Looking at a few games...

So, I am taking a break from thinking about game design this weekend to look at a few games.  I have the pdf versions of Hollowpoint, and Diaspora.  These are games by Vsca Publishing, and two of the games I am really excited to get to know.

Just a few words on what they are, and I will review them later when I am done.

Hollowpoint is a game where you are a bad ass, literally.  You are an agent, and you have missions.  Think James Bond, or maybe the A-Team.  It is not a fluff game and deals with violence and death, so because of that it may not be fore everyone.  That is fine, it seems like a nice break and it is a pick up game.  Good pickup games are always a great thing to find.  So bring it on!

Diaspora is a Fate based sci-fi game.  Taking place in SPACE and dealing with a bit of a hard sci-fi approach, you create the galaxies and then on to having your ass handed to you.  You know, cut it is fate.  I am interested in this to see the Fate system in from a different point of view.  I love Evil Hats games, so this should be exciting to read and see what Vsca did with the system.

I am really enjoying reading what I have so far, but will have a review of the games when I am done with them.


The problem with mechanics...

After going back and looking at the work, Chris, Henry, and myself did, I realize this is going to be something that needs to be figured out by us.  I know everyone that makes a game goes about it differently.  I know some people like to work on the mechanics first, and then figure out everything else.  While others create the setting and build mechanics around it.

I am not sure since the one part of this I have struggled with the most is coming up with a new mechanics system.  I worked on it for almost a year and every time I came up with something I thought was cool, I saw someone else already had something like it.

That has been the most frustrating part of all of this.  Setting (which I will talk about next) is going to be a lot longer to do, but easier to create.  Maybe easier isn't the right word, but it will be more enjoyable.

There are a lot of people out there that blog about mechanics a lot.  I try to read through them when I can.  I see how creative people can be.  It is nuts, the things people think of.  Then you have the people that take someone else's game, and tweak it.  Like the D20 games or Fate (to name a few).  How do people feel about that?   Is it ok to do that because of how much they like the setting?  I have thought a few times of what our game would like using Fate...but that is cuz of how much I love the system.  I personally have no problem with it since every once in a while someone will do this and a setting will catch my eye (like Bulldogs!).

Then there is the excitement of creating something new. Something we can call ours.  But that is hard since so many people  have already created so many different things.  I still like this idea as well.

As I said, it is issue.  :)  It isn't anything that we figure out today, but it is something I am thinking about after reading what we created so far.


Excitement about getting going again.

So, we have at least starting discussing ideas about the game again.  Well, at least two us have.  :)  My friend Chris lives in Pittsburgh, so basically we are talking about game design in email for now.  It is a start, and although I wish he still lived here in NYC (cuz getting together would be much easier), we do what we can with what we have.  Again, it is a start.  I also love that he seems to be excited to get going as well.  Haven't heard from Henry yet, but I know we will.

It will be interesting to see what comes of this.  We are three different people, that look at things differently.  Not to mention, no work has been done on this game in quite some time.  So, for now, there is a catching up period. A time where we go over the basic ideas of the game and try to figure out where to go.  This isn't something that can be done quickly, and the problem is I am ready to start doing it.  Yes, I am impatient, this is nothing new.  So, for now, I am going to start writing down ideas I have and go from there.

So, I am excited due to the fact that is fun to look over the things we did before.  Some of them I love, and some of them I want to change completely (pending we all agree).  My favorite thing I look forward to is creating this world from the ground up.  But it is a major job.  You have to factor class, economy, religion, just to name a few.  It will be nuts, but a lot of fun.  Not to mention I am already making some contacts that may eventually help with artwork...so I am excited about that as well.

It is all about momentum.


An open (if just a bit sarcastic) letter to all Gen-con participants

Dear sir/madaam,

You suck. I say this with the utmost respect, but it doesn't change the amount of sheer suckitude that you posess. Having to endure post after post about how excited you are to be going this year is becoming unbearable. Talking about awesome games you are going to play, blah blah blah. We get it, it is captial A awesome.

Now a better person than I may try to point out that I am just jealous. This could not be farther from the truth. Me? Jealous? That is absurd. I mean seriously. Who would want to go to a convention to play a bunch of silly games, meet all the people I have talked to online over the years, and check out the new games that are coming out. Like Bulldogs! or Hollowpoint, or the One Ring.

That just sounds lame. I have better things to do here. Like...um...be on google+. Yeah this is much more awesome.

Well, there is always next year. Not that I care. Nope, not one bit.


I hope everyone has a great time there. :)


Character death

A lot has been said today on Google+ concerning character death in rpg’s. So, I thought I would put my two cents in.

I think a lot of it depends on three things. The game you are playing, the GM, ad your fellow gamers.

The game.  Dungeons and Dragons has always been a game that you could potentially die. It is a combat first game that has only gotten more so as time goes by. My very first D&D character(and first rpg experience) did not make it five minutes in the game. I have seen seriously bad ass characters bite it cuz the GM rolled a few 20’s and wiped them out. It has happened to me both as a player and a gm.

Then you have a game like Spirit of the Century. I am not saying you cannot die in this game, because you can. But I have always felt like it was a game that the pulp heroes are created to succeed. Oh and look awesome doing it. Swinging by a chandelier, defusing a bomb, escaping off of a airship that is on fire…those type of thing . But then you take the Dresden Files, which uses the same Fate system for the most part. All of a sudden, you can g.t taken out fairly easily (or concede). Is just how much more dangerous that game is.

 Last, you have Call of Cthulhu. Not only can your character die, but it is just a matter of time until you lose your mind. I love this fucking game and need to play it again. Sorry, I do tend to get distracted b all things Cthulhu.

Yes, there are other type of games out there, this was just a small example. 

The GM.   This can so many ways depending on whom is running the game. I used to game someone that was a marine, and it was damn duty to try to kill us…oh and quickly. But I have also ran with people that seem to shy away from trying to kill you. Make your life difficult, but not kill you

I am somewhere in the middle. I want there to be a threat of death, but I don’t want it to be all the game is about.

Oh, and don’t think that the GM isn’t affected by his mood. I once went into a situation just after fighting with my girlfriend at the time. I was in a pissed off mood and because of that wanted the players to die. It isn’t really cool when this happens, but it does.

Fellow gamers.   Again, not everyone has an opinion on this. But not knowing how they will react can bring an epic sized temper tantrum.

So a few tips about character death. Especially when it comes to new gamers.
  • If it there first time playing, you may not want to kill them. Remember the D&D character I mentioned earlier? It took me almost three hours to have people explain the game and make a character. It was D&D 2nd edition and I made a wizard. I had 3 hp, and I died in the first fight. I was so pissed I almost left and to this day have never played a wizard in any other game.
  • NO ONE likes to die their first time out. You want them to come back, not be pissed off that the DM killed you. Gaming should be fun and people want to do kick ass things. They cannot do that if you are killing them five minutes into the game. Give them time to enjoy it as much as you do…and then kick their ass. J
  • Don’t assume you know how they will react. In that same campaign of D&D (about 3 years later) another play had a seriously bad ass wizard. Powerful spells, magic items galore, etc. His character died by a dragon. He was so pissed off, he quit the game and never came back. Was a bit much really, but was a serious hissy fit.
  • Talk about it. It helps if you are on the same page. If you are running the game, ask your players how they feel about it. Hell, if it is that dangerous of a campaign, they may even make a spare character just in case. I have done that.
  • Don’t be a dick. If you do kill a character, try not to gloat about it. I have seen that and it is just such a douche move. I have been on both sides of this and when you realize just how much of a jerk you were….that is such a crappy moment. You can lose the respect of everyone at your table quickly this way.
Keep in mind that theseare just my opinions, and if you don’t agree with them…that is fine.


Google+ and how it has already changed my life.

Social networking is a tricky thing.  One of things that always pulled me into gaming is that it a social event.  Yes, people have made fun of gamers for years, but the bottom line is you had to leave you house and go see other people to play.   Sure, there are still a few people out there that fit the stereotype of being socially awkward and all that, but social networking has probably helped those people communicate better with the rest of us. 

Just about everyone is on Facebook, and has been for a while.  I know I have been on it for a good time and there are people out there that the only time I hear from them is when we communicate with each other that way.  Saying that I have never been a fan of it and its views on security.  I am not going to go into that since everyone else already has at some point.  Let’s just say that given the opportunity, I would probably use another site if possible.

What a great segue way to Google+

I haven’t been on G+ for that long.  At first you hear about people and how they are so happy about getting their invitees to try it out.  It kind of makes you feel like you are the only one that hasn’t been picked to be in the baseball game that you played so often as a kid.  You really want to play, but you can’t because no one will choose you. 

Then I got my invite, to try it out and all was right in the universe.  I know that is silly, but if we are honest with each other…we like being chosen to be a part of something.  That can be good and bad depending on how much your life depends on this, but it is a fact of life none the less.

I had not read that much about it as of yet, so, I went into this not really expecting much.  I was immediately blown away by the simplicity of the circles.  Not exactly a mind blowing idea, but one that handled well allows you to get information to people that actually want to hear it.  Instead of everyone.  You know what I mean.  Say you are a movie buff, but you have friends that just don’t care to hear it.  You create a circle called movie buffs and ask people if they want to be involved in it.  Or for me, I am a gamer, so I have a group called rpg people, which is just growing by the day.  But when I want to talk about gaming, I only send it to them. 

Facebook never really handled this well, if you ask me.  Which is why I don’t have different groups on there, but all of my stuff gets sent to everyone.  Even those that don’t give a damn about my writing, gaming, or geekery I am into. 

I now have circles for.  My friends, newbies, acquaintances, rpg people, indie games, Dresden Files rpg, readers, people I follow, authors, and game design. 

I have already met, and had conversations with some very awesome people.  G+ is a networker’s wet dream.  Especially as a gamer and a designer.  I want to meet people and hear their own gaming and designing stories.  You can learn so much from other people’s experiences if you are just willing to shut up and listen.   G+ is so easy to do, and when you have people that are actually willing to talk about things you both love…it is an amazing thing.  A bit addictive, but amazing none the less. 

Then you have the free hangout feature that allows people to chat via webcam.  Kind of cool, especially since so many people are already using it to game.  I have not done that yet, but I get the feeling I will at some point.  Especially with good friends of ours that live in Pittsburgh. 

But it goes beyond that, into something I not sure I can explain well.  A sense of community is already starting there.  Do I know most of these people very well?  No.  But I want to, and that to me is an amazing thing to behold.  It isn’t that I am an a anti-social person, but it is amazing how just a last week I was content (reluctantly) with Facebook, and now I have been introduced to over 75 new people.  That has been without even trying.  I am sure that number is going to go up as I continue reading all of the posts from other people that are in their circles. 

For some reason, this blows my mind…but in a good way.  

Now I do hope they pull their heads out of the asses about the pseudonym thing.  I get why a lot of people don’t want to give their first and last names. Those people should not be punished for wanting the anonymity.  From what I hear, they are backing off a bit, but actions speak louder than words.

But overall, it has been a rousing success.  I have enjoyed meeting people that share my interests.  I have enjoyed having conversations that were not possible two weeks ago.  This has been pure win thus far, and I can only hope they will continue making changes to it…to make it better.  Will it kill Facebook?  Probably not, but I would not mind to see fb go down the way myspace did.  :)

Oh, and I created a poll that I would like people that game to answer.  :)


What is our game about?

Well, I have already spoken about why I want to make a game.  why I am making a game And the dilemma behind making a game.  game designing dilemna   

So, now we move on to the next thing I want to talk about…what is our game about. 

The name of our game (for now at least) is Perdition.  It is a fantasy setting that deals with a culture based on elements and how it affects every part of their lives.   Yeah, part of this comes from my love of the Codex Alera series by Jim Butcher.  

The world was normal once, and then came what is now known to be The Fury.  The world was ravaged by the elements and after a time, it changed the world and the people living in it.  It started slowly at first, people being able to manipulate the elements.  People were terrified of this and rarely used it.  Then over time people began to see how much power it gave them, and they embraced it.  Shocking I know.  The world is also a very dangerous place since the Fury still comes from time to time to ravage the world even further.

The elements are your typical ones.  Air, earth, fire, and water.  Although I am still considering whether to add more to that such as spirit, light, and darkness.   Every single person in the world is born with an affinity of an element.  A rune  is marked on their body, like a tattoo.  There is status involved (both positive and negative) and there are a very small percentage that are born with either the ability to have all of the elements, or none.  Every character in the world has some access to the elements...even if it is just something small.  For instance if you are born with an affinity of fire, you may be able to bring up a small flame to help see in the dark.  Or if you have earth, you may always know which direction you are going.  Someone with air can use it to levitate a small distance.  Oh and if you have the water affinity, you can breathe under water.  Simple things like that, regardless of what kind of character you want to play. 

But of course there are people in the world that think they need to rule.   The Devout simply want everyone else to recognize their authority.  Is that so much to ask?  They are willing to crush anyone that doesn’t agree with them.  Then you have Perdition.  The rebellion as you will.  Though, they are not always nice about it.  This is a true rebellion, where black and white get murky and people live in the gray.  They do what they have to do to survive.  We also may have two other groups (not sure yet), one that is just trying to hide, and one that just wants to stir the pot and cause chaos.  This will probably be redone. 
We want the world to a focal part of the game.  Since it is an elemental game, we want the elements to play a big part in it.  Weather will be a huge factor in the game.    The world is a dangerous place.  Constantly there are floods, volcanoes, tornados, earthquakes, hurricanes… you get the point.  You have to fight

Amongst all of this, you have the Orders.  Each person is approached at a certain age by one of the Orders of the world.  Only a small percentage of the world (maybe 5-10%) are chosen for this.  You do NOT have to join them, but again there is a prestige factor involved, not to mention a safe haven from the world.    I plan on redoing this since they seem a bit too confined and remind me way too much of class system games, which I don’t want to do anymore.  More on this later. 

Yeah, without knowing it we had created a game that seemed too much like Dungeons and Dragons.  Five years ago, this did not bother me, since that is what we played.  But times have changed, and I am not really into the old school games anymore.  I haven’t played D&D in a while and am all about the indie gaming scene now. 

So, I am in the process of reading all the notes and everything we actually did in the game.  I already know I that the game I see, is not the game I want to make.  I still want to keep the setting, and the elemental aspect of it.  I still want to have Orders in the world, but restructured and not as rigid.  I want to be more flexible in everything else.  I love the Fate system, and I think I want to play around with the game being at least kind of like it. 

Oh, the other thing I want to change (and forgot to mention up to this point).  The world was populated by five different races…humans, elves, orcs, sylphs, and saurials.  Just another indication as to how “D&D” the game felt.  I would like the world to be nothing but human (with maybe one other).  Different lands with different races of humans. 

At some point I have to talk to my co-author Henry…and see if he agrees with any of this.  J  But for now, I am just getting my thoughts in order, so I can have a plan of attack.

Everything is subject to change since my views on games have changed in the last 5 years.  Please be patient and if you can, try to keep the comments positive.  J  They can still be constructive, but I am all about the positive here.  


Damn you, Jim Butcher!

Damn you, Jim Butcher.  I blame you for how addicted I am to your stupid books.  I am such a fan-boy (fan-man…wow that just sounds wrong) and this Tuesday, Ghost Story comes out, and my addiction to this series continues ever stronger. 

It is a little sad just how excited I am to read this book.  Now, I have always been a bit of a nerd, but I like to think I have always handled myself with appropriate aplomb. 

Ok, maybe not…but it sounds good in my head when I say that. 

It started when I was six and I saw Star Wars: A New Hope.  Part of me thinks that my nerd fate was sealed at that point.  Hell, up until about 10 years ago, I still had the ticket stub for that movie.  Somehow it got lost, but those things happen. 

Then I hurt my ankle one summer and could run around like a maniac (cuz that is what nine year old kids do), and I went into the library.  Do you ever just have a moment of clarity and realize that something in your life just clicked.  I had no idea what it meant, but that day changed my life.  I asked the library what would be fun to read and she gave me the Hobbit…which I devoured in about ten minutes.  From there I read the Lord of the Rings. 

Now keep in mind I was nine.  I did not really understand what was going on in the story sometimes.  But damn it, there were elves, and dwarves, and a ring! 

As I got older, my love for the fantasy genre got stronger.  I discovered authors that I still cherish.  David Eddings, Terry Brooks, and C.S. Lewis to name a few. 

 But now I am 40 years old and in my life, four things have taken my nerd and sent it into a frenzy.  Star Wars (obviously), The Lord of the Rings, Harry Potter (which is an entire different discussion), and the Dresden Files.

I remember when Chris and Amy (not sure if it was both of them…or just one) said I should read them.  There was not a lot of urban fantasy written at that time, and I laughed at the idea behind the story.  The television show was about to start.  So, I did not read the books at first because of that.  Eventually they convinced me to try them. 

I was hooked.  I would like to say cuz they were superbly written, but that would be a lie. The first two books in the series are not written that well.  Which is funny, cuz I have read them so many times now that I love them regardless of that.  To me the story starts getting better at the end of the third book (grave peril), and the story really takes off in book seven (dead beat).  That could be the necromantic dinosaur talking, but who knows.

Now I am full on addicted.  I got to playtest the rpg that Evil Hat made about the game.  That experience was awesome, and the game is great. 

Let’s see all of the ways that Jim Butcher has affected my life.  The books, graphic novels, the TV show, t-shirts, the rpg, most of my online profile pics are Dresden Files related, and random quotes I love.

Look, I know this series isn’t for everyone.  I get that.  I listen to people all the time say how awful they are.  That is fine, everyone has the right to their opinion….just as I do.  But for some reason the wise cracking wizard, with an oversized view of self-righteousness….just hits home for me.  I feel like this character and I have a lot in common (minus the ability to smite people that annoy me with magic).  Although it has been said that it is a good thing I cannot do that, cuz I may not be the best person to have that kind of power. 

So yeah, I love the books.  I get all excited when they come out.  I get all teary-eyed and emotional when things happen to characters I love.  That is what literature is about, right?  Having something pull us in and care about?  That is what makes novels and movie so powerful. 

So, damn you Jim Butcher.  Damn you and your books that have taken such a foot hold of my life.

Still, I wouldn’t have it any other way.


Why am I making a game?

How it came to be.
There are a lot of reasons why people choose to create their own game, so I don’t imagine my reason is going to really blow anyone’s mind with my answer. 

You know the scene.  You are sitting around with your friends and talking about gaming.  Your frustration in how things may be done in the game.  For me it was Dungeons and Dragons 2nd Edition.  Don’t get me wrong, I have a lot of fond memories playing this game.  It was the game that got me hooked into gaming 20 years ago. 

So around five years ago we were playing a bunch of 2nd Edition, and it started to wear on me.  My problem with D&D has always been that it was a bit too rules extensive, and trying to teach new people how to play the game?  Good luck.  By the time you got to Thac0, it was a mess.  So this is how this started.  We started to wonder if we could make a game that was not as confusing, and easier for new people to learn.  Most of our newer players came from our book club and had no experience in gaming at all. 

So on a trip back from a Renaissance Faire that was rained out, we started talking a script for a movie.  Or Chris did, since he was the one thinking about it.  In the story, people were getting killed by monsters from a rpg they were playing.   After talking about it, we decided to make a game for the movie.  A very simple game.

Or so we thought.

Then all those thoughts  of thinking we could make a game we actually wanted to play started coming out.  The three of us (Chris, Henry, and myself) started wondering if we could design something more.  So, it turned into something much, much, more.  We call it Perdition.

Why it is important?
I miss creating.  I have always felt better when I was creating something.  I am written most of my life, and remember how often my life seemed better while I was actually doing it.  Then came a new type of creation with the RPG. 

It was awesome.

It was a new kind of euphoria.  Because we were creating an entire world.  I will talk more about the game on a later date, but it is a world that the elements are a major force, and the creation aspect of that was something I loved so much. 

But even more than that, there is a sense of accomplishment (even on a game that is nowhere near done) that comes with the creation of it.  Even small parts that you finish can make you feel great about what you are trying to do. 

What does the future bring?
The one thing I have to do is get consistent with all of it.  It has been a little over a year since we have actually done anything, and I am in the process of moving back towards starting designing the game again.  I just have to re-read everything and see where we are. 

The funny thing is when we started we had created a D&D clone without even realizing it.  Then I started playing indie games and fell in love with them.   How simple the games can be, and how they are more about roleplaying, instead of it being all about rules.

But beyond that I am really excited about getting back into the game

Faces of our DFPRG Game

So, next on our look at the NYC DFPRG game we are going to play is Faces.  Faces are very important in this game because of how locations work in the game.  Each location has at least one face attached to it.  Yes, face is another way of saying NPC, but it makes sense.  It is cool to have a list of pre-made faces to work with at any point in time during the game.  Some of them are just minor players in the game, while others will take center state and become allies/enemies for the game. 


Locations for Our NYC Dresden Files Game

So, here is a list of the locations for our Dresden Files RPG.  I am still trying to fine tune this, since the last we played this was a year ago.  But it gives me time to make changes if I needed too.  The one thing I noticed is that too much of the game takes place in Manhattan.  If you don't know NYC, there are four other boroughs:
  • The Bronx
  • Brooklyn
  • Queens
  • Staten Island
To put this in perspective, I have lived in Queens for the eight years I have lived here.  But my point is that maybe I need to either get rid of a few locations, or add a couple in the other boroughs.  Well, except Staten Island, I don’t even want to go there even in a game.  This is still being worked on.  I plan on changing some of the mortal faces (NPC’s) a bit, since they all seem to do the same things.  

Harry Potter and the end of an era

First thing you need to know about me is that I am a huge fan of the Fantasy genre.  I have seen since I read the Hobbit and Lord of the Rings when I was nine.  This is why I started a sci-fi/fantasy book club seven years ago (and it is still going today).   What I love about fantasy is that the premise is usually about people banding together to fight for the greater good.  The actual greater good and not just one person’s definition of the greater good…which can get a bit confusing as it were. 

I remember when the Harry Potter books first came out and I was reluctant to read them at all because they were children’s novels.   I am not someone that does things because everyone else does.  But then I went and saw the saw the first movie and I was enchanted.    Now ten years later, seven books, and eight movies later…it may finally be over. 

I love the books.  I truly do.  Like everyone else, we grew up with these kids.  First in the books, and  later in the movies.  Yeah, not all of the movies were as good as they could be (especially Prisoner of Azkaban and Goblet of Fire), but overall I still enjoyed them.  Last night we saw Harry Potter and the Deathly Hollows Part 2.  I really enjoyed Part 1, regardless of the fact that It was a bit slow from time to time.  But I am also a huge fan of the book…so those things do not bother me as much.  But with something you love, you really want them to end it on a high note.  Whether you are reading a book or watching a movie. 

So, my thoughts on the movie?  I really enjoyed it.  To be fair, I am a bit of an emotional guy, and the movie got me pretty good on that regard.  So, there were a lot of moments in the movies that really hit me.  I think the first one last night was when they got back to Hogwarts and see all of their classmates and then a bit later when the Order of the Phoenix arrived (Go prof. McGonagall). 

From the time they got to The Room of Requirement to The last battle with Voldemort, it was done about as well as I could have hoped.  A few stand out moment?

·         After they left the Room of Requirement, there is a scene where the three of them get caught up in the battle.  I loved this because the music was amazing and had a sense of almost hopelessness to it. Just proving again how vital music can be in helping a scene.
·         How they handled Snape’s memories and what actually meant to Harry.   This was amazing and powerful scene.   
·         I know it was silly, but it was great to Ron and Hermione kiss.
·         The CGI for different things.  The room of requirement and the killing of the horcruxes.
·         Neville!  Yeah that changed how he came to do it, but damn it was awesome to see him get his moment. 
·         Mrs. Weasley getting to get her moment in the sun as well.  I even did a bit of a fist pump.  J
·         The Dragon was sweet!

I  loved this movie, but there a few nitpicks. 

·         How they handled the last fight between Harry and Voldemort.  I am someone that likes CGI, but only to add to a scene.  I feel like they used CGI to make it a completely different scene totally, and it just felt that way.  It wasn’t horrible, but I would have rather seen something more like the end of the book. 
·         Also, it would have been nice for the fight between Mrs. Weasley and Bellatrix to be a bit longer. 
·         The amount of wizard that attacked Hogwarts was a bit too much like helm’s deep.

So my final thoughts are that they did a great job with finishing the series.  Yeah, a few things here or there could have been tweaked, but overall I loved it.