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?