Tuesday, December 31, 2013

Things I'm Looking Forward To In 2014

With the year almost over, it would usually be time to reflect on what has happened in 2013, but I'm trying not to dwell on the past because it tends to get me depressed. Instead, I'm going to spend this entire week looking ahead to 2014, starting with what stuff I'm looking forward to that's coming out next year.

1. Doctor Who: Series 8
We'll have a while to wait for this - it's not expected to air until August or September - but I'm sure I'm not the only one who's looking forward to seeing how Peter Capaldi fares in his first season as the Doctor. Also, for the first time since McCoy we get a Doctor with a Scottish accent. Yay!

2. Sherlock: Series 3
How long have we been waiting for a new series of Sherlock? Too bloody long. I'll probably have to watch the first episode on iPlayer on Thursday or Friday, since I'll be at a New Years party and won't be able to get home again until the 2nd, but I'm looking forward to finding out how Sherlock faked his death. Also, Watson has a moustache now, like in the original stories. Nice touch.

3. Hannibal: Season Two
I marathoned the first season in two big chunks, but I'll probably try and pace myself a bit more this year. As much as I love dark crime drama, too much at once puts me in a downer mood. And speaking of downers, last season's cliffhanger...augh! I can't wait to find out what happens next.

4. Marvel movies
We've got two more Marvel movies coming out this year, Captain America: The Winter Soldier and Guardians of the Galaxy. The trailer for Winter Soldier looks awesome, so I'm definitely looking forward to that. As for Guardians, I'm not too familiar with the Guardians of the Galaxy comics, but I'm interested in seeing ex-Doctor Who companion Karen Gillan playing a villain in it.

5. Firefly RPG
Margaret Weis Productions already released the Serenity Role Playing Game, but that was based more on the film than the series. Now they're releasing the Firefly RPG, which is licenced by Fox rather than Universal, and is more closely based on the series itself. It also uses the Cortex Plus system, which is a lot different from the original Cortex system that the first game used. It's got a lot in common with Fate, with characters having Distinctions which they can tag for an extra dice to roll, or to give the GM something to exploit in exchange for plot points. I know, I know, I've got enough RPGs as it is - and I still haven't played a lot of them - but this is one RPG I definitely want to get when it comes out. I may even pre-order, budget allowing.

6. Timewatch RPG
I mentioned this before in a previous post, but Timewatch is the latest in the Gumshoe family of RPGs from Pelgrane Press, and they'll soon be going live with their Kickstarter. I'll be backing it to at least the level where I can get the PDF and physical copy when it's released. Depending on what other rewards they have (and how much cash I can actually spare) I may go higher.

7. Skin Game by Jim Butcher (Dresden Files #15)
I'm a big Harry Dresden fan, and after where the last book left things, I'm looking forward to seeing how Harry deals with the new status quo. One things for sure, it's gonna be awk-waaaaard.

8. The Rhesus Chart by Charles Stross (Laundry Files #5)
The title hasn't been finalised yet, and the release date is still tentative, but the next Laundry Files book should be out at least some time this year. Without spoiling things too much for new readers of the series, Bob's circumstances changed at the end of The Apocalypse Codex, and it'll be interesting to see where that takes him in the next book.

9. Interstellar
Not much detail about this movie yet, except that it involves the discovery of a wormhole and a scientific expedition through it. Still, I haven't seen a Christopher Nolan film yet (with the possible exception of Insomnia) that I haven't loved, so I'll definitely be going to see this when it comes out.

10. Student Nationals 2014
Each year, a different university hosts the National Student Roleplaying and Wargaming Championships, otherwise known as the Student Nationals. Gaming societies from universities across the country attend and compete to win each year. It's basically like a gaming convention, with a competitive element to it. I used to attend yearly when I was still in uni, but since graduating I've dialed back my attendance to once every two years or so. I'm hoping I'll be able to make it there again this year, and it should be a lot of fun.

Honourable Mentions
The Hobbit: There And Back Again
The Hunger Games: Mockingjay, Part 1
Since I haven't seen The Desolation of Smaug or Catching Fire yet, I feel that looking forward to the next installments in both movie series is getting a little bit ahead of myself. Still, once I've got round to watching those, I'll probably be looking forward to the sequels. Maybe.

Sunday, December 22, 2013

[Geekly Weekly Report] Initiating hybernate mode...

Sorry, I haven't posted in about a week, because on Tuesday night I started coming down with a cold and I've been trying to shake it ever since. Not that there's been much to report in terms of geekiness in my life since my last Geekly Weekly report anyway, so this will be a short post. Tuesday GUGS was pretty quiet, so there was no RP there this week. Well, there was, but I wasn't running it and, honestly, by then the cold was making itself felt so I just made my way home.

I picked up another couple of e-books, 'Ready Player One' by Ernest Cline and 'Rock Your Plot: A Simple System for Plotting Your Novel' by Cathy Yardley.  And David gifted me a copy of 'Papers, Please' on Steam which I've played a little bit of.

Mostly though, I've not had a lot of energy in me this week so I've spent a large chunk of it in bed. I think the worst of it is over now, but I'm still feeling pretty fatigued. What little bursts of energy I did have, I spent on looking for jobs, or on prep work for an Ashen Stars one-shot I want to run at some point in the new year, or on brainstorming ideas for season two of my DWAiTAS campaign. Or on the occasional tweet here and there.

Anyway, I'm going to take another week away from the blog to recover and spend Christmas with my mum. If I'm feeling up to it, I may post my thoughts on The Time of the Doctor on Boxing Day, but no promises.

I'll be back next week with news of my plans for 2014. In the meantime, I hope you all have a Merry Christmas. :)

Tuesday, December 17, 2013

[RPG News] Timewatch RPG: Kickstarter Coming Soon!

TimeWatch is the latest game to use Pelgrane Press's Gumshoe system; players take on the roles of TimeWatch agents policing the timeline, investigating cases of temporal sabotage and working to set things right.

I'm a big fan of the Gumshoe system, even though I haven't yet had an opportunity to play or run it. However, I think I can make use of this new iteration as a 'Series B' to my DWAiTAS game, drifting the setting to the Whoniverse and having players as agents of the Temporal Security Agency.

The Kickstarter campaign hasn't started yet, but I'm definitely going to chip in when it does. I won't be looking to run the spin-off campaign until summer at the earliest, so hopefully (assuming the Kickstarter campaign is successful) backers will at least have the PDF by then. If not, it still sounds pretty cool anyway, so I'll back it regardless of whether its release schedule ties in with my own GMing plans.

If you're a fan of investigative RP and time travel, I recommend you join the mailing list linked at the bottom of Pelgrane Press's blog post about the game (linked above) to find out when the Kickstarter goes live.

Monday, December 16, 2013

[Geekly Weekly Report] Writerly e-books, The Hobbit and other stuff...

I'm later with this post than I intended to be, but since there wasn't really any RP to write-up an actual play of this weekend, I think I can get away with posting my geekly weekly report today instead.

Swag
Bought a few more e-books on Kindle this week, starting with Cormac McCarthy's 'No Country For Old Men'. It's one of the books on my 2013 A-Z reading Challenge list and it was reduced to £1.79, so I went ahead and grabbed it. If possible I'd like to clear that, The Knife of Never Letting Go, and Snow Crash from my reading list before the New Year, but we'll see how things work out.

I also bought a couple of writer's advice e-books: 'The 90-Day Novel: Unlock the Story Within' by Alan Watt, and 'The Emotion Thesaurus: A Writer's Guide to Character Expression' by Angela Ackerman and Becca Puglisi. The latter had been recommended by listeners in a couple of the I Should Be Writing feedback episodes I've been listening to lately, and it appealed to me because conveying emotions in interesting ways - showing, rather than telling - is one of the weaknesses in my own writing. As for 'The 90 Day Novel', it's been on my Amazon wishlist for a while, and having just participated in 30 days of novelling madness, I thought I'd try this out; three months seems a bit more of a 'normal' time scale for novel writing than a month.

My 'Night Vale Community Radio Intern' t-shirt arrived this week too, just in time for my birthday.

Achievements Unlocked
I covered the roleplaying side of last Saturday with my recap of Doc's darkly comic superhero session, but I also played a game of Happy Fun Times Where Nothing Bad Ever Happens Ever Betrayal at House on the Hill. I played Peter Akimoto, who was cruelly shunned by Flash (played by Heather) which is probably why he turned traitor and trapped the rest of the gang in the house with his own nightmares made flesh. I thought for sure I'd be finished, being a weak and defenceless wee boy, but my win condition was a cakewalk, so I achieved it in no time.

After Saturday GUGS, Heather and I caught up on the last few weeks of Agents of SHIELD. There's still been very limited progress on the season's arc plot - yet another oblique reference to Tahiti being a 'magical place' - and the May/Ward hookup seemed to spring up out of nowhere. I knew there was some sexual tension between Ward and Skye - possibly one-sided on Skye's part - but May/Ward caught me by surprise. Maybe I just missed some hints in the previous episodes. I haven't seen the latest episode ('The Bridge') yet, but so far the series is still just okay. It seemed to be picking up steam in the last few weeks, but it's still not Grown the Beard, so to speak. I continue to live in hope that it will, but I'm really concerned that it's going to be too late if and when it does.

On Tuesday I ran the finale of my DWAiTAS campaign, Exiles of Time. It didn't pack quite the bang (either emotionally or plot-wise) that I would have preferred, but the Exiles managed to retrieve the Staff of C'Toni - which they now know is one of eight keys which, when combined together, form the Key of Infinity - from Anith's nanite-corrupted brother, Prince Adar. They also had to contend with one of their own team when an entity he had become infested with in a previous session briefly took over and turned him evil. They learned that a war is being waged across multiple universes and that it has arrived in the Whoniverse. And they lost their friendly NPC after she was corrupted by nanites and became one of the Enemy. They've got her locked up, so maybe they can interrogate her next season or something. We'll see what happens when we start again in the New Year.

Over the course of last week, I marathoned my way through season three of Warehouse 13, since it was about to be dropped from LoveFilm's Instant service. I also got to watch the first couple of Christmas specials and Season 4.0 on Netflix while visiting my friends David and Angela over the weekend (more on that later). Seasons three and four took a shift in tone from quirky and fun to dark and tragic. I'm not sure how to feel about that because, on the one hand I like dark storylines, but on the other the usual playful tone of the series is how they can get away with a lot of the absurd artifacts that feature in the show. That said, I like the new recruit, Steve Jinks, and the chemistry between him and Claudia. I also love that Claudia has come into her own as a proper field agent with him as her partner. (It was also great seeing Brent Spiner guest-starring as Brother Adrian in Season 4.) And in spite of the shift in tone I still love the characters and the world they live in is still one of 'endless wonder', so I'll definitely stick with it and check out season 4.5 as soon as I can.

Instead of attending Saturday GUGS, this weekend I visited my friends David and Angela. David started off the weekend by introducing me to a few videogames. The first was 'Grand Theft Auto 5', which had a lot of content that I didn't explore fully, because I spent so much time just free-roaming and raising hell.

He also showed me 'The Stanley Parable', a narrative-based first person exploration game where you play an office drone who mindlessly followed instructions to push buttons on his workstation until the day instructions stopped coming, and he stepped outside to find all his co-workers gone. Throughout the game your situation commented upon by a narrator, and whenever you come to a point where you can choose which direction to take, the narrator suggests which direction you should go. There are multiple endings, based on the route you take, and the game is both surreal and thought-provoking, with the narrator waxing philosophical about choices and free will. You may also wish you could find and kill the narrator after the first couple of tries.

Another game he showed me was 'Papers, Please'. It's a puzzle game in which you play an immigration inspector at a border checkpoint for the fictional dystopian country of Arstotzka. You play through each day, inspecting peoples' papers and checking for discrepancies, approving or denying entry based on your findings and, in some cases, detaining suspicious individuals. As the game progresses, criminal and terrorist activities prompt tighter border controls, giving you more criteria to check and resources to check them with. It's more fun than it sounds, and I'm seriously considering buying it on Steam when I have some cash to spare.

Since David opened my Christmas present, a copy of Forbidden Desert - the sequel to Forbidden Island - we decided to give it a go. It was pretty cool; it has similarities to its predecessor, but there's a lot more going on in this game. Instead of losing tiles to flooding, they get moved around and covered over with sand tiles by the sandstorm when players draw from the storm deck. These sand tiles block off routes, and stop you from excavating the tiles they cover, but you can still dig up the sand and uncover them again. Instead of having to collect enough cards to retrieve treasure, you have to excavate tiles on the board to reveal clues which will lead to the scattered parts of a flying machine you need in order to escape from the desert. Once both clues are uncovered, the part appears on the map. Your characters also have water tracks, which are reduced when a 'Sun Beats Down' card is drawn from the storm deck, and must be replenished by excavating water tiles to prevent death by dehydration. We lost when we ran out of sand tiles to cover the desert with, meaning we were buried by the sandstorm, but it was still a pretty fun game.

We had also played Pandemic earlier and we actually won that, probably because we started at the Introductory difficulty level. That said, we started Forbidden Desert on the Novice level and it didn't help us any.

On Saturday night, we watched The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey. Having read the book the year before, I was a little annoyed at the amount of padding added to the story for the film. Generally, film adaptations have to cut certain things out, rather than add new material. Don't get me wrong, it was awesome to see Smaug's capture of Erebor depicted on-screen in the prologue, and I can hardly complain at seeing Cate Blanchett return as Galadriel, but a lot of the extra material seemed unnecessary. Especially the framing device of old Bilbo writing out the tale for Frodo as he prepares to leave the Shire once and for all. I can see the Hobbit taking two movies to cover faithfully, but three? That aside, it was beautifully filmed, well acted, and Howard Shore delivered yet another epic score for the first installment of this new trilogy. Overall, I enjoyed it, I just wish they could have fit more of the original story into it.

Well, that was my geeky week. I'm not expecting there to be much geekiness between now and the New Year, with GUGS stopping for the holidays this week I'll be spending most of my spare time at home until it starts again. I'll probably use the time to catch up on some reading, do some DVD marathons, maybe play through the Mass Effect trilogy like I've been meaning to do for months.

I'll have another post up tomorrow. See you then!

Friday, December 13, 2013

[Writer's Musings] Writing Longhand: Pros and Cons

Recently, I've been considering converting to writing all of my first drafts longhand. There's a couple of reasons for this, the biggest being that mum is getting increasingly panicky about the electricity bill, leading to repeated and heated discussions about how much time I spend on the computer. I've tried rationing myself, setting specific blocks of time each day for blogging, writing, job-searching and more leisurely activities such as IRC chat and streaming video on LoveFilm. But that still all mounts up to an average of eight hours per day, and even then there are days when I lose track and go over my allotted computing time. So the first pro of - and my main reason for considering switching to - writing longhand is that it saves energy.

My second reason for considering the switch is plain old nostalgia. Back when I started writing in high school, I didn't have a personal computer to do all my work on, and I think I was probably more productive as a writer back then. Probably because I didn't have the rabbit hole that is the internet to suck me in and distract me from getting the work done. Which brings me to another pro of writing longhand, that it cuts down on the distraction of the internet, not to mention any games, videos, etc., which might be on one's hard drive.

A third possible pro is that it reduces the problem of editing as you go. Sure, you can still cross out words that don't fit and add notes between lines or in the margins, but it doesn't interrupt the flow of your writing as much as stopping to press backspace or highlight whole lines of text to delete.

Another point in favour of writing longhand is portability. Yes, I know, these days we have these handy devices called laptops for that, but if you only have a desktop and can't afford to buy a laptop (or if, like me, your laptop won't work without a mains power supply) then carrying a hardback jotter to write in is a good alternative. and there's just something nice about buying yourself a fancy new notebook to work on a new project with.

The next point can either be a pro or a con, depending on your perspective. Once you've written your manuscript or blog post longhand, you will eventually have to type it up on computer to make it ready for submission or publishing online.  On the face of it, that might seem like a nuisance and a time sink, but look at it another way: typing that work up on PC is basically your first edit of novel/short story/whatever in question. At least, when I'm editing my work, I find it helpful to print off my work and edit by pen; if I'm writing longhand, that part of the editing process has already been dealt with.

Now let's talk about the cons. I wrote the first draft of this post (and yesterday's post) longhand, and my writing hand was cramped up by the time I was done. RSI is an occupational hazard of writing whether you're typing on a keyboard or putting pen to paper, but you definitely feel it more when you're writing longhand. As with typing at a computer though, this can be dealt with by remembering to take regular breaks and give your hand a rest.

One of the other cons I've heard mentioned with regard to writing longhand is that some people have trouble reading their own handwriting when it comes to the editing stage. My own handwriting has been referred to as looking like a chicken walked across the page after taking a dip in a puddle of ink, but I can still read it myself (most of the time). This isn't true for everybody though. Some people may also find that they type quicker than they can write by hand, or vice versa.

Those are all the points I can think of, but at the end of the day I think this is one of those things where your mileage may vary. Personally, I'm strongly considering the switch for purely practical reasons, but you'll have to decide whether it's a good fit for your own work or not. Feel free to share your own thoughts in the comments, as I'd be interested in hearing other points of view about this.

(Note: I'm not going to have time to type up my Geekly Weekly Report today, so I'll post it on Sunday. See you then!)

Thursday, December 12, 2013

I'm 30 Years Old Today, Yay!

I wasn't sure what I was going to blog about today, until it occurred to me that it's my 30th birthday and I should probably do a shout-out about that or something.

Thirty years, yay me! I hadn't really thought much of it until today, and when I did it hit me a bit like a punch in the gut. I thought back on the last fifteen years of my life and felt a twinge of despair that...well, I don't know where I expected to be by now, but it certainly wasn't where I am right now. But then I told myself that it's no good looking back in regret; better to think ahead to the next five to ten years.

Let's start with what I'm not going to do. I'm not going to let growing older stop me from enjoying the things that I enjoy doing. Too often, geeks like me are told that they are too old for the sort of things they're interested in. Like playing board games, video games, roleplaying games, watching anime (or 'cartoons' as some are wont to call them), and so on and so forth. But, to quote Doctor Who, there's no point in being grown up if you can't be childish sometimes. We're only as old as we feel on the inside, and I intend to stay young at heart for as long as I can manage.

As for where I want to go from here, well, ideally I'll have got myself a job within the next couple of years. I'm going to need to come up with a new action plan for how I'm going to find work, because what I'm doing at the moment clearly isn't working. People can keep telling me that it's not me, it's the state of the country right now, but that doesn't mean I shouldn't try changing things up a bit on my end.

On the writing side of things, I want to have got something published within the next five years, maybe a couple of somethings. By the time I'm forty, I hope to have multiple works published. After NaNoWriMo this year, I know that writing is still something I enjoy doing, I just need to give myself permission both to do it and to suck while writing the first draft. Like so many amateur writers I worry too much about getting things perfect on the first draft, and never finish anything as a result. I just need to loosen up a bit more and let the words flow.

I haven't put together a proper five/ten year plan yet, but hitting the 30-year milestone has encouraged me to sit down sometime soon and work one out. But for now, I have cake, we'll be ordering chinese food for dinner (mum's treat), and I'll just take it easy for tonight.

See you later folks!

Wednesday, December 11, 2013

[Behind the Screen] DWAiTAS: The Exiles of Time - Season 1 Retrospective

Last night was the 'season one' finale of my Doctor Who: Adventures in Time and Space campaign, since this was the last week that all of my players would be able to attend Tuesday GUGS before the Christmas break.

Now that I've been running the game for a semester, I felt it was time to have a look back to see what was good, what I need to improve upon, and what I did completely wrong and should never ever do again.

The biggest problem with the campaign this semester was that my story arc for season one ended up focusing on an NPC, rather than the PCs. That was a big mistake on my part, motivated by a variety of factors, but I'm not going to make excuses here, it was a bad call and I know it. Once I realised this, I got to work on trying to write her out of the campaign, but even then, that ended up being the focus of the finale. It's no wonder that at least one of the players felt she was a Mary Sue, because that's what she wound up becoming, much to my own horror. This isn't to say that an NPC can't be the focal point of a campaign arc - I had just played in a campaign which was about our party grooming a young heir to take her birthright as new governor of a province and hopefully avert a war, and it was awesome - but I think it requires a more seasoned GM than myself to make it work.

Another problem - and part of my motivation behind the NPC-focused story arc - is that my portrayal of NPCs is still sorely lacking in depth. In the campaign I had just left, we encountered a supporting cast of NPCs with distinct personalities and motivations, and we became emotionally invested in them, either loving or hating them. I wanted to create NPCs with that kind of external life, but it never quite worked out. My NPCs still felt like cardboard cutouts with little purpose beyond revealing information or complicating the PCs' lives. So, that's something I still need to work on.

I also need to develop a more focused approach to running sessions. A lot of the sessions this semester have felt very haphazard, with players talking over each other or going off on tangents, and there were moments when I almost felt overwhelmed by it all. I don't think it's a problem with the players themselves, since the exact same thing led to my meltdown while running the Spirit of the Century campaign last summer. Other GMs just seem to be better at managing the roleplaying conversation and keeping things focused and on track than I am. I'm not sure what I can do to manage things better, so if there are any GMs out there with some tips on how to remedy this, I'd appreciate the advice a lot.

I'm getting better at establishing initiative order during extended conflict, but I still run pretty rules-light. That's not a bad thing, per se, but the PCs do get away with doing things that they really shouldn't be able to do, and a large part of that is down to me fudging rules in favour of the players. The biggest example is letting PCs use technology that should be far beyond their ken, such as the TARDIS. I'll need to spend some time over the Christmas break reading over the rules again and familiarising myself with them a bit more.

The bottom line is that there was a lot that didn't work in the campaign this semester, but it can't all have been bad, because the players are still up for returning for a second season. So, what did work then?

I found that a more improv approach to session prep worked better than my old method of writing up a bunch of notes for sessions. Back when I was running Stargate, I had time to do that because I only ran once a fortnight, but for a weekly game I had to keep things simple and just came up with a plot, a list of locations, a list of NPCs and stats for the most important NPCs and then ran things on the fly from that. I could probably stand to make my planning a bit more structured, but it's been working okay so far.

I also experimented a little with 'asking questions and building on the answers', a philosophy I picked up from the Apocalypse World school of roleplaying, and it gives the players a bit more freedom to affect the game universe. I may use this tool a bit more in season two.

Also, despite its flaws, this first season of the campaign has set some plots in motion for the next season or two. I have one or two villains I can bring back as foils for the party, and there was a significant threat that wasn't resolved in the season finale.

Looking ahead to season two, I'm going to start working in the PCs' backstories a bit more. There wasn't time this semester, since I needed to establish the status quo first, and it took the first three or four weeks to get PCs backstories worked out, so I'll dedicate more of next season to the PCs' histories and how they relate to the main campaign arc.

Something I'd like to arrange for next semester is a guest GM session or two. Blair has mentioned a couple of different scenarios he could jump in with at some point, possibly even a crossover with his own Star Trek campaign, so I'll see about sorting something out with him. I'd also be interested in inviting Doc to do a session as a guest GM at some point, since the campaign arc I'm running follows on from his own Marvel campaign, but that will depend on whether he can get a week off from James' campaign to do so. It might not happen, but it's something I'd like to try out.

Either for season two or three, I would also like to do some crossover scenarios as well. One that's been specifically requested is a Welcome to Nightvale crossover, and I'm more than happy to work that in somehow; I just need to come up with the right scenario for it. Another request was for Tony Stark to make an appearance, but the player who requested that has left the campaign for the time being.  I would also like to do a crossover with the new Rocket Age RPG from Cubicle 7, which uses the Vortex system which is used for DWAiTAS as well, so it's cross-compatible.

With the introduction of the Temporal Security Agency late in the recent season, I now have a means of introducing drop-in PCs, so I'm going to work on making up a pool of 'playable NPCs' that can be taken from there if a new player needs to join the game on short notice. I'll also try and work in playable NPCs specific to each scenario, which is a practice I started the campaign with, but didn't maintain past session two.

Season one of the campaign has proved to be a bit of a bumpy ride, but hopefully I can build upon the experience to make season two truly awesome for the players. I'll get to work on prep for season two soon.

Monday, December 9, 2013

[Actual Play] Glasgow Avengers: Klepto Christmas Basterds

This Saturday was our GUGS Christmas party and, to get in the festive spirit, we hosted a variety of Christmas-themed one-shots. I had the pleasure (and horror at certain points) of being in Doc’s game: ‘Glasgow Avengers: Klepto Christmas Basterds’. The game was a lot of fun, but the humour was quite dark. And I must have been in a weird mood (or the beer just went right to my head) because I have no idea why the Munitionist decided to accost two random elves for not looking happy enough. Or why it escalated so badly. I’m truly sorry, guys. Anyway, on to the actual play...


THE CAST
Drop-Bear (played by Blair)
Elasti-Knight (played by Phil G)
The Fractured Friar (played by Sam V)
The Magenta Munitionist (played by me)
Quantabella (played by Heather W)
Super-Rab (played by Coops)


The Glasgow Avengers qre rudely awoken by their boss/landlady to go patrol Buchanan Galleries for their Santa Day, with orders to go incognito, so as not to upstage the big guy in the red suit with a white beard (with shades of ginger poking through).


Of course, nothing ever goes smooth when you’re in the superheroics business, and no sooner have the Avengers arrived than a rather odd group of terrorists lock down Buchanan Galleries and hold its customers hostage. The terrorists are led by a bearded elf by the name of Rickmanus, who has with him the Reproachable Snowman, the razor-beaked Penguin, another trigger happy elf with a big gun, and other assorted elf mooks. Plus some stuffed teddy bears that turn into grizzlies at the tug of a bow.


As the Avengers do battle with the various elf goons with their magic dust that either stops time or dissolves matter, as well as their grizzly bears, Rickmanus announces that the elves are displeased with how parents and department store Santas are getting all of the credit that they feel is owed to themselves and their glorious leader (Santa, of course), and they will use Buchannan Galleries to set an example. He then sets off pre-installed devices which start pumping dust out through the air vents.


The Fractured Friar saves himself and the team from getting caught in the dust cloud by warping reality and teleporting them outside. As this is a decidedly unpleasant experience, Super-Rab projectile vomits at everyone except for the Munitionist and Elasti-Knight, who have the presence of mind to dodge. As he had already previously vomited the contents of his stomach on Quantabella (thanks to the Munitionist hose feeding him Budweiser, which he had an averse reaction to on account of it not being Tennants), most of what was expelled was bile. Needless to say, it was an unpleasant experience for all involved.


The Avengers bust their way back inside and taking the escalator to reach the floor where Rickmanus and his lieutenants are preparing to execute Santa. At Super-Rab’s request, the Munitionist draws a weapon from her infinite arsenal to ‘unlock’ the door to the store where the terrorists are holed up. Since she was just looking for something to blow open the door, to her (and everyone else’s) horror, the gun she produces fires a squirrel at the door which explodes upon contact. The door is destroyed amidst a shower of squirrel entrails and the Munitionist throws away the offending weapon in disgust. Quantabella thinks it’s pretty neat though, and picks it up to keep for herself.


The Avengers each face off against Rickmanus’ lieutenants and an assortment of mooks, with Super-Rab taking on Rickmanus himself. Unfortunately, Super-Rab discovers that Rickmanus is much stronger than his small stature would suggest, and finds himself getting a right kicking.


Quantabella, having previously decided to save a blast of pure serendipity (generated while attempting to make Super-Rab be wearing boxers instead of a man-kini), uses this to make all of Rickmanus’ muscles cramp up, giving Super-Rab an opening to exploit.


The Munitionist faces off against Trigger Happy the elf in an Old West-style showdown, they draw simultaneously, but Happy grins as the Munitionist takes an extra second to aim the odd gun with a dish on the end that she produces, allowing him to fire first. She sidesteps and the bullet whips past her hair, and she fires her ray gun at Trigger Happy.


The ray causes him to shrink down to a third of his previous size, at which point Elasti-Knight - during his battle against the Penguin - pins him to the floor by driving the Penguin’s nose through the fallen elf’s shoulder and through the floor, sticking it in place.


Quantabella uses her probability-altering powers to make it more likely the heating is set too high, and the Irreproachable Snowman soon melts into a watery puddle.


Meanwhile, Super-Rab had seemed to gain the upper hand in his fight against Rickmanus, and had started running circles around him to create a vortex. However, Rickmanus recovered enough from Quantabella’s attack to put a finger out and proceeded to give Super-Rab a super-wedgie, snapping Rab’s undies back at him, producing an audible pop, after which Super-Rab was left curled up in a ball while still floating in the air. It also caused the other male members of the Glasgow Avengers to be paralysed in sympathetic horror.


The team soon recovers though, and as Rickmanus stands over Super-Rab, ready to finish him off with a sprinkle of corrosive magical dust, Drop-Bear and Elasti-Knight recover and team up with Quantabella, with Drop-Bear giving Elasti-Knight enough momentum to throw his shield at air-rending speed and Quantabella firing a probability beam at the shield in flight to make sure Elasti-Knight had sharpened the rim to a razor edge. With their combined powers, they fire the shield at Rickmanus and neatly cut him in half, saving Super-Rab’s life, if not his fertility. No big loss there, but still...OUCH.


Pat is less than impressed with the mess her Avengers have left her to tidy up, but security footage will be doctored to cover up any...questionable actions on the Glasgow Avengers’ part. But the important thing is that Christmas is...well, saved but perhaps not unsullied by their intervention. So, we’ll call that a win, yeah?


--



Please note that neither this blogger nor GUGS condones the use of suicide bomber squirrels. No real animals were harmed in the making of this RP session, because it’s just a game, after all.

Saturday, December 7, 2013

[Geekly Weekly Report] Evil Captain Jack, Hannibal season one finale and other stuff...

It's Saturday once again, and that means it's time to do a quick recap of what geeky stuff I've been up to this past week.

Swag
I bought The Name of the Wind by Patrick Rothfuss since I've heard about it from a few different people and - while I'm pretty sure I won't be able to complete my A-Z Reading Challenge before the end of the year - it starts with an N, so it can go on my A-Z reading list. It was also on a Kindle sale for £1.49, so why not, eh?

I also downloaded the track 'What Are You Going To Do When You're Not Saving The World' from Hans Zimmer's soundtrack to Man of Steel. I haven't seen Man of Steel yet, but I heard this song in the trailers, and it was pretty epic. So I decided to just download it, since it was only 99p.

Achievements Unlocked
Last Saturday I finally got round to running my playtest of Mike Sands' pre-written scenario 'The Meddling Kids in...Too Many Draculas' for Monster of the Week.
I feel like I could have benefited from organising the notes so that I could reference different NPCs and locations more easily, and the multiple Draculas did get to be a bit of a handful, but I managed to wrap up the session and the players all seemed to enjoy it, so I'll call that a win.

On Tuesday, I ran the first part of the season one finale of my Doctor Who: Adventures in Time and Space campaign, 'The Exiles of Time'. We said goodbye (for now) to Aru, as her player needed to leave the campaign, and hello to two new characters: a time agent called Howard Phillips, and the Temporal Security Agency's catkind CMO, Sister Ian. The Exiles learned a bit more about what's going on (the Doctor has been taken out of time and the universe is broken because of it), responded to a distress call from a research station on the event horizon of a black hole which seems to have something emerging from it, encountered an evil Captain Jack Harkness who bleeds silver, and finally ended up chasing him to the other side of the event horizon on board a ship that Anith identifies as the flagship of her homeworld, which is supposed to have been destroyed. The session ended with them facing an A'Kraithan Imperial Guard patrol prepared to blast them into oblivion.

After that, we played three back-to-back games of The Resistance. I was a loyal resistance member in the first two, but a spy in the third. During the second game, I had staked my non-existent Doctor Who DVD collection (yeah, I know, shock horror, I need to fix that one of these days) on my being loyal. This set up what should have been a perfect bluff for the third game, where I again staked the DVD collection on my loyalty, thus convincing the resistance players that I was loyal. And it would have worked if Heather hadn't played her success card face up during the third mission, leading Luke to do the same. As I was a spy, I couldn't afford to let this mission succeed. So I was forced to play my fail card face up, since the players would know anyway. Which screwed things over for me and my fellow spy, Maggie, since I had earlier implicated Alex as a spy when I got the opportunity to look at his loyalty card. Once they knew I was a spy, they knew I had to be lying about Alex, so suspicion fell on Maggie and we lost. Which sucked, because that would have been the perfect mindscrew for everyone if I had gotten away with it. And for once, I found I actually enjoyed being the spy, up until the point where all my machinations fell apart.

Sadly, since Tuesday I've been feeling a bit under the weather, but I did manage to finish off Hannibal season one in a marathon viewing session on Thursday night. I love the cinematography on the show, and I enjoy surreal dream/hallucination sequences, which the latter half of Hannibal season one has in boatloads. The latter half of the season is also an emotional rollercoaster, as you're forced to watch Wil Graham's sense of reality slowly eroded away, and the finale was a real kick in the nuts which left me cursing Bryan Fuller's name, and wishing season two was out already.

As I'm writing this, it's Friday evening and I'm still not feeling 100%. Hopefully I'll be feeling better by the time this goes online, and I'll be on my way to GUGS for the Christmas party. There's gonna be RPGs and co-operative board games, party games and all that jazz. Should be fun, just as long as I'm in a fit state to go.

Anyway, see you later folks!

Friday, December 6, 2013

[Writer's Musings] Post-NaNo Fatigue

I've been listening to old episodes of Mur Lafferty's I Should Be Writing podcast while also listening to the more recent ones in order to get myself caught up with it. Anyway, in one of the episodes I listened to recently (somewhere between 240 and 250), Mur talked about how milestones can be like speed bumps.

You tell yourself you're going to reach X amount of words, perhaps by Y date (say, for example, 50k words by November 30th) and when you finally get there your brain just curls up into a ball and says, 'Okay, we did what we set out to do here, now let me rest.' I'm paraphrasing Mur here, I can't recall her exact wording, and I've already deleted the episode from my phone (because of limited data storage space) so I'm not going to redownload it and listen back to get the exact quote.

The point is though: Mur was right. Once I hit the 50k mark last weekend, I felt mentally fatigued and decided to take a break. I told myself it would only be for a day, but a day turned into two days, and so on until here I am at the end of the week with no more work done on the fic than I did at the end of NaNo.

It's not that I'm not enthused about the story, I am. And as I reached the end of November, I'd found my stride again, the action was picking up and it was all falling into place. And then I hit 50k and everything just stopped. I whooped in triumph, I posted on Facebook that I'd won, I did a happy dance, all that stuff. And I took a break, and I'm still taking a break.

Part of it is exactly like what Mur described, just my brain needing a break to recharge. Another part is that I've been fighting off a bit of a cold this week. But there's more to it than that.

NaNoWriMo was like a holiday from my inner critic, where I could write whatever the hell I wanted. The inner critic still complained here and there about plot issues and grammar and whatnot, but he let me off with writing fanfiction. But now the holiday is over, and Mr Critic is telling me I should get back to writing REAL fiction again. And don't get me wrong, in the wake of NaNo, I'm more than ready to dive into my own original ideas and get some work done on those. But I also want to complete this fanfiction project. So now I'm trying to figure out how exactly I can juggle two different projects at once. That's probably a topic for another day.

The other thing is that a word count milestone isn't really a great target to shoot for. You could write 50,000 words and be nowhere near finished with your story (and, in fact, 50k isn't really a novel, it's more of a novella), or you could have wrapped up your story a while back and you've started working on something else just to fill the word count quota. Either way, once you reach 50k, you're not really finished. But you've hit your milestone, so your brain is like: 'Okay, whew, we did it...nap now.'
Maybe it's my harsh, inner critic talking here, but I kinda think 'No. No nap! Not until the story's finished.'

Anyway, I figure a week is enough of a break after finishing NaNo, so as of now it's time to get back to work.

If anyone is reading this blog who is a writer, I'd like to hear your thoughts on milestones and needing breaks afterwards. Does this happen to you too? How do you deal with it? Are word count goals really useful milestones to aim for? I'd be interested to hear from other writers on this, so please leave a comment below.

Thanks for reading, folks. I'll be back tomorrow with my Geekly Weekly Report.

Thursday, December 5, 2013

Characters I Would Like to Play (Again): Kaito Yamada (AdEva/Kuro)

Kaito was an original character I created for a forum/IRC-based Neon Genesis Evangelion RP several years ago. Since all of the canon characters I wanted to play were taken, I decided to create a classmate of the Evangelion pilots. Since I was watching Veronica Mars and had also re-watched Brick recently, I decided I wanted to play a teen noir-style detective.

Over time, he developed as more of a teenage Mulder than a gender flipped Veronica Mars expy, as the mysteries that he investigated tended to either be J-Horror inspired paranormal phenomena or top-secret NERV experiments gone rogue. And despite the risks of placing such a character amongst the canon characters, he turned out okay as a supporting character. and I later exported him to an Adeptus Evangelion campaign as a pilot. Sadly, that campaign ground to a halt.

However, if the opportunity ever presented itself, I'd like to try playing as Kaito again; this time as a character in the Kuro RPG setting. Here's my write-up of Kaito for Kuro.

Kaito Yamada

Age: 15

Kaiso: 3

DEX 2   INT 3
STR 1    PER 3
STA 1    CHA 2
REF 2    WIL 2

HIT 20 DEF 14
SWT 7  ACT 1
DT -7   MOV 2
REA 4

Skills
Combat Skills
Hand-to-Hand 2
Academic Skills
Humanities 1
Social Sciences 2
General Skills
Athletics 2
Dodge 4
Sports (Tennis) 3
Communication 3
Empathy 4
Fast Talk 4
Deception 2
Lockpicking 3
Sleight of Hand 4
Sneaking 3
Investigation 3
Awareness 5 (Mastery)
Interrogation 4
Searching 4
Shadowing 4
Popular Culture 1
Spiritual 1

Contacts 2

Law Enforcement 3

Background: Kaito is the son of Yamada Daisuke, an inspector with the Shin-Edo police. Kaito moved to Kyoto with his mother at the age of 3, after his mother was forced to give up his newborn sister for adoption. His mother resented his father for allowing this to happen, and Kaito shared her feelings on the matter.

8 years later, Kaito’s mother was murdered; her killer was never apprehended. With no other family to take him in, Kaito was placed in his father’s custody.

Although Daisuke has tried to mend bridges between them, his work keeps him busy, leaving Kaito to his own devices.

Despite his bitterness towards Daisuke, the loss of his mother and her killer’s escape from justice has inspired Kaito to follow in his father’s footsteps.

Since returning to Tokyo, Kaito has become reacquainted with his childhood friend Idane Kimi, a Miko in training whose uncle is a colleague of his father's. As strange things continue to happen in Tokyo (now Shin-Edo) in the aftermath of the Kuro Incident, Kaito has joined Kimi's new student club, the Fortean Investigation, Research and Exorcism Brigade (or F.I.R.E. Brigade, for short), dedicated to investigating the growing levels of supernatural phenomena in the city, and serves as its vice president.

While his reasons for joining are mainly to spend more time with Kimi, he is also curious about the paranormal, particularly because he has come to believe he is being haunted by a spirit which may or may not be the ghost of his dead mother...

Tuesday, December 3, 2013

[RPG Adventure Hooks] 1d4 Christmas Scenarios

As it is the time of the year when we all pay tribute to the gods of retail celebrate Christmas, I thought I'd post a few Christmas-themed plot seeds for some of the games I have on my shelf. Feel free to use them with the games listed, or adapt them to a different setting as needed.

Spoiler Warning: GUGS members may not wish to read these, as I may use one of them if called upon to run an extra one-shot at our upcoming Christmas Party this Saturday (December 7th). You have been warned.

Ashen Stars: Big Troble on Lapworld
Lapworld, a Synthculture world based on the old Earth tradition of Christmas, dedicated to keeping this ancient holiday alive for the people of the Bleed, but there's trouble afoot. Someone has been sabotaging the production line, threatening the shipment of toys to their offworld subsidiaries.
With an overworked population of 'elves' - some of whom may be genetically-engineered, some who may be down-on-their-luck Durugh or Vas Mal - threatening to form a union, a loveless marriage between the incumbent Mr and Mrs Claus, and the twisted ambitions of their adopted elf son Morty, who could be to blame for the troubles?

Kuro: Naughty or Nice
A serial killer in the guise of a Doreamon-faced Santa Claus is stalking the streets of Shin-Edo, killing people who have been 'naughty' in some way or other, leaving four lumps of coal as his or her calling card. It could be a droid gone rogue, or a disgruntled Tengu on a rampage. One way or another, someone's got to put a stop to it.

Monster of the Week: Look Out, Look Out! Jack Frost Is About!
A small-town community is terrorised by a creepy frost-bitten child who freezes anyone he touches, and can turn people into ice zombies. The only warning of his approach is his constant singing or humming of the rhyme 'Look Out Look Out! Jack Frost Is About!'...

Spirit of the Century: Christmas Time
Doctor Methuselah has laid siege to the North Pole and taken Santa Claus hostage, seeking clues to the Eternity Equation which he believes Santa possesses. After all, how else can he deliver toys to all the children in the world in one night, if not by mastering time itself? Can the Century Club retake the North Pole and rescue Santa?

Monday, December 2, 2013

[Actual Play] Monster of the Week - The Meddling Kids in...Too Many Draculas!

This one-shot has been a long-time coming, but kept getting pushed back either because the timing wasn't right, or illness/other commitments on the part of the players after we had done a character creation session. But we finally got most of the group together on Saturday and went ahead with the session.

Mike Cugley as Reg Collins (the Snoop): Reg is a semi-famous local reporter who specializes in cases of the weird and unexplained. Armed with his digital video camera, sound recorder and remote controlled camera drone, and his trusty multitool, Reg seeks out the vampires, the demons and forces of darkness in order to get a soundbite for his show.

Heather Williams as Laura (the Meddling Kid): Laura is a wannabe detective and a big fan of reg's work, even though she doesn't really believe in the supernatural. She's helping Reg out as an intern, along with her big brother, John.

Malik Took as John Doo (the Mundane): John is Laura's elder brother and helps out on Reg's show with her. Since he has a van, this usually means he winds up ferrying Reg and Laura around during cases.

Sandy McMallister as Aron Axe (the Spooky): Aron is John and Laura's weirdo cousin. He fell under Reg's scrutiny after using his strange powers to cast a hex on a snotty shopkeeper who was mean to him. Nothing harmful, but still not very nice, so Reg decided to keep an eye on him. But when Aron later used his powers to save Laura, when her stubborn disbelief in the supernatural nearly got her eaten by a monster, Reg decided Aron wasn't so bad. He killed the story he was making about Aron, and keeps him around because his skills are handy.

--

It all begins when Reg hears from his police contacts about some exsanguinated corpses turning up at the nearby House of Dracula theme park over the past week. Deciding to check that out, Reg and the gang pile into John's van and head out to the theme park where, upon arrival, they find themselves surrounded by 'Draculas' and assorted other vampire cosplayers. If there is a vampire at large in the theme park, finding them is going to be a pain in the ass.

They start their search at the Carpathian Coach Ride, where the alleged first victim was discovered - but the body vanished before authorities showed up - and question the ride operator. He admits that the ride has suffered some problems lately, first with the body that was sighted by visitors inside, then with a variety of faults which could have been fatal, but nobody has yet been hurt. While John sneaks in through the maintenance entrance, the rest of the gang get on the ride to see what happens.

On the coach ride, Reg suffers a near-miss with a scythe while on the ride, and then the coach switches tracks and hurtles towards a gap in the track. Reg and Laura jump from the coach - having unlocked the safety bar - and wind up on opposite sides of the track, while Aron remains on the train which - luckily for him - screeches to a halt just inches from the edge of the drop. They are then confronted by someone dressed in the style of Bela Lugosi's Dracula. He claims to be the real Dracula, and declares that this theme park is an insult to his name and that they should leave or face their doom.

Meanwhile, in the maintenance area, John opens a closet and has an exsanguinated corpse fall on top of him. Not a real one, though. It's a rubber dummy, but very convincing. Also, it doesn't look like this is where it should be stored.

The Lugosi wannabe disappears in a puff of smoke, but that doesn't stop Laura from running after him through the maintenance tunnels. Meanwhile, Aron is incapacitated by a vision of the theme park's hotel in flames. Laura thinks she's caught up with the Lugosi guy, but comes across someone in a different vampire get-up, this time in the style of Nosferatu. He's really committed to the role, too, because he lunges forward to bite her. She screams and runs away, bumping into a grumpy janitor by the name of Higgins, who leads her back to her friends and escorts them out of the building. John comes across Nosferatu next, and also runs, finding a fire escape and exiting the building.

At the entrance to the coach ride, Reg and his fellows explain what happened inside, and the ride operator opens up his board to check it out, only for it to give him and Reg a nasty shock. Someone has definitely tampered with the controls, and a check of the CCTV footage reveals the Lugosi impersonator - Reg has, by now, checked his own footage and is fairly certain the man they encountered was just a guy wearing prosthetics and a costume - opening up the panel and messing around with it.

A short while later, having been told about Aron's vision, Reg heads to the House of Dracula hotel to try and figure out where someone could start a fire from. He comes up blank, but little does he know that his wondering aloud about incendiary devices has attracted some unwanted attention from a shadowy figure, who thinks an incendiary device sounds like a neat idea.

Meanwhile, Laura is checking out the VampFashion Clothing Shop to see who has purchased costumes like the one the Dracula impersonator was wearing in the Carpathian Coach Ride. She finds a list of names, which includes janitor Higgins. She finds that interesting, given that Higgins claimed to despise the theme park's current horror theme. As she's leaving, she is awkwardly hit on by a guy with a passing resemblence to Robert Pattinson wearing glitter and doing the whole Twilight schtick. The Pattinson lookalike is then roughly shoved aside by a more punkish vamp cosplayer, who says he'll 'show him how it's done'. Laura is much more impressed by this guy, who introduces himself as Jerry, and he invites her to join him for a drink. She agrees, but activates a bug so that Reg can listen in on them.

When they arrive at the 'We Do Not Drink...Wine' Bar, located within the House of Dracula Hotel, the barman asks them both for ID, but Jerry leans towards him and says, 'Forget the sodding ID, just get us our drinks'. Strangely, the barman does just that. Laura starts casually questioning Jerry, but she's a little too blunt and eventually Jerry decides to just cut to the chase, sprouting fangs. Realising Laura is in trouble, Reg runs to the rescue, only to find her viciously kicking Jerry repeatedly in the nads. Jerry doesn't appreciate this, and sprouts fur and claws, becoming a wolfman. In the fight which ensues, the bar gets set on fire, but luckily Aron is able to put out the flames before they get out of hand. Jerry is staked and eventually burns away into ash.

Meanwhile, Laura has run away by this point, and runs into the Nosferatu guy again. She screams, bringing the others running after they've dispatched Jerry, and they notice that Nosferatu is completely monochrome and also flickering a little bit. Aron reckons this is a psychic construct of some kind, but Laura declares that it is not real, but a hologram projected by the real culprit, janitor Higgins, who has been posing as Dracula and using various other cheap tricks to scare away visitors and put the park out of business. Higgins, who happens to be nearby, admits that she's right, except for one thing: that projection ain't one of his. Higgins makes a break for it, and Laura splits from the group to chase after him.

As Nosferatu tries to attack the rest of the gang, Aron sets up a ward to hold it in place and then casts a spell to locate the source of the psychic projection. This shows them a cord which leads to one of the hotel rooms, which Reg unlocks with his multitool and sneaks in. They find a family - husband and wife, and two kids - sleeping soundly, except for the father who seems to be having a nightmare. Reg pours a glass of water from the sink and splashes it on the man, waking him up. After calming him down and assuring them that they mean no harm, they discover that the man - William McAllister - had been watching Murnau's Nosferatu a few nights ago and it had given him nightmares. They figure this triggered some latent psychic ability which created the psychic projection of Nosferatu, which hasn't been dissipated by McAllister's rude awakening and is still coming. Thinking quickly, Reg turns on the TV and switches to the cartoon channel - on which Count Duckula is currently airing - and gets McAllister to focus on that. As a result, Nosferatu transforms into Count Duckula, who promptly asks if they have any tomato juice.

Meanwhile, Laura chases Higgins to the maintenance entrance to the Carpathian Coach Ride. Despite her misgivings, she heads inside after him, only to find him lying on the floor with bite marks in his neck. Some blood drips on her from the ceiling and she looks up in time to see another Bela Lugosi-style Dracula in much more convincing make-up clinging to the ceiling with blood dripping from his lips. He drops down on her, but she pulls out a stake and drives it into his heart as he falls. She gets up and runs from him, back out of the building.

Reg and the others catch up with her in time to find this new Dracula staggering after her, clutching at the stake in his chest. She drives the stake home with a kick and the vampire disappears with a scream in a cloud of mist. With this last battle over, they hope that this is the end of the troubles for the park and head back to their van to recouperate. They don't see the cloud of mist return and start to reform, with Dracula's cackling in the air...

THE END...OR IS IT?

Post-game reflection
I really hate dealing with parties that split up. I always feel like I end up devoting too much time to one player or group of players and not enough on the other. I also wish I'd had more organised notes for this. Usually when I make up a scenario for MotW I use the preparation sheets, so the important NPCs and locations are all together on one or two sheets of paper. In this case I was using a pre-written scenario, so I kept having to leaf through a stack of papers to find the right names for NPCs/locations, and stats, which slowed things down at times. That's actually a problem with my games in general, organising my notes so that I can easily reference the relevant NPC sheets or whatever. I also neglected the actual Dracula NPC's side of things, so he showed up at the end as a sort of after-thought. On the whole though, my players seemed to enjoy the scenario, and we managed to reach a coclusion of sorts even though I had a sinking feeling about halfway through that the scenario title ('Too Many Draculas') was perhaps a bit too true.
I'll be getting in touch with Mike Sands shortly to give him some feedback on the scenario, and hopefully I won't have to wait as long before I can run his second playtest scenario. Although, with GUGS wrapping up soon for Christmas, I'm running out of opportunities to run it before New Year's. I guess we'll see how things work out.

Sunday, December 1, 2013

The Plan: December 2013

Although NaNoWriMo is now finished, I'll be continuing to work on the NaNoWriMo project and aiming to get an episode's worth of the fanfic done every couple of months, while getting some work done on my own original projects. I'll also be aiming to return to a more regular blogging schedule now that I don't have a 2000 word-per-day quota to fill. Hopefully, I should have the first draft of episode three finished by the end of this month.

On Mondays, I'll be doing actual play reports of Saturday GUGS roleplaying sessions, though with GUGS stopping for Christmas soon there probably won't be a whole lot of roleplaying to report.
For Tuesdays this month I'm going to be posting some RPG plot seeds, starting with some Christmas-themed one-shot ideas and then moving on to a three-part series: '36 Doctor Who episodes based on Radiohead Song Titles'.
On Wednesdays I'll post some thoughts on GMing as inspiration for GMing topics comes to me. My DWAiTAS campaign should be wrapping up for the Christmas holidays soon, so once I'm finished with that, I'll have a look back at how the campaign has gone so far and what I could do to improve the next 'season'.
Thursdays will still be general posts, maybe about RPGs, maybe about writing, or maybe reviews or something else entirely. I already know I want to post a review of Short Order Heroes, having received my Kickstarter backer's copy this week.
I'll reserve Fridays for posting flash fics or chatting about writing in general.
And I'll be continuing with the Geekly Weekly Reports, but I'll be posting them on Saturdays, rather than Sundays, as I'll need Sundays to get started on batches of blog posts for each week.
As we move on into the New Year, I'll finish off with a look back at the past year and a look ahead at what my goals and wishes are for the coming year, and what I'm excited about for 2014.

So, that's the Plan for the month ahead. I'll be back tomorrow with an actual play report of my playtest for Mike Sands' Monster of the Week scenario, 'The Meddling Kids in...Too Many Draculas'.

See you later!