Sunday, June 29, 2014

[Weekly Geeky Report] Bucking the Tiger, Fringe, and other stuff...

I didn't expect to be buying anything this week, but I wound up getting the Firefly RPG: Echoes of War scenario 'Bucking the Tiger'. The title comes from another name for Faro, the card game which features in the adventure's story. I've skimmed it briefly, and it looks pretty good. My only issues with it are that, unlike the Serenity Crew PDF - which I had bought previously, and is required to play without the corebook - the adventure does not come in both standard and printer-friendly format. For someone like me, without a tablet to read it from, that makes things a smidge trickier.

In any case, I'm probably not going to run the scenario until I've got the corebook; the selection of characters available in Serenity Crew is limited to the original series cast, and about a dozen character archetypes who I'm having a hard time imagining sharing a boat together. So I'll wait and make up my own pregen crew for the scenario when I get the corebook, which won't be for another couple of weeks at least.

Achievements Unlocked
I finished reading Skin Game by Jim Butcher, and was pleased to find that it did end on a more positive note than the last three books in the series did, which isn't to say there wasn't some bad stuff that happened in the book - of course there was - but it didn't end on a absolute downer, at least. I'll probably do a full review of it in a week or two, once I've had time to write one up.

The second half of Fringe season three revisited the alternate viewpoint that I was mourning the loss of after episode eight, which I was very happy to see. The series took a slight detour from the main arc for a mini-arc involving...well, I won't spoil it for you, but it leads into a pretty fun oddball episode, 'Lysergic Acid Diethylamide', which was partly animated, and had a lot of crazy stuff happening in it. Broyles loosens up a bit after he gets high by accident, Walter and Peter run from zombies and confront other dangers which lurk inside Olivia's mind, and they even ride one of those zeppelins you always see on the 'other side'.

Once I had finished season three, I just had to move on to season four because season three ended on a really mean cliffhanger, so it's a good thing NetFlix had season four on its streaming service. I really like the way Fringe changes things up with each season, and the twist in season four has been both interesting and heart-wrenching to watch. There were a couple of times during the finale two-parter where I let out a 'Big NO!' at the TV screen. But, to my relief, this season didn't exactly end on a 'must-continue' cliffhanger like the last couple. I suppose that, not knowing whether they'd be renewed, they didn't want to do that, although the oddball episode for this season did give a glimpse of what the series' future would hold if they did get a fifth season. The season four and five boxsets are pretty cheap now, so I'll probably buy season five to complete the series, and buy season four as well, just to give myself the full set.

At Tuesday GUGS, I went through character creation for a Night's Black Agents one-shot I want to run. I'll be using a pre-written scenario by Gareth Ryder-Hanrahan, who kindly forwarded me an old con scenario of his. There were pregens for the game, but Gareth only had the character back-stories and a few notes about their MOSs, cherries and background packages. So on Tuesday I got my players together and had them build their characters based on those notes. It got a little messy though, since none of the players was familiar with Gumshoe and I didn't do a great job of guiding them through the creation process, which can be a bit clunky anyway. There's still a few issues to be worked out with the character sheets, but hopefully we'll have it all sorted before this Tuesday, when we're due to play the scenario.

Not a lot else has happened this week. I went to Saturday GUGS, which took place in Geek Retreat this weekend, and played an EDH game of Magic the Gathering with a deck loaned to me by Brian. It took a while - about four or five hours - but eventually players started getting knocked out (starting with me), and Brian won the game. Apparently it's better to play EDH with up to four players, whereas we were playing with six. Anyway, at least I got a free card, a Pelakka Wurm. I don't have a deck for it, but it's there if I ever get started building one.

Works In Progress
I've not made much progress on the Doctor Who/Evangelion fanfic this week, which is why I decided to work on it as my Camp NaNoWriMo project, to get caught up with it. Likewise, I haven't done much in the way of prep for any RP, mainly because I've got most of the prep done for the one-shot I'm going to run already. I've got key NPCs written up on index cards, sheets with mook stat blocks on them, and I put together some custom GM screen inserts for Night's Black Agents. Not a lot else to do, prep-wise, besides reading through the rules again and maybe putting together a background music playlist for the scenario.

As for next week, my plans are:
- Finish prep for/run Night's Black Agents one-shot at Tuesday GUGS.
- Continue working on the Doctor Who/Evangelion fanfic.
- Outline 'Episode 2' of the Doctor Who/Evangelion fanfic.

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