Saturday, June 7, 2014

[Weekly Geeky Report] Pirates & Bounty Hunters, Grimm and other stuff...

It's been a while since I did one of these, but since I'm trying to get back to blogging I figure I'll start doing them again. I still think I need a better title (for the blog and this regular segment of it), but this one will have to do for now.

Against my better judgement (since I should really be saving my money, and Jim Butcher's Skin Game is out now, so why the hell haven't I got it yet?), I decided to go ahead and buy the Double Tap sourcebook for Night's Black Agents, which is my newest and currently favourite RPG at the moment. I've only skimmed the sourcebook so far, as I have problems reading PDFs off the computer screen, but so far it looks like there's a lot of cool extra stuff for the game in there. I'm really looking forward to running Night's Black Agents (playing it would be even more awesome, but I don't know anyone who'd GM it for me) and I'll probably pick up The Zalozhniy Quartet to run as a short campaign over summer. That's assuming I'm not still burnt out from wrapping up my Doctor Who campaign (which, by the way, still isn't in the bag).

I also spotted Hotline Miami in a Steam sale yesterday for about £1, so I went ahead and yoinked that as well, but since I wrote this up just after buying the game, I haven't actually got around to playing it yet.

Achievements Unlocked
Due to some issues with our regular venue and a bit of ping-ponging back and forth as to whether one of my players was in the mood to play or not, the Doctor Who finale didn't run this week. Hopefully we'll be able to arrange a time we can all get together again to finish it off, since one of our group is now heading out of Glasgow for the summer.

Anyway, instead of running the finale on Tuesday I sat down and played a game of the Firefly board game with Peter, Ruaridh and Sean. This was only the third time I'd played (not counting the one solo game I played as practice at home) and this time we were using both the Breakin' Atmo expansion and the newly released Pirates & Bounty Hunters expansion, which Peter had recently acquired. The expansion added an extra layer of PvP that I really enjoyed, but it's probably not for everyone. The new ship, the Interceptor (which fans of the show will recognise as Jubal Early's ship), seems just a little on the borked side. It can go further than any other ship can at full burn, and doesn't need to use fuel to do so. As such, even though I won the game that night, I'm going to chalk it down to having a massively overpowered ship, and not my awesome captaining skills.

I've hit the halfway mark in Richard Morgan's Altered Carbon. I don't know why I've been reading the book so slow, considering it's actually a pretty good book, just not been in the reading mindset recently, I guess. And I think my ability to grasp what is going on in the story has suffered due to my sporadic reading of it, having to remind myself who this character is that's been mentioned, or what that plot element is. I'm definitely going to have to come back to this book sometime and read it all the way through from start to finish. It won't be right away, though, because I've had the book out of the library too long already and can't renew again. Maybe I'll download the audiobook on Audible and listen to it instead.

I also finished off season one of Grimm. Grimm is definitely one of those shows that requires some patience to get into. The first batch of episodes weren't really anything all that special, I felt. It seemed like a pretty generic police procedure mixed in with urban fantasy. The main character is a homicide detective who finds out he's descended from a mystical lineage of 'Grimms' whose job it is to maintain the balance between the human world and a world of fairytale monsters referred to as 'Wesen'. Seemed like your standard 'dude finds out he's the chosen one and has to figure out how everything works' deal. Nothing wrong with that, just not anything particularly special about it either. But once you start getting to know the characters, and they start  exploring the world a bit more, it slowly starts to grow on you.

I still have a couple of issues with it, mainly that the terminology of the series is really hard to keep in your head, consisting of a variety of German-derived names like 'Blutbad', 'Fuchsbau' 'Hexenbeist' and 'Mauzhertz' which take a while to sink in. Obviously this is inspired by the German origins of the Brothers Grimm fairytales which the series is based on (and the heritage of Monroe, who is Nick's main source of knowledge on the hidden world), but it can be a bit hard to keep track of all the terms at times.

Another problem is that the progression of the series main arc plot seem pretty scattershot. The Reapers, for example, appear to be an unknown to Monroe in 'Lonelyhearts', but a few episodes later he mentions 'Reapers' as if they're a known group, though perhaps this is just a term he and Nick have adopted after their previous encounters. And in 'Love Sick', seemingly without anything in particular to provoke a renewed interest in it, Nick becomes more driven to unlock (heh) the secrets of the key left to him by his aunt, which just happened to be the MacGuffin driving that specific episode. And finally, the season finale cliffhanger didn't feel like a season finale cliffhanger. It felt more like a mid-season/late-season cliffhanger, so it felt like a bit of a jarring note to end on. But, these issues aside, the show is growing on me, so I'm probably gonna move on to season two very soon, since it's available on Netflix UK.

Works In Progress
After a long hiatus, I started writing the Doctor Who/Evangelion fanfiction again. I'm mostly redrafting the first 'episode' into prose form (since I originally wrote it in script format as an outline). Once I'm finished with the redraft of that, I'll start work on rewriting the next episode and hopefully I'll be ready to start posting online before the new series of Doctor Who starts in August.

I've also been giving a bit of thought to what I'm going to run as one-shots for the Freshers' weeks at GUGS in September. It does depend largely on whether I pick up the new Firefly RPG over summer (because if I do, I'll definitely want to run that), but I have a long list of one-shots (both pre-written and my own original ideas) that I could use during the introductory fortnight. One of them will almost certainly be Gumshoe, since that's my thing right now and it's a pretty easy system for new players. I just need to decide whether it's going to be Night's Black Agents or Timewatch, or one of the older Gumshoe games.

Anyway, that's been my week in terms of geeky stuff. The next post you'll see on here is the last of my cross-posts of Misha's write-ups for Tales of the Arx Jericho, the Tears of a Machine campaign I've been playing over Google+ Hangouts on Thursday nights. The next session should be tomorrow, and I'll probably try doing the write-up for that myself rather than copying Misha's. Although, Misha writes in more detail than I think I could manage in my own write-ups.

Well, that's all for now, see you later!

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