Sunday, July 20, 2014

[Weekly Geeky Report] Honor, Kingdoms, and other stuff...

Swag
I used the last of my unspent Audible credits to purchase Andy Weir's The Martian. It's one of the Sword and Laser Bookclub's picks for this year, and seems to have been a big hit with the SF&F community this year. I've been behind on reading the S&L picks, but I'll see if I can catch up to where they're at and join in again once I'm up to date.

I also ordered a copy of Ben Robbins' RPG, Kingdom, which arrived on Saturday morning. More on that shortly.

Achievements
On Sunday, after last week's report, I played the second part of our latest Timewatch: Team Indigo adventure. It was a bit shorter than the GM had planned, as he had put in a further plot hook which would have required us to cross our own characters timeline in order to pursue it. None of us decided to go for it, though if the GM had wanted to, I'm sure he could have leaned on a couple of characters with their Drives to get them to do it. Still, the Colony infection was thwarted and the pleasure planet was saved, so yay for us!

We were to have our second Misspent Youth session on Monday, but the Authority player couldn't make it because his flatmate was ill and he didn't want to leave her alone or risk spreading the infection to us. We attempted to go ahead with him participating via a Skype video call, but the connection was poor and he kept dropping out. So instead, we watched Airplane! and then the second episode of Supernatural season nine. There's some interesting stuff happening this season with both Sam and Crowley, but I was sad that Castiel was absent from episode two. I'm not sure I trust this new angel - Ezekiel - much, though Heather insists that he's 'lovely'.

Things picked up quite a bit over on Storium this week, with progress being made in all three of the games I'm currently participating in, so I've been getting more into it. At least one game (In The Drift, the Pacific Rim game) has been running at a faster pace than I imagined, so I've fallen a little behind in my participation. Also, they've updated their TOS to clear up the issues with IP rights that have had people worried of late. That makes me a bit more comfortable about using more original ideas for Storium games I might narrate in the future.

We also had our tenth session of the Tears of a Machine campaign, Tales of the Arx Jericho, on Thursday. I'll have an AP up for that sometime soon, but in the meantime if you want to see the session you can check out the recording of our Hangout On Air session.

I finished up On Basilisk Station (Honor Harrington #1) by David Weber yesterday, and I have to say that I really enjoyed it. It was a bit of a slow burn for the most part, but once the excrement hits the fan all the build-up to that point really pays off. I'll go into more detail about my thoughts on the book in a review later this week.

The Saturday GUGS picnic ended up being less of a picnic and more of an impromptu meetup in the first floor of the nearby Starbucks on account of rain. Still, people seemed to enjoy themselves playing a Lord of the Rings deck-building game, after which I got a group together to play Kingdom.

Since I had only had Kingdom for a few hours and had only barely done a full read-through of the rules, I can't be sure our session was completely representative of the game as written, but we did enjoy ourselves. A couple of players felt that the rules got in the way of the fun at some points; they felt having to mark off five boxes for the Crossroads was a bit much, especially as we had essentially addressed the Crossroad decision in play already.

I think this was partly my fault, to be honest. The Crossroad I came up with wasn't really a 'decision' to be made as much as a challenge to be overcome, which isn't the point of Crossroads. The question isn't supposed to be 'do we address this issue', the question - as far as I understand from my brief skim of the book - is more about how they do so, and is usually a moral dillemma. Even then though, the players are still sceptical about the Crossroads timer; if anything, they think that seems like something that's more likely to be resolved before the five ticks are up, and so it makes even less sense as an arbitrary timer than before.

Still, we muddled through well enough and had fun playing out the Lost In Luxury Space seed, with half of us playing the crew of a luxury cruise ship adrift in space struggling to resolve a power systems issue which threatens to leave them without life support, while the passengers are more concerned about the cooler being offline and protest at the crew requisitioning materials - jewellery for metal and crystals and taking apart certain leisure facilities to salvage parts - to effect repairs. I was a bit dubious about this setting seed, but it actually wound up being good fun. I'd definitely like to give this another go, once I've had more time to properly go over the rules.

Works In Progress
The first episode of my Doctor Who/Evangelion fanfiction is now more or less done, the only thing I haven't finished yet is the 'Coming Soon' teaser at the end of the episode. I have some ideas for scenes from future stories in the fanfic that I can use for the teaser, it's just a matter of putting in enough to give a taste of things to come without giving away too much. I could use some feedback from beta readers on it, so I can make any necessary changes or corrections (particularly regarding any plot holes or characterisation issues) before I go ahead and publish on Fanfiction.net. I could also use some help with brainstorming the season arc I have in mind. It's fairly heavy on the Evangelion side of things, dealing mostly with the state of Shinji and Asuka's relationship after The End Of Evangelion as well as with the origin of the Angels, which were never really revealed in the series.

I've also started working on a draft of a Storium World in Word that I'm thinking of narrating for Misha, Lizzie and anyone else who might be interested in joining. I'm basing it on the Doctor Who: The S.O.S. Files idea I mentioned in an earlier blog post. I reckon I'll narrate it so that each 'chapter' equates to an episode, though that might mean the chapters themselves have a lot of scenes in them, so we'll see. The Redshirts game I'm in is taking a similar approach, with each chapter being an 'episode' in the TV show which the characters are unwittingly a part of.

I didn't get around to doing the Terribleminds flash fiction challenge for last week, but this weeks' is one I'll make more of an effort for. The challenge for this week is to do a superhero story mashed up with another genre. I'll need to have a think about what genre I'd mix mine with, but I feel like giving a superhero story a go, so I'll probably take a shot at it.

For the week ahead I'll need to outline and start writing episode two of Doctor Who/Evangelion. I also need to edit episode one and get it out to some beta reader so they can help me tidy it up for FF.net.

I'll be back (hopefully) tomorrow with the first AP from our Misspent Youth campaign, and I'll try to finish off the next couple of APs from the Tears of a Machine campaign and post a review of On Basilisk Station later in the week. I'll see you then!

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