First of all, I signed up for the online storytelling game, Storium. The Kickstarter for Storium is over, but you can still back it on their website and gain beta access. I signed up for The Deal tier, so I not only get a year's membership when it goes live to the public, but also get instant access to all the author created Worlds that were unlocked as Kickstarter stretch goals. I've never had much success with PbP type RPs before, but with the slick user interface, built-in resolution system and e-mail notification, I think Storium has a bit more going for it than your usual forum-based story games. I'll post a bit more on it later in the week, after I've had time to try it out in the game I've joined, Redshirts: The Narrative Strikes Again (a continuation of John Scalzi's Redshirts, which you should totally check out, especially the audiobook narrated by Wil Wheaton).
I also ordered Joe Prince's Hell 4 Leather, after Nearly Enough Dice's recent actual play recording of it renewed my desire to get myself a copy. Hell 4 Leather is a short, simple GM-less roleplaying game inspired by tales of revenge such as The Crow, Ghost Rider, Hamlet and Kill Bill. One of the players is The Fool; a badass who was betrayed and murdered by his crew (referred to as The Devils Dozen), and is offered a shot at revenge for one night (or some limited amount of time) by the Devil. The rest of the players play as Leathers, members of the clique/gang/team that the Fool was once part of, who may or may not have had a direct hand in his demise. Over the course of six scenes, the Fool tries to exact vengence - deserved or otherwise - upon the Leathers, killing them one-by-one.
The default setting for Hell 4 Leather has the Devil's Dozen as a biker gang, and the Devil as the literal Devil, but players can come up with their own setting at the start of play. Variants I've heard of include Akira-style cyberpunk, a Cold War espionage tale, occult Western, 1930s gangsters, and (one I played in personally) Greek tragedy. I enjoyed it the one time I played it, I loved the AP that Nearly Enough Dice did at Conpulsion, and I also just loved the fact that it'll give me an excuse to break out my Tarot decks, since that's what it uses for its resolution mechanic. So I'm really looking forward to trying that out sometime in the near future. And hopefully playing the Fool, because playing the Fool is fun just for the evilz of murdering a bunch of folks in a vengeful rampage.
At Tuesday GUGS, I ran Night's Black Agents for the first time, using the Kill The Dead con scenario provided by Gareth Ryder-Hanrahan. I'm not sure it went as well as I had hoped. I felt that it was a little too heavy on the investigative side and could have done with a little more reaction from the antagonists. Only thing was, I couldn't justify the antagonists getting involved because - except for the very end - they hadn't really done anything I felt would alert the antagonists to their activities. We also kept getting side-tracked with out-of-character stuff, so we ended up having to cut things short and agreeing to make it a two-parter. Next session I'll need to inject a bit more action into the mix, as well as reminding players to spend before rolling because generally when rolls came up they just rolled the dice and didn't announce spends, which is a bad habit to let them get into.
On Thursday we had our ninth session of Tears of a Machine, which you can find the video of here, or you can read the AP report (cross-posted from Misha's blog, Grave Mishappenings) in my post for yesterday.
I finished off reading I Don't Want To Kill You by Dan Wells. I had previously read about three quarters of the way through it already, but I got distracted from it and ended up reading other stuff, so I went back to it this week. I think I got more into the story the second time around than I was the first time. I don't know, just something about it wasn't really pushing the stakes for me as much as the previous two books. Maybe it's because John doesn't seem quite as 'on the edge' as he had before, not to say he's not still dangerous, but in this book those impulses seemed focused in such a way that it's slightly less of a concern. It does become more of a concern about halfway through though, and once I got up to the point I'd drifted off at last time things had really kicked into gear. Overall, this book is a pretty fitting conclusion to the overall character arc that's been built up around John over the course of the trilogy and while it doesn't tie up the story entirely (Dan Wells plans to return to John Cleaver's world in a new trilogy sometime soon), John has definitely grown from the boy we first met in I Am Not A Serial Killer. I'm looking forward to seeing where Wells takes the series from here.
I've also started re-watching the Matt Smith series of Doctor Who, both in preparation for the new series in August, and to help myself in writing Eleventh Doctor dialogue for my Doctor Who/Evangelion fanfic. I watched the first four episodes of series 5 last night, and I'll be watching another episode later tonight.
Works In Progress
I've finished up the first couple of parts of Episode 1 of my Doctor Who/Evangelion fanfiction project, and I've written about 13,405 words worth of story so far. (6,963 words of which have been written since the start of Camp NaNoWriMo.)
For the coming week, I need to prep for the conclusion of our Night's Black Agents oneshot this Tuesday. Beyond that, I'll keep up the work on the Doctor Who/Evangelion fic and hopefully have Episode 1 finished by the end of the week. I also hope to have a revised plan for Episode 2 ready by the time I need to move on to writing it.