Sunday, October 12, 2014

[Weekly Geeky Report] SHIELD, Lock In and other stuff...

My Kickstarter reward copy of the Coup: Reformation expansion arrived on Monday morning. I've done a quick check of the box and everything is there that's supposed to be, except that I only have five 5 credit coins instead of the ten that the contents list indicates should be present. I'll have to ask about that. Otherwise, it looks pretty cool. The artwork is excellent as always, and the extra mechanics the expansion adds to the game look interesting. I'd need to actually play the game to see how well it works in practice though.

The Things Don't Go Smooth sourcebook for the Firefly RPG was released in PDF format this week, so of course I went ahead and spent some of the money I had only just started saving towards a new phone to get it. Skimmed through it, and there looks to be some interesting GMCs and locations in there that I might use in my campaign if it seems appropriate. It's also got rules on handling Reavers in games, which will definitely come in handy. One possible error I've noticed is that the GMC template that's supposed to be there, isn't. Instead it's just another copy of the Crewmember and Ship sheets. I've pointed it out on the forums, so hopefully that'll get fixed before too long.

Acheivements Unlocked
Since I had to make a trip up to Glasgow early on Tuesday, once I'd done what I needed to do there, I popped into Geek Retreat and hung out there for an hour or so before heading on to GUGS in the evening. Didn't really do much while I was there - it was mostly Magic the Gathering games that were going on at the time - but I did order one of their supershakes (a Griffindor Elixir, which includes a blended Lion bar and caramel syrup) and played a couple of games of Super Smash Bros on a borrowed DS. I still *really* suck at that game. I like Geek Retreat, and if I can figure out a way to work it into my schedule, I'll try to pop in there a bit more often in future. Maybe I can find some folks to play some board games with at least once a week, since I really want more opportunities to do some board gaming in my spare time.

After that, it was off to GUGS for the start of our RPG campaign season. I managed to wrangle another three players for my Firefly campaign, giving me a full crew of five players. Everybody got their characters statted up and we also sorted out the ship stats by having the designated captain (Craig, a veteran roleplayer) go over the ship creation options and getting input from the rest of the crew as he did so. The characters were still pretty skeletal when we finished (all stats and very little in the way of backstory or personality), but I gave everybody questionnaires to complete by the end of the week, to add a bit more meat to their Firefly 'verse alter-egos. The questionnaires mostly consisted of the list of details from Step 6 of the custom crewmember creation process, plus the Personal Arc structure which I lifted from the Ashen Stars RPG.

I watched the second episode of Agents Of S.H.I.E.L.D. season two with Heather over Skype. They're certainly not pulling any punches this season, between the heartbreak of what's going on with Fitz, Coulson's new responsibilities distancing him from the team (and Skye in particular), the downside of his resurrection becoming more apparent, and Simmons...well, it seems we'll find out a bit more about what's going on there in the next episode. There's definitely a lot going on character-wise this season, and hopefully the main story arc will be a bit better paced than last season. It's still too soon to tell at this stage.

I finished Lock In by John Scalzi on Wednesday and I have to say I really enjoyed it. The world of Scalzi's Lock In has familiar elements to it, but there's enough of a unique twist to it to make it an interesting world to explore. I hope this won't be the only story Scalzi writes in this setting, as there's definitely room for further stories about agents Shane and Vann. Amber Benson's performance of the novel was great as well, although some of her voices sounded a bit more comical than was probably intended for the characters.

I'm still enjoying the new series of Doctor Who, and Mummy on the Orient Express was another good episode, picking up from last week's falling out between Clara and the Doctor by having the Time Lord take her for one 'last hurrah' by boarding the Orient space! The spacebound version of the Orient Express was first teased in the last moments of Series 5, but never actually appeared on the show until now. Obviously, this wasn't Clara's last episode (although there has been talk of Jenna Coleman leaving the show), instead it gives Clara (and us, as an audience) the insight into the new Doctor's character that she needs to continue travelling with him. Because, as good as Peter Capaldi is, his Doctor is seemingly much more callous than previous incarnations, and that's a bit hard to get used to, both for Clara and the viewers at home. Next episode: some extradimensional force is messing around with our reality and 'flattening' people. Looks like it should be interesting...

Works In Progress
I've not made much progress with my projects this week. My schedule is still all out of whack with these ongoing improvements to the house. Should be all out of the way by the end of this week. I won't make any promises about getting any stuff done until then. That said, I've got the character questionnaires back from all of my Firefly players except one, so I can start working on plans for the first session and maybe even a campaign arc. If I can come up with an idea for it by Tuesday, I'll run the first session then. Otherwise, we'll just make do with the Firefly board game as an icebreaker. Whatever the case, I'll definitely need to have a scenario prepped for next Tuesday and for every Tuesday between then and Christmas. Whee! Anyway, I'm going to go and work on that right now. See you later!

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