Sunday, March 8, 2015

[Weekly Geeky Report] Annihilation, Fate and other stuff

Though I'm nearing the end of my run with the Firefly RPG for now, I stumbled upon The Smuggler's Guide to the Rim while browsing DriveThruRPG and saw that it was available at a discount as part of their International GM's Day sale. So I figured, what the hell, and bought the PDF.

After browsing what other items they had available in the sale, I found several Unframed: The Art of Improvisation for Game Masters among the reduced titles. Unframed was already in my wish list, so I went ahead and added it to the cart as well. And then I went ahead and bought Never Unprepared: The Complete Game Master's Guide to Session Prep, and Odyssey: The Complete Game Master's Guide to Campaign Management from the same publishing company.

And, just when I thought the spending spree was done, I found myself buying the Makkura campaign book for Kuro as well. Sigh. I'll need to curb my impulse spending for the rest of this month if I want to have spending money for my trip to Leicester for this year's Student Gaming Nationals.

Achievements Unlocked
We're about halfway through our second season of Tears of a Machine: Tales of the Arx Jericho, having had our seventh session last Sunday. Our teenage pilots took a break from mecha battles for a cultural festival, but it wasn't all fun and games; there was much teen angst and some secrets came out about our two newest pilots. More on this when I get around to posting the AP, which should be next Monday, all going according to plan.

On Tuesday, we had our twelfth Firefly session and it was a cracker. The crew, having lost their ship (the Shuìlián) to the evil megacorp known as LRI, had managed to recover it and expel most of the LRI hijackers by venting the ship's atmosphere. However, they still had to contend with Agent Stanford, who had holed up in the ship's bridge and was holding a pair of hostages: the two orphaned children of Jesse's former friend Norman Watts. Stanford attempted to use the children as leverage to get the crew to surrender and allow him to turn them over to the company, but Captain Lorretto was having none of it. He managed to browbeat the agent into giving in peacefully, but it was a ruse.

Before surrendering, Stanford had infected the ship's systems with a virus that would remotely fly the Shuìlián to his employers and impede any attempt to abandon ship. After some frantic donning of spacesuits, the crew were able to quarantine the virus on an external data module for later study and Agent Stanford was 'accidentally' spaced in the chaos that ensued. But that wasn't the end of their troubles, an LRI black ops ship was headed their way.

Quickly evacuating the kids and everyone else to their borrowed Firefly ship, the Bonnie Mae, the captain remained aboard the Shuìlián and drew off the corporate pursuers. Captain Loretto and his ship were last seen attempting a slingshot manoeuvre around a comet moments before said comet was blasted by the LRI ship's weapons, leaving only a cloud of icy debris and no sign of the Shuìlián. Meanwhile, Jesse and the rest of the Shuìlián's crew set course for Albion, where Jesse knows the owner of an orphanage that can take the two kids in.

In other RP news, I just finished my first complete Storium campaign. Our Madoka-style dark magical girl game, The Dreamer's Curse ended in big way. All our girls had reached the despair event horizon and were either about to turn into Shades (our version of Witches), become mindless husks or - in my case - commit suicide in order to die as themselves. But the one girl who hadn't yet made her wish did so, and chose to use her wish to get rid of all of the magical girls and free us from our curse. The problem is, she kind of ended the world in the process, and the last thing we all saw was the world turning to ash as it was engulfed in light. We'll be continuing the story in a sequel called The Dreamer's Fall, and we'll be playing our old characters, only they're all normal school girls with ordinary, uneventful lives. But there's an underlying sense that something is amiss...

Meanwhile, the same narrator who ran The Dreamer's Curse has set up a new game called Our Destiny, an Evangelion-inspired Storium in which we all play teenage robot pilots defending the earth against mysterious creatures from who knows where. My character is a nerdy chessmaster type who has lost everything and has very little self worth. He pilots to prove to himself that he is worthy of survival when all those he cared about perished in the attack on his hometown. I see him as being sort of like Lelouche from Code Geass, but more depressive and less self-assured.

During my commutes to and from work for the past couple of weeks I've been reading through the Fate Core rulebook, as I'm thinking about running some one-shots of it after the Firefly campaign wraps up. I'm not sure yet what I'll run with it, but I'm probably going to try out one of the Fate Worlds, either from Worlds In Shadow (I'm most interested in Camelot Trigger from that), or one of the standalone PDFs that Evil Hat has been releasing (particularly Psychedemia, Save Game or The Secrets of Cats). I'll also be aiming to post a review of the rulebook this Friday as the first of my 'Fateful Friday' posts.

I started and finished Annihilation by Jeff VanderMeer and, while I enjoyed it, I think I'm going to need to listen to it again when I'm not at work because I don't think I got the full enjoyment out of it because I couldn't focus completely while I was typing. It might be that it's actually better read on the page, so I'm debating whether I should buy the Kindle editions of it and the other two books in the trilogy, or continue with the trilogy in audiobook format. That said, if you're a fan of weird fiction, this will definitely appeal to you and I'm definitely looking forward to exploring the world of Southern Reach further in the next two books.
Having finished that audiobook already, I've now returned to Robert Jordan's Wheel of Time series with The Path Of Daggers and I'm nearly halfway through already.

I've started watching Lost Girl again after a brief break (during which I watched the first seasons of Breaking Bad and The Vampire Diaries) and still enjoying it. The loose ends from last season are being kept on a slow burn. Things were looking up for Bo as she started dating Lauren, but then her darker side reared its ugly head and she's gone and done something very bad indeed; whether she's aware of her actions or not is unclear though. Meanwhile Kenzi claims to have had Lauren look at the weird rash she got after confronting the Norn, but you just know that's a lie. Meanwhile, Hale is the new (acting) Ash, which leaves Dyson without a partner. Not for long though, as he gets saddled with a dark fae partner with a real hate-on for Bo. Oh boy.

Works In Progress
I foolishly signed up for this month's 750 Words Challenge, having forgotten that I'll probably be without computer/internet access while I'm off to Leicester for the weekend of the 27th. Well, as long as I stick to the 750 word daily target the rest of the month, I'll call it a win.

I'll be using my daily 750+ word stints to write up my blog posts, so hopefully that should help me maintain regular content on the blog this month, as planned.

If I do manage the 750 words, I think I might treat myself to buying a copy of Dread and a Jenga tower to play with. The other option is Tremulus, which might be cheaper (since it doesn't require the separate purchase of a Jenga tower), but I'm still not sure whether it's really for me or not. I like Lovecraftian horror, sure, but I'm not used to handling the 1920s setting as either a player or GM. I guess we'll see closer to the end of the month.

I also need to think about whether I want to participate in Camp NaNoWriMo next month. I do need to get back to writing fiction, but I'm not sure at the moment what I want to work on. I'll need to give this some serious thought as April approaches.

Anyway, that's what's been going on with me this past week. Tomorrow I'll be posting a recap of our Tears of a Machine: Tales of the Arx Jericho campaign so far.

Until then, see you later!

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