Sunday, December 6, 2015

[My Geeky Week] TV binges, the Murderists and other stuff...

Swag
I didn't really buy anything new this week (at least, not for myself), but I did download a few free RPGs I heard about on The Gauntlet podcast, including 44 - A Game of Automatic Fear, Archipelago III, Cheat Your Own Adventure, and Trial & Terror: Supernatural Victims Unit. The PDF for Time Cellist, which I backed on Kickstarter earlier this year, was also released to backers over the weekend, so I've got that as well. I seriously doubt I'm going to get to play any of these before December ends, but I've added them to my 'games to play' list for 2016.

Achievements Unlocked
I've been slowly working my way through season three of Hannibal at a pace of one episode a week, because that's about as much dark serial killer fiction as I can take at the moment. I watched episode five this week and I'll admit I probably got a bit too much satisfaction out of watching the ending to that episode. If you've seen the series, you probably already know what I'm talking about, but let's just say a huge can of whoop-ass is opened on someone.

There was no World of Darkness game this Tuesday, as our GM wasn't feeling well, but I did get to play in a game of Fiasco with my Dungeon World GM, Eadwin Tomlinson. The game was plagued by technical issues and there was a bit of fiddling around involved to set the game up online which conspired to break up the flow of the game a bit, but we still had a good time. There were three players: me, Eadwin and Liam (another player from our regular Dungeon World campaign) and we played with the Murderists playset from Run, Fools, Run.

I was Gino 'Rough Rider' Mancini, a wheel-man/professional killer who had incurred a debt to a rather ill-tempered businessman called Frank. In exchange for not sawing off some vital parts of Gino's anatomy, Frank asked him to arrange the death of a senator called Bink Blowman in Iowa. Frank assigned Arnold 'Slapstick' McGrue, a 'security consultant' for the senator's rival, to help arrange for Blowman to be in the right place for Gino to get to him. Gino also enlists the aid of a former associate, 'Mad' Barry Hold, to assist in the hit.

Here's where it all gets messy. Gino and Barry were both involved in the death of Allan McGrue, Arnold's brother; Barry did the murdering, then the two of them watched him die and did nothing. Unbeknownst to Gino, Barry was in love with Allan, and blames Gino for having to kill him. So, right after they take out the senator, things go to hell. Barry coldclocks Arnold in the senator's hotel room before he can turn on him and then gets the senator to the limo where Gino is waiting. They zoom off to dispose of the body but, on the way there, Barry breaks down and confesses his love for Allan and blames Gino for his death before shoving his shocked partner in crime out of the speeding car. Meanwhile, Arnold has recovered and is in hot pursuit, being stopped at gunpoint in the road by Gino before the two of them agree to team up to catch Barry.

It all culminates in a showdown at the edge of a quarry lake, complicated by the senator not being quite dead and hopping away in his body bag. In the end, Barry ends up plummeting into the quarry with the limo, while Arnold and Gino end up going to prison. Arnold is released into Frank's custody, while Gino is approached by a burly inmate who tells him that 'Frank sends his regards' as he cracks his knuckles menacingly. So, yeah, it all went about as well as you might expect with Fiasco.

I've also been binge-watching Continuum on Netflix lately, and just finished off the third season this week. By season three, I think the main plot arc of the series had spiralled a bit out of control (even the characters acknowledge this in the last few episodes) but I still enjoyed it all the way to the third season finale. I guess I just like the 'fish out of water'/buddy cop concept that the series is built upon enough that the long term plot doesn't matter so much to me; I just dig the future cop using tech to solve modern day crimes and the relationships between the characters. It also probably doesn't hurt that I've developed a slight crush on Rachel Nichols. I have to say though, the cliffhanger of the season three finale was a potential shark-jumping point for me, but I'd need to see how it resolves in the season four premiere.

Unfortunately, season four of Continuum isn't available on Netflix UK yet, so I instead moved on to watching season five of Warehouse 13. There were only six episodes in that, so it didn't take me long to finish once I'd started. The story arcs of this season were pretty rushed due to the show only having six episodes to wrap things up neatly and, let's be honest, the result is a bit underwhelming. But at least the creators got to give the show a decent send-off and the final episode closes the series in a way that is heartwarming and tear-jerking, but still leaves things open-ended.

I was a little worried going in that the plot device for the final episode meant we'd be getting a clip show. Actually, that's sort of what the final episode was, really, but instead of just showing scenes from previous episodes it showed completely new scenes from previously unseen adventures which represent each character's defining moment in the Warehouse. The end result was a fond farewell from the main cast to the Warehouse, and also from the show to it's fans. If I have one serious complaint about the season, it's the sudden pairing of Myka and Pete. Maybe it's just me, but I never saw that as being an actual thing in the show. Why can't the male and female leads just have a nice sibling-like friendship? Why you gotta shoehorn in a romantic hookup, SyFy? Sigh.

I also watched the latest episode of Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. which heated things up nicely for the mid-season finale. Don't want to say anything too spoilery, but it looks like the 'Secret Warriors' are starting to come together and I'm sensing that Ward is either going to get his comeuppance soon or that there's a further evolution of his character in the works. The showrunners and cast have been teasing a big twist on the level of the uprising in season one, and this episode definitely felt like it was setting up for some epic stuff in the finale.

Then there was the Doctor Who finale. I really don't know how I feel about the show anymore. There was stuff in this three-part finale that I liked but there were also things about it which I found...disappointing isn't even the word. Predictable is closer, but even that isn't right. I don't think I can really articulate it properly without spoiling folks. But the bottom line is I'm feeling really meh about Doctor Who at this point. I hate to say it, but that's just the way it is.

I've also been in a Play by Post game of Apocalypse World run by Rich Rogers and co-GM Paul Edson via Google Drive and Hangout Chat. The game is set in a snowy post-apocalypse, with the characters all based in a 'shopping maul' inspired by dead malls like the Rolling Acres Mall in Akron, Ohio. I'm playing Cohen the world-weary Keeper of the (Radio)Shack (Savvyhead) with a sour temper, who's currently doing his rounds checking on the various things which are breaking down around the Maul. This includes the generator at the local Maestro D's club, which she needs working for Wide Eyes night tonight. The Muzak (which seems to have a life of its own) has been repeating itself too, so he's going to need to check on that too. We'll see how he gets on with those problems as things progress. Meanwhile, the Angel almost got himself filled full of holes salvaging a new generator with the Chopper, the creepy Brainer just killed someone for 'making eyes' at his mannequin lover, the Driver had a 'ghost hitchhiker'-like encounter...and other stuff which I'm not fully up to date on. Apparently there's going to be a Hangout/podcast-type thing to get everybody up to speed this coming week, so hopefully the time zones align so I can participate in that.

Works In Progress
Not much to say on this front, except that I've been brainstorming and second-guessing villain ideas for tonight's first playtest session of Masks: A New Generation. Really though, I'm pretty sure I'm overthinking things. Either I'll have something prepared on an index card by the time we start the session, or I'll come up with something on the fly after everyone's made up their characters. So far, it looks like I'm going to have a Beacon (Lloyd), a Doomed (Russell), a Nova (Misha), and maybe a Janus (Wolfie) and a Protégé (David).

Once the session's done, I'll work on writing up an actual play and will aim to get that posted on the blog sometime tomorrow.

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