Sunday, January 24, 2016

[My Geeky Week] Borderlands, Mockingbird, and other stuff...

I went ahead and bought the first three Mistborn novels (The Final Empire, The Well of Ascension, and The Hero of Ages by Brandon Sanderson) with my last three Audible credits. I've read them all before, but I wanted to try out the audiobook versions, especially since they're narrated by Michael Kramer, one of the narrators for the Wheel of Time series). I wish they were narrated by both him and Kate Reading, like the Wheel of Time was, but no such luck.

Since I've been reading the core rulebook of late, I wound up buying the Agents of Change, Familiar Spirits and New Hires supplements for the Corporia RPG from DriveThruRPG. In addition to those, I picked up a free RPG called Tactical Waifu, which is 'a hack of Lasers & Feelings with anime girl operators', and I figure that'll be fun for a one-shot at some point down the line. I also picked up the last few Fate Worlds of Adventure that I missed (House of Bards, Frontier Spirit, Masters of Umdaar, Nest, SLIP and The Three Rocketeers).

Achievements Unlocked
So, almost a month since Christmas, I finally opened up the XBox 360 Borderlands Collection that Angela got me, and I started playing the first game. I was having fun blasting raiders and mutant freaks up until I got to Bonehead and now I'm kinda stuck. I know my best option is taking cover on the ramp, then shooting him and his goons while popping my head up when they're not shooting as much (they're very rarely not shooting at all). I've even got pretty close to nailing the git, but I always get caught by a stray shot and end up having to respawn. I'm now running low on ammo, credits, and I'm frustrated as hell. Why won't this guy die? Also, why is it I have to worry about running out of ammo in these games while the bad guys never do? I know, I know, it wouldn't be very exciting if the bad guys weren't shooting at me, would it? Still, it's just not fair!

In other news, Star Wars Rebels is back, with a special guest appearance by a younger Princess Leia! The episode was pretty fun, but they did lay on Leia's theme tune a bit too heavily in a scene or two (like, turn down the volume guys). That aside, Leia is great, every bit as haughty as she is in A New Hope, already showing off her leadership abilities, but also not quite as hardened as she will be later on (Alderaan hasn't been blown up yet, after all). There's some more foreshadowing of Ezra's potential fall to the dark side later this season: subtle this time, mostly just him being a bit too enthusiastic in knocking out a stormtrooper and a moment's look of shock from Kanan, but the implication is there all the same. Looking forward to seeing where this is heading later on, especially since the mid-season trailer hinted at some pretty interesting things to come.

I've also started reading the Corporia RPG by Mark Plemmons. It had been on my DriveThruRPG wishlist for a while before I wound up getting it as part of the Epimas bundle which I ordered for myself and James back in December. The concept of reborn Arthurian knights fighting monsters as magic returns to a cyberpunk setting was interesting to me, but I doubt I'd have bought under other circumstances. I've only finished the first chapter so far, but it's already looking better than I expected. While the concept sounded fun, I figured this would be one of those cases of a game where the setting was good, but the system behind it was sub-par. However, while the system isn't anything particularly ground-breaking, it actually looks okay. I'll write up a proper review when I'm done reading, but I definitely intend to run this sometime in the foreseeable future, probably as a one-shot or mini-campaign for Gauntlet Hangouts.

Finally, I listened to Mockingbird by Chuck Wendig yesterday. I enjoyed the first Miriam Black novel, and I'd always meant to get round to checking out the next couple of books eventually. As a sequel to Blackbirds, Mockingbird is exactly what it needs to be. It not only develops the character of Miriam, but forces her to up her game. Miriam spent a lot of the first book running away from the problem until she finally couldn't run anymore. This time, Miriam takes the problem head on, and the stakes are higher; not just one life, but several, hang in the balance as she tries to stop a serial killer. It also makes those stakes more personal for Miriam, which is actually much more important than increasing the scale of the threat itself. On top of all that, the book expands a bit further on Miriam's 'gift' and there are a couple of neat twists later; one of them you might half-expect, but the other is a real wham moment in the story. I'll definitely be buying The Comorant when I get my next monthly Audible credit on Tuesday, and I'll likely be blazing through it next Saturday.

Works In Progress
I had a very productive chat with a friend over Skype this week with regards to prepping Fronts (or rather, a Storm) for my current Urban Shadows campaign. Lesson learned, it can be really helpful to bounce ideas off another person. I can brainstorm well enough on my own, but there's always a niggling doubt when I do that, because I'm not confident enough in my own ideas. So, it really helps to have someone as a sounding board to tell me if an idea sounds good, or if it needs a little work, or it's better off being cut. Which just proves to me that I need to find myself a writer's group to join, so I can have that little bit of extra support while with my writing.

That's all for now, see you later!

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