Sunday, February 7, 2016

[My Geeky Week] Mysterium, Honor, and other stuff...

The Kickstarter for Vincent Baker's Apocalypse World 2nd Edition went live on Monday, and I promptly backed it at the level that'll get me the physical book. Unsurprisingly, it's already funded, but if you want to secure yourself an early access copy via the Kickstarter campaign, follow this link.

I also spent some phone top-up credit on the Continuum Season 2 & 3 Soundtrack via Google Play, so I've been listening to that on and off this week.

Beyond that, my pre-ordered set of Welcome to Night Vale tarot cards arrived this Tuesday, together with my Kickstarter hardcover edition of Uncharted Worlds. The tarot cards came in a lovely drawstring bag bearing the Night Vale eye logo, haven't tried them out yet, but they look great (although, I'm not sure some of the images really suit the card they're on). The Uncharted Worlds hardcover is pretty neat too, and it's got me thinking about running the game sometime in the near future (maybe after a Microscope session to build up a setting for it).

On Friday (or rather, late Thursday night) I bought a couple more games off of DriveThruRPG. The first was UED: You Are The Resistance, which was originally a Brazilian RPG release which has recently been translated to English by Tom McGrenery, who's one of the other players in the Maulpocalypse PbP Apocalypse World game I'm currently in (which is how I found out about it, incidentally). I'm just about halfway through the section on character creation and it looks pretty neat so far. Once I'm done reading it, I might actually consider running it either for the Gauntlet Hangouts community or for the Arx Jericho gang sometime in the near future.

The second game was Kuro Tensei, which is really more of an expansion of the Kuro core rules, and completes the Kuro RPG trilogy. I'll probably buy the hardcover once it's out, but I just wanted to nab this now and see what it adds to the core game.

I also reordered my 'That's Not How The Force Works' t-shirt from Shirt.woot, since the original order was refunded due to being damaged in transit.

Achievements Unlocked
On Tuesday, I showed up early to GUGS to play Mysterium with Daniel, Peter, and Ruaridh. I played the ghost, and the other three players played the psychics. I explained the rules as well as I could before we started (since the ghost isn't supposed to talk during play. It was just as well we were playing it on Easy, since I had to use my discard token for every round. Even then, I really struggled to find good vision cards to give the psychic players. Peter was able to guess his character, location and object in pretty short order, but it took Ruaridh three rounds to guess his character (the Doctor) correctly.

Eventually, everyone got to the second phase with a round to spare, but we still lost the game in the end. I once again had to discard cards to try and get some better visions, but it did no good. I thought for sure that they'd get it just from the prominent house (to represent the cabin as the location), but the card I gave them for the object (the rope) misled them, because it also had axe blades in the background and one of the other objects in front of them was the straight razor. So, not only did they guess incorrectly, but they all voted for different solutions. Game over, my ghost has to spend another year in torment, and Ruaridh's character (Mr MacDowell) has to live with him haunting his manor meantime.

After that, we had still a bit of time until roleplaying campaigns started up, so we had a game of Sheriff of Nottingham. As before, Peter hammed it up with accents as both the sheriff and merchant, and I did my own share of roleplaying during play too. I was a little bit mean as the sheriff with Ruaridh when I called his bluff on some goods he was trying to get past me. Since he'd already refused to offer a bribe, I told him it was too late when he saw I was about to inspect the bag and folded. It turned out every single object was contraband, and the resulting fines cost him his chance at victory. Sorry Ruaridh! For what it's worth, I didn't win either. The victor was actually Daniel, who had never played the game before. Nicely done!

Since my regular Tuesday game was cancelled due to GM illness, I sat in on the Dungeons & Dragons: Princes of the Apocalypse campaign that Peter and Ruaridh are in, along with our old L5R comrade, Doc. I was mostly just rolling dice for an absent player's character while the group made decisions for him in combat, so I wasn't terribly focused on what was going on. I did gather that Ruaridh nearly got Peter's character killed by slaying a monster near him which promptly exploded in his face. Then, he nearly caused a TPK by doing similar later on. For the most part, when I wasn't needed for dice rolling, I checked my phone while half-paying attention to the game, and spent the latter half of the session hard shuffling my new Welcome to Night Vale tarot deck. I was sitting off to one side of the main group, so I wasn't distracting anyone with it too much.

As you may already know, I ran a session of Lasers & Feelings on Wednesday night, which was a lot of fun. Here's a link to the actual play report I already posted if you missed it. I'll definitely try it again sometime, and I still have the Tactical Waifu reskin of it to try out as well.

My regular weekend audiobook this time round was The Honor of the Queen by David Weber, the second book in the Honor Harrington series of novels. I picked up the first book, On Basilisk Station, about a year or so ago after finding it for free on Kindle and revisited it as an audiobook late last year. Having just got my hardcover of Uncharted Worlds and run Lasers & Feelings this week, I guess I was feeling in a bit of a science fiction-y mood.

I can't give a true capsule review of the book yet, since I'm only halfway through as of the writing of this post), but I will give my impressions based on the first half. As can often be the case with military sci-fi, the Honorverse books (at least, the two I've read so far) can be a bit dense with tactical and techno jargon, and it's hard to take all of that in when your focus is divided between listening to the book and entering data. All the same, one of the things I enjoyed about the first book was the thought that  went into the space technology to make it both authentic-sounding and give it an 'age of sail' feel. This book has more of that same feel, and builds upon it with some new technologies later on.

I felt like Honor came to life a bit more as character in this book, and I was glad to see that, but I wish this increased depth of character was reflected more across the board. Aside from two characters who take centre stage in a portion of the book from which Honor is absent (and that's a part of the novel which bothered me somewhat, for other reasons), a lot of the characters aren't given as much attention as she is. That's probably an unavoidable consequence of military dramas like this, with a wide supporting cast, but it does make the book feel a bit dry at times.

I think The Honor of the Queen deserves a full review, so I'll put it on my list of books to do that for, right after UED and Corporia.

Works In Progress
I'd hoped to get some work done on both my prep for Urban Shadows and plotting for my novel, but that time got swallowed up by writing blog posts and putting in overtime at work to make up for a recent string of shift cancellations. So, other than the actual play posts and a somewhat rushed review of Urban Shadows, I didn't get much done this week. I always have a bit of extra time in the cafeteria at work on Sundays (since I show up earlier than I strictly need to), so I think I'll use that to try and get some Threats and maybe a Storm or two for Urban Shadows: London done before my shift starts.

I had also planned to post a review of Corporia on Friday once I'd finished reading through it, but I've not had time to do that between one thing and another this week. I'll try and get that done for this Friday instead, although it's looking like I'll actually have finished reading UED much sooner than Corporia, so I might review that instead, and bump Corporia to next in line for a review.

That's about all for now, see you later.

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