Design. What?

First off: silly me, I put my hand up and am now running D&D 5E for my home group. Waterdeep, here we come…

Secondly, the post apocalyptic game. (Yes, at some point I will have a proper name for it.) While I’m still in the initial flood of ideas, so I figure a writer’s bible, or at least some sort of framework will be useful. Look, if it distracts me from the “Oh hell, what the fuck have I just agreed to do?” feeling that’s creeps in from time to time, that’ll be a good thing. Here’s what I have so far:

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1: I want it to run in my neck of the woods, or close to. Can you blame me?

2: I want it to be challenging. I’m not suggesting ‘You scrounge for 10 hours and find 2 bullets’, but I don’t want things to be too easy. That also goes for combat – I like the threat of death, but not character’s being bumped off left right and centre. Ideally, I’d like the players to feel like badasses, but not have them waltz through encounters. There’s no feeling of triumph without the struggle to ge there.

3: There’s not much desert type area near me, but there is a decent amount of forest. I’m fine with that – the Drop Bears need somewhere to live. Sure, there’s also civilians not to spook and council permission to get as well, but that comes later. grad001-2

4: Start small, then expand. I’ve already had one player ask to be a mutant Kangaroo (After a friend commented that I was writing Tank Girl: The LARP) and while I’m not saying no, I’d rather give it 6 months or so then start adding that level of weirdness.

5: Costuming. I love getting dressed for an event, it’s one of the main reasons I LARP, so naturally I’d like to see a good standard of costume. I don’t want to enforce that, but hope that the player base will continue to improve kit over time.

6: Lastly (For the time being): a sense of humour. I’m almost incapable of running a serious event, which is both good and bad for my GM’ing, but I game to have fun, not to engage in psycological torture. Well, not all the time…

More to follow.

 

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SHINY AND CHROME

Right, so from the reaction the game idea got in the pub last night, it looks like post apocalyptic is the way to go. Whether that’s due to there being demand for that sort of event, or dropbears I’m not sure, but I’m not going to dispute it.Don’t have a name yet, with the most prominent ideas being FALLOUT:STRAYA and RECOVERY.

The ideas started flowing, some better than others. Cults based around TV shows (Or casinos, with the prayer sign mining pulling the handle), people who wear wearing bluetooth being mutated and now are able to communicate via hive mind or the Holy Wars between the followers of Farnesy and Barnesy. An underground mutant fighting ring (“The drop bear we captured last week against the platypus in the local river”). The perk to resist fear effects called Brown Underpants. A beer based economy or task resolution method, simulated by playing Beer Pong or catch with larger and more unweildy gloves. Mind you, I’m still cackling about the idea of sending a group into the wilds, playing the sounds of angry koalas through hidden speakers, and then –  A HORDE OF CREW IN BLOODSTAINED KOALA COSTUMES, CLAWS BARED FOR BATTLE charging from the woods. Yep, I like the sound of that. And we haven’t gotten to the spiders or platypus yet…

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First thought: what time is it, AKA, how long has it been since the world fell? I’m torn between it was 3 days ago and now the containment facilities (Built in secret at Macquarie Uni in the 70’s by ASIO and the CIA) have been opened. There was discussion of tribalism between students and faculties, what with everyone blaming the science students (“What, it was only a little Gamma radiation, what could go wrong?”)

or things went to hell a few years ago. Say, it started to crack in the mid 90’s. Enough time to local wildlife to have mutated, but the survivors still have some functioning tech (Possibly even WiFi in the really advanced areas) but enough time that history has fragmented. I’m more inclined to the second (As it’s a little more Mad Max, but am open to running the odd ‘just as the bombs fell’ one-shot in future), but I’m a little fixated upon having crude cyber tech – think the tech level of Warhammer 40,000 Orks.

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WEAPONS: Gun are rare, and ammo is rarer. People who can repair them or manufacture new ones are hoarded. You get shot, you’re in serious trouble. Bows have made a comeback, with people realizing you can reuse ammo. Melee weapons won’t tickle, but seeing a firearm pulled means things have gone south real quick. I’d like an element of danger, but I also don’t want PC’s dropping like flies. The threat of death is good, but not a TPK every game.

INSPIRATION:

The Mad Max series – do you have to ask?

Tank Girl – a film, despite it’s numerous flaws, that I adore for a piece of it’s soundtrack. Well, and Malcolm McDowell. Plus what’s not to love about a film with Ice-T as a mutant kangaroo?

The Mutants Down Under and Rifts: Australia sourcebooks. FUN FACT: A mate of mine knows/knew the author of Rifts: Australia, who was very firm about stating the giant kangaroos weren’t his fault.

More to follow…

2 men enter, 1 man leaves…

So, instead of letting me sleep last night, brain started coming up with ideas. Somedays I’d love it if it would turn off and let me sleep, but I’ve had some of my best (and worst) ideas in the early hours.

So, the world has ended. Maybe the bombs fell, maybe a virus, maybe it was President Trump. No-one remembers. What is known is that civilisation has fallen. Bands of raiders, scavengers and worse roam the wastes between enclaves, searching for anything they can find, be that food, tech or worse. A small group of survivors have recently made their way to what was a settlement, hoping to rest, recover and maybe establish a small enclave of civilisation, or at least civilisation as they know it. Pretty much your standard post apocayptic template – I’m hoping enough time rolling around the brain will produce something with a bit more flavour.

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I’m not a rules lawyer, or even much of a fan of crunchy systems (As those who’ve played my con games can attest to). I’m also not a fan of class based systems in LARP, so having skill tress that players can pick from is the idea at the moment. Initial idea splatter begins:

SOLDIER: Killing is your business, and business is good. Guns are lovely, but ammo is sparse. After all, knives don’t run out of ammo…

TECHNICIAN: Blackthumbs, they’re the folks who keep everything running. Specialties include mechanical, electrical and cyber. (Tempted to call them ‘teshnishans’ – points to anyone who gets the reference.)

SCIENTIST: Regular Doctorin’, along with science both regular and mad. Cause if you can chemically boost someone’s adrenaline levels or replace half of them with steel, why not? Sure, there may be drawbacks (Rust for starters…), but that’s the price of progress.

SCROUNGER: Pickpocket, spiv, person who finds things that fell of the back of trucks.Useful but untrustworthy. Can MacGyver stuff together at the risk of it exploding in your face.

PRESERVER: Something like Bards, they try to preserve and reconstruct the old world. I love the idea of building myths upon incorrect facts, mostly inspired by the scene in Reign of Fire where they’re telling The Empire Strikes Back like Shakespeare.

As for monsters, you’ve got the standard issue raiders, mutants and what not. Possibly some zombies. But if you set the thing in Australia, then you get MOTHERFUCKING DROPBEARS. Because an angry koala isn’t terrifying enough, make them man sized and give them a taste for flesh. If that’s not brown trousers time, then I don’t know what is. Oddly this isn’t the first time I’ve looked up something along those lines – I spent some time looking for Emu costumes for a prospective Nerf event based around the Great Emu War. That got put on the backburner owing to the fact that the Emu’s just don’t give a fuck about small arms fire. If you gave them access to said small arms they’d MURDER THE ENTIRE WORLD. As for an Emu/Cassowary alliance, well that could conquer the galaxy… drop-bear-image

More to follow, assuming brain doesn’t fly off on another tangent.

More LARP thoughts

So, I recently posted a number of game ideas and (foolishly) said that I’d have one done by the end of the year. It’s a bit of deadline and motivational tool rolled into one. True, I’m also involved with writing a con game for Sydcon, helping crew the upcoming Zedtown and plotting another couple of Nerf based events, but what’s another project?

Firstly, I’m going to need help. If there’s anyone interested in helping whatever form, please drop me a comment.

The next issue is what to run entirely. (I’m trying to stick to more practical ideas here, as opposed to my dream of a live game where Manowar and Iron Maiden album covers fight.) Is this a one off, will it be the start of a campaign, or a one-shot. I’m looking at it to be a backdoor pilot – one event and if it goes well there’ll be more. That was among many, many questions my beloved and far better organised wife put to me when I recently announced the idea.

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So, what to run? I’m leaning any from fantasy, as the local LARP scene is dominted by that genre, though not completely as Malifaux and Warhammer 40,000 based games are running. Running something in another genre would mean I’m not stepping on their toes, at least not until we try to schedule the thing. Modern era means less worry about costuming as well. On the other hand, I’ve a couple of Conan ideas I’d love to run at some point (The shipwrecked pirates and tavern of scum games) – the tavern one seems the easier option to get going, as I’d want to get few games under the belt before attempting something on the scale of Hyborian Tales. Running Hrothgar’s Hall (A small 8-12 player game based on Beowulf) is a possibility (Maybe even at an upcoming con, once the live combat is stripped out) and one of my housemates just volunteered to help me write something post apocalyptic. I’m keen on that – I did start writing a post magical apocalypse game a few months ago, but felt I was just re-writing Dark Sun and dropped it.

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Anyhow, the game currently fixed in the brain might be loosely inspired by a recently released film…

One group of  PC’s are paranormal investigators, the newest franchisee’s of Ghostbusters International. Other PC’s are reps from head office, journalists, regular investigators, people keen on debunking them, fans etc. (Along with some randomly determined cultists.) That other idea was it’s the inagural Paranormicon, the convention for paranormal investigators and monster hunters. (For those saying it’s a crossover too far, the Ghostbusters have interacted with the Mythos before.) I’m more inclined to make people generate their own characters rather than using the canon ones in more than a cameo. That’s mostly due to wanting to do them right/well, which is mainly the reason I’ve not run anything with Grand Admiral Thrawn or in the Babylon 5 setting. I did play in a B5 game *cough* years ago that was basically the ep And Now For a Word, so it can be done, but my love of that show means I’d want to something worthy of how I feel about it, and I’m really not that confident. It would give me a chance to do my Mollari impression though…

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Tracking back somewhat, Beloved and Talented Wife suggested a horror game, which I’m not opposed to. Granted, it’s not my areas of expertise, as my tabletop events tend to be high action B-movies, but I can see the appeal and am reasonably certain I can make it work within my skill set. So, a group of investigators arrive at a location, and horrible things happen. Soon after, the second group arrives, only to find the remains/cowering in fear remnants of the first group etc. Shenanigans, bloodshed and a desperate fight to survive ensues.

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Having attented a friends wedding at Mt Kiera Scout Camp last year, I might have spent most of my time there thinking about how great a venue it would be. Yes, it’s a long ways to get to (So you’d want to stage an overnighter at minimum) Sure, you couldn’t stage a monster attack along the long winding trail to the ampitheatre, but you could certainly set the scene. As for the ampitheatre, it’s somewhat wrong of me that my first thought was how fantastic it would be for a ceremony to summon Cthulhu. There’s a spot closer to the campground itself that looked fantastic for a dark ceremony and had enough room to fight around. Also, there’s a pool and a firepit.:) About the only thing it lacks (As far as I know) is a waterfront space for Deep Ones to emerge from.

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PROPS: Then is starts to get expensive. True, there’s a decent number of Ghostbusters toys out at the moment, but outfitting a squad still get’s expensive. Then there’s traps, PKE meters etc. Ideally (At least to me) you’d want something that fires a projectile or makes a noise to give the crew something to react to.

Moving on: the post apocalyptic idea. There’s several of those running in Oz, namely After the Fall in Victoria and The Dead Zone in WA, the Jugger Leagues running here and the webseries Scavengers of the Scarlet Wastes.My point is, there seems to be an audience for it. It allows for a variety of costuming, Nerf weapon based combat and scenery chewing, some of my favorite things. 🙂

I guess the first thing to think about is what sort of event – are the players the last vestiges of civilisation hanging on, is it neutral territory, or have they split into factions (Raiders, Preservers etc)? The Mad Max and Fallout series are a strong influence, naturally, but I’d like to try to put my own spin on it, though given my style that’ll be cheap jokes and terrible accents. I’ll have to think on that.

More to follow…

 

Trailers.

So,a bunch of trailers got released at Comic Con over the weekend. My thoughts are as follows:

Doctor Strange – So, the second trailer finally show’s us some magic.It has helped cement my issue with the film (Outside of the piss poor attempt at defending the whitewashing), namely that Benedict Cumberbatch is playing Strange and not Chiwitel Eigofor. It’s not that I think Cumberbatch will do a bad job, far from it, and he sure looks the part, but it’s by far the obvious choice. At the time of casting I tweeted that the MCU could use less white guys (and got called racist more than once), and I stand by that. That mght be why the announcement that Brie Larson is playing Captain Marvel and who’s playing who in Black Panther has me nervous. Well, not nervous, but hopeful. The further the MCU goes along, the higher the chance is they’ll screw something up (And I mean a Green Lantern-esque level of screw up, as opposed to the Iron Man 2 and Thor: The Dark World) and I don’t want that to happen to those two films. It’s not that I’m a huge fan of either character, but I really don’t want the first female led and mainly black cast movies to be shit.

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Justice League – In short, Bruce Wayne interviews people. Seems to have added more jokes (Perhaps all the ones that were missing from BvS…) and a lot lighter tone. Cast look good, though more Cyborg would have been nice. Badass Aquaman is cool. Still not Brave and the Bold Aquaman, but that’s what YouTube is for.

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Wonder Woman – Please DC, don’t screw this up. The actons looks great, though I’m hoping the slow-mo is for the trailer, Chris Pine seems to be playing Steve Trevor like Kirk and Diana’s line “What I do is not up to you” is fantastic. Plus the evening gown and sword combo  works surprisingly well. 🙂

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King:Skull Island – They appear to have learnt from the Tripod song and got to the fucking monkey. Smart.

Suicide Squad – How many trailers, clips and sneak peeks can they release before it’s possible to assemble the entire movie? Still, the more they show that isn’t Harley, the more interested I get. Also, the more I see of Viola Davis as Amanda Waller the better – she’s not CCH Pounder, but I think she’ll do well.

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Star Trek: Discovery – It’s really not much, just the ship (Which we now know is clled Discovery) leaving spacedock. Reminds me of sketches I saw from the abandoned Phase 2 series. It’s Star Trek, so I’ll watch, but I’m still waiting for casting news to get really keen.

King Arthur: Legend of the Sword – A Guy Ritchie film, which is both good and bad. At first glance looks Excalibur crossed with Lock Stock. Points for trying something different, but adding some LOTR to the mix enthuses me even less. Sword looks nice though.

American Gods – Ian McShane as Mr Wednesday. Do I need to say more? Well, how about Gillian Anderson?

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The Lego Batman Movie – If you say something, anything, bad about this (At least that isn’t a variant on ‘We have to wait how long?’), we can no longer be friends.

I’m sure there’s more I’ve missed, but that’ll do for the moment. Also this:
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Ghostbusters (2016)

I want to be like Holtzmann when I grow up.

I’ve been trying to think of another way to start this, but that’s my overwhelming impression of the film.

So the Ghostbusters remake has arrived. Does it match the originals, or does it fall in a heap, as a large and toxic part of the internet wants it to? Damn right it matches them and then some. It’s the most fun I’ve had at a cinema in a long time, and that includes Deadpool. Were it not for Civil War I’d have this as the film of the year, and it may still hit that. (Yes Rogue One, you’re still in contention) It’s been hard for me to keep my neutral hat on, as the mere existence of the film has stirred an almighty amount of hatred, far in excess to anything I’ve seen, even Jar Jar Binks. (And if you still can’t stand him, read Ahmed Best’s Reddit AMA – he seems like a lovely guy who was genuinely excited to be in the movie) So yeah, I wanted this to be good and I freely admit that. If you’re going to remake a movie, then you should at least try to put a different spin on it, instead of a carbon copy (Psycho remake, I’m looking at you). And really, does the world need yet another movie with a mostly male cast? Besides, this film isn’t interfering with the originals in any way, so where’s the freakin’ problem?

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So, the movie itself. Is it perfect? No,  but neither were the originals and I had so much fun watching it I didn’t care.It made me want daughters to watch it with, a feeling I’ve not had since showing Niece, Age 7 The Princess Bride. (She loved it and spent the rest of the night yelling about how she wasn’t left handed) To be honest, it’s been a long time since I’ve seen the original films that any childhood nostalgia has faded (We first meet Venkman when he’s electrocuting someone while trying to get laid, something I’m pretty sure wouldn’t fly today), and I never caught the fandom bug as much as others. Yeah, they were a lot of fun, but they didn’t have the spark (Or lightsaber hum in my case) that made me truly obsess over them. Getting back to the point, it takes a little time to really get going, what with the introduction of our heroes and establishment of the threat (Who it could be taken to be a representation of the people attacking the movie). Yeah, not all the jokes worked for me (Even some of the bodily function ones, something I never thought I’d say), but there was a steady enough stream of them that I wasn’t left bored. We even got technobabble that the Doctor would be jealous of! (At one point we were so close to a ‘reverse the polarity’ I could almost taste it)

The main cast all share an equal amount of screen time and spotlight moments, the cameos and nods to the original are well done and don’t take too much away and Chris Hemsworth has some mighty comedy chops – I knew he was funny, but damn. Speaking of the cameos and nods, one feels too short and one a bit too long, but you’re never going to get a perfect ratio. Well, unless you’re The Force Awakens, or modern Doctor Who… I digress. And whatever you do, stay till the end of the credits. Heck, the credits alone are worth staying for- Marvel could learn a thing or two about from them about making the wait for the post credits scence less of a grind. Really, the only quibble I have with the film is I wasn’t a fan of the music over the credits and the new arrangment of the theme tune. If that’s all I’ve got to complaint about, then that’s pretty high praise.ghostbusters-movie-2016-proton-packsSo yeah, see it. It matches up to the originals, is an enormous barrel of laughs and both sets up sequels (Not too shamelessly) and slyly hints at a larger universe. I’m really looking forward to the next one.

Really, all that’s left to ask is has someone statted them up for the RPG yet?

More ideas and a deadline

The list of terrible ideas I posted recently has attracted some attention, with several people I know greeting me with “So, when’s GavCon running and how can I register?” It’s mostly flattering,  Therefore I’m setting myself a deadline – by the end of the year I’l have one of those written and ready to go. I’m leaning towards one of the LARP’s – Deadlands and the Hyborian pirates one I wrote about earlier are the front runners. I’m trying to lean away from fantasy, owing to the numerous fantasy games running in my area at the moment and a cyberpunk/post apocalypse style game would allow for Nerf blasters to be used… *ponders* I’ll try to make a decision soon, and cast about for anyone willing to pitch in.

Anyhow, I’ve another terrible idea to add to that list: The 5 Masters, AKA ‘And You Will Obey Me…‘ – I’ve heard of several games over the years where the PC’s are various incarnations of the Doctor, or Doctor and companion. Why not turn that on it’s head and have the PC’s as different regenerations of the Master? That leave’s a choice between Roger Delgado (The original and the best for my money), Peter Pratt (The Deadly Assassin), Anthony Ainley, Eric Roberts, Derek Jacobi, John Simm and Michelle Gomez. (If I wanted to get really obscure, add in the various Big Finish Masters, the Derek Jacobi voiced version from Scream of the Shalka, or even Jonathan Pryce from The Curse of Faltal Death.)

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Don’t have any plot ideas, but the story of his resurrection during the Time War comes to mind. True, there’s every chance it would wind up in backstab city within 10 minutes and could fall over in a heap, but I like the idea. Plus, that amount of scenery chewing and general mustache twirling could be epic, even for one of my games which generally contain a large amount of that. It’s not developed beyond an after party idea, but I’ve had worse in the past.

And because I have to say it again, no, I’m not running Fair and Balanced 2: The Trumpocalypse. It’s not happening people, so you can stop asking. I mgiht re-run the original, but that’ll be it. If anyone else wants to you’re welcome, but that’s more than enough for me.

There is one sequel I’m considering – Operation: Aquarius. It was a 60’s spy-fi game I ran a few years ago, where the PC’s where an Agent of SHIELD, UNIT, Torchwood, the Impossible Mission Force and UNCLE. The canon ending has SHIELD (And by extension, HYDRA) getting ahold of Dalek technology. There’s nothing that can go wrong with that scenario…

Short Reviews

Hercules – I wouldn’t call it a good film, more an 80’s sword and sandal film with a special effects budget. In it’s favour, The Rock is consistently entertaining (Even when wearing an incredibly camp lion skin cloak) and Ian McShane (Who also narrates the film) is in full scenery chewing mode.

Lock Out – It’s bascially Escape from New York/LA but in space and so close to it that John Carpenter took legal action and won. Guy Pearce does seem to having a tremendous amount of fun though.

Solomon Kane – Why must people persist with origin stories? Can an audience not be trusted to understand a character without spending half the film on introducing them? In it’s favour, it’s about a good a Kane film as we could expect, with James Purefoy in excellent form and the late, great Pete Postlethwaite supporting. Still a shame the sequel didn’t get up. Wonderfully grim in the mould of Warhammer Fantasy Role Play and if anyone calls it a Van Helsing knock off, you have my persmission to smack them.

The Scorpion King 3 – It features a lead actor I thought was Billy Zane, the actual Billy Zane (Who appears more than half cut), Temuera Morrison and Ron Perlman in a mullet/Legolas wig. There’s also elephants, some genuinely terrible fight scenes, a Celt in ancient Egypt and ninjas. Yep. Ninjas. Hadn’t realised there were 3 Scorpion King films? Actually, there’s 4…