Nuadha's Tale

Ignorance can be tolerated, where reason is left free to combat it. -Thomas Jefferson

Monday, March 31, 2003

ACUS 2003: Morpheus Interrupted (Part One)

Matrix: 1)the set of conditions which provides a background in which something grows or develops 2)a group of numbers or other symbols arranged in a rectangle which can be used together as a single unit to solve particular mathematical problems 3)a substance in which other things are fixed, buried, etc Via Cambridge Dictionary

The scenario I planned for this year's Morpheus Game had to do with Morpheus and crew returning to the Matrix to find out the true nature of Chaos and the purpose of the Matrix. They were supposed to be captured by Chaosians half-way through and locked in a matrix-induced mental asylum with all of their abilities taken away and doctors telling them that they had suffered from delusional fantasies. (hence, the title) While in this world which mirrors Corwin's shadow-earth, they were to find out that Amber is a series of books in some Matrix worlds written by a guy named Roger Zelazney. Escaping from the asylum, they were still stuck in the world and unable to bring up the pattern and escape. Well, the asylum still made a brief appearance, but due to a very slow start, the rest of the stuff planned for the game had to be scratched and filed away in my mind for next year.

In the original game, we played through each character in their setting and their meeting with Morpheus. I tried to provide this experience to the new players this year but it did not work as well since I had so much plot planned and had to also play through the returning characters and what is going on in "New Amber." (I need to decide on a name for this Amber setting. Morpheus Amber doesn't work since Julian is currently king. Matrix Amber doesn't work since the Matrix and Amber are seperate places. Right now, I'm thinking New Amber. It's not very original, but it works.) The other problem I had running these characters through their scenario was that all three characters came from books I've never read. We had Talia from Mercedes Lackey's Valdemar books, Vlad Taltos from Stephen Brust's books and Soulcatcher from Glen Cook's Black Company series. So, I decided to teleport them to a fourth fantasy setting that I'm very familiar with, Elric's Melnibone and have them meet Morpheus there. Having them meet M together helped a little but it still took a while to get started, especialy with one character being extremely uncooperative. (I don't blame the player. She was just playing her character. I should have realized I needed more of a hook for her to get her to work with the other two at finding Morpheus and Amber.)

The Good: The players seemed pretty interesting on how things were working in the new Amber, how the rebuilding is going and what the political situation is. (Current politics in a nutshell- Julian is king. There are some people, such as Vril Dox, who believe that they are more suited to be king and some support Dox because he claims to be Oberon reborn. Most of the New Amberites are in support of Julian.) The players all did a really good job of playing their characters off of eachother. They seemed suprised and pleased with the ending revelation (which I sadly decided I will not reveal to anyone outside of the game).

The Bad: A slow start bogged the game down and although the players seemed very interested in the plot of rebuilding Amber, the plot I had planned was in shadow and the Matrix and I wasn't ready to ad-lib a whole new plot in Amber. The really neat scene I had planned where the Oracle hints to the group at what the true nature of Chaos is didn't happened and instead they got the information by mind-raping Neo.

Story Summary: Years ago, Oberon pattern shifted as far from Amber as he could and planted a tree, Yggdrasil there to mark the place where the power of the Pattern ends. "Beyond this tree lies Chaos."

When the black road crumbled at the end of Morpheus Calling it left survivors from New Zion stranded out in shadow. Morpheus spent the last year travelling shadows (the desert of the real) looking for both survivors and supplies to bring back to Amber. Many of his trips were alone but sometimes he would travel out with others who were doing the same. The black road left shadow an endless desert with only occassional pockets of life. During his most recent trip, Morpheus went out as far as he could looking for the tree, Yggdrasil, and found a huge black wall that borders all of creation. Touching it, he discovers that the black road was actually part of this wall trying to reach Amber and in the wall is a new Matrix. At game start, Morpheus had just returned to Amber and called the returning player characters, Adrienne, Trent "the Uncatchable", Fayne and Aeryn. Two other NPCs were also there: Shayera the four armed blue-skinned woman and Rygel. Morpheus tells them that Amber's enemy is still out there and it is time they found out who the enemy is. Also, he sensed that there was still some people in the Matrix and has already planted in the Matrix the seeds to their freedom. His plan is for them to travel out to the Matrix, rescue the others and try to capture the woman known as Oracle. If possible, he was hoping that they could also capture one of the enemy's flying ships.

Meanwhile in the Matrix....

The Queens Herald, Talia, sensed someone coming up the steps to her room in the tower. She opened the door to find a little girl, "a little," with a far away look. The little tells her that Morpheus, the lord of dreams, came to her in her sleep and told her to tell Talia that she was to seek "the other three." She then starts crying, scared and embaressed for being so bold to approach a herald like that. Talia comforted the girl until she felt better and the girl left.

(To be continued)

RPG Meme
Via Arref, via Meera
This seems like a fun one, so here goes:

Years roleplaying: 15

Favourite three characters? (that I've created) This changes all the time. Right now: Lilly, Anoki and Nightshadow

Least favourite character? (that I've created) Lightray. (No relation to the New Gods character) He was the second character I ever created and a Superman clone. He was sooooo boring to play.

Male or female characters? I've played both but I mostly play men since, for obvious reasons, I understand them better. Still, I don't mind playing women and, as I said above, Lilly is currently one of my favorite characters.

Oldest character? Still playing regularly- Yagyu Jubei; That I would still like to play- Nightshadow; First character ever created- The Eagle

Newest character? Etienne du Lac

Most popular character? (to others) not sure. In the Champions group, probably Chango. In the Amber circles, maybe Alexander.

Character you've (made and) never played? The only one that comes to mind is Hotshot, a GURPS: Supers character. Theres a long story as to why he was never played. I should tell you it sometime.

Which character of yours would be most likely to...

Jump off a bridge? I play several superheroes who could do that routinely. If you mean, to take wild chances, Chango.

Get drunk and pass out? Chango.

Kill somebody in a very unorthodox way? Tie: Chango or Alexander. Chango because of plain wierdness. Alexander because....well....

Get married? Besides the ones already that way? Jubei, if the right women comes along.

Be far too hyper for their own good? Chango

Rape somebody? None of my character would ever rape someone.

Be raped? Alexander o_O The only woman I play right now is Lilly and noone would ever rape her. In human form she's really pretty but anyone who touches her would fall unconcious. In demon form, no one would be interested. See the picture linked to below. Alexander on the other hand, is the character who tends to find himself in predicaments like that.

Get lost and refuse to ask for directions? Chango

Get lung cancer? Lazarus Jones. I haven't played him in years but he's the only smoker I've ever played. Hey, it was the forties. What did we know about lung cancer?

Star in a horror movie? Alexander

Star in a whore movie? I didn't know that was a genre. Chango, the electric gigolo

Star in a video game? Jubei

Make the world a better place? Griffon.

Have a torrid gay love affair? (and this isn't their usual proclivity) Alexander.

Relate each word to a character of yours:
Love: Griffon
Hate: can't think of anyone
Money: Nightshadow
Seduction: Chango, the electric Gigolo! At least, he think he's seductive.
Lies: Alexander
Tragedy: T'Kal
Manipulation: can't think of anyone
Violence: Jubei
Politics: Jubei
Fire: Chango
Ice: Alexander

Would you ever...

Play a prostitute? Sure. It's a living.

Play a musician? Yes.

Play a pilot? Already have.

Play a homosexual? Yes.

Play a pedophile? No.

Play a politician? Already have.

Create a character for the sole purpose of smut? Only if that was the theme of the game.

Lastly, take each of your characters and assign a song to them:

That's a lot of characters. For characters that I'm currently playing in regular games- Griffon's easy- "Superman" by Five for Fighting. The song inspired the character. "Cuz I'm not crazy.... or anything." The players in AFDS may notice that now that he's gotten out of his depression, he's that naive and can fly again.

Anoki- a track from Sacred Spirits, a native american/new age band. I can't remember the title.

Jubei- Some traditional Japanese music. Jubei's old fashioned.

Lilly- I'm thinking about this one, I'll get back to it.

Chango- "Superfreak" He's superfreaky. Depending on his mood he can go from Barry White to Reggae, but "Superfreak" always fits him.
Lei Wu Long- "Kung-Fu Fighting"

Conrad Gareth- This is another one I need to think about and get back to.

...and one character that I haven't played in years: Nightshadow's song is the main theme from Dark Man, composed by Danny Elfman.

After Con Effects
I'm on this creative high that I always get after cons. I'll probably be posting a lot about gaming the next couple of days. I also have "The Girl from Impanema" stuck in my head. Don't Ask.

Ambercon 2003
Back to real life.

I had a great time this weekend, perhaps the best time I've had at any con so far. A million thanks go to Liz for all the work she has done on the con over the years. It shows and makes for a great experience.

I'm going to write up for my blog some quick overviews of the games I ran and what I think went right and what went wrong. I do this organize my thoughts and perhaps to let other GMs (or potential GMs) learn from my experiences. But first, a general overview:

Thursday: Dinner with John, Kristen, Jill and a couple from London whose names elude me. Introduced two chairs. First slot game was Kristen's "Knights and Pawns." The game had an excellent plot and I enjoyed it despite being royally screwed at the beginning of the game. Unfortunately, the pacing of the game led to the story getting most interesting at the very end of the session and leaving off with a cliffhanger. The game was continued in a slot 7 game I wasn't playing in.

Friday: My second slot game was "Dangerous Relations" by Murray Writtle. The game is set in in a France created by Corwin's pattern and the players play friends of the Four Musketeers. I really enjoyed playing my character Etienne du Lac, the Duc d'Avalon and the story, but this was another game that suffered from pacing issues, this time unintentional. The game had not finished by the time the next slot was due to start and I had to leave to GM a game the next slot before the scenario finished. So, I ran to the room to GM by third slot game, "The New Gods." The game played out nothing like what I had planned, but the players had fun, so I'll consider the game a success. In the fourth slot, I ran the costume LARP "Amberites and the Chaosians that Love Them." Due to a shortage of players, I went to the con extremely worried that the game woudl be a flop. On the contrary, the game was a great success. I don't think I've laughed so hard in a game in my life. I'll describe the scenario in more detail later.

Saturday: Slot five was my only con campaign, "Mercy and Forgiveness" by Michael Kucharski. This game was my favorite of the con. Everyone in the game did some excellent roleplaying and the game had the emotional depth that so many games miss. Slot six was "Morpheus Interrupted." The game went well, but it didn't go as well as the first game, "Morpheus Calling." I realized that, even more so than the first game, future Morpheus games will need more than one GM. The first game consisted of the characters finding out the truth and trying to find Amber. Now that Amber is found and is being populated by all these characters from different worlds/genres, the world has gotten much bigger. To allow players more ability to explore the world of "Amber-Morpheus" and the Chaos Matrix, a new GM would allow more ability for characters split up and explore without the players losing "play-time."

Sunday: The morning started with the checking out of our room and the con banquet. I ran a Dreaming City game (see link to the right) in slot seven, but not the one I described in the game book. Looking over everything, I decided that "Crime and Punishment..." would need more preparation to be done correctly. Since none of the players had played in "Blood and Darkness..." when I ran it at Ambercon North, I ran it again for this group. It went really well. I skipped my slot eight game to go home and work on a paper that I needed to turn in this morning. I was really excited about playing Conrad Gareth, so I was really disappointed. Sadly, I came home and wrote my paper. Then, I went online to check my email and my teacher had emailed the class regarding the paper, not to do it. Everyone was having problems with the paper. So, I didn't need to skip the Texorami game.

Wednesday, March 26, 2003

Looking at ourselves from the outside
It's always enlightening to see how people outside the US see America. I found this on an Australian website while looking for articles to use for a paper for school:

Hal Wilson sent you several paragraphs of the usual simplistic slogans that we have come to expect from today's war mongers. He also used that tired term "anti-American" so favoured by the "with-us-or-agin-us" brigade. It's a useful label when trying to bully your way through a reasoned debate. I decided I'd beef out this "insult", so we know exactly what it means to be "anti-American".

10 Reasons to be Anti-American

1. They claim to be the greatest democracy in the world, yet only a small percentage of their population even bothers to vote. This means US governments gain power via pathetically small margins about 49,000 votes in the last congressional election. And this is labelled government by the people! Whats more, getting elected in the US now requires vast amounts money, and corporate sponsorship. Naturally this results in big business gaining more than their fair share of government help. Is that democracy? And does that give them the right to invade other nations in the name of their democracy?

2. Americans love trumpeting on about their love of freedom. However, they are currently dismantling a great many civil rights laws in their attempts to rid themselves of terrorism. At the same time, hundreds of prisoners of war remain in Cuba without legal representation, and with no hope of a trial. More murders occur in the US than any other Western country because of their freedom to own guns. The Bush government is keen to crack down on freedom of speech when it comes to sexually explicit material, something the vast majority of Americans indulge in. And sodomy is still illegal in dozens of US states. Is that freedom?

Whats more, the propaganda that says the terrorists hate our freedom is just so much bullshit. Its not freedom that these people hate; it's America's hypocrisy.

3. The Americans are supposed to be the good guys. Yet they have, over the last 50 years, engaged in numerous dodgy interventions in other countries, including Vietnam. On many occasions, this has involved supporting despots, and being accessories to mass murder. We have no proof that will allow us to believe they have learned from their mistakes.

4. The US champions free trade for everyone else. When it comes to steel, or their farm products, or any other US product with a vested interest, the rules don't apply.

5. They have consistently undermined the UN for the last 10 years at least, and then have the gall to say it is a spent force and impotent. Their unswerving support of Israel is part of this, to the point of defending Israel when it defies UN resolutions.

6. When other countries defy or ignore international treaties, they should be bombed. When the US ignores or abandons international treaties, they are asserting their rights as a sovereign nation.

7. The US public has an incredible ignorance of the outside world, thanks to their media, and an accompanying arrogance. When Bali was bombed, we didnt hear a peep out of them. Australia was mentioned in passing as being south of Indonesia. Chances are that most Americans won't know that Australia is about to be one of their few allies in the coming war. The less you know about the rest of the world, the more mistakes you can make.

8. The general neglect of the US's own people when it comes to education and healthcare is atrocious. Their system of funding sees terrible inequity in these areas, and reinforces cycles of poverty. The US should be looking to clean up its own backyard, perhaps using some of its defence money to educate its children.

9. The US consumes vast amounts of the world's resources, and its people are some of the most

affluent in the world. Yet they ignore their responsibility toward the environment (eg Kyoto) and see oil as a birthright. If the US had developed sustainable energy technology and industries, this war with Iraq would not be inevitable.

10. Jerry Springer.

Interestingly, Australia is also guilty of many of these transgressions (for Jerry, read "Stan Zemanek"). Perhaps the difference is that were not as proud of it as the US. Nonetheless, we too should be working to overcome our own hypocrisy and improve our own "democracy" and "freedoms".

Reasons to like the US

1. The Simpsons and Seinfeld.

2. Star Wars (except for Jar Jar Binks)

3. Squirrels

4. The ideals behind their bill of rights.

5. The Grand Canyon

6. The friendliness of everyday Americans

Role Call #11
What’s the best roleplaying game you’ve never played?

From what I've heard- Everway. It sounds like a great system and the type I enjoy. Also, I've heard a lot of good things about FUDGE.

From ones that I've read- Call of Cthulu comes to mind, but I have to say the new Marvel Universe game. There was a preview of it the last Inquest magazine that gives you everything you need to play. It's diceless bliss. It's more complicated than Nobilis but I think it may work even better. I can't wait to try it.

Tuesday, March 25, 2003

Nazi Sentiments and other Bits of Stuff
From this blog that I stumbled across while looking for news on the Elric movie:

Bob Wallace writes in his article entitles The Fairy Tale of Pure Good and Pure Evil:
The State uses propaganda to manipulate our mistaken notions of good and evil. The essence of propaganda is to say we are under attack because we are good and our opponents evil, to dehumanize and demonize the enemy, and then to claim that those who disagree are evil. Hermann Goering, when he stood in the dock at Nuremburg, said, "The people can always be brought to the bidding of the leaders. That is easy. All you have to do is tell them they are being attacked and then denounce the peacemakers for lack of patriotism and exposing the country to danger. It works the same in any country."

A friend emailed me this link, a brief overview of Thoreau's resistance to the Mexican invasion and an example of why I have such a high regard for Thoreau.

Monday, March 24, 2003

Meme: Unusual restaurant names
(Via Kristen)

The Best Restaurant Ever highly overrated

More Moore
Asked backstage why he made the remarks, Michael Moore answered: "I'm an American."

"Is that all?" a reporter asked.

"Oh, that's a lot," Moore responded.

Petition to send Statue of Liberty back to France: Why stop there? While we're shunning anything France gave us, let's declare ourselves British subjects again. We wouldn't have won the war for independence without them.

Michael Moore
MM's acceptance speech upon winning the academy award for best documentary:
Whoa. On behalf of our producers Kathleen Glynn and Michael Donovan from Canada, I'd like to thank the Academy for this. I have invited my fellow documentary nominees on the stage with us, and we would like to — they're here in solidarity with me because we like nonfiction. We like nonfiction and we live in fictitious times. We live in the time where we have fictitious election results that elects a fictitious president. We live in a time where we have a man sending us to war for fictitious reasons. Whether it's the fictition of duct tape or fictition of orange alerts we are against this war, Mr. Bush. Shame on you, Mr. Bush, shame on you. And any time you got the Pope and the Dixie Chicks against you, your time is up. Thank you very much.
If you haven't seen Bowling for Columbine, see it. It was the best movie I saw last year.

Thursday, March 20, 2003

Well, it's started. There should be a protest in AA tonight, but I'm at work until eight and even if I were not , I'm in no shape to be out in the weather. I've been sick for the last couple of days with a fever and runny nose.

So, now I can't get my mind off the idea that right now my tax dollars are going to use to bomb children in Baghdad. Sure, I knew it was inevitable. We all knew that Bush had no interest in a peaceful solution, but it comes back to "what can I do?"

I've attended several protests over the last three months. I didn't really think that they would stop the war alone but with the international community calling for letting the UN do its job and spiritual leaders like the Pope calling against it, I thought that Bush and company would be less eager to go kill for oil.

Now what? Henry David Thoreau keeps coming to mind. When the US launched another unjust invasion into Mexico, he stopped paying his taxes. He went to jail for it and wrote "Civil Disobedience." Unfortunately, that choice isn't quite available to me and will only really make a difference if everyone who is against the war stops paying taxes.

It's tough for me during these times to keep my "Buddheo-pagan" perspective. It is hard not to get attached to the idea of peace. The Buddha did teach that we must work to end human suffering. Is it not my tax money...going out there and causing suffering? I understand in the concept of non-attachment even in such circumstances and how to become involved with events without getting attached. But, it's not that easy.

I can't hep but myself in the place of the Iraqis as amercan bombs are levelling their cities. The general said that they'd make Baghdad look like Hiroshima. I've seen the pictures. I've read the accounts. I can still only imagine the horror.

I guess I'm lucky that I've been so sick the last couple of days. Otherwise, I don't think I'd have slept last night....knowing. My taxes are being used to murder....wholesale.

WEMU interviewed Dr. Raymond Tanter of U of M, who was with national security in the Reagan administration.

At one point he was asked if he thought this could become a wider war. His tone of voice was not disrespectful but his choice of words was...interesting.

He said no one else could challenge us. Our increase in military spending last year was greater than the military budgets of France and Germany combined. He said "they have not kept up in military spending, being more interested in presciption drugs and the like."

Monday, March 17, 2003

Roll the Bones: Dream On!
What licensed property would you really like to see make the jump to roleplaying games?

The Prisoner is the first thing to come to mind. There was an excellent GURPS supplement for the Prisoner, but I would love to see it get another treatment or more Prisoner books for GURPS.

Vampire Hunter D would make an excellent roleplaying setting with it's elements of high fantasy, science fiction and horror. Characters could play various hunters, mutants or supernaturals.

It's kind of a given that Harry Potter will eventually become a roleplaying game, but it would also make my list.

They wouldn't need their own systems, but I would love to see Isaac Asimov's Robot setting or Ray Bradbury's Mars (Martian Chronicles) become a supplement for GURPS or another existing game.

My all-time favorite wish-list game that will never get made, the wish that will prove the level of my geekiness: Battlestar Galactica! I've got it all figured out. The first book would have all the rules for creating colonial warriors and other members of the ragtag fleet looking for Earth or the Battlestar Pegasus. Adventures could consist of exploratory missions to new worlds, looking for food or fuel, battles/encounters with Cylons, and first contacts with new alien races. Players could be made up of battle-groups of pilots or teams of scientists/explorers for completely different styles of game. Future supplements could include information for playing in the Thirteen Colonies of Man, "Mysticism and the Lords Of Kobol" and Earth! (Setting a game where the characters at last find earth and not making it as bad as Galactica 1980.) Maybe I'll get my wish after the new miniseries premieres on Sci-Fi channel but I'm not wagering any cubits.

St. Patrick
...killed the Irish who wouldn't convert to Christianity. What a Saint. Let's give him a holiday, like Chris Columbus!

No, I don't celebrate St. Patrick's Day.

Saturday, March 15, 2003

Found in my eMail
Someone sent me this sequel to the Grinch Who Stole the Election. It's a little long.
The Whos down in Whoville liked this country a lot,
But the Grinch in the White House most certainly did not.
He didn't arrive there by the will of the Whos,
But stole the election that he really did lose.
Vowed to "rule from the middle," then installed his regime.
(Did this really happen or is it just a bad dream?)

He didn't listen to voters, just his friends he was pleasin'
Now, please don't ask why, no one quite knows the reason.
It could be his heart wasn't working just right.
It could be, perhaps, that he wasn't too bright.
But I think that the most likely reason of all,
Is that both brain and heart were two sizes too small.
In times of great turmoil, this was bad news,
To have a government that ignores its Whos.

But the Whos shrugged their shoulders, went on with their work,
Their duties as citizens so casually did shirk.
They shopped at the mall and watched their T. V.
They drove their gas guzzling big S. U. V.
Oblivious to what was going on in D. C.
Ignoring the threats to democracy.

They read the same papers that ran the same leads,
Reporting what only served corporate needs.
(For the policies affecting the lives of all nations
Were made by the giant U. S. Corporations.)
Big business grew fatter, fed by its own greed,
And by people who shopped for the things they didn't need.
But amidst all the apathy came signs of unrest,
The Whos came to see we were fouling our nest.
And the people who cared for the ideals of this nation
Began to discuss and exchange information.
The things they couldn't read in the corporate-owned news
Of FTAA meetings and CIA coups.
Of drilling for oil and restricting rights.
They published some books, created Websites
Began to write letters and use their e-mail
(Though Homeland Security might send them to jail!)

What began as a whisper soon grew to a roar,
These things going on they could no longer ignore.
They started to rise up and fight City Hall
Let their voices be heard, they rose to the call,
To vote, to petition, to gather, dissent,
To question the policies of the "President."

As greed gained in power and power knew no shame
The Whos came together, sang "Not in our name!"
One by one from their sleep and their slumber they woke
The old and the young, all kinds of folk,
The black, brown and white, the gay, bi- and straight,
All united to sing, "Feed our hope, not our hate!
Stop stockpiling weapons and aiming for war!
Stop feeding the rich, start feeding the poor!
Stop storming the deserts to fuel SUV's!
Stop telling us lies on the mainstream T. V.'s!
Stop treating our children as a market to sack!
Stop feeding them Barney, Barbie and Big Mac!
Stop trying to addict them to lifelong consuming,
In a time when severe global warming is looming!
Stop sanctions that are killing the kids in Iraq!
Start dealing with ours that are strung out on crack!"

A mighty sound started to rise and to grow,
"The old way of thinking simply must go!
Enough of God versus Allah, Muslim vs. Jew
With what lies ahead, it simply won't do.
No American dream that cares only for wealth
Ignoring the need for community health.
The rivers and forests are demanding their pay,
If we're to survive, we must walk a new way.

No more excessive and mindless consumption
Let's sharpen our minds and garner our gumption.
For the ideas are simple, but the practice is hard,
And not to be won by a poem on a card.
It needs the ideas and the acts of each Who,
So let's get together and plan what to do!"

And so they all gathered from all 'round the Earth
And from it all came a miraculous birth.
The hearts and the minds of the Whos they did grow,
Three sizes to fit what they felt and they know.
While the Grinches they shrank from their hate and their greed,
Bearing the weight of their every foul deed.
From that day onward the standard of wealth,
Was whatever fed the Whos spiritual health.
They gathered together to revel and feast,
For although our story pits Grinches 'gainst Whos,
The true battle lies in what we daily choose.
For inside each Grinch is a tiny small Who,
And inside each Who is a tiny Grinch too.
One thrives on love and one thrives on greed.
Who will win out? It depends who you feed!
By Author Unknown

Friday, March 14, 2003

Superman Movie
According to Sci-Fi wire, here are the rumored actors up for the part of Superman:

A.I.'s Jude Law
70s Show's Ashton Kutcher
Mummy's Brendan Fraser
Timeline's Paul Walker
Guiding Light's Matthew Bomer
Mutant X's Victor Webster
Sliders' Jerry O'Connell

Of the group, my favorite is Brendan Fraser. I have no clue what the Guiding Light guy looks like.... or the Mutant X guy, but out of the ones I know BF looks most like Superman. As long as he doesn't act like a goof, I think he could pull it off. Gods and Monsters proved that he can play parts other than the goofball and The Mummy proved he can do the action-star thing.

Thursday, March 13, 2003

Celtic Myths
Web-surfing, I found this website on Celtic Myths today. It looks like a good one so I'm just posting it here as a note to myself to look at it later. I also found this picture

Lilly! Now in Color!
Storn colored Lilly. Here she is!

Someday, I'll post a more in depth description of her.

Wednesday, March 12, 2003

Why are People Afraid of Detroit?
continuing something started in KG's blog and continued at Spiral Moon....

Racism and a Culture of Fear. Growing up in the Detroit area, there wasn't a night that went by where the news didn't report about some shooting or robbery in Detroit. Every night you'd see an artist's rendition of some shady black guy in a hooded sweater. The news gave us one message, "be scared." We were all programmed from an early age to be scared of the nameless black guy. Also, whenever Detroit is used in a movie, how has it been used? Has there ever been a movie that showed the positive, cultural sides of the Motor City?

I worked in Detroit and have had friends that lived in Detroit, but still...I admittedly get a little more nervous when the nameless black guy in a hooded sweater walks towards me. I know better and I feel silly when I notice. It just takes a long time to break a lifetime of programming. Detroit's not a bad town. It just plays one on TV.

Tuesday, March 11, 2003

This Modern World
Tom Tommorow reveals what it will take to wake up America.

Diceless Gaming in the Marvel Universe!
A new diceless rpg is on it's way!
(Link via Thought Records)

EDIT- On a similiar note, I've been thinking since putting my New Gods game description how great the Nobilis system would have been to run New Gods and I've started wishing that I hadnb't said in the description that we'd be using a variation of Amber and used Nobilis instead. It's such a wonderful system for playing characters huge power levels. It looks like somebody else had a similiar idea. I'm not sure how well it will work for Superheroes but it's diceless so it should be better than many other superhero games.

State of the Union
It's a good dream.

Meme: Favorite Foreign Films
Via KG

The Seven Samurai (Japan)
Akira (Animated, Japan)
Tenchi Forever (Animated, Japan) No, really! The movie has an amazing story and an emotional depth that is missing from most animes!
Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon (Hong Kong?)
Tale of a Vampire (England)
La Femme Nikita (France)
Nosferatu (Silent, German)

Monday, March 10, 2003

Gaming: Lilly and Jubei illustrations
We gamed Champions Saturday and during the session, Storn sketched an illustration of my character, Lilly (aka Succubi), a shapeshifter with two personalities- her normal one and the one that takes control when she shapeshifts into her demon form. Here is a scan he sent me. Unfortunately, I shrunk it in MS Photo editor at work at it lost a lot of the detail.

A while back, Storn did this illustration of one of my other Champions characters, Jubei. It's a hell of a lot better than mine.

My Sci-FiReading List
Books I want to read. Some are from the 50 best others are additions:

3. Dune, Frank Herbert (giving it a second chance)
5. A Wizard of Earthsea, Ursula K. Le Guin
7. Childhood's End, Arthur C. Clarke
9. The Mists of Avalon, Marion Zimmer Bradley
11. The Book of the New Sun, Gene Wolfe
12. A Canticle for Leibowitz, Walter M. Miller, Jr.
14. Children of the Atom, Wilmar Shiras
15. Cities in Flight, James Blish
16. The Colour of Magic, Terry Pratchett
17. Dangerous Visions, edited by Harlan Ellison
18. Deathbird Stories, Harlan Ellison
19. The Demolished Man, Alfred Bester
20. Dhalgren, Samuel R. Delany
21. Dragonflight, Anne McCaffrey
23. The First Chronicles of Thomas Covenant the Unbeliever, Stephen R. Donaldson
24. The Forever War, Joe Haldeman
25. Gateway, Frederik Pohl
28. I Am Legend, Richard Matheson
30. The Left Hand of Darkness, Ursula K. Le Guin
31. Little, Big, John Crowley
32. Lord of Light, Roger Zelazny
33. The Man in the High Castle, Philip K. Dick
34. Mission of Gravity, Hal Clement
35. More Than Human, Theodore Sturgeon
36. The Rediscovery of Man, Cordwainer Smith
37. On the Beach, Nevil Shute
38. Rendezvous with Rama, Arthur C. Clarke
39. Ringworld, Larry Niven
40. Rogue Moon, Algis Budrys
41. The Silmarillion, J.R.R. Tolkien (Not sure about this one....)
42. Slaughterhouse-5, Kurt Vonnegut
43. Snow Crash, Neal Stephenson
44. Stand on Zanzibar, John Brunner
45. The Stars My Destination, Alfred Bester
48. The Sword of Shannara, Terry Brooks
49. Timescape, Gregory Benford
The Moon is a Harsh Mistress, Heinlein
Time Enough for Love, Heinlein
King Rat, China Mielville
Perdido Street Station, China Mielville
King's Blades, David Duncan

Sunday, March 09, 2003

They Fight Crime!
He's a globe-trotting amnesiac vagrant trapped in a world he never made. She's a pregnant belly-dancing soap star with a song in her heart and a spring in her step. They fight crime!

Check out this fun/silly plot generator! It will provide you with seconds of fun!

Friday, March 07, 2003

It sounded like a good idea....
So, the number of players for the LARP is really disappointing. It's going to be tough to work with and make the game a success. I've got some ideas that will actually involve the players playing multiple characters. We'll see.

So, it's got me thinking. From what I've been told, the LARP has had fewer and fewer players over the last couple of years and obviously a silly, humorous game was not the thing that would pull people in. Hindsight is said to always be 20/20 and I'm looking back at the other options and wondering if they could have been more successful. I keep thinking that a Morpheus LARP was the way to go. Building on the Amber that was brought about by the events of Morpheus Calling, the game could allow players to play any character in an Amber environment and dealing with a classic Amber-based scenario- a family gathering that quickly turns into a life or death situation. There would have been interest. People probably would even dress up more since they could be playing one of their favorite characters of all time.

Ah well. Maybe next year. I'm not sure I'm going to want to jump into volunteering to run the LARP again, but it would be a shame to see a tradition like the LARP go away. The only reason I volunteered to run the LARP this year was because I had this one great LARP idea that would also allow people to play anyone but after running the scenario by a few people it became clear that the scenario was too serious. It was about a bunch of characters floating in nothingness after the universe was destroyed when someone failed to fix the Pattern. The characters would be the only survivors floating in primal chaos as mere thought forms that near the beginning of the game would take the forms that they wore in life. Now, they would have to figure out what was next for them.

In case anyone's interested:
Slot 1: "Knights & Pawns" by Kristen Gibbs pregen game
Slot 2: "Dangerous Relations" by Murray Writtle Need to make a character
Slot 3: GM-"The New Gods"
Slot 4: GM- "Amberites and the Chaosians that Love Them!"
Slot 5: "Mercy & Forgiveness" by Michael Kucharski campaign- playing Anoki
Slot 6: GM- "Morpheus, Interrupted"
Slot 7: GM- "Crime and Punishment in the Dreaming City"
Slot 8: "To Live and Die in Texorami: For a Few Shadows More" by "Doc" Kindred Need to make a character- perhaps a variation of Conrad Gareth

I'm kind of disappointed that there is no game here where Alexander would fit in. The bastard needs to get played. I'm playing "the good guy" way too much lately. Edit- I just realized that if Texorami already has a Doc Holliday type, Alexander could fit inTexorami.

A few quick thoughts
I caught an episode of All in the Family this morning. Michael ("Meathead") had decided that he did not want to have children...he didn't want to bring another baby in the world. Gloria is upset because she wants to have children and of course Archie and Edith become involved. The episode dealt with everyone's reactions and the arguments for and against children. If they ever released All in the Family on DVD, it would be the one sitcom I would buy. Sure, Seinfeld was great and I'd be tempted to buy I Love Lucy but All in the Family was genius.

Lest, I get away from a general theme of my blog: Bush is the very model of a high-tech modern fascist.

A fairly good casting choice for Elric was suggested by Storn at tonight's gaming session: Jude Law.

Also on Elric, I think Danny Elfman would have to do the soundtrack.

Mutants and Masterminds is an excellent superhero RPG. We played it again tonight and it may replace Champions as my favorite. It has almost all of Champions' flexibility and is nowhere near as complicated. (Champions is an accountant's dream...or nightmare. I'm not sure which.)

I've determined that the villians of Kirby's New Gods were far more interesting than the heroes. Sure enough, I already have an email from a player in my New Gods game asking if he could play someone from Apokolips. I'm half tempted to suggest that if enough players are interested we could split the group in two. This way, more of the Apokolips characters could be worked in to the game. While the good guys work on their plot, the players playing Darkseid's minions could work against them. Unfortunately, it's only a four hour slot and I already have plenty of plot for the New Genesis crowd.

Thursday, March 06, 2003

Star Trek Personality
My results of this variation of the Meyer Briggs says I am an ENFP, the same as Captain Kirk.
(Via Patrick)

Wednesday, March 05, 2003

The Hazard of Working in the White House
Tom the Dancing Bug helps out with Hazard Preparedness. Are the Spin Doctors ready?

The Sci-Fi book club has released a list of 50 most significant sci-fi novels of all time. I think I may have to use this as a reading list. Of the books I've read on this list, all of them have been worth my time, even the ones I didn't like such as the Tolkein stuff. Here is the list with some comments by me:

1. The Lord of the Rings, J.R.R. Tolkien (Read Fellowship and half of Two Towers. I think I gave it enough time to get good.)
2. The Foundation Trilogy, Isaac Asimov (Already read. Will someday read again.)
3. Dune, Frank Herbert (Tried back in High School but quit a few chapters in. Someday, I'll give it another try.)
4. Stranger in a Strange Land, Robert A. Heinlein (One of my favorite books ever.)
5. A Wizard of Earthsea, Ursula K. Le Guin (A friend of mine used to recommend the book constantly. I never took him too seriously. Maybe I should have. He was the guy who got me to read Elric after all. I just never forgave him for convincing me to read a Xanth book.)
6. Neuromancer, William Gibson (Read it. I liked it, but I doubt I will ever reread it.)
7. Childhood's End, Arthur C. Clarke
8. Do Androids Dream of Electric Sheep?, Philip K. Dick (Another one of my favorites)
9. The Mists of Avalon, Marion Zimmer Bradley (I saw the miniseries. Does that count?)
10. Fahrenheit 451, Ray Bradbury (Another Favorite)
11. The Book of the New Sun, Gene Wolfe
12. A Canticle for Leibowitz, Walter M. Miller, Jr.
13. The Caves of Steel, Isaac Asimov (Yet another of my favorites)
14. Children of the Atom, Wilmar Shiras
15. Cities in Flight, James Blish (James Blish? Didn't he write adaptions of Star Trek episodes?)
16. The Colour of Magic, Terry Pratchett
17. Dangerous Visions, edited by Harlan Ellison
18. Deathbird Stories, Harlan Ellison
19. The Demolished Man, Alfred Bester
20. Dhalgren, Samuel R. Delany (Have it. I keep meaning to read it.)
21. Dragonflight, Anne McCaffrey
22. Ender's Game, Orson Scott Card (Read it.)
23. The First Chronicles of Thomas Covenant the Unbeliever, Stephen R. Donaldson
24. The Forever War, Joe Haldeman
25. Gateway, Frederik Pohl
26. Harry Potter and the Philosopher's Stone, J.K. Rowling (Read it)
27. The Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy, Douglas Adams (Read it.)
28. I Am Legend, Richard Matheson (I've been meaning to read this one for years)
29. Interview with the Vampire, Anne Rice(Read it.)
30. The Left Hand of Darkness, Ursula K. Le Guin
31. Little, Big, John Crowley
32. Lord of Light, Roger Zelazny (This one's already very high on my reading list)
33. The Man in the High Castle, Philip K. Dick
34. Mission of Gravity, Hal Clement
35. More Than Human, Theodore Sturgeon
36. The Rediscovery of Man, Cordwainer Smith
37. On the Beach, Nevil Shute
38. Rendezvous with Rama, Arthur C. Clarke
39. Ringworld, Larry Niven
40. Rogue Moon, Algis Budrys
41. The Silmarillion, J.R.R. Tolkien
42. Slaughterhouse-5, Kurt Vonnegut (I've read and enjoyed some Vonnegut. The guy is great.)
43. Snow Crash, Neal Stephenson
44. Stand on Zanzibar, John Brunner
45. The Stars My Destination, Alfred Bester
46. Starship Troopers, Robert A. Heinlein (read it.)
47. Stormbringer, Michael Moorcock (favorite book. ever. Did I need to say that?)
48. The Sword of Shannara, Terry Brooks
49. Timescape, Gregory Benford
50. To Your Scattered Bodies Go, Philip Jose Farmer (read it. loved it.)

So looking at the list, I can't help but think of what is missing: 1984. Why isn't it on the list?

Michael Moorcock on casting Elric
Michael Moorcock commented on who he felt should be cast as Elric in this FAQ from Here is an excerpt:

If Keven Costner got to play Elric I would probably kill myself. He's not smart enough for Elric. Ralph Fiennes has always been a possibility. But there are far better actors around and I have one or two in mind to ask, should it ever go that way. The only certainty in casting is Christopher Lee, who has insisted on playing Arioch (now he believes himself too old for Elric) and the part is there for him. Did you see him in the most recent TV Ivanhoe ? Best bit in it. An underused actor, frequently. My main problem is not whether an actor looks like Elric physically, but what sort of character and experience the actor reflects. Someone had Brad Pitt lined up. No way again. Not enough experience in the face -- too bland. Most of the other young faves are equally bland -- boy blands -- and I'd rather have an older actor with character in the part, if that was the choice. As someone who went to the theatre more than once a week in London (and Stratford), I don't get to see the new actors so frequently. There's a particular pleasure in seeing the likes of Alan Rickman developing on stage (he was by far the best lead in 'Dangerous Liassons' when it was first put on -- sadly, like so many very good English actors, he becomes merely a good villain in Hollywood pictures) and again he would have made a wonderful Elric. You need a level of ambiguity which very few LA actors can produce because it's not asked of them. Again, it's frequently the actors with good stage experience who bring those ambiguities to TV characters. I have huge admiration for much that's produced in LA -- but the kind of demands and aspirations that you get, say, at the RSC -- along with the criticism -- tends to produce a much more substantial actor -- as several great modern Hollywood actors would probably tell you, where they had the chance to study, say, with RADA. There are higher demands and far less patience with mediocrity. Bit more baptism of fire, which I'm all for in the arts, if not elsewhere. So I suppose, if I was going to suggest where the actor to play Elric would come from, I'd say check out the RSC in a production, say, of Titus Andronicus! Or a Globe presentation of a Jacobean melodrama or a Restoration farce. Christopher Walken, as in Heavens Gate, might have worked, too.

MM then goes off on a rant about how intelligent sounding actors keep getting cast as villains...

I'm not sure who I'd cast. The same actor I have said in the past that I would cast as Anne Rice's Lestat come to mind: Julian Sands. (Not suprising. The characters have a lot in common.) Julian Sands is getting a little older but I have to agree with Michael here that I'd rather see an older actor than some pretty face who doesn't fit the part. Christopher Lee or Christopher Walken in their prime would have been really cool. I like the idea of Alan Rickman a lot.

Knowing your role
TNT is playing Lois and Clark in the mornings at 8:00 and I've been watching it some mornings. I never watched it when it was originally on. I didn't really care for it, but of course I wasn't the demographic they were going for. The show was obviously aimed at women. Still, I have a lot of respect for it now. It tried something new with the genre and succeeded. Sure, it could be cheesy and Dean Cain was (in my opinion) the worst actor to ever play Superman. (He played a good Clark Kent but he never seemed natural as Superman like Christopher Reeve was.) However it had some great moments. Today was the episode where Clark proposed to Lois. It was an excellent episode. At several times in the show Clark goes to tell Lois about his secret identity and they keep getting interrupted. Lois is getting pissed because she knows Clark has something really important to tell her but every time he starts, he has to run off giving her one of his trademark lame excuses. [Spoiler ahead, in case any one cares about spoiling a show that's been cancelled for years] At the end of the episode, Clark starts talking to her in the park. He aplogizes for the last couple of days and says he has something really important to tell her. It starts to rain and Lois suggests they go find someplace dry. "Not until I say this thing." Just when you figure Clark is going to tell her he's Superman, he pulls out a ring.

At one point during the episode Perry White turns to Jimmy Olsen and says:

It's like we're just supporting characters in some T.V. show. We only exist to further their plot.

School Cancelled
I was half-way to school this morning when NPR announced that WCC cancelled classes. I had checked the website before leaving and at the time classes were still on. I'm glad I didn't put a tape and saved myself a wasted drive.

Now, I wonder. The snow is not that bad and the roads are fairly clear, although slow moving. Why did they cancel classes? Could it have something to do with the fact that today is the day of the national "Books, not Bombs" student walkout/strike? Did WCC faculty seen an excuse to cancel classes and use it to stop the effectiveness of the protest?

Tuesday, March 04, 2003

An additional thought on supplements
I listed two White Wolf supplements as my favorites, but for every one good WW supplement I own, I own two worthless ones. Most of their supplements act to make the setting more defined and complicated and don't actually add a lot of "flavor." Most of the Vampire clanbooks are like that. They describe the complex political workings within the clan but do little to tell us what it means to be a vampire of that clan. The only clanbook I've seen that I've been somewhat impressed with has been the new Malkavian book. Of the ones I own, I've never been able to actually read them. They just aren't that interesting to me. The same thing goes for the Mage Tradition books. The Changeling Kithbooks are hit or miss. Eshu and Redcap were really good. Sluagh and Knockers were OK. The Satyr book was just bad.

WISH 36: Supplements
Ginger writes: Today's WISH is not about game systems, but about supplements:
What do you think about supplements to game systems? Do you like the additional material, or are you just annoyed about spending the money for the additional rules? Name up to three supplements you've really enjoyed, and describe why you liked them.

I have a love/hate relationship with supplements. I hate paying for them and most supplements don't end up being worth their price, especially at the prices of today's RPGs. As a GM of game set in White Wolf's "World of Darkness", I have bought countless supplements for White Wolf games and they represent the whole spectrum of how good a supplement can be. Many of them add very little of value to the game besides some interesting but poorly written "fluff." However, I'd say about a third of them have quickly found themselves indispensable. In my experience, here are the makings of a great roleplaying supplement:

  • They help a player get into character: WW releases a supplement for every possible clan/tribe/tradition/kith/etc. in their games. In fact, it's a formula for them that seems to have been successful. A few of them are so well written that just by reading the "fluff" pieces, a player can truly get a feel for what a character of that type can be. (Kithbook: Redcap immediately comes to mind.) They have also added new abilities that help a player build a character that can explore different concepts that are possible within the character type.

  • They help a GM get a feel for the setting: As a GM, I always like to read or watch things shortly before a game that gives me "the feel" of a genre or setting. For example, if I were going to run a cyberpunk game, I would read a William Gibson novel or re-watch Bladerunner. If I can "feel" the setting, I can better give the players the feel. Some of my favorite supplements give have things written in them that instantly give me the feeling that I want to integrate into the game.

  • They are good for giving quick game ideas: Years ago, I had a Star Wars supplement from West End Games that had pages and pages of little adventure ideas. I loved that supplement. It would only have a paragraph or two of a plot but it was often enough to get the creative juices going. All a GM had to do was read a plot he/she liked and fill in the details. I never have liked "adventure modules" that have the whole scenario written out. I can fill in the details, but sometimes I just want a quick idea. GURPS supplements are great for this. Many of their supplements include "adventure seeds." That's all I need. A seed.

  • They add something new to the game: I love supplements that add new elements to an existing game such as new character types and abilities. Sure, I can make up the stuff myself but it's always nice when someone else has already done the work.

Ok. Now for my list of three great supplements:
  • GURPS: Creatures of the Night: This book gives descriptions of several horrific monsters ands creatures that can be used several kinds of games. It gives stats in GURPS, but for all the times I have used creatures from the book, I have never used any of them in an actual GURPS game. Besides having some of the coolest and most original monsters I've seen in a rpg book, the bok also gives 2-3 adventure seeds for each creature. This book is a must-own for any GM. I can not recommend this book enough. GURPS has a lot of great supplements, but this is one of the best I've read. I also highly recommend GURPS: Supporting Cast, which has similiar write-ups for several pregenerated NPCs like a Bartender, a Taxi Cab Driver and a Fireman. I don't know if either book is still in print but they would both be worth hunting down a used copy.

  • Werewolf Storytellers Guide: This book is amazing. It has chapters for a Werewolf GM on how to construct a good story, how to describe things using the sense of smell (an important sense in Werewolf), how to make games creepier, how to describe the rage the characters feel inside waiting to explode, and how to describe a city to a Werewolf and make it...or even a suburb seem like a horror setting. There's more. Much more. It's the first GM guide I've ever read that goes well beyond the basics and getsinto the important things about GMing the setting the book is actually for. So many GM guides just repeat the same old stuff. If I read another GM guide describe Joseph Campbell's Hero's Journey one more time, I may throw up. This GM includes the Joseph Cambell but gives so much more....and it's all tailored for the Werewolf GM. I think that a GM of any horror game would find use for it, but Werewolf GM's have to buy this book...and live by it.

  • Kithbook: Redcap: Until reading this book for Changeling: the Dreaming, I had a very limited view of Redcaps. They were either the villainous thugs of the unseelie court or the ultra-noble paladins paladins trying to make up for the bad reputation of the Kith brought on by their unseelie cousins. This book made them a hundred times cooler for me and made one of the two kiths I originally didn't care for in Changeling to one of my favorites. Now, if White Wolf would just come out with a Kithbook: Boggan....

Monday, March 03, 2003

More Elric News
Accosrding to Revolution Sci-Fi and Yahoo News, the Elric series will be produced by the guys who did the American Pie and the jokes have already started:

"Elric" movie dialogue, as done by the "American Pie" people:

"I was ever a thousand times more horny than thou!"

"Say my name!"
"Say my name, bitch!"
"Thel-- Theleb Ka'a-- How do you pronounce that, again?"

"Blood and souls for my lord Stifler's Mom!"

I stopped by Borders this morning to return a book and pick up a special order and found a new Michael Moorcock book, The Skrayling Tree. It's another "tale of the albino" and a direct sequel to The Dreamthief's Daughter. Now, I'm eagerly waiting for my lunch break so I can start reading. It's been a while since I've read any fiction because every book I've tried to read has been hard to get into but MM never disappoints me.

...and there is even more exciting Michael Moorcock news! According to CNN, Elric is getting a movie! I've been dreaming of an Elric movie since I first read the series and ever since Lord of the Rings was such a success, I've been waiting for this news.

I got the player lists for my Ambercon games. It's a good mix of old friends and new faces. The Garry Flinger LARP has less players than I was hoping for but other than that, I'm not disappointed.